Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mimi Fox, Mads Tolling, Jeff Denson: San Francisco String Trio - May I Introduce to You (RIDGEWAY RECORDS 2017)

The San Francisco String Trio celebrates the 50th Anniversary of
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with May I Introduce to You, a
Kaleidoscopically Creative Reimaging of the Beatles’ Epochal Album

Bay area super group with guitarist Mimi Fox, bassist/vocalist Jeff Denson, and violinist Mads Tolling

In Concert  o Sunday, August 13 - San Jose Jazz Festival, San Jose, CA
o Thursday, September 7 - The Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, CA

When Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, he couldn’t have foreseen the extraordinary San Francisco String Trio. The Bay Area super-group featuring guitarist Mimi Fox, bassist/vocalist Jeff Denson, and violinist Mads Tolling has found a consistently enthralling vehicle for musical exploration in the 1967 masterpiece. Slated for release on Ridgeway Records on September 8, 2017, May I Introduce to You is the trio’s debut album and a loving homage to the classic Beatles record on its 50th anniversary.

The SF String Trio brings together three celebrated masters who have each recorded critically acclaimed albums as bandleaders. Much like the Beatles drew on an array of traditions and styles in crafting Sgt. Pepper’s, the cooperative ensemble approaches each track as an opportunity to imbue supremely familiar songs with a sense of delight and surprise. “The idea was to do something different to shake up these fantastic songs, but not just for the sake of doing something new,” says Fox. “We’re all coming from a jazz background and we like to mix things up.”

“We love to blend genres and you can hear tango, R&B, pop and classical influences too,” Tolling adds. “We’re all arrangers and we’d work on pieces individually then bring them in and work on them as a group and really make them come to life.”

Though the musicians grew up in different generations (and different countries), they’re united by vaunted reputations as improvisers, abiding love of the Fab Four, and faculty positions at the California Jazz Conservatory. As the senior member of the ensemble, Fox remembers the explosive impact of Sgt. Pepper’s release as a child growing up in New York. Tolling, a classical prodigy, fell in love with the Beatles as his gateway to pop music as a teenager coming of age in Denmark in the mid-90s. And Denson heard the album in regular rotation amidst his mother’s records while growing up outside Washington D.C. in the 1980s. The universally beloved album left a deep and enduring impression on each of them that has continued to provide inspiration in their work as jazz artists.

“When I first moved out here I taught a class on the Beatles at the California Jazz Conservatory,” says Denson, who became the first full professor in the CJC’s newly accredited Bachelor of Music program in 2011. “When I first went to Berklee, where Mads and I met, I took an arranging class and wrote a chart for ‘She’s Leaving Home.’ It’s always been a really special album to me and part of my life.”

The trio’s emotional connection to Sgt. Pepper’s is evident throughout May I Introduce to You, and every track sheds a bright and revealing light on the genius of the Beatles. Tolling transfuses some of Joe Cocker’s gospel fervor into his ballad arrangement of “With A Little Help From My Friends,” and sets a good deal of “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” to a crunching 5/4 beat. Fox evokes George Harrison’s sitar with a sleek modal interpretation of “Within You Without You” and delivers a ravishing solo rendition of “She’s Leaving Home.” Denson’s arrangement of “Fixing A Hole” incorporates his striking vocals, as does his multilayered unpacking of “A Day In the Life,” another tour de force that distills the song’s chord. “Essentially we have three drummers in the group, as we’re all comfortable with our instruments’ percussive qualities,” Fox says, “as well as the harmonic and melodic possibilities.”

It’s hard to overstate the wealth of experience the trio brings to this project. An internationally acclaimed touring artist for the past quarter century, Fox has performed/recorded with horn heavy weights (Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez, Houston Person), fellow fret masters (Charlie Byrd, Stanley Jordan, Charlie Hunter), Hammond B-3 greats (Joey DeFranceso, Barbara Dennerlein, Dr. Lonnie Smith), and vocal stars (Abbey Lincoln, Diana Krall, Kevin Mahogany). She’s shared the stage with legends Stevie Wonder and John Sebastian and Patty Larkin featured her on the Vanguard Records project La Guitara. Fox has released 10 critically acclaimed albums as a leader, including three on Steve Vai's Favored Nations label. Her YouTube videos have received hundreds of thousands of views. In conjunction with Heritage’s 30th anniversary, the Kalamazoo guitar company has rolled out the Mimi Fox Artist signature model.

