Wednesday, April 19, 2017


TIED TOGETHER, NOT TO THE GROUND (available on Red Piano Records, May 12, 2017) is the debut album from bassist/composer/bandleader Andrew Schiller. The artist unveils his unique writing style in this evocative 10-song collection, showcasing a group of adventurous and like-minded musicians.

The compositions on this album cover a broad spectrum but maintain a strong underlying theme through Schiller's unifying compositional aesthetic. The album's title refers to Schiller's own attempt to hold on to his identity, his memories, and his beliefs without letting the weight of nostalgia cause stagnation. Songs from the record conjure up an array of remembrances and imagery-pivotal places, experiences, and people encountered-not just as a scrapbook of journeys, but as a gentle reminder to take the occasional leap forward into the unknown.
The first track, LITTLE SHOES, begins with a sparse mantra-like statement between saxophone and drums. The introduction of an intervallic counter-melody signals the gradual transformation of the theme and the piece takes on a lush yearning quality. The metronomic full-band counterpoint eventually drops out to feature a patient, lyrical bass solo from Schiller. The storytelling continues with a winding and melodic tenor saxophone solo from Hery Paz before a brief re-statement of the theme.

GO GET 'EM TIGER! comes out with guns blazing, a dynamic contrapuntal duel between the horns and rhythm section. The fragmented waltz emulates the gyrating of a fan with a broken blade rather than the glide of a ballroom dance. In a contrasting bridge section, the two saxophonists harmonize a repetitive figure, which ultimately serves as the springboard for an ascending piano/bass unison melody. Solos from Alec Harper (tenor sax) and Frank Carlberg (piano) build on the momentum of the piece.

Dancing to TINK TINK would require some well-timed and hiccupy choreography, but the song does have an infectious quality that makes one want to move. The bubbly melody, played in harmony by the saxophonists, makes frequents steps away from a home key but remains memorable nonetheless. Soloists Schiller (bass), Paz (tenor sax), and Robin Baytas (drums) not only navigate the form with deftness, but build upon the sing-song, frolicking nature of the tune.

The tone of ONE THAT NEVER WAS is set by Schiller's solo bass introduction. The piece takes on the melancholic feel of an old western film (a natural landscape for Schiller, who grew up in Arizona). In this analogy, the two tenor saxophonists, Harper followed by Paz, play the role of weary riders and deliver their stories with as much hardiness and grit.

GLUCKSCHMERZ is a five-and-a-half minute roller coaster ride. The break-neck, intervallic melody is matched by an equally turbulent counter-line from the rhythm section. The improvisation begins with the two tenor saxophonists, Harper and Paz, trading phrases. This quickly turns into a full-band rollicking collective improvisation. A drum solo from Baytas emerges from all of this, catapulting the piece towards a restatement of the melody.

Rubato drums set the stage for CFBDSIR-2149 (WANDERING PLANET) before a three-part chorale featuring both saxophones and arco bass. The trance is later broken by Frank Carlberg's punctuated piano solo which carries over into the second rendition of the chorale. A pulse materializes and the piece is seen out by an interlocking melody played by the whole group.

HEAD DOWN, WALK begins with both saxophonists playing in close harmony to the beat of a mechanical march from the drums. The introduction of a jagged counterpoint line, doubled by piano and bass, adds to the robotic nature of the piece. Contrasting solos from Carlberg and Harper create a nice ebb-and-flow and invite fascinating interplay from the rhythm section. Fragments of the melody are later intertwined with a drum solo before the reemergence of the main theme.

SKEGNESS IS SO BRACING is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to an early 20th century postcard depicting a jolly fisherman skipping down the coast of the English fishing town. The melody of this comical waltz features some quirky phrase lengths and shifting tonal centers-like a music box that isn't working quite right. Alec Harper, Frank Carlberg, and Hery Paz trade several short solos atop a swinging rhythm section.

The title track, TIED TOGETHER, NOT TO THE GROUND, is introduced by a brief meditation. This ballad drifts patiently forward without a strongly defined beat and the melody is divided between the saxophonists (first Harper, then Paz). A piano solo from Frank Carlberg emphasizes the nostalgic and playful character of the piece. The return of the melody builds momentarily in intensity but dissipates gradually, finally reaching the finish line at a crawl.

The album's brief send-off, WANDER, is a reinterpretation of an earlier track, this time with the three-part chorale performed on the piano. The rest of the ensemble staggers their entrances and dance around the melody, sparsely at first, but gradually coming to the forefront as the song fades away.

A native of Phoenix, AZ, Andrew Schiller is currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. Schiller's attraction to music stems from junior high school where his friends urged him to pick up the bass guitar and join their punk rock band. While his musical tastes have evolved a lot since then, he still aspires to replicate the same gusto and fearlessness he had as a boy playing music in a friend's garage. Schiller grew up studying both the saxophone and electric bass and later transitioned to the double bass, finding a powerful connection to the instrument. As a young adult, he discovered his love for composition and gradually carved out a unique voice after years spent imitating an array of musical icons.

Over the last decade, Schiller has moved from Phoenix to Boston to New York City, working as both a bandleader and sideman in various musical styles-the bulk of his concentration on jazz and improvised music. He's performed his music all over the world at venues like Cornelia Street Cafe (NYC), the Jazz Showcase (Chicago), the Panama Jazz Festival, and as a guest artist with the National Symphony of Paraguay in Asunción. Andrew holds a master's degree from the New England Conservatory where his mentors included Dave Holland, Billy Hart, and Ralph Alessi. In 2012, he was recognized in DownBeat Magazine for his work as a soloist and was awarded the ASCAP Young Composers Grant in February 2014.


"Chapter Five," the Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington Bicoastal Collective, Set for Release May 19

Bicoastal Collective Chapter Five Since joining forces in 2008 as the Bicoastal Collective, trumpeter Paul Tynan and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington have recorded a series of outstanding albums ranging in instrumentation from tentet to quintet to sextet to a quintet featuring a Hammond B-3 organist. Chapter Five, their fifth album and the first with a full 18-piece big band, adds a sumptuous new volume to the duo's already impressive discography. The new CD will be released May 19 by OA2 Records.

As on its predecessors, Tynan and Lington shared writing and arranging credits; each contributed four compositions to the new recording."Our goal with every project has been to do all-original music, always with a different ensemble," Lington explains. "It's always been our dream to do a big-band record, and we were finally able to make this happen." The result is a highly original take on the trumpet-baritone frontline tradition pioneered by jazz masters who inspired them, such as Thad Jones-Pepper Adams and Chet Baker-Gerry Mulligan.

