Friday, February 05, 2016

NEW RELEASES: ROXY CROSS - RESTLESS IDEALISM; PER ODDVAR JOHANSEN – LET’S DANCE; AKI RISSANEN - AMORANDOM

ROXY CROSS - RESTLESS IDEALISM

'Easily the next hot modern jazz star for Generation Now. ' - Cashbox Magazine. Best known for her work with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt's group, New York saxophonist / composer Roxy Coss developed the compositions and group concept for her second recording during a three-year residency of her Quintet at New York's famed Smoke Jazz Club. With Pelt on trumpet, long-time band members guitarist Alex Wintz and pianist Chris Pattishall, and the dynamic duo of bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Willie Jones III, Roxy's created a thoughtful, highly emotive and undeniably fearless recording. Inspired by the Jazz Messengers, Wayne Shorter, and Kurt Rosenwinkel's group with Mark Turner, Coss further defines her own unique voice through these ten original compositions.

PER ODDVAR JOHANSEN – LET’S DANCE

Per Oddvar Johansen has played a huge part in Norwegian music over many years and has worked extensively with such groundbreaking figures as Helge Lien, Christian Wallumrød and Petter Wettre. He brings his own imaginative drive to everything he does and his solo debut album ‘Let’s Dance’ on Edition Records shines a spotlight on a musician who has deserved the attention for a long time. Meditative, beautiful, stately and austere, the songs on Let’s Dance are the product of a finely tuned musicianship, developing along an organic and entirely natural and unique path, each intensely satisfying and fulfilling. Per Oddvar’s propulsive rhythms underlie each tune but never attempt to dominate. If there is a dance to be danced it’s a tranquil, dignified and sedate dance – a folk dance celebrating a grave and solemn moment. Features Per Oddvar Johannsen (drums, violins, vibraphone, guitars, wood percussion & electronics); Helge Lien (piano); and Torben Snekkestad (saxophones, reed trumpet).

AKI RISSANEN - AMORANDOM

Over the last few years Aki has quietly been building a name in the international jazz world both as a leader and as a sideman. With Amorandom, he delivers his most authoritative work to date. There's a fluidity in his playing and a boldness in his composing that deserves widespread praise and real recognition for one of the finest young European pianists. Described by Downbeat as a ‘rising star around Europe', Amorandom is the work that will introduce Aki Rissanen’s startling new talent to a global audience. Features Aki Rissanen (piano); Antti Lotjonen (bass); and Teppo Maykynen (drums).


New Vintage Jazz Singer Laura Ainsworth Signed by GRAMMY-Winning Producer for National Label Debut

Dallas-based retro jazz singer Laura Ainsworth is back in the studio, cutting a sultry 1940s torch song for her third album, New Vintage. Like her first two releases on her indie label Eclectus Records, Keep It To Yourself and Necessary Evil (available at www.lauraainsworth.com), it reteams her with renowned pianist/producer Brian Piper and an array of top Texas jazz players. But album #3 marks a turning point for the redheaded chanteuse, whose sequined gowns and long silk gloves are as much a trademark as her silky, three-octave voice that's earned comparisons to such mid-century songbirds as Rosemary Clooney and Dinah Shore.
  
After the Dallas sessions are complete, Ainsworth and Piper will fly to New York, where Grammy-winning producer Jack Kreisberg will add finishing touches for New Vintage to become Laura Ainsworth's national debut on his American Showplace Music label. Jazz icon Kreisberg managed the famed Blue Note Jazz Club, producing a series of acclaimed live albums, and launched the Half Note jazz label. He pegged Ms Ainsworth as a talent worth signing after New York Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Michael Packer raved to him about Necessary Evil. Prior to releasing New Vintage this summer, Kreisberg will also rerelease Necessary Evil nationally.

Ms Ainsworth has been building a worldwide following by reimaging standards and reviving long-forgotten obscurities in a style she calls "new vintage," a term that's since become its own genre with her as a leading figure. She mixes her own modern touches with classic big band, Vegas lounge and cocktail jazz of the 1930s-'50s, styles she grew up loving as the daughter of the late sax and clarinet master, Billy Ainsworth. She says, "As a little girl, I would sit spellbound, watching him back Tony Bennett or Ella Fitzgerald, and think, 'I want to do that!'"
  
She released her indie debut, Keep It To Yourself, in 2011 with little fanfare, but word slowly spread among DJs and critics. AllAboutJazz.com declared it "among the year's most consistently engaging jazz releases, performed with class and heartfelt passion," while Jazz Inside magazine raved, "You can keep those pop divas; the only one for me is Laura Ainsworth." 
  
The film noir-inspired follow-up, Necessary Evil, attracted even better reviews and influential music industry fans. Ms Ainsworth started 2015 touring India and Dubai as part of the WOA International Music Festival and ended in Charlotte, nominated for Best Female Vocalist and Best Mainstream Artist at the nationally-televised Artist Music Guild Awards, sharing the stage with Melba Moore, Martha Reeves and other stars. In between, she hit New York to perform on TV, sing at Birdland and tour Kreisberg's studio, home to both jazz artists and rock legends such as Eric Clapton and Keith Richards.
  
Now, 2016 is shaping up as a breakout year. While finishing New Vintage, she's preparing for a Grammy week trip to L.A. to perform alongside several of this year's nominees at The Soiree, a major industry event February 13th at the Whiskey A-Go-Go. She released a video of "Necessary Evil" shot in India, and Grammy-winning producer Ricky Kej is creating a techno-dance remix of the big band tune. She will also appear on the hot cult CD series, This Is Vintage Now.       

Ms Ainsworth says, "I'm grateful so many people seem to like that I'm trying to reinvent these classic styles of music for the 21st century. I always thought of my albums as messages-in-a-bottle. When I sent them out into the world, I hoped someone would eventually find them. I'm amazed by how far they've traveled and how many people they've touched."


NEW RELEASES: BILL FRISELL - WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR; CHICAGO – LOVE SONGS; SOUL SOK SEGA: SEGA SOUNDS FROM MAURITIUS 1973-1079

BILL FRISELL - WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR 

When You Wish Upon A Star, the latest project from legendary Grammy-winning guitarist and composer Bill Frisell via OKeh Records. Comprised of music from iconic film and television scores, the LP is conceived not only as homage, but as a celebration of music-making with long time collaborators and their collective commitment to refined interpretation of material. The cornerstones of the album are four “suites” of music that reside deep within the collective psyche: To Kill A Mockingbird, Psycho, Once Upon A Time In The West and The Godfather. These are joined by new versions of well-known songs that describe the mysterious power of dreams: “You Only Live Twice,” “The Shadow Of Your Smile,” “Moon River” and “When You Wish Upon A Star.” Finally, the set is rounded out with music from TV series “Bonanza” and “Happy Trails,” the film noir classic The Bad and The Beautiful and Frisell’s own work from the TV show “Tales From The Far Side.” Taken together, the selections touch upon a wide swath of mid-twentieth century values, major events and cultural touchstones. “I've been watching TV and movies my whole life,” Frisell notes. “What I’ve seen and heard there is a huge part of, and is embedded so deeply into the fabric of what fires up my musical imagination.” The LP brings together an all-star “dream team” of Frisell’s frequent partners in crime: violist Eyvind Kang, drummer Rudy Royston, bass player Thomas Morgan and vocalist Petra Haden.

