Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Nicholas Payton | "Smoke Sessions (Remixed)" | Available March 8 via Smoke Sessions Records

Innovative Trumpeter, Keyboardist and Composer
Nicholas Payton Transforms the Music from Latest
All-Acoustic Trio Album on New Remix EP
Smoke Sessions (Remixed) Due Out March 8, 2022
via Smoke Sessions Records

EP Features Genre-Blending Remixes by
Karriem Riggins and Tomoki Sanders
and Special Guest Isaiah Sharkey

Though it’s never simple (or advisable) to pin Nicholas Payton down to a particular genre or style, the renowned trumpeter/keyboardist/composer’s two recent releases for Smoke Sessions Records have found him in relatively traditional acoustic trio mode. He was accompanied by the powerhouse rhythm section of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington on 2019’s live Relaxin’ With Nick, then with the generation spanning trio of drummer Karriem Riggins and legendary bassist Ron Carter on 2021’s acclaimed Smoke Sessions.

But Payton, it turns out, had more transformative intentions in mind for the latter session. On his new EP Smoke Sessions (Remixed), due out March 8 via Smoke Sessions Records, he turns the raw material of four of the album’s tracks over to Riggins and the rising star multi-instrumentalist producer Tomoki Sanders to create remixed versions of the tunes refracted through the lens of the hip hop generation.

This post-modern hybrid approach to what others may view as disparate genres is central to much of Payton’s discography, so it certainly makes sense that he would hear the potential for such electronic reimagining in the music he recorded with Carter and Riggins. “Many of my projects have a remix component built into them already,” he explains. “I felt giving those types of production treatments to an all-live acoustic session would speak more to the times in which we live. It gives the folks a bit of both worlds.”

Riggins, the drummer for the original Smoke Sessions album, puts on his producer hat for three of the four tracks on the remix EP. It’s a role he’s as comfortable playing as the one he essays behind the drumkit – he’s done production work for many of hip hop’s most creative artists, including Common, The Roots, Erykah Badu and Kanye West.

“Production and mixing [are] a significant part of Karriem’s body of work,” Payton says. “I hired him as the drummer on the session with this in mind.”

For his part, Riggins refers to Payton as, “one of those geniuses… He set the bar high and it’s always super inspirational being around him and playing music with him."

The original “Levin’s Lope” already brought inspiration full circle, taking a Ron Carter-inspired bassline from Payton’s “Cyborg Swing” and giving it to the man himself; the oft-sampled Carter now provides robust inspiration for a new Riggins beat and swirling melody. Payton’s Rhodes playing on “Gold Dust Black Magic,” which also featured guitarist Isaiah Sharkey, ripples out into a cosmic dub beat in Riggins’ hands, while guest saxophonist George Coleman’s sultry tenor sound is shrouded in stark, airy new atmospherics until a bold, funky new beat hammers into place.

The EP’s final track is another case of ricocheting inspiration. The young, uncategorizable multi-instrumentalist Tomoki Sanders, who Payton calls, “one of my favorite up and coming musician/producers,” provided a beat that helped inspire the original version of “Hangin’ In and Jivin’;” his remix amplifies and reconstructs the muscular groove at the heart of the tune.

While he insists that, “it’s never my intent to decide what anyone gets from my music,” Payton does hope that Smoke Sessions (Remixed) helps cement in listener’s minds his notion that all music co-exists in a continuum, and that genre classifications are inherently limiting. It’s an argument that on these four tracks he makes through the most enticing and infectious of means.

“I hope it highlights there’s not such a disparity between more traditional styles and current ones,” he says. “It’s all just music.”

"Smoke Sessions" was produced by Nicholas Payton and Paul Stache,
and recorded live in New York at Sear Sound's Studio C on a Sear-Avalon
custom console at 96KHz/24bit and mixed to 1/2" analog tape.
Available in audiophile HD format.

Nicholas Payton · Smoke Sessions (Remixed)
Smoke Sessions Records · Release Date: March 8, 2022

For more information on other Smoke Sessions Records releases, please visit:

Human Being Human - Equals (June 17, 2022 April Records)

Human Being Human is bassist Torben Bjørnskov, pianist Esben Tjalve and drummer Frederik Bülow.

