Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bassist Charnett Moffett releases "Music From Our Soul" featuring Pharoah Sanders, Stanley Jordan, Cyrus Chestnut, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Victor Lewis and Mike Clark

2017 marks 30 years since bassist extraordinaire Charnett Moffett burst onto the scene with his Blue Note debut, Net Man. Barely 20 years old but already drawing attention for his virtuosic but soulful contributions to seminal recordings by Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Jordan, Moffett immediately staked out his position as one of the leading voices of his generation, uniquely adept at juggling tradition and innovation, explosive freedom and deep-pocket swing, with a fleet but muscular sound that remains instantly identifiable.

Due out May 19 from Motéma Music, Moffett's Music From Our Soul is at once a summation and a celebration. The album brings together a staggering all-star line-up of collaborators from throughout the bassist's life in music, in a variety of contexts and combinations that range from an Ellington classic to original compositions spanning free-jazz combustion, Coltrane-inspired spiritual seeking to blistering funk workouts, vigorous swing and powerhouse rock fusion. Legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, ground-breaking guitarist Stanley Jordan, journeyman lead pianist Cyrus Chestnut, and iconic drummers Jeff "Tain" Watts, Mike Clark and Victor Lewis all share profound history with Moffett, but more importantly they also share a boundless passion for spontaneous creation that rushes forth from every note on this album.

"We have no choice but to continue to move forward," Moffett says. "You have your history, but time only goes one way. It never goes back. That's something that's beyond our control, so we have to be in the moment of where we are."

Three decades on from his recording debut as a leader, and over four decades since his first professional performance at age 8 in The Moffett Family Band, Moffett can look back on a richly storied career. It began at a remarkably young age in the family band led by his father, drummer Charles Moffett; was forged in his formative years in the thriving Bay Area fusion scene; developed along parallel tracks in the classically-oriented classrooms of Juilliard and the hothouse Greenwich Village club scene in early-80s New York City; and continued to evolve through experiences with iconic artists like Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Sharrock and Ornette Coleman, (Charnett is on his Pulitzer prize winning Sound Museum), along with like-minded peers including Wynton Marsalis and others from the Marsalis family, Kenny Garrett and longtime compatriot Jordan.

Incredibly, all of that rich and diverse history can be heard on the eclectic yet cohesive Music From Our Soul. The human soul, after all, continually grows and evolves over the course of a lifetime, enriched and enlightened by every encounter and experience. So if an artist truly plays from the soul, as Moffett has throughout his career, their music can't help but expand and deepen in similar ways.

"It's important to always express what you feel quite honestly and convey that in your music regardless of the style or sound that you're trying to create," Moffett says. "I naturally have the feeling to want to change, like a lot of artists. It took a lot of time and patience and care and consideration and thought from many different perspectives, but I feel like we were able to achieve a sound that is really true, that represents the history of my career, being influenced by different ways of expressing myself as a jazz artist."

Regardless of the emotional core of the pieces on Music From Our Soul, an exuberant joy shines through every piece, reflecting the electrifying chemistry of these musicians and the deep connections shared between them. Not least of those is the combination of Moffett and Jordan - a partnership that stretches back more than three decades and that bears echoes of the landmark tandem of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, not just in their dual innovations but in the acrobatic way their agile lines dodge and weave around each other (it's notable in this context that Moffett started out playing trumpet, and in many ways still thinks like a horn player). Jordan's astounding versatility becomes even more jaw-dropping on three cuts where he plays guitar and piano simultaneously.

"Charnett and I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene in the 1970s," Jordan recalls. "Back in those days the scene was all about creativity. Mixing jazz with rock was cool, but selling out was not an option. Charnett has stayed true to his roots and today he has become a leading force in the creative music movement. It's my pleasure and honor to support his vision and his mission."

Sanders was a close friend of Moffett's father's who later hired the bassist for many of his own projects; Mike Clark was influential as a member of fusion pioneers The Headhunters with whom Moffett has crossed paths a number of times over the years. Chestnut, Lewis and Watts can trace collaborations with the bassist in terms of decades, not years - Watts all the way back to Wynton Marsalis' GRAMMY® winning milestone Black Codes (From the Underground). "Everyone on this album is a phenomenal, sensational artist," Moffett says. "It was an amazing opportunity and a fantastic experience to share their creative input."

Of course, the pivotal moments and transformations in life are not always positive ones. Many of Moffett's mentors - including the great Ornette Coleman - have passed on in recent years. An even more personal tragedy struck earlier this year when Moffett lost his wife of 30 years, actress and spoken word artist Angela Moffett.

"The only thing I can do now is put my energy into something that's positive, with a lot of life and love in it," Moffett says. "That is definitely the art form of improvisational creative jazz music. It definitely lets you know that life is always expanding and things are always evolving."

Stanley Jordan appears courtesy of Mack Avenue Records and
Cyrus Chestnut appears courtesy of HighNote Records.

Upcoming Charnett Moffett Shows
March 31 - Tavern On The Lake - Hightstown, NJ
April 21 - Exit Zero Jazz Festival - Convention Hall Stage - Cape May, NJ
(Album Release Celebration w/ Brian Jackson, Jeff "Tain" Watts)
April 22 - Exit Zero Jazz Festival - Iron Pier Craft House - Cape May, NJ (solo)
June 14 - Blues Alley - Washington DC
July 27 - Scullers - Boston MA

Charnett Moffett · Music From Our Souls
Label: Motéma Music · Release Date: May 19, 2017

Soil & “Pimp” Sessions continues their Death Jazz attack on “Black Track”

The meteoric Japanese band will release their tenth album in the U.S. on April 14.

The block party begins with “Introduction” during which the band’s rapid-fire horns warm up a vintage jazz-funk groove while Soil & “Pimp” Sessions’ agitator and spirit Shacho sets the stage for what’s to come. Shortly after Midorin’s drums kick in on “By Your Side,” guest rapper Bambu spits smitten rhymes about a club-crawling, nocturnal adventure with a woman, a joint seduced by a smooth and sultry chorus sung by Nia Andrews, another guest artist. The scalding “BLACK MILK” takes the record on a distinctive hard bop swing as pianist Josei occupies center stage amidst the furious-paced jazz number that affords ample room for the entire band to show off their astute chops – from Motoharu’s soprano sax and Tabu Zombie’s trumpet to Akita Goldman’s upright bass. Japanese vocalist Nagaoka Ryosuke guests on “Connected,” a playful, horn-powered amalgam of pop, jazz and rock sprightliness. Soil & “Pimp” Sessions dims the lights to reimagine Herbie Hancock’s classic “Cantaloupe Island,” which they slow down and venture into the dark-hued abyss of an atmospheric jazz exploration. The festivities crank back up fiesta style on the showstopper “Papaya Pai Pai,” part Cab Calloway big band bash, part Latin samba and part cartoonish anime. Precision horns chisel the crazy-legged “88 9th Avenue” that takes sinewy twists and unexpected turns through melodic lanes. Vocalist Xavier Boyer of French indie pop band Tahiti 80 adds international flavor by guesting on the acid jazz-electronic voyage “In2 My Soul.” “One For Carmen” adds a touch of class to the collection, bobbing and weaving along a sweet and tender melody that hovers gracefully atop Midorin’s feverish pounding. “SOILOGIC” is trademark Soil & “Pimp” Sessions, a raucous ride that slashes and burns at a merciless, take-no-prisoners straight-ahead jazz tempo. Although a sassy soprano sax plays the role of protagonist on “Simoom,” it is a hyperkinetic, horn-ignited jazz-funk dancefloor filler. The contemplative “Mellow Black” is backdropped by probing piano, cascading drums and elastic basslines that plumb murky depths. “SEKAI” closes the date with a full-throttle, whirlwind, smash-and-grab chase that recalls mod punk rock.

Emerging from the Tokyo club scene, Soil & “Pimp” Sessions made their recording debut in 2006 with “Pimp Master.” Renowned British DJ Gilles Peterson is credited with turning UK hipsters onto the band through his BBC Radio 1 program, leading to the collection of a BBC Worldwide Award (John Peel Play More Jazz Award) and a television appearance on BBC’s trendsetting “Later…with Jools Holland.” Popularity in the United Kingdom and Europe soared after a round of buzz-building performances at high-profile festivals including the Glastonbury Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Roskilde Festival and many others around the world. Soil & “Pimp” Sessions’ first American release came with 2008’s “Planet Pimp.” For additional information, please visit http://bit.ly/2nc5Mip.

“Black Track” contains the following songs:

“By Your Side” featuring Bambu & Nia Andrews
“Connected” featuring Nagaoka Ryosuke
“Cantaloupe Island”
“Papaya Pai Pai”
“88 9th Avenue”
“In2 My Soul” featuring Xavier Boyer
“One For Carmen”
“Mellow Black”

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Julia Fordham releases acoustic jazz album “The Language of Love” to romance and seduce

According to singer-songwriter Julia Fordham, Ella Fitzgerald set the standard when it comes to tackling standards so she had to turn to other source material for her forthcoming collection, “The Language of Love,” which will receive its U.S. and European release on April 14 from Red River Entertainment with distribution via BFD/Sony RED.

“As the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, has already covered every traditional jazz song to perfection, we tried to find a new angle and hopefully put a fresh twist on some of our favorite songs,” the British-born, Los Angeles-based artist said.

Along with producer-arranger Grant Mitchell, Fordham culled a set list of modern pop, rock and R&B classics and revamped them as if they were pages from the Great American Songbook. The misty-voiced singer seductively emotes nine signature hits from the likes of Blondie, Eurythmics, Sting, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder in intimate acoustic jazz settings. She also reconfigured her own debut hit, “Happy Ever After,” and introduces a pair of new tunes - “Like You Used To Do” and “The Morning After (The Night With You)” - that she penned for the occasion with Mitchell.

Throughout “The Language of Love,” Fordham regally plies her deep-hued vocals on tracks that swing (“Call Me” and “Alone Again (Naturally)”), seduce through sultry bossa nova grooves (“Who’s That Girl” and “At Seventeen”), traverse a multicultural world music grid (“Happy Ever After”) and pitter-patter gracefully to a Latin jazz rhythm embellished by a sterling nylon guitar serenade by Ramon Stagnaro (“Fragile”). “I’m Not In Love” becomes a stunning torch song while a stark depiction of “Eleanor Rigby” strikes a hauntingly dramatic tone in a voice, piano and upright bass incarnation. “Sir Duke” bops to a groovy jazz beat highlighted by Wonder’s original “Songs in the Key of Life” tour trumpeter, Harry Kim. The lone tune taken from the Great America Songbook era is “Moon River,” a timeless, heart-tugging beauty written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. As for the new originals, “Like You Used To Do” is a steamy affair heated by soulful backing vocals from Judith Owen and Sista Jean McClain. A taut rhythm section comprised of David Piltch (upright bass), Herman Matthews (drums) and Ramon Yslas (percussion) construct a subtle Latin vibe on “The Morning After (The Night With You).”        

Two bonus tracks, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “Moon River” orchestrated with strings, will be available exclusively with the digital purchase of the album. Videos for “Call Me,” “Who’s That Girl,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “At Seventeen” were created and will soon be made available for viewing. Fordham will support “The Language of Love” with concert dates in London on July 28 & 29 at The Strand at PizzaExpress Live, October 18 in Los Angeles at Catalina Jazz Club and October 27 & 28 in New York City at Joe’s Pub.  

Fordham said she selected “The Language of Love” as the album title because “it seemed to conjure up a romantic image and the seductive feeling of the album.” The words are the opening lyrics of “Who’s That Girl” and are mentioned in the bridge section of “Call Me.”

Although she grew up writing and singing folk music in clubs since she was 14 in Portsmouth, England, Fordham discovered jazz shortly thereafter and has always incorporated nuances of jazz throughout her recording career that began with her eponymously-titled 1988 release. Her global hit “Love Moves” was featured in 1992’s “The Butcher’s Wife” starring Demi Moore. After relocating to Los Angeles two years later, three of Fordham’s albums were produced by four-time Grammy winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Madeleine Peyroux). Her 2005 live CD (“That’s Life”) and DVD (“That’s Live”) featured a stellar ensemble including Klein on bass and Academy Award-winning trumpeter/composer Mark Isham, and showcased Fordham dueting with multiple Grammy winner India.Aire. For additional information, please visit www.JuliaFordham.com.

“The Language of Love” contains the following songs:

“Call Me”
“Who’s That Girl”
“Happy Ever After”
“I’m Not In Love”
“Alone Again (Naturally)”
“Like You Used To Do”
“Eleanor Rigby”
“The Morning After (The Night With You)”
“At Seventeen”
“Sir Duke”
“Moon River”

Bonus Tracks – Digital Only
“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”
“Moon River (with strings)”

Philly Icon BUNNY SIGLER Releases New Song "Till I See You Again"

Living legend, Philadelphia icon, and renowned R&B singer and songwriter Walter "Bunny" Sigler is excited to announce the latest addition to his ever-expanding discography – a single titled “Till I See You Again”. This song will be released on iTunes and all major digital outlets on March 24, via Sigler’s own Bunz Music & Records label. “Till I See You Again” is the first single from Sigler’s upcoming album ‘Young at Heart’, which is slated for a summer release. ‘Young at Heart’ features Bunny’s fresh take on the genre of jazz, mixing tunes from the classic standards songbook with several of Sigler’s own compositions and his familiar R&B sound. Each of these tunes, old and new, features Sigler’s signature vocal performances that are bursting with emotion.

“Till I See You Again” is no exception, from the opening harmonies to the catchy chorus. The slow ballad gives Sigler a foundation on which he builds a sound with elements of classics and modern tunes alike. The classic instrumentation invites Sigler’s emotional and powerful voice to paint a truly heartfelt and sweet picture of a man longing for a “special friend” while the two are apart. Sigler notes he has dedicated the song to the late Marvin Morrow, who co-wrote the song with Bunny. Tasteful and restrained, “Till I See You Again” is a strong start to ‘Young at Heart,’ Sigler’s follow-up to 2015’s “Bundino”. Lloyd Remick, Bunny’s longtime attorney says:

“Bunny has done a gospel LP, a Christmas LP and two “love and funk” LPs. Now he presents a standards and jazz album to show his complete versatility - he’s a rare and skilled musician.”

Philadelphia R&B legend Bunny Sigler continues to share songs that prove his passion for music goes well beyond his beloved soul songs. Bunny’s songwriting for tracks like Instant Funk's "I Got My Mind Made Up", Patti Labelle's "Somebody Loves You Baby", The Whispers' "Bingo", Jackie Moore's "Sweet Charlie Babe" and The O'Jays "Sunshine" are what put him on the musical map. Not only is Bunny skilled with the pen, but he is also a world-renowned singer.

This Philadelphia native began his singing career in churches all over the metropolitan area with songs like "O Lord My God" and "The Lord's Prayer". The industry gave him the nickname “Mr. Emotion” after his heartfelt performances on stage. Creating numerous hits over the span of his career (many of which are still being sampled in today's generation), Bunny continues to write, produce and record new material. He is the co-writer of the song “The Ruler's Back” which was an opening song for Jay Z's album, "Blueprint". Even at over 70 years old, "there ain't no stopping us now" claims Sigler, as he gets continues to write, record, and release new music on a regular basis.

Saxophonist Jared Sims Celebrates Return to West Virginia From Boston With New Quintet Session "Change of Address"

Jared Sims Change of Address After two decades in New England, where multi-reed virtuoso Jared Sims made his mark as an instrumentalist, bandleader, educator, and all-around musical provocateur, Sims celebrates his return to West Virginia with Change of Address, his fifth album as a leader. On the new CD, which will be released April 14 by Ropeadope Records, Sims sticks to his favorite instrument -- the baritone sax -- in the company of an airtight, organ-dappled quintet.

Change of Address commemorates Sims's homecoming to his alma mater, West Virginia University in Morgantown, which has named him Director of its Jazz Studies Department 20 years after he earned his own jazz studies degree there.

The music on the album is notable for instilling the jazz-soul tradition with an up-to-the-minute sensibility and is deftly interpreted by the leader, joined by an intriguing collection of players for whom he wrote its tunes, Ellington-style. They include the wife-and-husband team of organist Nina Ott and bassist Chris Lopes (a longtime crony of guitarist Jeff Parker), and a pair of young Boston-area veterans in guitarist Steve Fell and drummer Jared Seabrook (older brother of guitar provocateur Brandon).

Among the highlights on Change of Address are "Ghost Guest 1979," which showcases a full range of textural effects from Fell and seamless interaction between bass and Hammond B-3; the sprightly, wide-open "Lights and Colors"; and "Forest Hills," inspired by the Boston neighborhood in which he lived.

Jared Sims Sims (b. 1974) started playing the baritone in the fifth grade in his hometown of Staunton, Virginia, but only became dedicated to this most colossal of saxes after bringing a tenor to a class at the New England Conservatory (NEC) and having his instructor chide him he would never be great on it because he would be following in the footsteps of too many legends.

Far from taking offense, Sims took his teacher's words to heart. "There are a lot of gold standards on tenor," he says. "I was trying to find a way to move past those influences. Playing the baritone felt really natural to me. I felt like I could do something personal and interesting with it." A compelling example of this is Sims's "Seeds of Shihab," a tribute to baritone great Sahib Shihab, which like the other tracks on Change of Address luxuriates in the brawny, bottom-rich sound of the instrument.

Sims attended his first jazz concert, by Michael Brecker, in tenth grade, and saw the World Saxophone Quartet perform the following year. His fascination with the saxophone went "over the top" after he spoke with members of the WSQ following the show.

At WVU, he had a strong saxophone teacher in David Hastings, who schooled him in traditional styles. At NEC, where he played clarinet in addition to baritone, alto, and tenor, he tried to catch up to all the kinds of music he hadn't been exposed to, including Third Stream, under the wing of distinguished faculty members Gunther Schuller, George Russell, and Ran Blake.

Sims went on to study for his doctorate in classical music performance at Boston University, where his lecture recital was on the modern Italian composer Luciano Berio and his solo Sequenza pieces. He also did research work on Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, and American popular music.

While in Boston, where he earned a reputation as a "saxophone colossus," Sims roomed for four years with standout baritone saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase, a cog in Either/Orchestra, who turned him onto Shihab. One of his mentors at NEC was Allan Chase, with whom he continues to play in a band, Blow-up!, dedicated to the music of bebop baritone legend Serge Chaloff (they recorded in March 2017). He also played in numerous Boston-based bands including the Afro-Latin group Mango Blue (in which he continues to perform); the organ funk outfit Akashic Record; Blueprint Project with guitarist Eric Hofbauer, and the jazz-rock quartet Miracle Orchestra. The list of artists he has collaborated is an eclectic one and ranges from the late Bob Brookmeyer, Han Bennink, Matt Wilson, Dave Liebman, and Anat Cohen to the Temptations, 10,000 Maniacs, and Oasis's Noel Gallagher.

Sims made his recording debut as a leader with the trio effort Acoustic Shadows (2009). He followed it with another three-man outing Convergence (2011), the collective quartet album The New Stablemates (2012), and Layers (2016), on which he overdubs himself playing saxophones, clarinets, and flute on tunes by Ellington, Monk, and Mingus.

Jared Sims will celebrate the release of Change of Address at the following engagements: 4/14 James Street Gastropub, Pittsburgh; 4/27 The Bitter End, NYC; 4/28 Third Life Studio, Boston (with same personnel as the CD). 

Joey DeFrancesco & The People Make Mack Avenue Records Debut with First Ever Quartet Album, Project Freedom

 When jazz aficionados think of Joey DeFrancesco--and they often do--they ponder his matchless talents as a modern-day avatar of the Hammond B3 organ and the Philadelphia history he shares with his principle instrument. Organ-based blues and jazz started in Philly and DeFrancesco is the first to tell you so.

DeFrancesco is adored for his buoyant, moody sense of swing and balladry as a composer and as a player. That's a bluesy, blustery sensibility shared with the men in his family: saxophonist/grandfather Joseph DeFrancesco, and his father--organist "Papa" John DeFrancesco. Jazz lovers also dig DeFrancesco's second instrument, the trumpet, and the inspiration gleaned from his first big boss, Miles Davis--with whom DeFrancesco gigged when the organist was in his late teens.

"All that--that's what's been expected of me, all of which makes me proud, but there's so much more," says DeFrancesco on the day he flew back to Philadelphia from his current home base of Phoenix. DeFrancesco stopped by the City of Brotherly Love to receive a star on the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame alongside local giants such as Coltrane, Dizzy and Nina Simone.
So for Joey DeFrancesco's Project Freedom--his debut for the Mack Avenue Records label--DeFrancesco adds several feathers to his cap including those of world traveling storyteller, quartet leader, freedom fighter, peace maker, spiritual healer and genre-busting composer and cover artist. "All of my albums mean a lot to me," he says. "Project Freedom though--this one means just a little bit more."

Quick to mention the influence of Philadelphia in every note that he plays--"that's where all my initial inspiration comes from," he explains--DeFrancesco looks beyond worshipping at the altar of Hammond B3 priests such as Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff on Project Freedom. "It was never JUST organ and it was never JUST jazz for me," says DeFrancesco of a personal past that figures into new songs, such as the space-funk of the title track or what he calls the "free soul" of Sam Cooke's emotional "A Change Is Gonna Come."

Stylistically, DeFrancesco has long believed that his approach to playing and composing comes from the saxophone. "It's that sense of breathing that affects everything," explains DeFrancesco.

An homage to John Lennon opens Project Freedom with a gorgeous snippet of "Imagine" (Prelude) with a soaring tribute to J. Rosamond Johnson's uplifting composition, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" rounding out the purifying package. Mostly though, it's DeFrancesco's existence as a spiritual being--walking in the footsteps of humanity's inherent goodness--that is at the heart of Project Freedom. "There are notes and rhythms, sure, but it is how you live your life that is most crucial," he says. "It's how you play AND present yourself."

Being a frequent flyer with a globe-hopping world touring schedule has given DeFrancesco insight into differing--but not opposing--viewpoints that he longed to espouse through music. "I always thought that as touring musicians, we were spreading peace. No matter what happens in the world, we keep playing. In a lot of the so-called forbidden places too. When we're there, through war and conflict, problems melt away through music. We're playing for these people, hanging out with them, and we all come together and we're grooving with each other because of the music. That is true freedom. Music is true freedom."

Featured This Week: Vocalist, Gordon Michaels with his new single “They Call It Stormy Monday”

Gordon Michaels is a versatile artist who can lean from show tunes to jazz, pop, R&B, gospel and even country.  His latest single “They Call it Stormy Monday” is a soulful rendition of this well known standard.

Entertainment has been in the bones of Gordon Michaels from a very early age, from his church's children's choir through his high school years.  It seems that this foundation honed his personal expression developing his passion for performing.  After attending New York City’s Music and Arts High School Michaels was afforded the opportunity to appear in the movie “Fame” as well as the soundtrack recording.  This experience led him to a scholarship to the Boston Conservatory of Music for Opera where he discovered his passion for musical theatre and achieved a BFA.

Gordon’s versatility in shuffling genres with ease was the precursor to his musical prominence and was a driving force that managed to create opportunities worldwide with known singers; Patti Labelle, Jennifer Holiday, James Taylor, Aerosmith, Rod Steward, Cissy Houston, Keith Lockhart, Tramine & Edward Hawkins, Natalie Cole and a performance for Pope John Paul II.

Musical theatre is an avenue of expression that is close to his heart.  He is known for successfully producing small dinner shows and cabaret events in local establishments in the Boston area.  Gordon inspires his audiences with not only theater productions but offers his expertise to private functions, charity and corporate events choosing from any of the six cabaret shows in his musical repertoire.  His shows consist of “Unforgettable - A tribute to Nat King Cole”, “I’m Misbehaving - Fats Waller Song I Never Get To Sing”,  “Music of our great soul brothers”, “Journey through the decades”, “Black on Broadway” and “Listen to my heart” each with a definition of expression all their own.
“His darkly rich, soulful baritone and gregarious way with audiences earn this guy a gold star.” ~ John Hoglund, Backstage, Bistro Bits
Gospel music is a genre that runs through his veins whereby creating and hosting the popular Gospel Brunch at the original House of Blues in Cambridge, MA.

Gordon’s notable achievement was receiving the recognition of David Foster, when he became the Boston winner of the David Foster/Name Drop Singing Contest in 2009.  In addition to first place in the Encore Silver Note Sing Off and the Best Male Vocalist for Jazz and Gospel by the Boston Music Awards.  

“He has such a big personality when he gets up there.  He’s much more than a voice”, says Charles Nazarian, Chairman of the Independent Christian Church in Cape Ann.” ~ Gaily McCarthy, Staff Writer, Gloucester Daily Times.

“Michaels simply radiated confidence, authority and joy of performance.” ~ Bryan VanCampen, The Ithaca Times.

“When Gordon reached out to me to let me know he was interested in performing on jazz stages worldwide, I immediately went to hear his music.  I heard a very versatile artist that could fall into any musical setting and find his own authentic expression.  Not only is he an actor, he is one that can truly ‘tell a story in song’ and capture the heart of his audience” says Jaijai Jackson of The Jazz Network Worldwide.  

Gordon is a complete southern gentleman at heart and knows how to entertain leaving his audience wanting more.

Be sure to catch Gordon’s feature on The Jazz Network Worldwide this week at http://www.thejazznetworkworldwide.com.  Go to http://www.gordonmichaels.com  to learn more and to purchase his new single “They call it stormy Monday”.                             


Vocalist SOFIA REI Pays Tribute to Legendary Chilean Artist Violeta Parra on New Album, El Gavilán Featuring Guitarist Marc Ribot

"As the Argentine singer Sofía Rei led her multinational band, the passion and clarity with which she assayed a tricky mix of South American rhythms and jazz-inflected harmonies made clear why she has been embraced by New York City audiences from Carnegie Hall to the hippest downtown haunts." - The New York Times

Paying tribute to an exceptional artist demands an exceptional work of art.

Chilean singer, songwriter, folklorist, social activist, poet, and visual artist Violeta Parra would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year. In her new recording, El Gavilán, vocalist, songwriter and producer Sofia Rei celebrates her legacy by approaching her music with the imagination and daring that characterize Parra's work.

Recorded as a duo with guitarist Marc Ribot and featuring guitarist Angel Parra, Violeta's grandson, on one song, Sofía re-imagines Parra's music in a contemporary setting.  It is, in essence, the classic folk voice-and-guitar format, but framed here by both, electronics and traditional instruments. Besides providing all vocals and the sound sculpting, Sofia also plays caja vidalera, a hand-held single head drum from Argentina's northwest, and charango, a small, five double string guitar from the Andean region of South America. The results - spacious and almost minimalist, the vocals layered with loops and pedal effects - illuminate Parra´s work from unexpected angles.

"When I decided to do a tribute to Violeta, my first questions were 'Which Violeta are we celebrating and for what? What do we want to achieve by it?,' "reflects Sofia. "Her lyrics have a new force today. But there is much more to Violeta than great songs such as 'Gracias a La Vida," or 'Volver a los 17.' Violeta was an innovator. Beyond the music and the words, it's her concept, her ideas. She not only worked at preserving traditional Chilean songs, styles and rhythms [as a folklorist], but then made a great synthesis of it all and that became the New Song movement. She invented a new tradition. To have a tribute that would recreate what she already did so well 50 years ago didn't make sense. It seemed to me a better idea to celebrate her spirit, take chances and create something new."

The set includes classics such as "Casamiento de Negros," "La Lavandera," "Maldigo del Alto Cielo" and "Run Run se fue pa'l Norte," but its heart is Parra's little-known masterpiece, "El Gavilán," an ambitious work originally intended for ballet, vocalist, choir and indigenous instruments. It´s an astounding piece, written in the late 50s, before her best-known songs, and in it, Parra mixes elements of Chilean folk tradition and 20th Century classical music. It´s a remarkable piece for a self-taught musician, and especially so for one who, up to then, had worked in the folk idiom.

"There is little known about this piece except for a famous radio interview in 1960 in which she talks about 'El Gavilán' and sings and plays its first movement, " says Sofia. "And in this interview she also talks about the idea of the gavilán (the sparrow hawk) representing the idea of the masculine, of the oppressor and connects it with capitalism. The other main character is a hen, representing the feminine, the oppressed, the betrayed. And what she does musically, singing and playing is remarkable."

Born in Argentina, Sofia started her career as a member of the Children's Choir at the Teatro Colón, the La Scala of Buenos Aires, at age 9. She was classically trained at the National Conservatory and later became part of the avant-garde vocal scene. In 2001, she moved to Boston to study jazz and improvised music at the New England Conservatory where she received her Master's Degree. She moved to New York in 2005 and since she has released three critically acclaimed albums under her own name. Two of those recordings earned an Independent Music Award for Best Album.

She met Ribot, an eclectic and adventurous guitarist who proved a key contributor in El Gavilán, as members of The Song Project, premiered during John Zorn´s 60th Birthday celebration. Ribot became intrigued by Sofia's re-imagining of Parra's music, especially in the ambitious "El Gavilán," and their chance collaboration grew into a duo.   
"He asked me for translations of all the lyrics and dove right in," says Sofia. "Marc is a politically engaged musician and I believe Violeta's work spoke to him not only musically but because of its social and political message."

"I´ve always thought I owed myself a Violeta Parra record, but done like this, differently," says  Sofia, who was a child when she first heard Violeta's songs but only interpreted by Mercedes Sosa. "It took many years until I actually heard Violeta herself in a recording.  I find that there's a sort of revisionist view of her, a pink version, almost naïve - and that is not Violeta. Violeta was a very strong, intense woman."

Her personal life in shambles, Parra, as an artist, folklorist and social activist, found herself "alone in a quixotic struggle," as Sofia puts it. Violeta Parra died by her own hand in her performing tent in La Reina, an area outside Santiago, on February 1967, months short of her 50th birthday.

The closing track, "Run Run se fue pa'l Norte," was written by Parra for her companion of five years, the Swiss musician Gilbert Favre, nicknamed Run Run, who left her to start a new life in Bolivia. Sofia's subtle arrangement sets it to a landó, a Peruvian rhythm. The cloud of sound, at times luminous and ominous, is by guitarist Angel Parra, Violeta's grandson and a member of the Chilean rock group Los Tres, who has "his own contemporary approach to Violeta's music" says Sofia.

