London-based double bassist and composer Calum is known for his deep warm tone, controlled execution as both a supporter and improviser, and rock-solid time and pulse. Born in Glasgow, he began his musical journey playing the cello in primary school and by the age of 14 he started playing the double bass, having developed a serious interest in jazz and improvised music. Calum’s talents were noticed by many of Scotland’s premier artists and, as a result, he became the first bassist selected for the first Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra, as well as other ensembles.
“Gourlay’s note accuracy, unshakeable rhythmic sense and ability to follow a melodic line whenever possible make this a thoroughly enjoyable experience.”
-The Jazz Breakfast
In 2004, Calum started at the Royal Academy of Music in London and graduated with first class honours with a B.Mus. (jazz) degree. Since then, Calum has become a mainstay on the London jazz scene while performing with the Kit Downes Trio, The Tommy Smith Group, Will Vinson, The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano and John Scofield. Calum also works with Kurt Elling, Martin Speake, Martin Kershaw and Sheila Jordan. He writes for his own big band which has a monthly residency at the Vortex in London.
“Gourlay filled the space with a combination of spinning bass beats and a virtuosic exploration of harmony.”
-The Arts Desk
Speaking about his new project, Calum explains, “This project brings the experience I have gained from my two-and-a-half-year Big Band residency at The Vortex, London into my own quartet. This band has all the energy, sound and colours of a contemporary big band but with only four members.”
And, in terms of forming his new quartet, Calum describes further, “The idea for the quartet came from my Big Band in residence at The Vortex Jazz Club. I write a new work each month for every gig. It’s hard to start a piece from scratch: I usually have a shell of an idea in place so I can write something. Occasionally, I workshop sketches hoping they will translate into an arrangement. With this approach, I experiment with form & instrumentation. With the quartet it was fun and easy to write things for trombone & tenor to play together. Helena, Kieran and James have been important musicians in my big band so I began to think this could be a great band in its own right.”