Monday, April 25, 2016

David Fiuczynski - Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian MicroJam! (2016)

David Fiuczynski is without a doubt one of the greatest guitarists in the world of jazz and rock today, both from a technical and from a creative/compositional stanpoint.
Originally known as the funanbolic guitarist and founder of funk-jam band Screaming Headless Torsos, David has since evolved his craft immeasurably via a string of remarkable releases which investigate and develop the integration of microtonal canons and techniques with western grooves.
Lunar Crush (with John Medeski), Black Cherry Acid Lab (with Mark Shim) and Kif Express have all been milestones of Professor Fiuczynski's (head of the Planet MicroJam Institute at Berklee) quest leading up to Planet MicroJam, his first release on RareNoiseRecords.
Fiuczynski opened the Pandora’s Box on non-Western tuning on his 2012 RareNoiseRecords debut, Planet MicroJam. He pushes the envelope even further on his latest microtonal project, Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian MicroJam! Jointly dedicated to 20th century classical composer Olivier Messiaen and innovative hip-hop record producer J Dilla, this ambitious venture has the guitarist-composer pursuing his passion for the notes that fall between the cracks with his intrepid microtonal crew. The seven movements that comprise Flam! instigated by Fiuczynski receiving a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, show the connections between exotic bird calls and J Dilla’s famous ‘flam beats’ while also referencing the colors of Messiaen’s music, Gagaku, the ancient court music of Japan, and other Pan-Asian ingredients. The three extra tracks that comprise Blam! feature special guest Rudresh Mahanthappa on alto saxophone. Fiuczynski is joined on both portions of his latest release by former Microjam Institute students Utar Artun on microtonal keyboard, Yazhi Guo on suona (Chinese oboe) and percussion, Helen Sherrah-Davies on violin, Jack Sherman on microtonal keyboard, Justin Schornstein on bass and Alex Bailey on drums.

1  Loon-Y Tunes
2  Dance of the Uirapuru
3  Flam   
4  Q&A Solitaire
5  Oiseaux jdillique
6  Gagaku Chord Candy
7  Waldstimmen
8  Uira Happy Jam
9  Organ Wren
10 Loon-Ly Solitaire


David Fiucsynski - guitar
Rudresh Mahanthappa - alto saxophone
Utar Artun - microtonal keyboard
Yazhi Guo - suona (Chinese oboe) and percussion
Helen Sherrah-Davies - violin
Jack Sherman - microtonal keyboard
Justin Schornstein - bass
Alex Bailey - drums 


Lluis Capdevila - Diaspora (2016)

Label: Self Released

Lluis Capdevila grew up by the vineyards of EL PRIORAT, near the Mediterranean Sea (Catalonia, Northeast of Spain). His search for freedom, expression and creativity soon connected him to improvisation and composing. Jazz music brought him to New York, where he attended the Aaron Copland School of Music -with the help of a Fulbright grant- and received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University.
Based in Manhattan, he shared the stage with established musicians Ray Anderson, Ugonna Okegwo and Elliot Zigmund and emerging talents Stan Killian, Bryan Copeland and Kush Abadey in venues like the 55 Bar, Whynotjazz, Harlem Tavern and Cleopatra’s Needle.
His debut album DIASPORA (2016 release) features his original compositions and the talents of Petros Klampanis (bass) and Luca Santaniello (drums).

1. Long Time No See
2. Leaving Spain
3. Another Day
4. If I Tell You the Truth
5. Workshop
6. My Romance
7. Contemplation
8. Cabana Leo
9. East Broadway

Lluis Capdevila (piano)
Petros Klampanis (bass)
Luca Santaniello (drums) 


Alain Bédard Auguste Quartet - Circum continuum (2016)

Label: Effendi Records

Le groupe Auguste, que dirige Alain Bédard et pour qui il est compositeur, fête cette saison son 20ème anniversaire de création. Dans le but de souligner le lancement du nouvel album « Circum Continuum » et cet événement particulier de sa carrière, il aimerait pour mettre en valeur ce nouveau projet, donner des concerts au niveau international. La combinaison unique, des idées créatrices des musiciens du groupe et de leur performance due à leurs expériences musicales et influences diverses, fait en sorte que le récent produit se démarque par son originalité et sa qualité. L’aspect mélodique très fort des pièces, ainsi que les assises rythmiques et harmoniques poussées, plus la complexité des formes donnent un son et un ton autant unique, que moderne, que cohérent à l’ensemble. Les différentes critiques reçus par l’ensemble, au cours des années, témoignent autant maintenant à décrire que le groupe a un potentiel très particulier. L’accueil chaleureux et unanime, les éloges qu’il a reçu du public et des professionnels du jazz international a toujours confirmé sa grande capacité de déploiement, son intelligence et sa magie autant sur scène que sur disque, quelque soit la formation. Une formation made in Québec.

