Wednesday, August 31, 2016

USA: Maria Schneider to Give Keynote at Jazz Connect Conference in January

Maria Schneider Named Keynote Speaker
for 2017 Jazz Connect Conference

Grammy® Award-winning Composer/Arranger/Bandleader
to Address the Jazz Community About
Important Issues Facing Artists and Composers
The organizers of the Jazz Connect Conference announced today that Maria Schneider will give the keynote presentation at the Conference on Thursday, January 5 at 12:15 pm. Presented by JazzTimes and the Jazz Forward Coalition, the Jazz Connect Conference takes place on January 5-6, 2017 at Saint Peter's Church in New York City. The conference brings together members of the jazz community from all over the globe in a series of panels, workshops and events.  With a theme of "The Family of Jazz," Jazz Connect leads into both the APAP|NYC conference, which begins on that Friday, and Winter Jazzfest, which takes place on Friday and Saturday nights.

Pre-registration for the Jazz Connnect Conference is only $125 until September 30, with additional discounts for members of various organizations, such as APAP, ASCAP, BMI, Chamber Music America, Jazz Journalists Association, JazzWeek, SESAC, Local 802 and several others. To register or receive more information, go to the Jazz Connect Conference website.  Conference hotline is (617) 315-9158.

Maria Schneider's music has been hailed by critics as "evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization."  She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, Evanescence.  There, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group.  The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide.  She herself has received numerous commissions and guest-conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from over 30 countries.

Schneider has become a strong voice for music advocacy and in 2014, testified before the US Congressional Subcommittee on Intellectual Property about digital rights.  She has also appeared on CNN, and has been quoted in numerous publications for her views on Spotify, Pandora, digital rights and music piracy.  Most recently, she and concerned colleagues in New York have launched a widespread campaign on behalf of music-makers,  You can see an interview with Schneider here

Her recent collaboration with her orchestra and David Bowie resulted in his single called, "Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)," and brought her a 2016 GRAMMY® Award (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals).  Schneider and her orchestra also received a 2016 GRAMMY® Award for their latest work, The Thompson Fields (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album).

Previous keynote speakers at Jazz Connect include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Ben Cameron of the Doris Duke Foundation, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Bill Strickland of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild.  Schneider's speech will be part of the keynote session, which includes two "Solo Spots"--short TEDTalk-like presentations--as well as the presentation of the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award.  The Solo Spot speakers and the recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award will be announced soon.

For media information, please contact:
DL Media  ·  610-667-0501
Maureen McFadden  ·
Don Lucoff  ·
Public Relations for the Preferred Artist

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

UK: Janek Gwizdala - American Elm (2016)

1. Poets Walk
2. Manhattan, Part 1
3. American Elm
4. Indian Lake
5. Manhattan, Part 2
6. West Village Walk
7. Mount Rushmore
8. Coming Home
9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
10. Day Tripper

GERMANY/FRANCE: Pierre Favre , Léon Francioli , Irène Schweizer, Don Cherry, John Tchicai - Musical Monsters (Naxos 2016)

Musical Monsters 

Christian Rentsch writes of this release, The music of this concert is adventurous, taking the liberty of breaking all the rules of style through playing without getting totally out of hand. To sum it up, this is an album jazz lovers wont want to miss! Packed away in the Jazzfestival Willisau archives, the live recording of the Musical Monsters from August 1980 lay for decades. When Irene Schweizer got her hands on it, it was clear that she had to release it. This concert documents Schweizers only collaboration with trumpeter and free jazz pioneer Don Cherry. The music on this recording is alive and fresh, years ahead of its time, and one of the only recordings of European Free Jazz.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

KIELCE, POLAND: The Targi Kielce Jazz Festival Memorial to Miles will take place from 23 to 25 September in Kielce

 We would like to inform that The Targi Kielce Jazz Festival Memorial to Miles will take place from 23 to 25 September in Kielce. Please, inform your recipients about the forthcoming event. Enclosed you will find the press news to be used. It is worth highlighting that the entrance is gratuitous. The entrance tickets to all concerts are available from 22 August in Kielce Culture Centre's ticket office, contact 41 367 67 11 internal number 272.

See you soon!
Stay up-to-date with:

The Targi Kielce 2016's JAZZ FESTIVAL”Memorial to Miles”

Miles Davis - one of the twentieth century's most significant and innovative musicians. The Kielce festival has been staged for fifteen year in memoriam of Miles Davis and his lifetime achievements. This year, the Kielce Culture Centre's grand stage will feature world-class stars.

For the fifteenth time Kielce pays tribute to the most significant musician in jazz history. Over the years the Memorial to Miles Targi Kielce Jazz Festival has hosted A-class jazz musicians from all corners of the world. Miles Davis Monument in the square of the Kielce Culture Centre is a true an genuine commitment; KCK is thus the proper stage to commemorate the legendary trumpeter's lifelong achievements. What is the magnet that attracts not only jazz fans but also all other lovers of good music? It is the festival's unique and inclusive atmosphere. There is the place for absorbing meetings and compelling conversations and first and foremost, a powerful dose of improvised music. This year's edition features: Marek Napiórkowski sextet, Lukasz Pawlik quartet, the New Light with the legendary Dave Liebman and Tomasz Stanko band. The Festival programme will be enhanced with concerts of Świętokrzyskie region musicians and Marek Batorski vernisage. Batorski is a Cracow-based painter and saxophonist. Free tickets for each event available at KCK ticket offices.

USA: Hamid Drake, Joe Morris, William Parker - COUNTERACT THIS TURMOIL LIKE TREES AND BIRDS(Rogue Art 2016)


William Parker: double bass, shakuhachi flute, sintir, n’goni kemlah n’goni, thumb piano Joe Morris: guitar, banjouke, banjo, double bass, fiddle, pocket trumpet, whistles Hamid Drake: drum set, frame drum, cymbals, gongs
Human beings gathering to make sound - in celebration and in mourning, as ritual and as play. Calloused hands pluck strings and strike skin, vibrations resonate through wood and metal. One of the defining characteristics of our species, throughout time and place, yet something we too easily forget in an era of blandly polished perfection and omnipresent background noise. We need our musicians, our shamans and sonic scientists, to help us shake off the detritus of technology and consumption, to reawaken us to the fundamental beauty, immediacy, and necessity of human beings making sound. We need artists like Joe Morris, William Parker, and Hamid Drake to counteract this turmoil like trees and birds. Taylor Ho Bynum, excerpt from the liner notes

The Sky was Purple Blue (4:46)
Profound Branches (5:05)
Elixir (7:33)
Grass Beneath the Cracked Shells (4:46)
Endless Galaxies (6:52)
Energy of Patience (5:38)
Light Across a Leaf (5:50)
The Rhythm of Butterflies (11:10)
Out of This (4:53)
Exact Intuition (5:55

Rogue Art 


PAPER: Enacting musical emotions. sense-making, dynamic systems, and the embodied mind

Enacting musical emotions. sense-making, dynamic systems, and the embodied mind
Andrea Schiavio, Dylan van der Schyff, Julian Cespedes-Guevara, Mark Reybrouck
The subject of musical emotions has emerged only recently as a major area of research. While much work in this area offers fascinating insights to musicological research, assumptions about the nature of emotional experience seem to remain committed to appraisal, representations, and a rule-based or information-processing model of cognition. Over the past three decades alternative ‘embodied’ and ‘enactive’ models of mind have challenged this approach by emphasising the self-organising aspects of cognition, often describing it as an ongoing process of dynamic interactivity between an organism and its environment. More recently, this perspective has been applied to the study of emotion in general, opening up interesting new possibilities for theory and research. This new approach, however, has received rather limited attention in musical contexts. With this in mind, we critically review the history of music and emotion studies, arguing that many existing theories offer only limited views of what musical-emotional experience entails. We then attempt to provide preliminary grounding for an alternative perspective on music and emotion based on the enactive/dynamic systems approach to the study of mind.

Uncommon Grounds: Preparing Students in Higher Music Education for the Unpredictable
Eleni Lapidaki

This article considers the contribution that Jacques Derrida’s work Of Hospitality might make to higher music education as it unsettles the usual ascription of normative value to learning and teaching music at the university. Along these lines, what is most at issue in the encounter with Derrida’s thinking is the concomitant notion of forms of temporality—unpredictability, slowability, immeasurability, anticipation, serendipity, and surprise. Higher music education is seen as the practice of social transformation through the realization of the notion of unpredictability of the “oral” being-together with and through music educational interactions that are not sacrificed to economically driven performance indicators and measurable outcomes. Furthermore, the article draws on the learning and teaching practices of de-familiarization of educational spaces and pedagogical responsibility to the others as ways to disrupt students’ fixed expectations about what good music teaching and mastery are. Overall, this article is a call to see unpredictability as another framework through which higher music education can seek to re-invent theoretical concepts as well as codes and conventions of teaching and learning practices by inviting us to contemplate their own insufficiency, incompleteness, and discontent

Monday, August 29, 2016

GERMANY: Bastian Jütte Quartet-Happiness Is Overrated(Unit Records 2016)

Happiness Is Overrated
Florian Trübsbach - alto saxophone, clarinet
Rainer Böhm - piano
Henning Sieverts - bass, cello
Bastian Jütte - drums, compositions

GERMANY/UK: Silke Eberhard, Christian Marien, Nikolaus Neuser-I Am Three; Mingus, Mingus, Mingus(LEO RECORDS 2016)

CD LR 752 
The first sentence of Mingus' autobiography starts like this: "In other words: I am three". Silke Eberhard (saxophone), Nikolaus Neuser (trumpet) and Christian Marien (drums) play Mingus' music and demonstrate that it is still possible to make a fresh statement and interprete the music in a highly contemporary way. In the best traditions of Mingus, they take chances, they are extremely playful and they are faithful to Mingus' spirit. Would he dig this? "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am"! LEO RECORDS

NORWAY: Frode Gjerstad, Ramiro Molina ‎– Unseen Seas ( FMR Records 2016)

I first met Ramiro Molina in 2013. I was touring in South- America with my trio and Ramiro helped me setting up some gigs in Chile. After our arrival, he took us to the fish market and I had some of the most beautiful fish dishes in my life - so sim- ple and so tasty! That was my main reason for wanting to go back. the fish market. Ramiro invited my back in September of 2015. I did a workshop there and we played some gigs together as well as recorded the music for this CD. It is great to meet someone on the other side of the globe and to be able to play in a meaningful way after only a few minutes. Thanks for a very nice stay in your house and for the music! Frode Gjerstad
FMR Records

Sunday, August 28, 2016

ITALY/CANADA: KoSA XXI: A Thundering Success in the Green Mountains of Calabria (Italy)!

KoSA Press Release
Contact: Dr. Jolán Kovács
Phone: (514) 482-5554
           For Immediate Release
                 August 23, 2016

KoSA XXI:  A Thundering Success in the Green Mountains of Calabria (Italy)!

Locri, RC –Italy:   To the delight of many European percussionist and drummers, the renown KoSA International Drum Camp and Music Festival founded by Aldo Mazza and his wife Dr. Jolán Kovács celebrated over two-decades of unparalleled music education seminars  in a very different location.  The usual majestic green mountains of Vermont, which was home to KoSA for 20 years, was “replaced” this year by the equally picturesque green mountains of Calabria, Italy – with an ocean view to boot!  The event took place in the beautiful seaside resort town of Locri, Italy in the Reggio Calabria province, this past July 21-24, 2016. 

Attendees came from various countries and continents (North America and Europe) to join in this Italian adventure.  All classes and nightly performances were held at the Cinema Vittoria – Sala Rossa in Locri.  This year’s outstanding teaching faculty included: Rick Latham (Juice Newton, Edgar Winter), Massimo Cusato (South Italian Tamburello Artist and gracious host of the event), Andrea Piccioni (Bobby McFerrin),  Mario DeCiuttis (Mallets/KAT electronic percussion), Alan Molnar (Jazz Vibraphone –Nelly Furtado),  Gigi Morello (GM Drum Schools), Aldo Mazza (Repercussion-Artistic Director and Founder of KoSA) and  the KoSA Rhythm Section:  Gegè Albanese (piano) with  Stefano Napoli (bass)  and other guest artists joined this fantastic line-up at the nightly KoSA Music Festival.
With the event being held in Mazza’s birthplace of Italy (Calabria), the general focus of this year’s event was understanding the concepts of Southern Italian rhythms and how these rhythms not only shape  the  music of today, but and are in fact found in many different musical genres such as jazz, funk, and commercial/popular music.  This year’s theme:  Drum Without Borders was a fitting sentiment for this particular event because despite the language barriers, drummers from the USA, Canada, Belgium, and even Switzerland all grooved to the same beat as their Italian counterparts producing a wonderful fusion of cultures and a true borderless musical community.  
The event kicked off with a highly informative session entitled:  “The History of the Drumset” presented by the esteemed drummer/ percussionist/editor, Alfredo Romeo (Drumset Mag)The jam-packed schedule then included hands-on sessions with the fiery and charismatic drummer Gigi Morello with the assistance of Cristiano Coraggio (GM Drum Schools). A special drumcircle class was scheduled to reach out and include young children from the local community.  The drumcircle was facilitated by Massimo Cusato and Andrea Piccioni and it was such a success that these young stars were then featured in the finale concert much to the delight of their parents. Mario DiCiuttiis wowed the attendees with the launch of his unique and clever new invention – the jamKAT -and he demonstrated his extraordinary percussive skills and great musicality on this one-of-a-kind instrument. Aldo Mazza gave classes in Cuban percussion and drumset as well as hand percussion concepts combined with drumset.  In concert, Aldo gave a masterful solo performance with his unique multi-percussion-drumset hybrid with compositions combining African, Cuban ,funk and Southern Italian rhythms with drumset.  Andrea Piccioni delivered  a jaw-dropping performance at the KoSA nightly festival alongside an equally talented musician- Francesco Loccisano who played a not-so-commonly seen instrument in North America – the Chitarra Battente.  More musical highlights included Massimo Cusato who rocked out on his southern Italian tamburello accompanied by the warm and contagious beats of Fabio Macagnino (vocals and guitar).  Allan Molnar treated the attendees and audience to some wonderful jazz compositions played masterfully on the vibraphone.  He performed this music combining it to a visual presentation of scenes from his hometown of  New York City – a real musical and visual treat for the mostly Italian audience.  As the KoSA Concerts also featured participants alongside the faculty, Allan teamed up with a long-time participant – Cedric de Saint-Rome (Canada) who has literally grown up at the KoSA events (coming every year to KoSA Vermont for the past ten years) and Angelina Mazza (the KoSA founders’ daughter).  With Angelina on vocals, Cedric playing the ukulele and Allan on vibes, the audience was touched by their rendition of the classic:  Cry Me a River.  Finally, the powerhouse of groove - Rick Latham  delighted everyone  with his funk drumming and astonishing technique.  On the last night of the concerts, Rick was visibly moved when he received on stage  the KoSA Lifetime Achievement Award   for his great contribution in the world of funk drumming,  his tireless development of groove and his great passion for education.  The event closed on Sunday morning with renown creativity speaker (and drummer!), James Taylor, who educated attendees and our professional faculty artists and guest artists alike on how to succeed for the long-term in the music business.  A highly inspiring close to a highly inspiring and unforgettable event for all.
 The KoSA World is continuously in expansion with programs not only in  the USA, but in Canada, Cuba, China, and Italy.   For more information on all things KoSA, visit us at  and  like us on facebook
 KoSA Calabria 2016 was graciously sponsored, in part, by: ProMark, Istanbul, Gon Bops, Drumset Magazine, Cooperman, DW, Sabian, Ludwig, Remo, Alfred, Evans, PMsnares, and Cinema Vittoria.

aldo mazza

USA: Saxophonist Rob Reddy - "Citizen Quintet" - Available September 30 on Reddy Music

Saxophonist Rob Reddy Blurs the Lines 
Between Improvisation and Complex Structure on 
Citizen Quintet - Available September 30 on Reddy Music 


Since his emergence onto the scene in 1989, composer/soprano saxophonist Rob Reddy has established himself as an adventurous and original leader in the contemporary jazz realm. Prolific, eclectic and versatile, Reddy is recognized by musicians, critics, and funding institutions. With his new recording Citizen Quintet, Reddy adds another powerful milestone to his reputation. Citizen Quintet is his eighth album where Reddy is again fully within his own territory and in the company of a superb group of musicians - trumpeter John Carlson, guitarist Brandon Ross, double bassist Dom Richards and drummer Pheeroan akLaff--all regular collaborators of his for more than 20 years.

With Citizen Quintet, Reddy has purposefully diminished the emphasis upon the compositional form on behalf of a looser and more open approach to the creative substance, allowing the musicians' longtime familiarity to breathe more freely. As a result, Reddy says "this session had a real joy & ease to it." Indeed, the sense of joyful turbulence and free-reined expressiveness that is so fundamental to the music of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sun Ra and Albert Ayler is vividly displayed throughout this album.

But this is no free improv or loose-knit blowing album by any means. There is a rich and complex structure and overall sense of purpose and shape always in full bloom. Reddy states, "Within the confines of five instrumental voices I attempted to break the ensemble down...solos, duos, trios, entire ensemble improvisations... I continue to explore the idea of juxtaposing the composed melodic material and the improvised music with one another." They emerge from the compositional structures and sometimes the process is reversed--and often combined. Written and improvised lines are sometimes blurred, sometimes intersected and sometimes indistinguishable within the pure musicality and extraordinary musicianship of the members of the ensemble.

Photo Credit: R.I. Sutherland-Cohen
Striking unison passages, stirring anthems, arresting harmonies, atmospheric rubato, and a rollicking sense of energetic jubilance are all part of the compositional structure and improvisational interplay. The individualistic voices of the musicians combined with their impeccable artistry and consummate sense of creativity make the music shimmer with excitement and vitality.

Reddy uses one collage-like piece in three parts to create a web of context to anchor the album.  "Hear Me?" opens the album, while "Hear Me? (Very Slight Return)" emerges a bit more than halfway through, with "Hear Me? (Slight Return)" closing the album out.  Swaggering blues, hollering unison, mesmerizing chants and collective exchanges at the highest level create a sumptuous aura that makes the listener feel that they are waking from a lovely dream each time this mosaic reappears.

Richly dense atmospheric excursions are at play for a pair of extended pieces. "Time Smells Good" opens with crystalline guitar also; darkly ominous with impending danger, then ushering in a lovely slow drag dirge that sets the foundation for Reddy's sinuous, serpentine solo. Fluttering soprano opens "Redemptive Grace," a smoothly grooving waltz time sojourn, with exceptional guitar/bass interplay over delicate percussion opening up the way for a riveting guitar solo and sparkling soprano.

The captivating Art Ensemble of Chicago vibe is invoked on two other items. "Right as Rain" has an Ornette-ish compositional line in rubato, with visceral individual statements emerging from the compositional mass; and "Duck Duck Goose" is a delightful "battle" that pits soprano and drums against trumpet, guitar and bass. Carlson's dynamic talents are showcased on "Paralysis Of Analysis," opening on an inspired trumpet cadenza eventually underscored by an explosive, rapid-fire, starkly syncopated and suspended line that buoys his exhilarating solo.

"Forsaken's" richly syncopated unison melody lays the foundation for a full ensemble improvisation that constructs a fervid and impassioned wall of sound. The whimsically sardonic spirit of one of Reddy's greatest mentors, Makanda Ken McIntyre, is on hand for the delightful "Without a Paddle", staggering like a happy drunk, with echoes of Reddy's Bechet project in Richards' tuba-like bass.

There is a European artistic giant who does come to mind in terms of Reddy's musical approach - the immortal filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, who maintained a steady group of collaborators in front of and behind the lens to shape his most singular vision. A true modernist, Reddy draws upon the full palette of jazz expressionism rather than the Modern European milieu that flavors many of today's more daring composers. 

Upcoming Rob Reddy Performances:
October 5 / New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Arnhold Hall / New York, NY
October 13 / Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning / Jamaica, NY
October 16 / ShapeShifter Lab / Brooklyn, NY

Rob Reddy · Citizen Quintet
Reddy Music · Release Date: September 30, 2016

For more information on Rob Reddy please visit:

For media information, please contact:
DL Media  ·  610-667-0501
Greg Angiolillo  · 
Don Lucoff  ·

Public Relations for the Preferred Artist 

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

GERMANY: Misagh Azimi-Panic Driven Diaries(2016)

Misagh Azimi | Panic Driven Diaries 

"Panic Driven Diaries" was written and produced by Misagh Azimi in only 6 months, which wouldn't be possible, without the artistic harmony and chemistry between the musicians and their musical abilities.

