Following on from his recent string of exceptional all-solo albums, Mysticism of Sound, Ancient Africa and Afro Trane, Nat Birchall releases his first new studio recording, Spiritual Progressions, with his current working group, Unity Ensemble.
This group consists of long time musical partner Adam Fairhall on piano, plus the bassist in Nat’s group for several years and albums, Michael Bardon, and a welcome return on drums by Paul Hession who recorded on the legendary Live In Larissa double album. Rounding out the five-piece ensemble is percussionist Lascelle Gordon, a mainstay of the London music scene for many years.
Nat says he chose the name for the group because “This particular group of musicians has a very unified sound, each player has a very individual sound and concept but they all come together in this group and blend incredibly well. Making music with this band is pure joy.”
The album features four tracks, all composed by Nat, which beautifully illustrate Nat’s comments. The album was recorded live in the studio in Manchester, then Nat overdubbed some percussion and other instruments, mbira, balaphon, wood flutes etc, to add some extra textures to the musical canvas. As Nat says “Music and painting have many things in common, and I tend to think in terms of musical colours and textures when composing or arranging songs. As with a painting, balance is very important when making music, and this group is the most beautifully balanced group I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”