Saturday, December 31, 2011

Danny Grissett -Stride (Criss Cross 2011)

On Stride, his fourth Criss Cross leader date, pianist Danny Grissett returns to the trio format he navigated with such panache and imagination on his first two outings for the label.

Long-time bass partner Vicente Archer and top-of-the-class drummer Marcus Gilmore join Grissett in a fluent three-way conversation on a reflective program that incorporates the American Songbook, the European canon, original tunes by trumpeters Nicholas Payton and (his current employer) Tom Harrell, and three heady Grissett originals.

As always, the leader’s playing is melody-driven, harmonically acute, swinging and focused; he again proves himself one of the major voices on his instrument among the under-40 crowd.

Stride (Danny Grissett)
Viennese Summer (Danny Grissett)
Etude Opus 10: No. 6 in E-flat Minor (Frederic Chopin)
Two Sleepy People (Hoagy Carmichael / Frank Loesser)
Close Quarters (Danny Grissett)
Scene (Tom Harrell)
It Takes Two To Know One (Nicholas Payton)
Some Other Time (Leonard Bernstein)
 Total Time: 61:14
Recorded January 17, 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, USA by Michael Marciano

Giovanni Ceccarelli Trio- Météores-(Bonsai Music 2011 )

« Météores » est un voyage musical dans lequel Giovanni Ceccarelli nous fait découvrir une esthétique sonore tout à fait exceptionnelle. Dès les premières notes de l’album, on notera le parfait équilibre que Giovanni Ceccarelli a souhaité respecter avec les amis de toujours qui l’accompagnent et qui composent ce trio d’exception : Ferruccio Spinetti à la contrebasse et le tout aussi talentueux batteur et percussionniste Francesco Petreni.
L’album est composé principalement d’œuvres originales à l’exception de deux grands hommages à la musique brésilienne qui occupe une place déterminante dans les constructions musicales de Giovanni Ceccarelli : « Oceano » (Djavan), « Chega de Saudade » (Jobim/De Moraes) et d’un clin d’œil à Herbie Hancock dans une version assez délirante de « Chameleon » qui conclue l’album, titre sur lequel la guitare « Hendrixienne » d’un Fausto Mesolella en état de grâce est venu se greffer.
Le Jazz de Giovanni Ceccarelli est doux, tendre, amoureux. Tantôt romantique, parfois mélancolique, la musique de Giovanni Ceccarelli nous parle, comme on parle à un ami (« Canzone per Ferruccio »), à son épouse (« Vanessa »), ou à son éternelle maîtresse (« Our Secret »).
« New Day in Kibuye » est un hommage aux survivants du massacre au Rwanda.
L’espace, le ciel sont très présents avec « Météores » qui donnera le titre de ce nouvel album, « I’m Flying » que David Linx a mis en parole et interprété, puis dans « The Ever-Changing Sky » et « Ti Odio » qui évoque le ciel changeant de Paris : « The Ever-Changing Sky », une mélodie à la fois forte et entêtante que l’on retrouvera en clôture de l’album avec le titre « Ti Odio » sur lequel Fausto Mesolella (Avion Travel) est venu poser un texte puissant qu’il récite d’une voix profonde et grave comme seuls les italiens en ont le secret.
« Météores » est décidément un très bel album qui s’écoute du début à la fin, sans en perdre une miette.
Bonsai Music

THAILAND: Jazz by the river

Sweet sounds at Millennium Hilton Bangkok

An evening at FLOW never sounded sweeter! The Millennium Hilton Bangkok and Hitman Jazz are proud to present a one-night musical spectacular on January 13th, 2012, featuring international artists Jakob Dinesen, Jonathan Fritzen and Malene Mortensen, pairing with local legend Koh Mr. Saxman. For only THB 2012++, guests will be served with a welcome drink before enjoying the extravagant international buffet at FLOW, all day dining complimented by the city first ever Cheese Room, and an evening of unforgettable jazz.

This special event features the precocious talents of Jakob Dinesen, a Danish saxophonist, renowned for his innovative style. The writer of many of the tracks you'll here over the evening, Dinesen knows how to play with a beat and find a sensual laziness in every phrase. His collaborator Jonathan Fritzen, from Sweden, trained at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and received a Masters degree in Jazz. Joining them is remarkable Danish vocalist Malene Mortensen, a graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Music with three solo albums to her name - a songbird of quite staggering ability. And finally, joining the line-up is local hero Koh Mr. Saxman, who has performed in 10 countries and recorded five solo albums. Well loved on the Bangkok live music seen, Koh Mr. Saxman's career began when he was 16 and has seen him decorated with awards and accolades ever since.
Good jazz is truly a thing of beauty, made for the unwinding with friends and it has no better home than the Millennium Hilton Bangkok.
Free hotel service: Shuttle boat from River City and Sathorn pier

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ndidi - Move Together (Naive 2011)

Move Together, l’excellent premier album de Ndidi témoigne en effet d’un remarquable talent. Entourée d’une équipe de musiciens chevronnés à la guitare, à la basse, au clavier, à la batterie et à la mandoline, Ndidi chante des chansons qui ont besoin d’une attention particulière. Les paroles sont, pour la plupart, sombres et aux évocations souvent étranges. Les sonorités sont très variées : certains titres sont des chansons d’amour mélancoliques au rythme lent et des morceaux de style ballade. D’autres des spirituals entraînants et des morceaux de big bands. Le tout entrecoupé de reggae, d’envolées de guitare surf et de bon boogie. L’ensemble ayant en commun une tonalité blues et cette voix qui cascade et qui plonge et s’affirme sans chichi.
 Jane Cornwell

CZECH REPUBLIC: Year in culture: Jazz

by Tony Ozuna/Prague Post

In 2011, two first-rate, small jazz clubs in Prague battled it out for an audience that seemed to be on one hand growing among the younger set and yet still sometimes exceptionally fickle or indifferent to some excellent programming. European nu-jazz appeared stronger than ever, while the most popular American groups seemed to be getting back to their roots.

The most anticipated shows of February were a two-night stand by Bad Plus at Jazz Dock. The trio avoided their crowd-pleasing punk covers and got serious with their own compositions. It was a night of first-rate jazz, but half of the audience wanted to hear the trio's covers of Nirvana.

At Akropolis, godfathers of European nu-jazz, Gabin, an Italian duo of Filippo Clary and Max Bottini, promoted their newest album Third & Double.

Lee Konitz at Jazz Dock in March was one of the best concerts of the year. At 83 years old, Konitz is a pioneer saxophonist of the "cool jazz" sound, and in the same league as John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins, though he still plays small venues. Konitz should have sold out a week at Jazz Dock.

The next week, the two-night engagement of the Larry Goldings & Harry Allen Quartet brought a retro, American jazz sound to town. Needless to say, these were good nights at the bar.

In April, legendary jazz stars played regal venues but both concerts were exceptional for their brevity. Dee Dee Bridgewater appeared with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at the Municipal House, fund-raising for the Strings of Autumn Festival. The audience paid generously for the tickets so it was a great surprise when she only had an hour's worth of songs to perform. Likewise, the McCoy Tyner Quartet at Prague Castle performed a short concert. After an hour's performance, the band was ready to play more, but Tyner had had enough.

