Friday, February 28, 2020

New Orleans Native Derrick Shezbie Releases "The Ghost of Buddy Bolden"

The origin story of jazz has been debated and mythologized. The first jazz players interviewed often attributed their knowledge and sound to one man: Buddy Bolden. New Orleans native musician, Derrick Shezbie, has teamed up with a group of musicians to recreate the circumstances and imitate the sound of the iconic Buddy Bolden. The product of their whirlwind recording experience is the new album, Derrick Shezbie and the Ghost of Buddy Bolden, available from Clubhouse Records on February 28.

As a society, we have been previously limited in the comprehension of what Bolden’s band sounded like. There have been many attempts in the past century to reenact concerts of Bolden’s heyday, yet most often attempts to bring the sound of Buddy Bolden to life have been doomed from a lack of available information regarding that specific period in music history and the lack of information we have regarding the life of Buddy Bolden himself.

GRAMMY® Award-winning trumpeter Derrick (Kabuki) Shezbie partnered with historian Charles Tolman in an effort to capture the spirit of Buddy Bolden and his revolutionary music within Derrick Shezbie and The Ghost of Buddy Bolden. The album is the culmination of heavy research and a reincarnation of the circumstances that Bolden would have created music in. Together, Shezbie and Tolman began the project by assembling a band in the manner similar to that of Bolden and released an album featuring an array of accomplished African American New Orleans musicians.

“It was important for us to get people who grew up playing in New Orleans and knew what is was like to play for a meal. That’s something Buddy and his people would have lived with every day. You don’t play, you don’t eat,” says Shezbie. “Only New Orleans musicians know what it’s like and we wanted to do his legacy proud.”

Tolman and Shezbie studied the performance venues where Bolden played and rehearsed in his footsteps. The band was assembled in one day followed by two days of rehearsals before recording the album in one day at Esplanade Studios in New Orleans.

“We wanted the process to closely mirror the experience that Buddy Bolden would have had in the recording process,” said Tolman. “We literally walked around the city looking for musicians at their hangouts and told them that we had a recording gig in three days. Bolden would have put a band together in this manner and they might have practiced a few times before a gig. It was important for the integrity of the project to keep the structure loose and as close to spontaneous as we could.”

The band for Derrick Shezbie and The Ghost of Buddy Bolden, consists of Louis Ford on clarinet, Carl Leblanc on guitar, Chris Severin on bass, Revert Andrews on trombone and Jerry Anderson (from the Barbarin family) on drums. The structure of the album reflects the tone and feelings of a Buddy Bolden concert from the 18th century. The fastest songs start the album before slowing down the tempo progressively as the album unfolds. Tunes such as “Careless Love,” “Make Me a Pallet,” “Hot Time in the Old Town” and “Ride on King Jesus” are all highlighted in the tribute.

“Ride on King Jesus” was interpreted from choir performances, as the song was originally a gospel number that Bolden adapted into the style of jazz. “We wanted to put this song on there because someone made mention of the fact that Buddy played this song so loud his tuning slide would shoot out of his cornet. After listening to the original piece, we instinctively caught the spirit of the music,” said Shezbie.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Max Light Trio - Herplusme

Brooklyn-based Red Piano Records has announced the release of Herplusme, the debut album from New York City-based guitarist Max Light and his trio, comprised of Simón Willson on contrabass and Matt Honor on drums and cymbals. The album features eight original compositions, written and performed with a great emphasis on ensemble interplay and communication. The compositions are short, playful, and concentrated, each of them designed to tell a simple and personal story. The stories are romantic, tragic, humourous, and evocative of childhood memories.

The album opens with Boy, a challenging and raucous piece on childhood exploration. It starts with a deconstructed germ of the groove that pervades the piece and slowly comes to fruition through an additive process, and before long, becoming clear. The disjointed nature of learning and growing and searching is reflected through the shifting subdivisions and meters, as well as the emotional melody. The form plays out, and a guitar solo grows through the form again, with no shortage of interplay with the bass and drums. The piece ends with a metric modulation that slows the groove to a crawl, an homage to the band Meshuggah. 

Overcrooked follows and embraces the same playful spirit of growing up. The piece is about skateboarding and subdivision. An “overcrooked” is a trick in skateboarding where the board is at a 45 degree relative to the front axle on the rail it is grinding on. It is askew and unstable and can fall apart at any moment. This piece reflects that instability by constantly shifting between subdivisions of 4, 5, 6, and 7 sixteenth notes per quarter note. The result is a groove that is both unstable and rhythmically fulfilling for the listener. The high density of the guitar part is broken by a more spacious and lyrical solo. The metal influence is clear in this piece as well, with great virtuosity and plenty of breakdowns.

Pumpkin Pie is about home, and the things that evoke home. It is a slowly moving ballad that draws you in and pulls at your heartstrings. It is the feeling of a mother’s desert the night before leaving home. The song is presented clearly at first in just two voices, the bass and the melody. It moves through a beautiful and compositional bass solo into a guitar solo that starts small, and ends in the euphoria of homecoming.

Dog is a companion piece to the first track on this album. While radically different compositionally, they both reflect the search and exploration of youth, and animality in this case. Dog is a weaving and winding melody that gets constantly distracted by the next passing car. Rhythmic and melodic germs are set upon and explored quickly and with fervor. Sections will come around and around again, like the chase of a tail. The piece breaks apart into an atonal time-no-changes solo section, a la Ornette Coleman, before disintegrating completely, restating the melody and stopping short.

Baby’s Hard Times is a love song built in major-sevenths, major-thirds away from each other. It is in 13/8 - a deeply challenging meter. It is the most involved composition of the bunch, and holds a great amount of musical and emotional meaning. It reflects the melancholy of struggling with life outside of a relationship, with support from within it. The piece starts incredibly small and grows until it is an explosion of bombast and emotion. It reflects both the battlefield and the motivation of a warrior. The cliff-face and the rope that tethers you to it. Matt Honor’s enormous ability and sensitivity is clearly on display here.

The Things You is a radical recomposition of the popular jazz standard, All the Things You Are, by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein. It is a sort of procedural recomposition that involves removing many bars from the piece, hence the removal of words from the title. The trio’s interaction is center-stage here. The melody is complicated intervallically and metrically, and reflects the notion of plurality within oneself. All the things one is.

Bagel is a circuitous number that is a companion piece to the one desert on this album. If Pumpkin Pie is the night before leaving, Bagel is breakfast the day of departure. It utilizes a six beat cycle in the guitar part, and a ten beat cycle in the bass, causing a slow harmonic phasing effect, inspired in part by Philip Glass. The bittersweet dissonance of this song pervades the whole performance. The melody ends, the guitar solos methodically, and the piece disintegrates into a free and explorative drum solo vamp, before ending in a simple manner.

