Monday, June 20, 2016

Rudresh Mahanthappa appointed as Director of Jazz at Princeton

Princeton University’s Department of Music has appointed esteemed saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to the post of Director of Jazz. He begins his appointment as the Anthony H. P. Lee ’79 Senior Lecturer in Jazz Studies at the start of the fall term, succeeding Program in Jazz Studies founder Dr. Anthony D. J. Branker.  Mahanthappa comes to Princeton bearing not only his extensive and celebrated background in jazz performance, but also an utterly unique voice intent on transcending cultural divides by hybridizing progressive jazz and non-Western musical traditions. Program in Musical Performance Director Michael Pratt celebrates him “as nothing less than an already internationally acclaimed artist. His grounding in traditional jazz language and style is deep, and he also has proven himself to be an important explorer. He has taken new looks at past masters, and his work in incorporating world musics (such as that of the South Indian Carnatic classical tradition) into contemporary jazz has created a real 'buzz' in world jazz circles.”

This buzz has manifested itself through a plethora of critical acclaim. Most recently, both Downbeat and NPR Music’s Jazz Critics Poll hailed Mahanthappa’s project, “Bird Calls”, as the Best Album of 2015.  The same year marked his joining the United States Artists Fellows, the latest in a series of recognitions including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, and the highly coveted Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. A long-standing recipient of the “Alto Saxophonist of the Year” title by DownBeat Magazine’s International Critics Polls and Jazz Journalists’ Association, Mahanthappa is as respected for his outstanding musicianship as he is for his groundbreaking synthesis of genre. This has fueled partnerships with giants from both realms including an enduring collaboration with pianist Vijay Iyer, guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath, among others.

“Joining the Princeton University Music Department as Director of Jazz is an honor and a tremendous opportunity to influence and shape the future of jazz as a contemporary American art form,” says Mahanthappa. “Music at Princeton continues to put forth a forward-thinking energy with regard to performance, composition, and musicology.  I am truly excited to join this amazing group of faculty.  Together, we can surely expand and embrace the ever-shifting roles of music in 21st Century global culture.”

The Program in Jazz is devoted to exploring these roles through myriad perspectives, encompassing the historical, cultural, social, theoretical, stylistic, and creative aspects of this music in both study and in practice. Anchored by the distinguished 17-piece Concert Jazz Ensemble, the program is host to an ever-changing array of smaller groups including a Jazz Composers Collective, Jazz Vocal Collective, Crossing Borders Improvisational Music Ensemble, among others. A multi-million dollar gift in 2008 established a Certificate in Jazz Studies. As the Program continues to expand, attracting an increasingly vibrant string of prominent guest artists and lecturers, the Department is grateful to have one such distinguished performer in residence overseeing the directorship of Jazz at Princeton. 

Robin Buyer Sextet - Leave (2016)

This bright expanse of day 
is enveloped. It reflects 
off of a field of snow, off 
the sky, and turns them glinting 
so neither starts nor ends. Sun-drenched 
I'm spun up it’s laid out before me. 
The smoke of my breath 
is an aimless compass needle. 

I think in all this spinning 
I recognize prints or know 
north. But then the sun lowers 
another inch and dyes the land in only 
foreign colors—the nameless ones 
we love. I’ve been dusked. 
And within this churning landscape 
stands me. Lost content. 

-Ryan Michael Kershaw

1. Stasis 01:04
2. Leave 05:36
3. Trails 03:37
4. Shelter 05:16
5. Dusked 04:50
6. Still 04:30
7. Rise 04:10

Released June 18, 2016

Robin Buyer - Bass/Composition 
Evan Dice - Violin 
Nick Joliat - Keys 
Ryan Kershaw - Guitar 
Nick Pope - Drums 
Dylan Sherry - Tenor Saxophone 

Tracked at Virtue and Vice Studios 
Recorded and mixed by Kyle Joseph 
Mastered by Jon Markson 
Artwork by Nick Pope


Alexander Cross - For What May Never Come (2016)

Source: CD Baby

Alexander Cross is a jazz pianist currently based in Philadelphia, PA. Originally from Wallingford, Connecticut, Alex took to music at a rather young age due to influences from his musical family. At the age of four, he began taking classical piano lessons and continued for the next 13 years. In high school, Alex took an interest in jazz and immediately started taking jazz piano lessons.

Drawing inspiration from greats such as Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans and Kenny Barron, Alex decided to further his craft at the collegiate level. He is a recent graduate of the undergraduate jazz performance program at Temple University. Alex studied privately with Bruce Barth and Thomas Lawton during his time at Temple. He has also had the opportunity to work with Tim Warfield, John Swana, Greg Kettinger, Mike Boone, Terell Stafford and numerous others.

Alexander Cross has produced a debut record combining influences from numerous musical styles to suit his sound. "For What May Never Come" has everything from straight forward jazz compositions to rock oriented influences through a unique use of numerous keyboard layers. With plenty of adventurous and unexpected twists and turns, there's a little something for everyone.

1. For What May Never Come
2. I Have a Dream
3. Trip the Wire
4. Deluge
5. The Changing Tides
6. Moment of Clarity
7. Well, You Needn't
8. Bad Blood
9. Paroxysm

Alexander Cross: Piano (1-3, 5-8), Keyboard (4, 9), Synth (1, 4, 9), Vocoder (1)
Jack Synoski: Upright Bass (1, 2, 4, 7), Electric Bass (9)
Drew Gaunce: Upright Bass (3, 5, 6, 8), Electric Bass (1)
Phil Arrington: Drums (all tracks), Additional Percussion (9)

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Sean Bailey at Boyer Recording Studios

Tracks 1, 3, 5, 6 and 9: written and arranged by Alexander Cross
Track 2: written by Herbie Hancock; arranged by Alexander Cross
Track 4: written by Wayne Shorter; arranged by Alexander Cross
Track 7: written by Thelonious Monk; arranged by Phil Arrington and Jack Synoski
Track 8: written by Taylor Swift, Max Martin and Shellback; arranged by Alexander Cross

Cover photography by Skyler Hagner

Thanks: My wonderful bandmates: Jack Synoski, Drew Gaunce and Phil Arrington: for being truly amazing friends, bringing this music to life and inspiring me on a daily basis. Sean Bailey, for doing an incredible job with the production of this record and sharing in my musical vision. My parents, Sue and Dan Cross: for consistently supporting me and believing in my musical aspirations. All of my grandparents: Milt and Peg Zoellner, Lionel and Julie Cross- for always being there for me. My uncle, Mike Zoellner, for being my fitness inspiration. Bruce Barth, Thomas Lawton, Rex Cadwallader, and Mary Bloom for shaping me to be the pianist and musician that I am today. Kathy and Fred Giampetro. Miles Applebaum. Erin Fitzgerald for always being wonderful putting up with my stubbornness. Eric Richter, Mike Racine, Jeffrey Herrera, Kat Siciliano, Skyler Hagner, Ginni Corsello and ALL of my other friends who I am so thankful for (there are far too many to list). My "rock genre" musical brothers in Auburn Row. The faculty and staff of the Temple University Jazz Department. Drexel University's Arts Administration Graduate Program. And of course: Thank you to Herbie Hancock, Myles Kennedy, Bill Evans and so many others for giving me a reason to make music in the first place.


Corey Christiansen - Factory Girl (2016) ORIGIN RECORDS


“...Christiansen lights a rhythmic fire that never flickers, punctuating chords with precision and soloing with zeal...” - DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE

After many years of crafting the music he loves in various genres, guitarist Corey Christiansen has found a home with the unique combination of jazz and traditional American music he's explored in his last several recordings. On Factory Girl, Corey has singled out the feminine side of American frontier music and remodeled simple tunes into rhythmic and harmonically subtle contemporary arrangements. As guitar great Andy Summers states in his liner notes: "Corey is at the frontier of American jazz guitar. In addition to a gorgeous jazz tone, he also employs edgy blues tones and biting slide guitar that would make Duane Allman sit up. Even on these antique pieces, Corey plays inside and outside of the harmonic structures with a natural and gifted ease. Maybe he has created a new genre here. Avant Folk, maybe? Whatever it is, this is a great album with stellar playing all round and a great pleasure for guitar fans."

"Well, it’s written and arranged, funded (through indiegogo.. thanks to everyone who pre-ordered and more) recorded, mixed, mastered and the artwork is done. Factory Girl is off the manufacturer. Really can’t wait to share (well, sell it anyway) this music with all of you. It’s my strongest work to date and with liner notes from one of my personal guitar heroes, Andy Summers, I’m excited to see the final result. Featuring a stellar cast of musicians including Zach Lapidus, Jeremy Allen, Matt Jorgensen and Michael Spiro, Facotry Girl is something I’m very proud of. I’ll post more about it later. Very happy this thing will be available soon". Corey Christiansen Website

She's Gone
Cluck O'l Hen
Factory Girl
That I Should Know Your Face
John Hardy
Old Joe Clark
One's Promised

Corey Christiansen: guitars
Zach Lapidus: keyboards, SuperCollider
Jeremy Allen: acoustic and electric bass
Matt Jorgensen: drums
Michael Spiro: percussion


06/28/16 Corey Christiansen in Park City, UT at Private Venue
07/08/16 Corey Christiansen in Indianapolis, IN at Jazz Kitchen
07/20/16 Corey Christiansen in Logan, UT at Logan Tabernacle
07/25/16 Corey Christiansen in Port Towsend, WA at Port Townsend Jazz Festival/Workshop
07/26/16 Corey Christiansen in Port Towsend, WA at Port Townsend Jazz Festival/Workshop