Urban Sessions

A 10 track jazz-funk album (45m 48s) — released December 19th 2011 on Sunlightsquare Records
Welcome to Sunlightsquare's Urban Sessions, the first brilliant brainchild of pianist Claudio Passavanti… a multi-faceted fusion of jazz and electronica.

Considering the music is imbued with a warm summer groove, it's surprising that the record is completely inspired by Claudio's relocation to the heart of East London. In a little studio, a stone's throw from vibrant Shoreditch and the excitable pulse of Brick Lane, Claudio soaked up the urgent beat of the East End and combined it with his love for organic jazz instrumentation.

"The first album I wanted to buy was Kraftwerk's Man Machine in 1978. I said, Mom, I want the robot album," he recalls, smiling at the memory. "I was into repetitive music that was electronic and visionary, although at the time I didn't realise it."

To this day the German four-piece's influence is evident, although the traces are subtle, more a frame of mind than a direct musical comparison. In seeking to create an album seamlessly uniting his experimental side and his jazz roots, Claudio has never shied away from testing boundaries, splicing drumbeats and cutting up vocals, drawing stimulation from the Warp Records, Gilles Peterson, Pat Metheny and Jazzanova. However, such edginess is never, ever at the expense of the songs. It is truly fresh crossover music, which also incorporates a range of rhythmic styles from latin to soul, drum n bass to funk, plus an array of rhodes and acoustic pianos, delays, synthesizers and theremin.

Collaborating with Will Lee on bass and legendary Steve Gadd on drums, who's combined musical output is nothing if not astounding, Claudio set about weaving urban vocalists such as Sharlene Hector (Basement Jaxx, Gorillaz), Joy Malcolm (Moby, Incognito) and Zee Star (Slow Train) into the mix. The combined effect is sophisticated and fluid, forget soulless chill out, this record throbs with an organic ambience all it's own.
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