Gondwana Records announces Horizons the debut album from Jasmine Myra, produced by Matthew Halsall, it's an elevating debut record of understated beauty
Jasmine Myra is a Leeds-based saxophonist, composer and band leader Her original instrumental music has a euphoric and uplifting sound, influenced by artists as diverse as Kenny Wheeler, Bonobo and Olafur Arnalds and like Mammal Hands and Hania Rani her music has a special, emotive quality that draws the listener into her world. Matthew Halsall first heard Myra's music in 2019 shortly before the pandemic hit, signing her to Gondwana Records and producing her beautiful debut album, Horizons.
Myra came-up through the bustling, creative Leeds music scene and her music draws on the sense of community that permeates life in the city and which is notable for a strong DIY ethos in its musical community. She attended Leeds Conservatoire and played with the Leeds based Abstract Orchestra, a jazz big-band, led by tutor Rob Mitchell that explores the synergy between jazz and hip-hop found in the recordings of Madlib, MF Doom of J Dilla. Indeed, Myra cites MF Doom and Soweto Kinch as early influences on her own music. It was in her last year at the conservatoire that Myra started to consider leading her own group and started to really think about what her own music might sound like and her first band featured guitarist Ben Haskins and drummer George Hall who both feature on Horizons and her band draws heavily on the Leeds community featuring rising stars such as pianist Jasper Green and harpist Alice Roberts.
Myra also mentions local legend, Dave Walker, who owns an instrument repair shop called 'All Brass and Woodwind' which is right next to the music college. She worked there while studying and he introduced her to a lot of local musicians. Walker also has his own line of saxophones (played by Shabaka Hutchins, Pete Wareham and Nubya Garcia), and gifted Myra the saxophone she plays on Horizons. It was Walker who encouraged Myra to apply for Jazz North Introduces, a scheme that supports emerging jazz artists in the North of England and Myra credits her winning a place, in 2018,with helping her grow in confidence.