Friday, June 10, 2016

David Gibson - Inner Agent (2016)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Genre: Post-Bop
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

The idea of creating a safe space to allow for disregarding safety may be paradoxical in nature, but it makes perfect sense when contextualized or couched in jazz terms. There can be no resolution of faith in one's surroundings and colleagues without taking the trust fall, there can be no reward without risk, and there can be no true growth without belief. Those ideals are jazz to the core, and they're at the heart of this project from trombonist David Gibson.

Inner Agent, the fourth fine album that Gibson has released on the Posi-tone imprint, seeks to explore those very concepts to the fullest. It walks a similar path as Boom! (Posi-tone, 2015), a directional shift that found Gibson moving away from an organ-centric format and creating a bolder sonic brew with a crew of young guns, but it's a more evolved statement. Gibson has essentially kept the Boom! band intact—trumpeter Freddie Hendrix fills the seat formerly occupied by Josh Evans, but pianist Theo Hill, bassist Alexander Claffy, and drummer Kush Abadey all remain aboard—and his music is all the better for it. The rapport between these men has been strengthened over time, a greater sense of understanding has been fostered through their interactions, and a willingness to take more chances is evident on this recording.

Gibson delivers a winning program that references his influences, speaks to his love of diversity, and allows for the unexpected to enter into the equation. He comes off as an intrepid and indomitable spirit, but he's not afraid to also let his emotions show. Whether engaging his core group in dialogue, working with or against his guests—saxophonists Doug Webb and Caleb Wheeler Curtis—or ceding the spotlight entirely, Gibson personifies leadership and puts the focus on the music. This is jazz with nothing to hide, made by a band with a hell of a lot to say.

The album kicks off with a one-two punch in the form of the racing title track and the shape-shifting "Axe Grinder." Those original numbers position Gibson and his band as aggressors, but there's more than blood, sweat, and sheer force here. A visit to the church of Billy Taylor on "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" makes that point. From there, Gibson keeps you guessing about where he might go. "The Scythe" is a slice of scintillating modern jazz, hard driving and edgy in all the best ways; Claffy's "AJ" is pure buoyant charm; "The Court" and "Sweetness"—two tunes penned by trombonist Curtis Fuller—speak to strength and jauntiness, respectively; and "Gravy," an older Gibson tune that comes from another time and band in his past, is unadulterated jazz-funk. That last number would've been a finer closer, but Gibson's personalized take on "Here Comes The Sun" is an even better one.

I had the pleasure of being present when some of this music came into existence in the studio, and it's no lie or exaggeration to say that the energy in the room at the time has carried over to the finished product. There's a good deal of music out there that pulls from these same stylistic bags, but much of it seems calcified by comparison. Inner Agent is brimming with life. Dan Bilawsky


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Denny Zeitlin: Early Wayne - Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions (2016) SUNNYSIDE RECORDS


(Sunnyside SSC 1456)

Street Date: July 8, 2016

A Note From Denny Zeitlin…

I was a junior in college in 1959 when Wayne Shorter made his recording debut as a leader, and was captivated by the originality of his sound and concept, both as a performer and composer.

He has continued to inspire me over the ensuing decades, and I've recorded his compositions on a number of occasions. 

The idea of an entire concert of Wayne's tunes as launching pads into improvisation occurred to me as I was preparing for an annual performance at the Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland, California.  The venue is perfect—a stable of marvelous pianos ; an intimate concert space that attracts an attentive and adventurous audience; flawless acoustics; and a staff that really cares about the music.

I believe that Wayne is jazz's  greatest living composer and improviser, and for this concert, I focused on his timeless early compositions.  They are all from the sixties, with the exception of "Ana Maria," published in the seventies. I hope you will enjoy these explorations.

1) Speak No Evil  7:16  (Miyako Music, BMI)

2) Nefertiti  7:55  (Miyako Music, BMI)

3)  Ju Ju  7:38  (Miyako Music, BMI)

4  Teru  7:30  (Miyako Music, BMI)

5)  Toy Tune  6:04 (Iska Music, BMI)

6)  Infant Eyes  8:37 (Miyako Music, BMI)

7)  Paraphernalia  7:51  (Miyako Music, BMI)

8)  Ana Maria  6:32  (Iska Music, BMI)

9)  E.S.P.  5:54  (Miyako Music, BMI)

10)  Miyako  4:10  (Miyako Music, BMI)

Early Wayne, piano

Additional Credits:

Produced by Denny Zeitlin

Recorded at Piedmont Piano Company, Oakland, CA,  December 5, 2014

Recording Engineer: Vadim Canby

Mixing and Mastering Engineer: Vadim Canby & Denny Zeitlin

Photography:  Josephine Zeitlin

Graphic Design:  Chris Drukker

Cover Illustration:  Manuel Menchen Ozaita

Denny Zeitlin is a Steinway Artist

Thanks to:

Wayne Shorter, for the gift of his music

Francois Zalacain and the staff at Sunnyside, for their support of this project

Jim Callahan, his family, and staff for providing a world-class venue

Vadim Canby, for his impeccable recording, mixing, and mastering

My wife Josephine, for nurturing my music in countless ways 



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Michiel Stekelenburg 5 - Layers (2016)

Genre: Modern Jazz/Jazz-Rock
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

Modern Jazz guitarist & composer.
In addition to being a member in several bands/music projects, he leads his own jazz / improvisational quintet. | His origins in rock music have influenced both his playing and his compositions.

