BIG NEWS Coming Soon – Orpheus Project

We’ve been quiet as late but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy! We have been working flat out since November 2015 to set up The Orpheus Project, our newest and most ambitious venture to date. The partnership with NORVOL Jazz and funded by Arts Council England will result in the development of a touring network for live jazz in the North of England and 3 tours featuring internationally renowned jazz musicians in collaboration with a number of UK musicians will take place between May this year and February 2017.

We are currently working with Split UK to design a new website for the project which will be the central point for information and news for all things Orpheus. This project will be our primary focus for the next 12 months.

We are about to release full details of our inaugural tour featuring Ingrid Jensen – this includes dates around the North plus a special project with two very exciting organisations. All will be revealed very soon but keep 26th May to June 5th free in your diaries because you are not going to want to miss this…


Family Band Album Review

We’ve just had another lovely review for Family Band’s debut album, this time from Lescar promoter Jez Matthews. Thanks for your kind words!

What a lovely surprise! Leeds-based Family Band’s debut album is one of my favourite new releases of 2015. With a nod in the direction of the open chord-less music of Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry and more than a hint of Sonny Rollins, it combines authenticity with great energy and spontaneity, and a range of moods from hard swinging boppish themes and bluesy explorations to the more spacious ruminations of the final track.

Review: Family Band by John Marley

Thanks to John Marley over at Jazz in York for this review of Family Band’s album. Visit the site for more reviews and a comprehensive overview of what goes on in York!


Largely due to the influx of students who flock to the music college each year, Leeds is a city which is never short of interesting and original jazz music. Family Band is made up of LCM graduates who are all making names for themselves on the British Jazz Scene. A large portion of the material on offer is composed by the double bassist Tom Rivière who leads from the bottom up. Rivière opens the album with a hypnotic bass riff on Mao II which is coloured by the freely swinging drums of Steve Hanley. Saxophonist Riley Stone-Lonergan solos melodically while trumpeter Kim Macari utilises the capabilities of her instrument to weave between the tenor with counter lines and discordant effects. 

Bring lulu is a hard swinging free bop composition with a strong Ornette Coleman influence. Of course, this instrumentation featured on many of Coleman’s early albums due to the freedom allowed by the absence of piano or guitar. The expertly executed theme makes way for a powerful time no changes solo by Stone-Lonergan. Making the most of thematic development and low register gargles, the solo peaks in just the right places. 

Newman’s Eggs is a more traditional mid-tempo blues affair and Latin Genetics is a joyous Calypso melody, the type favoured by tenor giant Sonny Rollins. The album closes with another Rivière composition entitled A Poem For You. The piece begins with an extended bass improvisation which is embellished by light bells and cymbals from Hanley. The dramatically mournful horn melody is played over a bass pedal tone while gradually the ensemble break in to Albert Ayler like, folk inspired free improvisation.

Family Band is a strong and varied debut from a young band of creative improvisers.   – John Marley


Apollo & NORVOL Awarded Funding to set up International Touring Network for Jazz in the North


In the flurry of activity that followed after the news a few weeks ago, we haven’t had time yet to share this brilliant news on the site.

Apollo in partnership with NORVOL Jazz (The voluntary jazz promoters network in the North) have been awarded over £32,000 by Arts Council England to set up an International Touring Programme for live jazz in the North of England.

This project has been in the development stages for over a year and 2015 has been dominated by the writing and preparing of funding applications. It came as the best news and a wonderful vindication of our ambitions to receive this vital support from the Arts Council.

What this means is that over the next 14 months, we will running three tours each featuring an internationally renowned American musician in collaboration with some of the best talent the UK jazz scene has to offer. It’ll provide a rare chance to see artists of this calibre in intimate venues. Setting up this network means that we open up so many more options to tour in England – not just in London or in large cities, but to create an infrastructure that supports both promoters and artists to tour in towns and cities right across the region.

We’ll be launching a new website soon as well as details on the upcoming tours but we can tell you that the first tour will take place in May/June 2016 and feature the extraordinary Ingrid Jensen.

2016/17 promises to be by far our busiest yet and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank those that have supported us so far, to NORVOL for entering into this partnership with us and sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience, and again to Arts Council England for supporting this activity.

Stay tuned for more!


Press Release: Family Band Launch Debut Album

Family Band Album Cover

The debut Family Band album is now available to purchase!

Launched at a gig at Seven Arts in Leeds on Sunday November 1st, the album is available to buy from the Bandcamp website on a Pay-What-You-Feel basis (there’s no minimum so pay £100, pay £0, pay something in the middle!)

It features material written by double bassist Tom Riviere with one Ornette Coleman track thrown in for good measure. There’s a blues paying tribute to embryo-stealing, Dilophosaur victim Dennis Nedry, a burning time-no-changes and more.

Stay tuned for information about upcoming Family Band gigs, video footage and more in the coming weeks…!

Listen to and buy Family Band album by clicking on this link.

Airplay, gigs, parties and an album launch…

There’s a lot happening this week!

Jez Nelson, Jazz on 3Tonight (October 26th) at 11pm, BBC Radio 3’s Jazz on 3 will feature a track from the upcoming Family Band album, using it to open the show no less!

You can listen live or on catch-up on the BBC website.

Tomorrow (Tuesday 27th October), Family Band will get a bit more airplay when they are featured on Scott Murphy’s Fresh Jam UK radio show. This time, Bring Lulu will be played in the middle of the show which airs at 8pm and is then repeated several times in the coming weeks. Full information on the Fresh Jam UK website.

Riley Stone-LonerganRiley Stone-Lonergan will be at Ronnie Scott’s in London this week for three nights, supporting pianist Michel Legrand. We believe all three nights are sold out so those who have tickets are in for a treat!

Ronnie Scott’s website.

RecordingOn Thursday 29th October, Leeds Fold are holding a Studio Party to celebrate their new recording studio/rehearsal space. There will be a set by Kim Macari, Jamil Sheriff, Will Howard, Kathy Dyson, Sam Quintana and Jordan Dinsdale, a jam, the recording of a new original christmas tune by the Honeybirds complete with handbell orchestra and a lot of beer from Leeds Brewery. Tickets are all but sold out so move quick if you want to attend. Studio Party eventbrite.

And finally to round off the week, Sunday November 1st sees the launch of the new Family Band album! Taking place at Seven Arts in Leeds at 1.30pm, the band will play music from the album plus a whole set of brand new music then you can rush home and buy a copy of the album!

Event information can be found on the Seven Jazz website.

Photo by Maria Alzamora

Join us on the airwaves or at gigs, help spread the word by sharing the info on facebook and twitter – every little helps!

NEWS: Family Band Album Launch, November 1st

Photo by Maria Alzamora

Photo by Maria Alzamora

It’s official – Family Band will release their debut album on November 1st 2015!

The release will be launched at Family Band’s performance at Seven Arts in Leeds and will be available to purchase on Bandcamp on a Pay-What-You-Feel basis. The material was recorded in March and is predominantly original material with a little nod to Ornette Coleman thrown in, too.

The teaser they released recently has received lots of positive reviews already and the band are looking forward to sharing the full album in a month’s time.

There is also a whole set of new material ready to go, which will be premiered for the first time at the gig.

Listen out for Family Band on the airwaves, too!

Have Your Ear Chewed Off with Engines Orchestra


Our friends, Engines Orchestra, are always looking for new projects and keeping their collective ear to the ground for exciting new things. Their latest concert series launches in London on September 20th and if you’re nearby, you should definitely drop by.

Chew Your Ear Off bridges the gap between audience and artist by featuring Q+As, demonstrations and discussions with some incredibly interesting creative musicians. They’ve got Mike Flynn (Jazzwise) on board to present and their first event features Laura Jurd & Elliot Galvin plus Gregor Riddell & Adam Teixeira.

Ways to connect audiences with artists is something Apollo is passionate about and it’s great to see events like this popping up. The classical world have long since worked this out and pre-concert talks are very popular. To hear a creative practitioner discuss their own work and processes is far more interesting than to read a critic’s take on it. Plus, if numbers are good for the first event, this could be a monthly happening.

The details: It’s going to be held at the Proud Archivist (NE1 5EH) which is a 5 min walk from Haggerston overground station. Doors open at 3.30pm for a 4.00pm start and tickets cost £12 with a house drink or £10 witout, £6 for concessions and under 16s.

Fold – a new hub for the jazz community in Leeds

Space at Savile and Chrome

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working with James Hamilton to put together a bid for some money to help kickstart an interesting new organisation in Leeds called Fold.

A recording studio in Leeds became available for rent recently and some jazz musicians put up the cash to rent it for a few months. It’s a lovely space complete with full recording equipment and a grand piano so aside from anything else, it’s great that these musicians took the initiative to snap it up for the jazz community – we all know how vital it is for creative musicians to have affordable access to rehearsal and studio space, especially in those first few years out of college.

Fold was put together to see how the space could best be put to use. James Hamilton, a Northern Irish dynamo of activity (an award-winning jazz composer, trumpet player in Hope & Social, owner of New Jazz Records…) has put a team of people to produce a programme of work that supports the whole scene (there’ll be live gigs, workshops, albums being recorded all to come) with a focus on original material and early career professionals.

A funding bid has been submitted and we wait with our fingers crossed, but in the mean-time the space is currently available to use –

  • rehearsal space
  • recording space (either with an engineer or bring your own)
  • a place to run workshops from

All of the above are offered at very affordable rates. And you can arrange to visit and have a look around the space too (It’s located on Savile Mount, Chapeltown.)

It’s all very inspiring and Apollo are delighted to be a part of it. More news soon!

A sneak peak into Family Band’s debut release

Family Band by Maria Alzamora

Recently, Family Band went into the studio to record a set of material. It’s now mixed and mastered and a release is due in late Autumn this year. As a taster, one track (Bring Lulu) is currently available to listen to on Soundcloud,

Family Band HQ is now whipped up into a frenzy creating album artwork and working on new material for their upcoming live shows. The next opportunity to see them live will be at Seven Arts on Sunday 1st November.

(PS – all photographs you see of Family Band were taken by the hugely talented Maria Alzamora. She has a great photo project called Some Music Stories which you should have a look at, too)