It’s almost a year ago that I met with Danish jazz guitarist Teis Semey. On one of the coldest nights of the year, the streets almost indiscernible in their whiteness from the snow, we hung out at the studio and talked about what makes quality jazz and what makes Teis tick, so to say.
It was then when he mentioned he wanted to record an album featuring two of his suites, with two different ensembles. A diptych of sorts. I suggested we’d book a day at the legendary MCO Studio 2, he’d bring his bands over and I’d bring our microphones and recording gear. Usually, a good rule of thumb is that you can record around 20 minutes of the programme in one day, so I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to have just one day of recording, but we wanted to make it work within the day.
And what a day it was! In the morning, we set up and recorded the Japan Suite with singer Fuensanta Méndez, pianist Xavi Torres, tenor saxophonist Nicolo Ricci, double bassist Jort Terwijn, and drummer Guy Salamon. It turned out to be really tricky to record everyone in one room, since the pieces were so incredibly dynamic. We had to mix the soft spoken-word lyrics from Fuensanta with the fiery drumming of Guy. With some acoustic panels we made it work, and you can really hear it in the album that everyone had a good line of sight with one another, which enabled for great musical collaboration!
Then, in the evening, we recorded the other band, this time with Sun-Mi Hong on drums, Mo van der Does on alto sax, Alistair Payne on trumpet, and Jort Terwijn on bass again. The raw, rocky Armed To The Teeth fits the ensemble perfectly, with overdriven sounds and the spectacular yet always very well-controlled drumming by Sun-Mi.
So what’s left to say? We’re incredibly excited to share this recording with you. But in the mean time, have a look at the pictures from the session!