Saturday, January 27, 2018

Corey Christiansen - Dusk (ORIGIN RECORDS 2018)

"Christiansen and his quintet goose the Americana songbook with plenty of funk and fusion, teasing out dark edges and recontextualizing the music for new generations." - JAZZIZ

"The third in guitarist Corey Christiansen's trilogy of albums exploring the grounds between jazz, blues and Americana, is focused on his original compositions - tunes written for people in his life, places been, characters imagined, landscapes seen and the captured feelings from those experiences. The rapport within his longtime band is at its most evolved and empathic, while Christiansen's already prodigious guitar work has found the fluidity and emotive qualities only obtained through their continued collective focus and dedication to concept. "Supported by a responsive rhythm section, alternately supple and clangorous, (Christiansen & Lapidus) imbue the Christiansen tunes with soulful lyricism to spare." - JAZZTIMES

1. Turtle Dove - 7:40
2. Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby (Traditional) - 4:55
3. JT - 7:01
4. Palouse - 5:38
5. Black-Eyed Susan - 5:41
6. Return - 6:59
7. Skinny Big - 6:03
8. Not Whatever - 4:23

All compositions by Corey Christiansen except (2), Traditional

Jeremy Allen bass
Matt Jorgensen drums
Zach Lapidus keyboards (1, 4, 5)
Michael Spiro percussion (1, 4, 5)

Produced by Corey Christiansen, Jeremy Allen & Matt Jorgensen
(1,4,5) Recorded by Scott Wiley at June Audio, Provo, UT, October 9-10, 2015
(2,3,6,7,8) Recorded by Eric Eagle at Skoor Sound, Seattle, WA, May 16, 2016
Mixed by Scott Wiley at June Audio, Provo, UT
Mastered by Don Gunn at The Office, Seattle, WA
Artist photograph by Mark Sheldon
Cover design & layout by John Bishop

Remember Your Weekend's $5 Album is... (CUNEIFORM RECORDS)

Laila Biali - Laila Biali (ACT MUSIC 2018)

„She is an exciting and unique talent and I admire her greatly“ Sting

Pop, jazz, Canada. To see how well these three go together, is not just a matter of looking back into the past. Canadian artists of our time such as Michael Bublé and Diana Krall have followed in the footsteps of legends such as Joni Mitchell. Whereas these genres of music have sometimes been seen as at loggerheads, in the land of the maple leaf they get along together just fine.

Laila Biali, born in Vancouver, has her place in this tradition - and yet she is never just imitating anybody else. The singer-pianist has won several prizes, and not only in her native country. DOWNBEAT magazine included her music in its albums of the year. Spinner magazine admired her ability to bring traditional jazz and contemporary pop together naturally, and to create a compelling blend from them. Her sixth album – which is also her ACT debut, represents the culmination of everything she has done until now.

“I have been in search of my artistic voice ever since my first album,” the classically trained pianist explains. “I have experimented with so many genres. Everything felt right to me, but it never really encompassed the totality of who I am. LAILA BIALI unites all the facets of me as an artist: pianist, singer. arranger, composer, a devotee of jazz and of other genres. With this album I feel I have truly arrived.”

Biali gained her first experience on the big stage as a backing vocalist for Sting, which was also where she met several members of her band. She met her drummer - and future husband - Ben Wittman, however, on tour with Paula Cole. “Ben plays a unique mix of percussion and drums, she says. “His grooves are deep and rootsy - a perfect complement to the faster, funky grooves of Larnell Lewis." Like trumpeter Mike "Maz" Maher, Lewis is a member of the mega-successful fusion band Snarky Puppy, for whom nothing is musically off-limits.

These three, together with top-flight people such as Lisa Fischer, long-time singer on Rolling-Stones tours, and multi-award-winning jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, form a powerful backing band for Laila Biali's joyously colourful ACT debut. Sam Yahel, who was organist in the seminal Joshua Redman Elastic Band, completes the illustrious circle of guests on the album.

The spirited “Got To Love” is the entry point into the album, with its funky handclaps and gutsy organ riffs, an ecstatic mood that Biali then tempers with the Latininflected "We Go". An intense cover version of Coldplay's "Yellow" is the first of three songs by others which the singer has added into the mix with her own compositions: "I have always enjoyed arranging songs," says Biali, who now lives with her family in Toronto. “At concerts we have often gone with the flow of what audiences want. Coldplay, Randy Newman and David Bowie were always our favourites.” Newman's "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" shows Biali's sensitive, introverted side. Alone at the piano she creates a real tingle factor, while "Let's Dance" is a remarkable, soulful Bowie cover.

