Monday, January 30, 2017

Jeff Siegel & Feya Faku's new album "King of Xhosa" comes out this month

Artist Recording Collective (ARC) is proud to announce the release of "King of Xhosa" by renowned drummer and composer Jeff "Siege" Siegel. On the Jeff Siegel Quartet's third studio recording, the stalwart drummer merges his high energy, straight ahead post-bop with the deeply spiritual stylings of trumpet master Feya Faku to produce a vibrant sonic tapestry of South African infused jazz. "King of Xhosa" brings together Siegel's longstanding quartet comprised of saxophonist Erica Lindsay, pianist Francesca Tanksley, and bassist Rich Syracuse with percussionist Fred Berryhill and trumpeter extraordinaire Feya Faku.

Jeff Siegel and Feya Faku first came together in 2014 in Siegel's home-turf of Woodstock, New York when Faku visited there to perform with Uhadi, his group of select South African musicians. Siegel was immediately drawn to Faku''s sound. "From the first time I heard Feya in Woodstock, I knew that he had the perfect vibe, sound and soul to fit with my own quartet," says Siegel. That summer, Siegel embarked on the trip of a lifetime to Cape Town and Grahamstown, South Africa, where he participated in the International Association of Schools of Jazz, and performed at the Grahamstown Jazz Festival.

It was during this profound trip that the idea of a collaboration with Faku truly took hold. "Because African music is the roots of what we play as Jazz musicians, there was a feeling of being home while I was there," he says, " was a blessing to meet, hear and play with wonderful musicians and experience the soul of Africa firsthand.

The title "King of Xhosa" is an homage to the South African musician as well as his people. "Feya's lineage is of the tribe known as Xhosa - the 2nd largest ethnic group in South Africa after the Zulus.  They are known as "prophets" and have had several kings," explains Siegel, adding that although Feya himself is not a "king" per se, he nonetheless "carries and conducts himself in a most regal manner."

Homage is a recurring theme on "King of Xhosa" with each of the nine tracks having been composed with specific inspirations in mind. On 'Totem,' the album's opening 'call to worship' inspired by Xhosa dancers, Faku's resonate vocals soar. On 'Prayer', composer Tanksley pays tribute to the "power of merciful love", while Faku composed 'Courage' with his teachers in mind. Siegel's poignant 'Ballad of the Innocent' is dedicated to the victims of the Brussells bombing while Tanksley's 'Life on the Rock' is dedicated to each of the musicians on "King of Xhosa".

All in all, "King of Xhosa" is a celebration of the intersection of cultures. "I hope this music in some way reflects the deep respect I have for the great cultures of both Africa and the United States.  While we are profoundly aware of the great pain that resulted in the birth of Jazz music, born from the tragedy of slavery, we are forever blessed with the positive outcome of the joining of these cultures in music.  I pray that this recording shall add some positivity, inspiration and strength to a troubled world in whatever small way it can," says Siegel.

Drummer/Composer Jeff "Siege" Siegel is a veteran of the New York Jazz scene and has worked with a virtual "who's who" of artists. He came onto the New York scene in 1980-83 as a member of the quartet of the legendary multi-instrumentalist Arthur Rhames.  After six years with the group Second Sight, which featured trumpeter Dave Douglas, Siegel became a member of the Sir Roland Hanna Trio from 1994-'99.  From the years 1990 - present he has been co-led several touring ensembles as well as The Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet.  Simultaneously, from 2001 - 2015 Siegel was also a member of the Lee Shaw Trio from whom he also produced several cds and a dvd.

Siegel's diverse career has also led him to perform and/or record with legends such as Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Jack DeJohnette, Pat Metheny, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Sheila Jordan, Helen Merrill, Mose Allison, John Medeski, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling, Ravi Coltrane, Ryan Kisor, Steve Wilson, John Medeski, Dena DeRose, Dave Liebman, Pete & Tony Levin, Steve Turre, and many others. He has worked in the avant-garde world as well with artists such as Wadada Leo Smith, Baikida Carroll and Esa Pietila. He has performed over 30 European tours including four as leader of the Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet and several others as co-leader at various festivals, concert venues and clubs. His touring has also led to performances and clinics throughout the United States, South Africa, South America, China and Canada.

As an educator, Siegel is a faculty member at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Western Connecticut State University, and The State University of New York at New Paltz .He holds a Masters Degree in Jazz from Queens College where he studied composition with Jimmy Heath.  He has been the recipient of several grants from Meet the Composer and endorses Vic Firth Drum sticks.  Please be on the lookout for two upcoming new cd releases with his quartet including "London Live" (ARC Records) and "King of Xhosa" featuring South African trumpeter Feya Faku.

Feya Faku  is an accomplished Jazz musician and composer. He graduated with a Diploma in Jazz Studies at the University of Natal in 1992 under the tutelage of Professor Darius Brubeck, pianist and son of renowned American pianist, Dave Brubeck.

The trumpet and flugelhorn player has performed with a significant number of South African music legends. Based in South Africa, Faku travels frequently to perform on international stages with global counterparts. One of these long standing collaborations includes a partnership with the Paul van Kemenade Quintet, which now celebrates 20 years. In the past twenty years, Faku has partnered with the quintet on seasonal projects across Europeans stages.

