June 24, 2024


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CD review: Nick Walters & The Paradox Ensemble – Awakening 2019: Video, CD cover

22a 023 see’s trumpeter, friend and long time label affiliate Nick Walters bring his Paradox Ensemble back to life with a new album titled ‘Awakening’.

The thirteen piece group combine spiritual and eastern jazz moods with West African rhythms, channeling the spirit of Woody Shaw, Charles Mingus and other absent friends. The band features some familiar faces such as Ed Cawthorne (aka Tenderlonious) on tenor sax and flute, Aidan Shepherd (Ruby Rushton) on accordion, and of course the incomparable Nick Walters (Ruby Rushton & Riot Jazz) on trumpet and synths.

‘34268’ – inspired by an Agbadja rhythm from Togo – features two ways of emphasizing the same rhythmic motif – the first half a slower pulse of three beats to the bar before quickening to a four to the floor groove for the second half, accompanied by a classic trumpet solo from Walters.

‘Dear Old Thing’ is a tribute to beloved cricket commentator Henry Blofeld, “dear old thing” was his catchphrase. The musical inspiration is channeled from Eric Dolphy via an exquisite flute solo from Ed Cawthorne (Tenderlonious) and another transcendent solo from Walters.

‘Brahman’ means ‘the Absolute, the Ultimate Reality’ in Hindu philosophy – infinite eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Carla Ibled on harp wows with a deep and dramatic Alice Coltrane style intro, before it breaks into an intricate up beat groove that Sam Healey cuts to shreds with his soaring alto sax solo.

The album closes with the floaty, spiritual ‘Zeno’, a tribute to the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno, who is still renowned today for his paradoxes.

Nick Walters is arguably one of the most respected, yet underrated musicians in the UK Jazz scene. 22a are very proud to present this project, that is entirely composed and arranged by him, featuring a roster of extremely talented musicians.

  1. 34268 (07:58)
  2. Dear Old Thing (06:28)
  3. Brahman (10:03)
  4. Zeno (08:06)

Nick Walters – Trumpet + Electronics
Sam Healey – Alto Sax
Ed Cawthorne – Flute + Tenor Sax
Richard Foote – Trombone
Ben Kelly – Sousaphone
Rebecca Nash – Piano + Fender Rhodes
Anton Hunter – Guitar
Aidan Shepherd – Accordian
Carla Ibled – Harp
Paul Michael – Bass
Jim Molyneux – Drums
Kodjovi Kush – Percussion
Adesose Wallace – Percussion

Full album free download

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