Drummer and composer Jeff “Siege” Siegel is proud to release London Live, the fourth album from his esteemed quartet on Artists Recording Collective (ARC) TODAY! Featuring Erica Lindsay on tenor saxophone, Francesca Tanksley on piano and the new and exciting addition of Vienna-native Uli Langthaler on bass, The Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet recorded London Live – their second live recording – at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London on the closing night of their fourth European tour as a group in 2010. This eight track opus, which includes six originals – three by Siegel, two by Lindsay and one by Tanksley – alongside Coltrane’s “Peace on Earth” and the African American spiritual “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me”, is penned by the stalwart drummer as a “hard hitting 60’s set”.
On November 3, 2010, having left their last destination on tour in Europe (Marktoberdorf, Germany – Bavaria), the quartet took the train to Munich, flew to London, made their way into the city, got lost, had a taxi adventure and eventually found their way to their hotel. In an unfortunate coincidence, the city’s metro went on strike shortly after their arrival, meaning that many people who would have come to the show at Pizza Express Jazz Club couldn’t make it out of fear of not having a way home. Nevertheless, the group closed their European tour that night in London after two weeks in Germany and Austria and as it conveniently turned out, were given the opportunity to have this concert recorded and videoed.
The album opens with Erica Lindsay’s “Meet Me at the Station”, a composition on which the saxophonist reflects upon life on the road. With the inclusion of “Peace on Earth” and “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me”, Siegel pays homage to two inspiring musicians, whom he has had the pleasure of working with. “Peace on Earth” – a John Coltrane tune – was introduced to Siegel by master saxophonist Dave Liebman, with whom the renowned drummer performed back in 2009 in The Hague, Netherlands at the IASJ. “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me”, arranged by the late, great multi-instrumentalist Arthur Rhames, whom Siegel worked with upon his entrance to New York City in the early 1980s, is performed here in a Latin style as opposed to rubato/swing, reminiscent of how Siegel performed it in the Arthur Rhames Quartet. Inspired by the tuning and drum solo of Elvin Jones from the composition “The Drum Thing” on Coltrane’s “Crescent”, “Crescent Sound” is Siegel’s original composition and ode to the legendary saxophonist. “M Song” is a ballad in honor of the drummer’s wife of 34 years, Myra, while “A New Freedom” is a moving piece written by Francesca Tanksley that, in her words “..offers a sense of freedom – a freedom of the spirit”. “Art’s Message” is a composition, evocative of the Jazz Messengers, led by the legendary drummer Art Blakey. Lastly, “First Movement” is the quartet’s take on Erica Lindsay’s original composition from her 1989 debut album, which first drew Siegel to her writing: “I identified so much with the style of her writing and she remains one of my favorite composers.”
On this experience as a whole, Siegel notes, “we were able to have this concert recorded and videoed and we hope you enjoy the experience of hearing a band after performing several nights on tour. The luxury of working every night together is unfortunately a rare thing these days so we were grateful for this opportunity [to record live] on our 4th European tour as a band, with the new addition of Uli”.
ABOUT JEFF SIEGEL:
Drummer/Composer Jeff “Siege” Siegel is a veteran of the New York Jazz scene and has worked with a virtual “who’s who” of artists. He came onto the New York scene in 1980-83 as a member of the quartet of the legendary multi-instrumentalist Arthur Rhames. After six years with the group Second Sight, which featured trumpeter Dave Douglas, Siegel became a member of the Sir Roland Hanna Trio from 1994-’99. From the years 1990 – present he has co-led several touring ensembles as well as The Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet. Simultaneously, from 2001 – 2015 Siegel was also a member of the Lee Shaw Trio with whom he also produced several cds and a dvd. Besides leading his own quartet/quintet/sextet, Jeff is a member of the Levin Brothers band and tours and records with them regularly.
In addition, Jeff has performed/and or recorded as well with an array of international artists in his travels including European artists Johannes Enders, Esa Pietila, Nils Wogrom, Jaromir Honzak, Harry Sokol, Torsten Goods, Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr, Cecile Verny , Michael Lutzeier, Nick Smart, Kirke Karja, South African trumpeter Feya Faku, singer Tutu Puoane and The South Africa Tribute Big Band and Brazilian and Argentinian musicians such as, Filo Machado, Robenare Marques, Marcelo Jesuino, Raphael Simpaio and Ale Demogli.
Siegel’s diverse career has also led him to perform and/or record with legends such as Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Jack DeJohnette, Pat Metheny, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Sheila Jordan, Helen Merrill, Mose Allison, John Medeski, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling, Ravi Coltrane, Ryan Kisor, Steve Wilson, John Medeski, Dena DeRose, Dave Liebman, Pete & Tony Levin, Steve Turre, and many others. He has worked in the avant-garde world as well with artists such as Wadada Leo Smith, Baikida Carroll and Esa Pietila. He has performed over 30 European tours including four as leader of the Jeff “Siege” Siegel Quartet and several others as co-leader at various festivals, concert venues and clubs. His touring has also led to performances and clinics throughout the United States, South Africa, South America, China and Canada.
As an educator, Siegel is a faculty member at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Western Connecticut State University, and The State University of New York at New Paltz. He holds a Masters Degree in Jazz from Queens College where he studied composition with Jimmy Heath. He has been the recipient of several grants from Meet the Composer and endorses Canopus Drums, Beato Bags and Vic Firth Drum Sticks.