American keyboardist Marc Cary uses a thoroughly contemporary arsenal
of hip-hop beats, Fender Rhodes and Hammond tones, repeating loops and
hi-tech effects, the jazz roots of his music are always plain. As his recent work
has shown, the result is a bracing blend of old and newsteered by a
strong musical character, despite the laidback cool of much of the
delivery. This set expands Cary’s regular keys/bass/tabla trio into a
bigger world-jazz lineup including a djembe hand drummer, and assorted
percussion, brass, and strings. Harold Mabern’s bebop theme Beehive
takes off from a thumping low-end Rhodes hook, and develops as a
skimming groove that both Cary and trumpeter Igmar Thomas adroitly skip
and skid over. 7th Avenue North has a trancelike quality in its
repeating lefthand vamp answered by a thin, reedy-toned embellishment;
Astral Flight features quick hip-hop drumming against grunting
electric-bass prods; African Market mingles a brightly playful melody
with the eerily strangled sound of a vocoder, Alan Palmer’s funk anthem
You Can’t Stop Us Now languidly unfolds over the remorseless smack of
Terreon Gully’s backbeat. Cary’s is an unusual music of spacey, ambient
sounds, pumping urban heartbeats, world-music and orthodox jazz
combined, and it’s a pretty engaging one.
1. Prelude to the Hit 00:37 2. Beehive 05:24 3. 7th Avenue North 04:13 4. Essaouira Walks 06:45 5. Astral Flight 17 06:45 6. A frican Market 06:14 7. For Hermeto 02:55 8. Spices and Mystics 05:50 9. Below the Equator 06:53 10.You Can't Stop Us Now 05:36 11.The Alchemist's Notes 06:34
The music of Brazil extends far past the samba with a musical diversity as deep and rich as their citizens. Eliane Elias returned to her country of origin and recruited some of Brazil's finest musicians for a slightly more contemporary interpretation of this most influential music. While there is nothing lacking in authenticity, the sound is meticulously crafted and built around improvisational music with an occasional classical flair. Six originals confirm her astounding compositional skill while her vocal style is beyond reproach.
This music with one foot in the past but with both eyes on the future with guests and band members including Mark Kibble from Take 6, daughter Amanda Brecker and Marcus Teixeira. Made In Brazil ignites a slow romantic burn with tunes such as "Incendiano" and "Driving Ambition" thanks to the stellar contributions from Kibble. Another incredible highlight includes Amanda Brecker's appearance on the buoyant "Some Enchanted Place."
Elias produces the release along with the help of critically acclaimed Steve Rodby and Marc Johnson. A true collaborative effort, it is the ability to nuance deceptively subtle sounds and textures that is the key to both the artistic brilliance of Elias and perhaps the best release of the year with Made In Brazil. Flawless. Brent Black
Brasil Voce Aquas de Marco Searching Some Enchanted Place Incendiano Vida Este Seu Olhar / Promessas Driving Ambition Rio A Sorte do Amor No Tabuleiro de Baiana
Eliane Elias (piano) Marc Johnson (bass) Steve Rodby (bass) Rubens de La Corte (guitare) Rafael Barata (percussions) Marl Kibble (vocals) Amanda Becker (vocals) Marcus Teixeira (vocals)
There's a lot going on here: all manner of different musical influences
and moods. Errol Rackipov (vibes and marimba), hails originally from
Bulgaria. In his sleeve note, he likens life to a train ride on which we
glimpse reflections of our past, present and future out of the window.
The wistful, yet driving title song—probably Rackipov's best know
composition to date—refers to this musically, a complex, Bulgarian
emigré version of Jimmy Giuffre's classic "Train And The River."
Rackipov says, "The moods, feelings and emotions captured in this album
started their journey a long time ago." He hopes the listener will
enjoy the ride.
Rackipov studied at Berklee College of Music in
Boston under—among others—Gary Burton. He is principal percussionist
with the Miami Symphony Orchestra.
His group includes fellow
Bulgarian ex-pats Hristo Vitchev (guitar) and Lubomir Gospodinov
(reeds). All but one of the nine songs are Rackipov originals.
"Mad Djore" is reminiscent of some of the things McCoy Tyner did post-John Coltrane. Based on a percussive theme, with pianist Martin Bejerano to the fore, its moods change from busy to relaxed and back again.
"Far Away From Here, A Long Time Ago," is a meditation on childhood in
Bulgaria; wistful and melancholic, featuring melodic piano.
