Canary Wharf Jazz Festival mmm… nice
High-hat clashes, trumpet trills and piano solos are about to bring Canada Square Park to life. Canary Wharf Jazz Festival will take over the stage on Saturday, August 19 and 20 with nine acts performing across the two days.
Riot Jazz Brass Band will headline on the first night from 8.30pm with Steve Pycroft on the drum kit.
We caught up with him to find out where he measures on the cool cat scale.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Steve Pycroft, I’m a drummer, composer and filmmaker. I write music and play drums for Riot Jazz Brass Band.
Where do you live?
I currently live in Manchester.
What’s Riot Jazz all about?
Riot Jazz is about having fun, making music and enabling people to have a great time. Describe your music. High energy, happy, fun, full of love.
How did you get involved with the band?
I was approached by our band leader Nick. He asked if I’d like to play drums for a one-off brass band gig at a club night called Riot Jazz. I said yes and the rest is history.
What’s with the name?
The name is inspired by the album
Riot Jazz by Youngblood Brass Band, who are a major influence.
Are you a rowdy bunch then?
How do you prepare to go on stage?
We massage each other and whisper loving comments in to each others’ ears.
Hardest part of being a drummer?
I absolutely love drumming. Can’t fault it.
What did you think of the film Whiplash?
I thought it was really entertaining. Quite an exaggeration compared to my experiences, though I have experienced bleeding hands due to excessive drumming.
Your first memory of music?
I remember playing clarinet in a wind band, and I kept getting lost because I was too preoccupied watching the percussion section. I didn’t play clarinet for much longer.
I’ve never really chosen a genre to specialise in. But what I love about jazz is that anything goes. When anything goes the best things can happen.
Weirdest project/moment you’ve had?
I arranged an orchestral piece for
BBC Children In Need. The brief was to mix a song by One Direction with Verdi’s Anvil Chorus. The piece was performed by a full size orchestra.
Favourite place you’ve played and why?
Horizon Festival, Andorra. We played this year – on top of a big mountain, and just as we went on stage, the most incredible storm hit. We carried on. And the reason it’s my favourite is that we put the same effort into the show as we always do. And the crowd kept on dancing. Probably one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had. Have you been to Canary Wharf before? Yes. We played at the festival a few years ago, and had an amazing time. What can the audience expect from your gig here? The best party they’ve ever had. What else are you up to?
I run the Kaleidoscope Orchestra in Manchester. The aim of the orchestra is to bridge the gap between genres. We recently collaborated with Flux Pavilion on his album Tesla.
Canary Wharf Jazz Festival runs in Canada Square Park on Saturday, August 19, 2pm-10pm and Sunday, August 20, 2.15pm-9pm. No ticket required
Rob Barron, Wild Card