Friday, February 12, 2016

NEW RELEASES: SNARKY PUPPY – FAMILY DINNER: VOLUME TWO; CHARLES BRADLEY & THE MENAHAN STREET BAND – LIVE FROM THE HOUSE OF SOUL; MICHAEL FORMANEK AND ENSEMBLE KOLOSSUS - THE DISTANCE

SNARKY PUPPY – FAMILY DINNER: VOLUME TWO (CD/DVD)

This is the second in the Family Dinner series which began with 2014’s Grammy Award-winning album, Family Dinner: Volume One. To give you a little background on the “series,” the band sees this album - while it is technically a Snarky Puppy album by the fact that they are the backing band and arrangers of all of the material - as more of a compilation; an album of all original songs written and performed by the guest vocalists, with just a little musical help from Snarky Puppy. Tracklisting: I Asked (Featuring Becca Stevens & Väsen); Molino Molero (Featuring Susana Baca & Charlie Hunter); Liquid Love (Featuring Chris Turner); Soro (Afriki) (Featuring Salif Keita, Carlos Malta, & Bernardo Aguiar); Sing To The Moon (Featuring Laura Mvula & Michelle Willis); Don't You Know (Featuring Jacob Collier & Big Ed Lee); I Remember (Featuring Knower & Jeff Coffin); Somebody Home (Featuring David Crosby); Bonus Tracks (on DVD only): Fuego y Agua (Featuring Susana Baca); Be Still (Featuring Becca Stevens & Väsen); Shapons Vindaloo (Featuring Väsen); One Hope (Featuring Knower); and Brother, I'm Hungry (Featuring NOLA International).

CHARLES BRADLEY & THE MENAHAN STREET BAND – LIVE FROM THE HOUSE OF SOUL (DVD)

The first installment of Daptone Records' new video series, Live From The House Of Soul. Directed by Poull Brien and shot in the backyard of Daptone's House of Soul in Bushwick, Brooklyn, it features Charles Bradley at his best with the Menahan Street Band. In his distinctively rough-hewn timbre one hears the unmistakable voice of experience - each note and gruff inflection a reflection of his extended, sometimes rocky, personal path. It's only fitting that producer, Brenneck (also a member of the Dap-Kings and the Budos Band), would recognize in Bradley a kindred musical spirit - a singer whose performances exude both raw power and poignant beauty. Includes: Love Bug; Where Do We Go From Here?; Victim Of Love; Confusion; The World (Is Going Up In Flames); Crying In The Chapel; Strictly Reserved For You; Bonus Music Videos: Where Do We Go From Here?; Strictly Reserved for You; The World (Is Going Up In Flames); and Heartaches & Pain.

MICHAEL FORMANEK AND ENSEMBLE KOLOSSUS - THE DISTANCE

Bassist Michael Formanek works here with his Ensemble Kolossus – a group that's maybe not as big as their name, but who manage to bring a very full sound to the album overall! The lineup features trumpets from Ralph Alessi and Dave Ballou, cornet from Kirk Knuffke, baritone from Tim Berne, piano from Kris Davis, tenor from Chris Speed and Brian Settles, trombone from Alan Ferber and Ben Gerstein, and alto from Loren Stillman and Oscar Noriega – a large group of like-minded players who often fuse together in this wave of sound that's deep in darker colors and moody tones – all of which allow Formanek a surprisingly strong space up front, thanks to the careful direction of Mark Helias. Titles include "The Distance", and the long "Exoskeleton" suite of tracks. ~ Dusty Groove


Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Hollywood Bowl 2016 Summer Concert Series Features Top Notch Performers













The Hollywood Bowl 2016 summer concert series has been announced:

JUNE
June 11, 12 - Playboy Jazz Festival with Fourplay (with Nathan East, Bob James, Chuck Loeb & Harvey Mason), Cécile Mclorin Salvant, Seth Macfarlane Big Band, Janelle Monáe, John Batiste & Stay Human, host George Lopez, more to be announced

June 18 - Steely Dan (Opening Night at the Bowl with fireworks) with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conductor Thomas Wilkins

June 24 - Sing-a-Long Sound of Music with host Melissa Peterman

June 26 - Reggae Night XIV with Burning Spear; Cocoa Tea; Etana

JULY
July 1 - A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and special guests Christine DiGiallonardo, Sarah Jarosz, Heather Masse, Aoife O'Donovan, Sara Watkins

July 2, 3, 4 - Chicago (fireworks spectacular) with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conductor Thomas Wilkins; Air Force Band of the Golden West

July 8, 9 - Star Trek in Concert with Los Angeles Philharmonic, conductor David Newman

July 10 - Pet Sounds With Brian Wilson, Al Jardine & Blondie Chaplin; M. Ward

July 12 - Conductor Gustavo Dudamel, piano Lang Lang (Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1, Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade)

July 14 - West Side Story with Los Angeles Philharmonic, conductor Gustavo Dudamel, cast to be announced

July 15, 16 - Diana Ross

July 19 - West Side Story with Los Angeles Philharmonic, conductor Gustavo Dudamel, cast to be announced

July 20 - Yes We Can Can: An Allen Toussaint Salute with Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, The Allen Toussaint Band, special guests to be announced; Galactic

July 21 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, piano Yuja Wang (Gershwin: Symphonic Suite From Porgy and Bess, Ravel: Piano Concerto in G, Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue, Ravel: Bolero)

July 22, 23 - "Weird Al" Yankovic with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conductor Thomas Wilkins; additional artist to be announced

July 24 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Gustavo Dudamel performing Puccini's Tosca (Julianna Di Giacomo, Tosca; Fabio Sartori, Cavaradossi; Falk Struckmann, Scarpia; John Del Carlo, Sacristan; Andrew Craig Brown, Angelotti)

July 26 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, piano Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Los Angeles Master Chorale, artistic director Grant Gershon (Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Beethoven: Choral Fantasy, Ravel: Mother Goose Suite, Ravel: Daphnis And Chloé Suite No. 2)

July 28 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Cristian Măcelaru, violin Nicola Benedetti (Copland: An Outdoor Overture, Wynton Marsalis: Violin Concerto [West Coast premiere, LA Phil commission], Copland: Symphony No. 3)

July 29, 30, 31 - A Chorus Line, cast and creative team to be announced

AUGUST
Aug. 2 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, guitar Angel Romero (Piazzolla: Tangazo, Lalo Schifrin: Concierto de la Amistad [world premiere], Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasileiras No. 2, Piazzolla: Selection Of Tangos)

Aug. 3 - Gladys Knight; Tower of Power

Aug. 4 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Ben Gernon, choreography Janni Younge of Handspring Puppet Company (Debussy: La mer, Britten: Four Sea Interludes, Stravinsky: The Firebird)

Aug. 5, 6 - Tchaikovsky Spectacular (with fireworks) with Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, American Ballet Theatre, USC Trojan Marching Band (Tchaikovsky: Selections From Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture)

Aug. 7 - Kurt Vile and the Violators; additional artists to be announced

Aug. 9 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Andrew Manze, violin Arabella Steinbacher (Mozart: Don Giovanni Overture, Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5, Mozart: Symphony No. 41, "Jupiter")

Aug. 10 - 50 Years of Jeff Beck with special guest Beth Hart and more to be announced; Buddy Guy

Aug. 11 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Andrew Manze, piano Francesco Piemontesi (Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4,
Schubert: Symphony No. 9, "Great C-Major")

Aug. 12, 13 - An Olympic Carnival with Sergio Mendes & Brasil 2016 with special guests Dianne Reeves and Romero Lubambo, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra with conductor Thomas Wilkins, Viver Brasil

Aug. 14 - Rodrigo y Gabriela with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conductor Thomas Wilkins

Aug. 16 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Nicholas Mcgegan, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, Los Angeles Master Chorale, artistic director Grant Gershon (All-Handel program to include: Coronation Anthem No. 1, Zadok The Priest, "The Arrival Of The Queen Of Sheba" from Solomon, "Awake The Trumpet's Lofty Sound" from Samson, Ariodante: "Scherza infida," Ariodante: "Dopo Notte," Xerxes: "Ombra Mai Fu," Xerxes: "Se Bramate" "Hallelujah" From Messiah, Water Music Suite No. 2 In D, Royal Fireworks Music)

Aug. 17 - The Ultimate Tribute to Ray Charles starring Maceo Parker, featuring a tribute to the Ray Charles Orchestra, also featuring a tribute to the Raelettes; Christian Mcbride Big Band; special guest Philip Bailey

Aug. 18 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Nicholas Mcgegan, piano Garrick Ohlsson (Weber: Overture to Oberon, Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 In D Minor, K. 466, Schumann: Symphony No. 3, "Rhenish")

Aug. 19 - Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conductor Thomas Wilkins

Aug. 20 - Brandi Carlile; Old Crow Medicine Show

Aug. 21 - The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Aug. 23 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Joana Carneiro, violin Gil Shaham (Korngold: Violin Concerto, Beethoven: Symphony No. 5)

Aug. 24 - Mega Nova featuring Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Cindy Blackman Santana, Marcus Miller and Carlos Santana

Aug. 25 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Bramwell Tovey, violin Mari Samuelsen, cello Håkon Samuelsen (Herrmann: Vertigo Scène d’Amour, Horner: Pas de Deux, Bernstein: On the Waterfront (Symphonic Suite from the film), Gershwin: Shall We Dance Finale and Coda)

Aug. 26, 27 - Culture Club with the Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Bramwell Tovey

Aug. 28 - Smooth Summer Jazz with George Benson, Average White Band, Jeff Lorber Fusion, To Grover, With Love, featuring Jason Miles

Aug. 30 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Bramwell Tovey, Shakespeare's Globe (Korngold: Much Ado About Nothing Suite, Schmitt: Antoine et Cleopatre Suite No. 1. Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette: "Queen Mab"z Scherzo, Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet)

Aug. 31 - The Academy Celebrates the Black Movie Soundtrack II with Marcus Miller, special guests to be announced, host Craig Robinson, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conductor Vince Mendoza

SEPTEMBER
Sept. 1 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Bramwell Tovey, The Globe Theatre (Korngold: Much Ado About Nothing Suite, Schmitt: Antoine Et Cleopatre Suite No. 1, Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette: "Queen Mab" Scherzo, Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet)

Sept. 2, 3, 4 - John Williams: Maestro Of The Movies with Los Angeles Philharmonic, conductor John Williams, conductor David Newman

Sept. 6 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, violin Martin Chalifour (J. Strauss: Emperor Waltz, J. Strauss: Thunder and Lightning Polka, Kreisler: Selections for violin and orchestra, R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben)

Sept. 7 - Carlos Vives

Sept. 8 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Ludovic Morlot, Ate9, Bodytraffic, La Dance Project (Adam Schoenberg: Bounce, Daniel Wohl - Replicate Part 2 [world premiere, LA Phil commission], Esa-Pekka Salonen: Helix, Stravinsky: The Rite Of Spring)

Sept. 9, 10, 11 - Jeff Lynne's ELO (with fireworks finale) with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conductor Thomas Wilkins

Sept. 13 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Ludovic Morlot, cello Gautier Capuçon (Fauré: Masques et bergamasques, Op. 112, Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1, Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole, Ravel: La valse)

Sept. 14 - Jazz at the Bowl, artists to be announced

Sept. 15 - Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor André De Ridder, mandolin Avi Avital (Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, Brahms: Serenade No. 1)

Sept. 18 - Kraftwerk 3-D

Sept. 24 - Sigur Rós

Sept. 25 - Bloc Party; Ms Mr; additional artist to be announced


Program, dates and artists subject to change.



Grace Jones, Burt Bacharach, Average White Band, Kamasi Washington and more announced for Love Supreme 2016


NEW RELEASES: MALIJA - THE DAY I HAD EVERYTHING; GERARD PRESENCER - GROOVE TRAVELS; ANDRE FERNANDES – DREAM KEEPER

MALIJA - THE DAY I HAD EVERYTHING

As Mark Lockheart explains: ‘The Day I Had Everything is about many musical things, often styles and influences that have come from our many diverse musical experiences working and developing in London’s vibrant jazz scene. The melting pot of London’s multi-faceted music scene is reflected in the compositions, to me this is London jazz music, distinct and different from the American sound”. Their first collaboration was back in 2009, when the three musicians recorded and toured with Mark  Lockheart’s acclaimed album ‘In Deep’, a record that not only bought these three musicians together as part of a quintet but initiated a long term collaboration between Edition and Jasper Høiby’s Phronesis. Since then, each of them has developed so great a mutual respect and friendship that to form a trio seemed the most logical and natural next step. ‘The Day I Had Everything’ magnifies what is beautiful about great jazz. The subtleties and sophisticated group interaction offers countless rewards. The original material by all three members has many diverse influences including bluegrass, tango, a 1930’s jungle feel and even references to English classical music. Jasper describes the music as “simple, weird, complicated, free, tight, beautiful, ugly and heartfelt depending on your mood”. ’The Day I Had Everything’ is a reference to the sheer excitement one has as a child getting up in the morning and not being able to decide what to do first – everything seems so shiny and new . The coming together of Malija was like this – the three of us bringing in our compositions and developing them into something tangible, then the sheer fun of exploring the music in the recording studio

GERARD PRESENCER - GROOVE TRAVELS

Groove Travels is the highly anticipated new album from British trumpeter, arranger and composer Gerard Presencer, featuring the Danish Radio Big Band. Groove Travels is set to be a defining album both for Gerard and for new Big Band conceptions. This new release is without doubt his most ambitious and well-executed solo recording to date and will happily stand alongside the leading voices in contemporary big band music. The idea for this album first took root when Gerard moved to Copenhagen to take a trumpet seat in the band. As Gerard explains: ‘It’s taken five or six years for me to get this album together which is great for a project like this, because I got to know everybody, we play together all the time, so the tunes that I’ve chosen are specifically chosen for the musicians that are playing them’. Over the past 25 years Gerard Presencer has carved out a formidable reputation as one of the most respected trumpeters on the European scene. He exploded onto the international scene, aged 18, when US3 asked him to play the solo part on Blue Note’s Cantaloupe Island (re-imagined as Cantaloup Flip-Fantasia), that became one of the biggest selling jazz records of the 1990s. Since then, he has performed with a who’s who of international jazz artists, and has developed a career as an educator, arranger and composer. Gerard has also been an essential member of Charlie Watts’ various jazz groups over the last 25 years, touring the world and releasing several albums in various groups with the jazz-loving Stone! Gerard continues to push himself and his instrument, moving outside his comfort zone in order to develop as a player and writer.

ANDRE FERNANDES – DREAM KEEPER

‘Dream Keeper’ is a high-class and innovative set of originals that marks the first major international release from Portuguese guitarist and composer Andre Fernandes. Since 2002 Lisbon-born Fernandes has generated a wave of glowing reviews for appearances with some of the finest international musicians. As a beacon of inspirational energy and determined spirit in his native Portugal, Fernandes has been described by Portuguese music critic, Rui Eduardo Paes, as ‘one of the most important Portuguese jazz musicians today, with credits that largely surpass the field of jazz and a continuous ability to surprise us’. ‘Dream Keeper’ is a career defining album that draws together Andre’s strengths as composer, player and bandleader, with the help of a stellar cast of musicians, into one coherent and well-executed album. ‘Dream Keeper’ confirms Andre’s promise and offers him an opportunity to approach a global audience and ignite a glowing international career. Born in Lisbon in 1976, Andre Fernandes is a natural leader with an entrepreneurial spirit. In 2002, he formed T.O.A.P. (Tone of A Pitch), his own imprint, as a way to take control of his own destiny and as a vehicle for his talented cohorts. Driven by the desire to collaborate and an empathy and respect for his band mates, Andre has plenty to give. Compositionally, the music is bold with a determined spirit drawing on a wide array of influences and colors. As a player, Andre has a commanding sound with inventive use of pedals, tones and color. As a bandleader, he leaves space for others to shine and is able to bring the best performances from his musicians. There’s obvious mutual respect and friendship on offer and the music is the better for it. If ‘Dream Keeper’ is a sign of what is to come for this young, incredibly talented guitarist, then the next few years look very exciting.

 




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NEW RELEASES: BARRY WHITE & THE LOVE UNLIMITED ORCHESTRA – TOGETHER BROTHERS; GEORGE SMALLWOOD – LOSER; AMANAR DE KIDAL – TUMASTIN

BARRY WHITE & THE LOVE UNLIMITED ORCHESTRA – TOGETHER BROTHERS

Barry White's entry into the blacksploitation soundtrack genre – and it's a doozy! The record's filled with lots of tight little instrumental grooves, produced in the hard edged Love Unlimited Orchestra way – with tight funky drums at the bottom, snapping snare in the middle, and sharp sweeping strings over the top. Love Unlimited sing on a few tracks, but the cuts are mostly instrumentals with a very hard groove. Titles include "Somebody's Gonna Off The Man", "Alive and Well", "Theme From Together Brothers", "Do Drop In", and "Here Comes The Man".  ~ Dusty Groove



GEORGE SMALLWOOD – LOSER

Unissued material from Maryland soul legend George Smallwood – an artist most folks know only from his few late 70s tracks that were issued, but clearly a singer who's kept on going strong over the years! These tracks were all recorded by George on a government-issued tape recorder he received as part of a library service for the blind – and that recording quality gives all the tracks a cool, compressed sort of sound – one that instantly condenses the space between the late 70s and 21st Century recordings in the set! There's no exact dates on the album, but to us, most of the material feels like late 70s or 80s indie vintage – mostly with George sliding out on these slinky, soulful vocals – with just a bit of keyboards and rhythm to back him up – mostly in grooves that have a mellow or midtempo mode, and almost make him feel like an 80s version of Larry Saunders. Titles include "Blues Man", "Do You Baby", "Into Your Love", "Not Gonna Give You Up", "Loser", "Touching Is My Thing", and a version of "Family Affair".  ~ Dusty Groove

