Common Threads · A Celebration of 30 Years of Fresh Sound New Talent (Digipack)
  • Michael Chillingworth
    Michael Chillingworth
  • Adele Sauros
    Adele Sauros
  • Alex Hitchcock
    Alex Hitchcock
  • Ronan Perrett
    Ronan Perrett
  • Sam Braysher
    Sam Braysher
  • Alex Merritt
    Alex Merritt
  • Steve Fishwick
    Steve Fishwick
  • John Turville
    John Turville
  • Tom Ollendorff
    Tom Ollendorff
  • Conor Chaplin
    Conor Chaplin
  • Jay Davis
    Jay Davis

Fresh Sound Ensemble

Common Threads · A Celebration of 30 Years of Fresh Sound New Talent (Digipack)

Fresh Sound New Talent

Steve Fishwick (tp), Sam Braysher (as), Ronan Perrett (as, cl), Alex Merritt (ts, dir), Adele Sauros (ts), Alex Hitchcock (ts, ss), Michael Chillingworth (ts, b-cl), John Turville (p), Tom Ollendorff (g), Conor Chaplin (b), Jay Davis (d)

Reference: FSNT-645

Bar code: 8427328436458

When a jazz record label like Fresh Sound New Talent, which started with nothing but enthusiasm and passion, reaches 30 years of existence, one thinks “something will have to be done to celebrate it”. And, not only was I already thinking about this idea, but musicians and friends also often asked me if I was going to do something to celebrate this occasion... And little by little a plan emerged; but it was important for me to assess what I could do, that it was viable, and that it also responded to the philosophy of the label.

After thinking about it, I decided that the best option would be to record a commemorative album. It is obvious that there are many musicians that I admire who have recorded for FSNT, with whom I would have liked to do something, but ‘with whom shall I collaborate for this record’, I thought. After sitting with this for a while, I came up with the idea of involving the young musicians from the emerging London scene, with whom I had been recording lately, and putting the musicians together in a co operative project. All of them, refreshing voices on the contemporary jazz scene.

The next thing I did was talk to most of them and explain the reason for my call, stressing that this project could be a unique meeting, in which a group of musicians of the same generation and from the same country could at the same time offer together to the world all the talent they treasure. To my satisfaction, their response was a unanimous “you can count on me”!

Following this very positive and encouraging response, I contacted Alex Merritt, who had already been very accommodating in our first conversation, and he offered to take over the production and coordination of the project. We were both happy to share the same enthusiasm and determination to achieve our musical goal.

The recording of this co-operative venture was carried out in two sessions, on August 11 and October 6, 2022, featuring Sam Braysher, Ronan Perrett, Alex Hitchcock, Alex Merritt, Michael Chillingworth, Steve Fishwick, Tom Ollendorff, John Turville, Conor Chaplin and Jay Davis, with Adele Sauros as a guest, who traveled from her native Helsinki to play on the first date.

Now is the time to highlight the jazz spirit of all of the members of both groups, and thank them for their excellent ensemble and solo work, throughout all of their performances. Likewise, also to those who skillfully contributed with their fertile imagination by writing excellent and stimulating original pieces, orchestrated with craftsmanship to be featured on this fully rewarding album.

Going back to the beginning, I can say that these 30 years of FSNT have been very intense and exciting, and they have passed for me very quickly. I want you to know that I am very honored to have been able to document the music of so many incredible musicians. Thanks to all of them.

—Jordi Pujol

01. Erased (Adele Sauros) 5:05
02. 30 (Ronan Perrett) 4:48
03. JT and the Planets (Alex Merritt) 8:34
04. El murciélago (Steve Fishwick) 7:57
05. Do You Like Apples? (Jay Davis) 2:39
06. Simplicity (Adele Sauros) 5:49
07. Anita Life (Alex Merritt) 9:02
08. On the Square (Sam Braysher) 3:49
09. Asimuth (Tom Ollendorff) 6:05
10. Bin Raccoon (Alex Hitchcock) 8:01
11. El murciélago (Steve Fishwick) 6:04 *

