Jeff Williams (drums), John O’Gallagher (sax), Josh Arcoleo (sax), Kit Downes (piano), Sam Lasserson (bass)
“Williams’ British quintet features some of the UK’s leading players in guitarist Phil Robson, rising tenor sax star Josh Arcoloeo, bassist Sam Lasserson and Troyka’s Kit Downes.
…One of the jazz world’s top drummers…Williams is a comparative veteran but is still a musician who is right on top of his game and his encouragement of young, emerging musicians is almost Blakey-esque.” –Ian Mann The Jazz Mann
“One expects rhythmic interest from the compositions of a drummer. Experience has also led me to expect some pretty tunes. Jeff Williams confounds the latter expectation at least. There are strong themes and rich harmonies in his writing, but what you won’t find is much sentimentality or sweetness. No-nonsense is an adjective that could be applied to everything about him as a musician. “ –Peter Bacon The Jazz Breakfast
“A treasure of a group” –Mike Collins Jazzyblogman
In a career spanning four decades on the New York jazz scene Jeff Williams’ musical associates have included Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman and Lookout Farm, Joe Lovano, Paul Bley, Bill McHenry, Ethan Iverson and Tony Malaby. Since making a second home in London, following marriage to novelist Lionel Shriver, Jeff has performed in the UK with Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, and has toured with McHenry, Konitz, the Phil Robson/Dave Liebman Quartet, and Martin Speake’s Change of Heart (with Bobo Stenson) while also collaborating with Hans Koller, Mike Gibbs, Nikki Iles and many others. He has released two acclaimed albums of original compositions on the Whirlwind label and is planning a third with his UK quintet for 2015.
Alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher is one of the leading players in the New York downtown scene: “an alto saxophonist of dry tone and daring temperament” – The New York Times
“O’Gallagher is a force to be reckoned with both as a performer and as a composer.” – Blogcritics.org
” a player with crisp articulation and intriguing ideas” – JazzTimes
Josh Arcoleo, was a 2011 1st class degree graduate of the Royal Academy of music (where he had one to one lessons with Jeff) while also winning a Yamaha Parliamentary Jazz Scholarship and the Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize, the latter being a recording contract with Edition Records for his debut album Beginnings. In addition to leading his own groups he has toured with artists ranging from Pee Wee Ellis to Joss Stone. He is co-leader of the innovative group Native Dancer, which fuses jazz with many other contemporary hip-hop and groove styles.
One of the best young saxophonists to emerge in the UK in recent years” –Ian Mann
Pianist Kit Downes composes for and tours with his own group ‘Tricko’ (in which he plays piano, with Lucy Railton – cello), while also working with ‘Wedding Music’ (playing church organ, Tom Challenger – saxophone) and a new piano trio ‘The Enemy’ featuring Petter Eldh (bass) and James Maddren (drums). He also plays and writes for ‘Troyka’, and collaborates with many other musicians, composers, artists, filmmakers and organisations.
“One of the finest pianists of his generation” – Timeout Magazine
Double bassist Sam Lasserson has worked with Jeff in a number of different ensembles, including those led by Martin Speake, Ethan Iverson and Mike Chillingworth. John Fordham called him “the linchpin” in Jeff’s quintet. Others who regard Sam in the same manner include George Crowley, Emilia Martensson, Julian Arguelles and Jim Hart, to name but a few. Sam also joins Jeff and American saxophonist John O’Gallagher in the group Valence, whose recently released debut CD on Willful Archives was called “An absorbing and thrilling example of the art of the trio” by Ian Mann.