Ingrid & Christine Jensen with Ben Monder: ‘Infinitude’ summer tour dates announced + latest album reviews

“The three solo voices invent vast, colorful spaces rich in melodies and singular harmonies.”
Culture Jazz (FR) (full review)

Purchase Infinitude here

 

Infinitude – the concept of boundless possibility

 

Summer tour dates

(check back for Europe tour announcements coming soon)

Sunday June 25 – Edmonton International Jazz Festival

Monday June 26 – Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Tuesday June 27 – Victoria International Jazzfest

Wednesday June 28 – SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

Thursday June 29 – Toronto Jazz Festival

Friday June 30 – Montreal International Jazz Festival

 

Samuel Eagles’ Spirit in finals of Bucharest International Jazz Festival + Bebop Spoken here reviews debut Whirlwind release ‘Ask, Seek, Knock’

Click here to Pre-Order Ask, Seek, Knock

 

“An exciting band… ​Mingus overtones… Tension building moments… The rhythm section is merely one to die for.”
Bebop Spoken Here (full review)

Increasingly incandescent across the London jazz, funk and world music scenes, alto saxophonist and composer Samuel Eagles will  release Ask, Seek, Knock with his band, SPIRIT (saxophonist Duncan Eagles, pianist Sam Leak, vibraphonist Ralph Wyld, double bassist Max Luthert and drummer Dave Hamblett) in July this year.

 

 

Here’s Spirit in the semi finals of the Bucharest International Jazz Competition where they successfully competed with 22 bands from 20 countries for a place in the finals. The finals take place tonight, Saturday 20th May.

 

 

Released worldwide today: ‘Quinsin Nachoff’s Ethereal Trio’ ft. Quinsin Nachoff – tenor sax, Mark Helias – double bass and Dan Weiss – drums + ★★★★ All About Jazz review

 

“A ​perfect balance between Nachoff’s wistful tenor and Mark Helias’ rich, resonant pizzicato bass, adorned by Dan Weiss’ unobtrusive yet apposite drumming.”
★★★★ All About Jazz (full review)​

“All three musicians revel in each other’s company. The saxophonist [Nachoff] ​is a fearless explorer of contemporary jazz expression… ​An album well worth investigating.”
★★★★ UK Vibe (full review)

“Sophisticated structures framed in original and innovative thematic improvisations.”
Jazz Poland (Recommended) (full review)

“Magic – Give it a listen.”
Bebop Spoken Here​ (full review)​

Click here for CDs, ALAC, FLAC & More

 

It was Quinsin Nachoff’s involvement in the Penderecki String Quartet’s commission ‘Stars and Constellations: Scorpio’, for string quartet and saxophone trio, which prompted the New York-based, Canadian-born saxophonist to further the idea of establishing a chord-less trio as a distinct project away from his larger ensemble successes. A stand-alone concert with seasoned musicians Mark Helias (double bass) and Dan Weiss (drums) created the conceptual spark; and following the writing of new material early in 2016, a series of concerts in New York, Toronto and Montreal neatly led to this single-session recording — Quinsin Nachoff’s Ethereal Trio.

“There’s a huge history of composing for instrumental trio, I enjoy writing this way as it gives me two distinct voices that I can really work with. As a bassist, Mark Helias is such an experienced musician – I can compose harmonically or contrapuntally and he always expands it to such an extent that we’re never missing harmony; if we play in more of an open setting, it leaves us more freedom. Dan Weiss is a master of dealing with anything rhythmically –so he can be very free within even something very structured. From a saxophonist’s point of view, I’m able to explore a greater range in the instrument; I can either be busier or leave more space. All three of us love to investigate different colors and extended techniques, so many different directions are possible. Once we’ve understood what the direction is for each composition then that’s when the magic starts to happen.”

