Sunday, November 6, 2016

John Dikeman, Luis Vicente, Hugo Antunes and Gabriel Ferrandini - SALÃO BRAZIL (NO BUSSINES RECORDS 2016)

El cuarteto presenta el disco grabado en vivo en diciembre de 2015, justo aquí y ahora se edita con el sello NO BUSSINES de Lituania bajo el título "SALÃO BRAZIL"

Un ejemplo del camino a la internacionalización que el portugués se ha hecho en los últimos años a través de sus improvisados en jazz. Sus acompañantes no cumplen esa función, son también verdaderos protagonistas.

Side A:

Side B:

Composed by Dikeman, Vicente, Antunes and Ferrandini
Recorded live by Marcelo dos Reis on 17th January 2016 at Salão Brazil – Coimbra
Mixed and mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Produced by Danas Mikailionis
Co-producer - Valerij Anosov

François Carrier, Michel Lambert and Rafal Mazur - THE JOY OF BEING (NO BUSSINES RECORDS 2016)

1. The Joy of Being 14:20
2. lissfulness 15:06
3. True Nature 12:40
4. Mystery of Creation 12:07
5. Omnipresent Beauty 10:24
6. Disappearance 10:12

Music entirely improvised by François Carrier, Michel Lambert, and Rafal Mazur (SOCAN)
Recorded live at Alchemia Jazz Klub in Krakow, Poland on the soulful night of May 24th 2015
Sound, mixing and photo by François Carrier
Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas 
Produced by François Carrier
Executive producer Danas Mikailionis
Co-producer - Valerij Anosov

Martin Küchen, Mark Tokar and Arkadijus Gotesmanas - LIVE AT VILNIUS JAZZ FESTIVAL (NO BUSSINES RECORDS 2016)

Side A

Side B

Recorded live on the 17th October 2016 at Vilnius Jazz Festival by Valdas Karpuška
Music by Martin Küchen, Mark Tokar and Arkadijus Gotesmanas
Mixed and mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Produced by Danas Mikailionis
Co-producer - Valerij Anosov

The music was performed in the frame of Vilnius Jazz and Music of Silent Film festivals. Adaptation of the silent film THE LOST WORLD was made by Artūras Jevdokimovas


Side A
THE CRAVE (Jelly Roll Morton)
I AM HIS BROTHER (Dave Burrell)
PUA MAE ‘OLE (Dave Burrell)

Side B
NEW ORLEANS BLUES (Jelly Roll Morton)
SPANISH SWAT (Jelly Roll Morton)

Recorded live at the Kölner Stadtgarten, Cologne, Germany on June 13, 1994
Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Produced by Danas Mikailionis and Ed Hazell
Co-producer - Valerij Anosov

Albert Cirera / Hernâni Faustino / Gabriel Ferrandini / Agustí Fernández - BEFORE THE SILENCE (NO BUSSINES RECORDS 2016)

Albert Cirera - tenor and soprano sax
Hernâni Faustino - bass
Gabriel Ferrandini - drums
Agustí Fernández - piano


1. Before 15:58
2. The 22:15
3. Silence 20:29
4. Coda 4:31

All music by Cirera, Fernandez, Faustino and Ferrandini
Recorded at the Jazz Cava de Vic by Ralph Lopinski during the Voll Damm Festival Jazz Vic the 9th of May, 2015
Mixed by Ferran Conangla in Barcelona
Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Art cover “Boc enfontsan-se a la sorra sota una rosella” by Antoni Carné
Photos by Roberto Dominguez
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Produced by Danas Mikailionis
Co-producer - Valerij Anosov


When Roy and I decided to start a project together in 2000 his only stipulation was that it not be another reshuffling of people he was already associated with in other projects. 

After some consideration I suggested Mark Whitecage and Joe Fonda. Roy accepted both suggestions immediately. He had great respect for them both and remembered playing with Mark once, many years before. Fourteen years later, after six highly acclaimed recordings and as many European tours, we had our final tour together in 2014. 

This LP is from the final concert of the final tour with Roy, and what a night it was!

In the spirit of full disclosure, we did play one more concert together in a public garden in New York City on September 29, 2013. It was his 61st birthday, and sadly, his last. 

It was an honor to celebrate it with him through our music. He was a great musician and a true friend who will be loved and missed eternally.

Rest In Peace Dear Brother. Lou Grassi (July 18, 2016)

Side A

Side B

Recorded on 17th March, 2012 at Jazz im Sägewerk, Bad Hofgastein, Austria by Helfried Hassfurther
“Like a Spring day” by Mark Whitecage (BMI), “In the Whitecage” by Joe Fonda (GEMA), “Lament for Billy Bang” by Roy Campbell Jr. (Camroy Music, ASCAP) and “Free Piece” by
Campbell, Whitecage, Fonda and Grassi (Elgee Publishing, ASCAP)
Mixed and mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Cover photos by Josef Maier
Produced by Danas Mikailionis
Co-producer - Valerij Anosov
Special thanks to Sepp Grabmaier

NEW RELEASES ON NOBUSINESS RECORDS: Howard Riley - Constant Change 1976-2016, 5 CD

This solo piano music has never been released before on disc. It covers a 40-year period stretching from 1976 to 2016 and contains both live concerts and studio sessions.

Paris / Debrecen are both Festival performances recorded at a period when I was concentrating on developing my own material / compositions, and before I had evolved my ‘with or without repertoire’ approach to solo playing, which explained in the ‘sleeve-note’ to Live With Repertoire on NoBusiness Records CD 58 (briefly: some performances are with repertoire, some are without and some utilise both).

Fingerprints album was released in 1987 on MC cassette only (Wondrous WM 0102) and contains 13 short pieces of ‘Fingerprints’. It awakened my interest in short forms and let to the 6-CD  box The Complete Short Stories 1998-2010 on NoBusiness Records CDs 21-26.

The most recent recordings are third, fourth and fifth CDs in this box set, entitled Longer Story One, Longer Story Two and Longer Story Three from 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. There is one piece or ‘single story’ on each of these CDs with duration of approximately one hour. It was perhaps inevitable that the 79 ‘Short Stories’ comprising the first box set would be followed by these ‘Longer Stories’. The main difference from my point of view as a performer / composer is that the former needed one idea per piece that was capable of being developed, whereas the longer 
pieces require a multiplicity of ideas and material that are capable of being interrelated either compositionally or spontaneously.

That’s the only information needed, along with a willingness to listen uninterruptedly for one hour (I know it requires effort!). Perhaps I should add that I deliberately varied my approach in each of the three ‘Longer Story’ pieces. The first has a pre-conceived form. The second starts with pre-conceived form, but ends with a long Coda, which emphasises whatever the performer wishes to emphasise. The third one is totally improvised in one take.

Finally, many thanks to Danas Mikailionis and Valerij Anosov for releasing the music on NoBusiness Records.

Howard Riley, April 2016

The English composer Harrison Birtwistle has a piece called Endless Parade. It attempts to capture on the concert stage the experience of hearing a marching band moving through the streets of an Italian hill town: now audible, now muffled by distance and intervening structures, now loud and near at hand, now clashing with another band marking the same gala day. I always think of Howard Riley when I hear Endless Parade, and I always think of Endless Parade when I listen to Howard Riley, and I do the latter much more often.

So why this apparently random connection? They’re not even both Yorkshire born. Sir Harrison hails from Accrington in Lancashire, which represents a pretty broad cultural difference, but only if you’re an Englishman. It’s more that Riley’s Huddersfield is an Italian hill town, or it would be if it were situated in Italy rather than the West Riding. It’s a place where music echoes constantly and eclectically. The band tradition remains strong there, as does choral singing. The great Hungarian composer Béla Bartók – who more than once visited Britain on the kind of lonely solo tour that a jazz pianist would readily recognise – said that Huddersfield audiences were among the most musically literate and appreciative that he met anywhere in Europe. To this day, the city hosts an innovative and highly eclectic annual festival of new music, at and around which pretty much anything can be expected. John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez and Olivier Messiaen all visited during the festival’s heyday. Stockhausen took over a sports centre, Boulez and Messiaen were appalled at the food, a feeling they shared with Bartók, who enjoyed the marmalade, but not much else. Cage made his own arrangements and foraged for mushrooms in the surrounding hills.

There’s another, perhaps more metaphorical reason why Riley and the acoustic landscape of Endless Parade seem to belong together. It has to do with the way the career has unfolded and how it has been documented. British improvisers of Riley’s generation routinely complain that they are warmly hailed for work that was made and released forty years ago, while struggling to get support for new compositions, current bands and tours, new-minted recordings. And it is true that in many cases the back catalogue seems more prominent than the recent work.

In Riley’s case, though, the steady re-emergence of what commercially-minded people call “the back catalogue” has happened absolutely in line with a rich vein of new work. At almost every stage of Riley’s more recent career, a new recording, heard up close, pristinely engineered and mastered, could be heard in the apparently remote context of something he made decades earlier, but only now reappearing from neglectful dust. It is as if the sounds of the foreground are overlaid with more distant effects, precisely the kind of aural experience that Birtwistle was searching for in his richly textured ensemble and his conceptual colonnades, alleys and open squares.

Riley’s first ever LP, produced in 1967 in a now ridiculously collectable edition of just 99, has been reissued a couple of times down the years, most recently with the addition of two even older tracks that find the 17 year old pianist playing standards (“Just One Of Those Things” and “September In The Rain”, just for the record) with local musicians. Something of the same is happening here, with the inclusion of Fingerprints, a cassette-only recording from [[ ]], another super-rarity that 
comes forward out of the past as if to change our present perception of what Howard Riley is, and what he does.

Except it doesn’t quite happen that way with this particular musician. Chronology doesn’t seem to matter much in Riley’s work. Which means that its familiar attendant, “development” – or if you’re posing as particularly thoughtful, “evolution” – doesn’t quite matter, either. Critics like a career to “develop”. They’re natural Whigs, who think that each successive stage in an artist’s work represents a refinement and a rising up the ladder of ambition. They’ll happy acknowledge moments of consolidation, and sometimes will sternly point to signs of regression or backsliding, but the critical norm is developmental. 

This is strange, given that most genuinely creative careers, as opposed to those of minor talents who merely surf on fashion and experiment, are concerned with the presentation under different dispensations and guises of just one or two large ideas, which remain  essentially unchanged. Artists ho appear to change obsessively – Picasso, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Prince – very often don’t change much at all, other than the outward clothing of their core ideas.

It seems to me self-evident that Howard Riley falls into this category, and that in terms of his musical importance belongs naturally in the highest company. Unlike many of his contemporaries who struggle to maintain a present-tense creative career, he has continued to perform and to record at the highest level. Recent recordings from Lincoln Cathedral and, on No Business, from Vilnius have confirmed an artist who is at the peak of his creative powers, still walking an indefinable line between jazz and other musics, between composition and free (whatever that distinction means), but always with a strong sense of musical architecture, even in his most unfettered performances.

The fact that Riley uses the metaphor of “short stories” and “long stories” as a convenient way of categorising his work is significant. He deals with a highly refined form of expressive narrative. It has direction. It has depth. It has that indefinable thing that is supposed to separate the modern novel from the more two-dimensional forms of romance: it has “roundness”. At no time, do we feel that Riley is in a Bill Evans-like “state of grace”, channelling some cosmic message through the piano. Nor does he indulge in the excruciations of a Keith Jarrett solo performance, where the real meaning of that apparently insulting word becomes obvious. He doesn’t seem to expose himself in the music, either to the audience, or to God. It is, in the proper sense, secular music, made by a man who understands musical technics as well as anyone of his generation – he is among the most classically trained of the British free people – and who comes from a part of the world where manufacture is a matter of pride before it isa matter of profit. Or was.

For me, Riley speaks of a world in which making and doing, and sometimes making do, are of paramount importance. This is a quality in his work that has never changed. Listening to his two classic albums for CBS, 1969’s Angle and 1970s The Day Will Come (these from a time when big corporations sustained enough generous slack for genuinely creative work to be done off the balance sheet), and the sense already is of music that is not just committed and in its way passionate, but resolutely well-made.

The “well-made story” was a literary shibboleth for generations. It meant that a narrative had to have setting, characters, robust storylining, unexpected turns and a definite sense of ending. My standard test for any piece of music, perhaps perversely, is how it ends, or whether it ends. I once came out of a pop concert with a girlfriend I was trying to keep on-side – otherwise I wouldn’t have been there – and said “I enjoyed that”. “No”, she said, “you’re just glad it’s over.” And she was right. That isn’t what I mean here. We’ve all clapped deliriously at the end of free-improvisation events because there was a moment, somewhere in the middle, when it wasn’t clear that it would ever end and there seemed no way of stopping it, short of a fire alarm.

Contrast that with any of the performances by Howard Riley included in this set. Each has a clear and distinct sense of ending, not in the matter of a key centre that must be adhered to and navigated. Not in the sense of a great resonant cadence.

Just an awareness that a journey has been made and a destination reached. not final, not permanent, not metaphysical, but definite. Most improvisers will tell you that the main problematic for their musical language is not where to start, but how to end. 

There is little more merit in the limping conclusion to a “free” improvisation that has gone on too long and too uncomprehendingly than there is to the outgroove churn of a pop record that fades rather than finishing.

There’s still debate about where and when and why free jazz in Britain turned into free music or free improvisation. Working somewhat apart from the fixed structures of that movement, though collaborating at some time or other with most of its members, and by no means an isolated figure, Riley seemed to find his own solutions. It’s generally understood, though rarely given any supporting detail, that Riley retains more jazz or more of a jazz “feel” in his work than other artists.

This may have something to do with the piano, or the pianos plural, on which he has played. Cecil Taylor retains a great deal of jazz in his musical language, too. Riley’s lifelong engineering of bridges between repertory jazz forms and freer forms of improvisation have often been reviewed in terms of the starting and finishing points, as if the bridge itself between “jazz” and “free” were not of interest or importance. When, of course, it is the bridge we should mainly be interested in, not its signposts.

Like Evans, Riley has worked successfully in larger and smaller groups, but with a concentration of effort in trio and solo performance. Like Evans, too, he has experimented with the possibilities of overdubbing separate parts, a machine-aided dialogue with the self that feeds back into the real-time performances documented here in quite explicit ways. Riley’s awareness of where a second line might fit, where a harmonic strut or support might be added or taken away is always part of the drama of his playing. This is music that could only have been conceived by a man who grew up in a proud industrial town; not because the music is mechanical or motoric or locked-in, but because its movements are elegantly functional, the parts fitting together in a single complex.

He is not alone in having sustained a long career. The difference between Howard Riley and many, perhaps most, of his peers, is that the “journey” is so uncliched and individual. There’s no air of plodding pilgrimage or of self-regardant “exploration”.

If it makes sense to listen to recordings from 1976 and 1980, from 1976 and 1980, alongside performances from the present decade, made at home, then that’s because Riley has remained essentially the same kind of artist throughout that period, pursuing his ideas and making his forms with the same attention and application. The late Susan Sontag used to say that we can usually infer the life from the work, but we can never know the work from the life, and that’s true in 
trumps here. To say that he has not “developed” is not to say that has not changed,because of course he has.

The young man has energies the older man perhaps no longer feels any need of. The older man is perhaps further from any colouration of that other critical staple, artistic influence, even if the spirits of Thelonious Monk and Jaki Byard, Bud Powell and compatriots as various as Stan Tracey and Keith Tippett, still visit his playing from time to time. He has changed and he has remained determinedly the same. He delivers not works, but work, which is a very different thing. There is no drab emphasis on process, but we are never far from the realisation that here is a man interacting with a gloriously complex machine and with a vast weight of knowledge and experience behind the encounter.

We hear him near at hand, and far off; on good pianos and not so good, playing some recognisable melodies and some that did not exist until a moment ago.

Sometimes things intervene and interpose, and we don’t hear him for a while, or forget to listen out for him, and there he is back again, nearby and strong and instantly recognisable, not from “style” but from the quality of craft. The same, but ever-moving. An endless parade.

Brian Morton, 2016

Howard Riley – piano

Track List


Ice 9:42
Boeotian 11:53
Seven Imprints of One 9:13
Inside 2:44
Gypsum 3:15
Project 7:34
The Furthest Point 7:26
Zones 19:57
Deflection 7:52

Tracks 1-6 recorded live in Paris, 7th March 1976
Tracks 7-9 recorded live during Debrecen Jazz Days, Hungary, 12th September 1980


T.S.M. (With Thanks) 3:40
Two-Hander 6:00
Eleven In Three 4:45
In Repose 5:11
Circling 2:12
Imprint Eleven 2:17
Blue On Blue 5:50
Inner Minor 4:21
Inside Out 4:47
Imprint Seventeen 3:52
Dusty Douglas 2:39
Serene 3:47

Tracks 1-3 recorded on 29th June 1983, tracks 4-6 on 28th June 1985 and tracks 7-13 on 21st July 1987 by Ted Taylor at Porcupine Studios, London.
Material from this CD earlier released on a cassette only by Wondrous Music in 1992.


Mutability One (Longer Story) 61:19

Recorded on 3rd July 2014 by Nick Taylor at Porcupine Studios, London.


Mutability Two (Longer Story) 59:13

Recorded on 29th April 2015 by Nick Taylor at Porcupine Studios, London.


Mutability Three (Longer Story) 63:26

Recorded on 6th April 2016 by Nick Taylor at Porcupine Studios, London.

All music by Howard Riley
Cover photo by Jim Four
Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Producer - Danas Mikailionis
Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

EVENT: Karim Nagi 12/09/2016, Arab American National Museum, Detroit, MI

Karim Nagi: An Alternative Tour Through the Arab World at the Arab American Museum Dec. 9th

Think of it as an alternative tour of the Arab world. There are no ancient pyramids or great mosques here, no Hanging Gardens of Babylon, none of the towering history of the Pharaohs. This tour is strictly 21st century, the time of Arab springs, of mass migration, of globalization and beats that go around the world. A time when everything believed before has been shown to be wrong. It’s the right time for the Detour Guide (release Oct. 23, 2015), and Karim Nagi understands that. He’s been there, he’s lived it. He’s already played it.

“I use Arab music and English spoken word to deliver the message,” percussionist Nagi explains. “That Arabic groove is very infectious, it draws people in. The traditional rhythms and melodies give a real grounding, then using English speech offers a brand new context.”

Born in Egypt and raised in the US, Nagi has moved back and forth between countries before finally settling in Boston. He’s absorbed the highs and lows of both cultures on a cellular level, and knows the power of humor is a good way to get his message across.

“In America everything I do is political by default,” Nagi observes, “even if I simply just play a drum. What I want to do is upend the stereotypes Americans have about us, and that we have about America. To tell an anecdote that’s an antidote to racism.”

Nagi enjoys debunking myths on Detour Guide. “Your First Arab” and “What Arabs Do For Fun” take glee in puncturing so many ideas about Arabs and their world, while “Baladi TukTuk” looks in the other direction at a young Arab who’s returned home after discovering U.S. cities aren’t paved with gold.

“This album can be a way for people to get to know us Arabs, preparing all of us to live together in a better way. It’s interesting that the Arab diaspora often hasn’t worked. People have come to America with these ideas that they’ll get rich, but most don’t. They end up as busboys or making kebabs, utterly disillusioned. So there’s plenty of reverse migration, too. Thankfully, there are some success stories as well.”

Nagi has often spoken about Arab culture and identity over the years, lecturing to students in schools and colleges, including Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. He understands the similarities and differences between us all.

“Everything I say on the album is empirical, it’s data collection from my own experiences,” Nagi laughs. “I feel both foreign and native here and in Egypt. I’ve spent so much time having to explain myself, responding to what Westerners think of us Arabs, and then turn around and explain the West back to the Middle East.  And it all started with me simply trying to get people interested in the music.”

So it makes perfect sense that music is just as vital to Detour Guide as the words. A highly-trained percussionist with an intimate knowledge of Arab music, Nagi uses music as a tool to connect cultures, even drawing on iconic titles like “Yalla Yalla.”

“It’s a good way to push the message,” Nagi says. “There is plenty of Arabic percussion, and the modes, or maqams, are all authentic. The challenge was finding a way to use English words over Arabic music that sounded natural but not like hip-hop.”

That’s not an easy balancing act, but Nagi definitely succeeds. Much of that is due to his long experience in the studio and on stage. Under the name Turbo Tabla, Nagi has released a number of CDs reimagining Arabic music with house and trance beats, while he also regularly DJs, as well as leading the more traditional Sharq Ensemble and teaching Arab percussion and dance.

“Everyone can feel the rhythm,” Nagi says. “It’s so propulsive that it actually means I have to give less verbal explanation, it carries people along. I believe we can all relate to each other through music.”

Nagi also plans to perform Detour Guide in its entirety at concerts, something he believes will heighten its impact.

“Each song is preceded by a spoken word introduction that frames it. Performing the album from start to finish would give it proper continuity and context.”

Karim Nagi will perform Detour Guide at the absolute most compatible venue; Global Friday's at the Arab American National Museum, Friday December 9th. Dearborn is home to the biggest Arab diaspora in America, and the AANM is where they gather for new music. "It will be a unique concert with storytelling and multimedia. I will use my drum to keep everyone energetic and engaged."