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Fast-emerging Scottish composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist corto.alto has been described as a traditional jazz head raised in the age of the internet. The moniker of Glasgow-based Liam Shortall, corto.alto brings a fresh perspective to a heady mix of intuitive improvisation, electronic production, broken beat bounce and bass-heavy dub. His debut album ‘Bad With Names’ out in Oct 2024, honest and iconoclastic, is challenging the boundaries of contemporary jazz.

Championed by Gilles Peterson, Jamie Cullum, BBC 6 Music, KCRW, Jazzwise, Fip radio in France and RRR in Australia to name a few, as well as the editorial teams at Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp, Shortall says ‘Bad With Names’ is about “forgiving yourself”, articulating themes of misspent youth, the passing of time, and the horrors of the accelerating news cycle with the dexterity of a lyricist across twelve instrumental tracks. In doing so, it brings together some of the UK’s finest young players, including Mercury prize- nominated pianist Fergus McCreadie, trumpet player James Copus, trombonist Anoushka Nanguy, drummer Graham Costello, with the flair of a string quartet, taking the corto.alto sound in a new direction.

Having cut his teeth playing trombone in Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and making beats in his bedroom, Shortall has the chops to match the top players in the country and beyond. Proud of his Glaswegian upbringing and Irish-Spanish heritage (corto.alto translate as short, tall in Spanish), his renegade sound is a constant push-and-pull of bravado and vulnerability. As he explains, “the title Bad With Names comes from feeling like in the madness of it all you’re losing the ability of memory, or at least the illusion of that.”

The summer of 2023 saw corto.alto play Glastonbury, Love Supreme and Barcelona’s Jamboree Jazz Club, followed by a sold-out UK tour to promote his debut album, including packed London Jazz Cafe and Glasgow QMU. corto.alto is standing tall, holding the torch for Glasgow and ready to rip up the rulebook in the process.

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Jeroen van den Bogert



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