Acclaimed guitarist/composer Al Di Meola new project ‘Elegant Gypsy & More LIVE’; partly recorded on his very successful ‘Elegant Gypsy 40th Anniversary’-US Tour in 2017

With his acclaimed current studio album ‘OPUS‘, Al Di Meola not only topped the TOP 5 of the Official German Jazz Album Charts and burst to #1 position in the US Contemporary Jazz Album Charts, but once again proved his status as a ‘guitar superstar’. His curriculum vitae is full of exciting musical moments and incredible works and he still finds ways to challenging himself: he is a jack-of-all-trades, who does not take a real break in supposedly quieter times.

Al Di Meola is burning for his passion – the music. With ‘Elegant Gypsy & More LIVE‘; partly recorded on his very successful ‘Elegant Gypsy 40th Anniversary’-US Tour in 2017, Al Di Meola proves once again that jazz music tremendously ‘rocks’.

Above all, for him, it is also a journey back to his musical beginning, which he brings to new heights with fantastic versions of songs like ‘Race With Devil On Spanish Highway’, ‘Flight Over Rio’, ‘Midnight Tango’ or ‘Egyptian Danza‘.

Available on CD and Digital.  ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Expected Release DateJuly 20, 2018

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Unknown until 2004 and unheard until now, these recordings by the John Coltrane Quartet

Unknown until 2004 and unheard until now, these recordings by the John Coltrane Quartet are, as Sonny Rollins says in the liner notes, like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid. Featuring the Classic Quartet – John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones – and recorded at the end of a two-week run at Birdland, the music on this album represents one of the most influential groups in music history both performing in a musical style it had perfected and reaching in new, exploratory directions that were to affect the trajectory of jazz from that point forward.

The standard version (available in CD and LP formats) incorporates 7 tracks, 2 of which are two completely unheard, brand new original compositions as well as Coltrane classics like Impressions and Vilia. The deluxe version (also available in CD and LP formats) incorporates 7 alternate takes of some of the tracks from the standard – a must have for any Coltrane fan.

Expected Release DateVinyl (June 29, 2018)

Gordon Grdina’s previous fusions involving jazz improvisation and middle eastern music, from Think Like the Waves to East Van Strings and currently his 10-piece band Haram

Virtuoso Vancouver oud player Grdina’s new middle eastern/avant jazz ensemble is a quartet featuring illustrious New York collaborators Mark Helias (bass) Hank Roberts (cello) and Hamin Honari on Persian percussion. Grdina’s compositions are mostly based on classical Arabic maqam and Persian dastgah traditions but are performed in a creative jazz context where improvised group interplay is as important as solos and expanded tonality is welcomed. The music is intricate and often delicate with a deep connection to the past while looking forward. It defies categorization but remains comfortably engaging. The compositions cover a lot of ground. There are dark, brooding but frequently exciting excursions on middle eastern modes and vamps, more contrapuntally through-composed works, and two slow, song-like explorations for strings without percussion. The final piece is a vibrant, foot-tapping tribute to west African guitarist Boubacar Traore.

This project extends Grdina’s previous fusions involving jazz improvisation and middle eastern music, from Think Like the Waves to East Van Strings and currently his 10-piece band Haram, while also drawing to some extent on his more avant jazz and guitar-based New York projects No Difference (featuring Helias) and Inroads (all on Songlines). But as Grdina points out, The oud has become about 50 percent of my music…In the last few years, it’s starting to feel like the oud playing and the guitar playing is turning into the same thing…It feels like jazz is looking outwards…Indian music, Iraqi music, Arabic stuff, Persian music: they’re all giving jazz another viewpoint on improvising. ~Editorial Reviews | Amazon

Expected Release DateJune 22, 2018

Pianist/composer Jeremy Hababou’s minimalist signature and colorful melodies shape Nuances his latest recording on Outnote Records

With Nuances, pianist Jeremy Hababou gives us an album of stripped-down, sometimes minimalist, pieces, the reflection of an aesthetic profoundly rooted in his personality. As he likes to say, ‘technical mastery of an instrument does not suffice for becoming an artist. Being an artist precedes artistic discipline.

