The Westerlies (“prevailing winds from the West to the East”) are a New York based brass quartet comprised of four friends from Seattle, Washington: Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler on trumpet, and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch on trombone.

The Westerlies' sophomore release showcases the quartet in a boldly personal setting, presenting original music by each member of the ensemble in vivid sonic detail captured by GRAMMY-winning producer Jesse Lewis (Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, Roomful of Teeth, Brooklyn Rider, LA Phil). Following their critically acclaimed debut album Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz, this project further explores jazz, folk, and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both "folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous.” - NPR Music.

Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.


Praise for "The Westerlies" 

The original repertoire is so strong and varied that the Westerlies represent a kind of bastard child, standing fiercely between genre cracks with works that evoke the Americana of Aaron Copland and John Philip Sousa on the one hand but seeming to translate the rhythmically spastic machinations of EDM on the other (check out “So So Shy”). There are plenty of other stops in between, all delivered with stunning clarity and richness.
— Chicago Reader
The Westerlies’ rendition [of “Saro”] has no vocals, but you still feel the heartache....What a distinctly American twist: to flip a story of sorrow on its head, opening it up to a future bright with possibility.
— NPR Music
at once a plainly beautiful release shot through with genius technique and considerate musical planning, and an innovative exploration into what the future of acoustically-driven music could be. The fearless choices The Westerlies have made on this release lead the way for acoustic music in the face of an increasingly computerized musical landscape, while at the same time creating a sublime listening experience that can be enjoyed for its simplicity and peace.
— Second Inversion
How does a four-piece trumpet and trombone instrumental combo earn raves from both indie-leaning music blogs and public radio while also performing at the Newport Jazz Festival and local rock clubs? The answer can be heard in the sprawling self-titled album due Oct. 7. Over two discs the New York City-based, Seattle-born brass band occupies a lively territory between jazz, Steven Foster-styled folk and chamber music with bracing melodies and, crucially, an undeniable sense of fun.
— L.A. Times
an all-brass rave-up...a rapid dance of melodies that will have your heart racing and your body tapping along.
— Stereogum
This is a virtuosic outfit capable of playing with immense grace and poise in one setting (Mulherkar’s scene-setter “A Nearer Sun” a representative example), its members clearly attuned to one another and demonstrating great sensitivity to dynamics and texture, and then performing the boisterous next with declamatory abandon....Heartfelt ballads, playful fanfares, elegant chorales, chamber works, hymnal meditations, luminous unison playing, robust soloing...the set certainly serves as a powerful statement of intent on the group’s behalf.
— Textura

Praise for The Westerlies' 2014 debut

The Westerlies play this music clean as a whistle, with attention to detail born of long rehearsals. And they infuse the lyrical passages with deep feeling...The Westerlies represent a breed of musicians rare when Wayne Horvitz was coming up, skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers.
— Kevin Whitehead, Fresh Air
Their Horvitz interpretations convey a sense of sky and soil (not to mention the occasional circus or parade) that immediately calls to mind Aaron Copland, Bill Frisell, late-1950s Jimmy Giuffre, and maybe Brian Blade’s Landmarks and Charles Ives. It’s proof, if any be needed, that the same music can be both folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous. (Also my choice as 2014’s best debut album.)
— Francis Davis, NPR Music
One of the more remarkable albums to cross my path this impressive feat from almost any angle...Take note of these players. You’ll be hearing more from them soon.
— Nate Chinen, Jazz Times
A beautiful take on what the future sounds like.
— Revive Music
It is that rare combination of approachable and unusual that can challenge listeners who want to be challenged and entertain those who don’t.
— NYC Jazz Record

The westerlies in performance

about the ensemble

The Westerlies reimagine the chamber music experience through boldly personal performance, recording, collaboration, education, and outreach. Since their inception in 2011, they have cultivated a new brass quartet repertoire featuring over 50 original compositions as well as adaptations of Ives, Ellington, Bartok, Ligeti, Stephen Foster and numerous traditionals. The Westerlies' music exudes the warmth of their longstanding friendships and reflects broad interests of the band members. The Westerlies perform without sheet music, allowing a direct connection to the audience that is all too rare in the chamber music world.

Recent engagements include The Newport Jazz Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn, New Music Bryant Park, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland, NYU Skirball Center, Cooper Hewitt Museum, The New School, The Juilliard School, Seattle Symphony, The Festival of New Trumpet Music, Juilliard in Aiken Festival, Music in the Mountains (Durango, CO), Vancouver Jazz Festival, Roulette, Constellation Chicago, Seattle Art Museum and Earshot Jazz Festival. Active collaborators, The Westerlies have worked with artists in a variety of disciplines, including Vieux Farke Toure, Dave Douglas, Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Julia Easterlin, visual artist David Foarde, Cocoon Central Dance Team, Choreographer Garth Johnson, and Juilliard Dance. 


September 10th, 2016 • 7:00pm • New York, NY (US) @ Le Poisson Rouge

September 16th, 2016 • 7:30pm • Brooklyn, NY (US) @ Union Hall

September 25th, 2016 • 3:00pm • West Stockbridge, MA (US) @ No. Six Depot

September 26th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Hudson, NY (US) @ The Spotty Dog

September 27th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Providence, RI (US) @ House Concert 

September 29th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Baltimore, MD (US) @ An Die Musik

September 30th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Washington, DC (US) @ Sofar Sounds

October 2nd, 2016 • 7:00pm • Pittsburgh, PA (US) @ SixThreeFour

October 3rd, 2016 • 8:00pm • Ann Arbor, MI (US) @ Canterbury House

October 4th, 2016 • 8:00pm • South Bend, IN (US) @ Merrimans Playhouse

October 5th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Chicago, IL (US) @ The Hideout

October 7th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Madison, WI (US) @ Madison Central Library

October 10th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Minneapolis, MN (US) @ Icehouse

October 12th, 2016 • 6:00pm • Columbus, OH (US) @ Refectory

October 13th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Cleveland, OH (US) @ Bop Stop

October 18th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Brooklyn, NY (US) @ Roulette

October 23rd, 2016 • 7:00pm • San Francisco, CA (US) @ SF Jazz (w/ Dave Douglas)

October 23rd, 2016 • 8:30pm • San Francisco, CA (US) @ SF Jazz (w/ Dave Douglas)

October 24th, 2016 • 7:00pm • Reno, NV (US) @ UNR  (w/ Dave Douglas)

October 27th, 2016 • 7:30pm • Eugene, OR (US) @ The Shedd  (w/ Dave Douglas)

October 28th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Portland, OR (US) @ PDX Jazz (w/ Dave Douglas)

October 29th, 2016 • 8:00pm • Seattle, WA (US) @ Earshot Jazz Festival (w/ Dave Douglas)



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