Saturday, December 3, 2016

Marcin Wądołowski Trio - Standars (SOLITON 2016)

In 2016 an album named „Standards” was released via Soliton. The tracks are widely know standards performed by the classic jazz trio: The guitar, the double bass and the drums.

The album is dedicated to the memory of two Polish guitar virtuosos: Marek Bliźiński and Jarosław Śmietana. Thanks to their works and approach to music the “Standards” an album filled with passion, energy and positive vibrations could become reality.

All tracks were arranged by Marcin Wądołowski.

01. Equinox (J. Coltrane)
02. Solar (M. Davis)
03. All The Things You Are (O. Hammerstein/ J. Kern)
04. Central Park West (J. Coltrane)
05. Giant Steps (J. Coltrane)
06. Nardis (M. Davis)
07. Take Five (P. Desmond)
08. I Love You (C. Porter)
09. Have You Met Miss Jones (l. Hart/ R. Rodgers)
10. Now's The Time (Ch. Parker)

Marcin Wądołowski, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Piotra Lemańczyka, double bass
Tylera Hornby, drums

Swell / Ullmann / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Zerang - The Chicago Plan (CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2016)

The Chicago Plan is Gebhard Ullmann (DE) – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, octaver; Steve Swell (USA) – trombone; Fred Lonberg-Holm (USA) – cello, electronics; Michael Zerang (USA) – drums, percussion | Label: Clean Feed Records, 2016

Celebrating over ten years of collaborating together, Berlin saxophonist/composer, Gebhard Ullmann and NYC trombonist/composer Steve Swell join two of Chicago's finest improvising musicians; Fred Lonberg-Holm, cello/electronics and percussionist Michael Zerang for this new configuration. Building on the strength and ideals of those three cities the quartet creates enough fireworks to light up the night sky with their brilliant sound imagery. The Chicago Plan thoroughly breaks new ground for what Jazz and New Music ensembles' approach to what creative music should be.

"Here now was jazz energy. Here was meticulous virtuosity. Here was wild, driving rhythm and horns in a front-line part. Stopping on a dime, returning to the previous mood. Finding a way to end. The ebb and flow of formal composition and instantaneous improvisation is what makes this approach to music making so exciting" — Lazaro Vega, Jazz Director, Blue Lake Radio

1. Variations on a Master Plan, Pt 3. 6:02
2. Composite #10  18:45
3. Variations on a Master Plan, Pt 2 6:40
4. Rule #1 Make Sure You Can Play Your Own Tune 8:37
5. Déjà Vu 7:45
6. For Henry 7:46

Steve Swell  trombone
Gebhard Ullmann  tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Fred Lonberg-Holm  cello, electronics
Michael Zerang  drums

Tracks 1, 3, 5 and 6 by Gebhard Ullmann (GEMA), 2 and 4 by by Steve Swell (Steve Swell Music, BMI)

Recorded on September 22nd, 2015 at Kingsize Sound Labs, Chicago, IL, by John Abbey | Mixed by Walter Quintus | Mastered by Walter Quintus

Produced by Steve Swell and Gebhard Ullman | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos

Andy Scott - Angels (JAZZ LEGACY PRODUCTIONS 2016)

Angels finds Scott collaborating with jazz piano heavyweight Cyrus Chestnut, one of the finest American key-crackers, the two co-writing the title tune. In fact, whereas some jazz singers perform/record many done-to-death standards, Scott ups the ante by writing (or co-writing) nearly all the songs herein—like they say in the movies, this time it is personal.

The opener “Somebody Like You” sets the tone for Angels. Scott swings from the beginning—the band lays down an old school groove and Scott glides in, part starry-eyed romantic, part sophisticate, expressing himself with easy, adjusting to the fickle winds of romance with each syllable. The influence of the classy, jazz-based crooners is there—Nat “King” Cole and Johnny Hartman—but Scott doesn’t attempt to “sound like” them. He’s absorbed their styles and adapted them to his own singular approach, adding a bit of grit, a touch of irreverence, and a lot of heart. 

Scott makes his way down Lonely Avenue, a street of dreams where the blues are kept at bay by “Valium & Soda”—he’s a nightclub philosopher in the manner of Jimmy Scott and Bob Dorough, singing in a sly, worldly drawl. Chestnut’s piano is luminous in a spare, funky manner and Freddie Hendrix’s trumpet provides a sweet balm for Scott’s condition.

01. Somebody Like You 3:01
02. Angels (Always Welcome 'Round Here) 4:19
03. What Magic Is This 4:11
04. Valium & Soda Pop 3:22
05. Haunted House (The Other Side of Blue) 3:25
06. The Things We Leave Behind 4:24
07. Ninety-Nine 5:00
08. Someday You'll Be Sorry 3:22
09. Learning to Fly 5:27
10. Whatcha Gonna Do on Monday 2:33
11. Blowin' Kisses at the Moon 4:09
12. Bye, Bye, Blackbird 3:46
13. Swingtime Lullabye 4:23

ANDY SCOTT – vocals

ABELITA MATEUS – vocals & fender rhodes piano (track 3)
RONELL BEY – vocals  (track 7)
YOTAM SILBERSTEIN – guitars (tracks 1,2,3,7,9,10)  
GREG GISBERT – trumpet (tracks 3 & 5)
FREDDIE HENDRIX – trumpet (track 4)
ANDRES BOIARSKY – tenor sax & clarinet (tracks 4, 5,6,11)
ANNE DRUMMOND – alto flute (tracks 1 & 3)
CAFÉ – percussion  (track 3)
VINCE ECTOR – drums & percussion (tracks 2 & 7)
ROGER SQUITERO – percussion (tracks 3 & 7)
ROSENA HILL JACKSON – background vocals (track 7)
SONNY WILLIAMS – background vocals (track 7)
TONY HEWITT – background vocals (track 7)

Produced by: John Lee
Executive Producer: Lisa Broderick

Friends & Neighbors - What's Wrong (CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2016)

Here is another gem from the Norwegian scene, showing us that music can be energetic and melodic at the same time, as it was proposed by free jazz mavericks like Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders and John Carter. The songs are even more melodic than those played by the bands in which we find André Roligheten, Thomas Johansson, Oscar Grönberg, Jon Rune Strøm and Tollef Østvang, namely Team Hegdal, Frode Gjerstad Trio, Cortex and All Included, and even the intensity and density of the music seems more compact and in-your-face.

The overall sound is the same of the most traditional jazz, and that is intentional and even programmatic, but you won’t find chord progressions in the new “What’s Wrong?”. Jazz can survive to its own stereotypes, and this collective has that notion as a purpose. The music is free, faithful to its historical references, but also disciplined, with no sounds in excess or missing and, above all, with none of the usual tics and tricks keeping the musicians in a comfort zone. Grab it before it vanishes.

Adam Schneit Band - Light Shines In (FRESH SOUND NEW TALENT 2016)

When considering titles for his debut album, “Light Shines In”, on Fresh Sound New Talent Records, tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Adam Schneit was reminded of the chorus from his favorite Leonard Cohen song, “Anthem”: “Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.” 

“That line resonates with me so strongly,” says Schneit. “It took me a long time to finally record this music. I’ve always been somewhat of a perfectionist, or at least preoccupied with having things just right before I charge forward. And yet I’m most inspired by music and art that’s flawed and raw, that’s immediate and visceral rather than polished and pristine.” “Light Shines In”, an assured introduction to a musician with a unique instrumental and compositional voice, is also a reflection of the joy that comes with risking imperfection to arrive at something vulnerable and honest. It is this guiding impetus that unifies a program of affecting rock melodies, bracing free play, off-kilter vamps, and ethereal ballads. 

Born in Portland, Maine, Schneit completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University before deciding to pursue music professionally and getting his Masters degree at the New England Conservatory of Music. While at NEC, he sought out teachers with strong, personal aesthetic visions, such as Steve Lacy, George Garzone, Bob Brookmeyer, and Joe Morris. After moving to New York in 2005, he became active in the freelance jazz and singer/songwriter scene, but was initially most interested in developing long-term group projects. He co-led and wrote much of the music for the band Old Time Musketry which, over the course of two critically-acclaimed albums and seven years of performances, put forth its own unclassifiable blend of Americana, folk, jazz, rock, and free improvisation. 

When Old Time Musketry came to an end and presenting his music as a leader became more of a priority, Schneit already had musicians in mind. Kenny Wollesen, long-time drummer in Bill Frisell’s various groups (as well as John Zorn’s and countless jazz and rock settings), is master of a grounded, elastic beat. “There is so much space in Kenny’s playing,” says Schneit. “Whether he’s playing a backbeat or free, there is so much intensity but it still feels so open and supportive.” Eivind Opsvik (Tony Malaby, Dave Binney), whose long-standing relationship with Wollesen is documented on his four “Overseas” albums, is a bassist with a thick, resonant tone. He’s equally adept at anchoring the beat as at responding to and inciting the soloist with spontaneous counterpoint. Guitarist Sean Moran (The Four Bags) steers clear of much of the conventional jazz language often employed on his instrument, favoring singing melodies and rock-like textures. 

The band’s sensitivity speaks to a rapport stretching back several years: Opsvik and Moran have been regular members since 2009 and 2011, respectively, and Wollesen was enlisted in 2014, soon after Schneit started playing in the drummer’s anarchic marching band, the Himalayas. Each player has an unmistakable sound but also huge ears, and the quality of listening and support is evident throughout the album. 

The music on “Light Shines In” reflects Schneit’s deep love for melody in all its manifestations, ranging from pared-down rock tunes to denser “free” excursions. “I’m inspired by musicians like Keith Jarrett, Neil Young, Bill Frisell, and Ornette Coleman, where things can get loud or soft, chaotic or rhapsodic, and at the core there’s always melody. By which I mean something vocal and human, a real sense of song.” 

The selections on the album all develop out of this foundation of song. “A Clearer View” is a Neil Young-inspired folk-rocker, starting relaxed and down-home but building in intensity over the course of nine minutes. “Different Times” spins from its oddly-resolving changes into thorny free improvisation and back again. “Old Time Musketry” features a winding, joyful, somewhat gospel-like tune over rapidly-shifting chords.

The sole clarinet track, “Hope for Something More”, is a brooding rock-ballad with a mantra-like melody. “Light Shines In”, a solemn but brightening rubato meditation, is followed by the raucous, angular madness of “My Secret Hobby.” Closing out the album is “Song for Silence”, a fragile, yearning melody with a darkly insistent hook.

Released December 2, 2016

1. A Clearer View 09:03
2. Different Times 07:03
3. Old Time Musketry 05:24
4. Hope for Something More 08:41
5. Light Shines In 03:59
6. My Secret Hobby 05:49
7. Song for Silence 08:01

Adam Schneit - saxophone, clarinet, songs 
Sean Moran - guitar 
Eivind Opsvik - bass 
Kenny Wollesen - drums 

Recorded at The Bunker, Brooklyn, NY, February 9th, 2016 

Mixed by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground, Brooklyn, NY, Feb-March 2016 

Mastered by Nate Wood at Kerseboom Mastering 

Photography & Design: Bryan Murray 
Producer: Adam Schneit 
Executive Producer : Jordi Pujol