Tuesday, September 30, 2014

7th Annual Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest Returns With Weekend Celebration This November













The 7th Annual Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest returns to Florida's Riviera this November in a weekend celebrating the soulful sounds of jazz music.  Taking place from Friday, Nov. 14 to Sunday, Nov. 16, the event is being produced by the City of Sunny Isles Beach in partnership with the Sunny Isles Beach Tourism and Marketing Council to benefit Joshua's Heart Foundation.

"We are excited to host Jazz Fest 2014," said Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Norman Edelcup.  "This music festival weekend isn't only about extraordinary jazz.  It's an opportunity to experience all that Sunny Isles Beach has to offer.  Spend the day soaking in the sun on our white sand beach, discovering a new adventure, shopping or enjoying a spa day and then stroll over to the park on Saturday night for a cool jazz concert under the stars."

Expected to attract more than 2,000 festival goers, this year's Jazz Fest will celebrate the theme "What a Wonderful World," befitting Sunny Isles Beach where residents and guests alike enjoy world class weather, services, amenities and cultural activities.  The festival opens on Friday, Nov. 14 with a dinner event at Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach, located at 17875 Collins Avenue.

The main event takes place on Saturday evening at Heritage Park, 19200 Collins Avenue, featuring local jazz artists like Leon Foster Thomas, a unique force in modern jazz labeled as "the next big thing on his instrument" by All About Jazz, accompanied by the Melton Mustafa Orchestra. Other featured artists include LeNard Rutledge, named Best Jazz Artist by the Miami New Times, and celebrated vocalists Brenda Alford and Rochelle Lightfoot.

On Sunday, Trump International Beach Resort, located at 18001 Collins Avenue, will host a Jazz Brunch pairing a menu of savory Southern cuisine with soulful jazz to close the weekend festivities.

Visitors and residents alike are invited to enjoy one of Miami's most vibrant music festivals, with a jam-packed weekend of live music, culinary experiences and white sand beaches to enjoy.

The 7th Annual Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest is made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

The event will benefit the Joshua's Heart Foundation, which aims to empower those in need and to improve their quality of life. This non-profit organization provides items of basic necessity, including food and water. The foundation also engages and educates communities at home and abroad about how to take steps towards fighting hunger and poverty on a global scale.

Sunny Isles Beach is ideally positioned to take advantage of everything South Florida has to offer. This eclectic destination nestled between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale is part laid-back coastal city, and part luxury resort and shopping mecca. Whether visitors are looking for a warm-weather holiday centered around golf or tennis, a family vacation with great activities for the kids, or an extraordinary and romantic wedding or honeymoon destination, look no further than Sunny Isles Beach.


Saxophonist Frank Catalano and Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin Pay Tribute to John Coltrane on Love Supreme Collective

Love Supreme Collective is the Ropeadope debut by Billboard chart-topping saxophonist Frank Catalano and longtime Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Chicago-based Catalano and Chamberlin met in 1999 at the former Boulevard Cafe in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood during a jam session that Catalano was hosting. On that night, the jam included John Medeski, DJ Logic, Steve Kimock, Les Claypool and Sugar Blue. Catalano and Chamberlin started playing together soon after for fun, mostly at each other's houses with the exception of a few Jimmy Chamberlin Complex performances. 

"I have been a fan and friend of Frank's for fifteen years and I am happy we are making music together," Chamberlin says. This collaboration has enabled Chamberlin to reconnect with his jazz roots. Fans of Chamberlin's drumming will be delighted to hear him in this context, as he demonstrates an inspired range of depth in his playing. "Jimmy is my favorite drummer and I think of him like he's my big brother," Catalano says. "We played together at the Green Mill in Chicago recently and I still have the music running through my body. It was so special, words can't properly express my feelings." 

While Catalano has nothing but joy and positive feelings for the music on Love Supreme Collective, this inspired album has its genesis in difficult circumstances. In 2011, Catalano sustained serious injuries after his car was hit by a drunk driver. He cites John Coltrane's A Love Supreme as the spiritual anchor during his difficult recovery. Catalano wanted to make a recording that embodied the love, thanks, and praise of A Love Supreme without copying it. Catalano was fortunate to have worked with A Love Supreme's legendary drummer, Elvin Jones, who Chamberlin cites as one of his biggest influences. As such, the passion felt for the material on this recording is easily apparent. 

For this project, Chamberlin enlisted his keyboardist from the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, Adam Benjamin (Kneebody), and Catalano rounded up PolCat members Percy Jones (Brand X, Soft Machine) and Chris Poland (Megadeth) for the bass and guitar work, respectively. 

"This recording is about crafting emotions and feelings," Catalano says. "The way the guys set the tone and mood for each song is pretty unreal. Love Supreme Collective resembles a through composed contemporary classical piece with four movements." 

At Catalano's request, Ropeadope is selling the recording on iTunes as an "all or nothing," album, because, as Catalano says, "I didn't want this work separated and fragmented. While I am very proud of my recordings for the Savoy and Delmark labels, this is the first time I used my classical composition training to frame the work of a recording. This freed me to keep Coltrane, Von Freeman and other spiritual energy near my heart and under my fingers." 

Catalano is at a stage of his career as an established veteran in the Chicago jazz scene where he often hears questions regarding the direction of his music and career: What is important? What are you working to achieve? Are you happy with your situation? What are you going after? With Love Supreme Collective, Catalano chooses to answer these questions through his music. "It is easy to say words," he says, "but to express these emotions, thoughts, feelings in an instrumental album is something else. 'Psalm for John' is probably the most special on a personal level. A psalm can help inculcate belief in divine providence into one's consciousness. Percy Jones and I are bending our bass and soprano sax notes together at the same time, without discussing it, playing off each other, as if our minds are being fed this info. We did not filter or limit the music in any way.  It was a very powerful and spiritual experience. I want to thank everyone who is reading these words and checking out the music!" 

Upcoming Frank Catalano Performances with Jimmy Chamberlin:

October 26 / Iridium Jazz Club / New York, NY
November 14 / Mayne Stage / Chicago, IL
December 18 - 20 / Andy's Jazz Club / Chicago, IL

Upcoming Frank Catalano Sextet Performances:

October 10 & 11 / Andy's Jazz Club / Chicago, IL
October 31 - November 1 / Earshot Jazz Festival / Seattle, WA
November 28 & 29 / Andy's Jazz Club / Chicago, IL


Vocalist Hilary Gardner Delivers Her Debut Recording The Great City

Acclaimed vocalist Hilary Gardner grew up in Alaska, infatuated with New York City.  Her striking recording debut, The Great City, available on Anzic Records, is Gardner's love letter to her adopted hometown, great metropolises everywhere, and the big dreams they represent. The Great City is graceful, intimate and sophisticated, recalling classic records by Peggy Lee, Julie London, and Ella Fitzgerald. The album's program of songs is refreshingly broad, featuring songs both urban and urbane by composers such as Leonard Cohen, Vernon Duke, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, and Nellie McKay, among others. "I wanted to acknowledge the breadth of musical influences in my life while still making a cohesive musical statement," Hilary said. Elaborating on the title track, Hilary added, "I first heard this song sung by a very young Shirley Horn, and it immediately solidified and clarified what this album was going to be about. Funnily (appropriately!) enough, I was on the subway listening on headphones when this song came on for the first time. I had already been picking songs for the album, but as soon as I heard the first 'A' section of 'The Great City,' I knew I'd found the title track and thematic centerpiece of my record."

