Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pianist Ryan Slatko Releases Debut Album “First Impressions” (2017)

Ryan Slatko Releases Debut Album “First Impressions” That Features Original Works And Line-Up Of Leading Artists

Florida pianist, composer, and arranger Ryan Slatko recently released his debut album entitled First Impressions backed by a notable line-up of prominent musicians including Daniel Dickinson (alto/soprano saxophone); Linda Oh (acoustic bass); Ulysses Owens, Jr. (drums); Joel Ross (vibraphone); and Samir Zarif (tenor saxophone). The independent recording was recorded in New York City in 2016 and produced by recognized drummer and producer Ulysses Owens, Jr.

First Impressions is a culmination of Slatko’s musical experiences thus far. Through thoughtfully written compositions and personalized arrangements of select jazz standards, Slatko establishes a marked sense of confidence and maturity for a young artist. Apparent throughout the recording, is the piano player’s adept improvisation and command of the keyboard, which can be attributed to his dedication to the instrument and guidance he has received over the years from distinguished instructors such as Don Friedman, Alan Broadbent, Ari Hoenig, Gil Goldstein, Taylor Eigsti, and Kenny Werner. 

Slatko began his journey into jazz as a drummer and was introduced to diverse styles of music by his father who was an amateur guitarist, before being introduced to the piano at thirteen years of age. Following high school, he attended University of North Florida and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 2015. It was during his years in Florida that he received several impressive achievements, placing third in the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition in 2014, as well as reaching the semifinals of the American Jazz Pianist Competition for two consecutive years.

A relative newcomer to New York, Slatko completed a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies at New York University in 2017 while immersing himself in the city’s unparalleled music scene. He has shared the stage and recorded with an impressive cadre of artists including Randy Brecker, Ari Hoenig, Linda Oh, Rich Perry, Chris Potter, Adam Rogers, Tom Scott, and Alex Sipiagin, among others. Slatko is currently performing in support of First Impressions and planning upcoming concerts to showcase the album; he is also serving as the musical director for the new musical Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole in Pennsylvania

First Impressions was recorded by Chris Allen at Sear Sound Studio and mixed by Dave Darlington at Bass Hit Studio. The album is currently available on iTunes and other leading digital music platforms. For more information visit

Ross Blake Releases 'Night Song'


Released November 24th via Horsearm Records

Enter the surreal world of UK Polymath Ross Blake. The London based musician has dropped the latest single from his forthcoming album – the  eerie, dreamlike ‘Night Song’

Fearlessly charting a journey into a world of mystery, Ross Blake's delirious original soundtrack to Pretty en Rose conjures up the glamorous milieu of its parent film, yet goes beyond to inhabit its own peculiar and poetic realm of the imagination.

Pretty en Rose was directed by underground auteur Angélique Bosio, and documents the career of cult Parisian fashion icon Fifi Chachnil. Blake and Bosio have been acquainted for some time following Blake’s discovery of her earlier film Lilk Your Idols, which documented ‘The Cinema of Transgression’ in 80’s-90’s New York. Having then been similarly impressed by Blake's theatrical soundtracks and the experimental output of his former bands Buttonhead and Poino, she summarily enlisted him to provide a simpatico score to her film; a documentary that transcends Fifi Chachnil's diva persona, and looks behind the exotic veil of her idealised Parisian glamour-puss image to investigate the personality within.

Taking French musical themes and interweaving them with a plethora of influences ranging from Ennio Morricone to Angelo Badalementi, and Joe Meek to Angela Morley's Watership Down soundtrack, Blake creates a finely-wrought tapestry that exists on a plateau beyond kitsch and exotica, drifting effortlessly through realms of fantasy and hallucination. Nonetheless, the strains of luminaries such as Broadcast, The Advisory Circle and Basil Kirchin might make fitting comparisons for the elegant arrangements and golden filigree herein.

A modern-day polymath, Ross Blake is given to extend his work in a variety of directions, incorporating and reconciling visual art and music. He has recently provided his customary skewed film-magic for a variety of musical artists and has already created a selection of videos to exist in tandem with this soundtrack release, exploring a trademark visual language that merges Lego vomit, double-taking dogs and Crush Fetish content amongst many other unusual delights. Furthermore, an eclectic group of notable visual artists have been commissioned to provide accompanying music videos for a selection of tracks, not to mention the coup de grâce album cover photograph of Fifi Chachnil provided by none other than superstar art-duo Pierre et Gilles.

Yet for now, feast on this sonically elegant and seductive blend of the melodically rich, atmospherically uncanny, and magically haunting work that is pure Ross Blake. Above and beyond the cinematic themes of beauty and artifice its parent film explores, he has created an album that is an overwhelming and abundant audial banquet as a peerless chronicle of the chic.

1. Ages
2. Karen Black 04:49
3. Silk Trout
4. Golden Spherics
5. Night Song
6. Old Water
7. House of Miracles 03:03
8. New Water

All music composed and produced by Ross Blake
All music recorded by Ross Blake and Gaverick de Vis
All music mixed and mastered by Prizum -

Ross Blake: Backing Vocals (1), Bass (1, 4, 6), Clarinet (7), Guitar (1, 6, 8), Organ (2, 4, 6), Piano (3–7), Programming ( 1–2), Synths ( 1–4, 6–8), Taisho Koto (1, 3), Ukulele (5), Vibraphone (4, 8). Daniel John Boyle: Percussion (3). Kelly Everett: Backing Vocals (3). Eloise Goulder: Harp ( 1, 5), Viola (3–5), Violin (3–5). Karen Gwyer: Guest Vocals (2). Lillias Kinsman-Blake: Flute (3, 4, 7). Valentina Magaletti: Percussion (3). Dearbhla Minogue: Vocals (1, 8). Luca Nasciuti: Cello (3, 4). Dwight Scruntz: Drums and Percussion (4–6). Natalie Sharp: Vocals (1, 7). Tobias Warwick Jones: Guitar (3)

Etnolab is an exciting new ensemble on the Danish music scene mixing stylistic features of folk music from Bulgaria and Turkey with the language of jazz and improvisation. The music is rich in odd meter rhythms, funky grooves, awesome tunes, and moods ranging from heartfelt melancholic valleys to exuberant euphoric mountain peaks. There are new fresh compositions in this jazz folk intersection as well as old folk songs that have been through the pipes and flasks of the ethno laboratory. Etnolab features a special guest, Orhan Özgür, a great talent in Turkish folk music with his bağlama and his beautiful vocal.

1 7-8 minutes rachenitsa #1 feat 8:36
2 Uşşak neşesi 6:35
3 Makya dava Yana 3:08
4 Bağa girdim bağ budanmış 4:57
5 Krivo pazardzhishko 6:35
6 Glava li ta boli 4:36
7 Nordic kopanitsa 6:09
8 Prituri se planinata 5:36
9 Rufinka bolna legnala 5:25
10 Zhivot i zdrave 4:55
11 7-8 minutes rachenitsa #2 feat 6:17

Featured artists:
Diyana Vasileva, vocal
Borislav Galabov, gadulka, vocal
Orhan Özgür, bağlama, vocal

Aki Rissanen – Another North (EDITION RECORDS 2017)

Another North is the flamboyant and rhythmically intense new album from Finnish pianist Aki Rissanen. Demonstrating massive progression the music shines very brightly and not only confirms the trio’s promise and right to command international attention but does so with style, grace and elegance. Following the acclaimed release in 2016 of ‘Amorandom’ which collected many 5 star accolades and the prestigious and sought after Emma Prize, The Finnish Grammy, for the best jazz album of the year the group, featuring an all star Finnish line-up, has now distinguished itself as a trio with real vision and a drive to explore new directions. This is Another North.

The trio set out to avoid complacency and not just produce another high quality album. They early on expressed the intention of following their own route with a project that marks them firmly down as a trio rooted in the wider European tradition. Aki Rissanen and his band of roving Finns have avoided the clichés of the ‘Nordic’ piano trio. Instead of focusing on creating space and minimalist touch the trio relish a new world of rhythmic intensity, pulsating grooves, hypnotic loops brought together in an intuitive desire to explore. This record commands your attention.

As Aki Rissanen explains: “With Amorandom, we briefly explored a more energetic world in our approach to our music with compositions such as ‘Bird Vision’.  As we toured and developed that music over the last 18 months, our desire to delve deeper in this direction became stronger. As a trio we wanted to collectively discover a greater intensity and energy, to stand out as a trio from the North. This music is the sum of that exploration”.

Opening with the vibrant ‘Blind Desert’, their direction is immediately clear and captivating, and there’s no letting up. With its brave arrangement of Gyorgy Ligeti’s piano etude, the trio reimagines the classical masterpiece – which was, of course influenced by Bill Evans’ music – fusing it seamlessly with jazz rhythm and sensibility; a happy happenstance as Evans is a massive inspiration and classical repertoire in general a big stylistic influence. This is a trio with something to say and these three are intent on saying it loud and with some attitude.

As one of the leading ensembles on the vibrant Finnish scene the Aki Rissanen Trio has reset its compass and is heading into new territories that will inevitably lead to greater international attention. It is reconceptualising what is possibly for the piano trio, what is possible for jazz from the Nordic countries, what is possible for European music. This is the Aki Rissanen Trio. This is their Another North.

1. Blind Desert 06:47
2. John's Sons 06:04
3. New Life And Other Beginnings 03:55
4. Etude 5 - Arc en CIel Reimagined 05:01
5. Nature of the Beast 07:40
6. Before The Aftermath 06:28
7. Hubble Bubble 07:08