Friday, March 11, 2022

Walter Smith III & Matthew Stevens - In Common III (March 11, 2022 Whirlwind Recordings)

Walter Smith III and Matthew Stevens are two musicians at the forefront of developments in jazz and improvised music, listing the likes of Terence Blanchard, Ambrose Akinmusire, Esperanza Spalding and Christian Scott as collaborators. The pair started working together in 2017, and four years later, they’re back for the third iteration of their highly commended In Common project. Previous guests include Nate Smith, Linda May Han Oh and Marcus Gilmore; on In Common 3, Kris Davis takes the piano chair vacated by Micah Thomas, and completing the lineup are two legends of the game – Dave Holland and Terri Lyne Carrington.

What’s new, third time around? “It’s longer, freer, and yet more spontaneous,” says Smith. The successful In Common formula – inventive ‘one-page songs’ written with specific musicians in mind – disguises the through-line that uniquely shapes this record: “The spotlight is on the community of musicians as a whole,” Smith comments. “The general vibe is sculpted by the musicians’ interpretations of what we bring in.” Davis’ influential presence means the project leans into the aesthetics of free improvisation for the first time; the resulting soundworld lends itself to electronic manipulation, another first for the series. The span of fifteen tracks showcases the duo’s knack for reinvention, slipping into unfamiliar contexts without losing sight of the album’s focused essence.

Smith is keen to emphasise the standalone nature of the divergent In Common recordings. Some aspects carry through though, like their commitment to remembering lost influences – opener ‘Shine’ serves as both a thank you and an acknowledgement to McCoy Tyner, Wallace Roney, Chick Corea, Jimmy Health and Ellis Marsalis. That introduces the remaining fourteen tracks, that divide nearly exactly into spontaneously constructed ideas that introduce fully composed tracks.
‘Loping’ was Stevens’ part-tribute to Carrington and Holland: “being of a certain ilk and having come up a certain way, I knew they would have had a specific way of playing this track” – Smith and Stevens feature in their trademark coolly cast melodic divisi. The single riff of ‘Oliver’ dissolves into ‘Hornets’s slinky groove, where we catch a glimpse of the sense of humour amongst the group. ‘Orange Crush’ squeezes all the juice out of a lop-sided ostinato, a concentration of the In Common philosophy into a three-minute segment. Then comes ‘After’, which captures Smith’s “never-ending optimistic thoughts about things being better ‘after’” – the opaque whirrs of the ensuing ‘Lite’ show that outcomes are far from clear-cut.

‘For Some Time’ does provide Smith with some closure, however – a timeworn composition that “finally finds a solidified direction amongst this quintet,” as Carrington and David jostle for position. ‘Reds’ sees Stevens back to Holland’s 1990 album ‘Extensions’, and “those big beat, odd meter songs.” ‘Variable’ involved Smith venturing into non-determinacy – “it’s written to be played in many tempos, meters, and approaches, but was not discussed prior to recording it” – and, via ‘Dust’s twanging landscapes and ‘Familiar’s misty acquaintance, In Common 3 concludes with the pensive ‘Miserere’, an aptly reflective conclusion to this wide-ranging endeavour.

1. Shine
2. Loping
3. Oliver
4. Hornets
5. Orange Crush
6. After
7. Lite
8. For Some Time
9. Shutout
10. Reds
11. Variable
12. Prince July
13. Dust
14. Familiar
15. Miserere

Walter Smith III - saxophone
Matt Stevens - guitar
Kris Davis - piano
Dave Holland - bass
Terri Lyne Carrington - drums

Recorded at Clubhouse (June 4-6 2021)
Mixed by Jay Dudt
Mastered by Jay Dudt & Jesse Naus
Produced by Matthew Stevens & Walter Smith III
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Photography - Pierce Johnston
Album Artwork/Graphic Design - Dave Bush

Bill Easley - Diversitonic (March 11, 2022 Sunnyside Records)

A sixty-year career as a successful professional musician requires flexibility and perseverance. Woodwind master Bill Easley has been able to achieve this feat by being a fantastic musician and putting himself into promising musical situations. He believes the key to his success has been his attraction to diversity in both music and life. On his new recording, Diversitonic, Easley aims to make a personal statement utilizing musical influences that have impacted his life and career.

Originally from the small town of Olean in Upstate New York, Easley’s musical career began as a child under the leadership of his drummer father in the family band. As a fourth-generation musician, his early and varied musical experiences gave him a leg up wherever he settled, including New York City, Fairbanks, Alaska, and Memphis, Tennessee. On each of these moves, Easley was able to jump into the local scene and start working immediately. Also, he found himself mentored by many of jazz music’s legendary figures in the process.
Easley was a member of George Benson’s group for two years before settling in Pittsburgh, becoming a regular on the Hammond organ soul jazz circuit. During the 1970s, in Memphis, Easley cemented his credentials as a working pro, becoming a regular studio musician at Stax and Hi Records and touring with Isaac Hayes. Easley joined Mercer Ellington and the Ellington Big Band in the mid-1970s and, finally, relocated to New York City in 1980 where he became a regular in the Broadway show bands. He also became a regular in John Lewis’s The American Jazz Orchestra, David Baker’s Smithsonian Jazz Orchestra, and Wynton Marsalis’s Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Having relocated recently to Durham, North Carolina, Easley looked to the local music scene to provide collaborators on Diversitonic, including pianist Mark Wells and drummer John Hanks. Easley wanted to make an organ-based recording, as this had been a much beloved combination during his career. Easley brought in Philadelphia-born, New York City-based organist Kyle Koehler to provide that authentic swinging Hammond sound.
The recording is bookended by two Easley original tunes, “Wherever You Go” and “There You Are.” A chorus of birds gives way to a chorus of overdubbed saxophones and the funky pulse of “Wherever You Go,” guitarist Robert Bradford and percussionist Beverly Botsford adding some enticing textures. Bluesy organ introduces Benny Carter’s “When Lights are Low,” a favorite tune of Easley’s and one that he frequently calls on the bandstand. The gospel tinged take of Charles Strouse’s All In the Family theme, “Those Were the Days,” takes Archie Bunker and Edith straight to church. Duke Ellington’s pretty ballad, “I Didn’t Know About You,” allows pianist Wells a spotlight but also highlights Easley’s engrained focus on playing a straight melody.

