Founder of The Specials and 2 Tone, Jerry Dammers has moved his Spatial AKA Orchestra on quite a way from its beginnings as a tribute to maverick jazz musician Sun Ra.
At its last concert in Berlin the orchestra, containing some of the cream of Britain’s jazz players, expanded the scope of its repertoire. The original space sounds, funk jazz and cosmic blues have met strange library music and a strand of what Jerry calls the ‘lost summer’ of reggae, rock steady, ska, and the big band rhythm and blues which gave birth to it – music originally played by Jamaican jazz players like Tommy McCook, and occasionally celebrated by the orchestra under the name Reggae Ensemble.
Jerry offers his interpretations of all this music, with arrangements which sometimes salute newer styles such as hip hop, dubstep or drum and bass. The concerts always contain a few adaptations of Jerry’s own songs and some original material and – although much of the concert will not have been performed in London before – there will be orchestra favourites too.
Music and history greats will also be celebrated by the Orchestra, as the concert falls on Mandela day, and 2014 is Sun Ra’s centenary year. Mat Fox will also be remembered – leader of The Happy End and Kinetica Bloco, who sometimes played with the orchestra, but sadly died in February this year.
The story will take in some of the more peaceful and melodic, along with the loud and exhilarating.
There will be a short support slot from Jerry Dammers' Tough Assignment featuring Neville Staple as ‘Barrister Sinister’, also guest appearances from Jamaican trombone legend Rico Rodriguez, the youth marching band Kinetika Bloco , and reggae MC Supafour (Trojan Sound System).
‘Fantastic - a truly overwhelming and boundary free concert’ Berliner Zeitung
‘Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra doesn’t do ordinary’All About Jazz
‘Truly the gig that keeps on giving’ Independent
Spatial A.K.A. Orchestra Anthony Joseph and Francine Luce vocals Denys Baptiste tenor sax Finn Peters flute Jason Yarde soprano sax Nathaniel Facey alto sax Shabaka Hutchings clarinet Alciona Mick piano Roger Beaujolais vibes Robin Hopcraft trumpet Harry Brown trombone Terry Edwards baritone sax Patrick Illingworth drums Spry percussion Neil Charles double bass Ollie Bayley electric bass Patrick Hatchett guitar Johnny T and Liz Liew violin Jennie Adejayan and David Kadamakusa cello with special guest Ruben Fox tenor sax and flute