Born and raised in Copenhagen, Tolling was on his way to a successful career as a classical soloist when he discovered Miles Davis. His growing passion for jazz brought him to Berklee in 2000, where at the recommendation of Jean-Luc Ponty bass luminary Stanley Clarke recruited him for his touring band.

He moved to the Bay Area in 2003 to join the pioneering crossover string ensemble Turtle Island Quartet, an eight-year run that included two Grammy Awards for 2006’s 4+Four, and 2008’s A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane (both on Telarc). Since setting out on his own in 2012, Tolling has established himself as an ambitious bandleader, accomplished composer, and daring improviser committed to expanding the violin’s sonic parameters. A Yamaha clinician who’s given workshops in the US, Canada, Japan and Dubai, Tolling earned the #1 slot as Rising Star Violinist in the 2016 DownBeat Critic’s Poll. His latest album, 2017’s Playing the 60s (Madsman Records), mines the New Frontier era for powerfully engaging but oft-overlooked material while introducing an ardently grooving group sound.

Denson first gained international attention in the cooperative trio Minsarah with Israeli drummer Ziv Ravitz and German pianist Florian Weber. It was the group that caught the ear of alto sax legend Lee Konitz, who adopted the combo as his rhythm section on 2007’s Deep Lee, 2009’s Live at the Village Vanguard, which earned the 2010 Album of the Year Award from France’s Jazzman Magazine, and 2014’s Standards Live: At the Village Vanguard (all on Enja). A prolific composer and arranger, he’s written music for an array of jazz settings, from big band to trio, as well as for string ensembles, solo bass, and a chamber opera. Since settling in the Bay Area, Denson has released five solo albums in six years and continued to tour internationally with Lee Konitz and his own projects along with forging new creative alliances with some of the West Coast’s most prodigious improvisers. He’s explored intricate harmonic soundscapes with drummer Alan Hall and bassoon and electronics virtuoso Paul Hanson, and recorded with Konitz again, this time under his own name, on 2015’s The Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz. The album introduced Denson’s Ridgeway Records label, which over the last two years has become an essential outlet for brilliant young artists and established masters in the Bay Area and beyond.

Denson first met Fox shortly after he arrived in the Bay Area and was immediately impressed by her musicality. “We started getting together and playing duo, and talking about different possibilities,” Denson says. “Mads and I had met at Berklee but really got a chance to play together after I moved here and I did some things with his band. Mads and Mimi had also been talking about playing together. Finally, we connected all the dots and we had great musical chemistry right away.”

Their formidable chemistry ignites on May I Introduce to You, a project that sets a new standard for jazz interpretation of the Beatles. Inspired by each other and an era-defining album, the San Francisco String.

Trio pays the ultimate compliment to the Liverpool lads by treating their songs as an extension of the Great American Songbook. “The Beatles have spanned generations,” Fox says, “and their melodies, particularly Paul’s ballads, hold their own with Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Musically, emotionally and creatively, this project has everything going for it.”

JOE THOMAS, Jazz Legend, Icon, The Ebony Godfather, passes away at age 84 on July 26, 2017

Jazz Legend, Icon, The Ebony Godfather, passes away at age 84 on July 26, 2017

The musical career of The Incomparable Joe Thomas spans over seven decades. During that time, he performed throughout the world, gaining notoriety, acclaim and adoration internationally.

Joseph Samuel Thomas was born to Frank Thomas and Sarah Pryor Thomas on May 31, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey. Born with extraordinary musical talents, Joe was blessed by God with the gifts of the spoken and written word.

After witnessing his older brother Frank play musical instruments, Joe realized one of his many callings in life. He learned how to play alto and soprano saxophone, trombone, flute and piano organically, by eye and by ear. He taught himself how to write music. At fifteen, with his older brother’s guidance, he began to play professionally in small local clubs. He met the fabulous James Moody, who was playing with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. Moody told Joe to pursue his craft and Joe did just that, going on to play with some of the world’s most iconic jazz legends.

A three-year stint in the United States Army interrupted his career. Wounded in combat in the Korean War, Joe was awarded the Purple Heart in honor of his service to this country. Returning to his purpose and passion in the United States, Joe helped form a group called “The Rhoda Scott Trio.” Along with Rhoda and Joe, drummer Bill Elliott was featured in that group. The group stayed together for three years, making two albums together.