His debut album Hypnos was received with wide acclaim and the band played amongst others at the internationally renowned North Sea Jazz festival | Upcoming album will be released june 10th 2016.

Recently The Michiel Stekelenburg 5 recorded their second album at the Wedgeview Studios. The album release is planned for this upcoming spring 2016.
The lineup has been slightly changed relative to the first album Hypnos.
Efraim Trujillo replaced Tom Beek on saxophones, and pianist Jeroen van Vliet, who recently won the Boy Edgarprice, joined the band for this recording. Pascal Vermeer en Guus Bakker stay at the firm base of the Michiel Stekelenburg 5.

The Nephilim
Letter to Missouri
Morning Song

Michiel Stekelenburg - gitaar
Efraim Trujillo - tenorsaxofoon
Jeroen van Vliet - piano
Guus Bakker - contrabas
Pascal Vermeer - drums



Drummer Ben Adkins New CD “Salmagundi” And Live Appearance @ The Parlour Friday, July 8th

Drummer Ben Adkins
New CD “Salmagundi”
And Live Appearance
@ The Parlour 
2000 1/2 San Marco Blvd
Jacksonville, Fl 32207

July 8th
Set Times: 8pm, 9:30 pm
 1st set = $20 (includes admission, a signed copy of the CD, and 1 drink).
Second set no cover.

Ben Adkins- Salmagundi (2016) JAZZ PROMO SERVICES


With his debut album Salmagundi, drummer/composer Ben Adkins makes a dynamic entrance into the realm of jazz expression. The album title refers to a general mixture or potpourri, but that does not do full justice to the rich palette of items that Ben is offering here. A fine blend, comprising jazz classics, a fresh take on a standard, New Orleans-style funk and Adkins’ own outstanding compositions – spanning from delicate balladry to smooth swing to blazing blowing – takes the listener on an exciting journey that echoes the rich jazz legacy while looking boldly toward the future… and in most joyous fashion.

Ben has surrounded himself with a remarkable coterie of musicians. Joshua Bowlus on piano and Rhodes, is present throughout the album, while bassist Stan Piper plays on all but one track. Paul Miller brings his guitar wizardry to six tracks and the remarkable Alphonso Horne offers his formidable trumpet and flugelhorn talents on four.  Special guest artists include the extraordinary vocalist Linda Cole (of Illinois’ legendary Cole Family Singers), fine tenor saxophonist Michael Emmert and New Orleans guitar hero Chris Adkins – each performing on one track.

Emmert and Adkins both appear on Chris’ That Jambalaya, a boppish N’Orleans funkfest marked by Michael’s emotive tenor, Horne’s dancing muted trumpet, horn riff-driven guitar and Rhodes solos, all stoked by Ben’s second line-flavored drumming.  Hard-bop urban funk cooks with Blue Mitchell’s Fungii Mama, launched on a sparkling drum solo – one of three jazz classics on the album. Charlie Parker’s Cheryl is a trio interpretation with Ben playing Max Roach to Joshua’s Bud Powell with terrific interplay by all three men and a virile solo by Piper. The trio is joined by Horne (on flugelhorn) for an exquisite treatment of Billie Strayhorn’s gorgeous Chelsea Bridge. Arthur Schwarz’ You and the Night and the Music gets a refreshing treatment as a Rhodes/drum duet with a Bossa/Samba feel.

Ben’s originals show an emerging composer of note. The album opens with Lucky, an excursion in buoyant swing delivered in a delicious call-and-response between trumpet and guitar. Five in Time is a guitar driven scorcher built on a descending pattern with terrific solos by Miller, Bowlus and Piper. The lilting Let’s Dance (the Night Away) offers a most attractive canvas for Horne, Bowlus and Miller to paint their pictures. Two versions of Ben’s beautiful ballad When You Smile at Me are offered. The (Reprise) take is an impressive instrumental, while the version that closes the album is wonderfully enhanced by the powerfully evocative and deeply emotional song stylings of Linda Cole, whose haunting vocal creates a sumptuously atmospheric mood to bring this journey to a most moving end.

Salmagundi is a most extraordinary first album that promises great things for the future.

