Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Miles Ahead" opens tomorrow in LA & NY!

The eagerly awaited movie "Miles Ahead" -- directed & starred by Don Cheadle -- opens tomorrow, April 1st, in Los Angeles and New York! And its soundtrack will be officially on sale also tomorrow.
Opening nationwide on April 22!
Sunshine people of LA: Meet Don Cheadle at in-theater Q&As this weekend!
Starring: Don Cheadle, Emayatzy E. Corinealdi, Ewan McGregor, Michael Stuhlbarg

In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) virtually disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late 1970s. Alone and holed up in his home, he is beset by chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, his musical voice stifled and numbed by drugs and pain medications, his mind haunted by unsettling ghosts from the past. [Sony Pictures Classics]

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shunzo Ohno celebrates "ReNew" release @ Symphony Space, April 1st

Shunzo Ohno presents "ReNew" (his 16th album as a leader) on Friday, April 1, at 7:00 at Leonard Nimoy Thalia @ Peter Norton Symphony Space, located at 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025.

Tickets, which range $25-35, are available now by visiting www.symphonyspace.org or by calling 212-864-5400.
Ohno, one of the most versatile and influential trumpeters in modern jazz, leads an ensemble of paramount musicians including bassist Mark Egan, drummer Billy Kilson, pianist David Berkman, keyboardist Clifford Carter and tabla master, Ray Spiegel.

"ReNew" injects elements of traditional jazz, hip hop, spoken word, and free jazz, creating a tapestry of modern jazz that is distinctly Shunzo Ohno. With 'recovery to discovery' in mind, the genre-defying album is a testament to those affected by catastrophic events that have taken place throughout the world including the 2011 tsunami in Japan.

The concert performance will begin with the documentary film, "Never Defeated, The Shunzo Ohno Story," which is based on Ohno's powerful life experiences. The music for the film centers on The International Songwriting Competition Grand Prize award song, "Musashi."

"ReNew" embraces a diverse spectrum of generations, masterful interplay and interpretations of music. Each of the compositions, confront life's uncharted circumstances both on global and personal conditions, illuminating vigor, dignity, hope and freedom with a renewed spirit.
Born in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, Shunzo's rise to prominence began in 1974, when he accepted an offer to perform with the legendary jazz drummer Art Blakey. Following his tenure with Blakey, Shunzopropelled with a series of important collaborations, including ones with Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra, Wayne Shorter, Larry Coryell, Herbie Hancock, and Gil Evans, who was a long-time collaborator of Shunzo's. Shunzo has recorded 16 albums as a leader and has been featured on two Grammy winning recordings.

Shunzo's life encountered much adversity, including a serious automobile accident and the diagnosis of stage 4 throat cancer. Through both of these life-changing events, he continuously creates inspiration to not only overcome these challenges, but redevelop his unique sound and musical voice, admired by a global community.

In 2014, Shunzo won the International Songwriting Competition's grand prize with his composition Musashi, making Shunzo the first jazz recipient of this prestigious award. Lea's Run included on this recording, also won an award with the ISC, the following year.

In recent years, Shunzo has been touring the globe, performing frequently in Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and various US cities. Shunzo's tours are concurrently supporting the recovery efforts following the tsunami/nuclear failure in Japan and recently, the earthquake in Nepal. Feb/March 2016 he will visit Northern Japan recognizing the 5th anniversary of the Tsunami/nuclear failure. The possibilities for a harmonious global society lie in a prosperous recovery.

"[Shunzo Ohno]... plays tight, crisply phrased lines with a stabbing rhythmic effect. Without the mute, his open tone has a broad, ringing sound that soars through high-powered driving lines..." The New York Times

FOR CALENDAR LISTING
Who: Shunzo Ohno Jazz Ensemble
What: ReNew album release
When: April 1, 2016 at 7:00pm
Where: Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025
Contact:  Lydia Liebman Promotions

TICKET INFORMATION
General tickets are available at www.symphonyspace.org or by calling (212) 864 5400. Seating is limited.
Advance tickets $30
At the door $35
Senior/ Student rate $25
a contribution of $5.00 per cd will be donated to the continuos recovery efforts in Northern Japan.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

R.I.P.: Joe Shepley (1930-2016)

One of the most-in-demand musicians in the NY scene of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, trumpet master Joe Shepley passed away today, March 26, 2016, at age 85 in Yonkers, NY.

He was a member of such bands as the David Matthews Orchestra (as well as of Matthews' Manhattan Jazz Orchestra), Duke Pearson's Big Band, Pond Life, The Charlie Calello Orchestra, The Pond Life Orchestra, Mike Longo's New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, and also played on Eumir Deodato's combo during the "2001 heyday" of the Brazilian maestro.

Actually, we became friends when I was supervising and writing the liner notes for the first CD reissue of Deodato's "In Concert - Live At Felt Forum" (a.k.a. The CTI Space Concert) and interviewed him. In recent years, we used to correspond through Facebook, after he joined my friend Mike Longo's New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble in 2006, recording the "Explosion" album.

But the first time I had heard Shepley in a solo spot was on David Matthews' masterpiece concept album, "Dune" (CTI, 1977), on which he was featured playing the melody (on flugelhorn) on John Williams' "Princess Leia's Theme," a beautiful ballad from the "Star Wars" soundtrack.

And I watch him very often on a splendid DVD by Matthews' Manhattan Jazz Orchestra filmed 20 years later in Japan for Panasonic, titled "Great Jazz In Kobe '97."

Shepley also recorded with George Benson, Marvin Stamm, Kai Winding, Paul Desmond, Don Sebesky, Ron Carter, Michel Legrand, Herbie Mann, Stanley Turrentine, Jimmy McGriff, Urbie Green, Jeremy Steing, T.S. Monk, J.J. Johnson, Hank Crawford, Art Farmer, David "Fathead" Newman, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Meco, Kenny Burrell, Narada Michael Walden, Earl Klugh, and singers Bobby Scott, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Astrud Gilberto, B.B. King, Paul Anka, Carol Douglas, Esther Phillips, Bonnie Tyler, James Ingram, Aretha Franklin, Grace Slick, David Byrne, Sinéad O'Connor, Neil Diamond, Jon Lucien, Billy Joel, Janis Ian, Dory Previn, Nona Hendryx and even Julian Lennon.

Joseph James Shepley was born on August 7, 1930 to Joseph and Eleanor Nyahay Shepley in Yonkers where he was raised and attended local schools. Joseph served his country in the US Army from 1952 to 1954 serving in Korea. He married Helen Dedyo on September 25, 1955 in Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers, she survives living in Yonkers. Joseph belonged to Local 802 Musicians Union. He began playing professionally in 1942 at the age of 12, he graduated with his Master's Degree from The Manhattan School of Music in 1957. The rest is history.

Besides his wife Helen he is also survived by his son Joe Shepley of Oak Park, IL. 3 daughters Maryellen Shepley of Mt. Vernon, NY, Susan Cuevas Bennett of Long Island, and Pamela Quinn of Tarrytown, NY, 11 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother Donald Shepley in 2006. Visiting hours will be at the Whalen & Ball Funeral Home on Monday from 7-9pm and Tuesday from 12-4pm. A funeral service will be at 3pm.

In lieu of flowers the family is asking that you make a donation in Joe's name to The Musicians Assistance Fund (MAP) at Local 802 Musicians Union. Donations can be made to Local 802 Musicians Assistance Program Local 802 AFM 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036.

Rest In Peace.
Funeral arrangements under the direction of Whalen & Ball Funeral Home
168 Park Ave, Yonkers, NY 10703, Ph: (914) 965-5488

Visitation
Monday, March 28, 2016
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Whalen & Ball Funeral Home
168 Park Ave
Yonkers, NY 10703

Visitation
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
12:00 pm - 4:00 am
Whalen & Ball Funeral Home
168 Park Ave
Yonkers, NY 10703

Funeral Service
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Whalen & Ball Funeral Home
168 Park Ave
Yonkers, NY 10703

R.I.P.: David Baker (1931-2016)

(born December 21, 1931 in Indiapanapolis, Indiana, U.S.;
died on March 26, 2016 in Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.)

