Saturday, June 30, 2012

Espen Eriksen Trio - What Took You So Long (Rune Grammofon 2012)

On their second album this most melodic trio continue in the same tradition as on their highly acclaimed debut from 2010, a tradition that implies typically Scandinavian elements such as folk music, melancholia and the deep woods. In that respect it´s fair to say that he belongs to the same tradition as Tord Gustavsen and the late Esbjörn Svensson, even Jan Johanson in some respects, but without sounding like any of them. It´s also fair to say that the trio´s less is more approach is in stark contrast to many contemporary piano trios, with shorter tunes and strong focus on melodic content. On ”What Took You So Long” you will find eight new Eriksen compositions and two quite unlikely cover versions. ”Oslo”, the lovely and captivating track that ends the album, was written in the shade of 22nd July and captures both grief and optimism in a simple and unsentimental way.
Will also be available as a 2LP addition with a different sleeve. This includes their first album "You Had Me At Goodbye" and full mp3 download of both
Rune Grammofon

Tom Harrell - Number Five ( HighNote 2012)

Tom Harrell is one of the world's most respected jazz trumpeters and composers. His original works achieve that rare balance between intricacy and musicality, being at once intellectually engaging and emotionally satisfying. In realizing this musical vision, Harrell has surrounded himself with like minded players and it is this, his "working band," that has appeared unchanged on five of his HighNote recordings. The result is a comfort level that approaches musical symbiosis and a recording which is much more than another entry in a discography, but is an event.

Brian Culbertson-Dreams (Verve 2012)

In the gentle lull of sleep, we re often enraptured in a vivid sequence of thoughts, images, and sensations. A lifelike realm where radiant colors, sounds, and illusions intersect, creating the most vibrant experience. This spring, prolific R&B/Jazz musician Brian Culbertson invites you to close your eyes, open your ears, and fall deep into a lush world of musical fantasy with his breathtaking thirteenth album Dreams. With the help of lauded guest vocalists Noel Gourdin, Vivian Green, and Stokley Williams of Mint Condition, Dreams masterfully melds jazz sensibility with an R&B flair in a wondrous mélange of enchanting grooves. 

Last summer, I just started having these really vivid dreams, Culbertson says. I started waking up inspired to get into the studio and write songs. Songs that made me feel like those dreams. It s really strange for me, because I ve never written songs about being inspired by dreams. That s why this record is quite different. 

Having worked with an array of stellar R&B artists such as Faith Evans, Ledisi, Brian McKnight, Kenny Lattimore, and Avant on his past albums, Brian forges full steam ahead in that tradition on Dreams. Brian brought together a group of "who's who" in music including: R&B producer and longtime collaborator and arranger Rex Rideout (Angie Stone, Ledisi, Luther Vandross, Lalah Hathaway, Will Downing, Kem); four of R&B s top session players to help round out the sound - bassist Alex Al (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones); and guitarists Michael Thompson (Babyface, Toni Braxton), Rob Bacon (Beyonce, Raphael Saadiq), and John Jubu Smith (Frankie Beverly & Maze, Whitney Houston). 

The result is a stunning collection of 10 mesmerizing tunes, including the extraordinary lead Urban Adult Contemporary single Still Here - featuring the soulful rapture of Vivian Green. Co-written by Green, the song tells the passionate tale of how taking a risk on love can have a happy ending. Sometimes your past experiences and all your friends are telling you to stay away from someone because it seems too good to be true, explains Brian. But there s something different about this person. Almost like you ve met before in a dream. Because of this, you have a strong feeling that it will work out so you go with it and amazingly, they turn out to be the one. Still Here will also be the first music video from Dreams.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Available Now: Towner Galaher Releases "Uptown!" The Drummer/Composer's Nod to Hammond B-3 Organ Groups on Rhythm Royale Records

   Galaher Assembles All-Star Lineup Featuring
Brian Lynch, Donald Harrison, Craig Handy,
and Pat Bianchi to Support His Latest Album

Recent Coverage In:

As a follow up to 2009's Courageous Hearts, his ingenious melding of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, New Orleans second line and straight ahead swing rhythms, drummer-composer-bandleader Towner Galaher follows a different muse on the aptly-named Uptown!, his paean to Hammond B-3 organ groups that played at places like Small's Paradise in Harlem during the '50s and '60s. "It runs between all the usual suspects like Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Lonnie Smith, but there's also an element of Larry Young in there too," says Galaher. "With an organ record people right off the bat think guitar, but this album has a different twist because it's organ plus three horns."

Joining Galaher on his third outing as a leader is the impressive frontline of GRAMMY® winning trumpeter Brian Lynch, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison (Lynch's former band mate in both Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Eddie Palmieri's band) and tenor saxophonist extraordinaire Craig Handy. Handling the organ is Pat Bianchi, a B-3 burner who has played with such guitar greats as Pat Martino, Ed Cherry and Corey Christiansen and is a key member of drummer Ralph Peterson's Unity Project, his Larry Young tribute band. 

Galaher drives them through a varied program that opens with Frank Foster's swinging waltz-time vehicle "Simone" and closes with the leader's modernist burner "Say What?," which includes torrid solos by each of the horn players and has Bianchi pushing the harmonic envelope into Larry Young territory. Galaher reveals some graceful brushwork and a mean shuffle groove on Wayne Shorter's "Tell It Like It Is" (from the Jazz Messengers' 1961 album The Freedom Rider), which has Harrison quoting from "It Ain't Necessarily So" during his solo, Lynch playing with a mute on his solo and Handy nearly walking the bar on his robust tenor solo. They turn in faithful interpretations of Shorter's pensive ballad "House of Jade" and McCoy Tyner's "Blues on the Corner" (from 1965's The Real McCoy) on which Galaher cleverly interpolates a segment of the melodic theme to "Resolution" from John Coltrane's iconic A Love Supreme.

Galaher and his all-star crew show some old school swagger on his post-boppish title track and on Mike Clark's earthy Texas shuffle, "Shuffleocity," which has Bianchi digging deep into his Jimmy Smith-Jack McDuff bag. The leader also showcases his compositional chops on his 6/4 Latin-tinged "Café Con Samba," his urgently swinging "East 104th Street Waltz," the dark groover "Phantom City" and the extremely syncopated funk of "Jimmy and Johnny," named for his youthful band mates from Portland, Oregon, the Sanders brothers. "Jimmy was really an A-1 organist and kind of a local legend," recalls Galaher. "My first taste of playing with a B-3 was with him."

One listen to Uptown! and it's easy to see why drum master Lenny White calls Galaher "a triple threat - great drummer, great composer, great bandleader," or why modern jazz-funk innovator Mike Clark praises Towner for his "unquenchable desire to know all there is about music...and to play the kind of jazz that is informed by the masters of the past while pointing to the future." Surrounded by such seasoned vets and stellar soloists as Lynch, Harrison, Handy and Bianchi, Galaher makes his most striking statement to date on this potent outing.

Born in Portland, Oregon in 1955, Galaher picked up drums at age nine and was dedicated at an early age. "I went to an alternative high school so I got to practice drums like five or six hours a day all through high school, which was a good thing for me," he recalls. "And I went straight from high school into the club scene and I continued playing there for the next 11 years, playing the whole gamut of gigs. I was in a nine-piece rhythm and blues band with horns that did original music along with all the old Motown stuff and more modern Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power stuff."

His Portland drumming mentor was Mel Brown, who played jazz in between tours with his two main gigs, The Temptations and The Supremes. Galaher's long career in education began in 1980 at Brown's Drum Shop, and has since developed into over 30 years of teaching at community centers, giving private lessons from music stores and his home studio, and more than 14 years in New York City Public Schools. Now a New York resident, Galaher has garnered much respect as an educator who is committed to mentoring and passing the baton to younger generations. It was in a local school that jazz drumming great Art Blakey helped encourage Galaher to move to New York City. "Art was at a high school in town giving a concert and lecture. And he was saying something about, 'You should get all the experience you can and then come to New York, where all the action is.' And that was kind of an affirmation of where I was headed anyhow."

Towner finally made the move to the Big Apple in the Fall of 1986 and signed up for a 10-week certified program at the Drummer's Collective, where he met and began studying with Headhunters drummer Mike Clark. "I made a really great connection with him right off the bat and that really fortified the trajectory of my musical direction in jazz." He subsequently studied Afro-Cuban drumming with Frankie Malabe, Brazilian drumming with Duduka da Foncesa and New Orleans drumming with Ricky Sebastian. Galaher organically blended all of those diverse rhythmic elements on his 2007 debut as a leader, Panorama, and followed up with an equally impressive display on 2009's Courageous Hearts. Now he makes an incremental leap to a new level with Uptown!.

"Being a composer is a big part of what I am, although it was very unintentional," says Galaher. "I worked relentlessly at honing my drumming skills but I never really made any conscious effort or decision toward developing into a composer. When I got into Queens College and started taking arranging and composition courses with Roland Hanna and Michael Mossman, that's what set everything in motion. It completely changed my life and opened up another dimension of creativity. I was writing material and doing all the arrangements myself as well. So I came up with the songs for the first album, and then I just kept going."

"I have continued to grow and develop each decade," he continues. "I'm proud that even within the last 20 years or so I've improved dramatically over where I was. Now I'm building up a catalog with this third release and I've already written material for the next one."

Meanwhile, check what Galaher and his kindred crew are putting down on Uptown!

Towner Galaher's Upcoming Performances:

July 14 / Londel's Supper Club / Manhattan, NY
July 15 / Somethin' Jazz Club / New York, NY
August 4 / Harlem's 'L' Lounge / New York, NY
August 13 / SGI-USA Buddhist Culture Center / New York, NY
August 18 / Londel's Supper Club / Manhattan, NY
August 25 / Smalls Jazz Club / Greenwich Village, NY
September 15 / Harlem's 'L' Lounge / New York, NY
September 29 / Londel's Supper Club / Manhattan, NY
For more information on Towner Galaher, visit:

Information and press materials (including album covers, promotional photos and bio's)
on all DL Media artists can be found at our new website:

The Wolff & Clark Expedition Featuring Jazz Legends Michael Wolff and Mike Clark To Play The Kitano in NYC - July 7, 2012

New York, NY – Jazz legends Michael Wolff and Mike Clark, the Wolff & Clark Expedition, will be performing at The Kitano in New York City on July 7, 2012, promising unforgettable evenings of hot jazz and funk. The duo will be joined by Steve Wilson on alto saxophone and Chip Jackson on acoustic bass. Hot off the heels of two very successful engagements in New Mexico, the Wolff & Clark Expedition are preparing to tear it up in New York City! The group will be performing two sets that evening: 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM.

In the present.

Wolff and Clark are most definitely in the present - and when these two get together they naturally explore. Expedition: A journey undertaken by a group of people with a definite objective; or the group undertaking such a journey. Implicit in the definition: the exploratory nature of the journey, or “to go where no one has gone before” in Star Trek parlance. So it is with the intrepid negotiations of the modern Wolff and Clark Expedition. The name recalls another notorious duo of similar name, the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Now while it could be argued that that endeavor retraced already tread regions - their trip merely revealed what lay ahead to a new crowd. The same cannot be claimed for Wolff and Clark, whose music, while steeped in the rich history of American music, simultaneously blazes a trail fresh with virgin soil and fertile with sounds I guarantee you have never heard before.

Performing together since the 1970s both Wolff and Clark individually have had stellar music careers. Michael Wolff is an internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and bandleader, and is best known for his melodically, fresh,and rhythmically compelling piano style. Wolff made his recording debut in 1972 with Cal Tjader, and went on to record with Cannonball Adderley, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Tony Williams,  Christian McBride and many others. As pianist and music director for jazz singer Nancy Wilson, Michael wrote orchestral arrangements and conducted more than 25 major symphony orchestras worldwide. From 1989 to 1994, Michael served as the band leader for the Aresenio Hall Show, which heightened his visibility and gave him the opportunity to perform with many established artists such as Ray Charles, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and saxophonist/president Bill Clinton. Michael Wolff has released 12 critically acclaimed solo albums to date as a leader, 'Joe's Strut' being the most recent. He was a winner of the BMI Music Award for television composition and was also the winner of the Gold Disc Award in Japan for his album 'Jumpstart'. On Feb 23, 2012 Michael performed a solo piano concert at the University of Toledo, in Toledo, Ohio, as part of their Art Tatum solo piano concert.

