Friday, November 3, 2017

Vincent Herring - Hard Times (SMOKE SESSIONS RECORDS November 3, 2017)

Saxophonist Vincent Herring Soothes Modern Day Turbulence on Hard Times

Available November 3 on Smoke Sessions Records

There’s no avoiding the hard times. Every human being that’s walked this Earth has had his or her share of the blues, from the personal to the political, the local to the global. But with another ominous headline coming every day, with news alerts constantly erupting from our various devices, with social media facilitating vitriolic shouting matches between friends and strangers alike, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that our present era offers more than its fair share of challenges and burdens.

Vincent Herring doesn’t have the answers to those issues any more than the rest of us. What he can offer is a tonic to help calm the turbulence of modern life, at least for an hour. With Hard Times, his third release for Smoke Sessions Records, the master saxophonist supplies the perfect musical response to our troubled existence–part escape, part defiance; part lament, part laughter. Over the course of these 11 songs, Herring and his stellar band both sing the blues and shake them off in ways both healing and infectious.

Due out November 3, Hard Times arrives just in time to serve as a fiercely swinging distraction for the first anniversary of last year’s dark election day. Herring has convened his own boisterous and soulful cabinet for the occasion, featuring a core quartet with pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Carl Allen. Herring’s conception of the project evolved along with the tumultuous year as he was joined by Nakamura and Allen for two sets every Monday at Smoke for six months.

The band is bolstered on roughly half the tracks by the horn section of trumpeter Brad Mason, saxophonist Sam Dillon, and trombone virtuoso (and Smoke Sessions labelmate) Steve Turre. Guitar great Russell Malone casts his spell over three tracks, while the rich baritone of renowned vocalist Nicolas Bearde also graces three tunes.

Though Herring was going through a rough patch in his personal life at the time of the recording, he had a much more wide-ranging vision in mind for Hard Times. “It’s the theme of the times that we’re going through,” he explained, pointing out that, at the time of this writing, the possibility of nuclear war suddenly seemed very possible thanks to the bluster of saber-rattling world leaders – including America’s own. (Substitute any one of what will surely be another dozen provocations current when you read this.)

“The obvious red elephant in the room would be politics,” Herring continued. “So it’s hard times not necessarily just from my vantage point, but from looking at world events. At the same time, I do realize how blessed and fortunate I am to be living the life I’m living. I have a lot of real fans that support me and a lot of great people in my life; I have wonderful kids. This album will hit people in different ways, but I offer it as an uplifting piece for the hard times in the universe.”

Indeed, it’s difficult to worry too much about the fate of the world when Nakamura and Allen lock into the deep-rooted groove of “Hard Work,” the John Handy classic that opens the album. The song was a hit for Handy in 1976, just as Herring was learning to play the sax, so it provided a jolt of nostalgia along with its work song vibe. “I really wanted something simple like that,” Herring says, “a song that meant something to me from my childhood.” Released a few years later but no less influential, George Coleman’s “Amsterdam After Dark” prompts intense solo turns from Herring and Turre, who spar vividly in its closing moments.

“Hard Times” was produced by Paul Stache and Damon Smith and recorded live in New York at Sear Sound’s Studio C on a Sear-Avalon custom console at 96KHz/24bit and mixed to ½” analog tape using a Studer mastering deck. Available in audiophile HD format.

01. Hard Work
02. Use Me 
03. Summertime
04. Hard Times 
05. Embraceable You 
06. Eastern Joy Dance 
07. The Sun Will Rise Again 
08. Piccadilly Square
09. Good Morning Heartache
10. Amsterdam After Dark
11. Phineas

VINCENT HERRING, alto & soprano saxophones
CYRUS CHESTNUT, piano & Fender Rhodes

With Special Guests:

Nicolas Bearde, vocals
Russell Malone, guitar
Steve Turre, trombone
Brad Mason, trumpet
Sam Dillon, tenor saxophone

Rent Romus|Gerard Cox|Hasan Abdur-Razzaq|John Philip Allen|Steve Simula|Caleb Miller|James Cornish - Deciduous / Midwestern Edition Vol. 1 (EDGETONE RECORDS 2017)

Historically the Midwest of the United States is a creative center for jazz and improvised music being the birthplace for organisations such as the AACM and BAG, as well as pioneers Albert Ayler, Faruq Z. Bey, and Raasan Roland Kirk to name just a few. Rent Romus, born in the great north of Michigan is no stranger to the pull of the lands and the creative soul of its music. Deciduous is an ongoing project based on the mutual bridging of those who share the creative tenacity, history and transitory nature of improvisation. This edition features the creative force of musicians from Columbus Gerard Cox, Hasan Abdur-Razzaq, John Philip Allen, Steve Simula Caleb Miller and from Detroit James Cornish.

Hailed by Downbeat as having "...a bold sound, unmistakeable sincerity and conviction", Rent Romus is a force spanning over 25 years of music production. His performance and recordings have included a range of musicians including Thollem McDonas, Vinny Golia, John Tchicai, and Chico Freeman.

1. Presencing 03:58
2. Skyboat Gliding 14:00
3. Hammer Forge 06:34
4. Shell Games 14:43
5. The Restless Seldom Get Weary 10:16
6. Simo-casting 11:45
7. Within the Time 03:53
8. The Dream Imagined 03:47
9. Margus Fargus 08:08
10. Roadside Attraction - Bonus Track

Rent Romus - alto, soprano saxophones, flutes, small percussion 
Hasan Abdur-Razzaq - alto, tenor saxophones, bells 
James Cornish - trumpet, baritone horn 
Gerard Cox - drums, piano(tracks 1 and 11), wurlitzer(track 8) 
Caleb Miller - piano(tracks 4,8,10) wurlitzer(track 9), nord(track 3) 
Steve Simula - percussion, flutes, bells, drums(track 11) 
John Phillip Allen - double bass 

Recorded April 2016 Ornjudio Studio Columbus Ohio 
Engineered by: Joey Gurwin 
Mixed and Mastered by: Michael Zelner 
Cover Photo “Endless Summer” by Tim Perdue, Bicentennial Park fountain in Columbus Ohio 
CD Artwork by Hasah Abdur-Razzaq 
Graphic design by Rent Romus 
All music by the musicians created spontaneously

David Grubbs - Creep Mission (DRAG CITY RECORDS 2017)

Your Creep Mission, should you choose to accept it: bi-composed/improvised guitar instrumentals featuring Grubbs and "Prismrose" collaborator Eli Kenzler, with Nate Wooley and Jan St. Werner. File under: melancholy raga, sludge-rock, pointalistic electroacoustics and nylon string minatures.

1. Skylight 6:29
2. Creep Mission 6:01
3. The Bonapartes Of Baltimore 2:52
4. Jeremiadaic 5:03
5. Jack Dracula In A Bar 2:26
6. Return Of The Creep 3:29
7. The C In Certain 6:24

David Grubbs guitars
Nate Wooley trumpet (1, 2, 4, 6, 7)
Eli Keszler  drums, percussion  (1, 2, 4)
Jan St. Werner  electronics (1, 4)

Charles Gayle / Giovani Barcella / Manolo Cabras - Live in Belgium (EL NEGOCITO RECORDS 2017)

Charles Gayle remains a living embody and voice of the great African American tradition; his sincerity and intensity are recognized as unique and absolutely dazzling, live and on a recording. Each concert Gayle is the continuation of the great tradition that can still be called "free." However not in the sense of the "free jazz" some people still speak of. Gayles mastery of that tradition is confirmed on his solo and pianowork. 

After being invited to Belgium by el NEGOCITO Records for the Citadelic Festival in 2012, the Italian drummer Giovanni Barcella (Marshall Allen, Arthur Doyle, Bobby Few, J.J. Avenel) organized three tours through Italy and Belgium, with the Italian double bass player Manolo Cabras. The meeting of minds was immediate, the musical coesion and respect for each another reason to keep on playing and releasing this live album. 

"They'd stop to hear a song, but I'm not playing songs. What I hear is the traffic. Everybody in New York hears it, but it's really vivid in my head. Horns and children and birds, too – I hear them so clearly, they hit me so hard. The subway roar, the jackhammers. Not that they're so loud but they stay there. The trucks and the sirens and the screeching and the hollering and the brakes, all that jagged movement, the Arggghhhh!" Jean Claude Charles Gayle (US) about him playing on the streets of NY.

1. Chiaro sguardo
C. Gayle / G. Barcella / M. Cabras - 06:40

2. Tears
C. Gayle - 02:52

3. Di piccola taglia
C. Gayle / G. Barcella / M. Cabras - 09:36

4. Sempre
M. Cabras - 04:18

5. Dimmi
C. Gayle / G. Barcella / M. Cabras - 05:50

6. Steps
C. Gayle - 07:22

7. Tears (la parola chiara)
C. Gayle / G. Barcella / M. Cabras - 04:46

Recording, Mixing & Mastering Engineer: Manolo Cabras
Artwork & Photography: Dries Verstraete
Production: Rogé Verstraete & Giovanni Barcella

Kelly Green - Life Rearranged (2017)

This album is a story of my life through original compositions and arrangements of standards that speak to my life on a personal level. I got together with some of my favorite musicians and friends in the world and we recorded this music "live" in the studio in December of 2016. "Kelly Green is one of the most talented and spirited people I know. Everything about her is joyous and swingin'!" - Christian McBride

1. Life Rearranged ( 3:17)
2. Never Will I Marry (Feat. Josh Evans, Noam Israeli & Tamir Shmerling) ( 4:08)
3. I'll Know (Feat. Christian Mcbride) ( 3:25)
4. Little Daffodil (Feat. Steve Nelson, Josh Evans, Noam Israeli & Tamir Shmerling) ( 3:52)
5. If You Thought To Ask Me (Feat. Josh Evans, Kush Abadey, Jovan Alexandre, Mike Troy & Matt Dwonszyk) ( 5:38)
6. I Should Care (Feat. Christian Mcbride & Noam Israeli) ( 4:00)
7. Culture Shock (Feat. Josh Evans, Kush Abadey, Jovan Alexandre, Mike Troy & Matt Dwonszyk) (11:51)
8. Sunday In New York (Feat. Christian Mcbride, Josh Evans & Noam Israeli) ( 5:14)
9. Simple Feelings - The Truth (Feat. Josh Evans, Kush Abadey, Jovan Alexandre, Mike Troy & Matt Dwonszyk) ( 5:50)
10. If I'm Lucky (Feat. Steve Nelson) ( 5:01)
11. All Of You (Feat. Josh Evans, Jovan Alexandre, Mike Troy, Kush Abadey & Matt Dwonszyk) ( 5:15)
12. I Sing (Feat. Christian Mcbride, Josh Evans & Noam Israeli) ( 5:01)
13. Life Rearranged (Reprise) (Feat. Josh Evans, Kush Abadey, Jovan Alexandre, Mike Troy & Matt Dwonszyk) ( 4:26)

Leroy Hutson - Anthology 1972-1984 (ACID JAZZ 2017)

Acid Jazz are present definitive Leroy Hutson compilation – Anthology : 1972-1984. A legend to soul fans, his catalogue has been increasingly sought after by collectors and producers since the last time it was widely available nearly 20 years ago.

College friends and early collaborator with Donny Hathaway then hand-picked as Curtis Mayfield’s replacement in The Impressions, his solo career resulted in 7 albums for Mayfield’s Curtom label. They are considered some of the greatest of the era and the very best music from them is collected here.

Licensed from Mr Hutson himself, this represents his first approved Anthology, and comes in a beautiful package with an essay by soul expert and Mojo Award winning writer Tony ounce and memorabilia and photos from Mr. Hutson’s own personal archive. The first single lifted to preview the album – the previously unreleased Positive Forces has been championed at 6 Music by Gilles Peterson who described it as one of the most important discoveries of the past ten years.

Large Unit - Fluku (PNL Records 2017)

Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s big band Large Unit returns with its third album, following the monster multi-disc statement “Erta Ale” in 2014 and last year’s “ANA” (which incorporated an expanded line-up of Brazilian musicians/influences). “Fluku” finds the band scaled down to its 12-member core, and can perhaps be seen as the first “regular” Large Unit album, although there is never anything regular about this constantly evolving band. 

“Fluku” was recorded in Oslo in 2016, and unlike “ANA”, which was recorded in the middle of a frenzied year of extensive touring (as documented in the “2015” tour photo-book/2CD set), this is a document of a band confident in themselves, with members not just following the band leader’s guidance, but as also letting their individual voices contribute to the whole. New to the line-up is sax player Kristoffer Berre Alberts, expanding and giving the band a more present front section. 

The album’s centerpiece is the 26-minute long opening title track, which shows a new side of Nilssen-Love as a composer, working with orchestrating and voicing of chords in a way that will surprise those who have followed the band from the beginning. The track will also become a benchmark for guitarist Ketil Gutvik, who displays an impressive range, with traces of both Sharrock and McLaughlin in his playing. Another standout is the track “Springsummer”, which could almost be called a ballad. 

“Fluku” shows that Large Unit isn’t a short-lived big band vanity project. Large Unit is a band that’s here to stay, and they’ve got a lot more up their sleeves.

1. Fluku 25:54
2. Springsummer 05:46
3. Playgo 16:22
4. Happy Slappy 09:42

Julie Kjær - alto saxophone, flute 
Klaus Ellerhusen Holm - Bb clarinet, alto and baritone saxophone 
Kristoffer Berre Alberts - alto and tenor saxophone 
Thomas Johansson - trumpet 
Mats Äleklint - trombone 
Per Åke Holmlander - tuba 
Ketil Gutvik - electric guitar 
Tommi Keränen - electronics 
Jon Rune Strøm - electric and double bass 
Christian Meaas Svendsen - electric and double bass 
Andreas Wildhagen - drums and percussion 
Paal Nilssen-Love - drums and percussion 
Christian Brynildsen Obermayer - live sound 

Recorded 8th of April 2016 at Victoria, Nasjonal Jazzscene, Oslo. 
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Christian Brynildsen Obermayer. 

Photo by Petra Cvelbar. Cover art by Lasse Marhaug. 

All music by Paal Nilssen-Love (TONO/Cien Fuegos). 

Thanks to Fond for Lyd og Bilde for supporting this production. 
Thanks also to Nasjonal Jazzscene, Arts Council Norway, Norsk Jazzforum, Music Norway and Fund for Performing Artists.