Friday, April 16, 2021

Oran Etkin's 'Open Arms' Series - New Single "Barco" Comes from São Paulo - Out April 16, 2021

Oran Etkin Releases New Single In Open Arms Project April 16th

Recorded & Filmed In São Paulo

Etkin will perform with the Open Arms Project at
San Jose Jazz - New Works Festival for
International Jazz Day April 30th

On April 16, Oran Etkin will release "Barco", the next single and music video in the Open Arms Project, a series of singles documenting his collaborations with great masters around the world - from Prague to Harrare, Zimbabwe; Paris to Rio de Janeiro.  This new track, recorded and filmed in São Paulo features legendary Brazilian pianist Benjamim Taubkin along with Kabé Pinheiro and João Taubkin.

On April 30th, to celebrate UNESCO’s International Jazz Day, Etkin will debut the next phase of the Open Arms Project in a live performance at San Jose Jazz Festival’s new Break Room for their New Works Festival. Performing with some of the most exciting young West Coast musicians, Etkin will present a new work inspired by the musical encounters chronicled in the Open Arms Project. Interweaving melodic and rhythmic motifs from the pieces he recorded around the world along with electronics and samples from the field recordings, Etkin will take listeners on a musical journey filled with excitement and energy, improvisation and interaction.  The performance will be live-streamed for free on the San Jose Jazz website.
This summer Etkin will also bring the spirit of Open Arms to New York audiences in his role as Artistic Director of the new Mama Farm Full Moon Concert Series taking place on actress Isabella Rossellini’s farm in Brookhaven, NY and featuring artists from around the world.  

About "Barco"

"Barco" is the 6th single in the Open Arms Project, and the second featuring Etkin’s collaboration with Benjamim Taubkin. Etkin and Taubkin were introduced two years ago by Dubi Lenz, the director of the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel, and they immediately found a deep musical connection.  Taubkin recalls, “Oran came to São Paulo, and I was a guest on a performance he gave at Jazz Nos Fundos and again at Jazz B some months later. The bond came very easily.  As we say here in Brazil- this is my new friend from childhood!”

Last year Etkin was invited again to Brazil, and the two decided to organize a collaborative recording session, inviting bassist João Taubkin and percussionist Kabé Pinheiro.  The music was fresh and new - written for the occasion on the weekend before the recording! Barco was composed by Taubkin and their previous single, Pro Carnaval Voltar, was composed by Etkin. Barco begins with a slow movement that flows into a duet between percussionist Kabé Pinheiro and Etkin.  Pinheiro uses a traditional dance form from his home state of Minas Gerais, strapping shakers to his ankles and creating rhythms with his whole body,  The tradition comes from Congado, an afro Brazilian devotional event dedicated to the Black Holly Mother. Taubkin explains that “the story tells of a vision that the enslaved people had in the 18th century in a lake of the Holly Mother… and she was black! When they came back to the main house of the farm and shared the miracle, they were beaten. This event lives on in a big procession each year, with hundreds of drums, singing and dancing. Kabé’s step dance is a reference to this tradition and the continuity of rhythm.”

About Open Arms Project

Last April, as the world was closing down, Etkin’s response was the Open Arms Project: a series of singles & videos highlighting various collaborations with great masters around the world - each characterized by a deep human bond formed out of a sense of listening and mutual respect.  The tracks were filmed and recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Harare Zimbabwe, Prague, Paris & São Paulo with musicians including Danilo Caymmi, Benjamim Taubkin, Thomas Enhco, Musekiwa Chongodza.

About Oran Etkin
Oran Etkin has been described as “great clarinetist, excellent improviser” by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times and “composer of eminent individuality” by Yusef Lateef. He was voted #1 Rising Star Clarinetist in DownBeat Magazine’s Critic’s Poll and has performed as a leader at venues including Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, WolfTrap, Kennedy Center and more. He has been invited twice to be a guest lecturer at Harvard University and is also the founder of the Timbalooloo educational program for young children. Etkin released six albums as a leader including four on the Motema label. Etkin's duo concert with Sullivan Fortner in Paris was chosen as one of the Top 6 Musical Highlights of the year by Libération, which described it as "a concert of weightlessness, class, spark, inspiration and sharing. Magic uninterrupted for two hours. The crowd went wild. For such is the music of Etkin: sensitive to the exchange with the audience.”

About Benjamim Taubkin
Pianist, composer, arranger and producer Benjamim Taubkin has created a distinct voice within Brazilian music and its intersection with music from all over the world. He has recorded 20 albums  as a leading artist, most of them on his own label - Nucleo Contemporâneo, and appears on over 150 other albums as guest musician, producer or arranger. Taubkin has traveled the world presenting his music from solo to Symphony Orchestras, collaborating with musicians from Morocco , India, South Africa , Korea , Israel, Colombia, Argentina and Spain. He has performed with a.o, Paulo Moura, Rafael Rabelo, Monica Salmaso, Zizi Possi, Nana Vasconcelos, and in special projects with Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento, João Bosco.

