Occurrences by Euan Burton
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Occurrences: Promotional Video
Release Date: May 14, 2012: Worldwide Stores and Digital
Double bassist, composer, bandleader, promoter and educator Euan Burton has been a lynchpin figure on the Scottish Jazz scene for nearly a decade, working also across a multitude of genres and collaborating with like-minded creative artists from around the globe. As well as being a first call bassist with many of Scotland's most high profile jazz artists, Burton has been seen and heard recently with such US heavyweights as Ari Hoenig and Jonathan Kreisburg. His playing boasts a beautiful touch and warm tone, a measured assurance in his improvisations, and a solid foundation when in support mode. As a composer, Burton marries a wonderful blend of heart and mind, providing playful yet tricksy structures on which his band members take great flight. Occurrences is Burton's debut WWR release and the album represents his most conceptual and mature musical statement to date.
"I wanted to make a cohesive record that felt like a whole rather than a collection of compositions," explains Burton from his Glasgow home. Occurrences finds him at the peak of his creative powers with a recording several years in the making. A suite consisting of seven parts, Burton creates a melodic narrative through the story arc of the album with each member of the group playing key roles as the music unfolds. The group consisting of his long term collaborators-- all with highly visible international profiles in their own right-- including London born, New York based saxophonist Will Vinson (Gonzallo Rubalcaba, Aaron Parks), fast rising Irish Guitar sensation Mark McKnight (Seamus Blake, Sam Yahel), acclaimed Scottish pianist Steve Hamilton (Gary Burton, Earthworks, Tommy Smith) and James Maddren (Kit Downs Trio, Gwilym Simcock Trio) on drums.
"Occurrences was written as a suite but it can also be thought of as seven pieces. Each piece functions like a chapter helping the story to progress," Burton continues. "That's certainly how I'm feeling this record, but the idea was to create a story in which the listener can relate each part to the whole, and can transfer stories from their own life into the music, but to mean something unique and personal to their own experience. My number one concern throughout the entire process of conceiving this record was that of the listener and how the music comes across to them. Is it connecting? Is this section furthering the story? I was trying to think like a film director or screenwriter in some ways, developing a narrative, pacing it right for the audience and leaving space for the actors to make their roles their own while nudging them in the right direction."
In a world addicted to speed and turnover, artists who carefully and conceptually craft their music are a welcomed rarity. On Occurrences Burton has done just that, and the results are powerful. He has given us a body of work that not only reaches to jazz audiences, but an open invitation to all lovers of music, song and story.
Best Albums of 2012 (Critics' List) - The Jazz Breakfast
"Occurrences is a superbly judged recording, imbued with warmth and optimism... bearing comparison with Brian Blade’s Fellowship band, Kurt Rosenwinkel’s groups and Ben Allison’s similarly suite-like narratives."
The Irish Times
"This is class, beginning to end. The writing is astonishingly mature and imaginative and this young bassist-composer draws a series of outstanding performances from his players."
'Burton's compositions touch on universal feelings and emotions and his band crafts the music with rare delicacy and grace...[Occurrences] is melodically strong and engaging as it moves through this suite of seven tunes."
All About Jazz
"With its elegant tunes and superb individual and ensemble playing “Occurrences” is well worth seeking out."
4 Stars, The Jazz Mann
"[Occurrences] is a disc to play often - there are so many nuances to absorb once is nowhere near enough."
Bebop Spoken Here
"Hints of Pat Metheny's song shapes, the stuttery melody mazes of contemporary jazz, and occasional sunny, Andy Sheppard-like relaxations...a sharp quintet including New York-based saxist Will Vinson and guitarist Mark McKnight."
"One of the brightest talents to emerge from Scotland in recent years."
The Daily Telegraph
"Bass-led, highly melodic modern jazz from this emerging bandleader/composer...London-born, New York based altoist Vinson and Irish jazz guitar star McKnight add solo excitement to Burton's sophisticated tunes."
Time Out, London
"The contemporary Scottish jazz scene is rich in talent, but it boasts few more accomplished bassists than Euan Burton… [Occurrences] is a suite that smoothly unfolds its musical narrative across seven different parts… the playing dynamic and handsomely attuned to the cinematic feel of the project.”
"[Burton's] 'Occurrences’ are indeed thoughtfully arranged, interspersing elegant restraint with vigorous bustle... a classy, but commendably unshowy piece of work."
"The pleasingly melodic music has a refined and subtly crafted feel... and is carefully structured in tempo and mood in its unfolding sequence within the span of the disc...Burton has recruited a very fine band for the project, with New York-based saxophonist Will Vinson and Irish guitarist Mark McKnight both making powerful contributions alongside Steve Hamilton’s excellent work on piano and Fender Rhodes. London-based drummer and rising star James Maddren completes a strong unit."
**** 4 Stars, The Scotsman
"The attractively soft-textured but lively Burton meshing with the ever resourceful Maddren provide a platform for a series of absorbing solos from the front line."
"Both divergence and diversity...satisfyingly story-like number of moods...truly interesting."
"Scottish bassist and composer Euan Burton’s third album as leader is a perfect storm of the right musicians in the right frame of mind having the right compositions put in front of them."
The Irish Times