Friday, March 19, 2021

New Life - Visions Of The Third Eye (March 19, 2021 Early Future Records)

Early Future Records is proud to present the official reissue of the iconic 1979 spiritual jazz classic Visions Of The Third Eye, newly remastered for limited vinyl release and digital download.

Including a 20 page zine featuring an in-depth testimonial and interview with Brandon Ross, and an essay by Andy Votel, as well as archival photos, scores and reviews.


Steve Reid: drums
Brandon Ross: guitar
David Wertman: bass

2021 Early Future Records
Original release 1979 Mustevic Sound Inc.

Project co-ordination: Brandon Ross and Lynne Meryl
Mastered from the vinyl by Michael Fossenkemper
at Turtle Tone Studio, NYC

Bending Times – Songs of Faith / Glaubenslieder (April 9, 2021 Mons Records)

Couldn’t you choose a better time to produce a CD? Did it have to be in the middle of a pandemic? In answer: There can hardly be a more fitting time for the album “SONGS OF FAITH – Glaubenslieder”, Bending Times’ presentation of arrangements and compositions based on chorales which, for centuries, have given solace and encouragement to countless people throughout every imaginable crisis. Lines like “He will find paths your feet can follow” or “who freely helps us in this time of need that has befallen us” have a special echo in these insecure times. Bending Times responds to the chorales with inspired musicianship. The listener discerns the rich experience this trio has gained playing together, along with their special affinity for these musical treasures.

Christian Grosch (piano), Toralf Schrader (bass) and Enno Lange (drums) founded Bending Times in Dresden, Germany, in 2010, as graduates of the Carl Maria von Weber Conservatory in that city. Their debut album “MAGDALA” with compositions by Christian Grosch was released in 2012 on their own label ( Shortly thereafter, with their programme “Songs and Chorales”, they devoted themselves to traditional chorales from the 14th to the 17th centuries, especially those of the renowned hymn writer Paul Gerhardt. In 2016 Christian Grosch composed a jazz version of Mozart’s Requiem for Bending Times and choir, giving a debut performance on World Refugee Day in Prenzlau in the same year, dedicated to the victims of war and expulsion. In the following year, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, the trio presented its programme LUTHER=JAZZ with music to texts and songs by Martin Luther.

Over the years the three musicians have continually deepened their relationship to chorales, branching out into an ever-richer variety of musical styles while staying true to their distinct trio sound. Pianist and composer Christian Grosch’s loving treatment of the old melodies gives rise to music filled with lively energy, spiritual depth and musical humour.

This sensitivity for choral music was all but laid in Grosch’s cradle. His father Hartmut Grosch served enthusiastically as a church musician. His son Christian, along with his music lessons, took part in every musical group in his congregation, playing a variety of instruments. Preceding his study of jazz piano, he completed his studies of church music in Halle/Saale (Germany) and Göteborg (Sweden), majoring in organ, piano and conducting. He regards the unique opportunity to combine his musical roots with his passion for jazz in recording “SONGS OF FAITH” as a “great gift”.

Christian Grosch on piano, Toralf Schrader on double bass and Enno Lange on drums form a congenial trio, exchanging musical ideas and inspiring each other to produce intricate grooves and glowing melodies. Together, they create a vast universe of free-breathing improvisation, sometimes brightly sparkling, sometimes deathly dark. The 16 musical monuments, as the chorales on the double CD can be fittingly named, capture and amaze the listener’s attention. As a companion of the instruments, Christian Grosch’s voice suddenly emerges, first in the style of the Renaissance, then in singer-songwriter attitude and finally in the tender, breathy tones of a jazz whisper. With the last track of the album, Bending Times completely spans the bridge to the present. The text of the old chorale by Adam Krieger and Johann F. Herzog bursts forth in a new melody by Christian Grosch. Much more could be said about this distinctive album, but to close with a beautiful biblical saying: “Those with ears to hear, let them hear!”
CHRISTIAN GROSCH - piano, vocals
TORALF SCHRADER - double bass
ENNO LANGE - drums

Mareille Merck Larus - Fadenschlag (March 2021 Mons Records)

Mareille Merck was born in 1996 in Stralsund (D) and lives in Zurich, Switzerland. She studied jazz guitar in Weimar (D), Lucerne (CH) and Zurich (CH) with Prof. Frank Möbus, Kalle Kalima, Lionel Loueke, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Roberto Bossard and others. Mareille is an acitve member of the swiss jazz scene – she is leader and composer of the band “Mareille Merck – LARUS” and also plays live on stage with various well known musicians. She shared the stage with famous musicians like John McLaughlin, Anne Paceo and Michael League, Bill Lawrence and Justin Stanton from Snarky Puppy.

