Andrew McCormack ‘Graviton: The Calling’ CD (Ubuntu Music) 5/5

Now as a member of Ubuntu Music’s official roster, Andrew McCormack releases his brand new album ‘The Calling’ backed by his Graviton ensemble.

Since McCormack’s debut in 2006 with ‘Telescope’ on Dune Records, the pianist and producer has forged ahead accumulating a stunning array of accolades and achievements in the process: further projects included ‘First Light’ on Edition Records (2014), ‘Graviton’ on Jazz Village in 2017, his duo project with saxophonist Jason Yarde (performing as McCormack & Yarde Duo), serving as a long-time member of bassist Kyle Eastwood’s band, creating film scores for Hollywood director Clint Eastwood films ‘Flags Of Our Fathers’ and ‘Letters From Iwo Jima’, production for Ubuntu saxophonist Camilla George’s 2018 release ‘The People Could Fly’… It’s as awe-inspiring a resume as anyone could amass.

… Which leads us to 2019’s inspirational concept project, ‘The Calling’. While still a follow-up to the previous ‘Graviton’ album release, members of the band’s touring line-up now secure their spots for ‘The Calling’ with such prominent British talent including saxophone by Josh Arcoleo (The James Taylor Quartet, XOA), drums by Joshua Blackmore (Floating Points, Troyka) and electric bass by Tom Herbert (Toshio Matsuura Group, Portico Quartet). The line-up is completed by Ubuntu label-mate and the artist with the distinction of the label’s debut album release in 2015 – ‘Nice To Meet You’ (of which McCormack was a part of) – Noemi Nuti. And while Nuti’s talents were present on ‘Graviton’ as harpist for several of the album’s songs, the multi-talented artist now finds herself promoted to lead vocalist on ‘The Calling’.

McCormack’s limitless talents are really put to the test this time around with the incredible ambition of ‘The Calling’ which aims to represent the archetypal monomyth, perhaps better referred to as “the hero’s journey”. And just as Professor of Literature, Joseph Campbell’s theories were famously outlined over ten steps, McCormack et al deliver ten tracks charting their very own captivating adventure – from the trepidation of ‘Crossing the Threshold’ to the unease and despair of ‘Belly Of The Whale’ and the triumphant ‘Returning’.

Founded by Martin Hummel and Ubuntu trumpeter/producer Quentin Collins, “ubuntu” itself is an ancient African word meaning “I am because we are”. Since its inception, the label’s ethos has been about “bringing quality, accessible jazz and related music genres to increasingly wider audiences”. And with a slew of Ubuntu releases over the last four years, they’re doing that. Really well. But at the very least, with ‘The Calling’, they told a great story.

13 June – Album launch at The Vortex, London
28 June – The Crypt, London (solo support for the Larry Bartley Group)
1 July – NQ Jazz, Manchester
2 July – Flute and Tankard, Cardiff
1 August – 606 Club, London

Imran Mirza

Read also:
Andrew McCormack ‘Graviton’ LP/CD (Jazz Village) 3/5
Andrew McCormack Trio ‘Live in London’ (Edition) 4/5