Saturday, October 6, 2018

Harold Mabern - The Iron Man: Live at Smoke (SMOKE SESSIONS RECORDS November 23, 2018)

Jazz Master Harold Mabern Swings Through
an Extraordinary Life in Music During
One Memorable Night On Stage at Smoke
The Iron Man: Live at Smoke Flashes Back to
Favorite Songs From the Pianist’s Renowned Career
Double Disc Set Available November 23
on Smoke Sessions Records

Release Performances December 17 – January 6
at New York City’s Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

While it was captured over the course a single night, there’s a rich lifetime’s worth of music packed into The Iron Man: Live at Smoke. If it’s a slight overstatement to say that the album represents an autobiography in song, that’s only because 82-year-old jazz master Harold Mabern tells his story in every note that he plays. That’s as true of the melodies he’s been interpreting for more then half a century – as many of the tunes on The Iron Man are – as it is of the always inspired music that flows spontaneously from the great pianist’s fingers.

The Iron Man, due out November 23 via Smoke Sessions Records, was recorded on the final night of a remarkable three-week residency, an annual holiday tradition at the renowned New York City club. Most of that 2017/18 run was dedicated to the music of John Coltrane and featured a host of invited guests to the bandstand. For this magical final performance, however, Mabern and his gifted, longstanding quartet – tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, bassist John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth – went it alone, vigorously swinging through well-loved tunes from throughout Mabern’s storied career.

The night kicks off with the rollicking funk of “A Few Miles from Memphis,” the title track from Mabern’s 1968 leader debut. The piece harkens back to Mabern’s vital role as a pioneer of soul jazz alongside collaborators like the great trumpeter Lee Morgan. More importantly, though, it transports the pianist back to his roots in Memphis, Tennessee, where he became entranced by the great jazz and blues innovator Phineas Newborn Jr. The city’s legendary blues traditions took hold of a generation of young musicians; Mabern graduated from Manassas High School, whose alumni also include Charles Lloyd and future Mabern collaborators Booker Little, Frank Strozier, and George Coleman.

Many of those Memphians would reconvene in Chicago in the mid-’50s, which is where Mabern honed his hard bop grooves accompanying such powerhouse tenor titans as Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons and Clifford Jordan. By the end of the decade he had found his way to New York City, where he would soon be an in-demand sideman for many of the most notable leaders of that generation – including Lionel Hampton, Donald Byrd, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Williams, and Hank Mobley.

Mabern’s tender reading of Benny Golson’s immortal “I Remember Clifford” here, in a trio setting, recalls one of his first important gigs upon arriving in the Big Apple. He spent 18 months with The Jazztet, replacing McCoy Tyner in the influential band co-led by Golson and Art Farmer. The blistering “I Know That You Know” flashes forward to 1965, when Mabern recorded the tune with another hard bop trailblazer, saxophonist Sonny Stitt.

Mabern’s surprising rearrangement of “I Get a Kick Out of You,” meanwhile, is revived from last year’s To Love and Be Loved, an album which reunited him with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb – who Mabern had first played with half a century earlier in Miles Davis’ band. Mabern’s stint with the iconic trumpeter was brief, but came at a crucial time as Davis was experimenting with the line-up that would finally congeal into his Second Great Quintet. Two earlier veterans of Davis’s storied band – John Coltrane and Paul Chambers — receive a nod with Trane’s classic “Mr. P.C.”

Mabern forged a more lasting bond with Lee Morgan, recording the classic album The Gigolo for Blue Note in 1965 and continuing to play with the trumpet innovator until the night of his tragic death at Slug’s Saloon in 1972. In the meantime, Mabern started recording under his own name, releasing four well-regarded albums for Prestige between 1968-70 whose line-ups included such brilliant improvisers as Morgan, Blue Mitchell, George Coleman, Bill Lee, Hubert Laws, and Idris Muhammad.

On those outings Mabern helped define the fusion of soul and jazz, including contemporary hits like Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” – a penchant echoed on the Smoke bandstand with the quartet’s lovely take on the Michael Jackson ballad “She’s Out of My Life.” He followed a similar route with Stanley Turrentine when he worked with the soulful saxophonist on the early-’70s albums The Sugar Man and Don’t Mess With Mister T.

“Nightlife in Tokyo” is the Mabern-penned title tune from Eric Alexander’s 2002 album, which featured Mabern and Farnsworth along with bassist Ron Carter. It’s one of countless collaborations between the two since Mabern became the saxophonist’s mentor at William Paterson University, where the pianist has been a member of the faculty since 1981.

While he and Alexander have shifted from teacher and student to a partnership that is one of the most meaningful between any saxophonist and pianist in jazz, that’s just one testament to Mabern’s profound influence as an educator, a contribution to jazz on par with that made through his music. The list of Mabern students who have gone on to make their mark include Farnsworth, trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey, drummers Bill Stewart, Mark Guiliana and Johnathan Blake, and saxophonist Roxy Coss.

The Iron Man draws to a rousing conclusion with another title tune, this one from Mabern’s 1968 sophomore release “Rakin’ and Scrapin’,” which featured George Coleman and trumpet great Blue Mitchell on the frontline. He rerecorded the piece with Lee Morgan on 1970’s Live at the Lighthouse, though the fact that he’s kept his ears wide open in the intervening decades is revealed by the clever quote of Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” that crops up unexpectedly in his solo.

Whether you listen to these two sets as representing a single special evening or 82 memorable years, there’s ample evidence that Harold Mabern deserves to be known as The Iron Man – a powerhouse player, a formative mentor, a revered survivor.

Harold Mabern · The Iron Man: Live at Smoke
Smoke Sessions Records · Release Date: November 23, 2018

Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra - Fandango at the Wall A Soundtrack for the United States - Fandango at the Wall: A Soundtrack for the United States, Mexico and Beyond (RESILIENCE MUSIC ALLIANCE 2018)

Arturo O’Farrill Journeys to the U.S.-Mexico Border
to Erase Artificial Dividing Lines to Envision a Future
of Inclusion and Collaboration Between Nations

Fandango at the Wall:
A Soundtrack for The United States, Mexico and Beyond –
Available September 28 on Resilience Music Alliance

Inspired by the Fandango Fronterizo Festival,
O’Farrill and Kabir Sehgal Bring Together the
Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with over 60 Musicians
including Mandy Gonzalez, Regina Carter, Akua Dixon,
Antonio Sanchez & Young People’s Chorus of New York

Arturo O’Farrill

From the barrage of “breaking news” alerts on the 24-hour news cycle to the incessant buzz and chirp of social media, there’s no shortage of reminders of the things that divide us: walls being built, lines being drawn, the notion of “difference” being wielded as a political weapon.

That’s what makes an artist like Arturo O’Farrill such an important voice for these times. As a pianist, composer, bandleader, educator, activist, and founder of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, O’Farrill has dedicated his life to not only crossing artificial borders but to erasing them in his wake. With his latest project, Fandango at the Wall, O’Farrill has created a stunningly ambitious and profoundly moving work that showcases the rich fruits that can grow from common ground.

Fandango at the Wall, due out September 28 via Resilience Music Alliance, is the brainchild of O’Farrill and his longtime collaborator and GRAMMY® Award-winning producer, Kabir Sehgal. The project brings together brilliant voices from a variety of cultural and musical traditions to tear down a variety of walls that isolate us – physical, musical, or cultural. The piece was inspired by Jorge Francisco Castillo, a musician and retired librarian who has organized the Fandango Fronterizo Festival for the past decade. The annual event gathers son jarocho musicians on both sides of the border wall between Tijuana and San Diego for a celebratory jam session.

“I found that idea so touching and elegant in its activism,” O’Farrill recalls. “I held it inside my soul and spoke to everyone I could about my hope to join the Fandango Fronterizo and record at the border, bringing special guests and making it a true collaboration.”

O’Farrill’s esteemed Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and Castillo’s son jarocho musicians came together at the border, joined by a more than 60 gifted musicians representing both sides of that divide as well as several of the countries targeted by President Trump’s travel ban: Broadway singer-actress Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton, In the Heights); jazz greats Regina Carter (violin), Akua Dixon (cello), and Antonio Sanchez (drums); multi-talented Mexican violin trio The Villalobos Brothers; son jarocho greats Patricio Hidalgo, Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández, and Tacho Utréra; French-Chilean rapper-singer Ana Tijoux; Iraqi-American oud master Rahim AlHaj and his trio; Iranian sitar virtuoso Sahba Motallebi; and many others.

“Thinking about this awful, awful moment in history – not just American history but world history – I wanted to confront the darkness that has overcome all our lives,” O’Farrill says. “Faced with such stupidity and mediocrity, why not at least try to do something valuable? My first thought was to bring not just great artists but also people from marginalized nations. We understand that humanity and community are so much stronger than cultural constructs, physical walls, or geo-political borders. We saw this in action: we saw our people fall in love with their people and become one people.”

A bestselling author, investment banker, and military veteran, Sehgal helped transform O’Farrill’s long-held dream into a reality despite the logistical and political hurdles. Ultimately the project took on three forms: this astoundingly gorgeous album of music; a book on the history of the troubled U.S.-Mexico relationship with a foreword by renowned historian Douglas Brinkley and an afterword by former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young; and an in-production documentary focusing on the lives of the son jarocho musicians.

“It falls upon private citizens and individuals to promote cross-border friendship and rapprochement,”
Sehgal writes in his liner notes. “And that is ultimately the goal of Fandango at the Wall: to bring the people of the United States and Mexico together through music. After all, we don’t just share a border but families and friends, histories and futures. Our countries are interconnected, and our fates are interlinked.”

What is most striking about the music of Fandango at the Wall is that for all of the anger, frustration and strife that fueled its creation, it is an intensely joyous celebration that exults in the universal language of music. That notion has become a cliché, but it’s one that O’Farrill has always thrived on making vividly and unpredictably real. Hence the surprising hybrid of approaches on display: not just a mélange of world musics, but virtuosic jazz and striking contemporary classical approaches.

“It’s not just geopolitical borders that offend me,” O’Farrill explains. “It’s also cultural construct borders – the idea that there’s a high music and a low music, a high culture and a low culture. The belief that folk music isn’t as impressive or as important as jazz, or that Middle Eastern music isn’t valid because it’s not born in America. I wanted to destroy these walls, and in fact I found out that the presence of borders and walls and constructs serves an incredible purpose – it unites us in opposition even more than it divides us.”

Another border torn down by Sehgal and O’Farrill was the one between the pristine conditions of the recording studio and the thrilling festivities of the Fandango Fronterizo. Fandango at the Wall flows seamlessly between both settings, with five sessions undertaken in recording studios and outdoors at a live session straddling the border with music freely crossing back and forth.

“The most terrifying thing about being human is the fear of other people,” O’Farrill concludes. “Very few people have the freedom of spirit to embrace things they don’t understand. So I really love the idea that Mexican families who enjoy jarocho music will be introduced to the virtuosity of Regina Carter, or that hardcore jazzheads will discover Patricio Hidalgo. I’m hoping that people will listen to this album and whether or not they understand the words or enjoy the music, they’ll take a moment to think about human beings that are not like them.”

“Fandango at the Wall is ultimately a project of convergence,” Sehgal writes. “I hope that as you listen to this music, you’ll hear the possibilities of what the relationship between the United States and Mexico can become. And that we as artists and activists continue to create the world in which we want to live.”

Disc 1
1 Welcome to the Tijuana-San Diego Border de Arturo O’Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra 1:05
2 Xalapa Bang! de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Gregg August, Antonio Sánchez, Larry Bustamante 5:50
3 El Maquech de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Antonio Sánchez, Regina Carter, Rafi Malkiel, Alexa Tarantino, Akua Dixon 7:11
4 Somos Sur de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Frank Cohen, Abdulrahman Amer, Ana Tijoux 5:25
5 El Pijul de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Villalobos Brothers 5:15
6 Amor sin Fronteras de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Mandy Gonzalez, Regina Carter 4:10
7 Intro to Conga Patria de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra 0:48
8 Conga Patria de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Ivan Renta, Rafi Malkiel, Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández, Patricio Hidalgo, Fernando Guadarrama Olivera, Tacho Utrera, Wendy Cao, Jacob Hernandez, Alfredo Herrera (Godo), Gabriel Garcia 5:45
9 Invisible Suite: Invisible Cities de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Regina Carter 7:34
10 Invisible Suite: Free Falling Borderless de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra 6:20
11 Invisible Suite: Invisible Beings de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Gregg August, Vince Cherico, Seneca Black 5:15
12 Intro to Fly Away de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra 0:33
13 Fly Away de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Rahim AlHaj Trio 8:29
14 Giulia de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández 2:05
15 Bemba y Tablao de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Patricio Hidalgo 3:01
16 Identidades Mestizas de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Fernando Guadarrama Olivera 2:33
17 Cielito Lindo de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Regina Carter, Jorge Francisco Castillo, Humberto Flores 2:27

Disc 2
1 Welcome to the Fandango by Jorge Castillo de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra 2:36
2 El Siquisiri de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Jorge Francsico Castillo, Tacho Utrera, Wendy Cao 6:59
3 El Cascabel de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández, Fernando Guadarrama Olivera, Patricio Hidalgo, Tacho Utrera, Wendy Cao 6:28
4 Tabla Rasa de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Rahim AlHaj, Sahba Motallebi, Sourena Sefati, Jim Seeley 7:54
5 Cupido de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández 2:52
6 Hummingbird Blues de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Zenen Zeferino, Claudia Montes, Julia Del Palacio, Alejandro Aviles 4:00
7 La Bamba de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández, Patricio Hidalgo, Fernando Guadarrama Olivera, Tacho Utrera 2:24
8 Jaiicasosebaim Noone de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Jim Seeley, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Ivan Renta 7:28
9 Guanabana de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra 2:19
10 Minotauro de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Antonio Sánchez, Alejandro Aviles 7:28
11 La Morena de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Fernando Guadarrama Olivera, Ramón Gutiérrez Hernández 5:46
12 El Pájaro Cú de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Patricio Hidalgo, Tacho Utrera, Wendy Cao 2:37
13 Up Against the Wall de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Patricio Hidalgo, Alexa Tarantino, Ivan Renta 5:06
14 Las Patronas de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Patricio Hidalgo 3:03
15 Son de las Poblanas de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Fernando Guadarrama Olivera 3:46
16 Line in the Sand de Arturo O'Farrill, The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra feat. Mandy Gonzalez 2:44

More info...

Stefano Scodanibbio / Daniele Roccato / Ludus Gravis Ensemble - Alisei (ECM October 12, 2018)

The highly creative bass player Stefano Scodanibbio (1956-2012) also composed extraordinary music for double bass. Alisei (Trade Winds) features his compositions for solo bass, for two basses, and for bass ensemble. Among them is a world premiere recording of Ottetto, an often breath-taking compendium of all the extended techniques he invented or developed throughout his life. “It is his great spiritual legacy”, says Daniele Roccato, who co-founded the Ludus Gravis bass ensemble with Scodanibbio. As solo performer, Roccato rises to the challenges of Due pezzi brillanti, a piece which pushes virtuosity to its limits, and “makes the bass sing in its on true voice” on the title composition. Da una certa nebbia, for two basses, also a premiere recording, pays implicit tribute to the work of Morton Feldman.

Stefano Scodanibbio
Daniele Roccato   Double Bass
Ludus Gravis Ensemble

1 ALISEI (Stefano Scodanibbio) 09:11
2 OTTETTO (Stefano Scodanibbio) 30:39


3 I 05:59
4 II 03:36
5 DA UNA CERTA NEBBIA (Stefano Scodanibbio) 18:16

Kim Kashkashian - Six Suites for Viola Solo 2-CD (ECM October 12, 2018)

The poetry and radiance of Bach’s cello suites (BWV 1007-1012) are transfigured in these remarkable interpretations by Kim Kashkashian on viola, offering “a different kind of sombreness, a different kind of dazzlement” as annotator Paul Griffiths observes. One of the most compelling performers of classical and new music, Kashkashian has been hailed by The San Francisco Chronicle as "an artist who combines a probing, restless musical intellect with enormous beauty of tone." An ECM artist since 1985, she approaches Bach’s music with the same commitment as revealed in her other solo recordings, the legendary Hindemith sonatas album and the widely acclaimed (and Grammy-winning) account of Kurtág and Ligeti.


CD 1
1 Prélude
2 Allemande
3 Courante
4 Sarabande
5 Menuet I / II
6 Gigue

7 Prélude
8 Allemande
9 Courante
10 Sarabande
11 Menuet I / II
12 Gigue

13 Prélude
14 Allemande
15 Courante
16 Sarabande
17 Menuet I / II
18 Gigue

CD 2
1 Prélude
2 Allemande
3 Courante
4 Sarabande
5 Bourrée I / II
6 Gigue

7 Prélude
8 Allemande
9 Courante
10 Sarabande
11 Bourrée I / II
12 Gigue

13 Prélude
14 Allemande
15 Courante
16 Sarabande
17 Gavotte I / II
18 Gigue

Wolfgang Muthspiel / Ambrose Akinmusire / Brad Mehldau /Larry Grenadier / Eric Harland - Where The River Goes (ECM 2018)

Where The River Goes carries the story forward from Wolfgang Muthspiel’s highly-acclaimed Rising Grace recording of 2016, reuniting the Austrian guitarist with Brad Mehldau, Ambrose Akinmusire and Larry Grenadier, heavy talents all, and bringing in the great Eric Harland on drums. Much more than an “all-star” gathering, the group plays as an ensemble with its own distinct identity, evident both in the interpretation of Muthspiel’s pieces and in the collective playing.  The album, recorded at Studios La Buissonne in February 2018, and produced by Manfred Eicher, features six compositions by Wolfgang Muthspiel and one by Brad Mehldau, plus group improvisation. It is issued in both CD and vinyl formats. Wolfgang Muthspiel plays music from Where The River Goes on tour this autumn with concerts at major venues in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Estonia.

Wolfgang Muthspiel   Guitar
Ambrose Akinmusire   Trumpet
Brad Mehldau   Piano
Larry Grenadier   Double Bass
Eric Harland   Drums

1 WHERE THE RIVER GOES (Wolfgang Muthspiel) 07:42
2 FOR DJANGO (Wolfgang Muthspiel) 07:15
3 DESCENDANTS (Wolfgang Muthspiel) 05:32
4 CLEARING (Wolfgang Muthspiel, Brad Mehldau, Ambrose Akinmusire, Larry Grenadier, Eric Harland) 07:26
5 BUENOS AIRES (Wolfgang Muthspiel) 03:37
6 ONE DAY MY PRINCE WAS GONE (Wolfgang Muthspiel) 05:31
7 BLUESHEAD (Brad Mehldau) 07:41
8 PANORAMA (Wolfgang Muthspiel) 03:27

Jakob Bro / Thomas Morgan / Joey Baron - Bay of Rainbows (ECM 2018)

“There is no hurry to this music, but there is great depth,” observed London Jazz News about Danish guitarist Jakob Bro’s trio with two kindred-spirit Americans: bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron. This poetically attuned group follows its ECM studio album of 2016, Streams – which The New York Times lauded as “ravishing” – with what Bro calls “a dream come true,” an album recorded live in New York City, over two nights at the Jazz Standard. Bay of Rainbows rolls on waves of contemplative emotion as the three musicians explore five pieces from the guitarist’s catalog, with the gorgeous “Copenhagen” a favorite reprised from Gefion, Bro’s 2015 ECM release. Others – “Evening Song,” “Red Hook” and the volatile “Dug” – are recast intimately and elastically for trio after having been initially documented by larger ensembles. Bookending Bay of Rainbows are two versions of the richly melodic “Mild,” the abstracted second rendering illustrative of Bro and company’s ability to push and pull the music into mesmerizing new shapes, onstage and in the moment.

Jakob Bro   Guitar
Thomas Morgan   Double Bass
Joey Baron   Drums

1 MILD (Jakob Bro) 08:42
2 RED HOOK (Jakob Bro) 08:34
3 COPENHAGEN (Jakob Bro) 05:16
4 DUG (Jakob Bro) 08:29
5 EVENING SONG (Jakob Bro) 04:51
6 MILD (VAR.) (Jakob Bro) 11:17

Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg / Kent Nagano - Arche (ECM 2018)

Commissioned to write new music to inaugurate the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, composer Jörg Widmann drew inspiration from the shape of the building itself: “From the outside it resembles a ship. To me, the interior looked like the hold of a ship, an ark…Re-emerging into the daylight, the ark idea would not leave me alone. The inflection of the music I had to compose was clear….”  Arche, an Oratorio for soloists, choirs, organ and orchestra is a compendious work embracing the course of history in the west with a collaged libretto drawing upon a range of writers: from the unknown authors of the Old Testament to Nietzsche and Sloterdijk via Francis of Assisi, Michelangelo and Schiller. Arche looks at the tradition of the oratorio and transforms it. Dieter Rexroth in the liner notes: “What immediately stands out is above all the impression of paradox and the vast diversity of forms and musical resources. Everything happens at once, everything interlocks. Every moment transports us into another world.” Kent Nagano directs the massed musical forces with aplomb in this concert recording from the premiere performance in January 2017.

Jörg Widmann
Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
Marlis Petersen   Soprano
Thomas E. Bauer   Baritone
Iveta Apkalna   Organ
Kent Nagano


CD 1
2 SINTFLUT 29:03
3 DIE LIEBE 26:55

CD 2
1 DIES IRAE 16:52

Jakob Davidsen feat. Sissel-Vera Pettersen & Randi Pontoppidan - Silence Trio 2 (ILK MUSIC 2018)

"Silence Trio Series" is the new work by Danish pianist and composer Jakob Davidsen. During the three years 2017-2019, he will release three different trio CDs, all with serenity, rigor, genre freedom and silence as the common theme.

These three publications can be perceived as both a collective work and the statement of an individual.

First edition of "Silence Trio", with the Norwegian saxophonist Torben Snekkestad and Danish / French guitarist Hasse Poulsen, was released in the summer of 2017 and received great reviews in most of the world. Among other things, the reputed American magazine "New York City Jazz Records" chose the CD for one of 2017's most remarkable releases worldwide. The next to follow is "Silence Trio 2" with the Norwegian singer Sissel Vera Pettersen and the Danish singer Randi Pontoppidan.

In 2019, "Silence Trio 3" ends with the participation of the Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen and the Danish bassist Jesper Egelund.

"Silence Trio Series" is published by the uncompromising Danish label, "Ilk-Music".

The trio of "Silence Trio 2" first met during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in 2015 where they played a very atmospheric concert, about which the critic of the Danish newspaper, “Politiken”, Christian Munch-Hansen, wrote:

"It was a very special audio universe that met one, with the beautifully colored voices of two experimental singers and rhythmic improvisations that spread in space as fragments of dreams, combined in a very nice way with Jakob Davidsen's highly present piano, also guided by the momentum and spontaneous invitations.

And Davidsen has the sense of contrasts of the experienced chamber musician and improviser - with his abrupt piano figures over the hovering sirens, or vice versa: beautifully circling sounds against the women's sound-playing, rattling percussion and deep vocal drones. "

About the musicians on “Silence Trio 2”:

In their duo, “Lift”, Sissel Vera Pettersen og Randi Pontoppidan have developed a very personal sound for the past 15 years, with their voices and electronics. They strike musical elements such as pygmy song, joik, vocalise, human beat box, jazz and Scandinavian hymns. Individually, they have performed in projects including Lionel Louke, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Paul Hillier's Theatre of Voices. The pianist and composer Jakob Davidsen is known for his pioneer work with music in the border between improvisation and composition. It has resulted in 3 Danish Music Awards, the Honorary Prize of The Danish Composers Association, DJBFA, more than 15 CD releases in his name and concerts in Europe and South America.

"When the whole world is shouting on the top of each other you can either choose to participate with even louder and more penetrating shouts. Or you can keep silent or speak in a low voice insisting that the silent and the subdued may reveal more depths and nuances than any superficial roar."

Sissel-Vera Pettersen -vocal & elektronics
Randi Pontoppidan -vocal & elektronics
Jakob Davidsen -piano

ZAV: Jesper Zeuthen / Jacob Anderskov/ Anders Vestergaard - Out of the Spectacle (ILK MUSIC 2018)

“Out of the Spectacle” is the crystallization of a continuing
collaboration between three Danish improvising musicians from
three different generations, that places itself somewhere between
textural improvisation, expressive free jazz and abstract soul.

Alto saxophonist Jesper Zeuthen is a Danish legend, that got
public attention already in the late 60’s for his work with the group
“Blue Sun” and has continued to evolve his music through his own
bands and his work with Jakob Bro, Anderskov Accident, Kasper
Tranberg etc.

Jacob Anderskov is one of the most outstanding voices on the
piano and has, since his debut in 2001, received numerous awards
for his music. He has worked with Michael Formanek, Chris Speed,
Airto Moreira etc. In 2018 he is nominated for the Nordic Council
Music Price.

The youngest of the three, Anders Vestergaard, is all over the
Danish underground music scene and known for his personal
touch on the drums. He is a part of the hard-hitting groups Yes
Deer and Laser Nun and has played with Evan Parker, Lotte Anker,
Thomas Morgan etc.

Together the three musicians creates a non-conceptual and bodily
music that meets the audience in a both challenging and atoning
way, emotionally multidimensional and spacious. They have
developed a personal interplay where influences, dynamics and
intensions floats freely between each other, melts together in
synergy and explodes in abstraction, and where the aim is to
create space instead of filling it up. A sort of reconciliatory blues to
the great spectacle.

Jesper Zeuthen - Saxophone
Jacob Anderskov - Piano
Anders Vestergaard - Drums

Jacob Anderskov - Mysteries (ILK MUSIC 2018)

Listening to KINETICS is a physical, sensual and energetic experience. Their music balances between pulse and no pulse, between groove and creativity, between beauty and abstraction. It’s about feeling, vibe, and structure. The crucial things in the music are – as always with Kinetics – beat, flow, expressiveness and momentum.

Kinetics has been playing intensively around northern Europe since its formation in 2014. The tour up to this recording started in London, featuring the legendary Evan Parker, and passed through several countries before ending at LOFT in Köln, where this album was recorded.

Side A of the LP is the end of the first set, side B is the opening of the second set. So you could argue that the 7 compositions on the album are done in one long take. (The band name) Kinetics, a branch of classical mechanics, is concerned with forces on bodies in motion. This no matter if these bodies be drones, drum sticks or planets – and relating to as well the movement through a terrain as that through outer space to another planet. (The album title), Mysteries, points beyond the physical domain, and into our interpretations of the forces behind the physical phenomena. It suggests an opening towards realms bigger or more incomprehensible than ours. To phenomena that will exist when we are no more here.

Jacob Anderskov, piano
Adam Pultz Melbye, bass
Anders Vestergaard, drums

Nov. 14-May 11: Jazz at Princeton University dynamic 2018-2019 season

Jazz at Princeton University Announces Dynamic 2018-2019 Season

November 14, 2018 – May 11, 2019

Guest artists include Blue Note Records trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, 
legendary vocalist Nnenna Freelon, Grammy winner and drummer 
Terri Lyne Carrington

Faculty leading groups include Jazz at Princeton head Rudresh Mahanthappa, Trineice Robinson-Martin, Jay Clayton, Matthew Parrish, Darcy James Argue

Jazz at Princeton University, helmed by acclaimed saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, presents a dynamic and compelling 2018-2019 Season, November 14, 2018 – May 11, 2019.

Highlights include performances by student groups joined by guest artists including Blue Note Records trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, legendary vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and Grammy winner and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.  In April, Jazz at Princeton will present Princeton University’s first-ever outdoor Jazz Festival.

“This year’s Jazz at Princeton program is going to be extraordinary,” says Mahanthappa. “With the contribution of so many of jazz's most articulate voices – both as guest artists and ensemble leaders – we are thrilled to offer performances that will engage, inspire and entertain students, educators and the community at large.  I am also excited that we’ll be hosting our first outdoor jazz festival.”

Jazz at Princeton’s six major student ensembles include the Creative Large Ensemble directed by Darcy James Argue, Small Groups I and A directed by Mahanthappa, Small Group X directed by Matthew Parrish, the Jazz Vocal Collective directed by Trineice Robinson-Martin, and the Vocal Improvisation Ensemble directed by Jay Clayton.

2018-2019 Season

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 – Jazz Vocal Collective  
The Jazz Vocal Collective, Jazz at Princeton’s elite vocal jazz ensemble directed by Trineice Robinson-Martin, performs original arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz compositions.

7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall.  Free and open to the public. Information here

Internationally recognized as one of the leading pedagogues in gospel and soul voice training and vocal technique, Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin is a force within the academic, religious, and performance communities. Her pioneering scholarship on gospel vocal techniques and performance practices can be found in Journal of Singing, Teaching in the 21st Century ed. by Harrison and O’Brian; and So You Want to Sing Gospel and Voice Training for the Gospel Soloist. Creator of Soul Ingredients™, Dr. Trineice holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Teachers College Columbia University in music education with an emphasis in contemporary commercial music vocal pedagogy, and a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University-Bloomington. Her performance experience spans a variety of musical styles, venues and settings: the intimacy of private parties and local clubs, the grand stages of musical arts centers and large music festivals, and international stages. Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin is the Executive Director of the African American Jazz Caucus, Inc.; serves on the national faculty of Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc.; and is a certified instructor in Somatic VoiceworkTM the LoVetri Method.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 – Jazz at Princeton University Small Group I with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire
The acclaimed trumpeter joins Princeton’s Small Group I directed by Rudresh Mahanthappa for an exciting collaborative evening of music that includes a commissioned suite in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of W.E.B. Du Bois’ birth.

8:00 pm, Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. For information and tickets call 609-258-9220 or visit here

Ambrose Akinmusire, “a thrilling young trumpeter and astute bandleader [with a] unique spark in his playing” (The New Yorker), was born and raised in Oakland California. He was a member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble when he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman, who invited him on a European tour when he was just a 19-year-old student at the Manhattan School of Music. After returning to the West Coast to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Southern California, Akinmusire went on to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles, where he studied with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Terence Blanchard. In 2007 he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition. He also released his debut album, moved back to New York, and began performing with artists including Vijay Iyer, Aaron Parks, Esperanza Spalding, and Jason Moran. Akinmusire’s highly acclaimed Blue Note debut When the Heart Emerges Glistening was released in 2011. His second Blue Note release is the Imagined savior is far easier to paint.

Friday, November 30, 2018 – Creative Large Ensemble  
Jazz at Princeton University’s Creative Large Ensemble, led by Darcy James Argue, continues to redefine the big band in a program encompassing a broad spectrum of the genre.

8 pm at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. For information and tickets call 609-258-9220 or visit here

Monday, December 3, 2018 – Jazz Vocal Improvisation Ensemble
VIE directed by the world-renowned Jay Clayton presents its first public performance of the year.

7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. For information visit here 

Jay Clayton is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer, and educator whose work boldly spans the terrain between jazz and new music. She has gained worldwide attention as both performer and teacher. With more than 40 recordings to her credit, Clayton has appeared alongside such formidable artists as Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Reich, Kirk Nurock, Julian Priester, Jerry Granelli, Jane Ira Bloom, Gary Bartz, Jack Wilkins, George Cables, Fred Hersch, Gary Thomas, and tap dancer Brenda Bufalino, as well as fellow vocalists Jeanne Lee, Norma Winstone, Urszula Dudziak, and Bobby McFerrin, She has taught extensively throughout the world at schools including Cornish College of the Arts and Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Her book “Sing Your Story: A Practical Guide for Learning and Teaching the Art of Jazz Singing,” was published by Advance Music.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 – Small Groups I & A
Jazz at Princeton University’s small groups, directed by award-winning saxophonist and program director Rudresh Mahanthappa, present an energizing and beautiful evening of music.

7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. For information visit here

Thursday, January 10, 2019 – Small Group X
Princeton University’s Small Group X performs under the direction of master bassist Matthew Parrish. The ensemble evokes the small group tradition of Art Blakey groups of the 1950s and 1960s where improvisation and inspiring interaction are key. The group performs as a sextet with several featured trio performances.

7:30 pm at Lee Rehearsal Room, Lewis Arts Complex. Free and open to the public. For information visit here

Born in central California to hard-working, music-loving parents of four children, Matthew Parrish epitomizes the heart of jazz bass performance and livelihood. Matthew has performed and recorded with many of the top names in jazz, Regina Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paquito D’Rivera, Houston Person, Clark Terry, Etta Jones, Miri Ben-Ari, James Williams, Harry Sweets Edison, James Newton, Gary Thomas, Greg Osby, Stefon Harris, and Orrin Evans to name a few. His beautiful, warm, and complex sound has earned him an impressive reputation in the music community as a performer and composer/arranger/producer. He has recorded over 50 works, including his debut CD “Circles” (2000) and his recent recordings with Karine Aguiar, as well as a recording with Houston Person entitled “Rain or Shine” on Highnote Records.

Saturday, February 16, 2019 – Jazz Vocal Collective with Nnenna Freelon
The world-renowned jazz singer, composer, producer, arranger, and six-time Grammy nominee shares the stage with Princeton’s Jazz Vocal Collective, the university’s elite vocal jazz student ensemble.

8 pm at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. For information and tickets call 609-258-9220 or visit here

Six-time Grammy nominee Nnenna Freelon has earned a well-deserved reputation as a compelling and captivating live performer. In 2014 she starred in the critically acclaimed show “Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles” in Las Vegas. Freelon toured with Charles, as well as other great artists including Ellis Marsalis, Al Jarreau, and George Benson. She is the writer, composer, and producer of the original theatrical presentation of “The Clothesline Muse,” a devised theatrical work of dance, music, spoken word, vibrant art and projections. It premiered in Philadelphia in 2013 with a national tour following in 2015. Freelon has always had a passion for education, and in November 2011 was asked by The White House to headline the Asia Pacific Economic Summit for 300 Presidents, Premiers, and Heads of State from around the world. Freelon performed in Laura Karpman’s undertaking of Langston Hughes’ “Ask Your Mama” at the Apollo Theater and at a Hollywood Bowl concert with Jessye Norman and The Roots. She has also performed at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, on In Performance at the White House, and had a featured song in the hit TV show “Mad Men.” Awards include the Billie Holiday Award from Academie du Jazz, Eubie Blake Award from NYC’s Cultural Crossroads Center, and two nominations for Lady of Soul by Soul Train Awards.

Saturday, April 13, 2019
Princeton University’s first-ever outdoor Jazz Festival.  More details coming soon.

Monday, April 15, 2019 – Jazz Vocal Collective
Jazz at Princeton University’s elite vocal jazz ensemble, directed by Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin, showcase their original arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz compositions.

7:30 pm at Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. For information visit here

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – Small Groups I & A
Jazz at Princeton University’s small groups, directed by award-winning saxophonist and program director Rudresh Mahanthappa, present an energizing and beautiful evening of music.

7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. For information visit here

Thursday, April 25, 2019 – Jazz Vocal Improvisation Ensemble
VIE directed by the world-renowned Jay Clayton presents its final performance of the year.

7:30 pm, Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. For information visit here

Monday, April 29, 2019 –Small Group X
Princeton University’s Small Group X performs under the direction of master bassist Matthew Parrish. The ensemble evokes the small group tradition of Art Blakey groups of the 1950s and 1960s where improvisation and inspiring interaction are key. The group performs as a sextet with several featured trio performances.

7:30 pm at Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall. Free and open to the public. For information visit here

Saturday, May 11, 2019 – Creative Large Ensemble with Terri Lyne Carrington
Jazz at Princeton University’s season closes with renowned drummer and Grammy winner Carrington in a rare performance of Jim McNeely’s Tribute to Tony Williams Lifetime alongside students in the Creative Large ensemble led by Darcy James Argue.

8 pm at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. For information and tickets call 609-258-9220 or visit here

Grammy Award-winning drummer, producer, and educator Terri Lyne Carrington started her professional career at 10 years old, being the youngest person to receive a union card in Boston. She was featured as a “kid wonder” in publications including People, Ebony, and Modern Drummer. After studying under a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music, she worked as an in-demand musician in NYC and later moved to LA where she was late night TV drummer for Arsenio Hall and Quincy Jones’ VIBE TV show. She has worked with artists including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Esperanza Spalding, The Yellowjackets, and countless others. She is the first female artist to win a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. She is a professor at Berklee College of Music, where she holds the position of Zildjian Chair in Performance, Berklee Global Jazz Institute. She is also the Artistic Director for the Beantown Jazz Festival and Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop. Her recent recordings include The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul, featuring a cast of female artists including Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Nancy Wilson, Lalah Hathaway, Lizz Wright, Ingrid Jensen, Linda Oh, Regina Carter, and others. She also released a tribute to Ornette Coleman with David Murray and Geri Allen. She tours with her band Social Science, featuring Aaron Parks and Matt Stevens.

Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue has toured nationally and internationally with his 18-piece ensemble, Secret Society. Argue made his mark with his critically acclaimed 2009 debut Infernal Machines. 2013 saw the release of Brooklyn Babylon, which, like Infernal Machines before it, earned the group nominations for both GRAMMY and JUNO Awards. His most recent recording, Real Enemies, released in the fall of 2016, earned a third consecutive GRAMMY nomination. Secret Society maintains a busy touring schedule, with European, Canadian, and South American tours and four appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival. Argue has also toured Australia and New Zealand leading the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. He has led performances of his music by the WDR Big Band, the Danish Radio Big Band, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Big Band Palácio das Artes, and the West Point Jazz Knights. Argue has composed works for chamber duo and string quartet, art songs for Newspeak, and created arrangements for the Atlanta Symphony. In 2015, Argue was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition and a Doris Duke Artist Award. He has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the Jazz Gallery, the Manhattan New Music Project, the Jerome Foundation, and BAM, as well as ensembles including the Danish Radio Big Band, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the West Point Jazz Knights, and the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New Music USA, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Composers Now, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony.

Jazz at Princeton University under the direction of Rudresh Mahanthappa serves to promote this uniquely American music as a contemporary and relevant art form.  Our goals are to convey the vast musical and social history of jazz, establish a strong theoretical and stylistic foundation with regard to improvisation and composition, and emphasize the development of individual expression and creativity. Offerings of this program include academic course work, performing ensembles, master classes, private study, and independent projects. They also have the opportunity to participate in academic courses from the music department curriculum that encourage the study of the historical, social, theoretical, stylistic, and creative issues that pertain to the jazz idiom.

Hailed by Pitchfork as “jaw-dropping... one of the finest saxophonists going,” alto saxophonist, composer and educator Rudresh Mahanthappa is widely known as one of the premier voices in jazz of the 21st century. He has over a dozen albums to his credit, including the acclaimed Bird Calls, which topped many critics’ best-of-year lists for 2015 and was hailed by PopMatters as “complex, rhythmically vital, free in spirit while still criss-crossed with mutating structures.” Rudresh has been named alto saxophonist of the year for seven of eight years running in DownBeat Magazine’s International Critics’ Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2018), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the 2015-2017 JazzTimes Magazine Critics’ Polls and was named the Village Voice’s "Best Jazz Artist" in 2015. He has also received the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, among other honors, and is currently the Anthony H. P. Lee ’79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University.

Born in Trieste, Italy to Indian émigrés in 1971, Mahanthappa was brought up in Boulder, Colorado and gained proficiency playing everything from current pop to Dixieland. He went on to studies at North Texas, Berklee and DePaul University (as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop) and came to settle in Chicago. Soon after moving to New York in 1997 he formed his own quartet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer. The band recorded an enduring sequence of albums, Black Water, Mother Tongue and Codebook, each highlighting Mahanthappa’s inventive methodologies and deeply personal approach to composition. He and Iyer also formed the duo Raw Materials.

Coming deeper into contact with the Carnatic music of his parents’ native southern India, Mahanthappa partnered in 2008 with fellow altoist Kadri Gopalnath and the Dakshina Ensemble for Kinsmen, garnering wide acclaim. Apti, the first outing by Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition (with Pakistani-born Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla), saw release the same year; Agrima followed nine years later and considerably expanded the trio’s sonic ambitions.

Mahanthappa has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Mark Dresser, Danilo Pérez, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the collaborative trios MSG and Mauger, the co-led quintet Dual Identity with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and another co-led quintet with fellow altoist and Chicago stalwart Bunky Green (Apex). His exploratory guitar- driven quartets on Samdhi and Gamak featured David Gilmore and Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, respectively. In 2015 he was commissioned by Ragamala Dance to create Song of the Jasmine for dancers and a hybrid jazz/South Indian ensemble. He was also commissioned by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet to compose a chamber piece, “I Will Not Apologize for My Tone Tonight,” which can be heard on the quartet’s 2015 double- disc release Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1. 

Mahanthappa is a Yamaha artist and uses Vandoren reeds exclusively.

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