Sunday, March 11, 2018

Ian Ethan Case - Earth Suite (CANDYRAT RECORDS 2018)

Acoustic double-neck guitarist and Candyrat recording artist ​Ian Ethan Case​ is quickly becoming recognized as “one of the most creative and engaging fingerstyle guitarists in the world” (International Center for Creativity.)

His latest album, Earth Suite, is the result of a two-year sustained recording and production effort and features a dozen musicians from all over the globe.

"This is really the first chance I’ve had to put together a large group of musicians and make an album where every track is a fully-realized version of what the underlying composition wants to be. I’m still doing everything I do when I play solo, but now having all these other instruments added to that makes it possible to clarify the melodies and counter-melodies, bring out the dynamic shapes, highlight contrasts, and generally color in the black-and-white outline of what’s possible for me in a solo context."

Rentrée montréalaise et tournée pour Philippe Brach

Philippe Brach foulera les planches du MTELUS le 16 mars prochain pour sa rentrée montréalaise. Un spectacle exclusif présenté par Brach et sa troupe de vingt musiciens. Tours de magie et nombreuses surprises s'harmoniseront avec sa musique le temps d'une soirée. 

Déjà sur la route pour une grande tournée provinciale, Brach met la table pour une aventure grandiose et unique, abordant des thèmes percutants, aussi personnels qu'universels.

Philippe Brach lance son tout nouveau vidéoclip, Tu voulais des enfants — un clip tout en émotion et en subtilité. Fort d'un talent artistique inné, il présente ici une œuvre poignante. Réalisé par Olivier Picard (Parce Que Films), le clip Tu voulais des enfants met en scène l'artiste multidisciplinaire Maxime D.‑Pomerleau, qui interprète une chorégraphie de Dave St-Pierre, accompagnée d'un orchestre de 17 musiciens.


16 mars 2018

7 avril 2018
L'Impérial Bell

16 mars 2018 Montréal MTELUS BILLETS

17 mars 2018 Longueuil Théâtre de la Ville BILLETS

22 mars 2018 Saguenay Espace Côté Cour BILLETS

23 mars 2018 Saguenay Espace Côté Cour COMPLET!

24 mars 2018 Saguenay Espace Côté Cour COMPLET!

6 avril 2018 Montmagny Salle Promutuel Assurance BILLETS

7 avril 2018 Québec L'Impérial Bell BILLETS

12 avril 2018 Laval Annexe3 (Salle André-Mathieu) BILLETS

13 avril 2018 Mont-Tremblant Église du Village BILLETS

14 avril 2018 Sainte-Thérèse Cabaret BMO BILLETS

20 avril 2018 Saint-Jérôme Théâtre Gilles-Vigneault BILLETS

26 avril 2018 Drummondville Salle Léo-Paul-Therrien BILLETS

27 avril 2018 Bécancour Salle Moulin Michel de Gentilly BILLETS

11 mai 2018 Sherbrooke Théâtre Granada BILLETS

24 mai 2018 Mont-Laurier L'Espace Théâtre BILLETS

29 juin 2018 Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée Chapiteau Québécor BILLETS

5 octobre 2018 Shawinigan Centre des arts de Shawinigan EN VENTE BIENTÔT!

6 octobre 2018 Victoriaville Le Carré 150 EN VENTE BIENTÔT!

13 octobre 2018 Brossard Le Club, Square DIX30 BILLETS

26 octobre 2018 Saint-Hyacinthe Centre des arts Juliette-Lassonde BILLETS

3 novembre 2018 Terrebonne Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne EN VENTE BIENTÔT!

7 décembre 2018 Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts Le Patriote EN VENTE BIENTÔT!

Pedro Giraudo - Vigor Tanguero (ZOHO MUSIC April 6, 2018)

Vigor Tanguero is the first tango CD for bassist, bandleader, and composer Pedro Giraudo. After releasing five remarkable albums performed by various formats of jazz ensembles, his gaze was captured by the glint of tango. Perhaps it was only matter of time, as Giraudo hails from the birthplace of tango, Argentina, and so this album is a homecoming of sorts. A man revisiting the music of his country and culture, contributing not something homespun but tantalizing and suggestive.

“I enjoyed every second of the process,” said Giraudo, who seems capable of scaling any musical summit. He wrote these pieces for the brilliant quartet of Nick Danielson (violin), Rodolfo Zanetti (bandoneón), Emilio Teubal (piano), and himself (bass). And by so doing, he realized that his works were in fact rooted in the best of the tango tradition. Each selection can be categorized and described according to one of three tango rhythms: milongas, valses, and tangos.

Of course, there are some exceptions, but throughout you’ll hear Giraudo tinkering and experimenting with the fundamental tango rhythmic cells – pushing, pulling, even suspending the syncopated feel as he engineers a new aesthetic or archetype for this music that he loves. “I tried to express many emotions on this album: happiness, joy, passion, sadness, intimacy, vulnerability, and playfulness,” he says. No matter what this album makes you feel, it will be borne out of authenticity, as Giraudo’s genuine spirit shines through each note, beat, and breath.

The first piece Vorágine means “Whirlwind” in English, but it’s not an exact translation, as Giraudo has struggled to find a word that conveys the chaos and confusion that afflict those living in New York. “This is my anthem for the city,” he says. He constructed the piece with a straightforward ABA form, with an almost identical introduction and coda. The first section is through composed with an unstable eight-note scale that late French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908 – 1992) employed with aplomb. The subsequent section is right out of the Astor Piazzolla (1922- 1992) playbook, with obvious tonal and timbral references to the late tango grandmaster.

Entre Bambalinas translates to “Between Scenes” and is a reference to those fabric dividers on stages. The term is used colloquially to describe what happens backstage or behind closed doors. The bass elegantly presents the prelude and epilogue. Between these parts is the main ABA section that invokes a waltz meter: at times the twelve eighth notes which are placed in two measures, grouped in the unusual manner of 3-2-3-2-2. In this piece, we hear Giraudo demonstrating his prodigious compositional talent, moving the beats across the mountains of his mind.

Giraudo wrote Con Un Nudo En La Garganta or “With a knot in the throat” in 2004 for his jazz orchestra and it eventually became the middle movement of his epic and noteworthy “Desconsuelo Suite” which can be heard in its large ensemble version on his other 2018 ZOHO CD release with the WDR Big Band, “An Argentinian in New York” (ZM 201804). This piece is total tango and channels the best elements of the tradition. Hearing how brilliantly his large band performed the piece, he wanted to arrange it for his tango quartet. And you can hear for yourself – it’s an intoxicating melody with beautifully sparse and stirring chordal accompaniment.

Chicharrita or “Cicada” is an homage to Osvaldo Pugliese (1905-1995) who was a towering leader and figure in tango’s enigmatic history. As a composer, bandleader, and pianist, Pugliese had a unique style characterized by lush landscapes of sound. Yet he had a high-pitched voice which earned him the affectionate nickname of “Chicharrita.” This piece was commissioned in 2015 by Giraudo’s friend and trumpetist Hiro Noguchi, and this is ultimately Giraudo’s take on the traditional milonga that pays respect to Pugliese. It begins with a rubato introduction, which gives way to a descending and chromatic line that lingers in your hearts and stirs your soul. The comparison to the fully orchestrated version of Giraudo’s composition is again fascinating, it can also be heard on his WDR Big Band collaboration “An Argentinian in New York” mentioned above.

A Octavio Brunetti (Dedicated to Octavio Brunetti) (1975 – 2014) is a song of friendship. Both Brunetti and Giraudo were beer enthusiasts, and during one of their many tours of Japan, they came up with a ditty with the Japanese lyrics “Biru No-mou-ze,” which means “let’s have a beer!” They would play or whistle the motive (A-A-D-F#-F#) after a long day of rehearsals, as siren calls that it was time to enjoy a drink. When Giraudo embarked upon writing a piece for his dear friend Brunetti, he remembered the motive, and constructed a full tango (with the traditional ABABA form) borne of levity but bedazzled with bleaker harmonies.

Desavenencias or “Rifts” is Giraudo’s first foray into writing traditional tango waltz, as he invokes a classical minuet and trio with proficiency and skillfulness. Also commissioned by Hiro Noguchi, Giraudo adapted the piece for his tango quartet.

La Rabiosa or “The rageful woman” is just that – a piece Giraudo wrote to describe an angry lady. It’s based on a rhythm from the countryside known as the chacarera that has a particular musical and dance structure. The atonality and jarring lines convey anxiety, frenzy, and even rage, showing that music can be vehicle of every expression. Giraudo originally wrote this composition for his big band, as the 3rd movement of the Angela Suite, and it is featured on his 2015 ZOHO CD release “Cuentos” (ZM 201503).

The last three selections are meditations on extreme feelings, from total awareness, to letting go of all fears and desires. Lapidario or “Merciless” is a term that Argentinians use to describe a comment that cuts, hurts, and is harsh. Giraudo juxtaposes two themes, one which is forceful, built upon certain triads, whereas the other is more melancholy and thematic in nature. Taken together, these themes represent two sides of an argument, or rather, the syncopation at the heart of the tango. 

Desapego or “Detachment” is a non-obvious penultimate piece. You almost expect a tango album to end with adventure and escapade, yet Giraudo renders his selection with a vals that draws upon folkloric influences and casts a broad emotional range, only to end with a feeling of non-closure. You are left wanting, but that’s the point, to detach from the desire of resolution, and to realize that life is an ellipsis…and we can’t always fill in the blanks.

The album ends with A Campo Abierto or “In the open field,” a searing and emotive composition that also incorporates folkloric traditions. Giraudo employs the rhythm of vidala or vidalita which treats space and silence as a central element. It’s a poignant ending to a very personal album, one on which we hear what happens when a tango master looks into the mirror and gives every bit of himself. 

--Kabir Sehgal
Multi-Grammy & Latin Grammy Award Winner New York Times bestselling author

1. Vorágine (Milonga) 3:38 Dedicated to Alberto and Susana
2. Entre Bambalinas (Vals) 4:31
3. Con Un Nudo En La Garganta (Tango) 4:47 Dedicated to Florencia Molina Boero
4. Chicharrita (Milonga) 2:53
5. A Octavio Brunetti (Tango) 5:06
6. Desavenencias (Vals) 2:46
7. La Rabiosa (Chacarera) 4:56 Dedicated to Jean Floyd
8. Lapidario (Tango) 4:30

Nick Danielson violin
Rodolfo Zanetti bandoneón
Emilio Teubal piano

All compositions and arrangements by Pedro Giraudo

Recorded at 2nd Story Sound, New York on August 7-8, 2017. Recording and mixing engineer: Alex Venguer. Mastering engineer: Oscar Zambrano - Zampol Productions. Producers: Kabir Sehgal, Kenya Autie, Alex Venguer. Liner Notes: Kabir Sehgal. Photos: Federico Rodriguez (cover), Erin O’Brien (group photo). Painting, “Cartas de amor” (Love letters), by Daniela Aphalo. Art direction and package design: Al Gold. Executive producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.

Pedro Giraudo & The WDR Big Band - An Argentinian in New York (ZOHO MUSIC April 6, 2018)

On November 29, 2016, the WDR Big Band performed a program of six of my compositions to a packed house at the WDR Funkhaus in Köln. Here I was, an Argentinean who had come to New York 20 years prior, conducting one of the great big bands in the world - in Germany!

The band was on fire from the instant the concert began. Unlike those occasions when I perform with my own big band in New York, when I not only conduct, but also play the bass, for this performance my sole role was conducting, giving me the opportunity to connect in a more concentrated manner with the music that was coming out of the band, without having to focus on my bass playing as well. It was an exhilarating experience and I think the resulting performance, as you will hear on this recording, reflects that.

