Asha Parkinson | Possession | September 20, 2024

London saxophonist/composer and BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year semi-finalist Asha Parkinson has come to be known for her creative output which regularly crosses boundaries between traditions, from jazz, to Classical, to world musics and beyond. Forming her ensemble Kalpadruma in 2017 to bring together her voice as both a composer and performer, her new record ‘Possession’ is set to release on September 20th on Ubuntu Music.

The powerfully melodic, rhythmically sophisticated, sometimes groove-based material is accentuated by the compelling timbral variety of her full Kalpadruma ensemble, a 14-piece mini studio orchestra bringing together jazz quintet, string quartet, woodwind, voice and the distinctive sound of the qanun alongside her own inspired sax playing.

‘Kalpadruma’ itself meaning “tree of life” in Indian-origin religions which Parkinson considers to be a perfect metaphor for her creative process, the album is a cinematic global jazz exploration of contrasting expressions of possession, featuring tracks that combine the intensity of a symphony with the concision of a pop single. 

Stylistically blurring the boundaries between Jazz, Contemporary Classical, Flamenco, Mediterranean and Arab musics to find its own unique, deeply resonant voice, ‘Possession’ delves into themes of obsessive love to urban trance to mystical inspiration to devotion and beyond, drawing on lyrical motifs from traditional fairy tales to Tolstoy, Huxley, Jalāl al-Dīn Rumi and the Lord’s Prayer in the original Aramaic.  

Following the ensemble’s 2022 debut release ‘Onwards’, Kalpadruma has gone on to perform regularly at a number of high profile venues such as the London Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott’s, the Vortex, 7 Arts Jazz Leeds and more, and collaborate with the likes of the South Asian Youth Orchestra and the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians. Parkinson can also be heard performing and arranging for ​​the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Issie Barratt’s INTERCHANGE and the Sam Eastmond Big Band, composing for the likes of Table Music and the Ligeti Quartet, and working as the founder and driving force behind Voices Beyond Divisions, a charity dedicated to peace education through music and bringing young people from different cultures together.

Line up

Asha Parkinson | Alto, Soprano, Tenor
Rebecka Edlund | Voice
Meera Maharaj | Flute
Simeon May | Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Christie Smith | Trumpet                    Konstantinos Glynos | Qanun
Abbie Davis | Violin
Chloe Meade | Violin                                Andrew Lidell | Viola
Cubby Howard | Cello
Charlie Heywood | Guitar                     Alex Wilson | Piano
Hamish Nockles-Moore | Bass
Alex Taylor | Drums                             Gareth Lockrane | Guest Flute, Alto Flute (Tracks 2 & 3)

Track Listing

Urban Fantasy
Distant Devotion
Mirror Image
The Juggler
Avvon D’Bishmaiya
Permanent Verse