"'Run Run' is a long song and the opening verse closes with the line  "... y cuenta una aventura que paso a deletrear ..." (And speaks of an adventure that I now begin to spell out ... ) " and that's where we left it," explains Sofia. "It's like a point where Violeta ends and her legend begins. It was the perfect line in which to end the album."
April 29: Subrosa NYC ft. Marc Ribot - New York, NY
April 30: Atlanta Jazz Festival - Atlanta, GA
May 26: Arts Garage - Delray Beach, FL
May 27-29: Spoleto Festival - Charleston, SC

Tenor Saxophonist Michael Pedicin To Release "As It Should Be: Ballads 2"

Michael Pedicin As It Should Be With the April 21 release of As It Should Be: Ballads 2, tenor and soprano saxophonist Michael Pedicin continues to spread the message of acceptance and justice he eloquently shared on his critically acclaimed 2011 album Ballads ... searching for peace. "I'm one of those diehard '60s kids that grew up concerned about peace and togetherness," Pedicin explains. "I think about that every day of my life. We're all one."

In addition to covers of John Coltrane's "Crescent" and Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the album, his 14th as a leader, features eight ballads by longtime collaborator guitarist Johnnie Valentino. Pedicin and Valentino are joined on the recording by Frank Strauss on keyboards, bassist Mike Boone, drummer Justin Faulkner (of Branford Marsalis's band), and percussionist Alex Acuña. With the exception of Acuña, all are either from, still live in, or have roots in Philadelphia.

Ballads showcasing the exquisitely lyrical aspects of Pedicin's playing are the focus of the album, but several songs were treated to somewhat brighter grooves than had been originally intended after the musicians got to the recording studio, particularly "From Afar," which was double-timed at a bossa-nova-like clip by Faulkner and Acuña.

Michael Pedicin in the studio
L. to r.: Mike Boone, bass; Frank Strauss, piano; Michael Pedicin, tenor and soprano saxophones; Vic Stevens, engineer; Johnnie Valentino, guitar; Justin Faulkner, drums.

A second-generation saxophonist, Michael Pedicin is the son of alto saxophonist and singer Mike Pedicin, a hugely popular entertainer and bandleader in the Philadelphia area for more than six decades until his retirement at age 80. When the younger Pedicin was 13, his father took him to the Harlem Club in Atlantic City to hear and meet the bluesy jazz saxophonist Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson, who became his hero on the horn. Then he heard records by John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, and he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play the saxophone.

Michael Pedicin Pedicin studied theory with guitarist Dennis Sandole and saxophone with Philadelphia Orchestra clarinetist Mike Guerra, both of whom had once taught Coltrane, as well as with onetime Woody Herman saxophonist Buddy Savitt. While attending Philadelphia's University of the Arts (UArts), where he majored in composition, he began competing at -- and winning -- collegiate jazz festivals around the country.

Switching from alto to tenor as his main instrument at age 20, Pedicin supported himself throughout the 1970s as a member of the horn section at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios. Working for producers Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell, he played on countless sessions by the likes of the Spinners, O'Jays, and Lou Rawls even as he continued to tour with Maynard Ferguson, the O'Jays, Rawls, Stevie Wonder, and David Bowie. Michael Pedicin Jr., his first album, was released in 1980 on Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International label.

From 1976 to 1981 Pedicin taught at UArts, and during much of the '80s, he juggled teaching duties at Philadelphia's Temple University and two years of touring with Dave Brubeck. Besides leading his own quintet, he toured from 2003 to 2006 with Pat Martino and in early 2011 with the Dave Brubeck Quartet with Darius Brubeck filling in for his ailing father.

Pedicin also continued his non-musical education, earning a Ph.D in Psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine/International University for Graduate Studies in 2002. The shingle above his office in Linwood, NJ, reads "Dr. Michael Pedicino" as he recently changed his last name back to the one taken away from his grandfather in 1906 when he arrived at Ellis Island from Foggia, Italy. While Pedicin has no plans to change his name in the world of music, he is in the process of obtaining dual American-Italian citizenship.

The new album is just the latest chapter in this master musician's ongoing quest to help make Philadelphia's sobriquet as the City of Brotherly Love a reality for human beings of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities through sweet melodies and gentle improvisations. "My goal with this CD," Pedicin explains, "was to create some pretty and accessible jazz in ballad form. This is not about revolutionizing the art form we so love, but providing a soft and relaxing platform on which to enjoy it."

Michael Pedicin will celebrate the release of As It Should Be: Ballads 2 at the following engagements: 4/16 Smalls, NYC; 4/22 Exit Zero Jazz Festival, Cape May, NJ (for which Pedicin is Artist in Residence); 5/12 Trumpets, Montclair, NJ; and 5/13 Chris' Jazz Café, Philadelphia. Personnel is the same as on the new CD, minus Alex Acuña and with drummer Anwar Marshall subbing for Justin Faulkner.


Newport Jazz Festival® Announces Fourth Wave of Artists

Top left - Branford Marsalis Quartet; Bottom left - Jimmy Greene; Right - Bokanté f. Michael League & Malika Tirolien

Presenting a healthy dose of straight-ahead jazz, world music, turntable magic and visit from Broadway, Producer/Founder George Wein and Artistic Director Christian McBride announce the fourth wave of artists for the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival® presented by Natixis Global Asset Management, which takes place at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino August 4 - 6.  Tickets are available at www.newportjazz.org

The fourth wave of artists includes:

Friday, August 4
-       Leslie Odom, Jr.
-       Amir ElSaffar's Rivers of Sound Orchestra
-       Jimmy Greene Quartet w. Kevin Hays, Ben Williams & Otis Brown III
-      George Burton Quintet w. Tim Warfield, Jason Palmer, Pablo Menares & Wayne Smith Jr.

Saturday, August 5
-       Branford Marsalis Quartet
-   Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Mongo & Monk f. Danilo Perez, Chris Potter, Avishai Cohen, Josh Roseman, Roman Diaz, Ben Street & Adam Cruz
-       DJ Logic's Project Logic
-       Benny Golson Quartet w. Mike LeDonne, Buster Williams & Carl Allen
-       Gilad Hekselman, solo guitar
-       JoAnne Brackeen, solo piano
-       Peter Evans, solo trumpet

Sunday, August 6
-       Tim Berne's Snakeoil
-       Bokanté f. Michael League & Malika Tirolien
-       Theo Croker
-       Cyrus Chestnut Trio
-       Marilyn Crispell, solo piano
-       Orrin Evans, solo piano

Highlighting some of the 2017 artists, George Wein said, "The veterans of the fifties are fast disappearing. Benny Golson is still with us. I have a fond memory of Benny giving me a personal, handwritten transcription of his song 'Whisper Not,' which he says was written while playing Storyville back in that first decade of the latter half of the 20th century."

