By Garry Corbett
I met Alicia at Urban Coffee and over a black Americano we talked of music, influences and the future.
Baritone saxophonist/composer Alicia Gardener-Trejo has been active on the Birmingham jazz scene since 2007. Whilst studying at Birmingham Conservatoire she played alongside Gary Smulyan, John Taylor and Norma Winstone in the Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra and in 2013 took the baritone chair in Arnie Somogyi’s Mingus Big Band project. Alicia has played with and written for the Dunnett/Baxter Big Band since its formation in 2011 and is the baritonist for Birmingham Jazz Orchestra, as well as large ensembles led by David Ferris and Mark Pringle. In 2013, she was commissioned to write two sets of music in collaboration with a London-based sculpture artist and wrote arrangements for a dectet featuring trumpeter Percy Pursglove.
Alicia’s 12-piece ensemble Bobtail has recently been touring with its latest project Sybil – the musical interpretation of a women possessed by 16 separate personalities. Currently her musical focus is on a drumless quintet (Images in Black and White), playing original music based on childhood. Her inspiration as a composer comes largely from jazz artists including Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, George Russell, Gunther Schuller and Bill Frisell but also draws on influences from Stravinksy, Bartok and Carl Stalling.
She has appeared at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, Barton Arms, The Spotted Dog, Arch One and the Bull’s Head Barnes, and has played at Birmingham, Cheltenham and Manchester jazz festivals.
Alicia recommends the following five-a-day:
A really good Scotch whisky- Old Pulteney, Jura, Aberlour just to name a few!
Harry Carney- especially when he’s soaring above lead alto.
Tom Waits’ Mule Variations– it’s like a pick ‘n’ mix where sometimes you get a chocolate lime and sometimes you get a razor!
Yorkshire at Christmas – local folk songs and carols, and beautiful scenery in any weather.
Stravinksy’s L’Histoire du Soldat– a really bizarre and magical suite of music.