Click here to read Brian Morton's piece in Jazz Journal Magazine, April 2014
Brimming with inventive and soulful compositions - including 6 by Pete, Kairos Ensemble's latest release, Rejoicing Blues, is out on Mulberry Tree Music...
The album documents tunes the band often play live but until now, have never recorded. Including 13 original compositions and an evocative rendition of the traditional folk song, The Water is Wide. Dan Foster (saxophones) Peter James (piano / keyboards) Richard Fox (tuba) Tom Hooper (drums / percussion)
Check out some studio footage recording Underground (For The Saints)
Pete James and Simon Rawlings have joined forces to produce a new musical adaptation of Bunyan's Pilgrim’s Progress. It will be performed on the 7th and 8th June 2013 at Christ Church, Barnet to help raise funds to open a community centre for older people.
Pianist and composer Pete studied jazz at the Royal Academy of Music in London and his musical activities include writing and playing for jazz group Kairos Ensemble, heading up his own trio and directing the music at Christ Church, Barnet. His latest trio album, Soul Story, was listed amongst Jamie Cullum’s favourites on Radio 2.
Simon's numerous directing credits include the recent major revival of A Chorus Line at the Lowry, Salford and directing Judy Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft, in The Wizard of Oz. His acting has taken him from West End to Far East and includes The Great British Musicals at the Royal Albert Hall and touring as Herr Flick in 'Allo 'Allo with the original cast. He teaches acting at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and Susi Earnshaw Theatre School in Barnet.
“I first read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress about 15 years ago”, says Pete, “and was inspired then to write a suite of songs telling the story. I felt the music could develop into something with a dramatic element but it wasn’t until I met Simon a couple of years ago that it really began to take off. He came to the story with fresh eyes - and was instantly gripped! He could also see how it could be staged and we thought it would provide a great fundraiser for Christ Church’s Open Door appeal. Pilgrim tells the story of a man who sets out from the City of Destruction towards the Heavenly City on a journey of discovery. He’s searching for eternal life and we follow the challenges and encouragements that he meets on the way. The story is allegorical in style so he meets characters like Mr Worldly-wise, Giant Despair, and Hopeful and so on. Through each of these encounters he learns important lessons and in some ways, as an ‘everyman’ character, he tells a universal story. This is perhaps one of the reasons the book has engaged with readers so much since it was written in 1678 – it’s one of the most translated and widely read books of all time.”
Simon shares what excites him about working on this project and what audiences can expect: “Pete’s music immediately caught my attention and it’s been great to explore Bunyan’s story and to ensure that Pilgrim’s incredible journey is clear to the audience. We wanted audiences to feel part of this journey themselves which led to the promenade aspect of the show, where the audience get to follow the performers as they move around the space. The whole family will enjoy the show and the three performances include a matinee on the Saturday. The production features Pete’s jazz group Kairos Ensemble, professional guest musicians, Christ Church School Choir plus full cast!”
Tickets are now available to the general public for the three performances:
Friday 7th June, 7.45pm
Saturday 8th June 2.30pm and 7.45pm
£12/£8 conc. (includes light refreshments)
To buy tickets contact Christ Church Office 020 8449 0832
Christ Church Barnet, St Albans Road, Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN5 4LA
Profits from the show will be donated towards the Open Door appeal which is a registered Charity (Reg. No. 1141414) supported by Christ Church, Barnet to raise funds to restore the adjacent building. On completion, the building will provide facilities for older members of the local community. More details about the Open Door appeal can be found at www.opendoorappeal.co.uk
Sat 29th September. The performance is to be recorded for BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line-up. Click here for link to the festival
Saturday 29th September: 3pm
Promenade Room, The Spa Scarborough
(broadcast. Sunday 7th October)
Claire Martin presents a special edition of BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line-Up featuring music from the Peter James Trio ; Gareth Williams & Dave Green plus music and chat from festival compere Alan Barnes. Only 150 tickets are available from the Spa Box Office for the recording. Tickets are FREE and can be booked from the Spa Box Office in person or by calling (01723) 357869