GoGo Penguin probably isn’t the ordinary name for a jazz trio. Though, and that could legitimize the chosen band name, the trio is everything but ordinary itself. GoGo Penguin – Chris Illingworth on piano, Grant Russell on bass and Rob Turner on drums – is a Manchester-based trio who just released their debut album Fanfares on Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records.
The three classical trained musicians met at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. After playing frequent gigs and jamming in the studio to new sounds they founded GoGo Penguin in 2009. As a trio the already performed with acts like Polar Bear, Django Bates and Acoustic Ladyland. As individual musicians they have performed and worked with the likes of Luke Flowers (Cinematic Orchestra), Jon Thorne (Lamb), or Andy Sheppard. Furthermore they cite a diverse spectrum of artists such as Massive Attack, Bad Plus, Brian Eno and Debussy as their influences.
The seven songs strong Fanfares is an inspirational ride through a fusion of driven and energetic contemporary jazz, melodic harmonies and a touch of electronic elements. The atmospheric opening track “Seven Sons of Björn” is a wistful tribute to Esbjörn Svensson, the mesmerizing “Last Words” is inspired by Aphex Twin while others are by Miles Davis, Chopin or Einojuhani Rautavaara, a Finnish composer of classical music. All these different ingredients and the synergy of three open thinking musicians cause a powerful debut album.
You can listen and purchase the album at Bandcamp.