Wednesday 14 February 2018

"A Day in the Life": Wild Card [Interview]

The brilliant jazz trio, Wild Card, return in 2018 with the incredible 'Life Stories' - their fourth album and a project that looks certain to build upon the rapturous reception of their 2015 predecessor.

'Organic Riot' was released to instant critical acclaim including invaluable praise from London's Evening Standard and The Telegraph with the latter publication bestowing on them the distinction of one of the 10 best jazz albums of the year.  The project served to truly introduce Wild Card and its members, Clement Regert (guitarist and band leader), Sophie Alloway (drummer) and Andrew Noble (organ and pianist) individually as incredible musicians each with a wealth of experience, and collectively as an awesome force who are skilled at crafting exquisite songs and elegantly weaving in elements of funk and Latin styles.

At their core, Wild Card is in fact a trio but one that thrives on collaboration, opening their doors to new and exciting combinations with each album.  So while vocalist Mary Pearce is new to the collective, and excels on The Rolling Stones cover of 'Paint It Black', long-term collaborators Graeme Flowers and Roberto Manzin (trumpet and tenor saxophone, respectively) rekindle their magic on horn duties as they did on 'Organic Riot' and 'Everything Changes'. Other guests on 'Life Stories' include Carl Hudson (synth), Denys Baptiste (tenor saxophone), Alistair White (trombone) and Will Fry (percussion).

The poignant title of 'Life Stories' - as each song written by Regert features inspiration from a life or story around him - adds another beautiful layer and depth to the music.  Some of the song titles are explained by Regert below with them ranging from being uplifting, inspiring, sad, touching... and the music that tells these stories is just as eloquent in its ability to bring them to life.  Wild Card are an exciting and innovative band and this album is a wonderful glimpse into just how good they are!

It's with great pleasure that Blue-in-Green:RADIO was able to secure time with Clement Regert to discuss the band and the everything involved with 'Life Stories'...

How did members of the band meet and come together to form Wild Card?
The core of the band is the organ trio made of myself, Clement Regert, on guitar, Sophie Alloway on drums and Andrew Noble on Hammond organ. We played for the first time together in July 2011 for a gig in a club where I had a residency at the time.  The alchemy worked straight away and we have been playing together since and recorded three albums together in 2012, 2015 and 'Life Stories' in 2018.  

Who have been some of the biggest influences in shaping the band's sound?
I write [and] arrange most of the material.  I have many influences ranging from Brazilian artists such as Baden Powell to Richard Bona, NTM and Guns & Roses. The live shows I have seen that really influenced me the most in the last 15 years were Roy Hargrove's RH Factor, EST (seen them four times) and Michel Camillo trio.

How would you say the album differs from 'Organic Riot'?
Not that much difference - still the same spirit and production but with more special guests and also maybe some better writing, especially for the horn parts as my friend, Graeme Flowers, the trumpeter, gave me some help with it.

Can you talk a little about what went into the making of 'Life Stories'?
It is called 'Life Stories' because all the tunes (apart from the bonus track) were written and inspired by events that took place or by people I have met in the last few eventful years. For example, 'Better Remorse Than Regret' was written after I have done something silly last year, and reminded me of my mantra "better remorse than regret".  I would still be a salesman in the building merchant trade in Paris like I was fifteen years ago without it.  Another example, 'Mummy Is In The Sky', which is something I had to say many times at bed time to my two daughters (their mum passed away in August 2016).

There are some exciting collaborations on the album: how did some of them come to pass?
All the special guests: Adam Glasser, Graeme Flowers, Denys Baptiste, Carl Hudson, Alistair White, Jim Knight, Will Fry (with the exception of Mary Pearce, the singer which I have met briefly before the recording) are musicians I had the chance to play at various gigs [with] in the last few years.  Many of those were Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club where we have a residency.

There's an excellent cover of The Rolling Stones' 'Paint It Black': what made you want to cover that song?
Well, I was not in a good place at the time and the lyrics spoke to me so I decided to make my own rendition.  The original is a great tune anyway.

You have excellent live videos on YouTube: how do you find your music transfers to a live stage?
Haha, I would rather ask "How do you think your music transfers onto an album?" as Wild Card is really something to experience live! Hence the live recording situation with almost no overdubs, limited amount of takes and very little editing.

Who would be a dream artist for Wild Card to either record or perform with?
There are so many artists I'd love to collaborate with!! Roy Hargrove, Trombone Shorty, MC Solaar, Erykah Badu, Bill Laurance, Cory Henry, Tim Garland, Gregory Porter, Christian Scott, Courtney Pine, Eric Legnini, Esperanza Spalding, Jamie Cullum, Jose James, Larry Golding, Sam Yahel, Roberto Fonseca, Neal Evans...

For more info on Wild Card and to purchase their new album, please visit:

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