Comfort in Chaos: new music and spoken word for jazz ensemble and poets

2nd July 2021

Comfort in Chaos  new music and spoken word for jazz ensemble and poets

celebrating the work of 1625 Independent People

composed by Harriet Riley and Pete Judge


‘Comfort in Chaos’ is a suite of new compositions inspired by, and aiming to raise awareness of the 1625 Independent People. The suite will be premiered in Bristol on Saturday 18th September 2021 at the 1532 Arts Centre. It brings together two contrasting musicians/composers for their first collaborative project, working with two young poets, Jj and Danni Willey, who have been supported by 1625 Independent People.

Harriet Riley is a virtuoso percussionist, a highly acclaimed and much-sought after musician. After studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, she has amassed a wealth of experience in high-profile places. Recently described ‘as an unmistakeable voice on vibraphone’, Harriet is a member of Spindle Ensemble and Ethiopean-inspired jazz band, Tezeta. She has composed extensively for dance and theatre projects, and “Comfort in Chaos” will be her first large-scale jazz composition.

Pete Judge has been described as “a Bristol music phenomenon” by BBC Radio 3. He is a trumpeter with the internationally-acclaimed post-jazz quartet, Get The Blessing, a multi-instrumentalist with the acoustic trio, Three Cane Whale, and has composed music for film, theatre, dance, spoken word, and multi-media installation.

In addition to the music, the suite will include poetry written by Jj and Danni, who have worked with award-winning local poets and workshop leaders Robert Walton and Shagufta Iqbal, to transform their ideas and experiences into text and spoken word. This poetry is woven into the fabric of the composition.

Daniella Willey is a talented young poet who started her poetry journey through 1625ip.

Jess Haines, performing as Jj, started writing as a therapeutic tool to process her trauma, and found relief and validation by performing her work.

The music of this project, to be performed by a 7-piece ensemble of Bristol’s best jazz and contemporary musicians, will respond to the issues, stories and journeys at the heart of the charity, tracing a possible route from isolation to confident independence.

At the same time, the music takes more abstract inspiration from the charity’s name, using the digits 1 + 6 and 2 + 5 as a kind of numerological spell: the magic number seven and its fractions, are applied to rhythms, melodies, harmonic progressions, structures, and instrumental combinations.  From these unexpected starting points, Harriet Riley and Pete Judge have produced music of depth and atmosphere, struggle and resolution, lyricism and power, in tribute to 1625ip’s vital and undersung work.

Dom Wood, CEO of 1625 Independent People, said, “I am very proud of the work done by the young poets to bring their stories – and that of the charity – to a wider public. And I am delighted that the work of 1625 Independent People is being celebrated by way of a world premiere new jazz suite, which is a first for us”.


Tickets are available here

Please come along for a great night and to support 1625ip


The Performers:

  • Harriet Riley: In addition to the above, Harriet has worked with BBC NOW, the Paraorchestra, and a specially commissioned percussion concerto, “Heartbeat” by William Goodchild, which she performed with Bristol Symphony Orchestra to a sell-out audience at St George’s Bristol. She is also a key member of the Bristol-based Bloom Collective, from which have sprung Tezeta and Spindle. Her recent jazz/folk crossover album “Sonder”, with violinist Alex Garden, has garnered rave reviews.
  • Pete Judge: A graduate of Keith Tippett’s Seedbed Orchestra in the early 1990’s, he has since followed an eclectic path encompassing a vast range of musical styles and situations. In addition to the above bands he is a member of Orfic, Dhakla, The Invisible Apples and Eyebrow. He has worked in contexts ranging from solo piano to poetry collective and brass band to full orchestra.  He has collaborated with Super Furry Animals, High Flying Birds, Kneehigh Theatre and Massive Attack, amongst many others.
  • Jj: Jess has been supported by 1625ip. She grew up with the stage in her blood. From a young age, she had a passion for theatre and creative writing. Studying performing arts at college, she worked hard despite the problems created by undiagnosed disabilities. Jj shares her experiences through poetry to connect with an audience.
  • Danni Willey: Daniella has spoken in schools, colleges and homeless events. Daniella wants to use her experience of homelessness to bring a shocking, heartbreaking reality of what it’s like to be young and homeless. Daniella has spread her homeless journey through Bristol radio interviews as well as featuring in a documentary mini-series with Channel 4.


The other musicians are Bass – Stevie Toddler, Drums – Matt Brown, Cello – Caelia Luniss Violin – Jo Silverston, Piano, keys and synth – Georgie Ward.

The gig will be supported by special guests The Invisible Apples.

  • The music and words have been recorded and will be available at the premiere, as CD and download.
  • In addition, the young poets have worked with local poetry publisher Small Press, and all their material and more will be released as a stand-alone book, also available at the premiere.
  • The first performance will be at the 1532 Performing Arts Centre on Saturday 18th September @ 19.30. Part of the performance will be repeated at the charity’s annual fundraising ‘Sleep Out’ on 21st October 2021
  • The premiere performance is being sponsored by Bouygues UK, construction and development company currently building Castle Park View in Bristol and one of the constructors at Hinkley Point C
  • The main sponsor of the project is Nick Hooper, chair of 1625 Independent People and former member of the board of the Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival in association with well-known music promoter/producer Ian Storror (Jazzata).


For further information contact Nick Hooper via and we will put you in touch!

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