26th January 2015: RELEASE DAY: Alex Garnett’s Bunch of Five release ‘Andromeda’ today, worldwide

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Andromeda (click here for CD, digital albums) is the second solo release from London-based saxophonist and composer Alex Garnett and is the debut recording of ‘Bunch of Five‘ his new two tenor saxophone project. This quintet brings the classic dueling saxophone format into a contemporary context, giving it a fresh face without losing its gladiatorial edge. The musical ethos is strongly routed in groove and swing and combines the eclectic tastes and experiences of the ensemble members while leaving plenty of room for liberties and unexpected twists within the various song structures.

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The two frontmen, Garnett and the NYC-based Tim Armacost, have a collective 50 years of combined playing experience on the international stage, frequently appearing at festivals and clubs across the map. Finally a situation has matured to allow these two men to join forces and expand upon their mutual admiration, and their individual sound, phrasing and approach to playing the saxophone compliment each other greatly while at the same time pushing each other to their improvisational limits.

‘Bunch of Five’ engages in original repertoire which at once is both grounded in the tradition yet aspires to push beyond the comfort bubble in its harmonic considerations and improvisations. Rounding out the group is a versatile rhythm section featuring UK pianist Liam Noble, American bassist Michael Janisch, and one of London’s in demand young drummers, James Maddren.

The compositions are all Garnett’s creations reflecting a broad sweep of influences from the last twenty years of his musical journey. Material is spawned from varied sources including the effect of hearing a life changing Benny Golson concert in the early 90s, a fascination with astronomy and the relationship of universal frequencies, Alex’s love of (and skills in) comedy, to even the more recent impact of fatherhood and its spiritual demands.

The title track of the album, ‘Andromeda’, is dedicated to the mythological Greek Princess and far away galaxy of the same name. In a musical metaphor, the two saxophones weave their way towards each other finally converging in the eerie 7/4 time slash chord groove. Garnett cryptically informs the listener that this serves as a “reminder of the darker elements of her intentions towards us” and that In 3.75 billion years or so the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are set to fatally collide.

Although the concept of time is basically a human construct, you could say that emotionally this latest creative release of Garnett’s has been twenty years in the making but spiritually speaking hasn’t come a moment too soon.

 

Check out the official video for ‘Her Tears’ from the recording session.