Saturday, June 4, 2016

Jim Cullum Jazz Band - Porgy and Bess (Live) 2016 JAZZ PROMO SERVICES


JIM CULLUM - cornet, leader, Allan Vache-Clarinet, MIKE PITTSLEY – trombone, JOHN SHERIDAN – piano, Don Mopsick - string bass, Howard Elkins-banjo & guitar Ed Torres-drums
Narration by bass-baritone William Garfield    
"Porgy and Bess” transcription by John Sheridan with Randy Reinhart, Allan Vache and Jim Cullum.

Bandleader and cornetist Jim Cullum says that performing George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess as a jazz piece has been the highlight of his 50-year musical life. In performances on tour across the country, the Cullum band’s original jazz transcription of the Gershwin score has captured critical acclaim for its originality and for including virtually all the music from Gershwin’s folk opera.

This 1992 performance at The Landing in San Antonio is unique among the many jazz interpretations of Porgy and Bess for its inclusion of the distinctive and highly personal narration by bass-baritone William Warfield, known for his definitive portrayals of Porgy playing opposite Leontyne Price in the 1950s; and in the completeness of the musical selections— there are 28 compositions on the double album, including the little-known pieces from Gershwin’s opera, Buzzard Song and Oh, Doctor Jesus; and for its electric live performance captured at The Landing in San Antonio by the Grammy award-winning audio team of Ed Greene, Jim Anderson and Malcolm Harper.

The Dolby SR two-track recording from the audio truck on the night of performance had never been played back and was sourced for this recording. Every attempt was made by the audio team to preserve the warmth of the original analog recording in mastering and manufacturing the album.

The Story of Porgy and Bess — by Jim Cullum 

Washington Square Arch, New York City
“I’ll take New York in June (how about you?)”

Those are famous lyrics, and yes, if you’re in New York in June when the weather is perfect you might take my advice and start a stroll at the foot of 5th Avenue, at the Washington Square Arch. The Arch is much like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, except that it is smaller. It was built to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as President of the United States. Here you go. Bearing a bit to the southwest, heading diagonally across Washington Square, enjoy its many charms along the way: Numbers of old men play chess, sometimes with a few stragglers standing alongside, silently studying each move. There is a little dog park where people let their dogs sniff all around on the other dogs, and somehow there are no dog fights. Bocce balls are cast up and back over long greens. A few citizens nap in the sun. And of course, there are almost always a few lovers in embrace.

Jim's New York Office at Caffe Reggio
Some rush through the Square in a New York hurry. If you follow my suggestions you may take it slow and stop easily a few times and eventually come out on the southwest side of Washington Square where MacDougal Street heads off into Greenwich Village. Keep going. Your great reward is close. Two and one half blocks down on the west side of MacDougal Street you will find Caffe Reggio which has waited for you — waited patiently — and this since 1927. Caffe Reggio has not changed while it has waited.

Entering the cafe you will see the original tin ceiling and dark wood with little wooden statues and oil paintings that are quite dark, and a big old brass espresso machine that they do not use any more, and two-foot- square marble tables where customers must squeeze in even if it’s not crowded. In the center of the back wall there is a table tucked in an alcove. To the side and above the table is a pay telephone. This is my table, and starting with my discovery of Caffe Reggio in 1980 and continuing to this day, this table and telephone have served as my New York office. If another customer gets there before I do, I wait it out. Eventually, my table comes open and I move in. But I don’t suffer while I wait, for Caffe Reggio never fails, and I go after some of the regular menu items — espresso coffee, Italian pastries, real chocolate frappés and other stuff.
Often times however, I have been away from my New York office for as long as a couple of years. It was a coincidence that during one of those sabbaticals we began to work on our jazz band’s version of Porgy and Bess. John Sheridan was our principal arranger. This was in 1985 and 1986. Some of the band members looked on my Porgy and Bess plan with skepticism but work came along, and little by little as the whole thing emerged, it was magnificent. Porgy and Bess is probably the greatest single accomplishment of the band’s 48-year history. To my knowledge no one has ever performed a jazz version of the entire opera. We musically followed the passion, richness, sorrow, laughter, romance, and tragedy — all the moods of Porgy and Bess as they rose and fell. Various jazz band instruments took on character roles.
We had barely started when we caught the ear of a renowned San Antonio patron of the arts, Margaret Tobin. Mrs.Tobin was so taken with the first little part of our Porgy and Bess that she dabbed at her eyes and began calling me every few days to ask of our progress. When work was finally complete, our Porgy and Bess was premiered in San Antonio. For this performance I created a narration, to serve as a libretto. The opera, performed as a jazz Instrumental, was helped along by an interspersed explanation of the plot. Eventually Margaret Tobin financed a high-powered studio recording of the work, and I boldly announced that I intended to take the resulting tape recording to New York City and sell it to a major label. Margaret nodded proudly. A few others scoffed at the idea saying such things as, “They can’t even sell the Louis and Ella Porgy and Bess or Miles Davis’ Porgy and Bess. Do you think they are really gonna want this thing of ours?”

