RELEASE DAY: Rory Simmon’s Monocled Man ‘Southern Drawl’ out worldwide today! + 4 Star review from Marlbank and London Jazz

RorySimmons FB

“An album that is a serious listen, further evidence that Simmons can be counted as one of the most creative trumpeters on the UK jazz scene at the moment with ideas to burn firing us all up.”4 Stars, Marlbank

“At times fascinatingly challenging, unsettling and emotional, this album is an emotive piece of composition which gives these three musicians an opportunity to improvise and combine in an exciting new format.” London Jazz

It gives us great pleasure to announce the worldwide release of Rory Simmon’s new project Monocled Man and their debut album Southern Drawl.  Please click here to listen to more sounds and to pick up a copy.

Southern Drawl is the debut album from Monocled Man, the brainchild of trumpeter, composer & producer Rory Simmons, an artist who comfortably sits at the forefront of the UK’s new wave of improvising and creative musicians. A trio consisting of Simmons on trumpet, Chris Montague on guitars and Jon Scott on drums, Monocled Man are already known for their unabashed raw energy, eclectic mix of genres and tricksy yet accessible compositions. These three astute musicians enjoy careers pushing music to its limit as sidemen with many of the most celebrated contemporary British bands, and bring this wealth of experience to make the music on Southern Drawl a completely unique and exciting statement, representing some of the best in what’s happening on the UK’s new music landscape.

Much of Monocled Man’s music is inspired by the contemporary explorations of the NY Downtown scene, including Tim Berne, Jim Black and Craig Taborn, with sonic influences from David Torn, Cuong Vu and The Chicago Underground Ensemble. And in London where the trio is based, influence is found in the vast output from the forward-thinking Loop Collective (Simmons is a founding member) as well as music made by Chris Batchelor, Liam Noble, Julian Argüelles and the band Troyka.

Southern Drawl lays spiraling post rock inspired riffs over soaring brass lines and saturated guitars. Hypnotic guitar loops evolve out of through-composed knotty melodic lines and polyphonic writing; rumbling free drums with loose trumpet improv bristles over the top of the energy created between Chris Montague and Jon Scott. Simmons’ trumpet playing lurches between sweet, almost Arve Henriksen moments to the wilder improv of contemporary players like Ralph Alessi and Herb Robertson, while even invoking the delayed soaked psychedelia of 70’s Miles Davis. Chris Monatgue’s post-Krantz driven sound, with influences of Marc Ducret and David Torn, brings elements of acid country, skronk and noise improv. Enveloping the ensemble with intricate but driving poly-rhythm and multi-layered texture is Jon Scott, one of the UK’s most in demand new drummers. Playful percussive moments give way to thrashing grooves at the next, propelling the energy of the trio throughout the record.

And this album is lit with colors of layered synths and processed audio from the sessions, which were carefully and skillfully edited and produced by Simmons. Filtered drums fly across the stereo image, while de-tuned brass chords throb under moments of hi-octane noise. An array of analog keyboards paired with stretched audio give this album a fresh panorama of high energy contemporary jazz and rock improv, soaked with a post-produced kaleidoscopic landscape that marks Monocled Man out as one of the most eclectic and exciting new ensembles on the European scene.


Special Feature in Jazzwise for Whirlwind Artists’ Upcoming Double Bill Performances

Patrick-CorneliusTwo WWR double billed concerts will be happening this month, and Jazzwise has picked them up as a special feature which you can view here.

The first double bill will be at The Forge in Camden, London on 22nd April and will feature the Tori Freestone Trio performing music from their debut release on WWR with In the Chop Houseand the soon to be released Southern Drawl by Rory Simmons’ Monocled Man.