Mareille Merck (guitar & composition), Florian Bolliger (double bass) and Janic Haller (drums) – three young musicians which are starting a journey together. Their baggage? Courage, adventurousness and risk appetite.

Their companions? Eventful compositions and lively improvisations. They combine complex harmonic and rhythmic structures with lyrical melodies and catchy musical motives.

With there way of playing together and being focused on dynamics the three musicians create atmosphere and space. Sometimes you feel hugged by warm sounds, nearly weightless, and then you find yourself in the middle of a hurricane where you don’t know what is up or down and the feeling of speed roars in your ears.

When you stagg back into silence the whispered dialogues of the instruments paint pictures of a magic world. Like „Larus“, the herring gull, flies above different landscapes, the three musicians take us with her music to a flight over crowded beaches, lonely islands, wide fields and rocky coasts.
Mareille Merck – guitar + composer
Florian Bolliger – double bass
Janic Haller – drums

Yelena Eckemoff - Adventures of the Wildflower (March 2021)

Pianist-composer Yelena Eckemoff will release her most elaborate and ambitious musical work yet with ‘Adventures of the Wildflower’, on 19 March on the label L&H Productions. As its title suggests, the double album is the story of a life, from birth to death (and rebirth), of an anthropomorphic columbine flower. Its story is told through the inspired work of Eckemoff and a Finnish ensemble that includes saxophonist Jukka Perko, multi-instrumentalist Jarmo Saari, vibraphonist Panu Savolainen, bassist Antti Lötjönen, and drummer-percussionist Olavi Louhivuori.

Yelena Eckemoff was born in Moscow. In her twenties, she found herself drawn to jazz—at a time when the music, or at least recordings of it, were a rare commodity in the then-Soviet Union. Yet an appearance by Dave Brubeck behind the Iron Curtain reinforced her newfound love of the music and shaped her creative path thenceforth.

That path turned out to run through the United States, where Eckemoff immigrated in 1991 and settled in North Carolina. Now ensconced in the country that gave birth to jazz, she went in search of players who could do justice to her intricate ideas.

The search was a long and sometimes frustrating one, but it paid off when she was able to work with the likes of bassist Mads Vinding and drummer Peter Erskine on her 2010 album Cold Sun. Later collaborators have included projects with Mark Turner, Joe Locke, Ralph Alessi, Billy Hart, Chris Potter, Adam Rogers, Joey Baron, Arild Andersen, and Jon Christensen, the great Norwegian drummer whose final recording was on Eckemoff’s 2020 release Nocturnal Animals.

Having previously worked with Savolainen, Lötjönen and Louhivuori on her 2017 album, Blooming Tall Phlox (inspired by nature’s smells), she was eager to return to Helsinki to record with them again. That she did in summer of 2019 (before the onset of the pandemic), with the addition of two highly regarded Finns: guitarist Saari and saxophonist Jukka Perko, who took a relay baton from trumpeter Verneri Pohjola.

Long a conceptualist, Eckemoff has previously tended to craft albums of thematically linked but discrete pieces. Adventures of the Wildflower, however, functions as a single narrative. The flower—aptly named Columbine—undertakes a vivid journey, growing from baby to mature plant as she observes from her garden spot the whirl of nature and of life, plant and animal, around her. She even learns to communicate with her garden mates, a real phenomenon that inspired Eckemoff to create the album when she read about it in a magazine.
“I was intrigued to learn that plants communicate with each other through the air, by releasing odorous chemicals, and through the soil, by secreting soluble chemicals,” she says. “Such communal life sparked my imagination. I started to envision how a single plant would feel being part of such an interconnected community and how it would react to its neighbors who lived next to it. Soon I had a kernel of an idea about a wildflower.”

Eckemoff supplements her original music with an 18-part narrative poem (one part for each composition) that tells Columbine’s story. While nuanced, the narrative is built on an earnest simplicity, like a children’s story. The music, on the other hand, is much more complex. The multiple levels of melody in “Home by the Fence” or “Children Playing with Seed Pods” are sumptuous feasts for both the ear and the intellect, while pieces like “Chickens,” “Butterflies,” and “Another Winter” are filled with experimental, even psychedelic, textures.

