Monday, August 8, 2016

Stein Urheim - Strandebarm (2016) HUBRO MUSIC


Norwegian release date: 18.03.2016
International release: 01.07.2016

On his third solo album for HUBRO, string magician Stein Urheim, based in Berlin, Bergen and Strandebarm, really gets serious about honing his complex expressive skills. His previous album garnered excellent reviews internationally, and has become a force to reckon with among listeners.

Urheim plays an impressive number of string instruments on the album, but we can also hear several tracks featuring vocals, harmonica, pocket cornet and tape experiments, while producer Jørgen Træen makes a contribution on modular synth. Urheim has had an interest in Norwegian folk music for a long time. Together with Benedicte Maurseth he won first prize in the “open class” category in the National Contest for Traditional Music in 2013, and on “Strandebarm” he interprets a Norwegian fiddle tune for the first time on an album.

In the course of his life as a musician Stein Urheim has gathered impressions and input from a musical world that knows no boundaries, and on this album he presents some of the most exceptional and exciting treasures he has discovered along the way – all filtered, naturally, through his distinctive musical temperament. This is strikingly personal music, which could most likely not have been made at any other time in history.

The tonal point of departure for the compositions on this record is reminiscent of French music of the early 1900s and American ragtime and standards of the 1920s and 30s. The soundscape combines acoustic and electronic elements to generate a compelling result. Urheim is thoughtful and meditative without being withdrawn or sombre.

“Strandebarm” was recorded in Strandebarm Church, not far from the house where Urheim has stayed for long periods of time in recent years. This space was chosen primarily because of its inspiring acoustics, and the music was recorded, as on the previous album, by sound technician Audun Strype. The recording was finalised and mixed at Duper Studio in Bergen by technician and producer Jørgen Træen, who also collaborated very successfully with Urheim on the previous album.

“Strandebarm” is Stein Urheim’s third release as a solo artist, and also his third release on the HUBRO label. He has also released three critically acclaimed duo albums on Bugge Wesseltoft’s Jazzland label, together with vocalist and instrumentalist Mari Kvien Brunvoll. Urheim has also been a member of Gabriel Fliflet’s band Åresong and HP Gundersen’s critically lauded drone band The Last Hurrah.

1. Water - Part 1 4:50
2. Strandebarm 9:38
3. Water - Part 2 4:13
4. Fjellbekken 9:18
5. Oh So Nice 3:28
6. Dragene Over Tempelhof 3:33
7. Berlin Blues 8:06

Design – Aslak Gurholt*, Thomas Nordby, Yokoland
Edited By [Editing], Mixed By [Mixing], Mastered By [Mastering] – Jørgen Træen
Edited By, Mastered By – Jørgen Træen (tracks: 6)
Engineer [Recording Engineer] – Audun Strype
Executive-Producer – Andreas Meland
Guitar [Guitars], Vocals, Flute [Flutes], Harmonica, Tambura [Slide Tamboura], Bouzouki [Fretless Bouzouki], Tambura [Turkish Tanbur], Mandolin, Zither [Langeleik], Banjo, Loops, Effects [Delay] – Stein Urheim
Liner Notes [English] – Stein Urheim
Mixed By – Stein Urheim (tracks: 6)
Photography By [Cover Photo] – Ragnar Urheim
Photography By [Photo Of Stein Urheim] – Morten Spaberg
Producer [Produced By] – Jørgen Træen, Stein Urheim
Recorded By – Audun Strype
Synth [Modular Synth], Effects – Jørgen Træen

Acoustic instruments and electric guitars recorded January 2015 in Strandebarm kyrkje.
Editing, mixing and mastering at Grotten/Duper Studio, Bergen, Norway, September/October 2015
Dragene over Tempelhof mixed in S(c)höneberg, Berlin October 2014, edited and mastered October 2015

Alan Ferber Nonet - Roots & Transitions (2016) SUNNYSIDE RECORDS


A few months after trombonist/composer Alan Ferber released his last album, March Sublime, his wife Jody gave birth to their first child, a son named Theo. The news of March Sublime’s nomination for a 2014 Grammy Award was shared on social media, garnering one particularly memorable comment from a fellow musician: “All this time I’ve been thinking having kids was BAD for a career. You have proved otherwise!” An undoubtedly well-meaning comment, it nevertheless made Alan more sensitive toward how he would reconcile his new life as a father with the demands of creating original music. The need to confront this balancing act quickly became a reality when Alan was awarded the New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America to create a 60-minute original piece. 

There is nothing like the birth of a child to make a new parent reexamine, well, everything. Over the first several months of his son’s life, Ferber became intrigued and engrossed by the process of human growth and development, seeming to cycle through periods of relative calm and “rootedness,” versus periods of “transition” involving tension, chaos, and rapid change. 

Ferber noticed how these cycles correlate with his own growth as a composer. His new work, Roots & Transitions, written for his Nonet, is an exploration of these ideas through the process of crafting music. In Roots & Transitions, Ferber begins with tiny cell musical motives, and through the movements, drives them through cycles of calm/rootedness versus turbulence/transition, allowing the overall composition to run parallel to the growth and development unfurling in his personal life. 

After several years of focusing on big band writing, Ferber’s return to his long-standing Nonet allows a more subtle interaction between individual parts, creating increased intimacy in this intricate new work. For the past 10 years, Ferber has led his Nonet made up of five horns and four rhythm instruments, represented here by either Scott Wendholt or Shane Endsley on trumpet, alto saxophonist Jon Gordon, tenor saxophonist John Ellis, bass clarinetist Charles Pillow, guitarist Nate Radley, pianist Bryn Roberts, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Mark Ferber. The size of the ensemble allows for a wide variety of tonal colors and textures while being more lithe than a big band. 

With the deadline of a year to write, Ferber began to compose for his new project, though in a different way than he used to. His new responsibilities as a father cut down the time he once had available for devoting equal attention toward both the trombone and the piano (his main compositional tool). He began to try something new: writing music away from the piano and focusing on the trombone as his vehicle for composition. Though arduous at first, this approach ultimately led him to simpler, more direct “seed” ideas from which to spin out more developed song forms, rhythms, and harmonic structures. A trombone-centric approach to writing involves the intimate act of bringing your lips into contact with a piece of metal in order to produce sound through vibrations. The compositional advantage of this is that it allows you to both hear and feel what you are creating. The wide range of moods and physical conditions he found himself cycling through directly impacted what came out of his horn and thus greatly affected the arc of Roots & Transitions. 

It took a year for Ferber to complete these pieces. There was a focused period of four months where most of the music took shape. Then there was a maturing process through a handful of performances and edits, after which the fully conceptualized piece was ready to be recorded. 

As has been mentioned, the seed of this eight-movement work is a single melodic motif, rhythmically, a 3 feel over 4/4 time that recurs throughout. From that seed grows the entire work. There are dramatics from the beginning, as in the dawning “Quiet Confidence” and bombastic “Clocks.” The more traditionally jazz oriented “Wayfarer” provides an excellent counterbalance to the contemporary feel of “Flow,” which seems to blossom as it goes. The poetic “Perspective” is warm and well wrought and “Echo Calling” is hauntingly beautiful as it swells. The journey culminates with its most dynamic movement “Cycles,” which finishes unresolved, as the growing process never ends. 

Many composers and writers talk about the process, referring only to their craft. There is also the process that all humans undergo, which informs the art just as much as the person. Alan Ferber has studied the effect of these two on each other and has created a tremendous work of art in his new Nonet recording Roots & Transitions.

1. Quiet Confidence 8:02
2. Hourglass 1:02
3. Clocks 9:49
4. Wayfarer 7:39
5. Flow 9:20
6. Perspective 8:25
7. Echo Calling 3:10
8. Cycles 9:53

Released April 29, 2016 

Alan Ferber - composer, trombone 
Scott Wendholt - trumpet (Tracks 1, 2, 4-7) 
Shane Endsley - trumpet (Tracks 3 & 8) 
Jon Gordon - alto sax 
John Ellis - tenor sax 
Charles Pillow - bass clarinet 
Nate Radley - guitar 
Bryn Roberts - piano 
Matt Clohesy - bass 
Mark Ferber - drums

Satoh Masahiko Trio - Hyojun Gigaku (2016)

Satoh Masahiko Trio - Hyojun Gigaku (2016)

1. Mon Beulk
2. Well I Need It
3. Loeo
4. Whatever!
5. Interlude to a Kiss
6. My Fave Rave
7. Not Bad for Me
8. 'S One to Fool
9. March 14th
10. It's All Night with Me
11. Ais Inut
12. Ant Steps
13. Satanic Doll
14. Pumpkin Man

Masahiko Satoh: piano
Shinichi Kato: bass
Hiroshi Murakami: drums

Recorded by Takashi Akaku at Onkio Haus Studio 1, February 24 and 25, 2016
Mixed by Takashi Akaku
Mastered by Wataru Ishii at Onkio Haus Mastering Room
Produced by Masahiko Satoh
Design by Makoto Wada
Includes a 12-page booklet with liner notes by Masahiko Satoh in Japanese and English (translation by Mike Molasky)

Released in June 2016

Alfonso Peduto - Sequences (2016)

Sequences is a set of 6 pieces written for 'automated live looping': the sound of the piano is fed realtime to software programmed to trigger looping at specific instances (record/play/stop). The set is written for an increasing number of pianos, where the instrumentation of each composition is determined by its numerical collocation on the set (Sequence I for one piano, Sequence II for two up to Sequence VI, for six pianos). 

1. Sequence I: Waves (1 Piano) 5:41
2. Sequence II: Pulses (2 Pianos) 6:55
3. Sequence III: Echoes (3 Pianos) 7:40
4. Sequence IV: Voids (4 Pianos) 8:52
5. Sequence V: Vertices (5 Pianos) 10:54
6. Sequence VI: Variances (6 Pianos) 10:59

Sequence I: Waves (1 Piano - a prelude to Live Looping) from Alfonso Peduto on Vimeo.

Reis / Demuth / Wiltgen - Places in Between (2016)

Pianist Michel Reis, bassist Marc Demuth and drummer Paul Wiltgen formed the Reis-Demuth-Wiltgen Trio in 1998 while still in high school and performed on a regular basis in and around Luxembourg (their home country) for a couple of years. The trio reunited in 2011 and released their self-titled first album on Laborie Jazz (France) to widespread critical acclaim. Since the release, the band has toured extensively throughout the world and has appeared at major international jazz festivals in Europe and Asia. The band's sophomore album "Places In Between" was recorded in New York City and released on the German label Double Moon Records (Laborie Jazz/France, Mocloud Records/Japan).

Reis Demuth Wiltgen are presented with the kind support of the Consulate General of Luxembourg in New York.

Michel Reis, piano

Marc Demuth, bass

Paul Wiltgen, drums

1. Small Talk
2. Cross Country
3. Bleecker Street
4. Where the Heart Beats
5. Kamome
6. Bored and Briliant
7. Joule's Last Glimpse
8. The Story of You and Me
9. Shai
10. Surreal Kinda Deal
11. Kilonova
12. Me Dire


Tori Freestone Trio - El Barranco (2016) WHIRLWIND RECORDINGS


About: ​El Barranco
Official worldwide release date - July 15, 2016​

Reaching into the heart of improvised music has become second nature to British tenor saxophonist Tori Freestone and perennial colleagues Dave Manington (double bass) and Tim Giles (drums) on their latest Whirlwind release El Barranco. Following their warmly-received 2014 release In the Chop House and subsequent live appearances, the trio have relished the opportunity to reconvene in the studio to record this collection of intuitive explorations (often first takes) of predominantly original compositions, including a pair of London Jazz Festival commissions.

The challenge of the wide-open chordless format is enthusiastically embraced by this trio, offering an improvisational prospect which constantly evolves, thanks to their innate ability to share ideas and spontaneously flex in new directions. Tori Freestone’s characteristically voluble tenor delivery is a key factor in this artistic process: a continuous channel of flowing, tumbling lines arriving from a seemingly limitless, spring-like source; and the quicksilver responses and diversions of both Manington and Giles are so genuinely realised. All of this combines in creating delightful group unpredictability, via a mutual, carefully crafted musical vocabulary, which happily hovers on the periphery of delineated structure.

Freestone clearly revels in the recording aspect: “Whenever we go back into the studio, it’s so great to have a couple of days enjoying making music together. The more we tour in the UK and internationally the more the new ideas start to flow and develop, taking us up onto another level to where we can’t wait to put this down on a new album.”

The concept of creative spaciality is reflected in the saxophonist’s album title and own sleeve illustrations, referencing the beautiful, mountainous terrain of Tenerife – in particular, El Barranco de Masca – which, for many years, has remained especially close to her heart. Thus, the inspiration for opening title track ‘El Barranco’ arrived almost instantaneously, its airy nonchalance a perfect vehicle for the liquid, intertwined phrasing of tenor and bass, buoyed by an expressive lightness of touch from drummer Tim Giles. The first of two commissions, 'The Press Gang' echoes Freestone's musical roots with a suitably dark interpretation of the gloomy folk-tune tale (reprised as the album's end-piece, in appropriately traditional guise, by way of a haunting vocal-and-violin solo performance); and the full-tilt exuberance of contrasting partner piece 'Identity Protection' further reveals the trio's enthusiastic abandon.

Elsewhere, Dave Manington makes two compositional contributions, the thrummed, ‘60s soul bass riff of his ‘Challenger Deep’ setting up a distinctively alternative groove; and ‘Quetzalcoatlus’ (purportedly the largest prehistoric flying animal that ever lived) becomes increasingly wild, jagged and audaciously airborne. Arthur Attman’s familiar standard, ‘All Or Nothing At All’, is skilfully threaded between the players, Freestone’s mellow tenor fluidity as heartfelt as ever; and the snappy, complex, changeable moods and rhythms of ‘Cross Wired’ speak volumes about a trio whose creative understanding (contrary to its title) is so impressively fine-tuned.

Expounding on their now-established approach, Tori says, “We love that the freedom we enjoy creating in our playing can reach people in so many different ways. At one concert, someone who was new to jazz expressed to me that our music had taken them on a journey they never knew they could experience; so it’s lovely that somehow we have formed a language which, rather than being intellectual or inaccessible, can be both contemporary and relevant – and we really look forward to engaging audiences with the new material on this album.”

1. El Barranco
2. The Press Gang
3. Identity Protection
4. All or Nothing at All
5. Challenger Deep
6. Quetzalcoatlus
7. A Charmed Life
8. Cross Wired
9. The Press Gang (Reprise)

Tori Freestone - tenor saxophone, violin & vocals
Dave Manington - double bass
Tim Giles - drums

Catalog Number - WR4689
Barcode - 5052442008293

Recorded by Nic Taylor, Porcupine Stdios, London, Sept 2015
Mixed and mastered by Tyler McDiarmid, New York, March 2016
Produced by Tori Freestone
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch