Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Erik Friedlander - Rings (2016)

Rings is the latest cd from my new trio Black Phebe, with me on cello, pianist and accordionist Shoko Nagai and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi. Rings comes at you from different angles: There are times when the band plays with exhuberance and other times the trio works to create an atmosphere of loneliness and insecurity. The unifying theme of the project are the cycles each piece follows. Each piece has repetition built in. These cycles or rings are the building blocks of the project, sometimes long and sometimes short as a few seconds. 

Black Phebe is really many trios. Shoko Nagai’s charismatic performance on accordion and piano changes the feel of the group. When she plays accordion the band is a world-music band playing virtuoso, mixed meter works (“Risky Business”) or sweet folk songs (“Small Things”). On piano the band is a jazz piano trio (“Black Phebe”, “Fracture”) or a classical chamber group (“A Single Eye”). 

At the heart of the cd are the Rings. 3 pieces that use live looping as a compositional process captured in the recording. In these pieces I create the composition as the trio improvises with me and around me. The Rings are a new thing for me. I’ve never been a fan of looping as a compositional technique but I turned around on it when I tried it with this band. I create the ring as we improvise and the result is hypnotic and beautiful..but organic.

01. The Seducer 04:14
02. Black Phebe 06:22
03. A Single Eye 03:37
04. Fracture 08:45
05. Risky Business 06:40
06. Tremors 03:22
07. Small Things 03:21
08. Solve Me 06:13
09. Canoe 04:51
10. Waterwheel 05:41
11. Flycatcher 07:16
12. Silk 06:02

Releases June 10, 2016 

Produced by Erik Friedlander 
Recorded by Scott Solter at Story Sound in New York City 
Assisted by Jeff Cook 
Mixed by Scott Solter in Durham, NC 
Mastered by Steve Berson at Total Sonic Media 
Design by Vanessa Maynard 

All music composed by Erik Friedlander. 
All rights reserved. 

Erik Friedlander, cello 
Shoko Nagai, piano, accordion, electronics 
Satoshi Takeishi, percussion

(click here)

Alison Lewis - Seven (2016) KARI-ON PRODUCTIONS

A hauntingly beautiful voice who transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary with brilliant arrangements and vocal experimentation.  No stranger to stages large and small, Alison has performed in venues ranging from intimate clubs in Europe and the United States to the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles and Lincoln Center in New York.




Branford Marsalis Quartet - Upward Spiral (2016)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Genre: Jazz Vocals
GAB's Rating: ★★★★☆

To one extent or another, jazz has always maintained a discriminatory dividing line between vocalists and instrumentalists. Instead of being viewed as equals—artists on par with all the rest, possessing the same good sense, skill, and stake in an artistic outcome—vocalists have often been unfairly stigmatized and interned in a separate category. But all of that has slowly been changing, due in no small part to a large and continually growing crop of vocalists who are consistently raising the bar.

For the past two decades, the one and only Kurt Elling has been a central figure in that category. He's both world-wise and street smart in his moves, able to touch on highbrow topics and base emotions with equal success. There's been a hint of vanity in some of his fine art, but it's never there without just cause. The man acknowledges his influences but remains a school of one, a force of nature who's capable of covering more ground than almost anybody. There's simply nobody else who's better suited to enter into an artistic agreement with one of jazz's most outspoken personalities—saxophonist Branford Marsalis.

Whether on or off the bandstand, Marsalis doesn't mince words or ideas. Due to that fact, few vocalists are really up to the challenge of entering his orbit and thriving in such a climate. In Elling, however, Marsalis has found one who's every bit his match. The saxophonist and his quartet mates are able to telescope focus toward Elling's warm, strong, and pliant voice, and Elling is able to accentuate the inherently melodic and lyrical qualities in this group's work. The beauty in Marsalis' music isn't cited often enough, as many tend to focus exclusively on the edgier side of his sound. This project rectifies that problem.

This playlist is as eclectic as one might expect given the architects at the drawing board. Everybody from saxophonist Sonny Rollins to vocalist Elis Regina and pianist Fred Hersch to poet Calvin Forbes is referenced in one way or another, and the music is suffused with graciousness, beauty, and, on occasion, heartbreak. Elling dons the face of Mr. Charisma on "There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York," maintains his status as the heir to Mark Murphy's throne of hip on "Doxy," delves into modern jazz Americana on Hersch's "West Virginia Rose," and plays it cool as the breeze on "Só Tinha De Ser Com Você." Through every one of those turns, Marsalis and company are right there with him, exploring every little and large event with the utmost respect for the music and the contributions of one another.

Understatement serves as a source of strength in much of this music, and fragility is as strong a lure as any of the aforementioned qualities. Case in point is Sting's "Practical Arrangement," a song that elicits an incredibly strong emotional response. That number alone is worth the price of admission, and it's not the only tearjerker. The Marsalis-Elling duo take on "I'm A Fool To Want You," while delivered with more poise and less vulnerability, belongs in the same category.

While there are far more ambitious outings in the respective discographies of both of these marquee names, there's nothing more arresting in either man's portfolio. Beauty becomes these musicians. They carry the torch of grace to the heavens in their own inimitable upward spiral.  Dan Bilawsky

01 There's a Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon for New York 
02 Blue Gardenia 
03 From One Island to Another
04 Practical Arrangement
05 Doxy
06 I'm a Fool to Want You
07 West Virginia Rose
08 Só Tinha de Ser Com Você 
09 Momma Said
10 Cassandra Song 
11 Blue Velvet 
12The Return (Upward Spiral)
13 Long as You're Living 

Branford Marsalis, Saxophones
Joey Calderazzo, Piano
Eric Revis , Bass
Justin Faulkner, Drums
Kurt Elling, Voice


Stefan Karl Schmid / Philipp Brämswig - Anima (2015)

Source & Label:
Genre: Modern Creative
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

Stefan Karl Schmid and Philipp Brämswig poured their heart and soul into their new release, “Anima”. Recorded at the Deutschlandfunk Studios, the album draws from their long experience together as performers, which results in a clear and direct sound.
The quartet is completed by bass player Robert Landfermann and drummer Jonas Burgwinkel. All four know each other from Germany's Youth Jazz Orchestra and are now active together in several projects in Cologne's vibrant Jazz scene.

Schmid's and Brämswig's compositions are reminiscent of the exciting creations of Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner on “Heartcore”. Schmid and Brämswig, however, create this sound aesthetic acoustically. A sonic field of beautiful melodies interchanging with witty sound explorations emerges. Expect to hear more exciting music from this band in the future.

1. Chronos (Brämswig) 05:46
2. M2 (Brämswig) 06:09
3. Sakura Park (Schmid) 04:48
4. Lullaby (Brämswig) 08:48
5. Sikksakk (Schmid) 04:54
6. Evanescence (Brämswig) 06:08
7. Cheeking (Brämswig) 04:46
8. Næturljóð úr Fjörðum (Böðvar Guðmundsson, arr. Schmid) 03:18
9. New Adventure (Schmid) 06:05
10.Dream Logic (Schmid) 06:21

Stefan Karl Schmid - tenor & soprano saxophones
Philipp Brämswig - guitar
Robert Landfermann - bass
Jonas Burgwinkel - drums 



Sébastien Paindestre Trio - Paris (2016)


Enregistrement du 4ème disque du Sébastien Paindestre trio en décembre 2015, la sortie prévue du disque qui s’appellera tout simplement “Paris” est prévu pour juin 2016.

Ancien élève d’Olivier Chauzu et Erik Berchot (prix Chopin), Sébastien Paindestre a été le pianiste d’Eve Griliquez pendant trois années (membre de l’académie Charles Cros). Il a joué ces dernières années avec de nombreux et talentueux jazzmen de la jeune scène jazz française, en France et à l’étranger. Ses disques et concerts sont régulièrement chroniqués et annoncés dans la presse Jazz spécialisée et diffusés dans les médias tel que France Musique, FIP radio, TSF Jazz, Jazz Radio,  France info, Radio Aligre... « Vrai talent de notre paysage pianistique » (journal La terrasse, juin 2007) il a enregistré quatre disques en tant que leader sorti en France, Japon et U.S.A. (Sébastien Paindestre trio et Amnesiac quartet). 

Il accompagne régulièrement la chanteuse Cristine Combe depuis 2000 et participe à la création du spectacle sur Boris Vian « du côté de chez Boris » en préparation. Il a également écrit en collaboration avec le tri-aïeul de Georges Méliès la musique sur des films inédits du grand pionner du cinéma sorti en DVD en avril 2008 (Studio canal, Fechner productions). Il a été invité à se produire en Birmanie en 2010 pour une rencontre internationale « Jazzbliss » avec des musiciens Birmans et notamment l’Allemand Tim Isford et Anne Paceo à la batterie au sein de son trio. Il a dernièrement enregistré une émission pour la télévision et un disque avec le Saxophoniste Américain, directeur du département Jazz de la N.Y.U à New-York David Schroeder (Verve music group). Il prépare actuellement un piano-solo autour de la musique de Radiohead pour le Festival Jazz'titudes de Laon. 

Sébastien Paindestre : piano-rhodes, compositions
Jean-Claude Oleksiak : double-bass
Antoine Paganotti : Drums

1. Scottish Folk Song
2. Jazz'titudes
3. Gaza-Paris-Jerusalem
4. Mother Nature's Son
5. Blues for Violaine
6. Louise-Anne
7. La paindestrerie
8. Round' Radiohead (feat. Nicolas Prost)


Atlantico - En Rouge (2016)


Initié par le pianiste Sébastien Paindestre et le saxophoniste Dave Schroeder, le projet transatlantique Atlantico séduit avec un premier album "En Rouge", où le Bebop se mêle à un swing raffiné.

Le pianiste et compositeur français Sébastien Paindestre est un habitué de nos programmations, que ce soit avec son trio ou avec Amnesiac 4tet, son projet jazz consacré à Radiohead. C'est du côté de la grande Pomme que l'artiste est allé chercher l'inspiration après sa rencontre, en 2012, avec Dave Schroeder (multi-instrumentiste et directeur de la NYU jazz à New York). Le pianiste a ensuite suivi des master class avec la crème des jazzmen new-yorkais (John Scofield, Georges Coleman, Billy Drummond, Richard Bona, Rich Shemaria, Peter Bernstein ou Kenny Werner).

La musique de l'album est composée pour moitié par Dave Schroeder et Sébastien Paindestre avec l'utilisation de quatre instruments différents sur les huit titres de l'album par l'Américain. L'oeuvre fait preuve d'un équilibre parfait entre rythmiques implacables et envolées jazz subtiles, entre titres à l'énergie Bebop, ballades délicates au swing raffiné et Deep blues. Seuls les grands musiciens arrivent à une telle fluidité dans leur musique, "En Rouge" est une œuvre collective de haut vol, inspirée et ô combien élégante!

Dave Schroeder : Saxophone soprano, Clarinette alto, Harmonica, Flûte Alto, compositions
Sébastien Paindestre : Piano (Yamaha C7), compositions
Billy Drummond : Batterie (Gretsch)
Martin Wind : Contrebasse

Atlantico is full of joy and inspiration. From tune to tune, this collective quartet tells some beautiful stories about who they are and where they’ve been. I keep hitting the repeat button. Bravo!!! 

Joe Lovano, juin 2015

1. En Rouge
2. Bruce Lee
3. No More Words
4. New-York in May-Be
5. Giuffre Cool
6. Petra
7. Ellen and Dave
8. Diz 'R' Us


Rod Harris Jr. - The Counsel of Elders (2016)

The Counsel Of Elders' is a musical tribute to some of the world's greatest jazz guitar legends! The album also features some impressive original compositions. This album is "...instant vintage.

The Counsel Of Elders" album was recorded on Dec. 8 - 9 2015. All songs were produced and arranged by Rod Harris Jr. (JimmySpeaks; Goodbye Again; The Counsel of Elders - written by Rod Harris Jr) Matthew Kaminski - organ; Marlon Patton - drums. Mixed and Mastered by Marlon Patton.

Rod Harris Jr. is a native of Jacksonville, Florida.  Rod was exposed to music at a young age by his singer/songwriter father.  When Rod was 14, his father decided to relocate the family to Atlanta, GA.  On his 17th birthday, his father gave him $150 dollars, and he decided to take the money and purchase an acoustic guitar.  "...I don't know what provoked me to get a guitar...It had to be God...because I could've partied that money away...quickly.." he says. Once he began learning the instrument he fell in love with it and was determined to be a great player.  " ...I think my senior year, my classmates thought I was crazy...I didn't party...I literally locked myself in my room and practiced for hours..."he says.  After graduating and just a year of studying guitar, he applied for the Georgia State University School of Music, and was accepted.

It was at Georgia State University where his musical journey began. "...My early college years were pretty influential for put alot into perspective for me...I was really naive..." he adds.  Rod credits much of his musical growth during these years to two local Atlanta horn players (Lester Walker and Clyde Jones (deceased) ). "...These two cats were ridiculous...".  Also during his freshman year in college Rod performed in the prestigious Atlanta Jazz Festival and also the following year. During these years Rod began to enlist in many local bands not just jazz music but soul and gospel bands. "...I used to wonder if I would ever graduate...the music was takin' over...other stuff was becoming secondary...there were many times I would skip class to go to the practice rooms...".

But Rod did graduate with surprisingly a B.B.A in Management and a Minor degree in Music.  " and my dad used to get in real heated arguments about me pursuing a degree in music performance...he would also say that I don't need a degree to play music..."

