Carlo Mombelli

Carlo Mombelli


FREE, booking required

Carlo Mombelli bass
Richard Worth flute
Jonathan Crossley guitar
Jonno Sweetman drums

Renowned South African composer and bassist Carlo Mombelli presents a selection of works that ‘allow us to travel to imaginary places’ (Mombelli).

A note from the artist:

"Melody is, for me, one of the most important parts of creating a great composition or improvisation. When I listen to music, I am always attracted to and touched by the melody of the music. It is that which brings me into deep listening, and it is melody and tone that touches my soul. All the greatest works, no matter what the genre, have the most amazing melodies, and if I can find that melody – simple or complicated – I have achieved something in my composition that will last forever.

I do not usually sit down to write a composition: they happen at sporadic intervals of time.

Sometimes I have inspiration for many pieces and other times no compositions arrive. I say arrive because that is exactly what happens with me.

The compositions in this programme have all arrived from that unexpected place.

Most of them were composed over these last two years. From a ‘Lullaby for Planet Earth’, to ‘Clouds’ that are dreamy and allow us to travel to imaginary places."

In this concert Mombelli is joined by Music department lecturers Richard Worth and Jonathan Crossley as well as South African drummer Jonno Sweetman.

This lunchtime concert forms part of a weeklong South African presence at the University of Liverpool Department of Music, also including workshops and seminars culminating on Friday the 2nd of December with the launch of the new album ‘Inhale’.

Part of the Lunchtime Concert Series.

Post concert workshop

The lunchtime concert audience are invited to stay after the performance for a workshop. Mombelli will demonstrate how to create visual works to tell your story through music. He will talk and demonstrate how he learnt to compose and perform his bass styles as a South African, and how he uses sound design to create density, space, and balance in his compositions.

About Carlo Mombelli

In his 40-year career as a bass player, band leader and composer, the South African Carlo Mombelli (currently living in Johannesburg) has bridged gaps between genres, musicians and audiences.

A self-taught musician, he has recorded and performed at many respected music clubs and festivals, including the Roma Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival, the Stockholm Jazz Festival, the German Moers Festival, The Leipziger Jazztage, The BimHuis in Amsterdam, The Berliner Philharmonie, ‘On the Edge of Wrong’ festival in Norway, the Banlieues Bleues festival in Paris, Cape Town International Jazz festival, Festival Mundial in the Netherlands, the JazzWerkstadt in Bern, Switzerland, & ‘Rio Loco’ festival in Toulouse France, to name a few.

In these performances he has pefromed with (amongst others), Mick Goodrick, Charlie Mariano, Konstantin Wecker, Jeroen van Vliet, Malcolm Braff, Jorge Rossy, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Dejan Terzic, Wolfgang Haffner, Bill Elgart, Francois Jeanneau, Carine Bonnefoy, Samual Blaser, Barbara Dennerlein, Frodo Nymo, Håkon Mjåset Johansen, Kyle Shepherd and Adrian Mears.

He has also recorded for Enja Records with Egberto Gismonti as well as with Lee Konitz, and has contributed music and played on the 1989 tribute for Jaco Pastorius, ‘Basstorius’, that also features the bassists Mathew Garrison and Carles Benavent. In South Africa he has performed and worked with Duke Makazi, Ray Phiri, Barney Rachabane, Lionel Pillay, Hotep Galeta, Afrika Mhkize, Themba Mkhize, Khaya Mahlangu, Vuma Levin, Jono Sweetman, JB Arthur, Nduduzo Makhathini and Thandi Ntuli, to name a few, and can be heard as a bassist on many recordings with amongst others, Marcus Wyatt, Zim Ngqawana, Tony Cox, Tlale Makhene, Johnny Fourie, Jonathan Crossley, Simphiwe Dana, Kyle Shepherd, Keenan Ahrends, Siya Makuzeni, Nontuthuzelo Puoane, Kesivan Naidoo, Sibongile Khumalo, and Miriam Makeba.

In 2018 the Swiss/Italian 15-piece ‘Euregio’ Large Ensemble spent the year performing Carlo’s music at festivals around Europe.

In 2021 the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York presented Carlo performing his music together with the Grammy award-winning New York String Quartet ‘Ethel’.

About Jonno Sweetman

Jonno Sweetman is one of the most original and sensitive drummers on South Africa’s exploding music scene. His sound and approach attract attention wherever he plays and in whatever context he finds himself. Drumming is in his blood. His father, the late Robert Sweetman, was a great drummer who played professionally in the 60’s and 70’s.

Displaying a characteristic openness to all authentic musical forms, Jonno performs with Dan Patlansky, Gerald Clark and Albert Frost – three of South Africa’s best-established blues artists. He recorded with Clark on his 2016 release “The Golden Goose” and with Frost on “The Wake Up”. Both albums were nominated for South African Music Awards.

About Jonathan Crossley

Jonathan Crossley is a composer, performer, and Lecturer in Music Technology at the University of Liverpool where he leads courses in hardware hacking, hyper instruments, and free improvisation. He has a specialised interest in poly-genre musical cultures, creative practices, and mediative technologies. Using the guitar, he explores stylistic outings from classical to improvisation, jazz through electronic and developing instrumental and system innovations.

Early works include the acoustic album Dreams of Skilia (2001), the chamber jazz album My Friends and I (2004), the rock/funk albums Funk for the Shaolin Monk (2007) and Got Funk Will Travel (2009). Funk for the Shaolin Monk and Got Funk Will Travel toured extensively from 2007-2014 with performances in South Africa, Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Slovakia, and The Czech Republic.

The free-improvisatory album ‘What if the Machines Spoke Back to You’ (2011) marked a shift away from lead sheet-based improvisation toward systems-enabled free improvisational practices. A range of albums and performances have explored these technologies such as The Settlement (2017) with Mpho Molikeng, Blipz (2018) with Reza Khota and Jonno Sweetman, Deep Spacer – 433 Eros (2020), 3 Cities (2015) with Lukas Ligeti and Sweetman and the four Son0_Morph albums released during 2021 with Carlo Mombelli, Sweetman, Kathleen Tagg and Cameron Harris.

He has relentlessly pursued innovation in research which led to the development of an extended guitar system or hyper-instrument, the Cyber-Guitar, which extended the capacities of the traditional electric guitar beyond the use of the hands, encompassing the joints of the upper body using a mechanical exoskeleton.