CHICAGO – LOVE SONGS

Love Songs features 18 classic Chicago love songs, including the #1 singles “You’re The Inspiration,” “Hard To Say I’m Sorry,” and “Look Away,” along with "Colour My World," "Will You Still Love Me?," "No Tell Lover," "What Kind Of Man Would I Be?," and "Wishing You Were Here." Love Songs now includes the track, “Love Lives On” from Chicago’s most recent album, NOW. The track features long-time vocalist Jason Scheff and the band’s trademark horn section. The album also includes Chicago with Earth, Wind and Fire’s Philip Bailey on their smash, “If You Leave Me Now.”



SOUL SOK SEGA: SEGA SOUNDS FROM MAURITIUS 1973-1979

Amazing music you've probably never heard before – all from the tiny island of Mauritius in the 70s, and served up in a stunning mix of funk, blues, and soul! The grooves here are very offbeat – with rhythms that belie the island's location in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar, mixed with more contemporary touches on electric guitar, bass, and keyboards – set to lyrics that are often sung in French, usually with these haunting changes and oddly melancholy modes – all of which makes for music that's every bit as emotively powerful as it is downright groovy! Strut Records have always turned us on to new and unusual sounds – but this time around, they've really done something special – and the collection is one of our favorite releases ever from the long-running label. Titles include "Afro Mauricien" by Georges Jean Louis, "Mo Mari Fini Alle" by Catherine Velienne, "Elida" by Michel Legris, "Mone Lasser Dire Toi" by Harold Berty, "Bhai Aboo" by Claudio, "Mo Parrain" by Christophe, "Manuel Bitor" by John Kenneth Nelson, "Eliza" by Georgie Joi, and "Soul Sock Sega" by Ti L'Afrique. ~ Dusty Groove


NEW RELEASES: LEON BRIDGES – LOUISIANA SUN; JAMES HUNTER SIX - HOLD ON; HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES – TO BE TRUE

LEON BRIDGES – LOUISIANA SUN (FROM THE COMING HOME SESSIONS)

A really great special set from soul singer Leon Bridges – tracks recorded for his Coming Home album, but which didn't get released at the time – but which, to us, are every bit as great as the work on that instant classic set! The vibe here is one that you'll recognize instantly if you dig Leon as much as we do – a lean, tight take on classic southern soul sounds of the 60s – recorded down in Texas with small combo backing, and a trio of female singers who give Bridges this warm vibe and a feel that's almost like Hi Records during their glory days. Titles include "Mississippi Kisses", "There She Goes", "Daisy Mae", "Here In My Arms", and "Outta Line". (Indie store exclusive!)  ~ Dusty Groove

JAMES HUNTER SIX - HOLD ON

The great James Hunter – sounding even better than before – thanks to sock-solid soul production from Daptone Records! James already recorded at Daptone Studios before – for his previous record – but this set's completely in the hands of the label, from top to bottom – and features wicked Bosco Mann production, and the best sort of vintage soul instrumentation that Hunter's ever had! The groove here is mid 60s soul, with a slight mod undercurrent – the sort of Detroit-informed work that always played big with UK soul fans, but given a slight R&B twist at times too – especially in the great use of organ on most of the cuts. Hunter's always been a great singer, but he's never hit these heights before – and the blend of talents here is perfect. Titles include "Stranded", "Satchel Foot", "In The Dark", "If That Don't Tell You", "This Is Where We Came In", "A Truer Heart", and "Hold On". ~ Dusty Groove

HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES – TO BE TRUE (INCLUDES BONUS TRACKS)

One of the legendary classics from the Philly International years of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – a time when the group was featuring the tremendous lead vocals of the great Teddy Pendergrass! The set's a stunner all the way through – one of the best Philly mixes of smooth, professional backings and deeply personal lyrics – as Teddy soars to the top of the mix with his excellent leads, and gets excellent support from the rest of the Blue Notes on harmonies – but also steps aside to make a bit of space to introduce singer Sharon Paige on one cut, who'd have a greater role in the group in years to come. The songwriting, production, and other Sigma Studios touches are sublime – and titles include "Hope That We Can Get Together Soon", "Where Are All My Friends", "Bad Luck", "To Be True", "Nobody Could Take Your Place", and "All Because Of A Woman". Features two bonus tracks – "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon (single version)", and "Bad Luck (Tom Moulton mix)". ~ Dusty Groove


WORLD MUSIC ICONS, AND AMBASSADORS OF PEACE AND POSITIVITY, VUSI MAHLASELA AND HABIB KOITÉ ANNOUNCE U.S TOUR FOR LATEST INSTALLMENT OF INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED ACOUSTIC AFRICA TOUR

Two of Africa’s most beloved artists, Vusi Mahlasela and Habib Koité, will tour the U.S. from March 19th thru  April 17th in the first installment in three years of the critically acclaimed tour series: Acoustic Africa. The tour—four editions strong—is a journey that focuses on the richness of the African traditions of voice and song. It offers fans a rare chance to experience their favorite African artists in intimate settings.

Vusi Mahlasela, is simply known as ‘The Voice’ in his home-country, celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and his poetic, optimistic lyrics. His songs of hope connect Apartheid-scarred South Africa with its promise for a better future. Raised in the Mamelodi Township, where he still resides, Vusi became a singer-songwriter and poet-activist at an early age teaching himself how to play guitar and later joining the Congress of South African Writers. After his popular debut on BMG Africa, When You Come Back, Vusi was asked to perform at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994. Vusi has shared the stage with Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Paul Simon, and Taj Mahal, among many others. Perhaps his biggest gig was in 2010 when he helped ring in the World Cup in South Africa, at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Vusi has released seven studio albums to-date; his latest release is Sing to the People (ATO Records), a celebratory live recording looking back on twenty years since his first album.

A modern troubadour with extraordinary appeal, Habib Koité’s musicianship, wit and wisdom translate across cultures. He’s a solo singer, songwriter and guitarist based in Mali, and he has been hailed by Rolling Stone as the biggest pop star of the region. In 2001, Habib Koité and the supergroup he works with, Bamada, became one of the first African artists to appear on Late Night with David Letterman. Habib’s artistry and powerful personality has earned him fans such as Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt, both of whom ended up visiting Habib in Mali. To date he’s sold over 250,000 albums, and he continues to build his profile through a very active calendar of tour dates. Over the past decade, his artistry and magnetic personality have made him an international pop star on par with leading figures in contemporary world music.

