New York City Jazz Vocalist Zack Foley To Release Debut Studio Album February 16th, 2018

CD Release Show

Cornelia Street Cafe

February 1st, 2018

“When the Zack Foley Quartet performs,
improvisation goes transcendental.”

– Vanity Fair


One of the most sublime and delightful finds on New York City’s youth-infused jazz scene is the Zack Foley Quartet. The combo, all in their 30s—vocalist Foley, Jesse Elder on piano, Chris Tordini on bass, and Devin Gray on drums—can shift in mode or mood with felicity, from beguilingly relaxed to heavy improv to what they call their signature Zen-like “jazz/rock/chant.”

On their debut studio recording entitled LMSW, this long-standing band fearlessly explores their working songbook. Rollicking solos from all members abound. Renditions of songs such as Pearl Jam’s Release, Thundercat’s Is It Love?, and Radiohead’s Morning Bell coax out shadings of heartbreak and loneliness, hinting at life’s impermanence. “I’m very involved in the mindfulness tradition of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh,” Foley admits, “and I have benefitted from his encouragement to take it easy on things that perpetuate craving and pain.”

The band, nonetheless, seems to summon a melancholy undertow that inevitably evolves, resolves, transcends. And perhaps the most melancholic—and effectively disarming— a facet of the quartet is Foley’s heartfelt vocal style. He is at once vulnerable, nuanced, and mournful. His attitude is ironic, defying romantic convention. He strips away the neat sentiments we associate with jazz standards and exposes the bare meaning—even
artifice—at their root. The result is to reveal songs as small treasures, often tinged with the acknowledgment and acceptance of loss, songs that sparkle amid the otherwise cynical cacophony of the age.

There are no traditional love songs on this record. As the album title suggests, the band chooses to explore more layered subject matter like parent-child relationships, release from oppression, and liberating insight. On the classic ballad Old Folks, Foley bends the lyrics towards a description of someone close to home. The original John the Captive aspires to bring light into darkness and is a nod to Foley’s day job as a social worker.

Betty Carter’s 30 Years is a reflection on the ending of a marriage. Unborn and
Indestructible explores Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on interconnection and
impermanence, while a playful rendition of These Foolish Things shimmers with the band’s dark sense of humor, paying homage to David Lynch’s masterpiece “Twin Peaks.”

Vulnerable. Mournful. Zen-mindful. It is no wonder, then, that Foley, an LMSW, works on an inpatient psychiatric unit. There is a depth of spiritual wisdom, psychic insight and struggle, and meditative practice that inform the music, throughout.

SOURCEStephen Buono Publicity

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Trombonist/Composer James Hall Weaves Together Diverse Styles and Inspirations To Form the Intricate and Stirring Lattice

Hall’s second album as a leader, set for release February 9, 2018 from Outside In Music,
beautifully melds trombone and flute, chamber music and jazz, passion and complexity

“James Hall and his band [have] an eclectic, but inviting, voice. Their music is accessible, but weaves in and out of some of the highest realms of Jazz and Classical tradition.”

– Makoto Fujimura, International Arts Movement

Intricately weaving together voices, melodies, ideas and genres, Lattice is the alluring and inventive sophomore release from trombonist/composer James Hall. Due out February 9, 2018 from Outside In Music, the album is built around the harmonious combination of Hall’s dexterous trombone and the virtuosic flute playing of Jamie Baum, a study in contrasts that proves remarkably pliable and expressive through Hall’s inspired vision.

 

Lattice follows Hall’s acclaimed debut, Soon We Will Not Be Here, in which he and his Thousand Rooms Quartet set the work of contemporary New York City-based poets to Third Stream-inspired music that struck a delicate balance between modern jazz and contemporary classical music. Lattice eschews the vocals of its predecessor and veers in a more recognizably jazz direction, though Hall’s richly detailed writing maintains the sophisticated architecture of chamber music without forsaking the passion and propulsion of the best modern jazz.

 

To achieve those ends, Hall enlisted a skilled band with an elusive chemistry to breathe life into his compositions. In addition to Baum, he’s joined by keyboardist Deanna Witkowski (Donny McCaslin), bassist Tom DiCarlo (Claudio Roditi, Sean Jones), and drummer Allan Mednard (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Parks). On two tracks the band is supplemented by in-demand saxophonist Sharel Cassity (Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis), whose fiery alto adds a new flavor to the often more contemplative styles of Hall and Baum.

A lattice necessarily begins with two pieces crossing, and for Hall that second piece was his now-wife, Kristen, to whom Lattice is dedicated. Their romance, engagement and marriage provided the spark that inspired him to begin writing this music. “I wanted to compose a project for two voices,” Hall explains. “The idea of two voices in close counterpoint seemed like a nice parallel to the love story that was happening in my life at the time. It all came together with the interweaving of melody lines reflecting the interweaving of two lives.”
More direct musical inspiration came from a few sources that Hall had long admired. One was legendary trombonist/composer/arranger Bob Brookmeyer’s writing for two voices, exemplified by his work with Stan Getz and Jim Hall. Another was the interplay of bass trombone and flute on Herbie Hancock’s classic album Speak Like a Child. Baum shared Hall’s love for that album, and their bonding over it was key to her signing on for the project.

 

 
Two strands are not enough to make a latticework, however, and as a number of pieces intersect to form a pattern, so Hall’s project expanded to encompass other voices and inspirations. He crossed paths with Mednard while both were touring with the retro-pop ensemble Postmodern Jukebox, while DiCarlo was suggested by Baum. Witkowski was introduced to Hall at the release concert for Soon We Will Not Be Here, and her interest in his music was matched by her gifts for interpreting it on both piano and Rhodes.

 


The scale of Hall’s concerns expanded and intersected as well. While a new love – not to mention wedding planning – can be all consuming, eventually the outside world intrudes. Never has that been more true than in recent years, as a project conceived on an intimate personal scale inevitably took on a broader scope as harsh realities came to light. The injustices brought to light by the Black Lives Matter movement and the divisive aftermath of the 2016 presidential election forced Hall to widen his perspective. Again, Herbie Hancock proved inspirational; Speak Like a Child was released in the politically tumultuous year of 1968, its hopeful call for a more childlike and loving perspective a conscious refutation of the day’s clashing ideologies.
“It’s a pretty album produced at an ugly time,” Hall says. “So as the world was sliding into an abyss and I was working on what for me was ‘pretty’ music, I was thinking of Herbie as a precedent.”The lilting melody of “Shoy” opens the album, tipping its hat to another form of interweaving – the hybridization of grapes to create new wine varietals. While living in Germany more than a decade ago, Hall worked on a vineyard that specialized in the Sheurebe grape – the title is a transliterated shortening of the name – which is a cross between Riesling and Silvaner. Cassity’s supple alto kicks off Joe Henderson’s familiar “Black Narcissus,” which floats on Witkowski’s airy Rhodes while being driven by Mednard’s subtly roiling rhythm. The title track is patient about bringing its divergent voices together, finally melding into a hopefully melodious theme at the song’s halfway point. The simmering swing of “Brittle Stitch” muses on the fragility of any relationship and the care and attention they require, while “Gaillardia” does some of that work by hinting at Hall’s wife’s maiden name in the form of a flower.

The elegiac “Traveler” is dedicated to the composer’s great-uncle, whose passion for roaming the world and unconventional pairing with Hall’s great-aunt both offered models to emulate. “Kind Folk” is one of a few gorgeous Kenny Wheeler tunes that entered Hall’s songbook after the late trumpet great served as artist-in-residence during Hall’s time at Lawrence University, while the bluesy “Terrace,” featuring the full-throated moan of Hall’s muted trombone, closes the album with a portrait of his adopted neighborhood in Brooklyn.”A lattice is made up of many intersecting parts,” Hall concludes. “As this project matured, even if I composed a piece thinking about myself and my wife, the lattice grew to incorporate everyone I met, everyone I engaged with. It touches on the question of where I sit in the lattice that is New York City, or on a larger scale, that is America in the 21st century. I take heart in the fact that there can be as many strands and intersections in a lattice as there are people or relationships in my life. Maybe it starts with me and my life or my family, but it doesn’t have to end there.”


James Hall
A trombonist and composer from Nebraska based in New York City, James Hall is a versatile musician and composer whose projects have spanned jazz, classical, Latin, and popular music. As a composer and bandleader, James was named a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition, won three ASCAPlus Awards for composition, and was a featured performer/composer at the 2012 Chelsea Music Festival. He has appeared on several recordings with Postmodern Jukebox, with whom he has toured Europe and the United States. His first CD as a composer/bandleader, Soon We Will Not Be Here, was released in October 2013 and featured his Thousand Rooms Quartet. James holds degrees from the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Wisconsin and Aaron Copland School of Music in New York. His teachers have included Luis Bonilla, Hal Crook, Michael Dease, Nick Keelan, Ed Neumeister, and Fred Sturm.
For more information, please visit, jameshallmusic.com 
SOURCEbkmusicpr.com 

PIANIST/COMPOSER LESLIE PINTCHIK RELEASES SIXTH CD YOU EAT MY FOOD, YOU DRINK MY WINE, YOU STEAL MY GIRL! WITH STELLAR BAND, FEBRUARY 23, 2018

* Featuring Steve Wilson, Ron Horton, Shoko Nagai, Scott Hardy, Michael Sarin, and Satoshi Takeishi *

 “Ša composer of emotional depth and effortless lyricism.” – DownBeat
“Getting lost in this music is simply a joy.” –
 AllAboutJazz
“A crafty, lyrically minded improviser and a compelling composer…” – The New Yorker
“…achingly beautiful…a level of intimacy that is rare today in jazz.” – JazzWax.com
CD Release concert at Jazz at Kitano in Manhattan on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Pianist and composer Leslie Pintchik found the title for her new album in one of those “only in New York” moments. While crossing Canal Street at West Broadway in the SoHo section of Manhattan, she heard a voice behind her yell, “You eat my food, you drink my wine, you steal my girl!” As it happened, she’d just completed writing a new composition, and at that very moment she knew she’d found its title. It was a perfect fit for the sharp-elbows vibe of the piece, with its samba-funk groove, understated humor and fender-bender of an ending. So with one gruff shout, serendipity handed her a bold, spunky title, for a bold, spunky tune.

With its implied but elusive narrative and personality to spare, the outburst also turned out to be a perfect title for Pintchik’s new recording, which features six of her original tunes and two standards. As on her five previous albums, Pintchik has penned a collection of songs overflowing with warmth, humor, tenderness, depth and smarts – without forsaking her razor-sharp edge. Pintchik is unique in combining a brisk energy and drive with a gift for accessible, infectious melodies – like that overheard accusation, her music strikes a unique balance between the sharp-edged and the charming. You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl! will be released February 23, 2018 via Pintch Hard Records.

In his liner notes for the CD, Allen Morrison writes “As a composer, [Pintchik is] like a novelist, unspooling each song like a good story with twists and turns, and with a story-teller’s patience and sense of form. And, like a good novel, her songs appeal to both the head and the heart; they are subtle, sometimes wry, sometimes somber. I think they’re not-so-buried treasures, waiting to be discovered by other jazz artists.” In addition, the wide range of grooves (samba-funk with a touch of partido alto, swing, bolero, traditional samba, straight-eighths, and ballads-all played with exceptional skill and pizzazz by Leslie and her top-notch band members) is a great added pleasure.


For this outing, Pintchik returns once again with the musicians with whom she has played and recorded for many years: Steve Wilson on alto sax, Ron Horton on trumpet and flugelhorn, Scott Hardy on bass and guitar, drummer Michael Sarin, and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi. On accordion, Shoko Nagai is the newcomer and a wonderfully intriguing addition to the mix. Recalling the recording session, Pintchik said “I had the time of my life playing with these extraordinary musicians and people, all gems and superb players.”

“You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!” is not the only mouthful of a title on the album. It’s topped by “Your call will be answered by our next available representative, in the order in which it was received. Please stay on the line; your call is important to us,” which should instantly raise the blood pressure of anyone who’s ever wasted hours of their life on hold to fix – or at least attempt to – a problem that’s already wasted too much time. Fueled by that all-too-common experience, the tune swings hard with a fervor born of equal parts frustration and an antic comic spirit. Special kudos to the rhythm section for its drive amidst the unexpected stops and starts.


