Creative efflorescence can be triggered by significant, often emotional life events – an oblique, unexpected source which mines one’s innermost feelings and channels them via another route with unclouded clarity. Samuel Eagles’ inspiration for this body of work arose from a period of what he describes as his own “spiritual enlightenment” following a turbulent few months (not unfamiliar throughout compositional history). As he explains: “I’d had some tough things to go through, which had the effect of pushing me deeper – both devotionally and artistically. I eventually came through it all with a sense of purpose and positivity which revealed the musical direction for this album”.
Pairing alto and tenor saxes upfront, as well as overlaying the differing timbres of piano and vibes, affirms the richness of Eagles’ writing. His ear for textural combinations and strong, melodious riffs can be heard in the steadfast buoyancy of ‘Eternity Within My Soul’, which teems with improvisational character, and in the searching serenity of ‘Changed, Changing Still’, enhanced by Ralph Wyld’s sustained vibes and the lucid double bass expression of Max Luthert. Beauty, light and courage are symbolized in resolute ‘Dreams and Visions of The Son’, including a lush, prismatic tenor spotlight from Jean Toussaint (“It’s amazing to have Jean playing on the album, as he’s been so supportive in developing my own identity”), and ‘Hear His Voice’ sparks lively, modal conversation between Toussaint and Samuel Eagles, bolstered by the robust rhythms of Luthert and Dave Hamblett.
The two Eagles brothers share the sax lead to blithe, soulful ‘The Twelve’, featuring typically eloquent high piano invention from Sam Leak, while wispy though assertive ‘SPIRIT’ opens the door for Samuel’s imaginative alto extemporizations. Pastoral ‘Hope In The Hills’ was prompted by a true story of benevolence involving a tour bus breakdown in Italy, where an uphill country-lane push led to campsite owners who provided log cabin accommodation, food and van repairs (“We were stranded for four days in the most perfect place possible”). And the funky sax-duo groove of title track ‘Ask, Seek, Knock’, with effective bubbling piano figure, asserts a belief in seeking faith and wisdom; the concept of one door shutting and other doors of opportunity opening.
Recalling the album’s formation, Samuel Eagles says: “Creating it has been a fantastic move forward. For me, when music connects, it builds a great feeling of intensity in my inner self. My hope is that listeners will sense something of a transcendental experience with this album”.
1. Eternity Within My Soul 05:57
2. Changed, Changing Still 06:58
3. Hear His Voice 10:03
4. Hope In The Hills 06:47
5. The Twelve 06:53
6. Dream and Visions of The Son 09:20
7. SPIRIT 06:58
8. Ask, Seek, Knock 08:48
Samuel Eagles - alto saxophone
Duncan Eagles - tenor saxophone
Jean Toussaint - tenor saxophone (3, 6,)
Sam Leak - piano
Ralph Wyld - vibraphone
Max Luthert - double bass
Dave Hamblett - drums
Recorded Live at Real World Studio's, UK (July 2016)
Mixed and Mastered by Tyler McDairmid
New York (September 2016)
Produced by Samuel Eagles
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Original artwork and album design - Alban Low