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Paul Booth: Travel Sketches (UBU0034)

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. 

 “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.”

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