Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Agustín Uriburu - Santa Fe (November 2021 ears & eyes Records)

Through the years and through many generations, Jazz and Argentina have had a tacit bond, and intangible relationship that can be explained through the immigrant’s suffering and nostalgia, and through having to build culture and identity in a different part of the world, where we feel foreign but that we adopted as our own.

When you sit down and listen to “Santa Fe” those feelings will permeate not only your mind but also your soul because it is impossible not to feel captivated by the expressiveness of this beautiful piece of work, which narrates Agustin Uriburu’s experience and journey away from his home country, the melancholy and vent of emotions that he doesn’t express through words but through music and through his instruments: cello and guitar.

From a totally unprejudiced standpoint, he invents and reinvents ways of interacting with the strings and the sound of wood to generate textures and settings that vary in intensity and tone, that also take you to different places and situations of his life, but also of ours. That’s the power of Jazz, that’s the power of freedom, there are no words because they would simply limit us and wouldn’t let us connect with our true SELF.

All of this intimate world that Agustin shares with us, is completed with elements that also take us to that Argentinean and European root, where folklore, tango, and classical music blend with Jazz to leave us with an intermittent halo of world music but also local music which is clearer at moments, and blurrier at others. A conversation between the person he was, the one he is now, and the one he wants to be, an artist that never loses faith in this path and in what he wants from life.
He shares this process of self-discovery and improvement not only with his audience but also with the musicians that take part in this album, they identify with him and elevate the songs to let the music fly, becoming involved, reinterpreting him and adding their personal experience which touches not only the author but also us.

That’s why, the work of Gabriel Chakarji, Daniele Germani, Juan Chiavassa, and sound engineer Daniel Alba, is key in adding a special tone to an already great piece of art.

In the digital and ultra-processed era, “Santa Fe” is a sonic oasis that forces us to pay attention, to feel the music and let it in, a freeing and healing experience that deals with identity, values, feelings, melancholy, and happiness, and evolution without saying a single word.

Written by Iñaki Durán (

1. Santa Fe 04:43
2. Don't Smoke 04:51
3. Take a Hike 05:40
4. Intro en Tilcara 01:19
5. Fiesta en Tilcara 04:17 video
6. Ocean 06:08

Daniele Germani - alto saxophone
Gabriel Chakarji - piano
Agustin Uriburu - cello & guitar
Juan Chiavassa - drums

Recorded by Daniel Alba at Big Orange Sheep, Brooklyn New York
Nylon string guitar recorded by Tomas Latorre at MacDonough Studios
Electric guitars recorded by Juan Soria at Wild Coyote Studios
Mixed and mastered by Daniel Alba at Megafonic Studios
Album Cover Painting by Santiago Garcia Pilotto, Design by Luisa Uriburu
Original art by Santiago Garcia Pilotto

Sarah King - Tulip or Turnip (November 2021 Birdwatcher Records)

Sarah recorded her first solo album earlier this year, Tulip or Turnip. It is a collection of unlikely standards, and surprising interpretations that illustrate/ draw from her experience living in New York City — memories bejeweled with flowers, song and dance, before and during the 2020 pandemic.  Sarah’s delivery is a little bit Blossom, a little bit Billie, and she considers herself a newfangled jazz clown of her own time and place. The album is a sailboat ride around the harbor at dusk, it is a walk through the flower market at dawn. It’s the magic in the madness!

Tulip or Turnip  (Ellington/George) 3:03
Azalea (Ellington) 3:53
Life Upon the Wicked Stage (Kern/Hammerstein)  2:28
I'm Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away the Key)  (Eaton/Shand) 2:42
Empty Pocket Waltz (Converse) 2:34
You Can’t Lose a Broken Heart (Johnson/Miller) 3:22
Let's Pretend That There’s a Moon -(Columbo/Hamilton/Stern) 3:15
There's a Boat That’s Leaving Soon for New York (Gershwin) 4:34
Everything’s Made for Love (Tobias/Sherman/Johnson)  2:23
I Remember - (Drake) 3:41

Stefan Vasnier - Piano
Aidan O'Donnell -Bass
Ben Cliness- Drums
Jon DeLucia - Clarinet
Sarah King - Vocals

L.A. Cowboy - The Big Pitch

A project has crossed our desk with all the mystique, enigma and intrigue of the music industry documentary “Searching for Sugar Man.” To begin with, we highly doubt that most of you have even heard of L.A. Cowboy. We certainly hadn’t — and are openly wondering why.
J. Frederick Millea wrote his first song sitting in a bathtub in the early nineties. Shortly thereafter he took the stage name, L.A. Cowboy, as an homage to the eclectic nature of his work. In the ensuing 9 years he would write a remarkable string of philosophic songs that his artistic associates dubbed “poetry in motion” and “musical mini-movies.” While most current popular songs simply strive to concoct a particular ‘attitude’ seeking to fabricate or manipulate a visceral emotion in the listener, L.A. Cowboy’s convey complete stories, rife with subtle wit, tightly framing profoundly moving thoughts, feelings, and reflections on life, love, loss, resignation and hope.
By 1997 he had produced his first full CD of “invisible art” as he coined it, soon gaining top representation. Offers initially came as a series of boilerplate deals, mostly seeking to “tie up” access and publishing ownership regarding his extensive catalog, 
In early 2000, just when it seemed he might acquire a reasonable professional relationship with a major label, the truth finally leaked out: An A&R rep who was highly enthusiastic that he had located the “flagship” artist his major label was lacking was summarily informed by the President of the label that he deemed L.A. Cowboy’s work to be more of a potential problem than a benefit, stating “We sign acts here — not artists.” 
When the A&R man protested that another label would swoop him up, the President simply shrugged and revealed “They’re also aware of him, and we’ve all agreed, nobody is going to sign this artist.” The caliber of the material was just something that the label heads did not care to embrace and champion, unanimously concluding that they would have to justify the comparatively lower quality of so many on their rosters.
Devastated and disgusted with the “industry,” L.A. Cowboy sadly walked away. It would take 17 years, some insistent fans and financial backers as well as the maturation of the internet to convince him to make this return, revisiting his previous material to once again present evidence of what the “gatekeepers” in the music industry had purposefully forsaken so many years ago. Understandably, the selected songs showcase an utterly charming, salutary, tongue-in-cheek “ode to Tinseltown.”

As he puts it: “I determined to show the timelessness as well as interpretive ‘reach’ of these rock songs. So I decided to dress some of them up in tuxes on this current outing.”
Initial comments from within the heart of the L.A. creative community are promising:
“Sublime. Dazzling.” 

“A refreshing blast of class that at times exhibits sheer splendor.” 

“The entire CD is impeccably elegant — permeated throughout with instrumental stretches which are nothing short of electrifying.” 
“On the first listen, I thought it was fabulous from front to back. It has grown on me even more as I play it again and again. In a very short time, this CD has become a very old friend. It’s one thing to know about an artist. It’s another to recognize that, mysteriously, he somehow knows about you.”

An extraordinary thing happened when the horn section performed each charted piece. Moved by the charming, refreshingly unique rock horn arrangements, they broke into spontaneous applause after virtually every song as they “tipped their hats’ in recognition towards L.A. Cowboy standing in the control room; something the horn master stated he’d never witnessed in over 30 years of horn recording sessions. 
L.A. Cowboy recently mused: “It has been known for decades that the collective audience mentality can either be significantly raised or lowered in conjunction with the calibre of the music and message presented. That doesn’t say much for the integrity, let alone the motives, of the music industry as a whole. Sophistication needn’t be relegated to the upper ranks of elitism. Even the most common classes can appreciate life’s finer refinements and thoroughly enjoy artistic savoir faire, even when unfamiliar with the term itself. All true art is inherently accessible.”

Whether it’s a first class audiophile system, headphones, earbuds or a respectable car stereo we hope you’ll herein find yourself temporarily transported to a world of musical bliss.

From music aficionados with decidedly discriminating taste to the most casual listener — L.A. Cowboy makes music that stimulates the mind as well as the senses. And that is a rare feat indeed.

1. Stories To Tell (3:21) 
2. Forget About Her (4:37) 
3. Flyover Land (3:59) 
4. Angel In L.A. (4:53) 
5. The Museum (4:49) 
6. The Big Pitch (4:38) 
7. Love Songs (3:27) 
8. Why Do I? (4:54)

L.A. Cowboy - Vocals
Sam Hirsch - Steinway Piano
Fino Roverato - Guitars
Johnny Hatton - Standup Bass
Claudius Kannbanger - Drums
Jaime Havorka - 1st Trumpet
Ron Brown - 2nd Trumpet
James McMillen - Trombone
George Shelby - Alto Sax
Mike Nelson - Tenor Sax
Terry Landry - Baritone Sax

Gerry Eastman Trio - Trust Me

Guitarist Gerry Eastman revitalizes the classic organ trio with Greg Lewis and drummer Taru Alexander.

Trust Me features Eastman’s memorable originals along with consistently inventive solos.

Gerry Eastman has long had an original sound and style on the guitar. While there are moments where his tone may briefly recall George Benson or Wes Montgomery, his improvising is always adventurous without losing its bluesiness.
On Trust Me, Eastman along with organist Greg Lewis and drummer Taru Alexander provide a fresh spin on the classic jazz organ trio with their individual sounds, solos, and inventive interplay. They perform eight of the guitarist’s originals and, while the music swings and grooves soulfully, it is far from predictable. Eastman provides a variety of rich melodies, his chord changes are original, and each of the musicians contributes to the music’s surprising twists and turns.
“Trust Me” begins the program with a number that is both bluesy and utterly unpredictable. While the music is accessible to those who love the sound of the organ trio, this brand of modern soul jazz will keep one guessing “St. Marteen Swing” has a memorable melody and an infectious groove, along with burning guitar and organ solos.
“Native Son,” which was the title cut of Eastman’s 1992 album, is taken out-of-tempo with the guitarist contributing a statement that is both thoughtful and passionate, inspired by the intense playing of Lewis. “Learn From Yoiur Mistacks” is a purposeful swinger while “Just A Matter Of Time” may have a fairly simple melody but the performance keeps on taking unexpected left turns. The conversational “Distant Lover,” a rollicking “Dance One,” and the infectious “Cuban Sunset” conclude the memorable set, performances that have no slow moments or coasting from the all-star trio.
Gerry Eastman was born and raised in New York, and as a youth learned to play guitar, bass and drums. He studied at Cornell University and Ithaca College and has been working constantly ever since. Eastman was a member of the Count Basie Orchestra in 1986, and recorded with altoist Joe Ford (in Birthright), flutist Reynold Scott, the Contemporary Composer’s Orchestra, trumpeter Cullen Knight, drummer Nasar Abadey, and singer Karen Francis in addition to the Basie band. The guitarist has led at least six albums of his own and his sidemen have included such notables as James Spaulding, Frank Foster, Jimmy Owens, Hank Crawford, Archie Shepp, David Murray Robin Eubanks, Sumi Tonooka, Patience Higgins, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Regina Carter, and Andy Bey, among others. In 1981 he founded the Williamsburg Music Center in Brooklyn and he has served as its president and artistic director for the past 40 years. The organization consistently achieves its goal of providing a forum and a welcoming atmosphere for African-American and African music including jazz, funk, r&b and spoken word.
As an organist and pianist, Greg Lewis has made a very strong impression on the modern jazz scene. He started on the piano when he was 11 and as a teenager was playing professionally in the New York area. Lewis studied with Gil Coggins and Jaki Byard, worked with blues singer Sweet Georgia Brown, has led his own trio, and even had a role during the first season of the television series Sex and the City. Lewis’ best known recording as a leader is Organ Monk.
Drummer Taru Alexander (the son of tenor-saxophonist Roland Alexander), started playing drums when he was seven, worked with his father’s quintet as a teenager, and started recording when he was 16. He has since played with the who’s who of modern jazz including Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Roy Hargrove, Rodney Kendrick, Branford Marsalis, Eric Alexander and countless others. 
Gerry Eastman’s Trust Me, arguably the guitarist’s strongest recording, not only introduces many of his rewarding originals but brings the organ trio into the 21st century. 

