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Shetland is to host some of the world's finest young jazz musicians next weekend when the Michael Janisch Quintet make their way north during their Purpose Built tour.

An eclectic mix of everything from Latin and swing to soul, groove and the avant garde can be expected from Janisch's band at evening concerts in the Sandwick Social Club on Friday 17th and St Columba's Church, Lerwick, on Saturday 18th, followed by a session in the Lounge on Sunday 19th.

Not content with playing two concerts and the Lounge session, the band will also be holding a series of school workshops and an informal jam session with the public at the Sandwick Social Club before their concert on Friday. There will also be a masterclass at St Columba's on Saturday afternoon.

Each concert will feature support from one of Shetland’s up and coming young bands, Norman and the Folding Deckchairs.

The visit marks the last of the Peerie Willie Guitar Season concerts, held in celebration of the late great Shetland guitarist Willie Johnson. Performances and educational events this year have featured Ian Bairnson, Jim Mullen, John Etheridge and the Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project.

The group is led by electric and upright bassist Janisch. The name may be familiar to Shetland audiences as Janisch visited as a member of the Alyn Cosker Quartet earlier this year and has been keen to return since.

Mr Jansich said: “I've been all over the place and Shetland was still by far one of the most interesting, fun, and dare I say mystical places I've ever toured!”

Originally from Wisconsin, he is now based in London where he is an in demand session player, and hosts a regular night at the famous Ronnie Scott's jazz club.

His virtuosity has resulted in numerous press accolades – The Times describe him as “always hip, melodic, and bouncy”, JazzWise Magazine observed he is a “brilliantly imaginative player, a force of nature”, The Guardian dubbed Janisch “One of the UK’s most exciting new Improvisers with percussive, Mingus-like power”, and the Telegraph noted “Seeing Michael Janisch play jazz bass is a tonic in itself. He doesn’t tickle or stroke the instrument, like so many European players, he masters it, the notes always dead centre in pitch, round in tone, and prefaced with a ’thunk’ that has the force of a drum-stroke.”

Shetland Arts’ music development officer Bryan Peterson said: “A group led by a bassist is a first for the Peerie Willie Festival. It is fitting as Willie himself was a great bassist as well as seminal guitar player.”

Janisch is joined by four brilliant musicians - guitarist Phil Robson, saxophonist Paul Booth, trumpeter Jay Phelps and drummer Andrew Bain, who have a host of awards and accolades between them.

Robson has won numerous awards for his playing including the has won numerous awards for his playing including the BT ‘Best Soloist of the Year’ award, Perrier Young Jazz award for the ‘Best Instrumentalist of the Year’ and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards ‘Best Jazz Musician of the year.’

His list of playing credits include recordings and performances with such luminaries as Barbra Streisand, Sir John Dankworth & Dame Cleo Laine, Wayne Krantz, Georgy Fame, Tommy Smith, Martin Taylor, Michael McDonald and Pee Wee Ellis.

Canadian Phelps is at the forefront of the young and creative generation of jazz musicians in the UK. Remarkably experienced for a musician in his 20s, he has played with the likes of Courtney Pine, Wynton Marsalis, Ray Brown, John Hendricks, George Benson, Jamie Cullum, Sir John Dankworth, Amy Winehouse, and Charlotte Church..

Saxophonist Booth is one of the most exciting and in demand musicians on the scene today. He has won many awards including the prestigious Clifford Brown/Stan Getz fellowship in Miami and the Best Modern Jazz Player category in the televised Young Jazz Player of the Year competition. Currently in the Steve Winwood band, he has performed worldwide with the likes of Eric Clapton, Snowboy, Tony Hadley and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Finally, drummer Bain is one of the leading performers and educators in the UK today. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Manhattan School of Music, and winner of the BBC Big Band Drummer award, he has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman and Bob Mintzer. Bain is also co-director of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland.

