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Deep South soul inspires Jonathan Brigg's people-powered album
Bradford-born pianist and composer Jonathan Brigg is looking forward to the launch of his debut album.
With undertones of the Deep South, Ranch is a collaboration between Jonathan and Bradford’s award-winning Threads orchestra.
“When I was composing it in those solitary hours at my desk or on the piano, I started to imagine I was on a ranch in the Deep South,” says Jonathan.
“It’s a mix of all sorts of things; some of it is brooding jazz, some of it is really groovy and some of it is bluesy. Some is subdued and classical.
“There are so many things that have brought together in this album and that reflects my musical personality. I grew up with jazz, I played for shows in Bradford – Jonathan’s musical influence stems from stints as a rehearsal pianist with Bradford Catholic Players, and he played for local theatre schools – and all of those things have come together in the album.”
Jonathan will be showcasing the album at a concert at Bradford Cathedral, supported by the Cathedral’s Artspace series.
Creating the album wasn’t a concern for Jonathan, a PhD student at the University of York where he is the recipient of the Sir Jack Lyons music scholarship. Finding £3,000 to fund it was the real challenge.
He decided to persuade 200 friends and associates to ‘crowd-fund’ the project and says the support was “tremendous”.
“Some people were very generous, one member of a choir at Bradford University gave £500.
“It's thanks to these people that the album is now finished and has just been sent to press,” he says.
The album was produced by another Bradford musician, Adam Robinson. Jonathan met him when the Europa Piano Trio gave a premiere performance of a piece inspired by Bradford composer Frederick Delius that Jonathan previously composed for them. The pair have worked closely on Threads projects ever since.
Jonathan credits conductor and trumpet player, Mark Robinson, a Fellow in Music at the Tasmin Little Music Centre at the University of Bradford and his conducting teacher, for boosting his interest in Delius.
“I started conducting with him and he got me interested in Delius,” recalls Jonathan.
When asked to write a piece for the Delius Festival programme, he became “immersed” in the composer’s music.
Ranch is described on the Threads website as a “cross pollination” of influences such as Delius; Charles Ives and John Taylor.
Jonathan also draws inspiration from his home city. “I have performed in New York and China, but there is something about Bradford. It has got this character that is unique and I think my work, what I do musically, comes out of it,” he says.
Jonathan will launch his debut album at Bradford Cathedral on Friday, May 11, at 7.30pm. For tickets or more information, visit threads orchestra.com. For more about Jonathan, visit jonathanbrigg.com.