Bassist Matt Pavolka’s Horns Band Garners Praise From New York Times, Village Voice, Time Out New York, Wondering Sound; Announces New York Concert Dates

Posted on August 14th, 2014 by admin


(photo by Ken Micallef)

In a recent New York Times review, jazz critic Nate Chinen lauded bassist Matt Pavolka’s new record The Horns Band (Fresh Sound New Talent Records), which features cornetist Kirk Knuffke, trombonist Jacob Garchik, saxophonist Loren Stillman, and drummer Mark Ferber. Chinen notes that the album is “engrossing” and remarked that Pavolka’s compositions “accomplish a lot with earthy beauty and shifting momentum”. Time Out New York dubbed The Horns Band a “postbop mini orchestra” and Jim Macnie of The Village Voice said that “the snaky themes that are cannily bent by his “Horns Band” (‘bone, cornet, alto sax) should be a balm to anyone to finds the all-too-common frictions of modern jazz a tad obvious”. Wondering Sound quipped that Pavolka’s band posseses “appealing fluidity and lightness to the heavy sounds and the driving tempos”.

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Acclaimed Canadian Singer Elizabeth Shepherd Releases Fifth Album, The Signal, Serving to Further Illustrate Her Growth As A Singer and Conceptualist The Signal To Be Released on September 30th, 2014 via Linus Entertainment

Posted on August 8th, 2014 by admin

“A hugely original musical mind at work” -Toronto Star

“Soulful coolness” -USA Today


Stream The Signal


Over 4 acclaimed albums, Elizabeth Shepherd has created a body of work praised around the world for its originality. Versed in equal parts Stevie Wonder, Salvation Army brass bands and classical sonatas, it is no surprise that this globetrotting talent has developed such a distinct voice. Along with artists like Esperanza Spalding, Becca Stevens, and Jose James she is part of a wave of jazz musicians — raised on as much hip-hop as bebop– bringing the art form to a new generation of music fans.

Shepherd arrived on the international scene in 2006 when her debut album Start To Move was voted one of the top albums of the year by the listeners of the influentialGilles Peterson Show on BBC Radio. Since then, the Montreal-based songwriter has continued to carve out her own artful, soulful and hip brand of music. Shepherd’s latest release, The Signal, is her most mature, bold and compelling vision yet. With one track flowing seamlessly into the next, The Signal is a cohesive sonic journey that gradually unveils a very personal feminist manifesto.

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Drummer Dylan Ryan, Who Has Feet Firmly Planted in Indie Rock & Creative Jazz, Returns With Second Dylan Ryan/Sand LP, Circa, To Be Released September 30, 2014 via Cuneiform Records Throughout Circa, Ryan, Guitarist Timothy Young and Bassist Devin Hoff Build Upon Their Debut, An Already Inventive Take on The Guitar Power Trio, Borrowing From Elements of Rush, Fugazi, Fred Frith’s Massacre & James ‘Blood’ Ulmer

Posted on August 5th, 2014 by admin



“Dylan Ryan is a drummer adept at combining his jazz skills with adventurous rock, resulting in music that maintains the cerebral and visceral qualities of both.”—JazzTimes

“With a [wide] palate of sonic texture, Ryan, Young and bassist Devin Hoff offer something in between John Zorn’s raucous free-jazz and the romantic stylings of Black Sabbath.” – L.A. Weekly

Two years after the release of their acclaimed debut Sky Bleached, Dylan Ryan/Sand will release Circa on Cuneiform Records on September 30th, a purposeful continuation of the aesthetic that the group had fostered on its first record. Sand, which features guitarist Timothy Young (David Sylvian, Reggie Watts, Wayne Horvitz) and Devin Hoff (Nels Cline Singers, Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto), has a wholly unique styling, which ranges from the fearlessly improvisational to the tender; the abrasive to the understated.

Indeed, this range of influences and openness to various sonic possibilities is what initially drew Ryan to his bandmates. “I saw Tim Young play somewhat by chance in an old bar The Doors used to play in and I was so impressed that I wanted to be in a band with him immediately. He was doing a great combination of Meat Puppets meets The Dead and completely killing it. Then he sat in with our friends from Portland, The Blue Cranes, and did the most amazing ballad. I just hoped something would work out down the line with him so when I had the idea for the band I called him first.” Hoff and Ryan had long held a mutual admiration for one another’s work, and after many conversations hoping to play, they finally did, and Sand was born.

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THE CELLAR AND POINT, Adventurous “Garage-Chamber” Septet Developed by Childhood Friends Joseph Branciforte and Christopher Botta, Unveils Ambitious Debut Recording, AMBIT, on Cuneiform Records.

Posted on August 4th, 2014 by admin


Still Under 30, Branciforte Known Already For Impressive Recording & Production Resumé, Including Work with Tim Berne, Ben Monder, Vijay Iyer, and Nels Cline.

Featuring Members of Cutting-Edge Contemporary Classical Ensembles JACK Quartet, Mivos Quartet, TRANSIT, Signal Ensemble.

RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014

 To hear Ambit in a digital format of your choosing from MP3 to lossless audio,
please contact us directly for a download link and code.

Drummer/producer Joseph Branciforte and guitarist Christopher Botta had long imagined a fluid synthesis of their wide-ranging musical interests. The detail of modern concert music; the improvisational sensibilities of downtown jazz; the emotional directness of alt-rock. The production value and formal concision of pop, the head-nodding grooves of hip-hop and electronica, the immersive sonics of ambient music. Might it be possible to draw equally upon these influences, while transcending mere collage? How could these manifold musical experiences be distilled into a personal, unified aesthetic? And could this music be presented in the context of a working ensemble – not just a studio project – but a band?

THE CELLAR AND POINT is one possible answer to those questions. After 3 years spent crafting their debut record, the “garage-chamber” septet will releaseAMBIT on Cuneiform Records this fall. Time Out New York has described the ensemble’s sound as “ethereal chamber-prog” and lauded their live performance as “brainy, yet highly engaging.” The New York Times has taken note of “the chamberlike enterprise of a productive partnership, of the percussionist Joseph Branciforte and the guitarist Christopher Botta.” But AMBIT,which features seven Branciforte/Botta originals, plus arrangements of composers György Ligeti and Anton Webern, marks the group’s first complete musical statement.

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Anthony Pirog, Staple of D.C. Music Scene, Goes National With Debut Recoding, Palo Colorado Dream, Featuring Acclaimed Sidemen Drummer Ches Smith & Michael Formanek To Be Released via Cuneiform Records October 14th, 2014

Posted on July 30th, 2014 by admin


Washington, D.C.’s jazz and experimental music scenes wouldn’t be quite where they are today without Anthony Pirog. The guitarist, composer and loops magician is a quiet but ubiquitous force on stages around his hometown. With fearsome chops and a keen ear for odd beauty, Pirog has helped expand the possibilities of jazz, rock and experimentalism in a town long known for its straight-ahead tradition.

Palo Colorado Dream—recorded with the all-star trio of Michael Formanek on bass and Ches Smith on drums—is Pirog’s Cuneiform Records debut, and it marks the young innovator’s entrance onto the national stage. The album’s 11 tracks have an immersive depth and understated allure that hold the listener rapt. And they illustrate all the various realms of Pirog’s artistry: the spinning fantasy-scape of his loops and the hard-nosed technical power of his soloing, his patience with a slow build and his knack for moments of fierce catharsis.

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In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary of The Birth of Sun Ra, The Chicago Jazz Festival Will Be Celebrating His Work Through Movie Screenings, Panel Discussions and A Performances by The Sun Ra Arkestra, Under The Direction of Marshall Allen, To Close Out The Festival

Posted on July 25th, 2014 by admin


(photo by Lauren Deutsch)

With roots in Chicago that would eventually take his music to the world, the prolificSun Ra regaled the music world with his colorful combination of cosmic philosophy, new jazz sounds and beguiling stagecraft, which included dance and costumes. This musical and cultural impact of Sun Ra’s work has been so profound that the centennial of his birth is an event that will pervade many of the events at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival.


Chicago Jazz Festival Sun Ra Centennial Events:

Saturday, July 26th PM Garfield Park Conservatory - As part of theNeighborhood Nights concert series, the legendary former Arkestra member Kelan Phil Cohran will bring his Kelan Zulu Ensemble which is comprised of Oscar Brown Jr.’s daughters, vocalist and dancer Afrika Brownand Maggie Brown, as well as a few of Cohran’s sons–Malik and Tycho Cohran–who comprise part of  the renowned Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. 


Friday, August 22th, 8 PM - Comfort Station - An outdoor screening of the Sun Ra film, Space is the Place  The Comfort Station is located at 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, Illinois.


Monday, August 25th and Tuesday, August 26th, 6 PM - Claudia Cassidy Theater of the Chicago Cultural Center - There will be screenings of the Sun Ra Films Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise and Mystery Mr. Ra. On one of the evenings, there will be a discussion with Robert Mugge, director of A Joyful Noise. There will be screenings of both films, on both nights. The Claudia Cassidy Theater is located at 78 E. Washington Ave, Chicago, Illinois.


Thursday, August 28th, 4 PM - Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University - There will be a panel discussion which will include moderator Will Faber with panelists including the famed Sun Ra biographer John Szwed, Arkestra leader Marshall Allen, Chicago jazz writer John Corbett, and trumpet legend and former Arkestra member Art Hoyle. The discussion will be preceded by a rare, short solo set by Marshall Allen. Ganz Hall is located at 430 S. Michigan, 7th fl, Chicago, Illinois.
Sunday, August 31st, 8:30 PM - The Pritzker Pavillion - The Sun RaArkestra, under the direction of Marshall Allen, will be closing out the Chicago Jazz Festival.

The Westerlies Receive Praise For Their New Album Wish The Children Would Come On Home, From Kevin Whitehead on NPR’s Fresh Air

Posted on July 8th, 2014 by admin


NPR’s jazz critic Kevin Whitehead recently gave The Westerlies’ record Wish The Children Would Come on Home a rave review on Fresh Air. Whitehead spoke at length of the tutelage that The Westerlies received in their native Seattle fromWayne Horvitz, whose compositions the band plays exclusively on their debut,Wish The Children Would Come on Home.  To this end, Whitehead remarked: ”The Westerlies represent a breed of performers rare when Wayne Horvitz was coming up: skilled interpreters, who were also adept improvisers”.

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

Posted on July 3rd, 2014 by admin


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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