lunes, 12 de enero de 2015

Roarshaq - Roarshaq (2015)

Source: Cdbaby
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆      

"Psychologist Hermann Rorschach invented the inkblot test to allow people to explore the hidden patterns of their unconscious minds through the interpretation of abstract images; we attempt to do the same with our music.” - Roarshaq

This quote, found within the artwork of Roarshaq’s debut album, describes what can be expected from the experience of listening to their music. A result of four good friends who share a passion for making improvised music with one another, the group dedicates themselves to creating new and original works using the medium of jazz and creative music.

In 2013 Roarshaq was invited to partake in the 2013 Winter Residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts where the collective truly began to develop their sound. Later that year, the group was granted a Toronto Arts Council Project Grant to prepare and rehearse new repertoire to be recorded in the following months. Their self-titled debut album Roarshaq is the result of these intensive focus periods, recorded in February 2014.

Featuring eight original compositions, the album showcases the interactions between these four musicians. Roarshaq [Self-titled] demonstrates a collective creating a unique compositionally based tapestry for improvisation. The tracks on the album range from hard-hitting odd-meter grooves in “Three Ravens’, free-form improvisations in “Badleaf” and to the melodically expressiveness of the ballad, “Eulogy.” This album truly represents a musical inkblot.

1. Badleaf 07:47
2. Alternator 06:49
3. Fortune Cookie 03:55
4. Tiebreaker 06:02
5. Eulogy 04:27
6. Franklin's Fallacy 05:51   
7. Rewind 04:09
8. Three Ravens 08:14

Joel Visentin // Piano and Rhodes
Mark Godfrey // Bass
Derek Gray // Drums
Jeff Larochelle // Saxophones 

"Master your instrument, master the music 

& then forget all that & just play."

  - Charlie Parker -   


J.J. Wright - Inward Looking Outward (2014)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Label: Ropeadope
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆       

Pianist J.J. Wright has catholic tastes in more ways than one. He's the Director of Music at Sacred Heart Parish, the crypt church beneath the University of Notre Dame's Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and his musical interests range far and wide; Wright's inspired and influenced by everything from the music of J.S. Bach to the work of Thelonious Monk to the songs of Sufjan Stevens. His debut album—a piano trio session with the highly capable Ike Sturm on bass and the rhythmically engaging Nate Wood on drums—hints at some of these influences and points to Wright's faith without ever coming off as pious.

Inward Looking Outward is filled out by six originals—five of which bear the JTC ("Journey Toward Christ") acronym and a Roman numeral for a title—and covers of Jon Brion's "Little Person," Stevens' "The Transfiguration," and Phil Collins' "Take Me Home." No single style or direction informs the music, but a sense of Wright's musical beliefs starts to take shape as the album progresses. The journey begins with "JTC II," as Sturm and Wood jump down the rabbit hole and create a hypnotic, engrossing, lopsided foundation that serves Wright well when he enters with a baroque-cum-modernist mindset. "JTC I" starts out sans bass and drums, but the excitement builds with the arrival of Wright's counterparts, culminating with Wood's drum freak-out. With these two pieces, Wright establishes this trio as a rhythmically vivacious outfit. Then, just when it seems like the modus operandi has been firmly established, he leaves that idea behind, delivering a beautiful, hymn-like "JTC V" that's light years away from what came before. It's the first big stylistic shift on the album, but not the last.

As the album continues, Wright and company continually return to that more rhythmically-focused form of dialogue and construction, but they make pit stops in other places along the way. "JTC IV" is a more traditional look at the modern piano trio vehicle, with the rhythm section swinging away beneath Wright at the center of the song, and "JTC III," which almost comes off like a slightly modified cover of Ray LaMontagne's "Let It Be Me," finds everybody in a calm and centered environment.

It's something of a cliché to say that an artist is one of a kind, but it fits the bill with Wright. His music is informed by religion, yet his music bears no traces of religiosity, and he's plugged into the rhythmically perspicacious nature of modern music, yet he often speaks in measured tones, using direct phrasing that's at once unique and wholly in tune with the ear.  - Dan Bilawski -

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -


Al McLean & Azar Lawrence - Conduit (2015)

Source: indiegogo

For those who are passionate about Jazz, here's your chance to get involved in a great project!  Created by two members of Montreal's storied Jazz community, 'Conduit' captures two giants of the saxophone in a mesmerizing recording and film.  Saxophone legend Azar Lawrence joins Al McLean on this session, which is set in strikingly beautiful Montreal museum.

The two are accompanied by Montreal's finest sidemen, Andre White on drums, Adrian Vedady on bass, and Sean Fyfe on piano.

The result is magic. 'CONDUIT' is iconic, and remains true to the most classic of Jazz recordings.  With your help, this performance can be delivered to the world in a well distributed digital audio release, with accompanying promotional films.

Al McLean is considered among the most virtuostic saxophonists working today, and has a huge social media footprint, with over 60 documentary films.  As an independent artist, McLean has been viewed by an audience of nearly one million.

Randy Cole is the go-to Jazz doc maker in Canada, with his 'Jazz, Period.' film series showcasing Jazz in a creative and insightful light.

Guest artist Azar Lawrence has been a pivotal figure in Jazz and has recorded and toured with McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard.
This campaign is our modern way to finance a powerful Jazz recording in today's cash-strapped music world.

Your participation BIG OR SMALL will have a huge impact on this project.  Please remember, we rely on contributions of all sizes funds from our enthusiastic crowd.  You will become a patron of the arts, or more aptly, a 'micro-patron'!

1. On Cue 0:09
2. Crescent (feat. Al McLean & Azar Lawrence) 13:58
3. Simone (feat. Al McLean & Azar Lawrence) 11:24
4. Walk Spirit Talk Spirit (feat. Al McLean & Azar Lawrence) 10:52
5. Body and Soul (feat. Al McLean & Azar Lawrence) 11:01
6. Passion Dance (feat. Al McLean & Azar Lawrence) 10:32
7. Blues (Now's the Time) (feat. Al McLean & Azar Lawrence) 9:07

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins


David Hazeltine - I Remember Cedar (2015)

Years ago, I often went to a club in which a guest soloist was coupled with the house rhythm section. At one point in nearly every opening set, in an effort to find some common ground, the leader called Cedar Walton's "Bolivia." Sitting and waiting in anticipation for the theme to be played became an important part of witnessing each performance. Regardless of who was on the bandstand, "Bolivia" never failed to bring out the best in everyone.

It was inevitable that Walton, who passed away in 2013, would immediately take his place in the pantheon of fallen jazz musicians to whom attention must continue to be paid. A couple of recent tributes include pianist David Hazeltine's compact disc, I Remember Cedar (Sharp Nine Records, released in November of 2014), and the Second Annual Salute to Cedar Walton by tenor saxophonist Mike Kaplin's Nonet at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, NJ, on December 28, 2014. Hazeltine—whose trio includes former Walton sidemen, bassist David Williams and drummer Joe Farnsworth—and Kaplin aren't peddling nostalgia or reproducing the master's music in familiar or particularly comfortable ways. Deftly balancing the past and the present, both Hazeltine and Kaplin fuse Walton's compositions and their own unique capabilities.

In a program of nine Walton originals plus a solo version of the standard "Over The Rainbow" (once a staple of Walton's live performances), Hazeltine is at the height of his considerable powers. A trio has been the setting of some the pianist's finest recordings in an extensive discography as a leader, including two The Classic Trio sides (Sharp Nine Records), Modern Standards (Sharp Nine Records), and Perambulation (Criss Cross). On I Remember Cedar Hazeltine's interpretations of the heads of Walton's "Simple Pleasure" and "Cedar's Blues" are brisk, efficient and deep, the latter track containing broad, slightly dissonant chords that ring out like church bells on a Sunday morning.

Throughout the recording, Hazeltine makes it clear that the music is a shared enterprise by playing in ways that leave ample space for Williams' and Farnsworth's significant contributions. The overall effect is the antithesis of some contemporary jazz in which everyone clamors to be heard and insists on making an immediate impact. In a manner befitting longtime colleagues, the trio's interaction entails mutual respect, patience, as well as the desire to push one other to greater heights. For instance, during the head of "Fiesta Espanol," Farnsworth partially forsakes a strict timekeeping role in favor of busy, precise sticking that buttresses the melody.

Regardless of the tune, tempo, or rhythmic feel, each of Hazeltine's solos unfold in a coherent narrative. His medium weight touch on the instrument makes each note sound clean and distinct. Throughout middling tempo cuts like "Martha's Prize" and "Clockwise," there is continuity and an element of surprise in the ways which protracted single note lines and chordal passages sound like extensions of one another. Hazeltine remains grounded and stress free on the up tempo tracks "Simple Pleasure" and "Turquoise Twice," even while pulling together a lot of ideas at a rapid clip.

Mike Kaplin is the ideal person to present a live performance tribute to Walton's music. Outgoing and affable, Kaplin easily drew the audience at Trumpets into his orbit even before the first note sounded. While on a mission to expose laypersons and musicians to Walton's works beyond the few that are customarily played, he acted as a genial master of ceremonies without any hint of pedantry. Carefully avoiding the terminology of music theory, in between selections Kaplin judiciously offered tidbits of information surrounding Walton's music, such as the year (or period of Walton's career) in which a tune was written, and where to find recorded versions of the compositions. There were no takers when he asked the audience to "Stop me anytime I'm giving too much Cedar trivia."

Apart from Kaplan's stagecraft, the thirteen selections of Walton's music were impressive and thoroughly enjoyable on a number of levels. The arrangements by the leader, trombonist—and Grammy nominee—Pete McGuinness ("Midnight Waltz"), bassist Mike Karn ("Clockwise"), baritone saxophonist Ed Xiques ("Ugetsu"), and saxophonist Bob Hanlon ("Head and Shoulders") were filled with unexpected, arresting details, and stayed true to the character of Walton's material. Kaplin didn't feel compelled to employ the entire band on every selection. In the middle of the evening's first set, "Rainy Night" featured only special guest trumpeter Vinnie Cutro and the rhythm section.

Most of the arrangements entailed written material and improvisations in nearly equal proportions. Solos were usually two or three choruses, just enough space for the musicians to make an impact while they dealt with the background figures or lines devised by the arrangers. Shout choruses, different combinations of instruments playing Walton's melodies (in part or whole), as well as other devices created diverse sounds that never broke the holistic spirit of each selection. For his arrangement of "Plexus," Kaplin called a solo order presumably with the contrast of instruments and individual styles in mind, featuring the busy, high note sorties of trumpeters Rob Henke and Cutro, followed by Karn's comparatively deliberate, low toned bass improvisation.

It's heartening to see Hazeltine and Kaplin, distinguished composers in their own right, take time out from other projects and put a great deal of thought and ingenuity into paying homage to Walton. Their efforts are rousing successes, in part, because the principals acknowledge the depth of Walton's influence, and then allow their own visions and personalities to come to the fore.

01. Simple Pleasure
02. Martha's Prize
03. Clockwise
04. Dear Ruth
05. Turquoise Twice
06. Holy Land
07. Cedar's Blues
08. Fiesta Espanol
09. Hindsight
10. Over The Rainbow

David Hazeltine: piano
David Williams: bass
Joe Farnsworth: drums

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins