Sunday, January 9, 2022

Tomasz Dąbrowski - Tomasz Dąbrowski & The Individual Beings (February 11, 2022 April Records)


Tomasz Dąbrowski makes his April Records debut with an all-star septet, presenting music inspired by Tomasz Stańko and reflecting on his lasting legacy, lessons learned, and making music on one of the legend’s own storied instruments.

“There are several layers of connection with Stańko,” Tomasz Dąbrowski (b.1984) explains. Both celebrated Polish musicians with the same first name were also wired in similarly creative ways – each forging ahead in their own unmistakable voices on the same instrument (literally the same trumpet… more on that later). Stańko (1942-2018), the recently departed legend, imparted artistic wisdom through his example during their time working together.

In addition to listening to Stańko’s music while growing up in Poland, Dąbrowski had a poster of the jazz titan in his bedroom for years and remembers the first time they met: “He knew who I was… that was very encouraging,” the younger Tomasz says.

This new album is also connected to Stańko in multiple ways. The band was initially created for a concert in Lodz in May of 2020 when Dąbrowski was commissioned to write (and assemble an ensemble to present) new music for the closing concert at the Letnia Akademia Jazzu in Poland that year. He used it as an opportunity to honor his late hero, mentor, colleague, bandmate, and friend. The concert was a success and a recording session was planned for the following year, giving Tomasz time to write and polish new material. The result of the session is the deeply moving and exciting album available to listeners today.

“For a long time, I thought that it was important to be able to play ‘everything’ and make it sound ‘right,’ but after I met Stanko and had some time to reflect on this, I realized that what’s most important is to have your own voice – a voice so strong that it can exist in whatever context you choose and it will still be you,” Dąbrowski shares.

The band’s name and album’s title, Individual Beings, is also a reference to a Stańko quote – taken from Desperado, a print biography available only in Polish – which Dąbrowski translates for us: “I don't feel lonely. I am an individual being… I am Polish, I was born here, Polish is my main language, I am deeply connected with this land, but most of all I feel I am Tomasz Stańko. Individual Being. I am a unique gathering of atoms, there is no one else like that in the world, in the cosmos. Here I am.”

That resonated deeply with Dąbrowski, who took it even further: “we’re all Individual Beings, and our individuality is the strongest thing we have to offer the world – it has to be protected and developed.”
Dąbrowski has honored that mindset and responsibility throughout his career, and never more so than on this new album. The music on this recording, which he describes among other things as a “search for simplicity,” is brought to life by the trumpeter/composer/arranger and six other musicians – apart from saxophonist Fredrik Lundin (Denmark) and drummer Knut Finsrud (Norway), the rest of the group’s members are Polish or based in Poland (Irek Wojtczak on tenor/soprano saxophone & electronics, Grzegorz Tarwid on grand piano & keyboards, Max Mucha on double bass, and Jan Emil Mtynarski on electric & acoustic drums). Each musician arrived into the bandleader’s life sometime over the last half-decade or so, and was chosen for this project, specifically, for their representation and manifestation of one of the things most important to Dąbrowski: “personality, both on and off stage.”

Finally, there’s the horn. During the recording session for the new album, Tomasz (Dąbrowski) played one of Stańko’s horns – his primary instrument in the 1990s, on which he did some of his best work – on loan from Anna Stańko, daughter of the dear departed. “It gave a lot of power to me,” the bandleader says.

That power can be felt, heard, and celebrated throughout Tomasz Dąbrowski’s first release on April Records – as he and the other six other Individual Beings in a powerful, brilliantly and acutely attuned septet present a program that traverses a vast sonic soundscape. This is the next riveting chapter in the story of a real-time rising star and a mature, reflective homage to a late, great legend. 

1. JR 06:19
2. Old Habits 05:10
3. In Transit 03:36
4. Sandy 06:06
5. Troll 06:41
6. Queen of Mondays 04:21
7. Short Gesture 05:08
8. Spurs of Luck 04:25

Tomasz Dąbrowski – Trumpet and Electronics
Fredrik Lundin – Tenor Saxophone
Irek Wojtczak – Tenor and Soprano Saxophone plus Electronics
Grzegorz Tarwid – Grand Piano and Keyboards
Max Mucha – Double Bass
Knut Finsrud – Acoustic Drums
Jan Emil Młynarski – Electric and Acoustic Drums

Produced by Tomasz Dąbrowski and Michał Kupicz
Recorded by Michał Kupicz
Mixed by Michał Kupicz
Mastered by Kæv Gliemann
Photos by Filip Ćwik (front) and Sisi Cecylia (back)
Liner Notes by Peter Margasak, DownBeat
Cover design by Enrico Andreis

All compositions by Tomasz Dąbrowski

Laurent Bardainne & Tigre d'Eau Douce - Hymne au Soleil (January 28, 2022 Heavenly Sweetness)

1. Oh Yeah
2. La Vie, La Vie, La Vie
3. Hymne au soleil
4. Adieu My Lord
5. Destination Danger
6. Jou En Nou Rivé Feat. Célia Wa
7. Combly Family
8. Verte Gronouille
9. Kenya Sunrise
10. Sarang
11. Oiseau Feat. Bertrand Belin

