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Five Countries - Reviews

Five Countries - Edition Records

Five Countries - Live at Manchester Jazz Festival

Five Countries:

Recent gigs:

Sunday 7th April 2013

Northern Rock Foundation Hall

The Sage


Sunday 28th April 2013
Chapter Arts Centre

Wednesday 8 May     
Gwyn Hall, Neath ​
(Double bill with Neon Quartet)

Thursday 9 May​
Galeri, Caernarfon
(Double bill with Neon Quartet)

Friday 10 May       ​
Ucheldre, Holyhead
(Double bill with Neon Quartet)

Sunday 12 May       ​
Cardiff RWCMD Jazz Festival
(Double bill with Neon Quartet)

I formed Five Countries Trio in 2008 to explore the creative potential of  original music seeking to mix jazz and the traditional instrumental music of its members' original and adoptive homelands.

The album was released on Edition Records in 2011.


"Flutter and Flight"

Five Countries - Edition press release

"A discreet virtuoso" - The Guardian

"Mellow and breathy horn playing and spacious, ever so slightly mysterious compositions" - All About Jazz

"Yates is a true gem: a gorgeous sound from the horns, and vibrant playing on strongly individual themes" - Jazz Camera

"A highly accomplished album... Jazz-folk crossovers are nothing new, but Yates' is more distinctive than most, and his trumpet techniques are highly innovative." - The Jazzman

"Compositions serious and heart-felt...brought the scent of the sea into London" - Jazzpace (live LJF review)

"His phrasing has the clarity of Miles Davis, but the rolls and turns come direct from Celtic music...wonderfully transcendent" - Metro

"Unique and engaging... takes the listener on a quietly astonishing journey of exploration" - Manchester Evening News

"Seamlessly combines idioms...light, dancing and evocative compositions...a delightful album and a pointer to another path that jazz can take." - Sydney Morning Herald

"This is music of the highest quality performed by virtuoso players. It is fresh, vibrant and stunningly original. It deserves to be heard" - Jazz UK's Pete Martin

"Opens the Irish tradition to the flexibility and improvisational nature of jazz" - Irish Post

"Elegant melodic lines...pastoral and reflective" - The Scotsman

"Too fiery to be called chamber jazz, the trio evokes the warm intimacy of a conversation with friends, beautifully recorded to give crystal-clear definition in a satisfying and varied programme". - York Press

"The album is both absolutely listenable and highly recommendable. In short, beautiful." - GAFFA, Denmark

"A totally unique experience. Yates is a notable master of melody...influences from both jazz and all kinds of folk music - from a pub in Galway to north African roots." - SiDE2, Norway

Edition Records presents

“Five Countries” – Neil Yates

Neil Yates (Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Tenor Horn, Whistle, Voice, Loops) 

Zsolt Bende (Classical Guitar)

Cormac Byrne (Bodhran, Cahon, Pandhera, Cymbals, Additional Percussion)

Trumpeter Neil Yates makes his EDITION Records debut with Five Countries, one of the most beautiful and wide-ranging records you will hear this year. With Romanian guitarist Zsolt Bende and Irish percussionist Cormac Byrne, Five Countries features a set of compositions that crosses national and musical boundaries with consummate ease and confidence.

Why Five Countries?

It describes these musicians places of birth, places of migration and places of domicile. Each musician feels a responsibility to the music of their birth lands
and to those where they now chose to live. More than that these three artists know that music, like people, will migrate and, in turn, enrich those peoples and cultures they make contact with.
That’s how jazz was born.

The music of Five Countries migrates –

like traditional musicians taking their music from Ireland and Scotland to America or from Romania and Hungary to Spain. It takes the sounds of their Five Countries to places and cultures familiar and less so. Songs like Flutter and Flight or the gentle dancing of Izabella’s Dream (for Bende’s lovely daughter) might carry you to Spain with their echoes of flamenco. Slipreel/Thyme And Tide might remind you first of a bar you know in Galway but hints as well towards North Africa. Remember too that sailors carried these tunes far and wide. Even a tune with its own defining sense of time and place like Storm on the Irish Sea swirls at times like a Mediterranean squall.

This is music of quality borne of passion by three musicians each with their own personally crafted and uniquely honed sound. While Neil Yates performed on Dave Stapleton’s ‘five star’ album Catching Sunlight (EDN1005), Cormac Byrne and Zsolt Bende are new to EDITION Records. Their talents will be reaching new ears and finding new demand for their rare skills.

Let Five Countries take you walking through Frozen Forest near Budapest in the depths of a severe and unforgiving Hungarian winter. Its icy silence is cleansing too. Remember that this place has been owned in history by many empires – Mongol, Ottoman, Austrian and Soviet. Know it as place where roads cross and people come to trade, to work, to escape persecution or just a better life. Listen then to Freedoms Lost, not so much a lament as a refusal to accept the loss of things most precious – the right to be free and to associate with others without fear. Five Countries is the music of a world already there – if only we will make it happen..


 "Rainy Harbour"

Five Countries - Live at London Jazz Festival

 "Seventh Sense"

Five Countries - Live at Neath

 "Flutter & Flight"

Five Countries - SOUNDCLOUD

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