The Great City was recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn under the guidance of Grammy-winning producer Eli Wolf, and features musical accompaniment and solos by friends and NYC jazz mainstays, Ehud Asherie (piano), Randy Napoleon (guitar), Elias Bailey (bass), Jerome Jennings (drums), Jason Marshall (saxophone), Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet) and Jon Cowherd (organ).

Hilary opens the recording with the beautifully melancholy, "No One After You", which Hilary first heard on Anjani's Blue Alert during an insomnia filled summer living in Spanish Harlem. "I immediately felt drawn to 'No One After You' because it evoked such strong memories of that time in my life: living uptown and waiting tables while trying to make this music thing happen, getting my heart broken, etc.," said Hilary. In 2010, Hilary was chosen by the Frank Sinatra estate to appear as the live, onstage singer in Tony-award winner Twyla Tharp's Come Fly Away.  Backed by a 19-piece big band, Hilary sang solos and duets with Frank Sinatra's voice in a performance hailed by critics as "wonderful" (Huffington Post), "elegant" (USA Today), and "terrific" (The New York Observer). So in a way Frank Sinatra gave Hilary Gardner her first big break, and "Brooklyn Bridge" (Sinatra premiered this Cahn/Styne song in the 1947 film, It Happened In Brooklyn), is Hilary's nod to Ol' Blue Eyes. "Aside from the fact that I immediately fell in love with the charm and sweetness of this song, I also knew I had to tip my proverbial hat to Frank Sinatra on my record." Hilary's bittersweet rendition of "Autumn In New York" is both luxurious and filled with longing. She reinvigorates Vernon Duke's classic standard with understated elegance. "The line, '. . . looking down on the city I hate and adore . . .' gave me goose bumps the first time I heard it, because it's so true. I love how urbane this whole lyric is, and it was really important to me that we recorded both full choruses so the entire lyric would be heard. Vernon Duke! He wrote the music and lyrics for this song in 1937, and I think it's the most elegant summation of the complexity of loving this city. I was so inspired by Billie Holiday's recording of this song, which is stop-you-in-your-tracks perfection. Her interpretation is so incredibly deep and subtle," said Hilary.

Other highlights on The Great City include Hilary's version of "Drunk On The Moon," the late-night ballad by Tom Waits (who Hilary fell in love with at age 12), evoking the original's snapshot of blue smoke curling around neon signs and the beauty of the urban underbelly. "This song is how the city feels after a long night, coming home after a very late gig," commented Hilary; "Sweetheart", inspired by Dan Hicks, and featuring Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet, who Hilary met while playing with Valery Ponomarev's big band together (along with Jason Marshall and Jerome Jennings); "You Came a Long Way From St. Louis" and "(Ah, the Apple Trees) When the World Was Young", both inspired by Anita O'Day; "This Little Town Is Paris," which represents Hilary's knack for finding relatively unknown gems that deserve to be heard. "The composer, Milton Schwartz, is a total mystery! I searched for any information about him, and came up with bupkis. Not even Jonathan Schwartz (legendary WNYC DJ, no relation) had any info. But what a little gem of a tune. A beautiful melody, a charming lyric . . . this is one of my favorite moments on the record," said Hilary.

The album concludes with poise and poignancy on "Manhattan Avenue."  Here, supported by Ehud Asherie's virtuosic piano accompaniment, Hilary interprets the gritty, contemporary lyric with sophisticated intimacy.  The simple grace of the song's arrangement is a tribute to the telepathic interplay between Teddy Wilson and Billie Holiday. That juxtaposition of sensibilities, timeless musicality melded with an in-the-now sentiment, poetically sums up The Great City. "We knew right away that 'Manhattan Avenue' would close the album, especially with the last line: Oh, but dreams come true/on Manhattan Avenue.  That's really the message of the album," Hilary says. "This city is complicated, frustrating, and magical, and dreams do come true here. They certainly have for me."

Hilary Gardner performs as a leader throughout New York City, appearing regularly at Birdland, Café Carlyle, Symphony Space, and Jazz at Kitano.  She is a frequent soloist with symphonies throughout the United States and has appeared with Connecticut's Ridgefield Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and New York's Rochester Philharmonic. Multi-platinum recording artist Moby featured Hilary prominently on his 2009 release, Wait For Me (Mute Records/EMI). Most recently Hilary has been touring with the new vocal super-group Duchess, featuring fellow vocalists, and Anzic label-mates Amy Cervini and Melissa Stylianou. The group has just kicked off a three month residency at The 55 Bar, and will be releasing their debut album in early 2015, on Anzic Records.

Hilary Gardner - Upcoming Appearances: 

Oct 5 @ Birdland, NYC, CD Release Celebration for The Great City 
Featuring Hilary Gardner (vocals), Ehud Asherie (piano), Elias Bailey (bass), Jerome Jennings (drums), Jason Marshall (saxophone)

Oct 2 & 15  and Nov 6 & 19
Duchess Residency @ The 55 Bar, NYC
Featuring Amy Cervini, Melissa Stylianou & Hilary Gardner

Oct 9, sets at 8 & 10 PM
Duchess @ Snug Harbor, New Orleans, LA
With special guests Evan Christopher, Brian Seeger and others!


TRAVIS WESLEY’S CYCLE BY THREE, A FRESH TAKE FROM A MODERN JAZZ PIANO TRIO

The piano-bass-drums trio has been given new life in jazz in recent years by the Bad Plus, Brad Mehldau and the late Esbjorn Svensson in EST. While Travis Wesley’s previous CD Natural Diversion paid tribute to such pianists as Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Erroll Garner and Ahmad Jamal, Cycle By Three is a giant step forward. His playing is strikingly original and his interplay with bassist Toby Curtright and drummer Tom Marko during a program filled with colorful originals is consistently impressive.

“The music crosses over several genres,” says Wesley, “and I hope that it will be attractive not just to jazz enthusiasts but to many others. We wanted to modernize the sound of the piano trio, break some rules and display our own artistic voices. Drummer Tom Marko is very supportive, solid, and his musical comments are tasty and stylistically appropriate. Toby Curtright’s approach to the bass lies somewhere between the sounds of Scott LaFaro and Jaco Pastorius. His sound is perfect for this group’s concept.” Many of the selections have Wesley’s left hand and bassist Curtright stating the melodies together, giving the group an easily identifiable sound.

