Friday, November 4, 2016

Erskine, Oles & Colombo (feat. Bob Mintzer, Kathleen Grace & Michel Stever) - We All Love Burt Bacharach (ORACLE RECORDS LTD 2016)

Venerdì 4 novembre esce We All Love Burt Bacharach, una raccolta dei più noti brani del compositore statunitense Burt Bacharach (sotto etichetta PLAY in collaborazione con Oracle Records Ltd).

Burt Bacharach, nato a Kansas City nel 1928, è un compositore di grande successo nonchè vincitore di numerosi premi. Nel 1967 Bacharach ha composto la colonna sonora del noto film Casino Royale, con The Look of Love, cantata da Dusty Springfield. Ha scalato le classifiche americane e britanniche posizionandosi con oltre 50 brani nella top40 dei due paesi.

Il disco, già disponibile in preorder, è un tributo al successo di questo grande artista e contiene 13 tracce di cui 8 cantatate e 5 strumentali.

We All Love Burt Bacharach è stato concepito e prodotto da Giampaolo Pasquile e Michele Garruti per l’etichetta italiana PLAY fondata dallo stesso Giampaolo.

“Non vergognarti mai di scrivere una musica che la gente ricorderà facilmente”. E’ una delle massime sostenute da Burt Bacharach, un concetto che nella sua semplicità racchiude tutto il suo genio. Ciò ha  fatto si che melodie pop siano diventate anche colonne sonore di molti film. Essendo sin da bambino un amante del pop, – dichiara Giampaolo - e in particolare di Bacharach, sognavo l’idea di riproporre la sua musica in una chiave “jazzata” come ancora non avevo sentito ma che era sempre stata nella mia mente!”

Un album dal respiro geneticamente internazionale che coinvolge grandi artisti del mondo del jazz e non solo, a partire da Peter Erskine celebre batterista degli incredibili Weather Report, di Diana Krall, Joni Mitchell e tanti altri, Bob Mintzer sassofonista e clarinettista, leader degli Yellowjackets ed ex membro della leggendaria Buddy Rich Big Band che vanta collaborazioni molto prestigiose tra cui Jaco Pastorius Bill Cobham. Alla tromba c’è Michael Stever, considerato il nuovo “white cat” della tromba jazz, ha collaborato con Al Jarreau, Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis, Steve Miller. Al contrabbasso Darek Olesziekiewicz, conosciuto con lo pseudonimo di Oles che ha collaborato, tra gli altri,  con Pat Metheny.

Al disco ha partecipato anche Massimo Colombo noto pianista jazz italiano, che ha curato gli arrangiamenti di We All Love Burt Bacharach, mentre è lo stesso Giampaolo Pasquile ad averne realizzato il missaggio e il mastering.

La voce invece è di Kathleen Grace, raffinata folksinger della west coast.

La scelta di una voce folk anziché jazz è stata proprio dettata dall’esigenza di realizzare un disco in cui il jazz è solo uno degli elementi stilistici.

Il disco, realizzato a Los Angeles, ricrea un ambiente jazz, contaminato da sonorità che spaziano dal latin allo swing, dal funky al cool jazz, al be-bop fino ad arrivare alla ballad. Un mix particolare e raffinato che non lascia spazio a compromessi sulla qualità, rendendolo accessibile non solo agli amanti del jazz ma al grande pubblico.

Amina Claudine Myers - SAMA ROU (Songs From My Soul) 2016

There are very few musicians who make the blood scorch the heart and the pulse roar quite like Amina Claudine Myers. She does that with infallible regularity, performance after performance, recording after recording. What a splendid recording Amina Claudine Myers Salutes Bessie Smith was, the same year she recorded Song For Mother E with Pheeroan akLaff. Thirty-six years after those iconic recordings, Myers has continued to advance her illustrious career with Sama Rou – Songs From My Soul. Here, it pays to raise a famous ghost; that of the great Ludwig van Beethoven who once encouraged the living artist of his day with the following words: ‘Don’t only practice your art. But force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the Divine’. Amina Claudine Myers is the very quintessence of that exhortation. And Sama Rou is that record that makes it so.

