Press release from EMI!
SHHH! NIGEL KENNEDY.
Released: now in Germany. 10th May 2010 worldwide.
Loosely described, it's electric jazz, but not as we know it, captain.
The latest Nigel Kennedy Quintet album, Shhh!, recorded in November 2009, confirms the maverick status and omnivorous musical taste of one of Britain's finest and most unpredictable musicians. "I am a natural improviser. I can't just always stand up and follow a score," says Kennedy, the virtuoso violinist who has been ploughing his own furrow ever since as a 16 year old student he joined the jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli on stage at the Carnegie Hall – to the alarm of his classical teachers at the Juilliard School.
To this day, Kennedy still declines to play by any one set of rules. Over the past decade or so, as well as recording Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Mlynarski and Karlowicz, he has laid his personal instrumental stamp on the songs of Jimi Hendrix, the Doors and Kate Bush; performed the violin intro to Baba O'Riley on stage with the Who; invited Jeff Beck onto the Prom stage with the NKQ; explored traditional klezmer music with the Polish band, Kroke, and dug deep into the roots of modern jazz on the Blue Note Sessions, an album he recorded in NYC in 2006 with legends Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette.
Following his 2008 excursion into the self-penned tracks of the NKQ's A Very Nice Album, Kennedy's latest collection reveals an even more eclectic character. It was recorded at one of rock's fabled residential country studios, Rockfield in South Wales with the Polish musicians which make up the NKQ: Tomasz Grzegorski (tenor sax, soprano sax & bass clarinet); Piotr Wylezol (piano & Hammond); Adam "Szabas" Kowalewski (contrabass & electric bass) and Krzysztof Dziedzic (drums).
"Rockfield has history but it also has a lot to offer in the world of modern music, so it feels like being on the stage of Carnegie Hall or Ronnie Scott's, to be in the spot where all these great artists have been standing before you," Kennedy says. "And it's also a really beautiful, peaceful place to work." Shhh! was produced by Kennedy in association with the son of Motorhead’s Lemmy, Paul Inder,"a huge talent who definitely brought a different energy to the project."
Collaborating on one of the album's outstanding and most surprising tracks is Boy George, an old mate and near neighbour of Kennedy's in North West London who shares his passion for the songs of the late Nick Drake. George's delicate vocal on River Man points to another new direction for Kennedy's music – a gentle chamber pop which brings out the understated lyrical tone in his violin playing. "There were a few singers whose voice I thought might work well on River Man but I just knew that George's voice would sound amazing, and his beautiful, very touching interpretation and style adds a completely different dimension to the song."
The other songs on Shhh! are all Kennedy originals, ranging from the long instrumental opener, Transfiguration - reminiscent of the fusion-ary flights of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra - to the dirty funk rock outro Oy! The moods along the way vary from the sparse and desolate calm of The Empty Bottle to the uplifting Silver Lining. "I love moving from one style to another - it’s what makes life interesting for me as a musician. It’s a kind of trip we’re all making together" Kennedy observes, cheerfully.
For more information and to buy the CD go to the mini website www.kennedyshhh.com