FEATURE: Rory Simmons – We Drift Meridian (Album Launch, Servants Jazz Quarters, October 4th)

Monocled Man. L-R: Rory Simmons, Chris Montague, Jon Scott

Trumpeter, guitarist and composer RORY SIMMONS,who tours the world with Jamie Cullum’s band will be launching the new album of his band Monocled Man on Tuesday October 4th at Servant’s Jazz Quarters. Here he explains the background:

This is the first album I have made which has begun with truly extra-musical inspiration. The imagery and narrative of this music is drawn from a book by German author Judith Shcalansky. Her Pocket Book Of Remote Islands tells a idiosyncratic tale of her childhood fascination with far flung islands around the world and their former (or current) inhabitants. Although in non-fiction format, the novel uses her quirky style to give a fascinating exploration of these far-flung islands.

A handful of these stories fascinated me in particular, and I decided to use these as the genesis for some track titles and lyrics which went on to form We Drift Meridian. More than the stories of the islands themselves, these were more about the characters and people who had become synonymous with these atolls. From the despotic Mexican miner on Clipperton Island in the South Pacific; to the recipient of his unwanted affections, Tirza Rendon. From the disappearance of an American teenager in the 70’s in the Marshall Islands to the Norwegian wife of an Edwardian whaler from Deception Island in the South Antarctic.

The music itself is driven by soundscapes and electronics, from the ambient to the beat driven. The influences of Clark, Bibio and Jon Hopkins were as strong on this album as the influences of Chicago Underground and Dave Douglas.

I’m delighted to have Chris Montague and Jon Scott in the band, what they bring sonically is truly individual, and what they bring improvisationally is constantly shifting and exciting to work with. The experience of recording, producing and performing this music live has been an inspiring process; using their musical voices in the recording of the raw materials for this album and shaping it along with their input and vision.

There are also two amazing vocalists featuring on the album. Emilia Martensson is someone I have worked with many times, and is a close friend as well as musical collaborator. Her performance on We Drift Meridian is one of poise and delicacy, yet with unmistakeable intention and depth. Also featuring is Ed Begley, whose delivery on Deception Island is as exciting to me now as it was the first time we recorded it. We are lucky to have a guest singer and another long time collaborator of mine on the launch gig on Tuesday. The incredible Elisabeth Nygaard, (who now resides in Trondheim, Norway) will be joining us.

Mixed by Alex Bonney and mastered by Peter Beckmann, I’m really lucky to have made an album with some great friends- which is an aspect of this album I really treasure.

Rory Simmons. Photo credit: Alex Bonney

We Drift Meridian is out on Whirlwind Recordings. The album launch is  on Tues Oct 4th at the Servant’s Jazz Quarters, with a support set from Chris Sharkey.

LINK: Rory Simmons website

Categories: miscellaneous

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