Friday, September 17, 2021

Craig Taborn Launches 60 x Sixty


Sixty pieces of music in sixty minutes each about sixty seconds in length.

Pressing PLAY initiates a run of 60 tracks in a randomized order. The sequence ends after all 60 pieces play. The numbers relate to the ordinal position of each piece in the present playlist and are not intended titles or identifiers of the musical works. Every subsequent play shuffles the deck. In time new pieces may be added as others are removed.

This series is created with a diversity of musical processes and aesthetic parameters. The pieces relate to one another only in seeking to explore how malleable the perception of a 60-second span of time might be when subject to different sound worlds in succession. Do some pieces feel longer than others? What elements contribute to this subjective experience? How does time pass or not pass?

Press PLAY to begin the ride. It’s a singular journey each time.

— Craig Taborn
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Craig Taborn has been performing piano and electronic music in the jazz, improvisational, and creative music scene for over twenty-five years. He has experience composing for and performing in a wide variety of situations including jazz, new music, electronic, rock, noise and avant garde contexts.

Taborn has played and recorded with many luminaries in the fields of jazz, improvised, new music and electronic music including Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Lester Bowie, Dave Holland, Tim Berne, John Zorn, Evan Parker, Steve Coleman, David Torn, Chris Potter, William Parker, Vijay Iyer, Kris Davis, Nicole Mitchell, Susie Ibarra, Ikue Mori, Carl Craig, Dave Douglas, Meat Beat Manifesto, Dan Weiss, Chris Lightcap, Gerald Cleaver, and Rudresh Manhathappa.

Taborn is currently occupied creating and performing music for solo piano performance (Avenging Angel), piano trio (Craig Taborn Trio), an electronic project (Junk Magic), the Daylight Ghosts Quartet, a piano/drums/electronics duo with Dave King (Heroic Enthusiasts) and a new trio with Tomeka Reid and Ches Smith as well as piano duo collaborations with Vijay Iyer (The Transient Poems), Kris Davis (Octopus) and Cory Smythe. He is also a member of the instrumental electronic art-pop group Golden Valley is Now and performs frequently on solo electronics.

Taborn lives in Brooklyn.

60 x Sixty Available at

Satoko Fujii - Piano Music (September 17, 2021 on Libra Records)

Pianist-composer Satoko Fujii’s Bold Experiment 
with Sound Collage and Prepared Piano

“Fujii’s music troubles the divide between abstraction and realism. Plucking or scraping the strings of the piano; covering them up as she strikes the keys…. All of this amounts to abstract expressionism, in musical form. But it’s equaled by her rich sense of simplicity, sprung from the feeling that she is simply converting the riches of the world around her into music.”
— Giovanni Russonello, New York Times

Pianist-composer Satoko Fujii is often quoted as saying that she “wants to make music no one has heard before.” She more than fulfills that goal on her latest solo album, Piano Music, out September 17 via Libra Records. Using short pre-recorded snippets of her prepared piano music, she edits them together to create a patchwork quilt of unique sonorities. The results are unlike anything she has done before—two extended pieces of otherworldly piano sounds and melodies that evolve so smoothly and organically you can’t tell they’re stitched together from smaller fragments.
“I started recording in my small piano room during the pandemic and while I was editing the recordings, I got this idea,” Fujii explains. “I thought I could put together small parts to make a big work, fitting the pieces together the way I wanted to. I could make music like building with Legos. This may not be a new thing for many creators, but for me it was new because I am a very analog piano player. 
“To create my ‘Legos,’ I recorded short improvisations using one idea for each, like ‘plucking strings,’ ‘Ebow on high strings,’ ‘rubbing low strings with a big felt mallet,’ or ‘dropping chop sticks on the piano strings.’ Each was less than one or two minutes,” she continues. “The materials I recorded are all so short that without shifting them around, they don’t make any sense.
“Then I transferred these parts into my music editing application. Putting together the small parts into a larger picture was just like improvising,” she continues. “I would play a section and most of the time without pausing, I would just drag the next part that I wanted to follow it. I could spontaneously make the longer piece in real time. I learned a lot musically with this process because I found I have a tendency to change the scene too quickly. I kept telling myself, ‘Take your time. Take your time.’”  
Satoko Fujii, photo by Kosuke Okahara

In fact, the opening track, “Shiroku” (meaning “white” in Japanese), does take its time unfolding. Sustained drones are the sonic thread that connects sequences of tones and sounds, each one lovely and strange, like a necklace of pearls. Each richly textured note, high crinkling sound, soft wave of white noise, and rhythmic tinkling is beautiful, but the logic and order behind their occurrence remains elusive, even though you sense it is there. It’s like observing a mysterious natural process.  
“Fuwarito” (which means “softly and lightly”) organizes itself around wave patterns that swell and recede rather than sustained drones, and the phrases are shorter and more rhythmic. She creates a swirling cloud of sounds with sparkling tones, woody rattles, and metallic plucks dissolving within it. 
“I would like to be free in the music to do whatever I want and I made this music in a way I have never done before,” Fujii says. “Of course, I love playing piano, but I think it’s not the only way for me to make music.”
Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original voices in jazz today. “Across all of Fujii’s work, contradictions come into balance; though her music is abstract and sometimes wild, each element shimmers with clarity,” writes Giovanni Russonello in his New York Times feature article. “In situations large and small, her tender attention to detail is equaled by her ability to convey enormous breadth and textural range.”  In concert and nearly 100 albums as a leader or co-leader, she synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock, and folk musics into an innovative style instantly recognizable as hers alone. A prolific band leader and recording artist, she celebrated her 60th birthday in 2018 by releasing one album a month from bands old and new, from solo to large ensemble. Franz A. Matzner in All About Jazz likened the twelve albums to “an ecosystem of independently thriving organisms linked by the shared soil of Fujii's artistic heritage and shaped by the forces of her creativity.” 
Over the years, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music, including her trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black and an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins. Her ongoing duet project with husband Natsuki Tamura released their eighth recording, Keshin, earlier this year. “The duo's commitment to producing new sounds based on fresh ideas is second only to their musicianship,” says Karl Ackermann in All About Jazz. As the leader of no less than five orchestras in the U.S., Germany, and Japan, Fujii has also established herself as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles, leading Cadence magazine to call her, “the Ellington of free jazz.”

