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1. Sand Between the Toes
2. Water Lilies
3. Jonathan Jo
4. The Invaders
5. Lines and Squares
6. Vespers

Release Information

Official worldwide release date - February 12, 2016​

While We’re Still Young is as close to a musical self-portrait as I’m capable of creating. It’s simultaneously a multi-generational tribute album, a gathering of close friends, and a starkly personal expression of who I am as an artist and individual.”
— Patrick Cornelius

While We’re Still Young is the sixth and latest album by the critically acclaimed, award-winning saxophonist and composer Patrick Cornelius ​which ​brings together seven of the most accomplished young artists in contemporary jazz in order to breathe life into a suite of new original music inspired by the universally-treasured poetry of English literary icon A. A. Milne.

Cornelius’ personal connection to the sweet, whimsical verses in the timeless collection When We Were Very Young spans several generations. Milne’s classic trove documenting the childhood exploits of his son Christopher Robin were read first by his grandmother to his mother as a baby, and then by his mother to him and his brothers in turn. At the birth of Patrick’s own first child, Isabella, the family’s copy of When We Were Very Young was passed down to him, so that he could continue the tradition. “From the very first time I started reading these poems to Isabella, I remember an instant desire to write music inspired by each individual vignette,” the composer recalls.

Several years later, a commission from Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works program, and a grant from The Doris Duke Foundation helped make that ambition a reality. “My goal for this project was to select a handful of individual poems from When We Were Very Young and write programmatic movements inspired by the imagery that each one evokes using the breadth of my experiences as a musician,” explains Cornelius. “I thought that if I could write music that depicts the essence and mood of Milne’s literary gems, filtered through my own voice as an emergent composer, then the project would be successful. The concept of lineage and emotional inheritance is important to this project, and when I was composing, it was important that listeners hear my musical lineage; my compositional influences.” These influences include historical giants such as Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, JS Bach, Claude Debussy, Wayne Shorter, and Charlie Parker, as well as many of Patrick’s peers, including members of his own octet.

“From the moment I conceived the project, it was obvious whose musical voices I was hearing in my mind’s ear,” Cornelius explains, regarding the easy choice for the musicians who make up the octet featured on this album. “The gentlemen performing this music are musicians I’ve come up with both in college and in New York. They’re also each highly skilled composers; artists whom I could trust to give me good artistic feedback and provide inspiration while I was working through the music.”

Patrick met drummer Kendrick Scott, bassist Peter Slavov, and trombonist Nick Vayenas while attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston and has recorded many albums with the three of them (including several of his previous solo releases) over the past 15 years. Trumpeter Jason Palmer is also an old friend and musical collaborator from Cornelius’ days in Boston. Pianist Gerald Clayton and guitarist Miles Okazaki were classmates of Patrick’s in graduate school, and tenor saxophonist John Ellis was an early inspiration from his first days in New York City. “For a project this personal I needed to surround myself with musicians I could trust as artists, and as people. We are all in this project together, and I think you can hear the camaraderie in the music.”

Cornelius names his suite, and this album, While We’re Still Young, both as obvious tribute to Milne’s treasury, and as an appeal to the listener to remember the joy and wonder of our own youth.

Press Highlights

"Cornelius is a talent worth watching."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine

"Eight brilliant musicians... A cheerful celebration of life and youth with finely crafted arrangements leaving beautiful spaces for the soloists."
Culture Jazz (FR)

"Full of richly orchestrated music with elements of Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Bach and Debussy."
Long Play Newsletter (blog PL)

This work shouldn't just be labelled "chamber jazz" since it's very much more than that. Like its elegant cover, it's actually a work of art."
★★★★ All About Jazz

"Accessible yet intricate themes, lyrically flowing music, great solos and gorgeous ensemble playing, this is an album you will want to play again and again! Highly recommended."

Fatea Magazine

"Cornelius has created a work of genuine substance, the writing often complex, multi-layered yet always adroit, deploying his resources well, the melodic moments often memorable, the solo excursions largely pleasing, the effect at times like a miniature Schneider ensemble."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine

"The way this octet shapes the solos as mere extensions of dynamic group play, of something very organic grown from the soil of ensemble communication, is arguably the album’s winning quality."

Bird Is The Worm

"This is a superb album. The writing is brilliant."

Bebop Spoken Here

"Sparky settings for [Cornelius'] own solos and those of a polished ensemble including pianist Gerald Clayton, trombonist Nick Vayenas, and guitarist Miles Okazaki... Debussy, Ellington and Charlie Parker audibly guide Cornelius here."
The Guardian

"An entire album peppered with goosebumps-inducing moments... Cornelius’s music and messages resonate broadly and vividly, reminding any listener of what’s most precious to us all."
Ottawa Citizen

"Much playfulness in the playing... An excellent listen."
The Jazz Breakfast

"His arrangements, intricate with secondary motifs and contrasting counterlines create vivid musical counterparts for Milne's imagery."
New York City Jazz Record

"The engaging music is performed by an octet of Cornelius's colleagues and nicely combines interesting ensembles with inspired ensembles."
Northern Echo

"This is vibrant, highly colourful music full of good compositional ideas and some great playing, with all members of the ensemble contributing strongly."
★★★★ The Jazz Mann

"A joy from beginning to end... Patrick Cornelius takes a giant step forward with this project."
Step Tempest Blog

"Draws from classical and baroque influences to create powerful yet delicate jazz music."
Phontas Troussas (Blog GR)

"The constant shape-shifting and different grooves are a total delight."
Classicalite

“Affirmational but never sentimental"
New York City Jazz Record

"His arrangements, intricate with secondary motifs and contrasting counterlines create vivid musical counterparts for Milne's imagery."
New York City Jazz Record

"A complex melange of polyphonic tones... full of atmosphere in a variety of stylistic forms."
Jazz Podium

"An appeal to the listener to remember the joy and wonder of their own youth."
CD Aktuell

"A melancholy retrospective on jazz history, dextrously decorated with bebop, ballads and riffs work from the present."
Concerto

"Full of artistry and joy."
Digital Zeitung

"A wonderful jazz suite."
Musik Reviews

"Multi-faceted compositions, lush unison horn lines and sparkling solos combine to create an enchanting atmosphere."
All About Jazz (IT)

"This is a good record... Watch out for other things from Patrick Cornelius."
★★★★ Jazz Journal

"Lovely ensemble writing."
Hi-Fi News and Records Review

“Patrick Cornelius creates a unique sound through his choice of musicians and instrumentation… a stylish album.”
Hörspiegel

"Dazzling... brilliant performances."
Citizen Jazz

"This album features music that is contemplative yet swings, with musicians telling "stories" that flow thanks to the fine ensemble arrangements and individual solos."
Step Tempest - Best of 2016