AMANAR DE KIDAL – TUMASTIN

Great work from one of the darkest groups working on the current Tuareg scene – an ensemble who can vary their tone nicely, and produce a range of emotions and compelling sounds that really make this set stand out from the pack! Sure, there's plenty of offbeat guitar work with lots of snakey vibes – but there's also some pretty excellent work on the rhythm tip, too – including these dipping, turning lines that are more than compelling enough without the guitar or vocals – served up with excellent bass and spare percussion too. Titles include "Tumastin", "Tarha", "Dounia Tade", "Sin Orane", and "Tafouck". ~ Dusty Groove


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere Team Up For A Pair Of Albums: Nudge It Up A Notch & Midnight Flyer

Many of you may have missed a couple of albums that teamed both Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere a couple of years back.  They’re really good albums that you should give a listen to.

Steve Cropper's guitar, production and songwriting embodied the sound and the spirit of STAX and the Southern Soul of the '60s. As such, Cropper is best known as the guitarist for legendary band Booker T. and the MGs and is one of the primary architects of the unmistakable Stax Records sound of the 1960s. However, his musical career doesn't stop there as he backed artists and sometimes produced albums by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Carla, Rufus Thomas and Johnnie Taylor and later gained fame as a member of The Blues Brothers band.

Felix Cavaliere is known for as a music producer and musician most well-known for his time with The Young Rascals (or The Rascals) in the 1960s.  The sound of The Rascals was epitomized by the brilliant songs, B-3 organ and voice of Felix Cavaliere. Cavaliere also had a solo album in the 1980's with the track 'Only a Lonely Heart Sees' peaking the the Top 40 Billboard chart. In 2009, Cavaliere was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

In 2009, these two R&B legends came together to Nudge It Up a Notch, a tour de force of 12 smokin' original tunes, guaranteed to satisfy your soul. Tracklisting: One Of Those Days; If It Wasn't For Loving You; Without You; Full Moon Tonight;To Make It Right; Impossible; Still Be Loving You; Cuttin' It Close; Make The Time Go Faster; Jamaica Delight; Imperfect World; and Love Appetite.  Originally released in 2009.

A year later (in 2010) Cropper and Cavaliere reconvened for their second collaborative recording. Sparks fly at the crossroads of Memphis soul and East Coast R&B when Stax Records releases Midnight Flyer. Tracklisting: You Give Me All I Need; Midnight Flyer; Now; When You're With Me; I Can't Stand It; Chance With Me; Move The House; Sexy Lady; Early Morning Riser; All Night Long; I Can't Stand The Rain; and Do It Like This. 



Kenny Barron to Release First Album with Longstanding Trio, Book of Intuition, Featuring Kiyoshi Kitagawa and Johnathan Blake

Remarkably, while piano maestro Kenny Barron has recorded more than 40 albums as a leader and countless others as a valued sideman, he had never documented his impressive working trio of bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa, with him for 20 years, and drummer Johnathan Blake, onboard for the past 10 years. That missing piece in Barron's lengthy discography has been sublimely addressed with his new recording, Book of Intuition, a refined, elegant, lyrical and swinging affair of new and reimagined originals and a triad of covers, including two obscure Thelonious Monk compositions. It's the second of a series of recordings Barron will be delivering for impulse! Records, remarkably revived in 2014 by veteran recording executive and producer Jean-Philippe Allard as a division of Universal Music France.

"Recording my trio had never come up," says the award-winning 72-year-old pianist, who's certainly one of jazz's finest composers and arguably one of the busiest musicians in the idiom. "I had been working on other recording projects, including a duo with Dave Holland as well as the Brazilian Knights band. Thankfully, the trio had been able to work consistently without the benefit of a recording, but then Jean-Philippe heard us play and he got excited. He then wanted to record us as he was very open to the idea. He doesn't dictate, though he may ask, 'how do you feel about doing this?'" (Barron's association with Allard dates back to when he was signed to Verve France in 1994 for his Wanton Spirit album in a trio setting with Charlie Haden and Roy Haynes that was executive produced by Allard.)

In the liner notes to Book of Intuition, writer John Murph proclaims the album as one of his best: "As Barron continues writing new compositions while simultaneously revamping his older material, history will certainly reveal Book of Intuition as a quintessential chapter in a fascinating, ever-unfolding oeuvre that exemplifies modern jazz at its finest."

The revisited pieces range from a song he had previously recorded under a different name to a work he pulled out of his playbook that he had recorded but never performed live. A couple of the pieces are tunes that the trio had never done. "It's funny that when you play with a group, you tend to stay with a certain repertoire," Barron says, "and you never go beyond that."

Barron's reimagining older pieces begin at the onset of Book of Intuition with the playfully swinging, rhythmically driven "Magic Dance"--a dance indeed-that originally appeared under the title of "J.J. Dream" in 2010 with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lenny White as the Super Premium Band for the Japan-based East Wind label. It's also informed by his love for Brazilian music. Another revisit is the fiery "Bud-Like," first recorded by the pianist on his solo project in 1982, Kenny Barron at the Piano on the Xanadu imprint, and also played solo on his 1991 album Live at Maybeck Recital Hall Volume Ten. Here, in his homage to Bud Powell, Barron plays fast, with blurring single-note runs. He also takes a sweetly loving ride through the Latin-tinged "Cook's Bay," inspired by his wife when they were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in Tahiti and appearing on his 2000 Verve disc Spirit Song. Another reflection from the past comes on the upbeat "Lunacy," teeming with torrential rhythms and first being recorded in a quintet setting on 1988's Live at Fat Tuesday for Enja Records. As for the Brazilian-flavored balladic "Dreams," it dates back to the early '70s and was recorded by such artists as James Moody and Stan Getz. "This is song that I've always enjoyed playing, and the trio had never played it,' Barron says. "I had to dig it out of the vault for the session."

Barron's new compositions come courtesy of a soundtrack he wrote for the 2010 film Another Harvest Moon, directed by Greg Swartz. Of the 20 tunes for a variety of scenes he wrote for the film, he offers two here. The first, the quiet and drum-brushed "In the Slow Lane" appeared as the theme in the opening credits, and the reflective "Prayer" hit at the heart of the film's storyline about four elderly people at a nursing home, dealing with life and death by suicide. "It was the first opportunity for me to write for a film," Barron says. "I wrote sketches that Greg interspersed throughout the story. I still have a bunch of those tunes that at some point I hope to expand on and record."

Barron also rendered two Monk tunes that are not commonly covered. He takes "Shuffle Boil" for a stride piano-rooted ride and in the next track plays a stunning solo interpretation of "Light Blue," with Monk's dissonance in the mix. As for the former, Barron says: "For me, this is one of Monk's greatest tunes. I love playing it." And the latter: "It's another great one and the dissonance is tongue-in-cheek. I wanted to play it with a sense of humor."

The final tune on Book of Intuition is a meditation on Charlie Haden's "Nightfall"--somber and beautiful. "I played with Charlie often over the years," Barron says. "This song is so pretty, so quiet. This is Charlie."

One of the most renowned, most lyrical pianists in jazz today, Barron was awarded the prestigious title of Jazz Master, in the class of 2010--an honor bestowed by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a multiple-Grammy® Award-nominee, was honored with induction into the American Jazz Hall of Fame (2005), and received the MAC Lifetime Achievement Award (2005) and the Mid Atlantic Arts Living Legacy Award (2009). In 2009, Barron was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an esteemed honorary society and center for independent policy research.

While relishing the accolades, Barron reflects on his career as a world renown-artist as a work in progress. "I don't think of myself necessarily as an innovator," he says. "But what I have contributed to jazz is keeping a commitment to the honesty of the music. I never do anything that's too slick, and I play what I feel. I believe in having fun, which took a long time to discover-to not take myself so seriously."

As a composer, arranger and bandleader, Barron has spent close to six decades at the forefront of the jazz piano aristocracy. As a co-founder of the seminal quartet Sphere--featuring Charlie Rouse, Buster Williams and Ben Riley--he focused on the music of Theolonious Monk and original compositions inspired by the late visionary. An in-demand sideman in his early days on the jazz scene, performing with Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, and his fruitful collaboration with Stan Getz, the Philadelphia native launched his solo career in 1973 with Sunset to Dawn, released by Muse Records. Not one to rest on his laurels, Barron continues to tour widely--and learning more as he goes.

Barron is already thinking of his next projects for Impulse. He notes that the sessions which bore fruit on Book of Intuition were recorded in a two-day span that yielded 20 pieces-more music for hopefully another album. He's also thinking of perhaps putting together a quintet for his next Impulse date. "I feel like I'm still evolving, trying to grow," he says. "As I get older, I find that I'm more willing to leave my comfort zone and take chances as an improviser."
  
Kenny Barron Trio's Upcoming Performances:

February 19 / Soka Performing Arts Center / Aliso Viejo, CA
February 20 / Biamp PDX Jazz Festival / Portland, OR
April 6 - 7 / Jazz Bistro / St. Louis, MO
April 15 / Athenaeum / La Jolla, CA
April 16 / Jazz Bakery / Los Angeles, CA
April 18 / Lobero Theater / Santa Barbar, CA
* April 20 - 24 / SF Jazz Center / San Francisco, CA
April 25 / Kuumbwa Jazz / Santa Crus, CA
April 26 / Boise State University / Boise, ID
** April 28 / Zeiteron's Stage Door / New Bedford, MA
April 29 - 30 / Regattabar / Cambridge, MA
May 1 / Gilmore International Keyboard Festival / Kalamazoo, MI
May 3 - 8 / Jazz Standard / New York, NY

* Performances include various formats, for more information please visit: sfjazz.org
** Solo piano performance

Kenny Barron Trio · Book of Intuition
Impulse! Records · Release Date: March 4, 2016

NEW RELEASES: CLARENCE CARTER – THIS IS CLARENCE CARTER / THE DYNAMIC CLARENCE CARTER; IRENE SCHWEIZER / HANS BENNINK – WELCOME BACK; LES BAXTER – AFRICAN JAZZ

CLARENCE CARTER – THIS IS CLARENCE CARTER / THE DYNAMIC CLARENCE CARTER (BONUS TRACKS)

A pair of classic albums from Clarence Carter – back to back on a single CD, with bonus tracks too! First up is the album This Is Clarence Carter – a seminal debut from the great Clarence Carter – proof that there was still a lot of genius to be heard in southern soul at the time! The 60s were just about over when Clarence appeared on the recording scene – and it seemed that most of the big names in soul had already grabbed most of the thrones in the kingdom. Clarence was a real comer, though – and his sweet style of southern soul was immediately popular, filling a void promptly after the death of Otis Redding, and setting a bit more fire than some of the other Atlantic male singers, who were waning a bit at the time. Of course, it certainly helps that that lil' ol' genius Rick Hall was behind Clarence's move – arranging and producing this album with some of the strongest, least cliched Muscle Shoals backings of the time. Titles include "Slip Away", "Funky Fever", "Thread The Needle", "Do What You Gotta Do", "Looking For A Fox", and "Slippin' Around". Next is Dynamic Clarence Carter – seminal southern soul from the legendary Clarence Carter – one of his early killers for Atlantic Records, all of which really stand out from most of his work to come in later years! There's a raw, raspy brilliance here that's undeniable – the blind singer stepping out with incredible confidence on a host of tunes that really run the gamut – numbers of love and loss, mixed with a few more contemporary pop tracks – but all given a unique Muscle Shoals twist that really transforms them. Carter wins our heart from the start with his version of "I'd Rather Go Blind" – then keeps on soaring through cuts that include "Think About It", "Steal Away", "Look What I Got", "That Old Time Feeling", "Let Me Comfort You", "Weekend Love", "Light My Fire", and "Too Weak To Fight". Includes 5 bonus tracks – "Take Me Use Me", "I'll Be Over After A While", "She Ain't Gonna Do Right", "There Won't Be Another Sunset", and "I'm Happy Go Lucky". ~ Dusty Groove

IRENE SCHWEIZER / HANS BENNINK – WELCOME BACK

Two amazing musicians who somehow sound even better here as a pair than on their own – and that's saying quite a lot, given the musical legacy of pianist Irene Schweizer and drummer Han Bennink! Schweizer's always been one of our favorite improvisers – as she's got an ability to freely create, and cascade these technically amazing sounds on her instrument – but she always seems to hang onto a sense of tonality, and maybe sometimes a slight sense of wit! All that really seems to inspired Bennink, too – who works here at some of his most musical modes, with these light, lively sounds coming from the drums he attacks with all these really special sort of touches. The pairing is superb – maybe one of our favorite records from either player in recent years – and titles include "Firewood", "Apus Melba", "Bleu Fonce", "Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland", "Trap 5", "Kit 4", "Welcome Back", and "I Surrender Dear". ~ Dusty Groove

LES BAXTER – AFRICAN JAZZ

One of the coolest, grooviest records we've ever heard from the great Les Baxter – and a real standout set, even amidst his other exotica albums for Capitol! This one really delivers on the "jazz" promised in the title – thanks to strong tenor solos from Plas Johnson, who plays in this bold, lusty style that's right out front in the mix – over cool exotic rhythms that come through with more force than some of the other Baxter albums from the time! There's some nice vibes on the album, and plenty of percussion as well – and titles include "Congo Train", "Walkin Watusi", "Ostrich Hunt", "Balinese Bongos", and "Mombasa After Midnight". Fantastic stuff, and recorded with beautiful sound! ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: SHUN ISHIKAWA – CLEANUP; FOX CAPTURE PLAN – BUTTERFLY; MIKI YAMAOAKA / BENNY GOLSON – ONE DAY, FOREVER

SHUN ISHIKAWA – CLEANUP

A great little record with an angular, soulful flow – and a sense of direction that's way more confident than you'd guess from the mixed-up look on Shun Ishikawa's face on the cover! Shun's a drummer, and he leads a group here that's full of dynamic energy – excellent work on tenor and soprano from Ahikiro Yoshimoto, alto sax from Akiha Nakashima, and guitar from May Inoue – three players who can tangle around each other and create a sound that's greater than the sum of its parts – then take off and soar when the piano and Rhodes of Aaron Choulai and Yusei Takahasi give them the right sort of inspiration. Ishiwaka's drums are often quite subtle – with a nice skipping sort of vibe at some of our favorite moments – and titles include "A View From Dan Dan", "The Way To Nikolaschka", "Siren", "Big Saaac", "Into The Sea Urchin", and "Ano Ba". ~ Dusty Groove

FOX CAPTURE PLAN – BUTTERFLY

One of the most beautiful albums so far from Fox Capture Plan – a set that adds in a bit of strings at times – which makes for an even more colorful variation on their freewheeling piano sound! We've loved these guys right from the start for the way they fold piano, bass, and drums around each other – creating this cascading groove that seems to explode color and light at each new turn – all with a style that's upbeat and moving, but also surprisingly lyrical too. Yet this time around, the strings – which are light, really just a few additional players – open up the first few tracks on the record, before the trio move out on their own, and seem to continue the music with a whole new sense of inspiration. Titles include "The Beginning Of", "With Wind", "Inchoate", "Plug In Baby", "Supersonic", "In The Darkness", "Christmas Comes To Our Place", and "Butterfly Effect". ~ Dusty Groove

MIKI YAMAOAKA / BENNY GOLSON – ONE DAY, FOREVER

A really unique pairing of talents – Japanese singer Miki Yamaoka, and American tenor legend Benny Golson – who also produced and arranged the set! Miki's got a voice that's surprisingly deep and dusky at points, which makes here a great match for Golson's tenor solos on the record – blown in this easygoing, soulful style that matches the pace of the rhythms nicely – served up by the trio of Soichi Moriki on piano, Buster Williams on bass, and Carl Allen on drums! Yamaoka's definitely got a different vibe than some of the other female Japanese jazz singers on the market – and titles include "One Day Forever", "Feeling Good", "I Remember Clifford", "Whisper Not", "Autumn In New York", "I Love You", and "Fly Me To The Moon" – which just features Miki's vocals and Buster's bass! ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: RM JAZZ LEGACY; KENNY RICE - HOUSE PARTY; BENNY LACKER TRIO - SISKIYOU

RM JAZZ LEGACY

A totally wonderful jazz ensemble from Japan – one who definitely work in some of the older modes you'd guess from the "legacy" in their name, especially the hippest funky big band styles of the 70s – yet a group who also have a very fresh, individual vibe of their own! These are all musicians who've been through the past decade and more of Japanese club jazz – more rhythmic uses of the form, crossed over to the funk and soul crowd – yet they're also taking things back towards a more complicated, tonally rich version of a larger group like this – with sublime sounds that emerge from the reeds and brass players, over rhythms that can still be a bit funky when they want! There's a slight bit of electricity in the lineup – a bit of organ and electric piano, plus some guitar – next to the warmer sounds on horns – and in addition to versions of Weldon Irvine's "Turkish Bath" and Al Green's "Let's Stay Together", the group also contribute their own original material on the titles "African Water", "Reborn", "The Spirit", "Night Flight", and "Come With Me". ~ Dusty Groove