Credit for these soundscapes must go as well to the musicians who work with Eckemoff. The sounds Saari conjures from his guitars, theremin, and glass harp lend the music a unique palette, augmented by the bold, unconventional playing of Perko, Savolainen, Lötjönen, and Louhivuori. “They were fearless in approaching my extensive lead sheets,” the pianist affirms. In Adventures of the Wildflower that fearlessness has, like Columbine, blossomed into a splendid and very alive specimen of its own.

With Adventures of the Wildflower, Eckemoff wanted to make an offering of positivity to her adopted country. “I was moved to make this record as my answer to our turbulent times,” she says. “I believe that nothing is more important than for all earthly beings to find a way to live together peacefully, next to each other in the same community. Characters of my story may have disagreements with each other, but in the end, they always find a way to coexist together on the same plot of land.”

Disc 1
1. "In The Ground"
2. "Germination"
3. "Weeding The Garden"
4. "Dos Chasing A Mouse"
5. "Rain"
6. "Hoome By The Fence"
7. "Chickens"
8. "Drought"
9. "Thundershower"

Disc 2
1. "Winter Slamber"
2. "Waking Up In The Spring"
3. "Buds & Flowers"
4. "Butterflies"
5. "Hummingbirds"
6. "Children Playing With Seed Pods"
7. "Dying"
8. "Another Winter"
9. "Baby Columbines"

Yelena Eckemoff - piano and composition
Jarmo Saari - guitars, theremin, glass harp
Jukka Perko - saxophones
Panu Savolainen - vibraphone
Antti Lotjonen - double bass
Olavi Louhivuori - drums and percussion

Lorne Lofsky - This Song Is New (April 2, 2021 Modica Music)

Legendary Canadian Guitarist Lorne Lofsky Announces This Song Is New, New Album Due out April 2, 2021 on Modica Music

The former Oscar Peterson Quartet member presents his first studio album in nearly 25 years

Modica Music is proud to announce the April 2, 2021 release of This Song Is New, a rousing new recording from Canadian jazz guitarist Lorne Lofsky. A master guitarist known for his pianistic voicings and virtuosic skill, Lofsky is considered one of Canada’s great musical treasures. This Song Is New is his first recording as a leader in over two decades, and signals an exciting new page in Lofsky’s illustrious career. Joining Lofsky is his tight-knit quartet made up of his longtime musical associates: Kirk MacDonald on saxophone (with whom Lofsky has played extensively since the early 1980’s), bassist Kieran Overs, and drummer Barry Romberg. 

Born, raised and based in Toronto, Lofsky’s career began when Oscar Peterson offered to produce his first record, It Could Happen To You (Pablo Records), in 1980. During the years that followed, Lofsky worked extensively in the Toronto area, and toured with the likes of renowned saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, and fellow guitarist Ed Bickert. Bickert and Lofsky’s fruitful collaboration ran from 1983 through 1991 and produced two widely-acclaimed recordings including the well-known 1990 Concord release This Is New. In the mid-1990’s, Lofsky gained further recognition as a member of the Oscar Peterson Quartet. From 1994-1996, Lofsky toured with Peterson’s group at venues all over the world from Carnegie Hall to the Montreal Jazz Festival, and appeared on three recordings. Lofsky was Chet Baker’s “go to” Canadian guitarist – heavily featured on the legendary Jazz Trumpeter’s 2000 release “Live at the Renaissance II”. His other notable collaborations include performances with Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Benny Carter, Joey DeFrancesco, Dave Holland, Rosemary Clooney and Clark Terry, among others.

While Lofsky has built a widely-respected reputation as a world-class player, he has also become known as a prominent and sought-after educator. Currently, he teaches at York University and Humber College in Toronto, has an extensive private teaching practice, and he has guest lectured at a plethora of top-notch institutions such as St. FX University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and McGill University in Montreal, among others. 

