Image by Ken Drew
Instrumental jazz wizards Not Now Charlie launch their new album at Newcastle’s Globe on Thursday 15th September. We talk to them about inspirations, influences and jazzy good times…
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?
We are a five piece instrumental jazz group made up of Jamie Toms (Saxophone), Pavel Jedrzejewski (Guitar), Richard Campbell (Piano), Liam Gaughan (Bass) and Dave McKeague (Drums). The band is now based in Newcastle but members are from as far and wide as Portsmouth, Belfast and Poland. We all met at university when we moved here to study for a degree in Jazz, Popular and Commercial music.
What inspired you to first start making music?
We all have a different story about what made us first pick up an instrument but the reason for the band being created was a desire to be creative and play original material in the Jazz genre. Although every member of the band gigs a lot, unfortunately it’s not always playing the music we are most passionate about. This band allows us to do that.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
Hopefully, everything we’ve ever listened to! Compositionally though I’d say the likes of Trumpeter Christian Scott, Saxophonists Joshua Redman and Chris Potter, Drummer Manu Katche along with groups such as E.S.T, The Bad Plus and Roller Trio.
How would you describe your sound?
I guess we like to play what we call ‘Groove Jazz’. We all enjoy so many different types of music that we don’t limit ourselves to one particular style, but we do always have plenty of room for each player to improvise. We put our ideas into the Not Now Charlie blender and see what comes out. If we like it, we play it. But whatever it’s called it needs to have a great feel and a good melody.
Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?
Although Not Now Charlie is predominantly seen as a Jazz group, because of its instrumental nature and heavily improvised music, I think that there is plenty of stuff for people who like grooves and a catchy melody. We’d really like people who think they don’t like jazz to check it out and maybe bring some new faces to support the local jazz scene.
Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by you?
Normally we play 1-2 hours of music, depending on the type of gig. We play all original tunes that cover a great range of feels, styles and emotions. Hopefully there will be at least one tune you can go away whistling.
Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?
Our next local gig is at The Globe Jazz Co-op on Thursday 15th September. It is the official launch gig for our new album, Nostalgia Revisited, so it’s going to be a great night. We’ll be playing two hours of music including all of the album material.
What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?
As the band is fairly new basically everything we have done has been a highlight for us so far. Our debut gig was at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014, which was pretty cool, and the audience was amazing. We also had a great crowd when we recorded this live album earlier this year.
Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?
The hardest thing at the moment is getting gigs. It’s a problem for all bands at the moment I think as venues and promoters don’t have as much money to spend as they used to. It’s also a struggle to get people to come out to watch live music these days, as there are so many other distractions on offer.
What else have you got planned for the future?
Plenty more gigs hopefully! We are currently booking more gigs outside of the region (and hopefully abroad) for next year. We’ve also got loads of new material to record so another album looks likely.