Sunday, January 30, 2022

Brad Mehldau - Jacob's Ladder (March 18, 2022 Nonesuch Records)

Nonesuch Records releases Brad Mehldau’s Jacob’s Ladder on March 18, 2022 on CD and digital; a vinyl LP version will be released later in the year (exact date TBD). The album features new music that reflects on scripture and the search for God through music inspired by the prog rock Mehldau loved as a young adolescent, which was his gateway to the fusion that eventually led to his discovery of jazz. Featured musicians on the album include Mehldau’s label mates Chris Thile and Cécile McLorin Salvant, as well as Mark Guiliana, Becca Stevens, Joel Frahm, and others. A video for ‘maybe as his skies are wide’ is available today here. The song builds off an interpolation of one portion of Rush’s classic “Tom Sawyer.” Nonesuch Store pre-orders include an exclusive signed, limited-edition print.

Mehldau explains, “We are born close to God, and as we mature, we invariably move further and further away from Him on account of our ego. Jacob’s Ladder begins at that place closer to God with the voice of child, and then moves into the world of action. God is always there, but in our discovery and conquest, and all the joys and sorrows they bring, we may lose sight of him. He sets a ladder before us though, like in Jacob’s dream, and we climb towards him, to find reconciliation with ourselves, to stitch up all those worldly wounds and finally heal. The record ends with my vision of heaven—once again as a child, His child, in eternal grace, in ecstasy.

“The musical conduit on the record is prog,” Mehldau continues. “Prog—progressive rock—was the music of my childhood, before I discovered jazz. It matched the fantasy and science fiction books I read from C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and others at that time, aged ten through twelve. It was my gateway to the fusion of Miles Davis, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and other groups, which in turn was the gateway to more jazz. Jazz shared with prog a broader expressive scope and larger-scale ambitions than the rock music I had known already.

“The prog from Rush, Gentle Giant, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer here only hints at the genre’s conceptual, compositional and emotional range. These bands and others have continued to influence newer groups that bring prog impulses into the arena of hard rock and screaming math metal, like Periphery, whose music is included here, and also inspired the screaming vocals on ‘Herr und Knecht.’ I tried to avoid a direct tribute approach to all the songs, and opted in some cases for excerpts, or reworking of themes.”

Although Brad Mehldau is best known as a jazz composer and improviser, he has made several albums that fall outside of the mainstream jazz genre, including his 2001 Largo, produced by Jon Brion. Wide-ranging in texture and big in scale, it features woodwind or brass ensembles are on several tracks, as well as a heavy emphasis on powerful drums. In 2010, Nonesuch released his second collaboration with Brion, Highway Rider, which includes performances by Mehldau’s trio—drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier—as well as drummer Matt Chamberlain, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and a chamber orchestra led by Dan Coleman. Mehldau also orchestrated and arranged the album’s fifteen pieces for the ensemble.

Mehldau’s 2014 collaboration with Mark Guiliana, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, featured Mehldau on Fender Rhodes and synthesizers and Guiliana on drums and effects, playing twelve original tunes—six by the duo and six by Mehldau. His 2019 album Finding Gabriel featured performances by him on piano, synthesizers, percussion, and Fender Rhodes, as well as vocals. Guest musicians included Ambrose Akinmusire, Sara Caswell, Kurt Elling, Joel Frahm, Mark Guiliana, Gabriel Kahane, and Becca Stevens, among others.

1. -maybe as his skies are wide-
2. Herr und Knecht (Master and Slave)
3. (Entr'acte) Glam Perfume
4. Cogs in Cogs, pt. 1: Dance
5. Cogs in Cogs, Pt. II: Song
6. Cogs in Cogs, Pt. III: Double Fugue
7. Tom Sawyer
8. Vou correndo te encontrar / Racecar
9. Jacob’s Ladder, Pt. I: Liturgy
10. Jacob’s Ladder, Pt. II: Song
11. Jacob’s Ladder, Pt. III: Ladder
12. Heaven: I. All Once – II. Life Seeker – III. Würm – IV. Epilogue: It Was a Dream but I Carry It Still

Keith Pray / 3 Bass Hit - Down the Middle (February 26, 2022)

Keith Pray's debut recording as a Hammond organist. Known for his saxophone playing and writing, Keith ventures into new territory playing organ on this groove filled trio album.

