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Sarathy Korwar new album out 9 November 2018

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Album release: ‘My East Is Your West’ by Sarathy Korwar
Release date: 9 November 2018
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist website

Off the back of his critically acclaimed Ninja Tune debut ‘Day to Day’ and his lauded collaboration with Shabaka Hutchings and Hieroglyphic Being on A.R.E. Project in 2017, indo-jazz percussionist, producer and composer Sarathy Korwar and his newly formed UPAJ Collective are now ready to release their debut record, ‘My East Is Your West’.

Made up of estimable Indian jazz and classical musicians that share Sarathy’s passion for jazz and Indian music, UPAJ collective consists of 10 members including the likes of adroit Indian musicians such as Aravindhan Baheerathan (bansuri), Jasdeep Singh Degun (sitar), Aditya Prakash (vocals) and B C Manjunath (percussion) alongside John Ball (santoor and tabla) and respected jazz musicians including Tamar Osborn (sax and flute), Alastair MacSween (piano), Jesse Bannister (saxophonist), Giuliano Modarelli (guitar) and Domenico Angarano (bass).

Recorded live at Church Of Sound in early 2018, the new album sees Sarathy and his fellow musicians explore and challenge the concepts of ‘East’ and ‘West’ and the intersection at which western jazz meets Indian music. Led by Sarathy in a seated circle facing one another, the ensemble guides the audience through a selection of homages that explore Indian ragas and talas with smatterings of western harmony and hypnotic jazz. The result is an a truly contemplative 10 tracks traversing fervent percussion, meditative passages of ambience, raw improvisation and traditional Indian music, which is as beguiling as it is edifying.

Throughout the history of contemporary jazz many artists have had a fascination for Indian music, leading to records which are now considered to be quintessential spiritual jazz milestones. However, whilst most popular spiritual jazz from the 60s and 70s set out to explore the music, culture and religion in foreign continents, the material sometimes only incorporated certain elements of these cultures and what East meant to, or was perceived as, by those particular artists. Importantly, these musicians were also only at the start of a narrative that has become more complex as time has gone on with a greater accessibility to different music and cultures and with many more people studying Indian music and contributing to Indo-jazz.

On ‘My East Is Your West’ Sarathy balances the scales for the current and future generations, providing insight and criticising the sometimes-simplistic adoption of “Eastern styles”, whilst also building on the narrative of what ‘East’ is, and equally challenging listeners to consider where ‘East’ is. Speaking about the album Sarathy says, “For this album, the musicians play the songs of notable jazzers and Indian classical musicians who have all been interested in this cross-cultural musical exchange in the past. But this needs redefining, as the narrative has moved along considerably since these songs were initially recorded in the 1960s-70s. Although great recordings, many of which are considered classics, their nod to any non-jazz traditions of music today seem tokenistic and express a deep-rooted orientalised view of Indian music and it's music makers.

'Eastern music', much like the term "African music' are still ubiquitous and are indicative of how the UK sees, hears and consumes a lot of music that is from afar. This album (and it's title - My East Is Your West) attempts to question notions of what and where 'East' and 'West' is, in the disturbingly common and casual use of these terms whilst talking about music and bringing together both jazz and Indian classical music with a shift in the power dynamic.”

With every record Sarathy releases his music becomes more exploratory and insightful, delving into his personal influences, which also inspire much of the music in the jazz scene that surrounds him. At a time where UK jazz is being heralded for its progression, innovation and far-reaching appeal to people from varying backgrounds, ‘My East Is Your West’ is an essential record that explores cultural and musical diversity in way that will continue to be relevant for years to come.

The title ‘My East Is Your West’ is taken from artist Shilpa Gupta’s exhibition at the Venice Biennale, 2015 and is used with her permission. Featuring liner notes from jazz writer, radio presenter and editor of Straight No Chaser, Paul Bradshaw, Sarathy Korwar’s new album is available to pre-order now on 3xLP, CD and digital platforms from Gearbox Records.

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Butcher Brown new album out 2 October 2018

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Album release: ‘Camden Session’ by Butcher Brown
Release date: 12 October 2018
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Band website

Today, Virginia jazz/funk/hip-hop collective Butcher Brown have shared a new video from their recent Tiny Room session for ‘Camden Square’. The single is taken from the bands new album ‘Camden Session’, which was recorded direct-to-disc at Mark Ronson’s London studio and is due for release on 12th October via Gearbox Records. You watch the video here.

Alongside the new album the band have also been announced as a direct support for Kamasi Washington’s ‘Heaven and Earth’ US tour, which will take place over November 2018.

Butcher Brown’s releases to date range from the polished soul/funk of “All Purpose Music” (Ropeadope) (2014) to the 20-track underground groove-laden beats cassette “GrownFolk” in 2015. Both were released to critical acclaim and explains their almost cult status in the music world. The band have come in leaps and bounds in recent times: last year’s “Live at Vagabond” (Gearbox) record showcases the raw energy of their live shows, whilst the band’s most recent Bandcamp release, Afrobeat-themed “Afrokuti: A Tribute to Fela”, provides further testament to the band’s tight synchronicity as well as the truly unbelievable musical capabilities of each band member.

Whilst each individual member maintains their own illustrious side-projects (working with artists such as Christian Scott, Nigel Hall, Mumu Fresh, Black Thought, Phonte, Rapsody, 9th Wonder), Butcher Brown is a hard-working band in an era where most groups are fleeting assemblages, together only long enough to record. The band cultivate a dedicated audience through combining a conventional, label-oriented approach with releasing “underground” tapes, disciplined rehearsal and engaging, adventurous performance. Recent high-profile performances include touring with Galactic last year & performing alongside bands such as Lettuce, Eric Krasno, Soullive, John Schofield, Tauk, & Motet and more - Full bio below.

As a band dedicated to innovation and informed by a love of the past, Butcher Brown’s modernistic fusion is aptly described as “hip hop Mahavishnu.” Impressive as they are individually, together they are something increasingly rare: a real band, playing for their audience and for each other, on the verge of a brilliant future.

‘Camden Session’ is available to pre-order via Gearbox Records here.

Butcher Brown is an up-to-the minute throwback to the great progressive jazz bands of the 60s and 70s. Whilst all members were born after the mid-70s golden age of fusion, their modern, hip-hop-inflected funk has rich echoes of Weather Report, Return to Forever, early Earth Wind and Fire and, perhaps, a pungent whiff of Zappa. Like those bands, Butcher Brown’s unified sound comes from the intertwined talents of the five members, each bringing something unique to the mix.

Multi-instrumentalist Devonne Harris is arguably the visionary of this egalitarian band. His responsive keyboard work shapes the harmonic colors through which the music pulses and flows. Under the name DJ Harrison, he’s created a vast catalog of hip hop beat tapes. He recently released a solo album entitled “Hazy Moods” on Stones Throw Records, the Los Angeles label responsible for releases by Madlib, J Dilla, and many more. Jellowstone Records, his home studio, is a pivotal focus of the vital Richmond music scene, with a growing reputation drawing big name visitors including Nicholas Payton (who recorded his 2014 record “Numbers” there with Butcher Brown). Recently projects include playing keys and synths on Jack White’s latest album “Boarding House Reach,” having selections featured on Phonte’s solo album “No News is Good News,” and taking part in DJ Jazzy Jeff’s 2nd and 3rd annual Playlist Retreat

Bassist Andrew Randazzo is arguably the band’s navigator. “He’s the cool one, the calm one. He’s the mortar, binding together the rhythmic and harmonic side of the music. Both onstage and off, he holds everything together and makes everything go smoothly. And he is an amazing player.” In the band’s funk-inflected music, the foundation is foreground; the bass as much a lead as a rhythm instrument.

Drummer Corey Fonville is pure explosive energy. “He’s always ready for battle,” Harris says. “A huge, controlling factor in our sound.” A percussion prodigy turned international jazz sideman, Fonville’s national performance career when he was just 14, with a 2005 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. In the years since, Fonville’s taken his propulsive energy around the world, playing with Christian Scott at New York’s The Blue Note and performing alongside Chris “Daddy” Dave in China. He’s the beating heart of Butcher Brown, pumping out fresh, danceable rhythmic complexities aimed at both the brain and the hips.

Guitarist Morgan Burrs is the youngest of the group. Coming from a family of musicians, and being surrounded by all types of music since birth, you could say he was destined to lead a life as a musician. In high school, he was awarded 2 full tuition scholarships to study at Berklee College of Music’s 5 Week Summer program 2 years in a row, & having attended VCU, he’s become a force on the Richmond Music scene. He’s recently performed at Budweiser’s Made In America Festival with hip-hop producer legend 9th Wonder and rapper Rapsody.

Marcus Tenney is a multi-instrumentalist from Richmond, Virginia. Working freelance since 2005, Marcus has been playing trumpet and saxophone with bands such as Foxygen, No BS! Brass and Butcher Brown. He has also done studio/session work for Spacebomb Records and records and performs original music with a host of his own ensembles. Marcus has worked with artists such as Braxton Cook, Count Bass D, Matthew E. White, Natalie Prass, Billy Williams and many others.

“As with Kamasi Washington, BADBADNOTGOOD or labelmates Binker & Moses, progressive rappers should be queuing out the door for their blessing.” - Mojo

“It’s fusion, Jim - but not as we know it!” - Record Collector

“Fusing funky backdrops against interweaving textures and daring harmonic dissonance, the Virginia group fuse the dancefloor with the art gallery.” - CLASH

“...although some of the studio albums are more funky and hip hop centred, this [‘Live at Vagabond’] may be a solid introduction to this possible future supergroup.” - UK Vibe

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Yazz Ahmed new remix EP out 3 August 2018

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EP release: 'La Saboteuse Remixed' by Yazz Ahmed
Release date: 3 August 2018
Label: Naim Records
More info: Artist website

  • Shares new remix featuring Hector Plimmer
  • Announces new remix EP featuring DJ Khalab, Blacksea Não Maya and more
  • See the premiere via The Vinyl Factory here
  • Hear/share via Soundcloud here

We are witnessing a burgeoning jazz scene in London, a resurgence that looks set to give us a return of the jazz filled 20s once again. One of the driving forces at the heart of this tidal wave of compelling, new music, is British-Bahraini composer and trumpet player, Yazz Ahmed, who has been cited as ‘redefining what jazz means in the 21st century’. La Saboteuse Remixed is her latest offering, released on Naim Records this summer. 

Following the 2017 release of 'La Saboteuse', her highly acclaimed psychedelic Arabic jazz album, this remix EP brings together three of Europe's eminent electronic DJs. This confluence of individual artistic visions creates music of deeply saturating polyrhythms, placing the listener into a curious state of relaxed tension. The sense of a personal narrative runs through all of Ahmed’s work and here is no exception. La Saboteuse as a whole is a journey of self-examination and with this remix EP, the reflection continues in both linear and abstract directions.

Ahmed’s symbiotic collaboration with illustrator Sophie Bass also continues, in celebratory style. Above a familiar desert landscape, dripping with symbolism and intrigue, the ever present fish soars high in a galaxy of stars, overseeing the eternal dance between the demonic Saboteuse and the spiritual creative force of the Sufi. Harmony and balance is restored through the natural healing power of water. 

Produced by Noel Langley, the original album paints a sinuous far reaching soundscape. The reevaluation of the inner well of self doubt as a strength, a resource to be celebrated, to take nourishment from, is heavily sewn through all the tracks. Three pieces from the original album have been reimagined. Meaning and substance, borrowed from the source tracks, are filtered through an alternative perspective, each collaborator adding their own strand to the unfolding story. These virtual conversations between the artist and the remixer, with the addition of her own creative response to this process, result in four stand-alone pieces, which together will extend the listener’s journey through a mystical land of snakes and desert sands. 

Remixers:

Hector Plimmer
Hector Plimmer’s forte is the combination of visual and auditory arts. Around for a little while, he had a track released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Bubblers label compilation in 2014. The recipient of the prestigious PRS Steve Reid InNOVAtion Award in 2015 this led to tutorship by Four Tet, Floating Points and Gilles Peterson. The South London based DJ and graphic artist, released Sunshine in 2017, his full length debut, on Albert's Favourites, earning industry distinction. Following this release Plimmer conducted a full self-remix album of both the tracks and artwork, leading Subtempo to say, “It's hard to improve an original piece of music as good as the album itself, but with these remixes, this rises to a new level.” An Escheresque tessellation of shapes form the basis of the album artwork, splintering across the page while retaining a cohesive shape. With The Lost Pearl, he shows us yet another facet to his art, deftly sculpting a mesmeric original into a rarified groove to get down to. 

DJ Khalab 
The Italian self proclaimed ‘Afro-Futurist Beatmaker’, has had releases on close collaborator Clap! Clap!’s Black Acre and in 2015 produced the eponymous DJ Khalab and Baba Sissoko with Malian master musician Baba Sissoko. The weaving, electronic substrata of the album is imbued with tribal drums and fervent synths, creating mesmeric, complex and layered musical structures. With Jamil Jamal, Khalab takes Ahmed’s original track, suggestive of a caravan traversing a vast desert, and morphs it into a more frenetic examination of space and time. Starting with suspicious circumspection, the restless progression of the track is buoyed midway through, with the power of Shabaka Hutchings’ bass clarinet. Occasionally pausing in suspenseful anticipation, before descending again into an agitated world of overgrown jungle, whereby, at the end of the progression, Yazz’s horns are morphed into a myriad of whirling synths. 

Blacksea Não Maya
Straight outta Lisbon, represented by Portugal’s chief dance music label PRÍNCIPE, Blacksea Não Maya are dedicated representing the fundamental realities of life in the suburbs, projects and slums of the city they call home. The trio is formed of brothers DJ Noronha and DJ Kolt, and their long-time friend, DJ Perigoso. They have been collaboratively developing their talents since 2009 and were picked up by PRÍNCIPE in 2012. Since then they have aimed to share their wish that all can “live every day in the festive ambience of Lisbon”. Their dynamic tunes exemplify a vast range of persuasive dance music within each release, coercing and cajoling the listener into a rapturous state. Their phantasmagorical rejig of Al Emadi, Ahmed’s tribute to the ancient Arabic tribe of her forefathers, is transformed into a club banger. 

Ahmed/Langley
In the whirlpool of global excitement and glowing reviews surrounding the release of 'La Saboteuse', Ahmed had her interest piqued by comparisons made to the work of Jon Hassell & Brian Eno’s Fourth World project and the output of Flying Lotus, music which she had not encountered previously. Inspired by these new discoveries and the concept of collaborating with remixers, she decided to contribute a new track of her own to close the EP. 

In creating the haunting track 'The Space Between The Fish & The Moon', Langley and Ahmed had already begun experimenting with self-sampling and deconstructing existing compositions to make something new. This is the same approach that they used here, taking elements from Spindrifting (La Saboteuse Chapter Three), a few groovy bars of Corinna Silvester’s riqq, fragments of Lewis Wright’s bowed vibraphone, re-worked and re-orchestrated to form a flugelhorn melody. Disparate elements used as material for a collage, endlessly rearranged and reshuffled until the music began to discover what it wanted to be. This is the way Ahmed and Langley work together, things evolve, elements are added, elements are discarded, new material is layered over old, improvisations are developed, themes emerge. Samuel Hällkvist was invited to respond to the work in progress, adding the pulsing guitar arpeggios and Yazz felt this was the right time to reveal her longstanding collaboration with Jason Singh, the voice sculptor and sound designer, incorporating material from one of the soundscapes he had created for her. 

'Spindrifting' is a rich, dark tapestry of timbres and moods, almost orchestral in places, underpinned by a deep fragmented undulation. It intriguingly points to one of several possible future directions that Ahmed might take with her next full release….

