Friday, February 23, 2018



The title of the first track here really gets the spirit of the album right – "Africa Will Be Great Again" – which stands at the start as one of the most declarative moments on record from Femi Kuti, and really sets the tone for the rest of the record! There's definitely some older Afro Funk currents in place here – but the presentation and performance feels even fresher than ever, and really has a forward-thinking, future-moving vibe! Femi's in the lead on vocals, organ, trumpet, and tenor – really pulling the large group along with him through a series of tunes that are as uplifting as they are funky. Titles include "Best To Live On The Good Side", "Dem Don Come Again", "The Way Our Lives Go", "One People One World", "How Many", "Equal Opportunity", and "Africa Will Be Great Again".  ~ Dusty Groove


An overlooked later moment from The Stylistics – proof that a great vocal group never gets old! The set has the quartet reinventing themselves for a new generation – recording for Arthur Baker's Streetwise Records, and getting production and arrangements from Maurice Starr – who has this great way of creating an 80s take on the mellow modes that always suited the group's vocals so well – the kind of late nite harmony numbers The Stylistics virtually helped invent! There's a few more electro soul numbers, too – and even these sound pretty great, given that there's an honesty to the vocals that's very different than a stiffer singer of the vocoder generation. Titles include "Give A Little Love For Love", "The Girl In Yellow", "Love Is Not The Answer", "Just The Two Of Us", and "Some Things Never Change". CD features 2 bonus tracks – "Give A Little Love For Love (12" acapella)" and "Give A Little Love For Love (12" piano & vocal)".  ~ Dusty Groove


A very different album than usual for saxophone genius Mats Gustafsson – as it actually has him playing with electronics a lot more than reeds – although still using that sound source with the same amazing sense of texture, shape, and tone! Gustafsson's partner here is drummer Didi Kern – who's got a completely unbridled way of handling the drums – almost arrhythmic overall, with this blistering intensity that must be something to witness – as must the match of ferocity that Mats brings to his own instrumentation – a matched power that often had us running over to the turntable, to make sure we hadn't set the album on 45rpm! Titles include "Cold Start", "Fun Generator", "Marvel Motor 2", "Besenkammer", and "Enhancement". (Hand-numbered limited edition of 137 – in screenprinted sleeves with varied colors – with download!) ~ Dusty Groove

Discogs Shares 2017 Data & Sales Trends Via State Of Discogs 2017 Year-end Report

Discogs reports unparalleled growth within the world's most extensive physical music Database alongside sales data reflecting 2017 trends from the world's largest Marketplace. The worldwide upward trend of the buying and selling of Vinyl continues to parallel the unmatched growth of physical music data in The Discogs 2017 Year-End Report.

2017 was a record-breaking year for Discogs, sales in the Discogs Marketplace topped 10,000,000 releases sold highlighted by two Most Expensive Releases Sold in the 7" single format with The Beatles 'Love Me Do' selling for $14,757.00 followed by Sex Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' selling for a whopping $14,690.00.

Additional sales trends include Cassettes showing the most substantial format growth at 29.54% with CDs not far behind at 28.39% despite recent news of Best Buy and Target abandoning the format. Most Collected genre trends include Classical showing the most significant increase at 42.36% followed by the Latin genre at 38.33%. Just a few highlights on format and genre included in The Discogs 2017 Year-End Report.

Discogs is the user-built database of music; with a catalog of more than 9,500,000 recordings and 5,000,000 artists, Discogs is the largest physical music database in the world. Discogs connects buyers and sellers across the globe. With more than 39 million items available, 4.7 million active registered users, and thousands of sellers, this is the premier spot for new releases to hard to find gems.



Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra returns with Black Sun, its second full-length album of 100% original, unadulterated disco sophistication, featuring all three original members of pioneering Brazilian jazz-funk trio Azymuth; a full orchestra with arrangements split between Arthur Verocai and Azymuth’s late maestro Jose Roberto Bertrami; plus members of the legendary Rio funk group Banda Black Rio. Since its critically acclaimed self-titled debut album in 2014, the FOMDO imprint has released a string of remixes by some all-time greats of dance music, including John Morales, Theo Parrish, Mark Pritchard, Marcellus Pittman, Andres, Dego, Volcov, Kirk Degiorgio and Al Kent. To huge effect in clubs and festivals around the globe, some of the more recent remixes teased the new album material, which for the first time, is presented in its original, soul-heavy incarnation, alongside instrumental versions highlighting the album’s stunning arrangements and compositional brilliance. Far from a throw-back – with disco music firmly entrenched in the modern club vernacular – Black Sun is ecstatic dance music at its finest.


Piano Chill is a series of newly recorded and unique piano and piano + cello versions of the latest pop hits and the most popular neo-classical works. Unique piano / piano + cello covers of popular songs by Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Sia, Tom Odell, Harry Styles, John Legend and Passenger. Unique versions of the most popular neo-classical piano tracks by Max Richter, Ludovico Einaudi, Olafur Arnalds, Johann Johannsson, Thomas Newman or Lambert. Unique piano + cello version of Hans Zimmer’s “Cornfield Chase”. High quality sound recording: Steinway D-piano and acoustic production in high-end studio.


The third single from power duo The Oberhamer Brothers, “There Is Love” is a melody-driven tune that has you dancing along – a sultry start to a night out on the town! Both musical experts in their own right, brothers Brandon and Doug Oberhamer have come together to create their debut smooth jazz album, “Together Again!” Multi-instrumentalist Doug is a Musical Director on Broadway in New York City. You can hear his stylings on Flugelhorn, piano, guitar and drums/keys tracking. Doug also mixed and mastered the album. Saxophonist Brandon is a big band leader, instructor and freelancer in Calgary, Alberta. ~

Joel Sarakula 'In Trouble' is the first single from Joel Sarakula’s long awaited third studio album ‘Love Club’

Co-written with Michele Stodart of The Magic Numbers, ‘In Trouble’ is the best example for Joel Sarakula’s unique, and honest approach to making music. It’s a whirlwind of up-tempo 70s-styled soul replete with horn section trying to make sense of today's world. From the first words of 'Down on the street where the picket lines meet they pretend they're free' to the chorus hook of “Can we slow this down? Now that we're In Trouble”, it provokes more questions than it answers.

Joel Sarakula is an AUS/UK artist who writes, produces and sings Soulful Pop, gazing out at his 60's and 70's tinged world through vintage glasses... imagine Ray Manzarek fronting a 70's soul band. Born in Sydney and now based in London, he has racked up generous plays across BBC Radio 2, BBC 6, BBC London, Radio X and has been play-listed nationally in Europe. He is a regular fixture on the festival and club circuit in the UK, Europe including appearances at SXSW, Primavera, The Great Escape, Liverpool Sound City, Scala London, Tallinn Music Week, V-ROX and Reeperbahn.

Sarakula is a songwriter who has travelled the world in search of his muse, experiencing everything from being a victim of Caribbean carjackings to performing in the remote fishing villages of Norway, via the dive bars of Europe and the US. It was the hodge-podge musical tapestry of England’s capital that finally drew him to a settling point, in the wake of seemingly never ending run of shows. With personal tastes that span from the more avant-garde to soul and pop greats like Sly Stone, Todd Rundgren and Hall and Oates, there are clear nods to contemporaries like Unkown Mortal Orchestra, Erlend ye and Toro Y Moi in terms of ambition and style.

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Spin Cycle Further Refines Its Adventuresome Sound on Sophomore Album "Assorted Colors"

Spin Cycle Assorted Colors One of the freshest sounding bands to emerge on the jazz scene in this or any decade, Spin Cycle follows up its critically acclaimed eponymous debut from 2016 with the release on April 6 of Assorted Colors (Sound Footing Records). The new recording, coming after two years of intensive touring that further refined their distinctive take on jazz, sustains the praise bestowed by DownBeat's Ed Enright in his rave review of their first album that hailed the band as "a cohesive unit that commands an exceptional stylistic range and exhibits a go-for-broke attitude."
On their sophomore release, the piano-less quartet delivers more of the "bright melodic lines, deep-seated grooves, catchy rhythmic devices and sophisticated harmony" cited by Enright, who praised them for "improvisations run wild, as soloists embrace aggressive and daring ideas from the realms of modal jazz, free-jazz, second-line and soul, not to mention good old-fashioned swing."

Founded in 2014 and co-led by drummer Scott Neumann and saxophonist Tom Christensen, who have known and played with each other in various settings for well over 25 years, Spin Cycle is rounded out by guitarist Pete McCann and bassist Phil Palombi. The four musicians are mainstays of the New York jazz scene.

The title Assorted Colors alludes in part to the broad and eclectic stylistic palettes Christensen and Neumann each draw upon while crafting the compositions that define Spin Cycle's musical direction. (Christensen contributed six tunes to the session, Neumann five.) "One of our aims was to develop the songs not by adding sections but by building on the form itself via solos or concepts," Neumann says. "We wrote things that got to the heart of the matter, but also were vehicles that allowed us to stretch," Christensen adds.

Spin Cycle's decision to use a guitar rather than a piano in the band enables the creation of unusual blends of airy textures that are a trademark of the band's tonal tapestries. "Guitar chords are more sparse than piano chords, they're more open sounding," says Christensen.

Among the Christensen tunes on Assorted Colors are the arresting minor-key "Possum Dark," in his words a "swaggering bad ass blues" named after the enforcer in the post-apocalyptic novella Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus, and the stripped-down, minimalism-streaked "Two Pan Man," on which he lets it rip on tenor while guitarist McCann, according to the composer, "sounds almost like a second wind player."

Neumann's compositions include the sharp-angled, Monk-inspired "Break Tune," whose infectious swing and sense of fun provide a spirited introduction to the album. Neumann, who spent a week in Cuba in 2017 studying with Cuban drummers, also composed "To the Puente," an intriguing blend of the son montuno and modern mambo accents à la Chick Corea. "Affirmation" has a cool, rolling vibe recalling some of Pat Metheny's classic recordings.

Scott Neumann Tom ChristensenTom Christensen (b. 1961, Ventura, California; at right in photo) studied classical music and jazz at both undergraduate and graduate levels at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and moved to New York in 1989. For eight years, he was a member of the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, appearing on five of their albums. He also has played on such notable recordings as Joe Lovano's Celebrating Sinatra, Rufus Reid's Quiet Pride, and the David Liebman Big Band's Tribute to Wayne Shorter. His 2000 debut, Gualala, and 2002 effort, Paths, team him with multi-reedist Charles Pillow. His other recordings include Americana (2003) and Kailash (2007), on which he joins the Kailash Trio.

Scott Neumann (b. 1962, Bartlesville, Oklahoma; at left in photo above) attended North Texas State and, before moving to New York in 1988, played with the Woody Herman Orchestra for a year. On his 2006 album, Osage County, he led a quartet including pianist David Berkman and saxophonist Sam Newsome; he recorded Blessed in 2014 as part of the Neu3 Trio, with Michael Blake and Mark Helias. A busy player on the New York scene who has collaborated with such luminaries as Kenny Barron and Ben Allison, Neumann has also accrued impressive credits as a vocal accompanist, a Broadway musician, and educator (he directs the drum studies program at Lehigh University).

Spin Cycle will be performing a CD release show at Smalls, NYC, on Friday 4/13. They've also scheduled several appearances in Ohio, including a concert and master class at Youngstown State (Bliss Hall), in Youngstown, 1-4pm on 4/5; concert at Andrews House, Delaware, OH 4/6; concert with Denison University Jazz Band, Granville, 8pm on 4/7; and the Bop Stop in Cleveland, 4/7.


Al Di Meola releases his brand new studio album “OPUS”

Al Di Meola is a pioneer of blending world music, rock and jazz. His ongoing fascination for complex rhythmic syncopation, combined with provocative lyrical melodies and sophisticated harmony, has been the heart of his music throughout a celebrated career that has spanned over four decades.

