Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Legendary French Violinist Jean Luc Ponty To Tour The US Summer 2017

Legendary French violinist Jean Luc Ponty and his band will be bringing their “Atlantic Years” tour to the US beginning late May 2017! Jean Luc Ponty is a pioneer and undisputed master of the violin in the arena of jazz and rock. He is widely regarded as an innovator who has applied his unique visionary spin that has expanded the vocabulary of modern music.

Says Jean Luc, “We're calling it 'The Atlantic Years' tour since I am touring with my band from the late 70's - 80's with whom I recorded several albums for Atlantic Records.”

The Jean Luc Ponty Band features:

Jean Luc Ponty – violin
Wally Minko – keyboards
Jamie Glaser – guitars
Rayford Griffin – drums
Baron Browne – bass

Jean Luc Ponty Band 2017 US tour dates:

May 30 – Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
May 31 – Seattle, WA - The Neptune
June 01 – Eugene, OR - John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts
June 02 – Los Angeles, CA - The Saban Theater Beverly Hills
June 04 – San Francisco, CA - Regency Ballroom
June 05 – Santa Cruz, CA - Rio Theatre
June 07 – San Juan Capistrano, CA - The Coach House
June 08 – Agoura Hills, CA - The Canyon
June 09 – Scottsdale, AZ - Center For the Arts
June 10 – Las Vegas, NV - Allante Casino
June 14 – Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
June 16 – Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
June 17 – Austin, TX - One World Theatre
June 20 – Chicago, IL - City Winery
June 21 – Detroit, MI - Chene Park
June 23 – Niagara Falls, NY - Seneca Niagara Casino
June 24 – Saratoga Springs, NY - Performing Arts Center
June 25 – NYC - B.B. King

After studying classical violin at the Paris Conservatory, Jean Luc Ponty turned to jazz in the 60's. Thanks to his revolutionary style he collaborated with some of the best European and American musicians such as Eddy Louiss, Daniel Humair, Niels Henning-Ørsted Pedersen, John Lewis, Lalo Schifrin, and Quincy Jones. He became the first bebop violinist and US jazz magazine “Down Beat” created a violin category for him in its critics' poll, until then violin was in the 'miscellaneous instruments' category. His pioneering work on the electric violin in the 70's attracted the attention of pop and rock musicians, he recorded with Elton John and participated to several tours and legendary recordings with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. In 1975 he founded his own band and became one of the most prominent figures of the jazz-fusion movement in the USA, selling millions of albums that all reached the top of the US charts. Ponty's most recent album “The Atacama Experience” is considered as one if his best and to this day Ponty keeps touring with his band around the world.

Ponty also collaborates on occasional projects such as “The Rite of Strings” with Stanley Clarke and Al Di Meola. In 2011 Ponty joined the mythical American group RETURN TO FOREVER IV with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Frank Gambale for a world tour spanning on 5 continents.

Ponty received the 2007 Jazz Trophy in Germany, the medal of Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in France in 2009, the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards in Ireland, and the Grand Prix of the Sochi Arts Festival in 2012 in Russia from the hands of world famous classical violist and orchestra conductor Yuri Bashmet. In 2012 Ponty performed his music with Orchestre Pasdeloup for his 50-year career celebration at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, then again with symphony orchestras in Brazil, Russia and Hungary in 2012 and 2013.

In April 2013 Herbie Hancock invited him to perform in Istanbul at “International Jazz Day” for UNESCO. Ponty also founded a new quartet with his daughter, pianist-singer-composer Clara Ponty which performed in France and Germany in 2014. Ponty also performed with the 89 musicians of the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orcherstra for the Siberian Christmas Festival.

In 2014 Ponty recorded an album as an acoustic trio with Stanley Clarke on double bass and Gypsy-French guitarist Bireli Lagrene, which was released on Impulse/Universal in the Fall 2015.

Jean Luc recently formed the Anderson Ponty Band with Jon Anderson, co-founder and lead singer of British progressive rock band YES, a CD and DVD was released in 2015 followed by a North American concert tour.


She was the ultimate bombshell, a Swedish seductress with hair of flame, a fulsome figure, and a taste for Triumph motorcycles. But with Ann-Margret, her irresistible beauty took a back seat to her incandescent talent; this was no mere starlet, but a performer whose singing, dancing, and acting skills—all imbued with a devil-may-care charisma—caused record execs to groom her as the female Elvis Presley. 

Now, finally, here is a comprehensive collection that captures those magical early days of Ann-Margret’s career, a 2-CD set that includes 30 tracks carefully chosen from her 1961-1966 RCA recordings. Among the featured tracks: chart hits like “I Just Don’t Understand,” “It Do Me So Good,” and “What Am I Supposed to Do;” her famous duets with Elvis from Viva Las Vegas, “You’re the Boss” and “The Lady Loves Me” (which, as legend has it, Col. Tom Parker withheld from commercial release because he was afraid Ann-Margret would overshadow The King); four tracks from Beauty and the Beard, her charting album with trumpeter Al Hirt; soundtrack recordings from Bye Bye Birdie, Every Night at Eight, Thunderball, The Swinger, and The Pleasure Seekers; and much more. 

In fact, these 30 songs—which include single sides as well—hail from nine different albums, and liner note writer Joe Marchese walks you through each and every one of them on this sumptuous package, which includes vintage album artwork. An earful and an eye-ful…viva Ann-Margret!

Disc : 1
1. Teach Me Tonight
2. I Just Don't Understand
3. It Do Me So Good
4. Heartbreak Hotel
5. Fever
6. What Am I Supposed to Do
7. Bachelor in Paradise
8. Mr. Wonderful
9. Let Me Entertain You
10. How Lovely to Be a Woman
11. Bye Bye Birdie
12. Take All the Kisses
13. I'm in the Mood for Love
14. You're the Boss
15. The Lady Loves Me
Disc : 2
1. Man's Favorite Sport
2. I'm Nobody's Baby
3. Bill Bailey
4. My Baby Just Cares for Me
5. Mack the Knife
6. Love Makes the World Go Round
7. Our Language of Love
8. The Pleasure Seekers
9. Next Time
10. Something to Think About
11. Everything Makes Music When You're in Love
12. Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
13. That Old Black Magic
14. I Wanna Be Loved
15. The Swinger

Friday, January 13, 2017


Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records are tipping off 2017 with a slam dunk release! The 1979 cult favorite film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh featured an all-star team from the worlds of basketball and Hollywood - Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Meadowlark Lemon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry Tarkanian, Stockard Channing, Jonathan Winters, Flip Wilson, Debbie Allen, Harry Shearer, and more – for its fantastical tale of a struggling Pittsburgh basketball team that beats the odds with a little help from the heavens. The movie’s soundtrack was equally illustrious. Pop-soul maestro Thom Bell, renowned for his work with The Spinners, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, and Johnny Mathis, wrote, produced, arranged, and conducted his very first motion picture score, and the result was a soul symphony incorporating funk, disco, and jazz rhythms, and of course, Bell’s trademark luscious balladry. 

An A-team of R&B’s finest artists was enlisted to perform Bell’s all-new songs, including The Four Tops, The Spinners, Bell and James, Phyllis Hyman, The Delfonics’ William “Poogie” Hart, and The Sylvers, plus country superstar Loretta Lynn, ragtime legend Eubie Blake, and the one and only Doc Severinsen. Yet, when the movie came and went from theatres, so did the soundtrack album…until now! The Fish gained a cult following on television and VHS, and now, it’s time for its sizzling soundtrack to have its chance on the court, too. Hip-hop’s most tuned-in artists have already sampled these lost grooves; now you can hear the originals! 

The first-ever CD release of The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh boasts a sparkling new remastering from the original Lorimar Records tapes by XXX at Sony’s Battery Studios, detailed liner notes by The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese featuring fresh quotes from Thom Bell, and three rare bonus tracks: two distinctive 12-inch mixes of Bell and James’ infectious title track, and the lush, dramatic “Pisces Theme.” This deluxe Expanded Edition is nothing but net, and a must-have for classic soul fans from Philly to Motown…and of course, Pittsburgh. The Doctor is in!

1. A Theme for L.A.'s Team
2. Magic Mona
3. Mighty Mighty Pisces
4. (Do It, Do It) No One Does It Better
5. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
6. Moses Theme
7. Chance of a Lifetime
8. Follow Every Dream
9. Ragtime
10. Is It Love, Must Be Love
11. Pisces Theme
12. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
13. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh



Featuring Jazz Drummer sensation, Louis Nash, seasoned vocalist Joe Bourne and his warm voice turn classics into jazz...This collection of hit songs from the middle of the 20th Century is sure to tickle the nostalgic fancy of baby boomers. However, the jazz- infused arrangements and virtuosic instrumental solos will appeal to jazz and popular song fans of all ages. Bourne's rock-solid delivery--no auto tuning here--harkens back to some of the great singers of the last century including Lou Rawls and Al Green. Joe Bourne has a warm mellifluous voice and simple, elegant style He has the virtuosity combined with ease of execution needed to communicate the fun and swing of this music. From Sting to Clapton to Fleetwood Mac, he nails the jazz infusion in this user friendly, accessible recording. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the singer/ entertainer, Joe Bourne was inspired by many of the big names of Jazz that toured the Boston area. Whether it's a swinging rendition of the fun song Goody Goody, Oscar Brown's philosophical Dhat Dher the romantic ballad of Earl Garner's Misty, or his special tribute to the great Nat King Cole, Joe, who has been influenced by the likes of Lou Rawls, Billy Eckstein, Arthur Prysock, and Nat King Cole always seems to capture the audience with his on style and warm, light baritone, voice and his dynamic stage presentation. Joe has shared the stage with Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Dionne Warwick and several other Jazz and Popular music greats. Even as more jazz musicians are stretching the meaning of The Great American Songbook, to take hit ballads by one- name rockers like Sting, and Clapton and iconic bands like The Beatles, The Eagles and Steppenwolf and make them your own in a contemporary jazz context is not an easy feat. But Bourne accomplishes it


A master of the trumpet and a much-heralded vocalist, Chet Baker s string of classic albums and his seemingly effortless cool style have earned him a legendary reputation which still rivals that of any other jazz musician. Esteemed jazz historian Dave Gelly described the trumpeter s image as a blend of James Dean, Sinatra and Bix, rolled into one . A musical icon of the 1950s and 60s, Baker s playing, singing and style would go on to influence countless others who came along in his wake. This four disc collection, containing over five hours of music in total, brings together the finest records made by Chet Baker for Pacific Jazz. Demonstrating the creation of a true jazz icon and tracking his development from his earliest recordings to his departure from the label with whom he made his name, these albums are presented here faithfully remastered and in the best possible quality, and form not just the perfect introduction to this master musician, but equally provide an a enthralling glimpse of an essential contribution to American musical history.


A titan of jazz saxophone with a career spanning more than seven decades, Sonny Rollins approach to the tenor sax brought a new sound spectrum to the instrument that went on to influence just about every horn player who has come along since. After spending his early career recording for Prestige Records, during which time he produced such magnificent albums as Tenor Madness and Saxophone Colossus (both 1956), as well as making guest appearances alongside such names as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Max Roach, Rollins left the label in 1957 and worked on a freelance basis for Blue Note, Riverside and Contemporary, for whom he created a series of extraordinary records that equalled his earlier output. This collection, containing eight complete, original albums over four discs, includes all of Sonny Rollins records released on Blue Note, Riverside and Contemporary Records between 1957 and 1959. A masterclass in jazz saxophone and improvisation, the five hours of music contained here includes many of the defining moments of the bebop era and, in completion, serves as both a welcome reminder and a superb starting point for exploration into this majestic musician s catalogue.

