Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Trinom3 - Just A Bit Further (CELLAR LIVE 2018)

"Just a Bit Further", Trinom3's second release, brings together the various music styles that have inspired the band throughout their formative years. Masters of progressive rock, jazz, r&b/pop and film scores, Mike Clinco, John Van Tongeren and Kendall Kay are most certainly the musically eclectic gentlemen.

John Van Tongeren - organ & keyboards
Mike Clinco - guitars
Kendall Kay - drums & percussions

plus guests

Bob Sheppard - tenor saxophone
Walt Fowler - trumpet & flugelhorn
Danny Pelfrey - saxophones

1 Peter Lorre 5:33
2 Just A Bit Further 7:02
3 Jag 6:09
4 Daub And Wattle 6:25
5 Into The Dream We Go 8:51
6 Kashmir 7:49
7 Majorly 4:44
8 Feedin' The Meter 5:16
9 Anyway 6:20
10 Truth Be Told 6:14
11 Slice 4:45

Joani Taylor - In A Sentimental Mood (CELLAR LIVE 2018)

Vocallist Joani Taylor returns with a wonderfully melancholy set of songs.

After a series of serious life setbacks, Joani Taylor really didn't think nor was in the frame of mind to think about singing any of the beloved standard songs that were rooted deeply in her long music career. The prodding of Canadian legend, alto saxophonist PJ Perry paid off and the resulting album is a as honest a statement from a vocalist as you'll ever hear.

Features an all-star Canadian band including PJ Perry, Neil Swainson and Miles Black.

A beautiful collection of some Great American Songbook songs.

Some of the most honest, heartfelt jazz singing on record in many years.

Joani Taylor - Voice
PJ Perry - Alto & Tenor Saxophones
Miles Black - Piano
Neil Swainson - Bass

Executive Producer: Cory Weeds 
Produced by Cory Weeds 
Recorded at Warehouse Studios, Vancouver, BC, November 15, 2017 
Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Sheldon Zharko 
Photography by Ashley Gesner 
Design and layout by Perry Chua

1. This Can't Be Love 06:27
2. In A Sentimental Mood 04:57
3. Embraceable You 04:19
4. Alfie 05:24
5. Undecided 03:46
6. Sentimental Journey 03:14
7. Lover Man 07:01
8. Love Walked In 05:23
9. A Ghost Of A Chance / I Can't Get Started 03:57
10. More Than You Know 06:43
11. Be My Love 06:41
12. I Just Had To Hear Your Voice 05:19

Ben Paterson - Live at Van Gelder's (CELLAR LIVE 2018)

Recorded at the iconic studio of Rudy Van Gelder, Ben Paterson, Ed Cherry and Jason Tiemann get greasy! Live At Van Gelder's has a decidedly relaxed feel to it. The tunes were carefully selected, including some that are associated heavily with the organ and others that you may not expect to hear in this context. The band is clearly inspired by recording in the iconic Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey studio of the iconic Rudy Van Gelder.

Ben Paterson - Hammond B-3 Organ
Ed Cherry - Guitar
Jason Tiemann - Drums

Executive Producer - Cory Weeds
Produced by Ben Paterson and Cory Weeds

Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's in Englewood Cliffs, NJ
March 22, 2018

Engineered by Maureen Sickler, assisted by Don Sickler
Mixed and mastered by Dave Darlington
Photography by Aslam Husain
Design and layout by Perry Chua

1. F.S.R
4. Green Jeans
5. Enchantment
6. The Vibrator
7. I Remember Clifford
8. Hustler
9. Easy Time
10. Sweatin'

Ken Vandermark / Klaus Kugel / Mark Tokar - No​-​Exit Corner (CATALYTIC SOUND 2018)

No-Exit Corner, the second CD by the trio featuring the tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Ken Vandermark, the drummer Klaus Kugel, and the bassist Mark Tokar, recorded during a 2016 Krakow club date, is a brilliant example of what I suppose might still be best categorized as free jazz—if only because no one has yet come up with a better name after almost sixty years of trying.

