Meet Down for the Count's musicians: Jordan Murray

Published: 01 Apr 2024

How/when did you first get involved with Down for the Count?

My first involvement with Down for the Count was during the Christmas tour in 2021. My old flatmate Luke, who used to play trumpet with Down for the Count, recommended me. I ended up doing that tour, which actually ended up being cut short because of COVID. 

Since then I have done the other tours, as well as some functions too. 

 

What was your first experience with jazz/swing music? 

I didn’t actually really listen to jazz when I was growing up. I think that my first experience with jazz was probably when I was studying up in Manchester, and it was quite eye opening to me that this whole genre existed. I ended up listening to a lot of the classics like Miles Davis and Gershwin and lots of early jazz. 

 My first experience of playing jazz was a lot of early 20s jazz stuff when I was at college. I then got really into all of the New Orleans based jazz, bands like Tuba Skinny and anything that involves a washboard. 

 

Percussionist Jordan Murray performing with Down for the Count Orchestra 

What other musical projects are you involved with outside of Down for the Count?

I run my own ceilidh band, which is good fun. We do a lot of weddings, functions, St. Patrick’s Day and Burns Night events.

I’ve got a project coming up at the Opera House with the Royal Ballet. A lot of my work outside of Down for the Count is mostly folk or early music. 

I also just generally freelance. The nice thing about percussion is that you can sort of dip into lots of different genres. I’m about to do a tour with the folk band I play with called Ranagri. We’ve got a few albums that we’re going to release later in the year as well, it’s nice being part of a creative project where you get to write and have input. 

 

What are your hobbies when you’re not performing? 

I mean, eating would be one of the top ones. Any catching up with friends or family usually happens over a meal, so they sort of go hand in hand. 

I enjoy woodworking, which I don’t have that much time to do, but it’s something that I really enjoy. 

I would like to also say travelling, but that sort of goes hand in hand with being a musician sometimes. I travel a lot as a musician, so it sometimes puts me off travelling outside of music. I also just love a good film. 

 

What’s the best gig you have ever been to? 

When I lived out in the U.S. I went to see Muse in Cincinnati. They were incredible, I had been to a few stadium gigs in the past, but I had always been a massive fan of Muse so I think seeing them live was just super awesome. 

 

Percussionist Jordan Murray performing with Down for the Count Orchestra

 

Who are your musical influences? 

A few from different genres. There’s a percussionist called Itamar Doari, he’s an Israeli percussionist and he’s phenomenal at Arabic and Middle Eastern percussion. So he is a huge influence in that area. 

Folk-wise, I would say the other members of the band that I play in. They have such different backgrounds, and since I have joined the band they have all been quite influential in different ways. 

One of my teachers at Guildhall also really got me into doing some more unusual stuff that wasn’t just classical percussion. He very much inspired me to do other things and look outside the box when it came to looking for work. 

 

Percussionist Jordan Murray performing with Down for the Count Orchestra

 

What is your favourite jazz album/song/recording? 

There’s a group called Gringo’s Washboard Band, and there’s a recording of them playing The Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia at a live gig. It’s such an awesome and high energy recording, and it was one of my first experiences of seeing washboard in that setting. As someone who was quite late to the jazz world, that recording just really stuck with me. 

 

What is your favourite part of being in Down for the Count? 

I think that it is the balance of professionalism and knowing how to have fun. It doesn't matter what a long week or month you’ve had, people are still always doing an absolutely incredible job and somehow still great fun to be around. It’s just a very nice and welcoming atmosphere. 

 


About the author

Ruby Willis

Ruby is Down for the Count's marketing and communications assistant. When she is not writing Facebook posts and making Instagram reels, she is often performing in short films or physical theatre shows.

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