After college, Rod continued playing at night and worked corporate America during the day.  "I felt like Clark two lives...I used to go out to my car during my lunch breaks and shed (practice)...I had to get  it in"...In 2006, Rod traveled to Nagoya, Japan to do a stint with a cover band at Gary's Motown Sound.  "...this is when I knew...the corporate america junk had to go...Japan helped me make that decision..."  In 2008, he was called to do a summer tour with Atlantic Records recording artist Musiq Soulchild. Rod would go on to become the resident guitarist for Musiq (2008-present).  "This was another pivotal moment for me not just musically but life...I've learned alot about myself during my years in the Soulchild camp...I've definitely grown spiritually, mentally  and musically..." Also in 2008, Rod made an appearance in the motion picture film "Cadillac Records", starring Beyonce Knowles and Adrian Brody.  

​Over his time as a guitarist, Rod has performed and recorded with countless artists and the list continues to grow.  Artists such as songstress Regina Belle, J. Holiday,  Miki Howard,  jazz trumpeter Russell Gunn,  Eightball and MJG,  Musiq Soulchild, Jagged Edge, Donell Jones, Lloyd, saxophonist Warren Hill and Paul Taylor, smooth jazz pianist Marcus Johnson, the legendary Fred Wesley,  jazz organist Doug Carn, Red Holloway (deceased), Ernie Andrews, Howard Hewitt of Shalamar , Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Maysa,  jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, Joi, R&B Diva Syleena Johnson, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Grammy award winning singers Monica, Jennifer Holliday, Dionne Farris, and many others.

In addition to performing and touring, Rod has recently released his debut jazz-funk album  "The Counsel Of Elders".  Rod also has music available on most music internet stores (iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, etc.)  Rod's single, "How It Feels" that features Musiq Soulchild, has garnered acclaim amongst Underground DJs in the U.K., Japan, as well the U.S.

01. Jimmy Speaks (feat. Russell Gunn) (5:14)
02. Up and at It (5:57)
03. Counselor #1 Mr. Montgomery (1:11)
04. S.O.S (feat. Mike Walton) (6:23)
05. Goodbye, Again (Ms. Collins) (feat. Lester Walker) (5:57)
06. Counselor #2 Mr. Benson & Mr. Green (0:33)
07. Jean de Fleur (5:43)
08. Clockwise (3:29)
09. Counselor #3 Mr. Burrell (1:07)
10. Midnight Blue (4:46)
11. The Counsel of Elders (5:18)


Kalevi Louhivuori Quintet - Almost American Standards (2016) CAM JAZZ


Unbridled and in-the-zone Kalevi Louhivuori. The Finnish trumpeter, already in the spotlight with the outstanding Big Blue quartet, is releasing a new, fanciful and ironic project on CAM JAZZ. The concept here is to flirt with famous American standards, which would, so far, be rather conventional. But Louhivuori’s brainwave is not about reinterpreting them, more or less faithfully, but picking up on each of them to produce fresh compositions. 

That’s how a “Take 4”, clearly inspired by Paul Desmond’s world-famous “Take 5”, or a “6 Steps To Heaven”, just one step behind Miles Davis’, turned up on this CD. The eight tracks featuring “Almost American Standards” were recorded with the valuable contribution of an all-Finnish combo: Ville Vannemaa on sax, Mikael Myrskog on piano, Eero Seppä on double bass and Jaska Lukkarinen on drums. Fifty minutes of excellent music, in which the pleasure of listening is combined with that of searching for charm, reference and the refined art of flirting with sources and heading towards fresh, amazing sonic destinations. It’s up to the listener to find out which muse is behind each piece and try to trace the original, detecting similarities with and differences in Louhivuori’s writing.

Under the supervision of music producer Ermanno Basso, “Almost American Standards” was recorded and mixed by Abdissa Mamba Assefa at Studio Martin in Helsinki on August 24 and 26, 2015, and mastered by Danilo Rossi.

Jazzkulttuuriin kuuluva projektiluonteisuus antaa luovalla muusikolle loistavat mahdollisuudet luodata omia kiinnostuksen kohteitaan: sen kun vain perustaa uuden bändin jokaiselle intohimolleen. Trumpetisti Kalevi Louhivuorella tällaista pakottavaa monipuolisuutta on, joten niitä bändejäkin tarvitaan monta. Mm. Sun Trion, Big Bluen ja The Northern Governorsin rinnalle on nyt syntynyt omaniminen jazzkvintetti.

Louhivuoren säveltämillä kappaleilla hakeudutaan tällä kertaa jazzin amerikkalaisten jättiläisten jalkojen juureen. Levynkansien kiitoksissa nostetaan erityisesti esille nimet Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington ja Ahmad Jamal. Bop-pohjainen musiikki on yhtyeen lähtökohta, mutta poikkeuksellisen freesiltä maistuvana ja omaksi tyyliteltynä.

