Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s Stretch Music Residency at Harlem Stage

Harlem Stage, the legendary uptown venue that for over 30 years has promoted the creative legacy of Harlem and artists of color from around the corner and across the globe, is proud to present its Spring 2018 season of performances. The season is curated by Monique Martin, newly appointed Director of Programming for Harlem Stage and features artists as #Disrupters, who take creative risk. They reflect the times via a range of artistic genres, offering audiences the chance to experience legendary performers and rising stars.

Harlem Stage is thrilled to continue its partnership with Edison Award-winning and Grammy-nominated trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah to re-establish jazz as a social music through the Stretch Music Residency. This second year of Adjuah’s residency will feature the 2nd annual Stretch Music Festival, a FREE Pop-Up Concert at Silvana’s restaurant, a FREE intensive class, a screening of the film “Samaria,” and Jazz: Then And Now conversation series, in addition to kicking off an exciting series of humanities and online engagement activities taking place from March 27 – 31.

The series kicks off on March 27th with Harlem Stage’s first ever FREE Pop-up performance taking place at Silvana’s Restaurant featuring Stretch Music’s Sarah Elizabeth Charles and hosted by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. Ms. Charles will perform music from her latest album ‘Free of Form’. During the day, musicians and jazz lovers can participate in a FREE immersive music class and jam session at Manhattan School of Music.

On March 28th, the screening of “Samaria” will be followed by a discussion between Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, who composed the music for the film, and Samora Pinderhughes, composer of “Whose Streets,” the award-winning film directed by Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis. Moderated by Producer/Director Lisa Cortès.

On March 29th, Jazz: Then and Now is a conversation series, that brings together innovative thought leaders in the field in dialogue on the history, the present and the future of jazz. Ethnomusicologist Fredara Hadley PhD. will moderate what promises to be a rich conversation between Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Stefon Harris, Director of the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Program. The conversation will be preceded by a performance by the Manhattan School of Music’s Mingus Ensemble.

Closing out the series on March 30th and 31st will be performances by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and his band, in addition to bands led by The Curtis Brothers, Max Moran and Neospectric, Lawrence Fields, Kris Funn and special surprise guests. The second year of the Stretch Music festival emphasizes musicians who push the boundaries of jazz as they reach back into the past creating bridges to the present. Rhythms such as Kassa Soro from Mali, that predate the transatlantic slave trade as well as Salsa and Son which came after can be found in Blues, Funk, Trap, Hip Hop and Stretch Music. Ancestral recall of the bata, dun and djembe drums show up. New forms created from these rhythmic bridges inform the future of jazz music in all of its complexity.

The Stretch Music Residency is organized by Harlem Stage in partnership with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, has been made possible with support from Chamber Music America through its Residency Endowment Fund.

The Stretch Music Residency is a part of Harlem Stage’s WaterWorks program. WaterWorks is supported by Ford Foundation, Time Warner Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Lambent Foundation, SHS Foundation and Bob and Eileen Gilman Family Foundation.

Stretch Music Festival artists are supported by Jerome Foundation.

Marcus Miller, Gregory Porter at the 8th Annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival

The weekend of June 15-17, 2018, marks a pivotal milestone for the 8th annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival presented by Citizens Bank. Other sponsors include: Highmark, Advanced Auto Parts, North Coast Brewing, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Big Y Group, Richard King Mellon Foundation and Flyspace Productions. Partners include Kente Arts Alliance, Courtyard Marriot, Drury Hotel, Acrobatique Creative, Downbeat Magazine, Jazz Times Magazine, Entertainment Cruise Productions, and Clarke Public Relations. A signature program of the African American Cultural Center at the newly relaunched August Wilson Center, the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival will continue to be helmed by Janis Burley Wilson, the new president & CEO of the AACC, who created and directed the jazz fest since its founding in 2011.

The Pittsburgh Jazz Festival line up includes: Marcus Miller, Gregory Porter, Shemekia Copeland, Kenny Garrett, Polly Gibbons, Terri Lyne Carrington, Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, Emmet Cohen with special guest, Tootie Heath, Donny McCaslin, Pedrito Martinez, Miguel Zenon, Jose Alberto, Ambrose Akinmusire, Orrin Evans, Noel Quintana, DJ Selecta, the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Ensemble and more.


As a multi-instrumentalist, Marcus is highly proficient as a keyboardist, clarinetist/bass clarinetist and, primarily, as a world-renowned electric bassist, topping critics' and readers' polls for three decades. His résumé as an A-list player brims with over 500 recording credits as a sideman on albums across the spectrum of musical styles: rock (Donald Fagen and Eric Clapton), Jazz (George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Sample, Wayne Shorter and Grover Washington, Jr.), pop (Roberta Flack, Paul Simon and Mariah Carey), R&B (Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan), hip hop (Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg), blues (Z.Z. Hill), new wave (Billy Idol), smooth jazz (Al Jarreau and Dave Koz) and opera (collaborations with tenor Kenn Hicks and soprano Kathleen Battle). As a film music pro, Miller rose from writing the go-go party classic "Da Butt" for Spike Lee's "School Daze" to becoming the go-to composer for 20+ films (from the documentary "1 Love" to the animated children's fable "The Trumpet and The Swan" to the Eddie Murphy/Halle Berry classic "Boomerang"). As a producer, writer and player, he was the last primary collaborator of jazz legend Miles Davis, contributing the composition and album "Tutu" to the canon of contemporary jazz music. The breadth of his collaborative talents were best showcased in his work with the late, great soul man Luther Vandross, contributing to well over half of his albums as a producer, composer and/or player on a string of hits capped by "Power of Love/Love Power" for which Marcus won his first Grammy, 1991's R&B Song of the Year.


For Gregory Porter, the influence of Nat King Cole on his life and music runs deep, a through-line that reaches back into some of his earliest childhood memories, and culminates in the release of the two-time GRAMMY-winning vocalist's stunning fifth studio album Nat King Cole & Me, a heartfelt tribute to the legendary singer, pianist, and Capitol recording artist. "He was one of a kind. He left such great music - such beautiful things to listen to that you can't help but be influenced by that extraordinary timbre, style, and ultimate cool," Porter enthuses. After his role in the Tony-nominated musical It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues - but before rising to international acclaim in his solo career thanks to his mellifluous baritone, poignant originals, and invigorating concerts - Porter dramatized his deep appreciation for Cole in a semi-autobiographical musical, Nat King Cole & Me, which premiered in 2004.


More than any other artist in traditional jazz today, saxophonist/composer/arranger Kenny Garrett and his band are known to entice audiences to want to get up and groove. Be it in Spain where a man from Cameroon leaped up and broke out some African moves then was joined by a young break-dancer, or in Germany where a clearly classically trained ballet dancer was brought to his feet; in Poland where a fan literally jumped from the balcony onto the stage to dance, or at a festival in Barbados where music lovers got on up and grooved in the rain to "Happy People," the spectacle is always the same: the spirit takes over and the movements come naturally. It is this spirit that Garrett has instigated and witnessed from stages around the world that fills Do Your Dance!-the saxophonist's fourth for Mack Avenue Records.

"I look out and see people waiting for the songs that they can party to and express themselves," confirms Garrett, the nine-time winner of DownBeat's Reader's Poll for Alto Saxophonist of the Year. "Do Your Dance! was inspired by audiences moved to rise from their seats and 'lift a foot!' Some are reluctant to participate because they think that others are better than they are. I tell them, 'Do your dance.' That means even if you have to 'stay pocket,' do the Funky Four Corners or the Nae-Nae, don't worry about what the other person is doing. Let it all hang out and 'do your dance!' On the title track we combine the spirit of a `70s-style beach get down with just a touch of hip-hop-ever in search of the link between the two. I had it playing while I was talking to my daughter on Facetime. When it got to the end with that new vibe, she smiled and I thought, 'Uh huh-gotcha!'"


Celebrating 40 years in music, three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning drummer, producer and educator, Terri Lyne Carrington started her professional career at ten years old, being the youngest person to receive a union card in Boston, MA. She was featured as a "kid wonder" in many publications such as People, EBONY, and Modern Drummer magazines, among others. After studying under a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music, Carrington worked as an in-demand musician in New York City, and later moved to Los Angeles, where she was a late night TV drummer for the Arsenio Hall Show and Quincy Jones' VIBE TV show.
Throughout her extensive touring and recording career, she has worked with luminary artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Woody Shaw, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, Esperanza Spalding, Yellowjackets, and countless others. Carrington is also the first female artist to win a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. In 2005, Carrington returned to her hometown where she was appointed professor at her alma mater, Berklee College of Music. Currently, she holds the position of Zildjian Chair in Performance, Berklee Global Jazz Institute. She is also the Artistic Director for both the Beantown Jazz Festival and Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop, and Co-Artistic Director of The Carr Center, Detroit, MI.


Whether she's belting out a raucous blues-rocker, firing up a blistering soulshouter, bringing the spirit to a gospel-fueled R&B rave-up or digging deep down into a subtle, country-tinged ballad, Shemekia Copeland sounds like no one else. With a voice that is alternately sultry, assertive and roaring, Shemekia's wide-open vision of contemporary blues, roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with a modern musical and lyrical approach. The Chicago Tribune says Copeland delivers "gale force singing and power" with a "unique, gutsy style, vibrant emotional palette and intuitive grasp of the music." NPR Music calls her "fiercely expressive."

Copeland's return to Alligator Records with Outskirts Of Love (she recorded four albums for the label from 1998 through 2006) finds her at her most charismatic, performing roots rock, Americana, and blues with power and authority, nuance and shading. Produced by The Wood Brothers' Oliver Wood, Outskirts Of Love is a musical tour-de-force, with Copeland rocking out on the title track, taking charge in Crossbone Beach, honoring her father, the late Johnny Clyde Copeland with her Afrobeat-infused take on his Devil's Hand, tackling homelessness on Cardboard Box and showing off her country swagger on Drivin' Out Of Nashville. She puts her stamp on songs made famous by Solomon Burke (I Feel A Sin Coming On), Jesse Winchester (Isn't That So).


Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen has emerged as one of his generation's pivotal figures in music and the related arts.  A recognized prodigy, Cohen began Suzuki method piano instruction at age three, and his playing quickly became a mature melding of musicality, technique, and concept.  Downbeat observed that his "nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he's above any convoluted technical showmanship."  In the same spirit, Cohen himself has noted that playing jazz is "about communicating the deepest level of humanity and individuality; it's essentially about connections," both among musicians and with audiences.  Possessing a fluid technique, an innovative tonal palette, and an expansive repertoire, Cohen plays with the command of a seasoned veteran and the passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium.

The younger brother of Percy and Jimmy Heath, Albert "Tootie" Heath has long been a top hard bop-based drummer with an open mind toward more commercial styles of jazz. After moving to New York (1957), he debuted on record with John Coltrane. Albert Heath was with J.J. Johnson's group (1958-1960) and the Jazztet (1960-1961), worked with the trios of Cedar Walton and Bobby Timmons in 1961, and recorded many records as a sideman for Riverside during that era. He lived in Europe in 1965-1968 (working frequently with Kenny Drew, Dexter Gordon, and backing touring Americans), and, after returning to the U.S., he played regularly with Herbie Hancock's sextet (1968-1969) and Yusef Lateef (1970-1974).



