Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Tristan: A Fresh Lifestyle

Tristan Tristan

With their music prestigiously described as “the best of the Seventies brought up to 2016” by Toto guitarist/singer Steve Lukather no less, Amsterdam-based Dutch acid jazz quintet Tristan - having made serious waves amongst the UK soul fraternity with their critically acclaimed first two albums, 2014’s “Full Power” and 2015’s “2nd Phase” - now return with their already-well-received third album “Lifestyle”.

Indeed, comprising lead-vocalist Evelyn Kallansee, drummer Sebastiaan Cornelissen, bassist Frans Vollink, keyboardist Coen Molenaar, and new guitarist Guy Nikkels (guitarist Thomas Bekhuis and percussionist Martin Gort having left since the last album), Tristan’s blend of soulful female lead vocals with funky rhythm guitar, Hammonds, Fender Rhodes, synths and a rhythm section that’s played together for virtually two decades combines with live horn and string sections (in addition to a host of backing singers) to create an organic, predominantly-live sound that’s already seen favourable comparisons with the likes of UK acid jazz icons Incognito and Brand New Heavies, in addition to US outfits ranging from the legendary Tower Of Power to modern-day Grammy-winners Snarky Puppy. Which in turn results in a well-written and consistent-quality third set whose tone is given additional diversity this time round by the presence (on two songs each) of three internationally-acclaimed male guest vocalists - American indie soul man Heston; Italy’s Francesco Cottone; and Holland’s Kasper. All of which leads to key moments on “Lifestyle” ranging from its spirited, uptempo opener “I’ll Be Around”; the cooler, mellow single “Feet Back On The Ground”; the undulatingly-hypnotic “Take Me To The River”; and the breezily-joyous title-track.

…Cue Tristan bassist/co-founder Frans and keyboardist supreme Coen meeting up with “Blues & Soul” Assistant Editor Pete Lewis at Central London’s 15th floor bar/restaurant The Heights for an interesting and revealing chat.

PETE: Let’s start off on obvious ground - the title to your new, third album “Lifestyle”

COEN & FRANS: “With us having been on the road for a couple of years now - you know, this is the third album - and with that having a certain lifestyle around it, we decided to name the album after the song “Lifestyle” because that pretty much sums-up what our lives have been about. You know, when you’re spending a lot of time on the road, a lot of times you get people judging the way you live your life. And while of course what we do is what we love, at the same time a lot of energy and time is taken up with maintaining that lifestyle. Because while yes we do have a lot of fun, there’s also a lot of stuff going on like waiting in hotel lobbies, a lot of travelling - you know, three hours sleep then taking a plane to the next venue - it’s no holiday! So while a lot of people only see all of our Facebook pages where of course we only show the fun stuff, it is still also a pretty tough life - up early in the morning then driving all day and then doing your gig where there’s not always hundreds of people there to watch you... Plus the fact we’ve had a change of line-up between the last album and this one also became something of a lifestyle issue… So yeah, taking all that into account “Lifestyle” did become a pretty obvious choice of album-title this time around!”
PETE: So what did you want to achieve musically this time round?

COEN & FRANS: “Musically our goal has always been to kind of reinvent the Seventies and all that great acid jazz-type music from that period, like George Duke and even Earth, Wind & Fire - as well as of course later bands like Incognito, Toto... Basically, we just love that whole vibe and that whole era - mainly because the sound was so brilliant and it was all about real musicianship. You know, this was pre-auto-tune and what you hear is exactly what the band can do - and because we love that kind of concept that’s what we try to do ourselves… So yeah, though we are in 2016 and of course we are influenced by today’s music, really our main goal with every record we do is to provide the audience with pure music again while at the same time as we go along trying to explore other sounds from that same period. Like I think with “Lifestyle” you could say there’s a little more pop influence this time round on some of the tracks - you know, a little bit more Toto maybe, Doobie Brothers…”

The album “Lifestyle” and single “Feet Back On The Ground (feat. Heston)” are both out now through Isolde Records


TWITTER: @Info_Tristan @BluesandSoul


You can read all about the male vocalists involved, including modern soul star Heston, on Tristan's new album "Lifestyle", the acid/jazz soul scene in the Netherlands and future plans for the band in the current issue of Blues & Soul Magazine - click the link below to order straight from our shop or read on for high street retailer details.

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