“Silent Sea is an album of breadth and depth…a thing of beauty.’’
Brian Glasser, Jazzwise
Ubuntu Music – UBU0065
Album release (CD & digital): Friday 30 October 2020
London-born saxophonist and composer Joshua Jaswon has undergone something of a transformation over the past three years. Following the disastrous results of Britain’s 2016 Brexit referendum vote Jaswon took the decision to leave London for Berlin and set about establishing himself in Europe’s creative hub. This journey of musical discovery has led to collaborations with artists from Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, the formation of the Joshua Jaswon Octet and the recording of Silent Sea.
“The nucleus of the project first took shape when I read a collection of twenty contemporary poems collated by Carol Ann Duffy,” explains Jaswon. “The project was an opportunity to engage with themes that have significant meaning for me and move beyond an exercise in abstract music making.” Each composition on the album is based on the text of a contemporary British poem by writers Jackie Kay, Maura Dooley and Rachael Boast and deals with the issues surrounding climate change and Brexit. “It is moving, fresh and thought-provoking and the music perfectly mirrors the poem’s anxiety and satirical humour,” says Kay, Scotland’s Makar (poet laureate), commenting on Jaswon’s interpretation of her poem ‘Extinction’. “The jazz music fits the poem like a hand to a glove, and the rhythms and tempos capture the heightened sense of time running out, of seizing the moment.”
The Octet’s distinctive sound is lyrical, intensely rhythmic and steeped in the magic of storytelling. “One of the challenges in writing for an eight-piece group was to utilise the timbral and compositional possibilities afforded by a larger ensemble without losing the intensity that comes from small-combo interaction. The group’s rhythm-section powerfully shape the music’s narrative and momentum while being able to respond in the moment to it’s shifting contours,” says Jaswon. “The playing of Miguel Gorodi, Marc Doffey and Jan Landowski shows their exceptional ability as improvisers and ensemble musicians, and the music lives and breathes through Anna Serierse’s outstanding voice.”