Pete Canter’s composing projects include writing for his own jazz combos, writing for larger ensembles which include jazz and classical instruments and writing for contemporary music ensembles.
Pete has composed several new tunes and re-arranged some of his existing originals for a group including strings. Originally a jazz trio plus cello, this band has been expanded first with drums and most recently with viola. The music is European style contemporary jazz with elements of latin jazz and also a folk flavour. The music was first performed in the Exeter Vibraphonic Festival in March 2016 at Exeter Phoenix. The musicians were Lucy Welsman on cello, Matt Johns on keys, Valere Speranza on double bass and Pete on soprano saxophone. After a recording session with a quintet version of this band there is now an album on the way. Pete Canter’s Sky Ensemble performed at Teignmouth Jazz Festival in November 2016 (quintet) and will play the Exeter Vibraphonic Festival on Wed 15th March 2017 (sextet) and at Crediton Methodist Church as a joint promotion by Crediton Music Makers and the Moon Jazz & Blues Club on Saturday 22nd April 2017 (sextet).
TUBES for alto flute & bass clarinet
Also performed for the first time at the Exeter Vibraphonic Festival 2016, Tubes is a contemporary music duet for alto flute and bass clarinet. Tubes was composed by Pete specifically for classical musicians Robert Stephenson (flute) and John Welton (bass clarinet). This recording of Robert and John perfoming Tubes was captured by Pete in his home studio on 18th March 2016.
KOIVU JA KATAJA for Teppo Fest 2016
This is a short piece for unaccompanied double bass for performance in Teppo Festival 2016 celebrating the 75th birthday of Finnish double bassist and composer Teppo Hauta-aha. Koivu ja Kataja (The Birch and the Juniper) interleaves sections of punchy pizzicato with flowing bowed sections representing the two aspects of Teppo’s musical life in jazz and classical music. Pete played Koivu ja Kataja at Teppo Festival in May 2016.
In 2015 Pete composed and created “The Gathering”, a 25 minute piece for solo saxophone and soundscape which was specially written for performance at the Exeter Respect Festival on Sun 7th June 2015. The soundscape combines elements of pre-recorded instrumental sounds (double bass, electric bass, guitar, keys, drums, congas all played by Pete), electronic sounds and found sounds. The music is atmospheric, blues influenced and generally chilled out but interrupted by episodes of Pete’s contemporary music writing. The Gathering refers to the gathering of people at the festival, which is a celebration of diversity in Exeter, and a gathering together of Pete’s diverse instrumental and composition skills, styles and techniques.
Another of Pete’s recent composition projects is Clock Works, a suite of four movements each lasting exactly 10 minutes, for 10-piece improvising ensemble Off the Cuff. The process of musical events in the piece is controlled by a clock and while certain harmonies and rhythmic events are specified in the score, the musicians are given wide latitude in their interpretation and lots of space for improvisation. Clock Works was performed by Off the Cuff in the Exeter Vibraphonic Festival on Friday 20th March 2015 at Exeter Phoenix.
IF WE COULD SEE THROUGH NEUTRINO EYES
Scored for a small contemporary ensemble of flute, bass clarinet, percussion, violin and cello, the title, If We Could See Through Neutrino Eyes is taken from something said by a particle physicist during a discussion of neutrinos in an episode of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time on Radio 4. The musical material was originally generated as a series of isorhythms for the flute, violin, cello and temple blocks which collide, combine, duplicate and decay. These are set against, interact with and at times overwhelm the bass clarinet melody. The piece is periodically broken by moments of peace in the form of sustained chords. This version is generated in Sibelius software. If you play with or represent a contemporary music group that would be interested in performing this piece or you would like to talk to me about a commision for your group do contact me. If We Could See Through Neutrino Eyes was played by Kokoro, contemporary music ensemble of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at a workshop led by James MacMillan and Mark Forkgen on Saturday 2nd March 2013 at The Lighthouse, Poole as part of the B.S.O.’s South West Composers Day.
Scored for flute, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, flugelhorn, cello and double bass, Garzonic is inspired by the chromatic, triadic approach to jazz improvisation of legendary U.S. saxophonist George Garzone.
DUET FOR BASS CLARINET AND ALTO FLUTE
A challenging contemporary music duet for two of Pete’s favourite instruments.
THE INVISIBLE MAN
Music for soprano saxophone and amplified double bass. A 10-12 minute piece with a strong jazz influence, incorporating implied harmony (hence the title), sections of constrained and free improvisation and written passages which contrast haunting minor melodic lines with frantic repeating and interlocking triplet figures. The Invisible Man was given it’s debut performance at a Non-Classical event at The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter on 30th June 2013 with Pete Canter on soprano sax and Jim Rintoul on double bass.
Commissioned for the Exeter Vibraphonic Festival, Sketches is a suite scored for the OCTOBER ENSEMBLE, a 10-piece band made up of jazz quartet, strings and horns. The music is a blend of contemporary jazz themes, minimalist soundscapes, latin and downbeat grooves and improvisation. Sketches was premiered on Sat 13th March 2010 at Exeter Phoenix. The event was supported by Exeter Arts Council, Exeter Phoenix and private sponsors, St David’s Equine Veterinary Surgeons and Glanville Robinson Solicitors. Sketches was also perfomed at Tiverton High School in June 2010 by a quindectet: 6 violins, 2 cellos, 2 flugelhorns, french horn, piano, bass, drums and saxophone.
Pete Canter began composing for small jazz combos a number of years ago and recorded Down from the Trees, Slick and Why Not at the end of 2004 with a quartet comprising Dhevdhas Nair on piano, Riaan Vosloo on bass and Mark Heyward on drums. These were first released on the 2005 Pete Canter Quartet album and then re-released in 2007 on his compilation album So Far.
In 2005, he was awarded a mentoring grant by Artsmatrix to study jazz composition with internationally renowned saxophonist/composer Iain Ballamy and worked with him for a nine month period between 2005 and 2006.
He went on to write a collection of tunes scored for a quintet with sax and trumpet frontline. This band, Pete Canter’s OCTOBER QUINTET gave a debut performance of the music in the 2007 Exeter Summer Festival supporting the Kyle Eastwood Band and received a great reception. The OCTOBER QUINTET went on to perform at the Taachi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton and at sell-out concerts at the Bridge Inn, Topsham and at the George Hotel, South Molton. The band also went down a storm in the 2008 North Devon Festival performing at Zena’s in Barnstaple. These compositions draw on influences from the hard-bop, be-bop and latin jazz tradition, the musical styles of Horace Silver, Bill Evans and Kenny Wheeler, experimental and contemporary classical music approaches and free jazz. The October Quintet: Pete Canter (tenor sax & compositions), Tim Sayer (trumpet/flugelhorn), Ian Wright (piano), Kevin Sanders (double bass), Dave Sheen/Gary Evans (drums).
Outside In was a suite of compositions scored for the October Quintet. It was performed in the 2008 Exeter Autumn Festival with the support of a grant by Exeter City Council. The event was staged at the Amber Rooms in Exeter to a packed house including many young people who do not usually listen to contemporary jazz.
Also in 2008 Pete was featured in a PRS-MCPS monthly podcast of new composers.
Ununbium, a quartet album of original tunes, some first written for the quintet and others newly composed was recorded in 2009. The band was Jim Blomfield on piano, Wayne Elliot on bass and Gary Evans on drums. The album came out well and received good reviews. Various incarnations of the Pete Canter Quartet/Quintet continue to perform this material live. See Albums
Lightflight the second Pete Canter Quartet album of original tunes and was recorded in 2013 with Jim Blomfield on piano, Sol Ahmed on double bass and Mark Whitlam on drums. It features Pete on soprano and tenor saxophones and comprises ten tracks of Pete’s original compositions. Like Ununbium, Lightflight received good 3* reviews from Jazzwise magazine. See Albums
Strange Bird by Pete Canter’s Sky Ensemble is Pete’s latest album of original music and features Pete on soprano saxophone, cellist Lucy Welsman, Matt Johns on piano, Jim Rintoul on double bass and Gary Evans on drums. The music has a strong folk influence while retaining Pete’s distinct contemporary jazz style. See Albums