London Calling

  Chris Rodgers '99



London has long been a mecca for music, and many Berklee alumni have chosen to make the city their home. London-based alumni are keen to keep contact with their alma mater and get involved with college sponsored events, so I've taken it upon myself to kick-start things.

First, here's my background. In 1999, I graduated from Berklee's Jazz Composition and Film Scoring departments and then moved to New York City, where I freelanced as a composer and arranger and worked at JSM Music. In 2001, I relocated to London, earned a master's degree in jazz studies, and continued to perform and compose film and production music. I currently conduct and compose for the band Combustible Alarms, along with Mons Ekstrom '99. In April, we will release our first CD, which features trumpeter Fulvio Sigurtà '03.

In January the chapter held an alumni gathering for graduates to network and catch up with old friends. Berklee today editor Mark Small made the journey from Boston to host the reception. This spring and summer, two additional events are planned, and I look forward to getting more alumni involved. Now let's move on to some news from our U.K.-based Berklee alumni.

Adam Glasser '81 released his first jazz harmonica album as a leader, Free at First, which features jazz standards, South African township songs, and originals. BBC Jazz Award winner Tony Kofi '89 released the CD The Silent Truth. In May, Sophie Delila '01 will release the album Hooked, and this summer she will play at the Glastonbury and RockNess festivals. Bassist Michael Janisch '02 released his debut CD Purpose Built, which features saxophonists Walter Smith III '03 and Patrick Cornelius '00.

Saxophonist Jean Toussaint '79 performs with drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts '81 and released the new CD Live in Paris & London. Pianist Trevor Watkis '89 released his first solo album, Straight Ahead... Ride for Tone! He will tour the United Kingdom throughout 2010. Kathie Touin '87 produced and released her fourth album, Dark Moons & Nightingales.

During the London Jazz Festival, Mike Gibbs '62 played and orchestrated music for Bill Frisell '78 and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He's written charts for the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra led by Tommy Smith '85 for concerts featuring Gary Burton '62 and John Scofield '71. Trumpeter Fulvio Sigurtà had a five-day residency at Umbria Jazz, a winter festival in Italy. Richard Niles '75 produced The Other Side of Me, a BBC music documentary on actor-musicians. Angus Moncrieff '02 has written music for the primetime TV show Primeval.

Three members of the Academy of Contemporary Music faculty have made new CDs. Bassist Stefan Redtenbacher '96 released Concubine Chronicles with his band Redtenbacher's Funkestra. Guitarist Nicolas Meier '97 released Journey and Breeze. Drummer Alun Harries '85 made the solo album Back to Front.

German composer Vasco Hexel '04 runs the master's program in composition for screen at the Royal College of Music in London. Gideon Miller '93, a director of music at a London school, has written his sixth musical. Dylan Kay '06 teaches at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance and is recording a debut CD with his band 1224 Project.

Liz Zitzow '88 is a member of the London City Singers. Bart Dietrich '98 performs with Amit Chaudhuri. Bristol-based Emi Jarvi '01 works as a virtual-session vocalist from her home studio, and her band Exit Project has released songs via its website. Rio native Jose Carlos Olimpio '04 is earning his Ph.D. in composition. Drummer Sam Brown '86 is promoting the third edition of his CD Self Hypnosis for Musicians. Robin Clayton '78 has written new material and gigs with the band Elephant. And Nick Allum '83 recently reunited his postpunk band My Hip with Tony Parisi Jr. '80, Bill Murphy '80, and Joey Pesce '80.

Rob Hall '92 released the album Rhyme or Reason with Chick Lyall. James Hamer '01 released Real Life. Ivor Goldberg '83 and his band Shir released Ashk'farad. Leah Gough-Cooper '09 recorded Future Pop with her band Human Equivalent. Assaf Seewi '95 released Gimme That Beat, a drumming DVD. Tiago Coimbra '03 and his jazz-funk band Loose Juice released their second CD, The Blue Barn Sessions. In November 2009, Moss Freed '06 released Vision. Henry Danowski '07 has recorded an album and four singles with the rock band Tellison. Mark McKnight '06 recorded Overnight and was chosen to represent the United Kingdom in the European Jazz Orchestra 2010. Gianni Chiarello '01 released Entwined. And finally, Raphael "Stone" Walters '95 will release his debut album this year. That's the story for now.

Chris Rodgers '99
United Kingdom Berklee Alumni Chapter Leader