Wednesday, December 8, 2021

John Hébert - Sounds of Love (January 14, 2022 Sunnyside Records)

Composer and bassist Charles Mingus’s legendary status is undeniable. Tributes to his genius tend to come up short because there isn’t a way to improve what he has already wrought. One element of Mingus’s vision that tends to get overlooked was his ability to create singular ensembles of strong, individual performers to play his music, ensembles that have gone down in history as some of the greatest of all time.

Bassist John Hébert has long been influenced by Mingus’s music. It was Mingus’s 1975 Atlantic recording, Changes One, that etched the clarity of the legend’s vision and tone into Hébert’s mind. Using the music and ensemble fluidity of the album as a direct inspiration, Hébert assembled an incredible band to play with the spirit of Mingus as a beacon for a number of performances from 2011 to 2013. The recording, Sounds of Love, presents the ensemble in their element, in a thrillingly dynamic live performance.

Having set roots in New York in the mid-1990s, Hébert became one of the most in demand bassists of his generation, upholding duties in bands led by Andrew Hill, Paul Bley, Mary Halvorson, and Uri Caine. Hébert continues to participate in a longstanding musical relationship with piano great Fred Hersch and has found himself in academia as a professor at Western Michigan University.

Assembling cohesive lineups of musicians is an art form that Mingus mastered. For this band, Hébert wanted to put together a shocking combination of musicians that would make the music come to life. Fred Hersch was a natural selection for the piano chair, as he had even studied with Mingus’s longtime pianist, Jaki Byard. The singular saxophonist and composer Tim Berne is a key fixture on New York’s Downtown scene where Hébert immersed himself and Berne makes a rare appearance as a sideman on Sounds of Love. Trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum proves a fitting foil to Berne and Hébert’s Halvorson rhythm section partner, drummer Ches Smith, proves once again that he can handle any musical challenge.

The musicians hadn’t played with each other before the first rehearsal. Their contrasting sounds were what Hébert wanted to make the music come together and still stand apart. It was a true balance of personalities and styles that would have made Mingus proud.

Hébert did not intend for the group to be a repertory band. They did develop arrangements of a handful of Mingus pieces, mostly from the Changes recording. Other pieces were written by the leader as vehicles for improvisation, with more than slight nods to the Mingus’s style, as he was obviously on Hebert’s mind.

The first performance of the group was in 2011 and, based on the strength of the ensemble, Hébert was able to take them on a short tour of Europe in 2013. The Sounds of Love recording comes from a live performance at Jazz in Bess in Lugano, Switzerland on March 27, 2013.

The recording begins with Ho Bynum’s vehement trumpet and Hersch’s pointillistic piano leading into Hébert’s “Constrictor,” an ominous waltz that sets the mood of noirish mystery as it builds to dynamic heights with Berne’s solo. Smith’s drums introduce the leader’s “Blank Faced Man,” a loose, subtle piece that shows the ensemble’s interplay. A fantastic solo bass feature from Hébert leads into Mingus’s “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love,” the ensemble keeping their intensity at simmer, allowing Mingus’s melody to sing.

Hébert’s “Love What?” was written in response to Mingus’s “What Love?” The piece pushes and pulls, the ensemble staying dramatically malleable before ramping up the energy in an off-kilter groove. The rhythmic structure of Mingus’s bluesy “Remember Rockefeller at Attica” makes the piece incredibly exciting to solo over and the ensemble takes full advantage, as the band members sing and shout. The recording concludes with the leader’s “Frivolocity,” a piece that contorts and twists over a bassline that was loosely based on Mingus’s “Sue’s Changes.”

Perhaps the best method to honor Charles Mingus’s work isn’t through imitation. John Hébert looked to the legend’s ability to match musical personalities in service to the music as inspiration for his band on Sounds of Love, though with plenty of Mingus DNA in their output. 

1. Constrictor
2. The Blank-Faced Man
3. Duke Ellington's Sound of Love
4. Love What?
5. Remember Rockefeller at Attica
6. Frivolocity

John Hébert - bass
Taylor Ho Bynum - cornet
Tim Berne - alto saxophone
Fred Hersch - piano
Ches Smith - drums & percussion

Taru Alexander - Echoes of the Masters (January 7, 2022 Sunnyside Records)

In the jazz community, there are individuals who come to the music as a birthright. There are countless musical families whose members continue to pass the gift of music on from generation to generation. Drummer Taru Alexander was endowed with music by his father, saxophonist Roland Alexander, and an extended family of professional musician mentors in his native Brooklyn, New York.

The younger Alexander celebrates the legacy of his father and his father’s peers on his new recording, Echoes of the Masters, a collection of pieces by well-known jazz composers performed by an outstanding group of musicians who came of age under the tutelage of legendary performers on the bandstand.

Taru Alexander was born into the music. His father, Roland, began taking him to gigs at 3 years old. The boy was entranced by the drums and began to pick them up naturally before he was 10. By the time he was 13 years old, Alexander was performing alongside his father and bass legend Reggie Workman, with whom he studied at Brooklyn’s famed New Muse School in Crown Heights. Further study with drummers Rudy Collins, Andre Strobert, Walter Perkins, and La Guardia Music & Art’s Justin DiCioccio prepared Alexander for life as a professional drummer.

A lifetime of musical experience has imbued Alexander with the skills, the knowledge, and the swagger to play jazz as it should be played. His credentials spread from bands led by Roy Hargrove, Gary Bartz, Carlos Garnett, and many more, so when he was considering who should join him on his new recording, Alexander wanted to include other musicians who had truly paid their dues.

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, pianist James Hurt has been a focal part of the New York jazz scene since he arrived in 1994. Among many ensembles, Hurt was a member of Roland Alexander’s band, where he met Taru Alexander. Hurt also performed with groups led by Abbey Lincoln, Sherman Irby, Russell Gunn, and many others.

Alexander met saxophonist Antoine Roney and bassist Rashaan Carter on a recording session led by saxophonist Michael Marcus in 2008. Alexander was so impressed that he made note to contact them when he was able to record on his own. Roney has been a stalwart leader and sideman in New York alongside fantastic musicians like Jacky Terrasson, Donald Byrd, John Patton, and his brother, Wallace Roney. Carter carries the history of the jazz bass on his shoulders having studied with Buster Williams, Reggie Workman, and Ron Carter. He continues to be one of the strongest players in New York.

During the pandemic, Alexander reached out to these stalwart musicians to be his band of certified players on his new album.

The recording launches into gear with a high octane take of the elder Alexander’s “Change Up,” a piece penned in the 1970s that bridges the gap between the earlier generation’s verve with the younger generation’s swagger. Taru Alexander’s drums propel the quartet with great solos from Roney and Hurt. Thelonious Monk and Coleman Hawkins’s “I Mean You” adds guest vocalist HANKA to the quartet for this swinging rendition of the classic tune, which is followed by Buster Williams’s “Deception” performed in a firey rendition.

Roland Alexander wrote “Kojo Time” for his son at the time of his birth and while the father was in Europe, the echo of a European ambulance signaling the to be drummer’s arrival can be heard in the theme. Alexander fell in love with McCoy Tyner’s “Peresina” from the pianist’s Expansions record, wearing it out after regular listens. The quartet honors the piece with an expansive reading with gorgeous features for the entire band. The recording concludes with Wayne Shorter’s “Pinocchio,” Hurt’s ambient piano leading to an up-tempo ensemble romp over Alexander’s persistent beat.

On Echoes of the Masters, Taru Alexander creates an aural tribute to his father, the great Roland Alexander, and the tremendous musicians who passed the tradition down to him and the future generations through their impact on the bandstand and their examples off of it. 

1. Change Up
2. I Mean You
3. Deception
4. Kojo Time
5. Peresina
6. Pinocchio

Taru Alexander - drums
Antoine Roney - tenor saxophone
James Hurt - piano
Rashaan Carter - bass
Hanka G. - vocalist (track 2)

Jacob Jolliff - Standards, Vol. 1 (December 17, 2021)

1. I'll Be Seeing You 06:59
2. Moose The Mooche 04:58
3. Everything Happens To Me 05:28
4. Have You Met Miss Jones? 06:52
5. Tricotism 04:55
6. Nica's Dream 05:41
7. Inner Urge 05:51
8. Turn Out The Stars 04:55

Jacob Jolliff, mandolin
Randy Porter, piano
Jeff Picker, bass
Alwyn Robinson, drums

Produced and Engineered by Randy Porter
Mixed by Dave Sinko
Mastered by Randy LeRoy at Tonal Park
Graphic Design by Setty Hopkins

John Patton - SOUL CONNECTION (January 28, 2022 Jazz Room Records)

One of the most influential and underground Hammond organists of the 1960's was "Big" John Patton as he was then known. If it was the groove that you wanted Patton was your Man and he made several albums for the legendary Blue Note label, many of which went on to sell for eye watering prices. As his style went out of favor, some of the recordings never saw the light of day until almost 20 years later and at the same time Patton slipped into the background. He resurfaced in the 1980s and went into the studio. Among his albums Soul Connection, originally released in 1983 on Nilva Records has now been re-released on what many consider to be the Re-Issue Label of these times; Jazz Room Records.

Patton had a strong band with him on this record. Avant Garde trombonist Grachan Moncur III fits in just nicely with some funky lines and solo's. Acid jazz Guitar Hero Melvin Sparks rides in the all important funk grooves but the revelation has to be saxophonist Grant Reed, who you may know from the Jazz Room Release of "Shamek Farrah & Folks" and who was a mainstay of the Mongo Santamaria set up. Jazz Exile Alvin Queen has been part of the sound set ups of Junior Mance, Stanley Turrentine and Charles Tolliver, among others.

The whole album sounds as if it was laid down in a Rudy Van Gelder session in the mid 60's and then languished in a vault somewhere, waiting until the fan base had returned. That time is now, this is a Funky Organ Groove with a Spiritual Soul Swing!

1. SOUL CONNECTION 09:44
2. PINTO 05:18
3. EXTENSIONS 06:53
4. SPACE STATION 05:36
5. THE COASTER 12:45

Bruno Vansina - ANYR (a New York recording) December 8, 2021

This recording with Teun Verbruggen and Pascal Niggenkemper dates from 2015 and was done in New York during a tour through the USA with the Flat Earth Society Orchestra. I had met Pascal one year before at a rehearsal with Steve Nelson in preparation for my 'Stratocluster' album.

We had a day off in New York, contacted Pascal and reserved a little basement studio. I remember that after just a couple of hours we were back outside somewhere in a quiet neighborhood of Brooklyn, the sun was shining and I was chatting with Teun Verbruggen, waiting for a taxi to take us back 'downtown'. What better way to spend the afternoon? We where living the dream. I cherish that feeling with this modest album. - BV

1. Estelle 10:45
2. Guacamole 07:20
3. Triologic 08:12
4. Von Zacken 06:26

All songs by Bruno Vansina except ‘Estelle’ by Malik Mezzadri.

Bruno Vansina - alto saxophone
Pascal Niggenkemper - double bass
Teun Verbruggen - drums

Recorded by Jim Clouse at studio Park West, Brooklyn NY, 24th June 2014.
Mixed by Joseph Branciforte, New York, 16th March 2015.
Master by Pierre Vervloesem at studio Fiasco, Bruxelles, May 2015.

Pianist/Composer/Vocalist ADRIANNE DUNCAN Leads Top Ensemble on "GEMINI"

PIANIST, COMPOSER/ARRANGER, VOCALIST ADRIANNE DUNCAN LEADS A TOP ENSEMBLE ON HER NEW FULL-LENGTH ALBUM GEMINI

Three evocative vocal originals, an instrumental, and an imaginative reworking of The Police’s classic “Roxanne” take listeners on a rousing journey

“On her Gemini, the vocalist/pianist/composer proves herself an adept and compelling artist in the jazz genre, one who isn't afraid to take some chances. . . . ‘Roxanne’ is a particularly fine take on the tune, from a particularly promising jazz artist.”
— All About Jazz ★★★★

In honing her own creative voice as a rare quadruple-threat female jazz artist, pianist/composer/arranger/ vocalist ADRIANNE DUNCAN has also discovered the ideal way to present it: with the devoted group of musicians and friends heard on her inspired recording GEMINI. The versatile rhythm section features Duncan on piano with DAN LUTZ on acoustic and electric bass and JIMMY BRANLY, who mixed the album, on drums. Vibraphonist NICK MANCINI achieves a beautiful blend with Duncan’s instrument, serving the multifaceted songs with his fine touch and displaying high-level virtuosity in the bargain. A small but highly colorful contingent of woodwinds, with JOHN TEGMEYER on clarinet and KATISSE BUCKINGHAM on flute and saxophone, brings an added dimension and sparkling improvisatory flair.

Although Duncan, an Atlanta native now based in Los Angeles, followed a non-linear path to jazz, her earlier activities laid the groundwork for it in every way. She is the daughter of renowned classical guitarist and educator Charles Duncan. She grew up performing in — and winning — major competitions as a high-achieving classical pianist, also playing celeste, organ and other specialized keyboards as a member of the Atlanta Youth Symphony. Later she studied theater (earning a degree from Northwestern University), which in addition to full-time professional acting work, also led directly to singing.

Though Duncan chose not to pursue a classical piano career, she continued her deep study of music and later brought the piano back strongly into her performance, with a voice instructor’s encouragement. “These things were so separate in my mind, classical piano and singing/musical theater,” she recalls. “I was singing jazz in bands in Chicago, but I was the singer up front — I don’t think I even told anyone I played.” And yet play she does, on the level demanded of a competitive concert pianist, with a harmonic knowledge and fluid, lyrical touch of someone who’s closely studied the jazz piano legacy as well. As a self-accompanying singer, inhabiting her original story-oriented lyrics with a resonant tone and a fresh and expressive spirit, she’s furthering a tradition that spans from Nat Cole, Shirley Horn and Andy Bey to Diana Krall and Dena DeRose.
Duncan was also nurtured as a fiction writer and screenwriter starting in high school, so her approach as a lyricist tends toward the literary, and her compositions have a cinematic sense of scope. Both “Elijah” and “Home at Last” on Gemini have original short stories attached to them, readings of which Duncan hopes to include in performances down the road. The former has a relaxed tempo with enigmatic chords as the story unfolds, buoyed by riveting clarinet and tenor sax solos as the tune edges upward into double-time funk/fusion. The latter was inspired by an image Duncan saw in a dream, of an unloved trophy wife ascending in a glass elevator, somehow revealing every detail of her sorrowful life. Dark minor cadences and shifting tempos evoke an unsettled ambiance, made all the more dramatic by the imaginary French/English phone conversation Duncan overdubs in the song’s final abstract out-of-tempo moments.

“He’s Not Quite You,” which “predicts the end of a relationship” according to Duncan, stretches from a rueful ballad into a more exuberant, in-the-pocket samba feel for Mancini’s energized vibes solo over an extended coda. And the title track “Gemini,” the sole instrumental piece, reveals another facet of Duncan’s compositional gifts. The grooving, churning odd-meter structure gives ample space to all the soloists, beginning with a heated round of trading between flute and clarinet, followed by drums over an ostinato and finally vibes on the closing vamp.

“My starting to write was a direct result of studying jazz piano,” Duncan explains. “I didn’t think it would lead to composing; my intention was just to start accompanying myself. I studied with John Novello, who’s a fantastic B3 player, and I was learning all the Bill Evans voicings. I made flashcards, put them in a box and shook them up and I’d randomly get some chords next to each other, and that was how I started writing.”

But that wasn’t all: Duncan also began to reharmonize, transforming song after song, and one of these was the 1978 rock classic “Roxanne” by The Police. The characterological story-song theme suits the album and Duncan’s lyrical style, and the band digs in accordingly. “I love it when I’m listening to a song and I’m not aware what it’s going to be,” Duncan remarks. “That’s what I wanted with ‘Roxanne.’ I’m also drawn to songs that don’t necessarily have a basis in reality and also have that ‘Rashomon’ aspect of different people’s points of view. I also like songs that start one way and finish another way, and I think every one of the songs on Gemini does that. I love to be taken on a journey.”

In addition to her own project, Duncan has performed and recorded with some of Los Angeles’ most noted musicians, including Otmaro Ruiz and Catina DeLuna on the Grammy-nominated Lado B Brazilian Project, with whom she toured Brazil on keyboards and vocals. She has played and sung on numerous recordings, including The Jazz Chamber with legendary multireedist Bennie Maupin, and also performs regularly with her seven-person vocal improvisation collective Fish To Birds. She served as musical director of the show Twins for its premiere in Berlin, and founded and produced the LA Modern Jazz Series, which showcased world-class creative jazz musicians. As a producer and arranger, Duncan’s projects include albums for actor-singers Jacqueline Emerson (The Hunger Games) and Larry Wolf (Pound, Putney Swope). Her piano playing can be heard on film soundtracks including The Chameleon and The Young Kieslowski, as well as the short films Impact! The Musical and Na Na Na (Na).

1. HE’S NOT QUITE YOU 9:16
2. ELIJAH 9:55
3. GEMINI 6:56
4. HOME AT LAST 8:56
5. ROXANNE 6:00

Adrianne Duncan piano, vocals
Nick Mancini vibraphone
Dan Lutz bass
Jimmy Branly drums
Katisse Buckingham flute, saxophone
John Tegmeyer clarinet

All compositions by Adrianne Duncan except

“Roxanne” written by Sting
Arrangements by Adrianne Duncan
Produced by Adrianne Duncan

TATA VASQUEZ & HIS ORCHESTRA - ECSTASY (Jazz Room Records)

Super obscure New York Latin Jazz superbly produced by Eddie Drennon of the massive Disco hit of the early 1970's "Let's do the Latin Hustle".

Drennon was also a well known arranger and producer on the underground Latin Circuit and produced this way out, leftfield and very different to the typical "Salsa" style release current at that time. Some very jazz oriented playing on top of the "El Barrio" Vox Pop sounds of the streets and underlaid with some funky and fiery latin percussion.

"Suite Guaracha" was picked up on by the London Ibiza crew in the 90's and the Ursula 1000 & Gamm Nu-Jazz crew in the 2000's, played all over the alternative club circuit but has still managed to stay under the radar since then, but now a staple of the Worldwide Sound appearing on DJ Playlists in the hippest spots from Tokyo to Hamburg, New York to Barcelona.

Very different from the usual run of the mill late 70's Fania outings which might be a clue as to it's somewhat unique sound stylings. Funky, gritty, raw, fat jazzy and spooky backing vocals. It's Strictly Jazz Room!

1. LA BARBERIA 04:24
2. COOL BREEZE 03:41
3. MALDITO VICIO 03:53
4. EL LOCO 04:55
5. SUITE GUARACHO - PART 1 03:22
6. SUITE GUARACHO - PART 2 05:55
7. ORGULLO Y VANIDAD 07:01

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Joy Guidry - Radical Acceptance (February 4, 2022 Whited Sepulchre Records)

From Marshall Trammell:

Somewhere it is written that the American author James Baldwin said that the English language is the enemy of Black people. Indeed, the straight-jacket of systemic limitations needs to be perceived to be overcome. I hear Guidry’s vernacular as a cultural methodology relevant to addressing the roles of artists making an impact on society today. Their tempered and hybrid phonics renders revelations of beauty, revelations of possibility, validation, self-awareness, creative problem solving, balance of openness with structure and other virtues of Improvisation, as stated by long-time Houston-based, music educator and Improviser David Dove in “Music is the Pedagogy.”

Ambient electronic tracks wait for you like light pools of warmth and resonance. Their placement in a timeline of the album designates them as unique transformative portals and democratic spaces within the narrative. Synthesizing Chela Sandoval’s five technologies of the Methodologies of the Oppressed which incorporates how we see the world (semiotics), make sense of it (deconstruction), relate it to history (meta-ideologizing), formulate new modalities of action (differential movement) to, finally, erect, defend and maintain democratic spaces (democratics). The journey of Radical Acceptance opens your eyes to move beyond sense-making into the creation of knowledge itself and our social environment.

Radical Acceptance sounds like tactical media quilt code from the Underground Railroad. Imagine next to the concrete examples of the “North Star,” the “Log Cabin, the Drunkard’s Path,'' and now we have “Radical Acceptance.” The album is a community informatic and liberatory tool for your emancipation and self-determination travel kit from a cultural archive of a disciplined, mind tempest. I believe the album is a conduit distributing the listener into a resonant real or imagined geography. With tracks as appendages, the recording moves on its own: auto-motive. Its own power embodies statements, scars and wisdom, offering a modality for when navigating community accountability. Entropic tracks like “Inner child,” “Why Is Toxicity So Yummy” and “How To Breathe While Dying” are sweetly deceptive and agile transgressions of common arcs in narrative formations of collective performance amidst layered solo versatility adds a nuanced blend of vernacular wisdom.

The poetics of the archival sounding material in “72 Hours,” each feels like an environmental sound design installation reminiscent of Leroy Jones’ (Amiri Baraka, of course) Blues People when he addresses the ownership and limitations of the recording technologies in shaping Black Music today. “Down In The Valley '' and “Voices Of The Ancestors' ' utilize uncommodifiable cultural weaponry that impossible to copyright, like Kente cloth, anchored in transformative tensegrity invoking a limitless healing rooted in African Diasporic indigeneity.

Radical Acceptance is a radical geography that defies the status quo of everyday harm that speaks straight to the senses and emotions of the listener. The organizations of sounds, tracks, rapid fingering and figures of soul-piercing resonance bring our bodies, feelings, and intuition to an evocation of a powerful relationship with those who we’re performing alongside, and those who are listening to us.

Wave after wave of sonic blasts fuel my descent into an afrological discipline of unique technologies. The album is welcoming intoning agency, social necessity, personality, difference and community accountability, in recognition of a strong relationship to sonic popular, experimental folk cultures. I have been hungry to hear a voice of a Creative musician speaking directly to listeners communicating critical information. Their words are not ambiguous.

I chased down references while driving. In the tracks I hear a timeline archived moving back and forth between the different layers of technologies and cultural methodologies amidst their musical consciousness in the interpretation, creation and transmission of self-determination in a historical continuum. Radical Acceptance is an interpersonal healing narrative carrying the ethos of a warrior that is responsive and inspiring community accountability. Radical Acceptance presents both the warrior and their ecology of a disciplined, mind tempest.

I urge listeners to get Radical Acceptance into your soul. Get it under your fingertips. Throughout the moving landscape of the recording I hear familiar colloquial blends of disciplines contributing a dialect erected from the need to describe and control one's circumstances, to confront life and outwit death, and, finally, as a proof of power. Hybridity-smacking, creole statements ring out as manifestation of a tight cultural and familial background suggests places and conditions of the Southern US, and simultaneously a legacy of sonorous defiance in NYC.
From Joy Guidry:

Radical Acceptance is a personal practice that has evolved in my life over the past year. This doesn't mean there aren't still tough times, but times of warmth and comfort are much more present these days. I will never be able to change my past, the things that hurt me, but I can live in a peaceful and beautiful life of my own creation. The most important thing I've had to teach myself is that there is nothing wrong with my body or my brain. My body is fat, and I struggle with my mental health daily, and neither of those things make me any less of a human being. I know that my Black, Fat, Queer and Non binary body is valid in every way. Learning to love my whole self unconditionally will be a lifelong journey, but I am just so happy to be where I am today. This is my radical acceptance. 

1. Just Because I Have a Dick Doesn't Mean I'm a Man
2. Face to Face
3. Inner Child
4. Down in the Valley
5. 72 Hours
6. Why is Toxicity So Yummy?
7. How to Breathe While Dying
8. Voices of the Ancestors
9. Grace

Joy Guidry: Electronics, Voice, Bassoon
Maudry Richard Davis, Voice
Oli Harris: Cello
Alfredo Colon: Sax
Jessie Cox: Drums
Nick Dunston: Bass
Chioneso Bakr: Drums
Hasan Bakr: Drums
Victor See Yuen: Drums

Album Art: Robyn Smith
Layout and Design: Dustin Bowen
Mixing: Edwin Kenzo Huet
Mastering : Murat Colak

Nick Walters - Singularity (January 28, 2022 D.O.T. Records)

Nick Walters returns to his D.O.T. Records imprint with a suite of forward thinking, cosmic, electronic-jazz experiments, inspired by NASA & the concept of gravitational singularity. Each track on “Singularity”, his first home studio produced album, is built around an audio sample recorded by NASA in space, then expertly transported back to earth by Walters via some magical trumpet and synth work on his newly purchased Juno-106. The album features key contributions from Ruby Rushton drummer Tim Carnegie, 22a Music’s Tenderlonious on flute and some sublime guitar work from Thibaut Remy.

'Singularity' is an album inspired by the concept of the gravitational singularity, thought to be found at the centre of black holes, and also thought to be the initial state of the universe at the beginning of the Big Bang. These are the points where current scientific understanding breaks down, where general relativity meets quantum mechanics and current theories are unable to comprehend how density or the curvature of spacetime can reach infinite levels. The album is dedicated to Professor Roger Penrose, the scientist who alongside Stephen Hawking did so much to develop theoretical understanding of singularities and black holes, and rightful recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020.
Each of the tracks features an audio sample recorded by NASA and made available for download and further artistic use. They include samples taken by the Cassini spacecraft as it studied Jupiter, Saturn, and their many moons, whistler waves picked up by NASA's Van Allen Probe as it passed around Earth, and interstellar plasma sounds picked up by the Voyager probe after leaving the Solar System.

The tracks grew gradually over time in an organic process, with key assistance provided by Ruby Rushton drummer Tim Carnegie, whose powerful and lively drumming added real impetus and energy to the programmed drum parts. Tenderlonious also added beautifully melodic flute parts to four of the tracks, and Thibaut Remy also contributed with some tasty guitar. The icing on the cake was the purchase of a Juno-106, which provided a load of spacey synth sounds perfect for the realisation of the project.

The artwork by Lorna Robertson matches the music by utilising a NASA image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, combined with hand drawn elements inspired by the visual style of Kubrick's classic film '2001: A Space Odyssey'. She depicts on the front cover a spacecraft journeying towards a bright star, controlled by operating a Juno-106, the analog synth so important to the sound of the album. The reverse shows a spaceman, trumpet in hand, ready to leave the safety of the ship to explore whatever is to be found outside. 

1. Cosmos
2. Interstellar Void
3. Penrose
4. Event Horizon
5. Enceladus
6. Supernova
7. Sagittarius A*
8. Entropy

Nick Walters - trumpet, synths, piano, percussion
Tenderlonious - flute (tracks 1-3 & 6)
Thibaut Remy - guitar (tracks 1, 3 & 6)
Tim Carnegie - drums (tracks 1-6 & 8)

Live instruments recorded by Thibaut Remy at Peckham Road Studio

Mixing Engineer - Rhys Downing
Artwork - Lorna Robertson
Executive Producer - Oli Reeves

Ilaria Capalbo - Karthago (January 14, 2022 Bluenord Records)

Ilaria Capalbo's first work as a leader is inspired by the story of Karthago, a powerful city founded on the southwest coast of the Mediterranean by a legendary queen and doomed by its closeness to the colliding empire of Rome. The lingering motives in this tale, part ancient history and part myth like many of the stories that the Mediterranean tells, are the courage, resiliency and vulnerability needed to grow in the light of uniqueness, to pursue a vision and to stand by it — regardless of odds — not to be forgotten.

The band is a quintet featuring Ilaria on bass alongside Thomas Backman and Fredrik Nordström on reeds, Andreas Hourdakis on guitar and Fredrik Rundqvist on drums. It occasionally grows into a septet with the addition of Tobias Wiklund on cornet and Mats Äleklint on trombone. Together, they give life to music with a narrative depth, as though outlining a story: ample room is given to the imaginative force of some among the most creative musicians on the Swedish scene, whose different personalities create a powerful and original balance under the steady guide of a leader from the rhythm section. The tunes are crafted at the intersection between free improvisation, rock riff-building and echoes of contemporary classical repertoire: the band delivers them through a cohesive and fearless sound.
1. Belóved
2. Part I: Ab radice
3. Karthago
4. Mare Nostrum
5. Scintilla
6. Moth
7. Part II: Ago Radices
8. What Remains Of Those Days

Ilaria Capalbo: bass & compositions
Thomas Backman: alto sax, clarinet
Fredrik Nordström: tenor & baritone sax
Andreas Hourdakis: guitar
Fredrik Rundqvist: drums
Tobias Wiklund: cornet (on Belóved)
Mats Äleklint: trombone (on Belóved)

Recorded at BAS Bandhagen on April 25-26, 2021 by Mats Äleklint
Mixed and mastered at Bluenord Studio by Fredrik Nordström
Artwork: Gabriele Cernagora
Photography: Klaudia Rychlik
Design: LOUP Studio

Nublu Orchestra conducted by Butch Morris - Live at Joe's Pub NYC (December 2021 Nublu Records)

Once upon a time, for a few years at the dawn of the 21st century, Avenue C in New York City's East Village had its own Zubin Mehta, its own Herbert Von Karajan, its own Daniel Barenboim. He was a veteran of both the Vietnam War and, even more heroically, NYC's avant-garde jazz scene. His name was Lawrence "Butch" Morris and he was a well-established legend. The orchestra he conducted and the repertoire they played differed considerably from those employed by the above-named gentlemen in style, substance, tools and content. It was a motley crew of musicians from a wide array of backgrounds, styles, disciplines and genres, and the music he drew out of them, far from a set-in-stone catalog of well-established pieces from the European classical tradition, was informed by jazz improvisation, feeding off of the electricity of the streets around them and spontaneously creating the sound of NOW, on the fly and out of thin air, brought to life by each exacting stroke of Butch's baton. Each performance was a unique moment never to be repeated and there were no "hits" you were guaranteed to hear. But the recordings of these performances are revelatory and give a strong sense of something strange, new, mysterious and wonderful about to happen, or that's happening already, and these are the recordings, made all around the world, that Nublu Records is now presenting to you.

The history of Butch Morris and the Nublu Orchestra goes back to the late 90s and the friendship between Butch and Nublu's founder and owner, musician Ilhan Ersahin. Butch and Ilhan became great friends and Butch was present at the very inception of the club. Butch actually became, along with the legendary Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, a patron saint of sorts for Nublu, except that Butch stopped in for his customary nightcap every single night and regaled everybody with his hip, knowing, offbeat wisdom and humor. The kind you'd expect from a man who once released an album called "Current Trends In Racism In Modern America (A Work In Progress)." Several years into the club's existence after its official 2002 opening, with a core roster of musicians, bands and DJs having quickly begun to establish itself, the idea came up to form a supergroup of sorts, or more ambitiously, an orchestra, comprised of players who were at the club on a weekly and often daily basis, to be conducted by Butch. But instead of playing the cornet he was known for, Butch would conduct all these players in a very strict and demanding (but loving) way, not just waving a baton but getting what he wanted from a particular player by using nothing more than a glance. Players came to recognize these glances and fear them, not wanting to be singled out during the inevitable band meetings/pep speeches/dressing downs Butch would administer in the basement band room between sets. The Nublu Orchestra also distinguished itself via the use of beats and electronics that were brought in by different contributors, and which also served to distinguish the Nublu Orchestra from Butch's other Conduction work, which he had pioneered and was noted for.

It wasn't long before Butch had whipped the Nublu Orchestra into good enough shape to take on the road to the world beyond Avenue C and the dozen recordings being released now were taped all over: Bergamo, Paris, São Paulo, Lisbon, Rome, Skopje, Saalfaden, Pomigliano, Sant'Anna Arresi and good old NYC at Nublu where it all began, and also at Joe's Pub. The 12th title in the series is called "Encores" and consists of just that, brief encores performed at assorted shows around the world. Butch conducted the Orchestra for the final time in 2012 and sadly passed away in January 2013. His spirit (as well as a giant portrait of him) still permeates Nublu, both its original location and its newer location at 151 Avenue C, as well as on the fantastic recordings that Nublu Records is very proud to now present to you. 

1. Conduction No. Unknown 42:39

Recorded live at Joe's Pub New York City on an unknown date in 2004.

Line Up:

Lawrence D. ‘Butch’ Morris (Conduction)
Sabina Sciubba (Vocal)
Graham Haynes (Cornet)
Eddie Henderson (Trumpet)
Clark Gayton (Trombone)
Ilhan Ersahin (Tenor Saxophone)
Jonathon Haffner (Alto Saxophone)
Jana Andevska (Violin)
Thor Madsen (Guitar)
Jessie Murphy (Bass)
Didi Gutman (Keyboards)
Kenny Wollesen (Drums)

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Project Coordinator: Velibor Pedevski
Mastered by Thor Madsen at Mazza Mansion, Copenhagen 2020
Cover Art by Ertac Uygun
℗ & © 2021, Nublu Records

Alister Spence / Joe Williamson / Christopher Cantillo - Curve (December 2021)

‘Brilliant musicianship, masterful playing and imaginative improvisational skills.’ Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts

‘Distinctive cohesiveness’ John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald

‘The hope is that this trio didn’t just “Begin” but will continue to make CDs like this for a long time.’ Ken Waxman, The Wholenote

Curve, is the second release by Australian pianist Spence, and Canadian born ex-pat Joe Williamson, and Christopher Cantillo from Sweden.

The trio first met in 2009 when Spence was invited to play at the Vilnius Jazz Festival. Since then, they have performed in 2011, 2013, and 2015, in Sweden, Norway, and the UK, as a trio, and with sax players Raymond MacDonald (Scotland), and Daniel Rourke (Australia).

1. Örnsberg Songbook 1 00:53
2. Deflect 04:59
3. Opening 08:42
4. Örnsberg Songbook 2 01:53
5. Slow Spin 07:55
6. Point of Rest 06:54
7. Örnsberg Songbook 3 00:43
8. Modulus 08:21
9. Generation 07:26
10. Örnsberg Songbook 4 01:01
11. Distribution 07:50
12. Örnsberg Songbook 5 01:31

Alister Spence – piano, prepared piano
Joe Williamson – double bass
Christopher Cantillo – drums, percussion

Recorded at Ton & Tråd, Örnsberg, Sweden on 24th February 2011
Mixed by Tim Whitten, November 2016
Mastered by Doug Henderson, September 2021
Producer: Alister Spence
Design: Cheryl Orsini
Cover and disc photographs: Alister Spence
Recording ©: 2021 Alister Spence
Artwork ©: 2021 Alister Spence
©All rights reserved
High quality audio files available for download: 24bit 48kHz

Jean​-​Charles Capon / Philippe Maté / Lawrence "Butch" Morris / Serge Rahoerson - Jean​-​Charles Capon / Philippe Maté / Lawrence "Butch" Morris / Serge Rahoerson (souffle continu records)

In November 1976, Jef Gilson’s phone rang. What a surprise! It was Serge Rahoerson, one of the musicians he had met in Madagascar at the end of the 60s and who had played on his first album “Malagasy”. Rahoerson announced that he was in Paris for a few days. Immediately, Jef wanted to organise a recording session, starting the next day. He thought of a trio including Serge, Eddy Louiss on organ and cellist Jean-Charles Capon, who had also been on one of the trips to Tananarive and so had also known Rahoerson there.

