ReDiviDer and Francesco Turrisi: The Ideas Behind Their New Releases
The Dublin label Diatribe launches two new releases this week, with a launch event at the Grand Social on Wednesday, 18 September.
I Dig Monk, Tuned is a new album by ReDiviDeR, the group led by drummer and composer Matthew Jacobson. Nick Roth (alto saxophone), Colm O’Hara (trombone) and Derek Whyte (bass) complete the quartet, and the album also features guest performances from UK-based musicians Kit Downes (keyboard), Alex Roth (guitar), Alex Bonney (trumpet, electronics) and Ben Davis (cello).
The second of the new releases, titled Grigio, is by the Bray-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Francesco Turrisi; with guest performances by Irish singer Róisín Elsafty, percussionist Zohar Fresco and Catalan singer Clara Sanabras, the album betrays Turrisi’s catholic musical interests, with material ranging from seventeenth-century Italian composers to sean-nós and original music by Turrisi.
Jacobson and Turrisi told The Journal of Music more about the process of making these albums, which are available to purchase from the Diatribe website.
Matthew Jacobson on I Dig Monk, Tuned
‘I think it’s always worth trying things in the studio that you can’t do live, whether it be overdubs or cuts or post-production effects. When you perform live there is a certain energy being created by the venue, the audience, the atmosphere, and you don’t have that energy when you are recording in a studio or when you are listening to a studio album at home on your own. So in order to be able to express one’s self as intensely without that energy then using the studio to full capacity can help.
‘This album features four guests from the UK. I invited some of the most talented improvising musicians in London to be involved and then specifically composed four quintet pieces for ReDiviDeR plus guest. I felt that this might help open up the borders a little in terms of musicians between Ireland and the UK. I have always been surprised how little Irish artists know about the UK music scene and vice-versa. We are such close neighbours with such quick and easy access that it seems like a waste to not mix scenes more.
‘Quite simply, the other three members of ReDiviDeR are the best musicians to get the most out of my music in this country. There is such a high level of trust in the band that we feel free to really try anything or bring the music anywhere at any time. Bassist Derek Whyte is simultaneously the most solid bass player over complex rhythmic material I have ever played with and the most comfortable with departing from set material when he feels that the time is right. Nick Roth and Colm O’Hara have played together in so many horn sections over the last ten years that they have developed an amazing blend. There are times when it literally sounds like there is only one instrument playing! They also have differing approaches to improvising however, which can provide nice contrasts to pieces.’
Francesco Turrisi on Grigio
‘This record actually comes out of three separate projects: a duo with sean-nós singer Róisín Elsafty, a quartet session with my usual trio (with Seán Carpio and Dan Bodwell) and early music singer Clara Sanabras, and a quartet session with TRE (a trio with Kate Ellis and Nick Roth) with special guest percussionist Zohar Fresco.
‘The original idea was not to release them together, but as three separate EPs. Then something strange happened. The more I listened to the recordings the more I realised they had a very similar sound, even though the musical material is completely different. So I decided to try to put them all together on the same CD. It’s a a bit of a challenge and it’s not really up to me to say whether it works or not, but I hope it does…
‘Certainly the sound of the piano [unites the pieces]. Even more the fact that the piano is extraneous to all of the other elements of the music (sean-nós, early Baroque music or oriental percussion). I guess it’s the way I arranged the material, but I suppose it’s also the way I play the piano, which is the unconscious result of all the music I have been listening to and the different types of music I have been involved with in the past.
‘I come from a background of classical piano and therefore I identify with a certain type of piano sound. In other words I feel closer to a lot of the more classical sounding ECM pianists than to some of the most important American, more swing-oriented jazz musicians.
‘Most of the musicians [on the release] are regular collaborators and I know very well what they are capable of doing, so that makes things very easy. With some of the guests musicians it took a bit of guessing and a bit of luck. I think it’s very easy to put together a project mixing distantly related genres, yet it’s very difficult to make it sound right. The most important thing is always to have the imagination of what the music will sound like.’