Since the release of Hackney Colliery Band’s eponymous debut album in 2011, the East London collective have blown their way into the public consciousness with their genre-bending combination of brass, reeds, percussion and electronics, firmly establishing themselves as one of the most exciting live bands in the UK.
Performing at numerous venues, festivals and clubs around the world, including a recent sold-out show at the Scala as part of the London Jazz Festival, Hackney Colliery Band have been busy in the studio, developing a more mature and polished sound, and are pleased to announce the release of new album ‘Collaborations: Volume One’ – their first new material since the critically-acclaimed ‘Sharpener’ in 2016.
It’s already been an incredible journey for this talented group of musicians. From playing a 45-minute set at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and sets at the MOBO, Brit and Mercury Awards to live sessions on BBC Two, BBC Radio 2, Jazz FM and worldwide airplay from many more, from collaborations with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Madness to selling out venues across London including KOKO and The Forum, to a European tour, Hackney Colliery Band have not stopped.
“It’s hard to believe that 2019 is our tenth anniversary, but now we’re ten years older it felt like the right time to get back to our jazz roots. It’s been such a privilege to work with so many of our musical inspirations both old and new on this record, and we’re super excited to be ushering in the next ten years with this new collaborative spirit: this is called ‘Volume One’ for a reason…”, says bandleader Steve Pretty.
Featuring collaborations with a host of key names in jazz and world music including amongst others the father of Ethio-jazz Mulatu Astatke, British jazz funk legend James Taylor, trombonist Dennis Rollins, UK saxophonist Pete Wareham and Beninese singer-songwriter and Grammy Award-winner Angélique Kidjo, Hackney Colliery Band have effortlessly transformed their explosive live energy into 11 original recordings that push the groove and form in an accomplished manner.
On ‘Collaborations: Volume One’, writers Steve Pretty, Olly Blackman and Luke Christie have between them penned the outfit’s most dynamic material to date. ‘Mm Mm’ (feat. Angélique Kidjo and Roundhouse Choir) merges Beninese grooves with wah pedal trumpet textures, and the rousing call-and-response between Kidjo’s soaring vocal and the exhilarating choir adds a richness and depth to the composition.
On ‘Snowfire’, innovative Norwegian pianist Bugge Wesseltoft brings a euro/nu-jazz feel to the album, while Dennis ‘Funkybone’ Rollins’ adds his trademark virtuoso trombone to the carnival-flavoured ‘Ricochet’.
There’s an energy, respect for tradition and the exuberance of London in Hackney Colliery Band’s work, best exemplified in the evocative and downright thrilling James Taylor collaboration ‘Hypothetical’, with Taylor’s Hammond organ recalling the Acid Jazz era in which he made his name.
New single ‘Netsanet’ (feat. Mulatu Astatke) is a deep exploration of Mulatu’s trademark Ethio-jazz, while ‘Crushing Lactic’, composed by Tom Rogerson (fresh from a recent collaboration with Brian Eno) has a frenzied flow, with big horns and driving rhythm section.
Elsewhere, Pete Wareham (stalwart of the London jazz revival) lends his free-flowing sax to ‘What’s Gone Before’, leading us into a powerful communion of jazz and brass as Mulatu Astatke’s ‘Derashe’ takes the listener down a vibrating rhythmic path while accompanied by blasts of horns and Mulatu’s trademark vibraphone.
Furthermore, two spoken word compositions (‘Why Yellow’ and ‘Climbing Up My Own Life Until I Die’) featuring York born writer and comedian Rob Auton lend an introspective voice to ‘Collaborations: Volume One’.
A band never content to rest on its laurels, Hackney Colliery Band already have a number of collaborations in the works for ‘Volume Two’, and with further live shows planned for 2019, including the album launch at the famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, 2019 looks set to be HCB’s biggest year yet, both live and on record.