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The Westerlies

Contact

Zack Kraimer
Big Hassle Media
zack@bighassle.com
212.619.1360

Biography

The Westerlies’ four members (Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler [trumpets], and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch [trombones]) were childhood friends and sometime musical rivalsin 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 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’ self-titled sophomore album features original music by each member of the ensemble, captured in vivid detail by GRAMMY-winning producer Jesse Lewis (Roomful of Teeth,Brooklyn RiderSilk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo MaLA Philharmonic). The group discovered Jesse through his discography, but as luck would have it, he attended the same Seattle high school as three of The Westerlies’ members. The connection between the five of them was immediate and deep, and the collaborative recording process reflects the democratic nature of The Westerlies and pushes the sonic limits of the brass quartet instrumentation. Their atypical instrumentation speaks to their idiosyncratic charm, and to the dynamic nature of their compositional styles.

Much of the music was composed over the course of two residencies in the summer of 2015, then recorded at The Farm Studio (a painting of which is on the album’s cover) in West Chester, PA. Following their critically acclaimed debut album Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz, this is a boldly personal set of music that is equally virtuosic and vulnerable.

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.

Recent engagements include The Newport Jazz Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn, New Music Bryant Park, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland, NYU Skirball Center, Cooper Hewitt Museum, The New School, The Juilliard School, Seattle Symphony, The Festival of New Trumpet Music, Juilliard in Aiken Festival, Music in the Mountains (Durango, CO), Vancouver Jazz Festival, Roulette, Constellation Chicago, Seattle Art Museum and Earshot Jazz Festival. Active collaborators, The Westerlies have worked with artists in a variety of disciplines, including Vieux Farke Touré, Dave Douglas, Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Julia Easterlin, visual artist David Foarde, Cocoon Central Dance Team, Choreographer Garth Johnson, and Juilliard Dance.

Press Releases

Photos

Dimensions

1648x1482

Credit

Sasha Arutyunova

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500x333

Credit

John Abbott

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5760x3840

Description

(L-R) Riley Mulherkar, Andy Clausen, Willem de Koch, and Zubin Hensler

Dimensions

5760x3840

Description

(L-R) Riley Mulherkar, Andy Clausen, Willem de Koch, and Zubin Hensler

Dimensions

500x333

Description

(L-R) Willem de Koch, Andy Clausen, Andy Mulherkar, and Zubin Hensler

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5452x3635

Description

(L-R) Willem de Koch, Andy Clausen, Andy Mulherkar, and Zubin Hensler

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5578x3719

Credit

Sasha Arutyunova

Description

(L-R) Zubin Hensler, Riley Mulherkar, Andy Clausen, and Willem de Koch

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3595x5392

Description

(L-R) Willem de Koch, Andy Clausen, Riley Mulherkar, and Zubin Hensler

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2828x2287

Credit

Sasha Arutyunova

Description

(L-R) Zubin Hensler, Riley Mulherkar, Willem de Koch, Andy Clausen

Dimensions

5760x3840

Credit

Sasha Arutyunova

Description

(L-R) Willem de Koch, Zubin Hensler, Riley Mulherkar, and Andy Clausen