What can be said about Mike Clark except that he is a true drum legend! Mike Clark gained worldwide recognition as one of America’s foremost jazz and funk drummers while playing with Herbie Hancock’s group in the early 1970’s. Mike became known as a major innovator through his incisive playing on Hancock’s 'Thrust' album, which garnered him an international cult following. While often referred to as the “Tony Williams of funk”, Mike considers himself a jazz drummer, and in fact has become one of the most vital to sit behind a set. He's performed with jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock, Chet Baker, Vince Guaraldi, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, Rob Dixon, Bobby Hutcherson, Woody Shaw, Donald Harrison, Larry Coryell, Jack Wilkins, Mike Wolff, Wallace Roney, Geri Allen, Billy Childs, James Genus, Bob Hurst, Chris Potter, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Dave Liebman, Nat Adderly, Oscar Brown Jr., Bill Doggett, Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride, Mose Allison, Maxine Brown, Gil Evans and his orchestra and many illuminating artists too numerous to list
. Mike is currently putting the finishing touches to his forthcoming solo CD 'Indigo Blue', which features Randy Brecker, Christian McBride, Ron Dixon and Antonio Farao.

Together they bring a combination of swing and groove with a unique deconstructive take on classic jazz, popular standards, and original compositions that creates a freedom in the sound that electrifies
their listeners and audiences wherever they play. Since Wolff and Clark, being veterans of so many different directions can, and do, play with anyone, anywhere, defying set boundaries of genre, being able to mingle and mix with a kaleidoscope of changing players is what keeps the music interesting and dynamic. As such, they are excited to present their VIP List Series. On any particular gig, they invite one or several of an impressive roster of  colleagues to join them for a night, or a week. Perhaps Steve Wilson, James Genus, Christian McBride, Donald Harrison, Randy Brecker, Wallace Roney, Lenny Pickett, Seamus Blake, etc.

Who knows who might join the call to explore? After all, on an expedition, the possibilities are
Wolff & Clark Expedition:
Michael Wolff - Piano
Mike Clark - Drums
Steve Wilson - Alto Saxophone
Chip Jackson - Acoustic Bass

When: July 7, 2012 - 8 PM & 10 PM

Where: The Kitano
66 Park Avenue, East 38th St
New York NY 10016
Tel: 212-885-7000
For more information:
Michael Wolff:
Mike Clark:
Wolff & Clark Expedition Facebook Page:

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158,

Pianist/Composer Donald Vega Blends Jazz, Classical and Latin Influences on Resonance Records Debut, "Spiritual Nature," Available August 14

Pianist/Composer Donald Vega Blends Jazz, Classical and 
Latin Influences on Resonance Records Debut,
Spiritual Nature, Available August 14
Donald Vega 
Resonance Logo

Donald Vega
Spiritual Nature

Release Date:
August 14, 2012 
DL Media· (610) 667-0501
Amy Miller
 Lindsey Grande

Ron Carter Sideman Recruits Bassist Christian McBride, 
Guitarist Anthony Wilson, Drummer Lewis Nash 
and Violinist Christian Howes for New Album 

"... an exceptionally articulate pianist... Vega's single most distinctive characteristic is his romantic lyricism." - JazzTimes

While pianist Donald Vega is beginning to draw attention in jazz circles as Mulgrew Miller's successor in the Ron Carter Trio, he makes a bold statement as a composer and bandleader on Spiritual Nature. Joined by the regal rhythm tandem of bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash, Vega explores the marriage of jazz, Latin and classical music on his auspicious Resonance Records debut. "It's a dream come true," says the 37-year-old pianist of the opportunity to record with McBride and Nash. "Spiritually, this is my dream trio." The core trio is augmented by guitarist Anthony Wilson, violinist and label mate Christian Howes, tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos and trombonist Bob McChesney on Vega's sophomore outing (following 2008's self-produced Tomorrows, which also featured drummer Nash).

Classically-trained in his native Nicaragua, Vega emigrated to Los Angeles at age 14 and began learning the language of jazz from mentor Billy Higgins at The World Stage and later with bassist John Clayton at the University of Southern California. Bassist Al McKibbon, a member of Dizzy Gillespie's band of the late 1940s, subsequently took the young pianist under his wing and schooled him on the bandstand on the finer points of bebop. Vega met drummer Nash while working in McKibbon's trio in Los Angeles. For Spiritual Nature, Vega imagined pairing Nash with bassist McBride, whom he had met in 2007 while attending The Juilliard School in New York. "The idea of having this tasty drummer with this killing bass player was so interesting," he says. "But for them to get together in one place, it's very rare because they're both so busy. And when we finally got together, the music just played itself, like magic."

Throughout Spiritual Nature, Vega shifts the configuration from trio to quartet to quintet, providing plenty of scintillating moments along the way. He kicks it off with the aggressively swinging, hard boppish "Scorpion," which showcases his voicings for trumpet and sax on the frontline and also features an outstanding drum solo from Nash. "I love writing harmonies," says Vega, "but most important to me is the melody. I always want it to be singable." Ron Carter's "First Trip," which originally appeared on Herbie Hancock's 1968 Blue Note classic, Speak Like a Child, is rendered here as a jaunty swinger underscored by Nash's brushwork, McBride's walking bass lines and featuring Wilson on guitar. "My attitude here was, 'OK, Herbie's version was so incredible, nobody's going to do it better than that. So let's just have some fun with it.'"

A delicate quartet rendition of Monty Alexander's lyrical "The River" features Howes on violin while the title track blends a straight eighth note jazz feel with a subtle bossa nova vibe. "You can hear the McCoy Tyner influence on my playing," says Vega, "and the tropical flavor from my country, Nicaragua. And when I hear it back, just the way it moves makes me think about the things that are unexplained - nature and the spiritual." A cover of Monty Alexander's funky boogaloo "Accompong" is highlighted by some rapid-fire exchanges between Vega's piano and Wilson's guitar while a trio interpretation of Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen's delicate waltz-time number "Future Child" opens with an extended introspective solo piano introduction from Vega. McBride's bold, walking bass lines fuel a swinging piano trio rendition of Makoto Ozone's "You Never Tell Me Anything" and on the atmospheric "Contemplation" he incorporates Fender Rhodes electric piano for a different color.

Vega's arrangement of the classical piece "Etude Opus 8, #2" by Alexander Scriabin deftly incorporates a 6/8 Afro-Cuban feel in the bass line while showcasing brisk unisons on top in a 3/4 encounter between piano and violin. "In Nicaragua, I had classical training," he explains. "I studied Chopin, Bach, Brahms, all the classics. And I always wanted to mix jazz with classical and Latin. Since I knew all of those languages, why not expand on that? And this was a perfect piece to incorporate all of those elements."

A poignant solo rendition of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Falando De Amore-Tema De Amor" showcases the pianist's exquisite touch on the keyboard. "My all-time heroes are Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan," says Vega. "Those are the masters I try to learn from, in terms of the touch and harmony." He explains that it was producer Klabin's idea to record three separate segments and then graft them together into one flowing piece. "When George brought in this piece, which I had never heard before, he said, 'Would you be open to doing something where you come in and record one voice, then we record a second voice and a third voice, and then put them all together?' I know Bill Evans did that on Conversations with Myself, and he was very masterful in his approach on that album. So I agreed. I'm very open and I'm always ready to learn. So George and I actually collaborated on that one."

Vega's gentle quartet number "Child's Play," which has Nash playing with his hands on the kit, carries special meaning for the new, first-time father. "I have a lot of brothers and sisters and they all just had babies too," he says. "We're all in different places - Los Angeles, Miami, New York - and in composing this tune I was imaging just having all the kids together playing. That's the image that came to mind and when the musicians were able to hear the story of where this tune came from, they knew what to play."

The album concludes with a loose, highly interactive trio rendition of Benny Golson's classic ballad "I Remember Clifford" that is underscored by Nash's signature brushwork and McBride's contrapuntal approach to the bass. "All the other tunes on the album were heavily arranged," says Vega, "so we wanted just one tune where we don't have to read, we don't have any arrangement, we just play. Benny Golson's writing is great and we all knew this tune, so the idea was, 'Let's just go in and play.' And you can hear that kind of looseness on this track."

Backed by such a formidable lineup, Vega makes a giant leap as a composer-arranger and bandleader in his own right on Spiritual Nature.

