Author: Daniel Marx

Kit Downes & Tom Challenger @ Liverpool International Jazz Festival | Gig Review

The Liverpool International Jazz Festival plays host to a wide variety of performances, bringing in musicians from around the world. They also spotlight musicians who represent some of the more off the beaten path strands of the British jazz scene. Pianist Kit Downes and saxophonist Tom Challenger are long-time collaborators who have picked up the reins left, following the fairly recent deaths of luminaries of the British avant-garde, John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler. Downes and Challenger convey in their music the same profundity and wistfulness that some feared lost following John Taylor’s death in 2015. If I may be...

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Jacob Collier @ Gorilla, Manchester | Gig Review

There’s a metaphorical contract one signs when going to a Jacob Collier gig: leave any expectation of subtlety at the door – you’re not getting any.   Musical polymath, Jacob Collier is currently touring the world, supporting his new album, Djesse Vol.1, the first of a four-part series of records that he says capture four distinct musical worlds. This first one is all about grandeur, and features instrumental arrangements by the incredibly versatile Metropole Orkest, conducted by Jules Buckley. This tour, however, doesn’t feature the orchestra.  Instead, Collier is accompanied for the first time by a regular band, comprised...

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The Independent Group is a Glimmer of Hope for British Politics

On Monday, seven former Labour MPs stood bravely in front of the world to announce their departure from the party. They have formed an ‘Independent Group’ which will sit in Parliament, representing a long departed political middle ground and providing a sense of desperately needed relief for those of us who have felt politically homeless for the last few years. From the earliest stages of my political engagement, Labour felt like the natural political home for me. I joined the party under Ed Miliband in 2014 because I wanted to do something to support the party ahead of the...

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Best Original Score | A 2019 Oscars Opinion

The category for Best Original Score is often left out of the fraught conversation around the Oscars every year, and that’s understandable. The most visible elements of any film up for awards consideration, or any film for that matter, are its performances and its visual style. It is also often the case that those who are paid to write and comment on the Oscars, are not adequately musically literate, or interested enough to devote any significant amount of time to discussing the scores that often help to make these films so emotionally affecting. In the last few years, I’ve...

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The Sphinx Album Roundup | Best of 2018

2018 was a year full to the brim with political outrage, controversy, backlashes and twitter pile-ons, and while we often hear that art reflects life, it isn’t often that so much of a year’s music is as socially and politically outspoken as it was this past year. We here at The Sphinx have put together a list of some of each writer’s personal favourite albums released in 2018, and we did so without really discussing our choices first. What came as something of a surprise was that this theme of social reflection, and political ire, was so prevalent on...

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