lunes, 6 de octubre de 2014

Kingston / Boden / Haywood / Jackson - Colossus (2014)

Source: Damien Kingston & Matt Boden

Damien Kingston is an Australian born jazz guitarist currently based in Hobart, Tasmania. Upon completing a Bachelor of music in Australia, Damien relocated to Europe to further his study. After an initial period spent in Berlin performing, Damien relocated to Amsterdam where he completed his Masters of Music at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, studying under renowned Dutch guitarists Jesse van Ruller and Maarten van der Grinten. During this period, he toured extensively both as a sideman and as a leader of his own ensemble, the Damien Kingston Trio, throughout countries including The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and France. Damien was also a prize winner at the Jazz & Blues Awards 2006 in Berlin, awarded first place a a member of the Abdourahmane Diop Group and a finalist in many European jazz competitions including the Keep an Eye Jazz International Jazz Award 2012, European Jazz Awards 2012 and the Bucharest International Jazz Competition 2012. Damien continues to lead his own trio, with their recent release Yellow Lights to be supported by an Australian/European tour late 2014. He is also currently teaching at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.

Matt Boden (pianist, composer, arranger, orchestrator and producer) is originally from Hobart, Australia.  After study in Hobart, he moved to Melbourne, Australia to pursue a performing career.  After two years in Melbourne, Matt moved to Berlin where he resided for a year, studying with German great Andreas Schmidt and gigging in Germany and China.  The following year saw Matt move to Paris, France where he lived for 6 years, earning a high reputation as a pianist.  During this period Matt also studied with renowned French jazz pianist Laurent de Wilde.
Matt has been the recipient of numerous awards, grants and prizes from various festivals and industry bodies.  His continuing involvement with Australian jazz group ‘The New Sheiks’ is a particular focus – they won the Australian Jazz Bell award for Best Traditional Jazz Album in 2011.  In the same year, the group was invited to perform at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.  The New Sheiks continue to perform around Australia as part of the Melbourne Rhythm Project, an exciting venture in classic jazz, swing and tap dancing coupled with original jazz works.
In 2008 Matt placed 3rd in the inaugural Boris Vian Concours du Jazz in Paris with his trio. Matt was a finalist in the 2013 Wangaratta Jazz Festival National Jazz Awards.
Matt has gigged all around the world in leading venues such as Sunset/Sunside (FR), A-Trane (GER), Caveau de la Huchette (FR), CJW (CH), The Paris Cat and Bennetts Lane (AUS) and The BMW Edge (AUS).  For a more complete listing, please visit the ‘People and Places’ page.
Aside from his work as a pianist, Matt is also involved in the arranging, orchestrating and producing business.  His work includes: creating classical orchestrations for film, TV and the stage, arranging for and directing big bands, conducting, and score preparation.

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


The Eric Ineke Jazzxpress - Cruisin' (2014)

Since Eric Ineke started the JazzXpress in 2006, eight years have gone by, and now he proudly present their sixth CD. Meanwhile the line up has stayed the same the whole time except for a short period when our stellar trumpeter Rik Mol was replaced by Rodolfo Fereira Neves. When Rik came back in, the band got a new spirit and all the engines got retuned.

Eric Ineke about the songs:
“Oak City” is a catchy one, written by Rik Mol. Playing with the impeccable Ronnie Cuber recently got me back into Horace Silver’s music all over again.

The eastern-flavored “Seven on the Rigter Scale” was written by Marius Beets, and inspired by some of the wonderful Dutch tenor player Simon Rigter’s harmonic inventions. It opens with the composer’s free bass solo, then launches into a camel groove evoking the days of Lawrence of Arabia. Sjoerd Dijkhuizen gets a fat sound on bass clarinet and Rik Mol plays a great solo on muted trumpet.

Marius’s “The End of the Affair” is an uptempo burner based on the chords of a well-known standard, and inspired by Graham Greene’s novel. (I didn’t know the book, got curious about it, and recently found it in London in Hatchard’s elegant bookstore.)

Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” is a duet for pianist Rob van Bavel and me. I got the idea to do it from a recording we both made back in 1993 as members of the legendary Ben van den Dungen/Jarmo Hoogendijk Quintet. Rob’s great rhythmic and harmonic approach is a springboard for my own playing here. In his solo he emulates Bill Evans’s improvisation on the version he recorded with Stan Getz, which is a hell of a compliment to Bill Evans. We did it in one take at 10 a.m.

Johnny Griffin’s haunting ballad “When We Were One” is a feature for our exquisite tenor man Sjoerd Dijkhuizen, who plays the melody with his heart on his sleeve. It’s a fitting tribute to John Arnold Griffin III, who was a one-of-a-kind out of an era when jazz musicans were real characters, the kind we deeply miss these days.

Rob van Bavel’s “Just A Tune for You” is his take on “I Got Rhythm” chords and fits the band like a glove; everyone gets to solo.

Marius Beets’s “What Is This” is as hardbop as you can get, flying by on familiar changes. On the last tune, the remix “Cruisin’,” the band sails into the 21st century. Marius did a great job on this one, and you can party on down with it as long as you want.

After 50 years in the jazz business, I feel still like a kid, and I’m very proud and grateful to be surrounded by such great musicians who keep kicking my ass. Many thanks also to my longtime producer Fred Dubiez, who always gives me so much support.

Eric Ineke, May 2014

Eric Ineke: drums
Rik mol: trumpet
Sjoerd Duijkhuizen: tenor sax & bass clarinet
Rob Van Bavel: piano
Marius Beets: bass

1 Oak City  04:28
2 Seven on the Rigter Scale  08:19
3 The End of the Affair  07:17
4 Night and Day  05:57
5 When We Were One  06:27
6 Just a Tune for You  06:31
7 What Is This?  05:13
8 Cruisin'  05:58

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Christof Lauer & NDR Bigband play Sidney Bechet - Petite Fleur (2014)

Source: ACT

Only very few of today's jazz musicians and fans still know who Sidney Bechet is: one of the founding fathers of jazz. He played the soprano saxophone like no other, and with his French-Creole-inspired compositions, he was a forerunner of jazz's openness to all musical styles.

More than ten years ago, ACT owner Siggi Loch, whose passion for jazz was aroused by a Bechet concert that he attended at the age of 15, asked Christof Lauer whether he could imagine doing a project that focused on this jazz pioneer. What Loch was hoping for was an entirely new way of looking at the genius of this New Orleans native, born in 1897, interpreted by someone from a free-jazz background who had developed his unmistakable sound playing with Albert Ayler and Stan Getz, collaborating with the Frankfurt School of Albert Mangelsdorff and Heinz Sauer, and working with American jazz musicians and the French avant-garde around Michel Godard and Marc Ducret.

But as Lauer recalls, he – the "best saxophonist we have in Europe" according to Volker Kriegel – was "in a totally different place at the time". But the seed was sown, and it germinated slowly but surely, as is not entirely atypical for Lauer: For example, he didn't bring out his debut album, chastely bearing only his name as a title, until 1990, at the tender age of 37, which, however, promptly won the annual German Record Critics' Award, a feat that he repeated nine years later with his ACT debut "Fragile Network". Lauer also says that he didn't have much to do with Bigband music either, until 1993, when he finally succumbed, after several requests, and joined the NDR Bigband, which he is still a member of to this day. The band director at the time, Dieter Glawischnig, who had been Lauer's teacher in Graz in the 70s, convinced him with arguments such as that the orchestra was transforming into a soloist band.

In a similar way, the collaboration had also become more intense with Rainer Tempel in recent times, one of Germany's leading bigband arrangers and composers, who also works for the NDR Bigband. It was with him that Lauer revisited the subject of Sidney Bechet, "and I found myself relating to Siggi Loch's idea as a bigband thing, because Rainer knows how I play and how you can realize a project like that. And because he always totally engrosses himself in every venture he commits to."

And that is something that cannot be overheard on the album "Petite Fleur", which they recorded in four days in the studio. Unmistakable Bechet classics appear in an entirely new light thanks to Lauer's distinctive tone and the multilayered arrangements. It all begins with the soprano saxophone, because even though most know Lauer as a tenor saxophonist: "I played an incredible amount of soprano in the HR Jazz Ensemble, and occupied myself with it intensively," he says. Sidney Bechet's typical vibrato is replaced by Lauer's intense and expressive sound, which can draw long lines just as readily as swirling garlands. "It wouldn't make any sense to copy Bechet," Lauer explains. "It's about finding out how it interacts with your own world, and what energy is borne of that."

And so Bechet's sound cosmos is given new clothes, with Lauer, Tempel and the NDR Bigband intelligently and profoundly interpreting the contrasts that lie between the lines in these catchy and emotional tunes: on standards that Bechet lent his inimitable signature to, such as Harry Barris' "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" and "On The Sunny Side Of The Street"; but even more so on his own famous songs from his Paris period, from the title track "Petite Fleur" to "Les Oignons" through to the Magrebinian-influenced "Casbah - Song of the Medina". Right from the intro, Tempel's mastery can be heard, letting the NDR Bigband take paths that branch off the streets of Antibes - "Dans Les Rues D'Antibes" -, only to have Lauer's saxophone artistically entice them back onto main street again. And even for Lauer, "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" is the best proof "of the incredible power of these almost forgotten works. They are really catchy, and yet at the same time artistic."

"We tried out a lot more songs than could go onto the CD," Lauer recalls, but one surprise, Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose", is on the album, and it has its own special relevance: "Early on in my career, I was supposed to play that in an old-time ensemble. I turned up at the rehearsal, played it the way I'd learned it, garnered disapproving frowns and never went there again. It didn't work at all, and now I wanted to make up for that – doing it my way." "Petite Fleur" is the best proof of how worthwhile it is to rediscover tradition from time to time, just as one recaptures one's own biography.

Christof Lauer / soprano & tenor saxophone
Hubert Nuss / piano
Patrice Héral / drums
NDR Bigband conducted by Rainer Tempel

1. Dans Les Rues D'Antibes [7:08]
2. Les Oignons [7:48]
3. September [3:24]
4. Petite Fleur [8:26]
5. Casbah - Song of the Medina [5:03]
6. Honeysuckle Rose [8:07]
7. Si Tu Vois Ma Mere [6:00]
8. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams [7:18]
9. On the Sunny Side of the Street [4:27]

Recording Information
Recorded at Studio 1 at NDR Hamburg, 16.09. - 20.09.2013, except September 

recorded by Hrólfur Vagnsson at Kehreinstudio Frankfurt, 02.04.2014

NDR recording team:
Recording engineer: Michael Plötz
Tonmeister: Hrólfur Vagnsson
Sound technician (recording): Jens Kunze
Mixed by Sven Kohlwage

Mastered by Klaus Scheuermann

A Norddeutscher Rundfunk production, 2013
Producers for NDR: Axel Dürr & Stefan Gerdes

Cover art by Imi Knoebel / ACT Art Collection

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Chris Walden Big Band - Full-On! (2014)

I have to more big band release to review and you would find me in Home Depot in the length of rope and rickety stool department but when they are this good then it makes your gig so much easier! Chris Walden's Big Band Full -On! is just that, full contact big band kicked up for the next generation. A fresh vibrant sound with seven dynamic originals leading the charge along with some cameos from Arturo Sandoval and Tierney Sutton. Walden is the exception to the rule as arranging recording dates for such artists as Stevie Wonder and Michael Buble keep the wolf away from the door and swinging big band scratches that creative itch for something more.

Walden's style moves across genre with a smoldering interpretation of the Yellowjackets classic "Out of Town" which bookends well against the old school attitude of the Basie influenced "Bailout." Big band samba? Done! "Bada Bamba" is another buoyant tune which features a bass trombone master class from Bill Reichenbach. Other luminaries dotting the harmonic landscape include Brandon Fields and the vocal magic of Siedah Garrett on the Christopher Cross hit "Ride Like The Wind."

This is the big band release you have been waiting for! A wide melodic path with a distinct lyrical sense of purpose has this as one of the best for 2014!

01. Bailout (6:14)
02. I Can Cook Too (5:05)
03. Lost In The Memory (3:27)
04. Gatsby (5:32)
05. Sir Duke (3:44)
06. Bada Bamba (5:40)
07. If I Only Knew (3:48)
08. Only The Lonely 3:14
09. Arturo (5:55)
10. Hey Good Looking (3:02)
11. Out Of Town (4:38)
12. Ride Like The Wind (3:59)


Jeff Driskill
Bob Sheppard
Rob Lockart
Brandon Fields
Tom Peterson
Kim Richmond (7, 10)

Wayne Bergeron
Kye Palmer
Ron King
Kevin Richardson

Bob McChesney
Alex Iles
Paul Young
Rich Bullock
Andy Martin (7, 10)

Mitch Holder - Guitar
Andrew Synowiec - Guitar (5)
Alan Steinberger - Piano/Keyboard
Kenny Wild - Bass
Ray Brinker - Drums
M.B. Gordy - Percussion

Produced & arranged by Chris Walden
Recorded at Capitol Studios by Al Schmitt and Steve Genewick August 24, 2013
Mixed at Ocean Way Studios by Al Schmitt, assisted by Scott Moore
Tracks 7 & 10 recorded by Tommy Vicari, mixed by Steve Genewick
Mastered by Robert Vosgien at Capitol Mastering
Session & Cover Photography by Brian A. Petersen
Cover Design & Layout by John Bishop

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins