Nat Birchall currently stands as one of the most acclaimed saxophonists in British jazz; Gilles Peterson has described him as “one of the best musicians in the UK”. His run of classic albums from 2009’s Akhenaten to 2016’s Creation has consistently resulted in rave reviews in both the jazz media and further afield, high placing in end-of-year lists (the album Live in Larissa was The Wire’s no. 1 jazz album of 2014), widespread airplay and a growing legion of passionate fans.
The Nat Birchall Organ Trio revisits Nat’s extensive repertoire of original compositions in a format that brings out different facets of these now much-loved compositions. Although Nat’s heartfelt connection to the spiritual jazz of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders has been much commented upon, his compositions often emphasis basslines and rhythms in a way that reaches back to the Jamaican music which first drew Nat to the saxophone. These values also resonate with the jazz organ trio tradition, and are, of course, an important part of the post-Coltrane music of the 1970s on such labels as Strata-East, Impulse and Black Jazz which Birchall’s music frequently recalls.
The Organ Trio makes these connections while maintaining the intensity and immediacy which have become a hallmark of Nat’s live performances. Adam Fairhall on organ is the perfect choice of musical companion; a veteran of Nat’s recording and gigging ensembles, his extraordinary versatility and sensitivity to Nat’s vision, coupled with his renewed interest in the organ tradition (his own organ trio, The Revival Room, supported Uri Caine at his recent Leeds concert) mark him out as a very special sideman. Johnny Hunter, on drums, is also a frequent member of Nat’s groups, and is a rising star of the British scene himself (he was named ‘One to Watch in 2017’ by John Fordham in Jazzwise magazine).
Nat Birchall - Saxophone
Adam Fairhall - Organ
Johnny Hunter - Drums