Friday, February 18, 2022

Samuel Mösching - Ethereal Kinks (February 18th, 2022)

Guitarist Samuel Mösching’s fifth studio recording as a leader,
Ethereal Kinks,
features 11 new melodic originals and his inventive playing
on nearly all of the instruments.

Mösching’s relaxed style, melodic improvising,
and thoughtful solos are both accessible and creative.

A skilled jazz guitarist with his own sound, Samuel Mösching has used the Pandemic period to record his latest solo album, Ethereal Kinks. While four fine musicians (two bassists and two drummers) make one appearance apiece (there are guests on both bass and drums on “Winnemac”), otherwise Mösching plays all of the instruments (guitar, bass, drums and synth) in addition to contributing a full set of new compositions.
Ethereal Kinks begins with the joyful “No Dancing” (with bassist Renda “Victoria” Jackson) which is a fine showcase for the leader’s bright guitar tone and laidback musical personality. “Beauty And The Beast Roleplay” is a jazz waltz that builds up effectively while “Disconnect” is a medium-slow strut that is moody while having a strong forward momentum. The complex chord changes of “Mental Illness” contrast with its relaxed tempo while “Modesta” (with Juan Pastor on drums) is quite energetic and catchy.
The second half of the program has Mösching improvising over a drone stated by his synth on “Strict Dancer,” an infectious jam with bassist Jeremiah Hunt and drummer Reuben Gingrich (“Winnemac”), the bluesy “Indigenous,” an atmospheric “Melanie,” the mysterious mood of “Better Than Me,” and “The Belief In Magic” which has the guitarist really going for it during a rocking performance that perfectly wraps up his release.
Samuel Mösching was born and raised in Switzerland where he began playing guitar when he was ten, began writing music two years later, and at 13 started doubling on electric bass and drums. While he had begun playing jazz when he was 12, after he heard John Coltrane’s Crescent album three years later, Mösching really turned his main focus towards jazz. While he studied classical music, jazz and composition in school, he became an important part of the European jazz scene, recording several live albums with the group Sonic Fusion and releasing Punta Cana with his trio Aido. In 2013 he moved to Chicago.
Since then Samuel Mösching has worked with a wide assortment of artists (including drummer Rusty Jones, Ed Wilkerson, John Stowell, Zeshan B, Mars Williams, Indian folk singer Subhi, Wanees Zarour’s The East Loop, and Reuben Gingrich’s Blue Island), performed in the Chicago area, New York City, Washington DC and Europe, and led three albums (Up, Some Other Tree, and Room 3) prior to Ethereal Kinks. 
The release of Ethereal Kinks, arguably his finest recording thus far, should result in Samuel Mösching gaining much more recognition as a very original jazz guitarist and composer, one whose music has the potential to reach a very wide audience.

1. No Dancing feat. Renda “Victoria” Jackson 02:59 
2. Beauty And The Beast Roleplay 03:33 
3. Disconnect 05:27 
4. Mental Illness 04:09 
5. Modesta feat. Juan Pastor 04:06 
6. Strict Dancer 01:27 
7. Winnemac feat. Jeremiah Hunt & Reuben Gingrich 03:15 
8. Indigenous 04:28 
9. Melanie 02:06 
10. Better Than Me 02:01 
11. The Belief In Magic 03:42

All compositions by Samuel Mösching (SUISA)

Samuel Mösching - Guitars, Basses, Drums and Synths, except on:
“No Dancing”: Renda “Victoria” Jackson - Bass 
“Modesta”: Juan Pastor - Drums
“Winnemac”: Jeremiah Hunt - Bass, Reuben Gingrich - Drums 

Brian Jackson - All Talk (February 18, 2022 BBE)

Announcing his forthcoming studio album, ‘This Is Brian Jackson’, which is to be released on BBE Music in May 2022, Brian Jackson offers up the LP’s lead single ‘All Talk’, presented with a brace of remixes by OPOLOPO.

Produced by Phenomenal Handclap Band founder Daniel Collás, ‘This Is Brian Jackson’ is the veteran songwriter and musician’s first true solo studio album in 20 years. Perhaps best known for his albums as co-artist/producer with Gil Scott-Heron in the 1970s, Brian Jackson remains active and innovative, producing artists such as Will Downing and Gwen Guthrie, recording with Kool and the Gang, Roy Ayers, Alabama 3, Sean Ono Lennon and constantly called upon for contributions by many other artists as well.

‘All Talk’ gives us a first sampling of ‘This Is Brian Jackson’, displaying Jackson’s sparkling songwriting, vocal delivery and musicianship, beautifully framed by Daniel Collás’s skillful, timeless production.

“I had mentioned to Daniel that I had begun work on a solo project around the time that Gil and I were recording ‘Bridges’ in 1976” says Jackson. “I even had a few unfinished tracks. The seed of Daniel’s concept centered around the question: ‘what would a Brian Jackson album sound like if the 21st century Brian were to complete that 1976 album today?’”

Now, that question has been well-and-truly answered.

‘All Talk’ comes complete with a pair of complimentary reworks from Swedish production wizard OPOLOPO, who provides a sublime futuristic boogie version and a tougher, percussion-led club mix for the dancers.

Album ‘This Is Brian Jackson’ is scheduled for release on vinyl, CD and digital formats, May 6th 2022. 