Above all, it is a necessity, a sensibility, another way of looking at the world, a quest.’ Whilst his approach and compositions are inspired by literature, poetry, the visual arts, and philosophy, Jeremy Hababou also borrows from the classical repertoire. These references are perceptible throughout his work, even though they take varied forms of expression.

Travel constitutes a common theme in his progression, attesting to a constant need for sharing, exchanging, feelings and emotions. The mixtures of rhythms and colors present throughout the album are so many invitations to ‘go further’ and discover an unknown made up of surprises and astonishments.

Johannes Berauer navigates effortlessly through musical styles such as classical avant-garde, jazz, and world music on his latest project Hourglass

One of Austria’s leading young composers, Johannes Berauer navigates effortlessly through musical styles such as classical avant-garde, jazz, and world music. This first creation for jazz ensemble showcases compositional thinking and a love for evolving themes and rhythmic adventures. Influences include Bach’s counterpoint, Messaien’s sense of harmony and M.C. Escher’s paradox views of reality.

Hourglass Quintet Gwilym Simcock, member of Pat Metheny’s current quartet, and Mike Walker who played with virtually everyone from Kenny Wheeler to Dave Holland are two of the finest musicians of the jazz scene. Violinist Thomas Gould has been described as one of the most talented and charismatic British violinists of the younger generation excelling in both classical and contemporary repertoire as well as Jazz. He is director of the Britten Sinfonia. Likewise, Martin Berauer and Bernhard Schimpelsberger are two of the leading young musicians of Austria. Martin, living in Paris, is especially known for his expertise in the field of world music, and Bernhard, based in London, has built a reputation as a master of Indian Rhythms, which lead him to collaborations with artists like Akram Khan or Anoushka Shankar.  ~Editorial Reviews | Amazon

Expected Release Date: July 20, 2018

Kobie Watkins Grouptet is making waves with Movement available on Origin Records

Known for his fiery, emotive drumming from the last decade of touring and recording with Sonny Rollins, Bobby Broom, and Kurt Elling, Kobie Watkins was at the same time visualizing musical concepts for his own compositions and group. First explored on his 2009 solo debut, ‘Involved,’ Watkins’ new formation was created from the inside out, born and cultivated from his travels and experiences and realized through his several years performing relationship with pianist Justin Nielsen and his creatively connected bandmates.

Though born and raised in Chicago and now based in North Carolina, the Grouptet was formed by happenstance in Idaho near the entrance to Yellowstone, where they were each brought in to teach. The remoteness allowed them to freely explore their own collective voice resulting in this collection of nine inspired originals, along with a slinky new arrangement of ‘Manteca.’ ~Editorial Reviews | Amazon

Expected Release DateJune 15, 2018 

The Village Voice hailed Kenny Werner “… an ebullient stylist” arrives with Animal Crackers his new album on Pirouet Records

Kenny Werner has long been a major force on the New York scene. The Village Voice hailed him “… an ebullient stylist” whose solos “…become wooly rides into the darkness”, The New York Times described him as “a pianist who tempers fearsome technique with a questing spiritualism”, and Quincy Jones called him “360 degrees of soul and science in one human being”.

Werner and saxophonist Joe Lovano have been trading chairs as leader and sideman since the early 1980s, and in the 90s, Kenny began a long-term musical relationship with Toots Thielemans. He has garnered four National Endowment for the Arts grants, received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship award, and has been commissioned to compose for orchestras throughout Europe and the USA. Ari Hoenig is a musician who conjures a fascinatingly melodic sound on the drums. Hoenig won the prestigious 2013 BMW World Jazz Award with his own band and has played with jazz giants Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, and Wynton Marsalis.