Donald Vega - Scorpion (From the forthcoming album
Donald Vega - Recording "Scorpion" from Spiritual Nature at Rising Jazz Stars Studios
Spiritual Nature Track Listing:
Donald Vega - piano/Rhodes
Christian McBride - bass
Lewis Nash - drums
Anthony Wilson - guitar
Christian Howes - violin
Bob Sheppard - saxophone
Gilbert Castellanos - trumpet
Bob McChesney - trombone

1. Scorpion (D. Vega)
2. First Trip (Ron Carter)
3. River (M. Alexander)  
4. Spiritual Nature (D. Vega)
5. Accompong (M. Alexander)
6. Future Child (N.H. Orsted Pederson)  
7. You Never Tell Me Anything (M. Ozone)
8. Contemplation (D. Vega)
9. Etude Opus 8, #2 (Scriabin, adaptation by D. Vega)
10. Falando de Amor / Tema de Amor (arrangement by D. Vega & G. Klabin)
(Theme from Film "Gabriela" by A.C. Jobim) 
11. Child's Play (D. Vega) 
12. I Remember Clifford (B. Golson)

 For more information on Donald Vega, please visit:

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For further information on this and other Resonance Records
releases, visit: 
Resonance Records is a program of the Rising Jazz Stars Foundation, 
a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Information and press materials (including album covers, promotional photos
and bio's) on all DL Media artists can be found at our new website:

New Release: Richard Sussman Quintet "Continuum" on Origin Records+ Live Appearance

New Release:
Richard Sussman
Richard Sussman-piano & synthesizer
Randy Brecker-trumpet & flugelhorn
Jerry Bergonzi-tenor sax
Mike Richmond-bass
Jeff Williams-drums
Mike Stern-guitar (on Mike’s Blues)
Origin Records
Street Date June 19, 2012

Live Appearance

The Richard Sussman Quintet
Playing Music From Their New CD
"Continuum" on Origin Records
Sunday, July 22, 2012 
7:30 - 11:00 pm
NYACK JAZZ WEEK Opening Night Concert
Joe Magnarelli-tpt
Steve Wilson-alto sx
Cameron Brown-bs
Jeff Williams-dr
Richard Sussman-pno & synth
The Turning Point Cafe
468 Piermont Ave.
Piermont, N.Y. 10968
(845) 359-1089

Second Line Jazzband - Get out of here (Imogena 2012)

  1. Little Liza Jane
  2. If You Were The Only Girl In The World
  3. Get Out Of Here And Go Home
  4. Taking A Chance On Love
  5. Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)
  6. Bourbon Street Parade
  7. St James Infirmary
  8. Swing 42
  9. Don’t Think Twice It’s Allright
  10. Jamaica Farewell
  11. Monday Morning
  12. I Got Loaded

Jesper Albrektsson: trumpet/vocal. Niklas Carlsson: trombone/vocal. Olof Skoog: tenor sax/clarinet/vocal. Anders Wasén: banjo. Johan Horner: drums/congas. Per Bach: double bass/cello.
Guest Musicians: Matti Ollikainen: piano. Stefan Sandberg: electric guitar/tenor sax. Daniel Lemma: vocal.

Recorded 26th & 27th of february 2012 at Studio Fabriken, Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Second Line Jazzband was formed in 1989 and since then has established a position as one of the most popular traditional jazzbands in Europe. Original improvisations and arrangements and a tremendous intensity in our playing have given us oppurtunities to perform at many jazz clubs and festivals, on TV and radio in, for example, England, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Norway and, of course, Sweden.

Orrin Evans-Flip The Script (Posi Tone Records 2012)

