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The current resurgence of jazz in all its' forms has certainly been impossible to ignore in recent times - from the chart-bound, mainstream crooning of Gregory Porter, to the left field 'jazz not jazz' soundscapes of Kamasi Washington, Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia and Snarky Puppy proves this is a worldwide phenomenon. One artist who has been been ploughing this furrow in the southern hemisphere for longer than most is Lance Ferguson. As the driving force behind The Bamboos, Cookin' On 3 Burners, Lanu, and the Black Feeling series, these are the varied and versatile projects on which he has built an enviable reputation.

Menagerie 'They Shall Inherit' saw the light of day in 2012 (Tru Thoughts Records) and established the fact that jazz of the contemporary type could reach back to it's essential roots and present itself, refreshed and vital for a contemporary audience.

Lance himself explains: "The Arrow Of Time' draws its inspiration conceptually from the themes of space exploration, human evolution and the future of humankind. It's pretty big stuff to be underpinning an album of modal Jazz tunes - but the main message is one of hope, and I hope that comes across in the music"

Late 2017 saw the 2 track album sampler 'Evolution/Arrow Of Time' create a genuine buzz of anticipation, being playlisted on Jazz FM, and also supported by Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2) and both Don Letts & Gilles Peterson on their BBC 6 Music shows - having as it does the spirit of deep jazz, but combining an accessible sound that reached way beyond the usual jazz hungry audience - due in one part to Evolution's immensely catchy hooks, with the voice of Fallon Williams focusing the listeners attention on the philosophical themes Lance highlighted above. Now the album, laid out in its' entirety can be experienced, attempting to encapsulate the music with the written word feels like a somewhat futile exercise, so it is best to consider Lance Fergusons' final thoughts about its inspiration, influences and ongoing appeal.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: This caught my attention straight away; the style of jazz-not-jazz is right up my street and anything that Giles Peterson recommends I’m all over it. The track Evolution is just everything I need on a record like this, it can transport you to the vibe and hub of a late night jazz bar.

No musician embodies more the dramatic transformation in the British jazz scene over the past thirty years than Courtney Pine. His debut album, Journey To The Urge Within in 1987, was the first serious jazz album ever to make the British Top 40, notching up sales to qualify for a silver disc.

Both tracks of this single are taken from Courtneys' forthcoming album Black Notes From The Deep - the 19th of his stellar career. The exciting and fresh interpretation of Herbie Hancocks' Butterfly demonstrates straight away that this is a dream team combination. With Alec Dankworth laying down the bass, Rod Youngs' drumming underpinning the groove, the song also gives the outstanding keyboards of Robert Mitchell space to stretch out - Omars fantastic vocal performance rides sweetly on top of the dreamy backing vocals of Charleen Hamilton - and of course Courtneys' flowing, imaginative and creative solo perfects this modern version of a much loved classic.

Rules is a brand new, collaborative composition by Courtney & Omar - the punchy drums and bass line patterns hints simultaneously at classic jazz and funkier club-centric sounds. Courtney cooks on tenor saxophone and also the organ - whilst Omar marinades the super catchy melody with that unmistakable voice.

As an introduction to the forthcoming album Black Notes From The Deep this single points the way to what 2 British legends, both exemplary in their own right - can come up with when joining forces.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Groove sensation Courtney Pine and Omar together (a match made in heaven) present this stunning piece of contemporary jazz, with all the best funky beats. Eagerly awaiting the forthcoming album, keep your eyes peeled!


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