Saxophonist Dan Forshaw has just released his latest album Jazz Vespers.
The Jazz Vespers project is based on a speech by Dr Martin Luther King to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival. Dan’s mentor, Branford Marsalis, encouraged Dan to move forward with recording the Jazz Vespers project and even got his own engineer Rob Hunter to master the album in New York! Dan has led Jazz Vespers events at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Ely Cathedral and Methodist Central Hall Westminster and the aim is to take Jazz Vespers to other cathedrals, jazz clubs and concert halls in 2017.
The album features the amazing vocals of Juliet Kelly, saxophonist Tony Kofi, Steve Fishwick on trumpet and ‘Beat Poetry’ from Cambridge poet Dr Malcolm Guite. Also on the album are Vij Pakrash, Alison Beck, Chris Grey, Joel Humann, Derek Scurll and Richard Morgan. Jazz Vespers was recorded at Livingstone Studios & Strongroom in London with producer and engineer Lee Slater, (Jamie Cullum, Emeli Sande & Vaccines.) It was mastered and edited by Rob ‘Wacko’ Hunter in New York, (Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Marsalis Family, Wayne Escoffery, Jimmy Cobb, Harry Connick Jnr, Jeff “Tain” Watts.)
Dan said, “The music on the album has been carefully selected to reflect the words of Dr King that: “Jazz speaks for life. It takes the harshest realties of life and puts them into music, only to come out with some new hope.””
The album starts with a beautifully simple arrangement of the Negro Spiritual, ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’, a wonderful rendition of the traditional New Orleans Funeral march, ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’ and also features music by John Coltrane, Joey Zawinul and original compositions from Dan himself.
Dan hopes believes that the album marks an ‘apex’ point in his career as both a musician and theologian. ‘Right from its beginnings in Congo Square, New Orleans, ‘Jazz’ has been about communicating the truths about all of life from the happy times to the sad times. I believe that, in this album, we take the listener on a journey of exploration, so that no matter what you’re facing in life, you know there is hope at the end.’