Kairos 4Tet featuring Emilia Mårtensson
@ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
6 July 2013
Click an image to enlarge.
Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune
moment – the supreme moment. Kairos 4Tet was born out of a
desire to explore times past, present and future, creating music
with a sense of space, between the competing worlds of written melody
and in-the-moment improvisation.
Fronted by saxophonist and composer Adam Waldmann, Kairos 4Tet
are fast becoming a cornerstone of the British jazz scene. They
are one of a kind – bridging the gap between classic and contemporary;
the jazz idiom and the lineage of song; ferocious grooves, burning
improvisations and melodies that linger long after the music stops.
A former student of Julian Arguelles and Yuri Honing, Waldmann
has worked with the likes of Alicia Keys, Mark Ronson, Mark Guiliana,
Alan Hampton, Paloma Faith, Tinie Tempah, beatbox sensation Shlomo,
The Sam Crowe Group, Will Vinson, Jim Hart and Dutch band FinnSilver
amongst numerous others. In 2010 Waldmann made the leap to band
leader and released Kairos 4tet’s debut: “Kairos Moment,”
an album that marked him out as “a powerful new voice
in British jazz” (BBC), “ a precociously talented
composer and player” (All About Jazz) and as a “young
master in the making” (Time Out). In 2011, their second
release, “Statement of Intent” was voted no.2 in MOJO
Magazine’s albums of the year and led to the MOBO Award for
‘Best Jazz Act’.
Their third album “Everything We Hold,” and first outing
on the renowned Naim Jazz label, takes Kairos in a new and unexpected
direction. In a bid to push the boundaries of his own creativity
Waldmann explores in great depth the art of song, paying homage
to some of the relationships he holds dearest. Social and political
concerns remain a strong influence and The 99 suite that frames
the album in recognition of The Occupy movement, serves as a reminder
of connectivity and kinship on a wider scale. Stand out vocals come
courtesy of Swedish chanteuse Emilia Mårtensson, acclaimed
neo-soul icon Omar (who first met the band at the 2011 MOBO Awards),
and husky voiced, emerging Irish singer-songwriter Marc O’Reilly.
Their vocal talents appear in unlikely and exciting new contexts,
incorporated seamlessly into the quartet’s unique sound world,
whilst adding another intriguing dimension. Extending this further
is producer/arranger extraordinaire Jules Buckley (Anthony and the
Johnsons, Michael Kiwanuka), the founder-conductor of the Heritage
Orchestra, and principal guest conductor with Holland’s Metropole
Orchestra. With the addition of strings, harp, harmonium, bass clarinet,
glockenspiel and French horn, their sonic landscape is deeper and
richer than ever before.
Kairos 4tet’s secret weapons on “Everything We Hold”
are the mesmerising lyrics of writer, filmmaker and actor Rupert
Friend (Pride & Prejudice, Young Victoria, Homeland) an old
and close friend of Waldmann’s who also directed a unique
and stunning music video for “Song For The Open Road”
Whether it’s “Home to You”– an unashamed
love song; “Narrowboat Man”– an ode to friendship;
“Ell’s Bells” - a lullaby for Waldmann’s
niece or one of the instrumental dedications to his band mates,
the Kairos 4Tet trademark qualities remain. At the very core of
each song is a lyrical, melodic quality and exceptional inventiveness.
“Everything We Hold” showcases the compelling rapport
of a working band who have long been fine tuning their intricate
dialogue on Europe’s top stages, at the height of their powers.
With Waldmann, a graceful player, described as “one of the
most distinctive saxophonists in the UK” (Manchester Evening
News) on breathy tenor and quirky soprano, bassist Jasper Høiby’s
muscular low ends (Phronesis, Shai Maestro), Ivo Neame’s dazzling
piano (Cinematic Orchestra, Marius Neset) and Jon Scott’s
hypnotic drumming (Mulatu Astatke, Dice Factory) the quartet allow
the warmth of their communal spirit and of the now improvisational
edge to shine through.