Since the 2009 release of his much lauded debut 'Overnight', Mark McKnight has emerged as one of the most exciting and significant new voices in European jazz guitar Having recorded 'Overnight in NYC' with a band comprising some of the city's finest jazz musicians, the intervening two years have seen McKnight focus primarily on the development of his own UK based organ trio.
"I was fortunate to meet the amazing young Hammond organist Ross Stanley in late 2008, shortly after finishing my first record", explains McKnight. "I have always felt at home with the sound of the Hammond and having just finished the acoustic quintet music of Overnight, I was looking for something new to explore and write for."
And indeed it's the searching but always melodically defined writing, just as much as the virtuosic playing displayed by all four group members, which definitively sets 'Do or Die' apart. McKnight states, "In addition to Ross, I'm featuring another of the UK's foremost young jazz talents, drummer James Maddren. James rhythmic and textural invention in combination with Ross incredible ear and harmonic ingenuity create a truly inspiring and unpredictable rhythm section for any soloist or listener."
The quartet is completed by one of the jazz world's most celebrated saxophonists, NYC s modern tenor icon Seamus Blake. Seamus has always been one of my favourite saxophonists and someone whose music I've been checking out for years, McKnight adds. As a result he fits perfectly with the vibe of the group and of course brings his own unique and personal voice to what I've written.
This is an album which, from start to finish, not only reinforces the ever developing voice of McKnight as both an improvisor and composer, but also confidently announces the arrival of a significant new interpretation of the Hammond organ group in jazz today.
Personnel: Mark McKnight (guitar), Seamus Blake (saxophones), Ross Stanley (organ), James Maddren (drums)
Characteristically rather elegant combined with an emotional intensity --Jazzwise
The future of Irish jazz guitar --Irish Times
An exhilarating talent --Glasgow Herald.