KENNY RICE – HOUSE PARTY

In case you're wondering, they DO still make 'em like they used to – at least when it comes to classic-styled soul records, like this St Louis effort from Kenny Rice! Kenny comes from a world that might be more blues than soul, but there's definitely a lot of southern soul styles at play on this set – from Kenny's great vocal leads, right down to the sweet combo backing, which even includes some organ and saxes from St Louis legend Oliver Sain! About half the album's got more of a blues vibe than a soul one – but even those sounds are recorded at a level that's more like you'd hear from a 70s indie than a contemporary label – and Rice's own drums help kick lots of the tunes into headier soul territory, and create this wider-ranging vibe that certainly lives up to the house party spirit promised on the cover. Titles include "I Wanna Satisfy You Baby", "Big Blue", "Back Street", "Pink Champagne", "Honky Tonk", "I'm Tore Up", "Oh Yes It's You", and "Hard Working Man" – plus a very cool take on Horace Silver's "Liberated Brother". ~ Dusty Groove

BENNY LACKER TRIO - SISKIYOU

Pianist Benny Lackner hits a groove here that's really unique – funky, but not jazz funk at all – and instead kind of a spacious, flowing sound on his keyboard that carves out its own special feel through careful timing and well-defined sense of attack! The drums and bass in the group certainly help lay out the sound – especially the bass, which is played with equally spacious tones by Jerome Regard – but Lackner's keyboard work is what really drives the record – these beautifully blocky passages, even when single notes are in play, not chords – which makes for a wonderfully soulful sound throughout, even when Benny moves over to a bit of Wurlitzer or Musser Ampli-Celesta. Titles include great remakes of Bowie's "Cygnet Committee" and Rodriguez' "Sugar Man" – plus "The 4th Member", "Song For Lucia", "The Garden", and "Name Dropper". ~ Dusty Groove


Monday, February 08, 2016

NEW RELEASES: MICHAEL ROSEN – SWEET 17; BEGINNING OF THE END; HERBIE HANCOCK - LIVE IN CHICAGO 1977 FEATURING JACK PASTORIUS

MICHAEL ROSEN – SWEET 17

Guitarist Lage Lund is consistently one of our favorite contemporary musicians on his instrument – and even though he's not the leader on this set from tenorist Michael Rosen, his performance really helps shape the overall sound of the album! Lund's got this way of arching into the groove with these really wonderful colors – bold sometimes, and as strongly melodic as the tenor in the lead – sometimes more subtle, but always powerful – in a way that allows him to fluidly move between frontline space alongside Rosen's tenor and the trumpet of Ralph Alessi – and more rhythmic progressions in line with Dominico Sanna on piano, Matt Pennman on bass, and Bill Stewart on drums. Of course, Rosen's to be credited with the charm of the record, too – as many of the tracks are his own, and seem perfectly penned to open up this special musical blend – on titles that include "Sweet 17", "Architextures", "Fair Weather Ahead", "Hopefully", "39 Belgrave Square", and "Jacoby's Ladder". ~ Dusty Groove

BEGINNING OF THE END

One of the rarest funky records of all time – the hard-to-find second album by Beginning Of The End! This West Indian combo hit it big with their first album on Alston, but this second set, for some strange reason, never really got distributed – which is a damn shame, because it's every bit as funky as their first! The uniquely choppy rhythms of the group's first album are every bit as great here as on the first set – and if anything, the band's instrumentation is even better, especially on the guitar, which is wickedly tight, and played with a super-dope flanged-out approach on the solos. Vocals are great too, maybe even more soulful than before, especially on the album's few midtempo cuts – and the album's a must-have for any fan of the group's funky sound! Titles include "That's What I Get", "Super Woman", "Bluestrain", "Jump In The Water", "Falling Apart At The Seams", and "Trip To Nowhere".  © 1996-2016, Dusty Groove, Inc.

HERBIE HANCOCK - LIVE IN CHICAGO 1977 FEATURING JACK PASTORIUS

Undiscovered funky genius from Herbie Hancock – a live show recorded in Chicago in 1977 – with a unique performance by a quartet that features Bennie Maupin on reeds, James Levin on drums, and Jaco Pastorius on bass! The groove is very much in the best Headhunters mode, but with a more stripped-down sound overall, given the lineup – and Herbie plays a bank of keyboards, plus acoustic piano too – as the group make their way through Hancock classics "Chameleon", "Hang Up Your Hang Us", and "Maiden Voyage" – plus Maupin's "It Remains To Be Seen". ~ Dusty Groove.



 

NEW ORLEANS FAVORITES, CHA WA, FUSES MARDI GRAS INDIAN STYLE WITH MODERN FUNK ON DEBUT RELEASE FUNK 'N' EATHERS

Mardi Gras Indian funk band Cha Wa will release their debut album, Funk 'n' Feathers, on April 1, 2016, after years of explosive, thunderous live performances all over the Crescent City. The new recording is a red-hot combination of two of New Orleans’ quintessential trademarks, Mardi Gras Indians and street level funk music. Funk 'n' Feathers combines deep funk, percussive polyrhythms, and a mix of singing and Mardi Gras Indian chanting that fuse into an intoxicating, hypnotic blend of culture that could only come out of the Crescent City. Cha Wa will celebrate the album with a hometown show on release day and performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April. “Cha Wa” is a slang phrase used by every Mardi Gras Indian tribe, meaning “We’re comin’ for ya” - and this band is definitely comin’ for ya!

Funk 'n' Feathers is a direct descendant of the seminal Mardi Gras Indian-related funk recordings of the 1970s by the Wild Magnolias (backed by The Meters), the Wild Tchoupitoulas, The Neville Brothers, and Dr. John. But this time there is a contemporary twist - the production of Ben Ellman (who has also produced his own band, Galactic, as well as Trombone Shorty and others) and the mixing and mastering of San Francisco’s super-hip engineer Count (DJ Shadow, Radiohead, Lyrics Born, etc.). As a result, Cha Wa's version of Dr. John's “All On A Mardi Gras Day” is a wild recreation of the original. The song takes you straight to the street corners of Uptown New Orleans, instilling the energy of seeing the Indians dancing in their traditional feathered suits, but it also embraces a production style, which is cutting-edge. Another classic, “Jock-A-Mo” (the original version of the song which later became a hit, and has been covered by many artists, as ‘Iko Iko’) is also made over by infusing it with the band’s upbeat brand of funk and the fresh production approach. Davell Crawford, the grandson of the song’s writer, and Irving Banister Sr., the man who played guitar on the original version in 1953 - and the father of Cha Wa’s lead Indian Irving “Honey” Banister, provide deep New Orleans roots to the recording.

