Jazz/classical crossovers grow increasingly commonplace. The Avalon Trio (genre-bending reeds-player Tony Woods, jazz-vocals educator and pianist Pete Churchill and world-music percussionist Rob Millett) explore the common harmonic ground between Delius, Finzi, Vaughan Williams and contemporary jazz. Churchill plays with Keith Jarrett's countrified lyricism on a lilting sax-led account of Delius's Summer Night on the Water. The Gerald Finzi title track features Woods's soft, pure-toned flute in a call-and-response with Churchill over Millett's flickering tabla pulse. Delius's Brigg Fair accelerates from dreamy reflection to punchy swing and into an imaginative percussion break, while Finzi's pulsating Dead in the Cold draws Woods into a mood of shapely, Andy Sheppard-like musing. The forceful improvisation on Vaughan Williams's Linden Lea is sympathetically balanced with the theme, and Churchill's prancing folk-dance Last Love lets all the skills of this engaging trio stretch out.
(John Fordham, the Guardian, 24th June 2011)
"engaging...played with sensitivity"
Avalon comprises of Pete Churchill piano, Tony Woods saxophones and flute, and Rob Millet percussion. Their particular slant is to reinterpret works by English early 20th Century composers, many of which were inspired by the folk tradition. This results in some engaging new versions of songs by Delius, Finzi and Vaughan-Williams, all played with the sensitivity to the words and moods.
(Peter Bevan, The Northern Echo)
"sensitive...exacting and rewarding"
The very word Avalon conjures visions from Arthurian tales and this three-piece band does indeed step into the English past to borrow musical themes and melodies.
But pianist Pete Churchill, Tony Woods on reeds and woodwind and percussionist Rob Millet take their inspiration from early twentieth century English composers who adapted folk songs and celebrated rural idyllis. Ralph
Vaughan-Williams, Gerald Finzi, William Walton, Frederick Delius and others wove bucolic melodies into their concertos and symphonies and now the trio re-visit those tunes, casting them as the foundations for sensitive jazz work-outs.
Marrying the soul of olde England with American musical innovations might seem incongruous-hints of Miles Davis and John Coletrane, Keith Jarret and Wayne Shorter enlivening fragile yet enduring folk ditties. Yet retstraint shown by the three players was exacting and rewarding for a sizeable audience.
The album Forlana gathers interpretations from famed names in the English musical canon and a fragment or two from "a very minor British composer", as Churchill self-effacingly dubbed himself. There is a charm in the delicate arrangements and poetry in the performance- little surprise there, with figures from Christina Rossetti to Donne as other muses.
Delius' Brigg Fair and Vaughan-Williams' Linden Lea were notable highlights. But as Anglo-folk was alchemically re-formed as hybrid jazz, Finzi's much less familiar work struck the deepest chord in the heart.
(Jane Sheridan, Halifax Evening Courier)
The pastoral tunes of early 20th-century English
composers are beautifully reworked by the Avalon Trio.
Almost from the beginning, jazz musicians have improvised on song melodies, usually American ones. This trio – pianist Pete Churchill, saxophonist and flautist Tony Woods and percussionist Rob Millett – apply the same method to tunes found in the work of early 20th-century English composers. They all have a pastoral air about them and some, like "Brigg Fair", are actual folk songs. The improvisations are full of open, spacious melody, never losing sight of the originals. The soprano saxophone has the perfect sound, too. Delius's "Summer Night on the Water" and Vaughan Williams's "Linden Lea" come off particularly well.
(Dave Gelly, The Observer, 19th June 2011)
"deftly and imaginatively remade...that acknowledge the melodic and harmonic integrity of the originals."
Using classical music as a basis for jazz has been around almost as long as jazz itself, but few outfits have approached that idea in quite as dedicated a fashion as the Avalon Trio (pianist Pete Churchill, saxophonist Tony Woods and drummer Rob Millett). Their specific remit is to explore – and celebrate – the music of English composers of the past century, but using the tools of jazz improvisation. Gerald Finzi's Forlana, Eclogue and Dead In The Cold, Frederick Delius's Summer Night On The Water and Brigg Fair, and Ralph Vaughan Williams' Linden Lea are deftly and imaginatively remade in versions that acknowledge the melodic and harmonic integrity of the originals, while adding their own inventions in pleasing fashion. The disc is rounded out with two of Churchill's own pieces, A Dream of Thee and Last Love, which sit nicely in this context.
(Kenny Mathieson, The Scotsman)
"Technique is flawless, but not showy, and arrangements are thoughtful."
Introduced to the Avalon Trio, I expected to hear an energetic gypsy-jazz album.
Nothing could be further from the truth, except the vintage of some of their source material. Tony Woods, saxophone and flute, Pete Churchill, piano and Rob Millett, percussion, have addressed the harmonic links of English 20th century classical music and contemporary jazz.
Together with a couple of tracks of their own, works by Delius, Finzi and Vaughan Williams are given the Avalon treatment.
Technique is flawless, but not showy, and arrangements are thoughtful. It is interesting that there is no string bass in the line-up, which perhaps explains the busy-ness of the piano. This is an album that could be filed variously in your CD collection: classical, jazz, and happy mood music.
Avalon are touring the UK, the nearest date to us the Darby Jazz Club (9 September). With their mixed appeal they would have been ideal at the National Early Music Centre.
(Don Lodge, The York Press)
When the jazz touches classical 20th century …
Όταν η τζαζ σμίγει με την κλασική του 20ού αιώνα…
16 Μάιος 2011
Οι φίλοι τόσο της τζαζ όσο και της κλασικής μουσικής βρίσκονται στην ευχάριστη θέση να προσμένουν το ντεμπούτο των Avalon Trio, Forlana, που λογικά θα κυκλοφορήσει (σε «φυσική» μορφή) κατά τη διάρκεια του τρέχοντα μήνα από την Marquetry Records. Πρόκειται για ένα τρίο με πλούσια εμπειρία και εκλεκτό γούστο που απαρτίζεται από τους Pete Churchill στο πιάνο, Tony Woods στα σαξόφωνα και στο φλάουτο και Rob Millett στα ντραμς. Το τρίο, που θεμελίωσε την ύπαρξή του στον αυτοσχεδιασμό, διασκευάζει στο ντεμπούτο με την ξεχωριστή του «οπτική», ή ακριβέστερα αισθητική, μερικούς από τους σημαντικότερους Άγγλους συνθέτες κλασικής μουσική του περασμένου αιώνα, όπως Delius, Finzi, Walton, Ireland και Vaughan Williams, χωρίς να παραλείπει να δημιουργήσει και μερικές δικές του πρωτότυπες και άκρως ενδιαφέρουσες συνθέσεις, πάντοτε πιστές στο ύφος του συνολικού ηχογραφήματος. Η «δυναμική» καλλιτεχνική άποψη των Avalon σχεδόν αποπλανεί τον ακροατή και τον βυθίζουν στη δίνη της εσωτερικής γαλήνης, που διαρκώς αποπνέουν οι γεμάτες χρώμα και ομορφιά συνθέσεις του δίσκου.
Συνίστανται ανεπιφύλακτα για κύριο ή συνοδευτικό άκουσμα… Αφεθείτε στον αγχολυτικό θρίαμβο των Avalon Trio και ταξιδέψτε άφοβα!
Υ.Γ. : Μεγαλύτερο ενδιαφέρον από τους τρεις παρουσιάζει ο Tony Woods, ένας από τους πλέον πολυσχιδείς καλλιτέχνες των τελευταίων ετών
Fans of both jazz and classical music will be pleased to see the launch of "Forlana", the debut album of the Avalon Trio, which was released this month from Marquetry Records. This is a trio with exquisite taste and rich experience, composed of Pete Churchill on piano, Tony Woods on saxophones and wood flute and Rob Millett on percussion. The trio, which has based its existence in improvisation, diaskeyazei with the debut of ' optics ' unique and aesthetic, some of the most important British composers of classical music of the last century, Delius, as Finzi, Walton Ireland , and Vaughan Williams, without skipping over to create some own original and very interesting compositions, always faithful to the tone of the overall ichografimatos. The ' dynamic ' artistic viewpoints of almost apoplanei the Avalon and the listener plunges into the maelstrom of inner peace, which has been solid color ambiance and beauty disc configurations.
Consisting of master or accompanying unreservedly for listening … Afetheite in agcholytiko of Avalon Trio triumph and travel without fear!
Y.G.: most important of the three shows Tony Woods, one of the most multifarious artists of recent years.
(Christos Dukakis, May 16th 2011 www.stereoworld.gr)
The Northern Echo
The York Press
The Halifax Courier