Composer, arranger, conductor, writer, educator.

Had the honor to participate with him in panel sessions during IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators) during the 90s.
(panel session "Global Jazz Education," during the "Nineteenth Annual International Conference" of the IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators), in Miami, Florida, January 1992.
Pictured: Dr. David Baker (moderator), Lee Berk, Opher Brayer, Darius Brubeck, Sigi Busch, Arnaldo DeSouteiro, Patrick Crichton, J. Richard Duscomb, Bunky Green, William Montgomery and Peter Stingings; photo by Rossana Bowman)

Baker was an aspiring trombone player then, but he would grow to be a Grammy-nominated artist with more than 1,000 compositions. He took up the cello after a car accident injured muscles in his face.

Among Baker’s honors are becoming an Indiana Living Legend in 2001, an NEA Jazz Master in 2000, a Grammy nominee in 1979 and Pulitzer Prize nominee in 1972.

He taught and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, according to Baker's retirement biography, written by Luke Gillespie. He also co-founded the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.

Rest In Peace, David.
http://www.jazzinamerica.org/overview/abouttheauthors/2

David Nathaniel Baker, Jr. is Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at Indiana University. A virtuosic performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines, Dr. Baker has taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand, and Japan. For the past 14 years he has served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He has written over 70 books on jazz improvisation, jazz composition and arranging, jazz pedagogy, how to learn tunes, how to practice, and other related topics. He also has more than 400 articles and 75 recordings to his credit.

Baker received both bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Indiana University, and honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, Wabash College, and the New England Conservatory of Music. He has studied with a wide range of master teachers, performers, and composers including J.J. Johnson, Bobby Brookmeyer, Janos Starker, George Russell, William Russo, Bernard Heiden, and Gunther Schuller. A 1973 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Dr. Baker also has been nominated for a Grammy Award, honored three times by Down Beat magazine (as a trombonist, for lifetime achievement, and induction into the Jazz Education Hall of Fame), and is a recipient of the National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award, Indiana University President's Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award, and the Governor's Arts Award of the State of Indiana. He is also a recipient of jazz's hightest honor: the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award.

As a composer, Dr. Baker has been commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles, including Josef Gingold, Ruggerio Ricci, Janos Starker, Harvey Phillips, the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Beaux Arts Trio, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Louisville Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the Audubon String Quartet, and the International Horn Society. His compositions, tallying over 2,000 in number, range from jazz and sonatas to film scores.

Dr. Baker's involvement in music organizations has encompassed membership on the National Council on the Arts; board positions for the American Symphony Orchestra League, Arts Midwest, and the Afro-American Bicentennial Hall of Fame/Museum; and past chairs of the Jazz Advisory Panel to the Kennedy Center and the Jazz/Folk/Ethnic Panel of the NEA. He also served as President of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) and the National Jazz Service Organization (NJSO), and currently serves as senior consultant for music programs for the Smithsonian Institution.
**************
Der Komponist und Pädagoge David Baker ist am 26. März im Alter von 84 Jahren in seinem Haus in Bloomington, Indiana, gestorben. Er galt als einer der einflussreichsten Jazzpädagogen der USA. Sein Werk umfasst über 2.000 Kompositionen, 500 Auftragsarbeiten, 65 Tonträger, 70 Bücher und 400 Essays. Er gründete 1968 das „Jazz Studies Programm“ der Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, das er bis 2013 leitete. Baker war zudem von 1990 bis 2012 künstlerischer und musikalischer Leiter des Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Der vielfach ausgezeichnete Komponist wurde 2000 zum „NEA Jazz Master“ ernannt, der höchsten offziellen Jazzauszeichnung in den USA.

David Nathaniel Baker Jr. wurde am 21. Dezember 1931 in Indianapolis geboren. 1954 schloss er sein Musikpädagogik-Studium an der Indiana University mit einem Master ab. Der talentierte Posaunist wechselte nach einer ernsthaften Kiefer-Verletzung, die er sich bei einem Verkehrsunfall zuzog, zum Cello. Der renommierte Komponist war neben seiner Tätigkeit in der „International Association for Jazz Education“ und der „National Jazz Service Organization“ wiederholt auch Musik-Juror für den Pulitzer-Prize, für den er selbst 1973 nominiert war. Für sein Lebenswerk wurde Baker 2007 mit dem „Living Jazz Legend Award“ des „John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts“ ausgezeichnet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fabrizio Sotti announces June 10 release of "Forty" w/ Peter Slavov & Francisco Mela

World renowned guitarist and composer Fabrizio Sotti proudly announces the June 10 release of "Forty", his fourth album as a leader. A private stream of the album can be accessed here and promotional copies will be available in April 2016. The release of "Forty" will be celebrated on June 9 at the Highline Ballroom in New York City as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival. The release of "Forty" also coincides with the release of the D'Angelico EX-SS Fabrizio Sotti Signature Model guitar.

Using the D'Angelico guitar as his brush, Sotti paints a dynamic sonic picture that presents him as not just an extraordinary and innovative improviser, but as the harbinger of a unique and distinctive sound that is completely his own. In the words of revered writer and critic Ted Panken, the title, "Forty", testifies to Sotti's assertion that the onset of his fifth decade signifies a sea change in both his personal life-path and aesthetic development. "Forty is more than arriving at one spot," Sotti says. "It's starting from the beginning to a new place. Artistically, as you get older, you understand how much you still have to discover, how much more deeply you can go into yourself to improve your playing and understand what you really want to say."

On "Forty" Sotti collaborated with two jazz visionaries in their own right: bassist Peter Slavov and drummer Francisco Mela. "Peter is a complete musician with a strong melodic sense and a thorough classical music background. He's able to be free while respecting the tradition. Francisco also brings a melodic approach and is completely a free thinker. He's a force of nature. When he swings, it swings hard; when he's not swinging, it's so creative, he fills up the music with something magical," says Sotti.

"Forty" lays its groundwork for the forthcoming 9 tracks with the autobiographical "Redemption", a 3/4 minor blues that Sotti says represents the "redemption between myself and people around me, to accept me for who I really am." Sotti unleashes the full measure of his jazz chops on "Dangerous Walk," a brisk, disjunctive, Monkish line "inspired by the walk of women, and particularly my wife," and "Is That What You Think" a B-flat blues with a melody Sotti describes as 'aggressive.' The mood changes on "Beginning Now," played a cappella by Sotti on nylon string guitar but then progresses into the iconic "How Insensitive," which Sotti's grandmother played for him before he was a child. The trio returns for the calypso-flavored "Thalia," named for Sotti's year-old daughter, and written a few weeks before her birth. "The happy melody is how I felt when we were waiting for her and how she makes me feel now." Following is the expressive ballad "So Far, So Close," rendered as a Sotti-Slavov duo, which was written for his younger brother.

For Sotti, the title track represents "how I like to play right now--you can hear the joyful playfulness between these different rhythms, going from a modern funk rubato to a straight ahead swinging thing, playing what I like with nothing to prove." The final track, "The Bridge", along with its preceding introduction entirely represents Sotti's mature voice. It's a love song with a bluesy connotation named for the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) in Venice, where Sotti and his bride decided to get married.

With this new release, Sotti presents a departure for a new group that is only scratching the surface of possibilities. Says Sotti, "This album shows where I am as a guitarist, improviser and composer and of what's to come."

UPCOMING U.S. APPEARANCES:
Malibu Guitar Festival, Malibu, CA, April 28-May 1
Highline Ballroom, New York City, June 9
(more to be announced)

MORE ABOUT FABRIZIO SOTTI:
A New Yorker since 1991, when he emigrated from Padua, Italy, as an ambitious, jazz obsessed 16-year-old, Sotti drew on a broad palette of jazz-imparted musical knowledge when producing hit tracks with artists like Dead Prez,Ghostface Killah, Q-Tip, Tupac, and Whitney Houston while still in his twenties, as well as two collaborations Glamoured, from 2003, and Another Country, from 2012, with the great jazz diva,Cassandra Wilson . In parallel, he built a distinguished career as a highly-respected jazz stylist, documented on three accomplished recordings--This World Upside Down, from 1999, with jazz titans Randy Brecker, John Patitucci and Al Foster;Through My Eyes, from 2003, a solo guitar recital; and Inner Dance, from 2010, with organist Sam Barsh, drummer Victor Jones, and percussionist Mino Cinelu.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Paris Chansons @ Vibrato, LA, March 29

Reserve your tables early to get the best spots! Just call Herb Alpert's Vibrato at 310-474-9400. Paris Chansons have a truly unique and exciting niche - authentic French music with an international twist.

Now they are back @ Vibrato (2930 Beverly Glen Circle, Los Angeles) by popular demand! Paris Chansons is LA’s premier French band.  Recently featured on the CBS/KCAL news, they are known for their original renditions of French favorites from Aznavour, Brel, Dassin, Piaf, Montand all the way to contemporary artists like Zaz.  Their exhilarating performances are punctuated with traditional jazz standards as well as classics in Russian, Italian, and other languages.

Four multilingual singers bring an unparalleled diversity to their shows. Julia Kantor, originally from the Ukraine, lived and studied in France where she discovered in French music a soul connection that still imbues every performance. She entrances from the stage with a sultry voice and dynamic presence.  Together with her husband, Jacob, a Russian-born singer/songwriter, they launched Paris Chansons.

Max Cohen grew up in Morocco steeped in French music, particularly the songs of Enrico Macias. Max’s rich velvety tone delivers beautifully nuanced renditions of his favorites, complete with a signature North African lilt. Jean-Louis Darville, born in Paris, is not only a gifted vocalist but also a professional actor.  He approaches each song like a theatrical performance and lets the music take over, adding a unique spin to the beloved songs of Brel, Gainsbourg and Montand, among others.

Superb musicianship anchors the ensemble, effortlessly moving from jazzy improvisation to slow-burning balladry to blistering gypsy fervor. All seasoned pros, the musicians are Jeff Lams on piano, Adam Cohen on upright bass, Endre Balogh on violin, Sinclair Lott on drums and Jacob Kantor on guitar.

Paris Chansons takes you an a journey without leaving your seat (except maybe to dance!), a spectacular celebration of French and international music that brings the world that much closer.

www.parischansons.com

In the News:
https://youtu.be/u_sbnMQmvO8

Saturday, March 12, 2016

R.I.P.: Lutz Büchner (1968-2016)

(born on August 5, 1968 in Bremen, Germany;
died on March 11, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan)

Lutz Büchner, saxophonist with the NDR Big Band died in Tokyo following a heart attack on March 11th 2016 at the age of just 47.

This tribute is by Martin Laurentius and appeared in its original form in jazzthing (original German text below). This English version is published with their kind permission.

It was when Lutz Büchner stepped forward in front of the band to the solo mic, when the limelight was on him, that the saxophonist really seemed to flourish and to thrive.  He brought the stories he had to tell to the attention of the listener with his eloquent phrasing. His tone on both saxophone and clarinet didn't just have emotional depth, there was also a mature intellect behind it. That combination of attributes allowed him to decorate, to vary and to develop his narratives.

Büchner had that special gift of being to draw his audience in completely, right from the very first note he played. As a person, he left a very different impression when you first met him. He was more reserved, he had a quiet sense of humour, he was a team-player who sought out the togetherness of being in a group.

That was a characteristic which set him in good stead for the twenty-two years during which he worked as a member of the NDR Big Band. Even when soloing up front at the edge of the stage he carried with him in his mind’s ear the totality of what had just been played. He was also preoccupied as part of the saxophone section of the radio orchestra to ensure that the others could sound good. “My ambition,” he would say concisely, “is to play completely in the moment.”

This was a credo he had in common with his fellow saxophonist Herb Geller. Büchner was born in Bremen in 1968 and studied jazz saxophone with Geller at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater. The time spent with Geller brought him both the practical craft of playing the instrument and the contextual framework of jazz. “Through jazz,” he explained, “I found a far more playful way to engage with music. When I improvise, I can search out for myself what I am going to play and when I am going to play it, and I can develop a musical flow far better through doing that.”

In 1994 Büchner was employed by the NDR Big Band, but always found time for other projects. He had his own quartet, and also worked as side-man in the bands of the Danish drummer Alex Riel and the orchestra of the bass trombonist Ed Partyka.

At the beginning of March, Büchner set off on a tour of Japan with the NDR Bigband. Among other concerts, they played a "Weather Report And More" programme at the Blue Note in Tokyo on March 9th and 10th.

He died in Tokyo on 11th March following a heart attack. Programme Director of NDR Radio Joachim Knuth said: “ Lutz Bücher had a playful love of music. For the NDR Big Band, as well as for the broadcaster NDR, the death of this formidable saxophonist is a huge loss.”
***********
Lutz BüchnerIst am 11. März 47-jährig gestorben: Saxofonist Lutz Büchner

Wenn Lutz Büchner nach vorne ans Solistenmikrofon ging, wenn ihn dort das Schweinwerferlicht anstrahlte, dann schien der Saxofonist geradezu aufzublühen. Eloquent phrasierend brachte er seine Geschichten zu Gehör, sein Ton auf dem Saxofon und der Klarinette besaß eine emotionale Tiefe und intellektuelle Reife, die es ihm erlaubten, seine Geschichten immer wieder auszuschmücken, zu variieren und fortzuspinnen.

Büchner hatte diese Gabe: sofort mit dem ersten geblasenen Ton sein Publikum in den Bann zu ziehen. Dabei wirkte der Mensch Lutz Büchner auf den ersten Blick gar nicht so: eher zurückhaltend und mit leisem Humor, eher ein Teamplayer, der das Miteinander suchte. Doch das zeichnete ihn in den 22 Jahren, in denen er für die NDR Bigband arbeitete, aus: Selbst als Solist vorne am Bühnenrand hatte er das große Ganze in der gerade gespielten Musik fest im Ohr, gleichzeitig sorgte er aber im Saxofonsatz dieses Rundfunk-Jazzorchesters stets auch dafür, dass andere gut klingen konnten. „Mein Ziel ist es, ganz im Moment zu spielen“, so Büchners lapidare Beschreibung seines Credo.

Ein Glaubensbekenntnis, dass er mit seinem Instrumentalkollegen Herb Geller gemein hatte. Bei Geller studierte er an der Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg Jazzsaxofon, von Geller bekam er das handwerkliche Rüstzeug ebenso beigebracht wie den philosophischen Überbau des Jazz. Diese Studienjahre in Hamburg wurden für den 1968 in Bremen geborenen Büchner zur Basis seiner kreativen Arbeit. „Durch den Jazz habe ich einen viel spielerischeren Umgang mit der Musik gefunden“, unterstreicht er, „dadurch, dass ich improvisiere und mir selbst aussuchen kann, was ich wann spiele, finde ich viel besser in einen musikalischen Fluss.“

1994 wird Büchner von der NDR Bigband angestellt, daneben hat er aber immer wieder Zeit für andere Projekte: entweder für sein eigenes Quartett, oder auch für seine Arbeit als Sideman in der Band des dänischen Drummers Alex Riehl und das Orchester von Ed Partyka. Anfang März ging Büchner mit der NDR Bigband auf Tournee nach Japan, um unter anderem am 9. und 10.

März mit dem Schlagzeuger Peter Erskine das Projekt „Weather Report And More“ im Tokioter Blue Note aufzuführen. Am 11. März ist Büchner in Tokio an den Folgen eines Herzinfarktes gestorben. „Lutz Büchner hatte den Jazz im Blut. Er liebte den spielerischen Umgang mit der Musik, die Improvisation“, sagte der NDR Programdirektor Hörfunk, Joachim Knuth: „Der Tod dieses beeindruckenden Saxofonisten ist für die NDR Bigband, für den NDR, ein großer Verlust.“

The John Tropea Band @ The Falcon, tonight!

