The 16th Malta Jazz Festival returns with an eclectic mixture of international and local artists within the glorious setting of the Grand Harbour.The Third and final of the MJF sees local percussionist Renzo Spiteri opening the night with an ensemble of special foreign guests followed by Ian Ritchie’s Soho Project.
The SOHO Project is Ian Ritchie’s latest musical venture which integrates, for the first time, his abilities as saxophonist and improviser with his strength as a composer and arranger.His main activities currently are composing for TV ( both program music, themes and also adverts ) and gigging as a saxophonist with a variety of bands.
Ian Ritchie’s music has earned him a great reputation all over the world even though he is not very much known amongst the jazz community.He has been performing as a saxophonist, composer and record producer for the last 30 years. All of his previous performances has encouraged him to release his first jazz album. In the interim he has got the opportunities of playing on hit records by The Beach Boys, Wham, Roger Waters, Aswad, Dee C Lee and Robbie Nevil. He produced albums by Laurie Anderson, Roger Waters, Hugh Cornwell and the Big Dish that were sold in millions. He also composed songs for John Hughes movies and themes and incidental music for The Lonely Planet, Pilot Guides, Globetrekker series and numerous documentaries. Furthermore, He was the creator of the thousands of adverts that have featured his unique musical abilites on televisions all over the world.
The SOHO Project is his first jazz release, but is by no means the first album bearing his name. His interest in a wide variety of music led to records in ambient, lounge and world music styles as well as house and techno releases worldwide. This in turn informs his jazz playing with an accessibility uncommon in original contemporary jazz circles. His big sound and melodic thrust draw the listener into his unique musical world. The range of rhythms his group employs has audiences dancing as often as tapping their feet.
The group itself is made up of an eclectic mix of multi talented players. Tom Fox is a published poet as well as bassist. He plays with the legendary Neil Innes and his own pop/jazz crossover band Big Strides as well as making time for the SOHO Project. Vladimiro Carboni is a busy drummer featured in a range of bands busy on the European jazz festival circuit including the internationally acclaimed Les Hommes. Last but not least Alex Hutton has his own trio and is the pianist of choice for a wide range of UK jazz players including Kelvin Christiane, Stan Robinson and Tessa Souter.