Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Oct. 8: Benefit for Puerto Rico at Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA

Juntos por Puerto Rico, A Benefit Concert for the Victims of Hurricane Maria

Sunday, October 8 at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA

Featuring Obed Calvaire, Marco Diaz, Robin Eubanks, David Flores, Jose Roberto Hernandez, Zakir Hussain, Sean Jones, Rebeca Mauleon, Javier Navarrete, Rico Pabon, Pedro Pastrana, Joshua Redman, David Sanchez, John Santos, Shefali Shah, Marcus Shelby, Saul Sierra, and Miguel Zenón

Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, the worst storm to hit the island in almost a century. Today millions of Puerto Ricans don’t have electricity or running water, thousands remain trapped in their homes by massive flooding and food and medical supplies are extremely scarce. Help us to support these communities by joining us for Juntos por Puerto Rico, a benefit concert for the victims of Hurricane Maria on Sunday, October 8 from 1 – 4 p.m. at Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley, CA. Tickets are $60 premium advance, $40 general advance, $44 at the door.  For information call 510-644-2020 or visit

“I hope you’ll join us to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from this devastating catastrophe. It’s going to take years for the Island to recover, but residents need immediate help,” says event organizer saxophonist/ composer Miguel Zenón who was born and raised in San Juan.  “It’s going to be an amazing event.  We’re honored that so many incredible musicians have chosen to donate their talents to help raise badly needed resources, and that Freight and Salvage is providing a wonderful venue so that we can perform for everyone who wants to help.” 

Performing are some of the top jazz musicians in the world including Obed Calvaire, Marco Diaz, Robin Eubanks, David Flores, Jose Roberto Hernandez, Zakir Hussain, Sean Jones, Rebeca Mauleon, Javier Navarrete, Rico Pabon, Pedro Pastrana, Joshua Redman, David Sanchez, John Santos, Shefali Shah, Marcus Shelby, Saul Sierra, Miguel Zenón.

Tom Harrell - Moving Picture (Highnote Records 2017)

It has been written that Tom has participated in 260 recordings but they may include arranging as well, which is another (sometimes overlooked) facet of his prodigious talent. Since signing with HighNote Records in 2007 Tom has been working primarily with a quintet but kept things fresh with a quartet recording , 'Trip', a two-bass sextet on 'Colors Of A Dream' and the critically acclaimed 'First Impresssions', which featured a nearly classical chamber ensemble playing the music of Debussy and Ravel.

With 'Moving Picture' Tom leads a quartet where he is the only horn, giving his legions of fans the pleasure of hearing more of his solo work backed by this venerable jazz format.

Playlist for Tom Ossana – The Thin Edge – September 27, 2017 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.

Lovisa Jennervall Quartet - Come Closer (DO MUSIC RECORDS 2017)

Fronted by young but exceptionally talented jazz singer Lovisa Jennervall, her exciting quartet, consisting of pianist Hampus Andersson, bassist Alfred Ringstad and drummer Julia Schabbauer, presents a unique, jazzy and imaginative sound on their debut Come Closer. Jennervall's vital approach to her music, be it her flawless timing, her direct expression or instantly fetching melodic improvisation, lends a pleasant consistency to how she has drilled her band as well as arranged her performance. Jennervall's rendition of Swedish troubadour Olle Adolphson's hopeful Nu Är Det Gott Att Leva is particularly touching. Don't miss this first powerful statement of a young Swedish jazz singer certain to impact jazz listeners for a very long time.

1. Ode To Olof
2. Intakt
3. Off You Go
4. Come Closer
5. Nu Är Det Gott Att Leva
6. Inte Mycket Väsen

Hampus Andersson, piano/vocals
Alfred Ringstad, double bass/vocals
Julia Schabbauer, drums/vocals

Cécile McLorin Salvant – Dreams and Daggers (MACK AVENUE RECORDS 2017)

Shortly following Cécile McLorin Salvant’s emergence on the music scene, New York Times critic Stephen Holden stated, “As Cécile McLorin Salvant spun songs into a brilliant silk tapestry, I thought, if anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three -- Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald -- it is this 23-year-old virtuoso.” Downbeat added emphasis to Holden’s sentiment by awarding Cécile top position in an unprecedented 4 categories in its 2014 Annual Critics Poll. And Wynton Marsalis commented “you get a singer like this once in a generation or two.”

With her 2016 Grammy Award winning album For One to Love, Cécile McLorin Salvant revealed that she is not just a sublime vocalist, but a supremely gifted storyteller and composer as well. Cécile is being embraced by music lovers at major festivals and clubs throughout the world. Her remarkable voice and striking ability to inhabit the emotional space and turn every song she performs into theater make her an artist of consequence to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Astrid Kuljanic Transatlantic Exploration Company - Riva (11/10/2017) + Carnegie Hall album RIVA Release Concert, October 24

On the Adriatic island of Cres, a certain sheltered cove harbors a small pier. “I have my spot there, at least, I consider it my spot!” laughs singer, arranger, and songwriter Astrid Kuljanic, whose parents both grew up near that cove. It’s a place swept by the world’s tides and sounds, where Italian and Croatian blend, where the strange and new quickly ceases to be exotic and simply becomes “our music.”

This deeply rooted yet organically syncretic place has shaped Kuljanic’s voice and work, which embraces jazz standards, Brazilian samba and bossa nova, and traditional songs from Cres, as part of her new project, the Transatlantic Exploration Company. The quartet’s debut album Riva (“Pier”; release: November 10, 2017 on One Trick Dog Records) and Carnegie Hall celebration will showcase the singer’s facility for flowing between Caribbean and Brazilian beats and racy Croatian ditties, between heartfelt ballads and upbeat romps.

You can buy tickets here!

“It’s an exploration. I love exploring my roots and I love learning about other music,” says Kuljanic. “You can take inspiration from all sorts of places and over time, it becomes part of you.”

It’s no accident that Kuljanic wound up making music in an island city of multitudinous influences. She grew up in Rijeka, in what was then Yugoslavia, listening to her family sing and play music. Her older sister prodded her to sing, as the girls heard music from Italian pop to American rock to Yugoslav hits pouring through the radio. Her native region had switched empires and then countries several times, though its seafaring folk remained staunchly committed to their mixed identity and dialect.

As an adult, Kuljanic expanded her connection to her family’s home island, Cres. She founded a jazz festival there, meeting local artists and artisans like Vesna Jakic who created the felt dress Kuljanic wears on the album cover, made from island wool.

She explored Cres musically as well. One night, she gathered her parents, her aunt, and her talented cousin around a kitchen table and launched on an epic song sharing session. She was shocked at the striking diversity of language, scales, and other elements she discovered as her relatives belted out song after song, like “Oj vi mlade,” which Kuljanic arranged with a reggae sway. “I was like, ‘You’re kidding me!’ They said, ‘This is what we used to sing! this is it, this is ours!’ Yet the songs were all so different and so mixed. Their island identity is strong, but they embrace other influences as their own.”

Kuljanic found herself taking a similar tack, though by way of Italy and America. Trained as a chemical engineer, Kuljanic decided after college she had to pursue her first passion, music and song. She started bands with friends on the Zagreb scene, including Mildreds, a gentle and folky acoustic group that cut two albums together. But Kuljanic longed for a more formal education in music, which took her first to the Trieste Conservatory, the only music school in her area offering jazz, and eventually to New York, to the Manhattan School of Music.

Jazz is only part of Kuljanic’s creative foundations. “One of the things that brought me into jazz is the freedom, the improvisation,” she reflects. “Beyond that, it’s hard for me to figure out what my favorite style of music is. I’ve always loved rock and pop. I fell for folk. I love beautiful ballads and crazy fast pieces. You can hear it on this album, which has different energy from song to song.”

Kuljanic’s band does find a common sonic thread to tie the variety together, built on close musical friendships. She has on ongoing duo project with bassist Mat Muntz, an expansion of an Ableton Live-powered electronic set that later turned acoustic. Their engaging musical conversation transforms “Portrait,” “The Very Thought of You,” and “Wild is the Wind.”

She studied Brazilian music and percussion with Rogerio Boccato, professor at the Manhattan School of Music and master percussionist. “I finally worked up the nerve to ask him to play with me for my final recital,” Kuljanic recalls. “We had such a great time, we’ve collaborated ever since,” on songs like Edu Lobo’s “Upa Neguinho.” Boccato’s playing also propels the grooves Kuljanic brought to another lusty Cres song, “Divojčice Rožice.”

To complete her unconventional take on the jazz trio, Kuljanic decided to replace the piano with a more mobile and distinctive accordion, just as she had exchanged percussion for the usual drum kit. She invited a friend of a friend she had played with several times, Benjamin Rosenblum, to join the Exploration Company.

They played together frequently, in this and other permutations, and Kuljanic loved that energy. She wanted to keep it alive in the studio. Many of the tracks on the album were recorded in the heat of a single day, with all their organic vigor and rough edges. “I didn’t want things too polished,” she muses. “These are song we play all the time,” and she wanted to keep the immediacy.

Kuljanic has harnessed this immediacy to speak across boundaries difficult to cross back home, but more permeable in New York, while bringing Croatian tradition to a non-Croatian audience. “Everything about this band and album represents the symbolic path I’ve taken from Croatia to New York, to explore the music of the world while staying connected to the place from which I embarked,” Kuljanic reflects. “I know every stone, tree, and shell in that bay. That the destination of this journey will be Carnegie Hall is something I never dreamed possible when I was leaving Croatia. It’s such an honor to get to share Cres’ treasures, Croatian culture, and the many other sounds I’ve made my own along the way.”