Saturday, January 20, 2018

Composer/saxophonist Owen Broder receives 2018 Herb Albert Young Jazz Composer Award

The ASCAP Foundation has announced that composer/saxophonist Owen Broder is one of 15 recipients of the 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards. The program, established in 2002 to encourage young gifted jazz composers up to the age of 30, carries the name of the great trumpeter and ASCAP member Herb Alpert in recognition of The Herb Alpert Foundation’s multi-year financial commitment to the initiative. The recipients, who receive cash awards, range in age from 14 to 29 and are selected through a juried national competition. ASCAP Info

Based in New York City, Broder, 28, runs in a variety of musical circles as both bandleader and sideman. His jazz quintet, Cowboys & Frenchmen, received critical acclaim for its 2015 release, Rodeo, and its 2017 follow-up Bluer Than You Think. Broder is a member of the Anat Cohen Tentet and has performed with internationally respected jazz artists including Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project and Trio Globo; he has traveled with The Temptations and The Four Tops, and opened for Grammy Award-winner John Legend with his own soul band, Bitchin’ Kitchen; in musical theater, he was a member of the pit orchestras for the German tour of Grease and the off-Broadway production For the Last Time, appeared with the band in David Bowie’s Lazarus, and originated the woodwind chair in the U.S. Premier tour of The Bodyguard: The Musical. Broder holds a bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master's from the Manhattan School of Music.

He earned the award for his composition “Goin’ Up Home” which opens Heritage the debut album of his all-star American Roots Project out March 1, 2018 via ArtistShare.

The recording offers a stunning new vision of American roots music - from Appalachian folk to early blues, spirituals to bluegrass - through bold and inspired new interpretations envisioned through a modern jazz lens. Performing on the recording are Sara Caswell, Scott Wendholt, Nick Finzer, James Shipp, Frank Kimbrough, Jay Anderson, Matt Wilson, and on three tracks transcendent vocal trio of Wendy Gilles, Kate McGarry and Vuyo Sotashe.

Ryan Truesdell produced the album and penned a tune; others contributing are Grammy-winning pianist/arranger Jim McNeely, composer/arranger Bill Holman, trumpeter/composer Alphonso Horne, and bandleader/pianist Miho Hazama.

Broder and the band celebrate the album on Wednesday, March 14 at the Jazz Standard, NYC.
Owen Broder Website

Steve Reich: Pulse / Quartet (Colin Currie Group & International Contemporary Ensemble) NONESUCH RECORDS February 2, 2018

Steve Reich's Pulse / Quartet includes the world-premiere recordings of Pulse, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Quartet, played by the Colin Currie Group. The Los Angeles Times notes the "lyricism, gorgeous instrumental textures and affecting harmonies" of Pulse, and the New York Times says of Quartet: "Written for two vibraphones and two pianos, Quartet is Mr. Reich's first piece for those two instruments alone, and the combination is ingenious and seductive, and deployed with subtle craftsmanship."

Nonesuch releases Steve Reich's Pulse / Quartet on February 2, 2018; on vinyl March 30. Pulse (2015) is performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)—an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced—and Quartet (2013) is played by the Colin Currie Group, an ensemble led by percussionist Colin Currie that specializes in the music of Steve Reich; these are also the ensembles that gave the world premiere performances of the respective works. Pulse / Quartet is available to pre-order at iTunes and the Nonesuch Store, where an instant download of the third movement of Quartet, Reich says, "Pulse, for winds, strings, piano and electric bass, was completed in 2015 and was, in part, a reaction to Quartet, in which I changed keys more frequently than in any previous work. In Pulse I felt the need to stay put harmonically and spin out smoother wind and string melodic lines in canon over a constant pulse in the electric bass and or piano. From time to time this constant pulse is accented differently through changing hand alternation patterns on the piano. All in all, a calmer more contemplative piece."

He continues, "Quartet, when mentioned in the context of concert music, is generally assumed to mean string quartet. In my case, the quartet that has played a central role in many of my pieces (besides the string quartet) is that of two pianos and two percussion. It appears like that or in expanded form with more pianos or more percussion in The Desert Music; Sextet; Three Movements; The Four Sections; The Cave; Dance Patterns; Three Tales; You Are (Variations); Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings; Daniel Variations; Double Sextet; and Radio Rewrite. In Quartet, there is just this group alone: two vibes and two pianos.

"The piece is one of the more complex I have composed. It frequently changes key and often breaks off continuity to pause or take up new material. Though the parts are not unduly difficult, it calls for a high level of ensemble virtuosity. The form is one familiar throughout history: fast, slow, fast, played without pause. The slow movement introduces harmonies not usually found in my music."

