Monday, April 24, 2017

Empirical's Pop-Up Jazz Lounge in Birmingham - April 25-29, 2017 (CUNEIFORM RECORDS)

Award-winning UK jazz ensemble Empirical announce the return of their popular ‘Pop-up Jazz Lounge’ project.2017, which marks Empirical’s 10th anniversary, will see the band take up temporary residence at Pop-up Lounges in Birmingham, London and Liverpool.

In February 2016, the UK jazz super group took over a retail unit in the centre of Old Street London Underground station and transformed it into a relaxed and inviting jazz lounge. Over a whirlwind six days of playing 24 live sets for unsuspecting commuters, the band recorded over 2,800 visitors to their lounge, the majority of whom hadn't ever experienced live jazz before. Having road-tested this radical approach of taking their music directly to people during their daily routines, the musical risk-takers now hope to connect with new audiences across the UK. (To see a video from the 2016 London Pop-Up, scroll down!)

From 25th to 29th April 2017, Empirical will make Birmingham their temporary home. Taking over a retail unit in the Great Western Arcade, located at the heart of Birmingham’s Coleman Business district, the band hopes to attract workers, shoppers and commuters using nearby Snow Hill station. Birmingham residents and visitors will be invited to pop into the lounge for daily lunchtime and evening commuter sets, with evening performances scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Early birds will also be able to catch an 8am mid-week session. All gigs will be free of charge.

“It was great to see so many new people at our pop-up lounge at Old Street and to see them really engage with the music - it showed that there is an audience for jazz out there, and we can reach them!” comments Tom Farmer, Double Bass. "So we’re really excited to be able to take our pop-up lounge to Birmingham this April and hope that we’ll get the same enthusiastic reaction from people there.”  

To give younger audiences a chance to experience live jazz, Empirical will visit Birmingham schools and host educational workshops demonstrating the principles of jazz improvisation to local youth music ensembles.The Pop-up Jazz Lounge project is made possible by funding support from Arts Council England, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the Worshipful Company of Musicians and is presented in partnership with Birmingham’s Town Hall Symphony Hall Jazzlines programme.

In June 2017, the Pop-up Lounge will return to Old Street Underground station in London, before appearing in Liverpool in September.

A video of the 2016 London Pop-up is below:

In February 2016, Empirical created a week-long Pop-Up Jazz Lounge in the concourse of London Underground's Old Street Station. This ground breaking performance series was the first of its kind and connected both Empirical's music and jazz music in general with new audiences.

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Empirical's 2016 Album, CONNECTION
on Cuneiform Records

MOBO Award-Winning British Jazz Quartet – EMPIRICAL – Delivers a Potent Dispatch from the Post-Bop Frontier with CONNECTION, a Program of Smart and Searing Originals

While Empirical’s moniker implies cool detachment and disinterested observation, the quartet has become one of Europe’s top jazz ensembles by creating a bracing sound rife with roiling emotion. The band builds on the extroverted improvisational ethos of the 1960s New Thing, embracing oblique harmonies, translucent textures and jagged, quick shifting rhythms. Featuring Nathaniel Facey (alto saxophone), Shaney Forbes (drums), Lewis Wright (vibraphone) and Tom Farmer (bass), Connection is the fifth Empirical album. The band’s first release on the American label Cuneiform, it captures the ensemble at its most pure and potent.

“Each of our previous albums was an experiment, where we included various guests from a string quartet to a pianist to bass clarinet,” Farmer says. “This time we went into a great sounding studio with just the four of us. It’s an accurate representation of what we’re doing now, what our gigs sound like. This is our expression.”

Following the release of its eponymous debut album in 2007, which was produced by British saxophone star Courtney Pine and released on his Destin-E label, Empirical quickly established itself as a creatively-charged crew unafraid to explore jazz’s wild and wooly left field. They threw down the gauntlet with their acclaimed second album, 2009’s Out ‘n’ In (Naim). Produced by rising British saxophonist Jason Yarde, the project offers a highly personal salute to Eric Dolphy that won the band Best Jazz Act in the 2010 MOBO Awards (MOBO stands for Music Of Black Origin).

In many ways Connection is a similarly bold statement, a program of original music that unfolds with the kind of intuitive narrative momentum generated by a great set. Opening with Farmer’s concise stop-and-start “Initiate the Initiations,” the album kicks off like a carnival parade driven by Forbes’ deft trap work. Farmer contributes half of the album’s 10 tracks, and his pieces often key on particular emotional states. “Anxiety Society” pits Facey discursive alto against Wright’s calm and cool vibes. By the end of the piece, they are both caught in a labyrinth, searching for a way out. He explores a different kind of disorientation on “Maze,” a piece that sways too and fro in various directions before breaking apart at the end as the center cannot hold.

Facey offers several surprises on “Stay the Course,” the album’s longest track. With three distinct sections, it opens with a brooding theme, moves to an introverted swagger, and resolves with a long skittering vibes solo that’s unlike anything else on the album. Wright contributes some of the album’s most divergent tracks, from the seductive tranquility of “Lethe” to the angular “Mind Over Mayhem,” an abstract, intricately constructed sojourn tips the balance from order to disorder. In a fascinating pairing, Wright’s “It’s Out of Your Hands” follows, closing the album on a soft, insinuating ostinato. It’s another moment of probing contemplation on a musical journey marked by unanticipated swerves and cutting drama.

If Empirical sounds uncommonly grounded in jazz’s experimental tradition, it’s probably because the quartet came together in an environment that treats jazz as a search rather than a destination. The musicians came together while involved in the scene around the acclaimed program Tomorrow’s Warriors, which was founded by prolific Jamaican-born bassist and arranger Gary Crosby (the nephew of guitar legend Ernest Ranglin and a founding member of the hugely influential mid-80s band Jazz Warriors).

With its West African-tinged compositions and conventional hard-bop instrumentation of trumpet, sax, piano, bass and drums, Empirical’s 2007 debut album hinted at the band’s potential. But it wasn’t until the horn players and pianist dropped out, Farmer took over the bass chair, and vibraphonist Lewis Wright joined the following year that the quartet’s distinctive sound came sharply into focus. While developing arrangements for a tribute to Eric Dolphy, Empirical delved into his classic 1964 Blue Note album Out To Lunch! featuring vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. The concert was a huge success, but more importantly, the musicians bonded with a sense of purpose driven by devotion to jazz’s defiant ethos.

“We were working really well, taking it really seriously,” Farmer says. “I’d never met guys who took it so seriously. The process of studying together is really what brought us together, and we just carried on doing it.”

The band’s interactive group approach in built on Farmer and Forbes highly kinetic rhythm section tandem, while Facey possesses an instantly recognizable alto tone. But in many ways Wright’s vibes define the group’s sound. From the moment he joined the band, he catalyzed a new way of writing and arranging material. “We all loved the transparency,” Farmer says. “You can hear exactly what everyone’s playing. Lewis is quite a unique player. He gets this warmth on an instrument that can sound quite harsh and metallic. I love having all this room on the bottom, without having to think about a pianist’s left hand.”

After the 2011 release of the band’s third album Elements of Truth (Naim), Empirical won the inaugural Golubovich Jazz Scholars fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The residency at the prestigious conservatory led to the band’s collaboration with the all-women string ensemble Benyounes Quartet, who were featured on Empirical’s 2013 double album Tabula Rasa (Naim). The ambitious, often spiritually-tinged project featured some of the band’s most beautiful and complex writing.

Released by Cuneiform in February 2016, it’s no surprise that Connection finds the quartet getting back to basics. Recorded after a week-long run at Foyles Bookshop London, the album captures the raw energy, brash ideas, and volatile group sound that Empirical has built upon the vast territory opened by jazz’s mid-1960s explorers. “That particular period isn’t just a musical inspiration,” Farmer says. “That constant search for meaning in the early avant garde was really powerful. A lot of those ideas are relevant today and they’re essential to our band.” 

For more information on Cuneiform Records:

Sebastian Spanache Trio - The Furnace (2017)

The Furnace is SS3’s third recording following critically acclaimed releases of ‘A Pasha’s Abstinence’ (2014) and Humanized (2013). This time around the trio proposes a five part suite of new storytelling: the music follows the journey of the improvisational idea from its conception through the furnace of composition, group play, interpretation, and more.

1. The Furnace 11:15
2. Kindling 09:55
3. The Spark 11:37
4. Cinder 09:36
5. Scorching 09:51

Daniel Juárez - Neuronal Odd World (2017)

Daniel Juárez nace en 1992, en Talavera de la Reina (Toledo). Su padre, Francisco Juárez, le muestra la música de Jazz, Latin Jazz y Jazz Fusión desde la temprana edad de 4 años. Se inicia tocando el saxofón a los 10 años en la Escuela Municipal de Música y Danza Eusebio Rubalcaba (Talavera de la Reina).

Más tarde se traslada a Madrid donde estudia piano, armonía y ensemble de Big Band en la Escuela de Música Creativa. En 2011 comienza sus estudios para obtener el Título Superior de Música en la modalidad de Interpretación de Saxofón de Jazz, en el Conservatorio Superior de Música del País Vasco (Musikene), finalizando con nota sobresaliente en 2015. Después comienza su grado de Master of Music en la Manhattan School (Nueva York) y decide continuar su máster en Prince Claus Conservatorie (Groningen, Holanda), donde más tarde realizará un intercambio con Queens College para volver durante unos meses a Nueva York. En 2017 termina dicho Máster.

Durante su etapa como estudiante recibe clases de los grandes saxofonistas: Oscar Iris, Bobby Martínez, Bob Sands, Mikel Andueza, Donny McCaslin, Gary Smulyan, Michael Moore, Ben Wendel, Tineke Postma. También de importantes artistas y pedagogos: Miguel Blanco, Guillermo McGill, Ari Hoenig, Justin Dicciocio, Miguel Zenón, Taylor Eisgti, Guillermo Klien, Alejandro Mingot, Joaquín Chacón, Panagiotis Andreou, Steve Altenberg, Andrzej Olejniczak, Will Vinson, entre otros…

Ha podido compartir la música y escenario con importantes artistas como: Adam Nussbaum, Michael Moore, Kevin Hays, Jerry González, Alina Engibaryan, Marc Miralta, Owen Hart Jr., Perico Sambeat, Makram Aboul Hosn, Bob Sands, Javier Colina, Guillermo McGill, Miguel Blanco, Bobby Martínez, Borja Barrueta, Noa Lur, Mariano Díaz, Albert Sanz, Roger Mas, Carlos Martín, Javier Vercher, Juanma Barroso, Xan Campos, Félix Rossy, Shai Golan, Samvel Sarkisyan, y un largo etc...

También ha participado en bandas y proyectos como: Bobby Martínez Big Band, Pepe Rivero Bib Band y quinteto, Bob Sands Big Band, Miguel Blanco & Jerry González Big Band, Afrodisian Orchestra, La Calle Caliente, Guillermo McGill 4tet, Mariano Díaz & Joaquín Chacón: Skytrain 5tet, The North Atlantic Jazz Connection, Seminal Jazz, Garob Band, The Machetazo 5tet, The Fool On The Hill, Aurora García & the Soul Band, Noa Lur 5tet, Jorge Castañeda 5tet, y sus propias bandas como líder, entre otros.... Ha realizado dos trabajos de investigación sobre: la evolución de la rítmica en el Jazz y la Polimetría o superposiciones rítmicas.

Premios y reconocimiento artístico:

2010: gana el premio “Talavera Suena Jóven” con su cuarteto.

2012: obtiene el premio al mejor solista en el "V certamen de Jazz a Castelló" (premio que le concede Juan Claudio Cifuentes "Cifu").

2012: finalista en el V certamen de "Jazz Sur l`Herve” en L'Anglet (Francia) con el grupo The North Atlantic Jazz Connection.

2013: Chema García Martínez (crítico de Jazz de la revista “Cuadernos de Jazz”) le nombra como uno de los dos músicos revelación de Jazz de 2013.

2015: ganador del “VI certamen de Jazz a Castelló” con el grupo Garob Band.

2016: finalista del concurso de Jazz Olorón (Francia), con el grupo Garob Band.

2017: seleccionado para concursar en certamen nacional Holandés “Next Generation In Jazz”.

1. 17th Stage
2. Promise
3. The York One (part 1)
4. The New One (part 2)
5. You Said My Eyes Could Speak...
6. Freedom Warriors
7. Fight For What You Want!
8. Generation 27 (Stellar Horizons)
9. Stiff Heart vs. Brave Heart

Alina Engibaryan: vocals in #2, #5 y #8
Álvaro del Valle: guitar
Jorge Castañeda: piano. Rhodes in #1, #5, #6 & #8
Jesús Caparrós: electric bass
Samvel Sarkisyan: drums
Daniel Juárez: tenor sax, synths in #9, vocals in #7, claps in #7, co-production, compositions

Recorded and mastered at Purchase College (Westchester, N.Y.) on November 9th & 10th (2016). 
Laura de Rover: sound engineering, co-production & mixes. 
Jeremy Kinney: mastering. 
Jorde Briman: Video filming and editing. 
Paula Pupo & Ricardo Fernández: art design. 

All songs composed by Daniel Juárez. All rights reserved. 
Lyrics of the tune "You Said My Eyes Could Speak..." by Daniel Juárez and Alina Engibaryan. 

Paulo Silva Trio - Mãe (FREE CODE JAZZ RECORDS 2017)

Paulo Silva es un batería, percusionista, músico de directo y estudio y compositor de Salvador da Bahía (Brasil) que lleva 10 años por tierras gallegas desarrollando su carrera musical. Paulo es conocido por la versatilidad de estilos y por acompañar a diversos artistas de la Península Ibérica, Brasil y de otros países durante su carrera como Dulce Pontes, Uxía, Antonio Zambujo, Narf, Alceu Valença y Abe Rábade, entre otros.

En su primer trabajo en solitario opta por centrarse en un estilo al que se está dedicando cada vez más, el jazz. En este trío cuenta con dos grandes músicos gallegos: Valentín Caamaño (guitarra eléctrica) y Alberte Rodríguez (contrabajo).

A principios de 2017 publica su primer trabajo discográfico titulado “Mãe” (Free Code Jazz Records, 2017), donde el trío ofrece temas propios y clásicos del jazz.

1 6:26 4:49
4 QUATRO 5:47
5 ISFAHAN 5:32
7 PRAIARA 3:32
8 VIAGEM 4:29

Alberte Rodríguez, bajo eléctrico
Valentín Caamaño, guitarra
Paulo Silva, batería

Lars Danielsson - Liberetto III (ACT MUSIC 2017)

Music must touch the emotions

For Lars Danielsson, that consummate craftsman of sound on both cello and bass, the power of music resides in melody. It is the heart from which everything else develops, and his Liberetto ensemble has stayed true to this principle again in its third album. The word 'Liberetto' which Danielsson coined for the name of the group also serves well as a descriptor of his art. 'Libretto' is a reference both to Western art music which is the source of his compositions, and to their lyrical, vocal character. But also hidden in the band's name is the Latin adjective 'liber' (free). That stands for improvisation, for how individuals can take lines and shapes and adapt them, but above all it refers to Danielsson's musical understanding which acknowledges no boundaries.

This third edition of “Liberetto” transcends more of those boundaries than ever before. The opening track of the album looks heavenward: “I wrote 'Agnus Dei' for my mother,” Danielsson explains. “She sang in a choir - as I did later too. The spirituality and the ceremony of liturgical music left their mark on me.” Following on from this gentle, almost classical hymn is “Lviv”, a tune which is very differently wired: it’s brisk, based on a simple poppish melodic hook and it has an uncommon sense of rhythmic forward propulsion. What follows is many-sided: “Sonata in Spain” the band toys with Spanish folklore, “Taxim By Night” has a waft of Turkish-Arabic scent, and “Gimbri Heart” has African charm and warmth. By contrast, “Mr Miller” is a touching ballad with a ‘Nordic Sound’ aesthetic.

All twelve tracks are compositions by Danielsson, and they sum up what 'Liberetto' is all about: through keeping structure and freedom in such a fine balance, the musical expression acquires an almost weightless sense of poise and easefulness. And binding it all together is the wonderful interaction of the musicians. Whether they are playing unison lines, solo-ing and accompanying, or engaging in interplay, the ball is generously and deftly passed from one player to another. 

“The band has developed massively since 2012”, reflects Danielsson. “We have played together so much, we all seem to have a sixth sense now. And that helped us to make the new album more varied and colourful, to take off in even more directions.” However, one member of the original quartet including guitarist John Parricelli and ex-e.s.t. drummer  Magnus Öström, is no longer there: Tigran, the pianist on both of the first albums. But it happened that Danielsson became aware of the extremely talented French pianist Grégory Privat. His origins are in the Caribbean island of Martinique and he also happens to be a member of the ACT family. Danielsson invited him to play and found straight away that they were on the same wavelength. “He is a fantastic addition. Grégory is a hugely gifted storyteller at the piano, with loads of rhythmic sensitivity, plus he brings a Creole element into our music. We are thrilled to have him with us.” 

As was the case for the first two “Liberetto” albums, there are some carefully selected guests, who bring their talents and energies to particular tracks: Sting’s guitarist Dominic Miller makes another appearance, as does trumpeter Mathias Eick with his inimitably rounded sound. Arve Henriksen takes the other trumpet parts - he was in the mix on the “Liberetto” debut album too. The striking oboe solo on “Da Salo” is played by Björn Bohlin of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, with whom Danielsson has been working recently, and finally there is the sensitivity and fair of oud player Hussam Aliwat. As a co-producer singer Cæcilie Norby supported Danielsson to make his musical visions come true.

“Lars Danielsson has a knack of forming great bands", Stuart Nicholson wrote in Jazzwise in 2014."He manages to realise the potential of his musicians in directions even they had not imagined.” With Liberetto III, he has done it again, and produced a beautifully constructed, and yet deeply felt album.

Lars Danielsson / double bass, cello, piano intro on 05 & 08, wah-wah cello & guembri on 09
Grégory Privat / piano
John Parricelli / guitars
Magnus Öström / drums & percussion

Arve Henriksen / trumpet on 01, 02, 06, 09, voice on 06
Dominic Miller / acoustic guitar on 10
Hussam Aliwat / oud on 04 & 07
Björn Bohlin / english horn on 02, 03, 08 & oboe d'amore on 01
Mathias Eick / trumpet on 10

Music written by Lars Danielsson

Recorded and mixed by Bo Savik at Tia Dia Studios, Mölnlycke Sweden
Additional recording: Simon Danielsson & Michael Dahlvid
Mastered by Jan Erik Kongshaug at Rainbow Studio, Oslo, Norway
Piano tuning by Bengt Eriksson

Produced by Cæcilie Norby & Lars Danielsson

Cercle Magique Trio - Cercle Magique (DODICILUNE 2017)

Il chitarrista Nando di Modugno, il bassista Viz Maurogiovanni e il batterista Gianlivio Liberti sono i protagonisti di "Cercle Magique", nuovo progetto discografico firmato Dodicilune. Il disco, che nasce dall’incontro di tre personalità musicali molto diverse fra loro, ma straordinariamente combinate in un dialogo a voce sommessa, sarà disponibile da domenica 23 aprile nei migliori store digitali e dal 7 maggio sarà distribuito da Ird in Italia e all’estero. Cercle Magique sarà presentato ufficialmente con tre concerti al Ladisa in Jazz di Valenzano (23 aprile), all'Osteria Malatesta di Matera (28 Aprile) e al Moonlight di Bari (7 Maggio). 

Un viaggio tra il mistico e l’esoterico, che conosce la sensualità della terra e del fuoco e il battesimo dell’acqua. Ogni traccia evoca paesaggi suggestivi, universi onirici e straniati, che declinano naturalmente dal rarefatto al fisico, senza eccessi. I temi si fanno morbidi, i tempi lenti, e accompagnano l’ascoltatore in atmosfere soffuse e godibili. Gli interventi elettroacustici personali dei tre, le suggestioni jazz e un incalzante retropensiero funk-rock conquistano al primo ascolto. Dal torpore alla vita: tutto si anima all’improvviso nelle linee tratteggiate del basso e nelle vibrazioni incessanti delle percussioni. È l’emersione di un altro tempo, di un’altra dimensione.

1) André
2) Manet
3) M.L.
4) Bido
5) Alma Antigua
6) Ti porterò al mare
7) Raffish
8) Ricordi nella pioggia

Compositions by Nando di Modugno (1, 3, 4), Vincenzo Maurogiovanni (2, 5, 6, 8) (Dodicilune edizioni), Ralph Towner (7)

Produced by Cercle Magique Trio and Gabriele Rampino for Dodicilune edizioni, Italy
Label manager Maurizio Bizzochetti ( 
Recorded July 25-26 2016 at Officina Musicale, Castellana Grotte (Ba), Italy
Mixed and mastered September 2016 at Officina Musicale, Castellana Grotte (Ba), Italy
Sound engineer Giuseppe Mariani
Cover/tray photos by Gianlivio Liberti
Artists’ photos by Rocco Crudele, Daniela Gerundo, Fabrizio Giammarco,
Gaga Jovanovic, Carlo Maradei