Joe then formed his own group and made nine albums. He was featured on the flute and saxophone. He appears on several other albums including some of Jimmy McGriff’s. Two of his albums have been re- issued as CD’s: “Plato’s Retreat” and “Masada.” His entire catalog of exemplary work will be released for the Joe Thomas Legacy.

To many musicians and artists, Joe was affectionately known as “The Ebony Godfather.”

Joe performed at venues all over the world, including the prestigious Blue Note, Birdland, The Key Club, Carlos One, The Cave, Count Basie’s, La Détente, Smalls Paradise, and multiple cruise lines. Joe was one of the “All-Stars” invited to play at the Pythodd Club in Rochester, New Yorkand at Pine Grill Buffalo, New York reunions. Other notables who performed at these jazz festivals were: Charles Erland, Hank Crawford, Jimmy McGriff, Nat Adderly, Houston Person, Etta Jones, and many others. Joe performed with the legendary Carrie Smith, blues and gospel singer on three jazz festival cruises.

The funeral services are
Sat, August 5, 217 1pm
Woody Funeral Home 
163 Oakwood Ave,
City of Orange, NJ 07050
(973) 674-0814

For further information, please contact:
Elissa Gabrielle of Elissa Gabrielle Entertainment
(201) 701-1520 

CONCERTOS PORTA-JAZZ: Porta-Jazz ao Relento - João Mortágua, AXES

Sábado, 5 de agosto 22:00
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
- entrada livre -

João Mortágua
João Mortágua - saxofones alto e soprano
José Soares - saxofone alto
Hugo Ciríaco - saxofone tenor
Rui Teixeira - saxofone barítono
Alex Rodriguéz-Lázaro - bateria
Pedro Vaconcelos - bateria e percussão

Mais recente projeto do saxofonista e compositor João Mortágua, destacado desde o início do seu percurso como um dos valores seguros no jazz nacional.

Com esta formação Mortágua irá explorar as texturas de quatro saxofones com duas baterias e sem instrumento harmónico, propondo um resultado contemporâneo, profundamente marcado pela procura de uma linguagem artística própria, com a qual tem vindo a pautar toda a sua exploração musical.


Sábados de agosto, 22:00
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
- entrada livre -

12 de agosto
Mariana Vergueiro
'Morning Rain'
Mariana Vergueiro - voz
Pedro Neves - piano
Nuno Campos - contrabaixo
Nuno Oliveira - bateria

19 de agosto
João Paulo Rosado - Sinopse
João Guimarães - saxofone alto
AP - guitarra
Hugo Raro - piano
João Paulo Rosado - contrabaixo
António Torres Pinto - bateria

26 de agosto
The Nada
João Guimarães - saxofone alto
Eurico Costa - guitarra
António Augusto Aguiar - baixo eléctrico
José Marrucho - bateria

ProgDay 2017: Bubblemath, Sonar and more outdoors in North Carolina (CUNEIFORM RECORDS)

Cuneiform Records
on behalf of
our friends at ProgDay 

invite you to the 23rd edition of the world's longest running progressive rock festival!
This September, come and see great bands from around the world including two artists with releases on Cuneiform:
Bubblemath and Sonar (with special guest David Torn)!

Cuneiform Records is proud to announce that Sonar and Bubblemath will be among the eight stellar groups performing at the 2017 ProgDay festival to be held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

In it's 23rd year, ProgDay boasts yet another stacked lineup of amazing international groups that blend rock, jazz, pop, classical, and electronic music, and anything else you could think of to deliver a weekend jam-packed with thrills and excitement.

ProgDay is an annual outdoor festival of progressive music featuring artists from all over the world. Some bands have come from as close as North Carolina, and others from as far away as Sweden, Italy, Venezuela and Indonesia. ProgDay has been held every year since it's birth in 1995, making it the longest running progressive rock event in the world.

For it's 23rd year, Prog Day 2017 will be held at Storybrook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 2nd and 3rd.

Location and lineup information can be found on their website.

This year the festival will once again spotlight a truly global cast of bands from three continents and four countries. The current lineup for ProgDay 2017 includes:

- Sonar continues to push the boundaries of musical post-minimalism, creating forward-thinking instrumental music.

The band will be joined by internationally renowned composer, musician and producer David Torn for an exclusive performance.

- An eclectic prog/avant-pop/technical metal quintet from Minnesota, returning to the ProgDay stage after 14 years to celebrate their newly released second album Edit Peptide from Cuneiform.

Don't miss the other great bands performing at ProgDay:

iNFiNiEn (U. S.)
      -A quartet touching on soundtracks, metal, and masterful improvisation.

Shylock (France)
      - the French symphonic band plays material from its classic 1970s releases including Gialorgues and Il de Fièvre.

Hedersleben (U. S.)
      - a multinational group with members from Korea, the U.S., and Europe who embrace the sound of early progressive rock and krautrock.

Ephemeral Sun (U.S.)
      - this band's brand of apocalyptic prog features ominous atmospheres, gothic metal, fiery energy, and classic prog influences.

Plus two more bands to be announced shortly!

More information on the lineup is available at the ProgDay website here:


"Had MC Escher made music instead of drawing his famously impossible and perplexing perspectives, it would sound like Sonar." - PROG MAGAZINE

SONAR is an avant-progressive, post-minimal band from Switzerland. Their name stands for SONic ARchitecture, which alludes to their intention of creating polymetric and highly structured sound sculptures.

Fusing a rigorous minimal aesthetic with the power of a rock band, SONAR create sonic rituals unlike anything you have ever heard before. With their slow-build approach to dramaturgy and avoidance of conventional forms, they focus on collective group efforts and a deeper kind of interaction amongst their four members.

David Torn is a composer, texturalist, guitarist, producer & whatnot of actual international stature, renowned for his unique musical voice which seems to span & un-define a range of styles. His work has had material impact & influence upon both film scoring and, generally, upon contemporary electric, electro-acoustic & electronic music.


"...this set of intellectual compositions might burn a fuse or two in your brain ...prog done right, and giving back the literal epithet of the genre." - CAN THIS EVEN BE CALLED MUSIC

Frank Zappa once remarked, "Progress is not possible without deviation,” and if he were alive to hear them, he’d almost certainly agree that Minnesota fivesome Bubblemath exudes his philosophy (and daring spirit) with every unconventional rhythmic change, off-the-wall timbre, and multilayered melody.

The current Bubblemath line-up came together in 1998. Naturally, they recognize that having so many years between albums could be—as guitarist Kai Esbensen jokes—“[an] advantage or a detriment. Maybe both!” He reflects that the group originally thought it’d be “a breeze” to follow-up Such Fine Particles of the Universe, an album that won them 86,000 MySpace followers and Minnesota Music Academy’s "2002 Best Eclectic Recording” award.

However, a series of setbacks, ranging from "broken equipment, to broken promises, to loss of funding, to loss of partners and pets and parents, to incompatible mix engineers, to extended sabbaticals, to extended medical emergencies," made it difficult to accomplish that ambition. Add in the fact that "for several years, [they] were only able to commit about three hours a week to working on the album," as well as various issues regarding engineers and recording quality, and it's easy to see why Edit Peptide gestated for so long. In reaction to the skepticism of devotees, Esbensen jovially declares, "We absolutely weren't crying wolf!

We wouldn't wish this kind of delay experience on our worst band-enemies. Not that we have band-enemies. But if we did, we would not wish it on them!" Ultimately, the lengthy hiatus did prove positive, though, as it allowed "all five of [them] to become better musicians" who are capable of yielding a more striving, unpredictable, and colorful collection. They couldn't be prouder of it.

Cuneiform Records is proud to support Bubblemath on their return to ProgDay. Be sure to check out their Cuneiform release Edit Peptide, their long-awaited sophomore album that has critics and fans raving alike!

ProgDay 2017

Come celebrate Progressive Rock this September at ProgDay located at the beautiful grounds of Storybrook Farms in Chapel Hill NC, a gorgeous outdoor venue to relax and enjoy fantastic music at.

For more information on Storybook Farms, consult the ProgDay website at

For schedules, programs, artist bios, transportation, FAQ, maps and any other queries you may have…

For directions and information on the surroundings, consult the ProgDay website at

To contact the organizers of ProgDay, please visit

Founded in the USA in 1984 and dedicated to cutting-edge, avant-garde music of the highest caliber from around the world, the adventurous and long-standing Cuneiform Records record label has one of the most varied and impressive catalogues of progressive rock in the world.

Visit our Tour Page to see other concerts by Cuneiform artists.

Please visit our website for more information about Cuneiform Records, the talented artists that it represents, and the numerous adventurous music recordings it's released over three decades.