Friday, April 1, 2022

Gerald Clayton - Bells On Sand (April 1, 2022 Blue Note)

Pianist & composer Gerald Clayton explores the impact and abstraction of time on his ravishing 2nd Blue Note album Bells On Sand, which features contributions from mentor Charles Lloyd on saxophone, father John Clayton on bass, longtime friend and peer Justin Brown on drums, and new collaborator MARO on vocals. “Each musician on the record represents a different aspect of the axis of time and its shifting sands,” says Clayton. “My father and Charles Lloyd, who has been a mentor figure to me, reflect new permutations of my past, and the lineage of elders who have shaped my development; Justin Brown, being my contemporary and musical brother, represents my present; and MARO represents the future—she is part of the next generation, and points to a brand new collaboration.” The music includes new originals, pieces by Catalan composer Federico Mompou and Gerald’s uncle Jeff Clayton, as well as two stunning solo piano versions of the standard “My Ideal.”

If the digital album is purchased, you will receive the full album via email on April 1st, 2022.

Standard digital downloads are delivered as MP3 44.1khz/24-bit audio files.

Please note, digital downloads are only available in the U.S. 

1. Water’s Edge feat. John Clayton & Justin Brown
2. Elegia feat. John Clayton
3. Damunt de tu Només les Flors feat. MARO, John Clayton & Justin Brown
4. My Ideal 1
5. That Roy feat. Justin Brown
6. Rip feat. Justin Brown
7. Just A Dream feat. MARO
8. My Ideal 2
9. Peace Invocation feat. Charles Lloyd
10. This Is Music Where You’re Going My Friends

Dave Douglas - Secular Psalms (April 1, 2022 Greenleaf Music)

Inspired by and dedicated to The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Jan and Hubert van Eyck - a polyptych originally painted for display in St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. Begun in the mid 1420s and completed by 1432.

Secular Psalms took shape over a medieval-seeming time span. The first messages from Wim date to July 10, 2018, when we began to formulate a plan to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Altarpiece with creation of new music. Research led to a few discoveries: elements of the polyptych were moved and/or stolen, then almost entirely recovered over the years. A restoration begun in 2012 discovered that the work had been mostly overpainted around 1550—removal of the overpaint revealed an almost entirely new contemporary vision of the piece.

The Van Eyck worked in the court of Philip The Good of Burgundy, speaking multiple languages. It’s likely they would have encountered composer Guillaume Dufay and writer Christine de Pisan in the same court. Bringing in elements of both these artists helped give me a connection to the atmosphere of those times. With a band and instrumentation in place, we were on our way.

Then all work came to a halt. Initially, like for so many of us, it was unclear how work would carry on. I kept writing. The meaning of the piece (and the title) took on a new scope as we dealt with the global crisis. Close communication with the assembled musicians, shut down in their own home countries, helped cement the message and the meaning of Secular Psalms: sacred songs for all of us as we are. We continued working. The first parts were recorded around May 2020. Over the course of a year and a half, my score came to life as I worked with each musician to create their performances. New techniques had to be invented to capture interactive improvisations. And new texts came in as I began to write them myself, in addition to the Latin Mass, Marvin Gaye, and Christine de Pisan.
Dave Douglas © John Abbott

This music came to life as a result of many forces: artistic, spiritual, pragmatic, physical, psychic, poetic, and interpersonal. In a visual sense, the piece begins in the space of the outer panels, with muted colors and dank interiors. Subsequent sections explore the inner panels, full of light, showing people from all walks of life. With Edge of Night, the piece returns to the mysterious and darker panels of the Arrival, where Van Eyck’s Gabriel and Mary play out this mystery for all eternity.

Very special thanks to Wim Wabbes of Handelsbeurs for staying with me through the long process of getting this piece made. Thanks to Keller Coker for talking me through the matrix of Dufay. Thanks to Tyler McDiarmid for being available to go through the countless sound and tech issues as they arose. Thanks to all the musicians for your patience, persistence, and belief in me. Thanks also to my entire family of loved ones, friends, colleagues, correspondents. We hung together through this and we will always have each other eternally. I am grateful for this most of all.

1. Arrival
2. Mercy
3. We Believe
4. Agnus Dei
5. Instrumental Angels
6. If I’m In Church More Often Now
7. Hermits and Pilgrims
8. Righteous Judges
9. Ah Moon
10. Edge of Night

Dave Douglas, trumpet, voice
Berlinde Deman, serpent, tuba, voice
Marta Warelis, piano, prepared piano, pump organ
Frederik Leroux, guitars, lute, electronics
Tomeka Reid, cello
Lander Gyselinck, drums, electronics

Production Credits:
Executive Producer: Dave Douglas
Produced by Dave Douglas
Recorded separately by each musician between May 2020 and August 2021
Berlinde Deman vocals recorded by Koen Gisen in Ghent, Belgium
Tomeka Reid recorded by Ralph Loza, Experimental Sounds Studios, Chicago
Marta Warelis piano recorded by Jasper Stadhouders at Splendor, Amsterdam
Ms. Warelis pump organ recorded by Marielle Groven at Orgelpark, Amsterdam

Edited and Mixed by Tyler McDiarmid and Dave Douglas
Mastered by Tyler McDiarmid
Altarpiece Photography / Images courtesy Sint-Baafskathedraal Gent,, Dominique Provost
Graphic design by Lukas Frei

All compositions and arrangements by Dave Douglas (Dave Douglas Music / BMI)
Commissioned by Handelsbeurs Concert hall (Gent, Belgium), in co production with KAAP/Concertgebouw Brugge; Jazzfest Berlin; November Music. With the additional support of the City of Ghent and Baloise Insurance.

Alabaster DePlume - GOLD (April 1, 2022 International Anthem)

The lightning rod for Alabaster DePlume’s luminous follow up to the widely-acclaimed 2020 release To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1 was personal. “Someone was going through a thing,” says the Mancunian poet-performer. “I said, ‘go forward in the courage of your love’. And then I thought 'yeah, that's what I need to hear as well’.”

Gold is a sonorous double album that celebrates the communal act of making music and the relationships that can be explored when you purposefully avoid the standard way of doing things.

It contains filmic pieces that oscillate between the otherworldly and the trenchantly grounded, rendered maximally human through the recording process. There is laughter mid-track and studio chatter. There is the music of shouting and applause generated by a handful of people who were listening from the doorframe and the corridor. Complex vocal harmonies circle the songs like small birds and there’s an undercurrent of steely toughness, necessitated by the musician’s engagement with personal vulnerability and collective politics.

In late summer 2020 Alabaster DePlume (real name Gus Fairbairn) booked two weeks of sessions at the influential Total Refreshment Centre in London, recording to tape with Kristian Craig Robinson (aka Capitol K). He invited a different set of musicians each day, who would record the same tunes at the same speed so that DePlume – who produced the record – could cut them together later, like ingredients. “They didn’t have enough preparation to be able to hide behind this piece of material or skill,” he says. “They had to look up and respond to each other, and that’s what we've recorded.”

There were two rules that were essential to the process: that musicians wouldn’t be given enough time to rehearse and that they wouldn’t listen back to the music they recorded. “The method is part of the mission. It wasn’t like school. We had mayhem. We were having fun. That’s the story and the process – and I want to live that way,” he says.

The singer and percussionist Falle Nioke’s solo on “Again” is an example of the album’s unusual and liberating recording process. The tune was planned as an instrumental but Falle sang out spontaneously, and stilled the room with his arresting contribution. “He was just one voice in the choir but he suddenly sang lead because he felt it,” says DePlume. “It’s one example of what we were able to record,” he says, “because people felt genuinely personally welcome. Their own voices were made welcome. That is what this album is made of and it’s what the best things in our society are made of. We can either make people welcome or we can make them unwelcome; unseen.”

After the recording, the artist made a map, because frankly he needed a map after recording more than 17 hours of music. The map dictated which bits of each session to pull into the orbit of the record and it was drawn on a long scroll of paper with lines drawn across it, each line representing one analog tape. The triangles, dots and colors – red for fire, pink for beauty and blue for breath – shaped what emerged. The map has since been requisitioned for a gallery exhibition, and a photograph appears on the Gold artwork.

The music that emerged ranges from sparse understated bangers “Fucking Let Them” and the hypnotic pulse of “Visitors XT8B – Oak” to skilfully soothing instrumentals which will feel familiar to the many people who found To Cy & Lee a pandemic panacea (including Bon Iver, who sampled that album’s top track, “Visit Croatia”).

Gold opens with the Portuguese-titled “A Gente Acaba” which itself opens with the hum of voices, rich and human. There are gentle strings, gently strummed. The saxophone leaves vibrating trails in the air. “The Sound of My Feet On This Earth Is A Song To Your Spirit” is beauty and breath, generating the kind of deep warmth and connection that requires no lyrical explanation.
There is circularity. One piece of music arrives and leaves repeatedly, and a phrase is repeated:

I have all I need for the glory of being. I recognise you and celebrate. I am brazen, like a baby, like the stupid sun and I go forward in the courage of my love.

“I’m Good At Not Crying” is a self-accusatory lullaby that lists out the things he excels at (not eating much, not being the bad guy) whilst plaintive and harmonically-rich singers spill and spiral around the low tones of his voice.

On “People What’s The Difference” he unpicks the selective deafness that surrounds the refugee crisis within a gentle punk-funk frame and towards the end, there’s a lament for the broken earth marked out with plucked strings and harmonies that dip in and out like sharp bells. Softness, in the hands of this Mancunian poet-performer, can be a weapon.

“The reason for To Cy & Lee was to help people have peace,” he says. “The reason to make Gold is to give people courage and love by putting myself in a situation where I had to bring courage and love. It’s how I made it, it’s what it’s about. It’s what we need next.”

This is the sound of an artist attempting full transparency and maximum relationship. It is also the sound of an artist who has achieved the sound he hoped for. This is the sound of soft power. It’s golden.

- album writeup by Emma Warren 

1. A Gente Acaba (Vento Em Rosa)
2. Don’t Forget You’re Precious
3. Fucking Let Them
4. The World Is Mine
5. The Sound Of My Feet On This Earth Is A Song To Your Spirit
6. I'm Gonna Say Seven
7. Do You Know A Human Being When You See One?
8. Visitors YT15B – Jerusalem, Palestine
9. I’m Good At Not Crying
10. Now (Stars Are Lit)
11. Again (feat. Falle Nioke)
12. Mrs Calamari
13. People: What's The Difference?
14. Visitors XT8B – Oak
15. Who Is A Fool
16. I Will Not Be Safe
17. Visitors YT15 – Krupp Steel Condition Pivot
18. Broken Like
19. Now (Pink Triangle, Blue Valley)

Alabaster DePlume – tenor sax, guitar, synths and voice
Falle Nioke – voice, percussion
Rozi Plain – guitar
Sarathy Korwar – drums, tabla
Tom Skinner – drums
Kenichi Iwasa – percussion
James Howard – guitar
Tom Herbert – double bass
Natalie Pela – voice
Rosa Slade – voice
Elly Condron – voice
Luisa Gerstein – voice
Matt Webb – double bass
Michael Chestnutt – synths
Ursula Russell – drums
Conrad Singh – guitar
Hannah Miller – cello and voice
Donna Thompson – voice
Paddy Steer – synths and percussion
Danalogue – voice and synths
Matthew Bourne – piano
Dilip Harris – Small clone and mimeophon

Produced by Alabaster DePlume.
Engineered by Kristian Craig Robison at Total Refreshment Centre.
Mixed by Dilip Harris.
Mastered by Greg Obis at Chicago Mastering Service.

Artwork by Raimund Wong.
Photography by Chris Almeida.
Scan of the map by Fabrice Bourgelle.
Layout and insert design by Craig Hansen.

Special consultation on production and mix engineer from Danalogue.
Sequencing consultation from Scottie McNiece.
Titling consultation from poet Chris Almeida.
Management consultation from Stephen Bass.

NEW RELEASE: GRAMMY® Nominated Vocalist Catherine Russell's 'Send For Me' is out April 1, 2022 via Dot Time Records

GRAMMY® Nominated Vocalist Catherine Russell to Release New Album,
Send For Me, Out April 1, 2022 via Dot Time Records

Release Tour Kicks off February 4 through May 13

“One of jazz’s most celebrated vocalists…a dogged song sleuth with a vast and varied book of salty blues, swooning ballads, pre World War II pop tunes, and vintage R&B.”
– San Francisco Chronicle

“At a moment when the world can seem out of balance, it’s still possible for a musician to project a groundedness and a joy…a strength, good humour and intelligence…”
– New York Times 

GRAMMY®-nominated vocalist Catherine Russell, when asked to characterize her new album, Send For Me, replied, “I love romance that swings.” Due out on April 1, 2022 via Dot Time Records, Send For Me features a baker’s dozen of newly recorded tunes on her eighth album as a leader, meeting a simple exacting standard. “Songs that inspire or touch me in some way. When I find a song I like, it haunts me until I learn it.” Her mission is finding songs that you might not have heard but deserve attention. 

Russell’s deep connection to her chosen material is part of a calling. As the daughter of pioneering and legendary musicians, pianist/orchestra leader/composer/arranger Luis Russell, and bassist/guitarist/vocalist Carline Ray, Catherine Russell was born into jazz royalty. In culling material for her new album from the likes of Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Luis Russell, Betty Carter, Kay Starr, Joe Liggins, Earl King, Jack Teagarden, Helen Humes, Frank Sinatra, Dakota Staton, Henry Red Allen, and Louis Armstrong, the vocalist swims in familiar waters. She sings a language that comes naturally, furthering a profound legacy.

Send For Me is a follow up to Russell’s 2019 release Alone Together, which received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and landed on the JazzWeek year-end radio chart as the #1 most played album. “I like to invite the people in,” she says of her new album, which is also her philosophy of performing live. The album is an invitation, welcoming the audience to come along on a journey.

Send For Me”, the title track, was first recorded by Nat King Cole, and became a crossover hit in 1957, reaching #1 on the U.S. R&B charts, and #6 on the U.S. Pop Chart. “Nobody thinks of Nat King Cole as a blues singer, but he sang some really great blues,” observes Russell.

At The Swing Cats Ball”  has a strong family connection.  Russell recalls, “My mother had given me sheet music a long time ago, saying, ‘your father co-wrote this tune, and Louis Jordan covered it.’” The song was among the first recordings by Louis Jordan. Luis Russell never recorded his tune, although he performed it on gigs. “We found a live version performed by my dad’s orchestra on a radio broadcast, and we adapted his arrangement. I love the image of people going to a swing dance.”

Another highlight is “Make It Last,” a gorgeous standard written by Dick Haymes and Bill Paxton, made famous by Betty Carter in 1958. “A good friend of mine sent me “Make it Last” and when I heard it I said, ‘wow, this is another great tune with an interesting chord progression, and a Melba Liston horn arrangement.’ Another connection: Russell’s mother worked with trombonist/arranger Liston and a young Russell had seen Betty Carter perform, leaving a great impression. “Make It Last” is about holding onto what’s really important, and hoping it will continue.  “It’s not wanting to lose a beautiful moment, because tomorrow the moment may be gone,” the singer reflects. 
Catherine Russell by Sandrine Lee

Going Back To New Orleans” was written and originally recorded by Joe Liggins, who shared bills in the late 1940s with both Luis Russell and His Orchestra and The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, including Catherine’s mother, Carline Ray, on guitar and vocals. Interestingly, these intersections happened years before Luis Russell and Carline Ray first met in 1955; Luis was 23 years her senior and they married before Catherine was born in 1956.  

Russell’s professional life began at age 7, when she first took the stage as a dancer with Katherine Dunham’s company for four seasons at The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Aida. After graduating with honors from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she was fortunate to work with David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Levon Helm, Wynton Marsalis, Dr. John, Rosanne Cash, Toshi Reagon, and Carrie Smith, among others. Russell performed extensively as a backup singer, multi-instrumentalist, and lead singer, before launching her solo recording career in 2006. She amassed decades of experience touring and recording with cutting edge songwriters and iconic artists, appearing on over 200 albums.

Co-producers Katherine Miller, Paul Kahn and Catherine Russell, the team behind Russell’s albums, Alone Together (2019) and Harlem On My Mind (2016), both GRAMMY® nominees for Best Jazz Vocal Album, are reunited on Send For Me, their 6th album together. The winning streak began with Inside This Heart of Mine (2010), which reached #1 on iTunes  and Amazon jazz charts. Strictly Romancin’ (2012) was awarded the Prix du Jazz Vocal (Vocal Album of The Year) by the French Jazz Academy and Grand Prix du Hot Club de France. Her fifth solo album, Bring It Back (2014), received a 5 Star Review in Downbeat Magazine

Significant film and TV credits include Russell contributing the song, “Crazy Blues,” as a featured artist on the 2012 GRAMMY® winning soundtrack album of the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire.  In 2017, she performed the song on PBS-TV’s Great Performances special, ‘Grammy Salute To Music Legends’. In 2019, she had a cameo in the feature film Bolden, a biopic about jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden, while also contributing lead vocals on two songs to Wynton Marsalis’s soundtrack album.

Russell’s versatility shines through on an array of new recordings released over the past 18 months. She added harmony vocals on albums by Sarah Jarosz (a GRAMMY® Award winner for Best Americana Album in 2021), Brett Eldredge, and Little Feat, while also contributing a song on renowned banjo player Tony Trischka’s new album Shall We Hope. In addition, she appeared as a guest lead vocalist on albums by Andy Farber and His Orchestra (Early Blue Evening), reedman Evan Arntzen (Countermelody), and on Steven Bernstein’s MTO featuring Catherine Russell, Good Time Music, the second album in the four-part Community Music series by trumpet player and arranger, Steven Bernstein. Russell continues to tour with Steely Dan, as recently as in the fall of 2021, and she sings on two new releases including Northeast Corridor Live! and a live version of the acclaimed album by Donald Fagen, The Nightfly Live. 

Sixteen years into her solo career, Catherine Russell is on the move. Her band, including guitarist/musical director Matt Munisteri, pianist Mark Shane, bassist Tal Ronen, and drummer Mark McLean, has performed at major festivals on four continents, while also selling out concert halls from SFJazz Miner Auditorium in San Francisco, to Zankel Carnegie Hall in New York City, to Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. In addition, Catherine has appeared as a featured vocalist with today’s leading big bands and symphony orchestras including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, Count Basie Orchestra, Andy Farber and His After Midnight Orchestra, Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Russia; Miami’s New World Symphony, The Philly Pops, and The Pasadena Pops Orchestra. Most recently, Russell joined forces with John Pizzarelli to perform a salute to Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. 

As Catherine sings on the title track of her new album, “Anywhere, Oh Yeah, Send For Me, and I’ll be there.”

1. Did I Remember (Harold Adamson, Walter Donaldson)
2. Send For Me  (Ollie Jones)
3. At The Swing Cats Ball (Luis Russell, William Campbell)
4. Make It Last (Dick Haymes, Bill Saxton)
5. Going Back To New Orleans (Joe Liggins)
6. If I Could Be With You  (James P. Johnson, Henry Creamer)
7. You Can Fly High  (Earl King, John Vincent)
8. East of The Sun (and West of the Moon) (Brooks Bowman)
9. In The Night  (Norman Mapp)
10. You Stepped Out of A Dream (Nacio Herb Brown, Gus Kahn)
11. Blue And Sentimental  (Count Basie, Mack David, Jerry Livingston)
12. Sticks and Stones (Cavanaugh/Razaf/Palmer)
13. Million Dollar Smile  (Porter Roberts, Lionel Hampton)

Upcoming Catherine Russell Tour Dates 2022

Feb 4-5 / The Lift at Cascade Village/ Durango, CO
Feb 14-19/ Birdland / New York, NY
Mar 9-10 / Jazz St. Louis / St. Louis, MO
Mar 15  / Theatre at Renovation Square / Rochester, NY
Mar 16 / Sarasota Jazz Festival / Sarasota, FL
Mar 18-19 / Jazz Forum / Tarrytown, NY
Mar 24 / Carnegie Hall / New York, NY
Mar 26 / Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center / New York, NY
Mar 31 / Jimmy’s / Portsmouth, NY
Apr 1 / Scullers / Boston, MA
Apr 8 / Modlin Center for The Arts / Richmond, VA
Apr 14-17 / Jazz Alley/ Seattle, WA
Apr 19 / Yoshi’s / Oakland, CA
Apr 20  / Kuumbwa Jazz / Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 21 / Irvine Barclay Theatre / Irvine, CA
Apr 29 / Festival Hall / Greensboro, GA
May 6 / Kupferberg Center for The Arts / Queens, NY
May 7 / Kingsborough Community College / Brooklyn, NY
May 13 / Kleinhans Music Hall / Buffalo, NY

Catherine Russell · Send For Me
Dot Time Records · Release Date: April 1, 2022 

For more information on Catherine Russell, please visit:

Lisa Hilton | "life is beautiful" | Available April 1

Lisa Hilton and her trio with
Luques Curtis and Rudy Royston
Present an Optimistic Vision
Celebrating Hilton’s 25th Stateside Album:
life is beautiful

Out April 1 / PreOrder March 1

"Attention grabbing!” -KVNF Radio

Lisa Hilton and her trio, manifest a memorable experience on life is beautiful, their third recording of the pandemic era, and the acclaimed pianist, composer, and producer’s twenty-fifth album as a leader in the US. On it, Hilton indulges her love of the piano with ten original tracks and the cover gem, Ernie’s Blues, (written by Ernie Wilkins). Backed by her ever-excellent band mates: Rudy Royston on drums and Luques Curtis on bass, Hilton’s elegantly swinging piano and engaging compositions encompass a range from traditional tracks, Latin, blues and retro seamlessly. Royston continually hits the marks on his kit, and Curtis shows off plenty of style over this splendid repertoire of compositions. 
The album begins with an impressive bass solo from Curtis on the classic Ernie’s Blues. The tune’s complex chords and loose bluesy passages allow accomplished soloing from Hilton as well. Retro Road Trip highlights Royston’s rhythm skills and has a bit of a Prokofiev energy amid mid-century grooves. Inspired by classic American Standards, Hilton includes two romantic compositions here: So This Is Love and Nightingales and Fairy Tales - both evoking nostalgic charms and reminiscent of some of Bill Evans work in his sixties period. Too Hot dips into modal ideas creating its own melodic atmosphere. Hilton includes two Latin flavored compositions: Stepping Into Paradise as well as Santa Monica Samba, that show the versatility of the trio in mingling different Latin styles together effortlessly. Seduction is a solo piano piece that Hilton has recorded before, (some other tracks have also been recorded on past albums), with a new extended version here, showcasing Hilton’s love for the blues. Temporary Lullaby, written for Hilton’s daughter, is a melodic standout. In her liner notes, it mentions that More Than Another Day nods to Miles Davis, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Cole Porter.
Besides his work with Hilton, Royston has collaborated with an ever-expanding list of iconic jazz musicians such as Ron Miles, Bill Frisell, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Tia Fuller. Curtis, an equally sought-after collaborator, has worked with Eddie Palmieri, Orrin Evans, Christian Scott, Sean Jones, and many more. About planning a recording session this far into the pandemic years, Hilton notes: “I think all musicians right now are hungry to play, so it feels really good when we have the opportunity to get together all day in the studio when we record. Despite the masks and other challenges, musicians need to create music. It sounds simplistic, but that's how we thrive.” Hilton has continued to compose, perform and produce an album a year in a trio, quartet, quintet or solo piano setting, and is a familiar name at the top of charts like Jazz Week, ZMR, and #1 Amazon New Releases. Hiltons albums also regularly appear on some “Best Of” lists” at All About Jazz or other sites, and popular music collections like Apple’s Pure Jazz Playlist.

Lisa Hilton’s new album, life is beautiful, is available everywhere April 1, 2022.

Lisa Hilton | life is beautiful
Release Date: April 1, 2022

For more information on Lisa Hilton, please visit:

Bryan McAllister - I'll Meet You There (April 1, 2022 Redhill Records)

Written in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, "I'll Meet You There" is a series of songs about the journey towards living a more equanimous life. The album is conceptually based around Rumi's "A Great Wagon" and explores lessons, experiences, and meditations that point towards a 'middle way' in life. Two short meditations separate the album into three parts, considering the suffering inherent in life, and the suffering brought on through reactivity. The final track is a lovingkindness prayer.

As Rumi said, "There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

Thank you for reading and listening.

1. Mr. Henderson Saves The World
2. Bullseye
3. The First Arrow
4. The Path
5. Rain On The Mountain
6. The Second Arrow
7. Broken Window
8. Redhill (105)

Casey Lipka - voice
Levi Saelua - alto saxophone
Brandon Sherman - trumpet
Gregory Uhlmann - guitar
Bryan McAllister - keyboard
Zack Teran - bass
Greg Lewis - drums

Horns recorded by Tristan Dolce at BIG EGO in Long Beach, CA
Mixed by Colin Christian
Mastered by Will Borza
Produced by Bryan McAllister and Chris Luard

Album art by Shweta Mahajan

All music and lyrics by Bryan McAllister (ASCAP)
©Bryan McAllister Music (ASCAP), 2021, All rights reserved

Wajazz series - WaJazz: Japanese Jazz Spectacle Vol​.​I - Deep, Heavy and Beautiful Jazz from Japan 1968​-​1984 - The Nippon Columbia masters - Selected by Yusuke Ogawa (Universounds) April 1, 2022 180g

Universounds, HMV Record Shop and 180g team up for an exceptional release: from blazing hard bop to free jazz, to introspective saxophone solos and massive big band sounds, renowned Japanese jazz expert Yusuke Ogawa presents an essential 14 track collection of “WaJazz” music taken from the Nippon Columbia vaults. Featuring Jiro Inagaki, Minoru Muraoka, Hiroshi Suzuki, Hozan Yamamoto, Count Buffalo, Takeshi Inomata, and much more!

● Essential 14 track collection of “WaJazz” music selected and compiled by renowned Japanese jazz expert Yusuke Ogawa, owner of the Universounds record store in Tokyo.

● Gatefold 180g heavy double vinyl LP. Comes with extensive track-by-track liner notes by Yusuke Ogawa.

● All tracks licensed by Nippon Columbia, Tokyo, Japan.

● Mastering and lacquer cut by Jukka Sarapää at Timmion Cutting Lab, Helsinki, Finland.

1. Tadaaki Misago & Tokyo Cuban Boys - Sakura Sakura
2. Minoru Muraoka with New Jazz Players - Muraiki (no digital, excerpt only)
3. Count Buffalo & The Jazz Rock Band - Mago-Uta
4. Kiyoshi Sugimoto Quartet - D-51 (no digital, excerpt only)
5. Toshiyuki Miyama & The New Herd - Adult’s Day
6. Soul Media - Breeze 04:35
7. George Otsuka - Sea View (no digital, excerpt only)
8. Hozan Yamamoto, Masahiko Togashi, Yosuke Yamashita - Breath Prologue (no digital, excerpt only)
9. Jiro Inagaki & Soul Media - Do It!
10. Hiroshi Suzuki - Romance 05:56
11. Masahiko Sato - Tochi Mo Kurumi Mo Fukiotose (no digital, excerpt only)
12. Masahiko Togashi - Fourth Expression
13. Takeshi Inomata & Sound Ltd. - Mustache (Live) (no digital, excerpt only)
14. Takeo Moriyama - Watarase

Armen Donelian - Fresh Start (April 1, 2022 Sunnyside Records)

When the history of Jazz during the COVID-19 pandemic gets written, Armen Donelian warrants a detailed chapter. Though he composed more than a dozen new pieces through the spring of 2021, the veteran pianist and educator didn’t use the downtime to reinvent his repertoire as much as he deepened his pianistic approach and sharpened his ears in the context of a supremely sensitive new trio with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Dennis Mackrel. The group’s unabashedly beautiful debut, Fresh Start, is Donelian’s 14th album and his 11th for Sunnyside, the label that has documented the bulk of his work as a leader since the mid-1980s.

Like many musicians facing canceled tours and gigs, Donelian sought to push back against the initial depression by redoubling his efforts on his instrument. Before long he’d suffered a practice-induced shoulder injury, which led him to concentrate on composing while he healed. When he started playing again after three months, Donelian continued honing his new pieces, but with a new mindset “that had nothing to do with technique and content,” he says. “Instead of focusing on what I was playing, I was focusing more on how I was playing, on touch, expression, and storytelling, allowing the sound to happen in its own way. That was the main focus of this album.”

Transforming one’s sound is a major undertaking for any musician, but for an acclaimed improviser stepping into his eighth decade it’s downright audacious. While his name might not be as widely known as some of his contemporaries, Donelian possesses all of the attributes, gifts, and paid dues of a heavyweight improviser, from formative stints with Sonny Rollins, Billy Harper, Chet Baker, and Mongo Santamaria to a discography marked by sublime and unmistakably personal projects documenting enduring relationships and ever-evolving compositional investigations.

Taking a year-long sabbatical from teaching responsibilities at the New School during the pandemic, Donelian solidified the Fresh Start trio, a group that renewed an old friendship and established a new one. Donelian and Anderson, one of the New York scene’s most sought-after bassists, got to know each other in the early ’80s when they worked occasionally as a duo. Though their career paths diverged, they reconnected about a decade ago via saxophonist Marc Mommaas, “which reminded me how much l liked Jay’s playing and planted an idea in the back of my mind,” Donelian says.

Fellow piano master Jim McNeely had recommended Mackrel, whom Donelian knew by reputation as a first-call bandmate. But their paths didn’t cross until about four years ago when the drummer came to hear Donelian’s trio at a Hudson Valley performance. “One of Dennis’s children was a student in the program that was sponsoring that concert and afterwards he said, ‘Armen, I really enjoyed your playing. Anytime you want to play, let me know.’ I saw a door opening. So I got together with Jay and Dennis to see if there was any chemistry between us. I loved what I heard, playing without ego or an agenda other than beauty and sound.”

With Mackrel and Anderson bringing a good deal of bandstand and studio history to Fresh Start, the trio’s foundation couldn’t be stronger. Since first making a mark together on Maria Schneider’s 1994 debut album Evanescence, they’ve played hundreds of gigs as a rhythm section tandem, including dates with pianist/arranger Russ Kassoff, pianist Ted Rosenthal, saxophonist Steve Wilson, and many other leading players. Their deep connection and conversational rapport are evident on every Fresh Start track produced, arranged, and led by Donelian.

In responding to the calamity of the pandemic, the trio offers a balm in troubled times. Healing and stimulating, it’s music that both soothes the soul and sparks the imagination, starting with the bittersweet bossa nova “Noviembre,” a moody piece that culminates in a taut exchange between Donelian and Anderson. The title track is a post-bop workout with a serpentine melody that keeps snaking back on itself. Anderson and Donelian take masterly solos while Mackrel keeps the narrative thread spinning.

Donelian has devoted himself to teaching from the earliest stages of his career. A proud champion of his former students, he includes two alluring pieces by rising musicians that serve the trio well. Vatan Rajan Singh’s winsome 5/4 ballad “Ferry Maiden” features a joyful solo by Anderson that displays his expansive lyricism. And Sophia Bondi contributes “In the Western Night,” a vehicle for the trio to ascend, awestruck, into a blues-drenched skyscape (an excerpt from another take of the piece, capturing some particularly lovely blues passages by Anderson and Donelian, serves as the album’s striking closing track).

No tune better captures the trio’s venturesome spirit than “Madagascar,” which uses Donelian’s two-chord vamp as a magic carpet carrying them deep into modal realms. The tension builds to a sumptuous climax, with a Mackrel passage that’s a marvel of textural calibration. No stranger to small group recordings, Mackrel is best known as one of the era’s finest big band drummers. Long before he directed the Count Basie Orchestra (2010-2013), he’d distinguished himself via his work with the American Jazz Orchestra, the Carla Bley Big Band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Buck Clayton’s Swing Band, the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band, and most notably the McCoy Tyner Big Band (whose Grammy Award-winning CDs The Turning Point and Journey feature four Mackrel arrangements).

Donelian takes the opportunity to offer a tribute to his former teacher, pianist Richie Beirach, with a gorgeous rendition of “Gale,” a tender melody that belies its fierce, gusty title. It’s been recorded by several other musicians, but not with such exquisite interplay. Harry Warren’s beseeching ballad “Never Let Me Go” offers another master class in melodic invention. And late saxophonist Makanda Ken McIntyre’s “Day Break,” which he recorded as a boiling up-tempo swinger on the 1976 album Open Horizon, gets reimagined as a luminous, spiritually charged ballad.

Donelian got to know McIntyre, a brilliant multi-instrumentalist, when they were on faculty together at the New School, and he’s one of several departed masters whose spirit inhabits Fresh Start. The samba-powered “Tirado” is dedicated to the late Brazilian Jazz masters, Cidinho Teixeira and Claudio Roditi. And Donelian dedicated the buoyantly celebratory “Janet Left the Planet” to the memory of two other exceptional musicians, vocalist Janet Lawson and bassoonist Janet Grice. The album’s biggest surprise is Donelian’s debut as a singer on Herb Magidson and Allie Wrubel’s “I’m Stepping Out with a Memory Tonight,” an overlooked American Songbook gem that was recorded by Ray Eberle and the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1939 before quickly being forgotten. His pleasing vocals along with his formidable pianistic skills should put the delightfully wistful tune back in circulation.
Born to Armenian parents living in New York City’s Jackson Heights neighborhood on December 1, 1950, Armen Hrant Donelian grew up in a household full of intellectual ferment. His Ottoman Empire-born father Khatchik Ohannes Donelian, who lost dozens of family members during the Armenian genocide, was a Columbia University-trained physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project. Growing up, Armen was surrounded by Classical and Armenian music, and from seven to 19 years old he studied piano at the Westchester Conservatory of Music in White Plains, NY.

Jazz entered the picture for Donelian at 12, through his older brother’s clarinet work in a Dixieland band directed by the great guitarist Arthur Ryerson Sr., a studio ace who recorded with everyone from Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to Charlie Parker and Fats Waller. Ryerson’s daughter Ali, now an eminent Jazz flutist, played in the band along with her three brothers. Entranced by the music’s energy, Donelian eventually joined the combo, where he learned numerous standards and more significantly how to swing.

Following his father’s path to Columbia University in 1968, Donelian immersed himself in music history, theory, composition, choral arrangement, and conducting, while supporting himself with a regular gig as a lounge pianist (and as a Blues and Folk guitarist). But his Jazz studies didn’t really commence until after graduation, when he fell under the sway of Beirach, a brilliantly probing improviser with a rarefied harmonic vocabulary who opened up a vast new musical universe for Donelian.

“But there came a point when I had to break away,” he says. “That’s a very natural process that I often see as a teacher myself. After Richie, I focused on developing my own sound. It was a long process of experimentation from 1980 until the mid-’90s when I feel I really came into my own voice after investigating contemporary Classical music more deeply, and my own Armenian roots.”

While studying with Beirach, Donelian absorbed a series of bandstand master classes with Jazz giants, starting in 1975 with Afro-Cuban percussion legend Mongo Santamaria. Touring internationally with the conguero’s Latin Jazz octet, he recorded four albums on the Fania label, including the Grammy Award-nominated Sofrito, which features three Donelian compositions.

After leaving Santamaria, Donelian immersed himself in Brazilian music, collaborating with artists such as pianist Dom Salvador, trumpeter Claudio Roditi, saxophonist Justo Almario, guitarist Amaury Tristão, and drummer Portinho. Freelancing around New York, he worked with established stars like Chet Baker, Lionel Hampton, Ted Curson, and Ray Barretto, and rising players such as Tom Harrell, Bob Berg, Rory Stuart, Keith Copeland, Ratzo Harris, Dennis Irwin, Jeff Williams, and Harvie S.

He reached his widest audience yet upon joining tenor titan Sonny Rollins’s band in 1977, a thrilling yet daunting experience for the young pianist. Some years later, tenor sax master Billy Harper hired him for a four-year run that brought Donelian to the attention of audiences in Europe and Japan and resulted in four acclaimed albums. “With Billy I felt that I was able to really bring in my own voice,” he says. “He’d take these 20-minute solos and I had to come in afterwards. Billy’s music is very powerful and very soulful. That was a really great time in my life.”

In the midst of his tenure in Harper’s band he made his recording debut as a leader with 1981’s Stargazer on the Japanese label Atlas, a trio session with drummer Billy Hart and bassist Eddie Gomez focusing on Donelian’s original compositions. He’s kept the format in play over the years, recording the highly regarded Trio ’87 with Norwegians Carl Morten Iversen (bass) and Audun Kleive (drums), and 2007’s Oasis and 2014’s Sayat-Nova: Songs of My Ancestors with bassist David Clark and drummer George Schuller. The latter project, featuring Donelian’s arrangements of songs by the legendary 18th-century Armenian poet and musician Sayat-Nova, was his last recording, and expanded on his longtime engagement with the music of his ancestral homeland where he resided as a 2002 Fulbright Scholar. After the decade-long endeavor, he took his time before starting his next album.

“I let the feeling develop organically,” he says. “I had all these thoughts about what I might want to do next, lists and lists of ideas like a Leonard Bernstein project or an album of Richard Rodgers tunes. There’s only so much you can do. Then the pandemic came and it was an opportunity for me to reexamine my approach to the piano and composing. But more than that I was looking to deepen how we listen and interact with each other in a responsive way, taking every particle of time as an opportunity to connect with and support each other, contributing in some way to a more beautiful sound.”

1. Noviembre
2. Fresh Start
3. Ferry Maiden
4. Madagascar
5. Gale
6. Never Let Me Go
7. Tirado
8. In The Western Night
9. Day Break
10. Janet Left The Planet
11. I'm Stepping Out with a Memory Tonight
12. Tales In The Western Night

Armen Donelian - piano
Jay Anderson - bass
Dennis Mackrel - drums

Asher Gamedze - out side work | two duets with Xristian Espinoza and Alan Bishop (April 1, 2022 Astral Spirits)

We are beyond thrilled to present the latest from South African drummer / cultural worker / organizer Asher Gamedze.  I'm sure many of you are familiar with his incredible debut Dialectic Soul (On The Corner, 2020) or his work with Angel Bat Dawid & Tha Brothahood, and we're happy to unveil another side of Gamedze's work with out side work | two duets. 

out side work | two duets is a very literal album as the album features Gamedze in a conversation of sorts, a recording made more for the enjoyment of playing together rather than being planned as a release.  Quite literally, the record consists of two improvised duets, one with fellow Brothahood member Xristian Espinoza (who's artwork graces the cover and insert of the record as well) and one with Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls, Alvarius B., Sublime Frequencies). 

As Gamedze mentions in the liner notes, this is "Free time" - both in terms of the music itself and the multi-directional possibilities that each duo aspires toward.  This record wasn't made to capitalize on anything, it focuses instead on those out side moments of possibility: music on the other side of Time.  

One of the things that makes Gamedze so unique is how his playing is both conversational but also slyly lifts up those around him.  His writing and playing on Dialectic Soul drove the group behind the album, and the same can be said here on out side work | two duets. Xristian Espinoza & Alan Bishop shine, painting, stretching and conversing with Time. Whilst channeling a playful urgency, their ideas unfurl with an unhurried and patient logic.  All in real time, free time, out side of time, and that is truly what makes this album an amazing new statement from Gamedze, Espinoza & Bishop, furthering what each has done and will do long into the future. 

ASHER GAMEDZE ON out side work | two duets

1. (with xristian): robbing the clock
2. (with xtristian): robbing the clock (EXCERPT)
3. (with alan): wild cats strike
4. (with alan) wild cat strike (EXCERPT)

tenor saxophone and percussion on 'robbing the clock': xristian espinoza
alto saxophone and voice on 'wild cat strike': alan bishop
drum kit on both sides: asher gamedze

Soylent Green - Soylent Green (April 1, 2022)

This is our debut album and it reflects our experiences and influences.

We are deeply blessed to be creating music and we hope that you can listen deeply and share in our joy which is deeply sewn into the fabric of this record.

This music was made on Kaurna land and we acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.

1. Intro
2. 88301
3. Caution
4. Inner Peace
5. Seven Fold
6. Chamelaucium Uncinatum
7. Poly
8. Triskaidekaphobia
9. Saudade

Daniel Isler - Trumpet
Ruby Mensforth - Trombone
Giacomo Guttilla - Alto Saxophone
Ciara Ferguson - Piano
Tasha Stevens - Bass
Cam Tonkin - Drums

Mixed and Mastered at Wizard Tone Studios
Engineered and Mixed by James Brown
Mastered by Jarrad Payne
Album Artwork by Peter Dudding courtesy of Studio A

Rob Clearfield & Quin Kirchner - Concentric Orbits (April 1, 2022 Astral Spirits)

Happy to announce the latest from Chicago-based percussionist Quin Kirchner, this time in an intimate duo setting with France-based pianist Rob Clearfield. Concentric Orbits is Clearfield & Kirchner's gorgeous debut recording as a duo, although they have a long history of playing together over the years in Chicago.

You will likely remember Clearfield from his standout playing on Kirchner's The Shadows and The Light (2020, Astral Spirits), and here on Concentric Orbits he takes a bit more of the foreground on the piano with Kirchner's solid, driving support moving the proceedings along.

The two sidelong tracks offer different sides of the duo; "Orbit 1" dives in with a insistent and repetitive left piano groove that eventually unfolds into a splattering of free improv that subsides. Cymbals, bells and more from Kirchner lead us through the second half of the track, with Clearfield continuing variations on the original ostinato through to the ending. "Orbit 2" jumps out immediately with a percussive attack complimented by Clearfield's prepared piano that mirrors the percussive sounds without overpowering. Kirchner's groove rides powerfully through the majority of the track, with some truly stirring playing from Clearfield on the second half.

It's worth noting that Concentric Orbits came out of the same sessions as Kirchner's The Shadows and The Light. Clearfield & Kirchner happened to find themselves at the session earlier than the other musicians and decided to roll tape. The loose "let's see what happens" vibe helps give focus to why Concentric Orbits is so beautiful and important without being self-important. Even though it may not have seemed as substantial as Kirchner's album at the time, it stands on equal footing as yet another beautiful document of these players growth and maturity.

"When we were recording The Shadows and The Light, it was tricky to coordinate because I had 8 other people on the session over a couple days and no one could be there the whole time. One of the reasons we were doing the session that week was because I knew Rob was going to be in town from France and I definitely wanted him to play on it. As it turned out, he and I were the only musicians able to be there first thing on the second day, so I suggested we just record some duo things. Without any planning we just dove in, and what you hear on this album are the first two pieces we played, in order. We also did a third one - I used my sampler and Rob switched to Wurlitzer - and what we made eventually became Batá Chop on Shadows, after adding Matt Ulery & Greg Ward. I originally thought I'd use excerpts of our improvisations as vignettes on the album, but after taking in all the material from our session, it became clearer to me and Rob that it was kind of great on its own and we ought to keep it that way. We're happy to finally be presenting it to you now." - Quin 

1. Orbit 1
2. Orbit 2
3. Orbit 1 (excerpt 1)
4. Orbit 1 (excerpt 2)
5. Orbit 1 (excerpt 3)
6. Orbit 1 (excerpt 4)
7. Orbit 2 (excerpt 1)
8. Orbit 2 (excerpt 2)
9. Orbit 2 (excerpt 3)

Rob Clearfield - Piano
Quin Kirchner - Percussion

Recorded at Decade Music Studios in Chicago 9/17/19
Engineered by Nick Broste & Brian Sulpizio
Mixed by Nick Broste at Shape Shoppe
Mastered by Mikey Young
Produced by Quin Kirchner

Artwork & Layout by Mason McFee

Angelicus - Approach (April 1, 2022 Improved Sequence)

500 copies, 100 on Transparent Black Vinyl.
CD ships April 1st
LP ships June 10th

Project: Angelicus
Album title: Approach
Dirk Dresselhaus (Die Angel, Schneider TM), John Duncan, Ilpo Väisänen (Die Angel), Zappi (Faust)
LP + CD released by Improved Sequence

Strange attractors. Zappi's subtle tribal rhythms. Powerdrone electronics by Dresselhaus and Väisänen. Duncan's lyrics and vocals. Sublime and daunting.

1. Toll
2. Tanzcandid
3. Slither

Paolo Zou - Venus (April 1, 2022 Auand Records)

Paolo Zou, Venus
The new multifaceted, colorful album by Italian guitar player Paolo Zou, out now on Auand Records

Italian guitar player Paolo Zou’s new record, conceived over the lockdown weeks in early 2020, is intentionally nuanced and filled with different music moods. Such stylistic variety is key to Zou’s career, which includes electronic music production, reggae-ska, as well as appearances in the pop and hip-hop scene.

Released by Auand Records, “Venus” will be available on April 1st – singles from the album will pop up on all streaming platforms starting Friday, March 4th.

«Just like every composition I’ve made – Paolo Zou explains – I first figured out who I wanted to record with in my first album as a leader, then I started writing music, focusing on the musician I picked.» The lineup includes Adriano Matcovich on electric bass (plus vocals on one track) and Dario Panza on drums.

«On our first rehearsal – Zou recalls – there was immediately a deep understanding with the three of us, and a very similar approach to jazz and improvised music. When it comes to writing, I usually do everything at home, on paper, often including bass and drums. Agreeing with them on basically everything music-related was a breeze! We all have an open, inclusive mind. And we share a varied taste in music: ranging from jazz, trap, soul, and pop, to classical.»

“Venus” is a colorful, richly nuanced album, partly because of Zou’s personal experience: a slight form of synaesthesia, which allows him to feel a connection in sounds, colors and shapes. He decided to highlight this specific aspect of creativity – something that has intrigued artists, writers and poets, such as Baudelaire and Kandisnky, over the centuries.

«In this album – he adds – I wanted to make room for the colors evoked by songs, regardless of who wrote them. This is why every track title (except for some interludes) recalls an object with the color of that track: Venus is yellow, Orhis is red, Covellite is blue, Adamite green, while Is Arutas is white.»

1 Seahorse #1
2 Is Arutas
3 Seahorse #2
4 Orhis
5 Seahorse #3
6 Covellite
7 Seahorse #4
8 Venus
9 Seahorse #5
10 Adamite
11 Seahorse #6
12 Black Onyx

Paolo Zou - guitar
Adriano Matcovich - electric bass
Dario Panza - drums

Recorded at Jedi sound Studio on October 30-31, 2020 by Jesse Jermanò.
Mixed at Jedi Sound Studio in February 2021 by Alessandro Donadei.