The Tim Amann xTet
The Tim Amann xTet is a well-established group based in the West Midlands that plays melodic and soulful contemporary jazz, focusing primarily on original compositions. The core members are Tim Amann (piano, composer and arranger), Sam Rogers (saxes) Ray Butcher (trumpet) who adds his own compositions and Adam Gilchrist (bass) while Carl Hemmingsley and Tim’s son Aidan Amann alternate on drums. The xTet plays a variety of lyrical original jazz compositions with influences ranging from Celtic and East European folks styles through hard bop and blues to gospel tinged numbers. Sheila MacRory (vocal and flute) provides a distinctive additional voice and contribution to folk influenced material, in both original compositions and in jazz based re-workings of several Irish folk songs. Tim, Sam, Adam and Carl are also members of the award winning Walsall Jazz Orchestra for which Tim also contributes a range of original compositions.
A first album, ‘xTet’ was released in 1999 and includes some live elements of the band’s appearance at the Montreux Jazz festival. A second album “The Scarecrows” was recorded during a tour of Germany in 2000 and features several contributions from guests and from vocalist Sheila MacRory. One track from this album, “Dreams of Leaving”, was included on an album of Cheltenham Jazz Festival performers in 2003 and can also be heard on the CD release for the Moseley Jazz Festival in 2010. The most recent album, “Still Waters” was released 1 June 2011 based again around Tim Amann’s original material.
From 2005 the xTet has built up a close musical collaboration with leading Russian saxophonist and composer Oleg Kireyev, touring with him several times in the UK and also playing to large and enthusiastic audiences in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2007 and 2010. Further collaboration with Oleg is planned for the future.
Collectively or in various related projects members of the band have also performed with a long list of established jazz artists including Wynton Marsalis, David Murray, Art Farmer, Jean Toussaint, Scott Hamilton, Bobby Shew, members of the Buena Vista International Orchestra from Cuba, Courtney Pine, Tim Garland, Soweto Kinch, Dave O’Higgins, Guy Barker, Julian Arguelles, Tim Whitehead, Don Rendell, and also Martin Shaw, with whom several members of the band recorded the Walsall Jazz Orchestra’s most recent release – Little Steps, in 2007.
The Tim Amann xTet can be heard regularly in the Midlands when not playing further afield, at Birmingham Jazz supported events such as Rush Hour Blues and the Jam House as well as a regular monthly spot at The Trumpet in Bilston –usually on the third Sunday evening of the month. Tim is a longstanding member of Andy Hamilton’s Bluenotes and appears regularly at the Silvershine Club in Bearwood. He also plays around the Midlands with various other regular bands including ‘Skint’, led by Shrewsbury based Australian saxophonist Casey Green and trumpet legend Dick Pierce, Ray Butcher’s quintet and with jazz vocalist Roy Forbes. Recordings with Ray Butcher and Roy Forbes were released in 2018.