Ben Davis [cello]
Emma Smith and Vicky Fifield [violins]
Jennymay Logan [viola]
Richard Pryce [bass]
+ Seb Rochford [drums]
The inspiration for Basquiat Strings came from the raucous rhythmically driving traditional hungarian string groups of Transylvania, the luxuriously rich Brahms sextets, and the wild, at times unruly compositions and workshop arrangements of Charlie Mingus.
Band leader, Ben Davis explained the group's design: "I wanted to form a group of players with fully developed classical techniques while being "still profoundly influenced by the jazz experience" (BBC Jazz Reviews)
"We started as a string quartet but soon added double-bass to strengthen the rhythmic accompaniment and give the sustained drones and clusters more weight. After performing and recording with the quintet I asked Seb Rochford to come and play on a couple of tracks. All the rhythmic lines, comping and improvising relaxed and fell into lace. Having worked with Seb I knew he would choose the right sounds and dynamics to support rather than overwhelm the levels of acoustic strings.
"Most of the tunes are original and are worked through many transformations before arriving at a final version.
"There are three arrangements on the CD : Infant Eyes, Lonely Woman and In a Silent Way. I am interested in freely interpreting people's tunes to create true "stringscapes".
"I want to create alternative string music that people want to listen to! To establish ways of playing together that gives rhythmic drive and support for improvisation. To make a string sound that is as natural as a classical string quartet or the hungarian string groups. I hope Basquiat Strings with Seb Rochford is a step in that direction."
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