John Pope Quintet’s debut album has just been released in January 2021 – even though the Quintet have played together since 2016, they have never released a group recording. Having performed live at jazz festivals for years and become established in the UK jazz scene, John Pope Quintet’s recorded work is long anticipated. Mixing a love of free jazz, hard bop and 60s avant-jazz, Mixed With Glass is an accomplished live work of incredible proportions. Composed by John Pope himself, each track features something new – moments of tight, soulful ensemble playing mixed with shredding solos, and quiet, melancholic melodies mixed with experimental and avant-garde techniques which seek to undermine the accepted foundations of the music. Mixed With Glass provides some classic swinging grooves with much more adventurous and challenging soundscapes: there’s something for every listener.
Leeds-based band J Frisco make music which is self-proclaimed to be genre-fluid, improvisational and experimental. Listening to their new album Cut Throat for the first time, this sense of experimentalism definitely comes across, alongside the darkness and abruptness of the album’s title. Featuring industrial electronic elements, distorted guitar and lamenting saxophone, this album is definitely a difficult listen in many ways. Yet, J Frisco push the boundaries of music, and of improvisation itself – recording the album in one week, and professing that the trio themselves were unsure what would be produced at the end, reveals their commitment to the practise of experimentation, and their willingness to push the boundaries of musical ideas.
We caught up with J Frisco about their new album Cut Throat, the history of the band and their approach to music.
Tell us about how J Frisco formed and some early memories of you playing together?
We met at Leeds College of Music, we kept bumping into each other and kept saying we should have a jam together, we hardly knew each other… Eventually we booked a rehearsal studio and jammed, free improvising. It was incredible. It was the first time all of us had played with just women, and it was really quite electrifying.