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Seismic Shift

by John Escreet

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    High quality, 180 gram, 12" 2x Gatefold LP (3 sides of music - A, B, C)

    Includes digital pre-order of Seismic Shift. You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    digital album releases October 7, 2022
    item ships out on or around February 7, 2023
    Purchasable with gift card

      $39 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    High quality, 6 panel digifile with a velvety soft-touch laminate finish

    Includes digital pre-order of Seismic Shift. You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    shipping out on or around October 7, 2022
    Purchasable with gift card

      $14 USD or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

    Pre-order of Seismic Shift. You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.

    Comes with album artwork booklet PDF + album cover photo as a jpg
    Purchasable with gift card
    releases October 7, 2022

      $10 USD  or more

     

1.
Study No. 1
2.
Equipoise 05:51
3.
Outward and Upward
4.
RD 05:26
5.
Perpetual Love
6.
Digital Tulips
7.
Seismic Shift video
8.
Quick Reset
9.
The Water Is Tasting Worse

about

PERSONNEL

John Escreet - piano
Eric Revis - double bass
Damion Reid - drums

ALBUM CREDITS

Recorded at Big City Recording Studios, Granada Hills, CA (January 21-22, 2022)
Engineered by Paul Tavenner
Mixed by Zach Brown
Mastered by Joe Laporta Sterling Sound
Produced by John Escreet
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Photography by Teresa Lee
Album Artwork by Hugo Piper

credits

releases October 7, 2022

ABOUT THE ALBUM

Pianist John Escreet, hailed by Time Out London as a “transatlantic jazz genius,” continues his artistic ascent with the bold, exploratory new album Seismic Shift (Whirlwind Recordings). It is Escreet’s ninth album as a leader but his first at the helm of a trio, and also one of the first to see release since his move to the West Coast in early 2020.

The UK native, former Brooklynite and now Los Angeles transplant teams up with fellow Angelenos Eric Revis (bass) and Damion Reid (drums) for a set brimming with fire and invention. Seismic Shift offers ground-shaking evidence that Escreet, with his limitless technique, harmonic imagination and refined grasp of the improviser’s art, ranks as one of the top pianist-auteurs of our time. Equally at home in mainstream, electric, avant-garde and world jazz contexts, he has also built a reputation as a versatile sideman and collaborator with credits including Antonio Sanchez, Tyshawn Sorey, Amir ElSaffar, David Binney, and Evan Parker to name a few.

The world of Seismic Shift is on one level what the title implies: it involves tumult, rupture, earthquake. Escreet and his colleagues unleash a lot of power, whether freely improvising, sculpting sound with extended techniques, or for that matter playing elegant tonal harmony. “Any music I present needs to be varied,” Escreet says. “There needs to be beauty alongside the wild moments, moments of tonality against moments of abstraction. Most of all, any idea put forward, whether composed or improvised, needs to have clarity and purpose.”

As Escreet found after playing a post-pandemic “comeback” gig with Revis and Reid for the first time in June 2021, clarity and purpose is something that happens easily with this trio. While circumstances brought the three together in LA, they had all made their professional reputations on the New York music scene. Revis, an esteemed leader in his own right (Sing Me Some Cry, Slipknots Through a Looking Glass), with vast experience ranging from Branford Marsalis to Peter Brötzmann, is one of the world’s most compelling personalities on upright bass. “Eric’s sound and presence are so strong it feels like the center of the universe,” Escreet marvels. Reid, whose credits include Robert Glasper, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Lehman and more, shares with Escreet a highly compatible rhythmic sense. “He hears all the details and nuances of whatever I’m doing,” the pianist adds, “and can match me energy-wise at any given moment. We hung out a lot over the pandemic as we live not far from each other, so we spent a lot of time shedding ideas together as a duo. The whole process evolved very naturally.”

“RD,” short for Revis/Damion, is something Escreet planned specifically for that inaugural gig. It begins with improvisation loosely based on written melodic material, then on cue shifts to a more discernible harmonic progression, a roiling vamp that causes sparks to fly. “Perpetual Love” and the closing “The Water Is Tasting Worse” also have prescribed harmonic components, whereas “Outward and Upward” is entirely improvised — yet no less harmonically involved thanks to Escreet’s mountainous Stravinsky-like polytonal clusters and bursting, angular lines.

“Outward and Upward” is exactly the encouragement Escreet once received from late piano master Stanley Cowell, whose modern classic “Equipoise” is the one non-original on Seismic Shift. (Escreet also interpreted Muhal Richard Abrams’ “Charlie in the Parker,” on his 2010 release Don’t Fight the Inevitable.) “I met Mr. Cowell through Nasheet Waits and we had some great email exchanges,” Escreet recalls, “where he elaborated at length about many things — musical conceptions, career advice and more. I started playing ‘Equipoise’ after he passed in December 2020. The version I referenced is from Musa—Ancestral Streams (Strata-East, 1974), one of the all-time great solo piano albums. The song somehow conjures up a magical vibe every time it is played. It seems to get straight to the heart of the matter.”

Escreet’s recordings have typically involved horns: the free quartet outings with Evan Parker, John Hébert and Tyshawn Sorey, Sound, Space and Structures and The Unknown, are among the most notable examples. On such releases as Learn to Live, Sabotage and Celebration and The Age We Live In, Escreet has pushed the conceptual envelope, whether incorporating the funky, advanced solid-body guitar work of Wayne Krantz, a larger canvas of strings or additional horns, or the otherworldly sonic flavor of the Prophet-6 synthesizer as tools to capture the most of what he was hearing. The pandemic, not surprisingly, forced him to shelve it all. A period of intensive piano practice ensued, and with it came a newfound confidence. “I came into possession of a really beautiful grand piano, so all of this time practicing on this beautiful instrument in a dedicated workspace meant that I essentially became a much better piano player. Seismic Shift developed within this framework. It’s the reason I decided to record with the trio exclusively: I finally felt strong enough to step out front and ‘lead’ this group.”

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The Whirlwind Artist Page for pianist and composer John Escreet.

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