Leeds-based group Wandering Monster dropped their brand-new album Zenna. Reaching beyond what may be expected from the tried and tested line-up of the tenor saxophone/guitar quintet, the band’s original compositions (penned by double bassist and leader Sam Quintana), draw from a love of American and European jazz, rock and world music, creating a sound that’s simultaneously raucous and sensitive, intense and intellectual. Members of the band have performed with a host of esteemed artists who include Mike Walker, Nikki Iles, Mark Nightingale, Lianne Carroll, Evelyn Glennie, Ant Law, Jasmine Myra, Melt Yourself Down and Worldservice Project amongst others.
Since its inception, the band has become an integral part of the thriving Leeds scene, which has produced the likes of Roller Trio, Trio VD, Matthew Bourne and Submotion Orchestra, and with the release of their celebrated eponymous debut album, Wandering Monster showcased a distinctly creative flair in tune with the city’s roster of innovative artists.
Zenna is Wandering Monster’s second full length album and their third release on the Ubuntu label. It features four new original compositions as well as interpretations of pieces by Jaco Pastorius and Randy Newman. Like the group’s previous releases, the record is a blend of infectious, off-kilter grooves, catchy hooks, ferocious soloing, spontaneous collective improvisation and emotive, hypnotic vamps. The band continues to cultivate a unique sound but also venture into previously unexplored territory, flirting with free improvisation, minimalism and through-composed material. Expect to be taken on an emotional journey through sound-worlds that are intense, yet sensitive and thoughtful.
Bassist and band leader Sam Quintana explains: “The music on this album is the best the band has ever sounded and is certainly the most inspiring and accomplished project I personally have been a part of. With the release of our two singles Metropolis/Division in 2020 we hit upon a really exciting creative process which produced some amazing results. I was desperate to build on this momentum and work towards a second full length album, but the Covid-19 lockdowns interrupted this creative flow. We were unable to get together to play, but I managed to keep on writing with the band in mind. It was never my intention to write a ‘lockdown album’, but ultimately the music on this record is a product of the host of emotions I felt during that time. I wanted to challenge myself and the band with this new material, so some of the music sees us venture into previously unchartered sonic territory. As well as what you may expect from Wandering Monster, there is free improvisation, minimalism, arco bass playing and an interpretation of an Americana pop ballad. I’m glad we’re now through a challenging period and I am incredibly excited to begin a new chapter for the band with this release!”
Zenna is a prime recording that presents Wandering Monster’s meticulous yet free spirited approach to the music that they create: a marked release on an increasingly respected label.
- A Beautiful Blur (07.56)
- Push It All Away (06.34)
- Zenna (07.23)
- Okonkole Y Trompa (04.53)
- What We Talked About (07.31)
- Cowboy (03.58)