Thursday, October 19, 2017

2018 Lineup Set for BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival

Kurt Elling & Dr. Lonnie Smith
Headliners Terri Lyne Carrington, Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding; Lovingly Remembering Geri Allen; Snarky Puppy; Dr. Lonnie Smith; Miles Electric Band;
Jazz By 5: Javon Jackson, Randy Brecker, Joanne Brackeen, Eddie Gomez, Jimmy Cobb; West Coasting with Portland Jazz Master Art Abrams; Featuring Ernie Andrews & Barbara Morrison; Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya, Kurt Elling, Nancy King, Darrell Grant, Julian Lage; David Sanchez Caribe, Scott Amendola, Charles Tolliver & New Music Inc.,Ben Allison, Tigran Hamasyan, Charles Gayle, David Friesen; Charnett Moffett, Rachel Flowers, and Amina Figarova Compliment Tributes to Jon Hendricks, Eddie Jefferson, Al Jarreau, Miles Davis,; Cole Porter, Jazz Crusaders, and Sonny Rollins

Abdullah Ibrahim & Esperanza Spalding
The 15th anniversary edition will acknowledge the originally hip and wonderfully wacky world of jazz vocalese, highlighted by Grammy® Award-winner Kurt Elling and his homage to mentor, 95-years-young Jon Hendricks with daughters Michele and Aria Hendricks performing along with Portland stalwarts Randy Porter and Nancy King, and a performance by the Portland State University Jazz Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Sherry Alves.

A nod to hipsterism will be penultimate when Richie Cole, the last living link to Eddie Jefferson's pioneering legacy, makes a rare PDX appearance joining Harlem-based Allan Harris to fete the deceased singer on his 100th birthday. Keeping it local and very real on the subject of scat is the Bobby Torres Ensemble with vocalist Sean Holmes paying respect to the legacy of Al "Breakin' Away" Jarreau. Always a great hang at Al's Den, the annual themed residency curated by Mary Sue Tobin of free nightly programs by Portland based artists will spotlight singers, scatters and swingers.

Russell Malone & Luciana Souza
The loss of pianist Geri Allen this summer was emotionally hard and sent shock waves through the jazz community as she touched so many of us in a myriad of meaningful ways. She also left an indelible mark on the festival with her stirring performance in tribute to Alice Coltrane in 2015 and as the centrifugal force in the trio collective, ACS which made their west coast debut here in 2013. It was the pioneering pianist's wish that Ravi Coltrane play for her in Portland and we are humbled by this auspicious occasion. States Esperanza Spalding, "Geri was and is a divine prism of pure heart and artistry." Terri Lyne Carrington recalls, "You are an inspiring maverick an exemplary creator that I'm proud to have been able to call my friend and bandmate. You've positively touched so many and my life and art will always reflect your vision and influence." Darrell Grant, who worked with her a decade ago at Reed College, speaks of Allen in reverential terms as his singular most important influence.

States Executive Artistic Director, Don Lucoff, "Frankly from a programming standpoint, it's seamless to bring back a bevy of perennial headliners who graced our stages these past 15 years, but we chose rather to focus and blend on who has not appeared and should be here with select returnees that speaks to the emerging, established and legacy careers of Charles Tolliver and New Music Inc., Miles Electric Band, Ben Allison, Scott Amendola, Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jazz By 5, Charles Gayle, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Dave King, Russell Malone, Rachel Flowers, Tigran Hamasyan, Marcus Roberts, and Lisa Fischer, Yotam Silberstein, among others.

Lisa Fischer & Regina Carter
"Many of our esteemed resident artists will appear in a variety of special situations including the David Friesen Reunion Trio, Randy Porter with Nancy King, Trio Subtonic featuring Dan Balmer, Devin Phillips Trio, Domo Branch Quintet, Portland Jazz Master Art Abrams, Tahirah Memory, Bobby Torres, UP Jazz Ensemble, PSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble, George Colligan with Buster Williams and Lenny White and Dan Gaynor and Gordon Lee.

"PDX Jazz partners with a variety of selected venues: Revolution Hall, Newmark and Winningstad Theatres, Classic Piano, The Mission Theatre, The Old Church, Mississippi Studios, Jack London Revue, University of Portland, PSU, Al's Den and White Eagle Tavern," continues Lucoff. "Free music will also be heard in over a dozen hotels and restaurants throughout Portland. We welcome the continued year-round partnership with Soul'D Out Music Productions and their special programs of Snarky Puppy and Lettuce, the enduring support from KMHD Radio and our many sponsors, members and supporters."

The 15th annual Biamp PDX Jazz Festival Presented by Cascades Sotheby's International Realty was co-founded in 2004 with Travel Portland to establish a cultural tourism initiative in the metro Portland area, and to celebrate Black History Month through education and outreach programming.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

15th Annual Panama Jazz Festival Led By Artistic Director Danilo Pérez Announces 2018 Lineup

Uniting internationally acclaimed jazz artists, renowned educators and jazz fans from around the globe, the 15th Annual Panama Jazz Festival will be held January 15-20, 2018 at The City of Knowledge in Panama City, ATLAPA Convention Center and the Old Quarter of Panama City. The festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary, the establishment of the jazz festival as a decree of the country, and the building of a new space to expand the social programs of the Danilo Pérez Foundation.

Among the headliners for this year's festival is the Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring Pérez on piano, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade; Afro-Cuban jazz legend Chucho Valdés; legendary pianist Ran Blake and Brazilian singer Luciana Souza. Additional headliners include Danilo Pérez special guest pop icon Miguel Bosé and The Global Jazz Big Band directed by Bill Dobbins.

Other groups featured include Panamanian jazz bassist Santi Debriano featuring Craig Handy, Bill O'Connell, and Will Calhoun, Danilo Pérez's Panamonk Revisited trio featuring Terri Lyne Carrington and Ben Street, Italian saxophonist Marco Pignataro, Panamanian saxophonist Luis Carlos Perez, and the Pan-African Jazz Project featuring Chilean saxophonist Patricia Zarate Pérez, Panamanian musicians Graciela Nuñez, Luz Acosta and Egyptian musicians Hesham Galal and Balqueis.

Danilo Perez
Bands from all over the world will be featured at the Global Stage and other venues including, Josean Jacobo & Tumbao (Dominican Republic), Yogev Shetrit Trio - New Path (Israel), Bosquejo en Riesgo (Costa Rica), Four on a Swing (India), Shea Welsh (USA), Paulina Perez y Luna Meztiza (Chile), Shuffle Demons (Canada), Ruben Amador and Yahuba (Puerto Rico), Quinteto de Orion Lion (Chile), and the Panamanian groups La Colectiva, Digger Descendants, Tambo Jazz Collective, German Pinzon Jimenez, Carlos Agrazal, among many others.

Furthermore, the festival will host the 6th Latin American Music Therapy Symposium, bringing music therapists from Chile, Argentina, Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia, USA, Canada, among other countries to present on the therapeutic effects of music; and the 2nd Symposium of the cultural, artistic and musical expressions of the Afro-descendants of Panama.

Since its inception in 2003, the Panama Jazz Festival has attracted over 300,000 jazz fans worldwide and announced over 4.5 million dollars in scholarships on an international level. Its educational component brings 5,000 music students from all over the world every year and in 2018 the festival expects over 30,000 people from all over the world to attend.

Participating educational institutions include Boston-based institutions, Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory, which will be holding auditions for admission and scholarships. Other institutions include the Thelonious Monk Institute, Crossroads High School, and New York Jazz Academy. The Berklee Global Jazz Institute will hold master classes, perform social work with Panamanian youth and perform in various settings throughout the festival. Berklee will repeat last year's innovative program where students will earn college performance credit for the college.

The festival is produced by Panama Jazz Productions to benefit the social programs of the
Danilo Pérez Foundation with the help of Panama's National Institute of Culture (INAC), National Tourism Authority (ATP), BAC Credomatic, Panama City Mayor Office, City of Knowledge, Copa Airlines, Alamo Rent a Car, Cable and Wireless, Embassy of India in Panama, Embassy of Israel in Panama, Embassy of Panama in Egypt, and many others.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017



Keeping the spirit of old school R&B fresh and alive, David Garfield has a longstanding tradition of creating dynamic re-imaginings of classic songs. Following his Top 10 radio hit “Let’s Stay Together,” which featured Michael McDonald, the veteran keyboardist and arranger digs deep into the great Stevie Wonder’s songbook for “Go Home,” featuring the freewheeling saxophone of Kirk Whalum, Paul Jackson Jr. on Guitar and Garfield, who anchors the vibe on Fender Rhodes. This new project, two years in the making, includes “Go Home” as the first single release from this all-star expansive work that will feature numerous genre superstar collaborators: George Benson, Chuck Loeb, David Sanborn, Randy Brecker, Smokey Robinson, Oleta Adams, Ray Parker Jr., Phil Perry, Eric Marienthal, Marcus Miller, and Larry Coryell. Including a beautiful new cover of Adele’s “Chasing Pavements,” featuring Rick Braun and John Klemmer, and a lush orchestral rendition of Sting’s “Fragile” reprising Michael McDonald on vocals.


Former first call session singer Kathy Kosins enters her third decade as a recording artist with Unrecovered Soul, a fascinating concept album driven by the sounds of the musical landscape of her hometown of Detroit in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Working with producer Kamau Kenyatta, who won a Grammy for his work with Gregory Porter, the sultry-voiced Kosins mines deep emotional territory as she shares rarely heard tunes by songwriting legends Curtis Mayfield, Gene McDaniels, Bill Withers, The Neville Brothers, Burt Bacharach and contemporary great Amos Lee. There are also three original songs that carry on the great R&B legacy of that time. The perfect balance of jazz and soul, from one of the most creative souls on the planet. Full album due out in early 2018. ~


After years of being the opening act for R&B greats like Johnny Gill and The Manhattans, Memphis native and longtime Beale Street performer, Michael Townsend shares the full range of his smooth urban jazz and pop/soul blend and artistry on his sophomore album WARM FEELINGS. While the powerhouse saxophonist and vocalist generally keeps the flow sexy and romantic with silky originals and familiar covers, he also hits some inspired highs with some funky grooves. Turn up WARM FEELINGS, and heat up the vibe with this sophisticated collection! ~

Ella Fitzgerald And Louis Armstrong's Beloved Musical Partnership Celebrated In New 4CD Set, "Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings"

By the time Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong collaborated on their first duet together, they were each already jazz giants. Fitzgerald was an acclaimed solo artist for Decca with many hits and more than 200 songs under her young belt, first with the Chick Webb Orchestra and then as leader of her own big band. Armstrong, known affectionately as Pops, was one of the leading singers, trumpet players and entertainers of the day; a star of both sound and screen. Together their talent knew no bounds and propelled them further to stardom, and today are some of the biggest highlights of both of their extraordinary careers.

For the first time, all of Fitzgerald and Armstrong's classic duets are in one place: Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings, a new 4CD and digital set will be available November 10. Part of Ella 100, Verve Records/UMe's yearlong celebration of Fitzgerald's centennial, the 75-track collection gathers their three timeless Verve albums – newly remastered versions of Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess – along with all of their Decca singles, live recordings from Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, recorded as a warmup for Ella and Louis, plus several alternates and false starts from the Decca and Verve eras, illuminating their craft and good humor. Cheek To Cheek also includes unreleased material: "The Memphis Blues," with Bing Crosby, from his radio show; several takes of Armstrong's solo showcase, "Bess, Oh Where's My Bess;" and an instrumental mix of "Red-Headed Woman." The comprehensive collection is rounded out with extensive essay by Ricky Riccardi, the world's leading authority on Armstrong, plus detailed annotations and rare images from the archives.