Steve Reich has been called "our greatest living composer" (New York Times) and "the most original musical thinker of our time" (New Yorker). His path has embraced not only Western Classical music, but the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz. "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states the Guardian. In April 2009 Steve Reich was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Double Sextet. Nonesuch has released twenty-three Steve Reich albums, beginning in 1985 with The Desert Music and including two box sets; his most recent album was Radio Rewrite (2014).

1  Pulse  14:21
2  Quartet: I. Fast  6:46
3  Quartet: II. Slow  3:59
4  Quartet: III. Fast  5:53

Jimmy Chamberlin Complex - The Parable (MAKE RECORDS 2018)

When drummer Jimmy Chamberlin quit or was fired from the Smashing Pumpkins in 2009, he announced that he was going to focus his attention on the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. This was good news. The Complex's 2005 debut Life Begins Again was freewheeling and colorful, filled to the brim with psychedelia, heavy pop, and heaping dose of post-rock. Billy Corgan was there, Rob Dickinson was there, even Bill Medley contributed to a track.

It was a strong and promising start, but the 12-year break that followed meant that Chamberlin had to rebuild his band from the ground up once again. The Parable, the Complex's long-awaited second album, throws out the template that worked so well on Life Begins Again and devotes all of its attention to more conventional bop with just a shade of the fusion left over from last time.

Guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme and bassist Billy Mohler remain from the previous lineup while pianist Randy Ingram and saxophonist Chris Speed join in to round things out. When it comes to contemporary jazz, Chris Speed has played with nearly everyone. When it comes to Woolstenhulme, Mohler is fooling absolutely no one when he says "Sean's never played a jazz gig in his life." They give him credit for "courage" in joining the band, even though his solo on The Parable's opener "Horus and the Pharaoh" sounds like he is genuinely out of his depth. The dead, disaffected guitar sound that is symptomatic of 21st-century indie rock creates an all-around numbing effect through The Parable's otherwise stellar originals. Some of his passages even sound like they were copied and pasted.

Fortunately, most of the other elements fall neatly into place. Speed strikes up a pretty good melody on "El Born", handing the piece off to Ingram for a sturdy solo. "Thoughts of Days Long Past" is The Parable's slow, thoughtful number that allows all five musicians to prolong each musical thought that happens to find its way into the studio. "Dance of the Grebe" seems to take a cue from Dave Holland's Conference of the Birds, using jazz to mimic certain aviary phenomenon. Says Chamberlin of the ritual; "The dance of the grebe is cool, right? If you've never seen it, you would never forget it. It's like, 'What the hell is that bird doing, man?'"

When it comes to Jimmy Chamberlin's own performances, all six tracks help to offer up more of what drew music fans to him all those years ago when Gish first appeared -- an uncanny control of his snare coupled with fills that paid nods to Keith Moon as well as Dennis Chambers. But context is everything, and The Parable feels like a muted version of what Chamberlin and his band are capable of. Somewhere in the press release is a mention of how Billy Mohler wants to make three more albums with the Complex this year. This is a splendid idea. They can, and need, to outdo The Parable.

Alfredo Rodriguez - The Little Dream (MACK AVENUE RECORDS February 23, 2018)

"The Little Dream," the title track of Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodríguez's fourth studio album (Mack Avenue Records), gently builds into an uplifting statement - one that reflects the hope children hold in building a brighter future, where tiny dreams manifest into grandiose realities.

There is no better example of this than Rodríguez's own personal journey: from his humble beginnings in Cuba to being discovered by Quincy Jones, ultimately leaving his family behind to immigrate to the United States and pursue his own dream. Over the past decade, Rodríguez has gone from a young local Cuban artist to a globally recognized Grammy®-nominee with three critically acclaimed releases on Mack Avenue Records: Sounds of Space (2011), The Invasion Parade (2014), and Tocororo (2016).

Over the years, Rodríguez's worldwide tours have shaped his diverse global point of view. "I believe people are more similar than different. We live in a time where we have so many ways to inform ourselves, and yet some places - and people - choose to remain isolated. As a result, the world can lack peace and empathy, instead of showing unity and tolerance."

In a time where governments want to build walls instead of bridges, and uplifting programs like DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) are being rescinded, Rodríguez understands how important "dreams" are, especially for today's youth - and the immigrant children known as "DREAMers" - for shaping a more unified future. He expresses, "the title of my new album, The Little Dream, is my response to our current world climate. The title comes from my fascination with the dream world, which is a beautiful manifestation of our reality. My greatest dream is one where all humans live happily and in peace. Children are the hope and the answer to creating a world of love, peace, unity and understanding."

The Little Dream was recorded in just two days, with a majority of the songs being done impressively in one take. Rodríguez explains, "I don't like perfection in the common sense of the word. For me, perfection is how we react to something initially, and that makes my music better and more honest. The most beautiful thing to me is when I play and the opposite of what I had intended happens, so I have to find a solution while I am playing! Music is like life, it's about adaption and transformation in the moment." Rodríguez's commitment to improvisation is evident in his popular cover song videos, which have racked up millions of views on his social media channels.