"Jumble" has an Arabian feel. It starts with a kind of cacophonous
fanfare, almost stops then gets going again with Bejerano in command
until Rackipov takes over on vibes. He's followed by Gospodinov before
the band bows out with another cacophonous fanfare.
that McCoy Tyner feel to the intro of "Dill Man." Things drift, albeit
interestingly, before getting knitted together in the finale.
"Folk Dance" and "Wild River" are both great fun, mixing echoes of
Bulgaria with Rackipov's take on America's wide open spaces. Bejerano
gets quite low down and funky on occasion.
The journey ends
with the lovely, Latin-tinged "Once A Mother Had A Child," featuring
Gospodinov on clarinet, underpinned by the leader's vibes. Remember the
name Dimitar Ianev. If there's any justice, he's written a song destined
to become a standard. Chris Mosey
Finding opportunities for growth and development are important aspects
in the process of evolving as a creative musician. Discovering and
tackling new challenges helps to keep music-making a fresh and exciting
occupation for many, including pianist Joey Calderazzo, who found his
latest challenge in the form of the piano trio.
Since the beginning of his illustrious career, Calderazzo has mainly
played in quartets led by remarkable saxophonists, namely Michael
Brecker and Branford Marsalis. As a musician and composer, the pianist
had become comfortable in this format, developing an intensity in his
playing and predilections in his composing that those ensemble’s sizes
Calderazzo saw the establishment of his trio as a means to strengthen
his craft by working on material and musical concepts that he would not
ordinarily work on. He’s approaching things with a fresh and hard-won
perspective, one informed by the peace of his North Carolina home for
the past decade, years spent gigging and recording around the world, an
unquenchable desire to just get better, and a keen awareness of what
sort of project will get him there.
In light of the progress he has made in the trio format, Calderazzo
views his new recording, Going Home (Sunnyside) as a snapshot of a work
in progress, an experiment that continues to progress and wield an
abundance of intriguing results. The recording provided an opportunity
for Calderazzo to step away from his natural inclinations and approach
the music in a new exciting way. He no longer felt the need to prove
anything at the piano. He describes shedding both competitiveness with
his contemporaries and a proclivity to sound like his idols. He simply
doesn’t want to get in his own way — and the musical results are
While a number of musicians have been featured in his trio, Calderazzo
employed two musicians this time around whose contrasting strengths
pushed the ensemble into fascinating new areas. Bassist Orlando Le
Fleming was the instigator, continually challenging the group with his
harmonic drive. Drummer Adam Cruz was a perfect foil as his controlled
intensity and beautiful tone helped to refine the group’s musicality.
The music generated by the ensemble showed the musicians’ desire to
balance freedom and responsibility. To stimulate this, Calderazzo
intentionally wrote pieces and arranged two standards without too much
structure, which created a focus on improvisation and group interplay,
features that do not ordinarily stand out in studio recordings. The
originals were generally sketches, moods or vibes, which provided a
starting point for the ensemble’s explorations.
The program begins with “Manifold,” a ruminative piece based on
twelve-tone composing techniques, utilized most notably in the bass
notes being a part of the tone row, thus creating an ambiguous harmony
allowing melodic freedom for the right hand. The distinctive Branford
Marsalis is featured on “I Never Knew,” a ballad Calderazzo had begun
for Marsalis’ soprano but was played on tenor, making it the first time
Marsalis had played tenor on one of Calderazzo’s ballads. “Why Me?” is
an exploratory, re-harmonized take on the Marks and Simons classic “All
of Me,” which is built on a 6/8 over 4/4 pulse allowing Calderazzo to
bounce freely over the time.
Perkins and Parish’s “Stars Fell on Alabama” is performed by the trio
here for the first time, with Calderazzo focusing on playing melancholy
melodic lines through the harmony, rather than focusing on every change
of chord. One of Calderazzo’s older pieces, “Legend,” is performed open
allowing the amount of information the tune provides to spur on an
intriguing, in-the-moment performance. Originally presented on his duo
recording with Marsalis from 2011, the spirited “One Way” is revisited
here with an offbeat, New Orleans-oriented rhythmic swagger.
Having played it regularly in the past four years, Calderazzo
reinvestigates one of his favorite standards, Young and Washington’s “My
Foolish Heart,” in a somber, introspective mood. Written for his former
bandleader, “Mike’s Song” is a piece that Michael Brecker would have
destroyed and the trio’s performance does its best to live up to the
saxophone legend’s tremendous musical spirit. “Going Home” closes the
recording with an incredibly heartfelt and honest piece written in
memory of someone who passed away too soon.
The fact that Joey Calderazzo views his recent performances and
recordings with a trio as an experiment should highlight the fact that
he wants to continue to hone his craft and progress as a musician. Going
Home is a tremendous document of his musical process and a milestone of
his progress, synthesizing his decades of creativity into something
new, sublime, and supremely centered as a composer, improviser and
Going Home - 5:31 Manifold - 7:15 I Never Knew - 7:22 Why Me? - 4:22 Stars Fell On Alabama - 6:47 Legend - 10:08 One Way - 6:11 My Foolish Heart - 7:23 Mike\'s Song - 8:25
Joey Calderazzo - piano Orlando Le Fleming - bass Adam Cruz - drums Branford Marsalis - tenor saxophone #2
Guitar virtuoso Robben Ford’s forthcoming
new album Into The Sun (Mascot Label Group) shines a bright light on
his artful, contemporary songwriting and the stunning playing that’s
made him a favorite foil of Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison
and other legends.
The five-time Grammy nominee describes
the 11-song set as “one of the top recordings I’ve ever done” — a
staggering observation considering his extensive discography, which
embraces more than 35 albums under his own name and with his various
bands. There’s also Ford’s session and sideman work, which includes
hundreds of concert appearances and albums by Bonnie Raitt, Barbara
Streisand, Charlie Musselwhite, KISS, Ruthie Foster, Jimmy Witherspoon
and Rickie Lee Jones.
Into The Sun, which follows last year’s
critically acclaimed A Day In Nashville and 2013’s Bringing It Back
Home, explores the breadth of Ford’s sophisticated, visionary writing
and playing, creating a new chapter in his brilliant musical history.
The album features a coterie of guests: Allman Brothers guitarist and
Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes on “High Heels And Throwing Things,”
slide guitar guru Sonny Landreth on “So Long 4 U,” Americana and blues
icon Keb’ Mo’ and pedal steel wizard Robert Randolph on “Justified,”
vocal sensation ZZ Ward on “Breath Of Me,” and gritty Southern rock
newcomer Tyler Bryant on “Stone Cold Heaven.” Niko Bolas, whose credits
include Neil Young, John Mayer and Keith Richards, engineered.
“The album is really upbeat,” Ford
relates. “It has a positive vibe to it — a good time feel. There are a
lot of different rhythms and colors and the way the instruments are used
is really different on this. It makes me very happy to have something
Although Ford’s recent releases have been
hailed as returns to his musical roots — which go back to his discovery
of blues as a teenager in the 1960s – Into The Sun is a clear
departure, using tradition as a springboard to incorporate his timeless
vocabulary of jazz, pop, blues and rock into a modern framework for his
poetic lyrics and the most graceful, emotionally nuanced and melodic
vocal performances of his career.
“This album is obviously of these times,”
Ford says. “And the rule during the recording process was to have no
lid on things. I’ve worked very hard to master my craft as a musician
and a songwriter, but other than relying on my strengths in those areas,
I made sure there was room for new ideas and everything my
collaborators brought to the music. When you’re open to different
concepts and approaches, the most beautiful things can happen.” Read more...
1. Rose Of Sharon 2. Day Of The Planets 3. Howlin’ At The Moon 4. Rainbow Cover 5. Justified (with Keb’ Mo’ & Robert Randolph) 6. Breath Of Me (with ZZ Ward) 7. High Heels And Throwing Things (with Warren Haynes) 8. Cause Of War 9. So Long 4 U (with Sonny Landreth) 10. Same Train 11. Stone Cold Heaven (with Tyler Bryant)
A l'époque du New
Orleans et du swing, la clarinette était en première ligne, de Johnny
Dodds ou Barney Bigard à Benny Goodman. Avec le bop, elle fut plus ou
moins rangée au placard pour connaître un nouvel essor avec Eric Dolphy
et la clarinette basse. Mais la plupart du temps, elle est jouée
maintenant par des polyinstrumentistes qui sont également saxophonistes
(Don Byron, Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Laurent Dehors, Gianluigi
Trovesi). Rares sont les musiciens contemporains qui sont clarinettistes
à part entière: Théo Jorgensmann dans la mouvance free, Gabriele
Mirabassi avec un attrait pour la musique traditionnelle.
découvrir un jeune musicien qui se dédie pleinement à la clarinette,
avec un tel bagage technique, tient de l'événement. Matteo Pastorino est
né en Sardaigne en 1989 et a abordé la musique en autodidacte, dès
l'âge de 13 ans. Il s'est rapidement tourné vers le jazz sous
l'influence de son père contrebassiste et il prend ses premières vraies
leçons avec Paolo Fresu, lors des Séminaires de Nuoro Jazz, l'équivalent
sarde des workshops de Siena Jazz. A 19 ans, il débarque à Paris et
rejoint le Conservatoire avec des professeurs saxophonistes comme
Jean-Charles Richard et Pierre Bertrand (le leader du Paris Jazz Big
Band). En 2009, grâce au Siena Jazz, il étudie avec Kenny Werner et
obtient une bourse pour suivre des cours avec Chris Potter. Invité par
différents festivals français (Tours, Orléans) et italiens (Sienne,
Berchidda, le festival organisé par Paolo Fresu dans sa ville natale),
il remporte plusieurs prix "Jeune Talent" et notamment le Prix Selmer du
Meilleur Soliste, ce qui lui vaut d'être sponsorisé par la célèbre
marque d'instruments à anche.
A côté de son quartet "français" avec
lequel il vient d'enregistrer son premier disque, on peut l'entendre au
sein du Fourth Stream Ensemble de Nicola Andrioli (le pianiste de Philip
Catherine), Playground Four avec le jeune pianiste brugeois Hendrik
Lazure et il s'est produit, en première partie du festival Jazz!Brugge,
dans le projet Nestor Martin plays Mingus, aux côtés de la chanteuse
Francesca Palamidessi. Mais c'est surtout avec son propre quartet qu'il
s'est révélé: il vient de terminer une tournée qui l'a emmené du Club
Pelzer à Liège au Sunside parisien, en passant par les Trinitaires de
A ses côtés, une jeune rythmique française de talent. Au
piano, Matthieu Roffé qui a poursuivi ses études au Conservatoire de
Metz, avec Mario Stantchev, puis à Paris avec Emil Spanyi (le pianiste
de Christophe Monniot), grâce à qui il a enseigné à Lausanne. Il a fait
partie du quartet MTX du saxophoniste Matthieu Durmarque, formé le Roffé
Orchestra, un ensemble de 11 musiciens dont il signe les arrangements
dans la lignée de Gil Evans et rejoint Matteo Pastorino dès 2010. A la
contrebasse, Bertrand Beruard, élève de Gildas Boclé et Yves Rousseau au
Conservatoire de Paris et, à la batterie, Jean-Baptiste Pinet, membre
du quartet MTX comme Roffé.
Au répertoire de ce premier album, rien
que des compostions originales. Cinq compositions de Matteo Pastorino et
trois de Matthieu Roffé: quelques ballades lyriques comme "A mio
fratello", un mid tempo ("Cobra") et, principalement, de belles et
longues compositions basées sur de subits changements de rythme et de
climat ("Trois coups de marteau", "Bushida", "Yggdrasil", "Ping Pong")
pour se terminer, avec un clin d'oeil au Count, sur le rythme sautillant
de Count in heart. Tout au long de l'album, Matteo fait preuve d'une
parfaite maîtrise dans tous les registres, de la sonorité la plus suave
("A mi fratello") aux accents les plus graves ("Cobra"), et toujours
avec une extrême volubilité. Sur "Eleventh Floor", la sonorité
ténébreuse de la clarinette basse se marie avec l'archet de la
contrebasse, en total contraste avec le déferlement du piano et de la
batterie: on pourrait alors évoquer Eric Dolphy quand il jouait avec
John Coltrane, Mc CoyTyner et Elvin Jones.
En parfaite connivence
avec une rythmique très souvent mise en évidence, il survole toute une
partie de l'histoire du jazz pour en montrer la totale contemporanéité.
Une vraie découverte.
1 A mio fratello 2 Trois coups de marteau 3 Bushido 4 Eleventh Floor 5 Yggdrasil 6 Ping Pong 7 Cobra (Bass Intro) 8 Cobra 9 Count in Heart
"It is always gratifying to discover a new voice in jazz. Of course, for jazz fans throughout Germany, Max Frankl is hardly a new voice at all. His previous four releases -- 2005’s Frankzone, 2008’s Sturmvogel, 2011’s Francis Drake: Stories and 2012’s Home -- earned critical acclaim while establishing Frankl as a rising star in Germany (he was named “Best Guitarist“ in the 2012 ECHO JAZZ Awards and was a nominee for the 2014 German Music Composers Award). But to these Stateside ears, Fernweh is an auspicious introduction to a gifted guitarist-composer worthy of wider recognition.
Fueled by the highly interactive rhythm tandem of bassist Dominique Girod and drummer Claudio Strueby and bolstered by the complementary flights of saxophonist-clarinetist Reto Suhner, Frankl showcases his considerable fretboard facility and improvisational daring on this outstanding release. And while he may be steeped in the jazz tradition (he grew up listening to his father’s Chet Baker and Miles Davis records, had Charlie Parker posters on his bedroom wall and ended up playing with such inveterate swingers as saxophonists Lee Konitz, Benny Golson and Emil Mangelsdorff), he is not above dealing with dissonance, audacious rock and funk beats or stomping on a fuzz box now and then. In that regard, Frankl is part of the modernist six-string lineage that begins with early inspirations like John Scofield, Mike Stern and Pat Metheny and continues with the next generation of guitarists who followed in their wake, including Wolfgang Muthspiel, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ben Monder (all three of whom Max studied with at different points in his musical development).
“During the last couple of years I worked on my sound using different effects like reverb, tape delays, EQs and some loop units,” says the 32-year-old guitarist from Weilheim in the south of Bavaria. “From a musical point of view I think it is very important to be able to improvise with all the possibilities that a guitar player has, sound-wise. I want to be able to find new territory. That`s why I constantly work on my sound and why I always strive to add new colors to it.”
Frankl paints with a rainbow of colors on Fernweh, his fifth release as a leader. Shifting from clean-toned electric to steel string acoustic, distortion-toned electric and sublime nylon string acoustic, he conjures up tones and textures that perfectly suit the varying moods of the thoughtful compositions heard on this ambitious outing.
Rather than coming out of the gate with chops ablaze on the opening track -- a natural tendency for one with so much facility -- Max instead takes a far more zen-like approach on the ruminative “Zurich” by gently arpeggiating in classically-trained fashion on his steel string acoustic for a full two-and-a-half minutes before the band enters. With Suhner’s alto clarinet setting a melancholy tone against a slow-grooving dirge, Frankl then takes his time before offering a warm, lyrical improvisation before the piece builds to a stirring crescendo.
The urgently swinging “Aufbrechen” places Max firmly in the modernist camp as his tight unisons on the frontline with Suhner’s alto sax recall the indelible hookup between Scofield and Joe Lovano, Stern and Bob Berg (or more recently Bob Franchescini) or Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner. “Scofield`s Meant to Be was one of the albums I listened to over and over again,” Max recalls. “The sound and flexibility they have in their piano-less quartet is a big influence on my playing and writing. Mike Stern is also one of my all time heroes. His Upside Downside was one of the first CDs I bought. The unison energy he establishes with Bob Berg on that album is overwhelming.” Suhner contributes a potent alto solo on this surging number which builds to a dissonant peak before Frankl kicks on the distortion pedal and unleashes with a vengeance. One can also hear the influence of Monder in the warm, slightly distorted guitar tone and odd intervallic lines in his intense solo. At around the 5:30 mark, the rhythmic pulse drops out as Max and Reto engage in a delicate contrapuntal dance. Frankl then underscores Suhner’s alto playing with some chordal swells before switching to nylon string acoustic arpeggios to conclude the suite-like piece on a soothing note.
Says the guitarist of his rare chemistry with his frontline partner, “I had heard of Reto`s playing a lot when I moved to Basel, Switzerland, to study with Wolfgang Muthspiel. Everybody was full of praise for his sound and his ideas, saying that he might be the most original voice in Switzerland. And when first played together in 2009 in the Zurich Jazz Orchestra I was immediately impressed by one beautiful long solo he played on Thad Jones’ tune ‘Groove Merchant.’ And during the set I thought to myself, ‘That`s my man for a new group!’”
The two would eventually form a band, play their first gig and forge an immediate chemistry together. “We talked a lot about the ideas we wanted to express in our music,” Max recalls. “We both liked a warm sound on our instruments and loved playing in unison. So we worked a lot on the interplay, providing a vivid harmonic environment and at the same time being able to suggest melodic ideas so that every solo is an open field for communication, in both directions.”
That quality establishes the playing field throughout Fernweh, whether it’s on Suhner’s quirky “Copy/Paste,” which has Frankl providing warm, bossa nova styled comping on nylon string acoustic beneath Reto’s soprano work, or on the saxophonist’s mysterious “‘80s,” which travels from challenging, Zappa-esque unison lines on the head to a dreamy rubato interlude that utilizes backwards guitar effects before returning to the angular, chops-busting theme.
Frankl’s compelling “Schweben” makes dramatic use of space while conveying a sense of place. As he explains, “‘Schweben’ means to hover. This tune is also influenced by the feeling of an overnight transatlantic flight, where my thoughts and dreams floated while I was listening to Aaron Parks’ ECM-debut Arborescence.” Suhner’s alto clarinet blends beautifully on this affecting number which is underscored by Strueby’s gently shuffling brushwork and anchored by Girod’s resounding bass tones.
Suhner’s “Second Thoughts” is another prime example of sax and guitar locking in on some impossibly tight unison lines on the complex head before Frankl launches into an extended distortion-laced barrage that is brimming with the sound of surprise. Girod’s freewheeling contrapuntal bass lines are particular effective here in tandem with Strueby’s conversational approach to the kit, adding to the open-ended vibe of this provocative piece.
They conclude on a triumphantly swinging note with Frankl’s “Fort Greene,” a tune written about a former place of residence in Brooklyn. As he explains, “In 2013, during the time that I took lessons with Ben Monder in New York, I spent two months apartment-sitting in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn for the writer Rafi Zabor. When he returned, I found a place to live on Lafayette and Washington Avenue. Fort Greene Park is only a few blocks away. I listened to a lot of music while walking or running through the park and also experienced the turn of the seasons there, from humid summer to beautiful fall to the coldness of winter. Lots of good memories there, so I wanted to dedicate a piece to all these feelings.”
Suhner soars on soprano sax on this exhilarating closer set in 7/4 time. A little past the midway point, the tune takes a radical shift in direction as Suhner switches to alto clarinet and Strueby lays down a serious funk beat. Frankl naturally digs into this deep groove and wails with Sco-like authority, and just a touch of Brooklyn swagger.
As for the album title itself, which translates into “wanderlust,” the accomplished guitarist-composer says, “It describes my feeling that I want to dedicate the next ten years of my life to playing, exploring and living in New York. Over the course of the last ten years I’ve studied and lived in five different European cities (Munich, Amsterdam, Basel, Lucerne, Zurich), have played lots of gigs and have gained great public acclaim for my work. But I always knew that I wanted to move to NYC, that was where my heart wanted to go. Now that I’ve spent six months there I can say that there`s so much that draws me to the Big Apple -- the unbelievable level of high musicianship, the way that rhythm sections play, the way how the tradition of jazz is honored. Also the kindness and how humble even the greatest musicians treat their audiences and fellow musicians. The groove of the city, the kindness of the New Yorkers, the living room sessions in Brooklyn. So, this title marks the starting point for all of this.”
Stay tuned to see where Max’s journey takes him from here". -- Bill Milkowski
"Old Socks, new shoes". This is how sax master Steve Wilson describes the origins of
Wilsonian’s Grain, the ensemble of old friends formed back in 2008. He
was interested in revisiting some of his earlier work that he felt could
use some further exploration, he explains, with what he calls “a new
band of old friends. It’s like putting on old socks with new shoes.”
While I’m not quite sure I buy the analogy, I am quite sure I buy the
music. That is if the quartet’s debut album, a live set recorded last
May at New York’s legendary Village Vanguard, is any indication of what
they are capable of. Forgive me but, I’m tempted to say the shoes fit,
and resisting temptation was never my strong point. Steve Wilson & Wilsonian’s Grain Live in New York: The Vanguard Sessions,
set for release in March, has Wilson heading up a talented crew of
inventive musicians including pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Ugonna
Okegwo, and drummer Bill Stewart in a seven-track bop attack built atop
the musical foundation laid down by the giants of the past. Wilson’s
“old shoes” can stand with the best. Listen to Evans’ piano on his
original composition “Spot It You Got It.” Listen to Stewart’s killer
solo work on Joe Chamber’s “Patterns” which closes the album. Listen to
Okegwo on Wilson’s “Perry Street.” They do great solo work throughout,
but when they work together, they shine.
Thelonious Monk’s “Well You Needn’t” makes for a powerful opening
number and sets the tone for the rest of the set. Wilson and the Grain
take no prisoners. The track opens with the bass, and then the sax takes
the theme, while the drums drive the action. It is an explosive
performance, with some stunning solo work from Wilson and Evans.
Wilson’s original pieces, “Chrysalis” and “Spheresophically” and Migiwa
Miyajima’s “If I Were a Wind of Spring” complete the hour-long set.
Well You Needn't – Thelonious Monk Spot It You Got it - Orrin Evans Chrysalis – Steve Wilson Perry street – Steve Wilson ?Spheresophically – Steve Wilson If I Were a Wind of Spring - Migiwa Miyajima Patterns - Joe Chambers
Steve Wilson Orrin Evans Ugonna Okegwo Bill Stewart
‘Wolf & Hound’ is the new album from jazz trio; ‘Grayson, Farrugia
& Sherlock’ and features new original material recorded over 2 dates
with musician and engineer, Jake Mason.
hammond organ jazz trio is a rarity on the Australian musical
landscape. Consisting of the classic Hammond B3 organ together with a
Leslie cabinet, drums and guitar, it’s an ensemble synonymous with
American jazz, gospel and rhythm & blues. Four years ago, these
three world class musicians set about reviving the art of the hammond
trio in Melbourne, exploring
what may be possible with fresh ears and a sense of excitement. What
they found was an open sound that gave equal weight to each musician,
allowing a freedom not often found in larger ensembles.
no bass player, the organist can dictate or follow harmonic
conversations with flow and ease. The staccato nature of guitar tones
punctuate over the organ’s mid range notes, while the drums can wash
over the trio, adding rhythm and colour. The compositions shift in time
and space, with harmonic and rhythmic ideas that push the envelope of
traditional jazz. Some pieces follow a simple sketch while others tip
their hat to standard conventions, all the while allowing the
improvisations to remain fluid and tactile.
Grayson is no stranger to the organ, or to the Australian musical
landscape. His work with Aussie funk pioneers The Bamboos is widely
recognised and in recent years has toured with US folk icon Martha
Wainwright and New York local Bilal.
Farrugia is the drummers drummer and has made an impeccable mark on the
Australian music scene. He covers a diverse variety of musical styles
playing and recording with Missy Higgins, Luke Howard Trio, Julia Stone,
Tinpan Orange and The Bamboos.
Sherlock needs no introduction. He is widely respected amongst the
echelon of Australian jazz greats, having performed and recorded with
Dale Barlow, Bernie McGann, Barney McAll and Allan Browne. As well as
with visiting artists; the great Jeff "Tain" Watts, Jon Riley, Cyrille
Aimee and Sheila Jordan.
The album is released on the new Australian imprint for hammond music; Eleven Pin Music.
1. Interlude 00:47 2. Wolf & Hound 05:55 3. Goldilocks 05:35 4. Chippy 05:14 5. Interlude 2 02:59 6. A Different Land 07:31 7. Inutil Paisagem 04:20 8. Interlude 3 01:42 9. Here Is The Sea 06:17 10.Fools Gold 05:17 11.Finale 01:40
Ben Grayson - Hammond Daniel Farrugia - drumms James Sherlock - guitar
One of my favorite recordings from 2013 was the second album by the trio of veteran drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath and relative young guns Ethan Iverson and Ben Street (on piano and bass, respectively). Tootie's Tempo
(Sunnyside) turned the spotlight on the percussionist, one of the last
great proponents of bop playing; but he's a musician capable of so much
more. The trio's first recording was a terrific but loose live session
from the New York club Smalls; the second release captured the group
melding into a working ensemble, essaying a wide variety of standards
drawn from the entirety of jazz history, with Heath given the latitude
to explicitly impart his personality in every performance. The results
were accessible, effortlessly swinging, and fun—no matter how hoary the
chestnut, the drummer brought something modern and hip it.
That quality continues on the trio's even stronger new album, Philadelphia Beat
(out Tuesday on, again on Sunnyside). The title refers to Heath's
hometown and its strong jazz tradition. The trio recorded the album in
Philly, and in the middle of the visit played a local gig; Heath also
met with some of his old cohorts at the city's Clef Club, the first
black musician's union there. In his liner notes Iverson writes that the
Clef Club hang charged the energy and vibe of the recording sessions.
While the repertoire is still dominated by jazz classics, the trio
branches out a bit: there's a cover of the Gloria Gaynor disco classic
"I Will Survive" as well as a surprising, rather spontaneous
interpretation of Bach's "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme." Of course,
the apple doesn't fall far from the trio, as another selection is John
Lewis's "Concorde," a fuguelike classic by the Modern Jazz Quartet which
featured Albert's brother Percy on bass (the former worked with the
latter a bit when he replaced drummer Connie Kay in the group's final
The playing of Iverson and Street is superb throughout, and once
again the pianist gets to exert a wonderfully subversive feel on many of
the tracks. There's modern harmony and phrasing throughout the
exquisitely slow reading of the Eubie Blake staple "Memories of You,"
building tension and florid embellishment of melody against a fatback
drumbeat on "I Will Survive" (a flashback to the early days of the
pianist's work in the Bad Plus),
and a supremely light touch (a la Lewis) on the Milt Jackson standard
"Bag's Groove," which Heath opens with finger cymbals, ("an invitation
to dance," in the words of Iverson).
Sometimes I forget about the quiet grace and eloquent swing of
jazz—reasons I've loved it for so many years—so it's great when a
recording like this turns up and reminds me of that basic, indelible
attraction. Philadelphia Beat is one of those rare new albums
where everything just feels right, and you can't help but say, "yes!"
Below you can hear the trio's take on the Monk gem "Bye-Ya," whom Heath
worked with in Philly. Peter Margasak
"Bag's Groove" "Reets And I" "I Will Survive" "Concorde" "Memories Of You" "Con Alma" "Wachet Auf" "Bye-Ya" "Everything Must Change" "Speak Low" "Pentatonic Etude" "Bakai"
Albert "Tootie" Heath - drums Ben Street - bass Ethan Iverson - piano
Norwegian Guitarist Bjørn Solli Releases New Album, Aglow: The Lyngør Project Vol.1 (Lyngør Records). Composed on a small island in Southern Norway, Recorded with an All-Star Band in New York.
It all started in 2007 when Bjørn Solli went to visit a
friend on an island in the south of Norway. The group of islands is
known as Lyngør and the place had a profound effect on
the Norwegian guitarist/composer. Initially it was the sheer beauty of
the place that struck him, but he was soon equally enamored with the
people. Solli quickly made many friends on the archipelago and started
having annual concerts there, bringing with him musicians from New York,
Shanghai and Rome to play on the pier every August. Out of this grew
the Lyngør Jazz Club and in 2012 they commisioned Solli
to compose music inspired by Lyngør and to record an album. Over the
next 15 months, Solli spent frequent retreats on the island and was
given an opportunity to assemble a band of amazing musicians.
He had been touring and recording with several of the band members
for years and was very familiar with each musician’s sound. Knowing each
band member’s unique approach and strengths, allowed Solli to compose
specifically for each musician. By giving the band freedom to interpret
the music as they wished everyone brought a fresh perspective to the
material and made wonderful contributions to the shaping of the tunes.
This album is a perfect representation of Bjørn Solli – the musician
and the composer – and is his most personal effort to date. It has great
variety and offers plenty of swing, contemplative ballads, singable
waltzes, South American rhythms, gritty blues and more; all held
together by Solli’s acute sense of melody, evocative harmony and passion
2. Aglow In The Dark
3. To The Lighthouse
5. Sweet Lingering
7. August At Last
8. Battle Of Lynger
9. A Dog Named Fanny
Bjørn Solli – guitar
Seamus Blake – tenor & soprano saxophones
Ingrid Jensen – trumpet (3, 4, 8 & 9)
Aaron Parks – piano
Matt Clohesy – bass
Bill Stewart – drums
Icelandic saxophone player Sigurdur Flosasan and Danish Hammond B3 player Kjeld Lauritsen are releasing their new album “Daybreak” on Storyville Records. The album features beautiful and intimate jazz ballads with a Scandinavian sound, inspired by the special musical feeling that emerges when night turns to day.
The album is a follow-up to their previous success “Nightfall” - also on Storyville Records. On both albums musicians embrace the ballad repertoire in collaboration with internationally renowned guitarist Jacob Fischer and swing drummer Kristian Leth. The tunes are inspired by what musicians play together in the wee small hours after a late night gig, when most of the audience has gone home. As Sigurdur Flosason explains, this music has a special feeling: "The morning’s music has nothing to prove. It simply is, neither old nor new, complex nor simple. In a way it is the core and the essence of all music."
On this album the musicians has taken the idea even further, explicitly choosing songs such as “Morning Glory” and “The Night We Called it a Day” - songs that all relate to daybreak. A collection of songs where Kjeld Lauritsen recommends: "Enjoy this music with a Sunday morning cup of coffee, a late night whisky or, who knows, at Daybreak."
1. The Night We Called It a Day (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)
2. Blue Moon (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)
3. Dreamsville (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)
4. You Stepped Out of a Dream (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)
5. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)
6. I Like the Sunrise (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)
7. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)
8. Morning Glory (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)
9. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' (feat. Jacob Fischer & Kristian Leth)