Friday, August 21, 2020
The all-star project "Palladium 2020" celebrates Wayne Shorter's 86th birthday
Street Date: August 25, 2020
Available Exclusively on Bandcamp
Livestream Album Launch: August 25th, 5pm EST from Smalls Jazz Club, NYC
Esteemed jazz promoter and social media specialist Jesse Markowitz is elated to step into the spotlight as a producer with the truly momentous release of Palladium 2020. This 22-track collection of compositions written by and/or made famous by Wayne Shorter celebrates the life, music and legacy of this jazz luminary. Releasing on Shorter’s birthday (August 25th) and a product of the 2020 global pandemic, Palladium virtually brings together an intergenerational and international abundance of jazz contemporaries and legends, offering a collection of remotely recorded tracks from around the world.
Since 2015, Jesse Markowitz has worked with Shorter as his Social Media Manager, but this working relationship was just the beginning of what blossomed into a cherished friendship and partnership. For his debut release as a producer, Markowitz is honored to have the personal approval, endorsement and support of Wayne and his wife Carolina, and shares his admiration for the jazz titan:
“I have gathered you all here to celebrate the majesty of Wayne Shorter, and the life force with which he conducts himself. This life force manifests in a variety of ways; the extreme generosity in using his power to open doors for people; the courage he inspires, especially in outsiders, to celebrate eccentricity and individualism; the grace of this titan who sees everyone as his peer while never positioning himself as above or better; and of course the music.”
Markowitz handpicked the musicians featured on Palladium and one of the first calls made was to vibraphonist Sasha Berliner. Last November, Markwowitz witnessed a performance by Berliner at Lola, a venue located in New York City’s Lower East Side. He left the show mesmerized; her “fearless search for sound” deeply impacted him and he immediately knew he wanted her to be part of this project. On the opening track “Meridienne – A Wood Sylph” – taken from Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter’s 1997 album 1+1 – she not only displays her percussive talents, but those with electronics and arrangement.
The album moves forward with recordings from some of the producer’s most treasured acquaintances including Sean Mason (“Pandora Awakened”), Nicole Glover (with her trio, performs “The Summit”), Eric Reed (“Sydney”), and an incredibly creative rendition of “Infant Eyes” is delivered by Melissa Aldana (another client of the promoter’s) and Shai Maestro.
An elegant take on “This is for Albert” by the Emmet Cohen Trio precedes a saxophone/drum duo rendition of “Footprints” by NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman alongside his son-in-law Willy Rodriguez. On “Oriental Folk Song”, Chien Chien Lu (vibraphone & electronics) incorporates incidental noises of thunder and a car horn honking to brilliantly capture life in New York City, while Benny Green’s solo Rhodes rendition of “Contemplation” is as contemplative as it gets, and closes disc one.
A touching and humorous voicemail from Wayne and Carolina Shorter, addressed to Markowitz (“Miles’ Doorbell”) opens disc two. The couple were responding to a photo Jesse sent from the stoop of Miles Davis’ former home (312 W 77th St. aka Miles Davis Way), and their recorded message leads into four songs Wayne wrote for the Miles Davis Quintet: “Paraphernalia” (Pablo Held), “Fall” (Dan Tepfer), “Iris” (Luther S. Allison) and “E.S.P” (Kevin Hays). Candice Hoyes, Mimi Jones & Val Jeanty, collectively as Nite Bjuti offer an utterly unique take on “Midnight In Carlotta’s Hair”, and in response Mark Whitfeild delivers a solo guitar rendition of the same song. While guitarist Gabe Schnider interprets Wayne’s evocative composition “Face On The Barroom Floor”, originally from Weather Report’s 1985 Sportin’ Life, vibraphonist Jason Marsalis brings out the essence of a rather obscure track “Three Clowns”, with a minimalistic arrangement.
The ballad “Sleeping Dancer Sleep On” is treated with a beautifully arranged brass chorale featuring no less than eight trombones, courtesy of Mariel Bildsten. Recorded in Charlottesville, VA & Washington Heights, NYC “Someplace Called ‘Where’,” is delivered by vocalist Veronica Swift, with Dan Chmielinski on synthesizers. A long-time friend of Jesse Markowitz’s, Mike Eckert’s dream-like rendition of one of Wayne’s most well loved ballads, “Miyako” displays his haunting pedal steel guitar work and expands the palette of this music. Palladium 2020 is brought to a close with “Orbits” – taken from Miles Davis’ 1966 album “Miles Smiles”, Julius Rodriguez and Morgan Guerin’s fresh interpretation leaves listeners on the dancefloor.
Palladium 2020 is a result of Jesse Markowitz’s utmost respect and appreciation for someone he regards as “one of the premier composers of the century,” but the project ultimately came to fruition amidst a pandemic and the producer’s heartbreaking (temporary) goodbye to New York City, his home for the past six years. He now offers this album to the world in the hope that it provides a glimmer of ascension above these dire circumstances.
Jesse Markowitz is a jazz promoter specializing in social media with a robust client roster that includes Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Melissa Aldana, Fred Hersch, Aaron Diehl, Allison Miller, Buster Williams, and Roy Hargrove (the last 5 years of Roy’s life). Jesse’s work has contributed to the marketing campaigns of several Grammy Award winning albums including Wayne Shorter’s Emanon. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Jesse went to Humber College majoring in tenor saxophone and studying with Pat Labarbera, before switching to the promotional side of the music.
Markowitz has conducted his seminar on the ethics of social media as it pertains to jazz at the Jazz Education Network conference, as well as the Local 802 Musicians Union of New York City, in addition to appearing on a social media panel discussion at the Jazz Congress conference at Jazz At Lincoln Center. In 2018 Jesse formed Palladium as an outlet for his curation of Wayne Shorter’s music, landing gigs at Smalls Jazz Club & Smoke Jazz Club, with livestreams reaching up to 25 thousand people. Palladium “2020” is Jesse’s debut record as a producer, with many more to come.