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The Golden Age of Steam

James Allsopp – reeds
Tim Giles – drums
Kit Downes – organ
+ Ruth Goller – bass
+ Alex Bonney – electronics/trumpet

The Golden Age of Steam features the compositions of reeds player James Allsopp. The band builds on his association with drummer Tim Giles, his co-leader of the award winning quintet "Fraud" (BBC Jazz Award for Innovation 2008). The group is completed by keyboard virtuoso Kit Downes, winner of the BBC Jazz Award for Rising Star 2008.

Allsopp’s work is inspired by the combination of anarchic playfulness and formal logics of Ligeti’s music, the joyous saxophone thunder of Coltrane and Ayler and the twisted lyricism of Captain Beefheart.The music is sometimes labyrinthine, sometimes eerily sparse, incorporating seismic riffs, limping marches and intricately woven contrapuntal textures into a multi coloured world of improvised sound.

The band have been invited to play at the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival 2009 as part of the Jerwood Rising Stars programme. This is a continuation of Allsopp and Giles’s association with the scheme. “Fraud’s” 2006 performance at Cheltenham was the platform that launched their work to critical acclaim, culminating in their winning the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2008.

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