Award-winning saxophonist Julian Siegel brings his Jazz Orchestra to Turner Sims, Southampton

Award-winning saxophonist Julian Siegel brings his Jazz Orchestra to Turner Sims, Southampton

BBC Jazz Award winning saxophonist Julian Siegel embarks on a major tour in February with the Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra celebrating his acclaimed album Tales from the Jacquard, bringing him to Southampton’s Turner Sims on the 9th. 

The Orchestra features some of Julian’s favourite musicians from the UK and European scenes and presents a rare opportunity to see this hand picked, stellar line-up perform together.

The tour will feature Julian’s music for the Jazz Orchestra from the new album, from expansions and arrangements of music written for small bands to the suite commissioned by Derby Jazz composed especially for the orchestra ‘Tales from the Jacquard’ plus new arrangements and compositions written for this tour.

Julian explains: “Tales from the Jacquard’ draws inspiration from the lace-making process and the Jacquard cards, which controlled the lace knitting machines.” 

His parents and family ran a lace manufacturing business in Nottingham for over 50 years. He continues: “I have clear memories of trips to the lace factory with my Dad in the 1970’s and hearing the sound of the machines – he wanted to conduct them! My Dad always had a great love for music and after work, Ellington, Basie and many more Jazz Greats would be on the turntable as well as a lot of classical music. It seemed like a natural thing to explore the lace making process to inspire new music.”

Experimentation with Jacquard cards played a key role in Siegel’s compositional process – as he explains: “I was sent a single card by Cluny Lace, a long established Leavers Lace factory in the East Midlands. At the factory I saw the Jacquard machines with their sheets of punched cards transmitting the pattern to the lace machines. With more research, I was delighted to find musical possibilities within that card. The fact that each card contains numbers as well as rhythms gave me lots of musical ideas.” 

Having originally translated its card language into lace, the Jacquard now informs musical construction, creating melodies, rhythms, orchestrations and harmonic structures, and this combination of jazz composition and living industrial history creates a fascinating, immersive and joyful mix.

Balancing the mathematics of the Jacquard and allowing his band improvisational freedom was a consideration: “I wrote for the improvisers in the band and tried not to prescribe the music too much and let the band play.” This translates into a hands-off approach to compositions, with ample room for improvisation built into the forms.

For tickets and more information, visit

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