Saturday, October 30, 2021

Beledo - Seriously Deep (November 16, 2021 MoonJune Records)

BELEDO is Uruguayan born, NYC based multi-instrumentalist, predominantly guitarist and pianist, who grew up in Montevideo and was a prominent player on the jazz scene in his native Uruguay, is joined by drummer Kenny Grohowski, who in addition to taking part in several MoonJune recording dates, has worked with John Zorn, John Medeski, Imperial Triumphant, as well as the most recent incarnation of Brand X. Completing the core trio for the record is bassist Tony Levin, whose stellar list of credits includes Paul Simon, John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie and King Crimson.

The centerpiece of the album is Beledo’s arrangement of Eberhard Weber’s composition, Seriously Deep. Originally appearing on the ECM album, Silent Feet, the album and that track in particular had a huge impact on Beledo and his friend Jorge Camiruaga when they first heard it upon its release in 1978.

Lasting over 14 minutes the track, with its graceful gently unfurling melody, features Beledo on electric guitar and acoustic piano. Beledo’s high-end undulating solo is complimented by Levin’s ruminative response at the opposite end of the tonal, adding up to a beautifully balanced performance.

A different kind of emotion lies at the core of Mama D, a track dedicated to the late South African singer, Dorothy Masuka and performed here by Botswanese vocalist Kearoma Rantao. With lyrics written by Beledo that chronicles Masuka’s life from the oppression of the apartheid regime to the struggle for a more equitable existence in the modern South Africa, Rantao’s powerful performance glows like a beacon shining at the center of the track’s complex, shifting arrangements.

A very different vocal is heard on A Temple In The Valley with Italian composer and singer Boris Savoldelli adding his athletic wordless singing to a track whose wistful, bitter-sweet melody sounds like a hidden gem from the Canterbury Scene. A gorgeous song-without-words, it’s a tune you might find on an album by Hatfield And The North or Caravan.
That the album features both written and improvised music is very much the core of Beledo’s approach. “I like to make sure that the musicians have all the materials in advance and that the arrangements are already digested by the time we get to the studio. Then the improvisations will flow without stress. I tend to write everything, but it is not to box people into what’s written but in the hope that it will create a frame of infinite points that will expand the possibilities of expression. The improvisations are an aspect that takes more than a 50% of my compositions and when it comes to my guitar playing it is the aspect that I feel it allows me to express my true self,” says the guitarist.

While the core trio worked live face-to-face in the studio, COVID meant that the vocal contributions had to be done remotely. Beledo is especially pleased with the results. “Boris and Kearoma gave a 200% to their performances, sang their lines soulfully and masterfully, and they created their own arrangements such as where they overdub more than one voice. It is amazing how two people singing two different songs in different parts of the world added extra choir parts at the end of certain phrases. I’m so pleased my music inspired them in the same way.”

His writing either for instrumental or vocal settings exhibit a supple eloquence. Coasting Zone and Maggie’s Sunrise both feature Jorge Camiruaga on vibraphone, a life-long friend of Beledo who shared a passion for that Eberhard Weber Colours album back in 1978. Both of these tracks suggest reflective moods with a yearning quality redolent in their melodies and solo lines. The latter in particular enhanced by Beledo’s piano work and his guitar’s yearning quality that occasionally brings to mind Allan Holdsworth’s plangent tones.

Yet it’s a characteristic of Beledo’s finely honed approach to guitar playing that he isn’t concerned with any kind of obvious showboating or gratuitous displays of technique. Dexterous bursts of speed can be at their most engaging and exciting when they are deployed sparingly, that is, as and when the music demands it. Beledo is just as likely to be carefully crafting atmospherics as undertaking unnecessary dashes up and down the fretboard.

Good examples of this are found on Knocking Waves and Into The Spirals, two tracks that were improvised live in the studio between Beledo, Grohowski and Levin and which demonstrate his textural approach as a means of enhancing the moment, showing real empathy with the work of his colleagues.

 1. Seriously Deep 14:15
2. Mama D 07:50
3. Coasting Zone 05:07
4. Maggie's Sunrise 08:38
5. Knocking Waves 09:48
6. A Temple In The Valley 10:57
7. Into The Spirals 04:16

BELEDO - guitars, acoustic piano, synth
TONY LEVIN - upright bass, bass guitar

with special guests
JORGE CAMIRUAGA - vibraphone (1, 4)
KEAROMA RANTAO - vocals (2)

All compositions and arrangements by Beledo, except 'Seriously Deep', composed by Eberhard Weber, and 'Knocking Waves' and 'Into The Spirals', composed by Beledo, Levin, Grohowski.

Produced by Leonardo Pavkovic & Beledo.
Executive production by Leonardo Pavkovic for MoonJune Music.

Recorded by Scott Petito at NRS Studio, Catskill Village, NY, USA, on September 22 & 23, 2020. Mixed by Scott Petito & Beledo at NRS Studio on December 19 & 20, 2020 and April 30, 2021.
Mastered by Stefano Castagna at Ritmo & Blue Studio, Pozzolengo, BS, Italy, between May 14-19, 2021.
Jorge Camiruaga's vibraphone rs recorded by Rogelio Lago at Grind Sound Studio, Montevideo, Uruguay, December 2, 2020.
Vocal parts by Kearoma Rantao were recorded by Francois Arthur Titus and Prestley Metsheat at Kalakuta Heartbeat studio, Gabarone West, Botswana, on March 19, 2021.
Boris Savoldelli's vocal parts were recorded by Boris Savoldelli at Insanology Studio, Sotto Colina, BG, Italy, on April 21, 2021.

John Ghost vs Binkbeats - Black Chamber (Escape To The Sun) November 5, 2021 Sdban Records

‘Black Chamber (Escape to the Sun)’, out on Sdban Ultra, is the brand new single by John Ghost. The Belgian band had been toying around with the idea of collaborating with a different artist for some time, and decided to join forces with Frank Wienk aka Binkbeats for this track. This Dutch producer, percussionist and multi-instrumentalist previously remixed tracks by Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus and Atoms For Peace.

