Monday, March 21, 2016

Tim Jones - Strangely Beautiful (2016)

Label: WWM
Source: Tim Jones

Principal Tuba with the T.S.O., Tim Jones was bitten by the music bug as an eight-year-old. He graduated from recorder to tuba, which he played in his primary school orchestra. He was fortunate to get regular tuba lessons with John Butler, the top Melbourne freelance tuba player of the time. Early High School saw Tim playing with the Melbourne Youth Orchestra under John Hopkins and the tutelage of Gordon Webb (ex principal trumpet L.P.O). Tim spent his last two school years at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School where he took lessons from John Woods, Frank Barzyk and Peter Sykes.
For the next few years Tim played casually with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and spent two separate years on contract with Orchestra Victoria. Tim also did hundreds of gigs with the eccentric Cairo Club Orchestra (1920’s big band) and pop band the Oxo Cubans. Tim was a member of The Black Sorrows. He has been involved in jazz, with eminent artists such as Doug DeVries and the Australian Art Orchestra. Tim did recording sessions with artists as diverse as Anthony Warlow, Ted Egan and Vince Jones.
Tim moved to Tasmania in 1995 for what he thought was a six-month engagement with the TSO. Nearly two decades later he is part of the furniture. In 1997 Tim was an instrumental finalist in the ABC young performer’s awards performing the Vaughn-Williams tuba concerto with the W.A.S.O. In 2009 he was a guest soloist and tutor at the Melbourne International Festival of Brass. Tim was tuba soloist in Tubby the Tuba, part of an ABC CD release for Christmas 2010. He subsequently performed the piece live with the T.S.O. Tim has been part of ABC live to air recitals, as a chamber musician and soloist. He has been heard regularly around the state of Tasmania in a variety of brass groups and has played many hours with local community bands.
Tim is a regular with rock star Brian Ritchie’s ensembles and a variety of Tasmanian jazz bands. Tim fronts The Big Cheese an easy listening tuba led ensemble often heard at MONA. Tim’s music arrangements are regularly performed by the TSO. He teaches tuba and is a founding member of the Island Brass Academy, a group dedicated to helping young brass players. 

1. This Guy's in Love With You 04:57
2. The Day You Went Away 05:29
3. On Broadway 03:46
4. Watermelon Man 04:34
5. This Can't Be Love 03:23
6. What I Did For Love 03:22
7. So Far Away 03:43
8. Only You (And You Alone) 03:09
9. What Kind Of Fool Am I 02:38
10.Pennies from Heaven 04:22
11.Someone To Watch Over Me 02:30

Tim Jones - Tuba
Stephen Magnusson - Guitar
Frank Di Sario - Double Bass
Niko Schauble - Drums




Juan Presas - Transgresión (2016)

Source & Label: Kuai Music
Gab's Rating: ★★★★

Saxofonista, arreglador y compositor. Es egresado del Conservatorio Superior “Manuel de Falla”, tanto en la carrera de saxofón clásico como en la de jazz. Presas continúa sus estudios de composición y arreglos con Juan Raffo y Daniel Johansen respectivamente.
Además de participar como saxofonista de varios proyectos de la escena del jazz de Buenos Aires, escribe música para los siguientes grupos: Proyecto Nuevos Standards (incluye a Tomás Fraga, Pablo Raposo, Pablo Motta y Hernán Mandelman), Big Benegas Noneto y Walter Rinavera Octeto.
Actualmente se encuentra preparando su próximo disco de música original en quiento.


Saxophonist, arranger composer. Presas is a Graduate from the “Manuel de Falla” Conservatory of Music, both in Classical Music and Jazz Performance. Currently, he studies composition and arranging with Juan Raffo and Daniel Johansen.
Juan not also performs with many of the great jazz musicians from Buenos Aires, but also writes music several projects such as Proyecto Nuevos Standards (featuring Tomás Fraga, Pablo Raposo, Pablo Motta y Hernán Mandelman), Big Benegas Nonet and Walter Rinavera Octet.
Currently, he is composing new material which will be included in his next album.

1. Introducción Vamps 04:47
2. Vamps 05:43
3. Black Narcissus 07:44
4. CJ.C. 07:27
5. Balada 06:37
6. Nueva Memoria 08:18
7. Harrell Ostinato 08:28


Emmanuel Famin: alto sax
Juan Presas: tenor sax & flute
Juan Fillipelli: guitar
Tomás Fares: piano & keyboards
Santiago Leibson: piano (Black Narcissus)
Alfonso Santini: bass
Juan Bayón: bass (Black Narcissus)
Damián Allegretti: drums
Fran Cossavella: drums (Black Narcissus)



Vijay Iyer, Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (2016)

Label: ECM
Source: Allaboutjazz
Gab's Rating: ★★★★★

 In the liner notes for A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, pianist Vijay Iyer notes that he and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith would often become a sub-segment of the quartet in which the two played. Following their collaboration in New York City in 2015, ECM chief Manfred Eicher brought the two master artists together to make their unique chemistry a matter of record. At its core, the album is a suite dedicated to the late, influential Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi who was known for her drawings and photography.

In his prolific career, Smith has twice before recorded as a leader on the ECM label, first with 1979's Divine Love and fourteen years later with Kulture Jazz (1993). Both highly-regarded recordings were early benchmarks in a catalogue that has increased in relevancy over the years and produced epic collections such as Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform, 2012) which was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Iyer came to ECM following earlier associations with labels like Pi Recordings and ACT Music and more than two-dozen recordings as a leader or co-leader. With his ECM debut Mutations (2014), Iyer also enacted a more compositional approach, broadening his often methodological improvisation skills. Strip away the string quartet and in many ways, Mutations paved the way for A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke.

It may be challenging to name top-of-mind piano-trumpet duos, but they are not so unusual. Uri Caine/Paolo Fresu, Satoko Fujii/Natsuki Tamura, Stefano Bollani/Enrico Rava and Paul Bley/Kenny Wheeler are but a few of the modern duos that date back to Oscar Peterson and a half-dozen such duo recordings. Though not in the same formation, Smith and Iyer had previously worked together as part of the trumpeter's Golden Quartet on Tabligh (Cuneiform, 2008) and again in the Golden Quintet on Spiritual Dimensions (Cuneiform, 2009). Those earlier collaborations were more musically intense compared to this spare and atmospheric collection.

The opening piece, the meditative "Passage," features some of Smith's most expressive playing with Iyer's augmented chords enriching and expanding the space. The seven-part suite—each movement prefixed by the album title—begins with "All Becomes Alive"; Smith's trumpet souring and diving to the backdrop of Iyer's electronic drone. Further on, Iyer switches to piano as he and Smith set into a beautifully soulful groove, an angular turn or two, and a quiet exit. "The Empty Mind Receives" is more conversational with Smith's long phrases countered by Iyer raining down notes. Conveying just what its title suggests, "Labyrinths" is overtly more complex and knotty while "A Divine Courage" begins with barely audible thumping electronics followed by quiet distances between the sparse trumpet and piano contributions. Eventually, Iyer provides a simulated bass line, resetting the piece to a solid melody. More experimental in nature, are "Uncut Emeralds" and "A Cold Fire" with a heavier reliance on electronics on the first, and atonality on the latter. The album concludes with a moving tribute to the musician/civil rights activist "Marian Anderson."

Iyer and Smith weave in and out of dialogs and sometimes unify in a solitary expression but at all times there is an awareness and acuity between the players that overlaps and breaks away on razor-thin margins. The compositions—bookended by those of Iyer and later Smith—are full and rich with the suite (authored by both composers) being a completely mesmerizing and engaging work. Iyer and Smith may represent two different generations of artists but both are at their creative peaks. For fans of either, A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke is a must-have album.  Karl Ackermann

(A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke - Suite [2-7]) All Becomes Alive
The Empty Mind Receives
A Divine Courage
Uncut Emeralds
A Cold Fire
Notes On Water
Marian Anderson

Vijay Iyer: piano, Fender Rhodes piano, electronics
Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet 




Label: Rattle VUP
Source: The Jac
Gab's Rating: ★★★★★

The Jac is an 8 piece locomotion of pure musical energy, playing a genre defying blend of jazz and classical originals with contemporary beats and grooves.

The Jac features some of NZ's finest musical talent, with members of The Troubles, Rodger Fox's WJO, the Richter City Rebels and even the NZSO!

Inspired the writing of some of the world's foremost jazz musicians, including Joshua Redman, Miguel Zenon and Dave Douglas, the Jazz Collective's 4 horn, 4 rhythm instrumentation (trumpet, alto, tenor, trombone, guitar, piano, bass & drums) combines the textures, power, range, and versatility of a big band with the intimacy, playfulness and interaction of a small group.

With the release of their debut album NERVE on Rattle Records The Jac is opening a new page in the book of original NZ music

"New Zealand jazz has been increasingly delivering not just interesting but quite exceptional albums, and because they just keep coming -- many through the estimable Rattle Jazz imprint -- you get a feeling of continuity and growth. Rattle… [with its] unimpeachable track record in releasing beautifully produced, impressively packaged, award-winning contemporary classical and elsewhere albums, [has now made] a serious foray into jazz." - Graham Reid, Elsewhere

Lex French, trumpet
Jake Baxendale, alto sax
Chris Buckland, tenor sax
Matthew Allison, trombone
Callum Allardice, guitar
Daniel Hayles, rhodes
Daniel Millward, piano
Nick Tipping, bass
Shaun Anderson, drums


The Cooking Club - High Energy Jazz from the Sidney Underground (2016)

Yeah! This one jumped right out of the stereo at me.

The title High Energy Jazz from the Sydney Underground (yes, they really called it that) reflects the brattish confidence of the music of The Cooking Club.

Tenor player Michael Gordon’s quartet is jumping with young energy – Ken Allars on trumpet, Tom Wade on double bass and Finn Ryan on drums.

The sinewy energy of this piano-less format winds the bristling tension up to cracking point on the more free-jazz passages here. It is leavened with chill riffs from the classic tenor-trumpet hard-bop front line, and deep soul grooves (or spiky cat-and-mouse) from Wade and Ryan underneath it all.

Playing anywhere and everywhere for the last five years has refined, toughened and meshed their sound – it is always readily apparent when jazz players, too often skipping from loose conglomerate to pick-up group, decide to stick together and see what flowers. Their evolution into a sort of punk-jazz animal with three clawed feet in the here-and-now and one in the past of jazz tradition is the reward of time served – a reward for them, and a reward for us who listen at their gigs, or to this album, their debut.

It’s there in opener ‘Big Job’ which slides from a vertiginous, Ornettey bop head into a rock-and-roiling twin horn solo. It’s there in the jump of ‘Crips Up’ and the viscous blues of ‘Solid Grease’.

Gordon’s tenor playing is consistently startling – his repeated intro to ‘The Cat’s Pyjamas’ plays odd games with the meter, in and out of a great hard-bop line. His a cappella solo here is part play and part sermon, and a lot wonderful. Then the band explodes through the wall with Allars bristling and stabbing and Wade and Ryan rocking, before the music collapses inwards on itself for Allars’ solo.

The track is typical of the energy and blessed wildness across High Energy Jazz from the Sydney Underground. It is a wildness that Sydney jazz sometimes needs a shot of, and I look forward to much more such adrenalin from the Michael Gordon’s Cooking Club.

1. Big Job
2. Chumba Chumba
3. Crips Up
4. Solid Grease
5. Christchurch
6. The Cat's Pyjamas
7. Comedown

Michael Gordon – Tenor Sax
Ken Allars – Trumpet
Tom Wade – Double Bass
Finn Ryan – Drums

Recorded and Mixed by Richard Belkner 
Mastered by Philip Rex 
Cover Art by Clare Logan 
All compositions by Michael Gordon 
except "Chumba Chumba" by Finn Ryan

Released June 4, 2015



Sinan Işık - Patience (2016)

born in Syracuse, NY and currently based in Los Angeles. He draws on influences from jazz, blues, classical, hip hop, electronic, r&b, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian dance music, indigenous music from around the world, as well as the rich tradition of music from his mixed Turkish, Egyptian, and Lebanese heritage to create his vision of modern music.

Isik received his BM in Jazz Studies from the Conservatory of Music at the State University of New York in Purchase, NY. There he studied under several notable musicians including Jon Faddis, Pete Malinverni, Todd Coolman, Hal Galper, and Kevin Hays.

Double Bass – Ozan Musluoğlu
Drums – Ferit Odman
Piano, Composed By – Sinan Işık
Tenor Saxophone – Engin Recepoğulları
Trombone – Bulut Gülen

1. Blues by Five
2. Patience
3. Ahab
4. Communication
5. Silver's Serenade
6. The Sea
7. He Has a Wooden Box
8. Revolution is Love

Recorded At Babajim Istanbul Studios


Marcos Varela - San Ygnacio (2016)

Marcos Verela: bass
George Cables: piano
Billy Hart: drums
Logan Richardson: alto saxophone ( (1, 4, 8, 10, 11)
Clifton Anderson: trombone (3, 5)
Dayna Stephens: tenor saxophone (6)
Arnold Lee: alto saxophone (2, 7)
Eden Ladin: piano (2, 7)
Kush Abadey: drums (2, 7)

I Should Care
Colinas De Santa Maria
Lulaby For Imke
Sister Gemini
Red On Planet Pluto
Looking For The Light
Where The Wild Things Are (Intro)
Where The Wild Things Are

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Origin Records

Drawing on collaborators from throughout his time in New York, Varela assembles a stand-out cast of veterans and peers. The album’s core rhythm section is composed of two jazz giants: pianist George Cables, a key mentor, and drummer Billy Hart, one of Varela’s earliest employers. They’re joined by another longtime employer, trombonist Clifton Anderson, as well as two of Varela’s most gifted contemporaries, saxophonists Dayna Stephens and Logan Richardson. On two tracks, Varela features his one-time collective quartet with up-and-coming players Arnold Lee (alto, son of bassist/composer Bill Lee and half-brother of director Spike Lee), Eden Ladin (piano) and Kush Abadey (drums).

Varela is a graduate of Houston’s renowned High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, where his fellow alumni include Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, and Beyoncé. He arrived in NYC to continue his studies at the New School, leading to opportunities to perform with a wide range of artists including Cables, Hart, Anderson, Moran, Geri Allen, The Last Poets, the Mingus Big Band, Kendrick Scott, Billy Harper and Tyshawn Sorey, among countless others. He has also composed music for several film and TV projects, including director Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s film “Roots in Water.”

“This record is a culmination of my New York experience,” Varela says of San Ygnacio. “It features some of my favorite people to play with and recalls some of the positive experiences I’ve had during my New York days.”

Legendary bassist Ron Carter contributed the album’s liner notes, where he writes that Varela’s “tone, choice of notes and compositions will place his playing and name on the list of bassists to be heard.” A hero turned mentor, Carter is just one of the jazz elders who have taken note of Varela’s talents and encouraged the bassist along his path. While still in college, he was invited to join longtime Dizzy Gillespie drummer Charlie Persip’s big band. Around the same time, Hart included Varela in a sextet of young players that also featured rising stars Theo Croker, Sullivan Fortner, and Irwin Hall.

“Billy encouraged us to challenge him and keep him young, and then he wanted to impart his experience and knowledge onto us as well,” Varela says. “It was a great learning experience.”

Three of the tracks on San Ygnacio come from the repertoire of Hart’s sextet: “Pepper” and “Picturesque” are both George Mraz compositions, while “Lullaby for Imke” is a gentle ballad that the drummer recorded on a 2006 quartet release, presented here in a new arrangement by pianist Ezra Weiss. “Picturesque” is the album’s sole trio piece, with Varela and Cables doubling up on the angular melody, while the brisk “Pepper” is highlighted by the pairing of Dayna Stephens’ tenor and Varela’s arco playing.

The album opens with its only standard, Cables’ bold arrangement of “I Should Care.” Varela says, “Especially on a debut record, the jazz community wants to hear you play over a standard and know that you have that ability. If you can’t play a standard, it negates your jazz legitimacy. Besides, I’ve spent a lot of time playing that music, I loved George’s arrangement, and I wanted something that everyone could get together and be creative on immediately.”

Varela’s “Colinas de Santa Maria” is named for his family’s ranch in San Ygnacio, which has been in his family’s possession since at least a mid-18th century Spanish land grant. While he grew up in Houston, Varela spent plenty of time visiting family at the ranch and enjoying the town’s unchanged Spanish architecture. He evokes a sense of nostalgia for that time and landscape, while saxophonist Arnold Lee contributes a vivid, wistful solo. The same quartet, whose members Varela continues to play with in other contexts, returns on Eden Ladin’s simmering “Red on Planet Pluto.”

The leader takes the spotlight on “Mitsuru,” a bass feature composed by Anderson, who often used the tune to feature Varela in the trombonist’s own band. Anderson also contributes and plays on the mid-tempo swinger “Sister Gemini.” Cables, who Varela met through the auspices of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, wrote the intoxicating waltz “Looking For the Light,” which Varela calls “one of my favorite George pieces – it really encourages you to play lyrically.”

The album concludes with Varela’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” a modern burner named for his favorite childhood book. Following a darkly atmospheric introduction, the piece erupts into a bristling melody, finally leading into a raucous solo showcase for Billy Hart. The tune is the prime example of Varela’s approach to bridging the generations represented in his band. “I wanted to take the veterans out of their comfort zone,” he explains. “I wanted to flip the script a little bit and try something different, have them be adventurous and play some songs they wouldn’t normally be heard playing. I wanted to push people in different directions to create a new sound.”

An intriguing mix of personalities and influences, generations and sounds, San Ygnacio traces Marcos Varela’s journey from Houston to New York, a trek rich with experiences and opportunities. It’s a striking debut that points the way toward even more music – and miles – to come.