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An all-star lineup of dynamic Northern musicians, this all-acoustic quintet is the primary working
band of Newcastle bass player John Pope, one of the most compelling new voices in UK jazz.
Drawing on the history of 60s free jazz and hard bop, but with a modern sensibility grounded in
the sounds of today’s European scene, they play hard-grooving, anything-goes energy music that
seeks to bring audiences together in a joyous racket.
Formed in 2016 to perform a tribute concert for the late Ornette Coleman for Jazz North East, this
group quickly grew to become John’s main project as a composer and bandleader. Taking
inspiration from giants like Ornette, Mingus, Misha Mengelberg and the Art Ensemble of Chicago,
plus a dash of DIY alternative rock attitude, their music has grown into a creative space all of its
own; energetic, off-kilter, celebratory and full of rewards for the adventurous listener.
The quintet has performed across the nation, including sets at Gateshead International Jazz
Festival at The Sage and Lancaster Jazz Festival, plus a successful tour across the North of
England in 2019. The quintet were selected by Jazz North as Northern Line ambassador artists
that same year, presenting them with a supportive platform to bring their music to audiences all
over the North and beyond. Well received gigs at legendary venues such as Matt & Phreds
(Manchester) and The Lescar (Sheffield) are testament to the awesome effect of hearing the
Quintet in action.
The debut album from the group, ‘Mixed with Glass’, was released January 2021, on the New
Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings label. Called “a big-hearted debut from a band to watch
out for” (Jazzwise), the album features an entirely original set of compositions, spanning the full
range of sounds and emotional spaces the band have explored after years of playing and learning
In 2023 John convened the band to record the long-awaited follow-up album, with support from
Help Musicians via a Peter Whittingham Jazz Award. Recorded live at legendary North East space
the Star & Shadow Cinema this new album is due for release in late 2023.
“Irresistible joie de vivre” – Kevin Le Gendre (Jazzwise)
“..an almost perfect balance between composition and improvisation…between form and
freedom” – The Jazz Mann
Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1JY