Saturday, May 15, 2021

Various Artists - Utopic Cities: Progressive Jazz in Belgium 1968​-​1979 (June 11, 2021 Sdban Records)

On June 11th, independent groove label Sdban Records will release Utopic Cities: Progressive Jazz in Belgium 1968-1979 featuring twelve essential compositions from a highly creative period in Belgian jazz. The release follows Sdban’s critically acclaimed Let’s Get Swinging: Modern Jazz in Belgium 1950-1970, released back in 2017.

Utopic Cities is an eclectic selection of forward-thinking jazz from the Belgian underground, including the left-field fusion of Marc Moulin’s Placebo, Koen De Bruyne and Solis Lacus; the intense post-bop of Jacques Pelzer and Lou MacConnell; the cutting edge soul jazz of Philip Catherine and Open Sky Unit or the otherworldly avant-garde of Babs Robert and the Brussels Art Quintet. Recorded in the aftermath of the revolutionary year 1968, this music is the fruit of a highly creative momentum in Belgian jazz history that produced a unique sound which distinguishes itself from its American source of inspiration by an indefinable characteristic that can be hardly better described than ‘Belgian’.

1. Placebo - S.U.S. 04:23
2. Solis Lacus - Utopic Cities 07:02
3. Open Sky Unit - Open Sky 05:38
4. Brussels Art Quintet - Vas-y Voir 05:30
5. Koen De Bruyne - Pathetic Dreams 09:03
6. Raphaël - Archangelo 12:52
7. Philip Catherine - Memphis Talk 04:02
8. Jacques & Micheline Pelzer Quartet - Face Reality 08:19
9. The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band - Sakara 07:13
10. Marc Moulin - Tohubohu pt. I 05:13
11. Babs Robert - Pro Forma I 06:14
12. Lou MacConnell - Naima 11:09

Ron Everett - Glitter of the City (June 4, 2021 Jazzman Holy Grail Series)

As records in our 'Jazzman Holy Grail' series go, the magnificent 'Glitter of the City' by Ron Everett bears all the hallmarks as being one of the most coveted of all. Indeed, we value this album so highly that we specially reserved the Jazzman catalogue number of #100 to mark its significance.

Original copies of the LP are incredibly hard to find, even on the streets of Philadelphia from where it originated. Released in 1977 on a shoestring budget with a b/w xerox glued onto a plain white cover, the LP was never going to amass great sales. Add to the fact that it was a jazz album - totally unhip given the then current disco craze - and sold literally from the street corner by Ron himself - it's surprising that any were sold at all.

Then again, what goes around comes around. What is hip anyway? It's all about the music. Ron Everett made his album a deep, personal celebration of his hometown, with its vibrant musical community and heritage, and created an absorbing selection of funky jams, sweet jazzy soul and all manner of funk & blues infused jazz.

For the first time since its release we bring you an official reissue with restored artwork and audio. Our illustrated liner notes tell the life story of Ron Everett, as researched by respected Philadelphia music pro Dave 'Philly Dave' Brown and his interviews with Everett family members and the surviving musicians on the album. What's more, we're thrilled to include 3 extra bonus tracks taken from an unreleased master reel of a subsequent album which we discovered while researching the project. It really doesn't get any better than that! 

1. Royal Walk
2. Glitter Of The City (Song By Tahira)
3. Tipsy Lady
4. Mood Two Latin For You
5. Pretty Little Girl
6. Musicman New Rock Joy
7. Let Your Spirits Be Free
8. Fanfare for Coltrane
9. Untitled No.4
10. Untitled No.5

Ruby Rushton - Gideon's Way (June 4, 2021 22a)

Ruby Rushton return to 22a with a four track album teaser combining a fusion of sounds from across the jazz spectrum in their own distinctive style. The band have forged an instantly recognisable sound since their debut release ‘Two For Joy’ back in 2015, hitting the sweet spot by simultaneously sounding classic and forward-thinking.

The EP is fronted by virtuosic flute from bandleader Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne and soulful trumpet by Nick Walters, who combine with tight catchy leads and fierce solo work. Aidan Shepherd underpins the operation with slick synth and key work whilst Tim Carnegie delivers a suite of tight knit drum breaks.

‘Spanish Raga’ opens the EP, inspired by an evening out after a gig in Madrid in 2019. Always unpredictable, the tune moves from delicate flute melodies to punchy synth bass and drum grooves, with a Raga inspired flute interlude in the middle.

‘Fall From Grace’ is a melancholic jazz folk song. Inspired by the current uncertainty we all face. It winds through a complex horn line driven by explosive drums.

The EP title track ‘Gideon’s Way’ carries on the cinematic “cop music" theme from the bands 2019 LP ‘Ironside’, taking inspiration from ITV’s sixties cop classic ‘Gideon’s Way’.

Latin-jazz roller ‘The Good Mixer’ closes out the EP in energetic fashion, with a nod to Dingwalls and other closed Camden watering holes. A free-wheeling, playful tune with combined flute and trumpet solos nodding to the Charles Mingus approach of ensemble playing, elevated by Carnegie’s drum grooves. ‘Gideon’s Way’ leaves the door ajar for the fifth Ruby Rushton album, scheduled for release later this year. 

1. Spanish Raga
2. Fall From Grace
3. Gideon's Way
4. The Good Mixer

Ed 'Tenderlonious' Cawthorne; flute
Nick Walters; trumpet
Aidan Shepherd; keyboards
Tim Carnegie; drums

Recorded at Livingston Studios, London, 6th December 2020

'Gideon's Way' & 'Fall From Grace' written & arranged by E. Cawthorne
'Spanish Raga' & 'The Good Mixer' written & arranged by A. Shepherd

Executive Producer; Dennis Ayler
Recording Engineer; Rhys Downing

Mndsgn - Rare Pleasure (June 4, 2021 Stones Throw Records)

Rare Pleasure is Mndsgn's third album to be released on Stones Throw Records. Following 2016's Body Wash, this album truly shows the artist's evolution from his roots as a heralded beatmaker to vocalist, songwriter and arranger. Though he began writing for the album in 2018, the final recordings took just a week in studio with the help of trusted collaborators: Swarvy on bass, guitar and as Musical Director for the sessions, Stones Throw label mate Kiefer Shackelford on keys, drum work by Will Logan, the blessed percussion of Carlos Niño, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson on strings, and accompanying vocals from Fousheé and Anna Wise.

