from the album The Defector
Trumpeter and bandleader Henry Spencer will be releasing his second album, The Defector, at the end of September when it will be available here. His first album The Reasons Don't Change came out in 2017 and did well, in fact All About Jazz suggested it could be a contender for Album Of The Year. The album came out early in the year and perhaps that is why it was lost among other more recent contenders. Since then Henry and his band Juncture have been actively recording variations of the material from the album; they brought out an EP in 2022 The Survivor And The Descendent, and in the past year have been breaking ground playing with orchestras.
I find something distinctive in Henry's playing - whether it is his tone, the occasional weaving in of favoured phrases, or the emotion that can come through - I don't know, but I can probably identify a 'blind listening' now. I have shared the beautiful track Hopeless Heartless from The Reasons Don't Change before, but it illustrates the point (listen here).
The new album The Defector, comes out on 29th September, but some of the tracks have been released in advance and one of these is Moment Gained. Henry composed the album inspired by defectors; whether it’s the soldier deserter from an army committing war crimes, or the partner that leaves their abusive relationship for a freer life; the politician who actively challenges and leaves their party, or the North Korean dissident that chooses the life-threatening endangerment of attempting to escape, crossing the border into a completely unknown world, rather than stay living with dictatorship and oppression.
“I’m unable to fully relate to, or describe, these defectors’ suffering and bravery in the face of extreme danger," says Henry, "but I’m inspired by, and have a deep admiration for their moral courage, strength and determination to improve their situation and help others around them. As much as I fail, I think it’s worthwhile and honourable to emulate, even slightly, these qualities in our own ordinary lives."
"I’m most interested in music that’s driven by sincere emotional intent and deals with genuine experience. I want to draw in the listener so they engage with the music, relating it to their own personal experience - with as much emotive clarity as if the music had lyrics. It’s an outlet, a release.”
"Moment Gained is about how despite the passing of time, the courage to take a single action can bring a new freedom and the possibilities of new moments."
Listen to Moment Gained: