Saxophonist Tony Woods tours Hidden Fires

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John Robert Brown, reviewing Tony Woods’ album Hidden Fire in Jazz Journal March 2018 wrote “Woods has developed into one of the UK’s stronger wind players and jazz composers, well worth hearing, a player of whom to be proud. Woods skilfully sustains a consistent mood throughout this CD of attractive, folk-inspired original compositions”.

Now Woods tours Hidden Fires and other music through the UK until October.

Formed in the mid-90s, the Tony Woods Project has recorded four acclaimed albums of original folk/jazz/rock/world-inspired compositions – High Seas (1997), Lowlands (2004), Wind Shadows (2009) and Hidden Fires (2017).

The music shifts gears between jigs, reels, Balkan dances, atmospheric ballads and ambient electronics, but Tony Woods’ jazz connections (he studied jazz at Leeds) are also prominent, with Latin, African, funk and rock grooves forming a strong component in his compositions. The emphasis, both in the compositions and the improvisations, is always on lyrical melody.

Woods’ long-established band has developed its own character thanks to Rob Millett’s glowing, Burton-esque vibe sound, Mike Outram’s angular guitar work, Andy Hamill’s rock-steady bass and Milo Fell’s percussive prowess. The quartet provide a solid backdrop for the leader’s virtuosic and expressive musical storytelling on saxophones, alto clarinet, wood flute and whistle.

The tour began in Wakefield on 3 May, and runs through to 6 October in Lowestoft. See all the tour details here. Look out for Hidden Fires tunes plus some music from Woods’ next album and some well-loved favourites.

As well as performing concerts, the Project will lead workshops in schools and community centres across the country, all generously funded by the Arts Council of England. The 13 June date at the Sound Cellar, Poole will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Now programme.