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Paul Booth Quartet: Travel Sketches (UBU0034)

Ubuntu Music is delighted to announce the signing of Paul Booth, undoubtedly one of the truly great saxophonists the UK has ever produced. The album, Travel Sketches, features Paul’s quartet and will be released worldwide on 30th August.

 From his early acclaim as a prize-winning saxophonist, Paul Booth has continually refined and expanded his talents as a solo artist, composer, arranger and bandleader, whilst establishing an elite reputation as a first-call sideman for major contemporary music artists.

 Paul’s ability to blend into any musical surrounding coupled with his talents as a multi-instrumentalist has led to him being regularly chosen to perform with many well-known artists. Paul has toured, performed and recorded around the world with Steve Winwood, Steely Dan, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Van Morrison, The Allman Brothers Band, Bonnie Raitt, Chaka Khan, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Rod Stewart, Kylie Minogue, Riverdance, Warren Haynes, Marti Pellow, Derek Trucks, Eddie Henderson, Geoffrey Keezer, Clarence Penn and Ingrid Jensen. He has worked with Incognito, Brand New Heavies, The BBC Big Band, Michael Janisch Quintet and the Ryan Quigley Quintet.

Paul recently formed a new quartet, featuring the immense talent of Steve Hamilton (keyboards), Dave Whitford (double bass) and Andrew Bain (drums). Paul’s burning desire for Travel Sketches was to return to the essence of his musical roots, as he explains below:

 “The story behind this album started a few years back when I decided to form a new quartet with the sole purpose of playing more jazz gigs. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world over the last 20 years playing all sorts of music with all kinds of amazing artists and shows, but my first love, my true passion and where I feel the most comfortable as a creative musician is jazz in a small group setting. That sound is the root of why I play music now, the inspiration behind why I decided to become a musician in the first place. 

Clockwise, from top left: Paul Booth, Andrew Bain, Steve Hamilton, Dave Whitford.

Clockwise, from top left: Paul Booth, Andrew Bain, Steve Hamilton, Dave Whitford.

 “The guys in this quartet are some of my favourite musicians and even more importantly, favourite people. We are friends who make music together and I think you can hear this on the album. There’s an empathy when we play, unspoken directions that lead us to constantly re-interpret the music we are playing. I really wanted my compositions to feel as though they were written by the whole band and somehow, I think we achieved this. 

 “The tunes were mostly written touring with various artists, although a large portion were written whilst on tour with Steve Winwood, with whom I’ve toured for 13 years. They were inspired by places I visited and had a direct influence on the composition, whether I realised it at the time or not. Quite often these tunes were written whilst trying to find solitude in a bustling theatre and coming across an old piano in a dressing room. Others were inspired by wilderness and beauty.

“The last few albums I have released have been much bigger in sound, utilising strings, big band, vocals and taking influences from music across the globe. For this reason, I felt it was time to scale down and just be a tenor player. There were no overdubs and we recorded the album in a live playing situation with no chance of ‘fixes’. Each tune was recorded twice and for the most part the takes you hear on the album were first takes.”

 In terms of joining Ubuntu Music, Paul elaborates, “I met Martin Hummel only recently. Although we knew of one another for a long time and had many mutual connections, our paths never crossed until we made them cross. I immediately loved Martin’s passion for music, life, people and travel. We certainly had a lot to talk about and our evening was cut short by me having to run off to a gig. I was genuinely thrilled at the prospect of finally finding someone with the drive and enthusiasm to help me find a wider audience for my music. Following the meeting, Martin expressed an interest in hearing the results of this album and has been an advocate for the music ever since I sent him the roughs. Ubuntu Music has such a fantastic roster of artists, I am truly thrilled and honoured to be joining the family. Thank you, Martin.”

 Martin Hummel, Director of Ubuntu Music, continues: “When you hear the name, Paul Booth, you immediately think of one of the most talented and diverse sax players in the business today. Paul’s credits read like the ‘Who’s Who in Music’. When Paul told me about his vision for his next project, I simply could not wait, knowing it would be brilliant. The way Paul crafted the music, the way he chose to record the music and the end result itself are the hallmark of an exceptionally gifted musician, who also happens to also be an exceptional human being. We welcome Paul and his quartet into the Ubuntu Music Family with open arms and great expectations.”