Thursday, February 23, 2017

Saxophone Maestra FOSTINA DIXON Blends Contemporary Jazz, Gospel, Funk and R&B on HERE WE GO AGAIN

As a highly-regarded, in-demand composer, vocalist and jazz soloist who plays soprano, alto and baritone saxes, flute, and clarinet, Fostina Dixon has been honing her craft for decades as a guest soloist with Abbey Lincoln, Barry Harris, Earl May and the Big Apple Jazzwomen. Known for her elegant mesmerizing phrasing, she has also played with Prince, Gil Evans, Roy Ayers, Tom Browne, Charlie Persip, Melba Liston, Cab Calloway, Slide Hampton, Frank Foster, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, Bobby Vinton, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Marvin Gaye, with whom she toured with for four years. She was also a member of the Gerald Wilson, Jimmy Cleveland and Leslie Drayton big bands, and, most recently, joined trumpeter Arnold Hutt for a special celebration concert for former Vice President Joe Biden upon his return home to Delaware after leaving office.

Much like Mr. Biden, Ms. Dixon proudly represents the great state of Delaware. As a young woodwind instrumentalist she excelled with the Delaware All-State Band before going on to study with Frank Foster, Buddy Collect, Vic Morosco, Joe Viola, Andy McGhee, William Bowie, and the late Robert "Boysie" Lowery. Expanding on her studies as a protégé, she received a Fine Arts degree from California Institute of the Arts and a Masters in Education from Wilmington University, which led to teaching tenures at various schools in Wilmington. She currently teaches Music Appreciation and Chorus at a local middle school and is Adviser Emeritus of the Wilmington Youth Jazz Band (WYJB).

As a professional musician, Fostina has performed extensively at clubs, colleges, libraries, churches, community art centers and theaters throughout the U.S. With her band "Winds of Change,” she has appeared at New York's Annual Afrikan Street Carnival, the Annual New York Women's Jazz Festival, the Annual Black Women's History Conference, the Kool Jazz Festival, Greenwich Village Jazz Festival, and the Annual Jackie Robinson Festival. She has also played New York's Jazzmobile concert series and has toured abroad, including Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

During her storied career, she has worked on and/or appeared on popular TV shows such as "NY Undercover Cop" series, WNYC's "Perspective in Jazz,” NBC's "Today in New York" (with Dr. Billy Taylor) and the special presentation, "Salute to Bobby Vinton.” She has also performed in the Musical Theatre Works production, "All Girl Band" and Playwrights Horizon production of "Jazz is a Lady.” Additionally, she has showcased at the Women's International Film Festival in New York City and "Sisterfire," a festival in celebration of women artists sponsored by the Flamboyant Ladies Theatre Company.

Last year, Dixon released Here We Go Again, an uplifting collection that elegantly blends contemporary jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B. It’s a thoroughly engaging journey that seamlessly transports the listener with spiritual-like soundscapes. On the title track, she adds a lead vocal set against exquisitely layered harmonies, while on “Prayer of Jabez,” a tribute to Marvin Gaye, she adeptly showcases her virtuosic flair juxtaposing melody and improvisation. Sonically, the 7-song compendium of Again is a musical tour du force with "Bless the Name of Jesus” and “Prayer of Jabez” presented in two parts, the full-length version paired with a subsequent reprise in the form of a vamp.

To support Here We Go Again, Fostina is playing select shows with her band, New Blend, which features Todd Kilgoe on drums, Vincent Adkins on bass, and Kevin Benjamin on keyboards.

“A true original." Dr. Antoinette Handy, Author of "Black Women in American Bands”

“She is a player of impeccable control and skills with… highly independent ideas.” American Women in Jazz

Tour Dates
3/09 - Wilmington, DE @ Ubon (5pm)
4/15 - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe (8pm)
4/30 - Wilmington, DE @ Ubon (5pm)


“Prayer of Jabez”



A great 60s album from pianist Eddie Higgins – one of his few records for Atlantic, and a set that definitely lives up to the seductive power of the title and cover! Eddie's maybe a bit more creative and open here than on some of his other records – more in a Chess Records trio mode than especially his later, more lyrical sides – with great work on rhythm from Richard Evans on bass and Marshall Thompson on drums! The album really reflects Higgins' placement on the Chicago scene of the 60s – and he's got a surprisingly strong left-handed groove at times – on titles that include "Soulero", "Tango Africaine", "Mr Evans","Love Letters", and "Shelly's World". (SHM-CD pressing!)  ~ Dusty Groove


An interesting singer, with an approach that's definitely all her own – one that has Caroline Faber singing alongside just the guitar or Richard Bonnet and drums of Eric Dambrin – both players who can be abstract at some points, and nicely laid back at others! We like that second style the most – as the instrumentation creates this very spacious quality that let's Faber's vocals spread out and flower – almost with a post-jazz sort of mode that reminds us of 70s records on the ECM and Saravah label! One track does pick up a nice, but spare groove – a wickedly cool remake of Marlena Shaw's "Woman Of The Ghetto" – and other tracks include the originals "Psychotic", "J'En Sais Rien", and "Il Bat" – plus nice takes on "Feeling Good", "Cotidiano", and Serge Gainsbourg's "Black Trombone".  ~ Dusty Groove


Fantastic work from one of the most compelling mainstream talents in recent years – an artist who can get wide fame and acclaim, yet keep on pushing the boundaries into fresh new cosmic territory! This album may well be Thundercat's masterpiece – not just a summation of all the ideas and areas he's explored in the past, but also kind of a re-filtering of other modes as well – including the more spiritual and jazz-based territory that he's moved towards, especially when working with others! Yet there's nothing here that's an easy copy of another style, or another's work – as the whole thing bristles with a personal newness that's wonderful – even when Thundercat is getting help from guests who include Kamasai Washington, Flying Lotus, Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell, and Kendrick Lamarr – as well as some especially nice work from AOR legends Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. Titles include "I Am Crazy", "3AM", "Rabbot Ho", "Bus In These Streets", "Lava Lamp", "Jethro", "Show You The Way", "Drink Dat", "Jameel's Space Ride", and "Tokyo". ~ Dusty Groove




The drums are certainly unlimited here – and the album's a really unique one, in that it shows Max Roach in 2 different settings – one with a group, and one that's simply solo! One batch of tracks has Max in the company of a tight group of soul jazz players like Freddie Hubbard, Roland Alexander, James Spaulding, and Ronnie Matthews. The group is very tight, and they've got hard wailing sound similar to a Blue Note group, but with a bit more of a soul jazz feel. They play on two long tracks – "Nommo" and "In the Red". The rest of the tracks – "Drums Unlimited", "The Drum Also Waltzes", and "For Big Sid" – feature Max playing solo, which is a rare treat for a recording of this vintage. The tracks are great, with a very musical groove, and lively playing by Max that never gets too self indulgent. (SHM-CD pressing!)  ~ Dusty Groove


One of the few rare albums by that "other" Gene Harris – not the famous leader of the Three Sounds, or later Concord Records fame – but a lesser-known 50s cat who was classically trained, but can really serve up a soulful swing on the keys! This Gene really knows his way around the keyboard, with a deftness that often comes across right in the very first few notes of a tune – but never in a way that's show-offy at all – especially once the easygoing rhythm duo gets into a groove! Bass is by Mike Long, drums are by George Herman – and titles include "Our Love Is Here To Stay", "Let's Fall In Love", "Cheerful Little Earful", "The Girl Friend", "Out Of This World", and "Love Me Or Leave Me". (SHM-CD pressing!)  ~ Dusty Groove


Herb Alpert seems to have lost his shirt on the way to the photo shoot for the album – but it looks like he's still got his trumpet to keep him warm! Joking aside, the album's a great one from the later Herb – one of those sets that has him turning his strong talent for a trumpet solo in the direction of soulful fusion and R&B-inflected jazz – maybe taking a page from the book of Chuck Mangione or Maynard Ferguson in the process, but definitely giving things his own sort of spin! The arrangements are nicely tasteful – electric, but never clunkily so, especially for the time – and Alpert's trumpet really does a great job of warming things up. Titles include "Latin Lady", "Garden Party", "Paradise Cove", "Gently", "True Confessions", "The Midnight Tango", and "Sundown".  ~ Dusty Groove



Foundation is right, in more than one sense of the word! The Brentford Avenue stalwarts are showcased here on a nice double album compilation of classic and groundbreaking early ska and rocksteady tracks that would become the template for so much Jamaican music to follow. The team of Coxsone Dodd with Don Drummond, Lloyd Brevett, Tommy McCook, Jackie Mittoo, Roland Alphonso, Jerry Hinds, Dizzy Moore and Johnny Moore was unstoppable– and it's hard to imagine where the reggae sound would be without this seminal music! 32 tracks in all, including "Dick Tracy", "Alley Pang", "Christine Keeler", "Fidel Castro", "Beardsman Ska", "Third Man Ska", "Simmer Down", "Exodus", "King Solomon", 'Eastern Standard Time", "I Should Have Known Better", "Hot Cargo", "Black Sunday", "Ska La Parisienne", "Don D Lion", "Third Man Ska", "Nimrod", "Cleopatra", "Addis Ababa", "Silver Dollar", "Killer Diller", "Naked City" and "Ringo's Theme". ~ Dusty Groove


A set that's got a lot more going on than you might expect from the "headnod" title – as Karriem Riggens is at his most dynamic here – offering up way more than just the hip hop instrumentals promised by the album's cover sticker! There's definitely a hip hop aesthetic in place, but it's probably more apt to think of these tracks as instrumental funk productions – heavy on beats, but also laced with lots of other interesting elements too – sometimes a bit of keyboards, sometimes a fuzzy bassline, sometimes some vocal snippets – and a few spots even feature guest appearances by Geri Allen and James Poyser on piano, and Robert Hurst and Derrick Hodge on bass. Titles include "Pay-gio", "Suite Poetry", "Chop Chop", "Other Side Of The Track", "Trombone Love", "Crystal Stairs", "Detroit Funk", "Oddness", "Tandoor Heat", and "Bahia Dreamin".  ~ Dusty Groove


A big step forward for The Right Now – branching out from the retro soul of their past work into a bigger, brighter neo-classic sound – but still firmly rooted in soul! Now, as always, the band is an excellent showcase for the powerful voice of singer Stefanie Berecz – and she's never sounded better – confident and commanding on the heavier songs, vulnerable and intimate on the softer ones. Production and arrangements wise, Starlight skews more modern than past records, and with more varied instrumentation – spacier synth and keys on some tunes, delicate string and flute on the more grounded ones. Solid stuff! We're proud to have them on the Chicago scene, but we'd be happy to see them make a dent on the mainstream, too – Stef's got the pipes of a pop soul diva, without the bluster or ego – fronting a solid, talented, real working band. Nice! Includes "Love You Better", "Postcard", "Up All Night", "LOVE (Lets Me Know)", "If It Was You", "Too Late", "Starlight" and "Hooked".  ~ Dusty Groove



Two top trumpet talents – coming together beautifully on this groovy late 70s set! Both Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela had a big rise to fame in the 60s – Herb, for his Tijuana Brass albums on A&M – and Hugh, for the way that he brought South African jazz currents to the American soul mainstream! Given that both had strong presence on the Cali scene in their time, the pairing here is a great one – and works well with some larger jazz backings that color things out in a mix of soul, fusion, funk, and some slight South African touches. Other players on the set include Lee Ritenour and Arthur Adams on guitars, Paulinho Da Costa on percussion, James Gadson on bass, and Hotep Cecil Bernard on piano – and titles include "Skokiaan", "Moonza", "Lobo", "African Summer", "Ring Bell", and "Happy Hanna".  ~ Dusty Groove


Jose James has a very different look on the cover this time around – and he's got a very different sound, as well – something that might be underscored by the parental advisory logo in the bottom corner of the image! The music is far from the straight jazz or rootsy soul of previous albums from James – and has more of a slimmed-down, slightly-cosmic blend of keyboards and rhythm programs – often set to a slow pace that works perfectly with the depth of Jose's vocals, and given the kind of slight electro crackle that a few other underground soul artists were exploring in the previous decade. The approach is still very fresh, though – especially in the hands of Jose, whose vocals are often so great, they often really get to stretch out and flow in the spareness of the setting. Definitely more soul than jazz, and the album features guest appearances by Mali Music and Oleta Adams – on titles that include "Always There", "What Good Is Love", "Remember Our Love", "Ladies Man", "To Be With You", "Let It Fall", "I'm Yours", "Breathrough", and "Closer".  ~ Dusty Groove


A fantastic debut as a leader from pianist Cameron Graves – an artist you might know from Kamasi Washington's album The Epic – and an even more tremendous talent when he gets his own chance to shine in the spotlight! Graves has a very bold, righteous vision here – a mode that's in the same California Get Down spirit as Washington's music, but with more focus on the structures built up by the piano – almost a post-modal approach, with soaring spiritual currents – served up not just by Graves on the keys, but also by Kamasi Washington on tenor, Philip Dizack on trumpet, and Ryan Porter on trombone! The three horns have a way of wrapping together as a core, then soaring to the skies – while Graves pumps up the movement with a great deal of energy, and the soloists break off on their own. The group also features bass from Thundercat on two tracks, and Hadrien Faraud on the rest – plus drums from Ronald Bruner. Graves produced – which gives the record a very different feel than other Mack Avenue releases – and titles include "Isle Of Love", "The Lucifer Rebellion", "El Diablo", "Adam & Eve", "Planetary Prince", "The End Of Corporatism", and "Satania Our Solar System". ~ Dusty Groove

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Louis Romanos Quartet Announces New Album Serenity

In simple and straightforward terms, Serenity, the new album by the Louis Romanos Quartet, is an utterly delightful musical experience - blending outstanding compositions, sterling musicianship and marvelous creativity at its most compelling. At a time when so much contemporary jazz expression seems to be fettered down in a bog of technical wizardry and pedantic complexity, the LRQ embraces the timeless classicism of emotional warmth, deep lyricism and the sheer undeniable joy of playing music together. Virtuosity abounds, but not to display itself to impress, but to tell captivating stories for the pleasure and edification of any listener in search of that special uplifting that only comes through joyful musical expression.

As Louis describes the LRQ’s mission… they play “original music for people who love music.” The LRQ is locked together in an exhilarating web of empathy and shared pursuit, built upon the blueprint that is laid out by Louis through his leadership with directions established by his terrific compositions and arrangements. Weaving Latin, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern influences into a jazz framework, further spiced with the unique multicultural landscape absorbed through his 15 years in New Orleans, Louis’ compositions are ideal launching points for spirited and viscerally rhythmic sonic improvisation.

Returning from the Quartet’s highly acclaimed 2015 debut album Take Me There are guitarist Dan Sumner and Alex Noppe on trumpet and Flugelhorn. Joining them on this album is the remarkable string bassist Luca Lombardi. Sumner – who goes back some twenty years with Louis to 1997 when they co-founded the landmark New Orleans duo Permagrin – is an exceptional soloist and also provides a rich backdrop to the musical canvas with his brilliant aural coloring, often evoking resonant suspended charged chords that are akin to those spidery shower fireworks that linger in the sky long after the initial burst. Noppe is a master of richly lyrical warmth whose stunning solos are sometimes marked by emphatic flairs of bent notes and serpentine coils. Lombardi’s deeply resonant sound, impeccable rhythms and imaginative vitality roots the powerful groove of the music perfectly, complementing Louis’ drumming in splendid fashion.

Romanos is truly a great drummer, always inventive, rhythmically flawless and fresh, and thoroughly musical, not only providing the ideal firmament for the improvisational journey, but fully participating in its contextual evolution. His two solos are sensational – filled with lyricism, and vibrant in groove. And when you focus on his playing throughout the entire album, there never seems to be a moment where he falls back on basic time. He is always consummately creative, consistently adding luster and sparkle that deepens the tale being told.

And wonderful tales they are, beginning with the opening piece Just Pretend. A nicely syncopated trumpet and guitar line built upon a virile bass ostinato, it features an expressive rock-tinged guitar solo, a deeply wooded bass excursion and a vividly rhythmic drum solo spiced by afro-beat guitar, joined by the bass to bring it to climax. Funk is the flavor on Funkle Lou, rooted in a N’Orleans street beat, and also reminiscent of the classic hard bop funk of 60s Blue Note (including a long sustained bent bass note a la The Sidewinder). Luca also rips out a superpizzicato solo that would make Bootsy Collins smile. Alex’s plunger-muted trumpet sings out viscerally talking-blues in that Clark Terry/Cootie Williams mode, swinging mightily over souldrenched guitar, fervid bass and sparkling drums. Louis’ concluding solo is deeply funky with throbbing bass drum and singing toms.

Bossa is the groove for Klozola with genteel acoustic guitar and opulent arco bass setting the tone for Flugelhorn like the gentle warmth of a light tropical rain as it states the lovely and sensuous theme. Jobim-channeling guitar and sonorous Flugel solos add to the delectable texture.

Another gentle and soothing item is Take a Hike with its circular, almost rondo-like melody, deliciously sung on Flugelhorn and featuring a sonorous bass solo and a stately turn by Alex. Two beautiful ballads are included as well. The enchanting Home Again is offered by Flugelhorn and guitar slow-dancing in tight embrace, wrapped in the arms of sumptuous bass. Emotive and poignant guitar and Flugel solos further enhance the mood. Serenity in Dissolution is a lovely piece stated radiantly by Dan’s touching guitar, and includes his ballad/bluesy solo, warmly sensitive Flugelhorn, and swirls into a wonderfully atmospheric collective pastiche at its climax.

With a boogaloo style groove in homage to drum master Idris Muhammed, Old Soul features an intricate, but totally lyrical trumpet/guitar unison theme cooked in an intertwined bass/drums staggered rhythmic tandem, all culminating with brilliantly overlaid trumpet and guitar solos. Song for Charlie is a unique departure from the rest of the album. Launched by Louis alone, he’s joined by Alex’s plunger-muted trumpet for a fascinating two-man musical conversation filled with drama, wit, a bit of sarcastic repartee and even an occasional dirty joke here and there.

This enchanting album concludes with Witches Brew clearly calling to mind the closely titled Miles Davis album that changed music forever. This homage is appropriately muscular, biting, adventurous and exploratory, with trumpet soaring over a scintillating swamp-gut bottom of shimmering guitar, funkily strutting bass and subtly insistent rocking drums.

This wonderful album not only has something for everybody, it has everything any fan of great music could want.

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo releases "Peace" featuring special guests Peter Orins and Christian Pruvost from KAZE

With each new orchestra album, pianist-composer Satoko Fujii deepens and refines one of the most startling and singular concepts in large ensemble free jazz today. Peace (January 27, 2017, Libra Records), the fifth album with her 15-member Orchestra Tokyo, is no exception. A tribute to the late guitarist Kelly Churko, the recording features special guests drummer Peter Orins and trumpeter Christian Pruvost with whom Fujii and her husband Natsuki Tamura perform in the collective quartet KAZE. Together these friends and colleagues create one of the most personal of Fujii's 18 (!) big band albums.

"I always try to come up with a special concept for each recording project," Fujii says. "When we recorded Peace, KAZE was in Japan touring. The two French musicians are very different from the Japanese musicians in the orchestra, so I thought it might be interesting to see how they all could draw inspiration from one another. I wanted to bring their voices into my Tokyo orchestra to get some kind of creative chemical reaction. I like how it came out. I think it succeeded."

Besides introducing special guests to the orchestra, Fujii also wanted to pay tribute to one of her most beloved collaborators, Canadian guitarist Kelly Churko, who lived in Tokyo for more than a decade and was a member of the Orchestra Tokyo from 2009 and the First Meeting quartet (Churko appears on the orchestra's 2010 release, Zakopane and First Meeting's Cut the Rope CD.) "He was an amazing person and such a talented musician," Fujii says.
Fujii wrote "Peace" in Churko's memory. From the title, you might not expect the full throttle intensity and explosive energy of the composition. Fujii showcases the entire sax section in a pulsating, triple forte collective improvisation to open the piece and the energy level never drops as baritone saxophonist Ryuichi Yoshida delivers a roaring solo, alto saxophonist Kunihiro Izumi swoops and wails and the drummers engage in earth-shaking duet. As Fujii explains, "Kelly loved noise music and crazy heavy metal sometimes, but he was the guy who was very peaceful and loved peace."

Churko died of cancer in 2014, so the sprawling half-hour composition "2014" has a tie to the guitarist as well. Working on a large musical canvas, Fujii has plenty of space to explore different aspects of the orchestra, from extended melodies to massive orchestral chords to subtle orchestrations. Fujii deploys duo and trio combinations of improvisers to enrich the written material. First up are the special guests Pruvost and Orins, followed by trombonist Yasuyuki Takahashi and tenor saxophonist Masaya Kimura. The energy level of the performance jumps suddenly as the drummers go at it together and then trumpeters Natuski Tamura and Toshihiro Koike chatter and soar before bright and bold full ensemble blasts. A trio improvisation with trumpeter Takao Watanabe, trombonist Haguregumo Nagamatsu and tenorist Kenichi Matsumoto unfolds over a funky beat before bassist Toshiki Nagata has the final say.

Tamura's "Jasper" opens serenely, with featured soprano saxophone soloist Sachi Hayasaka improvising almost a call to prayer. The music builds to an impressive full orchestra crescendo before retreating to the hushed drone that began the piece. "Jasper was a cat of our old friend's, Jane Wang in Boston," Fujii explains. "He was Natsuki's best friend. They could communicate somehow and enjoyed napping together."

The album closes with "Beguine Nummer Eins," a melodic dance number whose title is a legacy of Fujii and Tamura's years spent in Berlin. (They are now based back in Japan.) Trumpeter Yoshihito Fukumoto delivers a robust, lyrical performance.

Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original voices in jazz today. She's "a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a bandleader who gets the best collaborators to deliver," says John Fordham in The Guardian.  In concert and on more than 80 albums as a leader or co-leader, she synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock and Japanese folk music into an innovative music instantly recognizable as hers alone. Her most recent group, Satoko Fujii Tobira with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, bassist Todd Nicholson, and drummer Takashi Itani, released their debut recording Yamiyo Ni Karasu in 2015. "There are pulse-pounding rhythms, vibrant tones and dark chords woven together into a multi-shaded tapestry of soundŠWhat an absolute pleasure to listen to Satoko Fujii." wrote Travis Rogers Jr. in The Jazz Owl. Over the years, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music, including the ma-do quartet, the Min-Yoh Ensemble, and an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins. She has also established herself as one of the world's leading composers for large jazz ensembles, leading Cadence magazine to call her, "the Ellington of free jazz." Her ultimate goal: "I would love to make music that no one has heard before."

Although Fujii is renowned as a pianist, her keyboard playing is not heard on Peace. "For me, composing is one of the most delicious parts of being a musician," she says. "I compose the piece but the composition is more like the starting point for improvising. With my orchestra, conducting is my improvisation. I can arrange my compositions on the stage with a lot of inspiration from my bandmates' playing. I'm not playing piano as much with my orchestra now. Many times, I don't play at all. I am just too busy directing and cueing the band. My band is my instrument."

The ASCAP Foundation Announces 2017 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award Recipients

Herb and Lani Alpert of the Herb Alpert Foundation / Photo Credit: Dewey Nicks          
The ASCAP Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2017 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards. The program was established in 2002 to encourage young gifted jazz composers up to the age of 30. It carries the name of the great trumpeter and ASCAP member Herb Alpert in recognition of the Herb Alpert Foundation's multi-year financial commitment to support this program. The recipients, who receive cash awards, range in age from 15 to 30, and are selected through a juried national competition.

The ASCAP Foundation President, Paul Williams said, "We congratulate the recipients of our Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards and thank the ASCAP composers who selected the winners. We are honored to partner with the Herb Alpert Foundation to recognize these talented young jazz creators."

The 2017 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipients are listed with their age, current residence and place of birth. The youngest winners are listed with their age and state of residence: Emily Bear, age 15 of Illinois; Annie Booth, age 27 of Denver, CO; Michael Conrad, age 28 of Greeley, CO (Arlington Heights, IL); Gizem Gokoglu, age 30 of New York, NY (Izmir, Turkey); Andrew Karboski, age 22, of New York, NY (Seattle, WA); Gene Knific, age 24 of Chicago, IL (Kalamazoo, MI); David Leon, Age 23 of Miami, FL; Scott Ninmer, age 27 of Arlington, VA (Decatur, IL); Luca Mendoza, age 18 of California; Christopher Misch-Bloxdorf, age 25 of Milwaukee, WI (Kenosha, WI); Kai Ono, age 21 of Lawrence, KS (Granada Hills, CA); Chris Ott, age 29, of Brooklyn, NY (Kettering, OH); Robert Perez, age 24 of Chino Hills, CA (Covino, CA); Lucas Pino, age 29 of New York, NY (Phoenix, AZ); Diego Joaquin Ramirez, age 27 of Woodside, NY (Cork, Ireland); Nikos Syropoulos, age 28 of Los Angeles, CA (State College, PA); Zan Tetickovic, age 25 of Long Island City, NY (Ptuj, Slovenia); Matt Wong, age 18 of New York, NY (San Francisco, CA), and Christopher Zuar, age 29 of New York, NY.

Composers receiving Honorable Mention this year are: Lucas Apostoleris, age 23 of Miami, FL (New Milford, CT); Mario Castro, age 28 of New York, NY (Humacao, Puerto Rico); Andrew Leung, age 15 of California; Gina Ramirez, age 19 of Los Angeles, CA; Jordan Seigel, age 28 of Sherman Oaks, CA (Los Angeles, CA); Sara Sithi-Amnuai, age 22 of Los Angeles, CA (Sydney, Australia); and Andrew Van Tassel, age 28 of New York, NY (Short Hills, NJ).

The ASCAP composer/judges for the 2017 competition were: Anat Cohen, Keyon Harrold, and Yosvany Terry.