The band are currently on tour to support Janisch’s latest album ‘Purpose Built’ which has been receiving great critical acclaim - “well-crafted, polished writing and arranging, merging straightahead, latin, fusion styles for the contemporary jazz palette...", (JazzWise), "exuberantly angular and rhythmic, can unexpectedly veer towards the tender…4 stars" (Telegraph), "infectiously vibrant debut" (Scotsman), "Janisch's originals balance complexity and pulse - 4 Stars” (Financial Times), "one of the most inventive cross-border bandleaders to have recently arrived on the scene" -- John Fordham, The Guardian

Mr Peterson added: “The group truly are some of the most prodigiously talented jazz musicians in the world. I urge everyone to take the opportunity to experience their music, and thoroughly recommend local musicians of all styles to come along to the masterclass on Saturday and session on Sunday to get an insight into their remarkable playing and compositional techniques.”

Tickets for the evening concerts, which start at 9pm at the Sandwick Social Club on Friday the 17th and at 7.30pm at St Columba’s Church on Saturday the 18th cost £12 (£8 concession) and are available at Shetland Box Office. Tickets for the Sandwick concert are also available on the door or at the Social Club.

Tickets for the masterclass at St Columba’s, from 2-4pm on Saturday the 18th cost £5, also available from Shetland Box Office or at the door. Under 16s are free.

Entry to the jam session at the Lounge on Sunday 19th is free, participants are welcome.

Itinerary

Friday 17th December

  • 10am to 1pm - School workshops
  • 7pm to 9pm - Sandwick Jazz Session @ Sandwick Social Club - Free jam session, all abilities welcome
  • 9pm till late - Concert in Sandwick Social Club Function Room - £12/8 - Tickets from Shetland Box Office, Sandwick Social Club or on door

Saturday 18th December

  • 2pm to 4pm - Masterclass at St. Columba's Church, Lerwick - £5 (under 16s free) - Tickets from Shetland Box Office or on door
  • 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm - Concert at St. Columba's Church, Lerwick - £12/8 - Tickets from Shetland Box Office or on door

Sunday 19th December

  • 2pm to 5 pm - Lounge Bar, Lerwick - Free jam session, all abilities welcome

The band

Michael Janisch - electric and upright bass

Since his arrival in London in 2005 (where he now resides), Michael has worked with many of the UK’s leading internationally renown jazz artists, “adding a little muscle” (JazzReview.com) to the bands of Jason Rebello, Gary Husband, Sir John Dankworth, Jean Toussaint, Phil Robson, Tim Garland, Julian Joseph, Martin Taylor, Tommy Smith, Julian Arguellis, Christine Tobin, Dennis Rollins, Nigel Hitchcock, Martin France, and Gerard Presencer, as well as rising stars Soweto Kinch, Jim Hart, Paul Towndrow, Alex Garnett, Robert Mitchell, Paul Booth and Gwilym Simcock. In addition to his work in the jazz world, Janisch has performed with such diverse stars from Annie Lennox to Kevin Spacey to Cat Stevens, and has appeared on the Michael Parkinson Show, MTV Europe, The Brit Awards, Strictly Come Dancing, and various BBC programs and documentaries. Moreover, he currently teaches at both the Royal Academy of Music and The Trinity College, two of Europe's finest institutions of music.

But it is Michael's rapidly blossoming career as a bandleader, however, that has garnered the young bassist the most international attention. He has established a strong reputation as a guiding light for creating world-class collaborations between musicians in the US and the UK. John Fordham, one of the UK's leading jazz critics, affirms that "the London-based American bassist Michael Janisch, whose virtuosity has put him in the UK's top jazz flight since his arrival in 2005, is having an impact beyond his hard-driving bass playing, with his high profile matching of American and British talent." (Jazz UK).

His groups have headlined to sell-out crowds up and down the country, from Ronnie Scott's in the heart of Soho to the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen, Scotland. In 2008, his critically acclaimed TransAtlantic Collective embarked on an extensive UK tour, performing in over 30 venues across England, Scotland, and Wales, and headlining London's famous Southbank Centre Purcell Room as one of the London Jazz Festival's featured acts. His groups perform regularly across Mainland Continental Europe and his native US as well.

