Sunday, March 30, 2014

Two Duo CDs by Bassist Jeff Denson, with Joshua White and Claudio Puntin, Due April 15

pfMENTUM Records to Release
Two Duo CDs by Bassist Jeff Denson--
"I'll Fly Away" with Pianist Joshua White &
"Two" with Clarinetist Claudio Puntin--
On April 15
West Coast CD Release Shows,
With Jeff Denson Trio Featuring Joshua White,
Scheduled for Early June


March 28, 2014

Jeff Denson Joshua White I'll Fly Away Best known for his work in the celebrated cooperative trio Minsarah (which he founded with Florian Weber and Ziv Ravitz) and his seven-year tenure in the Lee Konitz New Quartet, bassist and composer Jeff Denson has also led a highly regarded quartet featuring Weber, Ralph Alessi, and Dan Weiss.
Now Denson is preparing to showcase other aspects of his virtuosity and exquisite musicality with the April 15 release, by the San Diego-based pfMENTUM label, of two very different duo albums, I'll Fly Away and Two. The discs provide a fascinating window into Denson's vast range as an improviser.

A singular collaboration with the powerhouse San Diego pianist Joshua White, I'll Fly Away is an emotionally charged project devoted to hymns and spirituals. Two is a melodically rich free improv session with the remarkable Swiss clarinet virtuoso Claudio Puntin. In many ways the projects couldn't be more dissimilar, but they're united by Denson's insistence that the bass can play any musical role.

"I don't want to be tied down to being a function player," he says. "I don't want to have to only play the role of the bass as a supportive root function instrument. I love doing that, but I don't want to always have to do that. Even in more straight-ahead situations I find ways to play melodies. I want to be able to play textures. In a duo setting, there's a great deal of freedom."

It's a context perfectly suited to his interactive sensibility. "When you play in duo you have 50 percent of the responsibility and you need to be 100 percent committed to what you're doing if the music is going to travel and work and move places," Denson says. "You're either connecting directly with them or not. Everything they play, you must notice. But there are so many options. Deciding not to go with them can be really exciting too."

Jeff Denson Claudio Puntin Two The sacred music project with White grew out of several hymns that Denson performed at funerals for his father and his maternal grandmother who helped raise him, including the title track, performed in three divergent renditions, and the breathtaking solo arco version of "Amazing Grace." The session was recorded in one day and all but one track is a first take, "a really good demonstration of how we share and communicate and share musical aesthetics. We are both really adventurous and take a lot of risks. I just wanted to do what we do."

The collaboration with Puntin had a very different genesis. It began, Denson writes in his succinct notes for Two, "in Cologne, Germany in 2008, and ended two years later on a rainy day in Berlin: two musicians, from two continents, two years apart, on two different days, in two different cities, met and recorded this music without discussion or plan . . . . " Investigating a wide array of moods and textures, the music can be playful or threatening, innocent or carnal. "We didn't talk about anything beforehand," says Denson. "We turned the mics on and just played. The music is completely improvised; the chord changes that appear are all spontaneous."

Jeff Denson  
Jeff Denson, 37, was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. He attended Berklee (where Minsarah was formed), earned his Master's in jazz studies at Florida State University, and relocated to Southern California to pursue his doctorate (at UC San Diego) in contemporary music performance with an emphasis in composition. Based since 2011 in the East Bay, he is a full professor at the California Jazz Conservatory (formerly the Jazzschool Institute) and has forged ties with some of the Bay Area's top players, including bassoonist Paul Hanson and guitarist Mimi Fox.

A prolific composer and arranger, Denson has written music for an array of jazz settings, from big band to trio, as well as for string ensembles, solo bass, and a chamber opera (which he plans to premiere in 2015). While New York City offered a bustling life as a freelancer, Denson has found musical fulfillment on the West Coast.

"I can make my living playing everybody else's music being a supportive player, but I wasn't so interested in that," Denson says. "I'm most interested in doing something unique musically by pushing my own work. And I love teaching. So I can inspire people, and focus on what I want to do."

Joshua White and Jeff Denson Denson will be working with his trio featuring Joshua White (far left) and drummer Jon Arkin at the following West Coast CD release shows: 5/31 Red Poppy Art House, San Francisco; 6/2 SOhO Restaurant and Music Club, Santa Barbara; 6/3 Jazz at the CAP, Los Angeles; 6/4 The Loft at University of California San Diego, La Jolla; 6/7 Café Stritch, San Jose; 6/8 Duende, Oakland; and 7/25-26 Moody's Bistro, Bar & Beats, Truckee. He'll also be performing with the Joshua White Quintet 6/5 at the Del Mar (CA) Foundation.

Jeff Denson's Secret World European Tour 2014, featuring trumpeter Cuong Vu, pianist Alex Conde, and drummer Jon Arkin, is now being finalized for late October. The quartet will be appearing in Heilbronn, Cologne, Osnabrük, and Dortmund, Germany, among other cities. A European CD Release Tour for Denson's trio is being scheduled for January 2015. 

Photography: Peter Varshavsky   
Jeff Denson & Joshua White:
Jeff Denson & Joshua White: "I'll Fly Away"

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ACT Music Set to Release Two New Albums: Pianist Michael Wollny Trio's "Weltentraum" and Trombonist Nils Landgren's "Eternal Beauty," Available March 25, 2014

ACT Music Set to Release Two New Albums:
Pianist Michael Wollny Trio's Weltentraum and
Trombonist Nils Landgren's Eternal Beauty,
Available March 25, 2014


Keeping up with its tradition of presenting forward thinking and innovative jazz, ACT Music is set to release albums from the Michael Wollny Trio and trombonist/vocalist Nils Landgren. Pianist Wollny is set to release Weltentraum with a recently revised trio, and Landgren will release Eternal Beauty with a newly expanded band. Both records will be available on March 25.
Wollny, best known as being one third of a thrillingly inventive young contemporary piano trio featuring Tim Lefebvre and Eric Schaefer, is a musician who knows no boundaries in his search for new jazz 'standards.' "Not a jazz standard in the traditional sense," he points out, but "it also simply describes a song as a starting point that enables the musicians to grow a tune on top of it, a great melody and a few chords. In that respect I consider all of these tunes 'standards.'"

Michael Wollny Trio
Wollny's new trio recording Weltentraum is a stunning example of contemporary interpretation in the hands of a unique, fluidly virtuosic artist. Wollny, with both elegance and wit, explores the connection between songs that are worlds apart in terms of both centuries and cultures on the upcoming release. But in the pianist's hands, the combination of interpretations of "God is a DJ" by the pop star Pink and the piece 'Lasse!' by Guiliaume de Machaut (the French Medieval composer and poet) gets to feel entirely natural. With the resourcefulness of a world-class contemporary jazz improviser, Wollny finds common value in the songs starkly haunting melodies in spite of arriving from hugely diverse sources.
In addition to releasing his own album, Wollny also joins forces with Nils Landgren for the trombonist's latest outing, Eternal Beauty. Landgren's clear, throaty and yet mellow voice is very distinctive, and perfect for ballads. He has built up an enormous fan base over the decades with his Funk Unit, big bands, and alongside the greats of jazz music.

Nils Landgren Quintet
Landgren has once again reverted to the select band of brothers Wollny, Lars Danielsson, and Rasmus Kihlberg with the further addition of guitarist Johan Norberg who Landgren has performed with on and off for decades. "It is my dream team, and one that I hope will play together for a long time," says Landgren of this group. It is also ideal for the approach that Landgren pursued on Eternal Beauty: "I wanted to make a really homogenous record - just us playing the simple and beautiful melodies simply and beautifully." The album title indicates the direction that the songs chosen by Landgren, Wollny, Norberg and producer Siggi Loch took: "The music and lyrics had to fit us, and they had to be songs that are eternal for me, personally."
Most of the songs on Eternal Beauty should resonate with many listeners, with tracks ranging from George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity" to Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" on through to "We Don't Need Another Hero", made popular by Tina Turner. He also includes jazz ballads like "One More Angel" from the jazz bassist John Patitucci, and "Another Kind Of Blue" by the New York-based German guitarist Torsten de Winkel. Michael Wollny wrote the title track together with Eva Svensson, Esbjörn Svensson's widow.

Much is left up to this talented team that Landgren trusts without reservation. Landgren explains, "We did have an idea of how we could play each of the songs, but we didn't prescribe much and we arranged them very sparingly, because with these guys the musical concept arises when we meet. When we start to play, the magic begins."

Michael Wollny
Michael Wollny - Weltentraum
Official EPK with subtitles
Nils Landgren Quintet
Nils Landgren Quintet - Eternal Beauty

Michael Wollny Trio · Weltentraum
 ACT Music  ·  Release Date: March 25, 2014
For more information on Michael Wollny, please visit:
Nils Landgren · Eternal Beauty
 ACT Music  ·  Release Date: March 25, 2014
 For more information on Nils Landgren, please visit:

For media information, please contact:
DL Media  ·  610-667-0501
Maureen McFadden  ·
Don Lucoff  · 
Information and press materials (including album covers, promotional photos
and bios) on all DL Media artists can be found at our website:
 Serving the Finest in Jazz Since 1988


Jazz Goa sets a world record!

 Jazz Goa came up with a great idea about a year ago, inviting musicians from all over the world to contribute their solos to a jazz standard called 'Straight No Chaser'. The idea caught on via the internet and Jazz Goa has been flooded with contributions from jazz virtuosos from all over the world. The track so far features seventeen soloists, a world record for any jazz standard recorded so far, and it is continuously updated with new soloists being added almost every week. Jazz Goa's Global recording project literally brings the world together in one phenomenal track. So far the recording features jazz virtuosos from America, Colombia, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, England, Portugal and Goa of course. The track has generated huge interest among jazz communities around the world and Jazz Goa now has to carefully curate contributions so that only the best make it to the mix. The project so far, can be reviewed at


Alex Coke at Jazzcafé' in Zaal 100 -1April

Details: 1 april 2014
Alex Coke: saxes en flute
Felicity Provan : trompet en stem
Harald Austbø: cello
Walter Lampe: piano
Gerri Jäger: drums

The "Jazz Café "
presents music created on the spot and takes shape for an audience .  Come to experience magical  moments of the origin and development of music and the core of  improvisation.

De "Jazz Cafe"
presenteert muziek gemaakt op de plek en vorm krijgt voor een publiek.
Kom magisch om te ervaren  momenten van het ontstaan ​​en de ontwikkeling van de muziek en de kern van  improvisatie.

Friday, March 28, 2014

UKRAINE: Romanian pianist Florin Raducanu and panflutist Dalila Cernatescu performing in Kiev

New York Jazz Academy Summer Intensives Available Now

New York Jazz Academy (NYJA) is providing 2014 summer jazz intensives for both teens and adults. Intensives are tailored for all levels of musical capability and emphasize playing experience through classes, clinics and performance. Workshops are held July through August and participants may choose to attend one or more weeks.

NEW YORK CITY, MARCH 26, 2014 - NYJA’s summer intensives are designed to advance the musicality and jazz experience of all aspiring musicians. Intensives immerse students in collaborative music making, music reading and improvising. They also include visits to influential New York venues, clubs and historical sites. Students are given opportunities to meet with popular musicians currently performing in today’s jazz scene.

Participants are placed into appropriate performance ensembles for their level of learning. This allows students to collaborate with other aspiring musicians while they learn together through jazz. New curricular material is emphasized each week to give returning musicians the opportunity to learn new and exciting elements of jazz with every visit. Students are guided through jazz theory classes, sectional workshops, ensemble rehearsals and optional jam sessions among other types of developed learning models. This summer’s intensives will be held at 263 W 86th St, New York, NY 10024, United States.

Students may choose to participate in one or more weeks.

Week 1: July 7 – 11
Week 2: July 14 – 18
Week 3: July 21 – 25
Week 4: July 28 - Aug. 1
Week 5: Aug. 4 – 8
Week 6: Aug. 11 -15
Week 7: Aug. 18 – 22
Week 8: Aug. 25 – 29

NYJA’s intensives are taught by some of New York’s finest performing artists and teachers, including Dave Ambrosio, Kelly Ash, Adam Birnbaum, Dan Blankinship, Tom Dempsey, Dan Kaufman, Alex Nguyen, Tammy Scheffer, Michael Webster, Pete Zimmer and others. Outside of summer intensives, NYJA’s talented faculty also provides a jazz online program, small ensembles, improv workshops and private lessons among other various styles of learning.

About New York Jazz Academy

NYJA is a jazz music school that originated in Manhattan and now extends through Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. The academy is determined to provide high-quality rehearsal opportunities and performance ensembles to aspiring musicians of all ages and musical backgrounds. Passionate students are given the opportunity to practice jazz on virtually any instrument. NYJA also provides outreach for school assemblies, special performances, educational consulting, custom workshops and publishing.

