Archive for July, 2013

Composer/Multi-Reedist Mike McGinnis Shows Breadth of Talents With Two New Releases

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013







Pays Homage to Third Stream Innovator/Mentor Bill Smith,
While Offering It’s Own Take on Swinging Big Band Music
(RKM Music)

The Ängsudden Song Cycle 
Was Inspired By The Poetry and Paintings of MukHa
(482 Music)

Both Albums To Be Released October 8, 2013

Whether swinging in the straightahead tradition, improvising on the furthest edge of the avant-garde, or navigating the rigorous turns of a contemporary classical composition, woodwind player and composer Mike McGinnis brings the same deep commitment and personal vision to every musical situation. His wide-ranging imagination comes stunningly to the fore on his two new releases, the first solely under his own name in more than a decade.

Both CDs feature extended compositions showcasing McGinnis’ skills as both composer and improviser. Road*Trip (RKM Music) comprises two concertos for his clarinet and a nine-piece ensemble; and The Ängsudden Song Cycle (482 Music) is an evocative tone poem depicting a sonic landscape that bridges a Swedish archipelago and the woods of McGinnis’ native Maine. The stylistic influences range from Benny Goodman-style ballroom swing to Steve Lacy-esque iconoclasm, shifting effortlessly from ebullient jazz modernism to stark European experimentalism.

That open-minded and determinedly individual approach has led to Michael McGinnis performing and recording with great artists in a wide array of styles and genres. As a clarinetist and saxophonist, he has worked with jazz innovators like Anthony BraxtonAlice and Ravi ColtraneSteve Coleman, and Lonnie PlaxicoParliament Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell; indie rock mainstays Yo La Tengo; the Afro-Baroque bandStew & The Negro Problem, authors of the Tony-winning musicalPassing Strange; as soloist for the Tony-winning Broadway hit Fela!; and as a member of the eclectic, tongue-in-cheek pop tribute band Loser’s Lounge. His debut CD, Tangents, was released by Ravi Coltrane’s RKM Music label in 2000, and he co-leads the bands The Four Bags and DDYGG.


The Claudia Quintet Releases September, Its Seventh Album, on Sept. 24, 2013 via Cuneiform Records

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 11.00.39 AMEarly October U.S. Tour Hits East Coast & West Coast

Led by Acclaimed Drummer-Composer John Hollenbeck,The Group Offers Brilliant New Pieces Written During & Inspired By The Month of September

Drummer-percussionist and three-time Grammy nominee John Hollenbeck, one of the most distinctive and respected composers in jazz and new music, has created an estimable body of work since the late ’90s with his Claudia Quintet. Hailed by Nate Chinen of the New York Times for their “clockwork intricacy and crisp premeditation … [striking an] accord between the factions of progressive jazz, classical Minimalism and low-glare experimental rock,” the Claudia Quintet tackles Hollenbeck’s highly demanding works with a wry improvising spirit and a backbone of surging, mesmerizing rhythm.

Following up earlier celebrated releases including What Is The Beautiful?, Royal Toast, FOR, Semi-Formal, and I, Claudia the Claudia Quintet returns withSeptember. In the lineup are two newer players: accordionist Red Wierenga, like Hollenbeck an alum of the Eastman School of Music; and (on four tracks) bassistChris Tordini, a frequent sub for Claudia’s original bassist Drew Gress. Hugely in-demand as a sideman and an inspired bandleader in his own right, Gress appears on six of the 10 tracks that make up September.

Clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Chris Speed and vibraphonist Matt Moran, both Claudia members from the start, play with stirring virtuosity and give Hollenbeck’s writing a sonorous warmth, balancing its more technical and rocking side. Unorthodox textures, fragmented beats and “bright tones filled with folky allusions and plaintive undercurrents” (Siddhartha Mitter, Boston Globe) continue to define the Claudia Quintet’s unclassifiable output.


The OWL Trio with Will Vinson, Lage Lund & Orlando le Fleming Celebrate Their Losen Records Release August 18th at St Peter’s Church

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 10.29.43 AMFeaturing:
Will Vinson (Saxophonist)
Lage Lund (Guitar)

Orlando le Fleming (Bass)

The OWL Trio is a new chamber jazz ensemble borne of the 10-year musical relationship between bassist Orlando le Fleming, saxophonist Will Vinson and guitarist Lage Lund. Their debut, eponymous, CD was recorded in an abandoned church in Brooklyn by Jimmy Katz. This recording is characterized by its seamless juxtaposition of Jazz Standards and free improvisations, with complete attention to purity of sound.

Each of the musicians is highly accomplished and recognized in his own right. Jazz Times calls le Fleming “a deep-toned walker with an impeccable sense of time”, and the New York Times describes him as a “grounding force”. Vinson is “marvelous” and “drills a hole through the music, boxing like a sprightly Olympic welterweight” according to Jazz Times, and the Guardian describes him as “spectacular, adroit and sophisticated”. The New York Times lauds Lund’s “casual magnetism”, and the critic David Adler describes him as “burning down the house with one impossibly deft solo after another”. The group’s fi rst performance at the Rochester Jazz Festival was a hit according to the Rochester City Newspaper: “Lund’s gorgeous playing, Vinson’s sinuous sound, and le Fleming’s sturdy anchoring made for a dream-like sound in a perfect setting.”

St Peter’s Church is located at  619 Lexington Ave.

The OWL Trio will also be playing the Jazz Vespers service before the concert at5-6pm.

Alto Saxophonist-Bandleader Gavin Templeton Releases 2nd Album, In Series On Nine Winds Records October 8, 2013

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Gavin-Templeton-Album-Art-—-In-Series-e1373994823342Album Reflects A Period of Harsh Emotional Struggle in Templeton’s Life

Recorded at Famed Westlake Studios
Featuring Sam Minaie (bass), Matt Mayhall (drums),
Perry Smith (guitar), Matt Politano (piano)

Sunny beaches, beautiful people in designer clothes and sunglasses, a big university like UCLA, and freeways and streets jammed with late model BMW’s and Mercedes.  This is the Westside of Los Angeles, which encompasses the communities of Brentwood, Westwood, Santa Monica, Venice, Beverly Hills, and Culver City.  It also happens to be the place where alto saxophonist Gavin Templeton spent several years of his life following graduate school.  His reflections on a rather difficult period of time for him are presented in his second offering on the adventurous Nine Winds label, entitled In Series .

Templeton is a well-established saxophonist in Los Angeles, with frequent collaborations alongside some of the best creative artists in Southern California, including trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom, guitarist Nels Cline and woodwind guru and Nine Winds label founder, Vinny Golia.  He and his wife own a home on Mount Washington in Northeast LA, and life is going well for him. Just a scant few years ago, however, Templeton was in a different place, both literally and figuratively.

In Series refers to a type of electrical daisy chain common in, among other things, Christmas lights, where the burning out of even one bulb ensures that the whole chain would cease to function.  It could be an analogy for issues that challenged Templeton’s world while living on the Westside.


Mike McGinnis’ Road*Trip (RKM Music)

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013


The artwork to multi-reedist & composer Mike McGinnis’s Road*Trip project – the first project to relaunch RKM Music – is revealed here, exclusively on Check back tomorrow for our full blast and info on release dates, release shows around the NY area along with another McGinnis project to be released this Fall.

About Mike McGinnis:

Mike McGinnis places himself firmly within a strong tradition of anti-traditionalists. He can swing in the straight-ahead tradition or improvise on the furthest edge of the avant-garde, bringing the same deep commitment and personal vision to every musical situation. His open-minded and determinedly individual approach has led to work with jazz innovators like Anthony Braxton, Alice and Ravi Coltrane, Steve Coleman, and Lonnie Plaxico; Parliament/Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell; indie rock mainstays Yo La Tengo; the Afro-Baroque band Stew & The Negro Problem, authors of the Tony-winning musical Passing Strange; as soloist for the Tony-winning Broadway hit Fela!; and as co-leader of the inventive ensembles DDYGG and The Four Bags. The prolific McGinnis’ wide-ranging imagination comes stunningly to the fore on his latest releases, both of which feature extended compositions showcasing McGinnis’ skills as both composer and improviser.

Landon Knoblock’s CACAW Featuring Oscar Noriega & Jeff Davis Releases “Stellar Power” On Skirl Records September 17th

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

CACAW Stellar Power FRONTWhen musicologists of the future look back to find the missing link between the avant-jazz and synth rock of the early 21st century and the hybrid sounds that have yet to reach our contemporary ears, the debut CD by the futurist jazz trioCACAW could easily mark a key moment in that evolution. With music inspired by the love between robots, the swallowing of one star by another, and elements in a state of change, Stellar Power is an album driven by transition, whether in the music or in the cosmos.

Formed in 2010 by keyboardist Landon Knoblock, CACAW itself evolved from an acoustic improvising trio into a vehicle for Knoblock’s forward-looking compositions and experimentation with electric sounds. Saxophonist Oscar Noriega and drummer Jeff Davis were both members of a larger ensemble formed by Knoblock to perform the music of Andrew Hill. When only the three of them were able to make a rehearsal one day, Knoblock immediately recognized the intense chemistry they shared and determined to explore it further.

“Every sound Oscar makes has got a vibe,” Knoblock says. “It’s got an attitude, a spirit. He has such a unique personal sound. And Jeff was one of the first guys I played with when I moved to New York, so in addition to being a powerhouse of a drummer, he’s someone who I trust immensely.”

That combination of intuitive interaction and sonic range led to the development of CACAW’s sound – and, as the onomatopoeic name implies, sound is the operative word. “CACAW is a sound,” Knoblock explains, “it’s not a real word. It doesn’t have a meaning other than representing a sound, so it represents the music we’re making – when the actual act of creation is happening, it’s just about making sounds. Not keys, not modes, not harmonies, not intervals – just sounds.”


Kristin Slipp & Dov Manski Handle the Standard Repertoire in a Unique and Bold Way on Their New Release “A Thousand Julys”, On Sunnyside Records July 16th

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Listening to Kristin Slipp and Dov Manski perform this set of well-known songs, I often feel like I am hearing the words and melodies for the first time.  They approach these classcs with love, knowledge, fearless intimacy, and spontaneity, but also with an ear toward finding the strange in the familiar.

-From Liner Notes by Allan Chase

Young musicians attempting to break into the world of jazz are generally confronted with numerous obstacles, including the public’s expectations regarding the music’s legacy and originality. Discerning listeners are rarely graced by performers who appropriate well-known music of the past, transforming it into something entirely contemporary.

Two musicians who have made it a goal to impart their love of classic jazz repertoire and the pursuit of en vogue sounds and image are vocalist Kristin Slipp and pianist Dov Manski. The duo’s new recording, A Thousand Julys, presents their unique take on compositions made famous in the golden age of vocal jazz recordings with an approach unlike that which has been heard previously.

Both Slipp and Manski hail from Maine but first performed together while attending New England Conservatory.  The two young musicians discovered an easy rapport based on their love for music of all sorts, including pop, indie rock and western classical music, both having played in a variety of musical settings outside of the jazz idiom. Each musician’s assets and attitudes inspired the other to try new approaches in their collaboration.


Linda Oh and Greenleaf Music Announce August 27th Release of “Sun Pictures”

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Featuring Saxophonist Ben Wendel, Guitarist James Muller and Drummer Ted Poor

e8rNVwIjxTvXCdbDAY0_HYzMXu3mkreKO6QsKEn08jQOn her third CD, Sun Pictures (Greenleaf Music), acclaimed bassist/composer Linda Oh offers a set of musical postcards from her travels across the country and around the world. In the two years since the release of her last CD, Initial Here, Oh has performed extensively, both leading her own groups, in renowned trumpeter Dave Douglas’ new quintet, and with the Sound Prints quintet co-led by Douglas and tenor sax giant Joe Lovano. In between, she’s returned home to her native Australia to visit family, and all of those journeys are represented in the pieces on Sun Pictures.

“Each one of these tunes is a tiny snapshot of my recent travels and of my experiences playing music,” Oh says. “I think it’s a good process to keep writing even when you’re traveling and working and playing. It gets a bit tough when you have to run from one city to another, but I always try to find the time.”

The album’s title was inspired by one of those family visits. Sun Pictures is the name of the world’s oldest outdoor movie theater still in operation, which is located in Broome, a beautiful and historic town in Northwest Australia where Oh’s sister, a physician,  resides along with her physician husband and children.

“It’s a very small town, rich in history,” Oh says of Broome, a tourist destination rooted in the pearl diving industry. “There’s a Chinatown in this small country town on the coast, and in that quarter there’s an amazing-looking building which is the cinema, Sun Pictures. It’s pretty unreal.”

The site is an apt parallel for Oh’s new album, which similarly frames driving narratives within serene beauty. The setting for the recording itself was unlikely; the occasion was a free session at Columbia University’s student-run jazz radio station WKCR in New York City (which could hardly be called a proper recording studio). Oh brought in an outside engineer to assist in the recording, her fellow Aussie bassist Desmond White, who mainly assisted with microphone placement.


OUT TODAY: RYAN COHAN – THE RIVER, A Suite for Septet on Motéma Music

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Rising Star Pianist-Composer-Arranger Ryan Cohan Releases The River,
A Suite for Septet Based on Travels In East Africa As U.S. State Dept/Jazz at Lincoln Center Ambassador

Ryan Cohan The River cover art

Out Today July 9, 2013 via Motéma Music

Early Critical Acclaim for The River

“Cohan’s acumen as a bandleader is tied to his mastery of composition, as he arranges his songs to leverage the talent at hand, and his arrangements are inseparable from the compositions themselves.” – S. Victor Aaron, SomethingElseReviews

A river is both a place and a journey, intimately connected to the locales along its route while moving inexorably forward. On his fifth CD, The River (2013, Motéma Music), pianist/composer Ryan Cohan navigates a path that courses through East Africa and his native Chicago, reflecting the sights, sounds and emotions along its shoreline. In its sweeping musical landscape, Ryan’s vivid suite fluidly commingles the ancient and the modern, the spontaneous and the impressionistic, the cerebral and the passionate.

Cohan’s most ambitious work to date, The River was inspired by a trip that his quartet made to the tumultuous regions of Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Chosen by a panel that included State Department officials as well as Wynton Marsalis and other members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Cohan was chosen as a musical ambassador in the tradition of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Duke Ellington, all of whom toured conflict-riven nations to spread goodwill through jazz.


NCM East Presents Father/Son Collaboration “Open Letter,” By Brian Drye & Howard Drye, Out July 16th

Friday, July 12th, 2013

The Father/Son Collaboration Weaves A Tidy Thread Through “Open Letter,”
Via NCM East, Out July 16th, 2013

Brooklyn-Based Trombonist Brian Drye Joins His Baritone Saxophonist Father Howard Drye
My son Brian, is the guiding force of this project. It is a gift to collaborate with him.
The student has become the teacher.
-Howard Drye from liner notes.

The enormous ampersand that dominates the album cover gives way, when opened, to a sparse line drawing of the two Dryes, facing each other, ostensibly deep in communication about the music. The collaborative efforts don’t start and end with the artwork; this double CD features ten original compositions, five by the elder Drye and five by the younger, each written to honor an influence from the composer’s musical journey.

The Dryes are joined by a bevy of top-flight musicians who provide the alchemy that turns this meeting of the minds and notes into something that is far greater than the sum of its tunes. In addition to the Dryes, “Open Letter” features Jeff Hermanson on trumpet and fluegelhorn, Mike McGinnis (Brian’s bandmate in the excellent chamber ensemble The Four Bags) on winds, Dan Fabricatore on bass, and Vinnie Sperrazza at the drum kit.


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