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MP3 Robert McFadden - Travelling in Curves

"Intimate, wry and soulful jazz with art house roots and world beat branches. Quixotic."

10 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Modern Creative Jazz, BLUES: Jazzy Blues

Music is an on-going voyage of self-discovery. It introduces you to the rapture of shaking your left foot all about; the communality of being a teenager in love; the bitter-sweetness of doing it your way. It provides depth and nuance to your experience of feeling groovy, having the blues, and wishing upon a star.

Travelling in Curves explores the cascade of emotions coursing through the surprises, challenges, and pleasures of life. Whispers of anticipation open to pools of certainty; clouds of doubt break in sweeps of exhilaration. Some tunes, such as Souvenirs (deux/trois), are based on what amounts to a repeated emotional mantra punctuated by secondary turns of memory. Others, like Second Thoughts, explore a wide range of emotional colours – some dark, some absurd, some hopeful: the palette of feelings many of us experience when having our own second thoughts. Listening to this music we catch glimpses of ourselves in transition between tilting with windmills and seeing giants for what they are.

“Like listening to something you’ve heard before for the first time.”

The ten original tunes on Travelling in Curves infuse familiar harmonies and sounds with the pleasures of musical invention and genre bending. Simple, logical motifs progress through surprising turns of time, form, and harmony. Blues, ballad and Spanish-inflected pieces develop through unusual structures and arrangements. These are tunes to be played in reference to a musical idea rather than in a particular style; music that thrives on the creative tension generated by mixing the recognizable and the remarkable. This approach is echoed in the music’s voice and language. While the instrumentation of guitar, saxophone, piano, bass, and drums is well known to any listener of popular western music, the quintet on this album speaks with distinct inflections originating beyond this tradition. A reflection of the players’ experience with non-western and contemporary classical playing, these inflections are also a result of the fresh compositional approach evident throughout these pieces.

Originally trained as a visual artist, Robert McFadden developed his music as part of a multidisciplinary practice including installation, video, and performance art. Stretching forms and conventions has always been essential to Robert’s artistic process, and both are fundamental to his music. Robert''s recent writing continues this approach, drawing upon the processes and history of jazz as points of departure. “I wanted to know more about how players meeting for the first time could head off on that amazing rollercoaster of sound. I found this rich ferment of understandings, backgrounds, intentions: all those things that get people playing this music and moving it in new, unexpected directions.” To the casual listener, Robert’s recent music is jazz, pure and simple. To the jazz aficionado, these tunes have an outside feel that runs directly to the root of the jazz tradition. As Bill Strickland reminds us, “Jazz is a state of mind in which possibilities for innovation and discovery are revealed to you, and you are able to tap into deep reserves of commitment and passion.”*

Convictions, enquiries, and epiphanies are, in jazz, usually the stuff of improvisation and sound; the players’ experience and the tune itself providing the starting points. Robert’s music extends this flow of connections by drawing upon familiar life experiences for the emotional source in his writing. As with the best in fresh, original music, this writing reveals, affirms, inspires and challenges our approach to music, to the worlds in which we live, and to our understandings of ourselves.

Robert McFadden: guitar
Zakari Frantz: saxophone
Jennifer Giles: piano
Alun Davies: bass
Mike Essoudry: drums

* Bill Strickland, MOMENT BY MOMENT, Jazz Times, February 2008, p. 28.

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