★★★★★ THE OBSERVER
★★★★ THE GUARDIAN
★★★★ THE SCOTSMAN
Top Ten of 2014 MOJO
"Wellins's tenor saxophone conveys with typically austere soulfulness on the masterly Epilogue" The Herald
"Wellins, one of the all-time British greats of the tenor saxophone, is as emotive in his playing as his compositions are in his writing, and the beauty of his tone contrasts perfectly with the aura of death that pervades." Lance
"This first-time recording, arranged in collaboration with the SNJO, brings Wellins' work vividly to life in knowing, contemporary colours." FT
Echoes from a Lost Future: Bobby Wellins and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra bookmark history with The Culloden Moor Suite.
The disaster at Culloden on 16 April 1746 marks a moment in Scotland's timeline that forever changed the course of Caledonian history. It's also fair to say that the brutal nature of the conflict and its bloody aftermath has resonated in the Scots psyche ever since that fateful hour.
In 1961, Bobby Wellins was inspired to compose The Culloden Moor Suite after reading John Prebble's vivid account of the last pitched battle on British soil. Fifty years later, Bobby Wellins and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra joined forces to re-create his thrilling and evocative music. Together they conjured up the fervour, the anticipation, the horror, and ultimately the lamentable failure of a lost cause paid for in blood.
The five-act structure of The Culloden Moor Suite also affords generous space for expressive soloists whose voices place the listener at the heart of the action and the centre of the landscape. In this specially commissioned arrangement by Florian Ross, the battle and its terrible aftermath are seen from a modern, yet wholly empathetic perspective.
There is surely no ensemble anywhere that is better qualified than the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra to interpret Bobby Wellins' emotive vision of this Highland tragedy through the medium of soul-stirring contemporary jazz. [Michael Clark]
2 March [10:36]
3 Battle [8:12]
4 Aftermath [6:33]
5 Epilogue [5:11]
Compositions by Bobby Wellins
Orchestrations by Florian Ross
Tenor Saxophone Soloist: Bobby Wellins
Saxes: Martin Kershaw, Paul Towndrow, Tommy Smith, Konrad Wiszniewski, Bill Fleming
Tpts: Ryan Quigley, Cameron Jay, Lorne Cowieson, Tom MacNiven
Bones: Chris Greive, Kieran McLeod, Michael Owers, Lorna McDonald
Rhythm: Steve Hamilton, Brodie Jarvie, Alyn Cosker
Recorded May 2013 by Kevin Burleigh, Gorbals Sound, Scotland
Mixed August 2013 by Jan Erik Kongshaug, Rainbow Studios, Norway
Photography by Derek Clark
Cover Photo of Bobby Wellins by Venture Photography
Design by Nadja von Massow
Produced by Tommy Smith