For more information visit

Sinouj upcoming album: La Fiche

Dear friends of Jazz World Quest

Hello, this is Pablo Hernández, of Sinouj.

I'm writting you about our new album, La Fiche. Our former album, Were,  was chosen last year among the best national releases in Spain. On the new album we have collaborations from all the continents musicians from Spain-Tunisia, Nigeria, Italy; India, Guinea Bissau, Cuba and Argentina) including Jorge Pardo (best european jazzman of 2013 and an outstanding flamenco innovator)

The official videos (featuring the great Jorge Pardo)

You can download our presentation and press dossier here
Musician website:
Thanks for your time, I hope you like it, all the best


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

VOTE FOR JazzWorldQuest featured musician Natalie Jean

 NATALIE JEAN has been selected for the TRS 247 Indie Music Countdown. Her music videos will be on Apple TV, Roku TV, along with TRS 247 TV

NATALIE JEAN nominated in The Indie Music Channel Awards
Best Blues Artist, Best Blues Song, Best Rap Song, Best Jazz Song, and Best R&B Artist

March 30th at 8:00pm at Takoma Station

March 31st from 2:00-2:45 pm
The National Cherry Blossom Festival

May 31st, 2014 from 6:00pm -6:45pm
NATALIE JEAN will be performing on May 31st, 2014 from 6:00pm -6:45pm at the 34th Annual Herndon Festival the largest free event in Northern Virginia

NATALIE JEAN recently signed with the indie label Funkybeamrecords.

NATALIE JEAN has been nominated for best female pop artist in this year's LA Music Awards. Vote for her here:
"Through With You," has been nominated as "Best Blues Song," in the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

El Portal - SLOW GRIND (CAM Jazz 2014)




coming soon!  March 25, 2014

... a creative enterprise of striking freshness, discipline, organic unity and maturity.  Keep listening to Slow Grind and it will keep changing.  Good jazz records are like that. (Thomas Conrad)

LINE UP: Nolan Lem   tenor sax
Rainer Davies   electric guitar and bass VI
Paul Bedal  rhodes
Joe Rehmer   bass
Dion Keith Kerr IV  drums



March 2014
18  Napoli  -Cellar Theory
19  Avellino-Black House Blues Pub
20 Siena- Un Tubo 
21 Roma - Casa Del Jazz

CD and digital download available today!

JazzWorldQuest Proposals Section Update: Art Lillard / Musician/ bandleader

Art Lillard
Musician/ bandleader
Musician website:
My jazz ensembles range in size from trio to big band. I invite you to visit my Web site ( for sound clips and information about some of my groups. You can find video of some of the bands at

My largest ensemble, Art Lillard’s Heavenly Band, consists of nine horns, plus four to five rhythm section players and one to three vocalists. Our compact disc, on the Summit Records label, entitled “Reasons to be Thankful,” features all original music. However, the band’s book contains over 130 arrangements of both originals and standards.

We can provide live music for a swing dance, a concert, or a nightclub appearance. For performances at distant venues, I am more than willing to hire local musicians to perform the Heavenly Band’s music.

My swing sextet, Blue Heaven, consists of trumpet, trombone, tenor saxophone, guitar (or piano), bass, and drums. This band appeared nationally and internationally in several episodes of CBS Television’s soap opera, "Guiding Light."My On Time Band, which can perform as either a trio or a quartet, also has a cd on Summit called, “It’s Time.”

Ed Byrne - Two Shades of Blue Blue Truffle Music, 2014)

 Featuring a few of today's most critically acclaimed jazz artists from New York and Boston, Two Shades of Blue includes Ed Byrne's five original compositions that combine post-bop, Latin jazz, swing, blues, and funk.

Ed Byrne: leader, trombone

Suite I (Celebration Studios, NYC)

John Abercrombe: guitar
Jim McNeely: piano
Ron McClure: bass
Victor Lewis: drums
Milton Cardona: percussion

Suite II (Live at Sculler's, Cambridge, MA)

Mike Goodrick: guitar
John Lockwood: bass
Bob Gullotti: drums
All compositions written and arranged by Ed Byrne / Ed Byrne Music (SESAC)

 Blue Truffle Music

Pascal Niggenkemper Vision7 - Lucky Prime (Clean Feed 2014)

One of the beautiful opportunities of today's extremely wide spectrum in jazz is interculturality.