Faku has participated in teaching and fellowship programmes teaching trumpet and ensemble work. In April 2006 he participated in a residency programme in Switzerland teaching and performing with the Swiss-South African Quintet. The University Council of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University awarded Fezile a Council Prestige Award, one of the highest award awarded by the University Council.

As recently as October 2012, Faku was Artist in Residence at the opening of the International Jazz School of the University of South Africa.  Over the past two years Fezile has recorded several cds as a sideman and toured the U.S. extensively with the South African group known as "Uhadi" as well as with Kesivan Naidoo & The Lights.

SACD of the Month - "Miles Davis: Kind of Blue"

SACD of the Month
Miles Davis: "Kind of Blue" (Sony Music Japan)
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Irving Townsend
Recorded by Fred Plaut @ Columbia 30th Street Studio (New York, NY) on March 2, 1959 and April 22, 1959
Remixed and Remastered by Mark Wilder
Featuring: Miles Davis (trumpet), Cannonball Adderley (alto sax), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums)

O depoimento de Arnaldo DeSouteiro ao portal Coisas da Música - Parte 1

Confira o depoimento de Arnaldo DeSouteiro ao portal Coisas da Música, agora na íntegra, em sete partes. No capítulo 1, o jornalista e produtor fonográfico fala das primeiras influências musicais. Tudo começou em casa, a partir de uma família extremamente musical: os pais Delza Agricola (pianista clássica e regente, primeira Maestrina formada pelo Conversatório Brasileiro de Música) e Walter Souteiro (pianista amador), a tia Elge Agricola (também pianista clássica, formada pela Escola Nacional de Música), a tia-avó Aurette Palermo (que também muito contribuiu para a sua coleção de discos iniciada ainda na infância), e os avós Ernani Agricola (renomado médico que tocava violoncelo, flauta e piano) e Aurea Agricola.

Entrevista realizada por Bernardo Costa em 11/07/2016.
O material foi publicado em duas reportagens no portal Coisas da Música. Veja nos links abaixo:
As memórias de Arnaldo DeSouteiro - Parte I
As memórias de Arnaldo DeSouteiro - Parte II

Imagem e edição: Bernardo Costa
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hiromi Suda releases "Nagi" in March

Singer-songwriter Hiromi Suda will be releasing her third album, "Nagi," on the Blujazz label, on March 7, 2017! She will be appearing in New York City at Subrosa on March 9 to celebrate the release. The radio add date is February 21.

"Nagi" is the latest and most fully realized iteration of Suda's singular hybrid conception, by which she mingles and juxtaposes the musical cultures of Japan and Brazil. The album was first released in Japan this past July on Inpartmaint Inc. to critical acclaim. As of March 7th, "Nagi" will be available worldwide on HDTracks and on iTunes.

"Suda's uniquely clear, unaffected voice glides, honoring the lines and emphases that characterize Brazilian jazz...There are subtle tilts in new kindred directions... as Japanese folk inflections are woven with contemporary swing edges."--Katie Bull, NYC Jazz Record

Arnaldo DeSouteiro bio / JSR (Jazz Station Records)

Arnaldo DeSouteiro – Biografia ultra-resumida 

Produtor de discos, com cerca de 530 álbuns em sua discografia (incluindo novos CDs, reedições, coletâneas, trilhas sonoras, projetos especiais), conforme consta no All Music Guide, principal e mais acessado website sobre música no mundo. Jornalista e publicitário (formado em Comunicação pela PUC-RJ), tendo escrito para os jornais Tribuna da Imprensa (de 1979 até sua extinção em 2009, com 3.200 artigos publicados), Última Hora, O Globo e O Estado do Paraná, revistas Billboard, Keyboard (USA), Cuadernos de Jazz (Espanha), Swing Journal (Japão), Revista do CD (Brasil) etc. 

Roteirista de shows (João Gilberto, Diana Krall, Ithamara Koorax, Marcos Valle, Eumir Deodato, Bjork etc) e de especiais de TV para as emissoras Globo (Antonio Carlos Jobim & João Gilberto) e Manchete (Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Chuck Mangione, Airto Moreira & Flora Purim etc) no Brasil, BET e PBS nos EUA, NHK no Japão (Diana Krall, João Gilberto, CTI All Stars, Dave Brubeck etc).

Nascido no Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) em 1963, radicado em Los Angeles (EUA) desde 1999. Estudou piano clássico e harmonia com sua mãe, a pianista e maestrina Delza Agricola. É membro da Associação Brasileira de Imprensa (ABI) e da Ordem dos Músicos do Brasil (OMB) desde 1979, membro catedrático titular efetivo da Academia Internacional de Música desde 1985, membro votante do Grammy-Naras (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) desde 2006, membro votante da Los Angeles Jazz Society (único brasileiro) desde 2007, e também único brasileiro que é membro votante da Jazz Journalists Association (sediada em Nova Iorque) desde 2002. Atua como consultor e parecerista para diversas empresas, centros culturais e festivais de música no Brasil e no exterior.

Também foi membro honorário e primeiro membro brasileiro da Associação Internacional de Educadores de Jazz (IAJE – International Association of Jazz Educators) durante 12 anos, até sua extinção em 2008, tendo realizado palestras e "panel sessions" nas convenções anuais realizadas nos EUA. 

Fundador e Presidente da gravadora JSR (Jazz Station Records), sediada em Los Angeles – EUA desde 2001, uma divisão da Jazz Station Marketing & Consulting. Dirige também a JSR Casting e a LaCalifUSA Pictures, empresa de cinema que produz conteúdo e trilhas sonoras (composição, produção, seleção) para filmes e séries de TV. 

