Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Dan Ford - Across the Wide Bay (March 17, 2021)

Saxophonist Dan Ford leads a quintet featuring some of Brisbane’s finest musicians on his 2021 album “Across the Wide Bay”. Inspired by the natural beauty of Fraser Island in Queensland, the album is a collection of original compositions set to swing and modern grooves. The title track features Jess Spina on vocals.

1. C.C.T. 05:29
2. Across the Wide Bay 05:32
3. Nos Pillamos 06:58
4. Afterglow 06:46
5. Solitude 05:17
6. Pirouette 05:50
7. Night Song 06:05

Dan Ford - tenor and soprano saxophone, Wurlitzer and keyboard on track #7
Elliott Parker - double bass
Chris Evans - drums
Eden Armstrong - piano
Michael Anderson - guitar (on all tracks except #6)
Jess Spina - vocals
Luke Greenhalgh - guitar (on track #6)

All compositions by Dan Ford, except #2 (music by Dan Ford, lyrics by Grant Thomas), and #6 (composed by Luke Greenhalgh).

Across the Wide Bay was recorded at Jazz Music Institute, Brisbane, Australia, in January 2021.

Produced by Dan Ford and Mark Smith
Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Mark Smith for Real Productions

Florian Weiss' Woodoism - Alternate Reality (May 21, 2021 nWog Records)

We are thrilled to announce, that we'll be joining the NWog-Family with our upcoming release "Alternate Reality"! We can't wait to share our new music with you. Stay tuned!

1. Inhale, Exhale
2. Shivering Timbers
3. Valse des Papillons de Nuit
4. Wabi-Sabi
5. The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep
6. Feuer im Termitenhügel
7. Fuge für A.
8. Alternate Reality (Visiting Oz)
9. Alternate Reality II (Delirium)
10. Alternate Reality III (Awakening)

All compositions by Florian Weiss

Recorded by Werner Angerer on Nov 3rd - 5th 2020 at 4tune Studio, Vienna (Austria)
Mixed by Werner Angerer
Mastered André Pousaz
Artwork by Corinne Hächler
Produced by Woodoism

March 20: Pianist Yoko Miwa performs at streaming East Coast Jazz Fest

Please join the
Yoko Miwa Trio
for a streaming performance as part of the
East Coast Jazz Festival
Saturday, March 20 at 10 p.m. EST

Admission is pay what you can, information at

The trio will be one of 60 featured performers. Six jazz clubs on the East Coast have come together to create the event featuring virtual live sets and pre-recorded sessions. The Yoko Miwa Trio will be presented by Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. in partnership with the Japanese Embassy in celebration of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The pre-recorded concert will feature music from the trio's acclaimed new release Songs of Joy.

“Songs of Joy is an enthralling body of work that will become an important release for the year ahead.” – Andrew Read, Jazz in Europe

4-stars “Miwa approaches ‘Freedom’ with a McCoy Tyner-like muscularity, backed by the dense rhythmic back drop from bassist Will Slater and drummer Scott Goulding. It is a powerhouse, all-things-possible sound, spiritual and temporal at the same time.” – Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

"Pianist Yoko Miwa injects a lot of drama into her playing by creating sheer power, by rolling and tumbling and sounding larger than life... One of the best things I’ve heard in months." – Marc Phillips, Part-Time Audiophile

Gary Bartz, Ali Shaheed & Adrian Younge - Gary Bartz JID006 (April 2, 2021 Jazz Is Dead Records)

The shadow that Gary Bartz casts over the last six decades of progressive Black music, and his continued dedication to the same, makes him a logical and very welcome contributor to the Jazz Is Dead label. An alto saxophonist steeped in the history and tradition of his instrument who is also restlessly experimental and not prone to purism of any kind, he enjoys both the respect and admiration of his peers and the hero worship of several generations after him – including Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, which inevitably led to Gary Bartz JID006.

A look at his body of work reveals dalliances with bebop, hard bop, free jazz, spiritual jazz, soul jazz, jazz-funk, fusion and acid jazz, all while resolutely remaining unmistakably Gary Bartz. There’s early work with Eric Dolphy and McCoy Tyner in Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop, work with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, a stint in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and also one with Miles. There’s his groundbreaking and highly influential Ntu Troop albums of the early ‘70s and his jazz-funk work including two classic albums with the Mizell Brothers, one of which supplied A Tribe Called Quest with a sample that was smooth like butter. And while on the subject of samples, the Bartz catalog has provided hip-hop and other genres with a rich source of them, and artists who have gone to his well when producing beats also include Black Sheep, Jurassic 5, Casual, RPM, Warren G, Photek, Statik Selektah, Chi-Ali, 3rd Bass, Showbiz, Z-Trip, Young Disciples, and many others.

The socio-political content of much of Bartz’s work, particularly during the early ‘70s, is another factor that has captured the attention of and influenced many. He was wide awake to the pressing issues of his day, which sadly haven’t changed much in a half-century—long before the term “woke” was ever coined—which adds continued relevance and resonance to albums like the two Harlem Bush Music LPs. Speaking his mind and expressing thoughts and feelings lyrically and vocally were a consistent aspect of his work during this era, but even with all this there’s always still a space within Gary’s oeuvre for the celebration of simple and beautiful basic truths.

“Working with Gary Bartz epitomizes the ethos behind Jazz Is Dead,” says Younge. “He’s a luminary that has contributed so much to music culture, for decades. His musical ability is expanding with age and we’re honored to be a part of his world.”

“Day By Day” brings Bartz full circle by placing him in a more modern context which he contributed to creating in the first place. It takes certain sonic cues from Muhammad’s old group, A Tribe Called Quest, while also calling to mind neo-soul a little bit. But the icing on the cake is the unexpected and gorgeous vocal chorus which is like the sun coming out and which once again harks back to an element familiar to Mizell fans.
With its propulsive bassline steadily prodding the track along, “The Message” is strongly rooted in classic ‘70s modal jazz and serves as the spiritual and emotional centerpiece of the album. The instrumental interplay and textures would have been perfectly at home on the Black Jazz label even though there’s also a certain almost intangible postmodern, 21st century approach to that style, perfectly in keeping with Bartz’s well-known tendency to look forward, not backwards.

The main thrust of “Black And Brown” is an immersion in classic jazz-funk, a short blast of vintage fusion riffing that ultimately feels like one of those classic extended ‘70s jams condensed down to its most intense just-under-three-minutes with Bartz blowing freely over very familiar musical territory and sounding like he’s having an amazing time doing it.

If “Spiritual Ideation” calls anything immediately to mind, it’s the overall vibe and atmosphere of the compositions on 1975’s classic Mizell-produced The Shadow Do album. Its chords seem to move along in similar fashion to a few of the tracks on that album, but they’re transposed on to what has quickly become the JID signature sound. Bartz’s tone and phrasing is instantly recognizable and sits on top of the Younge/Muhammad-produced backing as snugly as it did on the Mizells’ groove 45 years ago.

Bartz brought his historically busy touring and recording schedule into the new millennium, re-establishing his deep jazz credentials even as another generation of DJs and hip-hop producers discovered the untold riches contained in his back catalog. He remains spry, fit and energetic at age 80 and his new collaboration with Jazz Is Dead’s Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad is the glorious proof. This is what Gary Bartz brings to this Jazz Is Dead collaboration, and as can be expected, his questing spirit fits the Jazz Is Dead style like a glove and has produced an album that’s a cutting-edge addition to his immense canon as he effortlessly interfaces with the next generation.

1. Spiritual Ideation
2. Visions of Love
3. Black and Brown
4. Blue Jungles
5. Day By Day
6. Distant Mode
7. The Message
8. Soulsea

John Patitucci / Vinnie Colaiuta / Bill Cunliffe - TRIO (2021 Le Coq Records)

Three veteran jazz virtuosos join forces for the first time as pianist Bill Cunliffe, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta for a high-spirited, vigorously swinging standards session titled, simply, Trio – after all, with three names like those on the marquee, no further embellishment is needed.

Trio, due out February 19, 2021 via Le Coq Records, came together spontaneously, making the exhilarating chemistry and dynamic interplay all the more remarkable. Cunliffe has become something of a house arranger and musical director for many of the newly-launched imprint’s projects, and Patitucci and Colaiuta have quickly become part of the Le Coq family. It was at label founder/producer Piero Pata’s urging that the trio let loose in Hollywood’s storied Capitol Studios without a script.

“Piero surprised us as we were working on some other projects with him,” Patitucci recalls. “He had the idea for us to do this trio record. It was very impromptu, like in the Blue Note record era, where you basically do a record in a day. We had a lot of fun and it was really relaxed.”

“I was like a kid in a candy store,” gushes Cunliffe. “It was pretty challenging because it just three guys in a room. But it was a lot of fun, because these are two master musicians whose work I’ve loved for years.”

A GRAMMY® Award-winning arranger, Cunliffe typically embarks on a project with far more preparation. Since beginning his career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band, Cunliffe has worked with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and James Moody, while establishing himself as a renowned solo artist and bandleader with more than a dozen albums under his name. All of which made this recording a daunting but ultimately thrilling experience – in the making as much as in the listening.

“I like jazz music that has shape,” Cunliffe explains, “that has a beginning, middle and end, and drama. Usually I craft those elements in my arrangements. John and Vinnie are able to create those qualities on the spot.”

