Wednesday, August 31, 2011

IRELAND: CLOUGHTOBERFEST 2011 The cream of gypsy jazz musicians in Ireland

28th - 30th October Cloughjordan Tipperary Ireland

Friday 28th @ 8pm
The Hot Club of Dublin, LocoSwing and very special guest Robin Nolan.

Saturday 29th @ 2pm
Andreas Varady Trio

Saturday 29th @ 8pm
Lollo Meier Quartet

Sunday 30th @ 2pm
Samuel C Lees

Cloughtoberfest is a Silverwood Ireland production

A rare return by a towering Polish pianist

The last time the great Polish pianist Adam Makowicz played Chicago, he recalls, personal computers were new, the Internet was marginal and his native country had just been liberated from Communism.

That was back in 1990, and Makowicz made a much-anticipated appearance at the Jazz Showcase, when it was still in the Blackstone Hotel. I was there, and Makowicz's ability to merge a formidable technique with a sweetly Chopinesque lyricism produced an indelible evening.

Which makes you wonder why it has taken Makowicz more than two decades to return to a city steeped in jazz and long home to a large Polish population. Certainly Chicago seems ripe for Makowicz's art.

"In the 1990s, when Poland became a free country, I started to play there and in Europe quite extensively," explains Makowicz, who had emigrated to the U.S. in the late 1970s and hadn't been allowed to re-enter Poland when martial law was declared there in 1981.

The opportunity to perform again in his homeland and its environs after his Chicago engagement proved irresistible to Makowicz.

"And so I played less in the United States," he says. "In 2005, I got married to a Canadian woman and spent a lot of time in Toronto. … "And the people in the U.S. forgot me, because when you're not here, you don't exist."

Makowicz now divides his time among Toronto, New York and Europe.

So Makowicz's solo performance Sept. 7 at the Chopin Theatre represents a long-awaited Chicago return that likely will draw a broad range of listeners: jazz connoisseurs, pianophiles, Polish Chicagoans and anyone curious to hear how this distinctive artist has developed during a generation away.

Makowicz, 70, is the first to acknowledge that the world in general, and music in particular, has changed radically during those years.

"Today, people are connected (electronically) with the whole world," he says. "Music changed because we have opportunities to listen to music (from anywhere) right away. So we are influenced by all kinds of classical music, jazz, of course, and other kinds. If we like it, we extract it, and we put it into our own improvisations, these new elements, to make it more exciting."

How these global sounds have influenced Makowicz's pianism won't be known until he steps to the piano at the Chopin Theatre next week. But considering the huge stylistic leap he took as a classical piano student in Poland, when he realized "swing was so beautiful" and remade himself into a leading jazz pianist, Makowicz certainly has the wherewithal to have rejuvenated his art once more.

Adam Makowicz plays solo piano 8 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St.; $35; 773-278-1500 or


20 years of Jazz in WORSHIP

The sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church will be swinging at 10 a.m. Sept. 6. For the 20th year in a row, the congregation welcomes a team of world-class musicians to lead an annual Jazz Communion service.
click image to enlarge
The tradition of a jazz worship service began in 1992 when the church sought a substitute organist for Labor Day weekend. The worship leaders turned to their pastor, Rev. Bill Carter, a seasoned jazz pianist. He invited other musicians to join him in leading the service. It has become a standing-room-only event, and has continued as an annual musical tradition on Labor Day weekend.
The renowned musicians who will take part in this year’s celebration include Jeff Stockham on trumpet, tenor saxophonist Michael Carbone and vocalists Warren Cooper and Tim Norton. The core of the band will include the highly respected Presbybop Quartet, with Tony Marino on bass, Ron Vincent on drums, Al Hamme on alto saxophone, and bandleader Bill Carter on the piano.
Music for the event will be drawn from the Presbybop Quartet’s eight CDs, along with music specially prepared for this anniversary celebration. The band has garnered praised from jazz icon Dave Brubeck, who said “I love what they are doing to get churches to swing.” The group has performed all over the country, with recent concerts at Marywood University, Scranton Jazz Festival, and the main stage at the Chautauqua Institution.
The music will begin around 9:45 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 300 School St., Clarks Summit. All are welcome to attend. For details, contact the church at 570.586.6306 or via

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Marco Pignataro - Sofia's Heart(2011)

 Produced by jazz legend Eddie Gomez, "Sofia's Heart" is an intimate musical diary recorded with a stellar group including Eddie Gomez and Billy Drummond. It features Pignataro's lyrical jazz conception with roots in ECM Impressionism and modern jazz.

A lot of jazz is showcase, about showing something. In the quest for hip-ness and chops, the thing most often lost is expression. Marco is much more concerned with expressing something. And that is fortunate, because Jazz often suffers from a lack of expression. It is quite possible it’s not a particularly popular music. People do not need to be impressed; they need to be moved. They need to have that still small voice inside of them amplified. Good music will reveal the divine spark in the listener. It is music’s original purpose. In that sense, even the concept of art can be a distraction. A healthy society is one where everyone plays music, where there is little distinction between the performer and the audience. And as we gather to play and listen, an all-pervasive consciousness begins to be revealed and we are all made more aware of the greatness that lies within us.