Produziu discos e sessões de gravação com artistas como Luiz Bonfá, João Gilberto, Dom Um Romão, João Donato, Palmyra & Levita, Mario Castro-Neves, Claudio Roditi, Gaudencio Thiago de Mello, Dexter Payne, Bjork, Rodrigo Lima, Don Sebesky, Hubert Laws, Fabio Fonseca, Marcos Ozzellin, Herbie Hancock, Jorge Pescara, Paula Faour, Anna Ly, Pascoal Meirelles, Yana Purim, Carlos Pingarilho, Nelson Angelo, Marcelo Salazar, Ithamara Koorax, Ron Carter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Steve Swallow, Herbie Hancock, Hugo Fattoruso, Larry Coryell, Sadao Watanabe, Jurgen Friedrich, Claus Ogerman, Gazzara, Eumir Deodato, Azymuth, Marcio Montarroyos, Sivuca, Laudir de Oliveira, Marcos Valle, David Matthews, Gene Bertoncini, John McLaughlin, Raul de Souza, Hermeto Pascoal, Jadir de Castro, Lew Soloff, George Young, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Alphonso Johnson e muitos outros. 

Como compositor e letrista, tem parcerias com Dave Brubeck (“Broadway Bossa Nova”), Francesco Gazzara (“O Passarinho”), Mamoru Morishita (“Hotaru”) e Fabio Fonseca (“Samba da Copa”, executado na cerimônia de abertura da Copa do Mundo de 2006). 

Produziu reedições de discos de Sergio Mendes, Flora Purim, Tamba Trio, Ivan Lins, Carlos Lyra, Miucha, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ron Carter, Idris Muhammad, Hank Crawford, Lonnie Smith, Johnny Hammond, Luiz Bonfá, Phil Upchurch, Tennyson Stephens, Eumir Deodato, Grant Green, Mario Castro-Neves, João Donato, Claus Ogerman, David Matthews, Esther Phillips, Joe Beck, Eric Gale e muitos outros.

Produziu as séries “A Trip To Brazil” (cujo Volume 1 chegou ao primeiro-lugar na parada de world-music na Europa em 1998, superando “Buena Vista Social Club”), “Brazilian Horizons”, “CTI: Acid Jazz Grooves”, “Jazz Club”, e retrospectivas - lançadas mundialmente entre 2006 e 2010 pelo selo Verve – das carreiras de Quincy Jones (“Summer In The City: The Soul-Jazz Groves of Quincy Jones”), Eumir Deodato (“Do It Again: The Fantastic Jazz Funk of Eumir Deodato”) e Chick Corea (“Electric Chick”).

Desde 1981, tem realizado, como free lancer, produção musical para diversas gravadoras, como RCA/BMG, Sony, Verve/PolyGram/Universal, CTI, King, Paddle Wheel, Pausa, Milestone/Fantasy, Warner/WEA, Motor Music, JVC/Victor, Sanyo, Movieplay, Imagem, Eldorado, CID, Alfa, RGE, Mr. Bongo, Terra Música, Blue Moon, Bomba, Cedar Tree, Treasure Trove, Irma, Vivid Sound, Motéma, e Huks Music, no Brasil, Europa, Estados Unidos, Japão, China, Taiwan e Coréia. 

Entre 1982 e 1984, atuou como assessor cultural do Serviço de Comunicação Social da Petrobras. Em 1983, criou, produziu e apresentou o programa "Jazz espetacular", transmitido pela Rádio Tupi FM. Em 1984, assumiu a responsabilidade da programação de bordo (musical e audiovisual) transmitida nos vôos internacionais da Varig, função que exerceu durante 14 anos. Também nesse período (1985 a 1987), participou da comissão de seleção do Free Jazz Festival. 

Escreveu textos de contracapa para discos de diversos artistas, como Toots Thielemans, Ella Fitzgerald, Eliane Elias, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jeff Kinsky, Paulo Bellinati e Carlos Barbosa Lima, entre outros. Assinou textos para divulgação ("press releases") de artistas como João Gilberto, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Pat Metheny, Bill Evans, Jimmy Smith, Elvin Jones, Stanley Turrentine e Tony Bennett.

Atuou como entrevistador em depoimentos prestados para o Museu da Imagem e do Som (Rio de Janeiro e São Paulo) por João Donato, Stellinha Egg, Maestro Gaya, Eumir Deodato, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim e Carlos Barbosa Lima. Em 2001, recebeu o prêmio de International Man of The Year, concedido pelo International Biographical Centre, de Londres. Foi o primeiro brasileiro a receber essa premiação, oferecida anteriormente a apenas quatro outros produtores: Arif Mardin, Tommy LiPuma, Quincy Jones e Phil Ramone. Ainda nesse ano, a JSR (Jazz Station Records), de sua propriedade, foi considerada uma das cinco melhores gravadoras de jazz do mundo, em relação publicada na edição de dezembro da revista especializada norte-americana "Down Beat", premiação que se repetiu por quatro anos (7º lugar em 2003, 9º lugar em 2004, 5º lugar em 2005 e 6º lugar em 2006).  

