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Theon Cross – Postponed until September – More details here.

ABOUT

Theon Cross

“Theon Cross is a London-based tuba player, composer, and bandleader. Since 2015 he has been one of the key components of the city’s revitalized jazz scene due to his unique style of tuba playing in jazz, funk, dubstep, grime, hip-hop, and improvised music.

His self-released digital debut release, 2015’s ‘Aspirations’, brought him international attention as a bandleader and garnered him a pair of nominations for Best Instrumentalist (Jazz FM Awards 2016) and Best Jazz Newcomer (Parliamentary Awards 2016).

Live streaming in MQA events Theon Cross

In 2018, Theon contributed his composition – Brockley – to ‘We Out Here’, the Brownswood compilation curated by Shabaka Hutchings thus cementing his place as the sonic bedrock of the scene.

In 2019 he released his debut long-player ‘Fyah’ (Gearbox Records) which reached #1 in the UK jazz charts. The new album came out to critical acclaim and almost a year on from release tracks from ‘Fyah’ can still be heard on radio and key streaming playlists and has just been nominated as one of the Jazz Albums of the year in Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM Awards. It has thus far featured in top albums of 2019 in the LA Times, the Quietus, Rolling Stone and GQ to name a few. Editorial support and airplay came from The Guardian, Clash Magazine, The Quietus, BBC 6Music, BBC Radio 3, BBC 1XTRA, BBC Radio London, Worldwide FM, NTS Radio and Soho Radio.

This year Theon’s band has performed at key UK festivals including: Love Supreme, We Out Here, JazzRe:Fest, Glasgow Jazz Festival, as well as completing a 10 date national tour. This live activity has allowed him to showcase the new and enriched sound he’s developed since the release of Fyah.

In 2020, Theon will continue to take his exciting live set around the world with a planned tour of North America in June and July taking shape. He will continue to play clubs and festivals across Europe as well with a mini-UK tour being scheduled in the autumn.. In addition , he will follow up Fyah with a new EP on which he will again push the boundaries of what can be done with his instrument by using the studio to turn it into a complete beat and melody making machine over which a set of vocalists and rapper will then add their art. He will also be recording his sophomore album for release in 2021.

Besides his own band, Theon collaborates with Sons of Kemet, Kano, SEED Ensemble, SteamDown and Nubya Garcia and features on the opening track of Stormzy’s new album Heavy is the Head.

ESSENTIAL INSTALL 'It really was a highly impressive demonstration of how cutting-edge digital technology can marry up with the best musicians around to deliver new and exciting experiences for fans.' Daniel Sait - Essential Install HEADLINER ‘The collaboration brought together a partnership of experts and tastemakers in the music and technology worlds…to articulate the power of pioneering audio technology and create better listening experiences.’ Paul Watson - Headliner WHAT HI-FI? ‘Horns shall be tooted in the name of hi-res audio’ Tom Parsons - What Hi-Fi?
 

TIDAL Masters

Theon Cross - Fyah
Log into your TIDAL HiFi account to hear the entire album
Musical highlights + sonic details to listen out for

MQA Listening Notes

Radiation

Based on a laid-back but unstoppable groove, Radiation develops in a succession of small artful changes, so the frenetic climax almost takes you by surprise. Theon’s characteristic Tuba with subtle sub-harmonic effect carries both the hook and the rumbling bassline – you can feel the full weight and body of the instrument, without losing any of the tone and honk of the higher frequencies.

The restrained double-tracked saxophone early in the track gives a slightly warped feel, before returning with solo clarity to develop the tune. Listen out for how the echo is used selectively to punctuate certain notes and phrases, before the double-tracked saxophone returns to signal the breakdown.

The track is laced with fine details throughout – echoes, FX swells, reversed sounds that all add to the slow burn from the powerhouse drums and tuba partnership as they just keep on rolling.

Activation

Infectious rhythm and bounce abound in this album opener, which exudes joy and freedom of expression – music that genuinely ‘activates’.

The characteristic/unmistakable Moses Boyd beat, fusing hip-hop, jazz, rock and more, with snappy snare, crisp hi-hat shuffles and tight fills, all while keeping a steady bass drum pattern to complement and augment the tuba bass lines. The tambourine hits shake like a rattlesnake’s tail.

Beyond just bass, Theon produces a full range of sounds – raspy overtones, abundant wobble and high notes put the tuba centre stage, even before the solo, while the sax keeps the pace and immediacy, with complementary playful and hooky melodies.

CIYA

The space in the recording allows the timbre of each instrument to really be heard and enjoyed. The beater hitting the bass drum, the delicate hi-hat reverb tail, the subtle rattle of the snares after even the lightest of snare drum ghost-notes. The detail in the volume and envelope of each tuba note produces a tangible cause and effect connection between the vibrations and resonance of the instrument and Theon’s lungs and mouth. The breath and air in the sax notes, you can almost hear the reed directing the air and the valves opening and closing. The sleek and dynamic guitar licks and noodlings maintain all of the connecting finger glide and delicate strumming noises. Last but not least, the trombone casually slides in and out of the mix – completing the laid-back compositional vibe with characteristic mellow tone.