Saxophonist Elias Haslanger & Trumpeter Mike Sailors Release New Album “Elias Haslanger Meets Mike Sailors” on August 16th, 2024 | WATCH NEW VIDEO!

Tenor Saxophonist Elias Haslanger and
Trumpeter Mike Sailors Join Forces on
Elias Haslanger Meets Mike Sailors

The Album, Available August 16 via Bandstand Presents, is a Culmination of a Musical Friendship Spanning Nearly Two Decades

Tenor saxophonist Elias Haslanger and trumpeter Mike Sailors are close – not just like-minded musicians who’ve shared Austin, Texas stages for the past decade, but true friends who have known each for nearly twice as long. The two text each other daily. Haslanger and Sailors are as likely to talk about their golf swings, or parenthood, as they are to revel in their shared affinity for the George Shearing/Nat King Cole duet album from 1962.

“We definitely have something going on; people tell us that all the time,” Haslanger says about their relationship. “But it’s more than the music. The two of us have a similar outlook on life.”

This friendship and musical kinship are evident from the first note of “One Hand Clap,” the contrafact of Herbie Hancock’s “One Finger Snap” that opens Elias Haslanger Meets Mike Sailors, available August 16 via Bandstand Presents. It’s almost as if you can hear the two musicians smiling through the changes throughout the entire album. They appreciate the jazz tradition, and they celebrate each other’s talents and tunes. Trumpet makes soul offerings to saxophone’s song. Saxophone reflects the beauty of trumpet’s song – and aspires to elevate it, in the spirit of the art.

When Haslanger and Sailors join forces, there’s no showing off. This is a classic, straight-ahead quintet album, all the way, oh so modern and at the same time rich with historical reverence. The intricate, joyful twin lines from Haslanger and Sailors, song after song after song, direct our attention to interplay, to the inherent idea of kinship. You’ll feel the sensation of “updraft,” a lot, on this record. It’s unabashedly free, and free of apprehension.

Joy happens when Haslanger and Sailors are in the studio or on the bandstand, and there’s a buoyancy. Saxophone meets trumpet, teases trumpet, laughs with trumpet, dances with trumpet, goes deep with trumpet. And trumpet answers: “I feel your spirit, brother.”

Haslanger and Sailors, who both composed songs for the album, have been playing these tunes, refining these arrangements, for years — in large-band formats as well as in quintets featuring drummer Daniel Dufour, bassist Ryan Hagler, and the three pianists featured on this album: Eddy Hobizal, Ross Margitza and Andy Langham.

These men know each other’s hearts.

“It was nothing but organic,” says Haslanger, recalling the relaxed nature of the recording sessions. “We’re humans. We show up at the studio. We try to get sounds. We have lunch. We have a beer. And it just happens. This is the tune; this is the arrangement’ – and everything else is instinct and experience. We weren’t trying to do anything but do the best we could in the moment… It’s definitely about being as egoless as you possibly can to serve the band, the band sound.”

Haslanger, born and raised in Austin, has always been an open-book, nothing-to-hide, big-feeling kind of player. His heart is his greatest musical attribute. Haslanger feels the grit of the blues, inspired by so many late nights in the audience, as teenager, at Antone’s blues club. But Haslanger’s big heart also feels spiritual Coltrane, bold Sonny Rollins, and the high-flying Bird. Heart, and breadth.

Sailors, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, brings refinement, elegance, and muted grace to the mix. A master arranger, he has a scholarly air about him – and plenty of Birdland and Broadway in his pedigree as well as an arranger working with pop and jazz icons including Lady Gaga and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Kenny Dorham and Clifford Brown are major influences for Sailors but you can feel his affection for stately New Orleans legend Leroy Jones, too, especially on Haslanger’s bluesy “That One Time.” Look what happens when these two personalities intertwine, when delicacy mingles with gusts of feeling, giving birth to a third voice, the twin voice.

Haslanger played lead tenor in Maynard Ferguson’s big band as a young man in New York and has recorded eight albums as a bandleader over the course of a 30-year career. Yet this is his first recording to feature trumpet on every track, start to finish. For Sailors this album represents his debut as a bandleader. Despite the difference: It’s clear that each man sees a bit of himself in the other, brings out the best in the other, with jazz as the binding agent.

Elias Haslanger & Mike Sailors • Elias Haslanger Meets Mike Sailors
Bandstand Presents • Release Date: August 16, 2024

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