Favourite Animals – “Favourite Animals” (Luminous Label, 2017)

“Favourite Animals” had been released this month by “Luminous Label”. This album was recorded by “Favourite Animals” ensemble which is an expanded lineup of “Sloth Racket” ensemble. Ten interesiting masters had recorded this album – it’s Dee Byrne (alto saxophone), Julie Kjær (bass clarinet, flute), Tom Ward (bass clarinet, flute), Graham South (trumpet), Tullis Rennie (trombone), Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone), Sam Andreae (tenor saxophone), Anton Hunter (guitar), Seth Bennett (bass) and Johnny Hunter (drums). Dee Byrne is a saxophonist, composer and improviser based in London. She’s an active member in UK avant-garde jazz scene, also is involved in various modern and contemporary jazz projects. Dee Byrne has her own jazz ensemble “Entropi”, she also plays with large ensemble “Favourite Animals” and other musicians. Julie Kjaer is avant-garde jazz saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, also – composer and improviser. Since the beginning of her musical career several years ago, Julie Kjaer had toured internationally and played with various famous avant-garde jazz musicians. Her playing is based on adventurous musical decisions – she try out many extended and innovative playing techniques, search for new and unusual timbres. Julie Kjaer playing is very dynamic, interesting and based on innovative musical experiments. Tom Ward is a musician, composer and computer programmer from Yorkshire, currently based in London. His primary instrument is the saxophone, but in recent years he has also been involved in a variety of projects playing clarinets and flute. Tom leads the “Madwort Saxophone Quartet” which is formed of three outstanding young saxophone players – Chris Williams, Cath Roberts and Andrew Woolf. The quartet had recently released their debut album – ” “Live at Hundred Years Gallery” on Efpi Records. Graham South is an avant-garde jazz trumpeter. His playing style is based on free and spontaneous improvising, interesting and surprising stylistic waves, very energetic and dynamic playing. Tullis Rennie is a composer, electronic musician, trombonist, field-recordist, DJ, improviser, biscuit obsessive and slow-cycling enthusiast. His playing is a synthesis between many different music styles – eletronics, experimental music, academic avant-garde and avant-garde jazz. Cath Roberts is avant-garde jazz saxophone player which is currently live in London. She works in various ensembles which are based on free improvisations, avant-garde jazz and experimental music – she’s the member of “Madwort Sax Quartet”, Anton Hunter’s “Article XI”, “Saxoctopus” and “Word Of Moth”. Sam Andreae is avant-garde jazz saxophonist. His playing is always interesting and full astonishing ways of playing – he use many unusual and extended playing techniques, combines together different music styles and their elements. Anton Hunter is a composer and improviser living in Manchester. He leads his own trio, which had been improvised with such improvisers as Mick Beck, Sam Andreae, Simon Prince, Rodrigo Constanzo, Cath Roberts, Phil Marks, David Birchall, Keith Jafrate and others. Seth Bennett is double bass player from UK. His unique and interesting playing style is full of many different music elements and expressions – all these elements bring colorful, innovative and dynamic sound to his compositions. Johny Hunter is an avant-garde jazz drummer His music is based on synthesis of avant-garde and contemporary jazz elements. He also is performing various projects in reggae and dub scene. Johny Hunter had played with various famous musicians – it’s Benn Clatworthy, Mick Beck, Nat Birchall, Jamil Sheriff, Jamie Taylor, Pete Fairclough and many others.

This album music is based on main avant-garde jazz elements, collective improvisation, spontaneous musical decisions and the synthesis between free jazz and various modern jazz styles. The compositions are full of interesting solos which have vivacious, dynamic and effective sound. Whole album also has bright, adventurous and evocative musical language, difficult musical pattern and very colorful instrumentation. The musical pattern is formed by many different music language elements – various types of rhythms, colorful and interesting harmony chords which are highly contrasting with each other, extended playing techniques and wide range of musical expressions. All these elements make a very rich and interesting melodic and rhythmical basements, rich and avocative form and facture and extravagant sound of the compositions. The musicians are always experimenting in all ways of musical language elements – they aggressively change the form, use very sharp and provocative harmony chords, and also search and extract new and unusual timbres. The creative and interesting improvising is combined together with soft and lyrical episodes whose are very contrasting to the first ones – these episodes have more lyrical, peaceful and restful sound, soft and colorful harmony and are based on the main elements of various traiditonal and modern jazz styles. This original and outstanding combination between absolutely different music styles, elements and expressions bring to this album surprising and interesting sound. Ten musicians of “Sloth Racket” ensemble are improvising very differently and individually. Each of them has its own playing manner, unique sound and improvising style. Wild fast, vibrant and expressive saxophones, solid and bright sound of trumpets and trombones, soft and colorful flute solos, playful, joyful and vivacious clarinets create a very solid and strong reeds instruments section which make an effort to all album compositions. Expressive, loud and sharp reeds episodes are marvelously combined with soft and lyrical pieces. The main elements of avant-garde jazz, bebop, hard-bop, some intonations from contemporary and traditional jazz are heard very clearly in all reeds instruments improvisations. The guitar sounds gently fits together with reeds. Anton Hunter improvisations are full of various musical experiments, interesting timbres, spobntaneous musical decisions and astonishing playing techniques. He also combine together some elements of contemporary, modern and free jazz with some rock music intonations. Bass and drums improvisations also are very dynamic and created of contrasting pieces gently fused together – the musicians use many different playing techniques, combine absolutely different rhythms, harmony and musical expressions in one composition. The reeds instruments section make a strong, interesting and extraordinary melodic basic, and the guitar, bass and drums – the colorful and dynamic rhythmic basic and gorgeous background. All music of this album is very interesting – it always full of shocking and interesting musical decisions, spontaneous and energetic solos, different playing manners, creative musical experiments and wide range of musical expressions. All these elements, music styles, moods and characters are masterfully and organically combined together in one compostion and make an original, interesting and adventurous sound.


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