Thursday, April 28, 2016



A great set of tracks that's billed as music "you can almost dance to" – and which hits this sweet midtempo groove throughout – filled with female vocals, and served up in a wicked soulful style of AOR! The collection's an excellent all-girl companion to the previous Too Slow To Disco sets – and may well be the best so far, as there's a current of soul that maybe didn't show up that strongly before – as the singers unabashedly go for deeper modes in some of their vocals, while the instrumental side of the tracks glow nicely with sweet keyboards, riffing guitars, and just the right touch of slightly funky rhythms! There's plenty of gems here we might have overlooked otherwise – definitely the best side of the "yacht rock" revival of the past few years – and tracks include "You Can Do It" by Evie Sands, "Be Here In The Morning" by Renee Geyer, "Gotta Lotta" by Lauren Wood, "It's The Falling In Love" by Carol Baker Sayer, "Crazy" by Valerie Carter, "Isn't It Something" by Franne Golde, "Opening Up To You" by Laura Allen, "Temptation" by Leah Kunkel, "Disco Tech" by Carole King, "Dance The Night Away" by Doris Abrahams, and "Take Me With You" by Lyn Christopher. (Includes download.) ~ Dusty Groove


The Bo-Keys have been a rock-solid force on the Memphis scene for a number of years – and here, they take an even deeper step into the city's rich soul history – by making space on the record for performances by classic Memphis soul singers Percy Wiggins, Don Bryant, and The Masqueraders! Wiggins gets the most space here – and opens up in a way that shows hardly any change in his abilities since his early singles for the Goldwax label – maybe more of a sense of experience in the way he puts over the lyrics, given some nice deep soul backings from the Bo-Keys, who burn nicely in a blend of organ and horns. Bryant and The Masqueraders each on one song – Wiggins on the others – and titles include "Learned My Lesson In Love", "Set Me Free", "The Longer You Wait", "Wasted Days & Wasted Nights", "Last Date", and "I Threw It All Away".  ~ Dusty Groove


Soil & Pimp Sessions have been making music far longer than anyone else might do with such a clunky name – and over the years, they've just gotten better and better, and found rich new ways to express themselves! This album may well be the group's best so far – and represents a continuing change from the breakneck rhythms and intense solos of the past, to territory that's even more fully-formed – and which has the group embracing some spiritual and soulful currents we never would have heard a few years back! Some tracks have a righteous vibe, and almost an early 70s spiritual jazz approach – while a few others feature guest vocalists in the lead, and have a soulful sparkle that works equally well. The result is a sound that's got the sort of majesty you might expect from the cover image – and titles include "By Your Side", "Connected", "Black Milk", "Papaya Pai Pai", "88 9th Avenue", "Soilogic", "Simoom", "Mellow Black", and a nice version of "Cantaloupe island".  ~ Dusty Groove



60s soul treasures – served up here in glorious mono – all as part of this wonderful tribute to the legendary Loma Records label! Loma was a small imprint that was part of Warner Brothers in the late 60s – and acted more like an LA-based indie label, with a quality level that rivals the best from New York, Detroit, and Chicago at the time – even Memphis, given that Loma had a surprisingly great ear for deep soul – in a way that few west coast imprints had during the 60s. The mix of modes here is wonderful – from upbeat groovers, to female soul killers, to some especially hard-burning male vocal numbers – in a set list that includes "The Dam Busted" by Carl Hall, "You Can't Outsmart A Woman" by Kell Osborne, "Too Late" by JJ Jackson, "Good Time" by The Mighty Hannibal, "Help Yourself" by Larry Lester, "Callin" by Lonnie Youngblood, "Your Search is Over" by Walter Foster, "Rainin In My Heart" by The Olympics, "There's Something On Your Mind (part 1)" by Baby Lloyd, and "Try" by Lorraine Ellison.  ~ Dusty Groove


The New Mastersounds, working live in the studio in a Nashville setting – hardly country at all, and sounding every bit as funky as before! In fact, the quartet may have hit a new level of sharpness here – as the album came at the end of a tight six week tour of the US, when the musicians had been working together night after night – and come across here with a mindblowing quality that has us marveling all over again at the way they can be super-tight, yet never slick – always sharp, yet never arrogant – as they soar to the skies on an effortless flurry of guitar, organ, bass, and drums! There's no other accompaniment at all – no vocals, no overdubs either – and every number is a stone funky instrumental – with titles that include "Drop It Down", "The Minx", "Coming Up Roses", "Carrot Juice", "The Vandenburg Suite", "Made For Pleasure", and a great take on the funky classic "In The Middle". (Limited to 1000 copies – with bonus download!)  ~ Dusty Groove


The title here certainly gets at the spirit of the record – as it's definitely all happening in the world of Carlos Nino these days – a musician who just keeps on pushing his own boundaries in recent years – and that's saying a lot, as Carlos was pretty out there from the start! This set has Nino exploring some of his more deeply spiritual sides – with more of a mix of electronic elements than before, yet still some of the jazz currents from his early days too – in this cosmic blend of styles that shifts from track to track, yet never sounds incoherent at all. Instead, the whole thing's more like a unified journey in sound – with stops along the way for key guest performers, a lineup that includes contributions from Kamasai Washington, Iasos, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Nate Morgan, Yaakov Levy, and Dexter Story! With folks like that on hand, the journey's a great one – and titles include "Alice's Chord Live", "Calimayan", "Jupiter Sings", "Metamaravilla", "Joyous Gratitude Live", "Delightfulllll/Waterfall", "4 Directions Collage", and "Aetheriaztlan". (Includes download with bonus track!)  ~ Dusty Groove



A French combo, but one who really love the best styles of 70s Latin from the New York scene – particularly the funky current that was only handled by a few great acts at the time! These guys effortlessly mix electric bass, keyboards, and guitar with rootsier elements on percussion – and forge a groove that's warmly soulful, and has all the sweet glow of the image on the cover – a combination of the group's own European origins and their inspirations from Manhattan – in a sound that gets especially strong on the one number that features guest vocals from Joe Bataan! Yet even without Joe, the sound is pretty wonderful – with vocals that are more often handled by the group as a whole, in a laidback way – which leaves plenty of room for them to stretch out instrumentally, especially on keyboards. Titles include "My Rainbow", "Madam Shingaling", "Genius", "Da Manha", "Dansa Chango", "Tcha Bell", and "Power Of Your Smile".  ~ Dusty Groove


