Thursday, May 19, 2016

Adam O'Farrill - Stranger Days (2016) SUNNYSIDE RECORDS


Adam O'Farrill - Stranger Days (2016)

Though he has only been at it for a short time, Adam O'Farrill has displayed maturity in his music beyond his 21 years. The young trumpeter/composer was introduced to the music world early on and quickly ascertained the importance of history, hard work and collaboration to realize his voice as an artist. On his debut recording as a leader, Stranger Days, O'Farrill introduces his fantastic and highly interactive quartet of the same name, showcasing distinctive and subtly programmatic original pieces. 

The Brooklyn born and raised O'Farrill comes from a celebrated musical lineage: his grandfather, the Cuban composer/arranger Chico O'Farrill; his father, pianist and composer Arturo O'Farrill; and his mother Alison Deane, a classical pianist. Growing up in a musically rich environment, his parents showing him everything from Oscar Peterson to Steely Dan to Olivier Messiaen, it was only natural that he fell into it, first with piano lessons and then to the trumpet when he was 8 years old. 

It was the influence of many, including his father and his bandmates, that led O'Farrill to appreciate the aspects of community within music, but it was the influence of his older brother and drummer Zack that really helped him deepen his studying and listening. Together they shared their love of jazz, traded recordings and played together on a daily basis. To this day, they have a deep musical connection that is apparent when they are on the bandstand. 

O'Farrill's evolution has been a fast one and much of that is due to the teachers he has had. His first trumpet teacher was the great Jim Seeley, followed by studies with the likes of Nathan Warner, Thomas Smith, Cecil Bridgewater, and Laurie Frink. The latter he briefly studied with at Manhattan School of Music, where he is in his final semester and where he met his first composition instructor, Reiko Füting, who had a profound impact on O'Farrill's approach to composition. 

It wasn't long before listeners began to take note of O'Farrill's talent. He has performed extensively with his father, most often in his sextet, Boss Level, and in the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, including on the Grammy nominated Cuba: The Conversation Continues. It is O'Farrill's recent association with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa that has garnered him the most attention, as he has placed himself alongside one of the most important musical conceptualists of the past decade, on the highly lauded Bird Calls. Other creative artists that Adam has worked with include Gabriel Zucker, Stephan Crump, JIL, Sister Helen, Fred Ho, Onyx Collective, and Samora Pinderhughes. 

Stranger Days was originally assembled in February 2014 as a quick addition to a triple bill. O'Farrill naturally chose his coconspirator and brother for the drum chair and then a couple of his longtime musical friends (he sees them as older brothers) to join the mix, tenor saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and bassist Walter Stinson. 

Along with music, O'Farrill loves films. His appreciation of cinema has strengthened his view of narrative and character within his music. His intention in his music is to permit a balance between the individual identities of the musicians and the direction of the music, in many cases to tell a story, carried by the overall band sound. Therefore, he needed musicians who he could trust to bring authenticity to the compositions, along with their distinctive personalities (and humor). O'Farrill has that in his friends, the crew of Stranger Days. 

The recording begins with “A&R Italian Eatery,” a laid back introductory waltz that allows a playful dialogue between the band members. The piece depicts 'those old New York Italian restaurants where all the regulars are sitting around shooting the shit' (as Adam says). Named after the Camus novel, “The Stranger” is a Mingus inspired study of the story's main character's psychological murkiness, the solo trumpet intro interpreting the waves of an Algerian beach. “Survival Instincts” is a real challenge, as this ensemble piece presents a variety of difficult sequences that the musicians have to survive, like bosses that must be defeated before moving on to the next level of a video game. 

A Lefkowitz-Brown sax 'monologue' introduces Stinson's “Why She Loves,” an enigmatic, yet moving piece that truly showcases everyone's musical character. “Alligator Got The Blues” is swampy and lurking, a slightly elegiac piece that picks up pace under a striking sax solo. Stinson also penned “Forget Everything You've Learned At School,” a tough piece that wittily represents a teacher and a poor student throwing all they learned out the window. 

“The Cows and Their Farmer Walt” was written with the imagination of Stinson as a disgruntled farmer. This piece was deeply inspired by the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Band Concert (1935), but in this case the tornado is Zack's thunderous drums, which inspired Adam to dub him 'Brother Nature.’ Following this tremendous drum solo, “The Courtroom” continues the story as a judge (bass), a politician (sax), and an environmental scientist (trumpet) try to come to terms with what happened after this natural disaster, not to mention what happened to the cows and their farmer. 

The grooving and pointillistic “Building the Metamorphosen Bridge” utilizes a system of improvising where certain bass positions signal certain harmonic intervals that the horns can solo on. This is the final piece in a trilogy of sorts that began with “The Cows,” as the building of the bridge is a sign towards progress and development. Closing in a more traditional vein, “Lower Brooklyn Botanical Union” is a contrafact of Billy Strayhorn's “U.M.M.G.” and also contains a hip salute to O'Farrill's grandfather, utilizing a piece of the flute melody from his masterwork, The Second Afro Cuban Jazz Suite. The piece concludes the album in a way that shows how modernist the ensemble is, but also has a deep respect and understanding of what came before. 

The mightily talented Adam O'Farrill has assembled a singular group in Stranger Days. Together, they have created a quiet, intense, at times humorous, and at all times entertaining debut album.

01. A & R Italian Eatery 03:29
02. The Stranger 10:17
03. Survival Instincts 06:50
04. Why She Loves 08:52
05. Alligator Got The Blues 05:51
06. Forget Everything You've Learned At School 05:44
07. The Cows and Their Farmer Walt 07:40
08. The Courtroom 03:16
09. Building The Metamorphosen Bridge 05:16
10. Lower Brooklyn Botanical Union 06:15

Released April 29, 2016 

Adam O'Farrill - trumpet 
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown - tenor sax 
Walter Stinson - bass 
Zack O'Farrill - drums



Michael Dease - Father Figure (2016)

Style: Modern Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Paying it forward is simply a given in jazz. Long before the music was welcomed in ivory tower institutions and codified for classroom consumption at all levels, seasoned musicians were sharing their hard-earned knowledge with aspiring youngsters on bandstands and in basements, serving as guides, exemplars, nurturers, and teachers all at once. Those experienced players were musical father figures, helping the next generation(s) along on their quest to join them, and that's a role that trombonist Michael Dease aspires to on this, his third date for Posi-Tone and his seventh release in total.

Dease's paternal instincts have, no doubt, grown by leaps and bounds since he took on a larger role in jazz education at Michigan State University and became a father himself. Both experiences feed into Dease's need to do his part to bridge the gap between generations and bolster the ranks of those on the rise. Or at least that's what this album seems to say. Rather than build a band solely around known quantities for this date, Dease decided to tap into the youthful stream of musicians out there who are ready and eager to make their move. All of his choices in that department prove wise. Bassist Endea Owens is the biggest revelation here, possessing a wonderfully wide beat, an incredibly fine-tuned internal compass, pitch-perfect intonation, and solid technique. Then there's drummer Luther Allison, a player fully capable of working well in mellow and molten environments, and alto saxophonists Markus Howell and Immanuel Wilkins, strong-minded horn men who work well together and apart. Add to that list two established musicians—vibraphonist and label mate Behn Gillece and pianist Glenn Zaleski—and you have a solid band ready for action. 

 The eleven tracks presented by that band touch on the old and new. There are originals, songs from The Music Man, winners from the likes of trumpeter Claudio Roditi and the late pianist-educator Mulgrew Miller, and classics from the respective books of saxophonist Charlie Parker and trombonist Grachan Moncur III. This crew proves adept at handling all of it. They mine bluesy veins ("Church Of The Good Hustler," Moncur's "Riff Raff"), bop along with the best of them (Parker's "Confirmation"), swim in strong Brazilian currents (Roditi's "Annette's For Sure"), and capture the pure beauty embedded in the music ("Till There Was You"). Everybody gets a chance to shine, but it's Dease who shines brightest. His buttery tone, monster chops, and impeccable sense of musicality lead the way. He sets the bar high here, as any father figure would, and his bandmates rise to the challenge.




Marutyri - Inner Movements (2016)

Marutyri is a Rotterdam based, instrumental fusion band. The band got off to a flying start since their founding in September 2014. Marutyri played on the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival in 2015, were several times invited to the popular Dutch TV-show De Wereld Draait Door and they won the NPO Radio 6 Soul & Jazz Award for Best Talent. The deep and solid grooves, intense harmonies, story telling solo’s, and well arranged parts make Marutyri unique in the tougher-than-ever music business. How did this band become successful on such short notice? Well, delivering hard work on not only their compositions, but also making stunning live video’s and putting thought in a deadline based strategy, turned out to be highly effective. Most of the compositions, arrangements and project planning come from band leader and bass player Rik van der Ouw. The band shares artistic ideas, works hard and focussed and then sends their music off to the world.

With Inner Movements the band introduces the listener to a new chapter. It has brand new pieces that sound more orchestral, heavier and darker at some points. The compositions  contain deeper grooves, odd meter signatures and solo’s, which take the music to a new level. A lot of effort was put into creating an integrated whole. For more magic, string players were invited. Classical percussion was added by as well. But don’t worry, there’s still time to dance! The record gives enough funky freshness.

 1 Intro
2 Inner Movements
3 Stellar Kid
4 Kale     
5 Grump
6 The Feeling of Unity
7 Last Minute
8 City Streets

Rik van der Ouw - bass
Ruud van Halder - guitars
Thijmen Oberink - keyboards
Maurice Slot - drums
Roy Gielesen - percussion
Floris Windey - trumpet, flügelhorn
Dennis te Woerd - saxophone
Yiannis Marinos - trombone


Tullia Morand Quintet - Betibop' (2016)

Label: Plaza Mayor

L'album Betibop réunit les meilleurs moments de trois séances d'enregistrement en studio. Il s'agit de compositions et d'arrangements signés Tullia Morand, saxophoniste et jeune artiste de la scène jazz parisienne. Elle s'est entourée de grands musiciens de jazz français pour réaliser ses titres dans une atmosphère à la fois instinctive et fidèle aux racines du jazz dit "classique" mais aussi contemporaine et épurée. Une découverte made in Sunset.

Betibop takes the best of three studios recording sessions, featuring both original works and re-arrangements by Tullia Morand, saxophonist and young jazz artist of the parisian scene. She's surrounded with great french jazzmen to realise this tracks both faithful to the classic jazz tradition and modern, pure and subtle tones.

1  26-2
2  Betibop
3  Montalivet's blues
4  Contine nue   
5  L'ornithorynque
6  Nakyia   
7  Chichi   
8  To Faust In   
9  Last Years Game
10 This Way

Tullia Morand – sax baryton
Pierre Mimran – sax ténor
Serge Merlaud – guitare
Jean-Pierre Rebillard – c.basse
François Laudet – batterie


Bojan Krhlanko, Domen Gnezda, Hrvoje Galler - BIK3 (2016)

Label: Self Released
Source: Klub Metulj

The band from Slovenia (Europe) brings you original compositions in an electronic music environment incorporating smartphone technology.
Bojan Krhlanko graduated at the Carinthia State Conservatory in Klagenfurt (Austria). He collaborates with world-renown musicians, and regularly performs in European and Asian countries. He is recognized as a composer, music enthusiast, experimenter, and incorporator of environmental sounds. He is known for his unique musical approach on drums and the use of mobile phone in a musical context. A very creative musician, who is always researching areas of unheard, was the first musician to release an album made on a smartphone in its entirety (Pocket Music – Rise of the Androids). #DigitalWitchDoctor 
Domen Gnezda is one of the most recognizable guitarists of improvised, experimental and modern jazz music of the younger generation in Slovenia. He was a scholarship recipient at Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA), where he graduated with honors. He collaborates in numerous projects with Slovenian and international musicians for which he received the prestigious municipal award for international musical achievements. His palette of expressivity ranges from microtonality, 12-tone approaches, and abstract sound endeavors to polyrhythms, and traditional ways of expression. Besides playing guitar as his main instrument, he also uses effects, analog and modular synths, and other sound accessories. #AwardWinningMusician

Hrvoje Galler graduated in piano performance at the Music academy of Zagreb (Croatia). He is currently one of the most active and prospective jazz pianists of highest demand in Zagreb and Croatia. He is the recipient of the prestigious award “Porin” for the best jazz performance with the album “Runjić in Blue”. He is a very prolific jazz and film composer with an intriguing melodic approach to improvisation which oozes enchanting lyricism. For BiK 3 he uses analog synth and electric piano which allow him to play synth bass, electric solos, beautiful pads and everything in between. #WizardOfKeys


Andrew McAnsh - Illustrations (2016)

