Saturday, March 27, 2021

Register for Jazz Congress 2021

Jazz at Lincoln Center and JazzTimes are excited to announce that the fourth annual Jazz Congress will take place virtually on May 17-20, 2021. And this year, the conference for artists, media, and industry leaders in the global jazz community is free!

Additionally, check out Season 3 of the Jazz Congress Podcast, available on all platforms.

Tune In for the 2021 Virtual Gala

Tune In for the 2021 Virtual Gala

Innovation + Soul
2021 Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala
Premieres Apr 14 at 7:30pm ET
On-Demand Apr 15–25
Performance Only Pass: $30
Performance Pass Plus: $35 (includes full recording)

Jazz at Lincoln Center is proud to announce the 2021 gala, Innovation + Soul, hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater and honoring Jon Batiste and Charles Phillips. Enjoy special appearances by President Bill Clinton, dancer Lil Buck, conguero/vocalist Pedrito Martinez, vocalist Veronica Swift, trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Together they will perform a collection of innovative and soulful arrangements in celebration of the contemporary sounds that have defined jazz as we know it. 

By tuning into our gala, you can help support and sustain Jazz at Lincoln Center’s ability to fulfill and further our mission. The hundreds of artists that perform in Rose Theater, The Appel Room, and Dizzy's Club and our dedicated JALC staff humbly thank you for your consideration and your generosity during this trying time for all.

Become a Jazz Aficionado with Swing University

Swing University - Winter Virtual Term
Now—Apr 10
Price: $10 for individual classes
All-access package available

Swing University offers engaging virtual education for jazz fans, enthusiasts, and students of all backgrounds and levels. Explore jazz history, discuss new and classic tunes, and discover listening methods that will improve your concert experiences. Classes are taught by industry experts like Seton Hawkins as well as members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra including Kenny Rampton, Marcus Printup, Chris Crenshaw, Sherman Irby, and more.

Purchase individual class sessions for $10 each or join us for the full term by registering for the All-Access Package (a total savings of over 60%). 

*Please note that all Swing University classes will be conducted live and are not archived for future viewing.

WeBop: WeBop Spring Term Spots Are Filling Up!

WeBop Spring Term - Exploring Jazz Styles
Live Virtual Classes
Apr 6 - May 29
Price: $260 (special pricing available for siblings)
Single classes: $40

WeBop returns for a virtual spring term! This award-winning, early-childhood jazz education program is perfect for children ages eight months to seven years. Nurture your child’s natural ability to improvise, encourage them to explore creativity, and enjoy bonding time during these live, interactive classes. 

During the spring term, you and your child will discover the many styles of jazz by moving to the fast notes of bebop, playing hot Latin jazz rhythms, dancing in a New Orleans second line parade, and much more. Spring term on-sale begins tomorrow!

Womens History Month: Betty Carter Performs The Music Never Stops

This week marks the 29th anniversary of legendary vocalist Betty Carter's The Music Never Stops performance. Joined by three trios, a big band, and a string section, Carter shone as she transitioned seamlessly and effortlessly between burning bebop and deeply felt ballads.
Listen to Blue Engine's release of this archival recording, available on our web store and all digital platforms.

Tobias Meinhart - The Painter (April 30, 2021 Sunnyside Records)

The creation of music shares much in common with creation in the visual arts. Both musicians and visual artists speak of and deal in colors, hues and textures in their compositional processes. Saxophonist/composer Tobias Meinhart has developed near synesthetic visualizations as he performs and hears music. His new recording, The Painter, presents his recent work of diverse, brilliant pieces meant to brighten the world’s canvas.

The German born Meinhart has engrained himself in the New York City jazz scene over the past decade. His beautiful tone and catholic tastes have allowed the saxophonist to fit into an abundance of musical settings. Meinhart’s vision and thoughtful composing have attracted top-flight collaborators since his professional beginnings.

The past year has provided a time of introspection and development for many. Meinhart is no exception. He found himself especially drawn to his friend, Igor Sokol, a painter. The two spoke of art and music, listened and appreciated and collected inspiration from the events that were affecting the world. Meinhart was drawn to the idea of composing and improvising as a sort of aural painting and he began to see colors and pictures when he reached a certain zone while playing.

With much to think about in craft and inspiration, Meinhart began to compose pieces that would be recorded on The Painter. The inspiration for the pieces drew from a number of sources: from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement to meteors and Michael Jordan, all presenting hopeful messages of healing and progress.

The ensemble that Meinhart assembled to record these new pieces consists of a number of the saxophonist’s favored collaborators, including pianist Eden Ladin, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Obed Calvaire. Since his recent release and collaboration with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Berlin People (Sunnyside 2018), Meinhart has been drawn to the sound of guitar, thus the addition of his neighbor and friend, Charles Altura. These musicians, in this and similar configurations, have been the saxophonist’s regular associates on stages like the 55 Bar and Birdland in New York City over the past two years.
The frontline is completed by Meinhart’s longtime mentor and friend, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen. The two first met in Austria in 2003 at a jazz workshop, Jensen allowing the young saxophonist an opportunity to sit in with her band. They remained in contact in the subsequent years, performing together when opportunities presented themselves.

The recording begins with the offbeat “White Bear,” a rhythmically complex tune in 9/8 time that is named for Meinhart’s favorite dumpling house in Flushing, Queens, his last meal before the pandemic shut down New York City and, hopefully, his first stop once things return to a semblance of normalcy. A meditation practitioner, Meinhart uses the name of a famous koan, “Oak Tree,” for this thoughtful, slow piece that blends sax and trumpet in close harmony. The fervent “Movement” was written in May inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests and pushes a hopeful, forward thinking harmony akin to continuous circular motion that composer Kenny Wheeler was the master of.

A poignant bass solo by Matt Penman utilizes overtones from Meinhart’s written intro to the title track, the piece itself blooms insistently with piano and saxophonist’s haunting multiphonics and settles into a spare ballad. The bright “Bird Song” was written for Jensen and utilizes the song of the chickadee in a sort of call and response between trumpet and alto flute, Meinhart switches to tenor to strengthen the duet over the winding 5/4 pulse. Bruno Martino’s “Estate” is performed in a spare duet with pianist Ladin, the piece concluding into mysterious electric depths.

The waltzing “Neowise” takes its name from Earth’s recent alien encounter with a meteor of the same name, Meinhart’s tenor playing soaring into the outer atmosphere. Always a basketball lover, Meinhart was struck by ESPN’s recent Michael Jordan documentary. His “Last Dance” harnesses the spiritual essence of Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet and Archie Shepp’s ‘70s work for Impulse! The recording concludes with Meinhart’s most political state. “Dreamers” is a hope filled hymn for all of humanity, the saxophonist’s message being so important that he decided to express it in his own words and natural voice.

Sometimes an artist’s job is to mirror the world in his or her work. Sometimes it is their job to bring beauty and hope into the world. Tobias Meinhart takes a wide brush to the latter task on his fantastic new recording, The Painter.

1. White Bear
2. Oak Tree
3. Movement
4. The Painter (Intro)
5. The Painter
6. Bird Song
7. Estate
8. Neowise
9. The Last Dance
10. Dreamers

Tobias Meinhart - tenor & soprano saxophone, alto flute, voice
Ingrid Jensen - trumpet (2, 6)
Charles Altura - guitar (1, 10)
Eden Ladin - piano, Rhodes, ARP String Ensemble
Matt Penman - bass
Obed Calvaire - drums

Jennifer Wharton's Bonegasm - Not a Novelty (April 23, 2021 Sunnyside Records)

Bass trombonist Jennifer Wharton might be considered by many as a unicorn in the world of music. In decades from the not-too-distant past, it was a rarity to even have a woman in prominent jazz bands and orchestras, but to have a bass trombone-slinging woman as leader was thought extraordinary. In efforts to highlight her perceived position as a rara avis, Wharton took it upon herself to not only raise the profile of women instrumentalists but also that of her chosen horn (and its smaller cousins).

In 2019, Wharton presented her trombone-powered ensemble, Bonegasm, via its self-titled debut album (Sunnyside SSC-1529). Wharton enlisted fellow trombonists John Fedchock, Nate Mayland and Alan Ferber, along with the rhythm section of pianist Michael Eckroth, bassist Evan Gregor and drummer Don Peretz. The music performed included originals and arrangements the leader commissioned from prominent composers she knew as well as members of the ensemble.

The overwhelming response to Bonegasm’s music was astounding, cementing Wharton’s assertion that this assemblage was no flash in the pan but an important exponent of shaping the trombone’s primacy in jazz music. Bonegasm’s new recording, Not a Novelty, wears its intentions on its sleeve, or perhaps more appropriately, tattooed on its arm.

Wharton has spent a good deal of time developing her jazz chops in the period since the initial release. Trying to break the tradition of the bass trombone’s relegation to supportive roles in most ensembles, Wharton began a solid study of jazz and improvisation. She also demanded that the pieces commissioned for Bonegasm feature the bigger horn in some fashion; she was impressed by what composers and arrangers could do when they used their imaginations.

Not a Novelty sprang from the pandemic of COVID-19 in the States, essentially as a way to keep Wharton engaged in a project with a purpose. A beneficial grant from the New York City Women’s Fund ensured that the commissions and recording could take place without any hitches outside of the physical limitations of social distancing for rehearsals and recording.
Once the pieces were received, there was a remote rehearsal utilizing MIDI recordings and click tracks before two socially distanced outdoor performances with the band. The entire ensemble, apart from one performer who was overdubbed later, met at Big Orange Sheep Recording Studio in Brooklyn in late September 2020 for a recording session with increased physical isolation among all involved.

The compositions for this project were commissioned from a variety of sources; all composers Wharton had worked with and felt a mutual level of musical simpatico that would befit her ensemble. There was an obvious evolution in the music, as many of the composers contributed especially challenging pieces, testing the band’s skills. Bonegasm accepted the challenges with relish.

The recording begins with Orquesta Akokán pianist Michael Eckroth’s “Bongasmo,” a Cuban inflected piece (amplified by the addition of percussionist Samuel Torres) that highlights the trombone’s prominence in the music of the Latin diaspora, a world Wharton knew well from her early years in the Latin-inflected music scene of her home state of California. Wharton met composer/saxophonist Remy Le Bouef through his large ensemble and welcomed his “Face Value,” a richly varied piece that provides ample solo space for Wharton, Ferber and Peretz. Alan Ferber’s arrangement of Chris Cheek’s “Ice Fall” is the most traditionally structured piece, with its lush harmonies and feature space for each ensemble member.

It was only natural for Wharton to reach out to her long-time friend Ayn Inserto for “Blue Salt,” a playful, swinging, yet complex, piece that alludes to Inserto’s first margarita infused meeting with Wharton’s husband, Fedchock. Wharton’s brash horn introduces Ferber’s “Union Blues,” all swagger and offbeat charm, while Fedchock’s arrangement of Tori Amos’s “Twinkle” takes the singer’s minimalist performance and expands it into a lush ballad, where the arranger takes a breath-taking solo feature. Wharton was so impressed by Carmen Staaf’s arrangements for a Litchfield Jazz Festival performance that she invited her to write for the ensemble. Her “Manta Rays” is an aural illustration of the sea’s hooded dancer.

The group launches into a Latin tinge once again on Manuel Valera’s dancing “La Otra Mano.” Fedchock’s moving “Little Cupcake” takes its name from his pet name for Wharton and compliments her personality with moments of brashness and subtlety, but always with an element of humor. The recording concludes with an angsty edge on Darcy James Argue’s arrangement of legendary grunge band Soundgarden’s “The Day I Tried To Live.” The brilliant, punctuated performance is enhanced by the inclusion of Grammy winning vocalist, Kurt Elling.

Jennifer Wharton looks at Not a Novelty as a needed return. Not only did she productively utilize the time that an unprecedented circumstance presented to her, but she also took the opportunity to promote the advancement of trombone led music in the jazz canon, a task that should be celebrated and not just by unicorns.

1. BonGasmo
2. Face Value
3. Ice Fall
4. Blue Salt
5. Union Blues
6. Twinkle
7. Manta Rays
8. La Otra Mano
9. Little Cupcake
10. The Day I Tried To Live

John Fedchock - trombone
Nate Mayland - trombone
Alan Ferber - trombone
Jennifer Wharton - bass trombone
Michael Eckroth - piano, Fender Rhodes
Evan Gregor - bass
Don Peretz - drums
Samuel Torres - percussion (1 & 8)
Kurt Elling - voice (10)

Jim Waller Big Band (featuring Jacqueline Sotelo with special guest Will Kennedy) - Bucket List (2020)

The swinging and often-funky outing features Waller’s arrangements for a top-notch jazz orchestra with five vocals from Jacqueline Sotelo

Audiophile Double Vinyl Album using the Closed Loop Analog Signal Processing System

Jim Waller has had a very busy career as a multi-instrumentalist (tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, trombone, organ, piano, and guitar), freelance arranger, record producer, and educator. However one important musical goal has long been on his bucket list: recording a big band album. 
Bucket List is the realization of that goal as Jim Waller not only leads a 21-piece big band but provides all of the arrangements, 7 of the 14 compositions, and many rewarding tenor-sax solos, also making contributions on soprano and organ. The supporting cast is bolstered by the drumming of Will Kennedy (famous for his playing with the Yellowjackets) and the singing of Jacqueline Sotelo who stars on five standards. 
Bucket List contains its share of variety with swinging numbers, funky vamps, shuffles, and Latin rhythms. The set begins with the infectious “Samba For Suzell,” a catchy Latin-flavored original with excellent tenor, piano and drum solos. Jacqueline Sotelo is showcased on five swinging standards including two Peggy Lee-associated numbers recorded just in time for her centennial (“I Love Being Here With You” and “Why Don’t You Do Right”), a very soulful performance of “Georgia On My Mind,” and a surprise-filled rendition of “God Bless The Child.” “New Blue Funk” (which includes a fine flute solo from Bill King) displays the funkier side of the orchestra while the straight ahead “Blues For Los Blues” gives the ensemble an opportunity to swing hard. 
Of the other colorful pieces, the uptempo “Waltz For Laura” inspires inventive solos from Waller and trumpeter Lee Sparky Thomason. “Rhapsody In Blue” gets a fresh reworking, exploring several moods while building up to a triumphant conclusion. Waller switches to organ for his “Funksuite 109” and is showcased on tenor on the memorable “A Ballad For Bob.” “Honky Tonk” is most notable for its creative guitar solo by Jason Valdez while the closing “This Is It” is a hard-driving piece with worthy spots for Waller on soprano and trumpeter Curtis Calderon.
Born in Santa Barbara, Jim Waller began playing music at an early age, mastering several instruments. He attended Fresno State College and formed the successful surf group The Deltas which recorded two albums in the 1960s. He was an important member of the groundbreaking jazz-rock octet Los Blues that played regularly for nearly six years (1967–73) in Las Vegas, recording Los Blues Volume One which was arranged and produced by Waller for United Artists Records. 
In 1977 he moved to San Antonio where he was a member of the group Road Apple. Since then Waller has worked with a large assortment of major names including Marvin Gaye, Etta James, Willie Nelson, Bill Watrous, Cat Anderson, Richie Cole, Paul Gonsalves and Pete Fountai n. In addition to being a freelance arranger and an influential educator, Jim Waller owns and operates Digital Image Recording Studio where he has produced a countless number of CDs and jingles. 
Now with the release of the very enjoyable Bucket List, the title of big band leader can be added to the long list of Jim Waller’s accomplishments.

