Archive for September, 2013

Spyro Gyra Celebrates The Release of Their 30th Album, THE RHINEBECK SESSIONS,

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Album CoverWritten & Recorded Over Three Days In A Hudson Valley Studio

Band To Mark 40 Years in 2014,
Will Tour Playing Platinum-Selling Classic,
Starting February 2014,
Celebrating 35th Anniversary of Its Release

As Spyro Gyra contemplates upcoming milestones to its storied career, it is tempting to fall back on the Grateful Dead lyric, “What a long strange trip it’s been.” How many bands in instrumental jazz or any kind of music, can boast a 40-year career, gaining and keeping fans over almost four decades? When Spyro Gyra formed in 1974 in Buffalo, New York, the pop charts included names like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grand Funk Railroad, The Carpenters, Bob Marley & The Wailers and Pink Floyd. Very few groups can claim this kind of longevity. Yet Spyro Gyra shows no sign of slowing down, having garnered Grammy® nominations for four consecutive albums in the last ten years while touring worldwide year-round.

Add to that legacy The Rhinebeck Sessions, the band’s 30th album and its first to be written entirely in the studio over the course of just three days. In the early days of April 2013, founder and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and the members of Spyro Gyra entered a recording studio in Rhinebeck, NY, a small town in the Hudson Valley not far from Woodstock. Beckenstein and his bandmates – Tom Schuman (piano & keyboards), Julio Fernandez (guitars), Scott Ambush (bass) and Lee Pearson (drums) – set out to do something that they had never done before in their nearly forty year history – improvise with each other over three days and in the process write and record an entire new album.


Xiu Xiu Announce Nina Simone Covers Album, NINA

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
artworks_000057694733_9njfmh_t500x500To Be Released Dec 3 via Graveface RecordsAll Arrangements by Longtime Xiu Xiu-Collaborator, Ches Smith

Backing Band Is Smith’s THESE ARCHES:
Tim Berne, alto sax
Tony Malaby, tenor sax
Mary Halvorson, guitar
Andrea Parkins, electric accordion
Ches Smith, drumsPlus Xiu Xiu Founder Jamie Stewart, vocals

Stream First Single “Don’t Smoke in Bed” via Pitchfork

With an artist as wide-ranging and prolific as Xiu Xiu‘s Jamie Stewart, it can be hard to put into words what, exactly, his music sounds like. But when it comes to Stewart’s forthcoming NINA, he certainly doesn’t sound like himself.

NINA is a thank-you note, a love letter and a kind of musical fan-fic for the late icon Nina Simone. This being Xiu Xiu, of course, Stewart’s tribute album is far from a collection of straight covers. Rather, he and long-time collaborator Ches Smith — “the only person I know who could understand this in his heart and also handle the technical side of fearlessly reorienting such wonderful music” — bring Simone into focus through their own avant-dark lens.



Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Ryan Cohan The River cover artThe River, A Suite for Septet,
Commissioned By Chamber Music America,
Is Based on U.S. State Department-Sponsored Travels
Through Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe & The Congo

Suite Receives Its New York Debut Sunday Sept 22, 2013
At Iridium Jazz Club’s Keystone Korner Series

Out Now via Motéma Music

“Cohan’s arrangements bring out an orchestral depth in his sharp ensemble” – The Chicago Reader

The River is composer-arranger Ryan Cohan’s most ambitious and important work to date.” – JazzTimes

“Cohan’s acumen as a bandleader is tied to his mastery of composition…” – SomethingElse! Reviews

“Cohan is a gifted, strong pianist and a master of three horn writing.” – Down Beat Magazine

“This gifted Chicagoan pianist-composer is definitely his own man.” – The London Evening Standard

“Elegant postbop through and through…Yet the tasteful use of polyrhythms and non-Western modes underscore where this music is rooted.” – Time Out Chicago

Veteran Downtown NYC Cellist and Composer Erik Friedlander Announces a Weeklong Residency at The Stone October 15 – 20

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
October 15

8p Block Ice & Propane

Erik Friedlander, cello
Cellist Erik Friedlander draws on his experiences as a child traveling across the United States with his family during the 1960’s and 70’s to create Block Ice & Propane, an engaging solo performance that brings together Erik’s rich, Americana-inspired cello music, and his own stories from now-distant road trips.
10p Volac
Erik Friedlander, cello
Music by John Zorn
Volume 8 in the continuing Book of Angels series is an intimate and breathtaking recital by one of theworld’s most accomplished cellists. A vital member of the Masada family from the very beginning, Erik Friedlander has hypnotized audiences both here and in Europe with his own bands Topaz, Broken Arm and Grains of Paradise. Stepping out in a special solo project, Erik shows off his remarkable
technique in ten compositions from Zorn’s lyrical Book of Angels. This is Erik at his best. Rich, romantic, gripping music to both challenge and soothe the savage beast.

