Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Misha Tsiganov - Misha's Wishes (January 2022 Criss Cross Jazz)

Misha Tsiganov, who lived in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union until he emigrated to the U.S. in 1991, at 25, has never shied away from a challenge. That’s apparent from the levels of complexity that Tsiganov embeds in the 18 arrangements and 9 originals on his three prior Criss Cross albums – The Artistry of the Standard (Criss 1367), Spring Feelings (Criss 1384), and Playing With The Wind (Criss 1401).

As written in the liner notes for Spring Feelings, Tsiganov has established “a signature blend of mixed meters, shifting tempos, changing keys and reharmonization that he deploys in order to insure ‘that something is happening always, so the listener doesn’t fall asleep.’”

Tsiganov’s latest, Misha’s Wishes, doesn’t eschew technical complexity. But the feel of this sophisticated, emotionally nuanced program – performed by old friends trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards, themselves leaders of multiple Criss Cross dates, with whom Misha Tsiganov feels such simpatico that he once postponed a recording session until all were available – is different than its predecessors.

1. Fire Horse (Misha Tsiganov)  7:14
2. Strike Up The Band (George Gershwin)  8:32
3. Misha's Wishes (Misha Tsiganov)  5:35
4. There Was A Birch Tree In The Field, So What (Russian Folk Song)  6:10
5. Lost In Her Eyes (Misha Tsiganov)  2:18
6. Just A Scale (Misha Tsiganov)  6:08
7. Give Me Five (Misha Tsiganov)  8:21
8. Hope And Despair (Misha Tsiganov)  7:15
9. Comrade Conrad (Bill Evans)  7:21
10. Are You With Me (Misha Tsiganov)  7:51

Total Time: 66:47

Recorded September 9, 2021 in Astoria, NY, USA by Mike Marciano

Misha Tsiganov (P / Fender Rhodes)
Alex Sipiagin (Tp / Flh)
Seamus Blake (Ts)
Boris Kozlov (B)
Donald Edwards (D)

David Binney Quartet - A Glimpse Of The Eternal (January 2022 Criss Cross Jazz)

Between 2004 (Bastion of Sanity) and 2016 (The Time Verses), alto saxophonist David Binney made nine albums for Criss Cross as either leader or co-leader, presenting predominantly his distinctive original music. Much of it emanated from his interactions in New York – his home from 1981 until 2018, when he moved to Los Angeles – with a cohort of local musicians comprising a who’s who of contemporary improvisers. During that intense and productive 12-year span, Binney recalls, he often spoke with Gerry Teekens – who founded Criss Cross in 1981 and sustained the label until he died in October 2019, leaving a legacy of over 400 albums, all of them good, some of them classics of the jazz idiom – about making a ballads record. Teekens´ son promised his father to keep the legacy alive and the label going, and after an 18-month recording hiatus he approached some of his´ father’s favorite artists to revive Criss Cross and launch it into the 2020s. One was Binney, who took the opportunity to suggest, “Maybe I should  inally do that ballads record in honor of your father.”

The tenth Criss Cross album with Binney’s imprimatur, A Glimpse of the Eternal, is, he says, “completely different than anything I’ve ever done – chilled out, an honest and pleasant vibe, nothing too complicated or intense.” If that self-description seems at odds with the intense, complex tonal personality that Binney has presented on his 30-album discography since 1990...well, that was his intention. He explains: “Initially, I wanted to do something like those almost commercial records from the ’50s or ’60s or ’70s, like a Gene Ammons record I have where he plays these balladlike tunes for 2½-3 minutes.” He adds: “All the guys were superenthusiastic about doing a straight-ahead ballads record.”

1 Our Place 03:09
2 In A Way 04:50
3 Ambivalence 06:47
4 Vibe Changer 04:13
5 Craig 03:08
6 Blue Sky 05:45
7 Nightfall 08:34
8 Dave 02:35
9 Group 01:27
10 A Glimpse Of The Eternal 03:32
11 The Cat And The Moon 04:55
12 Craig 2 01:49
13 I Had The Craziest Dream 06:06

David Binney - alto sax
Graig Taborn - piano
Eivind Opsvik - bass
Dan Weiss - drums

Tower of Power Announces Nationwide Spring Tour

Legendary Soul-Funk-R&B Band Tower of Power Celebrates
50th Anniversary Release, 50 Years of Funk & Soul:
Live at the Fox Theater – Oakland, CA – June 2018,
with Nationwide Spring Tour

First Major Tour Since Onset of Covid-19 Pandemic

Upcoming Tower of Power U.S. Tour Dates

February 11 & 12 | Montbleu Resort Casino and Spa | Stateline, NV
February 15 | Ponte Vedra Concert Call | Ponte Vedra, FL
February 17 | Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre | Clearwater, FL
February 19 | Parker Playhouse | Ft. Lauderdale, FL
February 20 | The Plaza Live | Orlando, FL
February 22 | Variety Playhouse | Atlanta, GA
March 3 | Tupelo Music Hall | Derry, NH
March 4 | Plymouth Memorial Hall | Plymouth, MA
March 5 | Chevalier Theater | Medford, MA
March 7 | Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts | Harrisburg, PA
March 9 | Community Arts Center | Williamsport, PA
March 10 | The Ridgefield Playhouse | Ridgefield, CT
March 11 | The Warehouse at FTC | Fairfield, CT
March 14 & 15 | Sony Hall | New York, NY
March 17 | MGM Northfield Park | Northfield, OH
March 19 | Lindenwood Theater | Saint Charles, MO
April 23 | Soundstage at Graceland | Memphis, TN
Tower of Power (photo courtesy Mack Avenue Records)

Tower of Power, legendary Bay Area funk band, announces today their initial details surrounding a late winter / early spring 2022 tour; one that will dip them down into Florida and select Northeastern markets for the first time since the onset of Covid in 2020. The band was last on the road in the fall of 2021 but hasn’t paid a true visit to Florida or the Northeast since before 2020. With this tour, spanning over 15 cities, Tower of Power returns to some of their favorite markets to bring their much needed inimitable blend of soul, funk, rock, R&B, and jazz to rejuvenate fans both old and new. 
The band, whose timeless classics such as “What Is Hip?” “So Very Hard to Go,” “You’re Still A Young Man,” and many more, have truly withstood the test of time. In 2018, Tower of Power got together for two memorable evenings in Oakland, the city that started it all, to celebrate its landmark 50th anniversary with a few thousand friends, family and fans. The window-rattling grooves and raucous party spirit of ToP has been a balm for the soul throughout the band’s half-century existence, but the release of 50 Years of Funk & Soul: Live at the Fox Theater – Oakland, CA – June 2018 couldn’t have come at a better time.  
Now, the legendary soul-funk-R&B group is set to return to the road with the first major tour since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Beginning in February, they'll visit over 20 markets in nearly a dozen states to celebrate the release of their recent album in commemoration of their 50th anniversary.
Available now from Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group, the high-spirited live album and video offers a reminder of the communal joys of the live music experience, something that’s been sorely missed over this staggering pandemic year. Released as a 3-LP set, a 2-CD/DVD combo, a standalone DVD, as well as digitally, 50 Years of Funk & Soul is the next best thing to hearing these brilliant musicians in person. Fittingly for such a special occasion, Tower of Power went all out for these hometown shows, supplementing the core 10-piece band and its iconic horn section with additional horns and a string section.  
Bandleader and saxophonist Emilio Castillo also invited back a few elite ToP alumni, including saxophonist Lenny Pickett (musical director of the Saturday Night Live band); keyboardist Chester Thompson (Santana); guitarist Bruce Conte and former vocalist Ray Greene, who shows off his trombone prowess. They join the renowned modern line-up of the band, featuring co-founder Stephen “Doc” Kupka on baritone sax, longtime drummer David Garibaldi, and lead vocalist Marcus Scott. Adding a bittersweet tinge is the presence of founding bassist Francis “Rocco” Prestia, who passed away in September 2020. 
“People come up to me all the time and say, ‘Wow man, 50 years! We can't believe it,’” laughs Castillo. “You can't believe it? I'm the one that can't believe it. We've been through a lot of ups and downs and learned a lot along the way. We've affected a lot of people's lives and done a lot of work that we're very proud of. The band has a real family atmosphere. It's been very rewarding.”
Castillo was only 17 years old when he met Kupka and started to assemble the band that would become Tower of Power. “I had no vision at all,” he recalls now. “I just loved playing soul music. My idols were a local band called The Spyders and they had gigged in Sacramento. I thought, ‘Man, if I could just get to Sacramento that would be it.’ That's literally how small my vision was.”
The band has long since surpassed Castillo’s admittedly modest aspirations, traveling the world, enjoying hit singles on their own and backing some of the most legendary artists of the last 50 years – a list that includes Otis Redding, Elton John, Santana, the Grateful Dead, John Lee Hooker, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, and countless others. In the process they’ve defined an “Oakland soul” sound as instantly recognizable as those from Castillo’s hometown, Detroit, as well as inspirations like Memphis and Philadelphia. 

Artistry Music · Release Date: March 26, 2021 

For more information on Tower of Power, please visit: towerofpower.com

Armaroli / Schiaffini 4tet - Monkish (’round about Thelonious) January 18 2022 Dodicilune - Ird


Prodotto dall’etichetta pugliese Dodicilune, distribuito in Italia e all’estero da IRD e nei migliori store on line da Believe Digital, martedì 18 gennaio esce “Monkish (’round about Thelonious)” di Armaroli - Schiaffini 4tet. 

Giancarlo Schiaffini (trombone) e Sergio Armaroli (balafon cromatico e vibrafono) aggiungono un nuovo capitolo alla loro prolifica collaborazione tornando sulla musica di Thelonious Monk. Ma se nel precedente “Deconstructing Monk in Africa” (Dodicilune 2021),  proponevano in duo una suite di quasi un'ora nella quale l’improvvisazione faceva da raccordo tra il pianista e compositore statunitense, l’Africa e la musica contemporanea europea, in questo disco i due musicisti e improvvisatori si esibiscono, affiancati da Giovanni Maier al contrabbasso e dallo sloveno Urban Kušar alla batteria, in dodici tra le più celebri composizioni monkiane (Friday The 13th, Bemsha Swing, Pannonica, Blue Monk, Misterioso, Crepuscule With Nellie, Blues Five Spot, Evidence, Raise Four, Oska T., Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are, Blue Hawk).

«Il programma è ampio ma colpisce tuttavia che, tra le composizioni scelte, ben tre (delle cinque che lo componevano) provengano da Brilliant Corners, lo storico album del 1957 nel quale il pianista illuminava “Pannonica” con gli sfavillanti suoni della celesta», sottolinea il filosofo e critico musicale Neri Pollastri nelle note di copertina. «Una scelta emblematica, perché la musica che viene qui sviluppata svela all’ascolto un continuo susseguirsi di “angoli brillanti”, evidenziati soprattutto da Armaroli ora con i suoni scintillanti del vibrafono, ora con quelli appena meno fulgidi, ma sempre luminosi del balafon cromatico - raro strumento burkinabè che qui funge quasi da alter ego del pianoforte - ai quali il contrabbasso di Maier fa costantemente da contrappunto, donando loro ancor più fulgore. Questo singolare gioco dialettico di chiari e scuri - che ha momenti esemplari, per esempio in “Blue Monk”, “Crepuscule with Nellie” e “Oska” - costituisce la cifra della lettura di Monk offerta dal quartetto, per colore del suono e struttura che fa da bussola all’interazione delle voci», prosegue. «In esso s’inserisce, commentando con il suo caratteristico stile parlante, il trombone di Schiaffini, muovendosi con libertà e grandissima misura quasi sempre attorno ai temi, che lascia invece agli altri illustrare. Oltre all’inventiva e all’appropriatezza degli interventi, colpisce come il trombone riesca a far timbricamente da tramite tra vibrafono/balafon e contrabbasso. Assai singolare il ruolo svolto da Kusar, anch’egli sovente coinvolto con finalità di commento - sia ritmico, sia timbrico - alla struttura costruita da Armaroli e Maier, ma che occasionalmente prende il posto del primo nel far “brillare angoli”, come accade per esempio nell’avvio di “Misterioso”, non a caso ritmicissima e nel prosieguo della quale è per una volta il trombone a esporre il tema. Non mancano comunque situazioni del tutto singolari, come in “Ba lue Bolivar Ba lues are” - con un lungo e suggestivo duetto tra trombone e contrabbasso, a cui fa seguito un secondo, più breve ma non meno intrigante, tra balafon e batteria - o in “Pannonica” - l’incipit della quale è un corale addensarsi di voci», continua Pollastri. «Un Monk in parte tradizionalmente rispettato - i temi a far da guida alle improvvisazioni, libere ma non caotiche - e in parte, giustamente, tradito e riletto alla luce della contemporaneità - il contrabbasso che disegna linee melodiche, l’unico fiato che commenta e divaga, la batteria che pennella timbricamente. Un Monk dai suoni splendidi, che rinnova ancora una volta il proprio fascino, così come rinnovano il loro i suoi eccellenti interpreti».
Giancarlo Schiaffini, compositore-trombonista-tubista, nato a Roma nel 1942, laureato in fisica, autodidatta in musica, ha partecipato alle prime esperienze di free-jazz in Italia negli anni ’60. In quel periodo ha cominciato la sua attività di compositore ed esecutore nel campo della musica  contemporanea e del jazz. Nel 1970 ha studiato a Darmstadt con Stockhausen, Ligeti e Globokar e ha fondato il gruppo strumentale da camera Nuove Forme Sonore. Nel 1972 ha studiato musica elettronica con Franco Evangelisti, collaborando con il Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza fino al 1983. Nel 1975 ha fondato il Gruppo Romano di Ottoni, con repertorio di musica rinascimentale e contemporanea. Fa parte della Italian Instabile Orchestra. Ha tenuto corsi e seminari in Italia, presso la Hochschule di Freiburg i. B., Melba e Monash University (Melbourne) e la New York University. Ha insegnato nei conservatori “Gioacchino Rossini” di Pesaro, “Alfredo Casella” di L’aquila e nei corsi estivi di Siena Jazz (strumento, improvvisazione, composizione). Ha collaborato con John Cage, Karole Armitage, Luigi Nono e Giacinto Scelsi. Ha partecipato, come compositore ed esecutore, a numerosi festival e stagioni concertistiche. Qualche esempio: Teatro alla Scala, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Biennale Musica di Venezia, Autunno Musicale di Como, IRCAM, Upic e Festival d’Automne di Parigi, Reina Sofia di Madrid, Ars Musica di Bruxelles, Europa jazz Festival du Mans, Jazz a Mulhouse, Tramway (Rouen), Wien Modern, Aspekte di Salisburgo, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Moers, Tage fuer Neue Musik di Zurigo, Fondazione Gulbenkian di Lisbona, Alte Oper di Francoforte, Filarmonica di Berlino, Festival di Gibellina, FIMAV di Victoriaville (Canada), Nuova Consonanza, Bimhuis di Amsterdam, JazzYatra (India), Darmstadter Ferienkurse, Pomeriggi Musicali e Musica del nostro tempo (Milano), UNEAC di Cuba, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Lincoln Center e Hunter College (New York), New Music Concerts di Toronto e molti altri. Dal 1988 collabora con la cantante e autrice di testi Silvia Schiavoni per la composizione ed esecuzione di performance multimediali originali e su letteratura, pittura (Joyce, Gauguin, Ibsen, Boccioni, Ammaniti e altri), con immagini di Ilaria Schiaffini. Nel 2000 è stato Composer in Residence all’International Composers & Improvisers Forum Munich. Ha registrato per le radio nazionali in Italia, Austria, Canada, Olanda, Messico, Germania, Francia, Svezia, Spagna. Sono state a lui dedicate composizioni da numerosi autori come Scelsi, Nono, Alandia, Amman, Castagnoli, Dashow, Guaccero, Laneri, Mencherini, Renosto, Ricci, Villa-Rojo. Ha inciso dischi per BMG, Curci, Cramps, Edipan, Horo, Hat Records, Pentaflowers, Pentaphon, Red Records, Ricordi, Vedette. BMG, Curci, Edipan, Pentaflowers, Ricordi hanno pubblicato sue composizioni. Ha pubblicato per Ricordi un suo trattato sulle tecniche del trombone nella musica contemporanea e per Auditorium Edizioni “E non chiamatelo jazz” sull’improvvisazione musicale, “Tragicommedia dell’ascolto”, “Immaginare la musica” e “Errore e pregiudizio”. A Giancarlo Schiaffini è stata dedicata una voce dalla Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (Oxford University Press) e dall’Enciclopedia della Musica (Utet/Garzanti).

Sergio Armaroli è vibrafonista, percussionista, compositore, didatta e artista totale, la cui attività spazia in diversi campi artistici e musicali. Quello del jazz è forse  il più praticato: "Considero il jazz come attitudine propriamente sperimentale che ha assoluta necessità di essere raccontata". Ha studiato presso l'Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera e al Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi di Milano. Si è perfezionato all'Accademia della Fondazione Arturo Toscanini di Parma e all'Accademia del Teatro alla Scala di Milano conseguendo il titolo di professore d'orchestra. Ha frequentato inoltre l'Instituto Superior de Arte de L'Habana a Cuba. Ha suonato in diverse orchestre classiche, si è perfezionato sulla marimba e ha seguito corsi di batteria tenuti da Joey Baron, Han Bennink, Trilok Gurtu e Dom Um Romao. Ha al suo attivo diverse composizioni per il teatro e ha partecipato a diverse formazioni orchestrali italiane ed europee, nonché a una serie di registrazioni di musica classica e da camera. Nell'ambito del jazz si esibisce come vibrafonista e percussionista. È fondatore e leader del gruppo Axis Quartet composto da Nicola Stranieri alla batteria, Marcello Testa al contrabbasso e Claudio Guida al sax. Con lo stesso ha pubblicato nel 2010 Prayer and Request, un lavoro interessante, dove l'improvvisazione si sposa con le partiture scritte, gli interventi dei singoli agiscono in equilibrio con il gruppo, tesi alla ricerca di un equilibrio costante. La critica ha accolto molto bene il disco, così come, in una chiave diversa, Early Alchemy, un viaggio all'interno dell'espressività percussiva come atto primitivo della musica". Scheda a cura di Flavio Caprera (tratto dal Dizionario del jazz italiano Universale Economica Feltrinelli, Milano, 2014). Con l’etichetta Dodicilune, Armaroli ha pubblicato, tra gli altri, “Prayer and request” (2010) e “Vacancy in the Park” (2015) con Axis Quartet, “Early Alchemy” (2013) un solo di marimba, “Tecrit” (2014) con Riccardo Sinigaglia (santur elettrico, flauti barocchi ed elettronica), "Micro and More Exercises" (2016) e "Deconstructing Monk in Africa" (2021) con Giancarlo Schiaffini, "Structuring the Silence" con Fritz Hauser (2017), “From The Alvin Curran Fakebook - The Biella Sessions” con il quartetto guidato da Alvin Curran, "To play Standard(s) Amnesia" con il suo quintetto e Billy Lester (2017), "Lux Ferrari Exercises d'Improvisation" con Giancarlo Schiaffini, Walter Prati e Francesca Gemmo, "Close (your) Eyes Open Your Mind" con Walter Prati, "Trigonos" con Andrea Centazzo e Giancarlo Schiaffini (2018), "TrioPlusTrio" con Giancarlo Schiaffini, Walter Prati, Roger Turner, Chris Biscoe e John Pope e "Meeting for two" con il pianista statunitense Billy Lester (2020).

1 - Friday The 13th
2 - Bemsha Swing
3 - Pannonica
4 - Blue Monk
5 - Misterioso
6 - Crepuscule With Nellie
7 - Blues Five Spot
8 - Evidence
9 - Raise Four
10 - Oska T.
11 - Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are
12 - Blue Hawk

All compositions by Thelonious Monk

Sergio Armaroli - vibraphone, chromatic balafon
Giancarlo Schiaffini - trombone
Giovanni Maier - double bass
Urban Kušar - drums, percussion

Total time 58:11 STEREO DDD
(p) 2022 DODICILUNE (Italy)
(c) 2022 DODICILUNE (Italy)

Produced by Sergio Armaroli and Maurizio Bizzochetti, Gabriele Rampino, Dodicilune
Label manager Maurizio Bizzochetti (www.dodicilune.it)
Recorded 19, 20 February 2020 at Il Pollaio, Ronco Biellese (Bi), Italy
Mixed and mastered 20 February 2020 at Il Pollaio, Ronco Biellese (Bi), Italy
Sound engineer Piergiorgio Miotto
Cover painting by Sergio Armaroli
Photos by Piergiorgio Miotto
Contact: www.sergioarmaroli.com, www.giancarloschiaffini.com

The Adam Larson Trio - With Love, From Chicago (February 11, 2022 Outside in Music)

1. Angolan Babysitter
2. The Time You Forgot You Knew
3. Kansas to Chicago
4. In Waiting
5. We See
6. Twirl
7. Portrait of Jenny
8. Root Fruit
9. Tierney's Song
10. Firestarter

Adam Larson - tenor saxophone
Clark Sommers - bass
Dana Hall - drums

Mathis Picard - Live at the Museum (January 28, 2022 Outside in Music)

Live at the Museum is the thrilling sophomore venture from adventurous pianist-composer Mathis Picard. Recorded in January 2019 at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, this solo piano work is a sonic journey through which the French-Malagasy artist explores the museum of his own life in music, honoring and spotlighting his roots in jazz, classical, and electronic music. Through Picard's own refined curatorial lens, Live at the Museum honors the works of the great classical and jazz composers that were influential to Picard's personal musical journey with daring and evocative interpretations of classic pieces, and an impressive array of original compositions. Both outwardly expressive and inwardly introspective, Live at the Museum cements Picard's stature as a truly incomparable innovator of his generation.

Live at the Museum comes as Picard is fresh off the heels from his critically-acclaimed genre-bending debut EP World Unity (Outside in Music). Long awaited, Picard finally presents his first solo piano outing allowing his unbridled invention to be heard in a pared-down context - a celebration of his inimitable sound.

1. The Creation of the World
2. Cuttin' Out
3. Earthalude
4. Snake Song
5. Leia's Theme
6. Like Blue
7. Firelude
8. Le Gibet
9. In A Mist
10. Clouds
11. Woodland Fantasy