Tuesday, November 9, 2021

NEC faculty and alums receive 2021 Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grants

Three NEC faculty members and two alums receive 
2021 Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grants
Faculty members Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, Jason Moran and Nasheet Waits, 
and alumni Jamie Branch and Felipe Salles earn transformative grants  
New England Conservatory faculty members Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, Jason Moran and Nasheet Waits andalumni Jamie Branch and Felipe Salles have each been awarded 2021 Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grants of up to $40,000 from South Arts. 

These grants are part of Jazz Road’s largest investment in the field to date as part of a national initiative supporting jazz artists. Through Jazz Road Creative Residencies, 52 artists are receiving grants of up to $40,000 each, allowing them the opportunity to further explore their art form and work. Projects supported through Jazz Road Creative Residencies range from the creation of new works to community-driven collaborative events. The recipients are a broad representation of the national field. Recipients come from every region of the country, and work within multi-faceted jazz/improvisation genres.

Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol – faculty member, Music History and Musicology; Intercultural Institute
This major grant will allow Sanlıkol–a jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, singer, scholar and educator–to create and record new compositions for jazz orchestra. His 19-piece Whatsnext? Ensemble will include guest saxophonist and fellow NEC faculty member Miguel Zenón, clarinetist Anat Cohen, and percussionist Antonio Sanchez, among others. Sanlıkol’s new work will fuse Western jazz and Middle Eastern music (Turkish modes, microtones, rhythms) and draw on Muslim and Sufi literary and spiritual sources.  

Nasheet Waits – faculty member, Jazz Studies
Drummer Nasheet Waits and WeUpReUp (Waits, Eric Revis and JD Allen) is a manifesto/forum to promote Black music to Black students/young adults. Project director Maya Cunningham of DuBois Black Music Project at UMass Amherst and artists will partner in the South with North Carolina Central University’s Jazz Studies Department; visit Jackson Mississippi Tourism; Godbolt Consultants; Tougaloo College; and Jackson State University. Offerings include master classes and two Black Music Symposiums on African American identity in jazz and the music/activism of master Max Roach. The band will perform at the Jackson Visitors Center and the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Jason Moran – faculty member, Jazz Studies

Moran’s composition will tie together multi-disciplinary components to re-create and premiere the lost Martha Graham piece, "Canticle." In partnership with the Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, Moran and the Martha Graham Dance Company will collaborate with noted choreographers exploring street dance and dance rooted in Afro-Caribbean, Taiwanese and Lebanese perspectives. The work will premiere at The Soraya in March 2022. Moran is on the faculty of NEC’s Jazz Studies department.
Felipe Salles – Alumnus, '97 MM, '98 GD Jazz Studies   
Salles and his Interconnections Ensemble will collaborate with eight guest composers including Paquito D'Rivera, Yosvany Terry and Melissa Aldana to rehearse and record new work exploring immigration.
Jamie Branch – Alumna, ’05 BM Jazz Studies
FLY OR DIE's jamie branch (with cellist, Lester St. Louis; bassist, Jason Ajemian; and drummer, Chad Taylor) will develop new music and visual work that is directly related to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Outdoor rehearsals, open studios and concerts will occur with partners, 360 Record Shop, Erin Basie Pier and the Red Hook Art Project and Houses (NYC Housing Authority). Funds will allow a highly professional recording process to follow which also enables branch's full ownership of the master recordings.

New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools, educating and training musicians of all ages from around the world for over 150 years. With 800 music students representing more than 40 countries in the College, and 2,000 youth and adults who study in the Preparatory and Continuing Education divisions, NEC cultivates a diverse, dynamic community for students, providing them with performance opportunities and high-caliber training with internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC’s alumni, faculty and students touch nearly every aspect of musical life in the region; NEC is a major engine of the vital activity that makes Boston a musical and cultural capital.  
Jazz Road, a national program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is led by South Arts in partnership with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Western Arts Alliance/WESTAF). Jazz Road Creative Residencies is the third grant opportunity in this initiative, adding to the ongoing Jazz Road Tours grants and previous COVID-19 relief grants from the Jazz Road Quick Assist Fund. To learn more about Jazz Road and read about  Jazz Road Creative Residencies recipients and their projects, visit www.southarts.org.

Luke Stewart - Works For Upright Bass and Amplifier Vol. 2 (February 2, 2022 Astral Spirits)

THIS ALBUM OFFICIALLY IS OUT 2/25/2022...we can only have the pre-order up 90 days prior via Facebook so you'll notice the release date change as we get closer. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING!

In Indian musical theory it is said that there are two kinds of sound, one a vibration of ether, the other a vibration of air. The vibration of ether, which cannot be perceived in the physical sense, is considered the principle of all manifestation, the basis of all substance. It corresponds to what neo-Pythagoreans called “music of the spheres”. It forms permanent numerical patterns which are the basis of the world’s existence. The kind of vibration is not caused by a physical shock as are audible sounds. It is therefore called anāhata, “unstruck”. The other kind of sound is an impermanent vibration of air, an image of the ether vibration. It is audible and always produced by a shock. It is therefore called āhata or “struck”. (Alain Daniélou, 1980)

I’d never thought about Luke Stewart in such terms until recently, but I think that scholar Alain Daniélou’s words are a great place to start. When asking our bassist-at-large about how he wanted to approach talking about this new record, he gave a little background, but ultimately wanted the music to speak for itself… and speak it does. 

Works for Upright Bass and Amplifier Volume Two takes the foundation laid down by Volume One and builds a large flame out of it. A sort of regeneration. This beauty is not for the weak listener, afraid of radical change. Nor is it for a casual passerby. Over an hour, this new opus is not only a form of expression regarding where Luke has been but his willingness to examine the nature around him, specifically the relationship between electricity and wood. 

Or, as I like to think of it, a few lovely compositions about a cleansing forest fire. 

After Volume One, Luke advanced his techniques and recording processes through his work with several artists. Traveling and watching an array of disciplines being harnessed before his eyes led him to redeveloping his approach to training his bull fiddle to play nicely in the sandbox with a few power sources. Luke says of forming his concept that “it is the main influence for the process by which the sound is generated on this setup, but using the bass as well as the crucial element of movement. Literally moving the bass back and forth, creating an effect of movement, is necessary to make the process musical.”
Another technical observation regarding Volume Two falls someplace between the opening quote and a conversation on our mutual love for classic-era Hip-Hop production. The chopping function on the Akai MPC allows the user to take any sound and separate the impact from its sustain… or aftermath. Having tinkered on the machine for many years, I always found it fascinating to hold onto the ghosts of notes, as opposed to repeating the point of attack where they are first heard. Luke gives many examples of this through the record. Not only does his creation of the sound resonate, but the actual soul of the notes often lingers in the air like an audience listening to themselves. 

A simple pluck of one, or several, strings reverberates between, at times, two amplifiers placed in varying positions around our bassist. These placements allow Luke to not only focus on his contact with the wood, but also the wood's relation to the electricity. Hand strikes a match, causing flame. Then flame touches the tree. Spreading and cleansing the area. It is ultimately a process of universal creation right before the ears. There aren’t too many spaces left where a brother can go into a place quietly and create his own universe. 

Gabriel Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn, 2021 

1. 01
2. 02
3. 03
4. 04
5. 05
6. 06
7. 07
8. 08

My Hope is for the Listener to discover a connection within themselves.

To inspire deeper personal development, and radical change when needed.

These pieces contained on this album are documents of various approaches to the setup, intended to further explore the developments of the Sound.

Each Work is an exhibition of the intersection of acoustic and electronic Music, the intersection of the elements in the natural world.

Track 1 - Upright Bass and 2 Amplifiers
Track 2 - Upright Bass and Amplifier
Track 3 - Upright Bass and Amplifier and NO-INPUT Mixing Board
All Subsequent Tracks - Upright Bass and Amplifier

Recorded by Craig Bowen, Mattson Ogg, and Luke Stewart
Performed Live no Overdubs by Luke Stewart
Mixed and Edited by Craig Bowen and Luke Stewart
Mastered for Vinyl by Mikey Young

Luke Stewart - Works For Upright Bass and Amplifier Vol. I (November 2021 Astral Spirits)

1. Works For Upright Bass and Amplifier Pt I 15:00
2. Works For Upright Bass and Amplifier Pt II 14:49
3. Works For Upright Bass and Amplifier Pt III 16:18
4. Works For Upright Bass and Amplifier Pt IV 12:05

LUKE STEWART plays Upright Bass and Amplifier

Recorded by Mattson Ogg
Mastered for Vinyl by Mikey Young
Liner Notes by Gabriel Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn
Film Stills by Pat Cain
Design & layout by Dylan Marcus McConnell

Michael Larocca Quintet - Michael Larocca Quintet (December 1, 2021 Guardrail Recordings)

Michael Larocca plays drumset, percussion, electronics, and also composes both acoustic and electroacoustic music. His compositional and improvisational styles are influenced by a wide variety of sources. He's also a painter. He’s currently located in CT, but he also plays in NYC.

