Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Today, the album has moved up to #86 in the Jazz Week charts, breaking the Top 100!
"Puerto de Buenos Aires 1933" was inspired by a remnant of Nojechowicz's family history, the passport that his grandmother carried when she fled Warsaw for Argentina in 1933 along with Nojechowicz's father, who was then a small boy. Crossing Europe by train, they left behind everything familiar to face the unknown in Buenos Aires -- a trip that spared them from the Holocaust, when so many others in their community later perished.
The Latin jazz suite that chronicles their long, uncertain journey is the centerpiece of EL ECO's new recording. In addition to Nojechowicz (Claudio Roditi, Romero Lubambo, Donny McCaslin, Airto Moreira) the EL ECO ensemble members include Brazilian pianist Helio Alves (Joe Henderson, Yo-Yo Ma), Argentinean bassist Fernando Huergo (Antonio Sanchez, Dave Liebman), Italian saxophonist Marco Pignataro (Eddie Gomez, Berklee Global Jazz Institute), vocalist Kim Nazarian (New York Voices), and Grammy-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch (Eddie Palmieri, Phil Woods).
Nojechowicz and the band are joined on three tracks by Italian accordionist Roberto Cassan, who sadly passed away shortly after this recording. The evocative sound of Puerto de Buenos Aires 1933 is already capturing attention. "There is something very powerful in these compositions," said internationally renowned composer Osvaldo Golijov. Acclaimed Brazilian jazz vocalist Luciana Souza called Puerto de Buenos Aires 1933 "a beautiful and important record." And Oscar-winning film composer Gustavo Santaolalla ("Motorcycle Diaries," "Babel") summarized the recording: "Excellent material! And great musicians!"
EL ECO festival performances have included Telluride Jazz Celebration, where the festival line-up featured Herbie Hancock and Terence Blanchard; the Curaçao Jazz Festival; the Freihofer Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs; the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival in Argentina; and the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival. Also an international clinician and educator, Nojechowicz has led his World Jazz Ensemble students in workshops at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School with guest artists Joshua Redman and Wynton Marsalis through a collaboration with Harvard University. He has also traveled with his students to teach and perform at the Panama Jazz Festival, which features renowned jazz artists that have included Danilo Perez, Chucho Valdez, and John Scofield.
Monday, January 29, 2018
Fellow professors at California State University, Fresno, until Levine's death in 2015, Boone and Levine performed their first concert together in March 2012; that fall they decided to lay down some tracks. "The Poetry of Jazz" features 14 iconic poems by Levine set to compositions by Boone based on the music he heard in their words and their author's delivery.
For the recording sessions, Levine was in the studio with the musicians. "He told me, 'Why the hell would I want to be in a room by myself? I do that enough already! Have the musicians there and then that will be fun,'" Boone recalls. "There were always musicians playing live with him. Phil did most tracks in a max of two takes. 'Gin' was the absolute first take."
A highly regarded composer who often sets text to music, Boone employs a vast and vivid sonic palette in writing and arranging settings for Levine's words. He recruited an impressive cast of California players, relying particularly on drummer Brian Hamada, bassist Spee Kosloff, and pianist David Aus, who also contributed compositionally.
In addition, on the intimate "The Unknowable (Homage to Sonny Rollins)," Boone evokes the inner struggle and beatific quest embodied by the saxophone colossus's famous woodshedding walks on the Williamsburg Bridge, a search that materializes in the thick, sinewy sound of Chris Potter's horn. Tom Harrell delivers a strikingly beautiful statement on "I Remember Clifford (Homage to Clifford Brown)," while the mercurial altoist Greg Osby darts and weaves around "Call It Music (Homage to Charlie Parker)," about Bird's infamous Dial recording session of "Lover Man." On Boone's poignant ballad "Soloing (Homage to John Coltrane)," Branford Marsalis's sinuous tenor lines bring to life Levine's comparison between his aging mother's isolated existence and a Coltrane solo.
"I wanted to record Phil's poems about Rollins, Brown, Parker, and Coltrane, as well as his poems that created melodies when he read them," Boone says. "We talked a lot about the relationship of music and the voice, and I told him, I don't want to react word by word. The music and the poetry had to be equal and symbiotic."
A lifelong jazz fan who was born (1928) and raised in Detroit when it was a proving ground for a brilliant generation of bebop-inspired improvisers, Philip Levine often wrote about jazz and the musicians he loved in his verse. But Boone, an award-winning composer, player and educator, wanted to dig deeper. He drew inspiration not only from the subjects of Levine's poems but also from the musicality of his language and his wry, emotionally restrained recitation.
Over the course of his career Levine collaborated with musicians in a variety of settings, but felt the results weren't always salutary, which made the connection with Boone all the more satisfying. He observed that "[Boone's] ability to both hear and 'get' my writing was astonishing... He can tell just where the music needs to carry the moment or the language has to climb over the instruments. His compositions seem to grow directly out of the thrust of the language."
Born in 1963 in Statesville, NC, Benjamin Boone grew up in an intellectually stimulating family and could have devoted himself to any number of pursuits. He concentrated on the saxophone and started improvising from an early age, but was also interested in composition. "I learned a great deal about science, literature, visual art, writing, history, politics, and music from my four older brothers," he says. "So I've always gravitated towards interdisciplinary projects like this one, where I can combine playing, composition, literature, and oration to create an artistic statement that addresses history and topics relevant today."
Boone traces his fascination with the music of spoken language to a hearing issue "that makes it hard for me to understand words," he says. "When I hear people speak I hear it as music, a melodic line. This fascination with spoken language allowed me to use Phil's voice as an instrument, which makes this project unique."
