martes, abril 16, 2024

Josephine Davies (Ensō Ensemble…new composition ‘Ascension Suite’)

Saxophonist/composer Josephine Davies has a brand new orchestra, the Ensō Ensemble. They are going to carry out the premiere of her new composition Ascension Suite on 21 October on the Vortex, after which in St Leonards. Interview by Bruce Lindsay.

Josephine Davies is a relative latecomer to jazz, altering to the jazz course throughout her classical research on the Guildhall after listening to John Coltrane, however the transfer has reaped rewards together with the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Award for Instrumentalist of the 12 months.

Her newest challenge, the 17-piece Ensō Ensemble, debuts in October with the premiere of her newest work, Ascension Suite. Davies not too long ago spoke in regards to the genesis of the group and the composition, explaining the numerous influences that introduced them to fruition.

The place does the title come from? “I consider an general challenge and inside that the title is vital. Calling it a ‘large band’ offers the flawed expectation: my method is steeped as a lot within the classical because the jazz custom. I thought of calling it the Josephine Davies Orchestra however the Ensō Ensemble appears to journey off the tongue extra readily and it follows on from my Satori challenge and my curiosity in Japanese Buddhism, which is the place the phrase ‘satori’ comes from. My sister, Freya Coates, designed the art work for my earlier album: it was an Ensō Circle, which is drawn as a meditative observe and celebrates the great thing about incompletion and imperfection, and it actually spoke to me. So the title stems from all of these issues and appears to essentially match the challenge.”

A 17-piece ensemble is a giant logistical and monetary problem, so why tackle one thing so large? “Satori was very a lot about me as a saxophonist whereas the Ensō Ensemble is linked to my growth as a composer. Sure, the logistics are daunting however it’s actually an outlet for my greater concepts.” Davies spent ten years within the London Jazz Orchestra, taking up from Tim Garland whose predecessor was Stan Sulzmann. Davies calls them “two giants of the saxophone but in addition unbelievable composers – so there was an expectation that I might get into writing and that’s the place I started to jot down for big ensembles.”

Davies left the LJO in 2018 and has been writing for big ensembles since then, however 2022 has been a interval of steady writing with the Ensō Ensemble in thoughts: “This 12 months I assumed ‘Come on, there’s nothing stopping me aside from my anxieties, logistical and egotistical!’ I adore it a lot that it overcomes any potential difficulties.” She views the Ensō Ensemble as a long-term challenge and chosen its members for 2 fundamental causes: “The soloistic capacity and private sound of every of them actually speaks to me, however there’s additionally one thing barely wider by way of creativity, sensitivity. I’ve simply completed a passage for unison flugelhorns, for Tom Walsh, Reuben Fowler, Nick Good, and Robbie Robson, who I believe shall be such a ravishing, non-egotistical, part that may actually deliver the music to life. I take into consideration how the gamers method music typically, which conjures up my writing and the way I depart area: for instance, the fourth a part of the suite consists of bizarre, dissonant, chords beneath Jason Yarde’s free improvisation. He’s such an unbelievable free improviser so it’s actually a case of much less is extra once I write that part as I attempt to think about what Jason will do excessive.” Davies’s enthusiasm for each member of the ensemble is clear: “I want I may point out everybody, as a result of they’re all so vital and galvanizing.”

Talking about influences on the writing of Ascension Suite, Davies talked about the Celtic Wheel of the 12 months as one and I advised that environmental points could also be one other. Nonetheless, Davies has a special perspective on this: “It’s so many-layered. However what sprang to thoughts whenever you advised that is that the Celtic Wheel and environmental points aren’t the identical and will even be diametrically opposed. What I imply is that I really feel that when folks speak about ‘environmental points’ their language displays an thought of a distance between people and the land, which is fake. There are large issues to be mounted however it’s not the atmosphere that has points, its company capitalism. The Celtic Wheel can be a celebration of who we’re in relation to the Earth, Gaia. Its thought is to be in concord with nature, to stay in closeness with Her with a capital ‘H’. That’s what impressed the suite, it’s a celebratory piece.”

Many jazz followers will notice the title of the suite and sense a connection to Coltrane, who launched his Ascension album in 1966. “It’s a tough one. Coltrane stays an enormous inspiration, not simply musically. I believe he was a seeker, somebody with large capability for humanity. ‘Ascension,’ for me, comes out of individuals and teams who educate the way in which of the center, in addition to the thoughts, and discuss in regards to the ascension of people along with the planet. This received’t resonate with everybody, nor does it have to. I wouldn’t wish to make connections the place none exist and, in fact, Coltrane was personal about these features of himself, however they spring forth so clearly in his music.”

The Ensō Ensemble’s debut concert events will centre on Ascension Suite, however the first half will characteristic a set of quick items written by Davies, plus one by pianist Frank Harrison, “The Man Who Cycled from India for Love,” which Davies describes as “a ravishing tune.” On the St Leonards-on-Sea live performance, Liane Carroll will make a visitor look to sing Davies’s “Smuggler’s Track,” written when she moved to Hastings in 2020. Davies grew up close to the ocean and describes the track as “a love track to the ocean and to homecoming. I can’t wait to listen to Liane sing it. I believe it is going to be particular.”

Orchestra members
Josephine Davies – conductor, composer, arranger, tenor saxophone
Jason Yarde – alto saxophone
Rachael Cohen – alto saxophone
Helena Kay – tenor saxophone 21.10
Alec Harper – tenor saxophone 29.10
Adam Bishop – tenor saxophone/flute/clarinet
Tamar Osborn – baritone saxophone/bass clarinet
Tom Walsh – trumpet/flugelhorn
Reuben Fowler – trumpet/flugelhorn
Nick Good – trumpet/flugelhorn
Robbie Robson – trumpet/flugelhorn
Anna Drysdale – horn
Olli Martin – trombone
Tom White – trombone 21.10
Maddie Dowdeswell – trombone 29.10
Sarah Williams – bass trombone
Alcyona Mick – piano 21.10
Robert Mitchell – piano 29.10
Dave Whitford – double bass
Shane Forbes – drums
Liane Carroll – particular visitor vocalist 29.10

Josephine Davies web site

The Ensō Ensemble performs The Vortex in London on 21 October – BOOKING LINK and The Kino in St Leonards-on-Sea on 29 October – BOOKINGS.

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