As I’m listening to Marco’s latest statement, "Sofia's Heart", these are the thoughts I’m having. Much of the music is dedicated to the awareness of that greatness. His commitment to beauty is demonstrated immediately on the opening track. Sleeplessness In Ocean Park starts with a beautiful stroke by the pianist, Mark Kramer and then launches into a soulful, and sullen statement of the melody. It made me wonder what Marco was thinking about that quiet night in Ocean Park. After that Marco launches into a melodic, but muscular solo. His improvisation expands the scope and the energy of the piece. Matt Marvuglio follows with a rhythmic and robust solo. Both Marco and Matt have big sounds for their instrument. One gets an immediate sense of the pianist, Mark Kramer’s heart and lyrical talents as his solo follows. The personalities of the three soloists are established early in the CD. They all clearly have voices of their own, I’m happy to report.

The CD goes from somber to somber-er in the next piece. Homesick again starts with an intro by Mark, a more extended one this time. Mark plays a beautiful intro that evokes the perfect mood for the longing implied by the tune. Not to dwell on the intro, but it reminds one of a moment in a movie when one is having recollections of a past lived long ago and far away. The intro leads into a beautiful C minor lament with a beat that in another era might have been a tango. Although the implication is there, it is expressed much more openly by the sensitive colors played by the drummer, Billy Drummond. Marco plays a solo that may signify where his heart really lies. Rather than just play on changes, Marco’s solo has a lyrical quality that carries with it a faint cry of the heart, followed by similarly moving solos by Mark on piano and Eddie Gomez of course, on bass. I might add that Eddie displays his obvious affection for Marco and his music by assuming such selfless accompaniment throughout the CD. Gomez the bassist is obviously striving to please Gomez the producer. (We should all have such a producer, by the way!)

Probably sensing that he had to come up for some light and air, Marco and the band then make a subtle transition with the tune Interplay by Bill Evans. Again their approach is delicate and emotional, but with the swing that any Bill Evans tune deserves. There is a really dancing solo delivered by Matt Marvuglio on the flute. But before Marco takes a turn on the sweet groove played by Billy and Eddie he again makes an emotional plea over an apparent rubato before launching into a cooler swing. The solo goes in and out of what almost feels like a free piece before safely landing, all within the form of Evan’s usual warm and engaging chord changes here reharmonized by Marco.

Bologna d’Inverno opens with a free, yet passionate fanfare. There’s no doubt that Marco had an overriding motivation for this CD and that is not to just touch on emotion, but to live in it for a while and explore it’s different colors. After the fanfare it evolves into a straight-eighth groove that supports it’s modal harmonies. Think “Maiden Voyage” but darker, slower and mysterious. One notes the strong pillars of rhythm supplied by Eddie Gomez. The group explores a number of feels on this tune and then Billy Drummond treats us to an ultra-swinging solo before the restatement of the melody. Billy evokes, for me, some of the best colors and subtle abstraction from the “Mwandishi” period of Herbie Hancock.

Finally on Grande Theodore, Pignataro says, “Enough of this” and launches an uptempo and swinging modal tune for us. Both he and Marvuglio deal with this heat quite effectively. But then we get to one of the events that one waits for on any CD with Eddie Gomez on it, a “trading of eights” between him and, in this case, drummer Billy Drummond. Eddie is one of the few bassists that you don’t really need to hear accompaniment from a piano or guitar. With Eddie, you want to leave the sound spectrum open to enjoy the full width and breadth of his sound and his brilliant solo voice. He and Billy obviously have a real affinity that is audible on this “two man solo” moment.

On the next piece, Estate, by the legendary composer Bruno Martino, Marco does something I’ve never heard done on this classic piece. It almost unfolds in the form of a suite. First, he treats us to more of Eddie Gomez, again, solo, and wide open to enjoy his big sound and brilliant solo voice. The next “movement” is a passionate rubato featuring him and Marvuglio. (Rubato is obviously for one purpose for Pignataro, passion.) He’s beginning to imply the melody, but the chords have been altered in some way. That alone takes some courage as Estate is known for it’s beautiful chords. But Pignataro is resisting the pressure to let this tune intimidate him. Estate exists in this context only as a tool for his self-expression. The next “movement” launches into a D minor vamp groove. Here all three of the rhythm section lay down a really nice feel, and Matt Marvuglio seems to be really enjoying blowing over it. The solo is taken over by Marco, then goes from the D minor to chord changes, again distinguishing his section from the previous one. These still aren’t the chords to Estate. It becomes clear that the song is really serving as a premise for an extended piece Marco is composing. Finally Mark Kramer takes it from there and plays a beautiful solo, either on the same changes as Marco, or slightly altered changes, I’m not sure. That delivers us back into the rubato restatement of the melody. This may be the most unique track on the CD.

Marco Pignataro ends this beautiful CD with the deepest statement of the album. It is the song he wrote for his daughter Sofia titled Sofia’s Heart. It is a fact that a musician will always write his prettiest piece on the birth of their child. That song will have none of the intellectual devices he might normally use. Such a song will always be the most heartfelt. But Marco’s song is not only incredibly beautiful but seemingly so sad. I couldn’t figure out if it was the song or just me, but the inescapable emotion for me was sadness. Let me reiterate, this track is achingly beautiful, one of the most beautiful you’ll ever hear. But I couldn’t understand the sadness. I knew that Sofia was born with Down Syndrome. I also knew from friends of mine who have Down Syndrome kids that it is common for such children to be born with a hole in their hearts. My own experience playing with those few kids I know is that I’ve never felt such love coming from a child before. Any parent of a child born this way will tell you that they are lucky to have such love in their lives. Before finishing these liner notes, I had to contact Marco and find out his motivation for this overwhelming feeling on the song. As I suspected, it wasn’t a simple statement of joy about a birth. It’s a little more complicated than that. I’m going to let Marco explain it to us in his own words:

