Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Marcello Tonolo & Pietro Tonolo - Our Family Affair (August 2021 Caligola Records)

I fratelli Marcello e Pietro Tonolo, classe 1955 e 1959, jazzisti che non hanno bisogno di presentazioni, guidarono a cavallo fra gli anni ’70 ed '80 il Jazz Studio, quartetto molto noto ed attivo nell’area veneziana, ma che non ha lasciato testimonianze discografiche della sua musica. Nei successivi decenni hanno portato avanti entrambi con successo i loro percorsi professionali, collaborando solo raramente a comuni progetti musicali (è successo, per esempio, con Keptorchestra). Hanno quindi registrato molti album a proprio nome (Marcello ne ha pubblicati almeno una decina per Caligola), ma è la prima volta che ne firmano insieme uno come co–leader. Al loro fianco troviamo in quest’occasione un giovanissimo ma già apprezzato contrabbassista, Nicolò Masetto, ed un veterano del jazz veneto, il batterista Massimo Chiarella.

Il disco si apre con due brani fra loro molto diversi: Il sottoscala, di Pietro, composizione d’atmosfera newyorkese, e Quiet City, tema arioso d’impronta modern bop di Marcello. È interessante ascoltare in Acqualta Pietro, che ne è anche autore, muoversi con maestria al flauto ed imbracciare subito dopo il sax soprano in The Gift, brano del fratello pianista che precede il suo Arnold Sings the Blues, sorta di blues “dodecafonico” in cui torna allo strumento che l’ha reso giustamente famoso, anche al di fuori del nostro paese, il sax tenore, sinuoso e felino come nelle migliori occasioni. I repentini cambi di strumento del sassofonista donano ad una formula che potrebbe apparire sin troppo prevedibile, quella del quartetto con sassofono e pianoforte, una grande varietà cromatica, ma anche una sonorità estremamente coesa ed avvolgente.

Gli ultimi quattro temi sono tutti firmati da Marcello. È ancora il flauto di Pietro ad illuminare la danzante e gioiosa Eucalypso, mentre la personale scrittura del pianista, riconoscibile sia in La talpa che in Ace, raggiunge forse il suo momento più felice in Remembering Steve, ballad dedicata a Steve Grossman ed eseguita in duo, che chiude nel migliore dei modi un album che segna una tappa importante nei pur lunghi e fecondi percorsi artistici dei fratelli Tonolo.

1. Il sottoscala 04:18
2. Quiet City 04:48
3. Acqualta 06:44
4. The Gift 04:19
5. Arnold Sings the Blues 05:49
6. Eucalypso 05:03
7. La talpa 05:57
8. Ace 05:26
9. Remembering Steve 04:24

Pietro Tonolo (tenor and soprano sax, flute)
Marcello Tonolo (piano)
Nicolò Masetto (double bass)
Massimo Chiarella (drums)

Axel Filip - Sendero (August 2021 Ears & Eyes Records)

Story and about the music: Young and active Argentine drummer and composer continue his journey as a leader with the adventuresome album, with clear jazz influences crossed by Argentinian folklore music, as well as Afro-American reminiscences.

Axel Filip's second album as a leader and composer.

Inspired by landscapes from his childhood in the woods, walking through trails to find rivers, waterfalls and being in communion with nature, Axel conceived this album by imagining each song as a path to a certain place, historic event, or feelings reminding of love, loneliness, and quietude. (more on Axel’s career at the end).

It's about half and half piano trio, with Mariano Sarra - piano (young pianist and composer with an original and fresh approach) and Flavio Romero - contrabass (Oscar Giunta SuperTrio, Minino Garay - one of the most virtuosic and busy bassists in Buenos Aires), and then with featured artists Pablo Passini on guitar, Milton Amadeo and Melina Moguilevsky in vocals and Juan Klas conducting a string quartet arrangement.

Axel is a super-active musician in the Buenos Aires scene, he has played and/or recorded with Camila Nebbia, Juan Cruz de Urquiza, Rodrigo Dominguez, Sol Liebeskind, Kenneth Jimenez, Fred Selva, Frederico Heliodoro, Andres Beeuwsaert, Ernesto Jodos, Jim Rotondi, Sergio Wagner, Juan P. Arredondo, Sebastian de Urquiza, Francisco LoVuolo, Hernan Jacinto, among others, recording more than 20 albums as a sideman.
1) “Repleto de raices” is the opening track, which starts with an exciting drums groove- that can be related to Candombe or Brazilian music- that is quickly joined by piano and bass, arriving at a more relaxed and melodic moment. That doesn’t last for so long, growing into a sequence of frenetic and irregular piano chords, played in unison with drums, which serves as a platform to a bass improvisation by virtuoso bassist Flavio Romero.

A vibrant piano solo by the great Mariano Sarra takes place afterward, leading to a brief moment of block chords only played by him, and the whole ensemble is given entrance for a varied reexposure, with a more extended bass improvisation, evolving to a wild unison ending.

This song was inspired by massive tree roots coming off the ground, making the ground difficult to walk and creating exotic figures in the ground.

2) The second track is “A la inconsciencia”, a song that invites the listener to dive into a deep immersion into subconsciousness, evoking melancholic emotions.

It starts right away with the piano trio featuring the raw yet velvety voice of Milton Amadeo, with a slow groove that flows between 4/4 to 3/4 measures seamlessly, asking the listener to “empty his/her mind and wake up”. It continues with an instrumental bridge and voice chorus, reminding of a chacarera (Argentinian folkloric rhythm) that is followed by a second verse.

We hear afterward an interlude with a darker atmosphere, which takes place with a unison ostinato played by bass and piano with a ternary feel, where a 5/8 superimposed feel played by the drums and right hand on the piano is added, creating a playful tension to land on a perfectly constructed melodic piano solo by Mariano Sarra, using the first section of the song as an improvisation platform. The piano improvisation slowly walks us again into the interlude’s darker atmosphere, adding a lot of mystery with the use of intrepid lines, until the whole ensemble stops for a second to bring back Milton’s voice and retake the song’s initial exposition.

3) “Alambre de púa” is a micro-piece, one of three composed for this album. This one represents wire spiked fences that impeded going from one place to the other and forcing them to change course.

It starts with a free improvisation that flows into a slow tempo, spacious and airy groove. It features the first appearance in the album of the brilliant guitarist Pablo Passini.

4) The fourth track is “Nocturnal”, a piano trio piece inspired by going through paths in the middle of the night, where the vision enhances itself, and it’s possible to hear strange sounds originated by nocturnal life.

It starts with a high-energy intro in 6/8 played by the whole ensemble, leading to a slower tempo groove and piano melody, incorporating different dynamics and riffs with metric changes shifting from 4/4 to 9/16 and 3/4. It continues with a solo by bassist Flavio Romero, beautifully constructed and very rich melodically, followed by a powerful piano solo by Mariano Sarra.

It ends with a reexposure and a coda in 9/16, with a slowed-down unison played by piano and bass, with a final hit played by the whole ensemble.

5) “Cerrado por el tiempo” is the title of the fifth song of the album. It is a high-energy instrumental piece in 7/4 and 4/4 inspired by paths that, for the lack of use, are obstructed by vegetation growth, which makes you decide whether to continue through that path passing between branches and leaves or try to find another way.

It features guitarist Pablo Passini playing the lead melody, flowing from a binary feel to a ternary 9/8 metric modulation, with African music rhythmic traces. The song continues with a fantastic guitar solo by Pablo Passini, owner of a very personal sound and ideas, which grows until an interlude where piano joins the melody, to end with a reexposure from a high energy melody section of the head is followed by a ternary Afro in unison.
6) “Vertiente” is the second micro-piece of the album, played in a quartet setting with Pablo on guitar. It is inspired by natural watersheds that can appear along the way.

It is a slow and groovy piece, which contrasts the previous piece with its joyful mood, anticipating the next one.

7) The seventh track of the album is “Hacia vos”, an instrumental piece inspired by the path that takes us to find the people we love. It is a playful song played by the piano trio, composed using a danceable riff that is variated and put into different metric measures, shifting from 4/4 to 3/4 and 7/8 measures where drummer Axel Filip grooves comfortably, feeling like navigating through a 4/4 feel. It stands as the groovy piece of the album, due to its structure, repetition and bass and drums cadence and with a duration of 4 minutes sharp.

The song structure is maintained through the whole piece, with a venturous spirit piano solo by Mariano Sarra, ending with the initial melody, in a traditional jazz manner of the head in, solo, and head out.

8) “Al río” is the eighth track of the album, featuring bassist Flavio Romero. It’s a piano trio piece, which starts in a subtle and gentle way, with a slow piano ostinato in 3⁄4 (with an inner clave which can be felt as three measures of 7/8 and one in 3/8, popularized by composer Guillermo Klein), which ascends and descends in a dreamlike fashion and serves as a platform for a bass improvisation played in a duo setting.

This mood is interrupted by the entrance of the drums, giving place to an intricate yet hip groove. It flows from 4/4 to 5/8 measures, and 4/4 on the B section of the melody, landing on a 6/4 structure for an extended bass solo, accompanied by piano and drums, followed by a strong interlude to land on the initial melody and groove played in the head in and a coda in 9/8, with a Latin-American feel, where drummer Axel Filip builds a spicy solo until the end of the piece.

This composition was inspired by paths that take you to rivers, and the ones that follow rivers through its courses.

9) “A la memoria” is the third and last micro-piece of the album, with a more introspective mood, played by the piano trio plus Pablo on guitar. It contains testimony from a member of the Napalpi community, native people from El Chaco (Argentinian province) who speaks about a massacre that occurred in 1947 at the hands of the Argentinian military force.

This piece was inspired by the communion with nature, which native people considered their goddess (The Pachamama), and the opposite face represented by white man civilization, who treats nature almost with contempt and oppresses native communities with extreme violence.

10) The closing track of the album is “El Brujo” a piece composed to and dedicated to the memory of Santiago Maldonado, who died under dark circumstances in an operation of the Argentine gendarmerie while violently evicting a Mapuche community in La Patagonia (south of Argentina). This case took international relevance and touched a great part of Argentinian society.

This piece features an octet setting, featuring the amazing singer Melina Moguilevsky on vocals and Surdelsur string quartet (conducted by Juan Klas) who join the piano trio. The piece starts with a string quartet intro, evoking feelings of peace and tranquility, representing in some way Santiago’s life and the trip that took until he got to La Patagonia. This intro is followed by a section where the trio plus Melina, who sings a melody that floats over a 7/8 groove, with the drums playing a microgroove in 11/8 over it.

The string quartet appears through the piece playing backs and adding tension to specific moments, and in the middle plays a complex soli over a 7/8 measure, that concludes when Melina joins to sing “may the gods hear our prayers, where are they? There’s no mercy nor justice, the ancestors sing” with violinist Guillermo Rubino playing unison and the rest of the strings adding supporting backs.

The tune ends with the whole ensemble in action and Melina singing an epic solo, backed by an intense rhythm section comping and counterpointed canonic string backs.

1. Repleto de raíces 4:29
2. A la inconsciencia 5:21
3. Alambre de púa 0:59
4. Nocturnal 5:28
5. Cerrado por el tiempo 4:59
6. Vertiente 0:41
7. Hacia vos 4:00
8. Al río 5:16
9. A la memoria 0:44
10. El Brujo 3:42

Axel Filip - drums/compositions/arrangements/lyrics
Mariano Sarra - piano
Flavio Romero - contrabass

Melina Moguilevsky – voice (track 10)
Milton Amadeo – voice (track 2)
Pablo Passini – guitar (track 5)
Surdelsur Ensemble – string quartet (track 10)

Recorded at Estudio Dr. F in Buenos Aires, engineered, mixed & mastered by Pablo Lopez Ruiz
All music and lyrics by Axel Filip
Album art/design by Daniel Rivas
Camera: Mariano Asseff
Visual interventions on videos: Axel Filip/Camila Nebbia

The single A la inconsciencia (Spotify) and Nocturnal, available here are already available on all streaming platforms

Releases on the independent label, ears&eyes Records, on August 30th, 2021

(Digital Release - ears&eyes Records August 20, 2021)

Liudas Mockūnas / Christian Windfeld - Pacemaker (August 2021 NoBusiness Records)

1. Pace 24:09
2. Maker 20:04

Liudas Mockūnas - contrabass and prepared clarinet, tenor and soprano saxophones
Christian Windfeld - prepared drum kit, drums, drums and cymbals

Music by Liudas Mockūnas (Koda) and Christian Windfeld
Recorded at Improdimensija/Mama Studios in Vilnius, May 2018
Recorded by Arūnas Zujus and Vytautas Bedalis
Mixed and mastered by Anders Ørbæk
Original art work and cover design by Neringa Žukauskaitė

Lao Dan / Deng Boyu - TUTU Duo (August 2021 NoBusiness Records)


Lao Dan - alto saxophone, Chinese flute
Deng Boyu - drums, percussion

Recorded on the 13th October 2019 at RC Studio, Guangzhou, China
Mixed by Deng Boyu 邓博宇
Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Cover photos by Pan Yue 潘越

Frode Gjerstad / Kent Carter / John Stevens - Detail​-​90 (August 2021 NoBusiness Records)

1. Detail - 90A 17:21
2. Detail - 90B 21:56

Frode Gjerstad - alto saxophone
Kent Carter - bass
John Stevens - drums

Recorded on 21st November, 1990 at NRK-studios in Stavanger by Per Ravnås

All music by Gjerstad (TONO), Carter (SACEM) and Stevens (PRS)

Toggi Jonsson Quartet - Hagi (August 31, 2021)

Bassist Þorgrímur „Toggi“ Jónsson presents his second solo album named Hagi. This music consists of 10 pieces plus 2 extra, written with this personal and formation of a band in mind. Here you have melodic and thoughtful compositions that varies from hymn like church music to pop and/or rock music of the 70ths.

Influenced by the Icelandic nature and the ever changing weather, perhaps mostly from the Westfjords of Iceland, hence the title track Hagi, wich is a beautiful farm that has been in the same family for over 100 years located in the south of the Westfjords, and the track Rauðisandur, aka Red Sand Beach, one of the most impressive and beutiful places of the Westfjords.

1. Þoka 05:05
2. Von 05:17
3. Hagi 03:48
4. Anda Inn 03:48
5. 6:20 03:58
6. Uppúr Þurru 03:55
7. Hugsa Hlýtt 06:09
8. Kraðak 03:51
9. Fyrir Þig 03:48
10. Rauðisandur 05:43
11. Einn Fyrir (extra number) 04:27
12. Innan Um (extra number) 04:41

Þorgrimur Toggi Jonsson – acoustic and electric bass
Rögnvaldur Borgþórsson – guitar
Tómas Jónsson – piano, wurlitzer, mellotrone and more keys
Magnús Trygvason Eliassen – drums

Produced by Toggi Jonsson and the band.
Recorderd December 10th and 11th 2020 at Sundlaugin Studios by Birgir Jón Birgisson. Mixed by Ívar Ragnarsson and mastered by Friðfinnur Oculus Sigurðsson.
Graphic design by Klara Arnalds
All music by Thorgrimur Toggi Jonsson

Kevin Sun - 3 Bird (August 2021 endectomorph music)

<3 BIRD is Kevin Sun’s love letter to the towering father of modern jazz, Charlie Parker. In a concise but wide-ranging program of 12 original compositions and three arrangements, Sun draws electrifying and futuristic conclusions from Parker’s musical innovations.

With <3 BIRD, Sun proves himself a formidable contributor to the continuing legacy of Parker’s music in this new century. In doing so, he also shares his vision for future directions in jazz and even more creative work to come. 

1. Greenlit 04:16
2. Adroitness, Part I 01:22
3. Adroitness, Part II 02:41
4. Composite 01:36
5. Onomatopoeia 03:49
6. Dovetail 07:02
7. Cheroot 02:13
8. Du Yi's Choir 05:24
9. Big Foot 04:41
10. Sturgis 01:42
11. Schaaple (Intro) 00:44
12. Schaaple from the Appel 04:30
13. Salt Peanuts 03:50
14. Arc's Peel 01:00
15. Talck-overseed-nete (Klact-oveereds-tene) 04:07

Kevin Sun ⋅ tenor saxophone & clarinet*
Adam O’Farrill ⋅ trumpet (1, 10, 11, 12, 13)
Max Light ⋅ guitar (5, 8, 15)
Christian Li ⋅ piano & Fender Rhodes (2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13)
Walter Stinson ⋅ double bass
Matt Honor ⋅ drums

*sheng on “Du Yi’s Choir” only

All songs composed by Kevin Sun (The Kevin Sun Music / ASCAP) except the following, arranged by Sun:

“Big Foot” and “Klacto-veereds-tene,” composed by Charlie Parker
“Salt Peanuts,” co-composed by Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Clarke

Recorded by Aaron Nevezie at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY on February 26 & 27, 2021
Mixed by Juanma Trujillo
Mastered by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground
Produced by Kevin Sun
Art direction and photography by Kevin Sun
Layout and additional photography by Diane Zhou

Billy Harper Quintet Live In Brooklyn (August 2021)

Texas Tenor, Billy Harper has had an immense influence on my life and music. I first played with Billy’s band in 1992 when he came to Australia and brought with him his good friend the great Texan drummer Malcolm Pinson. The band was me, Scott Tinkler on trumpet, Nick Haywood on bass with Billy and Malcolm. We played Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide and this tour was a life-changer. It was so musically and spiritually intense that I was covered in sweat after each gig and wondering what had hit me. It really felt like I was being changed by the music as if my hearing and approach were being changed forever.

I am so fortunate to have had opportunities like this where I learn through the music directly. Billy brought so much spirit and his music is deeply passionate with a strong gospel feeling and a lot of Coltrane language. And with regard to Malcolm, you have to understand that I was a young lad from Mooroolbark and really had never experienced what a great American drummer sounded like and what it could bring out of you. Not to mention that Billy had come up through the ranks of the heaviest musicians that have ever lived, people like; Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Lee Morgan, and the list goes on and on. This tour was set up by our great Australian jazz advocate Martin Jackson and I can never thank him enough because it was a trial by fire that led to Billy becoming my mentor and kind of ‘New York dad’ for some 20 years following.

A month or so before the first gig, Billy sent Martin rehearsal cassettes. The tapes contained all the music we would play and Billy would explain in words and with music exactly what we were to do; all the theatrical and musical devices we needed to know about were outlined in sound and words, like a kind of jazz music directors cut. Who does that?

I remember the first Oz gig was at a pub in South Melbourne called “the Limerick Arms” and it was like taking off in a rocket. I feel like the audience also experienced this lift-off. Malcolm and Billy together was an incredible force and it felt like the gig went by in a flash of light. They were incredibly kind to us young players and there was no vibing or castigating or any of that. It was just love for music and generosity. I remember hearing Billy and feeling so much sacred church feeling in his melodies but also a furious intellect and artistic freedom. It was actually scary. 

We played Billy’s fantastic compositions like Priestess , Love On the Sudan, and Cry Of Hunger and so many other Harper classics. To me, it’s absurd that Billy is not better recognized as one of the great Jazz composers and players of all time. I remember marveling at his use of silence and his rhythmic awareness that was so far ahead of anything I had ever known or heard. Later on, when I had the fortune to play in his band in New York I could get a little closer to rhythmic possibilities that many of Billy’s compositions explored but on this first Australian tour I could only intuit what was possible. If you listen to Call Of The Wild and Peaceful Heart you can get a sense of the rhythmic subdivisions and possibilities that are possible.

Billy’s long-standing band could really explore all these layers and would take the music to a place of real expressive freedom. I would often go and hear them stretching out like this, when I finally got to New York.

We also played a club called “Dr Jazz” in Melbourne and on that night I was kind of exhausted with various things so, rather than going straight into the club, I decided to take a very quick nap in my car. I woke up with a start 3 mins before we were supposed to go on! I ran in and went straight onto the bandstand. Martin Jackson told me that Paul Grabowsky and Bob Sedergreen were waiting and ready to play. Phew.

in touch. When I did arrive there, I called him up and went over to his apartment in the artist building called “West Beth” which was on West Bethune street in the West Village, right on the Hudson River. Many great artists lived in this building and it was Gil Evans who had helped Billy to get in there originally. Billy had a drum kit and a Rhodes Suitcase set up and lots of books and awards and albums were up on the walls.

He was very welcoming and I asked him at this first meet up could I possibly get some lessons from him. He said “I don't really teach, but just come and hang out”... It so happened that I hung out with Billy for the next 20 years on and off and Billy even took me out to dinner once a week for probably some ten years. We would mostly go to this Chinese restaurant near his apartment and we would just catch up and talk about philosophy and music and spirituality and UFOs and about all the amazing players that Billy had worked with. It was a true blessing for me and I learned so much about black American music and why it’s important and the many things it is and can be.

Billy was the first black musician to play in the infamous 1oclock band at North Texas State University. He went on to also play with so many greats and even made a record with Louis Armstrong. He told me that Earth Wind And Fire once contacted him to ask if they could record one of his songs! He was the person who told me to always take photos and videos on the road and to archive and capture moments of your life so you can reflect on them.

He is the reason it is possible to release this live recording. I took his advice Billy has done a lot of traveling and playing and has hung with some far-out people. He showed me a video of him with Salvador Dali in Europe one time. He was also one of the many black musicians including Roland Kirk, Charles Mingus, who stormed the stage of a popular live TV show to demand that more black music was shown on TV.

His music speaks of the civil rights movement although he would say he just believes in the beauty power and healing force of music. Billy learned discipline from Max Roach. Max was army trained and he was severe with his players about being on time. So Billy was was never late. He had all his clocks set 15 or 30 minutes ahead. He would run 15 miles every single day without fail. He told me that to do this is to understand adversity and be prepared for it. If he could run 15 miles in the snow or in the sweltering heat, he could face what New York and being a jazz artist threw at him. He was always ready. He also said that he often would compose while running, that ideas would come naturally that way and he would begin singing them as he ran, and then when he would get home, he would write them out. I feel like I can hear these kinds of motifs and figures in many of Billy’s pieces. There is a hypnotic buoyancy there.

Billy said that he once had a dream where an angel gave him a cassette and he put it into the player and a most beautiful song was heard. When he woke up, he quickly wrote the song and it’s lyrics out and thus manifested the beautiful ballad called “If One Could Only See” .

Another incredible story Billy told me is that when he recorded his album “Somalia” he decided on the spot that the title track needed some sort of vocal chant. He quickly made up some words that felt rhythmically right “Ka Lay Bo Ding Gah” but were, to him, nonsensical. Then when he went on the road to tour the album, a Nigerian man came up to him after one of the sets and said, “Mr. Harper, thank you so much for dedicating your song to our tribe”. Billy didn't understand what the man meant until he explained that the words “Ka Lay Bo Ding Gah” meant “welcome to the occasion” in his specific tribal dialect.

Billy spoke a lot about being “tuned up”. He was a meditator and he said that he needed to always be in touch. He spoke about how he has gotten to the point where he is almost constantly meditating, mindful, present. I remember he had the 14 volume set of “The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan” on his bookshelf. I asked him about these books and he said ;

"My feeling is that music should have a purpose. In the past, it always has been used for healing and uplifting and meditation. And that’s the way I see my music. I’ve had people come up after a program to tell me that they felt a spiritual healing from the music. When that happens, I feel we’re fulfilling what we’re supposed to do. If people are entertained, that’s ok too but I certainly see a purpose in my music beyond that."

I kept working on my music over the years and would often ask Billy for advice and would freely offer it. He told me to get a computer as soon as possible because it was the way of the future. He was writing his scores out on a computer notation program way before anyone else. After many years, I would sometimes go to the New School where Billy was teaching and I would sit in with his ensembles. After a while, he called me to sub on gigs with his quintet when his regular pianist, Francesca Tanksley couldn't make the gig. Mostly it was Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Billy, Clarence Seay on bass, and Newman Taylor Baker on drums and it was an incredible experience. We also used to play once a year for Cobi Narita’s birthday party at the Jazz Church on Lexington Ave. Billy was very close to Cobi, as were many great players, and I remember hearing Harold Mabern there every year and people like Dick Katz, Nasheet Waits and Geri Allen would play and it would be a big party in the church and there would be a whole lot of soul food and music. It really felt like a warm community and I am grateful for the memories of these parties.

I did one tour to Europe and one to Australia where Billy played my own music and we also recorded my album “Widening Circles” at Avatar studios which Billy produced. We also played music from this album a few times in New York including one gig we did at the Jazz Standard and another time at Fordham University. I am forever grateful to Billy for his generosity and support while I lived in New York.

Billy told me that one time he was playing in Europe and Dexter Gordon had a gig on this festival and his drummer didn't show up, so Billy played the gig, on drums! Billy could really play the drums and sounded a lot like Elvin Jones, to be honest. Elvin played on Billy’s first album “Capra Black” actually and Billy always looked for what he called the “hunger” in drummers that he worked with and also musicians. He spoke to me a lot about the importance of this hunger. If you want to know what it is, just listen to Billy play, it's there. An important theme for Billy is this idea of the “wild and peaceful heart”. Its serenity and fire. Its grace under pressure and it is close to Flaubert’s famous quote ‘be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work’.

Billy used to say to me “lead with the gift, if money comes later then that’s ok, if not, that's ok too”. He would say that that the powers that be, can make or break an artist and that there were many great artists that could have gone as far as, say, Herbie Hancock or Wayne Shorter, but that they were just not right in the opinions of the powers that be. Some of the names he mentioned were Kenny Dorham, Ceder Walton, Stanley Cowell, Oliver Lake. I have to concur of course.

This Album was recorded at a short-lived club that was on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn called “The Up Over Jazz Cafe”. I'm not even sure what year it was, somewhere in the mid 2000s? During lockdown 6.0 here in Melbourne, I have been going through all my archived recordings and I discovered this great set with Billy’s band:

Billy Harper - Tenor sax
Eddie Henderson - Trumpet
Barney McAll - Piano
Clarence Seay - Bass
Newman Taylor Baker - Drums

I feel like Billy is playing better than ever on this and it's a treasure to have found this incredible document of sound. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it contributes to further awareness of the giant and luminous spirit that is Billy Harper, Capra Black.

All compositions by Billy Harper and published by Lyharp Music except 'My Funny Valentine' (arr. Harper)

Recorded by Barney McAll at the "Up Over Jazz Cafe" , Brooklyn. Date Unknown.

Mastered by Damon Smith - TNIAJSW Studios.

1. My Funny Valentine (arr. Billy Harper) 12:19
2. Illumination 18:45
3. Quest 12:55
4. Call Of The Wild And Peaceful Heart 16:38
5. Croquet Ballet (Excerpt) 07:44

Pilot Waves - Pilot Waves (August 31, 2021)

This EP is a collaboration between guitarist Matt Stober and percussionist Peter Kim. All five tracks were written and recorded in May of 2021 (with the exception of Scythe, which was written in 2019)

1. Point, Line, & Plane 03:52
2. A Point 01:20
3. In Lines 04:04
4. Out on the Plane 06:36
5. Scythe 03:31

Matt Stober - vibraphone, bass, glockenspiel, autoharp, piano (tracks 2 and 5), guitars (tracks 2 and 5)
Peter Kim - drums, cello, piano (tracks 1, 3 and 4), percussion
Will Lauzon - pedal steel (track 4)

Music by: Pilot Waves
Produced by: Matt Stober
Engineered, mixed and mastered by: Matt Stober
All Arrangements by: Matt Stober

Friday, August 27, 2021

OUT FRIDAY: Carlos Henriquez's THE SOUTH BRONX STORY via Tiger Turn

Virtuosic Bassist Carlos Henriquez pays tribute to the South Bronx on The South Bronx Story, His Revelatory New Album due out August 27th, 2021 via Tiger Turn

“The most important Latin jazz artist in New York City today, the heir to the legacy of Tito Puente.” New York Latin Culture
Tiger Turn is delighted to announce the release of The South Bronx Story, a bold multi-movement work by celebrated bassist and composer Carlos Henriquez. Due out on August 27, 2021, this career-defining release is a retrospective of the social history of the South Bronx, and draws from Henriquez’s personal Puerto Rican heritage. For the occasion Henriquez has enlisted an elite ensemble of musicians for the date in trombonist Marshall Gilkes, saxophonist Melissa Aldana, pianist Robert Rodriguez, drummer Obed Calvaire, trumpeters Michael Rodriguez and Terell Stafford, and percussionist Anthony Almonte as well as the multifaceted Jeremy Bosch on flutes and vocals.

Carlos Henquriez is one of the preeminent bassists of his generation. A member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for over two decades, Henriquez is one of the first truly bilingual musicians, in that he is a master of both jazz and Afro-Latin traditions. His upbringing in the South Bronx, a rich musical hub that boasts local legends such as Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, played a major role in the virtuoso’s musical and personal development. On The South Bronx Story, which is Henriquez’s third release as a leader and a follow up to his 2018 tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, Dizzy Con Clave, the bassist and composer takes listeners on a wide-ranging musical journey through his stomping grounds. This project first premiered in 2018 at Jazz at Lincoln Center to wide acclaim. 

“[On The South Bronx Story], I am using my music, experience, and heritage as a Puerto Rican growing up in the Bronx to tell a story that looks back and forward,” says Henriquez. “Jazz is American, born out of the melting pot of our Afro-American experience. And in the American spirit, jazz has adapted with different cultures, cities, people, and places and become an expression of one’s identity. This project represents just that–the tragedy, violence, and history isn’t over, but there is hope in the future. Music, dance, and the arts can bring that all together and transcend to showcase a common humanity.”

On The South Bronx Story, Henriquez takes inspiration from personal experience and history. Movements like “Soy Humano” (I Am Human) speaks to the obstacles Henriquez and family faced dealing with the housing system and financial turmoils growing up, while “Guajeo De Papi” is a testament to fatherhood in honor of his father, Jorge Henriquez, who provided for his family even during tough times. “My dad is loved by many and a pure example of how a man can be defined. I am so proud of him and truly honored to have written this tune for him,” Henriquez shares. Another standout, the salsa-tinged “Hydrants Love All”, was written with Henriquez’s brother in mind, and the summer days they shared together playing amongst the fire hydrants on the hot Bronx streets. 
Other tracks ingeniously reference significant people as well as events that created the diverse culture of New York’s South Bronx. Movements include “Black Benji”, a piece inspired by Cornell Benjamin, who is credited for promoting peace among the gangs in the Bronx; “Mama Lorraine” about the life and work of activist Lorraine Montenegro who, along with Evelin Lopez Antonetty, founded the United Bronx Parents but tragically died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria; “Borough of Fire” for the devastating burnings of low income buildings during the 1970s; and “Moses and the Cross” about the divisive legacy of Robert Moses and the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway.

The album features many moments of inspired soloing. On “Black Benji”, Melissa Aldana gets plenty of room to stretch, showing absolute command of the horn. Marshall Gilkes and Terell Stafford trade colorful phrases over the form in “Guajeo de Papi”, while Michael Rodriguez spins many beautiful lines with a gorgeous Flugelhorn tone on “Mama Lorraine”. Throughout, the versatile Jeremy Bosch (widely known as one of the lead singers in the GRAMMY winning ensemble Spanish Harlem Orchestra) pivots between burning on the flute and singing; particularly his soneo on the mambo section of “Moses on the Cross” recalls the great singers of the Fania era. 

This seamless blend of lineages into a cohesive whole underscores the massive impact of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the music and culture of the borough, reminding listeners that Latino culture cannot possibly be separated from New York culture, and Bronx culture cannot be separated from Jazz. “Being a born breaded Bronxnite, I have seen first hand the values and instincts which allowed me to understand the family of my community. Integration, which was the key growing up for me, was a cultural aspect that made me appreciate those I grew up playing with. As we listen to the different songs on this project you will see how influential the streets have proven to be for me.” 

1. The South Bronx
Featuring Melissa Aldana [Tenor Sax], Terell Stafford [Trumpet], Anthony Almonte [Congas], Obed Calvaire [Drums]

The first song, The South Bronx expresses the soul of the place. Saxophonist Melissa Aldana plays melodies that encompass the grit, the glory, and the groove of my childhood journey.

2. Hydrants Love All
Featuring Jeremy Bosch [Vocals], Michael Rodriguez [Trumpet] & Terell Stafford [Trumpet]

I wrote Hydrants Love All in remembrance of the many days of joy my brother and I experienced playing in the water from open hydrants. When the heat of summer was most overbearing, those hydrants brought the neighborhood together. We played a competitive game with Goya bean cans with both bottom and top cut out. Whoever could funnel the most water was crowned king of the hydrants. Something so simple provided so much fun…there was never a single problem or fight when we were under those waters; we felt the love that surrounded us. And even though the structural challenges that made life so much harder in The South Bronx are still the norm, these experiences gave me the insight, optimism, and energy to reach higher.

3. Boro of Fire
Featuring Marshall Gilkes [Trombone], Michael Rodriguez [Trumpet], Anthony Almonte [Congas], Obed Calvaire [Drums]

Boro Of Fire is my take on an important event that gave The South Bronx its nickname, “The Burning Boro”. Greedy landlords and corrupt political insiders aided and abetted the burning of buildings, and the fire department had no choice but to let them burn. However, amidst all of this corruption and destruction, there was always a glimmer of hope….the people. They continued fighting to make life as beautiful and hopeful as it could possibly be. I enlisted the horns of Terrell Stafford, Marshall Gilkes, Jeremy Bosch, Melisa Aldana, and Michael Rodriguez to create the discordant sounds of fire trucks, police sirens, and general pandemonium. They each play improvised solos and written parts that reflect the chaos and resolve, evoking characteristic sounds of the streets.

4. Moses on the Cross
Featuring Melissa Aldana [Tenor Sax], Jeremy Bosch [Vocals], Terell Stafford [Trumpet]

Moses On The Cross is a perspective on The Cross Bronx Expressway and its creator Robert Moses. Like many urban renewal programs of that time, The Cross Bronx “unified” New York by destroying ethnic neighborhoods and deepening the racial and economic divide between citizens. As a result, property values on the north side of the highway soared and those on the south side declined. In my ‘hood, we all hated this freeway because it destroyed culture, undermined working-class people, and created greater inequality….and it still does. May Robert Moses live on in infamy for this civic crime.

5. Momma Lorraine
Featuring Michael Rodriguez [Flugel Horn], Robert Rodriguez [Piano]

Mama Lorraine is inspired by Lorraine Montenegro. She was the daughter of Evelina Antonetty, who was the founder of “The United Bronx Parents.” This organization advocated for quality social services and helped single mothers by providing drug rehabilitation and childcare. Her daughter Lorraine became a fighter for all the people of The South Bronx. Lorraine’s name on the streets was “La Americana.” Even gang leaders listened when she spoke. In the documentary “Rabble King” from the 1970s, she discussed neighborhood issues with gang members. Watching it reminded me of how much I loved her, and of how much she and her mother assisted members of the community through dire times.

In researching for this piece, I discovered that Lorraine is the mother of my hero and South Bronx poster child, Joe Canzo, Jr. He is a well-respected firefighter and photographer who documented the South Bronx through the ’70-’80s. His father, Joe Sr. was Tito Puente’s right-hand man and was a staple of our culture. Joe Sr. is a true historian of Afro Cuban and Afro Puerto-Rican music as well as a guiding light for anyone wanting to understand the Mambo Era in NYC. Joe Jr. was inspired by his dad to love the Arts and Hip Hop.

In 2017, we lost Lorraine due to hurricane Maria which devastated Puerto Rico. Her quick action and love for The South Bronx communities will last forever. I’ve composed a lyrical ballad for her which is played majestically by Michael Rodriguez & Robert Rodriguez. This story would be incomplete without a proper testament to her. (Thank you, Lorraine.)
6. Soy Humano
Featuring Jeremy Bosch [Vocals], Michael Rodriguez [Trumpet]

Soy Humano (I am Human) is about the obstacles my family faced dealing with the twin turmoil of not enough money and a broken housing system that gave greater support to families with absent fathers. We lied to survive and were “fatherless on paper.” I came to realize that the system was designed to reward families for being broken and that there were many strange forms of ‘assistance’ designed to reinforce the feeling that we were inferior. Over time, the negative effects of these efficient systems took a crucial toll on us. I can still vividly recall waiting with my dad in long lines to pick up a box of government cheese. Luckily, with a father who served in Vietnam, a mother who was an O.T.C teacher, and a brother who danced his tail off, I was given a strong belief in myself and in the human value we all have. That feeling is in every note of this suite.

7. Black (Benji)
Featuring Melissa Aldana [Tenor Sax], Carlos Henriquez [Spoken Word]

Black ( Benji ) The South Bronx Story remembers Cornell Benjamin, a member of the street gang, The Ghetto Brothers. “Black Benji” was his nickname. Amongst the gangs, he was the sole peacemaker who would call for some sort of unity when things got out of hand. On December 21, 1971, while attempting to bring peace with a rival gang, Cornell was murdered. This caused a chain reaction of vengeance across all of the gangs. His death would eventually lead to a major meeting of gang leaders at the Boys and Girls club on Hoe Avenue. That night, a groundbreaking truce was struck. We began to see a profound unity between Latinos and Blacks on our streets.

Tenor saxophonist Melisa Aldana plays a hopeful melody to evoke the feeling of unity and resolve. It reflects the resilience of South Bronx natives during a time of uncertainty.

8. Guajeo De Papi
Featuring Carlos Henriquez [Bass], Jeremy Bosch [Flute], Terell Stafford [Trumpet], Marshall Gilkes [Trombone], Robert Rodriguez [Piano]

El Guajeo De Papi is another testament to fatherhood. My father, Jorge Henriquez, taught me what it means to provide when times are rough. He walked those tough lines that a father is sometimes forced to walk. He was a pure example of manhood and was loved by many. His extreme cool during tight times for our family showed me how to face pressure with grace. I am so proud of him and truly honored to have written this for him. He was one of those rare dads who consistently figured out a way to provide in spite of relentless uphill battles.

9. Fort Apache
Featuring Michael Rodriguez [Trumpet], Melissa Aldana [Tenor Sax], Robert Rodriguez [Piano], Anthony Almonte [Congas], Obed Calvaire [Drums]

Fort Apache was written to honor the Gonzalez Brothers, Jerry, and Andy. Both made enormous contributions to the worlds of Jazz and Latin Jazz. My musical concept on this entire recording is an extension of their musical innovations. Jerry and Andy each set a path for many young musicians of all backgrounds who continue to search for that very essence that I am reaching for. This album and all of my music will forever have some percentage of their musical DNA.

10. Hip Hop Con Clave
Featuring Jeremy Bosch [Vocals], Robert Rodriguez [Piano], Anthony Almonte [Congas], Obed Calvaire [Drums]

Last but not least, Hip Hop Con Clave, was written to acknowledge a form of expression that was born in the ’70s In the Black and Latino communities of The South Bronx…..Hip Hop. My lyrics and music are in the spirit of the original Hip Hop culture (before it took over mainstream American popular music). In those early days, block parties all over The South Bronx with Latinos and Blacks provided an opportunity for different subcultures to come together. Though violence and discord got all the attention, in real life, people expressed values of unity, freedom, and righteousness through love, family, and the community at these parties.

On this tune, we hear Jeremy Bosch express his Pregones about the subjects at hand. We also get to hear the vibrant rhythms of Obed Calvaire and Anthony Almonte, as they support the iconic Hip Hop Basslines and melodic statements that shook the ’70s in The South Bronx (and will continue to echo for years to come).

This suite of pieces is incredibly personal to me and it represents only the beginning of the building blocks of my musical journey. I am so proud to be from The South Bronx!

These songs were first performed live at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 16 and 17, 2018. I want to express my deepest gratitude to Jazz at Lincoln Center for supporting me in my career as a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and especially for commissioning this composition.´

OUT FRIDAY: Andy Farber and his Orchestra's EARLY BLUE EVENING via ArtistShare

Andy Farber & his Orchestra, featuring vocalist Catherine Russell, present Early Blue Evening, due August 27, 2021 via ArtistShare

Saxophonist, arranger, composer, and bandleader Andy Farber is pleased to announce the release of Early Blue Evening, the second big band release from Andy Farber & his Orchestra and Farber’s fourth release as a leader. Over 11 tracks, Farber’s 17-piece big band speaks the foundational language of big band’s forebears — swing and the blues — in a decidedly contemporary dialect, navigating nine originals and two Farber-arranged standards with a rare, elegant blend of verve and verisimilitude that is, at once, inspired by history but never bound by it.

Farber “doesn’t recreate specific existing charts or records,” writes noted author and music critic Will Friedwald in Early Blue Evening’s liner notes. “Nor does he slavishly strive to make everything sound as contemporary as possible. He has found a viable and exciting middle path, expanding the legacy of Duke and the Count, rather than strictly recreating their work.”

Farber is aided in the execution of these humble yet lofty ideals by a band consisting of many of his oldest and closest friends. Anchored by a rhythm section of Adam Birnbaum (piano), Jennifer Vincent (bass), Alvester Garnett (drums), and James Chirillo (guitar), this is a group that came together as the on-stage band for After Midnight, the Broadway revue of Jazz Age nightclub fare from the likes of Ellington, Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields, and Harold Arlen. Listening here to the band’s first recording together since that production’s 2014 closing, one quickly perceives a molecular-level chemistry that comes from having played nearly 300 performances together.

Listeners will notice this chemistry manifest itself in myriad contexts. On the album’s more straight-ahead blues tunes— “Don’t Tell Me What to Do” and “Aircheck”—you’ll notice it as a strutting coolness, an attitude and a lifestyle communicated via the casual virtuosity of Dan Block’s clarinet solo on the former and a tenor sax solo from Lance Bryant on the latter.

On more structurally complex compositions—like “Fanfare on Fairfax” and “Feet and Frames”— that baked-in chemistry becomes even more paramount as Farber’s compositional craftsmanship transcends a by-the-numbers feel, eschewing repeating choruses in favor of uninterrupted streams of continuously evolving musical ideas.  The serpentine “Fanfare,” a piece of smoky, hardboiled West Coast noir with cinematic flare, is particularly illustrative. Carl Maraghi’s Mulligan-esque runs on baritone saxophone combine with the warmth and roundness of Chirillo’s tone on electric guitar to form the head of the snake, while stands of woodwinds and muted trumpets form the muscly body, coiled and ready to strike—which, before too long, it does, propelled by the elegant aggression of a Godwin Louis alto saxophone solo.

Louis reappears on the album’s title track, where both his alto sax playing and the Farber composition itself, invite comparison to Benny Carter, the prolific multi-instrumentalist, who, like Clark Terry, is forever linked to several of the era’s leading bandleaders. And speaking of Terry, the groundbreaking soloist for both Ellington and Basie, there’s “Symphony for Dr. T,” a smiling locomotive of a tune powered by Brian Pareschi on flugelhorn.

Early Blue Evening is rife with nods to the big band gods. And not just bandleaders like Ellington and Basie or game-changing instrumentalists like Terry and Carter but also the indispensable composers and arrangers.
Like Basie’s Neal Hefti and Ellington’s Billy Strayhorn.

Friedwald, in his liners, identifies “Portrait of Joe Temperley,” an elegiac tribute to the baritone saxophonist who played in later iterations of Ellington’s band, as “particularly Strayhornian.” Farber’s own playing here is inspired in part by how Temperley used to play “Single Petal of a Rose,” the gorgeous, melodic Ellington ballad that was part of The Queen’s Suite, a work Strayhorn famously composed with Duke in 1958 for an audience of one: Queen Elizabeth II. The emotional coup de grâce here is that Farber plays this most inspired of tunes on the late Temperley’s actual baritone saxophone—even the most austere of royals would be moved.

Farber’s arrangement of Hefti’s “Theme from The Odd Couple” is his salute to the longtime Basie composer/arranger who wrote so many of the charts that came to define Basie’s signature sound. Farber, as Hefti did for so long, writes in a manner that amplifies the strengths of his personnel. Among that personnel are Birnbaum and Farber himself on alto saxophone; with inspired solos, these master improvisors elevate iconic motion picture theme music to bona fide jazz.

Whether it’s the poignant reverence of the Temperley tune or the jazz-pop sensibility of “Odd Couple,” Farber & his Orchestra demonstrate a willingness to cover nearly all the idiomatic ground available to a world class big band. Put simply, there isn’t a note—emotionally and otherwise— Farber and company cannot strike.

Take “The Holidaymakers,” a send-up to Ellington’s Afro-Caribbean catalogue and a true hip-shaker that’s every bit as vivacious as the tribute to Temperley is solemn. Or “Cork Grease and Valve Oil,” the musical equivalent of a knowing smirk, a happy-go-lucky tune concealing a secret weapon: a dialogue of good-natured bravado between Farber’s tenor saxophone and Bruce Harris’ muted trumpet.

Though Farber saves the most showstopping surprise for the very end, bringing out celebrated jazz vocalist Catherine Russell to join the band for his arrangement of the Parker and King standard, “How Am I to Know.” With its maximally supportive dynamics, the band lets Russell’s star shine—she breaks ever so briefly to allow Farber (tenor sax) and James Zollar (trumpet) share in her moonglow—lending credence to what might otherwise sound like hyperbole from Friedwald: “…this is some of the best big band jazz we’ve heard in a long time.” 

Farber is thrilled to release this album with ArtistShare, one of the leading labels in the large ensemble space. ArtistShare has arguably produced some of the most notable releases within the genre over the past fifteen years including albums by Maria Schneider, Brain Lynch, Gil Evans, and others. 

1. Don’t Tell Me What To Do (7:20)
solos: Block, Baron, Zollar, Horne, Birnbaum, Gross

2. Feet and Frames (8:03)
solos: Birnbaum, Gross, Tucker, Harris

3. The Holidaymakers (5:19)
solos: Zollar, Horne, Baron, Goodman, Birnbaum

4. Aircheck (7:11)
solos: Birnbaum, Bryant, Harris

5. Early Blue Evening (5:02)
Featuring Godwin Louis

6. Fanfare on Fairfax (8:03)
solos: Maraghi, Chirillo, Louis, Garnett

7. Cork Grease and Valve Oil (5:33)
Featuring Andy Farber & Bruce Harris

8. Portrait Of Joe Temperley (4:46)
Featuring Andy Farber

9. Symphony For Doctor ’T’ (4:37)
Featuring Brian Pareschi on flügelhorn

10. Theme from The Odd Couple* (4:47)
solos: Farber, Birnbaum

11. How Am I To Know* (5:05)
Featuring Catherine Russell
solos: Farber, Zollar

Andy Farber
Leader, Alto, Tenor, & Baritone Saxophones

Mark Gross (as sop,,fl), Godwin Louis (as,fl,cl), Dan Block (ts,cl,fl,pic),
Lance Bryant (ts,cl), Carl Maraghi (bs, bcl)

Brian Pareschi, Bruce Harris, James Zollar,
Alphonso Horne (1,3,5,6), Shawn Edmonds (2,4, 7-11)

Wayne Goodman, Art Baron, Dion Tucker

James Chirillo (gtr.), Adam Birnbaum (pno.), Jennifer Vincent (bass), Alvester Garnett (dms)

Produced and mixed by Andy Farber 
Producer: Mitchell Farber
Recorded at Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, NY
Engineer: Ryan Streber assisted by Michael Quick and Hansdale Hsu
Mastering Engineer: Aaron Spencer
Photographer: Ernest Gregory 
Cover photo: Ken Sargeant
Graphic design: Christopher Drukker
Notes: Will Friedwald

Dedicated to the memory of Jesse Farber (1939-2019)

Andrew Cyrille Quartet - The News (August 27, 2021 ECM)

Andrew Cyrille’s album The News carries forward the story from The Declaration of Musical Independence, the 2014 ECM recording described by Down Beat as “an unabashed exploration into time, pulse space and atmosphere…ambitious yet simple, rich yet stripped-down, challenging yet infinitely satisfying.” The New York Times cited the album as evidence of a “late career renaissance” for the drummer.

A force in improvisation for more than sixty years, Cyrille has played across the landscape of jazz from Coleman Hawkins’s The Hawk Relaxes to Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures, led his own bands, and worked extensively with Milford Graves, Walt Dickerson, David Murray, Muhal Richard Abrams, Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman and many, many more. His first ECM appearance was on 1970’s Afternoon of a Georgia Faun, Marion Brown’s album with Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton, Bennie Maupin and Jeanne Lee. Half a century later Cyrille appeared with his Lebroba trio with Wadada Leo Smith and Bill Frisell at Lincoln Center’s 50th birthday tribute to the label.

For The News, recorded at Sound on Sound Studio in New Jersey in August 2019, David Virelles was drafted as last-minute replacement for old associate Richard Teitelbaum, whose involvement had been ruled out by ill-health. Virelles had previously played with Cyrille and Ben Street in contexts including the group Continuum. Gently guiding from the drums, Cyrille gives his revised line-up plenty of freedom while also shaping, subtly, the group’s sonic identity with his flowing sense of pulse.

The title track “The News” revisits a conceptual piece that Andrew first recorded on a solo percussion album, The Loop, made for the Italian Ictus label in the late 1970s. Here a newspaper is placed over the snare drum and toms and played with brushes. In the quartet version, Frisell, Virelles and Street all impressionistically extend its rustling, whispering textures on their own instruments.

“Leaving East of Jordan” is a tune by AACM-associated pianist Adegoke Steve Colson. Cyrille has previously played it both with its composer and with the group Trio 3 with Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman. Cyrille’s “With You In Mind” is also a piece that has gone through diverse interpretations: there are earlier recorded interpretations in trio with Hentry Grimes and Bill McHenry and in duo with Greg Osby. Here the music takes off from Andrew’s unaccompanied spoken word introduction with the band amplifying its sentiments, with a particularly tender guitar solo from Bill Frisell.

The guitarist has three tunes here “Mountain”, “Baby” and “Go Happy Lucky”, the last of which, as an abstracted blues, has a distant kinship with Duke Ellington’s “Happy Go Lucky Local.” Frisell has recorded extensively for ECM, from early leader dates such as In Line and Rambler to the recent duet projects Small Town and Epistrophy with Thomas Morgan. Along the way there has also been a long association with Paul Motian and Joe Lovano documented on recordings from Psalm (1981) to Time and Time Again (2006). Frisell has also contributed to other recordings of enduring significance including Paul Bley’s Fragments, Kenny Wheeler’s Angel Song, Marc Johnson’s Bass Desires, Jan Garbarek’s Paths, Prints and Gavin Bryars’s After the Requiem.
David Virelles. who contributes the tune “Incienso” to the programme and shares composer credits with Cyrille on the exploratory “Dance of the Nuances”, first appeared on ECM with Chris Potter in 2011. Albums with Tomasz Stanko followed (Wisława, December Avenue) as well as Virelles’s own recordings Mbókò, Antenna and Gnosis.
Ben Street and Andrew Cyrille have collaborated in contexts including the trio of Danish pianist Søren Kjærgaard. The bassist’s ECM credits include albums with the Billy Hart Quartet (All Our Reasons, One Is The Other) the Ethan Iverson/Tom Harrell Quartet (Common Practice), and the Aaron Parks Trio (Find The Way).

1 MOUNTAIN (Bill Frisell) 08:25
2 LEAVING EAST OF JAVA (Adegoke Steve Colson) 08:49
3 GO HAPPY LUCKY (Bill Frisell) 05:21
4 THE NEWS (Andrew Cyrille) 05:34
5 INCIENSO (David Virelles) 05:35
6 BABY (Bill Frisell) 05:34
7 DANCE OF THE NUANCES (Andrew Cyrille, David Virelles) 07:24
8 WITH YOU IN MIND (Andrew Cyrille) 07:11

Andrew Cyrille   Drums
Bill Frisell   Guitar
David Virelles   Piano, Syntzesizer
Ben Street   Double Bass