In January 2009, he recorded a full program of mainly original music with 9 world-class American and British musicians at the renown Systems Two recording studio in Brooklyn, New York. These musicians are some of the guiding lights of their generation, including tenor saxophonists Walter Smith III and Paul Booth, vibraphonist Jim Hart, guitarists Mike Moreno and Phil Robson, alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius, trumpeter Jason Palmer, pianist Aaron Goldberg, and drummer Johnathan Blake. This project was released worldwide in mid October as Janisch's debut album "Purpose Built" on his own newly minted "Whirlwind Recordings Ltd." label. In celebration of the record's launch, Janisch embarked on a tour the UK with an all-star quintet of international musicians performing the music from this exciting new release. This entire project is the bassist's most creative and ambitious musical adventure to date, showcasing music that cuts a wide swath from the broad stylistic continuum of jazz history, and in addition representing the diverse range of the bassist's musical influences outside the improvised realm. Highlight performances from the band's itinerary included a headline berth at the Scarborough International Jazz Festival and 2 nights at the venerable Pizza Express Jazz Room in Soho, where Janisch also kicked off a new monthly residency to showcase his musical projects.

Phil Robson - guitar

Phil is internationally regarded as a highly versatile and creative player who appears in all kinds of diverse settings, as well as being a renowned bandleader & composer. It is difficult to categorise his style of playing & writing, as so many influences & experiences have gone into the melting pot.

Earlier, prevailing influences such as Hendrix & Miles, Parker etc blend with many elements from the wider jazz world such as Ornette Coleman, Dave Holland, McCoy Tyner etc as well as with dimensions from African & Brazilian music, 20th century composers & contemporary musicians of all kinds as well as maintaining a respect for the entire jazz tradition. He has been commissioned several times to write music & put projects together by both Derby Jazz & Birmingham jazz.

In pure guitar terms, a large cross section (Wes, Martino, Hall, Eubanks, Frisell, Metheny etc, etc) are apparent in the mix, but the end result has created an individual way of playing that prompted US sax legend David Liebman to say "Phil is a wonderful guitarist and composer, definitely a unique player. We had a ball and hopefully I will be able to play with Phil again."

Phil has won numerous awards for his playing including the BT 'Best Soloist of the Year' award (1997), Perrier Young Jazz award for the 'Best Instrumentalist of the Year' (1998) and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 'Best Jazz Musician of the year.' (2009)

Phil's list of playing credits include recordings and performances with such luminaries as Barbra Streisand, Sir John Dankworth & Dame Cleo Laine, Big Jon Patton, Georgy Fame, Martin Taylor, Michael McDonald, Pee Wee Ellis, Sammy Nestico & Bud Shank, Lalo Shiffron, Charles Earland, David Liebman, Horatio El Negro Hernandez, Steve Lacy, Mark Turner, Billy Hart, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Marc Copland, Wayne Krantz, Mike Gibbs, James Genus, Peter Herbert, Bob Brookmeyer, Tim Garland, Tommy Smith, Django Bates, Stan Sulzmann, Jeff Williams, John Hebert, Ben Street, Duane Eubanks, Bobby Wellins and Denys Baptiste.

Jay Phelps - trumpet

Jay is at the forefront of the young and creative generation of jazz musicians in the UK, with an instantly recognizable warm and projecting tone. A Vancouver-born Canadian, Jay was tutored by the city’s top jazz and classical trumpeters and distinguished himself early on as the youngest band-leader in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival's history.

