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PUTTING THE FUNK INTO JAZZ

Band members Tom, Bradley, Megan, George and Vivek

Perhaps our expectations of Jazz groups comes from the stereotypical smoky room filled with forty somethings, smooth saxophone and soulful singer.  Well throw those thoughts away as we meet Tameside’s Jazz Funk group MU23. The group is made up of Bradley Gore (Saxophone), Vivek Mistry (Saxophone), Nick Bramald (Trumpet), George Mathieson (Trumpet), Rishit Dhoot (Keys), Jamie Barrass (Electric Guitar), Tom Davidson (Bass Guitar) and Meg Balcomb (Drums). We caught up with some of the group to find out how it all began.

George: “Well it all started at school, that is where the band first formed and where we got the name – MU23, it was the name of the classroom. We had our first performance at the beginning of February 2019, and it was shortly after that we gained our drummer, Megan. We won the competition at the GM Music Showcase which led us to perform at lots of other venues in Manchester city centre.”

You were a founding member of the band Tom?

“Yes, it was me, Brad, Rish, Nick and another trumpet member. So, it started from our music teacher, Mr Wells, who just give us sheet music and said we need to play it, but we said no and brought our own sheet music in which was Lingus by Snarky Puppy which took us 6 months to get it and we did. During that time, we roped in a few more band members so that was the start.”

You joined at quite a late stage as drummer Megan?

“Yea, I got contacted by the guys after a gig and I took the opportunity to join because the music they play is really unique and it sounds great when we are all together.”

How did lockdown affect the group?

George: “Well we started rehearsing in parks in the area, open spaces where we could meet. Then we did a few virtual things like MCR Rainbow organised by Aaron Jones, we also recorded one of our songs remotely and edited it all together. The type of music we play is like jazz, funk and rock, a fusion of that – it’s quite difficult to describe our music.”

Bradley: “There’s a band called Snarky Puppy that we really all like and that’s the type of sound we try to recreate in our own style.”

George: “Although we do cover versions of some songs, we have worked hard to put together our own material which we do more and more at venues like RNCM, Band on the Wall, Marsden Jazz Festival etc.”

What’s the appeal to perform jazz?

George: “Because it’s a genre that not many of our age do it attracts interest from more people because they don’t see it hardly anywhere else.”

Bradley: “People don’t expect it when we come on stage because it is a fresh unique sound that we enjoy performing.”

If you want to learn more about MU23 you can follow the band on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.  They will be releasing their new album – named “MU23 – The Rehearsals” – on Spotify and Apple Music soon. Thanks to the band for chatting to About Tameside.

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