Wednesday, September 28, 2016

John Coltrane's Iconic Impulse! Records Lifetime Recordings Remastered In High-Res Audio In Honor Of Jazz Legend's 90th Birthday

Legendary saxophonist and composer John Coltrane would have been 90 today. To celebrate his legacy and incredible body of work, Verve/UMe is proud to announce today's release of the high-resolution audio remasters of nine more of his classic Impulse! Records albums, continuing the label's initiative to remaster every album Coltrane recorded in his lifetime for "The House That Trane Built" in a variety of high-fidelity formats. The newly available remastered albums, which include his celebrated four-night stand, "Live" At The Village Vanguard (1962), the career turning point, The John Coltrane Quartet Plays (1965), and his watershed avant-garde exploration, Ascension (1966), now join his previously remastered Impulse! debut, Africa/Brass (1961) and his magnum opus, A Love Supreme (1965), universally hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time. In all, 16 celebrated recordings are now available. The full list of titles can be found at the links below, with those marked (*) newly remastered for Coltrane's 90th. The albums were remastered by Universal Music Group North America's chief engineer, Kevin Reeves, from the original analog reels.

Also in celebration of Coltrane's birthday, the 3-CD super deluxe version of A Love Supreme is available via UDiscover:

Legendary saxophonist and composer John Coltrane would have been 90 today. To celebrate his legacy and incredible body of work, Verve/UMe is proud to announce today's release of the high-resolution audio remasters of nine more of his classic Impulse Records! albums, continuing the label's initiative to remaster every album Coltrane recorded in his lifetime for "The House That Trane Built" in a variety of high-fidelity formats.

Legendary saxophonist and composer John Coltrane would have been 90 today. To celebrate his legacy and incredible body of work, Verve/UMe is proud to announce today's release of the high-resolution audio remasters of nine more of his classic Impulse Records! albums, continuing the label's initiative to remaster every album Coltrane recorded in his lifetime for "The House That Trane Built" in a variety of high-fidelity formats.   
The Impulse! releases chronicle several key moments in Coltrane's constantly evolving career. His eponymous 1962 record was the first to solely feature "the classic quartet," while Crescent (1964) saw him moving toward progressive jazz and Meditations (1965) was his deep dive into free jazz and atonality. The aptly-titled Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1963) LP saw him collaborating with the revered pianist for an incredible display of musicianship that spanned generations while John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (1963) paired Coltrane's beautiful and exploratory playing with Hartman's baritone croon for some sumptuous ballads. Live At Birdland (1964) comprises both live and studio recordings for a collection that is widely known as one of his finest all-around albums.

In his groundbreaking career, John Coltrane reshaped modern jazz and influenced generations of musicians. He was awarded the GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992, 25 years after his death, and in 2007, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded him a posthumous Special Citation for his lifetime of innovated and influential work. The citation lauds Coltrane for "his masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz." The committee said of Coltrane: "His exalted stature arises from his composition and recordings. In 'A Love Supreme,' he produced an imposing composition expressing faith. In 'Africa/Brass Selections,' he achieved astonishing orchestral feats. His work has weight, an artistic quest and searching nature. Coltrane infused the existing tradition with innovation and radical approaches. The surface of his music is dynamic and palpable, the underlying structure is suffused with spirituality and provocative political content."

Impulse! Records High-Resolution Audio Remasters:

Africa/Brass (1961)
Live at the Village Vanguard (1962) 
Coltrane (1962)
Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1963)
Ballads (1963)
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (1963)
Impressions (1963) 
Live at Birdland (1964)
Crescent (1964) 
A Love Supreme (1965)
The John Coltrane Quartet Plays (1965) 
Ascension (1966) 
New Thing at Newport (1966)
Meditations (1966)
Live at the Village Vanguard Again! (1966)
Sun Ship (1971)
Sun Ship: The Complete Session (2013)
Offering: Live at Temple University (2014)


Emmy and Tony Award-winning singer-actress releases her first album of American Songbook classics on September 23

Throughout a remarkable career that encompasses stellar work in live theatre, television, film, music and concerts, Kristin Chenoweth has established herself as one of the preeminent interpreters of American songcraft. After having covered country, Christian and Christmas music, the iconic artist continues her personal exploration on The Art of Elegance – her first album of American Songbook classics – scheduled for release on September 23, 2016 via Concord Records.

The follow-up to Chenoweth's Concord debut Coming Home, The Art of Elegance is an ideal showcase for the charismatic artist's sublime interpretative skills. The 13-song set, produced by veteran producer and vocalist Steve Tyrell, finds Chenoweth tackling timeless, beloved classics by the likes of George Gershwin ("Someone to Watch Over Me"), Harold Arlen ("Let's Fall in Love"), Rodgers and Hart ("Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"), Burt Bacharach and Hal David ("A House Is Not a Home"), Hoagy Carmichael ("I Get Along Without You Very Well") and Johnny Mercer ("Skylark").

Although The Art of Elegance's 13 songs represent a diverse assortment of periods and styles, the material, along with Chenoweth's personally charged performances, share the attitude that provides the album's title.

"Elegance is a quality that I look for, in music and in life," the artist comments. "It goes back deep within me. I've always felt that even a little girl from Oklahoma could still be elegant, not just in her musical tastes, but in the way she treats others, how she dresses. I love all kinds of music, but this repertoire has spoken to me my whole life. I remember learning some of this music as young as twelve, and thinking to myself that one day, I would get to perform it. Now here I am with a record dedicated to the melodies and lyrics of some of our greatest composers."

Indeed, Chenoweth relishes the opportunity to bring new emotional depth to classic songs, and to introduce these time-honored compositions to new listeners.

"Of course I love to sing songs that people know," she asserts. "Songs that we've heard before are like our DNA; we know them in our hearts. Honoring the singers who have sung this repertoire is the most challenging part of the process, singing it from my heart and my perspective and my experience. It's a challenge, but it's a fun one.  In every song I sing, I must find my own phrasing, down to the final breath. A lot can be said in a breath or a pause. I also chose songs like 'Skylark' and 'I Get Along Without You Very Well' because I want to reintroduce them to my younger fans."

Chenoweth sings the praises of Steve Tyrell, whose experience and expertise made him an ideal collaborator.

