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The Westerlies - Self-Titled Album

Photo of the westerlies by michael george

Photo by Michael George

New York City-based brass quartet The Westerlies are proud to share “New Berlin, New York,” an original composition from their upcoming self-titled sophomore album (due October 7, 2016 via Songlines). The track, which was composed by Westerlies trombonist Andy Clausen, premiered via Stereogum, who called it ”…another fascinating exercise in traditional revision… breathlessly frantic, a rapid dance of melodies that will have your heart racing and your body tapping along.”

This Stereogum premiere comes shortly after the NPR Music premiere of “Saro” (arr. Sam Amidon & Nico Muhly), where they noted that “The Westerlies’ rendition has no vocals, but you still feel the heartache… The tune is played unadorned in soft, breathy tones that imply stillness, like the distant sound of a bugler’s ‘Taps.’”

Photo of the westerlies by john abbott

Photo by John Abbott

The Westerlies have added a number of tour dates, some of them with renowned trumpeter Dave Douglas. Additionally, the group has planned an album release show for The Westerlies, slated for October 18 at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY. The full list of tour dates can be found below. The group has also released an album trailer to give more insight into their creative process and the personality of each member.

The Westerlies’ four members (Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler [trumpets], and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch [trombones]) were childhood friends and sometime musical rivals in their hometown of Seattle — they regularly competed against each other in regional competitions. Each member independently moved to New York City, which led to the old friends reconnecting and performing together while studying at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music.

The Westerlies’ rendition has no vocals, but you still feel the heartache…

The Westerlies bring together jazz, improvisational, classical and folk approaches, navigating the music with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family folk ensemble. This album is the product of four composer/performers who, though they grew up in the same city, each have unique and diverse musical backgrounds. The listener can hear each composer gently tugging the ensemble in the direction of his own taste, and the band follows, expressing their friendship through musical empathy.

The Westerlies perform without sheet music, allowing a direct connection to the audience that is all too rare in the chamber music world. This is no homogenous chamber group, unified in its allegiance to the wishes of a composer. Every piece of music touched by The Westerlies reflects the unique sensibilities and personalities of these four individuals, in all their strengths and quirks.