1. Shiroku 18:59
2. Fuwarito 27:00

Satoko Fujii, piano

Graham Dechter - Major Influence (September 21, 2021 via Capri Records)

Guitarist Graham Dechter gives a nod to his Major Influence
on his first new album in nearly a decade

Major Influence, out September 17, 2021 via Capri Records, reunites Dechter with all-star rhythm section Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton and Tamir Hendelman

“Los Angeles guitarist Graham Dechter wowed listeners with his 2009 debut as a leader, Right On Time, and he hits it out of the park again with his sophomore release, Takin’ It There.”
– Jennifer Odell, DownBeat
“Dechter should be on the scene for many years to come. Only in his twenties, he shows both a skill and maturity that many players don’t find until middle age.” 
– John Heidt , Vintage Guitar Hit List

One of the most original and tasteful straight ahead jazz guitarists to emerge in recent years, Graham Dechter has distilled his myriad musical inspirations into Major Influence, his third release as a leader. Available September 17, 2021 via Capri Records, the album reunites Dechter with his dream team rhythm section from his earlier recordings: Tamir Hendelman on piano, John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. The album was recorded prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the release was delayed until the group could return to touring and live performances.
The guitarist wrote and arranged all but one of the tunes. “After completing seven originals and co-arranging the classic ‘Pure Imagination’ with Mr. Hamilton, I came to the realization that every song on this recording, whether consciously or subconsciously, was dedicated to and/or directly influenced by one or more of my musical heroes.” The album is reflective of his journey through jazz from an early age with some of the most influential musicians to play the music. “I consider myself to be an eternal student of the music. And as long as my ears can detect sound and my mind is able to comprehend it, I’ll always have an appetite!”
Some of the inspirations were jazz guitar luminaries like Herb Ellis and Wes Montgomery, but Dechter has plenty of contemporary influences as well. The track “Moonithology” was influenced not just by Charlie Parker, George Shearing, Montgomery, and Hank Mobley, but also Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi of the synth-heavy avant-pop duo KNOWER. Another composition, “Minor Influence,” was inspired by both Art Blakey and Larry Goldings.
Drummer Hamilton also produced the session. “When I first met 9-year-old Graham Dechter, I didn't imagine that we would one day be working together. His passion and conviction of the music have taken him where he wants to be. He set goals and attained them by working hard. For this, his third recording as a leader, he asked me to produce it. I suggested that he compose most of the material, since he is so talented in that area. What you hear on this recording are mostly his originals, and by the end of each song, you would bet they were standards.”
At the age of 19, Graham Dechter was hired by Hamilton and John Clayton to join the Clayton–Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. He was the youngest member in the history of the band. He was only 22 when Right On Time, his first recording as a leader, was released. His second release, Takin’ It There, spent 22 weeks on the Jazz Week chart, including 12 weeks in the top five and two weeks at #1. In addition to keeping a busy schedule on the jazz circuit appearing with the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Freddie Cole, Dechter has also performed on recordings by pop and rock stars like Michael Bublé, Leon Russell, Charles Aznavour. He’s also featured on the soundtrack of the hit film La La Land. 

Orange Coals
Major Influence
Minor Influence
Pure Imagination
Bent On Monk
Billy's Dilemma

Graham Dechter on guitar
Tamir Hendelman on piano
John Clayton on bass
Jeff Hamilton on drums

Sheila Jordan - Comes Love: Lost Session 1960 (September 17, 2021 Capri Records)

Capri Records releases a never-before-heard 1960 recording by legendary vocalist and NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan

Comes Love: Lost Session 1960, due out September 17, 2021, captures the singular vocalist on her earliest known session, two years prior to her Blue Note debut
"Cheeky, importunate and canny, [Sheila] Jordan’s voice is one of the great standard-bearing instruments of midcentury jazz… she still has that mix of sagacity and ingenuous charm that endeared her to discerning
listeners in the 1960s."
– Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times
“Sheila Jordan is a one-of-a-kind artist who possesses the power to captivate audiences, inviting all to join her on a magical mystery tour of jazz history.” 
– Roseanna Vitro, JazzTimes

At the age of 92 and still going strong, singer-songwriter Sheila Jordan has been one of the most revered and utterly unique voices in jazz for decades. Beginning with her debut album, 1963’s Portrait of Sheila on Blue Note Records, she pioneered a bebop-inflected approach to singing accompanied only by solo bass (in that case, a duet with Steve Swallow on one of her signature tunes, Bobby Timmons’ “Dat Dere”). Following the release of that album, however, Jordan retreated from the scene to concentrate on raising her daughter, working as a typist for the next two decades and not recording as a leader again for more than a dozen years.
The never-before-released Comes Love: Lost Session 1960 thus adds a crucial new chapter to Jordan’s remarkable story. Recorded on June 10, 1960 at New York’s Olmsted Sound Studios for the little-known Chatam Records, the recently discovered studio date presents the singer in nascent but instantly recognizable form on a set of standards. Due for release by Colorado-based Capri Records on September 17, 2021, the album is otherwise shrouded in mystery: Jordan has no recollection of the date or the names of her accompanists, a nonetheless deftly attuned trio.
The music that comprises Comes Love was unearthed by record dealers Jeremy Sloan and Hadley Kenslow of Albuquerque’s SloLow Records, who purchased it among a large collection of acetates several years ago. Knowing of Capri Records owner Tom Burns’ acquaintance with Jordan, they forwarded the surprise discovery to the Capri founder. 
The 1960 recording predates Portrait of Sheila by more than two years, making it the earliest representation we have of the singer at the dawn of her storied career. At the time Jordan was working regularly at the Page Three Club in Greenwich Village, often with pianists John Knapp or Herbie Nichols, bassists Steve Swallow or Gene Perlman, and drummer Ziggy Willman. It’s possible that some of these musicians can be heard on Comes Love, though there’s no way of knowing for certain at this point.
“Whoever is playing on it is really good,” attests Burns. “The group seems to have an empathic relationship with her; I don't think it was just some pick-up band. But while it’s troublesome that I can't distinguish the musicians, I really thought this was a recording that should be out there because there's so much good music on it.”
Even without the identifying label on the acetate (and the haunting headshot of the singer that accompanied it, also included in the album packaging), the voice inside is unmistakably that of Sheila Jordan. Her mature style is not yet fully formed, but the jaunty scat that opens Duke Ellington’s classic “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” the playful, sassy flexibility of her time feel on the Gershwins’ “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” or the wry world-weariness that imbues Rodgers and Hart’s “Glad To Be Unhappy” reflect qualities that would remain and deepen over the next sixty years.
“My first reaction was, ‘Wow, does she sound young!’” recalls Burns of his initial impression of the music – a reaction that he reports was shared by Jordan upon hearing the session. “Even though it's only a couple of years before Portrait of Sheila, she’d obviously developed more as a singer by then. But the way she dealt with a session of standards [at that stage in her career] impressed me. Most of the tunes aren’t your typical songs – there are a couple of well-known tunes, but most of them are kind of obscure even for that time.”
The album opens with James Shelton’s wistful “I’m the Girl,” which Sarah Vaughan had recorded four years earlier on Sassy, though Jordan’s rendition emphasizes a naïve melodrama shared by “When the World Was Young,” perhaps the clearest indication that this is such an early effort. The winsome opening verse of “Sleeping Bee” takes on a sprightly tone also present on a brisk “I’ll Take Romance.” A stark “Ballad of the Sad Young Men” is followed by a brassy take on the title tune and a sultry version of Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain” that reflects the iconic singer’s influence. 
“She’s bending notes and singing the way a horn would play,” Burns points out. “[Jordan is] really trying different things out on this session. It’s an interesting look into her evolution as a performer.”

I’m The Girl 4:05
It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) 1:38
Ballad of the Sad Young Men 4:46
Comes Love 2:12
Don’t Explain 3:00
Sleeping Bee 2:37
When the World Was Young 4:28
I’ll Take Romance 1:41
These Foolish Things 3:59
Glad To Be Unhappy 3:21
They Can’t Take That Away From Me 2:25

Out Sept. 17: Chuck Owen's Jazz Surge's Within Us

Composer/Bandleader Chuck Owen celebrates the 25th anniversary of his Grammy-nominated big band The Jazz Surge on stunning new album

Within Us, due out September 17, 2021 via Summit Records, reconvenes Owen’s vibrant 19-piece big band along with special guest vibraphonist Warren Wolf to commemorate the band’s silver anniversary and the resolute spirit that steered it through the past year
"Owen writes with seductive rhythms in mind and sets aside ample room for earnest blowing by a number of splendid soloists.  Grammy voters, have your pens and pencils ready - again."
– Jack Bowers, All About Jazz
“[E]pisodic, dramatic and picturesque.  Owen deserves to be ranked high among today’s composers/arrangers.”
– Scott Yanow, New York City Jazz Record

Album Release Concert, Sunday, September 26 at Birdland

With the 25th anniversary of his groundbreaking big band, The Jazz Surge, swiftly approaching, Florida-based composer and bandleader Chuck Owen saw an obvious theme for the ensemble’s upcoming seventh album. It’s an impressive landmark for any large ensemble, of course, but especially worth commemorating for one that’s been hailed as “riotous and joyous” (JazzTimes) and “rapturous” (DownBeat), earned five Grammy nominations, and led its founder to such high-profile opportunities as composing and arranging for the WDR Big Band.
As a global pandemic interfered and delay after delay pushed back the planned recording session, however, a new theme began to emerge. Once this tight-knit group of musicians emerged from quarantine and reunited in the studio in May, there were far more important ideas to express than the mere passage of time. The remarkable new album that emerged, Within Us, is a testament to the vibrant collective identity forged by the band over the past quarter-century.
“For almost everybody in the band, it was the first time they’d recorded with actual people in the same room since the beginning of the pandemic,” Owen recalls. “Just being together became such a joyous occasion. There was an amazing sense of community. Within Us really seemed to represent this sense of what we’d all been through and the inner strength, especially collectively, that drove us through it. We all felt that was worth celebrating once we were on the other side of it.”
Due out September 17, 2021 via Summit Records, Within Us features a stellar 19-piece ensemble, including several members who have been with the Surge since its self-titled 1996 debut, with vibraphone great Warren Wolf joins the band as special guest.

Within Us takes its title from an uncharacteristically hopeful quote by the typically darker-toned author and existentialist Albert Camus, from his essay “Return to Tipasa.”

 “In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.

In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.

In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

I realized, through it all, that . . .

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

Owen paraphrased the quote, changing the “within me” to the more communal “us,” characteristic of his collaborative nature. The Jazz Surge itself was not originally planned to be a vehicle for his own work, but an extension of his teaching at the University South Florida, an institution from which he’ll retire this summer after 40 years. He’d written an article stressing the importance of jazz repertory in music education, so decided to put his words into action with the founding of the South Eastern Repertory Jazz Ensemble – or, SERJE. After an initial rehearsal using some of his own charts he realized how much fun it was to hear his music played by such a gifted band, and the SERJE ceased being an acronym and became the soundalike Surge.
Owen’s joy in hearing his compositions brought to life by the band remains evident 25 years later. Opener “Chelsea Shuffle” brims with that excitement, even given its somewhat tragic origins. Legendary pianist Chick Corea was originally slated to be the album’s special guest, so Owen arranged this Corea composition to feature him. The pianist’s untimely death leaves the tune as a fittingly exuberant send-off.
It was Corea’s longtime partnership with Gary Burton that turned Owen’s thoughts to the vibraphone, leading to Wolf being recruited as the date’s special guest. His agile playing graces both “Chelsea Shuffle” and Owen’s lush “The Better Claim,” revisiting a piece from the Surge’s 2013 suite River Runs. “Milestones,” of course, is a holdover from the album’s original title. Owen’s arrangement of the Miles Davis classic fuses it with “Surge,” the first composition he ever wrote expressly for the ensemble, bridging the band’s past and present in the span of one tune.
Other pieces look nostalgically back while gazing resolutely forward with a tentative optimism, befitting both the album’s status as an anniversary celebration as well as its tribute to the band’s strong resolution. “Trail of the Ancients” and “Apalachicola” both ruminate on Owen’s love of and concern for the environment, while “American Noir” is a cynically hopeful recap of recent political turmoil inspired by Chinatown soundtrack composer Jerry Goldsmith. “Sparks Fly” and the title track (subtitled “An Invincible Summer”) are both more direct tributes to Owen’s dedicated bandmates.
“I'm incredibly grateful to be commemorating 25 years with this band,” Owen concludes. “It really changed the trajectory of my career and gave me a newfound focus for my writing. I now had specific people that I was writing for, and through them I discovered so many things. Ultimately it’s allowed me to take more artistic risks based on the fact that I have wonderful musicians that are willing to go on the ride with me.”


Warren Wolf (Vibes/Marimba)

Tami Danielsson
Steve Wilson
Jack Wilkins
Rex Wertz
Matt Vance

Frank Greene
Jay Coble
Mike Iapichino
Clay Jenkins

Keith Oshiro
Tom Brantley
Jerald Shynett
Jim Hall

Sara Caswell (Violin)
Per Danielsson (Piano)
LaRue Nickelson (Guitar)
Corey Christiansen (Dobro, Nylon String,
Steel String, & 12-String Guitars)
Mark Neuenschwander (Bass)
Danny Gottlieb (Drums)
Beth Gottlieb (Djembe on Sparks Fly)
Chuck Owen (Accordion, Hammered Dulcimer)

Produced by: Chuck Owen & Tom Morris
Recorded: May 24-26, 2021 at Starke Lake Studios, Orlando, FL.
Mixed & Mastered: Morrisound Studios, Tampa, FL.
Recording, Mixing, & Mastering Engineer: Tom Morris
Asst. Engineers: Jason Blackerby
Studio Assistant: Ross Strauser
Studio volunteer team: Aaron West, Simon Lasky, Kathy Sakson

Additional Recording Assistance:
Jim Morris, Jon Tucker, & Tanner Lindsey
Cover Art Sculpture: Ya La’ford (Celestial Sphere)
Cover Art Photo: Martha Asencio Rhine/ Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA wire
Videography/Photography: Jared Brown, Gary Granger, John Cundy,
Natasha Thornton, Tyler McElrath, Jason Su

Erroll Garner - Symphony Hall Concert (September 17, 2021 Challenge Records)

On January 17, 1959, jazz immortal Erroll Garner took the stage of Boston’s Symphony Hall for a historic performance to a sold-out crowd. Recorded 11 months prior to the Dreamstreet sessions, which heralded Garner’s return after a lengthy battle for control over his catalog, Symphony Hall Concert is a previously unreleased compilation capturing the unparalleled genius of Garner’s live performances at the beginning of one of the most defining years of his life.Symphony Hall Concert (Single LP/CD/digital) ● Previously unreleased 9-song compilation recorded live at Boston’s Symphony Hall in 1959 ● Concert originally presented by famed promoter George Wein ● Exclusive cover based on poster from Erroll Garner archive.

Erroll Garner
One of the most prolific composers and performers in the history of jazz, as well as a courageous advocate for African-American empowerment and artistic freedom, Garner is a legend among jazz pianists. His unique approach melds bebop and swing influences into a unique, unrivaled mastery.

Asked to define his musical genius, the late pianist Geri Allen, who was director of the jazz program in Garner’s hometown at the University of Pittsburgh, best captured the essence of Garner’s utterly original vision. “Erroll Garner personifies the joy of fearless virtuosity and exploration. His playing celebrated the greatest swinging big bands through an innovative and impossible pianism,” she explains. “Singular yet all embracing, Garner blurred the line between great art and popular art, and he was a staunch journeyman of the blues and his Pittsburgh legacy.”

In addition to his brilliant keyboard artistry, Garner is also a notable figure in popular music history for the hard-won precedents he set for artistic freedom that still stand today. In 1959, because he had rights of approval on what was released, Garner successfully sued Columbia Records to remove an album they had released without his permission.

His victory was the first of its kind for any American artist in the music industry. Garner and his manager, Martha Glaser, subsequently founded and launched Octave Records, whose 12 releases make up the Octave Remastered Series.

Erroll Garner was a rare musician who was equally adored and respected by peers and devoted fans alike. He and his art were best summed up by the late trumpeter Clark Terry: “The man was complete. He could do it all.”

1 A Foggy Day (In London Town) 05:21
2 But Not For Me 03:44
3 I Can't Get Started With You 04:44
4 Dreamy 03:26
5 Lover 04:23
6 Moments Delight 05:05
7 Bernie's Tune 03:36
8 Misty 04:20
9 Erroll's Theme

Dan Berkson - Dialogues (September 17, 2021 Freestyle Records)

It was inevitable that Dan Berkson (formerly of electronic dance duo Berkson & What) would make a jazz album like Dialogues: joyful, danceable, entertaining, driven by the pleasure principle, and filled with virtuosity. It represents Berkson's experiences in London, where jazz is a living, breathing, dancing scene. It's his love letter to the city, bristling with British talent such as bassist Andrea di Biase and drummer Jon Scott and recorded in his final days in the city before relocating to California.

All his groove-based influences, from blues and ragtime through funk to house can be heard, as can his love of the studio as an instrument and mixdowns that suit a club soundsystem. Detroit dons Theo Parrish and Moodymann are every bit as important to this record as Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Giuffre, and Herbie Hancock. There's 50s and 60s cool modernism (the elegant ripples of "Sketches"), there's 70s funk fusion ("Unity" kicks things off with a spring in its step), and there's the pumping blues heart of "Live Bait". Above all else, though, it's a personal document: a life of music and collaboration crystalised in a magical, transitional moment. - Joe Muggs

1. Unity
2. Momentum
3. Maggie's Last Day
4. Live Bait (For Dave Wickins)
5. Remember Me
6. Sketches
7. The Court

Jon Gordon - Stranger Than Fiction (September 17th 2021 via ArtistShare)

Jon Gordon is one of the most accomplished and in demand alto and soprano saxophonists of his generation. A past winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, Gordon has made multiple appearances in Downbeat Magazine’s critics poll over the years. His past recordings havebeen consistently celebrated for their unique brilliance.

Gordon’s new ArtistShare release Stranger Than Fiction is a nonet project of all original music. It features faculty members and former students from the University of Manitoba jazz program - where Gordon teaches - alongside special guests from across North America, including jazz greats Orrin Evans, John Ellis, and Alan Ferber, among others. Stranger Than Fiction is an incredible addition to an already remarkable catalogue of music.

“Jon Gordon is one of the greatest alto players ever.”
Phil Woods

“Gordon has embraced the history of his instrument, carrying with it the ability to extend music as a universal language.”
Wayne Shorter

Stranger Than Fiction will be released worldwide
on Friday, September 17th 2021 via ArtistShare.
1. Pointillism 3:32
2. Havens 7:15
3. Stranger Than Fiction 7:19
4. Dance 7:24
5. Sunyasin 1:28
6. Counterpoint 6:59
7. Bella 7:50
8. Modality 7:04
9. Steps 0:51
10. Waking Dream 4:32

Jon Gordon - Alto Saxophone
Derrick Gardner - Trumpet
Alan Ferber - Trombone
Reginald Lewis - Tenor Saxophone (1, 7-10)
Tristan Martinuson - Tenor Saxophone (1-6)
John Ellis - Bass Clarinet (1-4, 6-8)
Anna Blackmore - Bass Clarinet (1, 5, 9, 10)
Jocelyn Gould - Guitar and Vocals (1, 5)
Larry Roy - Guitar Solo (6)
Will Bonness - Piano (all but 3 and 7)
Orrin Evans - Piano (3, 7)
Julian Bradford - Bass
Fabio Ragnelli - Drums

Stephen Riley with Ernest Turner - Original Mind (September 17, 2021 Cellar Live)

Saxophonist Stephen Riley and pianist Ernest Turner present a poignantly beautiful set of originals and standards.

Hailing from North Carolina, tenor saxophonist Stephen Riley and pianist Ernest Turner come together to present a poignantly beautiful set of original compositions and standards. Recorded in a beautiful house on the West side of Vancouver, BC, Canada the sound quality is absolutely wonderful, capturing every single nuance. The interplay between the two musicians is purely magic. Features a beautiful tune selection including some original material, lesser known standards and a gospel hymn that highlights the wonderfully unique tenor saxophone sound of Stephen Riley.

1. Doris
2. Among My Souvenirs
3. Beautiful Moon Age
4. J
5. Namely You
6. Sophisticated Lady
7. Light Blue
8. Turnin'
9. Blessed Assurance

Stephen Riley – tenor saxophone
Ernest Turner - piano

Executive Producer: Cory Weeds
Produced by Cory Weeds and Stephen Riley
Recorded at Will and Norah’s in Vancouver, BC on November 30th, 2019
Engineered mixed and mastered by Sheldon Zaharko
Photography by Cory Weeds
Cover Art by Norah Johnston
Design and layout by John Sellards

Sun Ra Arkestra - Angels and Demons at Play (featuring Marshall Allen) September 17, 2021 Art Yard Records

1. Angels and Demons at Play 02:57
2. Between Two Worlds 01:58
3. Spontaneous Simplicity 07:58

The album Angels And Demons At Play was compiled from two different sessions, recorded four years apart (1956 and 1960), that reflect Sun Ra's evolution from hard Chicago bop towards exotic styles that transcended easy categorization. The album was released in 1965 with a distinctive sleeve design by Sun Ra, featuring an identical illustration on both sides, and no sleeve notes. Besides the leader, there's overlapping personnel at the two sessions, yet the two LP sides were somewhat incongruous, demonstrating how much the Arkestra had evolved in four years.

Side A (tracks 1–4) consists of four performances from the marathon 1960 Chicago recording session that produced dozens of tracks released over the subsequent decade on a series of Saturn releases. Two idiosyncratic works, "Tiny Pyramids" and the title track (the latter featuring a flute solo by Marshall Allen), were composed by bassist Ronnie Boykins. "Between Two Worlds," a Sun Ra original, is a short, springy cha-cha. The colorfully abstract "Music From The World Tomorrow," featuring Sun Ra on Cosmic Tone Organ and Phil Cohran on "violin-uke," is the album's revelation — a short "sound experiment" rather than a composition, hinting more than any work on the collection Sunny's future direction.

The B-side of the album (tracks 5–8) goes back to the 1956 first Arkestra sessions, featuring Sunny's emerging "Hard Space Bop." The work is solid, and representative of the foundational years of the Sun Ra legacy. Three of the tracks had been released as singles by Saturn.

The respective sides document two early periods of Sun Ra's musical trajectory. But by the time the album was released in 1965, neither side accurately reflected what Sun Ra was offering fans on the concert stage or on new album releases, much less where his music would head as the decade continued to unfold. Compare Angels and Demons to the albums Strange Strings (recorded 1965) and Atlantis (recorded 1967-68), which sonically and stylistically are, as Sun Ra might say, "from another planet."

1 - 2 recorded at either Hall Recording Company or RCA Studios, Chicago, June 1960

PERSONNEL Tracks One and Two - Angels and Demonds at Play / Between Two Worlds:
Sun Ra: piano, Cosmic Tone Organ, percussion
Phil Cohran: trumpet (1)
Nate Pryor (1) and Bo Bailey (2): trombone
John Gilmore: tenor sax (1, 2,), clarinet (1,)
Marshall Allen: alto sax (2), flute (1)
Ronnie Boykins: bass
Jon Hardy: drums (1)
Robert Barry: drums (2)
Art Hoyle: trumpet
Pat Patrick: baritone sax
Julian Priester: trombone
Wilburn Green: bass
Jim Herndon: tympani

PERSONNEL: Track 3 - Spontaneous Simplicity
Sun Ra: piano, Clavioline
Marshall Allen: alto sax, flute, piccolo, percussion
Danny Davis: alto sax, flute, alto clarinet, percussion
Danny Ray Thompson: alto sax, percussion
John Gilmore: tenor sax, percussion
Pat Patrick: baritone sax, flute, percussion
Robert Northern: French horn
Bernard Pettaway: trombone
Ali Hassan: trombone
Teddy Nance: trombone
Robert Cummings: bass clarinet, percussion
Ronnie Boykins: bass
Clifford Jarvis: drums
Lex Humphries: drums
Nimrod Hunt [Carl S. Malone]: hand drums
James Jacson: Ihnfinity (log) drum

All tracks produced by Sun Ra, recorded 1966
All titles composed by Sun Ra © Enterplanetary Koncepts (BMI)

Tape transfers by Michael D. Anderson of the Sun Ra Music Archive
Digital restoration by Michael D. Anderson and Irwin Chusid

Issued under license from Sun Ra LLC 

Copyright Sun Ra LLC / Publishing Enterplanetary Koncepts

Turner Williams Jr. - Let It Warp (September 17, 2021 Trouble In Mind Records)

Turner Williams is an Alabama-born artist and musician currently residing in Marseille, France who has performed and recorded under the moniker Ramble Tamble as well as a member of avant-garde troupe Guardian Alien. Williams is a master of the "shahai baaja", an electrified zither modified with typewriter keys that de-tune several strings, plus 12 additional unfretted strings that drone sympathetically. About "Let It Warp", Williams says "This music was shaped by the thirty-two winds of Marseille and the endless warp of life since I moved here at the beginning of 2020. Warping into whatever. All improvised in the hills above the city and recorded on my phone that also received voice memos from friends at home and transmitted streams to orbit wherever. For lost friends and wind and time. Let it warp." "Let It Warp" is Williams' first entry in Trouble In Mind's Explorers Series.

1. Thirty-Two Winds
2. Almost Liquid Fire
3. Powerline Sunset
4. Blunt County Fantasia
5. Blow Fused
6. Winter Wildflowers For Heidi
7. Memo From Johnny
8. Relentless Obliterating Warp

Turner Williams Jr.: electric shahi baajas, pedals, Riviera organ, phone, computer + art.
Carol & Leah Hamby: voices on "Blunt County Fantasia"
Johnny Coley: poetry and voice on "Memo From Johnny"

Produced by Turner at La Panouse Marseille, FR 2020-21
Mastered by Angel Marcloid

The Eivind Aarset 4-tet / Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey (September 17, 2021 Jazzland recordings Norway)

"Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey" is the latest album by the Eivind Aarset 4tet, to be released September 2021 at Punkt Festival, Kristiansand. Featuring Eivind Aarset, Wetle Holte, Erland Dahlen and Audun Erlien, the album is no departure in terms of the compositional quality contained therein, as it remains gold standard. But sonically and texturally? This album features more traditional guitar sounds and techniques than can be found on almost all of his previous albums taken together, while still incorporating his signature tonal manipulations that render the guitar sound into almost unrecognizable forms. The album traverses the full gamut of the instrument's tonal possibilities, from Joe Pass tones to ambient textural soundbeds, from blistering shredding to controlled noise and signal. The line-up is augmented by Jan Bang and John Derek Bishop on several tracks, and Arve Henriksen on one.

The compositions by turns can be straightforward instrumentals with a heavy groove, rhapsodic tone poems, quasi-ambient jazz, expressionistic campaigns of sonic annihilation, delicate variations and improvisational explorations built upon melody and harmony, and, not infrequently, a combination of any or all of the above.