Despite living on opposite sides of North America -- hence the name Bicoastal Collective -- Tynan and Lington have remained friends over the decades since meeting at University of North Texas, where both began work on their master's degrees in 1998 and both played in the school's One O'Clock Lab Band a year apart. (Tynan now lives in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he's a Professor at St. Francis Xavier University, while Lington is Coordinator of Jazz Studies at San Jose State University in California.) They started recording together when both were in San Jose in 2008 and, on Lington's recommendation, Tynan spent a sabbatical year teaching at San Jose State and Chabot College and playing around Northern California with the likes of Poncho Sanchez, Keely Smith, and, of course, Lington.

Arranging for the session to take place at the mid-continental point of Dallas (also close to their alma mater in Denton), Tynan and Lington recorded Chapter Five over two days in July 2016 with 16 handpicked players. "We wanted to record an album featuring all the people who we really trusted with the music," says Tynan. "A lot of them are our best friends, people we've worked with in the past or some we went to school with."

The music on Chapter Five ranges from "Two Views," an extremely swinging Lington composition that finds Tynan and drummer Stockton Helbing in an inspired musical dialogue over the band's aggressive ensemble work, to "I Remember Every Day," which features solos by Lington and guitarist Noel Johnston and was inspired by a hypnotic groove by drummer Omar Hakim.

Tynan penned "Charting Stars," which features his warm solos on flugelhorn, as a showcase for David Lown's soulful tenor saxophone. Tynan's ballad "Karma's Song" spotlights Lington's rich, at times biting baritone saxophone solo over the lovely ensemble arrangement.

Paul Tynan Paul Tynan was born in 1975 in Fort Erie, Ontario. The family moved to Houston when he was 5 and to Buffalo when he was 13. He took up the trumpet in the sixth grade. At the Crane School of Music/SUNY in Potsdam, New York, he studied with trombonist and composer Bret Zvacek and heard some of the university's jazz groups. He didn't begin playing jazz, however, until he met trumpeter Tim Hagans during a trip to Sweden.

Aaron Lington Aaron Lington was born in1974 in Houston and raised in nearby Highlands, Texas, where he played piano, violin, and guitar before taking up alto and baritone saxophones in high school. While doing his undergraduate work at the University of Houston, he did a number of short tours with rock 'n' roll legend Bo Diddley, with whom he played tenor sax.

After earning his master's in 2001, Tynan began working at St. Francis Xavier University, where he presently teaches jazz trumpet, jazz history, and arranging. His arrangements, many of which have been recorded by college jazz bands, are available from Maxwell Tree Music, Eighth Note Publications, UNC Jazz Press, and Walrus Music Publishing.

After receiving his doctorate from North Texas in 2004, Lington accepted his current position at San Jose State University. His charts have been performed by the Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau and the Count Basie Orchestra, as well as by the Pacific Mambo Orchestra, in which he plays. Four of the numbers on the 19-member mambo orchestra's 2014 Grammy Award-winning debut album were arranged by Lington.

Tynan feels Chapter Five is the finest recorded example to date of the unique trumpet-and-baritone sax style he and Lington have created. Now that they've recorded their dream big-band album, the two are already talking about the Bicoastal Collective's next chapter: a trumpet-baritone-bass-and-drums set with no pianist using the same instrumentation Mulligan's famous piano-less quartet but in their own distinctive style. Chapter Six and counting.   

Music Giants Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, and John Scofield, Join Forces on "Hudson"

New York's idyllic Hudson River Valley has been a rich source of inspiration for many millennia, from its rich sacred and artistic native American heritage, to the rise of the 19th century Hudson River School (America's first recognizable non-native school of art) to the folk and rock movement that led to the era-defining Woodstock Festival of 1969, to Pete Seeger's Clearwater movement and the burgeoning locavore movement with its craft wineries, breweries and wide spread indie arts and craft scene the area is home to more artists per-capita than any other area in the country, including New York City. Now, the next chapter in that remarkable history arrives in the form of Hudson, an awe-inspiring new collective that brings together four of the world's most influential jazz musicians who are writing a new chapter in the marriage of jazz and rock which began with Miles Davis in the 1970s.

On their own, drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist/organist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield can each boast careers that are stunning in their diversity and reach, building impressive audiences across a wide range of genres and styles from jazz to rock and beyond. Together they comprise the rare supergroup worthy of the name. What's brought them together is not just their similarly adventurous and virtuosic music, but a shared love for the scenery and spirit of the Hudson River Valley, which all four call home.

The group's extraordinary self-titled debut, Hudson (out June 9 via Motéma Music), strikingly captures the atmosphere and beauty of the region while celebrating the extraordinary music that has emerged from it. Mixing original music with thrilling renditions of world-famous songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix and The Band's Robbie Robertson, Hudson has created an album as spectacular and breathtaking as the Hudson Valley itself.
The prolific foursome first came together in 2014 at the Woodstock Jazz Festival. The collective immediately recognized their electrifying chemistry and agreed that the project needed to continue. Not that most were strangers to one another: DeJohnette and Scofield first played together nearly four decades ago and have since combined forces in their co-led Trio Beyond as well as in Herbie Hancock's ground breaking New Standards ensemble. Guitar-master Scofield, equally adept at soulful jazz and R&B has recorded four albums with Medeski Martin & Wood, the trio known for melding the jazz and jam band worlds, while Grenadier has played with all three in different contexts. Adding to the fun, they spend this year celebrating the 75th birthday of NEA Jazz Master and GRAMMY®-winner DeJohnette.

Just a two hour drive but a world away, the Hudson Valley has long provided a retreat for those looking to maintain a lifeline to Manhattan's vibrant metropolis but a lifestyle apart from its frenetic pace, its combination of scenic splendor and easy access to the city's cultural hub making it an ideal source of respite and inspiration for artists. "All of us built our careers in the city and then moved out to the Hudson Valley to raise our kids and have a home," Scofield says, who is coming off consecutive GRAMMY® Award wins in 2016 and 17. "One thing that we all have in common is that although we're urban musicians, we left the city to live in nature."

DeJohnette moved to the Valley in the early '70s, enticed by members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who pulled up stakes not long after while DeJohnette stayed. Relative newcomers Medeski and Grenadier both made the move in the early 2000s. "A lot of creative energy was going on up here at that time," DeJohnette says of his early days. "I got a chance to get to know all the members of The Band and was a big fan of their music. Their tunes take me back to when I was a kid coming up in Chicago and listening to all kinds of music. There's a lot of cultural history in that music."

"This area has been a place for musicians to come to retreat," Medeski says. "There's performing, but there's also writing and practicing and growing and going deeper. Traditionally people have come to this environment to search and grow. To woodshed."

Grenadier concurs with the idea of the valley as a place not to play so much as to recharge and absorb the lessons learned on stages elsewhere. "People seem to come up here to have some quiet and soak up everything that they've taken in from living in the city and touring," he says. "The atmosphere that Jack described in the '70s still exists, in that there's a real cultural awareness and creative energy that exists in all aspects of life around here, so I think it attracts the artistic spirit."

Hudson conjures that spirit in a variety of stirring ways, from the blues-reggae feel of Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" to the meditative vibe of Mitchell's "Woodstock" to the New Orleans swing of The Band's "Up On Cripple Creek." Hudson's originals cover territory including the electric abstract organic funk of their collectively improvised namesake track, the simmering, Latin-accented groove of Sco's "El Swing," and the defiant "Dirty Ground," featuring DeJohnette's moving, earthy vocals. The closer, "Great Spirit Peace Chant," pays tribute to the Native American tribes that were the first to settle the area, with the whole band joining in with chants, percussion and wood flutes.

The album was recorded, at Scott Petito's NRS Recording Studios, nestled between the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River and sharing the welcoming feel of the valley's homes. "Being up here in the mountains where you have some peace and tranquility, in a small, intimate room, the spiritual bond was definitely there," DeJohnette says. "We didn't feel stressed about recording. It was relaxed, so the music comes out that way. It has spirit and intensity and presence, but it also has a calm as well."

Pastoral yet exhilarating, gorgeous yet thrilling, historic yet intimate, serene yet inspiring: these are the elements that make the Hudson Valley an ideal destination and Hudson a landmark recording.

Hudson Tour Dates
June 8 - San Francisco Jazz Festival, San Francisco, CA
June 9 - Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA
June 10 - Playboy Jazz Festival, Los Angeles, CA
June 11 - Chautauqua Park, Boulder, Colorado
June 18 - Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh, PA
June 24 - Ottawa Jazz Festival, Ottawa, ON
June 25 - Saratoga Jazz Festival, Saratoga, NY
June 29 - Toronto Jazz Festival, Toronto, ON
June 30 - Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, QC
August 6 - Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI
October 4 - Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Poughkeepsie, NY
October 6-7 - Rose Theater @ Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, NY
October 8 - Berklee Performing Arts Center, Boston, MA
October 14 - Sheldon Arts Center, St. Louis, MO
October 15 - Yardley Hall, Overland Park, KS
October 17 - Jack Singer Concert Hall, Calgary, AB
October 18 - Chan Centre For The Performing Arts, Vancouver, BC
October 19 - Moore Theater, Seattle, WA
October 21 - Mondavi Center, Davis, CA
October 22 - The Green Music Center, Rohnert Park, CA
October 23 - Newmark Theater, Portland, OR
October 25 - Piper Theatre, Mesa, AZ
October 26 - Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, NM

Guitarist Blake Aaron is Sirius about making it a “VIVID” spring

Guitarist Blake Aaron has been featured multiple times on SiriusXM over the past week as part of Jazz Appreciation Month just as his vibrant new single, “VIVID,” is preparing to bloom brightly. The third single issued in advance of his upcoming “Color and Passion” album, Aaron wrote and produced the multihued bouquet of invigorating instrumental dance music, power pop horns and glossy R&B grooves that surround fragrant stems of fresh electric jazz guitar flourishes. On the way to radio stations now with an April 24 playlist add date, the perfectly-timed spring fling should happily satiate listeners until Blake’s sixth album streets this fall on Innervision Records.

Recently, the national satellite radio broadcaster’s Watercolors aired a live concert performance by Aaron recorded at the SiriusXM studios in Washington, DC. Thereafter,, the guitarist who hosted his own nationally syndicated radio show for seven years hung out on the “Dave Koz Lounge” with the affable sax sensation. Two weeks ago, Aaron served as guest DJ on the Tuesday show and although he took command of the air waves, he didn’t sneak in the new single before the official add date.

“No, not yet,” he chuckled. “’VIVID’ is my feel good track of the spring/summer. With real Earth, Wind & Fire-style horns and tons of energetic, bright melodic hooks, I am proud to say that this is one of my most infectious grooves and most intense productions I've done to date. Vivid is how I try to live my life and it is how I try to teach my kids to live their lives. Be uniquely you - boldly and with passion. Be you - vividly.”    
Aaron’s last collection, 2015’s “Soul Stories,” spawned five Billboard Top 10 singles. “Color and Passion” aims to continue his run of chart success with a chromatic and intense fusion of sounds and styles – funk, R&B, soul, jazz, rock, blues and Latin music. While the first three singles - “Summer Ride,” “Godfather Brown” and “VIVID” - are upbeat and full of life, the disc will also include intimate ballads allowing Aaron to showcase his lyrically expressive guitar on downtempo numbers.    

Aaron recently plied his soulful fretwork on three songs for urban-jazz chart-topper Najee’s forthcoming set. The in-demand session player, sideman, producer and songwriter will celebrate his birthday with an April 29 concert at Southern California hotspot Spaghettini in Seal Beach where he will be joined by two-time Grammy winner Bill Champlin, a singer-songwriter and keyboardist who spent 28 years as a member of the legendary band Chicago. Aaron will hit the road Memorial Day Weekend for performances at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in Florida (May 26), St. James Live! in Atlanta, GA on a bill shared with saxophonist Tom Braxton and vocalist Kevin Whalum (May 27), and a headline date with Braxton at The King Center in Melbourne, FL (May 28).  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017



The first-ever collection to really do justice to the music of Johnny Nash – despite the fact that the man himself racked up a few global hits back in the 70s! Nash is a heck of an interesting singer – born in Texas, and able to croon both deep soul and jazz – which he did on a string of labels into the mid 60s – before taking matters into his own hands, starting his own label, and also picking up on the new sounds of Jamaica – which he mixed with American soul in a way that helped catapult him to the top of the charts in both the US and UK! Nash's sound is never straight reggae, but it also has some Jamaican rhythmic elements in it at times – although the range of work here also includes some wicked early singles by Johnny on his own JAD imprint, and some other late 70s efforts that show him moving into some other sophisticated styles too. The 2CD set features a whopping 46 tracks in all – plus detailed notes on Nash's career – with titles that include "Wonderful Woman", "Let's Move & Groove", "Cupid", "You Got Soul", "Groovin", "Yellow House", "Ooh What A Feeling", "My Merry Go Round", "Nice Time", "Celebrate Life", "Closer (12" mix)", "You're The One", "Mr Sea", "Birds Of A Feather", "What A Wonderful World", "Rock It Baby", "Tears On My Pillow", "The Very First Time", "I Can See Clearly Now", "There Are More Questions Than Answers", "Guava Jelly", and "The Edge Of Love".  ~ Dusty Groove


Rohey's the name of the band, and the name of the lead singer Rohey Taalah – a really great voice that we're betting we hear from strongly in years to come! The album's definitely a group effort – because although Rohey's lyrics are a big part of the sound, there's also a fantastic sort of energy from the trio of Ivan Blomquist on keyboards, Kristian Jacobsen on bass, and Henrik Lodoen on drums – a group who forge these flowing waves of soul that are completely sublime – bursting out strongly at some points, moving more gently at others – always with just the right balance between the keys and vocals. And although the group's from Norway, the album's got a quality that rivals the best American underground soul in recent years – as you'll hear on cuts that include "Now That You Are Free", "I Found Me", "Cellphones & Pavements", "Afterthoughts", "Responsibilities", "My Recipe", and "Tell Me". ~ Dusty Groove


JC Brooks parts company with the Uptown Sound – and comes across here with a completely different sound! Brooks is a Chicago soul singer whose risen to great acclaim with that previous group – who've given him a retro-styled, old school soul approach – but here, he comes across with a more contemporary vibe, in a 21st Century funky soul mode that has some sweet electric touches around the edges, while still letting Brooks really soar upfront! The shift is an interesting one, and a great one too – the kind of move that may well get JC some of the bigger attention he deserves. Titles include "Jungle", "Edge Of Night", "ONO", "One For Someone", "Get Gone", "Watch Me", "Playing With Fire", and "Stumble In The Dark".  ~ Dusty Groove

LATIN-TROPICAL- SOUL BAND - 3D RHYTHM OF LIFE RELEASES “FANTASY” A Latin Tribute to Earth Wind & Fire and original Afro-Caribbean inspired Sounds

The album leads with a vibrant Latin-Tropical-Soul cover of Earth Wind and Fire’s international mega-hit “Fantasy”, sung by Nuyorican vocalist, Chris Alfinez, who has toured with Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez and La India. The video and single were released in late 2016, a few days prior to the passing of the dynamic founder of the legendary funk band, Maurice White— who penned the original hit over a three-month period, thus making 3D Rhythm of Life the first artist to present an official tribute.

“The story of 3D Rhythm of Life is one of evolution with respect for the past, the present, and a projection into the future. We feel Maurice’s life force each time we perform “Fantasy”. It’s an honor to share his transcending musical legacy through the genre of Latin-Tropical-Soul”, said drummer and bandleader, Michael Tate, 3D Rhythm of Life.

Michael Tate’s experience playing with the renowned international music group, Kid Creole and the Coconuts—whose fans included Michael Jackson and Prince, provided an excellent opportunity to perform and appreciate many styles such as Funk, Disco, Latin Tropical, Island and Big Band Swing.

Multicultural and bilingual, this accomplished eight-piece ensemble from New York City has been recording and performing as a collective for over a decade. “Fantasy” is their sixth studio album. 3D is the acronym for Diverse, Dynamic and Danceable, the band’s signature sound.

The group’s members have also shared stages with an array of musical luminaries. Co-Founder and guitarist, Chris Amelar is a William Paterson University graduate, and a well-respected teacher and author. Keyboardist, Lenny Underwood, has recorded and performed with chart-topping artists such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Chaka Khan.

The sorcery of “Spell on You”, sung by celebrated Trinidadian musician Bonny Bonaparte (Bruce Hornsby, Spyra Gyra) elevates the groove with brilliant Reggae vibes. He also lends his ‘Island stylings’ to the politically charged “Things will Change”. The EDM Latin dance mixes, “Que Siga La Rumba” and “Oyelo”, are fueled by the energy of renowned Latin GRAMMY AWARD® winning singer, Herman Olivera, evoking an intoxicating trip to Havana’s hottest nightclub. “Quiero Saber”, the second single sung by Chris Alfinez, is a heartfelt, romantic Urban Salsa track.

City Parks Foundation Announces SUMMERSTAGE 2017 SEASON

City Parks Foundation has announced the 2017 season of SummerStage, New York City's largest free outdoor performing arts festival, bringing more than 100 performances to Central Park and 15 neighborhood parks throughout the five boroughs. This year's festival, presented by Capital One Bank, will showcase over 150 unique artists performing shows from a plethora of genres and disciplines, including indie-rock, hip-hop, Latin, jazz, R&B, salsa, bhangra, poetry, opera, contemporary dance, and theater.

SummerStage will kick off its first free show of the season with performances from the legendary Mavis Staples and contemporary blues artist Toshi Reagon in Central Park on June 3rd. Staples will lead a powerful vocal showcase of rock, blues, gospel and R&B. Digable Planets will reunite to open our citywide SummerStage run with a rare performance in Coffey Park in Brooklyn on June 21st. New York rap icon KRS-One and DJ Chuck Chillout will also perform in Coffey Park on June 25th and dynamic emcee Jadakiss will take the mic at Crotona Park on August 6th. Wu-Tang Clan founding member GZA "The Genius" will drop knowledge in Corporal Thompson Park in Staten Island on July 23rd. Brasil Summerfest returns featuring iconic samba singer Elza Soares and rising star Liniker e os Carmelows on August 5th in Central Park. Jazz veteran Joshua Redman Quartet will pay tribute to Charlie Parker as part of the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival on August 27th in Manhattan's Tompkins Square Park.

This season will also feature benefit shows in Central Park to help support City Parks Foundation's free programs for all New Yorkers. American rock band  Gov't Mule, the Grammy award-winning Elvis Costello & The Imposters, progressive rock multi-stylists Umphrey's McGee, avant-rocker PJ Harvey, indie pop singer Regina Spektor, energetic rockers All Time Low, anthemic artists The Revivalists, and  indie rock trailblazers Young the Giant with special guests Cold War Kids have been confirmed with many more to be announced.  All benefit concerts are produced by The Bowery Presents.