But free jazz of what specific variety? Following the mid-1960s, when free was taking shape in New York City and was sometimes also pegged “the new black music” (it was a musical analogue to that era’s black anger—at least to hear the most militant of its players and literary proponents), we’ve tended to classify its various offshoots more by point of origin than by race or ethnicity.

But despite the recording location, the label, and what it says on Kugel and Tokar’s passports (Germany and [Ukraine?], respectively), No-Exit Corner can hardly be tagged “Eastern European” or even the hopelessly amorphous “European.” 

For one thing, Vandermark—the trio’s only horn, to whom one’s ears turn first, sheerly out of habit, because that’s how we’ve been taught to listen to jazz—is a Chicagoan, the prime mover in that midwestern American city’s post-AACM ferment. But notwithstanding a few delayed thematic delineations and the frequent chime of Kugel’s cymbals, this music in no way resembles that of the AACM’s first and second waves.

It’s not marked by discontinuity, like the music of Evan Parker, the late Derek Bailey, and other early British from-scratch improvisers. Nor does it call to mind Han Bennink or other Dutch dadaists. Peter Brôtzmann might be closer to it, especially on the fast and furious “Left Sided Driver” and the convulsive final few minutes of “Message to the Past,” but not quite. You’ll hear echoes of all these approaches, but only because they’re all part of a common vernacular by this point, and these three musicians are serious students of the jazz past, able to draw from it whatever and whenever they feel need to.

Ken Vandermark

Along with being the form of jazz that most prizes individualism, free has also become the most international form of jazz—a beneficial consequence of being the style most independent of the blues (if that’s what a player or group of players choose). And witness their far-flung discographies, Vandermark, Kugel, and Tokar are committed internationalists. Vandermark, for instance, leads bands based throughout Eastern Europe as well in Chicago, and has lately been collaborating in New York with Jason Moran, another player who doesn’t believe in putting himself or jazz in a box. 

Tokar has played in Vandermark’s Resonance ensemble, and his and Kugel’s combined discographies include dates with Bobby Few, Roberta Piket, and Charles Gayle, as well as a good number of Eastern Europe’s leading improvisers.

Can there be such a thing as straight-ahead free? If so, this disk’s five as-it-happens improvisations would be it. Each achieves something remarkable, a seldom-realized free jazz ideal: the more these players achieve something remarkable, the more these players sacrifice themselves in support of one another, the more our attention is drawn to each’s individual merits.

Teasing his solos to climax on the album’s two longest performances, Vandermark shows he knows the difference between repetition and repetitiveness. This might be some of his best playing on records; it’s definitely among his lustiest. Tokar’s “extended” bass technique is astonishing, and worthy of special notice is the way he matches tones with Vandermark when the latter explores the lower reaches of his horn. Kugel is a model drummer, supplying both motion and combustion without so much as implying a steady beat. Only one modifier will do in further categorizing this free jazz: classic. - Francis Davis

1. Left Sided Driver 19:22
2. Everyday Fabric 13:59
3. Objective 49 04:51
4. Split Hinge 03:43
5. Message To The Past 14:42

All Compositions by Ken Vandermark [Twenty First Mobile Music/ASCAP-Cien Fuegos], Mark Tokar, Klaus Kugel [GEMA]. 
Recorded at The Alchemia Club in Krakow on December 12th, 2016. 
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Rafał Drewinany [dts studio] 
Design by Małgorzata Linińska

Monday, August 13, 2018

Donny McCaslin - Blow. (MOTEMA MUSIC October 5, 2018)

As the bandleader on David Bowie's final album Blackstar, saxophonist Donny McCaslin collaborated with the Starman to carry forward his penchant for reinvention. With his upcoming studio album — a daring fusion of vibrant electronica, and bombastic art-rock due this fall — McCaslin applied that mindset to his own work, pushing his music in a bold new direction. Propulsive and improvisational alternative music combines with a heady blend of vocals, saxophone and flute, pianos and Wurlitzer, electric bass and pummeling drums that captures McCaslin's core roots while also bringing in more recent influences such as Radiohead and Bon Iver.

