The influence of French Impressionist composers upon iconic jazz pianist Bill Evans (1929 - 1980) is well documented: Evans's melodic and harmonic language is rich with references to the Impressionist school, and the emotional quality of his music shares a similar territory, particularly to the music of Maurice Ravel.
So what happens when the music of Evans, Ravel, Debussy, Satie and Williams is brought together in one concert? When the rhythmic and improvisatory qualities of a modern jazz trio are set against a rich orchestral palette? This promises to be an exciting journey, shedding new light on the work of 20th century French classical music and it's relationship to jazz.
There will be two performances to start off the series, both in March 2014, with Bristol followed by London. In both concerts, familiar orchestral works by Ravel, Debussy and Satie will be set against newly orchestrated pieces by Bill Evans, and contemporary works by jazz pianist Kate Williams and William Goodchild. Kate's long established trio featuring bassist Oli Hayhurst and drummer Tristan Mailliot will form the heart of the ensemble.
Kate Williams: "The performance will highlight the three-way relationship between jazz trio, orchestra an conductor. Pieces by Ravel and Debussy will be performed as originally scored alongside compositions by Satie, Bill Evans, William and I, utilising the musicians in a variety of combinations. We want to create a feast of harmony, rhythm and texture for the audience's ears and present well-known works alongside newer ones."
Kate and William will share orchestration of the Bill Evans and originally composed material. William will conduct.
The influence of composers such as Ravel on Bill Evans has been well documented, and it was this connection which inspired Kate and William with the initial idea for the project. They are both passionate about presenting Evans' compositions in an orchestral setting, with the resulting expanded sound palette.
The overarching concept is to explore and reveal links, connections and contrasts between jazz and classical music.
Interplay brings together many influences in William and Kate’s musical careers. Equally the project offers new challenges to both.
For Kate, having led and composed for her own trio, quartet and septet, Interplay Series is an opportunity for her to write music for a much larger ensemble. Composing for orchestra is one of her long time ambitions.
For William, having written largely for TV and film, and with a background in both classical and jazz, this is a fantastic opportunity to compose and orchestrate material for concert performance.
Both Kate and William have a passion for live and recorded music and for jazz and orchestral performance in particular. Playing the two against each other, finding connections, exploring differences, is artistically satisfying, and particularly rewarding when working with professional performers and students at this high level. Also exciting is the challenge of developing new programmes for audiences. Interplay Series will be presented with passion, personality and intensity.
William has good experience of cross-genre projects having recently collaborated with Roni Size, Reprazent and 24-piece Bristol Ensemble in Future : Retro - a sell-out cross-genre concert at Colston Hall Bristol which was managed by Peter Conway. The concert was orchestrated and conducted by William.
Guildhall School of Music and Drama also has a track record for innovative and exciting programming.