Album details

(*) Alternate take

Soloing order:
Track #1 · Adele Sauros (ts)
Track #2 · Ronan Perrett (as), Michael Chillingworth (ts)
Track #3 · John Turville (p), Alex Merritt (ts)
Track #4 · Alex Merritt (ts), Michael Chillingworth (ts), Ronan Perrett (as), Sam Braysher (as), Steve Fishwick (tp), Tom Ollendorff (g), Conor Chaplin (b), Jay Davis (d)
Track #5 · Collective sax improvising: Ronan Perrett (as), Alex Hitchcock (ts)
Track #6 · Chaplin (b), Sauros (ts), Ollendorff (g)
Track #7 · Merritt (ts), Ollendorff (g), Fishwick (tp), Chillingworth (ts), Davis (d)
Track #8 · Braysher (as), Fishwick (tp)
Track #9 · Ollendorff (g), Fishwick (tp), Braysher (as), Chillingworth (b-cl), Merritt (ts), Sauros (ts), Chaplin (b)
Track #10 · Turville (p), Hitchcock (ts)
Track #11 · Ollendorff (g), Fishwick (tp), Perrett (as), Davis (d), Braysher (as)

The Fresh Sound Ensemble:

Musicians involved on #1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 [August 11th]
Sam Braysher (alto sax), Ronan Perrett (alto sax, clarinet on #7), Alex Merritt, Adele Sauros (tenor sax), Michael Chillingworth (tenor sax, bass clarinet on #9), Steve Fishwick (trumpet), Tom OIllendorff (guitar), Conor Chaplin (bass), Jay Davis (drums).

Musicians involved on #3, 5, 10 [October 6th]
Sam Braysher (alto sax), Ronan Perrett (alto sax, clarinet on #3), Alex Hitchcock (tenor sax, soprano sax on #3), Alex Merritt (tenor sax), Steve Fishwick (trumpet), John Turville (piano on #3 & 10), Conor Chaplin (bass), Jay Davis (drums).

Recorded by Nick Taylor at Porcupine Studios, London, UK
Mixed & Mastered by Andrew Cleyndert

Produced by Alex Merritt
Executive producer: Jordi Pujol

This sound recording © 2022 by Fresh Sound Records
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas, S.L.

Press reviews

"Founded by Jordi Pujol in Barcelona in 1983, Fresh Sound Records was initially focused on reissuing historical jazz recordings from years earlier, many of which had since gone out of print, and restoring and issuing previously unreleased sessions.

In 1992 Pujol started the Fresh Sound New Talent arm of the operation and began documenting the exciting young scene centred around Smalls Jazz Club in New York City. Developing a reputation as a label that was willing to take a chance on new artists, FSNT released debut or early-career records by many musicians who would go on to be amongst the most lauded figures of their generation: Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Robert Glasper, Kris Davis, Ambrose Akinmusire and many others.

The label also released music by European artists, and in recent years has featured a number of UK-based musicians, and musicians associated with the jazz scene on these shores. It is this relationship, as FSNT marks its 30th anniversary, that is celebrated here.

On a personal level, the opportunity to release with Fresh Sound New Talent in 2017 meant an awful lot to me, given how much time I had spent listening to the label’s output (in particular the NYC-centric albums from the 1990s and ‘00s), and it was a further honour to be asked to contribute to this new documentation of its growing British roster.

Of course, we couldn’t possibly hope to capture the huge breadth of music that makes up this country’s jazz scenewith only 11 musicians and one album’s-worth of material. But I think the stylistic diversity on show here across these 10 original compositions —each one written by a FSNT bandleader, co-leader or sideman— is striking.

Special mention must go to Adele Sauros, who flew in specially from Helsinki to make the session, and John Turville, our special guest on piano for two tracks.

We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to Jordi Pujol for facilitating this project. I know that I speak for all of the musicians involved when I say that we loved the process of planning, rehearsing for and recording the album. And we hope that you, the listener, will enjoy this look at the growing relationship between the UK’s jazz community and a 30-year-old independent record label from Barcelona."

—Sam Braysher

CHOC Jazz Magazine

"Pour dignement célébrer les trente ans de son indispensable label défricheur, le producteur catalan Jordi Pujol choisit, plutôt que de regarder en arrière, de célébrer le futur.

Jordi Pujol s’est tourné vers une scène dont le dynamisme le fascine depuis quelques années. Ainsi est confiée à Alex Merritt, brillant saxophoniste né à Cambridge, la supervision d’un enregistrement qui réunit quelques- unes des jeunes pousses de la scène londonienne. Occasion de confirmer que le périmètre stylistique de celle- ci ne se limite pas aux célébrations parfois un brin dévotes d’un jazz qualifié a posteriori de “spiritual”.

Alex Merritt suit les publications de Fresh Sound New Talent depuis son adolescence et certaines d’entre- elles ont copieusement nourri son apprentissage. C’est le même esprit de créativité qu’il prolonge par un album stimulant qui explore diverses géométries, évoluant du quartette sans piano au nonette. Bien que la plume passe de main en main, la cohérence esthétique est de mise et on entend un groupe qui semble avoir toujours existé. Saluons au passage l’imagination fertile et le talent grandissant de la saxophoniste finlandaise Adele Sauras, invitée géographiquement exogène et parfaitement intégrée à l’équipe.

Un nouveau talent qu’il faudra suivre, comme tous les protagonistes de cet album en tous points vivifiant. “Common Threads” célèbre avec panache un label qui jamais ne s’est reposé sur ses lauriers et auquel on souhaite un avenir resplendissant."

—Daniel Yvinec (Fevrier, 2023)
Jazz Magazine

"Que un sello discográfico alcance la titánica meta de cumplir tres décadas en activo es, en los tiempos que corren, un hito realmente admirable e inusual. Que dicho sello discográfico se dedique a un terreno tan poco favorecido por la industria musical como el jazz, convierte ese hito en una rareza absoluta que merece ser aplaudida. Si, además, hablamos de una discografía nada complaciente, volcada en el descubrimiento y promoción constante de talento joven en el jazz internacional, bien podemos usar el adjetivo heroico para describir el peso y trascendencia de una labor que merece ser celebrada por todo lo alto. Fresh Sound New Talent es ese sello, y a modo de homenaje, sin fanfarrias ni excesivo boato, la publicación del disco conmemorativo Common Threads (firmado por The Fresh Sound Ensemble, colectivo formado para la ocasión) sirve como excusa perfecta para pararse a reflexionar sobre estos treinta años de excelencia musical e inquietud artística inagotable.

A la hora de celebrar un aniversario así de importante, son muchos y muy diversos los enfoques que Fresh Sound podría haber elegido: su catálogo está plagado de nombres mayúsculos y consagrados del universo del jazz de las últimas décadas, y la cantidad de grabaciones fundamentales (o prácticamente desconocidas y a la vez históricamente relevantes) que llevan el sello de calidad Fresh Sound suponen un fondo histórico digno de un museo. Pero, siendo fiel al irreductible empeño de mirar siempre hacia el presente y futuro en vez de regodearse demasiado en los laureles del pasado, que de forma tan notoria supone el pilar filosófico fundamental de Fresh Sound; el director y motor principal del sello, Jordi Pujol, tomó la decisión de enfocar este disco conmemorativo de la manera más coherente posible: dando voz a representantes del momento actual del jazz contemporáneo.

La idea resultante para dar forma a Common Threads fue la de involucrar a jóvenes talentos de la escena británica emergente, todos ellos voces refrescantes en el panorama jazzístico contemporáneo, y reunir a los músicos en un proyecto cooperativo. El saxofonista de Bristol Alex Merritt fue el elegido para encargarse de las labores de producción y coordinación del proyecto. Ante tal honor (y responsabilidad), el propio Merritt manifestaba: “Como muchos músicos de jazz de mi generación, he estado escuchando los álbumes de Fresh Sound New Talent desde que era un adolescente, y siempre me ha encantado el sonido, la estética y el estilo de sus discos. El sello tenía una integridad que admiraba incluso cuando era un músico joven, y rápidamente me enamoré de gran parte de su producción de los años 90 y 2000”.

La grabación de este emprendimiento cooperativo se realizó en dos sesiones: el 11 de agosto y el 6 de octubre de 2022 en los estudios londinenses Porcupine, con Sam Braysher, Ronan Perrett, Alex Hitchcock, Alex Merritt, Michael Chillingworth, Steve Fishwick, Tom Ollendorff, John Turville, Conor Chaplin y Jay Davis. Adele Sauros, que viajó desde su Helsinki natal para tocar en la primera cita, ejerce de invitada de lujo (y regala, además, dos de las composiciones más interesantes del disco; las fantásticas “Erased” y “Simplicity”). Cada artista ofrece composiciones propias para Common Threads, en otra muestra de la filosofía principal de Fresh Sound: para celebrar sus treinta años, el sello prefiere publicar música nueva en vez de regodearse en labores de buceo dentro de su inacabable catálogo, lo cual es de agradecer. El resultado final de este proceso de interacción y generosidad entre algunas de las voces más interesantes (y jóvenes) del jazz británico actual es, como no podía ser de otra manera, un caleidoscopio de estilos, sensibilidades, inquietudes y sonoridades que resulta en todo momento fascinante."

—Ricky Lavado (6 Febrero, 2022)


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