1. Trust Me 
2. St Marteen Swing 
3. Native Son 
4. Learn From Yoiur Mistacks 
5. Just A Matter Of Time 
6. Distant Lover 
7. Dance One 
8. Cuban Sunset 

Gerry Eastman - Guitar
Greg Lewis - Organ
Taru Alexander - Drums

Manny Kellough and Friends - Speaking Of Jazz (East to West Coast)


Legendary drummer Manny Kellough and his musical friends perform a joyful set of standards and two originals.

With boppish solos from altoist Antonio Parker and trumpeter Michael Thomas, and vocals by Julian Hipkins, Ashley Kellough and Azure McCall, Kellough presents a set full of variety and happy vibrations.

Manny Kellough has had a wide-ranging career, playing drums with such notables as Billy Preston, Ray Charles, Freddie Hubbard and even the Rolling Stones. A bandleader since 2002, Kellough enjoys performing fresh versions of standards, music that makes audiences feel good.
On Speaking Of Jazz, Kellough gathered together some of his favorite instrumentalists and singers for a set of music that will make listeners smile. For the first eight numbers, he is joined by pianist William Knowles, bassist Wes “Suga” Biles, and (on most selections) altoist Antonio Parker and trumpeter-flugelhornist Michael Thomas.
The set begins with Knowles’ original “Generosity,” a joyful and relaxed piece that puts the spotlight on the beautiful tone of altoist Parker. “Secret Love,” which is modernized a bit, has boppish solos from Parker and trumpeter Thomas. Billy Preston’s goodtime “Nothing From Nothing” has a particularly effective arrangement that alternates between Parker’s alto and the singing of Julian Hipkins. Michael Thomas’ trumpet is showcased on Woody Shaw’s melodic jazz waltz ‘Katrina Ballerina.” Julian Hipkins returns for a version of “I Thought About You” that is taken uptempo in 5/4 time before switching to a 4/4 strut, and the singer is also heard at his most expressive on an optimistic version of “Smile.” The quintet performs “Happy Swing In ‘F,’” an original that lives up to its name before Ashley Kellough takes a heartfelt vocal on a memorable rendition of “When I Fall In Love.” The daughter of Manny, this is the first time that Ashley Kellough has worked with her father and her first time singing jazz; she starts off her career in jazz in fine form.
The last three numbers have Manny Kellough joined by pianist Matt Clark, bassist Gary Brown, and singer Azure McCall. “How High The Moon,” which includes some fine singing and a spot for Clark’s piano, also has the only drum solo of the project, a melodic chorus from the supportive leader. Azure McCall, who sometimes recalls Etta Jones in her sound and relaxed phrasing, is in excellent form on a slower-than-usual version of “East Of The Sun” and an upbeat “A Foggy Day,” also displaying some fine scat-singing.
Manny Kellough was born and raised in Los Angeles, started playing drums when he was eight and, by the time he was 13, was playing professionally. When he was 17, he worked with Ray Charles but most notable among his associations was 25 years spent as the original drummer with Billy Preston. Along the way he also toured with the Rolling Stones (1973) and worked with such greats as Barry White, Carmen McRae, Larry Graham (of Graham Central Station), Freddie Hubbard, and Quincy Jones just to name a few.
Manny Kellough, who has led his own band during the past 20 years, is always enthusiastic about uplifting the playing of his sidemen and being an integral part of the music rather than feeling compelled to feature himself excessively. His unselfish approach to music and the consistent joy that he displays can be heard throughout the enjoyable and always-swinging Speaking Of Jazz (East To West Coast). 

1. Generosity (William H. Knowles, Manny Kellough) 5:16 
2. Secret Love (Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster) 4:12) 
3. Nothing from Nothing (Billy Preston, Bruce Fisher) 3:55 
4. Katrina Ballerina (Cute and Pretty Ballerina) (Woody Shaw) 4:25 
5. I Thought about You (Johnny Mercer) 2:41 
6. Smile (John Turner, Geoffrey Parsons, Charlie Chaplin) 3:21 
7. Happy Swing In “F” (William H. Knowles, Manny Kellough) 4:12 
8. When I Fall in Love (Edward Heyman, Victor Young) 3:04 
9. How High the Moon (Morgan Lewis, Nancy Hamilton) 4:22 
10. East of the Sun (Brooks Bowman) 5:37 
11. Foggy Day (George Gershwin) 5:35 

Manny Kellough - Percussion/Producer (all tracks)

with East Coast Musicians:
William Knowles - Piano (tracks 1-8) & Co-Producer
Wes “Suga” Biles - Bass (tracks 1-8)
Antonio Parker - Alto Sax (tracks 1-8)
Michael Thomas - Trumpet, Flugel Horn (tracks 1-8)
Julian Hipkins - Vocalist (tracks 3, 5, 6)

West Coast Musicians:
Matt Clark - Piano (tracks 9-11)
Gary Brown - Bass (tracks 9-11)
Azure McCall - Vocalist (tracks 9-11)
Ashley Kellough - Vocalist (track 8)

Mauricio J. Rodriguez Project - Luz

Mauricio J. Rodriguez reinvents Latin jazz on Luz,
infusing the music with surprising ideas.
He utilizes such top talent as keyboardist Gabriel Hernández Cadenas, saxophonist Zachary Bornheimer, and singer Adrianna Foster to create an intimate set of thought-provoking music.

A major composer and bassist, Mauricio J. Rodriguez has spent important periods living and playing music in Cuba, Venezuela and (since 2001) the United States. For his latest recording, Luz, Rodriguez is heard on six-string E-bass, his fretless E-bass and the standard string bass, contributing four of the ten selections, and arranging all of the music. In addition to his originals, the ensemble also performs four songs by the Venezuelan composer Vicente Viloria (who is the project’s co-producer) and two standards. The results invigorate Latin jazz with lighter-than-expected ensembles, subtle but virtuosic solos, and new rich melodies.

Luz begins with Viloria’s “Casualty,” a warm but somber melody with prominent spots for saxophonist Jorge Pinelo and pianist Gabriel Hernández Cadenas. The leader’s “Monday” is an energetic romp with saxophonist Zachary Bornheimer and keyboardist Cadenas engaging in some colorful interplay. The mood changes for “Es el Amor,” a dreamy ballad that features the beautiful and clear voice of Adrianna Foster along with cellist José Pradas. Additional variety is offered with Rodriguez’s “Tuesday,” a complex piece worthy of Chick Corea that puts the spotlight on Bornheimer’s soprano. 

Mauricio Rodriguez the bassist emerges on Chucho Valdés’ “Claudia,” displaying impressive technique and creative ideas during his showcase.
Rodriguez’s bass is also a major contributor to the atmospheric “Luz” which has a vocal by Jorge Quintero and he contributes “Wednesday,” a ballad that is quite cinematic. His “Danzón No. 1, Opus 1 con Chá” has the lead taken by clarinetist José M. Sardinas and is a fresh take on the Cuban national dance. Adrianna Foster returns for a duet version of “My Funny Valentine” with the bassist before Luz concludes with the joyful “Vocalize” which has some particularly inventive playing from pianist Cadenas.

Mauricio J. Rodriguez was born and raised in Cuba. He was a member of the Fervet Opus jazz quartet, a significant group that toured the world and appeared at many festivals. After moving to Venezuela in 1994 with the string quintet Union, Rodriguez played with the Aragua Symphony Orchestra and taught at the Aragua Conservatory. In 2001 he relocated to the U.S. where he has since worked with Guisando Caliente Latin Jazz, Fusion Beat, and ensembles led by Nestor Torres, Marty Morell, Renesito Avich, Daniel Giron, and Tomasito Cruz among others. His compositions have been performed around the world including by symphony orchestras and he is the Composer-in-Residence of The Miami Symphony Orchestra and The Miami International Academy of the Bass.

Luz is filled with memorable themes and contrasting moods, giving listeners strong examples of Mauricio J. Rodriguez’s talents as both a bassist and an arranger-composer. It expands the world of Latin jazz.

1. Casualty (Vicente Viloria) 4:37 
2. Monday (Mauricio J. Rodriguez) 6:32 
3. Es el Amor (Vicente Viloria) 4:03 
4. Tuesday (Mauricio J. Rodriguez) 4:24 
5. Claudia (Jesús “Chucho” Valdés) 4:47 
6. Luz (Vicente Viloria) 3:45 
7. Wednesday (Mauricio J. Rodriguez) 5:47 
8. Danzón No. 1 Opus 1 con Chá (Mauricio J. Rodriguez) 4:20 
9. My Funny Valentine (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) 4:37 
10. Vocalize (Vicente Viloria) 4:02 

All Arrangements, Six Strings E. Bass, Fretless E. Bass, and Double Bass: Mauricio J. Rodriguez
Vocals: Adrianna Foster, Jorge Quintero, Big Johnny Boffa
Pianos: Gabriel M. Hernández Cadenas
Guitar: Ahmed Barroso
Saxophones: Zachary Bornheimer and Jorge Pinelo
Clarinet: José M. Sardiñas
Trumpet: Richie Viruet
Violoncello: José Pradas
Drums: Reinier Guerra and Lucio Vieira
Udú, Afro-Percussion, Timbal, and Cuban Percussion: Orlando “Landy” Mosqueda
Batá Drums: Tomasito Cruz
Cajón: Andy Fornet

Lady Millea - I Don’t Mind Missing You

We are thrilled to promote the first CD featuring recently discovered chanteuse, Lady Millea. As part of an amazing two CD package promotional release, we’re once again faced with a bona fide mystery: where did this equally unknown and elegant musical ingenue come from and why have we never heard of her? We’re convinced that in the ensuing weeks and months we won’t be the only ones asking this artistically pertinent question.
Boutique label “Reconcile Records” was formed as a creative vehicle through which to purvey timeless, world-class, lyric-driven songs framed by outstanding musical performances. This CD provides additional evidence of their quest, as well as further confirmation of their professional capacity to “deliver the goods.” While initially formed to showcase the talented temerity of L.A. Cowboy, they’ve decided, on a very limited basis, to expose and exhibit extraordinary talent when it corresponds with the core vision of the label. 
Fortunately they have an entire catalog of eclectic “virgin” songs, that are at once original and refreshing, displaying intellectual artistic depth from seasoned bon vivant, raconteur and reluctant industry rebel, J. Frederick Millea to draw from.
So yes, it is certainly thrilling to release this first CD by songstress extraordinaire, Lady Millea. We’re confident her heart-melting voice combining poignant purity with a sultry sophistication something akin to “Sarah Vaughn meets Karen Carpenter” will redefine the current musical standard for unassuming elegance. 
Sprinkle it all with the mystique of a gracious, almost other-worldly “angel on assignment” and you have a sonic masterpiece fit to entertain and enthrall, as well as elevate, enrich and enlighten everyone from plain folks to the most discriminating connoisseurs. 
So who is this mysterious woman with the mystifying voice? As our ensuing international promotion campaign unfolds we’ll just have to find that out together.
Reconcile Records has certainly proven thus far to be full of amazing surprises. With such an unprecedented initial showing as their first two releases, we can only begin to envision what they might have in store. At this point the record label appears to be in total lockstep with their mission statement, which simply reads: 


“Music that stimulates the mind as well as the senses.”

1. I Don’t Mind Missing You (5:35)
2. Almost (3:36)
3. Slow Healing (4:53)
4. Play On (5:23)
5. The Museum (5:23)
6. You and I (4:13)
7. My Heart Sings (2:57)
8. Hold Me (3:59)
9. Why Do I? (4:55)

Lady Millea - vocals
Glen Burger - tenor and alto sax, flute, penny whistle
Phil Finesse - drums
Johnny Hatton - stand-up bass
Sam Hirsch - Vintage Vibe electric piano and piano
Fino Roverato - electric and acoustic guitars (nylon guitar - track 1)
Brian Acsenzo - mandolin and electric guitar

Mack Avenue Music Group Congratulates Christian McBride and Yellowjackets on GRAMMY Award Nominations

Mack Avenue Music Group Congratulates
Christian McBride and Yellowjackets on
64th Annual GRAMMY® Award Nominations

Nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album:
Christian McBride Big Band's For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver
and Yellowjackets + WDR Big Band's Jackets XL

In September 1966, organist Jimmy Smith and guitarist Wes Montgomery got together at Rudy Van Gelder’s famed studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Over the course of three days, the two jazz icons recorded the material for two now-classic albums: The Dynamic Duo (1966) and Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes (1968), backed by a big band featuring arrangements by the great Oliver Nelson.

That pair of electrifying outings would prove seminal for another dynamic duo over the ensuing decades: bass great Christian McBride and master organist Joey DeFrancesco would wear out the grooves on their copies of the Smith/Montgomery summit meetings during their high school days, and both would remain touchstones throughout a friendship and collaboration that has lasted nearly 40 years. Now, the pair pay tribute with For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver, the third release by the GRAMMY® Award-winning Christian McBride Big Band.

For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver echoes the format of the original Smith/Montgomery summit meetings, with a balance of big band and quartet tracks. To complete the core band, McBride called on another longtime friend and collaborator, Mark Whitfield, to play the Montgomery role, while regular CMBB drummer Quincy Phillips anchors the ensemble.

The 17-piece Christian McBride Big Band has become one of the most scintillating large ensembles on the modern jazz scene since its 2011 Mack Avenue Music Group debut, The Good Feeling. Both that album and its successor, 2017’s Bringin’ It, garnered GRAMMY® Awards in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble category. The stellar band has remained remarkably consistent throughout that history, a testament to the camaraderie and joyous vibe of McBride’s intensely swinging ensemble.

The CMBB features a host of elite musicians mixing renowned veterans with rising stars, most of them bandleaders in their own right: trumpeters Frank Greene, Freddie Hendrix, Brandon Lee, Nabate Isles and Anthony Hervey; trombonists Michael Dease, Steve Davis, James Burton and Douglas Purviance; and saxophonists Steve Wilson, Todd Bashore, Ron Blake, Dan Pratt and Carl Maraghi.

Mack Avenue Records · Release Date: September 25, 2020

As a tight, longstanding jazz ensemble, Yellowjackets has explored a universe all its own of electro-acoustic soundscapes in its nearly four-decade history. Since the band’s eponymous 1981 debut album, Yellowjackets has consistently forged ahead with innovative and challenging artistic statements. For Jackets XL, its 25th album and fourth for Mack Avenue Music Group, the band continues to stretch and reinvent itself with an exciting, full-bodied collaboration with the superb WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany. The project combines the shapeshifting, multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning quartet with the renowned big band, re-imagining well-known band originals with dynamic new arrangements that feature twists and turns, textures and colors, moving harmonies and bold solos and is available everywhere today.

“This band has never been one to rest on its laurels,” says tenor saxophonist/EWI player Bob Mintzer, a Yellowjacket since 1990 and the WDR Big Band principal conductor since 2016. “The Yellowjackets are very adept at reinventing. The four of us are the most adaptable musicians I’ve ever worked with. Any setting, any style, we know we can do it. As for the WDR, they’re one of the best large jazz ensembles in the world. I knew the two groups would make for a nice marriage.” The band also comprises founder, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, drummer Will Kennedy and electric bassist Dane Alderson in his third recording for the group.

The challenge in recording with a big band, Ferrante says, was relinquishing the total freedom of the quartet setting. “As a band you can change parts and make things different. But with the big band you have tight arrangements. There’s no freelancing. Even when you’re playing the notes that you know so well, the big band arrangements mean that you have to read the music and be really focused. Otherwise things can stick out.”

With its pockets of halcyon, buoyancy, mystery, tumult, groove and whimsy, Jackets XL plays out as a multifaceted documentation of how far the band has come. “It was like putting a new set of clothes on,” Mintzer says. “This represents how the Yellowjackets play now.”

Mack Avenue Records · Release Date: November 6, 2020

Nov 30-Dec 2 & Dec 17: Grammy Award-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant at NEC’s 'Grow Your Art: A Music and Business Residency'

Grammy Award-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant is guest artist for NEC’s Grow Your Art: A Music and Business Residency
Tuesday, November 30 – Thursday, December 2
Residency culminates in live concert on December 2 featuring McLorin Salvant with NEC Jazz Small Ensembles

Concert to be broadcast Internationally on Friday, December 17

Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist and MacArthur Fellow Cécile McLorin Salvant is the guest artist for this year’s Grow Your Art: A Music and Business Residency, taking place Tuesday, November 30 through Thursday, December 2 at New England Conservatory. Presented by NEC’s Jazz & Entrepreneurial Musicianship departments, the residency features a master class, panel discussion, and a performance. All events are free and open to NEC students, alumni and the public. For information visit
Tuesday, November 30 – Master Class
2–3:30 p.m., Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre, 255 St. Botolph St., Boston. 

Select NEC students will participate in an open master class with Cécile McLorin Salvant. Event will be livestreamed. Information at

Wednesday, December 1 – Music Business Panel Discussion
2-3:30 p.m., Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre, 255 St. Botolph St., Boston. 

Learn about the life experiences of female-identifying professionals active in the music world. This Q&A and Panel Discussion will feature the perspectives and lived experiences of President Andrea Kalyn, Cécile McLorin Salvant, CI/Jazz faculty member Dominique Eade, NEC Director of Cultural Equity and Belonging Monique Van Willingh, and NEC Alumna Ayn Inserto ('01, MM) in conversation with Jazz Studies Chair Ken Schaphorst. Event will be livestreamed. Information at

Thursday, December 2 – Cécile McLorin Salvant in Concert with NEC Jazz Small Ensembles 
7:30 p.m., Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston

Live collaborative performance featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant with NEC Jazz Small Ensembles. Information at

Friday, December 17 – International Broadcast of December 2 concert with McLorin Salvant and NEC Jazz Small Ensembles

Cécile McLorin Salvant is a composer, singer, and visual artist. The late Jessye Norman described Salvant as “a unique voice supported by an intelligence and full-fledged musicality, which light up every note she sings”. Salvant has developed a passion for storytelling and finding the connections between vaudeville, blues, folk traditions from around the world, theater, jazz, and baroque music. Salvant is an eclectic curator, unearthing rarely recorded, forgotten songs with strong narratives, interesting power dynamics, unexpected twists, and humor. Salvant won the Thelonious Monk competition in 2010. She has received Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her 3 latest albums The Window, Dreams and Daggers, and For One To Love, and was nominated for the award in 2014 for her album WomanChild. In 2020, Salvant received the MacArthur fellowship and the Doris Duke Artist Award.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, of a French mother and Haitian father, she started classical piano studies at 5, sang in a children’s choir at 8, and started classical voice lessons as a teenager.
Salvant received a bachelor’s in French law from the Université Pierre-Mendes France in Grenoble while also studying baroque music and jazz at the Darius Milhaud Music Conservatory in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Salvant’s latest work, Ogresse, is a musical fable in the form of a cantata that blends genres (folk, baroque, jazz, country). Salvant wrote the story, lyrics, and music. It is arranged by Darcy James Argue for a thirteen-piece orchestra of multi-instrumentalists. Ogresse, both a biomythography and an homage to the Erzulie (as painted by Gerard Fortune) and Sara Baartman, explores fetishism, hunger, diaspora, cycles of appropriation, lies, othering, and ecology. It is in development to become an animated feature-length film, which Salvant will direct.
Salvant makes large-scale textile drawings. Her visual art can now be found at Picture Room in Brooklyn, NY.
The Grow Your Art Pitch Competition (taking place Spring 2022) is open to all NEC Student & Alumni within 10 years of graduation. This competitive application process is modeled on real-world grants, and students/alumni have access to coaching from the EM Team throughout the application process. Applicants have the chance to win up to $7,500 (1st Prize: $7,500; 2nd Prize: $3,000, 3rd Prize: $1,000) for individuals / ensembles to develop the business side of their musicianship. New and existing projects and ventures are welcome.

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.