The second double bill will be held at the London based venue The Pheasantry on 29th April, featuring music from Points of View by Nia Lynn’s Bannau TrioThe headlining act will be from esteemed New York  saxophonist Patrick Cornelius performing music from both WWR releases Fierce and Infinite Blue

Check out the sample tracks below from these featured performances and to purchase please check out the album page


Announcing the debut album from Alice Zawadzki, ‘China Lane’ out June 16th 2014

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Alice Zawadzki – vocals, violin, piano
Alex Roth – guitars
Andreas Lang – double bass
Kit Downes – hammond organ
Jon Scott – drums

with guests:
Shirley Smart – cello
Emilia Martensson, Fini Bearman – vocals
Eva Thorarinsdottir, Steven Proctor – violin
Lucy Nolan, Tahan Stevens – viola
Peggy Nolan, Rosie Toll – cello

Visit the China Lane album page to hear more sound samples


Amongst the sea of burgeoning talent currently exploding out of the London creative music scene, singer-songwriter, violinist and pianist Alice Zawadzki firmly stands out from the crowd. The past few years she’s created quite a buzz across the UK music industry from fellow musicians, critics, club owners and fans alike, and the rave has been about her unique ability to communicate through her music with simple yet profound purity, not to mention she’s one of the most infectious vocalists and skilled songwriters to emerge in the UK for years.

Her diverse background and striking ability to perform across genres– while retaining her own intelligent and expressive musical style– give her a unique accessibility. It is no surprise that she is already becoming an in-demand singer both at home in London and internationally. Says London Jazz about Zawadzki, “The range of textures and colors, the expressive possibilities seemed more or less infinite.”

China Lane is the debut album from Zawadzki and the beginning of a new solo career by a standout voice in contemporary creative music. Written and arranged over five years it encompasses a rich collection of influences – from ancient Sephardic songs about loss, exodus and prejudice to Zawadzki’s modern fairy tales full of mischief, whimsy, obsession and magic, as well as Bartok-inspired folk stories about young love, with magnetic ballads and groove-infused delights. Zawadzki, who wrote most of the material on the album and performs as vocalist (singing authentically in multiple languages), violinist and pianist explains: “I finished writing the title track ‘China Lane’, in Berlin, in the summer of 2012. I had started writing lyrics for it in my old home of Manchester, moved by the beauty of the city at sunset and a deep sense of nostalgia. A simple description of what I could see soon became, in some way, a homage to living in the moment. The gentle background sounds of humming beer fridges mixed with passing Manchester buses on the recording makes me smile.”

And the supporting cast on China Lane features a stellar combination of bandmates and long term collaborators Alex Roth (guitar), Kit Downes (Hammond), Andreas Lang (bass), and Jon Scott (drums), who each bring playfulness and deep cohesion to the repertoire, with an evidently natural empathy.

The purple sounds of Kit Downes’ Hammond permeate the trip-hop inspired ‘Cat’; “it’s something of a modern fairytale to me”, says Zawadzki. “The ghost of a murdered feline finds it’s way into the body of a woman with excellent consequences.” Fantastical notions continue into ‘Ring of Fire’, with driving interplay between Scott and Lang eventually bringing the detailed folk melodies into a soulful jam. Darker episodes, however, have their place in ‘You As A Man’, described by Adrian Stevenson of the Manchester Jazz Festival as “a brave and touching expression of feelings on the topic of obsessional love that most singers would struggle to get close to.” Compositional influences from Steve Coleman’s M-Base serve to intensify the songs poignant lyrics.

The album is carefully and skillfully augmented with layers of cellos, violins and additional voices. Cellist Shirley Smart features in one of the Sephardic interpretations. A brooding and languorous introduction between the cello and violin later gives way to Smart’s dazzling and virtuosic sound, full of intent and unique language. This ancient tradition is just one of many influences to be found on the record, it’s subject matter just as relevant today as when it was written. “As any kind of artist, you are dead when you stop putting yourself in other peoples shoes”, says Zawadzki.

The joyfully simple, cinematic and powerful ‘Low Sun; Lovely Pink Light’, features vocalists Emilia Mårtensson and Fini Bearman, with soaring wordless vocals and the delightful rises and falls of Alex Roth’s solo guitar. Inspired by the tiny island of Strynø in Denmark, Zawadzki writes: “It was deepest winter and the landscape was harsh and witchy. The sky, sea and land had all turned the same color, as if a painter had taken their brush and swirled the scene in circles with water until all blurred into one. And in the distance the sun was rising, amber and rose, the most beautiful I’d ever seen.”