The Newport Festival Foundation will feature one of the recipients of the Herb Alpert Awards during the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival in August.

Additional funding for this program is provided by The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund.

About The Herb Alpert Foundation
The Herb Alpert Foundation, a non-profit, private foundation established in the early 1980's, makes significant annual contributions to a range of programs in the fields of Arts, Arts Education and Compassion and Well Being. Its funding is directed toward projects in which Herb and Lani Alpert and Foundation President Rona Sebastian play an active role. [The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.]

About The ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education, talent development and humanitarian programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States.

Frank Sinatra's 'Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim' To Be Released April 7 In Expanded 50th Anniversary Edition

Frank Sinatra's acclaimed 1967 album with Brazilian music legend Antonio Carlos Jobim, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, is expanded for its 50th Anniversary Edition, to be released April 7 on CD and digitally. On the same date, the remastered original album will be released on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl LP and in a limited blue vinyl edition.

Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim brought together two maestros from divergent musical worlds in a serene sigh of sun-dappled bossa-nova. In evening studio sessions at Hollywood's Western Recorders between January 30 and February 1, 1967, Sinatra breathed new life into the album's 10 songs, accompanied vocally on four by Jobim, who also played guitar on the album. The album's tracks include seven Jobim originals and three American Songbook classics, delicately arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman with a studio orchestra, and produced by Sonny Burke.

"I haven't sung so soft since I had the laryngitis," joked Sinatra during their first evening together in the studio, easing into the hushed swing of the sessions.

Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim ascended Billboard's albums chart in April 1967, peaking at No.19 and remaining on the chart for 28 weeks. The 50th Anniversary Edition's CD and digital formats include two bonus tracks: A medley of "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars"/"Change Partners"/"I Concentrate on You"/"The Girl from Ipanema" from A Man And His Music + Ella + Jobim, and a previously unreleased studio session of "The Girl from Ipanema" from January 31, 1967.

Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (50th Anniversary Edition)
CD / Digital
1. The Girl from Ipanema       
2. Dindi
3. Change Partners
4. Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars
5. Meditation 
6. If You Never Come to Me 
7. How Insensitive
8. I Concentrate on You  
9. Baubles, Bangles and Beads  
10. Once I Loved 

11. Sinatra-Jobim Medley:
Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars/Change Partners/I Concentrate on You/The Girl from Ipanema (from A Man And His Music + Ella + Jobim)
12. The Girl from Ipanema (previously unreleased studio session from January 31, 1967)

Throughout his six-decade career, Frank Sinatra performed on more than 1,400 recordings and was awarded 31 gold, nine platinum, three double platinum, and one triple platinum album by the Recording Industry Association of America. Sinatra demonstrated a remarkable ability to appeal to every generation and continues to do so; his artistry still influences many of today's music superstars. The Oscar® winner also appeared in more than 60 films and produced eight motion pictures.

Sinatra was awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards from The Recording Academy, The Screen Actors Guild and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Today, he remains a legend and an inspiration around the world for his contributions to culture and the arts.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Guitarist Jim Yanda Releases Two Albums Spanning the 30-Year Career of His Brilliantly Inventive Trio

Featuring bassist Drew Gress and drummer Phil Haynes, Regional Cookin' finds long-overdue release after decades on the shelf, while Home Road captures 2 CDs' worth of newly-recorded music.

Thirty years is a long time to keep any relationship going. It's an almost impossibly long time to keep a secret. To a large extent the Jim Yanda Trio has managed to do both, creating exhilarating, spontaneous music together while remaining largely under the radar outside of those lucky enough to catch their sporadic performances in the New York area - despite the fact that the trio features Drew Gress, one of the music's busiest and most in-demand bassists, and veteran drummer and experimentalist Phil Haynes.

Yanda is finally ready to let the cat out of the bag - in a big way. The guitarist and composer is set to release two albums featuring three CDs' worth of music spanning the trio's long history. Regional Cookin' dates from the band's earliest days, recorded in 1987 but never before released, while Home Road fills two discs with newly-recorded material illustrating the trio's evolution. Both will be released on March 24 through Haynes' Corner Store Jazz label.

Together, these two albums reveal a band with a profound sense of empathy, a thrilling knack for taking sonic chances, deep roots in the blues combined with an era-spanning avant-garde sensibility, and perhaps most importantly, a raw honesty that could only result from such long and enduring friendships - and, Iowa native Yanda might insist, a plainspoken Midwestern directness.

"I think there's a little more naiveté and abandon on Regional Cookin'," Yanda says in comparing the two sessions. "I was just trying to hang on for dear life and survive. Home Road is more controlled with, hopefully, a little more maturity and wisdom."

The fact that a debut as assured and often electrifying as Regional Cookin' could languish on the shelf for 30 years is a reflection of Yanda's understated modesty, which in a case like this can allow the perfect to become an enemy of the (very) good. "My initial mistake," he writes in the album's liner notes, "of measuring creativity against some idealized version in our mind's ear while overlooking the achievement of the actual product likely bedevils most recording artists at some point."
While that error in self-judgment kept this music hidden from the ears of listeners, it fortunately didn't dissuade Yanda from continuing his fruitful collaboration with Haynes, which stretches back to their student days at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, and Gress, who joined the duo shortly after their arrival

in New York City in 1983. Yanda and Haynes shared a Brooklyn storefront where they could both live and play. The drummer, whose extensive credits include releases with Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, Mark Dresser, Michelle Rosewoman and Theo Bleckmann, discovered in Gress an ideal rhythm partner, launching a vital and long-lasting collaboration and making a trio meeting almost inevitable. Gress, of course, went on to work with an exhaustive list of jazz's most creative artists, including John Abercrombie, Ralph Alessi, Tim Berne, Don Byron, Uri Caine, Ravi Coltrane, Marc Copland, Fred Hersch, John Hollenbeck, and John Surman.

Yanda began his professional career playing Western Swing in Iowa honky-tonks near his family's farm. He turned to rock in his high school years, inspired by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers, then finally discovered jazz in college. After a brief tenure in New York he spent six years in Chicago, regularly playing in local clubs, working with drummer/composer Damon Short and the Déjà Vu Big Band, and frequenting the legendary South Side jam sessions hosted by Von Freeman. He made his permanent return to New York in 1992.

Yanda was inspired to form the trio by his and Haynes' shared mentor, trumpeter Paul Smoker, whose innovative trio work drew from influences that run the length and breadth of jazz history. "Paul went all the way back to field hollers, rags, New Orleans music, Louis Armstrong - primordial pre-jazz up through swing - then through Charlie Parker to free music, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the World Saxophone Quartet. As a listener it was so refreshing and gave the experience so much more depth to be able to draw on the entire history. The straight ahead stuff sounds fresher and the old stuff sounds more modern when you juxtapose those different eras and open up that wider history."

Yanda decided to pursue a similar path; the strengths that are shared between the two discs of Home Road and the much earlier recordings on Regional Cookin' include a vigorous swing coupled with a tightrope-walking freedom, a full-throated blues feeling filtered through a sharp-edged modernism. One common ground between the earliest jazz and the freedom of the avant-garde has always been collective improvisation, and Yanda was eager to pursue that concept with Gress and Haynes.

"We always wanted the interplay and the dialogue to continue among all of the players all of the time while the music is happening," Yanda explains. "In straight ahead music there's a tendency to have the rhythm section in the background with a soloist in front. We try to let everyone be free to improvise at any given time, so you get much more of a group improvisation feel and it opens a lot of doors for new sounds and creativity. Phil and Drew are masters at that; you're always aware that they're listening and reacting and feeding you ideas. It's a wide open kind of experience."

It's an experience that the members of Yanda's trio have sought to recreate in a number of different contexts. Yanda is a longtime member of Haynes' "jazz-grass" string band Free Country, whose work spans the breadth of American music, from jazz to country to bluegrass. The pair also makes up two-thirds of The Hammond Brothers, a reimagining of the classic organ trio featuring B3 master Steve Adams. Yanda has also collaborated with trumpeter Herb Robertson.



Nina sings Ellington – but as always, she makes whatever she sings all her own! The album's a bit straighter than later efforts – with large backings by Stu Phillips that also feature vocals by the Malcolm Dodds Singers – but Nina also conceived the whole thing herself, as an effort to bring a new level of spiritualism to Ellington's work. The result is a masterpiece – proof that even in her early years, Nina could completely transform anything she laid her hands on – and unlock a soulful depth that even the original recordings might have missed. Titles include "I Got It Bad", "Solitude", "The Gal From Joe's", "It Don't Mean A Thing", and "I Like The Sunrise". ~ Dusty Groove


Arranger and bandleader Mark Masters reimagines the music of iconic jazz composers Charles Mingus and Gerry Mulligan on Blue Skylight featuring the Mark Masters Ensemble with veteran players Putter Smith, Gary Foster and Gene Cipriano. Both Mulligan and Mingus would no doubt approve of the reimaginings that Masters has made of their compositions. The word "arrangements" doesn't quite do justice to Masters' approach; these eleven pieces are vivid acts of recomposition, each vividly rendered and finely tailored to fit the gifted and distinctive players of the Mark Masters Ensemble. "Mark Masters is an accomplished arranger who comes up with hip, unusual ideas for jazz concerts and recordings." - Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes / / "Masters is leading the charge as one of the great arrangers of our time." - Brent Black,


Tenor saxophonist Keith Oxman leads a burning organ trio on his 9th Capri release.  The recording features Oxman and his Denver-based trio with drummer Todd Reid and Hammond B3 player Jeff Jenkins on a set of little-known standards and newly-penned originals. As carefree and finger-snapping as this music may be, it wasn't achieved without its share of struggle. The trio's first attempt at recording was marred by equipment mishaps and had to be scrapped. When they reconvened last April, less than a month had passed since the passing of Oxman's mother, which almost precipitated another cancellation. "My father encouraged me to proceed with it," Oxman recalls. "I was barely in a frame of mind to play, but something happened when we got together. Six out of ten of those tracks are first takes." " If anyone still needs convincing that outstanding jazz players live and work in places other than on the East and West Coasts, they should check out Denver-based Keith OxmanŠ an excellent improviser with a fine sound, agile technique and sure harmonic sense. He also exhibits a thorough knowledge of the hard bop language and can swing like crazy." - David Franklin, JazzTimes


Oleta Adams releases “Third Set” her first new album in eight years

“At this point in my life it’s kind of cool that I don’t have to ask anybody’s permission anymore about what I want to sing.” – Oleta Adams

Iconic, Grammy-award nominated vocalist Oleta Adams celebrates her 45th year in the music industry with a new collection of classic songs entitled Third Set. Inspired by the early days of her career, when she played multiple shows nightly in lounges and piano bars across the globe, Third Set highlights the music that Adams and her band always loved to play during that halcyon hour when the evening’s final set arrived.

“Before my break, I was playing in the clubs for 17 years,” Adams recalls. “I played a lot of hotel gigs where we would have to cater to all kinds of people. In the first two sets of the night, we didn’t know who we were catering to, so we had to do the songs that were the most familiar. But then, after a while, the third set became the one I designated as my set or the musician’s set. It was when we played what we wanted to play. I grew very fond of that set because it was in that third set that the greatest amount of creativity happened – when the crowds were smaller and we were under less pressure to do what the crowd wanted.”
Though Third Set may be comprised of the music that Adams and her band revel in playing for themselves, it is likewise filled with stunning arrangements of all-time favorite songs that music lovers will also no doubt stand up and applaud in much the same way that audiences have done as the velvety-voiced songstress has worked out the songs on the road over the last year.

Included on Third Set are “Oleta-fied’ versions of everything from jazz standards like Frank Sinatra’s, “Only The Lonely”, a haunting and desolate meditation on the despair of loneliness, and Cole Porter’s “It’s Alright With Me”, which Adams refreshingly interprets with sassy, sultry resolve, to an anthemic new take on Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and a soul-stirring reimagining of Joni Mitchell’s folk rock masterpiece “Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow”, which becomes a soaring musical deliberation on the eternal war between the sexes in Adams’ capable hands.

Of her song choices, Adams explains that, “These are not necessarily songs that people would have thought I would choose but I chose songs that have meaning.”
“At this point in my life, it’s kind of cool that I don’t have to ask anybody’s permission anymore about what I want to sing,” she continues.
An elegant remake of Joni Mitchell’s “River’, a bluesy revision of Nina Simone’s “Do I Move You”, acoustic revisitations of her own recordings, “Evolution” and “Rhythm of Life”, as well as two new uplifting contemporary gospel tracks “Wilted Roses” and “His Loving Eyes”, round out Adams’ latest offering.
“It needs to have a great lyric and I have to relate to it in some way,” the songbird says of the songs that attract her. “I’ve found that pain is pain, it doesn’t matter who’s feeling it. When people are lonely and hurt or even when they’re happy I can’t imagine that it is any different for one than it is for another. Whether it’s me or somebody I know and I’m speaking for them, there has to be something in a song that I feel enough people can relate to. “
And relate they undoubtedly shall.


FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents BMG recording artist and songwriter Carly Robyn Green in her NYC concert debut on February 23, 2017. Her adult-contemporary / smooth jazz repertoire includes fresh takes on American Songbook standards, stylized renditions of contemporary classics, and original love songs co-written with Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn. Hailed by AOL Music News as “the female Michael Buble,” Carly is making waves in the A/C and jazz worlds with her new single “What Love is All About,” co-written with Wildhorn. She’ll share this song, as well as other collaborations from their new project together, which she has been performing across Southern California at venues including The El Rey Theatre in Hollywood, The Yost Theater in Orange County, The Rose Theater in Pasadena, at jazz clubs like Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz, Catalina Jazz Club, and Dave Koz’s Spaghettini in Los Angeles, at Sundance Film Festival, and in Atlantic City. Under the musical direction of Danny Jonokuchi, Carly’s stellar six-piece rhythm and horn section will feature Steven Feifke, Jake Leckie, Peter Traunmueller, Karl Lyden, and Tal Shtuhl. Carly has also invited a few special guests to lend some tunes to the evening, like American Idol finalist and star of Broadway’s Rock of Ages and Jekyll & Hyde, Constantine Maroulis. 

Also slated is Grammy and Emmy nominated songwriter David Wolfert, whose hits include “I Believe in You & Me” for Whitney Houston. To make this “date night” extra special for her audience, Carly has teamed up with some partners in celebration of the month of love. Reality star of FYI’s Married at First Sight and former contestant on ABC’s The Bachelor, Jamie Otis will be in attendance to meet fans and showcase her new book, Wifey 101: Everything I Got Wrong After Finding Mr. Right. And, as seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, dating service Three Day Rule will also be hosting a member meet & greet pre-show cocktail gathering, where New York City singles can mingle and meet personal matchmakers before enjoying the show.

Carly Robyn Green makes her NYC debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Thursday, February 23rd at 9:30PM. There is a $25-35 cover charge and $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00PM are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.

Carly Robyn Green is a BMG modern adult-contemporary / smooth jazz recording artist and songwriter with songs featured in over 120 popular television shows and films, including 30 Rock (NBC), Scandal (ABC), Hung (HBO), Real L Word (Showtime), Dance Moms (Lifetime), Beauty & the Beast (The CW), Real Housewives (BRAVO), Say Yes to the Dress (TLC), Young & the Restless (CBS), One Life to Live (ABC), Keeping Up with the Kardashians and all of its spinoffs, and many shows across Oxygen, WeTV, HGTV, Logo, and OWN. Carly’s music has also been featured on soundtracks and promos for feature films like What’s Your Number and House Bunny, indie films like Life Happens and Slightly Single in L.A., and Hallmark movies like A Wish for Christmas and Love on Ice, resulting in over 7 million YouTube views to date. 

Carly was a featured vocalist on Broadway Records’ Jekyll & Hyde Concept Record, she can be frequently heard singing parodies for Fox Sports, and she was the first official spokesinger of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Campaign for pediatric cancer research. Carly writes for multi-platinum artists worldwide, with hits in Korea, Japan, and Romania, and she has opened for Buddy Guy,  Keiko Matsui, Chris Brown, and Matisyahu, toured with O-Town, duetted with Michael Lington, and sang back-up for Cee Lo Green at The Grammy Awards. 

Eddie Palmieri Celebrates 80th Birthday With Release Of ‘Sabiduria’ featuring Donald Harrison Jr, Marcus Miller, Alfredo de la Fe, Joe Locke, Johnny Rivero, Ronnie Cuber and Others

Eddie Palmieri’s influence on the world of modern music is often celebrated, but just as often underestimated. As he completes his 80th year with us, his energy and commitment seem to be increasing, as if to fully emphasize the power of not just the music but also the cross-cultural importance of the process. With no sign of slowing, Mr. Palmieri is the elder of a global culture of musicians, actively teaching young students and leading the way for the next generation. And now Mr. Palmieri brings to the world his first project since his back to back Grammy wins in 2005/2006 - SABIDURIA. Sabiduria is the Spanish word for WISDOM, and the message is clear from the outset that wisdom is the exalted value that should guide us all. His intent with Sabiduria, as it has been with all of his recordings, is to create art that will be analyzed and understood well beyond his time.

Many elements of style can be found within the experience of SABIDURIA - funk, soul, jazz and pop are all present alongside the guiding force of rhythm. This is music you can sit to, drive to, and of course, DANCE to. The album features appearances from Donald Harrison Jr, Marcus Miller, Alfredo de la Fe, Joe Locke, Johnny Rivero, Ronnie Cuber, and David Spinnoza. SABIDURIA may well be the best Latin Jazz record ever made, and when the dance is over we will let history decide.

‘We are honored, humbled, and thrilled to represent Mr. Palmieri and his true spirit of independence. We encourage you to listen, dance, and celebrate with us the living legend - Mr. Eddie Palmieri - at his top form.’ (Louis Marks, Ropeadope)

Born in 1936 in New York, Mr. Eddie Palmieri is a bandleader, arranger, and composer who has skillfully fused the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of his jazz influences. He gained international attention as a piatesynist in the 1950’s, playing with Eddie Forrester and the popular Tito Rodriguez Orchestra, among others. In 1961 he formed La Perfecta, featuring an unconventional front line of trombones that created a new sound, mixing American Jazz into Afro-Caribbean rhythms and leading to the trombone-heavy Salsa explosion in the 1970s. Throughout the 60s and 70s Mr. Palmieri continued to surprise fans and critics with his unique sound – in 1970 he released the epic ‘Harlem River Drive’, merging Black and Latin music into a free-form sound that seamlessly blends elements of funk, soul, rock, salsa, and jazz. In 1975 Mr. Palmieri was awarded the very first Grammy for Best Latin Recording; this would be the first of ten Grammys over the next 30 years. His lyrics and arranging style have influenced countless musicians from a diverse array of settings, including Chick Corea, Ruben Blades, Willie Colon and the Fania All Stars, Christian McBride, and hip hop pioneer Bobbito Garcia.

