Marcina Arnold and Heidi Vogel [voice]
Helen Wilson [flute]
Tom Arthurs [trumpet]
Barak Schmool [alto saxophone]
Ingrid Laubrock [tenor sax]
James Allsopp [baritone sax/bass clarinet]
Chris Lowe [trombone]
Ben Kelly [tuba]
Amanda Drummond [Violin I]
Samy Bishai [Violin II]
Jonathan Bratoeff [guitar]
Nick Ramm [piano]
Tom Mason [electric bass]
George Hart [drums]
Maurizio Ravalico [drums]
The sound of this group is a combination of weathered performers, fancy compositions and a unified vision. Most of the musicians featured here write music, rehearse, manage and tour with thier own bands and their everyday activities also involve education. These people are experts at networking and, over the years, have built musical friendships which have blossomed into high profile outings, multiple CD releases, international collaborations and radio and television broadcasts. They are more than musicians, call them super-heroes.
Under the musical direction of Nick Ramm, this project features music by Ramm, Ingrid Laubrock, Jonathan Bratoeff, Barak Schmool and Tom Arthurs. The line-up looks quite jazzy from a distance: a large brass section alongside a rhythm section forms the more conventional big band aspect of this ensemble. A closer look, however, reveals a bass clarinet, an extended percussion set-up, flute, two violins and, of course, female singers. The wonderful worldly voices of Heidi Vogel (The Cinematic Orchestra) and Marcina Arnold (Bheki Mseleku and English National Opera) will never leave you unsatisfied and feature in a big way. Vogel's voice emmits deep sultry tones while Arnolds's has urban, asian vibrations and skates skillfully in the upper range.
Their last project was titled 'Tales From London'. The composers based their compositions on experiences they have had in their home town. F-IRE has always been identified closely with London, and this was an opportunity to put the inspiration and life of London directly back into the music. Whether about a journey on a night bus or a particular character, whether about traffic jams or the slowly developing urban horizon, the music, the words and the songs have, thus, been created. The composers here are all widely known for their own work: the sound of Laubrock's Nonet, Schmool's Samba orchestra, Ramm's Clown Revisited, Bratoeff's quartet releases and Arthurs' trio collaborations all mould into one colourful and high-energy suite of music. What more could you want than to hear london's 'most gifted' breathing life into this new set of tunes.
About the CMN Tour, F-IRE Large Ensemble 2005
"Creativity, originality, energy: defining characteristics that help to explain why the F-IRE Collective is being hailed as a new movement in British jazz. [...]On the evidence of this ambitious project it is not difficult to see why The F-IRE Collective are being widely heralded as a new and exciting British jazz movement. They are trying not to sound like anybody else and they are not afraid to flout the established jazz traditions. Their performances are high in energy, which more than compensates for any imperfections that such an ambitious project will inevitably throw up. The individual personalities of each member come across both visually and audibly when they perform. Thanks to the F-IRE Collective British jazz now has a fresh and exciting image for this decade, and one that has already begun to break through into the popular music market. I see no reason why these musicians should not continue to define and redefine the image British jazz for some time to come."
Jonathan Cox, The Write Stuff, F-ire Collective, Oct 24, QEH.
"The F-IRE Collective has enough talent not to walk in anyone's shadow."
Clive Davis at Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Times 27/10/2005