In 1991 bassist Johannes Weidenmüller left Cologne, Germany to make the move to New York. Since then he has worked with a number of world-renowned players, including Randy Brecker, George Benson, and Joshua Redman. Werner reflects that Ari and Johannes have been in his trio since 1999: “They were just kids and they would come around my home in New Jersey to play whenever I wasn’t on tour. They could play my music with such ease that they were creating on the tune while I was still trying to read it! That’s what I like in a band – players that compose spontaneously rather than just solo all the time.” ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Expected Release DateJune 8, 2018

Electric Miles celebrates the music of the early electric period of Miles Davis with big band arrangements of classics from Bitches Brew

Electric Miles celebrates the music of the early electric period of Miles Davis with big band arrangements of classics from Bitches Brew, On the Corner, Jack Johnson and In a Silent Way. Trumpeters Tim Hagans and Clay Jenkins are featured as the Miles’ voice with Dave Liebman appearing on Black Satin and Yesternow. Also featuring trombonist Michael Davis, Pillow on alto sax/alto flute; the band is powered by the rhythm section of drummer Jared Schonig and bassist Chuck Bergeron.

The band is full of NYC seasoned pros and peppered with up and coming musicians. conducted and arranged by Charles Pillow –Charles Pillow comes from Baton Rouge, LA. After college at Loyola University, he pursued his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, NY. Since moving to NYC in 1987, he has appeared on over 100 recordings of jazz, pop luminaries such as Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, Jay Z, Luther Vandross, Paul Simon, Michael Brecker, Bruce Springsteen, John Scofield, Tom Harrell, Dave Liebman, David Sanborn, to name a few. In addition to an active performing and recording schedule, he is an Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music. ~Editoral Review | Amazon

Expected Release DateJune 22, 2018

Geoffrey Keezer Returns to Piano Trio with On My Way to You – Available June 22

Keezer is Joined by Bassist Mike Pope, Drummer Lee Pearson
& Special Guest Vocalist Gillian Margot (on Five Songs)

 

 

Geoffrey Keezer’s peers and elders have considered him a master of the piano trio function since he burst on the scene as a 17-year-old wunderkind in 1988, when he made the first of 22 albums as a leader or co-leader. Surprisingly, Keezer has devoted few of those dates to the piano-bass-drums format, as he does on his latest, the self-released On My Way to You, serving as a major contribution to the idiom.

 

Throughout the dazzlingly intense proceedings, Keezer upholds a remark Christian McBride made in 2005 on the occasion of Keezer’s previous trio recording, Wildcrafted: Live At The Dakota: “Of all the pianists from our generation, Geoffrey is the one I always have to listen to twice,” McBride told DownBeat. “I’m not always sure it’s him, because he never repeats himself. Technically, I don’t believe there’s anything on the piano he can’t play. And in terms of interpretation, he comes up with the most brilliant ideas that you could ever think of.”

 

For On My Way to You, Keezer convened bassist Mike Pope, a member of his sparkling co-led quartet with vibraphone master Joe Locke, and drummer Lee Pearson, his bandmate in Chris Botti’s high-profile group for many years. They perform on nine selections, five of them with the individualistic, communicative singer Gillian Margot, whose last album, Black Butterfly, inspired the L.A. Jazz Weekly to remark that “her honey-toned voice delivers hints of a young Aretha Franklin.” That vibration comes through on the penultimate track, a Keezer-Margot duo on Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” before Keezer concludes with solo ruminations on the Beatles’ “Across The Universe,” then summons the trio to join him on John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance.”

 

Throughout the proceedings, Keezer applies his formidable technique, harmonic knowledge, rhythmic ingenuity, abiding soulfulness, and rigorous logic to conjure fresh approaches to new and old standards and several originals. Stevie Wonder’s “These Three Words,” a gospel-influenced pop ballad written for the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, is addressed as a 3/4 waltz. Keezer drew on John Coltrane’s anthemic “Dear Lord” as inspiration for the double-time swing feel he superimposes on Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic ballad, “May This Be Love,” from the 1967 album Are You Experienced?.

