Saturday, June 18, 2016

UADG - LARIS (2016)


Ricky Rodriguez Group - Looking Beyond (2016)

Source: Jazz Speaks
Genre: Modern Creative/Electric Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

No Secrets: Ricky Rodriguez Speaks 

Ricky Rodriguez, a bassist with a heavy history of touring with the greats, will bring his own band to The Jazz Gallery for the release of his first album as a leader. Raised and schooled in Puerto Rico, Ricky has been on the New York scene for almost eleven years. Looking Beyond (Destiny Records) presents the inimitable lineup of Adam Rogers (guitar), Luis Perdomo (piano), Myron Walden (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), and Obed Calvaire (drums). The album also features special guests David Sanchez (tenor saxophone) and Pete Rodriguez (trumpet). We caught up with Ricky by phone, and talked about his composition and arrangement style, the backstory behind the formation of his quintet, and his philosophy on approaching the New York scene as a young musician.

The Jazz Gallery: Your last gig at the Gallery was in April 2015, with Ben Wendel, Fabian Almazan, and Henry Cole, where you reworked several tunes from “Looking Beyond” with an electric approach. How did the show go down?

Ricky Rodriguez: It went well, man. As a double bass player and electric bass player, I respect the instruments’ different sounds, from classic and acoustic to electric and crazy, you know what I mean? I picked some tunes from the record, and combined them with new ones that I was writing for that particular project. It worked great, because the bass lines I wrote on acoustic, I can play on electric too, and it doesn’t sound out of context. When I compose, I try to think of those days when the airline might not let me travel with my acoustic, so I have to bring the electric. So I try to make my music work for both. Except for when we play straight-ahead jazz of course; I respect that sound so much that I have to play acoustic. But the rest of my music works fine for both. I can play with Fender Rhodes or acoustic piano, and it sounds good either way. So with the electric band, we had a good time, and people liked it. For this week, it will totally be like the real shit, you know? [laughs]. The ‘real band,’ with the acoustic instruments, so I’m really excited about that.  Keep on Reading...

1. The Real Truth 09:18
2. Living 08:50
3. The Last Chance 08:10
4. Intro To Introspection 00:42
5. Introspection 09:03
6. Looking Beyond 09:09
7. Stress vs. Relaxation 06:09
8. A Quiet Refuge 06:48
9. The Humblness 08:59
10.And Then... 01:31

Ricky Rodriguez: Bass
Adam Rogers: Guitar
Luis Perdomo: Piano, Fender Rhodes
Obed Calvaire: Drums
Myron Walden: Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet

With Special Guests:
David Sanchez: Tenor Saxophone
Pete Rodriguez: Trumpet
Obanilu Allende: Barril De Bomba



Ryan Keberle & Catharsis - Azul Infinito (2016)

Genre: Modern Creative Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

While the blues is a distinctly American creation, formed, fueled, and furthered by the African diaspora, the United States holds no ownership on blue-streaked sounds. They exist beyond our borders, and Azul Infinito makes that case in artful fashion by simultaneously tapping into various South American musical forms and cultures, reshaping them, and highlighting the color scheme(s) endemic to each one. It's a strikingly original album that's influenced by the work of specific figures and set cultural norms, but shaped by the creative spirit of a true original—trombonist Ryan Keberle.

Since arriving in New York in 1999, Keberle has made his mark in numerous contexts, working with cutting edge large groups like the Maria Schneider Orchestra and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, unique small bands like Joe Fiedler's Big Sackbut, and sophisticated pop geniuses like David Bowie, David Byrne, and Sufjan Stevens. But that's not the whole story. If you dig a little deeper into his discography and history, a connection to many forward-thinking Latin American composers emerges. Over the years, Keberle has supported the musical visions of singular personalities like bassist Pedro Giraudo, pianist Emilio Solla, and percussionist Samuel Torres. Each of those figures, in turn, has influenced Keberle and opened up new worlds of possibility in his dealings with rhythm, harmony, and melody. That's the setup for Azul Infinito. It's a record built around tributes, with many different musical tributaries feeding into the music, and it may just be Keberle's most fully realized statement yet.

In hearing this music, several things immediately jump out. First, for those familiar with this group, there's the manner in which this band has evolved over the course of three albums. The musical kinship between Keberle, trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, bassist Jorge Roeder, and drummer Eric Doob was obvious on the band's debut—Music Is Emotion (Alternate Side Records, 2013)—but their bonds have only grown stronger and more flexible over time. Add to that the entrancing vocal work of Camila Meza, who came on as a special guest on Into The Zone (Greenleaf Music, 2014) and exists as a full-fledged member of Catharsis here, and you have something very unique and special. Next, there's the skillful way(s) that these musicians seamlessly shift from tightly-woven sections to looser episodes of interplay. There's an elasticity at play in the band's concept, allowing for dialogue and give-and-take within or at the periphery of fixed frameworks. And lastly, there's the manner in which the uncommon grouping of trombone, trumpet, vocals, bass, and drums sounds utterly complete. You didn't mind the absence of a "harmony" instrument like piano or guitar on this band's previous albums, but now you don't even notice it.

