TIME Jess Gillam
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- Meredith Monk (b. 1942):
- 1Early Morning Melody (Transcr. Parkin for Soprano Saxophone)00:59
- Luke Howard:
- 2Dappled Light04:12
- Thom Yorke (b. 1968):
- 3Suspirium (Arr. Rimmer)03:51
- Philip Glass (b. 1937):
- 4Truman Sleeps (Arr. Parkin)02:41
- Anna Meredith (b. 1978):
- 5Bubble Gun (Arr. Ross)03:35
- Michael Nyman (b. 1944):
- 6Where the Bee Dances16:37
- Will Gregory (b. 1959):
- Björk (b. 1965):
- 8Venus as a Boy (Arr. Metcalfe)04:05
- Max Richter (b. 1966):
- 9On the Nature of Daylight (Arr. Mackay)06:21
- Philip Glass:
- 10Melody for Saxophone No. 1002:04
- James Blake (b. 1988):
- 11Retrograde (Arr. Rimmer / Maydew)03:42
- Joby Talbot (b. 1971):
- 12Transit of Venus04:18
- Brian Eno (b. 1948), Jon Hopkins (b. 1979) & Leo Abrahams (b. 1977):
- 13Emerald and Stone (Arr. Lawson)02:19
Info for TIME
The recording mirrors the arc of energy in a passing day with two new commissions by Luke Howard and Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory and Nyman’s virtuosic Where the Bee Dances at its heart.
The album mirrors the arc of energy in a passing day and the constant orbit of our existence.
With a huge range of styles, moods and influences, the music offers the listener a space to immerse themselves in an oasis of sound and reflection. Gillam carefully curated the recording to be experienced as a whole, accompanying the listener through the unrelenting cycles of life itself – it will make you want to dance, pause, soar with the melodies or simply just smile.
“Last year I moved to London and quickly became acutely aware of the speed and intensity of life. Everything is in constant orbit: I am orbiting around the world as a musician, there’s the orbit of a day, of thoughts around the mind and I noticed how many people are looking for a place to stop and reflect.
I began thinking about this and wanted to create an album which gives the listener space in which to immerse themselves and perhaps give them a moment away from the world as it is right now. I listen to and love such a huge array of music so the album’s influences range from classical to techno and minimalism to alternative pop!
To me, music can be completely transformative and the experience of watching a live performance or sitting down to listen to an album is one of the only places in modern life where we can completely focus on what is happening before us with no distractions. There are no screens, no instant messaging, just a sense of direct communication. It’s something that requires patience but can be utterly life-affirming.” (Jess Gillam)
At the heart of the album is Where the Bee Dances: minimalist pioneer Michael Nyman’s 20-minute masterpiece for saxophone and orchestra. The incredibly electrifying and technical concerto is one of Gillam’s signature pieces and the work she performed in the final of BBC Young Musician in 2016, launching her career at the age of 17. Played on the album with the Aurora Orchestra and conducted by Nicholas Collon, recorded at Abbey Road, it is a piece that has inspired her from a young age. Nyman is also well known for his multi-platinum soundtrack album to Jane Campion’s The Piano (1993).
With a passion for pushing the boundaries of the saxophone and always looking to the next chapter of classical music, Gillam has also specially commissioned two new works for the album: Dappled Light by Luke Howard and Orbit by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory. The rest of the record features vivid contrasts between the intense rhythmic groove of Anna Meredith, the lilting, hypnotic patterns of Brian Eno as well as the hard-edged romanticism of Nyman and the gentle, melancholic whispers of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. There are also arrangements of works from multi-faceted and genre- breaking alternative artists including Björk and James Blake alongside familiar classical names such as Philip Glass, Max Richter and Joby Talbot. There will also be a 10-minute mini-documentary charting the making of the album available nearer the release date.
Australian Music Prize twice-longlisted composer Howard’s Dappled Light is a reflection on early dawn, with a soothing bed of soft piano and marimba sounds. The floating saxophone echoes bird song at the break of the day and growing warmth from strings resembles the sun as it rises.
