Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Eric Legnini - Waxx Up (2017)

Le pianiste jazz belge Eric Legnini a sorti vendredi 17 mars 2017 un nouvel album intitulé "Waxx up".

Eric Legnini est un pianiste de jazz Belge qui vient de sortir "Waxx up", son nouvel album, le 17 mars 2017. Un album de 14 titres + 1 bonus avec des collaborations comme avec Yael Naim, Hugh Coltman, Michelle Willis, Mathieu Boogaerts ou Ibrahim Maalouf pour ne citer qu'eux.

D’emblée, le premier titre donne le cap. “I Want You Back”, plus qu’une introduction, mieux qu’une mise en bouche, une voie à suivre. Trois minutes trente, tous d’un bloc, au service d’une chanson. Pourvu que ça groove. Direct, Eric LEGNINI change de casquette, et du coup de braquet, avec cette nouvelle galette : le pianiste émérite mute en producteur, attentif à la puissance d’une mélodie, à la classe d’une rythmique. Waxx Up : une bonne baffle en pleine tête, à l’image du visuel qui orne la pochette ! Parce que de toutes les manières, c’est la cire noire qui a toujours été sa matière première. Tel est le diapason d’un album qui sonne comme une somme de 45-tours, des titres taillés pour des voix au pluriel des suggestifs du maître de céans" Eric LEGNINI.

01. I Want You Back (feat. Michelle Willis)
02. Run with It (feat. Charles X)
03. Despair (feat. Yael Naim)
04. Riding the Wave (feat. Anaelle Potdevin)
05. Black Samourai
06. Night Birds (feat. Mathieu Boogaerts)
07. The Parkway (feat. Michelle Willis)
08. The Wire (feat. Ibrahim Maalouf)
09. Maybe (feat. Michelle Willis)
10. Sick and Tired (feat. Michelle Willis)
11. Here Comes the Beat Man
12. The Sun Will Dance (feat. Hugh Coltman)
13. Living for Tomorrow (feat. Natalie Williams)
14. Lagos 75
15. Living for Tomorrow (Trio Version) [Bonus Track]

Eric Legnini : fender rhodes, piano
Da romeo : basse électrique
Franck Agulhon : batterie
Michelle Willis - Hugh Coltman : voix

and others

Möbius Strip - Möbius Strip (MUSEA RECORDS 2017)

MÖBIUS STRIP is the name of a young Italian Progressive jazz-rock band, made of Lorenzo CELLUPICA (Keyboards), Nico FABRIZI (Saxophone & flute), Eros CAPOCCITTI (Bass) and Davide RUFO (Drums). They got their inspiration in the object of the same name: since a Möbius strip geometrically connects the two sides of the same surface by starting a path on one of them, this also became the purpose of the musicians, to combine different styles and influences.

The result is to be heard on MÖBIUS STRIP's self-titled album, published in the year 2017 on the Musea Parallèle label. Here are five long tracks full of freshness and inventivity, completed by the short composition "Call It A Day". To be discovered !

1 - Bloo (9'41)
2 - Déjà Vu (8'28)
3 - First Impressions (7'52)
4 - Call It A Day (2'46)
5 - Andalusia (8'34)
6 - Möbius Strip (8'49)

Jakob Sørensen - Nomad

Jakob Sørensen is now releasing his second album as a bandleader. Since finishing his studies in Aarhus Jakob Sørensen has been working on the record NOMAD, which stylistic is a natural sequel to the debut album Bagland.

The evocative cover has been created by the international recognized artist Nedko Solakov. Both the cover picture and the simple design, designed by Andreas Nordström creates clear references to the Nordic landscape, from which Jakob Sørensen finds so inspiring.

Brave Men
The Mountain That Disappeared

Alex Jønsson: guitar
Mathias Jaeger: piano
Frederik Sakham: bass
Andreas Skamby: drums

Mark Lewandowski - Waller (WHIRLWIND RECORDINGS 2017)

Thomas Wright ‘Fats’ Waller was a true entertainer; a New York trailblazer of his time (1920s to early 1940s), turning out hundreds of songs including those which would become established standards, such as ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’, ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and ‘Jitterbug Waltz’. A jocular, larger-than-life character, his Harlem stride piano and gritty voice were key to a distinctive sound which would inform the jazz of subsequent generations, with solid showtime melodies ensuring its longevity.

Strongly maintaining the integrity of Fats Waller’s music while looking afresh at its present-day possibilities, English double bassist Mark Lewandowski embarked on this concept with clear intent: “I wanted to approach it with respect. Fats’ music is frequently loud, exuberant, even obnoxious at times, as well as wistful and elegant; so I really wanted to strip it down – and, with that in mind, I automatically thought of Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis (their 2009 duo album, Starry Starry Night, has long been a great inspiration to me). As a drummer, Paul demonstrates such great poise and economy, using only brushes throughout the whole of what was a particularly relaxed recording session, whilst Liam’s playful, unpredictability at the piano is perfect for this” (he has skilfully reworked the music of many artists, including Dave Brubeck, Bud Powell… even Elgar). “For the three of us, the experience of improvising so conversationally and intimately felt remarkably equal, and became more of an ongoing commentary rather than a straightforward reinterpretation. Nothing was fixed, the shackles were removed – so I loved the spontaneity and the vulnerability, as well as Liam’s and Paul’s wry take on things.”

With authentically-sampled historical introductions occasionally reinforcing the context, Waller’s eleven tracks unfold organically from the slenderest of wireframes. As Lewandowski says: “Fats would never have written any of those things down; if he composed a new tune, he’d go over to them and play it from the piano.” A similar approach here affords each of the musicians the freedom to respond in their own way while also intertwining their various strands of ideas, so ‘Lulu’s Back in Town’ emerges and then reappears from the trio’s enthusiastically percussive ‘chat’. ‘I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead… Suzannah!!’ fuses together two Fats originals, its countrified bass phrasing sparingly embellished by Clarvis’ irregular snare patterns before Noble runs headlong into it with characteristically oblique swing. Another astute pairing results in ‘It’s a Sin to Write a Letter’, followed by Lewandowski’s animated bass solo ‘Have a Little Dream on Me’; and ‘Blue Because of You’ quicksteps to dashing bass and shuffling brushes as Noble shrugs off its melancholy origins.

Flirtatious favourites ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ and ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ are typically mischievous, nay impetuous, with each player lying in wait to jump off the others’ ideas; ‘Jitterbug Waltz’s familiar descending phrases are avidly seized upon by the ever-inventive imaginings of Noble; and both ‘Cinders’ and ‘Fair and Square in Love’ are deliciously and mesmerisingly held back, the latter hinting at a cool Motown ballad vibe towards its close.

Mark Lewandowski’s final, sung/whistled track – ‘Surprise Ending’ (Jelly Roll Morton’s resigned ‘Why’) – whimsically nods to Waller’s personable, socially-relevant reflections on the mundanity of life, as well as his popular showmanship from the piano. It might even offer a glimpse of future spin-off projects: “We’ve all studied early jazz alongside our more contemporary projects, and everything I do is very heavily informed by the Black-American tradition – it’s how I first fell in love with this music. So it’s been a great way to focus on Fats’ output; and I can even envisage some continuity in us exploring other historical artists in the same way. You can’t hide behind this music, so we wanted it to be as honest as possible, based on our own instincts. We’re using our collective influences of the past to inform how we improvise as contemporary musicians – and I hope, for listeners, it’ll be a gateway to the wider, colorful world of Fats Waller.”

1. Lulu's Back In Town 04:44
2. I'll Be Glad When You're Dead... Susannah 05:12
3. Jitterbug Waltz 06:16
4. Blue Because Of You 03:40
5. Fair & Square In Love 07:03
6. Cinders 04:33
7. It's a Sin to Write a Letter 04:31
8. Have a Little Dream on Me 02:02
9. Ain't Misbehavin' 06:15
10.Honeysuckle Rose 01:55
11.Surprise Ending 03:13

Jim Casey - Miles Goes Wes (2017)

The gunslinger guitarist is the first archetype that comes to mind. This is the Guitar Slim/Johnny Guitar Watson/Jimi Hendrix/Jimmy Page raucous rocker. His pyrotechnical explosions leave us breathless; his every riff is high drama. We can’t keep our eyes off him. He commands the stage. He’s the centerpiece of every record he cuts. His swagger is irresistible, his virtuosity always on full display. 

But there is a second category of guitar hero who is all too easily overlooked. He stands off to one side or drifts towards the back. He brings no attention to himself. The power of his playing is something you feel rather than see. His forte is understatement. His strength is his subtlety. He exhibits the rarest of artistic traits: humility. 

“Of all the cats in my band,” Count Basie once said, “the one you notice least is the one who means the most. You don’t even think he’s doing anything. But take away my guitar man Freddie Greene and suddenly we stop swinging. He’s our pulse. There are loud geniuses and quiet ones. Freddie’s one of the quiet ones.” So is Jim Casey.

I first heard Jim nearly forty years ago at Popsicle Toes, a nightspot on Greenville Avenue in Dallas. His soul-searing R&B band was the real deal. I was initially drawn to the group’s brilliant lead singer Kelly McNulty. Beyond Kelly’s blue velvet voice, the group was overflowing with extravagant talent—singer/saxist Little John Sanders, drummers Ken Johnson and Eric Stuer, multi-instrumentalist/singer Eric Tagg. Over time, the more I listened to Buster Brown, the more I came to appreciate the nuanced skills of Jim Casey.

His rhythm guitar work was a wonder to behold. I loved how he crafted a battery of slick funky grooves. I marveled at his sturdy yet remarkably gentle touch. As a soloist, he was a minimalist, a man who served the song and the singer rather than himself. His blues chops, like his fusion-jazz chops, were razor sharp. He displayed a balanced sense of dynamics—knowing when to kick back, when to hit it hard—that revealed a musical maturity far beyond his age. At the time he was in his mid-twenties.

Now in his early sixties and sounding better than ever, Jim has finally decided to take that much-awaited step into the spotlight. I applaud and celebrate that decision. Miles Goes Wes is an exemplary recording of Jim’s prodigious gifts even as it honors his essential character. Although he’s the visionary behind this suite of songs—at long last the leader of a release bearing his own name--he retains that endearing sense of humility that makes him who he is: the most unassuming of guitar heroes.

Jim conceived the project, in fact, as a tribute to his own heroes, Miles Davis and Wes Montgomery. 
“Because they’ve never failed to inspire me as creative artists,” says Jim, “I wanted to honor them by interpreting their material. For Wes, the compositions I chose—`Road Songs,’ ‘4 on 6,’ ‘Angel’ and `Day in the Life’—come from sixties. For Miles, I dipped into his classic stuff from the fifties—like `So What’ and ‘Four’—as well as three songs from Tutu, the record he made with Marcus Miller in the eighties that had a huge impact on me. With every tune, though, my goal was to reimagine the songs in a contemporary context. To do that I needed help. That’s why I turned to Frank Hames who essentially serves as my co-producer and main arranger, not to mention engineer and mixer. Frank’s genius informs every second of this record. I met him back in the early seventies when I left my home of Pampa, Texas for college at North Texas in Denton. North Texas—with its incredible One O’Clock Lab Band—was the first time I found myself in a sophisticated musical environment. So many of the great players on Miles Goes Wes—drummers John Bryant, Greg Bissonette and saxist Randy Lee, bassist/drummer Mike Medina, drummer Kirk Covington, bassist James Driscoll--are connected to North Texas.”

North Texas—both the university in Denton and the geographic area encompassing Dallas/Fort Worth—is the fertile territory that gave birth to bands like Phyrework, the legendary jazz-rock-soul group founded by Frank Hames and John Bryant around the same time Jim formed Buster Brown. In that sense, Miles Goes Wes has the feeling of a warm homecoming, a reunion of musicians whose connections have stayed strong over a lifetime.

“I also must mention Bernard Wright,” Jim is quick to add. “He’s all over this record, playing with impeccable taste, style and imagination. Of course he became a funk star in the early eighties as Nard, a contemporary of Marcus Miller and Lenny White from Jamaica, Queens, New York. Marcus recruited him to play on Tutu. I met Bernard when he moved to Dallas some thirty years ago and worked with Buster Brown. We lost touch for a while, but hooked up again for this project. I treasure his solos here, especially the haunting introduction he wrote for ‘Nardis.’ Randy Lee, another forty-year-friend and the original tenor saxist in Phyrework, also knocked me out. I love how he tears up `Day in the Life.’’ True to form, Jim resists talking about himself. He’s too busy praising others.

“Can’t say enough about Steve Howard,” Jim enthuses. “Steve played with both Buster Brown and Phyrework before going off with Paul McCartney and Wings and the Blues Brothers. His role in this record is essential since, in some ways, he’s standing in for Miles. Without imitating Miles, Steve’s able to express that super-intense Miles feeling. A lot of this record can be heard as a conversation between Steve and myself. And in that conversation I wanted to be sure and give Steve all the space his creative ideas deserve.” 

One of the most intriguing aspects of Miles Goes Wes is the limited space Jim gives himself. When he does solo—his intricately sinuous work, for example, on “Splatch” or his graceful turn on “Stella by Starlight”—it is typically at the end of the song, into the fade. Why not give himself more solo space? 

“When I heard what the other soloists had to say—Frank, Bernard, Steve, Randy, Bobby Sparks on B3—I couldn’t imagine cutting them off. I couldn’t see myself taking over and sucking up all the air. These are incredible artists too good not to be featured. At the same time, I have my say on this record. You hear me express myself on every song. I don’t believe in over-talking or over-playing. This music reflects who I am and what I love. And to be truthful, what I love and cherish most is the camaraderie of playing with musicians I admire. I’m truly honored to have them join me on my record.” 

The result is a lyrical and deeply satisfying document of Jim Casey as more than a stellar guitarist. He is an artist with a highly cultivated jazz aesthetic and, most strikingly, a man with a sweet and beautiful soul. 

-David Ritz 
Ritz has written books with, among others, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, BB King, Buddy Guy, Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson. His lyrics include “Sexual Healing.

So What
Road Song
4 on 6
Full Nelson
Stella by Starlight
All Blues
A Day in the Life

Jim Casey: leader, guitar
Steve Howard: trumpet
Jeff Robbins: sax, flute
Randy Lee: tenor sax
Bobby Sparks: B-3 organ
Bernard Wright: keyboard, synthesizer
Frank Hames: keyboard, synthesizer, arranger
Braylon Lacy: bass
Rick Rigsby: bass
James Driscoll: bass
Kirk Covington: drums
Jason Thomas: drums
Greg Bissonette: drums
John Bryant: percussion
Michael Medina: bass, drums, percussion
Emily Medina: percussion

Josiah Woodson - Suite Elemental (TRUTH REVOLUTION RECORDS 2017)

On his debut album titled 'Suite Elemental,' multi-instrumentalist Josiah Woodson weaves an epic story of a prince on a journey to become a king. Over the course of six tracks, Woodson creates a sound sculpture (suite) inspired by the elements – Air, Water, Fire, and Earth – and universal themes that revolve around inheritance, ascendance, struggle, adversity, and eventual triumph. 

“In reading the story and listening to the music,” says Woodson, “I hope to spark something in people and they take away a message that is pertinent to them in their lives, whoever they might be.” 

“AIR” represents energy, movement transcendence. 

“EAU” (Water) was composed by Woodson during a difficult time in his life. He likens it to a “soothing musical balm.” 

“FEU” (Fire) states that there is no triumph without trial; there is no temperance without a test. The tune moves through sections of intense “reds” and “oranges” and a temporary respite rest in “purples” and “yellows.” 

“TERRE” (Earth) is a journey. It is the uneasy yet the steady calm before the storm that provides solace for the body but not the mind. Also, it conjures up images of a vast forest and the epic story of “The Prince of Soro.” 

“SOLSTICE” is the culmination of the story. 

“(rep)RISE” is where the composer comes to terms with forging his path, mind and name. Also, Woodson reveals the story – literally and figuratively – is his. 

1. Air 07:54
2. Eau 08:34
3. Feu 09:16
4. Terre 09:06
5. Solstice 08:49
6. [rep]Rise 01:30

Josiah Woodson: composition, trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar, flute
Ricardo Izquierdo: tenor sax (3)
Daniel Gassin: piano (2-6)
Zacharie Abraham: upright bass (1-3, 5, 6)
Laurent-Emmanuel “Tilo” Bertholo: drums

Special Guests
Lovell Bradford: Rhodes (1)
Peter Giron: upright bass (4)
Ralph Lavital: guitar (5)
Philippe Makaia: Gwo Ka (5)

Playlist for Tom Ossana – The Thin Edge – April 19, 2017 MST 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.