Artist: Oriole

Date of Release: 15/05/2006

Catalogue no: 898

Label: F-IRE

Price: £12

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Track Listing







Forms In Dust




First Flight




Bate Calado - intro




Bate Calado




Migration To The Orange Trees








Sunshine Continuous




Two Smiles








Last Flight










Appearances by

F-IRE Collective, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, Guillermo Rozenthuler, Ingrid Laubrock, Jonny Phillips, Nick Ramm

“The soundtrack to a story of joy and longing born from an irresistible impulse to travel but never to arrive”

Migration is Oriole’s second album, a sensory banquet of soaring melodies, colourful South American folklore, lively dances and emotional ballads of longing. Music that creates a rich, emotionally disquieting world that is at once familiar and dreamlike. A world of freedom, of movement, of dusty roads and traveling musicians in shaded market squares whose journey will never end. These are songs of magical realism mingling elements of fantasy, myth, desire and wanderlust in renderings that blur traditional distinctions between what is serious or trivial, melancholic or joyous.

“The magical realist does not try to copy the surrounding reality or to wound it but to seize the mystery that breathes
behind things”
Luis Leal, Magical Realism in Spanish American Literature

Oriole’s composer and guitarist Jonny Phillips was described by The Guardian as “A big new composing presence” and Time Out as “the brilliant F-IRE collective guitarist” on the release of the first Oriole album Song for the Sleeping in 2005. He has travelled widely blending the musical, folkloric and dance traditions of North Brazil, West Africa, Southern Europe and beyond. These influences have been as important as the folkloric music of his own region and the church music of his composer parents. Here both the migrations of the composer and the band members have resulted in the creation of new musical hybrids; the physical and artistic travels being inseparable.
Oriole received enthusiastic reviews last year for live performances at venues such as The Purcell Room, South Bank Centre in London. Migration’s release will be accompanied by a 15 date nationwide tour that will include Cheltenham Jazz Festival as Jerwood rising stars.

The album features an award winning international line-up including drummer Sebastian Rochford, saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, cellist Ben Davis, bassist Anders Christensen, vocalist Julia Biel, percussionist Adriano Adewale Itaúna and clarinettist Idris Rahman. All top instrumentalists in their respective fields.




06/07/2006  The Birmingham Post - Peter Bacon

Jazz CD of the week

The second disc from acoustic guitarist Jonny Phillips and his band Oriole is a lovely development of the first and he is so sure of himself in this territory that it leaves the listener feeling thoroughly at home, as if we have been listening to it for ages.
This is partly due to very strong melodies and rhythmic hooks, but it is also due to how "right" this particular, if unusual, combination of instruments sounds in the way Phillips uses it.
His guitar style gives a strong Spanish feel, the percussion bed of Seb Rochford on kit and Adriano Adawale Itauna on the interesting bits and pieces adds an Afro/Latin feel, and the harmony lines of Ben Davis's cello and Ingrid Laubrock's tenor or soprano saxophone have not only a graceful lyricism but an intriguing textural quality too.
Try track 6, We're All Angels, first and I'll be surprised if it's not love at first listen. Proof that jazz in the 21st century can be pretty and have street cred too.


01/07/2006 Kevin Le Gendre - JARS

Jazz At Ronnie Scotts Magazine
Required Listening

"Oriole is a strange and beautiful blend of influences, a group that re-imagines Tracy Thorn in a band with Joao Gilberto and Charlie Byrd. Brazilian samba and British folk-rock rarely coalece so seamlessly. Led with great authority by guitarist-composer Jonny Phillips, the ensemble features F-IRE collective notables saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, drummer Seb Rochford, cellist Ben Davis, keyboardist Nick Ramm and percussionist Adriano Adewale Itauna among others. Together they display impressive textural variety, creating ambiences that can be noir-like in their clever use of drifting plaintive long tones or carnavalesque in their darting rhythms. As forceful as it is subtle, Oriole have in the space of two albums found something that most groups spend many moons searching for - a sound of their own."


