Acclaimed tuba player and composer Theon Cross is gearing up to release a new album titled Intra-I, the follow-up to his 2019 debut Fyah. Cross, who’s a big player in London’s vibrant contemporary jazz scene, offers a whole array of sonic possibilities of his main instrument. Eschewing genre conventions, the upcoming album sees him blending “jazz, dub, hip-hop, soca, grime, and other sounds from the Afro-Caribbean diaspora”. Intra-I, which means ‘Within Self’, is described as “an exploratory and upful celebration of Afro-Diaspora Music” and it “features songs that examine self-development, the importance of history and heritage and the strength in adversity shown by the first generations of post-war Caribbean immigrants to the UK.”
Intra-I features several guest collaborators including Remi Graves, Shumba Maasai, Afronaut Zu, Ahnansé, Consensus and Oren Marshall, and is the first to include vocals.
We´ll have to wait until October 29th for the album to be out but we can already hear ‘The Spiral’ feat. Afronaut Zu & Ahnansé. The track comes with an accompanying video directed by Roisino & Eden. Take a look below.
There’s exciting news from acclaimed Porto based sonic explorer Pedro Melo Alves. An outstandingly talented drummer and composer, Alves is a prolific musician involved with an astonishing range of projects and collaborations including The Rite of Trio, In Igma, João Pais Filipe Duo, Caco.Meal and Catacombe, to mention but a few. With his Omniae Ensemble, an ensemble for composed and improvised music, Alves won the Composition Award Bernardo Sassetti in 2016, releasing the following year his ambitious debut album as a bandleader. Four years later, with the ensemble now expanded to 22 musicians, he’s ready to unleash a new record titled Lumina, releasing through Clean Feed. Originally recorded at Guimarães Jazz Festival last year, the upcoming album showcases Alves’ unique approach to music combining his love of innovative and exploratory sounds whilst guiding the 22 musicians along a sonic path blending jazz, improv and classical music.
Whilst we wait for more details and new music to emerge, listen to the transcendental ‘(In)Diferente’, a track lifted from his previous Omniae Ensemble album.
In other wonderful related news, and to celebrate the album release, Alves and the Omniae Large Ensemble have announced three live dates in Portugal. Check their stops below:
15th Oct – Culturgest – Fundação CGD, Lisbon
20th Oct – Casa da Música, Porto
21st Oct – Teatrão, Coimbra
With the impending release of a new album titled Inwane, Belgian instrumental outfit ECHT! have unveiled a live music video for their third single ‘Dunes’. Diego Crutzen Diaz shot the video and you can watch it below.
German trumpet player Matthias Lindermayr has announced the release of a new album titled Triptych. Unlike his two previous albums, 2015’s Lang Lang and 2018’s New Born, released in a quintet setting, Triptych is a trio album featuring Philipp Schiepek on acoustic guitar and Simon Popp on percussion. Lindermayr comments:
“In my previous bands, I always had the feeling that my strengths on the trumpet didn’t always come into their own. In this line-up, there is finally a lot of room for me. Even quiet, nuanced things don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle, and even when things get wilder we are at a dynamic level where the trumpet doesn’t have to scream.
I wanted to write simple melodies that my fellow musicians could play immediately, so that they could concentrate even more on sound and interplay when rehearsing and recording. The other half of the pieces were two-part compositions that I had written for a duo formation, but whose character demanded a different instrumentation.”
Triptych arrives on November 5th through Squama Recordings and ahead of it, Lindermayr has shared the transcendent title track. It comes with an accompanying video inspired by his love for running and cooking. “Good food and a balanced diet are very important to me”, he explains, adding: “Cooking has become a real hobby over the last few years. Both strictly according to a recipe and freely improvised, with whatever the fridge has to offer. The comparisons to making music are there, of course, but perhaps a little overused.”
Hailing from Brazil, Amaro Freitas is one of the finest pianists of contemporary jazz. A virtuosic pianist, Freitas released recently Sankofa, a sublime album of intricate compositions, named after a word and symbol used in the Akan language of Ghana usually depicted as a bird with its head turned backwards. Freitas comments:
“The symbol of the mystical bird, which flies with its head back, teaches us the possibility of going back to our roots, in order to realize our potential to move forward. With this album I want to bring a memory of who we are and pay homage to neighborhoods, names, characters, places, words and symbols that come from our ancestors. I want to celebrate where we come from.”
Speaking about what sparked the album, he explains:
“I worked to try to understand my ancestors, my place, my history, as a black man. Brazil didn’t tell us the truth about Brazil. The history of black people before slavery is rich with ancient philosophies. By understanding the history and the strength of our people, one can start to understand where our desires, dreams and wishes come from.”
‘Baquaqua’ is one of the magnificent tracks from Sankofa. It refers to the story of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua, the West African man who was kidnapped and transported to Brazil as a slave in 1844 but escaped to New York in 1847, later learning to read and write. Listen to it below.
Portico Quartet are on a roll this year. Following the release of Terrain back in May, the outfit of Duncan Bellamy and Jack Wyllie have announced the release of a new album titled Monument. Both albums were recorded at the same sessions but whereas Terrain reflects a darker time as the pandemic swept the globe, the upcoming album looks ahead in an optimistic way. Speaking about Monument, Wyllie comments:
“It’s possibly our most direct album to date. It’s melodic, structured and there’s an economy to it that is very efficient. There’s not much searching or wastage within the music itself, it is all finalised ideas, precisely sculpted and presented as a polished artefact.”
“Monument sits somewhere between our albums Portico Quartet and Art in the Age of Automation. It has perhaps a more overtly electronic edge to its sound – there are more synthesisers and electronic elements than we have used before and the music is often streamlined and rhythmic”.
Monument will see the light of day on November 12th through Gondwana Records and ahead of it, they’ve shared the first stunning and shimmering single, ‘Impressions’. Take a listen below.