Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Violinist/vocalist Yilian Cañizares releases "Yemayá" for UN World Oceans Day on June 8

Violinist/vocalist Yilian Cañizares announces the release of her new single "Yemayá"

The tribute to the West African Goddess of the Sea was specially conceived for United Nations World Oceans Day on June 8, 2021

Cuban violinist/vocalist Yilian Cañizares has been invited to perform during the United Nations World Oceans Day on June 8, 2021. For this very special occasion she will perform "Yemayá," her tribute to the West African Goddess of the Sea. She will also release a gorgeous video of the song on June 8.

Yemayá symbolizes Mother Earth and is represented by the colors blue and white: blue for placid waters of the sea and white for the tips of the waves that can bring the force of the ocean. Ylilian has projected the image of the Yoruba Goddess of the Sea as a healing force that will unite humanity.

A deep relationship with sound, music and the sea have been central in Yilian's life since her early years in Cuba. The strong symbolism and the sacred dimension of water are part of the daily life of any Cuban. That is why she has naturally felt inspired to be the "voice of the ocean" asking herself this question: if the sea could send a message to humanity, what would it be? Through "Yemayá," Yilian hopes to contribute in raising awareness about the challenges faced by the oceans, as well as the cultural heritages of all cultures on the planet which rely on healthy and prosperous oceans.

Yilian Cañizares composed this song combining Afro-Cuban futurist rhythms to draw awareness of the danger that the world's oceans are facing and to celebrate the spiritual dimension of the work to preserve the world's oceans. The song and the dance evoke the movement of the waves and the fundamental role that our positive interaction with the environment has for the survival of humanity. She calls on Yemayá to help humanity heal the pollution of the oceans and to respect Mother Earth.

More than just a musician, Cañizares is a global Cuban artist with a social conscience. She forms part of the diaspora of talented Cuban artists who have spread across the world sharing their music, social conscience and spiritual sensibilities through their work. Her Afro-Cuban futurist style blends her classical virtuosity and jazz sensibilities with her Havana life experience. She toured with Cuban jazz legends Chucho Valdes and Omar Sosa and played in many classical concert halls and conservatories as well. As a soloist, she embraces a women's perspective of Afro-Cuban music, absorbing the strength and rhythms of the sea and the nurturing warmth of Mother Earth.

Join the @yemayachallenge: a dance challenge to Yilian's song to heal the planet's oceans

"Yilian is one of the most incredible talents of the new generation of Cuban musicians. She is a virtuoso, she is expressive, spontaneous and with a grace that makes her the favorite of all of us." - Chucho Valdés

Yilian Cañizares is one of the most intriguing contemporary violinists, singers and composers. Always staying true to her origins, she skillfully blends jazz, classical and Afro- Cuban rhythms with her otherworldly voice. Whether on stage or in a recording studio, there are few talented artists like Yilian – who was born in Havana and settled in Switzerland – with such great respect for the past and sensitivity towards the future, accompanied by a smile to die for.

Two acclaimed albums, the self-produced “Ochumare” released in 2013 and its 2015 follow-up “Invocación,” under the guidance of Alê Siqueira (Roberto Fonseca, Omara Portuondo), have strengthened her reputation as an innovative artist who is capable of transcending musical boundaries. French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur called her the “revelation of the year” due to her charisma, influences and the ease with which Yilian sings and plays the violin.

When she was just 14 years old, Yilian Cañizares was offered a scholarship to study in Caracas. In 2000, she moved to Switzerland to study at a conservatory. After a few years, major orchestras began to request her and, after moving to Lausanne, she collaborated with several ensembles for six years. During this period, the artist created a quartet of musicians from Germany, Venezuela and Switzerland (and later Cuba) and named it “Ochumare”. Six months later, in 2008, she won the Montreux Jazz Festival Competition with this group. Since then, her career has crescendoed. In recent years, she has shared a stage with Ibrahim Maalouf, Omar Sosa, Youn Sun Nah, Richard Bona, Chucho Valdés, Roberto Fonseca, Dhafer Youssef, the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne and El Comité. “My sound reflects the richness and mixture of cultures that I carry with me today. It reflects what I am: a woman, Cuban, musician and citizen of the world", explains the artist.“Invocación”, her second album, topped last year’s Qobuz world music ranking and has been reissued in a deluxe edition.

“Aguas”, the album produced in collaboration with Omar Sosa, was released on 5th October 2018. Together with their compatriot Inor Sotolongo on percussion, the duo created an intimate, personal record that reflects the perspectives of two generations of Cuban artists who live a long way from their homeland. The album is a mix of moving songs and energetic ballads, a symbol of the incomparable musical chemistry between the two artists. A unique fusion between Afro-Cuban music, classical music and jazz.

The new album, “Erzulie”, named after the Haitian goddess of love and freedom, was released on 15th November 2019 with her new format Yilian & The Maroons. Recorded in New Orleans, the album features the participation of several guests including Christian Scott (trumpet), Michael League (double bass), Bill Laurance (piano), Bobby Sparks (organ) and Justin Stanton (keyboards).

Joe Ascione / Brian Ogilvie / Billy Mitchell - The Return (April 2021 nagel heyer records)

"...a nice, relaxed, swing style blowing session." Jazz Improv

Drummer Joe Ascione's love for drummer Buddy Rich is no secret as he goes to town with the 12 tracks on this CD. He fronts an octet through these standards like a hot knife through butter, and the group could not be more en fuego. Veterans Randy Sandke, trumpet, Dan Barrett, trombone, the legendary tenor saxophonist Billy Mitchell, Bob Haggart, bass (since passed on) join multi-instrumentalist Brian Ogilvie, pianist Mark Shane, and guitarist James Chirillo for a hard driving, soulfully swinging tribute to Rich. 

Throughout the date, Ascione, 35 at the time of this recording, acquits himself well. He's not as brash as Rich (who could be?) but pushes the band without being pushy. Everyone in the combo contributes arrangements, most noticeable is Barrett's bouncy, sprightly "Limehouse Blues," ultra cool "Soft Winds," and Ogilvie's uppity chart on "I Want to Be Happy" where he takes an extroverted alto sax lead. Sandke's duet with Ascione on "Nica's Dream" is quite stripped down and daring, and the 14:19 "Blues #5 (Blues for Kurtchen)" is a downtrodden finale where everyone in the band gets blue for Rich. Mitchell's feature on "J & B's Bag" is the CD's highlight, and it's great to hear this icon still very much in the game, his original, bluesy legato sound intact and vibrant. Rich was short and snappy, and so are these tunes for the most part.

At times you think their lamps are trimmed and burning, as if there's a prescribed cut-off point. There's a variance in tempo from up to down and back up, an interesting contrast in a tribute to a person who was generally pretty fiery. Kudos to Ascione and crew for a fine offering of pure, authentic, professional, mainstream jazz. Highly recommended for lovers of traditional, classic sounds. AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos

1. Cottontail 05:59
2. My Buddy 05:34
3. J & B's Bag 04:57
4. Here's That Rainy Day 05:06
5. Sing That 04:52
6. Limehouse Blues 04:58
7. Hi Fly 06:28
8. Nica's Dream 04:11
9. Funny How 05:24
10. Goodbye Yesterday (Blues #5) 14:20
11. Straight No Chaser 05:01
12. Soft Winds 05:53
13. I Want to Be Happy 04:16
14. The Return 05:21
15. Love for Sale 07:19

Remastered & Extended Version of NHCD 036

Joe Ascione - drums
Randy Sandke - trumpet
Dan Barrett - trombone
Brian Ogilvie – clarinet, saxes
Billy Mitchell – tenor sax
Mark Shane - piano
James Chirillo - guitar
Bob Haggart - bass

Frank Vignola - guitar (#5, 9, 14)

Recorded on November 3, 1996 at Blue Noise Studio, Hamburg, Germany.
Track #5, 9 and 14 recorded at Nola Studios, New York City.

Francisco Mora Catlett - Mora! I&II (April 2021 Far Out Recordings)

Far Out Recordings is delighted to present Mora, and for the first time ever on vinyl Mora II. Mexican-American percussionist and former member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Francisco Mora Catlett originally recorded and released his debut solo LP as a private press in 1987, but the sequel he recorded over the course of the next few years with an expanded Detroit jazz brass section was shelved for decades to follow. A pan-American melting pot of hypnotic afro-cuban rhythms, frenetic batucadas and fiery sambas, Mora I & II are holy grails of latin jazz, masterminded by an unsung hero of the genre.

Born in Washington DC, 1947, Francisco Mora Jr is the eldest child of two highly prominent Mexican artists, Francisco Mora Sr and Elizabeth Catlett, to whom this project was dedicated. Being born into a mixed heritage bohemian family provided Mora Jr with what he called a “creative, progressive, and healthy arts environment”, building the foundations for a fascinating career journey ahead. Mora grew up in Mexico City where he began working as a session musician for Capitol Records in 1968, before moving to study at Berklee Music College in Boston, MA in 1970.

Once he’d completed his studies in 1973, he very briefly returned to Mexico City with the best intentions of cultivating an avant-garde movement in the city, but when the Sun Ra Arkestra came to perform, Mora ended up leaving with the band to tour the world for the next seven years, a decent innings within a group famous for its constantly evolving line up.

Settling in Detroit after his years with the Arkestra, Francisco set to work on his self-titled debut, gathering an ensemble of musicians that included keyboardist Kenny Cox, founder of the legendary Strata Records, esteemed bassist Rodney Whitaker of the Roy Hargrove Quintet and percussionists Jerome Le Duff, Alberto Nacif, and Emile Borde. The album openly embraces and unites the broad spectrum of improvisation, rhythm, and jazz that has thrived throughout the American continents for centuries. In Mora’s own words the album intended to “manifest the African heritage presence in the American continent.” Epitomising this outlook, album opener ‘Afra Jum’ deploys a melody based on Haitian, African and Native American motifs, which is expanded upon by the soulful excellence of the Detroit veterans Cox and Whitaker, amidst a backdrop of afro-cuban inspired percussion.

The sequel Mora II was recorded shortly after with an expanded line up that included trumpet legend Marcus Belgrave, famed for his work with Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Hank Crawford, Eddie Russ and Wendell Harrison. Continuing the concept of the first album, the follow up moves deeper into South America with the samba jazz dance belter ‘Amazona’, led by the rich vocals of Francisco’s wife Teresa Mora. The ‘Afra Jum’ concept is further explored, with the original motifs beefed up by the additional horns, and interspersions of Sun Ra inspired rumbling free improvisations. This follow up album remained shelved until 2005, when Mora put it out as a now obscure CD titled River Drum, but only now has it been given the high quality vinyl treatment it so deserves, presented as the sequel to Mora! as originally intended.

Through the 90s and into the the 21st century Mora would continue his Pan-American explorations, moving toward a more electronic afro-futurist direction as part of Detroit techno pioneer Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra. Mora also worked with Carl Craig, moog synth wizard Craig Taborn, and his former Arkestra colleague, the legendary Marshall Allen, to form the Innerzone Orchestra spin-off Outerzone, released in 2007 on Premier Cru Records.

CD / Digital

1 Prelude Welcome
2 Afra Jum
3 Rumba Morena
4 Five Am
5 Samba De Amor
6 Cultural Warrior
7 Epilogue Conga Hasta La Vista

8 Afra Jum
9 Amazona Prelude / Dawn
10 Amazona
11 Samba / Conga Do Amor
12 El Moro
13 Old Man Joe
14 Por Que Paro
15 Afra Jum

Vinyl LP - Mora! I

Side A
1 Prelude “Welcome”
2 Afra Jum
3 Rumba Morena
4 Five A.M.

Side B
1 Samba De Amor
2 Cultural Warrior
3 Epilogue - Conga “Hasta La Vista”

Vinyl LP - Mora! II

Side A
1 Afra Jum
2 Amazona
3 Amazona Prelude / Dawn
4 Samba Conga Do Amor

Side B
1 Por Que Paro
2 Afra Jum
3 Old Man Joe
4 El Morro

All tunes composed and arranged by: Francisco Mora, Jr.

1. Prelude "Welcome" 01:33
2. Afra Jum 11:54
3. Rumba Morena 04:51
4. Five AM 05:34
5. Samba De Amor 07:04
6. Cultural Warrior 09:28
7. Epilogue-Conga "Hasta La Vista" 01:35
8. Afra Jum Pt. 2 06:27
9. Amazona Prelude "Dawn" 06:52
10. Amazona 04:01
11. Samba "Conga Do Amor" 05:19
12. El Moro 05:53
13. Old Man Joe 04:49
14. Por Que Paro 00:46
15. Afra Jum Pt. 3 02:30

Francisco Mora: Drums and Percussion
Emile Borde: Steel Drums and Percussion
Vincent Bowens: Soprano/Tenor Saxophones & Flute
Ken Cox: Piano
Jerome Le Duff: Berimbau and Percussion
Teresa Mora: Vocal and Percussion
Alberto Nacif: Quinto, Congas and Percussion
Rodney Whitaker: Contrabass

Additional Musicians on Mora II:
Sherman Mitchell: Trombone
Marcus Belgrave - Trumpet
John Douglass - Trumpet and Flugel Horn
Alex Harding - Baritone Sax and Bass Clarinet

‘Amazona Prelude’ String Quartet:
Michele May - 1st Violin
Pat Moore - 2nd Violin
Nina White - Viola
Tanya Bennett - Cello

Produced by: Francisco Mora
Recorded at: Studio A, Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Engineer: John Jaszcz
Mixed: John Jaszcz and Francisco Mora