Gregory, a renowned composer, producer, and saxophonist, composed Orbit as a reflection on the hustle and bustle of day. The saxophone spins around in driving, cyclic melodic patterns, over a relentless arpeggic figure shared by marimba and strings and the groove of a bass synth underlay.
Collaboration is a key component of the album and Gillam’s work. It is the first time the Jess Gillam Ensemble, made up of musician friends, have played and recorded together: the tracks were also refined in the studio with the input of the Ensemble as well as the composers/arrangers themselves. The album was mixed and mastered remotely whilst in lockdown.
“Making this album was one of the best experiences of my life. I was fortunate enough to record with an incredible group of musicians and close friends. The pieces grew and changed and were moulded over a few days and the feeling of collectivity, collaboration and concentration paired with a lot of laughter and smiling made for one of the most inspiring musical environments I’ve experienced. I am very grateful to all the musicians who have contributed to this album and to our wonderful producer Jonathan Allen.
Whilst we were able to get into the studio to record before lockdown, the process since then has been quite different! Due to the restrictions, we were not able to do a photoshoot so I hope you enjoy the homemade nature of the single covers!” (Jess Gillam)
Jess Gillam, saxophone
Jess Gillam Ensemble
Nick Collon, conductor
The 2017/18 season ended on a high for Jess Gillam who closed the 2018 BBC Proms in great style with three appearances in the world famous ‘Last Night of the Proms’ – performing as part of Radio 2’s ‘Proms in the Park’ before heading across to the Royal Albert Hall to join the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis for Milhaud’s Scaramouche, and a duet with star baritone Gerald Finley. This was Jess’s fourth appearance at the Festival following two performances in 2017 and a cameo at the 2018 BBC Young Musician Prom celebrating 40 years of the competition, which brought her into the limelight back in 2016.
In June 2018 Jess made her international debut with the Gothenburg Symphony and Santtu-Matias Rouvali, and her international appearances build rapidly this season including concerts with the Tampere Philharmonic, at l’Auditori Barcelona, a Swiss debut opening the season at the Argovia Philharmonic, and her US debut recital at the acclaimed Philip’s Collection series in Washington D.C. Jess was named one of WQXR’s ‘19 for 19’ Artists to Watch, playing at the launch event in New York. She also appears extensively in recital throughout the UK and performs with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic (Ben Gernon), BBC Concert Orchestra (Bramwell Tovey), Royal Northern Sinfonia (Jessica Cottis) and Manchester Camerata.
Jess records exclusively for Decca Classics and will release her first album “RISE” on 26 April, which features a selection of her favourite pieces ranging from Marcello and Shostakovich to David Bowie and Kate Bush. Her first three singles were published throughout the season: Milhaud: Scaramouche Suite - 3. Brazileira; Iturralde: Pequeña Czarda and Nyman: The Diary of Anne Frank – If.
Jess programmes and presents shows on TV and radio — being the youngest BBC presenter ever, she will launch her own Radio 3 Show called ‘This Classical Life’ in April 2019 and continues to host the BBC Young Musician podcast with Sam Becker and Zeynep Özsuca. In February 2019 she performed at the British Academy for Television Awards (BAFTA’s) at the Royal Albert Hall, wowing A-Listers and Royalty as well as millions of viewers. She also recently featured in a documentary celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the BBC Young Musician Competition. Throughout the 2018 Proms season Jess appeared in a weekly slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme alongside veteran broadcaster James Naughtie, and she has presented an episode of Saturday Classics on BBC Radio 3.
She was the recipient of a Classic Brit Award in the Sound of Classical Poll 2018 which promotes the best emerging artists and ones-to-watch in classical music. As well as being a Vandoren UK Artist, at just 13 she became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones and she is also a patron for Awards for Young Musicians. Jess also promotes her own series of concerts, bringing international talent to her hometown of Ulverston.
Jess studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with an ABRSM Scholarship, and is mentored by John Harle. She is very grateful for the support she has received from the Young Classical Artists Trust.
This album contains no booklet.