Night Journey is an album of new music for shakuhachi and cello, performed by Adrian Freedman and Matthew Barley. The beautiful sonorous tones of the shakuhachi and cello complement each other perfectly in a lyrically improvised flow.
Matthew Barley is a world-renowned cellist, who has performed in over 50 countries, including concertos with the BBC Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Czech Philharmonic and the Metropole Jazz Orchestra. Matthew has collaborated with Matthias Goerne, the Labèque Sisters, Amjad Ali Khan, Talvin Singh, Nitin Sawhney and Jon Lord, appearing in venues ranging from Ronnie Scott’s and the WOMAD festivals to Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Zürich’s Tonhalle.
Adrian and Matthew have played together several times over the years, leading to the creation of a new album Night Journey – Odes for Shakuhachi and Cello, which will be released in 2018.
“This album came into being gradually over a period of more than 10 years. Matthew and I first met and played together informally in 2006. There was an immediate rapport, and a sense of synergy between us and our instruments. The rich tonal colours of the shakuhachi and cello seemed to compliment each other perfectly, and I sensed an almost telepathic connection with Matthew in the spontaneous melodies arising from our free improvisation.
Three years later in 2009 we gave a recital of improvised music at Kings Place Hall in London, together with the tabla player Sanju Sahai and the Hang player Ravid Goldschmidt. After that we had to wait another three years for the next chance to play together, again a concert of improvised music at Kings Place Hall, this time a simple duo for shakuhachi and cello. We then set the intention to record an album together.
Two years later, one moonlit Autumn evening in Devon, we hired a small church with a beautiful acoustic, set up recording and settled in for the night. Then we played music from dusk to dawn in an uninterrupted inspired flow. We came away from that session with seven hours of recorded material. It was another two years before these raw recordings were finally crafted into these six pieces.“
This night was one of the improvising highlights of my life. I was amazed by how many colours we found in common between the shakuhachi and the cello – moments where you cannot tell the two instruments apart. Adrian is an extraordinary musician and his abilities were then brought to bear on the project as he took all those hours of recordings and carefully, artistically, turned them into these pieces – a labour of musical love requiring many hours and days and technical knowhow. Much gratitude and respect, brother.