Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Hugh Manwell - Guidance (March 30, 2021)

HUGH MANWELL
delivers his second project,
“Guidance”
this time taping into the Big Band sound

Big brass and high energy sum up the sounds of Hugh Manwell’s second project of 2021, Guidance. This 6 track EP combines soul, funk, & big band Jazz into a high-energy project. Hugh Manwell, a multi-instrumentalist and composer, plays Drums, Trumpet, Saxophone, Bass, Guitar, Piano, and Synths on Guidance delivering a modern twist on the classic Big Band Jazz sound. From the larger than life epic sounds of Big Time to the more slowed-down sensual vibes of “Walking On Clouds” the project will satisfy the emotional palate no matter the mood. Tap, play, close your eyes, and let Hugh Manwell give you Guidance.

Vince Mendoza | "Freedom Over Everything" | Available July 2 via Modern Recordings

Celebrated Multi-GRAMMY® Award Winning Arranger,
Composer and Conductor Vince Mendoza
Brings Forth a Life Affirming Cross-Genre Collaboration

Freedom Over Everything,
a Revelatory and Politically Charged Album Set
for July 2 Release on BMG’s Modern Recordings Imprint

Guest Artists include
Joshua Redman, Antonio Sanchez, Derrick Hodge,
and The Roots' MC Black Thought

Six time GRAMMY® Award-winner, and 34-time nominee, Vince Mendoza is considered the foremost arranger of his generation, working with legends such as Björk, Elvis Costello, Sting, and Joni Mitchell. In a new star-studded release, Mendoza returns to his roots as a composer and conductor with a remarkable collaboration—highlighting the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, soprano Julia Bullock, guest artists Joshua Redman, Antonio Sanchez, Derrick Hodge, and The Roots' premier MC Black Thought—for his forthcoming album, Freedom Over Everything, on BMG’s Modern Recordings label imprint.

The album opens with Mendoza’s Five movement “Concerto for Orchestra” which was commissioned by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, with whom Mendoza has had a working relationship for the last several years. The collaboration aimed to create a work that would feature soloists in the orchestra but to somewhat forge a new direction in this revered form. “My approach is a departure from the traditions of an orchestra concerto. For me it was more about having an arc that tells a particular story but also incorporates rhythmic and melodic aspects of African American music and improvisation.” explains Mendoza. 

“Coinciding with the composition of the concerto was the 2016 [American] saga of the election of ‘45’ and the resulting tremendous discord in the U.S. during that time. While writing this piece, the events happening in our country invaded my artistic space. For the first time I felt I couldn’t really write music and be removed from what was going on in our environment. I started seriously considering the importance of an artist to reflect the times and how I could make my music a reflection not only of what I was witnessing but what I hoped would occur. So that’s when the arc of this concerto started to take shape.” 

Mendoza, as a skilled practitioner of the classical-jazz fusion that Gunther Schuller once called third stream, was and is ideally suited to meet this challenge. “I sought to design the structure of the concerto to be inspired by M.L. King’s remarks on the moral universe, that the arc is long, but it bends toward justice. The beginning of the concerto (the first movement is called ‘American Noise’) reflects the discord that began leading up to the 2016 election. Of course, it pales in comparison to what we dealt with in 2020 and now 2021,” says Mendoza, “but the arc of the composition goes through that process of pure noise, much needed consolation and the need for ‘hitting the streets’. The end of the concerto seeks to reflect justice and the hope for a peaceful resolution to what we were only entering in 2016. Arguably in 2021 we still haven’t quite gotten there.” 
Throughout the “Concerto for Orchestra,” drummer Antonio Sanchez provides rhythmic  textures using color, placement and variation accenting the various motifs and ideas expressed in Mendoza’s score. “Antonio thinks and plays like a composer,” says Mendoza. “He was the perfect person to step into this music. He was very sympathetic to what I wanted to achieve, while never losing his voice in the process.” Joshua Redman’s saxophone performance in “Meditation” provides an important improvisational voice to the movement. Mendoza points out that the piece was not originally conceived to have improvised commentary in it. “Once we recorded it, I thought that the music asked for Joshua’s dialog with the orchestra. Joshua understood the purpose and the mood that was needed in that moment, and he played so beautifully.” 