Boone is heralded as a performer and composer in both jazz and new music circles. His compositions have been heard in 29 countries and on more than 25 albums and have been the subject of multiple national broadcasts on NPR. He conducted musical research in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova as a Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellow and is currently spending a year in Ghana performing and composing with African musicians as a Fulbright Scholar.
With "The Poetry of Jazz" Boone has opened up a new literary and musical frontier, and there's more in store. The album features the first half of the 29 poems he recorded with Levine, who addressed his readers in his classic verse, writing "if you're old enough to read this you know what work is."
Photo of Benjamin Boone by Tomas Ovalle
Web Site: benjaminboone.net
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Concert produced by Bernardo Costa for Coisas da Música.
This Friday, January 26, don't miss the Luis Perdomo Trio featuring bassist Mimi Jones and drummer Rudy Royston. 7pm & 8:30pm.
See you there!
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Award-winning jazz pianist and world-renowned singer, Diana Krall continues with the 4th North American leg of her massive “Turn Up The Quiet World Tour” that has visited over 80 cities in Europe and North America thus far.
20 additional U.S. concert dates have just been announced for June. Among the many highlights of this tour leg are: New Orleans, Memphis as well as multiple dates in Texas including Austin’s ACL Live at the Moody Theatre.
On Sale 1/30
Akron Civic Theatre
Midland Center for the Arts
The Palladium at The Center for the Performing Arts
Hoyt Sherman Place
Des Moines, IA
The Ordway Music Theater
St. Paul, MN
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Peabody Opera House
St. Louis, MO
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Kansas City, MO
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX
ACL Live at The Moody Theatre
San Antonio, TX
Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
Sugar Land, TX
New Orleans, LA
Chapman Music Hall at Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Walton Arts Center
The album takes its title from Baker's use of what he calls "prompts" from favorite works of fiction, poetry, and song, among them texts by Pablo Neruda, J.D. Salinger, and Salvador Plascencia. Those cues could be no more than a line of poetry or a snatch of dialogue, or a real-life verbal exchange that caught his ear.
"The musical side of composing -- creating melodies, reharmonizing music -- has always come pretty easy to me," Baker explains. "But in attempting lyrics, I always felt burdened by not being Joni Mitchell. How could I express myself without sounding trite or silly? I found that if I gave myself prompts, I could create stories around them and find my voice as a lyricist. My aim was to tell stories in which people could hear their own experiences."
The deeply reflective, lushly nuanced music on "Phrases" is performed by a stellar septet whose front line includes alto saxophonist Steve Wilson and trumpeter Marquis Hill. Protean drummer Brian Blade provides the recording with its ebb, flow, and pulse. Pianist Darrell Grant both plays and serves as musical director and co-producer while Baker's longtime friends Clark Sommers and Geof Bradfield appear on bass and tenor saxophone, respectively. Young guitarist Gregory Uhlmann, a former student of Jeff Parker, is one of the album's stand-outs. The listener can hear how the musicians are drawn to the singer in their inspired, beautifully shaped solos.
"Phrases" was recorded in Chicago in May 2017 at Vijay Tellis-Nayak's Transient Sound following a live performance at the hip Fulton Street Collective. "Jazz musicians talk all the time about their 'Dream Bands,'" says Baker. "Here I am, getting to record with my actual Dream Band! I wrote this music with these musicians in mind, and I am beyond humbled that they've agreed to be part of this project."
Jeff's teachers and mentors "made sure I had opportunities to experience the music at the highest levels!" Chet Baker (no relation) was a major discovery for him, as were Mark Murphy and Johnny Hartman. The music of wide-ranging artists such as Sting and Peter Gabriel resonated deeply with him, as did that of Bonnie Raitt (whose "Not Cause I Wanted To" he covers on Phrases) and minimalist master Steve Reich, whose influence can be felt in the moving harmonies, piano ostinato, and streaming eighth notes on "People of Paper."
Baker attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, on a singing scholarship, sang in the jazz and classical choirs, and studied opera and musical theater. With plentiful opportunities to perform, he continued educating himself as a jazz vocalist. Backed by Idaho musicians, he recorded his first album, "Baker Sings Chet," largely to raise money to attend graduate school. He never went, but working in the studio, he says, "became kind of my graduate school."
The Chet Baker project, released on Origin Records' OA2 imprint, did well enough to enable Baker to make another record, "Monologue," for which Origin head John Bishop hooked him up with versatile Seattle pianist Bill Anschell. It proved to be a fruitful collaboration. Baker and Anschell teamed up on two more acclaimed albums, "Shopping for Your Heart" (2007) and the gospel-infused "Of Things Not Seen" (recorded at the same time as "Shopping," it was released with re-recorded vocals in 2009).
In 2012 Darrell Grant, a distinguished member of the music faculty at Portland State University, helped Baker land a position at PSU, where the singer was instrumental in building what came to be a renowned jazz vocal program. Baker also co-founded and is director of the PDX Jazz Forward Competition.
"We live in an incredible time for creative, genre-defying music," says Baker. "Artists like Laura Mvula, Becca Stevens, Jacob Collier, The Fellowship Band, and so many others are changing the way we think about jazz and contemporary songwriting. It's a privilege to write and make music at this time. Phrases is my humble contribution to this ever evolving conversation."
Photography: Steve Korn
Web Site: jeffbakerjazz.com
Friday, January 19, 2018
Koller will celebrate the release of "Perception" at Cornelia Street Cafe on Wednesday January 31st at 6:00pm.
The 23-year old steps into the spotlight with this 12-track compilation of deftly composed originals and reimagined gems, carefully selected with the thematic focus of love and relationships at the forefront of each.