At 17, Jay moved to London, determined to immerse himself in the jazz scene and immediately attracted the notice of Gary Crosby who offered him work with Jazz Jamaica, Nu Troop and, in 2002, the opportunity to be a Tomorrow’s Warrior. Citing Louis Armstrong, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown and Miles Davis as his main influences, Jay went on to create and co-lead the young and hip jazz sensation Empirical, where he spent two years touring major festivals and events, while garnishing worldwide media attention that UK jazz musicians haven't enjoyed for years. Jay has performed and recorded with a veritable who's who of both UK and international jazz artists such as Courtney Pine, Andrew Hill, Wynton Marsalis, Ray Brown, John Hendricks, Nasheet Waits, George Benson, Jamie Cullum, Sir John Dankworth, Dennis Rollins, Guy Barker, Amy Winehouse, Charlotte Church, Hugh Masakela and Jazz Jamaica. Still only 28, Jay is determined to educate the next generation of jazz musicians with a local project entitled Jazz Youth.

In Jay Walkin'--his solo-debut--Jay departs from the current trend of experimental modernism, occasionally evoking the spirit of the 1940's New York Birdland scene with playful vocals by showman-vocalist Michael Mwenso. Set out to honour the integrity and capture what is the traditional spirit of Jazz music, Phelps has composed and arranged songs with this in his vision.

Paul Booth - saxophones

Paul Booth is one of the most exciting and in demand musicians on the scene today.

Although a very prominent figure on the jazz scene with an album released on the Jazzizit label and his latest album "No Looking Back" on the Basho label, his versatility has seen him play in many musical genres. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London from the age of 16 and graduated with honours at the age 20.

In his early years he won many awards including the prestigious Clifford Brown/Stan Getz fellowship held in Miami, "The Best Modern Jazz Player" category in the televised "Young Jazz Player of the Year" competition and many more.

Paul is currently in the Steve Winwood band has performed worldwide with the likes of Riverdance (for over two years), Eric Clapton, Matt Bianco, Basia, Tony Hadley, Eddie Henderson, Alex Wilson, Roberto Pla, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Snowboy, Ray Gelato, Jane Monheit.

He is a regular at Ronnie Scotts jazz club in London with his own band and others and has done several UK tours under his own name with the backing of Jazz Services and Jazz Action. Some other jazz groups he has been involved with include Arnie Somogyi's Ambulance, Sax Appeal, The New Couriers, Mike Garrick Big Band, Tim Garland's Northern Underground Orchestra etc.

Andrew Bain - drums

Andrew is one of the leading performers and educators in the UK. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and Winner of the BBC Big Band Drummer 2001, he has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, Iain Dixon, Mike Walker, Mike Janisch, Phil Robson, Jim Hart, Mark Lockheart, Chris Batchelor, Mark Hodgson, Jean Toussaint, Houston Pearson, John Parricelli, Steve Watts, Stan Sulzman, and was a member of Jacqui Dankworth’s band between 2007-8, recording with the late Sir John Dankworth in 2008. He has performed at London jazz clubs, Ronnie Scott's, The 606, The Vortex; at the BBC Proms, at the Montreux Jazz Festival and with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Receiving his Masters from the Manhattan School of Music, he was resident in New York from 2001-07. During this time he performed extensively with Thelonious Monk Competition winner Jon Irabagon and singer Jason Liebman. He performed at many of New York's famous clubs including Sin-E, CBGBs and the Mercury Lounge, and recorded at Sony Studios, NY. Andrew co-leads the NY-based group Confluence whose eponymous debut showcased original and highly inventive compositions. Their second record will be released on the record label Fresh Sound, New Talent later this year. Andrew is a faculty member at the Guildhall School of Music and the Birmingham Conservatoire. He is also a member of the National Youth Jazz Collective with Artistic Director Dave Holland and is co-Director of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland.

