Monday, June 13, 2016

Ridgeway Arts Inc. Launches Ridgeway Radio in June 2016

Ridgeway Arts Inc. Launches Ridgeway Radio in June 2016

Plus 2016 Recordings from Jeff Denson Quartet, Opaluna and Ian Faquini / Paul Santoro

Performances/Educational Workshops by Tammy Scheffer, Denson and Kari Ikonen 

“The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us, fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age.”Jeff Denson, founder & artistic director of Ridgeway Arts, Inc.

Ridgeway Arts, Inc. – The multi-faceted San Francisco Bay Area-based non-profit founded by renowned bassist/composer/educator/community activist Jeff Denson and a small group of colleagues – will launch Ridgeway Radio’s On the Scene SF/O, an interview show hosted by Andrew Lion, in June 2016. The bi-monthly podcast will feature artists of multiple genres as well as music industry luminaries, and offer listeners insight into the life and art of players.  Not only will the importance of jazz and other art forms be highlighted, but also the creative process and business of making music in the 21st Century.  All episodes will be archived at and

Ridgeway Radio’s schedule includes:

• June: saxophonist/composer Dayna Stephens.

• July: bassist/composer Marcus Shelby (Episodes 1 and 2)

• August: pianist Vadim Neselovskyi, singer-songwriter Megan Slankford

• September: vibraphonist/composer Warren Wolf, violinist/composer Mads Tolling

• October: trumpeter/composer Cuong Vu, electric bassist/composer Kai Eckhardt

• November: vocalist/composer Tammy Scheffer

Ridgeway Arts, Inc. officially kicked off in summer 2015 with the release of the highly celebrated Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz recording.  Drummer/composer Alan Hall’s Arctic featuring Ratatet followed.  They’ve also organized concerts and educational workshops with artists such as Hall and renowned pianist/composer Vadim Neselovskyi.  Upcoming releases and concerts include:

Ridgeway Records

• Concentric Circles by the Jeff Denson Quartet will be released June 24. CD release concerts take place:  July 29 at Art Boutiki  • August 13 at Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco  • September 25 at Silo’s in Napa  • October 2 at Jazz Church West  • October 21 at The Jazzschool, Berkeley.  

• Ridgeway Records Rising Star Series showcases bright new talent.  To be released this year are the eponymous recording by Opaluna on August 26, and Metal na Madiera by Ian Faquini & Paul Santoro on September 23.

Ridgeway Presents 

August 31 – September 3, 2016 – Vocalist Tammy Scheffer  
Aug. 31: Workshop with California Jazz Conservatory students.
Sept. 1: Workshop with Napa Valley High School acappella group; 8 p.m. concert at Silo's in Napa
Sept. 2: School workshop; 7:30 p.m. performance at Art Boutiki in San Jose
Sept. 3: Afternoon public workshop at Jazzschool; 8 p.m. performance at Jazzschool in Berkeley
Sept. 4: 8 p.m. concert at Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco

September 12 & 25, 2016 – Bassist/composer Jeff Denson
Sept. 12: Bassist/composer Jeff Denson presents a lecture at the Napa Valley High School about being a 21st Century musician, jazz education, recording and the diverse skill sets needed to be a musician in today’s world. The event takes place at 11:20 a.m.

Sept. 25: The Napa Valley High School Big Band will perform two of Denson’s pieces arranged for the group at Silo’s in Napa. Denson and his band will then perform music from his new CD Concentric Circles. Concert at 8 p.m.

March 30-April 2, 2017 – Pianist Kari Ikonen
March 30: school workshop, 7:30 p.m. performance at Art Boutiki in San Jose
March 31: afternoon workshop with Napa Valley High School jazz combo; 8 pm concert at Silo's, Napa
April 1: afternoon public workshop at Jazzschool; 8 p.m. performance at Jazzschool
April 2, 4 p.m. at Chez Hanny in San Francisco

About Ridgeway Arts:
Under Jeff Denson’s vision and leadership, Ridgeway’s collective efforts include education and community outreach, the Ridgeway Presents concert series, Ridgeway Radio, Ridgeway Records, and Denson’s own performing and composing activities, all designed to enhance and fortify the Bay Area scene, and to make a strong contribution to the national landscape of jazz.

The Educational/ Community Outreach component has been developed in conjunction with the California Jazz Conservatory (CJC) where Denson is Director of Outreach and a full-time professor. The program has a triple purpose of exposing primary and secondary students to the profound legacy of jazz; providing opportunities for young musicians to learn from and perform with top professionals of both local and national renown; and fortifying the Bay Area scene to encourage graduating students to remain in the area.

Ridgeway Presents is the organization’s curating program. Concerts and workshops feature national artists, local musicians of varying statures, and emerging student ensembles from the CJC and high school jazz programs. The program embraces the restoration of “learning on the bandstand” (young talent sharing the stage with professionals).  It’s how jazz musicians used to learn but is an element of jazz which has been neglected in recent years. Ridgeway Presents fosters partnerships with venues and institutions to support live performance, and works nationally on exchange programs with members of the UNITY Arts Alliance.

Ridgeway Records was conceived with an innovative plan in a partnership mode, in which artists share revenue, team resources, marketing and distribution – all integrated within the overall plans of Ridgeway Arts.  The label’s first album – the aforementioned Jeff Denson Trio plus Lee Konitz – was released in the summer of 2015. Other projects include Arctic (released in March 2016) the debut recording by Alan Hall’s six-member Ratatet.  The Sgt. Pepper Project, with its fresh and innovative take on the revered album’s compositions, is slated for early 2017 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original release. The first album by Electreo, as well as Paul Hanson’s Homecoming, a sweeping exploration of Jewish music for a sextet of bassoon, violin, guitar, cello, bass and drums, are also on Ridgeway Records. Denson, who has developed a productive ongoing relationship with the famed Fantasy Studios, serves as producer and/or executive producer on all of the label’s projects. Ridgeway Records Rising Star Series features up-and-coming young talent.

Ridgeway Radio is an interview show hosted by Andrew Lion. The bi-monthly podcast features Bay Area musicians and music industry luminaries and offers listeners insight into the life and art of jazz players, the state of jazz in the Bay Area and beyond, and the importance of jazz as an art form.

Groundwork is being laid for additional projects including Ridgeway Publishing (educational books by Denson and other extraordinary educators).  

As Denson says: "Ridgeway Arts is here to lend a voice to the remarkable creativity in our communities and to work to bring it to the people who are hungry for it.”  

For more information, visit: 

Makiko Hirabayashi & Bob Rockwell - Gong (2016) GATEWAY MUSIC


Makiko Hirabayashi and Bob Rockwell performed as a duo for the first time in 2011, at a concert for the tsunami victims of Fukushima. Music on this album was written by Makiko in a period of three years that followed the event. This album holds a wide palette of emotions, ranging from confusion, fear, rage to that of hope, joy and childlike innocence. The music has kept both its fragile and explosive elements throughout the album. 

Makiko Hirabayashi and Bob Rockwell both moved to Copenhagen, from Japan and USA respectively in 1990 and 1983, and made it their home. They have been active on the European jazz scene for the last two to three  decades, and have earlier collaborated on a quintet project, Grey to Blue (Stunt Records, 2008).

1.Beneath The Seabed
2.The Invisible
4.Piece Of May
6.Serial Attacks
7.Dai Dai

Makiko Hirabayashi  (p)
Bob Rockwell   (ten/sop sax)

Recorded 29, 30 January 2015 by Boe Larsen at MillFactory, Copenhagen.
Mixed and mastered by August Wanngren
Artwork by Ken Sumitani
Photography by Karolina Zapolska


Mark Solborg & Herb Robertson - Tuesday Prayers (Live) 2016 ILK MUSIC


After having performed three intense concerts with drummer Peter Bruun and bassist Mats Eilertsen in a little more than 24 hours at Kongsberg and Copenhagen Jazz Festival in July 2014, American trumpet icon Herb Robertson and Danish guitarist Mark Solborg paid a visit to Koncertkirken, an old church in downtown Copenhagen for a duo performance.

That Tuesday evening the music was more calm and contemplative than usual. The large room and beautiful acoustics breathed life into transparent motives, hymns, shouts and expressive textures. Essentially a musical dialogue between friends. Pensive prayers of peace is what you hear on this live-recorded duo album. Music for the quiet of late nights or early mornings.

Tuesday Prayers is available digitally and in a beautiful recycled-paper and non-glue pack- age containing CD and high resolution download. With the kind permission of the Nelleman family and Clausens Kunsthandel the package holds an original etching by Danish graphic artist par excellence Rasmus Nelleman (1923-2004): “Ledninger 1991” (“Wires 1991”). To Herb and Mark the artwork seems to resonate with the transparency and clear structures of the music within. Please visit for more information and a world of orginal Danish graphic artwork. The vinyl edition is in the pipeline.

The collaboration between Robertson and Solborg began in 2008 and includes the critically acclaimed albums: Herb Robertson/Mark Solborg NOD (ILK152CD) and Mark Solborg Trio feat. Herb Robertson and Evan Parker: The Trees (ILK199CD). Since then they have performed as a duo and with Mark Solborg Trio at multiple international festivals and venues in Central Europe, Scandinavia, Syriah, a.o.

“Every quiet passage here is invested with personality” - Jazz Journal, UK

"Delicate sound-art for two eloquent conversational partners .. A small masterpiece” - Ib skovgaard, weekendavisen, DK

“...A high point in Danish Improjazz. Music that has it’s own spirit and becomes a living organism, filled with wonder and joy. My soul, could you wish for more ?” - Niels Overgaard,


#1 - The Flute (2:34) #2 - I know you (3:41)

#3 - Hymn (8:46)
#4 - Tuesday prayers (17:23)
#5 - Slideswitch* (1:06)
#6 - Shouts, landscape and goodbyes (8:09)

Total time (41:43)
All songs by Mark Solborg and Herb Robertson except * by Mark Solborg.