The Other Way release debut album ‘Learning To Be’

Led by trumpet player and composer Rowan Porteous, The Other Way are a Jazz-Fusion outfit that combines its music with the ecological concepts of nature conservation, nodding to Rowan’s other role as part of the Wildlife Trust. Their progressive and melodic sound has caught attention since their debut with live performances across their home town of Bristol and at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival establishing the group as transformative entertainers.

Releasing their debut album earlier this month, The Other Way’s Learning To Be sets out on a spiritual journey, conveying the ineffable themes of the project through rich trumpet solos, laid back grooves and bright keyboard melodies. The vocals performed by Elly Hopkins and Billie Bottle, are warm and comforting, a return home after experiencing the instrumental musicianship on show. Alongside these melodic arrangements come samples of the outside world, adding further atmosphere to their vivid sound.

Rowan explains, “This album is a culmination of years of toil and sweat, not to mention depression and confusion. For me, it is inseparable from the years I spent working in nature conservation, during which I led guided walks in places that no longer exist. It is rooted in my despair at the destruction of the natural world, and my worry for the future my son will inhabit, but it seems to flower into a spiritual sense of hope and possibility. I practise Nichiren Buddhism, and I think some of that philosophy leaked into it. It’s a philosophy of transformation, in which despair is said to contain the seed of hope and courage. I’m also fascinated by transformation in nature. One of the songs is about a Chrysalis. Another has the line ‘the fires fold into a seed’, which is about how some tree species are stimulated to grow by fire.”

‘Learning To Be’ is out now…