Get ready for a jazz-funk-fusion night with no musical prejudice!

Ace guitarist John Tropea (one of my favorite artists since I heard his solos on Deodato's albums like "Prelude," "Deodato 2" and "Whirlwinds" as well as his own projects for TK Marlin) leads his all-star band tonight, March 12 @ The Falcon (1348 Route SW, Marlboro, NY). 7pm!

Tropea celebrates his successful new album, "Gotcha Rhythm Right Here" with the support of keyboardist Chris Palmaro, bassist Neil Jason, drummer Lee Finkelstein and percussionist Tommy MvDonnell plus a fiery horn section with Lou Marini & Dave Riekenberg (sax), Don Harris (trumpet), and Larry Farrell (trombone).

John Tropea is one of the most admired and highly regarded guitar players of his generation. His playing shows a vast knowledge and respect for the tradition of the instrument as well as an original style that continues to define how the guitar best serves a wide variety of musical styles. He is a musician’s musician who attracts the finest players for his own projects.

Tropea has written for and played with major recording artists worldwide. In his long career, his contributions to other artist’s successes, include his solo work with Deodato, (2001 theme), projects with Laura Nyro, Harry Chapin (Cat’s in the Cradle), Paul Simon (Fifty Ways), Alice Cooper (Goes to Hell), Eric Clapton (Journey Man), Dr. John, among others.

He is also a composer, arranger, and producer whose vital work is demonstrated by his personal projects. Tropea has a deserved worldwide reputation (specially in Japan, where he recently toured with Steve Gadd as special guest) as an artist of quality among both audiences and other musicians.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sunday Jazz Brunch @ Malarkey's Grill in Long Beach, March 13 & 20

THIS SUNDAY'S AMAZING JAZZ BRUNCH @ MALARKEY'S GRILL, LONG BEACH
(12 noon til 3 pm)

Every weekend 350 of Southern California's greatest jazz and blues fans come together to see the world's best jazz and blues artists presented in Pasadena, Long Beach and Tarzana. We are so honored to spend this time with you!  Please check out this weekend's exciting festivities and we hope to see you there!

March 13: Ron Kobayashi Trio Featuring Debbi Ebert
March 20: Gypsy Jazz with the Hot Club of Los Angeles

Sunday Jazz Brunch at Malarkey's Grill, Long Beach is a huge smashing success!  Come check out Ron Kobayashi Trio with Debbi Ebert (jazz noon 'til 3pm) this Sunday, March 13, 2016!

Carolina Davis Quintet @ FatCat, tomorrow night

This is tonight from 6-8:30pm, hope you'll stop FatCat! 
Very adventure jazz!
75 Christopher St, NY
Ph: 212-675-6056

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mark Murphy's Memorial in NY, March 14

This next Monday, March 14: Memorial Concert Celebrating the Life and Music of Mark Howe Murphy (March 14, 1932 – October 22, 2015), the world's greatest jazz singer ever and my much missed friend.
To be held in the Sanctuary at St. Peters Church (619 Lexington Avenue, entrance on E 54th St.)

Reception 6PM
Concert 7PM

Just a UNDER a week away! Please share the event with your friends and continue your posts about the event.

A couple of updates:

1. The event will remain free but there will be a suggested donation of $15 dollars. Though not obligatory there are a number of out of pocket expenses that are being paid by the producers to make sure the event is professionally videoed and presented we appreciate any donation that can be made no matter the amount.

2. For those looking to gather after the event we will meet up at Draught 55 an Irish Pub located at 245 E 55th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave. The kitchen serves till 11pm.

3. TUNE IN! Legendary radio DJ Michael Bourne will be paying tribute to Mark Murphy on "Singers Unlimited" on WBGO Jazz 88.3 on Sunday March 13 between 10am-2pm. London, Meader, Pramuk and Ross will join Bourne live in the studio to sing and discuss Mark don't miss it. Bourne will also talk about Mark at the ceremony on the 14th.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Event is FREE and open to the public. There are no tickets for the event seating is on a first come first serve basis.

With: Alan Broadbent, Daniel Čačija, Jay Clayton, Richie Cole, Roz Corral, Guy Davis, Kurt Elling, Carol Fredette, Will Friedwald, Giacomo Gates, James Gavin, The Hanky Panky Trio (Alex Minasian, Brandi Disterheft, Itamar Borochov), Sheila Jordan, Nancy Kelly, Mark Edmond Murphy, Annie Ross, The Royal Bopsters (Amy London, Dylan Pramuk, Darmon Meader, Holli Ross), Sean Smith, Tessa Souter, Ronny Whyte and more to be announced.

Co Produced By Ari Silverstein of NYCJazzTour.com and Jean-Pierre Leduc of Lunched Management & Booking
Special thanks to The Jazz Foundation and St. Peter's Church;

Valentina Marino to perform @ Kitano, NY

After her successful appearance @ Zinc Bar last month, the multi-talented Valentina Marino now brings the pre-release celebration of her debut album to Jazz at Kitano (66 Park Ave.) on March 31st. 2 sets at 8pm and 10pm. Reservations are recommended: (212) 885-7119.
Vocalist, songwriter, arranger and lyricist Valentina Marino brings the sensitivity, sophistication and earthiness of her Mediterranean roots to cutting edge jazz. Marino began her musical studies at the University of Music in Rome, continued taking piano and voice lessons in Vienna and later attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, where she received a BFA in Vocal Jazz Performance under the mentor ship of, among others, legendary bass player Reggie Workman, saxophonist David Glasser and vocalists Amy London, La Tania Hall, Julie Hardy and Janet Lawson.

While deeply rooted in Jazz, Marino is a musical gypsy, in constant search for unexplored paths where jazz can meet the energetic vibes and rhythms of Tango and Brazilian music and where pop songs can explore the language of improvisation or land into adventurous arrangements. What would remain of a human being without feelings and sensitivity? What would life be without the truth of human stories, the magic of improvisation, the pulsing rhythms of emotions, the passionate dances of the heart? On her music journey Marino sings these questions and searches in the moment for any possible answer.

Living in New York City, the epicenter of Jazz and world music, she has found the perfect environment to keep nurturing and developing this musical inter fusions through collaborations with artists coming from many different backgrounds. "Jazz is my magnet" – says Marino – "I love to see what happens when I temporarily separate from it and then find myself strongly pulled towards it". The blend of different music possibilities gravitating around jazz is what inspired her debut album, "PhiLOVEsophy" which will be released this Fall in New York City. The album is a selection of her originals, contemporary jazz songs and standards, bossa nova and pop tunes that have been arranged within a jazz realm.

Ms. Marino has performed, recorded and collaborated with various musicians of the European and American Jazz scene, including Cameron Brown, Jay Azzolina, Saul Rubin, Ray Gallon, Hans Salomon. In Vienna she sang at Zwe, Unplugged, Papas in Naschmarkt, Tunnel, Birdcage, Fischer Bräu, to name a few and performed with the Pandora's Box Tango Argentino Ensemble at The Rote Bar in Volkstheater. In Rome she performed at Charity, Flamingo and Bebo do Samba. In New York she sang and appeared among the others, at Somethin' Jazz Club, The Garage, Bar Next Door, The Flatiron Room, Cleopatra's Needle, Kitano, The Cotton Club.

R.I.P.: George Martin (1926-2016)


R.I.P.: Naná Vasconcelos (1944-2016)

(born Juvenal De Holanda Vasconcelos on August 2, 1944 in Recife, State of Pernambuco, Brazil;
died on March 9, 2016 in Recife, State of Pernambuco, Brazil)

One of the world's greatest percussionists, winner of the DownBeat Polls several times, Naná Vasconcelos just passed away in his hometown, after a battle against lung cancer. His last concert was in Salvador, Bahia, on February 28.

But his "home" was the world. The first time I heard him, in the early 70s, was on Gato Barbieri's "Fenix" LP. He remained on Gato's group for some years, and recorded other great albums with him, touring all over Europe, where he also recorded with Agustin Pereyra Lucena, Jean-Luc Ponty, Phil Woods, Rolf Kühn, Joachim Kühn, Oliver Nelson and countless others.

Returning briefly to Brazil, he did his debut album as a leader, "Amazonas," for the Philips label in 1973, and it criminally never appeared on CD. I've tried to reissue it many times, as well as tried at least to include some tracks in some compilations I produced for Universal, but all requests were denied... A typical proceeding in Brazil, something very usual there, a country that hates and envies the Brazilian artists that achieve international fame.

That same year, he also recorded a solo album in France, "Africadeus," for the Saravah label.

After some recordings with Milton Nascimento ("Milagre dos Peixes"), Luiz Bonfa (I had the honor to produce the CD reissue of "The New Face of Bonfá" for BMG), and Joao Donato (the famous track "Cala Boca Menino," later an acid jazz anthem) in Brazil, Nana returned to Europe and did, in 1975, a wonderful album with Novelli and Nelson Angelo, followed by sessions with fellow Brazilian expatriates Manduka and Teca & Ricardo.

A turning point came with the 1977 release of a superb duo album with Egberto Gismonti, "Dança das Cabeças," on the ECM label. Many sessions for ECM followed during the 70s and 80s, not only with Gismonti but also as a member of the Codona trio (that he co-founded with Don Cherry and Collin Walcott) and, many years later, of the Pat Metheny Group (the double-album "Travels" is awesome!)

Back in 1977, he had decided to move to the USA, where he initially became a member of Gaudencio Thiago de Mello's Amazon big band in NY, and later recorded with Lloyd McNeil, Jon Hassell, Terumasa Hino, Brian Eno, Woody Shaw, Jon Lucien, Sergio Mendes & Brasil 88, and even Chaka Khan and B.B. King (some amazing overdubs on "Now Appearing At Ole Miss".)

Another groundbreaking solo album came in 1979, "Saudades" (ECM), which includes the suite "O Berimbau," a masterpiece recorded with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart.

During the 80s, there were albums with Ron Carter, Jeremy Steig, Eddie Gomez, Jan Garbarek, Bob Moses, Michael Franks, Chico Freeman, Jim Pepper, Claudio Roditi (his debut album for CTI, "Red on Red") and the Talking Heads, besides the tours and recordings with Metheny.

In the late 80s, Nana signed with Island Records' subsidiary Antilles and released "Bush Dance," which includes collaborations with Mario Toledo, Clive Stevens, Arto Lindsay and with his lesser known brother Erasto Vasconcelos, also a great percussionist. I have included one of its tracks, "Futebol," in the compilation "A Trip To Brazil Vol. 5: Copa do Mundo 2006" that I produced for Verve.

Sessions with Laurie Anderson, John Lurie, Janet Grice, Toninho Horta, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Danny Gottlieb and the Ambitious Lovers followed. Naná also recorded and toured as a special guest with Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition group.

Carly Simon, Caetano Veloso, Eliane Elias, Paul Simon, Badi Assad and Trilok Gurtu were partners in sessions during the 90s. Then, Naná returned to Brazil in the early 2000s, and started to tour extensively thrughout the country with local artists. Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Chris Klaxton's "Collage" coming out now!

Trumpeter Chris Klaxton, whose “artistry is born from a place that communicated freedom and connection to a universal groove that will beg of you to dance,” according to renowned trumpeter Jason Palmer, presents his sophomore album "Collage", a follow up to his critically acclaimed debut "Starcode".

Where "Starcode" explored both spirituality and science in the wake of a tragic loss, "Collage" is a reflection on release and letting go. Answers to the philosophical questions posed in his debut are, on this effort, explored through hauntingly beautiful melodies, rich harmonies, funky grooves and poignant storytelling.

On "Collage", released last week on March 1st, Klaxton has created a sound that is distinctly his and unique to the current landscape of modern jazz. Besides the leader on trumpet, it features superb singer (or should I say vocal instrumentalist?) Taylor O'Donnell on astonishing wordless vocal performances, Mark Small (tenor sax), Kendall Moore (trombone, shining with a velvet-like sound a la Urbie Green on "Love Gone Wild"), Mike Effenberger (killing on the Fender Rhodes), Tim Jago (guitar), Sam Weber (bass) & Michael Piolet (drums). The last track, "Fictional Friends Remix" is a successful rap adventure in an astounding project.

The album was recorded, mixed & mastered by Chris Chase @ 1130ft Studios (Rollinsford, NH). Art and layout by Roland Lefox.

https://chrisklaxton.bandcamp.com/

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Vida Como Ela É (Plano Macabro)

Alguns anos depois de arquitetar um maquiavélico plano que resultou na morte da própria mãe - visando interesses financeiros, claro - a inescrupulosa, nefasta & malévola atriz planeja agora o assassinato da irmã.

Que já tem data e local marcados: entre os dias 14 e 30 de Julho de 2016 no Uruguai.

Obviamente, rezo para dar errado. Mas é o "crime perfeito", não há como negar. Afastadas de tudo e de todos, sem possibilidade de ajuda da família ou dos amigos da vítima, sem passaporte, sem documentos. Será forjada uma "morte natural" ou "acidente". Ou o corpo simplesmente desaparecerá. Nunca vi algo tão macabro em toda a minha vida.

Nicholas Payton Balances Studio Work With International Touring Schedule


Nicholas PaytonGrammy award-winning Nicholas Payton -- one of the era's definitive artists -- has been quite busy this winter blowing with the all-star Monterey Jazz Festival on a nationwide tour, putting the finishing touches on Textures, his fifth release for his very own label, Paytone Records, as well as producing and arranging Jane Monheit's latest project, The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald.
 
As a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer, bandleader, producer, arranger, and essayist, the New Orleans-born and -bred Payton will debut his Afro-Caribbean Mixtape, a blazing new quintet featuring bassist Vicente Archer, pianist Kevin Hays, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, and rising New Orleans drummer Joe Dyson, at the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
 
Set to record this spring, the rhythmically encompassing ensemble explores "how rhythms came from Africa and transmigrated throughout the Caribbean to New Orleans, and affected popular music all over the world," Payton says.
 
Nicholas Payton LettersHis latest album, 2015's Letters on Paytone Records, features his trio with bassist Vicente Archer (an essential Payton collaborator for more than a decade) and veteran drummer Bill Stewart. The two-disc album features 26 original Payton compositions that run from "A" to "Z," a series of distilled motifs on which he moves gracefully from trumpet to piano, Fender Rhodes, organ, and even vocals.
 
"It's largely uncharted territory and the landscape is wide open," Payton says, referring to the unorthodox method of playing both keyboards and trumpet simultaneously. "When I'm playing keys I'm functioning more in the rhythm section and thinking of orchestration. These pieces are springboards to get the creative energy flowing."
 
Payton's creative universe keeps expanding, and with each new ensemble, project, and endeavor, the visionary artist redefines the parameters of #BAM (Black American Music). A whirlwind of activity, he's in the midst of a banner year marked by extraordinary new ensembles, new music, and exquisite new collaborations.
 
In the process of mixing Textures, the latest in a series of conceptual albums geared towards defining a neological lexicon of #BAM, Payton has been composing using the Apple sequencing software Logic while collaborating with New Orleans visual artist Anastasia Pelias. "We both went into the studio not knowing what to expect, her with a blank canvas, and me with a MIDI keyboard controller and a laptop," Payton says. "We played off of each other and that first day I walked away from the studio with a new composition and she with a new painting."
   
Nicholas PaytonPayton is also applying his expertise and creative vision in service of other artists. He produced vocalist Jane Monheit's new album The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald (Emerald City Records), a project that revels in her glorious sound while revealing unexpected facets of her musical personality.
 
"I love to hear the creative process, to bear witness to how that manifests and unfolds from artist to artist," Payton says. "For The Songbook Sessions I wanted to make a quintessential Jane Monheit album, to find the timeless DNA of these melodies and lyrics while taking free rein with rhythms and chord changes. I feel my job as producer is to make the artist comfortable, but also uncomfortable, to push them into spaces they might not go."
 
Payton's influence extends far beyond the studio and stage. Payton, the polymath, is the creator of the #BAM movement. The conversation he's leading extends far beyond terminology. Payton's#BAM is a statement about social justice, self-definition, and refusing to allow one's creativity to be bounded by other's rules, language, and expectations.
 
"I'm not the first person to talk about Black music," Payton says. "The information has been there: Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Sidney Bechet said it. So did Charlie Parker, Ahmad Jamal, and the AACM [Association for the Advancement for Creative Musicians, Inc.]. I'm just here to deliver the message at this time. I've evolved and embrace the fact that I do more than one thing. I'd expect the artistic community to be open to that, but it's not always the case."
Nicholas Payton
Born September 26, 1973 in New Orleans, Nicholas Payton is the son of the late bassist and sousaphonist Walter Payton and former operatic singer and pianist Maria Payton. A professional musician before reaching his teens, he joined his first band at age 11 with the All Star Brass Band under the leadership of James Andrews (Trombone Shorty's eldest brother), and landed his first regular gig with legendary New Orleans guitarist/banjoist Danny Barker at The Famous Door on Bourbon Street. Since his debut as a leader on 1994's From This Moment(Verve), Payton has released more than a dozen albums under his own name, including the Grammy Award-winning Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton (Verve).
 
Payton has toured and collaborated with many of the greatest artists in music, including Roy Haynes, Joe Henderson, Dr. John, Elvin Jones, Hank Jones, Stanley Jordan, Daniel Lanois, Zigaboo Modeliste, Marcus Roberts, Jill Scott, Clark Terry, Allen Toussaint, Cassandra Wilson, and Dr. Michael White.
 
Payton continues to maintain a busy touring schedule, with the following dates booked through the summer:
 
March 11: College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
March 12: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
March 13: City Winery, Chicago
(Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour w/ Ravi Coltrane, Raul Midon, Gerald Clayton Trio)
 
April 7-10: Jazz Showcase, Chicago
(trio w/ Vicente Archer, b; Joe Dyson, d)
 
April 28: One Eye Jack, New Orleans
(w/ Eric Krasnow & Chapter 2)
 
April 29: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 30: Prime Example, New Orleans
(Afro-Caribbean Mixtape w/ Vicente Archer, b; Joe Dyson, d; Daniel Sadownick, perc)
 
May 1: New Orleans Jazz Festival
(w/ Trumpet Mafia)
May 6: Motorco Music Hall Art of Cool Festival, Durham, NC
(trio w/ Vicente Archer, b; Joe Dyson, d)
June 19: Miner Auditorium, SFJAZZ, San Francisco
(w/ Stanton Moore)
June 22: Clifford Brown Festival, Wilmington, DE (special guest)
 
June 23-24: Blues Alley, Washington, DC
June 27: Rochester (NY) International Festival
(trio w/ Vicente Archer, b; Joe Dyson, d)

 
Web Sitenicholaspayton.com

Katka Rieckermann @ Vibrato, this Thursday

Don't miss the very talented and soulful sax player Katja Rieckermann live @ Vibrato in LA, this Thursday, March 10, celebrating the release of her new album, "Never Stand Still." Oh, and she also looks gorgeous, as we all already know.
Herb Alpert's Vibrato Grill Jazz
2930 N Beverly Glen Cir, Los Angeles, CA
Katja says: "I had the huge honor to perform at the 58th Grammys with Lady Gaga and Nile Rogers! Being very inspired, now it's time for me - for the first time in 2016 - to perform songs from my latest CD "Never Stand Still" live at Herb Alpert's beautiful Vibrato Grill Jazz featuring some of LA's finest musicians: Randy Cooke on drums, Andreas Geck on bass, Ronny DeJesus on guitar, Marco Luciani on keyboard, Juliane Gralle on trombone, Rashawn Ross on trumpet, Russ Henry on Steel Drum, Lyndsay Haldorson on vocals. My good friend and talented guitarist/singer Mark Anthony Castrilion will do an opening set at 7 and then my band will hit the stage at 8 and do 2 sets. There will be a cover of $20 to help pay for the musicians. I hope you can make it!"

Friday, March 4, 2016

Lou Caputo Big Band returns to Gillespie Auditorium, Tues. March 8

Join us for another spectacular evening of swinging jazz you'll never forget this coming Tuesday evening, March 8 at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the New York City Baha'i Center at 53 East 11th Street (between University Place & Broadway), when saxophonist Lou Caputo brings his swingin' Big Band to the stage. There are 2 shows: 8:00 and 9:30 p.m.

Lou Caputo, a native of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has been a professional musician for over thirty years. He has done almost every kind of job that a musician can be asked to do. A multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinets and flutes) he has performed in show bands with the likes of Lou Rawls, Frankie Valli, Shirley Basey, Jack Jones, Bobby Short, Frankie Avalon, and a host of others. As well as the many of the famous Motown acts like the Temptations and the Four Tops. Aside from this he has performed along side of Salsa legends like Candido, Bobby Sanabria and Lou Perez.

However, playing jazz is really closest to Lou's heart. He has had the opportunity to perform with people like trumpeter Richard Williams, pianists Duke Jordon and Jaki Byard, drummers Walter Perkins and Mousey Alexander (in his short-lived big band), vocalist Joe "BeBop" Carroll and Dakota Staton, bassist Chris White (including a Carnegie Hall appearance). He has spent time in the Glen Miller band under the direction of Clem DeRosa as well as the Harry James Big Band. He has had the good fortune to record with jazz legend Dr. Billy Taylor on guitarist Ray Rivera's album Night Wind.

Lou has had the pleasure of performing in the Richie Cole Octet. Another high point is playing Birdland with the Ellington Band under the direction of Paul Ellington and Jack Jeffers. Through the years Lou has appeared in many of the area's leading jazz clubs as both a leader and side man.
He also played for former President Bill Clinton on the occasion of Clinton's 50th birthday.

Admission is 15.00, 10.00 for students.
Tickets will be sold at the door, or call 212-222-5159 for reservations and information.
For more about the NYSAJE and other acts at "Jazz Tuesdays", check out at  www.jazzbeat.com  and www.facebook.com/JazzTuesdays 

Jazz Tuesdays
in the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium
The New York Baha'i Center
53 East 11th Street (between University Place & Broadway)
Two shows: 8:00 and 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Vinyl Reissue of the Month - "Miles Davis: Live Evil"

Vinyl Reissue of the Month
Miles Davis: "Live Evil" (Columbia/Music On Vinyl MOVLP 1483, 2-LP set) 1971/2016

Rating:
***** (musical performance)
**** (sonic quality)

Great reissue of one of Miles' iconic fusion albums from the early 70s, mixing studio and live recordings. There are three tracks written by Brazilian genius Hermeto Pascoal, which were wrongly credited to Miles in the original LP pressing: "Little Church," "Nem Um Talvez" and "Selim," the latter being actually an alternate take of "Nem Um Talvez." Airto, who introduced Hermeto to Miles, shines in most of the tracks, along with John McLaughlin, Michael Henderson, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette and many others.

