Saturday, 30 November 2013

Navacross - Blues Matters

Blues Matters Magazine Writers Poll 2013 results for the best in blues UK........
1. David Migden & The Dirty
2. Little Devils
3. Red Butler
In with a shout: Navacross,
Katie Bradley, Dove & Boweevil,
Grainne Duffy, Jo Angie Harmon

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Concert review - Trevor Watts/Tony Bevan/John Edwards/Mark Sanders at The Vortex 21/10/13

A concert by this 'supergroup', as described in the Vortex brochure, anywhere else in Europe would have had punters hanging from the rafters. It says more for the British audience for challenging music than the music itself that unfortunately this was not the case last night.
Trevor Watts was one of the architects of the very language of European improvised music and his history alone, taking in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Amalgam, Moire Music and his Drum Orchestra, not to mention numerous other less permanent aggregations  would have signalled a good turnout on the continent.
This quartet played two 45 minute sets of total concentration and invention and at one stage you could hear a pin drop as Watts coaxed filigrees and slithers of near silent breath tones from his soprano.
The detail in the music was incredibly dense with no resort to cliches. The 'rhythm section' of John Edwards and Mark Sanders were rhythmic throughout but without ever needing to lock into a groove or repetitive beat. Sanders used sticks, tom tom beaters, brushes and a bow to extract the maximum of different sounds from all surfaces of his kit and cymbals whilst never losing the feel of the music. John Edwards bass playing was phenomenal - what he doesn't know about or can't do on his instrument is irrelevant! He put in a superb shift - no part of the music unexplored.
One is tempted to say go and see Tony Bevan just to be awe struck by his playing of the gargantuan bass saxophone. Suffice to say though that the sounds he gets from the instrument often bear no semblance to what one thinks this massive instrument should produce! His soprano playing was pretty excellent too! Which brings us to Watts - and to see him wailing over Edwards and Sanders on his alto as Bevan took a rest was a joy to behold.
Next time these guys play together in the UK go to see them. You won't be disappointed and you may be surprised!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review of Agam by Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan in R2 Magazine Sept/Oct 2013

Here is the full text of Dave Haslam's review:

Agam is the result of a serendipitous encounter in a London record shop between English guitarist Stuart Masters and Indian sarode and rebab player Rishi Ranjan. Masters, who tours regularly with The Fingerstyle Collective, has his musical roots in folk and Celtic music as well as both Western and Eastern classical traditions, the latter working to his advantage when playing with Ranjan who is trained in the classical Indian Maihar school of sarode playing.
Although it only clocks in at a little over thirty minutes, Agam is a varied collection that, through one traditional Moroccan tune ('Reb-Oud-Akech'), three joint compositions and four arrangements of pieces by the respected sarod master Bade Baba Allauddin Khan, explores the common ground between their respective musical traditions.
It's arguably fair to say that not all the material here is equally successful and there's a sense that some pieces are still works in progress. That said, when the musicians do gel they do so with startling results, as can be heard on the lengthy title track where the two traditions, although still discernible, combine to create something special and unique. With nicely judged percussion from Dave Engel and table from Mani Singh, Agam is an album that, while it doesn't quite fulfil its potential, hints at greater things to come.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Hi4Head Records titles on iTunes

The following of our titles are now available on iTunes:

No Fear by John Stevens/Trevor Watts/Barry Guy
Live in Sao Paulo, Brasil by Trevor Watts & Jamie Harris
Drum Energy! by the Original Trevor Watts Drum Orchestra
Fracture by Scurvy
Navacross by Navacross
Agam by Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan
All The Way Home by Navacross

Please download and enjoy!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Trevor Watts & Veryan Weston - Dialogues in Two Places - Dalston Sound review.

If you haven't previously seen it, it's here:

Navacross - All the Way Home (HFHCD012) - Maverick review, Alan Cackett

British roots band delivers a fine second album that criss-crosses musical styles, often in the same track. They are renowned for their incendiary live shows, but I found the most distinctive numbers here were the softer, more traditional sounding tracks. “Clowns” with its Dobro and banjo is a particular joy and the skiffle-flavoured “Get Me Outta Here” with Noel Gander’s harmonica to the fore brought back memories of ol’ Lonnie Donegan. There’s a lot of soul to be heard in “Open Your Eyes,” a dramatic song with an excellent musical backdrop.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Review of Agam by Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan in Taplas Magazine no. 176 (HFHCD011)

Here is the full text of Gabrielle Ashton's review:

These two highly skilled musicians join forces with this recording that is a synthesis of eastern melody and western harmony with their own unique slant. Rishi Ranjan fuses his virtuoso classical Indian sarode playing with with Stuart Masters' American and European influenced folk guitar, violin and middle eastern oud. The union of these artists is an exciting collaboration which yields some really exhilarating moments. Although one or two tracks meander a bit slowly, Agam really gathers pace with some vibrant musical experimentation and catchy rhythms. By the time you reach It's Rising the dynamic duo reach a frenzied crescendo that sends ecstatic tingles up and down your spine. This is an innovative meeting of musical genres that has many changes of style, tempo and mood. Some hit the spot more than others but overall an original and enticing album.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

4 star Review of Agam by Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan in Songlines issue 94

Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan - Agam

Anglo-Indian guitar and sarod duo with hidden depths.

This is an enjoyable, if not shatteringly novel, collaboration between a couple of musicians who met by chance in a West London bookshop. Rishi Ranjan is a classically trained Indian sarod player , while Stuart Masters is a guitarist who has a folk and Western classical background but also knows his way round Indian and Arabic modes. The result is a relaxed disc that sounds like a superior home recording, which finds a very nice balance between more serious moody atmospherics and the playfully expressive. 'Serenity' is, as it sounds, a beautifully tranquil and expressive piece, while the title-track has considerable forward momentum and shows the duo trading some tricky melodic licks backed by a guest table player.
Other tracks on this instrumental album reach for a more spiritual and mysterious atmosphere, such as 'It's Rising' and Midday'. Only rarely, as in 'Gaur Sarang' does the album veer a little too close to what sounds like an academic exercise in exchanging scales. Mostly it is confidently well played and just virtuosic enough to avoid falling into the show-off ego-trip trap that fusion albums fronted by star players are often prey to. The overall impression is rather of a friendly, civilised musical conversation across genres , a dialogue that allows each musician enough space to have their respective say. Overall, this is a warm, vibrant and refreshingly unpretentious disc; while it might not break that much new ground it will considerably brighten a gloomy day.

Peter Culshaw

All The Way Home by Navacross - review in Blues Matters magazine by Adrian Blacklee

Navacross - All the Way Home
Hi4Head Records

Essex based band Navacross have been together for several years, undertaking plenty of touring in the South East of England during which time they have started to be noticed. This, their second album. is a very strong release and enhances their growing reputation further. The band have versatility in abundance and deliver an eclectic mix of Blues and Country rock sounds, all the material is original and there are some well constructed songs here that allow the band's vocalist Dean Baker to demonstrate his full vocal range, which at times is reminiscent of a young Van Morrison; pick of the bunch is Steer which is interspersed with some cracking lead guitar work. The album has a nice feel to it with fine musicianship and intelligent song writing, the lead guitar work sits comfortably with acoustic segments and while the band on this album did not include a full time bassist, guest John Culleton does a fine job on the double bass. Definitely one to watch for 2013.

Adrian Blacklee

Friday, 7 June 2013

Film profile of Trevor Watts

Here's the link to Mark French's excellent and essential film profile of Trevor Watts.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Agam airplay

Agam by Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan has received airplay on BBC Radio Wales on the Celtic Heartbeat programme.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Agam - Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan

The stunning new acoustic album Agam by Stuart Masters & Rishi Ranjan is now available at Rishi is unfortunately not available to tour the music right now but Stuart has put a stellar quartet together to play the music. All details of the band and tour dates are available here:

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Rough Trade East

You can get the new Navacross album from London's coolest record shop, Rough Trade East - you can also get all our other releases there too:

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Navacross - All The Way Home R2 4 star review!

Here's the full text of Steve Caseman's review in the March / April 2013 R2:

'The first thing that strikes you on listening to Navacross' follow-up to their eponymous debut album is the superior production job; the second thing is the confident delivery.
Although their debut was a fine release, All The Way Home sounds more coherent, focused and represents a huge leap forward for the Essex based four-piece. This time around, the band is wearing its r'n'b influences more prominently on its sleeve, with occasional musical excursions elsewhere - the soul infused ballad 'This Situation', the country roots of 'Clowns' and the acoustic blues/skiffle fusion of closer 'Lazy Days'.
Thankfully they eschew the recent fashion to turn electric blues into heavy metal-lite; their version of blues, with elements of Americana roots, neatly avoids a lot of hot air in the shape of overblown solos or unnecessary volume. Instead they carefully traverse their own musical landscape, with harmonica, acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, double bass and drums used to perfection on tracks like opener 'Overload' and the sublime 'Get me Outta Here'.'

Friday, 1 March 2013

Trevor Watts & Veryan Weston on Australian radio

Australian Broadcasting Co features Trevor Watts (Saxes) & Veryan Weston (Piano) recorded "live" at Bennetts Lane, Melbourne. Australia last June.
March 1st 2013 on ABC Classic FM 10.30 p.m. AEST and repeated Mon March 4th at 9.30 p.m. AEST - also available on the internet from the below links;
Jazz Up Late ABC Jazz & ABC Classic FM
Also available on line using the same links for the next 4 weeks.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Hi4Head titles available on Itunes

Four of our releases are available on ITunes:
No Fear by Trevor Watts / John Stevens / Barry Guy
Fracture by NYC band Scurvy
Navacross by Navacross
All The Way Home by Navacross.