Thursday, May 21, 2015

NEW RELEASES: CHRIS WASHBURNE & THE SYOTOS BAND - LOW RIDIN' ; THE HEMPOLICS - WARRIOR SOUND; LESIMAN - HERE AND NOW VOL. 1 & 2

CHRIS WASHBURNE & THE SYOTOS BAND - LOW RIDIN'

Afro-Latin jazz on a psychedelic trip! The debut CD of Chris Washburne & The Syotos Band for Zoho showcases Latin jazz instrumentals of 60s and 70s classic rock songs, called Acid Mambo by the musicians! Gets back to the band’s musical roots with Latin jazz instrumentals of anthemic classic rock songs by Bob Marley, Neil Young, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, War, and more. Includes: Feelin' Allright, Low Rider, Get Up Stand Up, Stairway to Heaven, Manic Depression, Ohio, Walk On the Wild Side, Break On Though (To the Other Side), Kashmir, Sugar Mountain, and Syotomon. ~ Amazon


THE HEMPOLICS - WARRIOR SOUND


The Hempolics are out to put those organic rootsy vibes back into electronic music and bring something altogether different to the table… Warrior Sound is the second offering from The Hempolics forthcoming album ‘Kiss, Cuddle & Torture: Volume 1.’ Written and produced by project mastermind Grippa Laybourne with soulful Rastaman vocals courtesy of Dan Bowskill (Dub Pistols), Warrior Sound presents the struggle of the typical urban day and its only solution… playing out your finest roots rock reggae. On the flip side is an ethereal Warrior Sound instrumental dub mixed by Grippa with additional trombone by Lucas Petter. Taking UK reggae to the next level with a modern yet somehow backward looking style this record is destined to be a soundsystem smash hit.  ~ bbemusic


LESIMAN - HERE AND NOW VOl. 1 & 2

Stunning work from Lesiman – easily one of the coolest, funkiest talents on the Italian sound library scene of the 70s! The groove here is electric, funky, and often slightly trippy – with perfect use of electric bass to get things going in so many different ways, depending on the mood of the track – as things step slowly underneath cascading piano lines, or move fast under these fuzzier keyboard bits, or act nice and skittish when the drums take on more power in the mix! There's often a nice degree of echo in the recordings – used to abstract familiar instruments, but never steer them of course too much – just create these amazing sounds that still leave us breathless after all these years. Both volumes of the set are amazing – and titles include "Bagliori", "Impulsi", "Direzioni", "Segni Cromatici", "Le Regole Del Gioco", "Melos Blue", "Rollin", "Relazioni", "Cerchio Doppio", "Via Nell'Autunno", "Plycar", "Permanenza", "Controcorrente", "Radura", "Stabilita", "Messaggio", "Confronto", "Ripresa", "Ciclo Interrotto", and "Cristalli". ~ Dusty Groove



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Now-Again partners with Max Whitefield (Poets of Rhythm/Whitefield Brothers founder/drummer) and his Philophon imprint – 1st Polyversal Souls LP coming July 3rd

Max Whitefield (née Weissenfeldt) may have taken his drums across the world, but he’s never lost sight of his first love, the starting point of a carrier that lead to phenomenal collaborations (take Dr. John and Lana Del Rey’s recent albums, produced by Max’s uber-fan, the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach). That passion has propelled albums as varied as Poets of Rhythm’s Discern/Define and Whitefield Brothers Earthology. It comes as a pulse: the raw, funky beat Max first heard on old 45s he and his compatriots traded and treasured in the early 90s, well before most anyone cared for the obscure wax they hoarded. Mind you – this was in his parents’ basement in Munich, Germany (though a fortuitous bus trip through the USA’s Eastern Seaboard had given him a head start in funky comeuppance).

Late ’60s funk and soul was the inspiration for Max’s and his brother Jan’s first band, the Poets of Rhythm. Barely teenagers, the brothers kickstarted a movement: without them, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Aloe Blacc and Mayer Hawthorne – to name their most recent converts – would not be the internationally recognized names they are.
In the early ’00s, Max and the Poets of Rhythm issued Discern/Define, which indicated a marked growth, and a sophisticated approach to funk music, meshed with Krautrock’s untempered experimentalism, and, as the Whitefield Brothers with his brother Jan, the album In The Raw, an Afro-psychedelic trip grounded by funk’s principles. Though the Poets of Rhythm would never record again, The Whitefield Brothers issued Earthology, the pinnacle of their worldly, musical explorations and then spun apart – Jan to Karl Hector and the Malcouns, and Max to his Philophon imprint, Auerbach and the Polyversal Souls.


During the mid to late ’00s, Max was in deep study: after spending five years with Krautrock legends and “world music” pioneers Embryo on a 500 concert European and African bus tour, he visited South East Asia, where he studied classical Burmese Saing Waing music. This trip was followed by a time in London, living and playing with fellow Now-Again artists the Heliocentrics. He studied with former Sun Ra Arkestra members in the USA before, in 2010, taking his first trip to Ghana, the deciding point to create the Philophon label. And to record all the music for his Ghanaian counterparts, Max formed a new Berlin-based band, The Polyversal Souls. The city’s vital music scene gave him the chance to bring together excellent musicians with a common passion and interest for sounds from all around the world. And now, Polyversal Souls’ debut album Invisible Joy – a manifest of what Max calls “21st century soul power.”


NEW RELEASES: INCOGNITO - SEND YOUR LOVE (SONG FOR NEPAL; MARCIA BALL - PEACE, LOVE & BBQ; LIANNE LA HAVAS - BLOOD

INCOGNITO - SEND YOUR LOVE (SONG FOR NEPAL

Incognito releases charity single to aid
earthquake victims in Nepal.In the wake of the recent tragic earthquake in Nepal, UK Jazz band Incognito has released a single/EP, “Send Your Love”, to raise support for the victims of the disaster.  Band leader Jean Paul “Bluey” Maunick states: "In response to the great tragedy suffered by the people of Nepal, we felt compelled to use our talents and resources to take immediate action by coming together to make a song for Nepal.  All the funds raised will be donated to UNICEF(US) to help some of the 1.7 million children who require humanitarian assistance. UNICEF is already on the ground working to provide critical aid to children and families.  The result of our efforts is... Incognito “"Send Your Love””.  Your  support will go a long way towards helping to provide basic health care, nourishment, sanitation, shelter and funds towards the clearing and rebuilding in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake.  Thank you and One Love!
Peace… Bluey”.

