Pablo Held Buoyancy Band feat. Norma Winstone | Ambrose Akinmusire

April 25, 2024 7:30 pm
Impart Centrum
Piłsudskiego 19

Tickets price: 160 PLN

1st set Pablo Held Buoyancy Band feat. Norma Winstone

Pablo Held – piano

Percy Pursglove – trumpet & flugelhorn

Kit Downes – organ

Leif Berger – drums

Norma Winstone – vocal

photo: press materials

Pablo Held is an artist of talent, maturity and sensibility, aware of tradition yet continually looking forward in search of something new. Held mainly gained recognition through is extensive work with the Pablo Held Trio and with collaborations with jazzgreats like John Scofield and Chris Potter. In his Buoyancy Band he unites a few of the most influential voices of the current European jazz scene: Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Kit Downes on organ and Leif Berger on drums. This unique instrumentation will spark the imagination of both the players and their listeners. Pablo Held is a storyteller, a painter of dreams; he plays his own compositions, forges unique versions of his favorite songs from various musical backgrounds and playfully mixes the expressiveness of Jazz with the sensitivity of European classical music.

Celebrated German pianist and composer Pablo Held presents BUOYANCY – his 16th release as a leader – with an exciting new band featuring a unique instrumentation, exploring new material as arrangements of classics like Star Wars & Pippi Longstockings! Joined by Percy Pursglove on trumpet and flügelhorn, Kit Downes on organ, Leif Berger on drums, and legendary vocalist Norma Winstone, the album marks a new chapter in Held’s already well-established career – presenting fresh, thoughtful compositions and arrangements that pleasantly push creative boundaries while remaining true to the pianist’s reputation for narrative story-telling in song and album form.

German drummer and composer Leif Berger has quickly emerged as one of the most unique voices on the drums in Europe, playing with the likes of Elias Stemeser, Ben Monder, Simon Nabatov, and the genre-defying band SALOMEA. “Leif arrived on the scene in Cologne a few years after me, and I was amazed by his playing from the first time I heard him. I love his albums and writing so much that I included one of my favorite Leif Berger originals (Atmosphere #68) on this album.”

Kit Downes is a BBC Jazz Award winner, a Mercury Music Award nominee, and an ECM solo recording artist best known for his work on organ, pipe organ, and piano. “Kit and I got to know each other through Myspace back then when it was a thing. I reached out to him and we quickly became friends in the real world. We connect through our love of music, video games, and movies, and share a deep bond through our experiences with the late John Taylor, whom we both studied with.”

Percy Pursglove is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, improviser, and composer known for his trumpet and double bass work across a broad spectrum of jazz, contemporary classical, and creative musical settings. “Percy and I met on a tour in 2013. He was playing with the WDR big band led by Chris Potter and I was playing with my trio – featuring Chris as our special guest. We quickly bonded. In addition to being a singular voice on the trumpet (nobody plays like him!) he’s incredibly humble and just the perfect sideman.”

British vocalist Norma Winstone is a living legend, known for her seminal albums on ECM under her own name and her groundbreaking work with Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor. “Norma Winstone is one of the true giants of this music – a pioneer. I’ve listened to her music with Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor so much that it feels strangely familiar when we get to play together. I first contacted her when I interviewed her on my podcast. We’ve played and hung together several times since then and I’m so thankful for these opportunities to get to learn from her and simply be in her presence. We were very excited to have her with us on one track. She was so generous with her time, stopping by to record the opening track of this album with us together in the studio. She was so into the music that she stayed for the rest of the day and listened to us record the other pieces.”

2nd set Ambrose Akinmusire

Ambrose Akinmusire – trumpet

Joe Sanders – double bass

Sam Harris – piano  

Tim Angulo – drums

Emmanuel Michael – guitar

photo credit: Michael Wilson

Ambrose Akinmusire’s musical gifts developed rapidly. He grew up in Oakland, California, and while in high school he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman. Akinmusire joined Coleman’s Five Elements at age nineteen, touring while also a student at Manhattan School of Music. He then pursued further study – earning a master’s degree at the University of Southern California, then attending the Thelonius Monk Institute in Los Angeles, where his mentors included Shorter and Herbie Hancock.

Akinmusire won the Monk International Jazz Competition in 2007 and was signed to Blue Note Records; his debut for the label, When the Heart Emerges Glistening, drew worldwide accolades. The Los Angeles Times observed that “Akinmusire sounds less like a rising star than one that was already at great heights and just waiting to be discovered.”

In the wake of the acclaim for his debut, Akinmusire wasted little time exploring other dimensions of his art. He composed music for strings and voice (The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint, 2014), appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s landmark To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), and conjured a tapestry called Origami Harvest (2018) that explored the complexities of Black life using long-form jamming, spoken word, hip-hop, and strings. His next project, On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, furthered that narrative direction. Released two weeks after the murder of George Floyd, it contained poignant laments about income inequality and the effects of rapid gentrification on communities like those in the Bay Area where he grew up.

Owl Song is the first of three records Akinmusire is planning to release over the next year. Each will spotlight a distinct element of Akinmusire’s musical world and involve different instrumentation and production approaches. He confesses that he’s not one of those artists who breezes through his work; every record in his discography has challenged his thinking in some fundamental way. He focuses on the granular detail of the process, and only later, when he looks back, does he appreciate the entire journey of the project.

“I came away from [Owl Song] realizing that this was a full exploration of a part of myself, a part that I really hadn’t shared before. Possibly that’s the inverse of what most people do when they make a record – they want to show the range of what they do. I didn’t care about that. There was something wonderful about paring everything back to just this one space, with three people playing live, and us creating within its limits … It feels to me like a full exploration. And then the next album will also be a full exploration of a part of myself. That’s how it goes.”

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