The "Different Kind of Journey" of "Phantasmagoria" takes us through a preamble consisting of the hazy fuzz of "Intoxication" with its lazy backbeat and psychedelic tightrope walk of dreamscape over chaos, to "Pearl Hunter" with its bossanova groove filtered through ambient rock. From there we arrive at "Outbound or Stubb1" where the main leg of the journey begins and the beats kick in with greater intensity, and where post-punk guitar minimalism is given a 2021 makeover, before moving to "Duløc or The Cat's Eye" where 60s B-Movie score tropes blend with 70s avant garde and art rock, then stumble through a wormhole that takes them almost 50 years into the future. "Manta Ray or Soft Spot", with Arve Henriksen on trumpets, effortlessly glides into view, a sonic space where the marine vibes eddy and whirl with dreamy undertows and sun-kissed waves.

Next on the itinerary is "Didn't See This One Coming", an aptly titled track that is better listened to than described (suffice to say, this is NOT something anyone familiar with Aarset's work would have expected). From the utterly unexpected, we move to "Soft Grey Ghosts", a textural piece that feels familiar, yet is somehow disconnected, drifting and swaggering with an extra step. The second stage of the journey progresses to its close with “Inbound or Stubb2”, the more experienced sibling of “Outbound or Stubb1", one that quotes from the journey and introduces new vocabulary and dialects extrapolated from it. The third and final leg of the journey is encapsulated in "Light on Sanzu River", a piece loosely derived from "Waiting on a Boat" by Anneli Drecker: filled with deep nostalgia for the past that lies behind, it also looks forward to the oncoming future with a bright optimism, a certainty that this part of the journey will lead to a better time and place.

"Phantasmagoria, Or a Different Kind of Journey" is an album that delivers a multifaceted experience: it is a soundtrack to an inner journey of remembered or imaginary landscapes and spaces; a travelogue of musical styles, sounds and eras; a simulacrum of the live touring experience. This album, perhaps more than any of his previous releases, is one that proudly and confidently wears Aarset's influences on its sleeve - a bold move, but one that serves to underline how he is infinitely more than the sum of those influences. This latest chapter in his weaving of the unified tapestry of his career shows how Aarset is capable of finding new threads in unexpected colours, of innovation and reinvention. 
1. Intoxication
2. Pearl Hunter
3. Outbound, or Stubb1
4. Duløc, or The Cat's Eye
5. Manta Ray, or Soft Spot
6. Didn't See This One Coming
7. Soft Grey Ghosts, or Twilight Chamber
8. Inbound, or Stubb2
9. Light on Sanzu River, or Dreaming of a Boat

Wetle Holte —
Drums / Percussion / Metallophone.
Drum Programming / Mellotron on
Outbound (or) Stubb1 /
Organ on Manta Ray (or) Soft Spot.

Erland Dahlen —
Drums / Percussion / Logdrum /
Vibraphone. Drum Programming on
Soft Grey Ghosts (or)
Twilight Chamber.

Audun Erlien —
Bass. Casio Synth on Intoxication.

Eivind Aarset —
Guitar / Electronics / Edits.

Guests —

Arve Henriksen —
Trumpets on Manta Ray (or) Soft Spot.

Jan Bang —
Samples on Manta Ray (or) Soft Spot,
Didn’t See This One Coming & Soft
Grey Ghosts (or) Twilight Chamber.

John Derek Bishop —
Field Recordings & Treatments on
Manta Ray (or) Soft Spot & Light on Sanzu River (or) Dreaming of a Boat.

Music developed collectively by all participating
musicians. (0.9) is loosely based on
Anneli Drecker’s song ‘Waiting For a Boat’.

Recorded & mixed by Bjarne Stensli at Oslo Klang.
Additional recording at Punkt Studio / Skogen
Studio / Sus / Oslo Lydbruk & Eivind’s Home studio.
Mastered by Georg Tanderød.

Landon Caldwell & Mac Blackout - Linear Revolution (September 17, 2021 Trouble In Mind Records)

"Woke up with revolutions repeating in my head" Mac said to me. Then there were whispered suggestions of the marriage of time and linear pathways that have beginnings and ends.

We were all locked up. We were looking for objects of beauty. We were looking for a way out, like the unnoticed bathroom window or the flowers in the backyard whose names you know.

We traded some takes back and forth. That was a momentary escape. This little conversation. It just happens like that. I’d start droning along about love and unity and Mac would get going. The next thing we knew we had these two beautiful children, serene cacophonies of saxophone, electric piano, synthesizers, and more. Two mellow blazers ripping across the autumnal night sky.

- Landon Caldwell
Mac Blackout is an acclaimed visual artist, muralist and musician from Chicago. He cut his teeth musically in the early 2000s Chicago punk scene and in recent years has taken a more explorative direction with his multimedia collective “Armageddon Experimental Band”. In November 2020 Trouble in Mind records released “Love Profess” his first solo album in seven years, described as an emotional artistic portrait of our times, mixing elements of free improvisation, avant-garde composition, minimal pop and analog synth experimentation.

Landon Caldwell is an Indianapolis-based artist, musician, and producer. His work explores the language of intuition, family, and ecology in the industrial midwest, frequently hovering between minimalism and free improvisation. He has released music on Astral Spirits, Trouble In Mind, Moon Glyph, Atlantic Rhythms, and Medium Sound, his own label with collaborator Mark Tester. 

1. Linear Revolution
2. 13 Minutes To Fall

Mac Blackout: Alto saxophone, guitar, synthesizer and electric piano
Landon Caldwell: Organ, synthesizer, percussion and flute

Composed, improvised, and recorded by Landon (Indianapolis) and Mac (Chicago) remotely during the pandemic, Fall 2020.

©Mac Blackout & Landon Caldwell, 2021

Blue Lick - Hold On, Hold Fast (September 17, 2021 American Dreams)

“I was trying to express the aggression I was feeling without sounding like I had a chip on my shoulder.” That’s Havadine Stone of experimental electronic project Blue Lick, a duo with Chicago multi-instrumentalist Ben Baker Billington. Their debut LP Hold On, Hold Fast is a multivariable meditation on existence and a queasy sonic exploration. The album combines Stone’s vocals and writing with Billington’s roving modular synth soundscapes that oscillate between the caustic and the atmospheric, resulting in something singularly Midwestern - plainspoken but disorienting.

Composition for Hold On, Hold Fast began in 2020 with Stone starting the creative process, sending her vocal contribution to Billington. “I thought she might send field recordings,” he says, “but she ended up writing a long piece and reciting it.” Stone’s piece was a thirty-minute-or-so straight monologue navigating love, landscape, violence, the written word, and more. “And it's all one take,” Stone says. “I recorded it sitting in my closet, with my laptop and recorder - in the dark, reading it over again. I would say a word the wrong way, even though I had practiced so much, and then start over again. That was important to me - maybe that's part of making things hard for myself, but it was more satisfying to me.”

Once Stone turned in her vocals, Billington turned to his custom modular synth, made by Matthew Regula, to create backdrops, slicing the monologue into twelve pieces. “I would listen to her vocals over and over again,” Billington says, “writing patches for smaller, two minute pieces, then record three to five minutes of that patch. Sometimes I would write with the sounds starting and then having Havadine’s vocals creep in, or vice versa.” The attention to detail and meticulous listening paid off as the interplay between instruments and spoken word grants each aspect its own real estate.

There is a focus on beauty and love on Hold On, Hold Fast, but not the kind found in typical places. “If anything, I was trying to show the beauty I find in the Midwest, and the beauty that I find in things that aren't soft,” Stone says, spotlighting the free jazz-tinged, gentle nugget “X,” which features the most sexually explicit language on the album - “You got cum in my eye so many times I had begun to think you were doing it on purpose.” There’s humor there, as much as there is the expression or experience of romance. “I appreciate the point-blankness of just like...getting cum in your eye when you're in love,” she says, noting that though it may not be outright pleasant, it’s still an indication of connection and the act of love.

Other songs are more straightforward odes to the Midwest - “II” is a quick, seething number featuring panning percussion and low end from a rumbling synthesizer, invoking highway stretches, rows of corn, and subtle disruptions in an otherwise nondescript landscape. “This is the midwest,” incants Stone. “It’s flat and wide open, and when something is flat and wide open you can’t hide in it, can you? Unless you make yourself like wind. Move the body like a fish; see how it glides through the water like it wasn’t even there, like it was just thin air.”

There’s a connection between Billington and Stone submerged in the realm that precedes creation - things like intention and ethos. Though there is a surrealism in both instrumental and vocal realms, the album circumvents the soft allure of dreaminess, firmly footed in reality, but distorting it through a lens, gently. This is the Midwest without Culvers, where crop rows line the earth, where uniformity averts attention, where a few stalks back something waits, inspecting the passers by, and jotting down notes, as it has, and as it will continue to. 

1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. V
6. VI
7. VII
9. IX
10. X
11. XI
12. XII

Tomi Nikku 5tet - Light & Shade (September 17, 2021 Flame Jazz Records)

Helsinki-based trumpet player Tomi Nikku presents his debut under his own name on Flame Jazz Records with the album ’Light & Shade’.

On his new album, you’ll hear his band Tomi Nikku 5tet, which has worked together since 2018 and features Max Zenger on alto sax / bass clarinet, Ilkka Uksila on vibraphone, Vesa Ojaniemi on bass, and Jonatan Sarikoski on drums. The 5tet’s instrumentation, which differs from the typical quintet formation with vibes in the rhythm section and bass clarinet in the front line, Nikku’s compositions, and the 5tet’s musicians’ recognizable and expressive voices create Tomi Nikku 5tet’s unique band sound.

Like the twofold title suggests, ’Light & Shade’ is assembled in halves. The ”light side” (side A on the LP) includes groovy and energetic ”Inceptum”, serene yet determined ”Who Goes First?” (written originally for Bowman Trio), and sweet and playful ”V.E.N.”, which is dedicated to Nikku’s firstborn child. The darker side (side B on the LP) includes melancholic solo trumpet track ”Trumpet Intro / Yearnin'”, strong minor piece ”Emboldened”, dreamy and wistful ”What Is It (That You’re So Afraid Of)”, and the album-closing track ”Yearnin’”.

”I tend to write more music when I’m really going through something in my life, whether that is something making me feel happy or unhappy. On this album, you will hear pieces that I have written when feeling super hyped about something ("Inceptum") or really, really happy and proud ("V.E.N."). You will also hear pieces written in a totally different mindset. The tunes like "What Is It" and "Yearnin'" both originated from the polarized atmosphere of the summer of 2020. Channeling those emotions onto these compositions certainly helped me to keep my head above water and keep me going. I've had a great time preparing this music and this album for you. I hope you enjoy it too!” -Tomi

Tomi Nikku 5tet’s ’Light & Shade’ will be available on vinyl, CD, and digitally.

1. Inceptum Intro
2. Inceptum
3. Who Goes First?
4. V.E.N.
5. Trumpet Intro / Yearnin'
6. Emboldened
7. What Is It (That You're So Afraid Of)
8. Yearnin'

Tomi Nikku, trumpet
Max Zenger, alto sax, bass clarinet
Ilkka Uksila, vibraphone
Vesa Ojaniemi, bass
Jonatan Sarikoski, drums

Composed by Tomi Nikku
Produced by Tomi Nikku
Recorded and mixed by Matias Kiiveri with assistant engineer Teppo Laitila at Hollywood House Studios (Trumpet Intro / Yearnin’ recorded by Tomi Nikku at Woodshed)
Mastered by Pauli Saastamoinen at Finnvox Studios
Photos by Jouni Raatikainen
Design by Kasperi Salovaara