The pianist contributed six pieces to Cycle By Three. “Prelude” and “Postlude” bookend the set with identical themes (based off of Chopin’s “Prelude in E Minor #4″) that are interpreted in different ways. “Keeper Of Keys” has a melody line inspired by Bach, a floating quality and a backbeat that brings the piece to a climax. “Fading Friends” features the creative use of a hip hop groove that is soulful, joyful and a bit funky while still including a lot of improvisation. “Song For Madelynne” (dedicated to Wesley’s daughter) is the longest piece of the set. It has a catchy background and a creative drum solo by Marko. “Memoriam” is a hyper and inventive performance dedicated to Esbjorn Svensson and EST.

Bassist Toby Curtright brought in two songs that are also on Cycle By Three. Both works, “But He Himself Was Broken” and “For Us, This Is The End Of All Stories,” are instrumentals that have religious themes. The former uses Curtright’s bowed bass and repetitious figures from the piano very effectively while the latter is a ballad that is reminiscent of Pat Metheny in its harmonies. Also included on Cycle By Three is a lyrical, modernized and quietly emotional version of the Rodgers & Hart classic ”Spring Is Here.”

Travis Wesley was born and raised in Bloomington, Illinois. He began taking piano lessons when he was ten and, although he was most interested in classic rock at the time, he soon discovered jazz through his piano teacher. “Jazz is where I come from. The commitment and artistry that it takes to be able to play it is a lifelong pursuit.  It is the deepest form of artistic expression that there is.”

Wesley attended the Berklee College of Music for a year, earned a Bachelors degree in music from Eastern Illinois University, completed his Masters in 2005 and recently earned his doctorate. Wesley worked with saxophonist Willie Akins in St. Louis during 2004-05, became a well respected educator and has led his own groups for years in addition to appearing with some of the top musicians of the Midwest.

While Travis Welsey’s playing on 2012′s Natural Diversion showed his roots, Cycle By Three displays his individuality and creativity. This colorful and inventive set points the way towards the piano trio of the future.


~ Visit THE JAZZ NETWORK WORLDWIDE "A GREAT PLACE TO HANG" at: http://www.thejazznetworkworldwide.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network


Monday, September 29, 2014

Jazz Vibist Jason Marsalis Joins the Yamaha Artist Roster

A son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis and his wife Dolores, Jason began sitting in with his father’s jazz group at a young age, and eventually became a steady member of the band. He attended the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts High School and continued to develop his skills by playing gigs with his father and brothers, Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Marsalis’s touring career bloomed after high school when he performed with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. Despite his heavy tour schedule, Marsalis attended Loyola University in New Orleans and studied composition with Roger Dickerson.

“Jason continues to inspire people worldwide with his mastery as an artist and an educator,” said John Wittmann, director of Artist Relations and Education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “With his exceptional skill on jazz vibraphone and international exposure, we look forward to a long, fruitful relationship.”

Marsalis has recorded, performed, or toured with a wide variety of artists, including Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Casa Samba, Dr. Michael White, Ellis Marsalis, Thelonious Monk, Aretha Franklin, Christian Fabien and his own Latin-jazz group Los Hombres Calientes, among others. Marsalis and the entire Marsalis family received the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award in 2009, and appeared at the White House and the Kennedy Center in tributes to his father Ellis.

"Yamaha has always been reliable with instruments and the vibraphone is no exception to this,” said Marsalis, who performs with Yamaha’s three octave Gold Professional Gold Tour Vibraphone model, YV-3710 with a matte finish. “The instrument has a great, warm sound and is very comfortable to play.”

For more information, please visit http://4wrd.it/yamahaartists


NEW RELEASES - TONY PERKINS -TONY PERKINS (WITH BONUS TRACKS); PAUL BRUSGER – WAITING FOR NEXT TIME; BALLISTER – BOTH ENDS

TONY PERKINS – TONY PERKINS (WITH BONUS TRACKS)

A really wonderful first album from Anthony Perkins – cut years before he shocked the screen in Psycho, at a time when he was arguably more committed to his role as a singer! Perkins is surprisingly great throughout – with a mellow, masculine approach that's a bit like Matt Dennis at the time – never overdone, but with just the right sort of inflections to really personalize the music. Tony never tries to belt it out of the park, and that's what we really like about the record – in that he's a much more honest, understated singer – a nice contrast to some of the more emotive talents on the charts at the time. Marty Paich provides the backing – in a great jazzy style that's similar to his work with Mel Torme – and titles include "April Fool", "Hit The Road To Dreamland", "How Long Has This Been Going On", "But Beautiful", "I Wish I Knew", "Accidents Will Happen", and "Better Luck Next Time". CD features 7 more bonus tracks too – including "If You Were The Only Girl", "If You'll Be Mine", "Melody For Lovers", "Fool In Love", and "A Little Love Can Go A Long Long Way". ~ Dusty Groove

PAUL BRUSGER – WAITING FOR NEXT TIME

Bassist Paul Brusger heads up this quartet, but the group's got strong contributions on all its four corners – tremendous baritone work from Gary Smulyan, who's becoming one of our favorite contemporary players on the instrument – plus soulful piano from Mike Ledonne, and just the right sort of swing from the great Louis Hayes! The players come together with a freshness that's noteworthy – really standing apart from even their other recent recordings – quite possibly due to the fact that every tune on the set (save one) is an original composition by Brusger, a writer with a really old school way of balancing lyricism and soul – a compositional strength that almost takes us back to Horace Silver or Duke Pearson. Titles include "In A Minor Funk", "When Will You Ever Learn", "All But One", "Bringin Home The Silver", "Waiting For The Next Trane", and "Andrea's Delight". ~ Dusty Groove

BALLISTER – BOTH ENDS


Maybe one of the most vibrant musical performances ever from the Ballister trio – for reasons that are recorded in the notes on the album – a stunning collaboration between Dave Rempis on alto and tenor, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion! The players have a great way of swinging between sound and space – really letting things out to create the right sort of suspense, then bounding back in with the sort of bold energy that really feeds their fire – almost with a sensitivity that's surprising, given the situation! The album features one long live performance – divided up into "Front" and "Back" passages. (Yellow vinyl pressing, too!)  ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: JAMES BROWN – SUPER BAD; THE BAR-KAYS – TOO HOT TO STOP; NORTHERN SOUL - THE SOUNDTRACK (COMPILATION)

JAMES BROWN – SUPER BAD

Super Bad is right! This is hard-hitting funky James – from the badass cover right down to the extended tracks on the record, which point the way towards the hard live jamming of the classic Payback years! Everything wonderful is in place on the set – from the band's grooves at the bottom to James' on-fire vocals on the top – heard beautifully on the extended 10 minute version of the title cut "Super Bad" – which rolls through parts 1, 2, and 3 of the song! The album also includes another 10 minute funky cut – "Giving Out of Juice" – plus the classic "A Man Has to Go Back to the Crossroads", and three mellower ballads, but even they end up sounding kind of hip!  ~ Dusty Groove

THE BAR-KAYS – TOO HOT TO STOP

A pivotal album from The Bar-Kays – a key post-Stax set, but one that's still very firmly grounded in Memphis funk! The groove definitely shows a bit more polish than before – the same sort of shift the Ohio Players made after moving to Mercury Records – but as with the Players at their best, there's still plenty of sharp edges and deeply funky moments on the record – and if anything, the shift has really given The Bar-Kays a way to evolve their sound past some of the heavier modes of the early days, without losing any of the appeal of their groove! Some cuts have some great keyboards – almost producing a spacey funk feel at points – and titles include "Too Hot To Stop (part 1)", "You're So Sexy", "Cozy", "Spellbound", "Whitehouseorgy", and the nice mellow track "Summer Of Our Love".  ~ Dusty Groove


