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Profile:

Andrew Linham

 

Andrew Linham

 

Andrew Linham is more than a talented young jazz reeds player, he is a performer with a portfolio that is hard to keep up with. In his mid-twenties he plays in several bands, leads his own big band and small groups, composes and arranges music, is a primary school teacher, a music tutor and is up to his ears in theatre, something that is evident in his teaching and music. Inherent in it all is a wacky sense of humour that bubbles up in his conversation as well as in his work.

Click below for a video of Andrew's Quartet playing Wednesday Afternoons from their album Abandoned Silence filmed at Oliver's Jazz Bar in Greenwich in 2012.

 

 

 

Born in the London Borough of Havering, he is back in that area after graduating from the Leeds College of Music. His parents are not trained musicians - his mother can tap dance and his father can play piano by ear - and yet both Andrew and his younger brother, Ryan, have careers in music (Ryan graduated from the Royal College of Music and plays classical trumpet, flugelhorn, piano and percussion).

When Andrew was six, his mother taught him to tap dance. 'I remember dancing to Leaning On A Lampost,' Andrew says. 'I think it is interesting how dance informs music and vice versa. I also started to learn piano at that age. I went through my grades at primary school in Upminster and then picked up the saxophone at senior school taking it to Grade 8. I can play flute and clarinet although I Abandoned Silence albumlean more towards the sax, and at that stage was playing mainly classical music, Chopin, Debussy.'

I commented to Andrew that many jazz musicians seem to like the 'romantic' music of Ravel, Debussy, et al. and he believes that there is a theory that this music appeals to the artistic side of the brain.

During this time, Andrew continued his interest in performing, remembers taking the lead in several shows including playing James in Roald Dahl's James And The Giant Peach. This love of theatre was well-formed at this time and has continued to run in parallel to his music.

Andrew went to The Cooper's Company and Coborn School in Upminster. In the sixth form he was scoring and arranging music for theatre performances of Agamemnon and discovered Charlie Parker. 'I heard Charlie Parker's Now's The Time, and then went on to listen to Wayne Shorter', says Andrew. 'A friend, Richie Howard, made me buy a Charlie Parker sax book, and I guess that is where my interest in jazz started.' He left Cooper's in 2007 and was accepted at Leeds College of Music. 'It was a good course,' he remembers. 'They were encouraging, positive and communicative and we had some great tutors including saxophonist Jim Corry (of Jamiroquai), saxophonist Simon Kaylor and trumpeter Jamil Sharif.'

When he graduated with a BA (Hons) in 2010, he won a Yamaha Jazz Scolarship Award from Yamaha and Jazzwise. Andrew wanted to return to London and applied to do a master's degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and followed this in 2012 by releasing his first album Abandoned Silence with his Quartet. On the album, Andrew plays alto sax with Rob Brockway (piano), Darren McCarthy (double bass) and Dan Paton (drums). Robert Shore, reviewing the album in Jazzwise magazine said: '“It’s a neat set of originals, mixing poised, tender balladry and more uptempo boppish material ... The lineage from Kenny Garrett is evident. Whether on rapid-fire or slow-burn setting, Linham is a musician of tremendous invention and flow.”

Click below to listen to I Will Not Forget You from the album.

 

 

 

The Yamaha Scholarship led Andrew to attend the 2012 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show. NAMM is the world's largest trade-only event for the music products industry held every January in Anaheim, California and is one of the two largest music product trade shows in the world. In 2014, Andrew went to the NAMM European counterpart, the Musik Messe in Andrew LinhamFrankfurt. The event attracts numerous famous musicians, many of whom are endorsed by exhibitors and come to promote their own signature models and equipment. Andrew now endorses Yamaha saxes and SaxRax saxophone stands.

2012 also saw Andrew begin to become involved in primary school teaching of music. He currently works half a day a week as Head of Music at Goodrington School running music courses there from Nursery to Year 6 each term. He teaches woodwind and Milly and the Minotaur posterpiano at Havering Music School throughout the week and runs a jazz course there on Saturday mornings, teaching one-to-one and running the wind band and choir. He has been Musician in Residence at Ardleigh Green Junior School and teaches his own tailor made music programme at Endgayne Primary School.

