Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
The Music Of NeWt
The music of NeWt is truly unique. Each member composes from his own perspective and draws from his own wealth of musical and personal influences. The common languages are those of jazz and improvisation, however, elements of rock, ambient/electronic and folk/world music are also prevalent in the sound. The extraordinary instrumentation of guitar, trombone and drums is one of a kind. Making NeWt sound like no other group in either the jazz or rock field. Graeme Stephen uses ambient guitar effects and loops to create swirling soundscapes and drones while Chris Greive plays the trombone both acoustically and through effects units incuding octave pedals which make the horn sound like an otherwordly electric bass. Many ethnic percussion sounds are also used to great effect. NeWt also blend compositional approaches whereby complex written passages can unexpectedly give way to free improvisations where any outcome is possible. This gives the music a fresh quality when being performed in a live setting. Many moods are captured, sometimes with the swing rhythms more common in jazz, sometimes using less conventional rhythmic time signatures and other times drawing from the balkan and middle eastern folk traditions for exotic melody lines.
NeWt - A Brief History
NeWt began in June 2006, the three members sharing a desire to rehearse new ideas weekly. These sessions formed a sonic foundation. NeWt is Graeme Stephen: guitar/effects. Winner of the prestigious Promoter's Choice award from Jazz Services in 2008, he was also selected for the Take Five mentoring scheme that same year. Chris Greive: trombone/effects; lead trombonist in the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. Chris is very active in music education initiatives, making NeWt an effective group for giving workshops/masterclasses. Chris Wallace: drums/percussion. Chris was selected for the Air Time mentoring program in June of 2010. All members of the group contribute original compositions to the repertoire. NeWt was twice awarded funding from the Scottish Arts Council. In 2008, the New Works fund; the group travelled to Germany collaborating with Berlin saxophonist Silke Eberhard. The following year they were funded to record the album of material with Silke. This album has been released by the prestigious F-IRE Collective of London, raising the band's UK profile. The involvement of Silke Eberhard has also begun creating a European profile. NeWt has a strong reputation in Scotland, appearing at the Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen Jazz Festivals and the European Jazz Network conference in 2009 in Glasgow. The new album has received very positive reviews in The Herald, The List and Jazzwise Magazine. More recently NeWt were selected to perform a tribute gig at the 90th birthday exhibition of legendary Scottish painter and free jazz musician Alan Davie that was held in Falkirk.
Awards:Chris Wallace - Scottish Arts Council & Serious Musics "Air Time" Jazz CPD 2010 Chris Greive (trombone) - Scottish Jazz Awards Brass Finalist 2009 Graeme Stephen - Jerwood and Serious Music’s “ Take Five “ initiative 2007 Graeme Stephen - Jazz Services Promoters Choice Award 2006
(Dave Foxall, Jazz Journal)
One of the year's most interesting and distinctive releases.
(Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann)
“It could be the best and most fearless contemporary jazz unit to come out of Scotland since Trio AAB.”
(Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise)
“...structured episodes are interspersed with bouts of fiery free improv mayhem, powerful and inventive music of a high order.”
(Kenny Mathieson, The List)
“...a totally absorbing blend of experimentation and unashamed tunefulness.”
(Rob Adams, Jazz UK)
“...a trio which routinely skates over artistic boundaries as if they do not exist.”
(Keith Bruce, The Herald)
NeWt featuring Silke Eberhard NeWt 2 F-IRE Presents F-IRE CD 33 Silke Eberhard (as, clt), Graeme Stephen (g, effects), Chris Greive (el-tb) Chris Wallace (d, perc), Rec. Nov 2009
Scottish based young trio NeWt received Scottish Arts Council funding so they could develop new material in collaboration with a foreign artist. So off they went to Berlin to meet up with Silke Eberhard a young avant-jazz German saxophonist and clarinettist recommended to them. The F-IRE Presents label took a keen interest having heard the resulting recorded set of originals with Eberhard and have released this, their second CD. The unusual instrumental line up of electric trombone, electric guitar and drums is like something Stravinsky might have put together had he been a jazz musician but it's all handled with a playful invention. The trio quirkily suggest anything from a semi-free classical chamber ensemble, a rockier take on Dave Holland's lyrical post-bop collective through to a harder edged Tim Berne/Alas No Axis-like jazz of the New York underground. Besides Eberhard with her luminous classical-orientated clarinet and slippery sax the band features Chris Greive, the lead trombone in the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and Graeme Stephen, a young contemporary jazz guitarist making waves on the Scottish scene. It could be the best and most fearless contemporary jazz unit to come out of Scotland since Trio AAB. Selwyn Harris (Jazzwise)
Newt @ The Lot, 7 Aug by David McNally, Tue 10 Aug 2010
Aberdonian guitarist Graham Stephen kicks off the evening in reflective mode, but soon enough he's heating up an already temperate room; he's got clean abstract John Abercrombie lines ranging to the full Sonny Sharrock fuzz-out, and his duels with burly polymath drummer Chris Wallace elevate this gig to the stratosphere. The other secret weapon is German saxophonist Silke Eberhard, whose high register flurries and sudden octave leaps will have you dashing back to your Eric Dolphy albums for impossible note for note comparisons. Many of the compostions are by Wallace, showing a rare melodic sense as well as his evident propulsive skills. Trombone player Chris Greive is as ebullient in conversation with the audience as he is adept on his horn, and can more than keep pace with Eberhard's angular excursions. Stephen is probably first among equals and takes the lion's share of praise for tonight but they all shine. David McNally, The Skinny
NeWt feat Silke Eberhard: 2 (F-IRE) Rob Adams 5 Jul 2010
Scottish jazz group have lost none of their sense of adventure. The F-IRE trademark generally denotes daring new music from the broader London jazz scene, but here the movement and record label that brought forth top current bands such as Acoustic Ladyland, Polar Bear and the wonderful Oriole is promoting a project in Scotland. NeWt, comprising Aberdonian guitar wizard Graham Stephen, Australian trombonist Chris Greive and Canadian drummer Chris Wallace, have been among Scotland’s prime musical adventurers for the past four years, but they have moved on with these nine compositions and the addition of Berlin-based clarinettist and alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard. Every track is a journey in itself, sometimes moving through atmospheric Nordic-influenced sequences to bustling urban guitar and trombone interaction. But those for whom the term “free jazz” brings out an urge to form an escape committee have little need for caution, because for all NeWt’s adventurousness there’s much that’s shamelessly melodic, indeed charmingly catchy, and rhythmically involving to the point of being bum-wigglingly dancey. (The Herald)
Newt - NeWt 2 feat. Silke Eberhard (F-IRE Presents)
The unconventional Edinburgh-based trio of trombonist Chris Greive, guitarist Graeme Stephen and drummer Chris Wallace already embraces three nationalities (Australia, Scotland and America respectively), and are augmented here by German alto saxophonist and clarinettist Silke Eberhard, courtesy of a Scottish Arts Council grant. She greatly expands the tonal range of the music, and joins wholeheartedly in their no-holds-barred approach to both free and structured improvisation. The expanded instrumental palette gives them more to play with than on their eponymous debut release, and they make full use of the possibilities. More structured episodes are interspersed with bouts of fiery free improv mayhem, and the effects employed by Greive and Stephen add further layers of intrigue to the mix. Powerful and inventive music of a high order. Kenny Mathieson (The List)
1) Sonix (Wallace)
2) Christmas Carol (Stephen)
3) Theonklious/Elf Dans (Greive/Wallace)
4) Newtered (Stephen)
5) Bones (Stephen
6) After The Fire (Greive)
7) It's a Thin Cut
8) Volatile (Wallace)
Chris Greive: Trombone w Effects, whistling.
Graeme Stephen: Guitar w Effects.
Chris Wallace: Drums & percussion, whistling.
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
NeWt organise a w'shop session based around the difficulties of rehersing, communication & improvisation in a group setting. Each member has a distinctive voice in the group yet at times allow the music to be the only voice. Working on challenging material in this trio format requires that each voice has to be solid in its direction & also able to move seamlessly from one task to another ie. leading vs supporting NeWt accomplish this balancing act by being receptive to the other's voice but also having the space to give opinion & offer direction on other members compositions. Individual members discuss the unique technical challenges this music throws up at them. As well as performing particular sections of their repertoire NeWt play a short selection of tunes at the beginning & end of the w'shop.