A swinging version of the standard “I Should Care” is done in a breezy but propulsive manner, while Ellington’s “Isfahan” is motored with a loose New Orleans stride and highlights Easley’s easy melodic approach, one that would have pleased his hero, Johnny Hodges. The jump blues of Easley’s former boss Mercer Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” is a toe tapping, feel good addition and features harmonica overtones from Bill Newton. The recording concludes with Easley’s “There You Are,” an in the moment collage of improvised alto saxophone and percussion.

Bill Easley realizes that society is divided, whether it be by race, gender, or any other device. He accepts those differences and celebrates them. Easley also believes that music is the equalizer. A universal tonic that brings people together, thus his homespun term that is the title of his highly listenable new recording, Diversitonic. 

1. Wherever You Go
2. When Lights Are Low
3. Those Were The Days
4. I Didn't Know About You
5. I Should Care
6. Isfahan
7. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
8. There You Are

Bill Easley - saxophones & piccolo
Kyle Koehler - Hammond B3 organ
Mark Wells - grand & electric piano
John Hanks - drums
Beverly Botsford - percussion (tracks 1, 5, 8)
Robert Bradford - guitar (tracks 1, 7)
Bill Newton - harmonica (tracks 1, 7, 8)

Ted Reichman - Dread Sea (March 11, 2022 Tripticks Tapes)

Dread Sea is a confluence of two streams of electroacoustic music that started to emerge in the fall of 2020 and continued through the spring of 2021. The pieces started as improvisations on an mbira and a tiny accordion, both going through complex systems of electronic treatments. These heavily transformed instruments resisted “playing” in the traditional sense, but contributed their own layers of sonic material: feedback, transpositions, distortions, intentional or accidental patterning. All of the material was played live, improvised in real time, and much of it was recorded on a mono cassette machine through its internal mic, placed a few feet away from my amplifier. The long form emerged gradually, through unexpected linkages discovered through editing, layering and collage. 

As I listened back to these multi-layered pieces, I kept thinking about water, especially about traveling on water, like a long day trip on the Amazon River I found myself on in 2006, during which I encountered a heavily drugged juvenile sloth who tried to attack me. It traced a long, slow arc in the air with its claw. A story started to emerge along with the music, a journey from the place in Amazonas where the water of the Rio Negro meets the Rio Branco, to the village in the reeds where I met the sloth, to a frozen lake in Northern Maine some time in the distant past and back. The music doesn’t follow that story so much as it mirrors the process of time and geography flowing together, in waves of rhythm, tone and noise, all interacting and blurring into each other, like bodies of water.

-Ted Reichman


Ted Reichman was born in Aroostook County, Maine in 1973. He began studying jazz piano at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School in 1987 and went on to study experimental music and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University with Alvin Lucier, Sumarsam, and his most important early mentor, Anthony Braxton. At Braxton’s urging, Reichman began playing accordion, the instrument that would become the basis of his work in music. After beginning his professional career with Braxton while still a student, Reichman moved to New York City where he worked with a panoply of musical greats in styles ranging from improvised music and jazz to rock and roll and various forms of Jewish music. In addition to his work with Braxton, which includes the first recordings and performances of “Ghost Trance Music,” he is best known for his ten-year-plus tenure with John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet. 

He also founded the music series at which would evolve into Tonic, one of the world’s most crucial venues for avant-garde music. He has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory for over ten years and spent four years as an Assistant Professor of Film Scoring at Berklee. He currently lives outside Boston where he records, produces and mixes albums and composes music for films at his studio Subtext Sound System. His essays have appeared in The New York Review of Books and poetry in the The Brooklyn Rail and other publications. 

Side A
Part 1 - Prelude/Sloth Story
Part 2 - Pine Marten
Part 3 - Deep Ankle

Side B
Inner Horizon Parts 1,2,3
Dread Sea's Return

Ted Reichman - accordion, amplified mbira, electronics, prepared piano, synthesizers, tape

Recorded October 2020 - May 2021

Cover Photo by Susie Ibarra

L'Ocell & Ferran Fages - El Declivi (March 11, 2022 Tripticks Tapes)

L'Ocell is the duo project of Àlex Reviriego (double bass) and Fernando Carrasco (acoustic guitar), since 2015. El Declivi, their third release, was recorded featuring Ferran Fages on electric guitar in an old church in Miànigues, a small town in the province of Girona (Catalonia), after a period of collaboration as a trio in which they performed several concerts.

Their free improvised music shapes cathartic and primitive drones and soundscapes. Dark beauty passages, with psych folk and early music reminiscences, are interfered and disrupted by unexpected apparitions of metallic noises, chaotic percussions and amorphous noises. The oases of harmonies degrade and collapse as a construction abandoned at the mercy of the relentless effects of time and nature.

The three musicians involved on this recording know each other well due to being part of Barcelona's improvised and weird music scene, and have played together on other projects such as Phicus and Ràdium, where Reviriego and Fages collaborate. Carrasco and Reviriego, in addition to L'Ocell, were part of Völga and have performed live together in many different ensembles and contexts.

1. Flamarada
2. Més enllà dels arbres negres
3. Núvol de fum
4. El declivi
5. Una estança gairebé nua
6. Llampec
7. Les veus esvaïdes
8. Els gestos del menyspreu
9. Raig verd

Fernando Carrasco: Acoustic guitar & objects
Àlex Reviriego: Double bass
Ferran Fages: Electric guitar

Recorded at Sant Romà de Miànigues church, Porqueres (Girona), June 26th 2018
Sound engineering & recording by Ralph Lopinski
Mixing & mastering by Ferran Conangla

All music by L'Ocell & Ferran Fages

Cover photo by Fernando Carrasco

The Relatives - The Relatives (March 11, 2022 Tripticks Tapes)

The Relatives is a new group split between New York City and Philadelphia consisting of T.J. Borden (cello), James McKain (tenor sax), and Leo Suarez (drums/perc). After many sessions and live performances of various groupings, this self-titled release is the trio’s debut recording, displaying a personally refined approach to pointillistic communication, interplay and the construction/demolition of static foundations.

Arriving at the NorthEast megalopolis from distant isolation (Western NY, Southern Illinois, Central FL),The Relatives came about through a mixture of playing shows along the East Coast, various Spring Garden House sessions, lunches at Café Nhan, and lengthy discussions of many things musical and extra-musical. The group began specifically honing in on a trio language around the Winter of 2020 and started meeting for frequent sessions. In March of 2021, this recording was engineered in North Philly by Jared Radichel, and mixed/mastered by Nathan Corder. Outside of the group, Borden, McKain and Suarez all work in a wide spectrum of sound environments, but collectively approach The Relatives as a focused improvising unit, simultaneously digesting and emitting particles of influence and musical syntax.

1. Cult Numbers
2. Richard Roundtree

T.J. Borden - Cello
James McKain - Tenor Saxophone
Leo Suarez - Drums

Recorded by Jared Radichel, March of 2021 in Philadelphia.
Mixed and Mastered by Nathan Corder.
Artwork by Matthew Adis.

Thollem - Obstacle Illusion (March 11, 2022 Astral Spirits)

Its simple intricacies wipe the ashen windshield
Feeling its sound intensely close with chirping resonance and soft clattering cats-tails Seeds blowing and quickly tumbling over the damp terrain
When peeking through the clouds, the eye grows
And trees like giant lashes, lashes out into the sun-drunk evening sky
Transported to the salon of dreams where the sound of pianos from a thousand hands Clear the moon’s gravitas and plunks playfully through the streets of another city’s wound
Sinking its broken tapestry claws into new and exciting forms
The resonance is in movement and time
The clarity speaks with a sharp tongue and warm hands
The heart seeps metallic and wanders straight to the meadow of love and kindness Modal synchronies chromatic asymmetries spread roots through wet terrain and things grow
It all grows and grows as bark strips itself from the tree with the prodding of singing rain Bowling its way through the foliage and turquoise petrified forest
Biting itself and eating naturally the fungus from below and shooting up high
Tender bits of golden leaves drifting upward and spiraling haphazard until the sky takes it into its mouth
Using its tongue as a weapon for resounding sound meditations
Splattering the artificial grass with shards of mercury tears and bleeding hands Wounded from too much sun and too much cold
But resilient like the earth, devouring everything
Growing and growing towards an unknowable scarred reality that bursts with every breath
Every ounce of feeling
Peeled and glowing these giant orbs
Projecting their way into other dimensions
While firmly in their own
The pounding of salt and the crackling of burnt rice
Sticking to the palms of the hand and rising and hammering these forms, these shapes, Into glorious resonant beings
Where the plums of Queens and Kings taste sweet
Until that social change renders their bombast sour in new cycles of flowing blood Respondent to itself and the stoppages they procure
Fluctuating in its remittent clots
Clinking ever so lightly on the windowsills of tomorrow's dreams
The hand of hands
The double and triple hands of these hands
Massage the rigor and let it flow
Let rigor loosen its grip on this hypercreativity
The same of something different
The difference protrudes through the heavens
The difference defines the space around the frequencies
The difference is always there, it's never the same
It can’t be
The constant tapping of what is truly inside
Finding its way through the webs of endless possibilities Swarming itself, eating itself, growing its own food
Its own self-reliant self
Selflessly expounding this brilliant sound
That could only come from these hands
This heart
This exhausted inexhaustible being
Sound the organ of new life
Trill the notes into another shape
Carry the electric storm in your pocket and let it loose when it’s time
Let your pockets grow into enormous sails
Take to the sea
Watch the coast fade and touch your lips to the salt water
Wash your hands in this water and look at yourself in the reflection pool
Swim with the dolphins
Sing with the flying fish
The storm comes quickly and the ripping blasts from the sky
Whip your face and destroy nothing
The pain transforms into a kind of ecstasy
This beauty reverberates itself into another shape
This shape turns itself to you and speaks of nothing in particular
Until the fog that has now drifted so close begins to clarify
And these communications that were once impossible and not particular Become particular. Become the very thing it is made from
Condensation and salt and the weather and the wonderfulness of not knowing Skipping gently across the clear sheets of barely moving water
a tremendously long snake
Caressing the water into a long canal of cryptic whispering trace
We see so clearly how there can be no clarity there can be no rigor
Without the heart creating and gently thumping
In the crevices of time
Bursting its own knowledge
Into something miraculous

- Rob Mazurek December 9, 2021
words constructed in response to the music
Obstacle Illusion is born out of my love for a wide array of musics that I've experienced and studied over the years. The album includes edited live concert recordings from my 3-month European tour at the end of 2021 (Centro d'Arte in Padova, AngelicA Festival in Bologna and the Rassegna di Nuova Musica in Macerata). The first and fourth tracks are solo acoustic piano. The second and third tracks are solely with the Korg Wavestate: all live, no overdubs. This music is the result of a collaboration between myself and the engineers who developed these instruments as well as the halls, the audiences and the dynamics of the world at large. The music is genre-bending, code- switching, omni-idiomatic, internationalist, intersectional and intentional. It represents the culmination of my life’s experiences as a musician and a human being in dialogue with the universe.

Deep gratitude to these historical presenting organizations: Centro d'Arte Padova, AngelicA Festival and the Associazione Nuova Musica. These are institutions that have been presenting musicians for decades, supporting and introducing new and vital works to their communities and the world.

In memory of Stefano Scodanibbio, Enzo Carpentieri and Stephen Paul Trimboli Dedicated to Angela and Maresa 

1. Assorted Selves
2. I Put My Shadow On The Wall
3. Cruising The Mystic Whole
4. The Way To The Way To The Way

Live concert recordings from:
Tracks 1 & 2 - Centro d’Arte dell’Università di Padova at Teatro Torresino in Padua on 28 October 2021.
Recording engineer: José Dicati (JD Service)
Grazie a Veniero Rizzardi, Stefano Merighi, Nicola Negri e Giorgia Masiero

Track 3 - AngelicA | Centro di Ricerca Musicale at Teatro San Leonardo in Bologna on 8 November 2021.
Recording engineer: Gianluca Turrini
Grazie Massimo Simonini e Elisabetta Beddini

Track 4 - Associazione Nuova Musica | Rassegna di Nuova Musica 39 at the Scuola Civica di Musica "Stefano Scodanibbio" in Macerata on 18 November 2021. Recording engineer: Andrea Lambertucci
Grazie a Gianluca Gentili e Maresa Scodanibbio

Mastered by Mikey Young
Photo credit: ACVilla at AngelicA Festival - Teatro San Leonardo
Artwork & Layout by Dylan Marcus McConnell

Stefanie Kunckler Ymonos - La sortie bleue (March 11, 2022)

Die Musikerin Stefanie Kunckler hat mit ihrem im Jahr 2017 gegründeten Ensemble Ymonos – nach zwei Alben – eine EP eingespielt. Aus ihren vier neuen Kompositionen spricht die Neugierde heraus auf das, was im Kollektiv damit passiert. Die vier Stücke lassen sich im zeitgenössischen Jazz verorten, die Komponistin präzisiert es jedoch mit einem Genre, das sie gleich selbst kreiert: Acoustic Nostalgic Future Jazz. Wie klingt Musik, die irgendwie in der Zeit hängen geblieben ist und gleichzeitig an der Zukunft kratzt? Instrumentiert von Akkordeon, Klavier, Bassklarinette, Kontrabass und Drums tut sich ein breites und zugleich luftiges Klangspektrum auf, satt samten, mit schlichter, präziser Perkussion und gedehnten, melancholischen Melodien.