1. Suite: One Flight Up, One Flight Down / AAA (Triple A) / Lament
2. 5x3
3. Communal Ice Cream (Improvisation)
4. Particle Smasher

Kaelen Ghandhi - Tenor and soprano saxophones
Jonathan Milberger - Tenor and alto saxophones
Aaron Rubinstein - Electric guitar
Caleb Duval - Acoustic and electric basses
Michael Larocca - Drum set

Matthew Shipp -Codebreaker (November 5, 2021 AUM Fidelity)

Matthew Shipp takes an introspective turn on his latest solo piano album, continuing to discover new territory for his singular cosmic pianism. Codebreaker encrypts rich harmonies, cloud-like clusters, and the unlikely confluence of Bill Evans and Bud Powell.

Within the voluminous catalogue that pianist Matthew Shipp has created over the last three and a half decades, his solo piano work has charted a unique and compelling pathway for the evolution of the instrument’s vocabulary. On his latest album, that path finds Shipp in an uncharacteristically meditative state of mind. Though the language is unmistakably his own, the usual attacks, dense clusters and insistent circularity are more often replaced by harmonic nebulae that luxuriate in the mysterious resonances which Shipp conjures from the keyboard.

“I was actually shocked at how introspective the album was when I listened back to it,” Shipp admits. “If I try to dissect my motivations, which are not always conscious and which just happen on their own, I see myself really basking in harmony. I'm interested in trying to wring all of the harmonics from the piano that I possibly can, and with that in mind, any set of harmonics has a set of melodic fragments that are implied.”

Given that investigative impulse, Shipp himself could be viewed as the Codebreaker of the album’s evocative title. There’s a wry humor to the name, as Shipp imagines a parallel between a World War II secret agent doggedly racing to crack an enemy cypher and himself sitting at the piano, puzzling over the music’s infinite enigmas. But the idea seems profoundly serious when considering the singular sonic vernacular he’s coined, making him one of the most distinctive pianists of his generation.

Shipp concedes that his recent landmark birthday may have something to do with the more introspective bent of the new album (“60’s not old, but it's definitely not young,” he jokes), but it also continues a career-long investigation into the ways that his subversive approach to the piano connects with the instrument’s storied lineage. While the likes of Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra have been constant touchstones in critical writings on his work, one name that emerges when listening to Codebreaker, perhaps for the first time in Shipp’s discography, is that of Bill Evans.

“It's very abstract and I don't know if listeners will hear it, but I hear a line in my playing that's trying to get into the trajectory that links Bud Powell's piano playing to Bill Evans,” Shipp says. “That's not a line you usually draw, but essentially Bill Evans is a Bud Powell-influenced pianist. All people who push notes down on the piano share a language, even though they’re all extremely different. I’m trying to dip into that collective mind, but at the same time it's filtered through me and is distinctly my thing. So it’s playing with the dichotomy between the universal and the personal in the context of this pyramid where Bud Powell, Bill Evans and, myself somehow, fit together in a modern way.”
by Glen Tollington

1. Codebreaker 04:40
2. Spiderweb 05:12
3. Disc 03:43
4. Code Swing 04:47
5. Letter From the Galaxy 04:56
6. Green Man 03:40
7. Raygun 04:02
8. Suspended 02:19
9. Mystic Motion 03:49
10. Stomp To the Galaxy 03:45
11. The Tunnel 03:27

Matthew Shipp: piano

Henry Kaiser / John Oswald / Paul Plimley - At One Time (November 2021)

The three leaders, on AT ONE TIME, Henry Kaiser, John Oswald, and Paul Plimley, have all worked with Cecil Taylor, both in performance and in workshops. Here, they share their love of the late master Taylor’s music with a celebration of language and narrative strategies that were discovered/pioneered by the great piano maestro. Two special guests join them to make quartets on two tracks. Scott Amendola joins in on drums and Tracy Sliverman brings his 6-string electric fiddle to the party. Unusually, pianist Paul Plimley chose to entire play vibes on this album. Oswald plays alto sax, as is usual. Kaiser plays electric and acoustic guitars + electric bass. Kaiser, Oswald, and Plimley have been collaborating together for well more than 40 years; this project is also a celebration of their friendship and love of improvising together, recorded during tough COVID times.

“The first piece, ‘anagram ritz rewarding,’ has a calm vibe at the center although there is some strong, intense, circular interplay. Things pick up becoming more intense on ‘oceans felons salad’ when Mr. Kaiser switches to his signature electric guitar w/ that bent-tone/sustained/psych-like sound. Mr. Plimley is a thoughtful vibes player, often taking his time to counter-balance the more frenzied extrapolations by Kaiser and Oswald. Mr. Kaiser and Mr. Oswald have obviously worked together for many years as we can hear them connecting on different levels no matter how far out they go. John Oswald, who is a longtime member CCMC (with Michael Snow) and is also known as ‘Plunderphonics’, is a great free saxist who rarely seems to record.

Oswald is in extremely fine form here and is digging deeply into diverse vocabulary. There are some great moments of hair-raising intensity when all three players let go and push things into the stratosphere. On the final piece, the trio are joined by ace drummer Scott Amendola who adds a strong percussive undertow while Mr. Kaiser appears to be playing some impressive electric bass. Things really take off here especially the frenzied vibes-work by Paul Plimley. This entire disc is a powerful concoction of focused free/spirit music at its best.” - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG 

1. Anagram Ritz Rewording 04:17
2. Oceans Felons Salad (feat. Tracy Silverman) 26:43
3. Targeted for Who 01:48
4. Loon 09:29
5. Net So 01:05
6. Fir Loom (feat. Scott Amendola) 17:52

Henry Kaiser - Guitar
John Oswald - Alto Sax
Paul Plimley - Vibes

Scott Amendola - Drums on Fir Loom
Tracy Silverman - 6-String Fiddle on Oceans Felons Salad

Art Direction - John Oswald and Brandy Gale

Gregory Porter - Still Rising / The Collection (November 2021 Blue Note)

Gregory Porter’s upcoming brand new Greatest Hits double album. This will be the first EVER hits collection from the seven-time Grammy nominated, two-time Grammy winner, celebrating Gregory Porter’s decade of success with his best songs from 2010 to 2021, multiple brand new songs, bonus material, and new recordings of his much-loved global hits.

1 Hey Laura
2 Liquid Spirit
3 Revival
4 Illusion
5 1960 What?
6 L.O.V.E
7 Holding On
8 Concorde
9 If Love Is Overrated
10 I Will
11 Real Good Hands
12 My Babe
13 Bad Girl Love
14 No Love Dying
15 Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? (Moby Cover)
16 Dry Bone
17 Love Runs Deeper
18 It’s Probably Me (Sting Cover)

1 Natural Blues (with Moby & Amythyst Kiah)
2 Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (with Jamie Cullum
3 Raining in My Heart (with Buddy Holly)
4 People Will Say We’re in Love (with Ella Fitzgerald)
5 GrandMas’ Hands (with Ben L’Oncle Soul)
6 Christmas Prayer (with Paloma Faith)
7 Insanity (with Lalah Hathaway)
8 Make Someone Happy (with Jeff Goldblum)
9 Fly Me To The Moon (with Julie London)
10 Satiated (with Dianne Reeves)
11 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (with Renée Fleming)
12 The Girl From Ipanema (with Nat King Cole)
13 Water Under Bridges (with Laura Mvula)
14 Right Where you are (with Lizz Wright)
15 Heart and Soul - (with Yo-Yo Ma & The Silkroad Ensemble ,Lisa Fischer)
16 Making Love (with Trijntje Oosterhuis)

Shane Simpson - My Digital Wife (November 2021)

Shane Simpson is a pianist and keyboardist of jazz and experimental music. He lives in Brooklyn, NY where he teaches piano, composition, improvisation, music theory, ear training, and sight-singing.

1. Lunchtime 02:10
2. Josquin Remix 01:38
3. Shwrists 03:08
4. Into the Bitter Duration 03:57
5. Ice Tower Forest 02:12
6. Josquin Piano 02:39
7. Ghost of Gravy 03:40
8. Marcy 01:11
9. King Arthur 04:55

Shane Simpson, piano

All music by Shane Simpson except tracks 2 and 6 which come from an excerpt from Nymphes des Bois, written in 1497 by Josquin des Prez after the death of his teacher Johannes Ockeghem

Track 9 features a chord progression originally composed by Henry Purcell in 1691

All performances and production by pianist Shane Simpson

Cover Photo by Travis Bliss
Recorded on February 7, 2021 at Pulse Music in New York, NY
Engineered by Robin Buyer
Mixed by Shane Simpson and Jonathan Starks
Mastered by Jonathan Starks

Noci Saxophone Pool - Noci Saxophone Pool (November 2021 Niafunken)

1. Il Vento Del Disgelo 04:50
2. L'Albero Della Guerra 12:20
3. Esercizio Provvisorio #1 02:50
4. Esercizio Provvisorio #2 03:34
5. Vermi 03:25
6. 30 Settembre 05:17
7. Celicoli Sfrattati 04:23

Noci Saxophone Pool:
- Marco Colonna (sax baritono, sax sopranino)
- Gianni Console (sax alto, sax baritono, tubo in ottone, mega chup in plastica, elettronica)
- Vittorino Curci (sax alto, sax tenore, tubo, testi e voce)
- Francesco Massaro (sax baritono, clarinetto basso, elettronica)

Registrato e mixato presso Officina Musicale, Castellana Grotte (Ba) da Giuseppe Mariani
Tutti i brani composti da Colonna/Console/Curci/Massaro
Edizioni New Model Label

Ausecuma Beats - Musso (November 2021)

When you mix Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Cuba and Australia, you find yourself with many cultures. We represent Africa, sure, but also we represent diversity. That is the essence of Ausecuma Beats. We want to come together, to bring all people together to share the knowledge of what we have learnt.

We all see the hard work that lies ahead in the future. It’s not easy, and we all have different ways of thinking. But there is also something we all share, and that is humanity, and family. We have to teach our children, to help them on their journey.

This album can be defined by the song Tombo. It’s about giving respect to your teacher. All the knowledge we bring to this album has come from someone who in their turn gave it to us. If you like the music, you hear it, you dance, great! But remember, someone created this, they gave it to us, and now Ausecuma Beats are giving it to you. So we dedicate this album to our teachers.

The name of this album is Musso; it means woman. We want to dedicate this album to those who gave us life. It doesn’t matter how strong we are, how tough we are, or how lucky we are in the chances we have been given. There is always someone who is worrying about us; there is no-one who can be thinking about us more than our own mother. So this album especially is dedicated to the women in our lives, and is sending respect to all women around the world.

- Boubacar Gaye, Melbourne

1. Sallier 04:46
2. Bala (feat. Horatio Luna) 04:07
3. Dream Come To Me 05:39
4. One More Time 03:45
5. Life is a Mystery 06:52
6. Mozambique 05:27
7. Tombo 04:18
8. Yarra 05:04

Luke Koszański - guitar, piano on 2 + 3
Horatio Luna - bass on 2
Amadou Suso - kora on 5

All songs written or arranged by Boubacar Gaye & Ausecuma Beats, under exclusive license to Music in Exile.

Ausecuma Beats are Boubacar Gaye, Mohamed Camara, Rodolfo ‘Panga’ Hechavarria, Bassidi Koné, Will Larsen, James Jablonka, Evan Tweedie and Byron Goodwin.

Luke Koszański - guitar, piano on 2 + 3
Horatio Luna - bass on 2
Amadou Suso - kora on 5

Tracks 1, 4, 6, 7 + 8 recorded, mixed and mastered by John Lee at Phaedra Studios, Coburg, during 2020-21.

Tracks 2, 3 + 5 recorded by Enrico Fattori and James Mannix at Gavin Gray’s Piano World, Reservoir, 2020. Mixed and mastered by John Lee at Phaedra Studios.

Front cover painting by Natalie Cassar, used with kind permission of the artist.