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In 2016 I was awarded the Irwin Mitchell mjf originals commission by Manchester Jazz Festival, for which I formed a brand new large ensemble called New Seeing consisting of trumpet, 12 piece string ensemble (6 violin, 3 viola, 3 cello), piano doubling celeste, 2 double basses, 2 drum kits and electronics. New Seeing premiered on 27th July 2016 at the Royal Northern College of Music as one of the Manchester Jazz Festival’s headline events.

mjf originals scheme is supported by Irwin Mitchell, Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation. I’m also grateful to the PRS for Music Foundation for additional funding for pre-composition research and development workshops.

More to come from New Seeing soon…

A double rhythm section and 12 strings combined with the lead voice of Graham South’s flugelhorn to create a thrusting cinematic sound, all varicoloured layers and pulsating polyrhythms, that cemented Cottrell’s reputation as a composer of depth and experienceJazzwise

At its close, there was a sense that Cottrell’s accessible and engaging work might indicate a larger, symphonic vision – perhaps the fusion of his mature through-composition and the improvisational versatility of his players possesses such a magic. Maybe this is just the beginningLondonJazz

The scheme suggested the radicalism of ambitious dates like Bill Dixon’s Intents and Purposes or Stan Getz’s Focus… As this year’s jazz festival theme has suggested, it was a case of re-thinking the genreManchester Evening News

Photos by Felix Mulderrig

Ben Cottrell New Seeing 5
Ben Cottrell New Seeing 1