Don’t miss this opportunity to catch two living legends live in this collaborative and intimate setting. CNN gushes: “The legendary singer [Vusi Mahlasela] has been celebrated globally for his powerful vocals and universal message of freedom and human kindness.” Of Habib Koite, The New York Times says “his reputation as a guitar player has become almost mythical.”

Tour Dates:
Saturday, March 19 @ Herbst Theater - San Francisco, CA
Sunday, March 20 @ The Green Music Center - Rohnert Park, CA
Tuesday, March 22 @ Cargo Concert Hall - Reno, NV
Thursday, March 24 @ Fox Tuscon Theater - Tucson, AZ
Friday, March 25 @ MIM Music Theater - Phoenix, AZ
Saturday, March 26 @ Luckman Fine Arts Complex - Los Angeles, CA
Monday, March 28 @ Kuumbwa Jazz Center - Santa Cruz, CA
Tuesday, March 29 @ John Van Duzer Theatre - Arcata, CA
Thursday, March 31 @ Aladdin Theater - Portland, OR
Friday, April 01 @ The Triple Door - Seattle, WA
Saturday, April 02 @ The Triple Door - Seattle, WA
Tuesday, April 05 @ Cedar Cultural Center - Minneapolis, MN
Wednesday April 06 @ Old Town School Of Folk Music - Chicago, IL
Friday, April 08 @ McCain Auditorium - Manhattan, KS
Sunday, April 10 @ Academy of Music - Northampton, MA
Wednesday, April 13 @ The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium - New York, NY
Thursday, April 14 @ Lisner Audtiorium (GW University) - Washington, DC
Friday, April 15 @ Weis Center (Bucknell) - Lewisburg, PA
Saturday April 16 @ Stewart Theater (NC State) - Raleigh, NC
Sunday, April 17 @ Somerville Theater - Somerville, MA

Artist Sites:



Thursday, February 04, 2016

NEA Jazz Master George Coleman Releases First Recording as a Leader in Nearly Two Decades: A Master Speaks

In 2015 the National Endowment for the Arts confirmed what countless listeners have known for the last six decades by naming tenor saxophonist George Coleman an NEA Jazz Master. A man of few words, Coleman nonetheless conveys his thoughts with unparalleled eloquence when he speaks through his instrument, as profoundly evidenced by the nine tracks on A Master Speaks, his long-overdue return to the studio.

Scheduled for release April 8 via Smoke Sessions Records, A Master Speaks is Coleman's first release as a leader in nearly 20 years and first recording since the 2002 all-star live tribute album Four Generations of Miles. The rarity of the session is remarkable in itself; even more special is that fact that it grew out of a desire shared by Coleman and his son, drummer George Coleman Jr., to finally record together.

They're joined by a stellar band featuring pianist Mike LeDonne and bassist Bob Cranshaw, with guitarist Peter Bernstein making a special guest appearance. This date was produced by Paul Stache and saxophonist Eric Alexander--a disciple of Coleman's heartfelt, muscular style--who were able to realize a shared dream in documenting this master and his art they have loved for decades.

"I don't really enjoy recording all that much these days," Coleman admits, "but I was really happy to do this one with Smoke. I'm at the end game, you know, the twilight of my career, so maybe it was time."

At 80-years-old, Coleman sounds, as ever, both vital and timeless, suggesting that any "end game" he finds himself in may well stretch into overtime. He's obviously invigorated by the deep sense of swing and classic hard-bop feel of the quartet he's assembled. With his father's tone and feel in his ears and in his blood from birth, George Jr. can't help but provide the perfect rhythm for Coleman's husky melodicism.

Two years Coleman's elder, Cranshaw is no stranger to anchoring the imaginative musings of a tenor giant, having spent nearly fifty years accompanying the great Sonny Rollins. LeDonne, meanwhile, has forged a relationship with Coleman through the saxophonist's frequent guest appearances with LeDonne's Groover Quartet, which also features Alexander, Bernstein, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Coleman has become a regular at the quartet's long running Tuesday night residency at Smoke (as has Cranshaw), and LeDonne and Cranshaw also served as the tenorman's backing band at the club for a special appearance last fall.

"The spontaneity of it all is what make jazz so special," Coleman posits. "You don't know how it's going to turn out... What I've always tried to do is what that old cliché says: play a reasonable facsimile of what you really want to do. If you can get through it without embarrassing yourself then you say, 'I'll take it.' That's the way I look at it."

It's hard to imagine the music on A Master Speaks as falling short in anyone's mind except for Coleman's. The album begins with a warm and sinuous take on the Bronislau Kaper standard "Invitation," a prime example of the saxophonist's gift for melodic interpretation. It's followed by another classic, "The Shadow of Your Smile," played with a raw tenderness and an elegant, lilting LeDonne solo.

"Blues For B.B." pays homage to one of Coleman's earliest mentors and employers, blues legend B.B. King. The leader bridges the decades to his Memphis blues roots, while Bernstein steps in with a solo that subtly evokes King's unmistakable sound. "Blondie's Waltz" is brighter, a joyous spin around the dance floor culminating with a spotlight turn for George Jr., while "You'll Never Know What You Mean To Me" maintains the upbeat mood with a sprightly stroll highlighted by Coleman's burly blowing and a fleet-fingered LeDonne sprint.

The pianist provides an aching intro to the classic ballad "Darn That Dream" and duets with Coleman on a stunning rendition of "These Foolish Things," one of several numbers the pair played together at a reception at Smoke following his NEA induction. A simmering groove drives "Sonny's Playground," providing father and son a chance to trade and cedes the stage to Cranshaw for a masterly walking solo. "Time To Get Down" brings things to a close with a lively, vintage last-call jam session spirit.

Like the pronouncements of a sage, A Master Speaks communicates both wisdom and wonder that bespeaks Coleman's half century in music. From his roots in music-rich Memphis through his work with legends ranging from B.B. King who took Coleman to buy his first tenor to Max Roach to Slide Hampton and his renowned tenure with the Miles Davis Quintet, Coleman established himself as one of jazz's most soulful and expressive voices. It's there on the unforgettable melodies of Herbie Hancock's landmark Maiden Voyage as it is 30 years later on the soundtrack of the Denzel Washington/Whitney Houston film The Preacher's Wife.

Last year he joined the anointed ranks of NEA Jazz Masters in a class that also included fellow Memphian Charles Lloyd as well as pianist/composer/arranger Carla Bley and Chicago club owner Joe Segal. It was a well-deserved honor for a jazz legend who continues to let his music do the talking.