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Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet new album 3 August 2018

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Album release: 'Polka Worldwide Deluxe Edition' by Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet
Release date: 3 August 2018
Label: Whirlwind Recordings
More info: Artist website

Bassist, composer and a leading figure of the 21st century Polish jazz movement, Wojtek Mazolewski has long been a frontrunner in the evolution of modern jazz. Heading up outfits such as Pink Freud (signed to Universal Poland) and the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet, his career continues to evolve with the forthcoming release of ‘Polka Worldwide Deluxe Edition’, a collection of remastered and original material from the quintet’s highly acclaimed debut album ‘Polka’, along with their new EP and single.

Much like his recent counterparts overseas in London, Wojtek Mazolewski’s direction is future-facing and fascinating, focussed around introducing jazz to younger audiences by fusing his contemporary influences seamlessly with the world-renown traditions established during the golden era of Polish jazz. Mazolewski vigorously combines tradition and modernity, the analog sound of his Quintet harking back to the jazz masters yet also infused with electronica and other divergent influences. Echoes of Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Led Zeppelin and even the likes of Aphex Twin are all interwoven throughout the record. However, despite the familiarity that resonates from his eclectic inspirations, his sound remains entirely individual.

Explosive and eclectic concerts are the trademark of Mazolewski’s music, and have seen him play around the world, whilst collaborating with venerable musicians such John Zorn, Pete Wareham, Dennis Gonzales, Tim Berne, Tomasz Stańko and many more. Since the initial release of his debut album Mazolewski and his fellow musicians have played over 280 concerts, across 31 countries in 5 continents, whilst also appearing at OFF Festival, Red Bull Music Weekender, Jazzahead! and a multitude of other major international jazz festivals, winning over new audiences with every performance.

This has resulted in over 4 million plays across his YouTube channel, as well previous material climbing national Polish radio charts, which has led to the album going gold within 6 months and triple-platinum in just 3 years. This international acclaim has also earned plaudits for Mazolewski in the UK from the likes of tastemaker Gilles Peterson on BBC 6 Music, who featured the single ‘London’ in his Top 50 tracks of 2017, as well as NTS Radio, Worldwide FM, Wax Poetics, Lonely Planet, Jazzwise and more. Similarly, last year saw the Quintet perform to a sold-out audience at Church of Sound in London as part of a Polish jazz special.

Now, Mazolewski’s music has a further opportunity to delve into the UK jazz scene alongside other artists that are pushing the boundaries of the genre, fusing tradition with the modern culture that surrounds them. ‘Polka Worldwide Deluxe Edition’ will be Mazolewski’s first release on Whirlwind Recordings (and his first on a non-Polish imprint), a label with over 110 releases to their name and a strong reputation for signing artists that push the boundaries of their respective genres and strive to diversify their audiences. This adds another dimension to Mazolewski’s relationship with his far-reaching jazz audiences, placing him among the players who strive to redefine what jazz means, whilst breaking down any musical prejudices that might exist for the scene.

From the beginning the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet have been building a strong young audience, and whilst the quintet has received acclaim back home, UK influencers are already starting see a lot of promise in him, and given the passion he’s breathing into contemporary jazz, it’s not surprising to see why.

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Gauthier Toux Trio new album out 4 May 2018

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Album release: 'The Colours You See' by Gauthier Toux Trio
Release date: 4 May 2018
Label: Naim Records
More info: Band website  

  • Winner 2017 of Rezzo Focal Jazz à Vienne
  • Winner 2016 of the Competition of Jazz Festival of Défense & Jazz or Jazz 

Award-winning composer and pianist, Gauthier Toux is ready to deliver his newest body of work, ‘The Colours You See’, a carefully considered and introspective jazz journey set for release on May 4th.

Ahead of the release, the trio have shared their first single from the album entitled 'Same Answer'. 

Speaking about the single, Gauthier says, "Since discovering I was colourblind at a young age, people always asked me what I thought the colours of everyday objects were. Walls, clothes, almost anything - I simply told them every time; 'it all depends on the light', and that is where this song came from."

Listen to 'Same Answer' here.

Accompanied on ‘The Colours You See’ by esteemed drummer Maxence Sibille, and double bassist Kenneth Dahl Knudsen, alongside a host of guest musicians, the trio have release two albums to date and have performed alongside musicians such as Gilad Hekselman, Dave Liebman, Eric Truffaz, Uri Gurvich, Nicolas Folmer, Christophe Panzani, Tony Paeleman, Julien Herné, Erwan Valazza and Zacharie Ksyk.

Two years on from their last album ‘Unexpected Things’ (NoMadMusic, 2016), ‘The Colours You See’ is an eleven-track exposé delving into the French jazz scene, which is starting to become in burgeoning demand across Europe. In a recent interview with French newspaper Liberation, Gilles Peterson said “Something is cooking in French Jazz. Soon two or three names will become big and may come from the electro scene, maybe on labels like Ed Banger. Everybody is waiting for it.”, and whilst the trio are certainly take a more traditional approach to some of the recent crossover jazz artists of late, they continue to push the boundaries of their music by experimenting with their personal influences in electronic music, rock and hip-hop. This has led to their latest album being released via Naim Records, who were the first to sign Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet) and continue to work with rising artists from the UK scene such as Yazz Ahmed.

Examining the relationship between colour and light, and the identity that they impose on our relationship with music and the world around us, thematically ‘The Colours You See’ explores personal interpretation in a somewhat idiosyncratic manner.

“On this new album, I wanted to highlight a very personal vision of colours,” says Gauthier, “colours have always been very intriguing to me, especially since I discovered that I was colour-blind. Since then, I have never stopped asking myself how to perceive them differently, to try to go beyond the name given to each colour. Title after title, I put music to anecdotes connecting me to these colours and lights.”

“After almost four years of playing and traveling together, it seemed like a good idea to continue the adventure with Maxence Sibille and Kenneth Dahl Knudsen, with whom we developed our sound over previous concerts.”

The trio have previously performed at the likes of Duc des Lombards, the Paris Jazz Festival, Moods, the Cully Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, Jazz in Ramatuelle, Jazzhus Montmartre Copenhagen and the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival. In 2016, the trio also won prestigious European competitions such as the National Jazz Competition in La Défense, the Jazz or Jazz and the RéZZo Focal Jazz á Vienne 2017.

‘The Colours You See’ is due out 4th May 2018 via Naim Records. Gauthier Toux will perform in the UK on May 26th at the Institut Français London as part of the Offbeat concert series (solo) & will play Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho (trio) on May 27th.

The Gauthier Toux Trio is:
- Gauthier Toux - piano, Fender Rhodes
- Kenneth Dahl Knudsen - Double bass
- Maxence Sibille - Drums
- Guests: Christophe Panzani (Sax), Erwan Valazza (Guitar), Zacharie Ksyk (Trumpet)
 
 

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Shatner's Bassoon new album out 27 April 2018

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Album release: 'Disco Erosion' by Shatner's Bassoon
Release date: 27 April 2018
More info: Band website

Steeped in malfunctioning improvisation, passive-aggressive minimalism, surreal avant-punk and free jazz trances, Leeds quintet Shatner’s Bassoon sound like little else. Since their formation in 2010, the experimental outfit’s intense maelstrom of beguiling yet disturbing noise has earned the group a reputation as a must-see live act. Now with 3 years of experimentation and refinement since their last release, Shatner’s Bassoon are set to untether their new album, ‘Disco Erosion’.

‘Disco Erosion’ captures the visceral energy of Shatner’s Bassoon’s live performances, retaining their brazen and uncompromising identity, which is not only drawn from their mesmerizing resonance but largely from its bold and direct delivery. The band are comfortable to sit on the fringes continuing down their own path without conforming to trend and mediocrity. Each member has a wide and disparate influence and approach to making music which all filters into the bands overall sound.

As menacing as it is playful, the album is built on intricate yet often evasive song structures, angular rhythms and anxiety inducing psychedelia. The distinct featured instrumentation includes circuit bent delay pedals for keyboard, a myriad of off-kilter sax, a slice of Theremin, clarinet, cowbell and a pinch of Transylvanian organ. The result is a glitchy and deranged carnival of paranoia, which blends influences from the likes of Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa, The Cardiacs, Tim Berne, John Zorn, Man From Uranus and Fred Frith.

Speaking about the new album Mick and Johnny, said “For this album we wanted to produce a more direct and immediate music whilst retaining the unique characteristics of Shatner’s Bassoon. Because our music is fringe music we regularly perform to a wide demographic of audiences (DIY, Jazz, Unsuspecting general public) - presenting freely improvised and experimental music within a different context. This influenced how we conceived, produced, presented the music for this album and is our proudest work to date.”

Shatner’s Bassoon’s aberrant amalgamation of styles, create an unforgettable spectacle, which has previously taken them to festivals such as North Atlantic Flux Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, Lancaster Jazz Festival and Beacons Festival. Similarly, the band have toured extensively around the UK, previously playing alongside the likes of Melt Yourself Down, Matthew Bourne, Roller Trio, and more, whilst captivating audiences as if by hypnosis at every outing. ‘Disco Erosion’ captures this sensation perfectly and in doing has led Shatner’s Bassoon to create their most accomplished and urgent recording to date.

Press reaction to date

“Sometimes Shatner's Bassoon are knowingly jazzy, sometimes they switch from bold melodic ideas to demonic garglings and cacklings, or what sounds like a monkey eating cornflakes overlaid by cool Fender Rhodes licks. It's all pretty out there” - the Guardian

“Leeds’ uncompromising new generation of jazz noise-making terrorists” - Jazzwise magazine

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Run Logan Run new album out 4 May 2018

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Album release: 'The Delicate Balance Of Terror' by Run Logan Run
Release date: 4 May 2018
Label: Weizenbaum
More info: Band website

Bristol duo Run Logan Run are a head on collision of pounding tribal drums and screaming guttural saxophone. Formed through a shared passion for improvisation, spiritual jazz and heavier experimental music, the duo has been authoring their own narrative in the new wave of crossover jazz, whilst touring the UK extensively, sharing stages with the likes of Colin Stetson, Melt Yourself Down, Shabaka Hutchings, Sarathy Korwar and Hieroglyphic Being. Now, having released an EP, live cassette and limited-edition lathe cut 7”, they are set to release their debut album ‘The Delicate Balance Of Terror’.

Their set-up is seemingly straightforward, composed of a drum kit and saxophone, ran through a modest collection of carefully selected effects pedals before being fed into guitar and bass amps simultaneously. However, the result is two musicians who are constantly finding new ways to push the boundaries of the duo format, whilst instilling originality at every opportunity. Run Logan Run’s influences are greatly varied across the new album, to the point that tracing the origin of the duo’s overall sound is futile. At any one time ‘The Delicate Balance Of Terror’ can call to mind the likes of Pharoah Sanders, Can, Lightning Bolt, Sun Ra, Polar Bear, Boris, The Comet Is Coming and even A.R.E Project. However, despite the familiarity that resonates from their multifarious inspirations, their sound remains entirely inimitable.

Architects of intense contrast the duo’s diverse and precise instrumentation regularly flirts with fragility and raw power. ‘The Delicate Balance Of Terror’ is filled with contemplative deep jazz moments lodged in cyclic hypnotic trances, which are pushed to their very limits by ruthless drum sections. Elsewhere, the saxophone takes an altogether more audacious approach with a carpet bomb of FX driven monolithic slabs of bass, employing circular breathing, heavy delay and pitch shifting. Strewn throughout this are junctures of attenuation where they play with fragmented rhythms, and smatterings of delicate free jazz melodies.

The new album was recorded live at Stoke Newington’s Total Refreshment Centre, which has been, and continues to be, a prominent platform for promoting, recording and releasing some of the best new talent from the British underground. It was also produced by the estimable Danalogue & Betamax of The Comet Is Coming, instilling further idiosyncratic dynamics into Run Logan Run’s already distinctive sound.

Future-facing and fascinating, Run Logan Run are fast becoming a solid feature in the UK’s rising jazz firmament. Having already played a number shows this year supporting the likes of Yazz Ahmed and Thought Forms, Run Logan Run will also be embarking on another full UK tour in spring 2018.

Press reaction to date

"Just two people, their frenetic approach to improvisation could loosely be termed jazz, but it also borrows from dirty electronics and heavier aspects of rock music." – Clash

"These chaps are the new generation of a heralded lineage of trained musicians forging their own unique style, akin to Polar Bear or Sons of Kemet." – Danalogue the Conqueror (The Comet Is Coming)

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The Ross McHenry Trio new album out 10 November 2017

ross mchenry trio.jpg

Album release: 'The Outsiders' by The Ross McHenry Trio
Release date: 10 November 2017
Label: First World Records
More info: Band website

‘The Outsiders’ is the new album from “absurdly prolific” (Scenstr Magazine) multi-award winning composer, producer and bass player Ross McHenry. Known for his work as bandleader of The Shaolin Afronauts, Ross has collaborated with the likes of Robert Glasper Trio, Fred Wesley, Roy Ayers, Eddie Bo, Marva Whitney, Marcus Strickland Mark de Clive Lowe, Myele Manzanza, Corey King, Duane Eubanks and Tivon Pennicott., and been heralded as “The Future of Australian Jazz” (PBS FM). 

This is his third album release for us at First Word (following ‘Child of Somebody’ in 2016 and ‘Distant Oceans’ in 2013), but his first trio album. Joining McHenry on this new venture are long time collaborators, NZ drumming powerhouse and First Word label mate Myele Manzanza and NY based multi-award winning Australian pianist Matthew Sheens. ‘The Outsiders’ is dynamic trio jazz from the perspective of three forward thinking musicians who although steeped in the jazz tradition are not bound by jazz influences alone. 

The album’s concept is centered around the sense of belonging in the modern era; the way we view the world in the age of globalisation. Particularly the unique identity of Antipodeans in the world of jazz music; rather than replicate American and British sounds, these compositions are derived from an exploration of geographical identity, embracing the uniqueness of their own cultural sonic qualities. 

In Ross’ words, “we are connected to and understand the international history of jazz music, but we are outsiders. We belong in the grand and important lineage of artists, but our perspective is unique, because of where we are from, and as people from small, isolated cities and countries, we are outsiders. Even within the context of our own countries, we do not live or come from the most populous capitals of culture, we are outsiders. This is something we can rebel against, or it is something we can choose to own. I choose to own it, this group chooses to own it, but, most importantly, I feel it in the music.” 

These compositions are the result of this ethos and mindset, created with exceptional grace, and showcasing the exquisitely talented trio of Ross, Myele and Matthew. A six-track vinyl album (with two additional tracks on the digital release), this also includes extensive sleeve-notes written by Ross himself. 

Multi-award-winning composer, producer and bass player, Ross McHenry delivers his newest body of work, The Outsiders; a carefully considered jazz journey set for release on November 10. 

Initially conceived in New York City mid-2015 and recorded across two years, The Outsiders is an eight-track exposé delving into Australia’s rich sense of borrowed cultural heritage, political misgivings, and innate persona.  Examining identity in our time of unprecedented connectivity, The Outsiders explores what it means to belong in the modern world.

Accompanied on The Outsiders by esteemed New Zealand drummer Myele Manzanza, and the Adelaide born, US based pianist and composer Matthew Sheens, the trio initially set the project in motion when they were fortuitously together as part of WOMADelaide 2015; where they descended upon Adelaide’s Chapel Lane Studios without pre-conceived limitations or a prerequisite to what was to be musically explored. What evolved was The Outsiders, a new sense of freedom and discovery for McHenry

“It was instantly fulfilling and I loved rediscovering the freedom of the trio format; it wasn’t a format I’d played in for years but I knew immediately that I needed to pursue it further.” Said McHenry

“This album is the first album where I have actively written with a sense of cultural identity in mind. I didn’t intend to create this trio with people who inherently understand the themes I was trying to achieve with this project, in fact the group came together almost by chance. Luckily for me it turned out that when we all got in a room together to record music, I found that Sheens and Manzanza understood and felt acutely what I was talking about.”

Recently awarded the Marten Bequest Scholarship, 2017 Art Music Awards finalist and shortlisted for the 2017 Freedman Jazz Award; Ross McHenry has become synonymous with the international creative improvised music movement. As a musician and composer McHenry has been leader for the genres Australian movement, as he develops its discourse, its history and its future.  

Known for his work in Australia as the leader of afro-jazz ensemble Shaolin Afronauts and as a solo artist Ross has performed extensively around Australia and travelled the world collaborating with many artists including Robert Glasper Trio, Fred Wesley, Roy Ayers, Eddie Bo, Marva Whitney, Marcus Strickland Mark de Clive Lowe, Myele Manzanza, Corey King, Duane Eubanks and Tivon Pennicott.

McHenry has performed at many of the world’s leading arts festivals including Glastonbury, The Sydney Festival, The Adelaide Festival, Womadelaide, Falls Festival, Wellington International Jazz Festival and the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
 

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Mark Springer / Rip Rig And Panic new album due 28 July 2017

Album release: ‘Circa Rip Rig And Panic’ by Mark Springer / Rip Rig And Panic
Release date: 28 July 2017
Label: Exit Records
More info: Artist website

The pianist and composer Mark Springer began his career as a soloist before going on to form the critically acclaimed Bristolian post-punk/avant-jazz band Rip Rig And Panic, featuring members from The Pop Group along with Swedish/New York singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry. When they split after three dynamic years together The Times commented that, “…their too-brief career will not have been in vain if it has served at least to launch the pianist Mark Springer.”  

Now with four releases with Rip Rig and Panic and several solo albums to his name, including a collaborative record with Arthur Jeffes of Penguin Café, across Virgin Records and his own Exit label, Springer is lining up to release his new album ‘Circa Rip Rig And Panic’. Comprised of pieces written by Springer while in Rip Rig And Panic, the CD includes collaborations with two of his fellow Rip Riggers plus a duet with the Velvet Underground’s Nico. Circa is also further testimony to the versatile talents of Rip Rig and Panic’s bassist Sean Oliver - here on cello and vocals - who went on to co-write hits with Terence Trent D’Arby. 

From the earliest part of Springer’s career his distinctive and unique sound has continued. This was born from his ability to create intense and evolving soundscapes, both through his writing or improvisation - ‘spontaneous composition’ as Springer calls it. Springer has always aimed to stretch the possibilities of what the piano is capable of doing and therefore extend the language of the instrument. This powerful physical engagement directly translates into all of his music for piano and other instruments and comes through powerfully in the new CD Circa. 

This restless, continually probing, spirit has also been evidenced most recently in April 2017 with Springer playing completely new music at a special performance in Bologna, engaging the audience in a continuous energised exchange of creation and improvisation. Thriving off the risks of the unknown in his performance, this was recorded for the BBC and will be aired later this year. 

On his latest solo album ‘Circa Rip Rig And Panic’ Springer transcends strict genre classification yet again. Whilst the album’s foundations are rooted in jazz, he also makes forays into the traditional classical world, as well as neo-classical and at times the avant-garde. Tracks such as ‘Walking Cello’ and ‘Oh Lonesome Train’ explore free jazz based ideas and fluid structures creating frenetic yet masterfully controlled melodies. Elsewhere tracks such as ‘Fuji Fuji’ and ‘I’ve Got To Two Hand It To You’ lean towards neo-classical themes (the latter wouldn’t feel out of place on an Erased Tapes release) whilst introducing gentle jazz phrasing. Conversely, ‘A Given Voice A Given Choice’, which features Nico’s haunting and beguiling vocals sits somewhere between the contemporary and experimental field calling to mind Scott Walker or more recently A Dead Forest Index or Savages.  

Speaking about the album Springer says, “My drive in Rip Rig and Panic was to shake up the Jazz world and create a new kind of music that could break down musical boundaries, redefining the possibilities of a contemporary idea of what a band could do. Through that forum and with those great musicians I was able to explore and develop my compositions in front of a live audience. This music was created in that spirit.” 

‘Circa Rip Rig And Panic’ is a testament to Springer’s creative mind and his compositional integrity, which is shown through his broad back catalogue of work from the material recorded on ‘Circa’ all the way through to his more recent solo releases, piano quintet/sextets and opera. Plus a celebration of the brilliant cohesion between the talented musicians which contributed to making the group such a force. 

Albums, and indeed songs, that span so many genres are rare, and it’s even rarer that you’ll find sounds that perfectly capture such a diverse array of atmospheres and emotions as this. Mark Springer is an artist who needs no introductions, but if you’re yet to discover his work, there is no better time than now. 

Press reaction to date

“Dazzlingly inventive extemporisations that variously channel Eno, John Cage, Satie, Roedelius, Bach, Philip Glass, Jan Garbarek’s Officium, Michael Nyman, Ludovico Einaudi and Max Richter into something that sounds fresh and original.” – Uncut

“It’s clear that Springer is at home playing jazz standards or going hell for leather in an improve context” – The Wire

“This is Steve Reich territory, only here with more dynamic tension and often romantic intent. Utterly beguiling.” – Jazzwise

More information

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Duane Forrest 'The Climb' new album due 21 July 2017

Album release: ‘The Climb’ by Duane Forrest
Release date: 21 July 2017
Label: Traaxx Music
More info: Artist website

The traveller’s experience is one envied by many. Throughout his life Duane Forrest, the newest artist to be signed to Traaxx Music, has been in the thick of many cultures, and now residing in Toronto, has previously had the luck to have lived in Mexico, Honduras, and Puerto Rico amongst others. Perhaps then, it is no surprise that his life and Jamaican heritage, has allowed Duane to so naturally weave the styles of Bossa Nova, Jazz, Reggae and Soul to create an organic warming sound.

A rough neighbourhood in a Toronto government housing complex could have lead to a different path in life except from the blessing that has saved so many before him, music. From a young age his appetite to delve deeper into the world of the arts has drawn him to many instruments, and techniques that have built and built into the ‘ Apple in the Tree’  series. The concept grew from an experience Duane had during a spiritual trip to Mexico, upon encountering a glimpse of love when it was least expected. The experience struck a chord when, “One day she told me this story. "I'm an apple in the tree, in this tree there are many apples within reach, even some on the ground are easy to pick up, but for me you'll have to climb..." Needless to say this stuck with me. Also the woman that she was, the confidence etc stuck with me. What she brought out of me also was very important. So I wanted to tell that story, that journey.”

Through the profits and influence of his music, Duane has recently founded a non-profit charity called 'Genesis Community of the Arts'. Genesis equips and sends teachers in the arts to marginalized places around the globe. Currently, Genesis has teachers placed in Copán Ruinas, Honduras, Choloma, Honduras and Panajachel, Guatemala. The goal of Genesis is to give marginalized people around the globe education in the arts, some for the first time. They are granted this opportunity through classes in music, dance, and visual arts. The hope is that through Genesis, they will discover something beautiful: creativity, much like the story of Duane’ s journey.

“My music is about my personal growth as a man, what that means, and how that looks as I interact with a woman. The ups and downs. This album is called 'The Climb'. It's about the work, the hard work it takes to rise to a place where perhaps I could be with the woman of my dreams.” Duane’ s heartfelt words are matched by the intimate hushed tones that swirl along throughout ‘The Climb’. For Duane, the release is an important one mentally. “I wrote most if this music after going through some hard times so it's very personal. Learning to be OK and happy with myself before moving into a relationship with others. And then there are my hopes and dreams there as well.”

Press reaction to date

“...soulful solo acoustic music. He sounded like Dave Matthews... with just a touch of jazz as his fingers flew over the fretboard of his guitar”- L.A. Beat

"Toronto's smooth operator warms the vibe with bossa nova, jazz and soul" - Vancouver Sun

More information

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Dr John's to release Louis Armstrong tribute disc

Album release: “Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch” by Dr John
Release date: 1 September 2014
Label: Proper Records
Listen on: official Dr John website  

New Orleans musical giant pays tribute to fellow Crescent City legend Louis Armstrong with star-studded, divinely-inspired new tribute disc. Special guests include Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Shemekia Copeland, Terence Blanchard and Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and six-time GRAMMY®-winner Dr. John is New Orleans’ most prominent living musical icon. The embodiment of his hometown’s freewheeling creative spirit and multiple musical traditions, he’s built a visionary, idiosyncratic body of work that’s deeply rooted in the Crescent City’s myriad blues, R&B, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll traditions.

So it’s fitting that Dr. John’s new album on Proper Records, “Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch”, pays heartfelt tribute to another larger-than-life New Orleans legend: the seminal trumpeter and vocalist Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, whose musical innovations created the template for 20th-century jazz, and whose playful attitude and life-embracing spirit made him a beloved figure whose worldwide appeal transcended music.

“He’s the most famous guy that ever came out of my neighbourhood,” notes Dr. John. “He became a legend all over, for his trumpet playin’ and everything else, and he was the United States’ ambassador to the world.”

Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch honours Armstrong’s musical genius as well as his effervescent personality with 13 classic numbers drawn from various phases of Armstrong’s five-decade career, with Dr. John joined by a stellar supporting cast that manages to update the material while maintaining the music’s timeless emotional appeal.

The subtitle The Spirit of Satch is particularly appropriate given the album’s birth cycle, which Dr. John says was set into motion when the late Armstrong—whom he’d only met once during his lifetime, in the office of their mutual manager Joe Glaser—came to him in a dream. 

“Louis’s spirit came to me and told me to do something, that’s how this whole thing started,” says Dr. John, who’s previously released tribute albums to musical giants Duke Ellington and Johnny Mercer. “Louis told me, ‘Take my music and do it your way.’  It was the most unexpected thing in the world to me, to have Louis’ spirit show up like that, but he gave me a concept of where to roll with it that was spiritually correct. That made me feel very open to try some different things, because I felt that his spirit had ok’ed this record.”

Prior to making the album, Dr. John honoured Satchmo on stage, presenting rapturously received tribute concerts, dubbed “Props to Pops,” at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2012 and at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2013. 

More information

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