jueves, 17 de diciembre de 2015

Misha Tsiganov - Slavonic Roots (2015)

Label: ArtBeat

А well-known pianist from St. Petersburg who achieved fame at jazz venues in New York. “Misha is one of the premier pianists in modern jazz today. His impeccable technique and harmonic knowledge, in my opinion, ranks Misha alongside standout modernists such as Mulgrew Miller, Brad Mehldau, and Bill Charlap. Misha also has rhythmic intensity and drive reminiscent of McCoy Tyner. He is also a great “comper” (accompanist). No doubt, the music world will soon hear a lot of Misha Tsiganov.” Joe Chambers.
Misha was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, into a family of artists, with his father a sculptor and his mother, a music teacher. He began to play piano at the age of six and graduated from Mussorgsky College of Music. Over the years Misha has studied piano with Valentina Nikiforova, Basya Kapustianskaya, Alexei Istrashkin, Evgeni Gashkov, Ella Volpe, Eugene Maslov. He has performed at many international jazz festivals and clubs around the world, such as Carnegie Hall, Blue Note, Dizzy’s, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, Birdland, Iridium, Minton’s Playhouse, Smoke, 55 Bar, Smalls, Zing Bar, National Geographic Concert Hall (Washington DC), Black Entertainment Television BET (Washington DC), Scullers (Boston), Jazz Bakery (Los Angeles), Java Jakarta Jazz Festival (Indonesia), Kansas City Jazz Festival, Topeka Jazz Festival, Barbados Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Port-Au-Prince Jazz Festival (Haiti), Naguanagua Jazz Festival (Venezuela), Toulouse Jazz Festival (France), Jazz-Transfer Festival (Germany), St.Croix Jazz Festival, Festival Jazz In Kiev (Ukraine), Bird’s Eye (Switzerland), Duc Lombards (France), Jazzkeller (Germany), Half Note Jazz Club (Greece), Petropavlovsky Jazz Festival (St.Petersburg, Russia) and many others.
Misha Tsiganov can be heard weekly as the featured pianist on the Bill Cosby television cartoon Little Bill, where Misha worked 1999-2002, which currently airs Monday-Friday on Nickelodeon on weekends on the CBS television network, which soundtrack features voice-overs by Phylicia Rashad, Rosie Perez, Gregory Hines, the late Madeline Kahn and Bill Cosby. His identifiable Little Bill piano sounds are also featured in Paramount Pictures/Viacom’s newly released Little Bill videos, now available in stores throughout the country.
Misha has performed and recorded with such musicians as Clark Terry, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Chambers, Gary Bartz, Hendrik Meurkens, John Faddis, Buster Williams, Claudio Roditi, Richie Cole, Alex Sipiagin, Dave Valentin, Chico Freeman, Jed Levy, Bobby Watson, Victor Lewis, Norman Hedman, Vincent Herring, Johnny Colon, Papo Pepin, Ray Vega, Valeri Ponomarev, Bobby Porchelly, Andy Gonzalez, Steve Berrios, Willie Martinez, Bobby Sanabria, Paul Bollenbeck, Porchinho, Seamus Blake, Myron Walden, Joe Lock, Peter Brainin, Darren Barrett, Graig Handy, John Benitez, Adam Rogers, Dean Brown, Ira Coleman, Billy Drummond, Antonio Sanchez, Gene Jackson and others.

1. We Were Boating
2. Zborenka
3. Russian Gospel
4. Sowed Rye, But No One Harvests
5. Matushka
6. Nastia
7. Vesnianka
8. Ishodila Mladeshnka
9. Farewell, Joy
10. Kupalinka

Misha Tsiganov - piano
Alex Sipiagin - trumpet
Donny McCaslin - sax
Hendrik Meurkens - harmonica
Alexei Tsiganov - vibes
Boris Kozlov - bass
Donald Edwards - drums



Tucker Brothers Group - Nine is the Magic Number (2015)

Label: Self Released

Both solid and surprising, the Tucker Brothers Quartet proves itself a fully achieved ensemble at the Jazz Kitchen

Some of the buzz about "the new standard" has faded since Herbie Hancock made a valiant effort to show how current pop could add to the repertoire of usable standards for jazz musicians. It's still a lively issue: Can you mine the Great American Songbook forever, particularly when vocal versions of songs more or less as they were written are far from the center of the musical marketplace?

So it's understandably rewarding for young jazz musicians to keep their ears open for adaptable material by popular artists now active.

Adept guitarist-composer Joel Tucker
When imagination is applied to give a jazz vibe to a pop tune, as in  Joel Tucker's arrangement of Imogen Heap's "Closing In," the effort justifies itself. Only after I returned home from the Tucker Brothers Quartet's first set Wednesday night at The Jazz Kitchen did I become acquainted with the original song, thanks to YouTube.

Thinking back from Heap's recorded performance of her song to what I'd heard at the Kitchen, I admired what guitarist Tucker had done to make the tune feasible for the group he fronts along with his bassist brother Nick. He takes its defining rhythmic underpinning and lets some air into it.

A difficulty for me with contemporary pop is the excessive production layering, an obsession with texture and atmosphere, an insistence on covering the whole musical canvas edge to edge. The procedure turns every song into a brand, or at least a subsidiary of the artist's brand.  Jazz — particularly small-group jazz that's mainly acoustic — benefits from loose textures and distinct lines, with room for self-expression in both solos and ensemble

Tucker's arrangement of "Closing In" gets rid of what I hear as clutter, firms up the phrasing, and the ostinato he alters from the original has a forward momentum that replaces that static Cuisinart quality I find so annoying in pop music, where everything kind of jiggles and thumps in a stationary froth.  Near the end of this band's performance of the tune, three-fourths of the quartet stated the repeated phrase as backdrop and energizer to a showcase for drummer Brian Yarde.

Nick Tucker is the new "everybody's bassist" around town.
Perfect —  and then it was back to taking care of old business: a set-ending jaunt through Wes Montgomery's "Road Song." After a Nick Tucker launch, saxophonist Sean Imboden and the guitarist shared the theme between them. Joel Tucker had picked up his hollow-body guitar again, played much of his solo in octaves, and really stretched out to pay tribute to Indianapolis' own guitar hero. Brother Nick's solo dug deep, getting fraternal support that punctuated the bassist's soulful thoughts.

This band consists of four individualists who seem thoroughly attuned to one another. They dealt imperturbably with the high level of audience noise throughout much of the set.  They didn't have to play everything loud, fortunately. A moody piece like "Nine Is the Magic Number" (also the title of the group's forthcoming CD, expected in time for Indy Jazz fest) unfolded like somber processional music, ending in an effective diminuendo. For churning energy and a theme featuring a close-order arpeggio drill, there was an exciting Joel Tucker original, "Ouroboros," named for the mythical tail-biting snake that symbolizes the cyclical view of history.

The brothers know how to design a set for contrast and complementarity. "East of the Sun" was neatly troweled in between two of Joel Tucker's pieces. It included some elegant playing by Imboden, and when the guitar solo drifted for a while into dreamy triplets, Yarde was right with him.

This is a band that never seems to coast. Too often you'll hear the outchorus of a standard played in a routine manner, but this one had some imaginative new ideas. None of the members, including the drummer,  shies away from attention to melody. They are alive to the framework of each piece in the book, but they don't abdicate the responsibility of filling it with something tuneful and catchy.

1. Ouroboros 08:02
2. Dye the Water Green 02:38
3. Closing In 05:34
4. Nine is the Magic Number 03:27
5. Platforms 05:51
6. Forgetful Girl 06:38
7. Shakshuka 04:18
8. Dye the Water Green (reprise) 01:55
9. Achilles 05:47
10.I've Never Been Good with Goodbyes 06:02

Brian Leray drums
Sean Imboden saxophone
Nick Tucker bass
Joel Tucker guitar



Tim Whalen - Oblivion: The Music of Bud Powell (2015)

Source: Cdbaby
Label: Emi Longitude

“He is an exceptional player who fully understands the jazz language
and is fully conversant with all genres of the music.”
- Kenny Barron

Tim Whalen is an in-demand jazz pianist / composer / arranger living in Washington, DC. His passion and dedication to his art come through in everything he touches, and he has been blessed with opportunities to write and play music with some incredible people. He has played all over the United States, Japan and Europe in many different musical situations, and has written music for everything from jazz duos to orchestras.

Since moving to Washington DC in late 2010, Tim has played with some of DC’s finest, including Lena Seikaly, Tommy Cecil, Chuck Redd, Paul Pieper, Tedd Baker, Lyle Link, Kenny Rittenhouse, Kris Funn, Elijah Balbed, Donvonte McCoy, Victor Provost, Mark Prince, Zack Pride, The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, and others.

Beyond the Washington, DC area, Tim has been blessed with opportunities to play music with some incredible people, including David “Fathead” Newman, Ernie Adams, Wessell Anderson, Ambrose Akinmusire, Jon Hendricks, Vic Juris, Richard Davis, Dennis Irwin, Tim Ries, Clyde Stubblefield, Jackie Allen, Ben Sidran, Jorge Drexler, Marcus Belgrave, and Andy Martin.

“I have worked with Tim for over a decade and know him to be a
dedicated and inspired musician, one who has developed and maintained
a great facility in -- and love for -- the jazz piano tradition.”
- Ben Sidran

Whalen is also held in high regard as a composer, arranger, and orchestrator. In 2005, he orchestrated the string arrangement for the Oscar-winning song El Otro Lado del Rio by Jorge Drexler from the film The Motorcycle Diaries. Tim has also written music for commercials, and his music for the DeJope Bingo ad campaign won an Addy award in Wisconsin. Versatility is so important these days, and he is equally at home writing music for an orchestra as he is writing for a jazz quintet. In March 2009, he premiered an orchestra commission for the Cobb Symphony in Atlanta where they played the music of The Who featuring a 5-piece rock band accompanied by a 60-piece orchestra.

“One of the ablest and most expansive pianists in the area.”
- Mike West, Washington City Paper

Not one to stand still musically, Whalen is also very busy with numerous musical projects, including the Tim Whalen Trio, the Tim Whalen Nonet, the Tim Whalen Septet, and the Tim Whalen Chamber Ensemble, which mixes classical chamber music, soul music, poetry, and jazz.

From 2007 to 2010, Whalen was visiting assistant professor of Jazz Piano at the University of Toledo in Ohio, where he taught jazz improvisation, jazz composition and arranging, jazz history, and private lessons in jazz piano. He also CO-directed the Jazz Vocalstra with the legendary jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks. 

1. Hallucinations
2. Parisian Thoroughfare
3. Kind Bud
4. Un Poco Loco
5. Blue Pearl
6. Oblivion
7. Celia
8. Tempus Fugue-It
9. I'll Keep Loving You
10. Wail

Tim Whalen - piano
Dave Cooper - trumpet
Tom Gullion - saxophoneMark Umess - bass
Dane Richeson - drums



Allison Au Quartet - Forest Grove (2015)

Source: Allison Au
Label: Self Released

Juno-nominated Allison Au is a Toronto-based saxophonist, composer and arranger.
Since it’s formation in 2009, The Allison Au Quartet has maintained a steady performance schedule at Toronto’s major Jazz clubs. The group was also awarded the TD Jazz Fellowship Scholarship (2011),The Alfred and Phyllis Balm Scholarship (2012), and The Margareta and Benno Nigg Scholarship (2013) to conduct artist residencies at the acclaimed Banff Centre.
With the generous support of The Ontario Arts Council, The Allison Au Quartet released a debut CD "The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey". The album features Allison Au (alto saxophone), Todd Pentney (piano), Jon Maharaj (bass) and Fabio Ragnelli (drums). The album earned a Juno Award nomination for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year". Allison was also selected in 2011 as one of eight international participants for the Metropole Orkest's Arrangers Workshop held in the Netherlands.
There she had the opportunity to work with composer Vince Mendoza and The Metropole Orkest.

Since, her work has been featured with Hilario Duran's Latin Big Band (Canada), Grammy-nominated Jazz vocalist Roberta Gambarini, Blue Note recording artist Ruben Hein (The Netherlands), The Metropole Orkest (The Netherlands), The WDR Big Band (Germany), and The Filarmonica 900 del Teatro Regio and Torino Jazz Orchestra (Italy). 
Allison has attended the 2010 summer workshop at the School for Improvised Music in Brooklyn, NY under the direction of Ralph Alessi and the 2011 Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, under the direction of Dave Douglas. 

1. Tides 08:09
2. Bolero 04:23
3. Aureole 04:34
4. The Clearing 04:40
5. Deluge 05:17
6. Through Light 04:44
7. Tumble 07:46
8. You Ordinary Stranger 06:43
9. They Say We Are Not Here 06:16

Allison Au, Alto Saxophone
Todd Pentney, Piano, Hammond B3, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Synths
Jon Maharaj, Bass, Electric Bass
Fabio Ragnelli, Drums