Respectable Groove is the future of early music, say Radio 3. With its unmistakable combination of recorder, harpsichord, double bass and percussion, the group interprets medieval, renaissance and baroque music through a kaleidoscope of jazz and contemporary influences. Improvisations, just as it was for musicians from centuries past, is an essential ingredient of the intriguing mix that is Respectable Groove.
Brilliantly led by David Gordon, harpsichordist of choice for Andrew Manze and Nigel Kennedy, the band features recorder-player Evelyn Nallen who, according to the Guardian, 'pushes the supposed technical and timbral limitations of the instrument to spine-tingling extremes'. The dazzling percussion of Tom Hooper and the sinuous bass of Oli Hayhurst create a modern continuo for the 21st century.
These four musicians are leaders in their fields, their other activities ranging from French baroque dance music to tango to club scene and folk music. This gives both a global perspective to their music and a distinctively English flavour. Together, they draw an exhilarating array of colours from their instruments, with virtuosic solos, inventive compositions, beautiful melodies and delicate grooves.
Harpsichordist David Gordon has worked with Andrew Manze, Nigel Kennedy and the baroque orchestras English Concert and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. A prize-winning composer, he also has an established reputation as a jazz pianist, regularly collaborates with singer Jacqui Dankworth, and is joint musical director of Zum.
Recorder-player Evelyn Nallen made her BBC debut at the age of nine, and her remarkable skills span early, baroque and contemporary music. She has had works written for her by David Bedford, Carl Rütti and Roxanna Panufnik, and has given concerts all over the world.
Double bassist Oli Hayhurst is one of the most exciting young players to emerge in recent years. He has worked with artists ranging from Paul McCartney and Melanie C to jazz saxophone gurus Martin Speake, Tim Whitehead and Gilad Atzmon, and is also a member of the Mercury-nominated Zoe Rahman Trio.
Drummer Tom Hooper combines ferocious technique and a formidable sense of time with wit, lightness and remarkable empathy. Equally at home in the world jazz and rock, he has toured Europe and the US with a range of artists, from jazz violinist Chris Garrick to the indie band Stroke and pop diva Grace Jones.