Some albums are testimony, some confessions and some are escape. Ventriloquism, the latest album from Meshell Ndegeocello, is a place, like its process, to take refuge from one storm too many. Ventriloquism has the hallmarks of all of Ndegeocello’s work, lush and investigative, subversive and sublime. As always, she pays tribute to her diverse influences in these eleven covers. Meshell chose art for the album package that hints at what’s inside: A graphic V, a hidden M, the artwork is symbolic, sexy, and calls on the language of protest of the era from which these songs were mined.


On their star-studded, chart-topping Black Radio albums, Robert Glasper Experiment laid out a new paradigm for creative music, reaching beyond entrenched genre boundaries to create a singular vision that draws from all reaches of contemporary black music and beyond. The concert film Robert Glasper Experiment - Live features the 2-time Grammy-winning band in their element, capturing the thrilling, genre-defying group live on stage from New York and Los Angeles to Shanghai and Rotterdam. This program presents favorite songs from the Black Radio albums and more with special guests including Lalah Hathaway, Bilal, Wayne Brady, B. Slade, Algebra Blessett, and the Metropole Orchestra conducted by Vince Mendoza. 


Spring: Light Out of Darkness is Susan Krebs' sixth album as a leader and the second recording project for the Susan Krebs Chamber Band. The idea for the jazz chamber band grew from salons hosted by jazz vocalist Krebs at her home, in which she and a small group of her close friends get together in front of an invited audience to explore various motifs through wide-ranging music, poetry and improvisation. The overarching concept that binds the seven tunes on this CD is renewal. Like many people, Krebs is concerned about the problems that beset our country and, indeed, the whole world. For Krebs, change has to begin on a personal level. She connects to the world both as a musical artist and as a serious gardener, attuned to the rhythms of the natural world.  Joined by some of the finest jazz players in Southern California, the album comprises a mix of musical genres imbued with a jazz sensibility. “SPRING ~ Light Out of Darkness” is infused with a reverence for nature, and, as with all of Krebs’ recordings and live performances, it is also filled with her hopeful vision and generous soul.

Louis Armstrong's Timeless Verve Records Collected For First Time As New 4CD/Digital Set 'Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums'

In the summer and fall of 1957, Louis Armstrong, already one of the most important musicians of the 20th century, had one of the most prolific periods of his spirited career. In addition to recording the follow-ups to his highly successful duets album with Ella Fitzgerald, Ella And Louis Again and Porgy and Bess, Armstrong recorded three albums for Norman Granz's newly minted Verve Records across a handful of incredibly productive sessions. For the first time, these records – I've Got The World On A String, Louis Under The Stars, both recorded with the Russ Garcia Orchestra, and Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson, plus the previous digital-only release A Day With Satchmo – have been collected together as Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums, a new four CD and digital box set from Verve/UMe available on April 13. With Granz supplying the cream of the crop of the Great American Song Book and first-class backing, Armstrong's Verve recordings constitute the definitive portrait of the artistry of his singing. They are presented in their original mono masters – the first time since the original vinyl releases – and include the original liner notes as well as extensive liners, recording and track info by foremost Armstrong authority Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and author of "What A Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years." Each disc also contains a wealth of bonus material featuring alternate takes from the sessions. Preorder is available now and the digital version includes an instant grat download of "Sweet Lorraine" from Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson.

Armstrong's classic duets with Ella Fitzgerald will also be released as a new four CD and digital set titled Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings, on April 6. The 75-track collection gathers their three timeless Verve albums – newly remastered versions of Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess – along with all of their Decca singles, live recordings from Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, recorded as a warmup for Ella and Louis, plus several alternates and false starts from the Decca and Verve eras, illuminating their craft and good humor. Cheek To Cheek also includes unreleased material: "The Memphis Blues," with Bing Crosby, from his radio show; several takes of Armstrong's solo showcase, "Bess, Oh Where's My Bess;" and an instrumental mix of "Red-Headed Woman." 

By 1957, Armstrong was the most popular and influential musician in jazz history. Famous worldwide as Satchmo and Pops, Armstrong had revolutionized jazz in the 1920s with his superb trumpet playing which helped to change jazz from an ensemble-oriented music to one that featured exciting soloists. His phrasing on both trumpet and his very distinctive voice uplifted and swung every song that he interpreted. In the 1930s and early 1940s when he led a big band, Armstrong the entertainer blossomed. He was not only universally known for his musical abilities but as a joyful and witty personality who could be seen in occasional movies. In 1947, he broke up his orchestra and formed his sextet Louis Armstrong and the All-Stars, becoming a world traveler who was nicknamed Ambassador Satch. He introduced millions of listeners to his brand of New Orleans jazz.

Armstrong first worked with Granz and his Verve label at a concert at the Hollywood Bowl on August 15, 1956. Over the next year, he was featured on three classic projects with Ella Fitzgerald. Granz, who wanted to document Armstrong in different settings than his usual one with his All Stars, also recorded him on five extensive sessions in 1957 that cast a different light on his talents.

During August 14-16, 1957, Armstrong and an orchestra arranged by Russ Garcia recorded enough music to fill two albums which were originally released as I've Got The World On A String and Louis Under The Stars. As Granz had planned, Armstrong performs a variety of songs that he had rarely sung before including "You're The Top," "You Turned The Tables On Me," "Little Girl Blue" and "We'll Be Together Again." He consistently comes up with fresh variations of the swing era songs, many of which he had missed recording the first time around. The first disc of Pops Is Tops not only has the ten selections that comprised I've Got The World On A String but also includes eight alternate takes.

The original liner notes to Louis Under The Stars reveals the thought behind the record. "There isn't much that one can say about this kind of an album, except to suggest that this is an emotional experience of the best-known and best-loved figure in the history of jazz doing some of the most beautiful songs ever written with a background not customarily thought of in terms of his artistry, but which nonetheless beautifully complements the soul and feeling of this great human being." The recordings don't disappoint and include highlights like "Have You Met Miss Jones," "I Only Have Eyes For You" and "East Of The Sun," each of which received a fresh and heartfelt interpretation from Armstrong. The eight song album is bolstered by six additional bonus tracks.

Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson from October 14, 1957 teams Armstrong with the brilliant pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson. On such songs as "That Old Feeling," "Let's Fall In Love," "I Was Doing All Night," "Moon Song" (which has a particularly memorable trumpet solo) and "Just One Of Those Things," Armstrong gives new life to the veteran standards, swinging the music while doing justice to the lyrics. Four bonus cuts including an instrumental version of "Indiana" are also included on the disc.

On August 1, 1957, Armstrong and the same Peterson Quartet recorded four numbers for the Ella and Louis Again release: "Makin' Whoopee," "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "Let's Do It" and "Willow Weep For Me." The many alternate takes that resulted were formerly only available on the digital release A Day With Satchmo. This set marks the first time the entire contents of the August 1 session tapes are out in any physical form.

As Riccardi writes in the liners: "Armstrong's Verve recordings are unlike any others in his discography and Granz must be given full credit for taking jazz's greatest genius, surrounding him with the finest rhythm sections, giving him nothing by timeless tunes, and stepping aside to let Armstrong's vocal and instrumental magic take over. In the midst of a punishing schedule and occasionally fighting a losing battle with his legendary lip, Armstrong nobly overcame it all to create some of the most timeless recordings of his career."

Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums

Disc 1
I've Got The World On A String original mono album
1.   When Your Love Has Gone
2.   You're the Top
3.   You Turned the Tables on Me
4.   Don't Get Around Much Anymore
5.   Little Girl Blue
6.   Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
7.   We'll Be Together Again
8.   I've Got the World on a String
9.   Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
10. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues

Bonus Tracks
11. You Turned the Tables on Me (stereo master take)
12. Little Girl Blue (stereo master take)
13. You Turned the Tables on Me (alternate take 1 w/false start)
14. You Turned the Tables on Me (partial alternate take 3)
15. You Turned The Tables On Me (inserts & rehearsal)
16. I've Got the World on a String (false start/alternate take 2)
17. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues (false start/breakdown takes 2 & 3)
18. I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues (alternate take 4)

Disc 2
Louis Under The Stars original mono album
1.   Top Hat, White Tie and Tails
2.   Have You Met Miss Jones?
3.   I Only Have Eyes For You
4.   Stormy Weather
5.   Home (When Shadows Fall)
6.   East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)
7.   You're Blasé
8.   Body and Soul
Bonus Tracks
9.   East of the Sun (and West of the Moon) (stereo master take)
10. Body And Soul (stereo master take)
11. Stormy Weather (breakdown/alternate take 2)
12. Stormy Weather (alternate take 3)
13. Stormy Weather (breakdown 4)
14. Stormy Weather (breakdown 5)

Disc 3
Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson original mono album
1.   That Old Feeling
2.   Let's Fall in Love
3.   I'll Never Be the Same
4.   Blues in the Night (My Mama Done Tol' Me)
5.   How Long Has This Been Going On?
6.    I Was Doing All Right
7.   What's New?
8.   Moon Song
9.   Just One of Those Things (Cole Porter)
10. There's No You
11. You Go to My Head
12. Sweet Lorraine

Bonus Tracks
13. Blues in the Night (rehearsal 1)
14. Let's Fall In Love (alternate take 1)
15. Let's Fall In Love (alternate take 2)

Additional Bonus Track
16. Indiana (studio warm-up)

Disc 4
A Day With Satchmo: August 1, 1957
1.   Makin' Whoopee (breakdown)
2.   Makin' Whoopee (alternate take 1)
3.   Makin' Whoopee (alternate take 2)
4.   Makin' Whoopee (breakdown 3)
5.   Makin' Whoopee (master take 4)
6.   I Get a Kick Out of You 
7.   I Get a Kick Out of You (breakdown and studio chatter 3)
8.   I Get a Kick Out of You (alternate take 4) 
9. I Get a Kick Out of You (breakdown 5)
10. I Get a Kick Out of You (false start 6) 
11. I Get a Kick Out of You (false start 7)
12. I Get a Kick Out of You (master take 8)
13. I Get a Kick Out of You (breakdowns and false starts 9-12)
14. I Get a Kick Out of You (alternate take 13)
15. Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) (breakdowns 1 and 2)
16. Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love) (alternate take 3)
17. Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love) (master take 4)
18. Willow Weep for Me (false start 1)
19. Willow Weep for Me (alternate take 2)
20. Willow Weep for Me (breakdown and false start 3)
21. Willow Weep For Me (alternate take 4) 
22. Willow Weep for Me (false start 5)
23. Willow Weep for Me (breakdown 6)
24. Willow Weep For Me (master take 7)

Produced by Norman Granz

The Debut Recording From Flautist & Composer MAYU SAEKI - HOPE

Flautist and composer Mayu Saeki's debut recording, Hope (available Today, March 16 on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records), breathes and resonates with beauty and optimism. Hope tells the story of Saeki's journey to NYC from her native Tokyo. There she left a complete life for an uncertain future in New York City. Shortly after arriving, armed only with extensive classical training and mentorship, determination and hope, not to mention an abundance of talent, the opportunity presented itself to be a part of Chico Hamilton's group. She toured and recorded with Hamilton, appearing on several albums, including Revelation and Euphoric (both were released in 2011 from Joyous Shout! records), until his passing in 2013. His final recording, The Inquiring Mind (released posthumously in 2014) features her composition, "Hope". During her time in Hamilton's band, Ms. Saeki began composing and actively performing with her own trio in 2011, making her debut at Jazz at the Kitano with Aaron Goldberg on piano and Joe Sanders on bass, and leading her band on several Atlantic coastal tours. This was the beginning of the road that led Saeki to create this recording, Hope.

Hope feels like the fifth or sixth offering from a veteran on the scene. Ms. Saeki certainly had an advantage, recording with Aaron Goldberg, Joe Sanders, John Davis and Nori Ochiai (a former student of Goldberg's and a fine modern jazz pianist in his own right), but her self-assurance comes across without dubiety. Her solo on the title track bears a joyful swagger (immediately following a gem of a solo from Mr. Goldberg). Her playing, specifically the intro, solo & outro, on "Soshu-Yakyoku" are also moments to behold, as they encapsulate the sincerity and soul of this album. And, her band mates are on board completely, and given ample space to express their brilliance. Check out Joe Sanders' truly breathtaking playing on "Do You Know", and behold drummer John Davis' brilliant, flowing solo over the vamp of the same tune. Goldberg is flawless throughout, but a highlight is his accompaniment and solo on the opening track, "Dilemma". "Libertango" and "Oblivion" showcase Mayu's classical training and her love for the music of Astor Piazzolla (with "Oblivion" displaying Mayu's expertise on piccolo flute). Hope truly "offers the listener a glimpse into the musical heart of one of today's great musicians. Mayu Saeki is a shining example of the hope we all can have when we combine passion, perseverance, and a strong voice. Mayu's voice is a gorgeous flute sound that will surely inspire hope in everyone who hears it". - Demarre McGill, Principal Flutist of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

ith nearly a decade of her musical career in New York City, Mayu Saeki, an alumni of Elizabeth University of Music, still keeps transforming herself, apparently with no limits. Her versatile and passionate style is deeply rooted in her early childhood classical training and mentorship with Sanae Nakayama, Keiji Oshiro, Kazukiyo Inoue, Pierre Yves Artaud, Alain Marion, and NEA jazz master, Chico Hamilton. Post-Chico Hamilton, and in addition to leading her own group more frequently, Saeki's "sideman" career continues to grow with an all-female Irish music group, Four Celtic Voices, and Cosmos Sunshine's Butterfly Effect (appearing on Butterfly Fight Effect, released in 2016, and their new album,
Comes With The Fall, due out on March 9). In addition, Saeki has recently joined a project titled "Mark Gross with Strings", led by Grammy award-winning jazz saxophonist, Mark Gross (also the liner note writer for Hope). Saeki also regularly performs with harpist/vocalist Erin Hill's group.

"It was a pivotal moment to record my own album, and I'm very happy that I was able to deliver before I mark my tenth year being in New York. This album is reflections of my life, filled with passion and curiosity, love of music, and hopes that I never, ever let go of. Music has been with me since I was little. It has always been honest and keeps giving me hope for a better day. I wish that this HOPE, the feeling I have, is going to reach straight to your heart and sincerely hope your day is better tomorrow. I would like to dedicate this album to the memory of my father, Kazuo, and my mentor, Chico Hamilton, who left me invaluable experiences and precious memories". - Mayu Saeki

Mayu Saeki - Hope
1 - Dilemma (Mayu Saeki) - 7:52
2 - Hope (Mayu Saeki) - 7:24
3 - Soshu-Yakyoku (Ryoichi Hattori, arr., Saeki) - 9:43
4 - Libertango (Astor Piazzolla, arr., Saeki) - 7:34
5 - Oblivion (Astor Piazzolla, arr., Saeki) - 9:57
6 - Do You Know...? (Mayu Saeki) - 7:03

Recorded by John Davis at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY

Mayu Saeki (flute, piccolo, shinobue), Special guest Aaron Goldberg (piano, tks 1, 2, 3), 
Nori Ochiai (piano, tks 4, 5, 6), Joe Sanders (upright and electric bass), John Davis (drums).

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Too often, talented young artists succumb to believing so much in their own ability that they lose sight of their true potential as significant contributors to their field. Thankfully, there are others committed to evolving and lifting the music to new levels of appreciation with enthusiasm, engagement, and emotional depth. Enter pianist Joey Alexander, who at the age of 14 has already recorded two GRAMMY-nominated studio albums, 2015's My Favorite Things and 2016's Countdown, as well as Joey.Monk.Live!, a critically acclaimed surprise release from late 2017 to honor Thelonious Monk's centennial. With his third studio effort Eclipse, his most personal statement to date,Joey takes another giant step forward, demonstrating his aptitude as a composer, bandleader, and musician, hinting at the many artistic paths open to him in the decades ahead.

Eclipse, recorded over a three-day period beginning on the day of the solar eclipse of 2017, features the pianist with a stellar rhythm section of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, and guest appearances by saxophonist Joshua Redman on three tracks. The programranges from jazz classics penned by John Coltrane and Bill Evans, to the Beatles' hit "Blackbird", and a reverent gospel reimagining of the 1875 hymn "Draw Me Nearer." Most importantly though, Eclipse showcases Alexander's significant progress as an astute composer, writing six of the eleven tunes.

Born in 2003 in Bali, Alexander lived in Jakarta from age eight to ten and then moved to New York City in 2014, where he has experienced one of the most ascendant careers ever seen in jazz. Jason Olaine, a GRAMMY-winning producer who serves as Director of Programming for Jazz At Lincoln Center and has produced all four of Alexander's albums, says he continues to be impressed by the pianist's fantastic gift. "Joey is such a huge talent coming out of a young player, however he wants to create and have fun by playing. It's not about the accolades or the applause." He added, "Eclipse shows what an amazing journey Joey has been on, and he's playing with an openness and clarity."

"Joey has an infectious sense of play and a deep fascination with the kaleidoscopic possibilities of jazz," says Motema founder Jana Herzen, who signed the artist at age 10. "What an amazing adventure these four years have been with Joey. Each album his musicality gets deeper and broader. Last year with Joey.Monk.Live!, his sophisticated and vibrant approach to the music of one of the most recorded and respected composers in jazz inspired even the toughest of critics to tip their hats. Now, with Eclipse he's emerging as a multi-dimensional composer. I can't wait to hear what happens next."

For Eclipse, Joey, his family, and producer Jason Olaine decided to change the recording setting from the bustling city to the peaceful Dreamland Studios in upstate New York. "That was a totally different vibe," says Alexander. "Everything was green and it felt like home. It was a relaxing time for all of us. It was a good change. I found inspiration there."

As a pianist, Alexander is neither flashy nor bombastic. He approaches the instrument with discipline, as heard on the opening track "Bali," playing subtly and gently in some stretches with delicate harmonies, playful and scampering in others as he displaces rhythms. He also possesses an elemental sense of melody, as heard on the final track, an original titled "Peace," exhibiting the patience and instinct to get his melodic statements just right. "I've learned how to be a good listener," Alexander says.

Alexander is joined by tenor titan Joshua Redman on the originals "Faithful," about the sacrifices and challenges he and his family have faced in pursuit of his art, and "Fourteen," written on his birthday, and a nod to the number's significance in biblical deliverance. Alexander and Redman also explore a pensive duo take on Ray Nobel's 1934 timeless ballad, "The Very Thought of You."

As on his previous studio dates, Alexander returned to the well of Coltrane with his upbeat take on the harmonic twists and turns of "Moment's Notice" from the master's 1957 album Blue Train. "I love playing Coltrane because he's so spiritual to me," Alexander says. "That to me is what jazz is. There's an uplifting feel to his songs, and I try to put my own take on it."

The tour-de-force centerpiece to the album is the 10-minute "Eclipse," that is a spin through the reflective and the dramatic with the pianist in drive mode. Just after the band took a studio break to view the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, producer Olaine suggested that the trio play free and see where the music would go. The result ended up as the centerpiece of the album, the 10-minute tour-de-force, 'Eclipse.'

"It was totally unprepared," Alexander says. "After we saw the eclipse, we came back to the studio and just started playing without talking. I'm thankful to God that I had the confidence and courage to do this. But it's also about how much we trust each other. I knew they'd be with me even though you don't know where you're going to go on the journey. It's all about exploring the new."

Olaine notes, "This was an amazing experience for a young artist to embrace the unknown the way Joey did."

With the release of Eclipse, Joey Alexander has created an ever more personal and powerful statement of his musical and artistic vision. His work continues to draw from his inspirations of the past, while putting his own progressive stamp on the music by constantly exploring, both on stage and in the studio.

"Eclipse" Track Listing
1. Bali
2. Faithful
3. Draw Me Nearer
4. Moment's Notice
5. Blackbird
6. Eclipse
7. Fourteen
8. The Very Thought of You
9. Space
10. Time Remembered
11. Peace

Tour Dates:
March 23: The Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD
March 30: Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, AZ
March 31: Capitol Theatre, Salt Lake City, UT
April 20: Schaeffer Auditorium, Kutztown, PA
April 21: Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center, York, PA
April 22: Exit 0 International Jazz Festival, Cape May, NJ
April 27: Musco Center for the Arts, Orange, CA
April 28: Balboa Theatre, San Diego, CA
April 29: University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) CA
May 5: Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA
May 12 + 13: Yoshi's Jazz Club, Oakland, CA
June 23: Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, Saratoga Springs, NY
June 29: Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France
June 30: Ajaccio Jazz Festival, Corsica
July 6: Wadowice Jazz Festival, Wadowice, Poland
July 15: Teatro Morlacchi (Perugia Jazz Festival), Perugia, Italy
July 17: Jazz Open Festival, Stuttgart, Germany

Frank Sinatra 'Baby Blue Eyes… May The First Voice You Hear Be Mine'

Frank Sinatra always saluted his audience with a toast: "May You Live To Be A Hundred And The Last Voice You Hear Be Mine."  Envisioned as a child's first musical library to be shared with the generations before, Tina Sinatra curated a special compilation of Sinatra recordings for children and parents alike. Already available digitally, Frank Sinatra: Baby Blue Eyes… May The First Voice You Hear Be Mine is now confirmed for worldwide release in CD and 180-gram 2LP vinyl editions on April 6.   

Frank Sinatra always saluted his audience with a toast: “May You Live To Be A Hundred And The Last Voice You Hear Be Mine.” Envisioned as a child’s first musical library to be shared with the generations before, Tina Sinatra curated a special compilation of Sinatra recordings for children and parents alike. Already available digitally, Frank Sinatra: 'Baby Blue Eyes… May The First Voice You Hear Be Mine' is now confirmed for worldwide release in CD and 180-gram 2LP vinyl editions on April 6.

Frank Sinatra always saluted his audience with a toast: “May You Live To Be A Hundred And The Last Voice You Hear Be Mine.” Envisioned as a child’s first musical library to be shared with the generations before, Tina Sinatra curated a special compilation of Sinatra recordings for children and parents alike. Already available digitally, Frank Sinatra: 'Baby Blue Eyes… May The First Voice You Hear Be Mine' is now confirmed for worldwide release in CD and 180-gram...

After combing the songs from Sinatra's Reprise, Capitol and Sony catalogs, Tina carefully chose 20 songs for 'Baby Blue Eyes' that express a father's love, compassion and dreams for children around the world. The enchanting collection features a baby photo of Frank Sinatra on its cover.

"Dad is perhaps best remembered as a saloon singer. He often referred to himself as such," says Tina Sinatra. "But, first, he was a Father and that emotional connection to the child in all us is ever-present in this collection of songs that I have chosen as a concert to each new generation."

Frank Sinatra:  Baby Blue Eyes… May The First Voice You Hear Be Mine
1. Yes Sir, That's My Baby
2. Ain't She Sweet
3. It's A Wonderful World
4. Isn't She Lovely
5. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
6. Pocketful Of Miracles
7. I Believe
8. It's Only A Paper Moon
9. High Hopes
10. Jeepers Creepers
11. Pennies From Heaven
12. How Cute Can You Be?
13. A Baby Just Like You
14. Bein' Green
15. Hush-A-Bye-Island
16. Fairy Tale
17. Young At Heart
18. Dream
19. Put Your Dreams Away
20. Cradle Song (Brahms Lullaby)



Alexandra Jackson’s debut project: “Alexandra Jackson: Legacy & Alchemy” channels her 4 primary musical loves and experiences: Brazilian Music, American Jazz & Soul, NeoSoul, and London Soul Jazz … into a music alchemy intended for contemporary audiences worldwide. The project pays homage to Brazil's music legacy and its legends, and offers a path forward with the music … featuring the appearances of music legends: the late Miles Davis, the late Antonio Carlos Jobim, the late Al Jarreau, the late Rod Temperton, the late Oscar Castro-Neves, Ivan Lins, Dona Ivone Lara, Carlinhos Brown, Banda Black Rio, Hubert Laws, Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Siedah Garrett, and The Jobim Trio. Recorded over 3 years in Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Atlanta, London, New York and Chicago, the project was produced by Robert Hebert and Larry Williams with co-producers the late Rod Temperton, Chris Walker, Arthur Maia, Ricardo Silveira and Max Viana.  The star musician ensemble includes the producers, Robertinho Silva, Darryl Jones, Teo Lima, Armando Marcal, Marco Brito, Marcelo Martins, Jesse Sadoc, Orquestra Atlantica, Pretinho da Serrinha, Darryl Tookes, Curtis King, Paulo Calasans, Marcelo Mariano, and Maestro Charles Floyd conducting The Bossa Nova Noites Orquestra. In speaking about the recording of the project ... Ms. Jackson says: “This experience was poignant and quite meaningful to me.  These songs and the stories behind each is why I’m so passionate about this project.  I’m hoping to take this music and transport it to reach millions of people. Brazil’s music deserves that and more.”


Guitarist Nels Cline debuts a new band with the April 13 release of Currents, Constellations featuring The Nels Cline 4, an intrepid unit that builds upon Cline's acclaimed collaboration with guitarist Julian Lage by adding the versatile rhythm section of bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey. Watch the band perform the album's lead track "Imperfect 10" in the studio. The Nels Cline 4 will celebrate the album's release with a show at (le) poisson rouge in New York City on April 16 followed by a European tour.


Drawing from his diverse resume as a sound designer, mixing and mastering engineer, producer and gigging saxophonist in R&B, Rock, Jazz and Latin ensembles, Michael Alan’s debut Distant Worlds is one of the most melodically compelling, stylistically eclectic Smooth Jazz albums of the year. While his tech skills translate to the dynamic use of synth, loops, keyboards and drum samples, Alan makes this a showcase for his alternately fiery and heartfelt sax playing, as well as his soulful, perfectly placed flute and EWI performances. Among the vibrant originals are a couple of irresistible covers and a sultry piece featuring Marie Veillard singing in French. You don’t have to travel to Distant Worlds to enjoy the future of Smooth Jazz!  ~ www.smoothjazz.com

The Quest is the long-awaited third album from guitarist Andreas Varady, a protégé of the legendary Quincy Jones

Resonance Records is releasing The Quest, the third recording from twenty-year old guitar virtuoso, Andreas Varady. With the release of Questions (2010) and his eponymous CD in 2014, the native of Slovakia, and resident of Ireland, emerged from thin air and put the guitar playing world on notice that there was a new force on the instrument to be reckoned with. On The Quest, Varady's artistry has reached new heights, and it's staggering to behold. His unadulterated command of the guitar, his highly-developed skills as a composer, his rhythmic facility (which speaks volumes about his roots in Gypsy music), and his ability to craft an astonishing flow of single-note lines while traversing chord changes, all by ear, has attracted the attention of many legends of this music, not the least of which is Varady's mentor, manager, producer and friend, the esteemed Quincy Jones. The Quest, available on April 6, 2018, features Varady in the company of his father Bandi on bass, younger brother Adrian on drums, fellow Slovak Radovan Tariska on alto saxophone, and Venezuelan native (and current New York City resident) Benito Gonzalez on piano.
At just twenty, Varady has already performed at major festivals and venues around the world. The next exciting new chapter in the journey of this uber-talented musician begins with the release of The Quest. Varady has expressed that this album, comprised of all original music, feels very much like his first fully realized artistic statement, and indeed it showcases Varady's evolution from child prodigy to consummate artist, one with an abundance of fresh, bold energy. "I feel like I'm giving you a piece of me on this album," said Varady. The album title, which also reads like a mission statement is, "about this whole quest that I'm on in music - seeking cool things, playing cool music in cool places, enjoying it all and having fun and doing what you wanna do," said Varady. The album is also his debut release on the boutique non-profit jazz label, Resonance Records, which signals a departure from his self-titled major label debut on Verve in 2014. Two other Quincy Jones protégés, Justin Kauflin and Alfredo Rodriguez, will also be releasing new albums in 2018.

Resonance EVP/GM (and executive producer on The Quest) Zev Feldman said about first hearing Varady, "Upon first listen, I was struck by his talent and artistry. Then getting a chance to meet him in Ireland, and spending some time talking with him, he just fits the mold of what Resonance is all about in terms of promoting younger artists and sharing their music. We're very happy to have him on the label. It's also a great honor to work with Quincy Jones and his team, and partnering with them to get Andreas' music out there is something we're very proud of. Resonance believes strongly in living artists also, not just those from a bygone era, and it's going to be very exciting to continue to watch him develop and we're thrilled to be able to add a chapter to his legacy on our label."

Varady has many influences. As expected, guitarists such as George Benson, Django Reinhardt, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Peter Bernstein have greatly impacted his playing, but Varady explains, "I've always been obsessed with saxophone players. I get as much influence listening to John Coltrane as I get from guitar players. But at the end of the day, I could list every musician that I've ever listened to as an influence. I act like a sponge that way. Whatever I listen to I always pick up some things, no matter if it's Radiohead or A Tribe Called Quest or Trane. It can be from hip-hop to rock and jazz...everything kind of all inspires me and influences me."

A child prodigy of Hungarian Roma descent, Varady picked up guitar at age four and quickly revealed his uncommon gift, learning Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa" by ear. At age nine, he moved with his family to Ireland and by age 11, having already absorbed the influences of George Benson and Django Reinhardt, he began busking with his father on the streets of Limerick and Cork. Gigs around Ireland soon followed, mainly with drummer-producer David Lyttle, who produced Varady's first album, 2010's Questions. In 2011, at age 13, Andreas appeared with guitar master Martin Taylor at the Inishowen International Guitar Festival in Culdaff and later that year became the youngest headlining artist at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. Invited to play at the 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival by founder Claude Nobs, he performed for and met Quincy Jones, who signed him to his management company. He was signed to Verve Records in 2013 and his stateside debut, executive produced by David Foster and Quincy Jones and produced by Toto's David Paich, featured guest appearances from singer Gregory Porter and trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

More about the music on The Quest: (with excerpts from the album's liner notes by Bill Milkowski) The opener on The Quest, "Lost Memories," serves as a kind of mini-overture as Varady unleashes a fusillade of notes over the engaging theme. Up next is the dynamic
"Radio Joint" establishing the flexible group chemistry while also showcasing urgent solos from Varady and Tariska over a driving 12/8 groove. Gonzalez pushes the envelope in his harmonically probing solo here, which is fueled by Adrian's intense, whirlwind attack around the kit. "He's in a huge growing place right now," says Varady of his younger brother. "He has this kind of ballsy playing style that I felt was the right thing for the tunes on this album." The 15-year-old further showcases his considerable drumming skills on the modal "Follow Me," which culminates in a kinetic call-and-response between the brothers. (By the way, that's Andreas playing double bass on the hip-hop flavored tag).

Varady combines speed and finesse combine on the driving 6/8 composition,
"The Time Is Now" and utilizes some Frisellian backwards guitar effects on the evocative interlude "Patience." The adventurous title track is a centerpiece for this compelling album. Opening with a rubato free section that has Gonzalez playing inside the piano while his band mates add provocative colors and textures, it resolves to a buoyant theme with Andreas and Radovan tied together in tight unisons while navigating a tricky time-shifting terrain. "He's a great player," says Varady of the Slovakian saxophonist, "and I like his strong, darker sound."

The guitarist shows his urbane side on "Story" and the uplifting, melodic number
"Her Dream." Then he swings unabashedly on the up-tempo "Radiska," a burner that also turns Tariska loose and has Gonzalez channeling his inner McCoy Tyner. "His soloing is swinging and very interactive," says Varady of the gifted pianist, who turns in a monstrous solo here. "That's the thing with all of us...we're very interactive on the album. No one is told, 'You do this, you do that.' It's more of a sketch and then see where it goes from there. So it was a natural process. This album was really open, like pure jazz...straight in the moment. That's what I was going for."

The closer, "Outro," featuring more backwards effects over a simple, serene melody, serves as a bridge to what Varady plans to explore in more depth on his next recording. "I thought it would be interesting to just add some of the elements that would be for my upcoming music," he explains. "I'm into a lot of electronic music, I'm into a lot of hip-hop. That's also a part of me, and I thought it would be cool to add that color to the album. It's almost like my one foot is solidly in jazz and on my other foot, my toes are in something else. And it's not like I'm crossing genres, it's more of like going from one of my styles to this other style and merging it all together to create this ultimate thing."

The Quest Track Listing:
1.     Lost Memories
2.     Radio Joint
3.     Follow Me
4.     The Time Is Now
5.     Patience                                                                                                        
6.     The Quest
7.     Story
8.     Her Dream
9.     Radiska
10.   Outro

Resonance Records is a multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning label (most recently for John Coltrane's Offering: Live at Temple University for "Best Album Notes") that prides itself in creating beautifully designed, informative packaging to accompany previously unreleased recordings by the jazz icons who grace Resonance's catalog. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA, Resonance Records is a division of Rising Jazz Stars, Inc. a California 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation created to discover the next jazz stars and advance the cause of jazz. Current Resonance Artists include Richard Galliano, Polly Gibbons, Tamir Hendelman, Christian Howes, Donald Vega and Andreas Varady. www.ResonanceRecords.org

For more information on Andreas Varady & The Quest please contact:
Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
Tel: 646-259-2105, Email: Redcatjazz@mac.com

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