Born: November 2 Primary Instrument: Vibraphone
Corey Mwamba creates music using vibraphone, dulcimer, electronics and small instruments. His music contains elements of jazz, folk from different countries, and electronica.
Born in Derby and a former chemist and librarian, Corey is virtually self-taught in music having made the decision to take up vibraphone in his late teens after seeing a picture of Orphy Robinson in a book and taking five lessons with the orchestral percussionist Lewis Dyson.
Corey is primarily known as a highly creative improviser with a wide stylistic range: there have been appearances with Orphy Robinson, Pat Thomas, and Lol Coxhill; Andy Hamilton, Tony Kofi, the Master Drummers of Africa; Evan Parker, the Quantic Soul Orchestra, Robert Mitchell's Panacea; Alexander Hawkins, Arun Ghosh, and the Heliocentrics, as well as his own solo performances and with his collective the Symbiosis Ensemble. He has also worked as a percussionist with Derby Concert Orchestra.
Corey is also seen as a skilled composer and band-leader; his commissions include Dhara Blues, a work for percussion and Kathak dancers for Derby Jazz: and with writer Bea Udeh and the Midlands-spanning group the Symbiosis Ensemble, Corey Mwamba's literature and music piece Nature's Glory, Fancy's Child. This piece was selected for the regional Decibel Live! Showcase in 2004 and Derby Jazz Week 2005. The research for this work led Corey to present a talk on the creative presentation of history for the Black and Asian Studies Association at the V&A Museum in 2005.
In the same year his solo improvisation, Three Two One, was selected for the Freeness album set up by CDR, Chris Offili, and the Observer Music Monthly.
Corey's current group is an improvising trio with bassist Dave Kane and drummer Joshua Blackmore.
Awards:Corey Mwamba was selected for the Jerwood/PRS Foundation's 2007 Take Five Initiative, a significant artist development scheme for emerging jazz musicians: he was also nominated for the 2008 BBC Jazz Award for Innovation. In 2009, Corey was selected by Arts Council England for The International Association of the Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean (BJCEM) event in Skopje. Nothing happened in 2006.
Derby-based Corey Mwamba has been described as 'the maverick vibraphonist', and many critics regard him as the most innovative player of his instrument since Orphy Robinson. Jazz North-East
Mwamba, alive to every musical possibility thrown his way by his bandmates, was constantly selecting the precisely appropriate tone and timbre for the particular moment, either by changing gong-type (covered) mallets for xylophone-style (unwrapped) mallets, or by occasionally playing his instrument with his bare hands or a violin bow, drawing from its keys an astonishing variety of sounds, from mbira-like 'muffled' notes to ringing, sonorous, sustained tones or cascades of single notes, occasionally ending pieces with a subtle reverberating effect [...] Chris Parker
[...] Certainly the most tremendous discovery was the vibraphonist Corey Mwamba, who demonstrated amazing originality and vigour in his interpretations of the themes, in particular Hackensack (duo with drums) and Little Rootie Tootie (duo with baritone saxophone). All About Jazz Monk Forum[translated from French]
Corey Mwamba, the balletic young Derby vibraphonist, played the Derby commission Argentum... deceptive art-music diversions from apparent street-sharp hooks... Mwamba's mix of rhythmically driving fast playing and dreamy textural effects. John Fordham, The Guardian