viernes, 20 de octubre de 2017

Scott Robinson's Heliosonic Toneways, Vol. 1

ScienSonic Laboratories releases historic large ensemble recording, made on the 50th anniversary of Sun Ra's classic Heliocentric Worlds

The Heliosonic Tone-tette featuring Sun Ra Arkestra members Marshall Allen and Danny Ray Thompson plus Scott Robinson, Philip Harper, Frank Lacy, Tim Newman, Pat O'Leary, JD Parran, Yosvany Terry and Matt Wilson

On April 20, 1965, one of the most adventurous and far-reaching recordings in jazz - or music - history was made in New York City. The great Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra convened in engineer Richard L. Alderson's RLA Studio and crafted The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, an amazing and enigmatic recording that continues to astonish listeners to this day. Somewhere between outer space chamber music and avant-garde jazz, it introduced listeners to sounds not normally heard in improvised music. The album's boundary-stretching jazz sounded like no other record made by anyone, ever.

Now, fifty years later, ScienSonic Laboratories has created Heliosonic Toneways, Vol. 1, an historic new recording in the intrepid spirit of the original Heliocentric Worlds. On April 20, 2015, original participant Marshall Allen (now 93 and still highly active as leader of the Arkestra) and longtime Arkestra member Danny Thompson joined an incredible cast of some of New York's most creative musicians at the behest of ScienSonic's founder, multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson.

Along with trombonist Frank Lacy, trumpeter Philip Harper, bassist Pat O'Leary, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, bass trombonist Tim Newman, drummer Matt Wilson and bass clarinetist JD Parran, Robinson and the Arkestra vets reentered the orbit of that landmark recording created a half-century earlier.

Heliosonic Toneways is not a recreation or remake of Heliocentric Worlds; instead of duplicating the original music, Robinson's goal was to use the extraordinary sonic template of the original recordings - the same instrumentation and distinctive sounds - to create new and imaginative music that would honor the spirit of the original sessions while also setting off into new and completely uncharted terrain. This is ScienSonic's most ambitious project yet, and the results are remarkable. 

One of the unique facets of Heliocentric Worlds was the album's use of an expanded palette unprecedented in even the most experimental jazz, incorporating such unusual instruments as timpani, piccolo, and the haunting bass marimba. Some months later, Volume Two followed with the addition of chromatic sets of "tuned bongos" and the eerie, electronic Clavioline. The distinctive aural environment of these two recordings, along with an offbeat musical methodology which blurs the lines between composition and improvisation, makes for utterly singular music which truly lives up to the admonition on the back of the original LP jackets: "YOU NEVER HEARD SUCH SOUNDS IN YOUR LIFE."

Robinson's ScienSonic Laboratories was the most fitting locale in which to record these extraordinary sessions; his converted garage houses one of the world's most extensive collections of obscure musical instruments, the fruits of years spent combing flea markets and junk shops. Among the lab's treasures is the original bass marimba that Sun Ra played on Heliocentric Worlds, heard here in the hands of Scott Robinson and Marshall Allen himself.

Also returning from the 1965 recording is original engineer Richard Alderson - who had not worked with Allen since the Heliocentric sessions but was tracked down and recruited to engineer the date. This made for a truly historic three-way reunion - fifty years later to the day! - between Allen, Alderson, and the original instrument that figured so prominently on the 1965 LP. A strange twist was added when news arrived during the sessions of the passing of Bernard Stollman - whose ESP label had issued the original Heliocentric LPs - on the very same day.

The results include Marshall Allen's first-ever recordings on piano and bass marimba, in addition to his customary alto sax and EVI. It was captured in a marathon session, resulting in enough material for two releases - look out for Volume Two in 2018. Despite many setbacks including pouring rain, technical difficulties, and long delays in the mixing process, the results of this massive effort can finally be heard. 

This is startling and unforgettable music, captured with extraordinary clarity and sonic detail - music that could only have taken place at ScienSonic Laboratories, with these musicians, these sounds. This is music that takes you somewhere... somewhere utterly unfamiliar, yet strangely inviting. Or, as Sun Ra used to say, "Somewhere there." From an audiophile standpoint, Alderson calls it "the best recording I have ever made." And while it is unlike any other Laboratory production to date, this music certainly lives up to the ScienSonic motto, "Worlds of Tomorrow Through Sound."

Please visit to learn more about our previous releases with Julian Thayer, Marshall Allen, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Grimes and more. Become a Laboratory Member!

Satoko Fujii Quartet – Live at Jazz Room Cortez (CORTEZ SOUND October 20, 2017)

Satoko Fujii Quartet breathes new life into old compositions

On Live at Jazz Room Cortez, available October 20, 2017

Joining Fujii are trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, drummer Takashi Itani and violinist Keisuke Ohta 

Pioneering Japanese free jazz violinist Keisuke Ohta joins pianist Fujii for a delightfully unpredictable live recording of previously recorded tunes.

“Satoko Fujii is one of the most original pianists in free jazz…” – Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe

“Unpredictable, wildly creative, and uncompromising…Fujii is an absolutely essential listen for anyone interested in the future of jazz.”  Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

"★★★★. There's a sense that freedom and lyricism are always elbowing for room on Fujii's page; how she controls those instincts is a large component in her ability to craft enormously thought-provoking music. Fujii's music is —by turns— primitive, exhilarating, and sensitive, but not in a quixotic manner. It is within her well-managed eccentricities that Fujii challenges the listener with inventiveness meant for open ears." – Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz

Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts. And that’s what pianist Satoko Fujii did when she assembled the quartet heard on her latest album, Live at Jazz Room Cortez available October 20, 2017 via Cortez Sound. She could have put together a traditional band with rhythm section and a horn player. She knew she wanted to use longtime compatriots trumpeter Nasuki Tamura and drummer Takashi Itani. But something told her to use violinist Keisuke Ohta instead of a bassist and she went with her gut feeling. The result is an album with a unique group sound and vision that brings fresh insight into her compositions.

Teruhiko Ito had invited Fujii to come back to his Jazz Room Cortez in Mito, Japan, scene of her triumphant 2016 solo performance captured on Invisible Hand (Cortez Sound), this time with a band. Fujii had performed with Ohta, who is something of a patriarch on the Tokyo free jazz scene, back in 1997 and 1998, around the time she returned to Japan after earning her graduate diploma from New England Conservatory in Boston. “He came to my mind and I couldn’t picture any other person to join us,” Fujii says. “I didn’t think about it much. My inspiration created this line-up.”

Over the course of the evening, the quartet played a wide range of Fujii’s compositions, but for the CD she chose versions of two pieces that she’d previously recorded because, “they give you the clearest and deepest examples of each musician’s ability.”

Indeed, everyone shines, both individually and as members of the ensemble, throughout the disc. “Convection,” first heard on Fujii’s New Trio album, Spring Storm (Libra, 2013), receives an extended treatment full of contrasting events and surprising changes in direction. A series of improvised sections which Fujii signals the end of with a gorgeous, ringing chord, “Convection” mixes absurdity and surrealism with lyricism and pure sound in a virtuoso ensemble performance. Fujii reaches all the way back to her first trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black for “Looking Out the Window,” the title track of their 1997 debut recording. The track opens with a playful mix of voices, folk influences, and unusual timbres and textures before segueing into a sequence of unaccompanied solos by each member of the band. The piece culminates with a rapturous reading of the tune’s melody.

Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original voices in jazz today. She’s “a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a bandleader who gets the best collaborators to deliver," says John Fordham in The Guardian. In concert and on more than 80 albums as a leader or co-leader, she synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock and Japanese folk music into an innovative music instantly recognizable as hers alone. Her most recent group, Satoko Fujii Tobira with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, bassist Todd Nicholson, and drummer Takashi Itani, released their debut recording Yamiyo Ni Karasu in 2015. “There are pulse-pounding rhythms, vibrant tones and dark chords woven together into a multi-shaded tapestry of sound…What an absolute pleasure to listen to Satoko Fujii,” wrote Travis Rogers Jr. in The Jazz Owl. Over the years, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music, including the ma-do quartet, the Min-Yoh Ensemble, and an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins. She has also established herself as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles, leading Cadence magazine to call her, “the Ellington of free jazz.” Her ultimate goal: “I would love to make music that no one has heard before.”

Fuji has a well-deserved reputation for assembling unconventional bands of kindred spirits to bring her musical vision to life. The product of a moment’s inspiration, the quartet on Live at Jazz Room Cortez realizes her vision with sensitivity, imagination, and total commitment.

jueves, 19 de octubre de 2017

Raoul Björkenheim / eCsTaSy - Doors of Perception (CUNEIFORM RECORDS)

Nordic jazz explorers Raoul Björkenheim and eCsTaSy
open the Doors to New Sonic Vistas with
Doors of Perception,
kaleidoscopically inventive & perceptive improvisation 
that reveals the quartet at its hottest, 
unleashing “what Ecstasy sounds like”

In the mansion that is guitarist Raoul Björkenheim’s music there are many rooms, and the Finnish-American guitar explorer opens up a particularly vivid and volatile new portal with Doors of Perception, his third Cuneiform release with his quartet eCsTaSy. Slated for release on October 6, 2017, the album captures an extraordinary working ensemble stretching into transfixing new spaces, settings defined as much by texture, vibe and sinuous melodic lines as by rhythmic and harmonic structures.

