Early in 2020 like many colleagues I found myself left high and dry for a creative output as the Pandemic took a hold. I took a leap of faith into recording virtually as the only foreseeable option,. “No previous experience” but up for learning ! .
Having played some great UK concerts as a guest with the Swiss trio Vein over the previous couple of years I was so disappointed at the inevitable cancellation of our short tour in UK and Ireland at the end of 2020 . Encouraged by trumpet player Tom Walsh from my Neon Orchestra , the idea of a virtual recording had been in my mind for sometime. So I thought ok maybe I could combine Vein from Switzerland with an ensemble of players from UK and Jim Hart in the Alsace . This collection is the result – – -A ‘Lockdown Project’ which involved writing some new compositions and arrangements whilst embracing some new technology and working with friends.
I set out to make an albums worth of music, culminating in 6 varied pieces –
LOVE FOR SALE ( the Cole Porter classic) blended with RESOLUTION ( John Coltrane) into one new arrangement that was premiered on a Royal Academy socially distanced Big Band concert.
CHU CHU ( originating from my trio NEON) ,
“MON AMI” which reflects this project at a time when we were all thinking about our friends and personal and musical relationships, not to mention what does the future hold in store for us all !
SHADOW PAINTING from my 70th tour in 2019.
BETWEEN MOONS ( a commission from composer John Taylor from my 65th Birthday tour)
ONE DAY I’LL FLY AWAY ( Joe Sample & Will Jennings from The Crusaders) I always liked this tune sung by Randy Crawford .
The team were – —
VEIN – – Michael Arbenz piano, Florian Arbenz drums, Thomas Laehns bass.
TPTS – – Tom Walsh, James Copus, George Hogg, Nick Smart
TROMBONES – – ( 3 players covering 4 parts ) Mark Nightingale, Olli Martin , Harry Maund
SAXES – – Matt Sulzmann, Sam Glaser, Tom Barford, myself, James Allsopp
GTR – – Alex Munk
VIBRAPHONE – – Jim Hart
FLUTE was kindly played by Phil Todd on Between Moons
PRODUCTION – – Jim Hart
MIXING/MASTERING Alex Bonney
PR – – Elaine Crouch
I chose one piece “MON AMI” to be available on youtube to introduce the project and direct you to the Bandcamp download link for donations to ‘MEDICINES SANS FRONTIERES’. I hope you may enjoy this music as much as we have had making it.
Neon Orchestra Live at the 606 Club – Taking a Chance On Love
The final video is Stan’s epic arrangement of Vernon Duke’s Taking A Chance On Love, which is reharmonised and set in 5/4 time and was originally written as part of a suite of music called “Splashes”. Featured are Ralph Wyld (vibes), Kit Downes (piano), Tom Walsh (trumpet), Stan (Soprano), and Tim Giles (drums).
Neon Orchestra Live at the 606 Club – I Know You Know
I Know You Know is an original composition by pianist Gwilym Simcock, which Stan fondly remembers playing with Gwilym and guitarist John Parricelli. Stan and Gwilym’s musical relationship stretches back to the original “Neon” band, which was a trio featuring Stan and Gwilym alongside Jim Hart on vibes. Stan’s arrangement features James Allsopp (bass clarinet), Ralph Wyld (vibes), and Stan on soprano.
Neon Orchestra Live at the 606 Club – Nobody Else But Me
Stan’s most recent arrangement is Jerome Kern’s standard Nobody Else But Me. Inspired by his memory of hearing the original Mel Lewis/Thad Jones big band in New York at age 18, this swinging chart features James Allsopp on baritone, and Mark Nightingale on trombone.
Neon Orchestra Live at the 606 Club – Up And Down
Up And Down is an original composition/arrangement by Stan, which was commissioned to be performed by the band as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival (2013). A celebration of London, the title Up And Down is borrowed from cockney nursery rhyme Pop Goes The Weasel. This track features James Copus (trumpet), Stan (tenor), Martin Hathaway (alto), and Robbie Harvey (trombone).
Neon Orchestra Live at the 606 Club – Westerly
This week’s video is Stan’s arrangement of Nikki Iles’ Westerly. Stan and Nikki have been playing together for close to two decades, and recently released their second duo album “Stardust” together. Westerly was originally written by Nikki as a setting of music to poetry celebrating the life and work of poet Mary Webb, and was eventually recorded with Stan on Nikki’s album “Veils”. This arrangement features Kit Downes (piano), Josh Arcoleo (tenor), as well as Stan (soprano) and Alex Munk (guitar).
Neon Orchestra Live at the 606 Club – Chu Chu
Stan is proud to present the first in a series of videos of his Neon Orchestra playing live at the 606 Club, March 2016. First up is Stan’s arrangement of his own tune Chu Chu, a composition which was inspired by bassist Chucho Merchán, and first recorded by Stan and the original Neon trio on “Here To There”. Chu Chu features Stan on tenor, as well as Matthew Sulzmann (alto), and Robbie Harvey (trombone).
Stardust; Stan Sulzmann, Nikki Iles
Released 2015 on Jellymould Jazz, “Stardust” is the most recent album by Stan Sulzmann and Nikki Iles celebrating the duo’s shared love of “songs”.
“This intimate recording is a rare chance to hear two of the UK’s most respected jazz musicians playing tunes they love. Jellymould is proud to be releasing this beautiful record.”
– Dom Sales, Jellymoud Jazz