Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jamie Saft - Solo a Genova (RARE NOISE RECORDS 2018)

Jamie Saft’s first solo album is an unrestrained experience, taking an eclectic mix of material – jazz, rock, pop, blues, modernist classical, and a few Saft originals – and creating an hour’s coherent listening without sacrificing any of the variety. In other words, some choices might seem odd on paper but aurally, it works, and then some.

The reasoning behind the choices goes back to the original idea for a solo concert in 2007 in Italy. Saft wanted, “…to present American music as an example of positive, forward thinking art – …art that resisted hatred and negativity, art that promoted a positive path forward…” Hence a mix of positive songs with an overall transformative theme.

For the more pop-py material (Dylan, Mitchell et al.) Saft sidesteps the obvious ‘greatest hits’ choices, preferring to tackle songs which presumably have a more personal meaning. Blue Motel Room is shaken from its shuffle roots, given a more expansive flow and in the process ends up sounding more Joni Mitchell than ever. Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed is done close to the original though the absence of vocals and syrupy strings means the tune itself is allowed to shine more (a real Stevie fan might disagree, of course). And the two country-ish Dylan tunes are eased into a rather more free-flowing state, both loving yet hardly slavish tributes. ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man, on the other hand (listen below), is so deconstructed it’s practically an autopsy – beautifully delicate and understated and begins a million miles from its soft rock origins (though on a facial hair note, I have to wonder if ZZ Top constitute an inspiration for Jamie Saft’s own impressive foliage…)

Charles Ives’ The Housatonic at Stockbridge is a deep and thoughtful interlude, suffused with a slow passion and meanwhile, the jazz is well-represented by Coltrane, Davis and Saft’s own tunes Pinkus, Gates and The New Standard, showcasing Saft’s unquenchable invention. Naima is one of Coltrane’s most simply beautiful tunes and this is one of the highlights of the album. Saft adds a fresh filigree of detail that only seems to further burnish and show off the original’s simplicity. But the album as a whole more often reminds me of Alice Coltrane. Not that I’m overly knowledgeable about the full breadth of her work but there’s something here about the phrasing and the flow that reminds me of albums like “Ptah the El Daoud” – a constant ascending ride, each tune a vehicle or petition for some more profound expression, a prayer to elevate the spirit and the attention… you get the idea.

Blues spirit, classical lyricism, jazz dexterity – as solo piano albums go, slot it into your collection right next to “Mingus Plays Piano”, Jarrett’s “Köln” and Monk’s “Alone in San Francisco”.

Playlist for Tom Ossana – The Thin Edge – January 17, 2018 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.

Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Richie Powell and Max Roach get the first half rolling with Rollins’ “Pent-Up House” – an obvious pun characteristic of many jazz tunes in the forties and fifties. This comes from “Plus 4”, a Prestige pressing in 1956, three months before Clifford and Richie were killed in an auto accident. Alto saxophonist Gael Horellou Quintet return from last week with the Gale penned “The Gale Force” – another pun – on “Coup De Vent” (Fresh Sound Records 2017). Jeremy Pelt’s trumpet is prominent. Responding to Mark Roberts’ request, we’ll hear Miles’ “Yesternow” from his “Jack Johnson” (Columbia 1971) - music created for Bill Clayton’s documentary of “Jack Johnson” on the life of the boxer. Featured artists include Steve Grossman: soprano saxophone; Herbie Hancock: organ; John McLaughlin: electric guitar; Michael Henderson: electric bass; Billy Cobham: drums.

Anders Bergcrantz Quartet’s “In This Together” (Dragon Records 1995) kicks off the second half with the title track featuring his trumpet and Richie Beirach’s piano. Roaming around the library I came across a never-heard Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ “Joelle” – a Wayne Shorter composition – from the 1961 Blue Note “The Witch Doctor”. Soloists include Wayne (ts), Lee Morgan (tp) and Bobby Timmons (p). Beata Pater vocalizes Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly” from her “Red” (B & B Records 2013). Darius Babazedeh solos on tenor. In the fifties I spent a lot of time with Gigi Gryce’s “Nica’s Tempo” (Savoy 1955). I was particularly fond of his cover of Horace Silver’s “Speculation” featuring Gigi’s alto, Art Farmer’s trumpet and Oscar Pettiford’s bass. Duke Jordan makes a rare appearance closing this half with the title track from his “Flight to Jordan” (Blue Note 1960). Trumpeter Dizzy Reece gets things started followed by the venerable tenor sax of Stanley Turrentine and the leader’s piano.

Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay” tests his jazz-rock bona fides in his first outing with Creed Taylor’s CTI Records (1970). We’ll hear the title track with solos from Freddie’s trumpet, Hancock’s Fender Rhodes, Joe Henderson’s raucous tenor and Ron Carter’s bass. Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams follows with a cover of Byrd’s “Hush” from their “The Complete Blue Note Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams Studio Sessions” (2000). This comes from Donald’s “Royal Flush” (Blue Note 1962) featuring Donald’s trumpet, Pepper’s baritone and Hancock’s piano. Bassist Gary Peacock gets us ready for romance with a cover of drummer Joey Baron’s “Esprit de Muse” from Gary’s “Now This (ECM 2015). Marc Copland shows up on piano with Baron handling the drums.

Tierney Sutton gets us holding hands with her treatment of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from Sutton’s “After Blue” (Varese Sarabande 2013) featuring the Turtle Island String Quartet. Newcomer American pianist Leslie Pintchik treats us to a Bernstein/Baden Powell medley “Somewhere/Berimbau” with help from bassist Scott Hardy and drummer Mark Dodge. Dukes of Hazzard ex-pat Tom Wopat gets us acquainted with the title track – a tune penned by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin - from his “Dissertation on the State of Bliss” (Sin-Drome Records 2005) with help from Gil Goldstein (p), Bob Malach (ts), Marc Johnson (b) and Antonio Sanchéz (dr). Especially for Josiah P. Smith, one of Utah’s original modern jazz deejays, we’ll hear June Christy’s impressions on Bob Haymes and Alan Brandt’s “That’s All” from her “Misty Miss Christy” (Blue Note Records 1956). Roger Cairns returns after a ten-year absence to reacquaint us with Jack King and Dorothy Parker’s “How Am I to Know” from his “Let’s . . . (AHP Productions 2008). Matt Otto’s tenor shines. Pianist Alan Broadbent commands a string ensemble for Jane Monheit’s cover of Howard Deitz and Arthur Schwartz’s “Haunted Heart”, spooking us into keeping the flame alive from her “Live at the Rainbow Room” (N-Coded Music 2003).

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. ~ Gebran Khalil Gebran

Let's have some fun!

Thanks to Music Director Serah and friends around the world for the program's content.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Francesco Geminiani - ColorSound (AUAND RECORDS March 9, 2018)

The sound of Colors, the inspiration directly coming from what is around us that then reflects into the music… At the core of this new work there are brief compositions born from an improvisation, a thought or a sensation. Accompanying him on this journey there are two great musicians: Mark Schilders on Drums and Rick Rosato on Bass.

01 Agata Blu
02 Agata Rossa
03 French Blues
04 It Could Happen to Everyone
05 Ambra
06 Mountain Pirates
07 Theme for Ernie
08 Lastone

Rick Rosato double bass
Mark Schilders drums

Produced by Francesco Geminiani
Executive Producer: Marco Valente
Recorded at Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY, USA on April 13, 2015
Engineer: Nolan Thies
Cover Photo: Maria Trofimova

Edna - Born To Be Why (AUAND RECORDS February 9, 2018)

01 Villipendolo
02 Life on Mars
03 Born To Be Why
04 Iride
05 Hiccups
06 Piani Inclinati
07 Gomma Blues
08 Tiro al Bersaglio
09 Pure Immagination
10 BiGi

Produced by EDNA
Executive Producer: Marco Valente
Recorded at Play Studio, Bricherasio (TO) – Italy on January 9-11,2017
Engineer: Alberto Macerata
Cover Photo: Stefano Risso

Hobby Horse - Helm (AUAND RECORDS January 26, 2018)

Collective trio Hobby Horse is among the most prominent groups in Italy’s flowering creative/experimental jazz scene. Their newest record ‘Helm’ is slated for release on January 26, 2018 with Italian independent jazz label Auand on CD, and with underground label ROUS Records on vinyl. On ‘Helm,’ Hobby Horse has managed to concentrate their vast sonic palette with startling clarity, bringing 8 years of performing and recording experience to razor sharp focus in a further maturation of their uniquely irreverent approach to cross-pollinating musical worlds. From the decisive attack of the first bass note on the title track to the menacing final drone that closes the record, there is no wasted space or time to take a breath. The mostly collaborative original compositions are superficially simple, but the trio develops them into minutely detailed, layered arabesques, contrasted with occasional but functional outbursts of characteristic violence.

Continuing to expand Hobby Horse’s unique approach to vocals, ‘The Go Round’ includes a text contributed by Italian experimental radio composer Alessandro Bosetti while side two contains the trio’s take on ‘Born Again Cretin’ by Robert Wyatt and finishes with a sobering version of English performance poet John Cooper Clarke’s ‘Evidently Chickentown’.

01 1 Helm
02 2 Salsa Caliente
03 3 The Go Round
04 4 Cascade
05 5 Buckle
06 6 Born Again Cretin
07 7 Amundsen Evidently Chickentown

Produced by Hobby Horse
Executive Producer: Marco Valente
Recorded at Marchisielli, Foligno (PG) – Italy on April 24-28, 2017
Engineer: Dan Kinzelman
Cover Photo: James Anthony Obed

Francesco Fiorenzani - Silent Water (AUAND RECORDS 2018)

Il chitarrista e compositore Francesco Fiorenzani pubblicherà il suo album d’esordio Silent Water il 12 gennaio per l’etichetta Auand (distribuzione Goodfellas). Fiorenzani è alla guida di un quintetto composto da Achille Succi (sax alto/clarinetto basso), Luca Sguera (pianoforte), Francesco Ponticelli (contrabbasso) e Bernardo Guerra (batteria). 

La scelta dei membri del gruppo è stata motivata dalla loro esperienza e dalle affinità musicali riscontrate con Fiorenzani. Achille Succi vanta una lunga carriera di collaborazioni e lavori brillanti, ma è stata la sua ‘voce’ ineguagliabile a rendersi una costante fonte di ispirazione indispensabile per la trama imbastita da Fiorenzani. L’incontro con Luca Sguera è avvenuto da studenti all’interno della Siena Jazz University. 

E’ un giovane pianista molto promettente, dotato di una sensibilità rara per i timbri e i respiri nella musica che l’hanno reso sapiente nel dialogo con la chitarra. Francesco Ponticelli al contrabbasso, rappresenta per Fiorenzani l’ideale di bassista: background musicale aperto a 360 gradi ed estremamente dotato di solidità strumentale ma soprattutto di immaginazione. Infine Bernardo Guerra alla batteria, anche lui giovane ma ormai lanciato nel panorama jazz italiano, un musicista di sostanza che sempre mette le proprie idee al servizio della musica.

Il progetto nasce nel 2016 e la vittoria del concorso per giovani compositori sponsorizzato dall’U.N.C.L.A. e dal Ministero della Cultura Italiana, ha contribuito alla sua uscita discografica.

Il repertorio è composto esclusivamente da brani originali composti da Fiorenzani, dove emergono le influenze che hanno segnato la sua personalità nell’iniziare questo percorso. Il jazz è certamente il linguaggio a cui le composizioni fanno riferimento, soprattutto nell’intenzione ritmica e nello sviluppo formale del repertorio.

Sono inoltre chiare le influenze provenienti della scena newyorkese dagli anni ’90 ad oggi, dove l’ispirazione arriva dai lavori di artisti come Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Binney e Ambrose Akinmusire.

Il risultato è una musica che trova un’equilibrata sintesi tra melodie orecchiabili ma raffinate e una costruzione sapiente di armonie ad esse legate simmetricamente.

Produced by Francesco Fiorenzani
Executive Producer: Marco Valente
Recorded at Entropya Studio, Perugia – Italy on May 22-24, 2017
Engineer: Gabriele Ballabio and Stefano Bechini
Cover Photo: Ester Scapini

OSU Jazz Orchestra (feat. Michael Dease) - Solid Gold (2018)

Solid Gold is the first commercially released recording by the Oklahoma State University Jazz Studies Program. The CD features two-time GRAMMY winning trombonist/composer Michael Dease backed up by the eighteen students of the OSU Jazz Orchestra.

You Dig?
Solid Gold
Out Front
Gorgeous Gwen
Good and Terrible
After You’ve Gone

Tommy Poole: director
Ryan Hatcher: trumpet
Matt Herron: trumpet
Kevin Kamau: trumpet
Tyler Murray: trumpet
Noah Mennenga: trumpet (8)
Charlie Chadwell: alto sax, flute
Ashley Krogstad: alto sax (1, 3, 5, 7)
Marcos Alvarez: alto sax, flute (2, 4, 6, 8)
Sydney Pointer: tenor sax, clarinet
Eric Stults, tenor sax, clarinet
Matthew Floeter: baritone sax (1-3, 5, 7, 8)
Hayden Anderson: baritone sax, bass clarinet (4, 6)
Jacob Eyler: trombone
Kyle Hunt: trombone
Paul Bussert: trombone
Dorien Tate: bass trombone
Dylan Shadoan: piano
Bradley Spears: guitar (6)
Mickey Webster: bass
Matt Durkee: drums

Michael Dease: trombone

Mopo - Mopocalypse (WE JAZZ RECORDS January 26, 2018)

Mopo, a trio of sax, bass and drums from Finland, has been on the radar of international tastemakers already for a while thanks to their unique blend of jazz, punk, and inpisration from the Finnish nature. Now the trio of saxophonist Linda Fredriksson, bassist Eero Tikkanen and drummer Eeti Nieminen is set to release their fourth album on Helsinki's We Jazz Records. 

"Mopocalypse", a highly flammable mix of rough-around-the-edges jazz and melodic songwriting, is the remarkable next step for one of Finland's most potent exports. Mopo swing, grind, drive hard, and slow down with an impeccable sense of dynamics. Their music is raw and beautiful.

1. Tökkö 03:40
2. My Best Friend
3. Riisto
4. Ruusu
5. Mustafa
6. Niin aikaisin 04:44
7. Sinut muistan ainiaan
8. Noita
9. Panama

with: Otto Eskelinen, Farfisa organ

Produced by Mopo & Matti Nives
Recording, mixing and editing: Joonas Saikkonen & Abdissa ”Mamba" Assefa
Mastered by: Pauli Saastamoinen
Additional mastering for vinyl: Jukka Sarapää

Rajada (Pedro Sousa / Miguel Mira / Afonso Simões) - Rajada (MULTIKULTI PROJECT 2018)

Rajada - strong gust of wind, a machine gun burst, movement or impulse, something which is clearly fast. 

The most prominent representative of the European improvised music scene, Evan Parker, has an innumerable amount of students and followers of the innovative approach to playing the saxophone. Perhaps one of the most receptive among the group is Portuguese saxophonist Pedro Sousa, who complements the grammage of truly liberated improvisation with youthful enthusiasm, vigor and temperament derived from the experiences in the field of post-electronic music.

What can a cello change when placed among a free jazz trio instead of a double bass? Could it lead the tenor to a higher plane? Could it make the drummer’s work lighter and sensual? If, while in Motion Trio, supporting Rodrigo Amado, Miguel Mira's cello sets the tenor in a position to take off, in Rajada it aims to set it right in the skyline. 

You are about to experience an epic, hour long, genuinely portuguese story carrying numerous plots and far from few dramatic turns. If the album “Casa Futuro”, which Sousa recorded with Johan Berthling and Gabriel Ferrandini is frequently in your music players, you should definitely get this album.

Andrzej Nowak - Trybuna Muzyki Spontanicznej

1. Atazana 22:14
2. Desata 36:17

All music by Rajada

Recorded at Estúdios Interpress by Afonso Simões, August 2015
Mixed and mastered at Noise Precision by Rafael Toral
Cover Design by Witold Oleszak 
Producers: Pedro Sousa, Miguel Mira and Afonso Simões
Executive producers: Tomasz Konwent & Andrzej Nowak

Painting by Miguel Mira, 2016

Rajada would like to thank Andrzej Nowak, Rafael Toral, friends and family

The Multikulti Project/ Spontaneous Music Tribune Series is dedicated to iberian free improvised music.