Oriole Quotes

“The soundtrack to a story of joy and longing born from an irresistible impulse to travel but never to arrive”
Jonny Phillips

“As forceful as it is subtle, Oriole have in the space of two albums found something that most groups spend many moons searching for – a sound of their own.”
Kevin Le Gendre – Jazz At Ronnie Scotts

“This album delivers those light hearted and playful moments we expect of the summer, its skillfully and wholeheartedly composed and performed by an exceptional band.”
Miriam Hempel – Straight No Chaser

“A musical mosaic that feels as spiritualy uplifting as a Paulo Coelho novel”
Tom Barlow – Jazzwise ****

“an early contender for jazz release of the year – uplifting melodies that’ll make you smile, think and want to dance.”
Kerstan Macness – Timeout – London

“This is a beautiful album, flawlessly written, arranged, played and produced – A joy to listen to and it should be a contender for the album of the year”
Chris Mann -24dash.com

“the entire album is entrancing, affecting and compulsively playable. Unreservedly recommended.”
Chris Parker – Vortex website

“If the lineup sounds like a dream made real, so does the music – I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the return of warmth and sunshine than to spin Migration.”
www.allaboutjazz.com

“Dreamlike and beautiful, it sounds simultaneously contemporary and yet centuries old”
Timeout

“Oriole were absolutely exquisite, possibly my favourite performance of the whole festival.”
Bev Stapleton – Allaboutjazz – Cheltenham jazz festival review

“One of the festival’s standout performances – Their music is simply beautiful: deliciously easy on the ear.”
Chris parker – Vortex website

“prolific guitarist-composer Jonny Phillips seems to have tunes coming out of his ears”
John L Walters – The Guardian

Oriole features guitarist Jonny Phillips and singer Julia Biel, with their “Song for the Sleeping” providing a remarkable showcase for the latter’s uncategorisable stylings. Not quite jazz, not quite pop.
BBC Online

Song 4 the Sleeping a gorgeous lullaby performed by guitarist Jonny Phillips’ Oriole
Jazzwise

The Beautiful Song 4 the sleeping.
Straight No Chaser

Cinematic folkish lullabies exploring the cultural pathways between West Africa , Brazil and Europe. Gentle beautiful music that is surprisingly affecting.
Time Out – Kerstan Macknes

BBC Online – Oriole/Song for the Sleeping

BBC Online – Song for the Sleeping

Oriole features guitarist Jonny Phillips and singer Julia Biel, with their “Song for the Sleeping” providing a remarkable showcase for the latter’s uncategorisable stylings. Not quite jazz, not quite pop.

Straight No Chaser – Oriole/Song for the Sleeping

Max Cole – Straight No Chaser

This album is the latest broadside from the F-ire collective, and Oriole are one of those groups that avoid the obvious choices of instrumentation, coming instead with the colours of the bass clarinet and cello in the mix- reminiscent of a modern day Chico Hamilton. The combination of Seb Rochford’s grasp of African rhythms and Jonny Phillips’ songwriting brings exotic vibes on the tracks of Meme and Themes Des Tangos Celabres, while the title track, featuring the sultry tones of singer Julia Biel, is an off kilt lullaby from the stars, refracted through ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ and ‘Come Sunday’. Keeping the f-ire reputation for innovation and creativity on track.

Jazzwise – Oriole/Song for the Sleeping

Tom Barlow – Jazzwise

More downtown New York than south east London , Oriole proves how open minded young British based improvisers are these days. As you’d expect from members of the fire collective, guitarist Jonny Phillips outfit includes artistry and adventurism in there vision of jazz, yet Oriole ultimately displays more lyrical and worldly traits than its contemporaries.
Indeed, Song for the Sleeping feels more rooted in folk than jazz. It explores the musical connections established by the slave triad, veering from the mellow Lament, a meeting between Venezuelan rhythms and English impressionism, to the West African soaked Eyes of a Blue Dog and other melodic dedications to tango, bolero, and Gabriel Garcia Marques. Rather than blazing guitar solos, Phillips prefers to contribute down-tempo almost filmic compositions marked by strong soloing from saxophonist Rob Leak and guest such as keyboard player Nick Ramm and Idris Rahman on clarinet. Songs count more than solos, yet the musical contributions of Seb Rochford and cellist Ben Davis are hard to ignore. Likewise the plaintive singing of Julia Biel which fits perfectly into Phillips’ beguiling world.

The Glasgow Herald – Oriole/Song for the Sleeping

Rob Adams – The Glasgow Herald

The F-IRE collective represents some of the London jazz scene’s most energetic and imaginative young musicians, and it’s the imaginative aspect that features strongly on its latest release. Led by guitarist and composer Jonny Phillips, Oriole is a nonet, including cello, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and keyboards, with influences straddling tango, choro, Erik Satie, African rhythms and the melodic end of art rock. Indeed, the gorgeous Remedius could have been written for Robert Wyatt. Julia Biel, however, handles its aching, wordless contours beautifully and her contrite ecology song, Deep Snow, is beguiling. Elsewhere, the instrumentalists, underpinned by Aberdonian Seb Rochford’s superbly fluent drumming, combine to make creative, compact and affectingly understated music.

The Independent on Sunday – Oriole/Song for the Sleeping

Phil Johnson – The Independent On Sunday

More super-confident new British jazz, with guitarist Jonny Phillips’ compositions for octet (with the addition of vocalist Julia Biel on two tracks, and occasional guests) providing tight, idiomatic themes that repeated listening brings to life. Standout instrumentalists are the strikingly good Ben Davis on cello, Sarah Homer on bass clarinet, and Seb Rochford on drums..

The Birmingham Post – Oriole/Migration

The Birmingham Post – Peter Bacon
Jazz CD of the week

The second disc from acoustic guitarist Jonny Phillips and his band Oriole is a lovely development of the first and he is so sure of himself in this territory that it leaves the listener feeling thoroughly at home, as if we have been listening to it for ages.
This is partly due to very strong melodies and rhythmic hooks, but it is also due to how “right” this particular, if unusual, combination of instruments sounds in the way Phillips uses it.
His guitar style gives a strong Spanish feel, the percussion bed of Seb Rochford on kit and Adriano Adawale Itauna on the interesting bits and pieces adds an Afro/Latin feel, and the harmony lines of Ben Davis’s cello and Ingrid Laubrock’s tenor or soprano saxophone have not only a graceful lyricism but an intriguing textural quality too.
Try track 6, We’re All Angels, first and I’ll be surprised if it’s not love at first listen. Proof that jazz in the 21st century can be pretty and have street cred too.

Vortex – Oriole/Migration

Chris Parker – Vortex Web Site

Club regulars will already be familiar with Oriole’s first album, Song for the Sleeping (F-IRE CD03), even if only subliminally, since it’s frequently played between sets. This, the band’s second album, has many of the debut recording’s virtues (striking Jonny Phillips melodies imbued with deliciously wistful melancholy courtesy chiefly of the blend of the leaderÍs delicate guitar work, Ingrid LaubrockÍs perfectly judged tenor contributions and Ben Davis’s haunting cello; a judicious balance of compositional and improvised elements; the subtle power of Seb RochfordÍs drumming, tellingly complemented by a cleverly selected range of percussion sounds, from castanets to the humble egg), but is more powerful overall thanks to the coherence of its programming. This springs mainly from its overarching theme (in Phillips’s words: “a story of joy and longing born from an irresistible impulse to travel but never to arrive”), but also from the ease and naturalness with which the composer/guitarist utilises a range of instrumental sounds and rhythms from musical traditions with which he’s entirely at home (rather than seeing them as a range of lucky dips containing “exotica” to be tacked on to his music to give it a spurious eclecticism). Highlights include the softly lilting opener “Forms in Dust” (to which Laubrock contributes a flawless, cunningly multi-textured solo); “Bate Calado” (which blends Idris RahmanÍs clarinet with gentle percussion and subtle vocals); “Sunshine Continuous” (a more robust Cuban dance piece) and “Last Flight” (a slowly drifting lament dealing with transience), but the entire album is entrancing, affecting and compulsively playable. Unreservedly recommended.”

Allaboutjazz.com – Oriole/Migration

Chris May – allaboutjazz.com

An enchanting followup to Song For The Sleeping, Oriole’s 2005 debut album, Migration finds guitarist Jonny Phillips’ band once again blending exploratory, modern jazz improvisation with world music-inspired original compositions and unusual cross-cultural instrumentation. Brazilian, Venezuelan, Andalucian, Moorish, Cuban and African folk music traditions, experienced by the well-travelled Phillips at source, inform his gentle and lyrical writing.
Oriole includes some of London’s most outward looking creative musicians, a like-minded group of British, mainland European, South American and African players, several of them bandleaders in their own right. Cross-connections run wide and deep, and if the music on Migration has a degree of intimacy which suggests it is being made by a group of friends, that’s because it is.
Out-there saxophone shaman Ingrid Laubrock co-founded NOIS with Brazilian singer Monica Vasconcelos and also leads her own quintet, which includes the extraordinary improvising cellist Ben Davis and rhythm wizard Sebastian Rochford, both bandleaders themselves. Rochford is the leader of Polar Bear, which sometimes features Laubrock, and co-leads other important outfits. Bass player Anders Christensen played in Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band for ten years. Guest saxophonist/clarinetist Idris Rahman is co-leader of the Afrobeat-inspired Soothsayers, whose Tangled Roots is setting another strand of the world music scene alight.
If the lineup on Migration sounds like a dream made real, so does the music. Phillips calls it magical realism, music that is at once familiar and dreamlike. He says he aims to fuse elements of fantasy, myth, desire and wanderlust into performances that blur traditional distinctions between what is serious or trivial, melancholic or joyous.
The spell works, and it runs unbroken through the album. A few of the many outstanding moments include Laubrock and Davis’ dialogues on “Forms In Dust,” where the saxophonist excels with quietly exciting, precisely articulated harmonics and split-tones, ”Migration To The Orange Trees,” and the closing, Bach prelude-like “Amen;” Rahman and Itauna’s clarinet/marimba partnership on the energetic but softly spoken “Bate Calado;” and Rahman’s highlife-informed tenor saxophone on “Sunshine Continuous,” arranged in a Mozambican/Cuban dance style (Laubrock’s affinity with Brazilian music is mirrored by Rahman’s authentic Africanisms). Phillips’ own crystalline guitar lines delight from start to finish, as do his compositions, and as does Itauna’s percussion.
After a long, cold autumn and winter, spring finally came to Britain two weeks ago. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the return of warmth and sunshine than to spin Migration.

The Evening Standard – Oriole/Migration

The Evening Standard – Jack Massarick

MASTERMINDED by guitarist composer Jonny Phillips, Oriole involves many members of London’s most prolific self-help group, the F-Ire Collective.

Described as “a sensory banquet of soaring melodies, colourful South American folklore, lively dances and emotional ballads of longing”, their music often sounds distinctly English, with clarinet and Ben Davis’s languid cello prominent in the mix. But the rhythm section, sparked by Acoustic Ladyland anchorman Seb Rochford, chugs along firmly behind Ingrid Laubrock’s tenor solos and subtle voice- unders from Julia Biel and Guillermo Rozenthuler. If you like your jazz gentle, worldy, folksy and acoustic, look no further.

ClassicalSource.com – Oriole @ The Purcell Rooms

www.classicalsource.com – Aug 2005

Live review from the Rhythm Sticks Festival, Purcell Room, The Royal Festival Hall, London.

In what amounted to a mini-festival within the “Rhythm Sticks” season, the London-based F-IRE Collective presented an evening of wildly contrasting music, emphasising the organisation’s friendly eclecticism. F-IRE was described by the pianist Robert Mitchell as ?an ever-growing party?, and despite an atmosphere muted by the day’s terrorism events, an attractively informal and inclusive spirit prevailed.

After such precisely-formed intensity(Robert Mitchels’ solo Piano concert), the world-jazz of Oriole came as welcome contrast. Jonny Phillips’s band offered a musical utopia planted somewhere between the Americas , West Africa and Europe , whose unorthodox line-up produced a beautiful blended sound-world all its own. The predominant rhythms were Latin, an impression heightened by Adriano Adewale Itauna’s sonorous cahon and frisky triangle, over which Ben Davis’s cello and Ingrid Laubrock’s silvery tenor floated wistful melodies. Nick Ramm was a decisive presence on keyboards, and Seb Rochford’s loose-limbed, sardonic polyrhythms kept things from getting too tasteful. There was a lot of obvious give-and-take between the musicians; even when one took a solo, it was clear that this was just the top-note of a complex, shifting web of sound. Only a mid-tempo number introduced as “a song about a train” never left the station, but guest vocalist Julia Biel’s soulful rendition of “Song for the Sleeping” sent shivers.

The Independent – Oriole/Song for the Sleeping

The Independent

Album of the week

Oriole “song for the sleeping” (f-ire, via proper music) led by Jonny Phillips, Oriole are a group that are part of the f-ire collective, a group of musicians that focus on improvisation evocing Phillips’ travels in such areas as Eygpt, Brazil and Spain, the album blends various middle eastern sounds with those of classical music. – Some impressive musicianship from phillips and his players as well as some eerie singing from Julia Biel.

Cheltenham Jazz Festival Review – Oriole

Cheltenham Jazz Festival Review

Chris parker – Vortex Website

“Oriole, starting Sunday’s proceedings with another Jerwood Rising Stars gig, turned in one of the festival’s standout performances. Their music (written by leader/guitarist Jonny Phillips) is simply beautiful: deliciously easy on the ear, attractively lilting (utilising mainly South American gently wafting rhythms) yet frequently culminating in rousing climaxes exploiting the clear rapport between the admirably versatile saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and the sonorous cellist Ben Davis.

Joined by the superb clarinettist Idris Rahman and plaintive singer Julia Biel for one number each, Oriole were utterly beguiling, their music immediately accessible but containing many understated felicities of touch and feel, and (given the exposure they deserve) they have the clear potential to reach audiences way beyond the confines of jazz.”

The Guardian – Oriole/Migration

John L Walters
Friday May 26, 2006
The Guardian

There’s no trace of “second-album syndrome” in Oriole’s follow up to Song for the Sleeping. Bandleader and prolific guitarist-composer Jonny Phillips seems to have tunes coming out of his ears, yet he has the discipline to make them into satisfying pieces. He also has a fantastic team to interpret his compositions, mostly drawn from the F-ire Collective.

At the heart of the band is the subtle interplay between Phillips’s lightly phrased guitar, Ingrid Laubrock’s tenor saxophone, Ben Davis’s cello and Adriano Adewale Itauna’s percussion. Backed up by sympatico bass and drums, the Oriole sound is a kind of South American or Spanish-tinged world-jazz that is easy on the ear but rarely bland (though it would have benefited from a more robust production).

And just when you think you know what to expect, Phillips adds another timbre, such as Julia Biel’s voice, or the reeds of Idris Rahman (from the Soothsayers) to keep things interesting, or delivers a catchy crowd-pleaser such as the double-sax-led Sunshine Continuous. Laubrock, who was outstanding on the recent short tour with Guinga and Monica Vasconcelos, just gets better and better.

The Guardian – Oriole/Song for the Sleeping

Oriole, Song for the Sleeping

(F-ire)

John Fordham
Friday August 5, 2005
The Guardian

F-ire Collective musicians have started turning up all over the mainstream polls (notably the BBC Jazz Awards in 2004 and 2005) and the input of the gifted drummer/composer and F-ire stalwart Seb Rochford has been at the heart of recent UK jazz success stories like Acoustic Ladyland, Polar Bear – and this unique creation from guitarist Jonny Phillips. Like many F-ire artists, Phillips favours Latin rhythms, the close integration of music and dance, and the evolution of new sounds through a world-music view sharpened by jazz spontaneity.
Song for the Sleeping features few jazz solos in the usual sense, and is like a soundtrack for an imaginary movie. Guitarist Phillips hardly ever steps out of an ensemble role (though there are telling contributions from that fine improvising cellist Ben Davis, tenor saxist Rob Leak and keyboardist Nick Ramm among others) and the material draws on South American, African, romantic-classical and post-Coltrane jazz music, with a little Eric Satie on the side. The opening Lament is a gentle splicing of Venezuelan rhythms and haunting Vaughan Williams harmonies, with Rob Leak’s tenor sax weaving through them, Meme is a soft tango subtly coloured by a bass clarinet, and Larks has a Celtic folk feel that’s progressively invaded by Seb Rochford’s implacable hip-hop groove.
Singer Julia Biel’s wordless vocals and Nick Ramm’s sparing keyboard figures shape the Brazilian-driven Remedius, Biel resembles a female Robert Wyatt on her own lyrics (coupled with cellist Davis’s inventiveness) on Deep Snow, and West African music, tango and a lullaby complete the set. A typically open and collective-minded F-ire enterprise, but Jonny Phillips is a big new composing presence if this calmly eloquent music is anything to go by.

Oriole – Vortex live review

Chris Parker – Vortex Jazz Reviews

Club regulars will already be familiar with OrioleÍs first album, Song for the Sleeping (F-IRE CD03), even if only subliminally, since it’s frequently played between sets. This, the bandÍs second album, has many of the debut recording’s virtues (striking Jonny Phillips melodies imbued with deliciously wistful melancholy courtesy chiefly of the blend of the leaderÍs delicate guitar work, Ingrid Laubrock’s perfectly judged tenor contributions and Ben Davis’s haunting cello; a judicious balance of compositional and improvised elements; the subtle power of Seb Rochford’s drumming, tellingly complemented by a cleverly selected range of percussion sounds, from castanets to the humble “egg”), but is more powerful overall thanks to the coherence of its programming. This springs mainly from its overarching theme (in Phillips’s words: “a story of joy and longing born from an irresistible impulse to travel but never to arrive”), but also from the ease and naturalness with which the composer/guitarist utilises a range of instrumental sounds and rhythms from musical traditions with which heÍs entirely at home (rather than seeing them as a range of lucky dips containing ‘exotica’ to be tacked on to his music to give it a spurious eclecticism). Highlights include the softly lilting opener “Forms in Dust” (to which Laubrock contributes a flawless, cunningly multi-textured solo); “Bate Calado” (which blends Idris Rahman’s clarinet with gentle percussion and subtle vocals); ‘Sunshine Continuous’ (a more robust Cuban dance piece) and ‘Last Flight’ (a slowly drifting lament dealing with transience), but the entire album is entrancing, affecting and compulsively playable. Unreservedly recommended.

Dash 24/Oriole Migration

Critic Rating xxxxx

By Ian Mann

I first encountered Oriole, the band led by Kendal born guitarist Jonny Phillips at Lichfield Jazz Blues & Real Ale Festival last summer.

The band played two excellent sets in unseasonably chilly weather conditions, but the first thing that struck me was the extensive use of acoustic guitar and cello, both unusual instruments in jazz. The combination reminded me of guitarist Ralph Towner’s classic 1979 album “Old Friends, New Friends” which featured cellist David Darling.

Suitably enlivened by the real ale I asked Jonny about the Towner influence between sets. He told me that he had certainly listened to Towner but he wasn’t a major influence, the main inspiration being folk music particularly that of Venezuela .

The first Oriole release “Song For The Sleeping” was an enjoyable album with lots of potential but this new CD is something else again. Phillips has extended his stylistic palette to take in Brazilian, Flamenco, Cuban and African influences, and an extended line-up gives him a wide variety of instrumental sounds to add to his global mix.

It is a sign of his rapidly growing maturity as a composer and arranger that he pulls all the different stylistic and instrumental elements together brilliantly. The attention to detail in the writing reminds me of Pat Metheny. Some other bands operating in this kind of pan cultural area can sound contrived or self consciously eclectic, but Oriole’s music sounds unforced, unhurried and thoroughly organic.

The well-travelled Phillips has assembled a truly international cast for the recording but the nucleus of the band is made up of fellow F-ire Collective members Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones), Ben Davis (cello) and the remarkable Sebastian Rochford on drums. Having Rochford on a record is almost a guarantee of quality. He has appeared on some genuine landmark recordings already with Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland and “Migration” deserves to be another one.

Throughout the album Laubrock’s saxophone lines and Davis ‘ cello improvisations intertwine around each other like snakes. Davis is an incredible musician; I’ve never seen anybody play the cello so brilliantly in a jazz context. Laubrock just gets better and better. Elsewhere on the album she duets beautifully with fellow saxophonist Idris Rahman on “Hymn”. Rahman also adds some fine clarinet to the album especially on “We’re All Angels”.

Rochford’s drumming is restlessly inventive but always sensitive. He may be incredibly dynamic and powerful in Polar Bear or Ladyland but he is also the perfect accompanist. In short if you’re meant to notice him you do, if you’re not – you don’t. It’s this all round ability that makes him the top young drummer in the country – and that’s before you even start on his composing skills.

Rochford is complemented by the percussion of Brazilian Adriano Adewale Itauna, who is excellent throughout, and adds a welcome touch of authentic South American exotica to the recording. Fellow Brazilian Fernando De Marco adds electric bass and atmospheric cavaquinho.

As for Phillips his guitar is at the heart of the arrangements, always rhythmic, always prompting. He is not a flashy soloist and concentrates very much on ensemble playing. He takes a brief and atmospheric acoustic guitar solo on the introduction to “Bate Calado” underpinned by Davis ‘ cello and Itauna’s shimmering percussion.

The brief “Two Smiles ” is also a gentle acoustic guitar led piece with delightful tuned percussion from Itauna.

Elsewhere the music alternates between the wistful and the joyous. There is a melancholic edge to Davis ‘ cello that imbues “Forms To Dust” and both “First Flight” and “Last Flight”.

The main body of “Bate Calado” is an outpouring of joy featuring the wordless vocals of Itauna plus guest vocalists Julia Biel (another F-ire alumnus) Okou and Guillermo Rozenthuler. “Migration To The Orange Trees” and especially “Sunshine Continuous” are also wonderfully joyous pieces.

This is a beautiful album, flawlessly written, arranged, played and produced and covering a wide stylistic and emotional range. A joy to listen to and it should be a contender for the album of the year awards. It may be “world jazz” and upset a few purists, but I think it’s magnificent – so there!

Timeout – Oriole/Live Preview

10/05/2006 Kerstan Mackness – Timeout

Guitarist Jonny Phillips might just be the next big star to emerge from the F-IRE Collective,the loose confederation of forward-looking musicians that include the Mercury-nominated Polar Bear and the hip-punk Jazz outfit Acoustic Ladyland, But while those bands embrace electronica, funk and rock influences, Phillips who played on the Polar Bear album and who regularly collaborates with folky songstress Julia Biel) is a different beast altogether. His music is a pastoral, impressionistic mix of soaring melodies and South American folklore that strives to create an aural form of magical realism. Dreamlike and beautiful, it sounds simultaneously contemporary and yet centuaries old.

His band Oriole are something of a F-IRE collective supergroup with big haired drummer Sebastian Rochford (Polar Bear, Acoustic Ladyland, Fulbourn, Taversham), cellist Ben Davis (Julia Biel, Django Bates), Lee Konitz-ish saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock (Monica Vasconcellos), claranetist Idris Rahman (Soothsayers), Danish bass player Anders Christensen (Paul Motion) and Brazilian Percussionist Adriano Adawali Itauna.

Their new Album ‘Migration’ is an early contender for jazz release of the year, a sublime, slightly unsettling but emotionally rewarding work that draws on folk, north Brazilian, West African and Mediterranean music. Like the Norwegian pianist Christian Wallumrod, Phillips conjures music that is quietly intense, beguilingly beautiful and full of pleasingly robust tunes that stay with you long after you hear them. Expect waltzes, gentle samba, persuasive grooves, poignant themes and uplifting melodies that’ll make you smile, think and want to dance.

Echoes – Oriole/Migration

Echoes – Kevin Le Gendre
****

If a strapline for the promotion of Oriole were needed, then how’s about this – the UK’s self contained neo-samba nova wave that’s well free of any ipanema coctail cliche. I’m playfully pumping the hype, but the groups eminence grise, the guitarist and composer Jonny Phillips, comes over in earnest as a British Cousin of Joao Gilberto. The crucial difference between Phillips and the Brazilian legend is that the former doesn’t sing but his diaphanus themes, his cogent grasp of the all-important concept of saudade and his placing of melodic narrative at the core of his work make the comparison credible. Band members Ingrid Laubrock(tenor sax), Ben Davis(cello), Adriano Adewale Itauna, (percussion/vibes) and Sebastian Rochford(drums) all bring as much finesse to the session as they did to the debut Song For The Sleeping and guests Julia Biel(vocals) and Idris Rahman(reeds) are artfully effective.

What makes Orioles easthetic all the more intriguing is that for all the obvious Latin inflections at play, there is a masterfully understated rock component in the music’s engine that loosely recalls the first phase of Everything But The Girl, who, of course, were influenced by Joao Gilberto amongst others. If your looking for finely-honed compositions and pert, astute improvisation that embrace Latin music, jazz and folk-rock all the while avoiding hackneyed vocabulary, then Oriole is probably as good as it gets.

Jazzwise – Oriole/Migration

Jazzwise – July 2006
Tom Barlow

After the thunderous success of Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear, lets hope that Oriole are the next F-IRE Collective band to break. But when it happens expect a quiet storm. A delightfully folksy outfit, Oriole’s rich cinematic tapestries mature on their second album into rustic, languid world music. Venezuelan, Brazilian, Spanish and African melodies are re-imagined, swirling into a musical mosaic that feels as spiritualy uplifting as a Paulo Coelho novel.

Although ‘Sunshine Continuous’ has a funky joyful township feel, much of the album shimmers with stripped down ballads anchored by composer Jonny Phillips’ delicate acoustic guitar – the child like gospel of ‘Two Smiles’ for example or the mournful ‘First Flight’ lifted by percussionists Adriano Itauna and Seb Rochford. Ingrid Laubrock sounds great of course, but its cellist Ben Davis who steals the show, his emotionaly wrought playing compelling throughout.

Oriole – Straight No Chaser

“Migration” is Orioles second album – a rich mix of South American folklore, traditional and religiously rooted music. Prepare to travel to dusty side roads , lively market places and the great outdoors as the album encourages you to discover and experience.

Orioles composer and guitarist Jonny Phillips teams up with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, vocalist Julia biel, percussionist Adriano Adewale Itauna, and other high flying talents from the F-IRE Collective. Check out “Bate Calado” which means “slowly beating drum” or “heatbeat” in Brazilian Portuguese and the samba-esque “We’re All Angels” featuring wonderful clarinet work from Idris Rahman. This album delivers those light hearted and playful moments we expect of the summer, its skillfully and wholeheartedly composed and performed by an exceptional band.”

Oriole – Migration – Jazz At Ronnie Scotts Magazine

Jazz At Ronnie Scotts Magazine – July/Aug 2006 Required Listening

“Oriole is a strange and beautiful blend of influences, a group that re-imagines Tracy Thorn in a band with Joao Gilberto and Charlie Byrd. Brazilian samba and British folk-rock rarely coalece so seamlessly. Led with great authority by guitarist-composer Jonny Phillips, the ensamble features F-IRE collective notables saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, drummer Seb Rochford, cellist Ben Davis, keyboardist Nick Ramm and percussionist Adriano Adewale Itauna among others. Together they display impressive textural variety, creating ambiences that can be noir-like in their clever use of drifting plaintive long tones or carnavalesque in their darting rhythms. As forceful as it is subtle, Oriole have in the space of two albums found something that most groups spend many moons searching for – a sound of their own.”
Kevin Le Gendre

Oriole Live @ The Vortex, London

John L Walters
Wednesday September 6, 2006
The Guardian

Oriole Live @ The Vortex, London

Bands fronted by guitarists are frequently seen as an excuse for wailing and thrashing. Oriole, the sextet led by guitarist Jonny Phillips (part of the dynamic F-IRE Collective), provides plenty of useful evidence to the contrary. Sure, his parts are high in the mix, but he plays an acoustic guitar, specialising in intricate rhythm patterns and free-flowing, Spanish-tinged solos.

The arrangements seem to spring from Phillips’playing, sometimes feeling as if the band were one big guitar, with chiming piano from Nick Ramm and refreshingly understated drumming from Seb Rochford.

Oriole’s regular frontline is the highly effective pairing of tenor sax and cello: superb saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and Basquiat Strings leader Ben Davis. However, tonight Laubrock is unavailable and Acoustic Ladyland frontman Pete Wareham is deputising.
Migration to the Orange Trees shows Oriole at their best. The piece moves forward with assurance over an unshowy drum groove. There’s a good balance between writing and improvisation: Phillips isn’t afraid to include long through-composed passages, with ace counterpoint, while maintaining the impetus of a jazz performance.

Wareham’s presence as substitute emphasises Phillips’s strengths as band-leader and writer, and adds another slant to the sound. The grandiose Medem/ Temba displays the saxophonist’s muscular style, while the delicate First Flight, with its lovely theme for cello and tenor sax, shows how easily he inhabits the radiant Oriole soundworld.