Featuring the innovative drummer Markku Ounaskari, Björkenheim’s longtime partner in sonic exploration, the young and dauntingly prolific saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen and bassist Jori Huhtala, eCsTaSy continues to expand its sonic palette. Over the course of six years the musicians have forged a riveting communion. Capaciously inventive, rigorously gutsy and unapologetically Nordic, the music flows from the mystic Finnish landscape and the hothouse Helsinki music scene that gave birth to the band. 

“The band has really developed during the last few years, getting to a point that I had hoped we would reach,” Björkenheim says. “We went into the studio with some sketches, but most of the music was created spontaneously, and you get a sense of this ongoing conversation. We couldn’t have done this five years ago. We didn’t have this kind of trust yet.”

One sure sign of the quartet’s deep connection is the way they distill ideas. Sequenced as a stream of consciousness train of impressions, Doors of Perception features 10 tracks that all clock in under five minutes. Rather than exploring extended forms or expansive soundscapes, the music is instead marked by pithy statements and compressed drama. Which isn’t to say Doors of Perception lacks grandeur. The album opens with “Ides of March,” an ominous, portentously churning piece that breaks like a thunderstorm, only to clear with a thumping bass passage and a thick, ringing guitar chord. “Buzz,” the album’s briefest piece, is a jittery journey that seems to pass through a multitude of stations, driven by Ounaskari’s spidery cymbal work.

Maybe the group was heading to the beach, as the wary but persistently spacious “Surf Bird,” follows, featuring Lyytinen’s lilting East-meets-West wood flute. The album’s longest track, “Elemental” is also the most pleasingly consonant, a snaky sojourn that keys on Lyytinen’s keening soprano sax and Björkenheim’s meaty strumming. With its blustery bass sax and soaring guitar line, “Talkin’ to Me?” is appropriately pugnacious, while the title track proceeds like an invitation to an enigmatic subterranean realm. The album closes with “Ecstasy Dance,” a righteous blast of joy that whirls off to the horizon, suggesting yet another door well worth entering. 

While Björkenheim is no stranger to long musical structures, he was after a different kind of narrative arc on Doors of Perception. Much like each piece is a finely calibrated aural micro-cosmos, the album proceeds from track to track with its own internal logic. “In a way it is countercultural,” Björkenheim says. “It’s an invitation to enter a world that might be disorienting. I don’t hear a walking bass, is this jazz? It might be a little bit of a challenge, but it’s also an invitation.”

With Doors of Perception, Björkenheim and eCsTaSy avoid predictable and boring routines to offer the listeners something all too rare in most jazz these days.  The Doors of Perception invites listeners to join eCsTaSy’s musical trip, a journey filled with excitement and joyous revelations that spark emotions and expand all ears.

Doors of Perception is the third release by Raoul Björkenheim’s Ecstasy, all of which were released by Cuneiform. The first album, the self-titled eCsTaSy, came out in 2014.  eCsTaSy’s second album, Out of the Blue, was released in 2015. Both previous eCsTaSy albums were nominated for the Emma Prize for Best Jazz Recording in Finland, which is the Finnish version of the Grammy.

As those who’ve seen him in his many ensembles can testify, guitarist Björkenheim is an astounding live performer, and his band  eCsTaSy is positively electrifying live. Active on the international jazz festival circuit, Ecstasy recently played at Jazzahead in Bremen in April 2017. In support of the release of Doors of Perception, Ecstasy will perform several concerts in Finland in 2017.  Björkenheim plans to tour Ecstasy internationally in 2018, as well as to do several festival performances.


Raoul Björkenheim
Born in Los Angeles in 1956 to Finnish parents, Björkenheim spent the first 15 years of his life in California and New York surrounded by artists (his mother is Finnish actress and singer Taina Elg). In the early 1970s, he moved to Finland, where he came into the orbit of the great Finnish jazz drummer Edward Vesala, who introduced him to his rigorous improvisational ethic. By the early 1980s, Björkenheim became a key member of Vesala’s pool of players, performing on three of the drummer’s albums including the classic 1987 ECM session Lumi by the sprawling ensemble Sound And Fury.

