Notes Inégales and Guests: Expect the Unexpected

Notes Inégales and Guests: Expect the Unexpected

Club Inégales
Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Coming Soon
Unit price

Release date: Friday 24 September 2021

The magic on Club Inégales nights often comes in the 3rd set. The resident band and guest have each played their own music, then comes the moment they come together, the clash, the unexpected, the meeting of minds and ears.

So, what happens when there are 20 guests, with 22 new pieces, all in two marathon events? This was the premise of John Cumming, director of the EFG London Jazz Festival and Peter Wiegold in the conceiving of Expect the Unexpected, when planning a celebration of 25 years of the Festival.

Each guest would be asked to contribute a one-page score, then the performances would take place without rehearsal, with just some basic directing signals given by Peter. A wonderful variety of pieces emerged, from written instructions through to graphic scores to fully-fleshed grooves, melodies, and harmonies. The expansive set of choices of guest musicians was made by John, ranging from exciting young talent that had emerged through Serious’ Take-5 scheme to experienced and distinguished UK jazz musicians.

In the two marathon days at Club Inégales in November 2017 each performance lasted some 20-25’ and have been edited here to 3-7’. Unrehearsed, Peter Wiegold signalled which sections to go to, and used his basic signals like ‘loop’ ‘solo’ ‘sustain’ and so on to bring moments of focus. But often the bands took over and the music did evolve into quite unexpected places, such as the beautiful timeless end to Kuljit Bhamra’s Tabla Tune, which began as a simple three-note melody. Other highlights include:

  • Christian Forshaw’s exquisite spontaneous melody for the poem The sky drops a tear; It landed in the ocean in Alex Roth’s opening piece.
  • The incredible free flowing solo from Byron Wallen over his 5/4 opening groove on The Carotid Canal, followed later by violinist Jackie Shave with a singing high improvisation over his harmonies.
  • Hyelim Kim’s Korean-style score for In the Boxes which led to some crunchy, and stylish, Korean percussive playing. And Hyelim’s distinctive, original playing of the taegŭm flute throughout.
  • Pat ThomasSyntax for Muhal where the players had just written instructions. For example - ‘Bb/C/F minor ¾’ become the eloquent and soulful section here.
  • Wild and unstoppable saxophone solos by James Mainwaring - and a graphic score of his that went out round a circle from the big bang to a black hole all in 20’.
  • The free spirit of individual trajectories the players took through Kim Macari’s graphic score Arundel.
  • The spontaneous orchestrations of Matthew Bourne’s single chord in 40.

Every piece brought something new, and overall they make a wonderful tapestry of contemporary jazz composing and playing - mixed with the Inégales magic. The CD was edited by Peter Wiegold, recorded by Louie Marlow-Smith and mastered by Chris Lewis. 

Sadly, John Cumming, much loved director of the EFG London Jazz Festival and Serious for those 25 years, passed away in 2020, and this CD is dedicated to him, perhaps appropriately beginning with, The sky drops a tear; It landed in the ocean.

Notes Inégales + 15 guests
Peter Wiegold director

1) Alex Roth The sky dropped a tear; it landed in the ocean
2) Byron Wallen The Carotid Canal
3) Hyelim Kim In the boxes
4) Helen Papaioannou Seesaw
5) James Mainwaring Expansion
6) Rob Luft Optur
7) Alice Zawadzki In an old theatre
8) Mark Sanders Carte Blanche
9) Pat Thomas Syntax for Muhal
10) Alexander Hawkins Unequal Baobabs (goal by Garrincha)
11) Jaak Sooäär Heavy
12) Raymond MacDonald If you really want to hear about it
13) Orphy Robinson Seeing, is believing, is seeing!
14) Matthew Bourne 40
15) Kim Macari Arundel
16) Chris Sharkey Reception
17) Kuljit Bhamra Tabla Tune



"With Eastern instruments like the Indian tabla and the Korean taegum (a bamboo flute) blended with standard jazz instrumentation, this is exceptional cross-cultural cosmopolitan jazz. The synergy between the 15 guests and the house band — a combination of young talent and established players — is unshakable." I Care If You Listen


All works recorded live at Club Inégales, Euston, London as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, on 12 and 19 November 2017

LOUIE MARLOW-SMITH Recording Engineer
PETER WIEGOLD Producer/Editor

Catalogue number: CI004
Release date: 24 September 2021