Foi entrevistado em vários programas de TV, seriados (incluindo o documentário "Laurindo Almeida, Muito Prazer" exibido pelo canal GNT) e filmes como o premiado documentário "Beyond Ipanema", no qual foi entrevistado ao lado de Creed Taylor, Lalo Schifrin, Wayne Shorter, Gene Lees e Norman Gimbel. Depois de apresentado em diversos festivais de cinema nos Estados Unidos e Europa, "Beyond Ipanema" foi transformado em série de televisão transmitida em território brasileiro pela emissora Canal Brasil em 2014.
Jazz Station Records (JSR), a division of Jazz Station Enterprises
CEO & Founder · Los Angeles 

            (Arnaldo DeSouteiro during a recording session in 2014)

"People are going to talk about you, especially when they envy you and the life you live. Let them. You affected their lives, they didn't affect yours... you will eventually lose someone you love & love someone you never thought you'd find..."
Arnaldo DeSouteiro - Short Bio

Music Producer (with over 530 albums to his credit according to the All Music Guide), Voting Member of NARAS-GRAMMY and Jazz Journalists Association (NY), Member of LAJS (Los Angeles Jazz Society), Musical Philosopher, Journalist, Jazz & Brazilian Music Historian, Publicist, Public Relations, Composer (having written successful jazz & pop songs, some dance hits like "O Passarinho" for the Italian TV reality show "La Pupa e Il Secchione", and "Samba da Copa" for the "2006 World Cup" in Germany, plus many other soundtracks for movies, soap operas & TV series in the USA -- PBS, BET, Universal Cable etc --, Europe and Asia), Lyricist (he wrote lyrics to Dave Brubeck's "Broadway Bossa Nova" at the invitation of Brubeck himself, among other songs), Arranger, Percussionist, Keyboardist, Programmer, Educator (conducting clinics and panel sessions worldwide as the first Brazilian member of IAJE-International Association of Jazz Educators during its existence). He has also acted as consultant for several companies and jazz festivals all over the world.

Founder and CEO of JSR (Jazz Station Records), a Division of Jazz Station Marketing & Consulting - LA, Calif. Most recently, founded LaCalifUSA Pictures and JSR Casting in 2007 for movie & TV productions featuring music & fashion.

Produced the acclaimed CD compilation series "A Trip To Brazil," "CTI Acid Jazz Grooves," "Brazilian Horizons," "Focus on Bossa Nova," "Focus on Brazilian Music Grooves", "Bossa Nova Singers," "Bossa Nova Guitar","Jazz Rock" etc.

Produced special compilations for Quincy Jones ("Summer in the City - The Soul Jazz Grooves of Quincy Jones"), Chick Corea ("Electric Chick") and Deodato ("Do It Again - The Fantastic Jazz-Funk of Eumir Deodato"), all released by Verve/Universal. His latest CD for Verve is "Bossa Nova USA," released last May, featuring Dave Brubeck's title track performed by Quincy Jones.

Supervised and/or Directed TV specials featuring João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dizzy Gillespie, Chuck Mangione, Flora Purim & Airto Moreira, Miles Davis, Dom Um Romão, Eliane Elias, Diana Krall, Eumir Deodato, Bjork et al. Worked with producers Creed Taylor, Yoichi Nakao, Susumu Morikawa, Matthias Kunnecke, and photographers Pete Turner, Victor Skrebneski, Robert Mappelthorpe, Duane Michals.

Mr. DeSouteiro has also worked in his native Brazil for TUPI-FM radio station (as musical programmer-DJ as well as hosting his own show, "Jazz Espetacular"), Manchete TV network (anchoring & supervising the "Terça Especial" series for which he interviewed such jazz giants as Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Chuck Mangione, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim etc), Globo TV network (screenplay, coordination and mix for the TV special "João Gilberto & Antonio Carlos Jobim - O Grande Encontro" in 1992, the last time these 2 geniuses performed together, plus the texts and screenplay for the "Minuto da Bossa" series), and as the jazz columnist for the "Tribuna da Imprensa" (Press Tribune) daily newspaper during 29 years (from 1979 to 2008). Before moving to the USA, he also worked as Brazilian correspondent of "Keyboard" magazine (from 1985 to 1994), as a free-lancer to Billboard, Cuadernos de Jazz, Swing Journal and International Music Magazine, and as entertainment-in-flight programmer for several airline companies like Varig Brazilian Airlines (from 1983 to 1998).

Produced over 530 albums and sessions featuring: Luiz Bonfa, João Gilberto, Dom Um Romão, Thiago de Mello, Dexter Payne, João Donato, Palmyra & Levita, Mario Castro-Neves, Jorge Pescara, Paula Faour, Fabio Fonseca, Claudio Roditi, Rodrigo Lima, Hermeto Pascoal, Ithamara Koorax, Don Sebesky, Sammy Figueroa, Bjork, Anna Ly, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Pascoal Meirelles, Yana Purim, Pingarilho, Nelson Angelo, Marcelo Salazar, Ron Carter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Steve Swallow, Herbie Hancock, Hugo Fattoruso, Larry Coryell, Sadao Watanabe, Jurgen Friedrich, Eloir de Moraes, Gazzara, Deodato, Jadir de Castro, Azymuth, Marcio Montarroyos, Sivuca, Laudir de Oliveira, Marcos Valle, Jay Berliner, George Young, David Matthews, Lew Soloff, Alphonso Johnson, Gene Bertoncini, John McLaughlin, Claus Ogerman, Raul de Souza, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and many others.

Produced and supervised CD reissues of albums by Ron Carter, Hank Crawford, Johnny Hammond, Sergio Mendes, Hubert Laws, Grant Green, Idris Muhammad, Joe Beck, Esther Phillips, Lonnie Smith, David Matthews & Whirlwind, Phil Upchurch, Tennyson Stephens, Miucha, Flora Purim, Carlos Lyra, Tamba Trio, Ivan Lins, Raul de Souza, Trio 3-D and many others. As annotator, he wrote liner notes and press releases for albums by Toots Thielemans, Hank Crawford, Stan Getz, Ella Fitzgerald, Pat Metheny, Eliane Elias, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Jeff Linsky and dozens of others for labels like RCA, CTI, Kudu, Milestone, Fantasy, Verve, Columbia, Irma, Alfa, JVC, Caju, Sonet, Paddle Wheel, JHO, Mercury, Imagem etc.

Mr. DeSouteiro also had the honor to be associated with some of the world's greatest photographers like Pete Turner (who did the cover photos for Rodrigo Lima's "Saga" and Jorge Pescara's "Grooves in the Temple," released on his own JSR label and featured on Turner's new book "The Color of Jazz"), Victor Skrebneski (the CD reissue of "Upchurch/Tennyson"), Bruce Weber (Esther Phillips' "For All We Know"), Robert Mappelthorpe ("Brazilian Horizons"), Alen MacWeeney, William Cadge, and Duane Michals (many of the CTI CDs) and so on. He has appeared in several movies and TV series such as the Award Winning documentary movie "Beyond Ipanema," for which he was interviewed alongside Creed Taylor, Lalo Schifrin, Wayne Shorter, Gene Lees and Norman Gimbel.
Jazz Station Marketing & Consulting, JSR Casting, LaCalifUSA Pictures
CEO & Founder: Arnaldo DeSouteiro
Jazz Station Records (JSR), a division of Jazz Station Enterprises
CEO & Founder · Los Angeles ·

(PLEASE, DO NOT SEND UNSOLICITED MATERIAL; any unsolicited CD or promo packets will be returned. If you wish to submit material, please contact us through comments on this post or through Facebook. Thx!)

People are going to talk about you, especially when they envy you and the life you live. Let them. You affected their lives, they didn't affect yours... you will eventually lose someone you love & love someone you never thought you'd find... 

CD Reissue of the Month - "Lalo Schifrin: Black Widow & Towering Toccata"

CD Reissue of the Month
Lalo Schifrin: "Black Widow & Towering Toccata" (CTI/Robinsongs) 

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

Produced by Creed Taylor
Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder & Joe Jorgensen
Arranged & Conducted by Lalo Schifrin

These albums feature some of the greatest jazz musicians of the period including Eric Gale, John Tropea, Steve Gadd, Hubert Laws, Don Alias, Sue Evans, Anthony Jackson & Joe Farrell to name but a few. Lalo Schifrin puts a jazz-funk vibe to some classic movie themes including Steven Spielberg's blockbuster "Jaws" which was released as a single and charted at 14 in the UK Singles chart, and became a worldwide Disco smash. Schifrin's CTI debut "Black Widow" proved a hit as it landed at no. 22 in the US list of Jazz bestsellers, and it also appeared on the R&B chart. There are stunning arrangements of "old" material: Ary Barroso's "Bahia" (Na Baixa do Sapateiro), Les Baxter's "Quiet Village", the lovely "Flamingo," and the standard "Moonglow" (Theme from "Picnic.") It's a joy to listen guitarists Eric Gale and John Tropea playing together in all tracks!

Buoyed by good sales and the encouraging public reception Schifrin returned to the studio to cut his second CTI album "Towering Toccata," featuring Jeremy Steig, Urbie Green, John Blair, Clark Spangler, Don Armando, Steve Gadd, Will Lee, John Tropea, Ralph MacDonald, Ronnie Cuber etc. Again there was plenty of effervescent disco-funk grooves (even on the title track, an adaptation of the famous "Toccata & Fugue in D Minor" by J.S. Bach!) plus big movie themes including "King Kong." But also some ballads like "Eagles In Love" and "France's Theme." My personal favorite track is "Midnight Woman," a song I've included in my compilation "CTI Acid Jazz Grooves" back in 1997, featuring Lalo's terrific solo on Fender Rhodes.

This reissue features liner notes by Charles Waring, contributor to MOJO magazine & Record Collector.
It's on sale at Dusty Groove and that's what they say:

A pair of CTI 70s classics from Lalo Schifrin – back to back on a single CD! First up is Black Widow – funky 70s work from Lalo – with a bit of a disco twist, and plenty of the electric jazz funk elements that were showing up in his soundtracks at the time! Lalo's on keyboards, playing a cool host of electric ones that give the record a nice spacey sound over the top of the funky arrangements. 

There's plenty of nice guitar work – either by Eric Gale or John Tropea – which gives the cuts some nice choppy funky bits that drive them a bit harder than you might expect. Includes an amazing funk remake of "Quiet Village", plus "Dragonfly", "Black Widow", "Baia", "Turning Point", and a version of the "Jaws" theme! 

Towering Toccatta is electric 70s work from Lalo Schifrin – with a tight uptempo funky sound that's similar to his strong "cop show" soundtrack themes of the time! This album's a pretty great testament to Lalo's durability as one of the great composer arrangers – sublime stuff from the late 70s, and a record that really works nicely alongside Schifrin's music for films. 