01/07/2006 Miriam Hempel - Straight No Chaser

"Migration" is Orioles second album - a rich mix of South American folklore, traditional and religiously rooted music. Prepare to travel to dusty side roads , lively market places and the great outdoors as the album encourages you to discover and experience. Orioles composer and guitarist Jonny Phillips teams up with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, vocalist Julia biel, percussionist Adriano Adewale Itauna, and other high flying talents from the F-IRE Collective. Check out "Bate Calado" which means "slowly beating drum" or "heatbeat" in Brazilian Portuguese and the samba-esque "We're All Angels" featuring wonderful clarinet work from Idris Rahman. This album delivers those light hearted and playful moments we expect of the summer, its skillfully and wholeheartedly composed and performed by an exceptional band."


01/07/2006 Jazzwise - Tom Barlow

After the thunderous success of Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear, lets hope that Oriole are the next F-IRE Collective band to break. But when it happens expect a quiet storm. A delightfully folksy outfit, Oriole's rich cinematic tapestries mature on their second album into rustic, languid world music. Venezuelan, Brazilian, Spanish and African melodies are re-imagined, swirling into a musical mosaic that feels as spiritualy uplifting as a Paulo Coelho novel. Although 'Sunshine Continuous' has a funky joyful township feel, much of the album shimmers with stripped down ballads anchored by composer Jonny Phillips' delicate acoustic guitar - the child like gospel of 'Two Smiles' for example or the mournful 'First Flight' lifted by percussionists Adriano Itauna and Seb Rochford. Ingrid Laubrock sounds great of course, but its cellist Ben Davis who steals the show, his emotionaly wrought playing compelling throughout.


01/06/2006 Chris May - allaboutjazz.com

An enchanting followup to Song For The Sleeping, Oriole's 2005 debut album, Migration finds guitarist Jonny Phillips' band once again blending exploratory, modern jazz improvisation with world music-inspired original compositions and unusual cross-cultural instrumentation. Brazilian, Venezuelan, Andalucian, Moorish, Cuban and African folk music traditions, experienced by the well-travelled Phillips at source, inform his gentle and lyrical writing.
Oriole includes some of London's most outward looking creative musicians, a like-minded group of British, mainland European, South American and African players, several of them bandleaders in their own right. Cross-connections run wide and deep, and if the music on Migration has a degree of intimacy which suggests it is being made by a group of friends, that's because it is.
Out-there saxophone shaman Ingrid Laubrock co-founded NOIS with Brazilian singer Monica Vasconcelos and also leads her own quintet, which includes the extraordinary improvising cellist Ben Davis and rhythm wizard Sebastian Rochford, both bandleaders themselves. Rochford is the leader of Polar Bear, which sometimes features Laubrock, and co-leads other important outfits. Bass player Anders Christensen played in Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band for ten years. Guest saxophonist/clarinetist Idris Rahman is co-leader of the Afrobeat-inspired Soothsayers, whose Tangled Roots is setting another strand of the world music scene alight.
If the lineup on Migration sounds like a dream made real, so does the music. Phillips calls it magical realism, music that is at once familiar and dreamlike. He says he aims to fuse elements of fantasy, myth, desire and wanderlust into performances that blur traditional distinctions between what is serious or trivial, melancholic or joyous.
The spell works, and it runs unbroken through the album. A few of the many outstanding moments include Laubrock and Davis' dialogues on “Forms In Dust,” where the saxophonist excels with quietly exciting, precisely articulated harmonics and split-tones, ”Migration To The Orange Trees,” and the closing, Bach prelude-like “Amen;” Rahman and Itauna's clarinet/marimba partnership on the energetic but softly spoken “Bate Calado;” and Rahman's highlife-informed tenor saxophone on “Sunshine Continuous,” arranged in a Mozambican/Cuban dance style (Laubrock's affinity with Brazilian music is mirrored by Rahman's authentic Africanisms). Phillips' own crystalline guitar lines delight from start to finish, as do his compositions, and as does Itauna's percussion.
After a long, cold autumn and winter, spring finally came to Britain two weeks ago. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the return of warmth and sunshine than to spin Migration.


