Throughout the years I've come to know Sebastiaan and his music quite well and it always is completely world class, first rate and most impressive! On this CD he almost outdoes himself with great self-penned compositions and arrangements and fantastic playing from literally everyone. I've been a big fan of Gerard Presencer's since I heard him on a Joe Locke CD and it's great to hear him in this setting...these are great musicans who deserve to be known the world over! - Randy Brecker
Sebastiaan writes curious and intelligent music of depth and passion. His intricate harmonic approach is very interesting to me also. For these reasons and others, it's been a genuine pleasure to take part a little bit in these recordings and I wish Sebastiaan all the success he deserves with this new release. -Gary Husband
what else can I say other than it's amazing! It goes without saying that the playing would be incredible considering yourself and the list of guest contributors but the writing is absolutely breathtaking so congratulations! - -Brett Garsed.
Sebastiaan Cornelissen is one of the most musical drummers/composers I have encountered in recent years. I was delighted to contribute my part to his upcoming album "Uturn". - Alexander Machacek
Since first coming on the scene in the early 2000s, composer and drummer Sebastiaan Cornelissen has emerged as one of the most distinctive new voices on the European fusion scene. Whether acting as a leader, sideman, or group member, Cornelissen's playing combines a sharp sense of empathy and staggering technique with impressive improvisational grace and intensity. His compositions are subtle and melodically memorable, while presenting fertile challenges for improvisation. Uturn, available Abstract Logix Music, is the second solo album from Cornelissen, who currently divides his time between the UK and his native Holland.
Born of transition and experimentation over the past four years, Uturn is a vital, organic statement marked by the multifaceted gifts and restless creative spirit of its maker, Sebastiaan Cornelissen. While best known as a peerless drummer, whose supple, almost melodic playing both drives and colors the ensemble he is performing with, Cornelissen is also featured on Uturn as a composer, producer, guitarist, and engineer. He brings to each role a dynamic, inventive sensibility, and sense of improvisation that imbues not only his playing, but his approach to structure, texture, and composition.
The process that resulted in the project began in 2003, when Cornelissen moved to Nottingham, England to teach. "That was quite a gamble," he recalls, "since I didn't have the luxuries that I did at home – like a studio and drums, or someplace where I could make loads of noise all day and night. I searched for ways to be able to make music somehow, and ended up buying a very simple laptop. I started to create a bunch of fragmental tunes, where instead of drums I would make loops and beats using samples of me playing brushes on whatever I found in my garage. Those miniature compositions on the laptop were the beginning of it all."
Living to the UK also forced Cornelissen, already well-known in his home country, to establish himself in an entirely new scene. "I had to start from scratch again," he reflects. "Since nobody knew me, I didn't have a stamp on me as being a particular kind of drummer. So I got a lot more experience in loads of different musical situations." The combination of a wider range of musical experiences with his growing stash of laptop-composed songs laid the foundation for Uturn, which he began working on in earnest in 2005. "By 2005 I had moved back home," he recalls, "but teaching and performing commitments meant that I had to travel back and forth, sometimes twice a week, between England and Holland. I always had my laptop around, and whenever possible I'd put on one of the tunes and have friends play solos over it."
The result of four years of recording, mixing, re-recording, and editing, was a kaleidoscopic album that melded a jazz-derived fluidity with the crackling energy of rock and deep rhythmic grooves that owed equally to funk and swing. A variety of recording approaches were utilized, along with a rotating cast of musicians, including Gerard Presencer on trumpet and flugelhorn; keyboardists Gary Husband, Scott Kinsey, and Steve Hunt; guitarists Susan Weinert, Leonardo Amuedo, Richard Hallebeek, Alex Machacek, and Mike Outram; and bassists Frans Vollink, Johnny Copland, Jimmy Earl, Gary Willis, and Tom Kennedy. In addition to drums, percussion, loops, and programming, Cornelissen contributed keyboards and guitar while mixing and engineering the entire album.
Cornelissen's diverse musicality is rooted in his upbringing in a creative, supportive family. His grandfather was a talented painter and sculptor, and his father is a well regarded double-bass player who performed for several decades with the Radio Symphony Orchestra and taught at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Very soon after Sebastiaan showed an interest in percussion, his father traded one of his basses for a set of drums, and the young musician quickly excelled in this warm, encouraging atmosphere. He was performing by the age of ten, and studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam from 1997 until 2001. There he came into contact with a like-minded group of musicians inspired by the possibility of fusing jazz-like improvisational freedom with an increasingly sophisticated compositional and technical approach. With pianist Rob Van Bavel he formed the group Isotope, who released two albums that helped to establish Cornelissen as one of the country's finest and most innovative young drummers.
Cornelissen's solo debut, Aggressive Attack, was released in 2002. Largely acoustic in conception, Aggressive Attack featured Cornelissen as composer and bandleader in a more jazz-oriented context. In 2005 Cornelissen was featured on a pair of releases showcasing two sides of his increasingly broadening vision. Timeline was a riveting fusion date with Tribal Tech bassist Gary Willis and Lale Larson on piano, rich with startling playing, wit, and a conversational sense of interplay. A duo project with bassist Frans Vollink, One Spirit was a more expansive outing that included contributions from Van Bavel and Larson, along with Richard Hallebeek (guitar), Susan Weinert (guitar and guitar synth), Martin Verdonk (percussion), Randy Brecker (trumpet), and Gerard Presencer (trumpet).
Uturn features many of those collaborators, in very different settings. "I wanted something more produced," Cornelissen explains, "as opposed to the much more live recordings I did before. The concept was to use my studio's full potential. Layering sounds and drums. On the track '4 Hands,' for instance, I play brushes and sticks in the same bar. Overlapping grooves and using samples are heard a lot, too, and not just in the drum parts."
"Some of the tracks were overdubbed piece-by-piece from scratch," he continues, "and others were cut almost completely live. I always added or altered something, though. 'Fruits & Fibre,' which is the name of a cheap cereal I was eating, is based on a little loop of me playing a copper oilcan and a cereal bowl with my fork and spoon. Throughout Uturn I made my own sounds from samples I recorded – sometimes with a guitar, sometimes bells or a glass or whatever was around. So, in the basics, it really gives something personal to the general sound of the tunes."
The only outside composition is "England Green," written by legendary British keyboardist Gary Husband, who is heard on three of Uturn's fourteen tracks. "Gary is wonderful as a musician and person," Cornelissen says. "He helped me out a lot with this album. I have listened to his music ever since I was 6 or so, so you can imagine how it feels to have him in the band. I have to pretend that I know how to play drums!" As important an influence as Husband was on the project, the biggest contributor might have also been the smallest. "Having my son, Caspar Tristan, had a major impact. His arrival made me think differently about how I use my time and my energy."
Looking back on the competed project, on all the layers of composition, improvisation, samples, live performances, edits, and mixes, Cornelissen is now curious to take an entirely different approach. "Almost every tune brings up a memory now, or a feeling," he concludes. "But by the time one tune is finished the one I did before it already sounds old to me. Maybe after this I will make a live album of this music and see how different it would turn out!"
released August 9, 2014
Hadrien Feraud, Gary Willis, Scott Kinsey, Tom Kennedy, Steve Hunt, Richard Hallebeek, Frans Vollink, Mike Outram, Jimmy Earl
Dutch drummer/composer Sebastiaan Cornelissen studied at The Conservatory of Amsterdam. He has worked/recorded with: Randy
Brecker, Jim Beard, Gary Willis, Gary Husband, Mike Miller, Steve Hunt, Wayne Johnson, Susan Weinert, Scott Kinsey, Tom Kennedy, Gerard Presencer, Hadrien Feraud, Alex Machacek, Damian Erskine, Jimmy Haslip, Richard Hallebeek, Jimmy Earl, Frank Gambale, Mike Outram a.o....more