"Steve and I are a match made in heaven," Chenoweth states. "Not only is he an incredible singer and performer in his own right, he has a wealth of knowledge of all music. I love that I can have a conversation with Steve from Prince to Sinatra to Adele to Gershwin. He has a fantastic ear and kept reminding me, 'KC, you don't have to be perfect the first time!' He helped me choose the spots to really let go, and he knew when subtlety was required."

Chenoweth is particularly pleased, too, with the haunting Frank Sinatra number "I'm a Fool to Want You," a song which she discovered just in time to include it on the album. "I hope somewhere up there, Sinatra is happy with my version."

Another favorite is "I Get Along Without You Very Well." "That one has personal significance for me that I think is self-explanatory." Another favorite, she adds, "is 'Smile.' One of the biggest lessons I keep learning is to smile, even when you don't feel like it. That song is in my top five of all songs ever written. Simple in nature, but deep with meaning. This may sound morbid, but I hope someday when I pass, someone sings that song in honor of me."

Since achieving Broadway stardom with her roles in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Wicked, Kristin Chenoweth has effortlessly transitioned between her parallel careers in stage, television, film and music. After winning a Tony award for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and earning Tony nominations for Wicked and On the Twentieth Century, she won an Emmy award for her role in the ABC TV series Pushing Daisies, and received two Emmy nominations for her work in the Fox series Glee. In addition to numerous other TV, film and stage projects, she was featured in 34 episodes of NBC's The West Wing, was a guest judge on American Idol and Project Runway, and has recorded four studio albums. In 2014, Chenoweth released Coming Home, a live album, DVD and PBS special recorded at a historic concert in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

"It would be impossible for me not to sing," Chenoweth concludes. "I never feel like I'm not working on my next record, my next concert, the next show... It never occurred to me not to record music that I love. Even if it's on my own tape recorder. Even if it's on my iPhone. Music is life for me."--



South Florida-based singer Deborah Silver has earned the top slot, the #1 Billboard magazine chart positions, in both the Traditional Jazz Album chart and the Heatseeker Album chart with her release, The Gold Standards.  The Gold Standards also earned the #2 spot on the Billboard Jazz Album chart, the #10 spot on the Independent Album chart and the #150 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. In the past two months, former #1 artists on The Traditional Jazz Album Chart included Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson with Ultimate Sinatra and Summer Time:  Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, respectively. On The Gold Standards, Silver duets with the legendary 2x Grammy-winning vocalist Jack Jones on "I've Got a Crush on You" and the multi-platinum jazz singer Ann Hampton Callaway on "The Glory of Love."  The Gold Standards was produced by Grammy-winning producer Steve Tyrell and music producer Jon Allen. "I'm thrilled! It is a tremendous honor to be named the #1 artist in any one category, but to land the top spot on two Billboard charts is extremely humbling.  I am so grateful to everyone who has worked on this project including my producers Steve Tyrell and Jon Allen, my arranger, Alan Broadbent, and the iconic vocalists Jack Jones and Anne Hampton Callaway," says Silver.  "The Billboard recognition is incredible, yet it inspires me to push myself to work even harder. I am very thankful to everyone who has supported this album."


Gregory Tardy's turned into a reedman with a great ability for complex soundshapes – these beautiful phrasings and passages from his tenor sax – yet always delivered in a way that never fails to swing with soul! On this excellent set, Tardy and his musical associates paint these lovely pictures in sound – but also find a way to groove in the process – stepping off especially well on Gregory's own original compositions, which are taken in very long, vivid performances! The whole lineup is great – and includes Alex Norris on trumpet and Sam Sadigursky on flute – both players whose lines with Tardy really give the album a lot of color and life – plus Bruce Barth on piano, Sean Conly on bass, and Jaimeo Brown on drums. As always with the Steeplechase label these days, there's a real "something extra" to the record – a special quality to the whole thing that continues to make the label one of the most important indies in jazz. Titles include "Gabriel's Groove", "Chasing After The Wind", "The Evidence Of Things Not Seen", "Companion Of My First Heartbeat", "Dance For Marie Do", and "Ashes". ~  Dusty Groove


Jason Palmer's given us some great concept projects in recent years – including albums based around the music of Minnie Riperton and Janelle Monae – but this time around, the concept is all Palmer's own – and a great one too! As the title might imply, the music here is based around the numeric patterns of the game sudoku – but, as you might expect from Palmer, the results are anything but cold and calculating – as Jason's style of trumpet work is extremely open, fluid, and filled with soul – so much so that although his notes give us the mathematical logic behind the tunes, we find ourselves just responding to them at a much more visceral, personal level! The album's a long one – over 75 minutes in length, with 16 titles in all – and Palmer's group is unusual, too – with Mike Moreno on guitar, Edward Perez on bass, and Lee Fish on drums – a quartet who often leave Jason right out front on trumpet, shaping his notes with a mindblowing sense of imagination. Titles include "Obsessive", "Now", "Control", "Thanks", "Guidance", "Of Fun & Games", and "Allow Me To Be". ~ Dusty Groove

Brazilian-born guitarist/composer Ricardo Grilli explores personal, musical and cosmic history on 1954

Past and future necessarily collide in the work of any jazz musician. On his second album 1954, São Paulo-born, New York-based guitarist/composer Ricardo Grilli takes stock of his own history - both personal and musical - while also imagining how the modern day and its art would look from the perspective of the past. To realize that time-traveling vision he's enlisted an all-star band of deeply-rooted yet forward-thinking contemporaries: pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Eric Harland.

The title of 1954 (due out October 7 via Tone Rogue Records) comes from the year in which Grilli's father was born - one possible beginning point for his own story. It also falls at the dawning of the Space Age, a time when people were looking optimistically forward to a future full of innovation and exploration. Significantly for the music contained within, it was also a time when jazz - bebop in particular - was thriving in Grilli's adopted home of New York City, ghosts of which he can't help but encounter as he walks through the city today. 

"It gets a little mystical as you imagine it in your head how things were back then," Grilli says. "I wonder if those musicians ever thought that the music they were shaping would evolve to become the way it is now. The concepts we use in today's jazz still very much use the format of the bebop and hard bop era, even though they have more modern harmonies and meters." 

No matter how much he engages in a dialogue with the past, Grilli's music is decidedly of the moment, replete with sleek, captivating melodies over tense, balance-challenging rhythms, combined in intricate but emotionally engaging structures. His compositions reveal the influence of modern masters like Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner alongside adventurous pop experimentalists like Radiohead and Sigur Ros, with a relaxed but expressive melodicism imbued by a youth spent absorbing the tropical sounds of Jobim and Elis Regina.
Grilli's 2013 debut, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, captured the guitarist in a transitional moment. It documented not only his move from Brazil to Boston and then New York, but also his emergence onto the jazz scene after graduating from Berklee College of Music. Having picked up the guitar for the first time at the relatively advanced age of 20 and starting school at 23, five years later than most of his classmates, he recorded the album feeling like an underdog facing an uphill struggle. 

That notion is left behind on 1954, which finds a more mature, self-assured Grilli in sophisticated communication with some of modern jazz's most renowned musicians. "For the longest time I felt like I had missed the start of the race and had to catch up to the competition," he says. "However, I have been very lucky to be able to play with so many of my heroes, and this record is, hopefully, a statement of my acceptance of my own playing and thinking myself worthy of playing with the musicians on it."

 Long fascinated with astronomy and the cosmos (Stephen Hawking sits on his bookshelf beside the likes of Italo Calvino, the surrealist author who lent both If On a Winter's Night a Traveler and the current album's "Vertigo" their titles), Grilli weaves interstellar concepts throughout the tunes on 1954. Opening track "Arcturus" is named for the brightest star in the eastern celestial hemisphere, its gradual build in intensity (thanks to Harland's subtly insistent rhythms) suggesting the massive star's gravitational pull. "Cosmonauts," meanwhile, was inspired by the story of "phantom cosmonauts," an unconfirmed theory suggesting that Yuri Gagarin's successful flight may have been preceded by other ill-fated attempts.

"It's a terrifying story," Grilli says. "I imagined the fear of going into the unknown and not coming back. Jazz has a bit of that feeling, but not in the deadly sense. So I wanted to write an eerie, sad song, something a little somber, dark and mysterious."

That combination of the cosmic and the intimate is echoed throughout 1954. Especially poignant is the lovely, ethereal "Rings," which suggests the celestial rings surrounding Saturn and other planets as well as being a musical analog for the rings that symbolize union between people. The simmering, atmospheric "Radiance," partially inspired by Brian Blade's soulful Fellowship Band, evokes the far-off glow of heavenly bodies while pondering the loss of loved ones. "Breathe," essentially a cha cha cha with modern contours, provides a respite from the frantic "Arcturus," replicating the moment that a shuddering spacecraft breaks through the atmosphere into weightlessness.

Grilli also pays homage to some of his peers and mentors on 1954. "Pogo56" was written for trumpeter and Berklee professor Jason Palmer, while "Far Away Shores" is an homage to pianist Julian Shore, a close friend and collaborator. The album closes with "Pulse," a final word on the idea of looking backward to look forward: a modernist bop tune that swings hard over contemporary harmonic movement. 

Grilli's scintillating quartet combines four artists who are bandleaders in their own rights and who all approach the creative process in similar, equally enthralling fashion. "When I write a song," Grilli explains, "I'm trying to write a soundtrack to a different world. I hope when people listen to it they get taken to a different place, and these guys are all amazing at that. You can give them any piece of music and they'll create new worlds and stories out of it."

Drummer Daniel Freedman Celebrates His New Recording, Imagine That

One of the most in-demand drummers in New York - tapped by the likes of Angélique Kidjo, Sting and Anat Cohen - Daniel Freedman presents his third album as a leader, the rhythmically infectious Imagine That, recently release by Anzic Records.  In celebration of the new recording, Freedman will lead his band for one night only at The Jazz Standard in NYC on October 26.  Freedman will be joined on stage by guitarist Gilad Hekselman, bassist Omer Avital and percussionist Gilmar Gomes.

Imagine That draws on a world of music: tune-rich originals that channel African, Middle Eastern, Latin and Indian grooves, as well as an astoundingly fresh version of a rarely covered Radiohead song ("Codex"). Freedman, born and bred in New York City, leads an international quintet that features guitarist-vocalist Lionel Loueke (from Benin), keyboardist Jason Lindner (Brooklyn), bassist Omer Avital (Israel) and percussionist Gilmar Gomes (Brazil). Benin-born vocal star Angélique Kidjo, with whom Freedman has toured the world as drummer in her band, sings "Baby Aya," a dancing lullaby he wrote for his infant daughter. Imagine That is the follow-up to Freedman's 2012 Anzic album, Bamako by Bus, which garnered his band a showcase live on NPR:

Freedman, 41, has close connections to each member of the band for Imagine That. He went to LaGuardia High School for Music and Arts (the "Fame" school) alongside Jason Lindner, playing in various groups with him ever since. Lindner played on Bamako by Bus, and both the keyboardist and drummer have long been members of clarinet superstar Anat Cohen's bands. Freedman and Lindner met Omer Avital when they were all part of the fertile 1990s scene at the jazz club Smalls in New York's West Village; the three played together in Lindner's original hit big band), and Lindner and Avital featured on Freedman's debut album, 2001's Trio (Fresh Sound New Talent). For the past decade, Freedman and Avital have also played alongside each other in hit multicultural band Third World Love (with Avishai Cohen and Yonathan Avishai). Lionel Loueke played with the rhythm pair on Avishai Cohen's album After The Big Rain, as well as on Bamako by Bus. Freedman has played with Gilmar Gomes in studio sessions and tours with Kidjo, Anat Cohen and New York/Brazilian band Forro in the Dark.

Imagine ThatIt's never about flash, but about soul.. "When I play with Gilmar, we become this living, breathing percussion animal," Freedman says. "In the Brooklyn studio for the new album, we set up next to each other without any separation - he's in my microphones, and I'm in his. We're one." About the way the entire quintet plays together, Freedman adds: "All of these guys really listen to each other - no one ever overplays. And there's a lot of spontaneity and surprises in the music. Like with the Radiohead tune, 'Codex,' which I love for its atmosphere and beautiful melody. We got it together in the studio for the first time, and it had a great vibe right away. Lionel had never heard the song before, but when we tripped out the ending in our own way, he just reacted and ripped into it - it was unexpected and exciting."

Reflecting on the way drummer-composers have made for some great leaders of bands down through the decades - from Max Roach and Art Blakey to Tony Williams and Brian Blade - Freedman says: "Drummer-leaders have a good overall POV of the music, I think. A drummer can lay down a vibe but also push the players rhythmically, pacing and shaping the music. In jazz - or whatever you want to call this music - leading a band has a lot to do with the musicians you choose. It's about the personality and sound of the players. For instance, I don't have a guitar in the band - I have Lionel Loueke. It's not a keyboard - it's Jason Lindner. All these guys - and how we react to each other, complement each other - make the music what it is. The sessions were relaxed and fun, with a fresh, positive energy, and I hope you can hear that on the album."

Drummer, percussionist and composer Daniel Freedman grew up in a musical New York City family. In high school, he studied with master drummers Max Roach, Billy Higgins and Vernel Fournier and later traveled to study drumming in West Africa, Cuba and the Middle East. Coming up as part of the Smalls scene in the 1990s, Freedman was a member of Jason Lindner's acclaimed big band, as well as Omer Avital's sextet. The drummer has been a member of the collective Third World Love for the past decade, along with touring and recording with Anat Cohen. He also toured the world as a member of Grammy-winning singer Angélique Kidjo's band from 2009 to 2015.

Freedman has played and recorded with such artists as Sting, Youssou N'Dour, Dianne Reeves, Omara Portuondo, Tom Harrell, Wynton Marsalis and Meshell Ndegeocello. In 2012, Anzic released his sophomore album as a leader, Bamako by Bus, which featured a core band of Avishai Cohen, Lionel Loueke, Jason Lindner and Meshell N'degeocello, along with Mark Turner, Pedro Martinez, Abraham Rodriguez, Omer Avital, Joshua Levitt and Davi Viera. Freedman's debut album, Trio, received a nine-star review in Modern Drummer magazine, and he was featured as one of the publication's "Young Lions." The New York Times selected him as one of five young drummers on the New York scene who helped change jazz drumming for the piece "Propelled by Different Drummers." As founder of New York-based music house, Freedman has written and produced dozens of spots for television and the Web.

Encapsulating Freedman's talents, this praise recently came for Imagine That via TSF Jazz (French radio): "With one foot firmly planted in jazz and the other in world music, drummer Daniel Freedman synthesizes two vast universes."

Drummer Nate Smith Chronicles His Own Black American Experience and Reality of the American Dream Through Deep-Rooted Grooves on Debut Album

Nate Smith's visceral, instinctive, and deep-rooted style of drumming has already established him as a key piece in reinvigorating the international jazz scene, and now his rising career reaches a new benchmark with the release of his bandleader debut, KINFOLK: Postcards from Everywhere (February 3, 2017 via Ropeadope Records). Much like his diverse and ample résumé (which includes esteemed leading lights such as Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Ravi Coltrane, José James, Somi, and Patricia Barber, among others), this album sees Smith fusing his original modern jazz compositions with R&B, pop, and hip-hop.

This leader debut shows Smith at the helm of a core ensemble consisting of pianist and keyboardist Kris Bowers, guitarist Jeremy Most, alto and soprano saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, electric bassist Fima Ephron, and singer/lyricist Amma Whatt, with Michael Mayo on backing vocals. The lineup expands on several cuts with the inclusion of several illustrious guests: saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Dave Holland, guitarists Lionel Loueke and Adam Rogers, and vocalist Gretchen Parlato.

As the title KINFOLK suggests, the music bristles with a magnetism that can be only achieved by assembling the right musicians, building upon and blending their individual voices and developing a bracing group rapport. Indeed, Smith refers to the aforementioned musicians as "kindred spirits," while embracing some philosophies gleaned from Holland, his mentor. "Dave once told me, 'I really believe that musicians find each other,'" Smith recalls. "He feels that all the collaborations he's done and all the sidemen that he's hired came into his life on purpose, even though he might not have been looking for something specific. He discovers people along the way.

"KINFOLK is about the musical family that I've put together," Smith continues. "All core members of the band have very unique and specific points of view." He reinforces the idea of family by composing tunes that touch upon his childhood: such is the case with the jovial "Morning and Allison," whose title partly invokes Allison Drive, the street on which Smith grew up. The song stars Whatt serenading idyllic recollections of a child enjoying a bright, fun-filled Sunday morning.

Smith recorded his parents - Lettie and Theodore Smith - talking about their respective parents on the mesmerizing interludes "Mom" and "Dad." On the former, Smith's mother tells how her father migrated from Virginia to Detroit and was drafted into U.S. Army, then later returned to Virginia where he bought the family a house. The latter provides a vehicle for Theodore to recall how his own father tirelessly worked at Navy shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia during the Jim Crow era without getting proper financial compensation or promotion until decades later.

"I think of these stories as snapshots that ultimately gave shape to the Black American experience into which I was born, which ultimately informs this music," Smith explains. He goes on to stress the significance of having his father on the disc: Theodore Smith passed away in March 2015. "He never got a chance to hear the music or the band," Smith says.

Smith celebrates the legacy of his paternal grandfather on the haunting ballad "Home Free (Peter Joe)." The song begins with a chamber-like string intro then moves into a gorgeous hymnal melody, highlighted by Shaw's uncoiling of a splendid, blues-soaked lyricism. "Of my four grandparents, Peter Joe was the one I felt the closest to," Smith says. "He was a real buddy of mine. He died when I was only nine but I still think about him a lot."
Smith reemphasizes the theme of nostalgia with "Retold" and "Pages." "Retold" finds Bowers tickling a melancholy yet romantic melodic motif on which guitar and saxophone run parallel lines across. "When I started writing this song, it always sounded like someone telling a love story from start to finish," Smith says. The dreamy "Pages" becomes a superb showcase for Parlato to vocalize the song's theme: turning the pages of a photo album. "I've loved Gretchen since the first time I heard her sing," Smith says. "She becomes a part of the musical fabric. When she sings, it's never about the singer being at the front and the band being way in the back. It's all one sound."

The spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement permeates the somber ballad "Disenchantment: The Weight," another tune that spotlights Whatt's thoughtful lyrics and delicate singing. Underneath the prowling melody, Smith's drums martial rhythms that convey a sense of marching forward. Written in the summer of 2013 soon after the verdict of the Trayvon Martin murder trial, Smith says that the song's cyclical harmonic pattern represents a longing sigh that many people felt and continue to feel after witnessing these ongoing travesties.

Following that aforementioned song is "Spinning Down," an intricate tune marked by multiple subdivided rhythms inside of larger rhythmic cycles. Featuring Holland playing acoustic bass alongside Ephron on electric, intertwining saxophone passages from Shaw; incredible solos from Bowers and Loueke, and surprisingly the only drum solo on the disc, the song touches upon the theme of trying to ease a restless mind. "It works well right after 'Disenchantment' because that song is about everything that's wrong," Smith explains. "'Spinning Down' is about the mind trying to work all that wrong out."

Because Smith didn't come strictly from the formal matriculation of music studies as so many of his jazz contemporaries did, he lovingly describes his approach to drumming as "unrefined," which in turns helps him distinguish his voice. He did, however, earned his bachelor's degree in 1997 in media arts and design from James Madison University. While he was still in college, the legendary singer Betty Carter recruited him for her world-acclaimed Jazz Ahead program.

Smith says that the visual arts discipline he studied in college definitely seeps into his compositions. "I love great movies and images. I've always had a deep interest in composing for film," Smith says. "For this project, there is something very cinematic about the way that I conceived this record. That's why it was so important for me to cast the right characters in terms of musicians. They bring to life the themes of family, nostalgia and identity that define this music." Ultimately, Smith likens the songs on KINFOLK to film vignettes sequenced together to tell a greater story about the unfolding journey of a working artist. This music represents snapshots from that voyage - these songs are the postcards from everywhere along the winding road.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Piano Guys Announce New Album Uncharted

Global music internet sensation The Piano Guys, announce the release of their new album Uncharted (Portrait). Uncharted comes out October 28 and includes their brand new song "Okay." Written by hit-makers Andy Grammer and Dave Bassett, the upbeat track features TPG's own Al van der Beek on vocals. 

"We wanted to try something different for our new song, 'Okay,'' says Steven Sharp Nelson. "We sidestepped our standard classically-influenced instrumental niche and did something more pop-driven featuring Al's superb vocal talent! We felt as though this was the best way to spread the positive message behind this song. We hope our fans love it."

For the "Okay" music video, The Piano Guys wanted to pay tribute to their loyal fans who have joined them on this exciting journey. The video opens with TPG recording the new song in the studio, where they create all of their inspirational music.  Next, we find them performing live at the USANA Amphitheatre in front of a cheering crowd of 20,000 in their home state of Utah.  The result is a sense of palpable excitement and the expression of infectious energy exchanged between the band and their passionate fans. 

The new album Uncharted features all of The Piano Guys' recent hits including "Fight Song/Amazing Grace," "A Sky Full of Stars," "Hello/Lacrimosa," and "Jungle Book/Sarabande," all available for the first time on CD.

The Deluxe Edition includes a DVD featuring all of their recent hit music videos including "Fight Song/Amazing Grace" (filmed in Scotland), "Jungle Book/Sarabande" (shot in Chichén Itzá, Mexico), "I Want You Back," and "Indiana Jones and the Arabian Nights" (filmed in Petra, Jordan).

The Piano Guys – Steven Sharp Nelson, Jon Schmidt, Al Van der Beek and Paul Anderson – became an online sensation by way of their immensely successful series of strikingly original self-made music videos, which recently surpassed 1 billion views and garnered over 5 million subscribers on YouTube. They've made over 50 music videos since 2011, including their breakout hit, an innovative multi-handed version of One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" and a gorgeous reinvention of the hit song "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen. To date, the Utah-based classical-pop group has released five major label albums on Portrait/Sony Music Masterworks: Wonders, The Piano Guys, The Piano Guys 2, a holiday album called A Family Christmas, and most recently The Piano Guys – Live!  featuring live music from their sold out Red Rocks and Carnegie Hall concerts. Their latest album Uncharted comes out October 28.

Listen to tracks from the new album Uncharted here:

Macy Gray's Stripped Debuts at #3 on Billboard Jazz Chart

One of the most iconic and instantly recognizable voices in music history is back in a way you've never heard before. Macy Gray makes her Chesky Records debut with her new Jazz infused album, Stripped. Paired with an awe inspiring jazz ensemble that includes Ari Hoenig, Daryl Johns, Russell Malone, and Wallace Roney, Macy's voice is given the space and freedom to truly shine. Featuring new original songs, intriguing covers, and stunning new arrangements of her classic hits like "I Try," there's something for everyone on this timeless recording.

Macy Gray was born and raised in Ohio, and moved to California for college. She began singing in her 20s and released her multi-platinum debut album, On How Life Is, in 1999, winning a Grammy for her single, “I Try.”

Gray also enjoys acting, and has had small roles on several TV shows as well as movies, including Training Day with Denzel Washington, and Shadowboxer with Cuba Gooding Junior. Additionally she made cameo appearances as herself in films like Spider-Man (2002) and television shows like Ally McBeal. In 2012, she appeared in the film The Paperboy with Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack, and Nicole Kidman. The film was released at the Cannes Film Festival. Gray was also a contestant on the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars in 2009.

Part of the Chesky Binaural + Series, all recorded with a single microphone, the band appears right before you with this spacious, lush and multi-dimensional recording. Now headphone users will hear the same three-dimensional sound and imaging as audiophiles have for the past 25 years with Chesky Recordings. Also these new Binaural+ Series albums capture even more spatial realism for the home audiophile market, bringing you one step closer to the actual event. You will hear some of the most natural and pure cool music ever recorded.



An amazing slice of sound from guitarist John Scofield – a record we might not have expected years ago, but one that comes across beautifully overall – thanks to Scofield's ever-increasing diversity as a musician! The title hints at the contents – as the tracks here showcase John's longtime love of country music – something that's barely hinted at on his other recordings, and which here gets completely re-shaped with the Scofield sound – that boldly chromatic style of guitar that's a million miles from Nashville or Bakersfield, but which turns out some beautiful reworkings of older classics. The group here features Larry Goldings on organ and piano, Steve Swallow on bass, and Bill Stewart on drums – and titles include "Mama Tried", "Wildwood Flower", "Wayfaring Stranger", "Bartenders Blues", "Mr Fool", "Jolene", "You're Still The One", and "Faded Flower". ~ Dusty Groove


The Talking Heads spawned a number of worthy side projects and spinoffs—David Byrne & Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Jerry Harrison’s The Red and the Black—but none were as funky, danceable, and flat-out fun as Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth’s Tom Tom Club. Conceived as something of a larkish break from the grandly realized intellectual and artistic pretensions of the Heads’ Remain in Light record, the duo’s self-titled 1981 debut was recorded in Barbados with Weymouth’s sisters and Adrian Belew and Steven Stanley from the Remain in Light band, and not only spawned a couple of hit singles in “Genius of Love” and “Wordy Rappinghood” but also became, in its own way, enormously influential. This was the sound of downtown New York talking, listening, and rapping to the burgeoning hip hop movement, a hybrid heard in a whole host of acts in the ‘80s and ‘90s, from Madonna to Mariah Carey to the Beastie Boys and beyond. Weymouth and Frantz went on to record several more albums under the Tom Tom Club moniker, but this remains the classic; Real Gone Music is proud to offer Tom Tom Club in a translucent green vinyl edition limited to 800 copies. Fun, natural fun! Trackslisting: As Above, So Below; Wordy Rappinghood; Genius of Love; Lorelei; On, On, On, On...; Tom Tom Theme; Booming and Zooming;and L' Éléphant.


A stunning full length debut from Lady Wray – a voice you might know from her previous collaboration in the duo Lady – but one that's even more amazing out front here on her own! The album's got a rock-solid, totally classic vibe – thanks to Leon "El" Michels – who produced, and provided most of the music with his group – a completely funky ensemble, but one that's also right up to the sense of majesty that Wray brings to her vocals – a soaring, righteous spirit that's way beyond the easy cliches or retro modes of so many other funky singers. Instead, the lady has a way of doing things that's all her own – a knowledge of all the places that R&B-influenced vocals have gone in recent decades, but packed into a simple, straightforward sound that's a perfect fit with Michels' music. Better than we could have hoped – with titles that include "Smiling", "Do It Again", "They Won't Hang Around", "Bad Girl", "Let It Go", "Cut Me Loose", and "Make Me Over". ~ Dusty Groove

Rising Young Soul Jazz Singer/Songwriter Lindsey Webster Scores First Vocal #1 on Contemporary Jazz Charts Since Sade

Growing up in an artist community, the daughter of loving hippie parents, in Woodstock NY, the allure of music was never far from Lindsey Webster. The adorable, instantly likeable and earthy singer/songwriter, who grew up listening to her parents' Jimi Hendrix, Beatles and Elvis Costello LPs and later the Supremes, once pursued medical school before finally settling on music. Webster has been taking the contemporary jazz world by storm, scoring a  #1 hit with her soulful original "Fool Me Once." This feat is remarkable in numerous ways. Not only is Lindsey half the age of the male instrumentalists who dominate the genre, but her #1 is the first vocal driven song that has topped the Billboard smooth jazz chart since Sade's "Soldier of Love" in 2010.  Lindsey exclaims, "This honor has changed the game for me. Once a dream comes into fruition, it really lights a fire."

November 4, 2016, Shanachie Entertainment will release Webster's anticipated label debut, Back To Your Heart. Randall Grass, Shanachie Entertainment General Manager states, "Lindsey Webster is an extraordinary vocalist who effortlessly melds R&B and jazz in a uniquely appealing 'jazzy soul' style that instantly connects with audiences and the world is already taking notice!" Influenced by everyone from Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera to Steely Dan and Earth Wind and Fire, there is an honesty and authenticity that reverberates through Lindsey Webster's enchanting, smoky, rich and soulful honey-toned pipes. Joining forces with her husband, pianist and musical partner, Keith Slattery, the duo crafts evocative soundscapes that fuse the best elements of R&B, jazz, pop and soul. "The knowledge, style and intuition that Keith brings to my songs is amazing," says Lindsey of her husband. "Keith and I are extremely passionate and sensitive people who put the same pride and perfectionism into our writing, recording, and producing. Our philosophy is simple, we do what feels right. I believe this is what has helped us to forge our own sound."

The lead single on Back To Your Heart is the album's title track.  It's an intoxicating and emotive number that sizzles and a song that Webster said wrote itself. "Keith was coming up with the idea for the chorus upstairs on his keyboard one day and I was downstairs cleaning," she shares. "Once he got the chord progression going and played it a few times, the words 'You gotta show me the way back to your heart' popped into my head." Back To Your Heart is a revealing and intimate portrait of Lindsey Webster's life. There are songs like "On Our Way," about Lindsey's personal path and the principals of the Laws of Attraction and her heartfelt and moving tribute to her mother Barbara, who passed in 2014.  "One At A Time," was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and an inspirational speech that saxophonist Kirk Whalum (who guests on the song) gave at one of his concerts about the power of everyday Americans. Lindsey shares, "I realized that one person at a time is how we are going to come to some kind of peace. We have to love and respect and embrace our differences in order to get to the inner peace we need to create widespread peace." Lindsey's mission is to make an emotional connection with her fans. Somewhat of an old-soul, the young singer concludes, "With all the pop tunes out nowadays, literally about nothing, I think it's important to hold the torch for the artists before us who found it important to write real music." With the release of Back To Your Heart, Lindsey Webster is poised to find her way into your heart...and this is just the beginning!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


In 2015 bassist and composer Daniel Foose returned to his ancestral home of the Mississippi Delta to write an album of music at the crossroads of history, race, and the natural world. Joining Foose on this genre-defying, adventurous and beautiful album, of Water and Ghosts, is Sebastian Noelle on guitar, Keita Ogawa on percussion, Tomoko Omura and Maria Im on violin, Allyson Clare on viola and Jennifer DeVore on cello. "This ensemble, also called 'of Water and Ghosts', is a new outlet for my compositions. It consists of a traditional string quartet with percussion, guitar, and acoustic bass. The name refers to the historic forces that shaped the Mississippi Delta where this music was conceived and composed. It is an area where floods are regular, and fortunes are made and lost based on how much rain one may get in a particular season. Water has always been carving its way through the humanity of that place since it was first inhabited by people over 5000 years ago. In addition to these natural forces, the forces of war, race, slavery, and history imbue this area with ghosts of the past that affect people in conscious and unconscious ways to this day. It is a land rich with stories and I hope to reflect that sense of story telling through this ensemble," said Foose. of Water and Ghosts will be available on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on October 7, 2016. 

On of Water and Ghosts themes of racial injustice, conflict, and economic terrorism are juxtaposed against the backdrop of a serene and truly majestic natural setting. Foose explains, "I have attempted to reflect this duality musically through textures not typically heard together, notably employing grooves based on West African patterns, New Orleans street beats and Delta-style blues against the backdrop of sometimes sweet, sometimes dissonant string textures reflective of late romantic music."

Like the sculptures of Henry Moore or Richard Serra, or the architecture of Renzo Piano, Daniel Foose's compositional practice is one that, at it's best, is site specific. For his suite, "Sonora" from of Water and Ghosts (tracks 1-4), Foose composed music on the site of the former Sonora Plantation (in the Mississippi Delta) where his maternal ancestors have farmed for over a century. The piece narrates the story of the acquisition of Sonora and the injustices of slavery that were carried out in that place. The artist took his upright bass into the very fields, cemeteries and forests of the area, embracing and ingesting that environment, to compose the themes of the "Sonora" suite. It is his hope that these themes will be imbued with a sense of place that enrich the stories he's attempting to tell musically. He additionally did this for the collection of pieces entitled "Pluto" (tracks 5-9), about a plantation where his paternal family lives and farms. Staying on that land for a month, he composed music about the people of the area and their stories.

"Two lands separated by a few miles along the fertile crescent of the Yazoo River, have borne witness to the rise and fall of tribes from millennia ago, war, enslavement, terrorism, resilience, survival, faith, creation . . . the light in us struggling to overcome our own shadow. On the surface this land seems so quiet and flat, but dig just beneath the surface and the quietness gives way to a cacophony of voices and the flatness becomes textured as a tapestry of bones and memories. I spent a month listening to these voices and exploring this land, composing the themes for each piece in the very places that inspired them. As I improvised with my upright bass in the muddy fields and cemeteries of the area, these melodies very much felt like they came from outside of myself, gifted to me from the land." (excerpted from the liner notes for of Water and Ghosts). 

Daniel Foose has performed all over the world with many different ensembles and is currently a member of Lady Gaga's Band. In 2013 Daniel was awarded 3rd place in the International Society for Bassists Jazz Competition performing his piece 'Circuits (2012)'.

Bassist Marcos Varela Bridges Generations On Debut CD San Ygnacio

New York City is a long way from tiny San Ygnacio, Texas - not only measured in miles (around 2,000, for the record) but also in temperament. Born and raised in Houston, bassist Marcos Varela nonetheless traces his roots back to the historic Texas town where his family has lived on the same ranch since at least the 1750s. Based in New York for the last 12 years, Varela takes stock of how far he's come on his leader debut, San Ygnacio, released March 18 on Origin Records.

Drawing on collaborators from throughout his time in New York, Varela assembles a stand-out cast of veterans and peers. The album's core rhythm section is composed of two jazz giants: pianist George Cables, a key mentor, and drummer Billy Hart, one of Varela's earliest employers. They're joined by another longtime employer, trombonist Clifton Anderson, as well as two of Varela's most gifted contemporaries, saxophonists Dayna Stephens and Logan Richardson. On two tracks, Varela features his one-time collective quartet with up-and-coming players Arnold Lee (alto, son of bassist/composer Bill Lee and half-brother of director Spike Lee), Eden Ladin (piano) and Kush Abadey (drums).

Varela is a graduate of Houston's renowned High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, where his fellow alumni include Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, and Beyoncé. He arrived in NYC to continue his studies at the New School, leading to opportunities to perform with a wide range of artists including Cables, Hart, Anderson, Moran, Geri Allen, The Last Poets, the Mingus Big Band, Kendrick Scott, Billy Harper and Tyshawn Sorey, among countless others. He has also composed music for several film and TV projects, including director Domenica Cameron-Scorsese's film "Roots in Water."

"This record is a culmination of my New York experience," Varela says of San Ygnacio. "It features some of my favorite people to play with and recalls some of the positive experiences I've had during my New York days."

Legendary bassist Ron Carter contributed the album's liner notes, where he writes that Varela's "tone, choice of notes and compositions will place his playing and name on the list of bassists to be heard." A hero turned mentor, Carter is just one of the jazz elders who have taken note of Varela's talents and encouraged the bassist along his path. While still in college, he was invited to join longtime Dizzy Gillespie drummer Charlie Persip's big band. Around the same time, Hart included Varela in a sextet of young players that also featured rising stars Theo Croker, Sullivan Fortner, and Irwin Hall.

"Billy encouraged us to challenge him and keep him young, and then he wanted to impart his experience and knowledge onto us as well," Varela says. "It was a great learning experience."

Three of the tracks on San Ygnacio come from the repertoire of Hart's sextet: "Pepper" and "Picturesque" are both George Mraz compositions, while "Lullaby for Imke" is a gentle ballad that the drummer recorded on a 2006 quartet release, presented here in a new arrangement by pianist Ezra Weiss. "Picturesque" is the album's sole trio piece, with Varela and Cables doubling up on the angular melody, while the brisk "Pepper" is highlighted by the pairing of Dayna Stephens' tenor and Varela's arco playing.

The album opens with its only standard, Cables' bold arrangement of "I Should Care." Varela says, "Especially on a debut record, the jazz community wants to hear you play over a standard and know that you have that ability. If you can't play a standard, it negates your jazz legitimacy. Besides, I've spent a lot of time playing that music, I loved George's arrangement, and I wanted something that everyone could get together and be creative on immediately."

Varela's "Colinas de Santa Maria" is named for his family's ranch in San Ygnacio, which has been in his family's possession since at least a mid-18th century Spanish land grant. While he grew up in Houston, Varela spent plenty of time visiting family at the ranch and enjoying the town's unchanged Spanish architecture. He evokes a sense of nostalgia for that time and landscape, while saxophonist Arnold Lee contributes a vivid, wistful solo. The same quartet, whose members Varela continues to play with in other contexts, returns on Eden Ladin's simmering "Red on Planet Pluto."

The leader takes the spotlight on "Mitsuru," a bass feature composed by Anderson, who often used the tune to feature Varela in the trombonist's own band. Anderson also contributes and plays on the mid-tempo swinger "Sister Gemini." Cables, who Varela met through the auspices of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, wrote the intoxicating waltz "Looking For the Light," which Varela calls "one of my favorite George pieces - it really encourages you to play lyrically."

The album concludes with Varela's "Where the Wild Things Are," a modern burner named for his favorite childhood book. Following a darkly atmospheric introduction, the piece erupts into a bristling melody, finally leading into a raucous solo showcase for Billy Hart. The tune is the prime example of Varela's approach to bridging the generations represented in his band. "I wanted to take the veterans out of their comfort zone," he explains. "I wanted to flip the script a little bit and try something different, have them be adventurous and play some songs they wouldn't normally be heard playing. I wanted to push people in different directions to create a new sound."

An intriguing mix of personalities and influences, generations and sounds, San Ygnacio traces Marcos Varela's journey from Houston to New York, a trek rich with experiences and opportunities. It's a striking debut that points the way toward even more music - and miles - to come.



The best album so far from Throttle Elevator music – thanks to some fantastic saxophone from Kamasai Washington! The group was always pretty good before – but this time around, they really rise above their past – and also have Washington handling all the arrangements on the record, which gives them a spiritual sound we never would have expected! Core group members include Gregory Howe and Matt Montgomery on guitars and piano, Mike Hughes on drums, and Erik Jekabson on flugelhorn and trumpet – but the presence of Washington is what really seals the deal, on tracks that include "Gibraltar Road", "We Can Work With That", "Sweet Spot", "No One To Vote For", "Boeske Trail", and "Throwing The Switch". ~ Dusty Groove


Three remixes from the classic Seven Souls. Material with William S. Burroughs, reading from The Western Lands. Number three, in his epic trilogy that began with "Cities Of The Red Night" and "A Place Of Dead Roads". Featured here - three mutations from the original form. "The Western Lands" by Bill Laswell featuring bass icon Jah Wobble, the original illbient mutant - DJ Spooky, renown Japanese ambient artist - Tetsu Inoue and others. "Seven Souls" by Bomb The Bass founder Tim Simenon. And "Soul Killer" by electronic experimentalist Terre Thaemlitz. The Road To The Western Land is by definition the most dangerous road in the world. for it is a journey beyond death, beyond the basic god standard of fear and danger. Tracks: The Western Lands (A Dangerous Road Mix); Seven Souls (Tim Simenon Mix); and Soul Killer (Remote Control Mix). 


Now 14 years and 8 studio albums deep, nu jazz outfit Club des Belugas proudly present their 9th studio album, which is simply called "Nine". It's a 2 CD album with 30 tracks in total, 13 brand new ones and 17 mostly unreleased remixes. This 2 CD album is available for the price of 1 CD! Many well-known vocalists appear on this fantastic album: Anna-Luca (Sweden), Anne Schnell (Germany), Antoine Villoutreix (France), Arema Arega (Cuba), Ashley Slater (UK), Brenda Boykin (USA), Dean Bowman (USA), Ester Rada (Israel), Iain Mackenzie (UK), Nelly Simon (Germany), Saskia Jonker (The Netherlands) and Veronika Harcsa (Hungary). As always Club des Belugas are combining contemporary European Nujazz & Electro Styles with Cuban & Brazilian Beats, Swing and American Black Soul and Funk of the fifties, sixties & seventies using their unique creativity and intensity. 



The grooves here go way past the surface level – mighty deep overall, and served up in that fantastic mix of jazzy fusion and club that we love so much from U-Nam! The guitarist just seems to get better and better with each new recording – mixing a 70s style of George Benson soloing with well-crafted rhythms that are never too over the top, and which never force the groove so much that U-Nam can't find space to do his own thing! The style's almost like an instrumental version of Incognito, although with more of a jazzy solo instrumental vibe – and titles include "Back In Style", "Mary Jane", "Groove Paradise", "Going For Miles", "Surface Level", and West Indeed". ~ Dusty Groove


Magic In Threes is actually a quintet, and the album's numbered four – but don't let these digits confuse you, because the sound is nicely straight ahead – and a really fresh approach to instrumental funk! These guys have a laidback groove that almost reminds us of 70s soundtrack modes, but never tries at all to copy their style – and instead finds a unique space that's very different from so many of the other funky combos working today, and which hardly belies the Tennessee roots of the group! The music has this great sense of space between the rhythms – things are never too fast or too forced, but always funky throughout – served up with a shifting array of instrumentation that includes Fender Rhodes, organ, and other keyboards – plus guitar, flute, sax, and trumpet. Titles include "Vida Lago", "Sunshine", "Up In The Market", "Cinema Six Eight", "Cashin Out", "Beautiful Starship", "For The Champ", "60s Spring", and "Ringworld". (Includes download!) ~ Dusty Groove


The title may seem a bit strange, but the grooves on this set are so heavy, you might find yourself heading for the chiropractor after your first listen to the record! Tacosan takes strong inspiration from the James Brown band of the late 60s – with all the bumps, grinds, and funky jumps you might imagine – but his music also adds in some fuzzy guitar at times, too – a bit like the contribution that the young Dave Matthews made to JB on the Sho Is Funky Down here album – all of which makes for a super-heavy approach to deep funk! Tacosan sings in Japanese throughout – but his group grooves in an international way, with lots of southern funk currents next to the garagey guitar – all of which makes for a pretty unique blend of sounds. All song titles are in Japanese – save for one, which is enigmatically titled "Hard Boiled Egg". ~ Dusty Groove


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