Saturday, November 30, 2019

New Music Releases: Buddy Greco; Simone Kopmajer; Snorre Kirk with Stephen Riley


Buddy Greco - Let's Love / I Like It Swinging

On this CD release jazz and pop singer Buddy Greco is heard in his early 1960s prime with ''two complete stereo LPs'', Let's Love, and I Like It Swinging. As a bonus, four tracks from singles are included, all on CD for the first time. 28 ''Great Songs'' in all! ///  Review: Anyone that would remember Greco coming up as a swinging jazz singer under Benny Goodman is probably dead. Now, he's remembered by boomers as a jive ass Vegas finger popping daddio that symbolized everything wrong with the establishment. These two albums produced by Al Cohn with the era's top jazzbos in tow (including Zoot Sims) finds Greco shaking off the last of his jazz vocal days looking to fill a nook between Sinatra, Prima and Davis before letting those fingers really pop. These tracks could live on their own without the vocals since the players are so strong but the song choices are faultless. A nice addition to any jazz vocal collection. ~ Chris Spector --Midwest Record review 09/20/19

Simone Kopmajer – My Favorite Songs

My Favorite Songs is Simone Kopmajer´s first Best Of album, a collection of songs from her last 12 recordings. The Double-CD features artists such as George Mraz, Victor Lewis, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Houston Person and many more on a 32-songset that presents songs from The Great American Songbook, originals and exquisite covers of songs made popular by Frank Sinatra, Ray Orbison and Bill Withers. She has soul and a particular charismatic tone in her voice that gives each song that special something. Born in Austria, Simone Kopmajer already achieved at a young age what many musicians, bands and ensembles dream of - the launch of a successful international career. In the United States, Japan and Southeast Asia, the singer is a household name for lovers of demanding and refined jazz music. She fills large concert halls, performs as the headliner of major international festivals and has sold thousands of CDs worldwide.

Snorre Kirk with Stephen Riley - Tangerine Rhapsody

Drummer Snorre Kirk has a great musical partner here – tenorist Stephen Riley, who blows with this warm, raspy tone that takes us back to classic Ben Webster in the postwar years! The pace of most tunes is nicely laidback, but never in a way that's too sloppy or loose – as Kirk's combo provides these rhythms that are more than interesting enough on their own, and which really expand once Riley's magic comes into the mix! Also, all tunes are originals by Kirk, which makes for an even fresher set than the usual outing with a classic-styled tenorist – and the group features Magnus Hjorth on piano and Anders Fjelsted on bass – plus guest tenor from Jan Harbeck on two tracks too. Tiles include "Tangerine Rhapsody", "Blues Jump", "West Indian Fever", "Festival Grease", and "Uptown Swing Theme".~ Dusty Groove

 


Friday, November 29, 2019

Lee Perry's Heavy Rain


December 6th 2019 sees the release of Lee Perry's Heavy Rain, the dub companion to the critically-acclaimed Rainford album which came out in June 2019. On Heavy Rain, the Upsetter and co-producer Adrian Sherwood have produced a radical bass heavy re-version of the original tapes with a host of guest musicians including Brian Eno and Vin Gordon.

If Rainford is 2019's Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Corn Bread then Heavy Rain is its Super Ape.

As well as highlighting the deft musicianship of the original backing band on the Rainford sessions (which include core On-U luminaries from Creation Rebel, Tackhead and Dub Syndicate) these re-works also invite some further players into the cosmic mix. Brian Eno makes an unexpected right channel entry into "Here Come The Warm Dreads", a heavily processed sound system overhaul of Rainford highlight "Makumba Rock", cheekily re-titled as a nod to Eno's own debut solo album. This completes a circle started in 1981 with African Head Charge's My Life In A Hole In The Ground similarly referencing the contemporary collaboration between Eno and David Byrne, and their "vision of a psychedelic Africa".  
Elsewhere, legendary trombonist Vin Gordon (one of the hornsmen on Bob Marley & The Wailers Exodus amongst many other classic sides) lends his distinctively woozy blowing to tracks such as "Rattling Bones And Crowns" (a late night flipside to "Kill Them Dreams Money Worshippers") and "Crickets In Moonlight" ("Cricket In The Moon" refracted through some beautifully louche late summer heat haze lens). The likeliest contender to a title track, "Heavy Rainford" strips back the narrative from "Autobiography Of The Upsetter" to ride the rhythm with all sorts of mixing desk tricks, anchored by the killer "I Am The Upsetter" hook from LSK.  

It's important to note that it's not all Rainford re-works though: "Dreams Come True" and "Above And Beyond" are Scratch and Sherwood originals, heard here for the first time and equally strong material for this purple patch in the career of an unstoppable Jamaican maverick and true musical pioneer. 

More about Lee "Scratch" Perry:
He began making music in the late 50s for Clement Coxsone Dodd's label. Following a stint at Joe Gibbs's Amalgamated Records, Perry formed his own imprint, Upsetter, in 1968.
In the early 1960s, Lee's mixing board experiments resulted in the creation of dub. He is synonymous with his innovative production techniques and renowned for his studio band The Upsetters.

He was instrumental in launching the career of Bob Marley, producing many of the pre-Island Records Wailers sides, and working with him sporadically throughout his entire career, including 1977's "Punky Reggae Party", the same year that Perry worked on a session with the Clash for their "Compete Control" single.

In 1973, Perry built Black Ark studios, where he produced records for iconic musicians like Junior Byles, Junior Murvin, The Heptones, Susan Cadogan, The Congos and Max Romeo.
Perry has recorded with Keith Richards, The Beastie Boys, George Clinton, David Lynch, Andrew WK, Moby, Ari Up of The Slits, Bill Laswell, Tunde Adebimpe (TV On The Radio), Sly Dunbar, Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt, Mad Professor and porn star Sasha Grey.
In 2003 he won the best reggae album Grammy for Jamaican E.T.  

Lee's song Enter the Dragon was sampled by Panda Bear from Animal Collective. He was then selected by A.C. to perform at All Tomorrow's Parties, which the band curated in 2011.
Rolling Stone Magazine featured Perry in their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Although 82 years old, Lee is fit, sprightly and plays live on a regular basis to rapt audiences around the world. He divides his time between Jamaica and Switzerland.

More about Adrian Sherwood:
"Someone once described me as just a fan who'd got his hands on a mixing desk, They were probably trying to be nasty, but I took it as a compliment - that's exactly what I am!"
For over 40 years now, forward-thinking sound scientist and mixologist Adrian Sherwood has been dubbing it up, keeping the faith when others have fallen away and blowing minds and speakers alike.

Producer, remixer, and proprietor of the British dub collective/record label On-U Sound,  Adrian Sherwood has long been regarded as one of the most innovative and influential artists in contemporary dance and modern reggae music. His talent for creating musical space, suspense, sensations and textures have enabled him to pioneer a distinctive fusion of dub, rock, reggae and dance that challenges tradition not only in roots circles, but also in the pop world at large.

"I'd rather try and create a niche amongst like-minded people, and create our own little market place be that 5, 50 or 500,000 sales and also be true to our principles of making things, and to your own spirit that you put into the work."

Born in 1958, Sherwood first surfaced during the mid '70s and formed On-U Sound in 1981. While the On-U Sound crew's original focus was on live performances, the emphasis soon switched to making records and Sherwood began mixing and matching lineups, resulting in new acts including New Age Steppers, African Head Charge, Mark Stewart & Maffia, and Doctor Pablo & the Dub Syndicate.

All of these early records, according to Rock: The Rough Guide were "phenomenal, generally bass-heavy with outlandish dubbing from Sherwood, who worked the mixing desk as an instrument in itself."

Long influential and innovative on the UK reggae scene, Sherwood's distinctive production style soon began attracting interest from acts outside of the dub community and by the early-'80s Sherwood was among the most visible producers and remixers around, working on tracks for artists as varied as Depeche Mode, Primal Scream, Einsturzende Neubaten, Simply Red, the Woodentops, and Ministry. He became increasingly involved in industrial music as the decade wore on, producing tracks for Cabaret Voltaire, Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, and Nine Inch Nails, and although On-U Sound continued to reflect its leader's eclectic tastes, the label remained a top reggae outlet.

In 2003 he launched his solo artist career with Never Trust a Hippy, which was followed in 2006 by Becoming a Cliché. Both were released by On-U in conjunction with the Real World label.

Still one of the most sought-after producers in the contemporary music industry, Adrian Sherwood and his progressive style and interest in developing new ideas continue to propel On-U Sound's ongoing success. In 2012 he issued his third solo album Survival & Resistance, and began an ongoing collaboration with Bristol-based dubstep don Pinch. This brought two different generations of bass together and in 2015 the pair released their debut album Late Night Endless. Behind the mixing desk he has been working with the likes of Roots Manuva, Clinic and Nisennenmondai; and delivered remixes of Congo Natty, Peaking Lights and Django Django. His production and remix works has also begun to be anthologised by On-U Sound with the critically acclaimed Sherwood At The Controls series.  
"Music is lovely because it stimulates people, superficial music doesn't. If you make something that you put your heart and soul into and really try to push it so it leaps out the speakers at you, and if there's a good feel to it, then you've achieved something."


Thursday, November 28, 2019

The documentary CHICK COREA: IN THE MIND OF A MASTER premieres Dec. 1













           The documentary CHICK COREA: IN THE MIND OF A MASTER presents an unparalleled and coveted front row seat to witness the creative process of the 22-time GRAMMY Award® winning artist while he writes and arranges his new album Antidote, which just received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. Chick Corea is joined by The Spanish Heart Band, a stellar new group of international musicians he collaborates with and draws inspiration from. The one-hour documentary covers seminal moments in Chick’s life including his earliest memories at the piano to milestones in his career including working with the likes of legends Miles Davis and Stan Getz. The documentary is filmed predominantly at the famed Mad Hatter Studios, the same Los Angeles studio where Paul McCartney, Prince and legions of music royalty have recorded.

An iconic instrumentalist, composer and bandleader, Chick is a world-renowned jazz musician with an awe-inspiring command of the piano. Chick’s body of work, however, defies such conventional and narrow classification. Having pioneered the category of jazz fusion, Chick is without a doubt one of the most prolific, influential and legendary musicians of all time. Chick’s genius has touched upon a wide range of musicians across all genres; from Sting and The Police to Bobby McFerrin. The Spanish Heart Band is comprised of some of the leading jazz and flamenco musicians from the US, Spain and Latin America: Flamenco guitarist Niño Josele and saxophonist/flutist Jorge Pardo both hail from Spain; Cuban bassist Carlitos Del Puerto; Venezuelan percussionist Luisito Quintero; Americans Michael Rodriguez on trumpet, Steve Davis on trombone and Marcus Gilmore on drums. “Antidote” also includes the percussive footwork of flamenco dancer Nino de los Reyes. Rounding out the ensemble are special appearances by singer Gayle Moran Corea and the incomparable Latin jazz vocalist and 8-time GRAMMY Award®, Rubén Blades.

The recording process, as Chick relates, is an adventure all its own, with new compositions and fresh interpretations of some of his own classics and personal favorites from other composers, including Paco de Lucia, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and Igor Stravinsky. Some of the album’s musical sketches take unexpected twists and turns as each member of the band contributes their unique artistic talents to create some of the most dynamic and breathtaking music of Chick’s storied career.

Vincent Herring, Bobby Watson, and Gary Bartz - Bird At 100


Vincent Herring, Bobby Watson, and Gary Bartz Collaborate to Honor and Extol the Great Charlie Parker in Anticipation of His 100th Birthday



August 29, 2020 will mark the centennial of one of jazz’s most iconic figures, Charlie Parker. The celebration gets off to a jubilantly swinging start with an alto saxophone summit bringing together three of modern jazz’s most acclaimed voices: Vincent Herring, Bobby Watson and Gary Bartz. Along with a superb rhythm section, the three distinctive altoists pay tribute to Parker’s legacy in the most apt fashion for this ground-breaking pioneer: by carrying his innovations forward in their own utterly singular styles.

