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Alembic (Paul Taylor and Melanie Fox)

Melanie Grundy + Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor is a well-established improvising pianist on the North East Jazz Scene and is one of Jazz North’s Northern Line Ambassador artists for 2018-19. Melanie Fox is a complete newcomer who, after a lifetime of listening to jazz, realised her own vocal talent in the summer of 2016. She has been working her way through the standards repertoire with a local quartet, but is ready to progress to the next level with a project that goes beyond the boundaries of jazz. Melanie already knew and loved Paul’s improvisations, and when Paul heard Melanie sing he instantly felt she was a kindred spirit creatively and so this brand new collaboration was born.

Influenced by the sea, the night sky, sleeplessness, a sense of longing and an eclectic selection of different musical genres. Using excerpts from literature and Melanie’s poetry, plus some left-field jazz standards as starting points, the pair weave words and melody into organic soundscapes. At present the project involves voice and piano/synthesiser, but the intention is eventually to extend the instrumentation to include loop pedal, sampled sounds, a gentle percussive element and strings.

“We have plenty of ideas, but we both currently work part-time and whilst we rehearse regularly, there is a limit to what can be achieved in 3 hours per week, no matter how intense the input during that time! So, we’re really looking forward to having a whole week dedicated to rehearsing and developing our ideas, allowing us to make significant progress with building our repertoire.

Paul mikes the grand piano interior and feeds the output through his synth, which generates an otherworldly reverb and this takes about half an hour to set up each time we rehearse. Having a dedicated rehearsal space where we set this up on the first day, will mean that for the rest of the week, we can just walk in and pick up where we left off, which will be a massive time saver!”