Christian McBride, added, "I am humbled to have had the opportunity to work with the legendary Benny Golson when I was teenager. He used me in his band when I first moved to New York and he took me to Europe in the Fall of 1990. There's a lot going on at Newport, but I urge everyone to save some time to hear this living jazz titan."

The members of the Marsalis family have often found a spot on the Newport stages, and this year's roster features the oldest of pianist Ellis Marsalis' sons, Branford. "Branford Marsalis is one of my favorite people," said Wein, "In addition to the quality of his music, he brings a joy and spirit to the festival that reaches everyone with whom he comes in contact."

McBride agrees, "Branford is like a big brother to me. He has always been one of my favorite musicians, and I think of him as family. I've known him since I was teenager, and I've learned a lot from him. He is well-schooled and is one of the most informed, most intelligent musicians I know."

The festival welcomes saxophonist Jimmy Greene in his Newport debut as a leader. Wein says, "Jimmy Greene, who has lived with a tragedy that few of us can imagine, is known for his hardcore saxophone sound, which I'm looking forward to hearing. In Newport, he will share music from his two albums that honor the life of his daughter, who was one of the youth killed in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The fact that he continues to play and pay homage to her life is a tribute to the strength of the music that is in his soul."

Also making his Newport debut as a leader is trumpeter Theo Croker. "It'll be nice to see Theo, whose grandfather, Doc Cheatham, was a close personal friend with whom I had the pleasure of playing many times."

Amir ElSaffar returns to Newport, this time with his Rivers of Sound Orchestra. "Don't miss this one if you want to have an experience that will enhance your musical enjoyment," urged Wein.

Just crossing the bridge onto Aquidneck Island is a great reason for a celebration, but 2017 pays tribute to the 100th birthdays of four giants who shared plenty of music and memories at the Newport Jazz Festival. Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Mongo & Monk featuring Danilo Perez, Chris Potter, Avishai Cohen, Josh Roseman, Roman Diaz, Ben Street & Adam Cruz will be one of the world's biggest and baddest birthday parties ever.

Christian said, "When you think of all of the jazz greats who would be celebrating their 100th birthday this year, you can't help but get into party mode. This is a fantastic group. Whatever they do will be creatively stimulating and totally interesting."

One of Broadway's brightest stars will showcase his jazz chops at this year's festival. "Hamilton is the Broadway show of the century," said Wein, "and we're looking forward to the Newport debut of Leslie Odom, Jr."

McBride chimed in, "It's sort of funny to think that so many people on this year's jazz festival have Philadelphia connections, and Leslie is another one. He went to the same high school as Joey DeFrancesco, Questlove and I, although he was there a decade after us. I worked with Leslie about six months ago and I was overjoyed to see how incredibly talented he is. To see his versatility on stage in Hamilton and then experience him as a really good jazz singer is unbelievable. He could be in the mold of a Sammy Davis, Jr., an artist who could do it all.  I can't wait to see Leslie's star rise even higher than it has been over the last couple of years."

The partial Newport Jazz Festival lineup, including all four waves, features:

Friday, August 4
-       Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
-       Maceo Parker
-       Cécile McLorin Salvant
-       Naturally 7
-       Leslie Odom, Jr.                                                    
-       Joey DeFrancesco + The People
-       Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith
-       Amir ElSaffar's Rivers of Sound Orchestra
-   Christian Sands Quartet w. Gilad Hekselman, Yasushi Nakamura & Jerome Jennings
-    One for All: Jim Rotondi, Steve Davis, Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, John Webber & Joe Farnsworth
-       Evan Christopher Clarinet Road & New Orleans Brass
-       Rodriguez Brothers
-       Jimmy Greene Quartet w. Kevin Hays, Ben Williams & Otis Brown III
-      George Burton Quintet w. Tim Warfield, Jason Palmer, Pablo Menares & Wayne Smith Jr.

Saturday, August 5
-       Snarky Puppy
-       Branford Marsalis Quartet
-       Rhiannon Giddens
-       Christian McBride Big Band w. Special Guests
-       Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding
-       Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Mongo & Monk f. Danilo Perez, Chris Potter,
Avishai Cohen, Josh Roseman, Roman Diaz, Ben Street & Adam Cruz
-       Henry Threadgill Zooid
-       Vijay Iyer Sextet
-       Antonio Sanchez & Migration
-       DJ Logic's Project Logic
-       Benny Golson Quartet w. Mike LeDonne, Buster Williams & Carl Allen
-       Uri Caine Trio w. Mark Helias & Clarence Penn
-       Dominick Farinacci
-       Gilad Hekselman, solo guitar
-       JoAnne Brackeen, solo piano
-       David Torkanowksy, solo piano
-       Peter Evans, solo trumpet

Sunday, August 6
-       The Roots
-       Andra Day
-       Maria Schneider Orchestra
-       Hudson: Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield, John Medeski & Larry Grenadier
-       Philadelphia Experiment: Questlove, Christian McBride, Uri Caine
-       Jason Moran: Fats Waller Dance Party
-       Tim Berne's Snakeoil
-       Bokanté f. Michael League & Malika Tirolien
-       Theo Croker
-       Cyrus Chestnut Trio
-     Sean Jones Quintet w. Brian Hogans, Orrin Evans, Luques Curtis & Obed Calvaire
-       Cyrille Aimée
-       John Medeski, solo piano
-       Marilyn Crispell, solo piano
-       Orrin Evans, solo piano

Newport Jazz Festival's official travel partner, WBGO Jazz 88.3FM is offering Day Trips and an exclusive Weekend Package for festival fans. For more information, sign up for WBGO's Newport List at http://eepurl.com/cxssCj.

Chicago Saxophonist Chris Greene Continues to Explore New Musical Territories On "Boundary Issues"

Chris Green Quartet Boundary Issues Saxophonist Chris Greene, a fixture on the Chicago scene dedicated to transcending the stylistic and structural borders of jazz, continues to discover new musical territory on his new CD Boundary Issues. Set for April 14 release on Single Malt Recordings, the album is Greene's eighth with the long-standing quartet he formed in 2005 featuring pianist Damian Espinosa, bassist Marc Piane, and, since 2011, drummer Steve Corley.

Joining the core quartet as guests on several tracks are saxophonist Marqueal Jordan, known for his work with smooth jazz star Brian Culbertson; percussionist JoVia Armstrong, who's played with Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble and JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound; guitarist Isaiah Sharkey, a member of D'Angelo's band; and vocalist Julio Davis (aka DJ WLS). Greene's eclectic song selection, inventive arrangements, and choice of guests not normally associated with jazz perfectly coalesce to present a portrait of an artist unafraid to take the road less traveled, push the envelope, and explore the frontiers of jazz.

In addition to three originals, Boundary Issues includes creative covers of works by Horace Silver ("Nica's Dream"), Kenny Kirkland ("Dienda"), Yellowjackets ("Summer Song"), and Billy Strayhorn ("Day Dream"). As his previous treatments of songs by artists as diverse as Madonna, Coltrane, Sting, Mingus, and lounge music king Martin Denny attest, Greene's naming his latest album Boundary Issues could be viewed as a tongue-in-cheek self-diagnosis. "I have a hard time staying in place," he confides. "I don't know my place, I guess, which is why I'm always stepping outside so-called boundaries. With the music I like, I just can't help thinking, what would it sound like if I did this, or this?" A case in point is his spacious reggae version of Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream." "I thought the biggest tribute to him would be to do something different," says Greene. "The idea to cover that classic as a reggae tune came to me while I was listening to music in the shower. It was like, why not?"

Chris Greene Born in 1973 in Evanston, Illinois, Chris Greene was exposed to a lot of music at home but only a smattering of jazz. His mother blasted Motown at her monthly card parties while his father played a lot of funk, soul, and disco; he absorbed all manner of pop styles watching MTV. Taking up the sax at age 10, he began studying it seriously when he was 16, "playing the hell out of a blues pentatonic scale," he recalls. He mainly played alto in the well-regarded Evanston High School Wind & Jazz Ensemble, as well as with local bands including a rock unit called Truth. "They were into Sting and I was eager to be their Branford [Marsalis]," he says. He would eventually play acid jazz with bands like Liquid Soul and Ted Sirota's Heavyweight Dub Band.

Greene studied at Indiana University with the late David Baker and the current jazz studies department chair Thomas Walsh. "It was a great experience for me," he says. "I was a kid with a lot of natural talent, but with a lack of discipline. I learned how to practice, how to break things down, how to solve problems."

Upon his return to Chicago, he continued his education by reaching out to established artists including Steve Coleman. "He was hard-headed in his determination to play music his way," he says. "It was a huge eye-opener for me how he put things together." Greene also got a major boost from Coleman's legendary mentor, Chicago tenor legend Von Freeman, at one of his famous jam sessions: "He didn't know me from Adam, but he was very encouraging. He said, 'Hey, I hear what you're trying to do. Keep at it.' That meant so much."

In 2005, Greene formed his current quartet. Whether the group is hugging tradition or engaging in experimentation, it radiates a deep sense of well-being. With each release, Greene has moved steadily from funk mildly seasoned with jazz to uncompromising jazz boasting subtle funk touches. As witness the title of the quartet's 2012 album, A Group Effort, Greene prizes the band's ability to think and feel as one, to "leave fingerprints on each other's playing."

The Chris Greene Quartet will be celebrating the release of Boundary Issues at the following Midwest engagements: 4/21 Constellation, Chicago; 4/28 Gibraltar, Milwaukee; 5/1 La Principal, Evanston, IL; 5/20 Winter's, Chicago; 5/30 Promontory, Chicago; 6/9-10 Pete Miller's, Evanston, IL; 6/17 Noce Jazz, Des Moines; 6/18 Custer St. Festival of the Arts, Evanston; 7/5 Jazzin' at the Shedd (concert series at Shedd Aquarium, Chicago).


Wednesday, March 22, 2017



Resonance Records presents another previously unreleased gem in association with NPR Music. Truth, Liberty & Soul is the first official release of the complete Jaco Pastorius Word of Mouth big band's legendary 1982 concert at Avery Fisher Hall in NYC, including over 40 minutes that was never aired on the original NPR Jazz Alive! broadcast.  Includes an extensive 100-pg book featuring rare photos, essays by acclaimed jazz writer Bill Milkowski (author of Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius) and producer Zev Feldman, the original recording engineer Paul Blakemore, as well as interviews with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, who produced the award-winning documentary JACO (2014), Jaco's son John Pastorius, and musicians - drummer Peter Erskine, saxophonist Bob Mintzer, trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist Victor Wooten and more!

LEE - 2 + 2 = 5

Lee may not know his math, but he sure knows how to give us some great music – both back when he was working as the Square Egg, and now when he's out under his own name too! The man's a one man force in underground soul – a very creative songwriter and sharp-edged producer who's always out to make music that's a cut above the rest, and which doesn't fall into some of the easier labels and categories of the current soul underground! This time around, there's a vocal chorus working with Lee on some of the tracks – which creates an uplifting vibe and positivity that's even a bit different from his previous records. The album's got a good structure overall – with interludes balanced between the fuller tracks – and a sense of timing between the moods that really makes the whole thing work well together. Titles include "Drowning", "Extranjero", "More Than You Know", "Where Are You", "Drive", "Heroes", and "2 + 2 = 5". ~ Dusty Groove


A great small combo set from percussionist Gerardo Frisina – a set that feels as if it's got some programming in the rhythms, a bit like some of his earlier singles – but which also features a fair bit of live jazz instrumentation too! The album's got a sound that really fits the color of the title – tunes that are upbeat, but nicely chromatic too – thanks to some excellent piano lines, balanced alongside trumpet, tenor, and flute – plus some warm acoustic basslines, and a bit of Fender Rhodes as well! As always with Frisina, even when the rhythms are programmed, they're never too stiff – as the man draws more inspiration from classic Latin sounds than most of his producer contemporaries, and really knows how to make things sound great. Titles include "Mulata", "Blue Latin", "Incanto", "Baracoa", "Naquela Base", and "Olympia (part 2)".  ~ Dusty Groove


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