Groundation is the name of my new small band. It’s a kind of ‘group discussion’ between some of my musical friends and me. Each of us has a contribution to make to this discussion, to this creative conversation, and can choose to ‘say’ as much or as little as we feel.
It’s progressive jazz with some Afrobeat accents interspersed with thoughtful ballads.
Joining me in Groundation are the award-winning hornsman, Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), and rising stars Shirley Tetteh (guitar) and Moses Boyd (drums), all of whom have developed through our Tomorrow’s Warriors programme.
London Jazz News by Rosie Walters, Marlborough Jazz Festival July 20 2013
Despite stiff competition from the treasure chest of performers, the absolute highlight of the whole day, had to be Gary Crosby’s Groundation…Crosby and his breathtakingly talented young band played a near two hour set, that everyone wished that could have gone on for longer. New material, much of which was written by Crosby and his band, was mixed with a few new arrangements of old classics. All veterans of Crosby’s…Tomorrow’s Warriors, this group of musicians had only played together 3 or 4 times before, but were so in sync that I found that hard to believe. Alto saxophonist Nathaniel Facey stole the limelight with beautifully complex drawn out solos, played with minimal movement and pretty much redefining what cool looks like. He was approached afterwards by one particularly enamoured fan who told him that he was ‘absolutely beyond magnificent’ which describes his skill pretty much spot on. ‘Liver Quiver’ written by drummer Moses Boyd was a particular highlight, as was ‘Anansi’s dance’ a piece written by Crosby and based on Jamaican folklore. Crosby announced at the end that he was going to finish “a long set with a long piece’” which turned out to be a brilliantly complicated new arrangement of Sonny Rollins’ Oleo that really shouldn’t have worked, but somehow did, and had everyone quietly tapping their feet.
Ancient to Future Feb 2 2013 Jazz In The Round, Cockpit Theatre, London
It was left to Jazz Jamaica/Tomorrow’s Warriors/ Dune Records don, Gary Crosby to close the night. The bassist has a solid record of working with and mentoring new generation of young players and this night was no exception. This latest venture is called Groundation – a term used by the Rastafari to describe a get together…a reasoning. Empirical alto-ist Nathaniel Facey kicked off the set with an extended ‘Tribute To OC’. (Ornette Coleman not Orange County!) that also introduced us to an undaunted, head nodding new talent, guitarist Shirley Tetteh. A Crosby composition which was dedicated to his other half and tentatively called ‘Dearest’ was graceful and touching and the bassist was clearly chuffed with the live outcome. However, it was the spacious, loose limbed, rhythm showers from drummer Moses Boyd that had this listener transfixed. As painter Gina Southgate said to him after the show, “So nice to see someone smiling while they are playing!