Tuesday, June 19, 2018

William Parker - Voices Fall From The Sky (AUM Fidelity 2018)

[CENTERING 1015/1016/1017] 

A treasure box abounding with gems, Voices Fall From The Sky is an expansive 3 Album / 3CD Box Set comprising three distinct and complementary albums whose focus is on the voice: ~the singers~ & the songs, all composed (music & lyrics) by William Parker. 17 singular & potent voices are featured herein; accompaniment ranges throughout, from duo to large ensemble. 

tracks 1–11 = Voices Fall From The Sky (Album/CD 1) 
tracks 12–25 = Songs (Album/CD 2) 
tracks 26–34 = Essence (Album/CD 3) 

First release for each of the albums are within this compendium. 
Over half of this work are brand new recordings made during December 2017–January 2018; the balance is drawn from various sources, some long (20 years!) unavailable and others presented in new form; all personally selected & sequenced by William Parker, and released on his own Centering Records imprint (dist. by AUM Fidelity).

A multitude of approaches are in evidence: art song to operatic, pop to gospel, ballads to dance numbers, silence to exuberance. The lyrical content expresses love of nature and its vital importance to a whole life, compassion, anti-oppression, anti-violence of any kind, praise of the creative spirit, and, Love. These themes are foundational in all of Parker’s work; the forefront spotlight through a multitude of expressive voices here makes them that much more salient. 

Parker has been working with singers since first embarking on his distinguished path in the early 1970s. His creations featuring voice & song which have found greatest renown to date have been with the groups/projects, Raining On The Moon [ “In suggesting an alternate past, where Nina Simone jammed with John Coltrane, Parker finds another future.” –The Sunday Times } and The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield [ “A superb example of how a pop songbook can be transformed .. a fierce and awesome display of musical prowess .. among the broadest, deepest and richest listens of this year (or any).” –JazzTimes ] And, from a full-page featured review in The Wire of Parker’s most recent release in this form, Stan’s Hat Flapping in the Wind: “Through these songs, love rains down.” 

Here Now, June 2018 >>> 

Album 1, also entitled Voices Fall From The Sky, features all-new work (except the opening invocation) recorded & mixed during Winter 2017/2018. It features the widest range of voices & accompaniment. [Singers]: Timna Comedi • Morley Shanti Kamen • Amirtha Kidambi • Kyoko Kitamura • Bernardo Palombo • Omar Payano • Jean Carla Rodea • Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez • Fay Victor • Andrea Wolper [With Accompanists]: Karen Borca • Angelo Branford • Rob Brown • Gerald Cleaver • Jean Cook • Jason Kao Hwang • Masahiko Kono • William Parker • Dave Sewelson • Heru Shabaka-Ra • Steve Swell • Dario Acosta Teich • Eri Yamamoto 

Album 2 – Songs, is wholly comprised of duets (except the first track ;-), and focuses on three singers with whom Parker has had decades-long creative relationships with. Vintage recordings with Ellen Christi and Lisa Sokolov from the early 1990s :: which have been unavailable for almost 20 years :: are here re-contextualized with more recent work featuring Leena Conquest (and one each feat. Ernie Odoom & Mola Sylla) [Accompanists]: Yuko Fujiyama • Cooper-Moore • William Parker • Eri Yamamoto 

Album 3 – Essence, presents voices within large ensemble & features new iterations of previously released work together with a brand new suite / recording entitled The Blinking of the Ear, performed by mezzo-soprano opera singer AnnMarie Sandy. The previously released work features the singers Ernie Odoom, Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay and Leena Conquest, with accompaniment by four very different versions of the William Parker Orchestra, and his Double Quartet. The new suite features Eri Yamamoto: piano and Leonid Galaganov: drums, although how they and AnnMarie Sandy fill the silence is practically orchestral. 

3CD Box Set is in a strictly limited Edition of 1000 – a truly gorgeous item with heft to match the musical content. 

Full art & liner notes / song annotation / lyrics are included as a PDF with Digital Album purchase.

1. Espirito (feat. Omar Payano) 01:14
2. Airlift (feat. Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez) 02:05
3. Bouquet for Borah (feat. Andrea Wolper) 12:26
4. City of Flowers (feat. Andrea Wolper) 06:02
5. Despues de la Guerra (feat. Bernardo Palombo & Jean Carla Rodea) 06:14
6. Small Lobby (feat. Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez) 03:26
7. So, Important (feat. Kyoko Kitamura) 06:20
8. We Often Danced (feat. Fay Victor) 14:28
9. Voices Fall from the Sky (feat. Amirtha Kidambi) 06:43
10. Revolution (feat. Timna Comedi) 05:39
11. A Tree Called Poem (feat. Morley Shanti Kamen) 08:27
12. All I Want (feat. Ernie Odoom) 02:18
13. Baldwin's Interlude (feat. Ellen Christi) 02:51
14. For Julius Eastman (feat. Lisa Sokolov) 03:05
15. Aborigine Song (feat. Lisa Sokolov) 02:05
16. Life Song (feat. Ellen Christi) 04:16
17. Band in the Sky (feat. Lisa Sokolov) 06:03
18. Sweet Breeze (feat. Leena Conquest) 05:06
19. Morning Moon (feat. Lisa Sokolov) 06:08
20. A Thought for Silence (feat. Ellen Christi) 03:12
21. Poem for June Jordan (feat. Leena Conquest) 03:02
22. Autumn Song (feat. Lisa Sokolov) 02:01
23. Falling Shadows (feat. Ellen Christi) 08:24
24. Tour of the Flying Poem (feat. Mola Sylla) 05:52
25. Prayer (feat. Leena Conquest) 03:54
26. The Essence of Ellington (feat. Ernie Odoom) 07:11
27. Lights of Lake George (feat. Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay) 04:37
28. For Fannie Lou Hamer (feat. Leena Conquest) 11:56
29. Deep Flower (feat. Ernie Odoom) 08:23
30. The Blinking of the Ear part 1: Meditation on Freedom (feat. AnnMarie Sandy) 04:57
31. The Blinking of the Ear part 2: Without Love Everything Will Fail (feat. AnnMarie Sandy) 03:42
32. The Blinking of the Ear part 3: Dark Remembrance (feat. AnnMarie Sandy) 07:01
33. The Blinking of the Ear part 4: Heavenly Home Meditation on Peace (feat. AnnMarie Sandy) 14:12
34. Natasha's Theme (feat. Leena Conquest) 02:04

All compositions by William Parker, © Centering Music

Produced by William Parker

New material recorded & mixed by
total material mastered by Jim Clouse
at Park West Studios, Brooklyn

Yoko Miwa Trio - Pathways (2018)

Pianist Yoko Miwa leads her longstanding, spectacularly attuned trio on Pathways, 
her first new album in five years

“Pianist Yoko Miwa displays unpretentious melodies, elegant phrasing, and the lyrical sensibility of a jazz poet… she’s a remarkably fluent mainstream player with a graceful touch and a self-assured notion of where each tune is headed.” – Ed Kopp, Jazziz

“Miwa plays with the confidence and fluidity of a seasoned jazz musician. She has the enviable ability to play in any context with authenticity, clarity, and spontaneity."  Wilbert Sostre, JazzTimes.com

A jazz musician is by nature an explorer at heart, but it always helps to have a few fellow adventurers at your side. On her new album, pianist Yoko Miwa sets out to navigate a few new Pathways with the help of her longstanding and deeply harmonious trio. With more than a decade and a half together, the Boston-based group showcases the unique ability to wander down diverging trails without ever losing sight of their shared destination.

On Pathways, on Ocean Blue Tear Music, Miwa is joined by bassist Will Slater (with Brad Barrett stepping in for one track) and drummer Scott Goulding. The remarkable telepathy they share has been developed over 15 years and countless hours logged on the bandstand, not to mention the accompanying personal bonds (Miwa and Goulding are married, after all).

“When we play together, it comes out as one sound,” Miwa says. “That’s the best part of working together all the time. I’m very comfortable with these guys because they know my playing and I know them very well.”

It’s been nearly five years since the release of Miwa’s last album, Act Naturally (JVC Victor), but she’s been far from inactive in the interim. On the contrary, she’s one of the busiest artists on the thriving Boston jazz scene, playing regularly at renowned local venues the Regattabar and Scullers as well as venues worldwide. Locally, the trio is a constant presence with three area residencies that keep them busy every weekend they’re at home. On Fridays they can be found at the Central Square sushi bar and jazz club Thelonious Monkfish, where Goulding serves as music director and Miwa helped select the stunning Yamaha piano. Saturdays they play at the wine bar Les Zygomates, as they have for the last 12 years, while their Sunday brunch gig at Cambridge BBQ joint Ryles dates back even further. 

That impressive calendar means that the trio has had plenty of time not only to try out new material but to explore each piece over time. “We play each song a little bit differently every time,” Miwa says. “It really helps develop the music. If we only did concerts once a month in front of big audiences, I don’t think we’d feel the same way or that I’d play the same way that I do now.”

The repertoire that Miwa traverses on Pathways ranges widely, from the classic songs of The Beatles and Joni Mitchell to a pair of rarely (if ever) reprised pieces by legendary Bill Evans Trio bassist Marc Johnson, originally recorded solo. The album’s highlights, though, are Miwa’s gorgeous originals, which combine lively melodies, a delicate touch, and lush harmonies – the same qualities that she brings to her improvisations.

The album opens with the gospel-flavored chords that Miwa uses on Johnson’s “Log O’Rhythm,” and centers on the piano-bass dialogue between the leader and her “favorite bassist,” Slater, who doesn’t play with the trio as regularly since moving to New York City. The reunion here shows that the pair have lost none of their brilliant chemistry. Slater is also featured on Johnson’s other contribution, “After You,” where he agilely articulates the song’s memorably nimble melody. Both tunes have become favorites at the trio’s shows, and have received Johnson’s own stamp of approval.

Driven by Goulding’s intricate powerful rhythms, Miwa’s “Lickety Split” lives up to its title with its brisk pacing and McCoy Tyner influenced forcefulness. Falling on the other end of the sonic spectrum, “Lantern Light” begins with a movingly lyrical solo piano intro, gaining momentum as Goulding and Slater enter, capturing both the warm glow and lonely isolation of a single lamp carried through a dark night. Its fragile beauty is all the more remarkable given the fact that Miwa wrote it quickly, in a sudden burst of inspiration, during a break between students at Berklee College of Music – without a piano nearby.

The playful swing of “The Goalkeeper” was inspired by a frequent visitor to the Miwa household – their neighbors’ cat, who drops in often for a bit of food and play. His flawless ability to bat back a ball thrown by Miwa gave the piece its name, while the adorable feline has become a surrogate pet for her and Goulding following the loss of their own beloved cat. The last of the pianist’s compositions, “Was It Something I Said?” is a sly blues imbued with the wry humor of the waiter whose teasing riposte Miwa borrowed for the title.

“Joni Mitchell’s music is very beautiful and very unique,” Miwa says, two elements beautifully captured in the trio’s version of “Court and Spark,” which luxuriates in the songwriter’s compelling harmonies. The album ends with a melancholy take on the Beatles classic “Dear Prudence,” which features the trio’s current Boston bassist, Brad Barrett. “Everybody knows the Beatles’ songs very well, so you don’t want to change them too much and upset their fans,” Miwa says with a laugh. “’Dear Prudence’ is very simple but very powerful.”

Integral to capturing the heartfelt communication forged by the trio was Miwa’s insistence that they play together in the studio, not divided into isolation booths. Their spontaneity and spark found an ideal setting at Wellspring Sound Studios in Acton, Massachusetts, where they worked closely with engineer Matt Hayes. “It’s almost like a live recording,” Miwa says proudly. “I feel really uncomfortable separated into different rooms where you can’t really see each other. Of course you can’t go back and fix things, but I love the feeling of playing in the same room and our energy together.”

A favorite at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Miwa was chosen to play on “Marian McPartland & Friends” a special concert as part of the Coca Cola Generations in Jazz Festival.  She was also chosen to perform at Lincoln Center's annual Jazz and Leadership Workshop for The National Urban League's Youth Summit.  Miwa also performs regularly at New York's famed Blue Note Jazz Club and has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of jazz greats including Sheila Jordan, Slide Hampton, Arturo Sandoval, George Garzone, Jon Faddis, Jerry Bergonzi, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lynne Carrington, Kevin Mahogany, John Lockwood and Johnathan Blake among others.  Miwa is a Yamaha artist.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Dori Rubbicco with the John Harrison Quintet - STAGE DOOR LIVE! (WHALING CITY SOUND June 22, 2018)

AN OPEN DOOR: 6.22.18 Dori Rubbicco and the John Harrison Quintet release STAGE DOOR LIVE! on Whaling City Sound

Dori Rubbicco’s musical marriage with John Harrison is the perfect arrangement. While Dori explores the nearly spiritual meaning of some of her well-chosen covers and original compositions, Harrison does his own exploration on piano, laying down lovely melodies for Rubbicco to fall back on. Harrison and his band are wonderful here, and Rubbicco’s interpretive styles serve as the ideal complement. 

Emotional, magical, and unmistakably original, STAGE DOOR LIVE! was recorded at New Bedford’s intimate Zeiterion Theater. The backdrop is ideal for such a captivating live session. As a singer-songwriter inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell—which makes perfect sense given her penchant for ambitious musical searching—as well as vocal stylists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, Dori understands the power of both style and substance and her performance conveys that power to the audience. Her set list is full of unique interpretations and elegantly imagined covers, revealing an artist able to both compose and interpret with equally successful results. 

The band, Harrison’s quintet, is excellent; full of melodic romanticism and jazzy chops. Bill Miele plays the bass, Yoron Israel on drums, Donn Legge on guitar, Bryan Steel on the saxes, and Ian Rubbico Legge (notice the surnames!) on cello. Harrison leads with his customary elegance. It’s traditional without being too staid. Straight-up without being reserved. It helps that Dori finds her way through the instruments with her probing vocals. 

Both Dori and Harrison have performed across the country, together and separately. Rubbicco has worked as a solo singer-songwriter and with groups, including the Miami Jazz Ensemble, the Gerald Wiggins Trio, and the Blues Train Band. Her work here with Harrison brings out the best in both artists, with Harrison’s extraordinary piano laying lush melodies down for Dori to revel in, on covers like “Imagine” and “I Can See Clearly,” and Jobim’s “Two Kites,” as well as an entertaining original, “Right Here Waiting.” 

Go March - Chop Chop (September 28, 2018)

Here’s our new single ‘Chop Chop’. It’s an early taste of our new album ‘II’ which is out on September 28th.

You don’t hear much treadmill-friendly future-rock; the worlds of cerebral guitar soundscapes and sweaty circuit training rarely cross over. As the title of our new single might suggest, ‘Chop Chop’ is a call to action. Even recording it almost became a competition.

“’Chop Chop’ was a bit alien, it started with an old drum machine I had that was bigger than a computer,” recalls guitar wizard Philipp Weies. “I ran it through this filter and it went on for seven minutes, it got crazier and crazier and more distorted. Then our keyboardist, Hans, he found this sound, made it way faster, and we thought ‘whoa’ – then we had to keep up with the tempo.”

