Formed in 2004, Way Out West is now celebrating 10 years of promotions, during which it has put on well over 400 gigs in west London.
Distinguished by the inclusivity of its membership, the collective, founded by Tim Whitehead, has always presented an unusually diverse range of jazz, from mainstream to contemporary, bebop to improv, fusion to art-house, with occasional forays into poetry, dance and chess (which presented a rare opportunity to hear a Grand Master play jazz bass).
Currently the membership includes our very own grand master, Tony Kinsey, established players such as Tim Whitehead, Kate Williams, Pete Hurt and Matt Wates and new generation artists Flo Moore and Tom Millar. Other members are Nette Robinson, Emily Saunders, Chris Biscoe, Tony Woods, Mick Sexton, Gary Willcox, Dave Jones, Jimmy Hastings and Vasilis Xenopoulos, all of whom are bandleaders and composers.
Programming is based around the many bands members lead or play in, but also increasingly features bands chosen from outside the collective. Members are free to make their own choices in programming, and this has led to the creation of some once-only bands, and some which have gone on to have a longer life. Bands which have had the opportunity to play some of their early gigs for Way Out West include Emily Saunders ESB, Avalon Trio, Chris Batchelor’s Pigfoot, the Chris Biscoe Profiles Quartet and Torus.
A partial roll-call of saxophonists appearing for Way Out West is not only a who’s who of British jazz: it give an idea of the variety of music to be heard. Willie Garnett, Ingrid Laubrock, Tony Coe, Sam Mayne, Peter King, Robin Fincker, Stan Sulzmann, Karen Sharp, Tony Kofi, Evan Parker, Ray Gelato, Steve Main, Don Weller, Alan Barnes, Bobby Wellins, Julian Siegel, John Dankworth and Alex Garnett (there are many more) have all brought their distinctive voices to our gigs.
The 10th Anniversary celebrations are approaching their mid-point, having started on October 8th with a performance by Eddie’s Septet, a reeds and rhythm-section band formed by the late Eddie Harvey, a founder member of Way Out West. This was followed by Tim Whitehead and Cleveland Watkiss playing JazzLiveDance at the Polish Jazz Café, nu-grooves and Latin music from Emily Saunders ESB, and the classic jazz quartet of Tony Kinsey.
Celebration gigs are taking place at our regular venues, the Bull’s Head in Barnes and the Polish Jazz Café in Ravenscourt Park. Coming up we have post-bop from the storming Vasilis Xenopoulos, Nette Robinson’s distinctive take on big-band jazz, the Little Big Band, and Just Us!, a quartet led by former WOW member Larry Bartley gaining a great national reputation.
For the last two gigs of the celebration Way Out West members are gathering in force. On November 14th at The Polish Jazz Café there will be first performances of large group versions of Tim Whitehead’s ‘Turner and the Thames’ arranged by members of WOW, a Pete Hurt arrangement of Kenny Wheeler’s ‘Waiting for Beckett’ featuring guest Henry Lowther, and original music by Tony Kinsey, Emily Saunders and Gary Willcox. Finally, on November 19th there is a double celebration for Way Out West and jazz at the Bull’s Head. WOW moved to the Bull’s Head earlier this year, and in recognition of the venue’s pivotal place in the jazz scene, we are presenting re-imaginings of some of the great music recorded in 1959, the year in which the Bull’s Head opened for jazz. www.wowjazz.org
PROGRAMME: Gigs at The Bull’s Head, 373 Lonsdale Road, London SW13 9PY start 8.30pm
October 8th – Eddie’s Septet - A celebration of the music of Eddie Harvey
October 15th – Emily Saunders ESB
October 22nd – Tony Kinsey Quartet
October 29th – Vasilis Xenopoulos Quartet
November 5th – Nette Robinson’s Little Big Band
November 12th – Larry Bartley & Just Us!
November 19th – Way Out West Collective reimagines music from 1959 – the year the Bull’s Head opened for jazz Concerts at Café Posk, 238-246 King Street, London W6 0RF start 8.30pm
October 10th – Tim Whitehead and Cleveland Watkiss – JazzLiveDance with The Heads and Feet House Band
November 14th – Way Out West Collective new music for large ensemble, including arrangements of Tim Whitehead’s ‘Turner and the Thames’ and ‘Waiting for Beckett’ by Kenny Wheeler with guests Henry Lowther and Jonathan Gee.
Leonard Feather/Ira Gitler - The Biographical Dictionary of Jazz (Oxford Press)
The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (MacMillan)
The Virgin Encyclopaedia of Jazz (Virgin)
Jazz The Rough Guide (Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather and Brian Priestley (Penguin Books, 1995 and 2000 editions)