“Vesala was a strong influence when I was starting out as a jazz musician in the 80s,” Björkenheim says. “His recording Tryptikon for ECM with Jan Garbarek and Arild Andersen is one of my talismans to this day. That record proposes a music influenced by the free jazz of Ornette and Ayler, but tempered by a gorgeous Nordic sensibility and an ear for free tonality, combined with an extended use of dynamics.”

By the end of the 1980s, Björkenheim was ready to strike out on his own, and he made his first major contribution as a bandleader with Krakatau. The group released two recordings in Finland; in 1996, Cuneiform reissued one of them, 1988’s Ritual, thus beginning its longstanding collaboration with the guitarist. After Björkenheim reformed Krakatau with all new personnel, the group gained international acclaim in the early 1990s with two albums on ECM. Krakatau continues to make music, often joining forces with four-piece West African percussion ensemble Senegal Drums as the 8-piece Krakatau & Senegal Drums, whose most recent festival gig “had people dancing in the aisles, it's very joyous music,” recalls Björkenheim.

In 2001, Björkenheim moved to New York City. On September 18 - exactly a week after 9/11 - he released an astounding and ambitious album called Apocalypso on Cuneiform. A solo studio album, Apocalypso featured Björkenheim playing all of the 42 parts he originally composed for 42 guitarists at the 1994 Helsinki Juhlaviikot Festival. All About Jazz noted that “Apocalypso manages to be both brilliant and apocalyptic at the same time. It stands among Björkenheim's best work… pure, undiluted Björkenheim…truly glorious in its relentless blackness.”

Björkenheim returned to Finland in 2008, where he resides today. He continues working with like-minded visionary musicians on both continents, collaborating with Finnish musicians (UMO Orchestra, Kalle Kalima and Markus Holkko) while also maintaining productive contacts with New York free jazz stalwarts William Parker and Hamid Drake, Kalabalik with Gerald Cleaver and Anders Nilsson, and genre-smashing Bill Laswell.  In 2011, Cuneiform released the debut self-titled album by Blixt, featuring the jaw-dropping trans-continental power trio of Björkenheim, bassist Laswell and Swedish drummer Morgan Ågren. 

In Finland, Björkenheim has forged a creatively rewarding relationship with the noted Finnish director Taru Mäkelä, writing scores for a series of her films, including the 2011 hit Varasto (Warehouse) and a sequel to the dark, workplace comedy Varasto 2 (Warehouse 2), to be released in 2018. In addition, Björkenheim is currently writing a book on guitar improvisation. “The book,” says Björkenheim, “will be purposefully aimed at ALL guitarists who want to learn their way around their instruments through improvising, so jazz, classical, folk and rock guitarists will find a wealth of ideas to work on.”

Regarding his recording and performing ensembles, Björkenheim says “I’m mainly focused on eCsTaSy and Triad. Instead of putting out 10 records a year, these days I prefer something that’s more focused and complete.” Triad, Björkenheim’s power trio with double bassist Ville Rauhala and drummer Ilmari Heikinheimo, released its critically hailed debut album Beyond (Wayside) in 2017. But his primary creative outlet for the past six years has been eCsTaSy, an astounding, empathetic quartet whose first two recordings on Cuneiform (2014’s Ecstasy and 2015’s Out of the Blue) were nominated for an Emma, the Finnish equivalent of the Grammy. 

Founded by Björkenheim in 2001, Ecstasy includes drummer and long-time Björkenheim collaborator Markku Ounaskari, and saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen and bassist Jori Huhtala, whom Björkenheim met during his teaching duties at the Sibelius Academy.

Markku Ounaskari
A veteran of some of the most memorable Finnish groups of the past two decades, Markku Ounaskari gained new visibility recording for ECM, including his first solo album, 2010’s Kuára. A confederate of international jazz stars like Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, French guitarist Marc Ducret, alto sax legend Lee Konitz, and the late great Canadian trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, Ounaskari has played with all virtually almost all the major Finnish jazz figures. In 2014 he was given the Yrjö prize, the most prestigious jazz award and the biggest acknowledgement that a jazz musician can receive for his or her work in Finland. “Markku is a lyrical player who has the capacity for high-energy explosions as well,” Björkenheim says, “so with him in the crew we're aiming for that wide dynamic/emotional range.”

Pauli Lyytinen
Saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen, 34, is part of the band’s youth wave, a prolific recording artist who leads or co-leads a diverse array of ensembles, including Elifantree, Magnetia Orkesteri, Equally Stupid, Pauli Lyytinen Machinery, Kauhukakara, Laponia Improvisations Experiment, and Skalle & Sharon. “He’s a musician and composer with an obsession for tone color and experimental techniques, creating a sensation with his fluency on the Bb family of saxophones, from bass to soprano,” Björkenheim says. “In music ranging from hardcore free to experimental pop, Lyytinen has been inventing new roles for his instrument, often limiting himself to the role of accompanist. In this quartet, he gets a chance to spread his improvisatory wings.”

Jori Huhtala
At 33, bassist Jori Huhtala is the youngest member of the band, though he’s already firmly established on the international scene through his work with heavyweights like David Liebman, Tim Hagans, Jukkis Uotila and Tim Ries. At home he’s in constant demand as a sideman with top Finnish improvisers such as Verneri Pohjola, Eero Koivistoinen, Kari Ikonen, and Jari Perkiömäki, and in the ensembles Big Blue, Kvalda, and Jussi Fredriksson Jazz Wars. For Björkenheim, his powerful bandstand presence “echoes of Miroslav Vitous and other past masters.” 

Cuneiform asked Raoul Björkenheim to talk about Doors of Perception. Here’s what he said:

The name of our album is "Doors of Perception", readily bringing to mind the book by Aldous Huxley describing his ecstatic experiences with mescaline, and also part of a poem called "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" by William Blake. I named it that because of the cover photograph, which I took while walking in Soho NYC last June. It seemed to me to evoke the psychedelic spirit of our album, in which the listener really has to let go and just dive in! 

But the cover also has a subtle political message. The USA’s political climate is hitting unprecedented lows, and unbelievably 40% of the population still think that Trump is doing a good job (WTF??), so everything feels very absurd, like there's little hope in sight. When I saw this doorway in Soho, I couldn't resist the image, which seemed to me to be as fragmented as society is now, and of course the dig at Trump was waaay too polite, but it felt very appropriate, especially as the poster is in Spanish.

When we were planning this album, I had the ambition to write tight charts. But my experience led me to decide that the free quality I'm looking for thrives better in an improvised setting, so I abandoned the chart idea and instead trusted the band to listen and improvise, based on several ideas for each piece. 

Compared to Ecstasy’s previous album, Doors of Perception is a freer, rawer proposal with less predetermined forms, so the band has a chance to demonstrate trust in ourselves and in each other. After six years of working together, I feel that this album sounds more mature and together, though the hallmarks of our playing will surely be recognizable.

The listener might initially become disoriented by the raw sound we deliver here, but given that "jazz" records have often become so predictable, I hope that this music will feel fresh and daring once the musical environment becomes more familiar. We take quite a lot of risks that most jazz musicians would leave alone, allowing ourselves to ride the waves as they come, but I myself have great respect for musicians that do take those risks.

I think that Doors of Perception reveals the band at it's hottest, almost like a live recording, and therefore it gives a true picture of what Ecstasy sounds like.  - Raoul Björkenheim

1. Ides of March (3:16)
2. Answer It! (5:13)
3. Buzz (3:01)
4. Surf Bird (4:27)
5. Elemental (5:44)
6. Talkin’ to Me? (4:18)
7. Doors of Perception (5:30)
8. Jitterfug (3:25)
9. Sunflower (3:21)
10. Ecstasy Dance (4:50)

Raoul Björkenheim: electric 6 string and 12 string guitars
Pauli Lyytinen: bass, tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, wood flute
Jori Huhtala: doublebass
Markku Ounaskari: drums and percussion

Produced by Raoul Björkenheim.

All music by eCsTaSy except tracks 7, 8 & 10 by Raoul Björkenheim.

Recorded and mixed by Markus Kärki.

Mastered by Pauli Saastamoinen @ Finnvox Studios 2017.

Cover photo by Raoul Björkenheim.

Cover design by Bill Ellsworth.

This recording was made possible by a grant from The Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

BRZZVLL - Waiho (SDBAN RECORDS October 2017)

Belgian fusion band BRZZVLL (pronounced Brazzaville) are set to release their seventh studio album this autumn, entitled ‘Waiho’, released 6th October via Sdban Ultra

Founded by Vincent Brijs in Antwerp in 2006, the seven piece interfuse improvised dance music with jazz-fusion, afro funk and rare groove. It is freaky, it is trippy and it follows no rules. Belgium has quite a tradition for jazz and funk infused leftfield grooves from Marc Moulin’s ingenious Placebo to library funksters Les Chakakas / El Chicles to the much sampled JJ Band and BRZZVLL follow in a similar tradition.

Initially re-working arrangements from jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard and Archie Shepp, BRZZVLL eventually began to construct their own forms of free jazz in an attempt to return jazz to its primitive roots based around collective improvisation.

