Double bassist, composer and bandleader Dave Holland, one of the most accomplished and prolific musicians in the contemporary jazz scene, has teamed up with Edition Records to release another innovative album in 2021. Another Land features jazz heavyweights Kevin Eubanks on guitar, and Obed Calvaire on drums, creating a compelling trio set up. Although Holland’s musical style has always been extremely eclectic, Another Land adds a whole new genre to Holland’s personal canon. Featuring heavy blues rock influences, Another Land is a beautifully classic yet refreshing exploration from three incredible musicians. All of the album’s instrumental compositions were written whilst the trio were on tour together - Holland stated of the process ‘we were doing a continuous set, once we started we very rarely stopped, we just kept going.’ This sense of freedom created through live performance and live interaction is conveyed throughout the album, making it a fascinating set of grooves which are at once pensive and electric. A sense of deep emotional intention is maintained throughout, because of the very deliberate and tasteful musical choices - this album is extremely thought provoking. Everything about Another Land feels purposeful and conscious, yet simultaneously incredibly organic: what a beautiful balance to strike.
Archipelago are a North East trio fronted by multi-instrumentalist Faye MacCalman, and accompanied by bassist John Pope and drummer Christian Alderson. Archipelago are a band with innovative ideas and real creative potential - their music spans a huge range of influences, drawing upon the different individual musical backgrounds of each member. Echoes To The Sky is Archipelago’s newest release since 2017 - due for release on 25th June 2021, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the album before its launch. Echoes To The Sky, a genre-defying album, features a similar set up to the band’s previous work, yet incorporates new elements such as synths and electronics, creating very new-world soundscapes. Creating contrasts between typical, traditional jazz playing and distorted, disorientating experimentalism, the trio are definitely one to watch in the northern jazz scene this year. In their own words, Echoes To The Sky is an album inspired by ‘transformation, loss and a sense of hopeful mystery’ - regardless of genre, this is a sentiment we can all connect with.
Having recently released There Is A Tide, a one-man album which featured Chris Potter on all 14 instruments and was later hailed one of the best jazz albums of 2020, Sunrise Reprise has a lot to live up to. This, and the fact that the last time Potter, Harland and Francies played together was on Circuits, means that the sense of anticipation and expectation for Sunrise Reprise was always going to be extremely high. Potter has been releasing albums for over 25 years now; his ability to continually refresh and renew his own musical style and output is an impressive accomplishment. Sunrise Reprise marks another new movement forward for Potter - with Eric Harland on drums and James Francies on keys, this album is an extremely modern exploration. Featuring synths and electronics as on Circuits, yet taking a new approach to composition and the musical journey, Potter’s new album is definitely a refreshing listen. Intense ensemble playing, virtuosic solos, emotional peaks and troughs - Sunrise Reprise is not an album to be missed.
On Thursday 6th May, we were lucky enough to watch an exclusive premier of ‘Parallels’, a piece by composer, guitarist and improviser Moss Freed. The Q&A which followed really allowed the audience to dig deeper into the music, and gave us a lot of food for thought. Freed has studied composition extensively, attending Goldsmiths to study for a masters in composition, and is currently researching composition for the Universities of Hull and Huddersfield. Freed’s newest composition, ‘Parallels’, was premiered as a performance by Alexander Hawkins on piano, Elliot Galvin on piano, kalimba and kazoo, and Maria Chiara Argirò on piano. A composition for three pianos, ‘Parallels’ was a challenging yet beautifully explorative piece which intended to bring together three different improvisers in order to see how they would interpret the piece differently, and without being able to hear one another. Freed explained that the musicians were working at different tempos, and were often given notated instructions to freely improvise without any restrictions. This made the piece extremely interesting to listen to, with new ideas and tonal centres featuring all the time. Although ‘Parallels’ may be a challenging composition at first glance, every listen illuminates something new - it’s a really stimulating and thrilling piece of music.
Back in 2019, Norwegian guitarist Casper Hatlestad played at Lancaster Jazz Festival. Having lived in many places and travelled often, Hatlestad’s compositions are often inspired by different cultures and places. After doing a BA and MA at Leeds Conservatoire, he then moved to Prague, and plays guitar as part of the band DOMI. He is set to release a full solo album later this year, Acoustic Tales From Prague - but for now has begun releasing some of his solo work as singles. We listened to ‘Bokka’ and ‘Ella’, which were released in April, and became completely immersed in this beautiful, acoustic music. Hatlestad’s style is characterised by intimate solo guitar playing, harmonics, a strong sense of movement and warm melodies. These singles are extremely accessible to any listener, and were inspired by some beautiful stories. On Spotify Hatlestad writes that his music ‘kept him sane’ during lockdown, and that his only wish is that listeners ‘find some peace, some calmness and mindfulness while listening’. We don’t know about you, but we certainly did.
We caught up with drummer, producer and composer Romarna Campbell, and talked about her creative process, collaborations and influences.
What do you identify most with in terms of your musical output? Are you a drummer first, a composer, a producer, or are all three equally important to you?
At this moment, all three are of equal importance to me because most of the work that I’m doing exercises at least two of these titles. But for my projects, it’s all three in equal measure because all three are equally important to me and the music.