New Focus Quartet shares the bill with Ravi Coltrane for three special dates in Scotland, starting tonight.

Saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski (Best Instrumentalist Scottish Jazz Awards 2013) and pianist Euan Stevenson (Emerging Artist Scottish Jazz Awards 2013) have enjoyed widespread critical acclaim in recent years for their beautiful genre crossing album New Focus, written for string and jazz quartet + harp. Initially inspired by the landmark Stan Getz, Eddie Sauter recording, Focus, tight knit arrangements, lush orchestration and memorable melodies define the pair’s award winning 2012 Whirlwind release and this ethos will carry forth to jazz quartet setting when Wisznieski and Stevenson’s NEW FOCUS QUARTET (featuring Michael Janisch bass and Alyn Cosker drums) share the bill with Ravi Coltrane’s Quartet for three special dates in Scotland starting tonight.

Dates are:


28th Feb – Wiszniewski/Stevenson New Focus Quartet / Ravi Coltrane Quartet – The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (details)

1st March – Wiszniewski/Stevenson New Focus Quartet / Ravi Coltrane Quartet – The Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh (details)

2nd March – Wiszniewski/Stevenson New Focus Quartet / Ravi Coltrane Quartet – The Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy (details)

BIG NEWS: Guitarist Mikkel Ploug will release ‘At Black Tornado’ on April 13th 2015. Promo video, two full tracks and tour details.

Mikkel Ploug Trio FB


At Black Tornado (click here for more info) is the Whirlwind debut from guitarist Mikkel Ploug, a Denmark native currently based in Copenhagen with six previous albums released to worldwide acclaim. This new outing features his long-standing trio who’ve toured globally the past ten years and captures the feel, development, groove and joy of three like-minded musicians. With Jeppe Skovbakke on double bass and Sean Carpio on drums, the threesome have often toured and recorded in the company of  musicians such as Mark Turner and Loren Stillman, but the goal of this new record was to capture the aesthetics they have come to inhabit as their own sound.

Ploug’s new album unfolds with ease; listen as they settle into the first track “Waking Up” and allow the music to evolve organically while hinting and exploring the DNA of the composition. Their sound, in part, stems from the mix of Carpio’s ever evolving, longsighted rhythmic variations; the melodic and chordal Monk-inspired quirk of Mikkel’s phrasing (along with his signature dusty and woody guitar tone); and Jeppe’s 1950’s inspired high string height— think no amp— double bass sound with the rootedness he brings as a result of touring with the popular Indie Rock band ‘I Got You On Tape’.The trio’s aim for this recording was to play as ‘live’ in the studio as possible and as such their set up consisted of forming a circle configuration with no partitions, resembling their typical concert layout. In addition they approached the music as if performing a live concert: they played just one take of each song in a determined setlist order. There have been no edits or overdubs of any kind. To keep things fresh the forms were improvised at times as well, just listen in as Mikkel yells out “rhythm section up front!” during the count in to “Comacina Dreaming”.

Mikkel explains, “The album was a sort of homecoming for us; a zone that occurs when the three of us come together and make music. It was also time for us to record again as a trio and focus our attention on that sound. We’ve done a lot of playing with wonderful musicians over the years, but for this record we wanted to document just the three of us and our development as a unit with our own identity. We’re not in a rush with the music and we’re very content in each other’s company while still surprising and inspiring each other every time we play— it’s a great situation to be in. I feel all this comes through in the music.”

Listen to two full tracks from At Black Tornado



Tour Dates for At Black Tornado




23/03/15   LONDON   THE OXFORD




For full details and tickets, click: here

Matthew Stevens, ‘Woodwork’ now available exclusively from iTunes (Editor’s Choice Feature) ahead of May release, ft Gerald Clayton, Vicente Archer, Eric Doob, Paulo Stagnaro.

Matthew Stevens FB avaITUNES

Last week we announced the debut album Woodwork from guitarist and composer Matthew Stevens and an exclusive offer from iTunes.

From today the album is available exclusively from iTunes worldwide until the first street date of May 26, 2015, and is currently featured as ‘Editor’s Choice’.  No matter your locale, Click here to Order  and you’ll be taken to your country’s iTunes store.

 Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 17.06.36.



NYC-based guitarist and composer Matthew Stevens is heralded as one of the most promising young artists in contemporary jazz music through his associations with NEXT Collective, Christian Scott, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Walter Smith III, and Harvey Mason. Now Stevens comes fully into his own with his debut recording as a leader, Woodwork. The album showcases Stevens’ diverse influences, his warm, robust sound, and his fluid, emotive playing at the helm of a stellar quintet which features multiple Grammy-nominated pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Vicente Archer, drummer Eric Doob and percussionist Paulo Stagnaro.

The album’s title, Stevens says, reflects the almost tactile way in which he creates music. “It’s a metaphor for how I see myself interacting with sound. Woodwork is an act of creation in collaboration with the natural world; it invokes a sense of being handmade or one of a kind. These raw materials exist regardless of whether or not you do something with them, so I try to respect that and let the music unfold naturally.”

Woodwork places the sound of Stevens’ guitar front and center, achieving a full-bodied resonance that captures the immersive feeling of a live concert experience. “When you listen to a saxophone or a trumpet, you often feel like you’re right there in the room with no buffer,” Stevens explains. “There’s a real sense of immediacy when you hear them on record, and I miss that on the guitar. As a guitarist, your touch and articulation contribute hugely to your identity as an instrumentalist, so if you have none of that air in the sound you lose a lot of nuance. I put a microphone in front of my guitar as well as the amp so it didn’t just feel in your face, but like the music was alive and moving around in the room.”

A self-described guitar fanatic who fell in love with his father’s Jimi Hendrix records as a child and never looked back, Stevens purposely assembled his band to allow the guitar to express his melodies alone. His strings shimmer over percussive interplay on opener “Ashes One,” then weave a hypnotic groove on “Star L.A;” they sing the folk-inspired melody of the title track and roar on the album’s driving composition, “Uptown Dance Party.” The elusive “Sunday” continues the genre-bridging mission of the NEXT Collective with a haunting David Bowie cover, while “Blasted” pays homage to Wayne Shorter with its churning, circular melody. Stevens was recently invited by musical director Terri Lyne Carrington to perform at a fundraiser for the upcoming documentary Wayne Shorter: Zero Gravity alongside an all-star lineup including Shorter, Hancock, Spalding, Marcus Miller, Lalah Hathaway,Corrine Bailey Rae, Lizz Wright and Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Stevens possesses a rare ability to marry singable melodies with cerebral complexity, as on the tense, shifting “Sequel” or the knotty “Grown Ups.” A through-composed duo for guitar and piano, “Gently” mesmerizingly interlaces Stevens’ and Clayton’s expressive lines. “Brothers,” performed as a trio with Archer and Doob, embraces the sound of the acoustic guitar from the blossoming resonance to the scrape of fingers on strings. And this was no ordinary acoustic guitar; much of the album was recorded at the Clubhouse Studio in Rhinebeck, New York, which just happens to own an early-70s Lowden formerly played by late folk legend Pete Seeger. It was that axe that Stevens reverently wielded for this song. “Collectively we were each able to tap into what we all think is important musically,” Stevens says. “In my own experience there’s nothing that feels more exciting than that.”

Stream “Star L.A.” from Matthew Stevens on NextBop, pre order available now for ‘Woodwork’

We’ve had a great reaction to the announcement about Matthew Steven’s debut Woodwork a few days ago, and now you can stream a full track from the album on the NextBop site.  Click to listen to the single “Star L.A.” on their site here.

Woodwork is now available exclusively from the all worldwide iTunes stores until the first street date of May 26, 2015.  No matter where you are in the world, Click here to pre-order  and you’ll be taken to your country’s iTunes store. (note: album available in full from iTunes on the 24th feb but you’ll get 3 instant gratification tracks as soon as you pre order).


Matthew Stevens FB



Big News: George Crowley to release ‘Can Of Worms’ 23rd March 2015. Press highlights so far, Promo video, full track + tour dates.


George Crowley FB

“Glorious, fiery, deep… Like throwing a hymn book into a pizza oven.”
– Cellarsandlofts

Can of Worms explores that happy and unpredictable space where written and improvised worlds collide, diving deep into group improvisations and compositions featuring taut, tense grooves, wailing sax-confessionals and all-out glorious free-jazz. Formed on a whim for a pick-up gig in early 2013, the strong sense of fun, interaction and joyous anarchy quickly convinced saxophonist and composer George Crowley that this was a project which had to happen properly. Some 18 months later the band have recorded their first full-length record of Crowley’s original tunes and his second release for Whirlwind Recordings.

The album features a razor-sharp, interactive line-up of some of the most distinctive musicians on the burgeoning London scene. Crowley is joined by a fellow tenor saxophonist and close musical ally in the Loop Collective’s Tom Challenger (Brass Mask, Dice Factory), while the rhythm duties are performed by Dan Nicholls (Strobes, Vula Viel), Sam Lasserson (Jeff Williams, Julian Argüelles) and Jon Scott (Kairos Quartet, Mulatu Asktake) with an alluring combination of precision and flexibility, order and chaos.

The resulting music is uncompromising yet warm and playful. Following hot on the heels of Crowley’s quartet debut, Paper

Universe (Whirlwind 2012), Can of Worms features seven colorful new originals which gives this impressive band— and its leader— ample room to shine. Crowley’s floating introduction cues up ‘The Opener’, leading to a coruscating group theme which gives way to the first of many purposeful and inventive solos from Dan Nicholls. Elsewhere ‘Ubiquitous Up Tune in 3’ explores more familiar melodic territory with passion and intensity; ‘Rum Paunch’ sees the group taking a delicate, fractured blues-like theme into searing improv while ‘Terminal’ has a glorious anthemic quality with searing solos from both tenor players and some hard grooving wurlitzer from Nicholls, underpinned by buoyant support from Lasserson and Scott. All of this takes the listener on a journey where unexpected delights litter the way.

If Crowley’s debut Paper Universe signaled his arrival as a performer and composer, Can of Worms represents a development, a shift in gears which is arresting and entertaining in equal measure.

Listen to a full track, ‘Terminal’ from the album

Here are some early press mentions/reviews for Can of Worms:

A great interview/preview of his launch concert at the Vortex from London Jazz

And another preview ahead of his Scotland dates:  The Scotsman

“There’s a clear sense of adventurous interplay within the group, the two tenors aiding and abetting each other, jostling and cajoling, bouncing ideas, taking risks, all egged on by the all-hearing Nicholls.”
Marlbank (Full review)

Tour dates:

Starting today you can catch George and Can of Worms around the UK:

18/02/15 – The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
19/02/15 – Glasgow Arts Club
24/02/15 – The Spotted Dog, Brimingham
25/02/15 – The Lescar, Sheffield
05/03/15 – ALBUM LAUNCH: The Vortex, London




RELEASE DAY: Ant Law’s ‘Zero Sum World’ out now ft. Ivo Neame, Michael Chillingworth, Tom Farmer and James Maddren

Ant Law FB


Announcing the worldwide release today for Ant Law’s Zero Sum World


Zero Sum World (click here for CD, FLAC, ALAC, etc) is the second solo release from guitarist and composer Ant Law and his first for Whirlwind Recordings. A resident in London since 2008, Law regularly performs with Tim Garland, Jason Rebello, Mica Paris, Gwilym Simcock, Leon Ware, Asaf Sirkis, Koby Israelite, Camille O’ Sullivan and is known as a pioneer in the ’Perfect Fourths’ tuning system for guitarists. He is a published author on the subject and his book 3rd Millenium Guitar is currently available from Mel Bay.

The music on his new release was recorded immediately after an extensive 29 date UK tour and a brief sojourn to Brazil where Law finished the writing in two parts. After returning to the UK he received support from the Jazz Services touring scheme and embarked on yet another large tour (this time 27-dates) around the UK and went straight into the studio​ to record​. His band features four guiding lights in British contemporary music: Ivo Neame (piano), James Maddren (drums), Michael Chillingworth (​multiple reeds​) and Tom Farmer (bass). Each musician turns out stellar performances on the record and are given ample room within Law’s compositions to shine.

​​Zero Sum World ​showcases an ​eclectic mish-mash of influences from musics around the world, but it’s Law’s thematic writing and playing that binds its eleven tracks together into one uniform statement. No doubt the amount of touring the band has done over the last two years comes into play in the overall presentation and tightness of Ant’s often tricky and rhythmically shifting compositions. Both Neame and Chillingworth improvise with aplomb while Maddren’s considered touch flows like water through even the most complicated corners of Law’s tunes.

The title comes from the “Zero Sum Game” in mathematics (Law himself was a scholar in Physics at Edinburgh University): when the total number of points belonging to the winner added to that of the loser equals zero. As such in a zero sum world no one can profit without someone else’s loss. The first track on the album shares this title and is followed by “Waltz” which explores more joyful territory. “Mishra Jathi” is a South-Indian rhythm etude given a western feel while two of the pieces “Leafcutter” and “Symbiosis 14:21:34” were compositionally derived from multiple rhythms coexisting, as with symbiosis in biology. The longest piece “Monument” is Law’s tribute to the world renown guitarist Ben Monder with whom he has studied. “Triviophobia” is about taking things too seriously, in particular the arts, and especially music. The album closes out with a contemporary blues and some alternate tuning by Farmer (who turns out some spectacular bass work on the album). Every track features Law’s guitar tuned in perfect 4ths which lends itself to unique harmony.

Check out Ant’s current UK tour below:

Ant Law

15/02/15BristolHen and ChickenUK
Time: 8:15pm. Admission: £14/ 12. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 210 North Street, Southville. Venue phone: 0117 966 3143.‘Zero Sum World’ Album Launch
16/02/15LondonPizza Express Jazz ClubUK
Time: 8:15pm. Admission: 17.50. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Dean Street, London W1V 5RL. Venue phone: 0845 6027017.‘Zero Sum World’ Album LaunchBuy Tickets
17/02/15LondonPizza Express Jazz ClubUK
Time: 8:15pm. Admission: 17.50. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Dean Street, London W1V 5RL. Venue phone: 0845 6027017.‘Zero Sum World’ Album LaunchBuy Tickets
18/02/15Cardiff, WalesDempsey’sUK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: £7. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 15 Castle St, Cardiff CF10 1BS. Venue phone: 029 2023 9253.‘Zero Sum World’ Album Launch
01/05/15Stoke-by-Nayland HotelFleece JazzUK
Time: 7:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Keepers Lane, Leavenheath, Colchester, Essex CO6 4PZ. Venue phone: 01206 262836.‘Zero Sum World’ Tour
08/05/15Bungay, SuffolkFisher Theatre (The)UK
Time: 7:30pm. Admission: £12/ 15. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Broad Street. Venue phone: 01896 897130.‘Zero Sum World’ TourBuy Tickets
11/05/15KenilworthKenilworth Rugby ClubUK
Time: 7:45pm. Admission: £6. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Glasshouse Lane. Venue phone: 01926 853945.‘Zero Sum World’ TourBuy Tickets
15/05/15BirminghamRed LionUK
Time: 7:45pm. Admission: £12/ 10/ 5. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Warstone Lane. Venue phone: 0121 2339144.‘Zero Sum World’ TourBuy Tickets
20/05/15HexhamQueen’s Hall Art CentreUK
Time: 7:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Beaumont Street. Venue phone: 01434 652477.‘Zero Sum World’ TourBuy Tickets
21/05/15NottinghamshireBonington TheatreUK
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: £12/ 10. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: 0115 956 0733. Address: Arnold Leisure Centre, High St, Arnold, Nottinghamshire. Venue phone: 0115 967 0114.‘Zero Sum World’ TourBuy Tickets
22/05/15LiverpoolCapstone TheatreUK
Time: 7:30pm. Admission: £10/ 8. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 17 Shaw Street. Venue phone: 0151 291 3578.‘Zero Sum World’ TourBuy Tickets
23/05/15Ambleside, CumbriaZeffirellisUK
Time: 8:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Compston Road. Venue phone: 015394 33845.‘Zero Sum World’ TourBuy Tickets
24/05/15Southport, MerseysideRoyal Clifton Hotel (The)UK
Time: 8:00pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: 01704 541790. Address: The Promenade. Venue phone: 01704 533771.‘Zero Sum World’ Tour
28/05/15LondonMau Mau BarUK
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: £5. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 265 Portobello Road. Venue phone: 0207 7229 8528.‘Zero Sum World’ TourBuy Tickets






Heads up: Phil Robson to release ‘The Cut Off Point’ May 18th with new organ trio featuring Ross Stanley & Gene Calderazzo + upcoming summer tour


We’re pleased to announce the next album The Cut Off Point from guitarist and composer Phil Robson featuring his new organ trio with Ross Stanley on the Hammond duties and Gene Calderazzo on drums to be released on May 18th 2015.   Phil’s been on a roll as of late, recently chosen for three Parliamentary Jazz Award nominations as a solo instrumentalist of the year alongside two more for his album Swamp, released by Partisans with us last year.  Phil’s first solo release with us was The Immeasurable Code which featured tenor icon Mark Turner.

The Cut Off Point sees Robson take his already notable compositional palette into new sonic territory, pairing his signature fast-fretted guitar work with Stanley’s Hammond Organ, and the results will no doubt change the perception of the traditional organ trio as this album ranges from full on rock anthems to blistering free passages to distortion effects over hard swing to calm balladeering soundscapes.  There’s something for everyone on this as many moods are touched upon with the emphasis on Robson’s penchant for strong groove and clever motifs driving infectious melodies and improv.

Here’s a few samples from the album from Phil’s own soundcloud page:


Tour:  Look out for the band on a nationwide UK tour this summer, here are the dates so far:

5 June,  Birmingham Jazz, Birmingham
6 June, Vortex Jazz Club, London
7 June, Herts Jazz at Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City
12 July, Swanage Jazz Festival, Swanage

Stay tuned as we’ll have much more information in the next month about this release.

Photos by Monika S. Jakubowska

Phil Robson plays Case Guitars




Ant Law’s ‘Zero Sum World’ first launch night at Pizza Express, Monday 16th Feb – SOLD OUT. Few tickets left for Tuesday 17th Feb.


Ant Law’s first launch night of two for Zero Sum World at Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho London on Feb 16th is SOLD OUT– thanks for all those who booked.  Here is a direct link for bookings for the 17th FEB launch, which still has a few seats left.

Zero Sum World is the second solo release from guitarist and composer Ant Law and his first for Whirlwind Recordings.
The music on his new release was recorded immediately after an extensive 29 date UK tour and a brief sojourn to Brazil where Law finished the writing in two parts. His band features four guiding lights in British contemporary music: Ivo Neame (piano), James Maddren (drums), Michael Chillingworth (​multiple reeds​) and Tom Farmer (bass).



“Law surfaced first in 2013 with Entanglement, an album that certainly made scene-watchers at the time sit up and take note of the hitherto little known guitarist. Zero Sum World is even more accomplished, particularly in the writing department. 2015 augurs well if the imaginative essentially acoustic jazz sounds found here are at all representative of what’s in store.”
4 Stars, Marlbank

Here’s the promo video for the album:

(more details and ticket links: click here)



15th Hen & Chicken, 210 North St, Bristol, BS3 1JF

16th Pizza Express, 10 Dean Street, London, W1D 3RW (SOLD OUT)

17th Pizza Express, 10 Dean Street, London, W1D 3RW

18th Dempsey’s, 15 Castle St, Cardiff, CF10 1BS


1st Stoke by Nayland Hotel, 18 The Causeway, Sudbury, CO10 5JR

8th The Fisher Theatre, 10 Broad Street, Bungay, NR35 1EE

11th Kenilworth Rugby Football Club, Glasshouse Lane, Kenilworth, CV82AJ

15th The Red Lion UAB, Warstone Lane, Birmingham, B18 6NG

19th The White Swan, Swan Street, Leeds, LS1 6LG

20th Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Beaumont Street, Hexham, NE46 3LS

21st Bonington Theatre, High Street, Arnold, NG5 7EE

22nd Capstone Theatre, Shaw St, Liverpool, L6 1

23rd Zeffirelli’s, Compston Rd, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9AD

24th The Royal Clifton Hotel, Promenade, Southport, PR8 1RB

28th Mau Mau Bar, 265 Portobello Rd, London, W11 1LR

Alex Garnett’s ‘Bunch of Five’ – Four stars from The Guardian, London Jazz, The Sunday Herald & live reviews from Financial Times, Jazzwise Magazine + Interview on Jazz FM

Andromeda is the second solo release from London-based saxophonist and composer Alex Garnett and is the debut recording of ‘Bunch of Five’ his new two tenor saxophone project.
The two frontmen, Garnett and the NYC-based Tim Armacost, have a collective 50 years of combined playing experience on the international stage.
Rounding out the group is a versatile rhythm section featuring UK pianist Liam Noble, American bassist Michael Janisch, and one of London’s in demand young drummers, James Maddren.
The compositions are all Garnett’s creations reflecting a broad sweep of influences from the last twenty years of his musical journey.

 To launch Andromeda (click here),  Alex has been touring ‘Bunch of Five’ across the UK and reproduced here are some live reviews that have come in, including The Financial Times (below) and Jazzwise Magazine (Read)  for his sold-out launch show at The 606 Club:


From The Financial Times, Wednesday Jan 21st 2015

From The Financial Times, Wednesday Jan 21st 2015


We have also received more reviews for ‘Andromeda’ and we bring you the highlights here:

“Garnett’s group includes New York saxophonist Tim Armacost in a series of virtuosic two-tenor conversations backed by Liam Noble (piano), Michael Janisch (bass) and James Maddren (drums). The leader’s dark, almost baritone-like tone and Armacost’s lighter sound establish plenty of intrigue. Serpent was a hard act to follow, but Garnett has nailed it, and without repeating himself.”
4 Stars, The Guardian (read full review)

“The combination of the leader’s tone and delivery is every bit as commanding as Rollins or Getz, whether rocking widely or producing those gorgeously lush, reaching phrases – and the diversity and inventiveness of the strong Garnett/Armacost musical partnership here is compelling throughout.”
AP Reviews (read full review)

“These are musicians with their own strong personalities and improvising styles.”
The Sunday Herald (read full review)

“Thoroughly enjoyable.”
The Northern Echo (read full review)

“Andromeda features five of the brightest stars on today’s jazz scene.”
London Jazz (read full review)

Recently, Alex talked to Chris Philips of Jazz FM and you can listen to the whole interview here.

BIG NEWS: Tam de Villiers to release ‘Panacea’ on March 16th 2015 featuring Karl Jannuska, David Prez and Frédéric Chiffoleau + Launch tour details + promo video + two full tracks.

Tam De Villiers FB


Tam de Villiers is to release Panacea, his debut album with Whirlwind Recordings on 16th March.


For the the best part of a decade, the quartet of British-born guitarist Tam de Villiers (now firmly established in France) has been striving for musical authenticity, compositional originality and honest group interplay. Avoiding pastiche of the past and present, and deftly side-stepping the fleeting musical trends of the moment, their aim has been to explore a personal take on the human experience, defying genres and period.

Resolutely idiosyncratic, the music of Tam de Villiers surprises the listener with a melting pot of influences seamlessly combined into an original voice. What starts out as a jazz piece leads into a contrapuntal baroque fantasie, then veers off into abrasive progressive rock, skimming past rockabilly twangs before plunging into a trance inducing minimalist motif. Yet despite the apparent eclecticism, there is a carefully crafted archetypal balance underpinning the form that brings a sense of classical coherence to the notes, both written and improvised.
De Villiers continues working closely with this regular team of musicians, Karl Jannuska (drums), David Prez (tenor saxophone), and Frederic Chiffoleau (double bass), on Panacea, his debut for Whirlwind Recordings.

This new opus expands upon the quartet’s body of work following the critically acclaimed albums Alba Lux (2008) and Motion Unfolding (2011). Described as “amazing, acrobatic, mind-poetry” by Jazz Thing Magazine, song-writing was explored on his last album featuring singer David Linx. Now, with Panacea, de Villiers pushes the poetic song writing aspect of his music even further,  this time inviting Hungarian singer Gabor Winand, whose baritone voice and unique approach to scat improvisation bring an exceptional lyricism to four tracks of the album.


 Listen to the title track from the album here:

A core aim of Panacea was to build upon the long-standing musical relationship of de Villiers’ quartet and use this as a vehicle to exploit a new, challenging repertoire of compositions he wrote over the course of the previous two years. This repertoire explores many approaches to form and improvisation not regularly utilized in a jazz quartet context. Many compositions are through-composed, exploring motifs and melodic material in different ways and using them as a rhythmic and harmonic basis for improvisation. In order to develop melodic material, twelve-tone 20th century classical composition devices were used, notably in the suite “Totem Tona – Tona Totem”, and “Wolf” where trichords are used and inverted to form the themes and harmony. This focus on composition and structure (juxtaposed with the sounds of electric guitar and multiple effects), paired with a fluid, organic execution creates a unique combination of modern music styles and sounds mixed with the subtle melodic and rhythmic complexity that characterizes the quartet.

Listen to Panopticon from Panacea here:

In parallel to this, and in some ways as counter-balance, inviting the flexibility of Winand’s vocal technique into the mix brings a universal coherence to the auditor. de Villiers desired to continue his exploration of poetic song-writing (first started on the last album Motion Unfolding), using the consonants and syllables of the text as a rhythmic framework for the articulation and sound of the themes. The texts examine symbolic archetypes found in European esoterica, alchemy and Jungian writings. The literal concepts explored also lay the foundation of the song forms, using numerological figures as a basis for tempo, form and meter: notably in “Panacea” and “As Above, So Below”. In other songs, “Morse Code Fantasie” and “Freedom” (Winand’s own composition), the voice is instead used as an instrument in its own right, using scat syllables for articulation.

The end result is a collection of varying pieces, instrument and vocal, that takes the listener on both a cerebral and visceral voyage, where the natural feel and organic execution of the material draws the listener in while allowing appreciation of the band’s exuberant interactions without its compositional depth and complexity burying their musicality.

Here are the dates for Tam’s album launch tour in Europe. Please see our events page for more details:


12/02/15  Bravo Brussels, Belgium

13/02/15  Jazzolder Mechelen

16/02/15  Hopper Antwerp

17/02/15  Liquid Luxembourg

20/02/15  B-Flat Berlin-Mitte

21/02/15 Club Hanseat Salzwedel

11/03/15  Swing Unlimited Jazz Club Alum Chine, Bournemouth UK

12/03/15  Sound Cellar Poole UK

13/03/15  Birmingham Jazz Birmingham UK

14/03/15 Shrewsbury Jazz Network Shrewsbury UK

15/03/15  Southampton Modern Jazz Club Southampton UK

17/03/15 Dempsey’s Cardiff, Wales UK

18/03/15  Leeds College of Music Leeds UK

18/03/15  Lescar Sheffield UK

20/03/15  Bebop Club Bristol UK

22/03/15  Splinter Jazz Newcastle upon Tyne UK