Norwegian producer Jørgen Træen, well-known from his earlier collaborations with Jaga Jazzist, Kaizers Orchestra, the Hubro-label and Sondre Lerche, signed on as co-producer and took care of the final mix and mastering of ‘Black Chamber (Escape to the Sun)’. Træen was also the producer of Airships Are Organisms, the internationally lauded second album by John Ghost. ‘Black Chamber (Escape to the Sun)’ is reminiscent of that album’s cinematic themes and dreamy musical atmosphere, but has a more straightforward pop-direction because of Binkbeats’ contribution. The rhythmic approach is characteristic of the Dutch percussionist, while the composition’s dark sounds interact with frivolous elements in a striking way.

Frontman Jo De Geest: “In the studio Binkbeats often works with audio design. He is particularly versatile with this and has very strong personal views on the sound design of a project. Our musical styles are a nice fit as well. As a group we also wanted to stress the productional aspects and experiment with electronic components. This collaboration with Frank worked smoothly and gave us the opportunity to approach John Ghost’s music from different angles.”

‘Black Chamber (Escape to the Sun)’ signals a new evolution. Jo De Geest was inspired by Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist, a book by Paul Kingsnorth in which he refers to a visit to the ‘Black Chamber’ in the caves of Niaux (France). The ancient animal drawings in the caves tell a sacred story about nature. Kingsnorth describes the Black Chamber as a kind of chapel in which our natural environment, so dear to us, triumphs. ‘Escape to the Sun’ refers to the ‘Space Race’ that began as an adventurous and heroic quest in the 50s, but has started to resemble an urge to flee a damaged environment that is increasingly beyond repair.

The B-side has the track 'Airships Are Organisms' from the latest John Ghost album in a Prins Thomas remix. One of Norway’s most renowned musical exports, Prins Thomas has fashioned a fresh direction for dance music. As with his peers Todd Terje, Hans-Peter Lindstrom, and some of the city’s legendary characters like the mysterious DJ Strangefruit, he has the very laid-back nature of his Oslo residence to thank for encouraging his path, one that has created a global ongoing fascination with retro-futurism and cosmic oddities. 

1. Black Chamber (Escape To The Sun)
2. Airships Are Organisms (Prins Thomas Remix)

Jean-Luc Ponty - In the Fast Lane (November 3, 2021 Vive La Musique)

Vive La Musique is proud to present the first record in a special series, celebrating legendary French musician Jean-Luc Ponty and his influence on electronic dance music.

Ponty is a prolific composer with over thirty albums to his name, exploring a wide spectrum of jazz, fused with rock, electronic music and later in his career, West African sounds. A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist, famed for being one of the pioneers of the electric violin, Ponty also experimented with synthesis, composing a number of his albums with the Synclavier - one of the first synths to link up to a computer, offering the opportunity to create and combine multiple sounds.

Originally released in 1989 on the Storytelling album, "In the Fast Lane" is a rich and vibrant composition, with Ponty's rhythmical Synclavier keys and uplifting violin melodies dancing over a driving offbeat groove. The track lit up dancefloors in the UK jazz dance movement which started in the late 80s and is one of the all-time classic tunes from the Dingwalls sessions. Championed by influential Detroit radio DJ the Electrifying Mojo, Ponty is also dearly loved in the Motor City and is cited as a key influence by many of the pioneers of the techno movement.

Vive La Musique brings this unique track to the 12" single format for the first time, beautifully remastered by Atjazz and cut loud at 45 rpm. The release also features a brilliant cover version from Opolopo. He faithfully recreates the original synth lines around a deep and jazzy house groove, producing a modern dancefloor masterpiece, which highly impressed Ponty.

The 12" is presented with stunning artwork by Michal Rafaj and linear notes written by Ponty himself, telling the story of how the track was composed and recorded as well as exclusive photographs that have never been published before.

 "With such a long career in the world of jazz and prog. rock,
it makes me very happy to discover that younger generations
of musicians from other styles of music and DJs appreciate my
work and are inspired to make their own versions.

Opolopo did a great job with my piece “In The Fast Lane”.
The feel of my original version is still there, while he highlights
some sections with a different angle. He also does a very good
keyboard solo and I really like the synth sounds he uses.”
Jean-Luc Ponty

*EU customers please note that all EU orders will be posted from within the EU to avoid any Brexit issues. 

1. In the Fast Lane (12" Remaster)
2. Opolopo - In The Fast Lane
3. Opolopo - In the Fast Lane (dub) {Digital exclusive]
4. Opolopo - In the Fast Lane (preview snippet)

Jean-Luc Ponty: 5 String violin and Synclavier-II
Baron Browne: Bass
Rayford Griffin: Drums

In-Dreamview / Triptych (October 2021)


A work or composition in three parts

This album is made up of three pieces, each in three parts

The three pieces correlate to the three panels of the triptych on the album cover (from left to right)

1. Collisions Pt.I 03:32
2. Collisions Pt.II 05:26
3. Collisions Pt.III 03:10
4. Passageways Pt.I 04:21
5. Passageways Pt.II 03:31
6. Passageways Pt.III 07:00
7. Water Caustics Pt.I 05:03
8. Water Caustics Pt.II 04:45
9. Water Caustics Pt.III 06:25

Matt Stober - electric guitar, vibraphone, glockenspiel, piano, cello, acoustic guitar, sitar guitar, auto-harp
Ben Coniguliaro - drums, percussion
Quinn Coniguliaro - bass, bass VI, percussion
Alex Verbickas - electric guitar

All tracks written by In-Dreamview
mixed, mastered, engineered, and composed by - Matt Stober
recorded September 2020 - October 2021

Paul Hartsaw & Desiring Machines - Entomology (October 2021)

1. #4'40" 04:42
2. #15'26" 15:28
3. #9'02" 09:04
4. #12'54" 12:56
5. #6'56" 06:58
6. #6'30" 06:31

Recorded at WMU studios Kalamazoo MI Summer 1998

Paul Hartsaw - soprano & tenor saxophones, piano (1&5), drums(3), aux noise&percussion
Jim Simonson - bass, koto, piano(4), inside piano(3), aux noise & percussion
Michael Caskey - drums, piano(3), aux noise

KASE - Seasons (October 30, 2021 B Side Recordings)

1. Almost Forty
2. Like We Always Do
3. Mystery Amit/Beatrice
4. Reaction to Cultural Positions
5. Skylark
6. Soundboy
7. You Never Told Me Your Dream


ALMOST 40 14:45
Trouble ensues when youngest son Jordan walks into a sudden surprise for his 40th birthday celebration.

