Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Ray Blue/Kirk Lightsey Project live in NY, Aug 6

The Ray Blue & Kirk Lightsey Project will perform at the Bahai Center - Gillespie Auditorium (53 East 11th St., NYC) next Tuesday, August 6th at 8:00 p.m..

They have initiated the Ray Blue & Kirk Lightsey Project in 2018 performing in Brussels, Paris and New York. This bold sounding tenor saxophonist and delightful pianist together present a highly entertaining experience. Kirk -- famous for his collaborations with tenor giant Dexter Gordon -- currently lives in Paris; so this is a rare opportunity for you to hear this project at this side of the Atlantic.

The line-up is Kirk Lightsey (piano), Ray Blue (sax), Eric Wheeler (bass) and Alvester Garnett (drums).

Saturday, July 27, 2019

New York Voices: new album and new tour to celebrate 30 years of career

New York Voices Celebrate 30 Years of Singing Together With "Reminiscing in Tempo,"
Set for Release August 16 by Origin Records

Thirty years after they began, the members of the vocal jazz quartet New York Voices remain undimmed in their commitment to making music together -- a commitment they celebrate with "Reminiscing in Tempo," set for an August 16 release on Origin Records. Produced by Elliot Scheiner, the album reaffirms NYV's position in the elite of vocal jazz with an ambitious program of originals, standards, rediscovered jazz gems, tunes by Ivan Lins and the Beatles, and two pieces by 19th-century Cuban classical composer Ignacio Cervantes.

"Reminiscing in Tempo" features New York Voices' long-lived lineup, with alto Lauren Kinhan, who joined the band in 1992, alongside original members Peter Eldridge (baritone), Darmon Meader (tenor), and Kim Nazarian (soprano). (Originally a quintet, NYV solidified as a four-piece with the departure of Caprice Fox in 1994.) "We're just a big family at this point," Meader says.

Meader is the band's musical director and primary arranger, but all four of the Voices contribute arrangements, ideas, and compositions. "We really try to make sure that the four of us, as a four-headed artist and individually, get as much creative expression as you can garner from the ensemble," says Kinhan. While the stunning, virtuosic "Round, Round, Round (Blue Rondo à la Turk)" mostly comprises Meader's arrangement of Dave Brubeck's classic (with Al Jarreau's lyrics), Kinhan wrote its central vocalese section based on sections of Brubeck and Paul Desmond's original 1959 solos.

Meader and Eldridge co-wrote the arrangement of Fred Hersch's "A Dance for Me," while Nazarian suggested (and contributed ideas for) the Duke Ellington title track, which features lyrics by Mel Tormé. NYV also perform two original compositions, with Meader penning "Moments in a Mirror" and Kinhan and Eldridge joining forces for "The Forecast Is Sunny."

The album also honors the band's inspirations outside of jazz. The Beatles get the NYV treatment with the a cappella closer "In My Life"; their friend and sometime muse, Brazilian singer-songwriter Ivan Lins, is honored with "Answered Prayers (É De Deus)," with a beautiful English lyric by Eldridge. In addition, they enter new territory with their explorations of Cervantes' syncopated classical works "Los Tres Golpes" and "Invitación." "There are still some firsts on this record for New York Voices," Nazarian enthuses, "and after 31 years, I think that's pretty amazing!"
 (Peter Eldridge, Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian)

New York Voices began in the mid-1980s at Ithaca College, when Peter Eldridge, Kim Nazarian, and Darmon Meader came together in the school's vocal jazz ensemble. Director Dave Riley included all three of them, as well as Caprice Fox, in an ensemble he'd been invited to bring on a tour of European jazz festivals. It went over so well that they decided to stay together and become a professional ensemble, moving to New York City in 1988. There they met Sara Krieger, who became the fifth member of the band Riley had named "New York Voices."

Krieger left the band in 1991, to be replaced by Lauren Kinhan. After two more years as a quintet, Fox moved on to other things in 1994, leaving the band in the quartet formation in which it would continue. With the dawn of the 21st century, NYV increased its currency in the jazz world via collaborations with institutions such as the Count Basie Orchestra, Paquito D'Rivera, and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. They also launched a jazz education initiative, inaugurating its Vocal Jazz Camp for aspiring jazz singers in 2008.

With "Reminiscing in Tempo" -- their first non-holiday album under their own power in over a decade -- New York Voices show their energy and inspiration to be unfaded, and their chops and taste only improved in their longevity. "It's four grown-up people who are content in themselves," says Eldridge. "It's somewhere between a fine wine and an old married couple."

