Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gene Ess celebrates the release of "Absurdist Theater" @ Blue Note NYC in September

Street Date - September 26, 2016
CD Release Party
September 25th - Blue Note NYC
11:30 am Show & 1:30pm Show (Brunch)
Tix: $35.00 (price includes brunch, music, drink)

Gene Ess: Absurdist Theater featuring
Gene Ess - guitar, synth, compositions
Thana Alexa - voice, lyrics
Manuel Valera - piano, keyboards
Yasushi Nakamura - acoustic and electric bass
Clarence Penn - drums


Gene Ess is a philosopher. While most philosophers expound their thoughts with the written word, Gene Ess delineates his thinking in the most sublime of the art forms, music. Gene's previous release, Eternal Monomyth (©SIMProductions, 2015), was a musical exploration of the hero's quest proposed by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell.

Now, in Absurdist Theater, Gene navigates the absence of meaning and hope. The idea of absurdism may be rooted in Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer, but it is Albert Camus's Myth of Sisyphus that best incarnates the encounter with "nothingness." With a protagonist eternally doomed to senselessness and facing the choice of escaping existence, leap of faith, or recognition, Camus "imagines Sisyphus happy," finding clarity in contentment. In the absence of meaning, absurdism teaches freedom. As Nikos Kazantzakis' epitaph read, "I have no hope. I have no fear. I am free."

For Gene, a serious musical journey is always undertaken against the backdrop of the theater of the absurd, whether the musician knows it or not; in it, the quest for meaning is replaced by contentment in the artistic pursuit of beauty. In the tradition of aesthetics, the profound power of beauty saves us from our own despair. In the Japanese bushido way, the pursuit for unattainable beauty and perfection brings balance to life.

Seeking his own expression of beauty, Gene was joined by kindred hearts and minds. He says, "A great team of musicians came through for the music. I think in this third record together, this is the best work for Thana Alexa and me as Fractal Attraction's frontline. Our collaboration has grown tighter over the years, as she has gotten to know my music.Cuban pianist, Manuel Valera did a great job. It was my first time working with him. Yasushi Nakamura is one of the best bass players I've heard. And of course, Clarence Penn is one of the best drummers in the international jazz scene."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Carol Duboc's new CD release concert in LA!

Carol Duboc celebrates the release of her new CD, "Open The Curtains," with all star female band; Patrice Rushen, Rhonda Smith, Bibi McGill (Beyonce and Pink,) Nikki Glaspie and special guests. The album also has Sheila E, Mindi Abair and Jennifer Batten!!
August 30, 8pm
Catalina Jazz Club
6725 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

News from Jazzinstitut Darmstadt

                                A Great Day in Harlem;iconic photo by Art Kane.

11 / 12 August 2016                            
Paquito D'Rivera / Oscar Rossignol

George Varga talks to the Cuban-born clarinetist and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera about the internationality of music, about improvisation always being at the heart of his music, about the impact of hearing recordings by Benny Goodman when he was a kid, about the help he received from Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody, as well as about a recent invitation, dis-invitation and re-invitation to the White House, caused possibly by "his long-standing opposition to the Castro regime", and about his disappointment of the International Jazz Day event at the White House having been "too much of a pop concert" ( San Diego Union-Tribune). --- Ana Gershanik talks to the Honduran pianist Oscar Rossignol who moved to the USA in 2010 to study at Louisiana State University, has since won a number of competitions and has been honored by ASCAP as the 2015-16 Louis Armstrong Scholar at the University of New Orleans ( New Orleans Times-Picayune).

13 / 14 August 2016
Volker Engelberth / Norman Vickers

Thomas Staiber talks to the German pianist Volker Engelberth about his road to jazz, about his teachers Joerg Reiter and John Taylor, about influences from jazz and classical music, about his teaching concept at Musikhochschule Stuttgart, as well as about the Baden-Württemberg Jazz Award he received and what he plans to do with the award money ( Stuttgarter Zeitung). --- Troy Moon talks to the retired gastroenterologist and jazz advocate Norman Vickers about how he got into jazz, about some of his likes and dislikes, and reports that Vickers keeps the music alive in Pensacola, Florida, where he lives ( Pensacola News-Journal ).