Lovely work from Roberta Campos – a contemporary Brazilian singer/songwriter, and one who works in a nicely universal style! Most tracks have light acoustic guitar underscoring Roberta's lyrics – which are well-penned and personal, without ever being cloying – almost in a tradition that reminds us of some of the more impressive English language talents of this nature from the 80s and early 90s. Marcelo Camelo guests on the hit single "Amiude" – and other titles include "Porta Retrata", "Pro Dia Que Chega", "Cirandar", "Libelula", "Minha Felicidade", and "Ensaio Sobre O Amor". ~ Dusty Groove


A bold return to form for The Relatives – a legendary gospel funk group from the 70s Texas scene – finally brought back to their former strengths on this contemporary set! The approach is very old school – a strong focus on the excellent vocal interplay of the group, and the strong leads of Rev Gean West, who passed away during the course of the recording – with backing by a tight funky combo who's main job is just the emphasize the inherent soulful sounds in the vocals, and never get too much in the way! Basslines are nice and deep, which makes even the mellower tracks sound mighty heavy – and the sense of spirit here is less churchy, and more righteous from a social perspective – as you'll hear on the cuts "Rational Culture/Testimony", "This World Is Moving Too Fast", "He Never Sleeps", "No Man Is An Island" ~ Dusty Groove


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Featured This Week On The Jazz Network Worldwide: Jazz Trumpeter, Hasani Arthur With A Sneak Peek of His CD ‘Jazz Revamp’

Featured This Week On The Jazz Network Worldwide:  Jazz Trumpeter, Hasani Arthur With A Sneak Peek of His CD ‘Jazz Revamp’ with his new single ‘Midnight Bed-stuy AKA King Arthur” Featuring Dame-o Hodges.

The jazz world gets a special treat this week as Hasani Arthur releases his single “Midnight Bed-stuy AKA King Arthur featuring Dame-o Hodges.  Hasani’s quest with his latest album Jazz Revamp ”King Arthur," is to expose jazz to his younger fans and being Promoted On Top Sites. 

Hasani Arthur he is a writer, producer and composer who is classically trained by the most prestigious music institutions which include: The Julliard School (MAP), New York City All Jazz High School Band, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and the Brooklyn Music & Arts Program.

Hasani’a signature sound was derived from his influences such as Wynton Marsalis, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, George Benson, Grover Washington Jr., Bill Withers and many others. ”I love the swinging big-band sounds of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington but also love infusion music, when you listen to my music, you will hear a blend of Jazz, Soul and Hip Hop” says Arthur.

Always taking his artistry to another level through his competitive spirit, he appeared along with Innovative Soundz on Amateur Night at the Apollo and was one of the winner’s on Seeking Satch Trumpet Contest. In 2011 and was asked to be apart of KENDRICK LAMAR "RIGAMORTIS video. 

Arthur’s 2016 campaign started off with a bang with a calculated number of views to date on Reverbnation showing an impressive start at 177,650 views from his dedicated fans. In addition to this positive force moving straight ahead to his dreams, he added another facet of his artistry by composing the music for Tropicana Soca song “Come On Over.”

As a producer, Hasani not only mentors artists, he creates beats and composes songs through his NYC studio related to all media. 

“You can truly hear his jazz influences in his work flavored with ‘today’s contemporary genre integrations, an innovative blend of all his influences that evokes a sense of his musical 

heart from today’s universe of musicality honoring the masters of jazz in his melodic steps” says Jaijai Jackson, owner of The Jazz Network Worldwide.

Hasani will be performing Saturday, April 30th at 1pm in the Apple Room at JALC for Eli Yamin’s 10th anniversary concert and the last as a director for Jazz At Lincoln Center's  MSJA  Program.

Saxophonist Dan Pratt Releases "Hymn for the Happy Man" Featuring Christian McBride, Gregory Hutchinson and Mike Eckroth

Following two critically acclaimed organ group outings, New York saxophonist-composer Dan Pratt heads in a different direction on Hymn for the Happy Man, his fourth recording overall and debut for his own Same Island Music imprint. "After eight years, the organ group had a great run, and I found myself looking for something new to do," explains the California native and longtime Brooklyn resident. "So for this record I decided to go with the piano-bass-drums-sax quartet instrumentation, which is so foundational to jazz. It was one of those things that was staring me straight in the face and I couldn't see it, but on reflection it was such clear choice. I'd never recorded a quartet record, and to go in the direction I wanted to go, I felt I needed to explore an instrumentation that is such an essential strand to jazz's DNA."

Pratt assembled his "dream team" of bassist Christian McBride, drummer Gregory Hutchinson and pianist Mike Eckroth to help him realize seven well-crafted originals and breathe new life into one well-chosen standard. The saxophonist-composer, a member of McBride's big band, heaps high praise on his stellar sidemen for this simpatico session. "McBride and Hutch are incredibly open-minded and agile musicians. Christian is one of a kind. He has a pulse that is really unimpeachable and super singular. There's nobody who plays the bass like him. Add to that his warmth and positivity, and you have a paragon of musicianship as well as humanity. With Greg, I didn't tell him anything except for two or three words about the concept of a piece, and he just gave me something different with every take. Often, it was hard to decide on a take because everything he did was so incredibly compelling. The kind of surprises that I got from Christian and Greg were so delightful; they were things that I could never imagine explaining or asking for.

"And I'm super happy with what Mike played," Pratt continues. "What he was playing behind me felt like he really understood where I was going, what I was playing, and the ideas behind the harmonies of my tunes. And the more adventurous I was, the more into it he was. It's nice to know that I've got that strong ear behind me so when I want to go in a freer direction he always hears it, and he hears it in a melodic context, too."

The foursome kicks off the program with the off-kilter, Monkish "Gross Blues," which has Hutchinson flowing freely over the bar line while McBride keeps steady time with his inimitable groove. "I didn't tell Greg anything but 'Keep it loose and trashy,' and that's what he came up with," recalls Pratt. Eckroth feeds the saxophonist dissonant voicings, nudging him harmonically into some passionate, upper register wailing. McBride also delivers a typically chops-laden solo on this urgent opener.         
Pratt affects a singing quality through the rich harmonic terrain of "New Day," and for good reason. "I wrote it after I met the woman who is now my wife, and I just felt this incredible elation," he explains. "It's different than when you meet someone you're smitten with. It's a feeling when you meet somebody and you realize that there is this life-partner potential; a person who brings out the best in you, who inspires you to be the best that you can be, and that inspiration happens by her being who she is." Hutchinson's playing on this breezy, uplifting number is lively and highly interactive. "He totally elevates the piece throughout the whole thing," says Pratt. "What he's playing has this wonderful arc that really fits the spirit of the tune."          

Hutchinson's sparse mallet work helps set the darkly delicate tone of "River," which is cast in the vein of such ruminative classics as Wayne Shorter's "Fall" or Miles Davis' "Flamenco Sketches." As the composer explains, "Most of my tunes can be sort of active, and I wanted to write something that was more patient; a tune whose activity lived within its patience. So I was thinking of the reflective nature of watching a river, not really being in the flow of the river but rather reflecting on the river's flow itself, that staid kind of strength but also fluidity."        
The effervescent "Warsaw" has Pratt switching to alto sax and burning a blue streak over Hutchinson's highly-charged pulse as McBride's contrapuntal lines add layers of intrigue. "Alto is very new for me," says Pratt, who started on baritone saxophone in eighth grade before switching to tenor later in high school. "I just got the alto not even a year before this recording session and I was so enamored with the sound that I decided to record a couple tunes with it. I just thought for range and timbre it provided something a little different on this tune."          

Pratt returns to tenor for the loose second line vibe of "Junket" and the moody, alluring "Riddle Me Rhumba" before pulling out the alto again on the buoyant "Hymn for the Happy Man," a title which fits his own personal philosophy. "It was written in tribute to the humanity that chooses to strive toward deeper happiness; not circumstantial happiness but happiness from within," he explains. "It's to celebrate espousing happiness and a forward-thinking kind of mentality and spirit."          

The collection closes with Pratt's unique interpretation of the Kurt Weill-penned jazz standard "Speak Low," which incorporates some clever rhythmic devices to break things up in intriguing ways. "I realized that I'm increasingly interested in playing with space and form, and I want to carry that same sense of joy and play in the music that I write through my arrangements as well," he explains. "So this arrangement is an example of that kind of playfulness. It starts out like any other standard arrangement of 'Speak Low' in a count-it-off-at-a-jam-session kind of way, but there's a lot of very specific and subtle treatments done to the form and chord progression that just basically open up places where you wouldn't necessarily normally have them opened up. I'm really just looking for opportunities for the unexpected to occur."          

Those kinds of surprises are prevalent throughout Hymn for the Happy Man, which stands as Pratt's most ambitious and fully-realized recording to date.

Dan Pratt's Upcoming Performances:
June 2 / Smalls Jazz Club / New York, NY.

Saxophonist Ivo Perelman Revisits Classical Techniques After Extensive Traveling in His Native Brazil on Five New Releases: Corpo, Soul, Blue, The Hitchhiker and Breaking Point

"A modern day saxophone colossus" (Echoes); "The finest improvisational genius of our time" (Bop-N-Jazz); "one of the great saxophone virtuosi and exponents of spontaneous composition to have emerged in the past three decades" (Jazzwise) - these represent just some of the accolades that pour in with each new set of releases by Ivo Perelman. This extraordinary artist continues to map new territory for his chosen instrument, the tenor saxophone. And by regularly releasing multiple albums documenting his explorations, he provides listeners with multiple avenues into his music.

But the release of five albums at once (all available on Leo Records) signifies a herculean effort even for Perelman. What's more, each of these albums presents a different array of musical cohorts, a different format, and a different concept. "Interestingly," Perelman notes, "this grouping of albums will feature all of the musicians that I've been collaborating with in the past several years"--a list that comprises violist Mat Maneri, keyboardists Matthew Shipp and Karl Berger, bassists Michael Bisio and Joe Morris (who also plays acoustic guitar), and drummers Gerald Cleaver and Whit Dickey.

Three of these albums--the duo discs Corpo and Blue, and the quartet effort Soul--were recorded in a two-week period; they exploit a major theoretical breakthrough that Perelman experienced on an extended stay in Brazil, the nation of his birth. In Autumn of 2015, he traveled to São Paolo to oversee a major exhibition of his work in the visual arts. (Perelman spends approximately half his time producing highly-sought drawings and paintings.) He ended up staying nearly half a year, far removed from the daily grind of his life in New York, and this hiatus "put my brain in a different mode," he said upon his return. "I got away from the need to 'achieve' something. I relaxed."

He also began to revisit the serialist (12-tone) composers--Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern--which led to an important realization. The core tenet of serialism is that each note in the scale exerts equal weight; from that, Perelman focused on the corollary that each interval--the distance between any pitch and the one that follows--should be treated with the same egalitarianism. "The intervallic system has become my dogma now," he explains in the liner notes to Corpo. "Every interval is of equal importance...I don't have to be modal, or tonal, or atonal. All the intervals, a third or a seventh or a fifth, these all have the same importance for me now." This has led to new practice regimens and a corresponding emancipation of Perelman's already fluid approach to melody as well as timbre.

Corpo, the first album recorded by Perelman upon his return to New York, stars pianist Matthew Shipp, the saxophonist's longtime musical soul-mate. In 14 tracks of moderate length, the disc offers evidence of Perelman's new "intervallic system," as well as a purified distillation of an ever-evolving musical partnership that has been compared to Brubeck/Desmond and Coltrane/Tyner. Says pianist Shipp, in his liner essay for the album: "Corpo is the ultimate coming together of everything Ivo and I have been working on for years. . . . the apotheosis of the Perelman/Shipp duo cosmos. Our [previous album] Callas was a breakthrough for us; Corpo is the ultimate flowering."

One week after Corpo, Perelman and Shipp returned to the studio; they were joined by bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey to record Soul, which, as its name suggests, constitutes a companion piece to Corpo (the Portuguese word for "body"). More than simply "fleshing out" the Perelman-Shipp duo, the added musicians - whose many sessions with Perelman have given them intimate knowledge of how his music takes shape, in the studio, and without pre-existing blueprints for the improvisations - effortlessly integrate themselves into these performances. "Bisio underscores the music with supple muscle, finding valuable notes in between those that make up Shipp's chords," writes liner annotator Neil Tesser, while "Dickey adds color and texture that peer into the swirl of melodies and light them from within."

Then, one week after the Soul date, Perelman met with bassist/guitarist Joe Morris to record Blue. The album marks the first time Perelman, despite all the shifting contextual landscapes shaping his career, has ever recorded in a duo of tenor sax and unamplified guitar. "With an instrument that has resonance, where the notes have a long decay," Perelman explains, "you're always being fed and nourished as the sound remains in mid-air. But with acoustic guitar, the moment that Joe lifts his finger from the string, the sound dies. You're all alone. So that was the challenge for me, to play with something so soft-spoken." None of the tracks are actual 12- or 16-bar blues compositions, of course, since nothing was composed prior to what took place in the studio; rather, says the musician/painter, "It has the feeling of the color blue," in all the variations of that hue.

The Hitchhiker marks another "first" for Perelman; it pairs him with Karl Berger on vibraphone to mark the only time in the saxophonist's career that he has recorded with that instrument. Perelman first worked with Berger - the pioneering composer and arranger of new music (within and beyond jazz) and co-founder, with Ornette Coleman, of the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York - on Reverie (2014), but on that project, Berger played piano. The vibraphone has a reduced potential for the thick chords available to a pianist, so in that sense, says Perelman, "he's giving me a condensed scheme" of harmonic potentialities. A possible pitfall? No; it only "made me focus more," says Perelman.

The final album in this release, The Breaking Point, continues Perelman's highly successful partnership with violist Mat Maneri, but this time in a quartet format; previous Perelman-Maneri matchups had occurred only in duo or trio settings. "I had in my mind what it would sound like in a more powerful setting, with drums," says Perelman. With bassist Joe Morris and drummer Gerald Cleaver, the disc constitutes yet one more rarity for Perelman: in his entire discography, this is the third time he has ever employed the "traditional" free-jazz format of bass and drums supporting two front-line melody instruments. In the progression of its seven tracks, the album functions as a sort of expanded symphonic suite.

Ivo Perelman · Corpo, Soul, Blue, The Hitchhiker, The Breaking Point / Leo Records  ·  Release Date: May 20, 2016



After ten years of touring the world, Hazmat Modine’s third studio album, Extra-Deluxe-Supreme, digs deeper into American soil.

Ten years ago, Barbès Records released Hazmat Modine’s debut album, Bahamut, which quickly went on to become a cult classic. Pitchfork probably captured it best by describing it as “generalized roots music that takes from pretty much any roots it sees fit,” and went on to praise the album as “true world music, weird and wonderful to the last note.”

Now ten years later, Barbès is releasing Hazmat Modine’s third studio album: Extra-Deluxe-Supreme: an artistic statement that is the culmination of ten years of musical adventures around the world.

The new album confirms Hazmat Modine’s place as a band of outsiders oblivious to the rules that govern today’s music scene. The group itself is a heterogeneous collection of musicians with a fondness for odd instruments and an all-inclusive view of what constitutes American music. Extra-Deluxe-Supreme is their most classically American album to date. It draws from Gospel and R&B, from Country Blues and early jazz, and displays a strong attention to songcraft, inspired by a long line of American songwriters from Tin Pan Alley to Stax and Motown.

Hazmat’s sound is still defined by their signature tuba and harmonica, as well as their original horn section, guitars and accordion – with the addition of your usual assortment of marimba, doshpuluur, Igil, railroad spikes, claviola, rocks and cimbalom.
Hazmat’s eclecticism is probably what got them noticed in the first place. The band is known for having collaborated with famed Tuvan throat singers Huun Tuur Tu, Benin’s Gangbe Brass Band as well as Natalie Merchant. They count “American songwriting and African music” as their “biggest influences,” and first got noticed by German director Wim Wenders for the Calypso-like Bahamut, which Wenders included in his movie Pina.

Extra-Deluxe-Supreme does away with the more obvious genre hopping and exotic colors of its predecessors. After ten years of leftfield collaborations and extensive touring in places as varied as Siberia, Borneo, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey, Hazmat Modine seems to have absorbed it all and wholeheartedly embraces its own forged identity as an American band with its own idea of what American music means.

“Twenty years ago” explains bandleader Wade Schuman “I had to sort through all the complicated detritus of singing in an idiom that has its origins in Southern and rural music but I also embrace being a New Yorker. I like the idea of a New York music which by its nature is eclectic.”

One essential New York tradition remains that of the professional songwriters, starting with Tin Pan Alley and the likes of Irving Berlin (who inspired the song Plans) “Tin Pan Alley affected everything. It was really about the idea of a journeyman songwriter and the fact that we were creating our own music in the 20th century.” You could say that they created the template for all the songwriting teams that would emerge later in Memphis, Detroit, or the Brill Building.

In keeping with the idea of a songwriting team, most of the songs on the album were co-written by Wade Schuman and bandmate and guitarist Erik Della Penna. “Sometimes I’ll write the verse, and Erik will write the chorus. Or if I have a melody he will write the lyrics. We have absolutely no system,” says Schuman about their collaboration. “Neither of us has a preconception of how to do things”

Still, Hazmat Modine has not renounced its fondness for eclectic sources and transcultural feedback, as exemplified by their collaboration with Alash, another band from Tuva. “I brought in the Tuvans again because I thought that they intersect perfectly with a certain kind of American idiomatic language” says Schuman. “On the song Your Sister for instance, I’m going for a kind of rural American sound but the irony is that the Tuvans are playing their own version of the fiddle and banjo and flute – it’s exactly where the tonality of Asia and the Midwest meet.”

For the past ten years, Hazmat has kept a busy touring schedule in most of Europe – with forays into Asia and Latin America. The band has been the recipient of France’s prestigious French Charles Cros Award, a German Records Award and was nominated for a BBC award. Its US appearances, however, tend to be limited to their hometown.

It is true that Hazmat Modine may confuse American audiences. “In most bands everyone looks kind of similar to each other but I think Hazmat doesn’t fit anybody’s idea of a normal band. We are not one ecosystem” says Schuman. The band includes men and women of all ages, blacks and whites, rock and jazz musicians. The diversity is a reflection of Schuman’s wide range of interests. “I think that’s an important ingredient to what the band is. I pick people who wouldn’t naturally go together. People who have a very different background from me and from each other.”

And indeed, band members have all contributed different aspects of the American musical experience Reeds player Steve Elson toured with Johnny Otis and then went on to work with David Bowie for many years. Guitarist Michaela Gomez is a veteran of the rich Brooklyn trad jazz scene. Trumpet player Pam Fleming has toured with Burning Spear (and smoked weed with Fela in Lagos) Accordion player and singer Rachelle Garniez has worked with Jack White and written for musical theater. Erik Della Penna has toured and recorded with Natalie Merchant for over a decade, as well as worked with Joan Baez and Joan Osborne. Drummer Tim Keiper has spent years playing with Vieux Farka Toure, Cyro Baptista and the Dirty Projectors. He has visited Mali numerous times to study calabash and N’goni.

Hazmat’s only other original member, along with Schuman, is tuba player Joseph Daley. “Joseph was my guru in a way because he saw something in the kind of raw band leader that I was; he saw something that we could do.”

Joseph Daley is a native New Yorker, born in Harlem to a West Indian family and raised on the Lower East Side. As a teenager he started playing out with Latin musicians such as Monguito Santamaria and Jerry Gonzalez. He went on to work with some of the most influential artists of the past forty years including Sam Rivers, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra, Taj Mahal and Howard Johnson.

The heteroclite nature of the band remains one of its most defining characteristic – and perhaps its main driver.  The sense of creative freedom and disregard for constraining rules that permeates Hazmat Modine’s music is particularly evident on their latest album, which Schuman calls “the product of a maturation of a kind of musical journey” “’

“I think our band is like a really good NYC diner” concludes Schuman. “The food comes from every tradition you can think of, but in the end it’s really the ultimate American comfort food.”


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Detroit Jazz Festival Announces World-Class Lineup for 37th Annual Labor Day Weekend Event

Photo: Jason Moran (Clay Patrick McBride)  |  Terri Lyne Carrington (Tracy Love)  |  Alfredo Rodriguez (Anna Webber)

The Detroit Jazz Festival today announced its lineup for the 37th annual Labor Day Weekend Festival that will feature an eclectic array of performers across varied styles and generations from jazz legends, new artists to the scene and those at the height of their careers, once again creating one-of-a-kind performances not seen anywhere else. With Detroit native and jazz legend Ron Carter as artist-in-residence, this year's festival has a decidedly Detroit flair, with the annual Homecoming Series of performances taking an expanded role. With the backdrop of Detroit's skyline, the world's largest free jazz festival will take to the streets of downtown Detroit on September 2nd through 5th, 2016 with hundreds of musicians gracing four stages.

"The jazz tradition in Detroit is iconic and known worldwide. Today, it's a vibrant scene that is constantly evolving and growing and our Festival, continues to nurture and support it," said Gretchen Valade, chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation Board of Directors. "With the wonderful Ron Carter as our artist-in-residence, we are taking the music to a new level with the Detroit connection. And, once again, we hope the Festival transcends the music itself and gets people downtown to see and experience Detroit's distinct flavor. We look forward to adding to Detroit's jazz tradition and another Labor Day weekend to remember."

Legendary bassist, Ron Carter--the most-recorded bassist in music history with more than 2,000 to his credit--is the cornerstone of this year's lineup and will perform four times throughout the weekend including a nonet, trio, quartet and big band sets.

In addition to Carter's performances, other 2016 Homecoming Series Performances include:

David Weiss and Point of Departure celebrate the music of Detroit legends Kenn Cox and Charles Moore
Kenn Cox tribute with Special Guests
Stanley Cowell Quintet featuring Billy Harper and Charles Tolliver
Kirk Lightsey and Louis Hayes - Homecoming Band
Charlie Gabriel Quartet
Other 2016 performers include:
George Benson
John Scofield, Brad Mehldau, Mark Guiliana
Roy Hargrove with Strings
The RH Factor
Freddy Cole and the Detroit Jazz Festival String Orchestra - The Cole Family Legacy - remembering Nat and Natalie
Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano
Terri Lyne Carrington's Mosaic Project
Chris Potter Underground Orchestra
Randy Weston's African Rhythms & the Wayne State University Big Band - 90th birthday celebration
Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton
Jason Moran Bandwagon Trio
Roberta Gambarini and Jimmy Heath - Celebrating Jimmy Heath's 90th
Marcus Roberts Modern Jazz Generation
Luciana Souza - Speaking in Tongues
Alfredo Rodríguez Trio
Harold López-Nussa
The Soul Rebels
John Abercrombie Organ Trio
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Established by Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Celebrate 50 years at the Village Vanguard
Gregoire Maret & the Inner Voice Ensemble
Charnée Wade
Herlin Riley Quintet
United States Air Force Airmen of Note
To see the full lineup, visit

"Each year, we make it a priority to create an artist lineup that's representative of the many forms of jazz. The diverse nature of the genre promotes sonic experimentation and exploration, creating a new experience with every song and performance. It's our responsibility to capture this, to make sure we give that thrilling experience of musical discovery to our attendees, and I think our musicians this year will make that happen," said Chris Collins, president of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation Board of Directors and artistic director of the Festival. "We are dedicated to making this a jazz experience to remember, one that is original, expressive and inimitable. We can't wait to share it with Detroit."

To highlight up-and-coming talent, the Detroit Jazz Festival invites musicians from metro Detroit and across the globe to enter an annual jazz competition. This year's competition, The 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival Ron Carter National Bass Competition, is open to bassists 35 years of age or younger whose artistry reflects the commitment to tradition and search for originality that are tenants of Ron Carter's virtuosity.

With the incentive of a performance slot at the Festival and monetary prizes, this year, contestants will submit recordings which will be evaluated on artistic excellence, creativity, group interaction, originality, familiarity with the jazz vocabulary, and stylistic continuity. Applications must be submitted by June 25, 2016 at

The Detroit Jazz Festival not only actively seeks out established and up and coming musicians, but it also participates in education initiatives throughout the year, helping cultivate the jazz culture in Detroit through workshops, student performances and concert showcases. The Festival also has a positive impact on economic activity with weekend activities, performances and initiatives--bringing masses of people to downtown Detroit.

This Labor Day weekend festival will take place in Hart Plaza and Campus Martius, downtown Detroit. Jazz enthusiasts from around the world will be in attendance as these acclaimed artists take over JPMorgan Chase Main Stage, Carhartt Amphitheater Stage, the Waterfront Stage and the Pyramid Stage.

The 37th annual Detroit Jazz Festival's major corporate sponsors, who continue to keep the festival free, include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Quicken Loans, DTE Energy Foundation, Carhartt, Ford Motor Company, Greektown Casino-Hotel, Absopure, Mack Avenue Records and Comcast. Individuals also can support the Festival through Rhythm Section memberships.

Mack Avenue Records Announces Acquisition of MAXJAZZ

Mack Avenue Records has announced the acquisition of the prestigious MAXJAZZ imprint. The announcement follows a landmark year for Mack Avenue Records with five GRAMMY® Award-nominations and two wins for bassist Christian McBride and vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. To add to the Detroit label's well-rounded catalog, MAXJAZZ boasts two of their own GRAMMY® nominations for Carla Cook and Nancy King, and features recordings from esteemed artists: Mulgrew Miller, René Marie, Russell Malone, Geoffrey Keezer, and more.

Founded by the late Richard McDonnell in 1997, MAXJAZZ had a reputation for being an artist-friendly label that took a long-term view of partnership with their artists. With nearly 75 recordings, MAXJAZZ worked to support and develop their artists with high quality recordings and recognizably branded packaging. The label was also keen to establish long-running relationships with some of the country's top jazz clubs, even releasing live recordings from Jazz Standard, Yoshi's, Jazz at the Bistro, and more.
"We welcome MAXJAZZ to the Mack Avenue Records family," says Mack Avenue Records president Denny Stilwell. "We see this as an appropriate fit-we share a foundation based on a genuine passion for the music, and their philosophical approach is really in line with our vision for how artists and labels can work together."  The dition of MAXJAZZ expands Mack Avenue Records' growing label, which already includes the Artistry Music, Rendezvous Music, and Sly Dog imprints.

New Releases From Bassist Mimi Jones & Pianist Luis Perdomo

Perdomo's Montage is his eighth album as a leader but the first solo piano recording in his distinguished career. After he'd begun playing solo concerts three years ago, this ever-evolving artist reached out to his pianist friend Fred Hersch "to fine-tune some aspects of my own solo playing." Of Montage, he says, "I felt the time was right for me to do it, and I felt ready to take on the challenge. I always loved the flexibility and freedom of being able to take the music in different directions." 

Repertoire on the new CD is an intriguingly personal mix of favorite jazz and Songbook standards ("Monk's Dream," "Body and Soul," Stanley Cowell's "Cal Massey"), studio improvisations, and songs from his Caracas childhood that left an indelible impression on him ("Mambo Mongo," "La Revuelta de Don Fulgencio," the bolero "Si Te Contara"). While Montage offers ample evidence of Perdomo's musical mastery, the pianist claims that he wanted the music "to serve as a soundtrack for everyday life. You don't have to go to Carnegie Hall and put on a suit to listen to this music."

Luis Perdomo was born (1971) and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, where he received an excellent music education from his father's vast LP collection and his teacher Gerry Weil. He was awarded a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music and studied there with Harold Danko and Martha Pestalozzi, earning his B.A. in 1997; three years later he received his master's at Queens College after study with Sir Roland Hanna. Perdomo became a first-class sideman, recording and/or touring with Dave Douglas, Tom Harrell, Steve Turre, and many other jazz and Latin artists. He was a member of Ravi Coltrane's Quartet for ten years, and is a founding member of the Miguel Zenon Quartet. Among his recordings as a leader are Focus Point (2005), Pathways (2008), Universal Mind (2012), and his 2015 Hot Tone Music debut, Twenty-Two, featuring his Controlling Ear Unit with Mimi Jones and drummer Rudy Royston.

For her third Hot Tone Music album, Feet in the Mud, Mimi Jones called on an "amazing crew" consisting of her frequent drummer Jonathan Barber as well as new colleagues Jon Cowherd on piano and Fender Rhodes and soprano saxophonist Samir Zarif. They provide the perfect support for the leader's deeply satisfying bass lines and haunting vocals, which are anchored in the jazz tradition yet stylistically elastic enough to encompass other genres. Feet in the Mud The CD, says Jones, is "a tribute to those who have left a huge imprint on me and the world, as well as those who are still alive and making an imprint as we speak. It's also about finding true joy within yourself, having an open mind and spirit and a connection to the earth." Jones's originals (among them "Lyman's Place," the buoyant "Elevate," and the appealing opening track "Mr. Poo Poo") reflect these themes and concerns; the program also includes Wayne Shorter's "Fall," Enoch Smith Jr.'s arrangement of "Blackbird," and "Feet in the Mud," composed by Perdomo.

Mimi Jones Born in New York City (in 1972) and raised in the Bronx, Mimi Jones attended Fiorello LaGuardia High School and earned a B.A. in music at the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory. She missed her graduation, however, because she'd been hired to tour Japan with saxophonist Masa Wada and drummer Denis Charles. It was the first of numerous overseas tours that would take her to Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, some under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. In addition to leading her own groups, Jones has worked with jazz artists including Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Terri Lyne Carrington (who chose Jones to play on her Grammy-winning The Mosaic Project), Ravi Coltrane, Lizz Wright, Toshi Reagon, Roy Hargrove, and many more. She has previously recorded two albums as leader -- A New Day (2009) and Balance (2014), both for Hot Tone Music.

Perdomo and Jones, who have been a couple for the last 12-plus years, frequently work together, both on the stage and in the studio. "I was afraid for the longest time of having my wife in my band," says the pianist. "What if we have a fight, and if affects the music? But actually she knows what influences me, what I like and don't like -- and she's a solid bass player."

On Wednesday 6/1, Luis Perdomo will perform a CD release show for Montage at the Jazz Standard, NYC, with special guest The Controlling Ear Unit (Luis Perdomo, p; Mimi Jones, b/voc; Rudy Royston, d). Other Perdomo dates include: 7/25-7/31 Langnau (Switzerland) Jazz Nights; 10/21 Café Tra le rigge, San Severo, Italy; 10/29 Jazzkeller Esslingen (Germany).

The Mimi Jones Band will be appearing  5/7 at Casita Maria Center for the Arts in the Bronx (3:00-3:45 pm, free/outdoors), with a New York City CD release show soon to be announced. Other dates include 7/9 at the Lighthouse Jazz Festival, Michigan City, IN; 7/11 Arts Incubator, Chicago; 9/6 Jazz Showcase, Chicago; and 9/10 IRock Jazz Festival, Holland, MI. A Japanese tour is set for 10/5-17, and a European tour for November. 

Monday, April 25, 2016


For his new album Holding the Stage: Road Shows, vol. 4, the great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins once again taps into his vast archives of his own concert recordings to compile superior performances for release in the acclaimed Road Shows series. The album encompasses some 33 years (1979-2012) yet coheres with all of the compelling logic and narrative force of an extended Sonny solo.

Holding the Stage, to be released by Doxy Records  digitally April 8 and on CD April 15, the second album in a distribution agreement with Sony Music Masterworks and its jazz imprint OKeh, is truly a treasure chest that includes tunes Rollins has never before recorded and musical relationships previously undocumented. "This album consists of various periods of my career, with something for everybody," says Rollins. "It's who I am, and the music represents just about every aspect of what I do."
Three Rollins originals pay tribute to departed friends and colleagues. The soulful blues "H.S.," for Horace Silver, has been a concert staple since its appearance on Sonny's 1995 Milestone album Sonny Rollins +3. Saxophonist/arranger Paul Jeffrey, who died last year at 81, is remembered in the funky "Professor Paul," a new composition making its recorded debut here. Of "Disco Monk," from 1979's Don't Ask (Milestone) and rarely performed since, Rollins told CD annotator Ted Panken: "It was disco-disco-disco then, everywhere you went, but I heard something juxtaposed with [Thelonious] Monk within this disco craze, and I wanted to meld them in a way that both styles would be themselves and yet be one."

Another highlight is a previously unreleased 23-minute medley (and concert closer) from his September 15, 2001 Boston performance, most of which had been immortalized in Rollins's final Milestone album, the Grammy Award-winning Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert. "Sweet Leilani," introduced on his This Is What I Do album of the year before, morphs into a richly evocative solo cadenza and an epically ecstatic "Don't Stop the Carnival."
In the Harlem of his youth, Rollins told Panken, "music was happening on every street corner. So the idea of 'keep the music going' is in that song. Don't stop the carnival. In the case of 9/11, that was especially  prophetic."

Since launching his Doxy Records imprint in 2006 with the Grammy-nominated studio album Sonny, Please, Sonny Rollins has been turning to his concert recording archive dating back nearly 40 years for release on the label. The selections in Volume 1 (2008) spanned nearly three decades and included a trio track from the saxophonist's 50th-anniversary Carnegie Hall concert, while Volume 2 (2011) focused primarily on his historic 80th-birthday concert at New York's Beacon Theatre. Volume 3 (2014) marked the first recording of "Patanjali" and hinged on a stunning 23-minute excavation of Jerome Kern's "Why Was I Born?"

Holding the Stage: Road Shows, vol. 4 was produced by Rollins and his longtime engineer, Richard Corsello. Personnel includes trombonist Clifton Anderson; pianists Stephen Scott and Mark Soskin; guitarists Bobby Broom, Peter Bernstein, and Saul Rubin; bassists Bob Cranshaw and Jerome Harris; drummers Kobie Watkins, Perry Wilson, Victor Lewis, Jerome Jennings, Al Foster, and Harold Summey Jr.; and percussionists Kimati Dinizulu, Sammy Figueroa, and Victor See Yuen. 


Snarky Puppy: Culcha Vulcha; First Studio Album In 8 Years Comes Quickly On Heels Of Second GRAMMY And Acclaimed Family Dinner Volume Two

No cameras. No audience. To record Culcha Vulcha, their 11th album and first true studio album in eight years, Snarky Puppy decamped to a pecan orchard at the remote Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, TX, a five-minute walk from the Mexican border. The Texas-bred and Brooklyn-based collective used a week in isolation to record nine original tracks that showcase a darker hued sound while also proving why Rolling Stone calls them "one of the more versatile groups on the planet right now." Influenced by the travels of their nearly constant world tours, which have seen the band play over 1,200 shows on six continents, sounds from places like Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires effortlessly mingle with strains of Motown, vintage J.B.'s and the music of Dallas, TX churches that were so crucial to Snarky Puppy's formative years. Culcha Vulcha, out April 29th on GroundUP 
Music and  Universal Music Classics, finds Snarky Puppy utilizing a sonically creative approach to both composition and performance. The melodies are intricate, the counterpoint is fluid, and groove reigns supreme in mixes that are bass and percussion-heavy.

