Arts & Culture

‘I’m really excited about taking the group out to play to audiences’ – Tom Bancroft

By Rob Adams at

Drummer Tom Bancroft’s In Common sextet opens a new series of Jazz at the Merchants House in West George Street on Sunday 2nd February.

Bringing together a fusion of styles and influences, with musicians from India and Scotland, In Common is the latest project by the East Lothian-based drummer who has previously worked with American jazz players including Sun Ra, Geri Allen and Charlie Mariano and who arrives at Merchants House following two ecstatically received concerts at Celtic Connections with the genre defying Grit Orchestra.

Tom Bancroft

Tom Bancroft

“My previous group was a piano, bass and drums trio, called Trio Red, and while it went down very well, I wanted to try something away from the conventional jazz line-ups and explore other musics,” says Bancroft, who is joined in the new group by long-time collaborator, guitarist Graeme Stephen, vocalists Sophie Bancroft and Gina Rae and the Delhi-based violin virtuoso Sharat Chandra Srivastava and tablas master Gyan Singh.

The group’s debut album, Love & Stillness, was released in the autumn and has been enthusiastically reviewed for merging jazz, Indian classical music, Scottish traditional music and electronica into a unified ensemble.

‘Good preparation’

“I’ve studied music in Africa and India and worked with all sorts of projects from jazz orchestras to dance and multi-media performance, theatre and film, and that variety has been good preparation for bringing these quite different musical personalities together,” says Bancroft.

“Everyone makes their own contribution while also concentrating on the key musical components that we share, namely drone, groove and rhythm, collective and individual improvisation, melodies, scales and rhythmical patterns. And having made the album, I’m really excited about taking the group out to play to audiences.”

In Common

In Common – ‘Everyone makes their own contribution’

The Merchants House concert marks a new phase in the popular Sunday night jazz concerts, which began running in the venue’s conducive music room in 2018 and return with a new monthly programme after a break over the autumn.

Leading singer Tina May and pianist Brian Kellock, who are touring their tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson again following a successful run in 2017, appear Sunday 15th March, and further dates and musicians will be announced soon.

* Tom Bancroft’s In Common, Jazz at The Merchants House, February 2. For tickets see here.