"Perception" includes eight covers ranging from the era of '30s Tin Pan Alley ("Blame It On My Youth," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "You Go To My Head") to '00s pop ("I Miss You," "Skinny Love"). In this sense, Koller really can be perceived as both a timeless and contemporary jazz vocalist. Regardless of where exactly each tune fits into the historic timeline though, these 12 individual tracks all tell different stories of love and relationships, and in turn, provide disparate perceptions of such experiences.
Teaming this array of classics with her own confessional and emotionally honest lyrics, "Perception" certainly packs a hefty emotional punch. Although Koller, of course, has a specific and personal meaning attached to each recording, she wants her listeners to interpret each song in their own individual way. "I want people to figure out for themselves what is the style of music, without labeling anything. That's one reason why I picked Perception as the title."
The album title also implies the nostrum that first impressions matter--you only get one chance to release a debut CD. When faced with this challenge, some choose to display a variety of music genres and styles, and others decide to put their best foot forward and play what they know best. In contrast to these two approaches, Koller decided to showcase the self-development she has experienced in recent months, not just as a vocalist, but as a composer and arranger.
Originally, Kristina intended on displaying a collection of straight-ahead jazz compositions. However, since mid-2016, Koller has been recording and producing a number of vignettes - viewable on her website and on Youtube - simply titled "Sessions". For each episode, she placed herself in duo, trio, quartet or quintet configurations, some with musicians she hadn't previously played with, all comfortable navigating multiple genres. With their input, Koller created arrangements on the spot, jam session style, and through the performance of each, the beguiling vocalist discovered and developed her own distinct sound and style.
Now, knowing the approach and result she wanted to apply and achieve, respectively, Koller assembled a trio of respected musicians, who undoubtedly, helped her realize her aspirations for this debut release. Koller explains that pianist Chupakhin, "has a good ear for where the chords should be voiced, which I'm very particular about." She praises Talio for "being able to lay back on the beat and feel the groove," and Spinelli for "having a good pocket and also being able to swing really well."
Not coincidentally, Koller's process of self-discovery transpired after she graduated from the jazz program at The City College of New York, where mentors included such exemplary singers as Carolyn Leonhart and Charenee Wade. Another mentor, via master classes, was Cyrille Aimée, who produced two of the songs contained herein. Other influences include Nancy Wilson ("I love her song choices, and the way she always tells a story--she's not just singing to sing"), Anita O'Day ("her great sense of rhythm"), José James ("I've seen him a few times, and each performance was completely different musically"), and Gretchen Parlato ("she finds ways to add vocal percussion and other sounds to her arrangements"), as well as Robert Glasper and The Bad Plus ("for pushing the limits of jazz with various re-harmonizations and unique arrangements").
Although Kristina certainly wears her influences on her immaculately tailored creative sleeve, she knows that adding to the legacy of jazz is much more important than merely recreating the performances of others. She actively points her creative compass in the right direction, by reinventing classics, while still retaining their essence.
While inspired by Amy Winehouse's versatility and open-minded approach to music, Kristina's desire to express herself freely as a vocalist pulled her into the orbit of jazz where she discovered the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, Sarah Vaughan and Chet Baker. During her teen years, her embrace of jazz music expanded into the performance space, joining a jazz quartet that gigged regularly.
With a music scholarship, Kristina studied jazz at the Hartt School's Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz and finished her formal music education at The City College of New York where she received her BFA in Jazz Studies. She has studied with prominent jazz musicians such as Steve Wilson, Charenee Wade, Marion Cowings, Cyrille Aimee & Amy London.
Kristina has performed at many venues & halls throughout New York City including The Apollo Theater, Symphony Space, Smoke, Mezzrow, Minton's & Rockwood Music Hall. She was a featured artist at the 2016 New Brunswick Women in Jazz Series. Kristina was selected and performed as a Jazz Discovery Artist for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival. Kristina and her Quintet were semi-finalists in the 2017 DCJazzPrix competition.
Kristina's music connects with new audiences outside of the jazz music circle, melding jazz, funk, R&B,alt-rock sounds into her arrangements and compositions. Kristina Koller is a very original contemporary jazz vocalist, one that anyone interested in jazz, or for that matter progressive music, needs to hear.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Reminiscent of his youth, Raz has cultivated a collection of heartfelt originals, by utilizing a truly innovative, yet effortless writing approach. Raz recalls: "When we were kids there was a game we used to play. It was called 'Chains of Stories'. The first to go would write a sentence, fold it, and pass it over to the next one, and they would write a new sentence without seeing what was written before. The game would continue the same way, until everyone wrote their sentences. Then we would unfold the entire page and read aloud as one coherent story. You could do the same thing with a drawing. When I wrote the title song for this album, I experimented and wrote one short phrase each day without overthinking it, waiting to see what would come out eventually. After a few weeks, I had an entire song written. Thinking of how I wrote the song, I realized it was written the same way that we used to play the game 'Chains of Stories'. This album is my chain of stories."
Influenced by the legacy of jazz masters such as Lester Young, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, as well as Charles Lloyd and Joe Lovano, The Arnan Raz Quintet succeed to create an experience full of emotion and spontaneity. With deftly-constructed solos that are congruous to the compositions in both their melodic and intuitive nature, the audience is presented with a versatile sonic palette of emotions; at times tempestuous and stirring, at other times quiet and shy.
Arnan Raz was born in a small village in the north of Israel, Kibbutz Merhavia, to a musical family; his grandfather was a music teacher and a painter. His uncle was a well-known conductor and both his mother and brother are professional guitar players. However, until the age of thirteen, Arnan's passion was soccer. Suddenly, out of nowhere and without much reason, Arnan decided that he wanted to play the saxophone. Right from the beginning, he would attend his lessons every day with his grandfather: "I knew that I played well when after I finished, I would see tears in his eyes. This image is still a constant reminder for me to what music is about".
From an early stage of his musical development, Arnan established himself as a serious and dedicated saxophone player in his hometown. His teacher at the time was Albert Beger - a known free jazz artist in Israel and Europe.
At the age of eighteen, Arnan got accepted to the prestigious Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Orchestra. At the army-training base he met all of his current band mates: Eyal Hai, Daniel Meron, Dani Danor and Tamir Shmerling. During his army service, Arnan developed his musical stance on the Tel-Aviv scene through several performances as both a bandleader and sideman.
While his IDF Orchestra colleagues decided to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Arnan decided to stay in Israel to study at the Jerusalem Academy Of Music and Dance. While studying with Boris Gammer, Arnan continued to accumulate his popularity as a promising young Saxophonist on the Israeli jazz scene. He performed at many prominent venues and festivals with both local and international bands and musicians.
After graduating, Arnan felt that it was the right time to move to New York to pursue his jazz career: "I felt ready, emotionally, to move to New York after working so hard on my craft". In New York he reunited with his fellow IDF orchestra members. Arnan formed his quintet and since then, this respected ensemble have garnered attention from numerous performances across the city.
Alongside his quintet, Arnan is a member of other projects such as "The Side Project"- a saxophone quartet, who, last summer (June 2017), opened for the New York Philharmonic, at Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Arnan is constantly performing with a multitude of musicians and bands in New York. Arnan records on a regular basis for a range of bands on the jazz, indie-rock and hip-hop scene.
"I want to focus on sound. I believe that the saxophone sound has a lot of power in reaching people's hearts. Nowadays, in our materialistic world, it's so hard to communicate that I feel even more obligated to play music and to try to communicate with audiences on a "real level"."
Dave Brubeck / Cécile McLorin Salvant
Billy Perrigo talks to the pianist Darius Brubeck about the State Department tours his father, the pianist Dave Brubeck, was involved in from 1958, about the political objective of "cultural diplomacy" as these kind of cultural tours into countries "behind the Iron Curtain" were being called, and the direct response by the audiences in Poland and East Germany. Perrigo also talks to the historian Penny Von Eschen about what the New York Times described as "America's secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key", about the attempts by the State Department to send an image of "racial harmony" around the world to counterbalance the reports of racism in the USA. And he talks to Hugo Berkeley, the director of a PBS documentary on the subject of "Jazz Ambassadors" ( Time). --- John Shand talks to the singer Cécile McLorin Salvant about her latest album "Dreams and Daggers", about not listening to her own recordings unless she has to, about her advice to young singers, "Unlearn everything that was taught to you, and try to sing like your grandmother", about trying to focus more on the "play element" of her music than on how she sounds, to "really explore things and not have it be so sacred and so rigid and stiff", about the influence of Sarah Vaughan, about her choice of repertoire, about singing being her substitute for being an actor, as well as about her dream to return to sing baroque music at some point which would mean taking a pause from singing jazz ( Sydney Morning Herald).
3 January 2018
Marty Grosz / João Gilberto
Elizabeth Coady talks to the guitarist Marty Grosz about Woody Allen who "couldn't play jazz" but "owned a clarinet", about his earliest memory of traveling to New York on the S.S. Bremen in 1933 with his family including his father, the painter George Grosz, about his start in jazz, about his father's fascination with "what passed for jazz in Germany before 1930", as well as about the law suits he had to lead to reclaim control or possession of his father's artwork ( Chestnut Hill Local , Chestnut Hill Local ). --- Jaime Clara reports about the Brazilian guitarist and singer João Gilberto who at the age of 86 lives in "absolute financial hardship". Gilberto had been declared legally incompetent by a Brazilian court and his daughter, the singer Bebel Gilberto, named as his legal guardian. Clara talks to neighbors of the guitarist who attest that they never heard a note from his apartment in the last 30 years ( Infobae).
4 January 2018
Jazz in Germany / Women in Jazz
Martin Laurentius presents a review of what happened in German jazz during 2017 and singles out the visibility of female musicians during that year, from saxophonist Angelika Niescier who had won the German Jazz Award, through panels organized by the German jazz musicians' union UDJ to the appointment of Nadin Deventer as new artistic director of the Jazzfest Berlin. He mentions the discussion of trumpeter Till Brönner's brainchild, a House of Jazz in Berlin and how the IG Jazz Berlin, a musicians' initiative, took part in it. He points out how Tim Isfort, new artistic director for the moers festival, managed to implement his own perspective in the program but also opened it up to a more general audience in the city (asking why that might be necessary in the first place), and he ends praising the drummer Christian Lillinger who won the 2017 SWR Jazz Award ( Goethe-Institut). --- The discussion about how female musicians in jazz are being recognized and treated has reached Germany, and the singers Pascal von Wroblewski and Tom Gaebel explain their own perspectives on it ( Laut).
5 January 2018
Ron Carter / Miles Davis
In a video interview Stephan Mejias talks to the bassist Ron Carter about how he has been looking for a long time to find hi-fi equipment which gave the listener the same sound he could experience in a live concert, but also about how important sound is for his concerts themselves ( Stereophile). --- Gwen Ansell watches the biopic "Kalushi" about South African freedom fighter Solomon Kalushi and finds fault in the use of references to Miles Davis in that movie, especially a supposedly anti-white statement by the trumpeter published in 1985 which the film's protagonist quotes, even though he was killed in 1978, summarizing, "The story of jazz, in Umkhonto we Sizwe culture and Kalushi's life, is far more nuanced - and positive - than a poorly sourced quote from Jet magazine" ( All Africa).
7 January 2018
Onyx Jazz Collective / Fred Hersch
Dale Eisinger talks to the saxophonist Isaiah Barr and the drummer Austin Williamson about their band, the Onyx Collective, about how most of their music is recorded in room-mic situations, about the theatrical or sound concepts behind their music, as well as about the jazz element in their music being, "Do what you want to do and vibe how you want to vibe", yet their music being far beyond what is traditionally labeled as jazz ( Interview). --- Kirk Silsbee talks to the pianist Fred Hersch about success and setbacks during his career, about Thelonious Monk's music which he calls "interesting puzzles. You can take them apart and reassemble [them] in surprising ways", about having been raised Jewish but since having become a practicing Buddhist, as well as about his latest album "Open Book" which has been nominated for a Grammy, like a dozen of his albums before (so far no win, though) ( Jewish Journal).
8 January 2018
Pittsburgh / Uli Beckerhoff
Emma Maurice looks at the present jazz scene in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and finds its roots in the city's long jazz history. She talks to the musicologists Michael Heller and Benjamin Barson who sees a renewed interest in jazz and at the same time venues closing down as a result of ongoing noise complaints from neighbors. She also talks to the drummer Jeff 'Tain' Watts who grew up in Pittsburgh and who is sure that even though clubs may be closing there will come others to replace them, especially as there is a lot of support, both from Pittsburgh University and from the local jazz community ( The PittNews). --- Eike Wienbarg talks to the German trumpeter Uli Beckerhoff about changes on the jazz scene during the last decades, about his own fascination with the music, about how the live experience helps new listeners to get an understanding of jazz, about the need to have young musicians present their perspectives of the music, as well as about his own road into jazz ( Weser-Kurier).
9 January 2018
Jazz being cool music / Eddie Palmieri
Will Hodgkinson is surprised by seeing a young crowd attending a concert remembering Alice and John Coltrane and featuring Pharoah Sanders and asks what it is that suddenly seems to have made jazz a cool music for young people. He talks to the drummer Moses Boyd who feels that "this kind of music has something the world needs right now", to Justin McKenzie of Jazz Re:freshed who confirms that "audiences are getting younger by the month" and explains how he handed out flyers at raves, grime clubs, reggae nights for years to get people interested but also says "the challenge is to keep them interested once the hype dies down". He talks to the rapper Nas who sees his act as an extension of his father's (the cornetist Olu Dara's) music, to the saxophonist Nubya Garcia who sees Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" as an initiation for the new interest in jazz, and to the saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings who explains that for a long time young people may have thought that jazz was not for them until they saw "Pharoah Sanders looking cool on the cover of [the 1969 masterpiece] Karma and the stigma is broken down" ( The Times). --- Raquel Laneri talks to the pianist Eddie Palmieri about practicing even when he is not at the piano, about Johann Sebastian Bach having been "the first jazz player", about his regular visits to a cigar lounge in Manhattan, about trying to take care of his health, as well as about his dream being to bring the symphonic orchestra he teaches at Rutgers University to Carnegie Hall one day, because he had studied in the Carnegie Hall building when he was 11 years old ( New York Post).
... what else ...
Jim Macnie celebrates The Bad Plus on the occasion of a change in personnel by collecting the concert announcements for the trio he wrote for the Village Voice over the years (and we wish he had given at least the years of their original source) ( Lament for a Straight Line). Giovanni Russonello hears the last concert of the "old" Bad Plus at the Village Vanguard as well as the first album by the "new" Bad Plus ( New York Times). --- Ethan Iverson , the now former pianist for The Bad Plus, has launched a new website, Do the Gig, featuring reviews of a variety of concerts in New York City (Do the Gig ). --- Ray Funk listens to saxophonist Sonny Rollins' interpretations of Calypso music ( The Guardian, Trinidad and Tobago). --- Jack Van Beynen talks to the New Zealand singer and saxophonist Nathan Haynes who had to give up performing after undergoing throat cancer therapy ( Stuff). --- Nicolas Niarchos talks to the drummer Phil Young about the healing power of jazz ( The New Yorker). --- Vivian Perkovic talks to the German club owner Wolf von Waldenfels about the need for alternative dance and music clubs and why he thinks they should not be publicly funded ( Deutschlandfunk Kultur ). --- Matt Sledge ( The Advocate) and Beau Evans ( New Orleans Times-Picayune) report about the trumpeter Irvin Mayfield who pledged not guilty in federal court to charges of fraud and money laundering. --- Nate Chinen previews some highlights of the upcoming Winter Jazzfest in New York, singling out performances by Yazz Ahmed, Ches Smith's We All Break, Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity, Onyx Collective, Stephane Wrembel Band, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition, Ranky Tanky, Catherine Russell, and Nicole Mitchell ( WBGO).
We learned of the passing of the trumpeter Melton Mustafa at the age of 70 ( Miami Herald), the saxophonist Scott Mullett at the age of 56 ( Sentinel Source, New England Public Radio), the drummer Harold Cardwell at the age of 77 ( Nuvo), the singer Betty Willis at the age of 76 ( Soultracks), the conductor Maurice Peress at the age of 87 ( New York Times), the pianist Andy Whittington at the age of 45 ( Port City Daily), the German bassist Joe Sydow at the age of 91 ( Hamburger Abendblatt), the French chanson singer (with a deep love for jazz) France Gall at the age of 70 ( France Info, Washington Post), the German clarinetist Claus Jürgen Möller at the age of 80 ( Hamburger Abendblatt), the Scottish trombonist George Kidd at the age of 78 ( The Herald), the drummer Cootie Harris at the age of 94 ( Meadville Tribune), the critic Richard Havers at the age of 66 ( Music Week), as well as the German saxophonist Klaus Marmulla. --- Ken Franckling published a list of musicians who passed in 2017 with links to their obituaries, for which he draws on different sources, including this newsletter ( Jazz Journalists Association).
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Beata Pater: "Fire Dance" (B&B Records BB0421)
Rating: **** (musical performance & sound quality)
Produced by Beata Pater
Executive Producer: Mike Gibson
All compositions by Alex Danson
Engineers: Dan Feiszli, Mike Gibson, John Davis
Cover Photo: Jacqueline Amparo
Graphic Design: Kapple Media
Featuring: Beata Pater (vocals), Scott Collard (keyboards), Aaron Germain (bass), Alan Hall (drums), Brian Rice (percussion), Sam Newsome (soprano sax), Anton Schwartz (tenor sax), Aaron Lington (baritone sax)
Lilian Carmona: "The First!" (Selo Sesc)
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)
Produced by Lilian Carmona & Bruno Alves
Executive Producer: Leila Neme
Recorded by Rodrigo de Castro Lopes @ Dissenso Studio (São Paulo, SP, Brazil) in January 2017
Mixed by Rodrigo de Castro Lopes & Bruno Alves @ Dissenso and EBSR Studios
Assistant Engineers: Estevão Lyra & Martin Guderle
Mastered by Homero Lotito @ Reference Mastering Studio
Graphics: Celso Longo & Daniel Trench
Photos: Alexandre Nunis
Liner Notes: Amilson Godoy & Danilo Santos de Miranda
Arranged by Débora Gurgel, Julio Cesar de Figueiredo, Pablo Zumarán and Bruno Alves
Featuring: Lilian Carmona (drums), Bruno Alves (piano, keyboards), Rodrigo de Oliveira (bass), Marcos Pedro (acoustic & electric guitars), Mauricio de Souza (alto sax, flute), Chiquinho de Almeida (tenor sax, flute), Paulo Jordão, Maycon Mesquita & Daniel D'Alcantara (trumpet, flugelhorn), Valdir Ferreira & Jorginho Neto (trombone)
What a beauty! This is the brilliant debut solo album of veteran Brazilian drummer Lilian Carmona (Baden Powell, Michel Legrand, Nara Leão, Gaudencio Thiago de Mello, Silvia Maria, Laurindo Almeida), who leads her flamboyant "small big band" (sometimes an octet, sometimes a tentet) in a program that includes stunning versions of tightly arranged, highly melodic compositions: "First Circle" (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays, with the melody played by flugel and flute), "Close To Home" (Lyle Mays), "Barefoot" (with Bruno Alves adding a sabroso latin spice to Eliane Elias' delightful tune, and Carmona phrasing in certain moments as if playing timbales - Elias and Carmona had a band together in their native São Paulo in the 70s), "210 West" (a funky samba by Tania Maria, with lovely piano/flute unison, and Chiquinho de Almeida soloing on tenor), and the title track from U.K.'s acid-jazz act Swing Out Sister's "Somewhere Deep In The Night" album.
There are also impressive originals by Debora Gurgel ("Dá Licença" - imagine a samba played by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in the 70s), Celinha Carmona ("Bem-Vinda," featuring Daniel D'Alcantara's flugel) and Alberto Rosemblit ("De Bem Com A Vida," featuring Alves' piano and Valdir Ferreira's trombone), plus fiery renditions of Toninho Horta's "Aquelas Coisas Todas" -- originally titled "Sanguessuga" when recorded by the composer in 1975 as a guest on a Tamba Trio album -- and "Não Tem Nada Não."
Including Carmona's only drum solo in the entire session, "Aquelas Coisas Todas" is the mercurial samba masterpiece, full of groove & grace, celebrating the joy of life, with digital electric piano and flute solos by Alves and Almeida, respectively. It transports the listener to another dimension, providing an energy impulse. Carmona's brushwork is the same level of Tamba's master Helcio Milito, and she only changes to sticks for the final part of the song. It's a study (and a lesson) in dynamics and perpetual motion.
"Batuque," credited to João Donato and Eumir Deodato, appeared for the first time on the controversial "Donato/Deodato" project (actually the co-leaders didn't met in the studio!) It was later retitled "Não Tem Nada Não" after Marcos Valle added lyrics and a second part one year later, having recorded it on his "Previsão do Tempo" LP. [The song was also recorded on Donato's "Quem É Quem," but never released.] It's incredible how guitar and reeds "duplicate" the synth effects played by José Roberto Betrami on Valle's recording!
The big band charts are signed by Débora Gurgel, Julio Cesar de Figueiredo, Pablo Zumarán and Bruno Alves (the latter also being the band pianist), showcasing their ability to orchestrate beautiful songs that swing. They have scored the brass and reeds for a balanced punch, sometimes adding synthesized strings, sustaining rhythmic interest throughout the slick and politely funkyfied Brazilian grooves. There's a succession of notable trombone, trumpet and piano solos, all gifted with lyrical fire.
A surplus of talent, style & elegance. Beauty abounds not only in the musical content, as well as in the 32-page booklet artwork and the flawless engineering by Rodrigo de Castro Lopes. And, like I said, it's a damn brilliant effort, full of melodic sensitivity that pleases our soul, put together by a consummately musical drummer.
"Carta aberta" para Lilian Carmona:
"Heaven/I'm in heaven..." Que disco lindo! Lindo e agradabilíssimo, o que eu acho importantíssimo. Muitos discos excelentes que recebo não são... "agradáveis". Tecnicamente perfeitos, de grande complexidade na parte harmônica, com solos mirabolantes mas às vezes emocionalmente vazios. Discos que músicos fazem para impressionar músicos (e críticos); não é o caso do seu "The First!" felizmente, porque você sabe que não precisa impressionar ninguém. Sua carreira brilhante, seu currículo impecável, falam tudo.
Eu cresci conhecendo (e em alguns casos convivendo) com artistas como Tom Jobim, Luiz Bonfá e João Donato que buscavam o belo. Nosso querido Gaudencio Thiago de Mello também. Por isso fizeram obras tão belas. Davam total importância a qualidade, claro, prezavam pela excelência e pelo esmero, mas se "preocupavam" sim em criar "coisas belas".
Eloir de Moraes, lendário baterista e outro saudoso querido amigo - a quem conheci pessoalmente através do Donato depois de anos curtindo sua "Fibra" gravada pelo Paulo Moura -, falava sempre em "deleite" e usava frequentemente a expressão "agradável ao ouvido". Seu disco é assim. Fruto de uma categoria musical altíssima - tecnicamente impecável em termos de execução não somente sua mas de todos os músicos -, mas também belo, agradabilíssimo, puro deleite. Um bálsamo.
Ouvi duas vezes seguidas, e escrevo sob este impacto. O repertorio já havia me impressionado antes mesmo da primeira audição, mas o nível dos arranjos tornou a seleção ainda mais fascinante. O equilíbrio entre originals e releituras está perfeito. Mais um golaço. Grandes músicos às vezes deixam de fazer bons discos porque se consideram também grandes compositores, e nem sempre o são. Escrevem "temas", não "canções". As músicas que você escolheu são todas, sem exceção, belas melodias com ricas (e belas) harmonias. E ritmicamente "envolventes", contagiantes. Isto, que deveria ser a norma, infelizmente virou exceção, não só no Brasil mas no cena jazzística internacional. Posso dizer isso "de cadeira" porque recebo, em média, 80 discos por mês.
Some additional impressions that brought me recollections and reminiscences:
"210 West" - Tania Maria é uma grande amiga, sou fã nº1 dela. E assisti ao show de lançamento do disco ("Bela Vista") que abre com "210 West". Foi em outubro de 1990, no jardim de inverno do ainda não explodido World Trade Center. Bandaça com Tom Barney, Kim Plainfield, Steve Thornton, Jay Ashby etc. Na véspera eu tinha ido jantar com minha namorada na casa dela, na Bleecker Street (estava lá Eumir Deodato, Elza Soares, Tom Swift etc), e Tania nos convidou para o show.
A levada de "First Circle" é um "achado", como se dizia antigamente. Uma das minhas músicas favoritas do Pat Metheny, a qual você deu uma nova dimensão.
"Barefoot" é um caso à parte. Eliane Elias é um caso à parte (para mim tb! rs). Fiquei surpreso com a inclusão de uma musica dela. Legal essa reaproximação. Thiago uma vez me contou sobre um concerto da big band dele que teria vocês duas tocando, mas que acabou não rolando.
"Close To Home" e "Somewhere Deep In The Night" (eita escolha surpreendente!) também são recriadas de forma espantosa.
Amei "Dá Licença", "Bem-Vinda" e "De Bem com A Vida". Não conhecia essas três. São ótimas, quero ouvir mais vezes.
A "superação" final acontece nas duas ultimas faixas. Quando eu já estava inteiramente "conquistado", com sorrisos no rosto e na alma, fui elevado a um patamar ainda mais impressionante de criatividade em matéria de arranjo com "Não Tem Nada Não" e "Aquelas Coisas Todas". Marcos Valle acertou em cheio quando resolveu adicionar uma segunda parte e também a letra ao tema gravado originalmente no "Donato/Deodato" com o título de "Batuque".
A música do Toninho Horta eu também sempre adorei, desde a primeira gravação (feita pelo Tamba, em 1975, ainda com o nome de "Sanguessuga"). Bruno e Julio Cesar estão de parabéns pelos respectivos arranjos, que acrescentam novas cores e "soluções" sem descaracterizar nem "complicar" as músicas. É o ápice da sua atuação irretocável throughout the album, tanto na condução de vassourinha (me lembrou muito a gravação de Helcio Milito com o Tamba, na qual ele dá um show de brushes) como no solo. Novamente tudo na medida certa. Da sua execução não há muito o que falar, é sempre perfeita. Mas eu talvez seja suspeito porque lhe admiro há quase 40 anos, desde aquele disco ao vivo com o Baden Powell que tinha um solo "nível Edison Machado" do qual nunca esqueci. Desculpe ter me alongado demais nos comentários, mas é que raramente recebo, nos dias de hoje, um disco tão rico. Certamente ouvirei muitas vezes. Muito obrigado por um presente tão maravilhoso. Afetuoso abraço, com minha admiração, Arnaldo
Monday, January 1, 2018
Wadada Leo Smith's "America's National Parks" at Univ. of VA, Jan 27, as part of the Impulse Festival
Saturday, January 27 at University of Virginia as part of Smith's Impulse Festival residency
"A trumpeter and composer of penetrating insight."- Nate Chinen, The New York Times
Iconic composer, trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Wadada Leo Smith and his Golden Quintet - Smith, pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Pheeroan akLaff, and cellist Ashley Walters along with video artist Jesse Gilbert - will perform music from Smith's masterwork America's National Parks on Saturday, January 27 at the University of Virgina's Old Cabel Hall as part of the school's Impulse Festival.
The performance is part of the group's residency, which includes a public talk, a gallery exhibition of Smith's Ankhrasmation scores, workshops by Quintet members and more. The performance takes place at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $13 for UVA faculty and staff, $10 for students and free for UVA students in advance from the UVA Box Office. For a full schedule and more information, log on to http://music.virginia.edu/impulse-festival.
