“The most exciting material this side of your Blue Note collection.”

"If you thought the tradition of the cocky and strong hard bop trumpeter was dead and gone, wait until you get a load of this guy Darren English. He leads a sizzling quartet... someone buy him a ticket to LA"

'jazz music archives' review of imagine nation (USA)

"Listening to “Imagine Nation”, its hard to believe that this is trumpeter Darren English’s first album, his playing and compositional skills sound far beyond a beginner. Darren has a well developed technique, and a bright clean sound reminiscent of Clifford Brown, or possibly Wynton Marsalis. When things get heated, he brings on a full brassy attack that recalls Freddie Hubbard or Lee Morgan."

JazzTimes® Review of Imagine Nation (USA)

"English’s tone is like crystal, clear and flawless. His phrasing is spot-on and his sound is heart-warming and pure... Imagine Nation is only the first sounds to be released from Darren English. Full of bright creativity and amazing compositions, a guy who can play like Darren English has a long and happy Jazz career. We’re so lucky."

Mathias Kirsch 'Gina loves jazz' review of imagine nation (Germany)

"His tempo, harmony and structure on the title track, a self-written romp through modern jazz heaven, immediately show his skills and characteristics not only as a top-notch trumpet player, but as a composer and arranger as well...  can understand the Terence Blanchard comparisons, but here is certainly a unique and innovative new voice at work on the trumpet."

'Musical Memoirs' review of imagine nation (USA)

"Darren English’s lovely tone on trumpet is like a wiggling finger from across the room, compelling me to come closer and crawl inside the music. “Imagine Nation” is one of this trumpeter’s original compositions and it opens a very creative album of music, incorporating song and spoken word... English's arrangements (amply supported by an amazing group of musicians) are intense, compelling and uplifting. English is a young lion new to the jazz scene. I look forward to many more recordings by this talented artist."

Elmore Magazine® NYC review of imagine nation (USA)

"Uncluttered and unfazed by comparisons to elder statesmen (Nicholas Payton and Terrence Blanchard come to mind), trumpeter Darren English plays with your head with the opening title composition, a spinting piano powered (Kenny Banks, Jr.) romp from twilight mist to a late night cutting contest, setting you up with a fire and fervor you soon discover he can sustain... English, all of twenty-six and hearlding from Cape Town, South Africa, carries a great deal of jazz both past and present in his horn. And, with Imagine Nation, his debut release, you can hear it all in his warm, embracing, evolving tone, his winding originals, and his integrity, grace, and inventive-ness with ageless covers."

'Step Tempest' review of imagine nation (USA)

""Imagine Nation" (Hot Shoe Records), is, arguably, one of the better debut recordings of the past several years… a delight from start to finish. The standards show much thought going into the arrangements of such recognizable works but it's the title suite that illustrates the great promise of Darren English. He's already developed into a first-rate soloist and one hopes for a long career filled with sparkling original music.”

All-about-jazz® review of Imagine Nation by DAN BILAWSKY (USA)

“a bright new voice and a force to be reckoned with… English is the complete package and then some. His is a trumpet voice that's clearly destined for big things.”

"English, as Gunn rightly notes in his liner essay for this album, gives off shades of Terence Blanchard in his work. The warmth of tone, seriousness of intent, and marriage between the beautiful and brooding that jazz fans associate with Blanchard can all be found here. But English is no copycat. He's simply taken aspects of one of his influences and worked them into his own personality and artistic concept. One need only hear the three works that comprise the suite in honor of Mandela to realize that English has his own voice"

'midwest record' review of imagine nation (USA)

"A transplanted South African trumpeter, English can sound a clarion call paying tribute to Nelson Mandela just as easily as he can peal off real feel bebop and much more as he tips the cap to legacy composers as well. An auspicious debut that sitting down jazz fans will stand up and cheer for, English is on the money throughout making it clear he's a rising star that's here to stay. Well done."


“Here's a young trumpet player, composer and arranger from Capetown, South Africa who plays well beyond his years… Cinematic in scope, soulful, sophisticated and syncopated, "Imagine Nation" bursts with ideas as it is supposed to represent the post-apartheid South Africa Mandela believed was coming.”