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"Pinski Zoo deserve mega-stardom because it not only funked your socks off but foresaw future developments in jazz fusion"- The Guardian
" Organic, no-surrender, spiritually uplifting music" - AllAbout jazz.com
"At full throttle there's no sound as full-blooded or viscerally powerful as Pinski Zoo's" - JazzUK
"Pinski Zoo deliver with a compelling power unique in English Jazz" - The Wire
"Pinski Zoo themselves are highly original, almost uncategorizable" - The Independent
wondrously original unit...Jan Kopinski's eerie sax, Kari Bingham's
Hendrix-into-funk bass and keyboardist Steve Iliffe's astonishing
post-Zawinulisms. Pinski Zoo are good enough to make you want to
burn down the disco" -
Hi-Fi News and Record Review
"...volatile mixture of freedom and funk" - New York Times
and Bingham are two of the most exciting and original talents in
contemporary jazz " -
Virgin Encyclopedia of Jazz
PINSKI ZOO were voted Best Small Band at the British International Jazz Awards in Cannes 1991 and in 2011included in the Guardian and Observer's top 100 Jazz recordings in A History of Modern Music
...STEVE ILIFFE keys..........STEFAN KOPINSKI bass......JAN KOPINSKI saxes.........KARL BINGHAM bass..... PAT ILLINGWORTH drums...
PINSKI ZOO - LIVE
A truly original contemporary jazz outfit from the UK. Almost impossible to categorize they swing from virtuosic jazz to gritty funk with freedom and movement, veering into leftfleld territory and returning with snappy anthem-like tunes. Unpredictable and exciting, they carved a unique style in the UK and won praise from critics at home and abroad. Their eclectic fusion of style foreshadowed the move towards mixing influences in much of today's modern music. With 8 albums and extensive touring in Europe, Poland and New York in the late 80's and 90's and a "Best British Band" at the British International Jazz Awards in '91 they are back after several years of individual projects.
After catching the attention of, firstly the rock press (NME), they released their first album on Jan and Steve’s label - Dug-Out Records - in 1980 – “Introduce Me to the Doctor”…Recognition in the Indie Charts and a distribution deal with Rough Trade Records led them to further recordings , “The City Can’t Have it Back”, “The Dizzy dance Record” (with famous dub producer Adrian Sherwood) “Speak” and a couple of singles. the drummer at that time was Tim Bullock and bassist Tim Nolan and brother Mick on Percussion.
The great Karl Bingham first appeared on "The City...." before adjourning to tour with US soul artists.
Jan set up a tour of Poland through relatives and friends in Krakow - despite the recent residue of martial law in Poland (1982) the jazz scene was alive and kicking along with a wirerd mixture of reggae and punk. Polish form of dub inspired agit prop.In the band Nick Doyne Ditmas took the role and appears on "Speak" there was also Aniruddha Das on percussion - founder member of Asian Dub Foundation,Their first gig Jazz Nad Odra led to the release of “Live in Warsaw” album released on Poljazz , and a regular touring schedule of Europe followed . Jan returned to Poland with a second tour and set up a working relationship with Wojtek Konikiewicz, Polish pianist and composer, who toured UK with Jan and PZ in 1987.The band was uncategorizable. They were called Free Funk Jazz / Punk Jazz / Outfunk jazz ,etc……
Jan felt an endorsement for PZ's style whilst supporting Ornette Coleman and Prime Time and his harmolodic form of jazz, with its scattershot harmonic-rhythm-melody .
Now managed and recording for Jazz Café Records (the original influential London venue set up by Jon Dabner) PINSKI ZOO became a dominant force in the jazz fused scene of the late 80’s & 90’s.They recorded 2 more CDs “Rare Breeds” and the highly acclaimed “East Rail East”, now with Karl Bingham regularly on bass.Steve Harris joined on kit and brought a fluid free-wheeling feel to the band's sound , with a driving heavy edge.
In 1991 at the Cannes Midem Festival PINSKI ZOO was voted “Best Band “ at the British International Jazz Awards.
Further European tours followed, a stint at New York’s Knitting Factory and a British Council tour of Poland.and a CD in 1994 on Slam Records –“ De-Icer” - live tracks from Europe and New York.
Pinski Zoo continued to play in the late 90's and early 2000 but focussed on a diversity of projects between themselves rather than record. Jan released "Ghost Music" with Steve Iliffe and son Stefan brought into the mix, then later his music to silent film "Earth", whilst Steve Harris became more involved with his own outfit free improvising outfit Za-um. AFTER IMAGE is PZ's 2cd album featuring tracks from UK tours between 2003 -2005. The sound is the closest to the live sets - turn it up loud to feel the band in full flight. Jan and Steve Harris worked together with Zone K and Polish musicians,and recently before Steve's untimely death they played as a duet in a soundscape performance in Poole, which they had long promised themselves.
Pinski Zoo's rhythm section featuring the mighty twin basses are working with renewed vigour, with a new line up featuring the beautifully fleet and groovesome playing of Patrick Illingworth on drums, first heard to great effect on their 2007-2013 UK tours and more recently also with MIRRORS.
Rare Breeds - Jazz-Cafe Records
Live in Warsaw -Poljazz Records
Speak - Dug Out Records
The City can't Have it Back - Dug Out Records
The Dizzy Dance Record - Dug Out Records
Introduce me to the Doctor - Dug Out Records
2015 saw more PZ gigs with special guest Wojtek Konikiewicz with whom they first played on their 1985 Polish tours and subsequent album 'Live in Warsaw'
PINSKI ZOO Poland, tours 1985
Jan Kopinski - sax, Steve Iliffe - piano, Nick Doyne-Ditmas bass, Tim Bullock - drums, Aniruddha Das - percussion
PINSKI ZOO's line up until 2006, featuring the late Steve Harris on drums (click to read his obituary)