Ma Is an ensemble with a singular, expansive, musical vision, conceived by saxophonist Tom Challenger, an improviser and composer who has been described by Jazzwise as 'mature beyond his years', and features fellow Loop collective collaborator, drummer Dave Smith, organist Ross Stanley as well as long term friend and collaborator Matt Calvert on electronics. The name 'Ma' has had a host of meanings attributed to it, not least by the press: Ma, whose name conflates matriarchal reference with the instinctive cries of Aries... . In fact, the name was simply a personal and affectionate reference to the project it bears no relation to the music that the band makes. The music compelling, cohesive and highly individual draws from a mutual interest of many styles , as well as exposure to numerous projects. Growing up on the vibrant jazz scene in London in the '00's meant that there was a deep respect for a wide range of music, whether old or new. This persistent attitude feeds the music that the band makes described as if early Tony Williams' Lifetime was jamming Messiaen s organ works with Fennesz, Deathprod, Lee Perry and Coltrane. With members of groups such as Redsnapper, Three Trapped Tigers, Outhouse (+ Ruhabi), The Loop Collective, and Nostalgia 77, it s not surprising that Tom Challenger s intoxicating, heady, often Messiaen-inspired material is subject to such a multi-pronged interpretation.
It's a remarkably atmospheric album...This is easily as good as the work of many of Ma's better-known contemporaries - **** -- John Fordham, The Guardian, July 1st 2011
Ma's entirely mesmerising version of jazztronica has its roots in the tradition...if you can hear something of the spacey psych-rock of early Pink Floyd or Miles Davis' 1974 Get Up With It you're not entirely imagining it - **** -- Jazzwise, July 2011