15 / 16 August 2016  
Great Jazz Day in Harlem / Naissam Jalal

Sarah Goodyear remembers "A Great Jazz Day in Harlem" , the photo session organized by photographer Art Kane in 1958 for Esquire magazine which brought together 57 jazz musicians of all ages and styles in front of a Brownstone on 126th Street in Harlem, New York, talks to saxophonist Sonny Rollins about the event, and to Noella Cotto who bought the house in 1999 and still lives there ( New York Daily News). --- Johannes Kaiser talks to the Syrian flautist Naissam Jalal about the political implications of her music, about her mix of jazz and ethnic musics, as well as about the experience of improvisation ( Deutschlandradio Kultur ).

17 / 18 August 2016
Ethan Iverson / Miles Davis

We neglected Ethan Iverson 's excellent blog for a while which we think has a lot of thought-provoking material for both musicians and music lovers. Here are some recent posts, an interview with the saxophonist Charles McPherson ( Do the Math), a celebration of Albert Ayler who would have turned 80 a while ago ( Do the Math), an interview with saxophonist Houston Person (who told us that he was stationed in Darmstadt for a while, as a matter of fact) ( Do the Math), as well as an appreciation of the composer Hall Overton ( Do the Math). --- Zachary Kussin reports about a one-bedroom apartment in a New York Upper West Side property once owned by Miles Davis which has sold for $500,000 ( New York Post).

19 / 20 August 2016    
Angelika Niescier / Hugh Masekela

Verena Müller talks to the German saxophonist Angelika Niescier about the ensemble The Great Divide which she founded with the bassist Sebastian Gramss, the trumpeter John Dennis Renken and the drummer Christian Thome, about the repertoire of their program "Streben und Sterben" which deals with the sadness and melancholia of death and dying, as well as about the directness of emotional reactions to music ( Aachener Zeitung). --- Elly Gitau talks to the South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela about the reasons why he tried not to shake people's hands but instead hugs people at will ( The Star).

21 / 22 August 2016
Robert Glasper / Philadelphia

Tom Barnes talks to the pianist Robert Glasper about the difference between European and American audiences, about performing together with Herbie Hancock, about the new hipness of jazz, about being a jazz musician not meaning that everything he does is jazz, about the recent political awareness in music seeming like "a Harlem renaissance reborn", as well as about the myth that jazz does not reach young people ( Music Mic). --- Erin Arvedlund remembers the Philadelphia jazz scene of the 1980s and 1990s and talks to radio DJ Bob Perkins, jazz advocate Homer Jackson, trombonist Ernest Stuart, drummer Bruce Klauber, club manager Harry Hayman, and pianist Eric Mintel about the state of the current Philly jazz scene ( Philadelphia Inquirer).

23 August 2016
Cécile McLorin Salvant / Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson

George Varga talks to the singer Cécile McLorin Salvant about not having been a rebellious child, about her mother pressing her to keep learning to play the piano, about the connection she feels with her audience when she's onstage, as well as about how living in France after she was 17 helped her appreciate the history of jazz ( San Diego Union-Tribune). --- Katie Rogers remembers the singer and pianist Harry Raab who was known as Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson, talks to jazz historian Lewis Porter about the origin of the word "hipster", looks at the use of the word in the New York Times over the years and finds that most citations come from after 2000 and refer to "a class of people who moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, wearing tank tops and clutching cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon" ( New York Times).

24 August 2016
... what else ...

Nate Chinen hears the pianist Herbie Hancock at the BRIC! Celebrate Brooklyn Festival ( New York Times). --- Thomas Hesse talks to the German trumpeter Markus Stockhausen ( Rheinische Post). --- Samir H. Köck talks to the Austrian bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder ( Die Presse). --- Janelle Gelfand talks to the vocalist Carla Cook ( Cincinnati Enquirer). --- Stefan Krulle and Holger True attend a concert by saxophonist Kamasi Washington in Hamburg, Germany ( Die Welt, Hamburger Abendblatt). --- A.D. Amorosi talks to the drummer Jeff 'Tain' Watts ( Philadelphia Inquirer). --- Chris Farrell talks to the bassist Tim Kiah ( Ditmas Park Corner). --- James Karst reports about an early report about jazz in New Orleans from 1920 ( New Orleans Times-Picayune). --- Werner Herpel talks to the German trumpeter Till Brönner ( Europeonline Magazine). --- A group of supporters has started a crowdfunding campaign to restore the childhood home of Miles Davis in East St. Louis ( Go Fund Me). --- Kurt Scholz remembers the Austrian radio personality Walter Richard Langer who would have turned 80 these days ( Die Presse).


We learned of the passing of the trumpeter Doc DeHaven at the age of 85 ( The Capital Times, Madison), the vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson at the age of 75 ( San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times,  BR Klassik, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post), the German trumpeter Bernd Titus at the age of 68 ( Heilbronner Stimme), the German clarinetist Jürgen Müller at the age of 74 ( Frankfurter Rundschau), the Irish guitarist Louis Stewart at the age of 72 ( The Liberal, The Irish Times, The Independent), the Belgian harmonica player Toots Thielemans at the age of 94 ( New York Times, Washington Post, Der Tagesspiegel, Deutschlandradio Kultur , The Guardian), the pianist Derek Smith at the age of 85, the trumpeter Louis Smith at the age of 85, he saxophonist Bob Kindred, as well as the pianist Connie Crothers at the age of 75 ( New York Times).

Last Week at the Jazzinstitut

The short summer break of the JazzNews is over already; and, as you can see, we prepared enough material to fill a newsletter.

Next Sunday (28 August) we will open the exhibition "The Jazz I've Seen" at 5pm showing pieces by Hans-Werner Hermann, Thilo Hofer and Thorsten Henz. The exhibition will open with a public talk with the artists in the cave underneath the Jazzinstitut. Visitors will be able to attend several guided tours of the Jazzinstitut's archive after that. From 6pm the Mainz-based saxophonist Kerstin Haberecht and her quartet will perform open-air on the square in front of the Jazzinstitut in a concert organized by Förderverein Jazz. The restaurant Belleville ("across from us") will serve food and drinks. All these events are free for all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

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

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

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

Friday, August 19, 2016

Till Brönner's "The Good Life" out next month

Sony Music Masterworks releases "The Good Life" - the first album on OKeh Records from renowned German jazz trumpeter, Till Brönner, who has a string of great albums released on the Verve label for the past two decades. 

Featuring bassist John Clayton, guitarist Anthony Wilson and pianist Larry Goldings, "The Good Life" will be released worldwide September 2, 2016 digitally, on CD and vinyl. It will also be available as a super deluxe boxset including special photobook with CD, download code and vinyl LP.
Recorded at the former Ocean Way Studios in LA, the very same place that Sinatra recorded “My Way,” in The Good Life revisits a selection of standards, all of which have made history through their vocal interpretations. Brönner’s aim throughout was to create a specific atmosphere—a sunnier, more lighthearted groove; easygoing but thoughtful, gentle but never superficial. 

The album includes new arrangements of works made famous by Frank Sinatra (‘In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning’), Billie Holiday (‘I’ll Be Seeing You’), and Nat King Cole (“Sweet Lorraine”). Brönner has produced many of his own albums, but on this occasion he made the conscious decision to hand over the reins to legendary Dutch producer, Ruud Jacobs. As Brönner likes to put it, “constantly looking at your own reflection can get a bit wearing after a while.”
Since recording his first album in 1994, "Generations of Jazz," Brönner has steered his career through a series of different phases, including making a name for himself as a producer through his work with artists such as Hildegard Knef and Thomas Quasthoff, as well as, very significantly, discovering his own singing voice. Up until now Brönner has been seen as a trumpeter who occasionally sang and now he will demonstrate his new found talent across an entire album of popular jazz hits – including two originals. 
Till Brönner can rightly be regarded as Germany’s most successful jazz musician, but his fame has spread far beyond the National and even the European scene. This year he was invited to participate at International Jazz Day at the White House.

Brönner has always walked his own path, evoking thought and finding ways in which to challenge the greater jazz community as a whole. He continues to push those preconceived notions of what a jazz musician should be, showcasing his clear vision and determination throughout his longstanding career.
Sony Music Masterworks comprises the Masterworks, Sony Classical, OKeh, Portrait, Masterworks Broadway and Flying Buddha imprints. 
For email updates and information please visit www.sonymusicmasterworks.com/

Jeff Denson Fall Performances

Bay Area bassist/composer/vocalist Jeff Denson is a man on a mission.  He's just back from performances in Baltimore and DC celebrating his "dazzling" new CD Concentric Circles and has a slew of CA dates with his quartet this fall.  He's also touring in Europe with Lee Konitz and throughout California as a part of guitarist Joel Harrison's Spirit House Band with Cuong Vu on trumpet and Brian Blade on drums.
As David Wiegand noted in the San Francisco Chronicle, "Denson is a man of many talents." Those talents include not only being an in-demand player, but also overseeing his innovative non-profit Ridgeway Arts and teaching at the California Jazz Conservatory, where he is a full professor. 
Jeff Denson Fall Performances
* Aug. 26, 8 p.m. performance with San Francisco String Trio at Throckmorton Theater, Mill Valley, CA
* Aug. 27, 2 p.m. performance with drummer Alan Hall's Ratatet 4 at Seasons of the Vineyard, Healdsburg, CA
* Sept. 18-19, recording with San Francisco String Trio  
* Sept. 25, 8 p.m. Jeff Denson Quartet at Silo's, 530 Main St., Napa with Napa Valley High School Big Band. Tickets $20. 707-251-5833, www.silosnapa.com

* Oct. 2,  Jeff Denson Quartet at Jazz Church West, 3201 Camino Tassajara, Danville. 925-648-7000, www.peacejourney.org
* October 14 - 17, performances in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego with Joel Harrison Spirit House Band with Joel Harrison, guitar; Cuong Vu, trumpet, Paul Hanson, bassoon; Brian Blade, drums
* Oct. 21, 8 p.m. Jeff Denson Quartet at The Jazzschool, 2087 Addison St., Berkeley. Tickets $20. 510-845-5373, www.cjc.edu
* Nov. 30, Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz with Kari Ikonen, piano; Ronen Itzik, drums Flame Jazz: Sigyn-sali, Turku, Finland
* Dec. 1, 7 p.m. Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz with Kari Ikonen, piano; Ronen Itzik, drums at Koko Jazz Club, Helsinki, Finland

* Dec. 3, 8 p.m. Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz with Kari Ikonen, piano; Ronen Itzik, drums at Bimhuis Amsterdam, Netherlands
* Dec. 22 & Jan. 6, 8 p.m. Jeff Denson Quartet at Impulse Jazz Room, Walnut Creek, CA
Jeff is the executive producer of Ridgeway Radio, which be featuring free bi-monthly podcasts of interviews.  August interviews include pianist Vadim Neselovskyi, singer-songwriter Megan Slankford; September will feature vibraphonist/composer Warren Wolf, violinist/composer Mads Tolling; October's interviews will be trumpeter/composer Cuong Vu, electric bassist/composer Kai Eckhardt; and in November vocalist/composer Tammy Scheffer will be featured.
Denson's Ridgeway Records releases the Opaluna's selfititled debut CD as part of its Rising Star series and in September will release Metal na Madiera by Ian Faquini & Paul Santoro. 
In addition, Ridgeway Presents will feature Bay area workshops and performances by Vocalist Tammy Scheffer, August 31 - September 3 in Napa, San Jose, Berkeley and San Francisco and Denson will work with the Napa Valley High School Big Band and present a September 25 concert at Silo's with the high school band and his quartet.  Other artists coming on Ridgeway Presents include pianist Karl Ikonen, March 30 - April 2, 2017.

Jazz Bakery: September Delights in California!

                                           (Thana Alexa)      

Friday, September 2, 2016,8:00pm
all seats $25
VENUE:Moss Theater
3131 Olympic Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90404
The Moss Theater is a beautiful performance space. Acoustic design by Yasuhisa Toyota (DisneyConcert Hall). Free parking on site KJAZZ88.1 - officialmediasponsor.

Saturday, September 10, 2016,8:00pm
all seats $25
VENUE: Thayer Concert Hall -The Colburn School
200 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles 90012
Thayer Hall at the Colburn School, an intimate setting for artist and audience alike. Convenient parking nearby at Disney Hall or at MOCA. KJAZZ88.1 - officialmediasponsor.

PIANIST Alan Pasqua Trio
Sunday, September 11, 2016 - 5:00pm
all seats: $25
VENUE:Moss Theater
3131 Olympic Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90404
The Moss Theater is a beautiful performance space. Acoustic design by Yasuhisa Toyota (DisneyConcert Hall). Free parking on site KJAZZ88.1 - officialmediasponsor.

Dave Stryker and Eric Alexander Organ Quartet
Friday, September 16, 2016,8:00pm
all seats: $25
VENUE: Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
4718 W Washington Bl. Los Angeles, CA 90016
Lovely old theatre ambiance with lobby snack bar. Limited Street parking and venue adjacent lots.KJAZZ88.1 - officialmediasponsor.

Kurt Rosenwinkel Bandit 65
Sunday, September 18, 2016,8:00am
General $30 Student $25
VENUE:Moss Theater
3131 Olympic Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90404
The Moss Theater is a beautiful performance space. Acoustic design by Yasuhisa Toyota (DisneyConcert Hall). Free parking on site KJAZZ88.1 - officialmediasponsor.