Press Quotes

...about Michael

”a jazz bassist everyone with ears seems to want” – The Buffalo News

“powerful, Charles Mingus-informed playing” -- All About Jazz

"Janisch is one of the few bass players out there who plays both electric and upright with equal facility, passion and musicality." -- Bass Musician Magazine

“Seeing Michael Janisch play jazz bass is a tonic in itself. He doesn’t tickle or stroke the instrument, like so many European players, he masters it, the notes always dead centre in pitch, round in tone, and prefaced with a ’thunk’ that has the force of a drum-stroke.” -- The Telegraph

“brilliantly imaginative player, a force of nature” -- JazzWise

“One of the UK's most exciting new Improvisers with percussive, Mingus-like power” -- The Guardian

“...Janisch seizes the instrument with a blend of speed and energy as if he wants to be melody, harmony and rhythm all at once.” -- The Telegraph (UK)

“...the London-based American bassist Michael Janisch, whose virtuosity has put him in the UK's top jazz flight since his arrival in 2005...is having an impact beyond his hard-driving bass-playing.” --John Fordham, Jazz UK

“always hip, melodic, and bouncy” --The Times of London

“Michael Janisch was a powerful, driving presence all night, but his speed, fluency, imagination and dextrous mastery of such a hulking instrument was really remarkable” -- The Left Lion, Nottingham

....about the 'Purpose Built' album and tour

"Bass players, jazz lovers, music lovers... you all owe it to yourselves to check this album out! Janisch is one of the few bass players out there who plays both electric and upright with equal facility, passion and musicality. This being his debut as a leader, I can honestly say that this may be the best debut album I’ve heard yet." -- Damian Erskine, Bass Musician Magazine

"His music is quite capable of creating beauty with attendant amounts of melodic and rhythmic interest... [Purpose Built]...abounds with innovation, invention, and imagination" -- The Musicians' Ombudsman

"Clearly an auspicious debut, there's not a wasted note on board and left leaning jazzbos will be feeling it. This kid has got it going on." -- Midwest Record

"Grabs your ears and won't let go" -- JazzWax

"If smart is sexy, then Purpose is an eminently sexy effort. The session has a staggering depth of thought, filled with content-rich pieces that routinely go beyond the genre's well-worn performance framework. Hopefully there is more where Purpose Built came from, because intelligent, full-bodied music like this is what jazz needs to succeed in this new century." -- J Hunter, All About Jazz

"An estimable release from a talented and energetic young artist" -- Jazz Chicago

"Purpose Built seamlessly marries the highest virtues of jazz – intricate yet purposeful rhythm, colourful harmonic language, compelling melody and high-level improvisation together with those often underused qualities of light and shade... a perfect blend of tradition and modernity" -- Jazz Journal

"well-crafted, polished writing and arranging, merging straightahead, latin, fusion styles for the contemporary jazz palette..." JazzWise

"Janisch's originals balance complexity and pulse" -- 4 Stars, Financial Times

"one of the most inventive cross-border bandleaders to have recently arrived on the scene" -- John Fordham, The Guardian

"infectiously vibrant debut" -- The Scotsman

"exuberantly angular and rhythmic, can unexpectedly veer towards the tender" -- 4 Stars Telegraph

"...originals are fresh and memorable while the mix of NY and UK musicians deliver faultless and inspired interpretations..." -- 4 Stars, MOJO Magazine

"one of the most enjoyable albums of 2009" -- 4 Stars, JazzMann

"excellent" -- 4 Stars, All Gig UK

"Impressive from beginning to end, Purpose Built goes a long way to building a sturdy foundation from which Janisch will undoubtedly carve out a long career in jazz. Excellent musicianship, intelligent compositions and an authoritative approach to the music, makes this recording an unquestionable success." -- Edward Blanco, All About Jazz

"driven by Janisch's unflagging dynamism... this is full-throttle, straightforwardly enjoyable but consistently musicianly jazz..." -- Vortex CD Review

"unique... satisfying... one of the best albums of the year" -- Blues and Soul Magazine

"Janisch’s writing is an attractive mix of densely harmonised tunes and softer, more open pieces giving space for excellent improvisation" -- The Oxford Times

"Purpose Built is a classy set of serious modern jazz with a dark edgy groove at its heart... [Janisch's] playing is full-bodied and warm sounding, much like a cross between Mingus and Dave Holland." -- Bass Guitar Magazine

“A good bass player builds and maintains a song’s structural integrity. That said, this album is indeed purpose built.” -- The Valdosta Times

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