Jim Cullum Sr. & Jim Cullum Jr.
My father had drilled it into me. “Even a blind man,” and he said it over and over, “can hit a home run, if he swings at enough baseballs!” And so I was off to New York with my battered L.L. Bean briefcase full of taped copies of the band’s new Porgy and Bess and a stack of copies of the libretto. I checked into the Washington Square Hotel. In those days it had no restaurant and hardly any lobby. There was no telephone in my room. I did not need these things, for the Washington Square Hotel was located just north of the Square, and in my New York salesman’s mode I could stride right down to Caffe Reggio.
On day one, I took my position at my office at the café and sipped coffee and leafed through the latest copy of Applause Magazine which contained a well-written story on George Gershwin, by Edward Jablonski. The article identified Edward Jablonski as the foremost Gershwin scholar/writer in the world.
Do not forget, now, that I was in New York to sell Porgy and Bess to a big label. In this process, I did not have a single contact in the record industry. This seemingly insurmountable circumstance is a lot of what gives the beef to this story.
Hmm . . . . My mind is running through the maze as I tap the rolled up Applause Magazine against my thigh. The coffee at Caffe Reggio goes down easily. The New York telephone book hangs below the pay phone on a chain. I look up Applause Magazine in the business pages. So far, so good. Its office is located on West 46th Street, and I’m off.
“I am trying to locate this man, Mr. Jablonski,” I say to the Applause Magazine receptionist, as I point to his name at the top of the Gershwin article.
“Well,” she says, “he is not here, never comes here. I’ve never met or even seen him, so I can’t help you!”
“Might I speak to the editor?"
“No, I’m sorry.”
“I just think Mr. Jablonski would be very interested in a special version of Porgy and Bess. I have it right here.”
I dig in my briefcase. She jumps back, and it flashes through my mind that she thinks that maybe I am about to pull out a gun. But it is only a cassette tape and my libretto. I give her my best smile. “Just a minute,” she says, and she disappears through a door and in 30 seconds is back with a man in a bow tie. This is luck. I also have on a bow tie, and there is a kind of bow tie brotherhood. I know the bow ties made the odds in my favor go up by 5%.

Bandleader Jim Cullum
Mr. Bow-Tie is the editor. He has come out to rescue the receptionist. I turn it on, explain everything about myself, the band, Porgy and Bess and Edward Jablonski. The editor says that Edward Jablonski is a recluse and that I haven’t a snowball’s chance of seeing him, and good luck and good day! I am still smiling and being friendly like crazy. “Well, here’s a copy of Porgy and Bess for you anyway and one for the receptionist here, and thank you so much, and if you wish to contact me here is my card, and I’ll write the phone number of this phone at the Caffe Reggio where I hang out here in New York.”

“Okay, Okay,” he says!
phone. Well, okay . . . . and I answer it.
“I am trying to reach a Jim Cullum. Anyone there by that name?"
“I am Jim Cullum!  

“Great! This is Applause Magazine. I listened to that Porgy and Bess and it’s terrific. I have called

Edward Jablonski and told him about it and played some of it for him over the phone. He wants to see you at 10:00 tomorrow morning at his apartment. How about it? I’ll send the tape over to him by courier!”

At 9:55 the next morning I am stepping out from a taxi and sizing up Edward Jablonski’s pad, a classic New York brownstone on the Upper Westside. He buzzes me in. The inside looks like a Gershwin museum with lots of memorabilia all over, including.

Curtain Call at Alvin Theatre, 1935

I back out the door and head back to the Caffe Reggio where I order Bandleader Jim Cullum something, settle into my table, and having swung at and missed the first pitch, I start thinking....“What now?” The pay phone starts ringing. It keeps on! No one ever calls in on it. Caffe Reggio has its own framed photographs of Gershwin at the Alvin Theater with the full cast of Porgy and Bess taking bows on opening night in 1935. Gershwin’s water colors are lovingly displayed, and there is one water color of his sparse room at Charleston where he composed Porgy and Bess. His room there was hlghighted by a single light bulb that hung down on a single cord. He has faithfully painted it in.Edward Jablonski has already listened twice to our Porgy and Bess. He is knocked out by it.
He is beaming. He does not let up, and has the energy and enthusiasm of John Henry the steel drivin’ man. I am wondering, “They say this guy is a recluse?” But he is speaking my language.
"Listen,” he says, “Gershwin would love this thing,” and he goes on for twenty minutes non-stop, and then he says, “It’s gotta be on CBS. You need to take it to Chappell Music. They represent the Gershwin Estate. And they have a new young woman in charge there, a Mary Beth Roberts. I’ll call and set up an appointment,” and he picks up the phone, dials and talks. Mary Beth is out, but he leaves big messages all over Chappell Music including how I may be reached at the pay phone at the Caffe Reggio.
Edward Jablonski prepares a nice lunch for the two of us. Eventually I depart, dropping off a few copies of Porgy and Bess at Chappell Music. The next mid-morning I am in position at Caffe Reggio when again the pay phone goes off.

“Hello, I am trying to reach Jim Cullum." “Yes.”
As you can guess, Mary Beth Roberts has now heard our Porgy and Bess. She is also jumping for joy. “Where are you,” she asks?
“Caffe Reggio. In the Village. MacDougal Street.”
“Yeah? Well, I don’t know that place, but I need to go down to the Village this afternoon. I’ll meet you there at Caffe Reggio at 2:00. Okay?”
Mary Beth Roberts is a beautiful young blond lady who is sharper than an original Gillette Blue Blade. She removes her sunglasses and blinks at the dark interior.
“Step into my office, Ms. Roberts,” I say, and we begin our strategy meeting. She agrees with Jablonski. Porgy and Bess must appear on CBS.
“It must be CBS Masterworks,” she says and adds that she already has made an appointment for the next morning. However, the next morning, at CBS headquarters on the 51st floor of the Time Life Building, we cannot get very far and retreat to Caffe Reggio.
“I’d like to try Atlantic Records or some other.”
“No,” she insists. “I’m gonna sell this Porgy and Bess to CBS Masterworks one way or the other,” and she pounds the little café table and sloshes the coffee. After another try at CBS I go back to Texas. “Leave it my hands,” she insists!
It takes about two weeks. “Jim?” She’s on the phone. “It’s Mary Beth Roberts from Chappell Music in New York. You had better get up here! CBS Masterworks wants Porgy and Bess big time!!”
“I’ll be there tomorrow. Should I come to your office?”

“No, I’ll meet you at Caffe Reggio,” she chuckles, for she is high on victory. The next afternoon I am there. “How did you do it,” I ask?
“You know those Sony Walkman tape players they have these days? I bought a new Walkman and cued up a fresh cassette of Porgy and Bess, to that wailing clarinet cut on ‘My Man’s Gone Now.’ The President of CBS Masterworks is Joe Dash. I know his secretary. She tipped me off that he was leaving for Europe and that a limousine was picking him up at 12:00 noon, last Wednesday. At 11:30 I was up there in the foyer by the elevator. As he walked out I stopped him. 'Excuse me, Mr. Dash. 'Oh, Hi, Mary Beth, I’m in a rush,' he said.

'Mr. Dash, you gotta hear this. Take this fresh Walkman, put it in your briefcase, and when you get on the plane, just press the play button. It’s all cued up.' The next morning he was phoning his office from Europe commanding: 'I want that Porgy and Bess!'”

