Zhenya Strigalev’s ‘Never Group’ with 17 date British Isles to start tour this weekend + latest reviews

Alto saxophonist and composer Zhenya Strigalev brings his new trio featuring the US bassist Michael Janisch (Joe Lovano, Miguel Zenon, Gary Husband) and first-call Spanish drummer Marc Ayza (Jason Linder, Greg Osby) to the British Isles for an extensive 17 date tour (scroll down for details) starting this Friday to support recent release Never Group. Check out a little of what’s in store from a recent tour with Linley Marthe and Eric Harland to the left.

 

 

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This tour has been supported by a generous grant from Arts Council England.

 

One of the rising stars of the European jazz scene and fast building a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic for his exhilarating take on contemporary jazz, Strigalev’s live shows are as exciting as they are uniquely eccentric and he has headlined around Europe with sold out shows at Porgy & Bess in Vienna and Ronnie Scotts in London.

Here are the latest highlights from around the globe for Never Group:

“Another impressive artistic statement from Strigalev… Plenty of colour, variety and intelligence.”
★ The Jazz Mann

“Exceeds its own potential and leads the listener to a state of euphoria.”
Citizen Jazz (full review)

“An album full of groove, energy and spontaneous creativity.”
 Jazz Zeitung (website)

“A breath of fresh air through jazz-fusion, liberally laced with intelligent and interesting ideas.”
Musik an Sich  (website)

“There’s certainly no denying the energy and urgency of the music and the brilliance of the playing… Evidence that Strigalev is one of the music’s most original thinkers.”
★ The Jazz Mann

“Breathtaking virtuosity, endless inventiveness and adventurous material.”
Musik Reviews (website)

“Audacious and passionate emphasis on improvisation.”
CD Aktuell (website)

“An exploration of sonorities providing much audible pleasure.
Concerto (website)

“Intoxicatingly expressive… A complex, harmonious world of melody.”
Jazz Podium (website)

“Music played with commitment.”
Jazz Journal (website)

Zhenya Strigalev’s Never Group 

 

JULY BRITISH ISLES TOUR (click here for details)

Read the latest reviews for Patrick Cornelius and ‘While We’re Still Young’ include ★★★★ from Jazz Journal and watch live video.

While We’re Still Young is the sixth and latest album by the critically acclaimed, award-winning saxophonist and composer Patrick Cornelius which brings together seven of the most accomplished young artists in contemporary jazz in order to breathe life into a suite of new original music inspired by the universally-treasured poetry of English literary icon A. A. Milne, a project made possible by a commission from Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works program, and a grant from The Doris Duke Foundation.

Patrick met drummer Kendrick Scott, bassist Peter Slavov, and trombonist Nick Vayenas while attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston and has recorded many albums with the three of them (including several of his previous solo releases) over the past 15 years. Trumpeter Jason Palmer is also an old friend and musical collaborator from Cornelius’ days in Boston. Pianist Gerald Clayton and guitarist Miles Okazaki were classmates of Patrick’s in graduate school, and tenor saxophonist John Ellis was an early inspiration from his first days in New York City.

While We’re Still Young  continues to draw critical acclaim from European music publications and here are some of the highlights:

“This is a good record… Watch out for other things from Patrick Cornelius.”
★★★★ Jazz Journal (website)

“An appeal to the listener to remember the joy and wonder of their own youth.”
CD Aktuell (website)

“A melancholy retrospective on jazz history, dextrously decorated with bebop, ballads and riffs work from the present.”
Concerto (website)

“Full of artistry and joy.”
Digital Zeitung (website)

“A wonderful jazz suite.”
Musik Reviews (website)

“Multi-faceted compositions, lush unison horn lines and sparkling solos combine to create an enchanting atmosphere.”
All About Jazz (IT) (full review)

Trumpeter and composer Henry Spencer to release debut album ‘The Reasons Don’t Change’ with Whirlwind in February 2017.

Whirlwind announces the debut album from Henry Spencer, a young trumpeter and composer living in London whose music and band are gaining considerable attention across the UK.  An alumnus of The Guildhall School of Music, Spencer won the Emerging Excellence Award from Help Musicians UK in 2014 as well as Best Newcomer Award at the Marlborough Jazz Festival, following the debut public performance of his group Henry Spencer and Juncture.  The band are currently preparing for the release of their debut album, The Reasons Don’t Change (mastered by the multi-Grammy award winning engineer Dave Darlington) scheduled for February 10, 2017 and have already appeared twice as part of a headlining bill for upcoming UK bands at Ronnie Scott’s in London.

In addition to his own original projects, Henry also currently performs in a range of ensembles and features as a soloist in jazz groups, big bands, pop/rock bands, for recording sessions and for theatre orchestras. Henry has performed many notable ensembles and musicians including George Porter Jr (The Meters), Julian Joseph, Jason Rebello, Stan Sulzmann, Marvin Stamm, The Outlanders, Henry Lowther, Anthony Strong, The Zealots, Jon Desbruslais Quintet, Hot Air, Sibilla, The London Salsa All Stars, Chromatone, Crowd Company, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, London City Big Band and the London Jazz Orchestra.

Drawing on influences from jazz, rock and minimalism, Henry’s band Juncture creates a contemporary sound-world with a focus on emotional and creative expression, influenced by many trends heard in the contemporary scenes of both Los Angeles and New York City. Having met while studying at the Guildhall School of Music the band are able to draw upon multiple years of playing together, resulting in an immediately noticable musical empathy and interaction between the musicians.

 

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Juncture is:

Henry Spencer – trumpet, flugelhorn and compositions

Matt Robinson – piano

Nick Costley-White – guitar

Andrew Robb – bass

David Ingamells – drums

 

 

 

Henry Spencer and Juncture dates (more details):

(a large tour in early 2017 is being planned, so stop back frequently for more dates as they are added)

10th July 2016 – Swanage Jazz Festival

7th February 2017 – ALBUM LAUNCH Pizza Express Jazz Club (Soho)

13th May – Calstock Arts

14th May – Ashburton live

 

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Julian Argüelles’ ‘Tetra’ and Ivo Neame’s ‘Strata’ featured as best of new British albums by German radio show ‘Jazz Time’.

Two Whirlwind releases have been featured on German radio show Jazz Times as representing the best of the current crop of albums coming out of the UK. Here’s a reminder of both albums and a recent highlight from a recent press review for each:

 

Known widely for his linchpin roles with Phronesis and Marius Neset, effulgent beacon of contemporary jazz piano, Ivo Neame, takes a side step from his octet and other projects to release this exciting new quintet title Strata. Collaborating again with UK luminaries (including three fellow Whirlwind artists) Tori Freestone (saxes/flutes), Jim Hart (vibraphone), Tom Farmer (bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums), this collection of eight Neame originals gyrates energetically with complex written grooves and varying instrumental colors to spark opportunities for venturous, improvised blowing.

 

“This kaleidoscopic work is bursting with ideas and displays a fine balance of
composition and improvisation”
Phantom Tollbooth (full review)

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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). Tetra have toured variously over the last three years, developing and shaping their alliance into this vibrant debut recording which ripples and sings with unpredictability and consummate musicianship.

 

 

 

Live show review of Tetra at The Hive, Shrewsbury in June.
★★★★ The Jazz Mann (full review)


 

 

Jazzwise features Jeff Williams and recent release ‘Outlier’ receives ★★★★ from The Jazz Mann and Concerto Magazine + more album and live show reviews.

Drummer Jeff Williams has graced innumerable New York and London stages over the years, making frequent Atlantic crossings between the two cities. With Outlier, 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 month, Jeff is featured in Jazzwise Magazine (website) (scroll down to read) and Outlier continues to receive plaudits from the music press across Europe.

“A top notch British band plays superbly throughout with Williams’ intelligent but approachable compositions giving them plenty to get their teeth into.”
★★★★ The Jazz Mann (full review)

“A top-flight selection of cutting-edge UK players and a selection of exciting original compositions.”
Jazz Views (full review)

“Strong and muscular outing.”
Jazz Weekly (full review)

“Powerful, energetic and unsettling jazz with a lot of warmth and soul at its core.”
Jazz Podium (website)

“Exciting and very satisfying.”
CD Aktuell (website)

“As leader, Williams coaxes his colleagues in sonorous interplay.”
Indigo DE (website)

“A great drummer as a leader presents his own view of modern jazz… Swinging, surprising and with lively improvisation.”
Musik an Sich (website)

“With rugged ‘straight ahead jazz’ and storming improvisations, Outlier is a safe bet for any jazz fan.”
★★★★ Concerto Magazine (website)

Scroll down for a review from the opening night of the Outlier tour at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music.

 

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Simon Purcell Quintet ft. Chris Batchelor, Julian Siegal, Steve Watts and Gene Calderazzo at The Vortex, 25th June 2016.

Pianist, composer and educator Simon Purcell, currently the Head of Jazz at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music in London, will present his new Quintet project at The Vortex on Saturday June 25th 2016 (more info and tickets).

