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Helmed by producer and saxophonist Pete Cunningham, Ishmael Ensemble’s richly inventive 2019 debut. A State Of Flow marked them out as an explosive new force in UK jazz, imbuing lush cinematic compositions with left-field dub and electronic sensibilities redolent of Bristol’s vital musical landscape. Named The Guardian’s ‘Contemporary Album Of The Month’ and MOJO’s ‘Jazz Album of The Month’, it saw the group perform Maida Vale sessions for both Gilles Peterson and Tom Ravenscroft, as well as feature on compilations for Brownswood Recordings and Soul Jazz Records.
Cunningham’s rise as an in-demand producer has led to remixes for the likes of techno royalty Carl Craig, as well as legendary jazz label Blue Note Records alongside a plethora of the UK’s finest musical talent on Blue Note Re:Imagined.
Ishmael Ensemble has since become a platform for Cunningham to subvert the conventional notions of producer/artist relationships, unsettling genre tags, and transcending the familiar landscape of UK jazz itself. Their new album Visions Of Light is brought to life on stage with Pete Cunningham on Sax & Electronics, Holysseus Fly on Vocals & Keys, Jake Spurgeon on Bass & Synthesizers, Stephens Mullins on Guitar & Rory O’Gorman on Drums.
“Music that’s pitched somewhere between astral jazz, burbling electronica, trippy
minimalism, psychedelic dub and 20 years of club culture.”
The Guardian – ‘Contemporary Album Of The Month’
“Ishmael Ensemble cleverly, psychedelically blur the lines”
MOJO – Jazz Album Of The Month
“A band seemingly capable of doing anything, yet remaining fleet footedly
“‘A State of Flow’ puts both the Ishmael Ensemble and their hometown firmly at
the centre of the rapidly expanding British jazz map.”
“A deeply arresting sound from one of our favourite cities, simply beautiful”
6Music Mary Anne Hobbs
“Incredible independent music from Bristol. These guys just get better with every
6Music Gilles Peterson