The pieces on this recording are in the order they were performed at the concert.

Mentiras Piadosas (“White Lies”): A friend who is a psychologist mentioned that it is impossible to be a functioning member of society without sometimes lying. Initially, I found the statement shocking, but I thought about it and realized it's true: one does alter statements on a regular basis so as not to offend people, among other good reasons. The idea of twisting things around to fit certain situations is an important aspect of this composition, which features a recurring theme that continues to change its way throughout the piece. (Commissioned by Hiro Noguchi.)

Chicharrita (“Cicada”): Osvaldo Pugliese (1905–1995) was for decades one of the most important figures in the history of tango. As composer, bandleader and pianist, his unique style was characterized by a deep, rich, lush sound. Ironically, in spite of this characteristic, his voice was very high pitched, which earned him the affectionate nickname of "Chicharrita". This is my humble and respectfully playful tribute to him. (Commissioned by Hiro Noguchi.)

La Ley Primera (“The First Law”): This piece is inspired by the famous long poem "Martin Fierro" by José Hernández (1834 –1886), and Argentinean children grow up familiar with many quotes from it. One of my favorites is “Los hermanos sean unidos, porque esa es la ley primera, y si entre ellos se pelean, los devoran los de afuera” (“Brothers should be united, because that’s the most important law, and if they argue, they will be devoured by outsiders”). This is one of the simplest tunes I have written in a long time; it's based on the Argentine rhythm and form of the zamba, almost unaltered, and features mainly one voice: Johan Hörlén on alto sax.

Lapidario (“Merciless”): In Spanish, lapidario is an adjective that we Argentineans often use idiomatically to describe a comment that is merciless, cutting, and hurtful. This piece has two contrasting themes, one very aggressive based on the imposition of different major and minor triads; the other more melodic and nostalgic, each reflecting the different aspects of the lapidario comment.

Eir: The struggles that women have to deal with on a daily basis because of inequality and a society based on patriarchy are gradually coming to the forefront of our consciousness, not only to women but to men. After reading a heartfelt and painful statement by Shannon Barnet, the WDR Big Band trombonist, about her many struggles as a woman in the male dominated jazz world, I decided to write a piece to feature her that depicted women as resilient and silent fighters. After some research about female warriors, I found Eir, the medieval Norwegian Valkyrie of peace and clemency. This piece is devoted to these ideals.

Desconsuelo Suite (“Disconsolation Suite”)
Written in 2006, this is still one of my favorite compositions. Like most of us, I went through moments in life where no consolation can be found and the only solution is acknowledging the pain and dealing with it. The suite is comprised of three movements and an introduction, following the classical concerto fast-slow-fast structure:

I : Preludio de Bombo Legüero
During the rehearsals prior to the concert the idea came up of featuring the wonderful Bodek Janke playing an ad libitum introduction to the suite on the iconic Argentine drum, the bombo legüero, to set up the correct mood. He certainly did!

II : Mate Amargo (“Bitter mate tea”)
Mate is a tea typically drunk out of a dried gourd with a metal straw (bombilla) in the southern part of South America. It is a stimulant, similar to coffee, and very bitter when had without sweeteners, which is exactly what Mate Amargo means: unsweetened (or literally "bitter" mate). This movement is based on the folkloric rhythm of chacarera, a Spanish-influenced Argentine style written in 6/8 which constantly superimposes the feel of 6/8, 3/4 and 2/4 meters.

III: Con Un Nudo En La Garganta (“With a knot in the throat”): Just as the expression connotes the inability to express something adequately, this piece tries to convey what words cannot. Out of all my compositions for big band, this is unquestionably the one that, both in spirit and in style, is closest to tango, the distinctive urban sound of the Rio de la Plata.