1. Rare Pleasure I
2. Truth Interlude
3. 3Hands / Divine Hand I
4. Hope You're Doin' Better 04:35
5. Rare Pleasure II
6. Slowdance 05:15
7. Abundance
8. Masque
9. Rare Pleasure III
10. Medium Rare 05:29
11. Rare Pleasure IV
12. Colours Of The Sunset
13. Divine Hand II
14. Slowdance

Kiefer - Between Days (2021 Stones Throw Records)

1. Between Days 02:34
2. Superhero 02:46
3. Friends 04:40
4. Labored Breathing 01:09
5. Running Out the Clock feat. The Kount 03:52
6. Work and Purpose feat. 10.4 ROG 01:54
7. His Heart Grew Three Sizes feat. Lakey Inspired 03:10
8. Everybody Loves The Sunshine feat. Theo Croker 05:22

All songs produced by Kiefer
Mixed by: Kiefer Shackelford except Jonwayne on 1
Mastered by: Matthew David McQueen except Kiefer on 8
Cover art by: Mason London
Additional players:
3. Friends
Trumpet: Sara Sithi-Amnuai (trumpet)
8. Everybody Loves the Sunshine ft. Theo Croker
Drums - Will Logan
Bass - Andy McCauley
Guitar - Paul Castelluzzo
Trumpet - Theo Croker

Beazar - Furry Tale EP (May 22, 2021 Moodfamily)

After years of fruitful studio work and intense worldwide touring with his band Stavroz, Beazar now steps out of the shadow. On his newest EP Furry Tale the Belgian abandons the strict four to the floor backbone of his earlier work in pursuit of more freedom, to express his dry and stern grooves laden with bittersweet tension. Inspired by Radiohead, Amon Tobin, Stimming, Apparat or Lorn, Beazar delivers his most delicate offering so far.

The first single ‘Furry Tale’ is an earworm. Inspired by the capricious behaviour of a cat swinging from good-hearted flattering to a fierce temper in just the blink of an eye, its anecdotal nature will most likely get it passed on from one generation to another, as an ancient history that carefully needs to be preserved. The EP's title track marks a new and seasoned stage in Beazar’s creative path.

It comes with an equally cinematographic video by the hand of choreographer Işıl Bıçakçı. Hailing from Istanbul, her vision on contemporary dance has brought her and her pieces to celebrated festivals all over the world.

1. Amazinger
2. Beazar (ft. Joppe Tanghe) - Mercurious
3. Furry Tale
4. The Third Half
5. The Slave Pilo

Mathias Modica - Sonic Rohstoff (May 2021 Kryptox)

Mathias Modica’s Sonic Rohstoff is the new album on Kryptox Music. Sonic Rohstoff  is a journey through abstract downtempo vibes, lofi jazz and futuristic electronica. This is Modica’s first album under his own name, following three albums under his monikers Kapote and Munk. All instruments are performed by Modica himself, embellished by guest musicians from the new Berlin Jazz scene.

Most people might know Modica from his earlier works as a producer, keyboard player and founder/ creative mind behind Toy Tonics, Gomma and Kryptox. Over the past two decades he has made a name for himself by discovering and breaking new talent and styles of music. He produced albums with James Murphy and Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, Peaches, Asia Argento, The Rammellzee and WhoMadeWho for his former label Gomma records. Nowadays, he is busy running Toy Tonics and Kryptox Records. 

Originally a jazz piano student and the son of a classical composer Mathias interrupted his studies exactly 20 years ago to launch his label Gomma records and his artist moniker Munk. Gomma became one of the leading labels of the 2000’s Indie Disco wave alongside DFA Records and Output Recordings. Crowned as „Germany’s freshest and most interesting record label“ by London's i-D Magazine. In fact Gomma was more than just a record label: besides connecting DJ aculture with bands and „real“ musicians, Gomma also released graphic magazines, shirts and ran underground art exhibitions around the world.

Modica stopped the Gomma label in 2015 to start Toy Tonics and Kryptox with two friends - two platforms that showcase the vivid new music scenes of Germany across electronic ad organic dance music. Toy Tonics became a go-to label for international artists experimenting with house, neo-soul, future disco and broken beat. (Coeo, Joel Holmes, Kosmo Kint and Cody Currie are among the artists on Toy Tonics.)

Kryptox Music was launched in 2018 as a home for new bands working in Germany. Highlighting new exciting forms of jazz, psychadelica and electronica that come out of Berlin, which has established itself as a melting pot of new bands and live musicians from across the world.

After Kryptox albums by Niklas Wandt, Ralph Heidel and the Kraut Jazz Futurism compilation, Mathias Modica finally delivers his own debut album. Sonic Rohstoff are ten slow, instrumental pieces in which Modica plays the Rhodes, synthesisers, bass, drums and percussions. The music is based on deconstructed samples and beats made from real drums and field recordings. Guest musicians are Ralph Heidel (fl, sax), Viktor Wolf (sax), JJ Whitfield (Beats). Loose drum patterns lead the way, mixed with carefully crafted, sensitive atmospheres setting the perfect mood for Modica’s warm and melancholic chord progressions and melodies played on several keybaords. Across the album, he draws inspiration from 1970s jazz funk and 1990s hip hop and electronica. Moods transition from sweet to bizarre, from cinematic to funky. Modern pioneers like Flying Lotus and DJ Shadow are influences as well as movie composers like Alessandro Alessandroni and David Axelrod and the fascinating world of 1980ies japanese  fusion jazz. But it’s difficult to find words for Sonic Rohstoff. In fact the sound of Mathias Modica’s debut album is too special to be described with few sentences. It’s deep and meaningful music. Listen and judge yourself.

1. Blumen der Vernunft 03:09
2. Mica Male 03:46
3. Kontainer Kollektif 04:00
4. Le Sud 07:37
5. Nippon Jonetsu 04:18
6. Kotti Bizarre (Antitheater) 05:15
7. Konterfei 04:42
8. Haengboggam 04:33
9. Ostinato Eisbox 04:24
10. Vendetta '71 05:06

Kaidi Tatham - 7inch Nails (May 2021 Sounds Familiar)

Sounds Familiar is excited to inaugurate their new record label with the launch of “7 Inch Nails” - a series of 7" records aimed at expanding boundaries and opening up musical horizons. The series will feature a range of extraordinary artists that we have crossed paths with, both established and up-and-coming, all of whom are adept at keeping the groove in check.

The first installment of “7 Inch Nails" arrives courtesy of musical genius Kaidi Tatham and double A-side ‘Feeling Happy’ / ‘Sooner Or Later’.

'Feeling Happy' does what it says on the tin, as Kaidi brings his inner Herbie Hancock to an uplifting, piano-led sunshine jam. On the flip, channeling Kaidi's signature fusion of jazz-inflected future soul, 'Sooner or Later' unfolds across four low slung minutes before breaking out in a joyous, orchestrated Latin groove.

Curated by Sounds Familiar and crafted with exceptional care by their extended family members at Mother Tongue records in Verona, Italy, 'Feeling Happy’ / 'Sooner Or Later’ will be released on vinyl and digital on May 14th, alongside a limited batch of red wax copies.

Stay tuned for more uncompromising freshness to be announced in the months to come.

1. Feeling Happy 04:08
2. Sooner or Later 04:34

All tracks written, produced and mixed by Kaidi Tatham
Mastering: Marco Zangirolami
Manufactured and distributed by Mother Tongue, Verona, Italy

Ondřej Galuška, Ian Mikyska, Radim Hanousek, Vojta Drnek - MiniMa Vol​.​1 (May 2021 Ma Records)

MiniMa is a new edition by Ma Records, introducing four new albums. Although the music is aesthetically diverse, we believe all the albums are linked by a common element, which we have called MiniMa. Each of the records demands a slightly different type of listening and concentration. Each of the artists approaches the flow of time differently. We strongly believe listening to the entire MiniMa edition will be a complex aesthetic experience.

Ligeticitations are first of all “citations” of recordings of works by the composer György Ligeti. Excerpts of various length are taken out of the original music and subjected to a kind of “close reading”. At the same time, a certain “licitation” is taking place: a negotiation regarding the musicality of individual elements – themes, sounds – which were not meant to appear on their own.

Strings, Water, Leaves, Air is a collection of real-time compositions, each of which was created under the influence of a different kind of tea. They are an invitation to stillness; to perceive their gentle nuances of taste and sound. By layering several steepings and instruments, a new blend is created – between improvisation and structure, time and timelessness, sound, taste, and fragrance.

Escape wass created by layering the home recordings of the participating musicians (ESCAPE I) and by mixing the Portuguese field recordings with a studio quartet of musicians responding independently of each other to different sonic materials (ESCAPE II). The result is a collage of improvised and composed music, field recordings, and electronics.

Lullabies are songs that ring out through our souls before we fall asleep. That is, when our souls are at their most open, most sensitive, most vulnerable. The short but intense EP Lullabies presents the unexplored sonic possibilities of the accordion, developed from a close connection between the player and the instrument. 

1. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 1: Intro 02:30
2. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 2: Chamber Concerto 05:43
3. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 3: Étude 2 - Corde à vide 03:00
4. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 4: 6 Bagatelles for Wind Quintet 04:44
5. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 5: String Quartet No. 1 03:48
6. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 6: Chamber Concerto: Calmo, sostenuto 05:10
7. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 7: Poème symphonique 04:29
8. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 8: Lux Aeterna 04:52
9. Ondřej Galuška - Ligeticitations 9: Outro 02:09
10. Ian Mikyska - 1. Eight-Year Liu Bao – 4. 1. 2021 05:58
11. Ian Mikyska - 2. Shui Xien Wuyi Oolong – 17. 12. 2020 06:36
12. Ian Mikyska - 3. Qilan Wuyi Oolong – 26. 12. 2020 05:02
13. Ian Mikyska - 4. Millenium Liu Bao – 18. 12. 2020 05:18
14. Ian Mikyska - 5. Lang He Shu Pu-erh – 30. 12. 2020 06:23
15. Ian Mikyska - 6. Mengku Gushu Sheng Pu-erh – 20. 12. 2020 04:02
16. Ian Mikyska - 7. Golden Tippy King Shu Pu-erh – 3. 1. 2021 08:24
17. Ian Mikyska - 8. Ali Shan Oolong – 17. 12. 2020 06:38
18. Radim Hanousek - ESCAPE I (acoustic) 09:26
19. Radim Hanousek - ESCAPE II (mix) 27:00
20. Vojta Drnek - 1. Doss Down 03:54
21. Vojta Drnek - 2. Insomnion 02:42
22. Vojta Drnek - 3. Stars Fading 04:20
23. Vojta Drnek - 4. The Lullaby Of Birdland 03:48

Radim Hanousek - MiniMa: ESCAPE (May 2021 Ma Records)

During my study stay in Portugal, I recorded dozens of hours of field recordings in Lisbon, Peniche, and Sintra, and prepared a simple graphic score inspired by the phases of the waves of the sea in relation to wind speed. During the covid isolation time, I asked six Czech and five Portuguese musicians to interpret this score. They contributed their personalities and creativity without any idea of the whole. I processed the materials I acquired in two ways: by layering the home recordings of the participating musicians (ESCAPE I) and by mixing the Portuguese field recordings with a studio quartet of musicians responding independently of each other to different sonic materials (ESCAPE II). The result is a collage of improvised and composed music, field recordings, and electronic. -RH-

1. ESCAPE I (acoustic) 09:26
2. ESCAPE II (mix) 27:00

ESCAPE I
Helena Espvall – violoncello
Maria do Mar – violin
Anežka Nováková – marimba 
Žaneta Vítová – accordion
Jana Vondrů – voice, harmonium
Hernâni Faustino – double bass
Peter Korman – double bass
Matej Olah – guitar
Martin Opršál – marimba, marimbula, kalimba, Tibetan bowls, timpani, cymbals
Guilherme Rodrigues – violoncello
Alvaro Rosso – double bass

ESCAPE II
Jana Vondrů – voice, harmonium
Hernâni Faustino – double bass
Radim Hanousek – bass clarinet, soprano saxophone
Martin Opršál – marimba, marimbula, kalimba, Tibetan bowls, timpani, cymbals

project realised at Radim Hanousek’s home studio (12/2020 – 03/2021) with field recordings
made in Lisabon, Peniche, and Sintra (11/2020)
final mixing and mastering – Tomáš Vtípil (4/2021)

Ondřej Galuška - MiniMa: Ligeticitations (May 2021 Ma Records)

As the title suggests, Ligeticitations are first of all “citations” of recordings of composer György Ligeti’s works. Excerpts of various length are taken out of the original music and subjected to a kind of “close reading”. At the same time, a certain “licitation” is taking place: a negotiation regarding the musicality of individual elements – themes, sounds – which were not meant to appear on their own. Is a decontextualized quotation of music still musical? Can these elements form a new composition? Do they somehow contain other possibilities of continuation and connection? To what extent is this a random process and to what extent is it limited by the possibilities of the original composition?

What is at play in these licitations, each of which employs a different strategy, are not only the compositional implications and possibilities of the elements. There is also a dialogue between the style and soundscape of the original pieces (determined by the use of classical instruments recorded at a certain time in a certain space) and the techniques of current music production. The use of studio effects in manipulating the space and time of sound, its reverb, pitch, timbre and morphology adds another layer of expression absent in the original material.

Samples in Ligeticitations are not simply rearranged, looped or juxtaposed. Rather they are layered to form a kind of “meta-composition” which compresses a longer composition into a shorter time span or many compositions into a single piece. (Prof. Jo Ellen Jacobs claims that if musical composition is the structuring of time, then the repetitiveness of popular music is literally a waste of time. Ironically, one can save even more time thanks to studio techniques used by popular music.)

Ligeticitations are mostly assembled “manually”, i.e. without the use of a tempo grid. Although the editing still takes place on a computer, the result is much more organic as is the case when working with tape and scissors. The compositions were in part created for the modern dance performance S dovolením! by the SPOLK dance troupe. The show should premiere in the Ponec theatre in Prague in July 2021. 

1. Ligeticitations 1: Intro 02:30
2. Ligeticitations 2: Chamber Concerto 05:43
3. Ligeticitations 3: Étude 2: Cordes à vide 03:00
4. Ligeticitations 4: 6 Bagatelles for Wind Quintet 04:44
5. Ligeticitations 5: String Quartet No. 1 03:48
6. Ligeticitations 6: Chamber Concerto: Calmo, sostenuto 05:10
7. Ligeticitations 7: Poème symphonique 04:29
8. Ligeticitations 8: Lux Aeterna 04:52
9. Ligeticitations 9: Outro 02:09

Author: Ondřej Galuška
Mastering: Ondřej Ježek

Ian Mikyska - MiniMa: Strings, Water, Leaves, Air (May 2021 Ma Records)

Since its early days in Ancient China, tea – the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water – has been valued for its potential for invigoration, medicinal use, and meditation. Its link to the Taoist and Buddhist contemplative traditions is perhaps best captured by the phrase “Zen and tea – one flavour”.

Each piece on this album was created as a multi-track improvisation during a long session with multiple infusions of one kind of tea. Palimpsests; meditations; compositions in layers of time. They are homages, in a way, but also invitations – to sit, to brew a pot of tea, and to listen.

1. Eight-Year Liu Bao – 4. 1. 2021 05:58
2. Shui Xien Wuyi Oolong – 17. 12. 2020 06:36
3. Qilan Wuyi Oolong – 26. 12. 2020 05:02
4. Millenium Liu Bao – 18. 12. 2020 05:18
5. Lang He Shu Pu-erh – 30. 12. 2020 06:23
6. Mengku Gushu Sheng Pu-erh – 20. 12. 2020 04:02
7. Golden Tippy King Shu Pu-erh – 3. 1. 2021 08:24
8. Ali Shan Oolong – 17. 12. 2020 06:38

Mastering: Ladislav Železný (ldn.ferrum.name)
Music, recording, mixing: Ian Mikyska (www.ianmikyska.com)
Instruments: baritone electric guitar (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8) | bass clarinet (2, 5, 7, 8) | classical guitar (3, 4) | guqin (1, 5) | viola da gamba (1, 4) | bass recorder (5, 6) | great bass recorder (7) | banjo with ebow (7)

Vojta Drnek - MiniMa: Lullabies (May 2021 Ma Records)

“Lullabies are songs that ring out through our souls before we fall asleep. That is, when our souls are the most open, the most sensitive, the most vulnerable. It’s a time when our minds are resting, wandering through different dream worlds, being tired and at the same time full of unsettling creative energy, unable to stop thinking. When I went to record this music I tried to embrace this state of mind and express it in my playing.”

Short, but intense EP “Lullabies” presents the unexplored sonic possibilities of an accordion, developed from close connection of the player and the instrument. Everything you can hear was recorded live, on one take, without any overdubbing or electronic modification of the sound.

1. Doss Down 03:54
2. Insomnion 02:42
3. Stars Fading 04:20
4. The Lullaby Of Birdland 03:48

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Pavel Kunčar at recording studio of Orli street Theater, Brno, Czech Republic

Friday, May 14, 2021

OUT TODAY: Composer / Pianist Cettina Donato's 'I SICILIANI' with Actor Ninni Bruschetta via AlfaMusic

Composer and Pianist Cettina Donato Joins Forces with Actor Ninni Bruschetta on New Album I SICILIANI, Honoring Poet Antonio Caldarella
Out May 14, 2021 via AlfaMusic

Italian pianist, conductor and composer Cettina Donato is proud to announce the May 14, 2021 release of her latest album, I Siciliani, featuring renowned actor Antonio ‘Ninni’ Bruschetta. Their second collaboration, this wondrous musical portrait of Sicily comes to life thanks to Donato and Bruschetta’s remarkable synergy and expansive musical vision. Featuring eleven of Donato’s expressive compositions, I Siciliani features the work of the late Italian poet Antonio Caldarella. This groundbreaking release will be available via AlfaMusic.

Cettina Donato is an internationally acclaimed classical and jazz pianist, composer, arranger and conductor. Her highly original work often blurs the lines between genres: from jazz to classical, and from symphonic music to theatrical music. For over a decade, she has led the Cettina Donato Orchestra, a full-size jazz big band with a string quartet, featuring musicians from all over the world. Across the ocean, in Italy, Donato is the only woman that conducts classical symphony orchestras performing a jazz repertoire while also contributing with her own arrangements. Donato has conducted the Bari Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Vittorio Emanuele Symphony Orchestra, the Lucca Jazz Orchestra, the Molfetta Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the New Talents Jazz Orchestra, among others. To date, Donato has released five albums including Persistency in 2017 (AlfaMusic) with renowned drummer Eliot Zigmund.

On I Siciliani, which has already received worldwide acclaim in Italy including a feature article in Gazzetta del Sud, Donato explores the work of the late poet Antonio Caldarella alongside legendary actor and writer Antonio Ninni Bruschetta. The Messina-born actor has directed over 40 theatrical works and has appeared in a plethora of film and television projects since the late 1980’s. Along with prominent television roles in Italy, he has known for his work in Visioni Private (1989), Boris (2007), To Rome With Love (2012), and Quo Vado?, which was the highest grossing Italian film in Italy in 2016. Bruschetta received the Tony Bertorelli Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
The pair’s previous theatrical collaboration came to pass in 2019 with “Il mio nome è Caino“, a production by Claudio Fava. While “Il mio nome è Caino” moved audiences with its emotional script and powerful musical performance, “I Siciliani” offers a new facet of Sicily; the poetic and literary kind.

The artistic inspiration for this project comes from the Strait of Messina, a common homeland for both Donato and Bruschetta, and geographically speaking, the narrow strait between the eastern tip of Sicily and the western tip of Calabria in the south of Italy. Antonio Caldarella, whose poetry inspired “I Siciliani”, crossed the same passageway throughout his life. Caldarella was a native of Avola in Sicily and raised between Naples, Messina and “the rest of the world.”

With Ninni Bruschetta’s brilliant interpretations, Caldarella’s poetry is brought to life on I Siciliani. Striking a balance between acting and singing, the album showcases Donato’s evocative compositions while bringing her love for large jazz ensemble back to the surface. The album, produced by the AlfaMusic label, is a suite of 8 songs and 3 preludes for piano, all composed, arranged and performed by Donato’s quartet with the assistance of the world class B.I.M Orchestra.

Joining Donato is saxophonist Dario Cecchini (Lee Konitz, Natalie Cole Band, Kenny Wheeler Hot Eleven, Funk Off, Paolo Fresu, Enrico Pieranunzi, Dave Liebman), double bass player Dario Rosciglione (Cedar Walton, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, Phil Woods, Tony Scott, Danilo Rea) and drummer Mimmo Campanale (Paolo Fresu, Bob Mintzer, Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Randy Brecker, Dee Dee Bridgewater). Actress and singer Celeste Gugliandolo, who has appeared on X Factor Italia in 2011 with I Moderni, is a featured special guest on one track.
Ninni Bruschetta lends his voice to I Siciliani, after performing Caldarella’s poetry for years throughout the world. Bruschetta originally began staging the poetry of his friend Antonio Caldarella at small theaters in Sicily before it became a traveling show that consistently changed form.

“Poetry became song and these are our songs, or rather our stories,” Bruschetta reflects. “Cettina’s, mine, Antonio’s and AlfaMusic’s, all together; stories of jazz, poetry, alcohol and above all stories of love.” Now, this dynamic duo is giving us the opportunity to experience their stories through record — configurations of passion, quality, and expertise that continue to evolve each time they are recorded, performed, and listened to.

1. I siciliani (4:31)
2. Le siciliane (3:36)
3. Alcol (4:17)
4. Preludio N. 1 (2:56)
5. Amico fragile (4:05)
6. Amore segreto (5:55)
7. Preludio N. 2 (1:34)
8. Amuri miu (7:36)
9. Ninna nanna (3:53)
10. Vorrei nuotare (2:11)

Preludio N. 3 (Ghost track) (2:19)

All composed by Concetta Donato
Lyrics by Antonio Caldarella
Publishing: AlfaMusic Studio (Siae)
P&C 2021 AlfaMusic – All Rights reserved

Wolfgang Lackerschmid - Summer Changes (May 14, 2021 Dot Time Records)

Summer Changes is the new album from legendary vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid. Recorded September 16 & 17, 2018 at the Traumraum Tonstudio, Augsburg, Germany, this new album comes on the heals of several recent Dot Time Records Legends releases that have featured Lackerschmid alongside trumpeter Chet Baker, including the critically acclaimed Quintet Sessions and Ballads For Two. Each track on Summer Changes was written and composed by Lackerschmid, with the exception of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Poinciana.” The tracklist exhibits a collection of 8 tunes that nod to the unique changing of seasons — the heat of the summer in particular — and a handful of sentimental memories for the artist, including a ballad for his mother.

Lackershmid’s arrangements on Summer Changes embrace feelings of reflection and nostalgia that are ignited by the seasonal change. Yet, the album is as much an homage to the past as it is a motive for the future. The 8 tracks on Summer Changes reveal a glimpse of the artist’s own understanding of time, and specifically, how he has chosen to contextualize his memories and experiences through harmony.

1. Half The Way 03:31
2. Summer Changes 05:11
3. Lemon Moon 06:26
4. Mother's Dream 05:45
5. We Ain't No Magicians 06:12
6. Rosemary's Baby 07:52
7. Poinciana 05:47
8. Stundenwalzer 10:04

Wolfgang Lackerschmid – vibraphone
Mark Soskin – piano
Jay Anderson – bass
Adam Nussbaum – drums

Meredith d'Ambrosio - Sometime Ago (May 14, 2021 Sunnyside Records)

As quiet as it is kept, vocalist/composer Meredith d’Ambrosio has become one of jazz music’s most highly regarded storytellers and performers. Her artful approach to musical interpretation has been treasured by many and has inspired numerous fruitful collaborations. Her new recording, Sometime Ago, finds her working with two masters of song, pianist Randy Halberstadt and trumpeter Don Sickler.

For nearly five decades, d’Ambrosio has been quietly but steadily spinning out new work, sating aficionados and casual listeners alike. Her beautiful voice, piano touch and song craftsmanship have been championed by many. D’Ambrosio’s unique talent can be heard on the seventeen releases recorded over three decades for Sunnyside Records.

The vocalist passes piano duties to Halberstadt on Sometime Ago. Halberstadt is a well-known pianist, composer and accompanist from Seattle, Washington. He brings his ensemble, which includes the father and son rhythm team of bassist Daryl Johns and drummer Steve Johns, to propel this tremendous session of original music from Halberstadt’s and d’Ambrosio’s pens as well as their arrangements of standards.

Sickler contributes his trumpet and production talents to help shape the album. The ensemble met at the legendary Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey in October of 2019 to record the program.

Naturally, it is the music that stands out, as all of those involved are highly motivated to provide thoughtful interpretations of original and cover songs.
The recording begins with Halbertstadt’s longing filled “When Springtime Turns to Fall;” d’Ambrosio’s amber tone at home in the meditative and upbeat moments. The pianist and vocalist’s “Feast Your Eyes” is playful in its lyrics and modal development, while John Williams and Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s “Moonlight” is a laid back bossa reflection. Sickler’s warm flugelhorn introduces Sergio Mihanovich’s “Sometime Ago,” a coolly performed ballad featuring Daryl Johns’s fantastic solo bass work.

Marvin Fisher and Jack Segal’s blue “May I Come In” plays into a Chet Bakeresque subtle warmth in anguish. A bouncy take on “Ralph Rainger and Dorothy Parker’s “I Wished On The Moon” brings a sprightly feel, before Halberstadt and d’Ambrosio’s “My Open Heart” provides a heartbreaking song of love and loss.

Schertzinger and Mercer’s chestnut “I Remember You” is done in an upbeat swing, while d’Ambrosio’s “Oh Well, What The Hell” finds happiness in exasperation, Sickler’s fine muted trumpet a counterpoint to d’Ambrosio’s lines. The recording concludes with Rainger and Robin’s “If I Should Lose You,” a mid-tempo Latin piece that leaves listeners wishing for more.

A true master of mood and presentation, Meredith d’Ambrosio luxuriates in a meeting of bright collaborators on Sometime Ago. Randy Halberstadt and Don Sickler help to produce a balanced and emotionally varied work of art.

1. When Springtime Turns To Fall
2. Feast Your Eyes
3. In The Moonlight
4. Sometime Ago
5. May I Come In
6. I Wished On The Moon
7. My Open Heart
8. I Remember You
9. Oh Well, What The Hell
10. If I Should Lose You

Meredith d'Ambrosio - vocals
Randy Halberstadt - piano
Daryl Johns - bass
Steve Johns - drums
Don Sickler - flugelhorn (4) & muted trumpet (9)

SINGLE from Ches Smith's Path of Seven Colors Out Today

The single "Here's The Light" from Path of Seven Colors – the exhilarating album from Ches Smith's We All Break – is out today, May 14. The full album is slated for release June 11, 2021 via Pyroclastic Records

Melding elements of Haitian Vodou and contemporary jazz, the groundbreaking 
album offers eight evolutionary/revolutionary tracks performed by a collaborative octet of world-class musicians including Smith, pianist Matt Mitchell, saxophonist Miguel Zenón, bassist Nick Dunston, vocalist Sirene Dantor Rene, and master drummers Daniel Brevil, Markus Schwartz and Fanfan Jean-Guy Rene.

NEW RELEASE: Keith Brown Trio’s AFRICAN RIPPLES (f/ Melanie Charles, Camille Thurman + more) out May 20, 2021 via Space Time Records

Acclaimed Pianist Keith Brown Announces the Release of His Revelatory New Album
African Ripples with his Trio, Out May 20, 2021 On Space Time Records

Space Time Records is proud to announce the May 20, 2021 release of African Ripples, the long-awaited new album by multi-faceted pianist, composer and arranger Keith Brown. The pianist’s third album as a leader, African Ripples introduces a new iteration of the Keith Brown trio now anchored by bassist Dezron Douglas and rotating drummers Darrell Green and Terron “Tank” Gully. Augmenting the mix is an abundance of notable special guests including trumpeter Russell Gunn, saxophonist Anthony Ware, vocalist Melanie Charles, vocalist Camille Thurman, vocalist Tamara Brown, spoken word artist Cyrus Aaron, and percussionist Nêgah Santos

After appearing on a number of universally acclaimed jazz recordings last year, including those by Jazzmeia Horn, Charles Tolliver, and Gregory Tardy, Keith Brown fulfills a long-held artistic vision on African Ripples. “The music of African Ripples was composed and collected to convey my personal experiences through Black music and how it has rippled out in so many different directions,” says Brown. “These ripples serve to bring to light our different relationships and connections and different variations of the same impactful shared experiences. This music has always been an extension of how we express ourselves within these relationships.”

Recorded in November of last year at Samurai Hotel Studios in Queens NY, African Ripples features innovative original compositions by Brown as well as several arrangements of tunes by such luminaries as Fats Waller and Stevie Wonder. Though the trio’s current configuration is new, the musicians on African Ripples have long-standing musical relationships. Terreon Gully is a longtime collaborator of Brown’s, having produced and performed on his previous album The Journey.  On Darrell Green, Brown shares that “[he] was one of the first drummers I met on the scene and has become one of my favorite drummers,” and on Dezron Douglas, he says: “anyone familiar with Dezron’s playing knows how deep his groove is but also how free he allows the music to be as well,” adding, “all these musicians provide exactly what I need to make the music speak.”
African Ripples begins with the deeply soulful “African Ripples Epigraph” featuring the evocative spoken word of Cyrus Aaron. Supple horn refrains cascade in between Aaron’s poignant words, underscored by Dezron Douglas’ deep groove and Brown’s powerful pianistic musings. “512 Arkansas St” provides the listener with some insight on the artist’s upbringing in Knoxville, Tennessee. Dedicated to the composer’s extended family, the song conjures the jubilance of family gatherings and features stunning improvisation by Brown as well as Russell Gunn and Anthony Ware. 

Queen” is dedicated to Brown’s wife Tamara and the musical inspiration for the composition comes from a painting by Nigerian-born artist Uzo Egonu entitled ‘Guinean Girl’. The beauty and intensity of the piano is matched by the strength of Camille Thurman’s soaring vocals.“Prayer For My Nephews” is a composition written by Brown for his nephews, who are 19 and 4 years old. Featuring the words of Cyrus Aaron, the song is filled with affirmations and prayer. Brown notes “growing up as young black men, these words are important to hear, and it can also be uplifting to anyone at any age that needs a word of encouragement.” 

Truth and Comfort” is a song about personal growth and re-education. The composer notes: “Everyone is raised in families and communities that can imprint ideas and beliefs that become a part of who we are. However, I think it is everyone’s responsibility to grow beyond the thoughts and beliefs that make them comfortable and see all the world’s many possibilities. This is something that some people have already done in their lives, so they’ll be able to relate to the experience, and for those who have not, maybe it will be an opportunity for them to think and see where they can open up themselves to truths beyond their comfort level.” The trio displays its stellar interplay on this nuanced track, and Brown offers audiences impassioned improvisation, beautifully supported by Terreon Gully and Dezron Douglas.

With the express purpose of fostering connection and positivity, African Ripples takes listeners on a journey throughout the life of the composer and offers a musical interpretation of many experiences that we all share in common – communion, hope, fear, nostalgia, grief and love. ‘My hope is that the listener will find enjoyment in the sounds, rhythms, harmonies, and melodies familiar to them and the ones that may be unfamiliar,” asserts Brown. “I hope that the energy and soul we put into this recording give them energy and uplift the soul.”

1. African Ripples Epigraph (featuring and lyrics by Cyrus Aaron) [2:03]
2. Truth and Comfort [5:01]
3. NAFID [5:19]
4. Just You, Just Me (Jesse Greer) [4:52]
5. 512 Arkansas St. (featuring Russell Gunn and Anthony Ware) [6:33]
6. African Ripples Part I (Thomas “Fats” Waller) [2:04]
7. African Ripples Part II (Thomas “Fats” Waller) [4:31]
8. Queen (featuring Camille Thurman) [6:37]
9. Come Back As A Flower (featuring Melanie Charles) (Stevie Wonder and Syreeta Wright) [5:23]
10. 118 & 8th [6:07]
11. What’s Left Behind [6:45]
12. Song of Samson (featuring Russell Gunn and Anthony Ware) [7:14]
13. Eye 2 Eye with the Sun [5:31]
14. Prayer for My Nephews (featuring and lyrics by Cyrus Aaron) [2:32]
15. African Ripples (Thomas “Fats” Waller) [0:46]

Keith Brown Trio:
Keith Brown- Piano, Rhodes, Synths
Dezron Douglas- Acoustic and Electric Bass
Terreon “Tank” Gully- (Drums, except tracks 6, 7, 8, and 13)
Darrell Green- (Drums, tracks 6,7,8, and 13)

Special Guests:
Russell Gunn-(Trumpet, tracks 1,5 and 12)
Anthony Ware- (Tenor saxophone, tracks 1,5 and 12)
Melanie Charles- (Vocals, track 9)
Camille Thurman- (Vocals track 8)
Cyrus Aaron- (Spoken Word, tracks 1 and 14)
Nêgah Santos- (Percussion, tracks 12 and 13)
Tamara Brown- Background Vocals (tracks 8 and 9)

MORE ABOUT KEITH BROWN
Memphis-born, Knoxville-raised and New York-based Keith Brown is one of the most in-demand pianists on the contemporary jazz scene. Since he began playing jazz at the age of 18, Brown has performed and recorded with a who’s-who of jazz luminaries. He currently tours as the pianist for Charles Tolliver and Jazzmeia Horn and has shared the stage with great jazz artists such as Camille Thurman & The Darrell Green Trio, Dezron Douglas, Sherman Irby, Steve Slagle, Terreon Gully, Kenneth Whalum III, David Weiss, Mike Clark, Bill Saxton, Joe Farnsworth, Greg Tardy, John Clayton, Benny Golson, and Bobby Watson to name a few. 

African Ripples is Brown’s third release as a leader, following the release of The Journey, in 2015 and Sweet and Lovely, in 2011. Brown appears on a number of highly acclaimed recent recordings including Jazzmeia Horn’s Where We Are, Charles Tolliver’s Connect, Janinah Burnett’s Love The Color of Your Butterfly, and Gregory Tardy’s If Time Could Stand Still. 

Chris Potter Circuits Trio - Sunrise Reprise (14 May, 2021 Edition Records)

One of the most prolific improvisers of his generation returns with the follow up to his 2019 Circuits album: a powerful and cathartic record featuring keyboardist James Francies and drummer Eric Harland.

In Sept 2020, a small window emerged from the restrictions and saw an opportunity to record ‘Sunrise Reprise’ with his Circuits trio. It was the first time anyone in the group had recorded with other musicians in months, and for prolific musicians such as these, it resulted in an outpouring of collective creativity, energy, and spirit.

The session was a huge release from the build-up of tension over the previous months, as Chris explains; “All of a sudden we’re in the studio. It felt such a release, a sense of freedom to create and to express ourselves collectively. It’s this, that has been the central part of this album – it’s about the trio, our shared energy, reflecting our own thoughts and feelings from all that’s going on in the world. Eric, James, and I really needed to PLAY, to try to put into music all the intense feelings of the previous few months. The close bond we had developed playing this music together on the road led to what we felt as a cathartic musical experience in the studio, documented in one very special evening”. Chris Potter
1. Sunrise and Joshua Trees 5.41
2. Southbound 8.17
3. Serpentine 11.10
4. The Peanut 5.11
5. Nowhere, Now Here/Sunrise Reprise 24.27

Chris Potter - tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinets, flutes, sampler/keyboard
James Francies - piano, keyboards
Eric Harland - drums

Music composed by Chris Potter - Chris Potter Music (BMI)

Produced by Chris Potter
Executive producers Dave Stapleton and Louise Holland

Recorded by Josh Giunta at GSI Studios 19th September 2020
Mixed by Christopher Allen at Sear Sound 28th & 29th September 2020
Mastered by Huntley Miller at HM Mastering

Artwork design by Oli Bentley, Split
Photos by Dave Stapleton

Chris Potter plays D’Addario Jazz Select reeds, RS Berkeley flutes and Selmer saxophones.
James Francies is a Yamaha Artist, endorses Korg Keyboards and is an IWC Brand Ambassador. James Francies appears courtesy of Blue Note Records.
Eric Harland plays Sakae drums, Remo drumheads, Vic Firth sticks and Zildjian cymbals

Pre-Order Now!! Available as Limited Edition Coloured & Numbered Vinyl and CD

Formats Available:
– The first 200 LPs will be numbered
– All LP copies will be coloured

Sun Ra & His Arkestra - Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Beyond Saturn) May 14, 2021

As live, late-1970s Sun Ra albums go, Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a cut above. It's similar to and contemporaneous with The Soul Vibrations of Man and Taking a Chance on Chances, two live sets also issued on Saturn in 1977 (and available in our remastered digital catalog).

Tape was not available, but we worked from a solidly transferred, clean 1977 Saturn LP (catalog #7877). As with many limited-release Saturn pressings, Somewhere Over the Rainbow offers exciting performances and solos preserved with dollar-store acoustics. Audio restoration can't add what the gear didn't capture—e.g., you can't "remix" the balance of instruments recorded with ad hoc mic placement—but these tracks here benefit from digital cleanup and sonic improvements (including phase correction, an issue with a number of Saturn releases).

This expanded Beyond Saturn edition includes two bonus tracks sourced from a stray tape from the original live 1977 dates. These tracks are not previously unreleased—they were previously and deliberately "misfiled" by the artist. That is, they were included on the A-side of a 1985 Saturn LP whose other content was unrelated.

The original 1977 release alternates four Sun Ra originals with three Tin Pan Alley favorites. It was during the 1970s that Ra began peppering his sets with Big Band-era standards, especially titles originally recorded by his heroes Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington. However, "Gone With the Wind," "Over the Rainbow," and "Take the 'A' Train" recur frequently in the career-spanning Ra discography.

Also of interest in this set is "I'll Wait for You," whose throbbing disco pulse prefigures the dance floor stylings pursued by Ra on his later albums Lanquidity, On Jupiter, and Sleeping Beauty.

The performances were recorded at the Bluebird in Bloomington, Indiana. The discographic Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra (by Robert Campbell and Christopher Trent, 2nd ed. 2000) notes: "Michael Weiss says that the Arkestra played two nights at the Bluebird; each night consisted of two 3-hour sets. He recalls that 'the band paraded around playing "Lights on a Satellite" like on the Montreux album'. [Two] dancers were identified from two local newspaper accounts. These articles say there were 18 people in the band, and imply the presence of Pat Patrick and Vincent Chancey, plus a possible third drummer—none of them audible on these tracks. Weiss, however, is sure that Patrick and Chancey were not present."

The two bonus tracks, "Outer Reach Intensity-Energy" and "Cosmos Rendezvous," were first issued by Sun Ra on the 1985 LP known as Stars That Shine Darkly Vol. 2, and alternately called Outer Reach Intensity-Energy. There was no identifying information included with the release—typical of Ra during the 1980s, it was issued in a generic sleeve which may or may not have been adorned with hand-art and no info except track titles on the label. However, Michael D. Anderson of the Sun Ra Music Archive found these tracks on a tape associated with the Bluebird dates.

1. We Live to Be 04:46
2. Gone with the Wind 02:47
3. Make Another Mistake 03:43
4. Take the 'A' Train 11:21
5. Amen Amen (Amen, Meni, Many Amens) 07:36
6. Over the Rainbow 07:33
7. I'll Wait for You 03:33
8. Outer Reach Intensity-Energy (bonus track) 03:53
9. Cosmos Rendezvous (bonus track) 04:19

Sun Ra: piano, organ, vocal
Ahmed Abdullah: trumpet
Akh Tal Ebah: trumpet, flugelhorn, vocal
Marshall Allen: alto sax, flute, percussion
Danny Davis: alto sax, flute, percussion
John Gilmore: tenor sax, timbales, vocals
Danny Ray Thompson: baritone sax, flute, percussion
James Jacson: bassoon, flute, Infinity Drum
Eloe Omoe: bass clarinet
ShooBee Doo [Reginald J. Fields]: bass
Tommy Hunter: drums
Luqman Ali [Edward Skinner]: drums
Atakatune: congas, percussion
June Tyson: vocals
Performers not heard:
Judith Holton [Wisteria el Moondew]: dancer
Cheryl Banks: dancer

Tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 composed by Sun Ra © Enterplanetary Koncepts (BMI)
"Gone with the Wind" by Herb Magidson & Allie Wrubel © Bourne Co./Music Sales Corp. (ASCAP)
"Take the 'A' Train" by Billy Strayhorn © Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc./Reservoir Media Music (ASCAP)
"Over the Rainbow" by Harold Arlen & Yip Harburg © EMI Feist (ASCAP)

Tracks produced by Sun Ra
Tracks 1–6: Vinyl transfer by Timothy Stollenwerk from an original Saturn LP in the collection of Craig Koon
Tracks 7–9: Tape transfer by Michael D. Anderson, Sun Ra Music Archive
Digital audio restoration by Irwin Chusid
Cover reconstruction by I.C.
Recorded at the Bluebird, Bloomington, IN, ca. July 18, 1977