With a resume like Lofsky’s, it may seem as though he has already accomplished all he set out to do, and it would be perfectly reasonable for him to rest on his laurels. That is, however, not the case, as the musician is on an unending journey of discovery and is consistently working to refine and evolve his sound. “There’s always a new opportunity to discover something,” Lofsky says. “I’m constantly trying to add more information to my vocabulary, to my skillset, knowing that when it’s time to play, I can tap into that and do it in a way where it’s completely unconscious.” As revered journalist James Hale outlines in the album liner notes, Lofsky eschews outboard effects and pedals, preferring to focus on what he can pull from the strings with his own technique.
While Lofsky is never far away from his guitar, composing is something more sporadic, which explains why it has been nearly 25 years since his last recorded work as a leader. “I’ve been concentrating on playing for most of my life,” says Lofsky. “But every once in a while, I kind of go on this little ‘mini binge’ and I feel inspired to write something.” That ‘something’ comes to life on This Song Is New, making Lofsky’s long-awaited return all the more triumphant. 

The resulting work is a seven track collection featuring five new originals and stellar arrangements of Miles Davis and Victor Feldman’s “Seven Steps to Heaven” and Benny Golson’s “Stable Mates”, expertly performed by this outstanding quartet.  The bond between this foursome is so tight and intuitive, that the majority of the tracks on This Song Is New were cut in a single take. “We’ve all played together in different sorts of incarnations for a long, long time. There’s a lot of chemistry, a lot of trust. When we play, we don’t really have to talk. It’s like putting on four very well-worn baseball gloves; it’s just, go.” Originally meant to be a casual readthrough at Roberto Occhipinti’s Modica Music Studio in Toronto, Lofsky had no intention of releasing the recording commercially until he heard the exceptional results. 

Looking at the material as a whole, the consistent thread throughout is Lofsky’s quest to approach music in new ways, particularly when it comes to revisiting tunes like “Seven Steps” or “Stable Mates”—whether it’s in the time signature or the harmony. “It’s not about emulating what I’ve heard; it’s about tapping into something the music suggests. I try to stay open to different things that might come to mind and open to new possibilities in my playing.” On a song-by-song basis, his approach yields consistently fascinating results, with his open-eared philosophy inspiring his collaborators to dig deeply into their own imaginations.

Looking over the entirety of this ‘get-together with friends,’ that wasn’t originally intended for public consumption, Lofsky is characteristically torn between acknowledging the achievement, yet seeing it as one more step on a journey. “It’s a jazz record. This is music that’s instinctive. It’s not a pop record, where the producer spends six months trying to get the right reverb on the snare drum, and the bassist records his parts separately. I’ve put the last 46 years of my life, on a daily basis, into this. And I’m not going to stop working on this, until I take my last breath.”

This Song Is New Track by Track Analysis by James Hale

“Seven Steps” has been recorded at least a couple of dozen times since Miles Davis released it as the title song of his 1963 album, and most have stuck to its original swing time. For Lofsky, the composition represents his ongoing challenge to recast standards in different meters, and with Romberg and Overs along for the ride, this loose-feeling take aptly illustrates how an interesting tune with sturdy “bones” can gain new lustre with an unexpected rhythmic approach. 

Lofsky says “The Time Being” refers to where his writing is today. “I’m writing tunes now that aren’t necessarily associated with how I’m typically looked upon: a straight-ahead jazz guitar player. I’m writing because I want to challenge myself. Any recording is kind of a snapshot of where you’re at in your musical/personal life.”

Like the late trumpeter Kenny Wheeler—another Canadian instrumental icon Lofsky worked with—the guitarist loves wordplay in the titles of his compositions. So, while “Live from the Apollo” nods to the legendary Harlem concert hall, it also alludes to astronaut Neil Armstrong’s 1969 leap from the steps of the lunar landing module to the surface of the Moon, and to John Coltrane. “It’s based on Coltrane’s Giant Steps,” with some alternate changes and interplays thrown in, and an alternate melody.”

In his typically off-handed manner, Lofsky says “This Song Is New” is “kind of neat because it changes key partway through, but it doesn’t seem like you’re in a new key.  I was thinking of “The Song Is You,” so people might think it’s based on that, but it’s just the correlation in the title.”

The puns continue with “An Alterior Motif,” named for the altered harmony that abounds in the piece. “There’s a sense of linear and thematic development, and you can really hear the melody unfolding.” The performance has a beautiful tension between Romberg’s drumming, MacDonald’s languid opening solo, and the leader’s short, thoughtful interlude bridging into a more rugged saxophone section.

Lofsky’s use of sly references reaches its zenith on the sprightly “Evans from Lennie,” which not only draws from pianists Bill Evans and Lennie Tristano but reaches out to recently departed saxophonist Lee Konitz as well. “I was just messing with “Pennies From Heaven,” and thinking of Tristano, Konitz, and Warne Marsh because they all wrote really great alternate lines to standard song forms. I studied with Konitz briefly in 1984, just to try to get more insight into melodic development when improvising. I learned that you have to know the melody of a song inside out, be able to juxtapose different parts of the melody, then re-phrase, embellish it, and elaborate on it.” Simple, right?

Finally, Lofsky downplays his Bossa Nova treatment of “Stable Mates,” although it sounds like a radical shift from the straight-up, post-bop takes of the song popularized by Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, and composer Benny Golson himself. “I changed the chords. That’s nothing to write about by any means, but I liked the fact that, as a Bossa, it has a very different vibe. And it kind of summarizes the way I’ve been working at playing things in five or in seven, and feeling like those time signatures are not something I have to work up to anymore. I just instantly start playing it that way.”

1. Seven Steps (Miles Davis, Victor Stanley Feldman) 5:16
2. The Time Being 5:36
3. Live from the Apollo 6:37
4. This Song is New 6:17
5. An Alterior Motif 5:26
6. Evans from Lennie 6:20
7. Stable Mates (Benny Golson) 7:10

Giancarlo Tossani & Big Monitors - Knots and Notes (March 2021 Auand Records)

Halfway between music investigation and sociological experiment, Giancarlo Tossani's new album on Auand Records aims at putting together different generations and have them face the vast repertoire of such a multifaceted free jazz name as double bass player William Parker.

Generated by curiosity and connections (and also disconnections) between human beings belonging to different worlds, “Knots and Notes” showcases the talent of Big Monitors, a quintet led by Tossani and featuring Gabriele Mitelli (pocket trumpet, alto flugelhorn, synths), Tobia “Bobby” Bondesan (alto sax), Michele Bondesan (double bass), Andrea Grillini (drums), and a special appearance by the teenager singer Amanda Noelia Roberts (vocals on two tracks).

«We had this idea – Tossani recalls – when Michele Bondesan suggested some William Parker tunes for a live show we had scheduled. I was not a connoisseur of his vast and varied art, but I was intrigued by that: I belong to the William Parker generation, but Michele is in his twenties. When experiencing that music, what will his young generation listen to and relate to, compared to me and my musical and personal background, which belongs to different decades? This is not just a tribute, even if appropriate. It’s also a reflection on legacy and changes, repetition and difference».

William Parker’s multifaceted and huge talent, expressed through music, poetry and many other art forms, becomes the common thread in this album, embracing distant points in time. «In jazz music – the pianist says – notes are played at the same time, and they are tied together, bonded, much like the different generations connecting their languages. When I pick a musician, it’s always a matter of friendship, similarity, and fellowship. The prep work and the final edits are mine here, but I usually leave some blank space for my fellow musicians to fill when we’re working on it – I’m always surprised by the outcome. Tobia Bondesan has even come up with two themes on some of my outlines.» This is how tracks are tied together too, such as “Hunk Pappa (W. Parker) + Junk Meal”, which highlights puns and assonances of two compositions that can be paired «by affinity and change in direction.»

01 Slipped
02 In Order To Survive
03 Binding
04 Hunk Pappa Blues Junk Meal
05 Dream Flag
06 Sennit
07 Old Tears Fall Down
08 Lashing
09 Autumn Leaves Vermeer
10 Mr Reeve
11 Whipping
12 ONeals Porch
13 Hitch

Tobia Bondesan alto sax
Gabriele Mitelli pocket trumpet, alto flugelhorn, synths
Giancarlo Tossani piano, wurlitzer, virtual synths
Michele Bondesan double bass
Andrea Grillini drums

feat. Amanda Noelia Roberts voice (07, 09), lyrics (09)

Recorded and mixed at Ritmo&Blu Recording Studio,
Pozzolengo (BS) Italy on November 26-27, 2019 by Stefano Castagna
Mastered at New Mastering, Milano Italy on April 30, 2020 by Maurizio Giannotti
Produced by Giancarlo Tossani
Executive producer: Marco Valente

Giovanni Dell'Olivo - Memorie di Atlantide (2021 Alfa Music)

“Memorie di Atlantide” nasce nel 2019 come spettacolo di teatro canzone scritto e interpretato dal cantautore Giovanni Dell’Olivo, accompagnato sul palco dal suo storico gruppo, il Collettivo di Lagunaria, (Alvise Seggi, Stefano Ottogalli, Walter Lucherini, Serena Catullo) e dall’attrice e cantante Arianna Moro, per la regia di Vito Lupo.

La stessa formazione dello spettacolo è presente in questo lavoro in studio di registrazione, nel quale l’autore ha voluto mantenere il più possibile intatta la fragranza del sound dell’esibizione dal vivo.

L’intreccio di prosa e canzoni, di cui rimane traccia anche nel lavoro discografico, conduce lo spettatore a ripercorrere, in chiave metaforica, la storia di Atlantide sommersa, intesa come una distopia sia dell’anima propria dell’autore che dell’anima collettiva di una generazione e dei suoi sogni infranti di giustizia ed uguaglianza sociale, perduti in fondo al mare come a seguito di un naufragio. E di naufraghi, migranti e respingimenti di migranti si parla ancora nella metafora narrativa dell’autore, ove la fine di Atlantide rappresenta la fine dell’idea stessa di società aperta ed inclusiva.

Ma Atlantide è anche la Venezia dell’infanzia di Giovanni Dell’Olivo, luogo che è stato sommerso e dimenticato più che dalle alluvioni dall’egoismo di ciascuno dei suoi abitanti, così come è accaduto ad Atlantide, nel racconto di uno dei tritoni sopravvissuti alla sommersione della città mitologica. In questo disco sono raccolti tredici brani dello spettacolo, registrati fra il 4, il 5 e il 9 luglio 2020 a Noale, nello studio ZVUK di Davide Michieletto e Stefano Gaion. Il brano “La peste è ritornata” ha vinto l’edizione 2019 del Premio letterario internazionale Città di Moncalieri dedicato a Gianmaria Testa.

Memorie di Atlantide, infine, è dedicato alla memoria di due straordinari ”meticci del mare” Bernardo Cinquetti, cantautore parmigiano e caro amico dell’autore, scomparso nel 2019, per il quale è stata scritta la canzone Eterno Villeggiante, e Alberto D’Amico, insuperato aedo della venezianità oggi sommersa, scomparso nell’estate del 2020, cui è dedicata la canzone "La peste è ritornata".

Il disco è dedicato alla memoria di Bernardo Cinquetti, cantautore parmigiano e caro amico dell’autore, scomparso nel 2019.

1. INTRODUZIONE (Catabasi)

Tutti i brani sono composti da Giovanni Dell'Olivo ad eccezione di:

• n. 3 (Il cielo sull'isola è scuro). Il testo della canzone è una rielaborazione dell'Autore ispirata al testo del libretto dell'Opera Acquagranda di Roberto Bianchin.

La musica è di Giovanni Dell'Olivo.

• n. 4 (L'acqua che rivarà). Il testo della canzone è tratto dal libretto dell'opero Acquagranda di Roberto Bianchin, lo musica è di Giovanni Dell'Olivo.

• n. 6 (lo, la mia barca, la laguna e te). Libera traduzione e arrangiamento del brano "Heureux qui comme Ulysse" di Georges Delerue e Henri Colpi, nell'interpretazione di Georges Brassens.

Arrangiamenti del Collettivo di Lagunaria
Edizioni musicali: AlfaMusic Studio (Siae)

Serena Catullo: voce
Giovanni Dell’Olivo: voce, chitarra, bouzouki
Walter Lucherini: fisarmonica
Arianna Moro: voce
Stefano Ottogalli: chitarra
Alvise Seggi: contrabbasso, sansula

Leonardo De Lorenzo - on fiVe (April 23, 2021 Alfa Music)

Il titolo di questo progetto nasce da un gioco di parole modificando il modo di dire Inglese “to be on fire” (cioè essere nel fuoco, essere a “mille” e in grande fermento creativo) cambiando la lettera R con la V e facendolo diventare “on fiVe” letteralmente “sul cinque” perchè il numero cinque in questo lavoro, è di grandissima importanza. Ho preparato il repertorio alla soglia dei miei cinquantacinque anni, la musica è per quintetto e in cinque dei sei brani è sempre presente il   5/4 “puro” o espresso nei suoi multipli suddivisionali. On fiVe! Non poteva essere altrimenti!

Ad accompagnarmi in questa nuova avventura, ci sono amici di vecchia data e qualche piacevole scoperta degli ultimi mesi, come il bravissimo e giovanissimo altosassofonista Ciro Marone, conosciuto per caso durante la festa della musica nel 2018, quando ho diretto un'orchestra formata da allievi del conservatorio di Benevento, dove insegno. Giacinto Piracci alla chitarra ed Ergio Valente al pianoforte e tastiere, si sono occupati delle armonie e il fido e solido Vincenzo Lamagna con il suo contrabbasso ha coadiuvato il sottoscritto nelle tessiture ritmiche.

Un repertorio non facile, ma sempre legato alla melodia, costituito da pezzi di lungo respiro, quasi in forma di “suite” con tanti inaspettati cambi di scena, colori ed atmosfere. Ogni brano racconta una storia, e tutte le storie di questo lavoro sono legate ad un filo rosso che porta l'ascoltatore per mano, avvolgendolo nel suono moderno del gruppo.

Nel giorno 18 Gennaio 2019, poco prima della recrudescenza dei contagi da Covid e del lockdown, siamo riusciti a registrare questo cd con una formula molto particolare attraverso la quale abbiamo portato in studio un pubblico ristretto e selezionato di appassionati di musica e audiofili che hanno avuto così l'opportunità di assistere alla creazione del lavoro discografico, facendone parte integrante! Inoltre, data la presenza del pubblico, le riprese sono state di tipo “diretto” in quanto pubblico e musicisti erano tutti nella stessa sala, rendendo così impossibile qualsiasi tipo di editing. Questo vuol dire che alcuni errori di esecuzione che potevano pregiudicare la registrazione, non potendo essere corretti, ci hanno costretti a procedere ad una nuova registrazione (take). Esattamente come si faceva ai vecchi tempi nei grandi studi di una volta.

Tutto questo ha reso possibile il flusso di un'energia particolare e spero che tutti i fruitori di quest'opera possano percepirla. Leonardo De Lorenzo

1. Hope
2. Perdersi in un Quadro
3. Il Filo Rosso
4. F Supremacy
5. Wild Mind
6. Reflection

All composed and arranged by Leonardo De Lorenzo

Leonardo De Lorenzo drums, *additional keyboards, arrangements
Ciro Marone alto sax
Ciacinto Piracci electric guitar
Ergio Valente piano, fender Rhodes
Vincenzo Lamagna double bass

*warm pad on “F Supremacy” *fender-Rhodes piano and drum vamp on “Reflection”

Giuseppe Di Maio - Beyond (2021 Alfa Projects)

We are the natural extension of the instrument we play, just like the branches of a tree whose roots delve deep into the sky, and not the ground; music flows in these branches symbolising the process of uniting perfection and imperfection, represented by us human beings. This allows us to see and go “BEYOND” all worldly things, enabling us to experience all that is other-worldly and unreachable. Listening to music conveys emotions, awakening in me the will to go “BEYOND” what I am listening to, wanting to recreate such emotions through the notes on the piano.

The aim of “BEYOND” is to represent the creative process of each individual, which enables us to transform emotions into sensations, images, and memories, only by actively listening to music.

This project represents all of me and both my personal and musical evolution. The latter always included listening to all genres, but it began from studying classical music, subsequently enriched by studies of jazz varieties. This allowed me to express my feelings through music, which in this case were stirred up by eight of F. Chopin’s marvellous preludes (op.28 n°1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 20, 21).

These preludes inspired the compositions and improvisations in this record. Each track begins with one of the original preludes – performed either partly or entirely – which then evolves according to the specific melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic characteristics of each work of the Polish composer. Such diverse elements gave life to the emotions engraved in this record through different musical writing and improvisation of the musical language of the 20th century, such as bossa nova, choro, and swing.

A brief explanation of the creative journey I embarked on: what struck me in “ChOpen” (prelude op.28 n°1) was the repetitive rhythmic cell appearing from the first cue, paving the way for the rest of the track.

In “A minor Blues” (prelude op.28 n°2), the harmony of the track inspired a connection to a blues section, returning to the original composition only at the very end. Using a melody mainly characterized by the lydian mode, I developed a fast phrasing of the left hand in “Wind” (prelude op.28 n°3).

