Surface Tension is a new quintet project from drummer and composer Luke Bainbridge. Drawing upon contemporary classical and groove-based backgrounds, Bainbridge's distinct compositional voice is harnessed to powerful effect by the quintet. As the relationship between improvisation and composition continues to change, the project explores different forms of musical storytelling. From large-scale journeys, to angular ritualistic loops, to subverting traditional improvising forms with multi-geared solo-coaster rides. In an eclectic mix of styles, this project is influenced as much by Béla Bartók as it is James Brown.


Sam Norris - Alto Saxophone

Billy Marrows - Guitar

Wilbur Whitta - Piano

Harry Pearce - Bass

Luke Bainbridge - Drums/composition

The band's compositional concept is largely informed by the refreshingly diverse improvising approaches of its members, who are all sought-after bandleaders, sidemen and composers in their own right. Between them, they have won the Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition four times, and hold an array of other awards (Metropole Orkest Arrangers' Workshop, Compass Composition Prize in association with BCMG, Eddie Harvey Jazz Arranger of the Year, semi-finalists in Riga Jazz Stage piano competition and BBC Young Jazz Musician) .

In January 2018, the band teamed up with Brazilian sound engineer Fellipe Baldauf (Latin Jazz Grammy - Natureza Universal) to record their first EP at the University of West London. This collaboration continued with a live recording of the band's debut gig at 606 Club, immersively captured by videographer Owen Diplock.

Currently preparing for their next live outing in May 2020, and with more plans to record and tour on the horizon, this exciting new quintet is set to make an impression within the UK music scene.