George Coleman · A Master Speaks
Smoke Sessions Records · Release Date: April 8, 2016

NEW RELEASES: GATO BARBIERI – THE LAST TANGO IN PARIS; YUSUKE HIRADO - SPEAK; BOOKER T. & PRISCILLA

GATO BARBIERI – THE LAST TANGO IN PARIS (2-CD EXPANDED EDITION)

One of the greatest moments ever from saxophonist Gato Barbieri – and that's saying a lot, given that by the time of this recording, he'd already had a great 60s run as an avant jazz musician, and started the 70s with a string of albums that criss-crossed jazz and South American musical styles! Yet Last Tango In Paris may well be Barbieri's crowning achievement – a sublime record that draws on all the richer, more emotive themes of his Latin America projects, but gives them new focus in the arrangements of Oliver Nelson – who ensures that the music is never too cheesy or overdone – quite a feat, given the sexy setting of the film! Gato draws a lot from Argentine tango, but often uses his own sax solos in place of a more familiar bandoneon – in a way that pushes the "new tango" mode of the time even farther – especially when set amidst Nelson's wonderful orchestrations. Titles include many versions of the "Last Tango" theme, plus the tracks "Girl In Black", "Jeanne", "Why Did She Choose You?", "It's Over", and "Fake Ophelia". Fantastic 2CD version – with the full film score recording, plus the original album as well. ~ Dusty Groove

YUSUKE HIRADO - SPEAK

A really beautiful album from Yusuke Hirado – a musician you might know as the pianist in the combo Quasimode, but who steps out here in a whole new range of styles! Hirado plays mostly acoustic piano throughout – and some of the tracks have a straighter jazz vibe that shows off a warmer, more lyrical side of his music than might emerge in the more groove-centric Quasimode – but other tracks also add in some funky elements, too – but in ways that really expand past the core club jazz sound of the other group! Hirado plays a bit of Fender Rhodes on the record, but his piano is maybe the real revelation – especially in the modally-grooving trio numbers, which are especially nice – and the set also features a bit of guest work – including vocals from both Bird and Miyuki Hatekeyama, alto from Motoharu of Soil & Pimp, and backings from the Cradle Orchestra on one track. Titles include an excellent remake of Roy Ayers' "Love Will Bring Us Back Together", plus "Taxi Driver Theme", "I'm In Love", "Against The Invisible Wall", "Love Is A Losing Game", "Down To The South", and "A House Is Not A Home". ~ Dusty Groove

BOOKER T. & PRISCILLA

Memphis goes to California – with surprising results! The album's one of a few that Booker T cut after splitting with the MGs – of legendary Stax Records fame – and it's completely different than his earlier sides, and not in a bad way! Book recorded the set in California with wife Priscilla Jones, and it's done in a mixture of soul, rock, and folk styles – one that's as much in keeping with the Laurel Canyon or San Francisco scenes than Book's earlier work was with the Memphis ones. Booker and Priscilla both sing – sometimes together, sometimes apart – and the double-length set is pretty warm, fuzzy, and a bit trippy. Titles include "Delta Song" and "Wedding Song", both of which are standout tracks – and other titles include "She", "Funny Honey", "Medley From The Jones Ranch", and "The Sun Don't Shine". (SHM-CD pressing!) ~ Dusty Groove


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Multi-Instrumentalist Brian Bromberg Returns to His Roots of Acoustic Jazz With Sentimental Tribute To His Father on Full Circle

World-renowned acoustic and electric bassist Brian Bromberg hasn’t released an album in the U.S. since 2012, a fact that might not have been cause for concern if you know that at one point he released three albums in one year. Every man deserves a break. However, once you realize that this chameleon with over 20 projects in his catalog recently had reason to believe that he might never play music again, you understand the gravity of his latest acoustic jazz project, Full Circle - one he says may well be “the most important record of my career.”

Like all of his work, Bromberg’s latest features a stellar cast that includes trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, saxophonists Bob Sheppard, Kirk Whalum and Doug Webb, pianists Randy Waldman, Mitch Forman and Otmaro Ruiz, and percussionist Alex Acuña. The project also finds ‘the man that refuses to sit still’ mixing styles from New Orleans funk and a legit jazz cover of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop `Til You Get Enough” to Cubop - with a sizzling relentless swing throughout. But the aspects that make this project resonate deeper than anything Bromberg’s done prior boils down to a series of life changing events, career firsts and the magic of today’s technology meeting mediums of old.

A freak accident that Bromberg had at his home a couple years ago resulted in him breaking his back in two places with severe trauma. The fall nearly debilitated him requiring extensive rehabilitation to stand and walk, let alone cradle an upright bass properly or strap an electric bass on his back. Through sheer intestinal fortitude, exhaustive work, and the love and support of the woman in his life, Bromberg made an amazing recovery. When he did, a familial spirit guided him to make an album that returned him to his roots in acoustic jazz. That spirit is that of his father, Howard Bromberg, a once-busy drummer in Tucson, Arizona (where Bromberg was born) who inspired both his sons to play drums as well.

Full Circle opens and closes with the tunes “Jazz Me Blues” and “Washington & Lee Swing” that were originally recorded by the senior Bromberg with a band of friends onto a one off acetate. Spiritually moved by a desire to play with his late father – something he never got to do when he was alive due to a stroke he suffered just when Bromberg became proficient on bass – he copied the platter with a USB turntable, had the file cleaned up at Oasis Mastering then overdubbed himself in his home studio playing bass in his dad’s old quintet.

“A few really amazing things happened to me when I was recording those tracks with my father; those tracks originally were recorded before I was born, so it was such a trip playing with my Dad before I was even on this planet! When I was playing with him I realized at that moment where I got my time feel and swing from, it was effortless to play with him, mind blowing actually. I guess the experience that inspired the whole concept of this album was feeling his time feel and swing inspired me to start playing drums again, because it felt so good.”

That sentimental journey inspired Full Circle. Bromberg seamlessly laid down rhythm tracks for bass, drums and “guitar” (the latter facilitated by playing melodies and solos on the higher pitched piccolo bass) on every song. As a bassist, Bromberg playing the piccolo bass with his fingers affords him a unique sound (much like guitarist Stanley Jordan ) from the majority of guitarists that play using picks.

“That’s where the ‘Full Circle’ concept came around. I didn’t know if I was ready to do it but, spiritually, I felt that my father wanted me to do it and to do it now.”

Breaking down his methodology, Bromberg shares, “When I wrote the tunes, I made demos with swinging drum samples that I programmed just to hold down time, and then I played reference piccolo bass parts and regular bass parts to make a musical foundation. Then I had the piano players come over and I’d play drums live with them for interaction. The point is, by the time I played drums to it, I had good swinging bass parts to lock my drum parts to or vice versa. I added all my piccolo bass (and the horn players’ solos) last. I’m proud that I don’t sound like ‘a good drummer for a bass player.’ It doesn’t sound overdubbed and the feel of the pocket is righteous. Because I don’t have the facility of a drummer that’s played for 45 years, there’s more space than a normal drummer would leave which gives it a unique sound.”

Bromberg is among the proud few to have a solid foundation in traditional jazz yet enjoy success in smooth jazz. This explains the accessibility of the songs that comprise Full Circle. “The smooth jazz world helped me understand the power of reaching people and what that means beyond the myopic world of being a virtuoso. It’s helped me become a more melodic and storytelling improviser.”

Qualifying himself as one through whom songs are mostly channeled than labored over, Bromberg walks us through a few of the numbers’ origins.

“I wrote the title track 'Full Circle' on a session playing for trumpeter Till Bronner at East West Studios. Messing around on a break, the tune just showed up.

“People will assume 'Saturday Night in the Village' is about Greenwich Village but that tune popped up on a Saturday night in my living room in Valley Village.

“‘Nawlins’ felt like Zydeco, so instantly I was hearing accordion and violin. The amazing Kirk Whalum’s playing on this is so soulful; no one could have done better.

“I wrote ‘Boomerang’ for Riva, a company that makes phenomenal Blue Tooth power amps. They fell in love with ‘Speak Low’ from my Wood album and wanted to use it for their demos but Warner Chapel that controls the copyright wanted a huge sum of money to use it. So they asked, ‘Can you write something else like it?'

“For ‘Havana Nights (Havananagila),’ I wanted something with trumpet on it. I used to play in Arturo Sandoval’s band. He’s Cuban and he’s amazing. I joked about titling it ‘Havananagila’ and my engineer Tom McCauley insisted, ‘How many Jewish guys are going to write a Cuban tune? You can’t not do this’ - thus, my subtitle.

“I wrote ‘Susumu’s Blues’ inspired by Susumu Morikawa, a record executive for King Records in Japan and a very good friend. I first recorded it for him on a solo acoustic bass album called Hands (never released in the U.S.). I originally only hired Craig Fundyga to play a line on ‘Havana Nights.’ He sounded so good, I pulled out ‘Susumu’s Blues,’ built a section for him so he could blow a solo and it came out great. I’d never recorded vibes as a lead instrument. If you like ‘MJQ’ (The Modern Jazz Quartet), you’ll dig this vibe – pun intended.”

Summing up the crafting of this album, Bromberg states, “Full Circle has been incredibly important to me - more as a human being than as an artist; a cathartic experience. It became something life changing and much bigger than me. I don’t know what the ‘statement’ is - and it’s not like I’m trying to make one - it’s just honest and real. There’s a lot of expediency and determination in my notes - very simple music that’s not intense yet has intensity. There’s so much passion even the mellow tunes are played with emotional power.

“This album is just a swinging, in your face traditional jazz album with simple tunes that are easy to sing along with and remember, but have a foundation in hardcore “real” jazz.” Bromberg concludes. “I hope people enjoy this album for what it is and what it means to me vs. judging it for what it’s not.”


PIANIST JULIAN SHORE'S SECOND ALBUM WHICH WAY NOW FEATURES A CAST OF YOUNG LIONS PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS

Following Filaments-named Top Jazz Debut in 2012 by Peter Hum of Ottawa Citizen and described as "an assured, organic debut from a pianist/composer who beyond the obvious elegance of his playing has a clear sense of the bigger artistic picture"-Julian Shore asks Which Way Now? Far from a statement of uncertainty, he poses the question to focus his record on the process of artistic exploration and the joy of musical discovery. Says Shore, "while I used to concern myself with writing a song that captures the minutia of a single person or memory, now I seek to show the world from which a person or feeling comes."

With his second album (February 12, Tone Rogue Records), Shore builds on the sonic foundation of his first, recognized for its "full use of a wide open musical palette" (All About Jazz) and "sense of space usually reserved for more veteran players" (DownBeat). The band features a group of young but acclaimed musicians reflecting many eras of Shore's playing and familiar to anyone closely following contemporary jazz. A combination of Dayna Stephens, Noah Preminger, and Godwin Louis helm his horn arrangements, riffing off of each other in dazzling interplay. Aidan Carroll on bass and Colin Stranahan on drums accompany him in the rhythm section, along with the burgeoning star guitarist Gilad Hekselman.

Shore highlights the diversity of his musical connections and sources of inspiration with a number of guests featured for a single track. On "Pine Needles", he brings a touch of roots music with long time friend and Nashville mainstay Kurt Ozan on dobro and acoustic guitar. His arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma" makes fresh a familiar tune, showing how comfortably a classic of the tradition sits within an album of more contemporary compositions. He taps Jorge Roeder on bass and Samuel Torres on percussion as musicians up to the task of conveying the song's hybrid roots from throughout the Americas. Edward Perez, writer and arranger for Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, lends his deft pen on the string arrangement of the record's opener "Our Story Begins on a Mountain." Shore carries forward his affinity for writing compelling vocal pieces, with Alexa Barcini returning as a singer and lyricist for "Alpine." Michael Mayo, currently studying at the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz, voices the main part beautifully, with the two harmonizing to drive home the song's message. Finally, the layering of Michael Thomas's sure-handed woodwind work into the western swing of "Back Home" perfectly complements the shades of chamber music interwoven throughout the album.

Which Way Now? offers a snapshot of a particularly rich point in the evolution of a maturing composer/ musician and a burgeoning community of players around him. Shore is a critical part of a rising generation of New York jazz musicians, who, as each successive wave must, are crafting their approach to making the tradition fresh for listeners. The styles and sounds on the record open out in many directions, showcasing his wide ears and range of sources from which he draws. He has had the opportunity to play with many of the musicians whose work have inspired him like Gretchen Parlato, Ferenc Nemeth, Chris Cheek, Matt Wilson and, on his last record Kurt Rosenwinkel, but here he draws on his own community of collaborators. "Most of the songs on Which Way Now? I wrote with the members of my band in mind," Shore explains. "There came a point in the process of the record where I entrusted the music to them, knowing it would flourish in their hands." Each musician shaped the arrangements and compositions they played, with Shore integrating elements of their performance into the final scores.

Speaking on the immediate influences during the time period of the record, Shore says he was still listening heavily to his life long hero Wayne Shorter's last record Without A Net and performances he saw of Shorter with chamber ensembles. "I kept thinking about the way Shorter transformed his music working with woodwinds and strings, bringing it into a whole new context." Shore says this emboldened him to incorporate the classical inflections into several of his songs. At the same time Shore worked on Which Way Now?, Gilad Hekselman was recording his recently released Homes and the two frequently discussed their approaches to making an album, benefitting from each other's ears and input. Shore credits Hekselman for years of support and camaraderie in developing as a leader and composer.

While the songs have grown and been nurtured from years of shows and sessions, the recording process itself germinated over the course of a year. "I work to create an environment, making sure all the elements work together within each track and across the album" says Shore about the recording process. He recorded with Michael Perez Cisneros, a brilliant engineer responsible for many classic records including Rosenwinkel's Heartcore and The Remedy and the works of John Ellis, Matt Penman among others. "For example, I could tell him I was looking for a choir, but made entirely of pianos and he knew exactly how to translate that into the recording." The collaboration between them shines throughout, drawing the listener into the world of the record from the hauntingly cinematic opening piece, straight through until the echoing refrain of "Lullaby" that brings the record tenderly to a close.

Returning to the album's central theme, Shore reflects "I didn't realize, until I finished writing the last song included on the record, that all the music explored that same moment of discovery. It reminds me of being a kid loving the work of Leonardo Da Vinci; not for the figures in the foreground, but for the way he created these layered rippling backgrounds composed of fantastical landscapes. I'm interested in how, when you look past the subjects you can see the backdrops laid behind them that lend them their power."

Born and raised in Narragansett, Rhode Island Julian Shore grew up listening to his father playing Bach on his home piano and would often sing along as a toddler. After starting piano lessons at a young age he began studies with famed educator Hal Crook as a teenager. In 2005 Shore was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. During his time there, under the mentorship of Danilo Perez, he performed in a young musicians ensemble in the Panama Jazz Festival, learning from Wayne Shorter, Brian Blade and many others. After graduating in 2009 he moved to New York, where he was soon hired to perform with singer Gretchen Parlato's band.  He has since continued to appear as both leader and sideman in NYC and across the globe. He has performed or recorded with musicians such as Ferenc Nemeth, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gilad Hekselman, Chris Cheek, Kendrick Scott, Mark Giuliana among many others.
    
Shore's 2012 debut recording "Filaments" which features Kurt Rosenwinkel, Tommy Crane, Phil Donkin, Jeff Miles, Alexa Barchini, Shelly Tzarafi and guests Noah Preminger, Kurt Ozan and others,  earned wide critical acclaim.



Tuesday, February 02, 2016

NEW RELEASES: PHILLIP SMART MEETS THE AGGROVATORS - AT KING TUBBY'S; TEURO NAKAMURA – NEW YORK GROOVE; THE M-TET - STRATEGICAL MATHEMATICAL (WHATEVER)

PHILLIP SMART MEETS THE AGGROVATORS - AT KING TUBBY'S

There's a heady brew of talent going on here – Phillip Smart at the mixing deck, The Aggrovators providing the rhythms, and Bunny Lee mixing the whole thing down at King Tubby's – all for a massive serving of echo-heavy Jamaican dub from the 70s! The tracks here are awash in cool instrumental touches – lots of organ lines from Jackie Mittoo and Winston Wright, bubbling basslines from Robbie Shakespeare and Aston Barrett, and sweet riffing guitar from Chinna Smith and Alva Lewis – but the special focus here is on the way that Smart can capture all these sounds individually, with a crispness that points the way towards the digital dub generation, and which gives a really deep sense of texture to the final dubs. Titles include "Queen Of Dubs", "Prophecy Dub", "Nuclear Weapon", "Money Make Friends Dub", "Night Angel Dub", "Wiseman Dub", and "Fool Get Wise Dub". CD features four more bonus tracks too! ~ Dusty Groove

TEURO NAKAMURA – NEW YORK GROOVE

A definite New York groove from bassist Teuro Nakamura – and a set that really takes us back to some of the best American/Japanese fusion sessions of the late 70s! Like some of those classics, this one was recorded in the US, with a Japanese player in the lead – bassist Nakamura – and the sound is wonderfully smooth and soulful, with a wickedly spacious take on jazz funk – and this open groove set up by the basslines, which then allow plenty of room for the other musicians to take flight! The album features guitar from Joe Berger, Bill Washer, and William Spaceman Patterson – plus loads of sweet keyboards and Fender Rhodes from Ron Thompson, whose work on the record is almost worth the price of admission! The set also features a bit of soprano sax from Antoine Roney, and some tenor from Jay Rodriguez – and titles include "Bushman Song", "Sequoia Forest", "Sweet Romance", "Midnight Song", and "Certain Doubt". ~ Dusty Groove


THE M-TET - STRATEGICAL MATHEMATICAL (WHATEVER)

The M-Tet is an instrumental classic soul quartet located in the San Francisco Bay Area featuring Joe Baer Magnant (guitar), Gary Pitman (Hammond organ), Chris Lujan (Fender bass), and Michael Reed (drums). Rooted in the deep sound of '60s organ-based R&B, made famous by Booker T. & The M.G.’s, The Meters, and Bill Black’s Combo, The M-Tet offers a fresh new take on old-school R&B by incorporating hard hitting beats that Ricky Vincent (author of the book Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One) says will “blow your mind with some old school funk. In concert, The M-Tet delivers on their soul-drenched live-to-tape recordings with “swinging organ led groovers that show the band is really in their own lane with creating original compositions in an era where so many songs are remakes or... going for a popular sound” (Hot Peas & Butta, March 2015). Dancers and casual toe tappers groove to a healthy dose of original tunes, peppered with up-beat organ and guitar solos, and punctuated with classic remakes that seamlessly start as soon as the last one ends.


Harmonica player and composer Yvonnick Prene releases his new album, “Breathe”

Of all the harmonica players who have followed in the footsteps of legendary harmonicist, Jean "Toots” Thielemans’ achievements, Yvonnick Prene has developed into one of the most important chromatic harmonica stylists playing today. In his budding career so far, he has participated in projects with many musical masters, including Donald Brown, Chris Potter, Joe Locke, Pedrito Martinez, Gene Bertroncini, and Ira Coleman among others.

The members of “Breathe”, a group of NYC based musicians, are equally well-versed and accomplished musicians spanning generations. An exceptional soloist with an indubitable talent for swing and harmonic textures, seasoned guitarist Peter Bernstein (bandleader, composer, and sideman with Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, and Lee Konitz) shows once more why he is one of the great guitarists of our time. Jared Gold is a first-rate Hammond B3 organ player with a deep pocket and has worked with the likes of Russell Malone, Seamus Blake, and John Abercrombie. The incredible young drummer, Allan Mednard, provides a variety of grooves shaping the music with the creativity and a sure-footedness that has earned him the trust of Aaron Goldberg, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Aaron Parks. 

