Monday, June 27, 2016

Marquis Hill - The Way We Play (2016) CONCORD MUSIC GROUP


On The Way We Play, Hill fronts his regular ensemble of four years, the Blacktet, which consists of alto saxophonist Christopher McBride, vibraphonist Justin Thomas, drummer Makaya McCraven, and bassist Joshua Ramos. It’s a smart tactic because it plays to the strengths of Hill as a bandleader and affords the music a vivacious group accord that often comes from years of playing together. Hill, however, flips the scripts on the new disc. Instead of offering entirely original material as he did on his last three discs, he revisits a handful of jazz standards. "I want to pay homage to some of my favorite jazz standards and American songbook classics,” Hill says. "These are some of the songs that I came up playing in various jam sessions; these songs really taught me how to play jazz.”

The Way We Play is hardly a color-by-numbers jazz standards album. As Hill has done on his previous discs, he revitalizes the material by placing heavier emphasis on the groove, which enables the compositions to resonate more to a 21st-century jazz audience – hence the disc’s witty title. "I really want to make it very clear that this is the sound of my band, which is uniquely Chicago. I wanted to put everything on the table – this is the way that we play,” Hill explains.

The Chicago Tribune asserts that the spirit of Chicago is deeply integral to his music by stating, "…his music crystallizes the hard-hitting, hard-swinging spirit of Chicago jazz.” Indeed, Chi-town references burst forward at the very beginning with "Welcome / ‘Bulls Theme’,” on which guest vocalist Meagan McNeal introduces the band with the same hypnotic theme used by the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s when Michael Jordan played with the team.

From there, Hill launches into an entrancing take on a Gigi Gryce’s 1950s minor-blues classic with the two-part mashup "The Way We Play / Minority.” The ensemble accentuates Gryce’s original opening bass line groove before Hill and McBride articulate the zigzagging melodic figure in unison. The rhythm soon breaks into a quicksilver swing forward motion that sweeps Hill’s authoritative improvisation. The inventive makeover also features spoken-word artist Harold Green III delivering lyrical prose that aptly describes the Chicago sound.

"Prelude,” a dulcet trumpet solo, gives way to the mesmerizing rendition of Horace Silver’s late-1950s composition "Moon Rays” with which McCraven and Ramos underpin with a skittering, almost drum-n-bass flow. "I learned that tune when I was a sophomore in high school in an after-school program called the Merit School of Music,” Hill recalls. "The melody is so beautiful and so singable.”

The mood simmers down for Hill’s sensual take on Victor Young and Ned Washington’s classic ballad "My Foolish Heart.” In addition to the subtle, R&B rhythmic flourishes lurking underneath, Hill’s makeover also stars Christie Dashiell, who brings a soothing, sunny verve to the fore as Hill’s muted trumpet interjects melodic asides.

Amorous overtones continue with a stunning reading of Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke’s "Polka Dots and Moonbeams” of which Hill almost plays entirely solo on flugelhorn, which allows listeners to full luxuriate inside his velvety tone and graceful improvisation.

With the help of percussionist Juan Pastor, the tempo picks back up with an Afro-Cuban take on Donald Byrd’s mid-1960s burner "Fly Little Bird Fly,” another tune highlighted by Green’s uplifting prose. This tune is especially personal for Hill because Byrd is one of his biggest and earliest jazz influences. "When I was in high school, he was the cat that I wanted to sound like,” Hill remembers. "When I was in high school, I was on a mission to find every record that Donald Byrd was on.”

The Chicago connection between Hill and the material becomes even more pronounced with the delightful cover of "Maiden Voyage,” a mid-1960s standard, written by fellow Windy City-native Herbie Hancock. On Hill’s version, he slowed the tempo and dropped the key to G-flat to give the evocative composition darker hues.

After bursting through a flinty exploration through the Thelonious Monk mid-1960s staple "Straight No Chaser,” Hill digs deep into the post-bop canon and unearths Carmell Jones’ rare 1965 tune, "Beep Durple,” on which the frontline horns deftly tackle the tricky melody atop a fractured yet forward motion rhythmic bed. The ebullient rendition also features trombonist and fellow-Chicagoan Vincent Gardner of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Peruvian rhythms burst forth from Pastor’s cajón drumming on "Juan’s Interlude,” before the disc concludes with an Afro-Latin 7/4 version of Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 signature tune "Smile.” Featuring just trumpet, bass and cajón, Hill’s zesty rendition makes a fitting conclusion for The Way We Play, a fetching refurbishing of old favorites with a decidedly 21st-century twist.

1. Welcome / Sirius (Bull's Theme)
2. The Way We Play / Minority (Medley)
3. Prelude
4. Moon Rays
5. My Foolish Heart
6. Polka Dots And Moonbeams
7. Fly Little Bird Fly
8. Maiden Voyage
9. Straight, No Chaser
10. Beep Durple
11. Juan's Interlude
12. Smile

Bojan Z x Julien Lourau - Duo (2016)

After 25 years of lively collaboration and friendship, Bojan Z and Julien Lourau are going to record their duo!

The duo was created at the Pannonica Club in Nantes, France, at the end of last century, in 1997 to be precise. Some of you still remember this perhaps.

17 years later, it seems relevant to us to fix these moments in a club as well – in this case at the Triton in Les Lilas, Paris – in the presence of our audience, in order to offer you this album.

It’s a special area of exploration and creation in which we’ve been able to compose and reinterpret our respective repertoires with great joy.

“But”, you may wonder, “Why appeal to us for help?”

That’s because it entails a new departure, a new way of working and because we would like to share this with all of you who’ve been following us for so many years. It is our wish to redefine the relation that connects us to you since long-time, by involving you in the process of making this album and, for sure, of many more to come. In spite of our experience and reputation, we haven’t been able to find a partner that would permit us to meet the quality requirements that we intend to put into this recording.

Because quality is the issue.

To those who know us, we have always insisted on giving you excellent sound and esthetic quality, both in our individual as in our common projects. 

This implies an important investment starting by the recording itself and later in post-production. With this new approach, we would like to re-establish these quality standards and, at the same time, bring about a change in our way of producing our music, together with you.

Together we can do better, and only the best sounds good! 

The story of Bojan Zulfikarpasic and Julien Lourau is mainly one of friendship, both personal and musical. Combing the Paris jazz clubs in the late eighties, they quickly found each other in the short-lived but legendary underground band called Trash Corporation, a sort of playground for these young mavericks where they would try out new ways and stretch musical boundaries.

During that same period, they both received their first professional awards. In 1990 Bojan wins the soloist’s prize at the Concours National de Jazz de la Défense, the most significant jazz competition in France, and in 1992 it’s Julien’s turn to do the same. It would be the kick-off of two careers filled with adventure, individual successes as well as projects on which they collaborated. Bojan and Julien have more in common than just belonging to the same generation. The same spirit of non-conformity unites them and they can both take pride in having left the straight and narrow during their respective careers, crossing geographical and musical borders, rejecting fixed formats and automatisms.

With a collaboration and friendship that has lasted for over twenty years, concerts are bound to be marked by their musical empathy. The listener is pulled in immediately and gets a real sense of the time that’s passed between them. There is a strong physicality to their playing; their music can be forceful and explosive, yet they leave room for introspection and humour as well. Their music is energetic, fluid, fierce but not brutal and without meaningless exuberance of notes. This is pure friendship, solid and uncompromising.

1. Relaxin@
2. Seeds (Intro)
3. Seeds
4. Fuzzlija
5. Bulgarska
6. Mr. Waits
7. Roumgrois
8. Gradino Kolo
9. Grana Od Bora
10. Zeven
11. Hulio's Blues

Bojan Z (piano)
Julien Lourau (saxophone)


Marc Ducret & Journal Intime - Paysage, avec Bruits (2016)

Source: penn-ar-jazz

Guitariste virtuose, Marc Ducret, le double français de John Scofield et Pat Metheny, taquine avec une dextérité impressionnante, le oud, la basse, le fretless, et tout ce qui a des cordes. Maintes fois récompensé dans des catégories et techniques de jeux diverses, il est capable de dessiner des univers d’une étrange poésie. Autodidacte éternel, il ne cesse d’apprendre, sans que personne ne puisse savoir jusqu’où il ira…

Le trio Journal Intime est une mise en oreilles de nos fantasmes acoustiques, une proposition d’acrobaties musicales tendres et puissantes. C’est une plongée au cœur de la musique soufflée, du groove le plus dansant au jazz le plus minimaliste…
 Une aventure intime à partager ! Outre Ducret, ils sont les compagnons de route réguliers de Vincent Peirani, Eve Risser, Yuko Oshima, Jacques Higelin, André Minvielle, Rodolphe Burger, Nosfell, la Campagnie des musiques à ouïr…
Leur musique danse, chante, chuchote et crie avec une exigence jubilatoire et connivente. Elle est une ode à la musique acoustique diablement électrisante.

« Lorsqu’on a la chance de rencontrer des musiciens aussi complets, de partager des moments de musique, de recherche, d’expérimentation avec eux, on a envie de pousser l’aventure plus loin et d’essayer de nouvelles formes ; c’est en travaillant en profondeur avec les mêmes orchestres que j’ai appris le plus. Des pôles d’intérêt communs, des envies partagées, un goût de la forme et de la structure qui laisse respirer l’improvisation, une rigueur rythmique qui s’invente en dehors des réflexes ou des sentiers battus : inviter Journal Intime à jouer ma musique me paraissait une évidence ». Marc Ducret.

La Renarde
Un Vent Violent
Presqu'une Île

Marc Ducret : guitare
Sylvain Bardiau: trompette
Frédéric Gastard : saxophone basse
Matthias Mahler : trombone


Trevor Giancola Trio - Fundamental (2016)

Guitarist Trevor Giancola is becoming a staple of Toronto’s thriving jazz and creative music scene.

He has performed as a member the Mike Murley Quartet, the Kelly Jefferson Quartet, Boptarts featuring Seamus Blake, Trevor Falls Collective, The Trevor Giancola Quartet and Trio, Josh Cole 4tet, Monk’s Music, and others.

He has shared the stage with Seamus Blake, Neil Swainson, Mike Murley, Adam Arruda, Sophie Millman, Dave Douglas, John Abercrombie, Donny McCaslin, Kelly Jefferson, PJ Perry, Pat Labarbera and many Toronto based musicians.
Trevor has been featured on CBC Radio 1, BT Breakfast Television, and Canada AM with Sophie Millman.

The Trevor Giancola Trio showcases original music and has been performing at clubs and Jazz Festivals since 2004.

Trevor received his Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Performance from TRU via Humber College and has studied with Ben Street, Peter Bernstein, Ben Monder, Lage Lund, Gilad Hekselman, Mike Moreno, Drew Gress, John Abercrombie, and many Toronto-based guitarists. And George. (muscatello).

La Berthe
I See The Moon
Just One Of Those Things
Turn Out The Stars
You Go To My Head.

Trevor Giancola: guitar
Neil Swainson: bass
Adam Arruda: drums

Trevor Giancola Website