The result, very similar to Misagh's previous album, is a musical portrait of different genres, used only to serve the compositional needs of the album. Featuring singer Maika Küster and saxophonist Florian Boos with their unique sound and musical colour, the music roams through different genres; from Jazz to Hiphop, Down Tempo, Electronic or Trip hop. The songs were interpreted and performed excellently by a fantastic group of musicians:

Natascha Ziegler: Classical Harp
Michael Knippschild: Drums
Calvin Lennig: Bass, Double Bass
Johannes Still: Keys, Fender Rhodes
Joël Van de Pol: Alto Saxophone
Alex Nierman: Saxophone
Moritz Anthes: Trombone
Maika Küster: Vocals
Florian Boos: Tenor/Soprano Saxophone
Misagh Azimi: Vocals, Electronics

Misagh's second album "Panic Driven Diaries", is the sound of musical desires with no limitations; not being trapped in a specific genre and not being afraid of trying something new.

USA: Katsuko Tanaka-Wish Board (2016)

Katsuko Tanaka | Wish Board 
WISH BOARD (Katsuko Music) is the sophomore release of pianist Katsuko Tanaka. The album features a trio that includes Corcoran Holt (bass) and Willie Jones III (drums). Recorded at Acoustic Recording on March 16th in Brooklyn, the nine-song effort includes seven original compositions by the leader and is released on August 20th, 2016.

A Japanese native Katsuko Tanaka moved to New York City in 2008 in order to immerse herself in the culture and traditions of American blues and jazz music. Since relocating Katsuko has been privileged to share the stage with internationally acclaimed jazz musicians, leading bands locally and abroad that have showcased artists like Willie Jones III, Gene Jackson, Victor Lewis, Lonnie Plaxico, Essiet Okon Essiet, and stellar young musicians. In 2009, she recorded her debut album BEYOND INTERSECTION, featuring Willie Jones III, Danton Boller, and a guest appearance by Antonio Hart.

Katsuko carries with her a blend of cultural perspectives that have continued to grow and evolve. WISH BOARD showcases this unique viewpoint, with her dynamic, elegant sound skillfully and soulfully accompanied by Corcoran Holt and Willie Jones III.

The album begins with BLOSSOM IN QUEENS, inspired by the positivity of musicians Jimmy Heath, Michael Philip Mossman and Antonio Hart, all faculty of her alma mater, Queens College. WITH EYES OF TRUTH lays back, staying in the pocket, inspired by her neighborhood in Brooklyn. A DREAM is a delicate ballad played with sensitivity and cinematic flair, while HAVE PEACE IN YOUR HEART is influenced by her regular work with a gospel churches over the past two years. On WISH BOARD, the title track, Katsuko pays respect to jazz piano giants Hank Jones and Barry Harris, whose longevity and technique are an inspiration to her. All of the original songs on WISH BOARD are based on her experience and emotional connection to living and working in New York.

With a release date of August 20th, 2016, WISH BOARD is a strong follow-up that exhibits pianist and composer Katsuko Tanaka’s continuing musical and personal journey as she navigates the New York music scene.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

FINLAND : Kokko Quartet-Orient Express(2016)

Kokko Quartet | Orient Express 

Kokko Quartet
Kaisa Siirala, saxophones and flutes
Johanna Pitkänen, piano and keys
Timo Tuppurainen, bass
Risto Takala, drums

Established in 2010 and based in Helsinki, the group plays recognizably Scandinavian jazz but draws influences from Indian and Arabic music as well as Cuban rhythms, thus creating a distinctive overall sound. Kokko Quartet performs songs written by pianist Johanna Pitkänen, saxophone player Kaisa Siirala and bass player Timo Tuppurainen. Together with drummer Risto Takala, these four musicians share an interest in free expression, jazz and world music. Intuitively, they move through the music with a spirit of great freedom in their interplay. The group’s debut album Like a River was released in March 2013. It was well received by both the national and the international press. Kokko Quartet was invited to play a showcase in Jazzahead! 2013 and since then they have played at major jazz festivals including Bohemia Jazz in The Czech Republic and Pori Jazz in Finland. In December 2015 they played a major tour of Australia.

“…The music flows gently and smoothly, breaking boundaries between different musical genres. In a sensuous and subtle way, elements of jazz unite the Scandinavian well as Indian, Arabic and Cuban atmosphere…”
- Osku Rajala/Jazzrytmit, a Finnish Jazz Magazine

”The World seen from Finland”
-Eric Pozza/Canberra Jazz Blog

USA: Kaylé Brecher-This Is Life(2016)

Kaylé Brecher | This Is Life
Album Notes

"It don't mean a thing if it don't mean a thing" - Kaylé Brecher

Intimacy is one of the most treasured elements of a rewarding musical performance. It’s a trait less likely to be achieved in the studio than in a live performance where the artist can directly interact with audience members, gauging their reactions and responding accordingly. A more evocative, enduring connection is formed when the musical relationship
between performer and patron is intimate.
This intimacy is something that vocalist Kaylé Brecher has honed over a lifetime of performance, building an uncommon gift for achieving intimacy within the recorded setting as effectively as onstage. Her selection of musical companions, among them longtime guitarist Frank Butrey and world renowned drummer Grant Calvin Weston, contributes to this warm, wonderful sense of closeness within Brecher’s artistic world.
This album presents various facets of Brecher’s creative personality, from improvisatory poems and original compositions to new twists on standard fare. Her skill at interpreting material and offering it up in new light is refreshing, as is her knack for making every syllable meaningful.
The various ensembles consist of both veterans and young faces. Bassist Ratzo Harris is well-known in jazz circles for his work alongside Kenny Werner, Mose Allison, Roseanna Vitro and Jane Ira Bloom. Says Brecher, “Ratzo is pure genius in what he comes up with to play - in his responsiveness when you are performing with him - as well as presenting remarkable soloistic prowess.” Powerhouse drummer Grant Calvin Weston's resume includes Ornette Coleman, The Lounge Lizards, James Blood Ulmer, John Medeski, Vernon Reid and too many others to mention here. Pianist David Dzubinski, Brecher’s husband, has partnered with her for many moons in both live and recorded settings. Young violinist Benjamin Sutin, studied with jazz legend John Blake as well as pianist Dzubinski before recently getting his degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Ben's modern approach stands out on “The Gift” and “Back to the Red Clay”. A pair of gifted harpists, 
the up-and-coming Brandee Younger (Brecher cites her “creative, sensitive, astonishing feel on a difficult instrument”) and Philly educator Gloria Galante, grace different tracks.
Brecher’s love of improvisational settings resulted in the spontaneous creation of the melody for “Not Alone” in the studio. Her interaction with Butrey, Younger and Harris in a drummerless setting is a textbook example of intimate listening. “Life is Just a Rhythm” is another poem that Brecher wrote, this time to improvise in duo alongside G. Calvin Weston’s
pinpoint drumming. Both tracks reveal that the singer is as gifted with word craft as she is with melody. Her penchant for rearranging classic American folk music appears here on “This Is Life”. Brecher came up as a young teen in Greenwich Village, singing blues and standards in clubs there during the nascence of the folk scene: “I like that these folk era songs are often blues based and thus extremely malleable… I am usually more compelled by deep songs about life experiences, or philosophical or sociological concepts than I am by love songs. Writers like Fred Neil, Phil Ochs, etc. were often compellingly brave and deep in their lyrics.” Equally brave is Brecher’s unexpectedly funky take on Fred Neil’s “Wild Child”, a fun modernization of a style that is unfairly viewed as old hat in contemporary circles. Trumpeter Matt Cappy’s résumé includes The Roots and work with Kirk Franklin, Wyclef Jean, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Brecher also loves re-envisioning classic jazz tunes, as she does here with her lyrics for Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay” and Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance”, and a bright, scat-filled arrangement of Egberto Gismonti's “Moon Dreams” (aka O Sonho). On the latter, again, the sparse string borne instrumentation accentuates the freshness of her vocal approach.
The session closes with “The Gift”, a sprightly Brecher original that celebrates the beauty and complexity of life, summing up the album’s core theme. For Brecher does consider life to be a most precious gift.

--Todd Jenkins, jazz historian, critic, and author of ‘Free Jazz and Free Improvisation: An Encyclopedia’ and ‘I Know What I Know: The Music of Charles Mingus’

Kaylé Brecher: all vocals // Ratzo Harris: bass (tracks 1,2,3,4,5,7,8 and 9) //
Frank Butrey: guitar (tracks 1,2,3,4,5 and 9) // Grant Calvin Weston: drums (tracks 3,5,6 and 9) //
Brandee A Younger: harp (tracks 1 and 7) // Gloria Galante: harp (tracks 2 and 4) //
Benjamin Sutin: violin (tracks 5 and 9) // David Dzubinski: piano (tracks 5 and 9) //Matt Cappy: trumpet (track 3)

USA: Vocalist Somi | Tuesday, September 27 at Baryshnikov Arts Center (Jerome Robbins Theater)

Acclaimed Vocalist Somi to Kick Off
Baryshnikov Arts Center Fall 2016 Season -

Tuesday, September 27 at Jerome Robbins Theater

Critically acclaimed vocalist Somi is set to launch Baryshnikov Arts Center's (BAC) 2016 Fall season with a performance on Tuesday, September 27 at BAC's Jerome Robbins Theater in New York, NY. Joining Somi will be guitarist Nir Felder, pianist Toru Dodo, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Nate Smith.
Somi, who is often referred to as a modern day Miriam Makeba and who was recently hailed by the Huffington Post as "the new Nina Simone," blends jazz and world music into a new art form that is as unique as it is inspiring. She will perform a program of songs from her repertoire--both old and new--and will also be the featured performance of BAC's annual Fall Fête on Monday, September 26.
"The fall is the perfect season to step into earthier, warmer things while reflecting on the changes in ourselves and in the world around us," comments Somi. "I hope to do just that during my performance."
The performance marks a return to BAC for the songstress, following the BAC Space creative residency she received in Fall 2015 to develop Dreaming Zenzile, a jazz opera inspired by the late South African singer and political activist, Miriam Makeba.
"The generosity and structure of my Baryshnikov Arts Center residency led to a highly generative and deeply focused creative period during which I was able to make significant strides in the development of my ongoing projects," reflects Somi. "I am thankful for the good and necessary space-making work of BAC.  It speaks volumes about the legacy, generosity, and vision of Mikhail Baryshnikov and his Center."
The residency came after Somi garnered critical acclaim for her chart-topping 2014 album The Lagos Music Salon (Sony/OKeh), which was inspired by an 18-month sabbatical in Lagos, Nigeria and featured special guests Angelique Kidjo, Common and Ambrose Akinmusire.
Performance & Ticket Info:
September 27, 2016  / Tuesday at 8PM
Baryshnikov Arts Center
Jerome Robbins Theater, 450 W. 37th St., NYC 10018
Tickets: $25 
On Sale August 15 at or 866 811 4111
About Somi:
Born in Illinois to immigrants from Uganda and Rwanda, the African and jazz legacies are always crucial to her sound. As a TED Senior Fellow and also founder of the New Africa Live, a nonprofit dedicated to celebrating the best contemporary African Artists working in performance, visual and literary arts, Somi has for the last decade carved out a career of singing and being an activist. She has also been honored for her activism and connection to African art, being invited to perform at the United Nations by Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, invited to perform at Carnegie Hall (alongside her longtime mentor Hugh Masekela as well as Dave Matthews and Vusi Mahlesela in celebration of 20 years of South African democracy), and a headline performance at the National Museum of African Art's (Smithsonian Institution) 50th Anniversary Gala, among others.
About Baryshnikov Arts Center:
BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov to build an arts center in Manhattan that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC's opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative laboratory and performance space for artists from around the world. BAC's activities encompass a robust residency program augmented by a range of professional services, including commissions of new work, as well as the presentation of performances by artists at varying stages of their careers. In tandem with its commitment to supporting artists, BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary, innovative work at affordable ticket prices.
For more information on Somi, please visit:
For more information of Baryshnikov Arts Center, please visit:

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