★★★★ from All About Jazz amongst rave reviews received for Zhenya Strigalev’s Never Group ft: Tim Lefebvre and Eric Harland releasing this Friday plus details of April 3rd launch show at Ronnie Scott’s.

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 – and featuring 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 both from his own original compositions and the contributions of respected Austrian electronics composer/musician Bruno Liberda (who also appears on this recording).

Releasing this week, Never Group is gathering rave reviews from music publications in the UK and across Europe. Here are the highlights:

A preview of the Ronnie Scotts launch show on 3rd April including a live
video of Zhenya Strigalev, Eric Harland,  Linley Marthe – Never Group! in Paris:
Jazzwise (full feature) (tickets)

“An addictive mix of colourful vignettes… Strigalev’s group could well be the next big thing in jazz.”
★★★★ All About Jazz (full review)

“Compelling in its inventive energy… [Strigalev] is an artist who knows jazz’s lineage but is unafraid to create his own path.”
★★★★ All About Jazz (full review)

“A stellar team presents much fine music.”
Salt Peanuts (Norway) (website)

“Delightfully anarchic sounding grooves from the ingenious Tim Lefebvre and Eric Harland.”
Die Presse (Vienna) (website)

“Addictively and explosively dynamic…one of the most exciting contemporary composers.”
Jazzenzo Magazine (NL)  (website)

 

 

 

Phil Robson at Shapeshifter Lab NY this week with Donny McCaslin, James Genus and Adam Nussbaum.

The ever-searching, eclectic guitarist Phil Robson has released four contrasting solo records to date and is known throughout the world for his contribution to the long-running quartet Partisans (their release Swamp won Album Of The Year in the 2015 Parliamentary Jazz Awards). As a sideman he’s performed with Kenny Wheeler, Mark Turner, Billy Hart, Barbara Streisand, Django Bates, Christine Tobin, among others and recently, with his newly established organ trio, he released The Cut Off Point.

 

 

Since his relocation to New York earlier this year, Phil has been busy establishing a presence on the music scene there and on Wednesday 30th March, he will be playing a set at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn.

With Phil will be Donny McCaslin (sax), James Genus (bass) and Adam Nussbaum (Drums)

For more information and ticket details, go: here

Julian Argüelles and ‘Tetra’ receive more reviews from European music press.

Esteemed British saxophonist Julian Argüelles brings his working quartet, Tetra, to Whirlwind in an immersive, hour-long sequence of material written specifically with his colleagues in mind: Kit Downes (piano), Sam Lasserson (bass) and James Maddren (drums).

In this new release, his respect for, and collaboration with, today’s eclectic strain of younger jazz musicians kindles a mutually imaginative spark with an equal emphasis on composition and freedom of improvisation, often melodically or texturally blurring those divisions.

 

Here are the highlights of the latest reviews from the European press received for Tetra:

“Dynamic with deftly executed tempo changes and improvisatory touches.”
Hörspiegel (website)

“An excellent album… Deserves to be widely heard.”
Jazz Podium (website)

“Complex compositions and folk inspired pieces that create space for soloists to stretch out.”
Stereo (website)

Pete McCann takes ‘Range’ on US tour this week plus latest reviews including ★★★★ from Jazz Journal.

With an eclectic approach to his music-making (previous projects have encompassed straight-ahead jazz, Latin, fusion and contemporary classical), McCann now presents jazz/rock cornucopia Range, its title a metaphor for the breadth of his colorful musical career as well as the diversity of the sounds expressed so eloquently here with longstanding personnel of choice – John O’Gallagher (sax), Henry Hey (keys), Matt Clohesy (basses) and Mark Ferber (drums).

 

 

This week, Pete McCann will be doing a series of shows in support of Range. For details go: here

Here are the highlights from the most recent round of reviews from across the UK and Europe:

“This engrossing programme of material is a joy, with McCann’s pacy, athletic soloists borne up by his crafty arrangements.”
★ Jazz Journal (website)

“An irresistible, perfectly produced program, which exudes a passion for today’s popular progressive jazz.”
CD Aktuell (website)

“Exciting. Full of surprises and with imaginative melodies and harmonies.”
Digitale Jazz Zeitung (website)

“The pieces meander between uptempo and thoughtfully reflective. A flawless performance.”
Sound and Image (website)

“Together, McCann with drummer Mark Ferber, bassist Matt Clohesy, pianist Henry Hey and saxophonist John O’Gallagher imbue the ten songs on the album with a wonderfully earthy groove far away from the monotony of the so-called ‘mainstream’.”
Soul Train (website)

“The musicianship is first rate and the solos, particularly by the leader and O’Gallagher, were fantastic.​”​
Jazz and Blues (blog) (full review)

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.37.25

★★★★ from The Jazz Mann amongst the latest reviews for Patrick Cornelius and ‘While We’re Still Young’

While-We're-Still-Young-Front-Cover

Featuring Patrick Cornelius​ -​​ a​lto​/​s​oprano ​s​ax​es​, ​flute​, compositions​, Jason Palmer​ -​ ​ t​rumpet, John Ellis​ -​ ​t​enor ​saxophone, ​b​ass ​c​larinet, Nick Vayenas​ -​ ​t​rombone, Miles Okazaki​ -​ ​g​uitar, Gerald Clayton​ -​ ​p​iano, Peter Slavov​ -​ ​ b​ass and Kendrick Scott​ – drums, While We’re Still Young is the sixth and latest album by the critically acclaimed, award-winning saxophonist and composer Patrick Cornelius ​and breathes life into a suite of new original music inspired by the universally-treasured poetry of English literary icon A. A. Milne.

Recently released to universal acclaim, here are the highlights from the reviews that  While We’re Still Young has received so far:

“This is vibrant, highly colourful music full of good compositional ideas and some great playing, with all members of the ensemble contributing strongly.
★ The Jazz Mann (full review)

“Sparky settings for [Cornelius’] own solos and those of a polished ensemble including pianist Gerald Clayton, trombonist Nick Vayenas, and guitarist Miles Okazaki… Debussy, Ellington and Charlie Parker audibly guide Cornelius here.”
The Guardian (website)

“Much playfulness in the playing… An excellent listen.”
The Jazz Breakfast (full review)

“The engaging music is performed by an octet of Cornelius’s colleagues and nicely combines interesting ensembles with inspired ensembles.”
Northern Echo (website)

“A joy from beginning to end… Patrick Cornelius takes a giant step forward with this project.”
Step Tempest
Blog (full review)

Here’s another chance to listen to Patrick talking to Jazz FM for ‘The Blueprint’ (listen again)

whilst ‘Lines and Squares’ from the album has received airplay on Jazz FM’s ‘The Cutting Edge’ (playlist)

 

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

Outlier tour starts tonight. Listen again to Jeff Williams on Jazz FM’s ‘The Blueprint’

Jeff Williams starts his series of dates in support of new release Outlier tonight at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music with John O’Gallagher, Kit Downes and Sam Lasserson.
All tour dates

Jeff joined Chris Philips on his Jazz FM show The Blueprint and shared some superb, revealing anecdotes about his life in jazz and more on the construct of this bold and imaginative new body of work.
Listen again

 

Here’s a recent review for Outlier published in  London Jazz:

“At this point in jazz’s evolution… what’s important is that players make strong music together, and this fine group certainly do.”
London Jazz (full review)

“[Williams] brings together elements of music he’s experienced through an impressive career to make new compositions that inspire his cohorts.”
London Jazz (full review)

‘Outlier’ by Jeff Williams and featuring Phil Robson, Sam Lasserson, Kit Downes and Josh Arcoleo released today. Supporting tour starts Wednesday 16th March.

Jeff Wiliams FB

 

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

 

“The pieces are robustly appealing and the improv – from a crack British band including pianist Kit Downes, guitarist Phil Robson and tenor saxist Josh Arcoleo – is even better.”
The Guardian

 

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.

 

TOUR DATES

For more details go: here

16/03/16 ROYAL NORTHERN COLLEGE OF MUSIC, MANCHESTER

17/03/16 SEVEN ART SPACE, CHAPEL ALLERTON, LEEDS, WEST YORKSHIRE

18/03/16 SHEFFIELD JAZZ

28/03/16 THE COCKPIT, LONDON  (OFFICIAL LAUNCH)

13/05/16 THE VERDICT, BRIGHTON

 

Here’s the title track from Outlier

Ahead of it’s release later this week, London Jazz, All About Jazz, Jazzwise and Jazz FM feature ‘Outlier’ by Jeff Williams.

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.

In this, 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).


Outlier
 
 releases later this week and here’s a selection of the previews, features and reviews already received:

“A very good album which benefits from Williams’ imaginative compositions and the ensemble’s excellent musicianship… play frequently for a lasting effect.”
All About Jazz (full review)

Interview in London Jazz: (full feature)

‘New and Old’ played on on Jazz FM’s ‘The Cutting Edge’ Playlist

Album and tour preview in Jazzwise: (website)

 

Jazzwise March 2016

Jazzwise March 2016

NYJO FIFTY: ★★★★ review from Jazzwise, reviews from The Guardian and The Sunday Times + Mark Armstrong feature interview in M-Magazine.

NYJO FIFTY celebrates the 50th anniversary of a British institution, The National Youth Jazz Orchestra, who have recorded well over 40 albums to date with this their first release for Whirlwind. Recorded at Air Studios in London, the album reflects the wide range in repertoire, style and musical colors for which NYJO has become known, with a look at new repertoire and some of the band’s past favorites to celebrate 50 years as the UK’s premier youth big band.

The album features special guest soloists in Mark Nightingale (trombone), Gareth Lockrane (flute), saxophonist Julian Siegel and pianist Zoe Rahman.

Here’s a round up of the latest press highlights. (scroll down to see feature in M-Magazine)

“Playing throughout, both ensemble and solo, is of a consistently high standard and the whole package is highly recommended.”
Northern Echo (website)

“A milestone…These are todays players, equally good at both genres (contemporary and swing) and raring to go.”
★★★★ Jazzwise (website)

Big Band CD of the year
Bebop Spoken Here (full post)

“A class act that many would never guess was a student band… Immaculately played and full of gems.”
The Guardian (full review)

“There’s certainly no shortage of precocious talent among the soloists and ensemble.”
The Sunday Times (website)

Recently NYJO’s artistic and music director was interviewed for M-Magazine (website) (see below)

 

FireShot Capture - Interview_ Mark Armstrong, National You_ - http___www.m-magazine.co.uk_features

Power of 10 by New York Standards Quartet makes DownBeat Magazines’ ‘Editor’s Pick’ list.

New York Standards Quartet and recent release Power of 10 appear on this months ‘Editor’s Pick’ feature in DownBeat Magazine.

An attractive mix of heady originals, refreshing contrefacts and smartly arranged standards-all united by the group’s shared affinity for muscular groove and searing, thoughtful melody.
DownBeat Editor’s Pick: (full feature)

new_york_standards_920_550shar-20_s_c1The album is their second release for Whirlwind and a tribute to their ten years of performing together.

Comprising David Berkman (piano), Tim Armacost (sax), Gene Jackson (drums) and Michael Janisch (bass), the hallmark of the group’s playing is an easy rapport with one another developed through ten years of playing together and interpreting jazz classics in a highly engaging and personal way.

They give the listener something familiar to grab on to, before throwing in the bends and quirks that NYSQ has become known for, creating modern shapes and visions of these well-known ​songs​.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 21.19.22

 

Here’s a full length version of Deep High Wide Sky from the album: