Thursday, August 25, 2016

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R.I.P.: Rudy Van Gelder (1924-2016)

(born November 02, 1924 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA;
died August 25, 2016 in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA)

The best and most important recording engineer in the history of music (not only jazz.) A friend, a mentor, an idol. What a career! What a legacy! Over 3,000 albums were recorded, mixed and mastered by Rudy Van Gelder. Like my friend Marc Myers once stated, on his fabulous blog JazzWax:  "Rudy Van Gelder's name appears on more jazz albums than any engineer, producer or musician!" 

He provided his famous "bigger-than-life sound" for the best albums ever issued by Blue Note, Prestige, Savoy, Vox, Impulse! (RVG was the main reason that made John Coltrane move from Atlantic to Impulse! because Creed Taylr promised to the sax giant that he would be able to record once again at Van Gelder Studio), Verve and CTI (from 1967 to 2009). Plus other small labels for which he worked in recent years, like HighNote.

From Miles Davis and Lee Morgan to Freddie Hubbard and Christian Scott. From Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon to Joe Farrell and Grover Washington, Jr. From Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans to Bob James and Deodato. From bebop to fusion, from Steinway to Fender Rhodes, from acoustic to digital, from vinyl to CD and LaserDisc, from DVD to Blu-ray, the man did everything.

I had the chance to work with him in some projects, including CTI reissues and compilations for the Japanese market and a top secret album I am currently producing. Rudy is the only engineer I would call a genius! Like jazz writer Marc Myers, another friend, once stated: "Rudy's name appear in more jazz albums than any other engineer, than any musician or producer." 

I am more than heartbroken, I'm completely devastated. A year we lose Van Gelder, Claus Ogerman, Toots Thielemans, Bobby Hutcherson and many other jazz greats that died in the past eight months, is not an usual year. It's a very tragic one. 

(all images copyrighted by Arnaldo DeSouteiro and may be reproduced with the proper credit after request by email or through Facebook, except the 2009 photo of Rudy & Creed Taylor copyrighted by Takehiko Tokiwa.)

(the CTI + RVG series, released in 2009! for the first time, the landmark CTI albums were remastered by the man who recorded & mixed them, Rudy Van Gelder! Creed Taylor himself produced the reissues, and Arnaldo DeSouteiro wrote the liner notes for several releases and supervised not only the whole collection as well as a special compolation)  
(Claudio Roditi's debut solo album, "Red on Red," recorded in January 1994, was the first CTI album recorded by Van Gelder using a digital machine, the Mitsubishi X-80 2-track equipment)
(the all-star session "Rhythmstick," from 1989, was the first album recorded by Rudy Van Gelder using a 24-track digital Sony equipment) 
("The CTI Jazz All-Star Band "Montreux Jazz Festival 2009," actually released in 2010, was the first DVD mixed by Rudy Van Gelder)
(Van Gelder entered the Blu-ray era with the release of the CTI All-Stars project a.k.a. The CTI Jazz All-Star Band at Montreux)

 (recording with singer Ithamara Koorax in 2006)
(Rudy Van Gelder, singer Ithamara Koorax and pianist Rodgers Grant recording at Van Gelder Studios in 2012)

Monday, August 22, 2016

R.I.P.: Toots Thielemans (1922-2016)

(born Jean Baptiste Frederic Isidor on April 29, 1922, in Brussels, Belgium;
died on August 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium)

The greatest harmonica player in the history of music (along with a forgotten Brazilian master, Edu da Gaita). Period.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Phil Woods Tribute Concert to benefit COTA

Randy Brecker, Grace Kelly, Houston Personm Bob Dorough and The Phil Woods Big Band are among the guests on the event "A Tribute To Phil Woods," a gala concert to benefit COTA, scheduled for September 8, 2016 at 8pm @ Stroudsbourg High School Audotorium (100 W. Main St, Stroudsburg, PA.)

For tickets:
For more details, please visit

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wadada Leo Smith receives Hammer Museum's 2016 Mohn Career Achievement Award

Trumpeter, composer and musical visionary Wadada Leo Smith (photo by Maarit Kyto Harju) has received the Hammer Museum 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement "honoring brilliance and resilience."  The $25,000 Award was announced August 16 by the museum and presented in conjunction with the exhibition Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, through, only, organized by Hammer curator Adam Moshayedi and Hamza Walker, director of education and associate curator, Renaissance Society.  

Dancer and choreographer Adam Linder also received a Mohn Award for artistic excellence and Kenzi Shiokava received the Public Recognition Award.

"The jury wants to acknowledge Wadada Leo Smith's outstanding achievements as a musician, his influential work as a teacher and a mentor for younger artists in Los Angeles, and the decades-long expansion of an inventive, completx and layered system of notation simultaneously interrogating the picotral and the performative," stated Juse Luis Blondet, curator, Special Initiatives, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

"I'm so honored to have won this award," said Smith.  "I'm so happy that my scores are being viewed as works of art.  That means the world to me."

Smith, who turns 75 in December 2016, recently received a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and received an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was honored as Faculty Emeritus. He maintains an active touring and recording schedule. His latest epic recording America's National Parks will be released October 14, 2016 on Cuneiform Records.  A six-movement suite inspired by the scenic splendor, historic legacy, and political controversies of the country's public landscapes the recording features Smith with pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Pheeroan akLaff and cellist Ashley Walters.

Later this year TUM Records will release Wadada Leo Smith: Nagwa featuring Smith with guitarists Michael Gregory Jackson, Henry Kaiser, Brandon Ross and Lamar Smith, plus Bill Laswell on electric bass, Pheeroan akLaff on drums and Adam Rudolph on percussion. Coming on TUM in early 2017 will be Alone: Reflections and Meditations on Monk, a solo recording.

Smith's 2016 schedule includes performances at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Molde Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh International LiveJazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Vision Festival, Festival Suoni Per il Pipolo, Summer Stage, NYC and the premiere of his opera /cantata Rosa Parks at the FONT Festival, among others (see full schedule at end of this release.)

About the Mohn Awards

Totaling $150,000, the Mohn Awards are among the largest art prizes dedicated to recognizing the work of emerging and under-recognized artists from the greater Los Angeles region. A jury of professional curators selected the Mohn Award and the Career Achievement Award while the Public Recognition Award was determined by on-site voting from June 11 through August 14, 2016. The jury included Ingrid Schaffner, curator, 57th Carnegie International, 2018, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Mika Yoshitake, associate curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Jose Luis Blondet, curator, Special Initiatives, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. All three awards were once again funded through the generosity of Los Angeles philanthropists and art collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn and the Mohn Family Foundation as part of Made in L.A., the Hammer's biennial exhibition series highlighting emerging and under-recognized artists from the Los Angeles region.

"Curators Aram Moshayedi and Hamza Walker selected a tight group of artists and offered them room to stretch. This exhibition is stunning in terms of the range of practices and performers, the depth of exploration, and the array of programs it presents. It's as it if everyone won and gave a prize through their participation in Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only," said Ingrid Schaffner.

About Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith, whose roots are in the Delta blues, is one of the most boldly original figures in American jazz and creative contemporary music and one of the great trumpet players of our time.  As a composer, improviser, performer, music theorist/writer and educator, Smith has devoted a lifetime to navigating the emotional heart, spiritual soul, social significance and physical structure of jazz to create new music of infinite possibility and nuance.

A 2016 Doris Duke Artist and 2013 Pulitzer finalist, Smith was DownBeat Magazine's 2013 "Composer of the Year" and the Jazz Journalist Association's 2013 Musician of the Year and Trumpeter of the Year. In 2014 DownBeat magazine named him "One of the 80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today," citing his "magisterial instrumental voice, his inspirational leadership, and his command of classical, jazz and blues forms to remind us of what's gone down and what's still happening." The Jazz Journalists Association named Smith Composer of the Year in 2015. Early in his career, Smith developed Ankhrasmation, a radically original musical language that uses visual directions and remains the philosophical foundation of his oeuvre. In October 2015, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago presented the first comprehensive exhibition of his Ankhrasmation scores.

Smith has released more than 50 albums as a leader. His landmark 2012 civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was called "A staggering achievement... It merits comparison to Coltrane's A Love Supreme in sobriety and reach," (Francis Davis, Rhapsody Jazz Critics Poll). Recent recordings include The Great Lakes Suites, which earned second place in NPR Music's 2014 Jazz Critics Poll and Celestial Weather, which garnered extensive praise as "a perfectly suited twosome...4.5 stars" (DownBeat).  In March 2016 ECM released a cosmic rhythm with each stroke featuring pianist Vijay Iyer and Smith, whom Iyer calls his "hero, friend and mentor." The recording has earned wide critical acclaim and the duo is touring internationally in 2016 and 2017.

Born December 18, 1941 in Leland, Mississippi, Smith began performing at age thirteen with his stepfather, bluesman Alex Wallace and went on to play in his high school bands. He received his formal musical education from the U.S. Military band program (1963), the Sherwood School of Music (1967-69), and Wesleyan University (1975-76). Part of the first generation of musicians to come out of Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Music), Smith collaborated with a dazzling cast of fellow visionaries. He has received commissions to write music for numerous groups including the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and was invited to perform and speak on human rights at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens.

Smith has been awarded grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Chamber Music America with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Meet the Composer/Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, the MAP Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts, among many others.

Wadada Leo Smith Upcoming Events

- Saturday, Sept. 24 - Premiere of Smith's opera /cantata Rosa Parks - FONT Festival, NYC

- Tuesday, Sept. 27 - Smith and Iyer - Amherst, MA

- Friday, Oct. 14 - AACM concert featuring Wadada Leo Smith with Bobby Naughton and Dwight Andrews - The Community Church of New York, NYC

- Sunday, Oct. 23 - Smith & John Lindberg duo Celestial Weather - LaFontsie Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

- Wednesday, Oct. 26 - Smith & John Lindberg duo Celestial Weather - Edgefest (20th Anniv. Edition), Ann Arbor, MI

- October 28 & 29 - Smith & John Lindberg duo Celestial Weather w. drummer Mike Reed - Constellation, Chicago, IL

- Sunday, Oct. 30 - Smith & John Lindberg duo Celestial Weather - Woodland Pattern, Milwaukee, WI

- Thursday, Nov. 3 - Smith's Great Lakes Quartet performing The Great Lakes Suites - Berlin Jazz Festival

- Sunday, Nov. 6 - Wadada duet with pianist Alexander Hawkins - Berlin Jazz Festival

- Wednesday, Nov. 9 - Wadada Leo Smith & Vijay Iyer duo - Benaroya Hall's Nordstrom Recital Hall - Earshot Jazz Festival

- Saturday, Nov. 19 - Wadada & Iyer - Bielsko-Biala - Poland

- December 14-17 - Wadada Leo Smith's Four Symphonies - Kadist, Wattis, & The Lab - San Francisco, CA

- Friday, Jan. 6 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Wigmore Hall, London, England

- Saturday, Jan. 7 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Klub Zak, Gdansk, Poland

- Sunday, Jan. 8 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam, Netherlands

-  Monday, Jan. 9 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Harpa, Reykjavik

- Wednesday, Jan. 11 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Philharmonie Chamber Hall, Luxembourg

- Thursday, Jan. 12 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Kölner Philharmonie, Köln, Germany
- Friday, Jan. 13 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Brussels Jazz Festival - Flagey, Brussels, Belgium

- Sunday, Jan. 15 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Teatro Manzoni , Milan, Italy

- Tuesday, Jan. 17 - Wadada-Vijay duo - Sons D'Hiver Festival - Espace Jean Vilar, Arcueil, France

R.I.P.: Bobby Hutcherson (1941-2016)

Bobby Hutcherson
(born January 27, 1941, in Los Angeles, California, USA;
died August 15, 2016, in Montara, California, USA)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sara Serpa/André Matos' "All The Dreams" out on Sept. 16

"All the Dreams" - to be released on September 16, 2016, via Sunnyside Records - presents the Serpa/Matos duo exploring a poetic soundscape of original compositions, with guest performances by drummer Billy Mintz and synthesist Pete Rende. The album envelopes you in a poetic soundscape that is as much a state of mind as it is a rich listening experience.  Here the organic and the electronic are seamlessly mixed, with Serpa and Matos playing multiple acoustic and electric instruments.  Several tracks feature drummer Billy Mintz and synth-player Pete Rende, who also mixed the album, recorded throughout last year between the cold snow of New York and the mild summer of Lisbon.

The songs include words by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa and writer Luis Amaro, Brazilian poet Clarice Lispector and the great Englishman William Blake, as well as lyrics by Serpa and Matos.

CD Release Concerts:
* September 15, 2016 9:30 p.m. at Joe's Pub, NYC
* November 18 at Constellation in Chicago

The reception for "Primavera" - the first album by the duo of vocalist Sara Serpa and guitarist André Matos - was rapturous, with reviews for the 2014 release using such apt descriptors as "enchanting" (The New Yorker), "breathtaking" (JazzTimes) and "spellbinding" (All About Jazz). The New York Times praised Primavera at length, calling the album "calmly stunning" while adding that the pair's music "capitalizes on their many affinities: as limber improvisers, as thoughtful composers, as selfless ensemble players, and as internationalists hailing originally from Portugal (by way of Boston and New York) Primavera is gemlike in its beauty and precision."

Now, Serpa & Matos present their second duo album. As with "Primavera" - which All About Jazz lauded for being "sonically lustrous," with an "intricate melodic sense" - the new "All the Dreams" glimmers with luminous melodicism and magical atmosphere, the music again casting a spell. The sound of "All the Dreams" mixes the organic and the electronic seamlessly, with Serpa and Matos playing multiple acoustic and electric instruments along with using the studio as an instrument; several tracks also feature Billy Mintz on drums and Pete Rende on ambient, Eno/Budd-like synthesizers.

Along with Serpa's signature wordless vocalese and the duo's own lyrics, there are songs that draw on words of great poets, both Portuguese and English. Atmosphere and image, poetry and melody - this is the stuff of which "All the Dreams" is made.

The title of the album comes from its lovely song "Nada," which features universalist lines by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (via his heteronym Álvaro de Campos): "I am nothing, I shall never be anything / I cannot even wish to be anything. / Despite all that, I have within me all the dreams of the world." The title phrase also appears in the poetry of Walt Whitman, a key influence on Pessoa: "I dream in my dream all the dreams of the other dreamers / And I become the other dreamers."

These words mirror the feelings of creative reverie Serpa and Matos had while composing the music for the album. The singer says: "We felt that this music was making us dream and disconnect somehow from the reality of the outside world - and that seemed to be a positive feeling. For us, to be able to work in this dreamlike state of mind is fundamental to staying creative and happy."                                                                                                                          
About the leap from "Primavera" to the even more accomplished "All the Dreams", Matos says: "Primavera planted a seed for us. Our duo identity developed throughout the making of that first album, and with the new one, we knew more about how to use the studio to our advantage. We wanted to pay even more attention to detail - sound, texture, words. We didn't hesitate to depart from a 'duo sound' and do whatever it took to get the right feel for each song, whether through sonically multiplying ourselves or developing the sounds we produced. The mixing and post-production process was more intensive this time, and we did things like reverse the vocals on 'amlaC.' Pete Rende played such an important role in this, not only adding synthesizers to a few tracks but mixing the album, too. It's hard to imagine the album without his contribution."

As for the contribution of veteran drummer Billy Mintz, Matos adds: "We met Billy a few years ago, and he has become an important musician for me. He was super-meticulous in the studio, and the results are amazing, like pure gold. His dedication to music is inspiring, and his playing gives the record a nice contour. With Billy, there's a search for a primal beat, playing almost like a child in the sense of being free. But at the same, he has all this knowledge and experience to apply. He is a master."

Serpa and Matos make for a kindred-spirit duo, even beyond being husband and wife. Her fresh, subtly virtuosic singing blends beautifully with his gleaming, flowing guitar playing. "We do complement each other as performers easily, with most of the songs being reducible to just voice and guitar," Matos says. "In the studio, we're able to guide each other to the best performances possible, with sometimes even the best arrangements coming after the first take. Our tunes tend to have slightly different vibes, with Sara's a bit more intricate and mine less dense, simpler. It creates a nice balance, we hope."

In addition to those of Pessoa/Campos, the songs of "All the Dreams" include words by his fellow Portuguese writer Luis Amaro, Brazilian poet Clarice Lispector and the great Englishman William Blake, as well as lyrics by Serpa and Matos. There are songs about night, dreams and the imagination, about accepting sadness and offering forgiveness, about identity and empathy, about love and memory. Even the songs without words impart a sense of mystery and romance, with Serpa singing vocalese on such gems as the opening "Calma."

One of the album's other, lyrical highlights is "Lisboa," Serpa's tune-rich paean to the ancient capital of Portugal. "The words stem from something a taxi driver once told me about Lisbon having 14,000 streets, alleys and staircases - and all those reflecting so many memories, for me, for everyone who has lived there," Serpa says. "Because I live in America now, the city is distant from me, but somehow it remains so close to my heart. Every time I return to Lisbon, the memories come flooding back, the sense of place and time so strong. And music can evoke feelings of time and place - of memory - like little else in art."
JazzTimes has called Serpa "a rising star," while All About Jazz has said: "Her unique style of vocalese allows her to utilize the full range of her exquisite and clear voice with the agility of an instrumentalist, standing out of the crowd as a sublime interpreter and a bold improviser." The New York Times has described Matos as a guitarist who "advances a pointedly contemporary air." Both born and bred in Portugal but based in New York City for nearly a decade, Serpa and Matos met through music in Boston, where they both studied at the Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory.

Serpa and Matos each have long associations with some of the most important musicians in jazz. Serpa studied with iconic pianist Ran Blake, with whom she has recorded two albums, "Camera Obscura" (2010) and "Kitano Noir" (2015). Serpa joined saxophonist Greg Osby's band right out of school in 2008, performing with the group at such hallowed venues as the Village Vanguard and contributing to his album "9 Levels."

Osby's Inner Circle Music label also released Serpa's debut album as a leader, "Praia" (2008), and her quintet album "Mobile" (2011), along with "Camera Obscura." Inner Circle released Matos's third album, "Quare" (2010), and Osby also contributed sax to their duo debut, "Primavera."

Individually and together, Serpa and Matos have performed with such prominent musicians as John Zorn, Danilo Perez, Guillermo Klein, Tyshawn Sorey, Dan Weiss, Leo Genovese and Thomas Morgan, among others. Beyond their duo together, Serpa leads such projects as her vocal group City Fragments, while Matos leads a trio featuring saxophonist Tony Malaby and drummer Billy Mintz.

Fun EDM Instrumentals Needed for $2,000 Video Game Placements

Do you have any playful EDM Instrumentals for Video Game placements? Read on to see what this Music Supervisor needs!

PLAYFUL, ELECTRONIC DANCE INSTRUMENTALS are needed for several $2,000, Direct-to-Music Supervisor, NON-Exclusive placements in a series of Virtual/Augmented Reality Video Games by a AAA Game Developer. They’re looking for fun, unique, and slightly quirky Mid-to-Up-Tempo Instrumentals that could be found sharing a playlist with the likes of acts/artists like (but not limited to) Deadmau5, Daft Punk, Justice, Mr. Oizo, etc., etc., etc. Take a listen to the following references that they gave us to get an idea of the RANGE that could work for this pitch:

“Hi Friend!” by Deadmau5
“The Brainwasher” by Daft Punk
“Safe and Sound” by Justice
“Being Flat” by Mr. Oizo

Give them distinctive Instrumentals that use current sounds and production techniques to create a lively piece of electro ear-candy. Your submissions should have tons of character, with an unusual twist, great builds, and plenty of energetic movement. Imagine how your music would energize the game’s players to work harder and faster to complete tasks, while completely immersing them in the game. That’s what they need! Do NOT copy or rip off the referenced acts/artists or songs in any way, shape, or form. Use them as a general guide for tempo, tone, and overall vibe. Broadcast Quality is needed (great sounding home recordings are fine).

There will be a Non-Exclusive license fee of $2,000, All-Inclusive per Song, for 5 Years. The deal is NON-Exclusive, but you will not be permitted to license the same song for other video games during the contract period. You must own or control the Master and Copyright. All submissions will be screened on a Yes/No basis by a TAXI screener handpicked by the Video Game Company! No full critiques. Please submit 1-3 instrumentals online or per CD, no later than 11:59PM (PDT), on Monday, September 5th, 2016. TAXI #Y160905ED

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Blood Sweat & Tears celebrates 50 years with a new tour

To book concerts or get more info about the band, please visit: