viernes, 4 de agosto de 2017

Paul Jones - Clean (OUTSIDE IN MUSIC Aug. 4, 2017)

Saxophonist/composer Paul Jones melds the passion of jazz, the storytelling of hip
hop and the intricacy of minimalism on his innovative second album

Clean brings together a jazz sextet, woodwind octet and chamber duo for a stunning set of
emotionally intellectual music built on Jones’ unique text-based compositional method

"Short HistoryŠ captures the musicality, passion, and promise of a talented artist at the dawn of his career." - Dan Bilawksy, All About Jazz

"Jones and his ensemble shift moods with throttle-forward speed, revealing so many musical possibilities right off the bat that the listener gets the impression that anything can happen." - Anthony Dean Harris, DownBeat

Saxophonist/composer Paul Jones draws from influences as diverse as contemporary hip hop, 20th-century minimalism and leading-edge jazz on his second album as a leader, Clean. Both heady and heartfelt, Jones' compositions may be sparked by a literary turn of phrase or the unexpected passing of a close friend, always finding unique ways to overlay the emotional onto the intellectual.

Clean (due out August 4 from Outside In Music) unfolds with the evocative narrative flow of hip hop groundbreakers like Kendrick Lamar while building on the unique architecture of minimalist pioneers such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich. This singular music is realized with the help of Jones' core sextet, a group of distinctive artists who are all leaders and composers in their own right: alto saxophonist Alex LoRe, guitarist Matt Davis, pianist Glenn Zaleski, bassist Johannes Felscher and drummer Jimmy Macbride. They're joined at various times by a woodwind octet that brings together The SNAP Saxophone Quartet and a chamber group (clarinetist Mark Dover of the Imani Winds, oboist Ellen Hindson, bassoonist Nanci Belmont and cellist Susan Mandel) as well as genre-blurring duo The Righteous Girls (flutist Gina Izzo and pianist Erika Dohi.

The music on Clean was birthed at the picturesque Banff Creative Arts Centre in Alberta, Canada, where Jones sequestered himself in January 2016 to begin devising the follow-up to his well-received 2015 debut, Short History. With the sounds of austere minimalist compositions ringing in his ears and his love of hip hop reignited by the release of Lamar's landmark To Pimp a Butterfly, Jones set to work finding ways to unite these seemingly disparate passions.

"I used to listen to a lot of hip hop in high school, and Kendrick's album reminded me of my love for the music," he recalls. "One of the things that a lot of hip hop albums do that jazz albums don't do as much is try to tell a story from start to finish. I wanted to try to do that by using different song lengths and textures, and I thought that using woodwinds in the style of Steve Reich and Philip Glass would provide interesting sonic breaks between the jazz songs."

In challenging himself to find new sources of inspiration for his music for Short History, Jones invented a method of assigning different musical notes to each letter of the alphabet, then using different words or phrases to generate melodic material. On Clean he developed that technique further, adding a random number generator that gave a wider range of notes as well as intervals. As mathematical and complex as that may sound (and no doubt is), Jones never loses sight of the emotional core of his music, also dipping into the well of personal experience to deepen these uniquely-devised melodies.

Nowhere is that more striking than on the brief "Romulo's Raga," a dizzying chamber interlude sparked by the murder of Romulo Herrera, the longtime chef at the well-known Cornelia Street Café, where Jones worked by day. "Hearing the news of this incident was almost incomprehensible to me," Jones writes in his liner notes. Composed in the wake of the tragic news, "Romulo's Raga" became the leaping-off point for several other chamber pieces interspersed throughout the album, including opener "Ive Sn Th Gra Md," "It Was Brgh Cold," and "Im Prety Uch Fkd."

Those aren't typos - each of those titles are borrowed from the opening lines of classic novels, with each letter allowed to occur only once. The first is a slight misquote from Allen Ginsberg's era-defining poem "Howl" ("I've seen the [great] minds of my generation destroyed by madness"), the second from George Orwell's ever-timely Nineteen Eighty-Four ("It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"), and the last from Andy Weir's The Martian (you can guess it). "I Am An American" is the first line of Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, though with all those A's intact.

"The Generator," though a shimmering ballad in execution, references Jones' "nerdy compositional method" explicitly, as does, albeit in a more self-deferential fashion, "Alphabet Soup." The technique serves two purposes: it takes care of the ever-present challenge of coming up with new song titles while mandating a unique genesis for each piece. "A lot of people just sit down at the piano and expect magic to happen," he explains, "and we all end up coming up with the same ideas over and over again. I wanted to find a way to get at different harmonic and melodic ideas."

The process doesn't stop there, however. Though initially generated by the letters in the two names of its title, "Buckley vs. Vidal" bristles with the adversarial tension of the infamous televised debates between the celebrity intellectuals. "Hola, Amigo" takes its title from a sign spotted in Canada - with a phrase that no native Spanish speaker would ever utter, suggesting, especially as it follows the ambiguous "I Am An American," the fraught territory of cultural difference and miscommunication - especially timely given recent political developments.

The album's title and its namesake track, while hinting at the fastidious intricacies of Jones and his stellar ensemble, simply echoes his own nickname from Maine's Camp Encore/Coda, where he is a faculty member. It's humorously bookended by the jerky rhythms of "Dirty Curty," the less appealing sobriquet of an old friend who went without showering for three months - during which time he met the love of his life. "Centre in the Woods" tips its hat to the scenery of the Banff Centre, while the frenetic "The Minutiae of Existence" tallies the banal necessities of daily life.

His unique blend of jazz, classical and pop music influences unite Jones with a cohort of young innovators on the modern NYC scene. They include artists with whom Jones has worked, including Matt Davis' Aerial Photograph, Nicholas Biello's Vagabond Soul with Clarence Penn, R&B singer-songwriter Eli "Paperboy" Reed, Leon Boykins and Jonathan Parker. While a student at the Manhattan School of Music, Jones also had the opportunity to perform alongside such greats as Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano. He's also taught privately at CenterStage, Harrison School of Music, Needham Music, PS-290, and the Rye Arts Center, and given master classes at the Contemporary Music Institute in Zhuhai, China and the Gimcheon School of the Arts in Korea.

Sept. 25 - Rising star guitarist Ricardo Grilli, Eric Harland, Joe Martin, Kevin Hayes & Mark Turner at Smalls

Mark Turner – Reeds
Kevin Hays – Piano
Joe Martin – Bass
Eric Harland – Drums

"... a post-bop guitarist with a sideline interest in the cosmos and a taste for the ultramodern." 
– Nate Chinen, New York Times 

Rising star guitarist Ricardo Grilli returns to Smalls Jazz Club with an amazing quintet.   The powerhouse rhythm section of Eric Harland and Joe Martin, both members of Grilli's "1954" quartet, is complemented by pianist Kevin Hays, and saxophonist Mark Turner, both leading voices on their instruments.

The repertoire will feature compositions from Grilli's critically acclaimed 2016 album 1954 as well as new pieces from his upcoming album.

"...Grilli's considerable chops are in full effect in each setting.... This is an admirable outing by a new face on the scene." 
– Bill Milkowski, DownBeat Magazine

Rudresh Mahanthappa Reunites Indo-Pak Coalition with Agrima out Oct. 17


Trio breaks new sonic and conceptual ground with first release since Apti (2008)

Independently released, Agrima is available October 17, 2017 via digital and vinyl only
(download $2, limited edition deluxe double LP)

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition has been hailed by The New York Times as "a trio equally grounded in folk tradition and jazz improvisation, propos[ing] a social pact as well as a musical ideal."  The ensemble's three formidable talents – Mahanthappa on alto saxophone, Rez Abbasi on guitar, and Dan Weiss on tabla – first documented their group conception in 2008 with Apti, which won praise from The Guardian for its "irresistible urgency."

Agrima, the long-awaited follow-up, finds Mahanthappa and the group expanding aesthetic horizons: adding a modified drumset, incorporating effects and electronics, and working with a broader audio canvas overall. The core of the band's sound, the vibrant presence of Indian rhythmic and melodic elements in a charged, modern improvisational framework born of the New York jazz scene, remains firmly in place.

According to Mahanthappa, "Agrima" in Sanskrit simply means "next" or "following." It comes at a propitious time for all three members: Mahanthappa has enjoyed great success with his Bird Calls quintet and recently became Director of Jazz Studies at Princeton University. Abbasi, born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in California, has revealed a rare mastery of guitar in a range of settings including his own RAAQ acoustic quartet and his heavily electric project, Junction. Weiss, a voraciously eclectic drummer with interests ranging from classical tabla performance to metal, has garnered acclaim for his work ranging from solo drums to trio to large ensemble.

"I wanted everyone to think about Agrima as if we were making a rock album," Mahanthappa declares. "Apti is almost 10 years old and I think the way that the three of us conceive of non-Western or Indian music sonically and technically has really evolved. So I didn't want us to be concerned with having an overt Indian sound. I wanted to highlight our interactions, which we've developed since 2005 when the band premiered at New York City's Joe's Pub."

From all three instruments we hear a heightening of expressive nuance and possibility. Mahanthappa's alto is transformed in places by software-driven effects to create strange processed timbres, echoes, decays and soundscapes. "Working with electronics is like learning a new instrument," Mahanthappa says. "It takes a bit of thought to figure out how to have a voice in that realm. I ended up doing some work with Neil Leonard [from the Berklee College of Music's program in Electronic Production and Design]. He's also an alto player. He wrote a piece for the two of us, just two altos and our laptops, and he made all these patches for me, allowing me to use them however I wanted. I was always interested in electronics but my initial foray was not until Samdhi, (2011). That was really kind of a more instinctive approach but in the end it turned out really cool and I got what I wanted. Electronics was something I always wanted to get back to."

Abbasi's guitar, clean-toned and fluid (at times even acoustic) on Apti, becomes something bigger and more foreboding on Agrima: there's an edge and growl to the tone, a looming presence and sustain in the low notes, and more atmosphere thanks to an array of pedal effects that complement Mahanthappa's electronics at every turn. But perhaps the most pronounced shift from the previous record is Weiss's hybrid setup, melding tabla with drum set. "A while back we had a gig coming up in Montreal," Mahanthappa recalls, "and Dan asked what I thought about having him still be seated playing tabla but also with pieces of the drum set around him. We didn't even rehearse it, we just got to that sound check a half-hour early and Dan threw this thing together that ended up being amazing. That's how we've played ever since. On some tunes Dan only plays drum set, in fact. It all stems from our shared experience and our relationship to Indian music and jazz, which transcends the instrumentation."

In January 2017 the Indo-Pak Coalition premiered the new set of music that would become Agrima at globalFEST in New York. The energy of that encounter carried forward into the studio, from the eerie rubato incantation of "Alap" to the spiky lines and bracing tempo of "Snap," from the looping synthesized patterns, fractured beats and sunny temperament of "Agrima" to the simpler, moodier medium groove of "Showcase." The band is in peak form, executing tough thematic material, attending to fine dynamic contrasts, shifting tempos with spellbinding ease, and of course improvising with depth and ferocity.

There are riveting musical stories to be heard within "Rasikapriya" and "Revati," ambitious works with ever-shifting rhythmic foundations, gamboling between hyper-precision and pure abstraction. Between the slow and measured legato of "Can-Did" and the agitated esprit of "Take-Turns" we hear the play of extremes, of the unexpected, a many-sided adventurousness that is the Indo-Pak Coalition's reason for being. Inimitably rendered by three of the most mature and compelling players of our time, Agrima is an album likely to resonate through the years.

Few musicians share the ability of alto saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. What has materialized is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa's own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American.

Hailed by the New York Times as possessing "a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation," Mahanthappa has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year for six of seven years running in Downbeat Magazine's International Critics' Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2017), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz Journalists' Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the 2016 JazzTimes Magazine Critics' Poll. In April 2013, he received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, one of the most prominent arts awards in the world. In 2015, he was named a United States Artists Fellow. In 2016, he was named the Director of Jazz and the Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University.

Mahanthappa is a Yamaha artist and uses Vandoren reeds exclusively.