Paris, France native alto saxophonist, Lolo Irving (formerly known as Laurence d’Estival Irving) excitedly announces her self-produced creation of Romantic Classical/Jazz Fusion entitled, “No Limit” on the Chicago based Sonic Portraits Jazz label imprint (officially released June 16, 2016)
Before relocating to Chicago in 2013, Ms. Irving taught music in the suburbs of Paris and produced master’s classes/ documentaries with, most notably, Archie Shepp and Robert Irving III, nine year collaborator with Miles Davis. She and Irving had met in 1995 during a master’s class with David Murray near Paris. They wedded in 2012 and together, founded the band Robert Irving III Generations, which, in November 2015, released it’s now critically acclaimed CD, “Our Space in Time”. Howard Reich wrote in the Chicago Tribune of Lolo Irving, “(She) became a key figure in the band… no denying the force and fervor of Ms. Irving’s alto saxophone,” and her “imploring solos.”
As a teenager, a young Lolo Irving heard, almost daily, the music from the album “Decoy” by Miles Davis (produced by Robert Irving III) and vinyl recordings of classical composer Erik Satie. This inspired her to learn the saxophone and eventually to undertake classical orchestration studies at Schola Cantorum where composers Erik Satie and Cole Porter had been students. She continued to earn a Master’s Degree in Musicology from the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris. While she is proud of these accomplishments, Lolo Irving feels even more fortunate to have been mentored by two of her heroes; saxophonists, Archie Shepp and David Murray in her native Paris, France; and, likewise, to have toured with George Clinton and perform with Fred Wesley & Pee Wee Ellis and Roy Ayers. Ms. Irving attributes the Romantic Classical/Jazz Fusion mix of the “No Limit” project as being a natural progression of her early exposure to reggae, soul, pop and electronic music juxtaposed with her later studies of Jazz and Classical music at the University of Havana in Cuba (the native country of her maternal grand father). She recalls, “In Cuba we were taught to practice with Parker and Prokofiev on the same music stand, literally going back and forth between the two genres, marrying skill with sensitivity and spontaneity.”
This marriage has been consummated on her new album, “No Limit” with Ms. Irving’s adaptations of thematic threads from Romantic Period classical compositions by Scriabin, Brahms, Satie, Bellini, Albinoni and Chopin along side of works from contemporary composers, Duke Ellington, Bob Marley and Bjork. The ostensibly disparate blend of genres is unified by the horn of Lolo Irving of whom Howard Mandel wrote in Downbeat Magazine, “Ms. Irving’s fervent wail packs punches.” SPJ has also reissued Ms. Irving’s 2008 CD, “Divine” as a digital only release.