Over the past 5 years, producer & saxophonist Pete Cunningham’s Ishmael Ensemble has gone from being a humble bedroom recording project to an integral part of the thriving U.K. Jazz scene. The group’s debut album “A State Of Flow” saw Cunningham explore an array of sonic scenery from lush cinematic soundscapes to raucous peaks of psychedelia that received high praise from listeners & journalists alike.
The group’s follow up record ‘Visions of Light’ saw them further blur the lines between Jazz & Electronic music, taking the listener on an expansive journey in sound whilst flying the flag for their hometown of Bristol. The record went on to be crowned Huey Morgan’s “Album of the Year” on BBC 6 Music and saw them perform at The New York Winter Jazz Festival for Gilles Peterson.
In 2022, the Bristol-based ensemble returned with the healing single ‘The Rebuke’, featuring cathartic vocals by singer Holysseus Fly and jungle drum breaks.
“Through music you can turn darkness into light, you can take a painful experience and turn it into something beautiful. It’s an incredibly liberating feeling.” FROM INTERVIEW WITH “15 QUESTIONS”
At the beginning 2023 Ishmael Ensemble return with ‘Reasons’ the lead single from their forthcoming EP ‘New Era’, a collaborative project with lyricist and MC Rider Shafique. Having previously collaborated on 2022’s ‘Empty Hands’, IshmaelEnsemble and Shafique take this partnership to new levels with the compelling and absorbing ‘Reasons’. Ishmael Ensemble provide typical jazz brilliance via signature sax, harp and skippy rhythms, propelling Shafique’s masterful lyricism and thought-provoking rhetoric. In dub poet mode he probes ‘what’s the meaning of life?’, giving a powerful taste of the personal and political reflections that appear throughout the excellent forthcoming EP.