Tuesday, June 19, 2018

New Releases: Alex Lefaivre Quartet - Yul; Black Art Jazz Collective – Armor Of Pride; Pierre Douge - Soundscapes

Alex Lefaivre Quartet - Yul

Drawing his inspiration from Montreal’s distinct urban energy, bass player Alex Lefaivre presents a series of modern jazz originals written for some of his home town’s most original musicians, notably Erik Hove on alto saxophone, Nicolas Ferron on guitar as well as Mark Nelson on drums. The lyrical, song-like melodies develop over interesting forms that leave a lot of room for the group to interact and showcase their conversational improvisations. Taking its name from Montreal’s airport code, YUL takes the listener on a cinematic trip through the city, where dreamy, hazy summer vibes are intertwined with a gritty, metropolitan edge. A highlight of this set is a surprising cover of John Carpenter’s theme to his cult-classic 1978 horror movie, Halloween. – Colette Schryburt aka Coco Jazz, CKVL 100.1FM

Black Art Jazz Collective – Armor Of Pride

A set that's bursting with every bit as much of the fantastic energy you might expect from the lineup – a bold sextet that features Wayne Escoffery on tenor, Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, James Burton III on trombone, Xavier Davis on piano, Vicente Archer on piano, and Johnathan Blake on drums – all coming together here in a righteous message that's even stronger than the sum of its parts! All titles are originals, and have this progressive, soaring vibe – spiritual, but not in a mellow way – and instead very much up to date in terms of contemporary jazz expression, thanks to the individual strengths of the soloists – who feel completely unified throughout. Titles include "Armor Of Pride", "When Will We Learn", "Black Art", "Pretty", "The Spin Doctor", and "Awuraa Amma". ~ Dusty Groove

Pierre Douge - Soundscapes

Guitarist Pierre Dorge has been giving us amazing music for many years – but he sounds especially amazing here in the company of a really great group – the excellent Kirk Knuffke on cornet, plus Stephen Riley on tenor, Conrad Herwig on trombone, Jay Anderson on bass, and Adam Nussbaum on drums – all very dynamic players who seem to make Dorge sound even fresher than ever! There's an especially strong sense of phrasing on the record – no surprise, especially with Knuffke in the mix – and while Pierre can sometimes use his instrument in more abstract ways, that quality is really balanced by all the other members of the lineup. Anderson's bass is great – nicely pointed at the best moments, and a great contrast to Dorge's strings – and all tracks are originals, with titles that include "Lullaby For Sun Ra", "Mingus' Birthday Party", "Afrikaa Mbizo Dyani", "Sim Sim Ba", and "Alligator In Paradise".~ Dusty Groove

Grammy Award Winning Trumpeter Nabaté Isles Takes Listeners on Eclectic Excursions With New Album

Industry acclaimed, Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and composer Nabaté Isles is releasing his debut album, Eclectic Excursions, on Friday, July 20th 2018. Isles has performed, toured and/or recorded with almost every top musician in the industry, such as Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), Christian McBride, Kenny Lattimore, Philip Bailey, Fantasia, Jeffrey Osborne, Jill Scott, Dianne Reeves and more. The album is produced by multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer/keyboardist Sam Barsh, who has written/produced numerous recordings and commercially released songs, including hits for Kendrick Lamar, Joey BadA$$ and Macy Gray.

Isles kicks the summer vibe off with "Find Your Light" (feat. Alita Moses). As a summer bonus, listeners get the track "Laid Back," which features Elzhi, Canadian singer, JRDN.

On Thursday, July 12th at NuBlu 151 on Avenue C, New York, NY 10009 from 8:00 pm to 12:00 am, guests will enjoy mixes by D.J. Dan.C.E., with rising vocal talent Alita Moses opening for him. Throughout the night, Isles will perform music celebrating the release.
Nabate Isles is a Grammy-winning trumpeter/composer. He composed a solo double bass composition called 'Lessons', which was premiered by world-renowned double bassist James VanDemark at Louisiana State University. He instructed actor Rob Brown as trumpeter Delmond Lambreaux on the HBO series, Treme.

As a performer, Isles was part of both of Christian McBride Big Band's Grammy-winning albums, The Good Feeling (2012) and Bringin' It (2018) as well as the band's performance at the White House for the last concert under President Barack Obama's administration. He has composed five music scores for short films as well as contributing original music to Amos Poe's innovative film, 'Empire II.'

He recently completed a score for his first feature called, 'The Rhythm in Blue'. Isles is also an accomplished producer and host for SiriusXM NBA Radio & he hosts his own weekly television show called 'So Much to Talk About' on MNN (Manhattan cable). Also, a sports trivia expert, Nabaté excelled on TV gameshows, ESPN's 'Stumb The Schwab' and Crackle/NBC Sports' Sports Jeopardy. 

'Jazz Loves Bernstein' Commemorates Beloved Composer/Conductor Leonard Bernstein's Centennial With Star-Studded Two-Disc Collection Featuring Classic Jazz Interpretations Of The Maestro's Greatest Songs

In a dazzling musical career that spanned more than forty years, Leonard Bernstein distinguished himself as a conductor, pianist and educator, as well as a passionate musical communicator. But it was his work as a composer that made the most enduring impression upon the public. Bernstein's timeless compositions have become deeply ingrained in the American soundtrack, encompassing the Broadway stage, the pop scene and the jazz world.

Now, just in time for the 100th anniversary of his birth on August 25, some of his greatest works have been assembled for Jazz Loves Bernstein, available June 29 via Verve/UMe. The two-CD/digital collection spans the musical and emotional breadth of the Bernstein songbook, with interpretations of the maestro's classic tunes spanning more than half a century, performed by some of the era's finest jazz singers and musicians.
Starting today, Bobby's Scott rare 1959 recording of "Ya Got Me" is available for streaming and for immediate download with digital album pre-order. Pre-order Jazz Loves Bernstein now: https://lnk.to/JazzLovesBernstein

"Jazz and I are on excellent terms," said Bernstein, one of whose earliest jobs was transcribing the instrumental improvisations of such jazz greats as Coleman Hawkins and Earl "Fatha" Hines. Jazz remained a cornerstone of Bernstein's musical consciousness for the remainder of his career, and jazz performers would continue to record Bernstein compositions in the decades to come.

