Monday, May 24, 2021

Keith Oxman and Frank Morelli - The Ox-Mo Incident (May 2021 Capri Records)

Tenor saxophonist Keith Oxman and bassoon virtuoso Frank Morelli find unique common ground on their new jazz-meets-classical quintet album

The Ox-Mo Incident, due out May 21, 2021 via Capri Records, pairs the Denver jazz great with the Juilliard bassoon professor for an unprecedented outing featuring pianist Jeff Jenkins, bassist Ken Walker and drummer Todd Reid

"If anyone still needs convincing that outstanding jazz players live and work in places other than on the East and West Coasts, they should check out Denver-based Keith Oxman... an excellent improviser with a fine sound, agile technique and sure harmonic sense. He also exhibits a thorough knowledge of the hard bop language and can swing like crazy." 
–  David Franklin, JazzTimes

“Morelli coaxed the most exquisite tones from his instrument. They were at times husky, gruff and growling, and at others sweet and soaring across three octaves, but always mellow and elegant, like a fine, mature red Burgundy.”
– John Farnworth, The Register Guardian

Jazz and classical music have crossed paths myriad times over the decades, but rarely is the meeting as unconventional yet congenial as this unlikely partnership between Denver-based tenor saxophonist Keith Oxman and bassoon virtuoso Frank Morelli. On their debut release, The Ox-Mo Incident, the two gifted instrumentalists turn the novel conjunction of two strange bedfellows into an intoxicating sound and a charming conversation between like-minded souls.

The pairing is a first for both Oxman and Morelli, and perhaps for jazz itself (if not, it’s beyond doubt a true rarity). Due out May 21, 2021 via Capri Records, The Ox-Mo Incident marks Morelli’s initial venture as a soloist into the world of jazz, a step he takes with swinging grace and agility. It proved challenging for Oxman in different ways, who had to darken his sound to share the frontline with such an unfamiliar partner. The two are expertly accompanied by three of Oxman’s Denver compatriots – pianist Jeff Jenkins, bassist Ken Walker and drummer Todd Reid, who also joined the saxophonist for his 2018 album Glimpses with sax legend Dave Liebman.

The album’s title makes a playful reference to Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s 1940 western novel The Ox-Bow Incidentand its cinematic adaptation starring Henry Fonda. But where that dark story finds a pair of drifters meeting a lynch mob in pursuit of suspected cattle rustlers, this chance encounter ends with decidedly happier results.

While their warm, casual rapport makes Oxman and Morelli seem like old friends, they in fact barely knew each other prior to the 2019 session that yielded The Ox-Mo Incident. The saxophonist’s wife, visual artist Susan Oxman (who provides the album’s liner notes) had studied bassoon with Morelli at the Hartt School and Manhattan School of Music. The two, whose birthdays fall just one week apart, would call each other each year during their respective celebrations. It was during one of these phone conversations that Morelli cracked a half-joking remark about the possibility of recording with her husband.

“Frank is just an unbelievable musician,” Oxman enthuses. “So I was really excited when he suggested this. Even though jazz might not be his musical field, good musicians are good musicians. And when somebody's as good as Frank, there's got to be something there.”

In choosing material for the session, the duo devised a clever way to find middle ground between their respective comfort zones. Many of the tunes selected were penned by songwriters familiar from the jazz repertory – Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe – but the particular pieces represented here were, in many cases, derived from classical compositions.

For instance: an old favorite, “Baubles, Bangles and Beads,” written by Robert Wright and George Forrest for the 1953 musical Kismet and performed by everyone from Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim to Sarah Vaughan to Gerry Mulligan, is based on a theme from Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet No. 2. The sultry version here borrows the bossa feel from the Sinatra-Jobim rendition. The same source yields the classic “Stranger in Paradise,” its enticing melody essayed by Morelli with stunning charm and dexterity.

“Full Moon and Empty Arms,” best known for Sinatra’s 1945 version but also explored by countless artists from Erroll Garner to Freddie Hubbard to Bob Dylan, is similarly based on a classical composition, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and is given a swooning, romantic treatment by Oxman and Morelli. “Three for Five” is a take on Brahms’ Third Symphony that eloquently showcases Morelli’s expressive suppleness on his instrument as well as Oxman’s emotional range, while “Poor Butterfly” takes flight from Puccini’s opera into smoky noir balladry. Gabriel Fauré’s well-known “Pavane” shines another spotlight on Morelli’s mesmerizing virtuosity, as he flawlessly renders the melancholy melody before yielding to Oxman’s soulful interpretation.