Patitucci may be best known for his long and meaningful associations with Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter, but he’s worked with a who’s who of artists in and outside of jazz. With Corea he came to prominence as a member of the pianist’s Akoustic and Elektric Bands; for the last two decades he’s been a member of the Wayne Shorter Quartet alongside pianist Danilo Pérez and drummer Brian Blade, perhaps the most revered small band in jazz today. But he’s also played throughout the world with Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker, McCoy Tyner, Nancy Wilson, Sting, Aaron Neville, Natalie Cole, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Astrud and Joao Gilberto, and many more.

Colaiuta has also bridged the worlds of jazz and pop throughout his career. He rose to fame playing with Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell and Sting, while touring with jazz greats from Herbie Hancock to Chick Corea. He’s also a prolific first-call studio drummer whose work graces recordings by Leonard Cohen, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Billy Joel and countless others.

Patitucci and Colaiuta are no strangers to one another, of course. Colaiuta is one of three drummers on the bassist’s self-titled debut album on GRP from 1987; they’ve crossed paths scores of times over the intervening decades, including as a version of Chick Corea’s Akoustic Band that recorded Live From the Blue Note Tokyo in 1996. Cunliffe has worked with both of them at various times as well, but Trio marks the first time they’ve been able to interact as a trio.

“Both John and Vinnie have spent a lot time in different aspects of the pop world,” Cunliffe says. “But they both grew up in jazz like I did. They’re both stone cold jazz guys.”

“Working with Bill Cunliffe,” Colaiuta says, “you can always expect – at the very least –amazing skill and professionalism, some deep swinging, and a big bucket of fun!”

The tone for the session is set with the trio’s sprightly take on George Shearing’s “Conception.” Introduced by a brisk solo shot by Colaiuta, the tune sparks, nimble, graceful solos from all three members, all clearly in upbeat spirits. It’s followed by a swooning version of David Raksin’s classic theme from “Laura,” a more winsomely romantic interpretation than the noir-tinged usual.

They then delve into the repertoire of Patitucci’s longtime bosses for a steely plunge into Wayne Shorter’s “Anna Maria” and a graceful rendition of Chick Corea’s “The One Step,” on which the bassist speaks with eloquent lyricism. Colaiuta’s rifle-crack rhythm sets the pace for a blistering run through the Miles Davis favorite “7 Steps To Heaven,” while the drummer’s lush, whispering brushwork conjures a cloud-soft foundation for Cunliffe to ruminate nostalgically on the classic ballad “Good Morning Heartache.”

The camaraderie that the three locked into so quickly and (seemingly) easily is playfully evident on their loose, celebratory spin on the well-worn standard “My Shining Hour,” while their taut link-up braces a slyly grooving rethink of Thelonious Monk’s “We See.” The album concludes on a wistful note, with a tender but lively “Just In Time.”

The mix of standards and songs familiar to the trio’s members was not only a practical consideration given the impromptu nature of the session, Cunliffe explains; it was key to capturing such brilliantly conversational playing. “Except for ‘The One Step,’ we did all of the tunes from memory, without using any music at all. That means we were able to look at each other, hear each other, challenge each other and react to each other in the moment. It felt very organic and was so much fun. Vinnie and John really lifted me and made me play better than I ever could.

1. Conception 05:25
2. Laura 03:30
3. Ana Maria 05:18
4. The One Step 05:53
5. 7 Steps to Heaven 04:45
6. Good Morning Heartache 05:28
7. My Shining Hour 05:27
8. We See 04:16
9. Just In Time 08:19

John Patitucci on Bass
Vinnie Colaiuta on Drums
Bill Cunliffe on Piano

Dennis González Ataraxia Trio+2 - Nights Enter (March 20, 2021 Ayler Records)

The music on Ataraxia Trio's second offering "Nights Enter" (after their first "Ts’íibil Cháaltun" from 2016) is unlike anything else in Dennis González’ substantial discography. The confluence of organic and electronic elements is seamless, and the swirling blend of textures has a dreamlike quality. Derek Rogers’ shimmering electronic beds contrast with the earthiness of Jagath Lakpriya’s percussion and the muscularity of Drew Phelps' deep song. Jess Garland’s harp adds dazzling points of light, and Dennis proves himself once again to be a master of melody – a trait he shares with the greatest jazz musicians. On "Nights Enter", Ataraxia and friends provide a healing balm for troubled times.
(from Ken Shimamoto's liner notes)

1. Rain Storm
2. The Yendi
3. Cromlech
4. Drift
5. Sita
6. Göbelki Tepe
7. The Loop
8. Approaching Dawn
9. Nights Enter

Dennis González - Treated C trumpet, percussion, conch shell
Drew Phelps - Electric & acoustic bass
Jagath Lakpriya - Tabla & djembe

Derek Rogers - Moog
Jess Garland - Harp

Baptiste Boiron - Lá (2021 Ayler Records)

It is during a residency from February to April 2020 at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec, in Brittany, that saxophonist and composer Baptiste Boiron composed and created the repertoire of the trio “Là”.

As a saxophonist, Baptiste Boiron has been navigating between jazz and contemporary music that he studied with Jean-Yves Bosseur. He has performed with many improvisers as much as he has interpreted the scores of Jean-Sébastien Bach, Claude Debussy, Edgard Varèse, Georges Aperghis and many others ...

From the first track, our ears are caught by the superposition of ostinatos and proposals, as much as by the polyphonic abundance and the multiplication of modes of play, conventional or alternative. This diversity is only matched by the multiplicity of writing processes emanating from an artist whose pen, like saxophones, testifies to a long experience in the classical and contemporary field. These processes are relayed here by his two fellow musicians who, in addition to the spaces left to their own initiatives as improvisers, have contributed to the completion of these scores in which the boundary between the premeditated and the ‘impromptu’ blurs.

The repertoire – all originals, except for three titles – is dedicated to various artists (musicians or not, "who helped me build myself" says the composer) whose names are only delivered to our perspicacity in the form of anagrams. They say something more about this music where the narrative qualities and emotion show through beautiful instrumental and compositional techniques.

1. MAlin né délivré 04:22
2. Là 05:54
3. J’étais cet homme 03:14
4. trace de Fard Gris 06:11
5. Fleurette Africaine 04:21
6. nus, MonoliThe ok 05:06
7. B- Choir nu, l’envol 07:45
8. hAt noyant Bronx 07:48
9. avec StyLe 06:35
10. Bander brutaL 05:16
11. Prayer 03:30
12. Dur trac Mec 14:54
13. Le sourire à travers les larmes 06:39
14. Lonnie’s Lament 07:18

Baptiste Boiron - Soprano, alto & tenor saxophones
Bruno Chevillon - Double bass
Frédéric Gastard - Bass saxophone

All music composed and arranged by Baptiste Boiron
at Centre d’Art de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, France, except
#5 by Duke Ellington, #11 by Keith Jarrett & #14 by John Coltrane
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Fred Woff
Cover photo by Baptiste Boiron

Nicolas Souchal / Michael Nick / Daunik Lazro / Jean-Luc Cappozzo - Neigen (2021 Ayler Records)

« neigen », from the German verb: to tend towards.

Improvisers aspire to the unpredictable, in a relationship of mutual trust. Each one, braced in the moment, is inhabited by the memory of countless music played, heard, dreamed of. Determined by instrumental practice, acquired experience, and by instinct and thought of one’s own.

They strive for those suspended moments where they surrender to this magic that runs through them, of which they become receivers, conducting bodies. They cultivate an appetite for these intense plateaus where one experiences, sometimes fleetingly, an intuitive connection between musicians linked by a telepathic thread.

1. Neigen 04:05
2. Connexe 03:35
3. Point d'assemblage 08:05
4. Narcisse Watered 03:18
5. Apnée D'Aphné 09:29
6. Super Spell 03:49
7. Fenêtre de périodes impaires 07:42
8. Terra motu 04:15
9. L'attracteur étrange 05:13

Nicolas Souchal, trumpet, flugelhorn
Michael Nick, acoustic violin, electro-acoustic octave violin
Daunik Lazro, tenor & baritone saxophones
Jean-Luc Cappozzo, trumpet, flugelhorn, objects

Harry Mitchell - Symmetry (April 5, 2021)

1. Run
2. Peca Por Peca
3. Symmetry
4. Doing The Rounds
5. Donny
6. Nova
7. Nimor
8. Chug
9. Uber Fugue
10. Reprieve
11. Pie Cowboy

Saxophone - Jamie Oehlers
Guitar - Jeremy Thomson
Bass - Zac Grafton
Drums - Ben Vanderwal

All compositions by Harry Mitchell

Recorded by Kieran Kenderessy Jan 30/31 2021
Mixed and Mastered by David Darlington

Miller Wrenn - Because Change is the Law (March 2021)

This past year I've been drawn to a much less formal mode of music-making, certainly out of necessity, which offered me an opportunity to focus on solo playing in a way I hadn't before.

The process of getting to this music was long. I did my best to let it unfold organically, gently, and I hear that energy reflected in the music. This album, my first of solo pieces, presents sounds that are often small, struggling, hiding behind each other, and/or competing for resonance. It values each sound for what it is and for as long as it needs to be heard.

1. Seeks Knowledge and Doing 04:08
2. Kahguyaht 05:19
3. Speak of the rich years when rainfall was plentiful 02:14
4. Burned at the Bottom 03:51
5. Little By 06:53
6. Muster 02:32

Dedicated to Milford Graves.

Solo contrabass

Recorded January-February 2021 in Los Angeles, Ca.