Digital Album

1. What About the Body
2. Club Kidd
3. Break the Bond
4. New Kindness
5. Exactlyfourminutesofimprovisedmusic
6. Tiny Kingdom
7. Great Destroyer
8. The Opener (feat. Sun Kil Moon)
9. Beast
10. Tempest
11. Eye of the Beholder


10/5/18 Release Date - available now for preorder

Limited Edition Clear Vinyl version, (being released simultaneously with CD and Digital versions,) includes full lyrics plus a collectible art-poster featuring cover art designed by David Calderley of Graphic Therapy (Beck, Tall Heights, Imagine Dragons, V2 Music Group…)

Neyland | Attiche | Beeche - Neyland | Attiche | Beeche (August 13, 2018)

After moving from Berlin to Australia at the beginning of the year, guitarist Benjamin Attiche connected with Oscar Neyland on double bass and Jack Beeche on alto saxophone. It quickly evolved into a flourishing and inspiring group that aims to break stereotypical musical roles. 

With an emphasis on interaction and transparency, the three musicians switch fluidly and spontaneously between improvisation and accompaniment. 

The band awards a personal and modern approach to composers such as Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Wayne Shorter.

1. Isfahan 05:53
2. I Should Care 04:53
3. Chelsea Bridge 04:59
4. My Little Brown Book 05:10
5. When Sunny Gets Blue 06:05
6. Round Midnight 03:58

Recorded May 5th 2018 at Pughouse Studios,
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Niko Schauble
Artwork and design by Jenny Atwood

Oscar Neyland plays a Benedict G Puglisis "Da Salo" double bass
Benjamin Attiche plays a Frans Elferink "Tonemaster" guitar

Phronesis - We Are All (EDITION RECORDS September 14, 2018)



We Are All, the band’s eighth and newest studio album, offers plenty of emotional range and musical richness for committed Phronesis fans and new listeners alike. But in its title and scope, it also seeks to focus attention on an important message of togetherness and balance beyond the one the trio demonstrate on the bandstand.

Worldwide Release: 14th Sept 2018



- Limited Edition LP with Yellow Vinyl and double sided cover. 
- Two Collector Edition CDs with different covers. 
- Download & Streaming Album with three single releases all with different covers.

Each format - the LP, two CD versions, the digital album and 3 digital singles will be produced as part of a Collectors Edition with each edition having a different cover image that communicates a sense of unity on a shared planet and shines a light on the interconnectedness of all living species.

Please Note: The music is exactly the same on all formats, the only difference is the front cover image.

OUT.FEST 2018 - New Batch of Names Confirmed

15th edition

October 5 + 6 in Barreiro

Co-curated by OUT.RA - Associação Cultural and Filho Único - Associação Cultural

JIMI TENOR *Finish stalwart of ever inspiring multi axis configurations in rhythms & sounds whose new record “Order of Nothingness” is one of our year’s favorites so far*

CLOTHILDE *Alias of Sofia Mestre, Lisbon-based modular synthesis musician, still hot on the heels of her debut 'Twitcher’ published a couple of months ago on local label Labareda*

NÍDIA *A teenage phenomenon seemed like yesterday, is now a young woman who has indelibly shaped the landscape of contemporary electronic music; she has chosen OUT.FEST - as her beloved bairro Vale da Amoreira is part of Barreiro municipality - to present her first ever live show, following an artistic residency devoted to edify it*

RAFAEL TORAL SPACE COLLECTIVE 3 plays ‘MOON FIELD’ *Portuguese pioneer of exploratory music, amidst a wave of new work being published and reissues of iconic past records reissued on Drag City, is set to perform once again at OUT.FEST this time leading the band to play the record that Room 40 has brought forth internationally*

CÂNDIDO LIMA presents ‘OCEANOS’ *Born in 1939 in Viana do Castelo, Mr Lima is a composer who has broken ground in various fields in the Portuguese history of contemporary composition, though its appreciation may never quite met the merits of his feats. He will present his 1979 piece ‘Oceanos’, combining lighting, projections and sound spatialization.*

KEROX *Fundamental kid in the Xita Records family (collective of musicians, label, promoter), Kerox is a young producer of post-genre beatz in the ever expanding and cross-pollinating territory of the Greater Lisbon area*

Previous confirmed names:


Global passes now at 20€ available at TICKETS

BLUJAZZ New Releases - Joey Morant "Forever Sanctified", Ernest McCarty Jr and Theresa Davis "I Remember Love", Western Michigan Univ Jazz Orchestra "Turkish Delight", Two Quintets - Roger Neumann and Doug MacDonald

Joey Morant “Forever Sanctified”


Joey Morant, Horns & Congos/ Mike LeDonne, Organ/ Mark Whitfield, Guitar/ Amadeus Morant, Drums

“Where Have You Been All My Life”  Frank Foster

One of the most exciting and dynamic trumpeters on the current New York City scene Joey Morant has worked at every major venue. Joey has had a regular spot at both the Blue Note and BB King’s Lucille’s with his packed house brunch gigs as well as being featured at the Blue Note Jazz Festival. Joey Morant works as a soloist, in duet and trio settings, and as a part of larger bands and orchestras. He electrifies audiences with his dazzling horn technique, skillful scat singing, and humorous dialogue. His Louis Armstrong interpretations, both playing and singing, are perfect, and his admiration for Louis is deep and genuine.

Ernest McCarty Jr and Theresa Davis “I Remember Love”

Ernest McCarty, piano and composer & Theresa Davis, vocals

Ernest McCarty Jr has achieved excellence in the fields of writing, composing, orchestration, and producing. His experience includes performing as bassist with noted jazz pianist Erroll Garner (1970-75) appearing on Garner’s “Gemini” recording for London Records. He has recorded with Sonny Stitt, Dakota Staton, Eddie Harris, Oscar Brown Jr., and Richard Otto to name a few.  Ernest travelled extensively as music director Gloria Gaynor, Odetta, and Noel Harrison, and has written 10 musicals and many songs, including “It’s Been Raining” for Buddy Greco.  His score for the “Martin Luther King Suite” won NBC TV an Emmy.

Theresa Davis, “Tee” to all in the business – is a former member of the Emotions.  Her other recordings on Stax show her diversity of style, as does her last CD, “Love Take A Walk”, commercial jingles, and vocals on motion picture tracks. Tee sang the theme song of NBC-TV’s Chicago talk show Black Life.  It has been said Tee is the quintessential singer’s singer and a songwriter’s dream. Smooth and tender, Tee’s voice has been likened to “water, for its purity, clarity, and tranquilizing effect”.  Tee’s extensive performance experience includes touring the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan with Otis Clay, Ramsey Lewis, Percy Sledge, Dennis Edwards (Temptations).  She also toured Sue Conway and the famed gospel group, The Victory Singers.  Tee is also currently performing with the West Coast group “Tour de 4Force”.

Western Michigan University Jazz Orchestra “Turkish Delight”

Western Michigan University’s award-winning  Jazz Orchestra is directed by Scott Cowan. This ensemble has received  international acclaim for its high performance standards and creative approach to big band jazz. Recognitions include four-time winners in the college big band category of the Down Beat Magazine annual DB student music awards, a heralded performance in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center-Allen Room, Midwest Clinic in Chicago, The Detroit International Jazz Festival, Over 30 Outstanding Band recognitions at the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, featured performances for the International Association for Jazz Education Conferences in Los Angeles and Atlanta and the JEN Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

The ensemble’s CDs, Spritely Overdue, Disposable Income, Blue Miles, Sweet Tango, Cosmosis, Boogaloo Land, and Travel Notes have received rave reviews in DownBeat magazine, JazzTimes Magazine, the IAJE Journal, Cadence Magazine and numerous other noted publications. There recordings are found on Sea Breeze Vista Recordings and Blujazz Records and are available online and through the jazz studies program. The band has performed with Joe Lovano, Tim Hagans, New York Voices, Tom Harrell, Bob Brookmeyer,  Bob Berg,  Rob McConnell, Billy Hart, John Clayton, Randy Brecker, Kenny Werner, Conrad Herwig, Bob Mintzer, Miguel Zenon, Michael Philip Mossman, George Garzone, Billy Drewes, Peter Erskine, John Fedchock, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling and many others.

Jazz Marathon 3 - Two Quintets

The Roger Neumann Quintet and The Doug MacDonald Quintet

Produced by Doug MacDonald Co-Produced by Don Thompson

The “Jazz Marathon” is the concept of university professor, professor emeritus and jazz aficionado Don Thomson. A resident of Hawaii, he enjoyed hiring two rhythm sections and several horn players for performances that had continuous music for hours. In Los Angeles in 2014, Thomson asked guitarist Doug MacDonald to be the musical director for a recording (Just For Fun ) that would feature some of Southern California’s finest jazz musicians. The success of that double-CD led to a follow-up (Salute To The Jazz Composers – Jazz Marathon 2) and now the current package. 

Jazz Marathon 3 changes the concept a bit in that it puts the spotlight on two separate and equally exciting all-star groups that alternated sets at Upstairs at Vitello's in Studio City.




September 6th • October 4th

one set @ 8 pm


82 W 3rd Street, NYC 10012

"AfroCuban master drummer Román Díaz and his nine piece ensemble perform the potent magic of the AfroCaribbean experience:  the ritual drumming, dance and call-and-response singing  handed down from generation to generation in secret societies in Cuba; a living repository of the Yoruba, Congo and Abakuá cultures." - Jazz at the Crossroads

"If you’ve never experienced real Cuban rumba, you’ve missed something that is singularly and at once both reverent and sensual, wild and yet deeply ordered, hard-hitting while also full of subtle cues and charms, and potent with the visceral sensations that can only come from repeated cycles of rhythms working as one." - Larry Blumenfeld, Blu Notes/Wall Street Journal

AfroCuban master drummer Román Díaz and Rumba Habanera celebrate their fifth year in residency at Zinc Bar with performances on September 6th and October 4th at 8 pm. 

Though Román Díaz came to fame as a member of the world-renown folkloric ensemble Yoruba Andabo, the Rumba he brings to Zinc Bar is a departure from the rehearsed, choreographed presentations of Cuba's official touring groups. His Rumba Habanera is the authentic, spontaneous Rumba of the back alleys and inner courtyards of the tenements of Havana. Often played on handmade instruments and wooden boxes, this Rumba, rarely seen by outsiders, is the Rumba of ambiente: an atmosphere building toward ecstatic fervor at the threshold of possession.

That seductive, mysterious ambiente might explain why the Rumba attracts visitors from la crème de la crème of musicians from every genre, from famous percussionists (Francisco Mela, Nicky Marrero, Mark Quinones and Samuel Torres)  to jazz pianists (George Burton,  Aruan Ortiz, David Virelles and Axel Laugart) and the celebrated New Orleans jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison, who sits in - and fits in - on almost every trip he makes to New York. Sometimes a superstar of Latin pop will show up - Ruben Blades came by recently - and there are frequent visits from a Hollywood movie star (going under the radar in baseball cap & sweats).

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Night Trains: Lovesick 1987 – 2017 (Album Released September 21 via ACID JAZZ / PIAS)

Night Trains released their eagerly anticipated and critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Checkmate’ (1991) via B.G.P (Beat Goes Public), and it became a huge underground hit, before the band returned to Acid Jazz Records in the early 90's, releasing two more albums; ‘Loaded’ (1992) and ‘Sleazeball’ (1994), the latter featuring the international club hit ‘Lovesick’, a soulful, disco funk groove and the Night Trains’ most well-known track.

Signing a US deal with Instinct Records in New York, Night Trains toured Europe and Japan headlining at venues such as The Jazz Cafe and the Marquee in London, Club Yellow Tokyo, Magazinni Generali Milan and the Paradiso and Melkweg Amsterdam, as well as touring with artists as diverse as Afrika Bambaataa, Jamiroquai and the late great Gil Scott-Heron.

Always looking to keep the sound and vibe fresh, Brooker would constantly change the live and studio line-up of the band and a number of key musicians from the soul, funk and mod fraternity would perform with the band including Spider Johnson, Jennie Bellestar, Damian Hand, Mike “chilli” Watts, Tony Watts, Dave Priseman, Julian Bates and Gary Foote.

Taking a break for Night Trains duties temporarily, in 1993, Brooker formed The Humble Souls with UK rapper and Fatboy Slim cohort, MC Wildski, which resulted in the album ‘Thoughts and Sound Paintings’ (1993), again released on Acid Jazz Records. After a successful year of international promotion, he returned to work on the new Night Trains album ‘Obstruct The Doors Cause Delay and Be Dangerous’ (1997). At the time, Acid Jazz records secured a major sponsorship deal for the band with legendary Italian fashion house Cerruti which resulted in various runway and TV appearances for the band across Europe creating extensive worldwide exposure.

After a hiatus, Night Trains returned to Acid Jazz Records in the summer of 2012, with the 7” vinyl release of ‘No More Heroes’, a stomping northern soul reinterpretation of The Stranglers’ new wave classic. Three years later, the band teamed up with Back Burna Records and released the dancefloor filler ‘Black Whip’, before returning once more to their spiritual home at Acid Jazz Records with the release of ‘Lovesick 1987 – 2017’.

Outside of Night Trains, Hugh Brooker DJs globally and has co-written, remixed and produced for artists as diverse as Sophie Ellie-Bextor and Earth Wind and Fire.

Groundation - The Next Generation via BACO RECORDS / September 21, 2018

‘The Next Generation’ takes off like a rocket, opening with the first ever reggae big band song, ‘Vanity’ (12 horns). Lyrically and conceptually, the album stems from their previous release ‘A Miracle’, here shifting from the Mother of Creation to the child, ‘The Next Generation.’

The album takes you on a journey from the militant ‘Fossil Fuels’ and ‘Prophets & Profit’, to the subtle and heartfelt ‘New Life’ and ‘Father & Child’ and everywhere in between. The sound quality is impeccable, engineered by the great Jim Fox and recorded all on analog equipment from the 1970s.

Harrison Stafford’s unique reggae fusion can be heard from villages in Thailand, to the favelas of Brazil, from the mountains of New Zealand, to Moroccan cafes and college dorm rooms in the United States. “Groundation provides a musical vessel that allows me to create and perform the music that I hear in my head”. The sound comes in part from Harrison’s early childhood hearing Duke Ellington and Miles Davis from his grandfather and father who were both Jazz performers. He formalized his musical education at Sonoma State University (SSU) completing a degree in Jazz Performance, where he honed his skills for composing, arranging and producing. After completion, Harrison went on to teach The History of Reggae Music at SSU before embarking on his own musical journey. 

Since 1998, Groundation have recorded 8 studio albums and performed in more than 40 countries, sharing the stage with such diverse artists as Jimmy Cliff, Sly and the Family Stone, The Roots, Kanye West, and Sonic Youth. In the past two years alone, Groundation has played shows in nineteen countries spanning four continents. Highlights include playing for over 45,000 fans in Morocco, 10,000 people in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and headlining the mighty SummerJam festival in Germany.

‘The Next Generation’ will stand as a testament that Groundation has reclaimed their position as leaders in the search for new original music and that true to form improvisational Reggae/Jazz experience. 

Carrying on Groundation’s rich history and the high standards, that were set by the musicians before are; Harrison Stafford (lead singer and guitarist), Will Blades (organ and clavinet/keyboard), Isaiah Palmer (bass player), Jake Shandling (drummer), Brady Shammar (harmony vocalist), Aleca Smith (harmony vocalist), Eduardo Gross (guitarist), Craig Berletti (keyboard & trumpet) and Roger Cox (saxophone).

Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians (NONESUCH RECORDS 2018)

1998 Grammy Award Winner

Nonesuch Records' 1998 Grammy-winning recording of Steve Reich's landmark piece Music for 18 Musicians, performed by Steve Reich and Musicians, returned to vinyl in July 2018. First released on vinyl in a limited run for Record Store Day 2015, the album, mastered for vinyl by Robert C. Ludwig, is now available at a new, low price, pressed on two 140-gram vinyl LPs at Pallas Manufacturing in Diepholz, Germany. The New York Times says: "It would be hard to think of any American music more important than this."

From the original 1998 release:

At the close of the 1970s, the New York Times declared Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians one of the ten most important works of that decade. But the passage of time has proven that inaccurate. As K. Robert Schwartz writes in his liner notes, it is “one of the handful of late-twentieth-century works that can rightly claim to have altered the course of Western music.”

Twenty-two years after its first release on vinyl, Steve Reich and Musicians deliver a new recording of Music for 18 Musicians on Nonesuch Records. Originally offered as a volume within the composer’s 10-CD retrospective box set in 1997, 18 is now available as its own album with graphics and liner notes prepared expressly for this issue.

Reich himself admits that 18 marks a “high point” in his thirty-year career. “It’s undoubtedly one of the best pieces I’ve ever done. Sometimes everything just comes together and suddenly you’ve created this wonderful organism, and in this piece it happened. That accounts for its durability. but it also has a real structural backbone, so it continues to please me twenty years later.”

The product of virtually continuous work from May 1974 to March 1976, 18 was finished when Reich was nearly forty, and reflects numerous influences that had made their mark on the composer’s life up to that point: bebop and Balinese gamelan, African drumming and modal jazz, the melismas of Perotin and the scat-singing of Ella Fitzgerald. These elements came together to define Reich’s essential harmonic language, one that had evolved well beyond the austere and reductive so-called minimalism of his earlier pieces.

Along with the benefit of digital recording, this new 18 features many of the very same musicians that participated in its first recording as well as many of its concert performances over the last two decades: a team that could be said, over time, to have osmotically absorbed every nuance this richly-detailed score has to offer. A tempo change in the new album—governed by the breathing pattern of the clarinetist—has resulted in a version eleven minutes longer than the original. Some harmonic reinterpretation may be noted as well.

Music for 18 Musicians has influenced a whole generation of young composers, as well as a legion of pop musicians. As much as ever, it remains an alluring marvel of coloristic shimmer and an evocation of non-Western music, of classical music, and of jazz—without sounding like any of them. Viewing it from a modest historical distance, is it still absurd to label it a minimalist work? Steve Reich replies, “Yes, I think it is. You can apply minimalism to 18 if you want, but what you’re really hearing is that whole phenomenon—at least in any recognizable, strict form—fade away into the distance.”

Steve Reich, marimba, piano
Rebecca Armstrong, Marion Beckenstein, Cheryl Bensman Rowe, sopranos
Jay Clayton, alto, piano
Russell Hartenberger, Bob Becker, Tim Ferchen marimbas, xylophones
James Preiss, vibraphones, piano
Garry Kvistad, marimba, xylophone, piano
Thad Wheeler, marimba, maracas
Nurit Tilles, Edmund Niemann, pianos
Philip Bush, piano, maracas
Elizabeth Lim, violin
Jeanne LeBlanc, cello
Leslie Scott, Evan Ziporyn, clarinets, bass clarinets

Produced by Judith Sherman
Recorded October 1996 at the Hit Factory, New York City
Engineered by John Kigore
Assistant Engineers: Glen Marchese, Chris Hilt
Mixed November 1996 and January 1997 at the Hit Factory, New York City
Assistant Mix Engineers: Tony Black, Greg Thompson
Production Assistants: Sidney Chen, Jeanne Velonis

Design by John Gall
Cover Photo by Fumio Kurasakai/Photonica

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz