Saturday, March 31, 2018

Thomas Bartlett & Nico Muhly - Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music (NONESUCH RECORDS May 18, 2018)

Longtime friends and collaborators Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) and Nico Muhly release a new album, Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music, May 18, 2018, on Nonesuch Records. Peter Pears comprises nine songs written by the duo plus three gamelan transcriptions by ethnomusicologist Colin McPhee that inspired the songs. Peter Pears is available to preorder from the Nonesuch Store and iTunes, where the album tracks "Dominic," "Gambangan," and "Festina" may be downloaded instantly; they can also be heard on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube in the videos below. Bartlett and Muhly perform the Peter Pears music on May 24 at (le) poisson rouge in New York City as part of its tenth anniversary festival, June 6 at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, and June 8 at LSO St Luke's in London presented by the Barbican. Details and tickets at

McPhee lived in Bali during the 1930s, where he studied the gamelan intensively, bringing its sounds with him back to the Americas as one of the first composers to incorporate "world music" into his work. Returning to New York, McPhee moved in a group of artists that lived at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn. Alongside W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, and Gypsy Rose Lee, he found the collaborator with whom in 1941 he would record his westernized transcriptions, for two pianos, of the ceremonial music he had heard in Bali: the composer Benjamin Britten, who would himself travel to Indonesia, and drew heavily on its traditions in his own later works.

In college, Muhly and Bartlett became obsessed with these recordings and started writing music rooted in their textures and interlocking rhythms. The resulting nine songs reflects both artists' recent work—from Muhly's attempts to bridge the gap between post-minimalist composition and many other musical obsessions, to Bartlett's Oscar–nominated work with Sufjan Stevens for Call Me by Your Name. The project is named for Britten's partner, who also lived at 7 Middagh; accompanied Britten to Bali; and sang with a voice arguably as unusual as the one Bartlett deploys on this album. Pears was Britten's link to a wider community of artists; similarly, these songs feature a large cast of Bartlett and Muhly's regular collaborators on strings and metallic pitched percussion.

Bartlett says, "I wanted to not write in the same voice as I wrote Doveman songs, which is essentially "sad heartbroken boy who can barely muster the will to sing", and I was a little sick of that. I ended up going through baby books my mom has from when I was a little kid, finding strange things I had said, and building lyrics off of that—then folding in all of these references to different saints and things that seemed connected to Peter Pears, to Colin McPhee, to that world."

Muhly adds, "How integral the relationship is between someone's life partner and their music informs the lyrics too. McPhee's transcriptions are instrumental, so they don't really "mean" anything, but there's this matrix of connections that are both musical and emotional."

Thomas Bartlett, also known as Doveman, is an American pianist, singer, and producer. He has worked with many Nonesuch artists—including Sam Amidon, David Byrne, the Magnetic Fields, Mandy Patinkin, and Chris Thile—as well as Sufjan Stevens, Glen Hansard, The National, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, The Gloaming, Martha Wainwright, and others. Born in Vermont, Bartlett studied piano in London with Maria Curcio. As teenagers, he and Amidon formed the folk music band Popcorn Behavior (aka Assembly), and released three albums. Upon moving to New York, Bartlett began performing with Chocolate Genius and Elysian Fields. The first Doveman record, The Acrobat, was produced by Patrick Dillett, as was 2007's With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead. In 2008 Bartlett released a solo re-imagining of the Footloose soundtrack. The Conformist (2009), again produced by Dillett, featured members of The National, as well as backing vocals by Hansard, Wainwright, Norah Jones, Beth Orton, and Dawn Landes.

Nico Muhly is an American composer and collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and others, he has written more than eighty works for the concert stage. Muhly is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and, as an arranger, has paired with Joanna Newsom, Antony and the Johnsons, Sufjan Stevens, and The National. He has composed for stage and screen, with credits that include music for The Glass Menagerie and scores for the films Kill Your Darlings; Me, Earl and the Dying Girl; and The Reader. Born in Vermont, Muhly studied composition with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse at The Juilliard School before working as an editor and conductor for Philip Glass. Muhly's previous Nonesuch recordings are the Metropolitan Opera's recording of his Two Boys and his collaboration with Teitur, Confessions. He lives in New York.

A playlist with much of the music Bartlett and Muhly have each collaborated on can be heard below via Spotify and on Apple Music.

01 “Gambangan”
02 “Dominic”
03 “Festina”
04 “Grendel”
05 “Pemoengkah”
06 “Valentine”
07 “Albeus”
08 “Nicholas”
09 “Taboeh Teloe”
10 “Selenite”
11 “Eusebius”
12 “Balthasar”

Brad Mehldau Trio - Seymour Reads the Constitution! (NONESUCH RECORDS May 18, 2018)

Brad Mehldau Trio's Seymour Reads the Constitution! is due May 18, 2018, on Nonesuch Records. The pianist and his longtime trio, which includes drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier, perform three Mehldau originals combined with interpretations of pop songs (Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson), jazz tunes (Elmo Hope, Sam Rivers), and one work from the American songbook (Frederick Loewe's "Almost Like Being in Love"). Seymour Reads the Constitution! is available for pre-order now at iTunes and the Nonesuch Store, where an instant download of the album track "Spiral" is included with purchase. The song also can be heard on Spotify, Apple Music, and below. More info...

1  Spiral(Brad Mehldau) 8:33
2  Seymour Reads the Constitution(Brad Mehldau) 8:03
3  Almost Like Being in Love(Frederick Loewe) 5:41
4  De-Dah(Elmo Hope) 8:42
5  Friends(Brian Wilson) 8:15
6  Ten Tune(Brad Mehldau) 10:07
7  Great Day(Paul McCartney) 5:54
8  Beatrice(Sam Rivers) 8:54


Brad Mehldau Solo

Apr 2 Philharmonie de Paris Paris, FRANCE
Apr 4 Le POC Alfortville, FRANCE

Brad Mehldau Trio

Apr 11 Manship Theatre Baton Rouge, LA
Apr 12 Paramount Theatre Austin, TX
Apr 13 Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center Houston, TX
Apr 14 Edith O'Donnell Arts and Technology Building Richardson, TX
Apr 15 Boulder Theater Boulder, CO
Apr 17 Wassermann Festival Concert Series Logan, UT
Apr 19–21  Scullers Jazz Club Boston, MA
Apr 22 Swyer Theatre Albany, NY
Apr 24 The Academy of Music Theatre Northampton, MA
May 7 Konzerthaus Berlin Berlin, GERMANY
May 8 National Concert Hall Dublin, IRELAND
May 9–11  Bimhuis Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
May 12 Sinopoli Hall Rome, ITALY
May 13 Hybernia Theatre Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC
May 15 Grande Salle Arsenal Metz, FRANCE
May 16 Théâtre de Privas Privas Cedex, FRANCE
May 17 Theatre de Sablons Neuilly, FRANCE
May 18 Wiener Konzerthaus Vienna, AUSTRIA
May 19 Onassis Cultural Centre Athens, GREECE
Jul 27 Auditorio Kursaal De San Sebastian, San Sebastian, SPAIN

Oboman / Ithursarry - Paris by Song (JAZZ FAMILY RECORDS 2018)

Ce Paris By Song est un voyage initiatique et déambulatoire dans Paris, à l’image d’une manifestation (où les revendications ne seraient que d’ordre artistique et esthétique) qui partirait de la place de la République (premier morceau) à la place de la Bastille (onzième et dernier morceau), en passant par le Pont des Arts, le Moulin Rouge, le Père Lachaise, le Grand Palais, le Palais Royal, Montmartre et Belleville. Un voyage musical ponctué de bruits de la ville où certains morceaux sans indication de lieu dans leurs titres sont pourtant évocateur d’une géolocalisation précise : Casa Pepe est un restaurant espagnol situé rue Mouffetard qui était l’escale privilégiée à Paris de Paco de Lucia et Rêve Bohémien, signé par Jo Privat, évoque les bals musette de la rue de Lappe. Tous les morceaux de cet album (signés par Jean-Luc Fillon, à l’exception de la reprise de Jo Privat et de Moulin Rouge, composé par Didier Ithursarry) font appel au mouvement du corps : une marche énergique (République), une déambulation chaotique (Pont des Arts, Palais Royal) et la danse bien (la frénésie de Casa Pepe, la valse de Rêve Bohémien, l’ambiance klezmer de Belleville).

Un tourbillon festif et dansant, mais aussi beaucoup de mélancolie et de poésie, de mystère et de recueillement, à l’image de Père Lachaise et de sa belle mélodie lancinante, rendant hommage à tous les grands artistes qui y reposent, et qui revient à la fin du disque en morceau caché, avec l’écho nostalgique d’un piano mécanique.

1 République 5:50
2 Pont des arts 4:23
3 Moulin Rouge 3:47
4 Père Lachaise 5:29
5 Casa Pepe 4:51
6 Grand Palais 2:59
7 Rêve bohémien 3:54
8 Palais Royal 5:20
9 Montmartre 4:21
10 Belleville 4:03
11 Bastille 4:11

Jean-Luc Oboman Fillon - oboe, hautbois d'amour, cor anglais
Didier Ithursarry - accordéon

Kira Skov - The Echo of You (STUNT RECORDS April 6, 2018)

In February 2017, Kira Skov suffered the ultimate loss when Nicolai Munch-Hansen - her husband and father to their son, Morgan, and her best friend and closest musical companion for the last 13 years - tragi- cally and unexpectedly lost his life. He was artist who knew no fear, and as an integral part of a thriving musical community, Nicolai was revered by contemporaries, listeners, and admirers alike, as one of the Danish musical environment’s influential leaders. A spirit brave enough to recog- nize his own talents, whilst ambitious and humble enough to seek out those others who could strengthen him even more. These qualities can be neither taught nor learned, and yet he gravitated toward and surrounded himself with people who shared similar musical values and understan- dings all over the world.

As a creative outlet and method of working through her grief, Kira soon began write songs for her husband shortly after his passing. Songs about life, sudden death, and the shock that follows in such aftermath. This became a way of giving her sorrow a form and also created an aura of continuity, carried by Kira and Nicolai’s tender and strong common musi- cal language. The carefully selected circle of musicians on the album, all of whom seem to share the same musical DNA as Nicolai Munch- Hansen, have managed to create a sense of continuation as supposed to an end. Bassist Anders “AC” Christensen, who, with his departed spiritual brother’s insight, has been able to enter such an extremely tender situation and be the musical voice that speaks on Nicolai’s behalf, whilst being true to himself, as the music deserves.

Kira Skov has written a number of personal songs covering a wide gam- bit, and has also found comfort and inspiration in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, as well as poets and writers including Rainer Maria Rilke, Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson and Naja Marie Aidt.

The songs are based on Kira’s personal loss, but at the same time they capture a universal theme that touches all of us. With “The Echo Of You, she distinguishes herself again as being one of our foremost singers and songwriters who seem to top herself with each release, in a musical and creative creature that seems without limits.

The musical universe unfolds in an intimate space, with sparse instru- mentation: Electric and acoustic guitars, violin, cello, double bass, and percussion. They are songs centered around storytelling, with references to a songwritiong tradition that refers to, among others, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Townes Van Zandt.

Ferit Odman - Autumn In New York (EQUINOX MUSIC & ENTERAINMENT 2018)

'Autumn in New York' is the 2nd album by highly praised Jazz Drummer Ferit Odman. Contains 7 straight-ahead Jazz tunes such as 'Autumn in New York' by Vernon Duke, 'The Soulful Mr. Timmons' by James Williams, 'Step Lightly' by Benny Golson and many more. Accompanied by trumpeter Terell Stafford and alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, Anothony Wonsey and Peter Washington this album was a great follow-up to Ferit's debut album 'Nommo'. Now available on CD the music for this 2011 released album was recorded at Acoustic Recording in Brooklyn, New York in November 2010.

Z-Country Paradise: Live in Lisbon (LEO RECORDS 2018)

Something foul is afoot. We're not sure what it is, but we know Z-Country Paradise doesn't like it. And we expect they plan to do something about it. Or maybe they're behind it. It's too soon to tell. Either way, something sinister surrounds the four men and one woman who comprise the populace of Z-Country. They observe us, but they are not us. 16 pages of photographs tell the story of this amazing live performance in Lisbon, Portugal. Z-Country is art punk, post punk, post art, bluesy here, a shuffle there, even a bit of highlife jive. Any groove they get into is incidental. This is message with a music, some new horror with a hint of a happy ending.

Psssst! This Weekend's Sonically Deep $5 Album is...

Juyma Estevez Trio - Viento del Norte (2018)

1. O baile dos vampiros 04:17
2. Chamada o combate 04:22
3. Entre tahúres 03:16
4. Blues for Brown 05:58
5. Viento del Norte 05:32
6. Faino tí! 04:48
7. Miradas 05:52
8. Like my booga? 02:36
9. Nostalgia 09:32

David Regueiro: guitarra 
Noli Torres: batería 

Todos los temas han sido compuestos por Juyma Estévez excepto Like my booga? que fue compuesto por David Regueiro

Michi Castro: sonido, grabación y mezclas
Amador Lorenzo Blach: fotografía y diseño
Cecilia Castro Dos Santos: diseño
Isaac Millán: master y mezclas

Grabado en el auditorio de Bueu por Sonart en febrero del 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Steve Gadd - Steve Gadd Band (2018)

This is the fourth release, a self-titled one for Steve Gadd’s own band, following closely the release of Gadd’s collaboration with Chick Corea just two months ago. The album features Steve Gadd on drums and handling the producer role, joined by Walt Fowler on trumpet/flugelhorn, Kevin Hays on keyboards, vocals; Jimmy Johnson on bass and Michael Landau on guitars. Fowler, Johnson and Landau are, like Gadd himself, all veterans of James Taylor’s touring band. Hays was suggested by Larry Goldings, the band’s former keyboardist. This band’s previous effort, Live from Rochester, NY in 20016 was nominated for a Best Contemporary Instrumental Album Grammy®.

There’s also immediate family involvement in this project where Gadd’s son, Duke, also a drummer, adds acoustic guitar to the third track and percussion to a couple of others. Each of the five core band members contributes originals, thereby creating a diversely rich sound palette.

This reference may be unnecessary for many, but just in case, realize that Gadd is one of the most highly acclaimed drummers in history, having performed on literally thousands of sessions and live gigs for more than four decades. Artist ranging from Steely Dan, Paul McCartney, B.B. King, George Benson, James Brown and Al Jarreau to Chick Corea contribute just a tiny percentage of his discography.

Steve Gadd Band opens with “I Know, But Tell Me Again,” one of three songs contributed by Johnson and one that allows generous stretching-out space to Hays and Landau. “Auckland By Numbers,” by Landau, moves into a ballad mode. Duke Gadd, Michael Landau and Kevin Hays co-wrote “Where’s Earth?” featuring Duke’s acoustic guitar work and epitomizing just how seamlessly his Dad can handle tricky rhythmic changes. “Foameopathy,” written by Gadd along with Larry Goldings and Walt Fowler, features thoughtful solo spots from Fowler and Landau.

Other highlights include Fowler’s extended flugelhorn soloing on the ballad-like “Norma’s Girl” and dual drumming percussion of the Gadds on Landau’s “Rat Race.” “Temporary Fault,” the only cover song on the album is from Allan Holdsworth, the master guitarist who passed last year. The song has special meaning to Jimmy Johnson, who had played with Holdsworth. “Spring Song” features the album’s only vocal, courtesy of Hays who handles it so nicely, leaving us wanting a few more. His vocals mesh nicely with the subsequent solos from Fowler and Landau.

Unlike many jazz offerings, the songs here are succinct. While there is ample soloing from Fowler, Landau and Hays, the focus is on group interplay. This is contemporary jazz that some may consider jazz-fusion. Despite similar instrumentation, the group generates a lighter, brisker sound, absent of the heavy rock elements that characterizes much of fusion. This is music for today, well composed, melodic and eminently accessible.


Dave Gordon Sextet - Ears Have It (2018)

"Adventurous roots on these trees!" All tracks were recorded at Saturn Studio in Evanston

1. The Jabberwock 07:31
2. Ears Have It 03:46
3. Cotton Candy 05:40
4. Z Blues 02:10
5. Sandhill 03:25
6. Osmosis 05:39
7. Glimpse Of Reality 05:41
8. Disposition 08:32
9. Three More 04:47
10. Nothing Left To Lose 09:44
11. Junction 33 04:56
12. Birch Trees In The Snow 06:06

Jack Gallagher - Bass Trumpet
Brian Gephart, Dave Zielinski - Saxes

Brian Sandstrom and Ken Haebich - Bass
Dushun Mosley and Phil Gratteau - Drums

Alan Hall and Ratatet - Heroes, Saints and Clowns (RIDGEWAY RECORDS 2018)

Ratatet sprung from a collective trio named Electreo, which featured bassoon, bass and drums.

Seeking a fuller sound and more musical options; San Francisco based leader, composer, and drummer Alan Hall added trombone, vibes and keyboards.

1. Demographic Shift 02:50
2. Lane and Joanna 05:33
3. Heroes, Saints and Clowns 05:39
4. A Short Poem for a Shattered Age 03:11
5. Grattitude 05:06
6. Michael Shannon 04:25
7. Agnes Martin 02:51

Ratatet Is: 
Paul Hanson - bassoon, tenor sax
John Gove - trombone
Dillon Vado - vibes
Greg Sankovich - piano, organ
Jeff Denson - electric and acoustic bass
Alan Hall - drums, composer, leader

w/ special guests: Joseph Hebert - cello, Paul McCandless - oboe
and "One Planet Drum Corps"

Produced by Alan Hall and Jeff Denson
Co-produced by Dan Feiszli
Recorded and Mixed by dan Feiszli
Mastered by Ken Lee

Brad Webb - Making Faces (BREAKFAST FOR DINNER RECORDS 2018)

"Brad Webb has a vibrancy to his nature that translates well to his style of play at the drums."
– Anthony Dean-Harris,

"His tunes have an energy and place for his band to make them their own, and that makes for a fine record that any modern-jazz fan will appreciate."
– Dave Kunian,

"Brad Webb plays drums like a wind-up Freddie Mercury Doll. That is a compliment." 
– Jason Crane, The Jazz Session

Riverside Jazz Collective - Stomp Off, Let's Go! (2018)

In the old days, when one could see the liner notes on the back of the “record,” or the “lp,” those paragraphs served a commercial purpose: to make the undecided purchaser head to the cash register at a trot, clutching the record. Today, the purchaser might read the notes after buying the CD (or perhaps not at all): so I write to share my enthusiasm. And there’s a lot to be enthusiastic about the Riverside Jazz Collective. 

Musicians I know speak of “playing tunes,” as in “Oh, we played some tunes,” which suggests that on those occasions there is little written music but much collective joy that comes out of well-earned knowledge of the music. The RJC knows the original records and they may have “roadmaps” as in “Second chorus is stop-time for cornet and piano only,” but they aren’t trying to create imitations of the classics in the best sound. And they have the comfortable ease and friendliness – to us, to each other – of A Working Band, something delicious and rare. 

The RJC is interested in “old” songs that are melodically and emotionally durable – from joyous stomps to love songs to one Chicago lament that says, “You know what? I’m going to kill myself,” even if the lyrics are too witty for that to be a real threat. Their repertoire is often “New Orleans jazz,” however you might define it, as it surfaced in other cities, notably Chicago. And one can point to a good number of Ancestors here, from Tony Jackson to Louis Armstrong to Oliver, Morton, Keppard, Bunk, and Ory. 

This band also enacts a neat balance between collective improvisation and solos, but they bring a little twenty-first century energy, elegance, and intelligence to their hot reverence. Enthusiasm is the driving force here, not cautious antiquarianism. This band has also heard jazz created after 1927, and that awareness gives these performances a happy elasticity, an optimistic bounce. Hear HERE COMES THE TAMALE MAN for a brilliant example of sonic joy-spreading. I could explain more, but it would cost extra. 

It feels good, and it feels real. You know there are mountains of what I’d call “tofu music” being marketed as genuine, but your ears, your feet, and your heart tell you when the jazz has been manufactured in a lab by chemists. I greet the Riverside Jazz Collective at the start of what I hope is their brilliant career. My words are written in a time of ice and snow, but the music warms and embraces. And now IT BELONGS TO YOU.

Michael Steinman 

1. Stomp Off, Let's Go 03:44
2. It Belongs To You 03:36
3. Just Gone 03:00
4. Here Comes The Hot Tamale Man 03:50
5. Wabash Blues 04:56
6. Ready For The River 02:25
7. Riverside Blues 03:14
8. Don't Leave Me In The Ice And Snow 04:06
9. Swipesy Cakewalk 03:31
10. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me 02:43
11. One Sweet Letter From You 04:11
12. See See Rider 03:11
13. Melancholy Blues 02:57
14. Society Blues 02:39
15. Whenever You're Lonesome (Just Telephone Me) 05:00

Benny Amon - Drums
Alex Belhaj - Guitar & Vocal (6, 10)
Kris Tokarski - Piano
Tyler Thomson - String Bass (1, 3, 4, 6-9, 12, 13)
Ben Polcer - Trumpet (1, 3, 4, 6-9, 12, 13) & Vocal (12)
Andy Reid - String Bass (2, 5, 10, 11, 14, 15)
Alex Owen - Cornet (2, 5, 10, 11, 14, 15) & Vocal (2)
Charlie Halloran - Trombone
Chloe Feoranzo - Clarinet & Vocal (15)

This album was recorded at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music and funded by a generous donation from the Perkin Fund.

Produced by Benny Amon, Alex Belhaj and Kris Tokarski

Recording and Mixing Engineer: Daryl Dickerson (Ellis Marsalis Center For Music)

Mastering: David Farrell

Graphic Design and Layout: Nathan duToit