01/06/2006 Echoes - Kevin Le Gendre


If a strapline for the promotion of Oriole were needed, then how's about this - the UK's self contained neo-samba nova wave that's well free of any ipanema coctail cliche. I'm playfully pumping the hype, but the groups eminence grise, the guitarist and composer Jonny Phillips, comes over in earnest as a British Cousin of Joao Gilberto. The crucial difference between Phillips and the Brazilian legend is that the former doesn't sing but his diaphanus themes, his cogent grasp of the all-important concept of saudade and his placing of melodic narrative at the core of his work make the comparison credible. Band members Ingrid Laubrock(tenor sax), Ben Davis(cello), Adriano Adewale Itauna, (percussion/vibes) and Sebastian Rochford(drums) all bring as much finesse to the session as they did to the debut Song For The Sleeping and guests Julia Biel(vocals) and Idris Rahman(reeds) are artfully effective. What makes Orioles easthetic all the more intriguing is that for all the obvious Latin inflections at play, there is a masterfully understated rock component in the music's engine that loosely recalls the first phase of Everything But The Girl, who, of course, were influenced by Joao Gilberto amongst others. If your looking for finely-honed compositions and pert, astute improvisation that embrace Latin music, jazz and folk-rock all the while avoiding hackneyed vocabulary, then Oriole is probably as good as it gets.


26/05/2006 John L Walters - The Guardian

"There's no trace of "second-album syndrome" in Oriole's follow up to Song for the Sleeping. Bandleader and prolific guitarist-composer Jonny Phillips seems to have tunes coming out of his ears, yet he has the discipline to make them into satisfying pieces. He also has a fantastic team to interpret his compositions, mostly drawn from the F-ire Collective.
At the heart of the band is the subtle interplay between Phillips's lightly phrased guitar, Ingrid Laubrock's tenor saxophone, Ben Davis's cello and Adriano Adewale Itauna's percussion. Backed up by sympatico bass and drums, the Oriole sound is a kind of South American or Spanish-tinged world-jazz that is easy on the ear but rarely bland (though it would have benefited from a more robust production).
And just when you think you know what to expect, Phillips adds another timbre, such as Julia Biel's voice, or the reeds of Idris Rahman (from the Soothsayers) to keep things interesting, or delivers a catchy crowd-pleaser such as the double-sax-led Sunshine Continuous. Laubrock, who was outstanding on the recent short tour with Guinga and Monica Vasconcelos, just gets better and better."


26/05/2006 The Evening Standard - Jack Massarick

MASTERMINDED by guitarist composer Jonny Phillips, Oriole involves many members of London's most prolific self-help group, the F-Ire Collective.

Described as "a sensory banquet of soaring melodies, colourful South American folklore, lively dances and emotional ballads of longing", their music often sounds distinctly English, with clarinet and Ben Davis's languid cello prominent in the mix. But the rhythm section, sparked by Acoustic Ladyland anchorman Seb Rochford, chugs along firmly behind Ingrid Laubrock's tenor solos and subtle voice- unders from Julia Biel and Guillermo Rozenthuler. If you like your jazz gentle, worldy, folksy and acoustic, look no further.


10/05/2006 Kerstan Macness - Timeout

Their new Album 'Migration' is an early contender for jazz release of the year, a sublime, slightly unsettling but emotionally rewarding work that draws on folk, north Brazilian, West African and Mediterranean music. Like the Norwegian pianist Christian Wallumrod, Phillips conjures music that is quietly intense, beguilingly beautiful and full of pleasingly robust tunes that stay with you long after you hear them. Expect waltzes, gentle samba, persuasive grooves, poignant themes and uplifting melodies that'll make you smile, think and want to dance.


02/05/2006 Chris Mann -24dash.com

I first encountered Oriole, the band led by Kendal born guitarist Jonny Phillips at Lichfield Jazz Blues & Real Ale Festival last summer.
The band played two excellent sets in unseasonably chilly weather conditions, but the first thing that struck me was the extensive use of acoustic guitar and cello, both unusual instruments in jazz. The combination reminded me of guitarist Ralph Towner's classic 1979 album "Old Friends, New Friends" which featured cellist David Darling.
Suitably enlivened by the real ale I asked Jonny about the Towner influence between sets. He told me that he had certainly listened to Towner but he wasn't a major influence, the main inspiration being folk music particularly that of Venezuela.
The first Oriole release "Song For The Sleeping" was an enjoyable album with lots of potential but this new CD is something else again. Phillips has extended his stylistic palette to take in Brazilian, Flamenco, Cuban and African influences, and an extended line-up gives him a wide variety of instrumental sounds to add to his global mix.
It is a sign of his rapidly growing maturity as a composer and arranger that he pulls all the different stylistic and instrumental elements together brilliantly. The attention to detail in the writing reminds me of Pat Metheny. Some other bands operating in this kind of pan cultural area can sound contrived or self consciously eclectic, but Oriole's music sounds unforced, unhurried and thoroughly organic.
The well-travelled Phillips has assembled a truly international cast for the recording but the nucleus of the band is made up of fellow F-ire Collective members Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones), Ben Davis (cello) and the remarkable Sebastian Rochford on drums. Having Rochford on a record is almost a guarantee of quality. He has appeared on some genuine landmark recordings already with Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland and "Migration" deserves to be another one.
Throughout the album Laubrock's saxophone lines and Davis' cello improvisations intertwine around each other like snakes. Davis is an incredible musician; I've never seen anybody play the cello so brilliantly in a jazz context. Laubrock just gets better and better. Elsewhere on the album she duets beautifully with fellow saxophonist Idris Rahman on "Hymn". Rahman also adds some fine clarinet to the album especially on "We're All Angels".
Rochford's drumming is restlessly inventive but always sensitive. He may be incredibly dynamic and powerful in Polar Bear or Ladyland but he is also the perfect accompanist. In short if you're meant to notice him you do, if you're not - you don't. It's this all round ability that makes him the top young drummer in the country – and that's before you even start on his composing skills.
Rochford is complemented by the percussion of Brazilian Adriano Adewale Itauna, who is excellent throughout, and adds a welcome touch of authentic South American exotica to the recording. Fellow Brazilian Fernando De Marco adds electric bass and atmospheric cavaquinho.
As for Phillips his guitar is at the heart of the arrangements, always rhythmic, always prompting. He is not a flashy soloist and concentrates very much on ensemble playing. He takes a brief and atmospheric acoustic guitar solo on the introduction to "Bate Calado" underpinned by Davis' cello and Itauna's shimmering percussion.
The brief "Two Smiles " is also a gentle acoustic guitar led piece with delightful tuned percussion from Itauna.
Elsewhere the music alternates between the wistful and the joyous. There is a melancholic edge to Davis' cello that imbues "Forms To Dust" and both "First Flight" and "Last Flight".
The main body of "Bate Calado" is an outpouring of joy featuring the wordless vocals of Itauna plus guest vocalists Julia Biel (another F-ire alumnus) Okou and Guillermo Rozenthuler. "Migration To The Orange Trees" and especially "Sunshine Continuous" are also wonderfully joyous pieces.
This is a beautiful album, flawlessly written, arranged, played and produced and covering a wide stylistic and emotional range. A joy to listen to and it should be a contender for the album of the year awards. It may be "world jazz" and upset a few purists, but I think it's magnificent - so there!


10/04/2006 Chris Parker - Vortex Web Site

Club regulars will already be familiar with Oriole's first album, Song for the Sleeping (F-IRE CD03), even if only subliminally, since it's frequently played between sets. This, the band's second album, has many of the debut recording's virtues (striking Jonny Phillips melodies imbued with deliciously wistful melancholy courtesy chiefly of the blend of the leaderÍs delicate guitar work, Ingrid LaubrockÍs perfectly judged tenor contributions and Ben Davis's haunting cello; a judicious balance of compositional and improvised elements; the subtle power of Seb RochfordÍs drumming, tellingly complemented by a cleverly selected range of percussion sounds, from castanets to the humble egg), but is more powerful overall thanks to the coherence of its programming. This springs mainly from its overarching theme (in Phillips's words: "a story of joy and longing born from an irresistible impulse to travel but never to arrive"), but also from the ease and naturalness with which the composer/guitarist utilises a range of instrumental sounds and rhythms from musical traditions with which he's entirely at home (rather than seeing them as a range of lucky dips containing "exotica" to be tacked on to his music to give it a spurious eclecticism). Highlights include the softly lilting opener "Forms in Dust" (to which Laubrock contributes a flawless, cunningly multi-textured solo); "Bate Calado" (which blends Idris RahmanÍs clarinet with gentle percussion and subtle vocals); "Sunshine Continuous" (a more robust Cuban dance piece) and "Last Flight" (a slowly drifting lament dealing with transience), but the entire album is entrancing, affecting and compulsively playable. Unreservedly recommended."


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