From the fiery crucible of creativity comes "The Salamander Project" a unique Classical and Jazz inspired Duo that was born from the collaboration of British musician Augustus Black on piano and US/Ecuadorean musician Nestor Zurita on saxophone.  

Lifelines

Nestor Zurita

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The Salamander Project presents "Lifelines" Nestor Zurita Saxophone Augustus Black on Vibraphone

LIFELINES

‘Lifelines’ is an extended series of musical conversations between Ecuadorian sax virtuoso Nestor Zurita, and British keyboard artist Augustus Black. This is an invitation to embark upon a long musical journey, to pack up your preconceptions and go walkabout with two seriously creative and innovative musicians.

The seven extended musical dialogues represent stages in a sojourn through a desert of mysterious flora and fauna, perhaps on a distant planet, but surround us with forms that are natural and somehow familiar. They are like us, but from another space and time, a dimension that connects with ours but which we would have to journey across the aeons to reach.

‘Lifelines’ is an exploration of diasporal songlines, a conversation with the ancients, a deep connection with the spirits of our ancestors that we carry in our bones, in our DNA. The music journeys across inner and outer space, to the very edge of the known world, tracking the boundary of the unknown.

This music evokes a sharing of the nomadic myth pool – drawing from a rhizomatic matrix, from the wealth of songs and stories gathered from infinite journeys through the hinterlands, along the spice trails – a hard-trammelled million-step way along the dry, cracked river bed. Tierra colorada.

‘Lifelines’ is also a series of meetings in the thinly peopled outer places, far from the crowded, money-grubbing toil, the tumult and turmoil of the urban monkey temples, the air conditioned nightmare, at the edge of a vast, soul annihilating wilderness. The multitude of people in our collective conscious, in our dreaming, clamour to be heard.

Out of the delerium of past impressions, the hubbub of their voices, out of their dust, a single face appears, a mysterious companion. Peering through sun blind eyes, we search the long, burning, heat-wavering horizon, seeking evidence of human hands. We find the first art form, art preceding language, art preceding all crude technologies, yet depicting that which uniquely contains the potentiality to fashion those far future technologies, a small single ancient hand outlined by spat ochre on a rock 40,000 years ago.

These are the places where we cling to the signs of humankind, unless our spirits be burned out of us, and run away like quicksilver. These ancient desert landscapes, bare and sparce, with strange rock formations, the two musicians evoke an eco-system, clinging to survival in a time eroded landscape. The flurries of melodic activity symbolise the dance of life the constant fight for survival of the fauna and weathering of the flora.

The two instrumental voices sing the cultural transmissions of a wandering, transient people, they echo the voices of the ancestors, they set forth and ritually pace out the boundary conditions. Their sounds echo across eternity, ripples lost in time.

(A.B., October 2018)

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  1. 1 Into the Outback 10:55
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  2. 2 Ancestral Songs 11:15
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  3. 3 Nomads at the Waterhole 09:30
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  4. 4 Deserted Cabins 11:17
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  5. 5 Fast Forward 11:51
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  6. 6 Spirit Talk 11:21
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  7. 7 Figures in the Landscape 11:12
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Strange Travelers

Nestor Zurita and Augustus Black

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The Strange Travelers is the new album by vanguard contemporary jazz / classical duo: The Salamander Project. There are two reasons that make this musical offering noteworthy: It is both a spontaneous musical celebration of the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, one of the most fascinating figures of the Modern Art period, and a richly varied cross-cultural dialogue between two world-class instrumentalists, Nestor Zurita (saxophone) and Augustus Black (piano).

The eighteen pieces on this transatlantic collaboration were recorded in the Victoria Rooms main hall in Bristol, England, and at the main studio of Kayak Records in Miami, Florida, in the United States. The album was mixed, mastered and produced by Augustus Black at Woodshed Project Base (home of Agharta Records), with additional sound design at Holistic Audio-Labs in Japan.

This album takes as its inspiration the strange, dreamlike moods, metaphysical themes and evocations of distant places - the numinous palace of memories - found in the visual imagination of the 20th-century painter De Chirico. He believed art to be a metaphysical portal to other dimensions, and he used his artistís eye to seek out mysteries in the immortal, the enigmatic hidden in the everyday and the commonplace. Through that portal we journey, on wings of music, and find ourselves Strange Travelers in an alternate reality; in the borderlands between the finite known and infinite unknown, where the Blakean imagination becomes a fully functioning visionary human sense; aiding in our journey and our return, bearing music. Across the eighteen performances in this recording, a peculiar gestalt in a subliminal correspondence between visual and musical ideas forms the basis of our approach, through which we hope to capture and deliver some of that secret magic in sound.

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  1. 1 The Invincible Cohort 01:40
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  2. 2 The Double Dream of Spring 01:07
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  3. 3 The Soothsayer's Recompense 01:54
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  4. 4 Colonial Mannequins 02:08
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  5. 5 The Nostalgia of the Infinite 02:07
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  6. 6 The Great Metaphysician 01:35
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  7. 7 Dream Metamorphosis 00:54
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  8. 8 The Child's Brain 00:28
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  9. 9 The Red Tower 01:23
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  10. 10 The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon 02:00
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  11. 11 The Disquieting Muses 02:07
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  12. 12 The Muse of Silence 00:37
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  13. 13 Sun on the Easel 01:28
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  14. 14 The Melancholy of Departure 02:19
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  15. 15 The One Consolation 00:45
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  16. 16 The Seer 20:57
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  17. 17 The Vexations of The Thinker 21:47
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The Salamander Project

Nestor Zurita and Augustus Black

"The Salamander Project features the fiery, stellar saxophonics of Nestor Zurita and the innovative piano stylings of Augustus Black.

Their music reflects a long term engagement with contemporary classical and modern jazz music, and their signature sound combines the best of both worlds. Their concerts are unique, thrilling, completely original and born in creative fire - just as the name suggests."

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  1. 1 Lost Love 03:09 Info
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  2. 2 Whirlpool 03:00 Info
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  3. 3 Linear Trajectory 03:50 Info
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  4. 4 The Wanderer 03:18 Info
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  5. 5 The House Among The Reeds 04:40 Info
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  6. 6 Heartbreak 02:00 Info
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  7. 7 Get With It 08:24 Info
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  8. 8 Pentagonal Dance 05:17 Info
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  9. 9 The Shout 03:36
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  10. 10 The Rope Of Love 03:05
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  11. 11 Bass Thoughts 04:17
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  12. 12 How Much Do I Owe You 07:57
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  13. 13 Just another massacre 13:39
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  14. 14 Black madona 04:17
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  15. 15 Dust 04:37
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  16. 16 Follow The Scent 06:20
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  17. 17 Hidden Memories 09:49
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  18. 18 Views Of Everest 14:17
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  19. 19 Think You Can Lick It 08:08
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  20. 20 The Empty Quarter 20:47
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  21. 21 See-saw 07:11
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  22. 22 Dignity 03:23
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  23. 23 Regret 02:27
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  24. 24 Take 6 13:30
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  25. 25 Roofscapes 02:02
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  26. 26 The Jitterbug Walk 03:16
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  27. 27 Alien Montuno 07:49
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  28. 28 Tender Is The Night 05:21
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  29. 29 The Hog 01:46
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  30. 30 The Acrobat 02:51
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  31. 31 Skateboard Park 04:57
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  32. 32 Monks Shuffle 02:08
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  33. 33 Flip Flop 04:17
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  34. 34 Cross-Currents 04:28
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  35. 35 Among Green Hills 03:07
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  36. 36 The Great Extinction 10:32
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  37. 37 Robot Carnival 04:43
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  38. 38 Mirror World 01:56
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  39. 39 A Rhumba Lament 04:13
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  40. 40 Tightrope 04:12
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  41. 41 Forgotten Dreams 03:00
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  42. 42 A Mardis Gras Memory 01:55
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The new ‘third stream’! It is unusual to hear such a seamless blend of diametrically opposed aesthetics, Classical and Jazz. There is something of the grand manner in both elements, but something very new in the way they complement one other.”

— Guy Fairbrother: International Jazz Times

At last, some intelligent, hip new music for thinking people - Bravo - a duo to watch.”

— Ralph Novak: Freelance journalist

The Salamander Project, an unfamiliar duo to this writer, return to an older oevre here, where one art form attempts to interpret or translate the essence of another. That it succeeds so markedly is testament to this duos rare abilities, and also presents a wake-up call to the devotees of simplistic ‘new tonalism’ and rhythmically dull minimalism; here is all of the harmonic richness and rhythmic intelligence one should expect of globally aware, progressive 21st Century musicians working in the postcolonial era.”

— Nathan Watkins: Critical Review