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Whirlwind Recordings

Sabotage And Celebration

by John Escreet

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    High quality, 4 panel digifile with a glossy finish

    Includes unlimited streaming of Sabotage And Celebration via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 2 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $14 USD or more 


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Comes with album artwork PDF + album cover photo as a jpg
    Purchasable with gift card

      $10 USD  or more





John Escreet - piano, fender rhodes
David Binney - alto/sop. saxophones
Chris Potter - tenor saxophone
Matt Brewer - double bass
Jim Black - drums
Adam Rogers - Guitar (tracks 5 & 7)
Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi, Nina Geiger - Vocals (track 7)

String Section
Fung Chern Hwei - Violin
Annette Homann - Violin
Hannah Levinson - Viola
Mariel Roberts - Cello
Garth Stevenson - Double Bass

Brass section
Shane Endsley - Trumpet
Josh Roseman - Trombone


All tracks Composed, Arranged & Produced by John Escreet
Engineer, Mixing & Mastering by Tyler McDiarmid
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch


released October 15, 2013


Sabotage and Celebration is the fifth solo album (and first Whirlwind release) from pianist and composer John Escreet. The album glistens from start to finish with endless imagination and unrelenting vision and is aptly supported by an A-list of the world's preeminent creative musicians who all contribute inspired performances at the peak of their powers. An attempt to pigeonhole the music on the album is futile as Escreet's compositional palette is as wide open as his piano virtuosity— complete without boundaries— and this new recording features such an ambitious production and scope it reaffirms with each listen that musical possibility is infinite.

Sabotage and Celebration was recorded on November 7th 2012, the day after the United States' presidential election which saw Barack Obama win a second term in office over his opponent Mitt Romney. On the night before the recording date (election night itself), Escreet's group performed the music in NYC in preparation for the session (literally as the results were coming in) amidst an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty, which gave way to an atmosphere of celebration as the final result became apparent and was eventually announced. The title of the album is in many ways a literal description of the track that bears its name: in the early stages of the piece there is sonic madness, almost as if the music itself is being 'sabotaged'. This eventually transitions into a highly contrasting second section, which emotes feelings of celebration and even dance. The title also refers to many of the widely reported voter issues (which many described as simply 'voter sabotage') that took place in various parts of the US during the election: overbearing and restrictive voter ID laws, the long lines at polling stations which ultimately prevented many people from casting their vote, as well as supposed malfunctions in many electronic voting machines. Yet despite this the end result signaled a celebration that reached beyond the United States.

The presidential election was not the only real life event that influenced the music on Sabotage and Celebration. Says Escreet, "The music was written at different stages, but a lot of it was written a week before the recording session, which was also during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season). NYC was effectively shut down for an entire week - there was no public transport and much of the city was without power. I was stuck in my apartment and couldn’t really go anywhere all week, so I stayed home, wrote and did nothing else. It just so happened that the music that I wrote during this time ended up being what I consider to be the strongest material."

Escreet's new album covers an incredible amount of musical ground. A string section is prominently featured, the result of his recent re-fascination with orchestral music; listen in as he seamlessly incorporates it into the context of a conventional jazz quintet. There's more: brass, guitars and vocals are also layered into the proceedings in surprising ways, creating music of a larger scale. "A lot of the albums back in the 70s featured a wider sonic palette, using stings, brass and all kinds of different instruments. Those influences, combined with some of the pop music I have been listening to recently helped shape the sound of this album, along with all kinds of other influences. I have also been spending more time in Los Angeles over the past couple of years, where my good friends and musical collaborators Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi (aka KNOWER) are based. It was great to have them contribute vocals to the last track on the album," Escreet explains.

Sabotage and Celebration comes from a prolific individual who has digested an astonishing amount of music in his life (he was in his late twenties at the time of this recording), and along with all the sophistication and wit Escreet composes and performs with a potent visceral energy, striking a perfect balance in the music. Artistic vision of this scope at such an early age signifies the making of a game changer; the prospect for what's next is exciting indeed.


"Ridley has made a stirring debut here and his future on the scene seems very bright after this fine start."
★★★★ Marlbank

"An impressive début and represents a substantial artistic statement from the talented Mr. Ridley... Ridley has emerged as an outstanding composer and band-leader with the release of 'Thymos', his magnificent new album."
★★★★ The Jazz Mann

"Full of strong riffs, sturdy structures and a tight-knit rhythm section working closely as a unit. Matt Ridley has a solid, woody sound."
Jazzwise Magazine

"A high quality performance, matched by peerless production and presentation and a worthy addition to the collection of any listener wishing to keep abreast of the wealth of new talent that is keeping the music infused with creative drive."
Jazz Views

"Ridley's own writing draws on modal jazz, minimalist composers, Middle Eastern melodies and free improvisation. He's an imaginative soloist who also roots the band with strength and simplicity."
London Jazz

"A remarkably expansive new album."
Bury Press

"Thymos is an ambitious undertaking by bassist Ridley, an album blurring the line between genres, fusing the modal and rhythmic elements of Middle-Eastern music with the harmonic complexities of jazz.
The Jazz Breakfast

"This album displays staggeringly impressive musicianship."
The York Press

"This debut has a great deal to offer as a performance by a tightly-integrated group. It's an album of strong contrasts, and imaginative explorations by Ridley."
Jazz Camera

"Ridley has made a stirring debut here and his future on the scene seems very bright after this fine start."
★★★★ Marlbank

"An attractive debut release from a leader and composer with real character, and featuring a very skilled bunch of players."
The Jazz Breakfast

"An ambitious undertaking by bassist Ridley."
Bebop Spoken Here


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John Escreet Brooklyn, New York

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