The latest project - HORIZON - was carefully crafted in Johannesburg. John was supported by friend Joe Arthur of JB Arthur Studios. Joe (pictured below) arranged, produced, tracked, mixed, and mastered the album. Which more or less covers everything. Apart from the home-made cappuccinos which were also outstanding. Joe's huge experience brought a depth and unique richness to each track, ranging from the cinematic to the intimate.
John and Joe discussed the demo CD and decided to go ahead with the project. From there to mastered album was 11 working days of intense activity: 5.5 days crafting the backing tracks; 1.5 days tracking the soprano sax; 3 days mixing; and 1 day mastering and footling around. We had to double check the calendar to confirm these timings but it really was this quick. With some time off for Easter with family and friends in the middle.
A large portion of the music from the original demo has found its way into the final album. And the final product was of course totally transformed by Joe's orchestration and additional tracks, both sampled (keys and a variety of sampled instruments) and live (acoustic guitar; electric guitar).
In 2016 John released his debut album - BREATH - and was supported by a series of wonderful artists from South Africa and the UK:
Concord Nkabinde on bass (top left), the celebrated South African performing and recording jazz artist and educator, winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist award and one time band member for Johnny Clegg, the iconic Hugh Masekela and many others. One of Concord's recent collaborations has been with David Klassen and their project: NELSON MANDELA - The Song Lives On.
Michael Bester on guitars (top right), experienced jazz guitarist, composer and musical director, and Masters graduate of Berklee College of Music. Amongst other things is currently performing in the band for Dancing With The Stars.
Julian Wiggins on keyboards (centre left), the Guildhall trained composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist, currently living and working in the UK.
Neill Ettridge on percussion (centre right), one of South Africa’s most influential drummers and one time band member of Mango Groove, a leading educator through his Drumlab training studios both in South Africa and the UK, and endorser of Sonor kit;
Emma Williams on vocals and drums (bottom left and right) is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston USA, majoring in performance (drumming ) and songwriting. Emma’s ethereal vocal style helps define the unique sound on this album. She is now living and writing in LA.
Particular thanks to: Julian Wiggins for arranging, producing and recording the project; Kevin Coughlan and his studios for tracking the musicians, and J B Arthur and his studio for mixing and mastering.