Armstrong and Fitzgerald were first paired together by Decca label head Milt Gabler when they were both recording for the label. For the inaugural session in January 1946, Gabler had them cut the new song "You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)" and a recent Nat King Cole hit, "The Frim Fram Sauce." The former became a jukebox hit and hinted at the magic they could create together. Over the next few years they would reunite for a string of singles – all eight are presented here in order of release – before recording their first album together. Fitzgerald's manager Norman Granz, on the heels of founding Verve Records with his highly successful first release, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book, put Fitzgerald and Armstrong in the studio on August 16, 1956 to record the entire eleven-song Ella and Louis album in a day. The record was a critical and commercial success when released in the fall of 1956. Down Beat gave it five stars and, in November, the album hit No. 1 on Billboard's Jazz charts. The night before recording the album, Fitzgerald and Armstrong performed together at the Hollywood Bowl, and these rare, impromptu performances of "You Won't Be Satisfied," along with "Undecided," marking their earliest collaborative recordings for Granz, are included on the fourth disc.

Knowing he needed to get them back in the studio as soon as possible, Granz recorded them in several ambitious sessions from July 23 to August 19, resulting in the follow up album Ella and Louis Again as well as Porgy and Bess, the folk opera with music and lyrics by George & Ira Gershwin. Ella and Louis Again once again captured their chemistry and resulted in the irresistible "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off," the joyful "Stompin' At The Savoy," and "Autumn In New York," one of their finest ballad performances. They also each turned in separate solo features, notably extended interpretations of "These Foolish Things" by Fitzgerald and "Let's Do It" by Armstrong. The sessions for Porgy and Bess included their final four duets. The recordings capture their teamwork at the peak of its powers, exemplified in the way they seamlessly traded roles of singing and scatting on "Summertime" and "Bess, You Is My Woman Now." Granz held the album until 1959, when the big-budget film version was in theaters, and it was another success.

In addition to gathering all of Fitzgerald and Armstrong's duets, Cheek To Cheek also gives a unique opportunity to hear what it was like to be in the studio with these two titans. The closing disc is rife with a bevy of alternate takes and false starts, displaying their camaraderie, with many previously unreleased, until now.

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings

Disc 1

The Decca Singles
1.   You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)
2.   The Frim Fram Sauce
3.   Dream A Little Dream Of Me
4.   Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No!)
5.   Necessary Evil
6.   Oops!
7.   Who Walks in When I Walk Out
8.   Would You Like to Take a Walk (Sump'n Good'll Come From That)

Ella and Louis
9.   Can't We Be Friends
10. Isn't This A Lovely Day
11. Moonlight In Vermont
12. They Can't Take That Away From Me
13. Under A Blanket Of Blue
14. Tenderly
15. A Foggy Day
16. Stars Fell On Alabama
17. Cheek to Cheek
18. The Nearness of You
19. April In Paris

Disc 2

Ella and Louis Again
1.   Don't Be That Way
2.   Makin' Whoopee
3.   They All Laughed
4.   Comes Love
5.   Autumn In New York
6.   Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)
7.   Stompin' At The Savoy
8.   I Won't Dance
9.   Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You
10. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
11. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
12. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
13. Willow Weep For Me
14. I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket
15. A Fine Romance
16. Ill Wind
17. Love Is Here To Stay

Disc 3

Ella and Louis Again (cont'd.)
1.   I Get A Kick Out Of You
2.   Learnin' The Blues

Porgy And Bess
3.   Overture
4.   Summertime
5.   I Wants To Stay Here
6.   My Man's Gone Now
7.   I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'
8.   The Buzzard Song
9.   Bess, You Is My Woman Now
10. It Ain't Necessarily So
11. What You Want Wid Bess?
12. A Woman Is A Sometime Thing
13. Oh, Doctor Jesus
14. Medley: Here Come Da Honey Man/Crab Man/Oh, Dey's So Fresh And Fine
15. There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York
16. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?
17. Oh Lawd, I'm On My Way

Disc 4: Bonus Tracks

Ella and Louis Live
1.   The Memphis Blues (Live from The Chesterfield Show) with Bing Crosby *
2.   You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart) (Live at the Hollywood Bowl)
3.   Undecided (Live at the Hollywood Bowl)

Decca Extras
4.   You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart) false start and breakdown
5.   The Frim Fram Sauce false starts/takes 1 and 2 *
6.   The Frim Fram Sauce alternate take

Ella and Louis Again Extras
7.   Makin' Whoopee take 1
8.   Makin' Whoopee take 2
9.   I Get A Kick Out Of You take 2 (run-through) and take 3 (breakdown)
10. I Get A Kick Out Of You take 4
11. I Get A Kick Out Of You take 13
12. Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love) take 3
13. Willow Weep For Me take 4

Porgy And Bess Extras
14. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin' (mono master)
15. A Woman Is A Sometime Thing (mono master)
16. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?  takes 5 and 6
17. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess? take 7
18. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?  take 8 *
19. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?  take 9 *
20. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?  insert for take 9 *
21. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?  take 10 *
22. Red-Headed Woman instrumental *
* Previously unreleased

Ranky Tanky Breathes Life To the Gullah Culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry

From the South Carolina Lowcountry, where life is laced with African ways, comes Ranky Tanky, a quintet with music rooted in a culture that has shaped American art, food, language and attitude. Their eponymous album on Resilience Music Alliance celebrates that culture, its people and their mother tongue, Gullah.

"Gullah" comes from West African language and means "a people blessed by God." "Ranky Tanky" translates loosely as "Work It," or "Get Funky!" In this spirit the quintet performs timeless music of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the United States. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the musical roots of Charleston, SC are "rank" and fertile ground from which these contemporary artists are grateful to have grown.

The soulful songs of the Gullah culture are brought to life by this band who mix the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B. Fresh out of college, trumpeter Charlton Singleton, guitarist Clay Ross, bassist Kevin Hamilton, and drummer Quentin Baxter originally worked together as an in-demand jazz quartet on the Charleston scene in the late 1990s before splitting off to each make their way as freelance musicians, working with names like Houston Person, Freddy Cole, Cyro Baptista, and René Marie. Gaining years of valuable experience while developing a deeper appreciation for the Gullah tradition they came from, the band reformed with the dynamic vocalist Quiana Parler to celebrate the bone-deep mix of spirituals and gutbucket blues--music made by a self-contained culture of descendants of enslaved Africans that introduced such indelible parts of American songbook as "Kum Bah Yah" and "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore."

A distinct Gullah pulse anchors each selection of this recording. A pulse originating in Africa, that beats in the heart of American music. This vibrant, life affirming pulse propels Gullah stories, essential to the human experience, through evocative and timeless folk melodies imbibed with the mysteries of nature and the essence of life.
Ranky Tanky opens up with the spirited "That's Alright" as it features call and response between the horn section and vocals before breaking down into a tambourine-driven bridge. The ballad "Turtle Dove" begins with a tom drum pattern that carries throughout its entirety and features both trumpet and guitar solos that place the groups unity and cohesiveness at the forefront. Parler's vocal prowess is on display for "Been in the Storm" as she opens the track a cappella but quickly becomes accented with detuned drums and expressive cymbal swells.

The title track demonstrates the band's funky roots as the chorus is consumed with upbeat claps and danceable guitar riffs. Another balled "O Death," uses extensive backing vocal harmonies to highlight the dark and ominous theme of the song, while the use of claps and tambourine returns on "Knee Bone," recalling the Gullah culture before showcasing a Ross solo.

The record continues with the swung "You Gotta Move" and "Watch that Star," both propelled by religious themed lyrics and punctuated with guitar chords and arpeggios. "Sink Em Low" relies on the deep pocket formed between Baxter and Ross as Parler's showcases her beautiful vocal range over it. "Join the Band" once again displays the groove-oriented base that is always at the core of this band, relying on syncopated drums and vocal rhythms. The last three songs on the record are a perfect summation to the release as they boast the full range of the group. They include the soothing guitar ballad "Go to Sleep," the shuffle-based "You Better Mind," and "Goodbye Song," an up-tempo guitar driven dance song.

Today, emerging from the heart of this still fertile cultural epicenter, Ranky Tanky is the next generation to illuminate Gullah worldwide. Among them we find some of Charleston's most celebrated and accomplished contemporary artists who share a lifetime of musical collaboration and mutual admiration.

Lisa Hilton Sets Forth On A Journey Promoting Peace, Tranquility and Positive Energy with Escapism

Lisa Hilton often settles in at her piano and riffs on everyone from Miles Davis and Horace Silver to The Black Keys and Green Day, until she can find peace within the notes, letting them fill the room and fall where they languish in this glow of calm with a touch of brooding blues. Then this past year, the world changed a bit and finding that calm seemed a little more elusive.

"Everything is charged with politics, a large portion of our world seems to be emigrating, and climate catastrophe seems constant," Hilton says. "There's been so much turmoil lately; we can't find a sense of peace surfing the internet or social networks--we need really positive sources to balance out this time of disruption in our lives."

For her 20th album--Hilton has recorded an album a year since 1997--she wanted to provide uplift and relief, where listeners can be energized and feel rejuvenated. This became the theme for her latest release, the aptly titled Escapism. The album includes the Alan Lerner and Burton Lane standard, "On A Clear Day" and nine Hilton originals ranging from the high-voltage opener, "Hot Summer Samba" to the introspective and ethereal "Mojave Moon." Each composition seems to generate, by albums end, a mental release or escape all its own.

"Artists have an important role in our culture and community--it is through art and music that our souls and spirits can be energized, balanced and entertained--we all need to "escape" from our challenges. I want our music to be a positive force whether you're listening on the subway, while at work or lounging on a tropical island. Our music embraces the good experiences in our world."

After working solo on last year's Day & Night release, Hilton brought back saxophonist JD Allen, trumpet and flugelhornist Terell Stafford, bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston into Avatar Studios for one of the last sessions at that revered and storied studio before it became property of Berklee College of Music on September 1st. "It was definitely nostalgic being at Avatar the last few days before it changed ownership since no one really knows what will happen to it--we hope good things. I have recorded ten albums there and I love the rooms, they have a special sound and ambience. I think the entire band knew this recording was a time to savor the sense of the place--there were excellent solos going on, and we had a great sound captured by our engineer, a true sound icon, James Farber. What tremendous musicians and all leaders in their own right--I feel so fortunate to continue to work again and again with them."

Escapism is an audiophile's delight from the team of top engineers that Hilton has worked with for years; besides recording engineer Farber, it was mixed by 23-time Grammy® Award-winning engineer Al Schmitt at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood and mastered by multi-Grammy® Award-winners Gavin Lurssen and Reuben Cohen.

The opening track, "Hot Summer Samba," twirls in multiple Latin rhythms and melodic ideas that Hilton composed to start the album moving; a loosening-up-of-the-collar/inhibitions tune, so-to-speak. That track segues into the fast-paced trio work of "Meltdown." Hilton's melodic touch is evident in "Another Everyday Adventure," and the closer "Utopia Cornucopia," both soundtracks to finding wonderland anywhere, anytime and where you least expect it.

Although Hilton does not record many covers, her arrangement of Lerner & Lane's classic "On A Clear Day" calms and inspires, suggested by the unsung lyrics "On a clear'll feel part of every mountain sea and shore." The track highlights her excellent trio mates while showcasing Hilton's ability to the interpret classics in new ways. The jaunty solo piece, "Escape Velocity Blues," seems to channel Neal Hefti and Count Basie, but is all Hilton with her signature touch on the keys. The beauty of Allen's tenor sax and Stafford's clear flugelhorn, alongside her own performance, shine through on "Zero Gravity." The tracks "Too Hot" and "29 Palms" are envelopes to a different kind of space, reaching in evocative and seemingly narrative directions. 

With all that continues to change in our world, Escapism seeks a journey that is focused on the feelings and positive energy it creates. Hilton allows this journey to be constructed and articulated through her written compositions evoking a sentiment of peace, tranquility and upbeat energy.
Hilton's blues inflected trans-genre or poly-genre style influences extend beyond jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, to include bluesman Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, minimalists like Steve Reich, current rockers Black Keys or modernists Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Bartok. Originally from a small town on California's central coast, Hilton studied classical and twentieth century piano formally from the age of eight, where she was inspired by her great uncle, Willem Bloemendall, (1910-1937), a young Dutch piano virtuoso. In college though, due to the lack of creativity in the program, she became a music school drop out, switching majors and receiving a degree in art instead. Ever since becoming a professional musician, this background in the fine arts has well informed Hilton's composition process.

Committed to helping students who are often overlooked, for many years Hilton has regularly spent time to help blind students at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired, The Junior Blind of America in Los Angeles, Camp Bloomfield for the Blind in California, or The Berklee College in Boston and their adaptive music lab for visually impaired musicians. "I enjoy extending help to those with physical disabilities - music should be for everyone," Hilton explains.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Award-winning jazz singer ALMA MICIC releases THAT OLD FEELING

Award-winning jazz singer Alma Micic 'personifies what jazz singing is all about'" says Ron Della Cheese of WGBH radio.  All About Jazz calls her "first rate, no doubt about it."  Now the sultry, uber-talented Micic has arrived with the sublime new That Old Feeling, her fourth recording and the definitive emergence of an important new voice.  

Born and raised in Serbia, she began singing jazz and the big band as a teen before attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music in the later '90s.  Following her years at Berklee, where she received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance, she moved to New York City, where she polished her ample abilities surrounded by top-class talent. 

Beginning in 2004, she started cutting records, Introducing Alma (2004), Hours (2008), and Tonight (2013).  Her studio performances were unanimously acclaimed in all the right places, with critical notices turning up the pages of Downbeat, Jazz Times, the Boston Globe and the New York Times.  But Alma also began to earn increasing attention from the stage where she performed at the important jazz clubs as well as at festivals and concert halls at home and internationally.  All About Jazz described Alma's performances as "confident, soulful, vulnerable, and rhythmically savvy with the most sensual vibrato you're likely to hear."  She has received numerous awards such as the Cleo Laine Award for outstanding Musicianship and the BRIO award from the NY Arts Council.

All of which points directly to her stunning performance on That Old Feeling, an album which does indeed product feelings, just not "old" ones.  Micic is nothing if not a contemporary stylist with a refreshing approach and modern flourishes.  Her vocal skill is effortless and understated.  Her timing and sense of melody are precise.  Throughout the recording, her performances on classics like the searing 'Cry Me A River" and the coy "Honeysuckle Rose" are bewitching.  At times she sounds young and playful, at others she sings with the wiles of someone who has seen it all.  Even on two Serbian tracks, one original and the Romany anthem "Solnishko" - the only departures for Micic, but satisfying ones - she embraces peaceful and playful moments.  She is flirtatious at times and solemn at others.

Joined by guitarist Rale Micic, bass player Corcoran Holt, drummer Johnathan Blake and vibist Tom Beckham, the ensemble is also impressively calm, with Micic's accompanists surrounding the singer with a warm embrace.  Recorded and mixed by Dave Stoller at Samurai Hotel Studio in NYC and mastered by Greg Calbu, Micic's Whaling City Sound debut boasts an impeccable pedigree and is every bit the recording you'd expect it t be.

Norwegian jazz singer Silje Nergaard releases For You A Thousand Times

In her album ‘For You A Thousand Times’, Norwegian jazz singer Silje Nergaard portrays people or scenes who inspired her and describes past encounters or personal experiences from images in her heart.

“I’ve seen a picture in which families from North and South Korea meet again after decades apart. Everyone’s crying with joy despite such a long time without any contact. That’s where the song ‘For You A Thousand Times’ originated from,” says Nergaard as she recalls the key moment from which the inspiration for the album arose. “Many people are separated from one another by war. Their love for one another, however, does not fade.” With this awareness, Nergaard started to find similar stories about the magical power of memories, which she began to portray through her songs. ‘For You A Thousand Times’ is full of such stories about unseen relationships, yearning and love.

One of the most intimate moments of the album can be found in the song ‘Hush Little Bird’, a lullaby for her Ethiopian adopted son Jonah, who babbles in the language from his earlier life just before falling asleep. His words can be heard as an intro to the song. Nergaard also used real life samples in the light summer ballad ‘Cocco Bello’. On the beach in southern Italy, Nergaard recorded an African coconut seller advertising his produce in singing ‘Cocco Bello’ and constructed a song around it. “This is a meeting between two very different
cultures but for a brief moment they melt into one”.

With ‘For You A Thousand Times’ Nergaard enters into a more electric world. Her rousing melodies are placed into subtly arranged soundscapes made of warm analogue keyboards, electric bass, funky drums and African percussion. An long musical journey through landscapes spanning from tropical heatwaves to the winter nights of Norway in which Silje is accompanied by Andreas Ulvo (keyboard), Audun Erlien (bass), Sidiki Camara (percussion), Wetle Holte (drums and percussion), Mathias Eick (trumpet), Håkon Aase (violin) and Håkon Kornstad (saxophone).

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Award-winning, critically-acclaimed pianist/composer Francois Bourassa's new album - Number 9, his ninth album of all original music, dropping on October 27, 2017 on Effendi Records (distributed worldwide by Naxos), features his Quartet of longtime collaborators, saxophonist, clarinetist, and flutist André Leroux, bassist Guy Boisvert and drummer Greg Ritchie. This elite squad of musicians, and their singular telepathy and esprit de corps, was first revealed to the world on their album, Indefinite Time (2002). Since that time Bourassa has built significantly on the power, agility and emotional range that garnered him a JUNO award in 2001 (for his recording, Live). With the release of Number 9 The Francois Bourassa Quartet stake a claim as one of the most compelling groups active on the global jazz/improvised music scene today.

In the album's liner notes, esteemed journalist Howard Mandel describes Number 9 as offering, "sensuous imagination supported by sterling technique." Indeed, the compositions crafted by the Montreal-born Bourassa, empower the members of his Quartet to express themselves to the fullest extent on this collective journey. Together they explore pure lyricism, open sonic landscapes, swing, free improvisation, and more - all played with empathy, and big ears! The members of this ensemble are so dialed in to one another's instincts and mannerisms that they offer the listener a plethora of moods, settings and styles that are all indispensable elements of the glorious entity that is Number 9.  

More on the music on Number 9 with Francois Bourassa (excerpted in part from the album's liner notes by Howard Mandel): Given the album's title, we of a certain age must wonder if it's a nod to another four-man band that celebrated variety while maintaining its singular identity. Does Number 9 refer to the haunting musique concrete collage on the Beatles' White Album?

"I love 'Revolution 9" by John Lennon," acknowledges Bourassa, who is of that age (b. 1959). "It was influenced by Stockhausen's electronic music." Then are the other names of the opening track, "Carla and Karlheinz" referring to Bley and Stockhausen? "I love Carla Bley's music of the early '60s like 'Ictus' and 'Barrage,' played by Paul Bley," he says. "I also love 'Mantra for two pianos and electronics' by Karlheinz, among many of his early pieces."

So yes, the first track's jaunty yet oblique line (try humming it!), as improbable yet inevitable as Eric Dolphy's angular melodies, or Ornette Coleman's, achieves its affect purposefully, linking two 20th-21st Century innovators, never mind the gulfs between their worlds or "styles." They may even conflict - the parts of "Carla and Karlheinz" fit together unpredictably yet organically.  Bourassa's deft, initially dry touch may imply that of Paul Bley (another Montreal native), but he claims many other piano modernists, bluesmen and prog rockers, too, as inspirations, and clearly is steeped in Western European classicism. Consequently, the composer-pianist's position is not bound or limited, and this Quartet achieves something beyond genre: Collaborate as only its four members can. No justification necessary for such an approach - we listen, accept, enjoy and are deepened.

The pleasures provided by this group make it easy. Applying himself to Bourassa's themes and concepts, Leroux wields his tenor saxophone masterfully; he's especially sensitive to attack and dynamics, floating the theme of "5 and Less" (in 5/4, explains Bourassa, " with bars of 3 and 2") gently, but builds to blasting on the darkly epic "Frozen" (which Bourassa says was titled by "a six-year-old little girl who was playing with my son when she heard me run through it; maybe for her it had something to do with the Disney animated movie, but if so I don't know").

On "C & K," Leroux's flute has the urgency of a jungle bird, and he uses the clarinet on "11 Beignes" (in 11/4 time) as an instrument of deliberation. He isn't troubled by the odd time signatures, nor need you be, because Boisvert phrases firmly and gracefully on his bass, and in flowing concert with drummer Ritchie, who never lets on there's anything to count, merely rhythms to discern and enhance. He's a talented, restrained colorist, barely touching his cymbals on the languid "Past Ich" ("an old melody which I've never used before," Bourassa mentions), offsetting the subdued piano vamp and Leroux on soprano sax.

"Lostage" is a word Bourassa invented, as he says, "half-English, half-French, meaning loss of control," a state the quartet depicts but doesn't venture - the lines connecting the four are too strong. "18 Rue De L'Hotel de Ville" is the address of the Studio du Quebec in Paris where Bourassa resided for six months in 2015. In this perhaps most ruminative episode of Number 9, we are privy the strongest, most personal emotions - the music evokes doubts, regrets, disappointments, fears, sadness, and also puts them to rest. After that, "11 Beignes" is like a cat-and-mouse hide-and-seek game set in a maze. Bass clarinet and piano tag each other, slip off, and return, while bass and drums keep them from straying far off track.

Ultimately, the songs on Number 9 speak for themselves. The quartet covers a lot of ground from a complex of perspectives, new details unveiled with each turn of the ear. Hear Bourassa, Leroux, Boisvert and Ritchie commune. Return, repeat, replay, dig in . . . a world of remarkable music awaits you.

The Sound Of Vinyl Launches New Way To Discover And Buy Records Through First-Of-Its-Kind Text Message Service

The Sound of Vinyl today launched in the U.S. with a first-of-its-kind music service that provides a personalized and curated platform for discovering and buying vinyl records.
The Sound of Vinyl ( provides a powerful and convenient solution to help music enthusiasts discover vinyl and build their record collections. The service offers new and classic albums from a vast catalog of over 20,000 titles from all major labels and dozens of indie labels. In addition to being a full-service online store, The Sound of Vinyl provides an innovative recommendation engine that suggests albums based on a user's personal tastes, and features exclusive content and album suggestions from top music experts.

The Sound of Vinyl's recommendation service uses cutting-edge technology to send personalized album picks by text message. When a user enters their mobile phone number and creates a taste profile, The Sound of Vinyl begins sending daily texts with album recommendations that feature album artwork, information and price. Users can reply LIKE or DISLIKE to improve future picks, or simply reply YES to instantly buy an album, creating a seamless shopping experience. The service is powered by Seattle-based startup MessageYes.

The Sound of Vinyl will also host exclusive vinyl records from rock, jazz and classical to R&B, rap and hip-hop. Limited edition color variations of albums by Arrested Development, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, Iggy Pop, KISS, Grand Funk, and The Go-Gos are slated for release, with more titles launching every month. Quantities are extremely limited; recent exclusives by Interpol and ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead sold out in less than a week.

Additionally, The Sound of Vinyl's website will host exclusive content from music experts including Henry Rollins, Young Guru, Don Was, Ahmet Zappa, and more, as well as artists, producers, radio DJs, and music journalists. The website will also feature videos, interviews, editorial, and hand-picked album recommendations. More content will be available on The Sound of Vinyl's blog and social media channels.

Henry Rollins, punk rock icon and accomplished author, and Gimel "Young Guru" Keaton, renowned audio engineer and DJ, are The Sound of Vinyl's first featured vinyl curators. Rollins will recommend his favorite albums, share stories from his life in punk rock, and interview music veterans like producer Don Was and legendary Capitol Studios vinyl mastering engineer Ron McMaster. Young Guru will tap into his experience engineering music for iconic artists like Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Alicia Keys, as well as his deep history as a DJ and producer, to showcase albums that form the foundation of his work.

"Vinyl is the ultimate delivery medium for music's limitless greatness," Rollins says. "I came into music via vinyl, and that's how I'm going out! The Sound of Vinyl allows music enthusiasts of all levels of interest or experience to not only get records easily, but to learn about every aspect of vinyl from extraordinarily unique and informed sources."
Young Guru added, "Since the earliest days of DJs mixing on turntables, vinyl has played an important role in hip-hop's evolution. So many of the albums that built hip-hop's foundation were intended to be heard and experienced on vinyl. I'm excited to cast new light on some of these iconic albums and give fans new insights into classic records that built hip-hop." The Sound of Vinyl was created by Universal Music Enterprises, the global catalog division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the global leader in music-based entertainment.

Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President of UMG, said, "Until today, music fans haven't had a personalized and curated experience for discovering and buying vinyl albums. Sound of Vinyl solves that problem for consumers by providing daily suggestions tailored to their individual tastes, recommendations from music experts and exclusive albums and merchandise that can't be found anywhere else. With Sound of Vinyl, music fans will have a simple, easy and engaging service that provides instant access to the very best in vinyl."
"The passion for the vinyl experience remains contagious, and now, with Sound of Vinyl, fans will have a unique and accessible way to discover and buy vinyl albums tailored to their music tastes, without a membership fee," Bruce Resnikoff, President and CEO of Universal Music Enterprises, UMG's global catalog division. "Of all the music formats out there, vinyl most closely reflects the artist's original vision for the quality and experience of listening to an entire album. It's an experience that demands a listener's attention and provides a robust physical connection to the artist and music."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Releases The Emancipation Procrastination, Third and Final Album in The Centennial Trilogy

Grammy nominated trumpeter, composer, and producer Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah will release the third installment of a trio of albums commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recordings. Collectively titled The Centennial Trilogy, the final album in the series The Emancipation Procrastination will be released on October 20th via Ropeadope.

"The Cypher," the second single from The Emancipation Procrastination just premiered at Mass Appeal. The track was first written for a 2016 Complex City Cypher video, featuring Christian alongside A$AP Ferg, Wiki, and Your Old Droog.

Stream or embed the track via Soundcloud:

Ruler Rebel (released 3/31) presented to us the artist – WHO we are listening to.

Diaspora (released 6/23) identified the listener – ALL the people of the world.

The Emancipation Procrastination the third and final chapter in the trilogy deals directly with the social and political issues of the day. Rather than descend into identity politics, Adjuah sees many disparate cultures in New Orleans being underserved and exploited. This worldview transcends New Orleans, as Christian has traveled and toured the world for almost 20 years, starting as a child and performing with extraordinary players (McCoy Tyner, Donald Harrison, Eddie Palmieri).

The scope of The Centennial Trilogy is not limited to the music; Adjuah uses broad strokes to present his vision of the world. Growing up in New Orleans' Upper Ninth Ward, he witnessed people enduring the same challenges regardless of their race or ethnic background: He saw a community of people undereducated to serve the tourist culture, facing food insecurity, yet viewing each other as different through the lens of race. Seeing this around him, Adjuah came to understand that race is a social construct, and that people could work together to build and move forward.

"I’m not interested in harming anyone," Adjuah says. "I have a responsibility as an artist to create a space where people feel welcome. When I walk outside this hotel room, that is not the reality. There is a difference when music is made with love. When people come into my space they are going to feel that. We are trying to figure out a way to treat each other better. We are all responsible for healing each other.”

The vision of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is clear – that this is an opportunity for all of US to come together and address issues that affect ALL of us. Emancipation Procrastination means that we all have an opportunity to liberate ourselves from old world ideas. Let the healing begin.

Christian is about to head out on a world tour throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. 

US Tour Dates:
October 12 - Oakland, CA - The New Parish
October 13 - Sacramento, CA - Harlow's
October 15 - Troubadour - West Hollywood, CA
October 24 - Jazz Market - New Orleans, LA

Saxophonist Justin Young’s “Blue Soul” powered by “High Definition”

Justin Young is hungry. The energetic and enthusiastic saxophonist is all about hustle and hard work. For over a decade, he’s put out quality soul-jazz albums, but his forthcoming disc, “Blue Soul,” captures an artist hitting his stride on the cusp of a major breakthrough. Mining his Detroit roots, Young’s fourth album, due November 17 via JustnTime Records, features a dozen new songs recorded live in the studio with premier musicians, producers and songwriting collaborators. Paving the way for the collection is the new single, “High Definition,” a vibrant R&B/pop confection just shipped to radio stations, a tune that Young penned with fellow soul-jazz saxman Jackiem Joyner and keyboardist Matt Godina.  

The release of “Blue Soul” caps a lengthy recording odyssey for Young. His approach for this outing was purposely different and taps into the Motown lore that influenced his musical discoveries while growing up.

“I started work on this album three and a half years ago. There have probably been about 40 different songs written for this album. In the past, I would write twelve songs, and then enter the studio quickly and put out an album. But for ‘Blue Soul,’ I wanted to take a different approach and put the absolute best songs out, really push myself to elevate the standard this time around,” said Young, who had a hand in writing all but one song on the album. “‘Blue Soul’ goes back to my roots in music, Detroit, the home of Motown. I loved the creativity of musicians recording together in the studio, creating an amazing vibe. The opportunity to put high-quality musicians together along with amazing producers has always been my dream. I watched this growing up and listened to the Motown stories. ‘Blue Soul’ goes back to my love of jazz and soul music. It’s organic, it’s played by consummate musicians and it truly is soul music with saxophone at its beating heart.”

Throughout “Blue Soul,” Young’s alto, tenor and soprano sax is embedded amidst rhythms and grooves constructed by the likes of bassists Alex Al and Hussain Jiffry, and the late drummer to the stars, Ricky Lawson. Former Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist-vocalist Sheldon Reynolds is another notable player who fortified Young’s lilting harmonies and undeniable melodies. The first single, “Always There,” one of four cuts written and produced by Joyner - a Billboard chart-topper in his own right - hit the Billboard Top 25 and the Smooth Jazz Top 20 Countdown. “Jazz Along The 101,” one of three tracks shepherded by gospel producer Noel Hall (Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond), kept Young’s momentum motoring along with both singles garnering daily spins on SiriusXM’s Watercolors. In response to Hurricane Harvey, he released the hopeful “Song For A Better Tomorrow” (, donating the track’s proceeds to the American Red Cross. “High Definition” promises to take him into 2018 on a high note with a wealth of potential singles in the offing.

Young began in music as a drummer and was introduced to a wide array of styles - from R&B and pop to jazz and gospel – by his father, Jim Young, who led and played in a variety of bands, encouraging his scion to play sax. Landing his first professional concert at age sixteen, Young put himself through Michigan State University by playing weekend gigs. He issued his debut album, “Rendezvous,” in 2003. After winning a competition at the famed Capital Jazz Fest in 2007, he released “On The Way.” A move to Southern California helped his following multiply quickly when he booked a year-long residency at Spaghettini, a hot spot for the contemporary jazz crowd south of Los Angeles. Gigs on the national festival circuit ensued as did subsequent recordings, “Home for the Holidays” and “Nothin’ But Love.” Young previewed music from “Blue Soul” at a Detroit show held at Chene Park last July with 5,000 people in attendance and at a sold-out date in August when he returned to Spaghettini. Now based near Seattle, he will support the new record with a series of local concerts at nearby wineries this fall. Resourceful and brand savvy, Young produces and plies his effervescent personality as the host of “The Justin Young Audio Experience,” a podcast that teaches musicians about the business of music. For more information, please visit

“Blue Soul” contains the following songs:

“Always There”
“Nothin’ But Love”
“Jazz Along The 101”
“Paradise Found”
“New Life”
“Blue Soul”
“Sweet Release”
“Song For A Better Tomorrow”
“High Definition


Wadada Leo Smith´s new album Najwa features tribute to past masters of creative music, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Ronald Shannon Jackson & Billie Holiday

The first two extended compositions that open the album are dedications to two great masters of creative music, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, and each takes the form of a mini-suite. "Each has a second movement within the context of the overall shape," says Smith. "They´re shaped like miniature suites within the context of a single album. And then the whole album has the shape of a tribute. It´s all about people and, therefore, it´s also organically unified, based around these people who I respect."

Next is the brief but touching "Najwa," followed by a dedication to the sometime drummer of Smith´s Golden Quartet, Ronald Shannon Jackson. The CD closes with the achingly beautiful "The Empress, Lady Day," one of Smith´s several compositions dedicated to Billie Holiday. "I´ve written more compositions for Billie Holiday than maybe any other person," Smith says. "She was a great performer/composer."

Although Wadada Leo Smith has worked with electric guitars in the past, including in his Organic ensemble and in Yo Miles! which he co-led with Henry Kaiser, Najwa puts the guitar in an even more central role. All four guitarists have worked with Smith before; Michael Gregory Jackson since Smith´s early years in New Haven in the 1970s, Henry Kaiser in Yo Miles!, and Brandon Ross and Lamar Smith (Smith´s grandson) in Organic.

In addition to the guitars, Bill Laswell´s electric bass takes a central role in the sonic world of Najwa and Laswell also played an important part in the post-production and mixing of the music on the album. Smith says that he enjoyed "the idea of making this session and then going back and re-recording some of the areas and then sitting down with Bill and allowing him to tweak it in certain ways and re-reference it in a whole different way. I very much like that notion, that idea or that philosophy." This was the first time Smith and Laswell recorded together but their collaborations have continued both live and in the recording studio.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...