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Combining jazz and classical idioms is a tricky business, but this succeeds splendidly.

— The Observer


ConnectsMusic is always looking for creative and talented musicians, which is why we are excited to share with you the ‘New Focus Duo: The Classical Connection,’ which features pianist Euan Stevenson and saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski.


They are two of Scotland’s leading musicians – their ‘New Focus‘ partnership takes its name from a project commissioned to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of saxophone giant Stan Getz’s classic 1961 album, Focus, and has expanded to include The Classical Connection. Having been awarded five stars by The Herald’s Keith Bruce in 2019, the Classical Connection has developed into a brilliantly entertaining, fascinatingly informative and above all, musically outstanding presentation.





New Focus: The Classical Connection highlights the many traits shared by classical composers and jazz musicians. Audiences hear why Franz Liszt and Erroll Garner both loved the key of D flat major and get an impression of Mozart sitting in on the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s theme tune, Take the A Train. George Gershwin’s love of Ravel and Debussy and his major contribution to the jazz canon and Erik Satie’s influence on Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blue album are also explored in addition to original pieces from their two New Focus albums.





Scottish pianist/composer Euan Stevenson and saxophonist/composer Konrad Wiszniewski continue their musical collaboration New Focus with a second album New Focus On Song for Whirlwind Recordings. After the critical success of their first release (New Focus) which featured a unique blend of classical, jazz and Scottish Folk that was shortlisted for the 2012 Scottish Album of the Year Award, the pair have established themselves as leading lights on the burgeoning creative music scene in Scotland.


Much of the acclaim received to date for New Focus has centred on the pair’s ability to write beautiful, haunting melodies where every piece in the sequel balances emotional power with exquisite craftsmanship. Stevenson provides the majority of the compositions and orchestrations and largely employs the subtle palette of the first album (jazz quartet, string quartet and harp), further enriching these textures with the addition of woodwind. Wiszniewski solos on both tenor and soprano saxophones throughout, while on ensemble passages he and his wife Nicola Wiszniewska a provide orchestral colour on clarinet and flute respectively with Alina Bzhezhinska once more featured on concert harp.



The resulting chamber music is rich and varied. Both composers pay tribute to their young daughters with heartfelt musical letters dedicated to each; but sensitivity and sweetness is balanced with hard edged improvising on the fast swinging ‘Corea Change’ and the angular and spiky ‘Fourths Ostinato’, whilst the folky ‘Green Park’ and ‘Sophia’s Song’ (with Wiszniewski on Celtic whistle) leave the listener in no doubt as to the composers’ heritage. That being said, the Gallic influence of Debussy, Satie and Ravel is never far away – tracks like ‘Ascension’ and ‘Braeside’ are a unique blend of French impressionism and jazz, a testament to Stevenson’s versatility as a composer/performer who is able to move seamlessly between idioms. This holistic approach is moreover exemplified in the two short improvised solo piano vignettes which appear as sparkling contrasts to the full ensemble dynamic

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