A uniquely expressive performer and a gifted storyteller, Alice Zawadzki’s star is set to rise with the release of China Lane. It’s an astonishingly brave and assured debut, which takes the listener on a journey of love, compassion, conflict and joy.



4 Stars from Jazzwise & Jazz Journal PLUS Praising Reviews from London Jazz News, Jazz Camera, Jazz Views, The Guardian, Bebop Spoken Here & Marlbank for The Bannau Trio’s ‘Points of View’

points-of-viewThe Bannau Trio, led by singer Nia Lynn, have gained a mighty collection of glowing reviews for their latest release Points of View released on WWR in late 2013. These include a 4 star review from both Jazzwise and Jazz Journal, as well as high praising reviews from London Jazz News, Jazz Camera, Jazz Views, The Guardian, Bebop Spoken Here and Marlbank. 

London Jazz News note that on the recording the “remarkable expertise of the musicianship and the subtle interactions in their playing that really bring it all to life” and describes Nia as having an “impressive vocal range – from angelic upper register to velvety contralto – and uses it to great contrasting effect, wafting in with high, wordless phrases on the light, airy opening song Renewal, and then performing a gutsy low-down version of Tom Waits’ song Soldier’s Things.”

Jazz Camera also describe the release as “an album full of delights” and The Guardian have noted it as “an elegant display of craft”.

On top of the reviews, the album has also received airtime on Jazz FM’s Dinner Jazz where they played the track ‘Who Can I Turn To’ on both the 1st and 7th April. 

 To purchase the album please visit the album page, and featured below we have a full length sample from the release. 

‘A significant achievement’ says Marlbank about Bobby Avey’s ‘Authority Melts From Me’ + Jazz Gallery show report, inverview on Jazz Speaks + more

“It’s an absorbing quite superb listen, the suite inspired by Haiti’s 1791 slave revolt at its core. A significant achievement” 4 Stars, Marlbank

The above quote is taken from the recent Marlbank review on Bobby Avey’s upcoming May 6 release Authority Melts From Me, and we couldn’t agree more. 

On the 15th of this month, Avey was interviewed by Jazz Speaks ahead of his pre launch party in NYC at the Jazz Gallery.  They describe the album as “a suite inspired by the 1791 Haitian Revolution and Haitian Vodou drumming practices.  receiving the New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development grant from Chamber Music America, Avey traveled to Haiti in 2012 to record a Vodou drumming ceremony in a small village outside of Gonaïves called Soukri.  Drawing on his field research in addition to other ensembles, Avey composed the suite with inspiration from Haitian Vodou rhythms. The hour-long suite features Miguel Zenón, Ben Monder, Thomson Kneeland, and Jordan Perlson.”

Avey also took the band to Deer Head and Delaware Water Gap and was interviewed in the Pocono Record, where he provides more great insight into the background of this incredible album.   As one can imaging, the audience response at Avey’s pre-launch shows has been fantastic.

Much more to come on this unique release, so keep checking back for more updates, and check the Events page for updates on Bobby’s forthcoming European tour in December. 






RELEASE DAY for Tori Freestone’s debut ‘In The Chop House’


Congratulations to Tori Freestone on the release of her debut album In The Chop HouseGet your copy here.

In The Chop House
is the debut album from Tori Freestone, a saxophonist, flautist and violinist who has been performing at the forefront of the British improvised music scene as both a side women and highly regarded bandleader for over a decade. Her multi-faceted skills have seen her work as a core member with such diverse bands as the Ivo Neame Quintet/Octet, ‘Compassionate Dictatorship’ (her own co-led group with Jez Franks), Loop Collective’s Rory Simmons as well as artists such as the Cuban group ’Orquesta Timbala’, singer Brigitte Beraha, saxophone colossus Andy Sheppard and trumpeter Neil Yates.