New York Voices will be performing in the coming months at the following venues: 8/3 Dalton Center Recital Hall/WMU, Kalamazoo, Mi; 8/14 Hollywood Bowl (with Ivan Lins), Los Angeles; 8/15 MIM, Phoenix, AZ; 8/17 St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church, Watervliet, NY; 8/30 MODEON, Marktoberdorf, Germany; 9/14 The Great Hall, Needham, MA; 11/8-9 Cuesta Vocal Jazz Festival, San Luis Obispo, CA; 11/10 Yoshi's, Oakland; 11/12-13 Jazz Alley, Seattle; 11/17 William Paterson U., Wayne, NJ; 12/1 Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, Playa del Carmen, Mexico; 12/5 Arizona Musicfest, Scottsdale, AZ; 12/6 The Sheen Center, NYC; 12/13-15 Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. 

Photography: Sandrine Lee  

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Catherine Russell appears at Dizzy's Club celebrating vinyl release

GRAMMY® Nominated Powerhouse Vocalist Catherine Russell
Celebrates Vinyl Release of Alone Together Today via Dot Time Records, Headlines at Dizzy's Club This Weekend 

Vocalist Catherine Russell has seen a meteoric rise since the release of her seventh album as a leader, "Alone Together," on March 1st via Dot Time Records. After sitting atop the JazzWeek Radio Chart for five weeks in a row, entering the Billboard Jazz Chart at #6, having been heard on CBS Sunday Morning, and generating rave reviews from Downbeat Magazine, Mercury News, WBGO, Jazz Journal, and other top-tier media outlets, "Alone Together" has cemented Russell’s place as the preeminent song interpreter of her day. On the heels of this great success, Dot Time Records is thrilled to announce the release of "Alone Together" on vinyl. This special edition will be released this next Friday, July 26th, on Dot Time Records.

In coordination with this exciting release, Russell is headlining at Dizzy's Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center from Friday through Sunday.

While 2019 has been a breakout year for the timeless vocalist, Russell has remained a venerable fixture on the musical landscape for the better part of three decades.  Born in New York City, Russell’s family is considered musical royalty. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was a legendary pianist/composer/bandleader and Louis Armstrong’s long-time musical director while her mother, Carline Ray, was a pioneering vocalist/guitarist/bassist who performed with International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Mary Lou Williams and Ruth Brown, among others.

A world-class performer of versatility and virtuosity, Russell has performed and recorded with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Michael Feinstein, Rosanne Cash, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis, Jackson Browne, Dr. John and countless others. She was a member of David Bowie’s A Reality Tour, his last touring band and she is currently on the road with Steely Dan, with whom she has performed since the mid-1990’s. In 2012, Russell won a GRAMMY® Award for her participation in the 2012 soundtrack to the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

She has appeared on over 200 albums, and with the release of "Alone Together," has seven available as a leader. Her 2006 debut Cat (Harmonia Mundi’s World Village) capitulated Russell on to the scene and garnered rave reviews. “She is a fresh and original voice," wrote Sinatra biographer, Will Friedwald, who picked Cat among his top 10 cds of the year. Russell’s star rose with each subsequent release: "Sentimental Streak" (2006), "Inside This Heart of Mine" (2010), "Strictly Romancin'" (2012), and "Bring It Back" (2014). Her sixth album "Harlem On My Mind" (Jazz Village) received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2016.

On "Alone Together," Russell reinvigorates rare gems and stalwart standards from the Great American Songbook, lending her voice to the compositions of Nat King Cole, Irving Berlin, Eddie de Lange, Jimmy Van Heusen, Al Dubin, Louis Jordan and Harry Warren. The vinyl edition features 10 tunes including Louis Jordan’s “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby” and “Early In The Morning”, the swing-era classic “You Can’t Pull The Wool Over My Eyes”, the tongue in cheek “He May Be Your Dog, But He’s Wearing My Collar,” and the classic “I Only Have Eyes For You”, among others.

"Alone Together" features the core musicians of Russell’s touring band, including guitar virtuoso and musical director Matt Munisteri, pianist Mark Shane, bassist Tal Ronen, and drummer Mark McLean. Also featured on select tracks is trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso, trombonist John Allred, tenor saxophonist Evan Arntzen, violinist Dana Ltn, violaist Eddy Malave, and cellist Marika Hughes.

