Never Group

by Zhenya Strigalev

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about

Personnel

Zhenya Strigalev - alto saxophone
Tim Lefebvre - electric bass
Eric Harland - drums

with guests:
Bruno Liberda - electronics
Matt Penman - double bass
John Escreet - keyboards
Alex Bonney - trumpet
Charles Armstrong - voice

Album Credits

Recorded at Golden Retriever Studio, Berlin, Nov. 2015
Engineer - Arno Shumann
Edited and mixed by Alex Bonney
Mastered by Peter Beckmann
Produced by Zhenya Strigalev
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch

credits

released April 1, 2016

ABOUT THE ALBUM

Russian-born, London-based alto saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev follows up his 2015 Whirlwind sextet release Robin Goodie with his new trio project Never Group. Recorded over two days in Berlin with the rhythm section of electric bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Eric Harland – as well as welcoming guests such as keyboardist John Escreet, double bassist Matt Penman and trumpeter Alex Bonney – Strigalev’s desire with this different focus is to fashion the unexpected and the fleeting (alluded to in the project name) both from his own original compositions and the contributions of respected Austrian electronics composer/musician Bruno Liberda (who also appears on this recording).

Building a reputation on both sides of the North Atlantic for his adventurous and impassioned emphasis on improvisation, Never Group is an experience that matches quirky abandon with resolute musicianship and technicality. As Zhenya confirms: “No other rhythm section sounds like Eric and Tim; I like their chemistry together – and I wanted to collaborate with them to record a chordless trio album which gave me more freedom, so I could further expand my musical language.” In an hour-plus abundance of 20 tracks, Strigalev and colleagues elicit bristling spontaneity, from the rasping percussiveness of ‘Bio Active’ to ‘Strange Party‘s’ grungy swagger; from the echoic, electronically-manipulated mystery of Liberda’s ‘Bassgeigengeister’ and ‘Heimwehharfe’ to the raw, boppy mischievousness of ‘Some Thomas’ and playful, grooving ‘Snail’.

The trio’s studio jam sessions covered some four hours, so this album’s choice performances – punctuated throughout by succinct, exploratory codas mostly characterised by Harland’s precision drumming – offer a glimpse into the leader’s impulsive creativity and this close-knit trio partnership’s unfettered realization of his imaginings. Strigalev enjoys the challenge of shining a light on the undiscovered, and describes the desired on-the-edge thrill that unfolded from these sessions: “The whole point of what I do is that I need to surprise myself; I don’t want to record something which sounds exactly like this or like that, because that’s not interesting enough to me. Sometimes I can simply feel a tempo, a mood or an atmosphere, and I know this trio will provide the opportunity to develop that.”

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tags: London

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