Posted on July 3rd, 2014 by admin

Saxophonist Ben Flocks Featured in New cdza video “History of the Saxophone” and Announces Tour Dates at Monterey Jazz FestivalStanford Jazz FestivalSan Jose Jazz Summer Fest and The Blue Whale in Los Angeles

Watch “History of the Saxophone” 


The months following the remarkable acclaim for saxophonist Ben Flocks’ debut album Battle Mountain have been fruitful for the saxophonist. Flocks recently collaborated with cdza as part of their “The Instrumentals” Series to create “History of the Saxophone” a kaleidescopic and comprehnsive undertaking which highlights Flocks’ uncannily apt impressions of everyone from Sidney Bechet, to John Coltrane, and even pop acts like Bob Seger. The video has now ammased close to 80,000 views and is a remarkable document of Flocks’ internalization of the history of his instrument.


Given the vast critical response to Battle Mountain, Flocks’ presence at both TheStanford and Monterey Jazz Festivals should come as little surprise. Flocks was an attendee at The Stanford Jazz Workshop as a teen and is now among its faculty.

This will be Flocks’ second time leading his band at the Monterey Jazz Festival, a festival which he dubs “the greatest jazz festival in the world”.


Ben Flocks’ Battle Mountain Concert Dates 

July 21st- Palo Alto, CA - The Stanford Jazz Festival 

August 6th - Los Angeles, CA - The Blue Whale

September 21st - Monterey, CA - The Monterey Jazz Festival



Santa Cruz born, Brooklyn based rising saxophone star Ben Flocks has earned critical acclaim with performances at the BernUmbria, and Monterey Jazz Festivals. Growing up, Ben took advantage of a multitude of musical opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area, attending shows at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center and camp at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, performing with both the SFJAZZ All-Star High School Ensembles and the Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation Band, and studying with trumpeter and arranger Ray Brown. He has played with Joshua Redman’s Trio and also with Dave Brubeck as a Brubeck Institute Fellow. While strongly influenced by the classic saxophone triumvirate of Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, and John Coltrane, Flocks’s own music reflects a creative mix of jazz, blues, folk, and Americana.
In April 2011, the Ben Flocks Quintet performed to rave reviews opening forAhmad Jamal at the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Ben was invited back to Bern for a weeklong stint at the famed Marian’s Jazzroom in the Fall. In May 2011 Ben graduated from the New School in New York City, earning a B.F.A in Jazz Performance, and during the summer completed a two-year mentorship program at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Ben now serves on faculty at Stanford Jazz in California and at the Calhoun School in New York. He also teaches throughout New York City schools as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People programs. Ben released his debut album “Battle Mountain” on February 11th, 2014 to rave reviews.

Multi-Instrumentalist-Composer Anna Webber Returns with “Simple,” A Trio Featuring John Hollenbeck & Matt Mitchell

Posted on July 1st, 2014 by admin

Composer, Saxophonist, Flutist
Anna Webber’s Second Album, Simple,
Featuring John Hollenbeck (drums) & Matt Mitchell (piano)

To Be Released Sept 16, 2014 on Skirl Records

Music Written In Solitude During Summer 2013,
On Bowen Island Off Coast of British Columbia

Photo Credit: Jonno Rattman

“Intricately plotted music…” - New York Times

“Crystalline…” - NPR 

“…an album given to explorations of the ground between reeds and percussion instruments.” - Down Beat

New York-based composer, saxophonist and flutist Anna Webber’s new releaseSimple, featuring Matt Mitchell on piano and John Hollenbeck on drums, will be released on Chris Speed’s Skirl Records on September 16th, 2014Simplewas written over the summer of 2013 on Bowen Island, a rural spot off the coast of British Columbia.

“When one writes for trio, everything’s exposed. I titled it Simple not because the music isn’t difficult to play but because John and Matt are musicians with limitless ability and technique who play with ease and profound use of space. It perfectly suits the character of the compositions,” said Webber.


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Chicago Jazz Festival: Neighborhood Nights Brings Jazz Performances Free of Charge, ToNeighborhoods Across the City

Posted on June 30th, 2014 by admin





The Chicago Jazz Festival, one of the most acclaimed and richly curated jazz festivals in the U.S., will be presenting performances outside of the festival grounds with the Chicago Jazz Festival: Neighborhood Nights concert series.Neighborhood Nights was conceived of with an aim towards expanding the footprint of the Chicago Jazz Festival beyond the festival’s stage and partnering with community institutions such as the Chicago Park District, as well as variousChicago Public Library branches and community centers throughout Chicago.


To begin the series on July 18th and 19th, the 8th Annual Chicago Latin Jazz Festival will happen in Humboldt Park (1400 N. Sacramento Ave., Chicago). A tribute to Victor Venegas, a native of Durango, Mexico, who became one of the great bassists in Latin music as a South Side Chicagoan, highlights the 8th Annual Chicago Latin Jazz Festival on Friday, July 18 (7-10 PM) and Saturday, July 19 (1:30- 9 PM) at the Humboldt Park Boathouse (1359 N. Sacramento). Now in its second year as a two-day music and cultural arts and crafts attraction, the family friendly and free event will offer a full range of musical performances, instrument and mask-making workshops and more. Venegas, who died in 2006, helped introduce to America the charanga, the Cuban dance music he performed in the 1940′s as a member of Orquesta Nuevo Ritmo de Cuba, led by Armando Sanchez.

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Chicago Bassist & Composer Matt Ulery To Release Third Greenleaf Music Album, In The Ivory, September 16, Expanding Upon the Critically Acclaimed 2012 Chamber-Jazz Double Album, By A Little Light

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by admin

With The Help of His Core Trio Plus Violinist Zach Brock, Vocalist Grazyna Auguscik and 3-time GRAMMY-Winning
New Music Ensemble, eighth blackbird


Expanding upon the artistic and critical success of his 2012 double album By a Little Light, Chicago bassist-composer Matt Ulery returns with In the Ivory on Dave Douglas’ acclaimed independent label Greenleaf Music – eighty minutes of resplendent, lyrical, transportive, and impeccably performed chamber-jazz music. Inspired and motivated by the musical and personal relationships developed while recording and performing By a Little Light–Ulery’s most ambitious project to date–In the Ivory explores the idea of consciousness through patient, lyrical composition.

At a time when classical musicians perform in clubs almost as frequently as jazz musicians appear in concert halls, Ulery has forged a unique signature sound that combines a jazz core with luminous ensemble writing and song craft.  Built around a band of select, unique voices, In the Ivory draws upon Ulery’s positive experience performing Light with this particular thirteen-piece aggregation.

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Trombonist Ryan Keberle & Catharsis Release Second Record, Into the Zone, Exploring Meditative Concept of Mindfulness As Applied to Improvised Music, On Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music, Out Sept. 30, 2014

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by admin
Album Features Original Catharsis Lineup:
KEBERLE (trombone/melodica), 
JORGE ROEDER (bass), ERIC DOOB (drums),
Plus Newest Addition to Catharsis, CAMILA MEZA (vocals);
And An Encore Guest Spot from SCOTT ROBINSON (sax)

Most jazz musicians avoid repetition dogmatically. But when Ryan Keberlerealized he’d been playing the same eight-note phrase in all his recent warm-ups, the trombonist embraced his inclination. “As I started playing it more and more, I realized I wasn’t thinking of anything else,” he says. “You can reach a real state of mindfulness through repetition.” Keberle built the phrase into “Without a Thought,” the complex but gracefully flowing centerpiece of his new album, Into the Zone. It’s his first for Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music—and arguably the most personal document yet from a trombonist and bandleader better known for his soloist role in famed large ensembles.

Keberle is featured trombonist in Maria Schneider’s Grammy-winning orchestra, Darcy James Argue’s experimental Secret Society band andPedro Giraudo’s Latin jazz ensemble. Keberle has toured with Sufjan Stevens, and recorded with pop stars like Alicia KeysDavid Byrne and St. Vincent. Even at home in New York City his plate stays full: He teaches atHunter College, leads two groups and occasionally subs with the SaturdayNight Live band.


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Guitarist-Composer David Ullmann’s Third Album,Corduroy, Evokes the Bittersweet Melodicism of ’70s TV Themes, Brought to Life by Jazz Virtuosos

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by admin

Ullmann’s Color-Rich New York Octet Features
Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Brian Drye (trombone),
Mike McGinnis (clarinet), Loren Stillman (saxophone),
Chris Dingman (vibraphone), Gary Wang (bass)
And Vinnie Sperrazza (drums)

“This guitarist weaves an intoxicating tale.” — DownBeat

David Ullmann – described as “a thoughtful guitarist and composer” byThe New York Times – was beguiled by the buoyant lyricism of the TV theme tunes he grew up on as a child of the ’70s. To a lifelong New Yorker like Ullmann, these melodies are also imbued with a bittersweet nostalgia that he associates with the bygone Manhattan of his youth. With his third album as a leader – to be released August 26, 2014, via Little Sky Records – Ullmann aimed to evoke not the style but the feeling of that music, its addictive melodicism and air of wistfulness, hence the album’s title, Corduroy: “Like a smell or a sound, the feel of something can stir up memories,” he says. “Corduroy was big in the ’70s, and just touching it, the texture can take me back.” To bring his pieces to vibrant life, Ullmann created ingenious arrangements for an octet of New York jazz virtuosos, who sound surprisingly at home in music often gentler and more lyrical than they are usually known for performing. Ullmann’s coloristic guitar complements the playing of Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Brian Drye(trombone), Mike McGinnis (clarinets), Loren Stillman (alto saxophone), Chris Dingman (vibraphone), Gary Wang (double-bass) and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums). The latter three also graced the quintet on Ullmann’s 2012 album, Falling, which Philadelphia City Paper praised for qualities it termed “contemplative” and “shimmering.”

Explaining the allure of that ’70s feeling, Ullmann says: “The themes from the TV shows evoked more emotions in me than the shows themselves. I just loved the sound of ‘Angela’ from Taxi and ‘Suicide Is Painless’ from M.A.S.H. I also thought it was cool that the studio musicians who played these TV themes included jazz players – Bob James wrote the Taxi song and recorded it with guys like Eric Gale, Randy Brecker and Ron Carter. And Paul Desmond and Bill Evans covered the M.A.S.H. song.” The band Ullmann assembled for Corduroy consisted of top young performers on the New York jazz scene, many of whom are longtime collaborators. “There was a real sense of camaraderie in the studio, and the session was a lot better for it,” Ullmann says. “I think you can hear that warmth in the music – and that’s the whole idea.” Cornetist Kirk Knuffke agrees, saying: “It was a really fun session.”


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Saturday Night Live and Former Tower of Power Saxophonist Lenny Pickett Featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Discussing New Album, The Prescription with Finland’s UMO Jazz Orchestra

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by admin

Saturday Night Live and Former Tower of Power Saxophonist Lenny Pickett Featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Discussing New Album, The Prescription with Finland’s UMO Jazz Orchestra


Listen to Pickett’s NPR feature 

In conjunction with the recent release of his album The Prescription–made with the Finnish UMO Orchestra–saxophonist Lenny Pickett was recently interviewed by NPR’s Rachel Martin. Throughout the conversation, the two speak extensively about Pickett’s new album, his, lengthy tenure as musical direction of the SaturdayNight Live band, and his uncanny ability to play six octaves on the saxophone–and the mechanics that go into it.

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Ben Wendel June News

Posted on June 11th, 2014 by admin


After a warm-up gig at Smalls, Ben is heading into the studio with Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders and Henry Cole to record Ben’s newest studio record.


Left to Right: Gerald Clayton, piano; Ben Wendel, saxophone; Joe Sanders, bass; Henry Cole, drums


Ben recently flew out to Los Angeles to continue producing an album for Americana artist and BMI Woody Guthrie Fellowship recipient Darryl Holter.  This project will explore music from Guthrie’s lesser-known time in Los Angeles in the late 1930′s and will feature many special guests including Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek.


Left to Right: Ben Wendel, Darryl Holter, Sara Watkins

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Bay-Area Based Clarinet Luminary Ben Goldberg Announces East-Coast Summer Concert Dates in New York and Philadelphia

Posted on June 10th, 2014 by admin


In the past few years, clarinetist Ben Goldberg has been spending an increasing amount of time in New York City; extending his network of colleagues to include many of New York’s finest improvisers. His band Unfold Ordinary Mind–which recently played at the 10th Winter JazzFest–is comprised of some of the most exciting musicians of these times, namely guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Ches Smith. In late-Februrary, Goldberg was also given a week to curate John Zorn’s club The Stone, in which Goldberg configured numerous outfits to play his music, which included the likes of Craig TabornKris DavisLiberty Ellman,Tyshawn Sorey and Trevor Dunn.


In late-June and late-August, Goldberg is returning to the East Coast to perform with other newly-formed groups at some of New York’s most exciting venues. OnJune 24th, Goldberg will lead a group at the exciting Konceptions Series atKorzo with esteemed cornetist Kirk Knuffke, guitarist Liberty Ellman, and drummer Ches Smith. On June 28th, Goldberg will lead a group at the Gowanus venue I-Beam with saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bassist Stomu Takeishi, drummer Rudy Royston and guitarist Steve Cardenas


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Immense Critical Acclaim for Jimmy Giuffre 3 & 4: New York Concerts Out Today via Elemental Music

Posted on June 10th, 2014 by admin

New York Times Arts & Leisure Feature

(Click the screenshot above to read the full New York Times article)

In a piece this past Sunday for the New York Times, jazz critic Nate Chinen wrote at length about the newly issued and recovered Jimmy Giuffre 3 & 4: New York Concerts, a two-disc release from an otherwise obscure and underdocumented time in the clarinentist and composer’s life and work.


The years between the release of Jimmy Giuffre’s ground-breaking 1962 album Free Fall and his return to the studio in 1971 with Night Dance have become known as the legendary clarinetist and saxophonist’s “lost decade,” a key period in his and jazz’s musical evolution which sadly went undocumented. The two-disc set is available June 10th, 2014 on Elemental Music, distributed in the U.S. by INgrooves/Universal Music Distribution.

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