Home » Jazz Musicians » Corey Mwamba

Corey Mwamba

Born and based in Derby, Corey Mwamba's commitment to jazz and improvised music in Britain and Ireland drives all aspects of his work, whether through composition, playing, or promoting new music.

Corey predominantly plays vibraphone; he also plays dulcimer and uses audio processing software. He is recognised as a highly creative improviser and composer working across a wide range of jazz and contemporary music. Mwamba's distinctive approach and tone is instantly recognisable in any context: a potent blend of pure sound, highly melodic phrases and ethereal textures; barely whispered chords and ear-piercing robotic screams. Corey won a PRSF/Jerwood Foundation Take Five artist development award in 2007; was short-listed for the Innovation category in the BBC Jazz Awards in 2008; and received nominations for "Rising Star on Vibraphone" in the 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th, and 67th DownBeat Annual Critics' Polls.

Mwamba's main group is the critically acclaimed yana with Dave Kane (bass) and Joshua Blackmore (drums). This group exemplifies a core ideal of creating an "open, living music"; listening and responding spontaneously as a unit to make music that has love, language and a groove. Their first studio release don't overthink it was hailed as "engaging and evocative" (All About Jazz) and described as "the sound of three minds working together in a utopian zone, way beyond the individual ego - and producing something quite beautiful in the process" (Jazzwise). Their latest release on Two Rivers Records, described by Wire Magazine as "their strongest album to date" is baby/people. Dave and Corey are also in an improvising sextet called The Spirit Farm, formed out of research by pianist Adam Fairhall. Mwamba and Fairhall also form a trio with drummer Johnny Hunter called Backyard Chassis.

He is part of the Anglo-French quartet Sonsale with bassist Andy Champion, drummer Sylvain Darrifourcq and cellist Valentin Ceccaldi. Corey also works with Andy in an improvising trio with saxophonist Ntshuks Bonga. He also works in a trio with U.S. violist Mat Maneri and Romanian pianist Lucian Ban. Corey plays in duos with saxophonist Rachel Musson; pianist Robert Mitchell; percussionists Martin Pyne and Walt Shaw; and the multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson. Corey is also an honorary member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.

Corey has contributed to saxophonist Nat Birchall's quintet, saxophonist and composer Martin Archer's large ensemble Engine Room Favourites, and trumpeter Nick Malcolm's quartet. He plays with Nick and drummer Simon Roth in Our Own Decay.

Corey Mwamba retired from public performance in March 2019.

Read more

Tags

6
Album Review

Paul Dunmall: Bright Light A Joyous Celebration

Read "Bright Light A Joyous Celebration" reviewed by John Sharpe


While the opener suggests a blowing session from veteran British saxophonist Paul Dunmall, as good as that promises to be, the reality is better still. Joining him is a starry cast drawn from succeeding generations, with the addition of American drummer Hamid Drake. With the drummer touring in the UK. Dunmall took the opportunity to renew a friendship that stretches back almost two decades, one first heard on the fiery Peace And Joy (Slam, 2006). Alongside them in the studio ...

11
Album Review

Xhosa Cole: Ibeji

Read "Ibeji" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Few places on the global jazz scene are enjoying the enthusiastic resurgence of the genre more than the UK. Names that are becoming more familiar—Binker Golding, Nubya Garcia, Idris Rahman, Shabaka Hutchings and others—have triggered something of a youth movement. Emerging in that group is yet another top-notch saxophonist, Xhosa Cole. Cole's sophomore release, Ibeji is full of terrific music, wrapped in a missed opportunity. Ibeji takes its name from the Yoruba religion, and features six percussionists individually ...

3
Album Review

Corey Mwamba / Dave Kane / Joshua Blackmore: Don't Overthink It

Read "Don't Overthink It" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay


There's a simple message on the inner sleeve of Don't Overthink It, the first full-length studio recording from vibraphonist Corey Mwamba . bassist Dave Kane and drummer Joshua Blackmore. There's a simple manifesto in its title and some complex improvised music on the album, but enjoying it is a simple matter. The three UK-based musicians are responsible for the music: maybe they're responsible for the title and the message too, or maybe they aren't. No point spending too much time ...

Read more articles
"[An] instinctive originality on vibes. [Corey Mwamba] is an elemental driving force" Manchester Evening News

"Derby-based Corey Mwamba has been described as 'the maverick vibraphonist', and many critics regard him as the most innovative player of his instrument since Orphy Robinson." Jazz North-East

"Mwamba, alive to every musical possibility thrown his way by his bandmates, was constantly selecting the precisely appropriate tone and timbre for the particular moment, either by changing gong-type (covered) mallets for xylophone-style (unwrapped) mallets, or by occasionally playing his instrument with his bare hands or a violin bow, drawing from its keys an astonishing variety of sounds, from mbira-like 'muffled' notes to ringing, sonorous, sustained tones or cascades of single notes, occasionally ending pieces with a subtle reverberating effect [...]" Chris Parker

Read more

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Port Of Saints

Discus Music
2022

buy

Ibeji

Self Produced
2022

buy

NTH

Discus Music
2019

buy

Don't Overthink It

Self Produced
2013

buy

Cuts

Origin Records
2012

buy

Ynglinga

From: Don't Overthink It
By Corey Mwamba

Start

From: In The Vortex
By Corey Mwamba

Videos

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.