Due out November 29 via Smoke Sessions Records, the soul-stirring Bird at 100 traces a direct lineage from Parker’s birthplace in Kansas City to the stage of Smoke Jazz & Supper Club, where these three influential acolytes look back from the vantage point of jazz in 2019, with a combination of reverence, respect and adventure. The program offers a buoyant mix of classic Parker tunes, familiar standards once recorded by Bird (and the generations since) and new compositions written in honor of the master.

Separated by roughly a decade apiece, Bartz, Watson and Herring represent three distinct points along that line linking Bird’s transformative approach through the evolution of music in his wake. Bartz was born just as Parker was making his mark in New York City, and thus grew up in a musical world indelibly marked by his unmistakable sound. Watson came into the world less than two years before Parker left it, mentored by first-generation bop giants like Art Blakey. And Herring was part of a movement that reimagined bebop for a wholly new generation, while maintaining a link with the source through such greats as Nat Adderley and Freddie Hubbard.

The three are ably backed on Bird at 100 by a rhythm section that has deeply imbibed the entire sweep of that history: pianist David Kikoski, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Carl Allen. All three are regular collaborators with Herring, thus bringing a well-established chemistry to this all-star outing.

“The influence of Charlie Parker is a constant thread that runs through all of us,” says Herring, who brainstormed the date. “It’s amazing how much Charlie Parker has touched so many different people in their pursuit of music. We certainly take in other influences as well, and of course we all hope to put our own stamp on it, but Bird is always there through his vocabulary and his way of interpreting of the music.”

Bartz feels the link to Parker in a direct way, he says. “I started playing [during] the era of bebop… Bird changed the whole landscape of the music with his virtuosity, his harmonic knowledge, and his musicality. To me, he’s like the modern-day Bach.”

For Watson, a fellow Kansas City native, Parker represents a laundry list of admirable qualities: “Triumph over adversity. Spontaneity. Creativity. Individualism. Originality.” Through this project, he continues, he aims to “try to extend his legacy in my own way. People like Bird, Duke Ellington and Monk all loved to hear people put different spins and interpret their music through their own voice. So I wanted to add my voice on the saxophone and add some different spins on his classic compositions and song forms.”

The album roars to a start with one of Parker’s classic burners, “Klactoveedsedstene” – a tune as daunting to navigate as it is to pronounce. All three altoists get a chance to brave its tricky turns: Herring with a pointed fleetness, followed by Watson’s fluid soulfulness and finally Bartz’s unpredictable swerves. It’s followed by Watson’s contribution, “Bird-ish,” an homage penned over the changes to Parker’s immortal “Confirmation” that allows all three to spar with Carl Allen.

Kikoski’s knotty but fanciful lines open Parker’s “The Hymn” before the frontline takes off in an old-fashioned blowing contest – one that Herring insists was more comradely than competitive. “When you’re in your 20s it’s more of a competitive thing, but that changes as you get older,” he says. “Now it’s a celebration of where the music is coming from and an appreciation of each other.”

“Folklore” is Herring’s tribute to Bird and other influential voices of the era, including Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, and the composer’s own mentor, Nat Adderley. The zig-zagging melody evokes the bop era while maintaining the flavor of the present day. “Bird Lives” is a tribute by the late, great Jackie McLean, another virtuosic altoist (and another point on the timeline, bridging the two decades that separate Bird and Bartz). The set comes to a raucous close with the evening’s final Parker classic, “Yardbird Suite.”

Each of the three saxophonists also takes his moment in the spotlight with a ballad feature. Herring wrings every ounce of emotion and yearning from “Lover Man,” while Watson offers a tour de force of phrasing on “These Foolish Things.” Bartz embarks on a poignant exploration of “April in Paris,” inspired by the rendition from Bird With Strings.

While all three profess their lifelong love of Charlie Parker, they also form a mutual admiration society for one another. “It was fascinating to hear the three different sounds of the alto,” Bartz says. “If you’re playing and it’s coming from your inside, then you won’t sound like anybody else. [Vincent and Bobby] each have their individual sound and concept of how the alto should sound.”

Watson declares the weekend’s performances full of “complete and utter joy and respect. And fun – maybe not in that order. Maybe fun first [laughs].”

For Herring, the most important message he hopes to convey through the music on Bird at 100 is one of deep respect for the artistry of Charlie Parker – something that can be lost in the more sensationalistic details often depicted in depictions of the troubled saxophonist.

“I want people to think of the music and not the distorted picture that’s often painted of Charlie Parker,” Herring says. “Here it is: his 100th birthday and we’re still celebrating and studying and being inspired by his music. There are a lot of great players but few innovators. Bird was a real innovator.”

"Bird at 100” was recorded live at Smoke Jazz Club, NYC on August 30 & 31 and September 1, 2019; mastered to ½” analog tape using a Studer mastering deck, and produced by Paul Stache and Damon Smith.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Carmen Souza – The Silver Messengers


Carmen Souza is back with her 9th CD. Her latest is totally dedicated to the music of Horace Silver, calling it -The Silver Messengers. Anyone following the last decade of Souza's career would have predicted this release sooner or later. Silver has been credited more then once as a big influence in Souza's career but their connections go beyond the artistic identification. They both share the same Cape Verdean heritage and they both, in different ways, mixed that heritage with elements of Jazz. The Silver Messengers mission in this CD was to honor Silver's pioneering repertoire by bringing it back to its African/Lusophone roots. Only Carmen Souza, with the help of her long time musical partner Theo Pascal, who has accomplish so much with her own pioneering musical signature, could have completed this mission with such wonder and authenticity.

Carmen Souza with her acclaimed position as composer, vocalist and instrumentalist in the World, and in the Cape Verdean musical spectrum, can now voice Silver's work to a whole generation, specially in his Ancestor's home, that did not knew his work before, promoting even further his legacy.

Recorded between London and Lisbon, Carmen Souza and Theo Pascal have reworked 6 Silver original songs, adding some new creole lyrics to it, also including previous released versions of ''Song for My Father'' ''Cape Verdean Blues'' and ''Pretty Eyes'', plus 2 all new songs dedicated to Horace Silver.

The Silver Messengers are Carmen Souza on vocals and guitar, Theo Pascal on Electric Bass/Dbass, Elias Kacomanolis on drums/Perc and Benjamin Burrell on piano.