New album ‘Waiho’ is BRZZVLL at its best: excellent psychedelic jazz-funk in which the band’s solid, characteristic sound comes forward. After two inspirational collaborations with poets and ‘Nuff Said brothers Anthony Joseph (‘Engines’) and Amir Sulaiman (‘First Let’s Dance’), BRZZVLL play the instrumental card.

With ‘Waiho’, the band express their current cry for solidarity within music as well as their daily lives. Nowadays, music is too often used as an individual consumption product. The band centralise the group experience, both in the creation process and in the interaction with the audience when performing live, by being “in the moment” and lifting the music to a higher level, as one. This way, BRZZVLL go back to the roots of jazz and funk.

Leftfield psychedelic jazzers BRZZVLL share warped video to 'Mantra' taken from new critically acclaimed album 'Waiho'

miércoles, 18 de octubre de 2017

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Agrima with Indo-Pak Coalition (October 17, 2017)


Trio breaks new sonic and conceptual ground with first release since Apti (2008)

Independently released, Agrima is available October 17, 2017 via digital and vinyl only
(download $2, limited edition deluxe double LP), exclusively at

Album Release Concert at BRIC JazzFest 2017 in Brooklyn on October 21, 2017

"The band, playing at the Litchfield Jazz Festival, "...lit a fire under the audience....Drawing on their album Agrima, they deployed a potent mix of fresh tunes and a new, expansive electronic sound."
– Phillip Lutz, DownBeat cover story

"...there is individual virory– Phtuosity, at almost every turn. But the larger point of this album is the transformation of materials in a process of real-time exchange — a meeting of minds and methods that takes no possibilities for granted."
– Nate Chinen, NPR

"These are three distinct talents, unfettered in pursuit of the brutish beauty of their collective vision.... Nearly a decade between albums, but worth the wait." – Britt Robson, JazzTimes

"...Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of the best players today.... Over the last 50 years, many artists have combined Indian music with jazz and rock, but nobody has done it quite like this....Agrima is an outstanding release." – Jon Davis, Exposé Online

"This is arresting music that takes plenty of chances yet feels entirely accessible, particularly for fans of jazz-rock fusion seeking something extraordinary." – Bret Saunders, Denver Post

"On Agrima, Abbasi’s guitar sounds as rugged as it ever has and Weiss now possesses the flexibility to go back and forth between tabla and drums to the extent that it sounds of one instrument. For his part, Mahanthappa never seems to run out of original ways to push his alto sax (and now, occasional effects) right into the great, unknown musical expanse he and his cohorts have created." – S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

"★★★★★" – Angelo Leonardi, All About Jazz Italia

"The music on the album takes its sound from the Indian sub-continent with the intricacy of modern jazz and a boost of rock energy to make for a unique and compelling sound." - Tim Niland, Music and More

"★★★★" – Jazz Magazine (France)

"★★★★" With Agrima Mahanthappa continues to challenge himself and the listener with the difficult task of bringing the single-note and drone elements of Indian music together with jazz. Abbasi's penchant for blistering rock guitar interludes adds an almost incalculable test to the composing process. The complex methodology works, even more so than on Apti, due to the expanded reach of the better equipped Weiss. His ability move the process along and shift the environment without seismic repercussions, is just one of the wonders of Agrima. – Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition has been hailed by The New York Times as "a trio equally grounded in folk tradition and jazz improvisation, propos[ing] a social pact as well as a musical ideal."  The ensemble's three formidable talents – Mahanthappa on alto saxophone, Rez Abbasi on guitar, and Dan Weiss on tabla – first documented their group conception in 2008 with Apti, which won praise from The Guardian for its "irresistible urgency."

Agrima, the long-awaited follow-up, finds Mahanthappa and the group expanding aesthetic horizons: adding a modified drumset, incorporating effects and electronics, and working with a broader audio canvas overall. The core of the band's sound, the vibrant presence of Indian rhythmic and melodic elements in a charged, modern improvisational framework born of the New York jazz scene, remains firmly in place.

According to Mahanthappa, "Agrima" in Sanskrit simply means "next" or "following." It comes at a propitious time for all three members: Mahanthappa has enjoyed great success with his Bird Calls quintet and recently became Director of Jazz Studies at Princeton University. Abbasi, born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in California, has revealed a rare mastery of guitar in a range of settings including his own RAAQ acoustic quartet and his heavily electric project, Junction. Weiss, a voraciously eclectic drummer with interests ranging from classical tabla performance to metal, has garnered acclaim for his work ranging from solo drums to trio to large ensemble.

"I wanted everyone to think about Agrima as if we were making a rock album," Mahanthappa declares. "Apti is almost 10 years old and I think the way that the three of us conceive of non-Western or Indian music sonically and technically has really evolved. So I didn't want us to be concerned with having an overt Indian sound. I wanted to highlight our interactions, which we've developed since 2005 when the band premiered at New York City's Joe's Pub."

From all three instruments we hear a heightening of expressive nuance and possibility. Mahanthappa's alto is transformed in places by software-driven effects to create strange processed timbres, echoes, decays and soundscapes. "Working with electronics is like learning a new instrument," Mahanthappa says. "It takes a bit of thought to figure out how to have a voice in that realm. I ended up doing some work with Neil Leonard [from the Berklee College of Music's program in Electronic Production and Design]. He's also an alto player. He wrote a piece for the two of us, just two altos and our laptops, and he made all these patches for me, allowing me to use them however I wanted. I was always interested in electronics but my initial foray was not until Samdhi, (2011). That was really kind of a more instinctive approach but in the end it turned out really cool and I got what I wanted. Electronics was something I always wanted to get back to."

Abbasi's guitar, clean-toned and fluid (at times even acoustic) on Apti, becomes something bigger and more foreboding on Agrima: there's an edge and growl to the tone, a looming presence and sustain in the low notes, and more atmosphere thanks to an array of pedal effects that complement Mahanthappa's electronics at every turn. But perhaps the most pronounced shift from the previous record is Weiss's hybrid setup, melding tabla with drum set. "A while back we had a gig coming up in Montreal," Mahanthappa recalls, "and Dan asked what I thought about having him still be seated playing tabla but also with pieces of the drum set around him. We didn't even rehearse it, we just got to that sound check a half-hour early and Dan threw this thing together that ended up being amazing. That's how we've played ever since. On some tunes Dan only plays drum set, in fact. It all stems from our shared experience and our relationship to Indian music and jazz, which transcends the instrumentation."

In January 2017 the Indo-Pak Coalition premiered the new set of music that would become Agrima at globalFEST in New York. The energy of that encounter carried forward into the studio, from the eerie rubato incantation of "Alap" to the spiky lines and bracing tempo of "Snap," from the looping synthesized patterns, fractured beats and sunny temperament of "Agrima" to the simpler, moodier medium groove of "Showcase." The band is in peak form, executing tough thematic material, attending to fine dynamic contrasts, shifting tempos with spellbinding ease, and of course improvising with depth and ferocity.

There are riveting musical stories to be heard within "Rasikapriya" and "Revati," ambitious works with ever-shifting rhythmic foundations, gamboling between hyper-precision and pure abstraction. Between the slow and measured legato of "Can-Did" and the agitated esprit of "Take-Turns" we hear the play of extremes, of the unexpected, a many-sided adventurousness that is the Indo-Pak Coalition's reason for being. Inimitably rendered by three of the most mature and compelling players of our time, Agrima is an album likely to resonate through the years.

INCOGNITO: Remaining USA Dates + Bluey & Friends

October 18B.B. King Blues Club & Grill New York, USA WITH SPECIAL GUESTS  MAYSA
October 19Yoshi's Oakland Oakland, USA WITH SPECIAL GUESTS  MAYSA
October 20Yoshi's Oakland Oakland, USA WITH SPECIAL GUESTS  MAYSA
October 21Yoshi's Oakland Oakland, USA WITH SPECIAL GUESTS  MAYSA

The above dates will feature an all star female vocals line up consisting of... Maysa, Joy Rose, Imaani and Vanessa Haynes

October 22Catalina Casino Ballroom Los Angeles, USA
October 23 – The Hanger @ McClellan Park Sacramento CA, USA WITH SPECIAL GUESTS  MAYSA & NAJEE


Bluey and Friends - Rhodes to Forever (2017)

The EP contains a 4 tracks tribute to the Fender Rhodes Electric piano over some deep and soulful house grooves.


Released by Splash Blue Music Productions World-Wide via Believe Digital.

Played by… Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, George Duke, Stevie Wonder, Bob James, Keith Jarrett, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, Jan Hammer, Joe Sample, Larry Dunn, Greg Phillinganes, Jorge Dalto, Sun Ra, Kenny Barron, Victor Feldman, Ray Charles, Michael McDonald, Greg Phillinganes, Deodato, José Roberto Bertrami and countless other musical giants, the Fender Rhodes electric piano has become of the most distinctive, expressive, sensual and inspiring instruments in music since the 60’s.

It’s been at the heart of most of Incognito’s music since the late 70’s and has continued to be the cornerstone of soulful music through the decades with bands, producers and artist’s like The Brand New Heavies, Toby Smith of Jamiroquai, James Poysner, Mos Def, D’Angelo, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Dwelle and Robert Glasper to name a few.

"I was meddling with my Fender Rhodes in the studio over some house beats and thought I’d put down a few ideas and invite a few keyboard playing friends to come over complete them as an EP featuring the instrument” says Bluey.

1. “The Story Of The Rhodes” featuring Tom O’Grady
Written by Jean-Paul Maunick, Tom O’Grady
Tom O’Grady: Fender Rhodes & Solina String Machine, Synths
Recorded by Tom at Resolution 88 HQ
Bluey: Bass, Synths, Beats, Percussion & Vocal Narration
Produced by Bluey
Recorded & Mixed by Mo Hausler at Hackney Sound Recorders London

2. “My Seventy Three” featuring Ski Oakenfull
Written by Jean-Paul Maunick, Ski Oakenfull
Ski Oakenfull: Fender Rhodes
Bluey: Bass, Solina String Machine, Guitars, Beats & Percussion
Produced by Bluey
Recorded & Mixed by Mo Hausler at Hackney Sound Recorders London

3. “Eight Keys To Eden” featuring Graham Harvey
Written by Jean-Paul Maunick, Graham Harvey
Graham Harvey: Fender Rhodes
Russ Tarley: Drums
Bluey: Bass, Guitars, Percussion
Produced by Bluey
Recorded & Mixed by Mo Hausler at Hackney Sound Recorders London

4. “Paraty” Featuring Matt Cooper
Written by Jean-Paul Maunick, Matthew Cooper
Matthew Cooper: Fender Rhodes
Bluey: Bass, Piano, Beats, Percussion & Vocals
Produced by Bluey
Recorded & Mixed by Mo Hausler at Hackney Sound Recorders London

Incognito Official Website :
Incognito Facebook :
Incognito Twitter :
Incognito YouTube :
Incognito Instagram :
Citrus Sun Facebook :
Incognito DJs Facebook :
Splash Blue Official Website :
Splash Blue Facebook :
Studio - Hackney Sound Recorders :

CONCERTOS PORTA-JAZZ: Roberto Pianca "Sub Rosa" - Sala Porta Jazz Sábado 21 de Outubro


Sábado 21 Outubro 
Roberto Pianca "Sub Rosa"
Concerto Sala Porta Jazz 
(Sessões iniciam às 19:00h e às 22:00h)

Destacando-se na cena jazzistica internacional, Roberto Pianca é um dos músicos que mais presença tem marcado nos diversos palcos europeus.

Neste espectáculo, Pianca vem apresentar o seu mais recente projecto - "Sub Rosa" - cuja música circula entre os universos da música clássica, do jazz, da rock e da música contemporânea. Aqui, a complexidade musical articula-se com a liberdade da improvisação, que deixa espaço a cada voz interpretativa presente em palco.

Para este espectáculo a guitarra de Roberto Pianca far-se-á acompanhar pelo piano do artista nacional José Diogo Martins. A descoberta da cumplicidade musical em palco, vai levar os músicos a aventurem-se pelos caminhos da música de Roberto Pianca e da linguagem improvisada.

Este espectáculo é, então, uma viagem pelos lugares secretos, escondidos da música, ou não seria o título do projecto uma menção à expressão latina - "sob a rosa", em português - que em inglês é usada para referir o segredo e a confidencialidade. Um novo mundo é, aqui, trazido à luz.

Roberto Pianca - guitarra 
José Diogo Martins - piano

Próximo Concerto: O Outro - Sábado 28 de Outubro
Gustavo Dinis - guitarra
Ricardo Moreira - hammond
Miguel Sampaio - bateria

O Outro é a soma de todas partes.

Música improvisada sem barreiras de tempo, espaço ou cultura.

Três músicos que procuram experimentar e atravessar novos caminhos.

Jazz, Rock e World Music são condimentos essenciais num cozinhado próprio e em movimento.

Adrian Cunningham - Jazz Speak (ARBORS RECORDS 2017)

This album is my sincere attempt to connect with you, from experiences and people that have affected me and from which I«ve done my best to translate into music. Adrian Cunningham

The Source
Let's Fall In Love
Mood Indigo
Getting Down Uptown
Rachel's Dance
Petite Fleur
Jazz Speak
Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake
Tempus Fugit

Adrian Cunningham - tenor sax, clarinet, flute
Ted Rosenthal - piano
John Clayton - bass
Jeff Hamilton - drums

Playlist for Tom Ossana – The Thin Edge – October 18, 2017 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.