In the days of the digital download and advanced ordering of new releases there are some records simply too good to wait for - this is one. When we last heard from Orrin Evans the release was Freedom. Evans pays homage to some of the Philly greats that influenced his sound and fueled his passion. Now we have Flip The Script which is simply Evans not reinventing the musical wheel or tossing out the stereotypical release of standards in an attempt for a quick and easy payday. Flip The Script is a brilliant and in some ways semi-autobiographical release highlighting the prolific talents of a pianist that may be still flying under some listeners radar. Evans is a man of passion and there is some interesting back story as to the original intent of the release. Never wavering from his stand on certain aspects of the industry is certainly admirable and in some ways a driving force behind this intoxicating release but in this case the music simply outshines anything else related to this story. One standard, three older Evans tunes never recorded and three brand new tunes work in perfect harmony to paint an artistic self portrait of beauty and elegance. One major change is the addition of Ben Wolfe who is one of the finest lyrical bassists working today. Wolfe and drummer Donald Edwards are the rhythmic glue that allows the lyrical swing of Evans to take center stage without ever boarding on the self indulgent. "Clean House" is a delightful odd metered harmonic swing and has the trio firing on all cylinders. Evans is clearly driving the musical train and has never sounded better. Wolfe's lyrical flow is a welcome addition and Edwards doesn't play in the pocket - he is the pocket. "TC's Blues" is another Evans tune and a personal favorite from the release. A groove you can use. Music you feel with your hips and hear with your feet. Evans walks an effortless harmonic tightrope while again never falling pray to the self indulgent nature some piano trios immediately find. "Someday My Prince Will Come" is an exquisite ballad showing the emotional depth of Evans translated into his performance with grace and sensitivity eerily similar to that of the great Bill Evans. Flip The Script may arguably be Orrin Evans finest release to date. While Evans celebrates his passion and our views on what is right and what is wrong are polar opposites it does not matter. Evans intention is to push the music forward. Evans has a desire to educate the younger listener and by doing so hopefully bring more and certainly some much needed attention to more traditional or straight ahead jazz in general. How can you argue with that? A magnificent ebb and flow with a lyrical swing and shifting harmonic base that is on point every step of the way. 5 Stars --Brent Black, @ Critical Jazz

Pianist Orrin Evans Flip the Script is a confident display of his trio's musical interplay that features bassist Ben Wolfe and drummer Donald Edwards on ten great tracks. This straight-ahead session offers some daring swing, audacious hard-bop, and forward-thinking avant-garde improvisations in an evocative program. The recording includes six of Evans original compositions and four unique covers including Question, by the GRAMMYAward-winning bassist/composer Eric Revis, Luther Vandross Brand New Day, (from the Broadway musical The Wiz), Someday My Prince Will Come, and Gamble/Huff s The Sound of Philadelphia. The set opens with Eric Revis' Question, a composition that references several elements of Thelonious Monk s work but is a priceless vehicle for Evans creative piano chops. This set really burns and sets the tone for the entire recording. Next the trio finds more creativity in Evans own Clean House in which they mine their souls for more stunning straight-ahead success. Flip The Script is a daring work of genius that reveals Evans' self-assured piano playing and compositional integrity. It is an example of what today s jazz pianists should strive for when attempting to connect with their audiences. This piece is brilliant. By contrast, the quiet simplicity of When shows Evans introspective side and is a thing of pure beauty. The transcription of Brand New Day has a free-spirited, joyful arrangement for piano while Evans unique and refreshing cover of Someday My Prince Will Come has an abundance of exploratory highlights that help to redefine his version. Overall, this recording is among Orrin Evans best work and should be in your jazz collection right alongside other great piano trios. Buy Flip The Script today. --Sounds Of Timeless Jazz

