Lower East Suite Part Three

Lower East Suite Part Three cover
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Onyx Collective
Lower East Suite Part Three

[ Big Dada Records / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 15 June 2018

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Onyx Collective announce their debut studio album, "Lower East Suite Part Three", out June 15th via Big Dada.

The record features de-facto band leader Isaiah Barr on alto and tenor saxophone, Austin Williamson on drums, Walter Stinson on upright bass, Spencer Murphy on electric bass, and Roy Nathanson as guest saxophone on four tracks.

A group of New York mainstays cross in and out of the Onyx universe and often performing live with the band, including Nick Hakim, Princess Nokia, Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Wiki (Ratking), Julian Soto and Felix Pastorius. Onyx members quietly feature on a bevy of other artists' records too, with Barr himself recently boasting 3 features on the new David Byrne album and making a cameo in Ibeyi's live band for their performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Whereas previous Onyx Collective projects capture New York City's more romantic facets, "Lower East Suite Part Three" has a much more ominous sound, reflective of the dissonance that accompanies life in the city. After being forced out of their original practice space due to rising rent, Onyx Collective relocated their headquarters to Magic Gallery on Market St, located in a gritty pocket of Chinatown by the East River. "When I wrote the record I was thinking about concepts like eviction and gentrification," explains Barr. "The record is born out of the challenges of being in New York."

Recorded at Magic Gallery, "Lower East Suite Part Three" is the first release from Onyx Collective composed of entirely written music. "The record is a graduation for us - from not just having a microphone at a session and spontaneously recording," says Barr. "This is us doing it on our own, with our own engineer, with a very low budget. That survival is really what I think jazz is: creating with your surroundings, and making something that's a picture of that."

While the new music is more premeditated than the impromptu nature of their previous work, New York's deafening influence remains present. "To some degree it's controlled, but how much is it actually controlled?" continues Barr. "At the end of one of the songs you can still hear a siren from the street. Because we weren't in a professional studio, it's not a controlled environment. We're still in New York."

The group are known for their impromptu performances in both rugged DIY spaces and esteemed clubs alike. Onyx runs a manic energy through their classical training to create a show that at times feels as punk as it does jazz. Following a run of headline UK shows at the start of the year - which included playing to a full house at the legendary Ronnie Scotts - they return to the UK this Spring in support of Kamasi Washington, including a stop at London's Roundhouse on 4th May.

"Lower East Suite Part Three" is preceded by EPs "Lower East Suite Part One" and "..Two", respectively released in October and December of 2017 on Big Dada, and follows the group's limited edition vinyl-only "2nd Avenue Rundown", a collection of live recordings released via Supreme and Know Wave in 2016.

Artwork for all three "Lower East Suite" releases is by renowned New York artist and director Julian Schnabel, who also contributes handwritten track titles to "Lower East Suite Part Three".


1. ONYX Court
2. Don't Get Caught Under the Manhattan Bridge
3. Battle of the Bowery
4. There Goes the Neighborhood
5. 2AM at Veselka
6. Delancey Dilemma
7. Rumble In Chatham Square
8. Eviction Notice
9. Magic Gallery
10. FDR Drive

Onyx Collective - 'FDR Drive'