Wednesday, July 31, 2013

David Kikoski- Almost Twilight (Criss Cross 2013)

 For his third Criss Cross release pianist David Kikoski returns to a piano trio setting for a collection of provocative, often unconventional, original compositions.

Together Kikoski, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Jeff 'Tain' Watts bring to this familiar format an extraordinary high level of three-way interaction and communication.

1.     Waiting For G.M. (David Kikoski)
   2.     Rose Part 1 & 2 (David Kikoski)
   3.     Water (David Kikoski)
 4.     Games (David Kikoski)
  5.     Almost Twilight (David Kikoski)
   6.     Betrayal (David Kikoski)
   7.     Blues In The Face (David Kikoski)
   8.     Opportunity (David Kikoski)
    9.     Immediacy (David Kikoski)
Criss Cross

The Jo Fabro Quintet - JFQ (2013)

Jo Fabro – Vocals
Aaron Flower – Guitar
Greg Coffin – Keys
Brendan Clarke – Bass
Miles Thomas – Drums

- 27th JULY – 2013

“Right from the get go, you’re listening intently. Such a welcoming warm full sound, that just snuggles over you like a warm blanket on a cold night. I simply love this new Jazz offering from Sydney Soulstress Jo Fabro. Listen up…. she’s the real deal! ” – Emma Pask

The release of the debut album from The Jo Fabro Quintet sees renowned Sydney vocalist Jo Fabro step firmly into the spotlight of the Australian Jazz Scene.

Set for release at Sydney’s Sound Lounge on the 27th July 2013, this new album is a collaboration between Jo and some of Australia’s premier jazz musicians, Pianist Greg Coffin (Greg Coffin Trio, Kristen Berardi Band), guitarist Aaron Flower (The Alcohotlicks), bassist Brendan Clarke (Bernie McGann Quartet, Mothership Orchestra), and drummer Miles Thomas (Gerard Masters, Pen Island).  The album also features a guest appearance from world renowned bassist Steve Hunter.

Drew Davidsen - True Drew (Oznot Records 2013)

 A slick, cosmopolitan showcase of a dozen contemporary jazz instrumentals, cool-toned guitarist Drew Davidsen elevates his technical prowess and creative muse while contemplatively chronicling his journey through life on “True Drew,” his fifth album that will be released March 5th on Oznot Records. In addition to his impassioned, fanciful fretwork on electric, acoustic and nylon-stringed guitars, Davidsen wrote or co-wrote seven original tunes for the disc that he produced with Eric Copeland, Preston Glass and Norman Connors. Setting the stage at radio is “Hi5,” which adeptly bridges the sensibilities of a hip L.A. rooftop hang and sultry songo rhythms.
The material that makes up "True Drew" mirrors the mission of the man. Beginning with the infectious "My Guitar" that is ignited by a spirit-raising guitar and celestial vocal hook, Davidsen ventures onto "95 South" in search of an energetic exploration, brazenly allowing the music – jazz, R&B, blues and adult pop - to be his guide. Riffing adventurously throughout, he gives a "Hi5" to his traveling companions on the album, an accomplished lot that boasts Bobby Lyle, Eric Marienthal, Bob Baldwin, Gerald Veasley, and the Temptations' Ron Tyson. When life forces him to take risks ("Double or Nothin'"), he pauses for reflection ("All Night and Forever" and a brooding, New Age-y take on the classic hymnal "All Creatures") before arriving at the "Sweet Spot" where he encounters love ("I'm Into You," "I Can't Help It" and "Give Me Your Heart"). A man of faith who devotes his time and a portion of the proceeds from all music sales to charitable endeavors such as Ghanaian Mother's Hope (, Davidsen ultimately remains true to the path to "Do Right" and "Change The World." In fact, he's currently encouraging people to make healthier choices in the New Year via The 30-Day Wellness Challenge (

USA, Chicago: Lucy Smith Sings! Wednesday, August 7, 8:00 pm @ Katerina's

Lucy Smith Sings!
Wednesday, August 7, 8:00 pm
@ Katerina's
1920 W. Irving Park Rd.
Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 348-7592
$10 cover
Lucy, vocals; Marcus Evans, drums;
Marcin Fahmy, piano; Junius Paul, bass

New Release
Lucy Smith
"Autumn in Augusta:
Songs My Mama Would Like
(LMS 1263)
Street Date September 10, 2013

Autumn in Augusta is a sly smile, a deep chuckle and a fierce belief that “everything is going to be alright.” Autumn in Augusta is a tribute project for and about my mother and her music. It is music I grew up listening to and rebelling against. Now I find my mother and her music in just about everything I do. It turns out she had pretty awesome taste! My mom, Julia Ann Smith, was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia and died in Chicago almost twenty years ago. She introduced me to Josh White, Nina Simone, Mariam Makeba and Trini Lopez, just to name a few. I am forever grateful. 

