Drummer Alyn Cosker and his jazz funk quartet will visit Shetland in the first weekend of February to play two concerts and hold educational workshops as part of their national tour.
A multi-faceted, all encompassing drummer with blistering technique and a sympathetic ear to all genres, Cosker “has emerged as the top young drummer on the Scottish jazz scene, handsomely fulfilling the promise he showed as a teenager in the Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra.” (The List)
Originally from Ayr, with a pianist and theatre music director father, Alyn grew up in a house filled with music. He began drum lessons at age thirteen, gaining experience with various school and regional big bands and ensembles. After just three years of playing he won a scholarship to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. On leaving school he took a BA (Hons) degree in Applied Music at Strathclyde University.
Cosker has enjoyed first call status on the Scottish jazz scene for years, racking up playing credits with countless UK luminaries such as Tommy Smith, Courtney Pine, Carol Kidd, Bheki Mseleku, Jim Mullen, Paul Towndrow, Jason Rebello, Keith Tippet, Brian Kellock, as well as international superstars Lee Konitz, Bruce Barth, Joe Locke, Gary Burton and Geoffrey Keezer.
Cosker is currently the drummer with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and can be heard on dozens of recordings to date. When it came to organising a tribute concert to Buddy Rich, one of the greatest drummers of all time, the orchestra had the obvious star in-house.
As well as excelling in the jazz genre, Alyn has a deep love for many other styles of music including, Rock, Funk, R+B and Folk and for the past 5 years he has recorded and toured all over Europe and America with top celtic band Wolfstone. He has featured on many major albums, including Isobel Campbell (Belle & Sebastian) and Mark Lanagan’s (Queen's of the Stone Age) 2006 Mercury Prize nominated “Ballad of the Broken Seas” and her follow up 'Sunday at Devil Dirt'.
In June of 2009, Cosker launched his first solo album to rave reviews. Titled "Lyn's Une" out now on Linn Records, “it's high class all the way” (The Herald) featuring some of the top Scottish jazz personalities as well as heavyweight guests, such as Ryan Quigley, Paul Towndrow, Tommy Smith, David Dunsmuir, Jason Rebello, and the heartfelt vocals of Maureen McMullan. The music is genre spanning with a focus on dynamic and exciting improvisations over tricky, yet highly musical compositions that are a “testament to the world-class prowess of the participants” (The Guardian) and ”his overall command...energises the music in compelling fashion.” (The Scotsman)
The jazz funk fusion quartet Cosker will be taking to Shetland are an incredibly tight and funky group of talented musicians, capable of playing intricate material with astounding ease. The ensemble comprises; Scottish guitarist David Dunsmuir, who's playing is heavily influenced by Alan Holdsworth and “complements Cosker's clear affection for John Scofield's music - both in its punchy, blues-voiced, funky manner, and in the kind of coolly jazzier dialogues” (The Guardian); Michael Janisch from Wisconsin, USA, on electric bass, “a brilliantly imaginative player” (JazzWise) whose sound is “full-bodied and warm sounding, much like a cross between Mingus and Dave Holland" (Bass Guitar Magazine) together with the “extravagantly gifted” (The Herald) Konrad Wisniewski on saxophone, also a graduate of Strathclyde and Berklee.
Alyn Cosker said, "I'm really excited to perform the material from my album 'Lyn's Une' in Shetland. The guys and I are really looking forward to meeting the wonderful people and musicians that we've heard so much about. I hope everyone enjoys the music and has a great time.”
The weekend of events is part of Shetland Arts Jazz Development Project, co-funded by the Scottish Arts Council, and the concerts have been organised in association with Shetland Jazz Club. The club’s membership has swollen after a string of successful concerts last year and members will be on hand to provide information to anyone who wishes to become involved.
Evening concerts, starting at 7.30pm, will take place at the Lerwick Town Hall on Friday 5th February and Bigton Hall on Saturday 6th February. Sharing the bill will be Shetland’s own jazz young guns Norman and the Folding Deckchairs together and some well known local jazz musicians.
The weekend will be rounded off with an informal session in the Lounge Bar, Lerwick, on Sunday afternoon. There will be two educational events; a DrumJamm workshop at the Anderson High School at 4pm on Friday afternoon and a band masterclass on Saturday at 1pm in the Lerwick Town Hall.
Tickets for the concerts, priced at £10 (£8 concessions) are available from the Shetland Box Office, Islesburgh Community Centre – 01595 745 555
Contact Bryan Peterson at Shetland Arts for more information on the educational events – 01595 743 843
Quotes“Alyn is a fantastic drummer who plays with a lot of heart, swing and passion....a jazz drummer for the now and the future” (Courtney Pine)
"Alyn plays like a Demon and an Angel; if he ends up in Hell of Heaven, his extraordinary talent will suit any environment - he is a chameleon." (Tommy Smith)
"Alyn represents the best of the new generation of drummers currently on the scene. He has the intellect to negotiate very difficult music, while at the same time maintaining an organic "earthiness" in his playing. I have called him to tour with my quartet, 4 Walls of Freedom, and would do so again without reservation. He's smokin'!" (Joe Locke)
“a prince of paradiddles.....rim-shot royalty” (Rob Adams)