The album begins with a funky mix of Dallas and Mumbai called "Tarova," or as the band lovingly refers to it, "First Bollywood Baptist." Dallas keyboard legend Bobby Sparks (Marcus Miller, D'Angelo, Lalah Hathaway) takes the first solo of the album while retro horn, piano, and organ sounds provide a sharp contrast with a contemporary groove rich in Southern accent and Indian percussion. Things take a darker turn with Justin Stanton's "Gemini," a downtempo brew with Motown as the base. Slide guitars, effected violin, and rich vocal pads from trumpeter Mike "Maz" Maher provide an eerie gloss over the constant pulse of Larnell Lewis and Robert "Sput" Searight's unison drum patterns, while a driving, McCartney-esque bassline from Michael League keeps the low end rich and dominant throughout. "Big Ugly" is a slow burn, unhurriedly working its way through eerie melodies and mellotron chords to a heavy, syncopated groove that serves as the foundation for an electric violin solo from Zach Brock. Things get sparse to make way for three-part Moog melodies and the instantly-recognizable sound of Bobby Sparks on clavinet before a simple, powerful groove develops with the aid of massive drum sounds and a sea of analog synthesizers as Cory Henry soars above it on Moog.

The "D.I.Y juggernaut" (New York Times) released the acclaimed album Family Dinner Volume Two in February, featuring collaborations with David Crosby, Laura Mvula, Salif Keita, Becca Stevens and more. Snarky Puppy also won a "Best Contemporary Instrumental Album" GRAMMY that same month for Sylva, their 2015 collaboration with the Metropole Orkest. It was their second win, following a "Best R&B Performance" GRAMMY for the Lalah Hathaway collaboration "Something" in 2014. The band made their SXSW debut earlier this month, and were picked as one of the "25 Artists You Need To See" at the festival by Rolling Stone.

The band will continue their 2016 World Tour with a North American leg that kicks off with a set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest on April 28.


Zmei3 (pronounced zmay-tray) is made up of Romanian immigrants whose beautiful and heartfelt music rises from the harsh realities and struggles of a post-Communist rule.  Their debut album Rough Romanian Soul (out now on Six Degrees Records) is produced by GRAMMY® award-winner, Ian Brennan, best known for his work with Tinariwen, Zomba Prison Project, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and the Malawi Mouse Boys.  Zmei3 being huge fans of Brennan’s work, successfully raised funds via Kickstarter to cover recording costs, travel, and more.  They flew Brennan to Romania and began recording the album in August 2015 live without overdubs in the Transylvanian mountains, just a stone’s throw away from Dracula’s Castle.

The band is fueled by powerhouse vocalist, Paula Turcas, a trained, soprano opera singer who gave up classical music in the pursuit of a more truthful artistry grounded in the struggles of everyday life.  When she was three years old – the daughter of the village priest – began to sing the traditional Romanian folk songs. She would sing with such despair that when people passed by, her father would lift her up on the table and people would stop and listen with tears in their eyes.  Her voice remains so visceral that Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel newspaper stated, “When Zmei3 are playing, it’s not rare that tears are falling in the audience.” Their sound is made all the more unique by featuring vibraphone virtuoso, Oli Bott, for their lead instrument.Mihai Victor Iliescu leads the talented group on guitars and lyrics, with Arnulf Ballhorn on double bass.  The band’s name is inspired by an ancient Romanian anti-hero, misfit dragon – a rebellious figure, who rarely prevails, but remains committed to his ideals.

The name of the album, Rough Romanian Soul is an ode to Romanian music entrenched with a deep history of regional blues and soul, as well as the inherent spirituality of their work.  Turcas adds, “The land is rough and the people strong, and our legacy is one of survival.”  Music from Transylvania is not commonly associated with aggressive styles mashing up blues and soul with influences of jazz, avant-garde, and folk with such introspective topics and emotive soundscapes.  But that is exactly what Zmei3 succeeds in doing on their fifteen-track debut.  Bott explains, “We had more than three albums worth of material and many of our most famous songs live were left off the album, in exchange for newer and more challenging material.”

Across the fifteen songs, Zmei3 cover topics of resistance, immigration, oppression, love, death, pride, loneliness, and strength.  “2 Mai” / 2nd of May is story of 2 Mai, a village at the Black Sea, close to the border with Bulgaria, which was a haven for hippies who wanted to escape the constraints of the communist regime.  “Poveste Din Tara Mea” / Story From My Country is about the feelings of an immigrant who left behind everything that he loved. A father is telling his little girl that she should never forget that there’s a country, a lost paradise, and that one day they will seek revenge on those who destroyed it.  “Shhh!!! … Tot Ce Nu Se Spunea Atunci” / Shhh!!! … All The Forbidden Speech is an improvised song, created around all the things, ideas and thoughts that were forbidden during the 45-year repressive regime in Romania.  “Marie, Marie” / Mary, Mary is an essential love ballad from southern Romania. A kind of southern blues.  “Pana Cand Nu Te Lubeam” / Since I’ve Been Loving You according to the band says, “It’s a strange coincidence that there is a Led Zeppelin song with the same title – but maybe it’s no coincidence since it’s exactly about the same feelings. ‘I’m about to lose…my worried mind’ – only that this song is urban folklore from Bucharest, dating from around 1850.”  “Intr-o Zi” / One day is the band’s slow blues song which was inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country Fair.”  Other standouts include “Imn” / Hymn composed without lyrics and dedicated to the human experience, while “Vis” / Dream is dedicated to the memory of the Resistance fighters from the 50’s – and to those very few who always choose to fight and resist, even when it’s clear they have no chance.

Much of the songwriting was done via “instant composition,” where the producer Ian Brennan pushed the band to create songs and record simultaneously.  All while being inspired by the environment of the Transylvania mountains that were in view.  Brennan expresses, “music should breath, music should live, and come from inside a person. Equipment is secondary. Simply a means to an end.  The ability to be high amidst the mountains, to see them, and be there together, lends a sacredness to this project.”  Brennan is known for capturing the environment in which he records.  For example Brennan’s latest release on Six Degrees Records, Zomba Prison Project was recorded in Malawi, and documented the music of prisoners at the maximum security prison in Zomba.  The album was nominated for a “World Music” GRAMMY® which garnered critical praise on the cover of the New York Times, as well as features in CNN, Newsweek, Al Jazeera, NPR, Associated Press, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and more.

Brennan concludes, “Eastern Europe in general has been neglected by the rest of the world in terms of interest and exploration of music and culture. It has literally and deliberately been treated as a bloc. There is a great ignorance amongst many as to what Eastern Europe even is after World War II, so to have vibrant and modern music from Romania is a very valuable thing.”



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