Unfortunately, Eddy Louiss –who had already played with Gilson and Capon on the album “Bill Coleman Sings And Plays 12 Negro Spirituals” in 1968- had to drop out at the last minute: he was delayed by a session with Claude Nougaro. Jean-Charles Capon had also become a sought-after studio musician since his trip to Madagascar in 1969. He appeared on several key albums on the Saravah label including the now famous “Comme À La Radio” by Brigitte Fontaine, “Un Beau Matin” by Areski and “Chorus” by Michel Roques, without mentioning the album by his own Baroque Jazz Trio. He was also to be found with Jef Gilson for his album on Vogue with the ex-drummer from Miles Davis’ first great quintet, Philly Joe Jones, or also in the orchestra led by Jean-Claude Vannier for the album “Nino Ferrer & Leggs”. He also played regularly on albums by Georges Moustaki.

Jean-Charles Capon and Serge Rahoerson found themselves thus in the studio, with Jef at the controls. He had decided to record the rhythmic structure right away. He would find the soloists later, that didn’t worry him. Serge Rahoerson was on drums. Though a saxophonist by training, Jef remembered that Serge was also capable of great things behind a drum kit: he was the improvised drummer on their cover of “The Creator Has A Master Plan” on the album “Malagasy”... The great memories came flooding back (the nod on the title “Orly - Ivato”), and the old magic worked again.

Brought in momentarily from Europamerica, Gilson’s new big band, in which JC Capon also played, the saxophonists Philippe Maté, from France (another Saravah stablemate) and the American Butch Morris (soon to be a key member of David Murray’s band) were invited to record their parts later and Gilson mixed it all as if it had been one single session (as he had already done on other albums, with the tracks by Christian Vander recorded before the creation and success of Magma).

The album would not appear until 1977, on Palm, Jef’s own label, and was dedicated to the memory of Georges Rahoerson, Serge’s father, who had also played on the album “Malagasy” and who had died prematurely at the age of 51 in 1974.

“I only received my own copy of the album in 1981 when I came to live in France definitively”, a still-moved Serge Rahoerson told us in 2013. “I was playing in a club one night and Jef turned up by surprise with a copy of the album for me, I was so pleased to see him again. When I arrived in France, I told everyone that I had played with Jef Gilson a few years previously, and I was surprised to learn that so few people knew of him. For us, he was of one of the great jazz visionaries.”

Jérôme “Kalcha” Simonneau

1. Spanish Cake Walk 04:59
2. Blues For Guy Labory 06:15
3. Orly - Ivato 06:44
4. Complainte 06:25
5. Mode De Fa - Salegy Drums Solo 11:10

Jacques Thollot - Watch Devil Go (souffle continu records)

 

To write these few lines, we spoke to saxophonist François Jeanneau, an old friend of Jacques Thollot who also played on several of his albums, including the “Watch Devil Go” which interests us here. He told us a story which, according to him, sums up the personality of Thollot. A noted studio had reserved three days for a Thollot recording session. The first morning was devoted to sound checks and putting some order in the score sheets which Jacques would hand out in a somewhat anarchic manner. Then everyone went for lunch. When the musicians returned to the studio, Thollot had disappeared. He wasn’t seen again for the three days. When he reappeared, he had already forgotten why he had left, The music of Jacques Thollot is in the image of its’ author: it takes you somewhere, suddenly escapes and disappears, returning in an unexpected place as if nothing had happened.

Four years after a first album on the Futura label in 1971, Jacques Thollot returned, this time on the Palm label of Jef Gilson, still with just as much surrealist poetry in his jazz. In thirty-five minutes and a few seconds, the French composer and drummer, who had been on the scene since he was thirteen, established himself as a link between Arnold Schoenberg and Don Cherry. Resistant to any imposed
framework and always excessive, Thollot allows himself to do anything and everything: suspended time of an extraordinary delicacy, a stealthy explosion of the brass section, hallucinatory improvisation of the synthesisers, tight writing, teetering on the classical, and in the middle of all that, a hit; the title-track - that Madlib would one day end up hearing and sampling.

“Watch Devil Go” was in the right place in the Palm catalogue, which welcomed the cream of the French avant-garde in the 70s. But it is also the story of a long friendship between two men. Jacques Thollot and Jef Gilson had known and respected one another for a long time. Though barely sixteen years old, Thollot was already on drums on the first albums by Gilson starting in 1963 and would play in his big band (alongside François Jeanneau once again), ‘Europamerica’, until the end of the 70s.

In a career lasting half a century and centred on freedom Jacques Thollot played with the most important experimental musicians (Don Cherry, Sonny Sharrock, Michel Roques, Barney Wilen, Steve Lacy, François Tusques, Michel Portal, Jac Berrocal, Noël Akchoté...) and they all heard in him a pulsation coming from another world.

Jérôme "Kalcha" Simonneau 

1. Kanêphoros 01:22
2. Up-Down 01:59
3. Watch Devil Go 03:16
4. In Extenso 07:05
5. Go Mind 01:44
6. Tryptique Pour La Foire Des Ténèbres De Ray Bradburry 02:32
7. Le Ciel Manque de Généalogie 00:43
8. Kamikaze's Nightmare 03:00
9. Entre Java et Tombok 02:08
10. Eddy G. Always Present 00:57
11. Before In 00:41
12. Eleven 01:04
13. La Dynastie des Wittelsbach 03:45
14. 1883-1975, Heavens 00:45
15. Au Stylo Feutre, Un Paysage 02:58
16. Canéphore 01:34

Alain Coyral / Akoy Kartet - Tous les Quatre

1. Cassandre 06:04
2. Nom de code 07:00
3. Daft Mood 04:49
4. Cool 04:30
5. To Troy 07:24
6. Tous les Quatre 04:32
7. Chérie Chérie 06:31
8. Joe 06:05

Alain Coyral (Soprano and tenor sax, composition)
Sebastien "Iep"Arruti (Trombone)
Serge Moulinier (Keys)
Christophe Jodet (Bass)
Didier Ottaviani (Drums)

Mark Lockheart - Dreamers (January 28, 2022 Edition Records)

PLEASE NOTE: VINYL IS NOT EXPECTED TO BE DELIVERED UNTIL 13TH MAY - ALL OTHER FORMATS WILL BE RELEASED 28TH JANUARY

Dreamers is the new project from the legendary British saxophonist and composer Mark Lockheart featuring Elliot Galvin (Dinosaur, Elliot Galvin Trio), Tom Herbert (Polar Bear, The Invisible) and Dave Smith (Robert Plant). Stylistically free and psychedelic in nature, the release of Dreamers signals a new trajectory for the musician who has already featured on a wide ranging and diverse catalogue of albums including Radiohead's Kid A. As a founding member of Loose Tubes and Polar Bear, Mark Lockheart has always remained ahead of the curve and has constantly explored new directions in his own music. Dreamers epitomises this adaptation and evolution, allowing the music to speak beyond the boundaries of genre and predictability. Mark has created an album which is direct and unpretentious but also surprising and unexpected.

As Mark explains: “The grooves, the sonics and the musical character of each piece are all hugely important. The process of writing music for these musicians led me into a new sound world that's very different from anything I’d done before”.

“I wanted this music to be unfussy and direct, but also unpredictable and surprising. The writing happened quickly for this album - my only intention being not to be restricted by style or genre. Of course there are influences and with hindsight I can hear many of them, John Zorn, Burt Bacharach, Ellington and  Kraftwerk are all here, not sure how, perhaps they were all in one of my dreams!”

Since 2009’s quintet album In Deep, Mark has become one of the Edition family, releasing a string of critically acclaimed albums under his own name, with the group Malija and with Edition artists including Slowly Rolling Camera, Jasper Hoiby and Laura Jurd. Mark has continued to work with classical artists (a collaboration that began with his group Perfect Houseplants in the 1990s (the Orlando Consort, Andrew Manze and Pamela Thorby) continued with theatrical and operatic work with Mark Anthony Turnage in the 2000s and his English Renaissance music record Salvator Mundi recorded at Temple church in London with organist Roger Sayer in 2019. 

1. Dreamers
2. Weird Weather
3. Jagdish
4. King of the World (Jagdish reprise)
5. Gangster Rat
6. Nature V Nurture
7. Fluorescences
8. Marmalade Skies
9. Mirage
10. Sixteen
11. Dream Weaver
12. Mingle Tingle

Music composed by Mark Lockheart except tracks 4 and 9 written by Mark Lockheart, Elliot Galvin, Tom Herbert & Dave Smith
Produced by Mark Lockheart
Executive producer Dave Stapleton

Recorded at the Fish Factory, London December 3rd-5th 2020 by Sonny Johns
Mixed by Alex Bonney

Mastered by Peter Beckmann at Technology Works

Special thanks to: Matt Calvert, Olivia Maguire, Rita and Daisy Lockheart, Steve Baker

Dave Smith would like to thank Istanbul Agop cymbals

This album is dedicated to John Ashton Thomas

Album artwork by Oli Bentley, Split
Photos by Dave Stapleton

Chris Morrissey - Impact Winter Formal (December 2021 Edition Records)

Described by Chicago Reader as “casually clearing the way for one potential path for jazz to progress into the future”, Chris Morrisey is a musician with an uncanny ability to blend styles and genres. Informed as much by alternative music of the 90s like Elliot Smith and Bjork as contemporary Jazz of that era, it was the presence of Happy Apple, the hyper original punk Jazz group from Minnesota (Dave King, Michael Lewis and Erik Fratzke) that installed his sense of what was possible in music.

This new set of work, his fifth record as a leader, represents his most authentic blend of all his influences in one melting pot. Here’s a musician as adept as a singer-songwriter as an improvising Jazz musician and composer.

With Impact Winter Formal, he gives up on straddling two genre worlds and instead has both feet firmly planted in a totally new one that is personal and looking-forward, complex but immediate, tuneful and inspiring. The result is brilliant, engaging and emotive featuring some of the most interesting and creative contemporary musicians in New York including Philip Dizack, Ryan Ferreira, Dan Rieser, Jon Cowherd, Josh Dion, Grey McMurray and Jason Rigby.

1. Don't Look so Serious 05:02
2. The Indigos 07:38
3. Ode to All Night 06:47
4. It's Cruel That It Ends 06:00

Chris Morrissey - Bass and Singing
Philip Dizack - Trumpet
Ryan Ferreira - Guitar
Dan Rieser - Drums
Jon Cowherd - Piano

except on THE INDIGOS, which is Chris Morrissey, Bass and Singing - Philip Dizack, Trumpet - Josh Dion, Drums - Grey McMurray, Guitar - Jason Rigby, Saxophone

All songs by Chris Morrissey (chris morrissey music, bmi)

Recorded at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, New York between February 2019 and April 2021

Recorded and co-produced by John Davis

Mixed by John Davis at The Bunker Studio in April 2021