Comprised of Riley Mulherkar (trumpet), Zubin Hensler (trumpet), Andy Clausen (trombone) and Willem de Koch (trombone), New York-based instrumental act The Westerlies have developed a reputation for crafting compositions that possess elements of jazz, classical and chamber music, done with a self-assured swagger and a mischievous wit. Interestingly, the quartet can actually trace their origins to their birthplace of Seattle, WA where the members of the band were both childhood friends and occasional musical rivals, competing against each other in local and regional competitions — but despite the fact that they all grew up in the same city, each performer/composer has a unique and diverse musical background that winds up influencing their songwriting approach. In fact, observers and fans of the act have noted that in each individual composition, you can hear that song’s composer gently pulling the entire band towards his own tastes, with the band following along.
Adding to the uniqueness of the project, each member independently moved to New York, which led to the old friends and rivals reconnecting and performing together while they studied at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music.
Produced by Grammy-winning producer Jesse Lewis, best known for his work with Roomful of Teeth, Brooklyn Rider, Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma and the L.A. Philharmonic, the quartet’s self-titled sophomore effort is comprised of material composed by each member and although the members of the band had known of Lewis through his work, as it turns out Lewis went to the same Seattle high school that three members of The Westerlies went to. And as a result, the connection that the five collaborators had was deep and it allowed the members of the band to further push their compositional talents and the sonic limits of brass instrumentation.
Composed by Andy Clausen, the forthcoming sophomore effort’s first single “New Berlin, New York” is a bold layered composition that manages to possess a mischievous wit and charm and a larger than life swagger, and while being layered, the composition is spacious enough to allow each instrument and each musician to strut and stunt throughout the composition. But just underneath the bold, swaggering surface is an aching vulnerability.