Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gordon Grdina / François Houle / Kenton Loewen / Benoît Delbecq - Ghost Lights (SONGLINES 2017)

Album Introduces New Quartet, Expanding Grdina-Houle-Loewen Trio with the Addition of Benoit Delbecq

Gordon Grdina, guitar, electronics
François Houle, clarinet, electronics, loopers
Kenton Loewen, drums & percussion
Benoît Delbecq, piano & bass station

“The threesome navigated through a wider landscape of sound with meandering lyrical passages, encircling eerie plateaus and sudden about-turns into wild abysses triggering raucous rides and accumulation of sound that went hazy and eventually dissolved…” – Henning Bolte, AllAboutJazz, (reviewing a performance of Grdina/Houle/Loewen at Jazztopad 2016)

But when they added Benoît Delbecq the music became something else again.

François Houle explains: “As Benoît and I were looking at opportunities for the duo [established in 1996], Ken Pickering [Vancouver jazz festival artistic director] suggested we merge this with the trio collective [formed in 2014, though its members have been performing in different Grdina groups since around 2004]. Knowing how Benoît’s playing fits into so many different configurations, I thought this would work nicely. I suggested he bring his bass station to augment the lower end of the quartet.” Two performances at the 2015 festival led to a return engagement in 2016 followed by a day in the studio. “The whole session unfolded quite spontaneously, with hardly any discussion between takes. Gord suggested we play my piece ‘Soro’ as he knew Benoît’s affinity for African rhythms in his piano approach. Benoît brought out “Broken World”, written shortly after the terrorist attack at the Bataclan in Paris. We tried it and found it to be a beautiful, haunting piece. The rest was completely improvised, and took us into the most unexpected musical spaces, with generous room for all to participate in the music making.” The longest take (not on the record) went on for 31 minutes!

So this is music that takes its time, as Benoît notes: “It’s music with slow motion, with nothing spectacular or demonstrative. But delicate…We let the flow of improvisation be at play and it held us in a creative mode…I think the strength comes from the collective aspect of the craft. This is why I play music – to share some states of grace with my peers; it’s an incredible feeling to experience a common way to conceive sound fabrics collectively.” François agrees: “It speaks to the really broad scope of experiences by this collective. We can move from one musical state to the next with seemingly little effort, while trusting that the others will not only anticipate the next move, but also pave the way for this to happen at any given moment.”

In music like this, texture is as important as structure, and electronics play their role in Gord’s playing, which features rich-sounding octave-doubling. François uses loopers to similar effect: “I'm interested in opening up the vertical range of the clarinet and treating it as a chordal instrument rather than a monophonic one. I consider my work with loops a sort of extension of my playing with two clarinets simultaneously.” Benoît doesn’t employ his looping software here, but his bass station has its own sensuous sine waves and filters: “It’s just a basic (two oscillators) analog synth made by Novation in the early 90s. I mostly use it in the lower register and I love the feel of it. I’ve always liked the mixture of electronics and ‘bio’ sounds such as prepared piano or regular piano…What I like in how the guys play is that we all sound like we’re processed even when we might not be using electronics, because our concern for sound production is very advanced.”

“Waraba” is dedicated to the late bassist (and kora and sanza player) Jean-Jacques Avenel, whose 2004 west African jazz release on Songlines, Waraba, Benoît produced. Benoît started working with JJ in 1998, and JJ was a member of the trio Delbecq 3 The Sixth Jump from 2008 until his death. “Anyone who played with Jean-Jacques and shared his love for African music has been deeply imprinted by JJ’s joy, expertise, and world-class musicianship…I still feel his presence when I play, and when I vamp layers on the prepared piano I could keep going forever, like Manding musicians who have another idea of time and duration in music…All of us in this band are strongly related with traditional music from all continents, and the momentum of the music we played found itself naturally.”

“Waraba” ends the record on a hopeful and almost joyous or at least somewhat peaceful note, but the music has moved though many other spaces to get there. The aesthetic is liminal: music that’s on the verge of becoming something else, crossing boundaries that are undefined and intuitive. This applies to the subtle way instruments and instrumental lines merge and separate, the range of harmony/atonality, rhythmic and energetic aspects (from near-stasis to turbulence), different emotional resonances – and finally the way the music engages the listener’s attention in a play of foreground/background, active listening and trance-like immersion.

More information on Grdina-Houle-Lowen can be found here.   Benoit Delbecq's website is Read an interview with Houle and Delbecq about Ghost Lights on Songlines website.

Jon De Lucia Group: The Drawing Room this Friday Night

Jon De Lucia Group, Brooklyn CD Release Concert Tomorrow at the Drawing Room!

Concert this Friday

Hello, this is a gentle reminder that we will be at the Drawing Room tomorrow night for our Brooklyn CD Release concert. Come celebrate the release of my new record and also my book which will both be available at the concert for discounted rates. You can still buy tickets on eventbrite and rsvp to the Facebook event below, otherwise you can pay at the door. Wine and snacks available. Hope to see you there! You can pick up a CD at the show, at my new online store,, or on iTunes, here.

Jon De Lucia - Sax, A Clarinet
Greg Ruggiero - Guitar
Sean Smith - Bass
Tommy Crane - Drums

May 19th, Friday, 8-10 PM

The Drawing Room
56 Willoughby St,
Downtown Brooklyn by Jay St.
You can see the Facebook event here, Eventbrite event here, where for $15 dollars you can purchase an advance ticket. 


First, the new Jon De Lucia Group CD, first in 10 years, is out this month on Fresh Sound New Talent. The band includes longtime collaborators Greg Ruggiero, Chris Tordini and Tommy Crane and features all original compositions of mine. You can pick up a CD at my new online store,, or on iTunes, here.

This band, minus Chris Tordini, will be performing at the Drawing Room on Saturday, May 13th at 8pm, in downtown Brooklyn. You can see the Facebook event here. I will be posting tickets for sale through Eventbrite shortly to the event page.

New Book for Saxophone

My new book will come out on May 25th, and is available for pre-order now! I am very excited about this project, a book for diatonic scale patterns taken from Bach's solo works. It is a great work out for all instruments, and a wealth of material relatable to improvisation. I recently wrote a short article about the book for The Best Saxophone Website Ever.

Jon De Lucia Octet

To celebrate the release of the book, the Octet will be performing some fugue inspired material on May 29th at Sir D's Lounge in Brooklyn. See the event page here. Michael Steinman has been kind enough to record this group several times, here is a clip from our last show at Greenwich House Music.

Jon De Lucia Music on Facebook

If you haven't done so already, please do like my musician page on Facebook. I will regularly be posting updates there.

Lançamento Novo CD Carimbo Porta-Jazz: AP Quarteto - LENTO

AP é um valor seguro no jazz nacional. Licenciado pela ESMAE em guitarra jazz e com um mestrado em Composição, escreve música com uma forte componente rítmica, por forma a criar contrastes sólidos entre os seus arranjos e os momentos de improvisação. Para este registo, a apresentar neste concerto de lançamento, AP destaca o contributo individual de cada um dos músicos que o acompanham, e visto que já editou 6e5 (TOAP, 2012) com o seu quinteto e Mergulho (Carimbo Porta-Jazz, 2014) com o large ensemble Coreto, propõe agora uma nova abordagem em quarteto.

Este é o 34º disco com Carimbo Porta-Jazz.

O Ciclo "FEUP Lança Porta-Jazz" trata-se da parceria entre a Associação e o Comissariado Cultural da FEUP, e reúne os mais recentes projetos editados pelo Carimbo Porta-Jazz numa série de concertos de lançamento dos novos discos. Todos os concertos decorrem no auditório da FEUP e são de entrada livre.

Stefano Di Battista & Valerio C. Faggioni – Sole Cuore Amore (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 2017

Here you can freely listen to preview tracks from Sole cuore amore Original motion picture soundtrack. Album was composed by Stefano di Battista / Valerio C. Faggioni and was released on May 4, 2017. Soundtrack consists of 14 tracks tracks with duration over about 45 minutes. Album was released by Creazioni Artistiche Musicali C.A.M. S.r.l.

01. Blue morning (by Stefano Di Battista) 1:13
02. Stupid balladby (by Stefano Di Battista) 3:10
03. About a friend (by Stefano Di Battista) 1:20
04. Delfiniby (by Stefano Di Battista) 1:23
05. Greyby (by Stefano Di Battista) 6:08
06. Lady soul (by Stefano Di Battista) 6:14
07. About love (by Stefano Di Battista) 1:05
08. Blue night (by Stefano Di Battista) 0:56
09. Little step (by Stefano Di Battista) 4:21
10. Solar penguin (by Olivier Manchion) 4:50
11. Angel pole (by Valerio C. Faggioni) 2:12
12. Take me home (by Valerio C. Faggioni) 1:59
13. Are you for real (by Valerio C. Faggioni) 2:00
14. Finale (preludio 853 / last train home) by Valerio C. Faggion 8:11

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* We’ve updated our Spotify playlists - Essential European JazzTop 20 Most Streamed Tracks

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Catch up with our latest video from Verneri Pohjola