Colin Towns - Back from the brink

Keyboard player and composer Colin Towns is on the way back after his record company Provocateur skirted with disaster in the wake of the collapse of its distributors. Once the most adventurous and ideas-driven indie jazz record label in the UK, with a motto to match, “improvise not compromise”, a hostile record business climate brought the label close to the point of collapse. Best known for releases by Andy Sheppard and Guy Barker, whose album Soundtrack was Mercury nominated, Towns and his label, with a slimmed down staff and a more cautious approach, are set for a busy autumn, especially with his Frank Zappa-themed big band album and a major tour on the horizon. Duncan Heining talks to Towns about the once dark days at Provocateur, the green shoots of recovery and why there’s nothing sacred with Zappa. And in the following feature he talks to Norma Winstone about her new album on Towns’ label. Colin Towns - Back from the brink
In a business full of good and bad intentions, Towns has tried harder than most to do the right thing by the musicians he’s worked with as a band leader and as a record label boss. Mistakes might get made perhaps, disasters might happen but the balance sheet leans firmly to the good.

Towns’ label Provocateur has just been revitalised with Lend Me Your Ears, his new album of original compositions with the German radio-backed NDR Big Band, and with Norma Winstone’s new album. Times have been hard for a label that started out with such high hopes but Towns is once again looking forward. With these new releases, now issued in the UK and an autumn UK tour with Norma and the NDR then another with Frank Zappa’s Hot Licks And

Funny Smells, also with the NDR, the future’s brighter now.
We talked at Thames TV studios where Towns was attending a screening of Cold Blood II, a drama for which he’s written the music. As well as providing his main income, film and TV work have provided Colin with the means of subsidising his jazz work, including Provocateur.

To read the rest of this article subscribe here

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Featured Artists

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next
Q&A with Trio HLK

Q&A with Trio HLK

Trio HLK are one of the most distinctive voices to appear on the Scottish jazz scene in recent times. Their debut album, Standard Time was released in May, since when...

Read More.....
Kamasi Washington: the return of the West Coast warrior

Kamasi Washington: the return of the Wes…

Following his critically acclaimed triple-album, 2015’s The Epic, LA saxophonist has circumnavigated the globe with a seemingly endless series of concerts that have cemented his reputation as the go-to spiritual...

Read More.....
John Coltrane: the lost album

John Coltrane: the lost album

The unexpected news of the existence of an unreleased John Coltrane studio session, now issued as Both Directions at Once – The Lost Album, is sure to get the jazz...

Read More.....
Jazz in Mexico today: a beginner's guide

Jazz in Mexico today: a beginner's guide

Patrick McMahon offers a guide to the thriving jazz scene in Mexico, including a list of artists to listen out for. You can enjoy most of these tracks in our...

Read More.....
Jazz drumming and the vision of Jonathan Barber

Jazz drumming and the vision of Jonathan…

Kay Shackelford introduces a bold new force on the jazz drumming scene: Jonathan Barber When listening to Jonathan Barber, there’s an earful of innovative and thoughtful rhythmic execution that causes pause...

Read More.....
All aboard the Blue Note at Sea jazz cruise

All aboard the Blue Note at Sea jazz cru…

Jon Newey experiences the unique musical possibilities of the Blue Note at Sea jazz cruise It’s early Monday morning on 29 January and the day has dawned surprisingly clear. Overnight the grey...

Read More.....
Classic interview with Hugh Masekela: “Hey, instead of rhythm and blues, how about ghetto and Bach?”

Classic interview with Hugh Masekela: “H…

In 2010, Hugh Masekela, the great South African musician and an inspiration in the cultural and political struggle against apartheid, spoke candidly to Jazzwise's Marcus O'Dair about his continued to fight...

Read More.....
Frank Zappa's jazz legacy

Frank Zappa's jazz legacy

Frank Zappa left a huge legacy of pioneering music and outspoken opinions that has proved obliquely influential in shaping the style and attitudes of generations of rock and jazz musicians...

Read More.....
Across the tracks: Ella Fitzgerald's recording of Duke Ellington's ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’

Across the tracks: Ella Fitzgerald's rec…

Brian Priestley takes the opportunity to put Ella Fitzgerald’s soulful 1957 version of Ellington’s ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’ under the microscope It’s well known that Ella Fitzgerald had...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

RT @LondonJazzFest: #peoplespicks today from Mike Flynn, Editor at Jazzwise Magazine 💥 Avishai Cohen Trio💥 "These trio titans are back –…
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
RT @LondonJazzFest: #peoplespicks from Jon Newey, Editor in Chief of @Jazzwise 💥 Archie Shepp 💥 "Shepp was speaking out against oppresso…
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA