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Trumpeter and composer Nick Walters returns to 22a with his second mini-album for the label - a free and spiritual journey of avant-garde leaning jazz. "Active Imagination" is a result of the bringing together of musicians for a day in the studio, with minimal rehearsal, to collectively experiment and improvise in the moment - in contrast to the more composed and structured recordings of the Paradox Ensemble album "Awakening" from January 2019. All musicians contributed their distinctive individual voices, creating a united force of spiritual, freeform jazz.

Each composition is based on a different mode, all with their own distinctive flavour: "So Long Chef" nod’s to Coltrane with its chords jumping by major thirds, before a more static middle section, offering a chance for Walters + Jeff Guntren (tenor sax) to explore the lydian mode. "Ahimsa" is a meditative reflection and group improvisation, based around a simple theme in the mixolydian mode, resulting in a spiritual journey steered by Rebecca Nash’s hypnotic piano solo. "Gordian Knot" was conceived as a vehicle for Ed Cawthorne (aka Tenderlonious) to cut loose on soprano sax in the phrygian mode, which he achieves with devastating effect, backed up by Nim Sadot’s infectious bass hook and complimented by an equally striking trumpet solo from the band leader. Finally, "Dansoman Last Stop" uses the dorian mode to channel the spirit of a bustling travel interchange in southern Accra, Ghana, conceived further by another exquisite trumpet solo from Walters.


Ruby Rushton

Overture 1 / Yardley Suite

Tenderlonious led jazz quartet, Ruby Rushton, return with a brand new limited 7" single, a swift response to their highly acclaimed "Ironside" album released back in April 2019. These two new tracks continue to push the band’s sound into new territory; "Overture 1" is a brand-new composition from Ruby Rushton keyboard player Aidan Shepherd. Taking inspiration from bands like Weather Report and Soft Machine, its explosive introduction leads you to a dub-like breakdown, creating an open space for Shepherd to let loose his synthesizer for some deep space, Headhunters-esque exploration. "Yardley Suite" is a song first conceived by band leader Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne back in 2012. Having lied dormant for several years it felt like an appropriate time to pull it back out the bag. It’s a composition inspired by Cawthorne’s solo work as an electronic producer, under his alias Tenderlonious. Always wanting to merge his various approaches, "Yardley Suite" is the perfect mix of jazz and house. With a steady four to the floor beat and snappy horn lines it's sure to work its magic on dancefloors around the globe. Having focused on improvisation and more open compositions in the past, the bands new direction is geared towards tighter, more groove-orientated arrangements. This exciting new material is yet further evidence that this is a highly prolific band at the top of their game, continually evolving, stretching out their own unique sound across the full jazz spectrum.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd 7" Info: One off run, limited to 300 copies. No repress.

This is the long awaited repress of Tenderlonious’ groundbreaking ‘On Flute’ EP, originally released back in 2016. This stunning six track EP demonstrates how diverse Tenderlonious’s musicianship is as he embellishes each song with his signature flute sound. ”Ghana” sets the pace of the record with up-tempo afro beats, complimented by keys, strings, a distinctive lead synth and of course a soaring flute solo. “Autumn Leaves” follows with a more UK broken-beat flavour, revealing a darker sense of atmosphere.

Other tracks include the modern classic “Song For My Father” (as featured on Kamaal Williams DJ-Kicks compilation), an upbeat number fusing funk and disco to create the perfect dance floor filler that builds to a climax with a wild flute solo from the man himself. “In A Sentimental Mood” follows and, as the title suggests, shows the listener how this producer came by his name. Tender flute inflections and sensitive lead synths, backed by quiet whispers. The EP finishes with “Dale’s Corner”, another broken feel on this one with delayed Rhodes supported by tasteful flute lines throughout - it leaves the listener feeling uplifted and wanting more!

This essential release on 22a recieved mass acclaim back in 2016, and support for some of the biggest tastemakers and DJ’s on the circuit, including Bonobo, Gilles Peterson, Bradley Zero, Kamaal Williams, Alexander Nut, Lefto and many more.


