Cutting edge jazz, but not as we know it

Professor of Surgical Education Roger Kneebone (yes that really is his name!)

A unique music event is to explore the unlikely parallels between surgery and jazz, with simulated brain surgery and improvised soundtrack, at the Cockpit Theatre, November 16.

On Monday November 16 a unique music event is to explore the unlikely parallels between surgery and jazz, with former trauma surgeon and Professor of Surgical Education Roger Kneebone, Consultant Neurosurgeon Mark Wilson, pianist Liam Noble and drummer Ollie Howell. 

The Cockpit Theatre plays host at a special EFG London Jazz Festival ‘Jazz In The Round’ transforms the setting the setting for simulated brain surgery, intertwined with live music and discussion. 

In the second half Ollie Howell presents music with his own group, whose debut album ‘Sutures and Stitches’ has a special significance.

Howell said, “This album chronicles a life changing and defining point of my life that had both dramatic highs (including the befriending and mentorship of Quincy Jones and Jimmy Cobb) and also dramatic lows. In 2009, I was diagnosed with a brain malformation, for which I then had several neurosurgeries, the latest being in April 2012. The resulting scars from those surgeries (and their sutures and stitches) stand as reminders, not of my pain and anguish during that time, but of my recovery and determination to heal and to forge something positive from it. The music on the album, all created during this period of my life (some of which written from my hospital bed), would probably never have been born, were it not for my journey throughout these past few years”

What do jazz and brain surgery have in common? It turns out they both involve improvisation. Professor Roger Kneebone has been working with The Welcome Foundation to de-mystify surgery and bring to attention its surprisingly improvisatory nature.

Ollie and the Professor have already met at a gig. Expect a convincing simulated brain operation conducted by consultant neurosurgeon Mark Wilson, a set from pianist Liam Noble, a conversation about the characteristics shared by jazz players and surgeons and the extent to which team improvisation is crucial to both and a closing set where anything might happen.

See more at The Cockpit Theatre website.

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