Awareness is the debut EP of Joe Sturges, a Madrid-born, Anglo-Hispanic drummer and composer. Four tracks and seventeen minutes of music offer a brief but tantalizing glimpse into Sturges' compositional mind, one as influenced by classical romanticism and minimalism as it is by jazz. A quintet of players deployed in changing quartet and duo settings suggest a composer with the confidence to vary the tools at his disposable, resulting in tunes of individually distinctive character.
Washing cymbals and Marcelo Wilson's delicate piano intro announce the title track, with Sarah Martinson's muted trumpet carving a plaintive path. Marta Bautista's double bass is a presence felt more than heard, while Sturges subtly employs an array of gentle rolls, wave-like cymbal washes and snare accents of varying intensity that infuse the general introspection with a restless edge. Tenor saxophonist Javier Vercher is to the fore on the vibrant "Near a Cherry Tree," veering between lyrical improvisation and, over a Latin-esque piano vamp, untethered overblowing, his fire fueled by Sturges' bustle.
Sturges swaps sticks for piano on the melancholy "Three Days Under A Moon," a ruminative duet with double bass that peters out before it really takes shape. The aptly titled "Summer" exudes breezy energy. Bautista and Martinson take fine solos before the romantic introspection that underpins much of Sturges' writing returns in the form of a gentle piano coda.
The EP's production qualities are high, with credit due to Sebastián Laverde's Jazztone Studios in Valencia, Spain. An accomplished debut of emotional depth, both in the writing and the playing, Awareness holds the promise of much more to come from the talented Joe Sturges.
Awareness; Near a Cherry Tree; Three Days Under a Moon; Summer.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.