From the playful to the poignant: Pintchik’s ballad “Mortal” was written, she says, “to express a sense of life’s fragility, beauty, and especially shortness.” A highlight of the set, “Mortal” showcases a fearless use of space and silence, and gorgeous heart-on-the-sleeve solos from Pintchik, Wilson, Horton and Hardy. (Of particular note is Horton’s flugelhorn solo, which is both beautiful and wrenching.) On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, “Happy Dog,” as its name suggests, is a cheerful tune. Shoko Nagai plays the melody in unison with Pintchik, and the samba-based rhythm provides a simpatico backdrop for the wonderfully frisky solos of Pintchik, Hardy and Takeishi.
Like Pintchik’s tunes, Edward Hopper’s paintings are renowned for suggesting stories not quite told in full within the confines of their canvases. A tune with a straight eighths time feel that features Shoko Nagai on accordion, “Hopperesque” was inspired by the iconic artist’s work, especially those paintings that depict people in the kind of threshold moments that provoke the viewer to wonder what happened before, and what might come after, the scene we’re presented with. “I’ve tried,” Pintchik says, “to capture that feeling of mystery.”One of the earliest tunes written for the album, “A Simpler Time” was inspired by the composer’s trip to the Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts, where she was touched by the rare adult cradles that she saw, used to soothe the elderly and infirm. Pintchik characterizes the piece as “an adult lullaby.” In his liner notes, Morrison writes “There’s an emotional maturity to it that seems to acknowledge that life itself is not simple, that we are often overwhelmed with hard choices and mixed emotions, and we have a universal need for kindness. As with so many of Leslie’s songs, the melody is memorable, but not simple.”Approaching the album’s standards with the same unique perspective and wry insight that she brings to her own tunes, Pintchik plays the jazz and pop standard “I’m Glad There Is You” as a bolero, which affords the melody of this love song a lot of breathing room. In his liner notes to the CD, Allen Morrison writes “It’s one of the most tender readings of this great song (by Jimmy Dorsey and Paul Madeira) that I’ve ever heard.” The Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach chestnut “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” is played as a samba, with an added catchy rhythmic hook that bookends the melody. This version features a wonderfully relaxed rhythm section that, in the ending tag, builds up a strong head of caffeinated Brazilian steam, before the rhythmic hook returns, and it’s over and out.

Leslie Pintchik Short Bio
Before embarking on a career in jazz, Leslie Pintchik was a teaching assistant in English literature at Columbia University, where she also received her Master of Philosophy degree in seventeenth-century English literature. She first surfaced on the Manhattan scene in a trio with legendary bassist Red Mitchell at Bradley’s, and in the ensuing years Pintchik formed her own trio which performs regularly at New York City jazz venues. Pintchik’s debut CD So Glad To Be Here was released in June 2004, followed by Quartets in 2007.

About So Glad To Be Here, Ken Micallef wrote in DownBeat “Pintchik’s music is fresh, full of light and instantly invigorating (4 stars).” In the fall of 2010, she released her third CD We’re Here To Listen, as well as a DVDLeslie Pintchik Quartet Live In Concert.  Jim Wilke, creator of the nationally syndicated “Jazz After Hours” radio show included We’re Here To Listen on his “Best CDs of 2010” list, and the jazz journalist and scholar W. Royal Stokes included both projects in his “Best of 2010” list. Pintchik’s fourth CD In The Nature Of Things was released on March, 2014. Steve Futterman, in The New Yorker magazine, called it “…one of the more captivating recordings to come out so far this year…”, and Gary Walker of WBGO jazz radio called it “…a gorgeous display of the trio.” In his review of Pintchik’s fifth CD True North-released in March, 2016-Dan Bilawsky in AllAboutJazz.com wrote “Leslie Pintchik’s music has a magical draw to itŠ Getting lost in this music is simply a joy. If 2016 has a more pleasurable listen to offer than True North, this writer hasn’t heard it yet. (4 1/2 stars)”

In addition to composing the music for her band, Leslie has also written the liner notes for some notable recent jazz CDs, including Duologue by saxophonist Steve Wilson and drummer Lewis Nash (on the MCG label), and Daybreak by pianist Bruce Barth (on the Savant label).

SOURCEAnn Braithwaite

Cellar Live Presents drummer/composer Phil Stewart, his debut album Introducing Phil Stewart Melodious Drum

Too often, over the last twenty years or so, jazz has drifted from the rhythmic hipness of the blues-drenched, dance-inflected tenacity of its origins. Regardless of ambitions toward artistic seriousness in multiple shapes and iterations, jazz began as good time fun entertainment is driven by propulsive allure. Its fundamental identity never strayed too far from an incisive swing.

No matter what name was hung on it, jazz was a music of surging uplift. Listen to Pops late-’20s sessions, Earl Hines, Bechet, Ellington, Lunceford, Basie and the astonishing depth of melodic brilliance and percussive joy that emerged when Monk and Diz, Bird and Roach revamped expressive possibilities. Bud Powell galvanized that revolution. It’s not a stretch to say that jazz gained full maturity in the era that explored tonal, metrical and harmonic options at Minton’s in the early ’40s.

This album introduces an astute percussionist in the line of Max Roach, Art Taylor, Philly Joe Jones and Louis Hayes . . . PHIL STEWART. This is his professional recorded debut, but anyone paying attention here locks into the explicit grooves delineated across this disc – sharp and beguiling, more seductive than admonitory – that carve understated trenches, each inviting welcome.

Stewart is the sort of leader who goads and teases, His beckoning rhythmic clarity shines an unobtrusive laser somewhere out beyond. That’s a good trick. Vernel Fournier made a career of such prescient stealth in his time with Ahmad Jamal. So did Jo Jones with Basie and Ed Thigpen with Oscar Peterson. Those with this album nearby probably know Phil’s brother Grant, one of the most lyrical, flat out joyful tenor saxophonists on the scene. I regard Grant as one of the three or four essential players on his instrument at present. On Bud Powell’s Dance of the Infidels, Grant takes the first sax solo. On George Coleman’s Apache, a revision of the classic blowing vehicle, Cherokee, Grant lets loose. His noir peek-a-boo swagger on Josh Benko’s The Sumo brings out a previously suppressed Charlie Rouse vibe from Grant’s willing

Monkishness. Gordon Jenkin’s chestnut, This Is All I Ask, reveals amor’s compelling amoroso. Joe Magnarelli’s trumpet virtuosity brings rare octane to the feel underway: a horn that carries its own message while, without derivation, invoking steadfast others . . . in this instance, Booker Little, Stu Williamson and Kenny Wheeler. Notice, too, Chris Byars’ sax along with Grant on Infidels and Apache. More to the point, Byars digs in with serious ferocity on his own tune. The Doctor Is In as well as on Sacha Perry’s jaunty recollection of Minton’s jam scene, Erratic. A final word about Phil Stewart’s inaugural album: Sadik Hakim’s long mis-attributed line, Eronel, recalls the impish flair and cheerful outlook of the era that brought Minton’s to the fore and, with it, bop’s intrepid self-confidence. Paul Sikive’s arch bass pulse drives this foxy supple ride.

Perhaps the subtle genii in this masterful convivium are the nimble brilliance of Sacha Perry’s effortless magnificence. This is not routine piano work . . . it demands careful witness. Play this album. Then punch up the concluding blues, Livin’ With Hobson, once more.  ~Editoral Review | Amazon

Expected Release Date: February 9, 2018

Tappan Zee Records is a label founded by Jazz keyboard player Bob James releases a Definitive Double-Disc Compilation

Tappan Zee Records is a label founded by Jazz keyboard player Bob James. Robinsongs is very proud to release a Definitive Double CD of their finest releases. The package features six Bob James cuts including the haunting ‘Angela‘ – the theme from the TV series Taxi, ‘Brighton By The Sea‘ written by and featuring Saxophonist Grover Washington Jr and ‘Westchester Lady’ from “Bob James 3“, probably the most well-known Bob James album.

Also included on this package is the full-length version of ‘Black Is The Color’ by Wilbert Longmire – a Jazz Funk Classic – and there are three other tracks by Wilbert Longmire featured: ‘Love’s Holiday’ – a cover of the Earth Wind & Fire classic, ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Take Your Time’ – taken from Taxi TV series. Richard Tee & Mark Colby also feature heavily with four tracks apiece. Bob James also recorded with guitarist Earl Klugh, and one of two tracks featured on this package includes the outstanding ‘Kari’ which was taken from their “One On One” album. ~Editoral Review | Amazon

Expected Release Date: February 16, 2018 

Pianist/composer Hal Galper lands on solid ground in 2018 with his seventh project on Origin Records aptly titled CUBIST

With his focus on ‘the art of the trio’ since moving on from the Phil Woods Quintet in the late ’80s – the last decade incorporating his innovative development of trio ‘Rubato‘ playing into 7 albums on Origin Records – pianist Hal Galper made a major, personal musical statement in adding his old friend and saxophone titan Jerry Bergonzi to a late 2016 tour and live recording.

Diving into the ‘Rubato’ deep end with the trio, Bergonzi provided another dimension and added spark, opening unforeseen avenues to the trio and quickly becoming an integral part of Galper’s musical concepts going into the future. Thus, the Hal Galper Quartet, featuring Jerry Bergonzi! Recorded at Cleveland’s Tri-C, Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts, the quartet recorded live in an open session format with a small but involved audience.

