sábado, 28 de mayo de 2016

Eduardo Elia - Solo (2016) BLUE ART RECORDS



presenta


Un disco a piano solo es, ante todo, un acto de desnudez tanto musical como emocional. En esta nueva producción, el pianista de Córdoba, Eduardo Elia, reafirma su camino de salir  al ruedo sin medias tintas, con dominio de standards y tres composiciones propias. El piano bascula entre el jazz y su profundo mundo interior, sin contaminar la escena con virtuosismo vacío. Once temas que son materia prima para la profundización, apuntando a un enfoque íntimo y oscilante; que se erige como una declaración detenida en el tiempo en un presente continuo. Aquí hay variados cielos que transmiten distintas proyecciones de luz. Una travesía musical rica en sorpresas, colores y contrastes.

Conductor de Impronta de Jazz



Eduardo Elia, piano

01. Circle (Miles Davis)
02. Round Trip (Ornette Coleman)
03. Speak No Evil (Wayne Shorter)
04. Una Idea (Eduardo Elia)
05. Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
06. Toy Tune (Wayne Shorter)
07. Evidence (Thelonious Monk)
08. Peace (Ornettte Coleman)
09. Wertic (Eduardo Elia)
10. Pasajero Frecuente (Eduardo Elia)
11. Virgo (Wayne Shorter)

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Andy Brown Quartet - Direct Call (2016) DELMARK RECORDS



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Andy Brown's previous album, Soloist (Delmark 5019), received outstanding reviews in JazzTimes, Jazziz, Vintage Guitar and in Down Beat where Scott Yanow described Andy as "a fixture on the Chicago jazz scene since 2003 ... a superior mainstream guitarist". Direct Call features a rarity in jazz today - a working band. Several years of performing weekly at Andy's Jazz Club has given this quartet a cohesive and tight-knit sound that can only be gained through countless gigs together. With Jeremy Kahn, piano, Joe Policastro, bass and Phil Gratteau, drums, the album features an eclectic mix of standards, Brazilian music and jazz compositions.



Andy Brown, Swing Master: "Appel Direct"

Theoretically, I should not be able to write that the Chicago-based guitarist Andy Brown is in fact a Swing Master. He is certainly too young and too healthy. He's been on a skateboard. He might even lack the maladjustments so common to Great Artists. But these things have not limited his creative magic.

There's more delightful evidence at hand, a new Delmark CD, DIRECT CALL, which I would gladly dub SWING MASTERPIECE OF 2016.

The three other masters here are Phil Gratteau, drums; Jeremy Kahn, piano; Joe Policastro, string bass. Like Andy, they know what and where it is.

The session was recorded in Chicago last September - beautiful sound thanks to my non-relative Scott Steinman: THE JEEP IS JUMPIN / PRISONER OF LOVE / EL CAJON / FUNK IN DEEP FREEZE / APPEL DIRECT / RELAXING / ONE MORNING IN MAY / CATCH ME / ELA E CARIOCA / FREAK OF THE WEEK.

In a crime novel whose name I forget, someone said, less politely, "Everybody can talk but not everyone has things to say." The art of swing improvisation is not something learned from the Real Book or from copying gestures to fool an audience. (Ending a performance of SHINY STOCKINGS with three Basie chords doesn't make it Basie.)

Compelling, light-hearted, authentic swing and melodic improvisations are a matter of years of study - usually on the job. The members of this quartet, although not Elders chronologically, are wise players whose art comes from playing, listening, thinking, feeling.

Some like their jazz to be startling, even abrupt. It has to be "innovative" and "adventurous." I wouldn't deny them such pleasures, but music that shouts BOO! in my ear is not for me. I warm to jazz that delicately balances the familiar and the surprising, with comfort the result, as if I were a passenger with a driver I wholly trusted. This comfort is felt immediately in the opening choruses of APPEL DIRECT. "These players know how to sustain feeling and build on it; they won't let me down or disappoint me."

