Monday, July 2, 2018

R.I.P.: Bill Watrous (1939-2018)

R.I.P.: Bill Watrous.

One of the all-time greatest trombone masters. I love his big band albums for Columbia. He and Garnett Brown were the trombonists who topped DownBeat polls in the 70s. And I love this video (I bought a DVD copy in Japan some years ago) from one of the best jazz TV concerts ever, featuring the winners of the DownBeat Readers Poll in 1975. Btw, that's why jazz attracted a young audience in the 70s: it had swing, energy, positive vibes, enthusiasm and communication between players and between players and the audiences. It was not an intellectual exercise of ego trips.

The first time I saw Watrous' name was on Deodato's "Prelude." A couple of years later, he signed with Columbia and released two acclaimed albums leading his own big band: "Manhattan Wildlife Refuge" (1974) and "The Tiger of San Pedro" (1975), which led him to be voted as #1 Trombone player in the 1975 DownBeat Readers Poll.

Watrous also played and/or recorded with Milton Nascimento ("Courage"), Paul Desmond, Kenny Burrell, Maynard ferguson, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Art Pepper and many more.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

DVD of the Month - "Randy Brecker Quintet: Live 1988 at Sweet Basil"

DVD of the Month
Randy Brecker: "Live 1988 - Sweet Basil" (MVD Visual/Gazell) 2018
Contains bonus CD of complete performance

Featuring: Randy Brecker (trumpet), Bob Berg (tenor sax), David Kikoski (acoustic piano & synth), Dieter Ilg (acoustic bass), Joey Baron (drums)

Recorded & Mixed by Malcolm Pollack direct to digital 2-track @ Sweet Basil (New York, NY) on November 18-19-20, 1988
Assistant Engineer: Roy Hendrickson
Mastering: Michael Sarsfield @ Frankford Wayne Mastering Labs (NY, NY)
Production Coordination: Christine Martin
Painting by Henry Denader
Region 0, NTSC
Total Time: 74 minutes

For three decades, I've dreamed to watch the live performances by the Randy Brecker Quintet that yielded the album "Live At Sweet Basil," released in Europe, in June 1989, by the Swedish label Sonet on both vinyl and CD formats. One month later, I was able to buy the CD in a Munich record store, while on vacation after having attended the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Now the dream comes true with this DVD release containing the best takes from three nights taped live at the now defunct Sweet Basil jazz club. Besides six superb originals -- the hard bop gem "MoJoe" (dedicated to Joe Henderson), "No Scratch," "Moontide," "Ting Chang," the haunting ballad "Incidentally," and the r&b-funk-rock "Hurdy Gurdy" --, there's a splendid previously unreleased version of Cole Porter's standard "Love For Sale," with Randy on muted trumpet, Miles ahead.

The group performs on a telephathic level. Randy proves to be the best trumpet player of his generation, and one of the all-time greatest jazz musicians. The much missed Bob Berg was my favorite tenor player in the 80s, after Michael Brecker. Pianist David Kikoski (sometimes also using a small keyboard placed above the piano), bassist Dieter Ilg (a monster in the Niels Pedersen tradition) and drummer Joey Baron (reminding me a lot of Tony Williams on those nights) are on fire, killing in all songs.

The video quality has some imperfections, but the musical performances are flawless. Highly recommended and, surely, one of the most important releases of 2018.

Liner Notes by Randy Brecker:

"As I said in the liner notes on the original release at the time: “This band is a true highlight of my career” and that statement is still true some 30 years later! The original Vinyl LP ‘dropped’ on June 15 1989. CDs were still being established as a competitive format and ‘dropped’ meant that something had fallen on your toe. It ‘came out’ to really great reviews, and being that all of us were close friends, we were all thrilled at the reception.

This was all brand new music played for the very first time that week at Sweet Basil, so everything was fresh, and Sweet Basil was the happening Jazz Club at the time, with the best ambient sound in NYC due to its wood floor and walls.

Bob Berg, I had been associated with for many years since the late 60’s with the Free Life Communication organization started by Dave Liebman and I had guested on some of Bob’s great recordings. He had a sound and intensity in his playing all his own and was a big part of the Liebman, Brecker Grossman, Berg tenor saxophone conglomerate.

Dave Kikoski who I had first heard with the great Roy Haynes, had some deep swing in his step, and reminded me of Phineas Newborn. After hearing him, I immediately hired him for my record ‘In the Idiom’.

Dieter Ilg I had met on a gig in Europe, and I was impressed with his technique and unique conception leaving  ‘harmonic sonic holes’ for you to jump through.

As for Joey Baron, what can I say? He had played with everyone from Al Jarreau to John Zorn, and could play absolutely any style with complete authenticity and originality.

We did some tours of Europe, had great fun together, and the music was always spectacular… I went to Sweden around a year later and met with Dag Haggqvist my old friend from Sonet Records who had originally recorded, filmed and released this. We looked at the video to maybe edit it, and Dag exclaimed after viewing it…”Let’s just leave it as it is!” The music was so great it was impossible to edit.

But then one thing after another happened in the music business, and things got stalled, and then stalled some more, and it wasn’t until Ed Seaman of MVD Entertainment in Pottstown, PA got involved in a co-production with Dag and his newer company: Gazell Records AB from Stockholm, that this video is finally seeing the light of day as a DVD all these years later. So thanks go out to them for saving the life of this performance, and another thanks for all the hard work that went into in releasing it.

Eventually the five of us went our separate ways but stayed friends. Everyone became bandleaders and started doing ‘their own thing’. Then sadly on Dec 5th, 2002 Bob Berg was killed in a tragic traffic accident on Rt 27 out near where we both lived in the Hamptons, on a snowy afternoon...a cement truck skidded into his lane and he was gone.

So this DVD, finally released after so many starts and stops, is dedicated to his memory. He’s at the top of his game here. May his sound and his one-of-a-kind personality live on…"

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month - "Tiffany Austin: Unbroken"

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month
Tiffany Austin: Unbroken (Con Alma Music CAM 002) 2018
Rating: ***** (musical performance and sonic quality)

Produced by Richard Seidel
Co-Produced & Arranged by Mitch Butler
Recorded & Mixed by Adam Munoz @ Fantasy Studios (Berkeley, CA)
Mastered by Bernie Grundman @ Bernie Grundman Mastering (Hollywood, CA)
Photos: Bill Reitzel
Graphic Design: Amy Woloszyn

Featuring: Tiffany Austin (vocals), Ashlin Parker (trumpet), Mitch Butler (trombone), Teodross Avery (tenor sax), Cyrus Chestnut (piano), Rodney Whitaker (bass), Carl Allen (drums)

The best jazz vocalist that I've heard in the last ten years. Period. 
And finally a record with a producer! One extra star for this.
Influenced by Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Rachelle Ferrell, Tiffany takes vocal jazz to a new dimension.
She adds lyrics to Charles Mingus' "Better Git It In Your Soul" and Ornette Coleman's "The Blessing," performs a powerful version of John Coltrane's "Resolution" with impressive wordless vocals, exhibits a wonderful phrasing on Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma" (lyrics by Sonny Henry), and offers a haunting rendition of Michel Legrand's gorgeous ballad "You Must Believe In Spring."
So far the best vocal jazz release of the year.

With the release of "Unbroken," on her Con Alma Music imprint, Tiffany Austin further solidifies her standing as one of the leading vocalists on the current international jazz scene.

Austin was propelled onto the national stage in 2016 when her debut recording, "Nothing But Soul," received rave reviews from media outlets such as DownBeat and NPR's Fresh Air as well as airplay on jazz radio stations across the U.S. With her sophomore CD "Unbroken," Austin has raised her artistry to a higher level both conceptually and musically. Her silky smooth voice has gained an earthy smokiness and a gravitas ideally suited to expressing her broadening, deepening artistic vision.

"Unbroken" is a soul-steeped affirmation embracing the blues and swing, spirituals and R&B, bebop, post-bop, and Austin's Louisiana Creole heritage. "I've experienced multiple instances of people trying to separate blues from jazz," Austin says. "How can you divide the music that comes from the same diaspora, the same spirit? The idea behind this album is that the African-American spirit remains unbroken. After all of the things we go through we're still here, joyfully creating great art and great music."

Produced by the Grammy Award-winning jazz advocate Richard Seidel (former President of Verve Records) and arranged by trombonist Mitch Butler, the music on "Unbroken" is impeccably executed by the rhythm section of pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and drummer Carl Allen as well as Butler, veteran tenor saxophonist Teodross Avery, and the formidable young trumpeter Ashlin Parker. In addition to four originals, Austin penned lyrics for the arrangements of Charles Mingus's "Better Git It in Your Soul" and Ornette Coleman's "The Blessing."

The multi-generational band mirrors the album repertoire, which touches on several eras of African-American history. The CD opens with two Austin compositions that speak to the vicious response that has sometimes met black accomplishment -- "Blues Creole" evokes the pioneering Louisiana Creole accordionist Amédé Ardoin, and the searing "Greenwood" connects Watts and Ferguson to the 1921 pogrom that wiped out Tulsa, Oklahoma's prosperous "Black Wall Street" neighborhood.

As if in direct response to these tales of oppression, Austin answers with a rollicking version of the old gospel song "Ain't No Grave," which builds to a glorious sanctified scat solo. She embraces the transformative power of love with a sumptuous "You Must Believe in Spring" and offers an object lesson in gratitude with her lyric for Ornette's early free bop invocation. Soaring to the heavens on Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free," Austin also summons the spirit with a wordless sojourn through Coltrane's "Resolution," scatting his entire solo note for note.

Unbroken closes with righteous marching orders by way of a riveting duet with Whitaker on the civil rights anthem "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize." The song provides the key to Austin's overarching argument, that whether the source is Sunday morning worship, Saturday night revelry, or an afternoon protest, African-American music is animated by a liberating imperative. "Freedom songs aren't only about freedom from an oppressor," she says. "It's about living your life soulfully. We must live with soulful connection to ourselves and our history."
Born and raised in South Los Angeles, Tiffany Austin grew up in a house filled with music. Her parents listened to soul and pop masters like Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder, while her Louisiana Creole grandmother introduced her to jazz. Austin graduated from the prestigious Los Angeles High School of the Arts and then attended Cal State Northridge where she majored in creative writing, while studying classical voice.

After graduating in 2004, Austin set out for Tokyo with the plan that she'd look for work as a singer and spend a year in Japan. After finding regular work as an R&B chanteuse, Austin ended up staying in Tokyo through 2009 and only returned because UC Berkeley's School of Law made her a scholarship offer she couldn't refuse. Austin submerged herself in law school and left music behind but after her first year realized she desperately needed a musical outlet and began performing with bassist, composer, and bandleader Marcus Shelby on numerous projects, including the title role in "Harriet's Spirit," an opera about Harriet Tubman. (She went on to earn her J.D.)

With a series of prestigious gigs and residencies, Austin quickly gained attention as the most exciting new vocalist in the region. Now, with Unbroken, Austin makes it clear that she's far more than a beautiful voice. Claiming her cultural birthright, she's an artist drawing nourishment from all of jazz's roots.

Tiffany Austin has planned a series of CD release concerts on the West Coast and in New York City: 6/7 Birdland, NYC; 6/29 Stanford Jazz Festival; 7/5 Kuumbwa, Santa Cruz; 8/11 SFJAZZ, San Francisco. At all but the Stanford date, Austin's septet will feature special guest Carl Allen; Cyrus Chestnut will be with Tiffany at Birdland.

Photography: Bill Reitzel

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month - "Andrea Brachfeld: If Not Now, When?"

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month
Andrea Brachfeld: "If Not Now, When?" (Jazzheads JHI229) 2018
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Andrea Brachfeld & Bill O'Connell
Recorded @ Mozart Studio and Trading8's Studio
Mixed by David Kowalski & Harvie S
Mastered by Dave Darlington
Photo & Graphic Design: Christopher Drukker

Featuring: Andrea Brachfeld (flutes), Bill O'Connell (acoustic piano), Harvie S (acoustic bass) and Jason Tiemann (drums)

We had Joe Farrell, Herbie Mann and Dave Valentin. We still have Hubert Laws. But now is Andrea Brachfeld's time as the top jazz flute player. Gorgeous tone, outstanding phrasing, and also a brilliant composer.

The "incredible clarity of purpose" flutist-composer Andrea Brachfeld gained after spending 2016 in deep introspection about her life and music generated the nine original compositions on her exhilarating new album "If Not Now, When?," released by Jazzheads Records. The quartet outing, featuring the dynamic rhythm section of pianist, arranger, co-composer, and co-producer Bill O'Connell, a longtime collaborator, as well as bassist Harvie S and drummer Jason Tiemann, is an uncompromising manifestation of music Brachfeld recalls came to her on a cold day in January 2017.

"It seems that music always chooses me, and I very politely acquiesce to its energy. This has been my journey throughout my life and If Not Now, When? is no exception," she explains. "Of all my projects, this recording is the closest yet to my heart. Every note felt good in my body."

The album's song titles, which include "The Listening Song," "Creating Space," "The Silence," "Anima Mea," "Deeply I Live," and "Moving Forward," allude to the year Brachfeld spent on an inner journey meditating as opposed to composing, an experience that was clearly cathartic. "The way I composed all of the songs was like taking a huge block of marble and chopping away until I got the image inside the marble," she says. "It was about seeing what melodies came out and working on them until they felt right."

A grant from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for the CD -- "a wonderful affirmation" -- assured Brachfeld she was on the right path. "In the end," she says, "it's all about your voice, your journey to find your voice."
Brachfeld's flute playing has what the late New York Times critic John S. Wilson described as a "vigorously dark, gutty quality." It's no wonder the first jazz flutist to turn her head was free jazz pioneer Eric Dolphy. In her music, that energy she described can pour out to bruising effect. "If you want to play jazz, you have to be able to get the articulation of Charlie Parker, to make the instrument sound like a trumpet or saxophone," says Brachfeld. "With a lot of flute players, I don't hear those articulations."

Andrea Brachfeld was born May 3, 1954 in Utica, NY and raised in New York City. She began playing piano at age six and flute at 10. In 1969, she enrolled at the High School of Music & Art, and, at 16, got her first jazz gig, playing her own pieces with her quartet at an "All Night Soul" presentation at St. Peter's Church. She attended Saturday morning Jazzmobile workshops; Jimmy Heath was one of her flute instructors.

She went on to study flute at the Manhattan School of Music, where her fellow students included Kenny Kirkland, Fred Hersch, and Angela Bofill. After connecting with the Charanga band Tipica New York, Brachfeld recorded with the legendary band Charanga '76, which catapulted her to fame as the first woman to play flute with a Charanga band in the United States.

Andrea Brachfeld Brachfeld recorded her first album, "Andrea" (1978), with Tito Puente percussionist José Madera producing. A year later, she accepted an invitation to perform in Venezuela and ended up staying for two and a half years, during which time she led her own group, opening for such visiting luminaries as GaryBurton, Chick Corea, and Paco de Lucia.

When she returned home to New York in 1981, she devoted herself to her family and attended graduate school, acquiring a Master's in education. For nearly 25 years, she taught ESL and bilingual education while maintaining a local profile as a musician.

Then, in 1998, Brachfeld approached acclaimed jazz flutist (and former high school classmate) Dave Valentin with material she had written and asked if he wanted to record any of it. "His response was, 'I want you to record it.'" That she did, acting as her own producer on 2002's Latin-tinged "Remembered Dreams" (Spirit Nectar). Over the next decade and a half she would release a half dozen albums, eventually moving away from Latin music and back toward her first love, bebop.

Andrea Brachfeld has recently performed at the following venues (all dates with Insight -- Bill O'Connell, piano; Harvie S, bass; Jason Tiemann, drums -- except as indicated): 4/28 The Jazz Loft, Stony Brook, NY; 4/29 An Die Musik, Baltimore; 5/18 Trumpets, Montclair, NJ; 6/18 Triad Theater, NYC; soon she will be appearing at: 8/10 Pavillion Café, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (with Bill O'Connell, piano; Lincoln Goines, bass; Robby Ameen, drums); 8/25 Long Branch (NJ) Jazz & Blues Festival; 10/4-7 La Cote Flute Festival, Gland, Switzerland; 10/12 Flushing (NY) Town Hall.
Photo: Maureen Plainfield
Web Site:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dave Chamberlain's Band of Bones live @ St. Peter's Church, NY, June 27

Dave Chamberlain's Band of Bones returns to St. Peter's for their Midday Jazz series for the 8th consecutive year!
They'll be featuring all the tunes from their new CD, "Picadillo? Yes Madly!"
Only $10 contribution at the door.