The two leaders of Cha Wa, singer/percussionist Honey Banister and drummer Joe Gelini, have been involved with the Mardi Gras Indians for years. Honey Banister, Big Chief of the Creole Wild West tribe, combines both the Mardi Gras Indian tradition and the history of New Orleans rhythm and blues. He was also a featured performer in the HBO series Treme. Gelini moved to New Orleans after graduating from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Joe saw the Mardi Gras Indians emerging on Mardi Gras day to march down Dryades Street and, he says, “I was hooked.  It's a spiritual thing.  It's more than the music.” Spy Boy J'Wan Boudreaux combines the lyrics and style of his grandfather, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles, one of the most respected Mardi Gras Indians and one of the greatest Indian singers ever, with a 21st century take on this music.  Other contributors to the album include John Fohl on guitar (Dr. John), Stephen Malinowski on organ (Ana Popovich), Yoshitaka “Z2” Tsuji on piano (Kermit Ruffins), and Haruka Kikuchi on trombone. Another well-known Mardi Gras Indian, Norwood “Geechie” Johnson of the Wild Magnolias, added bass drum and backing vocals. Special guests include producer Ben Ellman on alto saxophone and Colin Lake on lap steel guitar.

Cha Wa brilliantly finds the right balance between Mardi Gras Indian tradition and an edgier dose of  the street funk which also originated in New Orleans. The band has gained critical praise not only from their hometown publications Offbeat, The Times-Picayune, Advocate, Where Y’At, and Gambit Weekly, but also through national tastemakers including Rolling Stone, NPR Music, and Dan Rather Reports.  The music is spontaneous and spiritual at the same, and no two shows are ever the same. “I think we've reached that point where we can feel the direction of the music intuitively and we just go with it,” says Gelini. “It’s like having that heavy Indian sound with modern recording and modern production and using it all together. It's classic and contemporary at the same time.”  On Funk 'n' Feathers, Cha Wa has made a modern album featuring great energy and enthusiasm, but one which also draws from the deep well of New Orleans culture. The result? Cha Wa is coming for ya!

UPCOMING SHOWS:
02/04- Blue Note Tokyo - Tokyo, Japan
02/05- Blue Note Tokyo - Tokyo, Japan
02/08- Riverwalk - New Orleans, LA [Lundi Gras Celebration]
02/08- Tipitina's Mardi Gras Stands - New Orleans, LA
02/09- 30x90 - New Orleans, LA
02/27- Universal Studios Orlando - Orlando, FL
03/05- Howlin' Wolf - New Orleans, LA
03/31- Lafayette's - Memphis, TN
04/01- Blue Nile [Album Release Show] - New Orleans, LA
04/07- French Quarter Fest - New Orleans, LA
04/10- d.b.a - New Orleans, LA
04/21- Ogden Museum of Southern Art - New Orleans, LA
04/23- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - New Orleans, LA
04/30- French Broad River Festival - Asheville, NC
06/04- Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival - Augusta, NJ


Friday, February 05, 2016

NEW RELEASES: ROXY CROSS - RESTLESS IDEALISM; PER ODDVAR JOHANSEN – LET’S DANCE; AKI RISSANEN - AMORANDOM

ROXY CROSS - RESTLESS IDEALISM

'Easily the next hot modern jazz star for Generation Now. ' - Cashbox Magazine. Best known for her work with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt's group, New York saxophonist / composer Roxy Coss developed the compositions and group concept for her second recording during a three-year residency of her Quintet at New York's famed Smoke Jazz Club. With Pelt on trumpet, long-time band members guitarist Alex Wintz and pianist Chris Pattishall, and the dynamic duo of bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Willie Jones III, Roxy's created a thoughtful, highly emotive and undeniably fearless recording. Inspired by the Jazz Messengers, Wayne Shorter, and Kurt Rosenwinkel's group with Mark Turner, Coss further defines her own unique voice through these ten original compositions.

PER ODDVAR JOHANSEN – LET’S DANCE

Per Oddvar Johansen has played a huge part in Norwegian music over many years and has worked extensively with such groundbreaking figures as Helge Lien, Christian Wallumrød and Petter Wettre. He brings his own imaginative drive to everything he does and his solo debut album ‘Let’s Dance’ on Edition Records shines a spotlight on a musician who has deserved the attention for a long time. Meditative, beautiful, stately and austere, the songs on Let’s Dance are the product of a finely tuned musicianship, developing along an organic and entirely natural and unique path, each intensely satisfying and fulfilling. Per Oddvar’s propulsive rhythms underlie each tune but never attempt to dominate. If there is a dance to be danced it’s a tranquil, dignified and sedate dance – a folk dance celebrating a grave and solemn moment. Features Per Oddvar Johannsen (drums, violins, vibraphone, guitars, wood percussion & electronics); Helge Lien (piano); and Torben Snekkestad (saxophones, reed trumpet).

AKI RISSANEN - AMORANDOM

Over the last few years Aki has quietly been building a name in the international jazz world both as a leader and as a sideman. With Amorandom, he delivers his most authoritative work to date. There's a fluidity in his playing and a boldness in his composing that deserves widespread praise and real recognition for one of the finest young European pianists. Described by Downbeat as a ‘rising star around Europe', Amorandom is the work that will introduce Aki Rissanen’s startling new talent to a global audience. Features Aki Rissanen (piano); Antti Lotjonen (bass); and Teppo Maykynen (drums).


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