Tuesday, February 28, 2023

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022: Florian Arbenz, Jorge Vistel, Wolfgang Puschnig, Oren Marshall, Michael Arbenz-Conversation #8 – Ablaze

Arbenz- Vistel- Puschnig- Marshall- M. Arbenz - Conversation #8 - Ablaze

Swiss composer and drummer Florian Arbenz’s Conversations series continues with “Ablaze”, a new album where is joined by British tuba musician Oren Marshall, Austrian saxophonist Wolfgang Puschnig, Swiss pianist Michael Arbenz and Cuban trumpet player Jorge Vistel.

As always his drumming spans a wide spectrum of tonalities and rhythms, ranging from organic, free-flowing beats to strong strokes, which offers this all-star multinational gathering of talents support and vitality.

Right from the start British tuba player Oren Marshall showcases his prowess giving strength and heart to the interaction. On the opening track, “Catch Me If You Can,” the tuba’s rich, resonant tones support Florian Arbenz‘s inventive drumming and the vivacious free discussion between the trumpet and saxophone.

“Rivulets” starts off gently with the tuba soloing an amazing “throat singing”-like intro, followed by saxophone, and trumpet playing in unison, building further into a jazzy blues crescendo with all players dancing gleefully, before making room for exuberant saxophone and trumpet solos.
The lyrical highlight of the set is “Choral,” a gorgeous impressionistic work in which the melodic piano unfolds with all its splendour.

In full force “The Mirror” follows, the entertaining melodic line sustained by tuba introducing thrilling saxophone and trumpet solos. Freedom Dance present on Arbenz’s previous albums, gets new clothes reaching a big band quality full of surprises with Puschnig playing hojok (a Korean wind instrument). On “Wild flower,” a minimalist velvety ballad with moments of brilliance from Vistel’s trumpet, the pianist Michael Arbenz shines once more.

The free-form “Insight Straight” rounds up the seven-piece performance with a creative tour de force in which all the instruments combine their creative forces to produce an amalgam of unexpected sonorities.
Strongly advised for jazz lovers open to a “burning” artistic adventure.


JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022

Monday, February 27, 2023

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022: Marco Pacassoni Trio feat. John Patitucci & Antonio Sanchez (Italy): Album: Life

Marco Pacassoni Trio - Life

Marco Pacassoni Trio feat. John Patitucci & Antonio Sanchez (Italy): Album: Life
Label: Egea Music Giotto Music

Time Vibes

Marco Pacassoni: vibraphone, marimba
John Patitucci: electric and acoustic bass
Antonio Sanchez: drums

Life is a dream told in music. I couldn’t have given it a different title. It is the dream of a life lived intensely every day. Like that of every individual, but in particular that of every musician. A life that never as today must necessarily include diversity to be fully lived. I don’t think an uncontaminated artist has any sense now, if not nostalgic, because as someone said “we are not islands” but the need to merge and not separate in the name of who knows what has ever happened in the past, still remains the goal to reach.

I was born in Fano, a small town famous for its Carnival and for being “The City of Fortune”. In my case, luck in luck was that Fano has hosted an important Jazz Festival for almost thirty years and I had the opportunity to listen to the best musicians in the world in my home from an early age. I have probably also listened to historical concerts that I don’t remember anything about, but what is certain is that that music made everyone breathe a different air, even if at first only for a few days a year. It was almost inevitable that I went to their house as soon as possible to learn and understand.

At Berklee College of Music in Boston I understood what it means to confront and learn from others. It is there that my microcosm broke up to make room for a horizon made up of multiculturalism and inevitable contamination. It goes without saying that in such a school, you enter thinking you are good and if you are lucky, and if you are really good, you come out with something less in terms of self- esteem. Such a badly lived place could also definitively undermine anyone’s aspirations and career because there are more good people in the world than you can imagine. Or perhaps because there is inevitably a greater concentration there …

It is a place where provincialism becomes folklore that can implode and destroy you or explode into a universe of different sounds, tastes, smells, shapes, cultures that gradually become more and more familiar. Contrasting events and emotions transformed into notes that I sang with the voice of my instruments.