The final piece, Dennisport, is a complex chord piece with a large amount of influence from the great guitarist Ben Monder. It is about a tiny cottage in a tiny town on Cape Cod during a downpour in November. It is a slowly developing and slowly shifting piece that gradually extends the harmony beyond what one usually thinks of as beautiful, but is nonetheless. It draws again on the influence of metal in its central and crushing breakdown. It eventually drops one sixteenth note from the time signature, and the return to the main chordal theme is skewed and recontextualized in an asymmetrical beauty because of it.

Max Light is a guitarist from the Washington DC area, now living in New York City. He won 2nd place in the 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition. He has performed with Donny McCaslin, Jason Palmer, Noah Preminger, Walter Smith III, Rudy Royston and John Ellis among many others. He was a member of the Creative Ensemble Collective with Donny McCaslin from 2015-2016 and in the summer of 2017 he was a featured artist at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival at National Sawdust. Light has recorded a two volume live album at Wally’s Jazz Club in Boston with Jason Palmer’s band that was released on Steeplechase in 2018. He was also featured on Noah Preminger’s newest album, After Life, for Criss Cross, released in April 2019.

Dijf Sanders blends exotica-tinged, psych-induced jazztronica on new single taken from forthcoming album 'Puja'

Following the success of the critically acclaimed 2018 album ‘Java’, Brugge-born musical visionary Dijf Sanders is pleased to share new single ‘Ravana’ (3rd January), taken from his forthcoming album ‘Puja’, released 14th February via Unday Records. A multi-instrumentalist and composer, David ‘Dijf’ Sanders combines a broad mix of styles including exotica, psychedelia, jazz and electronica, approached with a boundless enthusiasm for multicultural blends and influences.

On ‘Puja’, Sanders embarked on another musical adventure of mystic and wonder, travelling to Nepal to record ‘Puja’, using his field recordings and impressions to create a deeply enriched sound with the help of drummer Simon Segers (Black Flower, De Beren Gieren), saxophone player Mattias De Craene and sitar player Nicolas Mortelmans. Tracks like new single ‘Ravana’ suggest a world infused by Nepalese, Tibetan, Chinese and Indian culture as broken beats and organic exotica combine to create a trance-like rhythmic flow while ‘Santoshi Mata’ sprouts through a hypnotic soundscape of sacred monk chants and eclectic vibrations.
The Ghent based musician was a one-time member of synth pop bands Teddiedrum and The Violent Husbands and he regularly collaborates on various projects and productions in Belgium at the same time, recently working with Warhaus, Sylvie Kreusch, Mattias De Craene’s MDC III and Wim Vandekeybus (Die Bakchen – Lasst uns tanzen), to name a few. 

His 2016 album ‘Moonlit Planetarium’, was a welcoming insight into the unique world of Sanders and resulted in an experimental clash of percussive persuasion, ethnic sounds and western beats. The follow-up album ‘Java’, released in 2018, was commissioned by Europalia and saw Sanders travel to Java in search of the sound of the Indonesian island. He gathered an impressive collection of field recordings and samples, took them to his studio and created a record bursting with sultry beats, psychedelic trance and ethio-jazz, proving Sanders a special Flemish talent. On release, the album received high praise from numerous leading tastemaker media across the UK and Europe including Q magazine who concluded that the album was “a resonant and rewarding trip”, while Electronic Sound proclaimed the album an “ecstatic, trance-inducing psych-infused wonder.” Welcome to the wonderful world of Dijf Sanders.

Collocutor - Lost & Found | New single for On The Corner Records

Collocutor shares new single 'Lost & Found' taken from their upcoming third LP 'Continuation'. ‘Continuation’ is a remarkable work in which the interplay of emotional experience and life motion experienced by band leader Tamar Osborn (also known as Tamar Collocutor) is channelled and explored by Collocutor. The band’s third LP assuredly strides forward following the critical acclaim awarded to ‘The Search’ from 2016 (a work that gained the enthusiastic praise of Mulatu Astake and Gilles Peterson among others).

Whereas ‘The Search’ invoked a journey ending in hope and new beginnings, ‘Continuation’ looks at the aftermath of the unexpected. This is an album about coping with grief, loss and bereavement: The music charts the many (and sometimes surprising) emotional states encountered, moving from acknowledgement, trying to keep ‘normal’ life going, the need to sometimes put a pause button on and let the waves of feelings crash and roll, sudden anger and confusion, finally to moving (perhaps with uncertainty) forward.

Tamar Osborn has led Collocutor through a line-up shift from septet to quintet for ‘Continuation’. The modified line-up creates space for the musicians to express themselves through the shades of ‘Continuation’'s movement. The quintet brings in more group improvisation, based on just a few motifs and so giving the musicians more space to converse.

Tracks like  ‘Lost & Found’ and in particular the album’s title track, ‘Continuation’ (the only piece with 3 horns) hark back to the intricate arrangements of ‘The Search’.
It’s a deeply personal album, the writing of which acted as Tamar's way of processing and understanding experience and the need to channel her feelings.

In listening truly ‘Continuation’ bares that rare and precious gift of a morsel of the human experience being illuminated by artistic genius.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

New Music Releases: The Dining Rooms, Jeremy Pelt, Sinne Eeg & The Danish Radio Big Band

The Dining Rooms - Art Is A Cat

Maybe the best album we've ever heard from Dining Rooms – a set that has the group moving way past just makers of seductive grooves, into wider, fuller territory that definitely puts them at the top shelf level we love from the best at Schema Records! The album balances some of their earlier modes with really strong songs that feature a variety of different singers – including Sean Martin, Beatrice Velasco Moreno, and Georgeanne Kalweit – who each give the record a lot more lyrical power than before, and a strong presence on the vocal tracks that makes instrumental moments feel like well-placed interludes. Titles include "When You Died", "Little Girl", "Art Is A Cat", "Carpet Of Green", "Nella Sua Loca Realta", "Ghosts", "Two Thousand Parts", "No Frame", "Teach Me To Dance", and "Astratto". ~ Dusty Groove

Jeremy Pelt - Art Of Intimacy

The title's no lie, as the set's one of the most intimate albums we've ever heard from trumpeter Jeremy Pelt – a set that features his well-shaped lines in a trio with George Cables on piano and Peter Washington on bass! The drum-less format is really wonderful, and Pelt really takes advantage of the open space to open up his gentler, more introspective side – blowing notes both muted and full, with a sense of balance and grace that takes us back to old school trumpet ballad albums – although none of them ever had the more open, relaxed approach that makes this one so nice! Titles include "Then I'll Be Tired Of You", "Always On My Mind", "Ebony Moonbeams", and "Love Is Simple". ~ Dusty Groove

Sinne Eeg & The Danish Radio Big Band – We’ve Just Begun

Already a bona fide star in her native Denmark, jazz singer Sinne Eeg has in recent years been weaving her spell in performances throughout Europe and the United States, where audiences and critics alike have responded enthusiastically to her dark, alluring voice, rich timbre, impeccable intonation, inherent sense of swing and remarkably natural scatting ability that recalls her own vocal jazz heroes, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Anita O’Day. On We’ve Just Begun, her winning collaboration with the 19-piece Danish Radio Big Band and 9th album overall, Eeg sings with signature soulfulness, sassy spirit and jazzy abandon on a program of three well-chosen standards, a swinging adaptation of a tune from a vintage Danish film, and five affecting originals with Eeg as composer and/or lyricist. Eeg released her self-titled debut in 2003 and gained international attention with her critically acclaimed 2007 album, Waiting for Dawn, and Remembering You in 2008. Her latest, We’ve Just Begun, is her most impressive outing to date.

Step into a Magical World of Big Band Jazz, Cabaret Seductiveness and Hard-boiled Noir Archetypes on Club Rendezvous

Welcome to Club Rendezvous, a place both inviting and mysterious, lost in time but pulsing with the thrill of the moment. Step inside and be greeted by the hard-boiled and the heartbroken, as sultry femmes fatale brood at the bar and the elite meet near the bandstand.

This is the utterly fantastically yet vividly imagined speakeasy noir conjured by Moscow-born bassist and bandleader Alexander Gershman with his collaborator, multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning writer/producer Charlie Midnight. Performed by Gershman’s brainchild, the Los Angeles ensemble Sasha’s Bloc, Club Rendezvous is the band’s most ambitious creation to date, a concept album co-produced and co-written by Gershman and Midnight, that features dazzling vocals by the band’s multi-talented 23-year-old singer Nikki Lorenzo.

The album is tailor-made to expand into a multi-media extravaganza incorporating period visuals, swing dancing, raucous cabaret and the vintage jazz thrills in which the band excels. Club Rendezvous spins the spellbinding story of a Chanteuse (enchantingly embodied by Lorenzo) who has graced the stage of this mystical nightclub since 1929 (save for a brief but ill-fated fling with Chet Baker somewhere in the distant past), remaining eternally ageless as audiences come and go but always transporting them back in time to a more elegant yet dangerous era. Lorenzo describes the chanteuse as “the most confident, self-aware, romantic powerhouse, and that bleeds through with every lyric.”

The lyrics were crafted by Midnight in close collaboration with Gershman. Midnight, a multi-GRAMMY® award winning and GOLDEN GLOBE® nominated writer/producer whose career highlights include co-writing the GRAMMY® nominated James Brown classic “Living in America,” writing for more than 40 films as well as writing/producing for a diverse range of superstars including Barbra Streisand, Cher, Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, Britney Spears, Andrea Bocelli, Christina Aguilera, Joe Cocker and Chaka Khan.

“We became more and more immersed into this speakeasy environment. Charlie came up with the idea of this singer out of time, who stays in the club through the years as the world changes around her,” Gershman describes. “It fit my music perfectly, because as I was writing this album, I found my tunes taking shape in a similar style but with a more modern twist. I really want these songs to appeal to a younger audience, to introduce them to the beauty of classic jazz, and I think Charlie’s experience in pop music is perfect for that. It’s been a great collaboration.”

Once they fleshed out the concept, it became clear that they’d need a singer who would capture a demanding set of requirements – someone able to connect with the jazz sound of a bygone era while maintaining a modern sensibility, able to create a living, breathing character from her voice alone, and able to capture the audience’s attention to carry them through the narrative with a range of sensations, from haunting to wistful, sassy to seductive.

A series of auditions brought them to Lorenzo, a brilliantly talented young singer, songwriter and actress whose own music is a far cry from the nostalgic style of Sasha’s Bloc but carries in it the traces of jazz and pop music past. “I moved to Los Angeles to pursue music and acting,” says the Miami native, “and through Club Rendezvous I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I get to be theatrical and step into a character, to play around with different looks and vocal styles. Yet she’s still an extension of who I am as an artist.”

Gershman is enthusiastic about his discovery and her ability to breathe life into his multifarious Chanteuse. “Nikki is young, intelligent, talented, has a very good command of the voice, she’s mysterious, she understands cabaret, she has that energy and confidence, and she works really hard,” he says. “For a 23-year-old she has remarkable depth and can find the darkness this project needs as well. Jazz is about storytelling; the quality of the voice is important, but it’s the delivery, the ability to tell the story a get people emotionally involved in what you’re singing, that’s so rare.”

“Every song I sing,” Lorenzo entices on the opening track, “honey, I sing for you.” From the ragtime barroom feel of “Rendezvous” she coaxes the listener forward in time for the intoxicating, string-swathed ballad “Kiss for a Kiss.” Harmonies (courtesy of the Sashettes) enliven a feminist rejection of jilted-lover clichés on the raucous “Swing and Swagger,” while “Cigarettes, Coffee and Champagne” basks in bittersweet morning-after solitude.

A blast of drums and horns opens the upbeat “Going to Extremes,” featuring a guest vocal by former Glee star Matthew Morrison. Kye Palmer’s elegiac trumpet sets the mood for the aching “Memory in Black and White,” contrasted by the lively rhythms of “Boogie Side of Town.” Andy Langham’s last-call piano captures the “sex and mystery” promised (or regretted?) by “Written with the Blues,” while “Land of Noir” puts a pop spin on the shadow shrouded genre of gin joints and double-crosses.

Lorenzo’s feline slink pairs with Gershman’s stealthy bass on “Alley Cat,” before “I Choose Happiness” lets the sun back in to a jaunty rhythm. “Crazy Love” luxuriates in the madness of passion before Lorenzo concludes the story with the vintage feel of “Time Out of Time.”

The music of Club Rendezvous bristles with the excitement and virtuosity of some of the finest musicians in L.A., many of whom have been part of Sasha’s Bloc since its beginning. “These are the most talented people I’ve ever worked with,” Lorenzo says. “I love that because it makes you want to rise to the occasion. For audiences, it’s like nothing they’ve ever seen before. You can go watch a regular concert and be moved, but this is special – a big band experience with timeless songs that still very much hold a place in your world.”

Monday, February 24, 2020

Bela Fleck To Release Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions

Béla Fleck and Craft Recordings are pleased to announce Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions, available everywhere March 27. Throw Down Your Heart, a document of  Béla’s remarkable journey across Africa to explore the banjo’s roots, is available for the first time as a complete film and music set, with the addition of a brand new duo album with kora master Toumani Diabaté, The Ripple Effect (also available separately on 180-gram 2-LP gatefold vinyl). The Complete Africa Sessions also includes a DVD of the acclaimed documentary film Throw Down Your Heart, with commentary from Fleck and his brother, director Sascha Paladino, along with 14 bonus performances and the 3x GRAMMY®-winning albums Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3—Africa Sessions and Africa Sessions Part 2: Unreleased Tracks. 

Simply put, the project was a sensation when it was released in 2009. There were, of course, raves from the press — “traditional African music turns out to suit him beautifully” pronounced The New York Times — but fellow musicians were equally awed. “Béla Fleck's amazing film Throw Down Your Heart makes me want to go to Africa,” said acclaimed jazz pianist Chick Corea. “The genuine warmth, affinity, respect and love between Béla and the amazing African musicians he met are beautifully captured.” Banjo player and actor Steve Martin added, “With Throw Down Your Heart, Béla Fleck has contributed significantly to the history of the banjo, as well as inventing a style of music never before played on this great instrument.”

A virtuoso on his instrument, he has over the last four decades taken the banjo far afield from its traditional roles in bluegrass and old-timey music, embracing an extraordinarily broad range of musical styles. Not only has he won 15 GRAMMY®s, but he did so across nine different categories, earning honors in the Country, Pop, Jazz, Instrumental, Classical, and World Music fields through his work with the fusion group Béla Fleck and the Flecktones; double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer; his wife, Abigail Washburn, and others. 

The original “Dueling Banjos,” recorded by Eric Weissberg and popularized by the film Deliverance, was one of the things that first attracted Fleck to the banjo, so there’s a sense of coming full circle with that performance. But then, the whole Throw Down Your Heart project was, in a sense, about scratching an itch Fleck had long felt regarding the African roots of his instrument. “I knew that my beloved instrument had originally come from West Africa,” he writes. “And from time to time I found tantalizing tidbits of African acoustic music that gave me the confidence to know that there was a phenomenal amount of incredible stuff going on under the radar.” 

What brought that general interest into focus was when Flecktone saxophonist Jeff Coffin played Fleck a recording by the great Malian singer Oumou Sangare. “I was literally stunned,” Fleck recalled. “I’d had this reaction only a few times — when music was so compelling that everything had to stop while I listened. Earl Scruggs’ banjo did it to me. Chick Corea’s music did it to me. And so did this.” 

In a bit of kismet, it turned out that Sangare was managed by an old friend from Fleck’s early bluegrass days. A meeting was arranged, some jamming was done, and Sangare invited Fleck to visit Bamako, Mali, and play with her and some of her friends. The seed was planted. Within months, Fleck and Paladino had worked out a three-nation itinerary, one that would rely on friendship and happenstance to experience the music and culture of Africa. It was, Fleck writes, “a nonstop set of intense, powerful and joyful musical interactions. Every day for five weeks, I was meeting musicians, and filming pieces with them in their homes, other unconventional locations, and even on rare occasions — recording studios. We recorded/filmed over 30 pieces so it came out to something like a tune per day while we were there.”

Originally issued as individual titles, beginning with Rounder Records’ 2009 release of Tales From the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3—Africa Sessions, Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions will be one of several special reissues commemorating the legendary roots label’s 50th anniversary. Throughout 2020 Rounder will be celebrated with box sets, live events, an original podcast series, curated playlists, exclusive merchandise and much more. Stay tuned for forthcoming announcements regarding Rounder’s 50th anniversary.

New Music Releases: Sylvia Bennett/Nathan East, Smuggler Brothers, Guido Manusardi

Sylvia Bennett – It’s Impossible ft. Nathan East

Considering her lengthy recording career and an eye-popping resume that includes being discovered by Lionel Hampton, performing worldwide, presidential inaugurations and recording Smooth Jazz hits with Paul Brown and Rick Braun, it’s a delightful irony that veteran Grammy nominated international recording artist Sylvia Bennett is starting off the decade with the classic “It’s Impossible.” The well-traveled Italian born, American raised singer’s imaginative twist features hypnotic percussion, cool retro keyboards and the inimitable groove and a lightly funky, easy rolling solo by legendary bassist Nathan East. The single is a lighthearted, supremely engaging first-glance at Bennett’s upcoming This Love Is Real a highly anticipated collection of her all-time love songs.

Smuggler Brothers - Musicone

Heavy funk from Smuggler Brothers – an Italian group who start out in the vintage cop/crime modes of 70s soundtracks, but then bring in a whole host of different elements to play in the mix! The core grooves are heavy on bass, drums, and lots of nice keyboards – but there lots more going on in the all-instrumental tracks – unusual electronics, offbeat horns, sweet percussion, and even some mandolin that somehow comes into the music at one point! Production is by Massimo Martellotta of Calibro 35 – who gets the sound every bit as right as his own group – on titles that include "Kemonia Flow", "Gran Fango", "Sciarra O'Scaro", "Suddenly", "T'Anno", and "Lost In Val Demone". ~ Dusty Groove

Guido Manusardi Trio - Swingin

A fantastically swinging album from Italian piano giant Guido Manusardi – a player who works here with a lot more groove in his left hand than we remember, and very strong support from the other two members of his trio! There's a rock-solid focus to the record right from the start – a vibe that's almost like some classic trio date from the Oscar Peterson generation – in which familiar tunes are really transformed, thanks to the swinging, soulful energy of the combo – which also features Roberto Piccolo on bass and Gianni Cazzola on drums. The set includes one nice original by Manusardi, "Mr G" – and other tunes include "You Stepped Out Of A Dream", "Three Flowers", "Love For Sale", "Just Friends", "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise", and "Quiet Now". ~ Dusty Groove

Day Dream reunites Phil Haynes, Drew Gress, and Steve Rudolph

For the members of the Day Dream trio, finding the opportunity to come together has proved far more challenging than simply wishing it so in a moment’s whimsy. Pianist Steve Rudolph, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Phil Haynes have convened exactly three times over the course of the last decade – each time, thankfully, captured for posterity. The first became their debut, Day Dream, a gorgeous, lyrical ballad date; the second, they supplied graceful backing for vocalist and songwriter Nick Horner’s album New Standards. 

The results of their third meeting now appears as the elegant and witty, thrilling and investigative Originals, due out March 27, 2020 via Corner Store Jazz. That unadorned title refers quite simply to its contents; as opposed to its predecessor, on which the trio explored aptly chosen standards, this session flows entirely from the pens of Messrs. Rudolph, Gress, and Haynes. “The band had such great chemistry and such a beautiful sound the first time around,” Haynes says. “Drew’s dark sound, my sound and Steve’s touch go together in a distinctive way not common with piano trios. Compositionally, I wanted to see the band stretch a little bit, especially since everybody writes so beautifully.” 

But, though each of them would likely demur from such claims, it also precisely describes these three stellar musicians, each of whom has honed a singular and distinctive voice untethered from dogmatic distinctions of genre or style. How else to explain the uncanny chemistry shared by the trio? In part, it’s due to the deep relationships that underpin the group, which hinge on Haynes. He and Gress have worked together for well over three decades, dating back to their respective early days in New York City in the mid-80s. Haynesmet Rudolph shortly after the turn of the millennium, when he uprooted himself to Central Pennsylvania, taking up residence at Bucknell University. 

“We have a very sympathetic approach to music,” explains Rudolph. “Phil and Drew are two of the best listeners I know. You have to really be in the moment and be able to react, and they’re about as good as it gets. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with them.” 

The uniqueness of the Day Dream configuration is due to the triangulation of three unique personalities and visions, which come across as clearly in the compositions on this album as through the playing of them. Rudolph brings an unparalleled elegance to the proceedings, a romantic disposition deep in emotion but free of sentimentality. Gress has long been a bassist of choice for great pianists (Fred Hersch, Marc Copland, Bill Carrothers) in search of a partner able to venture into wide-ranging regions, but is also an ingenious composer, fond of crafting elaborate sonic architectures. Haynes is an eclecticist by nature, with a prismatic curiosity that finds expression in unpredictable combinations – of approaches, of genres, of collaborators. He possesses a keen sense for concocting unlikely mixtures, as evidenced by his introduction of Gress and Rudolph, as well as the ways in which his pieces for the record create bridges between their respective sounds that prove deviously thorny, but thrillingly enjoyable, to navigate. 

Together these disparate fashions complement each other perfectly. Rudolph’s refined agility doesn’t so much smooth out the rough edges of his more avant-tinged bandmates as gild them with delicate filigree. Gress’ harmonic experimentation creates windows in the music that open onto alluring, fathomless mystery. Haynes’ oblique strategies add a trenchant grit that subtly grounds the pervasive airiness. 

“It’s just so easy to make music with Phil,” Gress says. “We’ve always had a really strong time hook-up; I love the sonic choices he makes and the spirit he plays from. And Steve is a really refined and mature player with his own, very subtle language. We’re all adults just following our ears and reacting without much of an agenda.” 

Rudolph opens the album with the wistful solo treatise “Zebra,” a moving tribute to one of his mentors, Indianapolis mainstay Claude Sifferlen. That leads into the graceful “Wedding Waltz,” penned for a friend’s daughter’s nuptials but possessed of an alluring openness that allows the trio to marry their respective sounds with the fluidity of an intimate dance. The pianist’s heart-wrenching “Last Lullaby” is a twilit croon lamenting the end – of what, exactly, remains open to question, but its bittersweetness is left in far less doubt. “Bossa 21” is tied to a far happier occasion: the 21st birthday of Rudolph’s younger daughter, whose love for Latin music inspires a lively and loving Bossa Nova. 

Haynes’ ricocheting solo fanfare opens “Beloved Refracted,” a Cubist portrait of his wife, which turns the letters of her name into the notes of a cascading, roiling melody. The brusque funk groove of the drummer’s “Spell” casts a magical backdrop for Gress’ virtuosic expressiveness, which wends its way around the tune’s sharp-angled curves. The tender “Paul-Christian,” which showcases Haynes’ brisk yet sensitive touch, is based on a reharmonization of Bill Evans’ “Blue in Green”, undertaken in homage to two of the drummer’s closest friends, who passed away within weeks of one another: his mentor, trumpeter Paul Smoker, and Christian Kvech, producer of Haynes’ Free Country. 

Gress’ pieces start with the intriguing, mysterious “Afterward,” which evokes a feeling of uncertainty amid possibility. “Vesper” takes its title from recollections of evening prayer the bassist’s Roman Catholic upbringing, though its spirituality is more amorphous in nature. Finally, the fractured bop of “Let Fly” closes the album on a soaring, celebratory (if somewhat off-kilter) note.

Phil Haynes
A veteran drummer with an adventurous spirit, Phil Haynes is featured on more than 65 releases on numerous American and European record labels.  His recording credentials include many of the seminal musicians of this generation: saxophonists Anthony Braxton, Ellery Eskelin, and David Liebman; trumpeters Dave Douglas, Herb Robertson, and Paul Smoker; bassists Mark Dresser, Ken Filiano, and Drew Gress; keyboard artists David Kikoski, Denman Maroney, and Michelle Rosewoman; vocalists Theo Bleckman, Nicholas Horner, and Hank Roberts; violinist Mark Feldman, and the composers collective Joint Venture. In addition to Day Dream, Haynes’ own ensembles include his romantic “jazz-grass” string band, Free Country; and the saxophone trio No Fast Food with NEA jazz master David Liebman.   

Drew Gress
Bassist/composer Drew Gress performs extensively with artists on the cutting edge of contemporary improvised music. Along with Phil Haynes, he was a founding member of the cooperative quartet Joint Venture, producing three albums in the early 1990s for Enja. When Drew is not leading his own ensembles, he can be heard within those of Ralph Alessi, Tim Berne, Uri Caine, Gerald Cleaver, Ravi Coltrane, Marc Copland, Fred Hersch, John Hollenbeck, Tony Malaby, and Mat Maneri. In a previous musical life, he grounded the performances of Buddy Hackett, Phyllis Diller, Zoot Sims, Cab Calloway, and Pia Zadora. He has received a SESAC Composer's Award in addition to grants from Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Meet the Composer. 

Steve Rudolph
Yamaha artist Steve Rudolph has had an inspiring career in his 50 years of professional music-making. Jazz Improv magazine states, “Rudolph is a savvy, swinging, glimmering heavyweight… ...simply outstanding.” The winner of the Jazziz Magazine Piano Competition at the Seven Springs Jazz Festival in 2000, he was also awarded two Jazz Composition Fellowships from the PA Council on the Arts. With eleven acclaimed CDs as a leader, he has served as producer, arranger and performer on many recordings including albums with Johnny Coles, Bill Goodwin, Ali Ryerson, Matt Wilson and Vinny Valentino. His vast experience encompasses concert performances with numerous jazz masters including Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Terry Gibbs, Rufus Reid, Buddy Tate, Al Grey, the Mills Brothers, and Cal Collins.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

New Music Releases: Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band, Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love, Gerardo Frisina

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band - Express Yourself

A masterpiece of messed-up LA funk – and one of the crowning moments in the career of Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band! Charles and crew do an excellent job with all the tracks – most of which are more open ended than some of their earlier ones, and run on for longer than usual with some good trippy instrumental moments that really stretch out the groove from their funky 45 days. The album includes the stoner funk classic "High As Apple Pie", done here in two "slices", plus the classic "Express Yourself", a monster number that still sounds great every time we hear it – even though it's been used on commercials and sampled plenty of times over the years! Other tracks include "I'm Aware", "Road Without An End", and "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do". ~Dusty Groove

Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love - AMR

Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love are no musical strangers – having played together for most of the past three decades – so it's no surprise that they leap right out of the gate with boundless improvisational energy here – completely on fire in a live performance recorded together in Switzerland! As always, Vandermark really blows us away with the range of sounds that he gets from his reeds – elements that effortlessly shift between musical moments and more textural passages – as Paal himself moves between romping rhythm and more abstract percussion elements. There's no songs listed at all on the CD – although there appear to be five selections – but given the instant appeal of this duo from a free jazz perspective, you hardly need notes to tell you what to love! ~ Dusty Groove

Gerardo Frisina - Marombo (parts 1 & 2)

Great work from Gerardo Frisina – the kind of long, Latin-styled grooves we've always loved from this Schema Records legend – still very much at the top of his game after all these years! The track is nice and long – plenty of room for the rhythms to roll out with all the kind of changes that Frisina can bring into the mix – complicated, but never losing their groove – and with lots of room for added percussion solos from Enesto Lopez, and some nice work on baritone sax from Alfonso Deidda! ~ Dusty Groove

Pianist/keyboardist Amina Figarova's latest album, Persistence

Persistence, due out March 20, 2020 via AmFi Records, reveals Figarova’s love of soul, hip-hop, funk and rock music through her groove-heavy collaboration with Rez Abbasi, Rudy Royston, Yasushi Nakamura and Bart Platteau.

After 20 years at the helm of her acclaimed acoustic sextet, taking her across the globe and onto such renowned stages as the Newport Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, pianist Amina Figarova embarks on a bold new chapter with the release of Persistence. On the album, due out March 20, 2020 on her own AmFi Records imprint, the Azerbaijani-born pianist debuts her exploratory new ensemble Edition 113, an electric band grooving somewhere in the sweet spot between jazz fusion, classic R&B, inventive hip-hop and progressive funk.
Figarova couldn’t have assembled a better band to enliven this thrilling new sound: supplementing her own piano with an array of keyboards, she’s joined by guitar great Rez Abbasi (Rudresh Mahanthappa, Kiran Ahluwalia), bassist Yasushi Nakamura (Christian Sands, Toshiko Akiyoshi), drummer Rudy Royston (Bill Frisell, JD Allen) and her partner in music and life, flutist Bart Platteau, who here also wields the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). The album also features guest vocals by singer Paul Jost, rapper JSWISS, and poet/singer Skye’s World. 

Persistence is in one sense a single word autobiography for Figarova. She has forged a fiercely independent path in the music business, from her early aspirations growing up in the former Soviet Union, to pursuing her studies from her native Azerbaijan to Rotterdam and finally to Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Wanting the scale and palette of a big band with the flexibility of a small group, she formed her sextet in 1998 and proceeded to craft an utterly unique body of music for the ensemble, which toured extensively for two decades before celebrating its 20thanniversary in 2018 with the release of Figarova’s last album, Road to the Sun. 

“For me, music is a one-way ticket,” Figarova insists. “All I want to do is perform my music with great artists, so I don’t ever look for other solutions and I don’t get tired. It can be hard, but I can be very hard-headed when I’m inspired. That’s persistence.” 

The title could also refer to the persistence of the electric influence on Figarova’s music. It may not have shown through very often in her work with the sextet, but Motown was one of her earliest loves, even as she spent countless hours studying classical piano. Another key influence has been Herbie Hancock, in particular his electric Headhunters and Mwandishi bands – which also introduced her to the jazz flute, so it’s not far-fetched to give Hancock some credit for leading the pianist to her flutist husband. Those passions have never left her, so Persistence is the realization of a long-held dream to dive into this sound world.

The opportunity came in part through the couple’s move to Harlem in 2014, where they quickly found themselves surrounded by gifted and open-minded musicians and a living situation ideal for hosting jam sessions. The band name, Edition 113, is taken from the block where Figarova and Platteau make their home.

The songs on Persistence grew out of those jam sessions, which inspired Amina to compose all the tracks for the album in a very different approach to the one that the pianist took when composing for her sextet. “In the past, when it came time for the next record I would sit down at the piano and write,” she recalls. “Here I was just asking musicians to bring some of their own music over and try some of my mine, trying out different things without thinking about recording. It was fun every time and led to a lot of surprises.” 

Among their frequent guests was near neighbor Abbasi, with whom Figarova quickly discovered a profound musical and personal connection. Their friendship and vibrant sonic chemistry can be heard throughout Persistence, perhaps nowhere more than on the blistering “R Song,” christened with Abbasi’s first initial on the occasion of his birthday. Yasushi is a favorite bassist who shared acoustic duties with Luques Curtis on Figarova’s 2015 album Blue Whisper. He’s a frequent collaborator with Royston, so pairing the two of them seemed natural. 

The gambit pays off out of the gate, as Nakamura’s racing bassline weaves around Royston’s stuttering groove, with Platteau and Abbasi melding together on the melody line. They slow to an airy sway as Figarova soars with an interstellar Nord solo. “I’ve Got No Time” reprises the closing piece from Road to the Sun, “No Time For,” which the composer had always envisioned in more of a funk frame. A number of rappers retreated from the challenge of the intricate rhythm, until the jazz-influenced JSWISS, who has collaborated with the likes of Nicholas Payton and Chris Dave, more than rose to the occasion with his harried rhymes. 

The shimmering “Lil’ Poem” follows, with Platteau conjuring an uncanny voice-flute hybrid from his effects-altered Bb flute, while “Morning Blue” gleans its edge from Abbasi’s serrated tone. Paul Jost’s wordless vocals pair with Platteau’s flute on the gorgeous melody of “Horizons,” and “Bliss” centers on the eloquent poetry of Skye’s World, the son of vocalist Lynette Washington and godson of the legendary Art Blakey. 

The album cover features “Coordinates of Exodus,” a striking painting by artist Jorge Posada, whose work conjures feelings of motion and rhythm for Figarova. “His paintings are very dynamic,” she says. “When I walked into his studio and saw this piece I was mesmerized. I see colors when I hear music, and standing there I just thought, ‘This is Persistence.’” 

Hailing from Azerbaijan, the New York-based Amina Figarova studied to be a classical concert pianist as a child, entering Rotterdam Conservatory (where she met Bart Platteau, a fellow student from Belgium) to pursue jazz before coming to the United States in 1992 to complete her formal education at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. In 1998 she was invited to the Thelonious Monk Institute’s summer jazz colony in Aspen. She is an internationally influenced—and recognized—composer, pianist, and bandleader. Those three roles come to the forefront in Figarova’s sextets, bands with a remarkable chemistry that bring her detailed arrangements to life. The Amina Figarova Sextet has been a hit at major festivals such as the Newport Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The Amina Figarova Sextet PLUS is a grantee of the 2019 Chamber Music America ‘s New Jazz Works.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Music for Love presents the new album "Landscape" by Duo Manibe'

When jazz meets world music, experimentation and electronics, the result is pure alchemy. Maurizio Lampugnani (percussion, vocals) and Poldo Sebastiani (electric bass, loop-station) starting from their artistic experiences and passion for musical research decide to unite in an unusual duo, making the rhythmic point of origin of their suggestive journey. In a single jazz soul, the seductions of Cuba's colorful and drunken cheerfulness, the heartbeat of Africa's sun and earth merge , the sound of the eastern ego. Unusual nuances that electronics gives us, photographing almost like a digital camera the flavors of our land, the one that smells of blood and sweat of white lime, which lights up the blue of the sea, the red of the burning sunsets, the green of olive leaves, the black that is hidden.

The duo, who works on original compositions and is preparing an album, has already produced some videos that have been published on you tube and that have received numerous acclaim, including: 

Music For LOVE is an organization that creates, produces and promotes positive musical and musical events, with the sole aim of raising funds for charitable causes in support of humanitarian and educational projects around the world. In collaboration with our fundraiser we also support and promote new and emerging artists who have a passion for social justice. We are extremely grateful to collaborate with extraordinary artists like "Duo Manibe", who share the same vision and compassion as Music For LOVE. Thanks to great musicians like them and to all the generous donations we received, Music For LOVE was able to use the 100% of the proceeds for significant, life-changing projects These projects include: building schools in several impoverished African countries, rebuilding schools in North Carolina, affected by natural disasters, supporting medical research in Italy for the childhood diseases, the purchase of thousands of books for local elementary schools, as well as providing funding for food, medical equipment and school supplies for children all over the world.While our organization works to do our part to leave this world with a best place, we hope you enjoy this phenomenal album!

Friday, February 21, 2020

New Music Releases: James Bowman III, Samuel Lorenzo, New York/Paris Reunion Quintet

James Bowman III - Things On My Mind 

Colorful, uplifting, steady grooving and wildly inspiring, singer and songwriter James Bowman III's latest album Things On My Mind offers a seamless merging of gospel energy, sacred reverence and urban oriented Smooth Jazz. Having played with Brian McKnight and Mervyn Warren and opened for everyone from Edwin Hawkins, Kirk Franklin and BeBe & CeCe Winans, the multi-talented artist and seductive vocalist has plenty to communicate about - the Lord, marriage, family and relationship. Led by a spiritual lyrical reworking of an Earth, Wind & Fire classic, the collection offers a positive overall message to combat the harsh discourse occurring in the world today.

Samuel Lorenzo – Wishing You Were Here

Samuel Lorenzo is a creative singer-songwriter, keyboardist, percussionist, and producer whose roots began in Norfolk, Virginia. A quiet, soft-spoken artist with a vibe that reaches the very depth of his soul, genres such as R&B, Funk, Gospel, and Jazz have inspired Samuel Lorenzo's international, poignant and warm musical style. Hailing from Atlantic Records' funk/R&B group Mass Production, the group's #1 R&B hit "Firecracker", sampled by 2 Live Crew on their single "Me So Horny", propelled them onto the Billboards charts. A versatile musician, Gospel artists such as Daryl Coley, Morris Chapman, Helen Baylor, and Alvin Slaughter, inspired Lorenzo. He was also fortunate to share the stage with them as well as other celebrated artists such as The Isley Brothers, The Gap Band, Sister Sledge, Rick James, Teddy Pendergrass, Stephanie Mills, Cameo, Peabo Bryson, Lakeside, Atlantic Starr, SOS Band, Skyy, Brass Construction, Con Funk Shun, Slave, The Spinners, The Dazz Band, and most recently Brick, The Fat Back Band, Instant Funk, The Ying Yang Twins, and Chingy. This new release, Wishing You Were Here, is inspired by his wife. Lorenzo masterfully captures on the piano the phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" with this sultry and seductive melody.
New York/Paris Reunion Quintet - Live At The Bird's Eye Club, Basel 

A great group of players from both the New York and Paris scenes – coming together here in a live recording that's got a wonderfully classic vibe, right from the start! The best-known player in the group, at least to our ears, is trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, who always sparkles on his solos – but the group's also got some really fantastic alto work from Dmitry Baevsky, a player we know a lot less, but who really blows us away with the depth and texture of his tone – an approach that uses the alto with a hell of a bite, at a level we maybe haven't heard this great since the early bop recordings of Jackie McLean! Pianist Jeb Patton is great, too – very romping some moments, but personally pointed at others – and the group also features rock-solid work from Fabien Marcoz on bass and Bernd Reiter on drums, a duo who are especially nice when hard-swinging. Titles include "Brooklyn", "Mr Kenyatta", "Truth Tellers", "Bittersweet", "Conception", and "Everything I Love". ~ Dusty Groove

Erroll Garner's That's My Kick Newly Restored and Expanded

The Octave Remastered Series -- from Mack Avenue Music Group and Octave Music -- continues with the release of That's My Kick, available now. Featuring newly restored and expanded editions of classic Erroll Garner releases from the 1960s and 1970s, the series is a historic year-long, 12-album project that has received critical acclaim thus far. Utilizing the Plangent Process playback system for analog tape, these new transfers were remastered and, when needed, remixed by the GRAMMY® Award-winning Garner team. The subsequent series rollout features one album per month – That’s My Kick (available now), Up in Erroll’s Room, Feeling is Believing, Gemini, Magician, and Gershwin & Kern – through June 2020.

Produced by Peter Lockhart and Steve Rosenthal, the series continues Garner’s resurgence, following his return to the top of the Billboard Jazz chart with 2015’s GRAMMY® Award-nominated The Complete Concert by the Sea, which was the first release from the Erroll Garner Jazz Project—a collective formed to curate Garner’s monumental archive. The Garner Project followed The Complete Concert by the Sea with the critically acclaimed, newly unearthed studio record Ready Take One in 2016, and the midnight concert album Nightconcert, which reached #1 on the iTunes and Amazon jazz charts upon its release in 2018.

The master tapes for all 12 albums in the series were transferred and restored using the Plangent playback system. Employing a wideband tape head, preamp and DSP package to capture and track the original recorder’s ultrasonic bias remnant, the Plangent Process removes the wow and flutter and FM/IM distortion from the recorded audio. This returns the listener to the original session experience, bringing to life Garner’s incomparable performances of his own compositions, as well as classic works from the jazz canon.

During his 40-year career, Garner published more than 200 compositions, the most famous of which, “Misty,” was ranked by ASCAP as the twelfth most popular song of the 20th century. Since 1954 no other song has been recorded by more jazz artists except Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll.” In 1971, “Misty” was the centerpiece of jazz aficionado Clint Eastwood’s film Play Misty For Me. It has also been featured in numerous television shows (Cheers, Saturday Night Live, Magnum PI, The Muppet Show) and films (Oscar® nominated Silver Linings Playbook). A previously unreleased studio performance of “Misty” is included in the Octave Remastered Series, on the Gemini album.

The newly minted bonus tracks in the series are all Garner originals, eight of the twelve being previously unreleased compositions. “It’s truly shocking, and one of the greatest joys of this work, to find these fully realized tunes just sitting there on tape,” says Peter Lockhart, senior producer of the Octave Remastered Series.

One of the most prolific composers and performers in the history of jazz, as well as a courageous advocate for African-American empowerment and artistic freedom, Garner is a legend among jazz pianists. His unique approach melds bebop and swing influences into a unique, unrivaled mastery.

In addition to his brilliant keyboard artistry, Garner is also a notable figure in popular music history for the hard-won precedents he set for artistic freedom that still stand today. In 1959, because he had rights of approval on what was released, Garner successfully sued Columbia Records to remove an album they had released without his permission.

His victory was the first of its kind for any American artist in the music industry. Garner and his manager, Martha Glaser, subsequently founded and launched Octave Records, whose 12 releases make up the Octave Remastered Series.

Erroll Garner was a rare musician who was equally adored and respected by peers and devoted fans alike. He and his art were best summed up by the late trumpeter Clark Terry: “The man was complete. He could do it all.”

That's My Kick was Garner’s first traditional studio album in five years and perhaps his most ambitious album ever as a composer. The selections were surely inspired by the new array of musicians assembled for the sessions, including percussionist José Mangual, who would go on to play with Garner for rest of his career. The electric atmosphere captured on tape here is at times raucous and always palpably joyful.

Oscar Peterson Tribute Deluxe Limited Edition 5-LP: Oscar, With Love

In 2015, a special 3-CD set, Oscar, With Love, was released to observe the 90th birthday of jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson (1925-2007). To honor her late husband, Kelly Peterson assembled some of the most celebrated jazz artists in the world to perform and record on the luminary's prized personal piano, then released the recordings as a deluxe collector's edition shortly before the 10-year anniversary of the celebrated pianist’s passing. Now, a deluxe limited edition 5-LP 180-gram box set, re-sequenced for vinyl, is slated to be released on February 21 in a two-piece box with a 40-page booklet.

Oscar, With Love not only features compositions previously unreleased by Peterson, but all are performed in Peterson's home studio on his Bösendorfer Imperial piano. Never has there been such a recording, various artists performing on the personal instrument of a jazz legend. "Oscar cherished his piano," said Kelly Peterson, executive producer of the new recording. "It is one of the finest and most unusual instruments in the world. Oscar handpicked it at the Bösendorfer factory in Vienna in 1981. It has never been heard publicly." Tremendous care was taken to fully capture the outstanding performances of these great artists and the magnificent sound of Peterson's Bösendorfer Imperial.

The set showcases Oscar Peterson as a composer and includes the world premiere of several pieces he wrote but never recorded; the compositions were retrieved from Peterson's library for the project. Most of the music on the recording was written by Peterson, or for him by some of his closest musical friends. It is these friends and colleagues who performed on the recording. Together, these musicians have won 30+ Grammy® Awards, Latin Grammys, Oscars, Golden Globes, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and several Juno awards.

The list of participating artists includes some of the greatest jazz players in the world: Chick Corea, Monty Alexander, Ramsey Lewis, Kenny Barron, Benny Green, Oliver Jones, Makoto Ozone, Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap. In fact, Corea wrote and performed a new composition (called "One For Oscar") specifically for the project. Additionally, the remarkable late composer/arranger and dear friend of Peterson, Michel Legrand, contributed two performances to the recording.

Other notable contributors include pianist and vocalist Audrey Morris and pianist/producer and good friend Lance Anderson. Morris, a long-time close friend of Peterson's, has been a renowned member of the Chicago music community for sixty-plus years. Anderson's performance of the blues tune written for him by Peterson is among the compositions premiered on the recording.

Peterson was known for his encouragement and support of young, gifted players. Oscar, With Love has continued this tradition by showcasing some exceptional young players -- Gerald Clayton, Hiromi, Justin Kauflin, and Robi Botos.

Although primarily a solo piano recording, some performances are accompanied by Peterson's long-time associate and friend, bassist Dave Young.

Internationally respected Swiss engineer Blaise Favre recorded and mixed Oscar, With Love. The recording sessions were co-produced by Kelly Peterson and Juno Award-winning producer Lance Anderson, with Anderson taking the lead role as music producer.

"All of the artists and contributors travelled to Oscar's home studio to be part of the project," said Kelly Peterson. "I was overwhelmed by their respect for Oscar. Each of them expressed how humbled and honored they were to be present on 'hallowed ground' in Oscar's studio."

As executive producer of this unique project, Kelly Peterson explained her intent is to honor not only her late husband's legacy, but also the legacy of his dearest friend, manager, impresario, and record producer, Norman Granz. Oscar, With Love was originally released on her own label, Two Lions Records, in honor of these two jazz giants.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...