Sunday, October 29, 2017

Delfeayo Marsalis' First Ever Live Album Kalamazoo

A Special, Swinging Night in Michigan Is Captured in Trombonist/Composer Delfeayo Marsalis' First-Ever Live Album

Out now from Troubadour Jass Records, Kalamazoo finds Marsalis in high spirits at the helm of a knockout quartet with bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Ralph Peterson, and his father, pianist Ellis Marsalis

"The words 'poetry in motion' seem more than adequate in describing the swing and power Delfeayo Marsalis provides." - Edward Blanco, All About Jazz

"[Delfeayo Marsalis is] one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation." 
- Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner

While the recording studio offers an ideal, controlled environment for audio fidelity and perfectionist tinkering, the bandstand is where any musician's mettle is tested - live, in the moment, under the scrutinizing gaze of a rapt audience. On Kalamazoo, trombonist/composer Delfeayo Marsalis (pronounced Del-fee-oh) places his gift for entertaining a crowd under the spotlight, vividly capturing not only the buoyant, lively chemistry that he shares with a stellar quartet, but also his engaging rapport with an audience, and his playful sense of humor.

Kalamazoo, out now via Marsalis' own Troubadour Jass Records, documents a single performance, recorded in the midst of a seven-day tour supporting Marsalis' The Last Southern Gentlemen CD. As on that album, the trombonist is joined by his legendary father, pianist Ellis Marsalis, along with a newly assembled rhythm section consisting of bassist Reginald Veal and the mighty Ralph Peterson on drums. The recording is in one sense a snapshot of a single, once-in-a- lifetime evening, the first night this particular quartet had ever shared the stage and full of spontaneous, unrehearsed moments that will never be repeated. At the same time it's a representative portrait of a typical Delfeayo Marsalis performance, each one unique but ensuring the same timeless, swinging thrills.

"Live recordings are important because they truly capture the essence of who you are as a person and how you play as a musician," Marsalis says. "Different artists create their definitive live recordings at different points in their career. For example, my brother Branford was 31 when he recorded Bloomington. Wynton was 42 when he was finally captured on Live at the House of Tribes. This is my equivalent to those recordings; it gives the listener a true understanding of who I am, how my shows are structured."

While a single night with a single band can't hope to represent the full range of Marsalis' musical vision - his last release was the big-band protest date Make America Great Again! and his more modern compositional side is showcased on albums like Pontius Pilate's Decision - Kalamazoo instead reveals the many sides of the trombonist's personality over the course of the evening. From elegant balladry to down and dirty blues, the celebratory gusto of his native New Orleans to the sophisticated swing of an Ellington classic, fiery passion to educational torch-passing, Marsalis' exhaustive knowledge of the jazz tradition and commitment to its future are evident throughout.

"In the jazz world these days, there's a lot of attention being paid to more introverted ways of playing," Marsalis explains. "We need more leaders like Count Basie or Louis Armstrong. Not that we have to imitate those older styles, but we have to provide the foundations of entertainment and swing in jazz performance. That, to me, is the importance of this album: it's inside, it's in the pocket, it's soulful, and you can feel the audience engagement. Yes, I think we have an obligation to represent the entire history of American music whenever possible because, one, we've studied it and two, it allows the younger musicians the opportunity to play more avant-garde. Someone has to hold down the fort!"

That's especially true on the concert's most surprising number, the theme from Sesame Street, which Marsalis reveals to be a blues before a ripple of astonished recognition spreads audibly through the crowd. He also skillfully draws them in with one of his specialties, a composition created on the spot - this time with the added wrinkle of a pair of Western Michigan University students brave enough to join the band. Singer Christian O'Neill Diaz and drummer Madison George acquit themselves admirably through the trial by fire that became "Blue Kalamazoo."

"Part of maturing is being able to not only assist, but to also challenge the younger generation," Marsalis says. "If we had performed a song that Christian sings all the time, he would have probably sung in auto- pilot mode. Creating a song together spontaneously forces you to reach deep inside and stay committed to the moment. It's an African tradition. After an hour of music, the audience had developed a rapport with the quartet, so when the students joined in everyone was basically thinking, 'All right, let's see what y'all got.' Because they were definitely underdogs in the situation, everyone was cheering for them to succeed. It was a beautiful moment in time and a great representation of the democratic process."

Democracy is also in action on the bandstand, as when the trombonist pauses to ask the senior Marsalis whether he wants to play the standard "If I Were a Bell" or "Emily" for a trio outing; the choice of "Bell" takes the program in a more upbeat direction. Playing with his formidable father, Delfeayo says, offers both an inspiring pressure and an ideal foil. "We make the perfect duo. My dad is pretty stoic and I tend to approach the music more from the standpoint of entertainment. I guess you could say we both keep each other honest! That's the great part of playing with older and younger musicians: the exchange of ideas and energy based on varying levels of experience."

The bulk of the evening consists of well-known standards called off the cuff, including such favorites as "My Funny Valentine," "Autumn Leaves," and "It Don't Mean a Thing." Marsalis' sultry, swaying "The Secret Love Affair" is reprised from The Last Southern Gentlemen, while the show closes, appropriately enough, with "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," an ode to the city with which the Marsalis clan is synonymous. In the end, the chosen material is perfectly suited, as it sets the stage for such a high-caliber band to stretch out and invent together.

"Sharing the bandstand with musicians at the top level allows you to express your musical ideas freely," Marsalis concludes. "You've got to be at the top of your game 100% of the time. All of our life experiences prepare us for today and now, and a great occasion was well-documented in Kalamazoo."

Internationally acclaimed trombonist, producer and educator Delfeayo Marsalis was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2011. In his native New Orleans, he founded the Uptown Music Theatre to provide professional dramatic arts training and encourage community unity in young people. Marsalis has produced over 120 jazz CDs and released seven albums as a leader - including the politically charged Make America Great Again! with his 15-piece Uptown Jazz Orchestra. He has composed 18 children's musicals and is the author of the award-winning children's book No Cell Phone Day.

Barry Altschul & The 3Dom Factor - Live in Krakow (NOT TWO RECORDS 2017)

Groundbreaking Drummer Barry Altschul Concludes a Trilogy by his Trio 
The 3Dom Factor with an Electrifying Concert Date

Live in Kraków, out now, reunites Altschul with bassist Joe Fonda and saxophonist Jon Irabagon 
on a freewheeling gig blurring the line between bop and free jazz

“Altschul - together with saxophonist Jon Irabagon and bassist Joe Fonda - kept the music sounding new with an animated blend of freethinking and hard-swinging.” – Mike Shanley, JazzTimes

 “Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor is becoming one of the strongest jazz trios in recent times… an unusual joining of forces from different generations… three musicians who weave, through their high quality of play and consistency, improvisations that are stimulating and rewarding to the listener.” – Stefan Wood, The Free Jazz Collective

Drummer Barry Altschul wasn’t simply crafting a clever play on words when he christened his latest trio The 3Dom Factor. There’s a deeper meaning in that name, the implication of a particular kind of freedom to be found only in the interaction of three improvising musicians. It takes on an even greater significance when the musicians in question are Altschul, bassist Joe Fonda, and saxophonist Jon Irabagon – three artists who share a wide-ranging but piercingly focused vision, who are able to draw on the entire history of jazz and improvised music while pushing relentlessly forward into new areas of discovery.

The idea that good things come in threes is doubly true of Live in Kraków, out now on the Not Two label. The blistering date, recorded at the Alchemia Club in the waning days of 2016, on the last date of a European tour, is the trio’s third release and concludes a loose trilogy. The 3Dom Factor’s self-titled 2012 debut brought the three together to explore several of Altschul’s original tunes; their 2015 follow-up, Tales of the Unforeseen, was almost entirely improvised save for a pair of deftly chosen covers (one of which is reprised here). 

Completing the cycle, Live in Kraków moves out of the studio and onto the stage for a date that combines the best of those two approaches: it revisits several of the pieces the band had earlier attacked in the studio in freer, more expansive form, bringing to bear the full force of five years’ worth of collaboration. “Our music is built on trust,” Altschul says. “We’re all able to be in the same space at the moment musically – and even if we’re not, conflict can work too.”

Altschul and Fonda have been playing together for nearly a decade and a half. An accomplished and much respected bassist, Fonda has worked with a long list of jazz greats including Archie Shepp, Ken McIntyre, Lou Donaldson, Bill and Kenny Barron, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas, Curtis Fuller, Bill Dixon, Han Bennink, Randy Weston, and Carla Bley. Both he and Altschul had enjoyed fruitful tenures working with Anthony Braxton, albeit in different decades, before they joined the late violinist Billy Bang to form the FAB Trio in 2003. “We have a certain chemistry together,” Altschul says of Fonda. “We’ve played together so much that we can not just anticipate but really feel where we are. We’re pretty tight as a rhythm section; we move in the same direction, stimulated by what’s going on around us in a very close way.”

Irabagon and Altschul were first introduced during a gig at John Zorn’s The Stone organized by bassist Moppa Elliott, whose band Mostly Other People Do the Killing has featured Irabagon since its founding. The winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, Irabagon has since garnered a reputation as one of the most inventive and versatile saxophonists of his generation, working with the Mary Halvorson Quintet and Dave Douglas Quintet as well as his own diverse bands. Though separated by more than 35 years in age, he and Altschul found common ground in their mutual enthusiasm for drawing on the vast tradition of jazz in their work. Altschul remembers, “When we first started to hang out together, Jon mentioned to me that he was very influenced by me and the era that I came up in. He really wanted to be able to play in a fairly traditional way as well as playing free, while addressing where bop is in this generation.” Altschul

Altschul has long championed a similar approach, one that he’s termed, borrowing drummer Beaver Harris’ phrase, “From ragtime to no time.” As he explains, “I feel that playing free is like writing books or having a discussion. The more vocabulary you have the freer you can be and the more choices you have. That to me is what freedom is - freedom of choice.”

The choices that the trio makes throughout Live in Kraków find them pushing each other into wildly disparate areas and feelings, making each piece, and even successive moments within a single piece, exhilaratingly different. The leader’s expressive percussion opens “Martin’s Stew,” which then bristles with propulsive power as Fonda’s muscular bass and Irabagon’s wildly veering tenor burst forth. The familiar melody of Monk’s “Ask Me Now” seems to drift in and out of the trio’s free interpretation, while “For Papa Joe, Klook, and Philly Too” pays explicit homage to three of Altschul’s formative influences in a vigorous round of 21st-century bebop. 

Irbagon and Fonda wring beautiful variations from the alluring, supple melody of “Irina,” lulled into an enticing trance by Altschul’s insinuating brushwork. The set closes with the taut but aggressive explosions of the band’s title tune, exemplifying the way that an unceasing flow of inspiration can pour forth from these three creative masterminds without slowing for more than 13 minutes.

Since forming the 3Dom Factor, Altschul, Fonda and Irabagon have formed a profoundly intuitive bond and a distinctive sound, one built on a unique convergence of personalities and voices. “All three of us share the same attitude towards playing the music,” Altschul sums up. “We’ve spent the last several years growing together and just having a good time playing.”

Barry Altschul
A renowned drummer whose tastes and abilities run the gamut from hard bop to free jazz and beyond, Barry Altschul gained fame in the late 1960s alongside such pioneering artists as Paul Bley and Chick Corea. In 1969 he joined Corea, bassist Dave Holland and saxophonist Anthony Braxton to form the group Circle, and went on to work extensively with Braxton as well as Sam Rivers throughout the 1970s. He also recorded with such greats as Sam Rivers, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman and Julius Hemphill. Never one to stick to one style of playing, Altschul‘s groundbreaking work in the avant-garde was paralleled by his straight ahead work with the likes of Lee Konitz and Art Pepper. After spending much of the ‘80s and ‘90s in Europe, he returned to greater prominence in the early 2000s, forming the FAB Trio with Joe Fonda and Billy Bang, working with peers like Roswell Rudd and Steve Swell, collaborating with a new generation of forward-looking musicians including Jon Irabagon, both in the saxophonist’s explosive trio and The 3Dom Factor.

Joe Fonda 
The Boston Phoenix has called bassist, interdisciplinary performer, producer and educator Joe Fonda “a serious seeker of new musical horizons.” From 1984 to 1999, he was the bassist with composer-improviser and NEA Jazz Master Anthony Braxton and has been an integral member of several cooperative bands, including the Fonda-Stevens Group with Michael Jefry Stevens, Herb Robertson, and Harvey Sorgen; Conference Call, with Gebhard Ullmann, Stevens, and George Schuller; the FAB Trio with Barry Altschul and Billy Bang; and the Nu Band with Mark Whitecage, Roy Campbell, and Lou Grassi. He has also collaborated and performed with such artists as Archie Shepp, Ken McIntyre, Lou Donaldson, Bill and Kenny Barron, Wadada Leo Smith, Randy Weston, and Carla Bley. Fonda’s own ensembles have included From the Source, which features four instrumentalists, a tap dancer, and a body healer/vocalist; the Off Road Quartet, with musicians from four different countries; and Bottoms Out, a sextet with Gerry Hemingway, Joe Daley, Michael Rabinowitz, Claire Daly, and Gebhard Ullmann. 

Jon Irabagon
Winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, Jon Irabagon has become known as one of the most inventive and diverse saxophonists of his generation, called a “subverter of the jazz form” by the New York City Jazz Record. He’s been named a Rising Star in both the alto and tenor saxophone categories in DownBeat Magazine and was named one of New York City's Jazz Icons by Time Out New York.  He is currently an integral member of the Mary Halvorson Quintet and Septet, Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor, Mike Pride's From Bacteria to Boys, the Dave Douglas Quintet and Perpetual Motion: The Music of Moondog ensemble. His imprint, Irabbagast Records, has now released five of his own recordings.  

December 15 & 16 Wadada Leo Smith – CREATE Festival West in San Francisco

Dec 15, 2017 – Dec 16, 2017
Friday, December 15
Doors 7:30pm / Music 8:00pm
One day admission $40: registration

Wadada Leo Smith’s Silence: 
Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet
David Leikam: Moog synthesizer 
Anthony Davis: piano

RedKoral Quartet: 
Pacifica, String Quartet No. 12B   
RedKoral Quartet:
Shalini Vijayan: violin
Mona Tian: violin
Andrew McIntosh: viola
Ashley Walters: cello
Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet
Hardedge: soundesign

Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quintet:
America’s National Parks   
(New Orleans The National Culture Park USA 1718; 
Eileen Jackson Southern, 1920-2002 A Literary National Park; Yellowstone The First National Park and the Spirit of America – The Mountains, Super-Volcano Caldera and Its Ecosystem 1872)

Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet
Anthony Davis: piano
Ashley Walters: cello
John Lindberg: bass
Pheeroan akLaff: drums
Jesse Gilbert – video artist

Saturday, December 16
1:00pm – 3:00pm Seminar
Special event admission $50: registration

8:00 p.m.
Wadada Leo Smith’s Earth: 
Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet
Motoko Honda: piano
Soo Yeon Lyuh: haegeum 
William Winant: percussion

Wadada Leo Smith’s Pacifica:
Koral Reef
Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet
Henry Kaiser: guitar
John Lindberg: bass

Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quintet: 
America’s National Parks 
(The Mississippi River Dark and Deep Dreams Flow the River – a National Memorial Park c. 5000 BC; Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks The Giant Forest, Great Canyon, Cliffs, Peaks, Waterfalls and Cave Systems 1890; Yosemite The Glaciers, the Falls, the Wells and the Valley of Goodwill 1890)

Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet
Anthony Davis: piano
Ashley Walters: cello
John Lindberg: bass
Pheeroan akLaff: drums
Jesse Gilbert – video artist

CREATE Festival is made possible with generous support from the Doris Duke Foundation in partnership with Creative Capital. Smith received a Doris Duke Artist Award in 2016.

Wadada Leo Smith Website

Patrick Shiroishi - Tulean Dispatch (MONDOJ, Out November 11 2017)

Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles. When he's not recording/performing with math rock freaksters Upsilon Acrux, avant/zeuhl weirdos Corima, collaborating in a multitude of duo/trio outfits on saxophone, keyboards or drums, or guesting with the likes of Chelsea Wolfe and Brian Ellis Group, Shiroishi manages to still find the time to record his own solo saxophone pieces. Now, involving a mix of alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, and prepared piano, Shiroishi brings his most gripping work to date with Tulean Dispatch. 

The tape is deeply personal, being a direct reference to Shiroishi's heritage and the treatment of his family. As Shiroishi explains, the album is named after the newspaper that was distributed at Tule Lake Internment camp, where his grandparents were placed during WWII. But the human atrocities and acts of inhumanity are by no means a thing of the past. The four pieces here serve as a reaction towards the current acts of violence throughout the world and what is happening internally in the US, as well. 

"Herni" opens the set with its explosive 11-minute sprawl, perfectly setting the scene and presenting Shiroishi's embittered lament. "The Screams of a Father's Tears" offers a howling and hallucinatory wash of sax squalls that are both urgently untamed and wholly captivating. "Form and Void" is perhaps Tulean Dispatch's centerpiece, presenting an epic and foreboding dirge. The air is patiently menacing, as though processing some unspeakable atrocity in real time. Brief but overwhelmingly potent, "The Flowers and Candles are Here to Protect Us" closes things out in a solemn state of misery. 

Brimming with expressive emotion and conveyed through unbridled impulse, Tulean Dispatch finds Shiroishi pushing himself to the physical and emotional limit.


A1. Herni (10:48) 
A2. The Screams of a Father's Tears (5:29) 
B1. Form and Void (12:03) 
B2. The Flowers and Candles are Here to Protect Us (2:40)

Recorded live at 2575 Mission, Los Angeles, California on the 14th of August, 2016.

Mixed by Patrick Shiroishi
Mastered by Felix Salazar

Zara McFarlane - Peace Begins Within (BROWNSWOOD RECORDINGS October 2017)

Following the release of her much-lauded third album Arise, Zara McFarlane announces new single ‘Peace Begins Within’. Exploring the musical possibilities of her British-Jamaican identity, it’s seen her – backed by some of London’s best and brightest musicians – bridging the lines between soulful roots reggae and inclusive, open-ended UK jazz.

The track is a cover of Nora Dean, a Jamaica-born vocalist who put her name to a spate of sweetly-sung roots and lovers rock in the ‘70s and ‘80s. With Zara putting her spin on the 1971 original, the format of the single nods to that heritage: with a dinked centre (requiring adapter), it also comes backed with a reggae version on the b-side. Tracing the musical heritage of the Caribbean, it’s another side to her interconnected vision of the diaspora.

The album has been supported by Benji B on Radio One, David Rodigan on 1xtra and Zara has been interviewed on NTS, Worldwide FM and Soho Radio. The album has also received big support from magazines across the board (see press quotes below).

The physical release is a limited edition 7"


1. Peace Begins Within
2. Peace Begins Within (Reggae Version) (7" Edit)
3. Peace Begins Within (Reggae Version)