Archive | Newest Releases

MenagerieFreeThingPackshot

DIGI: Menagerie – Free Thing

Available to buy/stream now – click here.

Australian 9-piece Spiritual Jazz group Menagerie announce their highly anticipated third album ‘Many Worlds’, released 15th January 2021.

Menagerie is the Melbourne-based Jazz ensemble founded by producer, songwriter, guitarist, DJ and recording artist Lance Ferguson, also the driving force behind The Bamboos, Lanu, Rare Groove Spectrum and Machines Always Win.

Menagerie ‘s debut album “They Shall Inherit” saw the light of day in 2012 via label Tru Thoughts and 2018 saw the release of “The Arrow Of Time” on Freestyle . Inspired by both the post-Coltrane generation of the 70’s and the current ‘New Wave Of Jazz’, the album made serious waves internationally in 2018, being championed by the likes of BBC’s Gilles Peterson , Jamie Cullum , Courtney Pine and Don Letts

Now, two years on from their last full length album, Menagerie are back with ‘Free Thing’, leaning heavily into the spiritual side of the band’s sound. The hypnotic spoken word-poem is evocative of The Last Poets, an earthy yet futuristic meditation on the universal theme of freedom itself, set to a backdrop of insistent percussion, double bass and brooding piano voicings.‘Many Worlds’ will be released on legendary label Freestyle Records – home to jazz contemporaries Courtney Pine, Jessica Lauren, and keyboard legend Brian Auger – in January 2021.

DIGI: Kizzy Crawford – Adlewyrchu Arnaf I

DIGI: Kizzy Crawford – Adlewyrchu Arnaf I

Kizzy Crawford is a remarkable and prodigiously talented polymath. A stand out, multilingual vocalist, songwriter and actress, a highly adept guitarist, and violinist who can also utilise music technology and blend it into her live and recorded work. Having a very wide and eclectic musical palate, Kizzy draws upon soul, jazz, pop and folk and infuses her music with the best elements of all, the results set her apart from any of her contemporaries.

Immensely proud of her Welsh heritage, Kizzy has previously written and recorded many tracks in Welsh including Dilyniant, the Welsh version of her debut Freestyle release, and has collaborated with other Welsh artists including pianist Gwilym Simcock, singer songwriter Al Lewis, and enjoyed the support of Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson, Jo Whiley & Craig Charles as well BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 2 & 6Music.

Adlewyrchu Arnaf I (Reflecting on Me) is Kizzy’s new single, she explains how this beautiful composition came about; ‘I wrote Adlewyrchu Arnaf I when I was 16. I was starting to do gigs often and the inspiration for the song came from being told a few times that I should sing a certain way, or do ‘this’ more on stage or wear stuff like ‘this’. It made me want to write a song about not letting someone/something take over you and cause you to do what they want because after all everything I do in my life is my decision and reflects on me’.

To mark St David’s Day 2019 Kizzy and Freestyle Records are pleased to release Adlewyrchu Arnaf I (Reflecting on Me) which highlights Kizzy’s versatility, and also provides a tantalizing hint of what’s included on her forthcoming debut album.

Mae Kizzy Crawford yn bolymath nodedig a rhyfeddol o dalentog. Mae hi’n lleisydd amlieithog, cyfansoddwr caneuon ac actores, gitarydd a ffidilydd sy’n hynod o fedrus ac yn sefyll allan, all hefyd ddefnyddio technoleg cerddoriaeth a’i gymysgu yn ei gwaith recordio a byw. Gyda dafad cerddorol eang ac eclectig, mae Kizzy yn tynnu ar enaid, jazz, pop a gwerin ac yn cymysgu ei cherddoriaeth gyda’r elfennau gorau oll, mae’r canlyniadau yn ei osod ar wahân i unrhyw un o’i chyfoedion.

Yn arbennig o falch o’i threftadaeth Gymreig, mae Kizzy wedi ysgrifennu a recordio lawer o draciau yn y Gymraeg yn flaenorol, gan gynnwys Dilyniant, fersiwn Cymraeg o’i rhyddhad cyntaf Freestyle Records, ac mae wedi cydweithio gydag artistiaid Cymreig eraill, gan gynnwys y pianydd Gwilym Simcock, y cyfansoddwr a chanwr Al Lewis ac wedi mwynhau’r gefnogaeth o Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson, Jo Whiley a Craig Charles yn ogystal a BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 2 a 6 Music.

Adlewyrchu Arnaf I yw sengl newydd Kizzy, yma mae’n esbonio sut y daeth y cyfansoddiad hardd hwn o gwmpas; ‘Wnes i ysgrifennu Adlewyrchu Arnaf I pan oeddwn i’n 16 oed. Roeddwn i’n dechrau gwneud gigiau yn aml, a daeth ysbrydoliaeth y gân i fi ar ol profi pobl yn dweud wrthai cwpwl o weithiau y dylwn i ganu rhyw ffordd benodol, neu wneud ‘hyn’ ar y llwyfan neu gwisgo pethau fel ‘hyn’. Wnaeth e arwain i fi eisiau ysgrifennu cân am ddim gadael i rywun / rhywbeth gymryd drosodd chi ac achosi i chi i wneud beth mae nhw eisiau i chi wneud, achos ar ddiwedd y dydd mae popeth dwi’n gwneud yn fy mywyd yn benderfyniad fy hun ac yn adlewyrchu arnaf i’.

I nodi Dydd Gŵyl Dewi 2019, mae Kizzy a Freestyle Records yn falch o ryddhau Adlewyrchu Arnaf I, sy’n tynnu sylw at hyblygrwydd Kizzy, ac mae hefyd yn rhoi awgrym mawr i’r hyn a gynhwysir ar ei albwm gyntaf.

DIGI: Kizzy Crawford – Progression

DIGI: Kizzy Crawford – Progression

The announcement of Kizzy Crawford’s signing to Freestyle Records created a genuine buzz of anticipation, because this prodigiously talented young artist had previously gained recognition for her earlier work across BBC Radio 1, 6Music, Jazz FM, BBC Radio 4, as well as live TV performances on S4C, BBC 1 ‘s Children in Need and live performances at WOMEX, Glastonbury, London Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Jazz, Hay Festival & Blissfields.

Of Bajan, Welsh & English heritage, folk music was one of Kizzys’ musical starting points, and her parents own eclectic tastes which included much jazz and soul, also impacted heavily on her writing, and in 2018, her brand new music reflects this broader approach.

Progression is an exquisite, anthemic and quite simply unforgettable song. As Kizzys voice soars through the incredibly catchy chorus, it makes the track something the term ‘ear worm’ was invented to describe. Written about the process of maturing, Kizzy states that it is inspired by “growing up and how it can be difficult and scary at times but to remember with time and experience things will become easier”.

Initial reactions from those given an exclusive hearing have mentioned traces of both Corrine Bailey Rae and even Karen Carpenter vocally, and the classic UK sound of Soul II Soul as an influence on her long term collaborator Willie Weeks production.

Waiting Game is edgier, but equally memorable, blending harder edged electronic beats with synthesizers, acoustic guitar and boasts one passage rapped in Welsh, highlighting Kizzy’s unique & original approach which sets her apart from her contemporaries, and certainly it seems destined that this highly original, 22 year old artist is on the verge of achieving both critical and mainstream commercial success.

ALBUM: Jessica Lauren – Almería

ALBUM: Jessica Lauren – Almería

Since the early 1990s, keyboard player Jessica Lauren has been a familiar part of London’s alternative music scene. Jessica’s keyboard skills have augmented the live performances and studio recordings of world renowned artists such as Jean Carne, Tom Browne, Dexter Wansel and James Mason, Japan’s United Future Organisation, and UK soul diva Juliet Roberts.

Her previous Freestyle album ‘Jessica Lauren Four’ (2012) highlighted Jessica’s minimalist approach, something rare and refreshing in the jazz world: she instills her compositions and playing with a refined sense of space which makes her music as much about what she doesn’t play as what she does.

The albums’ opener – Kofi Nomad is a deeply percussive afrocentric epic, featuring the beautiful baritone saxaphone of Tamar ‘Collocutor’ Osborn, one of the most in demand woodwind players working today, underpinned by a powerful foundation of percussion courtesy of Richard Ọlátúndé Baker, Phillip Harper and drummer Cosimo Keita Cadore.

Jessicas’ amazing skill for writing simple, understated yet superbly memorable and catchy hooks remains undiminished. Highlights in this new collection are almost too numerous to mention, but Amalfi is a breezy bossa, which conjures up images of easy living days and sun dappled Mediterranean coastlines, whilst the angular and brooding Simba Jike has something of an Eddie Harris style deep, dark groove over which Jessica riffs and solos beautifully on grand piano – and Tamar once again blows freely, whilst ‘level’ Neville Malcolms’ upright bass figure roots the entire thing in a solid, almost primeval sound.

The albums closing statement Argentina is a masterpiece of pathos and perfectly demonstrates Jessicas’ approach which is almost akin to a minimalist architecture style of composing and playing, such is the strength of its atmosphere and subtlety.

DIGI: Menagerie – Evolution

DIGI: Menagerie – Evolution

Lance Ferguson must surely qualify as a polymath, his varied musical skills & abilities reach across genres multiple projects. The Bamboos, Cookin’ On 3 Burners, Lanu, Black Feeling are just some of the projects he has brought to the publics’ ears, not forgetting of course his record producing, DJ-ing, radio presenting, songwriting and highly admired guitar playing.

The first incarnation of Lances’ Menagerie project ‘They Shall Inherit’ saw the light of day in 2012 (Tru Thoughts Recordings) and established the simple fact that jazz of the contemporary type could reach back to it’s essential roots and present itself, refreshed and vital for a contemporary audience. As Lance himself explains;

‘The Arrow Of Time’ draws its inspiration conceptually from the themes of space exploration, human evolution and the future of humankind. It’s all pretty big stuff to be underpinning an album of modal Jazz tunes – but the main message is one of hope, and I hope that message and feeling comes across in the music. The post-Coltrane generation of musicians going into the 1970’s and the sound of record labels like Strata East, Tribe and Black Jazz has been a massive influence on the music I write for Menagerie. To me that sound is timeless, exciting and just as vibrant as a musical format in 2017 – and the proof is that we’re hearing more and more young musicians embracing it. ‘The Freedom Principle’ by definition has no limits and no use-by date

2018 will see ‘The Arrow of Time’, the second installment of the venture released on Freestyle Records – the UK label rapidly establishing itself as a major force in today’s jazz and related musics, being the home also for Courtney Pine, Jessica Lauren, and keyboard legend Brian Auger.

As a scintillating taster for the full length album – this 2 track sampler provides an exciting glimpse of the full project – Evolution features Lances’ spoken word lyrics as voiced by Fallon Williams over a simply beautiful ensemble piece and The Arrow Of Time allows the collectives various enviously gifted soloists space to stretch out.

ALBUM: Courtney Pine Black Notes from the Deep

ALBUM: Courtney Pine Black Notes from the Deep

No musician embodies more the dramatic transformation in the British jazz scene over the past thirty years than Courtney Pine. His debut album, Journey To The Urge Within in 1987, was the first serious jazz album ever to make the British Top 40, notching up sales to qualify for a silver disc.

Aside from being the preeminent figure in the resurgence of British jazz, Courtney became a renowned presenter and broadcaster, best known for his long running radio show for BBC Radio 2, ‘Jazz Crusade’. He was also awarded an O.B.E in the 2000 New Year’s Honours, and was also made a C.B.E in 2009 for services to Music.

As an artist always looking to work outside of, and across established musical genres, it is easier to list the musicians and artists he hasn’t worked with, and styles he hasn’t fused with jazz, but now in 2017 Courtney releases a brand new album – the nineteenth of his career, one of his most varied and eclectic to date, ranging as it does from funk tinged foot tappers, to beautiful and tender ballads.

Black Notes From The Deep includes four tracks featuring another British music icon of equal repute, Courtneys’ Freestyle Records label mate and an artist also honoured for his own creative endeavours; Omar Lyefook M.B.E. This is a musical pairing so wonderful it is hard to believe it didn’t happen years ago, but the end results speak for themselves.

For this brand new album, Courtney assembled a line up of like minded instrumentalists, perfectly suited to his fresh and unique approach . With this absolutely rock solid group behind him, including Alec Dankworth on bass duties, the enviably talented Robert Mitchell on piano, with Rod Youngs providing his masterful drumming, this is a dream ticket line up to back Courtney. There is a welcome appearance by veteran jazz organist Ed Bently on In Another Time, and the gifted guitarist Chris Cobbson adds some beautiful textures on the The Morning After The Night Before.

The highlights within this album are many – but the exciting and fresh interpretation of Herbie Hancocks’ Butterfly seems destined to be one of the most remarkable, featuring as it does Omars’ fantastic vocal performance which rides sweetly on top of the dreamy backing vocals of Charleen Hamilton – and of course Courtneys’ flowing, imaginative and creative solo perfects this modern version of a much loved classic.

Courtney has been lauded as the most original, ceaselessly creative and inventive British jazz musician since the start of his career over 30 years ago – and Black Notes From The Deep proves that he still is.

ALBUM: The Andy Tolman Cartel – Cypher

ALBUM: The Andy Tolman Cartel – Cypher

For decades, if you wanted to listen to great music all you needed to do was stare at a screen! TV and film soundtracks were often the work of US legends such as Lalo Schiffrin, Oliver Nelson & Quincy Jones, and their Uk counterparts Ronnie Hazelhurst and Alan Hawkshaw, provided the soundtrack to the 60’s & 70’s at a time when film and TV music was unashamedly funky and featured the ensemble of choice for the jazz arranger.. the big band!

A 21st century musician wit comparable skills is Andy Tolman – an astounding bass player, but also highly adept at writing & arranging for a big band and who is heavily influenced by those greatest practitioners of the art. Andy met to Nick van Gelder (the original Jamiroquai drummer) and keyboard guru Carl Hudson whilst doing a run of gigs backing artists like Leon Ware and Jean Carne. Andy played Nick You What! and he asked if he could lay a drum track down and at around the same time Carl offered his services on the record also. Nick went on to drum on the entire album and produce the recordings too.

At the tail end of 2011, when Freestyle Records A&R man Greg Boramans’ compilation ‘Sounds From The Soul Underground’ was released the glorious noise of The Andy Tolman Cartel first came to public attention. The amazing track You What! had one foot in jazz-funk & the other in film & TV themes of the 60’s and 70’s, found champions in Jazz FM’s Peter Young and BBC 6 Musics Craig Charles who both featured it on their radio shows heavily.

Andy himself takes up the story; After You What! found it’s way onto Gregs’ compilation he asked me how many more tracks I had, I kind of lied (sorry Greg!) and said a whole albums worth. Having shot my mouth off I thought I had better set about delivering… a daunting prospect, and a promise I probably wouldn’t have made had I been sober at the time. So I called upon the services of some of the amazing musicians I have worked with over the past few years. Move Over was the first song I heard Jo Harman sing and Stevie Watts award winning Hammond organ playing seemed like a natural fit too

‘Cypher’ is indeed the perfect example of a natural fit of like minded musicians and their natural talents and the delightfully natural sound of a big band cutting loose that has not been heard for a long time making a welcome and long overdue return.

7: Courtney Pine – Butterfly (feat. Omar)

7: Courtney Pine – Butterfly (feat. Omar)

No musician embodies more the dramatic transformation in the British jazz scene over the past thirty years than Courtney Pine. His debut album, Journey To The Urge Within in 1987, was the first serious jazz album ever to make the British Top 40, notching up sales to qualify for a silver disc.

Aside from being the preeminent figure in the resurgence of British jazz, Courtney became a renowned presenter and broadcaster, best known for his long running radio show for BBC Radio 2, ‘Jazz Crusade’. He was also awarded an O.B.E in the 2000 New Year’s Honours, and was also made a C.B.E in 2009 for services to Music.

As an artist always looking to work outside of and across established musical genres, it is easier to list the musicians and artists he hasn’t worked with, but now in 2017 Courtney releases brand new music featuring another British music legend of equal repute, his Freestyle Records label mate and an artist also honoured for his own creative endeavours; Omar Lyefook M.B.E.