Dot Time Records is thrilled to reintroduce "Alone Together" through this stunning vinyl package.  Whether on-screen, on-stage, or through her spell-binding voice, Catherine Russell continues to thrill audiences across the globe.  Please visit Russell’s website catherinerussell.net for the most updated information on Catherine’s touring schedule.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fusion CD of the Month - "Thiago Espirito Santo: Pra Te Fazer Sonhar"

Fusion CD of the Month
Thiago Espirito Santo: Pra Te Fazer Sonhar (self-produced, 2019)
Rating: *****

Produced by Thiago Espirito Santo
Co-Produced by Bruno Cardozo
Executive Producer: Giselle Ventura
Paintings: Mario Brafmann

Featuring: Thiago Espirito Santo (electric bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar), Bruno Cardozo (acoustic piano, Rhodes, Hammond organ, Arp synthesizer, Roland vocoder), Cuca Teixeira (drums), Pepe Cisneros (bongos), Robertinho Silva (drums), Grégoire Maret (harmonica), Nailor Proveta (alto sax), Walmir Gil (trumpet), Filó Machado (vocals), Luiza Ventura do Espirito Santo (voice)

CD Reissue of the Month - "George Benson: White Rabbit"

CD Reissue of the Month
George Benson: "White Rabbit" (CTI/Music On CD) 1971/2019
Rating: *****

Produced by Creed Taylor
Engineered (recorded & mixed) by Rudy Van Gelder
Recorded on November 23, 24 & 30, 1971 at Van Gelder Studios (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey)
Cover Photo: Pete Turner
Album Design: Bob Ciano

Benson's masterpiece for CTI, the superbly thrilling "White Rabbit" (recorded in 1971 & released in 1972), became an instant fusion classic, featuring the signature title track arrangement of the Jefferson Airplane classic – a 1972 Grammy® nominee for Best Jazz Performance by a Group. Other highlights: "El Mar" (the only track with Earl Klugh) and a superb adaptation of Villa-Lobos' "Little Train," on which Herbie Hancock performs one of his best Fender Rhodes solos ever!

Arranged & conducted by Don Sebesky, it also includes nice renditions of Michel Legrand's love theme for the "Summer of '42" soundtrack (aka "The Summer Knows," on which Airto uses caxixi, pandeiro, bells and woodblocks) and The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreaming" (previously produced by Creed Taylor & arranged by Sebesky as an instrumental hit for Wes Montgomery's "California Dreaming" Verve album, back in 1966).

The all-star cast features Ron Carter (acoustic bass only), Billy Cobham (drums), Airto Moreira (not only as a percussionist but also providing wordless vocals on "El Mar", "White Rabbit" and even as the lead singer on "Little Train"), John Frosk (lead trumpet on the title track), Hubert Laws (a short but perfect flute solo on "White Rabbit" too), Phil Kraus (a veteran of The Creed Taylor Orchestra in the late 50s, here using tympani on the title track, Chinese gong on "Little Train," and subtle vibes on "Summer of '42" and "California Dreaming"), harpist Gloria Agostini (to whom Sebesky wrote ingenious charts that make her part of the rhythm section), and specially the Spanish-tinged acoustic guitar playing (in 4 of the 5 tracks) of the underrated master Jay Berliner, the unsung hero of this project.
That's what CTI's top connoisseur wrote about this reissue:
http://dougpayne.blogspot.com/2011/01/celebrating-cti-records-40th.html 

Guitarist George Benson had already recorded one album for CTI (Beyond the Blue Horizon) plus three notable albums for Creed Taylor’s CTI production house at A&M (an additional album recorded during this time was issued years later) when he waxed White Rabbit in November 1971.

White Rabbit ranks among the strongest and most consistently satisfying and artistic of all of George Benson’s jazz albums, even though each and every one of his CTI albums contains something of significant worth.

Recorded under the auspices of arranger Don Sebesky, who had arranged Benson’s earlier Shape of Things to Come (1969) and The Other Side of Abbey Road (1970), White Rabbit is probably now best known as one of the earliest recordings of Detroit-based guitarist Earl Klugh, who was 17 at the time of this recording (on Benson’s excellent “El Mar” only – yes, he solos briefly too…Klugh joined Benson’s band in 1973). Elsewhere, guitarist Jay Berliner nicely counters Benson’s guitar and is most notable on the album’s track.

Issued in May 1972, White Rabbit overflows with exceptionally strong performances by both Benson and Sebesky, most notably on two hippie-era rock odes, The Mamas & the Papas’ “California Dreaming” and Jefferson Airplane’s title track. Both pieces were no doubt brought to the session by arranger Don Sebesky, a specialist then of transforming such rock staples into dynamic jazz performances (he had earlier written “Big Mama Cass” in tribute to the vocalist from The Mamas & the Papas). It’s no stretch to imagine that Creed Taylor was on board for these covers, imaginatively reconsidered by Sebesky (who uses an effectively minimal deployment of brass and winds throughout) and brought to life by Benson’s warm and reassuring guitarisms.