“Sofia was born 4 years ago with a severe heart defect, just as you mentioned, a hole in her heart. However, it was greatly complicated by an additional coarctation of the aorta. This issue obligated the doctors to intervene surgically on her heart after only 2 weeks of age, with a great risk of losing her. However, the operation was successful enough to have her finally at home. Our happiness of this miracle newborn baby completely overshadowed any stupid preconceived notions we may have had about having a Down Syndrome kid. However after 2 years of great happiness with Sofia growing and filling our life with incredible love, the doctors let us know that she needed another open heart intervention, just as risky as the first one. This operation was extremely successful and Sofia is now back home and doing great, thanks to God's Grace.

The song Sofia's Heart, describes my perception of the time preceding the latter operation, the agony of the wait, the agony of the post operation in seeing her in a hospital bed with tubes sticking out every which way from her tiny chest and mouth and our overall feeling of uncertainty about the final outcome. There was this moment preceding the operation when we had her in our arms, and the nurse came to get her from us to bring her to the surgery room; in my heart it felt like an empty space in the universe that not enough tears could ever fill; me and my wife shockingly holding ourselves as we were seeing our most precious gift get taken from our arms to a dramatic operation without knowing if we would ever see her again. That deafening quiet moment is still in me and it was the inspiration of the Sofia's Heart theme. I know very well, that you, out of all people, can feel and understand this deeply.
I am incredibly honored and touched that this song spoke to you. We have presented the music of this CD at various concerts in Europe and Latin America, but I was never able to muster enough strength and courage to play this song ever again, since we recorded it in studio. I am not sure if I ever will.”

If that be the case, then we are extremely fortunate to be listening to this album, because we do get the privilege of hearing the song, and perhaps crying along with it for as with any great art, the piece doesn’t just express the artist’s emotion, but is a mirror from which we can experience our own. Sofia’s Heart and the entire album, gives us that opportunity. Every heart needs a release occasionally, a chance to be cleansed by the tears one refrains from releasing most of the time. And when those tears flow, we are grateful that we’ve dropped our defenses for a moment and allowed ourselves to feel those feelings. If we don’t let that happen from time to time our hearts literally become sick. Marco Pignataro does us a great service here. He gives us a vehicle to drop our defenses and feel all the joy and pain we normally suppress. One could not ask for more.

Kenny Werner

CD Baby

COLOMBIA: Medellin’s International Jazz Festival: Schedule

Medellin’s 15th International Jazz and World Music Festival will showcase the best in Colombian and global jazz, including the beloved Cuban salsa band Buena Vista Social Club, from Friday, September 2 to Saturday, September 10.
The first weekend’s performances at Teatro Universidad de Medellin will be free. Buy tickets for the remaining concerts at Centro Internacional de Eventos El Tesoro at Tickets Express.
Highlights include an evening with Eddie Palmieri, a nine-time Grammy Award winning Puerto Rican pianist, and his band La Perfecta II, and a free performance from legendary American vocalist Deborah J Carter.
But really, don’t miss Buena Vista Social Club.
Friday, September 2:  8:00PM at Teatro Universidad de Medellin (free)
  • Fruko Sinfonico (classic salsa orchestra; Colombia)
  • Andres Ortiz Trio (smooth Latin jazz; Colombia, Switzerland; Italy)
Saturday, September 3:  8:00PM at Teatro Universidad de Medellin (free)
  • Deborah J Carter (jazz vocalist; United States)
  • Triaje (fusion jazz; Medellin, Colombia)
Wednesday, September 7:  8:00PM at Centro Internacional de Eventos El Tesoro
  • Siguarajazz (Latin jazz; Medellin, Colombia)
    Guests: Giovanni Hidalgo, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Samuel Torres
  • Los Reyes del Ritmo (rumba flamenco; United States)
Thursday, September 8:  9:00PM at Centro Internacional de Eventos El Tesoro
  • Diego El Cigala-Cigala y Tango (tango flamenco; Spain)
Friday, September 9:  9:00PM at Centro Internacional de Eventos El Tesoro
  • Eddie Palmieri and La Perfecta II (salsa jazz; Puerto Rico and United States)
Saturday, September 10:  9:00PM at Centro Internacional de Eventos El Tesoro
  • Buena Vista Social Club (salsa; Cuba)
For more information, visit the official event site.
colombia reports

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Howard S. Becker, Robert R. Faulkner - Qu'est-ce qu'on joue, maintenant ? : Le répertoire de jazz en action

Jazzmen sociologues
Becker est pianiste, Faulkner trompettiste. Le deux sont sociologues, de Chicago ; leur livre n'a, sauf erreur, pas d'équivalent. Ce n'est pas une histoire du jazz mais il peut servir à comprendre celle-ci de l'intérieur. Comme ces deux jazzmen anciens professionnels sont aussi professeurs et remarquables pédagogues, leur livre donne au fur et à mesure les explications nécessaires aux profanes que nous sommes tous plus ou moins devant cet art très codé qu'est le jazz.

L'énigme que les deux auteurs cherchent à résoudre est la suivante : comment des musiciens qui ne se connaissent pas, qui peuvent être de nationalité différente, parlent une langue différente, n'ont jamais joué ensemble, peuvent-ils, après un bref conciliabule souvent marmonné en deux ou trois mots ou réduit à deux ou trois gestes, produire sans partition une musique qui a sa cohérence, avec introduction, thèmes, solos, conclusion, et cette énergie rythmique, ce balancement sur le temps qu'on appelle le swing ?

La réponse est simple mais demande des développements savants, aussi bien en termes musicaux qu'en termes d'histoire, d'économie, de sociologie de la culture, et d'esthétique : l'entente au quart de tour entre les musiciens se fait sur un titre, une tonalité, un tempo.

Jusqu'à l'apparition du rock'n'roll vers le milieu des années 1950, concomitant à la victoire de la télévision sur la radio et du concert sur les dancings, clubs et autres lieux spécifiquement destinés au jazz, cette musique était jouée au quotidien par ce que Marc Perrenoud appelait, dans Les Musicos. Enquête sur des musiciens ordinaires (La Découverte, 2007), des "musiciens ordinaires". Des gens qui gagnent leur vie, plus ou moins mal, grâce à la musique, et qui ne se prennent pas forcément pour des artistes. Mais c'est parmi eux que surgissaient les artistes, ceux dont le nom attirait le public, les stars et même les génies unanimement reconnus, les Armstrong, Ellington, Parker, Coltrane, ceux qui changeaient le cours de la musique.

Tous, les célèbres et les sans-grade, puisaient les titres dans un même corpus mémorisé : d'une part les "standards", chansons appartenant au Great American Songbook ; d'autre part, les thèmes composés par des jazzmen eux-mêmes pour les jazzmen, mélodies nouvelles souvent fondées sur les cycles et les accords empruntés à ces chansons avec quelques altérations harmoniques (ainsi la chanson What Is This Thing Called Love, de Cole Porter (1929), devient un thème be-bop, Hot House, de Tadd Dameron, enregistré par Gillespie et Parker en 1945).

On considère qu'un jazzman expérimenté doit avoir parfaitement en mémoire entre 300 et 600 items de ce répertoire dont il doit connaître la mélodie, les progressions harmoniques, la structure et si possible les paroles pour pouvoir créer instantanément sur ces cycles (ou chorus) une mélodie nouvelle : un solo.

A partir des années 1960, le répertoire se diversifie, abandonne plus ou moins les standards au profit de compositions plus compliquées qui ne permettent plus à des musiciens de générations différentes de jouer ensemble au débotté. Le règne est venu des artistes, seuls les musiciens ordinaires continuent à jouer tous les genres quand un engagement se présente, avec ses obligations imposées par l'auditoire. Le livre de Becker et Faulkner est un ouvrage de salubrité publique parce qu'il dissipe les mystères de la création.

Nadishana Trio- Far and Near (Sound Microsurgery Department 2011)

Nadishana Trio- Far and Near
(Sound Microsurgery Department 2011) (Germany)

Nadishana - dzuddahord, hybrid kaval, futujara, hu-lu-si, bansuri, duclar, khomus, utar, tambujira, 1tone drum, mouthbow, various perc, sounds.
Armin Metz - 6-string fretless and fretted basses
Steve Shehan - self-constructed percussion kit, brushes, hang drum, spacedrum, sagattes, kendang, steel drums, hadgini, tuned udus, piano, likembe, conga, calabash, handsonic, knong wong, various perc.

On their first album together, the members of “Nadishana Trio” bring to the recording studio an original repertory that has been captivating audiences for more than four years of performances in prestigious venues and festivals.
What has been forged through collective interactions, now becomes an original concept that captures the spirit of their fruitful kinship.
Vladiswar Nadishana, the founder of the project, is a multidisciplinary Siberian artist with a deep knowledge of ethnomusicology, playing more than 100 instruments. He is joined by master percussionist Steve Shehan, a legendary world music innovator, member of the famous Hadouk Trio, and bass player Armin Metz, versed in different styles, from electronica, pop, to world fusion.
The title of the album is a suggestive metaphor of their creative road map: "Far" is geographical distance, but also it is about traditions, a journey to an ancient time when music was evolving as a fundamental ingredient of human culture, while "Near" evokes spatial closeness, neighborhood, the fresh modernistic flavor intersected with its “Far” counterpart.
The variety of the musical themes and instruments we hear is impressive. There are original compositions along with skilled solos contributed by all three multi –instrumentalists who distill and blend layers of “Far” and “Near” in a polychromatic panoply composed of a wide array of influences and sources. We are taken to explore a world of harmonies infused by a cross-cultural symbiosis that resonates with the innermost chords of the soul.
Flowing happily like a mountain spring, the invigorating “Water song”, opens the journey. As the musical flow progresses we pass through a mysterious “Hidden Door”, reaching the “Vast lands” of the “Sanskar Valley”, charmed by a mellow “Overtone story” , before “Riding north” surrounded by the dark melodious voice of the bass.
Then comes the silky “Hulusi”, a melody you wish it never ends, and the ritual-like “Kuzhebarsko Horo” reminiscent of ancestral East-European circle dances.
The inspiration flies high when the adventure slows pace with the delicate oriental beauty of the “Urhat”, in which Nadishana’s sensuous kaval narrates an emotional intense melody. In tune with him, Armin Metz weaves rich bass tones, swirling like a snake made of velvet sounds, while sound wizard percussionist Steve Shehan radiates lights and shadows, whispers and silence, deepening the mystery.

