New Emanative LP ‘Earth’ on Jazzman Records is a crowning moment for Nick Woodmansey and the band

This is one LP that needs to be heard. Earth is the fourth album from the jazz outfit led by drummer Nick Woodmansey – son of Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey  (who was the drummer with Bowie’s Spiders from Mars). Nick is joined on this masterpiece by a host of visionaries, including Idris Ackamoor from The Pyramids, Dele Sosimi once of Africa 80, Nat Birchall, Sarathy Korwar from Shabaka Hutchings’ set-up, Ben Hadwen from Ibibio Sound Machine, and The Heliocentrics’ Malcolm Catto.

This album brings a heady, multi-cultural strain of UK jazz with African, Indian and Middle Eastern influences. Emanative sound like no other on the current UK jazz scene and their LP comes at a time of great fertility. Their Sun Ra like mysticism and influences from around the world have created something more wonderful than their previous record – The Light Years of the Darkness – on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label back in 2015.

Nick Woodmansey

In 2008, when Emanative began, it was an output for Woodmansey’s more broken beat/nu-jazz productions on the Futuristica Music label. Nick’s musical journey has been an interesting one to trace. The Light Years of the Darkness in 2015 also featured work with Keiran Hebden (Four Tet), where a deep percussive, sometimes hypnotic sound (such as on tracks like Makondi and Four Tet’s edit on the Lions Of Judah projectdisplayed another side to Emanative. Drumming on the Lions Of Judah project – with Ahmed Abdullah and in dedication to Sun Ra’s drummer Steve Reid – was Nick’s best known work previously. All profits went to the Steve Reid Foundation, a charity which Gilles Peterson set up and where Nick is a trustee – all in the name of the legendary jazz-drummer. The charity helps musicians in crisis as well as supports new talent.

Emanative’s Ben Hadwen

Also featured on the new album are core members: Jessica Lauren on keys, Tamar Osborn (baritone saxophone and flute), Ben Hadwen (bass clarinet, flute, tenor saxophone), Suman Joshi playing upright bass, and three percussionists: Sarathy Korwar, Phillip Harper and Vince Vella.

It is exciting to think where Emanative will go next – with Nick’s links to the electronic world and the glitterati of jazz and world music. This new album’s quality and the evolution to this spiritual jazz-inspired collective puts Emanative in a new league. 

Two tracks from the Emanative album featured on the latest World Treasures Music radio show at 22m.35s. More tracks will also be featured next week on KMAH Radio, on Thursday, 2pm – 4pm (GMT).

 

Nat Birchall charts new ‘Cosmic Language’ for Jazzman Records

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.