In the wrong hands, the contemporary piano trio can sound like a retread of piano trios since the dawn of popular music. In the right hands it remains a potent force: exciting, engaging, full of imagination and capable of flights of invention. The hands of Orrin Evans are the right hands. The Philadelphia-born pianist is approaching 20 years as a recording artist and, by the sound of Flip The Script, he's in one of his most creative periods to date. Evans' other projects include the Captain Black Big Band whose eponymous 2011 Posi-Tone debut was a full-on big band blowout and Tarbaby, a small band with an edgier, darker, sound whose End Of Fear (Posi-Tone) was one of 2010's finest releases. Flip The Script is a more straight-ahead recording, but it still shines with an inventiveness and an emotional directness, heightened through the strong interplay between Evans, bassist Ben Wolfe and drummer Donald Edwards. Much of the music on Flip The Script is characterized by a high-energy drive, with tunes such as "Clean House" and "Flip The Script" utilizing a fast-paced, aggressive and breathtaking approach. "The Answer" shares the drive of the faster numbers, thanks especially to Edwards' drums, but the pace is reduced a little on this swinging tune. The slower tunes are equally inspiring: speed and strength give way to control and emotional engagement from all three players to form a set of resonant and powerful melodies. "Big Small" is a very slow blues on which Evans' percussive lines and Wolfe's fat, lowdown, tones contrast with Edwards' lighter patterns. "When" is more downbeat a romantic, flowing, ballad. Evans includes four contrasting cover versions. The slightly fractured rhythms and repeated phrases of "Question," by Tarbaby bassist Eric Revis, give the tune a strong bebop feel as well as a sense of fun. Evans invests "Someday My Prince Will Come" with a bluesy mood, an air of uncertainty that eschews the swing and optimism of Dave Brubeck or Bill Evans' versions to hark back to the tune's first appearance on the soundtrack of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937). Two soul tunes also put in an appearance. Luther Vandross' "A Brand New Day" swings strongly, Edwards and Wolfe driving the rhythm as Evans opens up with hard-hitting but melodic piano. Evan's solo performance of Gamble and Huff's "The Sound Of Philadelphia" (the theme tune to Soul Train) is exquisite. Another slow, almost funereal, tempo finds Evans exploring new avenues within the song, drawing out a reflective melancholy, a longing for times past, that is genuinely affecting. Evans already has an exceptionally strong discography, so to describe Flip The Script as one of his finest is to give it high praise indeed, which is exactly what it deserves. It's going to take a lot of pushing and shoving to get Flip The Script out of the 2012 Best Of lists. --Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz

Paula Johns & The George Mesterhazy Trio - Well... We Did It! (2012)

Recorded LIVE at The Merion Inn in Cape May, NJ...With all the clinks and clanks of a restaurant, Paula & George talking through their favorite
songs from the Great American Songbook, and the fans and patrons enjoying & having fun with the band. This is the last LIVE CD recorded at The Merion Inn before the untimely passing of George Mesterhazy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Moonjune Records presents the Indonesian jazz-rock trio Ligro

MoonJune presents another Indonesian artist: LIGRO (from Jakarta)

Click on the cd cover for more info
MoonJune Records continues its streak of astonishing musical discoveries from Indonesia with Dictionary 2, the first international release by Jakarta’s celebrated jazz-rock trio Ligro. Founded in 2004 by authoritative guitarist Agam Hamzah and rounded out by agile bassist Adi Darmawan and exhilarating drummer Gusti Hendy. Ligro when read backwards, means “crazy people” in the Bahasa (Indonesian national) language – but crazy in the very best sense of the word, signifying fearlessness, playful abandon, and a healthy disregard for shopworn musical conventions.
Ligro "Dictionary 2"
On Dictionary 2, the trio blazes through eight volcanic studio performances of highly creative collective compositions. A prime example of the threesome’s collaborative approach is the track “Stravinsky,” built on Hamzah’s inventive arrangement of Igor Stravinsky’s “An Easy Piece Using Five Notes” and transformed into something entirely Ligro’s own through the imaginative contributions of Adi Darmawan and Gusti Hendy. Propelling Dictionary 2 are the volcanic guitar excursions of Agam Hamzah, a force of nature who breathes fire with his bruising, aggressive tone on tracks like the space-rock epic “Don Juan,” the hyperkinetic barnburner “Bliker 3,” and the maniacal (again in the best way) “Etude Indienne.” With him every step of the way are Hendy and Darmawan, who make the trio pulse and breathe like a single organism.
Ligro manage to be both impressively tight and appealingly loose in their execution, combining the energy and enthusiasm of a basement jam session with the assured technique of players thoroughly grounded in the best of contemporary instrumental music, with echoes of Hendrix, Buckethead, Fripp, vintage Rypdal, and the more adventurous precincts of progressive rock and jazz – including Miles Davis, who gets a sly nod in “Miles Away.” The result is an arresting combination of the raunchy and the sophisticated that delivers an electrifying jolt to the field of global fusion.

Click on band's pix to watch few video clips

Ligro - Don Juan (from "Dictionary 2)

Ligro - Stravinsky (from "Dictionary 2")

More MoonJune cds of Indonesian artists: simakDIALOG and TOHPATI

Tohpati Bertiga "Riot"

Tohpati Ethnomission "Save The Planet"

simakDIalog "Demi Masa"

simakDialog "Patahan"
©2012 MOONJUNE RECORDS | Union Square, New York, NY 10003