IV: La Bronca (“The rage”): The closing movement is a forceful and propelling piece written in 11/8 which features challenging lines for the saxophones. For one of the recurring sections I used and expanded a fragment of a harmonic progression found in the Lacrimosa section of Mozart’s Requiem. Contrastingly, the solo section is mostly in a simple blues form. – Pedro Giraudo

An Argentinian in New York is ultimately about a man, a maestro’s search for meaning in his adopted home. Hailing from Cordoba, Argentina, Pedro Giraudo is a celebrated and virtuoso bassist, bandleader, composer, and arranger who is a veritable creative genius. 

His musical career reads like an all-star lineup, as he’s performed or recorded with the likes of Ruben Blades, Paquito D’Rivera, Pablo Ziegler, Regina Carter, Branford Marsalis, among others. His discography as a band leader is equally as impressive, having released five albums that are all critically acclaimed. On the ZOHO label, they include “Cordoba” (ZM 201106, Downbeat **** 4 stars), “Cuentos” (ZM 201503, Downbeat *** 4 stars), and the upcoming “Vigor Tanguero” (ZM 201803), simultaneously released with “An Argentinian in New York”. 

Moreover, Giraudo leads three bands: a big band, jazz orchestra, and sextet. No doubt, he is prolific, but not at the expense of quality, as he crafts his compositions with painstaking detail and renders his big band harmonies with sophistication akin to the great Duke Ellington. His music both honors long-held traditions while also advancing a new sound that fuses his sparkling ideas with the remarkable musicians found in New York. Those in the music world know, when Pedro calls, the grandmaster is on the line. 

On this album, Giraudo observes, describes, and explains New York through a colorful and multi-hued musical prism. For those new to the Big Apple, as well as lifelong residents, you will hear something new, fresh, even provocative in these seminal pieces. That’s because Giraudo imbues his music with both personal and profound meditations on the meaning of home. 

He realizes and furthers the notion that blending is beautiful, mixing is magnificent. Indeed, this album could have very well been titled “Melting Pot,” invoking that vivid American metaphor, as Giraudo explores his native Argentina (for example, “Chicharrita” an homage to tango master Osvaldo Pugliese) with subtle references and overt rhythms, juxtaposing it with the musical modernity of American urban living (for instance, “Eir,” which draws attention to the struggle of women not just in the jazz world but across most sectors and industries). Giraudo has something to say. And this production is a personal testimony on the challenges and opportunities of our time. 

Six of Giraudo’s brilliant compositions are brought to life with the spectacular performance of the WDR Big Band. Like a well-oiled machine, these musicians hit each note with precision, and the respective brass and reed sections fall into place like pennies finding their slots. Here you have a bandleader operating at the top of his game, paired with arguably the best big band today. 

This isn’t just a recipe for success. It’s a staging for a musical triumph that thankfully you can listen to again and again. -- Kabir Sehgal

Kabir Sehgal is a multi-Grammy & Latin Grammy Award Winning producer and New York Times bestselling author.

1. Mentiras Piadosas 8:10
2. Chicharrita 6:38
3. La Ley Primera 5:33
4. Lapidario 9:02
5. Eir 6:41

Desconsuelo Suite
6. I - Preludio de Bombo Legüero 1:19
7. II - Mate Amargo 4:31
8. III - Con Un Nudo En La Garganta 6:21
9. IV - La Bronca 7:00

The WDR Big Band

All compositions composed and arranged by Pedro Giraudo
Publisher: Pedro Giraudo Music, BMI

Recorded live on November 29, 2016 at the Klaus von Bismark Saal in Cologne, Germany. Producers: Pedro Giraudo, Kabir Sehgal, Kenya Autie. Production coordination: Lucas Schmid. Art Direction and Package Design: Jack Frisch. Liner Notes: Kabir Sehgal. Executive Producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker. A Westdeutscher Rundfunk Cologne Production, 2017. Licensed by WDR mediagroup GmbH.

Meshell Ndegeocello - Ventriloquism (NAÏVE RECORDS March 16, 2018)

In the canon of R&B, the '80s are frequently dismissed as the genre's most soulless decade. Nelson George called it "the death of rhythm and blues" in his book of the same name, citing the now infamous Harvard Report on marketing black music (commissioned by then-CBS Records exec Clive Davis) as the impetus for the industry's switch from indifference to a vested interest in R&B. By 1980, he writes, CBS' roster of black artists had jumped from two to 125 — and as the decade progressed, that sonic integration led to a watered-down R&B sound. Synthesizers replaced live bands. Commercial radio quelled the funk with the Quiet Storm. "Crossover" became the profit motive for packaging black artists for white consumption.

But if you were coming of age in the '80s, like a teenaged Michelle Lynn Johnson — who took on the name Ndegeocello around the same time Prince began musing over the woman in the raspberry beret — all those behind-the-scenes industry machinations are incidental to a period whose output soundtracked your adolescence with some of the most emotionally indulgent R&B and pop of the latter 20th century. Meshell Ndegeocello has always been a soul conjurer of sorts, bent but never bound by tradition. With her latest body of work, Ventriloquism, out March 16, she splits the difference — stitching together a wide swath of songs that reflect what we remember, and even regret, of the era in which her own artistic sensibilities were taking root, distilling its clichés into a rootsy, bluesy folk romp.

As with most cover sets, the story is in the song selection. What may at first seem like a random mix of one-off hits from beloved-but-unsung artists (Force MDs, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Surface, Al B. Sure!) and influential megastars (George Clinton, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Sade) is actually a carefully curated homage to some of the era's definitive sonic innovators. It's a perfect collection for an artist whose genre-bending fusion of rock, soul, funk and R&B befuddled an industry still beholden to racially-coded designations (i.e. "urban") when she entered the scene.

Full Force, the muscle-bound hip-hop band and production crew who would go on to contribute early hits to 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys a decade later, is represented here with its flirty bop for Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, "I Wonder If I Take You Home." Al B. Sure! and his cousin and co-producer Kyle West, who turned the wannabe rapper into a viable R&B act and Right On! magazine teen heartthrob practically overnight, stumbled upon a precursor to Teddy Riley's New Jack Swing with the release of Sure's 1988 debut In Effect Mode. Ndegeocello's guitar-laced interpretation of the album's first single, "Nite and Day," conveys a maturity far beyond the hormonal pangs expressed by a teenaged Al B. at the time.

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who extended Prince's Minneapolis sound and left a sonic dent on the decade that nearly rivals that of their early mentor, get three nods with "Tender Love" (Force MDs), "Sensitivity" (Ralph Tresvant) and "Funny How Time Flies" (Janet Jackson). Even TLC's biggest hit, the Organized Noize-produced "Waterfalls" from 1994, finds its way into the mix.

It's not just who Ndegeocello redoes, however, but what she does to these songs that matters here. She recorded this album with her band (Chris Bruce, guitar; Abraham Rounds, drums; Jebin Bruni, keys and co-production) in Los Angeles, where they spent a lot of time listening to Neil Young's country-rock classic, Harvest. There's a sense of detachment and dissonance here that has as much to do with the wistful mourning of a period as it does the celebration of innocence. A cover of "Sometimes It Snows In April" — the Under The Cherry Moon ballad that resurfaced after Prince's death — captures both, playing like a national anthem of our collective sorrows.

"The year around the recording of this album was so disorienting and dispiriting for me personally and for so many people I know and spoke to all the time," Ndegeocello writes in a statement accompanying the release. "I looked for a way to make something that was light while things around me were so dark, a musical place to go that reminded me of another, brighter time."

Ventriloquism simultaneously plays with the contrasts between songs and the contradictions within them. Peep how Tresvant's "Sensitivity" gets a vaudevillian redux, complete with jangly banjo flourishes that, intentionally or not, both parody and applaud the song's gender-norm defiance: "You need a man with sensitivity / A man like me," Ndegeocello sings, purposely leaving Tresvant's pronouns intact. Her treatment adds a layer of history to an R&B hit that, even at the time of its 1990 release, seemed comical in contrast to the rising tide of hypermasculinity embodied in hip-hop, which dominated the streets despite having yet to receive black radio's full embrace. The gender study continues with the two big closers of the set: "Private Dancer," reset to waltz time, is slowed enough to sound like the funeral dirge that always existed at the heart of that song. And Sade's gigolo ode "Smooth Operator" gets revamped from Caribbean-inflected smooth jazz to a close cousin of UK drum and bass.

Ndegeocello's relationship with the airwaves has been tenuous from the start, and Ventriloquism stands in line with how she's consistently defied the industry's failed attempts to pin her down to the narrow parameters that largely defined '80s R&B. But beyond that, she reawakens the rhythm and the blues by returning songs to their original sender, wrapped in different packaging. The electro-bounce of George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" gets retrofitted into the gutbucket tradition from which it descends, with twangy guitars up top and a caterwauling vocal bubbling beneath. A country harmonica twists Force MDs' "Tender Love" from citified doo-wop into a sweet Appalachian bluegrass ballad.

"Early on in my career, I was told to make the same kind of album again and again, and when I didn't do that, I lost support," the artist writes. "There isn't much diversity within genres, which are ghettoizing themselves, and I liked the idea of turning hits I loved into something even just a little less familiar or formulaic. It was an opportunity to pay a new kind of tribute." Ventriloquism is more than a reinterpretation of songs from the era's urban/pop catalog; it's a resuscitation. Somehow, Ndegeocello breathes old soul into a collection of post-soul classics and elevates them to their rightful place in the pantheon.

Mica Bethea Big Band - Suite Theory (2018)

On SUITE THEORY, composer and arranger MICA BETHEA has turned a devastating, life altering accident into an inspired work of art. When he was just 21 years old, a car accident left him a quadriplegic, but his artistic drive and deep musicality remained unscathed.  This is Bethea’s third CD. His previous projects have established his reputation as a distinctive voice whose big band writing is infused with soulfulness and a satisfying complexity.  Although he’s drawn on personal experiences in his previous releases, SUITE THEORY is a thoroughly biographical project. It follows the arc of his life from before the accident until today.  Since this was going to be an extended composition, he decided to write it as a symphony in four movements with each movement corresponding to a period of his life. Although Bethea’s music is rooted in the big band genre, he has a voice that’s all his own. That’s largely because he writes for himself and doesn’t worry about categories or stylistic purity. His music is both fun and complex. It’s brimming with originality and technical sophistication.  Although his body is limited, his mind, heart, and artistic soul are flying free and unfettered in the musical cosmos.

“Mica Bethea’s third album reinforces his growing stature as a leading contributor to contemporary big band jazz.
Throughout, the music heard here demonstrates yet again that Mica Bethea brings a new, distinctive and exciting flavor
to contemporary big band jazz.” -- Bruce Crowther, Jazz Mostly

1. Crystal Clear  11:20
2. Destiny’s Boat  9:02
3. Miniscus  9:13
4. Guardian of Forever  8:10
5. Destiny’s Boat (alternate take)   8:50 

All music composed and arranged by Mica Bethea

trumpet Greg Balut, Dave Champagne, Daniel Rollan,  Ray Callender
trombone Michael Deese, Diego Herrada “de la Vega” Ventura, Lance Reed
bass trombone  Gina “Badeeduh” Benalcazar
alto/tenor/soprano sax/flute  Todd DelGiudice
alto/tenor/soprano sax/flute  Daniel Dickinson
tenor/alto sax/flute  Juan Carlos Rollan
tenor/alto sax/clarinet  Jose Rojas
bari sax/bass clarinet  Seth Ebersole
piano/Rhodes  Josh Bowlus
guitar  James Hogan
bass  Dennis Marks
drums  John Lumpkin Jr
percussion  Terry “Doc” Handy