Sirkis/Bialas International Quartet,
COME TO ME
by Asaf Sirkis, Sylwia Bialas
Asaf's newest album - 'Come To Me' - is an inspiring musical partnership with Polish vocalist Silwia Bialas that includes Frank Harrison on piano/keyboards and Patrick Bettison on bass and harmonica. The album was launched at the London Jazz Festival on November 21, 2014. The quartet has been touring the UK and will continue performing throughout 2015.
"COME TO ME" IS A MASTERPIECE! Sirkis/Bialas International Quartet Launch Date: November 21, 2014
Five Stars***** - Reviewed by John Pritchard
COME TO ME
Under the wing of darkness
The rise of unity
Breaths and thoughts
In shy proximity.
Knot of bodies
Heat of the lips
The sweetest frenzy,
Dialogue of souls
Seized two beings
So thirsty for love.
In the abyss of pastels
Of blues and whites
A planet is born
Of blossoming hope.
These opening lyrics to the title track, Come To Me, epitomize the love and hauntingly optimistic sound of this phenomenally talented quartet. The sheer beauty and grace of this uplifting collection of original music truly reflects the ever expanding musical genius of composer/drummer Asaf Sirkis, et all.
Polish singer Sylwia Bialas composed five of the 10 pieces on this project and is a true musical partner with Asaf. And when it comes to her singing, she is not just another great jazz vocalist improvising her way through a cool sounding acoustic album. Her voice shimmers, sparkles and whispers like a misty morning sun shining through to warm our heart and soul. I found myself soaring on each and every note and was deeply moved by her soulfulness. Silwia's creativity also extends beyond the music and lyrics to the photos and images you can find on the cover and in the album's interior booklet.
Not unlike Asaf's previous albums, Come To Me, is a true tour-de-force of musicianship and innovation. The piano and keyboard improvisations of Frank Harrison are super elegant and in perfect balance with the atmospheric nature of each composition. His exquisite solo in the middle of track four, Ismael, is particularly gorgeous as is his masterful playing on track five, A Hymn, and track seven, The One.
Perhaps the most unexpected surprise of the album is the masterful harmonica playing by bassist Patrick Bettison. The harmonica is such a rarity in jazz music and here it really shines through on track 8, Magnolia. The harmonica gives the album an ethereal quality that is most unexpected. In respect to Patrick's basswork, it is refreshingly fluid and flawless. Check out his solo on track two, Dreams Dreams, track six, Mandragora, and track ten, Orgon.
For the drummers who deeply admire Asaf's masterful and uniquely tasteful approach to the drumset, you won't be disappointed with his rhythmically inventive and inspiring playing throughout... especially his super melodic solo on the third track, Vortex, and his incredibly soft, beautiful brushwork on track nine, Orbs.
"Come To Me" is yet another Asaf Sirkis masterpiece. It not only delivers an extraordinary listening experience, but I feel genuinely enriched and deeply satisfied after hearing the music, especially with Silwia's voice. This is what music is all about: colorful, infinitely creative, and full of heartfelt, emotional intensity. Each musician is such a talent unto themselves that when playing together you cannot help but feel completely transported to a better place while you listen.
One last note of appreciation goes out to Andrew Tulloch who mixed and mastered the tracks to produce the high quality clean and pristine sound of the entire album. Hearing this music on a great sound system is mandatory. You will appreciate every second of this luscious and inspirational release by Asaf Sirkis and Silwia Bialas all the more.
"Come To Me" is truly magnificent! …a musical experience without peer! Bravo Asaf and Sylwia!
Asaf's Trio new album - 'Letting Go' - featuring Tassos Spiliotopoulos on guitar, Yaron Stavi on Bass and Asaf on drums is now ready to be launched. The album will be officially released on September 23rd, 2010. The trio will be touring the UK and Europe throughout the Autumn and early 2011.
2010 Release: "LETTING GO" Asaf Sirkis Trio Release Date: September 23, 2010
Five Stars***** - Reviewed by John Pritchard
The adventurous spirit of composer/drummer Asaf Sirkis truly flows throughout this amazing album of phenomenal music. After playing together for the past three years, this mighty trio of musicians are definitely reaching new heights of inspiration and genius. Every single track contains dynamic and harmonic subtleties that evoke a refined sensibility of purity and soulfulness. I simply love this music.
In addition to the masterful drumming by Asaf, the extremely tasty performances put forward by guitarist Tasso Spiliotopoulos and bassist Yaron Stavi exceed all expectations. Each player complements the other beautifully and the rich addition of Patrick Bettison on Harmonica produces even greater soul on tracks 3 and 6.
"Letting Go" is a perfect title for this masterpiece. Each musician "lets go" of their ego and lets their heart do the playing. Letting go is also the method behind the improvisational creativity and freedom achieved by the entire band. This is authentic music at its very best.
"Letting Go" presents an extraordinary experience that is not only exciting and graceful, but also powerful and elegant. It is an album that is full of tremendous energy and very, very alive! In my humble musical opinion, "Letting Go" is without question the best album of the year. Five stars! - John Pritchard
LETTING GO (click to listen in the player below) BUY IT NOW!
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All compositions and arrangements by Asaf Sirkis.
Produced by Asaf Sirkis for Stonedbird Productions.
...“Sirkis is simply the most sensitive of percussionists”
Chris Parker, January 2009
Asaf is currently on a world tour with Tim Garland's "Lighthouse Trio" which is featuring their latest album, "Libra."
Here is a great review of the Trio in a recent article from "All About Jazz." Check out Asaf's one-of-a-kind, eclectic/hybrid frame drum/bass Udu/percussively driven drumkit in the video below (around 6:20 minutes) playing with "The Lighthouse Trio." Asaf is also now endorsing Vic Firth Sticks, Remo drum heads and Istanbul Agop cymbals.
"For me, music begins where ideas finish."
2008 Release: "THE MONK " Asaf Sirkis Trio Release Date: September 14
***** Five Stars - Reviewed by John Pritchard
With the zest and zeal of a thunder and lightning storm, Asaf Sirkis takes his new electric trio into blissful states of improvisational glory... and all amidst a multitude of subtle musical delights that can only be described as "pure joy." THE MONK is simply Asaf's best recording to date and his drumming is just phenomenal... every beat... every phrase... every single second!
For this album, Asaf has assembled a truly outstanding group of talented musicians that features
Tassos Spiliotopoulos on guitar and Yaron Stavi on bass with the amazing Gary Husband adding keyboards to several tracks.
As a composer, Asaf has branched way out from his gothic jazz journeys with the "Inner Noise," yet still manages to push the jazz-rock envelope into very fresh territory. As any great monk learns from his Masters, Asaf has fused the multi-directional influences of Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette with the adventurous song writing styles of Allan Holdsworth and avant garde composer, Erik Satie.
The overall mix of tunes on the CD runs the entire spectrum from harmonically gentle to brash creativity. Lightning does indeed strike numerous times throughout the album, but it is never overpowering... there is a calm and confident, almost illuminating attitude that is quite refreshing in comparison to Asaf's previous work.
The guitar work of Tassos Spiliotopoulos is gorgeously sparse and minimalistic on the title track, "The Monk" and "The Journey Home", yet can jump into hard rockin jazz genius at the drop of a hat on tunes like "Without A Story" and the very tasty "Dream". Check out Tassos' site at MySpace.com
On the bass, Yaron Stavi, holds down heavy hanging notes on "End of the Circle" and gets super melodic on "Stoned Bird", "The Monk", and "The Journey Home." Like the patience of a saint, Yaron, delivers a solid foundation for the music to build and grow upon. Check out Yaron's site at MySpace.
Not to be missed is the highly spirited fifth track, "Alone", which features soloing from the entire band, ending with an especially tasty bit of drumming between Asaf and guest percussionist, Adriano Adewale.
All in all, THE MONK delivers beyond expectations. It is an album by an ingenious composer and drummer who carries the listener into new and exciting musical heights! It's definitely not for the meek. This CD has balls, yet it is also very quiet and thought provoking. It's bold music coming from a higher plane and from a drummers perspective, it is a major slice of heaven.
Thanks Asaf, you have learned well from your Masters and are definitely walking the path of an inspired Monk of Rhythm!
Below are a couple YouTube clips of the trio playing in London at the Romanian Restaurant:
2008 Tour with Larry Coryell Trio
Asaf has been performing with the Larry Coryell trio in 2008 featuring Larry Coryell on guitar, Jeff Berlin on bass, and Asaf on drums. Gig details on Asaf's website: www.asafsirkis.co.uk
Live Gig with Mike Outram & Kit Downes
..."fueled fusion fun of the best kind, delivered without pretension and bursting with energy."
Peter Marsh, BBC Magazine
2007 Release: "THE SONG WITHIN" Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise Release Date: May 22
***** Five Stars - Reviewed by John Pritchard
The most compelling part of this excellent new album by Asaf Sirkis is the wide spectrum of sound, creative rhythm and inventive soloing present on every single track. Nothing rushed about this music. It grows and glows within your ears and I was definitely transported to a better place by this exceptional instrumental group playing their one-of-a-kind genre called "gothic jazz".
From a composer's perspective, this is Asaf and the Inner Noise at their very best! Clean, clear and free with lots of imagination. They have left their darker, more ominous roots behind and entered an entirely new area of their own creation that is very fresh, highly adventurous and sonicly optimistic. Asaf's drumming is a pure joy. Effortless technique guided by soulful intuition. High virtuosity with every on and off beat accent leading the way for soaring solos by Steve Lodder on church organ and Mike Outram on guitar. Simply exceptional music that gets better and better with each listen. Highly recommended!
All compositions by Asaf Sirkis.
Produced by Asaf Sirkis for Sam Productions.
James Griffiths has this to say about the Inner Noise live on stage:
"Audiences have been accustomed to bands experimenting with new sounds and pushing back the boundaries of contemporary music, but this trio has certainly come up with something different... Propelling the two front liners was the explosive percussion by leader Asaf, building the tension with a whole plethora of omni-directional polyrhythms with great skill."
ASAF SIRKIS: INNER THINKING ON FILM (watch below)
Asaf is interviewed by filmmaker Rowena Jeffrey-Jones for this very thoughtful short film that features his 'Inner Noise' band at Stoke Newington Church, London 2006 (Steve Lodder on Church Organ, Tassos Spiliotopoulos on Guitar and Asaf on Drums).
A UNIQUE "SOUND ART" EXPERIENCE... THE EXPERIMENTAL SIDE OF ASAF
Recorded in Singapore, by Asaf Sirkis and Gilad Atzmon and Simon Fisher Turner. Film by Sebastian Sharples. From Lana Lara Lata 2005.
2006 Release: "We Are Falling"
City Life Magazine, October 2005
Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise have real presence, albeit a malevolent one. Sirkis is an Israeli-born drummer with enough muscle to power a thunderstorm, whilst Mike Outram, the guitarist with the Inner Noise, is an invigorating player. The dominant voice on We Are Falling (Konnex), however, is Steve Lodder's sombre church-like organ. The drama comes in the contrast between sepulchral chill (Lodder) and the forces of light (Outram), as Sirkis splinters the rhythm into jagged counter-patterns. -- Mike Butler
Drummer Asaf Sirkis composes and arranges all the tracks on this dreamy album It is an experimental piece for a niche market, flirting with atonality and nearly-but-not-quite melodies that are skewed by unexpected twists and turns. All this to a backdrop of drums and nervous, skittering synths together with more challenging, unidentified sounds. Most intriguing.
Sirkis is a great young Israeli drummer who, since his arrival in
Britain in April 1999, has begun to make major waves on the British
jazz scene." Dan Somogyi
Playing at Monfalcone Festival, Italy, July 2004
Asaf is an inspiring drummer and composer with a wide musical vocabulary.
As the rhythmic force behind Gilad
House Ensemble," Asaf has quickly become one of
the hottest rising stars in Europe. Last year's BBC Music Award
for "Exile" as Best Jazz Album of the Year has introduced
Asaf to an even larger audience of fans via the "Orient
With his own band, "Inner
Noise," Asaf has developed a very progressive sound
that is indeed hard to put a label on. Check out the mp3 samples
above and in the right column.
it bop, rock, fusion, modern jazz or what else? It is difficult
to answer this question, as Sirkis' intense music seems to contain
elements of different kinds, nonetheless creating a style of its
own, influenced by his Middle East roots." - Juergen
Asaf Sirkis & the Inner Noise are:
Steve Lodder- Church organ
Mike Outram- Guitar
Asaf Sirkis- Drums
Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble
Check out Asaf's drumming on "Exile" and other recordings
by clickin on the album cover below.
album is bound to make some people angry. The musicians, all exiles,
use traditional Jewish and Israeli melodies as the basis for tunes
that tell stories of Palestinian suffering. Regardless of whether
you agree with the message, it's hard to deny the beauty of the
music." - Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe
Playing with Gilad Atzmon at Nottingham
(photo by Bob Meyrick)
"Jazz in the '50s and '60s was inextricably linked to the Civil
Rights Movement in the US; and the music of Israeli-born reeds-playing
genius, Gilad Atzmon, is similarly enmeshed with the struggles of
the Palestinian people" -Joe Cushley
Asaf 2002 (photo by Nick Rabbet)
Born in 1969 in Petah-Tikva, Israel, Asaf later moved to the town of Rehovot, where he spent his teens and early twenties. This was an influential move for Asaf, as it was here amongst the diverse cultural influences he found in Rehovot that Asaf began to show an interest in music and rhythm. In Rehovot he lived amongst people from North Africa, east and central Europe, and the Middle East. Living in Shaarayim, the Yemenite neighbourhood in Rehovot, Asaf was particularly drawn to Yemenite culture, music, and rhythms.
At the age of 12 Asaf began drum lessons, while also having a strong interest in playing electric bass. The music that influenced Asaf at the time still influences his writing and playing till this day; The Beatles, Police, Yes, Genesis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Allan Holdsworth, and Weather Report to name a few.
1987 – 1990 Asaf did his compulsory national service.
Out of the army in 1990, Asaf started his professional career as a musician playing with many different young Jazz-Rock, Kleizmer, world music, and Free Jazz bands. During that time he co-operated with Israel’s local Jazz/world luminaries such as Harold Rubin, Albert Beger, Yair Dlal and Eyal Sela. Many of those early projects where recorded and released by a pioneer Jazz record label in Israel called Jazzis (founded by Adam Baruch). Around those years Asaf started to write music but it wasn’t until 1995 when he formed his first trio that he found an outlet for his writing.
In 1993 moved to Tel-Aviv. While making his living playing mainly Jewish music Asaf continued to develop his own voice as a drummer and composer until, in 1995, formed his own trio (consisting of Kobi Arad on Keyboards and Gabriel Mayer on Bass) and recorded his first album ‘One Step Close’ (independent).
In 1996, Inspired by French Church Organ composers such as Olivier Messiaen, Maurice Durufle’ and Cesar Frank he formed a unique new band ‘The Inner Noise’ consisting of Church Organ, Electric Guitar and Drums (with Adi Goldstein on Organ and Amir Perelman on Guitar). The Inner Noise’s first project was commissioned by the Arts department of the Tel-Aviv City Council and was performed around Israel in 1997-8.
In October 1998 Asaf left Israel for Holland and then to France, and in April 1999 he settled to London.
In London, Asaf very soon become a part of the UK Jazz and world music scene. During that year he started working with Adel Salameh, a Palestinian Aud player/composer with whom he recorded the album ‘Nuzha’ which also featured, for the first time, Asaf’s Middle Eastern frame drum playing.
Soon after arriving to the UK Asaf re-formed the Inner Noise band with Steve Lodder on Organ and Mike Outram on Guitar.
In 2000 Asaf met Gilad Atzmon, which was to be a start of a creative musical collaboration that remains to this day. With Atzmon they formed The Orient House Ensemble. This band has now recorded 6 albums (‘Orient House’, ‘Nostalgico’, ‘Exile’, ‘Musik’, ‘Artie Fishel & the Promised Band’, and ‘Refuge’). OHE’s album 'Exile' has won the 'Best CD of the Year' category at the BBC Jazz Award 2003 and nominated in the ‘Best Band’ category in 2004. The OHE performs regularly in many high profile festival and venues in the UK and in Europe.
In 2003 Asaf recorded the Inner Noise’ first album (‘Inner Noise’, Konnex KCD 5113). ‘Inner Noise’ is widely considered a groundbreaking album and the music has been described as a new gender - ‘Gothic Jazz’. The CD was chosen as one of the best albums of 2005 at the CHUOFM89 radio jazz station in Canada.
In 2006 Asaf started a unique collaboration with Saxophonist/composer Tim Garland and has enjoyed making four albums with him so far; ‘If The Sea Replied’ (The Lighthouse Trio), Due North (Northern Underground Orchestra), The Mystery (featuring Chick Corea and the Northern Simfonia Orchestra), and ‘Libra’ (The Lighthouse Trio).
With the Inner Noise band Asaf had made two more albums, ‘We Are Falling’ (Konnex 2005) and ‘The Song Within’ (SAM Productions/Egea 2007) which was selected as one of the best albums of 2007 at the ‘All About Jazz’ web-site by John Kelman.
While developing his own compositions, Asaf formed the Asaf Sirkis Trio in 2007 which features Greek guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos and Israeli bassist Yaron Stavi. This trio released their first album ‘The Monk’ in September, 2008 (SAM Productions/Egea) and is currently preparing a new release - 'Letting Go' - in September 2010.
Asaf is currently touring extensively with his Trio and with his 'Inner Noise' band, and is gaining in reputation as a composer and band leader.
"A genuinely fine record... vital, essential music for anyone interested in the future of jazz composition." Jazzwise magazine
This seventy minute CD of orchestral music composed by Tim Garland integrates new orchestral music with the contemporary jazz world in a way seldom achieved, the jazz and modern-classical elements being present in equal measure.
Composed and arranged by Asaf Sirkis, this work is
influenced by modern classical music and in particular the music
of organ composers such as Olivier Messiaen and Maurice Durufle.
Combining modern jazz and elements of progressive rock (Yes, Emerson
Lake & Palmer), this album melds classical composing techniques
with the nuances of jazz improvisation. The Inner Noise is an organ
trio (organ, guitar and drums) with a new direction. By using church
organ sounds rather then the traditional Hammond organ sounds, the
trio creates a music that is rich and unique in spiritual tone.
CD Review, Jazz UK
(Issue 50), UK
Here's one that defies categorizations. Asaf Sirkis, the brilliant
drummer with Gilad Atzmon's Orient House Ensemble, has here stumbled
on a sub-genre that might become known as Gothic Jazz. The music
is doom-laden and bombastic, yet strangely compelling. It has a
strong flavour of Europian church music Ð Steve Lodder plays real
church organ Ð and might appeal to anyone nostalgic for Emerson,
Lake and Palmer. The rest of us can respond to the way Sirkis animates
the church organ with his churning rhythms as guitarist Mike Outram
floats above the melee with single-line solos that climax in crying
high notes. The ecstasy owes to rock as much as rigorous old European
church music. - Mike Butler
Asaf & Mike Outram,
(Photo by Bob Meyrick)
CD Review Reviewed:
February 2004, UK
Inner Noise - Epic Fusion
For The 21st Century
Asaf Sirkis, the world class drum phenomenon (reminiscent of Jack
DeJohnette and Tony Williams at the height of their powers) that's
taken the British scene by storm over the last few years, is perhaps
best known as the engine of the rhythm section of the equally phenomenal
Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble (and the Gilad Atzmon Quartet).
The recently released album "Inner Noise" features the UK's leading
drummer with his own trio, Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise. Originally
partially commissioned by the Department of Arts of the Tel Aviv
City Council, Sirkis' "Inner Noise" project was performed around
Israel in 1997 to 1998 prior to his moving to the UK. Since moving
to Britain in 1999, Asaf Sirkis has re-formed his Inner Noise trio
with organist/keyboardist Steve Lodder and guitarist Mike Outram.
"Inner Noise", Sirkis' second solo album was recorded in March 2002
at St. Michael's Church in Highgate, North London, and released
in 2003 on Konnex Records.
Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise are about as far as you can get from
a conventional organ trio, not only featuring as it does full-blown
church organ rather than the traditional Hammond B3, but moreover,
playing music on a truly epic, even monumental scale. First impressions
of "Inner Noise" might recall Miles Davis and the Bitches' Brew
project and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra in its first
incarnation, as well as prog rock bands Emerson, Lake and Palmer
and Yes (though without the remotest hint of the latter's near-plagiarism).
But such comparisons could never do this album proper justice, for
it goes far beyond any of these yet maintains a far greater accessibility
than Davis' and McLaughlin's brands of fusion. While all these are
certainly influences, "Inner Noise" also shows clear influences
of modern classical organ composers, in particular Olivier Messiaen,
as well as of Arabic classical music. Sirkis gives all three instruments
broadly equal importance and sculpts a vast soundscape of monumental
proportions, employing strong, rich textures as well as delicate,
transparent ones as appropriate, and making fullest use of the rich
palette available to him, both in terms of the overall instrumental
colours and the colours of his own trap set.
Asaf at Nottingham 2002
(photo by Bob Meyrick)
His drumming is as brilliantly virtuosic and inventive as has indeed
become his trademark, combining subtlety and sheer effervescent
exuberance, even ecstasy, and while running a tight ship, Sirkis
also gives his fellow band members plenty of space where appropriate.
Lodder's and Outram's playing complements the master drummer's perfectly,
with both superb ensemble playing and outstanding soloing. The result
is an album that is utterly absorbing and compelling and reveals
Sirkis as a very formidable composer and arranger indeed. "Inner
Noise" doesn't just push boundaries, it completely transcends them
and thus defies categorisation. To describe it as a fusion of jazz,
classical and progressive rock would tell only half the story. You
could file "Inner Noise" under any of these genres, but you'll never
confine it, any more than you could define it. One previous reviewer
suggested the label "Gothic Jazz", a horrific oversimplification
in my opinion if not a downright abomination. Far better to focus
on just enjoying the experience that Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise
provide with this most remarkable and intense album.