Sunday, August 25, 2019

Eliane Elias live in California, Oct 4th!

Pianist Eliane Elias to perform @ the Jazz Bakery series at the Moss Theater, featuring Marc Johnson (bass), Rafael Barata (drums) and Rubens de la Corte (guitar)
Friday, October 4th, 8 pm.

Seat selection: Available on desktop only / Mobile will auto-select ‘best available’.
Limited VIP: $60 / General: $45

VENUE: Moss­ Theater
at The Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Free parking adjacent to Moss Theater on New Roads Campus.
KJAZZ 88.1 - official media sponsor.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Chase Baird meets Antonio Sanchez and Brad Mehldau on his new album, out tomorrow

Soundsabound Records presents the latest work by young saxophonist and composer Chase Baird: "A  Life Between," covering a vast emotional terrain with a band comprised of modern jazz's most revered innovators. GRAMMY-winning drummer  Antonio Sanchez and 5-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist  Brad Mehldau  are veteran companions alongside new-generation talents  Nir Felder, guitar, and  Dan Chmielinski, bass. In a single day of recording, the group unites organically around the saxophonist's vision to produce high color statements and a profoundly felt artistic message.

A member of drummer Antonio Sanchez's recent band, Migration, Baird shares the virtuoso percussionist's interest in performing both hard-hitting and tender material—often within a single tune. On "A Life Between," Baird's cinematic compositions, fit for a stadium, alternate between power anthem and aching ballad. Indeed, with Nir Felder's pedal board adding eerie, even fearsome sonic landscapes, the album seems to chart an intergalactic drama, a dystopic world confronted by a romantic heroism.

For Baird, making this record was as much about the actual music as it was about his journey to triumph over the challenges facing young artists in New York. When times were tough and work was thin, Baird says he made it his mission "to cultivate a romanticism inside myself, even when the circumstances weren't romantic." So, caught in the middle—between dreaming up a life as a performing artist and realizing that dream—the saxophonist fell headlong into both composition and romance; and it is from this friction—between love and work—that "A Life Between"  was born.

A chance encounter with Brad Mehldau five years ago, on the day of Baird's graduation from Juilliard, led to a patiently tended relationship. The innovative pianist's influence on Baird's writing is evident, and Mehldau provides both breathtaking solos and sage-like accompaniment throughout the recording. However, the magic of this music is that it so remarkably lacks any of the cliché awkwardness that usually spoils attempts by young musicians to record with one-time, "all-star" casts of "big-name" artists. Instead, a deep chemistry pervades the album, and all members play orchestrally, architecting each song's distinctive story. The personalities are balanced: Chmielinksi is actively bighearted and Sanchez is propulsively generous; Mehldau's conversation is both selfless and clever, and Felder's timely textures are both wild and intelligent; Baird's leadership is both urgent and vulnerable, bending often toward the prophetic.
Baird composed the music in two distinct periods. "Ripcord," the opening number, filled with sweet yearning and a fearsome grunge streak; "As You Are," a medium-tempo waltz with bold solos by Baird and Felder; and the title track, "A Life Between," a heartbreakingly gentle hymn that builds to a collective pitch; were all penned shortly before or after he moved to New York in 2010. After a five year writing hiatus, he took another two to finish the rest of the music: the Sanchez-inspired "Reactor," a battle call in 7/4; "Dream Knows Know End," which floats along darkly at high speed; "Wait and See," a dangerous blues; and "In the Wake (of Urban Overdrive)," penned out of joy and hope, upon Baird's emergence from a period of depression.

For Robert Schumann's "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai" ("In the Beautiful Month of May"), which closes the album, Baird simply handed the band the original classical score, resulting in a plainly tender testament to love. Baird states: "I wanted to write and play songs more as vehicles for group improvisation than as intricate compositions. To let the band get into a vibe and take off." 

Chase’s humble insistence that his message be conceptually simple, and that his compositions be clear, was handled with grace by the legendary recording engineer James Farber, whose expertise has aided just about every major star in jazz. “James’s rough mixes sounded incredible,” Chase marvels, “and we barely had to adjust them, in the end. He’s a master.” And really, listening to "A Life Between," it’s hard not to be moved by the sheer sound of the recording, which is vivid, raw, and lush, a loving portrait of the group’s virtuosity and sincerity. 

"I really want to be in Radiohead," Baird jokes. "But how can I be a saxophonist and do that?” Part experimental rocker, part classical romantic, part Coltrane-devotee, Chase has answered his own question on A Life Between with a sound that is fresh, personal, and daring. A thunderous introduction into the mainstream: only at the beginning of his journey, and already dreaming up new lands through which to walk.

“Ripcord,” the album’s first track, debuted as a single on July 19th.  
"A Life Between" will be released worldwide on August 9th.

Big Band CD of the Month - "Terraza Big Band: One Day Wonder"

Big Band CD of the Month
Terraza Big Band: "One Day Wonder"
Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Featuring: John Fedchock, Luis Perdomo, Troy Roberts, John Ellis, Roman Filiú, Samuel Torres and more

The Terraza Big Band, whose new debut album for Outside in Music is One Day Wonder, is striking from every angle, a marvelous exploration of the possibilities of the big-band format. There’s the composing-arranging of its co-founders and co-leaders, the alto saxophonist Michael Thomas and the bassist Edward Perez, full of resolutely modern jazz-orchestral harmony, inventive forms and a gamut of rhythms, from 21st-century swing to an encyclopedia of Latin-based styles. There’s the lineup, including many of the best young jazz-trained musicians in New York City, given ample opportunity to express their signature voices throughout the leaders’ generous charts. Then there are the X factors that might be a bit harder to define but are crucial nonetheless: an elastic, adaptable feel in the arrangements and performances that somehow gives this 18-piece outfit a small-group vibe; the sense that these high-caliber musicians are utterly engaged with and trusting of the leaders’ vision; a narrative approach to concert and album programming that gives a set of music the dimensions of an excellent film. 

Of course, a project of this magnitude could only have developed in a very special place—in this case a venue special enough to give the group its moniker. Since its beginnings in the summer of 2015, Thomas and Perez’s band has held down a regular gig at Terraza 7, an extraordinary club in Queens, located between the neighborhoods of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Founded by Freddy Castiblanco, a Colombian-born former doctor and veteran community organizer, Terraza 7 features a wide range of global music and jazz—its schedule of various Latin-based ensembles is among the strongest in New York—and provides a place for artists and neighbors to coalesce around issues of social justice. “Terraza 7 is a mission for Freddy,” Perez says.

On the first Thursday of every month, the members of the Terraza Big Band become a part of that community, participating in an open rehearsal and then giving a full-length concert. To hear the band on its home turf is to receive an audiophile-worthy live-music experience. Seated directly across from the musicians, who are arranged on the venue’s transparent, loftlike stage that looms over the bar, every tricky form, every precision section part, every stout Cuban-influenced bassline, every heroic horn solo feels stunningly vibrant. The crowd—locals, jazz heads and curiosity-seekers alike—responds in kind. As the New York Times wrote in a piece on the current renaissance of New York-based large ensembles, “the [Terraza Big Band’s] audience was fully on board, but the ideas were entirely new.”

One Day Wonder, gorgeously recorded at Systems Two studio and conducted by Miho Hazama, herself a brilliant large-ensemble composer and bandleader, is essentially a virtual-reality jaunt to that great-sounding wedge-shaped room in Queens. It opens with Thomas’ “Zed,” a pointedly modern—think Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner at their most invitingly melodic—but highly playable piece. Perez’s “A New Leaf” follows, a seamless meld of buoyant Colombian-informed rhythm, graceful melody and symphonic ideas applied to jazz orchestration. “One Day Wonder,” a challenging composition crafted by the band’s tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts, is another example of Thomas’ ability as an arranger to take thrilling small-group jazz and magnify it to big-band proportions—remarkably, with no loss in urgency or expressivity. “Without Doubt” takes its title from Thomas’ experience writing it—an easygoing, almost intuitive process where everything seemed to fall into place. Here the tune provides a showcase for Thomas’ kinetic yet serene composing and some elegant solo work by Roberts, pianist Luis Perdomo and trumpeter Dave Neves.

The next two pieces dig into Perez’s life experience. His “Pasar el Tiempo, Aunque Fugaz, Contigo,” propelled by danceable rhythms and splashed with vivid colors, is a big-band update of an older number, written to reflect the excitement and euphoria that accompanied a romance Perez traversed in his 20s. “I’m 40 now,” he says with a laugh. “I wanted to see if I could retell a story from earlier in my life, and maybe tell it with a little more nuance.” “Flights of Angels,” featuring at its core Perez’s breathtaking solo bass work, is a mediation on a surreal, out-of-body encounter in the street with some especially ghostlike fog. Thomas’ midtempo swinger “Longing” contrasts odd phrases and plenty of chord changes with wide-open harmonic space for expert blowing, including a master class of a solo from the legendary trombonist John Fedchock. Perez’s “Me Lo Dijo Mi Primo” also finds plenty of inspiration in fantastic extended blowing over simple harmony—this time it’s tenorman John Ellis out front—as well as an invaluable lesson in clave that Perez learned from his fellow bassist Alain Pérez. (It’s all about the downbeats.) “Think Tank” closes the record with Thomas’ au courant vision, a small-group postbop burner writ large. Throughout One Day Wonder, many other soloists step up, among them guitarist Alex Wintz, alto saxophonist Roman Filiú, percussionist Samuel Torres and Thomas, whose fiery composure as a player evokes everyone from beboppers like Phil Woods to such bold modernists as Miguel Zenón and David Binney. Other nonpareil players interpret the co-leaders’ charts with aplomb: Andy Gutauskas, on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet; trumpeters Sam Hoyt, Alex Norris and Josh Deutsch; trombonists Matt McDonald and Nick Vayenas; bass trombonist Jennifer Wharton; and drummer Jimmy Macbride.

A graduate of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, where he attended on a full scholarship, Thomas also earned a master’s in jazz performance from New England Conservatory, where he received the jazz department’s sole Presidential Scholarship. While at NEC, his composition “Refract” won a DownBeat Student Music Award. Thomas’ debut album, The Long Way, was released in April of 2011. That same year, he moved to New York City to study at Juilliard and hit the ground running. Today he’s appeared as a sideman on more than 20 recordings, including Miguel Zenón’s Grammy-nominated 2014 big-band release, Identities Are Changeable, and the Dafnis Prieto Big Band’s Back to the Sunset, which recently won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album. While maintaining his work as a much sought-after educator and composer, he’s performed with such luminaries as Wayne Shorter, Nicholas Payton, Jason Moran, Dave Liebman, Brian Blade, Gunther Schuller, John Patitucci, Randy Brecker, John Hollenbeck and Jason Palmer.

Perez garnered bandstand experience in Boston as well, while studying math at Harvard University. He later spent two years in Lima, Peru, performing with and learning from Afro-Peruvian musical royalty including Grammy-winners Eva Ayllón and Juan Medrano “Cotito.” As a bassist he’s shared stages with Lee Konitz, Greg Osby, Seamus Blake, Lionel Loueke, Kenny Werner, Jason Palmer, Paquito D’Rivera, Ignacio Berroa and Arturo O’Farrill, in whose Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra he’s appeared often in recent years. His recording credits include the pianist Hector Martignon’s Grammy-nominated Latin-jazz album Second Chance, and his music has been performed by the likes of Berroa, the Silkroad Ensemble, Yo-Yo Ma, Alan Gilbert, Cristina Pato and Jorge Pardo. A respected educator as well, he’s taught privately at the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music and has held ongoing teaching positions at other institutions.

Thomas and Perez connected in Boston, where they’d returned to play a mutual friend’s gig. They ended up becoming roommates in New York for a time—the perfect incubator in which to work rapidly and fruitfully on new music and fuse Thomas’ deep modern-jazz interests with Perez’s Latin-oriented mastery. “We first talked about just getting some friends together to read through some charts, but we were having some really strong espresso,” Perez recalls, chuckling. “Then we were like, well, if we do that, we should do a gig.”

“When the band started,” Thomas adds, “we wanted to play with our favorite players. We were living together, and we were cranking out new charts all the time. We were sharing these ideas with each other and then taking them to the monthly gig, learning from each other.”

Vinyl Reissue of the Month - "Zé Eduardo Nazario: Poema da Gota Serena"

Vinyl Reissue of the Month (45rpm)
Zé Eduardo Nazario: "Poema da Gota Serena" (Lugar Alto LA-002) 2019
Rating: *****

Recorded @ JV Studios on October 23 & 30, 1982 by Edelho Gianullo & Sergio Shao-Lin
Remastered by Lelo Nazario
Cover Photo: Rogerio Santos
Artwork: Sometimes Always
Distributed by Honest Jon's

Featuring: Zé Eduardo Nazario (drums, tablas, kalimba, glockenspiel, percussion), Lelo Nazario (piano, Oberheim synthesizer, bells), Cacau (tenor sax, flute)

Zé Eduardo Nazario is a virtuoso musician, one of the world's greatest drummers. In the late 60s he was a regular at the famous Totem night club in São Paulo, performing alongside Tenório Jr. With Guilherme Franco (famous for his collaborations with McCoy Tyner), he formed the Grupo Experimental de Percussão. Besides an acclaimed solo career (having released several albums a leader) and legendary recordings with Hermeto Pascoal, Taiguara, Toninho Horta and Egberto Gismonti, he is equally celebrated for his six years as a member of the pioneering Grupo Um. Most recently I had the honor to work with him, in 2014, on Rodrigo Lima's "Saga" project, alongside Hugo Fattoruso, Frank Herzberg, Raul de Souza, Don Sebesky, Hubert Laws, Mike Mainieri and Sammy Figueroa.

Each side of this 1982 debut solo album originally released on the small Lira Paulistana label -- and previously reissued on CD format in 2015 by Editio Princeps with a different cover and bonus tracks -- explores different duets.

The opening track, "Energia dos 3 Mundos", presents Cacau (by then a member of Hermeto Pascoal's band and now living in France) improvising on tenor saxophone, and Nazário playing with a free, rolling, tumbling swing, using the kit in full. The second track, "Só Pra Ouvir" (dedicated to Hermeto) is more tranquil, featuring Zé’s mastery of the glockenspiel, and Indian percussion instruments such as the tabla and mridangam, whilst Cacau switches to a more delicate, dancing flute, combining northeastern with deep Amazonian influences.

The B-side is something else. Lelo Nazários’s synth clusters and electronic storms engage the exploratory percussion-work  of "Pra Pensar" with cosmic curiosity, leading into the sublime "Prá Sentir E Pra Contar," with singing by way of South India, graceful synth chords and fluttering percussion.

Expertly remastered by genius keyboardist Lelo Nazário, directly from the original tapes, and beautifully produced, with an 45rpm 180g pressing by Pallas, brings an insert that includes reproductions of early reviews of the album. It's being released on João Visconde's Lugar Alto label, and distributed worldwide by the Portobello Road-based Honest Jon's team.

It’s a blast. A thrilling example of outernational shamanism and how music can be both spiritual and challenging at the same time. Hotly recommended.

