Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nikolaj Hess - Rhapsody (Impressions of Hammershøi) 2016


“A delightful, reflective, almost pastoral use of light and shade. If Chopin had been born in New York and received tuition from say Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett he may have sounded like this” writes ‘Bebop spoken here’ (UK) beautifully about Nikolaj Hess.

“Gold dust. Nikolaj Hess’ fingers on the keyboard is an alchemical affair. An album with a wide range of expression, yet spiritually coherent.” (Chr Munch-Hansen Politiken)

“the mastery of Mommaas and Hess completely overwhelms any feeling of normal. This is art of the highest standard, and a record which will most definitely be a “best of” 2016.” (allaboutjazz 2016)

“Hess’ fluidity, harmonic command and palpable determination at the keys, a compelling spectacle~David R. Adler, AAJ (2010) (LIve @ the Kitano)

“Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess  careened between heart-melting delicacy and almost Chopinesque virtuosity. Hess is clearly equipped to face the most gargantuan technical demands, but it was the incredible fecundity of his imagination that impressed the most”(Peter Quinn Art Desk, London)

”No matter whether he is working to unite different musical worlds, or getting down on the anatomy of the groove, Hess’ sound world is one that gathers many different aspects of tradition and culture. Global Motion + and The Champ provide two pieces of the puzzle that makes up his many-faceted vision” Jakob Baekgaard Allaboutjazz

Latest works releases

Nikolaj Hess Micro Chapters (Gateway), solopiano/effects and a section with Praghs symphonys string section (all music by NH), Nikolaj Hess “Rhapsody”, Impressions Of Hammershøi, (Japanese release on Yoko Yoneyamas Cloud Feb 2016), written by NH for his concert series ”Impressions Of Hammershøi” at SMKs Hammershøi udstilling i New York, Hess/Mommaas Ballads and Standards (Sunnyside Records 2016), Mikroskop (april 2016) duo with Sissel Vera Pettersen, 3xHess Music for Mum and Dad (winner DMA 2014 best jazz album), Hess/AC/Hess Spacelab (nominated best jazz album DMA 2014), Nikolaj Hess “Trio” (chosen as best jazz album by Politiken 2013, nominated best jazz album DMA 2013), Global Motion+ (nominated best jazz album DMA 2011), Sissel Vera Pettersen/Nikolaj Hess “A Word” (nominated best jazz album DMA 2011) Nikolaj Hess Spacelab The Champ, Hessismore “Demoncrazy” (2011), Hessismore My Head Is A Ballroom” (2014), Caroline Henderson “Lonely House (co-producer, pianist),  Caroline Henderson “Jazz Collection” (pianist, co-producer, arrangør). Furthermore NHs jazz piano can be heard on a long line of international jazz releases.

Has written music for film, a.o. “Meeres Stille” Juliane Fezer, “Melancholia” Lars Von Trier, and made music for cross-genre project with a.o. Mie Olise, Rose Eken, Krueger & Pardeller (Austria), Peter Kyle (USA), Tim Rushton (UK/DK)

NH  has composed and arranget for various projects and settings, solo piano, duo, trio, quartet to tentet, cross-over ensembles, classical ensembles, symphony orchestra, choir, etc.

NH’s music can also be found  around the world in installations, at other peoples performances, short-films and websites.

NH has toured extensively in DK, Norge, Sverige, Island, Færøerne, Finland, Grønland, Holland, England, Tyskland, Italien, Frankrig, Ungarn, Bulgarien, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sydafrika, Tyrkiet, USA, Kina, Japan.

NH has worked and/or recorded with Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, Marc Mommaas, Jay Anderson, Ambrose Akinmusire, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen, Chris Cheek, Ben Monder, Greg Hutchinson, Thomas Morgan, Jeff Ballard, Tim Rushton, Donny McCaslin, Jochen Rueckert, Clarence Penn, Chr McBride, Hal Wilner, Robert Wilson, Folkloric Selamta, Caroline Henderson (music director/producer), Etta Cameron, Palle Mikkelborg, Marilyn Mazur, Fela Kuti, Dele Sosimi,  Dennis Charles, Hessismore, and many many others

Finished his studies magnum com laude at RMC 1991, followed by private studies in West-Africa (West-African drumming and folclore music in general), (6 months 92/93) and USA (93, 97/98, 01, 05) focusing on composition and piano.

DMA winner 2015 best jazz release, Politiken best jazz release of 2013, DMA nominated best jazz release 2013, 2015, best vocal jazz release  2012. Winner in the category best European Jazz Pianist under 25 at the RAI competition in Rom 1991, gold winner of Berlingske Tidendes young talent competition 1989. Nominated for best music in Film at The International Filmmaker Festival i London (23-28 feb 2015) for his music for German movie Meeres Stille

NH is the artistic director of Jazz Denmarks prominent Summer Session since 2013, and has taught composition, piano, ear-training, theory, ensemble playing, arranging and artistic development at RMC, DJM, DKDM, New School University USA, William Paterson University USA, Conservatoire Superieure National De Paris, New York Jazz Workshop, Bogazi University Istanbul, etc. He currently holds a part time associate professorship at RMC.

01. Lay Lady Lay
02. Orken
03. I Hear a Rhapsody
04. African Flower
05. Meadow
06. Marsh
07. Clouds
08. Griegs Birds
09. Swing
10. Throughout
11. Smile

Marilyn Mazur, drums
Nikolaj Hess, piano
Anders Christensen, bass

Etienne Mbappe and The Prophets - How Near How Far (2016)

With a rich, singing tone and an unerring gift for melody, bassist Etienne Mbappé imparts even the most demanding musical contexts with a grace, warmth, and humanity that transcends boundaries, genres, and languages. Whether on a fretted and fretless instrument, in technically rigorous fusion or plaintive song-based settings, Mbappé elevates and enriches the ensemble while leaving his own indelible sonic imprint. His sensibilities have made him much in-demand as a sideman and collaborator, leading to high-profile recordings and performances as a member of John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension and the Ringers (with Jimmy Herring, Wayne Krantz, Michael Landau, and Gary Novak), plus sideman appearances with such artists Joe Zawinul, Manu Dibango, Robben Ford, Slif Keita, Ray Charles, Steps Ahead, and saxophonist Bill Evans.

How Near How Far (available on DATE through Abstract Logix) is Mbappé’s fourth solo recording, and a pivotal one on several levels. While his previous three albums Mislya (2004), Su La Take (2008), and Pater Noster (2013) focused on his vocal material, How Near How Far is Mbappé’s first to concentrate primarily on instrumental ideas. Even more importantly, it marks the debut of his new band the Prophets – consisting of Mbappé alongside Christophe Cravéro (acoustic and electric piano), Anthony Jambon (guitars), Clément Janinet (violin), Arno de Casanove (trumpet, flugelhorn), Hervé Gourdikian (tenor saxophone), and longtime collaborator Nicholas Viccaro (drums, percussion).

“The concept of the Prophets,” Mbappé explains, “is a nod to visionaries like Miles, Coltrane, Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin, Ravi Shankar, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Charlie Parker among others. We seek to extend their vision and imagine a music where there are no borders and no musical barriers. With the Prophets, I decided to come back to instrumental music…I wanted to get away from the strict song format – verse, bridge, chorus – and focus more on the music itself.”

With the unusual trumpet/tenor/violin frontline leading the way, the Prophets explore eleven Mbappé originals, which touch on a number of international traditions while bridging cultural divides via deft musicianship and a thoughtful, conversational improvisational approach. “I did not want to have a traditional sax, trombone and trumpet setup in mind,” Mbappé continues. “I knew the violin in the middle would add a unique, distinctive and unusual sound…the violin brings the North African and Middle Eastern flavors to the music.”

The worldly sensibilities that underpin Mbappé’s music stem from his upbringing in the Republic of Cameroon in West Central Africa – a musically and linguistically rich land where more than 1700 linguistic variants are spoken. He was raised in a community where the old ways of passing down knowledge and traditions were still very much alive. “We had no music schools there,” he recalls. “If you wanted to learn something, you sought out a master and studied and observed them.” In 1978, when he was fourteen, he moved to France. Upon arrival he studied classical guitar and double bass in a more formal setting before embarking on his career as a professional musician that quickly saw him rise to prominence due to his versatility, empathy, impressive technique, and gracious, open-minded personality. He remains based in Paris to this day.

While the Prophets are his latest undertaking, their music speaks to the depth of Etienne’s own experiences. “Nicolas Viccaro is a drummer that I have been playing with for a few years,” Mbappé says. “I took him to Africa with me many times and he understands my roots and rhythms of my culture. Clément Janinet on violin is another musician that I have also been playing with a few years. He makes the violin sound like a traditional African instrument. When I decided to have him in the Prophets, I was not thinking of him as a violinist per se – more like a musician who understands diverse African music.”

In accordance with Mbappé’s vision of music as a communal, transcendent endeavor, How Near How Far was recorded live in the studio, with all the musicians present and interacting in real time. From the intricate rhythmic subdivisions of the Argentine-inspired “Milonga in 7” (a dedication to tango pioneer Astor Piazzolla) to the bop-derived swing sections within “Bad as I’m Doing,” the Prophets inhabit a range of styles, but never as tourists: They embody each passage, each component of Mbappé’s eclectic, evocative compositions with both precision and passion.

01. John Ji
02. Bandit Queen
03. Lagos Market
04. How Near How Far
05. Make It Easy
06. Milonga In 7 (To Astor Piazzola)
07. Bad As I’m Doing
08. Mang Lady
09. Assiko Twerk
10. Day Message (To Joe Zawinul)
11. Musango Na Wa

Christophe Cravero (Acoustic & Electric Piano)
Clement Janinet (Violin)
Nicolas Viccaro (Drums & Bottle Percussions)
Anthony Jambon (Acoustic & Electric Guitars)
Arno De Casanove (Trumpet & Flugelhorn)
Herve Gourdikian (Tenor Saxophone)

Luigi Masciari, Aaron Parks & Roberto Giaquinto - The G-Session (2016) TOSKY RECORDS

Tosky Records® announces a new release for the New Expression Jazz line: “The G-Session” by Luigi Masciari. The title is borrowed from the homonymous recording studio of Brooklyn, which was the last setting of Masciari as a band leader. “The G-Session” is a musical performance realized together with two outstanding musicians. It is an impressive composition of warmth, vibration and sound very dear to the New York Jazz music but still original, an important feature which makes Masciari stand out as an eclectic and inspired composer, whose musical language is a mix of groove and melodic moments.

01. Mr. Jay (L. Masciari)
02. Vox (L. Masciari)
03. Seven Dollars (L. Masciari)
04. Music Man (L. Masciari)
05. Boogie Blue (L. Masciari)
06. Echoes* (L. Masciari – O. Rea) feat. Oona Rea
07. Don’t Touch My Chords (L.Masciari)

Luigi Masciari (guitar)
Aaron Parks (Fender Rhodes, piano)
Roberto Giaquinto (drums)

Oona Rea (vocals)

Bruce Gertz & Jerry Bergonzi - A Different Take (2016)

Acclaimed Boston-based Musicians, bassist Bruce Gertz and Jerry Bergonzi highlight their original compositions on A Different Take – Featuring World Renown, Jazz Saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, Bassist, Bruce Gertz and Drummer, Austin McMahon –

“It’s worth moving to Boston just to play Bruce’s music”– Bill Mays, jazz pianist extraordinaire

“All of the numerous musicians that have worked with Bruce will tell you he’s a monster” — Bob Blumenthal, Boston Globe

When asked of Michael Brecker, “What’s it feel like to be the best sax player in the world? He said I don’t know ask Jerry Bergonzi

On the Cover is a painting by Jerry Bergonzi. Who knew he was a painter?

Saxophonists and Bergonzi fans worldwide will want to check out his alto and soprano playing here as well as his well known tenor sound.

A Different Take is the eighth recording released on Gertz’s own Open Mind Jazz label to grace the jazz archives.

An active Boston-based player who has shared the stage with Gary Burton, Billy Eckstine, Gil Evans, Maynard Ferguson, Bill Frisell, Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano, and Mike Stern, Kurt Rosenwikel, Larry Coryell, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, and recorded with such notable artists as John Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi, Joey Calderazzo, Mick Goodrick and Kenny Werner, Billy Hart, Gary Burton and many other well known artists.

Like Bergonzi, Gertz is also a respected academician who has taught at the Berklee College of Music since 1976 and whose students have included Esperanza Spalding, Victor Bailey, Skuli Sverrisen, Matt Pennman, Ruben Rogers, Janek Gwizdala, Jeff Andrews, Peter Herbert, Damian Erskine, Tony Gray and Matt Garrison.

Collaborating again with Jerry Bergonzi, the man Gertz calls his “musical soul brother,” and with whom he has maintained a fruitful association for nearly forty years.

Although Gertz is a fluent electric bassist, he opted for the acoustic double bass, the instrument on which he felt this music was best served. Possessing a warm tone and a lyrical sensibility, Gertz blends these virtues with an enviable technical command. His acutely supportive work is evident on each performance; superlative bass solos can be heard throughout the album while he maintains a powerful bass function as he believes that is job one for any bassist. “Soloing is the icing on the cake” says Gertz. “I always want to serve the music first and honor the song structures with firm yet flexible groove and harmonic foundation”.

Gertz is a well, established composer with over two hundred published works most of which are recorded. His regimen involves writing daily every morning and if inspiration strikes he’s ready. “Sometimes I only get a short idea but that can be a seed for a beautiful composition”.

Bruce takes much care in the sequencing of songs because he feels “an album should be like a symphony where the tunes are like movements” He achieves this by contrasting songs with different keys, tempos and time signatures as well as various grooves with a goal of the music having a smooth flow of moods and action maintaining the listener’s interest. Gertz said, “I remember how enjoyable it was to put on an LP and have it play the entire side over and over until falling in love with the river of tunes that would follow each other”. “You could even sing the key change before the next tune”.

While each player remains committed to authentic self-expression on their respective instrument. Gertz’s memorably melodic tunes are also fashioned to feature his band mate’s abilities as master improvisers. “Duke Ellington wrote for the players in his band and I try to do the same”.

Gertz also has a special gift for beautiful arco work as demonstrated now over several albums. He is noted for a violin type of sound in all the bass registers and contemporary, melodic improvisation and articulation with his bow.

Jerry Bergonzi is no stranger to the jazz world having been in Dave Brubecks Quartet and performed with Miles Davis , Miroslav Vitous, NWR Big Band and toured the world many times over leading his own groups. Gertz says, Jerry is a phenomenon in that he has such a huge vocabulary of rhythm and melody that is unmatched along with a total command of music. He can play any instrument he wants. His Inside Improvisation books on Advance Music are used globally and have become staples in many schools.

Open Mind Jazz, which, to date, has released the acclaimed albums: It Wasn’t Me; Reptilian Fantasies, Thank You Charlie, and Open Mind, The Heart of A Champion, Anybody Home, Eepin and Beepin and now A Different Take.

A Recipient of National Endowment for the Arts jazz performance grant, Gertz is also author of “22 Contemporary Melodic Studies for Bass”, “Walkin’ “, “Mastering the Bass“ (Mel Bay Publications) and Let’s Play Rhythm (Advance Music of Germany). Of Gertz’s instructional book/CD “Let’s Play Rhythm” the master bassist Rufus Reid states, “A must for all players who wish to get to the core and a deeper functional use of the jazz vocabulary,” while saxophonist Dave Liebman has said, “What I like about this book … is that a student can get right to the point and get immediate results.”

1. Shoid (feat. Austin McMahon & Conley DelRay)
2. Me and Mingus 2 (feat. Jerry Bergonzi)
3. Intensions (feat. Austin McMahon & Conley DelRay)
4. Conducive 3 (feat. Austin McMahon)
5. Blue Shadow (feat. Austin McMahon & Conley DelRay)
6. Me and Mingus 1 (feat. Austin McMahon & Conley DelRay)
7. M.J. (feat. Austin McMahon)
8. Conducive 1 (feat. Austin McMahon)
9. Me and Mingus 3 (feat. Austin McMahon)
10. Inuendo (feat. Austin McMahon)
11. Conducive 2 (feat. Austin McMahon)

Jerry Bergonzi, tenor sax
Conley DelRay, piano
Austin McMahon, drums

Robert Kaddouch & Gary Peacock - High Line (2016) ODRADEK RECORDS

Robert Kaddouch & Gary Peacock - 53rd STREET(2016) ODRADEK RECORDS