And after what has been said so far, I can’t even say what kind of music it is. The initial rhythm is complex, but it’s best to stop counting and let this stream of notes try to excite you. Because in this piece there are no virtuosity and there is no comparison, but only dialogue. They are more or less complex lines that intertwine, almost in a whisper and at times it seems to me, listening to John’s solo, that the notes really become words.

Transmitting the sensations of a dream is difficult, but it becomes possible if you tell your dreams to two great musicians and to two beautiful people like John Patitucci and Antonio Sanchez, whom I will never stop thanking for all this. But this is only the “title track” and so … the best is yet to come. Thank you so much.

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JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022

Thursday, February 16, 2023

World Music Mix: Armagos (Greece)- Album: “7 times in America” (2022)

Armagos-7 Times in America

“7 times in America,” the latest album by Greek pianist Armagos, is a wonderful display of musicianship and sensitivity. The seven pieces’ minimalist style enables for the compositions’ true beauty to stand out. With emotional depth and that special cinematic quality previously present on his previous albums, the compositions have a softly meditative nature painted with great care and finesse. A beautiful album for listeners who appreciate the inventiveness blessed with grace.


World Music Mix

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

World Music Mix: Al-jiçç(Portugal)- EP Traveler / Rupta

Al-jicc- Traveler Rupta

‘Chants’ is Al-jiçç’s fifth album and represents a new aesthetic evolution of the band. It was composed and produced during the pandemic, with the musicians individually recording their parts.

The music started with six little themes composed on an electric piano, which served as a harmonic basis for the improvisations. These improvisations were edited and manipulated, with the mixing and post-production playing a fundamental role on the record.

Keeping the Mediterranean-inspired melodies as a brand, in ‘Chants’ these were mixed in a universe influenced by Miles Davis’ electric period (in ‘Route’), by Dub (in ‘Zadar’) or more ambient electronics ( in ‘Lost Signal’).

This record represents a new direction for Al-Jiçç, using the melodic side as a starting point for more electronic and contemporary universes.

Nuno Damião – guitar, keyboards and percussion
Gonçalo Lopes – clarinet and bass clarinet
Ricardo A. Freitas – electric bass
Jorge Lopes Trigo – percussion

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 BEST OF BANDCAMP JAZZ – January 2019 and September 2021
” The quartet Al-jiçç embrace a number of influences, (…), With slinky tempos that slide into thick grooves, the quartet (…) give the different melodic approaches a bird-of-a-feather quality. the interplay between guitar and bass clarinet , like shadowplay between the sun and shade, results in some seriously absorbing moments.” Dave Sumner

World Music Mix

Monday, February 6, 2023

News World Music Mix: Noga(Switzerland/Suisse) Nouvel album: LEV


Nouvel album LEV
Sortie le 14/04/2023 2023 chez Evidence Musique

Entre world, jazz, et musique classique, la chanteuse Noga annonce son nouvel album LEV pour le mois d’avril 2023.Avec ce disque, la musicienne suisse nous éblouit et nous démontre le pouvoir transformateur de la voix. Elle nous rappelle à l’épure et à sa beauté comme autant de forces à se réapproprier.

Between world, jazz, and classical music, the singer Noga announces her new album LEV for the month of April 2023

Et nous insuffle cette énergie fédératrice et nourricière telle qu’elle nous l’adresse en concert.  Noga prend appui, en hébreu, sur des poèmes millénaires, pour faire face au chaos de notre époque. Avec son groupe de musiciens complices, elle convoque des sons très actuels et invite à un voyage dessiné à partir de psaumes. Vibrations positives et bienfaisantes.

 est un album organique, avec des touches d’électronique subtiles qui créent des textures sonores singulières aux émotions libres. Sur fond classique et allures jazz, la musique se teinte de notes tribales, d’éclats moyenâgeux, d’accents méditerranéens, de réminiscences hippies, pop ou fifties… dans un paysage rythmé par la pulse des percussions et la voix bienfaisante de Noga.

On peut découvrir en premier extrait le clip de Shir, qui met en valeur l’incroyable chant de Noga.

