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Jay PHelps: SoulEndvr (UBU0038)

jay Phelps: Chaos or Commerce (UBU0039)

Ubuntu Music is delighted to announce the signing of the widely talented Jay Phelps, to a series of album releases over the next year.

 The initial two releases, SoulEndvr and Chaos or Commerce, are digital-only releases and consist of a series of previously released material as well as new, unreleased bonus tracks. Both albums feature exceptional line-ups of top-rated musicians.

 Trumpeter, composer, band leader, educator and writer – Jay Phelps has performed with some of the world’s top names. With an instantly recognisable warm and projecting tone, Canadian born Phelps is a household name on the Jazz scene in the UK and his international presence is steadily growing. From his own quartet to his other projects NBOC and SoulEndvr, Phelps, who is never idle, remains fresh and full of new ideas and concepts. While living in Vancouver, Phelps was tutored by the city’s top jazz and classical trumpeters. He distinguished himself early on as the youngest band-leader in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival’s history at age 15. In 1999, aged 17, Jay moved to London and immersed himself in the jazz scene immediately.

 Jay went on to study at Trinity College of Music, gaining an honours in Jazz Theory and Performance. During this time at college, Phelps created and co-lead the UK jazz sensation, Empirical. They spent years touring major festivals with their self-titled debut album, produced by Courtney Pine, while garnering worldwide media attention that UK jazz musicians hadn’t enjoyed for years. Empirical is looked upon as one of the major influences that kick-started the current young British jazz movement and Jay is a big part of that due to his role as a band leader and an enabler for many of the scene’s top artists and groups. The list includes Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd, Femi Koleoso (Ezra Collective), Nubya Garcia, Ashley Henry, Reuben James, and many more. In 2008, and the same year that Empirical were garnering awards such as the EBU and Parliamentary Jazz, as well as performing at the Newport Jazz Festival, Jay was approached by Amy Winehouse herself, in a park in London and mentioned to him that she had been watching the trumpeter perform for a while in various locations. Amy asked Jay if he would join her band. Jay joined the band for a few months of touring before having to make a decision between his own band or Amy’s band. Jay decided to pursue his own creative path.

Jay has performed and recorded with a veritable Who’s Who of international and famed jazz artists such as Courtney Pine, Andrew Hill, Wynton Marsalis, Ray Brown, John Hendricks, Nasheet Waits, George Benson, Jamie Cullum, Sir John Dankworth, Jean Toussaint, Dennis Rollins, Guy Barker, Amy Winehouse, Charlotte Church, Sam Moore, Hugh Masakela, Jazz Jamaica, Mighty Sparrow, Soweto Kinch, Skatroniks, Ska Cubano, Chineke Orchestra, David Murray and Liv Warfield.

 Given his new partnership with Ubuntu Music, Jay will be releasing a carefully selected range of material from his former album, Free as The Birds (previously available on the Ropeadope record label) along with new, unreleased material. SoulEndvr features an outstanding array of musicians, which includes Rick Simpson, Mark Lewandowski, Shane Forbes, Rachel Cohen and Ruben Fox. Chaos or Commerce includes tracks features New York and international heavyweights David Binney (alto sax), John Escreet (piano) and Nasheet Waites (drums). These albums--SoulEndvr and Chaos or Commerce--will be available as digital-only releases.

 From there, a BBC live recording of the Jay Phelps Quartet at Jazz FM’s Jazz in The Round series will be subsequently released as ‘Live at The Cockpit’.

 Additional albums are also under discussion.

Speaking about the new projects on the horizon, Jay commented, “I’m very excited to be releasing these albums to the world. It’s taken years of travel and discovery to begin to find my own voice. ‘SoulEndvr’ and ‘Chaos or Commerce’ were both written during an extended visit to Thailand while nursing a broken rib. Once I had recovered, I was more than ready to get in the studio and record, so I called some of my favourite musicians from all over the world. These two albums were recorded in London, Brazil and New York and I feel that the influence of these locations really helped to inspire this music. I truly hope you enjoy!”

 And, in terms of his new relationship with Ubuntu Music, Jay said, “I met Ubuntu’s Martin Hummel years ago and have seen him in and around the London jazz scene ever since. It was only as of late, that I discovered he had a very credible and growing record label, Ubuntu Music. Having kept my eye on his wonderful progress and new signings, many of them friends of mine, I thought I would reach out. I’m very glad I did, because he has approached signing me with a very personally touch, something that’s generally missed today. I would also say that I’m very happy to be in the Ubuntu family, a label dedicated to releasing excellent jazz music!”

 Martin Hummel, Director of Ubuntu Music, said, “I’ve been a big Jay Phelps admirer for some time. His talents are diverse and far-reaching. He’s fearless and always open to exploring new and different thigs. Although schooled in the traditional jazz repertoire, he’s equally comfortable with hip-hop, Afro-Cuban and trance music. Jay has his own, distinctive trumpet voice. Alternatively, he can sing and play like Chet Baker. This guy just doesn’t stop innovating. The next time you catch him, he’ll probably have a film or TV script in the works. We welcome Jay with open arms to the Ubuntu Music Family.”

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