Oriole – Every New Day
Guitarist and composer Jonny Phillip’s Oriole features a unique set of musicians chosen for their musical openness, empathetic playing and ability to assimilate folkloric styles into a unified contemporary sound.
First formed in 2004 their members represent something of a F-IRE supergroup, albeit one whose sound is a million miles from the leftfield jazz often associated with the groundbreaking collective. You can almost feel the sun passing overhead as Oriole undertakes a musical journey through parched landscapes influenced by the Iberian peninsular, where their composer Jonny Phillips spent the last few years performing with Spanish, Portuguese and Cuban musicians. This album is warm, not only in its analogue recording, Latin rhythms and alto tonalities but also in the musical interplay of these long-time musical friends who elevate Phillips’ gently luminous but compelling music to new heights. Seb Rochford has played drums for Oriole since the beginning and here you’ll hear a different side to his playing: all ears, simplicity and Latin rhythms. He enjoys an almost telepathic relationship with Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale who brings a myriad of wonderful sounds and textures to the table. Bassist Ruth Goller is known mainly for her grungy bass playing in punk jazz outfit Acoustic Ladyland but her playing here is minimal with great time and feel. Keyboardist Nick Ramm brings a huge knowledge of Latin and African rhythms. Giving Oriole much of its unique texture is the frontline of tenor sax and cello. Whether in unison, harmony or counterpoint the combination is able to cover a broad musical and historical palette and in unison they have a unique strange beauty that first grew between saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and cellist Ben Davis in Laubrock’s own band adding weight and darkness to the sound. Clarinettist and saxophonist Idris Rahman is influenced at least as much by African and reggae music as jazz and brings his own personality to the music. But it is, of course, Jonny Phillips who is at the heart of Oriole, not only as composer and arranger, but also the guitarist quietly holding things together. Like a ticking clock you notice him most when things are quiet but his love of Brazilian and African music, background in classical and church music of his composer parents that gives Oriole it’s uniquely powerful sound. Music that is both quiet but robust, simple but deceptively deep. Phillips’ music springs from a magical realist tradition drawing on events, feelings and people from the real world and capturing their essence, the magic behind them, with music. It is a philosophy that chimes with F-IRE founder Barak Schmool’s idea of music being a functioning part of society, not an artistic style separated from society and mainly made for musicians. It is an idea that has taken Phillips around the world, living and playing music in Iberia and beyond and much of Every New Day was written while in Cadiz, surrounded by Spanish and Cuban music and inspired by the sounds, people and landscape of a special place. A place of warmth and beauty where cultures and landscapes intersect, just as they do in the music of Oriole!
Selected quotes – Click name links.
Record Collector – “Ravishingly beautiful” ****
BBC Music Magazine “Outstanding” *****
The Observer – Dave Gelly – “An unexpected delicacy” ****
The Guardian – John Fordham – “The music, and the recording, quietly blaze like an Iberian summer” ****
Mojo – “Utterly persuasive and charming”
The Glasgow Herald – Rob Adams “the music’s shape and momentum continue to thrill. A belter.”
Manchester Evening News – “Every New Day exudes serenity – Perfect.”
The Metro – “full-throated melodies that swoop and soar”
All About Jazz – Bruce Lindsay – “a gorgeous collection of tunes, an album of genuine beauty”