Roy Orbison's Black & White Night 30 is a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the orginal

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Roy Orbison's renowned 1987 televised comeback concert at the Cocoanut Grove night club in Los Angeles, Sony Music's Legacy Recordings has teamed up with Roy's Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon's sons to administer their father's catalog and safeguard his legacy. Together, they are releasing Black & White Night 30, a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the original television special, available both as a CD/DVD set and as a CD/Blu-ray set on February 24. PBS will also air Roy Orbison: Black & White Night 30 during the month of March as part of their special programming.

By the mid-1980s, Roy Orbison had been out of the limelight for quite some time, but his song "In Dreams" was prominently featured in David Lynch's landmark 1986 noir film Blue Velvet and helped reignite interest in the 'Big O.' On September 30, 1987, Orbison, then 51, staged a remarkable comeback with the help of guest musicians whom he had influenced: Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Jennifer Warnes. The all-star concert at the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove night club was turned into a television special and broadcast as Roy Orbison & Friends: Black & White Night on Cinemax the following January, less than a year before the icon's untimely passing.

Black & White Night 30 is NOT a reissue. Because the concert had been shot using seven separate cameras, there were hundreds of hours of footage that went unused and unseen. Roy's youngest son Alex Orbison and his co-editor Luke Chalk have gone back and re-edited the entire performance so that while the look will be familiar to those that have seen the original version, the vast majority of footage in Black & White Night 30 has never been seen before by the public.  Furthermore, the program has been restored to reflect the correct set order, so that viewers can see Roy, brilliantly backed by Elvis Presley's TCB Band (James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, Jerry Scheff, Ron Tutt), blast through massive Orbison hits such as "Only the Lonely," "In Dreams" and "Crying" just as the star-studded live audience witnessed them on that very night.

The bonus features included in Black & White Night 30 are remarkable in both size and scope.  These include a previously unseen alternate version of Orbison's biggest hit "Oh, Pretty Woman" and a previously unseen "Blue Angel." Then, unbeknownst to just about everyone but those that were there in 1987, Roy and friends and the full band regathered onstage after the show had ended and after the audience had left.  A 'secret concert' of five songs followed and is presented here for the first time.   The "secret concert" features alternate takes of "Dream You," "Comedians," "Candyman," "Claudette," and "Uptown" with shooting stopped only after film ran out in the middle of the latter song.  These 'secret' performances have been highly sought after by fans for decades.  All tracks, including all 'secret concert' alternate versions have been freshly remastered by Richard Dodd.   The audio for the concert is available on CD with buyers of Black & White Night 30 receiving a download code for access to the audio records of the 'secret concert.'

Also included is a brand new 33-minute mini-documentary consisting of rehearsal footage and pre and post show interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne from that night.  Absolutely none of this content has ever been released commercially, and until recently, has only been rumored to exist.

Black & White Night 30's bonus features are capped with a montage consisting of 20 still photos from the show and new photos of show memorabilia, mostly unused and unseen in any context. Liner notes written by son Roy Orbison Jr. are included in the brand new, yet thematically consistent, packaging.

Just as the original Black and White Night was televised almost three decades ago, so too will Roy Orbison: Black & White Night 30, this time as part of PBS special programming.

Only the Lonely
In Dreams
The Comedians
Blue Angel
It's Over
Running Scared
Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)
Mean Woman Blues
Candy Man
Ooby Dooby
Blue Bayou
Go Go Go (Down the Line)
(All I Can Do Is) Dream You
Oh, Pretty Woman (Alternate Version)*
Oh, Pretty Woman
Secret Post-Show Concert (available on digital download, included)

(All I Can Do Is) Dream You (Alternate Version)*
The Comedians (Alternate Version)*
Candy Man (Alternate Version)*
Claudette (Alternate Version)*
Uptown (Alternate Version)*
DVD/Blu-ray Special Features

Bonus Rehearsal & Interview Footage
Photo Gallery
*Previously Unreleased

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trombonist Nick Finzer releases "HERE & NOW" and embarks on 23-city tour following release of politically-charged album

The album shares the title of the new CD, Hear & Now, with the gifted and expressive sextet that Finzer has led since his debut release in 2013. Although it suggests an alertness to the present time and place, Finzer’s music also evokes a need and hope for change, a defiant optimism that pits love against the forces of oppression.

Hear & Now arrives at a moment of deep uncertainty and divisiveness in the country and around the world. The album’s nine tracks (eight originals along with a Duke Ellington classic) depict a range of viable reactions, from the intense energy of protest to a more meditative, reflective mood. Finzer’s compositions are brought to vigorous, full-bodied life by Hear & Now, a sextet with the power and wide-ranging palette of a big band but the supple energy of a small ensemble. It’s the trombonist’s third outing with the band, which includes tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Lucas Pino, guitarist Alex Wintz, pianist Glenn Zaleski, bassist Dave Baron, and drummer Jimmy Macbride.

“I wanted to capture feelings I was having about our country’s social framework,” Finzer says. “I started out trying to write about the emotional feeling of living in New York in 2016, but as the presidential election went on I realized that the stances I was taking were more politically oriented. Throughout the process of making the record I saw that this project was becoming more and more relevant to our reality.”