Gatefold 180-gram audiophile vinyl 2xLP
Release Date: March 18, 2016
Produced by Teo Macero
Engineers: Russ Payne & Stan Tonkel
Illustration: Abdul Mati Klarwein (back cover image inspired on Hermeto Pascoal)
Liner Photo of Miles Davis: Don Hunstein

Featuring: Miles Davis (trumpet), Hermeto Pascoal (voice, whistle, keyboards, electric piano), Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett & Joe Zawinul (keyboards), Ron Carter, Michael Henderson & Dave Holland (bass), Jack DeJohnette & Billy Cobham (drums), Airto Moreira (percussion, cuica, berimbau), John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Gary Bartz, Steve Grossman & Wayne Shorter (sax), Khalil Balakrishna (sitar)

12" Vinyl Single of the Month - "Angela Bofill"

12" Vinyl Single of the Month
Angela Bofill: "People Make The World Go 'Round / Under The Moon And Over The Sky" (Groove Line, GLR 1200009) 2016

Release Date: March 18, 2016
A very nice reissue with two tracks from different albums by a sensational vocalist, Angela Bofill, who was forced to retire due to two massive strokes in 2006 and 2007 which left both her speech and mobility impaired. Although she lost her ability to sing after her second stroke, in recent years Bofill did return to the stage in "The Angela Bofill Experience." The show consists of Bofill recounting her life and career, joined by Maysa Leak, Phil Perry and Melba Moore, performing Bofill's biggest hits and signature songs.

"Under The Moon..." comes from her debut album, "Angie" (1978), while the Thom Bell-Linda Creed r&b anthem "People Make The World Go Round" (covered by Freddie Hubbard and Milt Jackson during the CTI heyday) was included on her second Arista album, "Angel of the Night" (1979).

Hope she will receive some money from this reissue...

DVD of the Month - "Anna-Lena Laurin: Iphigenia"

DVD of the Month
"Iphigenia - A Composer Portrait of Anna-Lena Laurin" (Vanguard Music Boulevard)

Rating: ***** (musical performance, video & sound quality)

A Film by Lin Laurin & Michael De Pasquale
Contains the world premiere of "Iphigenia," comissioned to acclaimed Swedish composer and pianist Anna-Lena Laurin by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Featuring: Anders Bergcrantz (trumpet), Richie Beirach (piano) and Thomas Sondergard (conductor)

Produced by Lin Laurin for Loft 910
Directors of Photography: Jonathan King & Michael De Pasquale
Editor: Jonathan Wing

"Iphigenia" is a contemporary orchestral work that integrates jazz soloists and the symphonic world.
Originally produced for national Swedish television, SVT, both the film and the concert itself were received incredibly well. In this DVD you'll hear the entire world premiere performance of "Iphigenia," and get to follow the procedure of creating this project. It's a colorful, cinematic, and intimate composer portrait with masterful music and extraordinary soloists.
The DVD also contains extracts from Laurin's "Concerto For Flute, Srings and Harp," which was one of the four nominees for Swedish Music Publisher Association's Award 2011, performed by Magnus Bage, Terje Tonnesen and Camerata Nordica.

Anna-Lena Laurin is a composer who have had commissions from/worked with orchestras and artists such as Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Norrlandsoperan's Symphony orchestra, Göran Söllscher, Håkan Hardenberger, Andrew Manze, Thomas Søndergaard, Anders Bergcrantz, Richie Beirach and Swedish Radio among many others.

Her music has been performed in USA, China, Hong Kong, Europe etc. Laurin is Composer in residence 2014-2016 by Camerata Nordica and in pipeline are three new concertos in collaboration with them and their leader Terje Tønnesen – for trumpet, guitar and violin. She also worked on a double concerto premiered by the Tokyo Festival Orchestra and a long list of chamber music works are coming up for premieres arround the world. Many distinguished soloists ask for her music and she has commissions planned for a long time ahead.

Laurin started her musical career as a jazz pianist and vocalist and is still working in betweeen her classical commissions in the jazz field – touring with TV, radio and performances on different events and festivals. Swedish Radio appointed Laurin Composer of the Year/Jazzkatten 2013 with the motivation; ”For her ability to create a succesful crossover between the jazz’s and classical music’s language and the courage to write music from her heart without leeking at prevailing musical trends” and her classicla work Concerto for flute strings and harp was nominated to one of the most important works 2011. Acchieving such big apprieciation in two different genres make Laurin very unique.

Fusion CD of the Month - "Peter Horvath: Absolute Reality"

Fusion CD of the Month
Peter Horvath: "Absolute Reality" (Foreign Matter Records 101201) 2016

Produced & Arranged by Peter Horvath
Mixed by Ray Obiedo & Peter Horvath @ Werewolf Recording (Oakland, CA)
Mastered by Bernie Grundman @ Bernie Grundman Mastering Studios (Hollywood, CA)
Cover Photo: Eszter Biro
Art Direction: Fifi Larue

Featuring: Peter Horvath (piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, keyboards), Bob Mintzer (tenor sax), Norbert Stachel (soprano, alto, tenor & baritone sax, flute, alto flute, Bb clarinet, bass clarinet), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Louis Fasman (trumpet, flugelhorn), Marty Wehner (trombone), Dean Brown & Ray Obiedo (guitar), Victor Bailey, Larry Kimpel & Marc Van Wageningen (bass), Ricky Lawson, Lenny White & Walfredo Reyes, Jr. (drums), Michael Spiro, Karl Perazzo & Peter Michael Escovedo (percussion)

Rating:
**** (musical performance)
***** (sonic quality)

CTI meets GRP, Bob James meets David Benoit on "Absolute Reality." What a joy to listen to this album! The second CD by keyboardist/arranger Peter Horvath is an absolutely pleasant effort, full of killer grooves and lovely melodies. Guest stars like Bob Mintzer (shining on "Carla" and "Escape From Oakland") and Randy Brecker (who overdubbed a nice solo on "Foreign Matter") add an extra spice to Horvath's perfectly built tunes, but the disc offers many other pleasures.

The main hero is the leader himself, a terrific soloist, specially on the Rhodes electric piano. Norbert Stachel, a superb reedman who co-wrote six of the ten tunes, sounds like an entire horn section. The album also includes some of the last recordings by late drummer Ricky Lawson (1954-2013). Among them, the title track that mixes a James Brown-like riff with a glamorous melody played by Horvath on the acoustic piano.

Mintzer and Horvath share the spotlight on the funkyfied "Escape From Oakland," while Kenny Washington's wordless vocal effects add a special flavour to the laidback groove of "Nassau Nights," on which Horvath's hands seem to fly on the Rhodes over a lush horn arrangement.

If you like Hancock's late 70s efforts, you'll love "Fake Out," another number with an infectious groove, a dazzling Rhodes solo, and Norbert Stachel playing nothing less than five horn instruments. "Miss You" is a latin-tinged ballad, coloured by Michael Spiro's percussion. "Sardegna," another radio-friendly number evokes memories of Azymuth's Milestone years. The album closes with Horvath's tune for his son, "Braden's Song," a striking, ebb-and-flow solo piano piece a la Bill Evans that provides a tantalizing glimpse at another side of this great artist.
*********

