"The British band has done a terrific job at exerting its own polystylistic personality and honouring the composers spirit"
Downbeat June 2016
"The Spike Orchestra fuses klezmer with surf rock in an oddly resonant admixture, run through the apparatus of a jazz big band."
New York Times
Playlist March 16 2018
"The Spike Orchestra, a 16-piece ensemble, evokes many things, including Charles Mingus’s large-group jazz, surf-rock, and klezmer music."
Wall Street Journal
Down Beat June 2015
Masada Book 2 Volume 26
Praise for Cerberus:
"Cerberus is an album which, with each play you hear more layers, textures and colours. Initially, you hear the structure but with each listen you can hear more going on underneath – little interspersions of keys, brass and quietly thrumming bass, a little riff inserted before a solo, a quick flurry from percussion just to add another layer. Many of the tracks establish a strong theme which works as the spine of the piece with members of the orchestra playing as parts of the whole, connected limbs of sound, working to forge one body, one gigantic structure which makes the benign monster that is Cerberus. It has elements of big bands, improvised sounds and is all about the essence of communication. Cerberus is special, it makes you smile, it makes you laugh out loud at times because from nowhere comes a massive chord set. What makes this very special is the connection between the musicians, the way everything works apart yet is drawn together like there is a connecting chord – Cerberus works, it works!"
Something Else Reviews
"John Zorn from a full on big-band with some delicious arrangements of ten tunes.....has gone straight into my 'Best of the Year' selection."
London Jazz News
(podcast in french)
London Evening Standard
Jazz In Europe June 2014
Praise for Ghetto:
"Spike Orchestra is bringing Jewish music into some amazing and beautiful territory. With great writing and inspired playing, they have one foot in the past, one in the present, and another solidly in the future (yes, that's three feet).
'There are plenty of specifics to admire here: the attention paid to the programming of the album; some standout solo contributions, not so much 'balanced with' as 'integrated within' the compositional elements; the imaginative use of bass clarinet and accordion to augment subtly the traditional big band palette; and much else besides.
Speaking more broadly, in drawing on many and varied jazz and klezmer influences as it does, the music of course has clear stylistic precedents. But ultimately, it sounds like nothing quite so much as itself, which is probably absolutely the most which can ever be asked of creative music.
Pianist/Composer Babel Label Artist
"...inventively effective mix of avant contemporary and more rootsy styles turns out to be a passionately ecelctic reflection on it's subject. With an injection of some Ellingtonian swing, brass voicing evoking Gil Evans' flamenco-ish passages from Sketches of Spain, elements from Brecht-ian Weimar caberet, bop, free improv with Nikki Franklin's non-verbal, avant-improv vocals through to downtown New York klezmer, this is an entirely positive form of commemoration...."
**** Jazzwise Magazine
".....With major label assistance this album would be a significant achievement for the Spike Orchestra, on an indie in these timorous times it is a remarkable single minded triumph. In short Ghetto is an extraordinary hidden jewel and as such is highly recommended."
"This is an album that veers from ethereally beautiful and emotive to driving, snarling, avante-garde precociousness. From the off there is a cohesion about the sound, a sense that the musicians are in tune and listening to each other, from the delicate tickles of the quiet sections to the full, brassy blast of the orchestra en-masse, this is an album which grabs attention – beautifully produced, there is a strength and drive to this music which lifts the listener.
There are lovely moments when the whole orchestra unites to create a wall of flowing, moving sounds others where soloists drift away, spiral up and out of the background and create moments where the atmosphere changes and you are drawn into the special world which is Spike.
You get the sense of something quite special happening here. Sounds and pictures are woven by the orchestra and the duo create images of other worlds, fleeting souls passing through, stopping momentarily and then moving onwards. There is texture and richness here, The Spike Orchestra sounds like nothing else."
Jazz In Europe
A beautiful album from this hip, young, UK jazz ensemble – a set inspired by the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and delivered in this sublime range of sounds and styles! The lineup shifts a bit from track to track – from the duo of leaders Sam Eastmond on trumpet and Nikki Franklin on voice – to a sextet, and a larger orchestra too – all in these richly expressive passages of sound that almost take us back to larger British experiments like this by artists like Mike Westbrook or Michael Gibbs – particularly the former, given Franklin's non-vocal style of singing! The music is brooding one minute, bold the next – often with exotic currents, especially in the vocals. Titles include "Trains", "Starvation", "Child Smugglers", "Construction", "Life Before", and "Pesach 1943".
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