Friday, April 1, 2016

Nick Fraser - Starer (2016)

Label: Self Released
Source: Toronto Jazz
Genre: Free Jazz

In this exciting, two-night presentation (May 4 and 5), Nick Fraser celebrates the release of two CDs: Too Many Continents with the Nick Fraser Trio, and Starer with the Nick Fraser Quartet.
For his Quartet, Nick is joined by New York-based saxophonist Tony Malaby, Andrew Downing on cello and Rob Clutton on bass; his Trio features Mr. Malaby and New York-based pianist Kris Davis - two of the world’s best in the field of avant garde jazz. While the music of both the Nick Fraser Quartet and Trio is largely based in the tradition of “free" jazz, it also draws from the entire tradition of jazz and from the musicians' diverse experiences in improvised music, world music, folk, and notated music.
The Nick Fraser Quartet has been together since 2012, recording two albums (Towns and Villages and the forthcoming Starer), and touring in Canada and the United States. The Nick Fraser Trio is a newer group featuring compositions by the leader and improvised pieces by the trio; they released their debut, Too Many Continents on the Portuguese Clean Feed Records label in 2015.

Nick Fraser has been an active and engaging presence in the Toronto new jazz and improvised music community for over twenty years. He has performed with a veritable "who's who" of Canadian jazz and improvised music and with such international artists as Tony Malaby, Donny McCaslin, Marilyn Crispell, Anthony Braxton and David Binney. Nick's recorded works as a leader include Owls in Daylight (1997) and Nick Fraser and Justin Haynes are faking it (2004), Towns and Villages (2013) and Too Many Continents (2015). For ten years, he co-led the group Drumheller, who released four critically acclaimed recordings. Other projects that occupy Nick regularly are Peripheral Vision, the Ugly Beauties (with Marilyn Lerner and Matt Brubeck), and the Lina Allemano Four. "Fraser not so much plays the drums as hurls himself whole body and soul against skin and metal... truly talented." -Bill Stunt, CBC Radio.

1. minimalism/416-538-7149 04:59
2. Sketch #26 01:53
3. Starer 04:34
4. Sketch #29 04:37
5. Jupiter (Sketch #15) 04:45
6. Sketch #20/22 10:28
7. Sketch #21 05:17

Nick Fraser: drums, composition
Tony Malaby: saxophones
Andrew Downing: cello
Rob Clutton: double bass




Brad Shepik Organ Trio - Top Down (2016)

Label: JLC Records 
Source: Brad Shepik

Shepik writes about Top Down- "These compositions (except Gary Peacock's Major Major) were written in the late spring/early summer of 2015. Friday evokes a wide open elation I feel working in my studio in Brooklyn. Sweet Suzy, written just a few days before the recording recalls the Meter's and the blues and was a highlight of the recording for me. There's more than a hint of one of my favorite guitarists, John Scofield, on this tune. Coincidentally, on the morning of the day of this album's second recording session, I had the honor to record a song with him along with Peter Bernstein and Adam Rogers as part of an New York University Guitar Ensemble record. Vampa has South American feel though I didn't have a specific regional rhythm in mind. The tune's harmonic/rhythmic structure leaves a lot of room for melodic invention and suggested a conversation in the trading choruses. Hall is dedicated to Jim Hall, the giant of the guitar whose influence is felt on every generation of guitarists that have come along since the the late 1950's. Something in the wide melodic intervals and fluid rhythm suggested his artistry. Top in the Middle is a bluesy AABC form however the chords deviate and suggest a somewhat difficult climb to the goal. The title refers to the inevitable mix of sweet and bitter as life unfolds. Major Major has been a favorite tune from Gary Peacock's "Tales of Another" for many years, I had the privilege of playing a session with him when I was 19. Aeolia is a circular tune with a 7/8 Balkan rhythm that reminds me of a friend who lives on a windy island. I was playing with harmonic colors and phrasing on Stumma Cake. The tune's title could be a dessert but the final two chords reflect a mild discomfort experienced occasionally by the very young."

1. Friday
2. Sweet Suzy
3. Vampa
4. Hall
5. Top in the Middle
6. Major Major
7. Aeolia
8. Stumma Cake

Brad Shepik - guitar
Gary Versace - organ
Mark Ferber - drums  



George Coleman - A Master Speaks (2016)

Label: Smoke Sessions

In 2015 the National Endowment for the Arts confirmed what countless listeners have known for the last six decades by naming tenor saxophonist George Coleman an NEA Jazz Master. A man of few words, Coleman nonetheless conveys his thoughts with unparalleled eloquence when he speaks through his instrument, as profoundly evidenced by the nine tracks on A Master Speaks, his long-overdue return to the studio.
Scheduled for release April 8 via Smoke Sessions Records, A Master Speaks is Coleman’s first release as a leader in nearly 20 years and first recording since the 2002 all-star live tribute album Four Generations of Miles. The rarity of the session is remarkable in itself; even more special is that fact that it grew out of a desire shared by Coleman and his son, drummer George Coleman Jr., to finally record together.
They’re joined by a stellar band featuring pianist Mike LeDonne and bassist Bob Cranshaw, with guitarist Peter Bernstein making a special guest appearance. This date was produced by Paul Stache and saxophonist Eric Alexander–a disciple of Coleman’s heartfelt, muscular style–who were able to realize a shared dream in documenting this master and his art they have loved for decades.
“I don’t really enjoy recording all that much these days,” Coleman admits, “but I was really happy to do this one with Smoke. I’m at the end game, you know, the twilight of my career, so maybe it was time.”
Like the pronouncements of a sage, A Master Speaks communicates both wisdom and wonder that bespeaks Coleman’s half century in music. From his roots in music-rich Memphis through his work with legends ranging from B.B. King who took Coleman to buy his first tenor to Max Roach to Slide Hampton and his renowned tenure with the Miles Davis Quintet, Coleman established himself as one of jazz’s most soulful and expressive voices. It’s there on the unforgettable melodies of Herbie Hancock’s landmark Maiden Voyage as it is 30 years later on the soundtrack of the Denzel Washington/Whitney Houston film The Preacher’s Wife.
Last year he joined the anointed ranks of NEA Jazz Masters in a class that also included fellow Memphian Charles Lloyd as well as pianist/composer/arranger Carla Bley and Chicago club owner Joe Segal. It was a well-deserved honor for a jazz legend who continues to let his music do the talking.



Emi Ferguson plays the flute music of Kendall Durelle Briggs (2016)


Katu Kaiku - Tokio / Kuopio (2016)

TOKYO/KUOPIO on Katu Kaiku -trion esikoislevy.

Yhtyeen eloisa musiikki syntyy erilaisten musiikillisten näkemysten rajun yhteentörmäyksen myötä avautuvassa yhteisessä tilassa, jossa muusikoiden vapaat tulkinnat pääsevät valloilleen. Saksofonitaiteilija Adele Sauroksen itsevarma ääni inspiroi energistä rumpalia Erik Fräkiä luomaan tekstuureja, joita kontrabasisti Mikael Saastamoinen värittää ja venyttää.

Katu Kaiku sai alkunsa kesällä 2013, kun kolme nuorta muusikkoa kantoi soittimensa Kaisaniemen puistoon Helsingissä. Kadulla löytynyt keskinäinen luottamus innosti kokeilemaan jazzstandardien sijaan oman materiaalin ja ilmaisun tuottamista. Sittemmin Katu Kaiku on esiintynyt muun muassa Pori Jazzeilla, Jazz-Espalla ja Tampere Jazz Happeningeilla Suomen Young Nordic Jazz Comets-edustajana ja tehnyt yhteistyötä suomalaisten jazztaiteilijoiden, kuten Verneri Pohjolan, Teemu Viinikaisen ja Seppo Kantosen kanssa.

TOKYO/KUOPIO-julkaisu koostuu yhtyeen originaalisävellyksistä.

Adele Sauros – tenor and sopranp sax
Mikael Saastamoinen – double bass
Erik Fräki – drums

My First Hit Song
Well Well Wells
Our Argument
Last Minute at the Disco
Cherry Blossom



Gonzalo Rubalcaba - Charlie (2015)

Nació el 27 de mayo de 1963 en La Habana, Cuba. Compositor y pianista cubano, considerado una de las principales figuras del jazz afro-cubano.

Julio Gonzalo González Fonseca, estudió música en el conservatorio de su ciudad natal desde 1971 a 1983 y ya en los años ochenta salió de gira por Europa y algunos países africanos formando parte de la Orquesta Aragón, una de las más importantes de su país.

Su carrera profesional dio un giro de 180 grados cuando el contrabajista Charlie Haden, que ya lo había escuchado con anterioridad en Cuba, lo llamó para que se incorporara a su grupo. Así fue que con él, Rubalcaba debutó en el Festival de Jazz de Cuba en 1986 y posteriormente en el Festival de Jazz de Montreux en 1990.

Aquel debut fue grabado y publicado en el álbum Discovery, lo que supuso el espaldarazo definitivo para Rubalcaba. Su perfecto conocimiento del trío de jazz quedó de manifiesto y tanto la critica como el público, vieron en él a uno de los grandes pianistas del jazz contemporáneo.

En 1987 graba su primer disco a su nombre para el sello Messidor, titulado Mi Gran Pasión, un auténtico éxito de crítica y público. El disco le abre las puertas del sello Blue Note con el que firma un contrato que le permite grabar su primer disco en vivo desde el Festival de Montreux (1990), donde volvió en trío junto a Paul Motian a la batería y Charlie Haden al contrabajo.

Con una sólida educación musical y un gran talento, Gonzalo Rubalcaba produce en 1999 su disco Inner Voyage (Blue Note), posiblemente el disco de jazz más importante de su amplia discografía. Encuadrado en la era post-bop, es un virtuoso instrumentista que está considerado como una de las principales figuras del jazz afro-cubano.

En su repertorio encontramos standards, clásicos del jazz, como Caravan, donde demuestra el dominio de la estética formalista y las acariciadas influencias de la música de su origen, la cubana, creando una versión llena de jazz tradicional y el sentimiento de la música afroantillana aprovechada al máximo por sus conocimientos de la materia e instrucción académica.

El éxito de ese disco, hizo posible que Rubalcaba fuera elegido ese mismo año por la prestigiosa revista Piano & Keyboard entre los 60 pianistas más importantes del Siglo XX, compartiendo ese honor con Duke Ellington, entre otros.

Actualmente reside en la localidad de Coral Springs, Florida, y su actividad musical es, además de intensa, extraordinariamente buena. Ha editado junto a su amigo Charlie Haden, un disco de boleros titulado Nocturne con la participación, entre otros, de Pat Metheny.

Rubalcaba ha declarado que sus mayores influencias han sido su primer maestro, Pedro Hernández, Dizzy Gillespie, que lo colocó en el mapa mundial de la música, y el bajista Charlie Haden que batalló para vencer las restricciones del embargo estadounidense y le facilitó la conquista de auditorios mayores. Charlie (el disco) es un homenaje bellísimo de Rubalcaba a la música de su amigo, el inolvidable Charlie Haden. Rubalcaba deja de lado el calor caribeño y con su piano tiñe de nocturnidad, emoción, buen gusto y elegante virtuosismo las composiciones de Haden, junto a los miembros de su habitual trío, Matt Brewer (contrabajo) y Marcus Gilmore (batería), y los invitados Adam Rogers en guitarras y Will Vinson en saxofones. Para escuchar y mirar al infinito por la ventana.

1. First Song (5:58)
2. Sandino (11:48)
3. La Pasionaria (9:58)
4. Hermitage (9:20)
5. Bay City (8:55)
6. Blue In Green (4:36)
7. Nightfall (9:07)
8. Transparence (6:03)
9. Silence (6:51)

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: piano
Will Vinson: saxophones
Adam Rogers: guitars
Matt Brewer: bass
Marcus Gilmore: drums