New Music Releases: The Men Of Society Hill Records; The King Dukes; Brian Charette


The Men Of Society Hill Records - The Lovers Compilation

A key figure in the evolution of Philadelphia soul sound since the mid-1970s, Butch Ingram wrote and produced hundreds of songs for many of the genre’s top artists including Barbara Mason, Major Harris, Blue Magic, Ronnie Dyson, Brandi Wells. And if that’s not enough, all the while, he’s been a member of the famous family band, Ingram, which is still going strong to this day.  Here, Butch gathers some of the Philadelphia area’s finest male vocal talent (The Legendary Bluenotes, Donnie Tatem, Glenn Leonard, Baxter, Blue Magic, TRU, Johnny Ingram, David Simmons, Jimmy Lee, Major Harris, Ron Ellison and Tony Strong) for this romantic, soulful compilation specifically geared towards lovers.

The King Dukes - Numb Tongues

Bristol Soul Rebels The King Dukes are based around a classic core of: Guitar, Bass, Drums and Hammond Organ, they further encompass a fiery three-piece horn section paired with sweet backing vocals, all topped with blue-eyed, soul vocals. To capture the sound of this vintage backline on their debut record ‘Numb Tongues’, they only used methods suited to a 50’s-60’s sounding album, playing period specific instruments and throwing modern recording techniques to the side, instead sticking with the more rustic and raw styles that were admired at the time, such as recording a section with multiple instruments all at one time.The result is a record with tracks that sound fresh and with rounded edges, but filled with classic cuts from the past.This album has a track for every mood, whether you want to move your feet or turn back the sands of time and reminisce about times that once were. The quality of the record and the prestige of the members means that the band are setting themselves up for success in the near future.Taking 2017/18 to perfect their sound and piece together their debut record, The King Dukes have no hesitation about making an impression in 2019. They are touring the in Autumn, so before long they will be making a name for themselves on the UK circuit.

Brian Charette - Beyond Borderline

We always love the work of Hammond organist Brian Charette – and here, the album offers up a chance to hear the keyboardist in all his glory – as there's no other instrumentation at all, which makes for a very unusual solo organ set! Charette handles all the basslines with his feet, so there's still a pretty strong rhythmic pulse on most numbers – but there's definitely a stronger sense of freedom on the keyboard, and the record bristles with all these tones and colors that seem to surpass even some of Brian's previous albums! And if you're worried about the album being a spare, sleepy effort – get past all of that – because Charette keeps things moving nicely on most numbers, and mixes in a few Ellington themes with his own original compositions. Titles include "Silicone Doll", "Yolk", "Wish List", "Chelsea Bridge", "Public Transportation", "Herman Ernst III", "5th Of Rye", and "Good Tipper". ~ Dusty Groove


CHICK COREA SCORES GRAMMY NOMINATION FOR BEST LATIN JAZZ ALBUM


Iconic pianist/keyboardist Chick Corea’s new album, The Spanish Heart Band – Antidote, has been nominated for a GRAMMY Award® in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album. Delving deeply into the Latin side of his musical heritage, his debut recording with the Spanish Heart Band, released June 28, 2019 on Concord Jazz, revisits classic pieces from two of the bandleader’s most beloved works, My Spanish Heart and Touchstone, along with new compositions and favorites by revered composers like Antônio Carlos Jobim, Paco de Lucía and Igor Stravinsky. The album also features guest appearances by Panamanian vocalist Rubén Blades and singers Gayle Moran Corea and Maria Bianca.

To embark on this vibrant exploration, the legendary keyboard virtuoso assembled a brilliant eight-piece band: Flamenco guitarist Niño Josele and saxophonist/flutist Jorge Pardo both hail from Spain and have both worked with the late flamenco master Paco de Lucía. Bassist Carlitos Del Puerto was born in Havana, Cuba and played on Chinese Butterfly, Corea’s 2017 collaboration with legendary drummer Steve Gadd – as did Venezuelan percussionist Luisito Quintero. 

Trumpeter Michael Rodriguez and trombonist Steve Davis form an unstoppable horn front line, while Marcus Gilmore follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, the great Roy Haynes, as a master drummer (and close collaborator with Corea). The band is augmented by the fiery footwork of rising star flamenco dancer Nino de los Reyes.

“One of Chick Corea’s many gifts is his ability to cast an incredible band, and compose songs and arrangements that create synergies which uplift and celebrate the talent within the group,” John Burk, Concord Records President says, “This Spanish Heart Band album is a stellar example.”

Winners will be announced at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards® airing live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, January 26th, 2020.


Miami's International Jazz Vocalist Nicole Henry Celebrates Her 7th Annual Winter Concert


Internationally acclaimed vocalist Nicole Henry returns to Miami Beach's Colony Theatre for her seventh annual winter concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 14.

The event, which benefits Miami Music Project is a highlight of South Florida's holiday calendar. This year, Henry plans to celebrate the season of faith and hope by inspiring "everyone to believe in a greater good and brighter future, to believe in oneself and to believe in the children who are our future." The concert will feature a range of genres — pop, soul, jazz, as well as music from Broadway and the American Songbook, plus inspirational and holiday classics.  
   
A University of Miami graduate, Henry has firmly established herself among the world's most powerful female vocalists, thanks to her dynamic presence, impeccable phrasing and vibrant emotional resonance. Her passionate, heartfelt voice and charisma have earned a Soul Train Award for "Best Traditional Jazz Performance," three Top-10 U.S. Billboard and HMV Japan jazz albums, and "Best Solo Musician" by Miami New Times. She has headlined stages in 20 countries, recorded with Kirk Whalum, Julian Lage, Gerald Clayton and Gil Goldstein and has performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and Michael Feinstein. This October in Boston, Henry garnered critical praise in her role as the sister of superstar Rachel Marron in a new musical version of The Bodyguard.

"Nicole Henry as Rachel's sister Nicki Marron is simply outstanding. She has a beautiful voice, very strong acting skills, and brings her character to life with a passion and pathos in her performance, which leaves you wanting to see even more of her character." ~ BroadwayWorld.com

A long-time Miami Beach resident with a deep commitment to her community, Henry serves on the board of the nonprofit Miami Music Project, which empowers and transforms children — and ultimately their families and communities — through the study and performance of music.  More than 30,000 students have been served in the past decade by the project's programming and outreach.  


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

New Music Releases: Ryan Porter, Waajeed & Others, Shawn Lee


Ryan Porter -  Force For Good

The deepest sounds so far from Ryan Porter – a double-length album of spiritual majesty, and a set that marks Porter as one of the key up-and-coming players on the West Coast Get Down scene! The record has long tracks that are very far-thinking jazz all the way through – mostly instrumental, although with the occasional vocal passage here and there – delivered with this sense of promise and mission that we never would have expected in Porter's music at the start – both in the strength of his trombone solos, and the overall conception of the sound. The core group is fantastic – Kamasi Washington on tenor, Cameron Graves and Brandon Coleman on Fender Rhodes and piano, Thundercat on electric bass, Miles Mosely on acoustic bass, and Tony Austin on drums – and titles include "Blame It On The Sun", "Carriacou", "Oscalypso", "Peple Talk", "World On Wheels", "Mesosphere", "Madiba", "Heaven Only Knows", and a great jazz take on the Rotary Connection classic "Memory Band".  ~ Dusty Groove

Waajeed & Others - Detroit Love Vol 3

We don't hear nearly enough from Waajeed as we'd like to – but he really returns to glory here on a stunning mix of underground tracks from the Detroit scene – all contemporaries of Waajeed, and part of that rich electronic legacy that he's given us from his early days on the city's musical landscape! The work here definitely reflects the Planet E placement of the mixtape – music that's heavy on the future electric elements that always made Carl Craig and crew such standouts – even amidst a larger global scene – but it's the special work of Waajeed that has us loving this volume of Detroit Love most of all. CD is a continuous mix of 20 tracks – with titles that include "Overbite" by Roddy Rod, "We Out Chea" by 14kt, "Celestrial (club mix)" by D-Love Muzic, "Gonna Tell Me" by Teflon Dons, "WhoRU" by Ladymonix, "I'm In Trouble" by DJ Rimarkable, "Minimariddim" by Matthew Law, and "Mermaid Blues" by DAmon Bell featuring CAmille Safiya. ~ Dusty Groove

Shawn Lee - Shawn Lee Rides Again

The freewheeling Shawn Lee rides again, this time steering into folk soul, country funk and personally reflective songwriting in ways we haven't heard from him before – all the while living up to his genre-straddling indie funk legacy and penchant for winning stylistic detours over the years! Shawn does a great job of drawing on influences like Tony Joe White and other unique singer-songwriter-performers who could blur the lines between funky southern soul, folk and rock without sounding like anyone other than themselves, and his heart on sleeve lyricism is sweet, too. between "Wichita", "Wherever The Wind Blows", "Crystal Springs", "Losin' My Mind", "Brown Hair Woman", "Mr Maestro", "Farmer Brown", "Yesterday Tomorrow Today", "Kansas City Summer" and "Joyland". ~ Dusty Groove

New Music Releases: Nu Era (Marc Mac); Sokratis Votskos Quartet; Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society


Nu Era (Marc Mac) - Evolve

Evolve is a great title for this full length set – as Marc Mac is one of the few talents from the 4Hero generation who's really evolved over the years, and who's continued to give us some really incredible music – a jazz-based take on the realm of beats and keyboards, with a cosmic-driven sort of energy that sends the grooves soaring out into time and space! The music is spare and simple, but so much more soulful than so many of his contemporaries – a masterpiece of doing a lot with a little, and creating surprising depth from very familiar elements. The tunes are all instrumental, but have a deeper spiritual meaning – and titles include "The Mind Of Jacob", "Around The Sun", "Closer To Mars", "Flying Colors", "Theme From Joe Smoke", and "Metal Butterfly". ~  Dusty Groove

Sokratis Votskos Quartet - Sketching The Unknown

A great global bit of spiritual jazz from reedman Sokratis Votskos – who works here in a style that not only follows some great European traditions of modal jazz, but which also resonates with some of the deeper roots of Greek music too! Sokratis plays soprano sax and bass clarinet – and the piano, bass, and drums weave these really magical rhythms that seem to set the leader free – often with echoes of a longer cultural tradition, but delivered with really personal intensity in the solos – in a way that makes us sure that Votskos is going to be a name to follow for years to come! A great new session that's very much in the tradition of some of the Spiritual Jazz compilations on the Jazzman label – with titles that include "Quadrum Waltz", "Syncopatient", "Sketching The Unknown", "Sevenates", and "Almopian Etude". ~ Dusty Groove

Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society - Mandatory Reality

A really fantastic album from bassist Joshua Abrams – a set that may well be his greatest to date – and that's saying a lot, given all the other work he's given us in recent years! The double-length set has Abrams working with this lineup of improvising jazz talents, but in a way that's very rhythmic, and very organic – slow-building songs that almost seem to mix jazz with inspiration from gamelan music, but with very spiritual currents overall – music that builds slowly and flows to the cosmos – almost in a way that reminds us of the seminal "On The Beach" by Phil Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensemble! Yet Abrams is very much in his own territory here – working with a lineup that features the leader on guimbri, Lisa Alvarado on harmonium and gongs, Mikel Avery on tam-tam and gongs, Ben Boye on electric autoharp and piano, Hamid Drake on tabla and tar, Ben Lamar Gay on cornet, Nick Mazzarella on alto saxophone, and Jason Stein on bass clarinet – with every member of the ensemble also performing on flutes. The sound is incredible – music to build a bridge to the heavens – and titles include "In Memory's Prism", "Finite", "Shadow Conductor", and "Agree". ~ Dusty Groove

Monday, November 25, 2019

New Music Releases: Marion Meadows; Eliel Lazo; Ingrid Laubrock & Aki Takase


Marion Meadows – Christmas With You

Marion reaches back to his childhood for the inspiration that fuels his debut Holiday album “Christmas With You.” Marion teams up with veteran Producer Rhani Song to record an album that has something for everyone… “Rhani Song and I decided to get together and create something special. The result is a body of work, musically familiar yet surprising in many ways. We even went back with some moody tenor on ”Silent Night “and ”We Three Kings” and invited stellar guitar guests like Norman Brown and Perry Hughes, along with Blake Aaron, Wayne Gerard and Eric Leone. Also joining me were bass greats Chip Shearin and Will Gaines along with Harmonica virtuoso Julian Davis. Band mate, Will Brock offeres up a great arrangement of the classic God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Up and coming star Trez co wrote and sang on the title track “Christmas With You”. And Gail Jhonson pens a very cool arrangement of “The First Noel”. New comers Corey Jarell and Anetra Rene shine on the song “Christmas On The Radi”.

Eliel Lazo - Cuban Jazz Report

A tight set of Latin jazz, and very much in the spirit of the title – featuring a quartet led by percussionist Eliel Lazo, recorded with some great chorus vocals from the members of the group! The record's not nearly as rootsy or slavishly classic Cuban as others of this nature – which means that the whole thing explodes with all these fresh colors and rhythmic changes – almost at a level that reminds us of some of the recent forays into the underground Havana scene by the Brownswood Records label! Players include Javier Gutierrez Masso Caramelo on piano, Yasser Morejon Pino on bass, and Raul Pineda on drums – and titles include "Cromason", "Havana Chants", "One Night One Song", "Nueva Amanecer", "A Cuban Blues", "Camina Y Ve", "Monday Evening", and "Para Luisa". ~ Dusty Groove

Ingrid Laubrock & Aki Takase - Kasumi

We seem to appreciate the saxophone talents of Ingrid Laubrock more and more with each new record we hear – and that's definitely the case on this beautiful session – which has her improvising these really beautiful lines alongside the piano of Aki Takase! Aki's tone is usually dark, and Laubrock almost feels as if she's counterbalancing with these colors from her horn that are sharp, but bright at the same time – this really unique voice, especially on soprano sax – which is used here in ways that are even more impressive than some of the tenor-based titles. Most tunes are relatively short, and there's almost a mix of modern, personal, and poetic that recalls some of our favorite 80s sessions on the Nato/Chabada label. Titles include "Brookish", "Chimera", "Harlekin", "Dark Clouds", "Kasumi", "Andalusia", "Scurry", and "Sunken Forest". ~ Dusty Groove



New Music Releases: Fay Victor ; Emma-Jean Thackray/Makaya McCraven; 3TM


Fay Victor - Barn Songs

Fay Victor has always been an experimental sort of singer – and here, she works in a very experimental setting – a "chamber trio" that just features her voice alongside the cello of Marika Hughes and alto sax of Darius Jones! Fay's voice is wonderful – cresting with the sort of sharp edges that Abbey Lincoln would bring to her more pensive, more avant performances – set up in a way that also echoes some of the classic modes of Jeanne Lee – but with these beautifully poetic lyrics that are very much Victor's own. Titles include "Stealaway", "Last Night's Dinner", "Dream State", "Sometimes", "Talk Talk (part 2)", "Nico", and "There They Are". ~ Dusty Groove

Emma-Jean Thackray / Makaya McCraven - Too Shy (12 inch version) / Run Dem (Gilles Peterson edit)

A great little record that continues the Chicago/London meeting that was begun in the Makaya McCraven album Where We Come From – a limited single with two collaborative grooves on each side! Emma-Jean Thackray serves up "Too Shy" on side one – a skittish blend of jazz elements, keyboards, and some soaring soulful vocals! Side two features a Gilles Peterson edit of the track "Run Dem" – which has plenty of hefty drums, plus musical contributions from Joe Armon-Jones, Theon Cross, and Soweto Kinch!  ~Dusty Groove


3TM - Lake

Drummer and producer Teppo Mäkynen's 3TM returns with a new album, 'Lake', on 29 November on Helsinki's We Jazz Records. The album is the much awaited follow up to 2017's successful 3TM debut 'Form', which was awarded as the "Jazz Album of the Year" in Mäkynen's native Finland. 'Lake' was preceded by the ambient electronic album'Abyss' in August, which set the mood for what's to come next: a compact yet far-reaching body of work bringing together the trio's acoustic jazz sound and ideas rooted in abstract electronic music in a remarkably boundless way. 'Lake' is a collection of 9 Mäkynen-penned originals ranging from the looping, hypnotic  compositions such as first single 'Laws Of Life' to the delicacy of tracks such as 'Woods'. There is a sense of long form narrative here, evident in glorious, slowly evolving tracks such as 'Lake' and 'A Pile Of Broken Dreams'. The overall sound is swinging, melodic, deep and futuristic. It's acoustic jazz and abstract electronic music understood deeply and used as the base of a new sound, which goes beyond the usual distinctions of "acoustic jazz" or "electronic music". This is music for the present day, moving forward. In the 3TM trio formation Mäkynen is joined by sax man Jussi Kannaste and bassist Antti Lötjönen, both Finnish scene mainstays. The band will celebrate their new release at Helsinki's We Jazz Festival on 7 December.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: Be For Real: The P.I.R. Recordings 1972-1975 Remastered


Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes were one of the very first groups to achieve global success for Philadelphia International Records within its first year as a CBS-distributed label. The 1972 release of two consecutive 'tell-it-like-it-is' ballads 'I Miss You' and 'If You Don't Know Me By Now' marked the start of a four-year association that yielded some of the most enduring recordings in contemporary soul music, in the process creating with label founders Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff and a burgeoning coterie of talented songwriters, arrangers and musicians - a handful of timeless dance music classics including 'The Love I Lost', 'Bad Luck' and 'Don't Leave Me This Way'.

A Philadelphia-based group (The Charlemagnes) became 'The Blue Notes' after Harold Melvin joined them in the mid-'50s and after a number of personnel changes, 'Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' achieved their first US Top R&B hit in 1965 with 'Get Out (And Cry)'. Mainstays of the popular lounge circuit, Melvin had hired Theodore Pendergrass as the new drummer for the group's touring band in 1970 and by the time the quintet joined the fledgling roster at P.I.R., he had emerged as the lead singer; it was Pendergrass' gospel-honed passion-filled vocals that were front-and-centre of the four gold-certified albums that formed the legacy of treasured recordings included in this glorious 36-track, 3-CD box set.

