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Cobblestone Jazz- A Profile

[Artists]

-by-Lars-Borges-chalk1

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This once trio (now quartet) band from small town Victoria in British Columbia, Canada has come a long way since their debut album ‘The 5th Element’ in 2002. The influence each member has on the group sound contributes to the international success that Cobblestone Jazz continues to enjoy. Danuel Tate’s history as a jazz musician and performer prompted the approach to the group’s writing practices. His keyboard playing shows a rich understanding of modern harmony and melody, but like many great artists, his dedication to simplicity is what holds him in such high regard. Tyger Dhula’s history as a DJ and producer of electronic music provides the necessary stylistic foundations that form the backdrop for the group’s improvisations. His ability to break grooves up into their key elements holds the music firmly within electronic music traditions.

At the Labryinth in Japan last year Mathew Jonson’s tempo-spanning techno was widely regarded as a master class in the possibilities of a hardware live set. His revelatory set in 2005 is credited with setting the festival on its current artistic course. Mathew Jonson’s gifted ability to mix and compose freely, and his commitment to pushing his music in new directions is always present. Using analogue drum machines and synthesizers as his instruments, he chooses to write his parts in the moment instead of conforming to pre-configured patterns. After the 2007 album ’23 Seconds’ Mathew Jonson moved from British Columbia to Berlin, setting up a studio headquarters. Recording on internationally renowned labels Jonson has created some of the most influential tracks of the past few years. With remixes for everyone from the Chemical Brothers , Moby and Nelly Furtado to appearances on mix albums from Carl Craig, Daniel Bell, Adam Beyer, DJ Kosi, Monika Kruse and Ricardo Villalobos, Jonson has developed a large and varied following internationally.

After the release of their 2007 album ’23 seconds’ Cobblestone Jazz were joined by long-time friend and fellow traveller Colin de la Plante (aka the Mole) as the fourth member of their studio line-up. A collaborator with the Cobblestone trio for the last fifteen years starting from their very first live show in small-town Victoria, British Columbia. The foursome has toured as The Modern Deep Left Quartet, but this epithet has been shuttled to their latest album title. While the Cobblestone Jazz moniker remains in force. Common perception is that the addition of another member to the mix has resulted in a more pared-down sound than before (Mathew Jonson thinks different! Check back for the HA exclusive interview). The Modern Deep left Quartet was recorded over 3 weeks in summer at Jonson’s Berlin Studio. The Berlin studio incidentally is known to be a sight to behold: a horseshoe-shaped array of vintage synthesizers and drum machines, anchored at one end by a Rhodes piano, and a massive mixing desk in the centre.  Jonson and de la Plante worked from Berlin while Dhula and Danuel shuttled between hometown Victoria and Berlin. The Modern Deep Left Quartet (their latest album) exudes a sense of intuitive restraint, breezy and sleek, minimal and hypnotic. Cobblestone explores the terrain of deep house through the eyes of a jazz improv group. Although considerably edited down, Cobblestone Jazz’s tracks have always reflected the organic energy of the group jam sessions that spawn them.

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