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area since the mid-1980s, keyboardist/ composer Peter Horvath has thrived in the region's highly diverse environment, where various music scenes often overlap. He's played post-bop with Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, and Charles McPherson, and funk fusion with the Victor Bailey Group, Marcus Miller, Bennie Maupin, and Lenny White. He's played Latin jazz with Arturo Sandoval, Ray Obiedo, and Pete Escovedo, and funk and R&B with Pee Wee Ellis, Lalah Hathaway, Melba Moore, Ledisi, and Rosie Gaines.
But his in-demand status left him little time for his own music. Now, picking up where he left off in 1995, when Lake Street Records released his critically hailed chart-topping debut Foreign Matter, Horvath is following up with Absolute Reality, his second album as a leader. The CD, which will be released by his Foreign Matter Records on March 25, showcases some of most potent improvisers in jazz and Latin music including trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Bob Mintzer, drummer Lenny White, bassist Victor Bailey, and guitarist Ray Obiedo.
"It's kind of crazy it's been 20 years since my last album," says the Hungarian-born musician. "During that time I was on the road constantly, both nationally and internationally, with artists like Victor Bailey and Lalah Hathaway. When my touring schedule slowed down a bit in 2012, I decided it was time to focus on my own music and get it out there."
Absolute Reality is a highly personal and supremely engaging album by an artist eager to celebrate the musical riches he's experienced in the Bay Area. The opener and title track is both a manifesto and a statement of purpose co-written by saxophonist Norbert Stachel, who provides consistently smart horn arrangements throughout the album. "Carla," featuring a gently insinuating groove from Lenny White and a soulful, lyrical performance by Bob Mintzer, showcases Horvath's gift for crafting yearning melodies.
No tune better captures the singular mélange of styles that came together in the Bay Area than "Fake Out," a funk-driven tune that sounds like a theme for a 1970s street-wise detective show by way of Steely Dan. "Escape from Oakland" marks the first encounter between Victor Bailey and Ricky Lawson, who together "create this ferocious groove," says Horvath.
For pure straight-ahead blowing, Horvath digs in with "Foreign Matter," a treacherous post-bop workout that features Randy Brecker's witty and casually virtuosic trumpet. 
Peter Horvath 
Born in Budapest, Peter Horvath grew up behind the Iron Curtain at a time when availability of American jazz recordings was very limited. But as the son of Hungarian pop star Mátrai Zsuzsa, he had access to recordings she brought back from touring outside the country. He also credits his maternal grandfather with introducing him to the infinite possibilities of the piano.
"My mom was the Barbra Streisand of Hungary, but I wanted a normal mom," Horvath recalls. "In hindsight it was a wonderful thing. Through her I got exposed to jazz. She still lives in Budapest and still performs."
Already passionate about the piano, Horvath experienced a jazz epiphany as a young teen when he heard the music of Oscar Peterson. While pursuing his love of jazz, he continued to immerse himself in the European classical tradition, studying at the Béla Bartók Conservatory of Music. At 17, he won the National Jazz Combo Competition in Gyor, Hungary and a year later he chose to leave his homeland behind.
Horvath went on to study at the Vienna Conservatory of Music, a move that also led to steady jazz work on the Austrian scene. A scholarship to Berklee brought him to the United States in 1983, when he was 22, and by the end of the year he had left Boston to settle in the Bay Area. He arrived in California as a straight-ahead jazz player, but working with funk vocalist Rosie Gaines introduced him to the jazz-steeped Bay Area R&B scene, where he flourished.
All of those influences are readily apparent on his 1995 album Foreign Matter, a highly successful project featuring regular compatriots such as John Pena, Steve Smith, Ray Obiedo, Walfredo Reyes Jr., Benny Rietveld, Santana's Tony Lindsay, and David Garibaldi (with whom he collaborated on a series of widely influential instructive videos for Warner Bros.). He draws on some of the same cast on Absolute Reality, in addition to the great Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Victor Bailey, Lenny White, Dean Brown, and others. It took some time, but Horvath's second album marks the return of a bandleader with a singular and expansive musical vision "that encompasses all the things I've been exposed to," he says. "I wanted to do something that represented all this musical and cultural diversity." 

Peter Horvath
Peter Horvath "Absolute Reality"
Web Site: peterhorvath.com

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month - "Iris Bergcrantz: Different Universe"

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month
Iris Bergcrantz: "Different Universe" (Vanguard Music Boulevard)

Rating: ***** (music performance & sound quality)

Featuring: Iris Bergcrantz (vocals), Anna-Lena Laurin (acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Moog synthesizer), Stefan Bellnäs (acoustic bass), Anders Fjeldsted (acoustic bass & electric bass), Johan Kolsut & Victor Lewis (drums), Anders Bergcrantz (trumpet, percussion), Rebecca Bergcrantz (harmony vocals on track 1)

Produced by Iris Bergcrantz, Anders Bergcrantz, Zakarias Lindhammar & Anna-Lena Laurin
Recorded & Mixed by Zakarias Lindhammar
Mastered by Magnus Lindberg
Photos by Nadja Hallström (cover) & Goran James Djordjevic (booklet)
Artwork: XPR Visual
Recorded By Berno Paulsson (track 1)
Recorded By, Mixed By Zakarias Lindhammar

The fearless & flawless debut solo album by Swedish singer/composer Iris Bergcrantz is one of the most exciting new arrivals in the contemporary jazz scene. She sounds really "contemporary," taking chances and providing extremely intriguing tunes. As a composer, Iris paints musical landscapes of intense beauty and sense of urgency, using her voice to forward the lyrics' messages with complete mastery.

Iris doesn't needs any of the same old standards (used by 99% of the "new" vocalists that want to be the "next Diana Krall") to prove her artistry. Instead, she introduces five original tracks that push the jazz boundaries to new limits. The daughter of trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz (whom I met when touring with the CTI All Stars band in 2009) and pianist Anna-Lena Laurin, Iris sometimes sounds like the missing link between Bjork and Annette Peacock, although completely unique.

"I knew I wanted to become a singer when I was 4 years old, singing in my mother's choir," she remembers. "It was neither a strange nor a naive dream. To create music is something very normal in my family, it's just a part of our daily lives."

"Jazz has always ben very close to my heart," she continues. "I think there is an honesty in improvised music, and to me it's very beautiful that a piece can develop in completely different musical spectrums depending on the mood, the energy and simply the moment it is played."

Her strong conception is showcased throughout the album, also available on vinyl LP format, and on which father Anders appears on trumpet & percussion, while mother Anna-Lena goes electric playing mainly Fender Rhodes and Moog synthesizer, as well as the acoustic piano. Anders Fjeldsted plays both acoustic & electric basses, being replaced by Stefan Bellnäs on the opening track, "If You Fail, I'll Always Stay" (with lyrics by Rebecca Bergcrantz), on which special guest drummer Victor Lewis replaces Johan Kolsut.

"The first time I met Victor Lewis was in 2009, when he was playing in my father's band," Iris comments. "One of the many things I love about Victor is the way he views music. He has both a humble and spiritual way of approaching life as an artist. He meditates before each concert in order to clear his head so that he will be more responsive to energies in the room and play directly from his heart. I'm extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to record this album with such wonderful musicians!"

"Aurora's Anthem" is a short instrumnetal interlude that leads to the third track, "Time Was Spent," a 7-minute piece that impresses by its intensity, with Anna-Lena on Rhodes, and Anders performing a superb trumpet solo.

"They Say..." starts like a ballad with Rhodes and acoustic bass but develops as another number of dense magnetism, very well structured. Iris' etheral vocal effects remind me of Flora Purim's on her heyday. Once again, Anders takes the solo spot, but drummer Kolsut almost steals the scene thanks to his vitality, although there's no space to the word "steal" in the collective musical concept created here.

"If you look very closely into any eye, it almost looks like an entire solar system," Iris says about the album title. "There are scientific theories about the patterns in your iris and how they show personality traits, which would mean they really are windows of the soul. What a beautiful idea! Getting to know somebody by looking deeply into her eyes, and thereby experiencing her own different universe..."

The title track is also the magnum opus. The evolutionary process embodied here makes me think of the Bitches Brew era, full of the early Weather Report energy, specially when Anders plugs his Conn Multi-Vider octave pedal, sometimes sounding like a guitar or a soprano sax (sometimes both simultaneously!) Anna-Lena's Rhodes solo follows, full of imagination, and later becomes a dialogue with the trumpet, till Kolsut emerges for an explosive solo. Like on the best fusion works of the early 70s, the piece returns to a reflexive & dreamy mood in the end. It's a joy to listen to music of this caliber. Iris really succeeded in creating her own solar system. This girl is a force of nature.
Vocalist/composer Iris Bergcrantz grew up in a musical family surrounded by jazz music. She started singing in her mother's choir as a four year old, participated at nine on her first CD and received the third prize in an International song contest in Macedonia – broadcasted in TV at the age of 14.

In 2009, she was appointed Årets Stjärnskott (Upcoming star of the Year) in Sweden. She studied in Dublin at New Park Music Centre for one year. At the time being, she has just finished her studies at Skurups Folkhögskola. Iris is also very interested in classical music as well as folk music, and sings in different groups.

Bergcrantz composes, arranges and performs her own as well as others music in different ensembles. In June she will make her debut as a soloist together with Malmö Opera Orchestra when her own piece "Hur kan jag säga," arranged by Anna-Lena Laurin, will be performed at the Nordiskt Forum @ Malmö Arena.