Disc 1 comprises the 1972 LP, I MISS YOU (originally released as 'Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' and retitled after the US Top 10 R&B success of their first P.I.R single) and includes the soulful opus 'If You Don't Know Me By Now'; and the 1973 set, BLACK & BLUE particularly memorable for the group's anthemic 'The Love I Lost' and 'Satisfaction Guaranteed (Or Take Your Love Back)'.

Disc 2 features two albums released in 1975: TO BE TRUE which kept the momentum going with 'Where Are All My Friends' and 'Bad Luck' while also introducing female vocalist Sharon Paige via the US R&B chart-topper, 'Hope That We Can Be Together Soon'; and WAKE UP EVERYBODY, the title track of which with its memorably timeless lyrical theme became the group's final million-seller with Pendergrass who went on to launch his solo career in 1977.

Disc 3 consists of various bonus tracks: the group's cover of Nilsson's 'Everybody's Talkin'' from The Philadelphia All-Stars' 1977 LP, "Let's Clean Up The Ghetto" LP; two dance mixes by legendary remix pioneer Tom Moulton, "Bad Luck" and an eleven-minute version of 'Don't Leave Me This Way', originally a track from the group's final P.I.R. LP never issued as a U.S. single (but covered by Motown's Thelma Houston for whom it became a global smash); and three 'live' recordings from the group's performance at a CBS Records' 1973 convention.

With artwork by Roger Williams and mastering by Nick Robbins, the box set also includes informative notes by renowned US writer Kevin Goins.



Contemporary Guitarist and co-creator of the Imrat guitar Todd Mosby releases fifth album: ‘Open Waters'


Produced by Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, and with a sound described as "an album to daydream to", Open Waters finds Mosby once again embarking on a creative journey navigating through elements of Jazz, New Age, Folk and Indian music. "Open Waters is one of the best project I have been involved with…Todd Mosby is the most unique sounding guitarist I have ever worked with, nobody does what he does…" - Will Ackerman

"This album crosses the full spectrum of the music I have performed and know intimately...from Indian Rag to traditional Jazz to the The Police.  It's a concept album based upon the story of Atlantis (Plato's story about the destruction of the ancient civilization), and what survivors may have felt as they escaped from the deluge in ships heading westward." - Todd Mosby

Coming from a family of inventors (he is the co-inventor of the Imrat guitar along with Kim Schwartz and Imrat Khan), Mosby's early musical DNA was formed from his love of Bluegrass and Folk music, which eventually expanded into Fusion and Jazz.  While a college student, Mosby began studying Indian music (namely classical North Indian music), which led to the genre's incorporation into his music, and sparked the creation of the Imrat guitar [a 20 stringed hybrid sitar guitar musical bridge instrument that allows Western musicians to access Eastern melodies and Eastern musicians to access Western harmonies for the first time]. After 13 years of study with Imrat Khan, Mosby became the only guitarist ever admitted into the Imdhad Khani Gharana, India's most prestigious family of musicians.  "This instrument [Imrat guitar] sounds better than a guitar and sounds better than a sitar…it is an instrument for the 21st century." - Imrat Khan

With more than several accolades and collaborations during his very active career, Mosby has either shared the stage with, or opened up for such luminaries as Michael Manring, Imrat Khan, Foreplay, Spyro Gyra, and several others. He has performed around the world including, Kravis Center (West Palm Beach, FL), The Harris Center (Modesto, CA), Soka University (Aliso Vieja, CA), and many others.

Speaking again on the conceptual nature of the project, Mosby says:
This (the Atlantis reference above) is what I consider an archetype model as well for anyone journeying from one country to another, one city to another or even leaving planet earth to journey into interstellar space for colonization on new worlds.  My mission as an artist is to connect with audiences at the spiritual, emotional and physical levels and as such, change lives."

Saturday, November 23, 2019

New Music Releases: Sharon Musgrave, Tribe, Still Moving


Sharon Musgrave – Comfortable Deep

You never know what Sharon Musgrave is going to do next. This new remix is in her line of reasoning. As usual it is a bag of eargasm treats, jazzy soulful, funky and her distinguishable brand of positive wholesomeness. This time Sharon partnered up with Michael MC, Michael Cortello, a DJ and Producer from Italy and together they have created a little gem. Comfortable Deep is a remix off her album Sha’s Archives. With 7 minutes of chilled instrumentation on a free style bass line ever pumping out good vibes only.




Tribe – Hometown: Detroit Sessions 1990-2014

Ignored by the mainstream, many African American jazz artists in Detroit and across the US began creating their own small imprints. Led by Wendell Harrison and Phil Ranelin, Tribe emerged alongside other cultural entities during the early '70s to express self-determination goals in the city. The ‘Hometown’ compilation places the spotlight on the later era of Tribe and Rebirth Inc., with rare and previously unreleased recordings from Harrison’s WenHa/Rebirth Studios and the SereNgeti Gallery And Cultural Center. Among many highlights, Harold McKinney and his “McKinfolk” family of musicians contribute the pulsing ‘Wide And Blue’ and dance celebration ‘Juba’; Phil Ranelin re-works his classic ‘He The One We All Knew’; Poet Mbiyu Chui (Williams Moore), pianist Pamela Wise and percussionist Djallo Djakate spark on the uncompromising ‘Ode To Black Mothers’ and the rallying cry of ‘Marcus Garvey’: “If we ever get together we will astound the world.” Harrison himself evokes the power and majesty of juju on ‘Conjure Man’. ‘Hometown’ is available as a 2LP gatefold, 1CD digipak and for streaming and download.

Still Moving – Still Moving

The debut EP from Still Moving coming out 15 November on Lanquidity. After releasing the acclaimed 'Live In Kalisz 1986' by Sun Ra Arkestra, Lanquidity Records are back with the debut release of a new exciting London trio Still Moving.  Drawing from a wide pool of influences – touching on jazz, folk rhythm traditions, club-oriented electronics, and progressive experimentalism, the trio generate an organic performance rooted in an intimate musical understanding between performers. The self-titled EP consists of 4 recordings reflecting the live, improvisatory nature of the project, mixing raw and dynamic performance with an experimental approach to studio production.




