Friday, July 7, 2017

Bruno Schorp - Into the World (SHED MUSIC 2017)

Le contrebassiste Bruno Schorp projette son univers sur les neuf plages de l’album « Into The World ». Très attachée à la mélodie, sa musique navigue entre introspection et dépaysements coloristes. Un voyage intérieur très personnel.

Après un premier album « Eveil » sorti en 2013 avec le Bruno Schorp Sextet, le contrebassiste propose « Into The World » (Shed/Music/Absilone) dont la sortie est prévue pour le 16 juin 2017.

Autour de lui, Bruno Schorp réunit une équipe de musiciens, compagnons de longue date, qui unissent leurs talents au service de la musique du leader. On retrouve le lumineux saxophoniste Christophe Panzani, le pianiste coloriste Leonardo Montana et le batteur toujours inventif Gautier Garrigue. Le contrebassiste a aussi invité trois artistes auxquels il est très attaché. La voix sensible de la chanteuse Charlotte Wassy. Tony Paeleman qui pose les couleurs de ses claviers sur trois plages de l’album. Le guitariste Nelson Veras dont on connait le goût pour la mélodie et les harmonisations subtiles.

« Into The World ». Neuf plages d’une musique généreuse et métissée dont les thèmes font alterner des ambiances intimes, comme des confidences, et des paysages plus colorés rapportés de ses voyages.

Bruno Schorp a composé sept pièces de l’album « Into The World ». Le compositeur évoque, la tendresse, la force et la fragilité des relations sur Louise, I Heard About A Thing Of You, A Nos parents et Mister K. L’horizon se colore et s’élargit vers des paysages plus métissés sur Katmandou et Into The World qui ouvre l’album. L’univers de Milton Nascimento lévite comme en suspension sur la trame des improvisations légères et inspirées du pianiste et du saxophoniste. Sur A Noite composé par Leonardo Montana se pose la voix caressante de la chanteuse qui tisse des textures évanescentes et nocturnes.

« Into The World » témoigne d’un vrai son de groupe. Bruno Schorp a aussi convié sur les neuf plages de l’album, un allié essentiel qui contribue de belle manière à la respiration de cet album intimiste et mélodique, le silence. Il habite chacune des interventions des musiciens indéniablement au service de l’univers du contrebassiste.

1. Into the World 4:35
2. Mister K 3:29
3. Le lien 5:52
4. À nos parents 4:43
5. Katmandou 2:09
6. A Noite 5:14
7. I Heard About a Thing in You 6:03
8. Travessia 4:54
9. Louise 4:06

Bruno Schorp (b)
Christophe Panzani (sax)
Leonardo Montana (p)
Gautier Garrigue (dms) 


Nelson Veras (g)
Charlotte Wassy (voc)
Tony Paeleman (kb)

Amir ElSaffar / Rivers of Sound - Not Two (NEW AMSTERDAM RECORDS 2017)

Iraqi-American trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar has mastered disparate musical styles and created a singular approach to combining aspects of Middle Eastern music with American jazz, extending the boundaries of each tradition. ElSaffar’s Rivers of Sound Orchestra presents 17 musicians from a broad spectrum of traditions; together, the group creates an entirely new musical language that transcends established notions of style and convention. In performing Not Two, a composition by ElSaffar, each musician in the Rivers of Sound orchestra interacts with the group to create a new approach to transcultural music through the combination of improvisation and composition, the merging of musical languages, maqam and polyphony, and the novelty of the sound. 

Not Two will be released as a double LP with a digital download on June 16, 2017.

Using resonance as its governing principle, Not Two incorporates elements of maqam modal music of the Middle East with jazz and other contemporary musical practices to create a unique microtonal musical environment that moves beyond the notions of style and tradition into a realm of uninhibited musical communication. 

The highest ideal in maqam music is to reach a state of tarab, or “musical ecstasy,” which results from the melting away of borders between a notion of self and other, as performers and audience revel together in the music. As pitches and rhythms become fluid, so do cultural boundaries: elements that traditionally divide musicians and genre-specific modes are re-contextualized in a fresh transcultural soundscape.

This ideal is central to the music on Not Two.

The work sees microtonal maqam melodies traverse a richly-textured bed of sound created by oud, buzuk, and santur, in combination with cello, violin, saxophones, English horn and trumpet. Also at play are multi-layered, rhythmic patterns and harmonies performed by re-tuned vibraphone, piano and guitar. The drum set, mridangam, dumbek, frame drums and double-bass provide the rhythmic foundation and subdivisions of the multiple currents. 

ElSaffar also wrote the music with each musician’s sensibilities in mind, and encouraged everyone in the orchestra to consider the written scores as points of reference, beginnings from which they may improvise, vary, re-write, create their own music. This way, the music could be alive, unique to each performance, yet of a certain essence. The players bring their individual experience and understanding into the orchestra, their collective uniqueness combining to form a cohesive whole, allowing Not Two to approach something universal. As pitches and rhythms become fluid, so do cultural boundaries: elements that traditionally divide musicians and genre-specific modes are re-contextualized in a fresh transcultural soundscape.

ElSaffar has previously forged his novel approach to combining musical languages through his six-piece ensemble Two Rivers. Over the past eight years, the group has released three CD's on Pi Recordings. Not Two is a continuation of the Two Rivers concept, but projected onto a wider canvas unprecedented in scope and imagination.

Amir ElSaffar explains:

“Rivers of Sound is not concerned with “bridging” divergent cultures. In each composition, one can hear elements of maqam, polyphony, polyrhythmic structures, melisma, and groove. But these do not exist as separate entities “belonging” to any people or place.

After spending much of my life playing and composing in diverse musical worlds, I question the idea of culture. My interest is in finding sonic realms that can embrace the phenomena found in the myriad musical languages, drawing upon sensibilities and materials of various idioms, but without the limitations of a particular genre. The idea is about fluidity: sounds flow into one another, overtones interact, as we come closer to a universal human sound.

Years ago, I had the good fortune to study with Kongo Langlois Roshi, a Zen Buddhist teacher in Chicago. One day, when I shared my inner state of confusion, he replied, “When the mind becomes muddled in dualistic thinking, think ‘not two,’ and all will become clear.”

ElSaffar believes that the nature of this sound cannot be captured digitally and  committed to all analog recording, with Not Two being released as a double LP. The limited possibility of making edits when recording analog brought an intense focus to the players' performance in the studio, which is as close as possible to reproducing the feel of a live performance.

ElSaffar received funding from the MAP Fund and Arab Fund for Arts and Culture to create Rivers of Sound. In 2015, the 17 members came to New York City from as far away as Qatar, Palestine, and Brussels in April for three days of rehearsal, the premiere of Not Two at the Lincoln Center, and an epic 14-hour day at Avatar Studios, where they recorded the 80-minute suite directly to tape. The album was produced by ElSaffar, engineered by Sascha Van Oertzen, mixed by John Davis at Bunker Studios, and mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk. All compositions on Not Two were written by ElSaffar, whose work is published by BMI.

1. Iftitah 11:14
2. Jourjina Over Three 07:13
3. Penny Explosion 12:45
4. Ya Ibni, Ya Ibni (My son, my son) 12:25
5. Layl (Night) 10:40
6. Hijaz 21/8 09:39
7. Shards of Memory/B Half Flat Fantasy 16:14
8. Bayat Declamation 06:14

John McLean & Clark Sommers Band - Parts Unknown (ORIGIN RECORDS 2017)

" ...(McLean has) a sweeping, gorgeous, day-glo tone from his guitar that grabs the ear even in a crowd; once he has your attention, he holds on to it with quick, hard stories perched between street-talk and Olympian pronouncement."

Each important members of Chicago's jazz scene for two decades, guitarist McLean and bassist Sommers further solidified their musical rapport through touring and recording with vocalist Kurt Elling over the last several years. The seeds of "Parts Unknown" were planted after a Chicago performance of the duo with the dynamic New York vibist Joe Locke. Enlisting Chicago drummer Xavier Breaker, the group ended up recording this set of original, slippery, joyous and eclectic modern jazz gems. 

"...Clark Sommers plays with a rock-bottom, infectious groove...securely steeped in the jazz tradition." - JAZZ.COM

1 Blondie Roundabout 8:23 (Joe Locke)
2 Labor Day 5:31 (John McLean)
3 Time Window 8:43 (Clark Sommers)
4 Parts Unknown 5:30 (John McLean)
5 Safe and Sound (At the Edge of the Milky Way) 6:18 (Joe Locke)
6 All Alone 7:35 (Mal Waldron , arr. Clark Sommers)
7 Farther From That 6:35 (Clark Sommers)
8 Last Call 5:49 (John McLean

John McLean: guitar
Clark Sommers: bass
Joe Locke: vibraphone
Xavier Breaker: drums

Produced by John McLean & Clark Sommers
Recorded & mixed by Vijay Tellis Nayak
at Transient Studios, Chicago, IL
Mastered by Brian Schwab, Chicago, IL
Cover photo courtesy Focus Images
Band photograph by Chad McCullough
Cover design by John Bishop

Alan Broadbent with The London Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road - Developing Story (EDEN RIVER RECORDS 2017)

Diana Krall about -Developing Story-: "You have painted your masterpiece. Timeless. Beautiful. Emotional."

Developing Story- together with the London Metropolitan Orchestra is a dream come true album for 2-time Grammy winning Alan Broadbent who regularly arranges and conducts for the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, Pat Metheny, Michael Bublé, Natalie Cole etc. but this time he was able to write his own story by recording his own material of original compositions for jazz trio and orchestra and pieces of the Great American Songbook. You can listen to John Coltrane’s „Naima“ or „Milestones“ by Miles Davis in a symphonic orchestra setting like never before. 

Drum legend Peter Erskine and longtime companion Harvie S on bass made sure that there is enough room for Alan’s rhapsodic style of piano playing as the LA Times called Alan “…one of the greatest living jazz pianists.”

[for jazz trio and orchestra]

Sometime in the late 70s the initial idea for “Developing Story” came to me in a complete phrase for woodwind soli, counterpoint and all. My problem was not quite knowing what to do with it. It wrote itself in response to a moment I’d had with the music of Mahler, but to imitate such a master would be the height of hubris (and impossible, anyway). Things slowly took shape when I realized that rather than getting an orchestra to play with jazz feeling (it’ll never happen, I’m afraid), I could present it with a jazz trio version of the idea and perhaps the orchestra could help me out with some nice chords. Then at some point the orchestra would seem to say, “Yes, we get it. Now let us show you how we might express our thoughts on the matter;” opposite sides of the same music, developing together, creating the story.

I would like to briefly describe a few chapters, or signposts, to help guide you through nearly a half-hour of continuous music:

We begin with a forte introduction by the orchestra which subsides into the “song theme” played by the solo piano. The entire piece is based upon these two statements.

From this, a kind of travel music develops in a new version of “the song”. After some trio improvisation on this form, the strings join in a joyous arioso, only to be broken off by a vehement restatement of the introduction that unravels into a warmly expressive symphonic version of the “song theme.” The piano closes with a quiet memory of the introduction.

This is followed immediately by a slow waltz for my wife Alison, a piano theme stated simply with subdued string chords, another interpolation of “the song”. When improvising I love the subtle feeling of swing that jazz has even in ballad improvisation, that sense of dancing with the time that I always strive for in my playing. Bu t now, after a gentle chordal accompaniment, the orchestra has deeper, more expressive things to say as it unfolds its power and beauty.

A brief woodwinds interlude ensues with variations by other groups that look to things past interspersed with hints of things to come.

Segue to the third movement finale; fast, yet floating. There are more pressing concerns now as the trio is featured on a fragmented tune from “the song.” It builds to a drum solo by Peter acting as a bridge to a chorale for the orchestra that is based on those fragments. Here, the horns dominate as other sections echo them. After reaching a plateau of momentary reflection, the horns and piano return, urging the strings onward to a dramatic climax. At that point, the trio starts again, as if to interject, “But as I was saying…” The final word, however, is in “the song” itself, which persistently strives for a breakthrough only to dissolve, not without a struggle, into qu iet resignation. For the last time, the piano recalls the memory.

End of story.

This song has been a favorite since I was very young. Some songs lend themselves to infinite variations without seeming to lose their character. This is one of them. Every time I improvise on it I find ways to express something new, and in this arrangement I imagine having a little dialog through the mists of time with its composer, Tadd Dameron.

(on a starry night)
As a young man I was transported by the harmonic progressions John Coltrane laid under a melody of such noble simplicity, so celestial did it sound to me. In keeping with this astral theme, here is my vision of this beautiful song, a star among stars.

When I was with Quartet West this famous jazz standard from “Kind of Blue” was a favorite of Charlie Haden. He loved to play it. This arrangement is dedicated to Charlie’s memory. The title conveys to me the colors of still waters running deep, always flowing qu ietly beneath the surface.

I wrote this song for Quartet West when we were associated with film noir and Charlie’s love for Raymond Chandler. The title was also made into a famous 40s movie experiment, Philip Marlowe narrating in the first person. But the label “film noir” came after the fact as far as Qt. West and I were concerned; after years of forging my own path, I just happen to write this way.

MILESTONES (first flight)
Once the idea came to me, this symphonic arrangement flowed qu ickly from pencil to paper. Bu t after a while I became stuck on what looked to be a road of endless repeats. Driving north in New York State with my son one spring day, a new theme based on Miles Davis’s original form suddenly came to me, freeing itself from its roots, able to fan its wings and fly. My son, fortunately, as it turned out, was firmly earthbound. We made a hasty stop on the side of the road and I furiously wrote it all down.


I wrote this in the early 1970s for Woody Herman and the Houston Symphony Orchestra. I remember a devastating earthquake in Peru at around that time, and the plight of children in the streets of Lima making me feel helpless. This lullaby was the only way I knew to respond to the suffering of little ones everywhere on earth. With a bit of tweaking, it remains as I originally composed it, now orchestrated for the symphony only and dedicated to Woodrow Charles Herman, our beloved Road Father.

Side A
DEVELOPING STORY (movement 1) 9:52 – Alan Broadbent
DEVELOPING STORY (movement 2) 7:15 – Alan Broadbent

Side B
DEVELOPING STORY (movement 3) 9:18 – Alan Broadbent
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW 6:33 – Tadd Dameron

Side C
NAIMA 8:26 – John Coltrane
BLUE IN GREEN 6:21 – Miles Davis

Side D
LADY IN THE LAKE 4:32 – Alan Broadbent
MILESTONES 4:58 – Miles Davis
CHILDREN OF LIMA 8:04 – Alan Broadbent

Alan Broadbent - Developing Story (extended version) from Ralf Kemper on Vimeo.

Enrico Pieranunzi / Mads Vinding / Alex Riel - Yesterdays (Live) SUNDANCE MUSIC 2017