Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Breeze from Brazil" Braunschweig, Germany with Yorio da Costa & Alexander Hartmann

Der Sänger und Gitarrist Yorio da Costa, Alexander Hartmann am Saxophon und Okertour nehmen ihre Gäste mit auf eine musikalische Reise durch Brasilien.  Mit einem Glas Caipirinha in der Hand und dem authentischen Sound des Samba und Bossa Nova im Ohr, lässt man entspannt die Ufer der Oker an sich vorbeiziehen.

Sunday, 14 Aug 2011, 5:00 PM
38100 Braunschweig

Source: Xing Events

Bill Carrothers Trio - "A Night at The Village Vanguard"( Pirouet 2011)

Pirouet's first live and first double CD - with pianist Bill Carrothers' trio. The Album relives an entire concert: the first set - CD1, the second set - CD2. An evening at the legendary Village Vanguard jazz club with the trio of one of the best American jazz pianists of the last twenty years is passed on, and you can listen to sparkling, shimmering piano-trio jazz - music that has many a heady, exciting story to tell.
Source : Pirouet

National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters

Washington, DC -- The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced the recipients of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Award -- the nation's highest honor in jazz. The five recipients will receive a one-time award of $25,000 and be publicly honored at the annual awards ceremony and concert, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center at its home, Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.

With this class, the NEA is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the NEA Jazz Masters Awards, which recognize outstanding musicians for their lifetime achievements and significant contributions to the development and performance of jazz.

The 2012 NEA Jazz Masters are:

Jack DeJohnette, Drummer, Keyboardist, Composer 
   Born in Chicago, IL; lives in Willow, NY)
Von Freeman, Saxophonist 
   Born in Chicago, IL; lives in Chicago, IL)
Charlie Haden, Bassist, Composer, Educator 
   Born in Shenandoah, IA; lives in Agoura Hills, CA)
Sheila Jordan, Vocalist, Educator 
   Born in Detroit, MI; lives in Middleburgh, NY and New York, NY)
*Jimmy Owens, Educator, Trumpeter, Flugelhorn Player, Composer, Arranger 
   Born in Bronx, NY; lives in New York, NY)

*Jimmy Owens is the recipient of the 2012 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.

"These artists represent the highest level of artistic mastery and we are proud to recognize their achievements," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "Through their contributions, we have been challenged, enlightened, and charmed, and we thank them for devoting their careers to expanding and supporting their art forms."

"Jazz is considered by many as one of America's greatest cultural gifts to the world," said Wayne S. Brown, NEA Director of Music and Opera. "These artists are being recognized for their extraordinary contribution to advancing the art form and for serving as mentors for a new generation of young aspiring jazz musicians."

Each member of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters class is a distinguished artist whose significant lifetime contributions have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form:

Widely regarded as one of the great drummers in modern jazz, Jack DeJohnette has a wide-ranging style that makes him a dynamic sideman and bandleader. His versatility on the drums is accented by DeJohnette's additional accomplishments as a keyboardist: he studied classical piano for ten years before taking up drums.

Earle Lavon "Von" Freeman, Sr. is considered a founder of the "Chicago School" of jazz tenor saxophonists. With his individual sound, at once husky and melodic, he makes every song his own. As the Chicago Tribune has written of him, "For technical brilliance, musical intellect, harmonic sophistication, and improvisatory freedom, Von Freeman has few bebop-era peers."

Lyrical and expressive on the bass, Charlie Haden has embraced a variety of musical genres, ranging from jazz to country to world music. His work as an educator led to the creation of the Jazz Studies program at California Institute of the Arts in 1982 where he focuses on the spirituality of improvisation.

Sheila Jordan is not only one of the premier singers in jazz, but she is known for her stimulating vocal workshops as well. A superb scat singer, she can just as easily reach the emotional depths of a ballad.

Jimmy Owens is a jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, and music education consultant. His involvement as an advocate regarding the rights of jazz artists led to the founding of the Jazz Musician's Emergency Fund, a program of the Jazz Foundation of America.

Full profiles of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters can be found on the NEA's Web site.

High resolution photos are available: please call 202-682-5570.

The NEA Jazz Masters awards were announced in conjunction with the announcement of the NEA National Heritage Fellowships and NEA Opera Honors recipients. Please go to for the list of these recipients.

For the January awards ceremony and concert, the Arts Endowment will again partner with Jazz at Lincoln Center to produce the event. The awards ceremony and concert will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and other special guests in a program dedicated to the honorees' lives and works and the program's 30th anniversary.  Since 2003-04, the NEA and Jazz at Lincoln Center have partnered on collaborations including NEA Jazz in the Schools, a web-based curriculum designed for high school teachers and students to explore the history of jazz, integrating that story with the sweep of social, economic, and political developments in the United States. The free, cross-disciplinary curriculum is available online at

About NEA Jazz Masters: Each year since 1982, the Arts Endowment has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters Award to living legends who have made major contributions to jazz. With this new class, 124 awards have been given to great figures of jazz in America, including Count Basie, George Benson, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, John Levy, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and the Marsalis Family.

NEA Jazz Masters are selected from nominations submitted by the public and receive a one-time fellowship award of $25,000, are honored at a public awards ceremony, and may participate in NEA-sponsored promotional, performance, and educational activities. Only living musicians or jazz advocates may be nominated for the NEA Jazz Masters honor.

In addition to NEA Jazz in the Schools, a partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, the NEA's jazz programs include NEA Jazz Masters Live, a series of performance and educational engagements in selected communities, featuring NEA Jazz Masters; radio programming featuring NEA Jazz Masters; and publications and reports. For more information on NEA Jazz Masters, the public is invited to visit the website, at

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

Jazz at Lincoln Center is dedicated to inspiring and growing audiences for jazz. With the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a comprehensive array of guest artists, Jazz at Lincoln Center advances a unique vision for the continued development of the art of jazz by producing a year-round schedule of performance, education and broadcast events for audiences of all ages. These productions include concerts, national and international tours, residencies, a jazz hall of fame, weekly national radio programs, recordings, publications, an annual high school jazz band competition and festival, a band director academy, jazz appreciation curriculum for students, music publishing, children's concerts, lectures, adult education courses, student and educator workshops and interactive websites. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, Chairman Lisa Schiff, and Executive Director Adrian Ellis, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces thousands of events each season in its home in New York City, Frederick P. Rose Hall, and around the world.  For more information, visit the Jazz at Lincoln Center website.
source NEA

Magnus Ostrom: "Thread of Life"(Act Music + Vision 2011)

Judging by the cover of Öström’s debut solo CD – a moody shot of the Swedish drummer bare-chested, clutching a cymbal – he seems to fancy himself as a bit of a hard man. So, you’d expect Thread of Life to be a muscular monster. Strange, then, that it turns out to be something of a pussycat instead.
Öström is best known for playing in EST for 15 years up until the pianist Esbjörn Svensson’s untimely death in a diving accident in 2008. Here, he’s avoided trying to reproduce the piano trio’s acoustic sound and focuses on an airbrushed electric jazz, which owes much to the lush fusion-lite of guitarist Pat Metheny (who makes a guest appearance on Ballad for E). That said, the music here bears the same sort of relationship to electric jazz-rock as EST did to acoustic piano jazz: it is melodic, tasteful and, frankly, a little bland.
For all the distorted guitar solos present, there’s no escaping the fact that tracks like Longing have more than a hint of the coffee table about them, while Weight of Death and Between are soporific to the point of becoming musical sedative. It’s a shame because there are some promising moments peppered throughout the album. Piano Break Song is built around a Steve Reich-like piano figure, which, while not exactly a new idea, is pleasing enough. The Haunted Thoughts and the Endless Fall has more punch – and at four minutes is the shortest track on the album by quite some way. Yet, even here, Öström seems curiously restrained and rarely manages to break a sweat. The album’s finale, Hymn (For the Past) Part II, is 15 minutes of glacial post-rock in the style of Sigur Rós, which clearly strives to build an anthemic gravitas, but actually just feels cumbersome and overly-concerned with its own importance.
With their accessible melodies and clean-cut energy, EST were unusual in their ability to crossover and appeal to audiences from beyond the jazz world. While some of those listeners will surely want to check Öström’s first post-EST statement, it’s hard to imagine this release will gain him many new followers.
--Daniel Spicer
BBC Review 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wynton Marsalis Books


Kenny Wheeler's new album on CAM Jazz, with John Taylor on piano and Steve Swallow on electric bass. 

"...his playing is absolutely unique" (Johannes Wohlleben)
"...his sound is simply transcendent" (James Farber)
"...Kenny is incomparable" (Stefano Amerio)

"Another superb entry in the discography of an artist whose career has been marked by consistency and the sound of surprise, One of Many is, well, one more reason why comparing Wheeler to Ellington is astute—and right on the money." (All About Jazz, J. Kelman)

France: ERCE IN JAZZ FESTIVAL August 4-6, 2011

Le jeudi 4 août:      JACKY TERRASSON Trio en avant première de sa tournée européenne avec en première partie, Laurent Coulondre trio puis Gada Tronsi
 (avec Franck Coleman) (afro-funk-fusion) pour clôturer la soirée.

Le vendredi 5 août: POST IMAGE référence du jazz-rock français au même titre que SIXUN, avec en première partie Trio Thibaud Dufoy,
puis en fin de soirée, Gustave Quartet  (Jazz-Rock).

Le samedi 6 août:   Pour la première fois en France TRIPHASIC le nouveau trio de Gary Willis (Tribal Tech) un des plus grands bassistes mondiaux accompagné de Llibert Fortuny numéro un du saxophone
 en Espagne et David Gomez batteur international.

A partir de 19h00 apéro jazz avec Work-Out Quintet (hard-bop), première partie Zilhom (new-jazz), puis en fin de soirée, Cellule Trio (jazz-rock)

Archie Shepp - For Losers/Kwanza (Impulse! 2011)

Though the two titles featured on this Impulse two-fer were originally issued four years apart, they were recorded pretty much at the same time. For Losers, released in 1970, reflects Archie Shepp's deep fascination with rhythm & blues and soul, as well as showing how vanguard jazz drew directly from the tradition. Produced by Ed Michel, this album (and Kwanza) features Shepp in the company of Grachan Moncur III, Jimmy Owens, Woody Shaw, Charles Davis, Dave Burrell, Cedar Walton, Andy Bey, Robin Kenyatta, Cecil Payne, James Spaulding, Wilbur Ware, Beaver Harris, Bernard Purdie, Joe Chambers, Leon Thomas, and Doris Troy, to name a few. It ranges from the funky stomp of "Stick 'Em Up" with Thomas up front and which draws equally on James Brown and Rufus Thomas, through to an avant version of Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," with Troy's vocal atop a warm but angular and elastic harmonic arrangement, to a nearly straight version of Cal Massey's classic ballad "What Would It Be Without You," with beautiful interplay between Shepp's tenor and Payne's flute. The entire second side is taken up by "Un Croque Monsieur (Poem: For Losers)," an outside jazz jam of epic proportions. Kwanza, though it was recorded at nearly the same time, was not released until 1974. Its cuts display the same lineups as those on For Losers. While on the surface it would seem to be a collection of outtakes and leftovers from the earlier album, it doesn't doesn't play like one. With Michel producing only one track, and the balance by Bob Thiele, it sounds more like a direct follow-up. Shepp composed three tunes here; two of which ("Back Back" and "Slow Drag," with killer trumpet work by Shaw) reflect the tough, nasty soul and rhythm & blues foundations of the earlier album, while the other, "Spoo Pee Doo," while brief, is a curiously strange midtempo jazz ballad sung by Thomas. Moncur's modally based free workout "New Africa" appears as the set's longest and most satisfying number, with another Massey number, "Makai," which has its repetitive, labyrinthine counterpoint played to the hilt by Shepp and bassist Walter Booker. Together, For Losers and Kwanza are hotly debated but essential parts of the Shepp Impulse discography; they embody not merely the paradoxes of his vision, but the enormity of it.

Photos: Vancouver Jazz Festival

Angola: Ismael Lo thrills public at Luanda Jazz Festival

Luanda – The Senegalese musician Ismael Lo, currently one of the main references in African music, on Friday night thrilled the public at the Luanda International Jazz Festival, happening in Atlântico Cinema until Sunday.

In his one hour and a half performance, Ismael Lo got effusive applauses from the audience that attended the first day of the festival.

The Senegalese musician, who did not leave behind his guitar, was preceded by Dj Rui Alves (Angola) and the veteran Portuguese singer Rui Veloso.

Ismael Lo sang some of his new and old hit tunes, songs filled with a strong percussion and guitar notes, going between French and Spanish.

The public thrilled and sang along to songs like "Dib Dib Rek", "L' Amour A Tous Les Droits", "Africa" and others.

There were also performances by Emmanuel Kanda (Angola), Rui Veloso (Portugal), the bands LiqueDeep and Black Cooffe (both from South Africa) with songs in pop and soul styles, respectively.

The festival proceeds this Saturday with the performances of the American singer Macy Grey, the Angolan Maravilha Band, the musician Kizua Gourgel, among others.

Source: Angola Press

Tango meets Jazz: Vibratanghissimo in Hamburg, Germany Thu Aug 25, 2011 at Kulturkirche Altona

Fred Hersch : " Alone At The Vanguard "(Palmetto Records, 2011)

Fred Hersch holds the unique distinction of being the first pianist to be asked to play solo at the renowned Village Vanguard in New York City. This recording documents his second and most recent week of performances at the club, November 30 through December 5, 2010. Some say after Fred recovered from his coma, his playing is deeper and more emotional. This album is a testament to that fact.

Hersch is widely considered a genius on the piano. He moved to New York from Cincinnati in the 1970s, earning his credibility as a piano prodigy at Bradley's. His list of credits as a band leader, co-leader, sideman and soloist are astounding. He has worked extensively with jazz masters Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, and Jane Ira Bloom, Art Farmer, Toots Thielemans, Gary Burton, Bill Frisell, Sam Jones and Charlie Haden and has appeared on over 100 recordings. He is also a three-time GRAMMY© nominee.

Friday, July 29, 2011

French guitarist Stephane Wrembel :"What I play is not jazz"

French guitarist Stephane Wrembel is hard to pin down.

His gypsy guitar music — steadily strum rhythms overlain with meandering guitar melodies plucked with impossibly nimble speed in the vein of the man who practically invented the genre, Django Reinhardt — not only alludes to the Paris he grew up in, it bears resemblance to the sounds of the world at large.
“What I play is not jazz,” Wrembel clarified. “My music is for everyone. What we do can be appreciated by a jazz listener, or by a rock listener, or by a world listener; by anyone, any age, any origin.”

Such flexibility is perhaps to be expected from a guitarist whose musical career began at an early age with an undying devotion to Pink Floyd (which remains just as powerful to this day—he saw Roger Waters perform “The Wall” 12 times last year); then expanded with his study of contemporary jazz, Indian, African and Middle Eastern music; and most recently earned him professional praise from filmmaker Woody Allen, himself an accomplished jazz clarinetist, who has used Wrembel’s songs in two of his films.
More at The Sag Harbor Express

New Zealand: 'Jazz meets Classical' concert for Auckland

Jazz and classical music are two distinctive genres which most people would not likely pair together, but for award-winning Canadian jazz pianist and composer John Mackay, 'classijazz' is a life-long passion of work that he will showcase in Auckland next month.

Bach Musica NZ proudly presents John Mackay and his jazz trio - comprised of two of New Zealand's finest jazz musicians; Kevin Haines on bass and Ron Samsom on drums - performing an evening of Jazz meets Classical at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, on 14 August.
Read more

Istanbul, Turkey: Jazz in Ramadan August 14-31, 2011

14 August, Saturday: Anouar Brahem Quartet / Istanbul Archaeology Museum
17 August, Tuesday: Ahmad Jamal / Topkapi Palace
18 August, Wednesday: Dhafer Youssef Quartet / Istanbul Archaeology Museum
20 August, Friday: Dede Efendi Ensemble – Münip Utandı / Istanbul Archaeology Museum
21 August, Saturday: Ilhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions / Istanbul Archaeology Museum
24 August, Tuesday: Abdullah Ibrahim Trio / Topkapi Palace
26 August, Thursday: Aydın Esen Group / Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Aydın Esen Plays For Ramadan)
31 August, Tuesday: Kudsi Erguner Ensemble ‘Islam Blues’  /  Topkapi Palace
Source: Jazz in Ramadan
Jazz in Ramadan returns to bring musical relief in August

Singing the Beijing Blues

A Beijing bar is hosting a three-day Blues festival starting Friday night featuring a dozen bands and soloists from around the world.

Cafe CD Blues, on the Third Ring Road near the Agricultural Exhibition Center, and at its previous location a few blocks further south, has been home to the city's alternative music scene since the 1980s.

It has been owned for nearly two years year by veteran R&B singer and bass player "Big" John Zhang Ling.

Playing tonight from 7pm are Chinese band Little Inn, the USA's Peter Muchinson Band, Bobo Stump from Japan, Matt Cooper (featuring Swiss Werner Fischer on guitar) and Defy, a Chinese rockabilly group. The night finishes at 1 am.

Arat Kilo - "A Night In Abyssinia"

Ever since the Ethiopiques CD releases reminded the west about the extraordinary music that could be heard in Addis Ababa in the golden era of the 1960s and early 70s, there has been a flurry of very different fusion bands making use of Ethiopian influences, including this young French five-piece who take their name from an Addis monument. They are good players who mix funky guitar with bass, drums and horns – brass was often a crucial ingredient in the Addis sound – and they have mastered the distinctive, at times Arabic-sounding Ethiopian style. All that's lacking is a sense of energy and fun, especially in their instrumental treatment of a piece by the country's best-loved singer, the late Tlahoun Gèssèssè. Their own Ethiopian-influenced tracks include a jazzy collaboration with the rapper Socalled, but they are at their best when joined by African celebrities. Mulatu Astatke, the veteran "father of Ethio jazz" plays vibes on his own Dewel, while the best track, Get a Chew, is transformed by the exquisite, drifting, Ethiopian-edged vocals from Mali's Rokia Traore. With more help like this, they would sound very good indeed

Thursday, July 28, 2011

France: Jazz à la Villette

Du 31 août au 11 septembre, le festival Jazz à la Villette offrira un vaste de panorama du jazz actuel mais pas que… Une grande fiesta où se croiseront notamment Hindi Zahra, Tigran Hamasyan, Omar Sosa, Yaron Herman, Macy Gray, Aldo Romano, Questlove, Tom Harrell, Roy Hargrove et Brad Mehldau.
Full program

FRANCE: "En crise, le jazz français lutte pour sa survie"

Les professionnels du jazz français lancent un appel aux pouvoirs publics, relayé par une pétition publiée mercredi 27 juillet 2011 dans le journal Libération . Les 700 signataires – musiciens, managers, programmateurs, critiques de jazz… – en appellent à des «états généraux du jazz» pour organiser la survie de ce secteur musical.

Situation financière critique des labels discographiques, baisse des programmations et de la visibilité en salle, la situation n’a jamais paru aussi difficile pour les jeunes musiciens, souvent contraints de s’autofinancer, alors même que la base de données de l’Irma (Centre d’information et de ressources pour les musiques actuelles) témoigne de la richesse de la création en 2011, avec plus de 5000 musiciens de jazz français recensés. Le pianiste et compositeur Laurent Coq, initiateur de ce mouvement lancé depuis son blog, rappelle qu’«il ne s’agit pas seulement de demander plus d’argent, mais de savoir comment on le dépense».

Le ministre de la culture, Frédéric Mitterrand, a annoncé dans un communiqué qu’il recevrait à la rentrée les représentants du monde du jazz, pour «écouter leurs réflexions».


Detroit jazz legend Wendell Harrison releases first new CD in 7 years

"Here's my thing," says Wendell Harrison, describing his personal manifesto. "People can help themselves. You can do it yourself rather than wait for somebody else to do it for you. That's been my whole way of life. I don't make a lot of money, but at least I'm in control of what I do."

Harrison, a Detroit-born tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, entrepreneur and educator, is celebrating the release of "It's About Damn Time," his first CD in seven years. At 68, he's best known as a cofounder of Tribe, the legendary Detroit jazz collective that came together in the early '70s in a strong-willed act of African-American self-determination, connecting the dots between music, social justice and community building.

Westchester Jazz Orchestra : "MAIDEN VOYAGE SUITE"


Herbie Hancock's classic 1965 album re-imagined on big-band's second recording

* Featuring NYC's top players including Marvin Stamm, Ralph Lalama, Ted Rosenthal, Harvie S, Jay Brandford, Jason Rigby, Jim Rotondi *

"The Westchester Jazz Orchestra has built a reputation for deeply researched, strikingly executed performances that is reaching well beyond the orchestra's home county to the country at large. But the ensemble, 17 of the New York area's most in-demand musicians, is not resting on its laurels."
-The New York Times

The summoning seas of creative adventure and superb jazz artistry await on the new CD from the Westchester Jazz Orchestra (WJO), Maiden Voyage Suite, an ambitious and powerful re-imagining of Herbie Hancock's classic 1965 album.

Set for release on August 16 on the band's own label, Maiden Voyage Suite features WJO-commissioned arrangements from Artistic Director/Conductor Mike Holober, WJO saxophonist Jay Brandford and WJO trumpeter Tony Kadleck, as well as from frequent WJO contributor Pete McGuinness, the famed trombonist and Grammy-nominated big band leader. In the hands of such gifted writers, Maiden Voyage Suite beautifully balances the spirit and intention of the source material with the exploratory zeal and sterling musicianship of the band's sixteen musicians.
WJO, an esteemed group of seventeen musical artists (16 musicians plus artistic director Mike Holober) who are pillars of the New York jazz community, "has built a reputation for Š strikingly executed performances," (The New York Times), a status that was further enhanced by WJO's March 2011 selection as a STAR Initiative participant by WNYC, New York's flagship public radio station.
Maiden Voyage Suite follows the group's acclaimed 2007 debut, All In, which peaked at #4 on the JazzWeek chart, finishing at #50 for the year, and which the Toronto Star called "an expertly woven and thrilling collection."  WBGO 88.3FM, the major jazz radio station for the NY metropolitan area, has already honored WJO's new effort by selecting it for the station's CD of the Month Club for October 2011.

"What WJO has done on Maiden Voyage Suite is revisit one of the great evergreens in the jazz canon and make it their own," said WBGO Music Director and Morning Show Host Gary Walker, a member of WJO's advisory board. "I was invited to one of the recording sessions and, in the studio, Mike Holober and the sixteen band members were truly all in. Their interplay and soloing made me realize what a great band WJO has become."

WJO spotlights a number of stellar jazz soloists, who are given ample space to realize their ideas and inventiveness. From the album's start, as pianist Ted Rosenthal paints a picture of a mariner looking out across the water and readying his ship hands to set sail, WJO members display their brilliance as ensemble players and improvisers. Trumpeter and flugelhorn master Marvin Stamm takes a hand-off from soprano saxophonist David Brandom delivering a shimmering turn on "Maiden Voyage" and then shows his smoking side on "Eye of the Hurricane" after tenor saxophonist Jason Rigby lights up the proceedings. Elsewhere, trumpeter Jim Rotondi blows both hot and cool on "Survival of the Fittest-Part 1" and "Dolphin Dance," while bassist Harvie S displays his tasteful vision on "Little One." Saxophonist Ralph Lalama graces "Dolphin Dance" with a gliding tenor solo while Rosenthal and drummer Andy Watson keep the rhythm churning.

