Aaron Parks, piano / Mike Moreno, guitar / Matt Penman, bass / Eric Harland, drums Parks came to the attention of Blue Note during his five-year tenure with Terence Blanchard, during which he appeared on three of the trumpeter’s acclaimed Blue Note albums: Bounce, Flow and A Tale of God’s Will. Parks is now delighted to follow the example of another Blanchard alum, Lionel Loueke, who debuted on Blue Note with the evocative album Karibu in March 2008. “I’m thrilled to be a part not only of the classic Blue Note legacy, but also the new legacy, which includes Terence, Lionel, Robert Glasper, Jason Moran, Cassandra Wilson and so many great artists,” Parks enthuses. Invisible Cinema finds Parks in excellent form as both a soloist and composer, buoyed by the support of guitarist Mike Moreno, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland. Together and apart, these players have assumed roles at the forefront of jazz in the new millennium. Harland has made lasting music with Geri Allen, the legendary Charles Lloyd and of course Terence Blanchard, in whose band Harland first encountered the young Aaron Parks. Moreno, fast becoming one of the most sought-after plectrists of his generation, featured Parks on his own acclaimed debut album, Between the Lines. Penman, Harland and Parks were also heard to great effect on the bassist’s 2007 release, Catch of the Day. Parks recalls a Harland-led quartet tour of Japan, with Penman and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, as “one of the most amazing musical experiences of my life. Playing with that rhythm section is so easy. They just fit each other like a glove.” If Penman and Harland were a natural choice for Invisible Cinema, Mike Moreno was the puzzle piece that brought it to completion. “With the guitar quartet, these songs really started to make sense to me,” Parks notes. “It was exactly the sonic environment I needed. Mike and I have played together with Kendrick Scott, in John Ellis’s band and so many other contexts. There’s this lyricism about his playing that I’m really into.” At its core, Invisible Cinema is an acoustic jazz record, yet it evokes other sonic and rhythmic frontiers through the use of subtly added keyboards, meticulously varied guitar sounds and unorthodox beats. “I’d sometimes give Eric a very specific drum part to learn,” Parks explains. “But as soon as he’d get what I wanted, I’d tell him to forget it, let it go.” In this way, Parks coaxed free interaction and discovery from all involved. “The music that I write has a lot of structure, a lot that’s written into the pieces, but there’s also room for new things to happen at the same time. I like writing songs that are simple on some level, letting the musicians work their magic in those little nebulous cracks, the spaces I leave open.”
Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Tribe Called Quest (DJ Set)
Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Tribe Called Quest (DJ Set)
Ayelet Rose Gottlieb
Ayelet Rose Gottlieb Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, vocals / Anat Fort, piano / Sean Conly, bass / Allison Miller, drums / Loren Stillman, saxophone Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's sound draws on a wide range of musical approaches. In her music you will find a unique improvisational approach infused with elaborate composition, spiced up with Middle Eastern scales and adventurous texts. Ayelet's anticipated second CD, "Mayim Rabim" was released in 2006 for John Zorn's Tzadik Records. It features a song cycle she composed and arranged to ten segments of text from the erotic biblical love poem "Song of Songs." "Mayim Rabim is a small wonder, a beautiful gem," said Billboard.com. Gottlieb took this project one step further by collaborating with director Franny Silverman and video artist Renate Aller to transform "Mayim Rabim/Great Waters" into a multi-media performance piece. Their collaboration received a BRIC grant and residency and was performed as part of 2007 BRIClab season in Brookyn, New York. All About Jazz-NY chose Gottlieb's debut album "InTernal- ExTernal" as Best Debut CD of 2004. Ralph Selliger of the New York Press described her musical esthetic: "She takes what is at hand in her life and connects it with her musical training, her heritage and her creative instinct." The InTernal-ExTernal project evolved into Ayelet's Jazz Sextet, a band she continually leads in performances in various New York City jazz clubs such as Sweet Rhythm, Cornelia Street Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club and Makor. The band, in all its incarnations, has been working together since 2002. Ayelet has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, Ed Schuller, Yitzhak Yedid, Arnie Lawrence, Anat Fort, Paquito D'Rivera, Alon Yavnai, the Israel Contemporary String Quartet, Rufus Cappadocia, Avishai Cohen, Loren Stillman, Frank London, Perry Robinson, and Sir George Martin. She performed in many concert halls, including the Israeli Opera House (TLV), Alice Tully Hall (NY), Jordan Hall (Boston), Safra Hall (NY), and in festivals and conventions including Sephardic Music Festival (NY), and Israel Festival (Jerusalem, TLV). She continues to explore musical adventures, and recently formed the Arugula Quartet featuring voice, sax, guitar and percussion. The unusual instrumentation challenges each member of the quartet to redefine their role within the ensemble. Gottlieb was born in 1979 in Jerusalem, Israel. Her mother's family traces Sephardic roots in Jerusalem back to 1492, while her father is an immigrant from Switzerland. She was surrounded by many genres of music from day one. During her childhood and youth she played classical flute, and studied at the Arts High School in Jerusalem. While in Israel, Ayelet often collaborated with saxophone great, Arnie Lawrence. She moved to Boston in 2000 to complete her musical education at the New England Conservatory, where she studied with such notable jazz artists as George Russell, Dominique Eade, and Ran Blake and was chosen to be a member of the Conservatory's Honors Improvisation Ensemble. Currently living in New York, Ayelet continues to explore the elaborate world of music making. Besides working on her own projects, she composes and performs musical scores for theater groups such as the "Bull Family Orchestra" and "StorahTelling". Ayelet's music was recently featured on Marcia Jean Kurtz's Between Two Worlds (HB Playwrites Theater)
Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber
Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber Greg Tate, conduction/laptop / Lisala, vocals / Karma Mayet Johnson, vocals / Maya Acuzena, vocals / Justice Dilla X, vocals / Mikel Banks, vocals/freak-a-phone / Lewis "Flip" Barnes Jr., trumpet / Micah Gaugh, alto sax / Avram Fefer, tenor sax / Paula Henderson, bari sax / Josh Sinton, bari clarinet / Dave Smith, trombone / Miles Reilly. piano / Bruce Mack, synthesizer / Ben Tyree, guitar / Asim Barnes, guitar / Andre Lassalle, guitar / Rene Akan, guitar / Mazz Swift, violin/vocals / Will Martina, cello / Jason DiMatteo, acoustic bass / Jared Michael Nickerson, electric bass / Trevor Holder, drums BURNT SUGAR is a territory band, a neo-tribal thang, a community hang, a society music guild aspiring to the condition of all that is molten, glacial, racial, spacial, oceanic, mythic, antiphonal and telepathic. Some of us play with Steve Coleman, some of us play in Rolling Stone cover bands, some have stints with Jeff Buckley, Gary Lucas and The The on their resumes, others can list James Blood Ulmer, The Holmes Brothers, Carl Hancock- Rux, Norah Jones, P-Funk, Sheryl Crow and Earthdriver. At least one of us is a graduate of The Actors Studio. Most are amazingly proficient and prolific composers and bandleaders in their own right. Post-Grunge to Post-Philly International to Post-Subotnick the flavors run. All take hats off to Miles Davis, Eddy Hazel, A.R. Kane, Sun Ra, Jimi Hendrix and the like for opening the gates and pushing us through. Butch Morris's Conduction System for orchestral improvisation is the preferred mode of channeling for this Gotham based ensemble of African-Americans, South Asians, Middle-Easterners, Oregonians, Minnesotans, Ohioans and Europeans. Everyone of them is a border crossing trans-national whether they'll admit it or not. Spontaneous combustion being an occupational hazard in Gotham, Burnt Sugar is how we keep it real, surreal, arboreal, aquatic, incendiary. If only because we might be mistaken for the world's second fully improvisational acid-funk band. To quote Arthur Jafa, we don't strive to be original, but aboriginal. Like the songlines and the dreaming, like Tracey Moffatt and The Last Wave, like Cubase and Cabrini Green. One foot in the prehistoric, the other in the post human. In this journey, you're the journal and we're the journalists. Houston, do you read and whatnot. --Greg Tate
By Any Means featuring William Parker, Charles Gayle, Rashied Ali
By Any Means William Parker, bass / Charles Gayle, saxophone / Rashied Ali, drums It is probably a very personal and subjective thing, but there is nothing in jazz that beats the clean, direct and undistorted naked sound of small improvising ensembles. It is often music straight from the heart of the musicians, without complicated arrangements or post-editing, but with depth, also speaking directly to the heart of the listener. And that is what I like about Charles Gayle. He is often criticized for his screaming and wailing, and sure, not everything he does is successful, but on this performance, recorded in Norköpping in Sweden in October last year, he is in great shape, as are of course William Parker and Rashied Ali, performing together under the band name "By Any Means". This is free jazz, free bop and free blues in its purest form, and a real joy from beginning to end. Gayle has the strange habit to play the main theme of the different tunes in a blaring, almost unrespectful way, as if he can't wait to start improvising, but once he starts doing that, his tone becomes warmer, richer, deeper and a real pleasure to hear. Parker and Ali are also at their best, both acting as full members of a trio, equally represented in getting the credits for the tracks as for the solo time they have. One of the highlights of the album is "Macchu Picchu", which starts with a 5 minute sensitive arco "intro" by Parker, which evolves into a slow and bluesy improvisation by Gayle. On the following track Ali shows all his skills, both in power-play and in rhythmic subtleties. The second part of the set is much more powerful than the first one, with Parker really bringing out the best in Gayle, in a more free environment, more expressive and creative, with Ali in a role which could befit Paul Motian, suggesting rhythms and accentuating where necessary. A strong performance.