Mistä näitä upeita nuoria soittajia oikein riittää? Louhivuoren ohella vain rumpali Jaska Lukkarinen kaikille suomijazzia seuranneille tuttu, mutta nämä uudemmat kollit, saksofonisti Ville Vannemaa, pianisti Mikael Myrskog ja basisti Eero Seppä hoitavat hommansa loistavasti. 50 minuutin upottava jazzflow vie mennessään. Pentti Ronkanen

Un Kalevi Louhivuori torrenziale e in stato di grazia. Il trombettista finlandese, già protagonista con il brillante quartetto Big Blue, si lega a CAM JAZZ con un nuovo progetto fantasioso e ironico. L’idea è quella di giocare con celebri standard americani, e fin qui sarebbe piuttosto tradizionale. Ma l’intuizione di Louhivuori sta nel non reinterpretarli, in modo più o meno fedele, bensì nel prendere spunto da ognuno di essi per scrivere composizioni originali. E così in scaletta saltano fuori una “Take 4”, chiaramente ispirata alla celeberrima “Take 5” di Paul Desmond, oppure una “6 Steps To Heaven”, distante un solo passo dalla composizione di Miles Davis. Gli otto brani che compongono questo “Almost American Standards” sono incisi con la preziosa collaborazione di un combo tutto finlandese: Ville Vannemaa al sax, Mikael Myrskog al piano, Eero Seppä al contrabbasso e Jaska Lukkarinen alla batteria. 

Cinquanta minuti di ottima musica, in cui al gusto dell’ascolto si somma quello per la ricerca della suggestione, del riferimento, della raffinata arte di saper giocare con la citazione e da lì partire verso destinazioni sonore nuove e sorprendenti. Starà all’ascoltatore scoprire quale nume tutelare si nasconde dietro ogni titolo, e cercare di risalire alla composizione originale, andando a trovare analogie e differenze con la scrittura di Louhivuori.

“Almost American Standards” è stato registrato e mixato da Abdissa Mamba Assefa presso lo Studio Martin di Helsinki, tra il 24 e il 26 agosto 2015. Il mastering è stato curato da Danilo Rossi. La produzione artistica è di Ermanno Basso.

1. For Mr Evans
2. Crise
3. Praise
4. Yes and Now
5. Take 4
6. Six Steps To Heaven
7. Blues For Joshua
8. Alone Again

Jorma Kalevi Louhivuori ( Trumpet )
Ville Vannemaa ( Sax )
Mikael Myrskog ( Piano )
Eero Seppä ( Bass )
Jaska Lukkarinen ( Drums )
Kalevi Louhivuori Quintet ( Band )


Jorma Kalevi Louhivuori aka J.K.L is one of Finland’s finest up-and-coming musicians/composers. He has toured around the world (Asia, Australia, Africa, U.S.A, Europe etc.) for concerts and giving workshops (Singapore Jazz School, North Melbourne Institute of Music, Kenyatta University in Kenia, Saxion Hogeschool in Holland etc.)

J.K.L has performed with many jazz legends of today like Dave Liebman, Al Foster, Hugh Masekela, Bob Mintzer among others. He works in numerous different bands & productions and is the leader of The Northern Governors, Sun Trio and J.K.L Quintet.

J.K.L is a composer, arranger, lyricist, producer and a singer. He writes music for all kinds of bands and his music varies from jazz to pop,  from classical to afro-beat, from big bands to choirs and orchestras.


International band competition, Macau: The Northern Governors won 10 000€: 3rd prize (2014)

Cam Jazz released Sun trio´s 3rd album “In The Dreamworld”during their album release tour in U.S and Canada (2014)

Composed and arranged a piece for Philomela choir (European Champion 2013) for their 30th anniversary

Composed march music and conducted a promotion procession for the Finnish President and 500 doctors (2013)

J.K.L´s band The Northern Governors opened for Norah Jones and Janelle Monae in Pori Jazz Festivals (2012)


1st prize Nömme Jazz International Jazz Trumpet Competition: 2011

2nd place Carmine Caruso International Jazz  Trumpet Competition: Louisville 2009

1st prize at the International Independent New York Film Festival for the music video “Countless Ways” (directed by Zero Tuonela)

1st prize: Young Nordic Jazz Comets: Sun trio and soloist prize: Reykjavik, Iceland 2006

2nd prize International Jazz Soloist Competition: Monaco 2006

Numerous grants from different organizations