The Grammy award winner achieved worldwide fame for both, being a solo artist and for his collaborations with Frank Zappa, Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Paco De Lucia, John McLaughlin, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke, Luciano Pavarotti, Paul Simon, Phil Collins, Santana, Steve Winwood, Herbie Hancock, and many more. Al Di Meola holds the highest amount of Guitar awards in different categories from Guitar Player magazine (US).

With a curriculum vitae rich of exciting musical moments and incredible works, Al Di Meola is still challenging himself pushing his music towards new boundaries but with a more relaxed way to see things. Over the last few years he has in fact literally started all over, reinventing himself in both, his private life and music.

“With OPUS I wanted to further my compositional skills as I think that the evolution of this part of my persona has labelled me more composer/guitarist than guitarist/composer” - says Di Meola – “at the same time this record also marks a new era in my life. For the first time in my life, I have written music being happy, I’m in a wonderful relationship with my wife, I have a baby girl and a beautiful family that inspires me every day. I believe it shows in the music.”

Track listing
1. Milonga Noctiva: Wandering in the Dark (feat. Kemuel Roig)
2. Broken Heart
3. Ava's Dream Sequence Lullaby
4. Cerreto Sannita (feat. Kemuel Roig)
5. Notorious
6. Frozen In Time
7. Escapado
8. Pomp
9. Left unsaid
10. Insieme
11. Rebels (feat. Kemuel Roig)

Al Di Meola’s commentary on the songs:

Milonga Noctiva: Wandering in the Dark
“The inspiration derived from the more emotional side of Nuevo Tango.”

Broken Heart
“A piece I had originally written for orchestra in a less rhythmic way. This new version represents a more lyrical approach with electric guitar as its main voice combining the original feeling with enhanced rhythm.”

Ava’s Dream Sequence Lullaby
“As I watched my baby daughter moving to music, I naturally came up with this very lullaby-like melody. And what started out as a simple lullaby turned into a suite-like composition.”

Cerreto Sannita
“Named after my grandfather’s village in the region of Campania, Italy. Last year in June, my wife surprised me with a trip to the village and the places my grandfather had frequented. I also received the honorary citizenship of the town. It was one of the most emotional moments in my life. I hadn't expected such a warm welcome and meeting so many “Di Meolas” I had never known before.”

“When I was writing this piece, I was thinking of Led Zeppelin meets Al Di Meola.”

Frozen in Time
“This song I wrote at 5 AM and it just poured out of me so effortlessly that I realized I shouldn't lose the opportunity to write it down. The offset lyrical melody against the 5/4 arpeggiated harmonic movement makes this piece for me very special.”

“Here’s a piece that was directly influenced by the Tango movement. During the recording, this piece went through the most changes of all. The end result is just something I can’t describe in words. I think each listener will come back with a different vibe from this particular piece.”

“Pomp is a duet that reminds me of an avantgarde procession featuring Moroccan master percussionist Rhani Krija.”

Left unsaid
“This is a piece that I wrote late at night in Miami where I do a lot of my writing while my wife and baby daughter were asleep in the next room. It represents a very peaceful and happy time that cannot be put into words.”

“A more complex, highly syncopated multi-part composition with more intricate counterpoint.”

“Walking from the Hippie era incense vibe of St. Marks Place over to the Fillmore East, changing to a Motor Cycle on Fourth Street in the East Village where the Hells Angels held court, arriving in Little Havana in Miami.”

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sy Smith - Sometimes A Rose Will Grow in Concrete

Sometimes A Rose Will Grow In Concrete” (SRWGC) is fifth studio album by critically-acclaimed progressive soul artist Sy Smith. Often called the “Queen Of Underground Soul”, her previous works include “The Syberspace Social” (named in the top 10 albums of 2005 by The Boston Globe), “Psykosoul Plus” (2007) “Conflict” (2008, with charting radio singles “Fly Away With Me” and “The Art Of You”), and “Fast And Curious” (called “one of the best releases by a female” of 2012 by SRWGC is the first album completely written and produced by this multi-talented singer/songwriter/musician and features her slick synth bass playing and lithe fingering on piano/keys along with her incomparable soprano voice and signature harmonies/vocal arrangements. Sy Smith is finally having her singer/songwriter moment (think a 21st century Roberta Flack) - this album flourishes with compelling musical/vocal arrangements, thoughtful lyrics and Sy’s voice sounding better than ever.

As a producer, Sy displays an expected but not-before seen maturity on SRWGC. When she does play keys and synth bass, she does both effortlessly; but she brings in some of the top sidemen when the songs call for a different touch. Sy enjoys international acclaim having toured/recorded with some of the best-known recording artists including Whitney Houston and Meshell Ndegeocello. She’s currently a featured special guest on tour with Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti and is featured on his Grammy-nominated DVD “Live In Boston”. SRWGC features many of these previous/current bandmates including legendary percussionist Sheila E. (with whom Sy has toured/recorded) and violinist Lucia Micarelli (bka Annie on HBO’s Treme). 

Vocally, Sy’s soprano soars effortlessly; she shows off a sure-footed whistle tone (a la Minnie Riperton), confident jazz chops (Sy has been featured with numerous orchestras in tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, including at Carnegie Hall & Kennedy Center), a full-out commanding belt in her upper register - but usually her whimsical, conversational tone is utilized to tell the stories on this project. Still carrying a strong pen, Sy reveals victories won and battles still being fought as she allows her listeners into the most intimate spaces she’s ever exposed. The title track is a powerful, if haunting, ode to people (especially Black women in this case) who come through the harshest of trials and still bloom as beautifully as roses. Sy is that defiant rose throughout this entire project.

Toronto-based jazz quartet, Peripheral Vision releasing new CD, More Songs About Error And Shame

From March 2nd to 11th, JUNO-nominated Canadian jazz quartet, Peripheral Vision is launching their fourth album, More Songs About Error And Shame, with a tour of Western Canada and the Yukon.  Following the tour, they will have their Toronto CD release concert on April 3rd.  Full tour details can be found below.

"A rules-breaking quartet made up of some of the best modern players around. Fast-paced, intricate, and inventive" (CBC), Peripheral Vision extends their no-holds-barred performance aesthetic into the production concept on this album.  Once again, they have teamed up with mad-scientist engineer, Jean Martin (Barnyard Records) to orchestrate a bigger sound for the record, adding layers of overdubs and studio treatments to the live-off-the-floor recordings.  Peripheral Vision has always been a live show band, and the seven new Herring and Scott originals on More Songs About Error And Shame show what can be gained from years of touring, including three recent tours throughout Europe as well as many trips across Canada.

Co-leaders Michael Herring (bass) and Don Scott (guitar) delve into their own neurotic psyches, finding inspiration not only in music, but also in art, literature and standup comedy.  The album title is a reference to the iconic album by famously neurotic band, Talking Heads, and this cross genre nod is indicative of how they like to mix genres and themes, blending classic and modern jazz, the rock music of their youth, and non-musical influences such as the Catalonian artist Miró, and British comedian Stewart Lee.

This is a working band with a long-time rapport - Herring and Scott have been joined by drummer Nick Fraser and tenor saxophonist Trevor Hogg since the band's inception in 2008.  Peripheral Vision is fuelled by this long-time musical friendship, bringing years of tour van talks about music and life to the stage and studio, and this dynamic group interaction creates the provocative sound of More Songs About Error And Shame.

Peripheral Vision is:
Trevor Hogg – tenor saxophone
Don Scott – guitar
Michael Herring – bass
Nick Fraser – drums

Canadian Tour Dates
March 2nd – Yardbird Suite (Edmonton, AB)
March 3rd – The Bassment (Saskatoon, SK)
March 5th – Bushwakker (Regina, SK)
March 6th – Mardi Jazz @ CCFM (Winnipeg, MB)
March 7th – China Cloud (Vancouver, BC)
March 8th – Avalanche Bar & Grill (Courtenay, BC)
March 11th – Yukon Arts Centre (Whitehorse, YK)
April 3rd – Tranzac Club (Toronto)


When Gizelle Smith stormed from relative obscurity onto the funk scene in 2008 as the front woman of Hamburg-based band The Mighty Mocambos, critics and music lovers alike immediately hailed her as “the golden girl of funk”. Mention the name Gizelle Smith in funk-knowing circles and ears will immediately prick up with curiosity and tangible excitement, eagerly ready to hear more.

Born and raised in Manchester, the love child of a Seychellois mother and an Afro-American father who was a band member of legendary Motown group The Four Tops, Gizelle has a multicultural upbringing steeped in soulful music. Gizelle‘s first single “Working Woman” with The Mighty Mocambos became an overnight smash and a prime-time club favorite of funk & soul DJs worldwide, leading legendary producer and Grammy nominee Kenny Dope (Masters at Work / Bucketheads) to remix the song for his own Kay Dee Records. The album that followed, “This is Gizelle Smith and the Mighty Mocambos” on Mocambo, Légère and Soulbeats was released in 2009 and sold nearly 10,000 copies in spite of the ongoing music industry crisis. Follow-up solo singles “June” released on Record Kicks in 2009 and “Johnny” on Mocambo in 2012 sold-out in record time and are now both highly collectible 45s.

In the wake of her breakthrough releases Gizelle has enjoyed extensive radioplay on national stations such as BBC 2 and BBC 6 (UK), Radio Nova (FR), Radio 3 (SP), Rai 2 (IT) and more, and has performed far and wide, from London to Manchester, Paris to Marseille, Frankfurt to Berlin, Milan to Oslo, solidifying her reputation as a highly energetic, dynamic and incredibly charming performer. After a hiatus from gigging to work on her debut solo album, in February 2017 the London funk scene was raving about Gizelle Smith‘s performance on stage with the mighty LeRoy Hutson, and once again tongues were ablaze with excited talks of her vocal talent and upcoming projects, setting the scene for the launch of what will no doubt be Gizelle Smith‘s most significant work to date: her debut solo album “Ruthless Day”.



They've set fire to some of the most prestigious stages Switzerland has to offer, such as Montreux Jazz Festival, Jazz Ascona Festival & Locarno Film Festival, they've been chosen by legendary saxophonist, composer, arranger and long-time James Brown collaborator Pee Wee Ellis to accompany him on tour in Europe, and now Lugano's heaviest funk outfit Re:Funk are ready to unveil their first official single. "The Harder We Try" is a scorching tribute to 70s blaxploitation movie soundtracks, with jangly guitar, infectious horns and a heavy backbeat.  Think cinematic funk (picture a breathtaking chase down the hills of the Frisco Bay if you like) with a disco-like hook that highlights a tormented and passionate love story, and you get the gist of Swiss-based funk ensemble Re:Funk's first single. This is only the first step for the eight-piece powerhouse, (who for the occasion of this single appear with an expanded formation of twelve), stay tuned for more!


Sultry and smooth R&B/reggae singer Lea Love asks listeners to take a hit of some love on her mellow and vibey new song "Doctor." Combining full bass lines, healing lyrics, and warm harmonies in "Doctor," Lea creates an environment of hypnotic and sweet sonic bliss for listeners to enjoy. The Oceanside based songstress will release her new single “Doctor” on February 9th, the title track from her upcoming debut EP slated for a March release. Her music and multi-layered artistry draws from her rich Hawaiian, Japanese, and Samoan heritage. “Doctor” is a perfect Valentine’s Day anthem that will surely resonateinto the upcoming warmer months and BBQ weather as well. Love explains, “Doctor is a metaphor for love. Much like a doctor cures a physical defect, love soothes the soul.” The catchy riddim is produced by Edimah Production, while the vocal production came from Lui Kriamau from the GRAMMY-nominated Common Kings. With the high anticipation for her EP, Love adds, “Doctor really sets the tone for the rest of the EP. The music has an upbeat and sexy vibe, yet there is a strong message behind the lyrics.”


Slinky sax with a touch of funk – served up here by Fabio Tullio at a level that's way nicer than you'd expect from the title! At some level, the record's clearly trying to evoke earlier eras of Italian instrumentalists on the sax – such as the long run of 60s and 70s albums by Fausto Papetti – but Fabio's sound is a lot more soulful here, and often mixes his lead with the kind of easygoing backgrounds that are more 70s sophisticated, as when Stanley Turrentine or Hank Crawford might play with bigger backdrops – than they are any sort of sound from the cocktail generation! Tullio plays tenor, alto, baritone, soprano, and flute – depending on the track – and the album features a total of 19 numbers that nicely slide into the kind of grooves we've always loved from Irma Records, with very nice Fender Rhodes on a number of tunes. Titles include "Che Sara", "Anonimo Veneziano", "Ladybug Bossa", "Staying For Good", "Estate", "My Love", "Parole Parole", "September Morn", and a nice remake of the Morricone classic "Metti Una Sera A Cena".  ~ Dusty Groove

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tenor saxophonist NOAH PREMINGER & Pianist FRANK CARLBERG collaborate on Whispers and Cries

Brooklyn-based Red Piano Records is proud to announce the release of Whispers and Cries from tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger and pianist Frank Carlberg.  This album features Preminger and Carlberg in an intimate duo setting. Recorded at the historic Jordan Hall in Boston, with its exquisite acoustics, on this program they explore standards and jazz classics.

On Whispers and Cries Preminger and Carlberg engage in a musical dialogue that ranges from hushed whispers to roaring expressions of emotions. The duo has a deep simpatico and rather than follow each other, they compliment each other with unerring ease. The listener is treated to a private recital, as if eavesdropping on these two remarkable improvisers making music together.

The program opens with a delicate reading of George Gershwin's Someone To Watch Over Me. The piano introduction with its icy chords and fleeting allusions to I Got Rhythm and Rhapsody In Blue (also by Gershwin) leads to Preminger's entrance with the melody. His sound luscious and his expression soulful, making for a memorable reading of the tune. After improvised statements the melody is given a short recap before the last yearning cries fade away in to silence.

Billy Strayhorn's classic Take The A Train starts with a humorous variation on the familiar intro. Preminger and Carlberg engage in a lively and playful exchange constantly shifting tempos and ideas around before finally settling in to a medium tempo that leads to the piano solo.

With Embraceable You we return to Gershwin. The song is given a straightforward reading except for the rare delicacy and sensitivity exhibited by both the saxophonist and pianist. It is with a sense of maturity that they trust in the music and let their sounds and expressiveness lead us to a rarefied air of intimacy.

Thelonious Monk's Reflections starts with some searching harmonies and a hint of It Never Entered My Mind. The duo has a rubato conversation around the melody until the last A-section when they settle in to tempo. After lively sax and piano statements the melody reappears before a tongue-in-cheek multi-phonic by Preminger ends the track over piano ruminations.

Bobby Troup's The Meaning Of The Blues, maybe best remembered from some Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaborations (think Miles Ahead...), is given an energetic reading here with a sense of sustain and suspense. The track starts with Preminger's solo sax statement before the duo converges on a pedal tone. Some extensive improvised statements follow until the propulsion finally slows down to a halt as the melody fades in to the ether.

The old standard These Foolish Things gets a treatment here that owes more than a little to the Monk version on his celebrated trio recording on the Prestige label. The stride-like piano gait leads the music forward while Preminger hoots and hollers on top.

Otis Redding and Frank Sinatra introduced Try A Little Tenderness to many new listeners. The track opens with a virtuosic extended solo sax intro with shades of the melody always close by. As the piano enters Preminger seems to be channeling Redding's treatment of the song. After the piano takes over and the melody is restated the solo sax ends with echoes of the intro. A true tour-de-force by Preminger.

Aura Lee is given a spacious and impressionistic treatment here. A folk melody, known to many from Elvis Presley's (Love Me Tender) version, finds the duo in a contemplative mood. Carlberg reaches inside the piano and Preminger is at his breathy best before the two build to an emotional climax and then quickly fade away.

On the old classic Tea For Two Preminger gets things started. The duo then tumble phrases at and around each other. Carlberg takes over and Preminger rejoins, and just like their idols (Monk, Rollins, Young etc.)the duo improvise in close proximity to the melody. After more resourceful melodic variations we get a final hint at the original at the end.

To close the album the duo treats us to I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face (of My Fair Lady fame) a delicate and hushed reading. This performance, a heartfelt tribute to the memory of Carlberg's mother, finds the duo at its sensitive best; not a phrase or gesture too much - just a sincere dialogue between two musicians happy and comfortable with each other's company.

Noah Preminger has recorded numerous critically acclaimed albums and is steadily listed as one of the best tenor saxophonists by critics and readers on the annual DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll.

Preminger grew up in Canton, Connecticut, released his debut album, Dry Bridge Road, just after his 21st birthday which was named Debut of the Year in the Village Voice Critics Poll. The saxophonist has performed on key stages around the world, and he has played and/or recorded with the likes of Billy Hart, Dave Holland, John Patitucci, Fred Hersch, Dave Douglas, Rob Garcia, Joe Lovano, Victor Lewis, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Roscoe Mitchell, and Dr. Eddie Henderson.

The Finland-native, Brooklyn-based Frank Carlberg has an extensive catalogue of compositions including pieces for small jazz and improvisational groups, big band, orchestra, music for dance companies, and over 150 songs with settings of contemporary American poetry. He has over twenty recordings to his name as a leader and countless others as a sideman, and has worked with the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Steve Lacy and Bob Brookmeyer. He owns and operates Red Piano Records.