1. All Talk (Extended Version)
2. All Talk (OPOLOPO Extended Remix)
3. All Talk (OPOLOPO Club Remix)
4. All Talk
5. All Talk (OPOLOPO Remix)
6. All Talk (OPOLOPO Extended Remix Instrumental)
7. All Talk (OPOLOPO Club Remix Instrumental)

Mostly Other People Do the Killing's trio album 'Disasters Vol. 1' (February 18, 2022 on Hot Cup Records)

Moppa Elliott’s Mostly Other People Do the Killing Presents Disasters Vol. 1

Trio album available February 18, 2022 on Hot Cup Records

DownBeat Critics Poll Winners: Rising Star Ensemble
El Intruso Best Band to See Live
El Intruso Jazz Group of the Year 

“With each album, [MOPDtK’s] reach gets deeper and more convincing.”
– Mike Shanley, JazzTimes 

“The group that has always straddled the broad and fuzzy line between tradition and chaotic improvisation, has nevertheless managed that process with a mixture of sophistication, revelation and unbridled enthusiasm.”
– Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz 

Featuring: Ron Stabinsky (Jazz Journalists Association Best Debut Album, Free For One), Moppa Elliott (DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star Bassist, Composer, Arranger), Kevin Shea (Best Drummer, Village Voice)
Hot Cup Records is proud to present Disasters Vol. 1, the second release by the piano trio configuration of Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Disasters Vol. 1 features eight new compositions by bassist/composer Moppa Elliott written in the fall of 2019, just before the pandemic struck. Each composition on the album is named after a small town in Pennsylvania that experienced  disasters ranging from floods and fires to mining accidents. These disasters are cautionary tales, potent metaphors, and excellent examples of how people measure risk and reward.

Elliott’s compositions, as performed by the MOPDtK trio including pianist Ron Stabinsky and drummer Kevin Shea, are deliberately simple so that they can be spontaneously taken apart and reassembled, a hallmark of MOPDtK dating back to the band’s inception in 2003. The melodic material is often blues-based and firmly rooted in the Jazz tradition unlike much of the electronic orchestration, improvised transitions, and non sequiturs that frequently derail the written composition. The opening track “Three Mile Island,” for example, is a bugaloo, a form that serves as the lynchpin or opening number of so many classic jazz albums. Beginning with dense improvised material, the composition slowly takes shape around a bass line and harmonic progression before the recording concludes with the full statement of the theme.  

MOPDtK’s frequent collaborator, Leonardo Featherweight, has penned liner notes explaining the connection between each song’s title and the music it inspired. True to form, he often deliberately misses the point, yet accidentally reveals important points. While each piece was written with the town and its specific disaster in mind, also focused on disasters as metaphors for the conflicts we encounter every day as we navigate the joys and sorrows of our social, romantic, and familial obligations. Ultimately, the origins and inspiration behind each piece are less important than the recorded performance and interaction between the musicians in real time.
After the release of Paint, the first MOPDtK album in the piano trio format, Elliott recorded three albums of his compositions for three different ensembles. JazzBand/RockBand/DanceBand featured his straight-ahead jazz quintet Advancing on a Wild Pitch, his rock band Unspeakable Garbage (which performed at the Heineken Jazz Festival in San Sebastian, Spain), and his dance band Acceleration Due to Gravity featuring his long-time friends and collaborators Mike Pride and George Burton. The range of styles included on this album solidified Elliott’s reputation as one of the great composers working today.

Over the past sixteen years, MOPDtK, led by bassist/composer Moppa Elliott, has earned a place at the forefront of jazz and improvised music, performing in a style that is at once rooted in the jazz tradition and highly improvised and unstructured. Billed as a “Bebop Terrorist Band,” their music melds history and tradition with cutting-edge vibrancy and the underlying imperative that jazz is alive and well, and most of all, fun. Their initial albums explored the intersection between common practice hard bop compositions and free improvisation, incorporating a kaleidoscopic wealth of other influences from pop music to the classical European repertoire. In 2010, Elliott expanded the group’s framework and began exploring specific eras of jazz, resulting in 2011’s Slippery Rock (an investigation of smooth jazz and fusion styles) and 2012’s Red Hot (featuring an expanded lineup recalling the jazz and blues recordings of the late 1920s and early 1930s). 

2014 saw the release of Blue, a note-for-note recreation of Miles Davis’ classic album, Kind of Blue that evoked a wide range of strong responses from both the public and critics and will likely be a part of the discussion of the state of jazz in the 21st century for years to come. In 2015, the band returned to a quartet format for the album Mauch Chunk, which explored the hard bop styles common in the 1950s. Since the release of Mauch Chunk, all four members of the core quartet have released solo recordings including Moppa Elliott’s Still, Up In the Air, and pianist Ron Stabinsky’s Free For One, both on Hot Cup Records. In February 2017 MOPDtK the band released the septet album Loafer’s Hollow to wide critical acclaim.
Pianist Ron Stabinsky is a member of the legendary indie-rock band The Meat Puppets, Peter Evans’ Quartet and Quintet, Charles Evans Quartet (no relation), and in 2016 recorded his first solo album Free For One on Hot Cup Records.

Kevin Shea was named “Best Drummer in New York” by the Village Voice and regularly tours with the noise-rock-improv duo, Talibam! Talibam! was named the “Artists in Residence” at the Moers Festival in Moers, Germany for all of 2021 and have spent the year collaborating with a wide variety of artists from around the world.

Bassist Moppa Elliott teaches music at Information Technology High School in Long Island City, NY.  He also produces and releases albums on Hot Cup Records including his solo bass recording Still, Up in the Air and a three-album release entitled JazzBand/RockBand/DanceBand.

Mostly Other People Do the Killing – Tour Dates

• Saturday, February 19, 7:30 p.m. at Community Music School of Springfield, 127 State St., Springfield, MA. Presented by Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares. Tickets $15. For information visit

• Sunday, February 20, 6 p.m. at The Cooperage Project, 1030 Main St., Honesdale, PA. Tickets $20, $15 advance. For information call 570-253-2020 or visit

• Monday, February 21, 8 p.m. at Bop Shop Records, 1460 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY. Tickets $20. For information call 585-271-3354 or visit

• Wednesday, February 23, 7 p.m. at City of Asylum, 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. Live or livestream tickets free. For information call 412-435-1110 or visit

Thursday, February 24, 7 p.m. at The Bop Stop, 2920 Detroit Avenue, 
Cleveland, OH. Live performance tickets $15; livestream free, donations 

• Friday, February 25, 7 p.m. at Rhizome, 1950 Maple St. NW, Washington, DC. Tickets $10-$20. For information visit

Guitarist, composer and oud master Gordon Grdina announces an eclectic trio of new releases for 2022, including two on his own Attaboygirl Records imprint

Gordon Grdina - photo by Genevieve Monro

On February 18, 2022, Attaboygirl will release Night’s Quietest Hour by Grdina’s Arabic music ensemble Haram with special guest Marc Ribot; and Oddly Enough, a collection of solo electric guitar pieces composed by Tim Berne
On June 10, Astral Spirits will unveil the second album by the  Nomad Trio 
with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Jim Black
What they share as improvisers is an attunement to radical possibility at any moment, and the expansive technical vocabulary to justify any digression.” 
– Nate Chinen WBGO 

"Another Edgy, Highly Improvised Masterpiece From Gordon Grdina...the rare jazz guitarist who plays a lot of notes, yet manages to find a way not to waste them.
– delarue, New York Music Daily

The prolific Vancouver-based guitarist, composer, improviser, and master oud player Gordon Grdina has long been tireless in his pursuit of new possibilities and partnerships for his expansive musical imagination. Following the 2021 launch of his own Attaboygirl Records label and a trio of acclaimed new releases, Grdina returns with three more diverse and adventurous new releases for 2022.
February 18, 2022 will see the release of two new albums on Attaboygirl, each of which finds Grdina collaborating with one of modern jazz’s most innovative and creative minds. Night’s Quietest Hour documents the meeting of guitar experimentalist Marc Ribot with Grdina’s Arabic music ensemble Haram, while Oddly Enough debuts a new collection of pieces by saxophonist/composer Tim Berne for solo acoustic and electric guitar with Midi sampler instruments. On June 10, 2022 the Astral Spirits label will release the much anticipated secondouting by Grdina’s explosive Nomad Trio with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Jim Black.
Grdina founded Haram in 2008 with two purposes in mind: to further evolve his work with traditional Iraqi and Arabic folk music, and to convene several of his favorite Vancouver improvisers into one large ensemble. The follow-up to the ensemble’s 2012 debut, Her Eyes Illuminate, features the addition of legendary guitar wizard Marc Ribot, whose fabled career has included influential work with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and John Zorn among countless others, as well as his own projects like Ceramic Dog, Los Cubanos Postizos, Spiritual Unity and the Rootless Cosmopolitans. Ribot joined the ensemble in Vancouver for a pair of concerts and a recording session shortly before the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.
“Ribot's been a hero of mine for a long time,” Grdina says. “He added a whole lot of energy and excitement as well as a punk rock aesthetic to these pieces.”
While Night’s Quietest Hour was captured just before the world changed, Oddly Enough came into existence in the midst of the COVID lockdown. Near the outset of the pandemic Tim Berne, the influential and audacious saxophonist/composer who has led such revered ensembles as Bloodcount, Big Satan, Science Friction, Snakeoil and Broken Shadows, casually sent Grdina a new piece he’d recently penned for solo guitar. Grdina sent back a recording and Berne responded with a second piece. That back and forth continued for almost a year before Grdina had accumulated enough material for an album. To expand his sonic palette for these pieces, Grdina designed a new guitar able to simultaneously record Midi data, acoustic and electric.
“The pieces were incredibly challenging yet beautiful and aligned with what I had been exploring in my own writing on my last two solo albums,” Grdina says. “I’m excited by music that is harmonically complex and direct yet free, ambiguous, and open to personal interpretation. Tim’s music is personal and immediately recognizable, yet can be continuously phrased and interpreted differently… Tim has created his own world with its own sense of logic; for me, that is the most inspiring thing an artist can do.”
Finally, June will bring the release of Boiling Point, the second outing for Grdina’s Nomad Trio with Matt Mitchell and Jim Black, two of the most inventive and technically versatile artists in modern jazz. “I can write anything for this band,” Grdina touts. “It's very complex music, rhythmically, harmonically, melodically, and in the way every piece fits together, those guys really can do anything. Since the last album, the group has solidified its unique sound, which is exciting to hear develop on this second record.”
Seeking a new outlet that can keep pace with his ever-expanding roster of ongoing projects and new collaborations, Grdina launched Attaboygirl Records in October 2021. The endeavor was undertaken in collaboration with his partner, photographer Genevieve Monro, who curates the distinctive visual style of the label. The label made its debut with the simultaneous release of the first two entries in its catalogue: Pendulum, Grdina’s third solo album and the second composed for classical guitar and oud; and Klotski, the studio debut of Gordon Grdina’s Square Peg, an exploratory quartet featuring Grdina on guitar and oud, Mat Maneri on viola, Shahzad Ismaily on bass and Moog, and Christian Lillinger on drums.
“I seem to be putting out more music than other labels can handle,” jokes Grdina about the new effort. “The label is a project that Genevieve and I have wanted to take on for a while now. It allows us to release projects when we want and to create a cohesive visual style for these disparate releases.”

Gordon Grdina’s Haram with special guest Marc Ribot – Night’s Quietest Hour
Attaboygirl Records – ABG-3 – Recorded Feb. 29, 2020
Release date February 18, 2022
Gordon Grdina – Oddly Enough
Attaboygirl Records – ABG-4 – Recorded April 29-30, 2021
Release date February 18, 2022

Gordon Grdina’s Nomad Trio – Boiling Point
Astral Spirits – Recorded Jan. 2020
Release date June 10, 2022

NEW RELEASE: Calvin Johnson's 'Notes of a Native Son' is out February 18, 2022

Saxophonist and Composer Calvin Johnson Delves Deep Into New Orleans Culture On His New Release Notes of a Native Son, due out February 18, 2022

Saxophonist, composer, and actor Calvin Johnson has been steeped in the history and tradition of one of America’s most iconic cities, New Orleans, since birth. A third-generation musician to inherit New Orleans’s rich cultural legacy, Johnson was raised on the bandstands of New Orleans, learning the foundation and nuance of the city’s music. Now, as a proponent of and mentor in the music of New Orleans, Johnson – along with his band – releases Notes of a Native Son, a tribute to his time and upbringing in the majestic city that shaped his craft.

Now a quintessential member of both the New Orleans and New York music scenes, Johnson makes it clear that his current mentality was not always the case. “I am now a mature man who has found his own voice,” Johnson says, “not by wandering aimlessly but by being guided by my mentors and soaking up all the knowledge, wisdom, and jewels they’ve imparted on me over the years.” Johnson believes firmly in the role his mentors – those great musicians of New Orleans who paved the way for him – have played in shaping him as a musician. During his time as a student in and of New Orleans, Johnson would step up to the bandstand nightly and learn in the most visceral and real way possible: by playing with the elders. As a member of the Preservation Hall Band and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in particular, Johnson was provided an unmatched opportunity to immerse himself in the magic that consisted of both technical mastery and impassioned musicianship through rehearsals, planning, and performances. “I had a front row seat to true professionalism, and over the years I would take notes preparing for my time to step in the spotlight,” Johnson says.
Notes of a Native Son, through both its title and music, encapsulates this concept of continual learning. “The main concept of this album is an expression of a child taking the lessons he learned from his elders, internalizing those lessons, and then using them to find and develop his sound,” Johnson says. “As he moves from his sheltered upbringing to take on the world, this record is a manifesto of the musical experiences he’s gained along the way.” 

Johnson’s third studio album as a bandleader, Notes of a Native Son is unique not only because of its stylistic authenticity, but also because it showcases Johnson’s skills as a composer. Embodying a depth of sound ranging from traditional second line to the emotive and history-rich Congo Square beats, Johnson presents a sound that is unequivocally New Orleans. “This sound still belongs to the streets and the people of New Orleans,” Johnson says. “And as they say on the streets of New Orleans, ‘If you ain’t gon’ dance, get the hell on out the way.’”

One of the strongest narratives and most addictive songs on the album is “Streetcar Love,” which tells a story that Johnson has maintained in his memory since childhood. Revolving around the iconic slow-and-steady method of transportation local to New Orleans, “Streetcar Love” follows the daydream of a young boy in which he meets his yet-unknown sweetheart on a streetcar. “Jewel’s Lullaby” was composed by Johnson when his daughter Jewel was a newborn. “When she couldn’t sleep at night, I would walk the hallway of our home with her in my arms singing this melody to her, hoping she would go to sleep,” Johnson says.  “Eventually I wrote that melody out and developed it into a song.” Johnson’s solo on this piece is vibrantly emotive, filled with the vast spectrum of feelings that accompanies the experience of being a new parent. 

In addition to three original compositions by Johnson, this album also features two of his arrangements of iconic classics: Gershwin’s “Summertime” and fellow New Orleans native sons Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew’s “I’m Walking.” The former showcases Johnson playing with tasteful feeling and empathy while still showcasing his virtuosity on the final cadenza.  “I’m Walking,” by contrast, finds Johnson in a completely different light as a vocalist and true entertainer. 
Photo of Calvin Johnson by James Demaria

While Johnson wrote and arranged the majority of the music on Notes of a Native Son, he credits his band for their integral role in the composition process. “I brought in my originals to the band as lifeless sheet music and they helped me bring that sheet music to life,” Johnson says. Peter Harris, bassist, is lauded by Johnson as a master of precision and professionalism. “He’s always going to stop us and make sure we’ve crossed all our t’s and dotted all our i’s and if we haven’t then he’s going to do it then and there,” Johnson says. Pianist Ryan Hanseler, Johnson says, lended his unceasing creativity to the project. “Whenever we find ourselves against a wall, musically speaking, Ryan comes up with the workaround.” Trenton O’Neal had a fresh, unique perspective on the music that makes him an invaluable asset. “It’s very inspiring to play with him as he hears things differently than I do,” says Johnson. The album also features drummer Alfred Jordan¸ who is heralded as a creative fount with “a well of ideas” and “a great memory.”

Pulsing with a scintillating vibrancy spurred on by the legacies of the great city of New Orleans itself, Notes of a Native Son is nothing short of remarkable. On his third album, Calvin Johnson demonstrates to listeners how the profundity of tradition can inform the deepest of emotions, the most vivacious of celebrations, and a musical ingenuity spurred on not only by one creative genius’s mind, but by the brilliance of all who walked the path before.

Notes of a Native Son releases independently on February 18, 2022.

Track listing: 

1. I'm Walking (Domino, Bartholomew)
2. Summertime (Gershwin, Agrell)
3. Jewel's Lullaby (C Johnson Jr.)
4. Anova (C Johnson Jr.)
5. Resistance is Noble, but Defeat is Imminent (C Johnson Jr.)
6. Treme (C Kerr Jr.)
7. Streetcar Love (C Johnson Jr., K Bailey, L Oubre)
8. Lift Every Voice and Sing (J Johnson, J Johnson, arr. E Washington)

More information at:

Javon Jackson - The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (February 18, 2022)

Tenor Saxophonist Javon Jackson Joins Forces with Renowned African American Poet, Activist and Educator in Historic Collaboration
The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni connects with the ancestral stream while putting a jazzy new perspective on timeless hymns and spirituals

Why would one of poetry’s most revered voices want to curate a jazz saxophonist’s album of gospel hymns and spirituals? “These songs are so important,” says Nikki Giovanni, one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends” and a Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2017. “They comforted people through times of slavery, and during recent years we needed them to comfort us again. But a lot of the students today do not know about the history of these songs, and they should. So I’m out here putting water on the flowers, because they need a drink.”
Giovanni’s historic collaboration with saxophonist-composer and former Jazz Messenger Javon Jackson has yielded The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni, available February 18, 2022 on his Solid Jackson label. “The spirituals have been around so long,” says the renowned poet, activist and educator, who came to prominence in the 1960s and ’70s as a foundational member of the Black Arts movement following the publication of such early works as 1968’s book of poetry Black Feeling, Black Talk/Black Judgment and 1970’s Re:Creation. “Some spirituals have been updated and stayed around and some have been lost over time,” Giovanni notes “So for me, it’s just helping to keep something going. And I do it because there’s a need.”
Jackson brings his bold-toned, Trane-inspired tenor lines to bear on a series of hymns, spirituals and gospel numbers hand-picked by Giovanni, who was also the first person to receive the Rosa L. Parks Women of Courage Award. And the 78-year-old poet makes a rare vocal appearance on the tender ballad “Night Song,” singing a song identified with her close friend, the late civil rights activist and High Priestess of Soul, Nina Simone. “Nina was a friend of mine, and I knew that one of her favorite songs was ‘Night Song’,” she explains. “And even though I’m not a singer, I told Javon I wanted to sing it because I just wanted Nina to be remembered.” Jackson, who flew to Nikki’s home in Roanoke, Virginia, to record her vocal track on the existing instrumental tracks, says, “I sat beside her when she sang it and by the time she finished that chorus, I was deeply moved. I just love the fragile nature of the way she treated it. It was very emotional.”
Joined by an outstanding crew comprised of pianist Jeremy Manasia, bassist David Williams and drummer McClenty Hunter — the same lineup that appeared on Jackson’s 2018 album For You and his 2020 follow-up, Deja Vu — Jackson interprets gospel staples like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Wade in the Water,” “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel” and “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” with authoritative tenor tones, deep walking bass lines and an organic sense of group swing. “It’s the first time I worked in a collaborative manner,” Jackson says. “The project is personal for me. I come from a lineage of devout Christians, and that has afforded me the chance to connect with that ancestral stream.”
The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni came about through a serendipitous meeting between the two principals when Jackson, a faculty member of The Hartt School at the University of Hartford and director of its Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, invited Giovanni to speak to his students there. As he recalls, “Ever since I’ve been at the University of Hartford, I felt that the school would be well-served to bring great scholars of color and scholars who were freedom fighters and activists, if you will. So I brought in Dr. Cornel West, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis and Michael Eric Dyson. Then in February of 2020, I brought Nikki Giovanni.”
The renowned poet’s appearance at the University coincided with her receiving an honorary doctorate there. And as Jackson recalls, “After Nikki spoke to the students, she noticed that the Hank Jones and Charlie Haden CD of hymns and spirituals (1994’s Steal Away) was playing in the auditorium. She said she loved it and wanted to hear more, and just then I was hit with the idea. Two days later, after she returned to her home in Roanoke, I contacted her and said, ‘Would you be willing to pick 10 hymns? And that’ll be my next recording.’ She got back to me in a few days and gave me the 10 selections.”
The collection opens with the driving shuffle “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,” a spiritual recorded by Paul Robeson in 1937. Jackson delivers the melody in straightforward fashion with golden tenor tones before Manasia “goes to church” on his piano solo. The minor-key “Wade in the Water” is lifted by a mid-tempo swing feel, paced by Williams’ deep walking basslines and Hunter’s steady, syncopated ride-cymbal pulse. After Jackson delivers a robust tenor solo and Manasia follows suit with an earthy piano solo, Christina Greer enters, dropping some wisdom from Giovanni’s poem “A Very Simple Wish.” As Jackson explains, “For this, I reached out to Markeysha Davis, an assistant professor of Africana studies and literature at the University of Hartford. She is really a fan and knows Nikki's work far better than I do. Nikki’s got 50 years’ worth of poetry, so I didn’t know where to begin. But I sent Markeysha John Coltrane’s ‘Spiritual’ to give her an idea of what we were trying to do, and she came back with that poem.”
The quartet’s rendition of the dirge-like “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” carries the somber feeling of Coltrane’s “Equinox,” while their interpretation of “Mary Had a Baby, Yes Lord” recalls Trane’s powerful civil-rights era requiem, “Alabama.” “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” one of Giovanni’s favorites from her own Baptist church upbringing, is rendered at a loping beat, conveying a distinctive Southern gospel feel. “A lot of times when I’ve heard this song in church, it's a little faster, a little more upbeat,” Jackson says. “I wanted to make it slower, where I could really expose the melody a lot more and lay on some of those phrases—so I could be as emotive as possible with the melody, as if I was playing in church with people in the audience.”
“I’ve Been ’Buked,” a spiritual sung by Mahalia Jackson in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King also delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech,” opens with some dramatic unaccompanied arco bass work by Williams before the full band enters with Jackson conveying the melody simply and deliberately. “In a perfect world, I would love to have had David bowing with Paul Robeson singing that melody,” says the leader. “The bow is so beautiful because, to me, it’s close to the human voice in a way.”
Jackson and company render the normally somber “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” as a buoyant calypso. In fact, you can hear the saxophonist directly quoting from Sonny Rollins’ most famous calypso, “St. Thomas,” midway through the song. Bassist Williams, being from Trinidad, is uniquely qualified to provide the requisite bounce on this ebullient calypso rendition of this well-known African American spiritual. “Doing that song this way is a reminder that the departure or the transition doesn’t have to be one of sadness,” says Jackson. “We don’t want it to be where the person or persons listening to the CD become downtrodden. We want it to be celebratory. It’s like what Art Blakey always used to tell us: ‘You cry when they come in, and you rejoice when they go out.’ I never forgot that.”
Photos ©Shaban R. Athuman

The most intimate piece of the collection is the gentle hymn “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian,” performed as a rubato duet between Jackson’s tenor sax and Manasia’s piano. The quartet closes on a rousing note with a swinging “I Opened My Mouth to the Lord,” which again features Williams’ deeply resonant bass carrying the melody and Jackson in strong ‘speechifying’ mode on tenor sax. Manasia also turns in an exhilarating piano solo here, and even drummer Hunter gets a solo taste near the end of this triumphant closer.  
Captured live at Telefunken Studios in South Windsor, Connecticut, the 10 tunes on The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni were all done without the use of headphones, another first for Jackson. “I’ve never done a recording before in a studio where I didn’t use headphones, so it felt like performing a gig,” he says. “We never counted off a piece and there were no endings, where I might dictate or give a direction towards an ending. I really wanted to do it just like if you’re in church, where there’s a preacher talking and all of a sudden the choir begins. So each time, whether the bass would start the tune or the piano or myself, there were no count-offs because I wanted to make it as natural as possible.”
“This music is something that people will probably be a little surprised to see coming from me,” Jackson says. But given the state of the world, it could be just in time. Both poet and saxophonist stand on the shoulders of their ancestors on The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni.
1. Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel 4:26
Spiritual arr. Javon Jackson

2. Wade In The Water 7:45
Spiritual arr. Javon Jackson

3. Night Song 7:30
Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Strada Music/ASCAP

4. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child 6:44
Spiritual arr. Javon Jackson

5. Mary Had A Baby, Yes Lord 5:11
Spiritual arr. Javon Jackson

6. Leaning On The Everlasting Arms 6:19
Anthony J. Showalter arr. Javon Jackson

7. I’ve Been Buked 4:32
Spiritual arr. Javon Jackson

8. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot 5:01
Spiritual arr. Javon Jackson

9. Lord, I Want To Be A Christian 4:42
Spiritual arr. Javon Jackson

10. I Opened My Mouth To The Lord 5:25
Spiritual arr. Javon Jackson

Javon Jackson - Tenor Saxophone
Nikki Giovanni - Vocalist on Night Song
Christina Greer - Nikki Giovanni poem interpretation on Wade in the Water
Jeremy Manasia - Piano
David Williams - Bass
McClenty Hunter - Drums

(D)IVO Saxophone Quartet - (D​)​IVO (February 18, 2022 Mahakala Music)

Innovative saxophonist Ivo Perelman is one of those rare musicians whose remarkably large discography is also uniformly superb. Despite having over 100 releases to his credit, not a single one even approaches mediocrity. Perelman’s style, unique from the onset, has evolved with breathtaking alacrity making each addition to his oeuvre distinct from the others yet equally superlative. On this album Perelman, democratically, leads the saxophone quartet D(IVO) consisting of himself on tenor, Tony Malaby on soprano, Tim Berne on alto, and James Carter on baritone saxophone. Berne and Carter also appear on this project’s precursor, an engrossing and impressive 12 disc box set of duets with various reed players.

Each such ensemble has its own character so it may not be fair to compare them, however, for context’s sake, it should be pointed out that musically D(IVO) is to the left of both World Saxophone Quartet and Rova. The seven pieces included here are all pure extemporizations and the four saxophonists react to each other with seamless camaraderie and uncanny ability to anticipate one another’s ideas. At the core of all of the intricate interplay, of course, is Perelman’s tenor anchoring the others deftly and with elegance. Even when all the musicians simultaneously embrace raw emotion with delightful dissonance the group sound manages to remain well organized.

None of this should be surprising to those who know these brilliant improvisers and their idiosyncratic creative approaches. Malaby, born in Tucson and based in Boston where he is on faculty at Berklee, is a dynamic musician with incisive ideas and confident expression. He only occasionally switches from tenor to soprano, however, he has mastered both so his virtuosity on the smaller saxophone here matches that of his bandmates. Berne, originally from Syracuse New York, now lives in Brooklyn, has a distinctive style blurring the boundaries between the notated and the spontaneous. He also incorporates elements of popular genres into his performances. The ebullient Carter, a Detroit native, who calls New York home, is known for his versatility. Not only he excels at multiple saxophones he also is comfortable in a variety of formations that includes soulful organ trios, gypsy jazz tribute bands, and western classical orchestras.
Needless to say, this shared vision owes a lot to Perelman and his restlessly inquisitive mind. When all four overlap their poignant, punch-like, phrases and lace the resulting repartee with hints of melancholy they build a dramatic ambience. Within this tense atmosphere the free flowing yet carefully crafted individual musings range from the fiery and exuberant to forlorn and wistful. Each artist simultaneously maintains his individual train of thought and remains responsive to his three bandmates. The result is thrilling and conceptually quite original and it has Perelman’s signature all over it.

As with every new release, here too, Perelman demonstrates a stylistic evolution .He has honed his singular artistry over decades and with each recording he continues to progress and advance. He states that the music on this date is the direct result of the influence the duet sessions had on him. It is also clear that he himself has strongly influenced his bandmates. To date this is Perelman’s masterpiece. It is an expressive, moving and provocative work that enlightens both performer and listener.

Hrayr Attari 

1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three
4. Part Four
5. Part Five
6. Part Six
7. Part Seven

Ivo Perelman - Tenor Saxophone
Tony Malaby - Soprano Saxophone
Tim Berne - Alto Saxophone
James Carter - Baritone Saxophone

Ivo Perelman Quartet - Magic Dust (February 18, 2022 Mahakala Music)

In his ongoing search for a cosmic sound to expand the boundaries of the tenor saxophone , Brazilian Sound Wizard Ivo Perelman dialogues with Master Sound Magicians Christopher Parker , Chad Anderson and William Parker in a unforgettable tour de force performance.

1. Impromptu
2. The Way Of The Magician
3. Cardician
4. Magic Dust

Ivo Perelman - tenor saxophone
William Parker - bass, shakuhachi
Christopher Parker - piano
Chad Anderson - drums

Thomas Steele - 10Tet (February 20, 2021)

Thomas Steele is a Toronto, Ontario-based saxophonist, composer, and conductor. He has shared the stage with artists such as Tim Hagans, Tara Davidson, Ernesto Cervini and Andrew Rathbun, among others. I have enjoyed performance opportunities with the TD Niagara Jazz Festival, the Toronto TU Jazz Festival, and have performed at popular jazz venues across the country, such as The Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar in Toronto and Upstairs Jazz Club in Montreal.

"Today, I would love to introduce you to my latest album, “10Tet”! My 10Tet is a ten-piece jazz ensemble based in Toronto, Ontario. The group features ten of Toronto’s talented, lyrical musicians and has received critical acclaim. The ensemble’s unique instrumentation of eight horns, a bassist, a drummer, and the absence of a comping instrument, creates a unique sound structure for the ensemble to play in and puts a modern twist on the classic large jazz ensemble. The group has performed across Toronto and been featured in the TD Niagara Jazz Festival and Toronto TU Jazz Festival. We released our debut record on February 20th, 2021."
Thomas Steele
“With this new album, Toronto-based saxophonist and composer Thomas Steele reimagines how a big band can sound. Sounding at times comfortingly familiar and at other times completely foreign, 10Tet pushes the boundaries of contemporary jazz with an experimental take on large ensemble music that’s deep, full and forceful.”
- Adam Feibel, Jazz FM

“Thomas Steele’s ‘10Tet’ is a significant accomplishment in composing, arranging and performing from some exceptional young musicians with very bright futures.”
- Tara Davidson, JUNO award-winning saxophonist

“Thomas Steele is a rising star on the scene. His new ‘10Tet’ album showcases arrangements and performances that are highly creative, and full of gorgeous harmonies, textures, and rhythmic interplay. Thomas is definitely an artist to watch out for!”
- Amanda Tossoff, JUNO nominated pianist

1. Deja Vu 08:06
2. Push and Shove 05:15
3. Eastbound to Greenwood 08:04
4. Once In A 06:28
5. February Flowers 06:27
6. Sway 07:13
7. Middle Space 08:55

Wind I: Thomas Steele
Wind II: David Hodgson
Wind III: Jacob Chung
Wind IV: Alex Manoukas
Trumpet I: Kaelin Murphy
Trumpet II: Christian Antonacci
Trombone I: Nick Adema
Trombone II: Andrew Gormley
Upright Bass: Evan Gratham
Drum Set: Jacob Slous

Recorded at Noble Street Studios
Mixed by Kevin O'Leary
Mastered by Reuben Ghose
Album Artwork by Sarah Closs

Michael Weiss - Persistence (February 18, 2022 Cellar Live)

Michael Weiss will celebrate 40 years of living and working in NYC next year; a major milestone in a city full of brilliant jazz pianists. One of the busiest pianists and composers in jazz, Michael was a key member of the Johnny Griffin quartet for over 15 years, and is himself entering the status of jazz legend alongside some of his peers. A true double threat as a dazzling pianist along with a thoughtful and deep composer, Michael was recognized early on as a bright light in jazz, having won the BMI Thelonious Monk composer competition and place second in the Monk International Jazz Piano competition. With these accolades, it is fitting that Michael and the quartet choose to cover the Monk classic 'Epistrophy' on this fantastic album, his debut for Cellar Music Group.

In addition to the nod to Monk, Michael selects 4 of his original compositions on his Cellar Music Group debut, coupled with some lesser known standards by Jimmy van Heusen and Antonio Carlos Jobim, finished off with the Fats Waller staple, Jitterbug Waltz. The band for this recording is truly stellar. Eric Alexander is himself one of the great instrumentalists of his generation, and the perfect foil to Michael on this exciting recording. Paul Gill and Pete van Nostrand are veterans of the New York jazz scene and the feeling of joyful swing and near-kinetic interplay are immediately apparent from the first song. Together, this quartet of burning New York jazz veterans bring a sophistication and soul to the recordings that can only be attained from decades of playing in the jazz capital of the world.

Persistence is an apropros title for an album of musicians who have never given up on the mastery of their instrument, or this music. 

1. Persistence
2. Second Thoughts
3. Apres Vous
4. Only The Lonely
5. Jitterbug Waltz
6. Epistrophy
7. Once I Loved
8. Birthday Blues

Michael Weiss – piano
Eric Alexander – tenor saxophone
Paul Gill – bass
Pete van Nostrand - drums

All arrangements by Michael Weiss

Executive Producer: Cory Weeds and Shaukat Husain
Produced by Cory Weeds and Michael Weiss
Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s in Englewood Cliffs, NJ on July 27, 2021
Engineered by Maureen Sickler
Mixed and mastered by Sheldon Zharko
Photography by Gulnara Khamatova
Design and layout John Sellards

BRANDON LOPEZ / INGRID LAUBROCK / TOM RAINEY - No es la Playa (February 18, 2022 Intakt Records)

Dreamlike experiences. Sparks fly and a musical interaction works without arrangement or plan. An organic musical process develops out of intuition alone. The same magic happens every time.

When Brandon Lopez, a New Yorker with Puerto Rican roots, joined the duo of saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey, this wasn’t simply about adding a plus one to the Laubrock – Rainey duo. Thanks to the young bassist (born 1988), already collaborating with musicians from Dave Liebman via Zeena Parkins to John Zorn, a new dynamic has formed involving all three. In this triangular constellation a different balance is achieved and an altered play of energies. They are clearly on the same wavelength, with a similar sense and understanding of overarching form, inner structure, timing, feeling, energy, density, transparency and volume.

"Right from the first note the chemistry between them was right. The interplay between the three worked so effortlessly and naturally it bordered on telepathy. The three want to keep up the momentum and capture the magic moment," writes Christoph Wagner in the liner notes.

1. No es la Playa
2. When the Island is a Shipwreck
3. Saturnian Staring
4. Camposanto Chachacha
5. Little Distance Before
6. The Black Bag of Want

Ingrid Laubrock: Saxophones
Brandon Lopez: Bass
Tom Rainey: Drums

All music by Brandon Lopez (BMI), Ingrid Laubrock (PRS/MCPS) and Tom Rainey (BMI). Recorded April 25, 2021, at GSI studios, New York, by Jason Rostkowski. Mixed at Casa Papí, Malmö, by Jon Lipscomb. Mastered at Hardstudios Winterthur by Michael Brändli. Cover Photo: Ingrid Laubrock. Graphic design: Jonas Schoder. Liner notes: Christoph Wagner. Photo: Cecilia Lopez.
Produced by Lopez/Laubrock/Rainey and Intakt Records. Published by Intakt Records, P. O. Box, 8024 Zürich, Switzerland.

JoyRide - JoyRide (February 18th, 2022 on JoyRide Records)

Buckle up for a musical JoyRide full of thrilling highs, spontaneous departures and unexpected turns! JoyRide is the collaboration of oboist Colin Maier and accordionist Charles Cozens, an incredibly versatile duo that pushes the outer limits of music with fresh sounds, original compositions and adventurous arrangements. Their music is a novel hybrid of jazz, ragtime, blues, tango, gypsy, classical and klezmer.

This CD has the flow and energy of a live concert, complete with an engaging story-telling element. Early on, Colin and Charles reminisce about a time on tour when Colin was attacked by pelicans, which leads to their performance of three songs with a nature theme: Tiger Rag, Somewhere Under the Rainbow and Plight of the Bumblebee. A story about completing a new look with a blue fedora inspires their takes of Rhapsody in Light Blue, Isolation Blues, and Air on a Blue String. A missed flight and a sleepless night at Newark airport leads to reflections about the ways that the COVID pandemic has upended the lives of musicians everywhere.

This record is light at times, and poignant at others. It pivots from serious to funny, and from simple to complex. This music has a broad appeal, with the potential to connect with a wide variety of audiences. JoyRide's first studio album is a diverse collection of moods and sounds, brought to life by the unfamiliar and enchanting combination of oboe and accordion.

JoyRide will be released Friday, February 18th 2022 on JoyRide Records.

1. Spirit of Earth (C. Maier/C. Cozens) 1:01
2. Tiger Rag (N. LaRocca) 2:11
3. Somewhere Under the Rainbow (C. Debussy/H, Arlen) 3:59
4. Plight of the Bumblebee (N. Rimsky-Korsakov) 3:12
5. Prism of Time (C. Maier/C. Cozens) 1:12
6. Rhapsody in Light Blue (G. Gershwin) 3:47
7. Isolation Blues (C. Cozens) 2:44
8. Air on a Blue String (J.S. Bach/C. Cozens) 5:24
9. Celebration (C. Maier/C. Cozens) 1:16
10. Klezmer Fun (Traditional) 4:49
11. Tango de la Noche (Cozens) 4:26
12. Czardahora (Cozens) 4:14
13. The Mirror (Maier/Cozens) 1:31
14. La Fiesta (C. Corea) 7:58

Colin Maier - Oboe, Bass, Harmonica, Vocals
Charles Cozens - Piano, Accordion, Vocals

Featuring Members of the Burlington
New Millennium Orchestra (Tracks 3, 8, 11)

Cory Gemmel - Violin
Bijan Sepanji - Violin
Bridget LaMarche - Viola
Liza McLennan - Cello


The three sonatas of Polish composer Mieczysław Weinberg, written in 1964, 1967 and 1979, are among the most richly creative and technically challenging 20th century works for solo violin, and their radical expressivity draws the listener in. Gidon Kremer, a key figure in the revival of interest in Weinberg’s music, ranks these pieces with the Bartók sonata for their challenges and rewards.

As he has said, “I am very pleased that the world is slowly recognizing Mieczysław Weinberg as an important composer. For me personally, the treasure trove of his compositions remains a constant source of enthusiasm and inspiration." Recorded at the Lockenhaus Chamber Music festival and at Studio Residence Palesius, Lithuania, this edition of the Weinberg violin sonatas is issued on the occasion of Kremer’s 75th birthday.

1 SONATA NO. 3 OP.126 (Mieczysław Weinberg) 22:24

2 Monody 01:28
3 Rests01:44
4 Intervals01:58
5 Replies02:17
6 Accompaniment02:41
7 Invocation03:47
8 Syncopes03:23

9 Adagio-Allegro05:29
10 Andante05:37
11 Allegretto 03:46
12 Lento 05:05
13 Presto05:42


February 01 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Gstaad Festival, Kirche Saanen Saanen Switzerland
February 04 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Moscow Russian Federation
w/ Slava Polunin

February 18 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Konzerthaus Blaibach Germany
February 21 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Milan Italy
February 23 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Universita La Sapienza, Aula Magna Rome Italy
March 28 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Théâtre de la Criée Marseille France
March 30 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin Germany
April 01 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Thessaloniki Concert Hall Thessaloniki Greece
April 08 Gidon Kremer Gran Canaria Spain
April 18 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Riga Latvia
April 23 Gidon Kremer Konzerthaus Vienna Austria
April 24 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Konzerthaus Vienna Austria
May 14 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Ferenc Liszt Academy Budapes tHungary
May 19 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Dresden Germany
May 21 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer National Forum Of Music Wroclaw Poland
May 24 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Bodo Norway
May 27 Kremerata Baltica/ Gidon Kremer Aalborg Denmark

Gidon Kremer   Violin