Feature in Bandcamp "Guide to UK Jazz 2017"

Blessed to be a part of Bandcamp's 10 selected artists in their article "Guide to UK Jazz 2017", alongside some of my great contemporaries who i highly recommend checking out. "During the dark years of Thatcherism in the early- to mid-‘80s, the U.K.’s jazz musicians responded with an outpouring of creativity. From the post-punk uproar of Rip Rig & Panic, to the black arts of The Jazz Warriors and the big band experimentation of Loose Tubes, the scene was defined by its sprawling diversity. Thirty years on, and with the U.K. facing similarly divisive times, jazz—in all its forms—is again providing an antidote to the divisions.".... ..

A quick game before bed

With board games playing a big part of our family tradition, the only thing I realise I CAN rise to, is to play a quick game of 'Shopping List' with mum. (It's a highly taxing game for age 3-7 year olds, that she had just won at her local school raffle, after playing for the children's concert). Whilst enjoying a fine, midnight feast of the left overs from the army style amount of food for the recording!


Too tired to drive back to my gaff, I go back at the Hotel de Handsley with the family, Completely bushed. In and collapsing. Never played so hard physically and with such emotion. Can't quite explain, but exhausted in every sense of the word, and so many lessons and inspiration for the next part of the road ahead.

Pushed to the limit

Leading and pushing myself musically and emotionally to such a high level took its toll. Nobody noticed but I burst into tears playing one of the intros for a very sentimental tune written for a friend of mine. One of the deepest challenges more than I ever thought, however I managed to find a channel through to complete dedication and conviction and grateful for that. An amazing learning experience, and the band came out buzzing. As Moses said, it was quite a feat to rise to the challenge of each song and in so few takes, each of which needed such a different energy and mindset. Couldn't be prouder of every song. Photo credits - Stephen Cropper

Boogie-ing into the night

After packing and loading, ready to go, the sound engineer's young daughter came in to see dad. Curious to know what we had been doing all day, had a listen and started boogie-ing away to one of our tunes! Yeah! Seal of approval complete!...

It's a wrap! ....

And I think our faces say it all!!.... its been a truly mad few days!!!!!!................. lots of fun and sillyness too!!.... and now sleep.

one of my favourite moments

Photo credits - Stephen Cropper One of my favourite moments of the whole recording, playing Polar with the 2 great legends, and my partners in crime for this record, Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd. Two musicians I originally hand picked for their unique sound and approach, and for what they bring to the musical melding pot. Polar is a particularly deep song for me, inspired by the wild-awe-inspiring barren, natural landscape of Iceland. We played it out with a variety of takes, letting the music take us; I instructed the band to embrace the vision of the landscape and paint the colours together and let it unfold. Each take completely different, and sublime, but the last one touched on something

Moses Boyd

Moses Boyd – always deep in the music, no matter the odd time signatures, or other technical demands; something I realised early on rehearsing with him, he always wants to get underneath the music, playing it until he gets the feel and meaning of the music. And he's always listening, always with you. He's a deep, caring old soul in a young body, and always with the bigger cause in mind, never one to try to be showing and wow to impress – its all about the vibe and the music. Photo credits - Stephen Cropper

Persistance pays off

The band got a break as Sahra and I went in to record an intimate duo. Having recently rehearsed the song, with great results and nominal effort, we felt confident this would be the easy one, The red light was on. 2 or 3 takes later however, after making an official rule in my head that after 3 takes we would move on, we both realised that something just wasn't sitting right between us, although we couldn't pin point or verbalise what it was. The more we forced it and analysed it however, the more contrived it was becoming and the more self-conscious we became - the recipe for disaster! Something I have realised over time: sometimes ironically the hardest performances are those when somethi

The amazing Ruth Goller.

Ruth, as always, on it like a car bonnet, solid as a rock. Never misses a beat. Photo credits - Stephen Cropper

Another great artist arrives

Stephen Cropper, official photographer for Ronnie Scotts, and a great fellow collaborator over the years, arrives and welcomed with beaming smiles :) After a long stressful journey, he quickly and politely removes himself for his "tea and cigarette" fix to get in the zone.

Roast of the day!

First tune of the day, and Sahra steps into the booth for the first time adding lyrics to a multi-layered song I've been working on for years. A special song for me, which deeply connects with environmental themes close to my heart. A tough call asking Sahra to soar over the heavy instrumental revolving textures; whilst in other sections improvising live at the time with the band, pushing through to new territory in every take. A few takes in, its sounding good, but not quite connecting, so we took a short break and had a chat about the song and about really going for it! (what's the worst thing that can happen?!) Talked about not thinking too much, to try and keep the innate energy which wo

Check out @ Hotel de Handsley

After checking out, Sahra and I head down to the studio first, to get the vocals set up - getting in the mood on the ride down with Earth Wind & Fire blaring from the roof tops, dancing and clapping along, and singing the harmonies (Sahra's were at least in tune!) Perfect morning workout! Lastly putting on a bit of McCoy Tyner as we approach the studio, to bring us down. and into the zone.

Bright and breezy brekkers!

We all tuck in to our hearty 'Hotel de Handsley' breakfasts, (and standard 3 courses), bright and breezy (at least for musicians!)...with a very minimal amount of conversation around the table!

Live at the London Jazz Festival 2017

10th November 2017 - Spice of Life, 6 Moor St, Soho, London W1D 5NA Delighted to be be invited to play for the renowned man in jazz, Paul Pace, for his night at the Spice of Life for the London Jazz Festival, alongside Pixel all the way from Norway. Set to be a great night.... Tickets available here:

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Tori Handsley