Saturday, May 28, 2016

USA: New Documentary from Bret Primack: Passing the Torch featuring Jimmy Heath

New Documentary from Bret Primack:

 Passing the Torch featuring Jimmy Heath

Bret Primack, aka the Jazz Video Guy, has started production on a new film, “Passing the Torch.”  The documentary, which is being crowdfunded, is a celebration of the sharing of creativity and knowledge from one generation to another featuring the tenor saxophonist and composer, Jimmy Heath, who turns ninety this October, and the Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington band, composed of high school instrumentalists.

This past January, Mr. Heath and the TJI’s premiere big band opened the Tucson Jazz Festival and something magical happened between the master musician and these young students.  Doug Tidaback, an educator who runs the TJI along with bassist Scott Black and saxophonist Brice Winston, felt that the vibe between Jimmy Heath and his students was so strong that he invited the Jazz legend back to record with the Ellington band, which has won a number of Essentially Ellington competitions at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

When filmmaker Bret Primack, a fifteen-year resident of Tucson, learned of the recording, he decided to document the proceedings.  “I was at the January concert and what happened between Jimmy and those kids came as no surprise.  I’ve known Jimmy since 1978 and in addition to being a superb tenor saxophonist and composer, he has a gentle, humorous, non-threatening approach to teaching that always produces memorable results.”

The recording session takes place this coming weekend and on Saturday, May 28, there will be a one-hour live Facebook broadcast at 3pm EDT live from the session.  After the broadcast, the content will available on demand on Facebook and YouTube.

“I didn’t plan it, but this will be my second film featuring a ninety year old musician," Primack reports.  My first documentary feature Taking Charge, featured famed big band lead trumpeter, Pauly Cohen.  I figure, if these guys are still doing it at ninety, there’s hope for me yet."

To help fund the film:

To view the live broadcast from the recording session:

To contact filmmaker Bret Primack
(520) 815-9022

USA: Charlie Parker | "Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes" | July 1, 2016 via Verve/UMe

Verve/UMe Announces Never Before Released 
Charlie Parker Sessions on
Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes

Two-Disc Set, Available July 1, Released for
Verve's 60th Anniversary Celebration

Discovering previously unheard music is a consistent hope for serious jazz fans. Finding unreleased music from legends, especially those who departed far too early with their legacies incomplete, is a true joy; one of those legends whose every note leads to an adventure of innovation is the immortal Charlie "Bird" Parker. On July 1, Verve/UMe brings a thrill to jazz lovers worldwide with the release of Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes, a comprehensive two-disc set featuring a cornucopia of previously unknown music--58 never listed studio takes from Charlie Parker. The set was co-produced by Phil Schaap, the eminent jazz historian who is currently Curator at Jazz At Lincoln Center and the foremost expert on Ornithology.

"These previously unknown takes are a blockbuster," Schaap says, "providing heretofore-unheard Bird improvisations, and in high fidelity." Discovered in a cache of materials owned by a former associate of Norman Granz, the founder of Verve Records and visionary producer of these sessions, the newly discovered takes allow the listener inside the private domain between Parker and Granz as they developed some of the most important music in jazz. In his highly detailed liner notes, Schaap provides overview, session-by-session history and track-by-track analysis, further illuminating the creative process of Bird's genius.

Originally issued on Mercury and Clef, but ultimately housed on Verve, the Parker/Granz studio collaborations were well-designed and thoughtfully conceived to display Bird's unparalleled talents in a variety of contexts. These included Parker's four to six piece ensembles (both working and pick-up groups); Latin Jazz efforts, some of which were labeled "South of the Border;" the orchestral Charlie Parker including his masterpieces with strings; standard Big Band; and Parker's prescient view of the Third Stream. Unheard Bird touches on all of these, including a couple of brief false starts on "If I Should Lose You" that were not included in the remarkable 2015 companion set, Charlie Parker With Strings: Deluxe Edition.

From the Latin side, there are five tracks with Parker as the featured soloist with Machito and his Orchestra; and 13 "South of the Border" tracks that feature a rhythm section of Walter Bishop, Teddy Kotick and Roy Haynes or Max Roach, along with Jose Mangual and Luis Miranda on bongos and congas, respectively, and joined on a pair by trumpeter Benny Harris. As a bonus we hear snippets of studio chatter, including Bird discussing tempo; on "Tico Tico" he asks studio guests to quiet down lest they ruin the session.

There is a fascinating set of ten tracks from a Cole Porter project that was never completed due to Bird's illness and untimely passing. Featuring a Big Band that included such heavyweights as Oscar Peterson, Freddie Green, Flip Phillips and Ray Brown, Bird digs into three Porter classics - "Night and Day," "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "Almost Like Being in Love," with brilliant results. More than half of the package features Bird in the small group hardcore bop settings for which he was best known. This features a reuniting of Parker's quintet, referred to as The Golden Era BeBop Five, the only Granz-produced recordings by this ensemble. These 14 tracks feature Kenny Dorham, Al Haig, Tommy Potter and Max Roach. They are joined for four more by trombonist Tommy Turk and Carlos Vidal on conga.

Dizzy Gillespie--Bird's co-conspirator in the Bebop movement--joins Bird for ten tracks, along with Thelonious Monk, Curley Russell and Buddy Rich. The all-Parker program includes complete run-throughs of "An Oscar for Treadwell," "Bloomdido" and "Mohawk." A quartet setting brings Hank Jones, Ray Brown and Buddy Rich to the bandstand for explorations of the beautiful Raye/DePaul gem "Star Eyes" and Bird's "Blues (Fast)."

To round out the new, 69-track set, included are the songs' master takes. (The mismatched math--58 unreleased takes plus 20 master takes somehow equaling 69--is due to the producers combining some of the shorter takes for this release.)

Spanning the years 1949-1952, Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes displays the immortal master of the alto saxophone Charlie Parker at the peak maturity of his prodigious talents. Accompanied by so many of the era's giants, and allowed the time, space and support to produce art at its highest level, this set is a monumental addition to a legacy of artistry that is breathtaking in its scope and majesty. With Phil Schaap's erudite and perceptive delineation of the ways and means by which this artistry was achieved, and his portrait of the era in which it all took place, Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes is an essential addition to the library of all serious fans of jazz.

For more information, please visit:

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For media information, please contact:
DL Media · 610-667-0501
Maureen McFadden ·
Don Lucoff ·

Public Relations for the Preferred Artist

USA The Hot Sardines-French Fries & Champagne (Decca Crossover 2016)

After the incredible success of their debut self-titled album, The Hot Sardines return to the spotlight with a new album entitled French Fries & Champagne.

While the new album continued to show the Paris-meets-New York backgrounds of the bands leaders, vocalist Miz Elizabeth and bandleader/pianist Evan Bibs Palazzo, French Fries illustrates the duality of the Hot Sardines ethos: on one side, they are a rollicking, lowbrow, gutbucket R&B and Hot Jazz band, who love to let the good times roll, reveling in the simple pleasures of a good plate of fried food and a sizzling foot-stomper from the 40s and 50s American South.

On the other Champagne side, the Sardines are the elegant, smooth, soft and luxurious lovers of lush orchestral arrangements of ballads about newfound love, loss and loneliness.

Tracks range from Running Wild, the hit from the 1959 Billy Wilder classic rom-com, Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, to People Will Say We re In Love, from the 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway smash, Oklahoma!.

Theres even a jazzy version of the 1985 smash Pop hit, Addicted To Love, made famous by the late British blue-eyed soul singer Robert Palmer and the Power Station.

A highlight of the album is When I Get Low, I Get High. Originally recorded in 1936 by Ella Fitzgerald and Chick Webb and His Orchestra, the Lindy Hop sensation is here now interpreted Sardines-style by Miz Elizabeth duetting with the Tony Award-winning (Cabaret), 2x Emmy and Golden Globe nominee (The Good Wife), Alan Cumming. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

USA Alan Ferber - Roots & Transitions (2016)

A few months after trombonist/composer Alan Ferber released his last album, March Sublime, his wife Jody gave birth to their first child, a son named Theo. The news of March Sublime s nomination for a 2014 Grammy Award was shared on social media, garnering one particularly memorable comment from a fellow musician: All this time I ve been thinking having kids was BAD for a career. You have proved otherwise! An undoubtedly well-meaning comment, it nevertheless made Alan more sensitive toward how he would reconcile his new life as a father with the demands of creating original music. The need to confront this balancing act quickly became a reality when Alan was awarded the New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America to create a 60-minute original piece.

There is nothing like the birth of a child to make a new parent reexamine, well, everything. Over the first several months of his son s life, Ferber became intrigued and engrossed by the process of human growth and development, seeming to cycle through periods of relative calm and rootedness, versus periods of transition involving tension, chaos, and rapid change.

Ferber noticed how these cycles correlate with his own growth as a composer. His new work, Roots & Transitions, written for his Nonet, is an exploration of these ideas through the process of crafting music. In Roots & Transitions, Ferber begins with tiny cell musical motives, and through the movements, drives them through cycles of calm/rootedness versus turbulence/transition, allowing the overall composition to run parallel to the growth and development unfurling in his personal life.

After several years of focusing on big band writing, Ferber s return to his long-standing Nonet allows a more subtle interaction between individual parts, creating increased intimacy in this intricate new work. For the past 10 years, Ferber has led his Nonet made up of five horns and four rhythm instruments, represented here by either Scott Wendholt or Shane Endsley on trumpet, alto saxophonist Jon Gordon, tenor saxophonist John Ellis, bass clarinetist Charles Pillow, guitarist Nate Radley, pianist Bryn Roberts, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Mark Ferber. The size of the ensemble allows for a wide variety of tonal colors and textures while being more lithe than a big band.

DENMARK Lars Danielsson-Sun Blowing(ACT 2016)

It happens so rarely nowadays. Three musicians, who all make their homes in Copenhagen, met for the very first time as a trio in a studio. That initial encounter was recorded, and an extremely fine record is the result. The instigator was Danish drummer Morten Lund. The seed was sown in a conversation with Norwegian-born saxophonist Marius Neset and Swedish bassist Lars Danielsson, when all three were travelling back by train to Copenhagen from Jazz Baltica in 2012. That encounter gave Lund the idea that a session like this could work. Danielsson and Lund were already familiar with each other from their work in groups led by Caecilie Norby and Ulf Wakenius. Marius Neset had hardly ever played with either the bassist or the drummer. “The saxophone/ bass /drums trio gives space and freedom”, says Lund. “I felt that the three of us...
line up

Marius Neset / tenor saxophone
Lars Danielsson / bass
Morten Lund / drums

USA New Standard Jazz Orchestra -Waltz About Nothing (2016)

Since its inception in 2013, the New Standard Jazz Orchestra has emerged as a serious musical force in Chicago, one with a voice all its own. Co-led by saxophonist Ken Partyka and trombonist Andy Baker, the band is filled with some of Chicago's finest musicians, composers and arrangers, several who provide the majority of the band's repertoire. Through their monthly residency at the famed Jazz Showcase, NSJO's arrangers mine the ensemble for subtle textures and colors, starting out simply and building in complexity, drawing on musical devices that range beyond the typical as they establish rich backdrops for solos by world-class improvisers such as John Wojciecowski, Marquis Hill, Mark Colby and Tom Garling.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

USA Paul Asaro And The Fat Babies-Sweet Jazz Music - The Music Of Jelly Roll Morton (2016)

The Fat Babies are a seven-piece jazz band who play the classic styles of the 1920s and 1930s. 'Few ensembles today play early-period jazz as authentically and exuberantly as the Fat Babies,' writes Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune. For this disc, the Fat Babies' pianist, Paul Asaro, takes center stage for a collection of pieces composed by or associated with Jelly Roll Morton. The arrangements and performances are inspired by Morton's classic 'Red Hot Peppers' recordings though some, like 'Spanish Swat,' 'Tiger Rag,' and 'Croc-O-Dile Cradle,' went unrecorded by Morton's Red Hot Peppers. These are stunning performances recorded in brilliant modern sound. The CD includes a full-color 16-page booklet. The Fat Babies are Paul Asaro (piano and vocals), Andy Schumm (cornet and alto sax), John Otto (clarinet), Dave Bock (trombone), Jake Sanders (banjo and guitar), Beau Sample (string bass and tuba), Alex Hall (drums).