CBS Masterworks Recording

Within a few months I was able to call on Margaret Tobin and hand her a copy of the CBS Masterworks production with all the songs from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band. The whole story, the package, the artwork — all of it was impressive. Mrs. Tobin was not known to break into tears, but again she dabbed her eyes.
Before it was over, we performed Porgy and Bess all over the United States. I was particularly proud when we performed it representing the United States at the famed Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato in Mexico. There we were presented on stage each night by Ambassador John Negroponte. William Warfield, who had played Porgy in the 1953 World Tour Revival, became our Narrator, reading my libretto.
In 1992 our Porgy and Bess became two full hours of radio, broadcast by Riverwalk Jazz and is now set for a radio reprise. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Porgy and Bess. “That Gershwin score,” John Sheridan said, “was like a cookbook. I just followed Gershwin’s recipe.”
There is a little more to this story. Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess now stands before the world as the greatest folk opera ever written by an American. But, in 1935 when Porgy and Bess was ready for its world premier, Gershwin took it to the Metropolitan Opera Company and was shocked by the response:
“You can’t be serious Mr. Gershwin,” they said, “An all Negro cast? We propose white singers in blackface.” Disgusted, George went down the street to The Alvin Theatre, a Broadway house, where Porgy and Bess ran for only 124 performances to mixed reviews. So, Porgy and Bess went down as “Musical Theater,” not Grand Opera. Decades floated by and a few around the country were still smarting at the outrage of the Porgy and Bess race issue. The few included Margaret Tobin and her son Robert Tobin of San Antonio, who, in 1985, contributed a large block of cash to the Metropolitan Opera Company to have Porgy and Bess performed as Grand Opera.

Alvin Theatre Marquee

Gershwin never gave up his dream of Porgy and Bess being presented by the Metropolitan Opera Company. The Opera was 50 years old when this finally took place. It required the Tobin money and clout. In 1985 Porgy and Bess finally was presented by the Met.

Caffe Reggio on MacDougal Street, New York City

We all know that change is constant and the rate of change is exponential ‒ especially in New York.

Years ago CBS sold out to Sony and took our Porgy and Bess out of print. Applause Magazine is out of business. Edward Jablonski has died. For years Joe Dash has been retired. Chappell Music is now Warner Music. Pay telephones are obsolete. Mary Beth Roberts became a mogul with Sony ATV. Margaret Tobin and Robert Tobin have died.
There is one constant. If you would like the finest cup of coffee, walk south across Washington Square to 119 MacDougal Street, 21⁄2 blocks below the Square to the west side of the street where you may step right into my office. Here nothing has changed. Same Caffe Reggio. Same table. Same pay phone. Same phone number.
I am serious. It is all still there. Check it out!

Photo Credits:
Photo courtesy Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy Jim Cullum Jr.
Photo courtesy Jim Cullum
Photo from The Gershwin Years: George & Ira,
by Edwardand Lawrence D. Stewart Image courtesy
Image courtesy
Photo courtesy Greenwich Village Daily Photo

CD 1
1 It’s nighttime in Cat sh Row
2 Jasbo Brown Blues
3 Summertime
4 A Woman Is A Sometime Thing 5 Porgy arrives
6 They Pass By Singin’
7 Oh, Little Stars
8 Crown and Bess arrive
9 Gone, Gone, Gone/Over ow
10 My Man’s Gone Now
11 The mourning scene continues
12 Leavin’ For The Promised Land
13 It Take A Long Pull To Get There
14 Robbins has been in the ground a month 15 I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’
16 A dark cloud moves over Cat sh Row 17 Buzzard Song
18 Porgy’s newfound happiness
19 Bess, You Is My Woman Now
20 Oh, I Can’t Sit Down!

CD 2
1 On Kittiwah Island
2 I Ain’t Got No Shame
3 It Ain’t Necessarily So
4 There’s evil afoot today
5 What You Want Wid Bess?
6 A week has passed in Cat sh Row 7 Oh, Doctor Jesus
8 Strawberry Woman
9 Here Come De Honey Man
10 Crab Man
11 I Loves You, Porgy
12 The scene moves now to Serena’s room 13 Oh, De Lawd Shake De Heavens
14 Summertime
15 Oh, Dere’s Somebody Knockin’ At De Do’ 16 Serena warns Crown
17 A Red Headed Woman
18 Clara’s worst fear
19 Clara, Clara
20 Summertime
21 Crown sneaks in the gate
22 There’s A Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon For New York 23 Porgy survives the police investigation
24 Oh, Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess?
25 Porgy learns that Bess isn’t dead
26 Oh Lawd, I’m On My Way
27 Backstage Interview with William Warfield 

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Paolo Angeli / Robert Burke / Mirko Guerrini / Stephen Magnusson / Jordan Murray / Stefano Tamborrino - Sardinian Liturgy (2016)