It doesn't take more than a few seconds for Keberle and company to draw you in, as layered vocal and brass ostinatos create a hypnotic ripple current atop the shifting sounds of Roeder's bass on "I Thought I Knew (For Pedro Giraudo)." That introduction seamlessly segues into a propulsive ride that underscores Meza's delivery. It's the first of several pieces on the album to feature lyrics, further broadening the vision of this outfit, and it pays tribute to Giraudo by nodding to the Argentinian chacarera. Then there's "Cancion Mandala," a Sebastian Cruz composition that explores and expands on Colombian folkloric music; "Mr. Azul (for Samuel Torres)," influenced by the hip bullerengue groove and featuring some engaging solo trading from Keberle and Rodriguez; and "She Sleeps Alone (For Sebastian Cruz)," which plays like a lament yet also speaks to the resolute spirit of oneness.

The second half of the album opens on an exuberant note with "Quintessence (for Ivan Lins)," but sorrowful tones enter the picture during a lyrics-enhanced take on Giraudo's "La Ley Primera." Then things come to a close with "Eternity Of An Instant (For Emilio Solla)," a through-composed vehicle that plays the ideas of development and persistence against one another, and Lins' "Madalena," a piece that highlights the strong communicative connections between Meza and Keberle. Both prove to be complex in certain respects, yet direct in others.

In his liner essay for this album, Keberle notes that this music "represents a broad scope of what South American music can be." That adoption of a vision built on potential, rather than purity, is what ultimately drives this music to great heights. In exploring different aspects of music and culture from South America without strictly adhering to any rigid dictates, Keberle has managed to create something that extends well beyond any style or school of thought. Dan Bilawsky

I Thought I Knew (For Pedro Giraudo)
Cancion Mandala
Mr. Azul (for Samuel Torres)
She Sleeps Alone (For Sebastian Cruz)
Quintessence (For Ivan Lins)
La Ley Primera
Eternity Of An Instant (For Emilio Solla)

Ryan Keberle: trombone, melodica
Camila Meza: vocals
Mike Rodriguez: trumpet, pandeiro
Jorge Roeder: acoustic bass, electric bass, bass FX
Eric Doob: drums 




Naomi Moon Siegel - Shoebox View (2016)

Label: Break Open Records
Source: Cdbaby
Genre: Modern Creative Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★☆

"Shoebox View, Siegel's marvelous debut, is one that the record companies should be kicking themselves over, for the missed opportunity to bring a fresh talent to light.

"Siegel has found her voice. On this sprawling album that employs thirteen musicians in addition to the leader, the trombonist explores folk-like melodies and what she describes as "fantastical landscapes." A trombone seems an odd choice for a melodic lead in a folk song environment, with its deep tone and sonic heft, but Siegel surrounds the muscular brass with a silvery, moonlight-on-the-tree-tops backdrop on the opener, "Jeanine's Joy."

"Recorded in Seattle, Costa Rica, and Brooklyn over a nine month period, half the music here is highly produced, the other half is recorded essentially live, with little or no studio tweaking. That said, it is a remarkably cohesive statement. Siegel works the studio like an old pro on the previously mentioned opener. She's added intricate effects on "Casa de Aves." Throughout Wurlitzers sparkle, synthesizers paint gentle washes of pastels, world percussion percolates. In a way, Siegel seems to be doing—in a folk song, world beat, African rhythms arena—what Miles Davis and Teo Macero did with funk and acid jazz on On The Corner (Columbia Records, 1972), with, in Siegel and company's case, a gentler, more patient, and more melodic mode. The sounds around her may change, but the trombone remains a constant—a powerful yet gentle voice in the middle of a vibrant world community."

"Shoebox View has the intimacy of a book of poetry or a singer-songwriter album except the main lyrical voice is my trombone. Reaching beyond the influences of my jazz background, this music is inspired by the natural world, family, folk music, indie pop and West African rhythms. In a culture that predominantly values things being bigger, faster, brighter, Shoebox View is a call to slow down. This music cinematically creates space for listeners to be with their own hearts, minds, feelings. It is a celebration of introspection, patience, listening, nature, community and authentic expression. Each song represents a time, a story, a place, a feeling."
 Naomi Moon Siegel

1. Jeannine's Joy
2. It's Not Safe
3. Casa De Aves
4. Ukelady
5. Punta Uva
6. Ever Yes
7. Brown, Grey, Orange, Green
8. Electric Flower
9. Mama Sanchaba
10. Mañana, Mañana

Naomi Moon Siegel: trombone (all), piano (5, 7, 9, 10)
Sean Woolstenhulme: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo (2, 4, 5, 6 ,7, 9, 10)
Wayne Horvitz: organ, piano Wurlitzer (2, 4, 6, 8, 10)
Eric Eagle: drums, percussion (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8)
Keith Lowe: upright bass (6, 8)
Alex guy: viola (3, 6, 8, 9)
Ivan Arteaga: alto saxophone (3, 5)
Michael Coleman: Wurlitzer, synthesizers (3, 5)
Thione Diop: percussion (1)
Jefferson Rose: electric bass (1)
Andrew Vait: syntesizers (1)
Jacques Willis: beat production (3)
Greg Sinibaldi: baritone saxohone (6)
Steve O'Brien: trumpet (9) 



Marcos Amorim - Sea Of Tranquility (2016)

Label: Adventure Music

Source: Amazon
Genre: Guitar-Driven-World-Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★☆

Sea of Tranquility marks the fifth Adventure Music release for acclaimed Brazilian guitarist, Marcos Amorim. The album features Marcos on guitar, Rafael Barata on drums, Augusto Mattoso on bass, and Itamar Assiere on piano and Rhodes. ''Apollo 11 finally landed on the SEA OF TRANQUILITY, said the speaker on TV. I remembered astronaut Neil Armstrong floating in slow motion in a psychedelic dance as he picked up pebbles of the moon. A lonely and poetic image. That's what I felt at that time. When I wrote and named this this song, I wanted to exactly portray the sensation of peace and solitude that I felt in 1969, at the age of five. It makes sense. ''SEA OF TRANQUILITY still represents to me today, that same peace that Leo felt. Marcos Amorim, Rio de Janeiro, January 2016.

01. Dance Of The Five Princesses (6:56)
02. Bolero (8:59)
03. January Ashes (4:22)
04. Pedras Rolando (6:45)
05. Sea Of Tranquility (5:33)
06. The Further Away The Closer I Get (5:46)
07. Sea Time (6:25)
08. My African Goddess (7:17)
09. Wooden Face Blues (5:45)

Marcos Amorim - guitar
Rafael Barata - drums
Augusto Mattoso - bass
Itamar Assiere - piano and Rhodes

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Renowned Jazz Bassist Dave Holland Earns Nation’s Highest Honor in Jazz: 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Award

Holland is an NEC Visiting Artist-in-Residence

NEC visiting artist-in-residence, renowned jazz bassist/composer and bandleader Dave Holland has earned the nation’s highest honor in jazz: a 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Award.  Holland is one of five individuals recognized for their lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz. Each will receive a $25,000 award and be honored at a tribute concert on Monday, April 3, 2017, produced in collaboration with the Kennedy Center.  Other honorees include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ira Gitler, Dick Hyman and Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Over the course of a nearly five-decade career, Dave Holland has never stopped evolving, reinventing his concept and approach with each new project while constantly honing his instantly identifiable voice. From the electric whirlwind of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew-era band to the elegant flamenco of his collaboration with Spanish guitar legend Pepe Habichuela; accompanying the great vocalist Betty Carter in her last years to forging a new sound with the pioneering avant-garde quartet Circle alongside Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton, and Barry Altschul; standing alongside legends like Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Roy Haynes, and Sam Rivers to providing early opportunities to now-leading players like Chris Potter, Kevin and Robin Eubanks, or Steve Coleman; Dave Holland has been at the forefront of jazz in many of its forms since his earliest days.

Outside the jazz world, he’s collaborated with Bonnie Raitt, flamenco master Pepe Habichuela, and bluegrass legend Vassar Clements. In 2013, the Wolverhampton, England native unveiled Prism, a visceral electric quartet featuring his longtime collaborator and Tonight Show bandleader Kevin Eubanks, along with keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Eric Harland. In addition, Holland continues to lead his Grammy-winning big band; his renowned quintet with saxophonist Chris Potter, trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, and drummer Nate Smith; and the Overtone quartet, with Potter, Harland, and pianist Jason Moran.

Awarded an honorary degree by NEC in spring 2004, that fall Holland began a series of residencies at the school in which he shares the many dimensions of his activities as soloist, composer, bandleader, and all-round musician.
Past NEA Jazz Masters with NEC affiliations include Gunther Schuller, Bob Brookmeyer, Ron Carter, George Russell and Cecil Taylor:

(click here)

Each year since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters award. With this new class, the NEA has awarded 145 fellowships to great figures in jazz. More information about the NEA Jazz Masters and the agency’s collection of free jazz content is available here.

NEA Jazz Master Fellowships are bestowed on living individuals on the basis of nominations from the public including the jazz community. The NEA encourages nominations of a broad range of men and women who have been significant to the field of jazz, through vocals, instrumental performance, creative leadership, and education. The NEA is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters (deadline: December 31, 2016). Visit for more information and to submit a nomination.

The NEA also supports the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program

an effort to document the lives and careers of NEA Jazz Masters. In addition to transcriptions of the comprehensive interviews, the website also includes audio clips with interview excerpts. This project has transcribed the oral histories of more than 90 NEA Jazz Masters.

NEC's Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur "genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters. The program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers and has an alumni list that reads like a who's who of jazz. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC's jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.”  The program currently has 95 students; 48 undergraduate and 47 graduate students from 13 countries.

(click here)