INFINITE SKIES is a chord-less jazz quintet co-led by Vienna-transplanted New Yorkers Andy Middleton and Sheila Cooper, both internationally-acclaimed saxophonists. Ms. Cooper’s equal prowess as a vocalist enables the group to alternate between vocal and instrumental jazz, with both 2- and 3-horn arrangements by Middleton, and Johannes Herrlich (DE) providing the 3rd voice on trombone. Award-winning composer and arranger Middleton uses this seldom-heard instrumentation and this particular set of talents to create an intriguing spectrum of sounds and moods, from delicate transparency to big-bandish to a chorale-like richness, and from hip to humourous to dramatic. “Marty Paich with a modern twist”. The hard-swinging rhythm section is Christian Salfellner (AT) on drums and Paul Imm (USA) on acoustic bass. Coming soon is Infinite Skies debut CD, “Cloud 9″.
Who is INFNITE SKIES?
Sheila Cooper — alto sax, vocals, composer, co-arranger
Andy Middleton — tenor, soprano sax, composer, arranger
Johannes Herrlich — trombone
Paul Imm — acoustic bass
Christian Salfellner — drums
SHEILA COOPER (CAN/USA) is a subtly dramatic vocalist and alto saxophonist who combines the wide appeal of a stage-savvy singer with the impressiveness of an accomplished instrumentalist, performing with an emotional depth that fascinates audiences in its compelling mixture of vulnerability and strength. A native of Canada, Sheila Cooper’s professional life began in New York City, where she performed with numerous jazz masters, both as a side-person and as a leader. She has headlined as a jazz artist (vocals and saxophone) with her own band in clubs, festivals and on concert stages throughout the world, with four CDs as a leader, as well CD credits as a side-person and/or producer. Her duo CD with Fritz Pauer, released “Tales of Love and Longing”, released in 2008, met with international critical acclaim. Other performance credits include Broadway (onstage with Joel Grey in Cabaret), as well as film soundtracks, both as performer and composer. Vienna has been her home since 2006.
“Purely sung melodies are followed by effortless saxophone improvisations. It is obvious that she lives in the moment with each instrument, very emotional, so pure, so unabashedly direct!” - Jazz Dimensions, Germany
“Canadian-born, NYC-based singer and saxophonist Cooper has developed her own self-assured sound as both a vocalist and alto saxophonist – her refreshingly simple, unfussy delivery befits her Konitz-esque sax tone while her unpretentious singing draws on her narrative abilities over excessive reliance on technique.” Time Out London, UK
ANDY MIDDLETON (USA) is one of the very top-tier saxophonists living in Europe today. Imaginative and adventurous virtuosity spans an incredibly wide breadth of expression — from fierce power to tender warmth, lyrical yet rhythmically driving, masterful and inspired. His award-winning compositions and arrangements, harmonically modern and melodic yet clearly rooted in the jazz tradition, provide the perfect setting for himself and the musicians he surrounds himself with. This unique voice as a player, arranger and composer has led jazz icons such as Ralph Towner, Kenny Wheeler and David Holland to collaborate with him.
“A musician’s musician, just like it says in books. The American living in Vienna spins fascinating webs of improvisation with intense melodies on the tenor saxophone that place him at the top of the international saxophone scene. Great music.” Jazzthing, Germany
“… an accomplished composer as well as a smart post-bop tenor saxophonist.” The New York Times, USA
JOHANNES HERRLICH (DE), who, at the age of 10 played in a church brass choir, and then switched from euphonium to trombone, came to jazz through his older brother. Influenced by Albert Mangelsdorff and J.J. Johnson, he studied at conservatory in Graz with Erich Kleinschuster and in Amsterdam. He has lived in Munich since 1992, where he played in Conexion Latina and in Al Porcino’s Munich Jazz Orchestra. He led the internationally-known hardbop quintet Collage, and the 4-trombone group called Trombone Fire (1999 to 2006), with which he released 2 albums. Other big band credits include Roman Schwaller’s Sunday Night Orchestra, Bobby Burgess’s Big Band Explosion and Jazz Big Band Graz. Sideman performances include Herb Geller, Charlie Mariano, Ingrid Jenson, Kenny Wheeler, Bert Joris, Conte Condoli and Tim Hagens.
PAUL IMM (USA) has performed throughout the world with jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Charlie Rouse, Eddie Harris, Steve Lacy, Lee Konitz, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Tom Harrell, Kenny Werner, Wolfgang Engstfeld and Jim Pepper, among others. Paul is very active as a sideman in Europe on many projects and performances and he has recorded with Kenny Werner, Tom Harrell, Stephane Belmondo Quartet, Yusef Lateef, Markus Becker, and Peter Bolte. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, he studied with David Baker at the University of Indiana and has lived and worked in Europe for over 20 years. He currently resides in Hamburg, Germany.
CHRISTIAN SALFELLNER (AT) is one of the most sought-after sidemen in Europe. Initially he studied classical percussion at Kunstuniversität Graz and then jazz drums at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has worked with important jazz artists such as John Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi, Lee Konitz, Bob Berg, DeeDee Bridgewater, James Moody, Johannes Enders, Fritz Pauer, Art Farmer, Clark Terry, Sheila Jordan, Kurt Elling, Walt Weiskopf, New York Voices and the Vienna Art Orchestra. In 2003 Christian was awarded Hans Koller Prize for Sideman of the year.