Fusion CD of the Month - "On The Corner Live! The Music of Miles Davis"

Fusion CD of the Month
"On The Corner Live! The Music Of Miles Davis" (Ear Up Records EUR0426) 2019
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Featuring David Liebman (tenor sax, soprano sax, wood flute), Jeff Coffin (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, clarinet electro-sax), Victor Wooten (electric bass), Chester Thompson (drums), Chris Walters (keyboards) and James DaSilva (guitar)

Ear Up Records is proud to announce the long-awaited release of On The Corner Live: The Music of Miles Davis featuring NEA Jazz Master David Liebman alongside Grammy-winning saxophonist Jeff Coffin. Rounding out the powerhouse ensemble is bassist Victor Wooten, drummer Chester Thompson, guitarist James DaSilva and Chris Walters on keyboards. Recorded live in 2015 at the Nashville venue 3rd & Lindsley, On The Corner Live revisits Miles Davis’ prolific electric period in a way that has never been heard before.

When it comes to Miles’ rich electric period, there is no musician more qualified to fill the front line than David Liebman. The saxophonist famously began his musical relationship with Miles in the summer of 1972 when he participated in the recording date that would birth On The Corner. Liebman’s first gig with Miles was January 12, 1973 at the Filmore East, thus beginning a year and a half long stint in one of the most influential bands of all time.

“On The Corner has been sampled, copied, discussed and adapted by several generations of musicians, most not even alive when the music was created,” says Liebman. Released 47 years ago, On The Corner remains a cornerstone of Miles’ career that ushered in a new period in popular music. Perhaps then it is especially apropos that On The Corner Live features this material reimagined by six especially eclectic and versatile musicians who often defy genre and are constantly pushing music forward in creative ways.
On The Corner Live is the brainchild of Jeff Coffin who spearheaded the project from its inception to conclusion. Coffin is an undeniable musical force. When he is not on the road with the Dave Matthews Band (of which he has been a member since 2009) or touring with his critically acclaimed group The Mu’tet, Coffin is making things happen in Nashville. When Liebman paid the city a visit in 2015, Coffin booked a gig that he knew was going to be special. It was Coffin who assembled the musicians and ensured the performance was properly recorded and produced.

To pay homage to the Prince of Darkness, Coffin called a who’s who of Nashville’s top players who were not just superb musicians, but stylistic chameleons (very much like Miles was). Few bassists can hold a candle to Victor Wooten, who has rightfully been called “the Michael Jordan of the bass”. A founding member of Bela & and the Flecktones, Wooten has played with just about everybody from Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke to Prince and Bootsy Collins.

Chester Thompson is a legendary drummer who has influenced over three decades of music and musicians. During the same period that Liebman was performing with Miles, Thompson was a member of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (1973-1975). While Thompson is perhaps best known as the drummer for Genesis (1977-1992, and then again in 2007 for the Turn It On Again tour), he has led the Chester Thompson Trio since 2011. Capping off the rhythm section is consummate pianist Chris Walters, whose credits include Peter Mayer, JD Souther and the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet and up-and-coming guitarist James DaSilva.

Predictably, the concert was a rousing success. Says Coffin on the evening: “The club sold out and there was a line, pardon the pun, on the corner stretching around the building! This was the new Nashville showing up in droves for this band and this music. The place was electric and Dave and the rest of band were smoking! For me, getting to stand beside one of my musical heroes was something I don’t really have words to explain how I felt. I think we all felt that we had a very special group of artists together and everyone played at the highest level. Listening, reacting, weaving, laying out, jumping in, approaching things from different musical and spiritual angles, communication at the highest level of intention. It was beautiful! The audience was incredible and so supportive of this far out music we were making and I was proud of Music City for being there for us. It meant a lot to all of us.”

Finally, nearly four years after that unforgettable night, On The Corner Live will be available worldwide via Coffin’s independent label Ear Up Records on March 1st. The 12-track album features familiar tunes from the 1972 recording (“Black Satin”, “On The Corner”) as well as cuts from Live Evil (“Selim”) and In A Silent Way, among others. “The songs chosen are not all from the original recording, but overall the material I chose represents a look at the electric period of Miles Davis which certainly changed the course of pop music and jazz forever,” says Liebman.

Inspiration comes in many forms and in many shapes, sizes, colors and locations. This particular night in Nashville, it came On The Corner.

