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NIGHT DREAMER

Knoel Scott Ft. Marshall Allen

Celestial

    Sun Ra Arkestra saxophonist Knoel Scott reaches for the sky to release debut studio album Celestial with long-time collaborator Marshall Allen

    Best known for his long-standing role in Sun Ra Arkestra, saxophonist, composer, vocalist and performer Knoel Scott is a jazz legend in his own right. A celebration of his tight knit relationship with Arkestra leader Marshall Allen, Celestial marks Scott’s first major studio release after more than 40 years at the vanguard of modern jazz.

    Building on a career that has seen Scott record and perform alongside jazz greats such as Sun Ra, Charles Earland, Lou Donaldson and Leon Thomas, the 5-track album is steeped in the composition and performance styles of the African American jazz tradition, from blues and be-bop to the cosmic avant-garde.

    Recorded in mono direct to tape and cut on a Scully lathe at the all- analogue Artone Studios in the Netherlands, Celestial brings together an inter-generational ensemble including bright sparks of the UK jazz scene, Charlie Stacey and Mikele Montolli, alongside Arkestra alumnus Chris Henderson. For Scott and Allen, it represents the culmination of decades of collaboration. The album begins in explosive style with the hard grooving ‘Les Funambules’, a prime example of Scott’s ability to walk a tightrope between hard bop form and raw improvisation.

    The session then orbits around Scott’s composition ‘Celestial’, an interstellar 12-minute space walk that was originally written for the Sun Ra Arkestra with strings but was never recorded.

    Featuring Marshall Allen on the otherworldly EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument), ‘Celestial’ also hears Scott in full voice, reciting lyrics written by Arkestra vocalist and lyricist Arnold “Art” Jenkins. “The song is a testimony and a memorial to Art and his artistry, as much as it is an example of my own,” Scott explains.

    Following the collaborative spirit of the album, Scott’s composition ‘Makanda’ pays tribute to educator and mentor Dr.Ken ‘Makanda’ McIntyre, an associate of Eric Dolphy and a formative influence in Scott’s musical life. A homage to the way McIntyre incorporated various idioms of African American music into his compositions, ‘Makanda’ blends funk, Afro-Cuban and swing styles into a powerful and coherent whole.

    Alongside Knoel’s original recordings, the session features two improvised tracks led by Marshall Allen, which speak to the deep musical friendship between the two. Scott describes ‘Conversation with the Cosmos’ & ‘Blue Blues’ as “a testimony to Marshall's incredible improvisational contribution, and his ability to read and conjure all kinds of music and bring the best out of musicians.”

    His first studio recording under his own name, Celestial is a statement of intent from Scott as a composer and bandleader, and a testament to his rich and lasting relationship with Marshall Allen.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1 - Les Funambules
    A2 - Celestial
    B1 - Conversation With The Cosmos
    B2 - Makanda
    B3 - Blu Blues

    Emma-Jean Thackray

    Um Yang - 2022 Repress

      Emma-Jean Thackray, an outstanding figure in the UK jazz scene, releases Um Yang, her long-dreamed project dedicated to the Taoist philosophy of duality and harmony. A highly ambitious and personal record that sees Thackray leading a septet featuring Soweto Kinch and Steam Down’s Wonky Logic, recorded straight to vinyl.

      An accomplished trumpeter, beat-maker, singer, composer and DJ, Thackray draws on far wider influences than jazz. Her sound is distinctive; in the words of The Guardian like “Bitches Brew era Miles entering the dub chamber with a New Orleans marching band – in a good way”. Since debuting in 2016, Thackray has directed the London Symphony Orchestra, performed at the NY Winter Jazz Fest, played Glastonbury five times in 2019 alone, and launched her own record label, Movementt (in association with Warp).

      Raised in Yorkshire, Thackray inherited a grounding in Taoism from her father, and approaches her music with the same pursuit of harmony between Um & Yang (the Korean Ying & Yang), balancing melody and rhythm, groove and free improvisation, cerebral and physical. For this one-off recording, Thackray has applied this ideology in every sense, even down to the ensemble itself featuring not one but two percussionists. Um commences with ethereal interplay between keys, percussion, and Thackray’s trumpet, recalling the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane’s classic records. As the piece builds, an earthy groove emerges. On both trumpet and vocals, Thackray leads the ensemble further out until the piece peaks with an epic breakdown. On the flip, Yang starts on the same cacophonous note but progresses to a joyful groove before returning to a peaceful state again, balance restored.

      When Night Dreamer Records invited Emma to record Um Yang straight-to-disc at Artone’s vintage recording studio in Haarlem, Holland, Emma was excited by the idea of capturing this specific project in one-take, without overdubs or edits. “Recording in (Artone) was such a dream” Thackray recalls. “It had all the fantasy analogue equipment you daydream about one day being able to use. The desk looked like something Uhura would use. All the instruments were natural, woods and metals, no plastic in sight, and everything was to be hit or blown, all analogue. I really needed everything to be natural and real, because the music is about the universe, about the energy of all things, and what is more real than that.” Honest sound to match truly honest music. With Um Yang, Emma-Jean Thackray has created her most personal and defining work to date.

      PERSONNEL:
      Emma-Jean Thackray - Trumpet, Voice, Percussion
      Soweto Kinch - Saxophones
      Lyle Barton - Rhodes
      Ben Kelly - Sousaphone
      Dwayne Kilvington - Percussion
      Crispin Robinson - Congas
      Dougal Taylor - Drums

      Gary Bartz & Maisha

      Night Dreamer Direct-to-Disc Sessions - 2022 Repress

        The third release from Night Dreamer’s essential “Direct-to-Disc” sessions sees an incredible meeting between legendary US saxophonist Gary Bartz and leading UK spiritual jazz ensemble, Maisha, featuring two Bartz classics and three brand new joint songs written by both Bartz & Maisha in close collaboration.

        Having cut his teeth playing with the likes of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Art Blakey and finally in 1970, Miles Davis at the peak of his electric period, Gary Bartz became a leading figure of the early-to-mid 70s spiritual jazz movement, releasing a string of ground-breaking albums on legendary NYC jazz label Prestige Records with his NTU Troop, featuring classics such as “Celestial Blues”, “Uhuru Dance” and “I’ve Known Rivers”, before collaborating on Blue Note Records with the Mizell Brothers on the anthemic jazz funk of “Music Is My Sanctuary”. An oeuvre much loved by soul jazzers and hip hop fans alike.

        Led by drummer Jake Long, Maisha have been central to the UK’s jazz explosion, and have fast become the UK’s most exciting and in-demand young spiritual jazz ensemble, from steller shows at Jazz re:freshed, Total Refreshment Centre & Church of Sound and supporting the Sun Ra Arkestra, to releasing their critically acclaimed debut LP, “There Is A Place” on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings in 2018. Theirs is an organic & explosive sound that blends influences from afrobeat and broken beat to Persian music, with a deep love and understanding of jazz, particularly the heritage of spiritual jazz led by titans such as Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane and of course, Gary Bartz.

        Which makes this collaboration even more special. Bartz was first invited to share a stage with Maisha by Gilles Peterson to headline the inaugural We Out Here festival. Their chemistry was rich and instantaneous, certainly a two-way street, with the young musicians reinvigorating the legend’s performance and wowing the intergenerational festival audience. A European tour followed, including a London Jazz Festival highlight at the Royal Festival Hall, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his album “Another Earth”, originally featuring fellow legends, Pharoah Sanders, Charles Tolliver, Stanley Cowell, and John Coltrane’s own bassist, Reggie Workman. Now the relationship has evolved into a special straight-to-disc recording for Night Dreamer Records, that captures the vitality of their collaboration. Whilst Bartz and Maisha reinvent classic Bartz compositions “Uhuru Sasa” and “Dr Follows Dance”, extending the pieces into long piece improvised grooves, their recording session gave birth to three brand new joint compositions, written the very same day. These include the propulsive “Leta’s Dance” that magically combines the Bartz’ soulful musical lyricism with Maisha’s African-jazz influences, and the organic jazz funk of “Harlem to Haarlem”, featuring a hot solo from guest trumpeter Axel Kaner-Lidstrom of Cykada & Levitation Orchestra fame.

        Like previous Night Dreamer efforts from afrobeat star Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, and the beautiful collaboration between Brazilian stars Seu Jorge & Rogê, the album was recorded in Haarlem’s Artone Studio, a stones throw from Amsterdam, in just one-take, straight-to-disc, avoiding postproduction embellishments and retaining the purity of the performance lost in modern recording techniques.

        This record really is an event, in and of itself, a meeting of talents, minds, generations and zeitgeist moments, captured in a unique and pure manner. The music does not disappoint, as Maisha have been inspired to reach new heights whilst we find Bartz truly reinvigorated, and both artists in tune to the spirit of the other.

        TRACK LISTING

        A1 - Harlem To Haarlem
        A2 - The Stank
        B1 - Leta's Dance
        B2 - Uhuru Sasa
        B3 - Dr Follows Dance

        Seu Jorge & Rogê

        Night Dreamer Direct-To-Disc Sessions

          Seu Jorge and Rogê revisit 30 years of friendship on new direct-to-disc recording with Night Dreamer Contemporary Brazilian legend Seu Jorge has teamed up with his close friend and fellow musician Rogê for his latest project, a new album, cut direct-to-disc at Artone Studios in Holland and released on Night Dreamer Records.

          Well known both for his acting roles in Wes Anderson’s A Life Aquatic, City of God and the current Netflix hit series Imandade, and for the stirring Portuguese-language covers of David Bowie classics for the A Life Aquatic soundtrack, Seu Jorge has been a major force in revitalising Brazilian popular music.

          A pivotal figure whose plaintive, idiosyncratic melancholy recalls the likes of Jorge Ben and Gilberto Gil, Jorge’s success has been witnessed by close friend Rogê over the last thirty years – a story which has seen Jorge go from humble beginnings in Rio to working with the likes of Beck and Bowie, and starring in major film and television productions.

          A songwriter, composer and musician in his own right, Rogê is well known as a partner to Samba legend Arlindo Cruz. Rôge has not only played an important role in Jorge’s career, but has been instrumental in the pair building an archive of unrealised songs, sketches and ideas, some of which ultimately comprise the backbone of this session.

          Stripping things back to just two guitars and enlisting the talents of two of Brazil’s most sought-after percussionists – Peu Meurray and Pretinho da Serrinha – the pair set out to record a ‘classic Brazilian album’.

          Like eavesdropping on a campfire session, the one-take direct-to-vinyl process at Artone captures the intensity of the duo’s relationship, setting the conditions for an extraordinarily intimate recording.

          From concept to completion in four days, the Night Dreamer session commits a lifetime of collaboration and companionship to record for the first time, encapsulated by ‘Caminhão’ - the first song the duo ever wrote together 25 years ago. Inseparable legends who need each other’s skills to shine brightest.

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Vem Me Salvar
          A2. Meu Brasil
          A3. A Força
          B1. Saravá
          B2. Onda Carioca
          B3. Pra Você Amigo
          B4. Caminhão


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