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David Forman – Composer/Photography

Darren Beckett (drums), Paul Booth (saxes), Ben Castle (trumpet), Conor Chaplin (bass), Sam Cox (vocals), Chris Laurence (bass), Joe Locke (vibes), Mark Lockheart (saxes), Georgia Mancio (vocals), Mark Nightingale (trombone), Andy Panayi (saxes), Ryan Quigley (trumpet), Imogen Ryall (vocals), Mike Walker (guitar)

 Photographer and passionate jazz fan David Forman
compiles a lifetime of compositions. This music not only represents Forman’s lifelong love for jazz but also a rich and rewarding life well lived.

David Forman is well known for his jazz photography. His enthusiasm began with a commission to capture the Anglo-U.S. band The Impossible Gentlemen in 2010 and he has since photographed hundreds of jazz musicians in the capital, his home town of Brighton and abroad.

What is less widely appreciated is David’s own musicianship throughout his life. Basho Records is presenting an album featuring his original compositions recorded with an impressive array of experienced jazz musicians. The music is accompanied by a 76 page 8 inch x 8 inch book featuring David’s jazz and travel photography, including images celebrating other Basho-associated artists.

His enthusiasm began as a teenager at the Perse School in Cambridge, having heard a lot of late 1940’s radio big-band jazz. One of his friends at school was the ‘famous-to-be’ baritone sax player Ronnie Ross who introduced him to jazz harmony.  After leaving school, David studied dentistry at Guy’s Hospital where he formed and led a dance band in 1951, playing piano. This is where he began to write and one of the compositions from this period (“Jump The Q”) is included on the album. Also included are two pieces from the mid-sixties (“I Can Be Me” and “Une Lettre de Paris”) which were finally completed 55 years later only days before the recording!  Another piece, “I Miss You”, was playlisted on Radio 2 for six weeks in 1986.  David remains excited by the music of the 1950s and 60s, Dave Brubeck and John Lewis of MJQ plus some of the wonderful West End shows being particularly inspirational. He frequently wrote the music for amateur shows during his dental life.

Leaving dentistry in 1994 turned out to be the beginning of a whole new rich and rewarding period in travel and photography. Several photo agencies responded positively to his work, as he was able to provide images from parts of the world that had rarely been photographed for the travel industry.

Until the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, David had visited 150 different countries on the United Nations list of 193! Sometimes his interests in music and travel happily coincided, and he enjoyed live music in U.S.A., Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Australia.

In his late eighties (he is now 91), David took the opportunity to have his musical work recorded. He recruited master pianist/arranger Mark Edwards to work on his chosen compositions, and they selected the musicians for each recording. The main body of the album was recorded in multiple locations, with some musicians working remotely during the pandemic. The three bonus tracks had been recorded a few years earlier, with “Could It Be Love” recently featured on the “Songs Of Isolation” charity series for the NHS.

The music collected here not only represents a lifetime’s love for jazz but also a full and fascinating life well lived.

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Johannes Berauer – Chamber Diaries with Strings

“I consider myself an ambassador between classical and jazz musicians, between composed and improvised music” says Austrian composer Johannes Berauer. Growing up with both Keith Jarrett and Chopin, it came naturally for Berauer to fuse the genres into a very unique and personal style, which became the trademark of his Vienna Chamber Diaries ensemble.

The group’s 10th anniversary and a commission from Vienna Konzerthaus pushed Berauer to re-invent his project and to think big. “I wanted to create music that can morph between intimate and fragile chamber music and the driving force of a jazz combo to the rich timbre of orchestral music within a moment. Improvisation is always integral, woven into the composed textures in such a way that it is not immediately apparent which is which.” The sequence of the album features large scale orchestral works and small ensemble pieces, alternated with each other to create contrasts in texture, density and mood.

Such a challenging concept needs excellent musicians. Wolfgang Muthspiel, Klaus Gesing, Gwilym Simcock and Yuri Goloubev are not only leading figures in jazz but also bring a special understanding of playing in composed settings to the ensemble. They are joined by some of Austria’s finest hybrid players, including Johannes Dickbauer (who recently won the Seifert Violin Competition), Florian Eggner, Christian Bakanic and percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger. The string section is drawn from the Viennese orchestra scene.

Berauer describes Wolfgang Muthspiel as the ‘patron’ of the Vienna Chamber Diaries project. Muthspiel played on the first album as well as launching it on his record label. He now returned to the studio to join this special constellation with the following statement:

“Johannes Berauer operates at the exciting junction between classical compositional forms and jazz-influenced improvisational music. A string quartet is just as familiar and second-nature to him as a pulsating band with jazz soloists. Berauer has somehow effortlessly succeeded in building this bridge by immersing himself in both genres early on and internalizing them. Using the highest level of craftsmanship, he creates music that is honest through and through, that is unpretentious and direct with complete originality… I hope his latest recording, in which I had the pleasure of participating, will be received with huge respect and acclaim. Not only because I believe that this music simply deserves to be widely heard, but also because it takes us further along the continually fascinating artistic path that Johannes Berauer has been on for quite some time now.”

The album is framed with hopeful anticipation for the future (New Horizons) and memories of the past (Indian Summer). Berauer draws inspiration from classical composers like Bartok (Divertimento Part 2) or Ravel (Valse Bleue). The birth of Berauer’s son Florentin also had an impact on his writing, and the album includes a piece written in dedication to him (Florentin).

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Inspired in part by bands such as Stan Sulzmann’s Neon Trio, Tim Garland’s Storms/Nocturnes and the Rosario Giuliani, Dado Moroni and Joe Locke trio, Tom Smith presents his debut album with chamber jazz trio Gecko. When starting the group, Smith only ever had two musicians in mind for the project – pianist Will Barry (WCOM Young Musician of the Year 2018) and vibraphone player Jonny Mansfield (Kenny Wheeler Prize 2018). Both are inventive and percussive players, filling the music with constant rhythmic dialogue, and ensuring that there is still a strong momentum and rhythmic element despite the absence of drums. These musicians have played and toured together in various projects over years, cementing a synergy in the band where each player can intuitively elevate the others.

From the very first get together in 2016 it was obvious there was something special about this collection of musicians, and Smith knew this was the band to feature on his first album. In 2018, Gecko won the Peter Whittingham Development Award from Help Musicians UK, which funded the album recording. Smith also knew he wanted an experienced producer, so he got Tim Garland on board, who was one of the initial inspirations behind the music, as well as being one of Smith’s personal heroes. Combining very new compositions written specifically for this project with more longstanding pieces, the music spans a period of six years, from Smith’s school days through his time studying at the Royal Academy of Music to now.

The inspirations behind the music are many and varied, from strong statements about personal identity to the world of video games. Two pieces are of great personal importance to Smith as they deal with LGBTQ+ themes, a topic close to his heart. Curiosity deals with Smith’s journey discovering his sexuality over many years, working his thoughts out and coming to terms with his feelings, while John and Alex was written for a wedding, with a brief to write music that represented LGBTQ+ love in the 21st Century. The piece is a joyful waltz but contains moments of dissonance encapsulating the hurdles yet to be overcome by society, especially the current struggles of the transgender community. Blueish and Anthem were both written about the vastness of the world, and how it seems to make individual problems seem insignificant. By way of contrast, Everyday Epic aims to capture the opposite effect – the feeling of being on top of the world when everything is going right. Two pieces take their inspiration from the world of video gaming. Steampunk Tendencies is about the Bioshock video games and the distinctive art style of the game’s backdrop. Flamenco Carlos is about a particular online gaming rival with whom Smith had a two hour showdown during a Star Wars game. House In The Clouds was named after an unusual structure in Thorpeness that evoked whimsical fairytales – a house in the sky. Overall the music is about discovery and wonderment, the pieces have joy at their heart, but they all tell stories and take the listener on a journey.

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The internationally acclaimed bassist and composer releases his first album as leader with Basho Records, emphasising rich harmony, powerful melodic lines and a playful sense of humour.

