Tuesday, January 23, 2018

\\livingfossil// - NEVER DIE ! (February 2, 2018)

NEVER DIE! is the debut album by \\livingfossil//, led by Toronto born-and-raised saxophonist Gordon Hyland. The band features a roster of musicians - all active players in Toronto - who have had important roles in Hyland’s life: be it as collaborators, friends, and/or mentors.

The central band is comprised of Mackenzie Longpre on drums, Neil Whitford on guitar, and Andrew Roorda on electric bass, all of whom have played music with Hyland for over a decade, having been members of the band Ninja Funk Orchestra. Torrie Seager (Hush Pup) adds additional guitar, often doubling the melody in Hyland’s arrangements. Vivienne Wilder provides acoustic bass, and Mike Murley (Metalwood), on tenor saxophone, is featured on several compositions.

Murley also co-produced the album with Hyland’s longtime collaborator, engineer and mixer, Andrew Mullin at Canterbury Studios in Toronto. The non-standard instrumentation (two guitarists) allows each musician to shine equally, and leads to the exploration of interesting new timbres: doubling between guitars and saxophones, effected instruments, and compositional forms infuenced by graphic scores and free improvisation.

NEVER DIE!  will be released on Friday, February 2nd and the release of the album will be celebrated with a show at The Burdock Music Hall on Saturday, February 3rd.

Most of the tracks on this album are original works composed by Hyland, several of which are highly programmatic. The lead track on the album, ‘Macrophages’, zooms into the world of the white blood cell on its noble quest to seek and destroy an infection.

The album begins with a nebulous opening section that coagulates into the pulsating rhythmic heartbeat provided by Longpre and Roorda, underscoring the mysteriously determined melody of Hyland’s sax. ‘Living Fossil’, from which the band’s name is also derived, alludes to a concept that Hyland discovered while reading ‘The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau’, a series of books that Cousteau published in 1975.

At one point, the author asserts that a sea creature called the nautilus is effectively a ‘living fossil’, having apparently not evolved significantly since the Cambrian period some 500 million years ago. Hyland explores this theme by guiding the listener through a lush, whirling ocean of crystalline chords and shimmery guitar that cradle an exquisitely lonely sentiment.  NEVER DIE!, the album’s title track, encapsulates the overall theme of the album: it is a tragicomedy, where a nostalgic sounding saxophone melody is interrupted somewhat rudely by an explosive Zappa inspired groove.

Despite the cacophany, Hyland’s sense of humour never allows the album to sink completely into the darkness.

Levity is also provided - with slapstick insanity - in the playful rendition of the Ornette Coleman song ‘Lorraine’ and Hyland’s arrangement of the aptly re-titled ‘Lessforgettable’, his take on Irving Gordon’s classic standard originally made famous by Nat King Cole. Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ is retitled ‘Baby Steps’, both a tip of the hat to one of the world’s greatest saxophonists, and a simultaneous wink to the absurdity of jazz school hero worship. The stadium saxophone track ‘Satellite’ harkens back to Hyland’s days in the electro-prog rock club scene with Ninja Funk Orchestra.

Here's a little more about Gordon Hyland....

As a young boy, Gordon Hyland loved cars and computers, and wanted to be an aerospace engineer when he grew up. That dream was pushed aside, however, in his mid teens as he found himself irresistibly drawn into the world of music after discovering his grandfather’s record collection - and the siren songs of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Duke Ellington, Count Basie - as well as winning an unexpected opportunity to go on a junior high band trip to Japan. Since then, with his trusty tenor saxophone in hand, Hyland pursued the music life diligently, ultimately obtaining both a Bachelors in Fine Arts and in Music (Concordia and University of Toronto), as well as a Masters in Jazz Performance (U of T) with a focus on saxophone and electronics. His education has also included an extended 10-week intensive in New York City to study privately with Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin, Bill McHenry, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake, and Ohad Talmour, and several residencies at the renowned Banff Centre. Far from being a jazz purist, Hyland has gone out of his way to forge a unique career path for himself, developing a sound and style wholly his own from years of working with live electro-prog band Ninja Funk Orchestra, from which he gained a reputation for his innovative use of effects pedals with a tenor saxophone as well as for his multidisciplinary collaborative approach to staging the band, complete with costumes, lighting, and projections.

