Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment – the supreme moment. Kairos 4Tet was born out of a desire to explore times past, present, and future, creating music with a sense of space, between the competing worlds of written melody and in-the-moment improvisation.
Fronted by saxophonist and composer Adam Waldmann, Kairos 4Tet is fast becoming a cornerstone of the British jazz scene. They are one of a kind – bridging the gap between classic and contemporary; the jazz idiom and the lineage of a song; ferocious grooves, burning improvisations and melodies that linger long after the music stops.
A former student of Julian Arguelles and Yuri Honing, Waldmann has worked with the likes of Alicia Keys, Mark Ronson, Mark Guiliana, Alan Hampton, Paloma Faith, Tinie Tempah, beatbox sensation Shlomo, The Sam Crowe Group, Will Vinson, Jim Hart and Dutch band FinnSilver amongst numerous others. In 2010 Waldmann made the leap to bandleader and released Kairos 4tet’s debut: Kairos Moment, an album that marked him out as “a powerful new voice in British jazz” (BBC), “ a precociously talented composer and player” (All About Jazz) and as a “young master in the making” (Time Out). In 2011, their second release, Statement of Intent was voted no.2 in MOJO Magazine’s albums of the year and led to the MOBO Award for the ‘Best Jazz Act’.
Their third album ‘Everything We Hold’, and first outing on the renowned Naim Jazz label, takes Kairos in a new and unexpected direction. In a bid to push the boundaries of his own creativity Waldmann explores in great depth the art of song, paying homage to some of the relationships he holds dearest. Social and political concerns remain a strong influence and The 99 suite that frames the album in recognition of The Occupy movement, serves as a reminder of connectivity and kinship on a wider scale. Stand out vocals come courtesy of Swedish chanteuse Emilia Mårtensson, acclaimed neo-soul icon Omar (who first met the band at the 2011 MOBO Awards), and husky-voiced, emerging Irish singer-songwriter Marc O’Reilly. Their vocal talents appear in unlikely and exciting new contexts, incorporated seamlessly into the quartet’s unique sound world, whilst adding another intriguing dimension. Extending this further is producer/arranger extraordinaire Jules Buckley(Anthony and the Johnsons, Michael Kiwanuka), the founder-conductor of the Heritage Orchestra, and principal guest conductor with Holland’s Metropole Orchestra. With the addition of strings, harp, harmonium, bass clarinet, glockenspiel and French horn, their sonic landscape is deeper and richer than ever before.
Kairos 4tet’s secret weapons on ‘Everything We Hold’ are the mesmerizing lyrics of writer, filmmaker and actor Rupert Friend (Pride & Prejudice, Young Victoria, Homeland) an old and close friend of Waldmann’s who also directed a unique and stunning music video for ‘Song For The Open Road’ featuring Omar. The album has gone on to recieve 4 and 5* reviews across national/international media and featured heavily in ‘Album of the Year Polls’ with The Observer declaring it the ‘Hidden Gem of 2013’.
Whether it’s ‘Home to You’ – an unashamed love song; ‘Narrowboat Man’ – an ode to friendship; ‘Ell’s Bells’ – a lullaby for Waldmann’s niece or one of the instrumental dedications to his bandmates, the Kairos 4Tettrademark qualities remain. At the very core of each song are a lyrical, melodic quality and exceptional inventiveness. ‘Everything We Hold’ showcases the compelling rapport of a working band who have long been fine-tuning their intricate dialogue on Europe’s top stages, at the height of their powers. With Waldmann, a graceful player, described as “one of the most distinctive saxophonists in the UK” (Manchester Evening News) on breathy tenor and quirky soprano, bassist Jasper Høiby’s muscular low ends (Phronesis, Shai Maestro), Ivo Neame’s dazzling piano (Cinematic Orchestra, Marius Neset) and Jon Scott’s hypnotic drumming (Mulatu Astatke, Dice Factory) the quartet allow the warmth of their communal spirit and of the now improvisational edge to shine through.