Opening an album which blends through-composition and improvisation, each piece having its own plot and internal logic, ‘Clairvoyant Jest’ finds Nachoff’s saxophone dancing across rhythmically-twisted swing, characterized by double-stopped, open-stringed bass and harmonics which highlight the harmonic motion. Yet the trio’s predominant vibe is searching and otherworldly, hence the ‘ethereal’ tag, with ‘Gravitas’ focusing on freer response and reflection as its questioning saxophone motifs are interpreted by arco bass. Suggesting a change in our imaginative picture of the world, ‘Imagination Reconstruction’s animation pairs sax and Helias’ bass harmonics magnificently, and the ten-minute progression of ‘Portrait in Sepia Tones’ ramps up into a superbly percussive maelstrom. ‘Push-Pull Topology’ possesses an underlying walking-bass thread, stretching and pulling different rhythms – fives over fours over threes – while the bristling landscapes of ‘Subliminal Circularity’ summon the leader’s equally raw and rippling saxophonic tones.

Quinsin Nachoff relishes the freedom and the opportunities this trio offers: “I’m regularly involved in projects which include a lot of composing, arranging and organizational effort to make them happen. This Ethereal Trio album became much more about simply playing the saxophone, which was extremely fun and rewarding – and these musicians are such a pleasure to play with. That’s the world I like to live in.”

 

See Quinsin Live

 

June 27 – Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Vancouver, Canada

June 28 – Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Vancouver, Canada

 

★★★★ from In Music for Tori Freestone’s ‘El Barranco’ among latest reviews

Reaching into the heart of improvised music has become second nature to British tenor saxophonist Tori Freestone and perennial colleagues Dave Manington (double bass) and Tim Giles (drums) on their latest Whirlwind release El Barranco. Following their warmly-received 2014 release In the Chop House and subsequent live appearances, the trio have relished the opportunity to reconvene in the studio to record this collection of intuitive explorations (often first takes) of predominantly original compositions, including a pair of London Jazz Festival commissions.

Here are the latest press highlights for El Barranco:

“’El Barranco’ is a gem… A highly professional affair.”
Concerto Magazine (website)

“Full of colour, chromatic diversity and rich nuances.”
★★★★ In Music (website)

Double bassist and composer Hayden Prosser debut album ‘Tether’ released today

 

Click here for CDs, FLAC, ALAC and more…

“A suite of soundscapes that will surely reward repeated plays, from which the listener will undoubtedly glean new textures and colours.”
All About Jazz (full review)

 

The searching, cyclical aura of double bassist and composer Hayden Prosser’s debut acoustic album Tether fascinatingly finds its roots in electronic and process music. Hailing from Somerset, England, and now based in Berlin, Prosser met up with New York pianist Elias Stemeseder – the starting point for this quartet’s sound with tenor saxophonist Philipp Gropper and drummer Max Santner – which set up the piano-and-bass connectivity that informs many of the album’s eleven original tracks.

Prosser’s compositional angle is often in influenced by his transcriptions of electronic phrases and programs – these are then translated into the analogue environment to be expanded upon. ‘All’s’ starting motif, for example, mimics synthesized arpeggios, beginning with one strong idea that reshapes itself through improvisation before finally morphing into another. This concept of shaping a single line and then splitting it to be picked up by other instruments, including Gropper’s subtly inviting tenor funk, establishes a strong sense of fluctuating textures and space (its detuned ‘musical box’ piano reprise adding a hint of foreboding). The dynamic, shard-like album art commission illustrates these ideas well – together yet disparate; tense then serene – reflecting both the band’s performing ethos and Prosser’s long, transitional state of relocation to Germany.

‘Tether’, as a title, subliminally references the electronic output of London duo Plaid (their track of the same name is on a go-to album for the bassist), as well as this quartet’s geographic and logistical challenges of rehearsing and performing together. Intentionally blurring compositional and improvisational meeting and parting, Prosser says his evolving, cyclical phrases and melodies are in uenced by the work of his tutors, big-name US artists Drew Gress and Chris Lightcap (“bass players write with a different outlook”) as well as the recordings of Craig Taborn and Tim Berne. Rather than the more traditional structure of stating a theme and jumping off it, creative layered instrumentation is allowed throughout, to form differing, overlapping timbres, as in cathartic, slow-burning opener ‘Undo’ and a handful of interspersed, freely-improvised miniatures such as ‘Glas’ and ‘Small Chance’.

‘Season’s’ leaping-bass vivacity deconstructs into limpid pools of quiet, emphasising its intended tectonic instrumental shifts and colorations, while the dark, piano-clustered awakening of ‘Out Of This’ sets up a hypnagogic ambience for Prosser’s gently resonant bass-string pliancy. In ‘Overturn’, Max Santner’s percussive scintillation sparks tenor cascades and a deeply-plumbed piano momentum; and ‘Rounds’’ mesmeric, crescendoing pulse rises out of searing harmonics, echoic piano and instrumental body knocks, with the bassist’s deep groove threaded through.

Hayden Prosser sees progression in this quartet project: “For me, improvisation is about trying to find a special moment where you’re free of thought, playing your instrument in a way that you feel completely comfortable with how the others in your group are also creating. You wait for someone to throw something in, and then you react (I love to work this way, and often it turns out to be with musicians who compose, themselves). You push through the technicalities to get to where everything works, and then look for surprises. That’s necessary. You’re expecting the unexpected.”

 

Hayden will be appearing in Berlin tomorrow and at a series of venues in Finland later this month and there will be further tour news coming soon. Check back here for show dates and details.

 

 

Bassist Hayden Prosser debuts ‘Tether’ at Inventions & Dimensions, Kingston upon Thames, tonight

The searching, cyclical aura of double bassist and composer Hayden Prosser’s debut acoustic album Tether fascinatingly finds its roots in electronic and process music. Hailing from Somerset, England, and now based in Berlin, Prosser met up with New York pianist Elias Stemeseder – the starting point for this quartet’s sound with tenor saxophonist Philipp Gropper and drummer Max Santner – which set up the piano-and-bass connectivity that informs many of the album’s eleven original tracks.

Tether is released tomorrow Friday May 12th and Hayden will be at Inventions & Dimensions at Kingston’s Ram Jam Club this evening.

More info & tickets: here

Guitarist and singer/songwriter Joel Harrison to release a personal and striking collection of original songs with new album ‘The Other River’ July 2017

 

Click here to Pre-Order ‘The Other River’

 

The Other River is a personal and striking collection of original songs written, arranged and sung by veteran US guitarist and singer/songwriter Joel Harrison, and follows his acclaimed quintet release on Whirlwind – Spirit House. Whilst it bears some of Harrison’s trademark compositional moves, this latest album – his eighteenth – may come as something of a surprise to his many, established jazz followers. The project’s focus is very much its lyrical, unfettered storytelling conveyed through stripped-down music – unabashed Americana modelled on the work of Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, and Robert Hunter – which reaches out to the heart in candidly dealing with mortality and loss, redemption and forgiveness.

“I came to this music because I had to”, says Harrison. “There were things I was going through that made me yearn for a new level of honesty and bare-bones truth-telling. Words seemed to be the way forward. Instrumental music couldn’t pierce these regions in the same way”. In fact, Harrison grew up with as much interest in writing songs as in exploring jazz. Since the age of sixteen, he’s written scores of songs, mostly unrecorded. Some appeared on 2007’s ‘Passing Train’ and 2005’s ‘So Long Second Street’, and his voice has been a part of several other of his jazz records, including ‘Free Country’ and ‘Harrison on Harrison’.

Joel Harrison’s core ensemble all share a love of jazz, country, R&B and gospel, which can be heard in the stylistic multiplicity of their approach to these eleven numbers. Pianist and keyboardist Glenn Patscha has added his master’s touch to the music of Roseanne Cash and Marc Cohen, and along with bassist Byron Isaacs was a founding member of seminal folk/gospel group Olabelle. Both Patscha and Isaacs also spent time with Levon Helm, whilst drummer Jordan Perlson (an ally from earlier jazz recordings) plays with many songwriters, including Kaki King and Becca Stevens. And Harrison also welcomes a handful of guests including previous collaborators Cuong Vu (trumpet) and Anupam Shobhakar (sarode), plus the vocal empathy of Fiona McBain.

The results are, by turns, gorgeous (‘All My Beautiful Enemies’), stark (‘Bus to Brighton’), psychedelic and bluesy (‘The Other River’), buoyant and funny (‘Chelsea Hotel’), moody and surreal (‘Made It Out Alive’). And in describing the flat-out heartbreak of ‘Yellow Socks’, Harrison reveals, “This is adult music befitting my age. It’s an unflinching description of standing by my father’s bedside as he lay dying. It may be painful to listen to, but I’m thirsty for this kind of intimacy in art”.

Lovingly-sculpted guitar parts, insightful lyrics, layered and nuanced keyboard motifs, world percussion and righteous background harmonies all contribute to The Other River – a recording which, through its sensitive musicality and poignant vocal expression, is poised to touch many listeners. Harrison concludes: “I just love great music, regardless of style, and am always striving for something new. To work with language in the context of a simple song is as great a challenge as any I’ve faced as a composer.”

 

See Joel Harrison Live

 

(more events and details)

 

Tuesday June 20th (Official Album Launch) – Rockwood Music Hall 3, NYC

 

Thurs June 29 – The Colony, Woodstock

 

Saturday July 1 – Club Bossa, Washington, DC

“Every track is a musical gem.” ★★★★★ from UK Vibe and ★★★★ from The Guardian amongst reviews from Jazz Views, London Jazz and more for Mark Lewandowski’s ‘Waller’

Mark Lewandowski continues his tour in support of recent release Waller this week (scroll down for dates). Lewandowski along with Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis look afresh at the present-day possibilities of Fats Waller’s music while strongly maintaining its integrity.

Here are the highlights from the latest round of reviews for Waller:

“Occasional clips from old Waller recordings, free-improv probings, flat-out swing, glimpses of Thelonious Monk, and dark, spacey mood pieces… Lewandowski’s vocal on Waller’s Why, delivered like a callow Chet Baker, leavens the eccentric mastery of this delightful session.”
★★★★​ ​The Guardian (full review)

“This thoroughly modern trio never lose sight of the playful, hard-swinging and hard-living personality that lay at the heart of all Waller’s music.”
Jazz Views (full review)

“​Every track is a musical gem​.”
★★★★★ UK Vibe​ (full review)

 

 

“​Three musicians, closer to the cutting edge of jazz, have successfully brought Fats Waller’s 1930’s classics into the 20th​ ​century​… An absolutely delightful album​.”​
Bebop Spoken Here​ (full review)

“Both modern and respectful, placing Waller firmly in the jazz lineage.​”
London Jazz​ (full review)

“The interaction between the trio is a delight… A successful attempt to stake a place in this well-worked tradition.”
Jazz Views (full review)

“Familiar melodies are given a new lease of life as if they were being heard and appreciated for the first time… A most absorbing and well thought through album.”​
Sandy Brown Jazz (full review)

 

Partikel launch ‘Counteraction’ at Kings Place, London Thursday May 11th

This Thursday, Partikel launches their latest album Counteraction at London’s Kings Place.

Duncan Eagles saxophone, FX

Ant Law guitar

Anna Cooper baritone saxophone, flute

Max Luthert acoustic bass, electric bass

Eric Ford drums

More Info And Tickets

 

Counteraction sees the band exploring the world of electronics whilst maintaining their trademark high energy approach. Here’s a round up of the latest press reviews from the UK and Europe:

“A marvellous canvas of contemporary, free-spirited jazz.”
Bebop Spoken Here​ (full review)

“Music that can turn on a knife-edge from winsome, atmospheric melody making to dark, hard riffing.”
Herald Scotland (full review)

“Orchestral, powerful and unique.”
★★★★ Concerto Magazine (website)

“Partikel explore innovative new textures, integrating them effortlessly into the core sound to create striking soundscapes.”
Medien Info (website)

“A crossover between chamber jazz and high quality cinematic sound.”
Jazz Thing (website)

“A kaleidoscope of moods and sound colors, combined with extraordinary arrangements and spontaneous changes… A true listening adventure.”
Musik an Sich (website)

“Plenty here for the discerning listener.”
Sound and Image (website)

Alto saxophonist and composer Samuel Eagles to premier new band SPIRIT with debut Whirlwind release ‘Ask Seek Knock’ July 7, 2017 (Pre-Order now)

