Jess Gillam: Rise

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Richard Balcombe, Alessandro Marcello, Michael Nyman, Darius Milhaud, John (Towner) Williams, Kurt (Julian) Weill, John Harle, Kate Bush, Pedro Iturralde, Dmitri Shostakovich, Francis Lai, Rudy Wiedoeft, John Dowland, Traditional, David Bowie

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: Decca

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 483 4862

483 4862. Jess Gillam: Rise

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Concerto for Oboe and Strings Richard Balcombe Composer
Alessandro Marcello Composer
Jess Gillam
Jessica Cottis
BBC Concert Orchestra
(The) Diary of Anne Frank Jess Gillam
Jessica Cottis
BBC Concert Orchestra
Michael Nyman Composer
Richard Balcombe Composer
Scaramouche Suite Darius Milhaud Composer
Jessica Cottis
Richard Balcombe Composer
Jess Gillam
BBC Concert Orchestra
Escapades John (Towner) Williams Composer
Jessica Cottis
BBC Concert Orchestra
Richard Balcombe Composer
Jess Gillam
Je ne t'aime pas Kurt (Julian) Weill Composer
BBC Concert Orchestra
Richard Balcombe Composer
Jess Gillam
Jessica Cottis
Briggflatts Jess Gillam
John Harle Composer
Jessica Cottis
Richard Balcombe Composer
BBC Concert Orchestra
This Woman’s Work Richard Balcombe Composer
BBC Concert Orchestra
Kate Bush Composer
Jess Gillam
Jessica Cottis
Pequena Czarda Richard Balcombe Composer
Pedro Iturralde Composer
Jessica Cottis
Jess Gillam
BBC Concert Orchestra
Jazz Suite No. 2 Jessica Cottis
Dmitri Shostakovich Composer
BBC Concert Orchestra
Jess Gillam
Richard Balcombe Composer
Love Story Jess Gillam
Richard Balcombe Composer
BBC Concert Orchestra
Jessica Cottis
Francis Lai Composer
Valse Vanité BBC Concert Orchestra
Richard Balcombe Composer
Jessica Cottis
Rudy Wiedoeft Composer
Jess Gillam
Flow my Teares, 'Second Book of Ayres' No 2 Jessica Cottis
Richard Balcombe Composer
Jess Gillam
BBC Concert Orchestra
Milos Karadaglic
John Dowland Composer
Dark Eyes Traditional Composer
Richard Balcombe Composer
Jessica Cottis
BBC Concert Orchestra
Jess Gillam
Where are we now? BBC Concert Orchestra
Richard Balcombe Composer
David Bowie Composer
Jess Gillam
Jessica Cottis
Many will remember the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year as that rare old tussle between two very different musical personalities – eventual winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s intensely lyrical cello versus Jess Gillam’s colourful, effervescent saxophone. Those core elements have been retained by Kanneh-Mason and Gillam on their respective debut albums – depth and gravitas on the former’s ‘Inspiration’ (3/18), fizz and sparkle on ‘Rise’. Yet both albums demonstrate a real willingness to move away from, and question, such simple, crass categorisations.

In Gillam’s case, the range of repertoire enables her to explore a wide breadth of moods and atmospheres. Dancelike pieces, such as Pedro Iturralde’s Pequeña Czarda, the ‘Brazileira’ from Milhaud’s Scaramouche and the traditional Russian song ‘Dark eyes’ contain by-now trademark Gillam isms – lively characterisation combined with technical brilliance. ‘Dark eyes’ opens with a cadenza-like flourish which sees Gillam’s soprano saxophone darting up and down the instrument’s register, the song’s original tune eventually transformed into frantic Klezmer-style flourishes.

‘Dark eyes’ is one of several arrangements by the virtuoso saxophonist John Harle, whose vast experience as composer, arranger and producer is evident throughout. Harle has managed to grasp, harness and develop the multi-dimensional elements that have been innate to Gillam’s musical character since the very beginning. More lyrical moments work especially well here, such as in the song arrangements of Michael Nyman’s ‘If’ and Kate Bush’s ‘This Woman’s Work’, which allow Gillam more time and space to engage with and shape the sound itself. Harle’s own composition, ‘Rant!’, written for Gillam and drawing on folk materials from Cumberland and Westmorland, is especially powerful. Gillam’s soprano saxophone is bright and resonant in its high range, gruff and punchy at the lower end, with Harle’s melodic lines and figures at times suggesting Kathryn Tickell’s Northumbrian pipe style.

‘Rise’ is an impressive collection of songs, dances and theme tunes. It perhaps lacks a more substantial sonata-based work that might act as a counterweight to the showpieces: it would be interesting to see what Gillam might make of, say, Michael Torke’s Saxophone Concerto or Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Two Memorials. That, no doubt, is for another time and another album.

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