Last Ark Out – Lift

Last Ark Out – Lift

January 14, 2024

Justin Gorrie – Alto Sax, Guitar, EMEO
Arthur Pascau Smith – Guitar
James Huumo – Keyboards
Jeff Gammon – Bass
Colin Parker – Drums

Sasha Berliner – Vibraphone (1)
Larnell Lewis – Drums (2)
David Osei-Afrifa – Keyboards (3)
Hailey Niswanger – Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Flute, Wind Arrangement (4)
Sarah Thawer – Drums (5)
Allison Au – Alto Saxophone (6)

Lift is the latest album from Vancouver/Montréal based fusion-heads Last Ark Out. The album is a feat of remote creative collaboration. With 6 unique guest artists from around North America, the album delivers a potent mix of jazz, groove, rock, and funk influences that highlight Last Ark Out’s unique take on modern instrumental music. 

After releasing their 2017 album Wake and performing around Vancouver for a few years, the band was invited to attend the Banff Centre for the Arts’ Winter Music Residency in January 2020 where they began composing music for a new album. Of course, these plans were cut short by the COVID pandemic, but in mid-2022, after some time wondering when they would be able to create together again, the band received a Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now grant to fund the creation of the multimedia project that would become Lift

The pandemic brought about a series of profound technological shifts in the music scene. With so many musicians unable to perform as usual, many of them set out to learn how to record themselves at home in their own studios. The members of Last Ark Out decided to lean into this shift by collaborating with artists from outside their usual circles. The result is a remarkable 7 song video album, featuring in-studio performances by guest artists via a stack of vintage Atari and CRT displays. The album features blistering performances by Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy, Laila Biali), Sasha Berliner (Tyshawn Sorey, Nicholas Payton), and Hailey Niswanger (Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington), as well as JUNO-award winning saxophonist Allison Au, viral drum sensation Sarah Thawer, and Montreal keyboard stalwart David Osei-Afrifa

Long distance collaboration demanded a new approach to composition and arranging, so the members of Last Ark Out dove into the discography of each guest artist in order to create something that would showcase their unique talents, leaving them the space to be more than just a soloist. The result is an album unlike anything released in recent memory by one of Canada’s most exciting new jazz groups.

Release Date: Friday, February 23rd 2024