America's National Parks is a six-movement suite inspired by the scenic splendor, historic legacy, and political controversies of the country's public landscapes. Cuneiform's 2-CD recording of the work was named the Jazz Album of the Year by DownBeat's 65th International Critics Poll and was at or near the top of most annual lists of best releases. JazzTimes wrote that the album "unites political engagement with a soul-deep connection to nature... rich with ineffable majesty, [the suite] fully engages with tensions at the heart of the American experience."
Wadada Leo Smith
Trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improviser Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most boldly original and influential artists of his time. Transcending the bounds of genre or idiom, he distinctly defines his music, tirelessly inventive in both sound and approach, as "Creative Music."
For the last five decades, Smith has been a member of the legendary AACM collective, pivotal in its wide-open perspectives on music and art in general. He has carried those all-embracing concepts into his own work, expanding upon them in myriad ways.
Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized for his groundbreaking work. A finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, he received the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and earned an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was also celebrated as Faculty Emeritus. In addition, he received the Hammer Museum's 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement "honoring brilliance and resilience."
In 2017 Smith topped three categories in DownBeat Magazine's 65th Annual Critics Poll: Best Jazz Artist, Trumpeter of the Year and Jazz Album of the Year, and was featured as the subject of a cover story in August 2017. The Jazz Journalists Association also honored Smith as their 2017 Musician of the Year as well as 2017 Duo of the Year for his work with Vijay Iyer. He was also voted Best Composer in the Jazz Station Awards. The JJA named him their 2016 Trumpeter of the Year, 2015 Composer of the Year, and 2013 Musician of the Year, and he earned top billing in two categories in the JazzTimes 2016 Critics Poll: Artist of the Year and Composer of the Year.
In October 2015 The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago presented the first comprehensive exhibition of Smith's Ankhrasmation scores, which use non-standard visual directions, making them works of art in themselves as well as igniting creative sparks in the musicians who perform them. In 2016, these scores were also featured in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and Kadist in San Francisco.
Born December 18, 1941 in Leland, Mississippi, Smith's early musical life began at age thirteen when he became involved with the Delta blues and jazz traditions performing with his stepfather, bluesman Alex Wallace. 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).
Smith has released more than 50 albums as a leader on labels including ECM, Moers, Black Saint, Tzadik, Pi Recordings, TUM, Leo and Cuneiform. His diverse discography reveals a recorded history centered around important issues that have impacted his world, exploring the social, natural and political environment of his times with passion and fierce intelligence. His 2016 recording, America's National Parks earned a place on numerous best of the year lists including the New York Times, NPR Music and many others. Smith's landmark 2012 civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was called "A staggering achievement [that] merits comparison to Coltrane's A Love Supreme in sobriety and reach."
The Impulse Festival
The Impulse Festival is sponsored by: McIntire Department of Music, McIntire Department of Art, Arts Administration, Gassmann Fund for Innovation in Music, Acquavella Family, Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts, UVA Arts Council, President's Commission on Slavery and the University, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences' Collective Response: Moving Forward committee, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, Charlottesville Jazz Society, Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity, Hampton Inn and Suites, University Programs Council and WTJU Radio.
Book your tickets today!
$15 Advanced / $20 day of show
There will be 2 shows at 8:00 and 9:30. Call 212-222-5159 for advanced sales and information.
This is the big band that thrilled a sold-out house this past October at Dizzy Gillespie's birthday celebration and was voted "Band of the Year" in the 2004 Jazz Station Poll. You will be delighted by the NYSAJE's repertoire from their latest CD "Oasis", that topped the charts at # 7 in December 2004 and remained in the top 20 for an unprecedented 16 weeks. And you won't want to miss fantastic vocalist Ira Hawkins' renditions of some jazz and blues classics.
Mike Longo has performed with a list of jazz legends that include saxophone great Cannonball Adderley, Henry Red Allen, Coleman Hawkins, George Wettling, Gene Krupa, Nancy Wilson, Gloria Lynn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing, James Moody, Astrud Gilberto and many others. It was in the mid-60s when Longo's trio was playing at the Embers West, that Roy Eldridge told Dizzy Gillespie about this new pianist he had heard. Dizzy came to hear him play and soon asked him to become his pianist. This started a life-long musical relationship and friendship.
From 1966 through 1975, Longo worked exclusively as Dizzy's pianist and musical director. Mike left the Gillespie group officially in 1975 to venture out on his own, but continued to work for Gillespie on a part-time basis until his death in 1993. Since that time Mike has recorded numerous albums and CDs on various labels with some 45 recordings with artists such as Gillespie, James Moody, etc. At present he has over 20 solo albums to his credit.
He is sought after as a music instructor and is in demand for jazz clinics and concerts at universities and music schools throughout the world, and has appeared at the Lincoln Center's new jazz room "Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola." Longo is founder and President of Consolidated Artists Productions (CAP), an independent recording label, dedicated to allowing artists to pursue the types of projects that are in line with their career objectives. All of the artists represented by CAP (over 70) are extraordinarily talented, both as composers and performers. Longo's latest venture, Jazz Tuesdays, is dedicated to allowing artists to retain creative control of their work and providing students and the general public with an opportunity to hear "world class jazz at affordable prices."
Mike Longo is a Steinway artist.
Admission is 15.00, 10.00 for students.
Tickets will be sold at the door, or call 212-222-5159 for advanced sales and information.
For more about the NYSAJE and other acts at "Jazz Tuesdays", check out www.jazzbeat.com
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.
Jazz Tuesdays is brought to you in part by grants from the Wilbur, Dorothy, and Frances Rose Davis Family Fund; the Hunt Family Fund; the DeChristopher Family Trust; and Dr. Margie Baker, jazz vocalist and educator.