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Name: Corey Mwamba

PhD topics: music; jazz and improvised music

Thesis Title: how the vibraphone can be a mouth: developing a personal sound on the vibraphone in jazz and improvised music performance

I want to find new ways of critiquing and developing a personal, identifiable sound for vibraphonists in jazz and modern improvised music.

I intend to meet my aim by carrying out the following:

  • an examination of how the vibraphone is (and has been) perceived by musicians, critics, and educators in jazz;

  • exploring ideas around a personal, identifiable sound in jazz practice and social history; its importance within jazz aesthetics, and its relevance to the vibraphone in jazz; and

  • reflecting on my practice as a working vibraphonist in jazz to conceptualise different ways of expressing a personal sound through the instrument.

My findings will extend the discourse around the vibraphone; and act as a creative resource for future practitioners of the instrument to develop their own sound. In education, it could fundamentally change the way music is taught, affecting instrumental study (where having a personal sound is not formally examined) and enriching further efforts in the growing area in jazz and improvised music studies.

Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Prof. Tony Whyton & Prof. Nicholas Gebhardt, Birmingham City University

Public Engagement Activities

Current Groups as leader/co-leader

  • Yana: with Dave Kane (bass), Joshua Blackmore (drums)

  • Backyard Chassis: with Adam Fairhall (small keyboards), Johnny Hunter (drums)

  • trio with Lucian Ban (piano) and Mat Maneri (viola)

  • duo with Nick Malcolm (trumpet)

  • duo with Robert Mitchell (piano)

  • duo with Rachel Musson (tenor saxophone)

  • duo with Martin Pyne (vibraphone/electronics)

  • duo with Orphy Robinson (marimba/rumba box/electronics/trumpet)

  • new dark art (saxophone quartet or large ensemble)

  • Spirit Farm: with Adam Fairhall (piano), Christophe de Bezenac (tenor saxophone), Anton Hunter (guitar), Dave Kane (bass), Johnny Hunter (drums)

Notable Perfomances

London Jazz Festival (2005-present): numerous performances and talks at Royal Festival Hall, The Barbican, Rich Mix, Vortex Jazz Club and Cafe Oto. Includes performances with

  • pianist Robert Mitchell (recorded for BBC Radio 3, 2011; 2015);

  • multi-instrumentalist/composer/Jazz Warriors founder Orphy Robinson (2005; 2012; 2015);

  • Corey Mwamba’s Argentum (2007);

  • multi-saxophonist Tony Kofi’s Monk Liberation Front (2007);

  • tenor saxophonist Rachel Musson (2013; 2014; 2015);

  • ECM recording artist Mat Maneri (2011);

  • talk and performance with pianist and composer Alexander Hawkins (2011);

  • clarinettist Arun Ghosh (2009;2010);

  • bassist and composer Dave Kane (2010);

  • educational project and performances with Yana (2014);

  • drummer Richard Spaven’s Whole Other (2015);

  • Spirit Farm (2015);

  • radio appearances with Cerys Matthews (2010; 2011 [recorded and archived for BBC 6Music])

GIOFest, Glasgow (2013-present): performance with group Sonsale (2013; recorded for BBC Radio 3); special guest performer, with Maggie Nichols, Marilyn Crispell, Keith Tippett (2014; 2015; 2016); curator of small groups performance (2015); workshop leader (2014; 2015)

Coventry #4Jazz Festival (2015): inaugural festival, launching advocacy agency JazzUK (previously Jazz Services); performance with Yana

Überjazz Festival, Hamburg (2015): performance with drummer Richard Spaven’s Whole Other

Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival (2015): inaugural festival; performances with Yana, and Rachel Musson, Neil Charles and Mark Sanders

Soundtrips #23, Germany (tour, 2015): awarded eight-day tour of North Rhine-Westphalian region (Wuppertal, Essen, Münster, Düsseldorf, Hagen, Köln, Bochum, Bielefeld); in duo with saxophonist Rachel Musson, with guests including Albrecht Maurer, Paul Lytton, Carl-Ludwig Hübsch, Gunda Gottschalk, Martin Blume, Paul Hubweber, Simon Camatta.

Manchester Jazz Festival (2010; 2011; 2014): with clarinettist Arun Ghosh at Band on The Wall (2010; recorded for BBC Radio 3); with Yana on festival main stage (2011); with Adam Fairhall’s Imaginary Delta with poet Jackie Kay at RNCM main hall, Nat Birchall’s Quintet at Band on The Wall, and Martin Archer’s Engine Room Favourites on festival main stage (2014)

Arcub Live Open Air Festival, Bucharest (2013): special guest with Robert Mitchell’s Panacea

Gateshead International Jazz Festival (2013): performance with Ntshuks Bonga and Andy Champion at The Sage; talk on jazz history with Alexander Hawkins

Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, Macedonia (2009): solo performance + commissioned large ensemble composition; UK representative selected by Arts Council England

Derby Jazz Festival (2005; 2007; 2010): performances with Walt Shaw (commission; 2005) Argentum (commission; 2007; also performed and London Jazz Festival); and Tony Kofi (2010)

Jazz Britannia, London (2005): two-day festival event run by the BBC at The Barbican to tie in with TV/Radio programme series; performance with Orphy Robinson and Evan Parker

St Nick’s Pub, New York (1998): performances with saxophonist Patience Higgins and percussionist Leopoldo Fleming

Awards and nominations

  • PRSF/Jerwood Foundation's Take Five artist development award (2007)

  • BBC Jazz Awards nomination for innovation (2008)

  • UK music representative for The International Association of the Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean (BJCEM) event in Macedonia (2009)

  • Jazz Services National Tour (2010)

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council Master’s Degree Studentship (2014)

  • DownBeat Magazine Critic’s Poll nominations for Rising Star on Vibraphone (2014-2016)

Other Research Interests

 

 

I'm a musician and composer from and living in Derby, studying at BCU.

You can read more about me on my site; listen to my music on Bandcamp, or contact me on Twitter or by e-mail.

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