Claudia Acuña Claudia Acuña, vocals / John Cowherd, piano / Juancho Herrera, guitar / Carlos Henderson, bass / Samuel
Torres, percussion / Yayo Serka, drums A pure, compelling and original voice hailed by the LA Times as an "instrument of wonder", Chilean singer/songwriter/arranger CLAUDIA ACUÑA draws upon the culture of her homeland by fusing Latin rhythms with her instinctive jazz sensibilities. Singing mostly in her mother tongue, Acuña makes it clear that music crosses all barriers - particularly when sung with her distinctive brand of authentic emotion. Legend and inspiration, Abbey Lincoln says, "Claudia sings in the tradition of the great ones. Her sound is her own." Born in Santiago and raised in Concepcion, Chile, Acuña began singing Chilean folk/pop, rock, fusion and opera, drawing inspiration from Chilean music pioneers Violeta Parra and Victor Jara. At the age of 15 she discovered her first "outside" musical model: Frank Sinatra. Acuña finally "felt at home" when she heard the voices of Sinatra, Erroll Garner and Sarah Vaughan. Moving to Santiago in 1991, she immediately gravitated to the local musicians and soon made a name for herself on the jazz scene, being featured on the club's live radio broadcast while sitting in with visiting musicians Wynton Marsalis, Michel Petrucciani, Joe Lovano and Danilo Perez. In 1995 Acuña made the move to New York City to fulfill her dreams, where she immediately became a fixture at local jam sessions and stints at infamous New York haunts with pianist Harry Whitaker at Arturo's and guitarist Ron Affif at the Zinc Bar. It was at the Greenwich Village hotbed of up-and-coming talent, Small's, where Acuña befriended pianist Jason Lindner, her closest collaborator to this day. Acuña was signed to Verve Records in 1999, and recorded her critically acclaimed debut WIND FROM THE SOUTH, followed by the much welcomed follow-up, RHYTHM OF LIFE. In 2004, MaxJazz recorded the beautiful LUNA, where, as noted by the Daily News, "Acuña transforms classics into something provocative and unexpected". Claudia has recorded, toured and performed with Tom Harrell, Billy Childs, George Benson, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Antonio Hart, Danilo Perez, Avishai Cohen, Avi Leibovich, Jeff Ballard, Guillermo Klein, Louis Vega/Masters at Work, Dana Leong, David Gilmore, Makoto Ozone, Arturo O'Farrill, Pablo Ziegler, Trio de Paz and was most recently featured on Amanecer, the latest release from Marsalis Music recording artist Joey Calderazzo. Acuña was recently appointed a spokesperson for WORLD VISION CHILE, an international Christian relief and development organization, delivering assistance during humanitarian emergencies to areas where it operates child-focused development programs. It is her greatest achievement.
Dafnis Prieto Sextet Dafnis Prieto, drums / Peter Apfelbaum, saxophones, melodica / Ralph Alessi, trumpet / Dave Binney - saxophones, Manuel Valera, piano / Charles Flores, bass His arrival in the U.S. has been compared by to that of an asteroid hitting New York. Indeed, within a short period of time Dafnis Prieto's revolutionary drumming techniques had a powerful impact on both the Latin and jazz music scene, locally and internationally. Having studied at the school of Fine Arts in Santa Clara as a youngster and later at the National School of Music in Havana, Prieto obtained a thorough classical education while broadening his knowledge of Afro-Cuban music, jazz and world music outside of the academy. He first toured Europe with pianists Carlos Maza and Ramon Valle and the groundbreaking group “Columna B.” A resident of New York since only 1999, he has already played in bands led by Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O'Farrill, Dave Samuels & The Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, Peter Apfelbaum, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdez, Claudia Acuna, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, Andrew Hill, among others. He has performed at many national and international music festivals as a sideman and as bandleader. As a composer, he has created music for dance, film, chamber ensembles, and most notably for his own bands, ranging from duets to his “Small Big Band” and including the distinctively different groups featured on his two acclaimed recordings as a leader, “About The Monks,” and “Absolute Quintet.” He has received new works commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, East Carolina University, Meet the Composer, Award as Up & Coming Musician of the Year by the JJA, 2006. Also a gifted educator, Prieto has conducted numerous master classes, clinics, and workshops. Since 2005, he has been a member of the NYU Music Faculty. Dafnis Prieto Absolute Quintet is a Grammy Nominee Record, 2006. Dafnis Prieto Latin Grammy Nominee for Best New Artist, 2007.
Don Byron's Ivey Divey Trio with Jason Moran and Billy Hart
Don Byron Ivey-Divey Trio Don Byron, clarinet / Jason Moran, piano / Eric Harland, drums For almost two decades, Don Byron has been a singular voice in an astounding range of musical contexts, exploring widely divergent traditions while continually striving for what he calls "a sound above genre." As clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, he redefines every genre of music he plays, be it classical, salsa, hip-hop, funk, klezmer, rhythm & blues, or any jazz style from swing and bop to cutting-edge downtown improvisation. Named after Byron’s 2004 release Ivey-Divey (nominated for a Grammy and voted “Record of the Year” by Jazz Times), the acclaimed trio expands on the album’s affectionate tribute to saxophone legend Lester Young and his great ’40s trio with pianist Nat “King” Cole and drummer Buddy Rich. With Jason Moran (piano) and Billy Hart (drums).
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey Brian Haas, piano / Josh Raymer, drums / Chris Combs, lap steel guitar / Matt Hayes, bass JFJO is pianist Brian Haas, drummer Josh Raymer, and bassist/effects wizard/guitarist Reed Mathis. To say that JFJO's music transcends boundaries and expands minds is an understatement. Since 1994, JFJO has brought their impressionistic and improvisational vision from the Midwest's Bible-Belt to many of the world's finest music festivals and clubs. Music listeners are blown away by JFJO's instrumental creativity, musical risk, and near telepathy on stage. In the past 18 months, JFJO has travelled to Europe three times for two dozen performances and have played at major jazz festivals all over the world. In 2007 JFJO is working on their fourteenth album, their fourth with Brooklyn-based Hyena Records, to create their most unique album yet. The Sameness of Difference was released in the Fall of 2005 and recorded in collaboration with acclaimed producer Joel Dorn. A 13 track collection of both covers and originals, it is a living, breathing testament to the 13 years that the ensemble has spent together. Throughout the album, the band explores their influences and offers interpretations of music by The Flaming Lips, Charles Mingus, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Dave Brubeck, The Beatles, Bjork and Jimi Hendrix. On JFJO's follow-up, Tomorrow We'll Know Today, a digital exclusive collection of live recordings from Europe and America, JFJO is found pushing their music even further. Improvisations such as "Nightlight" and "Gypsy Tea" create ambient sonic tapestries based on melody and sweeping tonal textures that sound like nothing you have ever heard. No, there is no member of the ensemble named Jacob Fred. The group's name came about in 1994 when JFJO was a septet and the name reflects the sense of humor in their approach to making music. 'Jazz Odyssey' comes from the scene in the hilarious mockumentary, 'This is Spinal Tap,' in which the rock group loses a member and must improvise their normally rocking performance with free-jazz and fusion. 'Jacob Fred' was a high-school monikir of Brian Haas. Once, when high-schoolers did not have cell phones and homes had just a single land line, Jacob Fred was Brian's CB radio handle and his nickname when girls' parents answered the phone late at night. The group also goes by the names The Fred and JFJO.
Jason Moran & Bandwagon
Jason Moran's Bandwagon Jason Moran, piano / Tarus Mateen, bass / Nasheet Waits, drums One of the most inventive pianists in modern jazz, Jason Moran grows in influence and stature each year. Born in 1975, Moran grew up in Houston. He started on the piano at 6 and was originally classically trained. At 13 he heard a recording of Thelonious Monk that inspired him to switch permanently to jazz. Moran attended Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After graduating, he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard. He also studied privately with Muhal Richard Abrams and Andrew Hill. In 1997 while still in college, Moran toured Europe with Greg Osby’s group, becoming a member of the band for a couple of years and making his first recording on Osby’s 1997 album Further Ado for Blue Note. Moran signed with Blue Note as a leader in 1999 and made his debut on Soundtrack to Human Motion. By the following year, he was leading a trio with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits that was named the Bandwagon. After recording a trio CD, the group became a quartet on its next CD with the inclusion of saxophonist Sam Rivers. Moran’s 2002 solo album Modernistic was highlighted by his deconstruction of James P. Johnson’s “You’ve Gotta Be Modernistic,” displaying Moran’s familiarity with earlier jazz styles even as he took them apart. Moran has continued recording as a leader but also has worked as a sideman with Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Lee Konitz, Von Freeman, Christian McBride, Ravi Coltrane and, most recently, Charles Lloyd.
Jonathan Batiste Trio Jonathan Batiste, piano / Phil Kuehn, bass / Joe Saylor, drums Jonathan is a member of a long lineage of musicians from the Batiste family of Louisiana. He was introduced to music by his families band, the Batiste Brothers Band, in which he played percussion/drums at age 8. He switched to piano around the age of 12. Born in 1986, Jonathan released the first of his two CDs as a leader in 2003, at the age of 17. Entitled "Times In New Orleans" it featured New Orleans musicians including Jason Marsalis, Donald Harrison Jr. and Christian Scott. By then he was already attracting considerable attention as a young musician of great talent and potential. In 2004 he graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) as a prime young performer. He then went on to study at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. In 2007 he made his debut at the world renowned Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), producing and performing his own show. In addition to the show, he also conducted music clinics/master classes and workshops throughout all of Holland in inner city schools and underprivileged neighborhoods. As a result, he was invited back to Carnegie Hall to produce and perform in his own show. The performance included six young musicians from the Netherlands in which Batiste composed music to feature within the program. The performance concluded with a epic finale he composed for choir, jazz combo, and orchestral instruments. It was viewed as a hugely successful cultural exchange and garnered national attention. Starting off 2008, Batiste was a featured member of the 2008 NBA All-Star Game Halftime show. Batiste was the youngest artist alongside Allen Toussaint, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis, Art Neville, Ivan Neville, and Davell Crawford. He has chosen the melodica as a current focus. Adopting it as one of his signatures, he has already helped to further popularize the instrument. As of today, Batiste works on many artistic endeavors in addition to live performance which include collaborative projects with actors/actresses, dancers, artists and contemporary music artists of his generation. These projects are all independently produced. He is also an active educator. Jonathan is the youngest artist on the Steinway Performing Artist roster and is the recipient of the Movado Future Legend Award. His latest recording, the ep IN THE NIGHT, is available but only at live shows or upon request when joining his mailing list.
Lafayette Gilchrist Trio Lafayette Gilchrist, piano / Nathan Reynolds, drums / Anthony Blue Jenkins, bass There’s good reason why jazz fans and critics alike are so excited about Lafayette Gilchrist. The young Baltimore-based pianist hit the scene hard with his debut, The Music According To Lafayette Gilchrist, and went straight to earning raves for his sophomore release, Towards The Shining Path. Emerging from jazz legend David Murray’s Black Saint Quartet, a group in which he still plays to this day, Gilchrist has an approach and presence that’s drawn comparisons to royalty such as Andrew Hill and Sun Ra. With his own band The New Volcanoes, Gilchrist leads an octet that's equally inspired by D.C. go-go, old school soul, hard funk and progressive hip-hop. Introduced to Hyena Records by the iconic guitarist Vernon Reid, Gilchrist is set to release his fourth album, Soul Progressin', with the acclaimed indie label on September 9. The pianist has this to say about his latest recording: "Soul Progressin’ is a rediscovery in the sense of what was and is still the most essential part of my offering. Soul Power. Its roots are endless and wondrous. Its future is undeniable. So we just want to celebrate about it a bit.” After the release of Lafayette Gilchrist’s trio record, Three, in 2007, he returned to the studio with his working band, The New Volcanoes. In addition to Gilchrist on piano, the octet features John Dieker (tenor saxophone and clarinet), Gregory L. Thompkins (tenor saxophone), Gabriel Ware (alto saxophone), Mike Cerri (trumpet), Freddy Dunn (trumpet), Anthony “Blue” Jenkins (electric bass) and Nathan Reynolds (drums). What’s strikingly apparent upon first listen to Soul Progressin’ is the truly original ensemble sound the pianist and his group have created. Gilchrist has spent more than half a decade working with this particular combination of musicians. Through the process he has refined his compositional vision for the configuration. While a wholly focused affair in its sum, within the albums various pieces, Gilchrist explores a wide range of moods and textures. Soul Progressin’ is ultimately a record that will further heighten Gilchrist’s reputation as new modern visionary in jazz and, for that matter, progressive American music in the broader scope.
Marco Benevento Trio
Marco Benevento Trio Marco Benevento, piano / Marc Friedman, bass / Andrew Barr, drums Marco Benevento career as a solo artist began almost unintentionally. During downtime from touring with The Benevento/Russo Duo in '06, his manager suggested he set up a residency at the late great NYC venue Tonic with some of his musical friends, such as Mike Gordon, Steven Bernstein, Claude Coleman, and Mike Dillon. Ropeadope documented the residency, releasing it as the 3-CD set Live At Tonic. This led Marco to form his own trio for a string of sold out U.S. shows and the recording of Invisible Baby. The 30-year old keyboardist’s debut studio album, proves Benevento Trio a sonic innovator in peak form, defying boundaries and genres to carve out his own universe. In contrast to his work with The Duo, Benevento utilizes acoustic piano as his main voice. His instinct for arranging acoustics in fresh ways remains intact as Marco runs his piano through projector amps and Leslie speakers, coloring tracks with Mellotron, Speak-N-Spell, banjo, a vintage church pump organ and circuit-bent toys.
Robert Glasper Trio
Robert Glasper Trio Robert Glasper, piano / Alan Hampton, bass / Jamire Willims, drums Not long after the arrival of pianist Robert Glasper on the New York City jazz scene, Ben Ratliff of the New York Times declared that Glasper’s trio “deserves comparison with the best of the newer piano trios, those led by Jason Moran, Bill Charlap and Brad Mehldau.” So it’s fitting that Glasper has decided to feature his trio exclusively on IN MY ELEMENT, his latest release for Blue Note Records. Joined again by his compatriots Vicente Archer on bass and Damion Reid on drums, Glasper displays musical maturity well beyond his 27 years, articulating bold ideas about what a jazz piano trio can achieve in the new millennium. As deeply involved in the hip-hop world as Glasper is – he’s worked with Mos Def, Common, Talib Kweli, the Roots, Slum Village and more – he is clearly a diligent student of the jazz piano tradition with brilliant new tracks inspired by the great Mulgrew Miller and the legendary Sam Rivers. While Glasper can play any standard in the book he is not content to recapitulate Tin Pan Alley harmony, AABA form or straightforward swing in his own work. Instead, he favors compact harmonic units and off-kilter rhythms that foster what Ben Ratliff calls “skittering cooperation” between the members of the trio. It’s a new way of working, but as Glasper points out: “I’m not trying, it’s just the way I hear. It’s a good way to bring my generation into checking out the music. I bring something into the music for the Hip-hop cats and gospel cats who are coming to my shows. My audience is getting a lot younger and that feels great.”
Sarah Morrow "Elektric Air"
Sarah Morrow "Elektric Air" Sarah Morrow, augmented
trombone / Robert Glasper, piano and rhodes / Earl Travis, bass /
Jamire Williams, drums / Val-Inc, turntables Discovered by Ray Charles, trombonist Sarah Morrow is the first female instrumentalist to become a member of his orchestra. She toured with the legend from November 1995 through May 1997 and left the group to perform with Foley, Dee Dee Bridgewater, David Murray, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, organist Rhoda Scott, funk legend Pee Wee Ellis, and the American All-Stars in Paris. With the release of Sarah’s first album in 1999, Sarah launched her solo career and has gone on to win critical acclaim as a prominent soloist, bandleader, and composer /arranger. Winner of the 2005 Cork Jazz Festival "Rising Star" award, Sarah continues to tour as a leader and guest artist throughout Western and Eastern Europe, USA, Africa, United Arab Emirates and Asia. Ms. Morrow and her groups receive countless ovations and rave reviews at major festivals and concert series around the world. In addition, Sarah’s groups have opened for such jazz luminaries as Chick Corea, Ray Barretto, Kenny Garrett and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Sarah Morrow is an avid composer, arranger and lyricist, her first movie score to the short “Napoleonic” features original songs by Dr. John and will be making the festival circut in 2009. Sarah Morrow is endorsed by the Getzen/Edwards Instrument Company and has been a prominent artist in their sales campaigns since 2000.
Sexmob plays "Sexotica"
Sexmob Plays "Sexotica" Steven Bernstein, slide-trumpet / Briggan Krauss, alto, baritone saxophone, laptop / Kenny Wolleson, drums, percussion / Tony Scherr, electric bass / DJ Olive, turntables, laptop Sexmob + DJ Olive explore the music from their Grammy nominated cd "Sexotica"- an electro-acoustic fantasy inspired by Martin Denny.... full of pulsating rythyms, haunting melodies, and inspired improvisations. A veteran downtown NYC supergroup, this quartet features Steven Bernstein, as ever brandishing his slide trumpet, along with alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr, drummer Kenny Wollesen, plus DJ Olive. Long before Justin Timberlake, the band was “bringing sexy back” to instrumental music. The Mob has rocked every joint imaginable with its jukebox full of inspired cover tunes, which includes such icons as Prince, Sly Stone and the Beatles, as well as tacking the James Bond songbook, Duke Ellington and the Smashing Pumpkins. Group founder Steven Bernstein is a trumpeter/slide trumpeter, bandleader, arranger, and composer who lives outside of musical convention. He formed Sex Mob in 1995 and since then, the band has been touring the world, winning numerous awards, and has had their music featured on MTV, Saturday Night Live and NPR. Sexotica, recorded for Thirsty Ear's Blue series, and produced by Good and Evil is their most recent release. Their previous recording, Dime Grind Palace (Ropeadope), features legendary trombonist Roswell Rudd.
Tar Baby with Orrin Evans, Stacy Dillard, Eric Revis, Nasheet Waits
Tar Baby Orrin Evans, piano / Stacy Dillard, saxophone / Eric Revis, bass / Nasheet Waits, drums Project description coming soon...
Taylor Ho Bynum's Positive Catastrophe
Taylor Ho Bynum’s Positive Catastrophe Taylor
Ho Bynum, cornet, co-leader / Abraham Gomez-Delgado, percussion, voice,
co-leader / Jen Shyu, voice, erhu / Matt Bauder, tenor sax, clarinet /
Michael Attias, baritone sax / Mark Taylor, french horn / Reut Regev,
trombone / Pete Fitzpatrick, guitar / Alvaro Benevides, bass / Tomas
Fujiwara, drums Taylor Ho Bynum is a performer on cornet and various brass instruments, composer, bandleader, and interdisciplinary collaborator with artists in dance, film, and theater. Bynum is committed to the further exploration of the extensions of composition and improvisation pioneered by 20th century masters like Ellington, Ives, and the AACM, but with a third millennial flavor and a trickster sensibility. He presently leads his Trio, his Sextet, and the nine-piece ensemble SpiderMonkey Strings, and has developed a body of solo music for cornet and duo work with dancer/choreographer Rachel Bernsen. In addition to leading his own groups, Bynum regularly performs with some of the most innovative figures in creative music, such as Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor, and has ongoing collaborations with such artists as Bill Lowe, Jason Kao Hwang, Joe Morris, Miya Masaoka, Stephen Haynes, Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng, Nate Wooley, Tomas Fujiwara, and the Fully Celebrated Orchestra. He is featured on over forty recordings, and has performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. His work with Anthony Braxton spans over ten years and ranges from duo to orchestra, with recent tours throughout Europe and North America and several new recordings. Their CD Duets (Wesleyan) 2002 has received wide critical acclaim. Bynum's 2005 CD with SpiderMonkey Strings, Other Stories (Three Suites), has been described as “the best album of the year” (All About Jazz) and “beautiful music and challenging throughout” (The Wire). Two new CDs were released in Spring ’07: True Events (duo with Tomas Fujiwara; The New York Times calls it “a scintillating album... a duologue crackling with improvisational energy but guided by compositional prescription”), and The Middle Picture (with his Sextet and Trio; which received “four stars” from Downbeat Magazine).
Theo Bleckmann with Todd Reynolds String Quartet
Theo Bleckmann 'Berlin Las Vegas' Theo Bleckman, vocals / Rob Schwimmer, piano / Todd Reynolds String Quartet featuring Courtney Orlando, Caleb Burhans, Clarice Jenson “Europe was created by history. America by philosophy.” – Margaret Thatcher (b. 1925) This concert program is a two set journey starting in war-torn Berlin and taking refuge in glamorous Las Vegas. German born American Theo Bleckmann sings of Berlin in its heyday and of its imminent demise. Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile, penned by Hanns Eisler, Kurt Weill, Bertold Brecht, and others, including Bleckmann’s haunting rendition of Lilli Marleen, make up the first set. Delivered with moving tenderness and care, Bleckmann and arranger/pianist Fumio Yasuda breathe delicate life into these classic, almost haiku-like songs, reminding us of the immediacy and relevance of their personal and political implications today. In seemingly stark contrast to Berlin, Las Vegas Rhapsody is about the search for illusion, being a star in Las Vegas, forgetting and leaving behind all history and past. This set unfolds through familiar show stoppers in dazzling arrangements and yet, at the end of this lush and entertaining show we have come full circle to Berlin: “Dreams turned reality. And I, a man of mortality. Tonight I will be seen in my last routine.” Berlin and Las Vegas: exile, escape and elation in a sonic experience of brittle beauty and fleeting happiness. Genre-bending, -skipping and -skirting vocalist and composer, Theo Bleckmann has been a steady force in the music scene in New York for over 15 years, forging his own sound in jazz and contemporary music today incorporating jazz, ambient and electronic music as well as performance art. He has performed worldwide on some of the great stages including Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, the Sydney Opera House, L.A.’s Disney Hall, The Whitney Museum and the new Library in Alexandria, Egypt with artists like Laurie Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, John Hollenbeck, Sheila Jordan, Ben Monder, Meredith Monk, Michael Tilson Thomas, Bang On A Can All-Stars, and John Zorn. The New Yorker called him a “local cult favorite”, Downbeat a “ ‘mad’ genius”, The New York Times “excellent” and according to OUT Magazine, Bleckmann is “a singer who has only recently fallen to earth.” Recently, Bleckmann was interviewed by Terry Gross for NPR’s Fresh Air. A Winter & Winter recording artist, Bleckmann's releases include Las Vegas Rhapsody, Berlin, and the upcoming Twelve Ives Songs (with Kneebody), as well as Refuge Trio's first recording. Origami (on Songlines), his first recording as a leader, received 4 +1/2 stars (out of 5) from Downbeat Magazine. His voice can be heard on over 40 recordings on ECM, CRI, Label Bleu, Polygram, Songlines, Traumton and Winter & Winter
Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely
Toshi Reagon & BIGLovely Toshi Reagon, vocals, guitar / Fred Cash, bass / Robert "Chicken" Burke, drums / Judith Casselberry, guitar, vocals / Catherine Russell, mandolin, vocals / Adam Widoff, electric guitar In some ways, singer Toshi Reagon is a throwback to classic R & B artists, like Stevie Wonder or Prince, or old school rock group like Led Zeppelin; she can take any style, update it, and make it her own with incredible ease. Despite (or because of) her genre-bending, Toshi fits comfortably on a stage at Carnegie Hall, or in a dirty rock club. Toshi is an artist who’s known for energetic performances and a exemplary gift for writing engaging songs that provoke listeners to think and have fun at the same time. A seasoned live performer, Toshi jumped into the spotlight when she dropped out of college after Lenny Kravitz tapped her to open for him on his first world tour. And Toshi hasn’t stopped earning the respect of musicians, the praise of critics and the love of fans since then. Just ask Elvis Costello, who was hooked after one high-energy evening in NYC—he even invited Toshi and her band, BIGLovely, to back him up on a ”Late Show with David Letterman” appearance. Most people would just tell you that to truly understand how Toshi can seamlessly transcend all of these genres, you have to check her out live. She has earned countless rave reviews in the years that she has been performing. The New Yorker said ”...her live shows shower retro funk, urban blues, and folk on the audience with evangelical fervor. To hear her is to believe.” Toshi can (and will) show up anywhere with anyone, whether a Central Park Summerstage benefit/Joni Mitchell tribute with artists like Vernon Reid and Chaka Kahn, a tribute to Prince (in which she tore up the stage with her smokin’ verison of the classic 1999), the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Blood On The Tracks Concert in NYC celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Bob Dylan album “Blood On The Tracks”. She has also shared the stage with numerous musicians including Nona Hendryx, Pete Seeger, Chocolate Genius, Dar Williams and Ani Difranco. Whether playing solo or with her band, her fusion of styles and forms draws listeners in, embraces them and sets them off in a rapturous, hand-raising, foot-stomping delight. Toshi often leaves the stage with the audience clapping and screaming for more. Born in Atlanta and raised in Washington DC, Reagon cites her musical abilities from her family. Both parents belonged to SNCC’s (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) The Freedom Singers, a folk group that sprung from the Civil Rights movement and toured the country to teach people about civil rights through song. Bernice Johnson Reagon is not only Toshi’s mom but the founder of the world renowned à capella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock (she retired in 2004 after 30 years with the group). Toshi and her mom have collaborated on many projects together including co-producing many of Sweet Honey’s recordings. Their latest project is ”The Temptation of St. Anthony” (read more about it here) a musical-theater work based on a tale by Gustave Flaubert. The piece is directed by Robert Wilson with music and libretto by Bernice Johnson Reagon. Toshi wrote the instrumental arrangements and currently serves as the production’s musical director. Toshi and BIGLovely have been touring with the show since 2003. Her rich musical heritage led her to become saturated in many traditional styles of music, feeding her desire to explore a range of music that was not as accessible, from blues to Kiss. Admittedly, Toshi says that she attempts to: “take whatever I’m really into and try to learn it and put it into music.” This trait results in a musical style that not only transcends classification, but also expresses a political consciousness that is as ingrained in her music as the multiple genres she embraces. Believing music is the way she deals with her political energy, Toshi once told Curve magazine, “From where you are, from who you are in your everyday life, that’s where you make change...Whatever your gig is, make change through your strength.” Toshi is a recipient of 2004 NYFA award for Music Composition.
The Watts Project
'The Watts Project' * Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums / Terence Blanchard, trumpet / Christian McBride, bass / Prometheus Jenkins, saxophone The Watts Project will be performing all new music from the CD WATTS a Socio-Political Concept Album- with tenor saxophonist Branford Marsalis, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and bassist Christian McBride. WATTS - the dynamic follow-up to Tain's 2007 release, Folk's Songs on his own Dark Key Music label - is an excellent twenty-first century example of percussion and politics, swing and sarcasm, and improvisation and irony. The title of the CD refers to the leader's last name, and it also corresponds with the CD cover shot of the famous Watts Towers, which is the symbol of the notorious mid-sixties Los Angeles race riots, and the hometown of the mercurial bassist/composer Charles Mingus. Blessed with complexity, power and imagination, Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based drummer/composer/bandleader Jeff "Tain" Watts burst onto the scene in the eighties with Wynton and Branford Marsalis. He has since distinguished himself as the most influential and innovative drummer of his generation, as a valued sideman and recording artist, with four recordings as a leader. WATTS is released worldwide February 3rd 2009. * The Watts Project is a premium show and is not included in the standard Winter Jazzfest Pass, click here for ticket info.
Will Calhoun's Native Land Experience
Will Calhoun Native Land Experience Will Calhoun, drums, loops, indigenous percussion / Mark Kelly, bass / Marc Cary, keys, Piano / Corey Wilkes, trumpet / Marcus Strickland, saxophone Will Calhoun, the widely acclaimed drummer from the Bronx, New York, graduated from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he received a Bachelors degree in Music Production and engineering. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Buddy Rich Jazz Masters Award for outstanding performance by a drummer. Will Calhoun's unique blend of improvisational and hard rock drumming can be found on each of Living Colour's four Epic releases: the ground breaking multi-platinum debut, Vivid, the critically acclaimed sophomore LP, Time's Up, the Biscuits EP, and Stain, as well as their latest release on Sanctuary Records, CollideØscope. A prolific song writer, Will has co-written many Living Colour compositions and wrote the critically acclaimed song, Pride, on the Time's Up album and Nothingness on the Stain album. As a member of Living Colour, Will received a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance by a group and another Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. Living Colour also won an International Rock Award for Best Rock Band. In addition to his work with Living Colour, Will has recorded and/or toured with diverse artists including B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jaco Pastorious, Harry Belafonte, Pharoah Sanders, Jack Dejohnette, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, The Allman Brothers, Lauryn Hill, Marcus Miller, Dr.John, Carly Simon, Herb Alpert, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood, Wayne Shorter (on the Grammy-winning CD "High Life"), Lauryn Hill, and recorded with rappers Run-DMC and Public Enemy. As a producer, player, and songwriter, Will has worked on Herb Alpert's Grammy-nominated CD, Colors. During Will's down time he has managed to record two solo projects Housework and Drum Wave. These discs provide an alternate canvas for his acoustic drumset artistry as well as his push for electronic tonal expressions. Will, Doug Wimbish, and Vinx joined forces to form the groundbreaking Ambient World Music band JUNGLE FUNK. Their live CD Jungle Funk is available on Zebra Records in the States. The group combines mastery of technology with musicianship. This rare and cutting edge disc was given the Album of the Year mention in Australia. Will's first jazz CD as a bandleader is entitled The Will Calhoun Quintet: Live at the Blue Note. The disc is an adventurous journey through Will's approach to acoustic Jazz, World and Ambient music. The line-up features Bobby Watson-sax, Terrell Stafford-trumpet, John Benitez-bass and Orrin Evans-piano. Will's song writing, arrangements and drumming on this CD are ground breaking. Although this was Will's first attempt at fronting a jazz group, Down Beat Magazine, Jazz Times, and BillBoard Magazine have given the CD top ratings. Drum Magazine's readers poll voted Will's CD 1st runner up for Drummer/Band leader. Will has worked with rapper Mos Def, both as a producer and performer. Will brought together an all-star lineup for this project, featuring artists like: Bernie Worrell on keys, Doug Wimbish on bass, Doc Know, the guitarist from Bad Brains, and other special guests. The Band is titled Black Jack Johnson, and several tracks from this band were featured on Mos Def's CD The New Danger. Keep your eyes and ears open for a full length Black Jack Johnson CD. It will be in the usual cutting-edge Calhoun fashion. For all you Living Colour fans, the band is touring again and working on new material. They have performed regional U.S. tour, as well as tours in South America, Australia and Europe over the past several years. Check the Tour Schedule page often for updates. One of Will's latest creations is his follow-up release on the Halfnote label: Native Lands. Native Lands can be described as Jazz meets World, meets trance-inducing Urban music. This is a double package - CD/DVD in which Calhoun marries his far reaching interests in a genre-bending collection that taps key expressionists from various backgrounds. Among those contributing are Pharoah Sanders, Mos Def, Buster Williams, Stanley Jordan, Kevin Eubanks, Marcus Miller and Wallace Roney, as well as Nana Vasconcelos from Brazil and Cheick Tidiane Seck from Mali. The album includes a DVD with over ninety minutes of music videos and documentary materials that chronicle the last ten years of Will's life and travels. Will is presently touring in support of this project with his group, variously called "AZA" or "Native Lands", which features various artists from the album and other outstanding musicians. Not many artists have the vision and artistic energy to be Grammy winners and contribute to so many genres: jazz, rock, hip-hop, ambient, et al, while concurrently producing, touring, creating new projects, working on films, and continually pushing the envelope. Will Calhoun has this creative vision, and he is doing an extraordinary job keeping music a spiritual and motivating force in his life.