More Reviews

 

Jazz marries classical in Obsessions

 

Obsessions Octet plays for the love of music-click to read more ... 


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"Made in Canada, "Steppin' Up" is a delightful fusion of American jazz with the world music of Argentinean origins. Presented with a classical European music flavor. Kent Sangster's Obsessions Octet is masterfully blending diverse musical cultures while remaining truthful to the essence of jazz art and the chamber music heritage. Bravo! "   
Cezary Lerski, Polish Jazz Network

"Kent Sangster’s Octet recording “Steppin'Up” is full of Explosive and Creative music ...This unique ensemble has a sound all of it’s own…. Bravo !!! "
Blue Note Recording Artist  - Joe Lovano 2016

“ Kent Sangster’s Obsession Octet continues their unique journey on their 3rd release Steppin’ Up, again finding that sweet spot between jazz and classical. The music is highly arranged and creative as well as being incredibly listenable”
Brad Barker, Music Director/On-Air Host, JAZZ.FM91

"This recording is another feather in their collective cap, which is fully bristling with feathers already. Kent Sangster’s creative compositions and orchestrations present great opportunities to demonstrate first-rate ensemble playing and wonderfully musical solos across the board".
Tommy Banks, Canadian Jazz Icon

"Steppin' Up", the latest release by the Obsessions Octet, is a triumph from beginning till end! Every aspect of this CD, from the writing, to the performances and the recording, puts them on par with the best chamber ensembles in country. “
Allan Gilliland, Composer and Chair of Music, MacEwan University

"As a composer, Kent is extremely talented, and I’ve found his original compositions astoundingly proportionate, interpolating carefully structured imaginative passages and forms, with longer more developed sections, which let loose the improvisational capabilities of his talented octet.
Tommy Smith, Professor & Artistic director of Jazz - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland ECM Recording Artist

"That rare marriage of jazz band and classical string quartet, swing and tango known as Obsessions Octet has settled into an expansive, confident, singular groove with this third release, which marks their first decade together, complete with an electronic twist.”
Roger Levesque , Edmonton Journal

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"The Obsessions Octet performed as part of the 10th Annual International Festival of the Aegean on the Island of Syros (Greece) July 2014 in two appearances-----it was a great and impressive success.  These extraordinary, virtuosic and creative visiting artists brought an elegance  and uniqueness to the Festival which which was simply amazing.  They are world-unique and we look forward to having them return soon."
Peter Tiboris, General Director & Music Director MidAm International Inc., Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece
 

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Edmonton's Obsession Octet marks its first decade with new album - Edmonton Journal, Oct 24, 2016 by Roger Levesque -click to read more....

"Kent Sangster's Obsessions Octet gave our Rochester NY audiences 2 marvellously sublime performances as part of our Oh, Canada! Series this past summer. Their music was very well received. I highly recommend Kent and his group to any festival direfctor for future programming." 
John Nugent, Executive Director of XEROX ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

 

Follow the link to Bill Rankin's article in Classical Voice North America:                                                   Classical-Jazz Mix Is Obsessive Lure For Alberta Eight

St. Dominic Fair in Gdansk, Poland

"Jedną z ciekawszych propozycji muzycznych tegorocznego Jarmarku św. Dominika był występ formacji Kent Sangster's Obsessions Octet z Edmonton. Ten, jak sama nazwa wskazuje, ośmioosobowy zespół to klasyczny kwartet jazzowy (saksofon, fortepian, kontrabas, perkusja), poszerzony o kwartet smyczkowy. W tym nietypowym składzie realizują muzyczne obsesje lidera, kanadyjskiego saksofonisty Kenta Sangstera, łącząc jazz, klasykę i muzykę latynoską.

Oczywiście wykorzystanie skrzypiec w jazzie nie jest niczym nowym i historia tego gatunku zna wielu wybitnych skrzypków. Jednak włączenie na stałe do jazzowego składu kwartetu smyczkowego daje zupełnie nową jakość. Jazzowe improwizacje Sangstera oraz świetnego pianisty Chrisa Andrew, obok pulsującego wsparcia sekcji rytmicznej zyskują także interesujący podkład smyczkowy – a to zwiewny, impresyjny, to znów solidny, niemal orkiestrowy. Ten rozbudowany zestaw instrumentalny, dzięki kunsztowi samych muzyków, umożliwia tworzenie rozbudowanych, ciekawych aranżacji.

Podczas gdańskiego koncertu autorskie kompozycje Sangstera oscylujące w okolicach jazzowego mainstreamu z elementami fusion, przeplatały się z tangami Astora Piazolli i utworami innych autorów z kręgu muzyki latino, m.in. Chuco Valdeza. Choć to muzyka niełatwa, szczególnie jak na program koncertu plenerowego, publiczność na zabytkowym Targu Węglowym przyjęła występ z entuzjazmem. Nie bez znaczenia dla odbioru koncertu był też element estetyczny - wysmakowana stylistyka czerni i czerwieni w strojach czterech pań stanowiących sekcję smyczkową, w której pierwsze skrzypce grała gdańszczanka, Joanna Ciapka-Sangster."

— Dariusz Szreter, Dziennik Bałtycki

"On behalf of Gdansk International Trades I would like to extend our gratitude to KENT SANGSTER’S OBSESSIONS OCTET from Edmonton for theirperformance which greatly enhanced the cultural program of our 754 St. Dominic Fair in Gdansk. 

Their concert, performed by the musicians on the highest artistic level, was received by our audience incredibely warm and enthusiastic, considering their repertoire was sophisticated and could be challenging for the ordinary listener. 

Once again I would like to thank the ensemble and their leader Kent Sangster for extra ordinary, brilliant performance on the highest possible artistic level, and their an excellent choice of the repertoire. I wish you similar successes in other centres in Poland and in Europe."

—Joanna Czauderna, Artistic Director of St. Dominic Fair

 

Filharmonia Swietokrzyska

Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece

"The Obsessions Octet performed as part of the 10th Annual International Festival of the Aegean on the Island of Syros (Greece) July 2014 in two appearances-----it was a great and impressive success.  These extraordinary, virtuosic and creative visiting artists brought an elegance  and uniqueness to the Festival which which was simply amazing.  They are world-unique and we look forward to having them return soon."

 

—Peter Tiboris, General Director & Music Director MidAm International Inc., Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece

New York Concert Review

"Kent Sangster’s Obsessions Octet gave us a lot to obsess about during the concert—mainly how good they are. Sangster is an excellent saxophonist, and moreover, the group he assembled performed with both an infectious energy and a spicy rhythmical precision throughout the evening. The hall was jam-packed. At one point, Sangster told the audience that the concert was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. One certainly hopes not, and that they appear in Weill Hall (or Zankel Hall) at Carnegie–and certainly in New York—more often.

"The compositions crossed over from Jazz to Latin music to Classical, and each piece had its own appeal. There was a great deal of variety on the program: from Piazzolla to Cole Porter to excellent new material from Allan Gilliland and Sangster himself. Piazzolla’s “Oblivion”, “Melodia in A Minor”, “Preludio 9” and “Fuga 9” are in a class by themselves. These are also virtuosic pieces, and the intricacies of the off beats were handled with confidence and finesse.

"A string quartet comprised of violinists Joanna Ciapka-Sangster and Neda Yamach, violist Rhonda Henshaw, and cellist Ronda Metszies swayed together with a unity of coordination and passion. Bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Jamie Cooper were rock-solid, and pianist Chris Andrew has plenty of chops, but he also displayed a good deal of sensitivity.

"Sangster performed with both warmth of expression and a suave detachment when needed. He played each of his saxophones with its own unique expressive voice and showed a very impressive technique to boot. A prominent member of Canada’s jazz scene for almost twenty years, Sangster and the group are based in Edmonton. He has released five original jazz albums; his CD “Melodia”, the second recording by the octet, was nominated for a 2010 Western Canadian Music Award for Best Jazz Recording.

"Sangster is a full-time faculty member at Grant MacEwan University and the Executive Director and Producer of the Edmonton International Jazz Festival. There are plans for an Obsessions Octet tour to Europe; international—as well as national—exposure is what this group deserves to have."

- Anthony Aibel for New York Concert Review; New York, NY - NYCR Website

 “Kent Sangster’s Obsessions Octet performed a terrific concert on MidAmerica Production’s chamber music series in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.  Their acoustic performance in this hall was acutely balanced, nuanced and musically varied. They were well received by the enthusiastic audience eager for their unique musical expressions from this combination of instruments.  We certainly look forward to presenting them again.”

Norman Dunfee, President, Executive Director, MidAmerica Productions Inc.