Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dan Forshaw - Jazz Vespers (2016)


Dan Forshaw is one of the most passionate and charismatic musicians on the British Jazz scene.  Born in Blackpool, Lancashire, Dan studied in both London and New York and has played all over the world with many different ensembles ranging from jazz quartet’s to cathedral choirs. He is one of the UK’s leading experts on John Coltrane and has written a number of published articles on the music and Theology of ‘Trane’.  Tim Price, Professor of saxophone in New York and a former teacher of Dan said, ‘Forshaw has reached a strong level of musicality, depth and technique that very few players have….he is a breath of fresh air, ‘hear him!’

Fleetwood & First Gigs
Dan grew up in the small Lancashire fishing town of Fleetwood.  Opera star Alfie Boe lived a few doors away from Dan and music was a big part of Dan’s childhood. In his youth he performed for Royalty, U.S. President Bill Clinton and for the opening of Tony Blair’s first conference as Prime Minister!

Dan was taught by Ray Wilkes, a legend on the Northern Jazz scene and a former member of Cedar Walton’s band in New York.  Dan started picking up gigs aged 14 and by 16 Dan was on the road with the ‘Amazing Blues Brothers Soul Revue Tour.’

New York, London & Belfast
After meeting Branford Marsalis at the RNCM in April 2003, Branford invited Dan to study with him in the USA, which Dan did in March 2005.  Whilst in New York Dan was inspired by the many amazing musicians he heard and met & upon retiring to England he moved to London.  Dan’s target was to return to New York, but meeting and marrying his wife Katy, led to a move to Belfast in 2007.  Dan was active on the small but thriving Irish Jazz Scene until his move back to England in 2011.

Cambridge and beyond…
Dan is now based in Cambridge where he teaches saxophone at the University and to students all over the world, (including Antartica) through his innovative teaching site, Cambridge  Dan still maintains an active performance schedule with regular tours,  residences and his ‘Jazz Vespers’ project that has seen Dan lead jazz events at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Ely Cathedral and the new home for Jazz Vespers in London, Methodist Central Hall, Westminster.

Dan has recently started ‘Vlogging’ and enjoys photography, sport and most of all spending time with his young family.

The Jazz Vespers project is based on a speech by Dr Martin Luther King to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival. Dan’s mentor, Branford Marsalis, encouraged Dan to move forward with recording the Jazz Vespers project and even got his own engineer Rob Hunter to master the album in New York! Dan has led Jazz Vespers events at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Ely Cathedral and Methodist Central Hall Westminster and the aim is to take Jazz Vespers to other cathedrals, jazz clubs and concert halls in 2017. 

The album features the amazing vocals of Juliet Kelly, saxophonist Tony Kofi, Steve Fishwick on trumpet and ‘Beat Poetry’ from Cambridge poet Dr Malcolm Guite. Also on the album are Vij Pakrash, Alison Beck, Chris Grey, Joel Humann, Derek Scurll and Richard Morgan. Jazz Vespers was recorded at Livingstone Studios & Strongroom in London with producer and engineer Lee Slater, (Jamie Cullum, Emeli Sande & Vaccines.) It was mastered and edited by Rob ‘Wacko’ Hunter in New York, (Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Marsalis Family, Wayne Escoffery, Jimmy Cobb, Harry Connick Jnr, Jeff “Tain” Watts.)

Dan said, “The music on the album has been carefully selected to reflect the words of Dr King that: “Jazz speaks for life. It takes the harshest realties of life and puts them into music, only to come out with some new hope.”

01. Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
02. Come Sunday
03. Walk with Me Lord
04. Work Song
05. Mercy Mercy Mercy
06. Just a Closer Walk with Thee
07. Acknowledgement
08. Psalm
09. Song for Helena
10. Amazing Grace