“The musicianship is beyond reproach.” Latest reviews for Andre Canniere and ‘The Darkening Blue’. Tour continues next week

Trumpeter and composer Andre Canniere continues The Darkening Blue tour next week with an appearance at The Ram Jam Club in Kingston.

Inspired by poems of Rainer Maria Rilke and Charles Bukowski The Darkening Blue imaginatively combines the haunting and mystical elements of Rilke with the grit and boldness of Bukowski into a uniquely cohesive programme of music and features Tori Freestone – sax, Ivo Neame – piano, Michael Janisch – double and electric bass, Ted Poor – drums and guest vocalist Brigitte Beraha.

 

Here are the highlights from the latest reviews:

“A lovely sound, with melodic lines flowing easily off into improvisations.”
The Jazz Breakfast (full review)

“The musicianship is beyond reproach.”
Bebop spoken here (full review)

Visit here for full details of tour dates.

 

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Release day for Ingrid & Christine Jensen’s ‘Infinitude’ ft Ben Monder, Fraser Hollins and John Wikan

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

 

“With this line-up and these compositions, it’s really easy to channel the freer ideas that are still in the context of the music, but which provide us with the ability to go to that place where we all feel like we’re most ourselves – and that truly is a gift.” – Ingrid Jensen

 

Infinitude – the concept of boundless possibility – is at the center of the music of Ingrid and Christine Jensen. Over the past twenty years or so, as trumpeter and saxophonist respectively, the West Canadian sisters have each shaped prolific careers in contemporary jazz, collaborating with influential names such as Clark Terry, Maria Schneider and Terry Lynn Carrington, working with large and small ensembles, and responding to various commissions to compose for jazz orchestras around the globe.

For their Whirlwind debut, the Jensens have realized a long-held ambition – to write for and perform in the more intimate setting of a quintet, combining their intuitive, sibling trust with the creativity of renowned guitarist Ben Monder and the foundational artistry of bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Jon Wikan. The particular rapport within this grouping is expressed by Christine (composer of half of this album’s material), describing the environment as being less about soloing, but with an emphasis on the question, “How are we all going to dive into this pool and swim together.” The resulting immersion, recorded in the studio across two days, sounds both live and organic, with Ingrid confirming her close relationship with her sister: “It doesn’t actually feel like we’re producing. We already have this flow which continues as we perform together – we can find space, and craziness, and find our way in and out of it, as well.”

The conversational feel which pervades this album’s sixty-eight minutes is illustrated in opening track ‘Blue Yonder’, where Ingrid’s mellifluous trumpet technique (sounded through her custom-created flugel-cupped mouthpiece and ‘flumpet’ bell) melds with Christine’s warm, legato alto to conjure the aura of a wordless vocal. Such grace is echoed by the often understated though lynchpin presence of Ben Monder (whose effect is explained by Christine as “something which is intimate, yet full of the future”); and that same quiet fire is evident in grittier, rock-tinged ‘Swirlaround’ and a freewheeling, even punkish interpretation of Kenny Wheeler’s ‘Old Time’.

The soft, melodic beauty of ‘Hopes Trail’ transcends its underlying inspiration of political disillusionment, reinforcing our need to, at least, musically rise above (accentuated by ascending, chromatic soprano); and written for a kindred spirit of Christine’s, the chirpy mobility of ‘Octofolk’ features especially connected trumpet and alto adventures, all underpinned by Ben Monder’s textures and a spirited rhythm section. Extended lines in Ingrid’s elegant ‘Dots and Braids’ – which reflect Christine’s lyrical saxophone persona – are contrasted with shorter statements (also informally referencing Canadian pianist/composer David Braid), while the increasing fullness of buoyant, bossa-infused ‘Echolalia’ (written by Monder) hints at the sisters’ expertise in an orchestral jazz setting.

‘Duo Space’ and ‘Trio: Garden Hour’ provide a different perspective, their reduced instrumentations and improvisations offering further insight into the deep-seated need of these imaginative musicians to express themselves and search out new sounds in an arena which welcomes such freedom. Describing the experience, Ingrid says: “I need that interaction and empathy experience which comes from playing good gigs with good people; a creative outpouring of my soul. With this line-up and these compositions, it’s really easy to channel the freer ideas that are still in the context of the music, but which provide us with the ability to go to that place where we all feel like we’re most ourselves – and that truly is a gift.” As Christine concludes: “What Ingrid and I have worked on together for so long has now finally been documented in a special way that includes some surprises, especially with our choice of the wonderful Ben Monder – when he says, “I’m gonna play”… you just know that it’s going to be something real special and meaningful. For us, with Infinitude, this is just the beginning.”

