Release date: 17 April 2020
Credits and About
Rob Luft Guitar
Joe Wright Tenor saxophone
Joe Webb Piano & Hammond Organ
Tom McCredie Bass
Corrie Dick Drums
Byron Wallen Trumpet (tracks 2 & 10)
Luna Cohen Vocals (tracks 2 & 10)
All music composed and arranged by Rob Luft except track 1 (composed by Anders Christensen) and track 6 (composed by Rob Luft & Enzo Zirilli).
Recorded at Eastcote Studios, London, on 18th & 19th June 2019
Mixed by Alex Killpartrick
Mastered by Alex Killpartrick in London on 1st December 2019
Studio Engineer: George Murphy
There are very few debut albums that can create such an impact and launch an artist into the domestic and European scene as Rob Luft’s 2017 debut ‘Riser’ managed to do. On the back of winning the Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize, London based Luft hurtled onto the scene with an album of originals and an instrumental sound so strong it’s hard to believe a 23-year-old had produced it. Both his guitar playing and compositional voice were unmistakably his own, the camaraderie and band interplay deeply developed. But it was the blend of Rob’s joy in music-making, his humility and humanity in working with other musicians and his natural warmth as a communicator that saw him quickly become one of the most talked-about, in-demand instrumentalists to emerge from the UK in a long time. With his second album Life Is The Dancer Rob continues with the same band, a new set of originals and with that undeniably warm and joyous sound we’ve come to expect from him.
Jazz is an ever-evolving beast, an art form of the deepest expression built on the idea of constant change, innovative in its creation, always pushing boundaries. With so much music being made, it’s easy for artists to fall into well-trodden patterns. Occasionally, however, a player will emerge who can redefine what jazz is, marking the end of one era and leading a new generation who will in turn influence a wave of contemporaries and more senior musicians. Rob Luft is one such musician. He’s not bound by conformity, not restricted in technique – he’s a free-flowing, creative musician bursting with joy and natural warmth who’s producing music the way he hears it, with band members happy to interpret it. Listen to the opening crowd-pleaser ‘Berlin’ and you’ll hear music for what it is – pure expression from the soul and from the heart.
The musicians that Rob has chosen are a perfect fit – Joe Webb’s organ, Joe Wright’s saxophone and Corrie Dick’s drumming complement the subtleties and influences in the music and bring additional warmth to Rob’s own guitar sounds. This isn’t necessarily a guitar player’s album per se. It’s a band sound with a guitar at the core. Remove any of the pieces and you are left with something completely different. It’s this unity of sound that defines Rob’s group.
The title Life Is The Dancer references the book ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle: ‘Life Is The Dancer and you are the Dance’, that is to say, you don’t live your life but life lives you. As Rob explains; ‘I think that idea is a beautiful sentiment and I think the album title of ‘Life Is The Dancer’ suits my record, as the new compositions have something very bright, positive and dance-like in them. This warmth & energy is what I want people to feel when they listen to my music. The message is essentially: the past is in your head and the present is in your hands”.
This is an eagerly anticipated release. With just under three years since Riser was released and with the profile growth Rob has seen, especially being selected for the BBC New Generation scheme, following in the footsteps of previous Edition artists Laura Jurd and Misha Muulov-Abbado, Life Is The Dancer will be one of the major European jazz releases of 2020. With a musician who epitomises what it means to bring joy to life through his music, something we all need in these turbulent times, Rob Luft will be a name appearing on more and more stages throughout Europe.
"Something highly paradoxical succeeds on 'Life Is The Dancer': the perfect combination of innocence and knowledge."