1. Mohawk Funk 07:48
2. Back Atcha 07:42
3. Come on Over 04:34
4. Down the Middle 05:42
5. El Toro 06:23
6. Lowdown Ditty 05:17
7. The Pace 07:14

3 Bass Hit is:
Keith Pray - organ
Michael Wooten - guitar
Chad Ploss - drums

Recorded 8.21.21 at NRS Studios in Catskill, NY
Mixed and mastered by Scott Petito

Produced by Keith Pray
All compositions by Keith Pray

Zela Margossian Quintet - The Road (February 25, 2022 Ropeadope Records)

Variously described as “ethno-jazz”, “world-jazz”, and “folk-jazz fusion”, Zela Margossian’s music rises above all these labels as a product of her own unique constellation of influences and lived experiences.

Raised in Beirut of Armenian heritage, her childhood years were marked by the conflict and political instability of the region; themes she would later explore in her music. In her early twenties, Margossian moved to Yerevan, Armenia to study classical piano at the Komitas Conservatorium. But it was after class, in the local jazz-clubs listening to artists of the likes of Arto Tunçboyacıyan and Vahagn and the Cats, that her love for jazz was stoked. A move to Australia some years later saw her take the bold step to fully transition from her classical roots and find recognition among her jazz peers, as a composer and improviser of note.
In 2017, the Zela Margossian Quintet (ZMQ) was formed and quickly found a warm embrace in the Sydney jazz scene. Comprising of renowned, versatile performers: Stuart Vandegraaff (woodwinds), Jacques Emery (double bass), Adem Yilmaz (percussion) and Alexander Inman-Hislop (drum kit), the band has appeared on Australia’s mainstages and internationally including at: the Beirut International Jazz Festival (2018), SIMA’s Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival (2017, 2019 and 2020), Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues (2020), the Sydney Opera House (2020), and Sydney Festival (2021).

In 2019 the band’s debut album, Transition, was released by Art As Catharsis to critical acclaim, also receiving an ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) nomination for Best World Music album.

The Road is their much anticipated second album, promising the rich instrumental textures, the distinct compositional voice, as well as the narrative and thematic depth Margossian is known for. 

1. Refuge
2. The Road
3. Devotion
4. Forecast
5. Gratitude
6. The Good That Exists
7. Timeless
8. On Ya

Zela Margossian: Piano
Stuart Vandegraaff: Saxophones
Jacques Emery: Double Bass
Adem Yilmaz: Percussions
Alexander Inman-Hislop: Drums

Produced by Zela Margossian
All tracks composed by Zela Margossian

Recorded and mixed by Richard Belkner at Free Energy Device Studios in Sydney, Australia.
Mastered by Michael Lynch

Riikka Keränen - A Vision of a Garden (February 22, 2022 Flame Jazz Records)

Vocalist-composer Riikka Keränen is one of the noteworthy and distinctive jazz artists of the vibrant Finnish music scene. On her debut 'A Vision of a Garden', released by the Flame Jazz Records, she fuses jazz aesthetic and improvisation with evocative stories.

At heart, ’A Vision of a Garden' is an expressive quartet album focusing on intuition and observations about love and its many faces. Riikka says: ”With this album, a garden for me is a metaphor for love - an enclosure, a private space which at times can be shared with people. The beautiful things in the garden must be nurtured or otherwise they might perish. On the songs I’m envisioning the immaterial thing which is love: there’s the delicate and tender sides as well as longing and fear of rejection.”

The debut album is a modern, jazz-inspired piece of music, with lyrics and musical storytelling at the center. ’A Vision of a Garden’ aims to update the traditional vocalist-led jazz piano trio line-up to this day with new musical material: on the original compositions of the album traditional standard structures have been abandoned in the forms of the songs, creating new challenges and opportunities for the musicians to construct their improvisation.

In addition to Keränen the quartet consists of pianist Juho Valjakka, bassist Jori Huhtala and drummer Anssi Tirkkonen. The track ’Cameroonian Sky’ features Matias Kiiveri on voice and Arttu Takalo on vibraphone.

Riikka Keränen ’A Vision of a Garden’ will be available on vinyl, CD and digitally.

1 The Little Mermaid I (Juho Valjakka)
2 Say It Isn't So (Irving Berlin, arr. Riikka Keränen)
3 Cameroonian Sky (Riikka Keränen)
4 Sweet of Love (Riikka Keränen)
5 Strange Flowers Bloom at Night (Riikka Keränen)
6 There Is (Riikka Keränen)
7 Alone Together (Arthur Schwartz, Howard Dietz, arr. Riikka Keränen, Teemu Viinikainen)
8 The Little Mermaid II (Juho Valjakka) 

Riikka Keränen - voice
Juho Valjakka - piano
Jori Huhtala - double bass
Anssi Tirkkonen - drums

The featuring artists on 'Cameroonian Sky'
Matias Kiiveri - voice
Arttu Takalo - vibraphone

Produced by Riikka Keränen
Recorded by Mikko Raita with assistant engineer Joonas Kaartti at Kallio-Kuninkala studio on February 19th - 21st 2021.
Additional recordings by Mikko Raita at Studio Kekkonen on 18th and 29th March 2021.
Mixed by Mikko Raita
Mastered by Svante Forsbäck at Chartmakers
Photos by Jouni Harala and Roosa Karhu
Styling and clothes by Sari Syväniemi
Cover design by Nina Grönlund

Sara Rachele - Heartstrings (February 11, 2022 Ropeadope Records)

Sara Rachele’s latest LP, Heartstrings (out via Ropeadope Records), was recorded both in London, England with her UK bandmates, Brooklyn, NY, and in her hometown Little 5 Points of Atlanta GA (USA.) Written and produced by Rachele (with a track or two produced by keyboardist Spencer Garn (Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics) the title track is an americana-powerpop-KateBush combo Rachele co-arranged with Skintights late bandmate, Waylon Elsberry. A more upbeat affair, the album features hard-hitting musicians and friends David LaBruyere (John Mayer) Binky Griptite (Dap-Kings) local atlanta favorite Kristofer Sampson, and each of the songs represent a story of a female troubadour on her quest for meaning.

Rachele grew up a studio rat and folk child. Working for free, cleaning out the cupboards at famed Decatur, GA acoustic hotspot Eddie’s Attic, she met countless musicians and writers, and fell into bands as a side player before she’d even written a song of her own. She released her debut LP, Diamond Street, in 2014, and followed with a swoony 7-inch cover of Cracker’s “Low.” The latter was dubbed ‘sublime’ by SPIN magazine, and began to chart on commercial radio. Rachele’s 2016 sophomore LP, Motel Fire—recorded with her repurposed punk band The Skintights—was imagined in Joshua Tree, Calif., with help from pedal steel player Chris Unck (Butch Walker, Lisa Loeb). Rachele then released April Fool in 2017. Dedicated to her late grandmother, the album is a collection of bluegrass and folk songs Rachele cut in East Nashville with guitarist Johnny Duke (Little Big Town, Mary Chapin Carpenter). BUST magazine wrote, “Rachele’s angelic voice channels Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton, and she has a gift for telling tales of hope and disappointment in classic troubadour fashion.”

In her young career, Rachele has also been featured at NPR, Billboard, The Village Voice, Paste, PopMatters, No Depression, The Boot, Popdust & more. She splits time between New York and her farm church in Tennessee, where she writes in a 1979 Airstream Bus, and runs independent label Angrygal Records, influenced by Liz Phair’s self-releases under the moniker, Girly-Sound and Janis Ian’s Rude Girl Records.

Heartstrings is Rachele’s globe trotting reflection, submerged in 60’s pop, folk, Americana and jazz. Velvet coos and wistful inflections hover above dreamy cadences, pervading the record with intimate details, while binding the troubadour’s timeless tales of impermanence and self-discovery. Rachele’s song “I Do” was written and recorded in her rural church in Tennessee. It is a meditative moment she wrote after a dream where musician Waylon Elsberry returned to life, it’s part love song, part dirge. “I just feel like she’s with me all day everyday, but it’s still not enough.” Rachele says. “There’s a lot of country and bluegrass history in this town,” “It’s hard not to feel her here.” (The photograph for Randy Travis’ Storms of Life album cover was taken in her church’s front yard in the now fallen-in Flynn’s Lick General Store.)

In a funky tribute Rachele does Nick Gilder’s “Hot Child in the City” (cut live in London) summoning a time where hits were king. “Makin’ Me Wait,” showcases her songwriting skills and of course Binky Griptite’s guitar virtuosity, and T-T-Tonight is something a little more fun for Rachele. She says, “Sometimes, I work on not being so serious all the time.”

Does anything sound familiar? Hershel Yatovitz, Chris Isaak’s signature guitarist, plays lead on“Go South” which is the first song written for the record. Engineered by drummer and dear friend Sigurdur Birkis (Will Hoge/Butch Walker) the song is the truest representation of her Americana roots. With an oddly oracular tone the song was written after she moved to Boston and was afraid she couldn’t hack it. She reminds herself “Get wise, or go south.” It becomes a mantra throughout the song and a backdrop to the album as a whole.

Heartstrings closes with “Wander” a poetic live studio recording with Rachele on vocals and her 1965 Silvertone single-pickup electric guitar. She muses and wonders “Do you ever wander too?” She questions an imagined lover, with no reply. This is where you can hear her Tennessee country shine through. A dreamy fantasy in a sleepy setting this song represents some of what Rachele does best, Americana crooning over a bed of gentle simple guitar chords.

“I’d started working on this album, and with Waylon dying I felt more than ever that the music is what is supposed to press on,” Rachele says. “It’s just me and Dolly Vicious at the moment,” Rachele says referencing her Belgian Malinois named after influences Sid Vicious and Dolly Parton. “Heartstrings begins with what I love the most: being in a room full of great musicians recording to an old machine — and it ends with something a little less tidy.” Heartstrings hardly ties up the bow.

Loss is only a part of the story. Heartstrings is about traveling to transform, accepting the road rocks and all. Rachele’s teacher Livingston Taylor says the best performers leave the songs there on the stage for the audience to pick up. This album collects those moments of emotion and forms of escape for us to review. “I’m constantly searching,” says Rachele, laughing. “I’m hoping for change, that there’s something down this windy path… Something that saves us all.” 

01 Makin Me Wait
Sara Rachele - Vocals, Background Vocals
Jeff Hanley - Bass Guitar
Evan Howard - Drums
Binky Grptite - Guitar

Franciso Botero - Engineer
Chris Cubeta - Engineer
Kristofer Sampson - Mixing Engineer
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studio - Studio G (BROOKLYN, NY USA)

02 T-T-Tonight
Sara Rachele - Vocals, Background Vocals
Kyle Gordon - Bass Guitar
Sean Zearfoss - Drums
Kristofer Sampson - Guitar
Peter James - Guitar
Spencer Garn - Organ

Kristofer Sampson - Engineer
Spencer Garn - Engineer, Mixing
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studio - Sampson Sound (ATLANTA, GA USA)

03 Hot Child in the City
Sara Rachele - Vocals
Christopher Harding - Guitar, Background Vocals
George Price - Bass Guitar
Sean Zearfoss - Drums
Spencer Garn - Organ
Sean Zearfoss - Percussion

Clem Cherry - Engineer
Spencer Garn - Mixing Engineer
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studio - Eastcote Studios / Kensaltown (LONDON ENGLAND UK)

04 Go South
Sara Rachele - Vocals
David LaBruyere - Bass Guitar
Sigurdur “Siggi” Birkis - Drums, Percussion, Music Director
Hershel Yatovitz - Guitar
Spencer Garn - Organ

Sigurdur “Siggi” Birkis - Engineer
Spencer Garn - Engineer, Mixing
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studios - Madison Studios (ATLANTA GA USA) & Diamond Street Studios (ATLANTA GA USA)

05 I Do
Sara Rachele - Vocals, Guitar
Spencer Garn - Background Vocals, Electric Bass, Drums, Organ, Percussion
Geoff Henderson - Upright Bass

Spencer Garn - Engineer
Sara Rachele - Engineer, Mixing
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studios - Flynn’s Lick Baptist Church (Flynn’s Lick, TN USA) & Diamond Street Studios (ATLANTA GA USA)

06 Heartstrings
Sara Rachele - Vocals, Background Vocals
George Price - Bass Guitar
Sean Zearfoss - Drums, Percussion
Christopher Harding - Guitar
Spencer Garn - Organ

Clem Cherry - Engineer
Spencer Garn - Mixing Engineer
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studio - Eastcote Studios / Kensaltown (LONDON ENGLAND UK)

07 Stray
Sara Rachele - Vocals
George Price - Bass Guitar, Background Vocals
Sean Zearfoss - Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
Christopher Harding - Guitar, Background Vocals
Clem Cherry - Background Vocals
Spencer Garn - Organ

Clem Cherry - Engineer
Spencer Garn - Mixing Engineer
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studio - Eastcote Studios / Kensaltown (LONDON ENGLAND UK)

08 Hey Johnny
Sara Rachele - Vocals, Guitar
Spencer Garn - Organ, Percussion

Spencer Garn - Engineer, Mixing
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studio - Diamond Street Studios (ATLANTA GA USA)

09 Wander
Sara Rachele - Vocals, Guitar

Spencer Garn - Engineer, Mixing
Josh Money, Full Freq Mastering - Mastering Engineer
Tracking Studio - Diamond Street Studios (ATLANTA GA USA)

Russ Kaplan+7 - Lake Songs (February 4, 2022 Ropeadope Records)

Russ Kaplan is a musical storyteller. A creatively restless composer and a versatile keyboardist, he is equally at home in the worlds of jazz, rock, Americana, and musical theatre.

Russ’ new album Lake Songs is something new for him and unique in the Ropeadope catalog… a collection of solo piano meditations inspired by the wildlife of Central Florida. It’s a notable departure from his debut album The Ulysses Cycle, a world fusion suite that told the story of The Odyssey through layered arrangements and his band’s fiery improvisations. Kaplan is also the creator of Ropeadope’s video series Nine Takes, a pandemic-inspired collaboration among nine composers from around the globe.
As a theatre composer, Russ is one of the creators of Broadway's first-ever a cappella musical In Transit, and he has written music for numerous other family musicals, TV specials and viral videos. Russ was also the host and bandleader of "Russ Kaplan's Broadway Jazz Session," a live concert series that brought together jazz and Broadway performers to re-interpret Broadway standards in innovative ways. He has performed with many other bands as well, including Brooklyn Americana favorite Chris Q. Murphy, roots-rockers The Randy Bandits, virtuoso violinist Judy Kang (Lady Gaga), drummer Claude Coleman Jr. (Ween), power pop maverick Richard X Heyman, dreamy jazz-rock outfit Small Dream Ada, and for the Upright Citizens Brigade's popular show Gravid Water.

Russ attended Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama as a directing major, where he also studied jazz piano and improvisation with John D'Amico and the legendary saxophonist Eric Kloss. 

1. Manatee
2. Diamondback
3. Egret
4. Apple Snail
5. Tiny Lizards
6. Spanish Moss
7. Leopard Frog
8. Gator
9. Watersnake
10. Tortoise

Russ Kaplan, Piano

Produced, Composed, and Performed by Russ Kaplan
Recorded by Russ Kaplan on September 10 & 13, 2021 in Winter Garden, Florida
Mixed and Mastered by Chris Boerner
Cover Design by Owen Gent

Greg Spero - The Chicago Experiment (January 2022 Ropeadope Records)

Renegade independent label turned collaborative artist community Ropeadope announces the return of their acclaimed Experiment series, beginning with a 2022 release of The Chicago Experiment. The Experiment series began in June 2001 with The Philadelphia Experiment - featuring ?uestlove, Christian McBride, and Uri Caine with special guest Pat Martino. Widely known as a hallmark in progressive Jazz, The Philadelphia Experiment set a standard for artist-controlled improvisation in the studio. The Detroit Experiment, produced by Aaron Luis Levinson and Carl Craig, followed soon after with a stellar cast including Amp Fiddler, Geri Allen, Karriem Riggins and many more. 2007 saw the release of The Harlem Experiment, once again produced by Levinson, which dug into a crossover blend of Latin Jazz and Funk with a diverse cast including Steven Bernstein, Carlos Alomar, Don Byron, Taj Mahal, Olu Dara, Queen Esther, and Steve Berrios.

At a time when communities are physically disconnected, and even history is being disrupted by a global pandemic and restricted travel, Ropeadope returns to the series to highlight the musical legacy of cities around the globe. The Chicago Experiment was born of collaborations organized by Greg Spero (Spirit Fingers) and his hometown friends Makaya McCraven, Marquis Hill, Joel Ross, Irvin Pierce, Jeff Parker, and Darryl Jones.

"As we resume and expand this series, It could not be more appropriate to begin with Chicago; as we recall Barack Obama’s historic speech in 2008 that began a new era in US politics and culture, we are inspired by the people of Chicago and their contribution to the world. As we move forward, wrestling with the ugliness that moment exposed in our culture, we seek to celebrate the inevitable destiny that this awareness has invoked - one of common human striving for beauty and peace" (Louis Marks, Ropeadope)
Greg Spero’s Take:
The musical fabric of Chicago dates back beyond our lifetimes. The original home of the electric blues, Chicago's voices has carried its deep soul into genre after genre, producing artists of every idiom from gospel to hip hop, minting unique characters and artists bending and molding genres in new and evolving ways. Today is no exception, as some of the 21st century's most innovative and groundbreaking artists herald from Chicago. Makaya McCraven has been featured in the worlds biggest popular music outlets, Marquis Hill won the Thelonious Monk competition, and Joel Ross is commonly considered the most exciting young player in jazz today. These are just a few, but they come from a tight-knit group of individuals with a lineage of collaboration, improvisation, and exploration within their musical community.

For the past 15 years, Greg Spero and Makaya McCraven have been collaborators and supporters of each other's musical development. Darryl Jones, of the generation above Spero and McCraven, was introduced to Spero over a decade ago when co-composing for the record of another Chicago bass veteran Frank Russell. Years ago, Marquis and Spero road-tripped to Canada in Fareed Haque's RV for two nights at the Trane Jazz Club. The Velvet Lounge with Fred Anderson, the New Apartment Lounge with Vaughn Freeman, and the Jazz Showcase with Joe Segal have all been mainstays for these members of Chicago's new musical generation.

Through of the deep history of collaboration and community shared by Chicago artists, a distinct sound has made its appearance on the world stage. This sound is organic; you can hear it in the recordings of Spero and McCraven with Corey Wilkes and Junius Paul in recordings made 12 years ago at Close Up 2 in the south loop. It is genuine, improvisatory, and transparently soulful in a way that can only come as a natural expression of genuine history. Out of all the cities in the world, Chicago proved to be the ideal breeding ground for the next iteration of the Ropeadope Experiment series, following up the legendary Philadelphia Experiment with its new baby brother 20 years later, entitled The Chicago Experiment.

For this record, Spero brought in his long-time Chicago collaborators into the studio for 4 days of improvisation and performance. Spero came to the table with some compositions, but in the true spirit of Chicago, the sessions were filled with improvisation. The all-star group walked away from the 4 days with a huge slate of raw creative material, which Spero then distilled town into succinct groovy improvised compositions. The result is a record that embodies the true Chicago sound, and serves as a great example of the improvisational magic woven into the cultural fabric of Chicago's music scene. 

1. The Chant (feat. Joel Ross, Irvin Pierce, Darryl Jones, Marquis Hill, Jeff Parker) 04:26
2. Sizzle Reel (feat. Irvin Pierce, Jeff Parker) 03:26
3. Always Be (feat. Darryl Jones, Marquis Hill) 05:41
4. Cloud Jam (feat. Joel Ross, Marquis Hill) 03:20
5. Still Of Water (feat. Joel Ross, Irvin Pierce, Marquis Hill) 04:24
6. Double Take (feat. Joel Ross, Marquis Hill) 03:52
7. Maxwell Street (feat. Joel Ross, Irvin Pierce, Darryl Jones, Marquis Hill, Jeff Parker) 04:00
8. For Too (feat. Marquis Hill) 06:24
9. Rose Petal (feat. Darryl Jones) 03:57
10. Tiny Beat 01:34
11. Straight Shooter (feat. Darryl Jones, Jeff Parker) 03:53

Greg Spero (piano)
Makaya McCraven (drums)
Marquis Hill (trumpet)
Joel Ross (vibraphone)
Jeff Parker (guitar)
Darryl Jones (bass)
Irvin Pierce (tenor sax)

Alexander Flood - The Space Between (January 2022 Ropeadope Records)

The Space Between is about connecting people, places, and experiences through sound. A celebration of what unites us together, and the differences that define our uniqueness and diversity.

Award-winning Australian drummer and percussionist Alexander Flood presents his sophomore album The Space Between as a hard-hitting, genre-defying conglomerate of creative composition and collaboration. The music aims to expand and diversify our listening experiences, opening our ears to an immersive ecosystem of rhythms, instruments, and sounds spanning many different cultures across the globe, from North and West Africa to India, The Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Leaning on dance music, tranced rhythms, improvisation, urban textures, contemporary production and collaboration, The Space Between features an all-star lineup of international artists including 6x GRAMMY nominee Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Vivian Sessoms, Nelson Dialect, and Zayn Mohammed amongst others.

1. All For The Pocket (feat. Nelson Dialect) 05:51
2. LDN 07:28
3. Nostalgia 05:53
4. Pathways (feat. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah) 04:30
5. Re-Wired 04:32
6. Starseed (feat. Vivian Sessoms) 05:46
7. Umoja 04:54
8. Kantra (feat. Zayn Mohammed) 05:01
9. Goodmorning (for Alden) 04:26
10. Weighing of the Heart Ceremony 04:53

Alexander Flood - Drums & percussion*, keyboards, programming, & production (All tracks)
Jack Strempel - Rhodes, piano & synths (Track 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Dylan Paul - Electric bass & synth bass (Track 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10)
Josh Chenoweth - Trumpet (Track 2, 5, 9)
Tyler Venter - Electric guitar (Track 1, 10)
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - Trumpet (Track 4)
Nelson Dialect - Vocals (Track 1)
Vivian Sessoms - Vocals (Track 6)
Zayn Mohammed - Oud (Track 8)
Zhao Liang - Guzheng (Track 3, 4, 8)
Wei-Han Dai - Erhu (Track 4, 9)
Nick Kepron - Additional drums, percussion, aux keyboards & co-production (Track 1)
Ben Kepron - Piano (Track 1)
Brion “Boogie BeeJay” Scott - Gogo congas (Track 1)

