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Gerard Presencer & Danish Radio Big Band | Groove Travels

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“Presencer, whose playing blasted from every radio in the land in 1993 (remember the Us3 hit ‘Cantaloop’?) delivers the most intensely vital album of his career” THE ARTS DESK (UK)

“…as composer and arranger as well as hot-shot soloist for this superb-sounding recording of five originals and three standards, Presencer really gives the world-famous Danish Radio Big Band something to get its teeth into, making it swoon as well as swing….the final ballad, “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, is a true work of art.” THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY (UK)

“…Presencer, who has reched middle-age with his adventurous spirit still intact, shows…that he remains as instrumentalist of astonishing accomplishment. It suggests that he has finally found a context for himself where his playing assumes the kind of profundity and expressiveness he has failed to find on his previous albums” JAZZWISE (UK)

“…sublime version of I Can’t Stop Loving You…the trumpet sure soars!” JAZZ LINEUP (UK)

“Trumpeter Gerard Presencer has a way of always giving sophisticated jazz writing a really hip, rhythmic push. His music always travels and it always grooves, so the title of this album is spot on. It’s a pity we don’t get new releases from his pen and his trumpet/flugelhorn more often – 14 years is a long time between albums by anyone’s standards – but, hey, let’s not be moaning, let’s just celebrate this fine new release…A lovely album that is both detailed enough to deliver new surprises over the months and years while also being easy on the ear.” THE JAZZ BREAKFAST (UK)

“Whilst this is Gerard Presencer’s first big band album, his imaginative compositions and taught arrangements make this an intensely satisfying and successful project, aided considerably by one of the world’s finest large jazz ensembles.” ALL ABOUT JAZZ (UK)

“What makes it work is the writing and playing. Presencer is well aware he has got a great band at his disposal.” BEBOP SPOKEN HERE (UK)

“Oh my goodness me, what a player!…What about that, what about that! Wow!” JAZZ WORLD WITH LINLEY HAMILTON BBC RADIO ULSTER (UK & NI)

“British trumpet star blows new life into the Danish Radio Big Band…It is remarkable that Presencer manages to gather many genres and impressions into a compositional whole”. POLITIKEN (DK)

“If you like groovy big band jazz with the trumpet’s softer older brother, the flugelhorn in the lead role? Then the DR Big Band’s newest album is nothing less than perfect…There is precision and elegance in Presencer’s tone – is reminiscent of Art Farmer’s – and that’s a huge plus in my book. The material is a mixture of Presencer’s compositions and classics like Lennon / McCartney’s Eleanor Rigby, Wayne Shorter’s Footprints and Billy Nicholls’ I Can’t Stop Loving You. Groove Travels is a recommended album for big band people out there. I know who you are.” JAZZNYT (NLD)

“Excellent big band offering at the beginning of the year! I like it …” JAZZPORT (PL)

“Here comes the hippest thing to happen to my playlist…” ELEVTR (USA)

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Tracklisting:

1. Another Weirdo
2. Blues for Des LISTEN
3. Ballad or Tango of the Misunderstood
4. Devil’s Larder
5. Eleanor Rigby
6. Istanbul Coffee Cup
7. Footprints
8. I Can’t Stop Loving You

All music scored for big band by Gerard Presencer and Siobhan Lamb (‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’).

Produced by Siobhan Lamb and Gerard Presencer

Musicians:

SOLOIST
Gerard Presencer

TRUMPETS
Adam Rapa
Christer Gustafsson
Thomas Kjærgaard
Jens Chr. Gotholdt
Michael Mølhede

TROMBONE
Vincent Nilsson
Steen Hansen
André Jensen
Anders Larson
Ola Nordquist

SAXOPHONES
Nicolai Schultz
Pelle Fridell
Hans Ulrik Jensen
Karl-Martin Almqvist
Anders Gaardmand

RHYTHM SECTION
Per Gade guitar
Kaspar Vadsholt bass
Søren Frost drums
Henrik Gunde synths
Fender rhodes synths

PERCUSSION
Eliel Lazo

About ‘Groove Travels’:

Groove Travels is the highly anticipated new album from British trumpeter, arranger and composer Gerard Presencer, featuring the Danish Radio Big Band.

Groove Travels is set to be a defining album both for Gerard and for new Big Band conceptions. This new release is without doubt his most ambitious and well-executed solo recording to date and will happily stand alongside the leading voices in contemporary big band music.

The idea for this album first took root when Gerard moved to Copenhagen to take a trumpet seat in the band. As Gerard explains: ‘It’s taken five or six years for me to get this album together which is great for a project like this, because I got to know everybody, we play together all the time, so the tunes that I’ve chosen are specifically chosen for the musicians that are playing them’.

Over the past 25 years Gerard Presencer has carved out a formidable reputation as one of the most respected trumpeters on the European scene. He exploded onto the international scene, aged 18, when US3 asked him to play the solo part on Blue Note’s Cantaloupe Island (re-imagined as Cantaloop Flip-Fantasia), that became one of the biggest selling jazz records of the 1990s. Since then, he has performed with a who’s who of international jazz artists, and has developed a career as an educator, arranger and composer.

Gerard has also been an essential member of Charlie Watts’ various jazz groups over the last 25 years, touring the world and releasing several albums in various groups with the jazz-loving Stone!

Gerard continues to push himself and his instrument, moving outside his comfort zone in order to develop as a player and writer.

He points out: ‘In the future I would like to play more frequently without drums and without microphones because then I have to really focus on my sound and get very fundamental things sounding really beautiful and controlled. To play the trumpet quietly is the biggest challenge for me, so that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment: shhhh!’.

As the title of this project suggests, cultural diversity has played a vital part in shaping Gerard’s music and he wanted to add contrasting colours to what was a predominantly northern European sound.

“Another aspect of music I love is the cross-fertilisation of different cultures within our music. With this album I wanted to take a Scandinavian ensemble and myself (the most exotic it got!), and I added guest lead trumpet, Adam Rapa from America and Cuban percussionist Eliel Lazo. I wanted to push everyone out of their comfort zone for this and it’s really exciting to see how we respond to the challenges as a band…”

The travelling implied in the title comes as much from a restless desire to find new influences, new musical touchstones: ‘Groove Travels is maybe a loose idea. It’s not a travelogue, but a compilation of grooves that I’ve heard on my travels that have caught my imagination. I’ve always written music that inspires me from the groove upwards, that’s always what gets me excited. First of all I just need a groove and that gives me ideas for the rest of the music’.

Gerard compares the writing on Groove Travels to writing for a gigantic horn section. For example… “‘The Devil’s Larder’ is two big bands, multi-tracked, so it’s the biggest horn section ever! Which is a lot of fun…” And fun it is for us too!

The ensemble playing and the writing is sophisticated and exciting – as one would expect from a big band that has had leaders such as Bob Brookmeyer and Thad Jones – this is as good technically as big band jazz gets, but without the obvious fun, the joie de vivre so clearly on display, Groove Travels would only be a very fine album. With this x factor, it’s a great one.

EDITION VINYL //

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