Many of those artists are represented on Jazz Loves Bernstein, which opens with Billie Holiday's rousing 1944 rendition of "Big Stuff," from Bernstein's early ballet Fancy Free, and closing with a haunting 1996 reading of "Some Other Time," from Bernstein's Broadway smash On the Town, performed here by Mark Whitfield and Diana Krall. In between is a sterling selection of performances that demonstrate the ongoing appeal of Bernstein's melodic gift.

For example, the West Side Story standard "Tonight" features a warm vocal interpretation by Billy Eckstine, while the West Side Story classics "Maria" and "I Feel Pretty" are sung memorably by Sarah Vaughan; the anthemic "Cool" gets a distinctive reading from jazz great Oliver Nelson, and the romantic "Somewhere" and "Something's Coming" receive poignant readings from the Oscar Peterson Trio. From Bernstein's early Broadway triumph On the Town comes "New York, New York," revisited by pianist Bobby Scott, and the pensive "Lonely Town," sung by master vocalist Mel Tormé. Jazz Loves Bernstein also features timeless performances by such jazz legends as Carmen McRae, Bill Charlap, Bill Evans, Maynard Ferguson and Bob James.

In his exhaustive liner notes for Jazz Loves Bernstein, producer Didier C. Deutsch writes, "Next to the great George Gershwin, no other American composer can claim to have worked in as many musical genres with the exception of Leonard Bernstein. A musical genius who enlightened our lives over a brief few decades, Bernstein seemed equally at ease in classical works, the theater, jazz, and, in at least one instance, the movies, always different, always compelling."

Leonard Bernstein's boundless talent and ongoing influence are reflected throughout Jazz Loves Bernstein, which celebrates his work with the style and sensitivity it deserves.

Jazz Loves Bernstein Track Listing
Disc 1

Big Stuff – Billie Holiday
America/I Feel Pretty/One Hand, One Heart – Manny Albam & His Jazz Greats
New York, New York – Bobby Scott
Tonight – Billy Eckstine with Hal Mooney and His orchestra
A Quiet Girl – Bill Charlap Trio
Cool – Oliver Nelson and His orchestra
My Love – Bob James
Lucky To Be Me – Bill Evans
Maria – Eric Reed
It's Love – Bill Charlap Trio
Lonely Town – Mel Tormé
Something's Coming – Manny Albam & His Jazz Greats
Somewhere - Oscar Peterson Trio                                                    
I Feel Pretty - Sarah Vaughan
Disc 2

Ya Got Me – Bobby Scott
Something's Coming – Oscar Peterson Trio
It's Love – Carmen McRae
Jump – Bill Charlap Trio
I Can Cook Too – Bobby Scott
Maria – Sarah Vaughan
Jet Song – Oscar Peterson Trio
It Must Be So – Bobby Scott
Tonight – Manny Albam & His Jazz Greats
Lonely Town – Maynard Ferguson
I Feel Pretty – Oscar Peterson Trio
Ohio – Bill Charlap Trio
Some Other Time – Mark Whitfield with Diana Krall

Jill Barber's New Album Metaphora

Jill Barber released her third single "Bigger Than You," off of her upcoming album Metaphora. It premiered on Grok Nation and was paired with an in-depth interview discussing the power behind the track.

"Bigger Than You," is Barber's own #MeToo movement coming to surface after recovering from a toxic relationship. She states in her interview with Grok Nation, "Although I wrote this tune before the #MeToo movement began, there was already an undercurrent of empowerment and solidarity rising in my community of women. I feel like we had all been whispering some form of “me too” for years before that whisper became a roar."

Last month, Barber released "Mercy," the second single from her upcoming album. It premiered at Billboard, and was shot by Juno Award-winning director Christopher Mills, whose work includes videos for Modest Mouse, Leonard Cohen, and Broken Social Scene. "Mercy" follows the female empowerment anthem "Girl's Gotta Do," which bowed at #1 on CBC national radio and Apple Music Canada’s Singer-Songwriter Chart. PopMatters said, "If the women's movement of the 21st century — whether it's #MeToo or #TimesUp — needed a hashtag theme song to carry its message, this versatile vocalist who can handle jazz, pop, blues, folk and rock 'n' roll on any given night, delivers it with genre-fender-bender style."

A bold entrée into the world of contemporary pop music, Metaphora reveals a Jill Barber we’ve never heard before. Metaphora showcases her power and vulnerability as both an artist and a woman. Evolving over the course of many albums from folk to jazz, R&B and pop, Jill’s success is defined not by genre, but by her undeniable songwriting chops and distinctive voice. Metaphora is a continuation of Barber's musical story that confidently tackles everything from issues of empowerment, sexual politics, the complications of love, and depression.

Mutual friendships and living on the same street led Jill to sit down with Ryan Guldemond, the enigmatic lead singer of Mother Mother, for inspiration and creativity. Ryan's commitment to Jill and unwavering enthusiasm garnered co-writing credits on four of the nine songs on Metaphora, including the instantly catchy lead single, “Girl's Gotta Do," a hook-filled and very timely call to arms that aims to "challenge the patriarchal status quo, as we usher in a new era of equality," says Barber. "Writing with Ryan was a big departure for me, and very exciting. He's extremely creative and not afraid to push my creative boundaries," recalls Barber. "The sessions became part songwriting and part therapy because I was writing about things that felt pretty raw; politics, sexism, being a mother. I started to realize that this was going to be a very different kind of album for me. I had more that I needed to say and Ryan helped bring that out with his uncanny knack for melody and song structure."

Metaphora's opening track "The Woman" generates a sense of anticipation with its pounding bass drum, an urgent heartbeat for what is next to come from the fearless multi-Juno nominated performer. "It's a song about how a woman is required to be everything to everyone, but may still be a mystery to her own self," shares Barber. "She is part of nature, but also has a nature of her own, ever-changing and elusive." On "Bigger Than You," Barber explores a personal experience that she hopes may inspire others to take a stand against tactics like power plays, bullying and manipulation. "Hooked Your Heart,” “Clumsy Heart,” “Cage Without A Key," “Love Is,” and “Hold On” round out Metaphora.

On the advice of trusted friends, Jill reached out to producer Gus Van Go (Whitehorse, Arkells, Terra Lightfoot), who immediately took on the project and began to craft a complete vision for Metaphora. They recorded at Van Go's studio in Brooklyn, NY, with creative partner Werner F and multi-platinum Grammy nominated producers Chris Soper and Jesse Singer, collectively known as Likeminds, who perform all the drums, piano and analogue synths on the album. Additional tracks were recorded and produced by Gavin Brown and Maia Davies at Toronto's Noble Street Studios.

On Metaphora, Jill Barber bursts back onto the stage with a bold and daring offering of music, confidently executed with the style and grace of a woman who knows exactly what she's doing.

Jill Barber North American Tour Dates:

6/18 - Winnipeg, MB - Winnipeg Jazz Festival
6/28 - Montreal, QC - Le Gesu
8/4 - Kaslo Bay Park, BC - Kaslo International Jazz Festival 
9/22 - Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern
9/24  - New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall
9/25 - New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall
9/26 - Boston, MA - Regatta Bar
9/28 - Ottawa, ON - Ottawa National Arts Centre Theatre
9/29 - Knowlton, QC - Theatre Lac-Brome
10/9 - Fredericton, NB - Playhouse Theatre
10/11 - Charlottetown, PEI - Confederation Centre
10/12 - Truro, NS - Marigold Cultural Centre
10/13 - Halifax, NS - Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
10/16 -Toronto, ON - Roy Thompson Hall
10/18 - Gravenhust, ON - Peter's Players
10/19 - London, ON -  Aeolian Hall
10/20 - London, ON -  Aeolian Hall
10/24 - Saskatoon, SK - Broadway Theatre
10/25 - Regina, SK - The Exchange
10/26 - Calgary, AB - Bella Concert Hall
10/27 - Edmonton, AB - Triffo Theatre
11/1 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
11/2 - Campbell River, BC - Tidemark Theatre
11/3 - Victoria, BC  - Capital Ballroom

Metaphora Tracklisting:
The Woman
Girl's Gotta Do
Hooked Your Heart
Bigger Than You
Clumsy Heart
Cage Without A Key
Love Is
Hold On

Colin Whitby - creator of culturally diverse ‘hybrid’ music, releases his new CD “Synchronicity”

Featured artist this week on The Jazz Network Worldwide: Colin Whitby - creator of culturally diverse ‘hybrid’ music, releases his new CD “Synchronicity”
The title of the album Synchronicity is an indirect, playful reference to the ‘unexpected’ meeting of diverse genres and instrumentation encountered in each of the seven tracks, and specifically to their potential use for sync in film projects and more.

Colin Whitby has worked in various capacities in the creative industries including film production and has been working with audio production and music creation software for close to eighteen years, culminating in the creation of his distinct ‘hybrid’ compositions. Apart from pure listening pleasure, these seven tracks were created with “music sync” in mind with a wide variety of musical influences, from Classical to Jazz, Funk, Dub, Industrial, traditional Ethnic, Ambient and Experimental/Systems music. Psychology also plays a part and creatively, the work of Swiss analytical psychologist Carl Jung is an important inspiration to Whitby, who is also a visual artist. Whitby does not restrict his musical choices by following a strict concept; rather he finds himself naturally inclined to a non-hierarchic eclectic field of musical directions. His nuanced ‘hybrid’ compositions are informed by a musicological interest as well as passion and flair for music composition.

But while he is creatively multivalent, music has been a mainstay, with the trumpet being his traditional instrument. There were influential periods of experimenting with recording incidental sounds of the city, and in nature, that had earlier fed ideas of music concrete, now discernible in such tracks as Off the Rails. Percussion has been the natural medium, using a full drum kit, between periods of painting and object-making, in his East London studio.

The hybrid genres of the seven tracks are like distillations or ‘time capsules’ of “world” music. And, is it coincidence or not that Whitby hails from the historical port city of Liverpool, England? Centuries ago, English seafarers would have reached the ancient ports of the Nusantara, now modern day Southeast Asia, where Whitby currently resides. All seems to be rather in “sync”, in that meaning has come about via unforeseen connections!

“The seven tracks were created with “music sync” in mind. The title of the album Synchronicity is a play on the word “sync” as in potential synchronization with film projects and other media. It also kind of refers to the ‘unexpected’ meeting or surprising co-existence, if you like, of disparate and diverse genres and instrumentation in a ‘shared space’. I wanted to create nuances, shifting grounds, unexpected juxtapositions that keep the listener guessing. Each track came about naturally from personal experiences and choices made from a wide field of musical interests I had developed over the years.  The end result, the album as a whole, I think is a landscape of diverse sounds, a kind of confluence of styles and genres. Each track is a small ‘window’ onto a ‘soundscape’ coming out of a disparate range of instruments. They variously refer to the timeless classical past and contemporary eras of the West, to tribal/ethnic chants, to tonal shapes and structures that point to the more ‘futuristic’ allusions of minimalist Systems Music. Each track holds subliminal ‘cinematic memories’ or ‘themes’ inspired by film moments, perhaps continuing in the tradition of “Music for Films” (Eno) and “Pictures in an Exhibition” (Mussorgsky).” ~ Colin Whitby

Thursday, June 14, 2018

New Releases: Love Unlimited Orchestra - The 20th Century Records Singles 1973 to 1979; Love Unlimited - The Uni, MCA, & 20th Century Records Singles 1972 to 1975; Shamie Royston – Beautiful Liar

Love Unlimited Orchestra - The 20th Century Records Singles 1973 to 1979 (3LP set)

One of the greatest soul instrumental groups of the 70s, finally given their due – here in a massive package that brings together all their great singles done under the guidance of Barry White! White was a genius at the time of these tracks, and he worked with Love Unlimited at a level that was different from other groups of its nature – and which really helped pave the way for so many styles of soul modes to come! Love Unlimited Orchestra was a large studio group with plenty of strings, but they always worked with a great White-crafted groove – forged in the years before disco, and an undeniable influence on that mode – but often cut with the sophistication of blacksploitation soundtrack styles too – which makes for a really fantastic sound. The package brings together all the group's singles from their great mid-70s run, then also includes a few of their 12" mixes too – when they could really stretch out. A fantastic amount of music for the price – with titles that include "Sweet Moments", "Rhapsody In White", "Barry's Theme", "Satin Soul", "Find The Man Bros", "Theme From Together Brothers", "My Sweet Summer Suite", "Theme From King Kong", "Always Thinking", "Midnight Groove", "Only You Can Make Me Blue", "Baby Blues", "Forever In Love", "Brazilian Love Song", "Hey Look At Me I'm In Love", "Theme From Superman", "Whisper Softly", "Theme From Shaft", "Don't You Know How Much I Love You", "Hey Look At Me I'm In Love (disco version)", "Brazilian Love Song (disco version)", "Theme From King King (disco version)", "My Sweet Summer Suite (disco version)", "Blues Concerto", and "Don't You Know How Much I Love You (disco version)". ~ Dusty Groove 

Love Unlimited - The Uni, MCA, & 20th Century Records Singles 1972 to 1975

A fantastic selection of work from one of the hippest girl groups of the 70s – the mighty Love Unlimited trio, three singers who all worked under the genius of Barry White in his prime! Unlike other girl trios of the time, who often used an older soul mode refitted with disco grooves – sometimes acting more like a chorus than a lead act – Love Unlimited always brought their full vocal strengths to play, and do a fantastic job here working in modes that rival some of the best male harmony groups of the early 70s – especially the sweet soul groups from New Jersey, New York, and Philly. And yes, Barry does kick up the groove a bit at times, but even then things are usually more in a midtempo mode, not a disco one – which makes for tremendous sounds throughout. This is the first-ever proper collection of the girls' singles from the early 70s – and titles include "Oh Love Well We Finally Made It", "Fragile Handle With Care", "Are You Sure", "I Should Have Known", "Is It Really True Boy Is It Me", "Walkin In The Rain With The One I Love", "Under The Influence Of Love", "It May Be Winter Outside", "I Love You So Never Gonna Let You Go", "I Belong To You", "So Nice To Hear", "People Of Tomorrow Are The Children Of Today", and "Share A Little Love In Your Heart". ~ Dusty Groove

Shamie Royston – Beautiful Liar

A fantastic album from pianist Shamie Royston – an artist who's been making records for a few years, but really knocks us out of the park with this one! The set's got this perfect vibe right from the start – music that's deeply soulful and spiritual, but also swinging a lot too – maybe a bit like the spirit that Wayne Shorter hit on his first few albums for Blue Note – with that balance of individuality, modernism, and deeper traditions. Shamie really hits all those elements perfectly here – really finding her voice, and getting tremendous work from a group that also includes Jaleel Shaw on alto and soprano, Josh Evans on trumpet, Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and husband Rudy Royston on drums. The two horns are tremendous together – really soaring over Shamie's beautiful compositions – and bassist Nakamura is a real revelation, as his round, bold tone really helps shape the songs. Titles include "Beautiful Liar", "Circuloso Vicioso", "Sunday Nostalgia", "Push", "Dissimulate", and a version of the Bill Withers' tune "Lovely Day".  ~ Dusty Groove

New Releases: Jean Carne - Don't Let It Go To Your Head:The Jean Carne Anthology; Kris Brownlee – Breathe: Night Sessions; Curtis Haywood - Summer Breeze

Jean Carne - Don't Let It Go To Your Head:The Jean Carne Anthology

A fantastic tribute to the great Jean Carne – a singer who started out in jazz, working with then-husband Doug Carn on spiritual sessions and drummer Norman Connors on his soulful sides of the 70s – then shifted over to the Philadelphia International label, where she really helped Philly soul find new direction moving into the 80s! Jean always brings all the sophistication of her roots into her music – making her way more than just another soul singer, and instead a vocalist with a great range of expression that has her opening up in just the right way, no matter what the setting. This excellent collection is filled with classics from her years on Philadelphia International, and also includes some rare 12" mixes and duets with other artists too. Titles include "Free Love", "No Laughing Matter", "Don't Let It Go To Your Head", "You Can't Come Back Now", "There's A Shortage Of Good Men", "Time Waits For No One", "Lonely Girl In A Cold Cold World", "Bet Your Lucky Star", We Got Some Catchin Up To Do", "When I Find You Love", "Was That All It Was (12" mix)", "What's On Your Mind (12" mix)", "Revelation/Infant Eyes", "Mystic Stranger", "Completeness", and "If You Don't Know Me By Now" – plus "I'm Back For More" with Al Johnson, "Sweet & Wonderful" with Glenn Jones, "You Might Be Surprised" with Roy Ayers, "Love Is Beautiful" and "Dreams Of Tomorrow" with Dexter Wansel, "Keep In Touch" and "The Look Of Love" with Grover Washington, and "Dindi", "Love's In Your Corner", and "Valentine Love" with Norman Connors.  © 1996-2018, Dusty Groove, Inc

Kris Brownlee – Breathe: Night Sessions

Saxophonist Kris Brownlee returns with a new collection of originals, playing multiple instruments on each track of this, his fourth album. First emerging on the scene in 2001 as the frontman for his group, The Grooveside, Kris quickly setup a weekly jazz residency in Chicago that allowed him to not only sharpen his contemporary sound, but allowed him to evolve his straight-ahead jazz chops as well. "Over the past 25 years of playing, I've been influenced by many, but none more than by saxophonist Boney James," Brownlee said. Kris is always looking for new ways to set himself apart from the crowd. Whether it’s through his all out dance party-like shows or through his unique compositions, Kris Brownlee will take contemporary jazz fans on a journey that they won’t soon forget. ~smoothjazz.com

Curtis Haywood - Summer Breeze

Just in time, saxophonist Curtis Haywood brings you a smooth rendition of “Summer Breeze” and a new collection of studio recordings.  On his latest album, Curtis broadens his signature ballad sound with Urban Contemporary rhythms from his R&B Funk roots, thanks to production partner and longtime friend Ainsley Taylor and the early work of Witnel Paul. "Wherever The Chips Fall" (featuring Nathaniel Mitchell on keyboards) and the inspirational "Promise Me” are the lead singles.  Curtis exuberates his passion on The Stylistics’ classic "You Are Everything", displays his versatility with steelpan on the Caribbean-flavored rendition of the Seals & Crafts classic title track "Summer Breeze”, and invites flutist Ragan Whiteside to join the fun on "Let it Go”. There’s something for everyone, from Calyspo-flavored "Touch Me" to quiet storm specials like "Midnight Hour" and “Lullaby”.  Overall, it’s a solid album from Curtis Haywood that deserves a place on your playlist. ~smoothjazz.com

Django Festival AllStars Release Attitude Manouche: Album Blends Gypsy Jazz Tradition with Modern Jazz, Classical, World Music and More

Among nomadic peoples like the gypsies, the oral tradition is central to keeping a heritage alive. Customs, beliefs, stories and, of course, music must be passed down from one generation to the next, always honored but continuously evolved and updated as time marches on. With their new album, Attitude Manouche (available June 15 on Resilience Music Alliance – pre-order available now), the Django Festival AllStars carry on that tradition in their own way, as modern-day virtuoso Samson Schmitt steps into the crucial lead guitar role long held by his father, legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Dorado Schmitt.

Attitude Manouche reveals that Samson Schmitt has inherited those vital qualities, and brings them to a thrilling new take on the gypsy jazz tradition. The Django Festival AllStars reinterpret Django Reinhardt’s vision through a set of new music that carries forward their namesake’s vision in a way that both honors his legacy while giving them a thoroughly contemporary twist.

While the AllStars’ name represents a community of gifted artists who collaborate in different line-ups depending on the performance, the quintet on Attitude Manouche have forged a distinctive voice together as all are featured soloist which join Schmitt. Ludovic Beier is a renowned accordionist and player of the accordina, Pierre Blanchard a virtuoso of the violin and Grappelli prodigy, Dou Dou Cuillerier – scat singer and rhythm guitarist, and the only Italian – Antonio Licusati on bass: five master musicians with their own innovative voices within this storied tradition.

“We have a great passion for playing music together and for trying to create a new sound,” Beier says. “Every musician is different, but we’ve succeeded in creating a common music together that lets everybody express ourselves very well. That’s really important and also very rare.”

The title of Attitude Manouche reflects the fact that while these French and Italian musicians may not share Reinhardt’s Manouche heritage by blood, they all reflect that heritage in their souls. That’s abundantly clear in the set of mostly original music that makes up the album, which fluidly and spiritedly combines the gypsy jazz tradition with influences from modern jazz, classical music, other world music, and even film scores.

The latter comes to the fore on the album’s sole non-original tune, the main theme from John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score for Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. The AllStars’ rendition not only moving renders an achingly beautiful piece of music, but pays heartfelt tribute to the gypsy people who were victims of the Nazi regime. “A lot of gypsies were deported to concentration camps along with the Jewish community,” Beier explains. “We wanted to pay tribute to that very dark period of history, so we decided to create an arrangement for that song mixing gypsy swing with Jewish traditional music, spearheaded by violinist Pierre Blanchard.” This track in particular coincides strongly with the mission of Resilience Music Alliance, founded by social and political activist Steve Ruchefsky, in celebrating the human driven condition of resilience.

The Django Festival AllStars’ eclectic and forward-looking repertoire reimagines Reinhardt’s pioneering sound for modern ears, and in that way, is a fitting tribute to the icon whose name they proudly bear. “Django passed away more than 50 years ago,” says Pat Philips-Stratta, who produced the album. “But I think if he was here today he would be exploring new fields and bringing them into his music. We add new experiences and new influences, but when the audience listens to our music they can hear Django Reinhardt’s legacy. That’s very important to us.”

Percussionist Hamid Cooper Pays Tribute to LeBron James with "Nu-Jazz" Sound, Announcing the Release of Two New CDs

King James 23 and Digital Reign are the latest CD releases from acclaimed percussionist Hamid Cooper of Hamid Cooper Latin Jazz (HCLJ). Released simultaneously this month, Digital Reign and King James 23 mark HCLJ's exploration into "Nu-Jazz." A long-time fan of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cooper was inspired by James' record-breaking season and pays tribute with selections like (cover), Digital Reign.  "I love being creative with my music, being able to express my inspirations at any given time," he adds.  Listeners enjoy a great mix of up tempo songs with multicultural infusions that include: Asian, Middle-Eastern and African beats. Some fan favorites from the new CDs are Azizanam, BronLe and Dancing Star.
Formed in 2007, Hamid Cooper Latin Jazz is a 5-7 member band is comprised of talented international musicians playing a range of instruments from wind to percussion.  HCLJ is best known for Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz music with a middle-eastern influence. The band can been seen live in the SoCal region performing original and popular tunes like Besame Mama, I Like It Like That, Samba de Orpheu and more.   Jazz greats, the likes of Arturo Sandoval, Ruben Estrada, Henry Estrada, Freddie Ravel and David Paich (Toto) have also joined HCLJ on stage for Jam sessions. http://hamidcooper.com/

Submissions Now Being Accepted for Detroit Jazz Festival’s 2018 National Jazz Instrumental Competition

The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation is accepting submissions for its annual National Jazz Instrumental Competition – this year open to trombonists, tubists and baritonists, 35-years-old and younger. This is the eighth consecutive year the Festival is hosting an instrumental competition in an effort to give up-and-coming, outstanding musicians the opportunity to win a performance slot at the Detroit Jazz Festival during Labor Day weekend.

In keeping with the tradition of honoring a jazz legacy in conjunction with the competition, this year’s competition — The Detroit Jazz Festival Curtis Fuller National Jazz Trombone/Low Brass Competition — is in honor of Curtis Fuller’s lifetime of artistry and leadership. In order to be considered for the competition, the work of submitting artists must reflect the commitment to tradition and search for originality that are tenants of Fuller’s virtuosity.

