Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Marcello Tonolo & Pietro Tonolo - Our Family Affair (August 2021 Caligola Records)

I fratelli Marcello e Pietro Tonolo, classe 1955 e 1959, jazzisti che non hanno bisogno di presentazioni, guidarono a cavallo fra gli anni ’70 ed '80 il Jazz Studio, quartetto molto noto ed attivo nell’area veneziana, ma che non ha lasciato testimonianze discografiche della sua musica. Nei successivi decenni hanno portato avanti entrambi con successo i loro percorsi professionali, collaborando solo raramente a comuni progetti musicali (è successo, per esempio, con Keptorchestra). Hanno quindi registrato molti album a proprio nome (Marcello ne ha pubblicati almeno una decina per Caligola), ma è la prima volta che ne firmano insieme uno come co–leader. Al loro fianco troviamo in quest’occasione un giovanissimo ma già apprezzato contrabbassista, Nicolò Masetto, ed un veterano del jazz veneto, il batterista Massimo Chiarella.

Il disco si apre con due brani fra loro molto diversi: Il sottoscala, di Pietro, composizione d’atmosfera newyorkese, e Quiet City, tema arioso d’impronta modern bop di Marcello. È interessante ascoltare in Acqualta Pietro, che ne è anche autore, muoversi con maestria al flauto ed imbracciare subito dopo il sax soprano in The Gift, brano del fratello pianista che precede il suo Arnold Sings the Blues, sorta di blues “dodecafonico” in cui torna allo strumento che l’ha reso giustamente famoso, anche al di fuori del nostro paese, il sax tenore, sinuoso e felino come nelle migliori occasioni. I repentini cambi di strumento del sassofonista donano ad una formula che potrebbe apparire sin troppo prevedibile, quella del quartetto con sassofono e pianoforte, una grande varietà cromatica, ma anche una sonorità estremamente coesa ed avvolgente.

Gli ultimi quattro temi sono tutti firmati da Marcello. È ancora il flauto di Pietro ad illuminare la danzante e gioiosa Eucalypso, mentre la personale scrittura del pianista, riconoscibile sia in La talpa che in Ace, raggiunge forse il suo momento più felice in Remembering Steve, ballad dedicata a Steve Grossman ed eseguita in duo, che chiude nel migliore dei modi un album che segna una tappa importante nei pur lunghi e fecondi percorsi artistici dei fratelli Tonolo.

1. Il sottoscala 04:18
2. Quiet City 04:48
3. Acqualta 06:44
4. The Gift 04:19
5. Arnold Sings the Blues 05:49
6. Eucalypso 05:03
7. La talpa 05:57
8. Ace 05:26
9. Remembering Steve 04:24

Pietro Tonolo (tenor and soprano sax, flute)
Marcello Tonolo (piano)
Nicolò Masetto (double bass)
Massimo Chiarella (drums)

Axel Filip - Sendero (August 2021 Ears & Eyes Records)

Story and about the music: Young and active Argentine drummer and composer continue his journey as a leader with the adventuresome album, with clear jazz influences crossed by Argentinian folklore music, as well as Afro-American reminiscences.

Axel Filip's second album as a leader and composer.

Inspired by landscapes from his childhood in the woods, walking through trails to find rivers, waterfalls and being in communion with nature, Axel conceived this album by imagining each song as a path to a certain place, historic event, or feelings reminding of love, loneliness, and quietude. (more on Axel’s career at the end).

It's about half and half piano trio, with Mariano Sarra - piano (young pianist and composer with an original and fresh approach) and Flavio Romero - contrabass (Oscar Giunta SuperTrio, Minino Garay - one of the most virtuosic and busy bassists in Buenos Aires), and then with featured artists Pablo Passini on guitar, Milton Amadeo and Melina Moguilevsky in vocals and Juan Klas conducting a string quartet arrangement.

Axel is a super-active musician in the Buenos Aires scene, he has played and/or recorded with Camila Nebbia, Juan Cruz de Urquiza, Rodrigo Dominguez, Sol Liebeskind, Kenneth Jimenez, Fred Selva, Frederico Heliodoro, Andres Beeuwsaert, Ernesto Jodos, Jim Rotondi, Sergio Wagner, Juan P. Arredondo, Sebastian de Urquiza, Francisco LoVuolo, Hernan Jacinto, among others, recording more than 20 albums as a sideman.
1) “Repleto de raices” is the opening track, which starts with an exciting drums groove- that can be related to Candombe or Brazilian music- that is quickly joined by piano and bass, arriving at a more relaxed and melodic moment. That doesn’t last for so long, growing into a sequence of frenetic and irregular piano chords, played in unison with drums, which serves as a platform to a bass improvisation by virtuoso bassist Flavio Romero.

A vibrant piano solo by the great Mariano Sarra takes place afterward, leading to a brief moment of block chords only played by him, and the whole ensemble is given entrance for a varied reexposure, with a more extended bass improvisation, evolving to a wild unison ending.

This song was inspired by massive tree roots coming off the ground, making the ground difficult to walk and creating exotic figures in the ground.

2) The second track is “A la inconsciencia”, a song that invites the listener to dive into a deep immersion into subconsciousness, evoking melancholic emotions.

It starts right away with the piano trio featuring the raw yet velvety voice of Milton Amadeo, with a slow groove that flows between 4/4 to 3/4 measures seamlessly, asking the listener to “empty his/her mind and wake up”. It continues with an instrumental bridge and voice chorus, reminding of a chacarera (Argentinian folkloric rhythm) that is followed by a second verse.

We hear afterward an interlude with a darker atmosphere, which takes place with a unison ostinato played by bass and piano with a ternary feel, where a 5/8 superimposed feel played by the drums and right hand on the piano is added, creating a playful tension to land on a perfectly constructed melodic piano solo by Mariano Sarra, using the first section of the song as an improvisation platform. The piano improvisation slowly walks us again into the interlude’s darker atmosphere, adding a lot of mystery with the use of intrepid lines, until the whole ensemble stops for a second to bring back Milton’s voice and retake the song’s initial exposition.

3) “Alambre de púa” is a micro-piece, one of three composed for this album. This one represents wire spiked fences that impeded going from one place to the other and forcing them to change course.

It starts with a free improvisation that flows into a slow tempo, spacious and airy groove. It features the first appearance in the album of the brilliant guitarist Pablo Passini.

4) The fourth track is “Nocturnal”, a piano trio piece inspired by going through paths in the middle of the night, where the vision enhances itself, and it’s possible to hear strange sounds originated by nocturnal life.

It starts with a high-energy intro in 6/8 played by the whole ensemble, leading to a slower tempo groove and piano melody, incorporating different dynamics and riffs with metric changes shifting from 4/4 to 9/16 and 3/4. It continues with a solo by bassist Flavio Romero, beautifully constructed and very rich melodically, followed by a powerful piano solo by Mariano Sarra.

It ends with a reexposure and a coda in 9/16, with a slowed-down unison played by piano and bass, with a final hit played by the whole ensemble.

5) “Cerrado por el tiempo” is the title of the fifth song of the album. It is a high-energy instrumental piece in 7/4 and 4/4 inspired by paths that, for the lack of use, are obstructed by vegetation growth, which makes you decide whether to continue through that path passing between branches and leaves or try to find another way.

It features guitarist Pablo Passini playing the lead melody, flowing from a binary feel to a ternary 9/8 metric modulation, with African music rhythmic traces. The song continues with a fantastic guitar solo by Pablo Passini, owner of a very personal sound and ideas, which grows until an interlude where piano joins the melody, to end with a reexposure from a high energy melody section of the head is followed by a ternary Afro in unison.
6) “Vertiente” is the second micro-piece of the album, played in a quartet setting with Pablo on guitar. It is inspired by natural watersheds that can appear along the way.

It is a slow and groovy piece, which contrasts the previous piece with its joyful mood, anticipating the next one.

7) The seventh track of the album is “Hacia vos”, an instrumental piece inspired by the path that takes us to find the people we love. It is a playful song played by the piano trio, composed using a danceable riff that is variated and put into different metric measures, shifting from 4/4 to 3/4 and 7/8 measures where drummer Axel Filip grooves comfortably, feeling like navigating through a 4/4 feel. It stands as the groovy piece of the album, due to its structure, repetition and bass and drums cadence and with a duration of 4 minutes sharp.

The song structure is maintained through the whole piece, with a venturous spirit piano solo by Mariano Sarra, ending with the initial melody, in a traditional jazz manner of the head in, solo, and head out.

8) “Al río” is the eighth track of the album, featuring bassist Flavio Romero. It’s a piano trio piece, which starts in a subtle and gentle way, with a slow piano ostinato in 3⁄4 (with an inner clave which can be felt as three measures of 7/8 and one in 3/8, popularized by composer Guillermo Klein), which ascends and descends in a dreamlike fashion and serves as a platform for a bass improvisation played in a duo setting.

This mood is interrupted by the entrance of the drums, giving place to an intricate yet hip groove. It flows from 4/4 to 5/8 measures, and 4/4 on the B section of the melody, landing on a 6/4 structure for an extended bass solo, accompanied by piano and drums, followed by a strong interlude to land on the initial melody and groove played in the head in and a coda in 9/8, with a Latin-American feel, where drummer Axel Filip builds a spicy solo until the end of the piece.

This composition was inspired by paths that take you to rivers, and the ones that follow rivers through its courses.

9) “A la memoria” is the third and last micro-piece of the album, with a more introspective mood, played by the piano trio plus Pablo on guitar. It contains testimony from a member of the Napalpi community, native people from El Chaco (Argentinian province) who speaks about a massacre that occurred in 1947 at the hands of the Argentinian military force.

This piece was inspired by the communion with nature, which native people considered their goddess (The Pachamama), and the opposite face represented by white man civilization, who treats nature almost with contempt and oppresses native communities with extreme violence.

10) The closing track of the album is “El Brujo” a piece composed to and dedicated to the memory of Santiago Maldonado, who died under dark circumstances in an operation of the Argentine gendarmerie while violently evicting a Mapuche community in La Patagonia (south of Argentina). This case took international relevance and touched a great part of Argentinian society.

This piece features an octet setting, featuring the amazing singer Melina Moguilevsky on vocals and Surdelsur string quartet (conducted by Juan Klas) who join the piano trio. The piece starts with a string quartet intro, evoking feelings of peace and tranquility, representing in some way Santiago’s life and the trip that took until he got to La Patagonia. This intro is followed by a section where the trio plus Melina, who sings a melody that floats over a 7/8 groove, with the drums playing a microgroove in 11/8 over it.

The string quartet appears through the piece playing backs and adding tension to specific moments, and in the middle plays a complex soli over a 7/8 measure, that concludes when Melina joins to sing “may the gods hear our prayers, where are they? There’s no mercy nor justice, the ancestors sing” with violinist Guillermo Rubino playing unison and the rest of the strings adding supporting backs.

The tune ends with the whole ensemble in action and Melina singing an epic solo, backed by an intense rhythm section comping and counterpointed canonic string backs.

1. Repleto de raíces 4:29
2. A la inconsciencia 5:21
3. Alambre de púa 0:59
4. Nocturnal 5:28
5. Cerrado por el tiempo 4:59
6. Vertiente 0:41
7. Hacia vos 4:00
8. Al río 5:16
9. A la memoria 0:44
10. El Brujo 3:42

Axel Filip - drums/compositions/arrangements/lyrics
Mariano Sarra - piano
Flavio Romero - contrabass

Melina Moguilevsky – voice (track 10)
Milton Amadeo – voice (track 2)
Pablo Passini – guitar (track 5)
Surdelsur Ensemble – string quartet (track 10)

Recorded at Estudio Dr. F in Buenos Aires, engineered, mixed & mastered by Pablo Lopez Ruiz
All music and lyrics by Axel Filip
Album art/design by Daniel Rivas
Camera: Mariano Asseff
Visual interventions on videos: Axel Filip/Camila Nebbia

The single A la inconsciencia (Spotify) and Nocturnal, available here are already available on all streaming platforms

Releases on the independent label, ears&eyes Records, on August 30th, 2021

(Digital Release - ears&eyes Records August 20, 2021)

Liudas Mockūnas / Christian Windfeld - Pacemaker (August 2021 NoBusiness Records)

1. Pace 24:09
2. Maker 20:04

Liudas Mockūnas - contrabass and prepared clarinet, tenor and soprano saxophones
Christian Windfeld - prepared drum kit, drums, drums and cymbals

Music by Liudas Mockūnas (Koda) and Christian Windfeld
Recorded at Improdimensija/Mama Studios in Vilnius, May 2018
Recorded by Arūnas Zujus and Vytautas Bedalis
Mixed and mastered by Anders Ørbæk
Original art work and cover design by Neringa Žukauskaitė

Lao Dan / Deng Boyu - TUTU Duo (August 2021 NoBusiness Records)


Lao Dan - alto saxophone, Chinese flute
Deng Boyu - drums, percussion

Recorded on the 13th October 2019 at RC Studio, Guangzhou, China
Mixed by Deng Boyu 邓博宇
Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
Design by Oskaras Anosovas
Cover photos by Pan Yue 潘越

Frode Gjerstad / Kent Carter / John Stevens - Detail​-​90 (August 2021 NoBusiness Records)

1. Detail - 90A 17:21
2. Detail - 90B 21:56

Frode Gjerstad - alto saxophone
Kent Carter - bass
John Stevens - drums

Recorded on 21st November, 1990 at NRK-studios in Stavanger by Per Ravnås

All music by Gjerstad (TONO), Carter (SACEM) and Stevens (PRS)

Toggi Jonsson Quartet - Hagi (August 31, 2021)

Bassist Þorgrímur „Toggi“ Jónsson presents his second solo album named Hagi. This music consists of 10 pieces plus 2 extra, written with this personal and formation of a band in mind. Here you have melodic and thoughtful compositions that varies from hymn like church music to pop and/or rock music of the 70ths.

Influenced by the Icelandic nature and the ever changing weather, perhaps mostly from the Westfjords of Iceland, hence the title track Hagi, wich is a beautiful farm that has been in the same family for over 100 years located in the south of the Westfjords, and the track Rauðisandur, aka Red Sand Beach, one of the most impressive and beutiful places of the Westfjords.

1. Þoka 05:05
2. Von 05:17
3. Hagi 03:48
4. Anda Inn 03:48
5. 6:20 03:58
6. Uppúr Þurru 03:55
7. Hugsa Hlýtt 06:09
8. Kraðak 03:51
9. Fyrir Þig 03:48
10. Rauðisandur 05:43
11. Einn Fyrir (extra number) 04:27
12. Innan Um (extra number) 04:41

Þorgrimur Toggi Jonsson – acoustic and electric bass
Rögnvaldur Borgþórsson – guitar
Tómas Jónsson – piano, wurlitzer, mellotrone and more keys
Magnús Trygvason Eliassen – drums

Produced by Toggi Jonsson and the band.
Recorderd December 10th and 11th 2020 at Sundlaugin Studios by Birgir Jón Birgisson. Mixed by Ívar Ragnarsson and mastered by Friðfinnur Oculus Sigurðsson.
Graphic design by Klara Arnalds
All music by Thorgrimur Toggi Jonsson

Kevin Sun - 3 Bird (August 2021 endectomorph music)

<3 BIRD is Kevin Sun’s love letter to the towering father of modern jazz, Charlie Parker. In a concise but wide-ranging program of 12 original compositions and three arrangements, Sun draws electrifying and futuristic conclusions from Parker’s musical innovations.

With <3 BIRD, Sun proves himself a formidable contributor to the continuing legacy of Parker’s music in this new century. In doing so, he also shares his vision for future directions in jazz and even more creative work to come. 

1. Greenlit 04:16
2. Adroitness, Part I 01:22
3. Adroitness, Part II 02:41
4. Composite 01:36
5. Onomatopoeia 03:49
6. Dovetail 07:02
7. Cheroot 02:13
8. Du Yi's Choir 05:24
9. Big Foot 04:41
10. Sturgis 01:42
11. Schaaple (Intro) 00:44
12. Schaaple from the Appel 04:30
13. Salt Peanuts 03:50
14. Arc's Peel 01:00
15. Talck-overseed-nete (Klact-oveereds-tene) 04:07

Kevin Sun ⋅ tenor saxophone & clarinet*
Adam O’Farrill ⋅ trumpet (1, 10, 11, 12, 13)
Max Light ⋅ guitar (5, 8, 15)
Christian Li ⋅ piano & Fender Rhodes (2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13)
Walter Stinson ⋅ double bass
Matt Honor ⋅ drums

*sheng on “Du Yi’s Choir” only

All songs composed by Kevin Sun (The Kevin Sun Music / ASCAP) except the following, arranged by Sun:

“Big Foot” and “Klacto-veereds-tene,” composed by Charlie Parker
“Salt Peanuts,” co-composed by Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Clarke

Recorded by Aaron Nevezie at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY on February 26 & 27, 2021
Mixed by Juanma Trujillo
Mastered by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground
Produced by Kevin Sun
Art direction and photography by Kevin Sun
Layout and additional photography by Diane Zhou

Billy Harper Quintet Live In Brooklyn (August 2021)

Texas Tenor, Billy Harper has had an immense influence on my life and music. I first played with Billy’s band in 1992 when he came to Australia and brought with him his good friend the great Texan drummer Malcolm Pinson. The band was me, Scott Tinkler on trumpet, Nick Haywood on bass with Billy and Malcolm. We played Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide and this tour was a life-changer. It was so musically and spiritually intense that I was covered in sweat after each gig and wondering what had hit me. It really felt like I was being changed by the music as if my hearing and approach were being changed forever.

I am so fortunate to have had opportunities like this where I learn through the music directly. Billy brought so much spirit and his music is deeply passionate with a strong gospel feeling and a lot of Coltrane language. And with regard to Malcolm, you have to understand that I was a young lad from Mooroolbark and really had never experienced what a great American drummer sounded like and what it could bring out of you. Not to mention that Billy had come up through the ranks of the heaviest musicians that have ever lived, people like; Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Lee Morgan, and the list goes on and on. This tour was set up by our great Australian jazz advocate Martin Jackson and I can never thank him enough because it was a trial by fire that led to Billy becoming my mentor and kind of ‘New York dad’ for some 20 years following.

A month or so before the first gig, Billy sent Martin rehearsal cassettes. The tapes contained all the music we would play and Billy would explain in words and with music exactly what we were to do; all the theatrical and musical devices we needed to know about were outlined in sound and words, like a kind of jazz music directors cut. Who does that?

I remember the first Oz gig was at a pub in South Melbourne called “the Limerick Arms” and it was like taking off in a rocket. I feel like the audience also experienced this lift-off. Malcolm and Billy together was an incredible force and it felt like the gig went by in a flash of light. They were incredibly kind to us young players and there was no vibing or castigating or any of that. It was just love for music and generosity. I remember hearing Billy and feeling so much sacred church feeling in his melodies but also a furious intellect and artistic freedom. It was actually scary. 

We played Billy’s fantastic compositions like Priestess , Love On the Sudan, and Cry Of Hunger and so many other Harper classics. To me, it’s absurd that Billy is not better recognized as one of the great Jazz composers and players of all time. I remember marveling at his use of silence and his rhythmic awareness that was so far ahead of anything I had ever known or heard. Later on, when I had the fortune to play in his band in New York I could get a little closer to rhythmic possibilities that many of Billy’s compositions explored but on this first Australian tour I could only intuit what was possible. If you listen to Call Of The Wild and Peaceful Heart you can get a sense of the rhythmic subdivisions and possibilities that are possible.

Billy’s long-standing band could really explore all these layers and would take the music to a place of real expressive freedom. I would often go and hear them stretching out like this, when I finally got to New York.

We also played a club called “Dr Jazz” in Melbourne and on that night I was kind of exhausted with various things so, rather than going straight into the club, I decided to take a very quick nap in my car. I woke up with a start 3 mins before we were supposed to go on! I ran in and went straight onto the bandstand. Martin Jackson told me that Paul Grabowsky and Bob Sedergreen were waiting and ready to play. Phew.

in touch. When I did arrive there, I called him up and went over to his apartment in the artist building called “West Beth” which was on West Bethune street in the West Village, right on the Hudson River. Many great artists lived in this building and it was Gil Evans who had helped Billy to get in there originally. Billy had a drum kit and a Rhodes Suitcase set up and lots of books and awards and albums were up on the walls.

He was very welcoming and I asked him at this first meet up could I possibly get some lessons from him. He said “I don't really teach, but just come and hang out”... It so happened that I hung out with Billy for the next 20 years on and off and Billy even took me out to dinner once a week for probably some ten years. We would mostly go to this Chinese restaurant near his apartment and we would just catch up and talk about philosophy and music and spirituality and UFOs and about all the amazing players that Billy had worked with. It was a true blessing for me and I learned so much about black American music and why it’s important and the many things it is and can be.

Billy was the first black musician to play in the infamous 1oclock band at North Texas State University. He went on to also play with so many greats and even made a record with Louis Armstrong. He told me that Earth Wind And Fire once contacted him to ask if they could record one of his songs! He was the person who told me to always take photos and videos on the road and to archive and capture moments of your life so you can reflect on them.

He is the reason it is possible to release this live recording. I took his advice Billy has done a lot of traveling and playing and has hung with some far-out people. He showed me a video of him with Salvador Dali in Europe one time. He was also one of the many black musicians including Roland Kirk, Charles Mingus, who stormed the stage of a popular live TV show to demand that more black music was shown on TV.

His music speaks of the civil rights movement although he would say he just believes in the beauty power and healing force of music. Billy learned discipline from Max Roach. Max was army trained and he was severe with his players about being on time. So Billy was was never late. He had all his clocks set 15 or 30 minutes ahead. He would run 15 miles every single day without fail. He told me that to do this is to understand adversity and be prepared for it. If he could run 15 miles in the snow or in the sweltering heat, he could face what New York and being a jazz artist threw at him. He was always ready. He also said that he often would compose while running, that ideas would come naturally that way and he would begin singing them as he ran, and then when he would get home, he would write them out. I feel like I can hear these kinds of motifs and figures in many of Billy’s pieces. There is a hypnotic buoyancy there.

Billy said that he once had a dream where an angel gave him a cassette and he put it into the player and a most beautiful song was heard. When he woke up, he quickly wrote the song and it’s lyrics out and thus manifested the beautiful ballad called “If One Could Only See” .

Another incredible story Billy told me is that when he recorded his album “Somalia” he decided on the spot that the title track needed some sort of vocal chant. He quickly made up some words that felt rhythmically right “Ka Lay Bo Ding Gah” but were, to him, nonsensical. Then when he went on the road to tour the album, a Nigerian man came up to him after one of the sets and said, “Mr. Harper, thank you so much for dedicating your song to our tribe”. Billy didn't understand what the man meant until he explained that the words “Ka Lay Bo Ding Gah” meant “welcome to the occasion” in his specific tribal dialect.

Billy spoke a lot about being “tuned up”. He was a meditator and he said that he needed to always be in touch. He spoke about how he has gotten to the point where he is almost constantly meditating, mindful, present. I remember he had the 14 volume set of “The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan” on his bookshelf. I asked him about these books and he said ;

"My feeling is that music should have a purpose. In the past, it always has been used for healing and uplifting and meditation. And that’s the way I see my music. I’ve had people come up after a program to tell me that they felt a spiritual healing from the music. When that happens, I feel we’re fulfilling what we’re supposed to do. If people are entertained, that’s ok too but I certainly see a purpose in my music beyond that."

