Alina Bzhezhinska’s stellar quartet brings a new perspective to the harp
09 January 2020
Thursday 9th January 2020:
Taking inspiration from the ground-breaking work of jazz harp legend Alice Coltrane as a stepping-off point, Alina Bzhezhinska’s stellar quartet brings a new perspective to this supposedly dainty instrument.
If you think the harp is for angels then Alina Bzhezhinska and her quartet will set you right during their 10-date Music Network tour in February. She and her stellar quartet featuring Tony Kofi (saxophones), Larry Bartley (double bass) and Joel Prime (drums, percussion) bring a new perspective to this supposedly dainty instrument, taking the ground-breaking work of jazz legends Alice and John Coltrane as a stepping-off point for their own sonic adventures. Catch them on tour from 5-15 February in Dublin, Cork, Bray, Tinahely, Portlaoise, Clifden, Wexford, Carrick-On-Shannon, Ennis and Letterkenny.
Polish/Ukrainian harpist Alina Bzhezhinska stormed the UK music scene in 2017 when her quartet appeared at the Barbican during the EFG London Jazz Festival on a triple bill featuring Denys Baptiste and Pharoah Sanders, and was nominated for Best Live Experience of the Year at the 2018 Jazz FM Awards. In 2018 she produced her critically acclaimed album Inspiration (Ubuntu Music), which tells Alice and John Coltrane’s story through her own interpretation of their music and her compositions.
“I set myself on a mission to tell Alice and John Coltrane’s story in my own words, through my own interpretation of their music and my compositions,” explains Bzhezhinska. “The idea for my new album came to me at the beginning of 2017, the year when the world paid tribute to Alice Coltrane for her amazing contribution to music, celebrating her 80th birthday and paying respect to her memory.”
After studying Alice Coltrane’s music and digging deeper into the history of jazz and her place in contemporary music, Bzhezhinska realised that Coltrane’s legacy could not be underestimated nor overlooked. “Coltrane is a true role model whose art was an example of endless potential and creative possibilities and whose life journey was dedicated to finding the meaning of human existence and universal consciousness,” says Bzhezhinska.
Bzhezhinska chose to work with musicians who share her fascination with Alice and John Coltrane and who opened a new world of possibilities to showcase the harp in a very unique way - award winning saxophonist Tony Kofi, double bassist and composer Larry Bartley and virtuoso drummer Joel Prime.
Music Network’s tour in February offers a unique opportunity to see this remarkable quartet in action in ten different venues around Ireland.
Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet
featuring Tony Kofi, Larry Bartley & Joel Prime
5-15 February 2020
Alina Bzhezhinska, harp
Tony Kofi, saxophones
Larry Bartley, double bass
Joel Prime, drums/percussion
If you think the harp is for angels then Alina Bzhezhinska and her quartet will set you right. She brings a new perspective to this supposedly dainty instrument, taking the ground-breaking work of Alice and John Coltrane in the 1960s as a stepping-off point for her own flighty improvisations and sonic adventures. Capable of high-octane lapel-grabbing statements, she can also create extraordinary lyricism and soul within her own compositions and this versatility and curiosity has marked her out as a pioneer in the field of Jazz Harp. Now there’s two words you don’t often hear in the same sentence, but let’s get used to them because this musician is here to stay, constantly challenging the notion of boundaries in music, roughing up the harp with tones and textures that would ruffle many an angel wing.
Wed 5 Feb 8pm | The Sugar Club, Dublin 2 €20 / €15 / €10 01-4750224 / musicnetwork.ie Promoted by Music Network
Thurs 6 Feb 8pm | Triskel Arts Centre, Cork €20 / €18 021-4272022 / triskelartscentre.ie
Fri 7 Feb 8pm | Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray €18 / €16 01-2724030 / mermaidartscentre.ie
Sat 8 Feb 8.30pm | The Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely €16 / €14 0402-38529 / courthousearts.ie
Sun 9 Feb 6pm | St. Peter's Church of Ireland, Portlaoise €12 / €5 (students) 057-8663355 (Dunamaise Arts Centre) / dunamaise.ie Promoted by Laois County Council Arts Office, Dunamaise Arts Centre and Music Generation Laois
Mon 10 Feb 8pm | Station House Theatre, Clifden €15 / €12 095-21699 / clifdenstationhouse.com (info only) Promoted by Clifden Arts Society
Wed 12 Feb 8pm | National Opera House, Wexford €17 / €15 053-9122144 / nationaloperahouse.ie
Thurs 13 Feb 8pm | The Dock, Carrick-On-Shannon €18 / €16 071-9650828 / thedock.ie
Fri 14 Feb 8pm | glór, Ennis €16 / €14 / €8 Under 18s 065-6843103 / glor.ie
Sat 15 Feb 8pm | Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny €15 / €12 074-9120777 (An Grianán) / regionalculturalcentre.com
For more information on this tour: http://bit.ly/2IlXEaT
For images & audio: http://bit.ly/2OE66p2
Music Network tours are funded by the Arts Council. Music Network is a national music touring and development organisation, whose mission is to make high quality live music available and accessible to people throughout Ireland.
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Alina Bzhezhinska is one of the most exciting and dynamic harpists based in the UK. Her imaginative programmes have established her reputation as a harpist of exceptional accomplishment. She has had the honour of playing at European Parliament, at the Queen’s 80th-birthday celebrations at Balmoral Castle and at the King of Thailand’s birthday celebrations in Bangkok. She is a winner of the PRS Women Make Music Award and has performed with leading classical and jazz musicians such as Shabaka Hutchings, Django Bates, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and the Glasgow String Quartet. Her duo, with award-winning vocalist Niki King, has supported Gregory Porter. Alina has recorded a solo album called Harp Recital and is featured on recordings by the American harp ensemble Harp Fusion and the Scottish jazz group New Focus. Following a successful release of Bzhezhinska’s latest album Inspiration, her quartet has performed at Glasgow Jazz Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Albert Hall, Ronnie Scott’s and WOMADelaide Festival in Australia.
Having cut his teeth in the legendary Jazz Warriors, the all-black London-based group that was the launching pad for the stellar talents of a number of important jazz musicians, award-winning saxophonist Tony Kofi has gone on to establish himself as a musician, teacher and composer of some authority. Tony’s playing has also been a feature of many bands and artists including US-3 World Saxophone Quartet, Courtney Pine, Donald Byrd, Eddie Henderson, The David Murray Big Band and Sam Rivers, Andrew Hill, Ornette Coleman, Nu-Troop and Jazz Jamaica. His fluent and fiery hard-bop soprano/alto/tenor/baritone playing is constantly in demand.
Larry Bartley is a bassist and composer who has been a staple of the London and international jazz scenes for the past 20 years as a side man and as a leader. His 2003 debut album Along This Way was nominated for best new work in the BBC Jazz Awards. Larry has also played and recorded in various bands including Abdullah Ibrahim, Denys Baptiste, Ingrid Laubrock, Stanley Turrentine, Steve Grossman, Donald Brown (of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers), David Murray, Orinn Evans & Gary Bartz.
Australian drummer Joel Prime has become an important addition to British jazz. Winner of Australia's Best Up & Coming Drummer competition in 2011, his versatility across congas, drum kit and all manner of Afro Cuban and Brazilian percussion sees him performing with Mr Little’s Noisy Band, Felix Riebl and The Copasetic Foundation amongst others.