Other highlights include:

  • George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic along with Main Source, DJ Marley Marl and host Roxanne Shante will bring the funk to Flushing Meadows Corona Park as part of the Only In Queens Summer Festival on June 11
  • Indie-folk pop singer and indie-folk singer rising star Margaret Glaspy performs on June 22nd in Coffey Park
  • Classic hip-hop innovators Slick Rick the Ruler and GrandWizzard Theodore will team up in Queens' Springfield Park on July 7th
  • Timeless architect of alternative-rock PJ Harvey will host a benefit show in Central Park on July 19th
  • Contemporary ballet company BalletX will perform their acclaimed piece "Big Ones" set to the music of Amy Winehouse in Central Park on July 26th
  • Latin Grammy Award-winning princess of salsa La India will perform in St. Mary's Park in the Bronx on July 28th
  • Salsa's next definitive voice Frankie Negrón will perform in St. Mary's Park in the Bronx on July 29th
  • Rock Steady Crew will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their Bronx-conceived b-boy crew in Central Park with a who's who of classic hip-hop performances including the legendary MC Lyte on July 30th
  • Taj Mo: The Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo' Band, two generations of blues giants, will take over Central Park on Aug 13th
  • A performance from the cast of Broadway's new hit musical A Bronx Tale, based on the critically acclaimed play that inspired the classic film, will make its way to Crotona Park in the Bronx on Aug 3rd
  • Alternative rock band, and one of Rolling Stone's "10 Bands You Need to Know," The Revivalists will perform a benefit concert in Central Park on Aug 10th
  • SummerStage Family Day, featuring performances from They Might Be Giants and Bill Childs of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Radio, comes to Central Park on Aug 12th
  • The Russell Simmons / Mos Def-backed series Def Poetry Jam will host a reunion in Marcus Garvey Park in Manhattan on Aug 20th
This year, SummerStage will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beloved Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, New York City's annual salute to the eponymous late saxophonist. The festival, which each year coincides with Charlie Parker's birthday, takes place uptown in Harlem's historic Marcus Garvey Park and downtown in Tompkins Square Park, across the street from the apartment Parker called home. This year, the festival has been extended to four days and will include Emmy Award-winning tap dance virtuoso Jason Samuels Smith, world-renowned Anat Cohen Tentet, jazz master Lee Konitz Quartet, slow-funk Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, reverend drummer Louis Hayes, young American vocalist Charenee Wade, Grammy nominated Joshua Redman Quartet, modern jazz creative voice Lou Donaldson, saxophonist Tia Fuller of the all-female band touring with Beyoncé, vocalist Alicia Olatuja, and more.

SummerStage will also expand its family-friendly pre-show workshop offerings this season to include dance classes, beatboxing lessons, and introductions to DJing and Latin percussion. These interactive workshops will take place prior to select SummerStage shows throughout the season, and all ages are encouraged to come out to the park early to participate. To kick off the season, SummerStage will host a DJ lesson from Scratch DJ Academy and a beatboxing tutorial with renowned beatboxer Exacto before the Digable Planets performance in Coffey Park. Other workshops will include salsa dance lessons in St. Mary's Park and a poetry class in Marcus Garvey Park.  

"City Parks Foundation is dedicated to providing every New Yorker with access to excellent, culturally relevant performing arts  experiences in their home communities . Our SummerStage festival brings outstanding artists from genres across the globe directly to city parks across the five boroughs, all free of charge, making those parks community and cultural centers," said Heather Lubov, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation.

"This year's line-up brings together a widely diverse mix that is representative of the cultural mosaic that is New York City, a line-up that pays homage to both the cultural legacy of the city and its communities while celebrating what's next," said Erika Elliott, Executive Artistic Director of City Parks Foundation.

"Capital One is proud to continue our long-standing support for SummerStage, as the festival once again brings New York's rich artistic diversity to our local community," said Michael Slocum, President, Commercial Banking and Northeast Regional President, Capital One.

For the most up-to-date scheduling and lineup for all SummerStage programming, follow SummerStage via the social media handles below and visit for all festival information.

Friday, April 07, 2017



For her Story Songs concerts as well as this CD, Buckley was joined by renowned multi-Grammy nominated jazz pianist Christian Jacob, her longtime musical director and arranger. A celebrated interpreter with an eclectic taste for music from all genres, Buckley shares a collection of songs that range from Radiohead to theater greats Stephen Schwartz and Jason Robert Brown. Also included are works by the next generation of exciting young theater composers, such as Joe Iconis. Buckley has been hailed as “wonderful” by the New York Times, “stellar” by Rolling Stone, “mesmerizing” by the Los Angeles Times, and “excellent” by London Express, in addition to other raves. Features 20 tracks and includes: Cassandra; High And Dry; How Long Has This Been Going On;  Old Flame; and Bird On A Wire.


Since his 18-year tenure as guitarist and music director of TV’s The Tonight Show Band ended in 2010, Philadelphia-born guitarist, composer Kevin Eubanks has been on a creative roll. On East West Time Line, Eubanks explores the chemistry he maintains with musicians on both coasts. His distinctive fingerstyle approach to the instrument is in the service of tunes that run the stylistic gamut from urgent swingers to introspective ballads to Latin-tinged numbers and some get-down Philly funk. “We combined both vibes on this recording - the kind of Latin vibe of Los Angeles and the straight-up swinging vibe of New York.” Tracks include: Watercolors; Poet; Carnival; Something About Nothing; Take The Coltrane; Captain Señor Mouse; Cubano Chant; What’s Going On; and My One And Only Love.


"Soldado de Amor", which da Silva co-wrote with her brother Bruce Driscoll (Freedom Fry, Blondfire), was produced by Bruce Driscoll, along with longtime collaborator Chad Alger (Complicated Animals). The track was inspired by the vintage “marchinhas” (marches) and popular samba songs of Brazilian Carnival, and features the haunting vocals that da Silva is known for. Soldado de Amor is set to for release on March 31st, 2017. The song is now being featured on the BBC Drama “The Replacement”, and will soon be included on da Silva’s new album, a follow up to her debut album “Brasilissima”. Da Silva’s music has been featured on The World Cup, TED, Ibiza Beats, and Putumayo World Music’s “Brazilian Beat”.  She also writes and releases music with guitarist and producer Chad Alger, as the Indie duo Complicated Animals. Credits: Written by Monica da Silva and Bruce Driscoll (Freedom Fry). Vocals: Monica da Silva, Bruce Driscoll Guitar: Bruce Driscoll Drums & Percussion: Chad Alger (Complicated Animals) Mixed by Chad Alger, Bruce Driscoll Mastered by Yoad Nevo.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Two New Albums from Bassist Anne Mette Iversen, Round Trip and Ternion Quartet

Anne Mette Iversen Quartet +1 is an extension of Anne Mette's longest running group: Anne Mette Iversen Quartet, featuring John Ellis (tenor saxophone), Peter Dahlgren (trombone), Danny Grissett (piano), Iversen (bass) and Otis Brown III (drums). Established in NYC in 2002, the musical relationship and the improvisational rapport of its musicians have developed to the supreme, as have their music and the compositions. This group voices a musical ideal and aesthetic that Anne Mette has sought after for many years; having found it, her seventh recording, Round Trip, feels like going full circle. It expresses on several levels what is innate in the words "round trip", and how we all strive to satisfy our longing to come, to be, to find, and to have, a home.

Originally the meaning of 'round trip' was to return to the starting point via a different road. Anne Mette explains, "when I wrote the tune 'Round Trip', it was about a deep and heartfelt wish I had to return to my two sons, who I had left in another country for a few days. As this album and this music came about, 'round trip' then became a key idea for the album. In the sense of coming home, it describes the feeling I have every time I play with this group. It refers to the many (round) trips we have taken together over the years, but also how much we have grown as a band, musicians and persons, and how we, no matter where each one of us is placed in the world, get together to make music and share our experiences. Even on a personal level I see the many round trips in our journey through life and music." Round Trip is simply jazz on a high level, a feeling of unity and togetherness that can be otherwise hard to find. Highly recommended! 

In 2012 Anne Mette moved to Berlin, and at the beginning of 2015 she formed a new group, The Ternion Quartet, which brings out a new side of her musical personality. The group is front-lined by the two amazing horn players: alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard (risingstar, DownBeat Magazine 2015), and trombonist Geoffrey DeMasure (professor at The Jazz Institute of Berlin); and it is brilliantly supported by Ms. Iversen herself and long-time friend and colleague from NYC, German born drummer Roland Schneider. "This group is to me what Berlin is all about. It is fresh, it is creative and it is giving room to a multitude of inspiration and cultures. There is an element of total freedom and there is an element of chance and risk-taking. Anything and everything goes," explained Iversen.

The Ternion Quartet plays music that is energetic and fun. Like fireworks; the music offers a tremendous display of colors and moods. Rooted in the tradition of jazz, swing and improvisation, the compositions give ample room for the virtuosic improvisers to express their creative personality; and with the experience, maturity and flexibility of the musicians the music can change direction on the fly and is constantly new, fresh and renewed again. Compositionally the music is based on a linear and horizontal concept, allowing the individual instruments' melodies to conduct the harmonic map, whenever that is desired. The aim is for the full emotional spectrum of being human to be expressed by these outstanding musicians and improvisers.

The Ternion Quartet has toured successfully in Spain (December 2015), performs regularly in and around Berlin, and has been invited to perform at Aarhus International Jazzfestival in Denmark, in July 2017.

Anne Mette Iversen is always quite busy composing, and not always for her fantastic groups. In 2016 Iversen was Composer in Residence for The Norrbotten Big Band, one of Sweden's leading ensembles, and she is currently composing music for The Orchestra (DK), for a performance in September of this year.

Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records Announces The Sophomore Release From Pianist/Composer JORN SWART - MALNOIA

Jorn Swart is a spirited up-and-coming jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, currently living and performing in NYC. The Dutch pianist's refined playing and emotive compositions have garnered him much recognition, here and abroad. In November, 2013 he toured Europe to present his debut CD, A Day in the Life of Boriz, featuring some of NYC's most thrilling and fearless jazz musicians. Swart now proudly announces the release of his compelling new sophomore album, Malnoia, available on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on May 26, 2017.

Malnoia is timeless and sophisticated, and reshapes the concept of the traditional jazz piano trio. In replacing double bass and drums with bass clarinet and viola, the project elegantly and creatively expands the limits of what is possible within a "piano trio".

On Malnoia, Swart drew inspiration from classical composers such as Maurice Ravel, Bela Bartok and Paul Hindemith, and combined them with elements of jazz, creating an atypical sound that can be both lyrical and nostalgic, and abstract and unpredictable. His melancholic themes suddenly turn into unruly improvisations or sparkling romanticism.

The Malnoia trio, featuring Swart with Benni von Gutzeit (of the Turtle Island Quartet) on viola, and Lucas Pino (whose "No Net Nonet" has had a residency at Smalls Jazz Club for over three years) on bass clarinet, possesses the ability to sweep the listener up in a 
loving musical experience that has been described as "hallucinogenic chamber music".



Call It Magic is the fourth album from Chicago vocalist and educator Typhanie Monique. It is a long-awaited project that finds her channeling the passions, frustrations and complexities of love into a work of shimmering beauty. It is her most ambitious recording to date.
 It features her current quartet - pianist Ben Lewis, bassist Josh Ramos, drummers Dana Hall and Greg Arty - with special guests, clarinetists Ken Peplowski and Victor Goines, organist Tony Monaco and tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm. Call It Magic was produced by Jeff Levenson.
 And though Monique surveys standards familiar to lovers of the Great American Songbook, Call It Magic contains quite a few surprises - including originals and tunes from the pop music playlists of Coldplay, Don Henley and Dinah Washington. It is a 10-act master class on the art of pure singing, and she endows it with deep-seated poignancy.
 Downbeat's Frank Alkyer says, "This is an album that's been years - heck, decades - in the making. It's where the road has taken her and it's a beautiful spot to take in the view. It's music made with great thought, even more care and, yes, a little magic. That's the artistry of Typhanie Monique."
 Well known in Midwest jazz circles, Monique has studied with legendary vocalists Bobby McFerrin, Sheila Jordan and the late Mark Murphy. She has shared stages with foundational colleagues Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Mavis Staples and The Manhattan Transfer. All have made inspiring music that resides within her.
 Which helps explain the richness of Typhanie Monique and the soulfulness of Call It Magic - an album that travels straight to the heart.
1. Magic (5:25)
2. Just Friends (4:24)
3. This Bitter Earth (5:28)
4. What Is This Thing Called Love/This Thing (3:31)
5. Heart Of The Matter (5:05)
6. Where Is Love/Love Is (6:11)
7. Called Love (6:11)
8. Sister/Miss Celies Blues (6:41)
9. Letting My Love Go (4:52)
10. Don't Get Around Much Anymore (3:03)



Following sold-out tours in the U.K. opening for George Benson and Gladys Knight, including two acclaimed performances at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, singer and songwriter Polly Gibbons is set to make a British invasion of her own with the release of her highly-anticipated second album, Is It Me...? on Resonance Records on April 21, 2017. Produced by label owner and founder George Klabin, the 12-track collection fully embraces the inspiring, expansive array of American jazz, soul and blues influences that have infused her dynamic career as an artist and live performer.

Polly, who recently was nominated Vocalist of the Year by Jazz FM, has been a staple of the UK Jazz Scene since the mid-2000s. In commenting on her new album, she states: "It's a massive melting pot, varied but beautifully linked because I love every style I'm singing. Jazz would never have happened without the blues, which came out of the gospel tradition – and blues is the foundation of contemporary Western culture and pop/soul music, and so on."

She's especially excited by the buoyant seven-piece horn section, which enhances both her R&B and big band swing vibes. The piano and most of the arranging are shared by long time-collaborator James Pearson (whom she performs with regularly at the legendary Ronnie Scott's Club in London, where he is musical director), and Tamir Hendelman, the Israeli born, L.A. based jazz pianist to the stars, including Barbra Streisand and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

The album's set list mines many unusual and unexpected, but supremely cool sources, including three originals she penned with Pearson; "Midnight Prayer" (which earned first place in the singer-songwriter category of the 2014 Indie International Songwriting Contest), "You Can't Just," and "Is It Me...?" She opens the album with a vibrant, jazzy twist on "The Ability To Swing," and brings a bluesy elegance to the hopeful theme of "Sack Full of Dreams." She taps into the Great American Songbook with "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" and Duke Ellington's "I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart," a track on which Polly and L.A. studio trumpeter Willie Murillo are showcased.