Source & Label:
Genre: Modern Creative/Folk/Free
GAB's Rating: ★★★★☆

Canto a tenore, a traditional Sardinian folk music can take a bit of getting used to: it's like a polyphonic throat singing barbershop quartet. Sometimes the songs are as old as the island's hills, other times the songs are spontaneous comments on what's happening right here and now.
This is the music that Paolo Angeli grew up with, and at first blush it would not seem to intersect with modern jazz. But Angeli is a musician who is not averse to pushing down barriers between genres and styles. Here is a musician, who when the normal six stringed guitar proved inadequate for his ideas, built one with 18 strings (six normal, eight transverse, and four suspended) incorporating hammers, pedals, motors and pick ups. Rob Burke (coordinator of jazz and popular music at Monash University) initiated and led a project to combine Angeli with three Australian jazz musicians and an Italian rhythm section, all of whom share a jazz sensibility and an openness to ideas and a passion for creativity, put them in a studio and press the record button.

Recorded in December 2015 in the small but beautiful Tuscan town of Prato, the group used traditional Sardinian tunes as a base to experiment, improvise and collaboratively create new music that shimmers into unexpected and innovative directions. Some of the pieces are short, simple fragments of ideas, while others are complex and developed exploration of what's possible, and all of it is unified by a sense of healing, a ritualistic, almost liturgical elevation of the soul, the music of a new generation of (pardon the pun) angels.  Andrys Onsman

1. Introitus 03:03
2. Stabat Mater 05:22
3. Northern Light 05:30
4. Tartini's Dinner 01:01
5. Anton 01:08
6. Industrial Rain 02:57
7. Absinthe 04:18
8. La Corsicana 05:46
9. Traffic in the Abey 00:31
10.Mattutino 02:04
11.Market 03:46
12.Mind the Gap 00:12
13.Stellar 07:02
14.Why Don't You 00:22
15.Vespro 00:49
16.Highlander 02:01
17.J 00:22
18.Silver Lining 04:50
19.Revenge 02:01   
20.Jellyfish Rhumba 06:46
21.Come una Preghiera 02:30

Paolo Angeli: Prepared Sardinian Guitar and 'gadgets'
Robert Burke: tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet
Mirko Guerrini: tenor sax, soprano sax, baritone sax
Jordan Murray: trombone
Stephen Magnusson: electric guitar
Stefano Tamborrino: drumset





 8pm - 11pm

LOCATED AT:  83 WEST 3RD STREET (between Thompson and Sullivan streets) in the heart of Greenwhich Village adjacent to the NYU campus and one short block from Washington Square Park

“Zinc Bar is a Greenwich Village jazz club in the former space of the legendary 1940s jazz venue Club Cinderella where Billie Holiday sang to the accompaniment of Thelonious Monk the house pianist.

The Zinc Bar maintains an old school Jazz vibe, which is unique among the commercialized jazz clubs in the City today”(Time Out New York)


82 West 3rd Street (btw Thompson & Sullivan) Greenwich Village New York NY 10012 tel. 212-477-ZINC (9462) Open 7 days: 6pm-2:30am 
weeknights 6pm-3am weekends.


Lou Caputo Not So Big Band - Uh Oh! (2016) JAZZ PROMO SERVICES


Uh Oh! is the latest installment in the recorded history of “The Not So Big Band”preceded by “Urban Still Life” and the follow up “Not So Big Band” Those project were co- produced by my great friend,mentor and jazz bassist Chris White (1936- 2014) who also performed and arranged music for those projects as well. We would like to dedicate this project to his memory.

The “Not So Big Band” is the brainchild of talented multi-instrumentalist Lou Caputo.It is a big band that consists of twelve musicians as opposed to the sixteen-piece or larger variety. This band is a working band, playing together for over 10 years. The band has performed for over a decade at “The Garage” in Greenwich Village, as well as performances at the “John Birks Gillespie Auditorium” located in the “Baha’i Center” in NYC , also at “Trumpets” and a regular attraction at St Peter’s Mid Day Jazz series along with concerts at Hofstra and Montclair Universities. The band has two CD’s out (Urban Still Life & Not So Big Band) that have enjoyed considerable airplay and both have been very well received. by the jazz press A third CD (UH OH!) will be released in 2016.  All of our music is currently available from most digital vendors like iTunes CDbaby and through streaming services, such as Spotify. 

Lou Caputo, a native of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has done almost every kind of job that a musician can be asked to do. He has performed in jazz clubs in London (Ronnie Scott’s) and all over the Northeast area as well. A multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinets and flutes) he has performed in show bands with the likes of Lou Rawls, Harry Connick Jr, The Temptations, The Four Tops and Shirley Bassey. He has also performed with Howard Johnson’s five Bari Saxophone group (Beartones) as well as Warren Smith’s Composers Orchestra and The Ellington and Dorsey bands. He is a member of Jack Jeffers New York Classics and has performed with The Cotton Club Orchestra Recently Lou  performed on Harry Connick's album "Your Songs"

Also featured in “The Not So Big Band” are noted musicians like percussionist Eddie Montalvo (Grammy nominee, Latin Grammy winner, Fania All-Stars), saxophonist Virginia Mayhew (Saxophone Journal Saxophonist of the Year), trumpeter John Eckart (Performed with Toshiko Akiyoshi and Lee Konitz), legendary bassist and jazz author Bill Crow (performed with Gerry Mulligan and Phil Woods), Geoffery Burke (performs with Harry Connick Jr.) Warren Smith who has performed with everyone from John Cage and Gil Evans to Barbra Streisand and all stops in between Just to cite some of the band members.

01. BLACK NILE 6:08 
03. UH OH! 4:58
05. FESTIVAL 5:24 
08. GUIJIRA 6:46



Lou Caputo, a natine of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has been a professional musician for over thirty years. He has done almost every kind of job that a musician can be asked to do. A multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinets and flutes) he has performed in show bands with the likes of Lou Rawls, Frankie Valli, Shirley Basey, Jack Jones, Bobby Short, Frankie Avalon, and a host of others. As well as the many of the famous Motown acts like the Temptations and the Four Tops. Aside from this he has performed along side of Salsa legends like Candido, Bobby Sanabria and Lou Perez. Recently he has performed on Harry Connick's latest album "Your Songs".

However, playing jazz is really closest to Lou's heart. He has had the opportunity to perform with people like trumpeter Richard Williams, pianists Duke Jordan and Jaki Byard, drummers Walter Perkins and Mousey Alexander (in his short lived big band) vocalist Joe "Be-Bop" Carroll and Dakota Staton, bassist Chris White (including a Carnegie Hall appearance). He has spent time in the Glen Miller band under the direction of Clem DeRosa as well as the Harry James big band .He has had the good fortune to record with jazz legend Dr. Billy Taylor on guitarist Ray Rivera's album Night Wind.

Lou has had the pleasure of performing in the Richie Cole octet .An other high point is having had the chance to play Birdland with the Ellington band under the direction of Paul Ellington and Jack Jeffers. Through the years Lou has appeared in many of the areas leading jazz clubs as both a leader and side man. He also played for former President Bill Clinton on the occasion of Clinton's 50th birthday.

Along the way Lou had the opportunity of studying with some of the finest teachers that the New York area had to offer. Starting with his first saxophone teacher Eddie Meyers who was the lead altoist with the great Stan Kenton Orchestra during it's heyday in the mid-forties who appears on such classics as "Eager Beaver" and "Intermission Riff" quickly followed by a long stretch of study with Frank Foster who needs no introduction to jazz fans. Perhaps his most influential teacher was the late Harvey Estrin who exposed him to the wider world of classical music and refined his approach to the clarinet and the flute in particular. Another person who helped broaden Lou's scope was the legendary Baritone saxophonist and woodwind expert Danny Bank. In the process of earning a bachelors and masters degree in Music from CUNY through the Local 802 program he had additional instruction from Albert Regni, Simeon Loring and Laurie Freedman as well.

In 2003, Lou released his first CD Urban Sill Life to a positive response from the press and jazz radio disc-jockeys around the country. In fact "Urban Still Life" was numbered among the top 100 jazz cd's in regard to air play nation wide .Currently; Lou is leading an eleven piece group he likes to refer to as the "Not So Big Band" which appears regularly at The Garage. The group features great New York musicians like Howard Johnson, Bill Crow, Jon Eckert and Virginia Mayhew to mention a few. The group just recorded their first album called "Not So Big Band". Aside from that, he can be heard with his own Quartet, as well as a member of the big bands of Howard Williams, Jack Jeffers, Joe Bataliga and the Ellington Legacy Band. Lou also plays in Howard Johnson's " Bear Tones" which is his 5 baritone sax band.

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Eugene Seow - A Blueprint for Tomorrow (2016)

Label: Self Released
Source: Cdbaby
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

An impressive debut album by professional musician Eugene Seow (Singapore), "A Blueprint for Tomorrow" features young lions in the jazz world from all corners of the globe. The members of this group are: vocalist Ester Wiesnerová (Slovakia), clarinetist David Ling (Malaysia), flutist and saxophonist Brandon Wilkins (USA), guitarist Julian Jayme (Canada), pianist Jimin Park (S. Korea) and bassist James Heazlewood Dale (Australia). Eugene himself is on the drums, cajon and auxiliary percussion. All compositions on the album are his.

Eugene has completed his musical studies at Berklee College of Music, majoring in Jazz Composition and Professional Music, with a Minor in Music and Society (Global Studies). Prominently featured in Jazz Composition concerts such as “The Best of Jazz Composition” and winner of prestigious awards from all the departments he is involved in, Eugene hopes to go into academia in the future, which is supplemented by his background as a music tutor in music college as well as his disposition as an intellectual thinker.

He is now stepping into the professional realm with this album, which is an ambitious capstone project for his Professional Music major that goes far beyond the requirements of a college level final.

Embarking on his musical journey at the tender age of 6, Eugene studied classical piano. Showing an innate talent and instinct for music, he has honed his musicality over the years deeply, and found his true passion for the drums at 17 years of age. Thereafter, he discovered his other true passion: that for jazz. Since then, he has been actively performing and gigging in the scene and has become a force to reckon with despite his late start on the drum-set and relatively young age.

A multi-instrumentalist who plays percussion, electric bass and piano among others, Eugene is a practically self-taught musician who has learned through the school of hard knocks; that is, real world experience. He has incredible versatility whether the music is pop, rock or jazz, and in any ensemble whether it be big band, combo band, symphonic band, orchestra or even marching band.

1. Providence
2. Overshadows
3. His Majesty
4. Mirth Mourn Matrix
5. 3 Kingdoms
6. The Wizard
7. Stygian
8. Still Pond
9. Midday Rhetoric
10. Be the Wind
11. Waterfall

Ester Wiesnerová - vocals
David Ling - clarinet
Brandon Wilkins - saxophone & flute
Julian Jayme - guitar
Jimin Park - piano
James Heazlewood Dale - bass
Eugene Seow - drums 



Billy Cobham & Frankfurt Radio Big Band - Broad Horizon (2016)

Genre: Big Band
GAB's Rating: ★★★

And with the greatest of reverence and bravado they boast… “Yuh hear big band?”

Anyone remotely associated with Pan, Steel Orchestras, Panorama and the Caribbean understands the special meaning and emphasis of that phrase. And in the same vein one can’t help yelling “Yuh hear big band?” as we listen to this latest project “Broad Horizon.”

We will cut to the chase. Yes, you need to have your own personal copy. Yes, you will place it right next to Marley, Prince, Monk, Return to Forever, Biggie, Tupac, James Brown, Hendrix, Holst, Mighty Sparrow, Weather Report, Miles, Earth Wind and Fire. Yep, we’re talking game changer.

We are a sum of our experiences. At least musically speaking - so they say. And if this is true (and we definitely believe it to be so) - wait till you listen to “Broad Horizon” by drummer extraordinaire Billy Cobham - featuring Cobham and Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Simply outstanding. It’s going to leave you shaking your head and muttering - man-o man-o man-o Man! in complete enjoyment and ecstasy. The Frankfurt Radio Big Band is outstanding and Billy Cobham remains the master that he is.

It has been a few years since our last review of Billy Cobham’s project -- “Culturemix.” “Broad Horizon” was well worth the wait.

Often as we mature one can be heard saying “If I only knew then what I know now.” In this regard “Broad Horizon” is one of this legendary musician’s best works because he knows it now. Billy Cobham is no longer looking to be a Lamborghini moving at over 200 miles per hour just because he can. However, now he is a treasured musical gem and treasure-trove moving at whatever speed is needed to get the maximum impact and tell his story completely. He has been there, seen that, and done that - and more importantly he is “the man” in charge on this album. From the compositions to the performances to the production - it is all Bill Cobham. Read more...




Warren Wolf - Convergence (2016)

Source: Next Bop
Genre: Post-bop
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

For years, I have known a certain truth-- don't sleep on Warren Wolf. the master vibraphonist has snuck up on me one too many times on releases of his own. He rolled through San Antonio three times in 2015 and never failed to impress. His work with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah's large ensemble is a surprise and not a surprise at the same time. He has maintained a beautiful melodicism in his playing that would seem obvious for his instrument but he surpasses such expectations again and again. He's an unmistakable talent. He shouldn't be slept on. This is no more apparent than in his latest album, Convergence on Mack Avenue.
It's 1:55 into "Cell Phone" when Wolf literally quotes the classic Nokia ringtone where one realizes how much one shouldn't sleep on this kind of wit, cleverness, and sense of connection that his style of play just oozes. Of course, one could say the same thing about his take on Bobby Hutcherson's "Montara", just a sweet as the original and just as inspired in its simple trio format. One could also know this for sure by album closer, a sweet, solo of the standard "Stardust" as he transitions it to Chopin's "The Minute Waltz', a song so clever it's impossible not to stay woke.

Surely this band isn't sleeping on him-- Christian McBride on bass, Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, with Brad Mehldau playing piano throughout half the album and John Scofield playing guitar on a couple of tracks. It's a band with complimentary chops-- McBride showing bounce and spring, Watts with a snap that always makes its presence felt. As a core trio, these men are quite effective and emotive, able to bring Wolf's soulful sound to its rightful stage. He can be sweet and he can be sharp and McBride and Watts are there for every move. However, it's the flourishes only Mehldau can provide where this album really sings, particularly when Wolf and Mehldau are playing off one another. Mehldau has always had sprightly moments, particularly when he's collaborating outside his usual circles. This is one of high points of his occasional canoodling.
Warren Wolf as a vibraphonist always seems to add perfect shades to whatever group he's in which makes his solo endeavors all the more endearing and revealing. In Convergence, what Wolf reveals with interplay like this and song selections like these is the ever-impressive talent of one of the finest vibraphonist of our time. Don't sleep on that.  Anthony Dean-Harris

Soul Sister
Four Stars From Heaven
King Of Two Fives
New Beginning
Cell Phone
Knocks Me Off Of My Feet
A Prayer For The Christian Man
Stardust/The Minute Waltz 

Warren Wolf - vibraphone
Chistian McBride - bass
Jeff “Tain” Watts - drums
Brad Mehldau - piano
John Scofield - guitar  



Etienne Charles - San Jose Suite (2016)

Label: Culture Shock Music
Source: San Jose Jazz
Genre: Jazz / Afro-caribbean
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

Composer, arranger, recording artist and educator Etienne Charles is one of the most compelling and exciting young jazz artists on the scene, ushering the genre into groundbreaking new territory. The young trumpeter and bandleader performs the world premiere of his San Jose Suite, borne of influences from San Jose, CA; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Charles’ native St. Joseph, Trinidad.

The San Jose Suite explores stories, rituals, native chants, rhythms, and other cultural elements that shaped the three San Jose cities. This musical exploration will take place through a mix of composition and improvisation, with each movement of the 60‐75 minute piece introducing cultural and historical icons, traditions, and milestone events in the history of the cities.
Charles is known to deliver a unique spin on Creole-oriented tunes, including covers from past masters ranging from Bob Marley to Thelonious Monk. His latest album Creole Soul is a captivating journey of new jazz expression, formed from his Trinidadian background. Charles has also performed with a vast range of musicians, from Roberta Flack, Rene Marie, and David Rudder to Wynton Marsalis, Johnny Mandel, and the Count Basie Orchestra, in addition to his work as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University.

 1  Boruca     5:16
2  Limon     4:57
3  Cahuita     6:43
4  Hyarima - 14 October 1637     6:17
5  Revolt     4:12
6  Juego De Los Diablitos     3:46
7  Muwekma     6:07
8  Song For Minh     1:32
9  Gold Rush 2.0     5:49
10 Speed City Intro     3:31
11 Speed City     5:08
12 Speed City (Reprise)     1:40

Etienne Charles, trumpet
Brian Hogan, alto saxophone
Alex Wintz, guitar
Victor Gould, piano
Ben Williams, bass
John Davis, drums