Although the CD is in no way a repertory project, I could settle into the joy of experiencing and anticipating right from the start: the same way I feel when (let us say) I heard Teddy Wilson, Milt Hinton, and Jo Jones play an eight-bar introduction. Basie and Charlie Christian. Jimmie Rowles, Jim Hall, Leroy Vinnegar, Frank Butler. You can supply your own names. Mastery and ease.

I urge you to check out the CD, and, even better, share the music with others . . . or do that most radical thing, hear this quartet in a Chicago club or elsewhere. I believe that you will feel uplifted, rewarded - by the sweetness of PRISONER OF LOVE, the rare energy of CATCH ME and the other swinging tunes. It's a beautifully integrated quartet, with each player generously giving of himself to the band. And now I will play APPEL DIRECT again.


Andy Brown, guitar
Jeremy Kahn, piano
Joe Policastro, string bass
Phil Gratteau, drums

The Jeep Is Jumpin'
Prisoner of Love
El Cajon
Funk In Deep Freeze
Appel Direct (Direct Call)
Relaxing
One Morning in May
Catch Me
Ela É Carioca
Freak of the Week


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Prisoner of Love

viernes, 27 de mayo de 2016

Luis Perdomo - Spirits And Warriors (2016)


Source & Label:http://www.crisscrossjazz.com/album/1387.html
Genre: Post-Bop
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★


 For his fourth Criss Cross recording, pianist Luis Perdomo offers a swinging affair, on which a crackling quintet of New York first-callers interprets 7 originals by the leader (the centerpiece is the well-wrought six-piece "Spirits and Warriors Suite" that gives the CD its title), Clifford Jordan's iconic jazz standard "Glass Bead Games," and the classic ballad "Portrait of Jenny".

Propelled by drum grandmaster Billy Hart and bassist Ugonna Okegwo, who lock in like life-long partners, tenor saxophonist Mark Shim and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, a Criss Cross regular, uncork cogent solos, some inflamed, some nuanced.

Perdomo, 44, plays throughout with the old soul clarity, grit, maturity and freshness that have earned him deep respect from the best and brightest representatives of the hardcore jazz and Afro-Caribbean practitioners on the international playing field.  


1. Face Up (Luis Perdomo)  5:11
2. Sensei (Luis Perdomo)  7:39
3. Aura (Luis Perdomo)  6:40
4. Ralph (Luis Perdomo)  6:22
5. Her Eyes (Luis Perdomo)  7:09
6. Year One (Luis Perdomo)  7:45
7. Glass Bead Games (Clifford Jordan)  6:56
8. Little Church (Hermeto Pascoal)  4:50
9. Portrait Of Jenny (J. Russell Robinson)  8:21


Luis Perdomo (P)
Alex Sipiagin (Tp / Flh)
Mark Shim (Ts / EWI [5])
Ugonna Okegwo (B)
Billy Hart (D)


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http://www.amazon.com/Spirits-Warriors-Luis-Perdomo/dp/B01CX1BIYK

Boris Kozlov - Conversations At The Well (2016)


Source & Label:http://www.crisscrossjazz.com/album/1389.html
Genre: Post-Bop
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★


After 13 Criss Cross sideman appearances, including four with the all-star collective Opus 5, Boris Kozlov, one of New York's busiest and most respected bassists in a multiplicity of genres, makes his leader debut for the label with Conversations At The Well.

Joined by the distinguished guitarist David Gilmore of Steve Coleman and Five Elements fame, and the increasingly prominent drummer Rudy Royston, Kozlov guides and grounds their creative navigation of repertoire by Bill Evans, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington,Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk, concluding the proceedings with a vivid, spontaneously generated blues.  


1. Five (Bill Evans)  6:28
2. Conversation (Charles Mingus)  5:49
3. Orbits (Wayne Shorter)  6:14
4. Semblance (Keith Jarrett)  7:20
5. Prelude To A Kiss (Duke Ellington)  9:09
6. Eye Of The Hurricane (Herbie Hancock)  6:12
7. Latin Genetics (Ornette Coleman)  5:46
8. Headless Blues (Boris Kozlov / David Gilmore / Rudy Royston)  4:51
9. Pannonica (Thelonious Monk)  5:26

Boris Kozlov (B)
David Gilmore (G)
Rudy Royston (D)

 
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http://www.amazon.com/Conversations-At-Well-Boris-Kozlov/dp/B01CX1G00M

 

One For All - The Third Decade (2016)


Label:
Genre: Hard-Bop 
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★


Hard to believe it will be twenty years ago next year that the hard bop ensemble One For All debuted with Too Soon To Tell on the fledgling Sharp Nine label. Formed as a group that regularly played together at an uptown Broadway club called Augie's, each member was just at the start of their own budding careers. Even today, it continues to be a surprise that these gentlemen still find the time to assemble for the occasional record date or live appearance.

Much has transpired since 1997. Augie's was transformed into Smoke, the club that continues to thrive and provides the imprimatur for the record label documenting the set at hand. Fifteen albums are to be found in the band's oeuvre, including four on Sharp Nine, five for Criss Cross Jazz, four for the Japanese Venus label, and two live concert recordings. Indeed on the cusp of starting their third decade together as a band, this fittingly titled set brings into focus all of the best qualities of these gentlemen, including their composing talents and singular musical voices. It also happens to be their first new release in five years.

The proceedings open with the Steve Davis original "Easy." Those crisp snare hits from drummer Joe Farnsworth announce that we are indeed in for a pleasurable ride. The warm timbre of the three-piece horn section is a trademark of this unit and it's all here to enjoy from the very first note. The tempo picks up with David Hazeltine's "Buddy," a tribute to his mentor and fellow pianist Buddy Montgomery. The sprightly bossa tempo brings some joyous shouting from trumpet ace Jim Rotondi.

Hazeltine is also responsible for the cheery arrangement of "It's Easy to Remember" and another tribute in the guise of "K-Ray." Dedicated to recently deceased drummer Killer Ray Appelton, this one is a brisk and swinging ditty that finds Farnsworth in all his glory. Particular attention should be paid to the sound the drummer achieves. His toms are tuned high and his ride cymbal has a nice, dry ping, all of which are individualistic and very pleasing. His solo statements are articulate and engaging and never wear out their welcome.

Both Davis' "Daylight" and Eric Alexander's "Frenzy" are ebullient numbers that bristle with excitement. The former speaks with a jaunty Latin-esque voice while the latter is straight ahead swing buoyed by John Webber's rock solid bass lines. For Rotondi's contributions, there's the 16th note groove of "For Curtis" and the long-lined "Ruth," both of which settle into a pleasurable platform for soloing. Although it goes without saying, both Davis and Rotondi are chock full of great ideas and say much over the course of their many solos.

Alexander, Davis, Hazeltine, and Rotondi have largely served as the band's main arrangers/writers over the course of the band's history. It is then a pleasure to find that this date marks the first time all six members contribute to the program. Webber's "Babataya" recalls some of the funky gems from the Blue Note era, such as Lee Morgan's "Party Time." Farnsworth's "Hey,Stevie-D" makes for a fine shuffle that puts Alexander in the mood to strut his stuff. And speaking of Alexander, his gorgeous ballad "Ghost Ride" serves as moment of calm in an otherwise pretty upbeat session.

Over the course of The Third Decade's eleven generous tracks, we get to hear a well-honed machine operating at peak power. Even though distances often keep these six gentlemen apart, one can only hope their new home at Smoke Sessions will provide for further releases and the we won't have to wait another five years before the next one.  


Easy
Buddy's
It's Easy to Remember
Daylight
Ghost Ride
For Curtis
Ruth
Babataya
K-Ray
Frenzy
Hey, Stevie-D



 Jim Rotondi: trumpet & flugelhorn
Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone
 Steve Davis: trombone
David Hazeltine: piano
 John Webber: bass
Joe Farnsworth: drums 


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https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-third-decade/id1104411942

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-third-decade/id1104411942

 

Scott Jeppesen - El Guapo (2016)


Label: 
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★


"Guapo" is Spanish for "sharp-dressed man" (or woman), and the title—and launch—track of Scott Jeppesen's exceptional solo debut sure conjures such an image. El Guapo is stylish, diverse and expert; released on Oct. 1, 2013, it is one of the best albums of that year.

Jeppesen is a protean saxophonist who also plays bass clarinet. A restless, inventive player, he delivers eight memorable originals, a resonant, intimate version of Richie Beirach's "Elm" and an effervescent take of Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In" that draws this fine album to a close.

The subtext here seems to be communication. Tracks four through seven bear titles referring to conversations, attitudes, and psychological deals. Take "Maybe Later," featuring Jeppesen on bass clarinet. The longest track on this worked, thoughtful disk, it starts ruminative and pretty, much like "Prayer for Sandy Hook" toward the end. But it evolves into something arch and witty as Jeppesen, the bass of Dave Robaire his underpinning, tosses the melody to John Daversa, a brassman—he's on flugelhorn here —of restraint and dramatically reluctant drive. Every solo purpose. Every solo, like Jeppesen's tone, is dry, too, even the ringing one by guitarist Larry Koonse.

Jeppesen switches to soprano sax for "No Drama," a tricky cut of slink and sass, a chamber-jazz bolero which showcases the rhumba talents of pianist Josh Nelson and sexy bass goading. Every tune has surprises; that's largely due to the startlingly crisp and detailed production of Jeppesen and Daversa.

The metrically demanding, funky "Overlapping Conversations," sparked by Dan Schnelle's elastic drumming, keeps the narrative going, building momentum and tension until Jeppesen and Koonse, whose doublings are one of the album's signature voicings, ties the bow.

And while each of the four tracks in this mini-suite within the album's broader framework stands by itself, they all seem to "talk" to each other. At the same time, while the album is sophisticated and Jeppesen's compositions refreshingly unpredictable, this cool dude of a disk never sacrifices accessibility on the altar of the abstract.

Jeppesen is a multi-instrumentalist at home in a variety of styles and settings. He's played with everyone from jazz artists Dave Koz to Maria Schneider, as well as the pop-rock guitarist Steve Millerand soul icon Stevie Wonder. While the pop and soul influences aren't prominent on "Guapo," the album always swings, and the musicianship is effortless no matter how mutable and challenging the track.

While "El Guapo" may not be the shape of jazz to come, it's jazz at its most shapely. Let's hope Jeppesen, his tone penetrating and spare, his improvisations compact and purposeful, his approach generous and intelligent, continues to deliver jazz of such exceptional quality.  


1. El Guapo 05:40
2. Elm 06:13
3. Great Odin's Raven 05:38
4. I Tend To Agree 07:04
5. Maybe Later 07:39
6. No Drama 03:49
7. Overlapping Conversations 05:46
8. Hidden 07:07
9. Prayer For Sandy Hook 06:14
10.Don't Fence Me In 04:59
    

Scott Jeppesen - Saxophones and Bass Clarinet
John Daversa - Trumpet and Flugelhorn (Tracks 3 and 5)
Larry Koonse - Guitar
Josh Nelson - Piano and Keyboard
Dave Robaire - Bass
Dan Schnelle - Drums 




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http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/scottjeppesen

Faden Piano Trio - Dissemination (2016)


More Information




Pier Marco Turchetti, piano
Adriano Rujio Rugiadi, fretless bass
Stefano Calvano, drums

01. Discontinuity, Alea, Bolero
02. Una riga di sole sotto la porta
03. Dissemination
04. Black Instant Composition
05. Chora
06. Ghenos
07. Hinzeigen
08. Bisca

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Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom - Otis Was a Polar Bear (2016)


The most poignant music is often inspired by watershed events in an artist’s life, and few occasions are more transformative than the arrival of one’s first child. For Allison Miller, the extraordinary drummer, composer, and leader of her band Boom Tic Boom, that life-affirming experience provided the seed that led to the creation of her latest full-length studio album, Otis Was a Polar Bear.

The album, with violinist Jenny Scheinman, cornet player Kirk Knuffke, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, upright bassist Todd Sickafoose, pianist Myra Melford, and Miller on drums, is Miller s latest collection of 10 original compositions following her critically acclaimed No Morphine, No Lilies, which Downbeat Magazine said reveals her exemplary chops and stylistic breadth. The birth of Miller’s (and partner Rachel’s) daughter Josie found the NYC-based drummer reordering her priorities and the very way in which she approached her art.

Drummer and composer Allison Miller plays with joy and fire. She powers bands with a sense of life and momentum that leaps from the bandstand right into your ears and feet. Under her hands, the trap kit dances and talks—sometimes in a whisper but usually with a blend of shout and laughter. To my ears, she plays in the same line as Art Blakey and Ralph Peterson, Jr. She is a natural bandleader because she is such a superb collaborator.

Her latest recording, Otis Was a Polar Bear, features her Boom Tic Boom jazz group with the killer line-up of clarinetist Ben Goldberg, Kirk Knuffke on cornet, violinist Jenny Scheinman, and rhythm section-mates Todd Sickafoose on bass and Myra Melford on piano. It’s an unusual sextet, but Miller has arranged the ten songs on this collection so that her band seems more like an orchestra… or maybe a circus… of different sounds and combinations. Each song is written as a tiny, coherent suite in which the voices jump forward, come together, fall away and leap back into conversation. As a result, there is a furious fun to Otis that runs directly counter to the classic jazz stereotype of MELODY-SOLOS-MELODY.

Listen to “Hoarding the Pod” and you’ll hear: (1) a unison written melody for cornet and clarinet, accompanied by thrashing-free piano trio, (2) a dancing syncopated figure for piano/bass unison, eventually in counterpoint with another melody for cornet and violin, (3) a violin improvisation over the rhythm (a bit funkier though) and harmonies from section two, (4) a new melody for cornet and clarinet that creeps in beneath the violin solo, (5) which blends into a free-wheeling “free” solo for cornet accompanied by an increasingly frenzied Miller on drums, with atonal interjections by piano and then a two-note figure for clarinet and violin, (6) a return to the melody of section one over even more frenzied work by the trio with violin glissandi around the edges, and (7) a return to the piano figure from section two, this time with clarinet improvising at the same time, soon joined by the cornet/violin melody from before.

Whew! But wow! The music is intricate but logical, fun and free but also structured. Read more...


01. Fuster
02. High T
03. Slow Jam
04. Staten Island
05. Shimmer
06. The Listener (For Josh Cantor)
07. Hoarding the Pod
08. Otis Was a Polar Bear
09. Pig in a Sidecar
10. Lullaby for Cookie

Boom Tic Boom is:
Allison Miller, drums and composition
Myra Melford, piano
Jenny Scheinman, violin
Kirk Knuffke, cornet
Ben Goldberg, clarinet and contra alto
Todd Sickafoose, bass

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jueves, 26 de mayo de 2016

Waclaw Zimpel - Lines (2016)


Lines could barely be a more apt title for this album by Polish composer and clarinetist Waclaw Zimpel. Melodies collide and intersect throughout, and like the lines of a spirograph they only form the real whole after a few dozen cycles. It's the artist's first entirely solo record, but he's skirted the European jazz and underground scene (well documented on The Quietus) for about a decade, playing with better known names like Ken Vandermark and Hamid Drake in the process. To date Zimpel has put out some truly stunning albums of unusually melodic and seemingly very thought out free-jazz as group leader, particularly 2014's ensemble album Nature Moves, which included sounds from hurdy gurdy, metallophone, and tenor recorder, along with the more standard jazz orchestra instrumentation. That album's half-hour long opening track 'Cycles' saw Zimpel's assembled orchestra improvise its way into oceanic theme of piano arpeggios, incidental drones, and pulsing repetitions that lie at the core of the rest of the album. The influence of America's pioneering minimalists over Zimpel has already been huge, but his first solo outing takes the genre to some incredibly beautiful new territory.

