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Stuart McCallum

Stuart McCallum
Stuart McCallum is a Jazz musician from Manchester who's music embraces simple, memorable melodies, bass lines and drum beats, with electronica and improvisation enriched by elegant orchestral writing.
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Biography

From jazz beginnings to DJ culture, Stuart McCallum's music is 'alternative jazz' - a distillation of influences, creating a sound that is concentrated and distinctive. Not wanting to hide behind over complicated harmonic and rhythmical structures, angular and forgettable melodies, Stuart's music is a new hybrid of composition, production and performance. It embraces simple, memorable melodies, bass lines and drum beats, with electronica and improvisation enriched by elegant orchestral writing.

Stuart has a wealth of experience in many different musical environments and genres. After being invited to join the Cinematic Orchestra in 2004, Stuart has performed on and contributed to the writing of the band's critically acclaimed albums, 'Ma Fleur' and 'Live At The Royal Albert Hall'. In addition he has contributed to the award winning Disney nature documentary soundtrack, 'The Crimson Wing', and the remix of Radiohead's 'Exit Music For A Film' for Radiohead's remix compilation album, 'Exit Music: Songs For Radio Heads'. Memorable performances with the band include The Royal Albert Hall with the Heritage Orchestra and The London Metropolitan Orchestra, headlining The Big Chill in the UK, and playing at Montreal Jazz Festival and Coachella festival in Palm Springs.

‘Distilled', Stuart's third solo album is the culmination of Stuart's guitar playing, production and composition experience to date. The sonic palette of instruments and electronics used is a development from his 2 previous solo albums ‘Echo Architect' and ‘Stuart McCallum'. Stuart's guitar playing is the main feature of the music - the vocalist in the instrumental lineup. His interest in exploring different sounds from both electric and acoustic guitars is apparent in the music, from the innovative use of delays and filters, to hitting the guitars with hands and drumsticks! The guitar plays alongside electronic and acoustic drums, double bass, keyboards, synths, percussion, harp, celeste, strings, woodwinds and horns.


Over the past two years Stuart has worked closely with internationally acclaimed British artist Linder. 'The Dark Monarch', performed at Tate St Ives in 2009 has resulted in a Tate DVD and book to document the piece. The 13 hour improvised performance piece, 'The Darktown Cakewalk', performed at the 2010 Glasgow International Festival resulted in Stuart being awarded a nomination for 'Best Music in Theatre in Scotland' by the Scottish Theatre Critics Association. Stuart and Linder also collaborated to create a visual 'soundtrack' to Stuart's ‘Distilled' album launch.

In 2007 Stuart was invited to take part in the PRSF artist development scheme 'Take Five'. A week of workshops with legendary UK saxophonist, John Surman, lead to Stuart being commissioned by Manchester Jazz Festival to write a suite of music to be performed by John and Stuart and a 10 piece chamber ensemble. The suite was performed in the beautiful setting of St Annes Church in Manchester's City Centre and was acclaimed by both audience and critics. Stuart wrote a new suite of music for Manchester Jazz Festival in 2010, this time for a solo set which was performed live on BBC Radio 3's flagship jazz show 'Jazz On 3'. The music was so well received by the show that it was included in its 'Best Of 2010' review show.

As well as John Surman, Stuart has also performed and recorded with some of the most prominent jazz artists of today, including Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs, Gwilym Simcock, Tim Garland, Laurent Robin and Laurent De Wilde.

Discography

The Seventh Tree (Free Download)
The Seventh Tree (Free Download) (2013)

naimcd185.1

FREE Single from the guitarist of the Cinematic Orchestra Stuart McCallum

Distilled Live
Distilled Live (2012)

naimcd185

the product of 40 European tour dates-worth of live recordings performing material from Distilled

Vital Space (Free Download)
Vital Space (Free Download) (2011)

naimcd169.1

FREE Single from the guitarist of the Cinematic Orchestra Stuart McCallum

Distilled
Distilled (2011)

naimcd169

evocative and spacious solo project from the Cinematic Orchestra’s guitarist and composer

Videography

Reviews | all reviews >>

Distilled Live in Jazz Journal
"inspiring blend of ambient and improvised"
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Stuart McCallum in the Southern Daily Echo
"for chilling out to, this is difficult to beat"
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Stuart McCallum in The Crack
"an album that rewards time invested in it"
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Stuart McCallum in the Westmorland Gazette
"the perfect album to chill out to"
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Stuart McCallum in Buzz Magazine
4 Stars

"superb stuff... delightful"
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HiFi choice review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
4 Stars

"music sometimes has an almost dream-like, filmic quality"
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Vibes4YourSoul review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
"ambient and downtempo, poetic melodies ...undoubtedly delight most fans"
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Jazzwise review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
4 Stars

"lush, orchestral samples, languid grooves and a sophisticated facility for channelling the chill...spiritual jazz masterpiece"
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Virgin Music review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
“the album is able to hold its own throughout due to Stuart McCallum altering the initial sounds and warping them into something that isn’t totally unrecognisable. Fans of The Cinematic Orchestra will appreciate the familiar yet ever so differing territory.”
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All Gigs review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
4 Stars

“it's beautifully-crafted minor-key instrumental sadness with occasional joy and frequent surprises.”
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AAA Music review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
“This record is a stunning, self assured work that showcases someone who has mastered their trade and is completely comfortable with his style.”
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Stuart McCallum - Distilled - Vanguard Music Review
“Sometimes it is a loud electric-edged tone, occasionally a bubbling Grant Green tone on jazzier numbers but Stuart seems adept at switching between the two”
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Stuart McCallum - Distilled - Disconnected Review
“This carefully filtered collection of ten recordings is a perfect example of how McCallum has refined his music and like a great Scotch proves that in the hands of an artist the perfect blend is one ‘Distilled’.”
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The Guardian review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
3 Stars

"Acoustic-guitar meditations turn slowly into tranquil funk"
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Time Out London review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
"dusting gritty club grooves with his own epic brand of folk-edged melancholy"
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Music OMH review Stuart McCallum Distilled
3½ Stars

“an intoxicating shot of spirit, but it's also highly refined and filtered. Those with a penchant for more idiosyncratic overtones may be left wanting, but this album nonetheless does a sterling job of encapsulating the cutting edge of the UK Jazz scene”
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BBC MUSIC review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
"Phrases resound with a shimmering vibration, underscored by sympathetic arrangements."
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Record Collector review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
4 Stars

"Mood music of a more hypnotic and ruminative hue can be found on the lovely album Distilled"
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UNCUT magazine review Stuart McCallum Distilled
“Distilled – dreamy, trippy, downtempo instrumentals...the lush semi-orchestral settings”
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BBC Music Magazine Review Stuart McCallum - Distilled
4 Stars

"A yearning atmosphere of improvised guitar...worth investing time in"
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Stuart McCallum in All About Jazz
"The Manchester-based guitarist/composer knows how to combine established and contemporary sounds, making them into music that is never less than fascinating and, at its best, a thing of breathtaking beauty."
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Stuart McCallum in Manchester Evening News
4 Stars

"delivered with a cinematic sweep...a very impressive self-invention"
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