(guest starring KLASSIK)
An accidental and impromptu encounter exposes old relationships, complicating the already sticky situation.

A mysterious and potentially benevolent figure emerges as a main player. John and Jamie take the bait. Jordan does not. A West-Coast tour is discussed. The band's mutual love of Apple products is exposed.

Deep and powerful discussions emerge surrounding the band's purpose, lineage, and future.

John receives a tip in the investigation into the potential mysterious benefactor. Promises made, but not kept. Ultimately, a dead end.

The DA gets involved, the benefactor is thrown out and overstays his welcome.

A scheme is hatched as a champagne fueled evening devolves into a blurry dream-state. The plot thickens. 

JAMIE BREIWICK, trumpet, electronics, piano
JORDAN LEE, turntables, electronics

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jordan Lee.
All compositions by KASE, except "Beatrice" (Sam Rivers/Rivebea Music Co.), "Skylark" (Hoagy Carmichael/Frank Music Corp.), and "You Never Told Me Your Dream" (Jamie Breiwick/Jamie Breiwick Music)

Vladimir Luchansky - Transitions (October 30, 2021 577 Records)

In an experimental tour-de-force, Russian multi-instrumentalist and electronic musician Vladimir Luchansky offers an elegant and compositionally bold new album, Transitions. Performed entirely on alto saxophone, the album reflects his unique musical sensibilities as well as a deep appreciation of his instrument, the first horn he ever had and his steady companion for more than a decade. Transitions’s 5 tracks are liminal explorations, recorded on saxophone and manipulated by exploratory electronic production. Luchansky has long been thinking about transitional processes from acoustics to electronics, a transformation of sound and also a reflection of his own relationship with horn instruments.

This album, then, is also a tribute to “personal transitions, evolutions, transformations, ubiquitous personal changes—and, of course, love.” With every change, we can choose to react or to accept it—these interruptions and surrenders are reflected with the random character of sonic modifications throughout the album, compelling each piece forward with force and a curious sense of relief. Transitions will be available digitally via 577 Records on October 30, 2021.

1. Transition I
2. Transition II
3. Transition III
4. Transition IV
5. As A Whole

Vladimir Luchansky - Alto saxophone, effects

Recorded in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2020
Mixed and mastered by Ilia Belorukov

Album design by Mark Smith

Orbit577 is part of 577 Records
Brooklyn, New York

Friday, October 29, 2021

Savri - Not About Me (October 29, 2021)

Having toured throughout the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, including a performance at the legendary Glastonbury Festival in 2019 and sold-out concerts in the major Jazz Clubs in London, Severin Bruhin (29) is already is already building a successful musical career for himself

His solo work is being released under the name SAVRI. The debut 4 track EP ‘Not About Me‘ is coming out on the 29th of October 2021 on Vertaal’s ‘Empty Quarter Tribe’ imprint and will be on rotation on Radio Swiss Jazz.

His three previous singles were featured on radios and blogs in Switzerland (Radio Lora, Radio du bord de l'eau), France (Radio Kaos Caribou, Global Bazar!, Radio Des Boutières), Germany (Soul Sonic Reviews), Belgium (What Is Hip), Italy (The Italian Soul) and the UK (GW Jazz, Power Ace Radio, OneLuvFM, Amazing Radio) amongst others. 
1. Moonlight in F 03:59
Komponisten: Severin Bruhin
Bass: Severin Bruhin
Cello: Severin Bruhin
Drums: Radovan Brtko
Guitar: Luca Gianassi
Keyboards: Axel Gerard
Saxophone: Loren Hignell
Trombone: Patrick Hayes
Trumpet: Toby Street

2. Rain Of Gold feat. Anna Eline 05:18
Komponisten: Severin Bruhin
Textdichter: Severin Bruhin & Anna Eline
Bass: Severin Bruhin
Cello: Severin Bruhin
Drums: Ajit Gill
Guitar: Luca Gianassi
Keyboards: Theo Howarth
Saxophone: Loren Hignell
Singer: Anna Eline
Trombone: Patrick Hayes
Trumpet: Toby Street

3. Kudos 06:27
Komponisten: Severin Bruhin
Bass: Severin Bruhin
Cello: Severin Bruhin
Drums: Radovan Brtko
Guitar: Luca Gianassi
Keyboards: Lyle Barton
Saxophone: Loren Hignell
Trombone: Patrick Hayes
Trumpet: Toby Street

4. Someone feat. Laizer 04:57
Komponisten: Severin Bruhin
Textdichter: Severin Bruhin & Laizer
Bass: Severin Bruhin
Drums: Radovan Brtko
Guitar: Luca Gianassi
Keyboards: Lyle Barton
Saxophone: Loren Hignell
Singer: Laizer

Nicholas Payton | "Smoke Sessions" | Available October 29, 2021 via Smoke Sessions Records

Multi-Instrumentalist and Composer Nicholas Payton
Realizes Long-Cherished Dream to Record with
Iconic Bassist Ron Carter on Stunning New Album

Album Features Longtime Collaborator
Karriem Riggins and Special Guest Appearance
by Legendary Saxophonist George Coleman
Smoke Sessions, Due Out October 29, 2021
via Smoke Sessions Records,
Plus Four-Song Remix EP Forthcoming

For a young Nicholas Payton, Miles Davis’ 1966 album ‘Four’ & More, captured live two years earlier at Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall, provided a template for what music could – and should – be. Now long established as one of the most renowned musicians and composers on the scene, Payton has convened two of the legendary musicians who played with Davis on that album, bassist Ron Carter and special guest saxophonist George Coleman, to craft some exemplary sounds of his own.

With Smoke Sessions, set for release on October 29, 2021 via the label of the same name, Payton finally realizes his long-cherished dream of leading a session with Ron Carter on bass. To reignite the chemistry of the album he’d fallen in love with decades before, he also invited George Coleman to contribute to a pair of tunes. (A third contributor to ‘Four’ & More, pianist Herbie Hancock, is represented by the composition “Toys,” but Payton fills the keyboard chair on the date as well as playing trumpet). Rounding out the quartet is the esteemed drummer Karriem Riggins, a longtime collaborator of Payton’s who helps ensure that the music bridges generations as well as styles.

“Miles Davis' ‘Four’ & More was the album that really inspired me to take up music seriously,” Payton explains. “Ever since then, Ron Carter has been an idol and a favorite musician of mine. As long as I’ve been leading bands I’ve patterned my choice of bassists by the metric of how much Ron they have in their playing. When I’ve looked for pianists in my band over the years, it's often predicated on how much Herbie they have in their sound. So this album is really a dream come true for me.”

Far from a tribute or a look back, however, Smoke Sessions is a wholly contemporary new album that vibrantly captures Payton’s open-eared blend of swing, funk, soul and hip-hop influences with Riggins’ expansive fluidity behind the kit and Carter’s renowned, rock solid majesty on the bass. Payton seizes the opportunity to engage with that recognizable voice in multiple forms, taking both the Miles and Herbie roles as trumpeter, pianist and keyboardist via the multi-instrumentalism that has become a thrilling trademark of his approach.

While Payton has crossed paths with Carter on a number of occasions over the years, he’d never been able to persuade the famously exacting bassist to appear on one of his own dates before now. “He finally started giving me the time of day,” Payton says with a laugh. “Once I had his interest I hurried up and locked it in before he changed his mind.”

Whatever the delay, Carter spoke highly of the bandleader in the wake of recording Smoke Sessions. “I was quite pleased and had fun playing with him as a piano player as well as a trumpet player,” the bassist said. “Listen to him play trumpet. He’s listening to my response to what he does — if the trumpet players of today want to try to put him in a place, he should be up there because he listens to what the bass player contributes to his solo.”
The album opens in high-spirited fashion, with the elastic groove of Payton’s aptly named “Hangin’ and a Jivin’” before Coleman makes his first of two appearances on the sultry “Big George.” “I feel like George didn't get as much credit as he deserved for being a part of Miles's experimentations in alternate changes and chord progressions,” Payton says. “That's why the songs on the album with George tend to be basically four-bar vamps – those four-bar turnarounds and what they would do with them were so influential in changing the landscape of how musicians play chord changes. It was important to me to get into that stuff that they did back in the 60s. George being there was like the cherry on top.”

Those concepts are explicitly referenced in the title of “Turn-a-Ron,” Coleman’s second guest spot, which gives the two masters plenty of space to interact with one another. The bassist is also paid homage on “Levin’s Lope,” which references his middle name while repurposing the bassline of “Cyborg Swing,” from Payton’s Quarantined with Nick album. “The sound of how I hear bass in an ensemble comes basically from Ron Carter and Ray Brown, so a lot of the music that I write is tailor made for what Ron does. I didn't have to make any alterations to accommodate him because I write with his sound in mind anyway.”

The two-part “Lullaby for a Lamppost,” dedicated to New Orleans music legend Danny Barker, takes its structure from a New Orleans funeral procession – slow and dirge-like at first, then celebratory as the body is laid to rest. “Danny Barker gave me my first regular gig at this club on Bourbon Street in New Orleans called the Famous Door,” Payton recalls. “The tune is my homage to him, to his mentorship and the dedication he had to educating the youth in New Orleans.”

“Q for Quincy Jones,” originally recorded on Payton’s 2015 Letters album, pays tribute to another wide-ranging musical icon whose production skills, Payton remarks, “have been part of the fabric of the sound of music in the 20th century from Dinah Washington to George Benson to Michael Jackson.” The composer adapted “Gold Dust Black Magic” from his orchestral work of the same name, premiered earlier this year by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

The remaining two pieces are drawn from the songbooks of two of Payton’s most formative keyboard influences: Hancock’s aforementioned “Toys,” originally recorded on 1968’s Speak Like a Child with Carter on bass; and Keith Jarrett’s achingly beautiful “No Lonely Nights.”

The recording of Smoke Sessions, Payton concludes, was “like a pinch-myself moment… I used to pretend I was playing with [these musicians] when I was a child, and now it’s happening. I literally felt like I was walking on air. To have someone I've listened to on record and admired from afar actually be a part of something that I created was just beyond my wildest imagination. I remained in a dream state for a couple of months afterwards.”

"Smoke Sessions" was produced by Paul Stache and Nicholas Payton,
and recorded live in New York at Sear Sound's Studio C on a Sear-Avalon
custom console at 96KHz/24bit and mixed to 1/2" analog tape.
Available in audiophile HD format.

Nicholas Payton · Smoke Sessions
Smoke Sessions Records · Release Date: October 29, 2021

For more information on other Smoke Sessions Records releases, please visit:

Dave Meder's UNAMUNO SONGS AND STORIES (w/ Miguel Zenón, Philip Dizack) is out October 29, 2021

Celebrated Pianist, Composer and Educator Dave Meder Announces His Impassioned Sophomore Release Unamuno Songs and Stories, Out October 29 via Outside in Music

Outside in Music is thrilled to announce the October 29th release of Unamuno Songs and Stories, the latest album from pianist and composer Dave Meder. This release is a stunning response to recent sociopolitical turmoil in the United States, using the writings of Spanish Civil War-era philosopher Miguel de Unamuno as a historical analogy. Making poignant statements about this “critical moment” in American history, Unamuno Songs and Stories aims to celebrate life with themes of hope, love, and peace just as much as it serves to raise awareness of the growing threats to American democracy. Meder’s potent pianistic refrains are heard here alongside bassist Marty Jaffe, drummer Michael Piolet, trumpeter Philip Dizack and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón. The official release celebration of Unamuno Songs and Stories will take place at the Soapbox Gallery in NYC on November 16th. More performances are scheduled through the United States; more information can be found here and below. 

“It feels as though we are at a societal breaking point”, Meder exclaims, “Increasingly, our political discourse pits factually justified positions against pure misinformation, and independently verifiable truth against “personal truth.” It forces us into tribes, so that pride and ego prevent us from evolving in our own understanding of the world.” The artist finds historical context for this polarized political climate in the life and work of a complex figure: Miguel de Unamuno (1864 – 1936), a Basque/Spanish philosopher, poet, novelist, essayist, and academic most known for his work in the lead-up to the Spanish Civil War. Unamuno was a complicated man whose life and work are marked by the conflict between liberalism and staunch Catholicism, and his documentation of democracy sliding gradually into dictatorship has long fascinated Meder. “In 2020, when a global pandemic, a renewed struggle for racial reckoning, a fraught national election, and a contentious political transition left so many of us scrambling to explain it all…I reached again for Unamuno.” The music of Unamuno Songs and Stories is centered firmly around the jazz tradition while drawing thoughtful influences from an array of sources including Bach chorales, the blues, minimalism, and the piano works of Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz
Dave Meder by Adrien H. Tillmann

“When I compose, I find that improvised solos usually serve as means to a musical end, not ends in and of themselves… all solos on this album have a purpose within the overarching compositional structure of the piece. The soloists cannot simply “improvise” – they must know the function of their solo relative to the rest of the composition. If they fail to achieve the musical goal that I set for their improvisation, the whole composition fails to reach its potential in that performance. As a composer, it is a risk to delegate such tremendous responsibility to other players, especially given they had nothing to do with the initial creation of the music. It certainly takes time to find the right kind of artist for such a project: one who can not only “blow the horn” but can also be a “co-composer”, I could not be more pleased with how Marty, Michael, Philip, and Miguel beautifully merged their own individuality with my compositional vision on these tracks,” explains Meder. 

Meder’s true stroke of genius is two-fold; the seamless integration of Unamuno’s subject matter, ideologies and methodologies into his own compositional process and his ability to communicate within these evocative compositions with nuance, grace and great intensity. This is perhaps most evident in the composition “I Look For Religion in War”, a spirited piece derived from a line in an Unamuno philosophical essay entitled “De la correspondencia de un luchador” (“From the Writings of a Warrior”). The essay itself twists our conventional idea of peace by casting it as a fleeting, temporary form of reality. True serenity, as Unamuno suggests, can be found in the regularity of warfare and battle. As such, Meder employs a somber, driving ostinato reminiscent of a war chant, as he and trumpeter Philip Dizack improvise beautifully atop – demonstrating the grace within warfare. At the point in the piece where the gnashing, fighting and struggle is reaching a climax, the music collapses into an idyllic, hymn-like melody loosely influenced by the piano works of Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz, followed by a rhapsodic bowed bass solo. At this point, we have become comfortable with the idea that the human struggle itself is our religion, and by the tone of the music, we have come to “worship” it as such.

The Lake and the Mountain” is a musical representation of two primary symbols from Unamuno’s best-known work, “San Manuel Bueno, Mártir” (Saint Emmanuel the Good, Martyr). The short story centers around Don Manuel, the priest of a fictional rural village and his spiritual doubts – the mountain symbolizes faith and its promise of eternal life while the lake represents internal struggles, doubts and complexities. Meder remarks “Using the inimitable musical voice of Miguel Zenón, we attempt to paint this sense of spiritual duality, conflict, and agony.” Through its instrumentation and dynamic sensibilities, the piece highlights the duality and raw emotion of the original story.
Miguel Zenón, Dave Meder, Michael Piolet, Marty Jaffe by Adrien H. Tillmann

Exile” is an allusion to Miguel de Unamuno’s time in physical exile from Spain (1924-1930). The writer’s outspoken critics of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship cost him his position at the University of Salamanca and forced him to leave the country until a republic was reestablished in 1931. But, on a deeper level, the piece embodies the feelings of mental and emotional exile: the sensation of profound disillusionment at the actions of leaders and fellow citizens. Beginning with a tender bowed bass solo from Marty Jaffe, the piece reflects the notion of physical, emotional and mental exile and re-assembly as a people. As Meder notes “The group begins as a unified society, playing the melody together, but we quickly become exiled from each other, pursuing our own paths, rhythms, phrases…conversing here and there but largely existing independent of one another. As the piece builds, we begin to come together again.. And all the while, we are beginning to build something together: a grand and beautiful musical metropolis, if you will, where everyone maintains their individual voice while being an integral part of the whole. More importantly, everyone has an equal right to express their individual voice within this whole. Eventually, we reach a sort of catharsis, an outpouring of love and beauty, and the recognition of the collective pain we have experienced. Back together again, we return to the melody in a new spirit: one of hope, optimism, and a sense of rebirth.”

Unamuno Songs and Stories comes as Meder is fresh off the heels from his critically-acclaimed debut release Passage through which the pianist established himself as a uniquely versatile and broad-minded artist. Meder’s panoramic musical approach has earned him slots in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, the American Pianists Awards, the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, and the International Songwriting Competition. Meder has headlined at a host of prominent performance venues and educational residencies around the world including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Smalls Jazz Club, The Kennedy Center and Beijing Normal University’s International Music Festival. Meder is a recent recipient of the prestigious Fulbright US Scholar Award for Visual and Performing Arts, which brings him to Egypt as a guest artist and lecturer in 2022.

1 A Song of Secret Love (6:40)
2 Augusto’s Dilemma (6:48)
3 Meditation: Doubt (1:00)
4 I Look For Religion In War (8:14)
5 If Ever I Would Leave You (4:59)
6 The Lake and the Mountain (7:29)
7 Meditation: Faith (1:26)
8 Century Rag (6:18)
9 Exile (7:50)

Guitarists Cameron Mizell and Charlie Rauh's "Local Folklore" – Out Oct. 29 via Destiny Records

With Local Folklore, Guitarists Cameron Mizell and Charlie Rauh Offer a Feast 
for the Ears and Songs for the Heart

Local Folklore—to be released by Destiny Records on October 29, 2021—takes listeners down familiar roads but ends up in fresh destinations, each with its own inhabitants, lessons, and stories to tell

“The guitar playing of Charlie Rauh and Cameron Mizell is both sensitive and virtuosic, weaving together haunting phrases with precision and grace.” – The Museum of Americana

In their book, Metaphors We Live By, linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson propose that human thought is largely metaphorical. Given that our lives are made of feelings, experiences, and practices, metaphors serve as necessary tools for understanding these immaterial prerequisites of the human condition. The authors call this process “imaginative rationality”—a fitting term for the contradictory nature of our existence, which relies equally on that which can be held and that which slips through our fingers. It also happens to aptly describe the music written, produced, and performed by guitarists Cameron Mizell and Charlie Rauh, whose latest recording stands poised to dive into a fresh pool of narrative prowess. If the opening track, “Local Folklore,” from which this album borrows its title, is any indication, listeners can expect to regard a canvas onto which personal mythologies drip from acoustic brushes as organically as ripe fruit falls from a branch. With a poetic edge that evokes Ralph Towner and a homegrown fortitude that tips its hat in the direction of Pat Metheny, these sounds ensure us that we are exactly where we need to be.
Photo by Courtney Sultan

This is no small feat, considering that the musicians recorded these ten meticulously rendered tracks remotely until a greater whole was achieved. Notes Rauh of the repertoire, “These songs take inspiration from the understated stories we keep alive through sharing memories, experiences, and wonder with our communities.” Mizell shares this sentiment: “This album is especially personal to us. The songs are inspired by close relationships and the people who help us get through challenging times, whether that’s our families, friends, neighbors, or each other.” Such a message, though perhaps more prescient than ever in a world indelibly marked by an invisible virus (itself made understandable only by the grace of metaphor), is as timeless as the melodies it inspired.

Hence, the free and easy charm of “Old Sardis Road,” a weathered tune by Mizell co-written with friends Russell Holland and Drew Pitcher that epitomizes the Americana spirit at hand. Other Mizell originals this time around include “Greenwood Waltz,” inspired by two of his students, and “On Sundays I Walk Alone,” born out of the ritualistic walks that kept his mind clear throughout the pandemic. In addition to its beauty, it’s an artful example of the delicate electronic hues woven throughout the album. Rauh, too, offers his fair share of stolen summers in the form of “Arolen,” a melody he used to hum as a child growing up in Alabama, and “A Single Cloth,” which takes its name from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Book of Hours and was written in celebration of a close friend’s wedding.

These influences and more speak to the duo’s organic rapport. Says Rauh of playing with Mizell, “In addition to just having a great time, I always feel pushed to try new approaches to the instrument as well as songwriting because his creativity is so deeply personal.” And Mizell of playing with Rauh, “We’ve played together so much over the years that I sometimes believe I can anticipate what he’ll do, only to be surprised by something new, yet still so uniquely Charlie. Our shared value of authenticity has driven our musical relationship to a very honest place on this album, and I am a better guitarist for it.”

If much of this was already obvious on their last project, What We Have In Common, it is alive in spades throughout this follow-up.

The album’s vital organs are housed in Pardonsburg. The aptly named southern Virginia town plays host to the creations of writer (and Rauh’s sister) Christina Rauh Fishburne, whose novel-in-progress lends inspiration to a handful of cinematic turns. Fishburne is no stranger here, as she contributed the cover art to Rauh’s EP, The Silent Current from Within, for which her brother also wrote tunes inspired by her poetry. On Local Folklore, one encounters a range of emotional portraits, from the war-trodden hearts of “Jed’s Theme” and “A Forgiving Sort Of Place” to the antic touch of “Petey and Kyle” and the escapist “Rita’s Theme.” These vignettes prove just how intimately nostalgia and trauma are connected and how Fishburne’s narrative constituted a vital third presence to the proceedings.

Regardless of where one sets their feet in these streets, the unforced musicianship of our guides leaves plenty of bread crumbs to follow. Their uncanny ability to make real life feel like a dream and fictional places feel like home is the wonder of Local Folklore and its creators. As artists who flow with time instead of against it, they know that the umbilical cords of our lives are only truly severed when our last breath runs its blade across them.
Photo by Courtney Sultan

About Cameron Mizell
Brooklyn-based guitarist and composer Cameron Mizell, has been part of the diverse New York City music scene for over a decade, performing in a wide variety of genres from experimental improvisation to bluegrass musicals, salsa bands to solo jazz guitar. He has become an in-demand sideman and session guitarist due to his chameleonic musicianship, professionalism, and easygoing nature. As a band leader and solo artist, Mizell has released eight albums in the past 17 years, ranging from jazz-funk to Americana to avant-garde experimentalism, and has collaborated with or produced artists on dozens more recordings. His latest solo effort, a meditative album titled The Order of Things, is a cinematic trip through ambient and post-rock textures, melodies, and improvisations. Recorded in March and April of 2020, shortly after New York City’s COVID-19 lockdown procedures were put in place, The Order of Things was created to find balance and calm through slow, purposeful, meditative music. Said New York Music Daily of the result: “Quietly and efficiently, Mizell has put together a remarkably tuneful, eclectic, understatedly cinematic body of work. In a world overpopulated by guys who play a million notes where one would do, Mizell’s economical, purposeful style stands out even more.”

About Charlie Rauh
“Charlie Rauh plays guitar with a quiet intensity, each note and chord ringing with purpose,” writes Acoustic Guitar Magazine. “Rauh gives a gentle reminder that playing soft and slow can be more impactful than loud and fast.” With these words, we find ourselves in the company of a musician whose imprint is as delicate as it is indelible. From his humble beginnings growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, to the daunting New York City music scene of which he has since become a part, Rauh has dedicated his life to extolling the wonders of sonic art. After cutting his teeth as a sideman on everything from pop, rock, folk, and R&B to country, electronic music, and jazz, he made his solo debut with Viriditas, welcoming listeners into his distinctive folk-inspired atmospheres. He draws further from the world of poetry, ranging from Anna Akhmatova to the Brontës. The latter were the theme of his 2020 album, The Bluebell, which brought about a new chapter of his introspective approach. As a support musician, Rauh works with a variety of artists across several genres, both as a touring sideman and a studio musician and arranger. He is currently signed to Austin-based label Destiny Records.

1. Local Folklore
2. Petey & Kyle
3. Old Sardis Road
4. Jed's Theme
5. A Forgiving Sort Of Place
6. Rita's Theme
7. Greenwood Waltz
8. Arolen
9. A Single Cloth
10. On Sundays I Walk Alone

Cameron Mizell: Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Charlie Rauh: Acoustic Guitar

Produced by Cameron Mizell and Charlie Rauh
Recorded by Cameron Mizell and Charlie Rauh in Brooklyn, NY from November 2020 to July 2021
Mixed by Cameron Mizell
Mastered by Charlie Rauh

Album cover painting by Ava Joshi
CD Design by Ben Walker

Sylvie Courvoisier & Mary Halvorson - Searching For The Disappeared Hour (October 29, 2021 Pyroclastic Records)

Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and guitarist Mary Halvorson combine their singular voices in startlingly inventive form on their second duo collaboration

Searching for the Disappeared Hour, due out October 29, 2021 via Pyroclastic Records, finds the two acclaimed artists exploring notions of time through evocative original compositions and thrilling improvisations

"[Courvoisier and Halvorson are] two of New York’s most idiosyncratic and distinctive improvisers... [Their debut recording] Crop Circles is deeply chamber-like in its deft, interactive intimacy."
– Peter Margasak, Downbeat

"This meeting of two of the brightest minds on the edgier side of jazz today produces music that’s astonishing both in its fluency and ceaseless ingenuity."
– S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

To paraphrase the late Douglas Adams, “Time is an illusion. Pandemic time doubly so.” On their brilliant new duo album, Searching for the Disappeared Hour, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and guitarist Mary Halvorson make up for lost time with an hour’s worth of kaleidoscopic beauty and startling invention.

Due out October 29, 2021 via Pyroclastic Records, Searching for the Disappeared Hour marks the second collaboration for these two singular musicians. Their initial collaboration, 2017’s Crop Circles, was recorded after a single concert (at New York’s now-defunct Cornelia Street Café) and found them repurposing existing compositions for the duo context. By contrast, the music on Searching for the Disappeared Hour was composed expressly for the duo, taking stunning advantage of the chemistry and familiarity forged during tours of Europe and the States in the intervening years.

“I think this album is much more developed,” Courvoisier says. “When I wrote pieces for Mary, I really thought about all the possibilities of the guitar. And her music has pretty tonalities, great melodies and a very clear sense of harmony and melody, so I love to darken it.”

“We both have an affinity towards darkening things,” adds Halvorson, “which is great because you can start with a joyous melody and there's all kinds of room to mess with it. We're both really open to that. And Sylvie is great at adding harmonies and filling stuff in, so I was happy to leave space for her to do her thing, not only in the improvised sections but also within the written parts.”

Both Courvoisier and Halvorson are among the most idiosyncratic and distinctive voices in modern creative music, so a meeting between the two couldn’t help but venture into unexplored territory and return with thrillingly original results. With each new piece they revel in striking new ways of melding their sounds, utterly original yet very aware of the history of piano-guitar duos.

“People have this misconception that guitar and piano get in the way of each other,” Halvorson says, singling out the revered Bill Evans-Jim Hall album Undercurrent as a particularly strong refutation of that idea. “I've always personally enjoyed playing with pianists, and when you strip away everything else and have just the two instruments, I think they make a really great blend. There's such a wide sonic range you can achieve with that instrumentation." 

The evidence reveals itself immediately with Halvorson’s bracing opener, “Golden Proportion.” A collage piece stitched together from scraps of ideas the guitarist had collected over time, it works like a roiling stream of consciousness as lines and notion bubble up and dissipate, from a wiry guitar line to a funhouse-mirror “Moonlight Sonata.”
“They're not even really ideas – they’re like little nuggets of beginning of ideas,” Halvorson explains. “I put them on top of each other in a patchwork and I would give one of them to guitar and one to piano. It’s just a little vignette where we play around with these ideas and then it all unravels.”

Courvoisier’s “Lulu’s Second Theorem” is a Schrödinger box of a composition, somehow both playful and complex – a notion vividly captured by the fact that its titular theorist is in fact the pianist’s cat. Halvorson penned the tense ballad “Faceless Smears” on the most dramatic day of Congressional hearings for now- Supreme Court Justice Brent Kavanaugh, along with the companion piece “Last-Minute Smears,” recorded with her band Code Girl on last year’s Artlessly Falling.

“Moonbow” is one benefactor of the duo’s shared experiences, drawing on a mistake during the recording of Crop Circles. Halvorson accidentally played a unison piece a half step off, but the “gnarly” sound that resulted excited both of them. Courvoisier seized on that approach when composing this slowly unfolding tune. Halvorson’s “Torrential,” while built on a folk-inspired guitar melody, opens itself for two extended solo improvisations.

“Mind Out of Time” and “The Disappearing Hour,” both written by Courvoisier, suggest the skewed relationship with time that we’ve all endured over this unusual year and a half. Likewise Halvorson’s “Bent Yellow” feels urgent and constantly shifting, while “Gates and Passes” suspends time as its graceful melody hangs portentously in the air, basking in breath and silence.

The album is completed by three improvised pieces: the stark and strident “Four-Point Play,” with Courvoisier exploring the interior of the piano; the lovely and meditative “Party Dress,” captured in a moment when the duo was unsure that they were even being recorded; and the concluding “Blizzard Rings,” alternately taut, pointillist and ethereal, seeming to dissolve into air as the hour draws to a close.

“Because of Covid, I think we’ve all had a weird relationship with time passing,” Courvoisier says, as Halvorson chimes in with her own interpretation of the album’s evocative title – vibrantly depicted in artist Dike Blair’s gouache images of clock in liminal spaces.

“A month would pass and I’d feel like no time had passed at al, or vice versa. It was very weird, and would leave you feeling disoriented all the time. At the same time, this album is almost exactly an hour long – so once you’ve listened to it an hour has disappeared.” Vanished, perhaps – but a well spent sixty minutes ripe with inspiring discoveries and inviting mysteries, elusive in the way it warps and transforms time.

1. Golden Proportion
2. Lulu's Second Theorem
3. Faceless Smears
4. Four-Point Play
5. Moonbow
6. Torrential
7. Mind Out Of Time
8. Party Dress
9. Bent Yellow
10. The Disappearing Hour
11. Gates & Passes
12. Blizzard Rings

Sylvie Courvoisier piano
Mary Halvorson guitar

Produced by David Breskin

Recorded by Ron Saint Germain & Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, NY June 2 & 3, 2021

Mixed by Ron Saint Germain at Saint’s Place, July 27 & 28, 2021

Mastered by Scott Hull, Masterdisk, Peekskill, NY

Album art: five gouaches by Dike Blair, courtesy the artist and Karma, New York City

Mary’s songs: 1,3,6, 9, 11 – Meltframe Music (BMI)
Sylvie’s songs: 2, 5, 7, 10 – Sylvie Courvoisier (SUISA, ASCAP)
Shared songs: 4,8,12

Album design and layout: Spottswood Erving and July Creek for Janky Defense

Steve Coleman - Live at the Village Vanguard Vol. 2 (MDW NTR) October 29, 2021 Pi Recordings

Recorded live in performance at the renowned Village Vanguard in New York City, "Mdw Ntr," finds MacArthur Fellow Steve Coleman exploring new terrain in his use of non-linear performance practices in his music. Featuring his long-running flagship ensemble Five Elements, he utilizes spontaneous and pre-composed modules, or motivic cells that can be played in any order, allowing each musicians to spontaneously jump forward or backward to different sections – even between compositions – highlighting different strata of the music and reinventing the form each time in a completely interactive way. Coleman often composes these modules by envisioning them as chains of tonal dyads that are strung together along rhythmic patterns to create melodic structures, something he sees as an analogue of DNA sequences. 

