Zum were one of the star attractions at the Guildford International Music Festival 2003.

They performed an excellent concert at the Electric Theatre in Guildford. A very small intimate theatre that overlooks the River Wey in Guildford, once an electric power station. You almost feel like you are sitting in the laps of the performers.

Very avant-garde, an eclectic mix of East European gypsy music with tango and a hint of jazz and classical.

The first half was brilliant, the second electrifying. It is a pity the concert was not recorded as the two hour set would have made an excellent double CD.

The players read from sheet music, which is in some ways surprising as the set was very much improvised.

A strange blend of Tangerine Dream and the Kronos Quartet. Weird, but brilliant.

Zum gave their first UK tour in autumn 2001 and another in 2002, finishing with two sell-out shows at the South Bank Centre in London (featuring on one of their CDs).

The band has five members: Adam Summerhayes (violin), Chris Grist (cello), Jonny Gee (bass), David Gordon (piano) and Eddie Hession (accordion).

Adam Summerhayes (violin): An established international soloist and chamber musician, who has given concerto and chamber music performances throughout western Europe and as far afield as Poland, Prague and St. Petersburg, as well as in many of the major London venues. Adam has had the opportunity to work and perform with genuine Gypsy bands in both the Czech Republic and Poland, which has given him a unique insight into this type of music. Adam is one of the principle composers, along with David, of Zum, either composing original works, or rearranging, often beyond recognition, of traditional works. Adam is also leader of the ten-piece chamber orchestra London Concertante, who recently celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Chris Grist (cello): The musical director of Zum and its founder. Chris studied both classical cello and jazz saxophone (the latter with ex-Jazz Messengers saxophonist, Jean Toussaint). A varied career performing throughout the UK and Europe as orchestral musician, chamber musician and recitalist. In London, Chris has performed concertos and recitals at the Barbican Centre, South Bank, St. James' Piccadilly, St. Martin-in-the-Fields as well as at Music Clubs and Festivals throughout the UK. As a soloist, he has performed in France, Spain, Germany, USA and Chile.

Jonny Gee (bass): A widely acclaimed expert on dance music, from baroque contradanza to contemporary salsa, taking in tango, gypsy, jazz, jive and folk. Jonny performs with an eclectic selection of outfits including Argentinian ensemble La Mariposa Tango, gypsy swing with The Kings Cross Hot Club, salsa with Colombian master timbalero Roberto Pla, and baroque music with groups such as The Sixteen and The Restoration Ensemble of St.Martin-in-the-Fields. He also leads his own innovative jazz band, Ping Machine.

David Gordon (piano): David has degrees in mathematics and logic, but still has the creativity to perform and compose music. Jazz piano has taken him from Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London to the Red Sea Jazz Festival and the Copenhagen Jazzhouse. He plays at international jazz festivals and on four critically acclaimed CDs with the Theo Travis Band. He tours, and has made recordings, with a trio of his own as well as with the Christian Garrick quartet. Recently in a duo with jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth. As harpsichordist, he has toured Australia, South America and Europe as recitalist and orchestral continuo player. He plays with baroque violinist superstar Andrew Manze and was the musical director on a recording project of 17th century English dances with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and he will be touring with the Academy of Ancient Music. As a composer he has had a number of works broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He still finds time to tour with his innovative cross-over band Respectable Groove (touring Switzerland in 2003).

Eddie Hession (accordion): Rated as one of Europe's master accordionists. Eddie has played on films that include Lord of the Rings, Chocolat, Mickey Blue Eyes, Evita, Shrek, Chicken Run, Gosford Park, Shipping News and Captain Corelli's Mandolin (where he even makes a screen appearance). He has also worked with an endless list of stars from the Three Tenors to Westlife, including The Corrs, Chris Rea, Ronan Keating, George Martin, Ute Lemper, Andrea Bocelli, Bill Wyman, Lesley Garret and Russell Watson! As well as performing with all of the country's leading orchestras (including the LSO, LPO, RPO, Philharmonia, CBSO, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, ENO).

Zum have to date recorded two CDs, a studio album and a live album recorded at the South Bank in London at the end of their second year of touring in 2002.

Zum? Possibly from a composition of the same name by the master of modern tango, Astor Piazzolla (featured on the live CD recorded at the South Bank).

Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), a virtuoso on the bandoneon, is credited as the creator of modern tango. By means of a scholarship to Paris he studied in the 1950s under Nadia Boulanger who advised him to experiment with tango. On his return to Argentina he formed Quinteto Nuevo Tango, featuring violin, guitar, bass, piano and bandoneon (square built button accordion). Initially modern tango was not accepted, but gradually it gained acceptability. Piazzolla wrought havoc in the Tango dancing community but Piazzolla is also meant for listening to appreciate the long breath of inspiration. This creative talent translated itself into many songs and compositions that have since become Classics of the Tango repertoire. Astor Piazzolla has flooded the music market with dozens of CDs from both Studio and Live performances. Piazzolla plays his own compositions, often trying different versions of the same musical idea. Like an Abstract Painter he enjoys producing different Art works with the same inspirational thought but with a different variation. It is not uncommon to find different CDs which are merely variations of the same composition, sometimes on the same CD. It is easy to see from where Zum got their inspirations! Compositions by Piazzolla can be found on both Zum CDs. Astor Piazzolla has left an extraordinary repertoire of music - instrumental tangos, tango songs, film music, pieces for guitar or flute, chamber and orchestral music. Recommended recordings: La Camorra: The Solitude of Passionate Provocation, Tango: Zero Hour, Concierto para bandoneon & Tres Tangos for bandoneon and orchestrar.

Tango is a ballroom dance that evolved around 1880 in the lower class district of Buenos Aires from a fusion of Spanish tango and milonga, a fast and sensual Argentine dance form.

London Concertante celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2001, having become one of the finest chamber orchestras in the country. Under the dynamic new leadership of virtuoso violinist, Adam Summerhayes, the orchestra gives more than 80 concerts a year, making it one of the busiest chamber orchestras in the UK. As well as a regular series of concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, they perform throughout the UK for music clubs and festivals, also making appearances at some of the country's major concert halls including the Barbican, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and St. John's Smith Square. To date they have recorded six CDs.

Music ~ Astor Piazzolla
(c) Keith Parkins 2003 -- October 2003 rev 6