 

Keezer interpolates a plugged-in nod to Miles Davis’ early ‘70s funk-jazz hit “On The Corner” in the middle section of his quirky, irreverent arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s “Brilliant Corners,” and then, over a drum’n’bass beat, uncorks a turbulent, precise piano solo that never strays far from the melody. He slows the pace on a highly reharmonized, phantasmagoric treatment of the oft-played American Songbook chestnut “All The Things You Are,” gradually building a steamy groove that propels a transition into Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Serpentine Fire.”

 

On the collaborations with Margot, Keezer touches on elements of love, longing and desire. As an example, consider how Keezer’s nuanced touch complements Margot as they navigate the ascendant arc of “Red Leaf,” an elegiac, affirmative song on which he collaborated with author Michael Perry, a fellow Wisconsin native. Piano and voice achieve an uncanny mind-meld on the co-composed “You Stay With Me” — Margot projects her magnificent contralto to equally compelling effect both when conveying her tender, sensuous lyric and then improvising in dialogue with the piano during the latter section. They also co-wrote the percolating “Guanajuato” (named for the Central Mexican city where they performed a duo concert several years ago), on which the protagonists engage in a protracted, intuitive musical conversation.

 

“Writing music together with someone is relatively new for me,” Keezer says. “I’ve always been fiercely autonomous as a composer. But I’m at a place now where collaborating is highly productive and rejuvenating.”

 

SOURCE: DLMediaMusic

MARCUS MILLER RETURNS WITH NEW ALBUM “LAID BLACK” OUT JUNE 1

Bass great Marcus Miller brings the influence of modern urban music to his trademark sound on his highly-anticipated, genre-defying new album Laid Black, which will be released June 1 on Blue Note Records. The album pre-order launched today along with the lead single “Untamed” which is available to stream or download now.

It’s been three years since Miller’s last album, Afrodeezia, which The New York Times called “vibrant and expressive… music that frames his playing beautifully.” Miller says: “Afrodeezia was like a musical voyage through my history. I followed the journey of my ancestors by collaborating with musicians along the African Slave route – musicians from West Africa, North Africa, South America and the Caribbean. With Laid Black, I decided to bring the music right up to the present – using elements from what’s happening in urban music today. So you’ll hear hip-hop, trap, soul, funk, R&B and jazz on this album. The music is calm but also powerful and funky, drawing on the black musical experience. Laid Black.

Miller recorded most of the nine tracks on Laid Black with his band in a New York studio and also recruited guest artists Trombone Shorty, Kirk Whalum, Take Six, Jonathan Butler, and Belgian singer Selah Sue. Of his band, Miller says: “My guys are incredibly talented. They play everything from bebop to hip-hop. All of the special guests I called have the same vision about jazz, which made it possible to create this mix of music. Oh and if you like bass, there’s plenty of serious bass work on this album too!”

Anyone who has listened to Miller’s music or experienced his concerts live knows that they are in for quite a treat. Miller’s powerful, jazz/funk bass playing is out in full force with this album – pushing boundaries and taking jazz to new levels. Miller, along with his incredible band of young musicians, will be sure to excite, challenge and transport audiences.

Miller has one of the most enviable and expansive musical careers in the industry. He is a two-time GRAMMY Award winner, winner of Holland’s Edison Award for Lifetime Achievement In Jazz (2013), winner of France’s Victoire du Jazz (2010), and he was appointed a UNESCO Artist For Peace in 2013.

Born and raised in New York to a musical family (legendary jazz pianist Wynton Kelly is a cousin), Miller’s characteristic bass sound can be heard on a limitless catalog of hits including Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Of Us,” Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much,” Aretha Franklin’s “Jump To It,” Snoop Dogg’s “Gz and Hustlas,” and Jay-Z’s “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” and Beyoncé’s “All Night.” to songs from Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Elton John, and Bryan Ferry, to name a few. With his distinctive style—a unique combination of funk, groove, soul and pure technical skills—Miller has been referred to as one of the most significant bass players in jazz, R &B, fusion and soul.

Miller’s rich resume of collaborations include a 15-year songwriting and production partnership with Vandross which resulted in 13 consecutive platinum albums (of which Miller co-produced seven), as well as partnerships with artists as varied as David Sanborn, Roberta Flack, Al Jarreau, Chaka Khan, Eric Clapton, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter, to name a few. Most notable, after several years of touring in Miles Davis’ band in his early 20’s, Miller composed, produced and arranged the ground-breaking album and title song Tutu, which won two GRAMMY Awards and is considered one of the definitive late Miles Davis albums.

Miller has an endless list of film and television credits to his name. Most recently, he composed the music for the Oscar-nominated film Marshall (2017) directed by Reginald Hudlin and starring Chadwick Boseman as a young Thurgood Marshall and Emmy award-winning actor Sterling Brown. Miller composed the soundtrack to the now classic sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris, created by Chris Rock. Miller is also responsible for the soundtracks on landmark cultural classics such as Boomerang (featuring Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry), House Party (featuring Kid N’ Play), and he wrote “Da Butt,” the song that inspired the national dance craze from Spike Lee’s 1988 cult classic School Daze.

Miller broadcasts two weekly radio shows, Miller Time With Marcus Miller on SiriusXM which airs on Sunday evenings and Transatlantic Jazz With Marcus Miller which broadcasts each Wednesday in the UK on Jazz FM.

Miller is also the official host of several sold-out jazz cruises each year, put on by Entertainment Cruise Productions, including Blue Note at Sea, which sails next on January 26, 2019, featuring a stellar line-up including Miller, Robert Glasper, Terence Blanchard, Wynton Marsalis, and more. Miller has a global tour planned behind the release of Laid Black with concerts scheduled worldwide.

Visit marcusmiller.com for more details.

MARCUS MILLER – TOUR DATES:

June 1 – Capital Jazz Festival @ Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD

June 11 – SFJAZZ – San Francisco, CA

June 15 – Pittsburgh International Jazz Fest – Pittsburgh, PA

July 1 – Eddie Rosner Stage – Lviv, Ukraine

July 3 – Theatre Antique – Vienne, France

July 5 – Open Air Stage Jacka Hotel – Wadowice, Poland

July 7 – Ulmer Zelt – Ulm, Germany

July 8 – Prairie Du Bois D’Hyver – Fontainebleau, France

July 10-12 – Ronnie Scott’s – London, UK

July 13 – North Sea Jazz Festival – Rotterdam, Netherlands

July 15 – Dracula Club – St. Moritz, Switzerland

July 17 – Scala Ludwigsburg – Stuttgart, Germany

July 19 – La Pinede Gould – Antibes, France

July 20 – Cour D”Honneur Du Chateau Des Ducs De Savoie – Chambery, France

July 21 – Anfiteatro – Pompei, Italy

July 24 – Castello Di Udine – Udine, Italy

July 25 – Anfiteatro Del Vittoriale – Gardone, Italy

July 26 – Piazza Napoleone – Lucca, Italy

July 27 – Jardin Christian Dio – Granville, France

July 28 – Parc De L’Abbaye De Leffe – Dinant, Belgium

July 30 – Circus Tent on the Rugby Stadium – Marciac, France

August 9 – BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech – Brooklyn, NY

August 11 – Long Beach Jazz Festival – Long Beach, CA

September 2 – Detroit Jazz Festival – Detroit, MI

November 8 – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA

November 9 – Exit Zero Jazz Festival – Cape May, NJ

November 10 – NJPAC – Newark, NJ

November 26 – Arena Sports – Gliwice, Poland

November 27 – Poznan Congress Center – Poznan, Poland

November 28 – Arena Sports – Gdynia, Poland

November 29 – Torwar – Warszawa, Poland

November 30 – Orbita Sports Hall – Wroclaw, Poland

December 2 – Opera House – Monaco, Monaco

December 3 – Palais Des Sports – Paris, France

December 5 – Salle De La Madeleine – Brussels, Belgium

December 7 – Thonex Live – Geneva, Switzerland

January 26-February 2, 2019 – Blue Note at Sea

February 2-9, 2019 – Smooth Jazz Cruise 2019

February 23-March 2, 2019 – Smooth Jazz Cruise 2019

SOURCE: Blue Note Records