Jonathan Bratoëff Quartet and Marcina Arnold


          The Jonathan Bratoëff Quartet came to life after Bratoëff, Seb Rochford and Pete Wareham studied at The School for Improvisational Music in New York with musicians Ralph Alessi, Ravi Coltrane and Jason Moran in 2003. With the arrival of Tom Mason on bass the band developed a strong sound and recorded the critically acclaimed album Between Lines in 2004 after a successful French tour of the same year.(4 stars Guardian, Evening standard amongst other, read the reviews

Since 2007 the line up has consisted of Jonathan Bratoëff on guitar and compositions, Tom Mason on bass, Mark Hanslip on sax and James Maddren on drums. Each musician brings with him great musical variety and adaptability to a band that looks for a truly contemporary sound with a strong emphasis on melody and energy while paying great attention to textures and sounds as well as forms and structures. It results in a music swaying between architecturally quite complex compositions to more free and open improvisations. The Jonathan Bratoëff Quartet draws influences from many sides of the jazz world, from Coltrane to Ornette Coleman to Jason Moran via the New York downtown scene and with powerful melodies, energetic and vibrant rhythms, rich colorful textures and a mixture of the jazz tradition blended with other musical idioms such as African, Rock and Latin music the listener experiences an honest sound that pushes boundaries and evokes raw emotions.

The album entitled Mindscapes was recorded in 2009 and was well received by the critics (4 stars Guardian, the Jazzman, read the reviews).

Since 2010 the band is now joined by singer Marcina Arnold and bassist Karl Rasheed-Abel and has recorded a new album entitled Words of My Father soon to be released in September 2013, following the same artistic direction as the previous ones but with maybe a more folky, bluesy angle.

It is entitled “Words of my father” since most lyrics are written by his dad, a scottish folk artist in his own right. The challenge was for acclaimed Jazz guitarist and composer  Bratoëff with already 5 albums under his belt to use those texts has an inspiration for his own contemporary jazz writing. It was as well an occasion for him to give out a meaningful angle to his music with lyrics which are politically charged or simply meditations or views on universal topics, something you don’t necessary have in purely instrumental music.

The result is mesmerising, with vibrant melodies, urban grooves, sophisticated harmony and meaningful lyrics there is definite uniqueness to this project and it has already attracted a dedicated following despite it’s early stage. Imagine a cross between Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Billie Holliday, Bjork and Steve Coleman!!

A Member of the audience has described the music has “Indie Jazz”, indeed that could be a fair description of what Jonathan Bratoëff’s “Words of my father is about.

Selected gig history in chronological order

Jamboree-Barcelona ´Spain


IMFP-Salon de provence-France

Le Jam-Montpellier-France

Le Pelle Melle-Marseille-France


Old Vortex-London-UK

Ealing Jazz Festival-London-UK

Broomhill art hotel-Devon-UK

Jazz en Touraine-Mont louis-France

Spice of Life-London-UK

New Vortex-London-UK

Kings Place-London-UK

Charlie Wright-London-UK

London Jazz Festival-London-UK

Thames Festival- London-UK

Pizza Express Dean Street-London-UK

The Fleece- Boxford-UK

The Clunny- Newcastle-UK

Millenium Hall-Sheffield-UK

The Rainbow- Birmingham-UK

James Maddren

James Maddren was born and brought up in Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, Sussex. When 11 he started school at Christ’s Hospital and throughout his time there played in many contrasting bands and orchestras. In 2004, whilst still at school, he traveled up to London every fortnight for drum lessons with Jim Hart, who was a huge influence and inspiration. Having left CH in summer 2005, he went on to study jazz percussion at the Royal Academy of Music, with Martin France as his drum tutor. James enjoys listening to and playing all kinds of music. He has played/plays with Gwilym Simcock Trio, Kit Downes Trio, Marc Copland/Stan Sulzman quartet, Phil Donkin, Will Vinson, Martin Speake quartet, Phronesis, Jonathan Bratoeff quartet, Tangent, Andrea Vicari quintet, Quentin Collins, Claire Martin and lots of other fantastic musicians and bands across London and the U.K.

Karl Rasheed-Abel

Karl began his musical career as a classical trombonist, switching to bass at the age of 16. Few years later he was accepted to study jazz bass at the Berklee School of music in Boston USA. Since then, he has performed, recorded and toured in the UK and internationally with an eclectic array of artists including Shabaka Hutchings, Soweto Kinch, Femi Temowo and Jay Phelps to name but a few.  

Mark Hanslip

After background playing alto in funk, classical and free improvised contexts in North West England Mark studied Jazz at Birmingham Conservatoire and gigged around Birmingham before settling in London in 2002.  Since moving to London Mark has become a member of various projects, including Alcyona Mick Quintet, Outhouse, Dave Manington Quartet, Steve Tromans HOWL Band, Hans Koller New Memories, Barry Green Quartet and Nostalgia 77.  He has also recently played with Henry Lowther’s Stillwaters, James Morrison Sextet, Brazilian star Ed Motta, and Mark Sanders.  Recent recordings include Hans Kollers “New Memories” and “London Ear” (featuring Steve Lacy), Alcyona Mick’s “Towards The Sun” and Steve Tromans “Howl and Other Poems”. Favourite saxophonists include Coltrane, Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Gary Thomas, Lee Konitz as well as older players like Don Byas and Coleman Hawkins.

Click on the photos to see some videos of the band

“Subtle, spontaneous, informed contemporary jazz.”

Time Out, London

John Fordham, The Guardian

Buy the albums by the Jonathan Bratoëff Quartet

“Downtown NYC edge; cut through with percolating African and Latin rhythms”

Time Out, London

“Thoughtful, delicate, yet powerful”                                                                                                     

Marcina Arnold

British born with Scottish and South African roots, Marcina’s first performance at the Edinburgh Festival at the age of 15 led “The Scotsman “ to write “ an astonishing young lady from Londonwho sings Bessie Smith blues in the mind boggling manner of a skilled veteran, who is sure to have the music world at her feet”.

Marcina has since been vocalist for Anthony Tidd’s “Quite sane”. Jason Yarde’s “Acoustic Bombastic” and “Dangerous Duets” (BBC Radio 3) and most recently F-IRE Collective’s Large ensemble.

She has worked with an array of South African artist such as Hugh Masekela, Bhusi Mhlonga and Eugene Skeef an was a member of Pinise Saul’s South African Gospel Singers, playing venues worldwide including the Royal Albert Hall and was part of Thebe Lipere’s 12 piece Djembe orchestra “Moropa”.

Her impressive repertoire includes as well collaborations/performances/recording with the late Bheki Mseleku, Grupo Batuque, Akimbo, Manu Ventura, Airto Moreina, Steve Williamson and Byron wallen.