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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bassist Mike Downes' new album release Root Structure....exploring lyrical compositions



The much anticipated new album from Canadian bassist Mike Downes entitled Root Structure is set for release.  Featuring four of Canada’s top jazz musicians – Mike Downes (JUNO award winner 2014), Robi Botos (JUNO award winner 2016), Ted Quinlan (JUNO nomination 2003) and Larnell Lewis (Grammy award winner with Snarky Puppy 2017), “Root Structure” explores lyrical compositions with a deep underlying structural integrity. 

Downes undertook an extensive study of large ensemble writing (including the work of Gil Evans and Maria Schneider), culminating in a Master’s degree in composition and the release of his recording “In the Current,” (Addo Records, 2014) featuring a 12-piece chamber jazz ensemble. Inspired by new approaches to form, structure and the interweaving of improvisation and melodic development, Mike brought these ideas into his latest quartet recording.


In music and life, I’ve always been interested in what lies beneath the surface: the underlying structures that hold everything together, the strength that resides deep down. The music in this recording was composed and performed in this spirit.  - Mike Downes




The Mike Downes Quartet has been performing in various incarnations since the mid-90's. The original quartet toured Canada extensively and recorded their first album “Forces” (A & M Counterpoint, 1995) to great acclaim. This was followed by “Then” and “The Winds of Change.” Downes formed a new trio/quartet in 2012 and released “Ripple Effect” (Addo Records, 2013) which won a JUNO Award in 2014. His next recording “In the Current,” (Addo Records, 2014) featured compositions for a 12-piece chamber jazz ensemble, and his latest recording “Root Stucture” brings a return to the quartet format.




Downes has been active as a bassist, composer, arranger and educator since the 1980s, performing with visiting artists such as Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Dave Liebman, Jack Dejohnette and with virtually all of Canada's top jazz musicians, including Oliver Jones, PJ Perry, Renee Rosnes, Don Thompson, Terry Clarke, Guido Basso and Pat LaBarbera. His musicality, emotional depth and melodic approach to the bass have thrilled audiences in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Iceland, the United States and Canada. 

Root Structure will be released internationally on September 27th, 2017 and will be celebrated with 2 nights performance at the Rex Hotel and Jazz Bar in Toronto, Canada on Thursday, September 28th and Friday, September 29th.  

Find out more on the official website: http://www.mikedownes.com/

download FREE information sheet HERE

Friday, September 8, 2017

Creative new album from Swiss jazz trio VEIN entitled VEIN plays Ravel

Announcing an incredible and breathtakingly creative new album from Swiss trio, VEIN entitled VEIN plays Ravel.  Since forming more than 10 years ago, VEIN has played over 450 shows around the world, with many guests including Dave Liebman and Greg Osby.  Now, this genre-bending trio turns their focus towards the works of the impressionistic French  composer Joseph Maurice Ravel.  The album features one of Europe's greatest voices on the saxophone, Andy Sheppard.

Ravel is an obvious choice for VEIN.  One of the most enigmatic figures of classical music, his compositions share much common ground with their soundscape. Ravel lived in an era during which tradition transitioned into abstract modernity, just as VEIN breaks new ground without rejecting the traditional values of jazz. Likewise, Ravel encompassed many styles of music into his compositions including baroque, Spanish music and jazz. VEIN's influences are similarly multifaceted. 

Check out the video about the album here...


....and a video about working with Saxophonist Andy Sheppard here..

  




You can find out more on the official website: http://www.vein.ch/  

There certainly is no special need any more to mention the fact that today most jazz piano trios are deeply attached to musical interplay (even though this fact should never be taken for granted!)  And yet, even with the most subtle, most distinguished form of interplay, there is always one in the trio who plays the part of the primus inter pares – the pianist, of course (usually and by definition leader of the group).  

That's exactly where pianist Michael Arbenz, drummer Florian Arbenz and bassist Thomas Lähns come up with their own idea of musical interplay. In fact, what they aim to achieve with their music - their understanding of music - is nothing less than the greatest possible balance of their three voices - starting with the way they work out their own compositions and arrangements, and going right through to the soloistic parts, fully assigned to all three of them.  The result is a stupendous musical togetherness, packed with surprising melodic, rhythmic and dynamic turns, played with highest precision even in the most complex, distorted and twisted passages of their compositions, arrangements and solos.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pianist Jamie Reynolds' new release Grey Mirror, featuring Matt Stevens and The Westerlies



Grey Mirror is the incredible new album from Toronto-born, NYC-based pianist Jamie Reynolds. Melding the modern jazz sounds of his trio (with special guest Matthew Stevens on guitar) with the intimate sounds of brass quartet, The Westerlies, Grey Mirror is an awesome collection of original music that takes the listener on a sonic journey through consonance and dissonance, the harsh and the smooth, the spontaneous and the carefully wrought. The album is an incredible mix of driving modern jazz and beautiful brass playing as the 2 bands take turns with beautiful and creative renditions of Reynolds' compositions. 

“Instead of writing new pieces for The Westerlies to play, I wanted to see what it would be like to hear the same songs expressed from two angles on the same record. Hence the mirror-image nature; the versions by the brass and the jazz quartet are recognizably the same song, but could not be more different in timbre and feeling. There is consonance and dissonance, the harsh and the smooth, the spontaneous and the carefully wrought." - Jamie Reynolds


Jamie Reynolds is a Canadian pianist, keyboardist and composer who has lived in New York City since 2005. He graduated with honors from the University of Toronto in 2004, where he studied with David Braid, Mike Murley, Phil Nimmons, and many others. Jamie moved to New York in 2005 to study privately with Fred Hersch and Craig Taborn. He has performed at New York's top jazz clubs and has toured extensively in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, including a performance at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Since moving to New York, Jamie has collaborated with many wonderful musicians, including the jazz saxophonist Rob Scheps, of whose Core-tet Jamie is a longstanding member; the singer/performer Laila Salins, whose album “Elevator Into the Sky” set the poetry of Anne Sexton to music; the bassist and composer Michael Oien; the Emmy-winning Irish tenor Michael Londra and many others. 

Jamie released his debut album, “Time with People”, an acoustic piano trio recording of original music, in 2012. His second,“Counterpart”, features electric instruments and effects and was self-released in 2013.  Jamie lives in the Bronx with his wife, singer Melissa Stylianou, and their young son. 

Find out more and sample the music on the official website: http://jamiereynoldspiano.com/

Stream and download "Counterpart" on Bandcamp HERE


Grey Mirror will be released worldwide on the Fresh Sound New Talent label on Friday, August 4th, 2017.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tony Allen Pays Tribute to Art Blakey On New Studio Album



Blue Note Records recently announced the digital release of Tony Allen’s new EP, A Tribute to Art Blakey. On the 4-track EP, which is a preview of the legendary Nigerian drummer and Afrobeat pioneer’s forthcoming first album for Blue Note, currently scheduled for release in autumn 2017, Allen pays tribute to his longstanding idol, the American jazz drummer and Blue Note legend Art Blakey.

The EP was recorded live in Allen’s current hometown of Paris and features a fiery 7-piece band interpreting the Jazz Messengers classics “Moanin’,” “A Night In Tunisia,” “Politely” and “Drum Thunder Suite” through an Afrobeat prism. The EP was produced by Vincent Taurelle, whose production credits also include Allen's previous album Film of Life.

While American jazz - in particular the recordings of Blakey and Max Roach - had a big impact on Allen during his early musical development in Nigeria, the music of Africa was also hugely influential for Blakey (aka Abdullah Ibn Buhaina) throughout his career. In the late-1940s Blakey spent time travelling abroad in West Africa exploring the culture, religion, and of course, the drumming. Blakey later recorded several albums that were heavily influenced by African music including Orgy in Rhythm (1957), Holiday for Skins (1958), and The African Beat (1962), which featured the Nigerian drummer and percussionist Solomon Ilori.




Personnel: 
Drums: Tony Allen
Bass: Mathias Allamane
Piano: Jean-Philippe Dary
Tenor Saxophone: Yann Jankielewicz
Trumpet: Nicolas Giraud
Saxophones: Rémi Sciuto
Tenor Saxophone: Jean Jacques Elangue

Available on iTunes (link below)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NYC/Toronto Jazz Guitarist Alex Goodman new album release Second Act



Second Act, the new album from NYC-based, Toronto born guitarist Alex Goodman, signals a new beginning as much as the closing of a particular period, and the album’s eleven striking compositions more than live up to that promise. A stunning departure from the chamber-jazz style of Goodman's previous album, Border Crossing, the music on Second Act balances inventive composition and thrilling improvisation, with pieces that boast exhilarating, fluidly angular melodies and intricate architecture but which spark electrifying spontaneity from Goodman and his deft quintet

You can check out a great EPK from the band here.

Sample a track from the album HERE.

Given the agility of the playing and the depth of communication throughout the album, Second Act features a band that has obviously spent a good deal of time getting to know each other’s sonic personalities. Goodman is joined by four peers who have also come to the city from a variety of disparate places and experiences: saxophonist Matt Marantz (Texas), pianist Eden Ladin (born in NYC but raised in Israel), bassist Rick Rosato (Montreal) and drummer Jimmy Macbride (Connecticut). They’ve each formed relationships with such envelope-pushing artists as Avishai Cohen, Will Vinson, Lage Lund, Nir Felder, Terence Blanchard and Jonathan Batiste, while working together in a variety of settings, spurring each other onward into exciting new territory.

To enhance the music’s already wide-ranging palette, Goodman added layers of human voice to the pieces after the initial studio sessions, writing new parts for the wordless vocals that interweave with not only his originally written material, but also the band’s in-the-moment interpretations. He enlisted a talented pair of fellow Canadians to sing the parts: Felicity Williams, a longtime collaborator who also appears in a similar role on Border Crossing, and Alex Samaras, a key contributor to the Canadian jazz and new music scenes. Goodman often layers the two vocalists’ contributions, offering him the option of employing sinuous lines or lush, swelling choruses as desired.

After five years in New York City, Alex Goodman has not only established himself as a rising star and significant voice in the jazz mecca, but has gathered together a gifted group of peers, each of whom are quickly forging a path forward for the music’s next generation. The guitarist/composer began his career in his native Toronto, becoming an integral part of the scene in the Canadian city and receiving a wealth of accolades across the country. The CBC News hailed him as having “taken the jazz world by storm [and] attained a level of fame and success in the insular jazz community that few other Canadian guitarists can match.” In 2014 he received international recognition winning both first prize and the Public's Choice Award at the Montreux Jazz Festival International Guitar Competition in Switzerland.

Second Act will be released internationally by Lyte Records on Friday, June 23rd, 2017.



Official website: http://www.alexgoodmanmusic.com/

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

NYC jazz guitarist/composer Andrew Hartman’s new release "Compass"

Compass is jazz guitarist/composer Andrew Hartman’s second album as a leader. It features a stellar cast of musicians including saxophonist Chris Cheek, bassist Ike Sturm, and drummer Zach Harmon. 

The pieces and album as a whole reflect a period of travel and series of moves in the guitarist’s life between cities and countries. Hartman, an Ohio native, lived alternately in his home state, London, England, and on the high seas, before settling into his adopted home of New York City. The 9 originals and 1 arrangement (Paul Simon’s “America”), span roughly 5 years of writing and performance, and were road tested in a variety of groups and settings before reaching their present state on Compass. Hartman’s arrangement of the Paul Simon classic “America” feels especially poignant given the present climate of our country and world.

sample tracks and download the album here: http://www.ajhmusic.com/

official website: http://www.ajhmusic.com/home/

videos: http://www.ajhmusic.com/video/




Sunday, June 4, 2017

Aaron Shragge's jazz quintet Innocent When You Dream new album "Dirt In The Ground"



Innocent When You Dream's Dirt In The Ground is Aaron Shragge’s second release interpreting Tom Waits’ stylistically diverse  repertoire by creating instrumental versions of his most memorable songs. The album dives deep into the diverse collection of Waits' material, exploring the colors and tonality of his distinct lyricism, through unique instrumentation and arrangements.  Covering a wide  period of Waits' career, the record includes such songs as "In The Neighborhood", "Ol’ ‘55" and " Down  in The Hole".   

“Snaky and funky sounds abound! Innocent When You Dream weave their artistry and style into a tapestry of atmospheric playground material that takes the ear on both fascinating and dangerous journeys to the lands beyond your typical jazz stylings. Gorgeous sounds from Aaron Shragge, move the music into a deep and tranquil space, adding breath and scope to the many melodies and moments that oat in and out throughout...” Juno Award Winning Trumpeter/Composer Ingrid Jensen 




Using lyrical content and mood as the starting point for exploration, the band moves beyond the realm of covers creating a distinctive sound that draws from Jazz, rock, blues, World music and the avant-garde. The recording features some of Canada's leading jazz artists including:  Jonathan Lindhorst, Ryan Butler, Nico Dann, Joe Grass (Guitarist for Patrick Watson) and Dan Fortin (Myriad3).



Aaron Shragge is an active in the NYC improvised/creative music scene serving on the board of Festival of New Trumpet Music NY. Having collaborated with such notable musicians as Dave Douglas, Ben Monder, and William Parker, Shragge has performed at  renowned festivals such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, L'Off Jazz Festival, and the Festival of New Trumpet Music.  Aaron graduated from the distinguished New School Jazz Program and furthered his education receiving a masters degree.

..download FREE information sheet HERE

Official website: www.AaronShragge.com