Paul Towndrow International Group “Atlantic Road Trip”
Atlantic Road Trip is an international project combining prominent musical voices from Europe and America, exploring the evolution and fusion of traditional indigenous folk musics from Scotland, Ireland and Slovakia, and their historical coalescence through the medium of contemporary jazz and improvised music. The project also draws upon intertwined musical paths of European folk traditions and their historical interplay with music from Africa, South America, and beyond.
Each musician has his own story to tell, both musically and culturally. Compositions, arrangements and improvisation distil into a story-telling musical narrative that reflects and combines music’s evolutionary journey and its ability to shine an honest light on the history of humanity as well as the present day human experience.
As such, Atlantic Road Trip presents a unique, ‘multi-angle’ take upon historical world events including Colonialism, the Transatlantic Slave Trade, The Highland Clearances, World Wars, and the rise and fall of the Iron Curtain - all of this reflected in the melding of folk music traditions within, and outside of the jazz idiom.
Indeed, the importance of cities such as Chicago as a cultural crucible in both the conservation and evolution of Celtic music, is to be recognised and celebrated. One can point to the efforts of people like Francis O’Neill, Chicago’s Chief of Police at the turn of the 20th Century, whose efforts in writing down and obsessively documenting the music played by Irish and Scottish immigrants, played a huge role not only in cementing the traditions into American culture, but in making the music, and it’s associated folklore available on the worldwide stage.
The ethos of the Atlantic Road Trip project recognises this spirit of artistic conservation and cultural sharing as one which should be ongoing to this day. As the music and the ideas evolve, so must the process of sharing.
Heralded for his “solos of mercurial poetry and high craft.” (Chicago Tribune) Chicago-based trumpeter/composer Chad McCullough is active throughout the world. Dan McClenaghan writes, “He is a rare instrumentalist who makes each note sound as if it were imbued with a deeper meaning. Certainly a player with great chops, his approach is one that is measured and deliberate, often introspective, sometimes gorgeously melancholic, and one that employs a continuity of mood and atmosphere …”
His latest album, Forward was released in the Fall of 2020, and was featured in several “Best Jazz Releases of the year” lists, including the Chicago Tribune, and All About Jazz. As well as maintaining a busy international touring schedule, Chad is jazz faculty at DePaul University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Paul Towndrow is an internationally renowned multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator specialising in syncretic musical forms including the fusion of jazz with traditional celtic music. He is an alumnus of Berklee College of Music in Boston, and has lectured in jazz history and performance for over a decade at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His most recent album ‘Deepening The River’ is a multi-genre extended composition dedicated to his home city, Glasgow, and serves to invite an exploration of a multitude of themes based around Glasgow’s people, history, and culture, specifically the role in the 17th Century of The Merchants House of Glasgow in campaigning for the deepening of The Clyde to enable the passage of ships, and to facilitate trade. The album was nominated for Scottish Album of The Year (SAY Award) in 2021.
Miro Herak was Born in Ivancice, Czech Republic, moved to Bratislava in Slovakia in early age where he received his musical training and subsequently launched his career as a vibraphonist, composer, and educator. Miro now resides in The Hague in The Netherlands, where he founded The Hague Ethospheric Orchestra, and is a faculty member of The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. Performing at prestigious international events and venues including The North Sea Jazz Festival, and The Carnegie Hall in NYC, Miro has also released his music on the US record label, Origin. He has maintained a close relationship with the USA, its cultural, history and music. He met Chad McCullough in 2009 in Banff, Canada where they discovered a shared passion for music’s ability to tell a collaborative and international story.
Described in The Times as a “young virtuoso bassist who plays with energy and a firm tone across the instrument’s full range”, Conor Murray grew up in rural County Donegal in a musical family. He found a passion for jazz in his early teens and has been since the age of 16 by MOBO Award-nominated drummer David Lyttle. In 2015 he moved to Glasgow to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and gained experience performing in many of Scotland’s jazz clubs with some of the country’s top musicians as a first call sideman as well as leading his own group.
Conor was a finalist 2017 and 2018 in the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the year. Since graduating and returning to Ireland Conor has toured and performed over the past year extensively with the David Lyttle Trio in Ireland, Britain, Europe, Russia and Morocco, as well as as a sideman with Canadian jazz guitarist Lucian Gray and the renowned New York pianist Michael Kanan. Conor has also performed regularly with his own group the Murray Brothers featuring renowned musicians such as U.K. pianist Jason Rebello, in his band.
Hailed as one of the rising stars and the best in the new generation of Irish jazz, he has attracted praise from The Times, All About Jazz and the Irish Times for his live performances, along with his brother Micheal Murray and their independent jazz festival, the Falcarragh Winter Jazz Festival, which aims to bring the world’s best jazz artists to one of Ireland’s most remote and unspoilt rural villages, now in its third year. Murrays Law the debut album from the Murray Brothers, produced by and featuring David Lyttle is out now on Lyte Records.