In 2007 when Mike Holober was hired as WJO's artistic director and conductor at the prompting of the group's executive director and co-founder Emily Tabin, one of his immediate tasks was to organize an upcoming concert featuring big band arrangements of Maiden Voyage. Holober was the right person for a task that many in the music world would characterize as daunting. A remarkably adroit and forceful pianist and composer who first came to prominence during the early 1990s in a quartet led by late baritone sax great Nick Brignola, Holober has won wide acclaim in the past 15 years for his own small group and big band efforts around the globe. In addition, he serves as associate director of the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop, following in the steps of famed jazz writers like Bob Brookmeyer, Jim McNeely and the late Manny Albam, and he was recently appointed to a two-year stint as Associate Guest Conductor of the venerable Frankfurt Radio Big Band (HR), while remaining at the helm of WJO.
Pete McGuinness, who has been working closely with Holober over the years, contributed the "Maiden Voyage" chart for what Holober was envisioning as the "Maiden Voyage Suite." WJO members Jay Brandford and Tony Kadleck penned charts for the "Little One" and "Dolphin Dance" sections of the suite, respectively.
Holober, meanwhile, took care of the charts for "Eye of the Hurricane" and the two-part look at "Survival of the Fittest," as well as segueing material that became the "Prologue," "Interlude" and "Epilogue."  Holober and WJO premiered "Maiden Voyage Suite" at the band's April 14, 2007 performance. In many ways, it announced that the 17-member outfit was taking a new direction-an intensely creative one.
"With Maiden Voyage Suite we created an artistically unified work that provides many opportunities for the arrangers and soloists," said Holober in an interview. "WJO is truly a writers' and blowers' band. This really comes together here on the album in a powerful and passionate way."

WJO begins its 2011-2012 season with a concert on September 24 featuring guest performer and tenor sax titan Joe Lovano.

Watch WJO's 2 minute video at their homepage:

Source: Braithwaite & Katz Communications

Alp Ersönmez - Yazısız (2011)


01 – SFG (Sağlam Faydalı Güzel)
02 – Burada Yaralı Biri Var
03 – Beşik
04 – Suni Peyk
05 – Yüzler
06 – Zorla Güzellik
07 – Karşı

Producer: Alp Ersönmez
Executive Producer: Ahmet Uluğ – Pozitif Müzik Yapım
Recorded by: Tanju Duru
Mix: Alp Turaç, Babajim Istanbul Studios & Mastering
Mastering: Pieter Snapper, Babajim Istanbul Studios & Mastering
Design: Ertaç Uygun
Photography: Özgur Ülker
Print: Onur Ofset

Rhodes, Synth: Genco Arı
Drums: Turgut Alp Bekoğlu
Bass, Synth(SFG), Voice(SFG): Alp Ersönmez

Fretless guitar, Voice(Burada Yaralı Biri Var): Erkan Oğur
Trumpet(SFG): Erik Truffaz
Vocal(Beşik): Sibel Köse, Ömer Ersönmez
Guitar(Beşik): Akın Eldes
Trumpet(Yüzler): İmer Demirer

All compositions and arrangements by Alp Ersönmez (Pozitif Edisyon)
“Beşik” lyrics by Sibel Köse

Ersönmez and Demirer to meet on Babylon stage
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Bass guitar player Alp Ersönmez, who is known for his part in several music projects in the last few years, is collaborating with famous trumpeter İmer Demirer for an electro-jazz project titled “Cereyanlı.”
The duo will be on Babylon stage tonight. The concert starts at 9:30 p.m. and tickets are available at Biletix booths and the club’s main booth. Ersönmez has played in Quartet Muartet, Kangroove and Istanbul Sessions. He released his debut solo album in 2011, which received critical acclaim from jazz music lovers. İmer Demirer released his first album “You, Me & Char” in 2009.

Alper Yilmaz - Over The Clouds (2010)

Having received spectacular reviews for "Clashes" (Kayique Records, 2007), "Over the Clouds" is bassist/composer Alper Yilmaz's second album as a leader with a lineup of New York's and Istanbul's top jazz musiciansTrained originally as an industrial engineer at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, bassist, composer, and arranger Alper Yılmaz started playing guitar in 1980 at the age of 11 and took electric bass as his main instrument in 1993. As a bassist, he performed regularly in Ankara with prominent jazz musicians of the scene including, but not limited to, Tuna Ötenel, Janusz Szprot, Sibel Köse, Volkan Öktem and Yahya Dai. After recording with Tuna Ötenel in his 1995 record Sometimes from Uzelli Records, he moved to the U.S. to complete his Ph.D. in economics at University of California, Davis. During his studies in California, he performed regularly with the internationally acclaimed saxophonists John Tchicai and Mike McMullen, as well as guitarists David Lynch and Steve Homan, and drummer Rick Lotter. Around this time, he also held the bass chair of the UC Davis Jazz Big Band, where he received the “Best Performer” award at the American River College Jazz Festival in Sacramento, California in 1999.

Since his arrival in New York in December 2000, Alper Yılmaz has established himself as an active player and prolific composer of his generation on the local scene. He has attended workshops by John Patitucci, studied jazz music theory and electric bass with Matthew Garrison, as well as theory and improvisation with Adam Rogers and David Binney. He also attended the graduate level Jazz Performance program at the Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music in New York and studied improvisation with Antonio Hart, and arrangement and composition with Michael Mossman.

Alper Yılmaz released his debut recording "Clashes" in 2007 from his own company Kayique Records in the U.S. and A.K. Müzik in Turkey. Nominated by the Village Voice of New York for “Best Debut Album of 2007” and picked by Bob Weinberg of the Jazziz as “new and noteworthy,” Clashes received excellent reviews by acclaimed critics including Bill Milkowski of the JazzTimes and Jonathan Herrera of the Bass Player, to mention but a few. In 2007, he recorded with Dan Moses for Dan’s album Sailors Gone, which is released in January 2010. In late 2009, he also recorded with the drummer Brian Adler for Brian’s forthcoming album to be released in 2010. Alper Yılmaz’s second album as a leader, "Over the Clouds", is released in April 2010 from Kayique Records.
Source: CD Baby
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Fusion

Thailand: Samui International Jazz Music Festival 2011 lineup

dates: September 18th -25th 2011
place:  Koh Samui Thailand
Festival Website
Tropic Green, Susan Harmer, Ruud Breuls, Ntjam Rosie,I rene Atman, KOH Mr.Saxman, Aswin Quartet, Changton Kunjara,J erry Byrd feat . Anqinea, Oleg Kireyev, Blazin Quartet, Ori Dakari, Izaline Calister, Sara lee vos, Alexander Beets

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ancient Future: " World Without Walls" (Capitol/EMI Records 2011)

Ancient Future
World Without Walls
(Capitol/EMI Records 2011) (USA)

21 years after the release of the already classic "World Without Walls" the original lineup of "Ancient Future" reunited in a series of shows at Yoshi's in SF On this occasion Capitol/EMI Records launched the first digital version of this influential album that marked not just the career of the band and its members but represents a reference of the World Music phenomenon.
The original album released in 1990 features 10 songs that mix Oriental, Celtic and African inspired rhythms with modern jazzy beats, and subdued lyricism with melodic creativity. As the title of the album suggests there's no walls between musical influences but we can say that there's no wall between these virtuoso performers, whose joyful interplay delights the listener with a fusion of exotic and western harmonies that sound like chamber music. The three composers of the album Jim Hurley on violin, Matthew Montfort guitars, Doug McKeehan piano, synthesizers looked for inspiration to ancient lands of musical tradition , bringing the African, Balinese, Chinese, Indian, Middle eastern sounds into a modern setting that preserves their original savor. It is a surprising and enchanting synthesis of classical, modern and exotic crafted with the art of a jeweler. Talking drum, bells, chimes, dumbek, udu, bass drums, sleigh bells and tabla (played by Zakir Hussein on 3 songs) keep the rhythm alive and fresh, while organically blending into the compositions. An album that is also inviting to listen more from what this legendary band has produced over the years.

Frank Foster, Jazz Saxophonist, Composer and Arranger, Dies at 82

Frank Foster, a saxophonist, composer and arranger who helped shape the sound of the Count Basie Orchestra during its popular heyday in the 1950s and ’60s and later led expressive large and small groups of his own, died on Tuesday at his home in Chesapeake, Va. He was 82.
Read more

Catalin Tircolea : "Synvionai II"

James Farm : "James Farm" (Nonesuch 2011)

Joshua Redman
Aaron Parks
Matt Penman
Eric Harland

James Farm is a collaborative band featuring saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. The band uses traditional acoustic jazz quartet instrumentation for its song-based approach to jazz and incorporates the members’ myriad influences: rock, soul, folk, classical, and electronica, among many others. Nonesuch releases the band's self-titled debut album on April 26, 2011.