The fifth movement of the concerto, “Justice and the Blues,” is a sly reference to two famous quotations from philosopher and public intellectual Dr. Cornel West: “Justice is what Love looks like in public,” and "The Blues responds to the catastrophic with compassion, without drinking from the cup of bitterness." “When we recorded this piece last year in July (of 2019) in particular that last movement – the middle section of that piece that has the groove and the vamp, was originally going to be an instrumental solo,” Mendoza recalls, “I thought we should really have a message there through rap instead. Listening to the recordings of Black Thought, his work seemed to reflect a certain awareness of message I wanted to bring out in this piece. When he agreed to record, Covid hit the U.S. and we were delayed. And then (the death of) George Floyd happened – and then the reaction to George Floyd happened. And so, the shift of consciousness of what we thought was going to be in Black Thought’s performance was entirely different. Then he came up with this amazing heartfelt text,” Hodge provides a foundation of groove for the music and Black Thought’s text of Freedom Over Everything.

“In a way, my plan for a long, constructed arc was interrupted by reality. That’s sort of Jazz sensibility. You can plan your structure but then somebody comes in with their voice and completely changes your point of view. And I love that part of it – things are going to change when the human spirit gets put into it. Improvisation gives us that,” says Mendoza. He is uniquely suited to address these challenges with the ability to speak in the language of the composer and the language of the improviser. It is this denouement which allows for the transition from the end of the “Concerto for Orchestra” to “The Edge of Longing.”

When Mendoza finished writing the concerto the years of turbulence portrayed in the narrative arc of the music seemed to cry out for a piece that might serve as consolation communicating that ‘it’s going to be okay.’ “I wanted it also to be somewhat of an encouraging text that was going to bring people together and bring light into our situation,” Mendoza explains. “To The Edge Of Longing” is an extraordinary art song setting composed by Mendoza for Julia Bullock with orchestral accompaniment, based on verses from the “Book of Hours” by the late 19th, early 20th century poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke. 

Ms. Bullock described her approach to the material this way: “Vince wrote a poignant setting of an English translation of the German text by Rilke, which is what first got me excited about the project. There’s an intimacy in what is said, but the intensity of the words makes the scope far reaching, and Vince’s music follows that framework. The singers and interpreters I most respect and admire have clear intentions in the delivery of whatever music they share, and I aim for that same kind of immediacy—whether it was music written centuries ago or with my voice in mind. As long as there’s a message to be communicated and a genuine connection to that message, I find no reason to limit how to use my voice, or in which context. So, in that respect, it’s wonderful to participate in a project that is also uninhibited.”

There’s a through line music lovers can identify from Mendoza’s body of work as an arranger and from his previous long form orchestra works as a composer; especially Epiphany (1999) and Constant Renaissance (2019.) “New York Stories,” a Concertino for Trumpet and Orchestra, was commissioned by the Czech National Symphony featuring trumpeter and orchestra founder Jan Hasenöhrl.

As with the artists and the orchestra, Mendoza selected a co-producer and engineer with the capability and experience to be able to work in both the jazz and classical idioms equal to his own whom he knew from his work with the Metropole Orchestra. Jonathan Allen — formerly the chief engineer at the most famous recording studio in the world, Abbey Road — was responsible for the recording, mixing and mastering of this album. If it is true, as Aristotle once said, that “Music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul,” then Vince Mendoza’s Freedom Over Everything is sure to be received as a welcome addition to the times in which we live.

Vince Mendoza | Freedom Over Everything
Modern Recordings | Release Date: July 2, 2021

For more information on Vince Mendoza, please visit:

Erin Propp & Larry Roy - We Want All The Same Things (April 23, 2021 Chronograph Records)

There is nuance in the everyday; in its layers of love, joy, and hurt, and in its emotional currents ever present. Erin Propp and Larry Roy reach into the everyday and blur the edges, creating works that are at once deeply personal and achingly relatable. These are songs that take it all in, that read between the lines, that hear the subtext, that feel it, that say it out loud.

Their music rings true with nuance and power, with rare clarity and precision. Their musical abilities are tools of exacting expression, expertly honed. They reach in to resonate; calling the listener inside, sounding the overtones of our shared experience.
Erin and Larry’s debut album Courage, My Love (2012), was met with praise and acclaim. The recording won Best Jazz Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards (2013), and a JUNO nomination in the category of Vocal Jazz Album of the Year (2014). Erin and Larry can do it all, from charming intimate jazz club sets, to moving concert hall performances, and key arts organizations have taken note.

Erin and Larry have performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, and have opened for Gretchen Parlato at the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival.

1. Each Hidden Joy 4:25
2. Hello Morning 3:51
3. We Want All The Same Things 4:23
4. Farther On 4:17
5. Recomeçar (H. Piccoli, E. Propp) 3:47
6. The Light 4:11
7. Give Me More 4:20
8. So Far Away (Carole King) 4:56
9. Tell Him (Lauryn Hill) 5:28
10. The Nearness of You (H. Carmichael, N. Washington) 6:34
11. Angels Gather There 4:35
12. À La Claire Fontaine (Traditional) 3:45

All songs composed by Erin Propp & Larry Roy unless otherwise indicated

Larry Roy - Guitars, Dobro
Erin Propp - Vocals
Larnell Lewis - Drums
Will Bonness - Piano, Wurlitzer
Julian Bradford - Acoustic Bass (1-2, 4, 6-9)
Mike Downes - Acoustic Bass (3, 5, 10)
Karl Kohut - Acoustic Bass (11)
Rogerio Boccato - Percussion (1, 5)
Shannon Kristjanson - Flute, Alto Flute (2, 10-11)
Ken Gold - Alto & Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet (2, 10-11)
Jimmy Greene - Soprano Sax (2, 8, 11)
Steve Wilson - Alto Sax (3)
Joey Landreth - Slide Guitar (4)
Joel Green - Trombone (10-11)
Miron Rafajlović - Trumpet (10)
Derrick Gardner - Trumpet (11)

New album from Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints - Other Worlds (May 7, 2021 Greenleaf Music)

Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas
Other Worlds

The third full length album by Sound Prints, co-led by Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas, includes ten new compositions by the co-leaders and features Lawrence Fields, Linda May Han Oh and Joey Baron

Saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas debuted their extraordinary Sound Prints quintet on Blue Note Records in 2013, the year of Wayne Shorter’s 80th birthday, and from the outset the group had a joyful but somewhat imposing mandate: to lift up Shorter’s legacy through the writing and performance of new music conceived in his risk-taking, fearlessly inventive spirit. Supported by a powerful multi-generational lineup of pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Joey Baron, the group debuted with Sound Prints: Live at Monterey Jazz Festival, which included world-premiere performances of two brand-new Shorter pieces.

Scandal, the group’s 2018 follow-up on Greenleaf Music, featured the same personnel on a new book of Lovano and Douglas originals as well as fresh arrangements of “JuJu” and “Fee Fi Fo Fum,” two Blue Note-era Shorter classics. With Other Worlds, recorded just days after a triumphant weeklong run at the Village Vanguard in January 2020, the Sound Prints quintet achieves another first, a full album of original compositions. But while no Shorter tunes appear, Shorter’s far-sighted philosophic vision of modern jazz animates these great players in every measure. “Wayne inspires us to think about our place in the universe,” Douglas maintains. “You can’t divorce that from the music.”

Almost every track on Other Worlds is a first take, thanks in no small part to the bandstand chemistry that Sound Prints achieved in set after set at the Vanguard. “Everybody brought their own self but also their Sound Prints self,” Douglas says. “We played a different set list every night, every set, because the order you play things in has a big influence on how they develop. So each night, different tunes would bump up against different tunes. We really figured out the dynamics of the whole thing, and by the time we got to the studio, we knew.”

“The way Dave and I set up together,” adds Lovano, “the way we’d play the themes and improvise together and trade, we were right there next to each other, so we were feeling what each other was playing. Dave and Joey and I have a deep history playing together: I go back to the ’70s with Joey, and the ’80s with Dave.”
Douglas adds: “Joey was on all my sextet records, and then of course he and I were in John Zorn’s Masada for many years together.” Oh, who came onto Douglas’ radar as a student at Banff, has logged many hours in Douglas ’ quintet (not to mention Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron, Fabian Almazan and Vijay Iyer, among many others). Lovano encountered Fields as a student at Berklee; he’s since done high-profile work with Nicholas Payton, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Jeff “Tain” Watts and more.

“The whole concept of the band is dialogue and interaction,” Douglas notes. “And when you play that way, nobody can retreat into the role of their instrument. Everybody’s playing everything, all the time. Some pieces don’t have any chords, others have a lot of chords, and so you look for the piano to provide a balance so it’s not all one thing or the other. Both the free context and the chordal context have the same level of dialogue and conversation. Something new with this book is that we’re writing specifically for that chemistry, whereas in the beginning we were sort of imagining it, letting it unfold.”

Lovano’s “Space Exploration,” “Shooting Stars” and “The Flight” together make up the “Other Worlds Suite,” which appears noncontiguously (much like it might have at the Vanguard). “Those three pieces came together as a sequence of events,” Lovano explains, “and everyone captured the essence of that idea. The quintet is on a voyage together, and so the title ‘Space Exploration’ is about the music too, it’s about this certain way of playing together, not just writing a theme and playing on it, but a flow of ideas.”

It was “Sky Miles,” the first of Lovano’s pieces, that set the album’s space theme in motion, and Douglas was easily able to connect that to his recent interest in the study of antiquity. “I was doing a lot of reading about the period 2500-3000 years ago,” he says, “thinking about Pythagoras and the growth of science. Antiquity can be directly connected to the continuing movement of humanity through countless discoveries, and the cultural growth as we all discover each other around the globe and figure out how to work together and live together.”

In a brief liner note to the band’s 2013 debut, there appears a verse from Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson that begins, “… come, my friends, / ’tis not too late to seek a newer world.” These lines ring all too true today, as music and the arts begin what is sure to be a long recovery process. “The music is moving forward whether we choose to jump on the train or not,” Douglas avers. “We’re incredibly lucky that we recorded Other Worlds when we did — we had talked about doing it later. But one thing led to another and there was no reason to wait. We went right on into it and I’m so glad we did.”

1. Space Exploration (Lovano)
2. Shooting Stars (Lovano)
3. Life On Earth (Douglas)
4. Manitou (Douglas)
5. Antiquity to Outer Space (Douglas)
6. The Flight (Lovano)
7. The Transcendentalists (Douglas)
8. Sky Miles (Lovano)
9. Pythagoras (Douglas)
10. Midnight March (Lovano)

Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone
Dave Douglas, trumpet
Lawrence Fields, piano
Linda May Han Oh, bass
Joey Baron, drums

Produced by Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas
Executive Producer: Dave Douglas
Recorded by Tyler McDiarmid and Geoff Countryman at Bunker Studios, Brooklyn, NY on January 31, 2020.
Assisted by Todd Carder
Mixed and Mastered by Tyler McDiarmid
Musician photos by Geoff Countryman
Artwork by Dave Chisholm
Layout by Lukas Frei
Pre-order on Bandcamp, Amazon, and iTunes

Stream the first single ‘Pythagoras’ on Spotify, Apple Music and TIDAL

Live chat with Mareike Wiening on March 30th with Four on the Floor

Bheki Mseleku - Beyond The Stars (March 2021 Tapestry Works)

Self-taught multi-instrumentalist and composer Bhekumuzi Hyacinth Mseleku (1955-2008), known as Bheki Mseleku, is widely considered to have been the most richly gifted South African jazz musician of his generation. Born in Durban, he moved to Johannesburg in the mid-1970s and played with groups including Spirits Rejoice, The Drive and Philip Tabane’s Malombo. In 1980, he left apartheid South Africa for exile in Europe, travelling with his close friend Eugene Skeef. (A percussionist, educator, poet and former close comrade of Steve Biko, Skeef originally produced the Beyond The Stars session, and contributes liner notes to this release.)

Bheki spent six difficult years in Stockholm before moving to London. After a triumphant debut at Ronnie Scott’s, in 1992 he would release his now classic debut album Celebration for World Circuit, before signing with Verve. He would go on to achieve worldwide recognition, recording and touring with jazz luminaries including Elvin Jones, Pharoah Sanders, Joe Henderson and Abbey Lincoln.

Throughout his life, Bheki struggled with both his physical and mental health. He was, as Eugene Skeef puts it, ‘a conduit for the healing energy of music to flow into the world’, a gift that came at a cost. At the start of the new century, Bheki returned to live in South Africa, but just a few years later he found himself in compound difficulties: life at home had proved too hard, and he was not well. He had also lost his imported Steinway upright piano in an unwise business deal and had not been able to play. In 2003, Skeef helped him return to London, where they hoped to realign his health and rekindle his career.

Through his work with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Skeef arranged for Bheki to have access to the Steinway concert grand pianos held at Henry Wood Hall. After Bheki had spent a few weeks recuperating, Skeef booked a studio session at Gateway Studios.

Beyond The Stars was the result: a stunning, solo piano suite which condenses Mseleku’s visionary overstanding of South African music into a flowing, pulsing statement in six parts. With jazzwise echoes of marabi, amahubo, maskanda and Nguni song forms binding it to the deep music of Mseleku’s Zulu heritage, Beyond The Stars provides what Blue Note recording artist Nduduzo Makhathini describes in his liner notes as ‘a divine summary’ of Bheki’s life story: ‘a sonic pilgrimage from the beautiful and organic landscapes of Durban, to the vibrant energy of London and ultimately toward the inner dimensions of one’s being.’

But releasing the album proved impossible at the time, and so the session has remained unheard. Bheki sadly passed on in 2008, without having released a new album for five years; almost two decades have now passed since any new music by him has emerged. Working with Eugene Skeef, Tapestry Works is proud to break the silence with a first issue for Bheki Mseleku’s visionary masterpiece, Beyond The Stars.

1. Cosmic Dance 06:26
2. Isango (The Gateway) 16:51
3. Izanusi (The Diviners) 06:53
4. Ekhaya 04:42
5. Light of Love 05:49
6. Transcendence 08:54

All compositions by Bheki Mseleku

Bheki Mseleku – piano, voice

Recorded on the 28 November 2003 at Gateway Studios, London
Producer – Eugene Skeef
Co-producer – Derek Johnson
Engineer – Steve Lowe
Assistant Engineer – Gurjit Dhinsa
Mastering – Colin Young at See Why Audio

Christopher Hoffman - Asp Nimbus (March 2021 Out Of Your Head Records)

1. Discretionary 04:03
2. Dylan George 06:00
3. Asp Nimbus 03:40
4. Angles Of Influence 03:33
5. Orb 02:49
6. Non-Submersible 04:25
7. For You 03:14
8. The Heights Of Spectacle 03:46

Christopher Hoffman - cello, compositions
Bryan Carrott - vibraphone
Rashaan Carter - bass
Craig Weinrib - drums
David Virelles - piano (track 2 only)

All Compositions By Christopher Hoffman

Recorded January 8 & 9 2020 by Lily Wen at Figure 8 Studios
Produced, Mixed & Mastered By Christopher Hoffman

Joe Morris / Damon Smith - Gusts Against Particles (May 1, 2021 Open Systems Records)

This LP is the first release for Open Systems and is a limited, hand numbered edition of 200 copies. The digital version is unlimited.

Duets are conversations, pure and simple. They can be long threads, emphatic, full of query and answer, or emotion and subtlety. At best, they have all the hallmarks and inside commentary of an old relationship, but even first-time meetings can feel like the participants have known one another for ages. You might know that feeling, too: someone you’ve been aware of and finally get to spend time with, over the minutes or hours that follow a gentle easing-in becomes a gush of ideas and rejoinders. Joe Morris (b. 1955, New Haven, CT) and Damon Smith (b. 1972, Spokane, WA) have traveled in similar improvised music circles for decades, though Gusts Against Particles is their first duo and first proper album together.

The two met in 2006 under the guise of sessions for Healing Force, a super-group CD put together by guitarist Henry Kaiser to explore the late music of Albert Ayler. At that time Smith was living in the Bay Area and cutting his teeth in its free music scene while Morris was based out East, teaching at the New England Conservatory and leading a number of harmonically and rhythmically game-changing small ensembles.

Flash forward 13 years and Smith was living and working in Boston, performing with artists like pianists Pandelis Karayorgis and Eric Zinman, drummers Ra Kalam Bob Moses and Curt Newton, trombonist Jeb Bishop, and cornetist Stephen Haynes. Just prior to the bassist’s 2019 relocation to St. Louis, a few concerts were set up with Morris alongside this studio recording. Of Morris, Smith says “I got into his work pretty soon after getting into the music. I love that he knows free jazz as well as the European traditions.

He is well versed in the harmonic language of Jimmy Lyons, which is foundational for me since I came up as [alto saxophonist] Marco Eneidi's understudy. Playing with him is more like playing with a horn player than a guitarist. It is unlike playing with [Sandy] Ewen or Kaiser. The main thing about playing with him is I am able to think and play faster and more effortlessly than on my own.”

Morris has also worked frequently as a contrabassist, though the guitar is his primary and longest-lasting mode of expression. He’s performed and recorded in duo with other legendary bassists in free music, people like William Parker, Barre Phillips, and Christian Weber, not to mention in deep dialogues with other modern instrumental travelers (eg. reedist Anthony Braxton, saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpeter Nate Wooley, pianist Matthew Shipp, and guitarist Mary Halvorson). So, there is a lot of history to reckon with, as well as a lot of instantaneous creation.

As Morris thinks back to meeting Smith and subsequent experience, he notes that “[Damon’s] playing expresses the pulse much more now on the bass than he did back then… I never generalize in any way about the particulars of anyone I play with. I listen for very specific things no matter who I play with, and I respond and interact in very specific ways depending on what I hear from them and what they do in response to me.”

In terms of the dialogic meat, Morris and Smith are both masters of an expanded but very distinct palette, the guitarist using muting objects, pedals, and picking motions that create a hive of sounds from scrabbled density to ghostly drabs hanging between nodes of a western scale. Smith is graceful and also knows how to manhandle the bass, interweaving additional bows, brushes, woody palm-swabs and plastic chain as well as making his presence known through a trusty, surefooted pizzicato walk. The array of string sounds on these pieces is dazzling and often dense, and it’s sometimes hard to believe this music comes from two people composing spontaneously. Morris puts it this way: “the inspiration is in life and the decades of trying to grow as an artist.

The music is made with skill and quick decision making in the moment, using the knowledge I have about improvising. That includes close listening and doing the best I can to decipher the other musicians’ contributions.” Now, the onus is on you, the listener, to enter the conversation and the experience. CLIFFORD ALLEN

1. Waves of Extension
2. Equalization Staggering
3. Momentum Redoubling
4. Double of Any
5. Multiple Presences

Joe Morris, Guitar
Damon Smith, Double Bass

Recorded by Joe Morris, June 10, 2019
Mixed and Mastered by Weasel Walter

Nicolas Bourel Trio - Line Out (April 10, 2021)

1. Line Out
2. Iso
3. It's You?
4. Jaguar
5. Little House
6. Afrosphère
7. Trip 03:10
8. Parenthèse
9. April
10. Espérance
11. Moins Deux

Nicolas Bourel - Guitar
Martin Berauer - acoustic & electric Bass
Daniel Dray - Drums, Percussion

Lilly (feat. Gilad Hekselman & Kirk Knuffke) - The Song is You (March 2021 Challenge Records)

Interpreting the standards from the Great American Songbook is considered by many to be the supreme discipline in jazz. Anyone who dares to sing songs like “My Foolish Heart” by Victor Young and Ned Washington, “It Might As Well Be Spring” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein or “Prelude to a Kiss” by Duke Ellington automatically exposes himself or herself to the comparison with hundreds of performers who have already sung them.

For the Danish jazz singer Lilly – full name Lilly-Ann Hertzman – they also are part of her musical DNA. “I love these songs; they speak to me,” she said with enthusiasm. “I have been listening to and singing jazz since I was a teenager, so I am very familiar with these songs. I mostly only sang my own songs on my first three albums. But it was completely natural for me to sing these other songs now.”

She already did this on her previous album “Tenderly”, in a duet with the Israeli-American guitarist Gilad Hekselman. The album received euphoric reactions. For Lilly, this was a reason to dare something similar without repeating herself. This time, Kirk Knuffke joined the tried-and-tested duet of singer and guitarist. The American cornet player brings an additional tone quality into play.

“The entire album was recorded in New York on one day; it was very spontaneous,” the singer stated with obvious pleasure. “Of course, I was very happy to be able to record with Gilad and Kirk.”

Three years ago, she had a joint performance with the trumpeter at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival and has kept him and his special tone in mind since then. Lilly also finds enthusiastic words for her other musical partner, who is so much more than just a companion, but instead a creator on equal terms.

“Gilad is a wonderful person and also one of the best musicians I have ever played with," she stated. “He makes everything so easy for me. He is very open-minded, but has both feet on the ground. “Let's see what happens” is his attitude, and I share it. He makes me sing better because I can relax with him.”
In addition to nine standards, Lilly's own song “Five Wild Geese” made it onto the album, about whose title and title track the singer was particularly concerned. It is not without reason at the end of the album. “I tried to find a common framework for the songs that made it onto the album,” Lilly said, “and then I decided on the album title 'The Song Is You’. It expresses the spirit of that day for me.”

The song by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein is of course a love song. “To show your love to another person requires courage,” Lilly said. “That's my interpretation of the song.”

But she also finds other levels of interpretation of this song, which has been close to her heart for quite some time. “At the same time, you can also emphasize the ‘You’ from ‘The Song Is You’,” Lilly explained. “It's not about ego, but about following your heart and dreams. You also have to love yourself and be honest if you really want to love.”

And finally, the song expresses something a lot deeper for Lilly. “The title ‘The Song Is You’ is also about what musicians and singers do when they interpret a song,” the singer explained. “The moment you sing or play a song, you become that song. At least that's what I'm interested in. I want to interpret a story and make it my own. I completely blank out who else recorded this song.”

The sensitive and sometimes surprising interpretations that Lilly and her two companions have succeeded in creating here would easily withstand some comparison, but that wouldn’t be something that Lilly considers important. For her, something completely different is in the foreground. “We were very relaxed in the studio and had fun,” she said with pleasure, “and that's what it's all about. Be yourself!”

1. If You Could See Me Now 03:23
2. Up Jumped Spring 06:15
3. My Foolish Heart 04:31
4. Five Wild Geese 04:14
5. Prelude to a Kiss 04:56
6. It Might As Well Be Spring 04:39
7. Scarborough Fair 07:44
8. Lonely Woman 04:20
9. That Old Feeling 04:22
10. The Song is You 04:44

Lilly - vocal
Gilad Hekselman - guitars, percussion (4) & bodypercussion (2 & 4)
Kirk Knuffke - cornet