All compositions by Laurent Bardainne
Lyrics by Bertrand Belin on "Oiseau"
Lyrics by Célia Wa on "Jou An Nou Rivé"

Laurent Bardainne • Ténor sax, synthétiseur
Arnaud Roulin • Orgue Hammond, synthétiseur
Sylvain Daniel • Basse
Philippe Gleizes • Batterie
Roger Raspail • Percussions

Recorded at ICP Studio Bruxelles (April 2021)
Mixing by Fredéric Soulard à Studio Méchant
Mastering by Chab

Choeurs :
Lisa Spada
Annaelle Solet

Léonore Bardainne Dherbeys plays synthétiseur on Oiseau and sings on Verte Gronouille

Agnes Dherbeys

Success Pistols - First Shot (January 20, 2022 Amalgam)

BANG! ZAP! POW! Success Pistols is Dustin (tenor saxophone, composition), Scott Bevins (trumpet), Eli Davidovici (bass), and Mili Hong (drums).

Their sound borrows from new music, improvised music, and avant-minimalist traditions. Scores consist of instructions that Finer teaches the group orally; specificity of each instruction varies and unspecified elements are improvised. The result is that each piece retains an identifiable sonic fingerprint while differing every performance. Works are taught orally, rather than by providing the written text scores, so that the music must be memorized immediately. This demands a high level of concentration and fosters a unique performer experience where modalities of listening and memory are used as compositional parameters. Some works also feature game elements that encourage the musicians to interact in playful ways, such as cueing one another with subtle winks.

First Shot is Success Pistols' debut recording.

1. Pastiche No. 1
2. Speed Eater
3. Pastiche No. 2b
4. Descenders
5. three miniatures
6. Just ON3 Thing

Dustin Finer - Tenor saxophone, composition
Scott Bevins - Trumpet
Eli Davidovici - Bass
Mili Hong - Drums

Recorded by James Benjamin and Sam Rae.
Mixed by James Benjamin at Breakglass Studios.
Mastered by Jonathan Kaspy.
Artwork by Isaac Vallentin.

Jonathan Ziegler - Verse Visa (January 20, 2022)

1. Intro Thingy
2. Just Gotta be Careful
3. On the Map
4. Tim Time (with Tim)
5. Kind of like a Blueish-Gray
6. serious?
7. Sidewalk Chalk

Piano - Connor Rohrer (Tracks 2,3,5-7)
Bass - Marty Quinn (Tracks 2,3,5-7)
Guitar - Tim Watson (Tracks 2-4,7)
Sax - David Mason (Tracks 2,3,6,7)
Trumpet - Stephane Clement (Tracks 1,5,7)

Writing, Production, Drums, Mixing - Jonathan Ziegler
Mixing - Alex Aranout

Album Artwork - Alejandra Jiminez

Andy Pratt - Horizon Instrumentals (January 2022)

Instrumental selections from Pratt's 2017 Horizon Disrupted album.

1. Will You Be The One Tonight? (Guitar) 06:01
2. When Did The Summer End? (Guitar) 03:24
3. She's Gotten Into My Dreams (Hot Guitar) 03:28
4. Rocket Ship (Rhodes) 04:48
5. Somewhere Down The Road (Guitar) 05:34
6. Horizon Disrupted (Guitar) 04:16
7. When Did The Summer End? (Underscore) 03:22
8. Rocket Ship (Underscore) 04:49
9. Somewhere Down The Road (Underscore) 05:35
10. Horizon Disrupted (Underscore) 04:16
11. Will You Be The One Tonight? (Rhodes) 06:01
12. When Did The Summer End? (Rhodes) 03:24

Andy Pratt: Guitars & Fender Rhodes Electric Piano
Joe Policastro: Bass
Mikel Patrick Avery: Drums & Percussion


Quartet Parapluie:
Rebekah Cope: Violin
Inger Petersen Carle: Violin
Andra Kulans: Viola & Violin
Melissa Bach: Cello

Recorded by Steve Albini & Gregoire Yeche
Mastered by Margaret Luthar

Carmen Gomes Inc. - Ray! (January 2022)

"We started working on Ray! in the unencumbered period before the adversity of Covid 19 came upon us. In the darkest period of lockdowns, we left it alone, and recorded 'Up Jumped the Devil' which somehow was more in sync with the life we were living in that period. When the restrictions were lifted, it felt just like Ray’s song ‘the Sun is Gonna Shine Again’; everything seemed possible. We recorded the last part of the album this summer. And a long and beautiful summer it was, a summer which made one feel grateful for all that seemed so self-evident before. Mixing and mastering was finished just before the sky clouded over and another wave came upon us.

But I still have faith. Together we are strong and we have music to get us through this. Because "Music is about the only thing left that people don't fight over" as Ray Charles used to say. To me this album represents a ray of light in the midst of the darkness and I hope it can be that for you as well." Carmen Gomes

"We quickly realized that we did not want to make a tribute album. Rather we would pay our respects to Ray by following the advice Ray gave to Willie Nelson at a recording session; “Don’t think about how anybody else does it, just do it the way that YOU feel it”. So we took the songs back to their bare essentials, tried to hear them as if they had just been written and in so doing making them our own. It is of course impossible to completely reject the sound of the originals, here and there a small citation did creep in. Listen to the last bar of ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ and you’ll hear what I mean. Carmen Gomes Inc. is a band: 4 musicians all having their say in how a song is being shaped in the moment it is being played. The key to this approach is trusting each other, keeping up a musical dialogue while respecting the framework of the song. Let me offer three songs from the album as an example on how we went to work on Ray’s music.

The Sun is Gonna Shine Again. The song is kept to an absolute minimum with only the double bass commentating on the lyrics with small melodic motifs. The lyrics are so typical of Ray Charles’ eternal optimism and at the same time they sum up the hope we all have in these troubled times that the sun is gonna shine again. The song was actually the working title for the album but our highly regarded head of marketing over at DSD Native; Floor Van Der Holst, suggested that Ray! would be more to the point and fit Milan Bjørnild’s beautiful cover photo perfectly.

Next up is CC Rider. Here Tettero’s guitar is the 2nd protagonist in this story of a love affair taking a wrong turn. The guitar is of equal importance to Gomes’ voice, it’s the CC Rider Carmen is singing about. Listen how they keep on challenging each other yet never get in each other's way. That kind of communication and musical empathy is a rare find in music. It is a chemistry that only years of playing together can achieve.
In Drown In My Own Tears, the guitar and bass take a step back, creating space in order to let drummer Bert Kamsteeg take on the role of 2nd main character in the small tragic play this song is. Here Kamsteeg treats his drums more like a bunch of percussion instruments than a drum kit in order to emphasize the intense sadness of the lyrics." Peter Bjørnild

The 2 most important engineers in Ray Charles' oeuvre were Tom Dowd and his protégé Al Schmitt. The story goes that before Ray Charles, Tom Dowd and Al Schmitt started working together, tape recording levels were kept safely way below the limit. But Charles, Dowd and Schmitt realized that by carefully getting close to the limit, a beautiful light colorization of the upper harmonics took place. In tribute to the 2 engineers I decided to use an analog signal chain to master the DXD recording to a Studer A80 reel to reel tape recorder in order to get that little bit of "tape saturation" that Ray Charles liked so much, keeping in mind Tom’s and Al’s love for minimalistic equalization and very little compression. The various reverb techniques used on the album were inspired by Al Schmitt's work. I have added a bit of depth to the beautiful natural ambience captured in the hall by carefully chaining reverb units at minimal settings. This technique helped the sound of the album become more coherent despite the different recording techniques applied, following the rules of the Arch Manifesto".

1. Worried Mind Prologue 00:57
2. The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again 03:01
3. CC Rider 05:09
4. Let The Good Times Roll 03:30
5. Drown In My Own Tears 04:14
6. Georgia On My Mind 06:06
7. Willow Weep For Me 03:31
8. Don't You Know Baby 03:14
9. Them That Got 03:29
10. But On The Other Hand Babe 04:28
11. Let's Go Get Stoned 03:50
12. Makin Whoopee 03:34
13. Worried Mind Epilogue 01:14

Carmen Gomes - vocal
Folker Tettero - guitar
Peter Bjørnild - double-bass / electric bass
Bert Kamsteeg - drums

Recording, mixing and mastering by Frans de Rond.
Produced by Peter Bjørnild.
Music arranged by Peter Bjørnild with lots of help from Carmen, Folker and Bert.
Recorded at MCO, Studio 2, Hilversum, The Netherlands, on the 12th of May and the 24th of August 2019.
Original recording format DXD 352,8 kHz
The original recording is analog mixed and mastered to tape using a Studer A80.
All other formats are converted versions of the original.

10th Letter - Raw Variations (January 2022)

This album is a collection of live recordings from the 10th Letter Ensemble. Recorded at Broad Street Visitors Center circa 2019, this piece is comprised of reinterpretations of songs from the 2019 release "Ten Toes Down".

1. RV1 07:40
2. RV2 03:22
3. RV3 07:56
4. RV4 06:54
5. RV5 03:40
6. RV6 06:20

Gage Gilmore on bass
Avys Burroughs on alto sax
Jared Pepper on drums
Dan Bailey on percussion
Jeremi Johnson on keys

Marbin - Aggressive Hippies (Backing Tracks) January 2022

Backing tracks for the entire Aggressive Hippies album with pdf lead sheets included (the pdf is only available with full album purchuse).

These tracks have the GUITAR and SAXOPHONE solos muted.

1. Just Music 07:04
2. Y'all Are Good 06:29
3. African Shabtay 05:59
4. Juke Joint 06:44
5. Ol' Neckin' 05:28
6. Morning Star 08:54
7. Aggressive Hippies 02:40
8. Jambo 08:02