Autumn in Augusta: Songs My Mama Would Like 
1. Joyful, Joyful We Adore You 2:36 
2. Wayfaring Stranger 4:12 
3. How Can I Keep from Singing? 3:14 
4. House of the Rising Sun 5:48 
5. How Long, How Long Blues 2:52 
Total Running Time: 18:42 

All arrangements by Lucy Smith (BMI) 
Recorded, mixed and engineered by Anthony Gravino at The Drake, Chicago, IL 
Mastered by Jonathan Pines and Anthony Gravino at Private Studios, Champaign, IL 
CD Design/Layout by Nicold Pittman 

I grew up in Chicago and listened to all kinds of music. Our living room had a wall covered, floor to ceiling, with mirrored tiles that reflected what was happening outside on Racine Avenue. My mom’s console stereo (encased speakers, turntable AND an AM/FM radio) sat in the corner of the room. A stack of LP’s was always ready to go. I was in my own kinda heaven. I spent hours listening to and singing along with Josh White, Nina Simone, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Trini Lopez, Mariam Makeba, Eric Carmen, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and (yes) Barry Manilow. 
Now I make my own music—composing, arranging and performing. I am earnestly committed and pay homage to music that constantly feeds and informs jazz. Roots music – music born in America—blues, gospel, folk and ultimately jazz. We speak and live in blues and folk -- articulating struggle in regional languages and dialects. Both of these music forms often provide audacious and timely comic relief while gospel and jazz are outlets for release and infinite expression. My mother schooled me by playing Josh White’s John Henry over and over again and Nina Simone’s tribute to Martin Luther King. They informed me musically and politically. When I select music for this project, Autumn in Augusta, the requirements are clear. 

Anecdotal and Track Information 
1. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You 
To me Joyful, Joyful is an international folk song. Beethoven’s music and Van Dyke’s text have inspired arrangements that cross a chasm of genres - cherubic boys’ choirs that bring tears to my eyes to the gospel rock of the film Sister Act. This arrangement, a laid back rumba to swing, is “influenced” by Oscar Peterson’s version of My Heart Belongs to Daddy (Night Train). Marcin’s inside the piano action makes the arrangement pop. 

2. Wayfaring Stranger 
I’ve listened to many versions of this Appalachian tune. Even though Wayfaring Stranger references death and is presented at ballad pace, it is a jubilee and it grooves! I believe music has always helped people deal with difficult times and for me this tune does just that. 

3. How Can I Keep from Singing? 
So this should be my motto, right? “It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?” I can’t. 

4. House of the Rising Sun 
I remember hearing this song when I was a kid and not really “getting it.” My mom often played Nina Simone’s organ-grooving version. I understand it now. House of the Rising Sun is all about the lyrics—it’s a compelling story—in fact a story within a story which is open to much interpretation (if you get what I mean.) 

5. How Long, How Long Blues 
Leroy Carr’s blues standard was a musical staple in my house. I was most familiar with Lead Belly’s version that was full of hollers and nasally groans. Marcin and I took our time with it and found a great space 

LUCY SMITH: Vocals, Arranger
Lucy Smith was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. As leader/arranger for the Lucy Smith Quartet/Quintet and as singer/songwriter for the jazz-infused Passing for Normal/Swag, Lucy has led a myriad of musical combinations exploring the worlds of traditional jazz, blues, gospel and other popular music. Inspired to make her passion her life, Lucy completed vocal performance and jazz studies under the tutelage of pianist and jazz vocalist Patricia Barber, and trumpeter Orbert Davis. She’s currently the music director for Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian’s “Jazz at Four” service where she creates a new jazz infused paradigm for worship while rearranging centuries old hymns and keeping alive the legacy of sacred jazz music. Her other music director work includes projects at the Park West Theatre, Goodman Theatre and at Steppenwolf Theatre where she shared the stage with blues legend Koko Taylor and others. Lucy has composed and performed music for the feature film Hannah Free and the documentary Woke Up Black. She makes music with many musicians who have Chicago roots, including Ernest Dawkins, Joshua Ramos and Greg Ward. Lucy was lead vocalist for the Center for Black Music Research's Stop-Time Ensemble and the Concord Orchestra.

Michael Caskey (aka Bunny Patootie) hails from rural Southwestern Michigan. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from Western Michigan University's school of music in 1999, Michael has performed with artists as diverse as Chuck Mangione, Koko Taylor, Toni Tennille, Danilo Perez, Marvin Hamlisch, The Heritage Blues Orchestra and John Sinclair. Currently, Michael is a member of Eastern Blok, a pan-cultural ensemble that performs and presents master classes throughout the United States (including Princeton, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Michigan among others). He plays with numerous Chicago artists including (but not limited to) Grazyna Auguscik, Hood Smoke, Leslie Hunt, and The Claudettes. A DownBeat jazz magazine award winner and five-time Detroit Music Award recipient, Michael has performed for audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Poland, France, Germany, Denmark, and Belgium. At Columbia College in Chicago, Michael coordinates the dance department's accompanist program and teaches Music and Rhythm in Dance. He has also collaborated with Chicago dance companies, composing and producing original sound scores for Hedwig Dances, Lucky Plush Productions, Zephyr Dance, Same Planet Different World, Pete Carpenter and members of Mad Shak.

MARCIN FAHMY: Piano and Keyboards Originally from Krakow, Poland, Marcin Fahmy is a graduate of Karlowicz Music School and DePaul University. While still in high school, Marcin was one of only two pianists in the country chosen to play in the Grammy All-American Jazz Ensembles, joining an elite group of musicians in a series of concerts and recordings in New York City. This event gave him the opportunity to work with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis and Chick Corea. He was also invited to perform at the 1997 Grammy Awards and many of its accompanying events. Marcin has shared the stage with, Gary Peacock, Peter Erskine, Bill Evans, Dick Oatts, Nicholas Payton, Koko Taylor and Kenny Werner. He is currently one of the most sought after pianists performing in Chicago.

Junius Paul, born and raised in the Chicago area and a graduate of St. Xavier University in Chicago, is known internationally for his passion and skill as a performer, composer, sideman and bandleader. Junius is well-established in many musical genres, ranging from jazz to hip-hop, house music, funk, classical and gospel, and has shared the stage with such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Curtis Fuller, Donald Byrd, Fred Anderson, Roscoe Mitchell, Ernest Dawkins, Donald Harrison, Kahil El’Zabar, Hamiett Bluiett, Nona Hendryx, Corey Wilkes, KRS-One, Dee Alexander, Marcus Strickland and Gary Bartz to name a few. In addition to his many local and national television appearances, he has appeared on numerous audio and DVD recordings for many artists as well. Some of Junius' recent performances include the Umbria Winter & Summer Jazz Festivals (Umbria, Italy), Kuumba Festival (Toronto, Canada), Teatro Manzoni (Milan, Italy), the Sons d’hiver Festival (Paris, France) and the Made in Chicago Series (Poznan, Poland). Junius also serves as an adjunct music professor at Trinity Christian College.

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Monday, July 29, 2013


NORTHERN EUROPEAN JAZZ ORCHESTRA & Fay Claassen THU NOV 07 | 20:30 | Music | Central Hall | € 26,25
A great concert, starring Fay Claassen,  Edison winner (for her 'Shakespeare Gallery', with Ilja Reijngoud Quartet) and also winner of the Chet Baker Award for her album 'Two Portraits Of Chet Baker'  Rita Reys described her as follows: "She puts so much love in her voice , and demonstrates such an enormous musicality, it's really a pleasure to listen to her. 

Fay performs  with the Northern European Jazz Orchestra, founded in 2011  a professional big band. With an international line-up, the band is currently one of the most promising exponents in European big band scene, with performances with  many famous European guest soloists, including Laura Fygi, Francine Gardens and Ruud Breuls.


MCG Jazz announces auditions for the next great male jazz vocalist!


The Gentlemen Sing: Three Generations of Song featuring Allan Harris and Ernie Andrews is missing its next generation singer.

This brand-new curated project by Marty Ashby and MCG Jazz features Allan Harris, Ernie Andrews and a brand-new artist that will be chosen by nationwide search.

MCG Jazz opens the search with a nationwide call for submissions from young male jazz vocalists, followed by live auditions here in Pittsburgh with Allan Harris and Freddy Cole.  The project will culminate in a two-concert presentation showcasing Allan Harris, Jazz Master Ernie Andrews and a brand new jazz star!

MCG Jazz invites young male jazz vocalists, ages 18 to 35, to submit resumes and videos and compete to win the ultimate prize: a 2-show live concert appearance at MCG Jazz on February 28, 2014 with superstar Allan Harris and living legend Ernie Andrews.
Every entry must include the application (downloadable at, a resume and a 5 to 7-minute video that includes the individual singing “It Could Happen to You” in a medium tempo and one tune of his choosing.

Submissions are being accepted electronically now through September 13, 2013.

Submit your video online via YouTube using the tag “MCGGen3” and email your application to

Alternatively, you may send a DVD with your application to MCG Jazz, Attention: Kahmeela Friedson, 1815 Metropolitan Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15233.







Performances in Canada September 7 at Guelph and September 7 in Montreal

* Also Performing at both Chicago Jazz Festival, in a Week-long Residency at The Stone in NYC and in Boston, MA; Portland, ME & Oakland, CA *

 "Satoko Fujii is one of the most original pianists in free jazzŠ"
- Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe

"A virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a band-leader who gets the best collaborators to deliver." - John Fordham, The Guardian

Internationally acclaimed pianist/composer Satoko Fujii - one of the most compelling voices in music today - performs with the renowned international quartet Kaze in Guelph and Montreal. The passionate and adventurous performer appears:

o Saturday, September 7  at 10:30 a.m. - Guelph Jazz Festival, Canada

o Sunday, September 8  doors open at 8 p.m. - La Sala Rossa, Montreal, Canada

Melodic, abstract, mysterious, beautiful, and confrontational, Kaze plays free jazz at its most creative and powerful. The members of this international quartet share an insatiable appetite for sonic experimentation, boundless energy and enthusiasm, and the disciplined intelligence of accomplished spontaneous composers. "Štwists and turns, noise followed by lyrical beauty; nuanced percussion followed by powerhouse drumming; and wild cacophonies that lead into introspective solo slots. Expect the unexpected." - Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz.  "9 out of 10Š. an explosive sound that's also impressive in its movementŠ Can't come more recommended." - John Garratt, Pop Matters.

Fujii also performs August 20 - 25 during a week-long residency featuring Fujii with 12 different bands, some of which are brand new, at John Zorn's NYC club The Stone; August 27 at The Spectrum in NYC; and in three Chicago performances including August 28 at Chicago Temple, August 30 at Heaven Gallery and August 31 at the Chicago Jazz Festival with her brand new Satoko Fujii Orchestra Chicago.  In addition, she's touring with her French/Japanese quartet Kaze with performances September 1 at Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland, ME; September 2 at the Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA; September 4 & 5 at Duende in Oakland, CA; September 7 at Guelph Jazz Festival and September 8 at La Sala Rossa in Montreal, Canada.

Fujii's most recent CDs include Spring Storm (Libra, May 28), the first record with her New Trio featuring Todd Nicholson on bass and Takashi Itani on drums/percussion, which All About Jazz calls "her best work to date" and Time Stands Still (Nottwo, May 28) the final record with her Ma-Do quartet featuring Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, the late Norikatsu Koreyasu on bass and Akira Horikoshi on drums. She's also featured on two CDs coming August 20: Gen Himmel (Libra), Fujii's third solo record featuring Fujii on piano performing a dozen of her original compositions; and Tornado (Circum-Libra) Fujii's second CD with Kaze, featuring French and Japanese musicians.

Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer SATOKO FUJII as one of the most original voices in jazz today.  She's "a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a band-leader who gets the best collaborators to deliver," says John Fordham in The Guardian.  In concert and on nearly 60 albums as a leader or co-leader, the Japanese native (now based in Berlin) synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock and Japanese folk music into an innovative music instantly recognizable as hers alone.

Since she burst onto the scene in 1996 after earning her graduate diploma from New England Conservatory, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music. Her latest ensemble, the Satoko Fujii New Trio featuring bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer Takashi Itani, is the first piano trio she has led since her trio with Mark Dresser and Jim Black last played together in 2008. The all-acoustic Satoko Fujii ma-do quartet, together from 2007 to 2012, showcased the latest developments in her composition for small ensembles in an intimate acoustic setting. Another acoustic quartet, the Min-Yoh Ensemble with her husband trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, and accordionist Andrea Parkins is dedicated to developing written and improvised music in the collective spirit of Japanese folkloric music. Fujii also led an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins from 2001 to 2007.

Fujii has also established herself as one of the world's leading composers for large jazz ensembles. Since 1996, she has released a steady stream of acclaimed releases for large ensemble and in 2006 she simultaneously released four big band albums: one from her New York ensemble, and one each by three different Japanese bands.

In addition to playing accordion in Tamura's Gato Libre quartet, she also performs in a duo with Tamura, as an unaccompanied soloist, and in ad hoc groupings with musicians working in different genres. Her special projects have included collaborations with ROVA saxophone quartet, violinist Carla Kihlstedt, pianist Myra Melford, and Junk Box, a collaborative trio with Tamura and percussionist John Hollenbeck. She has also toured and recorded with saxophonist Larry Ochs' Sax and Drum Core, and appeared on albums by drummer Jimmy Weinstein, saxophonist Raymond McDonald, and Japanese free jazz legend, trumpeter Itaru Oki.

"Whether performing with her orchestra, combo, or playing solo piano, Satoko Fujii points the listener towards the future of music itself rather than simply providing entertainment," writes Junichi Konuma in Asahi Graph. She tours regularly appearing at festivals and clubs in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe. Her ultimate goal: "I would love to make music that no one has heard before."

Kayhan Kalhor- Kula Kulluk Yakisir Mi (10 SPOT 2013)

Iranian kamancheh player Kayan Kalhors East meets East projects have brought some tantalizing cultural hybrids to full flower. The on-going collaboration with Anatolian baglama master Erdal Erzincan is one of the most striking of them. The source material for their improvisations in this intense and fascinating performance - recorded in Bursa, to the south of Istanbul - includes music from all over Turkey and music of traditional Persian provenance. These two master musicians from Teheran and Erzurum intertwine melodies, revisit The Wind (title piece of their 2004 recording), and create instrumental music which acknowledges tradition but declines to be restricted by it.

Etienne Charles- Creole Soul(2013)

Mr. Charles knows how to make an album more than just a calling card for a small band,
and how to sequence it too; he s an auteur. --The New York Times

[Charles] hones a velvet, supple tone that s as melodically captivating as it is rhythmically
agile...there s always a gracefulness to Charles playing that s immediately pleasing. --Downbeat
Creole Soul is an exploration of Charles musical roots featuring sounds from the French, Spanish
and English speaking Caribbean as well as North America, Creole Soul highlights myriad
inspirations from Haitian Creole chants and blues to bebop and R&B while drawing on an array of
rhythms including Rocksteady, Reggae, Bel Air, Kongo and Calypso.

Charles has been hailed as a daring improviser by Jazz Times while Ben Ratliff of The New York
Times called him one of the more ambitious soloists and composers. A musician and professor at Michigan State University, Charles studied under piano virtuoso Marcus Roberts at Florida State University and Mark Gould, former principal trumpeter of the Metropolitan Opera, at Juilliard. He was also mentored by Jamaican reggae and jazz luminary Monty Alexander and the late multiple Grammy Award-winning Trinidadian-American percussionist/songwriter Ralph MacDonald.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pete Escovedo - Live From Stern Grove Festival (2013)

A new release from legendary timbales player and bandleader Pete Escovedo that captures a live show he played last year at Stern Grove Festival, the legendary 75-year-old San Francisco cultural venue and institution. Special guests include trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, guitarist Ray Obiedo, saxophonist Dave Koz, and conga player/vocalist Sheila E.

New Release: Albare "The Road Ahead" (ENJA RECORDS)

New Release
"The Road Ahead" (ENJA-9598) Street Date June 11, 2013 Special Reservice July 2013
Phil Turcio-piano
Yunior Terry-bass
Pablo Bencid-drums 
Allan Harris vocals (#12)

Allan Harris vocals (#12)

"Albare is the most active jazz guitarist and composer in Australia today. Albare’s recordings and world tours spread the passion of jazz to the fans everywhere." 
-- Con Gallin, CEO Gibson Australia

“Guitarist Albare fronts an impressive team through music that mixes energy with lyricism… a strong statement for the value of modern contemporary jazz.” JAZZ WEEKLY

American audiences may just be getting to know the original music and extraordinary musicianship of the gifted guitarist/composer Albare (the nom de guerre of Albert Dadon), but in Australia he’s already a prominent member of Australia’s ever-growing and excellent jazz scene.  Born in Morocco, raised in France and Israel and immigrating to Australia at the age of 27, he has since become a jazz legend down under, not just as a player, but also as director of the Melbourne Jazz Festival and founder of the Australian Jazz Awards.

The Road Ahead fuses Albare’s Moroccan roots effortlessly with six-string influences ranging from Wes Montgomery to George Benson, fueled by grooves established by his extraordinary rhythm section: Phil Turcio on piano (Phil is also one of Australia’s foremost record producers), Cuban bassist Yunior Terry and Venezuelan drummer Pablo Bencid.

All of the tunes on the current CD are originals, with the exception of Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed, which features the warm voice of guest vocalist Allan Harris, whom Tony Bennett has called “my favorite singer.”

Official website:
Official Facebook page:
Enja is distributed by Allegro Media Group, Portland, OR.

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NEW RELEASE Global Noize "SLY Reimagined" The Music of Sly and The Family Stone (Zoho Roots ZM201308)


           When Sly and The Family Stone hit the scene back in the late ‘60s, the world – socially, culturally and politically – was in a state of upheaval.  And their music perfectly evangelized the moment.  Today, we stand dangerously at the edge of a similar precipice – and that message of celebratory potential and jubilant clarity is sorely needed.  With that concept squarely implanted in his mind’s eye, visionary conceptualist, producer, arranger, composer and keyboard wizard Jason Miles has created the extraordinary Sly Reimagined on the Zoho Roots label.  With his groundbreaking, genre-defying borderless mothership Global Noize providing the vehicle, Miles takes on eight classic Sly Stone journeys into the wilds of a reality nearly half a century beyond their point of inception.

            Nobody is more capable or qualified to take on a project like this than the Grammy-winning Miles.  His groundbreaking synth programming for Miles Davis’ ‘80s masterpieces Tutu, Music from Siesta and Amandla; along with his contributions to a genre-crossing array of artists - including Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Ruben Blades, David Sanborn, Whitney Houston, Grover Washington Jr., The Crusaders, Chaka Khan and so many others - have led to a variety of legacy-based dedications to Marvin Gaye, Ivan Lins, Vandross, Grover…and now Sly.

            Reimagined is the ideal description as the music on this CD doesn’t simply pay homage, but also defines the timelessness of the music by translating it to the forefront of musical thinking here in 2013.  Global Noize – with its triumvirate of Miles, turntable master DJ Logic and vocalist Falu – is accompanied on this recording by an astonishing array of nearly two dozen musical powerhouses, including Nona Hendryx, Roberta Flack, Jay Rodriguez, Amanda Ruzza and the original Family Stone drummer Greg Errico.

            The nine vocalists and seventeen instrumentalists are woven masterfully into the musical context of each piece – no contrivance, no excess, no aural gymnastics, just extraordinary musicianship, impeccable tastefulness and a relentless sense of groove.  The musicians weave in and out, emerging at the always appropriate moment and then sinking back into the perfect mix.  There is a visceral sense of ensemble playing, as live and cohesive as the 1968 concert performance at the Fillmore East where Jason first experienced Sly and The Family Stone, becoming forever connected to its unique musical expression.  But while that group never could have existed without the foundation of James Brown, vocal groups from the Orioles through the Temptations, jubilant jazz of Louis Jordan through Mingus and Sun Ra, and all strains of Gospel and Blues, Sly Reimagined shows the influences of the post-Sly environment of P-Funk, Prince and the many explorers stimulated by Sly and The Family Stone.  All cross-bred with the borderless context of the here and now at its richest.

            Two songs are given dual treatments.  It’s a Family Affair – both with Roberta Flack on lead vocals – receives a Groove Vibe Version and the Falu Mumbai Mix.  The former a deeply grooved percussive blend with horns, voices, rhythm and DJ Logic all circling around in an infectious round-robin; the latter sparer, leaner, meaner and tinged with Eastern harmonic and rhythmic flavors that offer testimony to the sub-title.  Nona Hendryx sings lead on both versions of The Same Thing. The straight-up version is an extremely funky excursion with a dark gurgle of baritone sax (courtesy Jay Rodriguez) all swaggering, staggering and lurching forward like a super-hip drunk on a fervent mission for The Funk.  The Mulholland Drive Mix plows similar ground, but coupling a deep bass groove with a strong spicing of the classic tenor/organ combo tradition.

            The Big Horn tenor style – this time in the hands of Ron Holloway - is also featured on Fun with a raucous solo that evokes the irresistible sound of Gene Ammons and Arnett Cobb.  Surrounding it is a vividly syncopated groove kick, a passionately soulful vocal by Maya Azucena, DJ Logic’s turntable magic, a chanting chorus and lots of undiluted fun.

            Maya’s vocals also take the lead on two other pieces.  You Can Make It If You Try, a richly layered celebration with a distinct P-Funk feel, the funky trumpet of Ingrid Jensen, and Rodriguez updating Jr. Walker into the 21st Century.  On Stand, a proudly upright and emphatic take on the anthem, Maya soars over a chorus of vocalists chanting it out in Funkadelicized Gospel jubilation.  She also provides playful and expressive support for Nona Hendryx’s lead on In Time, an easy-grooved percussive jaunt stoked by rich synthesizer textures.

            Global Noize regular Falu is up front on the brilliant Thank You For Talking To Me Africa – with a side trip to India via her Carnatic vocal approach.  An ultra-thick body built on a saxophone choir (arrangement and all saxes by Jeff Coffin), sets a tantalizing groove that oozes like a lava flow and just keeps digging deeper and deeper and deeper into the darkest lustre of pure funk. Falu’s exotic, sinuous style is also ideal for Dreams, an appropriately ethereal and evocative soundscape built upon a pastiche of electronica that closes out this remarkable album in a most palpably emotional manner.

            The presence of Jason Miles is at the core of every element of this truly remarkable album.  Not only does the concept flow stem from the heart and soul of his remarkable musical vision; but also the keyboards, synthesizer and programming that comprise his instruments of aural expression permeate every moment of this music, holding it together and binding all of the parts into a most singular sensibility.  Sly Reimagined is an album that can be experienced for its sheer joy, or dug into more deeply for in unlimited depth of artistic expression.

For more information about Jason Miles and this album
visit and

ZOHO ®  is distributed by Allegro Media Group, Portland, OR.

Jason Miles keyboards and programming, organ, synthesizers, synth bass
DJ Logic turntables on 2 -4, 9, 10
Nona Hendryx lead vocals on 1, 4, 9
Falu lead vocals on 7, 8, 10
Roberta Flack lead vocals on 2 & 8
Maya Azucena vocals on 3, 5, 6; background vocals on 1
Amy Hanaialii vocals and vocal adlibs on 7
Malika Zarra World vocals on 1
James D Train Williams vocals on 2, 5
Butterscotch Beat Box on 1; scratching, vocals on 5
Porter Carrol vocals on 6
Nick Moroch guitar on 1, 10;
Will Bernard guitar on 2, 6, 8, 9;
Dean Brown guitar on 5, 7;
Ingrid Jensen trumpet on 2, 5;
Barry Danielian trumpet on 3, 7;
Gottfried Stoger tenor sax on 1;
Jeff Coffin all saxes, horn arrangement on 7;
Ron Holloway tenor sax on 3;
Jay Rodriguez tenor sax on 2, 5, 8, 9 baritone sax on 4, flute and bass clarinet on 10;
Amanda Ruzza bass on 2, 6 – 9;
Greg Errico drums on 1, 5, 6,;
Mocean Worker (Adam Dorn) bass on 5, EFX and beats on 10;
Adrian Harpham drums on 2, 8;
Brian Dunne drums on 7, 9;
Bashiri Johnson percussion on 7

Track Listing:
  1. IN TIME 6:41  
  2. IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR Groove Vibe Version 4:52  
  3. FUN 5:08  
  4. THE SAME THING 5:06  
  6. STAND! 4:48  
  8. IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR Falu Mumbai Mix 5:00  
  9. THE SAME THING 67 Mulholland Drive Mix 4:53 
  10.  DREAMS 5:42

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Jim Eigo
Jazz Promo Services
T: 845-986-1677

Miho Hazama- Journey to Journey(sunnyside 2013)

Music has an uncanny ability to transmit emotion unlike any other art form. Ups and downs. Failures and achievements. In this particular instance, the music on composer/arranger Miho Hazama’s new record captures the joy of completing one stage in her musical development, namely graduation from the Manhattan School of Music, and the beginning of her new journey as a professional musician.

The expressive new recording Journey to Journey (Sunnyside, Mar. 26, 2013) showcases the fantastic workmanship of this young Japanese composer, arranger and pianist. Originally from Tokyo, but now based in New York City, Hazama has studied music since she was five years old, beginning with piano and electric organ. When she was thirteen, she began to study composition in earnest, which led her to studies at Kunitachi College of Music and then to the Manhattan School, where she completed her master’s degree in jazz composition.

For Journey to Journey, Hazama has assembled a large ensemble that she calls the m_unit, a versatile large jazz ensemble that also features vibraphone and a string section. The ensemble performs a collection of inspired pieces Hazama wrote and arranged along with an intriguing arrangement of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”

The record begins with the ebullient “Mr. O,” which unleashes a torrent of musical ideas like yarns from an exuberant storyteller. “Tokyo Confidential” is a charging yet mysterious, noir-ish tune featuring the superb vibraphone playing of special guest Stefon Harris. The lush “Blue Forest” presents an expertly wrought arrangement led by strings followed by a lilting flugelhorn feature. “Journey to Journey” relates directly to the sentiment of moving forward from one path to the next with an upbeat composition with an occasionally tentative but ultimately uplifting theme. The track also features the sublime tones of Steve Wilson’s alto saxophone.

Hazama’s interpretation of Lady Gaga’s hit “Paparazzi” shows the young arranger’s ability to transform a well-known theme into something entirely new. “Believing in Myself” is a tricky composition challenging performers and listeners alike but culminating in an intense, beautiful ending. The mingling of woodwinds and strings make “Ballad” a short and stunning harmonic study. The music of “What Will You See When You Turn the Next Corner?” asks many questions and gives an intriguing answer with a nuanced and diverse performance. “Hidamari” closes the record with an introspective, beautiful tone poem.

Journey to Journey introduces a new and exceptionally talented voice into the jazz world. Miho Hazama has studied and molded herself into an artist of great value. This recording is a perfect introduction to her musical identity as she begins her next journey.

Fabrizio Sotti - Right Now (2013)

"Right Now is the complete opposite of bombastic, but its resounding brilliance rings quite loudly. In "One" (U2), the sharp if not acrid edge of Isabella Lundgren's voice combines with her languid phrasing to legitimately suggest Billie Holiday, as Sotti's soft, liquid guitar adorns her sound in jazz and blues. In addition, Zucchero gives sadly beautiful voice to Bono's lyric for "Someone Else's Tears." This genuine and profound reminder of all the terrible beauty and glorious pain in creation may be a difficult song for your ears to leave behind. "In Europe, Zucchero is like Bruce Springsteen," Sotti explains. "The duet he did with Miles, 'Dune Mosse,' blew me away. Seeing an Italian singer with my jazz idol always stayed on my mind. I reached out to Zucchero when I was doing this album and he suggested we do 'Someone Else's Tears.' It was a huge honor to say the least." CHRIS M. SLAWECKI,

One; Waiting in Vain; Paradis; Someone Else's Tears; The Wind Cries Mary; While the Sun is Rising; Prancing Horse; Fidjo Maguado; Fall with Me; Once in a Blue Moon; Right Now; The Wall (digital only).

Personnel: Fabrizio Sotti: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, classical guitar, nylon string guitar; Isabella Lundgren: vocals; Tony Grey: bass; Mino Cinelu: drums, percussion, vocals; Shaggy: vocals; Res: vocals; Zucchero: vocals; Melanie Fiona: vocals; Claudia Acunia: vocals; Algebra Blessett: vocals.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Morocco: The Tangier's Jazz Festival September 18 to 22, 2013

PJ Rasmussen Adventures in Flight CD Release Party Sunday, July 28th 9:30 PM @ The Metropolitan Room

PJ Rasmussen
Adventures in Flight CD Release Party
Sunday, July 28th 9:30 PM
The Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd St. 
between 5th and 6th Avs
New York, NY 10010
$20; 2 drink minimum
Guitar: PJ Rasmussen
Piano: James Weidman
Bass: Adrian Moring
Drums: Jon Difiore
Sax: Nate Giroux
Trumpet: Ben Hankle 

Upcoming Live Appearances

Every Wed. through August
PJ Rasmussen
Jazzy Jammin' at the Boardwalk (Open Jam)
7-10 PM
1000 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ
Guitar: PJ Rasmussen Trio
Drums: Ryan Palermo
Bass: Daseul Kim

 Aug 17 & Sep. 21
April Webb/PJ Rasmussen Duo
April Webb, Vocals
PJ Rasmussen: Guitar
16 Prospect Street, Westfield, NJ

Wed., August 28th
The PJ Rasmussen Quartet
Set Times: 6-7 PM; 7:20-8 PM; 8:20-9 PM; 9:20-10 PM
99 7th Ave south between Christopher St &Grove St.
PJ Rasmussen—Guitar 
Adrian Moring-Bass 
Jon Difiore— Drums 
Piano-- Chris Pattishall

Tue., Sept 3rd
The Daseul Kim Quartet
Set Times: 8-9:15 PM; 9:45-11 PM
239 East 53rd Street, Lower Level
(Between 2nd-3rd Avenue)
$5 Minimum
Daseul Kim-Bass 
PJ Rasmussen-Guitar
Anthony Pocetti-Piano
Drums: Arthur Vint
Sep 13 w/ April Webb Hat City Kitchen
Sep 25th Cassandra Kubinski/PJ Rasmussen Duo
Set Times: 7, 8, 9 PM
205 W 54th St.
PJ Rasmussen "Adventures In Flight"
(Third Freedom Music 1001)
Street Date June 4, 2013

PJ Rasmussen-guitar
Steve Johns-drums
Adrian Moring-bass
Chris Pattishall-piano
Nate Giroux-tenor saxophone
Danny Reyes-trumpet & flugelhorn
Kelly Green-vocals

 Chartbound On Jazz Week

PJ Rasmussen
"Adventures In Flight"
(Third Freedom Music 1001)
Street Date June 4, 2013
PJ Rasmussen-guitar
Steve Johns-drums
Adrian Moring-bass
Chris Pattishall-piano 

Nate Giroux-tenor saxophone
Danny Reyes-trumpet & flugelhorn
Kelly Green-vocals

            A debut album is a daunting experience for any artist regardless of age.  But guitarist/composer PJ Rasmussen’s first CD – Adventures in Flight on Third Freedom Music – shows a young man brimming with  musical confidence and leadership qualities of a seasoned professional.  A truly outstanding composer, PJ has assembled a remarkable sextet for a highly diverse, but totally cohesive set of Rasmussen originals.

            Over the past 25 years, many artists have tried to re-create the substance of the classic 1960’s Blue Note era.  But what is usually missed is that the music of that era was utterly entrenched in the times it was created – an essential component of the Jazz tradition.  While PJ and his cohorts have feet solidly planted in that legacy, the music on this CD is vividly contemporary.

            Born in 1990, PJ cut his musical teeth on the rock and blues spirit of men like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and has brought his love of those forms to his serious commitment to Jazz.  Combining these elements into a unified musical vision has resulted in carrying that timeless Blue Note recipe of funky hard-bop, soulful lyricism, passionate swing and innovative exploration smack dab into 2013.
            With one exception, all of the musicians are contemporaries of the guitarist; and that is the remarkable drummer Steve Johns, whose experience and mastery of a wide variety of styles contributes heavily to the unified thrust of this album.  All of the other musicians – tenor saxophonist Nate Giroux, Danny Reyes on trumpet and flugelhorn, Chris Pattishall on piano and Adrian Moring on bass – are superb, performing with youthful vigor and with a sense of urgency that has become increasingly rare. A most surprising element is that this group, after only a few rehearsals, sounds like an ensemble that has been performing together for years, particularly highlighted by the seamless interplay and nearly telepathic interaction between Moring and Johns, who anchor each track emphatically.

A major element of the success of this album is the extraordinary compositional skill of Rasmussen.  Eschewing the complex harmonics and rapidly jagged unison lines that young composers often employ to demonstrate compositional and performing virtuosity, PJ strives for lyricism, rhythmic variety and depth of mood, offering both the opportunity for rich musical exploration and the adventurousness of innovative excitement. Each composition is fully thought out and the music is well-planned, but still open enough for the elements of surprise and spontaneity that are essential to the best Jazz expositions.  The arrangements are finely crafted to fit both the compositional structure and the musicians who play them.  And two of the pieces, Waxing and Wayne-ing and At Long Last have the added spice of the lovely voice of Kelly Green wordlessly enhancing the melodic line.

            As a guitarist, Rasmussen is a musician of exceptional skills and has full command of a variety of genres.  His solos roar, rock, blaze and swing, as the music demands.  He shares the solo space primarily with tenorman Giroux and pianist Pattishall.  Giroux is a muscular, passionate saxophonist with chops to burn; Pattishall is also an excellent musician whose accompaniment and solos are always ideally suited to the circumstances.  Their versatility matches Rasmussen’s as they are fully comfortable with the full palette of styles.

            The album opens with a brief poem – an effective idea that is used twice more to further clarify the message of the album – introducing Avionics, a syncopated driver with a light airy theme in the classic hard bop mode, featuring a fluid, articulate single note guitar solo, a fiery tenor solo in the early Joe Henderson urgency mode, exciting piano and a riff-driven drum solo – all over propulsive bass.  Similar territory is explored in Waxing and Wayne-ing, but in an edgier groove.  Dedicated to Wayne Shorter, there is considerable homage to the Classic Quartet of the magnificent John Coltrane as well.  Opening with a McCoy Tyner-ish vamp, the piece is powered by the pianist’s forceful left hand, both in his solo and driving the rhythm section.  PJ offers a swirling solo, sometimes sailing over the rhythm, sometimes in rhythmic counterpoint; while Nate’s tenor is in an appropriate Shorter mode - lyrical and masterful.

            The funk groove is embraced in three distinct variations.  Baden Hill is a punchy hip-hoppish affair built on a fractured backbeat rhythm with vocal-burst tenor, a highly percussive piano solo and a soulful guitar turn that evokes that delicious Grant Green aura – all stoked by a richly chugging Soul Train motion of the bass and drums.  Sunday Driver features a jagged upwardly spiraling melody over a lurching, staggering funk bottom that generates a palpable tension, launching a funkily wailing tenor; exciting, sardonically witty guitar that shows off PJ’s rock chops; and a  brilliant drum solo – all mightily charged by amazing support from Pattishall.   A complex, adventurous and always smoking piece, Kickin’ the Can drives on a straightforward rocking funk groove.  PJ works that soul Jazz thing with tantalizing bent chords and smears of sound.  Pattishall funks out in Bobby Timmons-like Gospel mode and some two-handed chords a la Red Garland.  Extremely acid Jazz tenor - punchy, dancing and crying – pushes the intensity meter, all making this a joyous celebration.

            Jubilation is also the theme of Stolen Miracles. An up-and-down-the-ladder theme is built on a succession of Cuban-style piano rhythms, suspended swing and driving hard bop.  Fiercely intense biting solos by guitar, tenor and piano dance around the suspended groove of the rhythm section, concluding in a joyful collective improvisation.

            Two beautiful ballads complete this delightful package.  Are You the One is a lovely medium tempo piece that gives Danny Reyes an opportunity to showcase his warm and fluidly beautiful flugelhorn.  The album concludes on a most appropriate note with At Long Last, a delicately constructed piece that’s like a Spring shower – warm and welcoming, from softly falling rain to fine cloudbursts.  A perfect denouement to an album crafted with love and joy.

Adventures in Flight portends great things to come from PJ Rasmussen and his splendid ensemble.

Artists Website:

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T: 845-986-1677