The compositions on the recording are all originals, except “Got to Go” by legendary pianist, Monty Alexander, and “Looking Up” a tune written by the equally revered French pianist, Michel Petrucciani. The late fellow countryman was one of the first jazz musicians that Yvonnick listened to when he was growing up in the Parisian banlieue of Massy. Yvonnick’s take on Petrucciani’s piece is done in tribute to this exceptional figure. 

As a composer who has lived in New York City since 2007, the French harmonica player favors strong melodies and crafts compelling grooves. “Breathe” features many different moods and textures, opening with an infectious buoyant melody, called “Blues Comes Down the Seine”, onto the more harmonically intricate jazz waltz “As Night Falls”, and the mysterious bossa-nova, “Armorica“, a tribute to his ancestors from Brittany. “The Comedian” is a joyful calypso inspired-piece from Sonny Rollins’ most recognizable composition, “St Thomas”. “Mr Tix” is an up beat, energetic, and at times explosive track dedicated to his longtime musical partners, twin brothers, violinist Scott and pianist Tony Tixier. 

“Breathe” was recorded at Trading 8s on December 20th 2016. It was engineered by Chris Sulit, and mixed/mastered by GRAMMY award winner Dave Darlington. Coproduced by Yvonnick himself and bassist Lorin Cohen, this CD will definitely inspire a journey of repeated listening for the jazz enthusiast. Yvonnick embarks on a new journey of terrific promise, revealing the inner strength of a young artist determined to get better.


Los Angeles' Buyepongo Reinvents Pan-Latin Sound After Metamorphic Backpacking Trip Through Latin America on Todo Mundo

According to its members, the name Buyepongo means “to cause a ruckus” – which certainly describes the scene on the dance floors of Los Angeles whenever the band launches into its dizzyingly energetic, instantly infectious rhythms. But it also describes Buyepongo’s riotous mash-up of influences, which absorbs hip-hop, punk, funk, and jazz sounds into a delirious tropical blend of styles from across the Latin American diaspora. Like its name, the band is part hybrid, part invention, something untranslatable that nevertheless perfectly captures its uniquely vibrant spirit.

On their debut album, Todo Mundo, due out January 29, Buyepongo takes their Pan-Latin sound worldwide with a vivid collection of original music that is as hard to pin down as it is to resist. “Our music is going to get you moving and thinking,” says singer and percussionist Edgar “Meshlee” Modesto. “It’ll break you out of your comfort zone and connect you with other folks and cultures. If you come to dance and have a good time you’re going to get that, but if you come to hear great music with a lot of heart and technique, you’re going to get that too. It’s a very unique style.”

The members of Buyepongo started playing together as friends in high school, at the time reflecting their early punk rock and hip-hop influences. But after the band’s original incarnation split apart in 2010, Modesto and a few friends embarked on a life-altering backpacking trip through Belize and Guatemala which exposed them to the Afro-Caribbean sounds of the region’s Garifuna culture. “That trip to Central America was really an eye-opener,” Modesto recalls. “I realized that we could do a lot just by changing rhythms and adding our funk and flavor from growing up in L.A. Since then our mission has been to keep improving our sound and creating a new style of music.”

The core members of Buyepongo came together shortly after Modesto’s return: multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jorge “Yuka” Vallejo, bassist Randy Modesto (Edgar’s younger brother), and saxophonist Angel Hernandez. The membership of the band, which Vallejo says might be more accurately called a “tribe,” is fluid; on Todo Mundo, the line-up is completed by keyboardist Kris Castro and percussionist Larry Harvey.

Since then, Buyepongo has shared the stage with acts such as Quantic, Ondatropica, Ozomatli, Booker T, Celso Piña, Os Mutantes, Sister Nancy, Dead Prez, Cut Chemist, Beatnuts, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Antibalas, and Punta Cartel to name a few. They’ve performed on countless stages, including Grand Park, Levitt Pavillion’s Summer Music Series, Hollywood Forever's Dia De Los Muertos, The Los Angeles Music Center's Los Angeles County Holiday Concert, the Skirball Cultural Center's Family Amphitheater Performances, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

For those familiar with the Wu-Tang Clan, the choice of the word “ruckus” is no accident – the legendary hip-hop collective is a key influence, and their song “Bring Da Ruckus” is something of a mission statement for Buyepongo, who pride themselves on their ability to energize a room while still generating a wholly original sound. “We’re always looking for that thing that sounded like us,” Vallejo says. “We’re always moving on to the next thing and evolving, and this is what’s come out so far from trial and error and looking deeper and deeper into ourselves.”

Todo Mundo, then, is a snapshot of a band that continues to grow, diversify, and experiment. They draw on the traditional "roots" music of Colombia, Haiti, Belize, Honduras and the Dominican Republic while incorporating the wealth of modern sounds that can’t help but make up the tapestry of experience while growing up in an urban melting pot like Southern California.

While out with their friends, that might mean a steady diet of west coast hip-hop and hardcore punk, but at home they might be hearing ‘60s soul, classic rock, or Mexican folk music. As their musicianship developed, jazz and funk entered the scene. Nascent file-sharing technologies brought an even vaster world of music to their ears at the speed of an internet connection. The resultant fusion is something that the band refers to as “buyangu.”

“It comes pretty natural,” Modesto says of Buyepongo’s effervescent fusion. “I really think it’s as American as anything else. Growing up here in L.A., if you just open yourself up you’ve got the opportunity to interact with a lot of really cool cultures. It always comes down to flavors, and to me jazz and hip-hop are part of American history and culture, which created the environment for that music to exist. As the families of migrant folks who traveled in search of a better life, we’ve been put in a situation where we got to pick and choose the music we wanted to listen to.”

Groups like Chicano Batman (whose former managers Qvolé Collective, currently represent Buyepongo) and La Santa Cecilia, which are very different but share musical attitudes and in some cases members with Buyepongo, are beginning to achieve success with similarly genre-smashing sounds.

So what does “Buyepongo” mean? Throughout Todo Mundo, it means energy, movement, boldness, rhythm, surprise, and celebration. According to Vallejo, “it means a lot of different things to all of us. The sound, the energy, the party, the travel - it fits into anything we want to do.”




NEA Jazz Master Pharoah Sanders Added as Special Guest to 2016 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival

Pharoah Sanders rose to prominence playing and recording with John and Alice Coltrane after getting his start with Su Ra in 1961. After recording on Ascension and eight other seminal releases with John Coltrane, Sanders worked extensively with Alice Coltrane, playing on albums such as Journey in Satchidananda; Ptah, the El Daoud; and Cosmic Music. Sanders, the most interesting jazz man in the world, has played with everyone from Santana, John Lee Hooker, and Bill Laswell to McCoy Tyner, Gary Bartz, and Ornette Coleman. Sanders last performed in Portland at the 2010 Jazz Festival to an enthusiastic sold out audience. The GRAMMY® Award-winner was recently selected for the NEA Jazz Master award and will be performing at the ceremony in Washington, D.C. in April, 2016.

Pharoah Sanders will perform as a special guest with Ravi Coltrane, Geri Allen, Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille, and Brandee Younger as part of the John Coltrane @ 90 celebration. The program title, Universal Consciousness, is from a 1971 impulse! album in which All Music Guide's Thom Jurek remarked, "Alice Coltrane's Universal Consciousness stands as her classic work. As a testament to the articulation of her spiritual principles, Universal Consciousness stands even above World Galaxy as a recording where the medium of music, both composed and improvised, perfectly united the realms of body (in performance), speech (in the utterance of individual instrumentalists and group interplay), and mind (absolute focus) for the listener to take into her or his own experience."

Where:
Newmark Theatre
1111 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205
P5 Box Office: 855-797-3952

When:
Saturday, February 27 at 7:00pm


Friday, January 29, 2016

RareNoiseRecords Release THE BEAUTY OF DISASTER by German composer and producer J. Peter Schwalm

The well-known slogan "One picture is worth a thousand words", created by the advertising industry in the early nineteen-twenties and now a general cultural meme, could equally sensibly be applied to the field of music. Instrumental music, in particular music generated by electronic means, has, over the last several decades, become of central importance to popular culture: you only need to think about Brian Eno's "Music For Airports", which helped define the genre of "Ambient" music and create a permanent bond between music and everyday reality. Similarly, the compositions and music productions by J.Peter Schwalm are testament to the power of tones without words.

Since 1998 and for six years, Schwalm worked continually with Eno, releasing numerous joint works, including the album "Drawn From Life" and the soundtrack to the film "Fear X" by Nicholas Winding Refn, all the while giving celebrated joint performances in Europe and Japan.

Since 2006, Schwalm has been repeatedly invited by the Punktfestival in Kristiansand, where he performed as celebrated live-remixer. As one of the most respected exponents of this particular art form, he collaborated with several well known music ensembles, including the Ensemble Modern from Frankfurt.

In 2013, the London New Music Icebreaker Ensemble commissioned Schwalm to write a piece of music from material originally composed by Kraftwerk; the resulting composition, "Kraftwerk Uncovered - A Future Past", was successfully toured by both in Germany and Ireland.

The new album by J.Peter Schwalm, The Beauty Of Disaster, continues this tradition, by exemplifying the suggestive powers of instrumental music, while drawing inspiration from contemporary images: "I had been deeply impressed by satellite images of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico while composing new pieces for this album. These surprising photos, which so reminded me of paintings, seemed to embody the very same deep duality between the dark melancholia they depicted and a continuous, meshed sense of hope, an embedded ray of light, as did the compositions I was working on." As such, these compositions of J.Peter Schwalm seek to balance the aesthetics of electronic with that of orchestral music. His swelling arrangements mark the difference between opulence (desired) and bombast (to be avoided at all costs), while his electronic sounds highlight his unique techniques, developed way beyond what is achievable by regular plug-ins. Many passages are completely devoid of beat, thus achieving a deep sense of contemplation in music.

"Some works are based on the principles of "Live Remix" which I developed during and since my repeated appearances at the Punkt Festival" explains Schwalm "while others are rooted in the technique of Multi-track composing I developed." Also, emotional depth is more important than technical detail:

"While, for example, Zirkeltrilogie, was created on the basis of a traditional notion of harmonic resolution, I am less concerned with concepts and more with the question "How can I best express my inner feelings, my inner tensions?"" continues Schwalm "If anything, I have focused my attention primarily on the philosophical notion of attraction towards the Limitless, towards Change, which has influenced so many writers and composers. I feel in fact most germane to a thought formulated by the psychologist Robert A. Johnson: "Death, which awaits us in romantic love, is not destruction of life, but the blossoming of the inner world".

The abandonment of speculative noisiness, which thoroughly characterizes Schwalm's nuanced, atmospheric music, is nonetheless also a conscious choice in opposition to the spirit of our times: "I find a number of my pieces to be already quite loud or at least tempestuous" says Schwalm "while others only reveal their emotional loudness after several listening sessions. All in all, I compose music with inquisitive posture, and I am not interested in generating adverse of positive reactions by means of quick, overwhelming noise."

J.Peter Schwalm, was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1970, where he conducted his studies in music and drumming. He founded his first electro-jazz music project 'Slop Shop' in 1993, positioning himself firmly between music genres. A number of maxi-single releases were followed by the ensemble's first album in 1998, 'Makrodelia', which eventually reached Brian Eno's hands, leading to an offer of collaboration. The two met and performed a few months later in the German Hall for Arts and Exhibitions, together with Kraut-rock legend Holger Czukay. Two albums and film scores later, the two went their separate ways. In the following years, Schwalm composed music for the Stuttgarter Ballett, for the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield, for London choreographer Hofech Schechter and the Series "Das Neue Werk" of German radio NDR. Since 2008, Schwalm has been regularly playing with Norwegian electric guitarist and sound-sculptor Eivind Aarset and with bassist Tim Harries. In 2013, Schwalm was commissioned to write and perform a piece by the Deutsches Jazzfestival in Frankfurt.

Schwalm counts jazz innovator Miles Davis as early significant influence, as well as film work by Stanley Kubrick: "In a certain way" he laughs gently "I am still inspired by Bitches Brew. The piece "Himmelfahrt" arose following similar principles: there is a rhythm, a theme, but rather than studio improvisations, a large number of live cuts which I injected into the piece."

Other pieces, such as "Zirkeltrilogie" or "Endknall" were rather more influenced by György Ligeti: "Since seeing Lux Aeterna at the age of 15, I became deeply fascinated by his compositions made of tonal surfaces." It was of course Ligeti's music which significantly contributed to the metaphysical depth of Stanley Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey.

The Beauty Of Disaster is J.Peter Schwalm's most personal work to date: Its partly microscopically developed, partly dynamically driven tonal landscapes absorb the listener into an unconventionally modern, yet timeless world; His use of abstract form serves purposes of beauty and elegance, rather than complication, as he invites the listener into a voyage of discovery of new perspectives rather than excite her with conundrums. Herein lies the meaning of the pictures of the Gulf of Mexico described at the beginning of this piece, when the discovery of a new perspective allows perception of the beauty of disaster.

TRACKS
1. The Anxt Code
2. Himmelfahrt
3. The Beauty of Disaster
4. Numbers Become Stories
5. Stille, Blitz und Donner
6. Zirkeltrilogie
7. Wunschklangregister
8. The End and the Beginning
9. Angstphantasie
10. Endknall


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