Oriole: Every New Day
Every New Day
Oriole's third album of sonorous South American and Iberian-flavored jazz has been some time coming. The London group, led by guitarist and composer Jonny Phillips, debuted with Song For The Sleeping in 2005 and followed up a year later with Migration (both F-IRE). There has been a six year gap before Every New Day, recorded in 2011 and originally planned for release the same year under a different title ("Mementos").
In part, the hiatus is explained by Phillips' lifestyle; he likes to travel and spent the last few years in Cadiz, in southern Spain, playing with local musicians and learning more about Iberian music. It might also be a consequence of the increasingly busy, upwardly mobile careers of the other musicians. In the mid 2000s, they were core members of London's emergent F-IRE collective. By the end of the decade, most of them had grown beyond succes d'estime. Drummer Sebastian Rochford, of Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland, had become much sought after; cellist Benjy Davis, bassist Ruth Goller, pianist Nick Ramm, percussionist Adriano Adewale and guest reed player Zoe & Idris Rahman (brother of pianist Zoe Rahman) were all in demand; and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock was on such a roll that it took her from London to Brooklyn.
Getting Oriole together to tour or record began to need a lot more forward planning. But, happily, the group's lineup is pretty much unchanged: Goller is the sole bassist (she alternated with Anders Cristensen and Fernando de Marco on Migration), and guest singer Julia Biel is absent.
Every New Day inhabits the same entrancing territory as its predecessorsbut with a twist. While Oriole's first two albums might be described as quietly intense, Every New Day is often boisterously so. The soloists on the Brazilian-based "Mountain Flower," "Temba" and "Every New Day," the geographically indefinable but wild "Sherpa Song" and tricksy 9/8-metered "Between The Mountains And The Sea," erupt into controlled abandon within a few choruses. Rahman's tenor on "Mountain Flower" and "Sherpa Song" is hot and extrovert. Laubrock's tenor on "Temba" and "Between The Mountains And The Sea" is hot, extrovert and pushing at the sonic barriers with which she has become so productively fascinated over the last few years. Her vocalized, extended workout on "Temba" is a highlight of the disc.
Mountains loom large in Phillips' tune titles here"Mountain Flower," "Sintra" (a Portuguese high altitude village), "Temba" and "Sherpa Song" (both inspired by Nepalese climbers), and "Between The Mountains And The Sea"and he says that, for him, mountaineering is the ultimate measure of determination. The saxophonists' extra sweat fits right in.
On the "quietly" intense tracksthe bolero/waltz "Levante," Venezuelan-inspired "La Sonrisa Picara," and "Bertha," commissioned for the Derby Jazz Festival and incorporating the hymn-like harmonies of northern English brass bandsDavis, Ramm and (briefly) Phillips inhabit more intimate terrain.
Some of the material on Every New Day will be familiar to longtime fans of Oriole (check the YouTube clips below). But in the six years since the band last released an album, the individual players have all moved on so far that the tunes take on new lives. Just beautiful.
Tracks: Levante; Mountain Flower; Sintra; La Sonrisa Picara; Medem; Temba; Between The Mountains And The Sea; Sherpa Song; Every New Day; Bertha (intro); Bertha (main theme).
Personnel: Ingrid Laubrock: tenor saxophone; Idris Rahman: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Ben Davis: cello; Jonny Phillips: guitar; Sebastian Rochford: drums; Adriano Adewale: percussion.