Winner of the Music Network's Young Musicwide Award for 2010-2013, Thought-Fox is led by Lauren Kinsella, one of the freshest voices on the Irish and International jazz scenes. Thought-Fox takes its name from a Ted Hughes poem written in his 1957 collection ‘Hawk in the Rain’. As with other compositions in Thought-Fox’s repertoire, the poem is used as a springboard for approaching song and group interplay. Lauren’s use of text brings the listener closer to the music but also serves to explore extended vocal technique, odd-time grooves and traditional jazz harmony.
Hailed as “a completely down to earth and exquisitely vivacious young Irish singer” (Katie Bull, The New York City Jazz Record), Lauren Kinsella has performed in venues across Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, Hungary, Norway, Portugal, Germany and India. She completed her BA at Newpark Music Centre and has since studied with R.A. Ramamani in India, Mats Holtne in Sweden, and represented Ireland at the 19th IASJ meeting under Dave Liebman. She is currently pursuing her Jazz Masters at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music, London. Lauren has performed in festivals around the world including the Shiva Festival, Malleswaram, India, The Songlines Encounters Festival, London, The Cork Jazz Festival, The 12 Points Festival, Porto and The European Jazz Nights Festival, Oslo. Lauren is a member of other groups such as Blue-Eyed Hawk with trumpeter Laura Jurd, Lupo with Swiss singer Sarah Buechi, and duo collaborations with musicians such as Alex Huber, Mark Sanders and Francesco Turrisi.
Trombonist Colm O’Hara studied jazz performance in the Royal Conservatory, Den Haag, and in Lucerne, Switzerland under Nils Wogram. He has performed in numerous festivals including the North Sea and Copenhagen Jazz Festivals, with such musicians as Kenny Wheeler and Michael Brecker, and was a member of the European Youth Jazz Orchestra for their 2007 summer tour of Europe and China. Colm is an active player on the European jazz scene and is a member of many other groups such as Nick Roth’s Yurodny, Fuzzy Logic Ensemble, Cortisol, Dublin City Jazz Orchestra, North Strand Contra Band, and is also a member of the Denmark-based quartet Healthy Baby. He also curates Concrete Soup, bringing together some of Ireland’s most renowned improvisers including drummer David Lacey and guitarist Joe O’Callaghan.
Pianist Tom Gibbs was one of Jazzwise’s ‘One to Watch 2011' and has been called ‘A star in its ascendancy’ by BBC Radio Scotland. His 2010 album ‘Forgotten Things’ was one of BBC Scotland’s records of the year. The project was nominated in two categories (best band, best album) at the 2011 Scottish Jazz Awards. ‘A thoughtfully composed and beautifully played set of tunes, and a disc which reveals fresh delights with each listen’ (Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast). The Herald called their music ‘international in reach and quality.’ His recent release, ‘Fear of Flying’, featuring Will Vinson on saxophones, James Maddren on drums, and Euan Burton on bass is already receiving accolades as a powerful collection of melodic jazz.
Waterford bassist Mick Coady is a respected force in Dublin and London for two decades. He has honed his craft over the years playing with artists such as Louis Stewart, Peter Bernstein, Ronnie Cuber, Mike La Danne, Mark Murphy, Alan Broadbent and Scott Hamilton. His music is a rich melee of traditional jazz infused with African, Brazilian, and Indian influences. His debut recording, ‘Nine Tales of the Pendulum’, includes US alto saxophonist David Binney, Irish tenor saxophone player Michael Buckely, Sean Carpio on drums, and Ivo Neame on piano.
Simon Roth studied at the University of York under jazz drummer Martin France and classical percussionist Damien Harron. His compositional style draws on his study of diverse styles and genres; he studied electro-acoustic music with Ambrose Field, jazz composition, performance and arrangement under John Taylor and Julian Arguelles, and undertook in-depth study into the music of Béla Bartók, György Ligeti and Igor Stravinsky. In 2010 he travelled to Chennai to study South Indian Carnatic music at Brhaddhvani Centre for Musics of the World. Simon has performed with many of the UK’s top jazz musicians, including Kenny Wheeler, Mike Walker, Chris Batchelor, Kit Downes and Tina May. Simon is active in the London jazz, klezmer and contemporary scenes and also leads his own group, Stories. He has performed at many notable jazz festivals including 12 Points, The Cork Jazz Festival, The European Jazz Nights Festival and The London Jazz Festival.
"Stylistically, Kinsella stands in the excitingly undefined space between the airy yet shadowy blues modernism of Abbey Lincoln and the daring flexibility of form of Annette Peacock…"Kevin Le Gendre
"A star in its ascendancy"BBC Radio Scotland on Tom Gibbs
"His huge tone and immaculate, accurate technique powered the front-liners and he also showed formidable talents as a soloist"Nottingham Post on Michael Coady
"Edge of your seat stuff"London Jazz on Simon Roth
"Thought-Fox is a quintet led by Lauren Kinsella, whose adventurism was already apparent on All This Talk About(WideEarRecords, 2012), an intimate series of improvisations with drummer Alex Huber. In a short time, the Irish singer has garnered glowing praise for her voice—a thing of rare beauty—and for her very personal improvisational style. Improvisations certainly color the music here, and though possible to imagine Kinsella performing these songs as duos—a format she enjoys—the quintet lends greater structural form as well as harmonic and melodic depth, which makes Kinsella's striking compositions really quite accessible. Trombonist Colm O'Hara and Kinsella combine wonderfully on "Nightlight," locked in quiet serenade. Double bassist Mick Coady's three-note bass ostinato and a similar, six-note cycle from pianist Tom Gibbs waltz slowly and somberly, while Simon Roth's brushes are subtly felt in the hypnotic ensemble sound. A little piano flourish signals change as Kinsella launches into a compelling wordless improvisation. A brief piano trio interlude raises the tempo, with trombone and vocals coming in on the tail of the climax. Bass and piano motifs return, accompanied by crying cymbal, and Kinsella and O'Hara entwine one final time. Gently seductive and quietly powerful, this stunning opener contains all the seeds of Thought-Fox's peculiarly persuasive charms. Kinsella's rhythmic strength is highlighted on Roth's lovely "Arrival/Departure" as much as the clarity of her tone. There's spring in the quintet's step on "Prime of Life," an infectious swinger which features a fine solo from Gibbs. Kinsella steers "Malin's Chai" between a jaunty and quite irresistible unison melody and slow, sultry passages; much of the piece's appeal lies in the contrasts at play. Following the vaguely kora-like dampened piano string intro to "My Guess," Kinsella's sung and scatted vocals punctuate instrumental passages of guile and finesse, with trombone and piano prominent. "Worm of Thought" is inspired by poet T.S. Elliott's "The Waste Land." The singer's improvisation is real over-the-cliff stuff—fearless, devoid of cliché and striving for unexplored territory. A modernist, Kinsella is pushing vocal improvisation into new areas, and after a century of little movement in scat, such risk is refreshing. The contrasts here between composition and freedom, between harmony and dissonance and above all in the varying tempos make for an arresting and episodic aural journey. The gentler contours of "Celia" unfold to reveal Kinsella and O'Hara's choral textures. There's a feel akin to Early music in Gibb's delicate piano motifs, but the quintet slowly maneuvers into jazzier space, led by O'Hara's purring lyricism. Given Kinsella's striking voice and delivery, it says much for the group chemistry that each voice in Thought-Fox is an integral part. The rhythm, melody and lyricism inherent in these compositions should appeal to those who enjoy a good tune, while there's enough of an edge to satisfy seekers of greater experimentation in their jazz. Original and highly satisfying, My Guess rather tantalizingly holds the promise of greater things yet to come. Track Listing: Nightlight; Arrival/Departure; Prime of Life; Worm of Thought; Malin's Chai; Celia; My Guess. "Ian Patterson, All About Jazz CD Review of Thought-Fox: My Guess
BOTN Sessions: Thought Fox - The Prime of Life
BOTN Sessions: Thought Fox - My Guess
BOTN Sessions: Thought Fox - Neelin
Thought-Fox launch début CD 'My Guess'