These last couple of years I seemed to have submerged myself, though not 100% intentionally, in everything Ellington. I made a ‘modern Ellington’ album, which was produced by my husband, …
Zandzemble is a project of composer Mark Zandveld, in which he combines a string quartet with jazz musicians in an ensemble that seeks to fully integrate the qualities of both the (mostly) written contemporary “classical” and the (mostly) improvised “jazz” idioms. The ten pieces on the CD vary greatly in character and during each the roles of each instrument change constantly: vibraphone, guitar and bass might add color and bottom to the interweaving counterpoint of the string quartet or improvise, vocal scats can be heard being invented over rhythmic string lines, the vibraphonist drops his mallets to play hand drums, the bass solos over a bed of strings or doubles a vocal bebop melody, string players solo over bass and snare drum, or everybody joins in on chromatically moving patterns over a latin 6/4 rhythm. All this stays in the melodic realm, rich in harmony – we’re not afraid of beauty.
Mark composes all the music and is the bassist. Vocalist Deborah J. Carter writes, speaks, scats and sings lyrics to five of the ten pieces. It takes a creative, agile and well-accomplished singer/writer to pull that off, since the material was created without any consideration for vocalists! She also adds her wordless voice to We R D Minority. Vibraphonist/percussionist Gunnar Graafmans and guitarist Jeen Rabs have been steady members of Mark’s contemporary jazz quartet Zandscape and seamlessly slid into the Zandzemble project.
The beautiful string players you hear on the album are: Mirco Wessoly – 1st violin, Aili Deiwiks – 2nd violin, Yanna Pelser – viola, and Veit Steinmann – cello. We spent a wonderful three very full days creating music together while battling the summer heat in our JoyFelt studio in Amsterdam, interrupted only to enjoy Deborah’s delicious cuisine!
Zandzemble’s music probably appeals to listeners not too concerned with boundaries between musical styles or with continuing traditions, with an adventurous taste for beauty regardless where it comes from. We hope that’s you!
Part of the Zandzemble concept is the idea of being open to collaborations with different string quartets/players anywhere. We’d love to hear from interested musicians!