But “Far and Near” is also an enriching sonic experience for listeners, as the album showcases a rich variety of percussion , woodwind and chords instruments of different origins, some of them invented by the musicians themselves . It is a momentary return to the sources of music when the humanity was closer to the nature than today. At the end of this fabulous journey, the three fellow storytellers leave us enchanted by the pure joy they shared with passion and virtuosity all along the way. From every angle, “Far and Near” is a vivid illustration of Longfellow’s words: “Music is the universal language of mankind.

Vladiswar Nadishana @ JWQ
Vladiswar Nadishana website

Ari Hoenig-Lines of Oppression (Naive/AH-HA 2011)

“He swam toward reggae and away from it; he played patterns between snare and high-hat that distantly suggested drum-and-bass rhythm, but didn’t stick around long enough to be identified; he sped through disco and parade rhythms in five-second stretches; he used his sticks to add extra hits to the bass drum; with mind over matter, he played a melodic solo on the rims of his drums.” -The New York Times
For his fifth album ‘Lines of Oppression’ (May 10th), drummer, composer and bandleader Ari Hoenig was sparked by the hip hop and jazz from his hometown of Philly, American folk music performed by his parents, and his recent years studying and performing in Morocco and Haiti. “This is a dream band of mine,” says Ari, who is joined by Tigran Hamayan (piano, beat box), Gilad Hekselman (guitar) and bassists Orlando Le Fleming and Chris Tordini. “There’s a profound connection – the interplay is off the hook!”
Hoenig “attacks his kit like a child does pots and pans, with limbs flailing, face contorted in delight. From his physical mayhem comes music of unsurpassed depth and control” (Philadelphia Weekly). He also proves to be a very melodic drummer, treating the instrument as a means for melody and harmony. It’s mesmerizing to hear him organically transform the drums to a chromatic instrument, by manipulating the drumheads. “Hoenig’s penchant for melody took center stage when he introduced “’Anthropology’ on his drum set,” writes Downbeat. “…he closed out the set by leading the crowd in an unaccompanied sing-along of ‘This Little Light of Mine.’”
The title ‘Lines of Oppression’ came to Ari while on tour in Haiti, in 2007. “During the morning hours in Port au Prince there were longs lines of people looking for work. Contractors would hire people on the spot if they needed laborers that day. Within the lines there was always a lot of arguing and fighting. Sometimes people started standing in line right after work, to have a better chance of being chosen the next day.”
“Loves Feathered Nails” is a simple, haunting piano response to the theme from Eyes Wide Shut, and “Higher to Hayastan,” is the band’s break-beat take on Armenian music. “Arrows and Loops” is in eleven and rooted in Bulgarian dance rhythms, “Ephemeral Eyes” inspired Ari’s time spent with a Playstation game, and “Moanin’” by Art Blakey is one of the first songs Hoenig ever learned to play. “I heard the melody so strongly and wanted to make it sing on the drums,” says Ari. “If you think it sounds a little weird, trust me it’s better that than me actually singing it.”
A native of the historic jazz city of Philadelphia, Hoenig, in addition to his work a bandleader, is one of the most sought-after sidemen of his generation. He has appeared on nearly one hundred recordings and worked with a diverse spectrum of artists, including guitarists Mike Stern, Pat Martino, Wayne Krantz and Kurt Rosenwinkel, saxophonists Joshua Redman and Chris Potter, harpist Edmar Castaneda, bassist / vocalist Richard Bona and many more. He’s developed deep musical relationships with pianists representing three generations of boundless jazz creativity: Kenny Werner, Jean-Michel Pilc and recent Monk competition winner, Tigran Hamasyan. With the release of ‘Lines of Oppression,’ Hoenig takes another important step in his creative journey and advances the language of jazz in the process. 

Ari Hoenig: drums, vocals;
Tigran Hamasyan: piano, vocals, beat box;
Gilad Hekselman: guitar, vocals;
Orlando Le Fleming: bass
Chris Tordini: bass , vocals 



Roberto Fonseca, le nouveau grand de la musique cubaine

LA HAVANE - Sous ses allures de basketteur taciturne, Roberto Fonseca cache une fièvre créatrice qui fait de ce pianiste de 36 ans le nouveau grand de la musique cubaine.
"Comme musicien, je ne crois pas avoir encore atteint mes limites, j'ai encore beaucoup à apprendre, beaucoup à faire. La limite, ce sera lorsque avec deux notes, les gens reconnaîtront mon style", explique à l'AFP le pianiste avant un concert vendredi à La Havane pour les quinze ans de son quintette Temperamento, qu'il a formé avec le saxophoniste Javier Zalba.
"Avec Roberto, on a une identification très forte, depuis le premier concert", assure Javier Zalba, 55 ans, qui a joué avec les plus grands pianistes cubains, notamment Chucho Valdés et José Maria Vitier.
Ensemble, ils ont ouvert en juillet en France le réputé festival de jazz de Marciac où il a été sélectionné pour le troisième album de la collection Live in Marciac.
Roberto n'arrête pas. En quinze ans, il a enregistré dix albums, a collaboré à plus de quinze et en produit quatre autres. Dans le même temps, il a été durant cinq ans le pianiste du projet "Buena Vista Social Club présente Ibrahim Ferrer", avec lequel le liait une amitié indéfectible.
"C'est fou comme il joue, le petit!", s'amusait Ibrahim Ferrer (1927-2005) devant les autres membres du groupe, El Guajiro Mirabal, Ruben Gonzalez, Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez et Manuel Galban.
Roberto Fonseca refuse les étiquettes de jazz afro-cubain ou latin jazz. "Ma musique est ouverte", explique-t-il en avançant ses influences rock, soul, musique classique -pour laquelle il confesse une "dévotion"-, pop, rap, musiques traditionnelles et bien sûr afro-cubaines.
"Je ne me considère pas comme un musicien de jazz, mais comme un musicien romantique, qui exprime ce qu'il sent à travers le piano", affirme-t-il.
Du jazz, il retient l'improvisation. "Nous sommes d'horribles chanteurs, c'est pour ça qu'on a décidé que la meilleure manière de nous exprimer, c'était l'improvisation", glisse-t-il avec un sourire.
A 36 ans, il a connu les plus grandes scènes de New York, Paris, Sidney, Londres ou Francfort, mais il se considère toujours comme "un enfant du quartier" de La Havane où il réside toujours entre deux tournées.
Malgré les multiples propositions, il n'a jamais voulu émigrer. "Tout ce que je fais vient de Cuba, si je pars, ce ne sera plus pareil. Le fait de vivre à Cuba a fait de moi le musicien que je suis, et j'aime comme je suis aujourd'hui".
Sur scène, il a joué -vêtu par la styliste française Agnès B.- avec les plus grands: Bebo et Chucho Valdés, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker et Wayne Shorter. Son thème "Llegó Cachaíto" a été choisi par les producteurs de la Columbia pour le film "Hancock" de Will Smith.
Son grand regret est de n'avoir pas pu jouer avec Miles Davis, décédé en 1991, pour ses expérimentations et parce qu'"il a totalement révolutionné le jazz".
Dans chacun de ses disques, Roberto Fonseca rend hommage aux orishas, les divinités afro-cubaines, et à ses ancêtres. Il inclut également des morceaux chantés par sa mère Mercedes Cortés, ou d'autres interprètes comme Omara Portuondo, la diva du Buena Vista Social Club.
"Je crois dans les orishas, dans les ancêtres et dans la foi. Toujours, je leur rends grâce", confesse-t-il en montrant à son poignet un bracelet dédié à deux des principales figures de la santeria.
Le futur de la musique cubaine ' "Délicat", admet Roberto Fonseca, car menacé d'"intoxication par le mercantilisme". "Il faut garder l'essence de la musique".
A dix ans, il jouait de la batterie et rêvait de devenir Ringo Starr. A 15 ans, il explosait comme pianiste au Festival Jazz Plaza, à Cuba. Aujourd'hui, à 36 ans, il aspire seulement à une musique qui "n'est pas commerciale, mais que tout le monde peut s'approprier".

Netherlands/France: Alex Coke's Gig Dates / September

20.00 Hour
Poet Evening With Christine Otten, accompanied by 
Hermine Deurloo (soprano sax / harmonica) 
and Alex Coke (bass flute) of the Willem Breuker Kollektief,
Presentation: Hanneke le Clercq
Admission € 15.00 incl. interval drink.  
Booking via website:
'S Bunting on the Spui in New Beijerland Dijk.This year the tent , where the activities take place, the Bram Roza Café .
The origin of the festival:
Bram Roza Festival was born on January 29, 2001, the day Bram Roza was cremated.  
Hanneke, Theo, Henriette, Ton, Henk and Jan put it, "closer to the mill 'art and poetry festival on the bunting 
into a foundation and an annual program.
Bram Roza The Festival is an annual explosion of creativity. 
With many new and original activities, regular program elements within a theme / concept.
 Every year we involve children in primary schools in the program. 
Late August / early September is New Beijerlandfor 10 days the cultural capital of the Hoekschewaard.

Friday Sept, 16 20:30 
John Mc Lean-Flûte Traversière & Chant
Charles Barkatz-Guitare & Chant
Alex Coke-Flûte Traversière & Saxophone Tenor

Detroit Jazz Festival 2011: A tapestry of the world's take on jazz

The Detroit Jazz Festival will be celebrated on Hart Plaza and a few blocks of Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit on Labor Day Weekend, September 2-5, 2011.
Art has always been a reflection of culture. And jazz has been the story of different peoples interacting and adapting to one another. Primarily reflecting the experience of African Americans, jazz has been called a gumbo, a veritable goulash of various elements.
This year the Detroit Jazz Festival has gathered a group of international artists who will exhibit a tapestry of the world’s take on jazz. New flavors will enter the goulash.
Famous for a series of thematically organized weekends, Terri Pontremoli conceptualized that for this year, “We Bring You The World.” So your tour for this experience might be organized by genre or by geography. Go listen to old favorites, or make a point to try something completely new. You can’t lose.
Friday, September 2nd, opens in the evening with the Soul Rebels Brass Band, out of New Orleans, second lining and testifying their way down the streets of Detroit. This year’s Artist in Residence is drummer fantastic Jeff “Tain” Watts, famous for his work in the Branford Marsalis Quartet. “Tain” will lead an original aggregation of musicians that he’s titled Drum Club: vibist Joe Locke, the experimental percussionist Susie Ibarra, a pair of cuban drummers (Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez & Pedro Martinez), the legendary Nigerian drummer who powered Fela Kuti’s sound (Tony Allen) and bassist Robert Hurst.
The evening will top off with Sing The Truth: three vocalists who will pay homage to the legacies of Mariam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln and Odetta. The singers, Angelique Kidjo, the West African Grammy winner, Dianne Reeves (another Grammy winner), and Lizz Wright. Backed by the international crew of Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrinton, James Genus, Munyungo Jackson and Romero Lubambo, expect a magical night that will explore new flavors.
Saturday, September 3rd, gives us an amazing lineup gracing seven stages that dot Hart Plaza and down Woodward Street in downtown Detroit. All stages are within easy walking distance of each other, and it’s entirely possible to catch more than one or two acts that are playing opposite of each other. And it’s a good thing, because there are some very tough choices.
Here’s what I’m planning to do on Saturday: start the day by being part of the live audience at the Jazz Planet Stage at 10 a.m. (Even if you can’t attend the Detroit Jazz Festival in person, you can follow the happenings, hear interviews with the artists, and even catch some of the performances by checking out Jazz Planet on line.)
Then I’ll head over to the Waterfront Stage to catch the hot trumpeter, Derrick Gardner & The Jazz Prophets. His performance is opposite the University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble with guests Robert Hurst and Geri Allen at the Ampitheatre Stage, the Russ Miller Quartet at the Pyramid Stage, and Jeff “Tain” Watts giving a talk on the role of the drum at the Jazz Talk Tent.
Vibist Warren Wolf (of Christian McBride’s Inside Straight band) has a new release on Mack Avenue records, and he follows Derrick on the same Waterfront Stage. I’ll want to hear some of that set, beginning at 1:30 p.m., but then I’ve just got to slide over to the Pyramid Stage for my current favorite Brazilian vocalist, Luciana Souza, performing in duet with guitarist Romero Lubambo.
I may stick around to catch the first part of the Soul Rebels Brass Band, but I’d be a fool to miss the veteran trombonist Curtis Fuller, who played in a classic lineup of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers that had featured Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard. Fuller will also feature tenor man Eric Alexander and drummer Carl Allen in a good sextet.
By now it’s late afternoon. The dilemmas become harder to reconcile: where to be in the early evening? Going to listen to trumpeter Sean Jones’ Quintet at the Ampitheatre? Or the harmonica/piano duo of Toots Thielemans and Kenny Werner on the Waterfront? How about some Latin spice by visiting the Pyramid again for Dayramir & Habana enTRANCE? Or take a break from the music, go to the Jazz Talk Tent, to meet Jason Moran and Dave Holland? Maybe I’ll try to do it all?
If you have a taste for funky organ jazz, park yourself in the Pyramid Stage for the night to hear Gerard Gibbs & (the return of) ORGANized Crime, followed by the Tony Monaco Trio.
On the other hand, I’m going to be challenged by bouncing between Sun Ra Arkestra at the Ampitheatre, Downbeat Critic’s Award winner for jazz artist of the year, Jason Moran & the Bandwagon, performing at the Waterfront Stage, and then listening to the very dynamic Dave Holland Octet, again at the Ampitheatre. It will break my heart to miss the funk soul sounds of Mandrill on the Main stage up Woodward, but sacrifices must be made.
In fact, you could have a very fulfilling day sitting yourself down at that Main stage, hearing Detroit’s Kimmie Horne, the Japanese jazz of Vertical Engine, the Motown crooner Chuck Jackson, followed by the Deacon Jones Blues Revue, finishing with Mandrill. That’s the thing about this festival.
Four or five different people could each have a great festival and never cross paths. The veritable embarrassment of riches.
Saturday night ends with fireworks on Hart Plaza at 11 p.m., as though the musical fireworks during the day weren’t enough.
I’m missing the usual sanctified gospel choir on Sunday morning. However, there is a great lineup of some superb big bands on the Ampitheatre stage, each one featuring a special guest: Wayne State Big Band with guest Joe Lovano, the US Airforce Airmen of Note with Joe Locke, MSU’s Jazz Orchestra with Jeff “Tain” Watts, a J.C. Heard Tribute led by Walt Szymanski and the EMU Jazz Ensemble with Christian McBride.
Great to see so many youngsters get a chance on the big stage. However, linger here too long and you’ll miss Regina Carter & Reverse Thread, her sweet violin playing music from her most recent African homage on the Waterfront stage; or Anat Cohen, the hot clarinetist from Tel-Aviv, playing at the Pyramid.
There’s great Latin jazz up Woodward at the Main stage, first Los Gatos (who just burned down the stage at the recent Lansing Oldtown Jazz Festival), then Sammy Figueroa & the Latin Jazz Explosion. It’s just not fair. Just in case you aren’t already exhausted, you can head over to the Jazz Talk tent, meet Joe Lovano at 4:15, and get yourself over to Jazz Planet for a chance to witness “Tain’s” Downbeat Blindfold Test.
But you really need to get back to the Ampitheatre, where you can hear Jeff “Tain” Watts 4 play the sun down, followed by Joe Lovano’s Us Five on that same stage.
And, see if you can slip over to the Pyramid to catch at least some of Vijay Iyer trio. This is my hardest choice of the weekend: on the one hand you have Lovano, a terrific sax player, with a tone out of the tradition of Coleman Hawkins or Ben Webster. His band, Us 5, features duo drummers and bassist Esperanza Spalding, and it’s a fountain of invention.
On the other hand, Vijay (the son of Indian immigrants) is a master of deconstruction on the piano. He’s got a unique and firmly original approach that he uses on not only his own compositions, but also interprets everyone from Thelonious Monk to John Lennon.
Have I mentioned that you should have a schedule? You can download one on line at It will show you what you’re missing. Which, again, is the biggest frustration of the festival. You have to clone yourself to see everything. On the other hand, if you’re not digging whatever concert you are attending, there’s more music right around the corner.
Now, on to Monday. Oh, here’s the gospel choirs! Larry Callahan SOG & Second Ebenezer Majestic Voices at noon on the Main stage. Catch a few minutes of memories with the owner of the VIllage Vanguard (Maxine Gordon, speaking with Tad Herschorn) at the Jazz Talk Tent before you find your way back to the Ampitheatre stage to hear Gary Burton’s New Quartet.
You can either go back to the Jazz Talk Tent to listen to Norman Granz or reserve your seat at the Ampitheatre to hear the Northern Illinois University Jazz Orchestra with special guest Paquito D’Rivera. Because after that, hip hop poet and movie star Common with have a special performance with Detroit drummer Karriem Riggins. Common was a recent invitee to the White House, and raised some controversy by haters who misinterpreted his message. I’m told that we might expect some special guests during this set.
The festival will end at the Ampitheatre, where an all star Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra will play the music of Christian McBride. Last time I interviewed Terri Pontremoli, Creative Director of the festival, she related she’d just gotten off the phone with Christian. She relat that he loves the Detroit Jazz Festival and wants to find a way to be there every year. I feel the same way.
Check out my interview with Terri Pontremoli on Sunday night, August 21st, on The Vinyl Side of Midnight. Following that interview I’ll be playing highlights from the 2010 Detroit Jazz Festival. The next week, August 28th, I’ll devote the evening to featuring artists that will be playing the festival this year.

GERMANY: SOLID JAZZ feat. Ulita Knaus in Flensburg

03 Sep 2011, 09:00 PM / Arcadia Hotel (Tulip Inn) / Norderhofenden 6-9 Flensburg Germany

China: More of the 'good old and promising new' at jazz festival

It was a memorableif windy and rainyclosing night at the 2010 Beijing Nine Gates JazzFestival in Beijing's Sanlitun Villageas France's Pierre Triopianist Xia Jia and six othermusicians took the stage to present a bright fusion of music.
Most of the audience comprised those who were attending for funrather than being seriousjazz aficionados - and this year should be no different.
Organizer Huang Yonga veteran bass player and the founder of Nine Gates Jazz Festival,says everyone is in for a treatas Nine Gates runs from Sept 9-18.
"Keeping the good old and bringing the promising newis the theme of this year's program,which will include a mix of young Chinese and other Asian talentsas well as internationallyrenowned musicians.
Among the 30 groups, 14 are from China and 16 from countries like Japanthe United States,FranceArgentina and BelgiumThey will perform at nearly 50 concerts in various venuesacross the capital.
There will also be a number of workshops during the 10-day eventproviding opportunities forfurther communication between audiences and musicians.
"Perhapsyears agomost audiences didn't know why they should listen to jazzThey mighthave doubted China had jazz," Huang says.
"Nowmainstream audiences still have no idea about jazzor their understanding about thatmusic genre is not completeand even wrongThat is not good or badIt's just how jazzaudiences here are and how jazz is growing up in the country."
Even soHuang is satisfied.
"Though the festival has not made moneyit's not losing money more importantlywe are happybecause unlike the audiences of 2006, the first year of the festivalmore people love to listento jazz and learn about it."
Huang adds he is now confident about introducing more international jazz musicianssuch asRootmanthe Thailand ensemble formed in 2008; and Czech band Vibe Fantasy featuringlegendary vibraphone player Radek Krampl.
"Local audiences may never have heard their namesbut it doesn't matterAs long as theycome to listen to the musicians playthey will get a fresh experience."
Huang will play fusion with local jazz musicians such as saxophonist Liu Yuana former memberof rock 'nroll godfather Cui Jian's band.
Liu has opened two jazz clubs in BeijingCD Jazz Cafe and East Shore Jazz Bartwo of thevenues for this year's festivalLiu will also perform with his quartetoffering original jazz works.
Xia Jia and his bandwho have performed at the festival since its first yearand Beijing BigBandthe first Chinese original big jazz bandof 16 memberswill also perform at the festival.
In additionthere are several young Chinese jazz groupssuch as Fresh Elementswhich fuseship-hoprock and jazzand Black Hot Pisceswhich mixes neo-soulLatin and acid elements.
These young local jazz powers are "adventurousfreely interpret and are independent", Huangsays.
"Maybe you will feel strange after watching their performances and doubt whether it's jazzItdoesn't matterThat's how you become a jazz fan," Huang says.
Other highlights include Japan's Honda Masatoa young saxophonistand Puerto Candelaria,an innovative and daring Colombian jazz group.
As part of the continued efforts to expand the jazz baseHuang has set up a range of venues,from large music hallsuniversities and popular shopping areas to small clubs.
"Audienceseither professionals or passersbywill feel the freedom of jazz and stay for a whileto enjoy the music."
Venues include Chaoyang Park Center Island TheaterNational Library Concert HallJiang HuBarEast Shore Live Jazz CafeCD Jazz CafeYugong Yishanand Beijing ContemporaryMusic Academy.