Vocal CD of the Month - "Sivan Arbel: Change of Light"

Vocal CD of the Month
Sivan Arbel: "Change of Light" (self-released) 2019
Rating: **** (musical performance & sound quality)

Israeli born vocalist and bandleader Sivan Arbel is proud to release her sophomore album Change of Light. A follow up to her 2016 debut Broken Lines, Sivan’s second offering presents an introspective journey that reveals new sides to the multicultural vocalist and composer. The release of Change of Light will be celebrated at Nublu in New York City on April 3rd. Two singles, “Change” and “He Sees Her” will be available on March 4th, and March 18th, respectively.

After just one listen through Change of Light, it quickly becomes clear that Sivan is not your typical jazz vocalist. Her emotive vocal performance paired with rich harmonic and melodic invention sets her apart in today’s crowded musical landscape. On Change of Light Sivan’s musical explorations are brought to life by her long-standing septet: Shai Portugaly on piano, Pera Krstajic on bass, Ron Warburg on trumpet, Jack Sheehan on alto saxophone, Ori Jacobson on tenor saxophone, and Shai Wetzer on percussion (on tracks 4, 5 and 7). The poignant second single about an unrequited love, “He Sees Her”, features a string quartet made up of violinists Meitar Forkosh and Audrey Hayes, Yumi Oshima on viola and Terrence Thornhill on cello.

Change of Light is made up of seven stories. With the exception of the classic Israeli folk song “Water Song”, the music and lyrics on Change of Light were written by Sivan and based on her personal experiences. “My first album was raw as it revealed emotions and thoughts that lingered on the surface of my soul,” says Sivan, “but this project exposes what is lurking in my heart.” To help tell her stories, Sivan draws upon a global sonic palette; she finds inspiration in Moroccan grooves, Brazilian sounds, classical Indian music and her Israeli Middle Eastern roots. The resulting sound falls somewhere between jazz and world music and is uniquely her own.

The first story, “Change,” begins with a passionate vocal refrain accompanied by gentle piano and percussion, punctuated by the stellar horn section.  Sivan notes: “This song speaks to the feeling people often experience when facing significant life changes. The anticipation of change often brings a shaky kind of feeling, as if the earth is bubbling beneath your feet.”  Her cries “fear in the unreal, the unreal is real” progress from an understated self-affirmation to a declaration about embracing the uncertain. Her emotional range aligns with the dynamic range of the ensemble and sets the tone for what’s to come.

Standout moments include the third track “Solitude”, which highlights the horn section with a sound that echoes a “jazz-like Bach Chorale”, in Sivan’s own words. With third stream leanings, the song plays with classical counterpoint in a modern jazz context. Four track “Water Song” is Sivan’s take on a traditional Israeli folk song. This arrangement, much like Sivan as an artist, takes elements of tradition and breathes new life into them. The moody “Omri”, sung in Hebrew, tells the tragic story of a dear friend who passed away to soon. Sivan’s voice radiates with emotion as she cries out for her lost loved one.

“I hope my composed stories will make the listeners feel more introspective and inspire them to look deeper into their own souls,” says Sivan, “..the more we open up, the closer we become, and this nurtures a healthier and more compassionate community.”
Sivan Arbel is ​an Israeli vocalist, bandleader and composer based in New York City. Since moving to the United States in 2014, she has established herself as one of the city’s most versatile and exciting underground vocalists. She has performed internationally at festivals and venues in Japan, Belarus, Slovakia, South Africa, Canada and Venezuela, among others.

Sivan ​has ​collaborated with an array of international musicians, including Brazilian pandeiro player Tulio Araújo, award-winning pianist Guy Mintus, virtuoso band Ichimujin, award-winning Trumpet player Rachel Therrien, and was a featured vocalist with the acclaimed supergroup, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber at NYC’s National Sawdust Theater.

Before coming to New York, Sivan ​established herself as a rising talent in Israel and Dublin, where she graduated from the Newpark Music Centre with High Honors. She is also a graduate of the acclaimed Rimon School of Music in Israel.