(click underlined movements to hear MP3 format sound clips)
Free Group Improvisation I - quartet
Messiaen Sketches (Melinda Maxwell) - quartet Speak Low (Kurt Weill) - cor anglais, bass, pno 12 tone oboe improvisation Pompidou Rats (Mark Pringle) - quartet Varèse Blues (Melinda Maxwell) - quartet Body and Soul (Johnny Green) - quartet Hard Cheese (David Purser) - quartet Offshoot Waltz (Joe Cutler) - quartet Bye-Ya (Thelonius Monk) - oboe, bass,
drums/vibes Tres (Hans Koller) - oboe, bass, piano Free Group Improvisation II - quartet Bamboo (Howard Skempton) - quartet L'Amour de Piroutcha (Olivier Messiaen) -
oboe and piano (World première)
Total time: 79 minutes
notes on the tracks, and many photographs.
Melinda Maxwell (oboe, cor anglais) read music at York University, and studied in Germany with Ingo Goritzki and Helmut Winschermann. She has performed worldwide as soloist in Europe (at the Holland and Aarhus festivals) Japan, Africa, the USA (New York and Washington) and nationally in the UK (Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and Cheltenham festivals). She is also a recitalist, chamber musician, composer, improviser and teacher. In addition she is principal oboe of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and performs as guest principal with the London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia and Garsington Opera.
Several works have been written for her, including Pulse Sampler (1981) by Sir Harrison Birtwistle; Banshee (1994, revised 1996), Sphinx (2000) and Disparate (2005)/ Disparate Dos (2009) by Simon Holt; and pieces by Simon Bainbridge, Nicholas Maw, Howard Skempton, Robert Saxton, Jo Kondo, Philip Cashian and Wilfred Mellers. A composer herself, her works include Pibroch (1981) and Song for Sidney (2001) for solo oboe; Crane Dance (2004) for double-reed ensemble; several pieces for string ensemble; and Singla Rock (2009) for mixed quintet. Her septet Fractures (2015) received its première performance by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group conducted by Oliver Knussen.
She has recorded frequently for the BBC and her own recordings have been critically acclaimed and voted CD of the month in the BBC Music magazine and the Guardian.
She has taught at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College, London, and is Consultant in Woodwind Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. She is a visiting tutor at the Birmingham Conservatoire, oboe tutor for the National Youth Orchestra, and regularly coaches at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Snape, Suffolk.
In June 2013 she was awarded an MMus in Jazz Studies from the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Mark Pringle is a pianist and composer working in the fields of jazz and improvised music, hailing from the UK and currently based in Berlin. He is a Yamaha Jazz Scholar and Peter Whittingham Award winner, as well as leader and participant in diverse artistic projects Europe-wide, performing his own music at the BBC Proms, Manchester Jazz Festival, The Vortex, Southbank Centre, and for BBC Radio 3. He has lived, worked and studied in Berlin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, and Birmingham UK. www.markpringlemusic.com.
Sebastiano Dessanay (bass) moved to the UK from Italy in 2007; in 2009 he completed a Master in Music Composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire, and a PhD in 2014. Sebastiano regularly collaborates with musicians in classical and contemporary music, jazz, pop-rock and folk music - and also with the opera, theatre, dance, film and visual arts worlds. He has performed extensively throughout Europe and has recorded many different projects as a leader and as a session musician. www.sebastianodessanay.com.
Liam Halloran (drums, vibes) has had a huge range of influences which has led to exploring a variety of sound worlds. Despite his first instrument being the drums, he now makes most of his living as a pianist, and the instrument that he specialised in at the Birmingham Conservatoire was the vibraphone! Liam is a resident pianist at the Alexandra Theatre Birmingham, drummer for the Bonfire Radicals, and a busy freelancer, playing for shows, weddings, orchestras and anything else he can fit in! www.liamhalloran.co.uk.
by Melinda Maxwell:
Improvisation has always held a fascination for me. I had my first taste of it as a student in the 1970s at York University and it was brief, terrifying, but inspiring in ways I couldn't then judge. Later in the 1980s I took part in London Sinfonietta education programmes, followed by creative projects with the National Youth Orchestra - both involving extensive use of memorisation and improvisation. I realised these musical processes offered me new ways of perceiving - of feeling and thinking about - music.
I also realised I enjoyed the danger of improvising and felt comfortable designing sounds by ear, as it were. Later in life I decided with encouragement from various colleagues that yes, a classically trained oboist could offer a new approach to improvisation through jazz and other contemporary music, hence the Masters degree in Jazz that I gained a couple of years ago.
This CD is the start of a long journey and offers a beginning to it by bringing together the sensibilities that I feel close to; improvisation and composition, with allusions to my experience of listening and performing an extensive history of classical and modern music.
You can read the whole review here.