corto.alto is a Scottish composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. The moniker of Glasgow-based Liam Shortall, corto.alto brings fresh perspective to a heady mix of improvisation, electronic production, broken beat bounce and bass-heavy dub. His debut album Bad With Names was released in 2023.

Shortall says Bad With Names is about ‘forgiving yourself’. It articulates themes of misspent youth, the passing of time, and the horrors of the accelerating news cycle. It brings together some of the UK’s finest young players with the flair of a string quartet, taking the corto.alto sound in a new direction. These include Mercury prize-nominated pianist Fergus McCreadie, trumpeter James Copus, trombonist Anoushka Nanguy, and drummer Graham Costello.

Shortall cut his teeth playing trombone in Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and making beats in his bedroom. He is proud of his Glaswegian upbringing and Irish-Spanish heritage (corto.alto translates 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. This was followed by a sold-out UK tour to promote his debut album, including a packed London Jazz Cafe and Glasgow QMU. He was featured in the recent 6Music Festival, and will be performing at Gilles Peterson’s We Out Here festival in summer 2024.

corto.alto is standing tall, holding the torch for Glasgow and ready to rip up the rule book in the process.

Liam Shortall trombone
James McCay guitar
Alex Wesson keys
Harry Weir tenor saxophone
Mateusz Sobieski tenor saxophone
Graham Costello drums
Luca Pisanu bass


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