Almost a decade and a half after being formed, Mingus Moves has found a new identity as a Septet, featuring the music from ‘Mingus Ah Um’ at Ronnie Scott's and other London venues. The new CD Profiles of Mingus uses several different line-ups (solo quartet, quintet, sextet and septet) to colour some of the many musical images Mingus created.
June 2010 sees 2 quartet gigs with Liam Noble, one of which presents Liam's superb trio reflection on the work of Dave Brubeck followed by a quartet set of originals.
The Chris Biscoe Quartet featured on Gone in the Air has continued to build a solid reputation as a touring band, to add to the excellent reviews received by the record.
Early 2010 saw a 5 date tour around England, and summer dates include Cleethorpes Jazz Festival and Ealing Jazz Festival. Dates are already in place for an autumn tour.
2009 saw the reappearance of the Chris Biscoe Band featuring Pete Hurt and Liam Noble with two London gigs in July.
These groups are just two from a list of new projects set up by Chris Biscoe in recent years. British Standard Time is an exploration of British show tunes of the pre-Beatles era, with a couple of folk tunes thrown in for good measure while Miles vs Monk, is inspired by the 50th anniversaries of two remarkable and vividly contrasting records, Miles Ahead and Monks Music.
Starting in October 2004 Way Out West has promoted well over 200 gigs, ranging through mainstream, bop, contemporary, latin, and free improv, with all possible sub-genres. The collective now has around 20 members, including bebop legend Tony Kinsey, as well as musicians quite new to the national jazz scene.
Way Out West was also the venue for the genesis of the new Biscoe/Edwards/Marsh trio. The first gig included saxist Ingrid Laubrock. Drawing on old standards - including a waltz by Ivor Novello, some material from the freer end of the jazz repertoire - Ornette Coleman, Mike Osborne, Thelonious Monk - and improvisation, the success of this gig led Chris to imagine the trio with John and Tony as the foundation for a series of gigs with invited guests from across the jazz spectrum. In September 2005 the trio performed with Evan Parker at Way Out West, followed by gigs with Ben Davis and Ingrid Laubrock, in which more original material has been incorporated into the repertoire.
Chris Biscoe is self taught, starting on sax then alto clarinet. He played with Ben Sidran at Sussex University. After experience of modern, fusion & free jazz he played with Red Brass from 1975-78. He started working with Mike Westbrook in 1979 and has played in many of Mike's projects including The Westbrook Blake, The Cortege, On Duke's Birthday, London Bridge and Chanson Irresponsable. He has also toured & recorded with George Russell, Andy Sheppard, Grand Union, Chris McGregor, Didier Levallet & worked with Hermeto Pascoal, Dewey Redman, Kenny Wheeler & the New York Composers Orchestra, co-led by Wayne Horvitz and Marty Erlich.
He formed the improvising group, Full Monte in 1988 in collaboration with Brian Godding, Marcio Mattos & Tony Marsh. In 1998 Full Monte joined forces with The Blowpipes trombone trio for a project called Dialogic and gave performances and held workshops at a number of venues throughout the UK. The band has also toured with various guest trumpeters: Dick Pearce, Henry Lowther and Harry Beckett.
From 1997 to 2000 Chris Biscoe performed alongside Harry Beckett in the Orchestre National de Jazz. In 1999 Chris joined forces with Harry in The Harry Beckett Band, a quintet featuring Liam Noble, Fred T Baker & Tony Marsh.
Chris can also be heard in Mingus Moves, which is inspired by the small group music of the late Charles Mingus. The band which also features Henry Lowther, has recently started a new recording project.
He also appears in Loz Speyer's Inner Space Music where he uses both alto & soprano saxes along with the rarely heard alto clarinet. LozSpeyer's Inner Space Music has completed a record and details on its release should be available soon.
In 2003 Chris played in two new Mike Westbrook Projects, Turner in Uri and Art Wolf, joined Loz Speyers's Inner Space and participated in the Monk Liberation Front at the Royal Festival Hall on November 23rd 2003, when all Thelonious Monk's compositions were played in one (very long) afternoon. Inner Space Music has completed a record and details on its release should be available soon, while Art Wolf is available now on Altrisuoni records.
In 2004 Chris played baritone in The Hermeto Pascoal Orchestra, Graham Collier's 40 Years On, and Keith Tippett's The Monk Watches the Eagle, following this in 2005 with more baritone work in the Dedication Orchestra (Vancouver Festival) and depping for Tony Kofi in Tim Richards' Great Spirit.
He toured Austria and Switzerland with the Pierre Favre European Chamber Ensemble, an unusual formation including harp, tuba, and 2 basses.
More information about some of these groups can be seen on their individual pages.
Born 1947 Barnet, Hertfordshire, UK
Started on alto sax in 1963
Added tenor sax in 1965, soprano in 1967, baritone in 1973
Started on flute around 1973
Started alto clarinet in 1975
Self-taught on all these instruments
Studied English at Sussex University 1965-1968 and played with
various contemporaries including percussionist Roger Turner and pianist/singer Ben Sidran.
First recording with Ben Sidran 1969/70.
Worked as computer programmer 1969-73 then turned to music full-time.
Between 1971 and 1979 played, recorded and broadcast with Pete Hurt, Tommy Chase, Pete Saberton, Barry Guy, Dave Holdsworth,
Pete Jacobsen, Redbrass.
1979 joined Mike Westbrook with whom he has toured throughout Europe and played at international festivals in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and the USA. and made many records.
1979-1995 Chris Biscoe Quartet featuring Peter Jacobsen - expanded to Quintet in 1980, Sextet in 1986, reformed as Quartet 1987.
Concerts, broadcasts and recordings.
1980 Featured on soundtrack of award-winning TV film "Caught on a Train".
1983-93 & 2004 The Brotherhood of Breath - European and British tours and recording
1983-84 Ken Hyder's Talisker and The Big Team - concerts and recording
1984-2005 Grand Union - concerts, workshops and recording.
1985 Working Week - concert and recording
1985-88 Kenny Wheeler - broadcasts
1985-90 Duo with Peter Jacobsen - concerts and recordings.
1985-2003 John Williams Baritone Band - concerts,
broadcasts and recording
1986 Les Deux Trios with Mike Westbrook and Didier Levallet
1986-2003 George Russell ( Anglo-American Orchestra then Living Time Orchestra) - Contemporary Music Network Tours 1986 and 1995 plus 5 European tours; broadcasts and recording
1986-88 Didier Levallet Quintet - concerts and recording
1987 Swedish Radio Group
1988-2004 Full Monte - concerts, broadcast and recordings. Featuring Brian Godding, Marcio Mattos, Tony Marsh. The band also recorded with Dominique Pifarely in 1996; combined with trombone trio The Blowpipes in 1998 for "Dialogic", and in 2001 toured with Dick Pearce or Henry Lowther (trumpet) 1989 and 1992 - Zhivaro
1989-91 Concerts, recording and film with Andy Sheppard
1989-92 Concerts with Nick Stephens Septet
1990 Trio with Nick Stephens and Roger Turner
1990 Dewey Redman Sextet
1991-97 Didier Levallet Generations Band and Quartet
1991 Duo with Rene Bottlang
1992-2005 Dedication Orchestra
1992-93 Rene Bottlang Homage a Bobby LaPointe featuring Phil Minton
1993 Frank Campbell Trio featuring Hank Roberts
1993-97 Chris Biscoe Band
1994-2002 Ben Davis Quartet - concerts, broadcasts and recordings.
1994, 2000 & 2004 - Hermeto Pascoal Orchestra concerts and broadcasts
1995 New York Composers Orchestra inc Wayne Horvitz and Marty Erlich
1995-96 Dominique Pifarely Tribulations
1996-2004 Mingus Moves - writing most of the arrangements for this group
1997-2004 Liam Noble Band - concerts and recording
1997 Gail Thompson's Jazz Africa
1997-2000 Orchestre National de Jazz (France) - concerts, broadcasts and recordings. The first British musician to join this band.
1999-2005 Harry Beckett Band - concerts, broadcasts and recordings.
1999-2001 Duo with Ben Davis (cello)
2002 Ben Davis Quartet + string trio
2002-2004 Don Weller Electric Octet
2003-2004 Loz Speyer Inner Space
2003 Mike Westbrook Turner in Uri
2003 - 2006 Mike Westbrook Art Wolf
2003 Monk Liberation Front
2004 Pierre Favre Group
2004 Keith Tippett The Monk Watches The Eagle
2004 Graham Collier 40 Years On
2004-05 New Chris Biscoe Band
2004 Chris Biscoe/Tony Kofi Quintet