Lalo's got a great crew for the set, too – including Joe Farrell and Jeremy Steig on flute, Eric Gale on guitar, Anthony Jackson on bass, Steve Gadd and Andrew Smith on drums, accompaniment on keys by Chuck Spangler and a host of others! Titles include "Eagles In Love", "Macumba", "Theme From Most Wanted", "Theme From King Kong", and "Roller Coaster".

Blu-spec CD of the Month - "Art Farmer: Crawl Space"

Blu-spec CD of the Month
Art Farmer: "Crawl Space" (CTI/King KICJ 2503)

**** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Creed Taylor
Arranged by Dave Grusin & Fritz Pauer
Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder @ Van Gelder Studios (Englewood Cliffs, NJ) in January, 1977
Cover Photo: White Gate
Album Design: Sib Chalawick & Carole Kowalchuck

Featuring: Art Farmer (trumpet & flugelhorn), Dave Grusin (Fender Rhodes electric piano), George Mraz (bass), Will Lee (electric bass), Steve Gadd (drums), Eric Gale (guitar), Jeremy Steig (flute)

One of Farmer's best sessions for CTI. I only don't give it 5 stars because of Grusin's boring title track. But the other tunes are top class. There's a beautiful ballad by Austrian pianist Fritz Pauer ("Siddharta") and two lovely medium-tempo songs on which Dave Grusin performs delightful solos on Fender Rhodes: Farmer's "Petite Belle" and Grusin's own "Chanson." Farmer sounds impeccable throughout the album, soloing with perfect articulation over a tight rhythm section.

Beyond CD of the Month - "Hugo Fattoruso & Tomohiro Yahiro: Dos Orientales / Tercer Viaje"

Beyond CD of the Month
Dos Orientales (Hugo Fattoruso & Tomohiro Yahiro): "Tercer Viaje" (Beans Records BNSCD-7729)

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

Produced by Hugo Fattoruso & Tomohiro Yahiro
Recorded by Tsukasa Okamoto & Shinya Matsushita @ Dedé Studio (Tokyo, Japan)
Mixed by Gustavo De León & Hugo Fattoruso @ Sondor (Montevideo, Uruguay)
Mastered by Gustavo De León
Album Design: Taiga Kuhara
Licensed by KaiYa (Tokyo, Japan) and Released by Beans Records

Featuring: Hugo Fattoruso (piano, keyboards, vocals), Tomohiro Yahiro (percussion)
Special Guests: Francisco Fattoruso (bass on "Barrio Latino"), Christian Fattoruso (electric guitar on "Barrio Latino"), Albana Barrocas, Diego Paredes, Noè Núñez & Fernando Núñez (percussion)

Pop CD of the Month - "Vitoria Maldonado: Vitoria"

Pop CD of the Month
Vitoria Maldonado: "Vitoria" (VMG 0001)

Composed, Arranged & Produced by Vitoria Maldonado
Musical Director: Ney Marques
Cover Photo: Danilo Borges
Graphic Design: Magno Ribeiro
Art Coordinator: Victor Rebouças

Featuring: Vitoria Maldonado (vocals, piano), Ney Marques & Elias Almeida (guitars), Zé Antonio (keyboards), Ary Nascimento (bass), Dadi (drums), Proveta (sax), Oswaldinho do Acordeon (accordion)

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month - "The Baylor Project: The Journey"

Vocal CD of the Month
The Baylor Project: "The Journey" (Be A Light) 2017
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Steeped in the heart and soul of jazz, Marcus and Jean Baylor's highly anticipated collaboration showcases the grace and glory, versatility and virtuosity of a truly extraordinary musical union. Joining Marcus and Jean on their self-produced debut is an expansive assemblage of top-notch collaborators including pianists Allyn Johnson and Shedrick Mitchell, guitarists Rayfield "Ray Ray" Holloman and Marvin Sewell, bassists Dezron Douglas, Chris Smith, David "DJ" Ginyard and Corcoran Holt, percussionists Pablo Batista and Aaron Draper, tenor saxophonists Keith Loftis and Bob Mintzer, trumpeters Freddie Hendrix and Keyon Harrold, trombonist Stafford Hunter and harpist Brandee Younger.

As the children of Pastors, Marcus and Jean's musical roots were planted deep within the church, and it was there that the road was paved for the influence of gospel, blues, soul, and jazz to make it's mark. On "The Journey", listeners are taken on a comprehensive musical journey that showcases as much versatility as it does virtuosity. A world-class drummer, Marcus' creativity and innovative storytelling ability expose his seasoned improvisation and musicianship. Jean, with her agile mezzo-soprano range, combines a fresh, whimsical, approach to phrasing with clever musicality resulting in soul-hugging vocal purity. Their first feature recording together embodies the true spirit of love while also paying homage to their musical roots and those of the African American experience.

"The Journey is a true reflection of our childhood, the musical and cultural influence of the African American Church, and all the things that have become a part of our creative fabric from then until now," says Jean. As co-creators of their label Be A Light, Marcus and Jean served as the sole producers of "The Journey". "As producers, we were involved in every aspect of the project from inception to completion," says Marcus, adding, "...from songwriting, arranging and collaborating with great musicians to cultivate the sound we heard in our heads, we loved having the autonomy to create music from the inside out."

Anchored by their exceptional band, The Baylor Project made their live debut in 2013 at Smoke Jazz Club to critical acclaim. Such a success, they were extended an invitation to remain in residency at Smoke for the coming year. "Performing on a regular basis not only gave us the opportunity to evolve as a band, but to build a buzz and anticipation for The Baylor Project," says Marcus.

The buzz was certainly built; word-of-mouth brought packed houses at the famed Blue Note, Apollo Music Café, and DC's Blues Alley, leading to performances in premiere jazz festivals across the United States and Europe--a glamorous arrival for two people from humble beginnings. Marcus is a native of Ferguson, MO and Jean, a native of Moorestown, New Jersey.  Both grew up in a tradition that imprinted itself upon their craft.

It is apropo that it was their craft that brought them together back in 2000. It was then that Jean was set to perform at a showcase and found herself in need of a new drummer.  On a fellow musician's referral, Marcus and Jean were connected for the first time through music. As a close friend tells the story, Marcus fell in love with her that night on stage.

With "The Journey," the Baylor Project showcases their outstanding versatility with a dynamic collection of original compositions, newly arranged standards and reimagined hymns. Upon pressing play, listeners are transported into the heart of the black experience: inside a little church in the mountains of West Virginia built by Jean's ancestors, hands are clapping, feet are stomping on time tested hardwood floors, and voices testify to the power of prayer in song. "Block Party" is the joyful introduction to the Baylor Project rife with the church blues and jazz improvisation.

What follows is the Baylor's signature arrangement of the stalwart hymn "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and their lush arrangement of the Herbie Hancock classic "Tell Me A Story", which is enhanced by original lyrics penned by Jean.

A restorative hymn for healing and forgiveness begins the original composition "Again" which then gives way to a full swing orchestration with horns and strings featuring explosive solos. On the following track, the Baylors present a beautifully moody arrangement of the Gershwin classic "Summertime" with the lush stylings of harpist Brandee Younger, thus providing a remarkable remedy for the familiar. On "Afro Blue", listeners are filled with an open palette of sound that brings forth a sincere spiritual offering of faith, strength and resolve. Afro Blue is a journey in and of itself through the collage of solos that express a deep connection to their cultural roots.

An interesting surprise, penultimate tune "Laugh and Move On" is a tribute to a simpler time in music. "This song reminds me of an era in music that focused on telling a story with a lot of soul and some good ole' fashioned singing about letting the tough times roll off your back," says Jean.

Likened to an aria, Jean's beautiful and sometimes haunting vocal arrangement is sung over Marcus' dramatic drum solo on the final track "Journey". Vacillating in and out of tempo and bound only to the rhythm of the soul, the two dance together telling their stories. Intertwined with voices of their personal lineage that give audible accounts of the discovery of their musical gifts, it is the perfect ending to the story and cleverly circles listeners right back to the beginning.

"We want to inspire, foster hope and ultimately, bridge the gap between generations in our culture," says Marcus. With "The Journey'', The Baylor project does just that. They are relatable, they are virtuosic, and for these reasons they captivate listeners and packed houses alike. "The Journey" pays homage to their wide-ranging musical influences, and in so doing; they generate an eclectic sound whose overall effect is spiritual, buoyant, and feel good music.

Fresh off the heels of their sold-out CD release mini tour throughout NYC, Philly and Washington, DC, The Baylor Project will be appearing in Boston, MA at Scullers Jazz Club on March 31; in Alpharetta, GA at the Velvet Note on April 28; at the Art of the Cool Festival in Durham, NC on April 29 and at The Art Garage in Delray Beach, FL on April 30.

"The Baylor Project" is an innovative collaboration merging the talents and creativity of this dynamic husband and wife duo, Marcus and Jean Baylor. Both artists have established themselves in the music community, Marcus as a jazz musician having toured and recorded with Kenny Garrett, John Scofield, Cassandra Wilson, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride and as a long-time member of the Grammy Award Winning, Yellowjackets. Jean first established herself in R&B as a platinum selling recording artist and later emerged in jazz having recorded and toured with Kenny Garrett, Marcus Miller, Yellowjackets, Jimmy Greene and legends, Harold Mabern and Buster Williams. The Baylor Project was founded in 2013.

MANAGEMENT: Gail Boyd Management


Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month - "John Stein: Color Tones"

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month
John Stein: "Color Tones" (Whaling City Sound) 2017
Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by John Stein
Executive Producer: Neal Weiss
Recorded on March 19 & 20, 2016 by Peter Kontrimas @ PBS (Westwood, MA)
Mixed & Mastered by Peter Kontrimas
Cover Painting: Joseph Edwards Alexander
Liner Photos: Kenny Hyde
Package Design: David Arruda Jr.
Liner Notes: John Thomas
Total Time: 57 minutes

All tunes composed by John Stein, except "Angel Eyes" (Matt Dennis/Earl Brent)
All tracks arranged by the band, except "Ebb and Flow," "Salt Marsh Dawn" and "Wall Stones" arranged by Adi Yeshaya
Featuring: John Stein (guitar), Phil Grenadier (trumpet & flugelhorn), Fernando Brandão (flute, alto flute, bass flute), John Lockwood (acoustic bass), Zé Eduardo Nazario (drums)

Masterpiece of the Month - "Dwiki Dharmawan: Pasar Klewer"

