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Arts / Saxophonist returns home for live show and recording

Norman WIllmore and his quartet are playing the Muckle Roe Hall.

AN ACCLAIMED Shetland saxophone player is due to perform an intimate gig next month with his quartet – and record the show for a live album at the same time.

The Norman Willmore Quartet will perform at the the Muckle Roe Hall on Friday 7 February, with tickets now on sale.

Willmore, raised in Shetland, has played alto-sax since he was 12 and he now lives in Glasgow after studying jazz in Cardiff.

His quartet are said to blend Scandinavian and Appalachian folk music with elements of free jazz, while they also play arrangements of old wartime songs and hymns, “played with a sense of humour, and with respect to the tradition”.

Cameron Grant kindly filmed me warming up backstage at the Hug and Pint. This is one of the Råmeslatt tunes from Norway. They are said to put the fiddle player in to a trance that can not be broken unless you snip the strings from the fiddle. Otherwise, both dancer and fiddle player will die of exhaustion. Check out more of Cameron's amazing work on his website https://www.camerongrant.art/

Posted by Norman Willmore on Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Joining Willmore in his quartet is trumpet player Christos Stylianides, who is a graduate of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

On double bass is Sam Ingvorsen, who is also a graduate of the Conservatoire, while Felix Ambach – who has played and recorded with jazz groups in Germany and London – is on drums.

“All the musicians in the band are working towards a common goal with no ego present, and not one person ever standing out,” Willmore said.

“Playing together for three years in the same line-up has given the band a distinctive sound that is soft and inviting but always with the feeling of momentum and power behind it. We are often all improvising together in a tasteful dialogue, taking the audience on a journey to the last house at the end of the last road.”

Tickets are priced at £12/£10 concession, and can be booked in person at Mareel or at the Shetland Arts outlet at Sumburgh Airport, by phone on 01595 745500, or online at www.shetlandarts.org.