On May 23, which should have been Miles Davis' 85th birthday, two drummers from Davis' Bitches Brew sessions played in town. The Jack De Johnette Group with rising star Indian saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa was at Lucerna Music Bar, while up the hill at Prague Castle there was a tribute to Miles Davis with drummer Lenny White and Czech Emil Viklický and Israeli Jaroslav Jakubovic.

Also in May, one of New York City's finest modern jazz trios played Jazz Time. Saxophonist Avram Fefer, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Chad Taylor churned out a brew of squawks, screeches and infectious grooves.

In June, guitarist Kenny Garrett closed the Spring Agharta Jazz Festival at Lucerna, while one of Prague's best-known trios, Kratochvíl-Ackerman & Zangi, recorded live at Reduta.

In July, a rising star, contra-bassist Esperanza Spaulding, played Karlín Music Hall with her chamber music group. Trumpeter Terrence Blanchard played Žofín for Prague Proms the night before. The next week, the Bohemia Jazz Festival brought two evenings dominated by Scandinavian players: the McCoy Tyner Trio returned to headline the first night, while the second featured guitarist Terje Rypdal, trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and the Bergen Big Band from Norway, but just minutes into their beautifully noisy set, a torrent of rain ended the show in a flash.

In September, the Jeff Ballard Trio with Puerto Rican saxophonist Miguel Zenon and African guitarist Lionel Loueke brought their hypnotizing sound to Jazz Dock. Another unforgettable night of music was at Jazz Time as part of the 6th Prague Free Jazz Festival. The headliner of the festival was the Charles Gayle Trio, who shocked the audience with an astounding combination of bop, post-bop and free jazz.

In October, Bobby Previte's BUMP meets Pan-Atlantic at Jazz Dock brought all-star players from New York and Europe for a congregation of avant-garde jazz with a groove. Ending the month was a reunion with the Charles Lloyd New Quartet at Rudolfinum, since Lloyd last played Prague's Lucerna Grand Ballroom for a legendary show in 1967.

November was a jazz Mecca. The first night of the month brought veteran drummer Roy Haynes with his Fountain of Youth Band to Lucerna. The following night, the Marc Ribot Trio featuring Chad Taylor and old-time bassist Henry Grimes played a much-anticipated show at Jazz Dock. Also, the Strings of Autumn Festival invited the young pianist and keyboardist Robert Glasper for a two-night engagement at Roxy.

The legendary bassist Ron Carter graced Prague Castle the same month, and the influential guitarist Bill Frisell brought his 858 Quartet to Jazz Dock for a night of modern jazz meets classical chamber music.

Hats off to Jazz Dock and the other small clubs who gave opportunities to innovative jazz throughout the year.

SOUTH AFRICA: Classical music meets jazz

The fourth annual festival features jazz/classical collaborations, the world premiere of new works, chamber music concerts and, of course, a bow to Mozart, all performed by local and international greats.
LOVERS of classical music and jazz will be in for a treat at the upcoming 4th Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (JIMF), with its underlying theme “Quasi Improvisando”.
Over the past four years, the JIMF has grown in reputation under the guidance of Richard Cock as music director and Florian Uhlig as artistic director, who have sought to constantly re-imagine the JIMF with unique musical collaborations.
Originally organised in 2006 in commemoration of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birthday anniversary, the JIMF has developed into a highly successful and well loved annual classical music event.
It is set to take place next year from 27 January to 19 February. Organisers have inserted some jazz concerts into the programme to show that lines are constantly being blurred between the genres and so now the festival offers pure classical music lovers the chance to be exposed to jazz and vice versa.
Read more @

USA: Jazz Events in Kansas City 2012

The Folly Jazz Series : the Grace Kelly Quintet , the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra  John Pizzarelli Quintet (
American Jazz Museum : Roy Ayers & Louis Reyes Rivera and Jessica Care Moore , the Geri Allen Trio , Tierney Sutton Quartet , Stefon Harris and Blackout at the Vine Jazz Festival;  Ramsey Lewis
The Blue Room: Matt Kane, Topeka Jazz Workshop
The Lied Center at the University of Kansas : SFJAZZ Collective

USA: Jazz Journalists Association Events

Media for Audience Development,
the JJA’s third annual New York City winter mini-conference. The JJA is producing three panel discussions and a Town Hall meeting at the Association for Performing Arts Presenters convention at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Jan. 6 through 8, and the Chamber Music America conference, Jan. 14, at the Westin Hotel in Time Square. All sessions are open and free to JJA members, convention and conference attendees, and interested members of the general public.

JazzTimes magazine and the Jazz Journalists Association have both scheduled mini-conferences for jazz industries professionals — musicians, presenters and media creators included — at or around the annual convention of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, January 5 through 8 in at the Hilton New York. Both the JazzTimes DIY one-day crash course, on Jan. 5, and the JJA’s five sessions spread from Jan. 6 – 8 are free and open to the public.

Read about these events

TURKEY: Ive Mendes to give New Year’s concert in Istanbul

The Ive Mendes Quintet will be on stage on New Year’s Eve at Istanbul Jazz Center. The concert starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are available at Mendes was born in Ceres, Brazil to a farming family of Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Brazilian Indigenous origins. She grew up singing in church on Sundays and learning piano. Later she studied music at the university in the capital Goiania and then taught creative arts and music in schools. After seven years of teaching, she decided to give it up and return to her father’s farm. It was then she began to nurture her musical ambitions. After playing at various cafes in the capital Goiania and around local towns, she started to gain a solid local fan base.
Read more

ZIMBABWE: All that jazz: A great year for jazz

2011 was truly a great year for jazz with unprecedented activity on the scene.
Upon reflection, there were a number of notable events, concerts, festivals and album releases.

In February, Jazz Under the Stars, a new concept created by new players on the scene, brought South African sensation Lira to perform in Zimbabwe for the first time.

According to reports, Lira gave a memorable performance that delighted the audience.

Harare Jazz Festival presented its third edition in April in a two-day festival that featured the inaugural Jazz Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The Cool Crooners, Dorothy Masuka and Lina Mattaka were honoured at a high- profile gala dinner that was also the opening ceremony of the festival.

At the main event, the festival presented some exciting performances from Kunle Ayo, Tanga wekwa Sando, Oliver Mtukudzi, Dudu Manhenga, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana and Amanda e la Banda from Italy.

The Winter Jazz Festival commemorated its 10th anniversary with a colourful opening ceremony and great performances from local artists.

The festival continues to grow, support local artists and take the genre to a wider audience.

Jazz 105 also launched a new festival, Women in Jazz, which seeks to promote female artists.

The festival also saw gospel star Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave performing at a jazz venue for the first time ever.

The October International Jazz Festival, organised by the Italian Embassy in Harare, set a new standard for jazz festivals in Zimbabwe.

The week-long festival had a developmental aspect with music training workshops targeted at children.

These workshops were held at Zimbabwe College of Music, Celebration Centre, Streets Ahead and Pakare Paye.

The festival also brought out some fantastic performances and collaborations from participating artists including Mtukudzi, Ayo, Amanda e la Banda, Jazz Invitation, Raffaele Casarano and the Tinissima Quartet from Italy.

The Soweto String Quartet also performed in a garden setting in Harare alongside popular local artists.

This was also an new initiative from promoters venturing into jazz for the first time.

