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Byron Wallen - new album and UK tour dates.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

We have received the following press release;


Released 21st February 2020
Twilight Jaguar Recordings

The New Album and UK Tour From Trumpet Maestro Byron Wallen

“His quartet creates a joyous head of steam. Odd time signatures abound, but Wallen remains funky and accessible.” - The Times

“Byron Wallen sometimes suggests an absorbing fusion of the fragmentary lyricism of late period Miles Davis and the spiky euphoria of Don Cherry,” - The Guardian

February 2020 will see the release of Portrait: Reflections On Belonging, the new and much anticipated album from innovative and renowned British jazz trumpeter Byron Wallen. It is his first recorded release in 13 years, and overall his fifth solo publication following his previous album Meeting Ground (2007) for which he received nominations for Best Band and Best Album in the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards and Best Jazz Act in the 2007 MOBO Awards

Portrait: Reflections On Belonging is a journey from Wallen’s sumptuous experiences of decades of extensive travelling, studying contemporary and indigenous cultures and connecting with people from all over the world, to realigning himself with the colourful kaleidoscope that is his own local community. He explains: “This album is a meditation and reflection on the powerful impact that music has had on my life. It was conceived whilst sitting in the central square in Woolwich, an area of South East London. I was struck by the community around me with its mixture of cultures and nationalities, from Nepalese elders to young Nigerian men, Somali mothers with their children, a new Eastern European contingent and descendants of families who used to work in the docks and at the Arsenal. Music paved my way to travel and see the world, meeting people from all different cultures andwalks of life. The study of music and the process of striving to become a better musician furnished me with a deeper knowledge of self and a gift I could share on so many different levels.

In PORTRAIT I am meditating on identity, culture and what it means to belong. The compositions, workshops, performances, and social interaction born out of this project deepened my artistic and personal relationships with the people in my neighbourhood. The album pays tribute to the heart, soul and vibrant provenance of the community I call my home.”

The project Portrait emerged from Wallen’s passionate engagement with his immediate surroundings through teaching, performing, leading workshops and ultimately collaborating with local artists. The album cover portrait has been created by Woolwich based visual artist Marc Drostle. Special guest vocals from Plumcroft Primary School resonate on several tracks and perfectly demonstrate the theme of community spirit that runs throughout the album. The band, Byron Wallen’s Four Corners, will tour the UK in early 2020 and endeavour to replicate the same level of social synergy wherever their live shows take them.

Byron Wallen’s music is distinctive and individual, his passionate musical knowledge and his fascination with the human spirit is evident in all of his music. Byron’s creative output is deeply influenced by his experiences with musicians on his travels around the world, including countries such as South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, East Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Indonesia and his parents’ homeland Belize. Skilfully combining these influences with true and wide-ranging elements from the jazz tradition make his music stand out as an inimitable, one of a kind sound.

Having studied with luminaries such as Jimmy Owens, Donald Byrd and Jon Faddis, and played alongside legendary musicians such as George Benson, Chaka Khan, Hugh Masekela, Andrew Hill, Red Snapper, Mulatu Astatke and King Sunny Ade, Byron Wallen is a revered and respected musician in jazz, world music and beyond. His Gayan Gamelan projects, notably his recent adaptation of Boards of Canada’s seminal album Music Has the Right to Children, have won widespread critical acclaim from media, peers and music fans alike for the beautiful marriage of traditions from Indonesia and EastAfrica, and its fusion with the urban sounds of modern dance music and contemporary classical styles.

On the album Portrait: Reflections On Belonging, Byron Wallen plays the trumpet, flugelhorn, shells, piano and percussion. He is accompanied by his dazzling ‘Four Corners’ band made up by Rob Luft on guitar, Paul Michael on bass and Rod Youngs on drums, and joined on several tracks by the ardent African percussion expert Richard ‘Olatunde’ Baker with his congas and talking drums. The overall result is a sublime listen, ultimately providing hope and inspiration by way of creativity, unity and togetherness.

Byron Wallen (b. 1969) was raised in a musical family and as a child studied classical piano, euphonium, trumpet, flute and drums. In the mid 1980’s the trumpet became Wallen’s primary instrument of choice.

Wallen’s first major work, Tarot Suite (1994), was inspired by a love of mythology and symbolism, which reflected the archetypal journey of human life through an interdisciplinary pan-continental approach.

Wallen’s study of cognitive psychology has aided his transition towards conceptualising music as a medium for healing. Wallen raises awareness and invokes change by unlocking boundaries through the nature and science of sound.

Widely recognised as a seminal figure in Jazz, Wallen is an acclaimed writer and producer whose original scores have been commissioned by the Science Museum; PRS, The BBC, Jerwood Foundation, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, Arts Council, FIFA and Sage Gateshead. He has also composed soundscapes for Universal Pictures, Warner Bros and Game of Thrones.

The PRS For Music Foundation’s commission ‘Anthem for Woolwich’, which forms the foundation for his album Portrait: Reflections On Belonging, forges new links between schools, venues, musicians and residents to strengthen the resilience and promote the cohesion of the community.

Wallen has received the BBC Jazz Innovation Award (2003) and has been nominated several times for the MOBO Awards. In 2017 he was honoured with the coveted Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists.

2020 Tour Dates:

TUE 24th MARCH           East Side Jazz                     Leytonstone

THU 26th MARCH           Modern Jazz @ CUC Wine Bar     Cambridge

SAT 4th APRIL               The Verdict                     Brighton

SUN 5th APRIL               Herts Jazz Club                   St Albans

FRI 1st MAY                 Calstock Arts Centre               Calstock

SAT 2nd MAY               Tinners Moon Festival               Ashburton

SUN 17th MAY               Legends Festival                   Birmingham

WED 10th June             National Centre for Early Music     York

THU 11th JUNE             Bonington Theatre           Nottingham

SAT 12th SEPTEMBER         Shrewsbury Jazz Network         The Hive Music & Media Centre, Shrewsbury

THU 17th SEPTEMBER         Jazz at Future Inn                 Bristol

SAT 19th SEPTEMBER         The [email protected] George           South Molton

WED 23rd SEPTEMBER       Dorchester Arts                   Dorchester

FRI 2nd OCTOBER           Bracknell Jazz                     Bracknell

TUE 6th OCTOBER           Jazz Hastings                     Hastings

WED 14th OCTOBER         The Lescar                       Sheffield

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