Chip Wickham’s dogged determination has seen him remain a lynchpin of the UK jazz scene and recover from throat cancer to continue his masterful musicianship. The release date of his second album Shamal Wind draws nearer – with some fantastic singles already whetting the appetite.
The UK flautist and sax player is dropping album track Snake Eyes on May 4th, following the Art Blakey-style Barrio 71. The album Shamal Wind is planned for May 25th. Fans of the artist include Gilles Peterson, Laurent Garnier, Craig Charles, Gideon Coe, Toshio Matsuura and Dom Servini.
An early lynchpin of the UK jazz scene in Manchester, Wickham has played with Matthew Halsall, Nightmares On Wax, Badly Drawn Boy, and Grand Central Records. Halsall guests on album track The Mirage. In 2017 Chip toured with both Matthew Halsall and Dwight Trible and his previous credits include Craig Charles Fantasy Funk Band, The New Mastersounds, The Pharcyde, and Roy Ayers
The forthcoming release for Jazzman will feature Nat Birchall treading new paths towards spiritual communion on new LP Cosmic Language.
The legendary player connects jazz with classical Indian influences guided by his expert playing and flow of the harmonium. Fans will be ecstatic that the UK-based saxophonist, composer and arranger returns to the ever-trusty imprint Jazzman Records: exploring the parallel musical paths of jazz and Indian ragas. Birchall takes influence from spiritual jazz forebears, like Alice Coltrane and Yusef Lateef.
The idea for the album came from an inspirational one-off performance at a meditation centre, the Maharishi Golden Dome in West Lancashire, UK. Seeking to bring a band set-up that was fitting to the quiet-minded setting, Birchall brought the harmonium with him to the concert instead of the (comparatively louder) piano.
The harmonium – a small pump-like organ which sounds like an accordion – was common in the 19th century. It’s an instrument Birchall has been in possession of for many years, but hadn’t previously used in his music. Building on the spiritual context of the Golden Dome show, it led naturally to the musical approach undertaken on the album.
Both the album – and the show which preceded it – were recorded with the same tight-knit group of players which have featured on Birchall’s previous albums. The record was recorded at Manchester’s Limefield Studio as were his previous three.
All members of the group are part of the same like minded circle of Manchester-oriented jazz musicians, sharing stages and acquaintances with the likes of Matthew Halsall (a longtime collaborator with Birchall) and GoGo Penguin.
Nat Birchall’s Cosmic Language is expected to be released in early March on Jazzman Records.