MARCIA BALL - PEACE, LOVE & BBQ

After 10 critically praised albums and literally thousands of packed, raucous live performances including stops in Canada, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the Cambridge Folk Festival in England, Marcia Ball is an internationally acclaimed icon of Austin and New Orleans roots music. This is her first new studio release in five years and features some of the most stirring performances of Marcia's career. Singing the praises of simple virtues in the funky title track, working the Crescent City strut of "Party Town" or coming to grips with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the deeply moving ballad "Where Do You Go?", Marcia galvanizes this record with soul-touching vocals and her always killer piano playing. Dr John, Tracy Nelson, Wayne Toups and Terrance Simien guest. ~ Amazon

LIANNE LA HAVAS - BLOOD

Lianne La Havas made a huge breakthrough with her Top 5 debut album ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’. Now the 25-year-old London-based singer-songwriter will release her eagerly anticipated new album Blood on July 31st on Warner Bros. Records. Blood is an album that was inspired by Lianne’s family heritage, which is part Jamaican and part Greek. Once touring for her debut album came to a close, she headed to Jamaica with her mother for a holiday which evolved into an experience of self-discovery. Lianne enjoyed emotional reunions with long-lost relatives; embraced Kingston’s clubs; and even jammed in front of her family for the first time during a session with legendary dancehall / reggae producer Stephen McGregor. Discovering her heritage inspired Lianne to reflect on the connections between now and then, which in turn sparked the songs which would become her future. Simply, “everything seemed to have a lot more clarity, and I really wanted to speak about it.” Lyrically, the songs that feature on the album are almost all related to “the feeling of who you are and where you come from.” Sonically, Blood is a collection that shakes, shimmies and swings with Jamaican grooves with Lianne taking inspiration from the nation’s love of grooves, rhythms and syncopation. In addition to Stephen McGregor, Blood features a rich collection of collaborators. Produced by Adele / FKA twigs collaborator Paul Epworth and founded upon an instrumental recording by Ninja Tunes trio The Invisible, the first single ‘Unstoppable’ is a song that Lianne wrote to help to repair a relationship that she had ended. Following his work on Lianne’s debut album, Aqualung’s Matt Hales returns, most notably on ‘Wonderful’ which he and Lianne co-wrote with Disclosure’s Howard Lawrence. Another highlight comes with the autobiographical album centrepiece ‘Green and Gold’ which was co-produced and co-written by Jamie Lidell, while Alicia Keys and India.Arie producer Mark Batson also lent his talents to the album.
~ Amazon


Sharon Hendrix, Back-Up Singer for Billy Cobham, Freddie Hubbard and George Duke, Steps to Center Stage with Solo Debut - Nowhere Fast

After years of working just 20 feet from stardom Sharon “Muffy” Hendrix is stepping into the spotlight. Throughout her successful career Sharon has been singing backup on recording sessions and performing on stages across the world with top names including Billy Cobham, Freddie Hubbard, George Duke, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Tom Jones, Grace Slick & Starship, Olivia Newton-John, Dusty Springfield, Natalie Cole, Harry Chapin, Jermaine Stewart, Mac Davis, Michael White, Shirley Bassey and so many other notable musical talents.

Sharon Hendrix began her career as "Muffy" Hendrix singing in the church and school choirs and by the time she reached her teens she became part of The Young Americans, an international touring company of 30 singers from all across the country. Over the next two years Sharon toured the Far East twice, performed on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Kraft Music Hall and worked on various TV specials and commercials. Sharon earned a music scholarship to Chapman University and received her show business education on Las Vegas stages at the side of superstar entertainers including Debbie Reynolds and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sharon formed a lifetime friendship and working relationship with Barry Manilow from the moment the beloved superstar called her to replace one of the singers in his back-up band. In 1985 Sharon recorded the popular, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" duet with Barry that appeared on his "Manilow" album as well as the Billboard charts. Currently Sharon is performing with Manilow on his worldwide "One Last Time!" farewell tour which brings us to now!

Sharon's completing her solo debut album which will be available in the fall from Voss Records and has just released the title track, “Nowhere Fast” as the lead single. Sharon co-wrote the song with her producer, Dan Voss Jr. and trumpet virtuoso Steve Madaio. Sharon’s smooth vocal style sits over a contemporary urban Latin beat spiced with exciting percussion, a classic horn solo and an infectious rap by William “June Bug” Lee.

Between breaks in the Manilow tour the industrious Ms. Hendrix is finishing the new album as well as planning her solo career launch. Sharon’s been tirelessly rehearsing with her band working out arrangements on old and new tunes. When the tour ends this summer the Sharon Hendrix Nowhere Fast show will hit the road running and Sharon will be front and center exactly where she’s always been destined to be.

When she’s not on the road Sharon lives in southern California and is the proud mother of three lovely daughters.



CIRCULATION: THE MUSIC OF GARY MCFARLAND // THE GARY MCFARLAND LEGACY ENSEMBLE

The Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble is dedicated to the preservation of the music of composer, arranger, and vibraphonist Gary McFarland. McFarland was a significant force in the jazz world in the 1960s. He was considered an “adult prodigy” by former Downbeat magazine editor Gene Lees as Gary did not start any formal studies until he was in his late twenties. After winning a Downbeat scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in 1959, McFarland spent just one semester of study there before moving to New York City. 

Through his connection with trombonist/composer Bob Brookmeyer, McFarland wrote his first professional arrangements for Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band. The rest, as they say, was history. McFarland would go on to be one of the most important jazz forces of the 1960’s with his compositions, arrangements, recordings, and film and stage scores. He was also a prolific producer and part owner of the SKYE record label along with Cal Tjader and Gabor Szabo. McFarland was also one of the first jazz musicians to include pop and rock material in his recordings and performances. His recording, America the Beautiful, combined elements of jazz, rock and orchestral writing that would prove to be one of the most seminal works of the 1960s. McFarland died in 1971 just after his 38th birthday. His career lasted just a little over ten years but his music is timeless.

Percussionist Michael Benedict has studied, performed and recorded McFarland’s music ever since meeting Gail McFarland, Gary’s widow, in 1979. Michael and Gail were married in 1981 for twenty-five years until Gail’s death in 2007. Michael and his stepdaughter, Kerry McFarland, continue to promote Gary’s music to this day.

This first recording focuses on McFarland’s most recorded material as well as more obscure, unrecorded selections.The recording features Bruce Barth on piano, Joe Locke on vibes, Sharel Cassity on saxophones, Mike Lawrence on bass and Michael Benedict on drums. The music is arranged by Bruce Barth. The recording is produced by Thomas Bellino and issued on the Planet Arts Recordings label.


Future recordings will focus on McFarland’s big band compositions and arrangements including an arrangement of Straight No Chaser that was commissioned by the Downbeat Jazz Festival and an arrangement of C-Jam Blues that was slated to feature Stan Getz.

~ CD Universe



NEW RELEASES: ROBERT GLASPER - COVERED; DUDUKA DA FONSECA TRIO - JIVE SAMBA; JAKOB BRO - GEFFION

ROBERT GLASPER - COVERED (THE ROBERT GLASPER TRIO RECORDED LIVE AT CAPITOL STUDIOS)

Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios)
10 years after making his Blue Note debut & following 2 GRAMMY-winning volumes of his R&B-oriented Black Radio albums, Robert Glasper returns to his acclaimed acoustic jazz trio for his new album, Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios). The album will be released 6/16 on Blue Note Records & consists mainly of covers, including Glasper's favorite songs by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Jhené Aiko, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar & more, as well as several Glasper originals. Includes: Intro, I Don't Even Care, Reckoner, Barangrill, In Case You Forgot, So Beautiful, The Worst, Good Morning, Stella by Starlight, Levels, Got Over feat Harry Belafonte, and I'm Dying of Thirst. ~ Amazon

DUDUKA DA FONSECA TRIO - JIVE SAMBA

Lively trio work from drummer Duduka Da Fonseca – a set that has all the Brazilian touches you might expect from the title, but which also sparkles with lots of straighter jazz moments too! Duduka's as strong as ever on the kit, and the album really draws a lot of warmth from the piano lines of David Feldman – who blocks out the ballads with this gentle groove that's especially nice, then really catches fire on some of the more upbeat numbers – which also have Fonseca reminding us of his deftness on the drums. Guto Wirtti plays bass in the trio, and one track includes tenor from Paulo Levi – on titles that include "Jive Samba", "Lucky Southern", "Pensativa", "Clouds", "Peresina", "Recorda Me", and "Sco's Bossa".  ~ Dusty Groove

JAKOB BRO - GEFFION

Gefion is Danish guitarist Jakob Bro's first ECM album as leader, following recordings for the label as sideman with Paul Motian and Tomasz Stanko. Like the work of those masters Bro s balladeering distils a sense of jazz history in its specific and highly personal atmospheres. The open forms of Bro s compositions leave plenty of space for his companions drum legend Jon Christensen and creative bassist-of-the-moment Thomas Morgan - to make their statements, interactively and in parallel. And there is space too for the listener s imagination to follow the flow and the delicate melodic tracery of Bro s electric guitar in this thoughtful and poetic album. Gefion was recorded in Oslo s Rainbow Studio in November 2013 and produced by Manfred Eicher. ~ Amazon



Grammy-Winning Bob Mintzer Big Band Draws on R&B and Funk Traditions on "Get Up!"

Since 1983, tenor saxophonist, composer, and arranger Bob Mintzer has been delving into the big band format and its myriad stylistic possibilities, collecting five Grammy nominations and one Grammy win in the process. His newest recording, Get Up!, which is his 20th big band album to date, will be released by MCG Jazz on June 23. 

Mintzer describes the nine tracks on the new CD as "clearly R&B influenced, but [they] then go to many other places along the way. ... Using these relatively simple tunes as a springboard for harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic exploration was a real adventure, one that I had been thinking about for a long time."

Produced by MCG's Marty Ashby and arranged by Mintzer, Get Up! features guitarist Ray Obiedo and bassist Will Lee, as well as Mintzer's longtime colleagues in the Yellowjackets, pianist Russell Ferrante and drummer William Kennedy. Besides five originals by the leader, including the James Brown-inspired title track, the set is made up of Mintzer's vibrant arrangements of the Wayne Shorter-penned Weather Report classic "Elegant People" and three of his favorite R&B tunes from the late 1960s: the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing," Sam & Dave's "I Thank You" (written by David Porter and Isaac Hayes), and Sly & the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song." 

"I grew up listening to this music," says Mintzer, whose radio dial was tuned to WNEW-FM when he was growing up in New Rochelle, New York. "There was less concern with classification and categorization back then. There was a kind of connection between what people like John Coltrane and Charles Lloyd were doing and what some of the rock guys were doing in terms of Indian and Eastern influences and stretching out on long vamps. For people like myself who like all different kinds of music, this was a great time for music and art."

Ashby, who has worked with Mintzer on all five of his big band dates for MCG Jazz, sees Mintzer as having "created such an important body of work for large ensemble that it just cannot be overlooked. Few bands write mostly original music for large ensemble, and hardly any then have much of the music available in a published format for other bands and students to study and play. Because his range of writing for the band extends from Brazilian to funk to R&B to straight-ahead to fusion and everything in between, I think Bob stands alone as the preeminent composer/arranger for big band at this time. His passion for the idiom puts him at the top of the pyramid." 

Mintzer connected with Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in 2004. The Big Band debuted with Live at MCG and followed up with Old School, New Lessons (2006), both of which featured Kurt Elling, and Swing Out (2008). On the Grammy-nominated For the Moment (2012), the spotlight was on Brazilian music, with guitarist/composer Chico Pinheiro as special guest. 

Bob Mintzer The lifelong New Yorker, who's considered one of the tenor saxophonists to come out of the school of New York players in the 1970s (also including Michael Brecker, Bob Berg, Dave Liebman, and Steve Grossman), and whose big band dates to 1983, when the Brecker brothers asked him to put together an ensemble for their club Seventh Avenue South, has been based in Los Angeles since 2008. He lives in the former house of composer Arnold Schoenberg (his first L.A. residence, 1934-1936), and is the recipient of the Buzz McCoy-endowed chair of jazz studies at the University of Southern California.

Mintzer continues to tour with the Yellowjackets (which he joined in 1990), does workshops all over the world, and serves as a guest conductor/soloist with college and pro bands. His upcoming dates with the Yellowjackets include: 5/27 Howard Theatre, Washington, DC; 5/28-29 Blue Note, NYC; 6/26 Rochester (NY) Jazz Festival; and a European tour 7/1-15. Mintzer will be appearing at the Hong Kong Jazz Festival 6/3-9 with big band and orchestra; touring Europe 6/15-20 with the Hammond Eggs trio; and serving on faculty at the Centrum Jazz Camp in Port Townsend, WA 7/20-25. Finally, Mintzer will be part of a Jaco Pastorius tribute, with Vince Mendoza, at the Hollywood Bowl 8/13 (also with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra) and the Monterey Jazz Festival 9/18. 

 

Jason Moran, Miguel Zenón and Dave Holland - Winners of 2015 JJA Jazz Awards for Musical Achievement

Miguel Zenon
Jason Moran















New England Conservatory Jazz Studies Department faculty members Jason Moran, Miguel Zenón and Dave Holland have won 2015 JJA Jazz Awards for Musical Achievement from the Jazz Journalists Association. Other NEC affiliated winners include Regina Carter, who graduated from NEC in 1982 and is a member of the school’s Board of Visitors, and Mary Halvorson, who attended NEC Prep in 1998.

Moran was selected as Musician of the Year, Zenón as Alto Saxophonist of the Year and Holland earned recognition in two categories: Record of the Year for his CD with Kenny Barron titled The Art of Conversation (Impulse!), and Trio or Duo of the Year for his duo with Kenny Barron.  Carter was chosen in the category of Violinist/Violist/Cellist of the Year and Halvorson is Guitarist of the Year.

Jazz Awards winners are determined through open nominations and direct voting by professional journalist members of the Jazz Journalists Associations.  Winners will be celebrated at a party June 16 at The Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.  This is the 19th annual JJA Jazz Awards presentation.

NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur "genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who’s who of jazz. Now in its 44th year, the program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.”  The program currently has 98 students; 54 undergraduate and 44 graduate students from 14 countries.


NEW RELEASES: NICOLA CONTE PRESENTS BLUE NOTE TRIBE; GEORGIA ANNE MULDROW - A THOUGHTIVERSE UNMARRED; TISIJI MUNOZ / JOHN MEDESKI - THE PARADOX OF PERFECTION

NICOLA CONTE PRESENTS BLUE NOTE TRIBE - DEEP AFROCENTRIC MODAL JAZZ FROM THE BLUE NOTE ARCHIVES

A very cool take on the sound of Blue Note Records – all classic tracks that are hand-picked by label artist Nicola Conte, with a focus on sounds that have a rootsy, organic style in the rhythms! Most numbers here feature some degree of extra percussion in addition to the drums – hence the "tribe" in the title – and the other elements often echo African or Cuban roots too – sometimes in the basslines, sometimes in the phrasing of the piano or horns. With Conte on board, the set list is superb – way more than just another Blue Note collection – and titles include "Oriental Folk Song" by Wayne Shorter, "Igbeslaiye" by Solomon Ilori & His Afro-Drum Ensemble, "Exotique" by Lee Morgan, "Melting Pot" by Freddie Hubbard, "Effi" by Bobby Hutcherson, "Congo Lament" by Ike Quebec, "Africaine" by Art Blakey, "On The Nile" by Jackie McLean, and "East Of The Village" by Hank Mobley.  ~ Dusty Groove

GEORGIA ANNE MULDROW - A THOUGHTIVERSE UNMARRED

Take a trip into the Thoughtiverse with Georgia Anne Muldrow – a singer who's every bit as cosmic as before, but also finds a way to get nice and funky too! The album's got Georgia rhyming and singing in equal parts – always with that unique perspective that makes her music so individual, and so influential as well – and one of the few voices of her generation that continues to work at such a thought-provoking level time and time again! The production is great – as crisp and cosmic as on other albums, but maybe a bit more beaty as well – and titles include "The Outcome", "Monoculture", "Great Blacks", "Child Shot", "Sans Vacay", "Gitdown", and "Fifth Shield".  ~ Dusty Groove

TISIJI MUNOZ / JOHN MEDESKI - THE PARADOX OF PERFECTION

Sonically-rich, trippy guitar lines from Tisziji Munoz – spun out on these long, meditative tracks that are sometimes outside, sometimes filled with a very organic pulse – and supported with lots of great piano work from John Medeski! The album's definitely in the more cosmic side of Medeski's spectrum, but when Munoz puts a bit more fuzz on his instrument he also hits the intensity of Sonny Sharrock – which quickly cascades things towards the outside – spurring on a bit more fire from bassist Don Pate, and drummers Tony Falco and Bob Moses. Titles include "Crazy Heart Wisdom", "God Fire", "Motherhood", "Somewhere", and "Goodbye Dear Sweet Mother".  ~ Dusty Groove


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NEW RELEASES: STAN GETZ / JOAO GILBERTO – SELECTIONS FROM GETZ / GILBERTO ‘76; LARRY YOUNG – SELECTION FROM LARRY YOUNG IN PARIS; WAYNE JONES - MR. JONES

STAN GETZ / JOAO GILBERTO – SELECTIONS FROM GETZ / GILBERTO ‘76

Stan Getz and João Gilberto reunite in 1976 with these previously unreleased recordings from San Francisco's famed Keystone Korner. This Limited Edition 10" record commemorates one of the few times this duo collaborated in the 1970's, nearly twelve years after their award-winning Getz/Gilberto release on Verve. Along with saxophonist Stan Getz, the recording features Joanne Brackeen on piano, Clint Houston on bass, Billy Hart on drums, with João Gilberto on vocals/guitar. Available: Limited Edition pressing of 3,000; Special Translucent Green-Colored 10" Record; 140 gram vinyl at 33 1/3 RPM for Quality Sound. Full length release (CD & 2-LP) coming in 2015/2016.

LARRY YOUNG – SELECTION FROM LARRY YOUNG IN PARIS

From the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) in France, which includes the Office of Radio and Television (ORTF) archives, Resonance presents never-before-released 1964 to 1965 live and studio recordings of jazz organist & pianist, Larry Young. Featured artists include Woody Shaw on trumpet, Nathan Davis on saxophone, Billy Brooks on drums and numerous French artists. Available: 10" Record Limited Edition Pressing of 1,500; Recorded on 140 gram vinyl at 33 1/3 RPM, Full length release (2-CD & 3-LP) coming in 2015/2016.



WAYNE JONES - MR. JONES

Continuing to bring the thunder from Down Under on his new 5-track set MR. JONES, Australian bassist, songwriter arranger and performer Wayne Jones, a renowned session musician who launched his solo career in 2006, keeps that perfect balance between tunes that are lush, melodic and sophisticated and others that showcase his freewheeling and wildly energetic ways. Working with top genre stars like Rick Braun and Grammy-nominated keyboardist Philippe Saisse, who is featured on "5 To 6," Jones creates a dynamic array of moods, from the bright and brassy new single "A Day at the Beach" to the strutting and funky "Get Up" and light and breezy "Sweet Melody." Another highlight is Jones’ buoyant Latin excursion "The World Keeps Turning." You’ll enjoy experiencing the wild, wonderful world of MR. JONES! ~Jonathan Widran / smoothjazz.com



NEW RELEASES: JOSS STONE – WATER FOR YOUR SOUL; WES MONTGOMERY - ONE NIGHT IN INDY FEATURING THE EDDIE HIGGINS TRIO; HIATUS KAIYOTE – CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON

JOSS STONE – WATER FOR YOUR SOUL

Water For Your Soul is about finding your own fulfilment, doing what you really want to do, explains Joss Stone. For me, its music. But water for your soul can be anything. Some people like food, some people like to dance, some like to travel. Music is necessary for me - it feeds my soul, the same way water feeds a flower. It's also about being brave and letting go. Prepare to be amazed and delighted by Joss Stone. The free spirited English soul singer has been on an incredible journey, metaphorical and literal, artistic and geographic, absorbing influences and making music. Water For Your Soul is the fruits of her travels in sound, demonstrating how the teen soul prodigy has blossomed into an artist of style and substance. It is an album that pulses with the liquid groove of reggae, dazzles with the mix and match sonic adventure of hip hop, shimmers with the exotic sounds of world music and delivers the emotional belt of RnB. It's really a combination of all the things I like, explains Joss. I'll always have that bluesy, soul thing because it is in my voice. But these are new songs for me to sing, which is exciting. ~ Amazon

WES MONTGOMERY - ONE NIGHT IN INDY FEATURING THE EDDIE HIGGINS TRIO

A 1959 Indianapolis jazz club performance that unites guitarist Wes Montgomery with legendary jazz pianist Eddie Higgins and his trio in this never-before-released recording (with Walter Perkins on drums, bassist unknown). Includes over 40 minutes of previously unissued music from an exclusive 1959 live performance at the Indianapolis Jazz Club in Indiana. Available as 12" LP Limited Edition Pressing of 2,500; 180 gram vinyl at 33 1/3 RPM for Quality Sound.
Included in an upcoming in 2016/2017 release.


HIATUS KAIYOTE – CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON

A stunning second set from Hiatus Kaiyote – a group we already loved the first time around, but who really blow us away with this amazing little record! The style is this incredible mix of cosmic keyboards and soulful vocals – but not in a way that's like any of the other oft-tread paths in that combination on the market at all. Instead, the group almost put the keyboards first – working from some Herbie Hancock electric 70s mode, but very much with their own style – then find a key place for the sublime singing of Nai Palm – a vocalist who's got this style that's heavenly, and almost with her own sort of electricity as well. Individual tunes are great, but the whole thing really works together as one long sonic trip – a mindbending journey through tracks that include "Prince Minikid", "Shaolin Monk Motherfunk", "Laputa", "Borderline With My Atoms", "Swamp Thing", "Fingerprints", and "The Lung". ~ Dusty Groove






Cy Gorman's Carmen EP w/ Daniel Crawford remix‏

Cy Gorman’s debut EP, ‘CARMEN’ draws on subtle flavours of Latin American music, Jazz and Soul, Chip and Glitc t Music. The EP draws on subtle flavours of Latin American music, Jazz and Soul, Chip and Glitch Music, retro 8-bit sounds and Bass, and minimal yet expressive harmonic, melodic and vocal colours to create an overall refreshingly unique sound.
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Having been pronounced a 'tastemaker' by none other than über-tastemaker Gilles Peterson on his legendary BBC radio show, it was about time for Ennio Styles to get serious with his label Heard and Felt. Following the acclaimed download comps 'Stylin' 500' and 'Stylin' 600' (feat. Sampha, Amin Payne, Andras Fox, Fulgeance, Kirkis, RAah Project, etc), Ennio has turned to fellow Melbournian Cy Gorman for the first Heard and Felt physical and artist release, with LA's Daniel Crawford on the remix. Props for the record are already coming in across the continents from Jazzy Jeff, Gilles Peterson and Soil & Pimp Sessions, adding to Cy's existing supporters like Mixmag, Diesler, Beyondjazz, KCRW (LA) and JWAVE FM (Tokyo).

After laying down a highly unusual blend of latin, trap, G-funk and soul on a recent remix of London's Los Charly's Orchestra, Cy extends his palette further on Carmen. Drawing on his skills as composer, producer, pianist, saxophonist and vocalist, the sound ranges from the feelgood synth-funk of 'Cool Change' and 8-bit baroque beats of 'Carmen San Diego' to the leftfield bossa of 'The Wishing Well' and smoky jazz club vibes of 'RDJ'. This could be the soundtrack to a David Lynch film set in a mysterious Latin American location at a time which might be past, present or future.

Guests on Carmen include keyboard maestro Will Poskitt (RIP) and vocalist Gian Slater, whose credits include work with Australian jazz legends like Paul Grabowsky, Jamie Oehlers and Barney McAll. RDJ gets a remix from Daniel Crawford, whose current album features Amp Fiddler and Vikter Duplaix. Daniel adds a warm and soulful touch, recalling the days of George Duke teaming up with Milton Nascimento. The cover art offers a new take on the label's felt-themed artwork, with Cy's 8-bit image concept crossstitched onto red felt by Natasha Zissermann.


NEW RELEASES: CONYA DOSS - SEVEN; SEAN & STARR - LOOK CLOSER; TY CAUSEY - CAUSE & EFFECT

CONYA DOSS – SEVEN

Hard to believe we're hearing a seventh full album from the great Conya Doss – but we've also been loving the lady so long, it's hard to believe we could ever do without her! As before, Conya's working here at a level that's really a cut above – wonderful vocals, thoughtful songwriting, and a level of presentation that really avoids any mainstream soul cliches at all – and which also avoids some of the more overdone modes of the underground too! Conya really puts her heart into her music right from the start – and there's a depth of feeling here that we totally love, and which is also a bit subtle, too – so effortless that Doss makes it all seem so easy, even though there's few people who could come across this well. Titles include "Fragments", "Gone", "No Stronger Love", "Reach Out", "Spend My Life", "When We Love", "I Could Be The One", "You Got Me", and "For Us" – which features a guest appearance by Frank McComb!  ~ Dusty Groove

SAUN & STARR – LOOK CLOSER

The mighty debut of Saun & Starr – a female soul duo who have been best known for their backing work behind Sharon Jones – stepping out here into the spotlight with some great support from the Dap-Kings! Although funky, the duo also have more of a deep soul approach than Sharon Jones – a quality that's very old school, and which burns with the fire of some lost 70s session on Stax Records – the kind of super-heavy sound that first made us fall in love with the Daptone label so many years back! The Dap-Kings are at their best in the setting – maybe looser, and more personal than on some of their recordings with Jones – and titles include "In The Night", "Dear Mr Teddy", "Look Closer", "Hot Shot", "Sunshine", "If Only", "Your Face Before My Eyes", and "Big Wheel". ~ Dusty Groove

TY CAUSEY – CAUSE & EFFECT

Beautifully smooth soul from Ty Causey – a singer who comes across with just the sort of class you'd expect from his image on the cover! Ty's been giving us great records for years, but this set may well be his best – a wonderfully mature session that carries forward echoes of earlier generations of sensual soul singers – like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, or Ronald Isley – but with a lean quality that's nicely indie, and very contemporary in the presentation of the material! Warm keyboards resonate strongly with the vocals on just about every number – and titles include "Just Another Love Affair", "It's Gotta Be Love", "Testify", "So Beautiful", "Don't Rush The Flow", and "Missin You". ~ Dusty Groove


Monday, May 18, 2015

Bay Area Vocalist Tiffany Austin Debuts June 2 With "Nothing But Soul"

Tiffany Austin Nothing But Soul One of the fastest rising jazz singers in Northern California, with a tradition-rooted yet thoroughly modern style, Tiffany Austin brings a wealth of experience to her debut CD Nothing But Soul, scheduled for June 2 release by her Con Alma Music label. 

The Los Angeles native, currently based in Berkeley, worked with producer Howard Wiley to adapt and expand on her November 2013 SFJAZZ "Hotplate" concert for which she reimagined compositions by the great American songwriter Hoagy Carmichael. Nothing But Soul is made up of six Carmichael tunes -- "Baltimore Oriole," "Stardust," "Skylark," "I Get Along Without You Very Well," "Georgia on My Mind," and "Sing Me a Swing Song (And Let Me Dance)" -- as well as two non-Carmichael numbers that he recorded as a vocalist: Henry Sullivan and Harry Ruskin's "I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful)"; Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line"; and "Tête-à-Tête," a wordless a cappella duet by Austin and Wiley based on the chord changes of Charlie Parker's "Confirmation." Tiffany was joined for the recording by bassist Ron Belcher, drummer Sly Randolph, pianist Glen Pearson, and producer Howard Wiley on tenor saxophone.

"Hoagy is a treasure trove of classics," says Austin. "When I looked at his catalog, I realized that I'd been hearing, singing, and even piano-plunking away at his tunes for a great chunk of my life -- 'Heart and Soul,' for instance! I wanted to share that wonder of finding treasures in plain view with other folks, while adding some other musical flavors to the recipe. It's also fascinating to me that Hoagy achieved his law degree," adds Austin, who earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of California Berkeley's Boalt School of Law in 2012, "and still decided to pursue a career in music. Whatever your calling is, there's something in your bones that tells you there is nothing that will make you happier in life. And it takes a lot of courage to follow it." 

Tiffany Austin Born in Los Angeles, Tiffany Austin  studied classical voice while attending Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. During her junior year at Cal State Northridge, from which she would graduate with a B.A. in creative writing in 2003, she went to England on an exchange program and began singing in London clubs. After a brief stint back in Southern California, she moved to Tokyo in early 2004 and spent the next five and a half years singing a variety of music, including some pop, jazz, and gospel music, six nights a week.

"As I worked in those styles I could hear a different quality coming out in my voice, and I wanted to explore that further," says Austin, who also received lyric writing commissions and recorded for television, film, and album projects during this period.

"I also fell in love with Japan, and when I left there it was with tears in my eyes," she adds. "I was struck by how the artisans I met would not settle for anything but the best of themselves and their craft, and would work with such patient diligence. That work ethic resonated with me, and I find myself summoning up memories of Japan when I brace myself for big challenges."

In 2009, Austin returned to the United States to attend U.C. Berkeley Law School, with an emphasis in entertainment law and copyright. After graduation, she found herself at a crossroad. "I could have gone into a law firm, which can be rewarding, particularly if you're helping an underserved community, but my calling has always been to do music," Austin says. "I don't just want to make decisions based on money. I want to feel connected to my art and my community. I want to really be in touch with my soul.

"Although cliché, it's true," she continues, "that law school teaches you how to think, how to work efficiently, how to teach yourself, and how to be tenacious. Since graduating, I've started my own music company (Con Alma Music), put together my album, deepened the study of my crafts (vocalist, lyricist, songwriter), and began independently studying harmony. I feel like every bit of my education and experience has come together, in a marvelously unlikely way, to make me an artist." 

In Northern California Tiffany has appeared at the SFJAZZ Center, Yoshi's in both Oakland and San Francisco, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco, and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, and in January 2014 traveled to New York to perform with choreographer Nicole Klaymoon's Embodiment Project at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Besides working with innovative local bandleaders Marcus Shelby and Howard Wiley, Austin has sung with the bands Orgone and MoonCandy, and has recorded with, among others, Orgone, The Monophonics, The Droptones, and on UnderCover Presents Sly and the Family Stone's Stand! tribute project. 

The CD release concert for Nothing But Soul will take place at the SFJAZZ Center's Joe Henderson Lab on Friday 6/12. Shows are at 7:00pm and 8:30pm, and tickets are $25. Other upcoming shows are scheduled for 7/17 at the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco, and 8/29 at the Sound Room, Oakland.


Ginger Johnson and His African Messengers - African Party

Ginger Johnson's life is one of the greatest untold stories of African music in Europe. Born George Folunsho Johnson in Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria in 1916. Aged just 18 he joined the Nigerian Navy, and made his first visit to Britain. After World War II Ginger decided to make London his home, working with many artists including British saxophone legend Ronnie Scott who first really utilised Gingers amazing technique to full effect, featuring him in not only his live concerts, but also several recordings for the Esquire jazz label in the 1940's & 50's.

In the 60's Ginger was mentor & guru to a young Fela Kuti. Gingers London home became a vibrant hub of African music activity for Fela and an entire host of musicians who would gather there to exchange news, talk, eat and jam for hours on end. To Fela, and all who gravitated towards Ginger's home, he was simply known and addressed as 'Father'.

Aside from his music, Ginger was something of a social activist. Not only was he a musical educator, and instrumental in the beginnings of The Notting Hill Carnival, he also opened his own venue Club Iroko in Haverstock Hill, North London, which was a creative hub for groups like Osibisa, and also a welcoming hang out for visiting legends like Sun Ra, George Clinton and Funkadelic, and British group Cymande (3 members of Cymande cut their teeth playing in Gingers group).

Ginger and his group performed at The Royal Variety Performance, his music featured in the James Bond film 'Live & Let Die' and Ginger himself appears on screen drumming in the Hammer Films cult classic 'She'. As a session musician he played for a bewilderingly wide range of acts such as Georgie Fame, Osibisa, Madeleine Bell and Quincy Jones. Ginger & his group also collaborated with many early rock bands such as Hawkwind, Argent, Thunderclap Newman, Genesis and Little Free Rock.

Perhaps Ginger Johnson & His African Messengers most high profile live engagement was performing with The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in 1969, as Ginger his troupe provided the percussive, high energy rhythmic bedrock to the infamous live version of Sympathy For The Devil.


Freestyle Records is releasing the music of Ginger Johnson & His African Messengers. Its bedrock of African drums, hi life, and jazz was in fact the precursor to Afrobeat - and Gingers direct and vital influence upon Afrobeat, as guide & mentor to it's undisputed champion Fela Kuti is just one part of a fascinating and underappreciated story that only now is being recognised for its significance.


Friday, May 15, 2015

CLASSIC ALBUMS FROM B.B. KING REISSUED: MY KIND OF BLUES, SINGIN' THE BLUE & B.B. KING WAILS

B.B. KING - MY KIND OF BLUES

Acrobat's British Hit Parade series has been established for over a decade as a unique range of completist original artist collections comprising every record that appeared in the UK record sales charts in every year since the charts began in 1952. In recent years Acrobat has introduced parallel collections which consist of the B sides of all the records included in the main compilations, and these have proved hugely popular with collectors, since many of the records concerned have never been available on CD and are very rarely heard. These two great value 4-CD sets are companion products to our existing 1958 British Hit Parade Parts One & Two (ACQCD7026 & 7027), and feature the B sides of the tracks on those anthologies, excluding the ones which appeared on the original collections as Double A-side hits. As ever, it's an eclectic snapshot of an ignored but fascinating aspect of the pop business, with an in-depth 10-000+ word booklet with background notes on every record. ~ Amazon

B.B. KING - SINGIN' THE BLUES

This quintessential collector's edition includes one of his finest albums: Singin' the Blues (1957), originally released by the Crown label at the beginning of King's career. The LP it's a superb collection of King's early hits, originally released on the RPM label. In five short years, B.B. King had matured from an artist looking for a style to the premier bluesman of his generation. His modern style that crosses rock & roll and R&B with the jump blues is fully developed here, and his consistency from track to track is remarkable. On Please Love Me, King combines T-Bone Walker's hard-picking, distorted guitar style with his own mournful singing. The arrangements are smooth and elegant, frequently displaying a hint of jazz, and King is backed by a well-arranged horn section in true Memphis blues fashion. This blues-meets-urban-soul style masterpiece has been packaged in this very special release, which also includes 2 bonus tracks from the same period. Contained here is the cream of the crop from B.B. King's hit-making stretch for Crown Records during his most inspired years. Without a doubt, this is the material upon which B.B.'s kingdom was built. Recorded at different locations between 1951 and 1956. ~Amazon

B.B. KING AND HIS ORCHESTRA - B.B. KING WAILS

2015 reissue of 1959 album includes the original album plus expanded with bonus tracks. The influence of big band jazz is actually fairly prominent here, with saxes and trumpet playing a big part in the arrangements. Also on hand as additional items are some other odds and ends from his Modern label days that were deemed to fit in with the album's jazzy mood. Includes: I've Got Papers On You Baby, Tomorrow Is Another Day, Come By Here,The Fool, I Love You So, The Woman I Love, We Cant Make It, Treat Me Right, Time To Say Goodbye, Youve Been An Angel, Yesterday, My Silent Prayer, I Stay In The Mood. Why I Sing The Blues, Trouble In Mind, Everyday I Have The Blues, and Yes Indeed.




NEW RELEASES: THE BAD PLUS / JOSHUA REDMAN; GARY PEACOCK TRIO - NOW THIS; MATHIAS EICK - MIDWEST

THE BAD PLUS / JOSHUA REDMAN

In 2011, The Bad Plus invited saxophonist Joshua Redman to join them for a week of enthusiastically received performances at the Blue Note in New York City. They then played a handful of dates before heading into the studio in 2014 to record their debut album, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, which Nonesuch releases on May 26, 2015. Seven of the nine tracks on The Bad Plus Joshua Redman are new compositions by the quartet members who, in addition to Reid Anderson and Redman, include The Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King. The other two songs on the album, "Dirty Blonde" and "Silence Is the Question," are new arrangements of Bad Plus favorites. Of a recent show in Great Barrington, MA, Albany’sMetrolandsaid, "The newly christened Bad Plus Joshua Redman took the stage … and proceeded to raise the roof. In a word, the music the quartet produces is sublime. More than that, it's as though Redman is the long-lost fourth member of the group, just waiting to be snapped snugly into place." "On the live gigs, Josh plays magnificent, long tenor solos which are very much in the jazz tradition," said Iverson. "That’s obviously not the focus when we play as The Bad Plus. It’s fun to for us to enjoy that extended blowing territory, especially with someone as great as Josh. On the album, however, there is still a focus on composition." ~ Amazon

GARY PEACOCK TRIO - NOW THIS

Featuring: Marc Copland: piano; Gary Peacock: double bass; Joey Baron: drums. 
In the realm of the piano trio the bar is set high, and creative bassist Gary Peacock has helped raise it in the groups of Bill Evans, Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett. Now This is an album with the bassists current trio, recorded last summer in Oslo. Powerful new versions of some Peacock classics such as Moor, Vignette, Requiem and Gaya are interspersed with recent compositions. Marc Copland and Joey Baron each contribute tunes, and the group also tackles Scott La Faros Glorias Step. In this band, roles are very evenly shared, and this is an optimum context in which to appreciate the melodic invention of Peacocks bass playing. Marc Copland always honors the needs of the compositions and Joey Baron supplies both drive and sensitive detail. Now This is issued in celebration of Gary Peacocks 80th birthday on May 12th. Recorded July 12-14, 2014 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo. Recording and mix engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug, produced by Manfred Eicher. ~ Amazon

MATHIAS EICK - MIDWEST

Mathias Eick reflects on distances travelled in this intensely melodic set of original compositions, which makes an imaginative journey from Hem, the tiny Norwegian village where the trumpeter grew up, to the vast plains of Dakota in the American Midwest. It was to the Midwest that hundreds of thousands of Norwegians traveled by sea in the 19th and early 20th centuries - and naturally they took their music with them. In similar spirit Eick, a Norwegian improviser-composer strongly influenced by North American jazz, here reintegrates some of the colors and textures of his native folk music in these newly-created pieces. In the front line of the line-up featured here he is partnered by the brilliant violinist Gjermund Larsen, whose roots are in the Norwegian folk tradition. Trumpet and violin exchange lines and soar together above a brilliant rhythm section with Jon Balke at his most lyrical, Helge Norbakken periodically finding pulses that can suggest tribal drumming or buffalo hooves, and the resourceful Mats Eilertsen helping to drive the music forward. The original inspiration for the album was sparked by a grueling North American tour: I d been out on the road for a long time and was feeling homesick. Then we reached the area called the Midwest and I suddenly felt as if I was home. I had a sense of why the early settlers would want to build their farms there. It reminded me very much of parts of Norway. Recorded May 11-13, 2014 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo. Recording engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug. produced by Manfred Eicher. ~ Amazon




Eden MacAdam-Somer Releases My First Love Story, a solo album featuring MacAdam-Somer on voice, violin, viola, and percussive dance

My First Love Story introduces the solo work of one of New England Conservatory's newest faculty members and one of the most dynamic young artists performing today: composer, performer, and improviser Eden MacAdam-Somer. Recorded live in NEC's Jordan Hall, this album is an incredible blend of contemporary and traditional art, moving fluidly between Appalachian folk song and cutting edge classical performance.  The CD will be released June 23, 2015 on A-Side Records.

The seeds for this project were planted years ago, when I played my very first notes on the piano. I don't remember that day (I was four years old); in fact, I don't remember a time in my life before music. Music is the language in which I am the most comfortable, and a language that I have been fortunate to share with artists all around the world, in many dialects and in all kinds of settings. For most of my life, I have struggled in defining myself as an artist: violinist, fiddler, singer, dancer, improviser, composer, educator, performer, musicologistŠ but I have come to realize that it is the sum of all of these parts that makes me who I am. This project is a portrait of the artist that I am today and the story of my first love, kindled all of those years ago in my four-year old heart.

The album centers around MacAdam-Somer's Rumi Songs, an open-ended cycle for voice and violin that is partially composed and partially improvised. The three movements carry the listener from sweet Bach-like tones through serial systems, folk references, and free improvisation, while vocals soar in translations of ecstatic love poems by the famed Sufi poet Mevleva Rumi. This work was inspired by Ralph Vaughan Williams' Along the Field, also featured on the recording arranged for solo performer with improvised fiddle interludes and English Country Dance tunes. "Vaughan Williams is so skillful in blending folk songs with classical composition, and I always wondered what it would be like to perform this piece with a folk singerŠit is not at all uncommon for folk musicians to sing and play at the same time and eventually I thought, 'maybe I can do both parts.' I love being able to tell the whole story myself, because I can follow my imagination wherever it takes me at any timeŠ it isn't about "blending" genres or about the technical challenges in playing and singing at the same time, but simply telling the story the way I hear it, which might be a little different in each performance."

MacAdam-Somer carries the listener to many imagined worlds in this recording. "Jump for Joy" is a jubilant blending of Duke Ellington's composition with African-American spirituals and folk dance tradition. The violinist takes on the role of the big band, drumming her tapping feet which burst into celebratory percussive dance. From here, she moves into the realm of film noir with "Lullaby," a dark, early-music-inspired tribute to jazz pianist Ran Blake: "This scene is from Claude Chabrol's Le Boucher, in which an Algerian war veteran (and the local butcher) is suspected of being a brutal serial killer in a small French village. In this scene, school children are practicing a courtly Baroque dance in period costume, creating a sense of eerie serenity just before the traumatic climax of the film."

Also featured on the album are more traditionally rooted pieces. The CD opens with an original song, "Fourteen Miles," with straight up Appalachian fiddling darting suddenly through angular pizzicato passages under sweet vocals. "Barbara Allen" blends the familiar folk ballad with West African gonje tunes, traditionally used to relay village histories as a means of preserving aural history. The recording ends with "Say Darlin' Say," a sweet lullaby in which the voice and viola intertwine and become one, speaking to the way MacAdam-Somer weaves all of her musical selves into one exceptional and individual voice, each and every time.

NEC's Contemporary Improvisation Department is all about developing one's unique voice, invoking a methodology that liberates the idea of improvisation from any specific genre. CI faculty provide students with grounding in aural skills, vocal and instrumental technique, a wide range of improvisational traditions - in short, everything a student might need to become a leading artist of today. Department Chair Hankus Netsky notes that "Eden is what Gunther Schuller would call a 'compleat musician.' She's a violin virtuoso who knows many fiddling styles, a wonderful composer and a great singer."

Indeed, MacAdam-Somer's music transcends genre. She has been a featured soloist with symphony and chamber orchestras, jazz and swing bands, and Eastern European and American folk ensembles. As an educator and composer/improviser, MacAdam-Somer has been a guest artist at such institutions as the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (where she is a regular visiting faculty member) and the Dundalk Institute of Technology, as well as a featured performer at the Eastbourne and Beijing International Music Festivals.

While growing up in Houston, Texas, MacAdam-Somer studied classical music formally, spending her free time at the local folk music sessions and working as an arranger and studio musician. She attended Houston's High School for Performing and Visual Arts, winning the Music Teacher's National Association State Division and the Lennox Young Artists Competitions. Later, she earned her BM and MM in classical performance from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston as a student of Fredell Lack, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University as a student of Kenneth Goldsmith.

In 2004, MacAdam-Somer moved to Boston and began touring with guitarist and banjo player Larry Unger as the core members of the ensemble NotoriousFolk. Together, they have performed across the continental United States, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, India, Iceland, the UK, and Afghanistan, teaching and playing for festivals and dances of all kinds. Their music has been featured in many of Ken Burns' documentaries, including Our National Parks, The Dustbowl, Prohibition, and The Roosevelts.

With her diverse interests and capabilities as a performer and educator, MacAdam-Somer finds NEC's Department of Contemporary Improvisation the perfect home base. "When I arrived at NEC and attended my first CI concert, I realized that I had found the artists I'd been looking for my whole life. The CI Department is much more than a degree program - it is a vibrant community of creative musicians, each coming in with a distinct voice of their own, eager to push themselves to new artistic levels and completely open to and enthusiastic about the music of their peers. It is one of the most mutually supportive and exciting musical communities that I have ever been a part of."

Outside of the classroom, MacAdam-Somer maintains an active international performance and recording career as a soloist and with such bands as Notorious Folk, the Sail Away Ladies, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

 

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