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François Théberge Tenor saxophone
Hans Koller Piano
Percy Pursglove Bass
Jeff Williams Drums
For this special Vortex date, Chasing the Unicorn (Francois Theberge [Tenor Saxophone] Hans Koller [Piano] Percy Pursglove [Bass] and Jeff Williams [Drums]) celebrate the music of Thelonious Monk.
Since the band’s inception in 2006 they have played and recorded the compositions of Hans Koller & a revisiting of Monk’s highly original music. With a focus on the lesser known tunes such as Four in One, Sixteen, Hornin’ in, Gallop’s Gallop and Skippy, the group are explorating and expanding their sound.
Born and raised in Montreal, the saxophonist, composer and arranger was involved with the Montreal jazz scene before moving to Rochester, NY in 1985 under a Canada Arts Council grant to study at the Eastman School of Music. He is a member of the Hans Koller quartet (London based), the Piotr Wosajik Colors Group (Poland), the Sylvain Beuf Sextet (France) and the Michel Donato Quintet (Canada) as well as leading is own projects in France. He has collaborated with Archie Shepp’s Attica Blues Big Band as saxophonist and arranger since the summer of 2012. In 2013, he was named artistic director of Jazz à Vannes. He was also founder of the record label ROUND RECORDS (award winning “The Medium Band”).
Koller started playing in bands with saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and trumpeter Chris Batchelor and went on to form his own group, Neverland, with bass player Dave Whitford, saxophonist Rob Townsend and drummer Stuart Laurence. This group was augmented into a nine-piece outfit for Koller’s début album Magic Mountain (1997), which established him as one of the leading new jazz composers in the UK. Three years later he won the JOEY award for composers organised by Eastern Arts, and subsequently was awarded major commissions by Birmingham Jazz and by the Freden International Music Festival.
Percy has formed his own ensembles and projects, working closely with drummer Andrew Bain, forming several international collaborations featuring New York basedsaxophonist Jon Irabagon and trumpeter Peter Evans, and UK musicians Malcolm Edmonstone and Mike Williams.
Jeff has also been performing with his UK Quintet featuring Finn Peters-alto saxophone and flute, Josh Arcoleo-tenor saxophone, Phil Robson-guitar and Sam Lasserson-bass. Recent appearances have included the London Jazz Festival at the Green Note (2011, 2012, 2013) and the Vortex Jazz Club with pianist Kit Downes added. The Quintet performs at The Amazonas Jazz Festival in Manaus, Brazil on July 26, 2013.