Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tal Arditi - Portrait (2018)

''Portrait'' is the debut album by the young Israeli guitar player Tal Arditi

The album was recorded live at ''A-Trane Jazz Club'' in Berlin , featuring Tobias Backhaus on drums and Andreas Lang bass . 

The idea behind the name ''Portrait'' is , That the concert in ''A-Trane'' was a portrait of Tal's life until that point. 8 original music pieces that resembles his year and a half alone in Berlin , and all his experiences so far. 

The album will be out in ''Ancor Lable'' on a CD and a limited edition of Vinyl 

''This recording will for sure spread around the name of Tal Arditi as a new important guitar voice in Jazz not only of Berlin but all over Europe and the music world wherever''- Rainer Harrmann ,founder of ''Jazz Baltica'' festival and ''Ancor Records'' Label .

1. One Step Behind 11:10
2. Berlin Vibe 10:08
3. Sassari 08:33
4. One For J.S 05:48
5. Walts No. 1 08:06
6. My Dream 08:30
7. Long Live The Bird 05:25
8. Circles 06:37

Cam Gilmour - Alone with the Moon (2018)

Alone With The Moon is an indie jazz album led by tenor saxophonist and bass player Cam Gilmour. The concept for this album was born out of numerous nights spent outside, alone with the moon and the stars contemplating the big questions of life that only seem to gain importance as time passes. The music was created from the perspective of a jazz musician, but the form and harmonic structure is largely influenced by alternative and progressive rock music. All but one of the tracks are instrumental, and the album breathes in and out as it develops. The A-side of the album (tracks 1-6) looks externally for answers, while the B-side (tracks 7-11) looks inwardly. As a whole, the album is a search for identity and a place in the universe, via solitude and meditation.

1. Bold as Rain 04:59
2. Lost in the Sauce - Gone 04:17
3. The Stars Are Calling 03:53
4. Malcophonous 02:35
5. Dear Parallel Me 06:50
6. We All Have Questions (feat. Anna Thomas) 03:52
7. soft as sun 02:55
8. Ego vs. Self 03:47
9. Name The Wind 06:19
10. Alone At Last 05:07
11. Mindful Ascension 06:15

Sofia Botti, Piano (1, 2, 5, 8, 10, 11)
Ben Schnier, Drums (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Curt Scheffel, Electric Guitar (1, 2, 3, 9, 11) Acoustic Guitar (8)
Anna Thomas, Vocals (6)
Cam Gilmour, Tenor Saxophone (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11) Electric Bass (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11) Acoustic Bass (4, 7) MIDI Instruments (3, 5, 6, 9)

Album Art by Wiley Holton
Mixed by Cam Gilmour, Space Recordings
Mastered by Jim Gilmour, Southview Arts

Jeff Ponders II - Spark (June 8, 2018)

Multi-instrumentalist/producer Jeff Ponders II has captivated audiences across the world with his provocative, soulful approach to music. Born in Detroit, Jeff honed his skills under the tutelage of jazz masters Donald Walden, Marcus Belgrave, and Wendell Harrison. His professional resume includes performances and recordings with heavyweights across many genres, including James Carter, Robert Glasper, Mike Phillips, Keyshia Cole, Bebe Winans, Eric Roberson, and John Legend. Jeff toured the US as a member of the Marvin Gaye Orchestra for the hit musical "My Brother Marvin,” and as featured soloist stages across North America as a featured soloist. 

Jeff is a founding member of the electrifying band HotSauceMusic, and works throughout the Midwest as an artist and teaching clinician. His debut album, "Spark," is scheduled for release in June of 2018.

1. Shakespeare 06:57
2. St. Valentino
3. Amazing Grace
4. Change of Pace
5. Time Space Words
6. I Got Soul
7. Write My Wrongs
8. I Got Soul (Dirty Take)

New album, Spark, available June 8, 2018. Pre-order today!

Mark Wingfield - Tales From The Dreaming City (MOONJUNE RECORDS 2018)

With 2015’s Proof of Light, the forward-thinking British electric guitarist Mark Wingfield showed that he was following in the impressionistic footsteps of such adventurous six-string explorers as David Torn, Terje Rypdal, Adrian Belew, Steve Howe and Allan Holdsworth. That stunning release, his seventh overall and first for MoonJune Records, garnered critical raves from the music press. “Wingfield’s guitar playing is mysterious, majestic and blazing in turns,” wrote Guitar Player while All About Jazz crowed, “Wingfield makes his guitar howl, sing and cry for mercy amid flickering single note runs.” Improvijazzation Nation opined that “Mark’s guitar is going to take you to spaces you’ve never explored before” while Music That Matters simply called him a “six-string winged, improvising shaman.” 

With Tales From The Dreaming City, the intrepid sonic innovator pushes the envelope even further in the company of his regular rhythm tandem of fretless bassist Yaron Stavi and powerhouse drummer Asaf Sirkis, who are both back from Proof of Light. Belgian keyboardist Dominique Vantomme plays melodies, provides extra textures, colors and exotic voicings and solos on four tracks on this hard-hitting offering, which carries elements of prog-rock, jazz and world music. “I wouldn't put it in any specific category” says Wingfield. “Most of the tracks on Tales From the Dreaming City are based firmly around a central melody and chord progression. To my ears, the melodic approach has something in common with the open lyricism of a lot of ECM jazz and harmonically it's somewhere between that and classical music. There are elements of rock, and with the classical influences I guess you could say it crosses over into progressive rock. But there's also a lot of improvisation going on.” 

He also hesitates to call it ‘fusion.’ “I don't hear what I think of when most people say fusion," says the guitarist who lives in the countryside just 45 minutes outside of central London. “The chords progressions and voicings are completely different, the rhythms are different, the structures are different. The pieces on this album are more openly melodic than most fusion, and the sounds too are very different from what I've heard from that genre. Having said that, to my mind jazz has always been a fusion of styles ever since they started playing swing or bebop versions of popular show tunes. And it just continued to fuse with new influences from there. Sketches of Spain fused Spanish influences with jazz. Bitches Brew mixed various of elements and styles. Art Ensemble of Chicago mixed African and other influences with jazz. Or in more recent times, Jan Garbarek often uses synth textures fused with Norwegian folk melodies. The list goes on and on. Every era of jazz has evolved into something new, and more often than not that has been a fusion of styles and influences.” 

Whether it’s the violin-sounding volume swells he affects on the evocative “At A Small Hour of the Night,” his screaming legato lines on “The Fifth Window,” his frantic picking on “I Wonder How Many Miles I’ve Fallen” or his uncommon lyricism on pieces like “Looking Back at the Amber Lit House” and “Sunlight Cafe,” Wingfield delivers with an abundance of facility and rare authority throughout Tales From the Dreaming City. His playing is no less stunning and expressive on “Ten Mile Bank” (featuring some absolutely wild fusillades at the tag), “This Place Up Against the Sky” (imbued with his signature whammy bar articulations), the up-tempo romp “The Way to Hemingford Grey” and the anthemic “A Wind Bows Down Turnpike Lane,” the latter a seeming tip of the cap to the late, great British guitar hero, Allan Holdsworth. 

The guitar innovator explains that his latest outing is a distinct departure from his previous MoonJune release. “Whereas Proof of Light was a collection of tunes I had written at the time, Tales From the Dreaming City is more of a concept album. It’s a set of tunes which all share a common inspiration, an album of musical stories. For me, these stories are about a time or an event in someone's life, or a time shared by a group of people. The pieces are not about anyone in particular, they could be about many different people, real or imaginary. Similarly, there is no specific time frame, so some of the stories might be happening now, others might have happened a long time ago. The specifics may be different every time you listen or might remain the same and are bound to vary from listener to listener.” 

While Wingfield continues to mine the richness of his ongoing encounters with guitarist Kevin Kastning (who specializes in the 36-string Double Contraguitar, 30-string Contra-Soprano guitar and 17-string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar), he explains that Tales From the Dreaming City is by nature coming from a radically different place than that intimate duet. “With completely improvised music like I do with Kevin, you never know what's going to happen next. The point in that setting is to make something together in the moment out of the ether. With music like Tales From the Dreaming City, on the other hand, the music is telling a specific musical story which I've composed. When we play this music, the point is to interpret it with the intention of telling those musical and emotional stories as best as possible. When it comes to the solos, that's an opportunity to expand on the story, to improvise something in the moment about the musical story that the composition is telling. With completely improvised music like I do with Kevin or as I did with Markus Reuter, Asaf and Yaron on The Stone House or Lighthouse, you have to react at every moment to every new thing which is happening. Whereas, with composed music when you improvise the solo, you know the chords you'll be playing over. So it's more about telling a story within those chords and about the feeling created by the composition.” 

Of course, any talk of sonic exploration on the electric guitar must begin with Jimi Hendrix, who wrote a virtual manifesto on the subject with his riveting performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock on August 18, 1969 and added on to his sonic legacy with an onomatopoeic performance of “Machine Gun” the Fillmore East on New Year’s Eve, 1970. Wingfield acknowledges the towering influence of Hendrix on his own six-string explorations. “Jimi Hendrix was my first major influence, and interestingly he has remained a major one,” he told All About Jazz’s John McGuire. “For me, Hendrix's ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock is one of the greatest works ever performed on electric guitar; it is utter sonic genius.” 

The music press has been nearly as effusive in praise of Wingfield’s astounding virtuosity and unique voice. As Glenn Astarita opined in All About Jazz: “Akin to guitar heroes Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix, Wingfield makes his guitar howl, sing, and cry for mercy amid flickering single note runs.” Jeff Tamarkin wrote in Relix: “Wingfield and his bandmates are ridiculously gifted craftsmen, but also because they crave innovation and risk. You simply never know what sonic treat is around the next corner.” Rob Hudson from Australia’s Modmovemagazine added to the choir with: “His superb phrasing is just the start. It’s his choices in tone and the way his notes spill into unusual areas that make the biggest impression. They just coat your ear holes with gooey goodness — the chops of god. A unique voice, singular approach and defined sense of journey. This work takes you to places serene and stimulating.” But perhaps it was Jerry Gordon of Princeton, New Jersey radio station WPRB who really hit the nail on the head in his assessment: “Mark Wingfield’s music soars high above the subliminal, the terrestrial, the mundane, transporting us with his musical voyage. His guitar takes on the role of a vocalist or a horn – shimmering and sometimes bellowing with expression and imagery of profound beauty. Progressive innovative guitar at its finest!” 

Wingfield explains that in developing his singular six-string vocabulary over time, he was indeed standing on the shoulders of giants who came before him. “When I was learning to play I was influenced by John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, Terje Rypdal, Robert Fripp, Jimi Hendrix and others. But a long time ago I decided to stop listening to guitarists and start listening to other instruments instead. So John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler and other non-guitarists became my main influences along with various vocalists, in particular Indian classical singers and the Qawwali devotional singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.” 

Regarding his own remarkable technique on the instrument, he adds, “Most of the unusual tones I get are from the way I play. I use a lot of unusual slurs, attacks, vibrato and pitch bends. I often don't play any notes in a normal way. And because I'm not using the expected phrasing and I'm concentrating on creating different tones with my fingers, it tends to sound like I'm using a really unusual guitar sound or a lot of effects, whereas in fact I'm not. My approach to phrasing and tone is something I've worked on for a long time and continue to work on. And the key to finding my sound was learning how to really let go when I played and then teaching my fingers how to create the sounds I was hearing in my head.” 

Wingfield’s more lyrical, melodic approach to the guitar allows him to truly express what he feels in the music. “I have no interest in playing fast for the sake of it or using technique to impress,” he says. “For me technique is always in service of the music. I might play something fast but only if the feeling in the music demands it in that moment. For example, if the energy level of the music or the emotion at that point in the chord progression has built to such a degree that the only way to release it is through flurries of notes, then I’ll do that. Or if the music calls for a sudden build up of energy or intensity, I might play a fast series of notes to build up to that intensity. These fast passages are part of the natural flow of emotion in music and they happen from time to time, but they are never a constant. I tend to hear melodies a lot when I play because the feeling of the moment for me can often be best expressed as a melodic phrase rather than a riff or a run.” 

You can hear that sense of melodicism and lyricism amidst the displays of fretboard flash on Wingfield's Tales From The Dreaming City, his most potent offering to date.

1. The Fifth Window 05:09
2. I Wonder How Many Miles I've Fallen 07:19
3. The Way To Hemingford Grey 05:54
4. Sunlight Cafe 05:57
5. Looking Back At The Amber Lit House 06:47
6. This Place Up Against The Sky 05:46
7. At A Small Hour Of The Night 08:03
8. A Wind Blows Down Turnpike Lane 04:27
9. Ten Mile Bank 05:36
10. The Green-Faced Timekeepers 07:52

Mark Wingfield guitar, soundscapes 
Yaron Stavi fretless bass guitar 
Asaf Sirkis drums, konakol singing (10) 

special guest
Dominique Vantomme synth soloist (3, 5, 9, 10) 

All compositions by Mark Wingfield, except "At a small hour of the night" by Wingfield/Stavi/Sirkis

Executive production Leonardo Pavkovic for MoonJune Records and Mark Wingfield for Dark Energy Music

Recorded by Jesus Rovira at La Casa Murada Studios, Banyeres del Penedés, Catalunya, Spain, on February 19 & 20, 2016. Mixed and mastered by Mark Wingfield at Heron Island Studio, Cambridgeshire, England

Cover image by Jane Wingfield. Album artwork by Aleksander Popovic

Photo of Mark Wingfield at Grey Manor by Storm Tree Productions. Studio photos of musicians by Xavier Parcerisas

"Each track on this album tells a different emotional story, perhaps about a time or event in someone’s life, or moments shared by a group of people. They weave together specific moods and atmospheres which could connect to the experiences of many people both real and imaginary. I sometimes glimpse atmospheres of mystery and subtle magic in streets of 19th century buildings and old villages hidden in the countryside. So many different people's lives and experiences have filled these old places, past and present. I wanted to capture this in the texture of the music." - Mark Wingfield

"Since discovering genius guitarists Jimi Hendrix, Terje Rypdal and Allan Holdsworth, some decades ago, no other guitarist, old or young, known or unknown, shook my senses more than Mark Wingfield. His adventurous, pioneering guitar work transports listeners to destinations previously unreachable, he is among the instrument's most radically unconventional practitioners and its most forward-thinking tone architects. An innovative guitar impressionist who carries an unprecedented expansion of the electric guitar's sonic palette of sounds and expressions into further uncharted dimensions." - Leonardo Pavkovic, MoonJune Records

"Sounds spectacular!" - Alex Skolnick (guitarist of Testament)

Mark Wingfield’s music soars high above the subliminal, the terrestrial, the mundane, transporting us with his musical voyage. His guitar takes on the role of a vocalist or a horn – shimmering and sometimes bellowing with expression and imagery of profound beauty. Progressive innovative guitar at its finest!” - Jerry Gordon, WPRB Radio, Princeton University

Niels Wilhelm Knudsen - Impulse (2018)

I began my musical journey playing electric bass in a Rock band as a teenager around 1990. Moving to Copenhagen, I started gigging with a Metal band and various wedding bands playing Pop, Soul, Funk and Salsa. By the late 90’s I stumbled across a beautiful old doublebass in a recording studio. I fell in Love with the instrument immidiately! I sold my CD collection to raise money for a doublebass, and began playing Jazz.

In the early 00’s I enrolled in Musicology studies at the University of Copenhagen, earning a Bachelor degree. This led to teaching positions at various music schools and a lot a private bass students.

Around the same time I started playing with a cover band doing Black Sabbath songs, we played a lot of shows around Denmark.

I Love a challenge and this has led me into a wide range of bands and projects over the years:

Theater work, Avantgardejazz, Gypsy Swing, Singer/Songwriter, Choirs, Country music

But since I got my hands on the double bass I have been playing a lot of Jazz … with lots of small groups, with lots of great players … This led me to finally forming my own group and start recording my own music.

I still play all kinds of music and love doing it.

1. Unreliable 04:43
2. Looking Down 07:17
3. Third Eye 04:40
4. Mojito 04:44
5. Sweet Spot 07:03
6. Comida Lenta 05:22
7. Monochrome 08:45

Thomas Hass tenor sax
Kathrine Windfeld piano
Michael Dalgas drums

Michael Leonhart Orchestra - The Painted Lady Suite (SUNNYSIDE RECORDS June 22, 2018)

The Painted Lady Suite, the debut album by the Michael Leonhart Orchestra (MLO) is inspired by the butterfly of the same name. While Leonhart was initially attracted to its flamboyant coloration and wing ornamentation, it was the butterfly’s incredible migration, which spans over six generations and 9,000 miles — twice that of the Monarch butterfly, that inspired the trumpeter/composer/bandleader to write his “Painted Lady Suite.” 

Leonhart’s path toward the creation of MLO began in his youth. Born into a musical family, Michael was fascinated by orchestration, composition and counterpoint by the age of 10. “I remember my mother playing all these amazing albums in the house growing up: the Miles & Gil Evans’ collaborations, Ellington Suites, Sinatra & Nelson Riddle, Quincy Jones and tons of Thad Jones/Mel Lewis,” Leonhart recalls. “While my dad Jay was out playing gigs and recording, it was my mother’s DJ’ing that was the ‘gateway drug’ that led me to discover Stravinsky, Ravel, Olivier Messiaen, Morricone and David Axelrod.” Leonhart has worked for decades as an accomplished trumpet player, arranger and composer, but it was when he took on the role as arranger/conductor for the 21-piece orchestra on guitarist Nels Cline’s eclectic Lovers album (Blue Note, 2015) that his love of conducting, arranging and composing for large ensemble was reignited. Once the album was finished, Leonhart was certain that he wanted to create a solo project in this vein, and thus the Michael Leonhart Orchestra was born.

“When creating MLO, my idea was to get an all-star mix of soloists, ensemble players and pocket-players who would be as comfortable playing Mingus and Ellington as they would be playing Wu Tang and Fela Kuti,” Leonhart says. “It was also important to me to steer clear of the traditional ‘big band’ instrumentation and have bassoon, accordion, bass harmonica and strings.” The Orchestra is comprised of a roster of some of the most sought after musicians in New York, including members of the Village Vanguard Orchestra, Maria Schneider’s Orchestra, the Dap-Kings, Menahan Street Band and Antibalas. Working with these stellar musicians has given Leonhart the invaluable opportunity to workshop new arrangements of existing material, covering such artists as The Beastie Boys, Zappa and Bernard Herrmann, and new original compositions, building the repertoire in front of a rapidly growing audience. 

The Painted Lady Suite is broken into two parts with seven movements, which sonically parallel two separate migrations, one over North America into Canada and the other from the Arctic Circle over Europe into Northern Africa. Leonhart assigns different instruments and specific soloists to represent the changing climate and mood of the migration. The sonic migration begins with a mutating 21-bar phrase played by brass and woodwinds blending with violins and bass melodica as the chrysalises are shed and the butterflies take flight. Leonhart says, "While composing the suite, I knew that Donny McCaslin would be one of the featured soloists I would be writing for. Donny is the sonic equivalent of a 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 race car. He has the rare ability to seamlessly build a solo from '0 to 60' in seconds while commanding the listener's focus as 20 plus musicians play full volume behind him." McCaslin's tenor is featured as a wordless narrator as the swarm heads north from Mexico; Sam Sadigursky’s tenor takes over as the lead voice as the swarm continues north, supported by Nels Cline’s undulating guitar volume swells. The hypnotic beat of the huge swarm flying over Texas is orchestrated for the Dap-Kings rhythm section, utilizing drums, bass and analog electric drum machine. Leonhart’s fearless choice of uncommon instrument combinations harkens back to Morricone, Quincy Jones, David Axelrod and Nino Rota. In the second half of the suite, the cold expanse of the Arctic Circle is represented by wordless voice, harmonica and Mancini-esque bass flutes, along with the “buzz wow” muted trombone of Ray Mason and clarion trumpet of Dave Guy.

The journey of the Painted Lady butterfly parallels the story and development of the Michael Leonhart Orchestra and The Painted Lady Suite — a large group takes a journey utilizing the past generations’ wealth of knowledge and arrives triumphantly in a kaleidoscopic array. 

In addition to the Suite, the album features three of the earliest compositions Leonhart wrote specifically for MLO. “In the Kingdom of MQ” is a swaggering march featuring an electrifying solo by Donny McCaslin and is a tribute to Leonhart’s young son. Alternating between a 12/8 burlesque groove and a ¾ church feel, the jaunty “Music Your Grandparents Would Like” is the kind of jazz and rock hybrid Zappa would have loved, including a hard left turn as Nels Cline delivers a brain-melting solo. Lastly, “The Girl From Udaipur” establishes a trance-line ostinato with wordless choir as solos by Ian Hendrickson-Smith and Jay Leonhart bring the recording to a close.

1. The Painted Lady Suite - I. Transformation In The Deserts Of Mexico
2. The Painted Lady Suite - II. The Silent Swarm Over El Paso
3. The Painted Lady Suite - III. The Experimental Forest, North Dakota
4. The Painted Lady Suite - IV. Countdown To Saskatchewan
5. The Painted Lady Suite - V. The Arctic Circle
6. The Painted Lady Suite - VI. 1500 Feet Above The Sahara (Night)
7. The Painted Lady Suite - VII. 1500 Feet Above The Sahara (Day)
8. In The Kingdom of M.Q.
9. Music Your Grandparents Would Like
10. The Girl from Udaipur

Daniel Freedman - drums (1, 8, 9, 10) & percussion
Nick Movshon - drums (2)
Homer Steinweiss - drums (5, 7)
Jay Leonhart - acoustic bass (1, 8, 10)
Joe Martin - acoustic bass (6, 9)
Nick Movshon - electric bass (5, 7)
Nels Cline - guitar
Mauro Refosco - percussion
Leon Michels - percussion
Mauro Durante - percussion & violin
Dave Guy - trumpet
Taylor Haskins - trumpet & valve trombone
Andy Bush - trumpet
Carter Yasutake - trumpet
Andy Gathercole - trumpet
Ray Mason - trombone & bass trombone
Mark Patterson - trombone & bass trombone
John Altieri - tuba
Donny McCaslin - tenor sax
Sam Sadigursky - tenor sax, piccolo flute, flute, alto flute & bass clarinet
Matt Bauder - alto & tenor sax
Jason Marshall - alto & baritone sax
Cochemea Gastelum - tenor & baritone sax, flute
Charles Pillow - bass clarinet & alto flute
Ian Hendrickson-Smith - baritone sax
Jon Natchez - clarinet
Aaron Heick - tenor sax, English horn & bass flute
Sara Schoenbeck - bassoon
Pauline Kim - violin & viola
Erik Friedlander - cello
Carolyn Leonhart, Jamie Leonhart, Michael Leonhart & Milo Leonhart - choir

Shamie Royston - Beautiful Liar (SUNNYSIDE RECORDS June 15, 2018)

Our light shines brightest in the darkness and things in life don’t always turn out the way that we have planned. It is with these maxims in mind that the brilliant pianist and composer Shamie Royston presents her new recording, Beautiful Liar. Her second release is a testament to perseverance and the proposition that learning from mistakes will help in the pursuit of goals and subsequent triumphs. 

Though the path might not have always been an easy one, Royston’s light is luminous and her music has served her in establishing herself as a leading voice in the jazz world. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Royston has been an integral part of the New York jazz scene as a performer and educator. Her contributions as a pianist can be heard alongside celebrated leaders like Tia Fuller, Ralph Peterson, Sean Jones and Terri Lyne Carrington. 

On Beautiful Liar, the core sound is that of the piano trio, embellished by one or two horns for different sonic possibilities. Drummer Rudy Royston provides a strong rhythmic foundation and centric fire when paired up with bassist Yasushi Nakamura, whose strong bass presence is essential to the leader’s compositions. 

Royston expands the ensemble on a number of pieces, exploring possibilities of a quartet and of a quintet. The melodic approach of saxophonist Jaleel Shaw serves as a perfect voice for Royston’s compositions. Royston also adds trumpet player Josh Evans, who ignites a sound of juxtaposing harmonies into Beautiful Liar. This recording focuses on the piano trio as a lead voice, while the horns’ roles are reminiscent of background singers and soloists, for a few of the compositions. 

The pieces present on Beautiful Liar are all original compositions, except the great “A Lovely Day,” which was made famous by Bill Withers. Furthermore, every original composition represents trials and tribulations of life, reflecting Royston’s life journey and personal development. 

The program begins with the ruminative “Sunday Nostalgia,” one of Royston’s oldest tunes but one that sets a scene with a sense of peace. The effervescent “Push” is about pushing through adversity and the emotions of that struggle. The title track, “Beautiful Liar,” relates to objects, images, ideas or people not being as good for us as we think they are. Initially, there is a simple, moving melody that soon becomes disrupted with a vigorous rhythm. The lilting “Precious Lullaby” is a beautiful theme written in ¾ and is a tribute to Royston’s two children, for whom she would invent lullabies at bedtime when they were younger. 

The fantastically swinging “Dissimulate” is about concealing one’s true character, which is illustrated by the melody being played by one voice and then recreated by a second voice, the interweaving lines of sax and trumpet only coming together at the end, moving from chaos to a united resolution. She chose to add Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day” because it represents times of happiness and hope. This particular arrangement features the horns as background singers. “Circulo Vicioso” represents a sequence of reciprocal cause and effect in which two or more elements intensify and aggravate one another, leading to a worsening of a situation. The song is musically constructed around a circular melodic pattern intertwined with Afro-Cuban rhythms. 

A personal favorite, “Uplifted Heart,” comes from a poignant melody Royston created that gives a feeling of happiness and peacefulness in the world. “A Tangled Web We Weave” describes a complex or difficult situation that one creates out of deceit. The piece begins with the trio before adding Shaw’s soprano sax. Both piano and sax melodies intertwine as the music continues to grow. The recording concludes with a solo piano take of “Precious Lullaby,” a moment of reflection and calm. 

Beautiful Liar is a luminous portrayal of the full spectrum of life’s possibilities. Shamie Royston explores the full breadth of her experience and inspiration from the good, the bad and the obscure, to create a lovely recording. In essence, her message is that the key to life’s fulfillment is showering oneself with passion, positivity and promise.

1. Sunday Nostalgia
2. Push
3. Beautiful Liar
4. Precious Lullaby
5. Dissimulate
6. Lovely Day
7. Circulo Viscioso
8. Uplifted Heart
9. A Tangled Web We Weave
10. Precious Lullaby (Outro)

Jaleel Shaw - alto, soprano saxophone
Josh Evans - trumpet
Yasushi Nakamura - bass
Rudy Royston - drums

Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt - Illusion Machine (CHANT RECORDS 2018)

Picking up from where the band left off with their 2015 debut CD on John Zorn's Tzadik Records, Bret Higgins’ Atlas Revolt digs deeper, refining a collaborative sound which draws upon film music, desert blues, psychedelia, Balkan, and Central and South American music. On their sophomore recording Illusion Machine, the usual line-up adds sixth man of the year, virtuoso Columbian percussionist Juan Carlos Medrano to the fold, elevating the overall sound into a darker and more orchestral version of itself. The music on Illusion Machine is overflowing with exciting rhythms, searing guitar work and beautiful melodies, performed by an incredible group.

1. Shadowboxing 05:13
2. Hunter 05:19
3. Last Man Standing 04:40
4. Euculipsa 04:06
5. Astral Soul Shake 04:38
6. Sun Gazers 05:57
7. Stero 05:39
8. Illusion Machine 04:19
9. Zebop 05:01
10. Moon Catchers 03:49

Bret Higgins - Double Bass
Aleksandar Gajic - Violin
Robbie Grunwald - Electric Piano and Organ
Tom Juhas - Electric Guitar
Juan Carlos Medrano - Percussion
Joshua Van Tassel - Drums

Recorded and Edited by - Jeremy Darby at Canterbury Music Company, Toronto
Additional Editing by - David Hermiston at Woodbine Studio, Toronto
Mixed by - Justin Phelps at Hallowed Halls, Portland, Oregon
Mastered by - David Travers-Smith
Artwork and Design by - Asli Alin www.aslialin.com
Produced by - Bret Higgins

All music composed by Bret Higgins (SOCAN)

Ryan Carraher - Obscure Sorrows (2018)

Every track on this record is inspired by a word from John Koenig's "Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows". These tracks are the sonic embodiment of the emotions and thoughts inherent in these words which capture abstract, but widely experienced, peculiarities of the human condition.

1. Pâro 09:26
2. Daguerreologue 08:52
3. Lachesism 10:02
4. Olēka 04:57
5. Kuebiko 02:31
6. Vemödalen 09:21
7. Altschmerz 09:55
8. Klexos I 07:01
9. Klexos II 05:39

All tracks composed and arranged by Ryan Carraher

Steve Wilkinson- Drums/arranging (track 5, 7)
Greg Toro- Bass
Colin Edgar- Saxophone
Evan Waaraama- Keyboards/Piano

Produced by Ryan Carraher and Keith Asack

Engineered/Mixed/Mastered by Keith Asack at Keep the Edge Studios in Quincy MA