One of the three outrageously talented Deenmamode brothers (Mo Kolours & Reginald Omas Mamode IV), Jeen Bassa has carved out a reputation as one of the leading beat-tape producers in the game today. His warm and woozy productions mix up slo-mo, mechanised funk with hues of neon soul and blue, jazz notes. An artist that clearly stands out in a world that’s saturated with bland Dilla and Madlib-esque pastiches.‘All My People’ takes listeners on an electronic journey through hip hop, soul, jazz, funk and pan african sounds, hugely influenced by Bassa’s Mauritian roots.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Mini LP Info: Repress, limited to 300 copies.

22a label founder, multi-instrumentalist and producer Tenderlonious continues to evolve away from his recent jazz projects and delve further into the world of house and electronic beats.

This is his most club orientated release to date, yet he still manages to capture the essence of his live instrumentation. Detroit techno via Woking and South London!


FORMAT INFORMATION

12" Info: HAND-STAMPED SLEEVE - ONLY 300 AVAILABLE - NO REPRESS

‘Ironside’ is Ruby Rushton’s most complete work to date and was recorded over a 2 day session at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. It sees the band continuing to push boundaries, and lead the way, with this new genre defying recording. The quartet’s fresh, high energy sound is rooted in the spiritual concepts of John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef, paying homage to The Headhunters and Weather Report heyday, whilst still adopting influences from hip hop, Afrobeat and the UK underground culture.

”Ironside” - meaning someone who is “courageous and possessing great physical and mental strength” sums up the Ruby Ruston journey so far. A personal, against the odds journey, that required Tenderlonious starting a label, 22a, back in 2013. Nobody much cared about jazz back in 2011 when the first Ruby Ruston album (‘Two For Joy’) was recorded, so the 22a platform was built, a home for friends and members of the family to release music from. Fast forward to 2019 and the jazz landscape is looking a whole lot healthier.

The album’s title track embodies its meaning more than any other track on the album. A highly technical, jazzy jungle mover, held down by Tim Carnegie’s drums and Tenderlonious’ expeditious flute solo. ”The Return Of The Hero” nods most explicitly to the ever-present flute hero Yusef Lateef, the prancing dance of “Eleven Grapes” builds a locked groove perpetually upwards in spirals of dizzying frency, whilst “Triceratops The Caller” evokes alternating contributions from 4 Hero’s sampled breaks, J-Dilla’s loping beats and Lonnie Liston Smith’s cosmic keys, all of which coalesce in a perfect, joyous blend. The solemn beauty of “Prayer for Greenfell” is a respectful and dignified memorial, befitting of the magnitude of many lives stolen and “Pingwin VI” is dedicated to another hero of Tenderlonious - the Polish Jazz legend Kristof Komeda.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Ruby Rushton's been at the forefront of the UK jazz scene since 2015 and is storming ahead with a unique all-encompassing mixture of jazz, Afrobeat and hip hop. Ironside does not disappoint, high energy and instrumentally a masterpiece in itself.

Tenderlonious led jazz outf it Ruby Rushton drop their second album of 2017. Following on from the success of ‘Trudi’s Songbook: Volume One’ the band are back with their highly anticipated ‘Volume Two’. Comprised of a further six cuts the listener is treated to another journey through modern day jazz!

Stand out tracks include 'Tisbury Truckin', which is a stunning opener! Starting with an atmospheric soundscape it unexpectedly drops into a neck-snapping hip-hop groove with a punchy melodic line before effortlessly sliding into an up-tempo, afro-beat inspired rhythm with strong solos from trumpet and keys in tow. “Song For Christopher” is a heartfelt ballad, which begins with a touching flute solo and continues to take the listener on a journey through the emotions, ending in a crescendo of optimism - a fitting tribute to the late Christopher Rushton.

”Charlotte Emma Victoria” is another strong track and includes some tasteful sousaphone and trombone parts to add extra oomph to its bounce, accompanied by a soaring saxophone solo by band leader Edward Cawthorne (aka Tenderlonious). The album ends with a classic Herbie Hancock jazz-fusion standard, “Butterfly”, which the band handle with finesse. A fitting cover that I have no doubt would impress its original writers.

’Trudi’s Songbook: Volume Two’ is a fantastic album, which further solidifies Ruby Rushton’s place on the modern jazz scene. This is a must have album that would hold its own in any jazz enthusiasts record collection - make sure you check it out!



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