In communication between different cultures lies the creative potential that New York based German-French double bassist and composer Pascal Niggenkemper fully exploits with his new international ensemble Vision 7 founded in 2011 in cooperation with the Jazzdor Festival Strasbourg-Berlin.

Dialogues, precisely the dialogue between the seven musicians, the composed and improvised music, the different personalities, styles, cultural identities, concepts and finally the dialogue of the musicians with the listener are the heart of the ensemble's debut album „Lucky Prime“.

Only the listener can give the story a sense. The opening lyrics of „Carnet plein d'histoires“ says: „This is the story of the stories. To you this story might seem absurd, but it makes sense. Or does it not? Please, decide yourself!“ The septet takes the listener on a very personal and associative journey, ranging from moments of intimate chamber music, improvised atonal sound installations and trough composed sections to unleashed improvisations.

Maximal freedom is given to the musicians and the listener although without leaving both in the randomness. „Almost everything is allowed,“ the CD liner notes say, at the same time everything follows a sort of „meta-structure“ that embraces the album, yet without constricting it. It is only at the end of the album that the story comes to its end, that things come full circle.

With „Lucky Prime“, Pascal Niggenkemper, Eve Risser, Christian Lillinger, Emilie Lesbros, Frantz Loriot, Els Vandeweyer and Frank Gratkowski present a passionate and exiting debut album.

The number 7, prime number called "Lucky Prime", title of this album, reflects the happiness and joy of seven musicians making music together. From France living in Paris, pianist Eve Risser (Donkey Monkey, En Corps, Risser-Rühl, Orchestre National de Jazz) and vocalist Emilie Lesbros (Barre Phillips, Lionel Garcin, single room, Speaking Tube), also from France but living in Zurich, french violist Frantz Loriot (natura morta, Viola2Viola, baloni, Anthony Braxton, Joelle Leandre), from Germany drummer Christian Lillinger, (Hyperactive Kid, GRUND, John Tchicai, Joachim Kühn, Rudi Mahall) and saxophonist et clarinettist Frank Gratkowski (Georg Graewe, Tony Oxley, Wolter Wierbos, Gerry Hemingway) both living in Berlin. From Belgium, vibraphonist Els Vandeweyer living in Berlin (“Quat” with Fred Van Hove, Paul Lovens and Martin Blume, “Ginkgo”),

French-German bassist Pascal Niggenkemper, leader of this group, is based in New York (upcoming hurricane, PNTrio, baloni, PascAli, Gerald Cleaver's Black Host).


Friday, March 21, 2014



Over 150 Performances at More Than 
15 Venues Throughout New York City

Aretha Franklin, Bobby McFerrin & Questlove, Michael McDonald, 
Reggie Watts, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Michael Bolton, José James, 
André Previn & Christian McBride, Ramsey Lewis With Philip Bailey, 
Marcus Miller, Sérgio Mendes, Monty Alexander, Gato Barbieri,
Danilo Pérez-John Patitucci-Brian Blade Trio, and More 
New York, NY - March 20, 2014 - With over 150 performances at more than 15 venues throughout New York City, the 2014 Blue Note Jazz Festival will be held Sunday, June 1 through Monday, June 30. Ticket information and a current schedule of events/locations is available on the official website, Additional performances and venues for the Fourth Annual festival will be announced in the coming weeks.

Highlights for the city's largest jazz festival include a special appearance by cultural icon Aretha Franklin; rare collaborations between Bobby McFerrin & Questlove (following their recent performance together on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"), Ramsey Lewis with Earth, Wind & Fire's Philip Bailey, André Previn & Christian McBride, Monty Alexander's 70th Birthday (with various reggae and jazz guests, to be announced), and the "Children Of The Light Trio" featuring Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, and Brian Blade (all whom are current members of the Wayne Shorter Quartet, making their official U.S. debut as a trio); crossover vocalists Michael McDonald, Michael Bolton, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, as well as album release performances by José James and Sérgio Mendes respectively; multi-faceted entertainer Reggie Watts; renowned bassist/producer Marcus Miller; and tenor saxophone legend Gato Barbieri, among others. Please visit for dates and venue information.

In addition to Blue Note Jazz Club, festival venues include B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, Highline Ballroom, The Town Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park SummerStage, Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Rockwood Music Hall, Smalls Jazz Club, The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, IFC Center, Brooklyn Bowl, and Lucille's Bar & Grill at B.B. King Blues Club, among others. Festival co-presenters include Jill Newman Productions, MSG Entertainment, Bowery Presents, CEG/Nolafunk, Jazz Forum Arts, Jazz Journalists Association, and JazzReach.

"This year's festival puts a prime focus on distinctive collaborations," says Steven Bensusan, President of Blue Note Entertainment Group. "Shows such as Bobby McFerrin teaming up with Questlove and André Previn working with Christian McBride are rare opportunities for fans to hear world class artists perform together in unique musical settings."

Other jazz headliners include a rare U.S. performance by renowned bassist Avishai Cohen (his first New York City appearance in over two years, as leader or sideman); The Dizzy Gillespie™ Afro Cuban Experience featuring Machito Jr; tenor saxophone titans Joe Lovano and Eric Alexander as well up-and-comer Marcus Strickland; vocal masters Diane Schuur, Allan Harris, and Curtis Stigers; versatile pianists Michel Camilo, Hiromi, and Harold Mabern; as well as fusion-centric performances by keyboardist Jeff Lorber and Australian guitarist Albare; among others.

"We also continue to emphasize styles that are more broadly connected to jazz, to include everything from R&B, soul, and hip-hop to reggae, rock and Americana," adds Bensusan.

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill and Highline Ballroom will present a wide range of performances, including R&B/soul-centric artists such as Lalah Hathaway & Ruben Studdard, and Oleta Adams; reggae shows by Sly & Robbie and Tarrus Riley (in addition to Monty Alexander's birthday celebration); Americana/singer-songwriter artists Brandy Clark and the Beth Hart Band; eclectic global-centric acts Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Los Lobos and Yemen Blues (in addition to the legendary Sérgio Mendes); guitarists Tommy Emmanuel and Eric Gales; and jazz/rock drummer Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion; among others. Additionally, Blue Note Jazz Club will showcase several nu-jazz centric projects, including a special one-night collaboration featuring Beka & DJ Logic with Victor Bailey (and late night shows featuring crossover soul/funk saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, as well as BIGYUKI).

Other special partner events include the 2014 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards on June 11 at Blue Note Jazz Club; the New York City premiere of The Case of the Three Sided Dream, a documentary on jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk, on June 11 at IFC Center; the National Jazz Museum in Harlem Benefit Concert on June 9 at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College; and Jazz Forum @ 35! on June 28 at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts; among others.

Please visit for the most current public lineup and schedule. 
About Blue Note Entertainment Group:
Blue Note Entertainment Group, founded in 1981 by Danny Bensusan, is a multi-faceted entertainment company that owns and operates New York's Blue Note Jazz Club, B.B. King Blues Club, and the Highline Ballroom; The Howard Theatre (Washington D.C.); and Blue Note Jazz Clubs Worldwide (Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan and Milan, Italy). The company also programs the Regattabar Jazz Club (Cambridge, MA). Blue Note Entertainment Group presents shows outside of its club network. The annual Blue Note Jazz Festival was established in 2011 and has since grown to feature over 150 concerts at more than 15 venues throughout New York City each June. Subsidiaries of Blue Note Entertainment Group include the GRAMMY®-nominated record label Half Note Records, whose catalogue includes over fifty titles recorded live at New York's Blue Note Jazz Club, as well as Blue Note Management Group, which boasts jazz legend McCoy Tyner as a client.

For all media inquiries, please contact:
Jordy Freed, Director of Marketing & Publicity
Blue Note Jazz Festival, Blue Note Jazz Club,
Blue Note Entertainment Group

Smoke Sessions Records Launches with New Releases by Harold Mabern, Vincent Herring, Javon Jackson, and David Hazeltine

Smoke Sessions Records Launches with
New Releases by Harold Mabern, Vincent Herring,
Javon Jackson, and David Hazeltine
Photo Credit: Jimmy Katz
After surviving for almost 15 years in the white-knuckle world of running a New York City jazz club, Smoke co-owners Frank Christopher and Paul Stache decided that they were up for yet another daunting challenge, starting a jazz record label. Awed and inspired over the years by the music all around them, it was their dream to document and share it beyond the limited seats of the club. In the spring of 2013, they quit dreaming and instead recruited their friend Damon Smith to help turn the dream into a reality, Smoke Sessions Records.

