Sunday, May 23, 2021

Francesco Beccaro - Upward (May 2021 Auand Records)

Francesco Beccaro, Upward
Francesco Beccaro debuts as a leader on Auand Records
A wise work that balances personal roots and cosmopolitanism

After a decade of on-stage and recording activity in New York, while also teaching at the Collective School of Music, and having just set up home in Berlin, Italian bass player Francesco Beccaro has recently finalized “Upward” – his debut album as a leader, out in stores and also on BandCamp on Friday, May 21st – in his hometown Biella, Italy.

He joins forces with Omri Abramov (sax), Tal Arditi (guitar) – both Israeli-born, Berlin-based musicians, and his brother Andrea Beccaro (drums). Another relative also pops up: their father Bruno Beccaro is the painter behind the CD cover art.

While the entire album will be available in May, seven singles are set to be out earlier on all major streaming platforms – the first one will be out on Friday, April 23rd, and the other six will follow every other week, until July 16th.

Highly energetic, intense, and improvisation-heavy, “Upward” relies on layered structures. It’s a sort of fusion music favoring a raw yet evocative sound that reminds of Metheny, Zawinul, Mehldau, Scofield, as well as of pop-rock, Bowie, Prince, Radiohead, and D’Angelo.
«I met Omri – Beccaro recalls – when I landed in Berlin, and we immediately bonded. He’s a great musician with a 360-degree perspective. And I met Tal even earlier, before officially moving to Berlin, while I was still trying to get a sense of the city. His approach struck a chord. He was willing to play and experiment new things. He’s such a pure talent that it would be a shame to let him go. My brother Andrea was a predictable choice. I grew up with him, musically speaking. He can read my mind. That’s why he is also a co-producer: we made every choice together. And we shared so much! We toured 3 continents in different scenarios ranging from 30 to 30 thousand people, and recorded on stage and in studio. We know each other so well that playing together comes naturally.»

Composed over several years, most of the tracks date back to Beccaro New York years, others were penned in Berlin and Italy. They show a sense of cinematic storytelling, partly revealing his background as a composer for dance performances and documentaries.

«My idea of music – he says – is quite simple: trying to convey something to the listener. This album draws heavily from daily life, including all political and social matters that shape its quality. Each track tries to send a clear message and aims at involving the listener in an emotional journey. I believe you can sense moments of rebellion, melancholy, positivity, or just an easy grooving-along feeling. I wrote “Via Vespucci” when walking back home on Graham Avenue in Brooklyn, along those two blocks called, you guessed it, Via Vespucci. I was lost in my thoughts, while the sunset over the buildings and the streets made me feel a sense of adventure, as if I were a cowboy discovering new frontiers. “Territorio Barbaro” was written when I got back to Italy, with that melancholy of leaving friendships built over a decade. “No Breakfast Blues” is exactly what it seems: a tune written as soon as I woke up, before breakfast, and there’s nothing like the early morning blues! “Rocky” poured spontaneously when Trump won, and I believe my feelings are quite clear in that track.»

1  Rocky
2  F1
3  No Breakfast Blues
4  Via Vespucci
5  Territorio Barbaro
6  Slow Walker
7  J.W.

Francesco Beccaro - bass
Omri Abramov - tenor sax
Tal Arditi - guitar
Andrea Beccaro - drums

Recorded at Il Pollaio, Ronco Biellese (BI), Italy on February 15th 2020 by Piergiorgio Miotto

Mixed at Léon’s Farm Studio, Venlo, The Netherlands on June 2020 by Léon Bartels
Mastered at Kerseboom Mastering, New York, USA January 8th, 2021 by Nate Wood

Produced by Francesco Beccaro
Co-produced by Andrea Beccaro
Executive producer: Marco Valente
Cover artwork: Aiguille Noire de Peuterey by Bruno Beccaro 
Inner photos by Damiano Andreotti

Eric Séva Triple Roots - Résonances (May 2021 Laborie Jazz)

Eric Séva - Triple Roots

Nouvel album Résonances

Le saxophoniste Éric Séva revient dans sa formule de prédilection, en trio acoustique pour l'album Résonances qui sort chez Laborie Jazz.

Dans cette formule épurée où la musique circule à grands flots, Eric Séva est accompagné par Kevin Reveyrand à la basse et Jean-Luc Di Fraya à la batterie et aux percussions. Éric Séva a toujours privilégié dans son parcours le jazz et l'improvisation, cʼest précisément parce que le métissage et la liberté en sont lʼessence même.

Après avoir joué avec des musiciens aussi divers que Didier Lockwood, Chris Réa, Thomas Fersen, David Krakauer, Henri Salvador, Michel Legrand, Sylvain Luc, ou encore Khalil Chahine, Eric Séva nous revient avec Triple Roots, un trio étincelant.
À lʼimage du rêve, la musique de l'album Résonances est un condensé dʼimaginaire qui autorise ce partenaire essentiel quʼest le public à voyager librement dans son sillage. Avec un bonheur jouissif constamment renouvelé.

Eric Séva renoue avec le saxophone ténor dans son trio Triple Roots, sa formule de prédilection, pour l'album Résonances chez Laborie Jazz.

La rencontre est l’essence même de la musique particulièrement des musiques du monde et du jazz. C’est d’elle que découle l’improvisation, un art délicat guidé par une entente absolue.

Éric Séva en avait conscience lorsqu’il a créé ce trio en appelant Kevin Reveyrand et Jean-Luc Di Fraya. Bien des points rassemblent les membres de cette formation : des racines artistiques profondes, une terre musicale nourricière qui leur a chevillé au corps la passion des conversations mélodiques et rythmiques issues des musiques populaires, une rencontre idéale autour du jazz et des musiques du monde ; un don commun pour le partage, entre eux comme avec le public. Dès la première rencontre leurs affinités se sont retrouvées au centre d’une combinaison magique pour servir une musique faites de compositions originales. Dans sa formule de prédilection Éric se retrouve entouré de deux musiciens d’exceptions, au carrefour d’un trio acoustique et épuré dont la musique circule naturellement. Ce trio est d’une évidence simple, jouer ensemble, improviser, partager, voyager…

Éric Séva, saxophones ténor et soprano, compositions
Kevin Reveyrand, basse
Jean-Luc Di Fraya, batterie, percussions, cajón, voix

Ray Gallon - Make Your Move (May 2021 Cellar Live)

Pianist Ray Gallon’s debut recording, Make Your Move, certified, approved and endorsed by the legendary Ron Carter, who contributed the liner notes, comes to us after more than three decades of Gallon plying his trade on stages and in studios around the world with the crème-de-la-creme of jazz. The NYC native (born in 1958), and longtime professor (currently a full-time faculty member of the BFA Jazz Program at The City College of New York), finally leaps into the fray as a bandleader with a stellar debut, featuring his favorite trio of first-call drummer Kenny Washington (the “Jazz Maniac”) and the much sought-after mainstay on the scene, bassist David Wong (Roy Haynes, The Heath Brothers, Clark Terry, Illinois Jacquet, Benny Green, Eric Reed, Wynton Marsalis, and many others). The exemplary trio is comprised of artists all born and raised in New York City!

Ray Gallon’s impressive CV does not indicate an artist “of the tradition,” or “from the tradition”, but rather an artist who embodies the tradition, one who is a modern-day, current, active jazz artist of the highest order. It includes appearances and recordings with the likes of Ron Carter, Lionel Hampton, Art Farmer, T.S. Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Wycliffe Gordon, Les Paul, Benny Golson, Frank Wess, Lew Tabackin George Adams, and The Mingus Big Band. Gallon has also been called upon to accompany many vocal greats (often indicative of a pianist’s elevated musicianship), including Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan, Grady Tate, Nnenna Freelon, Gloria Lynne, Dakota Staton, Joe Williams, Chaka Khan, Jane Monheit and others.

So, the looming question is, why now? What took Gallon so long to unleash his debut? “I needed to feel ready - that I had something special to offer, with a personal identity and a refined concept in terms of my playing, repertoire, and overall trio conception, all while being steeped in the classic tradition of swing and blues. What struck me most when I was coming up, spending countless nights at the Village Vanguard, Sweet Basil, and Bradley’s, seeing/hearing Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, Jimmy Rowles, Steve Kuhn (and many other masters), was how they each sounded uniquely original while remaining grounded in the tradition. These values were also instilled in me by my teachers, John Lewis, Jaki Byard and Hank Jones – who all stressed the importance of ‘finding your own voice’,” explains Gallon.

Also, simply put, Gallon has been busy working, fully engaged for the first fifteen years of his career as a valued sideman in studios and stages around the globe. This was followed by a period of forced retreat from the scene while he faced, battled, and recovered from colon cancer, while, at the same time, caring for his parents, both of whom were slowly succumbing to long term terminal illnesses. For the past 10 years, he’s finally had the chance to work steadily as a leader, doing countless gigs in local clubs, and having the opportunity to develop and fine-tune his personal, and trio, conception.

“With Make Your Move, everything came together just at the right time. I knew I wanted my first album to be in a trio setting, and I always had it in the back of my mind to do an album with David and Kenny, two dear friends who happen to make for a dream-team of a rhythm section. I’ve been playing regularly with David now for well over a decade - aside from being such a wonderful, special player (both as an accompanist and a soloist) with a great sound, he knows my music inside & out. I continually have to remind him that it’s bad etiquette to play better solos than the bandleader! It was very special for me to be able to do my first album with Kenny. Though I had not previously played in a trio setting with him, Kenny played a huge role in my early musical development, dating way back to when we first met as teenagers just out of high school. I had recently discovered (and become obsessed with) jazz and was working in the jazz aisle at J&R Records where Kenny was a regular customer; we’d hang for hours talking music, as he schooled me on who was who and what was what - even at that young age, Kenny already possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz recordings! One of the key reasons for Kenny’s preeminence as a drummer is his remarkable arrangement-oriented concept; his ability to bring every detail to light. This is exactly what he did with my music, even though he was playing it all for the first time,” says Gallon.

Some of the music on Make Your Move has been in Gallon’s book for a while, evolving and growing over the years in the process of Gallon honing in on the finer details, and bringing them to their full realization. While other compositions came out fully formed and ready to go!:
Kitty Paws – While playing for one of Sheila Jordan’s vocal workshops at City College, on a break, “I started fooling around with the chords of a standard song one of the singers had just performed, ‘The Song Has Ended but the Memory Lingers On,’ and out popped this playful melody that seemed to have the vibe of a tap-dancing feline,” says Gallon.

Out of Whack – An off-kilter Gallon composition that has alternating time feels and sections of uneven lengths (4+8+4+7 bars).

Craw Daddy – Gallon sees this composition as, “a modern take on an old-time blues; something that sounds both new and old at the same time. The title just seemed to capture this feeling.” “Craw Daddy” was previously recorded by T.S. Monk on his album Higher Ground (featuring Ray Gallon).

Harm’s Way – Aptly titled for the challenging up-tempo of the piece, and also because Gallon based the composition on the harmonic minor scale.

Back to the Wall – A play on words from a fond memory in Gallon’s life. He explained, “Academy Records, near Union Square, had this wall of super discounted CDs – I was hooked, regularly going ‘back to the wall’ to load up on gems of jazz and classical you could find amongst the flotsam and jetsam”. As for the composition, Gallon says, “While my tunes are generally melody-driven, they tend to include written-out bass figures and rhythmic hits that are structural parts of the compositional fabric – this reflects my love of Horace Silver and the way his compositions often include fully integrated rhythm section parts.”

I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance – “I love playing standard songs, particularly those I feel I can offer a personalized interpretation of. This arrangement includes moving bass figures and rhythmic hits within the context of a slow, spacious ballad. I originally conceived of this as a slow bossa, but, over the years, it evolved into what you hear on the record,” states Gallon.

That’s the Question – An early composition of Gallon’s, based on “Getting Sentimental Over You,” with some variation to the song’s chord progression. It’s a nod to bebop and a lot of fun for Gallon and Co. to play on gigs as a set opener or closer. It was first recorded by the Harper Brothers on their album You Can Hide Inside the Music. There is also a vocal version entitled, "I'm Running Late," with lyrics by Angela Verbrugge, on her album, The Night We Couldn't Say Good Night.

Hank’s A Lot – “Of all the great pianists I got the see play live, no one influenced me more than Hank Jones. I used to follow him around from gig to gig as if I were the president of his fan club. I especially loved when he played at Knickerbocker, where I could lean on the railing behind the piano for hours, looking over his shoulders, watching his hands, trying to “cop” as much as I could. One of the highlights of my student years was receiving an NEA grant to study with Mr. Jones privately. When I wrote this tune, it reminded me so much of him, it seemed only fitting to offer it as a dedication (and a huge “’Hank you”) to one of my true musical heroes,” says Gallon.

Yesterdays – Ahmad Jamal, upon hearing Gallon’s rendition of this Jerome Kern classic, enthusiastically responded to this tip-of-the-hat to Art Tatum. “While I in no way intended to emulate Tatum directly (I couldn’t if I tried!), I was inspired to utilize a few of his devices – the way he transitions from rubato into a spirited tempo through an ostinato bass line, his remarkably dissonant voicings, and that little riff he plays to signal the end of each chorus. Mr. Jamal recognized these references right away and, so far, he’s the only one who’s noticed!,” says Gallon.

Plus One – A contrafact based on Fat’s Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose,” this original is filled with breaks and rhythmic hits, and offers the familiar chord progression with a bit of a twist.

Make Your Move – Of the title track, Gallon says, “I’m particularly proud of how this piece balances a sunny, accessible melody with a harmonic structure and phrasing full of twists and turns. Whenever I see drummer Quincy Davis, he always requests this one. Nothing means more to me than the support of fellow musicians I respect and admire”. 

1. Kitty Paws 05:08
2. Out Of Whack 05:28
3. Craw Daddy 06:07
4. Harm's Way 04:56
5. Back To The Wall 05:22
6. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance 05:21
7. That's The Question 05:31
8. Hanks A Lot 04:36
9. Yesterdays 04:59
10. Plus One 04:05
11. Make Your Move 06:17

Ray Gallon – piano
David Wong – bass
Kenny Washington - drums

All compositions by Ray Gallon unless noted

Executive Producer: Cory Weeds
Produced by Ray Gallon
Recorded at Acoustic Reocrding, Brooklyn New York,
Engineered and mixed by Michael Brorby
Mastered by Dave Darlington
Photography by Anna Yatskevich
Design and layout by John Sellards

The Flashbulb - Seven Quarantine Poems (May 2021)

After 21 years of having the privilege of being able to call myself a professional musician, I've realized that writing or producing music is mostly about strategically organizing creative sacrifices and knowing when to hold back on a particular instrument or sound. This sacrifice is for the sake of the overall delivered mix. And that mix becomes tethered to a musician until the distant time comes when the last person listens to their music.

By removing the bells and whistles of modern music production and confining a song to one instrument, less sacrifices need to be made. It's liberating at times. Other times it feels raw, naked, and exposed. When I made "Compositions For Piano", I felt like an imposter. As if the ghost of a "real" jazz pianist was looking over my shoulder and vibing me. This led to sacrifices. I switched modes and scales less frequently than I'd like and pandered to thematic melodies more. That led to a thematic piano album that, over time, exceeded my expectations with its reception and inclusion on many listener's playlists for background music while studying or eating dinner.

I intended to make a part 2, and I still do. But this isn't that. This is my melodic comfort zone. It's too abstract or pretentious for a soundtrack or theme. Too rich and soupy for all of the sounds and features of electronic music. Simply and comedically put, it has "too many notes". I don't know what to call it other than "me". When I make time to be alone with a piano and want to express myself for the sake of my own therapy, this is what it sounds like, an audible EEG machine or translator.

These aren't compositions as much as they are common places, usually tethered to specific feelings or memories, that I found myself improvising around throughout 2020. What you're hearing is a single performance of these common places. I'll never play them note-by-note, as they're mostly improvised and will change with me.

Enjoy my raw melodic place.


1. The Breakfast Company 02:18
2. Old Quartz 02:02
3. Monticello Drive 01:55
4. Bakery Attack Channel 02:08
5. Window Smoke 03:08
6. Same Day Every Day 02:37
7. Las Vegas Rewind 02:42

Sophia Domancich - Le Grand Jour (May 28, 2021 peewee!)

With this grace so naturally eloquent that we obviously know her, Sophia DOMANCICH brings to light, in confidence of the vital act, a work of formerly scattered tales, teeming with a carnal dimension, the awakening of escaped memories, of forces of dreams, familiar, fixed ideas in motion, of light with a homing head, finds of clear inspirations, for thirst, where desire is discovered from the source to the estuary. Piano solo without loneliness. Sophia DOMANCICH, musician of multitudes, sublime bivouacs, bewitching caravans, orchestras of planets, birds in conferences, here close to fellow observers, Simon GOUBERT and Vincent MAHEY, plays in the crowd, as always.

But this time, she narrates like a whole life rich in intuitions through the links woven during a route joining the paths, the most concise, like the most shimmering; harmonious dedication to an awake minouchet. Sophia DOMANCICH exposes magnetized sentences of expectancy to better free the perspective, to experience the full meaning, to enlighten everyone the implicit, the validity of the course of all her years, her actuality, her perpetuity by interstices, opening to the light of day.

1. Django
2. Le Grand Jour
3. Une Idée Oubliée
4. Encore Une fois
5. Un Flamand Rose Sur Le Piano
6. Une Idée Claire
7. Berceuse Pour Noah
8. L'Oiseau Des Planètes
9. Trébuchante
10. Les Arbres Somnanbules
11. Une Idée Fixe
12. Fantômes

Sophia DOMANCICH: Piano, Fender Rhodes

Produced by Simon GOUBERT and Vincent MAHEY.
Executive produced by François YVERNAT and Virginie CROUAIL.
Recorded by Vincent MAHEY 31st January and 15th March 2020 at Studio Sextan, assisted by Arthur GOURET and Matthieu CHAMPERNAUD.
Mixed by Vincent MAHEY at Studio C.
Mastering by Raphaël Jonin, Raph I.N.G

Alex Collins / Ryan Berg / Karl Latham - Together ( June 1, 2021)

1. Stella by Starlight
2. Alone Together
3. On Green Dolphin Street
4. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
5. Night Dreamer
6. Invitation

Alex Collins - Piano
Ryan Berg - Bass
Karl Latham - Drums

Recorded at: Firefly Studios, Warwick, NY
Recording Engineer: Karl Latham
Mix/Mastering Engineer: Paul Wickliffe
Mix/Mastering: Skyline Productions, South Orange, NJ

IEP4TET (& Guests) - Biharko Zubi (May 2021)

The return of the iep4tet... with some guests : classical trombone, strings quartet, full band, choir and even a MC.

A graduate in Trombone, Analysis, Composition and Jazz, Sébastien has taken part in the recording of more than 50 discs, notably in Jazz, including three as a leader. His project Iep4tet was created in 2011 and made two albums.

The Brass Under Influence is a Brass Band directly inspired by the formations of New Orleans, a town he loves. He leads also the Iep BigTet, a 20-piece Jazz Big Band.

1. Suit For MC I - Sorrow Waltz 03:06
2. Suit For MC II - For M. 02:15
3. Suit For MC I - 01:51
4. INTERLUDE : Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans ? 01:06
5. Bransles et variations Anachroniques I - Beltz 04:49
6. Bransles et variations Anachroniques I 02:17
7. Bransles et variations Anachroniques I 00:19
8. INTERLUDE : Why Don't You Go To New Orleans ? 00:44
9. Suite Impaire Au V.I.T.R.I.O.L. I 01:58
10. Suite Impaire Au V.I.T.R.I.O.L. I 01:56
11. Suite Impaire Au V.I.T.R.I.O.L. I 01:28
12. INTERLUDE : New Orleans 00:35
13. Hip Hop Suit 01:56
14. Hip Hop Suit III - Don't Blame My Hip Hop Thing 03:06
15. INTERLUDE : Yes I Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans 01:09
16. Endaia 05:26
17. Alabama 07:23

Sébastien "iep" Arruti (Trombone, Compositions)
Alain Coyral (Baritone Saxophone)
Timo Metzemakers (Double bass)
Didier Ottaviani (Drums)

Record, mix and master by Didier Ottaviani
Photo by Christophe Maroye
Artwork by Louis Thore

Serries / Verhoeven / Webster - Aesthetics (May 2021 Fort Evil Fruit)

This trio made up half of the band Tonus on the deliberate, glacial and minimal Monograph 50 (released on FEF last year). Aesthetics is a real contrast, capturing one day of studio and live recordings from Dirk Serries, Martina Verhoeven and Colin Webster, on acoustic guitar, cello and alto sax respectively. Though the dynamics ebb and flow, the players inexorably gravitate towards wrenching abrasive textures from their instruments in rapid pointillist flurries.

1. I 07:54
2. II 08:23
3. III 07:29
4. IV 29:43

Dirk Serries : acoustic guitar
Martina Verhoeven : cello
Colin Webster : alto sax

I-III : performed, recorded, mixed at the Sunny Side Inc.
Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium) on December 15th 2018.

IV : live in concert at Jurgen Moortgat’s living room
concert series (Mechelen, Belgium) on December 15th
2018. Recorded and mixed by Dirk Serries.

Mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium).

Yama Yuki / Darisbo / Crise Vitória - Gibon (2021 Fort Evil Fruit)

Yama Yuki is a Japanese composer now based in São Paulo. In 2020, he released the album “Panelaço” on Cafe OTO's Takuroku label, which was inspired by the noise of South American political protests. The album “Gibon” also reflects his current home, taking as source material the music of Brazilian improviser Guilherme Darisbo (who is active in the Latin American improvisation scene and hosts the experimental music label,including noise music produced under the alias Crise Vitória. From this, Yama crafts airy electroacoustic landscapes of richly textured drone punctuated by wayward electronic squalls and looped guitar.

"The idea for this album came when I listened to the recordings of improvisation by Guilherme Darisbo and Crise Vitória. These recordings inspired me to weave new compositions from them. The fast, minimal, raw and sometimes gentle sound of Guilherme Darisbo / Crise Vitória’s improvisation made me think of the paintings of Sengai Gibon, who is a 18-19th century Japanese zen painter. For me, Sengai Gibon’s paintings share various similarities with Darisbo’s improvisation, because of the above mentioned characteristics. Listening to Darisbo’s improvisation, I chose certain moments of the recording, looping them, adding effects and subtle layer sounds, and finally editing them in accordance with the aesthetics I sensed in the paintings of Sengai Gibon." - Yama Yuki

1. Lotus Pond 01:59
2. Enso 05:54
3. Meditating Frog 04:24
4. Chanoyu 03:45
5. Tiger Poem 02:56
6. Hakozaki 03:23

Original improvisation by Guilherme Darisbo and Crise Vitória.
Edit and composition by Yama Yuki
Mastered at Casa Metaesquema
Cover art by Evan Lindorff-Ellery

1,2,6 (Yama Yuki + Guilherme Darisbo)
3,4 (Yama Yuki + Guilherme Darisbo + Crise Vitória)
5 (Yama Yuki + Crise Vitória)