Aron Ottignon originally composed ‘So Hold Still’ ten years ago on a one-hundred-year-old piano in the suburbs of Paris. At the time, New Zealand-born jazz pianist, composer and producer found himself conflicted over love, location and purpose. Within free-flowing musical figures, he found catharsis in the bittersweetness of good times that have almost passed. Over the following years, he toured with the French art-pop artist WoodKid, co-wrote with the idiosyncratic Belgian singer/rapper Stromae, released music through Blue Note France, and relocated to Berlin in Germany.
When the global pandemic set in at the start of 2020, Aron found himself revisiting ‘So Hold Still’ and realised he had something further to say with it. He enlisted the efforts of a cast of collaborators, including London-based New Zealand drummer Myele Manzanza and Senegalese percussionist Bakane Seck to help him extrapolate it into a twelve and a half minute border-crossing jazz-fusion odyssey.
For the release of ‘So Hold Still’, Aron recorded a vivid, solo piano version of the composition and enlisted two of his favourite contemporary electronic music producers to remix it, fellow Berlin dweller Glenn Astro, and from back home in New Zealand, Surly. While Glenn takes the opportunity to reimagine it with a bubbling, digi-boogie bounce, Surly opts for the double-time shuffle and skip of soulful 2-step and broken beat. For Aron, the So Hold Still EP points towards several forthcoming future album projects and composition series, including. UK Steel Pan award winning arranger Samuel Dubois’s EP, soca, electro, jazz. & Jeri Jeri, international release of critically acclaimed group Jeri Jeri - the brainchild of a Senegalese griot clan of Sabar drummers. Ottignon will also be releasing his next full-length, A New Day A New Song, in 2022 as well.
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