Ausgehend von ihren neuen Kompositionen kam bei ihr auch der Wunsch auf, die Klangebene visuell erlebbar zu machen. Mit der Filmemacherin Elvira Isenring hat sie eine künstlerische Partnerin gefunden, welche in den verlassenen Räumen eines ausrangierten Werkhofes die musikalischen Stimmungen in unaufgeregt bewegtes Bild übertragen hat. Ping Pong Bälle hüpfen zu hingeworfenen Akkorden und flimmernden Einzelnoten, um in sorgfältig gesetzten, linearen Melodien zur Ruhe zu kommen. Neonröhren flackern rhythmisch, offene Türen führen in eine «sortie bleue», Humor blitzt zwischen Schranktüren hervor. Die Titel «Plangen» (auf Schweizer Mundart «sich sehnen»), «Der Klang der Zeit» und «La sortie bleue» stellen für Stefanie Kunckler das Zeitempfinden dar, der Blick auf Vergangenes und auf Zukünftiges. 

1. Plangen
2. La sortie bleue
3. Der Klang der Zeit
4. Rugav

Philipp Hillebrand bcl
Raphael Ochsenbein acc, tp
Demian Coca p
Stefanie Kunckler db
Marcio de Sousa dr

Audio recording, Mix & Master: Andy Neresheimer
Studio: Hardstudios Winterthur
Co-producer: Radio SRF2 Kultur
Financial Support: Aargauer Kuratorium, Fachstelle Kultur Kanton Zürich

Chiara Izzi (featuring Andrea Rea) - Poinciana (March 11, 2022 Dot Time Records)

Award-winning vocalist Chiara Izzi presents her new live recording project, Live in Bremen, marking her second album release on Dot Time Records. Due out March 11, 2022, Live in Bremen flaunts the New York-based, Italian singer-songwriter’s keen ear and dialectal brilliance as she tells stories in Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and English. By employing a piano-and-song format alongside the gifted pianist Andrea Rea, Izzi weaves together a variety of cultural subjects, creating an intimate and universal auditory experience for listeners all over the world.

With a foundation of American, Argentinian and Italian jazz music, Live in Bremen embodies a classical richness that is enhanced by Izzi’s stylistic method of blending her lyrics and languages. Borrowing approaches from her several different musical worlds, Izzi began this project by reimagining familiar standards and allowing each song’s original melodies and harmonies to dictate the language of her own arrangement and lyrics. This tactic is displayed on tracks like “Pavane For Peaceful Times,” where Izzi added English lyrics to the Gabriel Fauré composition.

“Through adding these new flavors to established works I hope to share a meaningful story, building on the authenticity already present in these pieces,” Izzi notes. “I am aiming to joyfully honor jazz and its iterations across borders and time while illustrating how artists continually learn, influence and borrow from one another. Music is a language we all know and share.”

Izzi takes inspiration from Esperanza Spalding’s arrangement of the Johnny Green original, “Cuerpo y Alma” (“Body and Soul”), presenting a slower reimagination of the tune, and offering room for Rea to improvise a playful, bouncing piano solo. 

Paying homage to the Italian jazz repertory on her rendition of the D’Anzi-Bracchi classic “Tu, Musica Divina,” Izzi highlights the similarities between the well-known American songwriters and their unsung Italian counterparts.“Samba in Preludio” is a sonic artifact of the 1970s, resonating both Brazilian and Italian influences in a sulky ballad about a broken heart. “Miradas,” which translates to “look” or “gaze” in English, is a collaboration by Italian composer Nicola Corso and Yanina Lombardi. The longtime friendship between the pair is palpable in the inviting atmosphere of the opening composition.

Izzi’s final track travels close to her homeland. “Terra Nostra,” an Italian folk song from the vocalist’s home region, Molise, is sung in a local dialect. A depiction of Molise’s rich culture, lush landscapes and vibrant young community, “Terra Nostra” is a sentimental tune brimming with possibility.

By uniting a variety of dialects, Chiara Izzi showcases her command of several languages while simultaneously guiding her listeners through an advanced and enriching lesson in anthropology. Her carefully curated standards call upon a wide selection of artists, writers, places and ideas — all that have inspired her insightful, unique career. Live in Bremen offers more than the silken texture of a vocal-piano duo tape, but a rare example of a masterful communicator, a woman who is fluent in languages, art form and their multitudes.  

1. Poinciana

Vocals by Chiara Izzi
Piano by Andrea Rea
Music by Nat Simon
Spanish lyrics by Yanina Lombardi

Recorded Live at the Studio Nord Bremen, Bremen Germany, December 9th, 2018
Editing, Mixing and Mastering by Pascal El Sauaf
Production Director Gregor Hennig
Produced by Johanan Bickhardt
Cover Photography by Kevin Gruetzner
Graphic Design by Dani Mari

Acclaimed Guitarist JUAN CARLOS QUINTERO's "TABLE FOR FIVE!" Coming March 11th (Moondo Music)

With nearly a dozen albums as a leader, Juan Carlos Quintero has established his reputation as not only a highly acclaimed guitarist, but as the owner of a successful Jazz and World music label. His first album was a 1990 self-titled recording that featured Wrecking Crew member, mentor, and friend Tommy Tedesco, who wrote about the session for his popular column in Guitar Player Magazine, thereby introducing Quintero to an international audience of guitar-playing enthusiasts. Quintero was soon a staple on NAC, World, Jazz and Smooth Jazz radio stations. JazzTimes wrote, "Quintero's acoustic and classical guitars sparkle...By virtue of imagination as well as style, Quintero clearly out-classes many of his modern Latin guitar-strumming contemporaries."

Quintero began his label, originally called Moondo Records, in 2000 to create a nurturing, supportive environment for artists. Over the ensuing decade, the label distributed and licensed music for top World Music and Jazz artists like Son De Madera, Sambaguru, Huayucaltia, Kleber Jorge, Sahnas, Marcos Ariel, Otmaro Ruiz, and Luis Villegas. The boutique label successfully distributed physical product to major retailers across the country; however, by 2010 digital distribution changed the physical retail landscape, and Quintero changed Moondo’s business model to license music directly to the entertainment media, specifically film and television.

Quintero never lost his passion to record new music and collaborate with creative artists, and in 2019 formed a distribution partnership with A-Train Entertainment and rebranded his label Moondo Music LLC to reflect the new digital distribution model. He began by releasing albums by renowned artists (Marcos Ariel, Diego Baliardo, Ricardo Silveira, Rique Pantoja) as well as his own out-of-print recordings, including the critically acclaimed Caminando in 2021, about which London Jazz News said, “The music in question is spirited, uplifting and dance-inflected and will surely have broad appeal, within and beyond the boundaries of jazz.”

The new album features Quintero’s longtime musical compatriots EDDIE RESTO/bass, JOE ROTONDI/piano, AARON SERFATY/drums, JOEY DELEON/percussion, and Quintero on electric guitar. Resto, Rotondi, and Serfaty have performed as a group with Quintero for so long, he considers them family. He had worked with DeLeon many times in other configurations and was very happy to have him join his intimate core group.

Quintero, who is known for his stylish, tasty work on the nylon string guitar, decided to record for the first time on the semi-hallow electric guitar to highlight the new direction of his music and label. Rather than focusing on the Latin repertoire, Quintero performs jazz standards, expanding the scope to include World Music as well as music from the Great American Songbook.

TABLE FOR FIVE is the first of his own albums that Quintero produced since his debut album in 1988. “Participating as a player while being responsible for all aspects of this recording was a daunting task,” says Quintero. “But my bandmates, my brothers, had my back in every way.” Although Quintero was the sole producer, the arrangements were a collaborative effort shared by the entire band. Quintero says, “We all had input in the process. We basically worked from an outline of the arrangements, improvising the music as we went. I didn’t want to over arrange the songs so much that we changed them into something completely different. I feel you need to trust the composer and honor his or her intention. The core of the music needs to survive your treatment.”

TABLE FOR FIVE comprises five jazz standards, three Latin standards, and two original compositions by Quintero. The album opens with “Alone Together” by Arthur Schwartz. The band played the tune often in live performances, but during the session switched gears, adding a bomba vamp at the end.

Quintero first heard “Mambo Balahu,” by legendary Cuban percussionist Armando Peraza, on a George Shearing record called A Latin Affair. The late Peraza spent decades with Santana, and Quintero recalls spending some enjoyable time with him several years ago. “I wish he were around to hear my take on his music” says Quintero. “The Gentle Rain,” by Brazilian guitarist Luiz Bonfa, is often performed by jazz groups. Quintero says, “Our take took shape in the studio and centered on the guitar riff serving as a motif anchoring the entire arrangement.”

For “Manha De Carnaval,” aka “Black Orpheus,” also by Luiz Bonfa, the band typically played a cha-cha-cha groove, but they took different approach for the recording by slowing it down and turning it into a lush bolero. “Table for Five … At The Cumbia Inn” was composed by Quintero. The rhythm refers to the traditional folk rhythms from Colombia. The rhythm is a constant crowd pleaser, and Quintero always plays a handful of original Cumbias in live performance. He wrote the song during the recording session and was inspired for the album title when he heard someone in a restaurant request a “table for five”.

“Song for My Father” is a standard by Horace Silver. The band plays it with a cha-cha-cha rhythm and features an extended solo between Serfaty and DeLeon. “Porque Si Quieres” (If You Want) is another composition by Quintero. Derived from Quintero’s album Caminando of 25 years ago, on this version, Quintero slowed it down and inserted new melodies and rhythms, creating a fresh, reimagined take on a 25-year-old song.

“Days of Wine and Roses” is an old chestnut by Henry Mancini. The concept for this straight-ahead arrangement is a nod to the big band arranging style set for a quintet. Quintero has been using “Giant Steps” as a warmup exercise almost every day for many years. This arrangement features a unique approach by including a rhythmic motif to bracket the song while providing a vehicle for Serfaty to improvise on the drum set.

TABLE FOR FIVE closes with the standard “Beautiful Love.” The song was recorded last and features a trio featuring Quintero, Resto, and Serfaty. Quintero says, “It was a first take, we know we captured a moment in the studio, we knew to walk away and let it be.”

Although TABLE FOR FIVE is somewhat of a musical departure for Quintero, it reflects the colorful sounds and diverse rhythms of his birthplace, Medellín, Colombia. And as always, Quintero’s guitar sound is fluid with more than a touch of romantic wistfulness. He and his tight-knit band of high caliber, seasoned musicians have created a project where their improvisatory approach does not overwhelm the music; rather, it allows those beautiful melodies to shine.

TABLE FOR FIVE will be available on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and all digital platforms on March 11, 2022.

1. Alone Together
2. Mambo Balahu
3. The Gentle Rain
4. Manha De Carnaval
5. Table for Five…At the Cumbia Inn
6. Song For My Father
7. Porque Si Quieres
8. Days of Wine and Roses
9. Giant Steps
10. Beautiful Love

Juan Carlos Quintero, electric guitar
Eddie Resto, bass
Joe Rotondi, piano
Aaron Serfaty, drums
Joey DeLeon, percussion

Barber Mouse - Heretic Monk (March 11, 2022 Auand Records)

Barber Mouse, Heretic Monk
A heretic approach might be the best way to deal with Monk

Italian double bass player and composer Stefano Risso has a long experience in working with acoustic and electronic music. He connects avant-garde with tradition, improvisation with songwriting, to create a unique soundscape.

He formed the Italian trio Barber Mouse along with drummer Mattia Barbieri (who collaborated with Richard Galliano) and pianist Fabrizio Rat (a popular name in France, well-known for his techno/contemporary music skills) around 15 years ago. Their debut studio album, released by Auand in 2012, was a tribute to electro-pop band Subsonica, one of the most popular acts in Italy, and it featured Subsonica’s frontman: Samuel.

Ten years later, Barber Mouse’s second studio album is filled with many of the ideas that marked the first one: experimentation, research on timber, acoustic instruments adapted and played in a way that makes them sound like electronic instruments instead. While the first album kept away from jazz, the new one dives into it, with a tribute to a jazz giant such as Thelonious Monk, to his compositions and the standards he reinvented.

“Heretic Monk”, published by Auand Records, will be out on Friday, March 11th. The singles will appear on all streaming platforms starting Friday, February 25th.

The new material was recorded in 2011, but it remained untouched for a long time. «We don’t really know why – Stefano Risso recalls – Maybe it’s because we were carried away by the production, and in the meantime we all have walked different paths. But when listening to it again, its contemporaneity hits. When you look at your projects from afar, you can focus on the essential. I think it’s more relevant today than it was when we recorded it. This is why we wanted it to resurface today.»

Harmony is key in “Heretic Monk” – and it somehow recalls fractal geometry. Some of Monk’s signature chords in his works and piano voicings are put back to their basic outline, reduced to four-note chords and used in place of scales and more traditional chords. Following this logic, every tune in the album has been re-harmonized – even improvisations follow this rule, which limits the number of notes you can use. On the listening side, you feel like the harmony is expanding upon itself, just like the fractal structures we can see in nature – such as crystals or leaves.

«The prep work before recording has been quite long. We were somehow forced to get rid of any language stereotype to play with this four-note chord approach. We couldn’t use familiar phrasing because it wouldn’t fit. So we’ve studied and rehearsed hard to make our way through such strict harmonies – even if they are respectful of the original ones, they are also quite distant from them.»

«I think the major element in this album – Fabrizio Rat adds – is the process of transforming existing music. It’s like being in front of a language you know, after you forgot it because of amnesia. We found ourselves interpreting those signs with a new logic, using harmonic rules that are quite far from the usual jazz rules, and undoubtedly pushed by our love for Monk’s limitless music.»

1 Carolina Moon (Joe Burke, Benny Davis)
2 Epistrophy (Thelonious Monk)
3 Ask Me Now (Thelonious Monk)
4 Monk's Dream (Thelonious Monk)
5 All Alone (Irving Berlin)
6 Lulu's Back in Town (Al Dubin, Harry Warren)
7 Ugly Beauty (Thelonious Monk)
8 This Is My Story, This Is My Song (Fanny Crosby, Phoebe Knapp)
9 Friday The 13th (Thelonious Monk)

Barber Mouse
Fabrizio Rat - piano
Stefano Risso - double bass
Mattia Barbieri - drums

Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer - Recordings from the Åland Islands (March 11, 2022 International Anthem)

In 2017 Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer traveled together to the Åland Islands (an archipelago that is host to around 6,500 islands) in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland. They headed to the islands with the intention of helping two friends (mother/daughter duo Jannika/Sage Reed) barn raise a small inn named Hotel Svala in Kumlinge (a municipality consisting of a small group of islands and a population of about 320). The idea was that, once completed, Svala would host artist residencies and workshop programs, creating a direct link between the islands and the USA.

The concept of recording music there came about as Honer & Chiu learned more and more about the islands. They were taken by the serene and strange quality of the place. The sun doesn’t set in the summer (and barely rises in the winter). The network of miniature islands is traversed by ferry which, according to Chiu, “casts a surreal horizontal movement through space and time, with islands shifting into and out of periphery, totally still and calm, yet always in motion.”

In 2019 they were awarded a grant from the Department of Culture to return and perform a concert at the Kumlinge Kyrka, a 14th century medieval church adorned with incredible frescos. The concert was recorded and became source material – along with improvisations on viola and electronics, pipe organ, pump organ, piano, synthesizers, field recordings and voice memos, all captured across both their trips at various locations on the archipelago – from which they meticulously crafted a post-script in the form of 'Recordings from the Åland Islands'.

Easing listeners into the feeling of the place, the album’s opening track “In Åland Air” is a dream-like haze that slows time, invoking the feeling of descending by plane onto the archipelago, a place Chiu recalls as “lush with a gentle, brackish breeze...” On “Snåcko,” a track named for the island next to Kumlinge, the music becomes a transportive portrait, painting in sound “the romantic and gentle atmosphere of the forests in Åland — a place where your eyes slowly adjust to the rainbow-colored moss covering granite boulders. Walking around, you find the forest floor blossoming with blueberries, currants, and flowers...”

The longest and darkest movement in the collection, “Archipelago,” encapsulates “the experience of being surrounded in the vast network of islands” with a dense cloud of slowly modulating string layers, improvised by Honer in an empty swimming pool at Svala. “The heaviness of the track,” says Honer, “is a reference to the deep darkness experienced during the Nordic winter days.” But the plaintive atmosphere of that penultimate piece is succeeded with the triumphant final movement of the album, “Under the Midnight Sun,” which bellows forth like a vibrant chorus of melodious sighs, echoing classic sounds from Jon Hassell’s 'Vernal Equinox', or Franco Battiato’s 'Clic', or Brian Eno’s 'Another Green World'.

Just as two eyes, two ears, and two halves of a brain work together to create a memory, on their duo debut, Honer and Chiu’s collective pallet produces a vivid three-dimensional hyperreality of painterly tones and textures – bright and kaleidoscopic, but with a deeply warm, earthen resonance. The music evokes a powerful sense of place, transporting and immersing listeners in the other-world of the Åland Islands. And though they achieve this in beautifully natural, organic manner, Chiu & Honer agree this album is quite unlike anything they’ve made before, and likely unlike anything they’ll make in the future.

...about Chiu & Honer...

The combination of modular synthesizer and viola is an uncommon one, but Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer manage to create a distinctive dyad that comes together with grace and truth. They’ve accomplished this by bringing much more than their respective axes to the table. Years of collaboration, cohabitation, shared experience, and separate but equally inspired commitments to utilitarian cultural work bind their disparate timbres together into a singular aesthetic reality.

The two artists met, appropriately, as members of a large ensemble performing Terry Riley’s “In C,” for an annual concert organized by Bitchin Bajas at Chicago modern music hub Constellation. Honer & Chiu had been living and working in Chicago for a long time, both active members of the notoriously interconnected improvisational and experimental music scenes, but they were somehow previously unintroduced. Chiu’s musical CV to that point included work with bands like Icy Demons and Chandeliers, but he was mostly known for his visual and graphic design work as Some All None. Honer had primarily worked as an instructor in Chicago, as well as a member of the ensemble Quartet Datura. In 2014, a year after their first collaboration, together, they decided to migrate to Los Angeles to continue developing their respective careers and crafts in sunnier climes.

Relocation to Los Angeles has proven to be fruitful for both artists. Honer has since become a first-call session player for the likes of Adrian Younge and Beyoncé. She’s also played on recordings by Chloe x Halle, Angel Olsen, Fleet Foxes, and Stanley Clarke, among others, including five recordings with Grammy nominations. Along with her session work, Honer is on the music faculty at California State University. Chiu has expanded his visual work in numerous capacities, in addition to becoming an active intersectional community organizer, and refocusing his musical practice to electronic music composition and sound art. He’s also become an Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art & Design; has exhibited/performed at The Getty Center, LACMA, and other distinguished locales; has become a resident programmer for Dublab; and has generated a strong unit of regular musical collaborators that includes Celia Hollander, Booker Stardrum, Ben Babbitt, Dustin Wong, Takako Minekawa, and Sam Prekop. Chiu has also designed album artwork for several International Anthem releases, including Angel Bat Dawid's Transition East, Dos Santos's City of Mirrors, Jeff Parker's Forfolks, and JP's Myspace Beats. 

1. In Åland Air
2. On the Other Sea
3. Snåcko
4. Stureby House Piano
5. Rocky Passage
6. Kumlinge Kyrka
7. Voices
8. By Foot By Sea
9. Anna's Organ
10. Archipelago
11. Under the Midnight Sun

Written, performed, and produced by Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer.

Recorded in various locations on the Åland Islands.

Jeremiah Chiu – piano, organs, modular synthesizer, Crumar Performer, Juno-60, CS01, OP-1, bass guitar, and field recordings.
Marta Sofia Honer – viola, Crumar Performer, and hand chimes.

Processing on "In Åland Air" by John McEntire.

Additional field recordings on "Stureby House Piano," "Voices," and "By Foot By Sea" by Sean Pecknold.

Flute on "Archipelago" by Stephen Honer.

Edited and arranged in Kumlinge, Chama, and Los Angeles.

Mixed by Jeremiah Chiu, Dave Vettraino, and Regina Martinez at International Anthem Studios, Chicago.

Mastered by David Allen in Portland.

Cover image by Joyce Kim.
Verso images by Marta Sofia Honer.
Layout by Jeremiah Chiu.

NEW RELEASE: Trumpeter Grace Fox's debut album 'ELEVEN O’SEVEN' alongside all-female large ensemble, due out March 11 (Next Level)

Next Level announces the March 11th release of Eleven O’ Seven, the breakout album from rising trumpeter Grace Fox, introducing her groundbreaking all-female ensemble, the Grace Fox Big Band

Next Level, an imprint of Outside In Music, is pleased to announce the March 11, 2022 release of Eleven O’ Seven, the debut album from rising trumpeter and bandleader Grace Fox. On Eleven O’ Seven, Fox premieres her powerful all-female ensemble, the Grace Fox Big Band. This multigenerational, multiethnic group ushers in the next era of musical ingenuity featuring some of the brightest young artists of our time. The album was recorded at Milkboy the Studio in Philadelphia over the course of four days in August 2021.  On Eleven O’ Seven, Fox presents decidedly modern arrangements of innovative, insightful and hopeful compositions for a brighter future – and that future is female.

Fox remarks: “Growing up studying Black American Music it was very clear that jazz is a heavily male-dominated industry. Oftentimes I would be the only woman in an ensemble which would make me feel disconnected”. Fox found inspiration and empowerment upon first listening to the powerful all-female ensembles ‘The International Sweethearts of Rhythm’, and ‘The Diva Jazz Orchestra’. Fox was moved to create a big band of her own, an outfit that could feature some of the most formidable young female artists within the jazz idiom. 

A student at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, Fox sourced the players for the Grace Fox Big Band predominantly through social media. “I had met some of these musicians before, but for a good portion, this was the first time I had reached out, only sharing mutual connections. Some of these women came from across the country for this experience (made possible by Blue Collar Records) most having never met me in person. Everyone was so eager to connect and make music together which is a beautiful feeling to have within an ensemble,” Fox notes. The group is comprised of female musicians from different stages of life and from all across the country. Noa Zebley, the group’s baritone saxophonist, was entering her senior year of high school when recording this album, while the group’s lead trombonist Hailey Brinnel is an educator in Philadelphia. Despite the group’s diversity in age and background, the Grace Fox Big Band charges its way through potent compositions and stunning musical interchange as a powerful, cohesive unit.

Evidenced from the very first downbeat of the album opener “Right on Red”, the band’s enormous sound draws from classic big bands as well as from modern jazz influences such as Maria Schneider, Roy Hargrove, Brad Mehldau and Kamasi Washington. The laid-back groove opens the floor for sizzling solos from the horns, demonstrating some masterful interplay between the soloists and the group’s rhythm section. “The Gospel” introduces a soulful motif traded by the different sections of the ensemble and displays masterful dynamic sensibilities from the group. Fox borrows the changes to the classic composition “Strasbourg / St. Denis”, ending with an homage to the great Roy Hargrove. “I Just Found Out About Love” highlights the band’s versatility with a lush arrangement of the McHugh / Adamson classic. This vocal arrangement features guest vocalist and older sister of the bandleader, Alexis Fox. Alexis is also featured on the album’s closing track, “Stars”. The bandleader indicates “I originally wrote Stars as an accolade to her for being such a positive role model in my life.”
Photo of Grace Fox courtesy of the artist

Two tunes that perhaps best exemplify Grace Fox’s compositional prowess are “Echelon” and “Sterility”. Fox began writing “Echelon” in March 2020 when the world first shut down. A senior in high school at the time, Fox composed this piece as a means to wade through the waters of uncertainty presented by that confusing period, informed by the stages of grief. The piece begins with a simple melody on the piano, the motif that carries us through the composition. The lead tenor picks it up with the piano and then the trombone and tenor two join, symbolizing the feeling of being “alone together”, each horn playing the isolated melody together. Fox indicates “An echelon is an arrow-shaped formation that geese make in the sky when traveling together. I felt like we were all in this echelon formation, traveling in the same direction and unsure of where we were going.” Later, the chart picks up and the motif is altered to add tension, highlighting the second stage of grief, anger. The chart ends how it began, accepting and embracing the new normal.

During the pandemic as musicians searched for ways to safely create music with other musicians, most found themselves playing music alone in their rooms, recording their instrument to a click track to be lined up with other player’s recordings.“Sterility” captures Fox’s distaste for this “sterile” method of music-making. “Playing to a click track alone in my room became depressing. I felt that my creative freedom was taken away during this time, as every note had to line up perfectly with a backing track. It was music under a microscope, everything had to be perfect which made the music itself sound sterile.” The piece has a constant pulse to emulate the click track, and a metronome was used while recording which can actually be heard by the listener in some sections. The end of the chart represents the frustration with the click track, and the last note is unresolved because we are still in this pandemic – the tension has not yet been released. Jade Elliott plays EWI on this chart, highlighting the use of technology in virtual music.

“As a woman in this industry, oftentimes we are afraid of being discriminated against based on gender. It was an amazing experience to see the other side of that. I am proud of how diverse the band is, having women of different races, ethnicities, sexualities, and backgrounds which helped to create a welcoming and supportive environment,” Fox exclaims. Introducing the world to the formidable Grace Fox Big Band, Eleven O’ Seven is a snapshot of jazz luminaries on the rise.

1. Right on Red 07:16
2. Gospel Interlude 02:13
3. The Gospel 06:00
4. I Just Found Out About Love 02:29
5. Echelon 09:25
6. Sterility 06:57
7. Stars 06:46

Tania Gill Quartet - Disappearing Curiosities (March 11, 2022)

Tania Gill is a pianist, keyboardist and composer living in Toronto Canada. She leads the Tania Gill Quartet and plays with the Brodie West Quintet, the Titillators, Rebecca Hennessy, the See Through Trio, Woodshed Orchestra and many others in jazz, improvised, new music, creative and pop circles in Toronto and beyond.

1. Marsh Music
2. To Montreal
3. Jaunty Woo
4. Tangled Branches (For Geri Allen)
5. Climate Striker
6. People Gonna Rise Like the Water
7. Apology
8. Frisbee
9. Knocked Over

TANIA GILL \ piano \ (moog) mg-1 synthesizer
NICO DANN \ drums

NEW RELEASE: Violinist and Violist Leonor Falcón's 'IMAGA MONDO VOL. II' is out March 11, 2022 (Falcon Gumba Records)

Leonor Falcón casts a new spell with her sophomore album Imaga Mondo Vol. II due out March 11th, 2022 via Falcon Gumba Records

“Falcón’s ambitious and idiosyncratic debut reveals that she has the potential to craft a unique musical approach”
– Troy Dostert / All About Jazz

In 2017 when New York-based violinist and violist Leonor Falcón released her debut album as a leader Imaga Mondo (Imaginary World in Esperanto language), the stylistic diversity, DIY-production style and peculiar concept of the recording served to establish her as an iconoclastic composer and bandleader.  Falcón’s resume reveals a musician with a broad skill set.  A veteran string section player equally adept on viola and violin, she can be heard often in the string sections of such bandleaders as Camila Meza, Linda Oh, Akua Dixon, Karl Berger and Arturo O’Farrill among others. Falcón is also a key member of Sarah Bernstein’s Veer string quartet as well as Mimi Jones’s Black Madonna ensemble. 
That open embrace of various musical traditions and styles was a staple of the first iteration of Imaga Mondo and continues on the second volume, Imaga Mondo Vol. II, which is slated for release on March 11, 2022 on Falcon Gumba Records. “The natural evolution of my life as a musician has required me to participate in so many different situations that I don’t feel an allegiance to just one genre or way of making music,” Falcón explains. “I love to explore a variety of approaches.” This approach is fully realized on her sophomore album, which further catapults the seasoned string player to new heights. 

Imaga Mondo Vol. II features the three core ensemble members that graced her first: Christof Knoche on bass clarinet and alto sax, Juanma Trujillo on guitar, and Juan Pablo Carletti on drums and percussion. “It’s a very comfortable situation for me because they really understand my music,” reflects Falcón, who also praised that they are not “passive in the process”. A major difference between this and its predecessor is the addition of bassist Zachary Swanson, who fits like a glove with the rest of the group. “On the first record and during our live shows, Juanma and Christof took a lot of responsibility for the bass function in the tunes. With this new music I wanted to give them more choices. Zach is someone that I’ve loved playing with over the years and right away he seamlessly integrated with the band.”
L-R: Zach Swanson, Juan Pablo Carletti, Leonor Falcón, Christof Knoche, Juanma Trujillo
all courtesy of the artist

The album opens up with an assertive phrase from Falcón’s viola on “Improv I”, displaying her deep and hefty tone almost, likened to a call to action to the rest of the band to which they respond immediately. Just like that, the listener is plunged into Falcón’s impressive imaginary world. The second track, “Para Emilio”, finds the band already in stark contrast to the introduction with a particularly lyrical melody. Written by Falcón shortly after she found out that she was pregnant with her first child, Emilio, this track is one of the album’s most personal. “Expecting during a pandemic was a transformative experience. It made me question many things including the way I’ve been approaching music so far.” 

From that point onward, Imaga Mondo Vol. II takes listeners on a journey through a variety of moods and contexts. Pieces like “Cursing Parrots” and “A” find the band rocking out in intense explorations using electronics, while the ruminative “The Monks” or “Ballad for a Hawk” showcase the acoustic possibilities of the ensemble. All in all, the whole album has a rich orchestrational quality, producing a sound that appears more complex than the sum of its parts. 

“Falcón’s music seeks more inside than outside, creating its own folklore and borrowing it at the same time,” says Carletti of the bandleader. In no piece is this borrowed folklore more evident than on the closer “Nita” a song that begins with an ethereal ambient aesthetic before quickly morphing into a cross between an Argentine chacarera and a Mexican son jarocho while still remaining in harmony with the rest of the album. “That piece is such a typical creation for Leonor. She didn’t set out to write a folk tune but upon playing it it immediately felt right to go there, and it’s really beautiful. She just synthesizes all the music she loves and it comes out of her with no agenda or pretension,” explains guitarist Trujillo. Indeed, the maturity in this music lies in the fact that Falcón has brought these compositions to life without any ostentation, and the musicians give themselves to the music without ego. This music isn’t trying to impress, but rather enrich. 

Track Listing

1. Improv I – 4:09
2. Para Emilio – 5:11
3. Cursing Parrots – 8:21
4. The Monks – 7:15 
5. A – 6:21
6. Ballad for a Hawk 
7. Improv II – 4:58
8. Nita – 5:32

All compositions by Leonor Falcón

Leonor Falcón: Viola & Compositions
Christof Knoche: Bass Clarinet & Alto Sax
Juanma Trujillo: Guitars
Zachary Swanson: Bass
Juan Pablo Carletti: Drums & Percussion

Falcon Gumba Records Publishing (ASCAP)
Recorded by Chris Gilroy at Douglass Recording studios
Mixed by Juanma Trujillo
Mastered by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground
Artwork by Flóres Soláno