10 years ago Nikki Iles released her first trio album "Everything I Love" on Basho with Canadians Duncan Hopkins and Anthony Michelli. It seemed time for a new one . The new Nikki Iles album "Hush" due for release in February 2012 on Basho was inspired by a project with the London Philharmonic's 'Renga' ensemble where both Rufus and Nikki were featured composers. Having played with Jeff Williams in Martin Speake's band Nikki came up with the idea of recording an album in New York with two New Yorkers that had never played together at Dae Bennett's (son of Tony) in September 2010.
Nikki says: "To make music with Jeff and Rufus has been an incredible privilege. They have played with so many of the great names in jazz and are now a part of the history of this music. I really felt inspired by the depth of their playing. In recording this CD I found the kind of unforced interaction and intimacy that I love which allows for a continuous free flow of ideas".
"Hush" features a lyrical eclectic mix of tunes, some originals with a mix of Arguelles, Towner, Wheeler, Le Grand , David, Brubeck and Rodgers and Hart.
Nikki first met the great Jeff Williams touring with Martin Speake's "Change of Heart" (ECM) group and was taken with his staggering inventiveness and warmth of sound and during the next few years have continued to enjoy playing and deepening their musical relationship. Around the same time Nikki met the wonderful Rufus Reid in London ..Both were invited to write for the contemporary group Renga, made up of musicians from The London Philharmonic Orchestra and later with The London Jazz Orchestra. There was an instant rapport and although both Jeff and Rufus had extensively worked with great musicians such as Stan Getz, Tom Harrell, Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano , they had never played together until this recording. There are new compositions by Nikki, contemporary tunes by Julian Arguelles and Ralph Towner as well as some standard tunes that all three musicians like to play.
Nikki Iles career began in the north of England as a founder member of The Creative Jazz Orchestra working with Anthony Braxton, Vince Mendoza, Mark Anthony Turnage and Mike Gibbs as well as serving a lengthy apprenticeship working with Art Farmer, Teddy Edwards, Scott Hamilton and Iain Ballamy amongst others. Nikki also began playing with several London based bands including the Steve Arguelles group, Mick Hutton's Straight Face, Stan Sulzmann's Quartet and Tina May. Composition still remained a major part of her musical life, and she had commissions from the Creative Jazz Orchestra for the "Printmakers Suite" (1994), celebrating the role of women in jazz, several from New Perspectives, in particular "In All My Holy Mountain" with poet Roger Garfitt (1998 - 2001), a piece for the London Sinfonietta Ellington Celebrations (1999), and Tim Garland’s Northern Underground Band (2006). The breadth of Nikki's artistic vision has led her to disregard the arbitrary boundaries of the jazz scene hence another commission, by Cheshire Libraries and Arts, led to her working with writers groups in that county, and in 1994 she was one of the musicians collaborating with the IOU theatre group in "Distance No Object". Yet another collaboration found her working with the American dancer/ choreographer Mimi Cichanowicz and also alongside Rufus Reid and Tim Garland with the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s contemporary group 'Renga'. Playing highlights in the last couple of years have included The Julian Arguelles Octet, The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, The Anglo Canadian Project, Toronto with Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone, Tony Coe and Tina May, The Printmakers with Norma Winstone and Mike Walker, Martin Speake’s ECM tour, Japan with Karen Sharp and Tina May, ‘Renga’ with Rufus Reid . Last year saw the release of recordings with Tina May (“I Never Told You” on 33 Records), The Secret Quartet (“Bloor St” on Edition Records), a recording with great Canadian Trumpeter Kevin Dean and Toronto bassist Duncan Hopkins with Stan Sulzmann and Stephen Keogh and this long awaited trio date with the great Rufus Reid and Jeff Williams.
In a career spanning four decades drummer Jeff Williams’ musical associates have included Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman and Lookout Farm, Joe Lovano, Paul Bley, Bill McHenry, Ethan Iverson, Tony Malaby, and many more. During the 1990’s Jeff performed with his own quintet and released two CDs of original compositions: Coalescence (SteepleChase) and Jazzblues (Cathexis). For the past five years he has been based both in New York and London. In the UK Jeff has performed with Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, and has toured with McHenry, Konitz, the Phil Robson/Dave Liebman Quartet, and Martin Speake's Change of Heart (with Bobo Stenson). Other UK projects include Speake's Generations (with Barry Green and Dave Green or Sam Lasserson), The Hans Koller Quartet, Sextet and Big Band, Nikki Iles, Kit Downes, and Alex Merritt.
Rufus Reid's major professional career began in Chicago and continues since 1976 in New York City. His extensive jazz background and discography reads literally like the Who's Who in jazz. He has travelled, performed and recorded with many of the great Jazz Masters. He was privileged to share many musical moments with some that have passed on: Gene Ammons, Kenny Dorham, Eddie Harris, Sonny Stitt, Don Byas, Philly Joe Jones, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Harold Land, J.J. Johnson and Art Farmer. Rufus continues performing and recording in collaboration with other wonderful musicians, such as Lee Konitz, Jim McNeely, Nancy Wilson, Roni Ben-Hur, Bob Mintzer, George Cables, Billy Hart, Bill Mays, Ed Soph and Marvin Stamm, Bobby Hutcherson, Michele Rosewoman as well as his own group, The Rufus Reid Quintet. He also appears with special trios or duos, and of course, with his “Linear Surroundings” nonet.