The label's initial focus is on the music and musicians associated with the club. Guided by the golden age of independent jazz labels like Blue Note, Prestige, and Riverside, Smoke Sessions' ambitious plans are to release 10 to 20 new titles annually with 9 scheduled (one per month) through September 2014 and another full slate arriving starting again in January 2015. The first four titles are Harold Mabern's Right on Time (available now), Vincent Herring's The Uptown Shuffle (available now), Javon Jackson's Expression (available now) and David Hazeltine's For All We Know (available April 8). Also arriving in 2014 are new titles from Louis Hayes, Jimmy Cobb, Cyrus Chestnut, Orrin Evans, and Eric Reed. Initially, the label planned to record live performances at Smoke exclusively, but future titles starting this year will also include studio sessions.

All Smoke Sessions releases are produced using vintage techniques and audio paths - i.e.; Rupert Neve-designed mixing consoles (Amek-Angela), Studer mastering decks, and Manley tube equalization - in combination with modern high definition recording techniques. Label co-founder Stache records the sessions then works closely with GRAMMY® Award-winner Roman Klun to mix and master them. Each releases features original photography by Jimmy Katz, as well as an original 2,000-word artist interview. The limited edition 200-gram audiophile collection was mastered for vinyl by celebrated engineer Kevin Gray and includes a classic "tip-on style" gatefold record jacket. Smoke Sessions titles are available on deluxe compact disc albums and as high resolution digital downloads; a 200gram audiophile vinyl compilation celebrating the first four releases is also available.

"He blends the soul of Memphis with the madness of Manhattan and a life experience as
one of the music's outstanding pianists to create musical muscle that immediately
draws you in and a sensitivity that keeps you there. Anytime is the
right time for Harold Mabern!" - WBGO

The label's first title, Right On Time, is by the jazz piano eminence Harold Mabern. It's a fitting debut for Smoke Sessions as Mabern's frequent presence at Smoke over the years was instrumental in making it a major jazz destination. While most people his age are enjoying retirement, Mabern is still happily in the trenches in the sixth decade of his illustrious career. Clearly, he still has a lot to say.

Recorded over the weekend of his 77th birthday celebration in March 2013, Right on Time--which he dedicates to his idol, and fellow Memphis piano giant, Phineas Newborn, Jr.--captures all of the highlights of his two nights at Smoke with bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth, one of his two working trios. Mabern knows a thing or two about putting together a balanced musical program and he draws on an extensive repertoire for this title including classic blues, swinging standards, moving ballads, and modal tempests.

Always on the lookout for material from outside the jazz box, Mabern opens Right on Time with Peter Brown's disco hit "Dance with Me." He finds another surprising gem in plain sight with the well-known Theme to Laverne and Shirley "Making our Dreams Come True." He also includes some of his favorite composers-Richard Rodgers, Thad Jones, Henry Mancini, and Hoagy Carmichael-and delivers an unusually melancholy and particularly beautiful rendition of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." There is a blistering, bebop reading of "Cherokee," as well as "Seven Steps to Heaven" conceived during his time with Miles in the '60s and his own beloved original, "Edward Lee" dedicated to trumpeter Lee Morgan. Finally, he builds the ebulliently swinging "Blues for Frank 'n' Paul 'n' All" from another unlikely source-the outgoing message on his answering machine. It was a melodic fragment that proved so popular with fellow musicians that he "finished it" with an ending and now dedicates it to the entire Smoke family.

Many consider Mabern the very definition of a "jazz master," and Right On Time is just the most recent evidence that it's high time that the National Endowment for the Arts officially makes him a Jazz Master, too.

Harold Mabern · Right on Time
Smoke Sessions Records  ·  Release Date: January 7, 2014
For more information on Harold Mabern, please visit:


"Alto saxophonist Vincent Herring drives his quartet through a straight-ahead set
that packs a wallop with a double-fisted bout of unrelenting swing." - Downbeat

Vincent Herring's M.O. is well known-he means business. Not that you can tell from the pure joy that emanates from his horn, but like Bird, Cannonball, and Stitt, there is purpose, meaning, and, yes, a little gravity in every note he plays. Herring describes his time spent studying with bebop master Phil Woods as a pivotal moment in his development. It instilled in him a sense of responsibility to assume the mantle of a vital artistic tradition, which, for the past quarter century, is exactly what he's done. With his no-holds-barred solos and unerring aesthetic compass, he's made more than a few great records during that time, but his latest release on Smoke Sessions, The Uptown Shuffle might just be the best one yet.