NEW RELEASE: Adam Moezinia’s FOLK ELEMENT TRIO is out April 16, 2021 via Outside in Music

Guitarist, Composer, Bandleader and Educator Adam Moezinia Explores Modern Arrangements of Folk Classics on His Debut Release, Folk Element Trio, Out April 16th On Outside in Music

Outside in Music is pleased to announce the release of esteemed guitarist Adam Moezinia’s first album as a bandleader, Folk Element Trio. A celebration of global folk traditions and the influence that the composer derives from them, this exciting new release features elements of Beninese, Malian, Welsh and American folk music in a jazz context. Folk Element Trio introduces audiences to Moezinia’s sophisticated, soulful compositional style and his refined improvisational facility. Bassist Dan Chmielinski and drummer Charles Goold fill out the remainder of Moezinia’s Folk Element Trio, the creative and cohesive unit that graces the album’s tracks.

This thoughtful and respectful display of musical synthesis seamlessly incorporates global musical idioms with the rich tradition of jazz, of which Moezinia is no stranger. Moezinia recalls “Since I was about twelve years old, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the musical genre that we call “jazz”. That being said, I’ve also consistently immersed myself in many other styles… I was going through a period of frequent writing when I realized that almost all of my compositions contained a certain element, the “Folk Element”: elements from more simple, folk-based music, less commonly found in jazz. From there, I started upon a sort of musical exploration, discovering for myself some of the different kinds of folk music from around the world.” From there, Moezinia sought to compose with the simplicity, lyricism and rhythmic traditions of folk music in mind, while also incorporating the harmonic intrigue of jazz.
The album begins with the song “Celebration” which draws influence from Beninese and Malian music. Along with “Groove March”, “Celebration” is part of a larger piece by Moezinia entitled the “Ivory Suite” which is inspired by, among many others, Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke and Malian singer Oumuo Sangare. The jubilant album-starter demonstrates the bandleader’s acuity for melodic invention as well as the stellar interplay that can be expected between these three masterful musicians on the remainder of the release.

Aside from Moezinia’s four original compositions, Folk Element Trio features four of the bandleader’s modern arrangements of timeless classics by such folk luminaries as Bob Dylan,  Robert Johnson, and Duke Ellington (whom Moezinia espouses to be one of America’s most beloved folk composers, as jazz is America’s folk music). On Ellington’s “Azalea”, Moezinia’s electric blues/country guitar sound achieved through the use of a reverb and tremolo, contrasts with Goold’s sparse deconstructed New Orleans “dirge” rhythm to create a unique and evocative texture. Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” features bassist Dan Chmielinski on the track’s melody with thoughtful accompaniment from Moezinia. One can’t help but note the beauty in the track’s nuanced changes in dynamics, and it’s clear influence by the work of Bill Frisell.  

The album concludes with the Mississippi Delta blues anthem “Come On in My Kitchen”. This decidedly modern arrangement offers the classic melody with subtle reharmonization and a boogaloo groove. Featuring another stunning solo by Moezinia, the piece demonstrates the bandleader’s intensive study in the blues tradition. With Folk Element Trio, Adam Moezinia has created a spirited blend of tradition and innovation, honoring the folk traditions of several countries while creating a sound that is entirely his own.

NEW RELEASE: Marques Carroll’s THE ANCESTOR’S CALL due out April 16, 2021 via JMarq Records

Celebrated Chicago-Based Trumpeter Marques Carroll Announces the April 16, 2021 Release of His Impassioned Recording Debut, The Ancestors’ Call

JMarq Records is proud to announce the April 16, 2021 release of The Ancestors’ Call, the new album from celebrated trumpeter Marques Carroll. Perhaps best known to audiences primarily as a member of the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective and for his work with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Chicago-based musician comes into his own on this extraordinary introductory release that pays homage to his ancestors and heritage. Joining Carroll is his tight-knit quintet featuring alto saxophonist Brent Griffin, pianist Amr Fahmy, bassist Christian Dillingham, and drummer Greg Art as well as special guests Victor Garcia on congas, trombonist Alex Wasily, and vocalist Sharon Irving.

On The Ancestors’ Call, Carroll weaves poignant stories of strength and resilience, integrity and pride, and spirituality and culture over the course of eight original compositions. The result is a rich sonic masterwork that presents listeners with a deep spiritual exploration of the African diaspora, told from his own unique perspective and informed by the experiences of his elders.  “I have been a firm believer throughout my life that our elders and ancestors are the foundation to our beginning.  I have been fortunate to have had so many of these great spirits in my life show and lead the way for me in my darkest hours and in my brightest moments.” The wisdom passed on to Carroll, and the responsibility he feels to carry on in their footsteps is the central theme of this affecting work. 
Arranged in eight sections, narratively ordered, the guiding voice of The Ancestors’ Call is an unnamed elderly man who symbolizes the voice and call of Carroll’s African-American ancestors. He shares his story of the beginning with “The Ancestors Call Upon Us”, the driving album opener.  “His voice is rooted in the sound of the drums and yet the other ancestors speak in melody with him, calling us to listen and to learn from the collective,” Carroll remarks. With fervent musical refrains, Carroll’s horn soars over the rhythm section, demonstrating the bandleader’s immense improvisational acuity. Carroll’s stellar horn arrangements and the rhythm section’s tight pocket are on full display during “Generational Response”, which reflects on just that – the response from the younger generation after digesting the lessons that the ancestors have bestowed.

Assemble the Enlightened” is a rousing ensemble piece and fiery call to action that prominently features improvisation from Carroll as well as Brent Griffin and Amr Fahmy. “As history has shown us, we must assemble as a unit and work together to fight injustice, hate, racism or whatever stares us in the face.” Carroll indicates. This transitions into the next track which challenges the audience to look past physical or inner battles to move forward. The impassioned “Beyond the Battle” begins with total musical entropy, and resolves to a refined groove, retaining its ardent nature by pushing steadily, building in anticipation and intensity. 

Urgency” begins with the bandleader alone and progresses towards a Latin-tinged melody, well-supported with a propulsive rhythm from Arty, Garcia, Dillingham and Fahmy. The piece serves as a reminder to move with purpose, and to be conscious of the struggles that have birthed freedom. With “Aries Goddess (For Consuela and the Fallen)” we pay tribute to a mother who is running to her son as she hears that he has just been gunned down. The bandleader notes that “this happens all too often whether it is by street violence or by the hands of those who are supposed to serve and protect. This piece is for all of our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives on this soil.” The piece, featuring vocalist Sharon Irving tells a definitive and heart-rending story of loss. 
Resolution For Us” reflects on the hope for peace of mind and heart that one holds amidst tragedy. Carroll and Griffin weave soulful and passionate melodies throughout a piece that is filled with harmonic and rhythmic intrigue. “Our Ancestors Final Words” delivers us back to the energy of the opener with a renewed emotional gravity and intensity. Messages of hope and encouragement are highlighted by the transition to a deep, lively swing with stunning solos from the ensemble. The bandleader notes that the ancestors deliver a powerful story during the closer that conveys “we come from strength and determination. Let us not forget who we are.”

With the release of The Ancestors’ Call, Marques Carroll comes to the fore as a major musical force with a distinctive voice and powerful intention: to respect the tradition, preserve the culture and push forward. He does all of that and more on this powerful new album, which will be available digitally via Bandcamp and other major retailers, and as a CD and vinyl LP

1. The Ancestors' Call Upon Us
2. Generational Response
3. Assemble The Elightened
4. Beyond The Battle
5. Urgency
6. Aries Goddess (For Consuela and The Fallen)
7. Resolution For Us
8. The Ancestors' Final Call

Marques Carroll (trumpet)
Brent Griffin (alto sax)
Amr Fahmy (piano)
Christian Dillingham (bass)
Greg Artry (drums)
Victor Garcia (congas)
Alex Wasily (trombone)
Sharon Irving (vocals)

Evan Arntzen - Countermelody (April 16, 2021 Dot Time Records)

Acclaimed Multireedist and Bandleader Evan Arntzen Announces His Jubilant Third Release as a Bandleader, Countermelody, Out April 16 on Dot Time Records

Featuring Special Guest Vocalist Catherine Russell

Dot Time Records is delighted to announce the latest release from multireedist, vocalist and bandleader Evan Arntzen.  Arntzen’s third album as a bandleader, Countermelody is a celebration of the interplay, collective improvisation and soulful counterpoint that played such a big role in Black American Music emanating from New Orleans in the first half of the 20th century.  During a time when convening is all but impossible, Countermelody brings the gaiety of live music to the recorded realm.  Recorded on October 2nd and 3rd, 2020, the group of stellar musicians featured on Countermelody gathered together to create music that will inspire listeners everywhere to get up, share joy and dance.  Arntzen’s superb reed and vocal musings are joined by trombonist Charlie Halloran, trumpeters Jon-Erik Kellso and Mike Davis, guitarist and banjoist Arnt Arntzen, pianist Dalton Ridenhour, bassist Tal Ronen, drummer Mark McLean and very special guest vocalist Catherine Russell.

Countermelody brings early-jazz-exuberance to an eager present in a release which author and Louis Armstrong historian, Ricky Riccardi, calls “the very definition of timeless” in the album’s liner notes.  Arntzen’s Dot Time Records debut features many of his own astounding arrangements of early New Orleans and Chicago jazz compositions written by such luminaries as Kid Ory, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Bennie Moten.  The release also features wonderfully innovative compositions by Arntzen, Halloran and Kellso.  Aside from thirteen hi-fidelity tracks, listeners will also be treated to tracks that were recorded to wax cylinder, a medium that actually predates when much of this music was composed.  Producer Scout Opatut notes “the wax cylinder recordings were made possible by the genius Colin Hancock, who engineered them with his Edison phonograph.  Everything you hear in those songs was done acoustically, without any electricity whatsoever.”
The album begins with Arntzen’s arrangement of the Kid Ory classic “Muskrat Ramble”.  The jubilant energy is palpable from the very first notes of the track, and uplifted even further by the powerful and soulful refrains of celebrated vocalist Catherine Russell.  Ricky Riccardi notes “Just seconds into the opening track, the four-horn ensemble tears through a chorus of ‘Muskrat Ramble’, each voice independently masterful on its own, the final product nothing short of miraculous.  Let it wash over you and then listen again and concentrate on a single instrument; in fact, do this for every instrument and you’ll marvel at the individual and collective brilliance of each musician present.”  

Arntzen’s vocals soar on the Sidney Bechet popularized “Georgia Cabin” before the bandleader is featured in a wonderful display of his improvisational facility.  Interestingly, this seems to be the first-ever recording of this composition with its lyrics intact.  Arntzen notes that he learned the lyrics from his 93-year-old grandfather Lloyd Arntzen (a celebrated clarinet player in his own right, who is still performing to this day).  While the song is well-known as an instrumental, Evan’s grandfather credits Mary Karoley for writing the lyrics (she is indeed listed as a co-composer of the song). 

One cannot bypass the musical cohesion of the ensemble on tracks like “Smiles”.  This bright-tempoed classic prominently features Arntzen’s melodic refrains but is supported brilliantly by Halloran’s counterpoint and an elastic rhythm section.  The ensemble welcomes back the esteemed Ms. Russell for the exquisitely nuanced “If You Were Mine”.  Russell’s warmth and zeal breathe life into this timeless composition, first made famous by Billie Holiday, and are complemented perfectly by the strength of the ensemble.

The group brings an exceptional intensity to Benny Green’s “Bu’s March” in which Ridenhour is featured with a powerful solo.  Interestingly, composer Benny Green helped Arntzen to arrange this piece for a larger ensemble.  Of course, Green wrote this song in honor of his former mentor and bandleader Art Blakey, and the vigour of the Jazz Messengers is conjured in Arntzen’s new, 3-horn arrangement.  The sole original composition by Arntzen, “Solitarity”, is a moving comment on the shared solitude of our modern existence. The piece begins with Arntzen’s solo clarinet refrains eventually building into a contrapuntal duet, ending with a raucous second-line ensemble. 
1. Muskrat Ramble
2. 18th Street Strut
3. Camp Meeting Blues
4. Georgia Cabin
5. Put 'Em Down Blues
6. When Erastus Plays His Old Kazoo
7. Smiles
8. If You Were Mine
9. Down by The Riverside
10. Alvita
11. Counter Intuitive
12. Bu's March
13. Solitarity
14. After You've Gone (Wax Cylinder Sessions)
15. Muskrat Ramble (Wax Cylinder Sessions)

Evan Arntzen - clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax, vocals (track 4)
Charlie Halloran - trombone
Jon-Erik Kellso - trumpet
Mike Davis - trumpet
Arnt Arntzen - guitar, banjo
Dalton Ridenhour - piano
Tal Ronen - bass
Mark McLean - drums
Catherine Russell – vocals (tracks 1, 8, 14, 15)

Produced by Scout Opatut, 4/4 Creative
Released by Dot Time Records
Project Manager/Spiritual Advisor: Jerry Roche
Recorded Oct. 2nd & 3rd, 2020, Big Orange Sheep Studios, Brooklyn, NY
Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Michael Perez-Cisneros
Assistant Engineered by Kevin Thomas
Wax Cylinders Engineered by Colin Hancock, Semper Phonograph Co.
Cylinder Recordings restored & transferred by John Levin using CPS1 Cylinder Playback System with V-Trace Cartridge 
Cover Photo by: B.A. Van Sise
Design by: Jaime Ford