The Spike Orchestra
The Spike Orchestra is an experimental big band led by composer Sam Eastmond.
Formed as a crucible to test the limits of the big band format to breaking point, the Spike Orchestra is a vehicle for Eastmond's most outrageous and ambitious musical experiments.
Combining intricate orchestration and freewheeling improvisation the Spike Orchestra draw inspiration from jazz, rock, Radical Jewish Culture, downtown, surf, cartoon, noir, metal, classical and free improvisation sources as ingredients for their musical alchemy.
"The Spike Orchestra fuses klezmer with surf rock in an oddly resonant admixture, run through the apparatus of a jazz big band."
New York Times 2018
The Spike Orchestra are closely associated with John Zorn having composed two volumes of his epochal Masada series 2015's Cerberus & 2017's Binah.
Their 2020 release Splintered Stories is born out of Eastmond's 2019 New Music Biennial commission which premiered at a sold out Southbank Centre, and continues and extends Eastmond's Radical Jewish Culture journey which began with 2014's Ghetto.
Ghetto available from Bandcamp here
Cerberus & Binah available from TZADIK & Downtown Music Gallery (as well as all good record shops)
Splintered Stories available from here
Explosive and dynamic quartet formed from the Spike Orchestra rhythm section family; featuring Moss Freed - Guitar, Elliot Galvin - Piano, Otto Willberg - Bass, Will Glaser - Drums playing the compositions of Sam Eastmond.
Conceived from a desire to create music from his head Eastmond's Gulgoleth (the Hebrew word for skull) was born out of watching and hearing the symbiotic interplay between these virtuosic musicians in Spike Orchestra settings and a desire to test and stretch their telepathy.
Gulgoleth is an outrageous and twisted trip through Eastmond's psyche drawing diverse and eclectic inspiration from a myriad of sources from Zorn to the Marx Brothers via Carl Stalling, Jack Smith, and the Astronauts.
Sam Eastmond GULGOLETH is available from CHANT RECORDS here
Growing out of a loft trumpet hang and mutual appreciation of Laurie Frink, Dave Douglas and Bill Dixon TORU is an improvising trumpet trio of Eastmond Andy Watts, and Celeste Cantor-Stephens.
Formed as an experiment in what would happen if TORU challenged themselves to create and release a new volume of music each month, with each release featuring a different guest improvisor, TORU has relentlessly maintained their output and featured some of the most distinctive and outspoken auteurs from their musical circle including Dr. Sarah Gail Brand, Moss Freed, Otto Willberg, Marco Quarantotto, Julian Nicholas, Francesca Ter Berg, Shirley Smart, Noel Langley, Josephine Davies and a host of other outrageous cats.
TORU is a monthly Bandcamp series available here
TORU Anthology 1. is available from CHANT RECORDS here
Historical Treasures of Atlantis
Named for Jack Smith and created to bridge a gap between Eastmond's large and small ensembles, and to further explore the intersection of composition and improvisation as conceptual starting points the Historical Treasures of Atlantis are;
Charlotte Keeffe - trumpet
Sam Eastmond - Trumpet
Alex Paxton - Trombone
Tom Briers - Tuba
Mike Wilkins - Winds
Olly Chalk - Piano
Moss Freed - Guitar
Paul Moylan - Bass
Marco Quarantotto - Drums
Studio project with long time collaborator Ben Greenslade-Stanton (Trombonist and producer on three Spike Orchestra albums)
Funky, afrobeat, soundtrack smash-ups featuring Eastmond, BGS, Jon Gillies - Tenor Sax, Matt McNaughton - Bari Sax, Tom Williams - Guitar, Holley Grey - Bass, Dave Longman - Drums, Mark Claydon - Percussion, Sven Benton - Organ & featuring Shawn Lee & Jettricks
Pressure75: MELTDOWN available here