Composer, arranger, band leader, teacher
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Loz Speyer is a trumpeter, composer, bandleader and teacher working in Jazz and related music. Over the last 25 years he has initiated and led bands ranging from the 11-piece composers’ collective Rare Mix to freely improvising trios. His own Cuban-Jazz sextet Time Zone and his Free Jazz quintet Inner Space, both ongoing since 2003, have toured to Jazz festivals and clubs all around the UK, and released several critically acclaimed albums of original music.
In his own groups Speyer‘s long-standing colleagues include Stuart Hall, Chris Biscoe, Martin Hathaway, Tony Bianco, Jason Yarde. And as a freelance musician he has also worked with Sarah Jane Morris, Alex Maguire, Brian Abrahams, John Bennett Band, Mark Lockheart, Hugh Metcalf, London Improvisers Orchestra, Bollywood Brass Band, Simo Lagnawi, Amancio daSilva, Happy End (international tours and two LPs), Michael Rosen (a jazz-poetry project), Test Department, Yann Tiersen, Orquesta Chepín-Chovén...
Living between London and Santiago de Cuba from 2001 to 2009, Speyer married a Cuban, became fluent in Spanish – and studied percussion, played with Son bands and recorded with local musicians. A collaboration with master percussionist Rafael Cisneros featured in Festival del Caribe and recorded album Roots en Route - Raices en Viaje (2010 Spherical Records).
Cuban music features in Speyer’s teaching repertoire, along with other “world music”. He currently teaches trumpet and runs ensembles in schools in Haringey, and has led workshops based on his own music in settings ranging from a school band at his daughter’s primary school in Hackney, to workshops for degree students at Guildhall School of Music.
Speyer’s arrangements for large ensembles have been performed and recorded by jazz orchestras at the Guildhall School of Music and Morley College, as well as by Rare Mix… and his extended arrangement for Octet of the Bastille Concerto, composed by Clifford Jarvis' father, formed a centrepiece in the memorial concert at the Spitz in honour of this great jazz drummer.
STORIES - some seminal learning experiences:
· As a teenager, informal jazz lessons with trumpeter Henry Lowther.
· Aged 21, a 3 months stay working in New York City - lessons with guitarist Bob Johnston, workshops at University of the Streets with Clarence Sharpe, and hearing the likes of Cedar Walton, Sun Ra Arkestra and Cecil Taylor Octet at close quarters in small venues.
· Aged 22, improvisation workshops with John Stevens at the London Musicians' Collective, when he was developing his Search and Reflect concept.
· Jazz theory classes with David Baker at the Jamie Aebersold summer school at a time when he was still developing his concept the Bebop Scale.
· 3 weeks' travel with a cassette recorder in Morocco including an all-night Berber wedding on new year's eve, during which it sank in that everyone there could accurately clap complex 6/8 polyrhythms, just for fun.
· Lessons with Charles Greene at Sweelink Conservatory, Amsterdam
· A year as composition and trumpet student on the Jazz Diploma course at the Guildhall School of Music with groups to compose for ranging from quartet to 10-piece to big band (1992-3)- and recording y jazz orchestral suite the Forest with the big band.
· In Cuba 2005, finding out in a heated rehearsal situation that the clave really does change one's perception of the beat. And in a street gig by Pupy y Los Que Son Son, hearing 3000 people singing along with all the coros...
· Last but not least, 1991-2020 workshops and retreats with Qigong master Zhixing Wang, founder of the Hua Gong school of Qigong – and teaching the fundamental practise in evening classes and one day workshops.
top photo by Steve Cropper, lower one by Sara Haq