Skip to the content

Black Top with Mariam Rezaei | Daniel Levin | The Beck Hunters with John Pope and Laura Cole | Orphy Robinson in Conversation with Andy Hamilton | NFOJAIM

Photos of performers on a white background with the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music details above 'Thursday 29th September- Sunday 2nd October'
Image provided by NFOJAIM

Saturday 1st October 6pm

Black Top + Mariam Rezaei | Daniel Levin | The Beck Hunters + John Pope + Laura Cole | Orphy Robinson in Conversation with Andy Hamilton | Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2022

Live | £12

Doors: 5.45pm

6.00pm - 6.40pm
Orphy Robinson in conversation with Andy Hamilton (Pre-Concert Talk)

7.00pm - 7.40pm
The Beck Hunters with John Pope and Laura Cole
Mick Beck (Saxophone and Bassoon) / Laura Cole (Piano) / Anton Hunter (Guitar) / John Pope
(Bass) / Johnny Hunter (Drums)

8.00pm - 8.40pm
Daniel Levin
Daniel Levin (Solo Cello)

9.00pm - 10.00pm
Black Top with Mariam Rezaei
Orphy Robinson (Xylosynth and Electronics) / Pat Thomas (Piano and Electronics) / Mariam
Rezaei (Turntables)


This concert is presented by Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music with support from Jazz at the Literary and Philosophical Society, Jazz North East and Arts Council England.

The Beck Hunters
Active on the free scene since 1980, Sheffield-based saxophonist and bassoonist Mick Beck is known as an improvising big band leader to solo performer. Known for his energy and originality, Beck’s playing covers the full emotional gamut from heartbreaking to mischievous, and from abstracts to compelling swing.
For The Beck Hunters, he teams up with the Hunter brothers, two leading lights from a younger generation of improvisers. Guitarist Anton Hunter leads the 11-piece XI Ensemble as well as his own trio. He’s also a member of Sloth Racket and Beats & Pieces Big Band.
Drummer Johnny Hunter comes from a background of both the Avant-Garde and the more mainstream Jazz. He leads his own chordless quartet and the Pale Blue Dot ensemble, who performed at Newcastle’s The Sounds Of Science festival in April.
Beck Hunters have released two albums on Discus Music, The Hunt Is On (2014) and Has It Been Found? (2019).

‘It is rare to find improvised music that sounds as resolved as this, and that’s meant in every possible sense. It’s as nicely finished as a diatonic folk song, and I defy you not to nod your head and smile, even if you don’t know exactly what they’ve just done.’ - Brian Morton (Jazz Journal)

Laura Cole
Laura Cole is a Leeds-based improvising pianist and composer. She leads the folk-jazz octet Metamorphic, whose three albums have received widespread critical acclaim.
In 2018, she released her first solo piano album, Enough, on the Discus label. An album of two halves, the first is a series of arrangements of pieces given to Cole by esteemed colleagues and dear friends, specially for the project; and the second is a series of Cole’s own improvisations and compositions. The impetus for the solo project initially came from reading sculptor Anne Truitt’s
extraordinary work, Daybook.
‘To call Cole merely thoughtful does a disservice to the purpose and message of her music: instrumental to her work is a mutually supportive community that strives and struggles collectively, raising each other up like sparks.’ - Lee Rice Epstein (The Free Jazz Collective)

John Pope
John Pope is an improviser and composer based in Newcastle upon Tyne. He plays the double bass, bass guitar, musical saw and occasionally dictaphone. An artist with a diverse and expansive creative practice, John funnels a lifelong engagement with jazz, funk, rock music, pop-culture and mysticism through the cracked vessel of the free improviser.

He has performed and recorded with folk artists, jazz-fusioneers, free improv legends and at least one genuine rock star. John currently composes and leads his own chordless jazz quintet, as well as being one third of garage-jazz trio Archipelago. He has performed and collaborated with artists including Roger
Turner, Mick Beck, Rhodri Davies, Greg Spero, Field Music, Anton Hunter, Chris Biscoe, Joe McPhee, Laura Cole and many others.

Outside of performance John has worked extensively as an educator, as a lecturer at Newcastle University (where he completed and MMus in 2010) and as facilitator for Jazz North East’s ‘Improvisers Workshop’, where he leads monthly practical sessions in improvisation. He has also devised music and performance for theatre, including engagements at the Edinburgh Fringe and
Northern Stage.

‘Pope’s compositions on Mixed With Glass zing with exuberance...But, for all its accessibility, the
album is also deceptively out. It’s a big-hearted debut from a band to watch out for.’ - Daniel Spicer (Jazzwise)

Daniel Levin
Daniel Levin ‘invokes all manner of musics with prodigious skill: jazz, classical, improv, noise, vocal chorus. His technique is unquestioned and he revels in the physicality of the instrument,’ according to the New York City Jazz Record.
Born in Burlington, Vermont, Levin began playing the cello at the age of six. In 2001, he graduated with a degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music and arrived on New York City jazz scene shortly thereafter. Ed Hazell noted upon release of Levin’s first record as a
leader, ‘Cellist Daniel Levin is a major new voice on his instrument and in improvised music.’ Since then, Daniel has continued to develop his own unique voice as a cellist, improviser, and composer.
He has performed and/or recorded with Billy Bang, Borah Bergman, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Gerald Cleaver, Andrew Cyrille, Mark Dresser, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Tony Malaby, Mat Maneri, Joe Morris, Joe McPhee, William Parker, Ivo Perelman, Warren Smith, Ken Vandermark, and many others. A recipient of a Jerome Foundation award, he has released more than 20 albums as a
leader or co-leader on labels such as Clean Feed, HatOLOGY, Not Two, Trost, Riti, and others.
‘One of the cello’s most brilliant contemporary practitioners.’ - Stewart Smith (The Wire)

Black Top
Black Top, the duo of multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson and pianist Pat Thomas, was initiated in late 2011, as a shape-shifting unit, dedicated to exploring the intersection between live instruments and lo-fi technology.
Their virtuoso, freely improvised performances combine twisted loops, samples and dub-effects, which draw on their Afro-Caribbean roots, with a spontaneity and daring rooted in the free-jazz experiments of New York loft-scene innovators such as Sam Rivers.
Through regular live performances at North London’s prestigious Café Oto and elsewhere, Black Top have concentrated on developing working relationships with musicians from across the cultural and generational spectrum, who can match their own technical dexterity and handle the element of surprise that’s ever-present in their experiments.
Guests over the years have included Steve Williamson, Evan Parker, Shabaka Hutchings, Marshal Allen, William Parker and Hamid Drake, Rachel Musson, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Cleveland Watkiss, Elaine Mitchener, Joe McPhee and Paal Nilssen-Love, and Chris Corsano.

For NFOJAiM they will be joined by experimental turntablist Mariam Rezaei for a performance unlike anything you’ve heard before.
‘The work of this unique group shows how free improv can incorporate various genre musics, merging them into a miraculously coherent yet spontaneous whole.’ - Andy Hamilton (The Wire)

Mariam Rezaei
Mariam Rezaei is an award winning composer, turntablist and performer. Her music is fiery, sonically rambunctious and forever reaching for new heights. She leads experimental arts project TOPH in Newcastle. TOPH curate a regular series of concerts along with an annual TUSK FRINGE for TUSK Festival.
Her newest releases include SKEEN on Fractal Meat Cuts, The End of The World...Finally with Sam Goff on Cacophonous Revival Recordings, Veil, a collaboration with Stephen Bishop on TUSK Editions/Opal Tapes, and Sister, a duo with operatic soprano Alya Al-Sultani on Takuroku.
Recent notable works include; ‘Reqiuem’ at London Contemporary Music Festival 2022. ‘Wolf’s Tail: II’ for Archipel Festival, April 2021. ‘Paradoxes’, West Den Haag, 2021. ‘Our Whites’, Tectonics Virtual 2021. Duos with Cath Tyler and Stephen Bishop for TUSK VIRTUAL 2020 and BBC Radio 3 Late Stages, Oct and Nov 2020. BBC Radio Freeness ’SKEEN’, July 2020. ‘AGENCY-SKEEN’, AMPLIFY 2020. ‘The 42 Mirrors of Narcissus’ TUSK Festival 2019. ‘Wolf’s Tail’
HCMF 2019. ’TOP///‘ at Tectonics Mosaic/Cresc. Festival 2018, Wiesbaden, for Ilan Volkov, and Ensemble Modern.
‘Sister is a duet of Al-Sultani’s live vocal effects and Rezaei’s versatile turntablism. Slow descending slides and lashings of reverb in the second half pitch the music into something distant and ghostly, as the dissected single-phrase lyric morphs into an erotic and sensual soundscape.’ - Jo Hutton (The Wire)

For events, news & offers...

Sign up to our e-newsletter

(You can unsubscribe at any time)