The work also reflects his research into the connection between language and music, in particular the early attempts at music notation using shapes and glyphs in ancient Egypt and the structural and functional similarities between spontaneous composition and Mdw Ntr, a transliteration of the writing system usually called hieroglyphics. Coleman’s use of complex rhythmic cycles is a consistent hallmark of his work, and the roiling, surging momentum found here is no exception. Featured prominently is a long-time collaborator, spoken word artist Kokayi, who brings a freewheeling, rhythmically-acute, almost tent revival aesthetic to the proceedings. Together, they continue to push the possibilities for spontaneous composition and improvisation. 

1. Menes to Midas
2. Unit Fractions
3. Little Girl I'll Miss You
4. Compassion (drum solo) - Ascending Numeration - DeAhBo (Reset)
5. Pad Thai-Mdw Ntr
6. 9 to 5
7. Mdw Ntr
8. Rumble Young Man, Rumble
9. Khet & KaBa
10. DeAhBo (Reset)
11. 9 to 5 - Mdw Ntr

Steve Coleman (alto saxophone)
Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet)
Kokayi (wordsmith)
Anthony Tidd (bass)
Sean Rickman (drums)

Dan Weiss / Miles Okazaki - Music for Drums and Guitar (October 29, 2021 Cygnus Recordings)

"This music is hyperacute and superdynamic, with myriad strategies at play"
- Nate Chinen, WBGO

The Memory Palace and Middlegame were both written in 2020 for the “Stone Commissioning Series,” a project created by saxophonist and composer John Zorn. The Memory Palace (by Miles Okazaki) debuted on February 26th, 2020 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY. Middlegame (by Dan Weiss) was planned to debut a month later at the same venue, but was postponed by the onset of the global pandemic. Although these two musicians have appeared on a number of projects within various groups, this recording documents for the first time the language that they have developed over the course of 25 years performing together as a duo.

This project was made possible by John Zorn’s “Stone Commissioning Series” and by the generous support of The Shifting Foundation.
1. The Memory Palace, Part I 00:18
2. The Memory Palace, Part II 05:46
3. The Memory Palace, Part III 03:11
4. The Memory Palace, Part IV 07:15
5. The Memory Palace, Part V 02:40
6. The Memory Palace, Part VI 06:04
7. The Memory Palace, Part VII 05:18
8. The Memory Palace, Part VIII 06:26
9. Middlegame, Part I 00:34
10. Middlegame, Part II 06:21
11. Middlegame, Part III 04:18
12. Middlegame, Part IV 05:11
13. Middlegame, Part V 12:52
14. Middlegame, Part VI 03:59
15. Middlegame, Part VII 00:51

Graham Collier - British Conversations (October 29, 2021 My Only Desire Records)

To commemorate the 10th year since the passing of esteemed British jazz composer, bassist and bandleader Graham Collier, My Only Desire Records presents this 1975 recording of his previously unreleased suite 'British Conversations'.

The recording features lead soloists trumpeter Harry Beckett and guitarist Ed Speight, alongside The Swedish Radio Jazz Group - made up of the hottest players on the '70s Scandi jazz scene - including saxophonists Arne Domnérus, Claes Rosendahl and Lennart Åberg, trumpeter Jan Allan, pianist Bengt Hallberg, guitarist Rune Gustafsson and drummer Egil Johansen. Collier steers the band through the five-part suite that encompasses beautifully composed melodies, driving jazz rock and as many extremes as the British weather that inspired its name.

Remastered from the original tapes by Caspar Sutton-Jones @ Gearbox Records, 'British Conversations' is available as a limited edition (500 units worldwide) 2LP set housed in a gatefold sleeve and 'mini-LP' gatefold CD and all digital formats, with sleeve notes by Graham Collier biographer Duncan Heining.

Graham Collier (1937 - 2011) was one of the most accomplished, popular and collectable British jazz artists during the Brit-jazz heyday of the '60s and '70s, with his career of musically challenging yet hugely rewarding albums spanning five decades. His early LPs 'Deep Dark Blue Centre' (Deram, 1967), 'Down Another Road' (Fontana, 1969) and 'Darius' (Mosaics, 1974,) are rightly considered classics of the era.

Released in co-operation with the Collier estate, we hope this wonderful record leads to many new people discovering and enjoying the music of Graham Collier.

1. Red Sky in the Morning
2. Clear Moon
3. Halo Round the Sun
4. Red Sky at Night
5. Mackerel Sky

Graham Collier: conductor
Harry Beckett: trumpet, flugelhorn
Ed Speight: guitar

The Swedish Radio Jazz Group:
Arne Domnérus: alto saxophone, clarinet
Claes Rosendahl: tenor and alto saxophone, flute
Lennart Åberg: tenor and soprano saxophone, flute
Erik Nilsson: baritone saxophone
Americo Bellotto: trumpet, flugel horn
Bertil Lövgren: trumpet, flugel horn
Jan Allan: trumpet, alto horn
Håkan Nyquist : trumpet, flugel horn, French horn
Lars Olofsson: trombone
Sven Larsson: bass trombone, tuba
Rune Gustafsson: guitar
Bengt Hallberg: piano
Georg Riedel: double bass
Stefan Brolund: electric bass
Egil Johansen: drums

Recorded live in concert February 27th 1975 at Kulturhuset, Stockholm

Composed and arranged by Graham Collier

Commissioned by Sveriges Radio