Fuller, a trombonist, composer and bandleader, who was born in Detroit, has made a significant impact on the genre over the course of his more than 60-year career. He attended Cass Technical High School and Wayne State University, and went on to be a member of impressive collaborations, including becoming a founding member of Jazztet with Art Farmer and Benny Golson in the beginning of Fuller’s career, followed by joining Jazz Messengers, and later working closely with John Coltrane.

“With a rich history as one of the brightest lights in the Detroit story, and as a brilliant trombonist that has given so much to our beloved genre, Curtis Fuller is the perfect artist to center this year’s instrumental competition,” said Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. “This competition is just one aspect of our Festival programming that stays true to the genre’s roots and it continues to grow in interest and the level of submissions each year. We hope to receive an even more powerful group of submissions in 2018.”

To be considered for the competition, applicants must:
Submit up to three tracks featuring solo work with any size ensemble by July 9, 2018
Be 35-years-old or younger as of Aug. 3, 2018
Participate in the semi-finals in Detroit (if selected as a finalist), scheduled Aug. 2 and 3
Be available to perform at the 2018 Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Quicken Loans

Each submission is reviewed and judged based on level of artistry, musicality, interaction and excellence, by Collins and a select group of professional musicians. The grand prize recipient will receive:

A performance slot at the Festival on Saturday, Sept. 1, on the JPMorgan Chase Main Stage
Acknowledgements in the Festival’s program and on its website
VIP status during Labor Day weekend

Two runner-ups will each receive $500.

Submissions are accepted at http://www.detroitjazzfest.org/artist-submissions/ or can be sent via mail (with attention to 2018 National Instrumental Competition) to the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation at 19908 Harper Avenue, Harper Woods, MI 48225.

Past winners of the instrumental competition include Zach Adleman, Cole Davis, Tal Yahalom, Theodore Davis, Theo Croker and more.

For jazz fans unable to attend the 39th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Quicken Loans, which runs Aug. 31 through Sept. 3, 2018 in downtown Detroit, they can still listen to the winner’s performance (among the dozens of other performances taking place across four stages) via Detroit Jazz Fest LIVE! For just $10, jazz enthusiasts can livestream performances from all four stages, all four days via their smartphone, tablet or desktop. Additionally, the livestreaming service features select performances throughout the year from the Foundation’s year-round initiatives, Festival schedules, maps and more. Jazz enthusiasts that purchased Detroit Jazz Fest LIVE! for the 2017 Festival, will need to repurchase the livestream service for 2018. Register for the livestream at https://live.detroitjazzfest.org.

About the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation
The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that presents jazz and educational workshops throughout the year. The Foundation supports the Detroit Jazz Festival, which is the largest free jazz festival in the world and a major tourist attraction for the City of Detroit, with 26 percent of its audience coming from out of state.

The Foundation receives grant funding from the Kresge Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Erb Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts to support education programs, community engagement activities and Festival operations. Hundreds of individuals also contribute to the Festival through Rhythm Section memberships and annual Guardian contributions.

Legendary French Violinist Jean Luc Ponty To Tour The US Summer 2018

Legendary French violinist Jean Luc Ponty and his band will be continuing their “Atlantic Years” tour in the US beginning August 2018! Jean Luc Ponty is a pioneer and undisputed master of the violin in the arena of jazz and rock. He is widely regarded as an innovator who has applied his unique visionary spin that has expanded the vocabulary of modern music.

Says Jean Luc, “We're calling it 'The Atlantic Years' tour since I am touring with my band from the late 70's - 80's with whom I recorded several albums for Atlantic Records, and we perform some classics from these early albums exclusively.”

The Jean Luc Ponty Band features:

Jean Luc Ponty – violin
Jamie Glaser – guitars
Keith Jones – bass
Rayford Griffin – drums
Wally Minko – keyboards

Jean Luc Ponty Band 2018 US tour dates:

8/13 - Chicago / The City Winery
8/14 - Chicago  / The City Winery
8/15 - Detroit / Chene Park
8/17 - Pittsburgh / Allegheny County South Park Bandshell
8/18 - Philadelphia / Keswick Theatre, Glenside PA
8/19 - Alexandria VA / The Birchmere Music Hall
8/21 - Annapolis MD / Rams Head
8/22 - Annapolis MD / Rams Head
8/23 - Newton NJ / Newton Theatre - Skylands PAC
8/24 - Beverly MA / Cabot Theatre
8/26 - Westbury, Long Island NY / The Space
8/28 - Albany, NY / The Egg 
8/29 - Fairfield CT / The Warehouse
8/30 - New York City / Sony Hall Theatre

After studying classical violin at the Paris Conservatory, Jean Luc Ponty turned to jazz in the 60's. Thanks to his revolutionary style he collaborated with some of the best European and American musicians such as Eddy Louiss, Daniel Humair, Niels Henning-Ørsted Pedersen, John Lewis, Lalo Schifrin, and Quincy Jones. He became the first bebop violinist and US jazz magazine “Down Beat” created a violin category for him in its critics' poll, until then violin was in the 'miscellaneous instruments' category. His pioneering work on the electric violin in the 70's attracted the attention of pop and rock musicians, he recorded with Elton John and participated to several tours and legendary recordings with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. In 1975 he founded his own band and became one of the most prominent figures of the jazz-fusion movement in the USA, selling millions of albums that all reached the top of the US charts. Ponty's most recent album “The Atacama Experience” is considered as one if his best and to this day Ponty keeps touring with his band around the world.

Ponty also collaborates on occasional projects such as “The Rite of Strings” with Stanley Clarke and Al Di Meola. In 2011 Ponty joined the mythical American group RETURN TO FOREVER IV with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Frank Gambale for a world tour spanning on 5 continents.

Ponty received the 2007 Jazz Trophy in Germany, the medal of Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in France in 2009, the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards in Ireland, and the Grand Prix of the Sochi Arts Festival in 2012 in Russia from the hands of world famous classical violist and orchestra conductor Yuri Bashmet. In 2012 Ponty performed his music with Orchestre Pasdeloup for his 50-year career celebration at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, then again with symphony orchestras in Brazil, Russia and Hungary in 2012 and 2013.

In April 2013 Herbie Hancock invited him to perform in Istanbul at “International Jazz Day” for UNESCO. Ponty also founded a new quartet with his daughter, pianist-singer-composer Clara Ponty which performed in France and Germany in 2014. Ponty also performed with the 89 musicians of the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orcherstra for the Siberian Christmas Festival.

In 2014 Ponty recorded an album as an acoustic trio with Stanley Clarke on double bass and Gypsy-French guitarist Bireli Lagrene, which was released on Impulse/Universal in the Fall 2015.

Jean Luc recently formed the Anderson Ponty Band with Jon Anderson, co-founder and lead singer of British progressive rock band YES, a CD and DVD was released in 2015 followed by a North American concert tour.
The Band:

Jamie Glaser (guitar) is best known as the guitarist for grammy award winning musical acts, Jean Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Bryan Adams, Gloria Trevi, Manhattan Transfer and more. His guitar can be heard on over 170 albums as well as on the biggest sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld and Married With Children. Jamie compositions can be heard weekly on CBS sports, ABC, Animal Planet, History channel, Discovery, and ESPN. His solo albums have been successful worldwide.

Keith Jones (bassist) has worked with many well known music artists such as Joe Sample, The Crusaders, Al Jarreau, Jean Luc Ponty, Carlos Santana, Andy Narell, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Loggins, Mark Isham and many more. His distinctive bass lines can be heard on hundreds of recordings.

Rayford Griffin (drums) has been internationally respected as among the most inventive, volcanic and versatile drummers in music, having amassed stellar credits with virtuosos ranging from Jean Luc Ponty and The Stanley Clarke Band, George Duke, to Dave Koz, Anita Baker and Michael Jackson.

Wally Minko (keyboards) is a well respected and highly accomplished member of the LA music scene and has toured and recorded with some of the most well known and successful artists in the world! Some of the artists Wally has worked with include Toni Braxton, Pink, En Vogue, New Edition, Barry Manilow, Tom Jones, Arturo Sandoval, Gregg Rolie (Santana/Journey), Eddie Money and the Anderson Ponty Band, featuring legendary Yes vocalist, Jon Anderson and world renowned jazz violinist, Jean Luc Ponty.

Drummer Phil Haynes Explores '60s Rock Classics and Bold New Territory on Two New Recordings

It's not that he has anything against whiskers on kittens, mind you, but these are a few of drummer Phil Haynes' favorite things: creating in the moment with old friends, who just happen to be some of the most inventive improvisers on the scene; digging deep into the rich musical legacy of the 1960s; navigating original compositions that offer tricky surprises and wide open spaces, just perfect for inspired spontaneity. With a wide-ranging pair of new releases featuring his bands Free Country and No Fast Food, Haynes gets to indulge all of those faves alongside an amazing crew sure to make you forget any dog bites or bee stings. Both are due for release on June 1, 2018 through Corner Store Jazz.

My Favorite Things (1960-1969) concludes a trilogy by Haynes' free-wheeling "jazz-grass" string band Free Country, where he's joined by longtime collaborators Hank Roberts (cello and vocals), Jim Yanda (guitar) and Drew Gress (bass). Released over nearly two decades, the band's three albums encompass nearly the entire history of American popular music in their own irreverent, stripped-down fashion: their 1999 debut focused on pre-1900 tunes from the Revolutionary War to Stephen Foster; The Way the West Was Won took on the first half of the 20th century, with cowboy songs and Hollywood movie soundtracks.

The concluding chapter narrows the focus to a single decade, but what a decade: over the course of two discs, the quartet takes on everything from John Coltrane, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix to Burt Bacharach and the theme from Star Trek - as Haynes himself puts it, "you've got everything from schmaltz to the highest art."

Beyond the fact that the '60s were the formative years for the band's members, the decade is so ripe for extensive reinvention because, Haynes explains, "It was our last cultural revolution. This is the last decade that everybody agrees on, so this is a look at that psychedelic, diverse musical landscape. We face many of the same questions now that we faced then, and it will be interesting to see if there's another social revolution."
If there is, Free Country is here to provide the soundtrack. With Roberts' wry baritone, the knotty interaction of the strings, Haynes' loose-limbed, evocative percussion, and a profound conversational spark forged over decades of collaboration and the magical live sound born of recording in the round, the band captures the spirit of the 1960s with the urgency of now. "The '60s had this great American outpouring of creativity," Haynes says. "There was music that everybody shared: Santana and The Beatles knew about A Love Supreme, from Hendrix to what Bernstein did on Broadway, everything was changing. This band focuses all those things into one sound."

On the opposite end of the creative spectrum, No Fast Food, with Gress and NEA Jazz Master David Liebman, was formed as an outlet for Haynes' compositions. The trio's third album, Settings For Three, is their first not recorded in concert but carries the electricity of their live performances into the studio. As the straightforward title implies, the intent was simply to provide fodder for the three musicians' estimable improvisational gifts, or as Haynes puts it, "I wanted to give the guys some new settings to play in and also familiar territory to romp in."

The opening track, "El Smoke," takes its name and inspiration from a different group - Haynes' collective quartet Joint Venture, where he and Gress are joined by saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and trumpeter Paul Smoker. Of course, No Fast Food make it utterly their own, ranging from the atmospheric to the rhapsodic over the track's ten minutes. Haynes has written lyrics for the second tune, "Joy," though they're not sung on the recording. No matter, as Lieb and Gress seem to have absorbed the composer's poetic meaning, which looks at the many different sides of joy, from the outwardly ecstatic to the more profound and complicated.

"There's joy as we know it," Haynes says, "but then there are all these other shadow aspects of joy. I really appreciated how the guys played on it because they reveal those different depths: not just that first expression but then all the ripples that happen beyond that."

Speaking of multi-faceted, the blues offers an endless supply of variations and possibilities, and that's certainly the case with the wide-open "Blue Dop." High-spirited and grooving in this rendition, it's a piece that suggests myriad approaches and changes each time the trio launches into it. The onomatopoeic "Whack Whap" shows off the mirth and humor that the three can share, a wild avalanche of sounds and sonic surprises.

"Longer Shorter" pays homage to Wayne Shorter, taking the legendary saxophonist's composition "Pinocchio" as a starting point. The hard-driving, sharp-angled tune nods toward Liebman's history with Miles Davis and Elvin Jones while spotlighting his singular approach to the soprano. The ballad "String Theory," which kicks off with Liebman conjuring fluttering bird calls on flute, is a vehicle for Gress' poignant arco emoting. To close the album, "Shramba" takes a different twist on the samba, progressing through all twelve keys over Haynes' rollicking rhythmic bed.

Through the simultaneous release of these two thrilling albums, Haynes provides a study of two facets of his expansive musical personality. Both are wildly inventive and thrive on the personal interactions of the musicians involved, but where My Favorite Things is subversively accessible, Settings For Three is an enticing challenge. "You've got one group where the universe is the option," Haynes says, "and another group where the microcosm is the universe. They're very different kinds of playing yet you look for freedom in both."

A veteran artist based in New York for 25 years, drummer/composer Phil Haynes is featured on more than 70 releases from numerous American and European record labels.  His collaborations include many of the seminal musicians of this generation: saxophonists Anthony Braxton, Ellery Eskelin, and David Liebman; trumpeters Dave Douglas, Herb Robertson, and Paul Smoker; bassists Mark Dresser, Ken Filiano, and Drew Gress; keyboard artists David Kikoski, Denman Maroney, and Michelle Rosewoman; vocalists Theo Bleckman, Nicholas Horner, and Hank Roberts; violinist Mark Feldman, and the composers collective Joint Venture. His current projects include the romantic "jazz-grass" string band, Free Country; the saxophone trio No Fast Food; bluesy power organ unit The Hammond Brothers, featuring young B-3 master Paul Bratcher; and the classic piano trio Day Dream, a cooperative with Yamaha artist Steve Rudolph.

"Shamal Wind", the second album by flautist and saxophonist from Manchester, Chip Wickham

Flautist and saxophonist Chip Wickham started out in the highly influential UK breakbeat, hip-hop and drum & bass scene that was Manchester’s Grand Central Records, working and playing with the likes of Rae & Christian, Fingathing, The Pharcyde, Jimpster, Nightmares On Wax, Jenna G and Graham Massey. It wasn’t long before he found himself touring all over the world, and began working with more mainstream artists like Badly Drawn Boy and Roy Ayers. He also played on the soundtrack to the Guy Ritchie movie “Snatch”.

The following years were spent writing, producing and remixing tracks for a wide range of artists, including his own electro-Latin project Malena, releasing the “Fried Samba” album on Freestyle Records in 2007. However, jazz has always been his first love, and soon he found himself working with award winning UK trumpeter Matthew Halsall, playing live and eventually appearing on Halsall’s critically acclaimed breakthrough album “Sending My Love”. This scene enabled Chip to work with some of the best UK jazz musicians, such as Nat Birchall and Rob Turner, who went on to form Blue Note act Go Go Penguin. This highly influential group of musicians had a long-lasting influence on Chip, which can clearly be heard in his own album.

Always a restless soul and keen to travel, Chip relocated to the late night scene of Madrid in Spain in 2007, and immediately became part of the explosion of the city’s soul-jazz scene. Bringing together his UK and Spanish musician friends led to the formation of The Fire Eaters. While the original idea was to be the backing band for his old friend Eddie Roberts (from UK’s number one funk outfit The New Mastersounds), they eventually became a ‘proper’ band, releasing music on different labels.

Meanwhile, he also released a couple of 45s on the Madrid-based Lovemonk imprint – a mixture of raw funk and heavy Latin beats, which directed him towards the world of soul-jazz and hard funk.

He remained active outside Spain as well, playing and recording with The New Mastersounds, which led to a guest appearance on the Japanese tour following the success of the single “Chocolate Chip”. More big names in the soul scene started calling, and soon he was writing and recording session work for groups such as Lack Of Afro and Deep Street Soul.

This all culminated in an invitation to play for the prestigious Craig Charles Fantasy Funk Band. Based on a poll from Craig Charles’ top rated BBC6 radio show, Chip was chosen to play alongside the cream of the UK funk & soul scene: James Taylor (JTQ), Snowboy, The Haggis Horns (Mark Ronson), John Turrell (Smooth & Turrell), and Mick Talbot (The Style Council).

However, he hadn’t forgotten his jazz roots, and in 2017 he brought together three longterm collaborators from the Spanish jazz scene, Gabri Casanova, David Salvador and Antonio Pax, for the release od “La Sombra”, a spiritual jazz album produced and mixed by Wickham himself. It went on to pick up fans like Gilles Peterson  who included the album in his “Best Album of 2017” list), Lefto, Jon More (Coldcut), Gideon Coe, Chris Phillips (Jazz FM), and many of the UK’s jazz dance fraternity adding gallant praise. Track “Red Planet” was included on volume 12 of the prestigious Brownswood Bubblers series.

A single featuring a remix by Detroit house don Andrés and an edit by Los Angeles’ spiritual jazz and beats scene ambassador Carlos Niño followed, and in the summer of 2017, Chip got the band together again to record the followup album. “Shamal Wind”, as it’s titled, signals a new chapter for Chip, opening up a newfound energy and inclusiveness in his music. Where “La Sombra” saw him taking his first moves toward centre stage (with the title, meaning ‘The Shade’ in Spanish, alluding to him stepping out into the limelight), “Shamal Wind” sees him further expanding on what he achieved in the past year.

His new perspective is partly informed by a recent and serious illness. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in the period before “La Sombra” was released, and wasn’t given any assurances that treatment would be successful. Surviving the experience has given him a new sense of urgency. He had to teach himself to play the saxophone again, and it’s boosted his conviction to achieve his target – to release five albums in five years – which he set himself before his diagnosis. As Chip says himself, “When you’ve got to fight for things, they mean more to you”.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...