It is no coincidence also that Amina Claudine Myers channels the spirits of the ancestors who dwell in the rarefied realm. In her music Paul Robeson and Marion nestle cheek-by-jowl with Igor Stravinsky; even Anton Webern. But Myers is a singular artist and her work who – certainly in Jazz – has created dramatic pianistic innovation in the schematic organization of pitch, rhythm, register, timbre, dynamics, articulation, and melodic contour, further enhancing the sonic splendour of her music with the depth of her glorious contralto. Myers’ setting for the ‘Songs From My Soul’ emphasises her sense of wonderment, humility and devotion. The highly derivative idiom (The Great Negro Spiritual that is) is thoroughly tonal, the tone luxurious and the work cast at a predominantly prayerful slow pace.

The opening medley, ‘Steal Away/Athan (Call to Prayer)/Fatiha (Sura Prayer)’ is especially haunting, with its unhurried and repetitive, whispered echoes of ‘Steal Away’ melting into the adhan called out as if by a muezzin from a minaret. The somber introverted orchestration of Christian and Muslim tradition, far from being contrasting, enters somberly into a lovely, hushed unified spiritual. There is a magnificent glow to every Negro Spiritual in this repertoire and one can only gasp in wonder at the spacious dedication with which Myers brings them to life. Their flashes of drama carry over from one spiritual into the other as she adorns each with a lyrical radiance. ‘My Soul’s Been Anchored In The Lord’ and ‘Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child’ are followed by ‘Go Down Moses’, a seraphically rendered Spiritual that crowns the sequence of truly great music.

I would be remiss if I did not pay homage to the three compositions on this disc by Amina Claudine Myers. Each is an example of majestic melody and dissonant harmony with strong plagal cadence. ‘Crossings’, and ‘Ain’t Nobody Ever Gonna Hear Us?’ are classics of their kind: anthemic pieces fulfilling their declared brief to be an aspiration towards recognition and happiness. ‘Thank You’ to the Lord speaks to the magisterial beauty of another vivid performance by an artist not only emboldened by the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) – New York chapter, but by a singular genius of Black Music.

01. Steal Away / Athan (Call to Prayer) / Fatiha [Sura Prayer] 7:55
02. Down on Me 3:50
03. Intro (Crossings, Pt. I II & III) 19:34
04. Ain't Nobody Ever Gonna Hear Us? 5:51
05. Nobody Knows The Trouble I See 5:21
06. My Soul's Been Anchored by the Lord 3:56
07. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child 5:05
08. Go Down Moses 5:59
09. Thank You 3:59

Rene McLean: recitation

Mats Gustafsson & Hamid Drake - For Don Cherry (OKKA DISK 2016)

Rhythmic virtuoso Hamid Drake and reeds innovator Mats Gustafsson deliver a jaw-dropping and all-too-brief set recorded in Chicago on Oct. 19, 1995, the day of Don Cherry’s death. 

One of the few live records to make this listener earnestly wish she’d been in attendance, Drake and Gustafsson’s meeting is a perfect example of the phenomenal synergy possible between two musicians. The two in question are an ideal match; both temper the muscularity of their playing with sensitivity and musical sophistication. Neither artist allows the other the option of sitting on his heels at any point; this recording is challenging, intense, and enjoyable from start to finish.

Plus, it seems like they’re having fun; have a listen to the frenetic, playful second piece, wherein Gustafsson presumably forgoes his saxophones for a bit to yelp and whoop in response to Drake’s inspired djembe playing. Gustafsson, frequently touted as a "rising star" of European jazz, is in my opinion rarely matched among powerhouse reedsmen in creativity. Meanwhile, the tireless and infallible Drake delievers one of the more visceral and thrilling percussion solos to make it to records. This is improvisation, and it rocks, to boot; my favorite live record of the year. Only 600 copies entered the world, so you know what that means.

- Susie Jae, ON AIR magazine, WKCR 89.9 FM (New York)

01. 1 04:53
02. 2 06:27
03. 3 17:30
04. 4 11:09

Record Label: Okka Disk 
Recorded at Urbis Orbis, Chicago, IL, October 19, 1995

Produced by: Bruno Johnson 
Recorded by: Jim O’Rourke 
Engineered by: John McCortney/Airwave 

Cover art: William Mohline

Hamid Drake — percussion 
Mats Gustafsson — reeds

Tickets now on sale for Lake Street Dive at NEC Feb. 16, 2017

NEC alumni Lake Street Dive return to alma mater to
 kick off NEC’s 150th birthday celebration

Thursday, February 16, 7:30 p.m. at Jordan Hall

Lake Street Dive will perform two sets, one with the band alone
and another with large student ensembles including the NEC Philharmonia, NEC Jazz Orchestra, and NEC Gospel Ensemble

 “We hope it’s hard for people to stay seated; we hope it’s exultant!” 
– Mike Calabrese, Lake Street Dive, about this concert

“Having an orchestra, and big band, great faculty, arrangers and conductors – that will be very special for us,” – Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive

Lake Street Drive © Danny Clinch

NEC alumni Lake Street Dive return to their alma mater on Thursday, February 16 to kick off NEC’s 150th birthday celebration. The performance will include a rare opportunity to hear Lake Street Dive in concert with larger ensembles, as well as a set by the band alone.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston.  Tickets go on sale on November 1. Tickets $30, $40. There are also a limited number of VIP seats at $150. The VIP package includes a pre-concert reception, post-concert meet-and-greet with Lake Street Dive, and tickets to NEC's A Feast of Music after-party on February 25.

or in person and by phone at the NEC box office (617-585-1260)  

For more information (click)

Lake Street Dive will perform two sets, one with the band alone and with large student ensembles including the NEC Philharmonia, NEC Jazz Orchestra, and NEC Gospel Ensemble.

“Having an orchestra, and big band, great faculty, arrangers and conductors – that will be very special for us,” says Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive.  Mike Olson of the band continues: “We’ve seen our heroes doing this, so it’s very cool to get a chance to do it ourselves.”

NEC Jazz Studies Chair Ken Schaphorst, who also directs the NEC Jazz Orchestra, notes: “It seems only fitting that Lake Street Dive celebrates NEC’s 150th Anniversary with a program combining elements of jazz, classical and popular music.

Throughout its history, NEC has been dedicated to the development of creative music making, fostering a respect for the varied traditions of our contemporary musical world. I’m looking forward to collaborating with Lake Street Dive in the performance of their music with our students, along with “Angel Eyes” arranged by Gunther Schuller and “God Bless the Child” arranged by Jaki Byard."

Lake Street Dive band members feel strongly about the importance of their NEC education. “It’s so important to really know technique and theory – these are such a gift for existing in a world of pop and rock and roll.  These allow us to compose and improvise…we’re so lucky to have had this from NEC,” says band member Bridget Kearney. 

Mike Olson continues, “We’ve taken our NEC jazz education, tucked it under our arm, and are running as fast as we can… We work really fast and efficiently – we have this framework in which we can work.  We all speak the same language at a very high degree, and that comes from NEC.”

On February 18, 1867, Eben Tourjée opened the doors to New England Conservatory, then located in Boston's Music Hall–the building now known as the Orpheum Theatre. The school and its musicians have since played a major role in the musical life of Boston, the nation, and the world. For some fast facts about NEC, log on to

This concert is the first of many events celebrating the anniversary, most of which will take place during the 2017-2018 season.

After meeting while students at NEC in the early 2000s, Lake Street Dive has catapulted to stardom. The foursome—vocalist Rachael Price '07, trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson '05, stand-up bassist Bridget Kearney '08 Tufts/NEC, and drummer Mike Calabrese '07—have filled major concert venues all over the country, and have been seen and heard on NPR, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, A Prairie Home Companion, and everywhere music is heard.

NEC's Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became president of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur "genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters. The program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers and has an alumni list that reads like a who's who of jazz. 

As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC's jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.” 

The program currently has 105 students; 55 undergraduate and 50 graduate students from 16 countries.

RAM: Bringing the Haitian Streets to Miami - RAM Live at Little Haiti Cultural Center Nov. 5th

11/05/2016 - Little Haiti Cultural Center, Miami, FL at 9:00 PM

The new album from Haitian misik rasin group RAM is a lengthy jaunt that crosses and encompasses many moods and styles, but maintains a consistency rooted in vodou rhythms, memorable melodies, and tasteful instrumental accompaniment.

The album starts with an aggressive rara track, “Papa Loko (Se Van)” which comes straight at you like an overnight express train driven by an outlaw: Rolling snares, haunting ostinatos of vaksin trumpets and a bevy of percussion announce the return of one of Haiti’s most locally and internationally acclaimed groups.

By the second song, the group relaxes into a comfortable konpa, “Jije’m Byen” led by the velvet voice of Lunise, backed by the characteristic chorus-drenched guitars and busy bass, pocket drums and percussion, with rara horns never far away.

The group, founded in 1990 in Port-au-Prince by Haitian-American musician Richard A. Morse and his wife Lunise, blends ceremonial vodou spiritual music with rock, a genre locally known as misik rasin (“roots music”). RAM caught their big international break in 1993, when “Ibo Lele (Dreams Come True)” was featured in the Hollywood movie Philadelphia, but they made a name for themselves in Haiti with a series of carnival hits and political songs criticizing Haitian dictator Raoul Cédras, and later Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his party Fanmil Lavalas.

Ironically, Morse is a cousin of the ex-president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, whom he initially supported.

The music on RAM 6: Manman m se Ginen is as firmly rooted in Haitian vodou spiritual music as ever (Morse himself is a houngan, a vodou priest, as are other members of the group) and yet the new album also has influences from West and Central African popular music styles.

There is a very literal connection between Haitian vodou music and West African traditional spiritual music, especially from the Benin/Togo/Ghana region, and yet RAM is doing a different sort of fusion: On the tracks “Ipokrit (Manje Bliye),” “Odan Bonswa” and “Koulou Koulou,” RAM blends Haitian konpa and rara rhythms with upbeat highlife and Congolese soukous, which blends seamlessly with konpa guitar and keyboard styles. Halfway through “Koulou Koulou,” the energy is lifted by an exciting call and response between rara horns and the male chorus vocals that harkens to a song or style that is so familiar, yet just beyond this reviewer’s conscious mind.

At the end of “Ipokrit” a half-time keyboard breakdown leads right back into an uptempo dance party.

There’s also a softer side of this album, from “Tout Pitit,” a deliciously melancholic konpa, to the opening of “Ogou O,” a gorgeous ballad to the loa of iron and war, Ogou, which transforms into a feature of traditional songs, driving percussion with drum set accents. Similarly, the soft guitars of “Kolibri Ankò” leads intro the hard-driving “Kolibri Mèt Bwa,” a vodou rock romp with heavy percussion and guitars, with lyrics about the ‘hummingbird of the forest.

With “Mon Konpè Gede,” RAM takes us to the cemetery, celebrating Gede, the top-hatted guardian spirit of death, with a relentless groove. But the penultimate track, “M’pral Dòmi Nan Simityè,” is by far the most exciting on the album: It opens with sounds of cheering crowds, and then a sudden assault of rara vaksins and punk-rock guitars and drums launch a raging rara rhythm with thumping bass drum, glittering metal bells, and hocketing  horns.

RAM 6: Manman m se Ginen is a tour de force. Every track is a unique and tasteful mixture of sacred, secular, local, international and creative music. Bravo, RAM, and may the next 20 years be as fruitful as the last.

59th Annual Grammy Awards – Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra

59th Annual Grammy Awards

Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra
"Make America Great Again!"

Large Ensemble Album
Best Engineered Album Non-Classical Music
Song of the Year

" Delfeayo is, in many ways, the most fun of the Marsalises. He's the family trombonist. And record producer. And he seems to be the family wise guy too." — Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News

Delfeayo Marsalis © Keith Major

Under the direction of NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis, the Uptown Jazz Orchestra adds some home-cooked seasoning to original material and jazz classics that pay homage to America’s great cultural traditions—blues, swing, groove and good old-fashioned Southern hospitality. Founded in 2008, UJO performs weekly in New Orleans and is known to play mostly by ear in addition to creating original songs spontaneously! One such composition, Make America Great Again! is the title of UJO's first cd. Marsalis and his rollicking big band take back that tarnished slogan and run it up the flagpole of great American music, tracing its sounds from its African roots through the streets of New Orleans to the country as a whole.

Despite the serious themes, Make America Great Again! is anything but heavy, offering a wonderfully upbeat and spirited collection of songs determined to make listeners move even as it asks them to think. As Marsalis says, “People have told me, ‘You play feel-good music,’ and I say, ‘Why would we play anything else?’ Don’t come check out the Uptown Jazz Orchestra if you feel like being depressed. We’re all about having a spiritual connection and understanding that we’re here to make the world a better place.”