Artist, musician, educator

The Wide Alley

The Wide Alley is a 10 piece Chinese/Australian bigband directed by Vanessa Tomlinson and Erik Griswold, reinterpreting Sichuan folk music. The work was premiered as part of the 2007 Queensland Music Festival and consists of ten original pieces incorporating Sichuan Opera Percussion, the calls of street vendors, Qin Yin style singing, the “cotton man” and influences from jazz, free improvisation and contemporary art music.

The Wide Alley extends a long commitment to the musics of Sichuan province which began with a visit with Erik Griswold and Harry Castle for the Sichuan Conservatory 60th Anniversay back in 1999. Thanks to our wonderful host Zou Xiangping I was able to experience the local opera tradition, and managed to return on an Asialink grant a few years later to study the Opera Percussion and to make new work out of other local folk traditions. Since then Clocked Out have worked closely with a number of musicians from this area developing The Wide Alley.

Since its premiere in 2007 this work has toured to The Sydney Opera House, Auckland International Arts Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Victoria Jazz Festival, and most recently it returned to Chengdu to be performed at the Spring Temple Festival in 2011. 
Musicians in The Wide Alley are;

  • Director-piano - Erik Griswold Composer
  • Percussion - Vanessa Tomlinson
  • Composer-vocals - Zou Xiangping
  • Vocals - Tian Linping
  • Bamboo flute - Shi Lei
  • Erhu - Zhou Yu
  • Trumpet - Peter Knight
  • Bass trombone - Adrian Sherriff
  • Bass - Robert Davidson
  • Chinese percussion - Zhong Kaizhi.

A "mesmerizing performance...Tuned gongs and ethnic hand percussion blended with erhu, flutes, piano, brass and bass for a sound that was both reverential and forward thinking, true world music without the baggage of commercial of the 2010 Ottawa International Jazz Festival's most unique and thoroughly compelling performances." - John Kelman, All About Jazz, 7 July 2010

"Clocked Out's approach displays a meeting of forms across cultures and musical languages but also allows the musics of Sichuan enough time-space to stand on their own...and the music sounds so very good." - Keith Gallasch, Realtime 90.

"The course of the an incredible pastiche of genres, and the breadth of dynamics is astonishing." - Scott Spark,, 23 July 2007


Download Musical Encounters in the Wide Alley


The Wide Alley - Zhai Hai Tang

The Wide Alley – Da Dao Wu Wei

Chinese media of The Wide Alley