The album features six compositions ranging from 3 to 10 minutes in length, and in addition to his main instrument - the clarinet - Zimpel makes extensive use of organs and plus richer textures from Eastern instrumentation like the khaen (a mouth organ from Laos, often featured in Thai molam music recently explored by Soundway). For example, ten minute opening track 'Alupa-Pappa' begins with an organ repetition almost straight from Terry Riley's Persian Surgery Dervishes, complimented by two or three more overdubbed organ lines that phase and reshape the mess of notes bouncing around the stereo field. Zimpel then takes to the warming low end of his organ's bass pedals, pushing and pulling the messy mass of organ notes scattering through the foreground like a druid conducting a rain storm. Only well past the halfway point of 'Alupa-Pappa' does the composer reach for his alto clarinet (lower and darker in register than your standard clarinet), billowing slow long notes and multitracking textural squeals from his reed. The experience is clearly built from the bubbling mass of interlocking notes the usual suspects of Riley, Reich, Glass, but Zimpel's playing seems indebted elsewhere too. The broadly stroked spiritual jazz of John Coltrane's 'Psalm' comes to mind, as does the very Gaia-oriented drones of label mate (and soon to be touring partner) Kuba Ziolek aka Stara Rzeka.

The title track - in the video above - features the warm vibrations of the Laotian khaen laying foundations for what's definitely the album's best track. Clarinet melodies snake their way around each other, winding up at a surge of bassier honks that hold and release fantastically. Oddly enough the way Massive Attack allotted the elements that comprise the climactic surge of their classic 'Teardrop' sprang instantly to this writer's mind. It's a powerful moment, and the entire album is a spectacular solo statement from Waclaw Zimpel - and yet another essential transmission from modern Poland to boot. Above all it's a heartfelt response to the ongoing influence of American minimalism that pays tribute and rebuts in equal measure.


Released February 5, 2016 

Waclaw Zimpel plays - Bb clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, khaen, hammond organs, fender rhodes 

All composed by Waclaw Zimpel except track 3, composed by Johannes Ockeghem 

Tracks 1 and 6 produced and mixed by mooryc 
Tracks 2,3,4,5 produced and mixed by Waclaw Zimpel and Maciej Staniecki 
Recorded at Tonn Studio in Łódź on 29-30.09.2015, 1.10.2015, 6-7.11.2015 by Maciej Staniecki and Krzysztof Tonn 

Designed by Łukasz Paluch, AnoMalia art studio, www.anomalia.pl

DEMY

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Rubén Carlés - Water Lily (2016) FRESH SOUND NEW TALENT




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Bassist Rubén Carlés was born in Madrid, in 1989. It is in this city where he started falling in love with music. Coming from a very musical family, Ruben was strongly influenced by his his father, a well accomplished musician and arranger and at the age of thirteen Ruben started to study the classics by listening intently to jazz bassists like Ray Brown, Charles Mingus or Paul Chambers. At eighteen he started to tour all over the Iberian peninsula participating on some of the most prestigious music festivals and competitions as a member of the band Mr Chacho.

It will be a year later when Ruben wins a full tuition scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In Boston Ruben had the opportunity of studying with masters such as John Patitucci, Hal Crook or Terry Line Carrington. After greaduating with a major in Performance he wins the conexus Scholarship to study a Master at Berklee Valencia where he currently lives. Ruben recently recorded his original work on his first music album as a leader called "Water lily". It features master artist such as Roman Filiu, Borja Barrueta or Albert Sanz, this recording will be released in 2016.

Ruben has toured and performed with bands such: The Jason Palmer band, Perico Sambeat Quintet, Albert Sanz trio, Roman Filiu Quartet, Javier Vercher Quartet/Trio, Phil Grenadier band, Iago Fernández Quartet, Xan Campos trio, Rotem Sivan trio, Jorge Vistel trio or the Luis Guerra trio among others.


01. El abuelo
02. La marcha del niño
03. Skylark
04. Urbino
05. Paquita's Train Ride
06. Igbó
07. La casa del Mago
08. Water Lily

All songs composed & arranged by Rubén Carlés, except #3 written by Hoagy Carmichael & Johnny Mercer

Personnel:
Rubén Carlés (bass)
Maikel Vistel, Javier Vercher (tenor sax)
Román Filiú (alto sax)
Albert Sanz (piano)
Borja Barrueta (drums, steel guitar)
Iago Fernández (drums)
Ganavya Doraiswamy (vocals)

Recorded at PKO Studios, Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, on November 25, 2015 except #6,7,8 recorded at Scoring State Berklee Studios, in Valencia, June 27, 2015
Voice recorded by Paco Cabanillas at Loose Recording Studios, Madrid, January 6, 2016

Engineered, mixed & mastered by Caco Refojo
Photography: Alejandro Sánchez
Album art by Alicia Martín

Produced by Rubén Carlés

Exceutive producer: Jordi Pujol

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Victor Gould - Clockwork (2016) FRESH SOUND NEW TALENT




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"It’s understandable that a jazz pianist might feel inclined, even obliged, to debut as a leader with a trio album. But Clockwork, the maiden voyage of Victor Gould, includes sextet arrangements, two pieces augmented with strings, and several percussion turns from Pedrito Martinez. There are piano trio showcases as well, but they are part of the mosaic, not the full picture. “I didn’t want to be locked in with instrumentation,” says Gould. “I’ve come to believe that the best orchestration is when you change instrumentation very often. So you could think of that in the scheme of one piece or a whole record.”

The title Clockwork amplifies this point, suggesting that varied instrumentation can in fact yield great coherence. “Clockwork is many different elements working together,” notes Gould. “It’s the very definition of clockwork — the gears of a clock all working together to create something very intricate.” At the heart of it all is an extraordinary synergy between Gould, bassist Ben Williams and drummer E. J. Strickland. It’s consistent throughout the record but most starkly evident on the trio cuts.

Having made his mark in recent years as a sideman with Wallace Roney, Ralph Peterson, Donald Harrison, Louis Hayes, Vincent Herring, Eric Alexander and more, Gould has learned a thing or two about musical clockwork. A native of Los Angeles, he attended Berklee as an undergrad and then earned the high honor of a slot at Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz from 2009-2011. Studying alongside him at both these institutions was Godwin Louis, the alto saxophonist heard on this album, who happens to be one of Gould’s dearest friends.

Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, who’s been hiring Gould in his own superb band of late, is a characteristically stirring soloist as well as a focused and dynamic ensemble presence on the sextet pieces. Myron Walden, playing soprano and tenor saxophones, took on an added role as co-producer: “Myron and I decided which would be the best song choices from my catalogue,” Gould recalls. “After that, he helped run the recording session and took charge of time management, so it lifted a lot of the stress from me.”

Pelt plays flugelhorn on “Chaancé,” one of the two pieces to feature strings. Written and named after Gould’s wife, this lovely ballad finds the leader in a tensile give-and-take with the strings during his eloquent solo, blending with and responding to them but soaring with renewed intensity when they fall silent. By contrast, there’s an “apocalyptic” energy, to use Gould’s word, coursing through “Apostle John,” from the foreboding rubato of the prelude to the modal groove and intricate counterpoint of the piece itself. Anne Drummond adds just the right flavor on flute, almost sounding like a soprano voice.

The string arrangements followed from Gould’s prior experience scoring for symphony orchestra (his original piece “Side Angle,” which doesn’t appear here). The sextet arrangements, for their part, were a result of his tenure at the Monk Institute, where he played with a six-piece dream band of fellow students. Along with the swinging, Latin-tinged title track we hear “Three Souls,” a tribute not only to the great Hank Jones but also to two people close to Gould who died around the same time (the fleeting reference to Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing” seems to imply a fourth soul). Another sextet piece, “Room 416,” is named for the Berklee dorm room that Gould shared with bassist and friend Peter Spear, who died tragically in 2014. “Peter was really good friends with Godwin as well, so I thought it was important for Godwin to take that lead melody in the A section and show some love.”

“The Return,” a quartet number that features Louis again in radiant form, is Gould’s dedication to trumpeter Gregory Diaz, who struggled with embouchure problems at Berklee and was unable to play for a period of time. “Greg and I went to high school together as well and he was one of the best trumpet players I knew. I wrote this tune to encourage him — ‘The Return of Greg Diaz’ is its full name.”

“Sir Carter,” led off by an eccentric intro for horns and drums, is what one suspects: an homage to the great Ron Carter, who visited the Monk Institute for a week and had a profound impact on Gould and his fellow students. “Nefertiti” is of course a legendary Wayne Shorter piece that Carter himself played with the Miles Davis Quintet. Gould’s brisk 5/4 rendition gives it a straight-eighth-note patina and some added twists and turns, without ever sacrificing the tune’s hypnotic legato flavor. Here again the trio chemistry is substantial. Gould solos forcefully before yielding to the virtuosic Williams.

Martinez adds his inimitable congas on “Blue Dales,” which Gould originally composed as an etude to practice independence but later turned into a song. Right away the congas add propulsion and color to the bright, staccato rhythms of the theme, so dazzlingly articulated by Williams and Strickland. The piece is a 16-bar minor blues with dramatic and clever harmonic movement, an ideal framework for improvising: Williams leads off, followed by Gould and finally Strickland over a tumultuous four-bar vamp.

In the end it’s the combination of elements in Gould’s music — the hard-bop drive and harmonic adventure, the chamber-music refinement, the Latin tinge that Jelly Roll Morton theorized all those years ago — that makes Clockwork succeed on the level that it does. It couldn’t be clearer: Gould was ready, after years spent on numerous big-league bandstands, to take the reins and bring all his experience to bear, pursuing a sound deep in technical proficiency and flair but also expressive nuance and immersion in the jazz tradition. May those gears keep turning."


David R. Adler, New York, March 2016


01. Clockwork 7:39
02. Room 7:09
03. Chaancé 5:22
04. Blue Dales 5:21
05. The Return 7:55
06. Apostle John (Prelude) 3:07
07. Apostle John 9:03
08. Sir Carter (Intro) 0:45
09. Sir Carter 4:52
10. Nefertiti 5:38
11. Three Souls 8:06

All songs composed & arranged by Victor Gould, except #5 written by Wayne Shorter

Personnel:
Victor Gould (piano)
Jeremy Pelt (trumpet on #1,2,3,6,7,8 & 11)
Godwin Louis (alto sax on #1,2,3,5,6,7,8 & 11)
Myron Walden (tenor sax on #1,2,3,6,7,8 & 11)
Anne Drummond (flute on #3 & 7)
Ben Williams (bass, except on #6 & 8)
E.J. Strickland (drums, except on #6)
Pedrito Martínez (percussion on (#1,4 & 7)
Yoojin Park (violin, on #3,6 & 7)
Heejin Chang (viola, on #3,6 & 7)
Veronica Parrales (cello, on #3,6 & 7)

Recorded at Systems Two Studios, Brooklyn, New York, December 14, 2015 and January 19, 2016

Sound engineer: Max Ross
Mixing & mastering: Dave Darlington
Photography: Anne Yatskevich
Painting: Martel Chapman

Co-producers: Victor Gould & Myron Walden

Executive producer: Jordi Pujol

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