martes, 30 de septiembre de 2014

Claus Ogerman / Michael Brecker - Cityscape (2003)

German-born composer and arranger Claus Ogerman, born in 1930, must rank as one of the most versatile musicians of the twentieth century. When he was at his peak in the 1970s, writing everything from ballet scores to arrangements for Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, diva Barbra Streisand, and jazz/R&B saxophonist George Benson, there was hardly a radio station on the dial where his music wasn't heard during the course of a typical day -- and he's still quite active. The key to his success has been his ability to stay in the background behind the musician he's working with and yet create something distinctive. This 1982 collaboration with the late jazz saxophonist Michael Brecker is one of his most successful works, not least because the overlap between the extended harmonies of jazz and the chromaticism of the late German Romantic polyphony in which Ogerman was trained is large enough to allow Brecker to operate comfortably -- his improvisations seem to grow naturally out of the background, and the intersections between jazz band and orchestral strings come more easily here than on almost any other crossover between jazz and classical music. The mood is nocturnal and reflective. Brecker at this point had not yet made an album as a bandleader; he was primarily known to those who closely followed jazz and R&B session musicians. The album was originally billed as a release by Claus Ogerman with Michael Brecker. Yet notice how skillfully Ogerman eases the fearsomely talented young saxophonist into the spotlight. The highlight of the album is a three-part suite called In the Presence and Absence of Each Other, and in its middle movement, track 5, the saxophone is silent until about a minute before the end -- yet everything in the piece leads up to this magical explosion of lyricism. The packaging describes this album as a "virtual concerto for saxophone and orchestra with jazz rhythm section," but it's a little more complicated than that -- actually, it's a concerto for jazz band, with saxophone leader, and orchestra. That creates several layers, and it is precisely in handling these layers where jazz/classical crossovers tend to fail -- and where Ogerman succeeds. A very sweet experience for listeners from either side of the divide.

Art Direction [Reissue], Design [Reissue] – Greg Allen (7)
Art Direction, Design – Simon Levy
Artwork [Cover Art] – Louis Lozowick
Bass – Eddie Gomez (tracks: 1, 3), Marcus Miller (tracks: 2, 4 to 7)
Composed By, Arranged By, Conductor – Claus Ogerman
Concertmaster – David Nadien
Drums – Steve Gadd
Engineer [Assistant] – Don Koldon, Don Wershba, Hugh Davies (2), Jason Corsaro, Michael Christopher (2)
Guitar – Buzzy Feiten (tracks: 4), John Tropea (tracks: 2)
Keyboards – Warren Bernhardt
Liner Notes – Bill Milkowski
Mastered By – Mike Reese
Percussion – Paulinho Da Costa (tracks: 2, 4)
Photography By – Suzanne Nyerges
Producer – Tommy LiPuma
Recorded By, Mixed By – Al Schmitt
Reissue Producer, Liner Notes – Richard Seidel
Remastered By – David Donnelly
Saxophone – Michael Brecker

1. Cityscape
2. Habanera
3. Nightwings
4. In The Presence And Absence Of Each Other (Part 1)
5. In The Presence And Absence Of Each Other (Part 2)
6. In The Presence And Absence Of Each Other (Part 3)

Bonus Track
7. In The Presence And Absence Of Each Other (Part 3) (Alternate Mix)


Bill Frisell - Guitar in the Space Age! (2014)

Source & Label: Okeh Records

Just when you think you’ve got guitarist-composer Bill Frisell all figured out, confident in your expectations, this American original shakes things up with an unexpected glimpse into those layers of consciousness which inform his rootsy, inclusive, oh so personal style of musical outreach.

With his new album, GUITAR IN THE SPACE AGE! (available October 7 on OKeh Records), Frisell goes back to the music that first sparked his imagination. “There’s something about being the age I’m at now,” reflects this iconic guitar hero. “I turned 63 this past spring, and after playing for more than 50 years, it just feels right to once again play some of the music which shaped my consciousness during my formative years, even to play some of it for the first time…and maybe get it right. GUITAR IN THE SPACE AGE! isn’t really an exercise in nostalgia, but about a re-commitment to keep learning, to firm up the foundation.

“On this album is some of the music I was hearing growing up in the ‘50s and early ‘60s,” notes Frisell. “There is so much history. Back and forth. Before and after. It’s impossible to pin things down. That’s the beauty. We all learn from each other. When I listen to Jimmy Bryant, I know he must have listened to Charlie Christian, and The Ventures heard Chet Atkins, and Chet Atkins listened to Johnny Smith. It’s like a kaleidoscope. You look at one piece of music, and it immediately shoots out into all these directions. All these beams of light cut through whatever words are used to try to box it in.” As a baby boomer who came of age in the 50s and ‘60s, there is an undeniably autobiographical element to the tenor and tone of the repertoire which Frisell explores on GUITAR IN THE SPACE AGE! along with long-time collaborators Greg Leisz (pedal steel & electric guitar), Tony Scherr (acoustic bass and electric bass guitar) and Kenny Wolleson (drums and vibraphone).

“I’ve known Kenny, Tony, and Greg for a long time now,” recalls Frisell. “I learn so much from them. They are my teachers. When I first heard Tony and Kenny play together, they had their own ‘sound.’ They play together like brothers. The first time I was introduced to Greg, I knew we’d be playing together before we had played a note. Greg and I grew up during the same time. The same generation. His first electric guitar was a Fender Mustang, as was mine. Nothing needs to be said or discussed. There is understanding. He is my guitar brother. My hope is that this band plays together like a family.
“I hope people don’t think this is a joke or nostalgia. It first comes from loving this music and loving these guys. It’s about learning and getting deeper into the music, and researching where we come from. I’ve never been able to buy into the idea of there being a hierarchy in music. Like… folk music is at the bottom, then blues, rock, jazz and classical at the top… or whatever. As though one music is higher or lower or more difficult than another. It’s all difficult. It’s all beautiful. It’s all one thing.”

1. Pipeline
2. Turn, Turn, Turn
3.Messin' with the Kid
4. Surfer Girl
5. Rumble
6. The Shortest Day
7. Rebel Rouser
8. Baja
9. Cannonball Rag
10.Tired of Waiting for You
11.Reflections from the Moon
12.Bryant's Boogie
13.Lift Off

Bill Frisell - guitar
Greg Leisz - pedal steel and guitar
Tony Scherr - upright and electric basses
Kenny Wollesen - drums and vibraphone

"The most important thing I look for in a musician,
 is whether he knows how to listen."
  - Duke Ellington - 


Mark Meadows - Somethin' Good (2014)

Source: cdbaby

Multidimensional jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, and jazz educator, Mark Meadows performs throughout the Washington D.C. – Baltimore region and across the US. During the 2014-2015 season, Mark is appearing alongside world-renowned musicians such as Warren Wolf, Cyrus Chestnut, Dontae Winslow, Kris Funn, Todd Marcus, Eric Kennedy, Chad Lefkowitz Brown, Elijah Balbed, Quincy Phillips, Gary Thomas, Paul Bollenback, & Dr. Alex Norris. He has led and has been a sideman in premier clubs in the Baltimore-Washington region including Bohemian Caverns, Columbia Station, Caton Castle, Twins Jazz, Bertha’s, The Metropolitan Club, An Die Musik, The Hopkins Club, The Jazz Loft Series, and the Strathmore. Somehow in Mark’s demanding schedule, he finds the time to teach four courses as an adjunct instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Son of a gospel and jazz vocalist, when Mark was three years old and living in Washington DC, his father bought him a little Casio keyboard and invited Mark to “have at it”. Mark has been “having at it” ever since, to the delight of audiences nationwide.

When Mark reached the age of five, he and his family moved to Dallas, Texas and he began studying classical piano under the stern but loving eye of Dr. Rosalie LeVant, a renowned Russian born and highly regarded classical pianist. Years later, Julie Bonk, a treasured Dallas jazz pianist and teacher of Grammy Award-winning artist Norah Jones, took the 13-year-old under her wings after hearing him play Debussy’s “Clair De Lune.”

Throughout Mark’s high school years, he performed with the Booker T. Washington Jazz Combo under Bart Marantz and the BTW MIDI Ensemble under Kent Ellingson. Some of Mark’s accolades include him being featured on “Good Morning Texas” on WFAA Channel 8 (2008), being awarded “Best Pop Rock Solo in North America” by Downbeat magazine (2008), performing at the Kennedy Center with an Ensemble under the direction of Gary Thomas (2008), releasing his first album “A Child is Born” (2008), being awarded “2nd Best Pop Rock Composition in North America” by Downbeat magazine (2007), playing for Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex and youngest child of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh (2007), touring Los Angeles, CA alongside Ingrid Jenson, Lisa Henry, and BTW’s Jazz Septet (2007), and much more.