 

Listen to ‘Swirlaround’ from Infinitude

 

 

 

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Pete McCann ‘Range’ with upcoming dates in London, Birmingham and Switzerland next month

Next month, NYC-based guitarist Pete McCann will be heading to Europe for three shows in support of Range.

Pete McCann – guitar
John O’Gallagher – saxophone (22/24th)
George Crowley  tenor saxophone (23rd)
Michael Janisch  double & electric bass
Andrew Bain  drums

 

 

 

For full details go: here

22nd November – Spotted Dog, Birmingham

23rd November – Kansas Smitty’s, London

24th November, Jazz in Bess – Lugano (CH)

 

Listen to a full length track:  ‘Mustard’ from Range

 

Andrew Bain announces full tour details for ‘Embodied Hope’ Quartet ft Jon Irabagon, George Colligan and Michael Janisch

andrew-bain-embodied-hope-flyer-150Drummer/composer/bandleader Andrew Bain (Kenny Wheeler, Natalie Cole) premieres a new seven movement work this November, inspired by the seven necessary aspects of embodied hope: listening, surprise, accompaniment, practice, responsibility, trust & hope. Bain’s band features pianist George Colligan (Jack DeJohnette, Cassandra Wilson), saxophonist Jon Irabagon (Dave Douglas, Tom Harrell) and bassist Michael Janisch (Lee Konitz, Kurt Elling).  The band will record for a future Whirlwind release.

For links to full info and details click: here

Andrew Bain is one of the leading performers and educators in the UK. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London and winner of the BBC Big Band Drummer, he has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Natalie Cole, Kenny Wheeler, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, John Taylor, Gwilym Simcock, Iain Dixon, Elliott Sharp, Gavin Bryars, Mike Walker, Jason Rebello, Mike Janisch, Paul Booth, Phil Robson, Iain Ballamy, Jim Hart, Mark Lockheart, Chris Batchelor, Mark Hodgson, Jean Toussaint, Houston Pearson, John Parricelli, Steve Watts, Stan Sulzmann, and was a member of vocalist Jacqui Dankworth’s band between 2007-8, recording with the late Sir John Dankworth in 2008. He has performed at many prestigious venues in the UK, Europe and the US, including the BBC Proms and the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Receiving his MMus from the Manhattan School of Music, he was resident in New York from 2001-07. During this time he performed extensively with Thelonious Monk Competition winner Jon Irabagon, as well as with Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Dave Lalama and Matt Brewer. He has performed at many of New York’s famous clubs including Sin-E, CBGBs, Tonic and the Mercury Lounge, and recorded at Sony Studios. Andrew co-leads the NY-based group Confluence whose eponymous debut showcased original and highly inventive compositions. Their second record will be released on the record label Fresh Sound, New Talent later this year. He launched a new project Player Piano with Mike Walker, Gwilym Simcock, Iain Dixon and Steve Watts to great reviews.

Andrew is Senior Lecturer in Jazz at the Birmingham Conservatoire and Artistic Director of Jazz for the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland. He is also a member of the National Youth Jazz Collective with Artistic Director Dave Holland. Andrew is currently studying for his PhD in jazz improvisation at Birmingham City University.

 

Jazzwise Magazine premiers the new NEVER GROUP video from Zhenya Strigalev ahead of Spain shows this week

Jazzwise Magazine has premiered the new video from Zhenya Strigalev’s new trio NEVER GROUP featuring bassist Michael Janisch and drummer Marc Ayza ahead of their shows in Spain this week.

“[Never Group] … have unleashed a wild and wonderful take on the Glen Miller classic ‘In The Mood’. Turning the tune inside out with Moog-style effects on his sax alongside Janisch’s trippy walking bass and Ayza’s frenetic drums this is typical of the band’s irreverent humour and on-the-edge electronica fusion style.” – Jazzwise

Strigalev will also be appearing with a new high calibre incarnation of this band as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival consisting of in-demand UK pianist Ivo Neame (Phronesis), top US drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Tarus Mateen (rhythm section for Jason Moran’s The Bandwagon), all appearing at Zigfrid Von Underbelly, London on 13 November. Never Group will be touring the UK again next March as well as performing dates in Russia early in the new year.

Monocled Man (Rory Simmons) ‘We Drift Meridian’ launch show pics + Guardian feature and latest reviews including ★★★★ from Music OMH

 

Known widely for his contribution to the UK and international jazz scenes, Rory Simmons’ approach to Monocled Man expresses the broader palette of music which currently inspires him; and We Drift Meridian embraces conceptual cohesiveness through textures and lyrics which evoke mystery, solitude and even desperation. As Simmons confirms: “These are instrumental and electronic explorations which have a meaning and, in context, hang together musically – it’s an exciting, natural progression of the band.”

 

This weekend, Rory has written an article for The Guardian newspaper and you can read his evocative description of a Reykjavic record store here: A great little place I know.

See below for highlight quotes from the latest reviews in for the album and pictures from the launch show at Servant Jazz Quarters:

“The album achieves an impressive unity and coherence in sound… A work where attention to detail in sound design is as important as individual improvisatory contributions or compositional approaches to harmony and rhythm.
★★★★ Music OMH (full review)

“An intriguing album… Full marks to Simmons for coming up with something original and distinctive.”
The Jazz Mann (full review)

“Layers of haunting electronica… Atmospheric”
Congleton Chronicle (website)

“A lively listen… A strong evocation of strange places.”
The Jazz Breakfast (full review)

 

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★★★★★ review from Jazz Journal for Donna Lewis’ ‘Brand New Day’ ft. Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson and David King

‘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.

Reproduced below is a recent ★★★★★ review from Jazz Journal along with a highlight quote from BBC’s Music Magazine:

“Taking a selection of well-crafted contemporary pop songs (plus a few of her (Lewis’) own) and giving them an intelligent and emotional makeover has given this album a beautifully quirky and thoughtful appeal.”
★★★★★ Jazz Journal (website)

“Lewis breathes new life into her own hit… Her voice floating with wistful emotion over the core trio’s beautifully restrained accompaniment.”
★★★★ BBC Music Magazine (website)

 

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NYJO to appear at London’s Ronnie Scott’s on 31st October

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra‘s first release for Whirlwind NYJO FIFTY celebrates the 50th anniversary of a British institution. 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.

NYJO have announced a series of upcoming shows including  a big band special at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club on 31st October. The band is fresh from a recent tour of Germany and the Netherlands with the Bundesjazzorchester and Nationaal Jeugd Jazz Orkest. Under the direction of Mark Armstrong, they’ll feature classics from the big band canon alongside new commissions and arrangements showcasing some of the UK’s finest young musicians.

This is a particularly special evening for NYJO, as the organisation launches its partnership with Natixis Global Asset Management. Natixis has chosen to support NYJO as the flagship organisation for youth jazz in the UK, and will help the orchestra as it continues to foster the next generation of leading British jazz musicians, as well as delivering a nationally significant education programme and international tours. Already the presenting sponsor of the legendary Newport Jazz Festival since 2010 and associated jazz scholarship and education programmes, Natixis shares mutual aims with NYJO of supporting jazz at the highest level, developing emerging talent and helping young musicians fulfil their potential. Natixis Global Asset Management is the Presenting Sponsor of NYJO’s Artistic and Music Director.

More info & tickets

More highlights for NYJO this autumn include:

‘JAZZ UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE!’ COMES TO STRATFORD UPON AVON

With a programme inspired by The Bard’s plays and poetry, NYJO and the National Youth Chamber Choir come together for a rich tapestry of musical takes on William Shakespeare on 22nd October at the Stratford on Avon Music Festival. Including repertoire by Vaughan Williams and Ward Swingle, as well as a rare performance of Duke Ellington’s ‘Such Sweet Thunder’, this 400th anniversary tribute to Shakespeare unites the best and brightest of Britain’s young choristers and jazz musicians.

More info & tickets

For details of all NYJO’s show dates click: here

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Ingrid & Christine Jensen share the second in a series of videos to support upcoming release ‘Infinitude’. Official release date 28th October

In this short video, Ingrid Jensen talks about ‘letting go’ in the context of new recording Infinitude and offers a fascinating insight into the evolution of the music.

