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Tomas Challenger

Tomas Challenger is a leading figure of the young progressive jazz/improvisation scene in Britain. He is both a saxophonist and composer, and leads many of his own projects. He is also an active sideman and educator, and works in a variety of contexts. He has worked with, amongst others: John Taylor, Mike Garrick, Don Rendell, Julian Joseph, Clark Tracy, Chris Bowden, Lol Coxhill, Charles Hayward (This Heat), John Edwards, The London Jazz Orchestra, Stan Sulzmann, Gwilym Simcock, Pete Wareham (Acoustic Ladyland), The Herbaliser, Chris Bowden, Tim Holmes (Death in Vegas), Elan Mehler, Jose James and Jeremy Warmsley

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Kit Downes: Dreamlife of Debris

Read "Dreamlife of Debris" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Kit Downes' ECM debut marked a substantial departure from his earlier recordings with saxophonist Tomas Challenger. Wedding Music (Loop Records, 2013) and Vyamanikal (Slip Imprint, 2016) were rhythmically complex with abstruse melodies that tended toward repetitive patterns and drones. With his ECM title Obsidian (2018), Downes, still on organ, worked in a more solidly constructed environment, ...

Brass Mask Live

Label: Babel Label
Released: 2017
Track listing: Francilia + Shallow Water; Lil’ Liza Jane; The Bague; Indian Red; I Thank You Jesus; NYODI; The Merman; Francis P.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Tom Challenger's Brass Mask: Brass Mask Live

Read "Brass Mask Live" reviewed by Duncan Heining

You need a truly modern street band in your musical life. That's a statement. Period. No “buts," no “maybes." You might not know it but it's just what you've been lacking and here it is with Brass Mask's second CD, Live. I enjoyed their first record, Spy Boy a lot. Here was a band ...

Black Shuck

Label: Slip Imprint
Released: 2016
Track listing: One; Two.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Tom Challenger and Kit Downes: Black Shuck

Read "Black Shuck" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The great--and often dark--writer, Neil Gaiman, in his recently published book of short stories titled Trigger Warning tells the tale of the mythical dog-beast--the black shuck--that is to be avoided at night because ..."if you see him--you die.." Well, that's fairly dark and it sets the tone for the third duo outing from Kit Downes and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Tom Challenger and Kit Downes: Black Shuck

Read "Black Shuck" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

"Atmosphere" is one of those oft-used, hard to pin down, words that music writers are wont to distribute across their outpourings. Sometimes, it's used without qualification--an “atmospheric" piece, a song that has “atmosphere"--much in the way that people speak of having “blood pressure." So when a work such as Tom Challenger and Kit Downes' impressive Black ...

Live

Label: Loop Records
Released: 2015
Track listing: Forge Part 1.1; Forge Part 1.2; The Last.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Ma: Live

Read "Live" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Ma is part of London's endlessly intriguing Loop Collective, a grouping of younger-generation musicians and bands that includes pianist Ivo Neame, vibes player and drummer Jim Hart, trumpeter Rory Simmons and many others. Saxophonist Tom Challenger leads Ma: he's joined in the core trio by Matt Calvert on synths and laptop and by Dave ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Dave Manington's Riff Raff: Hullabaloo

Read "Hullabaloo" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

A band called Riff Raff, an album titled Hullabaloo; it's a fair bet that a rowdy collection of delinquents is about to create a raucous musical racket. The bet would be lost, however, as both band name and album title misdirect. Hullabaloo is a collection of free-flowing, often meditative tunes written by bassist/bandleader Dave Manington and ...


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