Label: Self Released
Source: Joyful Noise

Toronto based trumpeter Andrew McAnsh is busy performing with his “Illustrations Project.” He is currently involved in several creative groups and initiatives, as well as a composition society.
At Humber College, Andrew studied trumpet performance and music production, and played in the top studio ensembles under the direction of Pat Labarbera, Hilario Duran, Kirk MacDonald, and Denny Christianson. He has collaborated with Jack Dejohnette, Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, Terence Blanchard, and the New York Voices to name a few. Andrew has gone international, taking advantage of the rare opportunity to perform in Japan in the Global Jazz Orchestra, alongside the great trumpeter Bobby Shew.
After graduating, Andrew played in a jazz quartet aboard the Celebrity Cruise Lines for six months, has released two albums as band leader and worked on several other albums as producer.  He is currently composing for the CBC.
Andrew takes a flexible teaching approach, focused on the student’s musical interest.  He is proficient in jazz, classical, salsa, mariachi, pop, and funk.

Music and Zen have always been intertwined in the artistic vision of trumpeter/composer Andrew McAnsh. Currently, Andrew is working on releasing his debut studio album ‘Illustrations’ on June 29th 2016. “Do not listen to the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice inside yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things” – Zen Master Dogen    

1. Utopia pt 1 03:00
2. Utopia pt 2 05:49
3. Illustrations pt 1 01:28
4. Illustrations pt 2 06:36
5. Confabulation 04:46
6. Seven Seconds 07:48
7. 4 for 5 08:35
8. Nara pt 1 02:03
9. Nara pt 2 07:42
10.Osaka 08:36

Andrew McAnsh – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Jeff Larochelle – Tenor Saxophone
P.J. Andersson – Trombone
Mjaa Danielson – Voice (1,2,3,4)
Mara Nesrallah – Voice (5,8,9)
Geoff Young – Guitar (1,2,3,4,10)
Wes Allen – Bass (1,2,3,4,10)
Soren Nissen – Bass (5,6,7,8,9)
Ian Wright – Drums  


Kyle Nasser - Restive soul (2015)

Label: Aisa 
Source: Cdbaby

“Nice! Lots of terrific playing... my compliments to the musicians.”  Peter Erskine

Saxophonist Kyle Nasser was a student of Economics and Political Philosophy at Harvard University when his life was changed by an encounter with Hank Jones. The legendary pianist, then in his late 80s, visited Cambridge to teach and play a concert with the Harvard Jazz Band, making a profound impact on the young saxophonist. “Seeing him in peak form and expressing joy through music at such an advanced age was really deep,” Nasser recalls. “We took him out to dinner, ended up playing a three-hour session, and then he asked us to take him home so that he could get in some practicing before bed. That left a huge impression and reinforced that I should do this. I didn’t have any old investment banker friends that seemed very happy.”

Nasser graduated from Harvard and switched paths, leading him to another revered institution: Berklee College of Music. He’s now reaching another landmark along that path with his striking debut, Restive Soul, out March 25, 2015 A trace of the saxophonist’s former pursuit remains in the title, which was drawn from a quote by French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville ascribing his pursuit of politics to his own “restive and insatiable soul.” The album displays the keen intellect that landed Nasser at one of America’s most hallowed schools, along with the passion that steered him away from a potentially lucrative career in business to pursue his lifelong love of music.

The compositions that comprise Restive Soul combine fervent jazz playing by Nasser’s quintet – Jeff Miles (guitar), Dov Manski (piano), Chris Van Voorst (bass), and Devin Drobka (drums) – with elements from Nasser’s intensive study of western classical music. But this is no Third Stream hybrid, wearing its “classical” inspirations on its sleeve; instead, Nasser seamlessly assimilates counterpoint and long-form harmonic development into electrifying modern jazz pieces. Those concepts were then workshopped on the bandstand over the course of several years during the band’s regular Tuesday-night gigs at Brooklyn bar The Fifth Estate.

“I became obsessed with counterpoint at Berklee,” Nasser says. “You have to take traditional counterpoint courses, and it hit me that this is what I had been looking for and missing in a lot of the jazz that I’d been listening to and playing. I got the impression that a lot of people were writing tunes because they wanted to blow over them as opposed to having a conscious compositional direction to the piece. I wanted to make a quintet sound like an orchestra.”

The album opens with “For Rick B.,” a theme-and-variations tribute to Nasser’s most important teacher, New Bedford-area saxophonist and pianist Rick Britto, who passed away while Nasser was in the midst of writing the piece. No mournful elegy, the piece instead builds from a piquant sax-and-guitar melody over a surging rhythm. It’s followed by the floating, dream-like “Angelique,” a shimmering showcase for the rhythm section.

The title track illustrates that restlessness of spirit that drives an artist like Nasser with its persistent rock groove, driven by Miles’ serrated guitar. The dark-tinged cinematic feeling of “Shadow Army” is captured in its evocative title, while “Gyorgi Goose” refers to both avant-garde classical composer György Ligeti and a stuffed animal that Nasser received from his mother – twin inspirations evoked by the tune’s simultaneous dissonance and playfulness. The melody of “Radiator Lady” hints at the song hauntingly crooned by one of the memorable oddities in David Lynch’s Eraserhead,

“Trip To Lester’s” is an homage to Harvard professor emeritus and marijuana activist Lester Grinspoon, who would hold court for graduates at his home. Nasser’s piece conjures the atmosphere of those sessions and their crisscrossing, disjointed but stimulating conversations. “Whitestone” and “Ecstatic Repose” are impressionistic pieces, the former an attempt to capture the sunset vista of New York City as seen from the Whitestone Bridge, the latter a depiction of how the mind can be frenetic while the body is at rest. The album draws to a hopeful close with the folk-like melody of “Rise.”

While it wasn’t until the end of his tenure at Harvard that Nasser determined to pursue jazz as a career, his love for it began at the age of six. Kyle’s parents frequented a local restaurant in his native New Bedford, Massachusetts, that featured a live jazz band. He was immediately enthralled by the saxophone player, who ended up becoming his first teacher. Too small at the time to hold the saxophone, he started out on the clarinet, leading initially to a more classical education before he joined his junior high jazz band.

After graduating from Harvard and Berklee, Nasser moved to New York City in 2010. He has shared the stage with jazz luminaries such as Jim Hall, Hank Jones, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas and Ben Monder, among others. He’s also toured the U.S. and South America with his own music and with the collective quartet Beekman, which recently released its own debut album.

1. For Rick B.
2. Angelique
3. Restive Soul
4. Shadow Army
5. Gyorgi Goose
6. Radiator Lady
7. Trip to Lester's
8. Whitestone
9. Ecstatic Repose
10. Rise

Kyle Nasser - saxophone
Jeff Miles - guitar
Dov Manski - piano
Chris Van Voorst - bass
Devin Drobka - drums



Fabian Meyer Trio - Chrysalide (2016) UNIT RECORDS


Fabian Meyer's trio combines the old and new. Playing melodies in a loose way and intensely listening to each other, the trio offers a refreshing experience. I'm curious to see where this trio will go!

Shai Maestro (Avishai Cohen Trio, Shai Maestro Trio)

The Fabian Meyer Trio has it’s fingers on the pulse of time. The trio brings together Fabian Meyer on piano (graduate from the University of Music Stuttgart and Royal College of Music in Stockholm) Sebastian Schuster on bass (graduate from the University of Music Stuttgart an Cape Town) and Felix Schrack on drums (graduate from the University of Music Stuttgart, Würzburg and Cracow).

The pianist’s compositions lay the foundations for adventurous improvisations. Often contemplative but also full of energy, the tunes were created specially for this trio. Consistently seeking for new harmonic and rhythmic structures, the trio has found it’s own sound. While magical shimmering chords meet complex rhythms and classical elements meet loose melodies, the trio’s music is rooted in the jazz tradition and always of full clarity.

01. Rubato
02. Soso
03. Hin Und Her
04. Interlude
05. Flaschengeist
06. Simmer Down
07. Dreierhälften
08. Chrysalide
09. Caracole
10. Oktober

Fabian Meyer - Piano, compositions
Sebastian Schuster - Bass
Felix Schrack - Drums

Recorded at Loft Cologne
Recording August 24-26, 2015
Studio engineer and mastering by Christian Heck, Tonart Studio
All compositions by Fabian Meyer

Contact: +49(0)17638955960

Upcoming Concerts:
Jazz im Landschloss, Korntal-Münchingen D   02.06.2016
Bechstein-Centrum, Tübingen D   03.06.2016
Jazzclub in der Mitte, Reutlingen D   24.09.2016
Jazzclub Armer Konrad, Weinstadt D   02.02.2017