“I think we both had to endure each other's teaching a bit,” says Oxman with a laugh. “I'm not a classical player and Frank didn't see himself as a heavy jazz guy, so between the two of us we were like the blind leading the blind in some ways. But we were both thrilled with the results.”

For the remainder of the non-original material, the pair delved more into the jazz songbook. The album opens with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Happy Talk,” a spirited jaunt that sets the upbeat tone for the project as a whole. The same songwriting team contributes “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” echoing the classic Miles Davis version. The album closes with the wistful “I Could Have Danced All Night,” which seems to look excitedly forward to another meeting.

Oxman also contributes two original tunes to the setlist. The title track was written for the occasion and makes ideal use of the singular tonal pairing, while “A Wasp in Search of a Hart and Lung” sticks to the jazz-meets-classical theme, albeit in a more tongue-in-cheek fashion. The eyebrow-raising title pays homage to Oxman’s one-time violin teacher, Sarah Hart, and her husband, Eric Lung. “I wasn't a very good violin player, but I practiced every single day,” Oxman explains. “My family endured it, but you can't pick that instrument up in your 50s and do much.” During one lesson, a wasp flew into the studio; Hart called out to her husband for help, who simply responded, “Just tell Keith to start playing – it'll leave!”

With all of the challenges that Oxman and Morelli faced in recording The Ox-Mo Incident, the major factor in their favor was the warm chemistry that they forged together, one that they hope to revisit soon. “The friendship that developed was so special,” Oxman concludes. “I've suddenly got this friend who I feel like I've known my whole life. We worked really hard, but in the end I was just excited to be working with somebody who I admired that much.”

Keith Oxman’s burnished tenor sound is born of a love of classic players like Sonny Stitt and Charles McPherson, with both of whom he’s played, along with greats like Art Blakey, Buddy Rich, Jack McDuff, Phil Woods and Dave Brubeck. Having learned directly from these masters, Oxman passes that torch along to his students at Denver’s East High School. In recent years he’s collaborated with the likes of Curtis Fuller, David Liebman and Houston Person and reunited with his iconic Denver band the Jazz Worms to release the quintet’s first new album in nearly three decades.

Bassoon soloist, chamber musician and teacher Frank Morelli studied at the Manhattan and Juilliard Schools of Music and was the first bassoonist awarded a doctorate by the Juilliard School. A member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the woodwind quintet Windscape, he has also made nine appearances as a soloist in Carnegie Hall. He serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, SUNY Stony Brook and was recently named Distinguished Lecturer in Woodwinds at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, CUNY.

Happy Talk (6:57)
Full Moon and Empty Arms (5:14)
The Surrey With the Fringe on Top (5:16)
Baubles, Bangles and Beads (6:08)
The Ox-Mo Incident (5:38)
Three for Five (6:30)
Strangers in Paradise (7:46)
Poor Butterfly (6:10)
A Wasp in Search of a Hart and Lung (5:54)
Pavanne (6:01)
I Could Have Danced All Night (5:52)

Keith Oxman - tenor saxophone
Frank Morelli - bassoon
Jeff Jenkins - piano
Ken Walker - bass
Todd Reid - drums

Ramiro Pinheiro - Sentido (May 2021)

“Ramiro Pinheiro’s Sentido is highly recommended to any listener having a love for Brazilian jazz. The rich melodies, variety, and top-notch musicianship along with the consistent creativity make this a memorable release.” Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian []

1. Quatro Ventos 03:50
2. Viagem Nova 04:07
3. Sabor de Madrugada 04:38
4. Nasceu Pra Navegar 03:40
5. Choro Do Poeta 06:15
6. Pr'um Samba 03:20
7. Tutu 03:49
8. Baião de Longe 03:27
9. Canto Triste 07:10

Ramiro Pinheiro [acoustic guitar]
Horacio Fumero [double bass] except on Tracks 3, 7 - Rodrigo Balduino [electric bass]
Nicolas Correa [drums]
Pablo Giménez [flute] on Tracks 4, 5, 7, 8
Gabriel Amargant [clarinet] on Track 1
Hugo Arán [vocals] on Track 2
Rita Payés [trombone] on Track 3
Rodrigo Bezerra [electric guitar] on Track 3
Marina Ribeiro [vocals] on Track 3
Edi Barcelo [vocals] on Track 4
Crá Rosa [percussion] on Track 4
Ana Rossi [vocals] on Track 6
Àlvar Monfort [trumpet] on Track 6
Pedro Bastos [accordion] on Track 8
Ed Moreira [percussion] on Track 8
Pablo Selnik [flute] on Track 9

Recording & Mixing:
Jordi Vidal | Estudi Laietana [Barcelona]

Ramiro Pinheiro

Sandro Zerafa - Last Night When We Were Young (2021)

Sandro Zerafa is a Maltese guitarist/composer living in Paris. Graduate of the University of Malta and the Lyons Conservatory he is winner of several awards at La Defense jazz contest and a founder member of the Parisian based jazz musicians' collective and recording label - Paris Jazz Underground. He has recorded 4 award-winning albums as a leader and has collaborated on 20 albums as a sideman.

