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Keith Tippett Octet

Following a three night residency at the Vortex in August last year, at which he premiered a new piece; The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonogon with his Octet, we are delighted to welcome back Keith Tippett. Tonight he’ll give a trio performance with Peter Fairclough (drums/percussion) and Tom Mccredie (bass), followed by the Nine Dances with his Octet.

Keith Tippett is the revered free-jazz pianist who crossed over into art-rock in the early 70s, playing with King Crimson and, in 1970, convening the monstrously ambitious Centipede, an avant-garde big band that drew together more than 50 of the UK’s most adventurous jazz and rock musicians. Since then he’s recorded and performed prolifically with groups including Mujician with saxophonist Paul Dunmall, and Ovary Lodge, alongside percussionist Frank Perry and his wife, Julie, who is in her own right one of the foremost European vocalists in the field of contemporary jazz and improvised music.

Tippett’s associations have been with some of the most substantial names in contemporary jazz. Over the years he has made numerous recordings and concert and festival appearances alongside other major pioneering improvisers from Europe and South Africa. His collaborations have included a quartet including Peter Brotzmann and Harry Miller (sadly, not officially documented); a duo with Howard Riley that has produced three recordings; and duos with Stan Tracey, Peter Fairclough, and Giovanni Maier, among numerous others.

In recent years his work has gained increasing recognition in wider geographical and stylistic contexts. Always in demand in Western Europe, since the late 1980s he has travelled further afield to perform in Japan, Canada, USA, India (on a British Council solo tour), Latvia and Hungary. Recognition has come too, from the world of contemporary ‘classical’ music. Not only has Tippett played a crucial role in opening the Dartington International Summer School to jazz and improvisation but he has composed several pieces for new music groups such as the Composers Ensemble with Mary Wiegold and recorded with the Balanescu String Quartet. His ground-breaking introduction as founder, musician and artistic director of the Rare Music Club series of concerts in his native Bristol (in which jazz, contemporary ‘classical’ and roots/ethnic music performers share the same bill) has given emphasis to his position as a leading figure in the contemporary music movement in Great Britain.

In solo performance Keith Tippett’s hallmark is a unique, mesmeric style coupled with a melodic, spiritual power, which transforms the piano into an orchestra of his imagination. As an improviser he bears out the revelation, shared only by a handful of other musicians today, that spontaneous composition, with its fine balance of structure and inspiration, is once again a vital force in contemporary music.

“Pianist, composer, bandleader, innovator, catalyst – the internationally acclaimed Keith Tippett is all these things and more” The Wire

“Creative pianist–composer Keith Tippett is a national treasure [and] one of our most innovative but undervalued musicians” Jazzwise

(Commissioned by Richard Wiltshire)

Performing with his Octet, Keith Tippett presents brand new contemporary jazz pieces in three movements.


  1. The Dance of the Return of the Swallows
  2. The Dance of the Intangible Touching (Segue)
  3. The Dance of the Sheer Joy of it All


  1. The Dance of the Walk with the Sun on His Back
  2. The Dance of the Day of Observance
  3. The Dance of the Longing


  1. The Dance of the Bike Ride from Shinanagh Bridge with the Wind at his Back
  2. The Dance of Her Returning (Version 1 – without voice)
  1. The Dance of Her Returning (Version 2 – with voice) –
    Lyric by Julie Tippetts
  2. The Dance of the Wiley Old Fox of the Ballyhoura Mountains

The Last Rose of Summer (Irish Traditional / Arranged by Tippett)

Fulvio Sigurta (trumpet/flugel)
Sam Mayne alto (sax/clarinet/flute)
Brandon Allen (alto sax/flute)
Kieran Mcleod (trombone)
Rob Harvey (trombone)
Tom Mccredie (bass)
Peter Fairclough (drums/percussion)
Keith Tippett (piano/composer)

“Nine Dances” was created for a jazz ensemble and one male dancer. Tonight will be performed without dance.


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