Bassist Jeff Johnson contributed much of the music for the tour and four of the tracks for the recording. His tune title ‘Cubist,’ provided the implied visual of a subject with many parts out of place or overly-dramatized, offering new perspectives on a familiar image, and a fine metaphor for the music. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Expected Release Date: February 16, 2018

Sat, Jan. 27: Wadada Leo Smith’s America’s National Parks at Univ. of VA

Wadada Leo Smith Credit Michael Jackson

Iconic composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and his Golden Quintet Perform Music from America’s National Parks

Saturday, January 27 at University of Virginia as part of Smith’s
Impulse Festival residency

 “A trumpeter and composer of penetrating insight.”– Nate Chinen, The New York Times

Iconic composer, trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Wadada Leo Smith and his Golden Quintet – Smith, pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Pheeroan akLaff, and cellist Ashley Walters along with video artist Jesse Gilbert – will perform music from Smith’s masterwork America’s National Parks on Saturday, January 27 at the University of Virgina’s Old Cabel Hall as part of the school’s Impulse Festival. The performance is part of the group’s residency, which includes a public talk, a gallery exhibition of Smith’s Ankhrasmation scores, workshops by Quintet members and more. The performance takes place at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $13 for UVA faculty and staff, $10 for students and free for UVA students in advance from the UVA Box Office.  For a full schedule and more information, log on to http://music.virginia.edu/impulse-festival.

America’s National Parks is a six-movement suite inspired by the scenic splendor, historic legacy, and political controversies of the country’s public landscapes. Cuneiform’s 2-CD recording of the work was named the Jazz Album of the Year by DownBeat’s 65th International Critics Poll and was at or near the top of most annual lists of best releases. JazzTimes wrote that the album “unites political engagement with a soul-deep connection to nature… rich with ineffable majesty, [the suite] fully engages with tensions at the heart of the American experience.”  

Wadada Leo Smith

Trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improviser Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most boldly original and influential artists of his time. Transcending the bounds of genre or idiom, he distinctly defines his music, tirelessly inventive in both sound and approach, as “Creative Music.”

For the last five decades, Smith has been a member of the legendary AACM collective, pivotal in its wide-open perspectives on music and art in general. He has carried those all-embracing concepts into his own work, expanding upon them in myriad ways.

Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized for his groundbreaking work.  A finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, he received the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and earned an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was also celebrated as Faculty Emeritus. In addition, he received the Hammer Museum’s 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement “honoring brilliance and resilience.”

In 2017 Smith topped three categories in DownBeat Magazine’s 65th Annual Critics Poll: Best Jazz Artist, Trumpeter of the Year and Jazz Album of the Year, and was featured as the subject of a cover story in August 2017. The Jazz Journalists Association also honored Smith as their 2017 Musician of the Year as well as 2017 Duo of the Year for his work with Vijay Iyer. The JJA named him their 2016 Trumpeter of the Year, 2015 Composer of the Year, and 2013 Musician of the Year, and he earned top billing in two categories in the JazzTimes 2016 Critics Poll: Artist of the Year and Composer of the Year.

In October 2015 The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago presented the first comprehensive exhibition of Smith’s Ankhrasmation scores, which use non-standard visual directions, making them works of art in themselves as well as igniting creative sparks in the musicians who perform them. In 2016, these scores were also featured in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and Kadist in San Francisco.

Born December 18, 1941 in Leland, Mississippi, Smith’s early musical life began at age thirteen when he became involved with the Delta blues and jazz traditions performing with his stepfather, bluesman Alex Wallace. He received his formal musical education from the U.S. Military band program (1963), the Sherwood School of Music (1967-69), and Wesleyan University (1975-76).

Smith has released more than 50 albums as a leader on labels including ECM, Moers, Black Saint, Tzadik, Pi Recordings, TUM, Leo and Cuneiform. His diverse discography reveals a recorded history centered around important issues that have impacted his world, exploring the social, natural and political environment of his times with passion and fierce intelligence. His 2016 recording, America’s National Parks earned a place on numerous best of the year lists including the New York Times, NPR Music and many others. Smith’s landmark 2012 civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was called “A staggering achievement [that] merits comparison to Coltrane’s A Love Supremein sobriety and reach.”

The Impulse Festival

The Impulse Festival is sponsored by: McIntire Department of Music, McIntire Department of Art, Arts Administration, Gassmann Fund for Innovation in Music, Acquavella Family, Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts, UVA Arts Council, President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ Collective Response: Moving Forward committee, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, Charlottesville Jazz Society, Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity, Hampton Inn and Suites, University Programs Council and WTJU Radio.

<SOURCE>:  Ann Braithwaite

David Murray & Saul Williams to Release New Album, “Blues For Memo,” Available February 2 on Motema Music

Project Pays Homage to Turkish
Jazz Impresario Mehmet “Memo” Uluğ (1959-2013),
Inspired by Avant-Garde  
Jazz Legend Butch Morris (1947-2013)
& Poet Amiri Baraka (1934-2014)
Features Jason Moran, Orrin Evans, Nasheet Waits,
Craig Harris, Jaribu Shahid & More

At Amiri Baraka’s funeral in 2014, Saul Williams recited a poem imploring the iconic poet, author and social critic to “get out of the coffin” and continue his important work. Sadly, Baraka was beyond hearing the younger poet’s words, but they did reach the ears of one of his closest collaborators: saxophonist David Murray.

Williams’ impassioned reading made such an impression on Murray that a day later he was on the phone, proposing a new collaboration. “Saul was one of the most dynamic speakers at the funeral,” Murray recalls. “His words were violent, but Baraka used violent words too.”

Williams sent several of his works to Murray, mostly pieces that were soon to be published in his politically scathing 2015 collection, US(a.), which powerfully confronts issues of race, class, gender, economics and culture in modern-day America. The saxophonist responded to the poet’s words with his trademark vigor, resulting in their new album, Blues for Memo, due out February 2 (digitally). Recorded in Istanbul at the end of a three-week European tour by request of the legendary Turkish producer Ahmet Uluğ, the album features a stellar band – pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Jaribu Shahid, and drummer Nasheet Waits – performing road-tested versions of these newly-penned compositions. Trombonist Craig Harris, keyboardist Jason Moran, guitarist (and Murray’s son) Mingus Murray, kanun player Aytac Dogan, and vocalistPervis Evans offer striking contributions as well.

Blues for Memo was commissioned by Ahmet Ulug, of Pozitif music in Istanbul to commemorate his late brother Mehmet Uluğ – affectionately known as “Memo” – who co-founded the music promotion company Pozitif (with a third partner, Cem Yegul), and opened the well-known Istanbul club Babylon. Pozitif opened the doors to experimental jazz in Turkey, and have presented such artists as David Murray, Butch Morris, Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders.  The album is a labor of love from Murray to the Ulug brothers in response to their many years of friendship and support. Saul Williams knew Memo from his shows in Babylon in the late ’90s with saxophonist Ilhan Ersahin’s Wax Poetics project.

The session also provided an opportunity to pay homage to another longtime Murray collaborator, conduction innovator and cornetist Butch Morris, who lived and taught in Istanbul for several years in the late 1990s. Williams adds his words to “Obe,” one of nearly 30 Morris compositions that Murray has recorded over the decades. “We were all really close,” Murray says. “So we all put our heads together and ended up making a tribute to Mehmet and Butch Morris at the same time.”

The union between Williams and Murray becomes even more meaningful as it allows the two to continue poet Amiri Baraka’s mission. “As someone who had grown up extremely familiar with and inspired by the works of Amiri Baraka, I was honored when David asked me to work with him,” Williams says. “I stepped into this very much aware of the fact that I was collaborating with someone who had worked with Amiri.”

When Williams began performing in the mid-90s, as part of the thriving New York slam poetry scene, he consciously avoided working with jazz musicians. He saw the pairing of poetry and jazz at that time as somewhat cliché, especially in light of the thrilling merger of poetry and hip hop then underway. “I was eager to find a way to make sure that my work was not easily connected to some passé idea,” Williams says. “I never really wanted to dive too deeply into jazz because it seemed to fit an existing idea.”

Two decades later, Williams could count a wealth of experiences stemming from his widely acclaimed work: a half-dozen books, appearances in films including Slam (1998), the lead role in the Tupac Shakur-based Broadway musical Holler If Ya Hear Me, and several albums fusing his poetry with hip hop, rock and electronic music. So with an established reputation, years of distance, and a deep respect for Murray’s work, he undertook his first substantial jazz collaboration – and was surprised by what he found.

“As a poet who’s very often tied to the page, collaborating with David has freed me up,” he says. “What’s beautiful about jazz is that it’s a celebration of improvisation. It has so much to do with listening, how you hear and what you hear, and how you respond to that. It keeps me fresh, so it’s the opposite of what I was afraid of when I was dodging performing with jazz musicians. It has invigorated the creative process.”

For Murray, the collaboration with Williams took on a similar form to his work with Baraka and other poets, whether living writers like Ishmael Reed or his adaptations of work by long-dead authors like Alexander Pushkin. “I let a poem just sit on my piano for a week, and the next thing I know it turns into a song,” Murray explains. “The words are like water; they find their own way.”

The band also takes a few pieces without Williams’ words. The title track pays homage to Memo with a blend of blues and classical Turkish music with the addition of Aytac Dogan on the kanun, a zither-like stringed instrument from the Middle East. Murray’s “Positive Messages” offers an uplifting yet forceful message, with a laid-back groove fueled by Moran on Rhodes; Sun Ra’s “Enlightenment” tips its hat to the Uluğ brothers’ love of the cosmic bandleader and the influence of his teachings on Murray’s formative years.

At a challenging time, Williams’ interpretation is understandably confrontational and incisive. Commissioned by Simon & Schuster upon Williams’ return from a four-year sojourn in Paris, US(a.) was intended to be a celebration of being an African-American living in Obama’s America, but the string of police shootings that led to the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise of Donald Trump led to a much darker tone.

A piece like “Red Summer” is directly inspired by the 2015 mass shooting in a Charleston church. “Citizens (The River Runs Red)” takes an excerpt from “Said the Shotgun to the Head,” urging a shift from a patriarchal society to a female perspective. “Cycles and Seasons” draws from Williams’ poem “Coltan as Cotton,” which parallels the mining of coltan – a precious mineral found in smartphones and other technology – with more traditional forms of mining.

Reflecting on Blues For Memo and their work together, Murray says, “Saul is a very forward-thinking visionary. I’ve always tried to be very accommodating to poets and their vision of what the world is. I’ve tried to make it a clearer and truer vision through music.”

 
2018 TOUR DATES
January 30 – February 2 New York (NY) Birdland
February 6  Paris (FR) Sons d’Hiver
February 7  Saint Jean de Védas (FR) Victoire 2
February 8  Zurich (CH) Moods
February 9 Salzburg(AT) Jazzit
February 10 Vienna (AT) Porgy & Bess
February 11 Antwerp (BE) Arenberg Theatre
February 13  Stockholm (SE) Fasching
February 14  Oslo (NO) Victoria
February 15  Helsinki (FI) Selo Hall
February 16  Bergen (NO) Sardinen

February 17  Goteborg (SE) Nefertiti

David Murray featuring Saul Williams· Blues For Memo 
Label: Motéma Music · Digital Release Date: February 2, 2018
Physical Release Date: February 16, 2018
For more information on David Murray, visit davidmurraymusic.com
For more information on Saul Williams, visit saulwilliams.com
For more information on Motéma Music, visit motema.com
For more information on Blues For Memo and Motéma Music, contact:
Jordy Freed at (e) jordy@jordyfreed.com 

Pianist/composer Victor Gould returns with “Earthlings,” his highly anticipated sophomore album on Criss Cross

On his sophomore leader CD and Criss Cross debut, pianist Victor Gould joined throughout by bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Eric McPherson, with guest appearances by Tim Warfield on soprano saxophone, Godwin Louis on alto saxophone, and percussionist Khalil Kwame Bell presents a diverse, well-paced program comprised of originals and a cohort off-the-beaten-track numbers from the Great Jazz Songbook.

Gould has spent consequential time apprenticing in groups led by such modern masters as Donald Harrison, Ralph Peterson, Terri Lyne Carrington and Wallace Roney, and you can hear it in his fresh, harmonically erudite approach to the repertoire, which he addresses and inhabits on its own terms of engagement while retaining an entirely 21st century perspective. ~Editorial Review  | Amazon

Expected Release: February 16, 2018 

HAPPY NEW YEAR JAZZ ENTHUSIASTS!! 

Greetings music aficionados, first of all, I’m truly grateful for your time visiting Nouveauflux Music in 2017.  Regardless of the challenging and uncertain times, we’re faced with, we can count on God, family, close friends and great jazz to lift us up with encouragement as we endure these struggles.

Although, some may say otherwise 2017 was indeed a fruitful year for releasing quality jazz by familiar voices and emerging new artists as well. With that said, I’m sure creative musicians in 2018 will meet the challenge and surprise us with even more inspiring music.

Finally, prayerfully in the coming NEW YEAR, one of my goals is to do better in regards to writing more jazz reviews and posting more music-related content! Thanks again, and may all of you have a safe, peaceful and prosperous 2018!