Infinitude – the concept of boundless possibility – is at the center of the music of Ingrid and Christine Jensen. For over twenty years, as trumpeter and saxophonist respectively, the West Canadian sisters have shaped prolific careers in contemporary jazz, collaborating with influential names such as Clark Terry, Maria Schneider and Terry Lynn Carrington, working with large and small ensembles, and composing for jazz orchestras around the globe.

For their Whirlwind debut, the Jensens have realized a long-held ambition – to write for and perform in the more intimate setting of a quintet, combining their intuitive, sibling trust with the creativity of renowned guitarist Ben Monder and the foundational artistry of bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Jon Wikan.

 

Full length track: ‘Swirlaround’ from Infinitude

 

 

 

 

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Release Day: Andre Canniere’s ‘The Darkening Blue’ ft. Brigitte Beraha, Tori Freestone, Michael Janisch, Ivo Neame & Ted Poor + ★★★★ All About Jazz review & Jazzwise Magazine feature

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

 

“A fine example of a stellar line-up achieving a remarkable amalgam of depth, warmth and sensitivity.”
★★★★ All About Jazz

 

For his third Whirlwind release, Pennsylvania-raised, London-based trumpeter Andre Canniere shifts in an oblique direction from previous albums Forward Space and Coalescence with original compositions inspired by the words of Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke and American author Charles Bukowski.

The Darkening Blue (click for sound samples) is a sextet project which reaches into the heart of Stephen Mitchell’s insightful translations of Rilke, some of which are conveyed by one of UK jazz’s most expressive vocalists, Brigitte Beraha. There are instrumentally diverse interpretations, too, of Bukowski’s writings, which are illuminated throughout by Tori Freestone (tenor sax), Ivo Neame (piano, keyboards, accordion), Michael Janisch (acoustic/electric bass) and Ted Poor (drums).

Combining Rilke’s mystical intensity with a reassuring wistfulness, Beraha delivers lyrical stanzas which rhythmically and organically enfold Canniere’s narrative arrangements to kindle rich, tumbling, connective improvisation – and that sense of engagement and craft flows throughout an album which is as forcefully dynamic as it is emotionally moving, frequently drawing out imaginative displays of virtuosity.

Yearning, waltzing ‘Autumn Day’ bids farewell to summer through Canniere’s lilting instrumental and vocal melodies which are contrastingly imbued with soft aromas and impending solitude; and Bukowski’s poem ‘Bluebird’ (reinterpreted through Monique Canniere’s words) is a sparkling first take whose songlike structure swings out to fluent trumpet and tenor sax improv, while the horns closely mesh with Beraha’s natural, pliant vocalisations (an especially appealing compositional quality here).

Ted Poor’s incisive drumming colorizes ‘Splash’, a buoyant, bass-and-piano-propelled episode which features Freestone’s elegant modal explorations; while the airy tranquillity of Ivo Neame’s electric piano and Canniere’s dreamy trumpet in ‘Area of Pause’ snap into pure energy, throwing caution to the wind in a rippling dash to the finish.

Perhaps a post-modernist theme for turbulent political times, Bukowski’s ‘Hug the Dark’ is menacingly pictorialized through an urgent, heavy-rock groove, with Freestone pushing hard at her tenor’s limits over jagged electric piano, ominous electronics and Michael Janisch’s distorted bass – and, as elsewhere in this hour’s homage to profoundly-communicated verse, Canniere’s own instrumental invention and technique reach new heights.

Creatively embracing the specific progression of Rilke’s poetry,Evening’ falls, rises and then unravels into spine-tingling, paroxysmal free jazz; ‘Going Blind’ finds Beraha’s spirited, precise voice tracing a weightless pathway to eventual freedom; and closing ‘Sunflower’ – a carefree dedication to the leader’s daughter, Emelie – eases out to blithe trumpet, unison horn phrases and Ivo Neame’s characteristically breezy piano.

Andre Canniere is thrilled by the way his new project, with its jazz, indie rock and songwriting influences, has come to fruition: “These are great musicians who intuitively ‘bring their thing’ to my compositions, which is what I love; and I’ve been crazy about the work of Rilke and Bukowski for some time – it can affect people in many different ways. So if I can turn listeners onto some great poetry, introducing them to something in addition to the music, then that’s great.”

 

Andre is touring ‘The Darkening Blue’ until mid December. Check the dates and links to bookings here.

‘Taking Off’ feature in this months issue of Jazzwise Magazine.

 

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