My Inspiration: Shiver – Night School | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Jazz improvisation trio Shiver release Night School, the eighth release from New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings and is a single track album described by lead music creator and renowned jazz guitarist Chris Sharkey as “One continuous take with no edits” and “a deconstruction of the song followed by the song itself.” 

The band will perform an album launch concert on Thursday 30th September at Gosforth Civic Theatre as part of the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2021.

Here, Chris tells us more about what inspired this release…

I’m Chris Sharkey, a musician from Low Fell who has lived in Leeds since the late 90’s. I make music with people. Sometimes with guitar, sometimes with a computer and sometimes with a recording studio. I got my first guitar on Halloween in 1989 and I’m inspired by music, art and culture that is larger than life.

The inspiration for Night School comes from a vivid memory, that may or not be real, of watching my old school (Heathfield Senior High School in Low Fell) burn down. The music is around an hour long and slowly moves from abstraction to structure, so it’s like watching a building burn down, but in reverse.

My band, Shiver, made Night School in 2015. At the time I was travelling a lot and got really into listening to very long pieces of music. The music of Éliane Radigue and The Necks made a particularly big impact.

Jimi Hendrix also looms large for me with this band, how could he not? When he plays it’s like he’s soaring over the band like a kite, barely tethered to the rhythm section.

A large part of our concert at the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music will be improvised which means our conscious and subconscious will be taking turns to select things to play in real time. I like to improvise. It’s like becoming an expert in your own intuition. It’s a good skill that works everywhere in life. 

Improvisation is often misunderstood for indulgence but it’s actually an exercise in collective responsibility; like a game of keepy-uppy with higher stakes.

I think it was David Brewis from Field Music who said, ‘Music is just ideas you can listen to’. I really like that. I’d like to think of myself as part of a global cultural scene. Anyone doing anything anywhere that doesn’t have to be done, but must be done. Creating things that weren’t there before. The culmination of these things at a global level slowly turns the tide of culture and moves us forward. To be a microscopic cog in this giant machine is the best place I can think of to be.

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