The cheerful, ear-wormish song “Wind” is based on a poem written by the singer decades ago. "I struggled with the lyrics for a long time, they never seemed to fit properly. I even asked Sting to help me! In the end it was some verses by the Persian mystic poet Rumi that enabled me to complete it."

Laila Biali has her own concept of jazz, in which soul, indie-rock, blues and pop all have their place. The album LAILA BIALI is wonderfully catchy, but can’t be pigeonholed into any of the standard mainstream radio formats. There is sophistication, but it eschews the seriousness of high culture. This ACT debut album sparkles with exuberant playfulness and beautifully crafted variety. And the singer´s own verdict: “This album feels like a homecoming.”

1 Got To Love ( Laila Biali) 03:14
2 We Go ( Laila Biali) 05:17
3 Satellite ( Laila Biali) 05:06
4 Yellow ( Chris Martin / Jonny Buckland / Guy Berryman / Will Champion & Andre Benz) 04:43
5 Refugee ( Laila Biali) 05:26
6 Dolores Angel ( Laila Biali) 04:36
7 Queen of Hearts ( Laila Biali) 04:54
8 Serenbe ( Laila Biali) 04:22
9 Code Breaking ( Laila Biali) 04:46
10 I Think It´s Going To Rain Today ( Randy Newman) 03:38
11 Wind (Rumi Poem) ( Laila Biali) 05:22
12 Let´s Dance ( David Bowie)

George Koller / bass
Larnell Lewis / drums (01, 02, 04, 08, 09, 11, 12)
Ben Wittman / drums (03, 05, 06, 07), percussion

Ambrose Akinmusire / trumpet (03, 05)
Mike “Maz” Maher / trumpet (02, 08, 09, 11)
Sam Yahel / organ (01, 02, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 12)
Glenn Patscha / organ (solo on 02), keys (12)
Lisa Fischer / vocals (01, 02, 05, 06, 07, 08)
Jo Lawry / vocals (all tracks except 09)
Carlos Ricketts / vocals (01, 02, 06, 07)

All songs written and arranged by Laila Biali, except: Yellow by Coldplay: Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, Will Champion & Andre Benz I Think It’s Going To Rain Today by Randy Newman Let’s Dance by David Bowie

Produced by Ben Wittman & Laila Biali

Recorded at Revolution Recording (Toronto),
Wittman Productions (Toronto), Mission Sound (Brooklyn),
Vibramonk Studios (Brooklyn), Fantasy Studios (San Francisco)
& Pod Noise Studio (New York City), March - October, 2016

Mixed by Tim Abraham
Mastered by João Carvalho

Photography by Rockie Nolan

Michael Wollny Trio Live - Wartburg / Michael Wollny Trio - Oslo (ACT MUSIC March 23, 2018)

Olegario Diaz - I Remenber Chet (SteepleChase Productions ApS February 15, 2018)

1. Everything I Love
2. Star Eyes
3. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
4. I Remenber Chet
5. You've Changed
6. Bernie's Tune
7. Rise And Fall Baker
8. CTA
9. Oh You Crazy Moon
10. Just Friends 

Olegario Diaz (p)
Alex Sipiagin (tp)
Seamus Blake (ts)
Scott Colley (b)
Bill Stewart (dr)

Jure Pukl - Doubtless (INNER CIRCLE MUSIC 2018)

Jure Pukl was awarded with the highest national award for Arts in Slovenia (Nagrada Prešernovega sklada 2015) and is one of the most profilic and creative saxophonists of the younger Slovene jazz generation. Pukl obtained university education abroad, he studied classical and jazz saxophone at the University in Vienna as well as at the Haag Conservatory of Music. Pukl then won a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, where he pursued his studies with masters such as Joe Lovano and George Garzone. He completed his masters degree in music at the Graz Academy of Music.

Throughout his studies Pukl performed and recorded extensively, being engaged in his own projects, as well as working with a number of great musicians such as Branford Marsalis, Dave Liebman, Esperanza Spalding, George Lewis, Vijay Iyer, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Damion Reid, Darius Jones, Doug Hammond, Gerald Cleaver, Adam Rogers, Melissa Aldana, Rodney Green, Charles Altura, Joe Sanders, Aaron Goldberg, Marcus Gilmore, Gregory Hutchinson, Johnathan Blake and orchestras like Big Band RTV Slovenia, European Jazz Orchestra, European Movement Jazz Orchestra, Vienna Saxophone Quartet, Nouvele Cousine and many others.

He has been touring extensively throughout USA, Asia and Europe performing in venues such as Blue Note Milan, Smalls Jazz Club, The Jazz Gallery, Ronnie Scotts, The Vortex, Pizza Express, Porgy & Bess, Stadtgarten and festivals like Moers Jazz Festival, Vienna Jazz Festival, Pori Jazz Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Jazz a Vienne, Cairo Jazz Festival, to name a few. His music has won him many awards; among others the 2005 first Jury Prize and Best Composition Audience Award at the Jazzon International Music Workshop and Festival in Novo mesto, Slovenia.

In his auctorial projects, such as the Virus quintet, Abstract Society or Sound Pictures (receive rave reviews, among others on the influential Downbeat, Jazzwise, Jazzpodium and Allaboutjazz Web portal) Pukl dedicates himself to modern interpretations of jazz. What he creates is a unique type of modern jazz, avantgarde, free jazz and impressionistic contemporary music performed with a great deal of knowledge and love, giving prominence to the interplay between band members. He already published 8 CD’s under his own name recieved rave reviews all over the globe. He is featured on more than 50 other projects as a sideman.

"Jure Pukl & Melissa Aldana play as one throughout and with the support of Joe Sanders and greg Hutchinson the music is rich with a passionate expression taht is timeless... Jure put together a beautiful recording taht flows like the wind" - Joe Lovano

“Jure Pukl is a brilliant saxophonist who is forging an honest and original path in contemporary improvised music. His playing and compositions evoke a humanistic quality that is, full of expression and spirit. If a spirited, well defined, singular voice is what you’re looking for, Jure is the answer.” - Greg Osby

“…Pukl combines the skill, soul, and appetite for adventure that has fuelled jazz evolution from the beginning, and he’s a rising star of a creative new generation that is energetically driving the music on into its second century.” - John Fordham | The Guardian

1. Doubtless
2. Doves
3. Intersong
4. Eliote
5. Compassion
6. Elsewhere
7. The Mind and the Soul
8. Where Are You Coming From
9. Bad Year Good Year 

Melissa Aldana - tenor saxophone
Joe Sanders - doublebass
Gregory Hutchinson - drums

All music composed by Jure Pukl except Elsewhere composed by Melissa Aldana, Elioté by Joe Sanders and Intersong by Ornette Coleman.

Recorded at RSL Studio Novo mesto, Slovenia in March 2017. Mixed and mastered by David Stoller at the Samurai Hotel Recording Studio in Astoria, NY in September 2017.

The Real Thing - Oh No!... The Real Thing... Again! (REAL RECORDS 2018)

1. Relaxin' At Smoke 05:14
2. Pat On The Shoulder 04:28
3. Dog Food 04:55
4. My Song For You 04:45
5. Backdoor Creeper 05:16
6. Melancolico 06:29
7. Doctor's Orders 03:43
8. Absolutely Yeah Yeah 04:04
9. Split Decision 04:43
10. Battle Hymn Of The Republic 05:30 

Dave Edge (sax)
Staffan William-Olsson (g)
Paul Wagnberg (Hammond org)
Hermund Nygård (ds)

Henri Texier Sand Quintet - Sand Woman (LABEL BLEU February 2, 2018)

Après le disque « Concert 30 ans » qui fêtait l’anniversaire de Label Bleu, le contrebassiste Henri Texier s’est remis au travail et publie aujourd’hui ce « Sand woman » en quintet. Parmi les musiciens qui l’accompagnent on retrouve l’excellent guitariste Manu Codja (déjà présent sur « Concert 30 ans »), Vincent Lê Quang (saxes ténor et soprano), Sébastien Texier (sax-alto et clarinettes) et Gautier Garrigue (batterie).

Henri Texier a choisi de puiser dans sa discographie sur le label JMS (de 1975 à 1979) des titres qu’il souhaitait réactualiser et auxquels il voulait « redonner une âme » (sic). On retrouve ainsi 3 morceaux : « Amir », « Les là-bas » et « Quand tout s’arrête » complètement transformés, tels le fameux « Amir » qui passe des 4’04 d’origine à 12’06… Inutile de préciser qu’il ne s’agit pas de remplissage mais d’un vrai travail de création en toute liberté.

L’album comporte également un titre imaginé dans les années 90 ainsi que deux autres écrits récemment. Au total plus d’une heure d’une musique intense et riche, où les interventions de chacun sont un vrai régal. Écoutez le solo de guitare aérien et lumineux de Manu Codjia sur « Amir » ou sur le très bluesy « Hungry man »… ou le solo de batterie de Gautier Garrigue sur « Les là-bas ». Quant au feeling et au toucher d’Henri Texier avec son instrument fétiche, ils illuminent littéralement l’ensemble.

1. Amir
2. Sand woman
3. Hungry man
4. Indians
5. Les là-bas
6. Quand tout s’arrête 

Henri Texier (b)
Manu Codja (g)
Vincent Lê Quang (ts,ss)
Sébastien Texier (as, cla)
Gautier Garrigue (ds)