Release day for Sam Crockatt’s ‘Mells Bells’ ft: Kit Downes, Oli Hayhurst and James Maddren plus ★★★★ review from All About Jazz.

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Click here for a CD or digital albums (ALAC, FLAC MP3s and more)


“Hooky punches and imaginative harmonies​… Mells Bells further burnishes Crockatt’s substantial reputation.”​
The Guardian

“An exceptionally gifted group of musicians gelling together remarkably well… this is yet another excellent example of evidence that British jazz is not merely alive and well, but kicking too.”
★★★★ All About Jazz (full review)


British tenorist Sam Crockatt brings the energy and immediacy of his quartet to Whirlwind on Mells Bells,​ an album of peppy live-feel studio performances which illuminate and elaborate on the leader’s eight original compositions. Crockatt (a member of London-based Loop Collective) collaborates with many of today’s increasingly successful contemporary jazz and improvisational artists, particularly revelling in the focus of this empathetic working quartet with colleagues Kit Downes (piano), Oli Hayhurst (double bass) and James Maddren (drums). Recorded over a single day, newly-birthed concepts merge with older themes-in-waiting to create a distinct and exciting spontaneity.

Title track Mells Bells offers a glimpse into the saxophonist’s creative process. The initially cacophonic and then swirling beauty of church bell peals, witnessed from a vantage point above his Somerset home village, provided the inspiration for an outing which highlights this ensemble’s creative vibrancy and free spirit; clanging and chiming with both celebratory and audacious ebullience, it loudly proclaims the heartiness of the current British jazz scene.

Sam Crockatt’s robust and characterful tenor voice – stemming from an appreciation of the sound worlds of (amongst others) Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson and Lee Konitz – is authoritative yet synergetic, his writing frequently inviting the freedom for musical diversions to flourish. Brightly swinging opener ‘Canon’ illustrates well the openness of the improvisational landscape, with Crockatt readily passing the baton to pianist Downes who mesmerises with a chameleonic, broad-sweeping presence across the keyboard; yet the whole is upheld by the saxophonist’s solid, memorable melodic hook and the rhythmic assuredness of Hayhurst and Maddren.

That same confidence pervades the entire album – as in ‘I Found You In The Jam’, where bassist and drummer converse intimately before opening the discussion to all, engineering the most fabulously bold yet romantic of interactions; and James Maddren’s constant percussive diversity is a delight. Crockatt’s elongated, Shorter-like phrases in ‘Breath’, supported by the Debussyian wonder of Downes’ piano, reveal shimmering watercolor hues; and purposeful ‘A Stroll On The Knoll’ combines the buoyant accessibility of a classic compositional Herbie Hancock riff with the scintillating, gruff tenor abandon of Sonny Rollins.

With this recording project, the satisfaction for Sam Crockatt has been the ability of his personnel to build on initial (sometimes sparse) compositional threads to weave together an album which coruscates with improvisational clarity and which melds so incisively: “I like to think as texturally as I can – hearing various melodies over and over in my head – to achieve as many combinations of sound as I can. And I know these guys will take my ideas off into new areas.” It’s clearly that musical trust, and the collective ingenuity, which ignites the magic of this quartet.


To mark the release of Mells Bells, Sam will be touring as follows:


2nd February 2016 – Pizza Express, London

3rd February 2016 – Anteros Arts Foundation, Norwich

18th April 2016 – Beaver Inn, Appledore

19th April 2016 – St Ives Jazz Club, Cornwall

20th April 2016 – Restormel Arts, St Austell

21st April 2016 – The Blue Boar, Poole

24th April 2016 – Burdall’s Yard – Bath

23rd April 2016 – The Meeting House, Ilminster

30th June 2016 – The Spin Oxford


Click here for more details:

Michael Janisch’s Paradigm Shift launch concert video + Concerto Magazine, Jazzthetik, Jazz Views, Jazz Weekly and more weigh in on the album with rave reviews

WWR founder, composer and bassist Michael Janisch has shared a new highlight video (left) shot last October at London’s Pizza Express Jazz Club during the concert for the launch of his new band and recent release double disc album  Paradigm Shift.

Both the album and band have received high critical acclaim over the last few months and below are the highlights from the latest round of reviews from across Europe:


“Janisch’s music commutes consistently between highly-dynamic expressiveness and lyrically-controlled melody, which also characterizes the band’s sound.”
★★★★1/2, Concerto Magazine (website) (scroll down to read in full)

“Wide ranging, creative and thrilling.”
Jazz Weekly (full review)

For artistic ambition alone this recording deserves the attention of those interested in how new sounds come into the world. The paradigm shift is a superb achievement.
Jazz Views (full review)

“More and more Janisch grows in stature as a creative artist with his new album he consolidates his already excellent reputation as one of the outstanding bassist / bandleader of his generation in contemporary improvised music.”​
CD​-Aktuell (website)

“Outstanding electro-acoustic music… Creative compositions full of vision that reflect the personality of the artist… ​A sensitive and powerful album that is a pleasure both intellectually and musically.”
Digitale Jazz Zeitung (website)

“Surely this double album is one of the truly successful works in this year within this genre… The music flows powerfully, sometimes showing their claws, but also has its tender moments, and discreet use of electronic effects create mysterious moments.”
Musik an Sich (website)

“Michael Janisch is a virtuoso on the bass and surrounds himself with like minded peers. The suite on disc one features his mighty improvisers. The variety of seemingly bizarre contrasts becomes the aesthetic concept here.”
Jazzthetik (website) (scroll down for full translation)

“Experienced live, this music is certainly very exciting.”
Sound and Image (website)


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April 1st release date for Zhenya Strigalev and ‘Never Group’ feat: Eric Harland, Tim Lefebvre and Bruno Liberda plus Euro tour dates.

Zhenya Strigalev JAN16 FB


Click here to hear excerpts from the album


Russian-born, London-based alto saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev follows up his 2015 Whirlwind sextet release Robin Goodie with his new trio project Never Group. Recorded over two days in Berlin with the rhythm section of electric bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Eric Harland – as well as welcoming guests such as keyboardist John Escreet, double bassist Matt Penman and trumpeter Alex Bonney – Strigalev’s desire with this different focus is to fashion the unexpected and the fleeting (alluded to in the project name) both from his own original compositions and the contributions of respected Austrian electronics composer/musician Bruno Liberda (who also appears on this recording).

Building a reputation on both sides of the North Atlantic for his adventurous and impassioned emphasis on improvisation, Never Group is an experience that matches quirky abandon with resolute musicianship and technicality. As Zhenya confirms: “No other rhythm section sounds like Eric and Tim; I like their chemistry together – and I wanted to collaborate with them to record a chordless trio album which gave me more freedom, so I could further expand my musical language.” In an hour-plus abundance of 20 tracks, Strigalev and colleagues elicit bristling spontaneity, from the rasping percussiveness of ‘Bio Active’ to ‘Strange Party‘s’ grungy swagger; from the echoic, electronically-manipulated mystery of Liberda’s ‘Bassgeigengeister’ and ‘Heimwehharfe’ to the raw, boppy mischievousness of ‘Some Thomas’ and playful, grooving ‘Snail’.

The trio’s studio jam sessions covered some four hours, so this album’s choice performances – punctuated throughout by succinct, exploratory codas mostly characterised by Harland’s precision drumming – offer a glimpse into the leader’s impulsive creativity and this close-knit trio partnership’s unfettered realization of his imaginings. Strigalev enjoys the challenge of shining a light on the undiscovered, and describes the desired on-the-edge thrill that unfolded from these sessions: “The whole point of what I do is that I need to surprise myself; I don’t want to record something which sounds exactly like this or like that, because that’s not interesting enough to me. Sometimes I can simply feel a tempo, a mood or an atmosphere, and I know this trio will provide the opportunity to develop that.”


TOUR DATES (details)


Zhenya Strigalev with John Escreet, Linley Marthe and Eric Harland

28th March 2016 – Porgy & Bess Jazz & Music Club, Vienna

29th March 2016 – Jimmy Glass, Valencia

30th March 2016 – Cascadas, Hamburg

31st March 2016 – Zig Zag Jazz Club, Berlin

1st April 2014 – Paradox, Tilburg, NL

3rd April 2016 – Ronnie Scotts, London

Patrick Cornelius Octet Euro tour to release ‘While We’re Still Young’ — Launch party @ 606 Club 8th February

NY-based alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius has announced a string of tour dates to support the release of his new album ‘While We’re Still Young’

Starting in Southport, England on 6th February, the tour will include the official CD launch party at The 606 Club in London on 8th February. This event is part of the ‘Whirlwind Nights @ 606’ series of monthly evenings.

For more details on the tour dates including ticket links go here and to learn more about ‘Whirlwind Nights @ 606’ go here

While We’re Still Young is the sixth and latest album by the critically acclaimed, award-winning saxophonist and composer Patrick Cornelius ​breathing life into a suite of new original music inspired by the universally-treasured poetry of English literary icon A. A. Milne.

Here’s ‘Sand Between The Toes’ from the album:

Big News: Jeff Williams to release ‘Outlier’ ft: Josh Arcoleo, Phil Robson, Kit Downes and Sam Lasserson on March 11th 2016.

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Across a career spanning four decades, it would seem easiest to consider the musicians with whom Jeff Williams hasn’t worked. A respected stalwart of the international jazz circuit, the American drummer has notably rubbed shoulders with Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, John Abercrombie and Joe Lovano.

Williams has graced innumerable New York and London stages over the years, making frequent Atlantic crossings between the two cities. In his latest solo project, the accomplished band leader and composer collaborates with both seasoned and up-and-coming colleagues from the UK: Josh Arcoleo (tenor saxophone), Phil Robson (guitar), Kit Downes (keys) and Sam Lasserson (basses). This engaging album of originals prompts a dynamic quintet response to a variety of energized compositions.

His third album for Whirlwind (following 2011’s Another Time and 2013’s The Listener), Williams’ Outlier combines previously unrecorded works from the ‘70s and ‘80s – such as the driving, fusion-laced ‘Dream Visitor’ and Brazilian-hued ‘Hermeto’ (after Hermeto Pascoal) – with more recent, equally assertive compositions. As an experienced leader at the kit with an instinctive, deeply-imbued jazz sensibility, Williams coaxes intelligent, colorful interplay from his colleagues. As Jeff confirms: “It always astonishes me what these guys – leaders in their own right – bring to the music that I write. They find things I didn’t even know existed.”

The scope of this imaginative working band ranges from the smouldering, Joe Henderson-influenced oscillations of the title track ‘Outlier’ to the relentless ‘Oddity,’ which swings with unbridled vitality. The straight forward beauty of ‘New and Old’ recalls poignant memories with tender detail. Also a pianist, adding Rhodes to this album, Williams describes ‘Meeting a Stranger’ as “one of those rare tunes that came out whole”. Possessing a wide brashness, ‘The Interloper’ exudes a joyful, Monkish abandon.

Like all masters of a genre, Jeff Williams has profoundly internalized the traditions of jazz without being tyrannized by its conventions. Combining his influences and broad experience to form his own unique voice, he refuses to constrain himself to a single stylistic approach. Most vitally, he wants his audience to respond to his music emotionally: “It’s my continued vision – my aim to offer something that’s universal but also personal, and which might transport the listener into a realm that’s pleasurable and thought-provoking. It’s important to me that, within the construction of the music, there’s a feeling and a warmth to be discovered.”

An adventure in Anglo-American jazz partnership, Outlier brings out the best in stellar players from both sides of the pond.



For more details go: here







Here’s the title track from Outlier

30% off everything from our store till 28th January + Free 15 track sampler with every purchase.

Untitled design (13)We’d like to extend a massive thank you for your continued support of our music and artists in 2015 – our biggest year yet with 20 releases featuring a truly eclectic mix of contemporary improvised-focused music. As a musician-owned and operated indie we simply could not continue to do what we do without your support – so for that we are incredibly grateful.

As a thank you we’re offering 30% off everything on our site from today until January 28th 2016. More details: here

Simply add the code JANUARY2016 on the Checkout page (there’s a space provided that says ‘enter coupon code’) and your purchase price will be reduced by 30%. This discount applies on all site products: CDs, digital albums and individual tracks.

For information on our releases and for what’s coming in 2016, please:



*Anyone who purchases a CD will get a free 15-track Whirlwind sampler album included with their purchase (free shipping worldwide!)

Thank you for you continued support, and look out for a new updated Whirlwind logo and website sometime soon…


Big News: Matt Ridley to release ‘Mettã’ feat: Jason Yarde, John Turville and George Hart on 26th February 2016 followed by Spring tour.

Matt Ridley FB



As a leader, British double bassist and composer Matt Ridley is a specifically investigative musician whose artistry is derived from a desire to create a strong, meaningful and structural purpose out of each initial glint of inspiration.

Following up his debut release on Whirlwind (Thymos, 2013), his new album Mettã – a title and concept referencing themes of benevolence and goodwill – finds him progressing his shared creativity again with his quartet of pianist John Turville, drummer George Hart, and soprano saxophonist Jason Yarde, who appears here in a fuller, more centrally melodic role.

The seven extended originals of Mettā arise from an almost strategic, compositional plan which inspires engaging extemporisation from all players. Removed from any notion of a conventional head/solo approach, Ridley’s musical landscape is one of focused rhythmic, chordal and improvisational invention which can both challenge and delight – as in storytelling opener ‘Music To Drive Home To’, whose steady, end-of-day journeying, led by Jason Yarde’s colorful soprano dialogue and John Turville’s spangled ostinati, is punctuated by unpredictable pauses and meanderings.

That spirit is key to the magnetism of this album’s performances, its title track mysteriously building Ridley’s desired sense of amity through the elevated, free expression of his lucid bass soloing, George Hart’s fiery drum and cymbal elaborations, and the soulful cries of Yarde. ‘Lachrymose’, too, overflows with sensitive expression, Turville’s crystalline piano brightly tempering Yarde’s mournful theme; and ‘Strange Meeting’s’ romanticism coruscates unexpectedly to crisp, percussive slivers and bewitching soprano imaginings.

A contrasting tour de force is the snappy, chaotic vigor of ‘Mental Cases’, as the quartet relentlessly pushes the commotion with quick-fire syncopation, pulsating bass momentum, modal pyrotechnics and piano pandemonium. Perpetuating Ridley’s aspirations for engaging music-making, ‘The Labyrinth’ becalms a similar state of panicky disorientation with elegant-yet-animated combined arco bass and soprano phrases which teasingly and eventually prompt an infectiously wide swing; and to close, classically-inflected ‘Ebb and Flow’ glints, jewel-like, summing-up this band’s impressive diversity and ebullience.

Matt Ridley describes his quartet’s offering as “considered, composed/improvised music which might transport and entertain both listeners and players, creating and involving all in an awareness of the present – that’s something I feel strongly about.” The immersive experience of these fifty-or-so minutes suggests that intention is excitingly on-track.

Captured within a single day, this is a studio recording brimming with passion and spontaneity. Matt will be touring with his quartet this spring in support of the launch of Mettã.
Here’s a snapshot of the schedule. For more details including how to buy tickets, click: here


22/02/16 – Pizza Express Jazz Club, London

18/03/16 – Wiltshire Music Centre

08/04/16 – Fleece Jazz

14/04/16 – The Hidden Rooms, Cambridge

15/04/16 – The Red Lion, Birmingham

17/04/16 – The Hen & Chicken, Bristol

18/04/16 – Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

04/05/16 – Jazzland, Swansea


‘Ebb and Flow’ from Mettã

Happy new year from Whirlwind Recordings


On behalf of everyone at Whirlwind — we’d like to wish you all a happy new year for 2016 and thank you all for your support in 2015… here’s to a great year.