Featuring some of the most exciting UK based young jazz musicians, the Billy Marrows Octet play innovative original music that is both intellectually playful and joyfully expressive. They combine small band intimacy with the sonic possibilities of a large ensemble, drawing upon the power of improvisers in a through-composed environment.
Best new music I've heard in ages... accessible & intriguing.
Audience member at
Lancaster Jazz Festival - Twitter
James Copus Trumpet/Flugelhorn
Tom Smith Alto Saxophone/Bass Clarinet
Tom Barford Tenor/Soprano Saxophone
Olli Martin Trombone
Guitar/Compositions Billy Marrows
Piano Will Barry
Bass Will Harris
Drums Luke Tomlinson
The octet provide a canvas for Billy’s very personal compositional style which is guided by an ear for memorable melody and satisfying harmony, coupled with an imaginative approach to polyphony and motivic development. Influenced by Django Bates, Bob Brookmeyer, Dave Holland, Stravinsky, Steve Reich and many others, Billy explores a fascination with form and the generation of longer narratives from small seeds of source material. Billy loves writing for large ensembles (winning the 2016 and 2018 Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition with pieces for octet and big band (link text)) and has a fascination with the relationship between improvisers and the written score, particularly the effect they have on each other.
Lancaster Youth Jazz Commission for Billy Marrows Octet
In summer 2016 Billy wrote a suite drawing upon on concepts from Indonesian gamelan music for the Lancaster Youth Jazz Commission. His ‘Gamelancaster’ suite was premiered by the Billy Marrows Octet at Lancaster Jazz Festival and several movements were broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Billy was subsequently listed as "one to watch in 2017" by Jazzwise magazine. Read more about the thoughts behind this project here. The Billy Marrows Octet have also recently performed in London at the 606 Jazz Club and the Jazz Nursery.