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Mace Francis to release 10th album with his long-standing orchestra


Mace Francis in the studio conducting, during the recording of the album No Postcode
Mace Francis. Photo by Ewa Ginal-Cumblidge

From big band jazz to funk, rock, noise guitar, ambient sounds, and dark country influences, you’ll hear it all on the new contemporary jazz album ‘No Postcode’ - the fourth studio album (and 10th album release) from the Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO) out on April 12th.

 

Perth icon Dr Mace Francis is no stranger to Australia’s jazz community. Artistic Director of the Perth International Jazz Festival and WA Youth Jazz Orchestra, current Churchill Fellow, and composer and band leader of projects including Mace Francis Plus 11 and New York Nonet - but it’s with the MFO, where you’ll hear the true Mace Francis best.

 

Written over the past six years, the six tracks on ‘No Postcode’ have taken on many iterations before landing on this release - MFO providing the canvas for Mace to express his many different musical influences, harmonies, and orchestral colours.

 

“It’s so nice to be able to write music that is me, rather than having to bend the music into a style,” says Mace.

 

“MFO is my main creative vehicle where I can really express what I’m feeling or thinking at the time of composing - more so than in any other band.”

 

Mace started the band in 2004 to experiment with big band composition after graduating from university and the project continues 20 years on. It’s featured a long list of up to 13 revolving musicians, with five original members remaining including Ricki Malet (trumpet), Ben Collins (saxophone), Mark Sprogowski (saxophone), Catherine Noblet (trombone) and Greg Brenton (drums).

 

Over the years, MFO have toured and recorded regularly achieving four national tours, performances with international jazz artists including Jim Pugh (USA), Jon Gordon (USA), John Hollenbeck (GER/USA), Satoko Fujii (JAP), Natsuki Tamura (JAP), Theo Bleckmann (USA) and Ed Partyka (Austria), released four studio albums and 10 albums, and commissioned 30 new pieces.

 

One of those commissions was ‘No Postcode’ by Mace’s close friend, Victor O’Connor, to be performed at his funeral. It’s the album’s title track and is influenced by the recordings of Frank Zappa and Turkish folk.

 

“The bassline for (the title track) ‘No Postcode’ came first and was in a time signature of three bars of 7/8 and then a bar of 6/8… so 7776. I didn’t know what to call the piece and as the number looked like a postcode, I was hoping it would reveal a place and a story,” Mace explains, “but, the search came up as no postcode!”

 

This piece was played for the first time at Victor’s wake, and despite the fact this album explores the themes of isolation, loss and loneliness - it’s not a sombre listen.


Full of memorable melodies, intriguing harmonies, and solos from some of Perth’s best musicians, you’ll lose track of time listening to ‘No Postcode’, forgetting any worries of the day.


‘No Postcode’ by Mace Francis Orchestra will be released digitally and on CD and LP on 12th April 2024.

 

The album is being launched on Saturday 13th April at The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth. TICKETS

 

Mace Francis will perform music from his last three albums including a preview of ‘No Postcode’ at The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide on 26th February with a 13-piece big band. TICKETS

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