 

Click here to Pre-Order Ask, Seek, Knock

 

Increasingly incandescent across the London jazz, funk and world music scenes, alto saxophonist and composer Samuel Eagles announces his debut Whirlwind release Ask Seek Knock with his band, SPIRIT (saxophonist Duncan Eagles, pianist Sam Leak, vibraphonist Ralph Wyld, double bassist Max Luthert and drummer Dave Hamblett), breathing life into eight, expansive, original compositions. Eagles’ solo debut of 2014, Next Beginning, plus subsequent appearances on studio recordings with other artists, provided the swift impetus to a professional career which had its roots set at the Royal Academy of Music and then nurtured at Trinity College of Music. The saxophonist was mentored and educated by musical luminaries Mornington Lockett and Jean Toussaint, so it’s entirely appropriate that Toussaint augments the personnel here by guesting on two numbers with customary flair.

Creative efflorescence can be triggered by significant, often emotional life events – an oblique, unexpected source which mines one’s innermost feelings and channels them via another route with unclouded clarity. Samuel Eagles’ inspiration for this body of work arose from a period of what he describes as his own “spiritual enlightenment” following a turbulent few months (not unfamiliar throughout compositional history). As he explains: “I’d had some tough things to go through, which had the effect of pushing me deeper – both devotionally and artistically. I eventually came through it all with a sense of purpose and positivity which revealed the musical direction for this album”.

Pairing alto and tenor saxes upfront, as well as overlaying the differing timbres of piano and vibes, affirms the richness of Eagles’ writing. His ear for textural combinations and strong, melodious riffs can be heard in the steadfast buoyancy of ‘Eternity Within My Soul’, which teems with improvisational character, and in the searching serenity of ‘Changed, Changing Still’, enhanced by Ralph Wyld’s sustained vibes and the lucid double bass expression of Max Luthert. Beauty, light and courage are symbolized in resolute ‘Dreams and Visions of The Son’, including a lush, prismatic tenor spotlight from Jean Toussaint (“It’s amazing to have Jean playing on the album, as he’s been so supportive in developing my own identity”), and ‘Hear His Voice’ sparks lively, modal conversation between Toussaint and Samuel Eagles, bolstered by the robust rhythms of Luthert and Dave Hamblett.

The two Eagles brothers share the sax lead to blithe, soulful ‘The Twelve’, featuring typically eloquent high piano invention from Sam Leak, while wispy though assertive ‘SPIRIT’ opens the door for Samuel’s imaginative alto extemporizations. Pastoral ‘Hope In The Hills’ was prompted by a true story of benevolence involving a tour bus breakdown in Italy, where an uphill country-lane push led to campsite owners who provided log cabin accommodation, food and van repairs (“We were stranded for four days in the most perfect place possible”). And the funky sax-duo groove of title track ‘Ask, Seek, Knock’, with effective bubbling piano figure, asserts a belief in seeking faith and wisdom; the concept of one door shutting and other doors of opportunity opening.

Recalling the album’s formation, Samuel Eagles says: “Creating it has been a fantastic move forward. For me, when music connects, it builds a great feeling of intensity in my inner self. My hope is that listeners will sense something of a transcendental experience with this album”.Announcing the June 2017 release from alto saxophonist and composer Samuel Eagles and his new band SPIRIT.  His album Ask Seek Knock will be his first for Whirlwind and second as a leader.  Check the video to the left to hear a track that was recorded featuring special guest saxophonist Jean Toussaint.

 

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Tour dates

10/05/2017 – Jazz at Lescar, Sheffield

13/05/2017 – Bucharest International Jazz Competition

27/05/2017 – Jazz Café Posk

4/06/2017 – Southampton Modern Jazz Club

 05/06/2017 – Kokomo – Guildford

 13/06/2017 – Jazz Co-op – Newcastle

15/06/2017 – The Sound Cellar – Poole

16/06/2017 – The Fleece – Colchester

22/06/2017 – Inventions & Dimensions, Kingston

18/07/2017 – The Spotted Dog, Birmingham