 Pour regarder et diffuser le clip de Shir :https://youtu.be/XHwegt1aMFg
Tout le monde est perdu, tout le monde se cherche… et l’on pense trouver la réponse en soi… et si elle se trouvait dans la connexion aux autres et aux générations précédentes ?” Noga

Chanteuse, auteure, compositrice, Noga est aussi improvisatrice et performeuse. Membre de différents groupe et projets, elle a sorti une dizaine d’albums sur divers labels. LEV est son second disque chanté en hébreu. Quelle que soit la langue, le propos reste le même : utiliser la voix pour canaliser la lumière et se mettre au service de la vie, tout en jouant une musique actuelle, crossover et libre.

Noga est aussi connue pour l’association Catalyse qu’elle a fondée et qu’elle préside, avec à Genève un centre dédié à la voix.  Avec sa musique qui emprunte au jazz, aux musiques du monde et à la musique contemporaine, l’artiste suisse, née de parents émigrés d’Israël, canalise son éducation cosmopolite, les langues qu’elle maîtrise, la diversité des sons, styles, valeurs qui l’ont bercée, pour servir ce qui l’appelle : nourrir notre humanité commune et dissiper nos peurs.

Pour son nouvel album LEV, elle s’est tournée vers des poèmes ancestraux, en explorant leurs sonorités pour élever la fréquence vibratoire et la connexion entre les êtres.Le passé peut-il se conjuguer au présent ? Peut-on revisiter les psaumes et tirer de ces chants millénaires une vibration universelle et positive, qui élève la connexion entre les êtres et permet aux coeurs de battre, collectivement, à contre-peur ?

Face à la montée des courants anxiogènes, Noga s’affirme dans une musicalité qui parle au corps, à l’esprit et à l’âme, et revient à ses racines pour les transposer, aujourd’hui, dans des airs lumineux en équilibre sur un fil de spiritualité reliant passé – présent – futur.

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World Music Mix

Saturday, February 4, 2023

World Music Mix: Haftor Medbøe and Konrad Wiszniewski(UK)-Poiesis(Subcontinental Records, 2022)


World Music Mix: Haftor Medbøe and Konrad Wiszniewski(UK)-Poiesis(Subcontinental Records, 2022)

Poiesis is a mesmerizing improvisational musical journey that takes the listener on an ambient and ethereal adventure created by Haftor Medbøe on guitar/effects and Konrad Wiszniewski on saxophones. The album is collection of ten dialogues permeated by an unearthly sense of infinity and borderless astral energy.

What came out from the synergy between the two musicians is a balanced sonic experience in which each instrument finds its right place in time while leaving no room for overstated interventions. The result is not just organic in its essence but adventurous reaching the unexpected.

From mellow to majestic, going through meandrous melodic lines that reach the lyrical realm, the fusion between acoustic and electronics offers a singular and enthralling experience. It is also about the solidarity of human souls facing the mystery of the universe using the music as vehicle for meaningful expression.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it: “All life is an experiment”, a vision that both musicians embraced throughout their spiritual encounter fueled by individual creative freedom.


World Music Mix

 #worldmusicmix #jazzalbums2022 #playlist #streaming #worldjazznews #crossover #worldmusic #newmusic #jazzworldquest  #electroacoustic #ambient #experimentalelectronic #scotland @haftormedboe #ambientmusic

New Album/Hungary: New Days Ahead – The Music of Daniel Hofecker – special guests: Eva Bolba and Stjepko Gut

 New Days Ahead – The Music of Daniel Hofecker – special guests: Eva Bolba and Stjepko Gut

The collaboration of the well-established Budapest Jazz Orchestra big band with young lion Daniel Hofecker has yielded a very exquisite result. Daniel is one of the most talented young composers and arrangers of his generation, not to mention that he’d earned his BA as a jazz trumpet player at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, before transferring to the University of Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, where he graduated with a Distinguished MA Diploma in 2022 in jazz composition and arrangement. For this album he collected the pieces that he had penned in the last couple of years, especially the ones that he got a great number of accolades for at international competitions of jazz composition and arrangement (see tracklist for details).

The title of the album is New Day Suite, alluding to his four-movement suite, which depicts a full day from dawn, through daytime, sunset and night. According to Hofecker, the greatest challenge of this composition was how one could depict the different characteristics of changing times and moods of a day by letting a powerful big band blow and hit their instruments. The piece One for Beni is an exercise in style in which Hofecker pays tribute to Bob Brookmeyer, whose composing and arrangement technique he applied here. La Galérie Des Cotelles is a piece inspired by a place in the Versailles castle in France.

It has a historical significance for Hungarians, unfortunately a very tragic one, since the ending of the First World War was sealed by a very unfavorable peace treaty for Hungary. What the composer aimed to do was illustrating the gloomy state of mind that has haunted Hungarians thinking about the peace treaty for over a century. The peace Politics is thematically related as it tries to illustrate the tensions, dilemmas and the unpleasant moments of political debate which no one can be completely exempt from.

One of the most influential teachers of Hofecker during his years in Graz was trumpet legend from Serbia Stjepko Gut -Hofecker says. “It was such a great inspiration for me all the time how he produced the idiosyncratic and inimitable melodies, rhythm, phraseology and swing that he is known for” – says the one-time student. This is behind the track, Mr. S.G. obviously a tribute to his master who himself embellished the piece with a phenomenal after the theme had been put forward by Éva Bolba.

Something like an encore, showcasing Daniel’s arranging skills is a standard, the unforgettable Cheek to Cheek also recorded by the ensemble: it aims at a sound typical of New York’s Village Vanguard big band, blending traditional and modern approaches. To make all good things three, Hofecker’s trumpet playing is also featured on his debut album.

Tracklist: (Including awards and competition prizes)

  1. New Day Suite – I. Dawnin’ Big Band Composition Contest of the Hungarian Jazz Federation, Budapest, First place, 2016
  2. New Day Suite – II. Daytime Helsinki International Big Band Composing Contest, Finalist, 2019
  3. New Day Suite – III. Sunset
  4. New Day Suite – IV. Night
  5. One For Beni Big Band Composition Contest of the Hungarian Jazz Federation, Budapest, First place, 2018; Barga Jazz Festival and Competition (Italy), Finalist, 2022
  6. La Galérie Des Cotelles – Big Band Composition Contest of the Hungarian Jazz Federation, Budapest, 2nd Prize and Best Composition Prize, 2021; Karel Krautgartner’s Composition Contest For a Jazz Orchestra, Prague, 3rd Prize, 2021
  7. Politics Barga Jazz Festival and Competition (Italy), Grand Prize, 2021; Downbeat Magazine’s Student Music Awards, Outstanding Composition Award, 2022
  8. Mr. S.G. Helsinki International Big Band Composing Contest, Finalist, 2021
  9. Cheek To Cheek (I. Berlin)

Online stream: https://bfan.link/new-days-ahead

JazzWorldQuest News

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022: Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra(Austria)-Conspiracy


Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra-Conspiracy

Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra(Austria)-Conspiracy

On 9.9.2022 Mons records will release the new album from the German saxophonist Tobias Hoffmann titled “Conspiracy”. Under the motto, things just keep getting bigger, this recording follows his 2019 release
“Retrospective” recorded with a nine piece band and this time features a full big band.

Tobias stated that throughout his journey in music “… there have been two hearts beating in my chest: on the one hand that of the saxophone player and on the other that of the composer and arranger.” When you first listen to this recording it becomes clear that on “Conspiracy” Tobias has been able to merge these two hearts into one.

Speaking of the album Tobias explained “After releasing my CD “Retrospective” with my Nonet in 2019, I felt like taking the next step as a jazz composer and arranger by writing and recording more music for a jazz orchestra.” he went on to say “When at the end of 2020 I started planning this project I was full of doubt. We were in the middle of the second wave of the corona pandemic, half of Europe was in lockdown, concerts and jobs had been cancelled and I was really not sure whether it would be the right moment to bring a large jazz ensemble to the studio and record an album of challenging instrumental Big Band music in that period of time. But there was a soft voice telling me that it was worth going for it. Now looking back after writing, organizing, rehearsing and recording the music it feels almost surreal that is poised for release. I am very glad I had listened to that soft voice and recorded the music.

The album opens with the title track “Conspiracy”. Tobias stated that this was one of his most challenging compositions to date and is inspired by the crazy conspiracy theories that emerged during the pandemic. “I realized how dangerous these can be, not only for the people who believe in them, but for our society as a whole” explained Tobias. The track opens with a rather bombastic tutti passage that certainly grabs your attention before settling done for the main theme. Of note here is the mysterious start to the saxophone solo. „Conspiracy“ was awarded the 3rd prize at the „Bill Conti Big Band Contest 2021“ organized by the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC).

The following track titled “Elegy” is a fully through composed piece
that features the bands horn section in a more orchestral context. The next cab of the rank is titled “3 December Song” and is a medium swing composition featuring Alto saxophonist Andy Schofield. Tobias explained that this piece was inspired by the music of Vince Mendoza, “When writing this composition, I started with the figure of the piano at the beginning of the piece, which immediately reminded me of some of Mendoza’s compositions. So I tried to loosely capture the feeling and flow of his music.”

“Awakening” is a composition about change. Tobias wrote this piece at time when he was experiencing change in his life. while he admitted he was struggling with this he also came to realization that change also brings opportunity. This somewhat melancholy composition features a wonderful solo by Jakob Helling on Flugelhorn that transitions to a more optimistic contrasting section of the arrangement.

The next track titled “Relentless” is a composition based on a twelve- tone row, a composition technique that was first made popular by the Austrian-American composer Arnold Schoenberg in the early 20th century. When speaking about this composition Tobias said “The composition is a mixture of different sections which are contrasting each other. It was an interesting process to learn as a composer how long one should stick to self-imposed rules and limitations and when to rid yourself of them and follow your inner voice.” It should be noted that this composition was awarded the first prize in the “Original Composition – Large Ensemble” category at the 2022 “45th annual Downbeat Student Music Awards”.

Featuring Jonas Brinckmann (Baritone Saxophone) and Kasperi Sarikoski (Trombone), the next track titled “Trailblazers” is a minor blues couched as a jazz waltz. “As a saxophone player I have always enjoyed playing these high-energy Big Band charts from the rich history of Big Band music and that’s why I wanted to write one for my own band as well.” stated Tobias. Both Brinckmann and Sarikoski deliver great solos here on Baritone Sax and Trombone respectively you will also find a highly interesting solo special for the entire Trombone section.

“Renegade” is a composition based on a 2 bar motif in 9/4 and features Simon Plötzeneder on trumpet. This composition is inspired by the American jazz composer Darcy James Argue and his “Secret Society” ensemble. For this piece Tobias experimented with incomplete chords and voicings to provide a modern and contemporary harmonic sound. Tobias said of this piece “I wrote this composition in a period when I was struggling to find my place in life and so I tried to capture the feeling of uncertainty in the composition.”

As you will read in the albums liner notes, many of the compositions on this album were inspired by psychology and psychological phenomena and the following track “Impostor Syndrome” follows in this vein. The Impostor Syndrome is a psychological term that describes a pattern of thinking in which human beings doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and are afraid of being exposed as a fraud. This odd- meter composition features two main soloists, Martin Harms (Tenor Saxophone) and Robert Bachner (Euphonium). Of note here is the unaccompanied piano cadenza by pianist Philipp Nykrin that climaxes into a full band tutti section to round off the track.

Serving as an intro to the final track on the album is “Who Knows Intro” and is a feature for the bands trombone section. Tobias explained “I truly love the sound of the trombone. Unfortunately, trombones sometimes live an inconspicuous life in a Big Band. So I wanted to give them the space to fully shine as a section.” The final track on the album is a departure from the rest of the compositions on the album and features a rock feel with featuring a great solo performed by guitarist Vilkka Wahl. This track just builds throughout culminating in a fitting climax to close out the album.

This recording shows Tobias Hoffmann firmly in control of his composer heart. The band is amazing with each section blending together in such a way that only more established bands sound. This recording certainly makes a statement and that is “The Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra is here and can’t be ignored.“
“Conspiracy” by the Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra will be available on CD and all digital platforms via Mons Records.
Andrew Read


JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022