Wednesday, March 28th, Jazz at the Kitano, New York NY

Friday, March 30th, Dimensions In Jazz @ Woodfords Church, Portland ME


Kurt Elling's The Questions / New Album Out March 23

The Questions, Kurt Elling's newest studio recording, is his musical response to this moment in history and the widespread anxiety of our times. It touches artfully on challenges -- personal, political, global, spiritual, and existential -- and on hopes and aspirations for the future. Elling offers a vibrant and surprising choice of songs, from Bob Dylan and Paul Simon classics to jazz, Broadway, and the Great American Songbook, plus two new originals. The Questions, Elling's second recording for OKeh Records/Sony Music Masterworks, will be released on March 23, 2018.

The Questions unfolds into a rich and irresistible musical conversation, encouraging listeners to join Elling in living with big questions and finding courage to face our fears in difficult and uncertain times.

Of the ten songs on The Questions, Elling says, "At first I didn't understand how they were going to relate to each other." The title finally came to him as the album was being mixed. NEA Jazz Master and celebrated saxophonist Branford Marsalis co-produced The Questions with Elling and performs on three tracks. As Elling and Marsalis worked together on the mix and sequence of songs, Elling realized that they all lined up on various sides of some big, deep questions:

What is this life?
Does meaning have being?
Why is there such suffering and pain?
Where is the wellspring of wisdom?

The Questions opens with the powerful, insistent questions and stark, disturbing answers of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." What follows is the surprising assurance of "A Happy Thought," a poem by the American poet Franz Wright, set to music by Elling's collaborator, pianist and arranger Stu Mindeman. This establishes a kind of back-and-forth on The Questions -- searching inquiries and thoughtful responses that both challenge and inspire us to find our own answers.

The world-weary resignation of Paul Simon's "An American Tune" is followed by falling, loss, and redemption in Peter Gabriel's "Washing of the Water." The Jaco Pastorius instrumental, "Three Views of a Secret," becomes the celebratory "A Secret in Three Views" with Elling's lyric inspired by a poem by the 13th century mystic Rumi. Elling's lyric concedes that quests to find meaning and purpose may all be for naught, but it also encourages us to take heart and awaken to the transforming power of love. In contrast, "Lonely Town," from the Broadway musical On the Town, by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, reflects the empty inner landscape when there is no love to come home to.

Carla Bley's "Lawns" becomes "Endless Lawns," with Elling's new lyric interposed with a poem by Sara Teasdale, bearing the weight of emotional suffering and then finding an uplifting freedom. Rodgers and Hammerstein's "I Have Dreamed," from the musical The King and I, is followed by "The Enchantress," a new song by pianist Joey Calderazzo with Elling's lyric adapting parts of a Wallace Stevens poem. This pair touches on the fluid, shifting boundaries between dreams, imagination, and reality. The Questions closes with the gentle, wistful wonder of Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer's "Skylark."

Elling notes, "I began experimenting with 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall' in November of 2016, just after the U.S. election. Today I wonder what I can possibly say that's relevant now." He adds, "Branford brought in 'Washing of the Water' and 'Lonely Town.' I was doing some Sinatra shows during his 100th birthday year, and I love his rendition of 'I Have Dreamed.' Guitarist John McLean came up with the gorgeous arrangement, and Branford has his big solo moment there. I like to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am who can fill in the blanks. John also arranged 'Skylark.'"

"'The Enchantress' began as a song called 'The Lonely Swan,'" he recalls, "but what brought the new title to mind was a poem by Wallace Stevens ('The Idea of Order at Key West') that I draw on. It's dedicated to Branford's mother, who died last year, and to my aging mother. The lyric becomes clear once you have that in mind."

Elling collaborated with Marsalis on their 2016 GRAMMY Award-nominated recording, Upward Spiral (OKeh Records), and now Marsalis has collaborated on The Questions. Elling speaks of their musical partnership, "We're two musicians who have dedicated ourselves to a similar task -- to be jazz musicians to the greatest extent of our abilities. We pay attention to the real heroes of the music, we play in the style and spirit of the greatest jazz musicians who ever lived, and we don't cut corners. We're here to play great melodies and express authentic emotion -- to be the real deal as much as we can."

Kurt Elling - The Questions Tracklist:
1. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (feat. Branford Marsalis & Jeff "Tain" Watts)
2. A Happy Thought (feat. Stu Mindeman)
3. American Tune
4. Washing of the Water
5. A Secret in Three Views (feat. John McLean & Stu Mindeman)
6. Lonely Town (feat. Joey Calderazzo & Marquis Hill)
7. Endless Lawns (feat. Marquis Hill)
8. I Have Dreamed (feat. Branford Marsalis)
9. The Enchantress (feat. Joey Calderazzo)
10. Skylark (feat. Stu Mindeman)

Ted Nash Quintet Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola

Two-time Grammy–winning composer and saxophonist Ted Nash releases his first live recording in over 25 years. Known for his larger works (Presidential Suite, Chakra, Portrait in Seven Shades) this much anticipated release provides an opportunity for Nash to share his improvisational side. His inspired solos are impassioned and interactive. On this album he finds new areas of expression that will excite and move you.

These three nights at Dizzy’s were electric for me. I think you’ll hear in it the combination of great players, with history letting loose on music that has grown with me over the course of my career. On this album we share not just a night of music but the history of collaboration.

It was a wonderful opportunity to make music again with many of my favorite musicians. I have known Rufus Reid since I was 24, when we recorded an album featuring my mother and father (which never was released). Rufus always plays with tremendous instinct and flexibility and brings decades of experience to the music. Rufus appeared on my Mancini Project album (Palmetto).

I first met Matt Wilson when I was 18 and he 14, when I came to Rock Island, Illinois to play with Louie Bellson’s quartet. Of course I had no idea the skinny teenager I met that night would become one of jazz’s greatest contributors, appearing on more than 250 recordings. Matt has played on several of my albums, including Sidewalk Meeting, Still Evolved, La Espada de la Noche, In the Loop, and The Mancini Project.