1. You Do Something To Me 02:49
2. Last Night When We Were Young 03:43
3. Who Cares 03:23
4. Young At Heart 04:48
5. Pure Imagination 04:09
6. Never Will I Marry 04:47
7. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing 05:00
8. Secret Love 05:19
9. If I Had You 05:28
10.It's De-Lovely 04:55
11. The Folks Who Live On The Hill 06:41

Sandro Zerafa (guitar)
Duo with Vincent Bourgeyx (piano) on tracks 1,2,5,6,10,11
Trio with Yoni Zelnik (bass) & Antoine Paganotti (drums) on tracks 3,4,7,8,9

Recorded at Studio Sextan - La Fonderie, Malakoff by Alban Sautour on June 22 & 23, 2020
Mixed and mastered by Alban Sautour

Taxi Consilium - The Essential Sunday Gloom (May 2021 PMGJazz)

Taxi Consilium is the spiritual conjointment of four well established musicians on the PMG Jazz label and the unwholesome Macedonian Jazz Æther (Cobalt Code Unit, Yordan Kostov Quintet, Filip Bukrshliev Trio, Fighting Windmills, Svetlost Odron Ritual..), guided by the eternal wisdom of seasoned taxi drivers prowling the desolate city streets at 3 in the morning. It is epitomic after-midnight music. Maybe what Eric Dolphy would play if he was a character in a Thomas Pynchon novel. A doped up horn man who moonlights as a P.I. It is the wail of a lonely clarinet playing counterpoint to the dim sounds of fornication from the other room. Shadows and smoke, distant ominous laughter. A free-jazz hard-on in a shady dark alley.

1. A John Wayne Movie Was On... 16:35
2. Flightless Bird 10:44
3. Buffalo Mating Manoeuvre 20:10
4. Miasma Of Shame 06:53
5. Night Falling Into Desert Stilness 10:01
6. ....And Then Some 00:48

Blagojche Tomevski [bass clarinet + Bb Clarinet]
Filip Bukrshliev [guitar]
Andrea Mircheska [double bass]
Dragan Teodosiev [drums]

Composed by:
Filip Bukrshliev [1; 2; 4; 5]
Blagojche Tomevski [6]
Tomevski, Bukrshliev, Mircheska, Teodosiev [3]

Recorded by Ivica Jankulovski on 18.01.2021 in Alshar Studio
Recording assisted by Bisera Anastasova
Mixed & mastered by Vladan Drobicki
Cover & design by Filip Bukrshliev

Maraton - Maraton (May 2021 Barefoot Records)

Join a meditative journey through unknown landscapes from rainforest wilderness to mountain highlands. This 40 min cinematic ambient album has been a long trip in itself for the 4 musicians as the music has been created through improvised maraton-concerts, curated as different challenges from playing 9 hours straight with no breaks to playing 4 times 1 hour in 1 day. Four musicians with very different backgrounds ranging from rock and hip hop to experimental freejazz wanted to experience how this kind of physical and mental challenge influences creativity and music. Would they come closer to transcending, would they get a stronger connection between them, or would the challenges reveal things in themselves and their musical practice that they did not know of before? An enormous amount of material has been listened to, selected, edited and produced, but with the dogma of no overdubs. Enjoy listening!

1. Tibet
2. Drømmeskovene
3. Den Japanske Have
4. Ekspres
5. Efter Regnen
6. Indianerdoku
7. C1
8. De Islandske Fjelde
9. En Aften Ude
10. Spæner Rundt
11. Solskin Udenfor
12. Klokkeren
13. Saxofon
14. For Evigt
15. Spionen Er Fundet

Christian Haase – synth, vocals
Maria Dybbroe – reeds, percussion vocals
Lasse Sonne – piano, synth vocals, drums
Jonathan Ludvigsen – drums, synth, samples, vocals

Recorded at Lygten Station, at Støberiet and in the studio Vanløse 22A in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Produced by Maraton
Mixing: Lasse Sonne og Christian Haase
Mastering: Taylor Deupree, 12K Mastering
Cover design: Tobias Holmbeck

Juan Ale Saenz - African Breath (2021)

Juan Ale Saenz is a Mexican drummer and composer. His debut album "African Breath" features some of his musical influences and melodies that represent moments and characters in his life.

1. African Breath 07:58
2. Song for Jesus Christ 05:44
3. Push 05:30
4. Jack 06:42
5. Mr. Luri 05:54
6. Elvin 07:03
7. Inner Urge 05:06
8. Firm Roots 06:03
9. Jack Original Take 2014 01:07

Music by Juan Ale Saenz except Inner Urge by Joe Henderson and Firm Roots by Cedar Walton

Juan Ale Saenz - Drums
Diego Franco - Tenor Sax
Santiago Bosch - Piano
Benjamín García - Upright Bass
Luri Molina - Upright Bass

Yamile Burich - Bardo (May 2021)

1. Siria 04:21
2. Plaza 04:37
3. La Victorita 05:11
4. Yo quiero enloquecer de a poco 03:45
5. Coco Blues 05:25
6. Caos y Desorden 05:29
7. Nito 04:27

All track composed by Yamile Burich

Gustavo Silva - Piano
Leonel Cejas - Bass
Ramiro Fraceschin - Guitar
Sebastian Groshaus - Drums
Yamile Burich - Alto, soprano and tenor Sax

Landon Caldwell & Flower Head Ensemble - Simultaneous Systems (2021 Moon Glyph)

Landon Caldwell & Flower Head Ensemble blur the line between improvisation and composition on their debut album, “Simultaneous Systems”. Recorded remotely in Indianapolis, Asheville, Chicago and San Francisco, all players recorded improvisations to a morphing tone independent of the others. Those takes were compiled and arranged by bandleader Caldwell with intuition as a guide. The result is a stunning spiritual jazz album for the contemporary era, melding shimmering ambience alongside ecstatic free flowing spontaneity. The project brings together Mac Blackout and Tom Lageveen on alto sax, Nick Yeck-Stauffer on trumpet, K. Dylan Edrich on strings, Mark Tester on vibes/synth, Thom Nguyen on drums/percussion and Landon Caldwell on electric piano, organ, synth, voice and pan pipes. It’s a powerful debut befit of the times.

1. Reaching Out 21:36
2. Life Underground 10:17
3. Woven Realm 12:14

Landon Caldwell (Indianapolis) - Electric Piano, Organ, Synthesizer, Voice, Pan Pipes
Thom Nguyen (Asheville) - Drums/Percussion
Mark Tester (Indianapolis) - Vibraphone, Moog Prodigy
K. Dylan Edrich (San Francisco) - Strings
Nick Yeck-Stauffer (Chicago) - Trumpet
Tom Lageveen (Indianapolis) - Alto Saxophone
Mac Blackout (Chicago) - Alto Saxophone

crazy doberman - the royal tuning kit (May 2021 workingman laydown)

Dober as minimal family squad / isolation pod containing DD, TG & Ludmila. Real PRIVATE experimentations of the gentle chaos variety. The starship touches down all over the map on this home-spun journey of true blue outsider vision and sound. Recorded over daze in the Husband & Wife compound studio in Richmond, VA. New home turf for the squad.

1. the royal tuning kit 03:40
2. recovered fragments from the lost book 03:31
3. the sound of stilettos on the marble floor of an abandonned railway station 03:14
4. familiar shapes in unfamiliar sizes 02:54
5. machinations of cryptic archeology 03:58
6. a woven basket for severed heads or flowers 04:18
7. high planes desert fog 05:02

drew davis
tim gick
ludmila nunes (track a1)
recorded feb/march 2021by tg
cover art by dd

Jorge Sylvester Spontaneous Expressions - Mayhem At Large / The Last Baha'i Session (May 2021)

Jorge Sylvester's distinctive alto saxophone sound is imbued with the volatility of Caribbean basin's complex mosaic, transformed and focused by the probing musical linguistics pioneered by the great saxophonists of modern jazz. Jorge's composer's imagination is the matchless structural coherence of his improvisational work.

Spontaneous Expressions
A Live Performance for the Jazz Tuesdays Series at the Baha'i Center, NYC, on March 3, 2020

" Music is the language of spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife"
Khalil Gibran

The Musicians in the order they appear in duet performance.
(1) Jorge Sylvester (2) Nora McCarthy (3) Vincent Chancey
(4) Jose' Davila (5) Kuba Cichocki (6) Marvin Sewell
(7) Waldron Mahadi Ricks (8) Tony Moreno

"Blue Abstract" - (CD1 #2) Pianist, Composer and founder of Jazz Tuesdays at NYC Baha'i Center, Mike Longo

"Improvisation I" - (CD1 #3) Violinist, Composer, Mathematician, Ramsey Ameen

"Is Over" - (CD2 #1) - In loving memory of my father, George H. Sylvester

*Solo Improvisation Reference information for No.1 on CD1 First Set: "Stella by Starlight", Victor Young; Nos. 1&2 on CD2 Second Set: "Well You Needn't," Thelonious Monk; "The Masquerade Is Over," Herb Magidson and Allie Wrubel.