Indeed this wealth of experiences has shaped Freestone’s playing and composing and this is highly evident on her debut. A robust tenor sound, melodic invention and a balance between wit and playfulness in her original songs mark Freestone’s music out, not to mention a strong willingness to blur the lines between the written and improvised. Comprised of long-time musical associates in the uber-creative drummer Tim Giles and highly original bassist Dave Manington, the trio has been developing Tori’s repertoire which explores the openness that the saxophone trio allows while taking inspiration from some of the non-chordal sax led trios of the moment. This group dynamic has culminated into a program of music that has been developed over the last few years and, excitedly, has been recorded for Freestone’s first appearance as a leader on Whirlwind Recordings.

We’ve asked Freestone to give us a little background about the music on In The Chop House:

“Most of the writing for my trio’s debut took place after my involvement in trumpeter/composer Neil Yates’ ‘Surroundings’ Project,’ which was a large ensemble that premiered at the Manchester Jazz Festival a few years back. Having the opportunity to renew old collaborations with such fantastic musicians compounded with Neil’s beautiful writing inspired me to officially focus on my trio and in particular reconnect with my folk music roots and infuse this influence into my own compositions, which also draw inspiration from many of my favorite jazz instrumentalists and bands from around the world.

I’d been playing with Dave and Tim since meeting them at college in many different ensembles and formats, and, as well as being great friends, we’ve built a strong musical rapport over the years and at this point really know the intricacies of each other’s playing style. With this strong basis it’s been possible to use the material as a springboard to explore the open quality that this sparser trio format provides. We’re able to push our own boundaries, playing openly and freely while having the knowledge that we can rely on each other for some solidity and grounding at any given point. We’ve also taken inspiration from some of the non chord sax led trios past and present, such as Joe Henderson, the Seamus Blake – Marc Miralta trio, the Fly Trio and the Julian Arguelles trios to name a few. All of these experiences have shaped In The Chophouse, and the album itself was named after ‘Mr Thomas’s Chop House,’ the Victorian pub in Manchester near St Ann’s Square where we would congregate after a day of rehearsals.”

From moments of intensity and volume to passages of calm, folk-influenced soundscapes, In The Chop House showcases three highly experienced and eclectic musicians at their very best. From the first note their approach to openness allows the music to dictate the proceedings which also invites the listener to take a strong role in the interpretation of the music. Freestone’s assent to solo artist has been a timed move, but one that has been certainly worth the wait.

4 Star Review from Marlbank PLUS Live Reviews from Bebop Spoken Here, God is in the TV & Interview with Tori by London Jazz News for Tori Freestone’s Release ‘In The Chop House’

TF-Front-CoverSaxophonist Tori Freestone recently released her debut WWR release In the Chop House and we now have in a collection of praising reviews including a 4 star review from Marlbank plus live reviews from God is in the TV, Bebop Spoken Here and an interview with Tori by London Jazz News

Marlbank announce that “Freestone has her own playing voice… and the trio display real rapport that’s stimulating and fresh” with God is in the TV describing that “the Tori Freestone Trio produce a beautifully fresh sound born of quietly restrained improvisation” and “organic in feel, melodic in nature and egalitarian in form.” 

Check out this interview with Tori all about her trio, musical aesthetic, her life, and her new CD. Tori’s album has also received airtime on Jazzz FM.

In the Chop House is available from the WWR store as a physical album or high quality MP3. Featured below we have a full length sample track from the release.  

4 Star Review from Marlbank for Monocled Man’s ‘Southern Drawl’

Monocled Man CoverRory Simmon’s ‘Monocled Man’ will soon be releasing their debut WWR album Southern Drawl and we already have in a glowing 4 star review from Marlbank.

The review describes it as an “album that is a serious listen” continuing to say that it’s “further evidence that Simmons can be counted as one of the most creative trumpeters on the UK jazz scene at the moment with ideas to burn firing us all up.”

The album has also received several airplays on BBC Radio 6 having played the track Scribbles and Big Wheeze, and has also featured on Jazz.FM.

Southern Drawl launches on 28th April, but you can preview sound samples prior to release on the album page. Stay tuned for future news… 




Press update for ‘Leave the Door Open’ by Joel Harrison & Anupam Shobhakar: 5 stars from Jazz Journal, 4 star Downbeat, BBC Radio play, Jazz Thing, All About Jazz + more

More great press than we can shake a stick at!

Joel Harrison & Anupam Shobhakar released Leave the Door Open in March and since it’s release we’ve had dozens of reviews and radio play for the album hit from around the world.  Recent highlights include BBC Radio 3 play, 4 Star review in Downbeat Magazine, All About Jazz review, 4 Stars from the Irish Times, Recommendation from Wondering Sound, Music an Sich reviewMusicreview DERock Times DE, Sound & Image, and Jazz Thing.

Here are some of the highlights from above:


“Harrison & Shobhakar offer precise musical diversity. Some people might say that jazz was yesterday? MULTIPLICITY aka LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN proves the opposite.”
5 Stars, DieRedaktion (Germany)

“A release of considerable appeal… never less than stimulating.”
5 Stars, Jazz Journal

“At its best, Multiplicity managers to be both reflective and forward-looking; it is nearly always original in its marriage of the Indian and Western.”
4 Stars, Downbeat Magazine

“His latest collaboration, with classical Indian sarode player Anupam Shobhakar, sounds like an exploration of the deepest roots of all guitar-like instruments.”
4 Stars, The Irish Times

“With Harrison and Shobhakar’s stylistic confluence, intuitive interpretive skills and compelling compositional abilities, Leave the Door Open is a project that, hopefully, won’t be a one-time affair. It’s a heady brew that doesn’t so much find a meeting point where East and West meet as it does blow the door open between the two, allowing the music to seamlessly ebb and flow from and towards both sides, creating something that’s the sum total of both but equally reverent to their individual touchstones.”
All About Jazz

“The material is disparate, the project is ambitious.”
Jazz Thing Magazine DE

“The album thrills with an impressive mix of Indian Classical, jazz, blues and folk. Besides the two heads of the project, there is an illustrious selection of core musicians to the ensemble. An excellent collection of creative forces.”
Rhein Main Magazine (Germany)

“The album title says it all – namely the request to leave the door wide open. Something special.”
Rocktimes DE

“A truly illustrious group of high caliber musicians.”
Music an Sich

“Heart Touching simplicity meets thorny jazz eruptions.”
Musicreview DE

“Harrison and Shobhakar blend more than well, and they produce a nuanced meshing of ancient and modern musical styles that include the inclusion of traditional Bengali music and an African-American spiritual harnessing incendiary improvisational resources to spectacular effect at certain points.”
Marlbank (UK)

“The two “duel” with great devotion with a touch of spirituality in the air.”
Sound & Image DE

“In a week teeming with albums that could be designated as Something Different, this collaboration between guitarist Joel Harrison and sarodist Anupam Shobhakar may top them all. A mix of jazz, Indian classical, blues and soul, this fascinating set of tunes transcends influence while remaining salt of the earth. Joining the duo are the keys (and accordion) of Gary Versace, the bass of Hans Glawischnig, the drums & percussion of Dan Weiss, and guests David Binney and Todd Isler. Terribly compelling music. Recommended.”
Wondering Sound

Drummer Magazine’s recommended new releases for March, 2014
Drummer Magazine

Alex Garnett’s ‘Bunch of Fives’ on BBC IPlayer this week until April 12th.

Bunch of Fives Promo Pic

Saxophonist Alex Garnett released Serpent with us in 2011 to widespread acclaim and has recently finished a nationwide UK tour with his new project ‘Bunch of Fives’ featuring fellow tenor sax man and long time friend Tim Armacost from NYC, UK based musicians Liam Noble on piano, Michael Janisch on bass and James Maddren on drums.  The band was recorded at this year’s Southport Jazz Festival by BBC radio 3’s Jazz Line Up program presented by Julian Joseph and the concert is now being streamed on their site until the 12th of this month.   The program features all new compositions by Garnett and this high-octane music was recorded after the tour and will be released next year for Alex’s second WWR album.










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