New Orleans band, Naughty Professor, released their new EP Everyday Shredder


Iconoclastic New Orleans based jazz-funk sextet, Naughty Professor, released their newEP, Everyday Shredder, today on all digital platforms. Everyday Shredder brings Naughty Professor back to its 6-piece instrumental roots, highlighting the full-circle maturation the band has experienced over the last few years. The previously released lead single "3 Wise Men" served as a tantalizing taste of the EP and gained notoriety from the likes of HYPE Magazine, and EARMILK who described Naughty Professor as having "astounding chops and a sound that continues to push the boundaries of funk". Developed as a totally organic creation in Bill Daniel’s Wild Child Studios of New Orleans, Everyday Shredder showcases the extraordinary talents of the band and serves as a reminder of Naughty Professor’s innate abilities as a forward thinking funk powerhouse, yet leaves the door open for continued development and expansion into new musical spaces. 

"They mix and mash funk and jazz with a touch of R&B elements that linger in the back. They are full of energy, like a rollercoaster of funky melodies, jamming guitar riffs, and spacey avant-garde jazz. " - The Jamwich

Since the release of their first full length collaborative effort, Identity, Naughty Professor has naturally progressed into many different musical directions, both in the studio and on stage, showcasing their raw ability to perform in a variety of roles. Within days of its release in June 2017, Identity shot up the iTunes Jazz charts to #6. The album’s first single, “Stray,” featuring David Shaw of The Revivalists, has received over 1.3 Million streams on Spotify.  The album saw further integration of musical talents like Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), and Mike Dillon.

The band has since served as the touring band for diverse acts such as legendary emcee Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) and New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia, lent their horn section to prominent acts including GRiZ, The Revivalists, TAUK, and Tank and the Bangas, and have collaborated on stage with talented individuals like Marcus King, Shaun Martin (Snarky Puppy), and Paul Meany (MUTEMATH). The whirlwind two-year stretch has landed them on prominent music festivals such as Jam Cruise, Summer Camp, and most recently the Canadian jazz fest circuit, capstoning their summer touring endeavors. Recently returned from a tour in China headlining famed jazz venue The Blue Note, Naughty Professor is excited to bring these new-found influences and lessons into their latest EP, 4 years removed from their last full instrumental release. The difference both as musicians and songwriters is noticeable, and the band feels their best foot is forward with the release of Everyday Shredder.


Friday, November 22, 2019

SONAR with David Torn - Tranceportation (Volume 1)


Swiss band Sonar announces Tranceportation (Volume 1), their fifth studio album and the second by them to feature American avant-guitarist legend, David Torn.

"Had MC Escher made music instead of drawing impossible and perplexing perspectives, it would sound like Sonar" is how writer Sid Smith once assessed the Swiss-based band's work.

It remains an apt description for the outfit's method of creating hypnotic pieces by gradually building intricate patterns of picked notes, plucked harmonics, mesmeric bass, and insistent rhythms.

The music created by Stephan Thelen (tritone guitar), Bernhard Wagner (tritone guitar), Christian Kuntner (tritone bass), Manuel Pasquinelli (drums, percussion) harnesses elements of rock, jazz and contemporary classical minimalism and fuses them to create a distinctive musical language.

Their partnership with David Torn began with their 2018 release, Vortex. Initially brought in as producer, such was Torn's enthusiasm for the quartet's music he couldn't help but add his flowing brand of effusive, vivid soloing and textural layering across the breadth of the record. While that was a spontaneous, off-the-cuff reaction to music that had been composed for a quartet, for Tranceportation the music has been specifically composed with Torn in mind from the very beginning.

Bringing a renowned and adventurous musicality to everything he does, Torn's reputation as a 'wild card' instrumentalist has seen him work with an impressively wide array of diverse artists that includes David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Bill Bruford, David Sylvian, Tori Amos, Mick Karn, Madonna, Jeff Beck and Jan Garbarek among others.

With parts written and arranged for a new quintet formation of Sonar there's a greater integration of space for improvisation and deeper sonic exploration built into the music. 

Sonar's principal composer, Stephan Thelen, says of Torn, "David is somebody I have known all my life through his music and whom I really admire for his work. So to get him over to work with us in Switzerland first as a producer and then as a player was really exciting." Torn's fluid improvisations over Sonar's tight clusters of sound added yet more depth to their work.

Recorded in Bellmund, Switzerland during a marathon five-day session that yielded over 80 minutes worth of material, they have chosen to release the first half of those sessions as Tranceportation (Volume 1) in November 2019 with Volume 2 scheduled for release in May 2020.

Thelen, who in addition to his work for Sonar has previously been commissioned to write for the acclaimed Kronos Quartet, explains how the music of Tranceportation works. "The seven new pieces which make up the two volumes of Tranceportation are all based on harmonically remarkably simple patterns that only consist of a few notes and that are, in one form or another, repeated throughout the whole piece, which is clearly where the 'trance' element comes in. However, using rhythmical techniques like isorhythms, polyrhythms and odd time signatures, these seemingly simple patterns actually subtly create complex rhythms and twisted sonic illusions."

Likening this aspect of his work to the conceptual puzzles embedded within MC Escher's paintings, Thelen explains that the repetitions don't appear immediately obvious. "So, even if you only hear a few notes, it sometimes takes a very long time until the overall pattern is in fact repeated."

While the conceptual and structural underpinning of Tranceportation's music is vital, so too are the impassioned performances that resonate at the heart of the four tracks that make up Volume 1. Riding alongside the metronomic certainties of the sonic architecture, surges of dialogue and discursive ideas are vented and examined as the tension within the music builds and creative sparks fly.

At its heart, the compositions and performances on Tranceportation invites listeners to step away from the mundane and enter into the transformative space that Sonar and David Torn create. They say every journey begins with a step. This journey begins with your ears.

TRACKS
1. Labyrinth (14:26)
2. Partitions (5:37)
3. Red Sky (11:14)
4. Tunnel Drive (7:42)

Volume 2 is scheduled for release in May 2020.

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