Benson also covers Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Little Train” (aka “The Little Train of Caipira”), the second of nine suites written by the Brazilian composer. Producer Creed Taylor had previously covered the popular fifth suite of this musical series in recordings by Lalo Schifrin (Verve, 1964) and Soul Flutes (CTI/A&M, 1968 – arranged by Don Sebesky) and would later capture the piece on the 1972 CTI album by Jackie & Roy, Time & Love, again, arranged by Don Sebesky.

Benson is accompanied here by Herbie Hancock on electric piano (who is bountifully featured throughout), Ron Carter on bass and Billy Cobham on drums, all of whom were first captured together on Benson’s Giblet Gravy (Verve, 1967). Hancock and Carter had, of course, also played with George Benson on Miles Davis’ Miles in the Sky (Columbia, 1968). So these guys were not unfamiliar with each other’s creativity.

Hubert Laws solos on flute for “White Rabbit” while trumpeter John Frosk solos on the title track and the substantial “El Mar.” Airto Moriera is featured on percussion throughout and takes several audibly vocal turns on “Little Train” and “El Mar.”

The excellent and artistically and commercially satisfying White Rabbit was nominated for a 1972 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance – Group (in competition with another CTI performance by Joe Farrell for “Outback”) but lost to yet another CTI performance of “First Light” – also arranged by Don Sebesky – by Freddie Hubbard.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Nadia Figueiredo faz show de lançamento de seu disco de estréia, gravado com Gil & Donato

A cantora mineira Nádia Figueiredo faz show de lançamento de seu primeiro CD, "Meu Idioma É o Amor", no dia 10 de julho no Teatro XP Investimentos, no Rio de Janeiro.

No álbum, que conta com participações de Gilberto Gil, João Donato e Plácido Domingo Jr., a cantora transita entre o clássico e o popular e canta em quatro idiomas: "O amor que tenho pela música é um só, independente do estilo ou do idioma que estou cantando," afirma.

A música de abertura, "A Paz", uma das mais famosas da série "Leilíadas", traz os autores Gilberto Gil (cantando e tocando violão), e João Donato ao piano.

"Eu sempre tive vontade de gravar 'A Paz', mas jamais poderia imaginar que eu gravaria com os compositores dela, foi incrível. Um momento único que agora faz parte da minha história, muito lindo isso né? Só posso dizer que sou grata e que o universo conspirou para que acontecesse. Fiquei muito honrada em saber que o Gil nunca gravou um dueto dessa canção com ninguém, eu fui a primeira e quem sabe a única (risos). O Gil é um cara incrível, eu passaria horas conversando com ele, inteligente, culto, bom coração e um gênio da nossa MPB", comemora Nádia.

"Meu Idioma É o Amor" conta com nove faixas, e foi produzido pelo renomado Guto Graça Mello, que já produziu grandes nomes da MPB, como Roberto Carlos, Rita Lee e Maria Bethânia. Cantando em quatro idiomas no disco -- português, italiano, russo e inglês --, a cantora explica ainda que seu novo trabalho é marcado pelo crossover de estilos musicais: "Eu não queria cantar somente em português. O crossover me dá a liberdade de explorar mais de um gênero musical, eu quis ter a mesma liberdade em relação às canções de outras nacionalidades, cantando em outros idiomas. O amor que tenho pela música é um só, independente do estilo ou do idioma que estou cantando, por isso o título 'Meu idioma é o amor'."

Nádia explica ainda que a escolha das músicas foi criteriosa e em alguns casos, desafiadora: "Eu me identifico com todas, cada uma tem sua história. Foi um desafio para mim a canção 'Io Ci Sarò', exige muito da respiração e técnica vocal. Já na canção 'Olhos Negros', me exigiu um cuidado em relação a pronúncia correta do russo."

Mesmo com toda experiência do lírico e popular, que permite que a cantora adapte sua voz para cada estilo, ela garante que não é tão simples: "Tive algumas dificuldades quando iniciava os estudos, um exemplo é a troca 'voz de cabeça para voz de peito', ou seja, estou cantando com voz lírica e na mesma música tenho que descer para voz na região da fala, isso requer certos cuidados para não se machucar ou para voz não 'quebrar'. Para apurar essa técnica fiz muitos exercícios de canto e sessões com uma fonoaudióloga."

O álbum conta também com as participações do cantor Max Wilson na icônica "Dio, Como Te Amo" (hit de Domenico Modugno), do mexicano Plácido Domingo Jr. (filho do célebre tenor espanhol) em um dueto no standard "The Way You Look Tonight" (standard consagrado por Frank Sinatra) e do pianista Luca Rasca, superpremiado na Itália, em "Io Ci Sarò".

"Luca Rasca é um grande pianista, essa música é especial, é um dueto de voz e instrumental, algo que me fascinou desde a primeira vez que ouvi, gravamos a música e o vídeo clipe em um estúdio em Roma na Itália", conta Nádia.

A canção "Tristesse", composta por Frédéric Chopin para piano, ganhou uma letra da cantora e também está no CD.

"Eu sempre gostei de Tristesse. Há algum tempo atrás assisti um vídeo de um soprano cantando em russo e ficou muito lindo na voz da cantora e eu pensei que poderia fazer o mesmo cantando no meu idioma e consequentemente tentar aproximar o público brasileiro da música clássica. Ela é a perfeita mistura da melodia clássica e da voz popular".

O show no Rio de Janeiro tem direção artística de Juracy de Oliveira e no repertório estarão, além de todas as canções do CD, outras músicas bastante conhecidas. Nádia estará acompanhada por um quarteto formado por piano, cello, violino e contrabaixo, com Antón (violino) e João Rafael (contrabaixo) -- membros da Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira -- Márcio Malard (violoncelo) e João Carlos Assis Brasil (piano).
Nádia Figueiredo começou a cantar e tocar violão aos 10 anos e aos 11 já participava de festivais de música na escola. Aos 14 anos começou os estudos de violão clássico e há onze anos apaixonou-se pelo canto lírico.

Graças ao timbre e à extensão vocal privilegiados, consegue transitar entre o lírico e o popular e já cantou em vários palcos nacionais e internacionais, em diferentes idiomas: espanhol, esperanto, francês, hebraico, hindi, inglês, italiano, latim e russo.

Em 2013, uma de suas composições que fala de aquecimento global, foi tema de uma exposição na Rússia. Em 2014, uma composição sua em esperanto ganhou destaque internacional e foi considera pelos esperantistas como uma das músicas mais bonitas ouvidas nesse idioma. Em abril de 2017, ela recebeu a medalha Cinquentenário das Forças Internacionais de Paz da ONU.

Em maio de 2017, foi convidada para participar da turnê do cantor brasileiro Daniel na Europa, cantando ao lado dele a música "Con te Partirò". No mesmo mês, Nádia fez uma turnê por grandes teatros brasileiros ao lado do cantor Plácido Domingo Jr., filho do tenor Plácido Domingo.

"Nádia Figueiredo é um incrível talento brasileiro. Voz e artista linda! Ela é uma daquelas pessoas brilhantes, quando você conhece não esquece mais", este é o relato da cantora lírica Anna Netrebko, a primeira artista clássica a entrar para a lista TIME 100, das 100 personalidades mais influentes do mundo segundo a revista norte-americana TIME.

Data: Quarta-feira, 10 de Julho de 2019
Local: Teatro XP Investimentos
Endereço: Jockey Club Brasileiro - Av. Bartolomeu Mitre, 1110B - Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Horário: 21h
Abertura dos portões: 1h30 antes do espetáculo
Duração: 1h15
Ingressos: R$ 50,00 (meia) / R$ 100,00 (inteira)
Site: www.eventim.com.br/ingressos
Classificação etária: Livre

BILHETERIA OFICIAL – SEM COBRANÇA DE TAXA DE CONVENIÊNCIA
Teatro XP
Av. Bartolomeu Mitre, 1110-B - Leblon – Rio de Janeiro/RJ
Terça-feira das 13h às 17h
Quarta a sexta-feira das 17h às 21h
Sábados das 13h30 às 21h
Domingos das 13h30 até a hora do espetáculo em cartaz
Venda e retirada de ingressos.

PONTOS DE VENDA – SUJETO A COBRANÇA DE TAXA DE CONVENIÊNCIA
Jeunesse Arena
Av. Embaixador Abelardo Bueno, 3401 – Barra da Tijuca – Rio de Janeiro/RJ
Terça a sábado das 10h às 12h e das 13h às 17h
Venda e retirada de ingressos para todos os eventos vendidos pela EVENTIM
A Bilheteria encontra-se em frente à Jeunesse Arena

R.I.P.: João Gilberto (1931-2019)

Silence