After two successful recordingsStorms/Nocturnes (2001) and Rising Tide (2003, both Sirocco Music)and a gap of seven years busy running their respective bands and other musical collaborations, the trio came back together in 2010 with renewed energy and ambition, with greater maturity as artists, and a strong sense of being able to push the boundaries of each of their musical roles within the group, reviving one of the most sustainable and timeless transatlantic partnerships in jazz today.
VIA is original on yet another level. One unusual and forward-thinking feature of this release is that a large share of its costs was funded in advance of the recording sessions through Kickstarter.com, a funding platform for creative projects, allowing fans and investors to support and participate in the realisation of artistic visions. The success of this campaign confirms the enduring popularity of Storms/Nocturnes since their first two recordings and opens up their music to a new, wider audience.
This release will see Storms/Nocturnes starting to nudge for a place among the elite of world-class ensembles.
This trio is unique, a chamber jazz form that truly sizzles with virtuosity and creativity. Tim, Geoffrey and Joe make an amazing trio"Chick Corea
The name of this trio reflects the reconciliation of seeming opposites:
Storms invokes the sheer elemental energy and freedom of group improvisation in its most fiery nature. When you see us in performance, we're pulling out all the stops," says Joe Locke.
Nocturnes represents the musicians' common striving for balance, calm and beauty. The starting point for their work is often a fully composed, almost classical piece with strong lyrical elements.
With Garland unleashing cascades of melody, Geoffrey Keezer relishing and digging into groove-laden bass lines and Locke's mallets moving from lightning speed to the gentlest tonal hints, the group has an abundant energy and physicality on stage. This easy democracy of three band leaders is creating the perfect balance between European contemporary classical influences, and the very core of the American Jazz tradition.
The collaboration between Tim Garland, Geoffrey Keezer and Joe Locke in Storms/Nocturnes has audibly deepened in this third album, and this trio is just starting to nudge for its place among the elite of world-class ensembles, alongside the Wayne Shorter Quartet and the Dave Holland Quintet." Sebastian Scotney, LondonJazz
In VIA, the listener is taken on a journey through magical places. It is a journey which starts in a peaceful garden in San Diego, takes in the view from a hilltop in rural Vermont, lingers in olive groves in Italy, finds idyllic spots in England's Lake District, and ends up enjoying the gently lapping waters of the Pacific on a beach in Miramar, California.
Based in London, New York and San Diego, it's understandable that Tim Garland, Joe Locke and Geoffrey Keezer have travel on their minds when they get together. With VIA, they are acknowledging places which had stirred their muse and served as inspiration. The word VIA"meaning by way of"implies a passing through, a travelling through and the anticipation and excitement of the journey ahead.
Nine compositions, three by each member of the trio, evoke memories of places with special personal significance or fascination. These stopping-off points in the memory are replete with strong personal associations for each of the players. The deeply personal then becomes enriched through the interaction of three friends.
VIA witnesses a deepening of the artists' collaboration. All three are universally acclaimed and respected masters on their instruments, and bring their different styles and backgrounds together to create music which can be spacious or immensely complex, delicate but often approaching orchestral depth, and collectively find their way into a new mood or feel before the listener knows they have left the old one. Their spontaneous interaction, the dovetailing, the assertion of contrasting yet mutually supportive roles are all taken to a new level on this CD.
The artists talk about the project
Joe Locke: After a break of a few years, I'm glad to be back together, touring and recording with Tim and Geoffrey. I've always seen it as a privilege to make music with them. And now, with these beautiful new songs they've brought to the table, I feel that way more than ever. As for my music, I can only sayits never been in better hands."
Tim Garland: Getting back together with Joe and Keezer after these busy years, I see us approach our trio format with all the same excitement we started with, but with the rich benefits of those years experiences added. We are happy to be ourselves and celebrate the diversity and unity, in what we each bring."
Geoffrey Keezer: Storms/Nocturnes is full of paradoxes, and its creative expression is born in the space in-between seeming opposites: free improvisation versus fully composed, almost classical pieces; the perceived and over-hyped chasm between American and European Jazz; between flowing rubato beauty and foot-stomping blues; even in the philosophical differences of its musicians.
We are three men from different parts of the globe, with very different life stories and circumstances. Yet more often than not, that space in-between is a peaceful place, full of energy and endless possibilities. As a pianist, this format (with no drums or bass) is immensely enjoyable but hugely challenging at the same timeanother paradox. Finding creative freedom within a piece as complex as Ripertolli, for example, can be difficult at firstbut once you find that freedom, it's a wide open space!"