‘In this music, I feel that jazz is alive, healthy and moving forward in the 21st Century’ – Bob James, Grammy winning pianist  

Born in Moscow, bassist and composer Yuri Goloubev has made the transition between an acclaimed classical music career and successful jazz performance with unusual fluidity and authority. Goloubev has featured on over 100 recordings and is in high demand as a musician internationally. ‘Two Chevrons Apart’ features a quartet with Tim Garland, John Turville and Asaf Sirkis and is his first release as leader for Basho Records (he also featured on pianist Gwilym Simcock’s Blues Vignette album).

When composing material for this project, Goloubev had a quartet with soprano saxophone in mind from the outset, the sound of the soprano providing the most suitable vehicle for the melodic content of the music. He sought to create a selection of pieces that worked together stylistically, emphasising compositional logic, strong melodic lines and intricate, rich harmony. The melodic content is particularly important to Goloubev, with this album offering lingering and effective melodic lines alongside complex harmony and form, making the music accessible without compromise or simplification.

The ensemble on ‘Two Chevrons Apart’ features acclaimed saxophonist Tim Garland and percussionist Asaf Sirkis, two musicians with whom Goloubev has frequently collaborated. Through the recording process, Goloubev also developed a more recent working relationship with pianist John Turville. Goloubev has described the band as a unit of musicians with whom he feels completely comfortable and that, together, they are able to play in a more ‘exploratory’ way. Given the strength of the musical interactions, the ensemble is flexible and Goloubev plans to perform the music in either a trio or quartet setting.

‘Two Chevrons Apart’ also foregrounds Goloubev’s mischievous sense of humour, love of wordplay and fondness for comic imagery, as implied in the album title (an ironic response to the idea of being ‘oceans apart’) and the wryly named ‘Dead End Date’. The piece ‘Cemetery Symmetry’ parodies image conscious musicians. ‘Sweet Nothings’ bounds with an agile playfulness and a march rhythm on the drums.

Goloubev does not consider his own work as a bandleader to have resulted in ‘bass-lead’ music. Instead, all band members fulfil equal roles. Goloubev seeks to distinguish between the accompanying and solo roles of the bass, accompanying in relatively conventional ways but seeking to emulate the phrasing of a hypothetical wind instrument or the piano when soloing, eschewing familiar bass ‘licks’ or figures that fall more easily under the fingers. Goloubev’s music draws both from his experience as an improvising jazz musician and from his classical background, with the piece Beethoven and Schubert: Friends?… inspired by two sonatas (Beethoven – C minor piano sonata #8 Op 13 and Schubert – Arpeggione Sonata D821). The combination of melodic and harmonic depth with playfulness should have wide appeal with audiences.

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Ninety Degrees Gravity, Trish Clowes’ fifth album for Basho Records (and second with her current band My Iris), is inspired by the idea of a universal language and the images in Denis Villeneuve’s acclaimed sci-fi film ‘Arrival’. The album title is drawn from the scene in the film where the main characters enter the alien pod for the first time, forever changing their perception of reality – akin to the ongoing moments of revelation in the life of a musician. A music video to accompany the track ‘Abbott & Costello’ will also explore these themes.

The notion of the vastness of space also inspires the track ‘Dustlings’ (“we are stardust” from Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’), with taking time out to contemplate the cosmos enabling us to liberate ourselves from the everyday. ‘I.F.’ celebrates new life by being dedicated to the sons of Ross Stanley and Chris Montague respectively. Initially developed through the activities of Emulsion VI (Clowes’ ongoing cross-genre music festival), the recorded version incorporates samples of her band members’ babies.

Other compositions on the album have roots in musical influences or ideas. ‘Eric’s Tune’ is dedicated to Eric Gravatt, drummer with Weather Report between 1972 and 1974. Some of the rhythmic ideas for this piece, and also some of the other music on the album, were inspired by the Live In Tokyo 1973 album. ‘Lightning Les’, included here in a dynamic live recording, explores some of the musical ideas Clowes and the bandmembers were working on at the time of writing, including saxophone multiphonics and ‘western swing’ on the guitar. With its title referencing the fast setting on the Hammond organ Leslie tremolo unit, it also seeks to reclaim the organ sound from the cliched seaside perception as a means of creating atmosphere and texture in creative, improvised music. ‘Free To Fall’, in which Clowes incorporates lyrics, was written after the band’s successful 2017 tour, speaking to the trust between musicians and a nod to the Wayne Shorter Quartet and their album ‘Without A Net’.

‘Ninety Degrees Gravity’ finds Trish Clowes exploring new musical settings, creating compelling atmospheres and using music to explore a range of wider concepts and ideas. It also captures My Iris continuing to evolve as a band.

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Johannes Berauer’s Hourglass

Basho Records will release “Hourglass”, created by genre-busting Austrian composer Johannes Berauer, on Friday 20th July 2018. The recording features virtuosi Thomas Gould (violin), Gwilym Simcock (piano), Mike Walker (guitar), Martin Berauer (bass) and Bernhard Schimpelsberger (drums, percussion and Konnakol).

The ensemble will play a series of UK live dates in September and December 2018 to celebrate the album release.

Johannes Berauer is one of the most productive and diverse young composers in Austria. He navigates effortlessly through musical styles such as classical avant-garde, jazz and world music. He was recently orchestral arranger and musical director for Oud master Anouar Brahem on his last ECM release “Souvenance”. With Indian Sarod virtuoso Soumik Datta he co-composed the music for the silent movie project “King of Ghosts” originally for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, then the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. An album of this music performed by the City of London Sinfonia has just been released by Shakespeare’s Globe.

“Johannes manages to connect 21st Century innovation with Jazz music to great success. I see a long and productive musical life for him — very, very gifted.”  – Bob Brookmeyer

Hourglass Quintet

Gwilym Simcock, member of Pat Metheny’s current quartet, and Mike Walker who played with virtually everyone from Kenny Wheeler to Dave Holland are two of the finest musicians of the jazz scene. Violinist Thomas Gould has been described as “one of the most talented and charismatic British violinists of the younger generation” excelling in both classical and contemporary repertoire as well as Jazz. He is director of the Britten Sinfonia. Likewise, Martin Berauer and Bernhard Schimpelsberger are two of the leading young musicians of Austria. Martin, living in Paris, is especially known for his expertise in the field of world music, and Bernhard, based in London, has built a reputation as a master of Indian Rhythms, which lead him to collaborations with artists like Akram Khan or Anoushka Shankar.

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Birdsong – Cân yr Adar is a collaboration between jazz pianist/composer Gwilym Simcock, singer/songwriter Kizzy Crawford and award winning orchestra Sinfonia Cymru, which fuses jazz, classical and soul-folk music through a collection of spellbinding bilingual songs inspired by the ancient forests of Carngafallt in Powys.

There is a Celtic rainforest that lives and breathes in Wales. Birdsong / Cân Yr Adar tells a story through music inspired by RSPB Carngafallt, home to a complex ecosystem, which makes up some of the country’s rainforest territory and can be found near Powys.

Gwilym Simcock piano
Kizzy Crawford vocals and guitar

Sinfonia Cymru:
Simmy Singh Violin 1
Lucy McKay Violin 2
Francesca Gilbert Viola
Abel Selaocoe Cello
Sarah Bennett Flute
Carys Evans Horn

Music and lyrics by Kizzy Crawford and Gwilym Simcock, arranged by Gwilym Simcock

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N.B. Prices in your local currency are an estimate only. Payment providers (e.g. PayPal) use their own exchange rates, so you may see a slightly different price when you check out as the base price is in US dollars.  You can click next to each track to see the price in US dollars.

Award-winning composer/saxophonist/bandleader Andy Scott releases a third CD (his first for Basho Records) with his star-studded nine saxophone ensemble!

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My Iris is a new project from BASCA award winning composer and saxophonist Trish Clowes. Following collaborations with string quartets and the BBC Concert Orchestra, Clowes now shifts perspective to explore the possibilities of a small ensemble. My Iris features startling melodies, earthy grooves and gnarly lines, creating a sound world both intimate and thrilling. The group also investigate dynamics, textures, exciting interaction and sometimes fiery improvisation. My Iris represents a new chapter in Clowes’ career.

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