viernes, 28 de noviembre de 2014

Gideon van Gelder - Lighthouse (2014)

Source: lifeandtimes

There’s a quiet but direct correlation between the mind and the groove. A definite understanding of that may be what aides Amsterdam pianist Gideon van Gelder in constructing the poignant rhythms of his sophomore LP, Lighthouse (out Sept. 6th). van Gelder indeed doubles as psychiatrist.

“I go back and forth,” he said of his travels between Europe and America. “There’s this other side to me. I’m also a medical doctor, I’m studying to become a psychiatrist, that’s what brought me back to Amsterdam. That’s my day gig right now, if you want to call it that. The nice thing is that ever since I’ve been back, I’ve kept in touch with people. People pass through – Jamire [Williams] did, I just did a tour with Takuya Kuroda – people come to Europe, and I’ve been fortunate enough for them to call me up to play their shows. Then I go back to New York to record with these cats and mix my album there. I feel very blessed with the whole situation.”

He’s done a damn good job moonlighting, working with Jose James, Williams, Kuroda and others over the years as an acclaimed musician. Life+Times talked with van Gelder about Lighthouse and his stellar band.

Life+Times: Talk about the title Lighthouse. Why did you choose that and what do the songs mean in relation to the title?

Gideon van Gelder: It gets down to the fact that when I write it’s also a visual thing for me. I would just get images in my mind. For this record, all the the material conjured up night time scenery for me.

A darkness but with an element of light in there though. It was the best way of capturing that feeling or that mental picture that I had while I was writing the record. It was like being on the coast somewhere and it’s dark out, but there’s stars. Kind of like that feeling. I did it specifically, too, because with titles such as Milton Nascimento’s “Pier//Cais,” “Orbit,” Toninho Horta’s “Moonstone,” it wrapped it all together for me. It made it coherent, that word “Lighthouse.” It’s kind of abstract, too. People can have different images if they want to, which is why I made it a point not to have too literal of a reference on the cover. Where this comes from is some of my favorite albums feel like they have stories behind them like Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil, Herbie Hancock’s Empyrean Isles. There are stories that can be imagined around the tunes.

L+T: Speaking of colors and things that you saw, the artwork is this bright yellow, neon color.

GvG: These guys [Machine] did the artwork for my first record and I like it because it’s quite radical. They have a way of translating my concepts into image. I think what comes through in the full artwork – even more so than just the cover – is that contrast of having dark, and then really bright light elements woven through that. We just happened to pick yellow and I liked it, and it’s something that comes close to whatever [color] light is gonna be. There’s the shadow behind me in the back, so you could imagine being in the light of the lighthouse. That tells you that there was an actual source of light on me.

L+T: You talk about Lighthouse being a tribute to your current influences, namely electronica, 70s pop, and Brazilian music. Describe the musical vibe on the record.

GvG: Basically, since my first album which was four years ago, I haven’t been listening to that much jazz music, it’s been other types of music. A lot of Brazilian stuff, going deeper into the Milton Nascimento thing. I was already a big Toninho Horta fan, but Milton, he wrote this incredible amount of beautiful music. A lot of Flying Lotus. There’s this Dutch producer Jameszoo who I’ve been doing live shows with too, he’s in that electronic jazz side of the music. 

There was a lot of Bjork going on at one point, and then I got into that duo called Knower – they’re in LA, it’s Genevieve Artadi and Louis Cole – that’s some of my favorite stuff right now. I don’t even know what to call it. They call it progressive pop music, I don’t know, there’s a ton of stuff in there. 

Playing with Takuya [Kuroda], having played with Jose [James] for years, that influenced how I hear music and encouraged me to incorporate anything I like and not limit yourself in any way. Why would you? I wanted to make it a point to take full advantage of my band even more so than in the first record. That’s why I had Becca doing all these overdubs. I  didn’t even think of that for my first record.

L+T: Expand on your band. You’ve got Jamire Williams on drums and Becca Stevens singing. Most people just feature singers, but she’s considered part of the band, and as far as I can tell, there’s no lyrics that she’s singing, but her voice is an instrument itself.

GvG: Exactly. To start with Jamire, if you want to talk about influences – I got connected with him because he came through Holland and didn’t bring a piano player on the tour, so through Corey King who’s in his band and who I went the New School with in New York, I played two shows with [Williams’ band] ERIMAJ. 

For me, that’s some of my favorite stuff and that’s where this corner of the musical world is at right now, the stuff that Jamire is doing. We played together and I had a blast playing his music and in his band. He has this great combination of the sensibility that a jazz player has and also the real solid thing coming from Houston and playing whatever kind of music. He has the amazing backbeat and groove and soulful thing, and the jazz sensibility added to that, to me that’s the perfect mix. Rick Rosato I went to school with. He’s great, he’s one of the busiest young bass players in New York right now. 

There’s Lucas Pino on saxophone. We share that love for Brazilian music which is a lot more about melody than notes and freaking out, you know. It’s about respecting the song and trying to make a beautiful song or statement. When we play the music, I want to keep it about the song instead of totally stretching out in a jazzed out way. Becca, before we played, I just really dug on her music. She was coming up in New York and I used to see her shows, and she really inspired my writing. What’s great about her – and everyone in the group – they won’t just play it, they’ll tell you what makes the most sense to them. It would be a completely different record without them. I wrote these songs with them in mind and I’m really happy with how they did their thing.

L+T: You’re from Amsterdam and live there currently. How did American music first come to you? Once you came to American, how did that experience change your musical perspective even more?

GvG: Honestly, it’s always been in my life because my dad runs a record store here [in Amsterdam] in the north of the country in my hometown. So I grew up with any American-slash-Black American music you can think of. They didn’t only run a store, they also ran this Mississippi Delta Blues label, so I grew up with R.L. Burnside and Aretha and there was a ton of jazz and blues music. This is all American music, there wasn’t a lot of European jazz. Moving to New York, it was really easy because everyone there at the New School, they all knew the same stuff, so it felt comfortable. In New York [city], specifically, there were a lot of things going on that I hadn’t been in touch with. There’s young musicians around you that really influence you. Meeting someone like Becca or Corey King. Then playing with someone like Jose James, he brought a lot of hip-hop to the table. Playing with him, he writes from that vibe. It’s not that we ever tried to blend hip-hop with jazz, but it’s in his ear, so that vibe is in his music. That changed the way I listen to stuff a lot. It changed how I listen to a beat, a groove, where I like things to sit, the fact that I love stuff to have a backbeat to it. After coming to New York, it was reaffirmed that it feels best if you completely let go of any references and allow yourself to just be free and do what you want.

Gideon Van Gelder: piano, Wurlitzer
Becca Stevens: vocals
Lucas Pino: saxophone, clarinet
Rick Rosato: bass
Jamire Williams: drums

1. Victory Joy Dance
2. As Night
3. Visions
4. Moonstone
5. Interlude
6. Pier // Cais
7. Giant
8. Orbit
9. As Night - Reprise

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Danny Green Trio - After the Calm (2014)

Source: Danny Green

Pianist and composer Danny Green has garnered a reputation in the jazz community as an emerging artist whose music sounds simultaneously seasoned and fresh. Showcasing a brilliant blend of jazz, Brazilian, Latin, and classical elements, Green’s music engages listeners with evocative melodies and infectious rhythms. According to, “Danny Green is what evolution in jazz is all about, expressing the traits of those that came before him, with a style and panache that is all his own…an individual who expresses what is inside of him.”

A Southern California native, Green began studying classical piano at the age of five. His passion for music was apparent early on — his parents had to pull him away from the piano at his first recital. As they tugged him by his right hand, he continued playing with his left hand. At the age of twelve, Green grew disenchanted with reading music and quit lessons. He taught himself to play by ear and spent the next two years only playing Nirvana. Toward the end of high school, he fell in love with Afro Cuban music, which led to his discovery of Brazilian music and eventually jazz.

Green resumed his formal training at UC San Diego, where he studied jazz piano with Grammy-winning producer Kamau Kenyatta and classical piano with John Mark Harris and Luciane Cardassi. He performed the first jazz honors recital at UCSD and received the Jimmy Cheatham Jazz Award. Green continued his education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies at San Diego State University, where he studied jazz piano with Rick Helzer. He was awarded several scholarships and named “Outstanding Graduate.” In 2013, Green was honored as an “Alumni to Watch” from SDSU’s School of Music and Dance.

Hailed as “one of the important up-and-comers on the scene today” by All About Jazz, Green is one of the most prolific and talented jazz pianists in the San Diego area. Maintaining a busy performance schedule as leader of the Danny Green Trio, Green has performed at notable venues, series, and festivals including KSDS Jazz 88.3’s Jazz Live, the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, CSU Summer Arts Monterey, Anthology, The Loft @ UCSD, the Oceanside Museum of Art, Steamer’s Jazz Club, the San Diego Museum of Art’s Summer Residency Project, the Integrity Jazz festival in North Dakota, TEDxUCSD, and the KSDS Jazz 88.3 Ocean Beach Jazz Festival.

Green revealed his unique talents on his 2009 debut recording With You In Mind. The album received extensive airplay around the globe, rose to #18 on the Jazz Week Charts, and won “Best Jazz Album” at the 2009 San Diego Music Awards. In 2012, Green teamed up with Tapestry Records to release A Thousand Ways Home, featuring Justin Grinnell on bass, Julien Cantelm on drums, and Tripp Sprague on sax, as well as a talented cast of guest artists inducing guitarists Chico Pinheiro, Peter Sprague, and Dusty Brough, Brazilian vocalist Claudia Villela, and mandolinist Eva Scow. A Thousand Ways Home received numerous rave reviews nationwide, rose to #17 on the Jazz Week Charts, was voted into KSDS Jazz 88.3’s “Top Ten Jazz Releases of 2012,” and was nominated “Best Jazz Album” at the 2013 San Diego Music Awards.

After The CalmThe Danny Green Trio, comprised of Green, Grinnell, and Cantelm, is currently in production on a new album entitled After The Calm. Featuring ten of Green’s latest compositions, the album is slated for release on OA2 Records in November 2014.

Green is also highly devoted to music education. In addition to teaching private lessons, he is a faculty member of the annual Jazz 88.3 Summer Jazz Workshop, directs the jazz combo at Coronado School of the Arts, and presents a jazz appreciation workshop at elementary schools as part of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library’s outreach program. Green has also taught piano courses at Grossmont Community College and San Diego City College, and has been an artist in residence at Canyon Crest Academy and at CSU Summer Arts Monterey.


Displaying a chemistry that borders on ESP, virtuoso pianist Danny Green and his Southern California-based trio, with Justin Grinnell on bass and Julien Cantelm on drums, breathes life into Green’s intricate compositions. Ranging from hard grooving burners to lush and soulful ballads, Green’s ten new works offer a sense of familiarity coupled with unexpected turns. According to Chuck Vecoli of Jazz Review, “Danny Green is what evolution in jazz is all about, expressing the traits of those that came before him with a style and panache that is all his own, an individual who expresses what is inside him.”

01. End of the Block
02. Thirty Springrolls Please
03. In A Dreamy State
04. Two Ways About It
05. Another One For You
06. Choro Pra Corrente
07. March of the Ghouls
08. After The Calm
09. Song For Hailey
10. I Got Kite

Danny Green, piano
Justin Grinnell, bass
Julien Cantelm, drums

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


Johnny Griffith - Dance With The Lady (2014)

Source: Bop-N-Jazz
Label: Gb Records
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Canada swings and Johnny Griffith is leading the charge, Dance With The Lady is stellar!

So tenor man Johnny Griffith fronts a stunning 4tet and oh yeah, he bangs out some alto too. Trumpet phenom Jeremy Pelt provides the perfect counterpoint and helps guide this ensemble to the land of rhythm and groove. All original tunes, unheard of for the most part. Griffith has that compositional x-factor and is obviously as artistically gifted as he is technically proficient.

There is a front line charm that harkens back to the days of Impulse on tunes such as "The Mile Walk" and "Cinders" while the band looks ahead with adventurous tunes such as "The Zissou Predicament" and "Syrah." With an amazing rhythm section rounded out with pianist Adrean Farrugia along with Jon Maharaj on bass and swing master Ethan Ardelli on drums there is little doubt that should this ensemble turn into a true working band that the sky is indeed the limit.

Post bop with bite. Swing with an attitude but most of all- SWING!  - Brent Black -

1. The Zissou Predicament
2. Princess Aura Goes to Phrygia            
3. Syrah       
4. The Kuleshascope       
5. Bass Interlude       
6. The Mile Walk       
7. Dance With the Lady       
8. Cinders       
9. That Night (Under the Bench) Long Ago    
Johnny Griffith - saxophone
Jeremy Pelt - trumpet
Jon Maharaj - bass
Adrean Farrugia - piano
Ethan Ardelli - drums

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