"We pictured it as just an extension of our sound - it's a sort of bionic arm of Troyka."
The words of Hammond organist extraordinaire Kit Downes, describing Troyk-estra which - as the name succinctly suggests - is a kind of a big band future species of the British prog-jazz trio Troyka.
When Joshua Blackmore, Chris Montague and Kit formed Troyka a few years ago the time-honored organ trio format went very Technicolour. And if you thought that the rainbow of sounds they produced always suggested a bigger band, then that became a reality when Troyka super-sized up to become Troykestra for this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival. It's a great set, full of the dreamy, the rocking, the pulsating and the downright freaky-deaky, with familiar tunes expanded and re-arranged in a truly organic way. This is music that grooves out but also has moments of real tenderness, and here’s how they opened the show:
If special things happen when bands get bigger then that can also be true when musicians from different cities come together. It certainly was for Birmingham-based pianist Steve Tromans. Earlier this year he took himself off to Chicago as part of an exchange between these two iconic urban centres in England and America; a kind of jazz trail from the midlands to the mid west! Tromans formed a transatlantic octet of musicians, four from each city, and you can hear the exciting results at the end of this week's show as the eight improvisers interpret
specially-produced graphically-notated pieces from Steve. Needless to say, the parts provide much food for thought, or rather images as a source of sound.
Brainfood by Steve Tromans (composer)