Friday, April 15, 2016

Jim Riggs & Stefan Karlsson - Texas Time (2016)

Jim Riggs - alto saxophone

As a University of North Texas student (1969–72), Riggs performed with the University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band. Riggs performed regularly with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra. Riggs performed with the Dallas Symphony on the European tour of the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, England, and Ireland. He recorded Prokoviev's Lieutenant Kijé, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Porgy and Bess, and An American in Paris with the Dallas Symphony. Riggs also appeared as a jazz soloist with the United States Navy Commodores in Washington, D.C.

Riggs is the leader and founder of The Official Texas Jazz Orchestra, a Dallas based ensemble dedicated to performing state of the art large jazz ensemble music. Riggs has conducted All-State Jazz Bands in Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee. Riggs has appeared as a featured performer and clinician at Jazz Festivals throughout the USA and Sweden. As a freelance artist he has performed with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Henry Mancini and Nelson Riddle. He also is a prolific studio-recording artist.

Until his retirement in August 2008, Riggs had been professor in the Jazz Studies and Performance Divisions of University of North Texas College of Music where he had taught applied saxophone, directed the Two O'Clock Lab Band, and taught Jazz Style and Analysis. Riggs joined the North Texas faculty in the fall of 1973. Riggs instructed many prominent alumni of the Jazz Studies program at North Texas.

Riggs directed the Two O'Clock Lab Band while coordinating the world's largest enrollment of saxophone students. The Two O'Clock Lab Band was named "winner" in Downbeat Magazine's "Annual Student Music Awards" in 1994, 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2008. He has produced many national and international award-winning saxophonists, including first place winners and finalists in the North American Saxophone Alliance Young Artist Competition, semifinalists in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition (Luis Hernandez 2002; Dave Pietro 1991 & 1996), and winners in Down Beat Magazine Student Music Solo Awards.

Riggs former students hold teaching and performing positions in numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States and in elite military bands in Washington, D.C. His students hold first call professional playing positions across the globe including Hamburg, New York City and Los Angeles.

Stefan Karlsson - piano

A native of Sweden, Stefan came to the United States in 1984 to study at the University of North Texas (UNT) due to his association with former UNT professors Rich Matteson, Jack Peterson and Jim Riggs. Stefan spent six years at UNT earning bachelor's and master's degrees.  While at UNT he became, for three years, a member of the well known One O'clock Lab Band, and received the "Outstanding Graduate Student in Jazz Studies Award" in 1991.  During his last year as a UNT student, Stefan signed a three-year recording contract with Justice Records in Houston, Texas. 

After graduation, Stefan lived in Denver, Colorado (1991-1994) and in Las Vegas, Nevada (1994-2002), where he fulfilled his duties as professor of music and coordinator of jazz studies at the University of Nevada.  In 2002, Stefan joined the jazz faculty in the division of jazz studies at the University of North Texas, where he taught until 2014. While at UNT, Stefan had a great deal of success with his combo class by implementing a guest artist residency program and recording experience for the students, which resulted in four combo CD releases.  He also established two student exchange programs between UNT's college of music and the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Conservatori Liceu in Barcelona, Spain.  As an active recruiter for the UNT jazz piano area, his former student accomplishments include:  first place winners of the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition and the Phillips Jazz Piano Competition in Pensacola; finalists in the All American Jazz Piano Competition and the Barry Harris Jazz Piano Competition; invitations to the Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead program at the Lincoln Center;  recipients of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award (sponsored by ASCAP) and the Yamaha Young Performing Artist award; numerous Down Beat student awards; keyboardist with famed Eminem; and various college teaching positions throughout the USA.  He has also been part of the Stanford Jazz Workshop for eight years as a clinician and performer.

Beginning fall 2015, Stefan will be joining the jazz studies faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington as a visiting professor  In addition to his teaching duties, Stefan stays very active as guest performer and Artist-in-Residence at concert venues, festivals, clubs, and universities worldwide.  His extensive travel schedule has taken him both as a performer and educator throughout Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Scotland, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and the United States.  His discography includes 72 recordings, with nine CD projects under his own leadership.  He has been a recording artist for Justice Records, Cambria/Troppe Note Records and currently Bebyne

Since 1996, Stefan has been a member of the Eddie Gomez Trio and Quartet (including Jimmy Cobb, Billy Drummond, Billy Hart, Nasheet Waits, Ed Soph, Jeremy Steig, and Rodrigo Villanueva), frequently touring Asia, Mexico, South America, Europe and the United States.  The group has recorded six CD projects. In addition to performing with the Eddie Gomez group, he has also had the opportunity to share the stage and recorded with such jazz greats as: Steve Gadd, Herb Ellis, Jim Ferguson, Lou Fischer, Carl Fontana, Tim Hagans, Steve Houghton, Javon Jackson, Clay Jenkins, Marc Johnson, Larry Koontz, Joe La Barbera, Rich Matteson, Red Mitchell, Dick Oatts, Rich Perry, Chris Potter, Dave Pietro, Rufus Reid, Jim Riggs, Marvin ‘Smitty” Smith, Duduka Da Fonseca, Lynn Seaton, Bob Sheppard, Alex Sipiagin, Ed Soph, Marvin Stamm, Jim White, Mike Pope, Magnus Broo, Tom Warrington, Jiggs Wigham, Li Xiaochuan, Eliot Zigmund, and many others.

A sample of appearances at international venues are:  JZ Clubs and Festival (China), Blue Note Jazz Clubs (Fukyoka, Tokyo, and Osaka), Cotton Club (Tokyo, Japan),  Mahidol University Jazz Festival (Thailand), New Morning Jazz Club (Paris, France), Fasching Jazz Club (Stockholm, Sweden),  Terrassa Jazz Festival (Terrassa, Spain), Vierzen Jazz Festival (Vierzen, Germany), Terzo Festival Internazionale Isola D’Elba (Elba, Italy), Festival des Rencontres (Capbreton, France), Body and Soul Jazz Club (Tokyo, Japan), Star Eyes Jazz Club (Nagoya, Japan), Jazz Club Jambouree (Barcelona, Spain), Muroran Jazz Festival (Muroran, Japan), Edinburg Festival (Edinburg, Scotland), Royal Academy of Music (Stockholm, Sweden), Conservatori Liceu (Barcelona, Spain), Conservatory of Music in Shanghai (China),  Contemporary Music Academy (Beijing, China), Contemporary Music Institute (Zhuhai, China), University of Adelaide (Australia), International Association for Jazz Educators conference (IAJE), Jazz Educators Network (JEN), and many others. 

In addition, Stefan has performed with the Dallas, Fort Worth, and Richardson symphony orchestras (including as an accompanist for vocalists Patti Austin and Monica Mancini).

Further, as a composer, Stefan is currently a published composer with BUG MUSIC in Hollywood, California  His original music is copyrighted through ASCAP His music was featured in the 1994 movie releases "Sugar Hill" (featuring Wesley Snipes), "Twenty Bucks" (featuring Christopher Loyd), and the 1997 Independent film “Strays.”  During the latter part of the 90’s, Stefan's music was frequently heard on the television series "Melrose Place," "Party of Five," “Wings” and "Homicide."  His original compositions are also published in the European Real Book (Sher Music) and the Colorado Cook Book.

Bolo Classique Records announces the March 18, 2016 release of “Texas Times”, the new recording by stellar jazz artists Jim Riggs and Steffan Karlsson. The two write, “For several years we have talked about playing duo music and recording together. Finally in the fall of 2014 we were presented with several opportunities that led to this recording. A friendship that goes back to 1980, this project is a special one extending from student to mentor and then to a professional relationship. The selected songs are tunes that feel comfortable in a duo setting and that we mutually share. Some are more well known than others, however our intention is to pay respect to the American Songbook. This is a ‘live recording’ with no over-dubbing and minimal edits. We recorded just a few feet from each other, in the same room without headphones, so what you hear is what we heard as we played. It seems that jazz and other serious music has taken a backseat in American culture. Evidence of this is the lack of quality performances on American radio and television. Our intention for this project was to record music that would be of interest to listeners of fine music. It seems that cultures worldwide possess a greater appreciation for the arts, and there is a need to help preserve jazz music as the great American art form”.

On a Misty Night
Our Waltz
The Second Time Around
Some Other Time
Good Morning Heartache
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Be My Love
All the Way
Young and Foolish
They Say It’s Wonderful


Available For Concert & Clinic Appearances

For further information, please contact: 


Dave Liebman & Richie Beirach - Balladscapes (2016)

Fast 50 Jahre. Eine Ewigkeit. Lyndon B. Johnson war damals noch Präsident, die Beatles standen zum letzten Mal bei einem Konzert auf der Bühne und der Film „My Fair Lady“ erhielt acht Oscars. Ein halbes Jahrhundert. So lange kennen und schätzen sich Dave Liebman und Richie Beirach schon als Menschen und Partner. Der heute 69-jährige Sopran- und Tenorsaxofonist und sein 68-jähriger Partner am Piano lernten einander bei einer Jamsession im Queens College in New York kennen. Zwei hungrige Studenten, berauscht, euphorisiert und inspiriert von all den Jazzgrößen, die für die Musiker jener Zeit den Horizont weiter nach hinten rückten.

Die beiden trafen sich regelmäßig. Entweder in Liebmans Loft an der 19. Straße in Manhattan oder in Beirachs Bude an der Spring Street. Der eine half dem anderen dabei, ein eigenes Vokabular herauszuarbeiten. Sie spielten, meist Freejazz in Stile des späten Coltrane, probierten alles Mögliche aus, ließen sich fallen und fanden allmählich einen gemeinsamen inneren Puls. Manchmal kam auch der Bassist Frank Tusa vorbei und ergänzte die kreative „Hanging Out“-Beziehung. Es sollte allerdings noch bis 1973 dauern, ehe die Seelenverwandten ihre erste gemeinsame Platte aufnahmen. Liebman war gerade mit Miles Davis in Japan unterwegs, als er Beirach traf, der sich just zur selben Zeit mit Stan Getz auf Tour befand. Zusammen mit Jack DeJohnette und Dave Holland nahmen sie schließlich Liebmans Debütalbum „First Visit“ auf.

Ein Song aus jener Session blieb den Freunden bis heute im Gedächtnis: „Round Midnight“. Das allererste Duett von zahllosen, die in den nächsten 43 Jahren folgen sollten, entweder bei Liveauftritten mit den Bands Lookout Farm und Quest oder aber anderen gemeinsamen Projekten. „Denn ein Duo“, erklärt der legendäre Produzent Michael Cuscuna in den Linernotes zu „Balladscapes“, „ist die wohl reinste und direkteste Form des musikalischen Dialogs. Es schenkt den Beteiligten eine ganz bestimmte Form von Freiheit, die sie für scheinbar endlose Solos voller Farbigkeit, Emotionalität und Tiefe nützen können und sich irgendwann darin verlieren. Alles, was Dave und Richie zusammen machen, besitzt enorm viel Substanz und Intelligenz, völlig unabhängig vom jeweiligen Kontext oder Genre.“

Obwohl Dave Liebman und Richie Beirach in den zurückliegenden Jahrzehnten ihre musikalischen Zwiegespräche regelmäßig mit Balladen anreicherten, ist „Balladscapes“  doch das erste reine Balladenalbum auf einem langen gemeinsamen Weg. Wer die musikalische Vita der Abenteurer jedoch kennt, der ahnt bereits, dass auch dieser Exkurs mitnichten automatisch auf dem glatt asphaltierten Mainstream enden muss. Die 13 im CMP-Studio in Zerkall aufgenommenen Songs beinhalten sowohl einige neue und alte Originalkomposition wie „Quest“ oder „Kurtland“, aber auch unorthodoxe Bearbeitungen von Johann Sebastian Bach („Siciliana“), Kurt Weill („This Is New“), Antonio Carlos Jobim („Zingaro“), Wayne Shorter („Sweet Pea“), Billy Strayhorn („Day Dream“) und natürlich John Coltrane („Welcome/Expression“). Dabei öffnet sich ein reiches, weites Feld, auf dem sich der Sopransaxofonist, der hier außerdem zum Tenorsaxofon sowie zur Flöte greift, und der Pianist im eingespielten, vertrauten, aber stets würdevollen Zwiegespräch nach Herzenslust aneinander reiben, ineinander verschränken und gegenseitig aufrichten können.

„In jeder meiner bisherigen Bands, an denen Richie beteiligt war, besaß er die Funktion eines Ankers, mehr als jeder Bassist und jeder Schlagzeuger“, preist Dave Liebman die besonderen Qualitäten Beirachs. „Denn seine Time ist einfach perfekt!“ Und so basiert das Zusammenspiel auch auf „Balladscapes“ auf einer inneren Symmetrie, die nur Menschen miteinander entwickeln können, die sich kennen und mögen. Seit fast einem halben Jahrhundert.

Two real jazz legends - saxophonist Dave Liebman and pianist Richie Beirach - join forces in this duet, playing ballads in the smallest possible band constellation.

Over the years, these two have used ballads in their performances and recordings, but this is the first all-ballad album they've done. And it's quite unusual in its approach. The program offers some originals (new and old), but includes far-ranging material from Bach, Weill, Jobim, Strayhorn, Shorter and Coltrane. Beirach and Liebman take fewer liberties with the material that one might expect and the music is better off for that restraint. This is a gorgeous, mesmerising chamber music recital. And like all great music, it bears fruit with every repeated listening.

April 15, 2016

Dave Liebman, soprano and tenor sax, flute
Richie Beirach, piano

Siciliana (J.S. Bach)
For All We Know (Fred Coots)
This Is New (Kurt Weill)
Quest (D. Liebman, R. Beirach)
Master of the Obvious (D. Liebman)
Zingaro (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
Sweet Pea (Wayne Shorter)
Kurtland (D. Liebman, R. Beirach)
Moonlight in Vermont (Karl Suessdorf)
Lazy Afternoon (Jerome Moross)
Welcome/Expression (John Coltrane)
DL (R. Beirach)
Day Dream (Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington)