Thursday, July 17, 2014

Newburgh Jazz Series presents Tyrone Birkett at Thomas Bull Memorial Park Campbell Hall Wed, July 23rd 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Newburgh Jazz Series
Tyrone Birkett
at Thomas Bull Memorial Park
Campbell Hall
Wed, July 23rd 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Open to the public,
FREE. Bring a chair or blanket.

For more info about our events

Read a preview for this concert HERE

Performing Music From Their
New CD

"Postmodern Spirituals: The Promised Land" 
Listen HERE

Tyrone Birkett | Emancipation "The Promised Land”
(Araminta Music 111562-02)
Street Date March 25, 2014
Tyrone Birkett (saxophones, keyboards); Paula Ralph Birkett (vocals); Gregory Royals (piano, organ); Reggie Young (electric Bass); Jason Patterson (drums) Except on: Strength - Pablo Vergara (electric keyboards); Camille Gainer Jones (drums) The Promise - Pablo Vergara (piano); John Benitez (acoustic Bass);
Camille Gainer Jones (drums)
Saxophonist Tyrone Birkett has synthesized his mentorship by jazz greats Frank Foster and Budd Johnson, years toiling in black church sanctuaries and 70s soul-jazz into a distinctive fusion. An “outsider” artist not common to the jazz scene, not considering himself a jazz musician in the strictest sense, he has nonetheless developed a powerful lyrical sound with shades of post-Coltraneisms, jazz sensibilities and an idiosyncratic but musical melodic sense. A composer and conceptualist as well, he has created “Postmodern Spirituals”, a retelling of the Negro freedom song. Created as a voice for freedom in contemporary times, by re-imagining and reviving the Negro spiritual.

Postmodern Spirituals: The Promised Land is the first presentation of the Postmodern Spiritual concept, featuring saxophonist Tyrone Birkett with vivid compositions that vary from the funk-driven epic “The Departure”, commencing with a bold declaration, an overture of sorts for the project. Vocalist Paula Ralph-Birkett gives the statement of purpose which flows into a sax solo that "preaches the message". Other selections range from a re-imagining of the Negro Spiritual "Motherless Child' revived by a soulful vocal rendition, funky underpinning and new arrangement, "Strength" with a determined vocal delivery by Paula Ralph-Birkett and a unyielding sax solo by Tyrone Birkett.

Then a modern re-creation of a slave’s sorrow song, the heartfelt ballad “Deep River”, (which is heard in the 1929 film version of "Showboat"); the impressionistic “Freedom Dreaming” ; ending with the haunting “The Promise” with a melody inspired by Wayne Shorter featuring a passionate solo by bassist John Benitez, round out the album.

Together these songs suggest a revitalizing of the classic “CTI” sound with its blending of soulful sophistication, added by a rich and imaginative harmonic palette and curious usage of form.
The message of the music is translated through the lyrics and melody that can be described as “neo-folk” in its character underpinned at times by modernistic
harmonic structures. Presented with a versatile and able cast of musicians, this recording promotes the notion of freedom in word and deed, style and substance.

“Postmodern Spirituals: The Promised Land”, Freedom Music for the 21st century. 

Media Contact

Jim Eigo
Jazz Promo Services
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Jazz Journal JULY 2014

JULY 2014

Ehud Asherie Bruce Lindsay investigates a young pianist bringing new life to a broad mainstream repertoire from Eubie Blake onwards

Profiles: Jack Honeyborne remembers the days when you could be a professional jobbing musician; Alexander Bone looks forward to some sort of musical career after winning the first BBC Young Musician Jazz Award; Kerem Görsev says that despite owning 89 Bill Evans albums he will never play an Evans tune on stage

Letters More Pee Wee painting; learnéd jazz; Graham Boatfield; Les Tomkins & Ronnie’s; Iggy, top of the jazz Pops

Curtis Stigers Derek Ansell interviews a man who over the past 20 years has transformed himself from longhaired pop singer into top-billed jazz vocalist

Don Fagerquist Gordon Jack reintroduces the trumpeter overlooked by many but not by employers Krupa, Shaw, Herman and Pell

Still Clinging to the Wreckage Steve Voce looks forward to a reissue of the 1961 Armstrong/Ellington session and muses on the tension between Sonny Stitt and Miles Davis

The Classical Tinge Part 6 (ii): Strayhorn, Strings & Schneider. Dave Jones continues his series on the relationship between classical music and jazz

Obituaries: Joe Wilder, modest possessor of ‘one of the most beautiful trumpet sounds in jazz’; Herb Jeffries, singer, actor, initiator of all-black Western movies and skin-tone satirist; Armando Peraza, Cuban percussionist with George Shearing, Cal Tjader and Carlos Santana and many leading names in popular music; Alan Davie, Scottish artist and musician who did a portrait of Sonny Rollins and played with Evan Parker, Tony Oxley and others

Origin Records to Release “The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite” by Composer & Bandleader Anthony Branker & His Octet Word Play, July 15

With a unique combination of depth and accessibility, composer and bandleader Anthony Branker is able to put forth a jazz perspective steeped in soulful optimism. "The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite," the Princeton University professor’s latest project for Origin Records, is a stylistically diverse twelve-movement work spotlighting Branker's exceptional prowess as a composer and guided by thought-provoking material meant to embody the essence of America and its people. 

"The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite" is Anthony Branker’s seventh recording as a leader and sixth for Origin Records. Featuring his all-star group “Word Play,” we hear the latest from the pen of this forward-thinking composer whose work has steadily been gaining recognition worldwide. Recently, Branker was named in Down Beat magazine’s 62nd Annual Critics Poll as a "Rising Star Composer."
As a composer who takes delight in incorporating an eclectic array of styles and approaches in his recordings, Branker’s new CD features a broad range of influences – from jazz to spoken word and funk – to modal music and R&B – to African and Afro-Latin sensibilities – to freer methods of music-making.
As Branker shares, “I wanted the music for this project to be reflective of our democratic spirit; our dedication to the principles of freedom and equality; the multiplicity of cultures that have come together to comprise our country; the array of diverse influences that have shaped us; as well as our passionate, vibrant, and soulful nature.”
Anthony Branker is joined on this captivating recording by a powerhouse edition of his group "Word Play" featuring several long-time collaborators that include tenor & soprano saxophonist Ralph Bowen, pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Donald Edwards, and conguero Renato Thoms as well as new additions to the collective – alto saxophonist David Binney, trombonist Conrad Herwig, and vocalist Alison Crockett. Also appearing as guests are 5th Grade students from the Martin Luther King Elementary School in Piscataway, New Jersey who provide spoken word offerings.
Branker recognizes how extraordinary it was to work with this collection of musicians: “Every member of the group is someone whose music I have greatly admired for a long time. I am absolutely blessed to have these brilliant artists involved in this project…they have infused the music with their unique sensibilities and, together, have provided an indescribable spirit!”
According to Branker, the concept for "The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite" was realized during the fall of 2012 when he was out of the country on sabbatical and watching the final weeks of the presidential election campaign unfold by way of international television news media. “During this time, I thought long and hard about what America meant to my family, who came to the United States from the West Indies in the 1950s, and what it might mean to future generations of my family…I thought about notions of democracy, freedom, justice, and equality…I thought about where we have been as a nation and what we can still aspire to be and accomplish in the name of all Americans, if we, as a people, could simply come together as one, on behalf of all…”
Branker’s new "Forward Suite" release is filled with an abundance of memorable moments, created, in no small part, by the emphasis he places on presenting lyrical melodies, infectious grooves, and passion-filled collective conversations within the ensemble. “The principle I value most as a composer is the importance of communicating and connecting with the listener in some way. In fact, I believe that melodic lyricism and rhythmic feel can be used in powerful ways to bring others into our musical world, because it is through these elements that most people come to interact with music as listeners.”
While there are far too many musical highlights on this CD to give adequate attention to in this space, several are worth noting. Composed in 2005, the Woody Shaw-John Coltrane influenced “Forgotten Peoples” is packed with imaginative solos and fiery ensemble play. This was Branker’s creative response to images he viewed of victims of Hurricane Katrina living in New Orleans stranded and huddled together waiting on rooftops above the flood waters; hoping to be rescued and wondering whether America had turned their backs on them during their time of despair.
Constructed around the rhythm of the syllables found in its title, the contagiously joyous “Equality” features vivid and dazzling improvisational performances by saxophonist Binney and pianist Ridl in a quartet setting with Davis and Edwards. “Its performance,” as Branker writes in his liner notes, “reveals the kind of communicative interaction that can take place when individuals are connected to each other by a necessary mutuality. Here, each member is viewed as an equal and what guides the creative process is an unspoken obligation to a spirit of we, which I believe is symbolic of our democratic disposition. It also illustrates what can emerge when diverse voices unite and work together.”
Special mention should also be given to “Our Dreams,” the Suite’s seventh movement on which Branker collaborated with sixteen 5th Grade students from the Martin Luther King Elementary School who shared their dreams for the future of this country and the citizens of the world. As Branker states, “It was incredible to return to the town in which I grew up to work with these remarkable young people who talked about, with hope and innocence in their voices, such pressing social issues as poverty, gun violence, hunger, racism, education, pollution, and joblessness. They also spoke of their desire to one day live in a world where the concept of peace could be experienced by all.”
Since 2004, Anthony Branker has led two jazz collectives ("Ascent" and "Word Play") and has added seven recordings to his musically rich discography as a composer. They include the Origin releases "The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite" (2014), "Uppity" (2013), "Together" (2012), "Dialogic" (2011), "Dance Music" (2010), "Blessings" (2009), and the 2006 "Spirit Songs" recording on Sons of Sound Records.
Besides the musicians found in his current Word Play ensemble, Branker’s recording projects have also featured Mark Gross, Tia Fuller, Steve Wilson, Antonio Hart, Andy Hunter, Clifford Adams, Eli Asher, Jonny King, Bryan Carrott, John Benitez, Belden Bullock, Adam Cruz, Ralph Peterson Jr., Wilby Fletcher, Kadri Voorand, and Freddie Bryant.
Branker holds an endowed chair in jazz studies and is the director of jazz studies at Princeton University, where he has taught for the past 25 years. Internationally, he has served as a visiting composer at conservatories in Denmark, Germany, and Estonia, and has had his music featured in performance in Italy, Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, China, Russia, Lithuania, and Japan. In addition, his music has also been presented in such New York venues as the Iridium Jazz Club, Sweet Basil Jazz Club, The Five Spot, Symphony Space, and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Branker is very enthusiastic when he talks about "The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite" release and feels it represents some of his best work to date as a composer/bandleader. “I am so proud of this project as both a recording and as an extended composition! Yet, anyone who knows me is aware that I’ve never been fond of sitting still too long. I guess at the heart of it all is this desire to keep on exploring and discovering, to continue to use music as a means to provide commentary on life and our world, and to create interesting music with others that will hopefully resonate in some way with listeners.”
"The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite" will undoubtedly be a recording that will resonate with many because of its beauty, infectious energy, and positive messages. When composer Anthony Branker brings you into his musical world, you may never want to leave!
Anthony Branker
J Prof Music


Trombonist Reggie Watkins to Release "One for Miles, One for Maynard," Aug. 26

"One for Miles, One for Maynard,"
Second CD from
Pittsburgh-Based Trombonist/Composer
Reggie Watkins,
Due for August 26 Release

CD Release Shows Featuring Watkins's Quartet
Scheduled for
Rockwood Music Hall, NYC, 9/25 &
James Street Gastropub, Pittsburgh, 9/27  

July 15, 2014

Reggie Watkins One for Miles One for Maynard If there was a lesson trombonist Reggie Watkins learned from both Maynard Ferguson and Miles Davis, it was that jazz can -- and should -- go anywhere it wants, stylistically. On his infectious new album, One for Miles, One for Maynard -- his second as a leader and first since 2004 -- Watkins and his band offer deep bop grooves, soulful vigor, and sparkling interplay. The CD will be released by Corona Music on August 26.
Produced by the trombonist and recorded in the historic Heid Studio in Pittsburgh, where Watkins has been based since the mid-'90s, the recording features a cast of terrific and versatile players from the area including the rhythm section of pianist Howard Alexander III of the Afro American Music Institute, double bassist Jeff Grubbs of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and drummer David Throckmorton, a "monster" player, says Watkins, whose father Bob drummed with singer Buddy Greco, among others.

Those names, plus those of trumpeter Ian Gordon, lead trumpeter Steve Hawk, and saxophonist Rick Matt, may not be familiar to people in other cities. But they're all highly regarded players -- as is Brooklyn wild card Matt Parker, who, like Watkins, Throckmorton, and Matt, is an alumnus of Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau.

"Maynard had a wave of Pittsburgh musicians in his band," says Watkins. "He'd come through town and, based on recommendations, snap people up. That band worked nine months out of the year and played a million gigs. I got so much out of it."

Reggie Watkins   
The "one" for Miles, "Shhh," from In a Silent Way, is played in "a relaxed, thoughtful mode," while Ferguson's "Chala Nata," from his 1970 M.F. Horn album, is updated with scratch effects, samples, and funky groove. Three originals by the leader, two from saxophonist Parker, and one by McCoy Tyner ("Contemplation") round out the program.

Reggie Watkins was born on August 24, 1971 in Wheeling, West Virginia. He played trumpet and tuba in high school before switching to valve trombone, then eventually slide trombone. It was as a music major at West Virginia University that he was first exposed to the playing of 'bone legend J.J. Johnson.

"From the first moment I heard him solo, my life was changed," he said. "J.J.'s melodic concept, the clarity of his tone, just the image of him playing got to me. As dazzled as I was by his speed, it was those other things that mattered the most."

In Pittsburgh, Watkins was influenced by Roger Humphries, the local legend known for playing with Horace Silver on such classic albums as Song for My Father. Watkins became involved in various bands and gained a reputation for his strong, groove-minded playing.

In 1999, Watkins became Maynard Ferguson's trombonist, music director, and arranger. He is featured as a trombonist and arranger on Swingin' for Schuur, the 2001 album the trumpeter made with singer Diane Schuur.

Reggie Watkins In 2003, Watkins performed at the 16th annual Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Competition -- the only one dedicated to the trombone. He didn't win -- that honor went to Andre Heyward of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. But he was thrilled to have been chosen as one of 11 semi-finalists by trombone greats Conrad Herwig and Eddie Bert and to perform with the all-star rhythm section of Eric Reed, Robert Hurst, and Carl Allen. "I also got to perform in front of my idols," he said. "It was an amazing experience."

The next year, Watkins recorded his first album, A-List, which was part of the Maynard Ferguson Presents series. The recording featured his compositions and arrangements.

Watkins played with pop artist Jason Mraz ("I'm Yours") from 2008 to 2013 as part of The Grooveline Horns, an Austin, Texas-based pop and funk horn section that prides itself on being able to play anything from Engelbert Humperdinck to the Beastie Boys. He values his experience with Mraz as much as any in his career.

"I'm into all parts of music, everything," says Watkins, who lived in Austin during most of his association with Mraz. "There's nothing I'm adamantly against. It was refreshing to gain perspective, going back and forth from jazz bands to Jason. I found out that I really loved section work. And Grooveline is a great section to work in."

Watkins is planning two shows to mark the release of One for Miles, One for Maynard. He'll be performing with his quartet (including Howard Alexander III, piano, and David Throckmorton, drums) at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City, 9/25, and James Street Gastropub, Pittsburgh, 9/27. 

"It was important for me on this record to represent honestly not just my influences but also my own voice and where I've been," says Watkins.   

Reggie Watkins Shhh 
Reggie Watkins "Shhh"

Photography: Sienna Watkins
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Media Contact:
Terri Hinte

AVAILABLE NOW: Marcel Camargo Offers a Look Into the Mind of Antonio Carlos Jobim on "Behind Jobim," Featuring Gretchen Parlato

MARCEL CAMARGO Offers a Look Into the Mind
of Antônio Carlos Jobim on Behind Jobim,
Featuring Gretchen Parlato

First Studio Recording from Ongoing Concert Series, 
The Brazil You Never Heard 
Cover Art by Adriano Fonseca de Carvalho
"Marcel's music manages to keep a very traditional Brazilian feeling while
moving forward into a new age, with twists and turns that are fresh, unexpected
and very original. I'm a fan! I wish him a long and successful career" - Sérgio Mendes
"Marcel Camargo is one of my favorite musicians, I love singing
with him...
he's doing something very special and necessary
with this project...
- Gretchen Parlato

Marcel Camargo has made his living as a professional musician in different locations all over the world, working as a sideman to legendary Brazilian, jazz, and pop musicians such as Michael Bublé, Sérgio Mendes, Bebel Gilberto, and Gretchen Parlato. Stepping into the spotlight as a leader with The Brazil You Never Heard, Camargo has created a project to showcase his many musical facets - guitarist, vocalist, composer, arranger and producer.

The São Paulo musician set out to produce an ongoing series of live concerts with companion studio records that feature his arrangements and compositions in the context of a chamber orchestra. While the focus is on Brazilian music, the repertoire embraces music from all over the world, illustrating how Brazil is both influenced by and influential to the international music scene.

Behind Jobim, the first in the series of EPs, aims to take an abridged look into the mind of Antônio Carlos Jobim, arguably Brazil's most internationally renowned composer/songwriter. "When I put together the repertoire, I designed it to mostly feature music that I knew was influential to Jobim," says Camargo. "When I did include his compositions in the set, the idea was to tie those to other pieces by composers that were his heroes." The result is a historical narrative, pointing back to Jobim's favorite classical composers - Debussy, Chopin and Villa Lobos - as well as his predecessors in the legacy of great Brazilian composers - Pixinguinha, Garoto and Radamés Gnattali.

Marcel Camargo - Photo Credit: Uyen Luu
When it came to recording the album, producing duties were split between drummer Leo Costa and Camargo. "For this EP, we chose to record pieces from the Behind Jobim concert that we felt made the biggest statements about what we wanted to accomplish musically and in terms of creating narratives," reflects Camargo. Those narratives are reinforced by the presence of vocalist Gretchen Parlato, who is no stranger to collaborations with Camargo. "Marcel Camargo is one of my favorite musicians, I love singing with him. He beautifully honors the classic sound we all adore in Brazilian music, but also allows his own voice to shine through...he's doing something very special and necessary with this project," says Parlato. 

The first historical connection is presented on "Lamentos do Morro," which Camargo imagined had a strong connection to Jobim's "Samba do Avião." The composition was re-orchestrated from a solo guitar arrangement by Brazilian guitarist Garoto to bring it closer to the hearts of non-guitar players. "I know Jobim loved Garoto as well and thought perhaps the song might have been of special importance to Jobim," reflects Camargo.

"A big part of the success of the series lies in the caliber and uniqueness of the groups that I've been lucky to assemble to present the material," says Camargo. Often including string and horn sections with a core rhythm section as well as the harp and mandolin, these large chamber groups have the capability of bringing all the details of a given piece to life while opening the listener to musical moments that might have otherwise passed by unnoticed.

Since the music of Jobim draws from many sources - mainly classical music, Brazilian popular and folk music, and jazz - Camargo creates a set that is very eclectic, yet conceptually cohesive.  

About Marcel Camargo

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil to a "musical extended family," Camargo learned to play guitar, percussion and sing with his uncle. At 16, he moved to the United States where he later earned his degree in Ethnomusicology from UCLA while studying under some of jazz' most significant musicians - Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins, Harold Land, Gerald and Anthony Wilson as well as studying traditional Ghanaian music under master drummer Kobla Ladzekpo. His interests in school were varied but he was particularly attracted to folk music from different parts of the world. Taking full advantage of being in the United States, Camargo focused his studies on America's great folk idiom, jazz.

Currently residing in Los Angeles, working both as a sideman and leading his own group, his main gig has been playing guitar and singing back-up vocals for international pop star Michael Bublé. His other side work has been diverse, ranging from working with Sérgio Mendes, Bebel Gilberto, Tom Harrell and Gretchen Parlato - to performing with R&B/Hip-Hop icons such as Seu Jorge, Flying Lotus, Talib Kweli and Pharoahe Monch as well as touring and recording with artists like Macy Gray, Quadron, and Missy Higgins.

As an educator, Camargo has lectured on a variety of musical subjects while teaching at institutions such as the California State University Northridge, Shepherd University, the Larchmont Music Academy in New York, the French-American Lyceum Kennedy, and the South Pasadena Music Conservatory in California. 

Marcel Camargo and The Brazil You Never Heard - EPK - featuring Inara George
Marcel Camargo and The Brazil You Never Heard:
Behind Jobim EPK - featuring Inara George

Marcel Camargo Album Release Performance:

** August 30 / The Sayers Club / Los Angeles, CA

** featuring Gretchen Parlato

Marcel Camargo and The Brazil You Never Heard
Behind Jobim · 
Release Date: July 15, 2014   
For more information on MARCEL CAMARGO, please visit:

For media information, please contact:
DL Media · 610-667-0501
Matthew Jurasek · 
Serving the Finest in Jazz Since 1988
Information and press materials (including album covers, promotional photos
and bios) on all DL Media artists can be found at our website:


Canada ù; Flute News - July 2014 - Bill McBirnie


I’ve been lucky because, despite my being a rather unknown-Canadian-indie-jazz-flutist, Bernie Senensky and I have received “honourable mentions” in all three of the major US jazz publications in the past year:  (i) Jazziz, (ii) JazzTimes and (iii) Downbeat.  (…Now I guess it’s back to relative obscurity for us here in Toronto!… :-)  Anyway, here are citations from each publication (including the most recent review of the new recording, Find Your Place, which appeared in Jazziz):

The Bill McBirnie Trio
Find Your Place

"...An effervescent, joyous quality pervades the Bill McBirnie Trio's Find Your Place…[It] showcases a wide range of grooves, from bop and bossa to gospel and swing…Those new to McBirnie will be amazed at his imagination and originality on this exceptional album."  (MARK HOLSTON, Spring 2014)

The Bill McBirnie/Bernie Senensky Duo
Opening for Eliane Elias at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival

"Best Opening Act - Eliane Elias delivered a solid, opening-weekend show at the Old Mill Inn, focusing squarely on selections from her recent Chet Baker tribute, I Thought About You. But it was the dynamic opening duo of pianist and composer Bernie Senensky and flutist Bill McBirnie that, battling a cacophony of cutlery, truly set the expansive dining room aflame and, ironically, provided far more satisfying dips into the Brazilian songbook. For the uninitiated, check out their 2005 pairing on Paco Paco." (CHRISTOPHER LOUDON, 7/8/2013)

The Bill McBirnie/Bernie Senensky Duo
Opening for Eliane Elias at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival

"…Toronto’s deep pool of local talent was on display at dozens of events…Opening for Eliane Elias, flutist Bill McBirnie proved a passionate and eloquent improviser with sure-footed support from pianist Bernie Senensky. Their set included works by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Clare Fischer and a show-stopping finale penned by Senensky that [McBirnie] said was inspired by Hermeto Pascoal and Charlie Parker.” (ALLEN MORRISON, 7/16/2013)


The McBirnie Brothers (Jim on piano, Rod on drums and me on flute) haven’t played at The Rex in years.  So this is a special occasion, especially for me, because I hardly ever get to play with them.  I admit that I usually don’t get out to Jim’s regular Saturday sessions either (but then I figure those sessions are going to continue, like clock work, for the next 40 years…just as they have for the past 40 years plus!…(So I will get my chance soon enough, I’m sure! :-)  By the way, Rob McBride will be with us on bass (…and I understand that Rob is working on changing his last name in preparation for the gig!… :-)  So come out and heckle, if you must, because it’s certainly a rare opportunity for you to take a run at all of us, at once!


Paul Horn passed away at his home in Victoria, BC on June 29th at the age of 84.  Since childhood, he has been my biggest influence on the instrument.  So for me, this was an acutely affecting event.  As a small tribute, here is a link to one track from my favourite Paul Horn album, Cycle.  This record was released in 1965 on RCA and was not exactly the rip-roaring commercial success that Inside The Taj Mahal turned out to be.  Indeed, Cycle has never been re-issued on CD…and likely never will be…Consequently, if you take the time to listen to this track, then you will detect the sound of “well-worn vinyl” as Paul performs a very touching version of the children’s classic, “HI-LILI, HI-LO”.  I might add that, at this point in his career, Paul was exploring odd time signatures.  However, here he executes an ironic twist by transforming what was originally conceived to be a rather jaunty waltz into a plaintive 4/4 meter.  The band is superb, consisting of Lynn Blessing (vibes), Mike Lang (piano), Bill Goodwin (drums) and Bill Plummer (bass).  The track is about five-and-a-half minutes in length and here is the link: 


I am presently deviating from my “acoustic jazz” path and working on a new recording project with Bruce Jones.  This will be quite different from my more recent recordings (and represents something of a reincarnation of Extreme Flute!  Anyway, Bruce and I are now working on the tracks, but it will take a little while to complete.  The project will be entitled, “Grain Of Sand”.

(5)   …STOP…

I certainly don’t want to be cluttering up anyone’s in-basket (…regardless of what the law says!… :-)  So as always, if you don’t want to receive these periodic updates, then simply return this email with STOP in the subject line and I will remove you from the list.  (Thanks!)


[ NOTE:  You can always find a current/updated gig listing at the following link: ]

Thurs., Oct. 9, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Bloom Restaurant
2315 Bloor Street West (Bloor West Village)
Toronto, Ontario
With the LOUIS SIMAO (guitar & vocals) & DANIEL STONE (cajon)
For reservations, please call (416) 767-1315.

Sun., Sept. 7, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Morgans on the Danforth
1282 Danforth Ave. (at Greenwood)
Toronto, Ontario

Sun., Sept. 6, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.
Private Function
Toronto, Ontario

Sun., Aug. 10, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.
Private Function
Toronto, Ontario

Thurs., Aug. 7, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
Walker House
146 High St.
Southhampton, Ontario
With the CHARLIE BELL Trio

Tues., Aug. 5, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
The Salty Dog Bar & Grill
1980 Queen St. E. (in the Beach)
Toronto, Ontario
With the GREG PILO Quartet

Sun., July 27, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Morgans on the Danforth
1282 Danforth Ave. (at Greenwood)
Toronto, Ontario

Sun., July 27, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
The Beaches International Jazz Festival
Woodbine Park (The Latin Square)
Toronto, Ontario

Fri., July 25, 2014 at 9:30 p.m.
The Rex
194 Queen St. W
Toronto, Ontario
With THE MCBIRNIE BROTHERS (Jim, Rod & Bill...The first time in years!...)

Thurs, July 24 & Sat., July 26, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
The Beaches International Jazz Festival at Seagull Classics
1974 Queen Street East
Toronto, Ontario
With BRUCE SMITH & THE SEAGULL ALLSTARS (…Always a fun gig!...)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Brazilian Music Icon Sérgio Mendes Releases Eclectic OKeh Records Debut - "Magic" Available September 9

Brazilian Music Icon Sérgio Mendes Releases Eclectic
OKeh Records Debut - Magic - Available September 9

"The sound of Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes has been a 
summer soundtrack for generations of listeners." - NPR

In a career that spans more than half a century, Sérgio Mendes is an old hand at creating a unique sonic blend that electrifies a mass global audience. His knack for delivering hit after hit has made him the most successful Brazilian musician of his time. A grand conceptualizer, his well-polished talents as a pianist, composer, bandleader, vocalist and producer make him a truly singular artist. With Magic, his debut recording for the storied OKeh label, he triumphs once again, delivering a timely update on the infectious mix of Brazilian rhythms and contemporary styles from his homeland, the U.S. and elsewhere that make the Mendes sound instantly recognizable.

Magic spotlights the distinct talents of a large cast of both emerging and established Brazilian and North American musicians, vocalists, composers and producers. The eclectic line-up of multi-faceted collaborators underscores how Mendes has been so successful at forging fruitful partnerships since he emerged as a young jazz pianist in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1960s. Present to help Magic radiate its special distinctive charm are such one-of-a-kind artists as, putting his producer's genius to work on one track, and singer John Legend. Among Mendes' Brazilian guests are vocalists Milton NascimentoCarlinhos Brown, Ana Carolina, Seu Jorge,Maria Gadú, and Gracinha Leporace, Mendes' lovely wife and a noted vocalist from the bossa nova days. Also on hand is guitarist Guinga, one of Brazil's most accomplished string masters and composers. Recording sessions in Los Angeles, Salvador, and Rio de Janeiro involved a host of top flight musicians from both countries.

"I like to do things that are kind of bold, fresh and unique. That gives me a lot of pleasure," Mendes says of the creative process that has been central to his success. "I'm very curious and intuitive, and I also love to learn new things - I have no formula. I believe in the magic of the encounter... and that is what my life has been about, and also this album. For me, the most important thing is the melody. Then the arrangement. It's all about how you present the song. That plays a big role in what I do."

On Magic, the three-time Grammy® Award-winner taps the entire range of music styles he has explored, from samba jazz to hip-hop. The session's focal point is the exuberant "One Nation." "When I began the album last year," Mendes notes, "I went to Salvador to work with Carlinhos Brown and write a song for the World Cup. It represents the joy, the rhythm and the excitement of fútbol as seen through a Brazilian eye." "Atlântica," by one of Mendes' favorite composers, is an example of what the musician looks for to perform. "When Guinga played that song for me two years ago, I couldn't get the melody out of my head," he comments. "The harmonies and chord changes are incredible. The beautiful thing about the album is that I have songs from composers like Guinga and Toninho Horta and my friend Milton Nascimento, who wrote his tune just for this album."

                         Photo Credit: Andrew Southam
Maria Gadú, a young singer, guitarist and composer from São Paulo, is another Magicrevelation. "I met her about three years ago and said 'let's do a song together!' What a wonderful experience it was working with her." And, although he included songs like "Só Eu," a melodic beauty by the late maestro Moacir Santos, his theory teacher in Rio 50 years ago, Mendes also contributed more original works than on any previous album. "The songwriting aspect of this album gives me tremendous pleasure," he adds.
"Sometimes you have no idea of how younger people really appreciate your work and how knowledgeable they are of what you've done," Mendes comments on his collaborations and John Legend, "I like those experiences very much. I love reaching out and ending up with something that's bold and different. That's why I called the album Magic. Everything on it is magical."

Born and raised in Niterói, a city across Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro, young Mendes studied piano at a local conservatory. An interest in North American jazz led him to Copacabana's fabled clubs of the late 1950s, where he performed with his first trio. In 1961, he formed the Bossa Rio Sextet, a groundbreaking group that was his first of many artistic coups. "Those were the days of the bossa nova when it was mostly performed by a guitarist and a singer," he recalls today. "I came up with the idea of using two trombones and a tenor sax, and it was a revolution. People loved the sound because it was totally different." In the two years that followed, he took the group to New York City to perform at the historic bossa nova concert at Carnegie Hall in 1962. He recorded albums with such jazz greats as Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Phil Woods and Hubert Laws, and continued to work closely with his mentor, famed composer Antônio Carlos Jobim.

By the mid 1960s, it was time for a totally new direction, and Mendes once again created a revolutionary sound that would prove to be pop culture phenomenon for the following three decades. His new creation, dubbed Brazil '66, used two female vocalists to shape ingenious bossa-spiced arrangements of a wide-ranging repertoire that included the latest fare from Brazil, rock and R&B hits, and carefully chosen gems from the Great American Songbook. Significantly, his debut album with the new group, Herb Alpert Presents Sérgio Mendes & Brazil '66, was recently inducted into the Grammy® Hall of Fame.

Throughout his career, Mendes has continued to recharge his passion for creating fresh and innovative music by seeking out challenging partnerships and novel sources of inspiration. Occasionally, the process has been as simple as returning to the elemental Brazilian sound, as he did on such albums as Primal Roots and Oceano. At other times, it has meant embracing the spirit of a universal theme. His album Confetti and its title tune became the anthem for the 1984 Olympic Games while Pelé was the soundtrack for a motion picture about the world's greatest soccer player of all time. Within the past decade, Mendes has also successfully experimented with hip-hop and other of-the-moment styles.

Sérgio Mendes  · Magic 
OKeh  ·  Release Date: September 9, 2014 
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