Midday Jazz in Midtown Series
June 27th, 2018 1:00PM-2:00PM
St. Peter's Church 54th St. corner Lexington Ave. (Citicorp Building)

Stick Men + David Cross: Latin American Tour 2018 featuring current and former members of King Crimson

MoonJune Music Presents STICK MEN 
Tony Levin, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto + David Cross
Latin American Tour 2018

Audiences in Latin America will experience one of the most unique concert tours in the classic rock and progressive rock scene in recent years. David Cross, the legendary violinist from King Crimson between 1972 and 1974 (and who has also been a member of progressive bands such as Clearlight, Low Flying Aircraft and Radius), has joined forces with Stick Men, the innovative power trio comprised by virtuoso touch-style guitarist Markus Reuter (who also studied guitar under King Crimson's leader Robert Fripp as part of his Guitar Craft courses), together with the current King Crimson rhythm section of drummer Pat Mastelotto and Chapman Stickist Tony Levin (who have been providing the basic foundation of Crimson since 1994 and 1981 respectively).

As such, this lineup is both an amalgam of the historical legacy of King Crimson and a look forward to what the future of progressive music will bring, in the most literal sense of the word progressive. With Stick Men's most recent studio offering, Prog Noir, David Cross's most recent collection Being Cross, and the extraordinary double album Midori where David and Stick Men first collaborated, these musicians demonstrate over and over again how they are constantly reinventing their approach to music. Their unique blend of corrosive heavy metal, classical music, and unorthodox time signatures all conspiring together with an undeniable quest for beauty and melodicity, makes them the most unique band in the current progressive rock scene, and quite possibly also the most satisfying.

Latin American fans will have the chance to enjoy Robert Fripp and King Crimson's historical compositions performed in each case by at least one of the musicians on the original records, allowing for both integrity and authority of the musical interpretations. In addition, audiences will be exposed to select pieces from all five of Stick Men's studio albums to date.

Last, but not least, those who attend these historical concerts will have the unique privilege of witnessing the creation of instantaneous compositions in the form of improvisations: The quartet of Stick Men + David Cross is possibly the only contemporary ensemble with the musical heritage, instrumental pedigree and intuitive chemistry to allow them to create music in the same spirit as the mid-1970s King Crimson that originated the classic albums Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Starless & Bible Black, Red and USA. This is enough reason all by itself not to miss these shows, taking place 45 years after the release of the Larks album and the recording of the concerts that became the Starless album.
Pat, Tony and Markus are excited to return to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Mexico as Stick Men, and to bring for the first time their Stick Men repertoire to Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala. For David Cross, these will be his first live performances ever in Latin America outside of Brazil, where he recently performed with local progressive group Dialeto.

For all the above reasons, this is an eminently historical tour. Before this tour, Stick Men + David Cross had only performed seven shows together as a quartet (four in Japan in 2015, plus two on board of the Cruise to the Edge in 2018, and  in Uckfield, UK, at The Trading Boundaries in March 2018)). This is an opportunity unlikely to ever be repeated, and quite possibly the next best thing to witnessing the classic King Crimson quartet of the Starless era.

MARKUS REUTER touch guitar
special guest DAVID CROSS violin, keyboards
Aug 24, Fri - São Paulo, SP, Brazil (Club Carioca)
Aug 25, Sat - Niteroi, Rio De Janeiro, RJ, Brazil (Teatro Municipal) 2 shows
Aug 28, Tue - San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina (Teatro Alberdi)
Aug 30, Thu - Mar Del Plata, Argentina (Teatriz)
Aug 31, Fri - Buenos Aires, Argentina (ND Teatro)
Sept 1, Sat - Rosario, Argentina (Vorterix)
Sept 3, Mon - Montevideo, Uruguay (Las Trastienda Club)
Sept 5, Wed - Cordoba, Argentina (Teatro del Libertador San Martín)
Sept 6, Thu - Santiago, Chile (Teatro Nescafé de las Artes)
Sept 8, Sat - Lima, Peru (Teatro Municipal)
Sept 13, Thu - Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia (Teatro Centro Boliviano Americano)
Sept 14, Fri - La Paz, Bolivia (Teatro 16 de Julio)
Sept 18, Tue - Guatemala City, Guatemala (Teatro Lux)
Sept 19, Wed - San Salvador, El Salvador (venue TBA)
Sept 20, Thu - Escazú, San José, Costa Rica (Jazz Café)
Sept 23, Sun - Mexico City, Mexico (Centro Cultural Robert Cantoral)
Sept 24, Mon - Monterey, Mexico (Escena Monterrey)

MARKUS REUTER touch guitar
Sept 25, Tue - Dallas, TX, USA (Sundown @ Granada)
Sept 26, Wed - Houston, TX, USA (Dosey Doe Woodlands)
Sept 27, Thu - Austin, TX, USA (One World Theater)
Exclusive worldwide booking (except Europe) by MoonJune Music.
For inquiries, Leonardo Pavkovic:
Exclusive European booking contact by Swex Booking & Productions
For inquiries, Francesco Grieco:

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Big Band CD of the Month - "Dave Chamberlain's Band of Bones: Picadillo? Yes, Madly!"

Big Band CD of the Month
Dave Chamberlain's Band of Bones: "Picadillo? Yes, Madly!" (BB Productions BBP0004)
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Dave Chamberlain
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Paul Wickliffe
Recorded @ Charlestown Road Studios (Hampton, NJ)
Mixed & Mastered @ Skyline Productions (Warren, NJ)
Photos & Graphic Design: Angel Rosado
Liner Notes: Gary Walker

Arranged by Mark Miller, Chris Rinaman, Jake Lentz, Milt Kaback, John Yao, Max Seigel
Featuring: Dave Chamberlain (leader, trombone, flute), Robert Edwards, Charley Gordon, Sara Jacovino, Nate Mayland, Matt McDonald, Chris Rinaman, Mark Patterson (tenor trombone), Max Seigel, Dale Turk (bass trombone), Antoinette Montague (lead vocals), Kenny Asher (piano), Dick Sarpola, Jerry DeVore (bass), Mike Campenni (drums), Wilson “Chembo” Corniel (congas & percussion), Mark Patterson (bongos), Mercedes Ellington (voice - special guest)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Claudio Roditi needs our help!

Message from bassist John Lee:
"As many of you in the music community may already know, the great Brazilian trumpet master Claudio Roditi has been fighting the battle of his life. Last year he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and a tumor that was considered too dangerous to remove until it could be shrunk. To make matters worse, the cancer had metastasized into his lung and lymph nodes.

 After receiving chemotherapy we were all encouraged when his numbers decreased and the tumor had shrunken some. Unfortunately this long battle started to cause additional problems and this week he was admitted to Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York. His CAT scan detected the cancer growing again and he must now undergo more chemotherapy.

I am reaching out to our loving musical community for donations to help Claudio financially in his hour of need. He has not been able to work much during this terrible ordeal and his funds are nearly depleted.

Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated… and never forgotten.
Please keep Claudio in your prayers."

Carl Palmer presents "Emerson,Lake & Palmer Legacy" live in Brazil!

Um dos maiores nomes do rock progressivo, o grupo Emerson, Lake & Palmer será revisitado durante as apresentações do seu baterista, Carl Palmer, no Brasil em 2018

Carl Palmer é um dos bateristas mais aclamados e conhecidos do mundo, fundador de bandas como Emerson, Lake & Palmer e Asia, e eleito mais de 10 vezes, pelo jornal inglês Melody Maker, o melhor baterista de rock do mundo!

Agora neste final de Maio de 2018, ele traz para o Brasil a turnê EMERSON LAKE & PALMER LIVES ON!, uma homenagem/celebração aos seus companheiros de ELP Keith Emerson e Greg Lake. As apresentações serão em São Paulo (Espaço das Américas, 24 de maio), Rio de Janeiro (Vivo Rio, 25 de maio) e Niterói (Teatro Municipal de Niterói, 26 de maio). Os shows fazem parte da Top Cat Series, sequência de shows internacionais promovida pela Top Cat Produções Artísticas.

"Eu sempre sentirei muita falta do Keith e do Greg, que perdemos em 2016," diz Palmer, durante uma das pausas da maior excursão solo da sua carreira. "Agora sou eu que levo adiante o nome do ELP, pretendo continua tocando nossa música ainda por muitos anos. A resposta dos fãs do ELP tem sido incrível, senti que devia isso a eles, continuar".
A tour chega com o lançamento internacional do pacote DVD/ CD 'Pictures at an exhibition', o tributo de 2016 para Keith Emerson (que contou com o guitarrista do Genesis, Steve Hackett - que também vai se apresentar no Brasil), o tecladista e vocalista do Vanilla Fudge Mark Stein e o baterista David Frangioni) e do CD Live In The USA, ambos pela BMG Music, que também relançou o catálogo da banda.
Além da forte presença de Palmer no palco, a turnê também vai destacar seu trabalho nas artes plásticas, feito há pouco tempo em parceria com o californiano Scene Four Art Studios. Palmer recentemente criou duas novas imagens: 'Welcome back' (dedicada para Emerson) e 'Lucky Man' (dedicada a Lake) e várias outras peças e fotos e imagens históricas, que serão exibidas durante as apresentações em vídeo projetado no fundo do palco.

Uma experiência multimídia, combinando música e projeções em vídeo, o show promete ser uma das excursões mais arrebatadoras a passar pelo Brasil em 2018.

Carl Palmer ELP Legacy é um power trio quente com o próprio na bateria e percussão; o guitarrista Paul Bielatowicz e o baixista Simon Fitzpatrick. "Desde 2001 toco com meu próprio trio, trocando os teclados pela guitarra," conta Palmer. "Eu senti que seria a maneira honesta de me aproximar da música do ELP, esse formato fez sentido pra mim. A ideia era reinventar essa música."

Recentemente, Palmer lançou seu site official do ELP:

Durante a tour do Emerson Lake & Palmer Lives On!, Palmer também tocou nos Estados Unidos, com o Asia. O Asia foi o convidado especial do Journey na sua turnê em 2017.

Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy vai tocar um set instigante de rock progressivo, e entusiastas da bateria podem esperar uma noite de rara exibição de talento percussivo, do homem que levou a bateria para a linha de frente do rock.

A vinda de Carl Palmer é parte do Top Cat Concert Series, projeto iniciado ano passado, que trouxe Renaissance e 10.000 Maniacs ao Brasil. Em 2018, o Top Cat Concert Series continua, com shows e eventos internacionais com música de qualidade, dando ênfase ao jazz, blues e rock clássico e progressivo de todo mundo, procurando agregar o publico em todas as suas apresentações.

São Paulo
Espaço das Américas
24/05/2018 (quinta-feira)
INÍCIO DAS VENDAS: 24/11/2017 (sexta-feira)
R$ 380,00 / R$ 190,00

R$ 280,00 / R$ 140,00
R$ 240,00 / R$ 120,00

R$ 200,00 / R$ 100,00

R$ 160,00 / R$ 80,00

Acompanhar cota de 40% meia-entrada
- Parcelamento: até 22/02 - em 3x | até 22/03 - em 2x | a partir de 23/03 - à vista
VENDA NA BILHETERIA DO Espaço das Américas  ( X ) SIM     (   ) NÃO

Desconto de 30% para clientes "TudoAzul"
- Desconto de 30% no valor do ingresso para clientes TudoAzul participantes de todas as categorias do programa (TudoAzul, TudoAzul Topázio, TudoAzul Safira e TudoAzul Diamante - confira o regulamento no site.
- Promoção válida somente para a compra de 01 (um) ingresso adquirido na bilheteria do Espaço das Américas, sendo assim somente para o titular beneficiado.

- Apresentação obrigatória do cartão Tudo Azul físico, impresso ou digital (Categorias: TudoAzul. TudoAzul Topázio, TudoAzul Safira e TudoAzul Diamante) com a apresentação de um documento válido.

- Desconto não cumulativo com outras promoções e benefícios.

- Para compras realizadas por terceiros, a apresentação do documento original de identificação é obrigatória onde deve constar o Nome e CPF juntamente com o cartão TudoAzul, obedecendo as regras do processo de venda na Bilheteria.

- O endereço da bilheteria do Espaço das Américas é Rua Tagipuru, 795 - Barra Funda - São Paulo - SP (funcionamento de segunda à sábado, das 10h00 às 19h00).
Rio de Janeiro
Data: 25/05/2017 - Sexta-feira
Local: Vivo Rio
Endereço: Av. Infante Dom Henrique, 85 - Parque do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Horário do evento: 22h
Abertura dos portões: 20h
Classificação etária: 18 anos. Menores de 18 anos entram acompanhados dos pais/responsável.

Camarote A R$ 320,00
Camarote B R$ 280,00
Camarote C R$ 200,00

Balcão R$ 180,00
Frisa R$ 190,00
Setor 1 R$ 320,00
Setor 2 R$ 280,00
Setor 3 R$ 240,00
Setor 4 R$ 200,00
Setor 5 R$ 190,00
Atenção: para setores com mesa, a compra de um ingresso garante um assento na mesa selecionada, mas não em uma cadeira específica. Os assentos são ocupados por ordem de chegada.

Vivo Rio
Av. Infante Dom Henrique, 85 - Parque do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Terça a sexta-feira 11h às 18h
Sábados e domingos das 15h às 18h
Venda e retirada de ingressos dos eventos do Vivo Rio.

FNAC - Barra Shopping
Av. das Américas, 4666 - Barra da Tijuca
Piso Lagoa - Loja B101-114
Segunda a sábado das 10h às 20h
Domingos das 13h às 19h
Feriados das 15h às 19h
Apenas venda de ingressos. Não realiza retirada.


Confira as leis de meia-entrada, identificando quem tem direito ao benefício e os documentos comprobatórios.

25% de desconto sobre o valor da inteira para clientes Vivo Valoriza na compra de até 02 ingressos. Para comprovar seu cadastro no programa, basta enviar um SMS para o número 1058 com a palavra VALORIZA. Para clientes Vivo Fixo, Vivo Internet e Vivo TV, basta apresentar a última conta paga. Disponível apenas para compra na bilheteria do Vivo Rio.
Local: Teatro Municipal de Niterói
Data: 26 de Maio (sábado) de 2018
Horário: 20h
Abertura da Casa: 19h
Preço: R$ 300,00 (Frisas e Plateia , balcões)
R$ 250,00 (Galeria)
Duração: 140 minutos
Classificação indicativa: Livre
Endereço: Rua Quinze de novembro, 35 - Centro - Niterói - RJ
Telefone: (21) 2620-1624

Horário de funcionamento da bilheteria:
- Ingressos antecipados: terça a sexta, das 10h às 18h.
sábados, domingos e feriados, das 15h às 18h (se houver teatro Infantil, das 17h às 18h).
- Ingressos para o espetáculo do dia: das 10h até o início do mesmo.

Songwriting Contest - Now Accepting Entries

Songwriting Contest - Accepting Entries
The Song of the Year songwriting contest is currently accepting entries into the 2nd contest of 2018. You can submit your songs online at

Studio Microphone Giveaway
When you enter the Song of the Year songwriting contest, you will automatically be eligible for the Studio Microphone Giveaway. Three individuals will be selected to receive the BLUE Bottle Rocket microphone and four microphone capsules. It is like having four mics in one!
More information at

Your songs sent to Record Labels & Publishers
The top 50 songs from the Song of the Year songwriting contest will be sent to major and minor record labels, music publishers, managers, booking agents and more (including Warner Music, EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music). Song of the Year has many music resources who are always excited to review the top songwriters in the contest for further consideration.
More information at

10 Songwriting Categories:
AC (Adult Contemporary)
Lyric Only

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Jeff "Tain" Watts live in NY, tomorrow night

Tomorrow only: catch master drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts @ Zinc Jazz Club, NYC.
Featuring Benito Gonzalez (piano), Noam Wiesenberg (bass), Gregoire Maret (harmonica).
Book your tickets now!
$25 advance / $30 day of show

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mike Longo/Paul West @ Mezzrow, NY, May 24

If you missed them at Maureen's Jazz Cellar in April, you can hear them again for one night only at MEZZRO!

Mike Longo, Piano / Paul West, Bass
Thursday, May 24
Mezzrow Jazz Listening Room
163 West 10th Street-Basement, NYC

$20 music charge; $10 for students. 
Two shows at 8:00 and 9:30 pm.
Call 646-476-4346 for Reservations & Information

Or go to the website:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Revive Music Presents "Yes Today", debut album from Freelance out May 11

REVIVE Music is thrilled to announce the May 11th release of Yes Today, the debut album from Harlem-based music collective Freelance. The first release under REVIVE Music's independent label division, Yes Today is a genre-defying 13 track opus that serves as a spiritual reflection on the struggles faced by people of color in modern America. Distilled from Freelance's signature, dynamic live performances Yes Today is a lush, groove-dominant clinic in the power of seizing the moment and saying "Yes Today!"

Yes Today was previewed yesterday, at Nublu, located in New York's Lower East Side, as part of Freelance's monthly residency, which has been playing to sold-out rooms throughout the city for the past several months. On May 10, the group will return to Nublu to celebrate Yes Today's official release.