NORTHERN SOUL - THE SOUNDTRACK (COMPILATION)

A stunner of a soul set – put together to support the film on England's Northern Soul scene! The package is worth it for the music alone – a massive 54 tracks that stand together as one of the sweetest Northern Soul collections we've seen in years – a really great choice of material that mixes classics from the scene with the sort of newly-discovered gems that have really kept the scene going for far longer than anyone might have expected back in the 60s and 70s. All work here is of late 60s vintage, and titles include "I Gotta Find Me Somebody" by The Vel Vets, "Crying Over You" by Duke Browner, "Exus Trek" by Luther Ingram Orchestra, "Your Autumn Of Tomorrow" by The Crow, "Come On Train" by Don Thomas, "It Really Hurts Me Girl" by The Carstairs, "I Was Born To Love You" by Herbert Hunter, "She'll Come Running Back" by Mel Britt, "Little Love Affair" by Patrinelle Staten, and "You Don't Love Me" by Epitome Of Sound. And if that's not enough, the set also includes a bonus DVD – with an interview with Elaine Constantine, director of the film – plus an audio interview with legendary Northern Soul DJ Richard Sterling, and a slide show of his most cherished relics from the scene in the 70s. ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: GIL SCOTT-HERON - FREE WILL; SONNY ROLLINS - AFTER THE BRIDGE; SAM DEES - TAKE ONE

GIL SCOTT-HERON - FREE WILL

A really tremendous album from the legendary Gil Scott-Heron – and a set that stands as one of his greatest statements from the 70s! The record is a wonderful example of Gil's work in two different styles – sweet mellow jazzy soul, and harder heavier protest poetry – the latter from his roots as a writer in touch with the streets, and the former part of a brilliant new direction that he was taking on the Flying Dutchman label. Side one features classic jazzy tracks recorded with Brian Jackson – like "Free Will", "The Middle Of Your Days", "Speed Kills", and "Did You Hear What They Said?". Side two moves over to a much sparer sound – and has Gil reciting some of his poetry with very heavy percussion, and a very righteous approach. The wisdom and knowledge of those pieces is a perfect example of the kinds of issues that were haunting black America in the early 70s – especially on the tracks "No Knock", "The King Alfred Plan", and "Sex Education: Ghetto Style". CD features 11 stunning bonus tracks – alternates of songs on the album, and some very cool "breakdown" tracks as well!  ~  Dusty Groove

SONNY ROLLINS - AFTER THE BRIDGE

Rare work from the RCA years of Sonny Rollins – all recorded during the time of his groundbreaking albums for the label in the early 60s, but never issued until this much later Japanese package! The title is quite apt – as the whole set really shows the development that Rollins brought to his music in the years after his classic album The Bridge – that open, freely expressive sound that took his already-great approach to tenor and really pushed it into something new – a bold, fresh style for the 60s that was full of power and freedom, but which took a very different direction than the music of John Coltrane or Archie Shepp. Music runs from bop standards to more thoughtful compositions – and even in the mellow moments, Rollins is really mindblowing – working in small group settings with players who include Herbie Hancock on piano, Jim Hall on guitar, Thad Jones on cornet, and either Ron Carter or David Izenzon on bass. Titles include "Afternoon In Paris", "Now's The Time", "I Remember Clifford", "Django", "When You Wish Upon A Star", "Travelin Light", and "Four". ~ Dusty Groove 


SAM DEES - TAKE ONE: ORIGIN OF TWELVE 70s SOUL MASTERPIECES

Sam Dees was one of the greatest unsung talents in 70s soul music – an important writer, arranger, and general background talent who helped so many other singers hit the heights – but who hardly ever issued much work under his own name! Apart from key singles and an important album on Atlantic, the recorded legacy of Dees isn't what it should be – given his impact on music, especially deep soul – but fortunately, sets like this have come along to correct that lack! As part of Sam's creative process, he would often record songs first on his own – not as rough demo tracks, but as surprisingly well done studio versions to illustrate the material – tracks that were often better than later versions of his tunes, and most of the other commercial soul on the market. This sweet set brings together 12 of those tracks – private recordings from Sam, of songs he'd later give to singers like Loletta Holloway, Ben E King, and others – an essential record from the great Dees, pressed up on super-heavy vinyl! Titles include the previously unissued "Married But Not To Each Other" – plus "Good Guys Don't Always Win", "Who Are You Gonna Love", "Con Me", "Only Lonely People", "False Alarms", "Standing In The Wings Of A Heartache", "The World Don't Owe You Nothing", and "Black Tattler". ~ Dusty Groove


Friday, September 26, 2014

Indie Soul Artist Gina Carey To Release Her Second Single From Upcoming Album “The Soulful Collection of Gina Carey” October 1st

It’s been 3 months since the release of Gina Carey’s first single “Through the Waters”, and now Gico Music is proud to announce the second single from her upcoming CD, “ The Soulful Collection of Gina Carey”, “Eyes of a Child” on October 1st .

Gina Carey’s “Eyes of a Child” is a smooth soulful mid tempo ballad loaded with intense emotion and deep powerful lyrics. “Eyes of a Child” talks about the importance of not losing the ability to pursue ones lifelong dreams, and challenges listeners to see life once again through the eyes of a child.

 “Eyes of a Child” was both written and produced by Gina Carey. Her husband, Recording Artist / Guitarist John Carey, contributed live bass and guitar. The single was recorded in Palm Desert California at the Gico Music Production Studios.

Throughout Gina Carey’s singing career, she has recorded 10 independently released CD’s including her latest two singles “Through the Waters” and “Eyes of a Child”.  Both singles “Through the Waters” and “Eyes of a Child” are following the footsteps of her 2011 CD release “Melodic”. Melodic” made its way to the #1 spot on the UK Soul Charts.

Gina Carey’s two latest singles, “Through the Waters” and “Eyes of a Child “seem to be trending the same manner as “Melodic”. Her first single “Through the Waters” from her upcoming CD “The Soulful Collection of Gina Carey” has already landed the #4 spot on the UK’s Danceteria’s Phatt 50 Charts and, although Gina Carey’s new single “Eyes of a Child” has not yet been released, it is also gaining superlative reviews and generous portions of Radio support.

“The Soulful Collection of Gina Carey” along with her two latest singles” will be released in March of 2015, however, “Eyes of a Child” will be available for digital download on October 1, 2014. “Through the Waters” is currently available.

Check out "Eyes of a Child on Youtube:



Jazz Crooner Lourdes Duque Baron Releases Debut Single From Her Second Album

Classic jazz is not unfamiliar to Lourdes Duque Baron as her first album entitled “Feeling Good At Any Age” contained classic cover songs with a contemporary twist. But her debut single from her new upcoming EP My Spring In Paris is a first glimpse at her original music talent. Teaming up again with producer Andrew Lane, who also produced Baron’s last album and who also frequently collaborates with jazz music royalty Ron Ellington Shy, Baron winds up with a mellow, whimsical single that recalls the passionate late-night European sophistication of traditional jazz mixed with a contemporary sound. Listen to My Spring In Paris here.

“My Spring In Paris” is a song Lane co-wrote a few years back with artist Maya Tremblay and shelved until the right music artist came along to record it. He chose this song for Baron because of “her worldliness and her deep vocal sound.” Lane also happened to compose the arrangement. It's not just the sound, it's the emotion and feel of the song…very '60s standards like Frank Sinatra’s “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye" or Burt Bacharach's "Walk on By", classic and romantic jazz songs.

If any music could be called accessible it's this, with its warm intimacy and classic good taste. Baron’s look and sound has been referred to as ‘timeless.’ This new single is a masterpiece and could very well prove to be so. After all, some things are timeless for a reason; they need no updating, only replicating. Time will tell. "My Spring In Paris" is now available on iTunes, Amazon and MTV.


Lourdes Duque Baron's other projects include her two bestselling books "Scripted In Heaven" and "I Called Myself Cassandra," as well as her upcoming feature film in development, an adaptation of her book "Scripted In Heaven."


SOUL-JAZZ TRUMPETER JOEY SOMMERVILLE RELEASES "OVERNIGHT SENSATION" FEATURING EARL KLUGH, JEFF LORBER AND OTHERS

Behind every musical overnight sensation are years of toiling away in rehearsal halls, recording studios and sweaty nightclubs meticulously honing one’s craft. In trumpeter Joey Sommerville’s case, it’s more than two decades of writing, recording and touring to cultivate his following and establish his presence on the national scene. On October 28, the award-winning soul-jazz musician, songwriter and producer will release a new collection of songs that he’s been working on as far back as 1993 that will comprise his fifth album, “Overnight Sensation,” slated for release on his Jayvox imprint. The title track will crank up the party when it is serviced to radio stations for airplay at the end of this month. 
  
Sommerville’s forte is serving as an impresario of fun and funky frolics and pretty harmonies that touch the heart. He wrote or co-wrote nine of the disc’s ten tracks and produced the entire session sharing production duties on two cuts with fusion icon Jeff Lorber. Like a ringmaster who skillfully unifies the eclectic acts of a three-ring circus, the trumpeter who also plays flugelhorn, piano, keyboards, synth bass and drum programming on the record has scripted a colorful collection of short stories with his horn serving as the common thread binding gripping chapters in contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, R&B, hip hop and rock.

“In this era of singles downloads, I still believe in the concept of albums and a cohesive body of music,” said the Atlanta, Georgia-based Sommerville, who will perform at an album launch gig there on October 30 at the Suite Food Lounge. “I’ve always wanted to record these songs and I really like them, but they didn’t fit on previous projects. They were all inspired by real life experiences thus they have meaning. The long journey that is a music career is a marathon, not a sprint, and the timing finally came around for these songs to be recorded for the first time. Surprisingly, they fit together despite being written over a long period of time and the variety in their sound and style.”

Sommerville’s trumpet seduces on the sensuous “Desire” highlighted by gossamer guitar from legend Earl Klugh. Venturing in a divergent tangent, Sommerville tosses a bone to Jeff Bradshaw on a raucous and imaginative take on “Caravan,” a scintillating thrill ride that Duke Ellington never would have seen coming. “Red Cups Up” is a playful party anthem while Sommerville surprises when he steps to the mic on the stunner “I Just Wanna Be With You” on which his husky voice quivers and cracks with raw emotion while crooning an autobiographic story of romance to his wife. A spiraling Lorber groove, “The Next Big Thing” is a tightly-wound R&B-jazz-funk mélange illumined by Sommerville’s trumpet and quirky synth along with a touch of sax from Elan Trotman. The elegiac “Rebecca of Birmingham” was penned years ago after Sommerville’s grandmother passed and is graced by a stirring blues-jazz guitar eulogy from Eric Essix. “Karma” induces reflection during the straight-ahead jazz exercise after which Sommerville closes the album with the throwback R&B instrumental “Forever” followed by the boisterous “The Passport Life.”                   

A spotlight soloist on the Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning album “Alegria” by Cirque du Soleil, Sommerville’s 2007 release “Like You Mean It” won the American Society of Young Musician’s All That Jazz Award in 2009. His trumpet artistry was featured on Hidden Beach Recordings’ “Unwrapped Volume 4” and he’s written and produced a Top 20 single for Bob Baldwin and an album by Rhonda Smith that features performances by Prince, Sheila E. and gospel icon Fred Hammond. Sommerville is a high-octane performer who is a regular at festivals and on music cruises. Outside of music, he can be heard voicing spots for BMW, Coke, Ford, the U.S. Army and more. 

The songs contained on the “Overnight Sensation” album are:
“Overnight Sensation”
“Desire”
“Caravan”
“Red Cups Up”
“I Just Wanna Be With You”
“The Next Big Thing”
“Rebecca of Birmingham”
“Karma”
“Forever”
“The Passport Life”

 

NEW RELEASES: CHRIS BYARS - THE MUSIC OF DUKE JORDAN; MICHAEL COCHRANE - DISCOVERY; BERNARD PURDIE - PURDIE GOOD!

CHRIS BYARS - THE MUSIC OF DUKE JORDAN

The music of Duke Jordan, but in a really fresh setting – handled here by altoist Chris Byars, who's brought together a compelling lineup for the set! Many of these tracks are numbers you'll either know as bop standards, or from Jordan's trio recordings – but the approach here is quite inventive, and makes the record way more than just a tribute – in the creative style of Byars' previous projects dedicated to Gigi Gryce or Lucky Thompson. Chris opens up the tunes with instrumentation that includes bass clarinet from Stefano Doglioni, trombone from John Mosca, and guitar from Pasquale Grasso – as well as vocals from singer Yaala Ballin, who composed lyrics for two Jordan tracks – "If I Did Would You" and "Lesson In Love" – which are nestled nicely next to instrumentals that include "Jordanish", "Undecided Lady", "There's A Star For You", "Glad I Met Pat", and "The Bullet". ~ Dusty Groove


MICHAEL COCHRANE - DISCOVERY

Wonderfully warm work from the great Michael Cochrane – a pianist we always love, and who also seems to be playing a bit of Fender Rhodes on this album too! The instrument's not credited on the back, but turns up in an excellent version of Denny Zeitlin's "Quiet Now" – which is handled by Cochrane with just the right sort of space and tone to really open up the composition – in a way that's very different from the bolder, more soulful tones the pianist uses throughout the rest of the album. As always with a record from Michael, the original tunes are some of the best – and include "Discovery", "MC's Bossa", "Erie Blues", and "Fantasy" – all the kind of numbers that always have us digging for his records whenever we get the chance. Other tunes include "Oblivion", "Yesterdays", and "Visitation" – and the trio includes Daryl Johns on bass and Steve Johns on drums.  ~ Dusty Groove

BERNARD PURDIE - PURDIE GOOD!

Bernard Purdie's first album as a leader for Prestige – cut right after he'd hipped up plenty of other sessions for the label with his famous funky drums! The groove here is very much in the best Prestige jazz funk mode of the early 70s – tightly vamping rhythms that draw heavily from Purdie's monstrous drums – and which also offer solo showcase space for Harold Wheeler on electric piano, Ted Dunbar on guitar, Tippy Larkin on trumpet, and Charlie Brown and Warren Daniels on tenor. Rhythm is augmented by Gordon Edwards on Fender bass and Norman Pride on congas – and the grooves hit a variety of modes that show that Purdie could sometimes be a more open-thinking rhythmatist than his funky contemporary Idris Muhammad. Titles include great instrumental versions of "Cold Sweat" and "Montego Bay", plus the originals "Wasteland", "You Turn Me On", and "Purdie Good". ~ Dusty Groove


Thursday, September 25, 2014

NEW RELEASES: DEXTER GORDON - THREE CLASSIC ALBUMS PLUS; CARMEN MCRAE - BOOK OF BALLADS; BARRY MANILOW - MY DREAM DUETS

DEXTER GORDON - THREE CLASSIC ALBUMS PLUS

Avid's Three Classic Albums Plus places tenor sax player Dexter Gordon's two Bethlehem-led dates from 1955 -- Daddy Plays the Horn and Dexter Blows Hot and Cool -- in the company of his 1960 comeback The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon (on which he appears on most, but not all of the tracks) as well as six of seven cuts from Stan Levey's excellent Bethlehem session, This Time the Drum's on Me, which is also from 1955. The liner notes from the original albums and complete session attributions are provided in the booklet. Prospective buyers should consider a couple of things before dropping money: first, the "remastered sound" in this budget package is not from analog source tapes, but either from LPs or perhaps even MP3s since there are audible clicks. Secondly, given that the U.K.'s copyright laws are different from Gordon's American ones, these are in the former's public domain, and there is no financial remuneration to the artist's estate. It's true that the music is great and this is certainly inexpensive, but the adage "you get what you pay for" also applies. Those who wish to investigate Gordon's early dates as a leader would be well advised to seek out the American recordings first. They contain much better sound and royalties actually get paid. ~ Thom Jurek

CARMEN MCRAE - BOOK OF BALLADS

Carmen McRae's book of ballads is a great set of standards – performed by a core trio that features Don Abney on piano, over larger backings by Frank Hunter! The set's a treasure from Carmen's early years – and is filled with dusky renditions of tunes that are familiar, but which have a very different feeling here – thanks to McRae's sense of care and space with the material – one that almost brings a personal, reflective quality to the whole thing. Titles include "He Was Too Good To Me", "By Myself", "My Romance", "When I Fall In Love", and "Please Be Kind".  ~ Dusty Groove


BARRY MANILOW - MY DREAM DUETS

For his Verve Music debut My Dream Duets, Manilow demonstrates that he is a fan celebrating his own musical heroes who have inspired him through the years. From cherished idols like Andy Williams, Sammy Davis Jr, Dusty Springfield, Mama Cass, Jimmy Durante, Marilyn Monroe, Frankie Lyman, Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong to contemporary icons like Whitney Houston and John Denver. Barry has joined together with them in his recording studio, emerging with a collection of remarkable duet classics. Here’s the official description of Barry Manilow's My Dream Duets is as follows: "For his Verve Music debut My Dream Duets, Manilow demonstrates that he is a fan celebrating his own musical heroes who have inspired him through the years. From cherished idols like Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong to contemporary icons like Whitney Houston and John Denver. Barry has joined together with them in his recording studio, emerging with a collection of remarkable duet classics. Although the extraordinary guest artists on My Dream Duetss are no longer with us, Manilow's mission is to ensure their immortal voices live on to excite and entertain all generations of music lovers." Barry Manilow's My Dream Duets will be released on October 28.


DIANA KRALL CANCELS FALL TOUR DATES DUE TO ILLNESS, RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM “WALLFLOWER” PUSHED TO FEBRUARY 3, 2015

Due to ongoing complications brought on by a case of pneumonia, five-time Grammy© Award-winning jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall has been forced to postpone her scheduled album release, and US Fall Tour. Diana Krall’s new studio album “Wallflower” (Verve Records) was due for North American release on October 21st and the US leg of her “Wallflower World Tour” was to kick off in Phoenix, AZ on November 7th. “Wallflower” is now set for release on Verve Records on February 3, 2015.

Diana’s condition has become much more chronic than first anticipated, and she is unable to travel or engage in any promotional or touring activities for at least another 6 weeks to 2 months.

Mrs. Krall is extremely disappointed to have to announce this today, but also realizes that, upon advice of her doctors, this is the only course of action available to her at this time to ensure a full recovery.

“I’m deeply saddened that I will have to postpone the release of my new album ‘Wallflower” and the “Wallflower U.S Fall Tour” until next year. I’ve been battling a severe case of pneumonia and am under doctor’s orders to rest for the next few months in order to regain my strength and good health.

Performing is both a privilege and a joy for me. When I go out on stage I want to be able to give it everything. Taking this time to rest and recuperate will allow me to do that. It is frustrating to be so close to the record release and have to delay but I am very proud of this record and want to be able to give you all my very best when we finally present this music to you. Thank you so much for your understanding.” – Diana Krall


New tour dates for the “Wallflower World Tour” will be announced in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned for further information or visit www.dianakrall.com
~ Verve Records



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

GUITARISTS ERIC JOHNSON AND MIKE STERN JOIN FORCES ON NEW RELEASE - ECLECTIC

Two bona fide guitar heroes in their respective fields – Eric Johnson in the rock realm and Mike Stern in the jazz world – go toe-to-toe on Eclectic, a scintillating musical showcase that brings together their disparate influences in one potent package. Guitar aficionados of all stripes will stand slack-jawed hearing these formidable six-stringers exchanging high octane licks on Stern’s funky “Roll With It” and Johnson’s cruising pop anthem “Hullabaloo” (a kind of answer to his catchy GRAMMY®-winning rock instrumental “Cliffs of Dover” from the platinum-selling 1990 album Ah Via Musicom). 

The two dip into a jazzy bag on Eric’s “Tidal” (a tribute to his own personal guitar hero, Wes Montgomery) and on Mike’s surging modal romp “Remember” (patterned after John Coltrane’s “Impressions” with some allusions to Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone From the Sun”). More fretboard flights ensue on Johnson’s jazzy “Benny Man’s Blues” (a kind of ode to Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian) and on Stern’s dark, slow-grooving “You Never Know.” And it is somehow fitting that these two sons of Jimi close out this six-string extravaganza with a scorching rendition of the famous Hendrix blues, “Red House,” with each of them trading vocal choruses. 