Drums & Percussion* - congas, djembe, kenkeni, sangban, dununba, dunun bells, ogene bells, cowbell, agogo, tama, tabla, nagara, kanjira, darbuka, frame drums, riq, krakebs, hand claps, auxiliary percussion.

Recorded at Wundenberg’s Recording Studios Adelaide, Australia - April 12th, 13th & 14th 2021
Engineered by Lewis Wundenberg

Nelson Dialect feature recorded at Retribution Studios, London, UK - April 2nd 2021
Engineered by The Cat Burglar

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah feature recorded in Los Angeles, USA - June 14th 2021
Engineered by Dave Weingarten

Vivian Sessoms feature recorded in New York, USA
Engineered by Chris Parks

Mixed and mastered by Gareth Thomson in Saigon, Vietnam

Alexander Flood - Writer, director, editor & producer
David Resce - Assistant director, lighting, assistant editor, colourist
Nils Schmolka - Director and cinematographer (Los Angeles unit)

David Resce - Pink Sun Productions

Alexander Flood, Hicham Hamzi & Kaya Marks

Giulio Gentile - Insight (January 2022 Auand Records)

Now an established name in and outside his country, multi-awarded Italian pianist Giulio Gentile has recently focused on exploring the possibilities offered by the trio, along with longtime collaborators Pietro Pancella on bass and double bass, and Michele Santoleri on drums.

«They have been essential – Gentile says –, both musically and as human beings, to complete this work. They have always believed in my music, adding the right energy to the project. We’re good friends. At first, we simply met to play something together, and then we developed a repertoire focused on my compositions and arrangements, which led to this trio. Playing with them makes me feel the trio as one person. There’s a lot of interplay and listening, which I love!»
Trying to avoid specific shapes, this album is a work on identity: «The key to this project – Giulio Gentile adds – is about us finding our musical identity. I didn’t limit myself too much when writing these tunes because I believe in composition as freedom. I didn’t wonder if it was “jazz enough” or anything, I simply put down things on paper: ideas that could mirror something about me, trying to find an original sound and leveraging everyone’s strengths.»

Although difficult structures and polyrhythms abound, “Insight” is centered on melody, both in themes and improvisation. And it gets personal. «After writing some of these tunes I realised I put a lot of myself in them: ideas, thoughts, wishes, fears. This is why I picked this title: it’s me trying to communicate my vision through my music. I imagined “Mankind to Earth” as a dialogue between humanity and Planet Earth. Mankind begs for mercy, trying to be forgiven for everything has been (and is being) done to Earth. And there is a response, in “Earth to Mankind”, which I made more chaotic and rough, insisting on one melody that repeats from beginning to end. This sense of chaos and mess made me think of the inner, stronger and destructive face of nature, which I tried to convey using a 9/8 clave rhythm.» 

1. Hope 07:26
2. Cremisi 05:31
3. Throw The Stone 08:26
4. Mankind To Earth 08:53
5. Earth To Mankind 02:41
6. Libero 09:18
7. L'Aventino 06:36
8. Fight Or Flight 09:48
9. Fortress Of Solitude 07:19
10. The End 03:09

Giulio Gentile - piano
Pietro Pancella - double bass, electric bass
Michele Santoleri - drums

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Domenico Pulsinelli and Claudio Esposito at Bess Recording Studio, Montesilvano (Italy) on September 2020

Produced by Giulio Gentile
executive producer: Marco Valente
cover photo by Diego Costantini
inner and back cover photos by Giacomo Alberico