Finzer doesn’t name names or point fingers; nothing on Hear & Now takes a side or aligns with one party against another. It is instead a plea for a more united populace, a sonic argument for equality, tolerance and empathy. The album begins with “We The People,” a reminder that togetherness is embodied in the country’s founding documents. “I wasn't thinking of a particular person or a particular side,” Finzer says. “I was trying to capture the intense energy of a large group of people trying to express their opinions and how important that is. When you get together with a lot of people and coalesce to fight against something, it creates this strong, base human emotion, so I was trying to capture that energy with the music.”

The brooding, introspective “The Silent One” follows. The piece was inspired by Finzer’s frustrations over a tendency to resort to heated emotions rather than logic and subtlety in reacting to issues and problems. The music deftly illustrates the feelings of frustration and isolation one can feel in the face of the mounting volume of TV pundits and internet trolls. Directly related is “Again and Again,” whose cyclical rhythms depict the history that we’re doomed to repeat. And repeat.

The frenetic, harried pace of “Race to the Bottom,” Finzer explains, is a reaction to “the inevitable conclusion of cutthroat capitalism. You either need to be the cheapest or the best because people don’t really pay attention to the middle. So you’re either in a race to the bottom or you’re trying to create something meaningful. To me it’s about the value of creating something unique and special because there’s no way you’re going to win that other battle.”

The mood of the album begins to rise with “New Beginnings,” with its feelings of dawning hope and tenuous optimism. “Lullaby for an Old Friend,” written for a friend of Finzer’s who passed away, laces its melancholy with the bittersweet good cheer that time and distance allows, mingling happy memories with the inevitable sense of loss. The up-tempo “Dance of Persistence” is a swinging call to action, but also offers a relief from tension. “That one is about not giving up,” he explains, “but also goes back to the thing that I love most, the thing that got me into playing jazz... when I need something to settle me I just want to play something swinging; it just makes me feel better.”

The album closes with the tender “Love Wins,” which Finzer wrote on the day that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. More broadly it’s a strong tenet of belief that ultimately the forces of love will overcome ignorance, oppression and prejudice.

The album’s one non-original is Duke Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose,” which Finzer arranged for three trombones and two bass clarinets. He chose the piece for its sense of hushed and intimate joy, but also to pay homage to one of his key influences. “Duke Ellington was the first artist that I started checking out when I began listening to and learning to play jazz,” he says. “I loved the way his compositional style could embrace a theme, particular stories or ideas or characters. I also always thought it was really interesting how Ellington could use the big band and get so many interesting sounds out of it.”

Finzer takes a similar approach to his own sextet, for this recording working closely with producer Ryan Truesdell, leader of the renowned Gil Evans Project and Producer for Maria Schneider – giving him some profound insights into inventive arranging. “Asking Ryan to co-produce the album ended up being probably the best decision in the process of making my records,” Finzer says. “He was able to bring out extra nuances and had a great ear for making sure that we didn't miss the chance to create a magical musical moment.”

A native of Rochester, New York, Finzer studied at the Eastman School of Music and Juilliard, where he was mentored by trombone legend Steve Turre. In 2011 he won the Eastern Trombone Workshop’s National Jazz Trombone Competition and won an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Award in 2013 & 2015. He’s released two previous albums with his Hear & Now sextet: Exposition (2013) and The Chase (2015). Aside from his own projects he’s performed with the YouTube sensation, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, as well as Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Lucas Pino’s No Net Nonet, Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project, and Anat Cohen’s new Tentet.

Trombonist/composer Nick Finzer captures the uneasy mood of a turbulent time on his third album, Hear & Now, scheduled for release on February 17 on Outside in Music. Finzer celebrates the release with a tour to 23 cities throughout the US from Feb. 7-March 22.  

  • • Tues., February 7, 7:30 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
  • • Wed. February 8, 8 – 10 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at the Carriage House, Ithaca, NY
  • • Sat. February 11, 9 – 11 a.m. – Finzer is guest artist with Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, Rochester, NY
  • • Sat. February 11, 8 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Pausa Art House, Buffalo, NY
  • • Sun. February 12, 7 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Lovincup, Rochester, NY
  • • Wed. February 15, 8 – 11 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at The Bop Stop, Cleveland, OH
  • • Thurs. February 16, 8 – 11 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at BluJazz, Akron, OH
  • • Fri. February 17, 8 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI
  • • Sat. February 18, 9:30, 11 & 12:30 – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Cliff Bell’s, Detroit, MI
  • • Mon. February 20, 7 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
  • • Tues. February 21, 8 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • • Wed. February 22, 8 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
  • • Fri. February 24, 8 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at Northern Arizona University Jazz Fest, Flagstaff, AZ
  • • Sun. February 26, 7:30-10 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now with Lucas Pino at The Nash, Phoenix, AZ
  • • Mon. February 27, 7:30 – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at the Royal Room, Seattle, WA
  • • Tues. February 28, 7:45 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at The Mint, LA
  • • Wed. March 1, 8 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at the Kranzberg Center, St. Louis, MO
  • • Thurs. March 2, Finzer is guest artist at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
  • • Fri. March 3, 8 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Nashville Jazz Workshop, Nashville, TN
  • • Sat. March 4, 8 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Velvet Note, Atlanta, GA
  • • Sun. March 5, 5-7 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at B-Sharpe’s Jazz, Tallahassee, FL
  • • Mon. March 6, Finzer gives Entrepreneurship Lecture at Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  • • Wed. March 8, 7 – 10:30 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at The Barrel Room, Ft. Myers, FL
  • • Thurs. March 9, Finzer is guest artist at University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
  • • Fri. March 10, Finzer is guest artist at University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
  • • Wed. March 22, 10:30 -1 – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now Official NYC CD Release Show at Small’s Jazz Club




Seven-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa teamed up with Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita and with percussionist Gustavo Ovalles from Venezuela to record his exquisitely beautiful world-jazz CD “Transparent Water”, with touches of sheng (traditional Chinese flute) by Wu Tong, of Silk Road fame. He will celebrate the February release in France (on World Village/PIAS) with a concert in Marciac on March 4 and in Paris on March 16 (Café de la Danse). "Transparent Water — evocative of translucence and flowing light — is a deeply spiritual recording that reaches across five continents, a compassionate and captivating artistic dialogue beyond musical category, and an invocation of the enduring creative spirit of the human condition." -Michael Stone; "Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora master and vocalist Seckou Keita have assembled an extraordinary album seamlessly melding Latin American and West African music — the epitome of World Music, as suggested by its title, perfectly limpid and evanescent, its constituent elements rapidly passing through like cirrus clouds." -Roger Farbey, AllAboutJazz (U.K.). Transparent Water is due for release on February 27, 2017.


An absolute stormer from Soul Scratch – a contemporary combo from the SoCal scene doing the legacy of the late 60s/early 70s raw funky soul style proud! Both the band name and album titles are appropriate – we wouldn't call it "truth in advertising", just straight up truth – with a genuine depth of soul in both the songs and performance, played with incredible energy in the more fiery number, but with a sure hand on the more tender numbers, too. Singer Dale Spollett can wail with the best of them, and the band has real firepower in their arsenal. The horns and rhythm section are stunningly tight, or have a loose swagger when the song calls, and there some tasty guitar, too. Includes the righteous opener "Pacified", "Look How Far We've Come", "Odessa Heat", the sweet little centerpiece ballad "Kiss Me In The Morning", "Be Kind", "Fireside Lounge", "Empty Cup", "It's Not Over", "Thank You" and more. ~ Dusty Groove


A masterpiece of chromes and tones from the legendary John Abercrombie – an album that's a beautiful summation of all the special style he's brought to his guitar work over the years! That subtle shading that John had back at the start is still very firmly in place, but he group's also almost got a Bill Evans sort of approach – a gentle attack and quick decay, always respecting the space between the notes – driven strongly by the wonderful piano efforts of Marc Copland, who seems to be the perfect balance for Abercrombie. In a way, the album really hearkens back to those key ECM albums of the 70s – those moments when something extremely special and new was taking place, and when things never got too abstract or ambient. The subtle rhythms help a lot – always-careful work on drums from Joey Barron, and well-placed bass from Drew Gress. Titles include "Joy", "Tears", "Sunday School", "Jumbles", and "Flipside". ~ Dusty Groove

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Composer Joshua Green takes a quirky, colorful approach to melding modern jazz and contemporary classical music on Telepathy & Bop

Combining lively modern jazz, contemporary classical richness, cinematic narratives and an offbeat sense of humor, Josh Green & The Cyborg Orchestra offer a skewed but vibrant take on the big band tradition. On their debut album, Telepathy & Bop (due out February 24, 2017), the 16-piece Orchestra draws inspiration from surreal visual art, jazz and classical icons, and an accidental stalking episode briefly intertwining the fates of the bandleader and a certain Today Show host, all of which converge to craft a strikingly unique and off-center sound.

By day, Joshua Green, recently awarded a Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award from ASCAP, plies his trade as Music Supervisor for ITV America, the world's largest unscripted television company. While devising the perfect soundtrack for battling housewives, rampaging bridezillas and scheming chefs comes with its own rewards, Green found himself in need of a creative outlet apart from the voyeuristic pleasures of reality television. Enlisting some of the finest musicians he'd discovered while working on film and TV soundtracks and Broadway musicals, Green assembled a singular ensemble that deviated from the standard big band to incorporate unexpected voices, including accordion, bass clarinet, Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) and strings.

Band members include Charles Pillow (oboe, alto sax, tenor sax), Todd Groves (EWI, flute, alto sax, tenor sax, Eb clarinet, contrabass clarinet), Jay Hassler (Bb clarinet, bass clarinet), Nathan Schram (viola), Nick Revel (viola), Clarice Jenson (cello), the adventurous PUBLIQuartet - Curtis Stewart (violin), Jannina Norpoth (violin), Nick Revel (viola) and Amanda Gookin (cello) - John Lake (trumpet), Chris Misch-Bloxdorf (trombone), Nathan Kochi (accordion), Sungwon Kim (guitar), Michael Verselli (piano), Brian Courage (bass), Josh Bailey (drum set).

The initial stirrings of inspiration for the Cyborg Orchestra, though, date back nearly a decade, to a time when Green had shifted focus from his jazz studies to concentrate on composing contemporary classical music. He was studying at the University of Vienna in early 2007 when the news reached him of jazz great Michael Brecker's untimely death. Distressed at the passing of one of his musical heroes, Green was moved to try his hand at writing a jazz piece inspired by Brecker's legacy.

"I really looked up to Michael Brecker," Green says, "and when I found out he'd died it was a trigger for me to go back to my jazz roots. I wanted to write something that showcased the jazz language, bebop in particular, in a contemporary classical setting. It evolved over a really long time until it became 'Telepathy & Bop.' I had no idea what the piece was going to be until it became what it was, but that was the impetus to create this ensemble." That piece, which gives the album its title, is a constantly surprising three-part suite that refracts the angularity of bebop through an avant-garde classical lens, creating a tumult of acute swerves and clamorous textures.

It was a number of years before Green finally put together the Cyborg Orchestra to bring "Telepathy & Bop" and other pieces to life. In the meantime, he'd worked on films by directors like Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson and David Cronenberg while writing orchestral arrangements for the New York Pops, Emmy Award-winning television shows and Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals in New York and London. He's carried his gift for scoring narrative ideas into the Cyborg Orchestra, finding the spark for several compositions in visual art and personal stories.

"The Lauer Faceplant" sonically recounts the story of one of Green's awkward brushes with fame (since moving to New York in 2009, he's tallied quite a few, which he's in the process of turning into a suite). Shortly after arriving in the city his not-yet-developed urban compass led him into a face-to-chest collision with Today Show host, journalist and recent Presidential Forum moderator Matt Lauer. Their destinations being in the same direction, Green then proceeded to follow Lauer, giving the bandleader the uneasy sensation of being an inadvertent celebrity stalker.

The composition born from that encounter plays like a clumsy spy-movie soundtrack, capturing the accidental intrigue and only-in-NYC hilarity of the incident. "I hate to take myself too seriously," Green explains. "I'm a very lighthearted person, and while I can get inside my own head a lot when I'm trying to write, the thing that speaks to me the most is that wackiness in life. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in Seinfeld and I see this as a great opportunity to express the fun I get to have in life in a way that's meaningful to me."

Frenetic album opener "Boy & Dog in a Johnnypump," the mysteriously tropical "La Victoire," and Paris-by-way-of-the-circus rag "Soir Bleu" all have their origins in paintings. The first is based on a work by the influential, graffiti-inspired artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, while "La Victoire" is taken from René Magritte's curious image of a cloud floating through an isolated door by a seashore - an image that was through an odd coincidence invoked by a condominium commercial that Green was tasked with scoring. "Soir Bleu" comes from an Edward Hopper scene that finds a smoking clown amidst a group of Parisian diners.

"I always start writing with a narrative in mind when I write," Green explains. "In all of the paintings that have inspired me, there's a narrative that's beyond what's right in front of us."

The same could be said about the photograph of a cobblestone street in Cuba, lined with classic American cars, that inspired "Reverie Engine: The Ambiguous Rhumba." The driving rhythms of Cuban music are hinted at but subdued by a sense of uncertainty in Green's conception. Finally, like "Telepathy & Bop," "Improvisation & Nebula" nods to another of Green's musical influences, Hungarian composer György Ligeti. The piece's stark atmosphere, dark harmonies and spectralism all have their roots in Ligeti's music.

Having realized Green's musical vision on record, the Cyborg Orchestra will take on full-blooded human form for its live debut at National Sawdust on March 2 to celebrate the album's release. Meanwhile, Green is hard at work on a new batch of music for the band while trying to avoid literally bumping into stars on the street. Regardless, it will no doubt combine the accessible with the avant-garde, the zany with the zeitgeist.



Sometimes we forget how great a singer is – then hear his new music, and fall in love with him all over again! That's definitely the case with Gordon Chambers – who's waited over five years between giving us a fresh album – but who also seems to have grown tremendously in that time – showing us a soulful promise we never would have expected a decade ago! The set's wonderful – beautifully well-crafted, with some of his best songwriting ever – given a feel that's confident, but never commercial – and done in a warmly collaborative spirit with guests who include Eric Roberson, Lalah Hathaway, Carol Riddick and Ayana George – all artists who Chambers can stand proudly alongside, as he's definitely earned his place in the pantheon of the most creative soul singers around. And speaking of pride, there's plenty of it here – an upbeat, positive vibe that really makes the album sparkle – as you'll hear on titles that include "Back To Love", "I'll Never Forget It", "I Made It", "The Diamond Inside", "It Might Be You", "Love & Help Somebody", and "Circle Of Love".  ~ Dusty Groove


A wonderful set from trombonist Micheal Dease – possibly his best yet and certainly one of his most ambitious – tracing the history of American jazz from region to region in a way that's as fresh, alive and present as can be! It starts with "Creole Country" and from there rolls on through a dozen original songs strongly imbued with the sounds, styles and moods of jazz from coast to coast. Here more than ever Dease shows his strengths as a leader – his phrasing and "voice" on trombone have such a wonderfully uplifting effect on diverse numbers – and the range of styles provides ample opportunity for an expanded roster to shine as well. Pianist Rene Rosnes and drummer Lewis Nash are amazing, not to overlook any of the other players, including Steve Wilson on flute and saxes, Gerald Cannon and Rodney Whittaker on bass, Randy Napoleon on guitar on few tunes and more. Other titles include "Downtown Chi-Town", Benny's Bounce", Delta City Crossroads", "Good & Terrible", "Brooklyn", "Memphis BBQ & Fish Fry", "Up South Reverie", "Black Bottom Reverie" and more. ~ Dusty Groove


A totally fresh post-millennium take on the electric jazz sound of the late 70s & early 80s from Atlanta-based quartet 4 Korners – inspired by the funky fusion era, but really putting it in a timeless light of their own! We've always loved the sound that provides inspiration here – mid-to-late 70s electric keyboard jazz, carried well into the 80s by The Yellowjackets and others – so fiercely modern sounding in its time that it's now, somewhat ironically, difficult to pull off without sounding self-consciously retro. That's where the 4 Korners excel so strongly. It's fresh as can be! The players are Clarence Hill on keys, James Thompson Jr. on bass, Isaac Thomson on guitar and Jerrod Sullivan on drums – who share songwriting and production credit equally in the notes – which comes as no surprise considering how tightly it plays! Titles include "Midnight Interstate", "King's Highway", "The Dew", "Orbiting Hands", "Table For 2", "Through His Eyes", "The Great Flight", "Motions" and "Portal Of Gold". ~ Dusty Groove

Guitarist Chris Jentsch releases Fractured Pop new CD/DVD with Jentsch Group Quartet

Guitarist and composer Chris Jentsch - "Ša composer who can convey his ideas on a grand scale, swings with the grace of Duke Ellington and rocks with the nuance of Frank Zappa," (Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz)  - releases Fractured Pop, a double album length studio recording accompanied by extras including a DVD of a short live set.  The recording, Jentsch's fourth, will be out January 13, 2017 on the Fleur de Son label.  