Born in 1936 in New York, Mr. Eddie Palmieri is a bandleader, arranger, and composer who has skillfully fused the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of his jazz influences. He gained international attention as a pianist in the 1950’s, playing with Eddie Forrester and the popular Tito Rodriguez Orchestra, among others. In 1961 he formed La Perfecta, featuring an unconventional front line of trombones that created and new sound, mixing American Jazz into Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Throughout the 60s and 70s Mr. Palmieiri continued to surprise fans and critics with his unique sound – in 1970 he released the epic ‘Harlem River Drive’, merging Black and Latin music into a free-form sound that elements of funk, soul, salsa, and jazz together. In 1975 Mr. Palmieri was awarded the very first Grammy for Best Latin Recording; this would be the first of ten Grammys over the next 30 years.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Trombonist JOE FIEDLER Expands His Palette With New Recording, LIKE, STRANGE

Featuring Joe Fiedler (trombone), Jeff Lederer (tenor & soprano saxes), Pete McCann (guitar), Rob Jost (bass) & Michael Sarin (drums)

"Fiedler is a veteran of big and small jazz, rock and Latin ensembles. He's composed musical cues for Sesame Street and, in separate projects, paid tribute to Wayne Shorter and Captain Beefheart. He's equally facile playing inside and outside, but just as important, he likes and respects both. The trio's fourth recording marks out a boundary where these elements can cordially coexist, and then throws a party inside that perimeter." - Bill Meyer, DownBeat Magazine (Four-star review on I'm In)

"In addition to his diverse sideman work, Fiedler's reputation as a vanguard artist with a penchant for experimenting outside conventional norms is somewhat belied by the accessibility of his creative efforts-which are well represented on this engaging (and appropriately titled) session. I'm In, a noteworthy addition to his burgeoning discography, is every bit as compelling as the work of his heroes." - Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz

  "The versatile Joe Fiedler has often been associated with the avant-garde . . . [but he] proves that he's also a master of swing and blues-based music . . . he uses superb technique, which includes playing chords (multiphonics), and a wit worthy of trombonist Ray Anderson to invigorate straight ahead jazz, paying indirect tributes to tradition while simultaneously turning the music inside out" - Jazziz Magazine  

The imaginative and adventurous trio of trombonist, composer, bandleader Joe Fiedler, bassist Rob Jost and drummer Michael Sarin just accomplished the near-impossible; with the addition of saxophonist Jeff Lederer and guitarist Pete McCann they have broadened their melodic and harmonic range, and expanded rhythmically, becoming even more awe-inspiring. The Quintet is featured in all its splendor on Fiedler's new recording, Like, Strange (available on Multiphonics Music on March 17, 2017). After thirteen years of leading his trio (documented on I'm In, Plays The Music of Albert Mangelsdorff, The Crab and Sacred Chrome Orb), and that format being his primary creative outlet, Fiedler felt the urge to expand. He explains, "after more than a decade of playing trio I still love it, but I found myself wanting to branch out and bring different colors and textures to my music. Thus I thought that it was time to add some people who were both unique soloists and great interpreters of music in general."

Like, Strange, in many ways, is a continuation of the music from Fiedler's previous critically acclaimed recording, I'm In (which also features bassist Jost and drummer Sarin). "In general, and similar to my previous recording, the compositions are more traditional forms and variations of traditional chord progressions, yet still pliable and able to handle both inside and outside playing. For my ears, adding Pete and Jeff turned out to be the perfect way to expand the trio and give it an added, richer depth of color and sound," said Fiedler.

Joe Fiedler on Jeff Lederer:  "Last year I was working as a sideman on a project along with Jeff and we got to talking about our shared and unique niche in the music world. We are probably the only two musicians that have been playing for years in both the 'downtown' jazz and hardcore Latin music scenes. So during a rehearsal I had an idea to loosely fuse these two worlds and make a project that played old school Latin boogaloos, but with a more open-freewheeling vibe. Jeff was into it and the expanded trio was set into motion. Then a funny thing happened. We started playing together a lot over the past year in many different configurations and I loved the hook up that we had. Suddenly the concept of the boogaloo became secondary to the idea of writing music that just felt good and highlighted the way that our sounds came together."

Joe Fiedler on Pete McCann:  "So I began writing music that had a Latin feel but I wouldn't consider it 'Latin Jazz.' I realized how lucky I was to have Rob Jost and Michael Sarin, rhythmic masters who are quite able to handle any style that I wanted to bring to this project. I also realized that in order to fully embrace the harmonies and textures that I was hearing I was going to need a chordal instrument. Pete was the very first person to come to mind. I have played with him in many different bands for more than twenty years and his creativity and virtuosity are second to none, not to mention the sense of humor and positivity that he brings to the bandstand/studio/hang.   

More on the music on Like, Strange:
GO GET IT - Inspired by one of Fiedler's favorite composers, Jimmy Guiffre, With this tune the trombonist/composer was looking to write something a little playful. This has an unconventional, long form that starts as a jazz waltz and is broken up with half-time funk sections.

MAPLE AVENUE TANGO - Fiedler has always loved the tango and the way that guys like Dr. John and Bennie Wallace took a greasy approach this rhythm, so here he offers his take on it. "I love the way that the two horns trading solos turned out - Jeff's idea, in the studio," said Fiedler

A LADYBUG IN MY NOTEBOOK - This tune highlights Fiedler's current interest in simple motifs and less angularity. After years with the trio he was quite happy to have another horn to create melodic tension. Note how the low register of soprano saxophone blends with the trombone, adding a nice change of texture.

LIKE, STRANGE - The title track "Like, Strange" was once Fiedler's daughter Cleo's assessment of his music. The composition was also loosely inspired by early recordings of John Scofield.

E.T. (For Eje Thelin) - Thelin is perhaps the most overlooked jazz trombone master of all time, especially in the U.S. Fiedler explains, "next to Ray Anderson, he is probably my biggest influence and I just really wanted to write something for him. He was known for his Coltrane-esque 'sheets of sound' in his improvisations."

GUIRO NUEVO - "I have always loved the Guiro (the rhythm, not the instrument) and its infectious, hypnotic quality. I was always a big fan of the great Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache band and their use of this rhythm," commented Fiedler.

TUNA FISH CANS - This tune was inspired by Fiedler's wife, Shari, and her use of the expression, "tuna fish cans," while teaching Pilates. "The expression is just a verbal cue to help clients visualize the vertebrae in their lower back.  She encourages them to try and separate and create space between the stacked cans. So I set out to write more of a classic Latin jazz tune with five 'cans' with a little separation between them," said Fiedler.

QUASI... - Fiedler finally got around to tackling a boogaloo, however when completed he wasn't so sure of its boogaloo-ness, hence the title.

YINZ - "Yinz" is a Pittsburgh expression meaning "you guys." "For balance, and because I dig it, I felt that the arc of the recording needed some free improvisation and textural elements," said Fiedler.  

CD Release Celebrations!:
March 22 - "Dimensions in Jazz" Series, Portland, ME
March 23 - The Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA
March 24 - Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT
March 25 - The Jazz Gallery, NYC
March 30 - The Bop Shop, Rochester, NY
April 3 - Quinn's, Beacon, NY
April 6 - An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD
May 21 - Twin's Jazz, Washington, D.C.


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