SHIFT – CD Release 2017



Rob Burke – George Lewis – Paul Grabowsky – Mark Helias

Released through FMR Records (UK)


This musical collaboration originated with four improvising musicians meeting in a New York recording studio in the Lower East Village – to play – without a pre-composed composition; just belief, expertise and creativity. The cornerstone of the composition is the bringing together of musicians that come from a jazz sensibility but improvising music that is very much music of the 21 century; more specifically the improvising musician and machine. The machine, operated by George Lewis, creates its own ‘voice’ through ‘in the moment’ improvisations that enhance and multiply or as George promulgates ‘shapeshifts’. Improvisations include experimentation, taking positions, trust, choice, agency, creativity, determinacy and indeterminacy. Further, this project is about innovation through the agency of human and mechanical interaction; the understanding of how the musician interacts with the machine is an area of interest that is relevant to twenty-first century as it allows the creation of greater possibilities, greater opportunities and ultimately freedom to express.  (Rob Burke)

‘The music on this CD is the result of four musicians with a background in jazz coming together to experiment and create music without the need for critical approval either from institutional oversight or industry-enforced norms and prerequisites. And because each is free to express himself as a collaborating individual without genre-based limitation, the music they create is ‘free’ music. As well as the analogue instruments, the music has input from the shapeshifted voice of the Ableton controller, a machine operated by George Lewis that records phrases and snippets of music in situ, digitally alters them and feeds them back into the music-making process, providing the musicians with another cue to which they can react. The music, as all music does, starts with an idea and the enthusiasm of the players to chase it, to play with it as well as to play it, to use their expertise and experience to de- and re-construct it, to improvise around it and eventually to reconcile it in a synthesis that satisfies them and gives the willing listener a new and exciting aural experience. This is music that liberates.’ (Andrys Onsman)



Rob Burke – Tenor and Soprano Saxophone

George Lewis – Trombone and Electronics

Paul Grabowsky – Piano and Snare Drum

Mark Helias – Acoustic Bass

Recorded 26th July 2014
Eastside Sound Recording Studio – Lower Eastside – New York USA

Engineered: Marc Urselli

Mixed: April 14 2016, Mastered: Dec 2016 by Andrea Benassai

Sonoria Recording Plant, Prato Italy.

Produced by Robert Burke

Art work by Atia Cader

Special Thanks to: the musicians, Atia Cader, Yasmin Burke, Hanna Burke, Amali Burke – for inspiration and patience. To Monash University and the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music for the ‘research support’, Andrea Benassai for his tireless work and to Andrys Onsman for the wonderful discussions about what this all means.

©Robert Burke 2017