Different aspects of Americana are captured via the sparsely arranged "Wild Is the Wind" and a lively retro-big band spin through a sizzling Bill Cunliffe arrangement of "Basin Street Blues," a song she had recorded on her first demo at the age of 18. Additional tracks include "Pure Imagination" (from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory); and the bold and soaring seduction she brings to Aretha Franklin's classic "Dr. Feelgood.." The collection's final track, the soulfully swinging "Don't Be On The Outside"– is officially a bonus track on the CD. As the only live track on the collection, it has a unique flavor all its own that sets it apart from the 11 studio tracks.

A farmer's daughter who grew up in Framlingham, a small market town in Suffolk, England, Polly is one of seven siblings in a family that shared all types of different musical loves. Her mum cherished classical and choral music (Bach, Mozart, Chopin), her dad was an electric bassist who played in bands in the 70's, her brothers loved R&B and her sisters were all vinyl collectors listening to everything from hip hop and soul, to jazz and folk.

Polly took obligatory piano lessons at age four, but didn't realize she could sing until she was around 13. Participating in a local music workshop, she met British singer Ian Shaw, who took Polly under his wing and secured her first gig in London when she was 17. Participating in other workshops, she cultivated her talent with bassist Gill Alexander, Jacqui Dankworth (daughter of Cleo Laine) and later, James Pearson. She released her critically acclaimed UK debut album My Own Company in 2014

With the release of her U.S. debut on Resonance Records, Many Faces of Love, in 2015, Polly began making her mark performing in the U.S. with critically acclaimed shows in Florida, Boston, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Birdland in NYC.

Polly's road now leads her to one of those extraordinary places with the release of Is It Me...? The album is a journey all its own – a culmination of so many moments that also signifies a meaningful new beginning for both the singer and contemporary jazz. Polly will be taking to the road in the U. S. in conjunction with the release of the album. Performances are scheduled in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee and Cleveland, among many others to be announced at a later date.

Ability To Swing
You Can't Just
Sackful Of Dreams
Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
Wild Is The Wind
Basin St. Blues
Midnight Prayer
Is It Me…?
Pure Imagination
Dr. Feelgood
I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
(Bonus Track) Don't Be On The Outside

Friday, March 31, 2017

Critically Acclaimed Vocalist Somi Releases Petite Afrique, Inspired by the Fate of African Immigrants in Harlem

Pulsing with Harlem's rhythms and sonic ambiance, Somi's Petite Afrique is an homage to her New York City upper Manhattan neighborhood, and one of the Meccas of the African diaspora.  In the village of Harlem, along west 116th Street from Malcolm X Boulevard to Frederick Douglass Boulevard, African immigrants build American lives. Populated predominantly by a Francophone, West African and Muslim community, this is a strip of Harlem that locals call "Little Africa" or "Petite Afrique:" a thriving corridor of hair shops and shea butters, bistros and self-taught tailors.  Many of these working class residents -- immigrants-cum-citizens -- are now taxi drivers zipping other New Yorkers through the city they've called home since the 1980s.

Petite Afrique, Somi's sophomore effort for OKeh/Sony Music Masterworks, is a daring, relevant, refashioning of what "jazz" and "African music" mean. The album is a timely song cycle about the dignity of immigrants in the United States. Equally anthropologist and writer, Somi's songs both celebrate Harlem's black experience and lament gentrification's slow erasure of the vibrant African immigrant population from the historic neighborhood.

On her new album, Somi and her core bandmates -- guitarist Liberty Ellman, drummer Nate Smith, pianist Toru Dodo, and bassist Michael Olatuja -- perform with new emotional openness, sharp political insight, and infectious groove throughout. A powerful horn ensemble featuring tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, alto man Jaleel Shaw, and acclaimed trumpeter Etienne Charles also appear on several tracks.

Charles also serves as associate producer on Petite Afrique, arranging the horn and string sections. Producer Keith Witty calibrates and binds all these musicians together into a finely textured, genre-bending sonic collage. Having also co-produced her last studio album, Witty and Somi continue to establish the standard for artfully interweaving modern jazz and African pop sensibilities. Somi's commitment to storytelling is clear as she intersperses poetry and "backseat field audio" drawn mostly from several interviews she conducted with African taxi drivers who have lived in the neighborhood for over four decades.

The album opens with "Alien," Somi's provocative improvisation on Sting's "Englishman in New York." Here, she flips Sting's playful critique of Britishness in America into a brooding blues about Africans alienated from American life. "This album is, in many ways, a love letter to my parents and the generous community of immigrants that raised me," Somi explains. "Once Harlem started to change, I realized just how much the African community there made the anonymity of New York City feel more like home."

Somi's room-making blend of politics and voice is apparent on stunning, anthemic tracks like "Black Enough" and "The Gentry." On both recordings, Charles' assertive horn arrangements are emphatic exclamation marks to Somi's fiery lyrics. "Black Enough" is a layered exploration of blackness and the identity politics that has, at times, pulled black people in the United States apart. Somi was inspired to write the song while reading Yaa Gyasi's novel Homegoing. "It was the first time I'd seen an African literary voice explicitly acknowledge the sameness of African and African-American histories," says Somi. "It felt like a much needed 'owning' of trauma and oppression. The Black Lives Matter movement was already in the public consciousness, but I wanted to write something that reminded us that we fail ourselves individually when we fail to acknowledge our shared struggles."

A real-life legal battle between new Harlem residents and a 60-year-old drum circle tradition in Marcus Garvey Park inspired "The Gentry," which features Aloe Blacc's earthy guest vocal. Here, Somi uses deft lyrical play to talk explicitly about how gentrification is erasing black culture from the Harlem scene. With the horn section underwriting Somi's searing call and response -- "I want it black / I want it back" -- one might recall Abbey Lincoln's ardent performance in Max Roach's "Freedom Now Suite." It's also not hard to hear the references to the musical groups that Fela Kuti and James Brown once fronted, masters of Nigerian and American political dance music, respectively.

The musicianship on Petite Afrique continues to be overwhelming in its beauty and feel. Listen to Ellman's ability to make his guitar sound like a kora on "Like Dakar." As Somi compares Harlem to Dakar and Abidjan with lithe vocal phrasing, Ellman's lines blend with the horn section's dulcet phrases to propel the track.

Even on Somi's songs about love like "They're Like Ghosts," the down-tempo groove instigates movement and commits to the narrative at hand. "It's a song about the longing for and romanticization of people or things we once loved. The lover, in this case, is really a metaphor for the lands that still haunt us as immigrants and the forgetfulness of why we left that comes with time," Somi shares.

"Holy Room," an R&B-vibed praise song for love's spiritual force, layers a lover's desire with the muezzin's call to prayer as Somi sings "Allahu Akbar," letting her dynamic vocals ride the sensual groove. "It is meant to be an explicit response to the rampant and deeply disturbing Islamophobia that pervades Western society currently. The choice to sing the phrase "Allahu Akbar" is my attempt to remedy perceptions of terror that are unfairly associated with the millions of peaceful, God-fearing Muslims in the world. After all, when the phrase is translated from Arabic to English it simply means, 'God is great.' What better way to counter and defuse hateful messages than with a love song?" Ultimately this song reveals the artist's deep sense of humanity and the power of
Petite Afrique; Somi is at the height of her vocal powers and writing prowess.

The political messages of this album are timelier than she could have ever imagined when she began writing it early last year. This music is singular, gorgeous, urgent and profound. 

Born in Illinois, the daughter of immigrants from Uganda and Rwanda, Somi's American experience has always been infused with the African diaspora's richest political and artistic traditions. And now Petite Afrique combines the two facets of her life magically. A longtime Harlem resident, Somi is also a true Africanist: she spent part of her youth in Africa with her parents and now, with her band, tours the continent extensively. Famously, Somi's dazzling 2014 album, The Lagos Music Salon, which debuted at the top of US Jazz charts, was born from an 18-month "sabbatical" in Lagos, Nigeria.

Founder of New Africa Live, a nonprofit championing her fellow African artists, Somi realized some years ago that she was explicitly segmenting her work for the communities she came from and the work that she did as an artist. "I realized," Somi details, "that I could still curate a sense of community in the same, and possibly larger, ways through my music." Now a TED Senior Fellow, her career a refined merger of singing and activism, Somi has entered a fascinating new phase herself: "New Africa Live was about making room for our voices that might otherwise go unheard. Hopefully, Petite Afrique starts larger conversations about immigration and xenophobia and Blackness."

Upcoming Somi Performances:

April 8 / Transition Jazz Fest / Utrecht, Holland
April 10 / Duc Des Lombards / Paris, France
April 11 / Pizza Express / London, England
April 13 / Sala Radio / Bucharest, Romania
April 14 / Porgy & Bess / Vienna, Austria
April 17 / Moods / Zurich, Switzerland
April 19 / Unterfahrt / Munich, Germany
April 20 / A-Trane / Berlin, Germany
April 22 / Elbphilharmonie / Hamburg, Germany


"We wanted to do a real good record together, but we didn't want to do the record that everyone expected us to do," blues legend Taj Mahal says of TajMo, his historic collaboration with fellow true believer Keb' Mo'.  "There wasn't a bunch of cryin' and ringin' hands, we just got together and it came together pretty naturally.  I think it's a pretty upbeat, celebratory record, and it couldn't have come at a better time."

Indeed, TajMo, set for release on May 5, 2017 via Concord Records, marks a once-in-a-lifetime convergence of the talents of two unique American artists who've already built significant individual legacies that have consistently expanded and extended American blues traditions into astonishing new territory.  The collaboration brings out the best in both artists, who merge their distinctive voices, personalities and guitar styles to create vibrant, immediate music that's firmly rooted in tradition yet ruled by a restless, spirited sense of adventure.

The iconoclastic pair's combustible creative chemistry powers such unforgettable new originals as "Don't Leave Me Here," "All Around The World," "That's Who I Am" and the anthemic "Soul." TajMo also features guest appearances by Sheila E., Lizz Wright and Bonnie Raitt, who lends her voice to a memorable cover of John Mayer's "Waiting On The World To Change"; in addition, Joe Walsh adds his trademark guitar work to “Shake Me In Your Arms” and an inspired reading of The Who's classic "Squeeze Box."

"I'm really proud of this record," says Keb', "and I really owe Taj for hanging in there with me.  I feel like this is kind of a legacy project, and we're both pulling from something way back in time.  Taj is a part of the same chain that I've always been pulling on.  He's like a guide through all that stuff, back through the Deep South and the church and the Caribbean and all the way back to Africa.  He has some real musical knowledge that goes back to the origins."

Taj Mahal first made his mark in the late 1960s with a series of visionary country-blues albums that helped to spark a widespread resurgence of interest in traditional acoustic blues.  In the decades since, he has remained a singular creative force, pursuing his free-spirited muse with a lengthy series of eclectic recording projects.  The two-time GRAMMY-winner's prestigious body of work encompasses more than 30 albums, which have explored a wide array of roots music from around the world while remaining firmly rooted in the blues.

Since arriving on the scene in the early 1990s, blues renaissance man and three-time GRAMMY-winner Keb' Mo' has earned a widespread reputation for his mastery of multiple blues styles, and his ability to combine traditional approaches with a contemporary attitude and a timeless storytelling sensibility.  He's released a series of acclaimed albums, as well as appearing in theatre and film projects, and collaborating with a wide array of musicians from various genres.  Like Taj Mahal, Keb' remains a vocal advocate for the preservation of the blues, and has been active in charities that support music education.

Although TajMo marks their first studio collaboration, the two artists have known each other for decades.  Taj has been a longstanding touchstone for Keb' ever since he saw him perform at a high-school student assembly, and Taj even played a role in Keb' winning his first record deal.  The two have occasionally shared stages over the years, but the new album was their first opportunity to create new music together.

"The making of this record spanned two and a half years, working in my home studio whenever we could get together between tours," says Keb'.  "And over that two and a half years, we got to know each other really well.  Making this record was a really, really big deal for me.  Taj is a stellar human being, just a brilliant man, and I learned a lot working with him.  It's an honor to have that kind of person in your life, and there was a lot of trust that developed between us."

"It was a lot of fun," adds Taj.  "We'd been thinking about collaborating for a little while, but once we actually got in there, I was really impressed. Keb's really good at keeping the ball up in the air.  He's a hell of a guitar player, and I'm just amazed at some of the stuff that he put out there."

With TajMo in the can and their first highly anticipated collective tour planned, Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' are excited about the prospect of getting their new music out into the world.

"It's gonna be big fun," Taj predicts.  "I'm planning on being excited every night and every note.  Some people think that the blues is about being down all the time, but that's not what it is.  It's therapeutic, so you can get up off that down.  You could have 100 consecutive lifetimes, and still only crack the surface of all the music that's on this planet.  It's phenomenal, and it's all connected to the human experience, which is different for all of us but the same for everyone."




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