Two musicians who join Rodríguez on The Little Dream and helped shape the album's sound are Michael Olivera and Munir Hossn. "I've been touring and playing with Michael and Munir for the last several years, so The Little Dream is a testimony to the sound we have developed."

Quincy Jones continues to serve as producer, and Rodríguez never stops learning from his teacher. "Quincy always impresses me, and for a young musician, it's such an incredible opportunity to get to be around a legend. Quincy has affected my life in so many positive ways; he is my mentor, and the most open-minded musician I know. His influence has made me a better person as well as a better musician."

As jazz music sees a resurgence in younger audiences, Rodríguez is leading the way for the new wave of Cuban musicians, including past collaborators Ibeyi and Pedrito Martinez. The rich musical history of Cuba is finally being exposed to a wider audience, which has always been a hope for many upcoming artists.

Rodríguez circles back on the title The Little Dream, which he concludes "is about the child that is within us all, and how imagination and creativity are messages for hope. No one knows better than me that a little dream can become a big dream, and big dreams can become reality."

The Little Dream
Silver Rain
Dance Like A Child
Vamos Todos A Cantar
Bésame Mucho
Tree of Stars
World of Colors
De Rua Pra Rua (From Street to Street)

Dan Siegel - Origins (DSM 2018)

A highly respected pianist and composer, Dan Siegel has 21 solo albums, and hundreds of other producing, arranging, composing and performing credits in his extensive recording career. Born in Seattle, Washington, and raised in Eugene, Oregon, Dan began piano lessons at age eight, and started performing professionally as lead singer and guitarist in a rock band at the age of 12. He holds a BS in Music Composition and a MM in Jazz Studies, and studied piano in Boston with the legendary Madam Chaloff.

After graduating from the University of Oregon, Dan began recording his own compositions with his band. In 1979 he was signed to Inner City Records, a New York based independent jazz label. His second album, The Hot Shot (1981), reached No.1 on the Radio & Records Jazz Chart and remained in Billboard’s Top 10 selling Jazz albums for 10 weeks. In 1983 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue film and television work as well as a more active recording career. Since then, he has traveled and performed around the world in support of his numerous Top 10 recordings, and maintains a global audience.

Over the years, Dan’s albums have provided an abundance of diverse material, from the electronic oriented Another Time, Another Place (1984), (with Patrick O’Hearn and Alex Acuna) which Keyboard Magazine called the best keyboard oriented fusion LP of the year, to the exotic world music direction of Hemispheres (1995), which features an ensemble of eclectic musicians including; Bela Fleck, Ottmar Liebert, Andy Narell, Osamu Kitajima, and Dori Caymmi, playing in unique and unlikely combinations. He has produced several other projects, one of which is the group Birds of a Feather, a gathering of world-renown musicians that has included Larry Carlton, Boney James and Ernie Watts. Dan is a frequent traveler to Asia and in 1995 went to Beijing, to record and produce China’s first jazz band, Tien Square.

Siegel’s work as a TV and film composer has included the score for the cult film, Reform School Girls (1986), and Universal Studios dramatic TV series, Hard Copy (1987). He has worked as musical director/ conductor on the late night CBS TV show, Overtime with Pat O’Brien (1990). Dan has played on numerous TV and film projects as a session player, including the Oscar winning film, The Usual Suspects. Siegel has recorded and performed with a variety of artists including: Glenn Frey (The Eagles), Chaka Khan, Berlin, Philip Bailey (Earth Wind & Fire), Kenny Rankin, Hugh Masekela, Joe Sample, Herbie Hancock and the London Symphony Orchestra.

01. Rite of Passage 05:00
02. When One Door Closes 03:43
03. After All 04:44
04. Lost and Found 03:50
05. Arabesque 05:13
06. Moon and Stars 04:56
07. Strange Sky 05:13
08. Under the Sun 04:51
09. Crossing 05:04
10. Origins 04:04

Allen Hinds: electric guitar
Ramon Stagnaro: acoustic guitar
Craig Fundyga: vibraphone
Rogerio Jardim: voice
Brian Bromberg: acoustic bass
Vinnie Colaiuta: drums
Lenny Castro: percussion

Phil Stewart: Introducing Phil Stewart - Melodius Drum (CELLAR LIVE February 9, 2018)

Too often, over the last twenty years or so, jazz has drifted from the rhythmic hipness of the blues-drenched, dance-inflected tenacity of its origins.

Regardless of ambitions toward artistic seriousness in multiple shapes and iterations, jazz began as good time fun entertainment is driven by propulsive allure. Its fundamental identity never strayed too far from an incisive swing.

No matter what name was hung on it, jazz was a music of surging uplift. Listen to Pops late-’20s sessions, Earl Hines, Bechet, Ellington, Lunceford, Basie and the astonishing depth of melodic brilliance and percussive joy that emerged when Monk and Diz, Bird and Roach revamped expressive possibilities. Bud Powell galvanized that revolution. It’s not a stretch to say that jazz gained full maturity in the era that explored tonal, metrical and harmonic options at Minton’s in the early ’40s.

This album introduces an astute percussionist in the line of Max Roach, Art Taylor, Philly Joe Jones and Louis Hayes . . . PHIL STEWART. This is his professional recorded debut, but anyone paying attention here locks into the explicit grooves delineated across this disc – sharp and beguiling, more seductive than admonitory – that carve understated trenches, each inviting welcome.

Stewart is the sort of leader who goads and teases, His beckoning rhythmic clarity shines an unobtrusive laser somewhere out beyond. That’s a good trick. Vernel Fournier made a career of such prescient stealth in his time with Ahmad Jamal. So did Jo Jones with Basie and Ed Thigpen with Oscar Peterson. Those with this album nearby probably know Phil’s brother Grant, one of the most lyrical, flat out joyful tenor saxophonists on the scene. I regard Grant as one of the three or four essential players on his instrument at present. On Bud Powell’s Dance of the Infidels, Grant takes the first sax solo. On George Coleman’s Apache, a revision of the classic blowing vehicle, Cherokee, Grant lets loose. His noir peek-a-boo swagger on Josh Benko’s The Sumo brings out a previously suppressed Charlie Rouse vibe from Grant’s willing

Monkishness. Gordon Jenkin’s chestnut, This Is All I Ask, reveals amor’s compelling amoroso. Joe Magnarelli’s trumpet virtuosity brings rare octane to the feel underway: a horn that carries its own message while, without derivation, invoking steadfast others . . . in this instance, Booker Little, Stu Williamson and Kenny Wheeler. Notice, too, Chris Byars’ sax along with Grant on Infidels and Apache. More to the point, Byars digs in with serious ferocity on his own tune. The Doctor Is In as well as on Sacha Perry’s jaunty recollection of Minton’s jam scene, Erratic. A final word about Phil Stewart’s inaugural album: Sadik Hakim’s long mis-attributed line, Eronel, recalls the impish flair and cheerful outlook of the era that brought Minton’s to the fore and, with it, bop’s intrepid self-confidence. Paul Sikive’s arch bass pulse drives this foxy supple ride.

Perhaps the subtle genii in this masterful convivium are the nimble brilliance of Sacha Perry’s effortless magnificence. This is not routine piano work . . . it demands careful witness. Play this album. Then punch up the concluding blues, Livin’ With Hobson, once more.

01 Manteca
02 Dance Of The Infidels
03 Far Sure
04 The Sumo
05 Erratic
06 This Is All I Ask
07 Apache
08 Eronel
09 The Doctor Is In
10 Livin With Hobson

Phil Stewart drums
Grant Stewart alto & tenor saxophone
Chris Byars tenor saxophone(tracks, 2, 5, 7, 9)
Joe Magnarelli trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 7)
Sascha Perry piano
Paul Sikivie bass

Recorded at Church Street School for Music and Art on July 2, 2017 by Paul Sikivie

Adam Shulman Sextet - Full Tilt (CELLAR LIVE 2018)

Adam Shulman has been a staple of the San Francisco Jazz scene since he moved to the city in 2002. Before the move, Adam was a student at UC Santa Cruz where he studied with the great pianist Smith Dobson and the trumpeter/arranger Ray Brown. He received his degree in classical performance under the tutelage of the Russian pianist Maria Ezerova.

In addition to leading his own groups, Adam can also be seen as a sideman with countless bay area musicians and vocalists such as John Wiitala, Vince Lateano, Kitty Margolis, Andrew Speight, Dayna Stephens, Erik Jekabson, Gary Brown, Patrick Wolff, Faye Carrol, Ian Cary, and Mike Zilber among many others.

Adam has played as a sideman with internationally renowned artists Stefon Harris, Willie Jones III, Miguel Zenon, Mark Murphy, Alan Harris, Luciana Souza, Paula West, Ratzo Harris, Larry Coryell, Sean Jones, Grant Stewart, Bobby Hutcherson and with the Glen Miller Orchestra.

Mike Olmos trumpet
Lyle Link alto saxophone
Patrick Wolff tenor saxophone
John Witala bass
Evan Hughes drums

1. Fantasy in Db 7:36
2. Lonesome Dream 6:13
3. The Conquerer 9:12
4. San Francisco National Cemetery 9:28
5. Yeah...So 5:24
6. 4th Street Strut 8:44
7. Full Tilt 5:43
8. The Night We Called It a Day 6:18
9. Mr. Timmons 8:33