“It was my singing debut,” says Stern. “I sang the first verse and Eric sang the second verse, then he sings the first two lines of the third verse and I sing the last two lines of the third verse.” (Stern also sneaks in a quote from Jimi’s “Third Stone From the Sun” on a smoking rendition of “Dry Ice,” an Electromagnets tune which Eric revived for this session). Sterns sums up the project by saying, “This whole record, even though we did it in the studio, was really recorded live. A couple of things were fixed but there was that spontaneous quality which is what we were looking for and I definitely think that's what we got. I really dig the way this record came out. It has a lot of energy and a lot of musicality.”

Recorded at Johnson’s studio in his native Austin, Texas, Eclectic, scheduled for release on October 28, 2014 on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, is anchored by the flexible rhythm tandem of drummer Anton Fig (a longstanding member in the Paul Shaffer-led house band of Late Night With David Letterman) and Johnson’s regular bassist Chris Maresh, who also contributes the open-ended Bitches Brew flavored “Bigfoot.” Special guests on this three-day session include Austin’s resident soul man Malford Milligan, who sings with gravelly-voiced gusto on the opening “Roll With It.” 

“He’s just awesome,” says Johnson. “Malford’s got so much vibe it doesn’t matter what he sings. He just puts magic on everything.” Mike’s wife Leni Stern also provides vocals and plays n’goni (an African stringed instrument) on intros to “Bigfoot” and “Wherever You Go.” Christopher Cross (the GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter of “Sailin’,” “Ride Like the Wind” and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” as well as a fellow Texan and longtime friend of Johnson’s) sings backup vocals on the bridge to Stern’s beautiful “Wishing Well” with Mike singing the verses. Guy Forsyth lends some blues harp to “Red House.” And Johnson’s catchy “Hullabaloo” is punched up by the horn section of saxophonist John Mills, trombonist Mike Mordecai and trumpeter Andrew Johnson.

Not only have the two guitarists admired each other’s playing for years (Eric heard Mike back in the ’80s with Miles Davis, and Mike first heard Eric when his hit “Cliffs of Dover” caught on big back in 1990), they came to have a greater appreciation of each other’s songwriting abilities during the course of the Eclectic sessions. “I’ve been aware of Mike for years and I was familiar with some of his playing,” says Eric, “but I wasn’t as deeply familiar with his songwriting. As we began working together, I started going through all his songs and I was just blown away by some of the ballads. His tunes ‘Wishing Well’ and ‘Sometimes’ are beautiful. And his tune ‘Wherever You Go’ is one of my favorites on the record. I think that’s another thing we have in common: we both get turned on by and really enjoy a good song. If there’s some kind of viable composition that’s put together in a way that emotes to people, we’re both real fans of that and that’s why it’s exhilarating to do it. We’re both interested and sensitive about songwriting and composition, and consequently since we’re also so passionate about playing guitar I think we try to figure out how to do it in a way that serves the composition. So I think what comes out of that is just a little bit of a tension and a little bit of care and concern about what the other person is playing. I’m constantly thinking, ‘How can I voice what I’m playing to fit what Mike is playing? How can we make it work in a musical way?’” And they strike a rare accord throughout Eclectic.

The seeds for this extraordinary six-string summit meeting were planted in 2009 when Johnson played on two tracks from Stern’s GRAMMY®-nominated album Big Neighborhood. As Stern recalls, “At that session, which we also did down in Austin, I remember us saying, ‘One of these days we should do a record together,’ but I never thought that would happen. And then we played a gig together at the Blue Note in New York, and it kind of went from there.” Johnson and Stern’s week-long engagement at the Blue Note in August 2013 was preceded by two warm-up nights at the Regattabar in Boston, where they further explored their musical chemistry together. “It was really fun for me because we have different priorities in our playing,” says Stern. “I’m more of a jazz player, of course...that’s my priority and I love that stuff. But I also love rock and blues-rock and straight blues and Motown. That’s how I came up. I started off listening to Jimi Hendrix, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin and the Jackson Five, and of course, lots of blues. 

Those were my roots. And then I got more into jazz when I was about 17. I fell in love with it. And ever since then my priority has been with my jazz playing. But I have that other stuff that comes out in my music. And it always has. For Eric, jazz has never has been his total priority, although Wes Montgomery is his favorite cat. So he has a lot of that sensibility in his playing. And as we started playing together we discovered that we really had so much in common. So it was definitely fun.”

Stern was ecstatic about getting an insider’s look at Johnson’s unique six-string vocabulary. “The way this cat plays! I’m just beginning to figure out what the hell he’s doing. He does these pedal steel kind of licks on guitar and such beautiful orchestration. He picks some notes with his right hand using his fingers and pick together. He plays a lot with his fingers and pick, and some of the runs that he uses...the lines that he plays are very harmonically sophisticated. He can play piano, so there’s some pianistic stuff that happens with his comping. And he’s got Travis picking down. Plus, he’s a singer, so that influences his phrasing on guitar. Everything he plays is really cool and beautiful. It’s just very much Eric Johnson. He’s got his own style and it’s amazing! And more than that, he’s just a very soulful cat. He plays with a lot of heart and soul. And I love that!”

Adds Johnson, “I was mentioning to Mike when we did this recording that it was one of my favorite double guitar situations that I’ve ever done, because a lot of times you do two guitar things and it’s hard for it to fit together in a very musical, cohesive way. It can get kind of busy, where you cover each other up. But through dynamics and listening to each other and thinking about the way we voice chords and support each other, I think this collaboration lent itself to being more in a musical kind of way, which has been a real nice experience for me.”
With Johnson’s warm-toned distortion licks, smooth intervallic leaps up the fretboard and his occasional audacious wah-wah licks blending organically with Stern’s fiery be-bop and blues-based vocabulary, Eclectic is chockfull of thrilling fretboard fusillades, tempered with some uncannily lyrical six-string work by two of the most esteemed players of their generation. For music aficionados, this collaboration is a match made in heaven.


BROOKLYN-BASED JAZZ QUINTET SKETCHES RELEASES VOLUME TWO

Started in 2011, Sketches is a Brooklyn-based collective jazz quintet in which each member writes music based on another member's musical idea. Inherent in each piece is the challenge of blending two distinct musical personalities, yet with an ensemble of strong composers and sensitive performers, the results have been as engaging as they are unpredictable. Scott Yanow commented in Jazz Inside Magazine that, "these five musicians all have compatible styles and listen closely to each other, two qualities that give Sketches its own group sound . . . With consistently fine solos (pianist Cherner is particularly inventive) and worthy themes, Volume One is an excellent start for Sketches." 

On Volume Two, Sketches continues its investigation and exploration of their unique collaborative compositional process. The music on the band's sophomore album is a result of the growth that they have experienced while touring and performing music from their debut, appearing not only in New York City, but also performing in Washington D.C, Baltimore, Portland, and Boston. Volume Two reflects a deepening understanding between the band mates, building upon the critically-acclaimed music they offered on Volume One. As with the music from Volume One, each member shared a sketch from his notebook (e.g. any musical fragment, a collection of fragments, an incomplete tune) and another member used that as the basis for a new composition. The band then rehearsed and developed the compositions further. In this process, no tune is deemed complete until the band plays the composition and each improviser finds a way of coloring the pre-written material. Although the compositions start as "sketches", they are forged into complete compositions with ample room for improvisation. The band recorded all of the music on Volume Two in one day, a big indicator of the band's brilliance as ensemble players, and the unmitigated virtuosity they posses on their respective instruments. 

