EQUAL SPIRITS is the new project from trombonist and composer Raph Clarkson, “one of the rising stars of UK Jazz” (bandcamp.com). The music aims to celebrate the coming together of the British and South African post-war jazz traditions, encapsulated for example by Keith Tippett’s many collaborations with musicians such as Dudu Pukwana and Mongesi Feza.
Raph’s interpretation of this historic cultural partnership comprises music inspired by the English hymnal tradition, with chorale-and-plainchant-like melodies meeting the joyful harmony and melodic approach of South African Township Jazz, bound together by freely improvised passages and loose, unbound, wild grooves, and the direct power of the spoken word.
Having studied with Keith Tippett and subsequently played with South African jazz legends Pinise Saul and Adam Glasser, Raph brings together and explores some of his greatest musical passions.
Raph Clarkson – trombone
Leeto Thali – spoken word
Chris Batchelor – trumpet
Adam Glasser – piano and harmonica
Steve Watts – bass
Mike Pickering – drums
Vortex, London January 2018