All these major events were a great achievement by the jazz fraternity and society as a whole. Most importantly, the corporate sector is increasingly realising and appreciating the value of jazz to their brands.

It is very encouraging and gratifying that prominent brands and organisations including Lion Lager, Coke Zero, Pacific Storm, European Union, Ethiopian Airways, FBC Bank, Peroni, Telecel, Fiat, Rainbow Tourism Group, Progressive Insurance Brokers and Sontine Travel supported jazz in one way or another.

We hope for continued support to ensure that the popularity of the genre keeps growing.

The year also saw growth in the body of music with new releases from Tanga wekwa Sando (Sunrise), Too Open (Still Alive), Manhenga (Ngangiwe), Munya Matarutse (Dengu Remhodzi), Jazz Invitation (Tsoka) and Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana (Prudence).

Manhenga also went on her maiden tour of Italy where she flew the Zimbabwean flag high, thrilling audiences wherever she performed.

As we look forward to a new year, we hope stakeholders build on these successes to ensure greater value for society.

NPR: The Music They Left Behind

011 inches toward its close, and we here at NPR Music are close to wrapping up our look back at the year in music. Today, Morning Edition looks back at some of the musicians who died in 2011.

Following the deaths of Gil Scott-Heron, in May, and Amy Winehouse, in July, tributes and remembrances ricocheted around the music world for weeks, but we lost many more songwriters, instrumentalists, singers and producers who will leave behind rich legacies. A few: E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora, cellist Bernard Greenhouse, singer Trish Keenan, jazz drummer Paul Motian, and songwriters Jerry Leiber and Nickolas Ashford. You can hear more from these musicians, share your thoughts and find links to obituaries, interviews and more by visiting our In Memoriam interactive feature.

INDONESIA: Bali: Jazz Market by the Sea

There will be huge line-up of talent on stage at the Jazz Market by the Sea at Taman Bhagawan, Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua, Bali from 4pm to 11pm Friday 6th January, and from 2pm to 11pm Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th January, 2012.

Jazz Market by the Sea musical director, Jappy Sanger, praised Taman Bhagawan host, Astari Siswanto, for organizing the jazz festival to “promote growing Indonesian talents and for providing a ‘world stage’ with a local and international audience for Indonesia’s rising jazz musicians to share their passion in jazz, blues and world beat music, as well as to express creativity, art and harmony between jazz lovers.”

Jappy said, “Jazz Market by the Sea is now supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and as an annual jazz festival, it gives young talented musicians the chance to share the stage with renowned local and international artists. Furthermore we will hold music clinics during the first hours on each day of the event so that aspiring young talents can polish their musical skills under the guidance of experienced world-class artists like Syaharani, Koko Harsoe, Balawan, Erick Sondhi, Ito Kurdi, Gugun Blues, Brian Batie (former bass player for Lionel Richie and the Commodores) and many others."

Taman Bhagawan host, Astari Siswanto said, " Our prime objective is to promote growing Indonesian talents right here in Bali, now the number one holiday destination in the world. In that sense we provide a world stage for Indonesia artists performing live jazz, blues, world beat music and improvised styles. And where better to hold such a festival than at Taman Bhagawan, located on a 100 meter stretch of Tanjung Benoa’s white-sand beach just north of Nusa Dua – a 20 minute car ride from Bali International Ngurah Rai Airport and a 5 minute drive from Nusa Dua complex, home to many top hotels, prestigious resorts and spas.

Taman Bhagawan ( which recently hosted the Jason Mraz concert), was envisioned as an event venue by my parents in 2008 to showcase Indonesian heritage, culture and craftsmanship. The lovely landscaped gardens, fine stonework, sculptures and intricate carving details on the antique Joglos – complimented with modern facilities, create the ideal event venue for music and culture lovers,” said Ms. Siswanto.

“Jazz Market by the Sea is a cultural event comprising of a variety of jazz genres ranging from the more traditional jazz to fusion jazz, funk and world beat music.”

Explaining the Jazz Market further, Asta said “the market concept is simply a way of wrapping up all this entertainment in a market environment – a bit like the traditional Balinese market, ‘pasar seni’, packed with unique stalls selling all kinds of tasty foods – satay, ribs, burgers, fish and chips, etc. We will have a huge central bar area selling a wide variety of beverages: soft drinks, fresh juices, beer, wine, and Indonesian favourites like es cendol, es campur and soda gembira. We will also have merchandise and handicraft stalls selling everything from fashion, jewelry and accessories to fine art, ceramics, glass, leather, sculpture, wood carving, and plants including beautiful Bali orchids.

The whole idea is to provide residents of Bali and visitors to Bali, with quality artists and entertainment in a vibrant market place featuring stroll-around cuisine, local talented artists and craft-makers showing extraordinary handcrafted work for which Bali is so famous… yet I’ve heard it said that Bali is the island of the unknown artist, and to some extent with the exception of a few legendary artists, this is true. There are just so many brilliant painters, sculptors, woodcarvers, jewelry makers, etc., where ever you look you see beautiful craftsmanship and art – anyone of these unknown artists would be famous in other countries”, Asta added.

“Of course we haven’t forgotten the kids – this is also a family event, and there will be lots of activities and amusements for the children, including pony rides, stilt walkers, jugglers, caricature portraits, face paintings, palm reading, tarot cards, magic tricks and more. And if its hot bring your swimmers and chill-out in our beachside swimming pool. See you there and don’t forget, early birds get in free!”
Jazz Market by the Sea

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nat Birchall-Sacred Dimension (Gondwana Records 2011)

Over the last few years British saxophonist and composer Nat Birchall has carved out a singular niche for himself. A deeply soulful, spiritual saxophonist whose beautiful recordings for the Gondwana label have moved people to suggest that the spirit of Coltrane was alive and well in Northern England. But Birchall is more than a slavish imitator of Coltrane’s sound there is a sense of tranquility and depth of feeling in Birchall’s music that recalls more than just Coltrane’s notes and a desire for honest, soulful communication.

For Birchall Sacred Dimension is a clear progression from his two most recent albums, building on Akhenaten’s spiritual wholeness and Guiding Spirits fuller sound, but with a new richer, deeper sound. Harpist Rachel Gladwin features on all tracks bringing her own beautiful, folk tinged, take on jazz harp to the music and vibist Corey Mwamba guests (who Birchall met in Arun Ghosh’s band) and brings a soulful openness to the music as well as a real energy. Wonderful, empathetic pianist Adam Fairhall remains from the last two recordings. A beautiful player who manages to sound free while always serving the music. Fairhall’s luminous playing and complete commitment does much to illuminate the music as does new bass player Nick Blacka whose big strong sound and ability to vary the bass line without losing the essential character of the music does much to drive the album. There is a change in drummer with Andy Hay, who Birchall describes ‘as a force of nature’ bringing a powerful conviction to the music playing as he does 100% in the moment.
Gondwana Records

Steve Coleman - The Mancy of Sound (Pi Recordings 2011)

The Mancy of Sound is the follow-up release from influential alto saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman to last year’s critically acclaimed Harvesting Semblances and Affinities. That album was a statement of purpose that announced the return of Coleman to popular consciousness. The CD was named by Ben Ratliff in the New York Times as his #1 album of 2010 and was also voted among the top ten releases of 2010 in both the Jazz Times and Village Voice Critics Polls. His performance was thought by many to be the highlight among the almost forty bands that performed at the June 2010 Undead Festival in New York. Pi Recordings


JAZZIS 1027 ~ ISRAEL ~ Jazz
Recorded: 1995 Released: 1997
Jazz and chamber music are similar in that, while both require an intricate interaction between the performers, they also allow for unique personal expression - in sound and in musical interpretation. This is why these two seemingly distant musical styles can be so successfully combined. This album is an example of such a combination. The trombone quartet featured on this CD was formed by Tovy Meshoulam. Meshoulam, one of the leading trombone players in Israel, is also a prominent composer, arranger, conductor and music instructor. On this CD, he combines all of these: the quartet which is led by him, and whose other members are three of his best students - plays several compositions and arrangements by Tovy. The material on this album ranges from jazz compositions by some of the greatest writers, through artistic interpretations of popular songs, to modern chamber music of complex harmonic contexts. The selection and diversity of material fully demonstrates the unique sound and character of the trombone quartet. If you are fond of jazz or chamber music, you will without a doubt enjoy this unusual album.
Side Note: The above are my liner notes for this album. (Jazzis web shop)


Cosmic Lieder, an exquisite & expansive 13-part song-cycle, is a deeply emotional & illuminated narrative by two highly attuned and intelligent musical voices commenting on an alien world's landscape as they are simultaneously creating it. The songs range from entrancingly lyrical & gentle to mercurial flows to pieces which defy common description.

This momentous duo project exists because of the mutual admiration that Darius Jones & Matthew Shipp have for one another's prodigious musical gifts, and it bridges two generations of distinctly shining lights in the jazz world. Shipp, now celebrating his 50th year on this planet, is a veteran of invention and one of the few truly original pianists in jazz history. Jones is a profoundly gifted young alto saxophonist-composer-bandleader whose 2009 debut, Man'ish Boy, received an across-the-board wave of critical acclaim – it was chosen as among the best Jazz Albums of 2009 by Village Voice-Jazz Critics Poll, NPR, JazzTimes, Boston Globe, Destination:Out, RVANews, AccuJazz and many more. AUM FIDELITY

Monday, December 26, 2011

FRANCE: Festival French Quarter 2012 Duc Des Lombards

Pierre Christophe « Byard By Us »
mardi 3 janvier 2012

Rene Urtreger Quintet 4 - 5 janvier
Du mercredi 04 au jeudi 05 janvier 2012

Tony Tixier Quartet
lundi 9 janvier 2012

Les Doigts De L'homme 10 - 11 janvier
Du mardi 10 au mercredi 11 janvier 2012

Alain Jean-marie Trio
vendredi 20 janvier 2012

Jean-pierre Como Trio 21 janvier
samedi 21 janvier 2012

Thierry Maillard Trio 25 janvier
mercredi 25 janvier 2012

Mario Canonge 28 janvier
samedi 28 janvier 2012

Duc Des Lombards Paris 1er
Duc Des Lombards
42 Rue Des Lombards - 75001 Paris 1er

Ken Vandermark Predella Group: Strade d'Acqua / Roads of Water (Multikulti Project 2011)

Tracks: Further (for Anselm Kiefer); Blue Over Green (for Mark Rothko; Sieve of the Soul (for Bruce Naumann); Dust Town (for William Eggleston); Austral Cartography (for Cormac McCarthy); Signal (for Franz Kline); Dusk Meridian (for William Faulkner).

Musicians: Jeb Bishop: trombone; Jaimie Branch: trumpet; Tim Daisy: percussion; Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello; Nate McBride: bass; Jeff Parker: guitar; Ken Vandermark: reeds.

at Yellow Door, Chicago, during the second half of December 2008. Mixed at Chicago Mastering Service; directed by Ken Vandermark; produced by Bob Weston. 

"Roads of Water" is the first soundtrack composed by Ken Vandermark, a recognized Chicago sax and clarinet player, composer and improviser. A documentary movie directed by Augusto Contento tells a story of people living on the Amazon river, about the escape from civilization that increasingly determines our lives and our choices and about indigenous people who know no other life. A very poetic tale on the one hand, it's also a very real story of many heroes, a story accompanied by very few sounds. It is filled with beautiful music by Vandermark, music that gives the story space and breath. Vandermark refers here both to what he knows best - traditional, yet forward-looking jazz, as well as contemporary music and folk - although the latter ones are very, very subtle. The soundtrack is highly illustrative in nature, although the lyrical themes, that are sometimes interwoven, are reminiscent of the masters of the best jazz ballads. It is a new face of Ken Vandermark: beautiful, poetic and lyrical, but also crude, devoid of sentimental sweetness, presenting a very different, a very focused and pensive face of this acknowledged Chicago jazz improviser.


First album of the collaboration between Denise King and Olivier Hutman, Steve Williams and Darry Hall, “No Tricks” is a mix of sensuality and softness. With its slow melodies, you will find touches of blues, soul and vocal jazz. Denise King’s genuine voice accompanies Olivier Hutman’s performance on the piano. A mixture of jazz standards and original pieces composed by Olivier Hutman   CRISTAL RECORDS

1. That old black magic (H. Arlen/J. Mercer)

2. Naalaya (O. Hutman/D. King)  Listen
3. No Tricks Baby please (O. Hutman/V.W.Hutman)
4. Nuages (D. Reinhardt/S. Williams)
5. Waiting for the Sandman (O. Hutman/V.W.Hutman)  Listen
6. All Blues (M. Davis/O. Brown)  Listen
7. Remember (O. Hutman/D. King)
8. Besame Mucho (C. Velasquez/S. Skylar)
9. Sweetie Pie (D. King)
10. Two on the planet (O. Hutman/D. King)
11. September song (K. Weill)
12. I got rhythm (G. Gershwin/I.Gershwin)

JD Allen Trio - Victory! ( Sunnyside Records 2011)

JD Allen - tenor saxophone
Gregg August - acoustic bass
Rudy Royston - drums 
Saxophonist JD Allen has been blowing away the standard jazz conventions over the last few years with a slew of tremendous recordings on Sunnyside Records and his no hold barred live performances. His latest recording, Victory!, finds the talented performer/composer continuing his quest to shake up the jazz world. He is marches on with the aid of his fantastic Trio featuring bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston. Known for their direct and engaging performances, the Trio burns through a new set of tunes with gusto, which leaves the listener yearning for more. An insightful documentary about the saxophonist is included on the CD. Sunnyside Records

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Claudio Riggio Ensemble & Tom Harrell - Audrey ( abeat 2011)

Currently Claudio Riggio teaches contemporary guitar and improvisation at CDM and L’Ottava schools of music in Rome.) He conducted the Laboratory Orchestra of Free Improvisation at Fedim (Music Therapy Italian Federation) in RomeCollaborations: Luca Flores, Paolo Fresu, Nicolao Valiensi, John Stowell, Paul Mc Candless, Roberto Bellatalla, Susanna Stivali, Marco Ariano, Piero Bronzi, Alessandro De Angelis, Claudio Badii, Wardy Hamburgh, Annette Maye, Marco

The CD “Audrey” features the compositions of Claudio Riggio, supported by excellent musicians who in turn give rise to different ensembles (duo, trio, quartet, ...) and Tom Harrell who once again descends into a Italian weblog Abeat recording project of great scope.A disc which is linked to a series of tracks in the form of cameos lasting a few minutes, sometimes seconds. A dimension almost timeless and "impressionist"in which Tom Harrell said to feel comfortable as rarely happens. The result is an unusual expressive intensity. The songs develop as "images" that take shape almost painterly brushstrokes of copyright and in which the palette of "sounds" is changing every time like in a kaleidoscope of "colors". An album of immense class and elegance in which the compositions resonate without hesitation even a typical Italian, stirring lyricism of Opera, classical music, the band tradition of the country... A superb CD and also a shining example of european art which is accompanied by international artists of absolute value.

Riggio Claudio - classical and electric guitar
Harrell Tom - trumpet, flugelhorn
Bronzi Piero - alto, tenor, and baritone sax, flute
Ariano Marco - drums
De Angelis Alessandro - piano, fender rhodes
Valiensi Nicolao - trombone
Stowell John - nylon strings and baritone guitar

Brady Winterstein - Happy Together ( Plus Loin Music / Harmonia Mundi 2011)

There are two essential conditions for the birth of a particularly gifted young musician as B.W. is,of whom we are witnesses. Work first of all –work non-stop on his instrument and one can realize, thanks to the intensity of the tunes he can throw all along his album , how much it must be true (« around 10 hours a day modestly asserts the concerned artist ») But work only isn’t sufficient. Even for someone as talented as he is, better is to be well supported : sensible advices and support are the precious help to avoid more surely the ineluctable series of dangers threatening « the first step in the job ». Brady has found in his uncle ,Hono Winterstein,Biréli Lagrene’s accompanist and fellow traveller (among others), this experiencedd man he can rely on.  Plus Loin Music / Harmonia Mundi 


Armin Heitz Trio - Blue in Green (Acoustic Music Records 2011)

Armin Heitz, born ‘59, solo guitar, combines the genius of Django Reinhardt with the refinement of the American mainstream. Stylistic agility and polished technique are his trademarks.
He started to play the guitar at eleven and had his first public appearances at thirteen. Hard work and single-mindedness helped him become one of the greats of his genre. His virtuosity and his energy-charged, swinging choruses are among the highlights of every concert, in which he demonstrates his technical capabilities.
Models such as Django Reinhardt, Pat Martino, Joe Pass or George Benson, as well as interactions with many musicians, have colored his very individual style. Whether solo lines, octaves or chord soloes - the vitality of his interpretational and improvisational spirit is always evident.
Armin Heitz has many radio and television performances behind him, and has made a name for himself in numerous tours throughout Europe. He has won recognition both from the music press and from fellow musicians in Germany and abroad. He was certainly one of the highlights at the famous ROM-SOM Festival of 1996 in Budapest, he shone at the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois-sur-Seine and in appearances in Madrid. And he is much in demand for concerts of famous jazz musicians - for example he has appeared on the stage beside Martin Taylor, Birelli Lagrene, Hänsche Weiss, Joe Sachse and Zipflo Reinhardt.

Friday, December 23, 2011

SOUTH AFRICA: Eclectic jazz infusions

CAIPHUS Semenya, Hugh Masekela, Zahara, Lira, Nhlanhla Nciza, Judith Sephuma and Teargas are some of the names who are all going to be on the same stage on Boxing Day for the MTN Durban Jazz Festival, to be held at Hazelmere Dam.

The line-up for the concert showcases “the richness of our music ­culture”, says festival director Lindelani Mkhize.

Legendary artists Caiphus Se­menya and Hugh Masekela make up the true sounds of soft jazz, after which the music will segue to the Afro-centric sounds of Thandiswa Mazwai, Lira, Nhlanhla Nciza and Judith Sephuma.

ITALY: Umbria Jazz Winter 2012


UMBRIA JAZZ WINTER #19 takes the stage once more in Orvieto, as it has every year since 1993. From December 28  to  January 1, there will be five days of top quality music performed in a truly unique setting – the old town centre of one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in Umbria, a home to art and fine cooking and where hospitality is one of the distinguishing features of the local people.
The formula for this winter festival was established in its very first year, and in the intervening fourteen years it has been consolidated and fine-tuned. For five days there is music throughout the day and into the wee small hours, and the streets of Orvieto’s old town centre become alive with crowds of festive, enthusiastic music fans. It is the combination of culture and tourism that characterises Umbria Jazz and makes it unique among the many Italian music festivals.
On stage this year:
 Michel Camilo, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chano Dominguez, Stan Tracy, The Harlem Jubilee Singers, Paolo Fresu, Fabrizio Bosso, Gianluca Petrella, Danilo Rea, Franco Cerri, Renato Sellani, Peppe Servillo, la Lydian Sound Orchestra, Bobby Broom, Allan Harris, Funk Off, and many more.

Mike Ledonne -Keep the Faith (Savant 2011)

Mike has held court at the historic Smoke Jazz Club in New York for probably more years than he cares to admit but this. This, his sixth recording for Savant Records, finds him and his Hammond B-3 in the controlled atmosphere of the recording studio with his regular band featuring Eric Alexander on tenor sax. The guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Joe Farnsworth first-calls these days for B-3 dates it seems make Keep The Faith an important addition to the organ discography; one that looks forward while remembering its roots, one that innovates while respecting the tradition. (

Sonia Cat-Berro - Toyballoons (Le Chant Du Monde 2011)

Sonia Cat-Berro is a jazz singer rooted in her own era who watches and listens to all the modern jazz played in today’s clubs, and uses it as the basis for her own aesthetics.
What she creates from this is stylishly modern, hip and pop as well. It’s jazz with a bit of funk and a lot of groove.
If Sonia Cat-Berro was a place, it would be a stylish pop art loft in the Soho district of New York.
If Sonia Cat-Berro was an ambiance, it would be that of some post-funk lunar groove.
Le Chant Du Monde

Thursday, December 22, 2011

CZECH REPUBLIC: Preview: Mary Stallings An undercover American jazz great

Jazz singer Mary Stallings isn't nearly as well-known as she should be.

Despite being a stunningly talented female vocalist with nearly a dozen widely acclaimed albums over a career spanning more than 60 years, Stallings, who makes her Prague debut Dec. 23 at the National Theater, has managed to stay one of jazz's best-kept secrets.

The singer has built her career by impressing some of jazz's defining figures, from Cannonball Adderley to Dizzy Gillepsie, but hers is a household name for only the most dedicated jazz fans. That doesn't seem to bother Stallings, who at the age of 72 is singing more than ever, touring almost constantly and has released two albums in the last five years.

The Tierney Sutton Band Rings In the New Year with Two GRAMMY® Nominations for American Road on BFM JAZZ

The Tierney Sutton Band, a collaboration that has spanned over 18 years, has produced a catalog of nine extraordinary, critically acclaimed, chart-topping recordings. American Road, their latest and debut on BFM Jazz, just earned the ensemble their fourth consecutive GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal Album Category and their first for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist, a category that covers all musical genres, for the track “On Broadway,” the early ‘60s Barry Mann-Cynthia Weil gem. (PRWEB)

TURKEY: Turkish music scene wants TRT3 radio back

Leading figures in the Turkish classical and jazz music scenes request TRT management to revise its decision to reduce the broadcast area of TRT Radio 3, which chiefly broadcasts classical and jazz music in Turkey
Prominent names from the Turkish classical and jazz music scenes request TRT management to revise its decision to reduce the broadcast area of its classical and jazz music radio station TRT 3.
TRT has a duty toward the citizens of Turkey in supporting these music genres even though the public demand for them comes from a very limited minority because TRT is a public institution, leading figures in arts and culture told the Hürriyet Daily News.

USA: NYC Winter Jazz Festival

David Murray's Cuban Ensemble
Cindy Blackman-Santana's Another Lifetime
John Medeski solo
Vijay Iyer Trio
Bill Laswell
Miguel Zenon
Jenny Scheinman's Mischief & Mayhem
Bernie Worrell Orchestra
Nels Cline Singers
Big Sam's Funky Nation
Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog
Marco Benevento solo
Matt Wilson Quartet + Strings
Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Wallace Roney Band
Steven Bernstein's MTO plays Sly
Sofia Rei
Ben Allison with Strings
Malika Zarra
Gregoire Maret
Laurence Hobgood
Joel Harrison String Choir: Music of Paul Motian
Lionel Loueke
NY Gypsy All Stars
Will Calhoun Ensemble w/ Donald Harrison
Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber
Marc Cary's Cosmic Indigenous
Lucy Woodward
Michael Blake's Hellbent
DJ Spinna
Jesse Fischer's Soul Cycle f. Casey Benjamin
Casey Benjamin
Sharel Cassity
Adam Rudolph's Moving Pictures
Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith, Mat Maneri
Stephan Crump's Rosetta Trio
Andy Milne's Dapp Theory
Allison Miller BOOM TIC BOOM
Curtis Hasselbring's New Mellow Edwards
Ben Williams & Sound Effect
JD Walter
Tyshawn Sorey Oblique
Dominick Farinacci
Fabian Almazan & Strings
Mark Guiliana / Zach Danziger duo
Amanda Monaco's Deathblow
Justin Brown Group
Gilad Hekselman 4tet
Julian Lage Group
Ayelet Rose Gottlieb w/ Ethel and Satoshi Takeishi
Jason Ajemian's Highlife
Chris Morrissey
Steve Lehman Trio
Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy
Taylor Eigsti
Pete Robbins, Simon Jermyn, Oscar Noriega, John Hollenbeck, Ches Smith
Mostly Other People Do The Killing



"The rare Christmas record that transcends background music, nostalgia or pure business, this first Christmas album by the jazz pianist Geri Allen is serious and thoughtful." 
- Ben Ratliff, New York Times  
 Motéma Music is proud to announce its collaboration with Media Voices for Children
on a short film titled A Gift. Produced by Media Voices, the project is a new cultural music video set to music from jazz pianist Geri Allen's new Christmas album, A Child Is Born (released on Motéma, October 11). Now available for viewing on YouTube, the filmmakers and Allen present the film as a gift to the public during this holiday season. In return, the public is encouraged to make donations toMedia Voices and/or Media Voice's project, Kenyan SchoolHouse (both non-profit initiatives). Donors who donate $100 or more will receive a gift of Allen's album.

Produced by filmmakers Len and Georgia Morris, the film was inspired by the children they encountered while visiting Kenya this past September. As they traveled the length and breadth of Kenya, crisscrossing the country for three weeks, the Morris' handed out 650 lollipops to the children they met along the way.

"Having made documentaries about children's human rights for over a decade, I could see the futures of these impoverished kids. We wanted to touch and change each of their lives, to bring them the food they lack, the educations they'll never have, health, happiness and the security of childhood. Instead, we had to settle for  'How are you?' a smile and a lollipop with a whistle," says Len.

These moments, along with Allen's music, form the heart of the short video. The film and music 'honor' the beautiful spirits of these children of Kenya, the valuable work of Media Voices for Children and the sacred nature of Allen's music. 

"A moment of giving and joy is a precious thing.  it is never trivial. The film demonstrates this in a profound way," states Motéma Music Founder and President Jana Herzen.

"I am moved and grateful to have my music used in this beautiful film with these beautiful children," reflected Allen after viewing the film for the first time.

With her critically acclaimed solo piano project, A Child Is Born, Allen offers her own interpretation of Christmas and the holiday spirit, a collection of traditional and original Christmas music that is profound and exuberant, solemn and joyous, spiritual and intimate. The project is her third release for Motéma Music and honors equally meaningful, but perhaps even more deeply entrenched influences: family and spirituality. Allen refers to the album as "a joyous Christmas celebration and remembrance of a childhood where love was always unconditional."

Len concludes, "How natural, then, to put the Lollipop Project, as we call it, to Christmas music and how fortunate we are to have the artistry of pianist Geri Allen to bring it all together."
Donate to Media Voices and/or Kenyan SchoolHouse (a Media Voices initiative) 

Donors who contribute $100 or more 
will receive a gift of A Child is Born
For more information on Media Voices for Children, visit:

For more infromation on Kenyan SchoolHouse, visit:


A Child Is Born's Recognition:

"This well-considered program brilliantly stitches together familiar traditional Christmas and gospel songs...a quietly masterful display of artistic conception."  
- Kirk Silsbee, Los Angeles Times

"Allen has earned her reputation as an innovative pianist, and she deepens it with this genre-bending album." - Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

"Occasionally a jazz CD covers Christmas tunes with intelligence, eschewing the pabulum of the season. Pianist Geri Allen presents such a disc."
- Karl Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer
  Geri Allen · A Child Is Born
Motéma Music · Release Date: October 11, 2011

 For more information on Geri Allen, please visit 
 For more information on Motéma Music, please visit 
For more information, please contact:
DL Media · 610-667-0501
Jordy Freed · 

USA, Hawaii: Lana'i JAZZ FESTIVAL January 13th, 14th and 15th, 2012

Aloha Jazz & Blues Lovers!

Join us at the 2nd Annual Lana'i JAZZ FESTIVAL January 13th, 14th and 15th, 2012
on the island of Lana'i at The Four Seasons Resort, Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay!


Resort Packages are available now! Stay the entire weekend with rooms starting at only $179 at one of the Worlds finest Resorts! Call 1-800-321-4666 for reservations!

We'll be kicking things on Jan 13th with an incredible Jazz Dinner at the Four Seasons Resort Manele Bay. Award Winning Jazz from 6-9pm! Call Four Seasons Resort for reservations! 1-800-321-4666

Jan. 14th - Wake up and enjoy your morning coffee at Coffe Works,
with Jazz Guitarist Benny Uyetake, from 9am - 11am

Jan. 14th - Jazz Lunch at Cafe 565 with Cocoland Jazz Guitarist, Robbie Ray.

Jan 14th, the Jazz Fest starts at 4pm in the Great Room at The Four Seasons Resort, Lodge at Koele!

Grammy Winner Skip Martin, from the Dazz Band and Kool and The Gang!

Jazz Ukulele Duo - Benny Chong and Byron Yasui

Saxophone Master David Choy

Jazz Guitar with Benny Uyetake

Jazz Alley TV Trio-Sal Godinez, Doug White & Paul Marchetti.

Cocoland Jazz Guitar with Robbie Ray

And....The Jazz continues - Jan. 15th, Sunday Morning Jazz Breakfast at
The Blue Ginger Cafe', with Benny Uyetake - 9am - 12pm

Jan. 15th, Sunday Jazz Piano at The Lodge at Koele from 10am - 12pm
with Sal Godinez.
The Lana'i Jazz Festival is presented by the Lana'i Four Seasons Resort Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay,, Jazz Alley TV, Maui-Lana'i Expeditions Ferry, Maui Time Weekly, Lana'i Western Adventures, Pau Vodka, Maui Brewing Co., Lana'i Today, Cafe 565, Coffee Works, Lana'i 'Ohana Poki Market, Lana'i Culture & Heritage Center, Lana'i Pine Sporting Clays, Trilogy, Koni FM 104, Lana'i Plantation Store, Dollar rent-a Car, ABB Executive Rentals LLC, Dreams Come True B&B, KIKU TV, Colours TV Network, Maui FM Nine, Smooth Jazz Radio, Aloha Friday Show KAOI, Manao Radio, MauiFEST Hawai'i,, Hale Moe Accommodations, Pele's Other Garden, RB Steak House and all our Friends!

Please help with a Donations to the Lana'i Community Association! Helping the families of Lana'i!

With warm Aloha!! and

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flamenco Jazz Company - Nikela (Karonte - Nuba Records 2011)

Album debut from  the Flamenco Jazz Company a band originated in the Pedro Ojesto's piano Quintet. Two flamenco singers joined the bad: Israel Feráandez and Miguel de la Tolea. On guitar David Cerreduela  and on percussions and Cuban drums Fernando Favier. The album features original compositions mixing jazz and flamenco with a rare creative flair and good taste

DVD: Cuba: Island Of Music (MVD VISUAL 2011)

The film is a behind-the-scenes look at Afro-Cuban music's role in the daily life of Cubans. Filmmaker Gary Keys (Memories of Duke and Dizzy's Dream Band) brings the audience into the heart and soul of Havana, through a vibrant mosaic of street musicians, big bands, dancers, religious rituals, and classic cars. Keys shows us Afro-Cuban music in New York City, with the music and commentary of jazz legends Billy Taylor, Candido Camero, and Chico OFarrill.

Kennedy Center Honors: Clinton Toasts Rollins; CBS to Air Gala 12/27‏

34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors Gala To Be Broadcast on CBS Tuesday, Dec. 27, 9-11 PM
Honoree Sonny Rollins Celebrated In Musical Segment Led by Christian McBride & Also Featuring
Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, Jack DeJohnette & Others
In Award Presentation at Dec. 3 State Department Dinner, Rollins Was Toasted by Bill Clinton (Photo: John Filo)

Sonny Rollins and his fellow 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees -- Barbara Cook, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma, and Meryl Streep -- were celebrated for their dazzling professional accomplishments and artistry on Sunday, Dec. 4 at the annual Honors Gala in Washington, DC. Seated with the President of the United States and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees were saluted in turn by an array of world-class and deeply personal performances.

The Honors Gala will be broadcast on CBS on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 9:00-11:00 pm (ET/PT). Rollins's segment was introduced by Bill Cosby. Musical director Christian McBride assembled an all-star band consisting of Rollins colleagues (and friends) Jim Hall, Benny Golson, Joe Lovano, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Billy Drummond, and Roy Hargrove, who performed in different configurations before coming together for the finale of "St. Thomas."

"It's about jazz music," Rollins said of the award's significance for him. "There are many people much greater than I am that were never honored in their lifetime, before honors like this were given out. I accept the award, but I accept it for the music, not so much for my own accomplishment."

The Kennedy Center Honors medallions were presented on Saturday, Dec. 3, the night before the Gala, at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Each Honoree was toasted by a dignitary; Rollins's toast was delivered by former President Bill Clinton, who'd sat at Rollins's right during dinner that night. President Clinton's remarks appear below.

Bill Clinton Toast to Sonny Rollins
State Department Dinner, Kennedy Center Honors 
December 3, 2011

Bill Clinton & Sonny Rollins (photo: Terri Hinte) 

There are many people in this room who could do this better than me: Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano, Ravi Coltrane, Jim Hall. But it's appropriate because I'm just a fan. I discovered Sonny Rollins when I was about 15, 16 -- about 50 years ago. I loved jazz, and I fancied that someday I might be good enough to do it. And I bought my first Sonny Rollins LP. I listened and listened, I listened the grooves off of it. I subscribed to Down Beat magazine and I kept thinking: if I read every edition, sooner or later I will find one article that will explain to me what in the hell I just heard.

It was unbelievable, and it still is. Decade after decade after decade, this man explores the far reaches of the possibilities of what has lovingly been called the devil's horn. His music can bend your mind, it can break your heart, and it can make you laugh out loud. Still today after all these years, if I wake up in kind of a bad humor, or I'm worried about something, if I put on Sonny Rollins's version of "Brown Skin Girl," I will laugh out loud.

I have thought so much about his unique gifts. He has done things with improvisation that really no one has ever done. In complexity and creativity, he rivals Coltrane.

On one of the three CDs I listened to to prepare my mind for this, the Road Shows 2 album [that] has a lot of the tracks from his 80th birthday concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York -- I was just aghast at how good he still is. There's a duet which is more of a duel with Ornette Coleman, who probably has the most extreme capacity to go beyond normal chord structures and tonal assumptions of any saxophone player. So Sonny just gets right out there with him.

Then when he plays beautiful music-- Another one of the CDs I listened to today was called Old Flames. I played that one because it's a bunch of love songs that Sonny recorded in my first year as President. One of them, Duke Ellington's beautiful "Prelude to a Kiss," Jimmy Heath arranged and conducted. . . . It's so beautiful.

And then I listened to The Freedom Suite, which he recorded almost 54 years ago, in February of 1958. A propos of what the former speaker said [referring to emcee Renee Fleming's earlier remark: "He'd take a song you'd known all your life and in soaring solos of improvisation strip away the familiar and reveal new universes of wonder"], there are also, at the end of The Freedom Suite, three different takes of "Till There Was You," and they're all different.

This man is a marvel. He was born with a strong body and a brilliant mind and a passion for jazz. He knew when he made jazz his mistress he would never be bored, but he would never conquer. And he decided he would spend his life trying again, every single day.

At 81, he told me tonight, he said "I still practice every day." Every day. I said, "I love that 80th birthday gig at the Beacon." He said, "I wasn't very good."

Some musicians that are really good grace us because they keep playing. Sonny Rollins's great gift to all of us, whether you know a lick about jazz or not, is that he keeps growing. And he still does.

A few weeks ago, physicists in Switzerland at the superconductor supercollider, the Hadron Supercollider, fired some subatomic particles called neutrinos through the mountains to a magnet in the Italian Alps, and it appeared that they arrived before they left. That is, it's the first known experiment in physics since Einstein propagated his theory of relativity where anything with matter and mass appeared to travel faster than the speed of light.
People who know a lot more about this than I do are still trying to absorb what this means and whether the experiment is accurate. But if it is, it may mean not just that we don't know where we are and what time it is -- something I often feel when I'm in Washington -- it may mean that there is after all a whole fourth dimension to reality.

Long before the scientists fired the neutrinos, Sonny Rollins believed there was another dimension to reality. In jazz music, his Mark VI Selmer tenor with his old Berg-Larsen mouthpiece is our superconducting supercollider. He has given us a gift, and reminded us that whatever hand we're given to play, we're supposed to play it to the very end and keep growing. Thank you, my friend.

Kennedy Center Honors:
Brief video interviews with Sonny RollinsChristian McBrideHerbie Hancock 
Reports on the Gala from DownBeat and JazzTimes

Sonny Rollins Web
Media Contact:Terri Hinte 510-234-8781

Medeski, Martin & Wood - 20 (Indirecto Records 2011)

Each month during 2011, MMW released new, never-released tracks, for a total of 20 tracks to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
Buy at the medeski martin and wood shop

Justin Time Records upcoming releases

Kenny Werner - Me, Myself & I

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu - Rrakala

Winner of Best World Music Album at the 2011 ARIA Artisian Awards.
Rrakala debued at #3 on the ARIA charts.
Titled 'Rrakala'; a sub-group of people within the Gumatj clan, Gurrumul’s songwriting and choice of songs reflects deeper into his Aboriginal identity.
It follows in the footsteps of the multi ARIA award winning double platinum debut album released in February 2008 and which has gone on to sell half a million copies world-wide.

More at Justin Time Records

William Johnson-Flor de Vida ( Cedros Records 2011)

An instrumental fusion project with the sounds of Latin percussion, jazz, contemporary, and rock with a helping of spicy skat jazz vocals...

William Johnson returns with his new Latin jazz & world fusion project “Flor de Vida”, and explores the textures of jazz, world music, rock, and contemporary with percussion leading the charge. Flor de Vida is a spirit and rhythm filled album that combines the strength of Grammy award winning musicians along with several internationally accomplished musicians from all over the world. 

Two years in the making between twelve different studios, Flor de Vida features a cast of versatile musicians representing two countries, four states, and several cities across North Carolina. Grammy award winning Luis Conte returns combining his strength on timbales, and vocals to such tracks as the infectious “Flor” , “Como la Flores”, and “Descarga”. Pianist Alberto Salas combines his musical strength and versatility to the project on the tracks “Flor”, “Como la Flores”, “Descarga”, and “Flor de Mi Vida”. Mark Fain, on upright bass, (perhaps best known for his work with Ricky Skaggs) lends the low end to Latin tracks “Flor”, and “Como la Flores”. 

Accomplished musicians and composers such as Michael Parlett, and pianist Hans Zerhmuelan (England, Los Angeles) produced the flowery and playful tune “Descubrimiento/Discovery” from the Los Angeles based studio/production company Talented Productions. “Discovery” is a character filled and meant to bring to life the season of discovery in childhood. Lou Santiago Jr. (drummer for worship artist Jeff Deyo, and many other accomplished artists such as Natalie Grant, Seventh Day Slumber, etc.) plays drums on both “Mi Pasíon”, and “Flor de Mi Vida”. Los Angeles based drummer Daniel Wiley also plays drums on “Descarga”.

Also on the project “Flor de Vida” are Belfast, Ireland based flutist Raymond Robinson (flutist for worship artist Robin Mark) played flute, and strings on Heaven’s Rainforest; a song about the beautiful complexities and contrasts of life. Kyle Johnson, and Alex Anders (engineer for hit television series “Glee”) also played on “Heaven’s Rainforest” on the electric and acoustic guitar. Kyle Johnson also plays electric guitar with Berklee graduate Timmie Raynor (fretless bass) on “Mi Pasíon” (My Passion). Vocalist Lasherrie Droughon and Melissa Mayle bring their vocal prowess to song “Como la Flores” and “Talitha Cumi”, and “Flor de Mi Vida”.

Below is a review by music journalist Alex Henderson.

Afro-Cuban jazz is something that one tends to associate with the East Coast more than the West Coast. Ray Barretto, Tito Puente, Sr., Mongo Santamaria, Machito, Chano Pozo, Mario Bauza and Dizzy Gillespie were important figures in Afro-Cuban jazz, and all of them had a strong New York City connection (even the ones who didn’t actually grow up there). But the West Coast has also offered some quality Afro-Cuban jazz if one knows where to look. Percussionist/bandleader Poncho Sanchez is a life-long resident of Los Angeles; the late vibist Cal Tjader had a strong presence in the Bay Area. So no, Afro-Cuban jazz doesn’t have to come from the East Coast. Percussionist/composer William Johnson, in fact, grew up in Southern California (although he was born in Illinois) and provides mostly Afro-Cuban jazz and salsa on Flor de Vida, which he self-released on his own label, Cedros Records (Cedros is a side street that runs through Panorama City and Van Nuys in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley and is only a few blocks from Van Nuys Boulevard). Williams isn’t strictly a Latin jazz or salsa musician; his interests range from Christian music to traditional Indian music. But Latin jazz is his orientation on Flor de Vida (which means “Flower of Life” in Spanish).

Many of the selections on this 43-minute CD are post-bop instrumentals with a strong Afro-Cuban flavor, including “Descubrimento (Discovery),” “Flor,” “Descarga” and “Rise (Talitha Cumi).” But salsa with vocals is what Johnson favors on “Flor de Mi Vida” (“Flower of My Life”) and the infectious “Como las Flores” (“Like the Flowers”). Johnson doesn’t actually sing on either of those tunes; Melissa Mayle is the vocalist on “Flor de Mi Vida,” while Luis Conte and Lasherrrie Droughon handle the singing on “Como las Flores.” But Johnson wrote both songs and plays percussion on both of them. 

Johnson plays a variety of Afro-Cuban percussion on this album, including congas and timbales. And on “Flor de Mi Vida,” one of the instruments he plays is the djembe (a traditional drum from West Africa). The djembe, like Latin congas, timbales and bongos, is meant to be played with one’s hands rather than with sticks.

The instrumental “Mi Pasíon” (“My Passion”) features Kyle Johnson on electric guitar and takes the album into jazz-rock fusion territory, while the haunting “Dad’s Song” is a two-minute instrumental that features Johnson on Native American flute. “Dad’s Song” isn’t Afro-Cuban jazz or salsa at all; it’s Native American music. And yet, it doesn’t sound or feel out of place on what is primarily an Afro-Cuban jazz/salsa album. Johnson is obviously a musician with eclectic tastes; so it stands to reason that he would want to add some variety to this 2011 release. Flor de Vida is fairly unpredictable, and that is a good thing.

Johnson also plays guitar on the congenial “Heaven’s Rainforest,” only this time, he plays acoustic guitar instead of electric guitar. And while “Mi Pasíon” is fusion, “Heaven’s Rainforest” is the only thing on this album that could be described as smooth jazz, pop-jazz or crossover jazz. But unlike so many of the instrumentals that one hears on so-called “smooth jazz” or “new adult contemporary (NAC)” radio stations in the United States, “Heaven’s Rainforest” is not elevator music or mindless fluff for the sake of mindless fluff. “Smooth jazz” stations are infamous for playing a lot of dull, insincere music that has a very saccharine quality; “Heaven’s Rainforest,” however, is sweet without being saccharine or artificial. It’s light but not lightweight. Let’s say that “Heaven’s Rainforest” is “smooth jazz with a difference.” 

Alex Henderson