Cloudmakers Trio ‘Five’ live recording at the Vortex on the 10th & 11th

Cloudmakers Trio (Five) return to London tonight for two shows at the Vortex Jazz Club which will be recorded live for their third Whirlwind album, the follow up to Abstract Forces and Live At The Pizza Express ft. Ralph Alessi.

Jim Hart – vibraphone

Michael Janisch – double bass

Hannes Riepler – guitar

Antonin Tri Hoang – alto saxophone

Dave Smith – drums

More info and tickets: here

Read Jim Hart’s recent interview for London Jazz News: here

“They were individually and in combination electrifying… The quintet are individually top drawer players. Hart’s writing and their empathy meshes them into a formidable unit.”
Jazzy Blog Man

“This music is more clearly about group interaction… despite the sometimes mind bogglingly complex nature of the material a high premium was being placed upon musical risk taking and the improvisational process.” 
The Jazz Mann



UK Release day: Tim Armacost ‘Time Being’ featuring Robert Hurst, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and Dave Kikoski + tour photos & reviews from Jazzwise Magazine, London Jazz feature & more

We’re pleased to announce the UK release today…

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

Tim has just completed a 2 week jaunt around Europe promoting the album with special guests on drums and Michael Janisch on double bass.  Here’s some photos from Jimmy Glass in Valencia Spain; a live review from Jazzwise Magazine‘s Eddie Myer with photos from Rachel Zhang; an interview with Chris Philips of Jazz FM; and a feature on London Jazz News.

About the album:

The beginnings of this debut Whirlwind release as leader, from acclaimed Los Angeles-born tenor saxophonist Tim Armacost, tell a fascinating tale. A marquee player on the New York and Japanese scenes for many years, with an extensive discography and countless live and recorded collaborations to his name in the US, Europe and Asia (including the New York Standards Quartet recordings on this label), the clear direction for Time Being arrived, remarkably, out of the blue.

As Armacost elaborates: “I pictured myself playing Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman in the studio with a trio – double bassist Robert Hurst and drummer Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts. Tain was, in terms of time signature, out on his own, and Bob and I were communicating with each other independently of what he was playing. But what Tain was doing was so incredibly attractive – so fiery and so beautiful – that we both really wanted to go over and be part of that; yet we already had this thing that we had to do together. That whole idea of people relating to each other in the time, but in a non-traditional way, and creating tension which would eventually be resolved by them going over to play together, was something I’d never tried before – and the concept was really exciting. To achieve this, technology might have been the answer. But in the end, we decided to record in Tain’s studio, in an intimate live environment with no separation” (occasional left/right panning helps with the visualisation). “So for my compositions and arrangements, I needed to imagine the ideas happening in real time; and fortunately, with Tain and Bob on board – some of the most swinging musicians on the planet – there was a great, combined willingness for exploration, to make it happen.” Joining the trio on selected tracks is pianist David Kikoski, providing elegant, rippling color to numbers such as ‘The Next 20’ and ‘One and Four’.

Through the dedication of these accomplished artists, such a challenging brief has evolved into a project which is incredibly organic, purposeful and sumptuously swinging. The three ‘Sculptures’ on the album are very much an expression of this structured experimentation. ‘Phase Shift’ is modelled on an ‘X’ formation, as Armacost and Watts converge along the left tempo pathways, with Hurst on the right until saxophonist and bassist change places (an E flat to C piano key-change marks the crossover point) – technical in construction, but an exhilarating listen. In ‘Tempus Funkit’, Armacost independently visits the rhythms of drummer and bassist; and the particle-like conflict of ‘All The Things You Could Become In The Large Hadron Collider’ (based on ‘All The Things You Are’) is also a playful reference to Charles Mingus’ ‘All The Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother’.

‘Lonely Woman’ – the seed of this album which germinated so many possibilities – features a call-and-response between tenor and bass (with each saying, “Check out the way I’m playing the melody”), initiating their own improvisations until the drums home in on the bassist (as Tim puts it, “He can’t resist”). So the differing musical tensions are intentionally part of the unplanned dialogue present throughout this recording. In title track ‘Time Being’, the trio divides when tenor moves to a different tempo, with Hurst following, and Watts reaching them later – as Armacost enthuses: “When we all come back together, the pay-off is really delicious!” Pacey ’53rd Street’ is inspired by the blues melody of Thelonious Monk’s ’52nd Street’; there’s a fine, percussively buoyant interpretation of Monk’s ‘Teo’; and feisty, original composition ‘Alawain’ says so much about this trio’s collective, impassioned spirit.

Tim Armacost describes the session as being playful, wild and serious: “It has been a real source of joy, for me, to see such open musicians willing to make an attempt at something we’ve never done before; and especially when things got kinda interesting, and we started smiling – that was a really special, even relaxed experience. I hope that, although this has a demanding concept at its roots, listeners can pick up on its lyrical, singing qualities. The audience is very much part of the conversation – we’re doing this thing together, and we invite you in… to have fun!”

Matt Ridley upcoming show dates + news of new project

British double bassist and composer Matt Ridley has a series of shows coming up including a collaboration with Brighton based New Generation Jazz tomorrow which includes a free workshop with the Quartet.

He is also launching a new sextet project this Spring whose line up includes saxophonist Tori Freestone. More on this soon including details of a first performance at The Vortex Jazz Club in June.

Watch the video for a reminder of recent release Mettã  featuring pianist John Turville, drummer George Hart, and soprano saxophonist Jason Yarde.

Matt  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.”


For more details on Matt’s show dates including how to buy tickets, click: here


‘Ebb and Flow’ from Mettã

Whirlwind signs pianist and composer George Colligan for June 30th release: ‘More Powerful Than You Could Possibly Imagine’ feat. Linda Oh (double bass), Rudy Royston (drums), Nicole Glover (saxophones)

“Mr. Colligan favors an earthy, assertive style, putting him in a lineage
that includes McCoy Tyner, John Hicks and Mulgrew Miller.​”

– New York Times

Whirlwind is pleased to announce the signing of  world-renowned pianist and composer George Colligan, not only one of the great jazz pianists of his generation, but an artist who has earned an international reputation as a multi-instrumentalist (drums, trumpet, organ, keyboards), composer, accompanist, teacher, and bandleader.

The winner of the 2015 DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll (Keyboard), he has had a long association as a member of the legendary Jack DeJohnette’s ensemble. With over 130 albums to date as an accompanist, Colligan has worked with a long list of luminaries, including Buster Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane, and many others.

His forthcoming album for Whirlwind More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine is his 28th album as a leader.  The album features some of New York’s finest talents in Linda Oh – double bass; Rudy Royston – drums; and Nicole Glover on saxophones.



 George will be touring Europe in July of 2017 to promote the record.  Stay tuned for more on this release…






“Exquisite musicality.” All About Jazz (IT) ★★★★ review for New York Standards Quartet ‘Power of 10’ ft Tim Armacost, David Berkman, Michael Janisch & Gene Jackson

new_york_standards_920_550shar-20_s_c1The hallmark of NYSQ‘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.

NYSQ’s recording, Power of 10  featuring David Berkman (piano), Tim Armacost (sax), Gene Jackson (drums) and Michael Janisch (bass) continues to be well received by the European press. Here’s a recent highlight:

‘Exquisite musicality… One of the best modern mainstream bands around.”
★★★★ All About Jazz (IT) (full review)


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



Zhenya Strigalev and ‘Never Group’ Euro Tour starts March 1 + live review highlights & Jazz in Europe tour preview

Zhenya Strigalev takes ‘Never Group‘ on tour in Europe next month. Scroll down for dates and details.

Read Jazz in Europe‘s tour preview: here

Here are some highlights from Never Groups last European tour:

“Pleasing, positive music, full of life, catchy yet complex… An amusing ride through today’s urban jazz jungle and a daring fusion of different styles.”
Muri Kultur (full review)


“Of particular note was the saxophone controlled synthesiser allowing the artist to bring touches of electronica to an unexpected instrument.”
La Scene Maconnaise (live review + photos)

“From langurous melodies to extremely fast tempos with complex harmony, these incredibly talented jazz musicians brought it all and complemented each other perfectly. An audience of jazz musicians and newcomers alike appreciated the extraordinary musicianship – Both trumpet players and the astonishing saxophone controlled synthesiser were the highlights of the show.”
Musig im Pflegidach (live review)


Tour Dates

(Details and Ticket Info)

March 1 – Paradox, Tilburg, NL

March 2 – Bimhuis, Amsterdam, NL

March 3 – Sunset Sunside Jazz Club, Paris FR

March 4 – Jazz Dock, Praha CZ

March 5 – Porgy and Bess, Vienna AT

March 7 – Moods, Zurich CH


“A striking debut… Spencer is a very promising arrival.” The Guardian reviews Henry Spencer’s ‘The Reasons Don’t Change’

“A striking debut… Spencer is a very promising arrival.”

“Trumpeter/composer Henry Spencer is a recent conservatoire graduate, but his spectacular technique and strong musical character make him sound like an old hand.”

The Guardian (full review)


The Reasons Don’t Change


Henry Spencer – trumpet

Nick Costley-White – guitar

Matt Robinson – piano, keyboards

Andrew Robb – double bass

David Ingamells – drums




Josephine Davies, Dave Whitford and Paul Clarvis launch Satori at 606 Club on Tuesday Feb 21st.

Satori, official album launch show at 606 Club, London Tues 21st Feb 2017.


Josephine Davies – saxophone

Dave Whitford – bass

Paul Clarvis – drums

More details and tickets


“Davies…a fluid, sumptuous sound”

“Davies… high class… assured and highly skilled”
The Jazz Mann

DownBeat Magazine feature for Christine and Ingrid Jensen. ‘Infinitude’ launch at Jazz Gallery, New York, Friday 17th Feb + latest reviews including ★★★★ from Jazz Journal and Irish Times

Infinitude is the debut release from sisters Ingrid and Christine Jensen which launches at  New York’s Jazz Gallery tomorrow. Scroll down to see the feature in the latest edition of DownBeat magazine.

Information and tickets: here

Ingrid Jensen – trumpet

Christine Jensen – saxophone 

Ben Monder – guitar, 

Matt Clohesy – bass

Jon Wikan – drums

Here are the latest highlights from reviews for  Infinitude:

“There’s an impressively fluid understanding between the Canadian Jensen sisters in atmospheric, graceful folk-jazz dialogue.”
Jazzwise Magazine (website)

“Strong, folk-tinged melodies, spacious, austere harmony and slow-burn grooves that ebb and flow like the tide.”
★★★★ Irish Times

“Echoes of Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Kenny Wheeler shimmer through the material in a dreamy, ruminative fashion, giving a good sense of light and shade to the intricate compositions.”
★ Jazz Journal (website)

“A deeply personal album of original improvisations with well-crafted arrangements that also highlights their soloing prowess.”
Jazz Hot (Fr)

“Beauty, power, melody, noise, all enter the sonic soundscape… The sisters are a formidable force in contemporary music.”
Step Tempest



“A gateway to the wider colorful world of Fats Waller.” 7th April 2017 – Mark Lewandowski to release ‘Waller’ ft. Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis.


Thomas Wright ‘Fats’ Waller was a true entertainer; a New York trailblazer of his time (1920s to early 1940s), turning out hundreds of songs including those which would become established standards, such as ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’, ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and ‘Jitterbug Waltz’. A jocular, larger-than-life character, his Harlem stride piano and gritty voice were key to a distinctive sound which would inform the jazz of subsequent generations, with solid showtime melodies ensuring its longevity.

Strongly maintaining the integrity of Fats Waller’s music while looking afresh at its present-day possibilities, English double bassist Mark Lewandowski embarked on this concept with clear intent: “I wanted to approach it with respect. Fats’ music is frequently loud, exuberant, even obnoxious at times, as well as wistful and elegant; so I really wanted to strip it down – and, with that in mind, I automatically thought of Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis (their 2009 duo album, Starry Starry Night, has long been a great inspiration to me). As a drummer, Paul demonstrates such great poise and economy, using only brushes throughout the whole of what was a particularly relaxed recording session, whilst Liam’s playful, unpredictability at the piano is perfect for this” (he has skilfully reworked the music of many artists, including Dave Brubeck, Bud Powell… even Elgar). “For the three of us, the experience of improvising so conversationally and intimately felt remarkably equal, and became more of an ongoing commentary rather than a straightforward reinterpretation. Nothing was fixed, the shackles were removed – so I loved the spontaneity and the vulnerability, as well as Liam’s and Paul’s wry take on things.”

With authentically-sampled historical introductions occasionally reinforcing the context, Waller’s eleven tracks unfold organically from the slenderest of wireframes. As Lewandowski says: “Fats would never have written any of those things down; if he composed a new tune, he’d go over to them and play it from the piano.” A similar approach here affords each of the musicians the freedom to respond in their own way while also intertwining their various strands of ideas, so ‘Lulu’s Back in Town’ emerges and then reappears from the trio’s enthusiastically percussive ‘chat’. ‘I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead… Suzannah!!’ fuses together two Fats originals, its countrified bass phrasing sparingly embellished by Clarvis’ irregular snare patterns before Noble runs headlong into it with characteristically oblique swing. Another astute pairing results in ‘It’s a Sin to Write a Letter’, followed by Lewandowski’s animated bass solo ‘Have a Little Dream on Me’; and ‘Blue Because of You’ quicksteps to dashing bass and shuffling brushes as Noble shrugs off its melancholy origins.

Flirtatious favourites ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ and ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ are typically mischievous, nay impetuous, with each player lying in wait to jump off the others’ ideas; ‘Jitterbug Waltz’s familiar descending phrases are avidly seized upon by the ever-inventive imaginings of Noble; and both ‘Cinders’ and ‘Fair and Square in Love’ are deliciously and mesmerisingly held back, the latter hinting at a cool Motown ballad vibe towards its close.

Mark Lewandowski’s final, sung/whistled track – ‘Surprise Ending’ (Jelly Roll Morton’s resigned ‘Why’) – whimsically nods to Waller’s personable, socially-relevant reflections on the mundanity of life, as well as his popular showmanship from the piano. It might even offer a glimpse of future spin-off projects: “We’ve all studied early jazz alongside our more contemporary projects, and everything I do is very heavily informed by the Black-American tradition – it’s how I first fell in love with this music. So it’s been a great way to focus on Fats’ output; and I can even envisage some continuity in us exploring other historical artists in the same way. You can’t hide behind this music, so we wanted it to be as honest as possible, based on our own instincts. We’re using our collective influences of the past to inform how we improvise as contemporary musicians – and I hope, for listeners, it’ll be a gateway to the wider, colorful world of Fats Waller.”