Fractured Pop features Jentsch Group Quartet with longtime compatriots Jim Whitney (double bass) and John Mettam (drums), and multi-instrumentalist Matt Renzi.  It's accompanied by a DVD of a short live set recorded at Context Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and chock full of extras like alternate takes, slide show music videos, a high-resolution FLAC file of the audio CD, PDF lead sheets of the tunes, and four of the composer's own remix/mash ups.

As Bill Milkowski writes in the album's liner notes, in Fractured Pop "Jentsch re-examines some of the same tunes that appeared on his large ensemble outings with a lean quartetŠ The title track, for instance, has a whole web of guitars, from acoustic strumming on the intro to clean electric lines played in unison with Renzi's sax on the intricate head to Jentsch's distortion-laced guitar solo. The moody and atmospheric 'Radio Silence' also makes use of crafty guitar overdubs throughoutŠ'Are You Bye?' Jentsch's clever contrafact of 'Bye Bye Blackbird,' is underscored by Mettam's supple brushwork and culminates in some fiery call-and-response between sax and guitar at the tagŠ. 'Route 666,' a hard-hitting groover with angular lines, is fueled by bassist Whitney and sparked by a twisted distorto solo from JentschŠ. Tenor sax and distorted guitar lines weave together near the end of 'Meeting at Surratt's', building to an ecstatic crescendo."

Chris Jentsch is a Brooklyn-based composer, bandleader, and guitarist working primarily in jazz and contemporary improvisational forms. Based in NYC since 1999, his main ensemble is Jentsch Group in its various configurations. As a composer, he has been the recipient of grants, commissions, or fellowships from American Composers Forum (3), New Music USA, Meet the Composer, New York State Council on the Arts (3), Ucross Foundation (2), and most recently, Chamber Music America/Doris Duke New Jazz Works, which commissioned his new work Topics in American History.  The work will have its world premiere on Friday, December 2 at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY. The piece will also be performed on Sunday, January 8 at iBeam, 168 7th St., Brooklyn. Performing is Jentsch Group No Net, a nine-piece chamber jazz ensemble conducted by JC Sanford with Jentsch on guitar, Michel Gentile on flute, Mike McGinnis on clarinet, Jason Rigby on saxophone, David Smith on trumpet, Brian Drye on trombone, Jacob Sacks on piano, Jim Whitney on bass, and Eric Halvorson on percussion.

As a bandleader and sideman Jentsch has performed in clubs and concert halls throughout the East Coast, and has worked with such diverse musical personalities as George Russell, John Cage, Maria Schneider, and Chris Wood. He appears as a guitarist on the CD John Cage, Volume 11 (Mode Records 41). He is also featured in Scott Yanow's book The Great Jazz Guitarists (2013 Hal Leonard). Jentsch has released four CDs as a leader.
Jentsch attended Berklee College of Music and has liberal arts and jazz guitar degrees from Gettysburg College, New England Conservatory, and the Eastman School of Music. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Composition from the University of Miami in 1999 and is published by the University of Northern Colorado Press, Advance Music, and Fleur de Son Records.
2017 Chris Jentsch Events

January 8, 2017 - Jentsch Group No Net at iBeam, Brooklyn NY - follow up performance of Topics in American History.

January 13, 2017 - Fractured Pop CD/DVD release, Jentsch Group Quartet.

Ongoing This fall was the debut of Jentsch's new YouTube channel Six hours of content including an entire 2012 set from Jentsch Group No Net (HQ), selections from a 2015 trio date, two jazz orchestra records, modified aleatoric music for two mixed chamber quartets, and more.


“In Cape Verde, we had no access to electronic instruments,” said Tchiss Lopes, a Cape Verdean singer based in Rome. “In Europe, we had access, but we had to adapt. Audiences expected electronic sounds, but we still stayed true to our sound.”

“At first, the music was just to cater to Cape Verdean immigrants, but soon, people of Napoli especially started feeling it, then Rome.”

In the 1980s, that feeling transpired across Lisbon, Paris, Rotterdam, and Boston, as one the largest waves of migration from a single country, propelled by political instability and economic uncertainty, sent thousands of Cape Verdeans to the West’s cities.

Through 18 diverse tracks, this compilation reveals how immigration from the Cape Verde Islands to Europe and the United States gave us an alternate history of the electronic music that dominated hearts and minds across the world in the late 1990s. But the story doesn’t start in a major Western cultural hub, rather in the small cluster of islands 400 miles off the Senegalese coast, and offers an unparalleled insight into the long-term cultural splendor catalyzed by migration.

Movement and mobility are intrinsic aspirations of the human condition. What we’ve come to know as immigration is as old as civilization. Yet today we measure immigration through a series of cold data. Immigrants are either condemned as disposable threats or celebrated as entrepreneurial treasures, rarely occupying a space in between.

Seldom do we peer back into the past to examine the tangible and timeless creations born from the movement of peoples, overlooking cultural innovations arguably ahead of their time, precursors to consuming global trends.

Cape Verde today is justifiably hailed as an African political success story, but things were different in the 1980s.

A war of independence from Portugal was won in 1975, and Cape Verde suffered the familiar ills of a society born from colonialism and slavery struggling to integrate into a globalized world.

This detachment fostered a yearning to integrate, to connect in anyway possible. The new found homes in the multiculti metropoles of Europe offered little respite. Cape Verdean immigrants were deemed “hot blooded,” and perceived as “dropouts” and “juvenile delinquents.”

The ready availability of electronic instruments, a doorway to a long denied ‘modernity’ and an anchor in their adopted homes, was seductive.

“Cape Verdeans were celebrating their independence and with that the dancing became even more important,” said Val Xalino, an unsung pioneer in the development of his country’s electronic sound, based in Gothenburg, Sweden. “People wanted to hear something different. They wanted the synthesizer!”

Emigre musicians began traveling to and from Europe and their home islands, their luggage containing stock of synthesizers and MIDI instruments. Travel to the countryside to learn the rhythms of rural farmers became common. The melodies of the charmingly off-tune, often damaged accordions were transplanted onto synthesizers.

A cultural supply chain was established. Largely detached from global capitalism, music perhaps was, and in many ways still is, Cape Verde’s most effective gateway to synthesize with the world; immigration the engine and lifeblood.

The hearts and minds of a musically-inclined people were captured. One mercurial youngster, Paulino Vieira, arguably Cape Verde’s most important musician, the real mastermind behind the islands’ melodic majesty, was especially drawn to keyboard instruments, having honed his skills at a Catholic seminary. He arranged or contributed to half the songs in this release.

Vieira was an integral member of Cesaria Evora’s backing band, and while her cavaquinho-driven traditional songs registered Cape Verde as a cultural force worldwide, an electronic movement burgeoned just beneath the surface.

It soon found its headquarters in Lisbon, where Vieira had emigrated at age 18 to lead a reworked Voz de Cabo Verde, the commanding, enigmatic ensemble that enticed Cape Verdean musicians from around the diaspora to collaborate.

“Paulino was the most visionary,” said Elisio Gomes, a Paris-based singer who collaborated with Vieira often. “He always had this gift to be 10 years ahead of his time. That’s why our music sounds like it was produced today.”

Largely overlooked outside the Lusophone realm, Cape Verde’s Astro-Atlantic gumbo of instrumentation and rhythm offers a timely lesson of migration’s power to produce cultural innovations ahead of its time. This unknown, ultra-progressive sound could not have been perfected without the induction of Cape Verde’s artistic human capital into the West.

As we watch with heavy hearts the tragic crisis unfolding across the Mediterranean, as people fleeing similar circumstances strive to settle in Europe, a measured hint of patience will ultimately justify their vast inclusion. There are poets, writers, artists, thinkers, and, of course, musicians, raised in an age of technology, that are making the treacherous journey by boat, or by land on foot, from Syria, Eritrea, Libya, Iraq, and elsewhere. Paulino Vieira’s heir, and lush cultural innovation bound to bear the same fruit, lie among them.


Nós Criola - Nhú De Ped´Bia
Nanda - Pedrinho
Corpo Limpo - Tulipa Negra
Jelivrà Bo Situaçon - Manuel Gomes
Dança Dança T’Manche - Val Xalino
Bo Ta Cool - Jovino Dos Santos
Farmacia - Abel Lima
Chump Lopes - Elisio Gomes & Joachim Varela
É Bô Problema - Tchiss Lopes
Babylon 79 - Americo Brito
Djozinho Cabral - José Casimiro
Posse Bronck - Nho Balta
Lameirao - Kola
Nova Coladeira - Cabo Verde Show
Melhor Futuro - Tam Tam 2000
Chema - Pedrinho
Mie Fogo - Dionisio Maio
Canta Cu Alma Magoada - Bana

Friday, January 06, 2017



This is the 2nd Audio CD from the Peter Erskine New Trio, featuring jazz drumming legend Erskine with his nephew and bass phenom Damian Erskine, plus keyboard virtuoso and arranger Vardan Ovsepian (with guests Artyom Manukyan on cello & EVI master Judd Miller). 'In Praise Of Shadows' is sharing the February 17 release date with Erskine's Dr. Um Band album 'Second Opinion. ' From the gentle covers of the Japanese classic pop hit 'Sukiyaki' plus Mexican love ballad 'Marcheta,' to blistering new originals by Vardan Ovsepian and a new Erskine classic ('Each Breath'), this is an album that has something for everyone who loves good music. . . including a lovely bass ballad by Damian titled 'Begin Within. ' Begin the New Year with the New Trio! Tracklisting: Sukiyaki; What If; Each Breath; Labryinth; Marcheta ('A Love Song of Old Mexico'); Silhouette Shadows; Begin Within; Distant Blue; Smile; and All That Remains.


40 years after the huge international impact of OXYGENE, and 20 years from its second volume OXYGENE 7-13, Jean-Michel Jarre is fulfilling a trilogy of albums with OXYGENE 3, containing seven newly composed and recorded pieces, consistently titled parts 14-20. His inspiration for the newly added parts on OXYGENE 3 was not to go back in time, but to add a sense of "now" to his iconic piece of work. Plunging into the environment of OXYGENE with its highly original dark, moody and at times quite upbeat musical language, Jarre references some of the music from his entire body of work on OXYGENE 3. It s a state-of-the-art recording, embracing both classic and modern ways of music production.


Armik has driven deep into his quest to create first rate Nuevo Flamenco music with this ambitious 11 track recording titled ENAMOR. As his 28th release on Bolero Records, it is an exceptional example of the art of Armik both as a guitar virtuoso and as a composer. Throughout this recording he retains a Spanish Guitar sensibility in his precise touch while his compositions yield refined, romantic chords that leave you breathless and obsessed with his award-winning arrangements. There is a rare delicacy to Armik's illuminous Enamor. His sensitive rhythms, prolific strumming and graceful, romantic tones allow you to revel in his artistry and remarkable talents as a guitarist and composer. ENAMOR is a beautiful recording on which Armik demonstrates a completely original sound that is sophisticated yet creative. He makes each note count while playing with his delicate touch and makes sure that you emerge with a greater appreciation of his musicality and all that is heard in the fine art of Nuevo Flamenco.


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