Penman says of the group, “James Farm is where we pool our collective knowledge, let run the best of our ideas arising from our varied musical influences, while acknowledging substantial common ground—a love of jazz, a fascination with song and structure, an obsession with groove, and a receptivity to contemporary influences. A band where we can be creative composers and improvisers, in step with the rhythm of the times, constantly evolving.”

The quartet has received critical acclaim since its debut at the 2009 Montreal Jazz Festival, where they played to a packed house and rave reviews. “This much is clear: these are absolute professional musicians at the top of their game,” said All About Jazz. 

Although this is the first time the quartet members have performed and recorded in this exact configuration, the musicians were hardly strangers. Redman, Harland, and Penman performed together as part of the SFJAZZ Collective, and pianist Aaron Parks used the James Farm rhythm section on his debut recording for Blue Note records, Invisible Cinema (2008).

Source: Nonesuch

Movie: "Michel Petrucciani"(2011) directed by Michael Radford

Director: Michael Radford
Writer: Michael Radford
Cast: Alexandre Petrucciani, Aldo Romano, Frank Cassenti, Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, Charles Llyod, Francis Dreyfus, Ron Mcclure

Michel Petrucciani: Cannes Review by Kirk Honeycutt
Cannes 2011 Day Three: A Pope, A Pianist, A Philogoist and More! by Michael Giltz

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Giorgos Trantalidis : "Global Vision"

Seven Island Record(2001)

THE CD GLOBAL VISION IS A MOSAIC OF JAZZ AND WORLD MUSIC WITH ELEMENTS OF MEDITTERANEAN GREEK AFRO-LATIN INFLUENCES musicians Tony Lakatos – tenor&soprano sax Alex Foster – tenor, alto &soprano sax Barry Finnerty – el guitar Ron McClure – ac bass Fred Lipsius – tenor sax Pantelis Benetatos – piano Panagiotis Samaras – el guitar Harris Lambrakis – ney George Kontrafouris – hammond organ Sophia Lambropoulou – kanun Andreas Polyzogopoulos – trumpet Antonis Andreou – trombone Nikos Neratzopoulos – keyboards Manuel Orza – el &baby bass Kiki Cha – congas, timbales Nikos Sidirokastritis – cymbals George Trantalidis – drums, percussions&midi guitar

Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra cond. by Bobby Sanabria : "Tito Puente Masterworks Live"

A tribute to the great Tito Puente conducted by multi-Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria. The band is cooking, the recording is excellent this is Latin jazz at its best. A classic recording!
Jazzheads (2011)


The fourth Hong Kong International Jazz Festival: Grammy-winning trumpeters and 300 artists

The annual Hong Kong International Jazz Festival (HKIJF), to be held from September 25-October 2, will be a masterclass of musical improvisation.

At least, that was the impression when the artists' line-up was announced for the first time.

"The major difference of this year's event from previous ones is that we have invited a broader range of jazz musicians, especially those from Eastern Europe, to come this time," said Peter Lee, president of the Hong Kong Jazz Association, which is organizing the festival.

The festival will feature 300 jazz artists from 24 countries, performing Jewish wedding songs, gypsy swing, Moravian folk, Afro-Cuban, a cappella, Brazilian jazz and much more.

The festival will include open concerts in the vacant land of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), indoor concerts in Hong Kong City Hall, as well as free exhibitions, jazz seminars and poetry jazz workshops for kids.

Local jazz icon Ted Lo, who also composes Cantonese pop songs for singers like Justin Lo and Eason Chan, will bring a jazz strings ensemble to this year’s festival as their world premiere.

The festival will also feature five-time Grammy-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard and percussionist Poncho Sanchez performing their project Cubano Be Cubano, a tribute to the legacy of the original Conga King, Chano Pozo and his co-conspirator in Latin Jazz, Dizzy Gillespie. 

From the Czech Republic comes the Emil Viklický Trio, who are said to combine elements of Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson with a deep infusion of Moravian soul. Other highlights include Portugese band Maria João & Mário Laginha, French group Chico & the Gypsies, the Freddy Cole Quartet and Kurt Rosenwinkel from the United States, Nguyên Lê’s Saiyuki, whose three members are from Japan, India and France, and local talents like Ginger Kwan and SIU2.

For vocalist and band shows at the WKCD, a two-day pass to square stage concerts will cost HK$580-1,000, while circle and mobile stage shows and marching bands are free.

This is the first time that venues in the long-awaited West Kowloon Cultural District will be put into use.

Louis Yu, the WKCD’s performance arts executive director, said: “Although the arts facilities in West Kowloon will not be completed for a few years, we hope we can give the public a taste of what it will be like -- the atmosphere of our future arts hub."

Peter Lee added: “Jazz has the closest character to Hong Kong people among all genres of music. Hong Kong people are famous for being flexible and this is also a feature of jazz.”

The festival also aims to provide jazz education, with renowned storyteller and poet Uncle Hung holding children's jazz and poetry workshops.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Gianluigi Trovesi & Ensemble FisFüz: Oriental Jazz And More

Aug 20 2011, 08:00 PM @ Zeughaus, Unterer Schrannenplatz, Lindau, Germany
More info

Münchner Künstlerhaus (Munich): Klassik und Jazz

Gil Shohat and Leonid Ptashka
Monday, 08.08.2011, 20.30 
Münchner Künstlerhaus
Lenbachplatz 8
80333 München

More info about the concert

Vanessa Rodrigues Soul Project at Music Westport, ON, Canada festival

Saturday, August 13 · 4:00pm - 6:30pm
SOHO's Greenhouse, Bedford Street, Westport, ON

Vanessa Rodrigues - keys
Olivier Rene-de-Cotret - guitar
Jean-Pierre Levesque - drums
DJ Killa-Jewel - turntables

Shanghai Jazz Festival Lineup

7th jazz festival to strum up crowds at Expo Park

BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhuanet) -- More than doubling the number of performances from last year, the 2011 JZ Music Festival Shanghai will open one of the largest jazz festivals in Asia at the Expo Park from October 15 to 23 – featuring the internationally acclaimed vocals of Roy Ayers and Tower of Power.

With 100-plus shows, the seventh annual edition of the festival will boast six outdoor stages on the first two opening days at the Green Note venue inside the Expo Park, where audiences can take in a mix of jazz, folk, electronic, funk and rock renditions performed by internationally acclaimed musicians, followed by the "Masters Hall" indoor concert series from October 18 at the Shanghai Center Theater, said organizers.

"With so many fine artists and stages and an extended performance time of midnight, we hope to see even greater success this year," Xu Xiaojie, a press officer for organizer JZ Shanghai Music Festival, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Among the list of world-famous artists on the program are: Jojo Mayer, Jazzanova Live, Take 6, John Pizzarelli, Kenny Garrett, Erik Truffaz, Chris Potter and José James; along with Chinese favorites Li Jian, Li Quan and Chang Shilei. The festival performances fall under the umbrella of the three-month Expo Music Festival that gets underway next month at the Expo Park.

JZ music festival ticket prices will hold steady this year at 150 yuan ($23.27) per one-day pass, with a two-day pass setting fans back slightly more at 200 yuan. More details can be found at or via the hot lines at 6431-7113 and 6431-1075.

 Source: Global Times /Xinhua News Agency


Vokal xtravaganzza 2011/1 Oct—3 Oct, 20:00
Gallus Hall

Founded 28 years ago, Perpetuum Jazzile has grown into one of the most renowned and acclaimed vocal groups, both locally in Slovenia and globally. Their masterpieces have been viewed by over 20 million people on the YouTube portal, which makes them the world's most frequently viewed a capella group. Their rich history and unique musical style leave venues sold out and critics impressed, and have resulted in a number of hit recordings. The choir's hallmarks include punching grooves, rich harmony, unsurpassed creativity, and a thrilling blend of pop, jazz, gospel, blues, Brazilian bossa nova, disco, and funk.

This year, they teamed up with one of the founding members of the legendary The Real Group, Peder Karlsson. The Swedish musician whose long CV boasts cooperation with the likes of Bobby McFerrin, Van Morrison, and Sir George Martin, is Perpetuum Jazzile's new artistic director.

The 2011 Vokal Xtravaganzza approaches with a promise of a number of new songs, even more relaxed and daring PJ crew, and an artistic director whose charisma never fails to impress. Needless to say, Perpetuum Jazzile's major hits will be featured on the playlist as well.

An equally important reason why you should not allow yourself to miss this spectacle is the guest appearance of the excellent Swedish vocal group Vocal Six founded in 1988. This men's sextet is known for spicing up their brilliant vocal performance with a generous hand of humour. Their repertoire is a combination of several styles with pop, rock, and jazz really being their thing. In addition to countless concerts taking place from the land of Santa Claus to Las Vegas, they also hold regular seminars for rhythmic choirs and a cappela groups.

Tenors Niclas Kåse, Staffan Paulson, Stefan Högström, and Robert Green; baritone Per Kockum; and bassist Peder Tennek have come together in a charming sextet. Combined with Perpetuum Jazzile, they are surely the winning combination for a highly entertaining evening of outstanding vocal music.

Source: Cankarjev dom

Jazz, rock and world music in India

B Flat and Radio Indigo will present an evening of jazz, rock and world music with Dhruv (Mumbai) featuring Dhruv Ganekar (guitar), Tala Faral (saxophone/keyboard), Sheldon d’Silva (bass) and Gino Banks (drums) on July 29 at 8.30 pm.
Dhruv Ghanekar is a composer, producer and highly respected guitar player based in Mumbai. As a guitar player he has attended MI (California) and Berklee College (Boston) on scholarship.
He has also performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in music in India and on the International arena — Richard Bona, Trilok Gurtu, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Bernard Purdee, A R Rahman, Raul Midon, Bob Belden, Scott Kinsey, Etienne M’Bappe, Dominic Dipiazza, Louis Banks and Ranjit Barot to name a few.
Dhruv Ganekar began studying Indian classical music at the age of nine.
His love for the guitar began while still in school and in a few years he founded Chakraview, a rock band.
However, 1996 saw the end of Chakraview, and the beginning of his working relationship with Ashutosh Phatak. Dhruv and Ashu cofounded Smoke Studios and begun an extremely successful career at music-makers for ad films and alternative movies, with over 3000 projects delivered to date.
Dhruv continued to study music, and learned under the great sarangi exponent Sultan Khan. In 1997, Dhruv’s desire for a more formal education in music, mainly jazz, led him to the Musicians Institute in California and the Berklee College of Music.
Distance is Dhruv’s debut as a solo artist. This fusion or world effort will set precedents for all world artists emerging from the continent.
With virtuoso arrangements, peaceful orchestration and an ability to bridge Jazz and contemporary Indian sounds, Dhruv is a complete guitarist, musician and songwriter.
He is the co founder of the path breaking Blue Frog which encompasses a state of the art live performance venue, recording studios, label and music production company.
He plays an eclectic cross between jazz rock and world sound, ably accompanied by Indian jazz stars Gino Banks and Sheldon D’Silva and the inimitable Tala Faral, who has wowed Bangalore’s jazz lovers with his incredible mastery over the saxophone and keyboard alike.
Source: India

Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo : "Songs Of Mirth And Melancholy"

In 'Songs of Mirth and Melancholy' Marsalis and Calderazzo seem to tap into even deeper levels of musical empathy and intuition

It may have taken just three days to record, but this new duo recording from sax player Branford Marsalis and pianist Joey Calderazzo has 13 years of music-making behind it, dating back to when Calderazzo replaced the late, great Kenny Kirkland in the Branford Marsalis Quartet in 1998. We've come to expect a superabundance of imagination from both these players, but in Songs of Mirth and Melancholy Marsalis and Calderazzo seem to tap into even deeper levels of musical empathy and intuition.

Having finally decided to take the plunge and record a decision precipitated by a short, four-tune set at the 2009 Newport Jazz Festival - what impresses most over the album's nine tracks is the sheer variety of treatment. Calderazzo's rollicking opener ''One Way'' presents a powerful mash-up of rolling boogie-woogie and Monk-like angularity (the melodic contrary motion leading to a crunching dissonance could be straight out of Monk s Brilliant Corners). The hushed intimacy of Marsalis's ''The Bard Lachrymose'', which references Prokofiev, Wagner and Schumann, deftly liberates the melodic line from the bar line, while the sparkling interaction and melodic subtleties of another Marsalis tune, ''Endymion'', make a striking centre piece.

As well as a sumptuous cover of Wayne Shorter s ''Face on the Barroom Floor'' (from the Weather Report album Sportin Life), there s also a tender interpretation of an early Brahms song, ''Die Trauernde'' (The Mourner), which Marsalis identifies as ''the inspiration for how we approach everything as a duo''. With its rhythmic ebullience and boldly drawn counterpoint, the album s sign-off, ''Bri s Dance'' - from Calderazzo's solo CD Haiku - is one of the most extraordinary things I've heard this year. And, as one has come to expect of all Marsalis Music releases, the album is beautifully recorded too. --The Arts Desk
Product Description
Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his Quartet's longtime pianist, Joey Calderazzo, share a collection of melodic songs on their latest release, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy. Born of an evolving love of music and set in the deep focus of serious listening and learning, it is full of virtuosity and joy, touching the listener with its expressiveness, melody, emotion; those elements of music that transcend genre and period and speak to us of inspiration and beauty. Comprised primarily of original compositions from each musician, a Wayne Shorter tune paying tribute to that great man and a nod to Brahms, the duo presented here provides the listener with a glimpse into their ever deepening musical journey.
(Emarcy Records)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

TARFALA TRIO. Mats Gustafsson, Barry Guy, Raymond Strid : "SYZYGY"

The TARFALA TRIO has its roots from 1992, meeting at the SOLO - 92 festival in Stockholm, Sweden. After that first encounter in 1992, the trio has worked sporadically and played festivals in Europe and releasing 2 Cds on Maya Recordings. This recording captures them playing live in Belgium, 2009. It is explosive, high energy loaded ferocious music focusing on low dynamic melodic material. Tarfala Trio is at their peak creating the most exciting improvised music you can hear today.
This is a double limited gatefold vinyl edition only, which, as a bonus, contains one-sided 7“ EP and a booklet of photos of the musicians playing live.


Mats Gustafsson – tenor sax and alto fluteophone
Barry Guy – bass
Raymond Strid – drums

Iiro Rantala : "Lost Heroes"

Until now his name has been mainly associated with Trio Töykeät, one of the wildest, funniest and most visionary Piano Trios in the international jazz scene. Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala explored all possibilities of this classic line up – sometimes the ferocious player with boundless energy, other times the sensitive romantic or burlesque joker. His playing exceeded stylistic boundaries and was as uncompromising as it was entertaining, yet was always held Together by the combination of limitless technique, a sense of humour and unmistakable good taste - qualities which Rantala preserved even after he dissolved Trio Töykeät in 2006. “My goodness! We’ve been doing this for 18 years now and given thousands of concerts. It’s time for a break,” he said at the time, choosing to concentrate on “Iiro at large” – his own show on Finnish television which can still be seen today – and his solo career.

His unaccompanied work should certainly take off now, as Rantala enters with Lost Heroes, as a new and exclusive ACT artist. The remarkable league of the label’s pianists has been strengthened in the last two years by exceptional talents such as Vijay Iyer, Vladislav Sendecki, Danilo Rea and Gwilym Simcock; no other label has such a large pool of creative piano solo talents to offer. Yet Rantala’s solo debut stands out even in this imposing family: the idea of Lost Heroes in itself, of having tributes for his musical role models and kindred spirits, is probably unique, particularly in it is accomplished. “At a concert in Cologne I played a song dedicated to Pekka Pohjola. Siggi Loch was also there and came to me Later and said, ‘Why don’t we continue this idea?’ I was immediately inspired by his suggestion as, for some time, I was also unable to get Esbjörn Svensson out of my head and I also wanted to dedicate a song to him. After we had thought about it a bit longer, we soon got Together all my heroes. Erroll Garner, for example, was Siggi Loch’s suggestion and Luciano Pavarotti was mine.”

Jean Sibelius, Finland’s national classical hero, is of course amongst those selected. The piece Jean and Aino shows the unconventional, surprising and captivating way in which Rantala becomes closer to his personal heroes. Instead of focusing on Sibelius as the composer or musician, he concentrates on him as a husband and dedicates a touching ballad to the “true love story” between Jean and his wife, Aino. Rantala is not satisfied with using what would normally be included in a homage, such as a simple interpretation of the artist’s work. Instead, he seeks out astonishingly accurate parallels, references or conversions – see how he perfectly characterises another Finnish classical artist, Pekka Pohjola, with an Erik Satie-style piece, immersed in a delicate northern sheen.

Equally imaginative as they are tasteful are Rantala's tributes to his jazz heroes. His impulsively played “Can’t Get Up”, played solely into the deeper ranges to evoke an electric bass solo, is a Tribute to Jaco Pastorius, the first jazz star Rantala saw when he was 13-years-old. On “Donna Lee” he brings Art Tatum’s pioneering technique back to life, whilst on “Bluesette” it is the incomparable elegance of Oscar Peterson, Rantala’s “father figure” at the ivories, which is revived. On “One More Waltz for Michel Petrucciani”, it is the unique timing and Gallic Elements which can be heard in every note, while with ”Thinking of Misty” Rantala reveals the humour of Erroll Garners playing - “This chasm between the happy days of swing and the paranoia of be-bop,” says the pianist. In the closing “Intermezzo”, the entire scope of his playing becomes evident when the opera lover Rantala dedicates his music to Luciano Pavarotti.

Particularly impressive is the Homage to his “Swedish neighbour” and colleague Esbjörn Svensson, whom he ungrudgingly admires and who is also a key to Lost Heroes. On “Tears for Esbjörn”, Rantala captures in a very personal way the shock that the tragic and premature death of the pioneering “pop star of jazz” triggered throughout the whole world. “I was very sad for a long time. Esbjörn’s death started a process and I discovered a whole new level of melancholy in myself. I started to compose music which was simply beautiful and calm and this mood pervades the whole album.”

Along with several other pieces on Lost Heroes, “Tears for Esbjörn” is undoubtedly dark, but beautiful at the same time. Together
 they result in a modest masterpiece by an all-round piano talent who is yet to be discovered by the broad public. The New York pianist and arranger Gil Goldstein quite rightly said: “"Iiro Rantala is a pianistic sensation who makes the strongest case I know to believe in reincarnation because his pianistic technique and musical sensitivity speak of depths which appear impossible to have been achieved in this lifetime alone."
Source : Challenge Records

Bill Frisell Explores the Songs of John Lennon on "ALL WE ARE SAYING"

Master Guitarist/Interpreter Records His Definitive Versions To Be Released On Savoy Jazz September 27

SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Consummate guitarist, composer and musical interpreter Bill Frisell has assembled a trusted ensemble consisting of Jenny Scheinman (violin), Tony Scherr (bass), Greg Leisz (guitars) and Kenny Wollesen (drums) to record his definitive take on the classic songs of John Lennon. Titled "ALL WE ARE SAYING," the project has long been in the works—one could go as far back as the first time he heard the Beatles at the age of 13. Fast forward a few decades and Frisell is asked to put together an impromptu set in honor of John Lennon as part of a special event in Paris. The preparation, performances and reception to these compositions was an inspiration nurtured to fruition with this project. Recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and produced by Lee Townsend, "ALL WE ARE SAYING" will be released on Savoy Jazz on September 27.
Described by the Wall Street Journal as "the most innovative and influential jazz guitarist of the past 25 years," Frisell's artistry has earned across the board praise for his instinctual musicianship—working both within and beyond the parameters of jazz music as he effortlessly incorporates elements of Americana, world, blues, classical, creating a rich and unique aural tapestry.
Says Frisell: "John Lennon's music has been with me, the band, everybody, the world...seems like forever. The songs are part of us. In our blood. There was nothing we really needed to do to prepare for this. We've been preparing our whole lives. The songs are there. All we had to do was play them. Everyone involved with this has their own personal, deep, long, relationship to John Lennon's music. It connects us all and brings us together. I feel blessed having the chance to play this music with these people."
"ALL WE ARE SAYING" Songs Include:
Across the Universe
Nowhere Man
Please Please Me
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
Hold On
In My Life
Come Together
# 9 Dream
Beautiful Boy
Give Peace a Chance
Bill Frisell is managed by Songline/Tone Field Productions (
For more information visit:
Savoy Jazz is a unit of the Savoy Label Group (SLG). SLG is the North American based division of Nippon Columbia, the oldest music company in Japan. The Savoy Label Group has evolved into a Grammy Award winning and chart topping independent music company consistently outperforming competitors in key music categories as monitored by Billboard Magazine. SLG is led by Steve Vining and is based in Los Angeles, CA.
SOURCE Savoy Jazz

Florin Raducanu Plays Beethoven, Chopin, Enescu… on Jazz

Pianist, teacher, composer, conductor and arranger Florin Raducanu was at the heart of many innovative projects of classical and folk jazz fusion in his native Romania and abroad.

Over the years he performed in trio, sextet and he collaborated with big bands and large symphonic orchestras, during prestigious festivals and live events. Musician of the year in 2009, he won many prestigious prizes and accolades for his achievements.

On his third album recorded along with his band at the Porgy and Bess Jazz Club in 2010, Florin Raducanu composed and arranged a musical synthesis that draws on jazz and classical on four surprising live explorations, each of them with its personality. Inspired by the music of great composers and driven by the inventivity of jazz he delivers a performance where elegance and swing merge together in a fresh personal expression.

The first piece of the album built around the beautiful Chopin's "Scherzo No2"is a spirited jazz improvisation that opens and ends with the original composition. In between, the pianist goes into in a colorful, dynamic swing infused by the elegance of the Chopinian melody.
Then we enter the Beethoven’s realm with the second movement of the "Sonata Pathétique", opening the door to a dynamic piano-saxophone dialogue followed by a bass solo and a virtuosic piano free ride, rich in melodic variations.
On pianist's composition, "Veneratie Ave Maria" a pleasant surprise is the airy sound of the pan flute, played by special guest Dalila Cernatescu, adding an exquisite Vivaldian touch to a fusion of Bach themes and Latin jazz.
The last piece honors the music of the famous Romanian composer George Enescu. Here the seductive grace of the piano is complemented by reflective saxophone and bass solos.

An album that worth hearing for the variety of themes and approaches, everything is crafted with good taste and high instrumental virtuosity. Florin Raducanu is full of swing and spirit, respectful of traditions yet confident in his own artistry.

Track listing: Scherzo no.2, Sonata Patethique,part. II, Veneratie Ave Maria, Toccata in D

Musicians: Florin Raducanu - piano & arrangements, Adrian Flautistu - double bass, Eugen Nichiteanu - drums, Mihai Sebastian - ten sax, Special Guest: Dalila Cernatescu - pan flute (3)

Marcin Wasilewski Trio : "Faithful"

Marcin Wasilewski: piano
Slawomir Kurkiewicz: double-bass
Michal Miskiewicz: drums

Dazzling third ECM album by Poland’s Wasilewski Trio, which perfectly captures the group’s blend of energy and lyricism.  There is space here for both the outgoing and the reflective, for profound composition and in-the-moment creativity.  The wide-ranging repertoire on “Faithful” (named after the Ornette Coleman title track) includes five new tunes from the pen of Marcin Wasilewski and timeless pieces by Paul Bley and Hermeto Pascoal. From the standard repertory, the trio plays “The Ballad of the Sad Young Men”. Reaching beyond jazz, the players also find a new approach to Hanns Eisler’s “An den kleinen Radioapparat”.  
Source: ECM records

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pat Metheny, a Vibrant, Versatile and Prolific Guitarist: Interview

Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, one of America’s most influential guitarists and jazz composers, is back in the United States after a very long and successful tour that took him to Japan and several European countries.  Metheny recently released a new solo album called What’s it All About. It is his second solo record to feature custom-made acoustic baritone guitar. The first was One Quiet Night, recorded about 10 years ago.
But despite his prolific history of writing so music, film scores and soundtracks, Metheny doesn’t have a single composition of his own on What’s it All About. Instead, the new album features re-arrangements of 10 classic compositions by Paul Simon, the Carpenters, Henry Mancini, John Lennon & Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, and other music icons.  I asked Metheny why, when we talked about his recent tour.
Listen @ Voice of America

FisFüz Trio : "Ashuré"

Ashuré, the title of the CD was created and is based on the Turkish word Aşure.
Aşure is a symbolized sweet dessert from the Middle East – also known as Noah’s soup. After the Flood, as the legend goes, Noah prepared this soup with the remains of his provisions. As a tradition, the Aşure is prepared at the 10th Muharrem of the Islamic moon calendar. With at least seven ingredients, some speak of 12 or even 41 like: chick-peas, white beans, figs, apricots, penguin nuts, walnuts, raisons, wheat, water, sugar, cinnamon, pomegranates, almonds, cloves,… Neighbours and friends are invited and the soup is distributed to at least seven, 12 or 41 friends and acquaintances.
At the same time is Aşure also distributed among and in return received from various neighbours. It has therefore not only a strengthening and stomach filling effect, it also consists of a ceremonial and conciliatory component.
The soup is shared with others, regardless of their faith or background. The ensemble FisFüz together with Ramesh Shotham are inviting to a „feast for the ears“, while serving its guests a musical delicacy of finest oriental ingredients. The ensemble FisFüz refines its Ashuré with the following 11 extras, which in combination develop an own very distinctive taste.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bansko, Bulgaria: Jazz Festival Line up

Dixieband Teteven (Bulgaria) – Dimcho Dimitrov – conductor, vocal and trombon; Marin Yordanov – clarinet, tenor-sax; Stoyan Todorov – clarinet, sax; Todor Bakardjiev – trumpet; Tanja Dimitrova – piano; Pavel Tetevenski – guitar, banjo, vocal; Vladko Vasilev – bass; Borislav Vasilev – drums; Nikolay Stoykov – percussion; Stanislava Dimitrova-SUNNIE – vocal; Stefan Slavejsky – vocal

Lili Ivanova & band (Bulgaria) - Ognyan Enev – piano, trumpet, sax, Biser Ivanov – guitar, Orlin Tsvetanov – violine

7 August, Sunday
begin 19.00 h
Ensemble Trakia (Bulgaria) – conductor Daniela Djeneva

Balkan Horses (Bulgaria) – Vladi Velichkov – kaval; Krassi Zhelyazkov – BG tambura, acoustic guitar, vocals; Nevena Petrova – vocals, percussions; Niki Ivanov – keyboards, vocals, bamboo flute; Radoslav Slavchev – bass guitar, vocals, rain stick; Emil Pehlivanov – drums

Albena Veskova (Bulgaria) – Albena Veskova – vocal, Toni Zlatanov – piano, vocal, Emil Pehlivanov – drums, Dimitar Karamfilov – bass, double bass, Vladimir Velichkov – kaval

8 August, Monday
begin 19.00 h
Bulgarian National Radio Big Band - conductor Antoni Donchev & special guest Vassil Petrov (Bulgaria)

Jazzex (Ukraine) – Elena Orlova – soprano, Marina Kerusenko – alto, Sergei Yurchenko – tenor, Pavel Moskalenko – baritone, Inessa Kachaylova – soprano, Dmitry Efimenko – bass, bеаt box POVTARQ SE Dmitry Efimenko – bass, bit box

Jackie Ryan & Larry Vuckovich Trio (USA) - Jackie Ryan – vocal; Larry Vuckovich – piano; Paul Keller – bass; Chuck McPherson – drums

9 August, Tuesday
begin 19.00 h
Kaffe Ball (Serbia) – Zoran Mamutovic – piano, Miroslav Milic – trumpet, Miroslav Mladenov – tenor sax, alt sax, flute, clarinet, Dragan Milovanovic – trombone, Bratislav Todorovic – guitar, Martin Ajvazi – drums, Dusan Piskovic – bas guitar, Bratislav Osmanovic – percussion

Camellia Todorova & JP3 (Bulgaria) - Camelia Todorova – vocal, Jivko Petrov – piano, Vesselin Vesselinov-Eko – bass, Mitko Semov – drums, Petia Dragomirova – vocal & Rachel Row – back vocals

The Jive Aces (Great Britan) – Ian Clarkson – vocals, trumpet, ukulele, Ken Smith – double bass, Vince Hurley – piano, Peter Howell – drums, John Fordham – saxophone, Alex Douglas – trombone, bongos, blues harp, kazoo, washboard, spoons

10 August, Wednesday
begin 19.00 h
Ondrej Stveracek quartet (Czech Republic) - Ondřej Štveráček – tenor saxsophon; Tomáš Baroš – bass; Ondrej Krajňák – piano; Marián Ševčík – drums

Elina Duni quartet (Albania, Switzerland) – Elina Duni – vocal, Colin Vallon – piano, Patrice Moret – double bass; Norbert Pfammatter – drums

Yoni Vidal (Spain, Belgium) - Fabio Picchi – piano, Juan Manuel Camus - guitar and vocal, Victoriano Gonzalez - drums, Jose Perez – bass

11 August, Thursday
begin 19.00 h
Boriana Dimitrova Quartet (Bulgaria, Germany) - Boriana Dimitrova – sax, flute, Lars Dahlke – guitar, Jakob Dreyer – bass, Niels-Henrik Heinsohn – drums, Konstantin Sveshtarov – piano, Hristo Angov – vocals, bagpipe

Maya Nova Quartet (Bulgaria) & Rick Margitza – sax (USA) - Chavdar Nachev – bass, Dimitar Bodurov – piano, Dimitar Dimitrov – drums

Mungo Jerry blues band (Great Britain) - Ray Dorset - vocal, guitar, Heini Altbart - drums, Johnathan Playle - bass guitar, Helmut Posch - piano

12 August, Friday
begin 19.00 h
Big Band Saransk - Conductor Alexander Kurin (Russia) & Special guests Oleg Kireyev - saxofon, Oksana Glebova – vocal, Sergei Semionov – vocal

Lily of the West (Bulgaria) - Lilly Drumeva – vocal, guitar, fiddle; Yasen Vasilev – guitar; Svoboda Bozduganova – double bass; Mihail Shishkov – piano, dobro guitar

Milo Suchomel quartet (Slovakia) - Milo Suchomel – tenor sax, Klaudius Kovac – piano, Stefan Bartus – double bass, Marian Ševcik – tenor sax

Akaga (Bulgaria) - Krasi Kurtev – frontmen, bass, Georgi Velev – trompet, vocal, Ivo Kazasov – trompet, vocal, Krasi Kirilov-Jojo – trombone, vocal, Kalin Petrov – keyboards, Peter Glavanov – guitar, Dimiter Mitev-Dundi – drums

13 August, Saturday
begin 19.00 h
Ankara Combo band & Elif Tacer (Turkey) - Kemal Gunuc (conductor, arranger, composer), Mirac Kutlu (keyboards, arranger, composer), Onur Elibol (bass), Ozgur Duranoglu (drums), Ertugrul Ilerisoy (guitar), Ali Kil (percussion), Mehmet Erdemli (tenor sax, arranger, composer), Meric Demirkol (alto sax), Hikmet Altunbaslier (trumpet), Mertcan Parlar (trombone)

Baron - sax & Jarek Bothur Quartet (Poland) - Jarek Bothur – saxophone, Jakub Pluzek – piano, Maks Mucha – double bass, Grzegorz Maslowski – percussion

Márta Téli trio (Hungary) - Márta Téli - vocal; István Gyárfás- guitar; Zoltán Oláh – bass

Percussion Show (Egypt) - Ahmed Bahaa – djembe, conga, Ahmed Hesham – drums, Ahmed Aly – tabla, BOB – percussions, Mizo – djembe, conga, doff, Moe Arkan – drums, shams-timbales , cowbels, shakers