Charles Hazlewood’s All Star Collective, “A sort of avant-garde super group” – The Idler, is an ensemble dedicated to improvisation, featuring artists from across the musical spectrum. From Portishead’s Adrian Utley to former Jazz Warriors saxophonist Jason Yarde, from Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory to saxophonist Andy Sheppard to composer Graham Fitkin to drum & bass virtuoso Squarepusher, conductor Charles Hazlewood first assembled the band to play Glastonbury in 2008. They have since played Glastonbury 2010 & 2011, and Hazlewood’s own Orchestival festival. Their live ‘super group’ performance of Tubular Bells came to the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and the Sage Theatre in Gateshead 2011, a reenactment of Oldfield’s own group performance, 38 years previously.
In 2012 they played Riley’s Rainbow in Curved Air and participated in the festival of improvised performance at the Bristol Old Vic.
The 11 lavishly gifted “stars” were a revelation. They picked Tubular Bells apart and put it back together again, eking out its weirdness, its accessibility and its bravery. Minimal it may have been but it offered maximum pleasure.
London Evening Standard ****
….enveloping, transcendental….Hazlewood’s tackling of the pop-classical world of minimalism was a challenge that paid off.
The Times ****
Thunderbirds are Go!
An all-star 14 piece band especially assembled for Glastonbury 2015 – featuring members of Portishead, Goldfrapp, Get the Blessing & Loose Tubes – presents the genius music of Barry Gray, including Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. A huge and noirish-slice of Sixties nostalgia! Francois Evans will play Barry Gray’s own Ondes Martinot, the iconic Mysterons sound!
Thunderbirds are Go will tour the UK in 2017!
Adrian Utley (Portishead), Jason Yarde (former Jazz Warriors), Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) to saxophonist Andy Sheppard, composer Graham Fitkin, Harpist Ruth Wall.
A stage set-up of vintage instruments (including harps, Hammond organ, Farfisa and proper knobs-and-dials synths) …residual electronica like a distant fairground drifting out to sea. An incredibly eclectic mix of rock, jazz and classical music stars so evidently enjoying themselves while making breathtaking improvised music. That we could witness it happening was our delicious privilege.
They were visibly having a great time, playing with sound as if for the first time: Ruth Wall plucking the extremities of her harp strings to produce tiny insect-like phrases, Tom Jenkinson (aka ‘Squarepusher’) slapping his bass with a mixture of razor-sharp funk and wild abandon, often in perfect harmony with Tony Orrell’s discreet but potent drumming, the sax players Sheppard and Yarde alternating sensitive washes of reedy colour with sheets of sound reminiscent of John Coltrane, and Hazlewood, Gregory and Fitkin – at various keyboards – providing a thrilling range of rhythmic runs, bass-heavy chords and mesmeric drones.
Although this was nominally ‘The Charles Hazlewood Allstars’, this was music made by stars – but without the intrusion of competing egos. There is something about drone-based modal music that transcends the strictly personal, favouring instead the pull of the collective and the sheer thrill of creative collaboration. That Terry Riley’s music should have inspired such genre-free improvisational exploration says a great deal about its lasting importance.
The Arts Desk.com