With a line-up comprising Simon Purcell – piano, Chris Batchelor – trumpet, Julian Siegel – tenor and soprano saxophones, Gene Calderazzo – drums and Steve Watts – bass, the Quintet builds on the success of debut release Red Circle.

Originally known for his hard-bop group “Jazz Train” during the 1980’s, Simon has performed throughout the UK and parts of Europe, both as leader and sideman, appearing with amongst others – Red Rodney, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Stan Sulzmann, Jean Tousaint, Valerie Ponomarev, Dale Barlow, Julian Arguelles, Bobby Shew, Conrad Erwig and Steve Williamson.

Here’s an extract from an All About Jazz review of the album which describes the intention and approach of Red Circle:

“The overall feel of the album is of that period between modal jazz of the late 1950s/early 1960s and the jazz-rock fusion experiments of the latter part of the 1960s. Fans of say Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock will find much to enjoy—for example the way that Purcell’s piano picks its way through the solo on “Red Circle—Enchantress” over Calderazzo’s cymbal work has echoes of “Maiden Voyage.” While there are these reverberations of the past, they never overwhelm the music which is without exception well played, interesting compositions. The way that Purcell interacts with both Siegel and Batchelor on the appropriately brooding “Answers for Job” is excellent as is the mesmeric piano line he feeds between contributions as if reflecting thoughts on the challenges posed to Job by the other soloists. “

 

Dee Byrne’s ‘Entropi’ ft. Andre Canniere, Rebecca Nash, Olie Brice and Matt Fisher to release new album supported by PRSF ‘Women Make Music’ programme + show dates and London Jazz podcast.

“Pushing the boundaries of recognisable elements from across modern jazz history yet always retaining strong, lively tunes and exhilarating band interplay.”
Manchester Jazz Festival

 

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Whirlwind Recordings is pleased to announce that Dee Byrne’s Entropi will release a new album in 2017.

Entropi is a vehicle for Dee Byrne’s ‘space-jazz’ compositions, exploring a narrative of life-pondering, stargazing and risk-taking. Juggling order and chaos, composition and improvisation, the group takes listeners on a journey with compelling group interplay, strong themes, open-ended improvisation, dark grooves and interweaving melodic textures.

The ensemble comprises alto saxophonist Dee Byrne, trumpeter Andre Canniere, keyboardist Rebecca Nash, drummer Matt Fisher and bassist Olie Brice. Having performed live together for some time, the band has achieved a striking empathy and freedom to take risks

This recording is supported by Women Make Music, a PRSF funding opportunity that supports the development of outstanding women songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds at different stages of their career. The fund supports projects by women songwriters, composers, artists, bands and performers who write their own music. Dee recently talked to London Jazz (listen on the website) about the PRSF grant and the recording.

 

 

Here’s where you can catch the band this year and watch out for news of an album launch tour in 2017.

 

23rd June – JAZZ RE:FRESHED, London

27th July @ MANCHESTER JAZZ FESTIVAL

16th September @ LANCASTER JAZZ FESTIVAL

14th November @ IKLECTIK ARTLAB, London

17th November @ CAMBRIDGE JAZZ FESTIVAL

 

Listen to ‘Mode for C’ from Entropi below:

 

Entropi is supported by PRS For Music Foundation (website)

UK release today: Donna Lewis and ‘Brand New Day’ ft: Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, Dave King and produced by David Torn.

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

 

“The mood is hushed and intensely personal… This is an intriguingly successful collaboration between an unusual team.” – Jazz Views

“Lewis shows impeccable taste… electrifying.” – The Irish Times

 

‘I Love You Always Forever’ was such a huge hit for the multi-platinum artist Donna Lewis; a #1 chart hit / dance-pop classic for which people around the globe still have boundless affection – the 1996 song will always be the one for which many fans know her. But the Welsh native is an artist of many dimensions, as she has demonstrated with efforts ranging from At the Beginning, her charming duet with Richard Marx from the Anastasia soundtrack, to Be Still, her lovely voice and piano album. True to its title, her eagerly awaited new album, Brand New Day, is a striking departure from anything she has done before. Produced by her longtime friend and collaborator David Torn, who arranged all the songs, Brand New Day redefines her as an artist while maintaining the wonderful open qualities her fans love.

Lewis’ fifth studio recording is an intimate, jazz-inflected covers/original album. The conservatory-trained daughter of a semi-professional jazz pianist has heretofore forged her place in the pop world through styles like atmospheric art pop, singer/songwriter folk, traditional jazz, and classical. While Donna’s last album, 2008’s In the Pink, was heavily electronic, Brand New Day explores a much more stripped-down acoustic sound. Lewis has toured often in a duo setting, accompanying herself on piano with a bassist at her side; here, however, she pares down her focus even further by handling only the vocals, leaving all instrumental duties with the capable trio featuring pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer Dave King, who are perfectly suited to back Lewis on this project.

Along with three originals (the languid ‘Sleep’, the title track ‘Brand New Day’ and a ruminative reworking of ‘I Love You Always Forever’), Lewis and her trio delve into a handful of inspired cover songs that cross stylistic boundaries from the fantastical latter-David Bowie number ‘Bring Me The Disco King’, to Fred Neil’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ at Me’, to Damien Rice’s ‘Amie’. What’s particularly invigorating here is how untethered Iverson, Anderson and King perform. As a trio, they interact clearly, fluidly and adventurously on Brand New Day, while creating a generous space for her intimate and warm vocal delivery. Donna digs into these songs with care and expertise, drawing out her phrases and enveloping a tune in multiple layers of meaning. This is perhaps best expressed in her delicate reworking of Chocolate Genius’ 1998 soul ballad ‘My Mom’, in which Lewis takes an already heart-wrenching song about watching a parent succumb to dementia and brings out the most poignant, tender aspects of the piece via her soft, lilting vocal delivery. Much like on the rest of Brand New Day, the singer’s delicate tone contrasts subtly with her experienced choices, creating a beautiful and fascinating dichotomy.

(Some text adapted from All Music Guide)

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 Check out the full length single ‘Waters of March’ from Brand New Day

(preview tracks for the full album available on the album page)

“A powerful demonstration of accessible, creative music making.” Euan Stevenson and Konrad Wizsniewski to release ‘New Focus On Song’ ft. The Glasgow String Quartet, August 19th 2016.

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Scottish pianist/composer Euan Stevenson and saxophonist/composer Konrad Wiszniewski continue their musical collaboration New Focus with a second album New Focus On Song for Whirlwind Recordings. After the critical success of their first release which featured a unique blend of classical, jazz and Scottish Folk that was shortlisted for the 2012 Scottish Album of the Year Award, the pair have established themselves as leading lights on the burgeoning creative music scene in Scotland.

Much of the acclaim received to date for New Focus has centred on the pair’s ability to write beautiful, haunting melodies where every piece in the sequel balances emotional power with exquisite craftsmanship. Stevenson provides the majority of the compositions and orchestrations and largely employs the subtle palette of the first album (jazz quartet, string quartet and harp), further enriching these textures with the addition of woodwind. Wiszniewski solos on both tenor and soprano saxophones throughout, while on ensemble passages he and his wife Nicola Wiszniewska provide orchestral colour on clarinet and flute respectively with Alina Bzhezhinska once more featured on concert harp.

The resulting chamber music is rich and varied. Both composers pay tribute to their young daughters with heartfelt musical letters dedicated to each; but sensitivity and sweetness is balanced with hard edged improvising on the fast swinging ‘Corea Change’ and the angular and spiky ‘Fourths Ostinato’, whilst the folky ‘Green Park’ and ‘Sophia’s Song’ (with Wiszniewski on Celtic whistle) leave the listener in no doubt as to the composers’ heritage. That being said, the Gallic influence of Debussy, Satie and Ravel is never far away – tracks like ‘Ascension’ and ‘Braeside’ are a unique blend of French impressionism and jazz, a testament to Stevenson’s versatility as a composer/performer who is able to move seamlessly between idioms. This holistic approach is moreover exemplified in the two short improvised solo piano vignettes which appear as sparkling contrasts to the full ensemble dynamic.

Alive to every textural nuance is drummer/percussionist Alyn Cosker, hooking up splendidly with the ever supportive bassist Andrew Robb. Indeed, the Glasgow String Quartet, all members of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, are used to working in perfect synergy, and from start to finish all the players on this genre-defying album appear to breathe joyfully as one, a powerful demonstration of accessible, creative music making in the 21st century.

 

Tour Dates (check back for more details)

22nd June – The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow 7:30pm

9th July – Edinburgh House Concert

20th August –  The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

28th August – The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

9th September – The Swallow Theatre, Wigton

16th September – Cupar Music Club

17th September – Craiglockhart Parish Hall, Edinburgh

8th October – Gartmore Music Club

3rd November – The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen

4th November – The Tollbooth, Stirling

 

Here’s Green Park from New Focus On Song

 

Phil Robson features in Guitarist Magazine + live dates.

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.

 

 

 

Phil features in Guitarist Magazine this month and is about to start on a series of dates over the summer in the US and Canada. Click here for details.

 

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