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Cutting Edges Series: Local and international artists pushing boundaries and exploring fresh approaches.
«It’s a piano-driven blend with all the traditional aspects you’d expect from the genre while still scanning as something refreshingly vibrant and contemporary » — Pitchfork
The piano trio has been one of the most durable, beloved, and flexible formats in jazz history, evoking illustrious names like Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, and Ahmad Jamal, among others. Manchester-based GoGo Penguin turns this most venerable jazz construct on its ear, infusing direct influences from contemporary electronic music and modern classical concepts into their singular ensemble approach that “defies genre, pulling together influences from trip-hop, classical, jazz and more.” (The Wall Street Journal). The band’s hypnotic, groove-heavy sound has a basis in compositions originally programmed in sequencing software and relies as much on additive compositional development and dynamic contrasts as improvisation, with pianist Chris Illingsworth’s powerful melodic statements anchored by Nick Blacka’s thunderous bass and the skittering, acrobatic rhythms of drummer Rob Turner. The strength of their first two independent albums and magnetic live performances led to a deal with Blue Note Records, who released the trio’s latest full-length recording, Man Made Object, in 2016. Of the album’s evocative title, Illingsworth says, “That title is partly inspired by my fascination with ideas of robotics, transhumanism and human augmentation.” Pushing the jazz trio form in unprecedented new directions, GoGo Penguin truly sounds like nothing else on Earth.