Herstmonceux Castle hosts jazz musician Pine

Courtney Pine
Courtney Pine

A unique opportunity for music lovers comes to East Sussex this weekend as acclaimed saxophonist Courtney Pine is joined by award-winning pianist, Zoe Rahman

The duo will perform their critically acclaimed duet album Song: The Ballad Book in full, on what promises to be a special evening in the Ballroom at Herstmonceux Castle on Saturday (October 19).

Since first arriving on the music scene in 1986, as part of The Jazz Warriors, Courtney Pine (OBE & CBE) has never looked back.

Having soon established himself as a solo artist in his own right, he chose to develop collaborations with an array of other artists, inside and outside of jazz.

He said: “I met Zoe at the BBC Jazz awards and saw her recognition build after gaining a Mercury Music Prize nomination. “We then met again at the end of the Project Europa tour in 2012 and talked about doing something.”

Zoe, who grew up in Chichester, is from a highly musical family with her brother, sister and father all recognised musicians in their respective fields.

So what is the essence of this album Song?

“I decided to learn the Bass Clarinet. It’s a very different instrument: it spreads over five octaves which took some learning.

“I also wanted to work with someone who knows how to play in a duet, Zoe’s gift is being able to hold the song which allows space for another musician to play’. “I want every musician to have their moment when performing.

“There’s been arrangements where I will step back and allow people to come through.”

“The arrangements are not set in stone which I like.

“We have rehearsed them to such a degree that it is constructed improvisation, that gives us freedom.”

So with an array of songs including the jazz standard A Nightingale Sang In Barclay Square and Come Sunday, which of the songs does Courtney like the most?

“I think it’s Amazing Grace, I play the melody straight as it was written but when we’ve played it at other shows it’s gone very well.”

Tickets are still available. Visit www.herstmonceux-castle.com/event/courtney-pine/

By Stuart Large