Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Markus Stockhausen & Florian Weber - Alba (2016) ECM RECORDS


Alba — the first Markus Stockhausen recording for ECM since Karta (2000) — is the premiere recording of trumpeter Stockhausen’s duo with pianist Florian Weber, a relationship that spun off from Markus’ 6- piece world music ensemble Eternal Voyage. Initially Stockhausen wrote all of the material, but as the relationship grew Weber contributed tunes: there are also several impromptu performances in this set. After some early experiments with electronics the pair decided that they sounded stronger playing acoustically, making this an all-acoustic album.

Which is not to say they aren’t open to a wide range of acoustic sounds. On “What Can I Do for You?” Weber begins the album on the inside of the piano, a gentle wash of sound that prepares the way for Markus’ entry on muted flugelhorn.

Stockhausen’s gently swinging, melodic composition “Mondtraum” follows. Stockhausen always begins the first recording session with intuitive improvisation, or “intuitive music” (a term coined by his father, the pioneering composer Karlheinz Stockhausen). As there was no musical pre-agreement, most jazz musicians would simply call it “free improvisation.” Regardless of the label, “Ishta” is the luminous result.

There are several other impromptu performances. For “Resonances” Stockhausen blew phrases into the body of the piano, creating a kind of duet (presumably with the damper pedal raised). The album’s three brief piano pieces—”Possibility I,” “Today,” and “Barycenter”—were also impromptu performances by Weber. While there is no clear division between composition and improvisation, there are tracks with a more composed sound. In addition to “Mondtraum,” recent Stockhausen commissions are represented by “Synergy Melody” and “Zephir.” Weber’s “Die weise Zauberin” also has a clear song structure.

Composed or improvised, the duo produces a beautiful, introspective sound. It joins A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (2016) by pianist Vijay Iyer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith as a recent shining example of a trumpet and piano duet recording.

Markus Stockhausen: flugelhorn, trumpet
Florian Weber: piano


Joe Policastro Trio - Pops! (2016)

What eventually became the Joe Policastro Trio took shape in 2010 when bassist Joe Policastro landed a 3-night a week gig at Pops For Champagne in downtown Chicago. What many would have treated as a "background gig" quickly developed into an incubator for its members to write, arrange, and develop a collective voice in the way that only a band can over time. The group features guitarist Dave Miller and drummer Mikel Avery. Within this time, the band has developed a singular approach to "pop" music. While firmly rooted in jazz, the band's open-minded, inclusive nature also brings rock, old-school funk, soul, brazilian, and free improvisation to the surface while still keeping the aesthetic of an acoustic trio intact. Their debut recording, West Side Story Suite For Jazz Trio (2013), features the original lineup with Dan Effland on guitar and Adam Sorensen on drums. Their sophomore release, Pops! (2016) celebrates Pops For Champagne, the venue that gave birth to the group, and highlights the "pop" music that has become a signature part of its sound. It features the current lineup along with special guests Andy Brown and Andy Pratt, both of whom have regularly appeared with the trio.

The sophomore release of the Joe Policastro Trio celebrates Pops For Champagne, the venue that gave birth to the group, and highlights the "pop" music that has a become signature part of their sound.

Featuring music by Prince, Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder, The Pixies, and others.

Joe Policastro, bass
Dave Miller, guitar
Mikel Avery, drums

with special guests:
Andy Brown, guitar
Andy Pratt, guitar

1. Wives and Lovers
2. Harvest Moon
3. Creepin'
4. Wave of Mutilation
5. More Than a Woman
6. Condition of the Heart
7. Diamonds and Pearls
8. Me and Mrs. Jones
9. Us and Them
10. Take It with Me
11. Drive

Rational Discourse - Live at the Mothlight (2016)

Reed player and composer Steve Alford leads this Asheville-based improvisational rock/jazz big band. With a full brass section, two bassists, two percussionists and  guitar/synthesizer, Rational Discourse’s music features unusual rhythms and small-group improvised  sections, framed by striking full-band composed sections. Alford, a member of UNC Asheville’s music  faculty, will be joined by fellow faculty members Jacob Rodriguez on sax and Justin Ray on trumpet, both regular members of Grammy-winner Michael Bublé’s band. For more information, visit

1. Chimney (Live)
2. Circus (Live)
3. Starlight (Live)
4. Jay Did (Live)
5. Discourse (Live)
6. Leapfrog (Live)
7. The Cold, Dark Heart of Symian Smythe (Live)
8. No, Shoot the Evil Twin (Live)
9. Eyes Wide (Live)
10. Used Juice (Live)
11. Song of Peace for Yusef (Live)
12. Glower (Live)
13. Circe's Starlight (Live)


Paul Towndrow & Steve Hamilton Duo - We Shine the Sun (2016) KEYWORK RECORDS


Paul Towndrow (Alto Saxophone) and Steve Hamilton (Piano) have collaborated for over 15 years in a range of ensemble projects. In this new intimate duo setting, compositions and improvisations are delivered in their purest form, allowing for the equal co-existence of musical architecture, and deep space. Crossover influences range broadly from Coltrane to Bartok, from early jazz to celtic folksong, and from world music to free improvisation. The album comprises 7 new compositions by both Paul and Steve, and 6 ‘cover versions’ drawing from a mixed bag of sources and composers, spanning multiple genres. This includes music by John Scofield, Bela Bartok, Charles Ives, Jackie McLean, and Bronislaw Kaper. The title draws on a quote from writer and philosopher Alan Watts, as he muses on the nature of consciousness and, and our effortless in being at one with the universe.


Playlist Summary for Tom Ossana / Dane Brewer – The Thin Edge – June 29, 2016 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.

There are several ways of thinking about "Turnaround," which means, essentially, an abrupt or unexpected change, especially one that results in a more favorable situation. 

We begin this edition of the Thin Edge listening to the way Hank Mobley understand it. From his 1965 Blue Note The Turnaround we'll hear the title track, a tune in which he tries to merge "Boogaloo," a modern dance to rock-and-roll music, originally popular in the 1960s, with jazz. The tenor saxophonist enlists the aid of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and pianist Herbie Hancock. Ornette Coleman, one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, thought about the idea in a completely different way. 

The Simple Acoustic Trio breathes new life into Ornette's conception from their 2000 20TH GETXO JAZZ FESTIVAL. Marcin Wasilewski - piano, Slawomir Kurkiewicz - bass and Michal Miskiewicz - drums perform Ornette's "Turnaround." Peter Fraize - Facts + Figures (2016) is next with "The Ides of March," referring to March 15 in the ancient Roman calendar by several religious observances and became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. 

Fraize plays tenor with a guitar, piano, bass and drums ensemble. A female trombonist gaining stature in the jazz milieu closes this half with her penned "It's Not Safe" from Break Open Records (2016) Shoebox View.

Warren and Dubin's "Summer Night" is next performed by pianist Antonio Cicca's Quintet's 2016 Cellar Live Volare featuring Cory Weeds' tenor and Benny Benack III's trumpet. From Juan we get a cover a Horace Silver's "Strollin'" as conceived by Greg Abate & Phil Woods with the Tim Ray Trio and their 2016 Whaling City Sound's Kindred Spirits' Live at Chan's. Joan Claver is next with his piano trio's take on The Police's "Bring on the Night" from Fresh Sound New Talent's 2016Triangle. 

Before Quincy Jones introduced a jam on Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca," he said, "On this day in 1990, my brother Nelson Mandela was released from Prison. I happened to be hosting Saturday Night Live that night, and we took that opportunity to celebrate in typical SNL fashion. I've never met another human being like Madiba (the clan into which he was born); he was one beautiful cat." I recorded that SNL episode and transferred the tune to mp3. Of the three soloists I can name only one: Michael Brecker, at the tail end.

Let's start the third half with Lee Konitz, a giant in the formulation of modern jazz, particularly in the late forties and early fifties. "Ice Cream Konitz," a tune I played as a guest host on Paul Smith's jazz show on KDYL a.m. radio back in the mid-fifties, is a track on Lee's Subconscious Lee released by Prestige in 1950 with bandmates Billy Bauer - guitar, Sal Mosca - piano, Arnold Fishkin - bass and Shelly Manne - drums. 

I'm guessing Ryan Carraher is familiar with this outing, as well as the Lennie Tristano catalog, when he put together his 2016 Vocturnal, featuring the guitarist with Brandon Wilkin's alto in a performance of the title track. Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath's A Day in Paris (2016) RoJ Team is next with "LaFarora," which honors Scott LaFaro, whose pioneering approach helped Bill Evans invent the modern piano trio – but the name also alludes to the Pakistan city Lahore, “famous for Qawwali Devotional music,” says Sturm (which accounts for the eastern cast to the theme). Corey Christiansen wraps up this half with his 2016 Origin Records' Factory Girl in a bluesy take on Corey's "She's Gone."

Branford Marsalis Quartet's Upward Spiral (Marsalis Music 2016) GAB/RoJ helps us get twitterpatted with Antonio Jobim and Aloysio de Oliveira's "Só Tinha de Ser Com Você" (It Had to Be with You) as sung by Kurt Elling. Brand new to KZMU's library we'll hear "You're My Everything (Dixon/Young/Warren) from Miles' 1958 Prestige Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet featuring Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, Miles first great quintet. Karrin Allyson is next with a clever cover of Coltrane's "Equinox" with lyrics added by Chris Caswell. They call the result "Long Way to Go, A." We'll hear Jon Hendricks and Nancy King help vocalizing and the tenor of Frank Wess. Tim Withee's request is honored with Monika Ryan singing her penned "The Night Before" with Chris Winters leading the way on the guitar. 

This coming from her 2016 Fly. From RoJ's GAB we get Mike Melito's New York Connections (Weebop Records 2016) as he covers Warren and Gordon's "I Wish I Knew." The drummer gets help from Jack Weldon's tenor and Jeb Patton's piano. June Christy keeps us transfixed wrapping up this romantic titillation with her sultry take on Wolf and Landesman's "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me" from her 1959 Ballads for Night People.

Let's have some fun!

A special thanks to KZMU's Music Director, Serah Mead and the troops @ RoJ for their help putting the show together: Agenor (BRA), Chris do Brasil (BRA), Domi & Victor (SPA), GAB (BEL), JR (SPA), Javi (SPA), Juan/Jazzzz61 (SPA), Lira (BRA), Luisa, Menos Que un Perro (ARG), Marcos (BRA), Melokan (VEN), Raz (ISR) and Sonia (SPA). Also friend, Raul Boeira, the Brazilian based in Passo Fundo and Spain's Javier Carrete.