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Biography

Beats and Pieces Big Band
With high profile national and international awards to their name (Best UK Newcomer at the 2013 Jazz FM Awards & European Young Artists’ Jazz Award at 2011 Burghausen International Jazz Festival, Germany) and consistent audience and critical acclaim for their performances across the UK and Europe, the Beats & Pieces Big Band are fast becoming one of the country’s most talked about jazz groups. Led by composer and conductor Ben Cottrell, their music draws on a wide range of influences from Ellington to Loose Tubes to Radiohead to redefine the role of the big band for a new generation.

Since their very first gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival in 2008, the band has performed across the UK to consistent audience and critical acclaim. In March 2011, Beats & Pieces were named as the winners of the European Young Artists’ Jazz Award, part of the Burghausen International Jazz Festival in Germany and one of the continent’s largest awards for emerging jazz musicians. Winning the competition ahead of 4 other finalists from across Europe led to a gala concert supporting Chick Corea and Gary Burton, which was broadcast on German TV and radio. The band have since performed internationally for radio station TSF Jazz in France, at the 12 Points! Festival in Dublin, and showcased at the Jazzahead conference in Bremen, Germany (generously supported by the PRS for Music Foundation’s British Music Abroad scheme).

In 2012 Beats & Pieces were awarded a prestigious Emerging Excellence Award by the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund to enable them to undertake a residency period at Dartington Hall in Devon, rehearsing and workshopping material for their next album recording due to take place in 2013. Bandleader Ben Cottrell was also the only musician to be awarded funding by Arts Council England and the British Council’s joint Artists’ International Development Fund in July 2012. This funding has allowed Beats & Pieces musicians to work closely with the Norwegian big band Ensemble Denada, led by composer Helge Sunde, ahead of a collaborative project which debuted at the London Jazz Festival in November 2012, and will be repeated at the Oslo Jazz Festival in August 2013 as part of Fiona Talkington’s Conexions series of events.

The band’s debut album ‘Big Ideas‘ was released in March 2012 on Efpi Records, an independent label co-founded by three of the original band members which has since grown into an umbrella organisation representing a growing roster of emerging musicians based across the UK and Scandinavia. This album release followed a (now-deleted) EP in December 2009 and a limited edition DVD of a live performance at Manchester’s legendary Band on the Wall venue in October 2011, both on Efpi. The ‘Big Ideas’ release was marked with a major UK tour produced by Serious, with the Manchester show at the RNCM recorded by the BBC for broadcast on Jazz on 3, and the London gig at a sold-out Ronnie Scott’s receiving glowing 5 star reviews in both The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Beats & Pieces’ founder and musical director, Ben Cottrell, was chosen as one of 8 young creative musicians from across the UK to participate in the 2010/11 edition of the prestigious Take Five professional development scheme. The scheme is produced by Serious and funded by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the PRS for Music Foundation, Arts Council England and the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, and its alumni includes musicians at the forefront of contemporary British jazz.

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Audio

big ideas
Their debut album, released March 2012

big ideas

track list
  1. bake
  2. yafw (part iii)
  3. three
  4. anymore
  5. jazzwalk
  6. elf
  7. sisterhood
  8. broken

live @ band on the wall ep
Live 3 track EP recorded at the legendary Band on the Wall venue in Manchester June 2011. Also released as an extremely limited edition DVD.
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track list
  1. three
  2. queen spark
  3. sisterhood

remixes
In July 2010, to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of their first ever gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival in 2008, they invited three friends to remix some of the tunes from their first (now deleted) EP with very exciting results. EP available as a fre of name-your-price download below.
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track list
  1. broken (Rodrigo Constanzo remix)
  2. broken (Tullis Rennie’s broken-hearted-boy mix)
  3. bake (Dileu ‘burnt’ mix)
  4. yafw (part iii) (Nick Walters remix)

other live recordings
This is a recording of their min-set of four Radiohead tunes (Nued, 15 Step, Everything In Its Right Place, Just) recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s, 19th January 2011.

Radiohead set – live at Ronnie Scott’s by beatsnpiecesbigband

Videos

Big Ideas
Talking about their debut album

Live @ Band on the Wall
This clip is from their live DVD filmed at the legendary Band on the Wall venue in Manchester Jun 2011. Click here for more information or to buy a copy.

Burghausen International Jazz Festival, 23rd March 2011
The three videos below were all filmed by German TV station BR-alpha at their gig at the Burghausen International Jazz Festival, 23rd 2011. All compositions are by Ben Cottrell (except everything in its right place / just – Composed by Radiohead, arranged by Ben Cottrel).

bake

yafw (part iii)

everything in its right place / just


 

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