1. By Starlight (Alto Saxophone solo) 4:50
2. Blue Abstract (Alto Saxophone solo) 10:55
3. Improvisation I (Alto Saxophone and Voice Duet) 8:02 
4. Improvisation II (Alto Saxophone and French Horn Duet) 4:57
5. Improvisation III (Alto Saxophone and Tuba) 4:20
6.Improvisation IV (Alto Saxophone and Piano) 2:50
7. Improvisation V (Alto Saxophone and Electric guitar) 4:13
8. Sketch No.One (Octet) 11:54

(CD 2)
1. Is Over (Alto Saxophone solo) 6:072.
2. You Needn't (Alto Saxophone solo) 3:51
3. Improvisation VI (Alto Saxophone and Trumpet) 1:18
4. Improvisation VII (Alto Saxophone and Drums) 4:11
5. Sketch No.Two (Octet) 15:24

Jorge Sylvester - Alto Saxophone, Improvisations, Sketches
Nora McCarthy - Voice, Improvisations, Poetry
Vincent Chansey - French Horn, Improvisations
Jose' Davila - Tuba, Improvisations
Kuba Cichocki - Piano, Improvisations
Marvin Sewell - Electric Guitar, Improvisations
Waldron Mahadi Ricks - Trumpet, Improvisations
Tony Moreno - Drums, Improvisations

WE3 - S​/​T (May 24, 2021 Aut Records)

Inspired by the shamanic music of The Trio (John Surman, Barre Phillips, Stu Martin), WE3 have developed a repertoire of magmatic and powerful original compositions and renditions. The sounds explored are rough, volcanic, full of energy. The dialog between horns, violone, and drums are uninterrupted, with a flow that threatens to overwhelm, while embracing and surrounding a listener with a lava-like heat.

1. England 04:06
2. Ben Morse 08:02
3. Kirchhoff's Wave 04:41
4. Lights on a Satellite 07:40
5. Horizon 05:05
6. Only Theme 08:40
7. Vife 08:17
8. 6's and 7's 07:31
9. Lights on a Satellite 5tet 07:40
10. Impro on a Satellite Theme 03:02

Tracks composed by Francesco Chiapperini except for tracks n. 4 (Sun Ra) and n. 8 (Barre Phillips). Tracks n. 4 and n. 9 arranged by Riccardo Luppi

Recorded by Lorenzo Sempio – Interplay Recording Studio at La Scighera, Milano on 7th April, 2019

Mixed by Lorenzo Sempio – Interplay Recording Studio in Milano on 19th September, 2019

Mastered by Roberto Zanisi at Easy Nuts Lab in Milano on 16th September, 2020

Graphic design by Sandro Crisafi

Produced by Francesco Chiapperini and Aut Records

Alex Levine: Special Adaptations - Special Adaptations Volume 1 (2021 Aut Records)

These recordings are the result of a two weeks residency that took place at Mare Culturale Urbano, in Milan, between the 11th and the 24th of November 2019. This band is a collaborative project between American musicians Alex Levine, Ben Rolston, and Stephen Boegehold, and Italian musicians Stefano Grasso and Andrea Jimmy Catagnoli.

Special Adaptations was made possible thanks to the coordinated work of many people from different cities and countries. For this reason, we would like to dedicate Volume 1 to fair cooperation between humans and to the possibility of building creative networks between people from all over the world.

1. Il Bosco 08:26
2. Heed the Periphery 04:35
3. Lasso di Tempo 01:45
4. Down on the Antfarm 02:20
5. Milanoni 04:46 video
6. Kaleidoscope 02:23
7. Legato alle Nuvole 04:06
8. Geminifico 01:16
9. Fuori Fuoco 05:55
10. Bellano Lake 06:15
11. Titoli di Coda 00:16

Tracks composed by Alex Levine

Recorded by Il Lorenz at Il Guscio Recordings, Milan on November 20th, 2019

Mixed by Juanma Trujillo in New York in August 2020

Mastered by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground in Brooklyn, New York in August 2020

Graphic design by Sandro Crisafi

Produced by Alex Levine, Stefano Grasso, and Aut Records