The finished track wound up as a nine-minute ever-expanding epic: put it on repeat and that’s the soundtrack for your next interplanetary 10k sorted. And there’s more to come, although not always in the same ballistic ballpark. ‘Chop Chop’ is an early taste of our second album, ‘II’, and though this first track is momentous, much of the hugely confident new offering pushes the trio’s sound beyond the thrust of that debut collection. ‘II’ is released on September 28th, and pre-orders are available via gomarch.bigcartel.com.

Go March are Philipp Weies (guitars), Hans De Prins (synths) and Antoni Foscez (drums)

Daniel Carter / William Parker / Matthew Shipp - Seraphic Light (AUM Fidelity 2018)

Seraphic Light is an exemplary long-form work of collective creative improvisation, performed by three masters of this high art. It was recorded live in the performance hall of Tufts University (Boston) in April 2017. These three men each possess a complete & total devotion to the music. On this very rare trio meeting they manifest a meditative resonance, replete with lyrical & poetic exploration, throughout a sublime set. 

This concert was the culmination of an event entitled “Art, Race, and Politics in America.” First was a screening of the 1959 documentary film, The Cry of Jazz. The film asserts “jazz is the Negro’s cry of joy and suffering” and “the Negro is [white America’s] conscience...if they have a conscience.” These bold and timely ideas pushed forward the second portion of the program, a discussion / Q&A with Carter, Parker, and Shipp. For 45 free-flowing minutes, these three men spoke truths, told stories, floated ideas, countered assertions, listened to questions, gave advice, told jokes, and laughed together. Having already established an honest and direct bond with the audience, they then seamlessly shifted their discussion to the musical dialogue presented here. 

While William Parker and Matthew Shipp are each deservedly world-renowned as players–improvisers–composers due to their extensive recording and performance work as leaders, the exceptionally gifted Daniel Carter remains an underground figure on the world stage; even relatively so within New York City where he has been ceaselessly active since the mid 70s. He is a masterful player of deep lyricism and passion; in possession of gorgeous tone across a full range of wind instruments: each of the three principal saxophones, trumpet, flute and clarinet. Seraphic Light showcases him on all of these. 

Carter has long subsumed his voluminous gifts to the service of the project or performance at hand; tellingly, every group of which he has been a member has been a collective. He first came to AUM Fidelity label head Steven Joerg’s attention as a part of the seminal group Other Dimensions In Music (w/ Parker, Rashid Bakr, and the late Roy Campbell, deeply missed). Among the greatest fully-improvising bands in jazz history, ODIM were a most welcome & heralded presence on NYC stages throughout the 90s and into the 2000s. One of AUM’s first signings, their album, Now! aumfidelity.bandcamp.com/album/now , was made in 1997, the label’s heady year of birth. 

As Daniel Carter has recently entered his 7th decade, having spent well over 50 years being fully devoted to the music, it is hoped that this brand new recording – in the company of well-esteemed peers – will go some measure to increase recognition of the gifts he has long offered.

1. Seraphic Light part I 21:27
2. Seraphic Light part II 20:53
3. Seraphic Light part III 13:06

Daniel Carter: flute, trumpet, tenor, alto & soprano saxophones, clarinet 
William Parker: bass 
Matthew Shipp: piano

Kris Funn - Cornerstore: Bodega Deluxe (2018)


The portrait of an artist as a young man. The story of a kid growing up in the 80's in West Baltimore set to the backdrop of sibling rivalry, a father's passion for music, a mother's guidance and a quest for finding oneself. Life lessons meeting at the intersection of blues, rock, bebop and hip hop. See you at the Cornerstore.

1. Welcome 01:18
2. Visceral 07:26
3. Gemini 06:57
4. Boombox 05:03
5. Ghettobird 08:15
6. Thursday Night Prayer Meeting 07:46
7. Wish 05:00
8. PIF 04:47
9. Arithemetricks 03:40
10. Mind Control 05:19
11. The Day After 04:21
12. The Night Before 03:29
13. Time Control 02:03
14. Politricks 01:33
15. FM Jazz Radio 02:09
16. Paige In Full 02:37
17. Swish 02:39
18. Friday Night Live 02:30
19. Ghetto Nerd 01:35
20. AM Jazz Radio 01:40
21. Dedicated 02:25
22. Into You 03:15

Kris Funn - bass
John Lee - guitar
Tim Green - saxophone
Quincy Phillips - drums(2,5,6,7,9,10,11)
John Lamkin - drums(1,3,4,8)
Allyn Johnson - piano(6)
Janelle Gill - piano(8,10)
Paige Hernandez - voice

Engineered, Mixed, and Mastered at Blue House Studios by Jeff Gruber

Carlos Averhoff Jr. - Iqba: Jazz Meets Cuban Tima (INNER CIRCLE MUSIC 2018)

This album has a fresh, energetic and groovy sound. It melts music elements from modern Jazz with the groove of Afro Cuban rhythms and Timba, a modern Cuban dance genre which was born during 1990's. 

The name iQba (iQ-Cuba), was inspired on the economic crisis in Cuba in the 1990's. At that time, Cuban music evolved in response to the social anxiety and hardships in the island. Timba is a dance genre that gave voice to a historical moment in Cuba. The tittle iQba (iQ-Cuba), makes reference to those years in the island and speaks to the innate intellectual capacity of the Cuban people to reinvent themselves with creativity and by using unlikely resources. iQba is a musical representation of the years of Carlos Averhoff's youth listening to Timba music in a neighborhood influenced by the Yoruba religion, and from his learning experiences as a band member of Cuban Timba bands, performing the night away in front of large, dancing crowds.

The Midnight Hour - The Midnight Hour (LINEAR LABS 2018)

When two of hip-hop’s most accomplished composers get together to make an album you know the results are going to be special. Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest) & Adrian Younge began their work together in 2013 on the critically acclaimed album There Is Only Now and their partnership cemented on their score work for Marvels’ Luke Cage. Today, they are proud to announce the forthcoming release of their carefully constructed and masterful The Midnight Hour. It is the duo’s long awaited album and it showcases their songwriting ability like never before.

Lead track and first single “Questions” featuring CeeLo Green is out today and has an unlikely origin story that CeeLo, Adrian and Ali originally explained to Pitchfork back in 2016, when a demo version of the song appeared as a sample on “untitled 06 | 06.30.2014.” off of Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered. project. The completed track perfectly captures the album’s underlying roots in hip-hop’s origins and can be heard HERE.

The 20 track, full length double album, will be released on Linear Labs and distributed digitally by INgrooves and vinyl will be distributed by Traffic Entertainment, world wide on June 8, 2018.

Black Beacon
2. Mare feat. LadyBug Mecca
It’s You feat. Raphael Saadiq
Questions feat. CeeLo Green
So Amazing feat. Luther Vandross
Gate 54
Do It Together feat. Bilal
Redneph In B Minor
Better Endeavor
Smiling For Me feat. Karolina
Don’t Keep Me Waiting feat. Marsha Ambrosius
Bitches Do Voodoo feat. Angela Munoz
Possibilities feat. Eryn Allen Kane
Dans Un Moment D’errance feat. Laetitia Sadier Questlove and Keyon Harrold
Love Is Free feat. Eryn Allen Kane
Together Again feat. No I.D. and James Poyser
Feel Alive feat. Karolina and Loren Oden
There Is No Greater Love feat. Loren Oden and Saudia Yasmein

Sunnyside Artists Live

Sunnyside Artists Live:

June 20 - Shamie Royston @ Dizzy's Club Coca Cola - NYC - CD Release Gig for Beautiful Liar
June 21-24 - Vinicius Cantuaria @ Jazz Standard - NYC
June 22 - Harriet Tubman @ Nublu / Alternative Guitar Summit - NYC
June 22 - Camila Meza @ Living Jazz - Oakland, CA
June 23 - Cristina Pato @ Pregón Festas de Ourense - Ourense, Spain
June 23 - Scott Tixier Quartet @ Clifford Brown Jazz Festival - Wilmington, DE
June 24 - Hush Point @ Ottawa Jazz Festival - Ottawa, Canada
June 26 - Chano Dominguez Trio @ Blue Note Festival - NYC
June 28 - Chano Dominguez Flamenco Quintet @ Montreal Jazz Festival - Montreal, Canada
June 29 - Dan Tepfer @ Spectrum Festival of Modern Piano - Brooklyn, NY
June 29-30 - Aaron Goldberg @ Grahamstown Jazz Festival - Grahamstown, South Africa
June 30 - Caroline Davis Quintet @ Fatcat - NYC
July 2 - Camila Meza @ Piedmont Piano - Oakland, CA
July 6 - Camila Meza @ Daly Jazz - Missoula, MT
July 10 - Matt Penman @ Jazz Standard - CD Release Gig for Good Question
July 12 - Greg Reitan Trio @ Blue Whale - Los Angeles, CA
July 13 - Caroline Davis Quintet @ Green Mill - Chicago, IL
July 13 - Clovis Nicolas Quartet @ Sunset - Paris, France
July 14 - Clovis Nicolas Quartet @ Gulf Stream Jazz Festival - Normandy, France
July 17-18 - Michael Leonhart Orchestra @ Jazz Standard - CD Release Gig for The Painted Lady Suite
July 18 - Duane Eubanks Quintet @ Blues Alley - Washington, DC
July 19 - Camila Meza @ Vitoria Jazz Festival - Vitoria, Spain
July 20 - 9 Horses @ Festival Mozaic - Morro Bay, CA
July 21 - Benny Green @ Caramoor Center - Katonah, NY
July 22 - 9 Horses @ Festival Mozaic - San Luis Obispo, CA
July 22 - Randy Ingram & Drew Gress @ The Falcon - Marlboro, NY
July 23 - Caroline Davis Quintet @ Stanford Jazz Festival - Stanford, CA
July 23 - Laszlo Gardony Sextet @ Hartford Monday Night Jazz - Hartford, CT
July 27 - Aaron Goldberg @ Langnau - Emmental, Switzerland
July 28 - Caroline Davis Quartet @ Bird & Beckett Books and Records - San Francisco, CA
July 31-Aug. 2 - Benny Green @ Cotton Club - Tokyo, Japan
Aug. 2 - Cristina Pato Trio @ Festas de Ribeira - Ribeira, Spain
Aug. 3-4 - Duane Eubanks Quintet @ Smoke Jazz Club - NYC
Aug. 5 - Benny Green @ Centennial Hall - Yonsei University - Seoul, South Korea
Aug. 8-11 - Benny Green @ Ubud Village Jazz Festival - Bali, Indonesia
Aug. 11 - Caroline Davis Quartet @ The 1905 - Portland, OR

Don't forget the Mingus Big Band every Monday @ Jazz Standard in NYC!

Davy Mooney & Ko Omura - Benign Strangers (July 27, 2018 SUNNYSIDE RECORDS)

The world is remarkable in that people from far off places and different walks of life can have an immediate, dramatic impact on each other after meeting just once. The notion of meeting a newcomer who embraces new people and ideas but also freely puts forth his own ideas is the theme of guitarist Davy Mooney and drummer Ko Omura’s new recording, Benign Strangers. 

Originally from New Orleans, Mooney is a longtime regular on the New York scene and, for the past year, he has been teaching at his alma mater, the University of North Texas in Denton. Mooney’s two Sunnyside releases, Perrier Street and Hope of Home, highlight his fantastic playing and composing with an incredible cast of musicians graced with the New Orleans magic, including saxophonist John Ellis, pianist Jon Cowherd and drummer Brian Blade. 

Intrigued by the culture after his first visit in 2008, Mooney has been a regular visitor to Japan. After the 2012 release of Perrier Street, he reached out to a Japan based UNT friend for help getting a tour and ensemble together. It was then that Mooney met Ko Omura. 

Omura was born in Tokyo but grew up in the United States and Australia. After graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and a stint in Sydney, Omura returned to Tokyo where he has made his name as a top-notch drummer and organizer and influencer in the local scene. 

Mooney returned to Japan to tour over the next two years. The initial tours mainly featured Mooney’s pieces but a fluid dynamic was enforced as Omura’s influence began to shape the sound of the collaboration by introducing his own music into the touring ensembles. Mooney and Omura’s composing styles are well suited, as they both are melodists of high degree. It wasn’t long before the duo began making plans for further endeavors, including a recording. 

During the brutal cold of January 2018, Mooney and Omura met in New York City to record with a small ensemble. It was a warm, reunion-like atmosphere in the studio, as Mooney had long friendships with all involved. But apart from pianist Glenn Zaleski, it was the first time Omura had met the assembled cast, which included John Ellis, bassist Matt Clohesy and engineer Michael Perez-Cisneros. 

The recording was a true collaboration with Mooney and Omura both providing compositions, which were finely tuned in the studio. The resulting recording is a stirring collection of original pieces that prove that jazz is a language that spans the globe. 

The recording begins with Omura’s sweeping “Benign Strangers,” an homage to individuals, now friends, from all over the globe who have helped him along his musical path. Mooney’s “In This Balance of Time” is a beauty with interesting form and shifting meters, while his “Dim” is an intriguing experiment with the diminished chords. Omura’s “Subconscious Partner” is a breezy tune that shares gratitude to the inner voice that pushes us on our way. Omura has traveled to India to study the tabla over the past four years and his talent on the twin drums is evident on his “Unimagined Virtues,” which is performed in a trio with Mooney and Ellis. 

Named for a street sign he sees on his way to work each day, Mooney’s “Shady Shores” is a bright and inspiring piece, which features solos from Zaleski and Mooney. The title for Omura’s quietly stoic “Hiraeth” comes from a Welsh word meaning nostalgia or longing and provides a perfect vehicle for Clohesy’s bass feature. Mooney’s angular “Polly Pulse” is a tricky, polyrhythmic piece and a departure from the guitarist’s usual compositional style. “The Heights” is another from Mooney’s book that shows his talent at writing catchy material in service to improvisation. The recording concludes with Omura’s “29th Road,” a lilting composition named for a street in a Mumbai suburb that had a spiritual feel and the most jovial stray dogs on the planet. 

Bright things can happen when worlds collide. Two individuals of diverse backgrounds can come together to create beautiful music, as is the case with Davy Mooney and Ko Omura on their lovely new Benign Strangers.

1. Benign Strangers 06:27
2. In This Balance of Time
3. DIM
4. Subconscious Partner
5. Unimagined Virtues
6. Shady Shores 06:25
7. Hiraeth
8. Polly Pulse
9. The Heights
10. 29th Road

Davy Mooney - guitar
John Ellis - soprano, tenor sax, bass clarinet, clarinet
Glenn Zaleski - piano
Matt Clohesy - acoustic bass
Ko Omura - drums, tabla

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Allegra Levy - Looking at the Moon (SteepleChase Productions ApS 2018)

Vocalist Allegra Levy brings fresh interpretations to songs with a lunar theme on her third album Looking at the Moon

CD Release concert on Sunday, June 17 at the Jazz Standard

“Levy’s music is sophisticated, worldly and swinging, with a wide range of tonal colors and moods not unlike Portland’s Pink Martini. Levy’s voice is one we should expect to hear from for a long time.”
Mike Hamad, Hartford Courant

“Her lyrics are uncommonly smart, full of striking imagery and a pervasive angst. As all first-rate jazz vocalists do, she sings in character, word by word, line by line.”
Alan Young, New York Music Daily

The usual way to start a jazz vocal career is to stick with standards, trilling and scatting in the well-traveled tracks of great singers who have come before. Rising young New York-based singer-songwriter Allegra Levy eschewed that approach on her acclaimed first two albums, which consisted almost entirely of original compositions. Now, with her third release, she turns to songs written by others, with a unifying theme: the moon.

Looking at the Moon, due June 15, 2018 on SteepleChase Records, features 13 much-loved odes to the shimmering orb, from “Blue Moon” and “Paper Moon” to the inimitable “No Moon at All.”    

Levy’s first album, the critically acclaimed 2014 Lonely City, was hailed by The New York Times as “fresh,” “exotic,” and “far beyond the ordinary.” Then came last year’s Cities Between Us. “If Allegra Levy is not yet on every jazz listener’s radar, this new album should rectify the situation,” declared JazzHistoryOnline. The combination of Levy’s potent songwriting abilities and stunning vocals led JazzTimes to dub her a “double-barreled talent.”

With her new album Looking at the Moon, Levy abandons her autobiographical “city” theme, setting her sights out of this world, but also, in another respect, on more familiar ground. “I was a little bit nervous about doing a record that was not original works because I’m still trying to develop my voice as a composer,” the 28-year-old Levy admits. “But I’ve always wanted to do this moon-themed thing. For some reason, people seem to write really good tunes when it comes to the elusive moon.”

Levy concedes that there is nothing all that novel when it comes to singing about the moon. Frank Sinatra didn’t just fly us to the moon, for example; he recorded an entire album about it. Yet the lunar sphere has long fascinated Levy. She was moonstruck from an early age. “The first thing that my mom used to sing to me when I was a young child was ‘Moonshadow,’” she recalls. Cat Stevens’ 1970 pop hit proved to be more than a hip lullaby for her. It was love at first sound. 

The first song Levy ever performed publicly in her native Connecticut, as a teenager, was “How High the Moon,” one of Ella Fitzgerald’s signature tunes. Later, when required to create a big-band chart for her senior thesis at New England Conservatory, she chose Henry Mancini’s “Moon River.” She closed most of her gigs with that song for years and has adapted it for the opening track. “There was no real reason for any of these moon connections,” she says. “They just seemed to appear in every phase of my life.” 

Levy’s collaborators on the new record are bassist Tim Norton, a fellow Connecticut native who assisted with many of the arrangements, and her longtime accompanist Carmen Staaf, who recently served as pianist at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance in Los Angeles. “They helped on this project big time,” she says. “I definitely want to give them credit for that.”

After featuring a full rhythm section on her previous albums, Levy chose to drop the drums entirely this time. “I thought it would be cool to play with a smaller group. We did a bunch of duos and trios as well.” The only other player featured is guitarist Alex Goodman, a winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival International Guitar Competition who has been noted for his “fluid lyricism” by DownBeat and “dazzling improvisational dexterity” by the NYC Jazz Record.  “In many ways, I think this record is a quieter, more intimate reflection of my innermost thoughts,” Levy says.

Yet even while scaling back on the personnel, Levy expanded her repertoire, straying from her usual strict diet of straight-up jazz to include more modern fare. Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” is included, as is the Cat Stevens piece in a rather atonal rendition that is not your mother’s “Moonshadow.” Not her mother’s, anyway. “It’s definitely the loss of innocence piece on the record,” Levy says. Levy’s composing skills may have something to do with the originality of her takes on tried and true tracks like “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” sung with a freshness that makes them new.

The challenge of creating an album of standards is not lost on Levy. “I’m definitely nervous about singing standards,” she says, “even though that’s the way I started, and that’s where my inspiration really comes from. Then you put yourself out there to be compared to every single jazz singer on the planet.”

This may be especially true when you train your sights on what – next to love itself – may be the world’s most popular subject of song. “When I started talking about this project, there were so many moon songs to choose from that I actually ended up eliminating a lot of them,” she says. To make the matter even more difficult, everyone she asked had a different idea about the best moon song ever written. 

In the end, Levy chose a range of songs including “I Got the Sun in the Morning,” Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” and “Moon Ray” (with an updated version inspired by one of her favorite singers, Nancy King). “I tried to stick to tunes that I really felt a connection with,” she says.  The one exception is the classic “I’ll Be Seeing You.” “That was not supposed to be on the record at all,” says Levy. “I had never sung it on a gig before. I had never even rehearsed it.” But SteepleChase Records founder Nils Winther wanted Levy to include it because of its closing line, which begins, “I’ll be looking at the moon.” So she recorded it at the very end of the session, and as serendipity would have it, that line ended up being the title of the recording.

For Levy, Looking at the Moon was a fun project whose time had come. “These are tunes that I really like to sing,” she says. “They just all happen to have a moon theme.” Although she named her dog Luna, “I’m not a moon worshipper,” Levy insists. But watch out! Listening to her latest album may make one out of you.

Ernie Krivda and Swing City - A Bright and Shining Moment (CAPRI RECORDS 2018)

At the helm of his Swing City septet, Ernie Krivda – Cleveland’s tenor saxophone titan – creates A Bright and Shining Moment

The album – released on Capri Records June 15, 2018 – features his creative compositions and arrangements alongside enduring standards

“One of the finest mainstream/modern players we have.” – Robert Iannopolio, Cadence Magazine

“It takes a special talent to be able to convey not just the human spectrum of emotions, but a sense of history.“ – Chuck Yarborough, The Plain Dealer

A local hero who has gone on to become a national treasure, Cleveland’s Ernie Krivda is one of the great tenor saxophonists of present day jazz. Listeners familiar with his many recordings and who’ve been lucky to witness his instrumental magic live can attest to Krivda’s creativity and outsized virtuosity. His new recording A Bright and Shining Moment, available June 15 via Capri Records, allows us a satisfying glimpse of Krivda’s wider range of musical talents. In addition to his superb saxophone stylings we have a chance to appreciate Krivda’s skills as an inventive composer and arranger and an inspired bandleader of a mid-sized ensemble. For those who know the Cleveland polymath mainly as a charging improviser, A Bright and Shining Moment will be a revelation.

As Krivda explains in the album’s detailed liner notes, the original septet’s mission was to reflect a broad swath of jazz styles, touching on milestone eras of the music. “The band would be called Swing City,” Krivda relates. ”The name would identify the rhythmic groove that the band’s musical stories would ride on, and our respect for its place in the pantheon of jazz. We valued freedom of spirit with a commitment to feel and melodic clarity as sources of beauty and a way to connect with each other and the audience. With a fresh perspective, we heard a jazz culture that would use skill, craft, and individuality to create a people’s music.” A Bright and Shining Moment captures recordings from the ensemble’s prime period shortly before it disbanded in 2002. 

Swing City’s very reason for being was to produce driving, lusty and accessible jazz. Whether digging into durable Eliingtonia including “Mood Indigo,” “Caravan” and “The Mooche”; such standards as “Summertime” and “The Man I Love”; a gathering of Hoagy Carmichael gems; or Krivda’s own memorable tunes including the beautiful Strayhorn-influenced ballad “Easter Blue,” Swing City fully lived up to its name. 

As always with Krivda’s projects, there’s plenty of meaty saxophone playing, but one can’t miss the resourcefulness and ingenuity of his arrangements. Brilliantly building on a song’s structure, Krivda spins his own captivating melodic tales, masterfully blending swing era, bebop and other delightful hints of sundry jazz styles. (The drummer John Bacon takes credit for the fine charts on “The Mooche and “Dream of Life.”) Krivda’s scores make sure to feature other talented members of the septet including pianist Joe Hunter, trombonist Chris Anderson, bassist Marion Hayden and trumpeter Steve Enos. (The late local legend Marshall Baxter Beckley is the featured vocalist on a rousing version of “Summertime.”)

Swing City may no long exist as a working unit, but A Bright and Shining Moment ensures that this energized ensemble will not soon be forgotten.

A 2009 recipient of the Cleveland Arts Prize award for lifetime achievement in music, the saxophonist, bandleader educator and recording artist Ernie Krivda has been a driving force in jazz since the 1960s. After establishing himself as one of Cleveland’s foremost musicians, Krivda performed with such major jazz artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy DeFranco and David Sanborn. At the helm of his own quartet as well as the Fat Tuesday Big Band, Krivda has firmed up a national reputation as a leading improviser and bandleader. Krivda has also won the Jazz Legends award from the Tri-C Jazz Festival and a Community Partnership of Arts and Culture Fellowship. 

The Blue Voice of the Water - Works of Luís Tinoco _ODRADEK RECORDS 2018

The Blue Voice of the Water was written for a co-commission from the Gulbenkian Orchestra and the São Paulo Symphony. I started to explore Brazilian poetry, especially Manoel de Barros, finding a verse of his that may be freely translated as “the voice of the water has a blue accent”. This triggered my imagination for this piece, which starts in the dark blue of the deep ocean, gradually rising to lighter tones as if returning to the surface. Luís Tinoco

For Portuguese composer Luís Tinoco, music has always been connected with the visual arts, film, theatre, and even with the light of Lisbon itself. Growing up near the ocean has also infiltrated his soundworld; not in a directly pictorial sense, but in a deeper, structural understanding of ebb and flow, of constancy and evolution.

Tinoco’s orchestral works reflect these influences, alongside other cultural allusions: Before Spring is a tribute to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and the vivid poetry of Manoel de Barros helped inspire The Blue Voice of the Water. The magical, ethereal Cello Concerto is dedicated to the artist who performs the work on this recording, Filipe Quaresma, acclaimed for his “precise, superbly articulated playing, full of passion yet often quite thoughtful” (The Strad). Frisland refers both to an imaginary island first put on the map by the 16th-century cartographer Nicolo Zeno, and to the jazz artist Bill Frisell. The result is a vibrant work which Tinoco describes as “an imaginary voyage through an (also imaginary) soundworld inspired by Frisell’s music”.

The recording features performances by four internationally-acclaimed orchestras gathered together on one disc.