Andrew's love of theatre takes up his Wednesday, Thursday, Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch where he is currently involved in a production of Dr Seuss - The Musical. 'This is a more light-hearted production,' Andrew says. 'Most of our previous productions have been more serious. Milly and the Minotaur in 2014 was about a nine-year-old in hospital helped through the worst times by her secret friend, a Minotaur! The Edelweiss Pirates earlier this year was set in 1943 in Germany where a group of youngAndrew Linham Jazz Orchestra Germans started a resistence to the regime.'

It is not surprising that Andrew's theatrical life surfaces in his big band, the Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra. The band is filled with talented young musicians, many of them graduates from the London music colleges. One musician described Andrew's approach as 'not involving a great deal of rehearsal, but playing the music to see what develops,' and that opens the way for some excellent jazz improvisation. Andrew agrees that his attitude is that the band should enjoy what they are playing, and that this enjoyment and fun should transfer to the audience. It is not unusual for him to bring comedy into his leadership of the Orchestra, something that goes back to playing in summer schools with the esteemed Michael Garrick. But don't be misled, this approach is founded on talented musicianship.

The Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra

Click below for the Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra playing Andrew's composition and arrangement of Eli And The Monobrow at the 2014 Havering Art Festival featuring solos from Andrew, Tommy Andrews and Phil Meadows. This is not a professionally filmed video but it really illustrates how this band can swing.

 

 

 

Andrew's arrangements for the Orchestra feature a wide range of styles from the funk of compositions such as Apples Are Not The Only Fruit to the varied suite that is a pastiche of Dante's Inferno. In the version of the suite that I heard, I found the arrangements complex, driving and creative. The Delusions of Limbo featured fascinating clarinet, soprano sax and trumpet solos whilst Lust presented a Johnny Hodges influenced alto sax solo and an atmospheric bass solo.

Click here to listen to the Jazz Orchestra playing Wrath Out! from the Inferno Suite.

 

 

 

Andrew himself is currently playing baritone saxophone in his orchestra and other bands such as the London City Big Band. 'I Mimikabought the bari in 2009 with my student loan,' Andrew recalls. 'It cost most of my loan and I didn't eat for two weeks. I enjoy playing the baritone, but I mostly play it because others don't want to lug a big sax around.' Again, don't be fooled by Andrew's light-hearted comment, at one London City Big Band gig the band and the audience urged him to go on playing a baritone sax solo until he ran out of breath!

Andrew's involvement with the band Mimika is a different fish kettle. Mimika was formed in 2010 by the Croatian composer and saxophonist Mak Murtic. Initially a 9 piece Balkan influenced jazz group with strings, clarinets, brass, rhythm section and vocals, the band evolved into a small orchestra with stronger urban and contemporary influences to feature brass, woodwinds, vocals, a full rhythm section (including the tuba) and recently a narrator with all the band members acting theatrical roles as well as playing their instruments.

 

Click here for a video of Mimika playing Fractal Forests.

 

 

 

Click here for more about Mimika.

In terms of where the future will lead, Andrew has a very open approach. For him it is very much a question of 'throwing things up and seeing where they will land'. He would like to start writing for particular musicians in the Orchestra and would love the band to be able to play at Ronnie Scott's Club. His involvement in theatre is bound to continue and he would like to choreograph the Dante's Inferno suite as well as develop his educational music projects.

Wherever things land, Andrew Linham will continue to make a valuable contribution to strands of music and theatre that will educate children and young people, encourage improvisation by talented musicians and bring enjoyment to many.

Click here for Andrew Linham's website.

© Sandy Brown Jazz and Andrew Linham 2015

 

You might also be interested in the following Profiles on this site:
Miguel Gorodi
Tommy Andrews
Sam Miles
Sam Rapley
Tom Green


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