This is the second time Warren Wolf and I have played in a quintet at Dizzy’s together. He is one of the most consistently killing vibraphonists I have heard; at once fiery and cool. He is also one of the most melodic players – on any instrument. I have always had a connection with the vibes, as my jazz teacher was the great vibraphonist Charlie Shoemake, with whom I also played my first small band gigs, at the long-gone Donte’s in Los Angeles.

I have known Gary Versace for years, hearing him with many great ensembles, and have always wanted the chance to play in a small group with him. I got that chance, and the experience is something I will never forget. The moments he found on Emily, for example (which we played as a clarinet and piano duo) were rich, inspiring and truly original. I feel Gary is on the cusp of being acknowledged as one of piano’s superstars.

This performance was also a chance to revisit a couple original compositions in an entirely new context, and re-explore music by some of my favorite composers: Chick Corea, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, Johnny Mandel, and Henry Mancini.

Legendary Trumpeter Eddie Henderson Explores the Many Facets of Musical Vision on New Recording, Be Cool

Before he walks out the door on his way to a gig, 77-year-old trumpeter Eddie Henderson always gets two words of advice from his wife: be cool. The legendary trumpeter has taken that mantra to heart, and on Be Cool, his new release on Smoke Sessions Records, he shows just how hot cool can get.

Of course, if you're going to be cool it helps to surround yourself with the coolest of the cool, and Henderson has done just that: his smokin' quintet also features saxophonist Donald Harrison, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Mike Clark. Together, the band conjures smoldering funk, lush ballads, broad-shouldered swing, and bristling bop -- in all, a prismatic display of the many facets of cool.

"For me, 'be cool' means compose yourself and don't act jagged, musically or personally," Henderson offers. "One connotation is to not play so erratically, to push the envelope to the edge but not go over. It's like going fishing: if you're not prepared when you throw your line out there, you might catch Jaws instead of a minnow. Personally, it's about playing with people who love each other and share a good chemistry."

That's undoubtedly the case with the group Henderson has convened for his second Smoke Sessions outing as a leader. His relationship with Barron stretches back more than three decades, to the early days following his return to New York in the mid-'80s after a decade spent practicing medicine in San Francisco. He's been working regularly with Clark in recent years, especially in the Wolff & Clark Expedition, the drummers co-led band with pianist Michael Wolff. But they also share roots in the fusion bands of Herbie Hancock -- Henderson with Mwandishi and Clark immediately after with Headhunters. Essiet, meanwhile, has been a constant in Henderson's recent bands, while he's shared stages with Harrison under the auspices of the super-group The Cookers.

With compositions by Barron, Clark and Harrison, not to mention Henderson's wife and daughter, Be Cool recalls the title of the trumpeter's previous album, Collective Portrait. "I like my albums to have a wider scope than to just be a self-portrait of my musical taste," he explains. "This really is a collective portrait with a much wider spectrum of music. That's the nature of the game: you always want to grow each time you play, rather than just sit back and play what you feel comfortable with."

Henderson asks the same of his sidemen; hence, Barron's uncharacteristically funky "Smoke Screen," which opens the album on a lively note. "Usually you don't hear Kenny playing funky like that," Henderson says. "He's a consummate pianist and a consummate trio player, but he really rose to the occasion on this Horace Silver-type tune."
Penned by Henderson's wife Natsuko, "Be Cool" follows, its anthemic melody echoing her titular words of warning. A true family affair, the album also includes a contribution from Henderson's daughter, Cava Menzies -- the mysterious "Nightride," its intriguing contours enticing searching solos from the trumpeter as well as Harrison and Barron.

The familiar standard "After You've Gone" is usually played up-tempo, but Henderson transforms it into a poignant ballad, reimagining the classic melody as a funereal memoriam for lost loved ones. "Every time I play that tune people in the audience have tears running from their eyes," Henderson says. "Maybe they're remembering people they've lost. Sometimes it reminds me of my mother who passed and it's hard for me to finish playing the melody."

Clark's "Loft Funk" restores the buoyant mood with its gritty, deep-in-the-pocket groove. In the Wolff & Clark Expedition the song is typically taken at a breakneck pace, so Henderson opted to slow it down and evoke the taut pace of contemporary hip-hop. Henderson brings a similar feel, albeit with a more slippery melody, to his contribution, "The Sand Castle Head Hunter," highlighted by a captivating Essiet solo, exquisitely paired by Clark's coloristic accompaniment.

The burnished warmth of the leader's muted trumpet is a perfect match for Miles Davis' classic "Fran-Dance," which evokes memories of the iconic trumpeter's visits to San Francisco. "I grew up with Miles as a staple of my musical diet," Henderson says. "When he was playing at the Blackhawk he would stay at my parents' house, so seeing him play when I was a teenager is indelibly printed in my brain. I've always wanted to record that tune."

Another piece by a trumpet great follows: Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane." Henderson and Shaw were close friends, meeting shortly after Shaw recorded this piece with organist Larry Young. "I had a little group in medical school," Henderson recalls, "and we used to play that tune. I wanted to record it to pay homage to my friend, the late, great Woody Shaw." The trio of compositions by jazz giants concludes with John Coltrane's immortal "Naima," its achingly beautiful melody here accompanied by a more urgent, steelier tempo.

Henderson looks back on his days in Mwandishi with Hancock's "Toys," while "Easy Living" is another old favorite, especially in versions by Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown. The album takes a more exotic detour to close, with the entrancing Eastern European romance of Polish drummer Tomek Grochot's "Dla Juzi."

From now on, Eddie Henderson has a ready response whenever his wife chimes in with her regular reminder. With scintillating interpersonal chemistry, tasteful but captivating soloing, and a stellar melodic sense, one spin of this album is enough to prove that Henderson has taken the words Be Cool deeply to heart.
"Be Cool" was produced by Paul Stache and Damon Smith and recorded live in New York at Sear Sound's Studio C on a Sear-Avalon custom console at 96KHz/24bit and mixed to ½" analog tape using a Studer mastering deck. Available in audiophile HD format.

Eddie Henderson · Be Cool
Smoke Sessions Records · Release Date: May 4, 2018



Sensitive storytelling, in the opinion of many, is the most significant test of a singer. If that is the case, then a song has found a friend in Robin Grant. A native of Chattanooga TN, Robin has been delighting local audiences for many years. With the upcoming radio release of her first CD, 'Good Girls' there's no doubt she is about to garner international acclaim. Good Girls is a collection of original jazz songs reminscent of the all-time great standards but with a modern flair. Robin's soulful stylings may take her listeners back to the great Tinpan Alley days of the 1920's 30's and 40's, but it's with an edgy delivery and sizzle that resonates with the youthful in body & spirit. Her live shows showcase her flaming vocals  throughout her diverse repertoire of all-time-favorites mixed with her popular original compositions. Robin began her music career at an early age. She developed her performance ability through classical training, by earning her degree in Vocal Performance and by embracing musical theater.  She later transitioned into jazz with the help of her mentor, bassist Wilfred Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks is also a native of Chattanooga and toured for many years with Ella Fitzgerald. Robin's meticulously phrased singing and controlled but inescapable intensity is supported by her talented band, The Standard. Over and over they have proven their ability to captivate and move any audience.


A new release from jazz visionary Jan Sturiale entitled "Roadmaps" which features 6 original songs performed by an outstanding band. "It was a privilege working with pianist Marko Churnchectz, saxophone player Jure Pukl and Miha Koren and Klemens Marktl as rhythm section. We recorded all my new music in 1 day at the Bunker Studios in Brooklyn, N.Y. a fantastic studio owned by John Davis. The record has been mastered by Alex De Turk at Strange Weather studio in Brooklyn. I started playing with Jure back in 2011 and we did lot of gigs together in these years so I decided to put together a band with him and go into the studio. I wrote a few new compositions and adding a few covers we've played live. I'm talking about Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street and Frank Zappa's Blessed Relief. For me music it's all about enviroment and creating relationship with other's a huge aspect that's why I try to stay as active as possibile and challenge my self as much as I can. The record is out from December 23rd 2017 on all digital sellers." - Jan Sturiale


Recognized as “one of the most prolific cultural influencers to come out of Nashville” (Bright Revolution), Grammy® award-winning record producer Charlie Peacock adds another chapter to his diverse musical story – When Light Flashes, his 4th jazz recording (2/16/18). The album features saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones), Jim Black collaborator Hilmar Jensson on guitar, bassist Felix Pastorius, drummer Ben Perowsky and trumpeter Matthew White. As the sonic architect behind best-selling music duo The Civil Wars, Peacock is largely known for his deft and moving productions, including “Misery Chain” by the late Chris Cornell from the soundtrack of Twelve Years a Slave and “Hush,” the title theme to the AMC drama Turn: Washington’s Spies featuring Joy Williams and The National’s Matt Berninger. Peacock’s special guests on When Light Flashes include Nashville neighbors Jeff Taylor on accordion (The Time Jumpers, Elvis Costello), fiddler/mandolinist Andy Leftwich (Ricky Skaggs) and A-Team session phenom Jerry McPherson on electric guitar. Bassists Matt Wigton and Scott Mulvahill, synthesist Tony Miracle and drummer Jordan Perlson also contribute. In honor of his northern California roots, When Light Flashes includes a Peacock composition titled “Automatt” dedicated to producer David Rubinson and pianist Herbie Hancock. The Automatt was a Rubinson-owned studio in San Francisco where Hancock was based for several years. Peacock gives a nod to his mid-south Nashville roots, too, with “Wendell Berry in the Fields at Night,” a tribute to the celebrated southern agrarian-poet of the same name. Six more songs round out the collection including two covers, “Still Water” by Daniel Lanois and “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan.

Camille Bertault - Pas de géant

The album’s title is a homage, sidestep and claim all at once. It is the literal translation of Giant Steps, the legendary John Coltrane standard from 1959, which Camille Bertault made her own in a YouTube video, including every note of the saxophone solo and marking the start of her rise in spring 2015.

In the album Pas de géant, she turns this virtuoso exercise into a phenomenal, liberated vocal display, explaining, sharing and declaring her passion - the astonishing song Là où tu vas [Wherever You Go]. This funny, erudite text is both humble and provocative. She asked Ravi Coltrane for permission to put it over Giant Steps and record - “We met up, I explained my approach and he accepted”.

And what was her approach? Words, rhythms, notes, a staggering way of having its meaning rush around at breakneck speed over music at the top of its game; sweet, free and unbridled in style. In truth, Coltrane has a bigger influence on her than do singers, even Betty Carter or Ella Fitzgerald.

But it's also worth listening out for the clear paradoxes she writes into the lyrics for Certes [Sure] (“Certes, il faut ne pas trop penser / Penser en s’remplissant la panse / De vide gras et d’existence / Et se concentrer sur sa chance” [“Sure, don’t think too much/Think while you fill your belly/With fatty nothingness and life/And concentrate on your luck”]). And then there’s the textual farce of Comptes de fées [Fairy tales] (“Elle c’est la fée, lui c’est le comte / Des contes de fées, il en raconte / Sur le contrat, il conte fleurette / Vite fait bien fait à fée Clochette” [“She’s the fairy, he’s the noble/He tells fairy tales/About the contract, he woos Tinker Bell/Quickly and masterfully”]).

And she sings the aria from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations at full speed, covers Serge Gainsbourg’s Comment te dire adieu, the surrealist Conne by Brigitte Fontaine and La Femme coupée en morceaux by Michel Legrand, written and sung in Brazilian over some Wayne Shorter and in French over Bill Evans.

Her giant steps go in ten different directions at once, weaving Les Double Six together with Helen Merrill, Claude Nougaro with Meredith d’Ambrosio, the films of Jacques Demy with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Jacques Loussier with André Minvielle... Her thoughts: “I wanted an album which reflected me rather than one which reflected its own genre.”


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