Before Fabled play St Ives Jazz Club on December 11, I caught up with saxophonist/clarinettist, Sam Rapley.

Sam has played the Club before.

"It was a couple of years ago now, with a pianist called Maria Chiara Argiro and it was an absolute joy. Just being in such beautiful surroundings put us in the best possible headspace to play music.

"We were also bold enough to swim in the sea before our gig!

"I was actually meant to play in St Ives again last year, but sadly broke both my arms so couldn’t make it. I’m now fully recovered though and hugely looking forward to playing there again."

The group's debut EP, Short Stories, is, as the title implies, is a richly atmospheric and expressive musical interpretation of a collection of tales that tackle life, love and death.

"A lot of the tunes are influenced by things that have happened in my life and the lives of others around me," said Sam.

"These things, like falling in love or losing someone for example, have all been lived and experienced by countless other people throughout history. No two stories are ever the same but by telling my stories and those of the people around me, all I’m really doing is retelling stories from the past.

"A good story has to make you feel something. Feel empathy, feel anger, feel excitement - it doesn’t matter what it makes you feel but for me it has to evoke some kind of emotional reaction. And it has to provide an experience. When I read a book or listen to a piece of music, I want to forget all about what’s happening in my normal life and be transported to another world for those few minutes - it’s that feeling that I want to create with my music."


Th told through richly atmospheric and expressive music, which draws from Rapley and his fellow musicians shared love of jazz ensembles, literature, classical musicians, world music, modern composition and indie-folk.

- Cornwall is famous for its art and literary scene, it’s well known for Arthurian legendsy, sea tales and so many more old stories – could your time here inspire you?

Absolutely, as I mentioned before, just being in such beautiful surroundings with the sea so close by is always a huge inspiration for me. Fortunately we have a day off before our gig so we plan to explore the area and soak up as much nature and beautiful coastlines as we can.


Previous praise for Sam Rapley:

“They’re armed with an engaging storyteller attitude that accentuates the beauty found in how one note transitions to the next, how one passage builds up from another, and the way in which many streams of lyricism unite in a single-flowing confluence of imagery.” – Bird Is The Worm

“Rapley's tunes are well served by a highly competent young band, many of them rising stars in their own right.” – The Jazz Mann

Formed in 2014, Fabled is the brainchild of saxophonist/clarinettist, Sam Rapley. Following on from the success of their recent EP, the band have been performing extensively across the UK building a loyal fanbase and writing material for their debut album ‘Short Stories’. As the title implies, the album interprets collection of short stories tackling subjects such as life, love, and death told through richly atmospheric and expressive music, which draws from Rapley and his fellow musicians shared love of jazz ensembles, literature, classical musicians, world music, modern composition and indie-folk.

Originally from Manchester and now living in London, Rapley has been quickly solidifying himself as one of the most exciting up and coming musicians and composers in the scene. As well as playing in Fabled, Rapley plays regularly as a sideman with BBC Radio 3 Next Generation artist Misha Mullov-Abbado Group, Troykestra, Maria Chiara Argiro Quintet, Waaju and Ralph Wyld’s Mosaic. With these groups, he has performed extensively across the UK including performances at London Jazz Festival, King’s Place, Wigmore Hall, Ronnie Scott’s, Manchester Jazz Festival, Birmingham Town Hall and Cheltenham Jazz Festival, as well as touring Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Poland, Brazil and Mexico. Additionally, his own soundtracking work has recently appeared at Cannes Film Festival with short film ‘Duets’.

Looking at his recent work it’s easy to see how such a multifarious source of styles and genres have collided on ‘Short Stories’. At times the album calls to mind the likes of Mammal Hands, Gogo Penguin, Polar Bear and Tigran Hamasyan whilst undertones of Debussy, Ravel, Peter Broderick and Lau can also be heard throughout. Tracks such as ‘Old Owls’ capture the raw intensity that can be heard throughout the current London scene. Whilst elsewhere, tracks such as ‘Dove Stone’ and ‘H.G’ are heavily cinematic with mellifluous sax and clarinet lines layered over idiosyncratic guitar and piano parts, which provide percussive and rhythmic qualities whilst also intertwining melodies throughout Rapley’s playing.

There is a sentimental poetry to Fabled’s approach to finding new ways to tell age-old stories through their intimate and heavily textured music. Their redolent instrumentation and vast voicings speak volumes in the absence of words, giving contemplative life to the stories laid out by the band. Albums that manage to merge such a wide variety of styles and exhibit such a multitude of musical landscapes are rare. Fabled have produced a debut which is both accomplished and distinctive, and this is only the very start of their journey.

Fabled is:

Sam Rapley - saxophone / clarinet / compositions

Alex Munk - guitar

Matt Robinson - piano

Conor Chaplin - double bass

Will Glaser - drums

Dec 11th – St Ives Jazz Club, St Ives