The compositions on Volume Two reflect a very personal tone and approach. The highlights include Ravitz's "Hail from Plainville" (based on a sketch by Jeremy Udden), a tribute to Udden's personality and his compositional approach - a rare ability to combine jazz and folk music in a seamless way - that Ravitz admires. On Holman's "Y&H"(based on a sketch by Ravitz), the use of "power chords" are a tip of the hat to Holman's angst-loving teenage years. Ravitz's sketch inspired Holman to create a simple, open-form composition that has a passionate grunge feel but also pays tribute to the drummer's Middle-Eastern sensibility (Ravitz originally titled his sketch "Y&H" as a dedication to Israeli-born musician Yaron Herman). Bassist Martin Nevin's "Dyson Ritual" (based on a sketch by Udden), is meant to evoke a tribal ritual with the opening theme summoning the members of the tribe and a call to the forces that the ritual honors. Cherner's "Caught In The Storm" (based on a sketch by Holman) depicts the drama and volatility of either an internal, or actual, storm. Cherner was drawn to the harmony that resulted from the various permutations of the pitch set and the rhythm that Holman's sketch included. The band enters gradually as the storm brews, crackles with dissonance, finds moments of lyricism, gains momentum, and eventually dies down. In the coda, the listener is left with the tranquil space that's left in the storm's wake." Throughout Volume Two, the band delivers, "impressive post bop material, with rich and intelligent arrangements and a clever mix of melody and improvisation . . . You'll like these guys!" - George Harris, JazzWeekly.
  
More on Sketches: The members of Sketches are leaders of their own bands, and in-demand sideman as well, having performed and/or recorded with Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Fred Hersch, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Steve Lacy, John Hollenbeck, George Garzone, Aaron Goldberg, Aaron Parks, & Esperanza Spalding, among countless others. The artists have also garnered multiple accolades from the Young Jazz Composer Awards, the BMI Foundation's Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize/Manny Albam Commission, as well as both national and international performance competitions. United in Sketches, these five musicians become a formidable force of creativity.


NEW RELEASES: LAURA DREYER – VIDA. ARTE. AMOR.; DAN MASTROIANNI – TEARS AND WHISPERS; MEGA JAWNS – TEN LETTERS FROM HOME

LAURA DREYER – VIDA. ARTE. AMOR.

Of her current work she says, "I discovered an intrinsic emotional quality in Brazilian music that helped me find a deeper level of self-expression. After having performed many times with Brazilian jazz artists throughout the years in New York City and Brazil, I began to envision recording my newest album in Rio de Janeiro. I had worked with world-class Rio-based jazz artists in Brazil, and realized that I had found the perfect group of musicians to perform my music and complete my vision." In the spirit of creating a multi-cultural recording, vocalist and music educator Professor Roger Wesby wrote lyrics in Spanish for one of Dreyerʼs compositions. Brazilian vocalist Débora Watts adapted these lyrics to Portuguese, and penned lyrics to another one of Dreyerʼs songs. Vocalist Teri Koide contributed her vocal talents and English lyrics to another piece, and Karen Rodriguez helped with further Spanish lyrics and stellar vocals. The repertoire was completed with the addition of two arrangements of a composition by the legendary Romeo Santos.
  
DAN MASTROIANNI – TEARS AND WHISPERS

Recorded in 1984, Mastroianni recorded his album with banks of keyboards, and a few musician buddies. The ‘experimental’ nature of the album shines through on nearly every track. This was new technology, and it sometimes sounds like Mastroianni was finding out exactly what each machine could do, as he did it! He also provided the edgy vocals, making for a very idiosyncratic artist/writer/producer album. Many of you will now know the brilliant uptempo boogie of Just One Touch (which was featured on BBE’s own Americana 2 compilation last year) but whatever you are expecting from this ultra-rare private press, you are likely to be surprised. Style, tempos and moods changes throughout, the only constant being Dan Mastroianni’s harmonic adventurousness, and primitive, expansive synth sounds that never quite let up. You can tell he was having fun making the album, and was coming from a place all of his own, though one might guess he’d listened to a fair amount of Weather Report, Yellow Magic Orchestra, George Duke and funk/boogie before he committed himself to wax. Some highlights: You and I is in floaty mid-tempo soul mode and features some fine soloing from Dan. Lead On is blue-eyed boogie, bringing to mind the likes of David Bendeth; Million and One is nothing short of trippy with its manic bassline and swelling synth chords. Blame It On Love has enough changes of direction for three tracks, and again showcases what a good player Dan was when he soloes. Shine could conceivably get the two-step vote. And look out throughout for some noteworthy playing from Dan’s brother on reeds. As Dan says, this album was a ‘fusion’ concept in every sense: a fusion of man and machine, of ‘carbon and silicon’, mind and matter… it was recorded as a labour of love, and now, three decades later, it’s time for the rest of the world to share the love! ~ bbemusic

MEGA JAWNS – TEN LETTERS FROM HOME


Mega Jawns were born on March 10th 2014 in a basement studio deep beneath the frozen streets of West Philadelphia. The product of a chance meeting between two veteran producers, both named Will. Their debut LP ‘Ten Letters From Home’ was written, recorded and mixed within seven days of the pair first shaking hands and is due to be released later this year on BBE. Philly keyboard player, vocalist and producer Will Brock has been a journeyman on the international soul & jazz scene for many years, touring and performing alongside the Stylistics, Miles Jaye & Marion Meadows others. Equally at home in the studio as behind the piano, Will has seen releases on King Street Records & recorded with Stephanie Cooke & King Britt as one half of production outfit Soul Dhamma. UK producer & DJ Will Sumsuch has been a stalwart of the European deep house scene for over a decade, playing shows from Brighton to Barcelona, Hoxton to Helsinki. His unique brand of deep-thinking electronic production has found favour with discerning DJs the world over, among them Ben Watt, Osunlade, Justin Martin & Jody Wisternoff.  The duo initially worked together on Sumsuch’s single ‘Simpatico’, which was released on his own label Colour and Pitch in 2013, garnering support from legendary house vocalist Robert Owens among many others. Following the release, Sumsuch decided to hop on the plane to connect in person, and maybe make a couple of tracks too. The pair joked about making an LP, but neither really thought it would happen in a week…  The resulting music can only be described as the joyous sound of two talented musicians and producers working together in unison, completing each other’s sentences. With the full weight of Philly soul tradition underpinned by unmistakably restrained European electronica, this record captures a character that neither performer could have summoned up alone. “Spirits were with us in the studio that week” says Brock and for once, the usually jovial Sumsuch simply nods solemnly. Joy is a taster from the the album, due to be supported in the clubs by John Morales, Louie Vega, Boddhi Satva and Kerri Chandler. ~ bbemusic



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