The three musicians have all been touring around the world and played with a wide range of acclaimed international artists and are excited about this new constellation. Human Being Human sonically explores and challenges the acoustic jazz trio. With elements of electronica and ambient landscapes, the trio's sound universe and possibilities are expanded.

The trio's main elements are depth, humor and presence. The heart of the music is at the forefront along with the interplay and curiosity.

The trio's compositional basis is to create musical platforms where the music can unfold with equal parts improvisation, grooves and moods. The trio's music has cinematic landscapes, images of intense cacophony. Inspiration equals from Bach's counterpoint to swampy soul jazz but with a core in Scandinavia's melodic and melancholic tone.

Torben Bjørnskov acoustic bass, electronics
Torben Bjørnskov is musician and composer and one of Denmark's most sought-after bassists. He has performed / toured in most of the world and worked with musicians from a large number of countries, especially the U.S.A. and the Scandinavian countries. The concerts have taken place from local jazz clubs to large international venues such as the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Royal Festival Hall in London. In addition, he participates in a large number of studios and live recordings, including a number of album releases in his own name.

Esben Tjalve piano, keys
Esben Tjalve is a pianist and composer and Bachelor from the Royal Academy of Music with a Master's in Composition from the Guildhall School of Music in London. He has been living in London for a number of years and has been active on the English jazz scene. In addition, Tjalve has written music for BBC radio drama, Universal, EMI and Warner Chappell as well as written award-winning music for films for various artists and released two jazz albums with his own band Red Kite.

Frederik Bülow drums
Frederik Bülow is a drummer and composer and DMA winner with his band Bangin' Bülow's Nice Jazz Quartet. BBNJQ has toured in Europe, Russia and the USA. Frederik's Jazztronica quintet Abekejser has broken the boundary between jazz and electronic music and has been awarded the Jazz News Prize. 
1. Naked Trees 06:16
2. Equals 05:59
3. Gloom 04:28
4. Lovolution 04:48
5. Place Unfound 07:03
6. One Not Two 03:55
7. Sun 04:45
8. Kármán Line 06:40

Torben Bjørnskov double bass, electronics
Esben Tjalve piano, keyboards
Frederik Bülow drums

Recorded at Finland Studios, March 12-13, 2021
Recorded by Jacob Worm
Produced by Human Being Human
Mixed by August Wanngren/Oui Music
Mastered by John Fomsgaard at Karmacrew
Photos by Michael Skouboe
Line Notes by Nick Hasted, Jazzwise
Cover artwork by Julie Bjørnskov
Cover design by Enrico Andreis

All compositions by Torben Bjørnskov
Published by April Publishing ApS

Kresten Osgood - Plays the Organ for You (June 3, 2022 April Records)

One of Denmarks most prolific and influential musicians Kresten Osgood is releasing his first album as a Hammond organist on April Records.

Osgood is mostly known as a drummer and has been associated with(to name a few) Dr. Yusef Lateef, Paul Bley, Sam Rivers, Wadada Leo Smith, Lee Scratch Perry, Mouse on Mars and John Tchicai. He has a long history of playing drums with organists such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, Billy Preston and Sam Yahel but this is his first album playing the organ himself.

Its an album full of soulful and funky grooves and with a deep understanding of and respect for the idiom. Osgood is covering classic organ tunes such as "Wildfire" or "Play It Back" and also interpreting hit songs like "By the Time I get To Phoenix" and "Når lyset bryder frem" by danish rock icon Sebastian.

Guitarist Friodin Nordsø and drummer Ludomir Dietl are both well known pop producers on the danish scene. Fridolin is known from bands such as The William Blakes and Choir Of Young Believers. Ludomir is a freelancer and known from the band Late.

If you like funky soulful music and cant get enogh of the sound of the hammond organ.

This is the album to get!