I kept working on my music over the years and would often ask Billy for advice and would freely offer it. He told me to get a computer as soon as possible because it was the way of the future. He was writing his scores out on a computer notation program way before anyone else. After many years, I would sometimes go to the New School where Billy was teaching and I would sit in with his ensembles. After a while, he called me to sub on gigs with his quintet when his regular pianist, Francesca Tanksley couldn't make the gig. Mostly it was Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Billy, Clarence Seay on bass, and Newman Taylor Baker on drums and it was an incredible experience. We also used to play once a year for Cobi Narita’s birthday party at the Jazz Church on Lexington Ave. Billy was very close to Cobi, as were many great players, and I remember hearing Harold Mabern there every year and people like Dick Katz, Nasheet Waits and Geri Allen would play and it would be a big party in the church and there would be a whole lot of soul food and music. It really felt like a warm community and I am grateful for the memories of these parties.

I did one tour to Europe and one to Australia where Billy played my own music and we also recorded my album “Widening Circles” at Avatar studios which Billy produced. We also played music from this album a few times in New York including one gig we did at the Jazz Standard and another time at Fordham University. I am forever grateful to Billy for his generosity and support while I lived in New York.

Billy told me that one time he was playing in Europe and Dexter Gordon had a gig on this festival and his drummer didn't show up, so Billy played the gig, on drums! Billy could really play the drums and sounded a lot like Elvin Jones, to be honest. Elvin played on Billy’s first album “Capra Black” actually and Billy always looked for what he called the “hunger” in drummers that he worked with and also musicians. He spoke to me a lot about the importance of this hunger. If you want to know what it is, just listen to Billy play, it's there. An important theme for Billy is this idea of the “wild and peaceful heart”. Its serenity and fire. Its grace under pressure and it is close to Flaubert’s famous quote ‘be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work’.

Billy used to say to me “lead with the gift, if money comes later then that’s ok, if not, that's ok too”. He would say that that the powers that be, can make or break an artist and that there were many great artists that could have gone as far as, say, Herbie Hancock or Wayne Shorter, but that they were just not right in the opinions of the powers that be. Some of the names he mentioned were Kenny Dorham, Ceder Walton, Stanley Cowell, Oliver Lake. I have to concur of course.

This Album was recorded at a short-lived club that was on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn called “The Up Over Jazz Cafe”. I'm not even sure what year it was, somewhere in the mid 2000s? During lockdown 6.0 here in Melbourne, I have been going through all my archived recordings and I discovered this great set with Billy’s band:

Billy Harper - Tenor sax
Eddie Henderson - Trumpet
Barney McAll - Piano
Clarence Seay - Bass
Newman Taylor Baker - Drums

I feel like Billy is playing better than ever on this and it's a treasure to have found this incredible document of sound. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it contributes to further awareness of the giant and luminous spirit that is Billy Harper, Capra Black.

All compositions by Billy Harper and published by Lyharp Music except 'My Funny Valentine' (arr. Harper)

Recorded by Barney McAll at the "Up Over Jazz Cafe" , Brooklyn. Date Unknown.

Mastered by Damon Smith - TNIAJSW Studios.

1. My Funny Valentine (arr. Billy Harper) 12:19
2. Illumination 18:45
3. Quest 12:55
4. Call Of The Wild And Peaceful Heart 16:38
5. Croquet Ballet (Excerpt) 07:44

Pilot Waves - Pilot Waves (August 31, 2021)

This EP is a collaboration between guitarist Matt Stober and percussionist Peter Kim. All five tracks were written and recorded in May of 2021 (with the exception of Scythe, which was written in 2019)

1. Point, Line, & Plane 03:52
2. A Point 01:20
3. In Lines 04:04
4. Out on the Plane 06:36
5. Scythe 03:31

Matt Stober - vibraphone, bass, glockenspiel, autoharp, piano (tracks 2 and 5), guitars (tracks 2 and 5)
Peter Kim - drums, cello, piano (tracks 1, 3 and 4), percussion
Will Lauzon - pedal steel (track 4)

Music by: Pilot Waves
Produced by: Matt Stober
Engineered, mixed and mastered by: Matt Stober
All Arrangements by: Matt Stober