Freelance features an all-star lineup of musicians that regularly accompany Grammy Award winning artists such as Robert Glasper, Solange, Estelle, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Bilal, Terrace Martin, Lalah Hathaway, and more. Comprised of founding leaders Smithsoneon (vocals) and Ausar the Ambassador (keyboards) along with Craig Hill (saxophone), Yasser Tejeda (guitar) and David "Dj" Ginyard (bass) and Justin Tyson (drums), Freelance's sound is born from the sonic footprints of Mint Condition, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, and Robert Glasper.

Also featured on a number of tracks is harpist Brandee Younger, organist Mitch Henry and acclaimed trumpeter (and band mentor) Darren Barrett who is highlighted on "Band Plays On", among others. The album was mixed by world-class producer and drummer Charles Haynes aka Chally Mikes.

Yes Today is a collection of songs that speak to the evolution of Freelance and their myriad influences. The genre-defying collective lend their ideals and polychromatic musical aesthetic to the tasks of speaking truth to power, pushing the envelope with forward production and capturing the energy of their live shows on record. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign and revenue generated by the band, Yes Today found Freelance returning to their undergraduate stomping ground to record at the Herd Studio in Boston.

Their first full album of original music, the wide-ranging project is a demonstration of the band's versatility that combines feather light arpeggios, booming percussive statements and triumphant fanfares with ease. Yes Today is their multifaceted contribution to the trap and pop dominant lexicon of millennial black music. With it they challenge the popular narrative and travels leagues toward realizing their goal of making people "fall in love with the idea of a band again."

The energy of Yes Today is perhaps best exemplified in the album's lead single, "Band Plays On". Premiered on March 30th via, "Band Plays On" pulls music cues from Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" while speaking to the feeling we all experience when our favorite song magically alleviates the worries of everyday life. On the infectious single, which was mixed by Grammy-award winning engineer Ben Kane, each member of Freelance is highlighted; Smithsoneon's powerful vocals and Ginyard's carefully placed bass fills and provide an anchor while Ausar the Ambassador's synth patches add lush textures.

Tejeda's steady guitar work and Tyson's distinctive drum groove compliment the EWF-esque gorns led by Hill. Other standout tracks include the post-punk empowerment anthem "Why Wait", which channels a J Dilla join and Michael Jackson's "They Don't Really Care About Us", and the album's eighth offering "What We Fear", which is Freelance's response to extrajudicial violence.

The release of Yes Today marks REVIVE Music's launch of its independent label division. "...To launch this venture with such brilliant musicians and songwriters is exactly the path to take the REVIVE Music Group to places unimagined.  We are so proud to be a part of bringing this great project to the world via our platforms." says industry veteran and EVP of REVIVE Music Guy Routte.

To date, REVIVE has released three albums under its imprint with Blue Note Records which has featured an astonishing array of featured artists which include Otis Brown III, Bilal, Gretchen Parleto, Derrick Hodge, Marcus Strickland, Meshell N'Degeocello, Keyon Harrold, Brandee Younger, Casey Benjamin, Raymond Angry, Justin Brown and many more. Their 2015 RCA Nina Simone Revisited partnered release produced by Robert Glasper featured artists Lauryn Hill, Usher, Mary J Blige, Gregory Porter, Common, Alice Smith, and more.

Freelance · Yes Today REVIVE Music · Release Date: May 11, 2018
Pre Order the Album:
Listen to "Band Plays On" Single:
FB/Twitter/Instagram: @followfreelance

About REVIVE Music Group

Revive Music launched in 2006 as a boutique live music agency that specializes in producing genre-bending, creative-concept live music shows that tour worldwide with the purpose of educating and inspiring audiences about artistic and authentic forms of music. In effort further provide an advocacy platform for musicians, Revive launched the leading online journal for the burgeoning jazz community dedicated to their musicianship, artistry and creative expression as a part of in 2010 and in 2013 launched their label imprint on Blue Note Records, signing some of today's most gifted and progressive jazz artists.

For additional media information, please visit, or contact:
Meghan Stabile
Guy Routte ·
Hannah Beaumont ·

Itai Kriss and Telavana have completed a new album

Israeli flutist and composer Itai Kriss is proud to announce the July 7th release of his highly anticipated sophomore album "Telavana." Presenting the dynamic sound of his eponymously-named esteemed ensemble, Kriss bridges the musical spheres of the Middle East and the Caribbean by combining Timba, Soul, North African music and Jazz to create a unique and lively mix of rhythms and textures. Rather than simply combining and unifying the elements of Tel Aviv and Havana, Telavana explores the myriad of connections that have historically connected the east and the west, and the beautiful artistic and cultural fruits of this continuing cross-pollination.

Itai Kriss will celebrate the release of Telavana at Smalls Jazz Club, located at 183 W 10th St, New York on Saturday, July 7th.

"Telavana is really a synthesis of my own musical identity, as it is a manifestation of my different cultural roots. As a Jazz musician born and raised in Israel, and coming of age in the Latin music scene in New York City, it feels natural to express where I came from, what I've been doing and the things I'm inspired by in a single band, and this is it," he says.

The flutist, praised by Jazzwax as "one of the most exciting new flutist-composers" on the scene grew up in Israel and was exposed to its many musical traditions ranging from Morocco to the Balkans, Yemen to Turkey, Egypt to Russia. Upon pursuing his childhood dream of moving to New York City to study jazz, Kriss was naturally drawn to the enticing sounds of salsa, Afro-Cuban music and Latin jazz and was "adopted" by Puerto-Rican and Cuban musicians who became important mentors. Now, after spending the past fifteen years working at the forefront of New York City's Jazz scene while performing, recording and touring with some of the world's top Afro-Cuban, Latin and salsa artists, the virtuoso fuses the sounds of his native Israel with those of his adopted homelands in the Americas to bring you Telavana.

Stand out tracks from the album include "Sahadi's Serenade", a dedication to Kriss' favorite Middle Eastern grocery in Brooklyn and "Shabazi", a festive tune titled for one of his beloved neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, which is notably featured in a music video starring dancer Elena Nayiri. While "Para Venezuela" combines elements of Merengue Venezolano (traditional Venezuelan folk music) with classical, jazz and Cuban elements, "Azules", literally translating to 'blues', is a Spanish/flamenco inspired composition with a form that's based on the blues and melodies drawn from the Andalusian traditions of southern Spain. "Rak Beinatayim", an arrangement Kriss created to a song by prolific Israeli songwriter Nurit Hirsh in the style of a Cuban danzón,  is the only song on the album not composed by the band leader.

Telavana is presented by a group that aptly mirrors the serene amalgamation of these diverse musical cultures. Representing the sounds of the East is Israeli bassist Or Bareket, Jerusalem-born drummer Dan Aran and special guest qanun player and Turkish-native Tamer Pinarbasi. Kriss completes this multi-regional line-up with Puerto Rican percussionist Marcos López, Cuban pianist César Orozco, New York jazz trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, and world renowned multi-instrumentalist and Cuban-native Yosvany Terry (who on this occasion lends his talents on shekere).

Each of these accomplished musicians bring their own individual, distinct cultural backgrounds and flair to this nine track opus. Kriss is thrilled to have these particular musicians bring his vision to life as each of them truly bring the flavours from their own lands to his music. Although each member of the band hails from various corners of the world, this ensemble showcases the ease of communicating through and with music.

For Kriss, this music evokes the feeling of being in a world that isn't actually so big as people think. While geographically the Middle East and the Caribbean are distant, the people of both lands channel a range of musical similarities with each other. Undoubtedly, both regions share a strong and congruent passion for rhythm and music and Kriss hopes that his listeners immediately hear this connection on Telavana.

Itai Kriss commands a variety of musical genres with an eclectic style infused with Jazz, Latin and Middle Eastern sounds. According to DownBeat magazine, there is a "tangy, exotic flavor" to the New York musician's style, which can be heard on his first album, The Shark. Growing up in Tel Aviv, Kriss was surrounded by a range of musical and cultural stylings; From Moroccan to Balkan, Yemeni to Turkish. Beginning his jazz education at Thelma Yellin High School for the Arts, Israel, Kriss moved to New York to continue his jazz journey at the age of 22.

While jazz was what primarily lured Kriss to the city, the accomplished musician found himself particularly exposed to the music of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Latin America. Playing with Salsa and Cuban groups, he naturally developed his knowledge of the sounds and stylings of the Caribbean. With so many musical styles and traditions in his ear, Kriss never had to make a conscious effort to blend each of his influences, but rather does so fluently and intuitively.

