Tom Ollendorff (g), Conor Chaplin (b), Marc Michel (d)
Bar code: 8427328436151
Rising star of jazz guitar to release mesmerising debut album
A Song for You is the debut album from UK guitarist Tom Ollendorff. Since being awarded the Yamaha scholarship for outstanding jazz musicianship in 2015, Ollendorff has honed his craft on the UK and European jazz circuits to become a rising star and much sought-after player, lending his compelling skills to a range of high profile projects and performing with respected artists and ensembles including Geoff Simkins, Dave Cliff, Huw Warren, James Maddren, Jeff Williams, Ari Hoenig, Or Baraket and Bill McHenry.
On Song for You, Tom Ollendorff’s distinctive style and flair for both composition and improvisation shine through in droves, teaming up with a dynamic band consisting of Marc Michel on drums and Conor Chaplin on bass. This longstanding trio have an innate understanding of each other’s musical idiosyncrasies, which becomes very evident in during the improvisational passages on the album. The result is a series of engaging and hypnotic grooves, interweaving reoccurring themes and subtly allowing enough space for each individual to showcase their undeniable talent.
With both his excellent trio and the aforementioned artists, Tom Ollendorff has appeared at venues and festivals in the France, China, Slovakia, Switzerland, Holland and of course the UK, including leading jazz venues such as The Vortex and the legendary Ronnie Scott’s. The band plan to take the live circuit by storm as the world emerges from this period of lockdown. Speaking on this and of the new album Ollendorff comments: “I am incredibly excited to be getting back on the road to celebrate the release of this album, especially after a year of such limited opportunities to play live. Our tour is going to all corners of the UK and I can't wait to be reunited with audiences across the country. Fresh Sound New Talent have released some of my favourite jazz records, and it is a thrill for me to be joining the long list of incredible artists who are associated with the label. I really hope you enjoy the record.”
Song for You is an outstanding album, sonically illustrating all of the qualities needed by a young and passionate jazz band to elevate to the next level of their journey – the proof is in the listening!
“Tom Ollendorff is one of the world’s finest guitarists. His music is complex yet rooted in melody and feeling”
—Gilad Hekselman, Jazz Guitarist
“I really enjoy the playing and writing of young guitarist Tom Ollendorff, definitely one to watch and listen out for”
—Helen Mayhew, Jazz FM
“He is gaining a reputation as an outstanding improviser and imaginative composer”
"They say lightning never strikes in the same place twice. But sometimes it does. When it comes to new jazz guitarists of more than average talent, London has produced two in fairly rapid succession. In spring 2020, Rob Luft released his immaculate and uplifting sophomore album, Life Is The Dancer (Edition). Exactly a year later, Tom Ollendorff is releasing A Song For You (Fresh Sounds), a debut which delivers much and promises even more.
Ollendorff and Luft have similar signatures. Both are evolutionary rather than revolutionary stylists. They bring quantities of freshness to the tradition but they do not rethink it. In this they resemble, say, Pat Metheny more than, say, Eivind Aarset, although Aarset's high-register neo-trippy lyricism has echoes in the playing of both of them.
On A Song For You, Ollendorff presents sophisticated, melodic music of seraphic beauty. All but one track are Ollendorff originals. Most last less than five minutes. There are two extended pieces: the ballad "Not In These Days" clocks in at eight minutes, and the sole relatively kick-ass burner, "XY," is almost as long. Both fly by. Vernon Reid's much covered evergreen "Autumn In New York" receives a memorable reading (on a par with pianist Al Haig's once heard, never forgotten one on his 1957 Counterpoint album, Jazz Will-O-The-Wisp).
Ollendorff is accompanied by his regular trio, which is completed by bassist Conor Chaplin and drummer Marc Michel, and he co-produced the album with Fresh Sound's Jordi Pujol. A Song For You is a stunning debut. Following Ollendorff's progress looks like it will be time well spent."
—Chris May (April 24, 2021)
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