Both tracks of this single are taken from Courtneys’ forthcoming album Black Notes From The Deep – the 19th of his stellar career. The exciting and fresh interpretation of Herbie Hancocks’ Butterfly demonstrates straight away that this is a dream team combination. With Alec Dankworth laying down the bass, Rod Youngs’ drumming underpinning the groove, the song also gives the outstanding keyboards of Robert Mitchell space to stretch out – Omars fantastic vocal performance rides sweetly on top of the dreamy backing vocals of Charleen Hamilton – and of course Courtneys’ flowing, imaginative and creative solo perfects this modern version of a much loved classic.

Rules is a brand new, collaborative composition by Courtney & Omar – the punchy drums and bass line patterns hints simultaneously at classic jazz and funkier club-centric sounds. Courtney cooks on tenor saxophone and also the organ – whilst Omar marinades the super catchy melody with that unmistakable voice.

As an introduction to the forthcoming album Black Notes From The Deep this single points the way to what 2 British legends, both exemplary in their own right – can come up with when joining forces.

DIGI: Omar –  Gave My Heart ft. Leon Ware

DIGI: Omar – Gave My Heart ft. Leon Ware

Love In Beats, Omar’s most recent album, has further cemented his reputation as a truly individual artist – with a sound and style which is utterly unique. It features various special guests, but none quite as special as one of Omar’s biggest influences – and someone who became his close personal friend and musical collaborator – the recently departed legend Leon Ware.

It’s impossible to list them all, but just a few artists who benefited from Leons’ genius would include The Four Tops, Ike & Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Minnie Riperton and Michael Jackson. Leon so trusted Omar that he allowed him and his co-producer brother Scratch Professer to use elements of his classic tune ‘Rockin’ You Eternally’ within Gave My Heart – and also contribute his unmistakable voice too, as Omar elaborates:

“I was blessed to know Leon for over 23 years, and what I remember most is the laughter! The musician was a bonus to experience, so the fact he allowed me and my brother to create a song with one of his creations was such an honour, and to think it may have been one of his last releases fills me with pride. Rest in Beats Leon, love you bad… like cook food Xxx”

This 6 track EP not only features the beautiful original version of Gave My Heart, but 4 highly individual re-interpretations – imaginative and creative remixes from highly renowned names DJ Jazzy Jeff, The Reflex, Rob Hardt and also a trademark ‘re-twist’ by Omars’ Grammy Award winning brother The Scratch Professer. Stirred into the mix is Brainstorm – an exclusive track never heard before that features an on point rap from Maurice Brown.

Omar and Freestyle Records wish to dedicate this release to the music and the memory of Leon Ware – a beautiful soul and incredible ground breaking soul artist.

7: The Andy Tolman Cartel – Move Over

7: The Andy Tolman Cartel – Move Over

For many decades, if you wanted to listen to great music all you needed to do was one thing…switch on your television!

TV and film soundtracks were often the work of absolute masters of their art – such as US legends Lalo Schiffrin & Quincy Jones, and their Uk counterparts Ronnie Hazelhurst and Alan Hawkshaw, provided the soundtrack to the 60, 70’s and 80’s at a time when film and TV music was unashamedly groovy and featured the ensemble of choice for the jazz arranger: The Big Band! The Andy Tolman Cartel captures the spirit and musical excitement of that style with a collection of epic tunes, composed, arranged and recorded for Big Band by bass player, composer and bon viveur, Andy Tolman and produced by the projects drummer, Nick Van Gelder.

As a tantalising taster of the sounds encompassed within the forthcoming full length album Cypher – this absolute kicking single kicks off with a thundering, stomping cover version of Janis Joplins’ Move Over – with award winning singer Jo Harman on vocal duties (Jo recently hit the BBC Radio 2 playlist with her own single When We Were Young which features the Doobie Brothers Michael McDonald as special guest) The flipside – album title track Cypher – contrastingly is a brilliant, spy movie style scorcher with disco flourishes – banks of blazing horns, squelchy synthesizers, super tight drums all coalesce into the greatest soundtrack currently searching for a TV show to be the theme for!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter







You will receive a confirmation email upon clicking 'Subscribe'.



Podcast





The second episode of the Freestyle Records podcast is presented by Greg Boraman and features tracks from; Martha High, The Shaolin Afronauts, Jessica Lauren Four, and much more!


Facebook




Twitter




Google+




Spotify




Mixcloud