From the blog

Song For The Sleeping – Press Release


The soundtrack for a film waiting to be made

F-IRE Recordings proudly launches the debut album of a huge talent with a bright future.

“Gentle beautiful music that is surprisingly affecting. Timeout

“Song for the Sleeping, a gorgeous lullaby performed by guitarist Jonny Phillips’ Oriole” – Straight no chaser

More downtown New York than southeast London” – Jazzwise

“An off-kilt lullaby from the stars, refracted through ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ and ‘Come Sunday’.” – Straight no chaser

“Oriole features guitarist Jonny Phillips and singer Julia Biel, with their Song for the Sleeping – a remarkable showcase” –  BBC Online

“Song 4 the Sleeping, a gorgeous lullaby performed by guitarist Jonny Phillips’ Oriole” –  Straight no chaser

“Songs count more than solos, yet the musical contributions of Seb Rochford and cellist Ben Davis are hard to ignore. Likewise the plaintive singing of Julia Biel which fits perfectly into Phillips’ beguiling world.” – Jazzwise

“Oriole are one of those groups that avoid the obvious choices of instrumentation, coming instead with the colours of the bass clarinet and cello in the mix- reminiscent of a modern-day Chico Hamilton.” – Straight no chaser

“Cinematic folkish lullabies exploring the cultural pathways between West Africa, Brazil and Europe. Gentle beautiful music that is surprisingly affecting.”  Timeout

Song for the sleeping features an inventive lineup including: BBC jazz awards winner Sebastian Rochford on drums, Ben Davis on cello, Brazilian Adriano Adawali Itauna on percussion and Perrier award winner Julia Biel on vocals.

The music draws on diverse influences from Europe, Africa and the Americas and unexpectedly forges a sound that defies the darkness of its themes with warm, extended melodies and songs imbued with imagery and emotion. 

“Oriole proves how open-minded young British-based improvisers are these days.” Jazzwise

           The band shares what Jonny describes as an “open vision”, meaning that each member’s influences extend far beyond jazz to include a broad spectrum of arts, music, travel, film and dance.

?Oriole ultimately displays more lyrical and worldly traits than its contemporaries. ? Jazzwise

          As bandleader, Jonny Phillips is drawn to music, which he considers to have deep cultural connections, such as that found in West Africa and the North of Brazil. Similarly, he is inspired by music that is integrated into film. It is this sense of musical integration and connection that is aspired to with Oriole.

Oriole have been featured on Jazz on ThreeJazz Fm, Jazz Lineup and in Straight no ChaserJazzwiseTimeout and live as part of the Rhythm Sticks Festival at the Purcell room, Royal Festival Hall.

Song For The Sleeping Track Listing

Track 1 – Lament is based on Venezuelan rhythms and English ?Impressionist? Classical music such as Vaughan-Williams. 

Track 2 – Meme is inspired by the eccentric character of the same name in Gabriel Garcia-Marquez?s 100 Years of Solitude. The song blends Tango and Bolero with the harmonic influence of Eric Satie to explore the romance, tragedy and bereavement in Meme?s life.

Track 3 – Larks contrasts urban and rural themes by combining folk melody with a drum and bass groove. The song features a tenor solo by Rob Leak.

Track 4 – Remedius This song draws inspiration from another Garcia-Marquez character, namely the radiant beauty Remedius. The tune emerges from the old Brazilian musical style Choro and later develops into a waltz. Remedius features a solo by pianist Nick Ramm. 

Track 5 – Deep Snow is written from the perspective of a non-Westerner, and contemplates the flaws inherent in our society and our effect on others. The song features Julia Biel on vocals, who also wrote the lyrics, and Ben Davis’ emotive cello solo. 

Track 6 – Eyes of a Blue Dog is another piece influenced by the work of Garcia-Marquez, this time exploring the theme of death. This dark track is based on West African rhythms, especially those from Cameroon and features Robin Mullarkey on bass. 

Track 7 – Theme des Tangos Celabres is a dedication to tango, waltz and bolero.

Track 8 – Song For The Sleeping.  A love song or lullaby. You decide! The song features lyrics and vocals by Julia Biel and Idris Rahman on clarinet.


Jonny cites the following as particularly strong influences in his music:

  • The music of North Brazil
  • Venezuelan Classical and Folkloric styles.
  • Flamenco
  • Jimi Hendrix, the blues and roots
  • John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis
  • Western Classical Romantic music such as Vaughan-Williams, Debussy and Eric Satie
  • West African, Senegalese, Malian music such as Omou Sangare and Ali Faka Toure

About the F-IRE Collective

F-ire is a London-based collective of like-minded young and creative musicians who perform a wide range of improvisational art forms.

The F-IRE Collective organises extensive performance, recording and education activities and appears in a variety of settings, from concert hall to club to carnival.

Members of F-IRE include:

Barak Schmool, Ben Davis, David Okumu, EskaMtungwazi,Finn Peters, Ingrid Laubrock, Jonathan Bratoeff, Jonny Phillips, Justin Quinn, Leo Taylor, Nick Ramm, Pete Wareham, Robert Mitchell, Sebastian Rochford, Tom Arthurs, Tom Herbert, Tom Skinner and Volker Strater.

Groups associated with F-IRE are:

Acoustic Ladyland, Centripede, Clown Revisited, Grupo Sambando, Ingrid Laubrock Quintet, Jade Fox, M?ta M?ta, Oriole, Panacea, Polar Bear, Rhythms of the City, Shorter Stories, Synergy and Timeline.

F-IRE at the BBC Jazz Awards 2004

This year the Collective’s achievements were recognised at BBC Jazz Awards, where F-IRE as a whole won the award for Innovation. 

F-IRE member Seb Rochford also won in the Rising Star category.

A number of other F-IRE artists and bands were also nominated in this year’s awards. They are:

Seb Rochford’s Polar Bear– Best band

Tom Arthurs -Rising Star

David Okumu– Rising Star

Future Sounds of Jazz (featuring five F-IRE artists) – Innovation award

For more information on the BBC Jazz Awards visit:

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