During his time in NYC, Kriss has had the fortune to be a part of several bands with long-running weekly dance parties where the sound of the band would be honed and deepened by weekly interactions with dancers who became regular patrons. The dance aspect is very important to Kriss because all Latin and Caribbean music is essentially dance music and it always has a strong pulse which is like its heartbeat.

Kriss is a vital member of the New York Jazz, Latin Jazz and Salsa music scenes. He can be heard performing, touring and recording with his own ensembles and some of the most exciting Jazz and Latin musicians in town, including Los Hacheros, Dafnis Prieto, Elio Villafranca, Edmar Castañeda, Jorge Glem, Yemen Blues, Gregory Hutchinson, Burning Spear, Pedrito Martinez, Jerry Gonzalez, Omer Avital, Yosvany Terry, Avishai Cohen, Eric McPherson and Aaron Goldberg, to name a few. When not touring, Kriss performs regularly at premiere New York music venues including The Blue Note, Birdland, S.O.B.'s, Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Copacabana.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein & Bill Stewart's "Toy Tunes" comes out today

"Toy Tunes" - the new trio album from organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart - is out today via Pirouet Records.

Goldings, Bernstein and Stewart possess a special place within the rich history of organ trios; with their adventurous eclecticism, they progress beyond the bop-influenced soul jazz of the likes of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and Shirley Scott and into their own singular musical realm. "Toy Tunes" marks the trio's twelfth album since their first release in 1991, and their second recording with the German label Pirouet.

Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart possess a special place within the rich history of organ trios; with their adventurous eclecticism, they progress beyond the bop-influenced soul jazz of the likes of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and Shirley Scott and into their own singular musical realm. Larry Goldings has collaborated with the "who's who" of soul, pop and jazz, from Maceo Parker, Tracy Chapman, and James Taylor to Jim Hall, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, and Charlie Haden, and is in demand as a composer for film and TV. Peter Bernstein has been called "the most universally respected and admired jazz guitarist of his generation", and his work with such greats as Sonny Rollins, Jim Hall, Joshua Redman, and Brad Mehldau backs up the claim. Known for his melodicism and polyrhythmic complexity, drummer Bill Stewart has played with Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, and, like Goldings, Maceo Parker, and has had a long-time collaboration with John Scofield. All three are recognized composers.
The press greeted their first Pirouet CD, 2014's "Ramshackle Serenade," with "It doesn't get much better than this" (All About Jazz), and "Another memorable outing from one of current jazz's finest small groups" (JazzTimes). Goldings states that, "Our approach has never been dictated by the 'organ trio' format but rather by our individual personalities, our broad range of musical interests, our desire to be highly interactive, and to grow together as musicians."

Goldings' relaxed, lyrical "Fagen" was named for Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, whose records "introduced me to a whole new world of harmony and song structure."  Larry comments that Stewart's "Don't Ever Call Me Again" possesses "Bill's unmistakable combination of craftiness and wit." The piece sports a funky fusion feel, and the three keep the communication going as they converse with Stewart's talkative drums. Bernstein wrote the dreamy "Lullaby For B" for his oldest son. Goldings says it "unravels like a novella, and, due to its rich harmonies and unexpected structure, is a joy to play."

The standard "I'm In The Mood For Love" is a variation on the arrangement Goldings wrote almost 25 years ago for the great Jim Hall.  "The three of us knew and loved Jim, and he inevitably pops into our consciousness when we play this." Goldings calls "And Now the Queen," by genius composer & arranger Carla Bley, "a gem of a composition. I still can't fathom how she can say so much in four bars. Carla's pieces invite the interpreter to dive right in and explore. She gave us her own handwritten chart from which to work!"

As for "Toy Tune," Goldings says that improvising on Wayne Shorter's pieces "is akin to playing with a Rubik's Cube." The trio takes a slightly more relaxed stance than Shorter's original version, playing delightful games over the changes, with Stewart wailing over the fading riff at the end. Bernstein's Calm is a beautiful mood piece with a serene church-like quality, and with Maybe, Goldings recounts that, "When I was in elementary school my mom took me on a train from Boston to New York to see my first Broadway musical, Annie. Charles Strouse wrote the music, and his song "Maybe" has always stuck with me. With its timeless melody and shifting key centers, it seemed like a natural fit for us to interpret." Depth, lyricism, complexity - it's all here, as three of the strongest musical personalities of their generation, join hands to play music that is pure joy.

Brian Charette & George Coleman live in NY

Catch pianist/organist Brian Charette with NEA Jazz Master George Coleman at Blue Note May 21. Book your tickets today!

$25 table / $15 bar
2 sets: 8pm & 10:30pm

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Jeff Denson's "Outside My Window" to be released tomorrow

Bassist/vocalist Jeff Denson's "Outside My Window" will be released tomorrow on his label Ridgeway Records.  The album features four original compositions and songs by Jeff Buckley, Peter Gabriel, Abbey Lincoln, and Chris Cornell.

Possessing a galvanizing sound and a lyrically-charged compositional vision, Denson has earned recognition over the past 15 years as one of his generation's definitive bassists. "Outside My Window" recalibrates his already expansive array of creative outlets by giving equal weight to his vocals. Working with a stellar international quartet - with saxophonist Dayna Stephens, Finnish pianist/keyboardist Kari Ikonen, and Israeli drummer/percussionist Ronen Itzik - Denson delivers an emotionally taut program weaving together striking interpretations of iconic songs and deeply felt originals.

Forthcoming concerts:

- May 24 - The Sound Room, Oakland, CA 
- May 25 & 26- Moody's Bistro, Bar & Beats, Truckee, CA 
- May 27 - 30 - Black Cat, San Francisco, CA 
- May 31 - SoHo Restaurant & Music Club, Santa Barbara, CA 
- June 1 - Dizzy's, San Diego, CA 
- June 2 - Alvas Showroom, Los Angeles/San Pedro, CA 
- June 3 - D'Anbino Vineyards & Cellars, Paso Robles, CA 
- August 11 San Jose Jazz Festival, San Jose, CA 
- September 7 & 8 - The Velvet Note, Atlanta, GA 
- October 12 - Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC 
- October 13 - An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD 
- October 26 - California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley, CA 
- October 27 - North Coast Brewery, Fort Bragg, CA

At first glance bassist Jeff Denson appears to reinvent himself on every album, and his 12th release as leader or co-leader, "Outside My Window," might seem like his biggest departure yet.

His mid-career emergence as a supple and engaging singer isn't coming from left field. On 2012's critically hailed "Secret World," his first release under his own name, Denson included vocals on two original pieces and has continued in that fashion on most of his solo releases. On last year's Sgt. Pepper tribute "May I Introduce to You" with the collective San Francisco String Trio, his vocal interpretation of "Fixing a Hole" was one of the album's highlights. Denson's music covers a lot of stylistic territory, "but my voice is a thread running through each one, whether I'm singing or not," he says. "I was a singer before I was a bass player. Going into the jazz world I put my voice away for a long time. But this is a logical step for me, in that I'm using my voice more and more every year. This is the first time I'm singing throughout an entire album, and these songs are a direct continuation of the music I've been writing and arranging."

Denson's arrangements of four songs by other artists don't reimagine the pieces as much as filter them through his subtle sonic palette, starting with a gorgeous, lapidary version of "Grace," a piece inspired by the Negative Press Project album he produced last year for Ridgeway Records, Eternal Life: Jeff Buckley Songs and Sounds. He delivers a sparse, intensely poignant rendition of Abbey Lincoln's "Bird Alone," a re-harmonized 6/8 version of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and a riveting arrangement of "Fell On Black Days" by Chris Cornell, a piece that serves as a tribute to Soundgarden's vocalist, who's music served a high school soundtrack for Denson.

"In my mind, he's arguably the best voice of that rock/grunge generation," Denson says. "I wanted to pay tribute to him and his artistry. And Abbey is one of my favorite jazz vocalists. I've always loved the way she sings, how she pulls on the time like Billie Holiday. She sings with such a full, intense, large sound, and this song of hers always moved me. I wanted to see what I could do with it."

Denson's four original pieces stand up impressively next to his interpretations, from the Beatlesque optimism of "For A Brand New Day" to the clangy prepared-piano accompaniment of the anguished "Have We Really Gone This Far?" On a melancholic piece that feels like it beamed in from a universe neighboring Miles Davis' "In a Silent Way," Denson contributes an atmospheric wordless vocal on "Through the Mist," a tune he's radically rearranged since the collective trio Minsarah introduced it in 2006. The closing title track is a wistful invitation into Denson's verdant musical world. 

The album is built on some of his deepest musical relationships. Denson and Dayna Stephens met at Berklee and have played together in various contexts ever since. Israeli-born drummer Ronen Itzik is also a Berklee alum, and he and Denson bonded as part of the rhythm section for Joe Lovano's 21st Century Ensemble. They went on to get graduate degrees at Florida State University, where they played together daily and recorded three albums in two years with pianist Bill Peterson and one with vocalist Inga Swearingen. Kari Ikonen, one of Finland's most highly regarded jazz musicians, is a much more recent addition to Denson's musical world, but he's quickly become indispensable. In need of a pianist for a tour with legendary alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, he hired Ikonen and "it was joyously apparent to me that along with Ronen, this was my trio. It felt easy and inspiring and the next few tours I did with Lee Konitz were with them."

Konitz played a crucial role in encouraging the reemergence of Denson's vocals after hearing his singing on Secret World. Performing together at the Bimhaus in Amsterdam, the altoist made an impromptu announcement in the middle of a standard that "Jeff is going to sing," he recalls. "There wasn't even a microphone set up, but I started singing the melody. I booked a West Coast tour with him after that and we'd spontaneously sing together every night. It felt great, playing the standard jazz repertoire and being able to sing on stage with him. But at the same time, I knew that I wanted to do my own music and sing the way I sing, without having to filter anything."
Born on Dec. 20, 1976 in Arlington, Virginia, Denson grew up in the orbit of Washington, DC. After playing alto sax from third grade through junior high, he gave up the horn but was drawn back to music when friends in high school recruited him as a singer for rock bands. When one of those groups also needed a bass player, he took over the spot and before long found himself drawn to the jazz and funk electric bass pantheon, "Players like Jaco, Bootsy Collins, and Stanley Clarke served as the gateway," Denson recalls. "When I heard the virtuosic electric playing in fusion, that opened the door to jazz." Listening to Miles Davis led him to the double bass, but it was Mingus who inspired him to dedicate himself to it. "I heard 'Haitian Fight Song' where he plays that amazing intro, and that was the defining moment," Denson says. "I knew I'd never be able to make sounds like that on an electric bass."

While studying at Northern Virginia Community College Denson supported himself freelancing around DC, playing jazz, orchestral music, rock covers, and leading his own funk combo as a bassist and vocalist. Earning a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, he quickly fell in with German pianist Florian Weber and Israeli drummer Ziv Ravitz, fellow students with whom he formed Minsarah. The collective trio released its debut album in 2003 on Hubermusic, and followed up in 2006 with a critically hailed eponymous album on Enja Records. Despite touring internationally with the group Denson managed to maintain a rigorous academic career.

Recruited by Florida State University, he graduated Magna Cum Laude an MM in Jazz Studies on a full scholarship and discovered an affinity for teaching. A conversation with bass giant Mark Dresser, who had just been hired as a professor at UC San Diego, brought Denson to UCSD on another full scholarship, leading to a doctorate in contemporary music performance with an emphasis in composition. Throughout his San Diego sojourn, Denson continued to tour widely with Minsarah, and it was during a spate of 2006 concerts in Germany that Lee Konitz first heard the band, "the start of a great adventure," Denson says.

With Minsarah serving as his band, the critically hailed Lee Konitz New Quartet debuted on 2007's "Deep Lee" and followed up with 2009's "Lee Konitz New Quartet: Live at the Village Vanguard," Jazzman Magazine's 2010 Album of the Year Award, and 2014's "Standards Live: At the Village Vanguard" (all on Enja). Denson made his debut as a bandleader with 2012's "Secret World," and went on to demonstrate his versatility with simultaneous duo releases, radically reconceiving American hymns and spirituals with San Diego pianist Joshua White on "I'll Fly Away" and exploring freely improvised dialogues with Swiss clarinet virtuoso Claudio Puntin on "Two."

Since relocating to the East Bay in 2011 to take on a full professorship at the California Jazz Conservatory, Denson has forged ties with some of the Bay Area's top players, including bassoonist Paul Hanson, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, guitarist Mimi Fox and violinist Mads Tolling (his partners in the San Francisco String Trio). A prolific composer and arranger, he's written music for an array of jazz settings, as well as for string ensembles, solo bass, and chamber opera.

He's brought his many pursuits under one umbrella with the recent unveiling of Ridgeway Arts, a non-profit designed to enhance and fortify the Bay Area scene, and to make a strong contribution to the national landscape of jazz and the arts in general, through a four-pronged plan of expression, education, presenting and documentation. He introduced the initiative with The Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz, and followed up with Arctic by drummer Alan Hall's critically hailed electro-acoustic ensemble, Ratatet. The label has become an essential conduit to an international cast of musicians, and the portal to Denson's multifarious musical imagination.

"Artists are always dreaming up what we're doing," he says. "My goal has always been very clearly to create my own musical world."

Yoko Miwa performs @ Atlanta Jazz Fest, May 26

© Caroline Alden

Pianist Yoko Miwa and her trio celebrate recent CD Pathways with a concert at the Atlanta Jazz Festival on Saturday, May 26. Pathways earning wide critical acclaim CD in Top 10 of JazzWeek's national radio charts for 4 weeks; in top 40 for 10+ weeks!

"Impressive technique and a tuneful lyricism that combines an Oscar Peterson-ish hard swing with Bill Evans-like introspection." - Jon Garelick, DownBeat, September 2017 feature article

"Pathways is bright and accessible...Miwa's technical chops are evident, yet she's anything but showy; she prizes space in her sound, and leaves room for the deep interplay her group has honed over the years." - Jeremy Goodwin, Boston Globe

4 stars "This is Yoko Miwa at her extroverted best...her finest recording to date." - Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Internationally acclaimed pianist Yoko Miwa and her trio continue to celebrate their recent recording Pathways with a concert on Saturday, May 26, 1 p.m. at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Legends Stage, Piedmont Park, Atlanta. Admission is free. Joining Miwa will be bassist Will Slater and drummer Scott Goulding. Saturday's lineup is particularly special, featuring exclusively groups led by women. Other scheduled artists include Dianne Reeves, Jazzmeia Horn, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Linda May Han Oh. For information visit

Miwa is quickly becoming known as one of the most powerful and compelling performers on the scene today. Her trio - with its remarkable telepathy and infectious energy - has brought audiences to their feet worldwide.

For the past decade the Kobe, Japan native has honed one of the most musical and lyrical trio sounds around. Miwa's band, which has been heralded for their almost telepathic interplay, performs regularly at major jazz clubs worldwide including New York City's Blue Note Jazz Club and Jazz at Lincoln Center where Miwa was chosen to play on "Marian McPartland & Friends" as part of the Coca Cola Generations in Jazz Festival.

She has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of jazz greats including Sheila Jordan, Slide Hampton, Arturo Sandoval, George Garzone, Jon Faddis, Jerry Bergonzi, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kevin Mahogany, John Lockwood and Johnathan Blake among others.  A Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll winner, Miwa is on faculty at Berklee College of Music and earned two 2017 nominations in the Boston Music Awards: Best Jazz Artist and Best International Artist.

This concert celebrates the success of Miwa's 2017 recording Pathways - her seventh as a leader -which spent 4 weeks on the Jazz Week top 10 radio charts and is earning wide critical acclaim. Since first appearing on Jazz Week charts in June, Pathways was in the top 10 for four weeks running and has consistently remained in the Top 40, peaking at #6. Miwa was the subject of a feature article in the September 2017 issue of DownBeat that referenced her "impressive technique and a tuneful lyricism that combines an Oscar Peterson-ish hard swing with Bill Evans-like introspection." Gordon Marshall of Flash Boston says, "...what makes her new album remarkable, and remarkably innovative, is the racing, playful interplay of the instruments of the trio: drums, piano, and bass. Each has an equal part, with none dominating, but sharing, democratically, endless, intriguing dialogues." Dick Metcalf of Improvijazzation Nation writes, "Yoko's ability to create moods, or bring them back to mind, is simply astounding...most highly recommended."

The recording, released May 12, 2017 on Ocean Blue Tear Music, features Miwa with bassist Will Slater (with Brad Barrett stepping in for one track) and drummer Scott Goulding. The remarkable telepathy they share has been developed over 15 years and countless hours logged on the bandstand, not to mention the accompanying personal bonds (Miwa and Goulding are married, after all).

"When we play together, it comes out as one sound," Miwa says. "That's the best part of working together all the time. I'm very comfortable with these guys because they know my playing and I know them very well."

It's been nearly five years since the release of Miwa's last album, Act Naturally (JVC Victor), but she's been far from inactive in the interim. On the contrary, she's one of the busiest artists on the thriving Boston jazz scene, playing regularly at renowned local venues the Regattabar and Scullers as well as venues worldwide. Locally, the trio is a constant presence with three area residencies that keep them busy every weekend they're at home. On Fridays they can be found at the Central Square sushi bar and jazz club Thelonious Monkfish, where Goulding serves as music director and Miwa helped select the stunning Yamaha piano. Saturdays they play at the wine bar Les Zygomates, as they have for the last 12 years, while their Sundaybrunch gig at Cambridge BBQ joint Ryles dates back even further.

That impressive calendar means that the trio has had plenty of time not only to try out new material but to explore each piece over time. "We play each song a little bit differently every time," Miwa says. "It really helps develop the music. If we only did concerts once a month in front of big audiences, I don't think we'd feel the same way or that I'd play the same way that I do now."

The repertoire that Miwa traverses on Pathways ranges widely, from the classic songs of The Beatles and Joni Mitchell to a pair of rarely (if ever) reprised pieces by legendary Bill Evans Trio bassist Marc Johnson, originally recorded solo. The album's highlights, though, are Miwa's gorgeous originals, which combine lively melodies, a delicate touch, and lush harmonies - the same qualities that she brings to her improvisations.

Integral to capturing the heartfelt communication forged by the trio was Miwa's insistence that they play together in the studio, not divided into isolation booths. Their spontaneity and spark found an ideal setting at Wellspring Sound Studios in Acton, Massachusetts, where they worked closely with engineer Matt Hayes. "It's almost like a live recording," Miwa says proudly. "I feel really uncomfortable separated into different rooms where you can't really see each other. Of course you can't go back and fix things, but I love the feeling of playing in the same room and our energy together."

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Janis Siegel and Lauren Kinham live @ Zinc Bar

Tomorrow only: Join Vocalists Janis Siegel and Lauren Kinhan for a splendid evening of Vocal Mania at Zinc jazz club in NY! Featuring special guest Theo Bleckmann.
Produced by Charles Carlini.

Tickets: $25 advance / $30 day of show
2 sets: 8pm and 10:30pm

Box Set of the Month - "João Donato: A Mad Donato"

CD Box Set of the Month
João Donato: "A Mad Donato" (Discobertas) 2018

Executive Producer: Marcelo Froes
Co-Producers: Ivone Belem & Diogo Caldas
Mastered by Ricardo Carvalheira
Artwork: Bady Cartier
Cover Photo: Robert Feinberg

4-CD box set including the albums "Raridades Anos 70," "Gozando A Existência," "Naquela Base" and "Janela da Urca." All tracks previously unreleased.

Fusion CD of the Month - "Cuarteto Oriental: Sin Corbata"

Fusion CD of the Month
Cuarteto Oriental: "Sin Corbata" (PAI)

Produced by Cuarteto Oriental
Executive Producer: Marcelo Crespo
Recorded @ SoundRec (Buenos Aires, Argentina) by Ricardo Sanz
Mixed @ Sondor Estudios (Montevideo, Uruguay) by Gustavo de León & Hugo Fattoruso
Mastered Gustavo de León
Artwork: Mili Rabasa

Featuring: Hugo Fattoruso (piano, keyboards), Leonardo Amuedo (guitar), Daniel Maza (electric bass), Fabián Miodownik (drums)

Vocal CD of the Month - "Lauren Henderson: Ármame"

Vocal CD of the Month
Lauren Henderson: "Ármame" (Brontosaurus Records)
Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Mark Ruffin
Recorded & Mixed @ The Bunker Studio by Todd Carder
Mastered by Alex Deturk
Photos: Christian Mock
Designer: Julie Chencinski
Liner Notes: Kabir Sehgal

Featuring: Lauren Henderson (vocals), Josh Evans (trumpet), Godwin Louis (alto sax), Nick Tannura (guitar), Sullivan Fortner (piano & Rhodes electric piano), Eric Wheeler (bass), Joe Saylor (drums & percussion), Nanny Assis (percussion)
Special Guest: Terri Lyne Carrington (vocals)

On her lovely and coolly sensual new recording, "Ármame," vocalist Lauren Henderson delivers an eclectic set of jazz, Latin jazz, and other styles in a program reflecting her African-American and Caribbean heritage and her omnivorous musical tastes. Produced by veteran broadcaster and Sirius/XM jazz host Mark Ruffin, the CD was released on her new label, Brontosaurus Records.

The album's title translates as "Arm Me" (as from a broken heart), and the subtitle "Songs of Love and Loss" provides insight into Henderson's repertoire choices. In addition to premiering three new originals, the vocalist adds to her already impressive credentials as a deft interpreter of others' songs with heartfelt arrangements of "Love Is a Losing Game" by Amy Winehouse, Blossom Dearie's heartbreaking classic "Inside a Silent Tear," and Donny Hathaway's "We're Still Friends."

The two songs on which Terri Lyne Carrington sings backup vocals -- "To Wisdom the Prize," by Larry Willis, and "Better Days," a nod to Chaka Khan, who's a favorite singer of Henderson's -- are a particular highlight. "There's this special, natural thing about how our voices go together," Henderson says of working with Carrington.

One of Henderson's major influences, Shirley Horn, is represented by two mid-tempo selections from that master of restraint's songbook: Curtis Lewis's "The Great City," a onetime Nancy Wilson vehicle Henderson personalized with Spanish lyrics, and Bart Howard's "Let Me Love You," which was also recorded by Johnny Hartman."I've always loved Shirley Horn's delivery," says Henderson. "There are a lot of layers to her singing."

"Ármame" is anchored by the great young pianist Sullivan Fortner, a friend and colleague since Lauren first arrived in New York. "Not all pianists are as good playing with singers as they are working as solo artists," she says. "He is." Bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Joe Saylor of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert round out the rhythm section; the CD also features a strong set of soloists in alto saxophonist Godwin Louis, trumpeter Josh Evans, and guitarist Nick Tannura, plus percussionist Nanny Assis.
Lauren Henderson was born on November 5, 1986 in Marblehead, Massachusetts, a town outside of Salem. Her father, of African-American and Caribbean ancestry, and her mother, the daughter of immigrants from Panama and Montserrat, are lovers of jazz and Latin music and exposed their daughter to these and other genres when she was growing up.

While at Wheaton College, where she double-majored in Music and Hispanic Studies, she says, "I discovered my voice." Enrolling in classical voice and musical theater classes, she became the musical director of a gospel/R&B singing group and a member of the school jazz band.

Henderson spent a year abroad in Mexico, where she studied the traditional music of the Yucatán at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, and in Spain, studying flamenco singing and dancing at La Universidad de Córdoba. After graduation, she moved to New York and got a day job with MTV, studied with such jazz notables as Paquito D'Rivera, Barry Harris, and Jane Monheit, and began performing at jazz clubs and restaurants.

Her first album, "Lauren Henderson" (2011), which featured Fortner, included funky treatments of "Skylark" and "Born to Be Blue" among more traditionally rendered standards. DownBeat touted Henderson as "an inviting singer whose low-level dynamic draws the listener in." JazzTimes compared her to Peggy Lee, saying she appreciates "how to swing hard without swinging too hard."

"A La Madrugada" ("At Dawn," 2015), which she produced and arranged, featured an expansive cast of players, Fortner among them, and seven original songs including the sleek, smoothly grooving "Accede." Acting on a hunch, Henderson sent a copy of "A La Madrugada" to Mark Ruffin while he was a music supervisor on the indie film The Drowning. Ruffin was able to place "Accede"onto the soundtrack and would eventually produce "Ármame."

"I love her tone, her heritage, the quality of her voice," says Ruffin. "She's so talented, and one of the smartest singers I've ever worked with when it comes to the business of music. Also, there are very few folks singing in Spanish the way she swings it. I thought that was something that could not only expand her audience, but also expand jazz."

Henderson, who divides her time between New York and Miami, changes her approach to music depending on her audience. "Everyone has a different level of experience with Latin music," she says. "In Miami, with its strong Cuban presence, I sing very differently than I do in New York, where the cultural influence is so much broader. It's partly a matter of brightness versus darkness."

Lauren Henderson performed a CD release concert at Regattabar in Cambridge, MA on Friday 3/30. Upcoming New York City shows include the Blue Note, Sun. 5/27, 11:30am, and Minton's on Sat. 8/4, 7pm.