When applying to colleges, Mark took a different route than predicted. He surprised all of his friends and colleagues when he decided to attend Johns Hopkins University; not for music, but for psychology. After two years of the strenuous premed route at Johns Hopkins, Mark began to understand how much music really meant to him. He decided to complete his psychology degree, but added on a second degree in jazz piano at the Peabody Institute, all the while waking up at the crack of dawn every Sunday morning to perform as Music Director at a dynamic multiracial church in Baltimore, MD. For six years, he composed, arranged, and taught a wide array of styles to compliment the diverse and energetic congregation. In 2011, Mark earned degrees in jazz piano from The Peabody Conservatory and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from The Johns Hopkins University.

After graduating, Mark decided for the first time in his life to focus solely on music. He received a full tuition Graduate Assistantship from The Peabody Conservatory where he completed his Graduate Performance Degree in jazz piano.

As an exciting jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator, Mark is quite the dynamic musician who simply has the whole package. His versatile musical background allows him to interconnect every walk of life.

01. Come Together
02. Just Imagine
03. Rock With You
04. Somethin' Good
05. Once Upon a Purple Night
06. Less Catchy
07. Way Up Here
08. For You
09. Groovin' High
10. Get Lost
11. Lush Life

Mark Meadows: piano, voice
Paul Bollenback: guitar
Warren Wolf: vibes
Brent Birckhead: alto sax
Christine Dashiell: vocals (8,9)
Lena Seikaly: vocals (2)
Eric Wheeler: bass
Eric Kennedy: drums

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Pete Roth Band - Circus in the Sky (2014)

Source: thejazzmann

"A worthy follow up to “Meridian” that often surpasses its predecessor via a broader range of sounds and textures and a strong and varied collection of themes." Pete Roth Band, “Circus In The Sky” (MGP Records)

The German born guitarist and composer Pete Roth moved to the UK in 2002 and has worked as a freelance guitarist with an impressive roster of names from the worlds of jazz and popular music. He is also an acclaimed educator and currently holds teaching posts at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Chichester University and Goldsmiths University as well as writing the Q & A column in Total Guitar Magazine.

Roth came to jazz via blues and rock and this latest album also explores a growing fascination for world music styles. He cites Pat Martino and Pat Metheny as significant inspirations but no less important is the influence of fellow guitarist Nicolas Meier on whose MGP (Meier Group Productions) record label this new album appears.

Roth’s previous album for the label, “Meridian” (2010, also MGP) featured Meier extensively as the two guitarists duetted on a series of individual and collaborative compositions with the support of bassist Dave Suttle and drummer Alun Harries, both of whom made substantial contributions to the success of the album.

“Circus In The Sky”, this time credited to the Pete Roth Band sees Meier taking more of a back seat. This time round he only plays on one track although he acts as co-producer with Roth. The group has been extended to a quintet with Suttle remaining on bass and with Gabor Dornyei taking over the drum stool. Loren Hignell brings a welcome additional instrumental voice as she plays a variety of saxophones (tenor, alto and soprano) while percussionist Terl Bryant brings an element of world music exotica to the mix. While “Meridian” represented an impressive début “Circus In The Sky” takes things a stage further with a broader range of sounds and textures and a strong and varied collection of themes. The album title refers to the band’s “free spirit of improvising, creativity, dedication to our art, the love of danger and most of all the immense fun we have” 

Roth’s notes explain that most of the tunes are based on stories, often factually based but at other times fictional. As a husband and parent he appears to have a contented home life but this doesn’t prevent world events from incurring his wrath. The opening “Uprise” takes its inspiration from the “Arab Spring” and carries with it the suggestion that something of that rebellious spirit would be welcome in the quiescent West. In a sense it’s a companion piece to the anti war composition “How Does It Feel?” from Roth’s first album.

Musically it begins with the sound of Suttle’s powerful acoustic bass groove augmented by Bryant’s percussion. Roth deploys electric guitar to powerful effect and he’s complemented by Hignell’s equally forceful sax playing. Subtly prompted by Dornyei’s drums there’s a restless quality about the piece allied to a vaguely exotic feel that reflects the tune’s inspirations.“Little Mr. X”, a delightful dedication to Roth’s young son Xander, is gentler in feel and features Roth playing nylon stringed acoustic guitar. Much of “Meridian” was acoustic and the nylon guitar sound is something that both Roth and Meier very much enjoy. Hignell’s feathery soprano weaves in and out of the piece and the world music feel is encouraged by the patter of Bryant’s percussion.

“RB-School” has more of a blues feel as Roth on electric guitar teams up with Hignell’s earthy tenor. John Scofield is mentioned as another significant influence and there’s something of his style here with Roth and Hignell delivering powerful solos above crisp, hard driving, rock influenced drumming.

As the title might suggest “Morning Prayer” is altogether more pastoral in mood with Roth’s delicately picked acoustic guitar dovetailing with Hignell’s more assertive sax melody lines. The saxophonist takes the first solo, her horn soaring above a subtly propulsive rhythmic groove. The interplay between Suttle’s double bass and Roth’s nimbly picked acoustic guitar is also impressive.

“The Return” features the twin guitars of Roth and Meier and was the first piece to be written for this album and represents a kind of continuation from the earlier “Meridian”. Featuring the full sextet this languorously lilting offering includes a mix of electric and acoustic guitars with the two fretboard wizards sharing the solos.

“Gotta Shoot” is a second excursion into more aggressive, Scofield inspired territory with an attention grabbing opening featuring crashing guitar chords, belligerent saxes and powerful, energetic drumming. Things later develop in more subtle ways via incisive solos from Roth and Hignell but the music always retains a certain claustrophobic, urgent edge. 

Inevitably “Smile” is far more relaxed in style, the title a reference to “all the things that make us smile in daily life”, including the snatch of overheard conversation on the London tube that inspired the tune. Suitably perky and sunny it features lovely contributions from Hignell on bright toned reeds and Bryant on a variety of percussion. Together with the rest of the band, including soloist Roth, they help to create the joyful atmosphere that characterises the piece.

Fellow guitarist Giorgio Serci inspired the energetic, hard driving and frequently exotic “The Sicilian” with its driving riffs, percussion features and effervescent sax solo.

Finally we hear “Malaika” with its anthemic, Metheny like melody and mix of electric and and acoustic sounds. Suttle opens the soloing followed by Roth and Hignell, all of them creating carefully crafted statements that serve the tune admirably.

“Circus In The Sky” is a worthy follow up to “Meridian” and often surpasses its predecessor. Roth’s writing is mature and intelligent and he has produced a series of absorbing compositions that form a well balanced programme. The quality of the leader’s playing matches that of his writing and he’s also helped by a superb band that exudes a real group chemistry. Suttle’s virtues were familiar from “Meridian” and he’s in excellent form again here. Hignell’s is a new name to me but she impresses with her fluency and virtuosity throughout with some authoritative solos and some fine ensemble playing. Her rapport with Roth is particularly impressive. Dornyei’s drumming is at the heart of the band and he exhibits an exemplary balance of power and subtlety throughout, subtly prompting and propelling the soloists in a highly competent display. Similarly Bryant’s percussion which adds colour and detail but never imposes inappropriately. Suttle, Dorntei and Bryant make a great team, always supporting the music but never stepping on one another’s toes. Reports of this group’s live performances also suggest that they’re well worth hearing in that environment.

Meier’s immediate involvement is less this time round but as co-producer and label owner he still exerts a considerable influence on the music. If you like Meier’s own work (and I do) the the chances are that you’ll find much to enjoy in the music of the Pete Roth band and “Circus In The Sky”.

Pete Roth: Nylon and Electric guitar
Loren Hignell: Saxophone, Soprano, Tenor alto
Dave Suttle: Upright Bass
Gabor Dorneyi: Drums
Terl Bryant: Percussion
Nicolas Meier: Nylon Guitar on track 5

1) Uprise (8:31)
2) Little Mr. X (5:34)
3) RB-School (5.39)
4) Morning Prayer (8:13)
5) The Return (7:49)
6) Gotta Shoot (6:58)
7) Smile (5:26)
8) The Sicilian (4:22)
9) Malaika (6:06)

Recorded at The Bridge Studio London 2013/14
Recording Engineer: Luc Saint-Martin
Mixing and Mastering: Luc Saint-Martin, Oneland Studio London April 2014-04-29
 Photography: Matt Child
Cover painting: Songul Yilmaz (
Artwork: Sonja Roth

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins