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Chris Biscoe

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Biography of Chris Biscoe

Almost a decade and a half after being formed, Mingus Moves has found a new identity as a Septet, featuring the music from ‘Mingus Ah Um’ at Ronnie Scott's and other London venues. The new CD Profiles of Mingus uses several different line-ups (solo quartet, quintet, sextet and septet) to colour some of the many musical images Mingus created.

June 2010 sees 2 quartet gigs with Liam Noble, one of which presents Liam's superb trio reflection on the work of Dave Brubeck followed by a quartet set of originals.

The Chris Biscoe Quartet featured on Gone in the Air has continued to build a solid reputation as a touring band, to add to the excellent reviews received by the record.
Early 2010 saw a 5 date tour around England, and summer dates include Cleethorpes Jazz Festival and Ealing Jazz Festival. Dates are already in place for an autumn tour.

2009 saw the reappearance of the Chris Biscoe Band featuring Pete Hurt and Liam Noble with two London gigs in July.

These groups are just two from a list of new projects set up by Chris Biscoe in recent years. British Standard Time is an exploration of British show tunes of the pre-Beatles era, with a couple of folk tunes thrown in for good measure while Miles vs Monk, is inspired by the 50th anniversaries of two remarkable and vividly contrasting records, Miles Ahead and Monks Music.

Very well reviewed on its debut gig at The Vortex in 2008, Prevost/Biscoe/Yarde/Whitford features collective improvisation from a founding father of the genre in partnership with musicians better known in other areas of jazz.

The Chris Biscoe Band, with Pete Hurt, Liam Noble, Dave Whitford and Dave Wickins has toured for Jazz Services and played Swanage Jazz Festival and the Ram Jam Club in Kingston upon Thames, the musical home of Way Out West, the collective of West London musicians spearheaded by Tim Whitehead of which Chris Biscoe is a member. Way Out West has now moved to a new home in the Orange Tree pub, Richmond upon Thames.

Starting in October 2004 Way Out West has promoted well over 200 gigs, ranging through mainstream, bop, contemporary, latin, and free improv, with all possible sub-genres. The collective now has around 20 members, including bebop legend Tony Kinsey, as well as musicians quite new to the national jazz scene.

Way Out West was also the venue for the genesis of the new Biscoe/Edwards/Marsh trio. The first gig included saxist Ingrid Laubrock. Drawing on old standards - including a waltz by Ivor Novello, some material from the freer end of the jazz repertoire - Ornette Coleman, Mike Osborne, Thelonious Monk - and improvisation, the success of this gig led Chris to imagine the trio with John and Tony as the foundation for a series of gigs with invited guests from across the jazz spectrum. In September 2005 the trio performed with Evan Parker at Way Out West, followed by gigs with Ben Davis and Ingrid Laubrock, in which more original material has been incorporated into the repertoire.

Chris Biscoe is self taught, starting on sax then alto clarinet. He played with Ben Sidran at Sussex University. After experience of modern, fusion & free jazz he played with Red Brass from 1975-78. He started working with Mike Westbrook in 1979 and has played in many of Mike's projects including The Westbrook Blake, The Cortege, On Duke's Birthday, London Bridge and Chanson Irresponsable. He has also toured & recorded with George Russell, Andy Sheppard, Grand Union, Chris McGregor, Didier Levallet & worked with Hermeto Pascoal, Dewey Redman, Kenny Wheeler & the New York Composers Orchestra, co-led by Wayne Horvitz and Marty Erlich.

He formed the improvising group, Full Monte in 1988 in collaboration with Brian Godding, Marcio Mattos & Tony Marsh. In 1998 Full Monte joined forces with The Blowpipes trombone trio for a project called Dialogic and gave performances and held workshops at a number of venues throughout the UK. The band has also toured with various guest trumpeters: Dick Pearce, Henry Lowther and Harry Beckett.

From 1997 to 2000 Chris Biscoe performed alongside Harry Beckett in the Orchestre National de Jazz. In 1999 Chris joined forces with Harry in The Harry Beckett Band, a quintet featuring Liam Noble, Fred T Baker & Tony Marsh.

Chris can also be heard in Mingus Moves, which is inspired by the small group music of the late Charles Mingus. The band which also features Henry Lowther, has recently started a new recording project.

He also appears in Loz Speyer's Inner Space Music where he uses both alto & soprano saxes along with the rarely heard alto clarinet. LozSpeyer's Inner Space Music has completed a record and details on its release should be available soon.

In 2003 Chris played in two new Mike Westbrook Projects, Turner in Uri and Art Wolf, joined Loz Speyers's Inner Space and participated in the Monk Liberation Front at the Royal Festival Hall on November 23rd 2003, when all Thelonious Monk's compositions were played in one (very long) afternoon. Inner Space Music has completed a record and details on its release should be available soon, while Art Wolf is available now on Altrisuoni records.

In 2004 Chris played baritone in The Hermeto Pascoal Orchestra, Graham Collier's 40 Years On, and Keith Tippett's The Monk Watches the Eagle, following this in 2005 with more baritone work in the Dedication Orchestra (Vancouver Festival) and depping for Tony Kofi in Tim Richards' Great Spirit.

He toured Austria and Switzerland with the Pierre Favre European Chamber Ensemble, an unusual formation including harp, tuba, and 2 basses.

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