The first release by the newly formed Zeffirellis Productions label was release in time for the 2023 Ambleside Days Festival and features a selection of live recordings from the 2022 event.
Festival Director Derek Hook writes:
I remember a concert at Zeffirellis from around 2016 with Mike Walker on guitar, Gwilym Simcock on piano and Iain Dixon on saxophone. They were conjuring improvised soundscapes in the moment, and as they forged new pathways through old tunes by Miles, Bill Evans and John Taylor, I felt transported into a place that merged the past with the present.
And it was in that moment I thought, I have to bring back more of this great music to Ambleside.
I used to have a great relationship with Serious Music Management, co-founded by the late John Cummings (John and I shared the same birthday). So, whenever I read about some fantastic musicians who were performing in Scotland, via the Midlands and further South, I would often call in a favour and offer a reasonable fee plus accommodation to break their journey.
We had Charlie Haden, John Scofield, Zakir Hussain, Dave Holland, Egberto Gismonti, Joe Locke, Yellowjackets and many others playing in this small town in the Lakes. John Taylor, the acclaimed jazz pianist, loved the Lakes and was an inspiration to me.
I didn’t have much money, but he would put up with whatever piano I could afford until he said the quality of the great musicians playing here would expect an equally great instrument. So off I went to London where we met up at Steinway’s and chose a beautiful Steinway B grand. It’s one of the best things I have ever purchased, and it has given us so much enjoyment over the years.
John Taylor passed away in 2015. Our small festival is a celebration of his art, which to me, is a timeless expression in improvisation and elegance. ‘Ambleside Days’ is one of John’s compositions, commissioned by Zeffirellis, supported by Northern Arts.
The festival runs for four days at the end of August. We are fortunate to have the recording skills of Paul Allen who has captured some of the magic of these events, and here we have our first recording taken from the more intimate, quieter moments of the 2022 and 2019 festival.
Zsófia Boros guitar
Les Chisnall piano
Hermine Deurloo harmonica
Marcio Doctor percussion
Frank Harrison piano
Nikki Iles piano
Gwilym Simcock piano
Asaf Sirkis drums
Ian Thomas drums
Mike Walker guitar
Steve Watts double bass
Norma Winstone vocals
Alice Zawadzki violin, vocals