Monday, December 20, 2021

Yutaro Okuda - Rafflesia (December 2021)

Murmur - sound of blood flowing, soft utterances, to blend
Merits - 'merit' awards, meritocracy
Ruminants - cows/goats and humans
Rafflesia - world's biggest flower

1. Murmur pt. 1 08:00
2. Murmur pt. 2 06:03
3. Merits 07:54
4. Ruminants 09:35
5. Rafflesia 10:36

Yutaro Okuda - Guitar
Sam Gill - Alto Saxophone
Wilbur Whitta - Piano
Nick Henderson - Double Bass
Alexander Inman-Hislop - Drums

Recorded 15-16th December 2020 by Richard Belkner
at Free Energy Device, Sydney, Australia
Mixed by Richard Belkner
Mastered by Michael Lynch
Artwork and design by Chris Yee

All compositions by Yutaro Okuda (APRA)

Ellery Eskelin - From the Archives: Ellery Eskelin, Vincent Courtois, Sylvie Courvoisier - Live in NYC, 2007 (December 2021)

Recorded at Roulette, NYC, 2007

1. Improvisation One 31:18
2. Improvisation Two 27:20
3. Improvisation Three 12:12

Ellery Eskelin - tenor saxophone
Vincent Courtois - cello
Sylvie Courvoisier - piano

Ellery Eskelin - From the Archives: Ellery Eskelin & Sylvie Courvoisier - Live in Ukiah, 2005 (December 2021)

Penofin Jazz Festival, Ukiah California, 2005

1. Improvisation One 21:59
2. Improvisation Two 11:59
3. Improvisation Three 14:24
4. Improvisation Four 19:09

Ellery Eskelin - tenor saxophone
Sylvie Courvoisier - piano

Mike Nock / Hamish Stuart / Julien Wilson / Jonathan Zwartz - Another Dance (December 2021 Lionsharecords)

Comprising four of Australia’s most esteemed jazz musicians, this celebrated jazz ‘supergroup’ made waves in 2020 with their critically acclaimed and ARIA nominated debut ‘This World’. Two years on, they ask you to join them for ANOTHER DANCE, their second full length album, recorded in Sydney on the very brink of the 2021 extended lockdown.

A lot of water has passed under (and over) the bridge since their first recording session in 2019. The band somehow managed to tour the East Coast twice during 20/21 against all odds. The first tour in Feb 2020 let them see firsthand the devastation wrought by the Black Summer bushfires through parts of regional NSW and ACT. In Braidwood the band donated the proceeds of their show to local bushfire victims, only to have floods prevent half the town from attending. Many shows and festival appearances were cancelled at the eleventh hour (no less than five shows in Melbourne) due to lockdowns and travel restrictions. The fact that the quartet have performed thirty shows in fifteen towns over four states during this period is a testament to their tenacity and vitality and their drive to share the unifying and uplifting power of live music with others.

The best creative pursuits offer reflection on the environment and events that they spring from, so it stands to reason that the music on Another Dance embodies different elements to This World. The eight new pieces presented here bear witness to the enduring bond the musicians share, and offer a deep and rich sense of optimism, hope and shared humanity as a tonic to these most interesting of times.

Press about This World:

“the fraught, euphoric, challenging, rewarding business of being human really seems to have been condensed into music” John Shand, SydneyMorningHerald

“at a time in history when division is the order of the day, four souls crafting melody together can abide by a deeper principle of love and listening.” Tyran Grillo, ECMreviews

“profound, moving and expressive jazz of the highest level.” Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise 

1. Deception 06:01
2. LDT 07:09
3. Headlands 10:35
4. Winter 09:22
5. Little Stars 08:19
6. Johnston St 10:04
7. Wheelbarrow Road 05:13
8. Yearning 02:27

Mike Nock - piano
Hamish Stuart - drums
Julien Wilson - tenor saxophone and effects
Jonathan Zwartz - double bass

Recorded at Studios 301, Sydney
Engineer: Owen Butcher
Assistant: Reinert Wasserman
Mixed and Mastered by Helik Hadar
Produced by This World

Cover photo: Jonathan Zwartz
Design: Luke Fraser/Ahr+

Hamish plays Gretsch drums and Lauritsen cymbals
Jonathan and Julien are D’Addario Artists
Julien is a Yamaha Artist
Mike Nock compositions published by Fourth Way Music - ASCAP


1. Wee (Allen's Alley) 07:54
2. (Somewhere) Over the Rainbow 10:33
3. In the Middle of a Kiss 09:10
4. Broadway 06:34
5. The Girl from Ipanema 10:42
6. Breakdown Blues 10:35

FREEBIE ENDS AT MIDNIGHT, NEW YEAR'S EVE. (Unless I get sleepy. Then I'll end it when I wake up on New Year's Day.)

All Star Cast: ART PEPPER (tracks 1,2,6); ZOOT SIMS (tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6); VICTOR FELDMAN (all tracks); BARNEY KESSEL (tracks 4 & 5); RAY BROWN (all tracks but 2); CHARLIE HADEN (track 2); BILLY HIGGINS (all tracks)
Recorded at Royce Hall UCLA 1981. Produced by Tim Owens

Dani Perez trio + Benet Palet - Contrafacts (December 2021 UnderPool)

An irrefutable reference point on the current scene, Dani Pérez takes up this new project on the heels of his prior success Resumen. On this new release, he makes full use of his talent, irony and sense of humour to turn these compositional games called contrafacts into energetic compositions that display the richness of the group’s language.

The addition of Benett Pelet on trumpet and Txema Riera on Rhodes (on tracks 4 and 7) for this album, brings new textures to Dani Perez’s music, without losing the essential qualities that characterise this group’s long trajectory.

This album transmits complicity and emotions; it was recorded live at underpool studios by Sergi Felipe. It reflects the personality traits of the guitarist, composer and educator who has never ceased to forge an outstanding trajectory.

Contrafacts is available on a carefully prepared vinyl edition with cover art by Pedro Stukelj and liner notes by journalist Josep Mestres.

“Dani Perez is a fountain of ideas; a mastermind of routes and short cuts that would have never occurred to us, a crafter of apparently simple phrases which are imbued with an implicit immenseness. If contrafacts didn’t already exist, he would have invented them. Definitely.”

Josep Mestres

1. Clouds 05:17
2. Glucosa 04:51
3. Fan 06:16
4. Mate 05:42
5. DIP 07:27
6. Leaves 05:59
7. Wine 07:51

Dani Pérez – Guitar & Composition
David Mengual – Bass
David Xirgu – Drums
Benet Palet – Trumpet
Txema Riera – Fender Rhodes

All music composeed by Dani Pérez
Recorded at UnderPool Studio 8 January 2021
Mixed and Mastered by Sergi Felipe
Cover Pedro Strukjel, Design Pepon Meneses
Produced by UnderPool & Dani Pérez Amboage
Published by UnderPool

Filum - Stolyarka Live (December 2021)

1. Coffee Cream 10:16
2. Hot Week 07:30
3. Filum 10:24
4. Waltzin` In The Rain 05:49
5. Last Rainbow 10:18
6. Siberian Winter Tales 08:52
7. One Step On MARS 05:35

Concert in the the Stolyarka bar in Moscow

Recorded on Live in Bar Stolyarka, Moscow at 16/10/2021

Music of all tracks composed by Alexey Shapovalov

Alexey Shapovalov - guitar
Anton Maslennikov - guitar
Grigory Kozlov - bass
Valery Gurov - drums

Tommy Carroll's Winter Clearance Event - The Time to Shop is Now! (December 2021)

Drummer / composer / producer from Chicago seeking to create the soundtrack to a more inclusive world.

1. Intro / The Time to Shop is Now 04:07
2. Buy One Get One Free 08:04
3. Two Day Shipping / Climate Change 04:05
4. Blowout 07:06

Tommy Carroll: drums
Naydja Bruton: percussion
Karl Maher: guitar
Maxx McGathey: keys
Trevor Hill: tenor saxophone, keys
Stuart Babcock: keys
Lyn Rye: bass
Sacramento Knoxx: vocals, percussion
Stephanie Alma: vocals
Sophie Rae: vocals

Recorded by Brandon Schnake at ReelSounds
Mixed by Karl Maher
Album art by Brit Parla

Benny Golson - Up Jumped Benny (December 2021 Arkadia Records)

“Saxophonist/composer Benny Golson, supported by impressive young stars Kevin Hays, Dwayne Burno & Carl Allen, wonderfully explores this combination of his timeless standards & recent compositions from Golson, who shows why he is a living Jazz legend.” – Nat Hentoff, Author/Columnist, The New York Times

In this memorable Arkadia Records live concert CD, entitled Benny Golson: Up Jumped Benny, NEA Jazz Master, virtuoso saxophonist and renowned composer Benny Golson gives full expression to the refined poetic temperament and matchless musical intelligence which have made him a living jazz legend.

“One of the best things happening in jazz today is the bandstand combination of past masters and talented whipper-snappers. When everything gets right, what results is music that has both the reflective substance of time spent at the craft and the ambitious bite of focused youth. We hear that phenomenon on this recording, where Benny Golson has surrounded himself with youngsters. This is good for him and good for them. He can count on their energy and and they can count on his knowledge. This is how the culture of jazz is most truly passed on.

The rhythm section of Kevin Hays, Dwayne Burno, and Carl Allen is a triangle of serious young talent. Each of these men knows his instrument and is well aware of the precedents set by his artistic ancestors. The leader picked the right guys. They listen to each other and they listen to him. They know how to catch a groove and hold on to it. And, like all masters of the game, Benny Golson knows just what to do with what they provide.”- Stanley Crouch

“Golson’s “Up Jumped Benny” (Arkadia) is an absolute killer. (you) may have to install seat belts…” –S.D. Feeney, Face Magazine

Supported by an impressive trio of young stars, Kevin Hays (piano), Dwayne Burno (bass), and Carl Allen (drums), Golson’s mellow tenor saxophone wonderfully explores this combination of his timeless standards and recent compositions entitled Benny Golson: Up Jumped Benny.

“Neatly balancing Coleman Hawkins’ breathy elegance and John Coltrane’s tumultuous drive, he has most of the qualities one comes to jazz for. In Up Jumped Benny, Mr. Golson has rarely sounded more impressive…dramatically alive, impulsive and untethered.” – Ben Ratliff, New York Times 

1. Up Jumped Spring 08:48
2. Stablemates 08:46
3. Talk Intro 00:23
4. Tiny Capers 10:45
5. Talk Intro 00:24
6. I Remember Clifford 15:21
7. For Old Time’s Sake 06:32
8. Whisper Not 10:02
9. Gypsy Jingle Jangle 10:25

Benny Golson: Tenor saxophone
Kevin Hays: Piano
Dwayne Burno: Bass
Carl Allen: Drums

Bob Karcy: Producer
Mike Muller and Ilse Weinmann: Tour and Line Producers

Nigel Clark - Grand Hotel Europa (December 2021 Arkadia Records)

Nigel Clark’s US debut on Arkadia Records, “Grand Hotel Europa”, bridges the gap between straight-ahead Jazz and contemporary smooth Jazz, sure to please fans of both genres with his dazzling virtuosity, delicate touch, and unique sound.

“Clark is a facilitator of fine jazz music via his awe inspiring technique, graceful mode of execution and mood evoking sensibilities.” – Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

Europe has been abuzz for the last decade about a stunning guitarist from the misty highlands of Scotland. Delighting audiences around the globe with his fiery yet smooth, fluid sound, Nigel Clark has emerged as one of Europe’s premier guitarists, having toured the world as a leader, sideman and accompanist. With the silky sound of the Spanish, nylon-sting guitar, Clark creates a new hybrid in the jazz melting pot, spiced with tinges of flamenco, Brazilian, Indian and other world musics. The lines Clark plays are more akin to Jim Hall or Django in their conception. The result is a true contemporary conception, planted deeply in traditional roots.

Nigel Clark has performed and toured with highly regarded artists such as Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Jan Akkerman, Spanish guitarist Ximo Tebar, as well as legendary Scottish vocalist Carol Kidd. Some of the striking originals on “Grand Hotel Europa” show the influence of Nigel’s complete world sensibility. Unlike your typical Jazz recording, the album is a celebration of the different sounds that have informed Nigel Clark s music throughout the years; from the Far East, to the smoky clubs of New York, and on to the hot summer nights of Brazil.

The Spanish nylon string guitar is unusual in mainstream jazz (its use in contemporary music is more widespread), but Blended with the silky sound of the nylon strings, Clark creates a new hybrid in the jazz melting pot. 

1. East of the Sun 04:45
2. Grand Hotel Europa 05:56
3. Dolphin Dance 07:08
4. Sakura Samba 06:03
5. Once I Loved 07:36
6. In Another Moment 04:30
7. Island Dance 06:28
8. Caso de Verao 05:17
9. How Deep is the Ocean 04:54
10. You Are Too Beautiful 08:29

Nigel Clark: Nylon string guitar
Ewan Vernal: Bass
Mario Lima Caribe: Bass
Mike Bradley: Drums
Guy Nicholson: Percussion

Produced by: Nigel Clark
Executive Producer: Bob Karcy

Joanne Brackeen - Popsicle Illusion (December 2021 Arkadia Records)

“…There’s no predicting where Brackeen will take you, but it’s always worth the trip.” – Larry Appelbaum, JazzTimes

Daring, intense and full of surprises, jazz pianist Joanne Brackeen’s Arkadia Records album, “Popsicle Illusion”, sets a new standard with this remarkable solo piano recording of classic songs and original compositions, creating something fresh with every note that emanates from her piano.

“Joanne’s music embodies a continuous, building, rejuvenating energy that also ignites the listener. And she swings surely and deeply while she hears ahead and around corners in finding harmonies that are personal and yet sound universal.The advantage to hearing Joanne on a recording is that you can hear the music again and again… discovering new dimensions of feeling, time, and fun.” – Nat Hentoff

Brackeen has been serious about Jazz piano since her late teens, when she became part of the LA jazz scene. She worked with Teddy Edwards, Dexter Gordon, Harold Land and Charles Lloyd before moving to New York. After arriving in the Jazz Mecca, she became the first women to fill the distinguished piano chair with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. She proudly admits that Art called her his “adopted daughter”. Before she put together her own group, she also worked with Stan Getz, Freddie Hubbard, and Joe Henderson. Stan Getz wrote that “I found Joanne Brackeen to be an extremely talented performer and one of the most original composers to every work in my group.”

“WOW! Ms Brackeen’s depth and breath (both compositionally and performance-wise) is stunning. I generally think that all solo piano discs are good, but some are better. Popsicle Illusion defines the new category of “More Better”.” – C. Michael Bailey,
Joanne Brackeen is one of jazz’s most prized possessions: a virtuoso pianist and master composer who epitomizes the history and evolution of Jazz from traditional to free, and everything in between; all with a contemporary edge. Arkadia Jazz is pleased to present “Popsicle Illusion”, Joanne Brackeen’s tour-de-force solo piano recording. Joanne’s composition In Vogue, featuring Chris Potter on tenor saxophone, from her debut album with Arkadia Records, “Pink Elephant Magic”, has honored with a Grammy Award Nomination.

“As a Jazz writer, I am the recipient of literally thousands of albums each year. I listen to most, but usually just once. But once in a while, I encounter something magical, a musician whose music cries out for recognition. “Pink Elephant” (by Joanne Brackeen) is one of those recordings and it just begs to be replayed over and over… This is one set of musical images that is guaranteed to survive the ages.” – Brek Primack for Arkadia Jazz 

1. If I Were a Bell 05:46
2. Michelle 06:41
3. Popsicle Illusion 04:13
4. From This Moment On 06:05
5. Bess You Is My Woman 08:22
6. The Touch Of Your Lips 05:43
7. Telavivision 05:46
8. Knickerbocker Blues 05:31
9. High Tea For Stephany 05:02
10. Prelude to a Kiss 06:17
11. Nature Boy 06:30
12. Bob Karcy Interview with Joanne 05:42

Joanne Brackeen, piano

T.K. Blue - Another Blue (December 2021 Arkadia Records)

In every context, T.K Blue asserts himself as one of the brightest talents in jazz today.” – Geoffrey Hines, The Washington Post

Arkadia Records recording artist, saxophonist and composer T.K. Blue (Talib Kibwe) leads this exhilarating ensemble of 14 Jazz notables, such as Randy Weston & Eddie Henderson, in a special album, entitled T.K. Blue: Another Blue. Full of superb originals and classic standards, the album showcases both Blue’s extraordinary musical chops and the sounds of his impressive band, that includes pianists James Weidman & Michael Cochrane, bassists Santi Debriano & Calvin Hill, drummers Cecil Brooks III & Greg Bufford, percussion master Guilherme Franco, trumpeter Tony Branker, Bob Ferrel on trombone, Lenny Argese on guitar, and special guests pianists Randy Weston and Onaje Allan Gumbs, as well as Eddie Henderson on trumpet

“Blue’s voice on alto is highly distinctive. Whether on his main horn, soprano or flute, he inflects everything he plays with ebullience.” – James Hale, Downbeat Magazine

In this all-acoustic session by the accomplished saxophonist, flutist, composer, and arranger, T.K. Blue presents an exciting program of five of his original compositions, five re-interpretative arrangements of iconic standards, plus a tune by Tony Branker from the Spirit of Life Orchestra. T.K. plays with fire and imagination on his full arsenal of instruments, joined by an impressive collection of Jazz stars with whom he has intersected during his twenty-plus years as an active, vital performer and Musical Director for pianist Randy Weston.

“Saxophone virtuoso T.K. Blue, imbues his playing with so much elation that even classics come to life with new vitality… He has developed an emotional immediacy in his playing that utterly transports an audience…T.K. Blue’s tone is both muscular and malleable. When he improvises, his contoured passages obtain the logic of a Slinky stretched to full length…The saxophonist also has a delightful rhythmic agility that enables his solos to dance.” – John Murph, The Washington Post

Whether playing compositions from Miles Davis, Bud Powell, or Dizzy Gillespie, or TK Blue’s originals that reflect on his West Indian heritage and the longstanding influences of his travels around the world, “T.K. Blue: Another Blue” showcases the impressive young reed player reflecting on the history and future of Jazz music.

“Saxophonist/Flutist/Composer T.K. Blue’s musical exploits, on the bandstand and in the recording studio, shout and scream ‘artist deserving wider recognition’.” – Willard Jenkins, Jazz Times 

1. Chant for Peace Eternal 06:11
2. This is for Albert 05:16
3. Evening Prayer 07:11
4. Hallucinations 03:41
5. Another Blue 05:18
6. You Go to My Head 07:08
7. It’s Really All About Love4:27 04:26
8. Night In Tunisia 05:21
9. Crossings 05:34
10. Pileau 03:53
11. Solar 04:34

T.K. Blue: Saxophones, flutes, and kalimbas
James Weidman: Piano
Santi DeBriano: Bass
Cecil Brooks III: Drums
Guillermo Franco: Percussion
Onaje Allen Gumbs: Piano
Michael Cochrane: Piano
Calvin Hill: Bass
Greg Bufford: Drums
Tony Branker: Trumpet
Bob Ferrel: Trombone
Lenny Argese : Guitar

With special guests:
Eddie Henderson: Trumpet
Randy Weston: Piano

Produced by: T.K. Blue and Bob Karcy

Dawan Muhammad - Gatekeepers Blues (December 2021)

As LifeForcejazz continues to build an impressive roster of artists and music catalog, Dawan Muhammad looks for opportunities to pay tribute to legendary jazz masters and artists deserving of wider recognition by soliciting and showcasing original compositions and arrangements from members of the collective. Musicians and artists from other disciplines affiliated with the organization often collaborate and perform together publicly under the auspices of the LifeForcejazz All-Stars. I have been honored to witness, participate and produce several of these events, billed as BAJABA (Bay Area Jazz and Blues Artists) ShowCase and usually recorded for radio and television broadcast. In February of 2014, the musicians appearing on this CD premiered several original compositions as part of African American History Celebrations and during the same time period, some selections were also recorded in studio.

Although a variety of jazz styles were presented in the live concerts, the studio recordings focus was on emulating the post bop sound exemplified during the “high tide” of revolutionary spirit in the 1960’s. Interpretations of jazz traditions have always varied in concept, depending on orientation, however it is generally accepted that “true” jazz is a spontaneous art form, NOT necessarily created for purposes of commercial success. As a result, listeners with more than casual interests in jazz appreciate fresh approaches to music styles from different eras. At the grassroots community level, Dawan Muhammad is among many unsung heroes committed to passing jazz traditions on and one listen to the tracks on this disc, will reveal why I have dubbed him a “GATEKEEPER.” He exemplifies all that the "African American Musical Diaspora" stands for, Giant Steps!

1. Gatekeeper's Blues 04:41

DJ Amir, Re.decay, DJ Dez Andrez (aka Andrés), Amp Fiddler - Street Rap (DJ Amir & Re​.​Decay Jazz Re​.​Constructed Remix) Salsa (DJ Dez Salsa (de Corazon) Remix) December 2021 180 Proof Records

Hot on the heels of their landmark remix of ‘Lost My Love’ by Kenny Cox, DJ Amir and Re.decay return to BBE Music with a rework of Maulawi’s ‘Street Rap’, plus a new version of Fito Foster’s ‘Salsa’ by DJ Dez (aka Andrés) featuring Amp Fiddler.

Originally issued as the opening track on Maulawi’s self-titled 1974 album by Detroit’s Strata Records, ‘Street Rap’ is a slept-on jazz/funk classic. As part of his role as curator and archivist of the Strata catalogue, DJ Amir discovered the original stems for the track and was happy to discover they had survived the years well. “I thought we could really do something different with this song” say Amir. “Like making it more of a mid-tempo ‘four to the floor’ groover. Also, I wanted us to play with the original vocals a bit for the updated version. This is by far our favourite remix!”

Previously serving as DJ for Slum Village and releasing on Moodymann’s Mahogani Music simply as Andrés, DJ Dez Andrez is part of the fabric of Detroit’s unique and eclectic music scene. But few people know that Dez’s father is Cuban music hero Humberto “Nengue” Hernandez, a highly respected percussionist and vocalist who starred in the 1988 motion picture ‘Salsa’. “So I reached out to Dez because I knew his father sang and played on the Fito Foster song “Salsa’” says Amir. “I have had the stems of the song since the beginning of my license deal with Strata. I thought it would be a great homage to have Dez remix his father’s music. Plus, Dez was definitely excited to do so!”

For his remix, Dez called upon Detroit legend Amp Fiddler to play additional keys and piano on the remix, while Dez also added additional percussion to compliment his father’s, like a time-travelling jam session going back almost 50 years. Staying true to his Cuban roots, Dez’s remix brings a contemporary twist to this timeless track. 

1. Maulawi - Street Rap (DJ Amir & Re.decay Jazz Re.Constructed Remix) 05:07
2. Maulawi - Street Rap 06:14
3. Fito Foster - Salsa (DJ Dez Salsa (De Corazon) Remix) 06:36
4. Fito Foster - Salsa (Pt. 1 & 2) 05:25

DJ Amir, Re.decay, DJ Dez Andrez (aka Andrés), Amp Fiddler