The music and the places
1. Tiger Lily's DIY Paradise A favourite place back in Geoffrey Keezer's garden in San Diego. A gently rising then falling melody for Tim Garland on soprano sax
2. Her Sanctuary The mountain retreat of an artist friend of Joe Locke's in rural Vermont
3. Ripertoli Teemingly busy nature just after sunrise at a rambling Tuscan farmhouse, the home of friends of Tim Garland
4. Lake of Weathers Tim Garland captures the stillness but also the shifting weather of England's Lake District
5. Daly Avenue Geoffrey Keezer's fond memory of a tiny homely jazz venue in Missoula, Montana
6. Snowfall in Central Park Joe Locke's experience of early winter tranquillity, close to the bustle of Manhattan
7. Ambleside Nights A special place for Tim Garland in the Lake District, but also a nod in the direction of pianist John Taylor's Ambleside Days
8. A Wavy Thing / 9. Infinite Blue by Geoffrey Keezer, inspired by the weightless, referenceless cobalt" of the sea
10. Miramar Joe Locke's thoughts drift to a venue in Miramar Beach in Half Moon Bay, California: Douglas Beach House, with Pacific Ocean views
Geoffrey Keezer: Geoffrey Keezer joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers at the age of 18, after completing his first year at Berklee College of Music. Since then, he has worked with virtually all living legends of jazz and has appeared on countless recordings both as a leader and as an accompanist.
In addition to his 11 solo releases and constant touring, Geoffrey has also had compositions commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. He was a recipient of Chamber Music America's 2007 New Works grant.
Geoffrey continues to work in partnership with world class musicians from all genres. Sublime: Honoring the Music of Hank Jones" from 2003 was an ambitious set of piano duets with Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Benny Green and Mulgrew Miller. His 2005 release, Wildcrafted," captures the fire and raw energy of Geoffrey's trio live in concert at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. In 2006 he teamed up with traditional Okinawan singer Yasukatsu Oshima for an album of duets. His Afro-Peruvian CD ÁUREA, a groundbreaking recording of folkloric South American music mixed with Jazz, was nominated for a 2009 GRAMMY award in the Best Latin Jazz Album" category, and has received a 2010 Grammy nomination for his collaboration with singer Denise Donatelli.
Tim Garland: Grammy award-winning musician Tim Garland is one of the most versatile writers on the scene today. Known as one of the countries most outstanding saxophone players, who has toured the world with the likes of jazz legend Chick Corea, he has an impressive catalogue of releases as a leader of innovative projects which often fuse elements of jazz with other modern genres. This can be appreciated when listening to other ensembles he has led or co-led, such as the Lighthouse Trio and Acoustic Triangle.
In 2006 he won Artist Of The Year" at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards as well as the BBC Radio 3 Innovation Award. He is one of the UKs most experienced writers fusing big band and orchestral music in both original concert music and popular idioms.
In 2009 he won a Grammy for his orchestration of The New Crystal Silence" CD recorded by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and he is currently fulfilling commissions from the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Holloway Choir and several smaller ensembles that seek to approach both through-composed and jazz idioms in a properly integrated way. This Summer he records with Chick Corea and an orchestra in New York.
From 2003 to 2008 he was composer-fellow at Newcastle University and is now Research Fellow in New Music and Improvisation at the Royal Northern College Of Music.
Joe Locke: Joe Locke is widely considered to be one of the major voices of his instrument. He has performed and recorded with a diverse range of notable musicians, including Grover Washington, Jr, Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter and The Beastie Boys.
Long known to be a soloist capable of stunning physical power and broad emotional range, it was not until the last decade that he emerged as the composer, band leader and conceptualist that he is considered today. This is in no small part due to his recent solo projects. Four Walls of Freedom" (Sirocco), a 6 movement suite based on the writing of the monk Thomas Merton, which he composed as a vehicle for tenor saxophonist Bob Berg, garnered high praise from the critical community as a major work and won several international polls. Live in Seattle (Origin), by the Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group, won the 2006 Ear Shot award for Concert of the Year." This group is well loved and emulated by younger musicians looking for direction and inspiration. The overwhelming success of his most recent quartet,Force of Four (Origin), can be attributed to the talents of his young cohorts and to the leader's musical philosophy, which is to honor tradition while keeping both feet planted in the present and future.
Locke has won numerous awards and polls, including the 2006, 2008 and 2009 Mallet Player of the Year" award from the Jazz Journalists Association. He is active as a clinician / educator and has been the International Vibraphone Consultant at the Royal Academy of Music, London, on a visiting basis since 2008.
At this writing, Locke is preparing for his first symphonic recording project, as well as a return to the studio with the Locke / Keezer Group.
London, January 2011
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PR: Ian Wade (Great Britain) / Constanze Pfeiffer, Chateau du Pop (Germany)