Formerly ‘Twelves Trio’, now a four-piece and simply named 'Twelves', the band have produced an outstanding follow-up to their acclaimed debut “Here Comes The Woodman With His Splintered Soul” (Sony/1965 Records, 2008) which placed them on the map of 21st century British jazz. More exploratory and rockier than the last record, “The Adding Machine” (Babel Label, 2011) opens up a broader sound-world taking in elements of swing, odd-time signatures, free improv and alt-country in addition to the traditional folk ballads of their first release.
Twelves are :
Riaan Vosloo on bass, Tim Giles on drums, Mark Hanslip on tenor sax and new addition, guitarist Rob Updegraff.
Updegraff, a long-time friend and colleague of Giles, was brought in to tour with the group after the first album release and now brings a broader sound palette to the band ranging from Bill Frisell-ish ambience through overdriven rock to avant-garde effects reminiscent of Elliot Sharp. He has also proved to be a perfect foil for the increasingly improv-inclined Hanslip, whose free-wheeling, melodic contributions to the new record have attracted critical acclaim. The drums and bass pairing of Giles and Vosloo, now a rhythm partnership of choice for many jazz and pop artists, has deepened and evolved in recent years, allowing them to move easily between driving swing, relentless grooves, free, open time and pure abstraction.
Whilst Hanslip and Vosloo are the main composers of the album, the development of arrangements and the band sound remains an open, democratic process. The record was also engineered and produced by Vosloo's Nostalgia 77 production team partner Ben Lamdin.
Says Vosloo: “The development of our sound on this record was born out of a few different things that were going on at the time. Rob joined on guitar and that added that rock association and Tim is always keen to push things in a new direction. We were touring a lot off the back of the first record and kept finding ourselves in front of rock crowds, because of the label we were signed to at the time, so I think that we learned to “put it out a bit”, and to experiment with the sound of the band”.
The album’s title, chosen by Giles, is a reference to Elmer Rice’s American Expressionist play about Mr Zero, an accountant who seeks revenge after being replaced by an adding machine. Zero’s dark tale seems an apt reference, for whilst there’s a nice facade to many of the tracks, this often belies the dark, unsettled undertones of the playing beneath.
The band are currently planning a run of London-based shows in autumn of 2011 – taking in a local East London festival as well as the auspicious London Jazz Festival – before touring nationally in early 2012.
Press for 'The Adding Machine':
"Twelves have a real this-is-what-we-do presence and casual virtuosity to match."
John Fordham, The Guardian
"Twelves put sharply intimate, free flowing group dialogue before anything else and that’s what makes this imaginative set such an enjoyable one too."
Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise
"A tight yet exploratory set that neatly balances brains and brawn." Daniel Spicer, BBC Music [link]
"A heady mix of Prime Time-like keening and Sco/Lo-type driving urgency... Twelves are well equipped to move, as they do, between dramatic, anthemic rock and tumbling freer music."
Chris Parker, londonjazz blog
"The recordings here strike an inspired balance between knotty compositions, patient melodic development and dynamic, turbulent free improvisation. It is testament to the group's considerable skill that the result is not an uncomfortable mish-mash, but rather a series of coherent, powerful statements with a strong sense of narrative."
Daniel Paton, MusicOMH website
"A fascinating album, one that draws the listener further in with each subsequent listen."
Ian Mann, The Jazzmann blog
"An excellent album, and obviously a group that isn't standing still. Developing since it's first incarnation into a stronger unit that plays a music that is both daring and accessible."
Joe Higham, Free Jazz blog
"..what is most brilliant about this record is how these individual voices congregate to create such a unified encounter. Whilst many would expect such strong identities to clash or even jostle for position, somehow Twelves have the wonderful ability to complement and take joy in each other’s contribution, creating a richer, wholly fulfilling experience for both musician and audience alike."
JJ Wheeler, Jazz Breakfast blog
A website is currently under construction, in the meantime tracks can be heard and information read at :