jueves, 23 de octubre de 2014

Ryan Pate - Human / Alien (2013)

Source: Ryan Pate

Guitarist-composer Ryan Pate has crafted a beguiling debut with Human/Alien (BFG Records), an album of forward-minded jazz where the earthy and otherworldly mingle and meld. To bring his music alive, Pate convened a band of kindred-spirit players whom he got to know on the Brooklyn session scene: pianist Dov Manski, bassist Noah Garabedian and drummer Devin Gray. The quartet recorded at Tedesco Studios in New Jersey, with mixing then done in Brooklyn by rising-star guitarist Ryan Ferreira. With Human/Alien, Pate aimed to create “a world in sound – music that’s cinematic, which is something a lot of my favorite records share,” he says. “The title, Human/Alien, reflects a duality I’ve always been drawn to, things that are both human and strange – the earthy, human essence being an emphasis on melody, and the alien being an ethereal, atmospheric quality.”
Born in New York, raised in South Florida and now based in San Francisco after a stint in Brooklyn, the 33-year-old Pate is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where he learned from such masters as Dave Liebman and where he met drummer Devin Gray. Pate and Gray hooked up with pianist Dov Manski and bassist Noah Garabedian, and the quartet felt like a band that had been together for years. “What I love about these guys as players is that they always sound like themselves – they’re never ones to play clichés – and yet they always have your back creatively,” Pate says. “Some of my favorite moments on the record are Dov’s piano solos, like the incredible ones he plays in ‘For E.S.’ and ‘Pen & Sword.’ He has such a sense of melodic flow and adventure in his improvising. Devin is a really sensitive player, attuned to timbre and how to color a song with the drums. And Noah has a great sound and sense of time, and he’s never afraid to add his ideas into the conversation. Most important, they’re all comfortable going into the unknown.”

Pate’s guitar sound is warm, liquid, enveloping. “True melody” is the goal in his improvisations, avoiding patterns. “I’ve always been influenced by pure melodic improvisers, like Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Keith Jarrett – who have an edge to what they do while still being incredibly tuneful,” he says. “Even pieces that are harmonically complex can still have a singable melody.” Human/Alien launches with “Simple Song #3,” a piece with the sonic dramaturgy of a rock song, though laced with a jazzy bridge. It’s from a series of pieces that Pate wrote “after my years at the Manhattan School of Music and being burned out on this harmonically dense, tricky, virtuoso way of thinking,” he explains. “So I wanted to create some simple, tuneful things, and #3 turned out as my favorite.”

There’s an overt rock reference with “For E.S.,” an homage to the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. “I was listening a lot to his records and thinking about what a tragic figure he was,” Pate says. “The beauty of his music is that it’s honest to the point of vulnerability – and he channeled that through these pure, heartbreaking melodies.” Other highlights among the eight spacious tracks of Human/Alien include “Growth Cycles,” with its haunting solo piano intro and Pate’s silvery guitar song eventually floating on top. Then there are the intricate grooves, off-kilter atmospherics and tunefully ruminative byways of the 12-minute long “To See One Through,” like Aja-era Steely Dan gone through a psychedelic looking glass.

Pate has premiered original compositions for septet at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne and Umbria Jazz, along with composing and arranging for jazz big band, chamber groups, theatrical companies and film/television. The range of sound on Human/Alien reflects Pate’s love of a wide world of music, from the orchestral soundscapes of Messiaen and blend of the sophisticated and primal in Bartók to the post-Sgt. Pepper’s Beatles and on to Radiohead and Björk. His jazz-guitar loves began with Pat Metheny’s trio debut, Bright Size Life, and he worked back to Grant Green, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian. “Later, I really got into John Scofield and Kurt Rosenwinkel,” he says, “although it was their compositional sense as much as their guitar playing that drew me.”

Another highlight on Human/Alien is “Circulation Adjustment Machine,” which fully encapsulates Pate’s conceptual duality of melody and atmosphere. This track features “free improvisation overdubbed on top of the tune – like another world of color and texture that has an evolving relationship with the composition itself,” Pate explains. “The melody emerges from these ethereal textures, which float in and out through the rest of the piece. Again, melody has always been the thing that sticks with me as a listener, and that is ultimately my goal to deliver as a composer and an improviser – the sort of musical experience that stays with you.”

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


Stanley Cowell - Are You Real? (2014)

An excellent modern, mainstream pianist who is adaptable to many acoustic jazz settings, Stanley Cowell has long been underrated except among knowing musicians. He studied the piano from the time he was four, and Art Tatum made an early impact. After attending Oberlin College Conservatory and the University of Michigan, Cowell (who had played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk while at Oberlin) moved to New York in 1966. He played regularly with Marion Brown (1966-1967), Max Roach (1967-1970), and the Bobby Hutcherson-Harold Land quintet (1968-1971). In the early '70s, Cowell worked in Music Inc. with Charles Tolliver, and they co-founded the label Strata East. He played regularly with the Heath Brothers during 1974-1983, and since 1981 has been a busy jazz educator. Cowell has recorded as a leader for Arista-Freedom (1969), ECM (1972), Strata East, Galaxy, Unisson, DIW, Concord, and SteepleChase.

Stanley Cowell (p)
Jay Anderson (b)
Billy Drummond (ds)
Anthony Pinciotti (ds)

1. Photon In A Paper World (Stanley Cowell)
2. You Taught My Heart To Sing (McCoy Tyner)
3. Mrs. Parker Of KC (Jaki Byard)
4. I Remember Diz (Paquito D’Rivera)
5. Hot House (Tadd Dameron)
6. Are You Real? (Benny Golson)
7. The Wedding Recessional (Stanley Cowell)
8. Off Minor (Thelonious Monk)

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Louis Smith Quartet - Ballads for Lulu (1990)

“ Trumpeter Louis Smith recorded for Blue Note in the 50s, joined the Horace Silver Quintet – then gave it all up for a career in teaching. Twenty years later he reappeared on SteepleChase and Ballads For Lulu may be his finest set since the comeback….Lovely, laid-back, late-night blowing …” (WIRE)

Louis Smith (tp)
Jim McNeely (p)
Bob Cranshaw (b)
Keith Copeland (dr)

1. Portrait of Jennie (Robinson)
2. Lulu (Louis Smith)
3. Time After Time (Jules/Cahn Styne)
4. Polkadots and Moonbeams (Jimmy Van Heusen)
5. Old Folks (Dedate Hill)
6. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Jerome Kern)
7. Laura (Johnny Mercer)
8. Cry Me a River (Hamilton)
9. Don't Blame Me (Jimmy McHugh)

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Nir Naaman - Independence (2014)

Source: Criticalijazz

 If jazz is dead than Nir Naaman never got the memo and good thing! Debut releases are stereotypically phoned in, contain the expected number of standards and serve as sort of a lyrical business card for an aspiring artist. Nir Naaman contributes seven forward thinking originals embracing his own cultural heritage while keeping one foot in the somewhat more traditional western improvisational setting. A household name? No, Naaman is a new shooter on the scene but with a band that features pianist George Cables ( also serving as producer) along with drummer Gregory Hutchinson, bassist Dezron Douglas and ace trumpet player Marcus Printup then this all star collective should put to rest any potential issues of "credibility."

Nir Naaman is an instrumental triple threat, equally skilled on alto, soprano as well as tenor saxophone. The original compositions are dynamic and the subtle hybrid of his Middle Eastern background as well as a resume that includes working with artists such as Terri Lynne Carrington and Dave Samuels mix incredibly well. Meters are mixed, dynamics shifted while a firm and full tone are an emotive voice that works each composition to a new melodic place. Naaman is a lyrical ninja. This is a collective by definition as each original is allowing all participants to chart their own harmonic path of least resistance. The tenor skills of Naaman are simply outrageous on "Ohali Blues" while the more introspective riff on "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" is a dream duet featuring pianist and producer George Cables. Additional contributions from Roy Assad and Ulysses Owens Jr. are also noteworthy!

Variety, texture and a subtle groove of what is ahead for modern jazz would seem to be the calling card for Independence. The lyrical soprano work and emotive intensity of "Winter Sun" speaks well for the future of Nir Naaman. One of the best debuts for 2014!


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


Louis Smith Quintet - Prancin' (1979)

“.. . Prancin’ confirms what some listeners have known for many years – that Louis Smith is among the most engaging trumpet soloists in jazz. Thankfully, the opportunity to savour his mature, well rounded style is no longer being denied to us. An album to buy without the slightest hesitation .” (Jazz Journal)

1. One for Nils (Louis Smith)
2. Chanson de Louise (Louis Smith)
3. Ryan's Groove (Louis Smith)
4. Prancin' (Louis Smith)
5. I Can't Get Started (Vernon Duke)
6. Fats (Louis Smith)
7. Chanson de Louise (Louis Smith)

Bass – Sam Jones
Composed By – E.L. Smith
Design [Cover] – Per Grunnet
Drums – Billy Hart
Engineer – Elvin Campbell
Mixed By – Freddy Hansson
Piano – Roland Hanna
Producer, Photography By – Nils Winther
Saxophone – Junior Cook
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Louis Smith (2)

Recorded April 13, 1979

"Hearing is Everything"