1. Play it Back 03:35
2. Poinciana 04:36
3. Wildfire 05:43
4. Når lyset bryder frem 04:04
5. Baby Let Me Take You in My Arms 07:28
6. Onsaya Joy 02:38
7. Dansevise 05:23
8. By The Time I Get To Phoenix 04:23

Recorded at Njalsgade Studio A, Copenhagen, Denmark, March and April, 2020

Kresten Osgood: Hammond A102 Organ
Fridolin Nordsø: Guitar
Ludomir Dietl: Drums
Arto Eriksen: Percussion

Produced by Fridolin Nordsø
Recorded by Arto Eriksen
Mixed and Mastered by Fridolin Nordsø and Arto Eriksen
Photos by Henri Van Gelder
Cover design by Enrico Andreis

Gustaf Ljunggren with Skúli Sverrisson - Floreana (May 13, 2022 April Records)

Swedish multi-instrumentalist and composer Gustaf Ljunggren has teamed up with Icelandic Bass Guitar player and composer Skúli Sverrisson (Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bill Frisell, Blonde Redhead ) to create an album that wishes to offer the listener private musical spaces to dwell in for a while.

Ljunggren’s musical language is clear, gentle, and melodic, and the pieces chosen for this album all share a sense of weaving past and future together into the present. Gustaf Ljunggren reflects about the music on Floreana: “I listened inwards, and it sounded like this. Melodies came to the surface, and I chose to say ‘yes’ to them, embrace them, carry them forward. My musical partner on this album, Skúli Sverrisson, has been with me throughout this process; embracing the music with both profound dedication and artistic boldness.”

The music on the album grants the listener access to something that’s forgotten or undiscovered. There’s a sensuousness throughout the work; musical spaces that reveal possibilities to listen inwards, aided by repetition in melodies and patterns. The music doesn’t seek climaxes as much as it seeks states of presence and attention.

The live concerts with Gustaf Ljunggren and Skúli Sverrisson will explore the spaces the music on Floreana invites to. Two of northern Europe’s most distinctive instrumentalists will interpret Ljunggren’s compositions with a strong attention to the environment where the music is performed. The audience can expect the performers to display a deep commitment to the presence of the music as it unfolds. Each concert will be an exclusive, one-of-a-kind experience - a celebration of the spaces within, that Floreana seeks out to discover.

Gustaf Ljunggren:
The Swedish multi-instrumentalist Gustaf Ljunggren (born 1974 in Stockholm, Sweden), is originally educated as a saxophonist at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, where he has lived since 1996. Apart from the saxophone and other wind instruments, Ljunggren also masters various keyboards, the piano and various strings. The main instruments on the new album is the guitar in forms like pedal steel, lap steel, mando- and electric guitars. During his years in Denmark Gustaf Ljunggren has recorded and played with a range of Danish artists, like C.V. Jørgensen, Benny Andersen, Steffen Brandt and the Scandinavian artists Sofia Karlsson (S), Robyn (S) and Eivør (Faroe Islands). In 2015 he received the Ken Gudman prize, one of Denmark’s big and essential music prizes. The last album released in his own name was ‘Måne’, as part of the duo Gustaf Ljunggren / Emil de Waal.

Skúli Sverrisson:
The world known Islandic bass player and composer Skúli Sverrisson handle the albums basses. Skúli Sverrisson (born 1966) moved from his native Iceland to New York in the early 90's. Since then Sverrisson has recorded and worked with numerous international artists. Just to mention a few, Laurie Anderson, Blonde Redhead, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Lou Reed, Bill Frisell and many more. He has also composed music for the Icelandic Dance Company and the National Theatre of Island. Sverrisson has won 5 Icelandic Music Awards, and in 2006 his album ‘Seria’ got the Album of the Year prize. Last album in his own name was ‘An tillits’ as part of the duo Magnus Johann and Skúli Sverrisson.

1. Palace Prelude 00:55
2. Leading Somewhere 04:23
3. Kongens Mark 03:43
4. Bottomless Siestas 04:51
5. Olive 03:47
6. Isen bruten 03:30
7. Codimar 06:49
8. Streams 04:14
9. Vestegnsromantik 04:31
10. Maren 01:22
11. Vi overlever 04:57

Gustaf Ljunggren – Baritone Ukulele, Lap Steel Guitar, Pedel Steel Guitar, Acoustic, Electric. Mando and Resonator Guitars, Drum, Piano & Keyboards
Skúli Sverrisson – Bass Guitar
Cæcilie Balling – Violin on “Vestegnsromantik”

Produced by Gustaf Ljunggren
Recorded by Sturla Mio Thorisson at Masterkey Studios, Seltjarnarnes, Iceland, Gustaf Ljunggren at Gustavo Recording, Copenhagen and Mark Freegard at Kyoti Studio, Glasgow
Mixed by Daniel Ögren
Mastered by Mark Freegard
Photo of Gustaf by Morten Fog, Photo of Skúli by Matthew Eismann
Cover photo by Gustaf Ljunggren
Cover design by Enrico Andreis

All compositions by Gustaf Ljunggren
Arrangements by Gustaf Ljunggren and Skúli Sverrisson
Published by April Publishing ApS

Chris Greene Quartet - PlaySPACE 2: Play Harder (May 6, 2022)

Do you remember Bernie Mac’s debut on Def Comedy Jam? In the pantheon of comedy performances, it’s an absolute masterpiece. But it’s also one of the most instructive pieces of performance art that you’ll ever come across. And maybe, just maybe, it was Jazz, on some level, too. There was the melody statement that our improvisor kept coming back to. There was a band (ok, a DJ) backing him up, supporting him at every turn, and helping him to amp up the performance. He kept calling back to phrases and ideas that recurred throughout the performance, each time, more powerful and impactful than the last. If that seven minutes doesn’t define what great jazz should look like in the abstract, I don’t know what does.
So, it’s telling that the opening moments of PlaySpace 2: Play Harder begin with saxophonist and bandleader Chris Greene setting up a story. Infusing it with winks, nods, and giving hints as to what’s to come. A narrative is established. Smiles grow. Chuckles ensue. The band kicks into a tune. The right words, the right timing, the right inflection, and some effort to get the crowd on your side? Great Jazz musicians and great comedians are much more similar than we might want to think. Dudley Moore put out a string of fine piano trio records. Conversely, Eddie Harris put out a decent comedy album, too. And in the grand tradition of Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Cannonball Adderley and Branford Marsalis (amongst others), Chris Greene’s playing is imbued with a quick wit, a biting tongue and, above all else, a sense of humor.

The Chris Greene Quartet has been in existence since at least 2005, and it’s existed in its current form since 2011. Having a successful group together for that long ensures that you’ve got four musicians who are breathing together and reacting to each other instantaneously. Sidemen that are willing to buy into your vision long term is a blessing, and Chris is blessed three times over. Pianist Damian Espinosa is a fantastic Jazz keyboardist, playing smart and nimble chords and counterpoints as an accompanist, and his solos are uniformly excellent as well. But, what makes Espinosa really stand out is something that you don’t really see Jazz pianists do that often at all. Check out the way he starts feeding Chris lines and filling out the space toward the end of Greene’s solo on “Divers. That’s much closer to what Page McConnell might do in an epic Phish jam, and it’s an interesting addition to a Jazz pianist’s bag of tricks.  Bassist Marc Piane’s playing is a near constant case study in good taste and economical grooves. And as you’ll hear on the first song here, he’s a helluva writer, too. Drummer Steve Corley is the total package. Swings hard. Throws down on the funk hard. Odd meters? No problem. Killer solo? No problem. As a fellow drummer, he leaves me speechless. But what about Chris Greene himself? Chris, on both the tenor and soprano saxes, has been in the shed transcribing all sorts of music, going way back to Sidney Bechet and Lester Young, Lucky Thompson and Sonny Stitt, learning one of Stan Getz’s most enigmatic albums in its entirety (Captain Marvel) and really studying the music of Eddie Harris (Chris was supposed to present a concert of Eddie’s material in 2020, and, well…). It all shows. The power, the ideas, the dexterity, they’re all there. And he keeps getting better.
Play Harder kicks off with “Divers” (I’ll let Marc and Chris tell the story). For all of the words tossed around to describe the Chris Greene Quartet, few would use the moniker “avant-garde,” or its 21st century equivalent, “creative music,” but perhaps they should. “Divers” makes a pretty solid case for it. Save for a brief moment of solace in the melody, “Divers” is a heavy way to spend 13 minutes, but it’s quite rewarding. Throughout solos from all four of these guys, we’re treated to a bit of a rollercoaster-esque suite of sorts, complete with peaks, valleys, dips meant to accelerate, and slight curves meant to ease us back down to earth. Except on this ride, we exit somewhere in the middle of the stratosphere. Which is ok. It’s one of the beauties of Jazz.
The sole studio effort on Play Harder is Greene’s composition “Samba Fu Maga.” Let your imagination go wherever it wants to on that one. Musically speaking, this is a Chris Greene Quartet tune through and through. A samba in 7/8. A hummable melody that will get stuck in your ear. A rhythm section getting funky over an improbable groove. Greene’s concise solo takes rhythmic ideas and twists them and turns them inside out, not unlike a late 60’s Eddie Harris.
The other three songs on the album were written by other folks. And you couldn’t have picked three more disparate songs if you tried. It’s a testament to Chris’ ears (and possibly a sense of humor) and to his bandmates’ willingness to follow a vision that they could jump right onto a song each from Duke Ellington, George Duke and Hank Williams.

“Caravan,” as a performance here, is a series of wise decisions. Slowing down the tempo and eschewing many of the “latin” clichés? A wise decision.  A piano and bass groove that leaves acres of space? A wise decision. Chris Greene whipping out the soprano and going to town, evoking Coltrane while never trying to mimic him? A wise decision. Steve Corley playing a sparse collection of toms and shells, right up until nearly the end of the tune when he finally swings the bridge? Brilliant. Steve’s true moment to shine comes on George Duke’s “Omi (Fresh Water).” The Quartet recreates Manolo Badrena’s overdubbed percussion orchestra with plenty of drum set and hand percussion, and when Corley does take over for an extended solo? Oh man, we are all the better for it. And that leaves us with some Hank Williams music. “You Win Again” showed up originally (Chris Greene-wise, mind you) in a much shorter form on Soul and Science 2: Electric Boogaloo. And I’ve seen the CGQ perform it live a number of times. It’s a lament, a bluesy sermon, a barnburner and a showstopper all in one. And there’s an easter egg in there, too. At least in this version. You’ll know when you hear it.

Play Harder was recorded (mostly) live in front of a hometown crowd at SPACE in Evanston in 2019, and these four ventured into some pretty interesting territory, as they often do. And while you’ll hear the influences of saxophonists Eddie Harris, John Coltrane and maybe even Maceo Parker, you also hear the loose wit of a Dave Attell, the wisdom beyond their years of a Richard Pryor, and the downright brilliant timing of Bernie Mac. The last time I saw them, they were still a quartet of patch-eyed, peg-legged, bad dudes who could throw down.

- Paul Abella - Musician, Morning Show Host/Music Director, WDCB-FM 90.9 Chicago 
1. Divers (intro)
2. Divers
3. Caravan
4. No Setlist! (intro)
5. Samba Fu Maga
6. Omi (Fresh Water) video
7. You Win Again

Chris Greene - tenor & soprano saxophones, percussion (6)
Damian Espinosa - piano, keyboards, percussion (6)
Marc Piane - double bass, electric bass, percussion (6}
Steve Corley - drums, percussion

Produced by Chris Greene for Cee Gee Music
Co-produced & mixed by Marc Piane

Tracks 1-4, & 7 recorded at SPACE, Evanston, IL on February 17, 2019 by Matt Rico

Track 5 recorded at The Laundry Room, Berwyn, IL on September 12, 2021 by Marc Piane

Track 6 recorded at SPACE on March 1, 2020 by Yasmine Mifdal
Mastered by Rob Ruccia at Uptown Recording

Cover art by Eric Jimenez
Original cover concept by Cary Cochrane
Graphic design & layout by Michael Kostal
Photos by Ozzie Ramsay Photography
Liner essay by Paul Abella

Paul Booth - 44 (Forty Four) April 15, 2022 Ubuntu Music

Following on from my album ‘Trilateral’, recorded when I was 33 years old, 11 years later I thought ‘why not carry on with a theme’. My good friend Andrew Bain (also one of the drummers on this album) suggested recording a double quartet album, with both quartets playing at the same time. I began the challenge of trying to write for such a line-up. Although I have written for large ensembles before, writing for two bass players and two drummers was another story. I did some research, looking for inspiration, and found some good records. However, there aren’t too many albums out there with two bass players. I decided to use the electric and occasionally the upright as another ‘horn’ in some sections and then swapping roles in others, occasionally letting them play together. With the fine artistry of Flo and Dave, there never seems to be a moment where they are in each other’s way. In my opinion, it’s simply clean and classy. The same can be said for the two drummers who seamlessly worked together as if they had been doing it their whole lives. I just let them get on with it and they figured out how to make each piece work in a matter of minutes.

Ross and Oli provided beautiful colours throughout the album, with blinding solos while always complementing one another and the whole band in their accompanying roles. In choosing the musicians who appear on this album, I wanted to have a combination of some of my long-standing friends/collaborators and some of the younger musicians from the UK jazz scene who have really impressed me. This brings us to Alexandra, the youngest from this ensemble, who played so exquisitely with a maturity way beyond her years. I’m extremely proud of this whole ensemble and the music we created in one afternoon and ‘live’ in one room. 

1. Blues In The Square
2. Four Candles
3. Tale Of Tetra
4. Quad Rant
5. 4 Her
6. Summer Of 44
7. Quartal Quarantine
8. Four

Paul Booth - tenor/soprano saxophones
Alexandra Ridout - trumpet/flugelhorn
Ross Stanley - piano/Hammond B3 Organ/Wurlitzer electric piano
Oliver Mason -guitars
Flo Moore - electric bass
Dave Whitford - upright bass
Shane Forbes - drums
Andrew Bain - drums

Recorded at Challow Park Studios on the 2nd August 2021 by Will Biggs & James Towler

Mixed by James Towler at Wincraft Studios

Mastered by John Webber at Air Studios

Artwork by OG Media

Photography by Monika S. Jakubowska

Produced by Paul Booth

Executive Producer - Martin Hummel

Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 - Parallel Dimensions (April 15 2022 Ubuntu Music)

Boston’s popular cross-cultural music project Meridian 71, led by the versatile Italian drummer and composer Giuseppe Paradiso, to release 3rd album Parallel Dimensions

Meridian 71 is a cross-cultural music project created and led by Giuseppe Paradiso since 2012. The project name comes from Boston’s longitude: the 71st meridian that passes precisely through the eastern part of the city. Parallel Dimensions (Ubuntu Music, drops April 15 2022) the band’s third album, features original compositions by Giuseppe and performances by an eclectic and multicultural ensemble of well-established Boston-based musicians. 

“Boston is the location where I met musicians from different parts of the globe. We are deeply connected and spoke the common language of music together”, reflects Paradiso. “It felt like I had known for a long time that at some point in my life I would have met musicians just like them, way before moving across the Atlantic in 2008. Meridian 71 became the creative laboratory and space to develop this music.”

Meridian 71 is more than a conceptual band; it’s a dynamic and ever-changing musical project with a revolving lineup and a driving vision to use music and sound to inspire, bridge cultures and create links within different traditions. 

Blending music genres that range from jazz and improvised music to Mediterranean and West African styles, Parallel Dimensions features Giuseppe on drums, percussion, electronics & vocals; Mark Zaleski on alto & soprano sax/clarinet; Utar Artun on piano & keys; Phil Sargent on electric guitar; James Hazlewood-Dale on upright, electric and fretless bass; and Malick Ngom on West African sabar drums, percussion and vocals.

The first single from Parallel Dimensions, the groove-heavy “Tony” (Feb 18) brings the cultures together in an instantly recognizable sense. Inspired by and written for the late Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, “Tony” is obviously informed by young Giuseppe checking out his family’s and friends’ African music records- but even better lessons in that vast genre come from the decade Giuseppe has spent drumming for a Nigerian church. “It’s very fun and enlightening to play in such a context, especially for a drummer, because you have to have a groove,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a learning experience, especially when you have to combine your drumming with the dancing of the people in the congregation- you have people moving with your rhythms, and that’s always a very deep and powerful experience for me. I have always been inspired by and learnt so much from the relationship between dance and percussion over the years.”

“Tony” opens with an overdriven bass line that sounds almost like it’s lifted straight from a Tony Allen tune, while Giuseppe’s muscular drumming patterns deftly underpin Wayne Shorter-ish harmonies and a lithe, flowing melody. One can hear the drums reacting to and pushing the soloists to new heights in this pure fusion of world & jazz. Capped by an energetic drum/percussion duet, “Tony” is an exciting and highly danceable tune that Tony Allen himself would have sounded right at home on.
The ‘interesting times’ that we as a society currently find ourselves in are reflected in Parallel Dimensions’ second single “Memories of the Future” (March 18). “I began composing “Memories of the Future” during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020,” reflects Giuseppe. “This was a time when many events were unfolding uninterruptedly almost on a daily basis. It felt like everything was going to fall apart, and we were being bombarded with news. So imagine yourself in 15, 20 years, having these memories of being inundated with so much information every day. It’s a moment I wanted to capture.”

Classical sounding in its exposition, “Memories of the Future” is a studied contrast between tradition and modernity. Utar Arun’s delicate piano opening sets up Hazlewood-Dale’s bowed upright bass melody that blends effortlessly with the ensemble and creates a beautifully serene mood that evokes pre-pandemic recital hall concertizing. Just as you’re lulled into a sense of relaxation it all comes tumbling down into tense group improvisation, and those media voices break into our mood. Despite the return of the opening material, the world is never the same.  

Parallel Dimensions’ opening track, and the album’s focus track, is named for the Japanese philosophy of continuous change for the better. Kaizen (April 15) also signifies Giuseppe’s personal search through his mother’s Romani heritage, which he suspected was the reason that odd time signatures come naturally to him. “I’ve been doing a lot of research about the whole history of the Roma people, these nomads who started in India and went all the way to France. It’s so wide and deep, with so many different styles of music that came from generations of living in different countries,” muses Paradiso. “’Kaizen’ starts with this look at my roots, and moves along until over the course of the song we arrive at my present day reality.”

Evoking the Eastern origins of the Roma, Kaizen opens with a muezzin-like call over a drone- before quickly opening up into relentlessly shifting grooves roiling under a buoyant and playful melody, flawlessly performed by Zaleski and Sargent’s tight unison. After Artun and Sargent trade solos, the ensemble hurtles towards the future with only a brief glance back.

Although born of a pandemic Parallel Dimensions offers the feeling of hope and optimism that fills the human spirit. It’s a product of multiculturalism filtered through life in one of the oldest cities in America during a society altering pandemic that can be the salve that soothes the weary soul. A fusion of music, to be sure, but also a fusion of something intangible that makes us want to keep creating together in these ‘interesting times’. 

Parallel Dimensions will be released in digital and CD formats on April 15 2022 on the Ubuntu Music label, with distribution through The Orchard.

01 - Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 - Kaizen
02 - Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 - Memories Of The Future
03 - Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 - Joriki
04 - Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 - It's Only The Beginning
05 - Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 - Parallel Dimensions
06 - Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 - Tony

Mark Zaleski - alto and soprano sax, clarinet
Phil Sargent - electric guitar
Utar Artun - piano & keys
James Hazlewood-Dale - upright, electric and fretless bass
Malick Ngom - sabar drums and percussion (on track #1, #5 and #6), vocals on track #6
Giuseppe Paradiso - drum set, percussion and electronics (vocals on track #6)

Recording, editing and mixing engineer: Joel Edinberg.
Mastering engineer: Martina Abano.
Recorded at Q Divisions Studios in Somerville, MA (USA) on March 5, 2021, and at The Record Co. in Boston, MA (USA) on June 17-18, 2021.

Artwork and photos: Samantha Bruce.
Executive Producer: Martin Hummel.

Andrea Keller - Andrea Keller Curates Monday Nights Live at the Jazzlab Volume 3 PATSy (March 2022)

PATSy is a new quartet led by Andrea Keller (piano), featuring Steven Grant (accordion), Flora Carbo (alto saxophone) & Callum Mintzis (trombone). They perform compositions by Andrea that celebrate simplicity, subtlety, and spontaneity, and create sweet, tender beauty…

This album was recorded live as part of Andrea’s Monday night residency at the Jazzlab (Melbourne) on July 12 & August 2, 2021.

1. Prague 10 03:41
2. Yo-Yo 10:48
3. Saint Misha 05:37
4. Treasured Angels 07:30
5. Broken Reflection 07:09
6. Hand Me Downs 05:51
7. Hope is the Thing With Feathers 09:31

Recorded live at The Jazzlab, Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia on July 12 & August 2, 2021
Recorded by Phil Noy
Mixed & mastered by Joe Talia
Designed by Luke Fraser/Ahr+
Image by Jane Durlacher
All composition & arrangements by Andrea Keller

Albanie Falletta - Whenever You're Lonesome (March 2022)

This album was recorded with love, on a porch in Brooklyn, NY in the fall of 2020 during deep quarantine from the dreaded plague.

1. Whenever You're Lonesome 05:04
2. River Stay ‘Way From My Door 04:28
3. 'Tis Autumn 02:22
4. Syncopatin' Shuffle 02:33
5. Walkin' By The River 03:40
6. What'll I Do 02:51
7. When I Grow Too Old To Dream 03:17
8. If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A Cake 03:19
9. Cicada 03:24
10. Whatever We May Find 04:08
11. Yearning 03:48
12. I Will Be Home Again 03:58
13. Tyro Mazurka 03:00
14. Untitled Track 00:56

The Quarantones:
Tamar Korn - vocals/cookies
Jon-Erik Kellso - trumpet/cookie monster vocals
Albanie Falletta - guitar/vocals/tenor banjo
Tal Ronen - bass/vocals
Jerron Paxton - banjo/vocals
Jake Shulman-Ment - fiddle on "Whatever We May Find"

Chris Pruden - Suns (March 2022)

Suns is a set of solo piano improvisations and compositions performed by Toronto pianist Chris Pruden.

While already recognized as a notable Canadian pianist/keyboardist in several projects (Tara Kannangara, Sammy Jackson, Zinnia, Future Machines, Language Arts), this is the first release under his own name.

Suns, released on Elastic Recordings, is refreshingly informal, recorded amongst friends, documenting unfinished thoughts and new reflections in the moments they arrive and depart. Pruden exhibits technical and musical control that is always on the edge, tumbling through insecurities and surrendering to the sound of the moment. It is both meditative and frenetic, playful and serious, vulnerable and resilient.

The seven pieces take influences from the music of György Ligeti, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Unsuk Chin, Ann Southam, and Elliott Carter (whose piano piece Catenaires is featured as a final track).

1. Solarium 04:45
2. Little Jim 07:59
3. Suns 07:39
4. West Edmonton Mall 05:36
5. Trail 05:24
6. Lana Turner Has Collapsed 01:50
7. Catenaires (Elliott Carter) 03:33

Chris Pruden, piano

Recorded by James Hill at Beaches Presbyterian Church in Toronto, July 28th 2021

Mixed and Mastered by Jon Bartel

Album artwork, and individual illustrations by Daccia Bloomfield

Album Design by Matthew Fong

Assembly Trio - Bloom (March 2022)

1. Rumination 13:26
2. Bellows 08:57
3. Palpitations 05:52
4. Hillwind 07:37
5. Metropole 10:42

Alex Bishop - Guitar
Ben Evans - Bass Guitar/Double Bass
Will Shaw - Drums

Recording - Matt Richens
Mixing and Mastering - David Haynes
Artwork - Georgia Evans

Recorded at Foxden Studios, Sheffield, August 2021