Friday, July 29, 2016
There has been resurgence to the Northeast Ohio Jazz scene in recent years, a resurgence that has been instigated by a few things. Through the years, many of these area musicians have decided to leave the area for other places, whether it is New York City or Chicago. But in recent years, there have been a group of Jazz musicians that have decided to stay in Northeast Ohio and build a strong Jazz scene. Part of that “building process” has been to create personal projects of original music and collaborate with musicians locally and nationally, helping to build a strong reputation for what we have here in Northeast Ohio.
Mark Russo is one of those musicians. Mark, a staple on the Northeast Ohio Jazz scene, has produced such a product, composing all original music for his first CD as a bandleader “New Affirmation”. With his strong roots in the tradition and his ability to also look toward the future of Jazz, Mark has comprised a CD of beautiful forward thinking originals that will please all Jazz Fans alike.
TD starts the CD off with a high-pulsed triplet-subdivided swing feel featuring the constant groove that Chris Baker and Ashley Summers provide throughout the whole CD. Pete Mills and Theron Brown show why they are considered consummate professionals, following Mark’s beautifully paced solo with strong solos of their own. This quintet, one of a few different ensemble setting’s Mark uses, also show their versatility on Grace and Speaking in Fluent IKEA. Sticking with the Quintet setting, he switches to alto saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio, longtime Northeast Ohio Jazz musician for Free Spirit, one of Mark’s more lyrical melodies, reminiscent of Bill Evans writing. Theron Brown accompanying is beautiful while Mark and Bobby show a more modern side weaving lines through the harmonic colors. Beautiful is just that, a duo between Mark and Theron that shows both of their mastery of the subtle.
Mark playfully experiments with different ensembles the rest of the CD, creating a sound scape of colors from song to song. Adding to the standard Quintet setting to create a sextet, he brings in trombonist Adam Machaskee, a transplanted New Yorker from Northeast Ohio, for Hear Me Twice the First Time, an extended blues that hears everyone stretching out and bringing fire. The other blues on the session Wags’s Chili, composed for Northeast Ohio saxophonist Brad Wagner’s famous chili, he brings back saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio to create a septet. Wags’s Chili is a more traditional blues in the Basie style and we hear all the musicians having a lot of fun on this one.
The last 3 songs we see the addition in various settings of guitarist Jeremey Poparad, a very versatile guitarist from Akron Ohio. New Affirmation has the original Quintet plus Jeremey on a tune very reminiscent of John Coltrane’s famous quartet. The divided unison in the opening theme played by Mark and Pete perfectly sets up the vibe for the rest of this composition. The rhythmic interplay between rhythm section and soloist is a highlight of the CD. Upper Echelon brings out Mark’s fusion side with his most involved composition on the record date. Mark, Pete, and Jeremey solo with an authority of this style of music. Rounding out the CD is Stellar, a contrafact Mark composed over Stella by Starlight. This ensemble is a classic Quintet with guitar replacing piano. The melody intertwines great lines with rhythmic ideas reminiscent of the Lennie Tristano school of thought.
For his first CD, Mark Russo doesn’t hold anything back. He shows his knowledge of the music and the history and tackles it all with pure joy. New Affirmation isn’t about pyrotechnics, it’s about moods and emotion and conversation, all the elements blended together perfectly for a wonderful session. - Bobby Selvaggio, Jazz Saxophonist & Composer
While air travel, formal jazz education, and easy access to recorded music have reduced the regional differences in the sounds of jazz musicians that used to be more pronounced, certain similarities in players who hail from the same place remain. One can hear it in the way Cleveland trumpeter Mark Russo approaches his instrument on his debut date as a leader, New Affirmation. Mark shares that sense of melody-focused, linear improvisation that characterizes trumpet players from Northeast Ohio stretching back to bebop legends Freddie Webster and Benny Bailey and continuing today with brass men like Kenny Davis and Jack Schantz. Mark continues his city's trumpet tradition - one that is centered on crafting solos that have a strong tie to melody, are linear in nature, and seem to swing effortlessly. Mark is an active part of the Cleveland Jazz scene. A graduate of both Bowling Green State University and Kent State University, Mark leads Buhania's Delight, a band that celebrates the rich legacy of the music that Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers made. When he isn't on the bandstand, Mark is sharing his knowledge with students in the classroom and as a private teacher. Mark’s pupils would be wise to heed the chief lesson he and his band mates drop on New Affirmation - that swinging jazz played honestly is forever new. - Dan Polletta, 90.3 WCPN ideastream® personality
T.D. Written for my BGSU trumpet instructor Todd Davidson (T.D.). This tune started out with a series of chord changes that sounded like something he would of tore up back in the day!
Free Spirit: I penned this melody after watching my youngest daughter Molly dancing in the living room one day. The playful melodic line and piano solo over the bridge captures her “Free Spirited” personality.
Speaking In Fluent IKEA: If you’ve ever bought anything at IKEA and have struggled with the instructions on how to actually put the furniture together, this song is for you. The complex harmonic structure and complex groove at the end suggest the hours of frustration one might go through.
New Affirmation: This tune was inspired by the culmination some life events my wife and I went through.
Hear Me Twice The First Time: Based on a 16 bar blues form, this tune captures the essence of the blues with a nod towards a modern harmonic approach.
Grace: I wrote this tune back in 2004. This is the first melody that popped into my head when I held my newborn (now oldest) daughter for the first time. The interplay between the trumpet and saxophone simulates the playfulness and interaction I could only imagine I would have for years to come.
Stellar: A simple bop-based contrafact based on Stella By Starlight.
The Upper Echelon: Based on a 2-note ostinato that plays through out the tune, the harmonic and rhythmic tension and distorted guitar give reference to a “higher society” or “higher social class”. The solo section mellows out a bit harmonically, but picks back up leading to the dense harmonies at the end of the tune.
Wags’s Chili: written for local Akron, Ohio saxophonist Brad Wagner. If and when you have his homemade Chili, you’ll understand why I wrote this song….
Beautiful: This song was inspired by my wife, Laura and has a harmonic sense that reflects the “ups” and “downs” of a happily married couple. The melody is beautifully (no pun intended) simplistic in nature and took on a new meaning once my Father passed away just months before this session. This song reminds me to celebrate in the present life as well as in the memories of the ones we’ve lost.
1. T.D. 07:18
2. Free Spirit 06:59
3. Speaking In Fluent IKEA 06:33
4. New Affirmation 10:00
5. Hear Me Twice The First Time 04:32
6. Grace 05:57
7. Stellar 05:44
8. The Upper Echelon 06:11
9. Wags's Chili 06:51
10. Beautiful 05:08
Mark Russo, Trumpet
Pete Mills, Tenor sax
Adam Machaskee, Trombone
Bobby Selvaggio, Alto sax
Jeremey Poparad, Guitar
Theron Brown, Piano
Ashley Summers, Bass
Chris Baker, Drums
Released July 21, 2015
BUY THIS ALBUM
Trumpeter Susana Santos Silva became one of the most important ambassadors of Portuguese jazz in the world, and in this new opus we find her in notable company – a quartet of amazing musicians picked among the many with whom she’s playing with these days, like Joe Morris, Mats Gustafsson, Fred Frith, Christine Wodrascka, Mat Maneri, Craig Taborn, Thomas Morgan and Tom Chant, to name just a few. The first impression you have when grabbing this CD is that you’re going to hear a dream band. Santos Silva with Lotte Anker, Sten Sandell, Torbjorn Zetterberg and Jon Falt? No way! But it’s true and that is the kind of truth which transforms something into a gem. More special even when the music reflects a spiritual discovery, in this case «the blessing and beauty of impermanence in my life, in the world and in all the things that are», as Susana puts it herself on the liner notes. How does that mirror effect happen? Giving you a only apparently contradiction, a «peaceful state of being» manifesting in a «restless and resilient» way. To play life means to play urgently, intensely and honestly, and that’s precisely the peace of mind Susana Santos Silva need to create a map of sounds. You don’t want to miss this.
1. Life 30:08
2. Other Transient Storms 18:56
Susana Santos Silva trumpet and flugelhorn
Lotte Anker tenor and soprano saxophone
Sten Sandell piano
Torbjörn Zetterberg double bass
Jon Fält drums
All Music by Susana Santos Silva, Lotte Anker, Sten Sandell, Torbjörn Zetterberg and Jon Fält
Recorded November 1, 2015 at Tampere Jazz Happening, Finland by Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. Recording engineer Andy Snellman | Mixed by Torbjörn Zetterberg | Mastered by Mats Äleklint
Originally produced for YLE by Markus Partanen | Executive Production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design and Art Work by Travassos
Recorded live in the Ljubljana Jazz Festival (Slovenia), the Carate Urio Orchestra isn’t really a big band – and indeed it can sound like one – but a septet. One piece can go from the most sweet pop song format (all the musicians sing) to extreme noise music, with several shades in between, covering a multitude of trans-idiomatic situations, be it psychedelic rock ambiances, Mingus-like orchestrations or something else yet to define. Coming from different European origins, the musicians involved – Joachim Badenhorst, Eirikur Orri Olafsson, Sean Carpio, Brice Soniano, Pascal Niggenkemper, Frantz Loriot and Nico Roig – go through all those metamorphosis with the same naturalness and savoir-faire. The message is self-evident: in today’s creative music, every vocabulary and process is not only permissible but also desirable. If jazz is an inclusive music genre since its start, that’s what you have here, taking that principle to the last consequences.
Carate Urio Orchestra
Joachim Badenhorst clarinet, bassclarinet, tenor saxophone | Eirikur Orri Olaffson trumpet, electronics | Sean Caprio drums, guitar, lead vocal on track 5 | Brice Soniano double bass | Pascal Niggenkemper double bass | Frantz Loriot viola, lead vocal on track 7 | Nico Roig guitar, vocal impro on track 7 | Everyone vocals on track 1 and 5
1) P. Niggenkemper | 2) N. Roig | 3) J. Badenhorst, B. Soniano / C.U.O. | 4) E. O. Olafsson, N. Roig, F. Loriot | 5) Lin Chui Li arranged by S. Carpio | 6) J. Badenhorst | 7) F. Loriot | 8) S. Carpio | 9) C.U.O. | 10) F. Loriot
This music was constructed on June 30 and recorded on July 1 without- and July 2 with audience at Cankarjev Dom on the Ljubljana Jazz Festival 2015.
This album follows the same setlist as the concert on July 2nd, but some of the chosen takes are from the day before without audience.
Recording, mix and master by Luis Delgado | Design and layout by Travassos| Cover photo by Jailbeit | Group photo by Nada Zgank
C.U.O. sends the biggest thanks to Bogdan Benigar of Ljubljana Jazz Festival en Pedro Costa of Cleanfeed for inviting us over to work, perform and record this album. Also to Katka Pohar for taking good care of us, to Nada Zgank, Jailbeit, Luis Delgado and Travassos.
The cover photo was taken in Ljubljana’s Tivoli park, on a sweaty stroll during the days we recorded this album. It was a beautiful time.
A project-oriented bassist, Gonçalo Almeida debuts with “The Hundred Headed Women” one more amongst the several he is involved with, simply presented as Roji, the Japanese word for “dewy ground”. Being a duo with a drummer (Jörg A. Schneider), we start the listening with the idea that a rhythmic and textural approach to improvisation waits us, not very far from the one developed together by John Edwards and Mark Sanders. That mistakes vanishes very rapidly, and not only because there’s just one “song” without a guest playing a melodic instrument, either trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and baritone saxophonist Colin Webster. It happens that Almeida’s electric bass is wildly processed, functioning many times as a noise generator or, thanks to all the electronics used, as an orchestral conductor.
And as if it wasn’t enough, the coordinates of the proposed music come from metal, with the attitude picked from punk To simplify, we can say that this recording sounds almost like an encounter between Bill Laswell and Mick Harris (Napalm Death), but simultaneously more trashy and more jazzy, more Public Image Limited and more Sunn 00))). We can compare Roji with the Italian band Zu, but there’s a fundamental difference: this isn’t fun. It’s amazing, in a very dark, frightening way. The movie “Antichrist” by Lars von Triers found a better soundtrack.
1. Inner Roji (de Roji & Susana Santos Silva) 6:53
2. 2 Sisters (de Roji) 2:18
3. Sounding Restraint (de Roji & Colin Webster) 6:30
4. 1 1=3 (de Roji & Susana Santos Silva) 2:47
5. Pacific (de Roji & Colin Webster) 4:18
6. Prelude to a Broken Sax (de Roji & Colin Webster) 6:38
7. The Hundred Headed Women (de Roji & Susana Santos Silva) 9:13
Gonçalo Almeida bass and loops | Jörg A. Schneider drums
Susana Santos Silva trumpet (Tracks #1,#4,#7)
Colin Webster baritone sax (Tracks #3,#5,#6)