New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Following her debut album RISE, which reached No.1 in the UK Classical chart, Classic BRIT Award-winning saxophonist Jess Gillam releases TIME on Friday 25 September
on Decca Classics.
Physical pre-order is available now and the first single, Luke Howard's Dappled Light - written especially for Gillam - is available for streaming and download from today here. Four more singles will also be released digitally, every three weeks in the lead up to the album's worldwide release.
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.
Jess Gillam says: "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."
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.
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.
Jess Gillam says: "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!"
Meredith Monk Early Morning Melody
Dappled Light (commission)
Parkin Truman Sleeps
Anna Meredith arr. Jack Ross Bubble Gun
Michael Nyman Where the Bee Dances
Will Gregory Orbit (commission)
Björk arr. John Metcalfe Venus as a Boy
Max Richter arr. Elspeth Mackay On the Nature of Daylight
Philip Glass Melody
for Saxophone No.10
Joby Talbot Transit of Venus
Brian Eno/Jon Hopkins/Leo Abrahams arr. Geoff Lawson
Emerald and Stone
Jess Gillam saxophone
Jess Gillam Ensemble
Jess Gillam Ensemble
Roberts Balanas Violin
Michael Jones Violin
Ciaran McCabe Violin
Gabriella Jones Violin
Laurie Anderson Viola
Eoin Schmidt-Martin Viola
Oscar Holch Viola
Ali Vennart Viola
Gabriella Swallow Cello
Matthew Sharp Cello
Rowena Calvert Cello
Sam Becker Double
Bass/ Bass Guitar/ Bass Synth
Leif Lidstrom Piano/ Rhodes
Ben Dawson Piano
Lysandre Ménard Piano
Elsa Bradley Marimba/ Vibraphone/ Glockenspiel
Sam Wilson Percussion
Alasdair Malloy Glass Harmonica
John Metcalfe Percussive Sounds
"Gillam...spreads joy" The Times
"Gillam is the real thing, deserving serious attention" Artsdesk
Hailing from Ulverston in Cumbria, Jess Gillam is animating the music world with her outstanding talent and infectious personality, bringing classical music to new audiences through both her world class live performances and her work on television and radio.
After performing at the prestigious Last Night of the Proms in 2018 and having her performance described as "the indisputable highlight" by BBC News, Jess continues to grow her international career. Highlights of the 19/20 season include performing with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra as part of the Last Night of the BBC Proms Japan and New Year concerts with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra.
This 20/21 season, she will perform across the world with leading orchestras such as The Halle, National
Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Brno Philharmonic, and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Jess also embarks upon her first US Recital Tour and will perform in many major cities on the East coast including the Lincoln Center in New York, in Boston, Washington, Princeton and Waterford. She is also a European Concert Halls Organisation (ECHO) Rising Star which, each year, gives Europe's brightest young musical talent an international platform.
Passionate about collaborating and exploring the versatility and dynamism of the saxophone, Jess will also launch her latest project - a tour with the 'Jess Gillam Ensemble': a dynamic group of close friends performing an electrifying range of music!
Jess is the first ever saxophonist to be signed to Decca Classics and her debut album "Rise" shot to No.1 in the Official UK Classical Charts. Featuring a selection of her favourite pieces ranging from Marcello and Shostakovich to David
Bowie and Kate Bush, it was highly celebrated and received rave reviews and was featured in The Times Top 100 albums of 2019.
Jess has been the recipient of a Classic BRIT Award (in the Sound of Classical Poll), was the first ever saxophonist to reach the final of BBC Young Musician, and in 2019, performed live at the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Awards) to millions of viewers at home.
She is also a presenter on TV and Radio. She became the youngest ever presenter for BBC Radio
3 and hosts her own weekly show called "This Classical Life" in which she talks to musical friends and colleagues about the music that inspires them. The show is in its second year now and in 2020 has been awarded the prestigious ARIA Award for Best Specialist Music
Show. It has been very well received by audiences and critics alike, with The Guardian stating "there are many more established presenters who lack Gillam's warmth and impressive ability". In 2019 she also presented five BBC Proms on television alongside Katie Derham and Tom Service.
A free spirit in style and character, Jess is a passionate advocate for the power of music in society, often combining her concert engagements with educational and social projects. She is a patron for Awards for Young Musicians and a trustee for the newly formed HarrisonParrott Foundation, working towards full inclusivity of all ethnicities, genders, disabilities and social backgrounds with equal access to the arts.
She is a Vandoren UK Artist and became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones aged just 13. She is a lover of live music and continues to promote her own concert series, bringing international talent to her hometown of Ulverston.