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Rod Mason's Elements

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Biography of Rod Mason's Elements

Rod is a Midland lad who moved North to study the Saxophone at the now Huddersfield University. He started playing the saxophone aged 12 during his 2nd year at secondary school. Whilst at school he became involved with the local Big Band and discovered the joys of swing and jazz. He played in many local youth jazz orchestras as well as playing with the M.U. Big Band. Upon moving to Huddersfield he began playing with many Northern bands and also started to form his own small groups. One of the big turning points for Rod was one Friday night watching The Old Grey Whistle Test, when he first discovered the Billy Cobham band which at that time included the Brecker brothers and John Abercrombie). This was to change his musical outlook on life.
Whilst at college he gained his degree in Music studying all the great classical composers but also did talks for the college on jazz music and for his final assignment wrote about jazz music.At University he formed with others the Northern Jazz Orchestra which played throughout the North at festivals and other venues, Rod was the M.D. for 2 years. He also had a small band playing original compositions.
Another pivotal point for Rod was hearing John Surman for the first time on an album by Mike Westbrook called Citadel room 315. Surman has long been Rod's main influence as a Sax player. He is not keen looking backwards and tends to always buy and listen to new music hence most of his influences are modern e.g. Michael Brecker, Kenny Garrett, Jan Garbarek and another young Scandinavian called Lars Moller.Rod also tends to be influenced by guitarists, the main men being John McLaughlin, John Scofield and Bill Frisell.
Rod has played with many of the countries main jazz stars as part of the Ben Crosland Quintet, some include Alan Skidmore, Peter King, Don Weller, Art Themen, Guy Barker, Gerard Precenser, Steve Waterman, Jim Mullen and Mark Nightingale. He has played in Europe and featured at many Jazz festivals ( Brecon, Grimsby, Hull, Coventry, Manchester,Lichfield and Bracknell) and was with the Ben Crosland Band when featured on T.V. He also has performed with John Surman and John Warren as part of the Voice of the North and had to fight against the likes of Billy Jenkins in one of his Big Fights.

Rod then worked hard with his own quartet which featured Jez Franks on Guitar, Dave Walsh on drums and Ben Crosland on Bass. They released an album which received excellent reviews called "Who turned the lights out". He has recorded a follow up album called " Return of the Roomdarkener " which also has Steve Lodder on keyboards.

Rod is now working with his new quartet called ELEMENTS – this features the talents of Richard Hammond /Bass , Richard Wetherall / Piano and Keyboards and Dave Walsh on drums. The new album also features Lea Mullen on Percussion. He also played with The ZAPPATISTAS 2004/5 and is now the sax player with the legendary BACK DOOR who are once again making waves on the scene.

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