Monday, August 31, 2015
• Born in the outskirts of Pisa, he has been playing diatonic harmonica since 1987 and gained experience in several blues bands. Few years later he collaborated with the Blues Harbour, Michael Coleman, Nick Becattini & The Serious Fun.
• He approached Jazz by studying chromatic harmonica (as an autodidact) and listening to STEVIE WONDER and TOOTS THIELEMANS, but especially to saxophonists such as C.Parker, A.Pepper, J.Coltrane, Sonny Stitt, and pianists such as B. Evans, Bud Powell.
• In 1992 and 1993 he attended the Siena Jazz summer workshops and played with B. Tommaso’s Lab Orchestra and the Clinics of Boston Berklee College of Music in Perugia for UMBRIA JAZZ.
Rupert selected specific paintings for each composer, art that would evoke different moods, though complementary to each other, as if the works were exhibited together in a gallery.
The French Impressionists captured light at a moment in time. Perhaps the jazz soloist is the American equivalent, playing what he or she hears in the moment.
USA: Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble-Circulation: The Music Of Gary McFarland (Planet Arts Recordings 2015)
CIRCULATION: THE MUSIC OF GARY MCFARLAND
THE GARY MCFARLAND LEGACY ENSEMBLE
Creative Directors: Michael Benedict and Kerry McFarland
The Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble is dedicated to the preservation of the music of composer/arranger/vibraphonist Gary McFarland. McFarland was a significant force in the jazz world in the 1960s. He was considered an “adult prodigy” by former Downbeat magazine editor Gene Lees as Gary did not start any formal studies until he was in his late twenties. After winning a Downbeat scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in 1959, McFarland spent just one semester of study there before moving to New York City. Through his connection with trombonist/composer Bob Brookmeyer, McFarland wrote his first professional arrangements for Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band. The rest, as they say, was history. McFarland would go on to be one of the most important jazz forces of the 1960’s with his compositions, arrangements, recordings, and film and stage scores. He was also a prolific producer and part owner of the SKYE record label along with Cal Tjader and Gabor Szabo. McFarland was also one of the first jazz musicians to include pop and rock material in his recordings and performances. His recording, America the Beautiful, combined elements of jazz, rock and orchestral writing that would prove to be one of the most seminal works of the 1960s. McFarland died in 1971 just after his 38th birthday. His career lasted just a little over ten years but his music is timeless.
Percussionist Michael Benedict has studied, performed and recorded McFarland’s music ever since meeting Gail McFarland, Gary’s widow, in 1979. Michael and Gail were married in 1981 for twenty-five years until Gail’s death in 2007. Michael and his stepdaughter, Kerry McFarland, continue to promote Gary’s music to this day.
This first recording focuses on McFarland’s most recorded material as well as more obscure, unrecorded selections.
The recording features Bruce Barth on piano, Joe Locke on vibes, Sharel Cassity on saxophones, Mike Lawrence on bass and Michael Benedict on drums. The music is arranged by Bruce Barth. The recording is produced by Thomas Bellino and issued on the Planet Arts Recordings label.
Future recordings will focus on McFarland’s big band compositions and arrangements including an arrangement of Straight No Chaser that was commissioned by the Downbeat Jazz Festival and an arrangement of C-Jam Blues that was slated to feature Stan Getz.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Jacques' latest release, "Camaraderie" is a collaboration of musicians who are near and dear to him for various reasons. The concept spun from his appreciation of their friendship and respect for their compositional abilities and musicianship. His friends,
comrades, recorded with him on the album and composed many of the tunes on the CD.
" When the band stand is full of friendship and love, the music will be even more harmonious. Experience the love."
Jazz from Catalonia 2015 - Various Artists
“Jazz from Catalonia 2015” contains songs by: Os Meus Shorts, David Mengual Free Spirits Big Band, The Gramophone Allstars Big Band, Celeste, Marcel•lí Bayer, Ignasi Terraza Trio, Nu-Roots, A la Big Bom Band, Bernat Font Trio, Roger Mas Group, D.O New Ensemble, Los Mambo Jambo and Albert Sanz & Félix Rossy. These 13 tracks have been selected by Borja Duñó (music journalist) in collaboration with Olga Àbalos (music journalist), Susanna Carmona (Coordinator of Jazz Terrassa), Martí Farré (music journalist), Pere Pons (Director of Jamboree Jazz Club) and Roger Roca (music journalist).
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Since his debut on Resonance Records, Spiritual Nature (2012), Vega is entirely his own man, completely in command of his material. As the late, great Mulgrew Miller's replacement in the Ron Carter Trio, Vega has big shoes to fill and does so admirably. His wide appreciation of piano maestros is spotlighted with this new release that includes seven original Monty Alexander masterpieces.
Much like Monty, Donald approaches the piano with technical prowess, yet with a sense of playfulness and light spirit. Both men share a warm touch to the instrument melodic and free. The trio of Vega, Shakur and Nash has an intimate working relationship. Shakur's bass is a solid anchor, while Nash's colorful, rhythmic drumming is chameleon-like, adapting effortlessly to each piece. Add to that the imagination, depth and precision playing of guitar virtuoso Anthony Wilson and you have a winning combination. From thoughtful, slow ballads to bouncy uptempo originals, they cover the bases. Vega smiles, 'My heart is in the swing, no matter what style I play. The goal is always to make it feel good.'
Vega continues, 'The way that Monty plays and writes seems to come from a place of what feels good to him too. At least in the tunes we selected, he likes the lighter, happier keys. There's room to breathe on solos. He's got an incredible imagination; great ears, great chops; and a killer left hand.'
Resonance Records President George Klabin explains, 'The whole challenge was to find a pianist who was willing to do this project and who would fit the style of Monty's music. Monty, I just want to say you've touched my life. You've given me a great deal of happiness. I hope that this music will give back what you've given to the world.'
'I am greatly delighted that the fantastic, inventive pianist Donald Vega has applied his wonderful creativity to compositions of mine. I enjoyed his unique interpretations.' - Monty Alexander