Alain Bedard “Auguste” Quartet is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its creation ! To celebrate it, they present their brand new album “Circum Continuum”. Jazz Made In Québec !

1  Coupures    
2  La Silva Major
3  Face Time Oracle    
4  Circum Continuum    
5  Chikako    
6  Les Voiles
7  Blue Mitch    
8  Oelo    
9  Umami de Seine
10 Vrai-Faux-Printemps    
11 Noirceur Passagère    
12 Garissa    
13 Le Gras Mollet

Samuel Blais - saxophones
Félix Stüssi - piano
Alain Bédard - contrebasse
Michel Lambert - drums


Kenneth Dahl Knudsen - Clockstopper (2012)

Label: LongLife Records

Not much is known about Danish bassist Kenneth Dahl Knudsen, even his own website reveals little about his personal story, only that he has won several awards, including being voted "Jazz musician of 2010 in northern Denmark," has been fortunate to have performed the music he loves for most of his life and claims inspiration from the music of John Coltrane and Igor Stravinsky. Delivering his second album as leader on Clockstopper, Knudsen leads a core quintet of international players, which he later turns into a skilled septet by adding saxophone and trombone. The musicians interpret a select repertoire of sophisticated and intricate pieces making for an album of pure modern jazz.

Recognizing that starting off with your best effort is a positive move, Knudsen's septet begins with "Hadeans Arrival," a forceful hard-driving tune employing the horn section of Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski, fellow Dane, trombonist Jonas Lindh and saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, from Philadelphia, who delivers a wonderful solo as the center-piece of the tune. Knudsen then sets the stage for renowned Danish pianist Soren Moller and Israeli-born jazz guitarist Gilad Hekselman, who provide further highlights of the piece. There are some stark moments on the melodically moving "Couchophobia," while the music takes a different turn on the slow-paced and dark-toned "Tucked In."

The modern sounds of the disc continue on the challenging "Time Trip," and "Sheeps and Raptors," where deliberately strong statements from the bassist offer some of his best work on the album. The music continues to evolve on "Glimpse" and "Beautiful Behavior," which feature Grammy nominated drummer Johnathan Blake. The set comes to a close on another of the bassist's intricate compositions with "Time To Go."

Kenneth Dahl Knudsen may not be a household name in the jazz genre outside of Denmark, but his Clockstopper is indeed an accomplishment deserving attention from modern jazz enthusiasts—not so much for his chops on the bass but rather, for his talents as a composer. Knudsen refuses to play it safe by performing standards or treading on the familiar jazz landscape here, instead he journeys down a more progressive road with compositions that move the music forward —on Clockstoppers, jazz moves to a modern beat.  

Hadeans Arrival
Tucked In
Sheeps & Raptors
In Our Night
Beautiful Behaviour
Time To Go

Kenneth Dahl Knudson: bass
Jaleel Shaw: saxophone (1, 4, 9)
Jonas Lindh:trombone (1, 4, 9)
Gilad Hekselman: guitar
Soren Moller: piano
Johnathan Blake: drums
Tomasz Dombrowski: trumpet



nOx.3 - Nox Tape (2016)

Source & Label: Jazz Village

nOx.3 brings together three open-minded and individual personalities who are part of the new generation of musicians who want to make jazz a form of music with a definite contemporary connection. Always looking out for new musical trends, the saxophonist Rémi Fox, the pianist Matthieu Naulleau and the drummer Nicolas Fox are determined to join the jazz tradition which feeds off so-called classical music and popular music, playing with them both. Through their regular work with the sound engineer Valérian Langlais and their use of acoustic and electronic instruments (MOOG, SPD-SX, sensor bar), the three musicians produce a variety of original, inspired sounds together. Their identity derives from the connection between purely ‘noxian’ melodies and improvisations and beats from the contemporary electro scene (Amon Tobin, Flying Lotus, Dorian Concept, Nobukazu Takemura, Ryoji Ikeda, etc.).

The band was set up in 2013 by the saxophonist Rémi Fox as part of his ‘Artist and Performer’s Diploma’ at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. They recorded their first EP in April, 2014, with the sound engineer Valérian Langlais. This initial opus was applauded by the journalist Pascal Anquetil in Jazz Magazine: “The three musicians like to call their music free electro with improvisational tendencies that affects anyone with a pulse. It’s much better than they claim.  On this first, promising record, they deliver an intense, dense form of music punctuated by powerful, multiple rhythms and rich in harmonic surprises and hypnotic atmospheres. There’s no doubt about it, they’re a band to watch.”

After a string of concerts, they recorded their first album in March, 2015, at the La Buissonne studio with the sound engineers Gérard De Haro and Valérian Langlais. WAÏ NOX came out six months later on the label Collectif Loo.

That same year, nOx.3 was the prize-winning band at the RéZZo FOCAL springboard Jazz festival in Vienna, and this gave the musicians the chance to record a second album on the label JazzVillage / Harmonia Mundi and to have help distributing their work, as well as artistic and promotional support for a year. The trio recorded in Lausanne at the Studio du Flon with the sound engineer Greg Dubuis in November, 2015. True to their original intentions, the three musicians affirmed their choice to make contemporary, electronic music at this session, without forgetting their attachment to jazz and improvised music.

Expansion III
Mademoiselle Delay
Pas Peur

Rémi Fox, saxophones
Matthieu Naulleau, piano
Nicolas Fox, drums


Christoph Neuhaus Trio - Matter of Three (2014)

Source & Label: Unit Records

After the successful release of his Debut CD "Directions", with the Christoph Neuhaus Quintet feat. Adrian Mears (UNIT Records) in 2013, which featured only original compositions, the South Germany based guitarist Christoph Neuhaus and his trio exclusively present interpretations and arrangements of standard material and compositions by other contemporary composers on the new Album "Matter of Three", his sophomore release on UNIT Records.

-To develop a new, fresh and own approach to well known musical material, integrate the rich tradition at the same time and present all this in the classical guitar trio format has always been a great desire and challenge for me - says Neuhaus and adds:
-In this lineup the guitar has a very special responsibility and I'm grateful to be able to realize this project with such wonderful and top-class musicians.

It is rare that a young artist strikes such a perfect balance between chops and taste. Christoph Neuhaus does so in very empathetic company on his outstanding sophomore release ¦"Matter of Three" Bill Milkowski

One of German's up and coming young stars! Adrian Mears 

1 The Wail
2 My Ideal
3 Falling Grace
4 How Deep Is the Ocean
5 My Foolish Heart
6 Countdown
7 Nicolette
8 Blues to You

Christoph Neuhaus - Guitar
Jens Loh - Bass
Axel Pape - Drums


Sylvain BEUF / Michel PEREZ / Diego IMBERT - Triple Entente (2016)

Label: Trebim Music
Source: Culture Jazz

Il existe comme ça des plats que l’on peut resservir à satiété. Jamais repu !!! Des façons de faire, en particulier en musique, qui fonctionnent depuis… depuis fort longtemps alors pourquoi s’en priver. Par exemple le contrafact ou le fait de créer une nouvelle mélodie sur une trame harmonique préexistante : en jazz les exemples fourmillent, Donna Lee de Miles Davis est le contrafact d’Indiana, Groovin’ High l’alter ego de Whispering, Evidence de Monk celui de Just You Just Me, j’en passe. Faut pas être bien sorcier pour deviner que le Corps et Ames du CD du trio Triple Entente qui nous intéresse ici est construit sur Body and Soul, Dream Team sur You Stepped out of a Dream, Last Moments sur All The Things You Are, encore plus évident Confirm est le calque de Confirmation, moins aisé à deviner Intérieur Bleu est dans la vie courante Out of Nowhere, nous ne ferons pas l’injure de demander d’où provient Tikos Tikos. Dauphin Bleu, Azul et Amarillo nous ont résisté, personne n’est parfait, mais certaines tourneries nous sont familières. Une seule reprise dans cet enregistrement : Lennie’s Pennies de Lennie Tristano, contrafact de Pennies for Heaven lui même déjà inspiré de I Can’t Give you Anything But Love. Il est d’ailleurs possible de trouver dans l’ensemble de l’album une forte parenté avec l’esthétique tristanienne dans la souplesse et la fluidité des lignes qui brisent les carrures. Alors quoi, est-ce tout, est-ce suffisant ? Non bien évidemment, rien de l’exercice gratuit ici. Ce disque en évite les clichés, il en est même le plus parfait contre-exemple et l’on saura apprécier les soli de nos trois amis sans quoi tout cela ne serait que babillages. Qui plus est, et ça n’est pas superflu par les temps qui courent, cet enregistrement à un rapport généreux avec le je-ne-sais-quoi du bonheur.

01. Confirm
02. Lennie’s Pennies
03. Intérieur bleu
04. Corps et âmes
05. Dream Team
06. Amarillo
07. Tiko Tikos
08. Le dauphin bleu
09. Azul
10. Last Moment (Beuf)

Sylvain Beuf : saxophones
Michel Perez : guitare
Diego Imbert : contrebasse 


Jean-Paul Bideau - En-Mi (2016)

Label: Self Released

Guitarrista, arreglista y compositor mexicano.
Empieza su recorrido en el mundo de la música a los 12 años, tocando la guitarra acústica de su papá en su casa.
A los 17 años, al darse cuenta que a esto se quería dedicar, empezó a prepararse e inició clases particulares con músicos muy admirados por él, tales como Martino Shramm y Eduardo Piastro (escuela superior de jazz). Actualmente está con Ernesto Cortazar.

Hace aproximadamente diez años, mientras visitaba una tienda de instrumentos musicales, se topó con una Stratocaster Deluxe, decidió tocarla y no pudo mas que llevarla con él. Esa fue su primera Fender y aún la conserva.

A los 18 años empieza a tocar en un bar de Monterrey, pero su carrera profesional la inicia a los 21 años cuando empieza a tocar con grandes artistas latinos, entre los que destacan, Niurka Curbelo, Yuri, Ricardo Montaner, Noelia, Jan, Amanda Miguel y Diego Verdaguer, Amaury Gutiérrez, Sentidos Opuestos, Lynda, Belinda, La Quinta Estación, Fey, Alexander Acha, Luis Fonsi, Alejandra Guzmán, Alejandro Sanz, Tommy Torres, entre otros.

También ha participado en programas de televisión con grandes artistas como Ricky Martin, Thalia, Carlos Vives, Chayanne, Paulina Rubio, Elvis Crespo, entre otros.

En el 2008 lo invitan a participar en 2 conciertos en la ciudad de México con el excelente músico Tom Coster (Santana, Vital Information) los cuales considera las mejores presentaciones de su vida hasta el momento.

En el 2010, participa en los arreglos de el Musical TIMBIRICHE, el cual promete ser el mejor musical de México.

Entre las producciones en las que ha participado, están la Grabación del disco OUT IN THE BLUE de RADIO KAOS, el disco de CRAYOLAS, disco de DUETO, disco DULCE Y SALADO de ANA GABRIEL, disco Y TE VAS de JAN, disco ALEX GOMEZ calle 12 invitado TOM COSTER, DVD de Belinda en el auditorio nacional FIESTA EN LA AZOTEA, DVD de Ricardo Montaner en vivo LUNA PARK, PETER PAN Y ALADINO musical y la grabación disco de MATUTE ochenterizzimo (proyecto grabado en ITALIA con el productor Loris Ceroni) Carlos Baute, Ana Cirre, Jorge muñiz, Yuri, Fey (Primera Fila) , Pepe Hernandez.

Actualmente se mantiene muy ocupado siendo Clinician de Fender y tocando con Alexander Acha, Amaury Gutiérrez, Luis Fonsi (en mexico) , Antonio Orozco, Pepe Hernandez, Pedro Julio Aviles, Tom coster, Merche, Aranza, Emmanuel, y director musical de Fey.

1 Flying to Taiwan
2 Doña Gaby     
3 Amanecer     
4 Cuba Libre   
5 Funkeando     
6 Recuerdos     
7 Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile)
8 En Mi

Tom Coster
Pepe Hernández
Scott Kinsey
Alex Gomez
Jean Paul Bideau
Ludovico Vagnone
Federico Barragan
Pedro Julio Aviles
Jorge Pacheco 


Francesco Geminiani - Colorsound (2016)

Label: Self Released
Source: Bandcamp 

The Colorsound trio showed up at the "Bunker Studio" in Brooklyn on April 2015 and recorded a new set of music, late at night...
The sound of colors and the direct inspiration of what is around us are at the core of this Album.
Those brief trio pieces were all born from an improvisation and voluntarily let the band dictate the forms and the direction of each one of them. Francesco Geminiani on Tenor Saxophone is joined by the great artistry of Mark Schilders on Drums and Rick Rosato on Bass to shape his ideas on Colorsound.

New York City based saxophonist Francesco Geminiani comes from beautiful Verona (IT) before moving to Switzerland and then the US. An endless musical curiosity drives him across styles and melodies, sharing the stage with great human beings across the New and the Old World. Inspired by the masters, he embraces impressionism to connect with the curious listener.

1. It Could Happen to Everyone 06:36
2. Agata Rossa 05:21
3. French Blues 04:26
4. Agata Blu 04:56
5. Ambra 05:38
6. Mountain Pirates 05:28
7. Theme for Ernie 04:49
8. LastOne 05:50

Francesco Geminiani/Tenor Saxophone and composition
Mark Schilders/Drums
Rick Rosato/Bass 


Tassos Spiliotopoulos - In The North (2016)

Label: Anelia Records
Source: Cdbaby

‘In the North’ is the third album by guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos and his first since his relocation from London to Stockholm. Originally from Athens, Greece, Tassos Spiliotopoulos spent the better part of twelve years living in London and establishing a solid reputation as one of the most exciting, up and coming guitarists in the UK Jazz scene. He worked with some of the country’s most celebrated jazz musicians including Kenny Wheeler, Gary Husband, Asaf Sirkis, John Parricelli, John Etheridge and appeared in several critically acclaimed albums while at the same time maintaining a busy international touring schedule both as sideman and as bandleader.

In 2013 after a period of introspection Tassos felt it was time to move on. Having family ties to Sweden he decided to settle in Stockholm where, in his own words, ‘..the environment seemed right for reflection and exploration’. But between the challenges of settling in a new country, world tours with the Asaf Sirkis Trio and producing for up and coming singer/songwriter Jenny Holmgren it would take Tassos another couple of years to return to recording as a bandleader. It was while taking part in a project called ‘Tune-up Järva’ and meeting saxophonist Örjan Hultén and his trio that Tassos came up with the idea to record ‘In the North’. ‘.. I was looking for a band to play with in Stockholm and when I run into Örjan, Fredrik and the other guys we clicked instantly… I thought, here is a band I can really play with..’

A few local gigs later the new quartet of Tassos Spiliotopoulos, Örjan Hultén, Palle Sollinger, Fredrik Rundqvist headed to ‘Small House’ studios in Tyresö to record ‘In the North’. An album that Tassos considers his best recorded work yet and one that confirms his reputation as one of the most accomplished guitarists of his generation and a musician that brings something truly new to the Jazz table. As with previous Tassos Spiliotopoulos albums, the music builds on to the modern Jazz idiom, but this time new influences from greek folk music, film music, flamenco, blues and fusion are incorporated. ‘.. I never wanted to be a specialist in any one style of music.. rather to let all the different influences blend into my own style..’ For all his technical prowess Tassos never loses sight of what is important and allows the melodic and intimate elements of his music to bring the album together. The quartet interprets Tassos’ compositions with grace and confidence while interplay and high energy improvisation is central to their performance.  

1. Waterfall
2. Emerald Blues
3. By Way of Fire
4. Poimenikon (Shepherd's Minor)
5. Friday Frolics
6. Downfall Monologue
7. Underground
8. Old Demons

Tassos Spiliotopoulos
Örjan Hultén
Palle Sollinger
Fredrik Rundqvist  


James Hughes & Jimmy Smith Quintet - Ever Up & Onward (2015)

James Hughes: saxophone
Jimmy Smith: trumpet
Phil Kelly: piano
Takashi Iio: bass
Nate Winn: drums

Audio Culture
Luca's Interlude
East Detroit
There Is A Balm In Gilead
Drum Intro
Penguins and Bunny Rabbits
Keepin' It Real
Transgender Fenderbender
I'll Remember April
I'll Close My Eyes

Audio Culture (J. Smith)
This is tune that I wrote a few years back. It was inspired by one of my biggest personal influences, the late, great Woody Shaw. 

Dots (J. Hughes)
This song is like a sugar rush, bursts of color and playful energy.  I think we all need that from time to time.  When I wrote this, it reminded me of the sound and feeling of laughter when musicians get together.

Luca's Interlude (J. Hughes)
For Luca Iio, who caused us to reschedule our second recording session.  Welcome to the world baby Luca!

East Detroit (J. Smith)
East Detroit is a recent composition, inspired by the astonishing musical spirit of our drummer, Nate Winn. Detroit is incredibly fortunate to have so many world class musicians on the scene and Nate is among the very best. His unique vibe can only come from a true Detroiter. 

There Is A Balm in Gilead (African-American Traditional/Arr. J. Hughes)
I grew up in the church, always sang in the choirs and played piano for them, even did a ten year stint as choir director.  This has long been one of my favorite spirituals.  It deals with our experiences, pains and hardships, to which we often shake our head and ask, “is there no remedy?” 

Drum Intro
We though it would be appropriate to have Nate Winn set the energy for Viridian.

Viridian (J. Hughes)
It is not just the color green, but a philosophical movement.  I wrote this tune using monochromatic harmony and shifting harmonic meters.  Instead of a melody driving the piece, I emphasized harmony and harmonic rhythm which resulted in a tune that is reminiscent of an impressionistic painting.

Zebras, Penguins and Bunny Rabbits (J. Hughes)
I have so much love for my three little nieces, Shea, Alexa and Mira that I had to write a tune for them.  I asked them what their favorite animals were and this was their response.  I was so moved by their unabashed curiosity, passion, and love for the world around them, that even now when I listen back to this track I can see their bright eyes and adorable little smiles.

Keepin' it Real (J. Smith)
This is the first composition that I ever wrote. Written over the chord changes to Hank Mobley's This I Dig of You, I have always felt that this tune works really well uptempo. 

Transgender Fender Bender (J. Smith)
Transgender Fender Bender is a minor blues that was inspired by an (also minor) and rather bizarre auto accident that I witnessed while hanging out in the East Village of NYC a few years back. The exchange that ensued between the drivers was a scene that I just couldn’t resist musically documenting. This is the result. 

I’ll Remember April (DePaul, Johnston, & Raye/Arr. J. Hughes)
This is just a fun tune to play. A jam session favorite for many years, I thought it could use a little freshening up. I wanted to restore some of that spark it had so I gave it a light-hearted treatment, sprinkled with dissonance and unpredictable twists and turns.

I'll Close my Eyes (Kaye/Reid)
This is a very straight forward and in-the-pocket version of one of our very favorite standards. Though we altered the turn around and outro to change it up just a bit, it by and large stays true to its original romantic sound. 

(James Hughes/James Hughes Music, BMI)
(Jimmy Smith/Podikins Music, ASCAP)

James would like to thank:
Jimmy, Phil, Takashi and Nate for their friendship, dedication to this project, and outstanding performance;  Jeff Pedraz, Josh Ford, Mark Byerly and Leslie Kelly for their talent and efforts in producing this; Molly Hughes for her unending support, love and companionship; and the Hughes, Higle, Vickery, Siegel and Parker clans for being good people!  Lastly I would like to acknowledge God, the ultimate creator, whose plan is still unfolding. 

Peace, Love and Harmony!

Jimmy would like to thank:
James, Phil, Takashi and Nate for the music and for their friendship; My wife Liz, mother Linda, brother Patrick and the rest of my friends and family for their continued love and support. Mark Byerly, Jeff Pedraz, Josh Ford & Leslie Kelly for helping us make this recording happen.

“What we play is life.” (Louis Armstrong)