Onyx Noir: Jazz Works for Brass Quintet Onyx Brass
- 2Holy Chalcedony04:43
- 31 For 5: I. —04:29
- 41 For 5: II. —02:47
- 5The Mighty Pencil04:12
- 6For Rosie05:25
- 7Inevitable Outcome04:29
- 8Symbols at Your Door07:32
- 9Imaginary Dance05:14
- 10Onyx Noir05:17
- 11Hamlet Stories: I. Moving03:26
- 12Hamlet Stories: II. Funky01:44
- 13Hamlet Stories: III. Slowly02:30
- 14Firebox: I. Hetton Colliery Lyon03:11
- 15Firebox: II. Sunny South Sam04:02
- 16Firebox: III. The Federal Express02:30
- 17Let Her Go05:51
Info for Onyx Noir: Jazz Works for Brass Quintet
The release of this album marks the 25th anniversary of Onyx Brass. During this period, we have premiered around 200 new works, and believe that new music is utterly essential both for the development of brass chamber music and to the wider survival and success of classical music. In 1994, I was a participant in the Banff International Jazz Summer School, where one of the tutors was Kenny Wheeler. I was completely smitten by both his music and his playing, and thought that, one day, I might have the courage to approach him to write a piece for our newly formed quintet. Fast-forward to 2012, where I was fortunate enough to be playing on Gwilym Simcock’s amazing album Instrumation, and this long-held idea was suddenly given life. Having persuaded Gwilym to agree to write us something, I was then chatting with the drummer Martin France at a tea break, and I mentioned my long-held dream to ask Kenny to write a brass quintet piece. Martin immediately gave me Kenny’s phone number, and said “call him now, and tell him I said so!” Kenny was grace personified, and agreed, with the caveat that it might take him some time. Less than three weeks later, he called back with the news that he’d already finished it! Having Kenny and Gwilym on board made it much easier to approach the other legends on this album, all of whom have also been astoundingly generous and enthusiastic about the project. This commissioning side of this project has been entirely self-funded by Onyx Brass, and we would like to put on record our heartfelt gratitude to the composers for their generosity, both of time and talent.
There is currently a golden era in British jazz, and we felt that it was important, not just from a brass chamber music perspective, but also from a wider classical music point of view, that this wealth of talent should be tapped to create music in a jazz idiom, using each composer’s unique understanding of melody, harmony and rhythm, but playable by classical musicians. The commissioning brief for each composer was simple: something around 5 minutes and do whatever you want! We are completely thrilled by the results, and hope you have as much fun listening to it as we have had playing it. (Amos Miller)
Niall Keatley, trumpet
Alan Thomas, trumpet
Andrew Sutton, horn
Amos Miller, trombone
David Gordon-Shute, tuba
Since 1993 Onyx Brass has been dominating the international brass chamber music world. Dubbed "easily the classiest brass ensemble in Britain " by BBC Music magazine, it has performed at festivals all over Europe and the USA to huge critical acclaim. The group was conceived by way of filling the huge gap in the market for a serious yet approachable brass chamber ensemble.
Of particular importance to Onyx is the commissioning of new music and, to this end, they have performed and recorded world premieres of music by Jonathan Dove, Bob Chilcott, John Tavener, John McCabe, Judith Bingham, Joe Duddell and Michael Nyman.
Individual members of the group hold permanent, principal positions in The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of English National Opera, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. The quintet performs regularly on BBC Radios 2 and 3. In its history, the ensemble has won numerous grants, competitions and scholarships as well as having played for The Queen and Prime Ministers Tony Blair and, before him, John Major.
Onyx Brass are also very active and experienced in the field of music education, having conducted workshops and master classes for a huge range of people. They have directed educational days at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. In the USA, they have carried out masterclasses at the Juilliard School in New York and the Boston Conservatory. In addition, the group returned to its roots at the National Youth Orchestra for a day and coached the talented young brass students for a cooperative concert held that evening. Onyx Brass have just been appointed ensemble-in-residence at both Westminster Abbey Choir School and Imperial College, University of London.
During 2000-01 they took part in a Making Music (formerly the National Federation of Music Societies) New Horizons educational tour around Britain , with specially commissioned music by Bob Chilcott called 'A Sporting Chance' for brass quintet, school choir, actors and dancers. In 2002, with the assistance of ING Barings and Hackney Music Services, they took a similar project into schools within the London Borough of Hackney. Between the Summers of 2004 and 2005, Onyx, again, took 'A Sporting Chance' to various festivals and societies around the UK , thanks to a grant from the Arts Council of Great Britain. The group intends to rejuvenate this project in the run-up to the London Olympics in 2012. br> Work with choirs now also forms a vital part of Onyx’s work. In recent times the group has worked with the BBC Singers, the Brighton Festival Chorus, the Choir of St Brides, Fleet Street as well as superb amateur choirs including the choir of Selwyn College,Cambridge. The John Armitage Memorial trust forms the backbone of this work and, also, provides a platform for composers to submit works for inclusion in to each years series of concerts.
Onyx have recorded several discs, including Fugue a recording of fugues by Bach and Shostakovich (Chandos Records) and two titles for Meridian Records - Pavans Fantasias Variations and Time to Time.