Like so many classic jazz records, The Uptown Shuffle arrives with a rousing opener, Herring's aptly titled "Elation." He explains that he wrote this theme over 20 years ago to express a feeling of just pure joy. It was never exactly how he wanted it though, until just recently. It might also be the perfect introduction to his quartet. Soulful pianist Cyrus Chestnut, Canadian bass newcomer Brandi Disterheft and the reliably swinging drummer Joe Farnsworth have real chemistry from start to finish. Even when this band slows things down, as they do on timeless favorites like "Love Walked In" and "Tenderly," their intensity and passion never waver. Herring frequently talks about choosing personnel and material based "on a feeling" and that he used that approach to put together this date. He said he knew going in that he had the band he wanted and that when they ran down tunes in rehearsal, the ones included here were the ones that "just clicked."

The Uptown Shuffle was recorded live "uptown" at Smoke Jazz Club in front of a packed house of admirers. There is certainly energy and elation present in these performances and they do capture the spirit and excitement of a night out in New York.

Vincent Herring · The Uptown Shuffle
Smoke Sessions Records  ·  Release Date: February 4, 2014

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"Throughout the set he (Javon) runs a streak of intricate lines and swinging turns-of-phrase,
no doubt inspired by his audience and driven by a solid band." - New York City Jazz Record

In 25 years as a recording artist, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson had never made a live record as a leader...until now. With his new Smoke Sessions title Expression, the wait is finally over. To an instinctive perfectionist like Jackson, live recording presents a different set of challenges from a studio session, but he did learn first-hand from none other than Art Blakey, after all, to prepare, prepare, prepare and then leave it all on the stage. In fact, Jackson opens the record with Wayne Shorter's "One by One" which famously appeared 50 years ago on one of Blakey's many live recordings, Ugetsu. The results have a natural energy and relaxed quality that are difficult to capture in the studio. This record documents some of Jackson's personal favorites and he credits the live atmosphere for delivering what he feels are his definitive versions.

He includes modern classics like Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing," Donnie Hathaway and Roberta Flack's hit "Where is the Love," and the timeless "When I Fall in Love," that are trademark Javon-accessible but enlightening.

The quartet, called the Javon Jackson Band, features bassist Corcoran Holt, drummer McClenty Hunter and, for the first time, Orrin Evans. One of the busiest pianists in Philadelphia or in New York, Evans fit in with the group instantly and Jackson valued the fresh approach and playing that he brought to the music. A striking example of their rapport is the groove they strike on George Cable's '70s classic "Think on Me." It's a certifiable hit but there is simply a lot of great music on Expression. With a record this good, it's a safe bet that Jackson won't wait another 25 years to make the sequel.

Javon Jackson · Expression
Smoke Sessions Records  ·  Release Date: February 25, 2014

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"He plays with lyricism, occasional cleverness and constant elegance, leading with a
self-assurance that never delves into self-indulgence." - New York City Jazz Record

David Hazeltine is known for his harmonic sophistication and elegant pianism, traits that were also hallmarks of Cedar Walton's playing. When Hazeltine initially set out make what would become his Smoke Sessions release, For All We Know, making a tribute record was the furthest thing from his mind and it should be pointed out that For All We Know is definitely not a tribute record. Yet, it's hard to ignore the importance of Cedar Walton's legacy to it. Hazeltine is one of the important heirs to Walton's piano tradition, so it is only natural that his gratitude and affection would be dominant themes on this recording. It is also a special record because it documents what is essentially the first collaboration between Hazeltine and tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake. It was a partnership that both enjoyed immensely and that worked particularly well with the rest of the quartet, bassist David "Happy" Williams and drummer Joe Farnsworth.

The album opens with one of Hazeltine's inventive originals, "Et Cedra" which is also one that was overtly written with Walton in mind. In it's melodic twists and turns and it's subtle yet unexpected harmonies, it is quickly apparent why Hazeltine has such a strong following. Other highlights include Kurt Weill's "My Ship" and Hazeltine's obstreperous "Eddie Harris" which gives Blake an opportunity to pay some respects of his own, this time to the funky saxophone master. When For All We Know concludes with "A.D. Bossa," the realization sets in that although jazz has lost some of its greatest talents, there is another generation that is dedicated to keeping the art form vital and alive.

David Hazeltine · For All We Know
Smoke Sessions Records  ·  Release Date: April 8, 2014

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