Label: Ben Adkins Music
Artist Website: 
Release Date: JULY 8, 2016

Track listing:
1. Lucky 6:36
2. Fungii Mama 4:39 *Blue Mitchell
3. Let’s Dance (The Night Away) 6:22
4. You and the Night and the Music 5:33 *Arthur Schwartz
5. When You Smile at Me (Reprise) 7:22
6. That Jambalaya 6:30 *Chris Adkins
7. Five in Time 6:06
8.Chelsea Bridge 6:32 *Billy Strayhorn
9. Cheryl 4:28 *Charlie Parker
10. When You Smile at Me 2:57

Trumpet and Flugelhorn - Alphonso Horne
Piano and Rhodes - Joshua Bowlus
Guitar - Paul Miller
Bass - Stan Piper
Drums - Ben Adkins

Special Guests: 
LindaCole, Vocals - Track10
ChrisAdkins, Guitar - Track 6
Michael Emmert, Saxophone - Track 6

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The Orbert Davis Quintet Appearing @ The Jazz Showcase / Thursday – Sunday June 23 – 26, 2016

The Orbert Davis Quintet

Appearing @
The Jazz Showcase
806 S Plymouth Ct
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 360-0234

Thursday – Sunday
June 23 – 26, 2016


Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble - Havana Blue (2016) 316 RECORDS


Street Date: June 16, 2016


In a momentous collaboration, beginning with an exploratory trip to Cuba in October 2012, Orbert Davis shares his experiences and brings the Cuban culture’s rich history to life in a vibrant new CD entitled “Havana Blue” Recorded live at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

CHICAGO, IL – Havana Blue was conceived as a collaboration between the artistic directors of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and River North Dance Chicago, Orbert Davis (composer) and Frank Chavez (choreographer), to discover their African and Cuban roots through a live presentation of music and dance. It premiered and was recorded ‘live’ at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre on April 13, 2013 as a highlight of the theater’s Music + Movement Festival.

To develop the work, Davis and Chaves spent nine days together in Havana, Cuba in October 2012. For Chaves, it was a return home to a place he never really knew, having left the island of his birth at the age of six months. For Davis, it was an opportunity to experience one of the most musical places on the planet. “I learned so much just being there”, says Davis. “Everywhere I went, I took my trumpet and would play whenever I could – just started jamming’. The streets, the restaurants, hotels... Everyone has such respect for the music. It’s amazing.” If Chaves’ goal was to say something about being Cuban, Davis sought to, as he puts it, ‘become Cuban’ by connecting his cultural roots to Cuba, where the African heritage is prominent.

Broken into seven vignettes, Havana Blue tells the multi-faceted story of Cuban culture and brings out the many flavors of passion, romance, angst, energy and uncertainty that are embedded in a tumultuous society. From a joyous celebration in the streets of Havana, to a dramatic, intense journey out of a devastated country, the piece infuses Cuban rhythm with pure emotion.

“We wanted to create an innovative, contemporary take on Afro-Caribbean music, departing from the cliché of fast tempos, bright colors, and ruffled shirts,” Davis explains. “Havana Blue explores the similarities between African and Cuban rhythms and culture and how that heritage helps people overcome the challenges of everyday life.”

Havana Blue is the beginning of the extraordinary journey that led to Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s relationship with the Universidad de las Artes (ISA) – a residency that coincided with the historic normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba in December 2014.

Orbert Davis

Orbert Davis is co-founder, conductor and Artistic Director of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, a 55+ piece jazz-symphonic orchestra and a 16-piece chamber group dedicated to multi-genre projects. He is also the co-founder of Jazz Alive, an interdisciplinary enrichment program that focuses on teaching life and academic skills through music, currently providing weekly music and band instruction to hundreds of Chicago Public School students.

One of Chicago’s busiest and most sought after musicians; Davis was commissioned in 2012 to create a new work for Chicago Symphony Center’s city-wide Rivers Festival. He was named Artist-In-Residence for the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2011, an honor held by only one other Chicagoan in its history. In that same year Davis won an Emmy Award for his original score for the national PBS documentary, DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis. In 2010 he received the Arts Legend Award from Arts Alliance Illinois, a statewide arts advocacy group, recognizing his mission-based accomplishments in both performance and education.

Orbert has a Bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from DePaul University, a Master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Governors State University.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

Founded in 2004 by Orbert Davis and Mark Ingram as America’s definitive “Third Stream” orchestra, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic provides rich, accessible, multi-cultural music experiences that bridge gaps in jazz and classical genres. The CJP performs works from the standard jazz big band to the classical symphony, while creating a “new aesthetic” in cross-genre collaborations. The organization also provides music education through Jazz Alive, a weekly music and band education program for Chicago Public School students, and the Summer Jazz Academy, a two-week immersion program in music theory and practice.

Support for Chicago Jazz Philharmonic comes from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Allstate Foundation, Reva and David Logan Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Medix, Discover Music: Discover Life, Illinois Arts Council, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Mardi Gras Fund, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, and City Arts Grants.

Mark Ingram,
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Post Office Box 5715
Chicago, Illinois 60680-5715

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