Tuesday, May 2, 2017

THURS., MAY 4 - FRI., MAY 5: CCNY Jazz Festival Returns with Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, free master classes and more



Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio to share the stage with CCNY Student Jazz All Stars on Friday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. 
and CCNY Jazz Orchestra on Thursday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Two-day festival running May 4 and 5 at Aaron Davis Hall to include master classes 
with saxophonist Jon Gordon and vocalist René Marie

The City College Center for the Arts (CCCA) and the City College of New York Jazz Program present the 2017 CUNY Jazz Festival featuring Hammond Organ guru Dr. Lonnie Smith. The two-day festival includes free master classes with saxophonist Jon Gordon and vocalist René Marie, performances by student ensembles from schools throughout the City University of New York (CUNY), and a free concert with Smith, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) jazz master. The event culminates with a gala concert featuring the CCNY Student Jazz All-Stars opening for Dr. Lonnie Smith and his trio, on May 5 at 7:30pm. The events will be held at historic Aaron Davis Hall.

“The CUNY Jazz Festival celebrates its 17th year and this year is particularly special because City College Center for the Arts joins the festival in presenting living legend Dr. Lonnie Smith and his trio,” said CCCA Managing Director Gregory Shanck. Past CUNY Jazz Festival guest artists include guitarists John Abercrombie and Adam Rogers, bassist John Patitucci, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, vocalist Luciana Souza, saxophonists Dick Oatts Chris Potter, Dave Liebman, and Billy Drewes, pianist Kenny Werner, trumpet players Ralph Alessi and Marvin Stamm, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

The 17th Annual CUNY Jazz Festival kicks off on Thursday, May 4, with a performance by the CCNY Faculty Jazz Ensemble at noon, followed by a master class featuring Gordon and performance by student ensembles. That evening at 7:30, Dr. Lonnie Smith joins the CCNY Large Jazz Ensemble for a free concert followed by a jam session. On Friday, May 5, the festival continues at noon with student performances and a master class featuring vocalist René Marie. The festival wraps up with a gala concert featuring the CCNY Student Jazz All-Stars followed by the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio at 7:30 p.m.

Participating schools joining CCNY ensembles this year include Hunter College, Queens College, Lehman College, York College and The College of Staten Island.

Events are free with the exception of the gala concert, which is $15 for General Admission and free with CUNY ID.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.citycollegecenterforthearts.org or by calling the box office at (212) 650-6900. Patrons wishing to buy tickets in person may visit Aaron Davis Hall Tuesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. Aaron Davis Hall is located on the campus of the City College of New York, at West 135th Street and Convent Avenue (129 Convent Avenue).

City College Center for the Arts can be followed on Twitter at @ccnyarts. For festival schedule information, visit www.jazz.ccnysites.cuny.edu. For information on other performances at Aaron Davis Hall, visit citycollegecenterforthearts.org.


Dr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist.  An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ for more than five decades, he has been featured on more than 70 albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry.  Consequently, he has often been hailed as a “Legend,” a “Living Musical Icon,” and as the most creative jazz organist. Jazz Times magazine describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban.” Always ahead of the curve, Smith enjoys a fan base that is truly worldwide.

Smith was introduced to music through the gospel he heard at the church where his mother sang.  He was part of several vocal ensembles in the 1950s, and played trumpet and other instruments at his hometown school in Buffalo, NY. In the late 1950s, Art Kubera, a Buffalo-area music store owner, gave Smith his first organ on which he learned to play and develop his musical style. In addition to being influenced by the sound of the church organ, he was inspired by organists such as Wild Bill Davis, Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith.  

Among the honors bestowed upon Smith are DownBeat’s Best Organist honors (1969) and numerous Organist/Keyboards Player of the Year awards by the Jazz Journalists Association. Both the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (2009) and Jazz Organ Fellowship (2011) elevated Smith to the ranks of their honorees.  Smith was recently named 2017 NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.


The City College Center for the Arts hosts an ambitious, year-round calendar of student and professional performances.  The mission of the City College Center for the Arts is to provide a creative arts center and focal point for the City College of New York, building a sense of community within the College, elevating the profile of Aaron Davis Hall in the greater New York area and connecting the College to the surrounding community through the arts.

Playlist for Tom Ossana – The Thin Edge – May 3, 2017 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m.

http://www.kzmu.org/listen.m3u ~ Use this link to access the show online.

Jason Kao Hwang: Sing House CD release + concerts

Jason Kao Hwang’s compositional writing is as interesting as the improvisations he sets into motion —   no small thing as the two are as dissimilar as they are interdependent.  One, nearly by definition, waves unchartable, unwritable, alchemical, in defiance of measure, is discovered from the inside out, is highly vibrational & combustible.  The other carves fuel, resistance, compression, strategic interference, dispersal, ensemble codes, recycled revision, gravity & give.

Both lean toward respective entropies.  Purely free improvisation counts so much on miracles & serendipity that it too easily defaults into stereotyped textures, sounds & narratives (& there are musicians who consistently transcend this brink, but it’s not nearly so simple as the word “free” implies).  Precomposed music, as the Euroclassical tradition has demonstrated (& even imposed & demanded) a fracturing of musical activity around a stable artifact that’s compliantly reenacted as a “composition,” thereby attaining a controlled species of sonic imagistic coherence, but at the high cost of music as nature morte.

In collective improvisation, each participant acts as a composer, each deciding a music that’s cumulatively negotiated, a compositional structure at wide variance from the monological notion of composer as supreme commander & architect.  The counterposition of composer for improvisers (a composer for dialogical composers) formulates a hybrid, mutant transformation of that role.  In this context a “composition” is not the endpoint of compositional activity, but a transitional crux, a reference gesture, a starting point for yet more compositional invention.

A good amount of composing for improvisers, however, does no more than cut & paste nature morte with spontaneous invention in discrete blocks, with the twain in a cursory, one night stand, distant nodding acquaintance from across the room.  Here’s the tune, the head, the lick, the riff, the chart, the vamp & over there is the soloing & ensemble interaction, leaving plenty of room for ego to fill in the dead zones with buzz & energy & show.

However, the great composers for improvisers have done much more than turn out such sonic “things.”  Papa Ellington famously composed for and around specific individuals rather than instruments.  It may be apocryphal, but a story once came my way that Duke didn’t compose for a particular musician until he’d seen how he played poker.  Reliable or not, the story at least accurately targets the probabilistic terrain that composing for improvisers navigates.  Mingus further upped the game as both composer and bassist provocateur, aptly threatening the boundaries of “composed” & “improvised” into fluid reciprocity.  Monk, Ornette, Cecil T, Threadgill, Wadada & Butch Morris are among those who’ve developed specific languages & circumstances that reinflect the momentum of improvisational imagination into something more than individualistic habit.

Hwang is also that kind of composer, a constructer of torsion meadows for improvisation, where the reference episodes & underpinnings are shaped by their experience of ensemble reaction while they punctuate & launch those responses, a both/and positive feedback relationship where each makes the other stronger & sound more strongly.  It’s a powerful, subtle & not all so obvious a skill.

Hwang is also of a transitional generation where many non-African-American musicians tested & reevaluated their relations with black music.  For many of these creative, non-standard musicians, black music, for any number of reasons, simply came to offer a supply of additional styles to draw upon amid a pastiche smorgasbord eclecticism, an disposition that helped identify a large part of NY’s “downtown scene” with its sometimes easy blur into those more “colorless,” but somewhat better funded suburbs called “new music.”

A much smaller number, Hwang among them, have been willing to accept the aesthetic demands of African-American precedent as their own, acknowledging that they’re dealing with something larger & deeper than style, but with a body of artistic procedures & attitudes that’s equal in validity to anything Eurasia or Euroamerica have generated.   That the defining “white” dream of second class status still imposed on actual African-Americans continues to extend also to African inspired aesthetics makes this a somewhat brave & risky choice, especially when the aspiration is not to appropriate, but to contribute with one’s own originality as a peer, along the way attempting to put into practice a social dream that has yet to come into full existence.

L to R:  Ken Filiano (string bass), Andrew Drury (drum set), Jason Kao Hwang
(composer/violin/viola), Chris Forbes (piano),
Steve Swell (trombone); photo by Reuben Radding

National Press Campaign:  Jim Eigo,  jim@jazzpromoservices.com    
National Radio Campaign:  Kate Smith, katesmithpromotions.kate@gmail.com
For Concerts:  Jason Kao Hwang, jkhwang@icloud.com

May 18, Thursday, 8pm
GreatPath,Manchester, CT

Jason Kao Hwang/Human Rites
Jason Kao Hwang - composer/vioilin/viola
Andrew Drury - drum set
Ken Filiano - string bass

May 26, Friday
477 Main St. in Beacon,NY; (845) 831-4988

Jason Kao Hwang Trio
with Michael T.A Thompson(drum set) and Anders Nilsson(guitar)

Wednesday, May 31, 8:30pm

NYC Premiere of Blood
Jason Kao Hwang (composer/violin), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Joseph Daley (tuba), Andrew Drury (drum set), Ken Filiano (string bass), Sun Li (pipa). Steve Swell (trombone), Wang Guowei (erhu)

Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South, NYC

Check the evening schedule
6pm Vision Youth Orchestra
7pm  Whit Dickey/Matt Maneri/Matthew Ship
8pm  K.J Holmes/Jeremy Carlstedt
8:30pm  Burning Bridge
9:40pm  Tracie Morris/Marvin Sewell
10pm Charles Gayle Trio

Mike Cassells - Trio 4 (2017)

Mike is a drummer/composer/recording engineer currently living and working in Kingston, Ontario. Mike has played with many wonderful musicians including Kenny Wheeler, Mike Murley, Andrew Rathbun, Chet Doxas, David Braid, Artie Roth, John MacLeod, Paul Tynan, William Carn, to name a few.

1. I'll Be Seeing You 06:33
2. Wichita Lineman 09:34
3. Alfie 08:11
4. You Don't Know What Love Is 04:10
5. I Fall In Love Too Easily 06:40
6. I'll Be Seeing You (alternate take) 06:38

Mike Cassells - drums
Paul Morrison - piano
Paul Clifford - bass

Giuseppe Pucciarelli 4et - Shall We Say It Is Worth (2017)

“Music has always meant dedication, commitment, discipline and promise. The need and desire to have a musical vision and ambition, let me understand that I wanted to undertake a very specific journey. As a result, I am extremely grateful that I have had the chance to begin my artistic career and I am very proud to announce that this journey has just begun with the release of the album ‘Shall We Say It Is Worth’. The main goal of this album is to present my artistic profile with a natural emphasis on in- depth study and innovation of jazz music. The recording of ‘Shall We Say It Is Worth’ has let me comprehend my musical artistry very deeply as well as have the possibility to investigate jazz music in its broad artistic, cultural and intellectual scope. 

Furthermore, It is pivotal to state that I do consider the music presented in the album as an art form that host an invitation for the listener to live a very personal experience. I strongly believe that, unlike other mediums, the nature of Jazz is both emotional and intellectual. Therefore, It is this personal connection with the music that enables the listener to actually experience what is being communicated, rather than understanding the information.”

The album featured Giuseppe Pucciarelli on electric guitar, Aldo Capasso on Contrabass, Ergio Valente on Piano and Marco Gagliano on Drums. It was recorded, mixed and mastered at ‘Zork Digital Planet – Italy’ by recording engineer Daniele Chiariello.

“Jazz Guitarist Giuseppe Pucciarelli is building a large and constant following around Europe with the releasing of his new album entitled “Shall We Say It Is Worth”. The album shows fantastic compositions, virtuosic solo journeys and a sophisticated yet understandable sense of harmonies and melodies. Pucciarelli’s new quartet, featuring Ergio Valente (Piano), Aldo Capasso (Bass) and Marco Gagliano (Drums), has classified an instantly identifiable sound grounded on creative melodic innovation.

‘Shall We Say It Is Worth’ sounds like what listeners have come to expect from the quartet’s members during the past couple of years. The fundamental share of pianist Ergio Valente in the character of the Pucciarelli 4et is no secret and makes fascinating a view on the man next to Giuseppe Pucciarelli. Pucciarelli’s comprehensible compositional approach shines through the concept of Ergio Valente’s improvisations, which are more like real-time compositions than standard solos.

Valente’s virtuosity is astounding, reminding the listeners of the melodicism of Michel Petrucciani and the frenetic virtuosism of Herbie Hancock. Throughout the whole album, both Pucciarelli’s and Valente’s solos evolve to pure torrents of sound that never fail to resolve into a highlight that bring emotions always very high. The unmistakable character of the quartet is due to this intellectual element together with the guitarist somewhat melody-orientated approach. Although conceptually modern, Pucciarelli’s improvising is firmly grounded in the jazz tradition of melody and swing. Combining lyricism with forward thinking melodic lines, his playing style is distinguished by a very soft and mellow tone. His guitar-playing style recalls indeed guitar-giants such as Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery and even his compatriot and hero Pino Daniele.

Contrabassist Aldo Capasso is always very present, varying from being somewhat quite in the background to play with an impressive freedom. He’s a real master of his instrument, always adding a sense of excellent flavors to the music. Aldo Capasso and Marco Gagliano are the real foundations of the band, demonstrating an excellent sense of taste and musicianship. The two musicians contributed significantly to the endeavour, mixing layered rhythms with warm, genteel and precise support to piano and guitar. 

The quartet members are all very young, and promise excellent music for their future. ‘Shall We Say It Is Worth’ is a must-listen album for those who want to enjoy modern jazz that somehow mix Brazilian music, with old school jazz and fusion.”

A Flower In The Desert
Shall We Say It Is Worth
Dear Old Dreams
Please Tell Me What's Going On In Your Heart
Still Going On
Perception Of Life
P.C. Parallel Colours
She's Still Over There

Electric and Nylon-String Guitar: Giuseppe Pucciarelli
Acoustic Bass: Aldo Capasso
Drums: Marco Gagliano
Piano: Ergio Valente

Noah Barker - Business Actual (2017)

"Noah Barker is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from Jeffersonville, NY. Noah, son of avant-garde jazz drummer Thurman Barker, started piano at age 7 studying classical music and started studying jazz as a teenager. Though he pursued performance at the University of Louisville, Barker found a serious interest for composition and production and continued to practice these at SUNY Purchase. 

In 2012, after finishing school in Louisville, Barker relocated to Brooklyn and started Never Forever Records which has two physical releases on it. Noah Barker finished the graduate program at Purchase in 2014 and currently fronts Noisebody in addition to playing with Jerry Paper (LA), Joanna Teters (NYC), Murals (KY) and Purr (NYC)."

1. little brother 05:57
2. turning color 06:14
3. lost at home 07:10
4. before 03:50
5. u free? 06:14
6. further than before 01:50

mike troy, s
jonathan saraga, t
noah barker, p
dean torrey, b
aaron seeber, d

composition and arranging by noah barker 
engineering, mixing, and mastering by nori naraoka 
painting by arielle rutledge 

The tunes on the album are inspired by my move back to the east coast. In conjunction with the music, the title of the album comes from my twist on the music industry ideal for a jazz record- Six originals I didn't know what to do with.

Filtron M - Astoria Roots Live (2017)

Filtron M, led by New York-based pianist, keyboardist, and composer Manu Koch, will release their latest album entitled Astoria Roots Live (True Groove Records) on April 28, 2017. The recording is the first full-length album released by the group and was recorded live at the Iridium in New York, NY, and Moods in Zürich, Switzerland in 2014.

Filtron M represents a diverse cross-section of many groups and sub-projects and comprises an array of artists from around the globe. Stemming from their collaborative arrangements and the musical freedom afforded each member, the players individually provide their voice through their respective instruments resulting in a contemporary, worldly sound.

Astoria Roots Live showcases Filtron M’s effective use of layered rhythms, driving grooves and probing bass lines, largely drawing from Koch’s eclectic compositions. The recording features the original core band of the Astoria Roots unit, consisting of keyboardist/composer Manu Koch (Switzerland), bassist Panagiotis Andreou (Greece), drummer Mauricio Zottarelli (Brazil), Samuel Torres (Colombia) on congas (Iridium) and Sebastian Nickoll (Germany) congas (Moods). Named after the Queens Neighborhood where they all lived and met, Astoria Roots symbolizes the early beginnings of the collective that is now known as Filtron M. Contributions from multiple guest performers add marked color and further expand the recording’s stylistic breadth. They include vocalist and flutist Yaite Ramos (Cuba/Moods), and Camila Meza (Chile) on voice and guitar, Tamer Pinarbasi (Turkey) on kanun and David Barnes (USA) on harmonica (Iridium).

1. New Year's Labyrinth/Stages 11:21
2. Organic Crimes 04:18
3. Merce (feat. Yaite Ramos) 06:17
4. Auto Jam 01:07
5. Label La Belle (feat. Camila Meza) 06:44
6. Launching 10:31
7. Solar Cycle 12:50

Nick Haywood Trio - Many Rivers (JAZZHEAD 2017)

This recording is a continuation of Nick Haywood’s long-term interest in taking simple themes and allowing complexity to unfold as a collective process. Nick, along with pianist Colin Hopkins and drummer Niko Schauble explore a range of tunes from original repertoire by Haywood (Slow Tune, A Rag for Al, Nellie’s Tune), Hopkins (Song of the Survivor), collective improvisations by the trio (Wiggy Blues, The Fox Hat) along with a broad range of pieces from Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, Jimmy Cliff’s Many Rivers to Cross, The Moody Blues’ Nights in White Satin and the traditional Scottish tune Farewell Dearest Nancy. 

The great thing about this recording is the way that the trio members all connect with each other, taking the listener on an aural journey with them while they explore the music as they go.

1. A Rag for Al 07:47
2. Fox Hat 07:22
3. Landslide 06:31
4. Nellie's Tune 07:43
5. Farewell Dearest Nancy 04:03
6. Many Rivers to Cross 08:03
7. Song of the Survivor 05:35
8. Wiggy Blues 05:24
9. Nights in White Satin 06:28
10.Slow Tune 07:28

Nick Haywood - Bass
Colin Hopkins - Piano
Niko Schäuble - Drums

NYSQ - Sleight of Hand (WHIRLWIND RECORDINGS 2017)

It’s now approaching twelve years since the New York Standards Quartet (NYSQ) came into being, its core personnel taking time out from their multifarious individual projects to revel in the shared brief of refashioning familiar and lesser-known jazz standards. Their new release Sleight of Hand builds on their catalog of five previous album recordings (most recently, The New Straight Ahead and Power of 10, on Whirlwind) as saxophonist Tim Armacost, pianist David Berkman and drummer Gene Jackson welcome double bassist Daiki Yasukagawa back into the fold. 

Describing the NYSQ’s beginnings, David Berkman recalls: “We were at the period where we’d all done a lot of original recordings of our own music, as composers and leaders; and then, through a series of circumstances, we came together as a quartet with the particular mission of taking on standards, but arranging them to create a feeling that was similar to the original albums we recorded. It soon became apparent that audiences really got into the idea and the fun of seeing how we would expand the harmonic, tonal and rhythmic aspects into a more modern frame while always referencing the music’s origins.” 

This is a band that regularly plays and performs together, so there’s a common bond which brings out the best in the arrangements they conjure. Recorded at the end of an international tour – in the beautiful, mountainous location of Lake Yamanaka, close to Mount Fuji (the quartet enjoys a special affinity with Japan) – Sleight of Hand’s eight numbers reflect the band’s spontaneous, transformational approach, with the title track (based on Gershwin’s ‘But Not For Me’) irresistibly playful. 

Mal Waldron’s ‘Soul Eyes’ and Thelonious Monk’s ‘Ask Me Now’ swing with respective vibrancy and jauntiness, while the metrical changes and perky rhythms of ‘This I Dig of You’ pick up on Hank Mobley’s classic Blue Note album origins; and the various key modulations in ‘Lover Man’ are a world away from Billie Holiday’s lingering vocal lines as Armacost’s spritely soprano responds swiftly to Jackson’s syncopated drum accents. 

1940s song ‘Detour Ahead’ – perhaps mostly familiar in composer Herb Ellis’s guitar setting – translates into a luscious alto and piano-led ballad, sensitively buoyed by Yasukagawa’s bass shaping; Jules Styne/Sammy Cahn favorite ‘I Fall In Love Too Easily’ is treated to sparkling, percussion-led animation; and Armacost’s rich tenor lyricism in Duke Ellington’s ‘In a Sentimental Mood’ is ravishingly restrained. 

David Berkman relates that the NYSQ’s journey continues to energize them: “Going into the recording studio is still as challenging as it is enjoyable, though I guess we feel like we don’t need to prove anything anymore! And though we like to pull out obscure tunes, it’s also important to include touchstones for our listeners, as everyone relates to them emotionally – there’s still a lot of awareness there. These are such great melodies, you can do almost anything with them – and, as always with improvisation, that sense of ‘What’s happening today?’ remains exciting. It’s all about a moment.”

1. Soul Eyes 09:28
2. Ask Me Now 07:38
3. In a Sentimental Mood 03:29
4. Sleight of Hand 07:54
5. I Fall in Love too Easily 05:33
6. This I Dig of You 07:48
7. Detour Ahead 08:04
8. Lover Man 07:41

Tim Armacost - tenor, soprano saxophones
David Berkman - piano
Daiki Yasukagawa - double bass