In “Saudade de bossa” (prelude op.28 n°4) the minor harmony evoked a development in the style of “How sensitive”, a famous standard by A. C. Jobim.

“Tico tipo no Chopin’’ (prelude op.28 n° 10) is a somewhat similar case, although this time, the relentless pace of Chopin’s work was a major source of inspiration, together with its harmony, as it emerges in the title of the track.

In “Like Chopin” (prelude op.28 n°11), Chopin’s wondrous theme urged me to keep going, as if the music did not end at the bottom of the page, leading me to express my feelings in a style similar to the original.

In “Ballad con moto” (prelude op.28 n°20), both the harmony and the strong, yet somewhat melancholic, character of the prelude, stirred in me a sensation of both tranquillity and turmoil, as it emerges in the theme following its performance.

The last track of this record, “Talking to myself” (prelude op.28 n°21), best represents what I tried to explain in the introduction of this booklet, and for this very reason I will just leave it to music to narrate what words cannot express, thus, enjoy the music! 

1. Preludio op.28 n.1
    ChOpen 4.05

2. Preludio op.28 n.2
    A minor blues

3. Preludio op.28 n.3

4. Preludio op.28 n.4
    Saudade da bossa

5. Preludio op.28 n.10
    Tico Tico no Chopin

6. Preludio op.28 n.11
    Like Chopin

7. Preludio op.28 n.20
    Ballad con moto

8. Preludio op.28 n.21
    Talking to myself

All composed by Giuseppe Di Maio
Publishing: AlfaMusic Studio (Siae)

Aura - Aura (2021)

'Aura' a quartet of 4 female jazz musicians, each an emerging name in Australian Jazz and Improvised Music present their debut recording as an ensemble.

The ensemble - consisting of Trumpeter Audrey Powne, alto saxophonist Flora Carbo, bassist Helen Svoboda and drummer Kyrie Anderson, met serendipitously in 2019 while attending the Banff Centre's renowned Workshop in Jazz and Improvised music directed by masterful improvising musicians and composers Vijay Iyer and Tyshawn Sorey.

Amidst the velocity of the workshop experience and the formations of their friendship and musical relationship the quartet found a window of a few hours to record in the Telus Recording Studio at the Banff Centre studio with acclaimed Engineer Todd Whitlock resulting in their debut, self titled album together “Aura."

Aura pays homage to the great chord-less jazz quartets of Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins, while drawing on contemporary Australian artists like Andrea Keller, The Necks and the Australian Art Orchestra. Different musical voices and improvisatory strengths come to the fore in works by each ensemble member. This harmonious approach in combination with the individual prowess of each artist presents a definite aura of magic from this youthful band.

1. Then They Ran 03:49
2. Contrafact 1 07:08
3. Peaks 04:32
4. Dissociation Daze 06:10
5. Flordrey 02:46
6. Contrafact 2 03:38

Aura are...

Flora Carbo - Alto Saxophone
Audrey Powne - Trumpet
Helen Svoboda - Bass
Kyrie Anderson - Drums

All tracks mixed and mastered by Patrick Arthur

Artwork by the wonderful Chloe Kim

Recorded by Todd Whitlock in the Telus Recording studio at the Banff Centre for the performing arts with special thanks to assistant engineer Andrew Chung.

Ken Stubbs - Reminiscence of a Soul (March 2021)

Ken Stubbs formed his first jazz group – ‘First House’, with fellow ex music biz sufferers, Tube driver and Demon of the double bass, Mick Hutton, the marvellous, number-crunching drum genius, Martin France and the formidable composer and magician-keyboardist, Django Bates.

They where fortunate to record twice for ECM, with the Perfectionist-German-Sound Wizard, Manfred Eicher.

1. Where We Used to Live 07:14
2. Grand Trine 03:24
3. Southwest Loner 06:27
4. Believe, Beleft, Below 07:10
5. For Ron Stubbs 02:39
6. The Goldhearted Miner 06:32
7. Waltz for the Lonely Ones 06:53
8. Reminiscence of a Soul 07:44
9. Cantilena 06:39
10. Definition of a Dog 08:06

Ken Stubbs – Alto Saxophone
Jason Rebello – Piano/Rhodes
James Muller – Guitar
Brett Hirst – Bass
Simon Barker – Drums
Gerard Presencer – Flugelhorn