His career has taken him across North America, Europe, and Japan. His compositions and sound designs have been heard in award-winning films (Picture Day, O Negative), and theatre productions (Randolph Academy, Rogue Theatre, Baro Theatre, Red One Theatre, Candles Are For Burning). A highly seasoned music educator, he has taught at Trinity College School, and privately mentored next-generation jazz musicians who have gone on to pursue degrees in the field. Hyland has made it his objective to connect the dots between theory, performance, creativity and technology.  Hyland gigs around his hometown of Toronto as a freelancer and as a regular with Dwayne Gretzky, Ronley Teper & The Lipliners, Vivienne Wilder & The Vice Presidents, Blunt Object, and the Mack Longpre Quartet.

Uuskyla / Øgrim / Berg - LAIV (SIMLAS PRODUKSJONER)

Eleven months after the debut ULLR, Uuskyla Øgrim & Berg releases LAIV 

When you have struck a rich ore, you should keep on digging. That goes for gold hunters as well as musicians. 

It has been only 11 months since Anders Berg and Tellef Øgrim teamed up with veteran free-jazz drummer Peeter Uuskyla to put out the debut album ULLR. 

The collection of six short, hard-hitting tracks got the attention from the impro press, resulting in statements as: 

– Ullr is an engaging, captivating, and often unrivalled listen. 
– This is very personal music, which captivates both the brain, heart and feet. 
– Uuskyla’s trio is taut and metallic, sprung, flexed and sinuous, hitting hard on the recoil. 

Several months after ULLR, Tellef was contacted by BrÖtz (brotznow.se) in Gothenburg. The dry message was that the caller had taken over the booking of the club and that he had a list from the previous booking person in front of him saying that the club owed Tellef a gig. 

Tellef’s answer to the club’s question about who he would like to bring along was of course that he wanted to come with Peeter Uuskyla and Anders Berg. 

All three had played several times at BrÖtz, but never together as a trio.

Winding fast forward to 11 October 2017 when the three musicians got together physically, first in a pasta place at Skånegatan, later listening to records in Uuskyla’s apartment for a couple of hours, and, at last, walking on-stage at BrÖtz around 10 in the evening, following a great debut concert from the band Musikerförbundet. 

Two amplifiers were moved, drums were slightly adjusted, and the floodgates could be opened. 

No rehearsal or sound check took place. No discussion about what to play. 

What followed on stage reflected the urge of the three musicians to finally get together and play. 

The 45 minutes tour-de-force can be enjoyed in its entirety at the record LAIV, released by Simlas produksjoner at simlas.bandcamp.com (and elsewhere digitally) on November 25. 

Complete set recorded at BrÖtz in Gothenburg 11 October 2017. Mastered by Gunnar Backman 

Released November 24, 2017

Tellef Øgrim

1. Laiv 42:25

Anders Berg bass
Peeter Uuskyla drums

Pangpang - Kisskiss Pangpang (LOSEN RECORDS 2018)

1 Miso
2 Mexican Standoff
3 Casu Marzu
4 The Bing Bang
5 Osim
6 Chili Con Carne
7 Nostalgia Isn´t What It Used To Be
8 Ahab

Recorded January 7 and 8, 2017 by David Alexander Sjølie at Kvadraturen Studio, Oslo
Mixed  March 10 and 11, 2017 by David Aleksander Sjølie at Kvadraturen Studio
Mastered November 15, 2017 by Christian Obermayer at Strype Audio

Erik Thormod Halvorsen Sextet - Social Call (LOSEN RECORDS February 9, 2018)

1 Social Call
2 Watch What Happens
3 Ruby My Dear
4 Latino Blue
5 Little K.
6 Blues For Henry P.
7 I Should Care
8 Beautiful Friendship
9 Exit Summer
10 Body & Soul

Erik Thormod Halvorsen trumpet, flugelhorn
Dave Edge tenor sax, flute (except track 10)
Frode Kjekstad guitar
Freddie Hoel Nilsen piano (except track 10)
Agnar Aspaas bass
Lars Erik Norum drums

Tom Skjellum trumpet (track 3 and 9)
Odd Krogh trumpet (track 3 and 9)
Kjell Olav Martinsen french horn (track 3 and 9)
Harald Halvorsen trombone (track 3 and 9)
Øivind Westby bass trombone (track 3 and 9)

David Davis - Dig This! (2018)

In his 9th full-length album, independent artist and producer David Davis offers his most explosive collaborative work as an extraordinary musician and producer yet - “Dig This” - His latest solo recording project. His eclectic style in arrangements range from Smooth Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop, Fusion and even a Punjabi influenced song. Although David has a very unique sound of his own, some of his notable influences are Jackie Mclean, Kenny Garrett, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum and Najee.

There has been a ten years hiatus since David’s latest independent full length release. His career never paused, however he was able to do more live performing and also focus on starting a family by being a part of giving birth to 2 beautiful daughters. So much of life has happened within these last ten years and it is evident in his musical and personal growth; from life’s influences and experiences.

This first single “Tell Me” features the soulful and strong vocals of Elizabeth Dellinger. Elizabeth has been recording, writing and singing for years and often worked with David Davis in bands for live performances and also in the studio. The combination of her magnificent tone and David Davis’ warm and round saxophone didn’t miss!

David called on the Legendary guitarist Rohn Lawrence to assist in making this a great sounding record. Helping in making the song groove just right is bassist Lawrence White. The song was mixed and mastered by one the industries great engineers Kurt Hoffler at K-Music Studios.

The Album is scheduled to be released on 1-18-18. There will be a promotional push at live events and tours this year, as well as a strong presence online with youtube video, social media and reviews.

“David Davis is an outstanding Saxophonist who brings the house down with his warm sensuous sounds” - Sherry Winston / Flying Flute Records

01. Dig This (feat. Dave Porter)
02. Blue Skies (feat. Steve Clarke & Gabe Blizman)
03. Chick Flick (feat. Christian Howes) 
04. Dragon Moor
05. Tell Me (feat. Elizabeth Dellinger)
06. Ace in the Hole (feat. Ace Livingston & Warren Byrd)
07. I Need Your Love (feat. Jasleni Brito)
08. Ek Soni Kudi
09. Heartbreak Hotel
10. Music Chose Me (feat. Jordon)
11. Linas Dilemma (feat. Chris Russo)
12. Livias Dream (feat. Blair Bryant)
13. Surrealism (feat. Haneef Nelson)
14. What Love Is (feat. L. Nunuu Smith)
15. Sweet Aroma (feat. Jonathan Dubose)

Jonathan Ragonese & Tim Warfield - Two Men Singing (2018)

Two men singing was recorded live in August of 2016 in front of a live audience at The Susquehanna Museum of Art in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Tim Warfield joins Jonathan Ragonese for a one hour exploration of improvisation. The two saxophonists, aided by various found-percussion, converse, antagonize, and participate with one another with no pauses or intermission. Ragonese writes in the liner notes: 

“The saxophone has in one way or another shaped my musical life. From my first infatuation to my growth and development. I was fourteen years old when I met Tim Warfield, and his influence, character, guidance, and friendship have been a pivotal part of my development. We first had the opportunity to perform together – two saxophones alone – in the spring of 2016; I knew immediately that, as a testament of my gratitude, and for the pure joy of the experience, I wanted to do it again and record it. two men singing is a document of that experience: surrounded by a group of loving and supportive individuals.” 

“These two artists are on the same wave length which is something all improvisers hope for. Great listening and strong ideas abound on this recording.” – Dave Liebman

“Jonathan Ragonese and Tim Warfield have recorded a fantastic improvised duo project. They have an amazing ability to converse in a highly compositional way, spinning out one fresh idea after the next. I admire these two great saxophonists for having the courage to pursue this type of project.” – Bob Mintzer

1. WR 3:49
2. AA 10:47
3. RG 2:48
4. FO 5:23
5. IN 7:10
6. EE 12:13
7. LS 4:26
8. DE 6:45

John Esposito - Lyra (SUNJUMP RECORDS 2018)

It certainly took me a long time to get around to recording these 17 compositions! They were composed in the 80’s while I was working in the great multi instrumentalist Arthur Rhames’ band. They reflect my thoughts on the work required to survive being on the bandstand with Arthur.

Arthur played a combination of Bebop perennials like Cherokee, modulating every chorus down in minor thirds but starting at the bridge so that the last ‘A’ and first 16 bars would be in the new key until the next modulation at the bridge. We played his teacher Gigi Gryce’s Minority, up in minor 3rds, and I Got Rhythm, up in 4ths. He also employed American Songbook tunes like I’m An Old Cowhand and Swinging On A Star, both reharmonized drastically. We played Coltrane compositions like Giant Steps, through keys and reharmonized; Mr PC, up in 4ths; and Impressions, also up in 4ths. Some of Arthur’s most emotionally intense work involved Negro Spirituals like I Want Jesus To Walk With Me and Soon I’ll Be Done With The Troubles Of This World. We also played a number of his highly structured originals.

Playing that music with Arthur steadily for three years and sporadically for several years after that raised my technical abilities as a pianist. It also got me thinking about many things like the relationship between form and content, making melodies with harmonic clarity, playing with rhythmic drive, extended solos with emotional intensity and reinterpreting the Blues.

During the first half of the decade I composed extensively, experimenting in my own way with what I had learned. I worked with the tensions between symmetry and asymmetry, explored chord sequences and their emotional meaning, and devised new relationships between the melodies and the chords. I also started to play drums to better understand what I was hearing in phrasing.

I didn’t record much during that time but continued to work the ideas out on gigs, especially with Second Sight in the second half of the decade.

In the summer of 2014 I workshopped these pieces and a number of others in order to revisit some of these ideas and find out what they meant to me so many years after they were written.

I also did this because old friends kept requesting that we play them. By that point I was having trouble remembering the tunes they were referring to.

So after going through the archives and relearning and making a few edits, we spent two days in NRS Studios recording and subsequently played some concerts. It was an interesting walk through the past but it also.

My thanks to Arthur Rhames who, although he has moved on to another plane, is always present in my thoughts and music. Thanks to the musicians for their enthusiasm and commitment to the work, to Scott Petito for his impeccable engineering and to my partner Laura Steele for her design work and her endless support and inspiration. I dedicate this music to her and our three year old daughter Lyra who is an inspiration to both of us and I thank Lyra for her album art. 

John Esposito

1. Always Present 9:08
2. King of Kings 11:00
3. Sacrifice 9:19
4. Lyra 7:48
5. Forsaken 5:49
6. A Minor Setback 7:08
7. The Invisible 8:05
8. Phineas Returns 6:50
9. Pursuit 11:52
10. A Backward Glance 10:16
11. Arthur Rhames 8:10
12. Soulmates 11:55
13. Cerulean 5:11
14. World of Mirrors 6:45
15. Its the Upward Path 5:15
16. Speak Memory 6:45
17. Victory Blues 6:50
18. Always Present II 8:51

Greg Glassman, trumpet
Stacy Dillard, saxophones
Ira Coleman, bass
Peter O'Brien, drums

Kora Jazz Trio - Part IV (CRISTAL RECORDS 2018)

Flamboyance et délicatesse pour ce nouvel album du Kora Jazz Trio réalisé par Eric Legnini.

Malgré d’évidents liens historiques entre le jazz et la musique traditionnelle africaine peu de projets réussissent la fusion de ces musiques…. Pionnier du genre, le Kora Jazz Trio revient avec un 6ème album réalisé par l’éclectique Eric Legnini.

Celui-ci sublime les compositions du pianiste Abdoulaye Diabaté, ainsi que les très belles interprétations des standards que sont Via Con me de Paolo Conté, Sodade immortalisé par Cesaria Evora et Moanin’ des Jazz Messengers d’Art Blakey.

Pour ce Part IV du Kora Jazz Trio, la Kora a été confié à un habitué de toutes les rencontres musicales : Chérif Soumano (Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tiken Jah Fakoli, World Kora trio,…) et pour mettre en beauté le répertoire s’ajoutent selon les titres le chant de Woz Kali, la contrebasse de Manu Marches, les percussions de Boris Caicedo, le balafon d’Adama Condé et la guitare d’Hervé Morisot (Sodade).

15 Mar. 2018 / New Morning, Paris (75)
17 Mar. 2018 / Théâtre du Pont du Nord, Chalon-Sur-Saône (71)
09 Juin. 2018 / Festival Les Escales D'ailleurs, Plaisir (78)
10 Nov. 2018 / Centre d’animation et des congrès, Bagnoles de l'Orne (61)