Masterpiece of the Month
Dwiki Dharmawan: "Pasar Klewer" (Musikita/MoonJune MJR 081, 2-CD set)
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Leonardo Pavkovic and Dwiki Dharmawan.
Executive producers: Dwiki Dharmawan for Musikita and Leonardo Pavkovic for MoonJune Music.
Graphics & artwork by Aga Dilaga.
Front cover pencil artwork by Daniel Indro W.
Liner Notes by John Kelman

Recorded in London, June 9 & 10, 2015, at EastCote Studio by Phil Bagenal.
Boris Savoldelli’s vocal parts recorded at BSS home studio in Pisogne, Italy, August 30, 2015.
Peni Candra Rini and gamelan orchestra pre-recorded in Jakarta in May 2015.
Balinese frogs recorded live in Ubud, Bali, in August 2015.
Mixed and mastered by Mark Wingfield at Heron Island Studio, Cambridgeshire, England in October 2015 and April 2016.

Dwiki Dharmawan – acoustic piano
Yaron Stavi – upright bass (all tunes, except tune 5, disk 2), bass guitar (tune 5, disk 2)
Asaf Sirkis – drums (all tunes, except tune 2, disk 1), udu clay percussion, shaker & konakol singing (tune 2, disk 1)
Mark Wingfield – guitar (tunes 1 & 4 on disk 1; tunes 4 & 6 on disk 2)
Nicolas Meier – glissentar (tunes 2 & 5 on disk 1; tune 1 on disk 2), acoustic guitar (tunes 3 &5, disk 2)
Gilad Atzmon – clarinet (tune 2 on disk 1; tune 2 on disk 2), soprano sax (tune 3 on disk 1; tune 3 on disk 2)
Boris Savoldelli – vocals (tunes 4 & 5 on disk 1);
Aris Daryono – vocals, gamelan percussion, kendang percussion, rebab 3-strings violin (tunes 1, 2 & 3 on disk 1; tune 1 on disk 2);
Peni Candra Rini – vocals (tune 1 on disk 2);
Gamelan Jess Jegog led by I Nyoman Windhy – gamelan orchestra (tune 3 on disk 1; tune 1 on disk 2);
Balinese Frogs (!!!) – (tune 3 on disk 2)

Indonesian keyboard star Dwiki Dharmawan, a true virtuoso, returns following his 2015 MoonJune Records debut, the more fusion-heavy "So Far, So Close," with the even more ambitious "Pasar Klewer." This brilliant acoustic piano-driven two-CD set features the cream of Britain’s younger expat crop, blending with Indonesian to create a passionate, seamless cultural cross-pollination.

Bassist Yaron Stavi and superb drummer/percussionist Asaf Sirkis form the core trio with Dharmawan, while reed multi-instrumentalist Gilad Atzmon, Gamelan musical virtuoso Aris Daryono and guitarists Nicolas Meier and Mark Wingfield all make significant contributions to several tracks.

Italian singer Boris Savoldelli  -- one of the world's best jazz vocalists -- also guests on two tunes, including a reinvention of Robert Wyatt’s “Forest,” and the Jess Jegog Gamelan Orchestra and singer Peni Candrarini bring cultural verisimilitude to Dharmawan’s radical rearrangement of the traditional “Lir Ilir.”

MoonJune Records’ founder Leonardo Pavkovic describes Dharmawan as “one of Indonesia’s most prominent musicians; a cultural icon in his homeland and accomplished  keyboardist, composer, arranger, performer and peace activist. A true cultural ambassador of his beloved country, Dwiki has forged a very successful thirty-plus year career, performing in over sixty countries with solo and collective projects.”

"So Far, So Close" was Dharmawan’s pan-cultural, fusion powerhouse MoonJune debut, but for his second MoonJune effort, Dharmawan wanted to try something different. “Indonesia is the place of ‘ultimate diversity,'” the pianist says. “Here, the urban cultures accelerate the ‘acculturation’ process, which generates changes in cultural patterns and creates new forms of musical expression. Pasar Klewer is the answer to my search for ‘the difference,’ and also a valuable answer to our modern crises and urban uprooting. The album’s distinctive sound originates from an ancient Gamelan tonal system called Salendro, known in the Karawitan traditional music of the Sundanese, Javanese and Balinese. Based on the Gamelan tonal system, I also adapted, as my inspiration, other musical elements from all over the Indonesian archipelago, as well as the western diatonic system.”

Pasar Klewar’s exhilarating opening title track, indeed, possesses a microtonal-informed melody drawn unmistakably from Dharmawan’s cultural roots; but its modal nature also affords the pianist and his band mates the freedom to explore everything from Metheny-esque landscapes (though Wingfield’s heavily overdriven electric guitar provides a completely non-Metheny vibe during his light-speed solo) to a mid-song shift in mood, where Stavi and Sirkis drive Dharmawan’s post-Coltrane, Tyner-via-Beirach-through-Corea exploration of spiritual freedom with similar passion and fire.

Daryono takes an impressive vocal/rebab (three-stringed violin) solo before some empathic three-way interplay amongst the core trio leads to a thoroughly drum solo reaching deep into the heart of the song before Stavi and Dharmawan re-enter, bringing this twelve-minute epic to a finish with another  brilliant piano solo of grand proportions. Cross-pollinated with Wingfield’s additional fiery interaction, the music builds to such a climactic peak that, when it suddenly comes to a stop, the band members shouting “Yeah!!” is left to conclude the track, reflecting the energy clearly felt in the studio.