1. Samba For Suzell (Jim Waller) 4:54
2. I Love Being Here With You (Peggy Lee, William Schluger) 4:10
3. New Blue Funk (Jim Waller) 4:57
4. Blues For Los Blues (Jim Waller) 4:01
5. Georgia on My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell) 4:39
6. Waltz For Laura (Jim Waller) 4:09
7. Rhapsody In Blue (George Gershwin) 7:07
8. Why Don’t You Do Right (Joe McCoy, Lillian Green) 3:43
9. Funksuite 109 (Jim Waller) 6:15
10. A Ballad For Bob (Jim Waller) 4:46
11. Goody Goody (Matty Melneck, Johnny Mercer) 3:05
12. Honky Tonk (Billy Butler, Bill Doggett, Clifford Scott, Shep Shepherd) 4:50
13. God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog Jr.) 6:22
14. This Is It (Jim Waller) 5:25

Musicians: Bill King - lead alto saxophone, flute, Karlos Elizondo - lead trumpet, Jaime Parker - lead trombone, Brian Christensen - alto saxophone, flute, Dr. Adrian Ruiz - trumpet, Gilbert Garza - trombone, Adam Carrillo - tenor saxophone, Al Gomez - trumpet, Mark Hill - trombone, Jason Galbraith - tenor saxophone, Curtis Calderon - trumpet, Matthew Erickson - bass trombone, Matthew Maldonado - tenor saxophone, Lee Sparky Thomason - turmpet, Dr. Martin McCain, bass trombone, Dr. Joey Colarusso - baritone saxophone, Jason Valdez, electric guitar, Jim Waller - tenor and soprano saxophone, Hammond XK-5 organ, Georgie Padilla - congas and percussion (Samba For Suzell, God Bless The Child), Chris Villanueva - piano, Jacqueline Sotelo - vocals, Joe Caploe - timpani (Rhapsody in Blue), Jim Kalson - electric bass, Andy Langham - piano (A Ballad For Bob), Libby Barnette - French horn (Rhapsody in Blue), Will Kennedy - drums. String Section (Rhapsody in Blue): Anastasia Parker, Concertmaster, Dr. Stephanie Westney, violin, Eric Siu - violin, Yang Guo - viola, David Wang - viola, Ken Freudigman - cello

Anthony Joseph - The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives (May 7, 2021 Heavenly Sweetness Records)

British-Trinidadian poet/musician/author Anthony Joseph’s latest album contains multitudes. Operating as a dedication to poetic ancestors and a coming together of musical generations, The Rich are Only Defeated When Running for their Lives is also an almighty jam. Recorded live last August, it shows off the prowess of a team of master musicians (Shabaka Hutchings among others) from Paris and London. Jason Yarde, who also produced Joseph’s 2018 album is credited as producer/composer/arranger – to startling, albeit intimate, effect.

Running throughout the release are inter-connected themes: memory, place, belonging and acts of homage. Opener, “Kamau” pays respect to the lauded Barbadian poet, Kamau Brathwaite who passed away in February last year. Brathwaite was an important influence on Joseph – the two writers met several times. On “Kamau” Joseph compellingly conveys not only the nature of Brathwaite’s aesthetic, but the full potential of a Black surrealist poetics, in an urgent, clipped diction against a rousing musical soundtrack which features Hutchings on bass clarinet.
When asked to convey the essence of Brathwaite’s “energy” in a 2018 interview, Joseph used the words “audacious … muscular,” while also noting the late poet’s capacity to “give voice to the voiceless.” A similar description might be used for Joseph’s new album, in its evocation of the post Windrush generations’ search for belonging — a story that soon becomes Joseph’s own (“Calling England Home”), in the recounting of familial grief (“The Gift”) and in the expansive grooves and storytelling on “Maka Dimweh”, a poem/song that universalises the tale of a Guyanese soldier.

One of the album’s most striking cuts, “Language (Poem for Anthony McNeill) once more memorialises another key figure in the Caribbean literary landscape: McNeill, a Jamaican poet known for his radical modernist aesthetic, deeply influenced by jazz, who died before his time in 1996. The 10-minute plus groove shows the band to full effect, as Joseph compellingly conjures something of McNeill’s gift and the potential of “language rooted in the drums…the cry of the horn.”

In fact, the entire album might be understood as part of Joseph’s engagement with his Caribbean musical and literary roots; the somewhat mysterious album title, for instance, comes from the Trinidadian writer, philosopher, historian and socialist activist, C.L.R James’ book on the Haitian revolution, The Black Jacobins (1938).
To Yarde and Joseph’s credit the musicianship never falters, even when conjuring deeply contrasting moods. See, for instance, the foregrounding of a formidable horn section of top-level saxophonists of very different aesthetic stripes (Hutchings, Yarde, Colin Webster – a longstanding Joseph collaborator and Denys Baptiste, whose credits include McCoy Tyner and Billy Higgins). “Calling England Home,” for example, is carried along by a sleepily evocative 60s horn-driven dancehall ambience, entirely in keeping with the song’s lyrical focus. Note too, Rod Youngs’ sensitive drum parts, which coalesces to great effect with Andrew John’s bass throughout the album.

Youngs is a previous Gil Scott-Heron collaborator, while London-based bassist and composer John has played on six of Joseph’s previous albums. Guitarist Thibaut Remy, who composed ‘Calling England Home’, performs with the Awalé Jant Band. There are the fragile interruptions of French jazz pianist, Florian Pellissier, while contributions from veteran percussionists Roger Raspail and Crispin Robinson provide further grit, delicacy and depth.

1. Kamau
2. Calling England Home
3. Maka Dimweh
4. Language (Poem for Anthony McNeill)
5. Swing Praxis
6. The Gift

Anthony Joseph - Vocals
Andrew John - Bass
Thibaut Remy - Guitar
Rod Youngs - Drums
Florian Pellissier - Piano/Moog/Organ/Rhodes Piano
Jason Yarde - Alto & Baritone Saxophone
Shabaka Hutchings - Tenor Saxophone on ‘Swing Praxis’/Bass clarinet on ‘Kamau’
Denys Baptiste - Tenor Saxophone & Bass Clarinet on ‘Language’, Tenor Sax on ‘Maka Dimweh’ & ‘The Gift’
Colin Webster - Tenor Saxophone on ‘Kamau’ & Swing Praxis’, Baritone Sax on ‘Language’
Crispin Robinson - Bata Drums and Percussion
Roger Raspail - Percussion on ‘Maka Dimweh’

Produced by Jason Yarde

All arrangements by Jason Yarde except ‘The Gift’ - arranged by Andrew John & ‘Calling England Home’ arranged by Thibaut Remy, both with additional arrangements by Mr Yarde
Album engineered and mixed by Jordan Kouby
Recorded at Livingston Studios, (London), August 2020
Additional recording at Total Refreshment Center, London & Question De Son, Paris
Mastered by Mickaël Rangeard at Question De Son
Executive Producer: Franck Descollonges

Frank Wess - Whatever You Want (March 2021 nagel heyer records)

"Frank Wess hits his marks at any tempo ... his playing sounds clear as a bell, as well."
- npr music

"Frank Wess is one of the premier proteges of Lester Young, and a leading jazz flutist of his era — using the latter instrument to bring new colors to Basie's music."
- Scott Yannow

1. Dancing on the Ceiling 03:45
2. I Hear Ya Talkin' 04:12
3. June Is Bustin' Out All Over 03:11
4. But Beautiful 04:36
5. Hard Sock Dance 07:38
6. Gone with the Wind 05:46
7. Monday Stroll 04:21
8. What'd Ya Say 09:44
9. It's so Peaceful in the Country 04:00
10. Stop Gap 06:03
11. Dill Pickles 06:09
12. Liz 03:35
13. Opus Pocus 07:30
14. Salvation 03:50
15. I See Your Face Before Me 06:06
16. Lazy Sal 06:10
17. Stella by Starlight 05:11
18. Opus de Blues 11:00
19. Struttin' Down Broadway 05:38
20. Serenata 04:54
21. Rainy Afternoon 08:26
22. Excursion 05:13
23. Star Eyes 03:53
24. Boop-De-Doop 08:42
25. You Leave Me Breathless 06:30

Frank Wess - tenor sax, flute
Thad Jones - trumpet
Frank Foster - tenor sax, soprano sax
Henry Coker - trombone
Curtis Fuller - trombone
Milt Jackson - vibes
Kenny Burrell - guitar
Hank Jones - piano
Eddie Jones - bass
Kenny Clarke - drums

Various Artists

Fish Country - Fish Country (March 2021)

Debut album by the trio Castelli Voesten Christensen during their tour through Denmark and The Netherlands. The record holds compositions by Castelli and Voesten and a free interpretation of the country tune 'Satan is real' by the Louvin Brothers.

1. Rosso. 04:44
2. Cheese! Man 04:56
3. Serenity Now 05:26
4. The art of shaving 03:21
5. Satan is real 04:15

Federico Castelli - Guitar
Adrian Christensen - Double bass
Ruud Voesten - Drums

Recording, mixing and mastering by Jacob Schjødt Worm
Recorded at FinlandStudio, Aarhus Denmark

vbnd - Scum Funk (April 23, 2021 DeepMatter Records)

DeepMatter is exciting to announce 'Scum Funk' - the second album from Canadian Bassist and Producer, vbnd.

Following his 2018 debut, ‘Daughter of The Sun’ (which now holds over 10 million streams across DSPs) Saskatoon-based artist vbnd reveals new album ‘Scum Funk’, set for release via London based label DeepMatter. Aiming to cultivate and encourage the growth of the jazz and soul sound in his hometown, vbnd’s new work showcases the complexity of the genre and its alluring effects.

As a collection of songs created over the past two years, 'Scum Funk' sees vbnd team up with The Soulmate Collective, consisting of Katie Tupper (Vocals), Connor Newton (Saxophone), Jesse Mcmillan (Drums) & Ayden Draude (Keys). With influences from D’Angelo and Michael League of Snarky Puppy, the collaboration results in a groove-heavy affair led by vbnd’s signature hypnotic bass lines and production, accompanied by crisp drums, topped off with Katie Tupper’s smoky vocals and unparalleled songwriting. ‘Scum Funk’ portrays intense trust between the musicians with the aim of exemplifying the uniting powers of music.
The LP features gritty bass arrangements supporting zesty keys and syncopated drums, which create a solid backbone for luxurious saxophone melodies, and breezy vocals. The album’s heartfelt aura is illustrated in its name; deriving from a deep admiration for Jaco Pastorious’ album ‘Punk Jazz’ and in parallel from the movement of Scum Punk, vbnd wants ‘Scum Funk’ to embody the idea of “rowdy dudes playing nice-sounding jazz, funk, and lovely neo-soul songs”.

The first single ‘Slowly Starting to Take Form’ epitomises the album’s strong funk sensibilities with “enforced stank”. The second single ‘Breathe Me In (A Little Longer)’ was born as a witty response to a corporate gig audience member who requested ‘something to dance to, the result is a powerful body-moving track, embellished with an undeniably groovy chord structure and heady disco atmospheres. The third single ‘Gold Chain’ was penned by Katie Tupper and brought to vbnd to explore new musical dimensions in late 2018 - resulting in a sultry and alluring sound, overflowing with groove, funk and charisma.

A truly impressive body of work, ‘Scum Funk’ documents vbnd’s growing mastery of groove, texture and grit, illustrating a strong and intriguing artistic identity.

1. V's Funky Castle
2. I Don't Take Time
3. Slowly Starting To Take Form
4. Stop Your Crying
5. Who Do You Think You Are? I Am!
6. Stupid
7. Couldn't Get Laid (feat Abhi The Nomad)
8. Scum Funk
9. Fallin' For
10. Gold Chain
11. Skin to Skin
12. In a Fuque State
13. The Oceans (She's A Winner, Baby)
14. Breathe Me In (A Little Longer)
15. League Strut

vbnd - Bass & Production
Katie Tupper - Vocals (2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14)
Connor Newton - Saxophone
Jesse Mcmillan - Drums
Ayden Draude - Keys
Abhi The Nomad - Vocals (7)

Myele Manzanza - Crisis & Opportunity Vol. 1 / London (April 2, 2021 DeepMatter Records)

World-renowned drummer/composer, & producer/beatmaker, Myele Manzanza, has proved that he's an artist who continues to dissolve the borders between modern jazz and electronic beat production. Having released three solo albums, and racking up tours and collaborations with Jordan Rakei, Theo Parrish, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Recloose and Amp Fiddler amongst others. Myele is already developing a strong live presence in his new London base; his quartet has shared stages with the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote, The Bad Plus, Alfa Mist, and drawing packed houses to top venues such as The Jazz Café and Ronnie Scott’s.

Tapping into the vibrant scene of his adopted home, Myele now readies his next project on DeepMatter Records.

'Crisis & Opportunity' Vol.1 - London features a top tier cast of young London based talent including Ashley Henry (piano), James Copus (trumpet), George Crowley (tenor saxophone), Benjamin Muralt (bass) and additional contributions from the legendary Mark de Clive-Lowe (synths), with Myele Manzanza (drums) captaining the ship.
Born out of Myele’s necessity to direct his creative energy in a productive direction and maintain his growth as an artist during the 2020 Covid 19 lockdown, 'Crisis & Opportunity’ is a reflection of the time we currently live in as a global society. The EP draws the global health crisis, the parallel economic crisis as a consequence of the necessary lockdowns, and the broader racial crisis brought to the forefront as a result of the death of George Floyd. Whilst it has been a difficult time for Myele Manzanza as an artist, it’s offered him opportunities to pause, reflect, and set new creative directions.

Weaving his unique blend of forward-thinking genre-bending jazz, broken beat, electronica and world music, Manzanza drives ‘Crisis & Opportunity’ through a set of original compositions inspired by the city of London which he now calls home. 

1. Big Deal 2 (Bigger Deals)
2. Portobello Superhero
3. Brixton Blues
4. London
5. Crisis & Opportunity

Drums - Myele Manzanza
Piano - Ashley Henry
Trumpet - James Copus
Tenor Saxophone - George Crowley
Bass - Benjamin Muralt
Synths - Mark de Clive-Lowe

Christian Eckert / Gary Versace / Matt Jorgensen - NY3 (March 2021)

German guitarist Christian Eckert teams up with organist Gary Versace and drummer Matt Jorgensen to create a cross-Atlantic groove session. Recorded in New York during a November 2001 East-Coast tour, this CD features 3 original tunes as well as arrangements of tunes by Burt Bacharach, Horace Silver and Granz Lehar.

1. Wives and Lovers 05:38
2. Zephyr 08:04
3. I'll Never Smile Again 06:05
4. Where's My Wedding Ring 06:07
5. Embraceable You 07:48
6. Juicy Lucy 06:11
7. Your's Is My Heart Alone 03:45

Christian Eckert - guitar
Gary Versace - hammond B3 organ
Matt Jorgensen - drums

Recorded in New York City, November 2001
Mixed and mastered by Jo Bartmes, Heidelberg, Germany

Jay Phelps - Live At The Cockpit (March 2021 Ubuntu Music)

Trumpeter, composer, band leader, educator and writer – Jay Phelps has performed with some of the world’s top names. With an instantly recognisable warm and projecting tone, Canadian born Phelps is a household name on the Jazz scene in the UK and his international presence is steadily growing. 

1. L.S.G 07:46
4. ANGEL 05:45
5. SPREAD 10:47

Jay Phelps - Trumpet
Rick Simpson - Piano
Will Glaser - Drums
Ferg Ireland - Bass