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Issie Barratt

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Biography of Issie Barratt

Issie Barratt is an internationally active composer, conductor and baritone player who has performed at a majority of leading concert halls, jazz clubs and festivals in Britain, Sweden, Switzerland and more recently, along the east coast of Canada. Known for forging relationships between orchestral and jazz musicians, Issie has been awarded commissions by a wide array of ensembles and funding bodies including the Philharmonia Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Bohuslän Big Band, The PRS Foundation for New Music, Delta Sax Quartet, 4th Dimension String Quartet, Voice of the North, North Chesire Wind Orchestra, Vortex Foundation Big Band, Swiss Gemeinderat of Unterägeri, Trinity College of Music’s Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, Conservatoire UK Big Band and Youth Music, with performances often featuring long-term collaborators Anders Bergcrantz, Mick Foster, Mark Lockheart, Joe Locke, Mike Outram, Simon Pearson, Carl Rütti, Rowland Sutherland and Steve Waterman.

In 2001 Issie’s music was featured in one of Cheltenham Jazz Festival’s Rising Stars sessions and has since been recorded by the Delta Sax Quartet, Bohuslän Big Band, Vortex Foundation Big Band and more recently by her own jazz orchestra comprising 21 of Europe’s finest jazz musicians on her highly acclaimed debut album Astral Pleasures, produced by Mike Gibbs and released on her own label Fuzzy Moon Records. www.fuzzymoonrecords.co.uk.

Never afraid to visit the full breadth of the psychological spectrum, Issie’s music invariably combines the warmth of an embrace with the full zest of a lemon!

“A great, great composer, who writes beautiful, beautiful music.” Julian Joseph - Pianist and broadcaster

“Highly original writing, not lending itself to helpful comparisons.” Brian Priestley: Jazz Uk

“A proper, grown-up jazz composer, like Maria Schneider, Gary McFarland or Mike Gibbs.” John Walters: The Guardian

“An award-winning jazz composer.” Dave Gelly: The Observer

“A remarkable composer, conductor, arranger and baritone sax player.” Fred Dellar: Mo-Jo Magazine

“Well-regarded by many as being a gifted leader, composer and arranger of large ensembles.” Selwyn Harris: Jazzwise

“Without doubt one of the most outstanding writers in the jazz field and beyond.” Bebop Spoke Here

“ Pushing at the boundaries of conventional big band music… her work deserves to be much better known”. Kenny Mathieson: The List

“Fresh writing and commanding conducting skills.” Ian Beetlestone: The Observer

“ Barratt has complete mastery of the orchestra, and hits all her targets.” John Walters: The Guardian

" Her conducting gives music a whole new meaning: a whole new lease of life." Göran Levin: Manager of the Bohuslän Big Band

“Her amazing breadth of skills are JUST what the music world needs”. Mike Gibbs – Composer/arranger

"Exciting and beautiful music: written with great knowledge and depth." Anders Bergcrantz - Trumpeter

“Such beautiful music.” Steve Swallow - Bass player and composer

Astral Pleasures (released November 2008) is Issie Barratt’s highly acclaimed debut album, comprising 80-minutes of exceptionally original and highly programmatic music, composed for a newly formed 21-piece ensemble, produced by Mike Gibbs and featuring soloists James Allsopp, Anders Bergcrantz, Mark Lockheart, Mike Outram, Liam Noble, Rowland Sutherland and Steve Waterman.

With each track comes a new story: From a day in the life of a super heroine to an exquisite Chagalian summer’s eve, or a memorable afternoon’s walk through a momentous “Dublin Soundscape.”

“If you read the notes and listen carefully, you really can picture scenes or follow a storyline.”
The Observer

“The record is at once breathtaking.” Mo-Jo Magazine “Brimming over with arresting music.” The List

“ … a plum pudding of an album, packed with riches, as if Barratt were anxious she would never be heard from again. No chance of that!” The Guardian

“With its punchy ensemble work intelligently mixed with powerful solos, it richly rewards repeated exposure.” Vortex website

“Recorded brilliantly (at Angel Studios)… it's powerful stuff.” The Independent

“Imaginative and striking ensemble arrangements, superbly played.” The List

“A supreme colorist.” The Independent “The orchestration is simply breathtaking.” The Observer

“Great swathes of sounds with complex time changes.” Mo-Jo Magazine

“Barratt’s arrangements are full of zip, characterized by pungent, often angular themes and instrumental voicings.” Jazzwise Magazine

“Joyous jazz of the complex, extended kind.” Mo-Jo Magazine

“Barratt's compositional backbone keeps everything in excellent shape. And if some pieces seem wildly ambitious - the 20-minute tone poem Dublin Soundscape; the exuberant incandescence of the title track - they're not vain ambitions.” The Guardian

“Skilfully touches all bases of contemporary big band jazz over six extended pieces without losing the thread, switching between sections that draw from Strawinsky neo-classicism, jazz-rock (spearheaded by guitarist Mike Outram), Ellington through to smaller group free improv or Debusssy-like reveries.” Jazzwise

“You might find the odd echo of Gibbs, the large-scale arrangements of Bob Moses or Jaco Pastorius, hints of the later Gil Evans and Mingus, but these compositions are like nothing else.” Jazz Uk

“This album comprises six substantial compositions that give her talented soloists plenty to get stuck into while showcasing her brilliant orchestrations.” The Guardian

“”Produced by Mike Gibbs, and featuring over a score of the UK’s most creative musicians…. Astral Pleasures can only enhance her formidable reputation as a jazz writer.” Mo-Jo Magazine

“A hand-picked ensemble.” The Observer. “ … stuffed with strong soloists.” Jazz UK

“ Barratt has complete mastery of the orchestra, and hits all her targets.” The Guardian

“The distinctiveness of Barratt as a composer… the empathy of this ensemble for her work.” All about jazz

“It’s contemporary big band jazz that refuses to lie still and behave itself and that’s to be encouraged.” Jazzwise Magazine

“A highly recommendable project.” The List

In 1999 Issie set up the Jazz Faculty at Trinity College of Music, London, which she headed until 2004, when she was offered the post of Jazz Fellow, allowing her more time for her compositional and performance activities.

In June 2008 Issie set up her own label, Fuzzy Moon Records (www.fuzzymoonrecords.co.uk) to promote her music and the music of her long-standing colleagues from the international jazz scene. Having released her debut album “Astral Pleasures” in November 2008 and John Warren’s “Finally Beginning” at the start of 2009, the label is now preparing to release 2 albums, both featuring the NDR with original music by Mark Lockheart and a collection of arrangements by Mike Gibbs featuring Norma Winstone.

“As a pair of label-launching releases, Astral Pleasures and John Warren’s Finally Beginning have set an extremely high standard for Fuzzy Moon”. Vortex website.

Parts and scores for all works recorded on Fuzzy Moon Records can be purchased on-line through the sister company Fuzzy Moon Music (www.fuzzymoonmusic.com), which was co-founded by Issie Barratt and Paul Milnes in July 2008 and is currently selling downloadable scores and parts for the music of Julian Argüelles, Issie Barratt, Mike Gibbs, Mark Lockheart, Tommy Smith, John Warren and Steve Waterman.

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