Saxophonist Steve Treseler Releases “Center Song”, A portrait of the Pacific Northwest Cultural Scene

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Center Song CoverSaxophonist Steve Treseler’s new release, Center Song, is a portrait of the Pacific Northwest cultural scene. Joined by B.C.-born, New York-based trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, Center Song reunites the rhythm section of Treseler’s 2008 album, Resonance — pianist Dawn Clement, guitarist Chris Spencer, bassists Jon Hamar (on double bass) and Dean Schmidt (electric) and drummer Steve Korn — with guests Dan Kramlich on piano and cellist Meg Risso.

Treseler grew up in the midst of Seattle’s grunge and alternative rock scene before moving to Boston to pursue his studies at New England Conservatory. It was at NEC where he was introduced to the music of pianist/composer Lennie Tristano and saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. “I was taken with the mix of the ‘cool’ aesthetic with more angular rhythms and melodies,” Treseler says. “Playing a Lee Konitz tune, instead of the standard on which it is based, sets up a different feel for the rhythm section.” The Tristano school of players and indie rock are two streams that continue from Resonance into Center Song. The non-Treseler tunes this time around are Konitz’s “Kary’s Trance” — Treseler uses a 1975 live recording as his basis here — and “Days Were Golden” by the Seattle rock group Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as the title track, a new composition by Ingrid Jensen.

Vijay Iyer & Mike Ladd Collaborate Again on Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

VeteransDreamsProject5Out September 10, 2013 on Pi Recordings

CLICK HERE To Listen to Selections from “Holding It Down” on SoundCloud

Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project is the latest astonishing album to emerge from the longtime collaboration of Grammy-nominated pianist / composer Vijay Iyer and poet / performer / librettist / emcee Mike Ladd. Three years in the making, the new work focuses on veterans of color from the last decade’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Holding It Down is a thought-provoking, sometimes frightening, and ultimately exhilarating combination of music, poetry and song, created from the actual dreams of young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The new album continues in the groundbreaking, politically searing, stylistically omnivorous fashion of their previous works (the award-winning In What Language? (Pi 2004), based on interviews with people of color in airports, and the acclaimed Still Life with Commentator (2007), an oratorio about 24-hour news culture).


The Steve Lehman Trio Announces First West Coast Tour

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Described as “one of the transforming figures of early 21st century jazz,” by The Guardian (UK) and as a “dazzling saxophonist,” by The New York Times, Steve Lehman will present three concerts on the West Coast, featuring his long-standing trio with Matt Brewer (Bass) and Damion Reid (Drum Set). The trio’s most recent recording, Dialect Fluorescent (Pi, 2012) was called one of the Top 10 recordings of 2012 by over thirty publications internationally, including Spin, The Denver Post, and the Village Voice/Rhapsody Critic’s Poll.

Featuring Matt Brewer (Bass) and Damion Reid (Drums)

US Tour Dates:

October 16 – Yoshi’s Jazz Club, San Francisco, CA
October 17 – Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA
October 18 – Earshot Jazz Festival, Seattle, WA

Renowned Trumpeter and Composer Dave Douglas To Release Special Edition Box Set DD|50

Monday, September 9th, 2013

DD50_Cover50th Birthday Recordings Include Critically-Acclaimed Quintet Albums Be Still (2012) and Time Travel (2013), Plus New Sextet Album Pathways.
Package to Include DVD with Performance Videos & Previously Unreleased Music Videos Directed by Christoph Green, Plus Unreleased Tracks & Outtakes.

Out October 22, 2013 on Greenleaf Music

Even in his 50th year Dave Douglas shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, this milestone proves to be a focal point in a reexamination driven by many events in his life: musical, personal, spiritual and emotional. Three releases show that process, 2012’s intimate, reflective and intensely personal Be Still, 2013’s hard-driving, straight-ahead Time Travel, and his newest work, Pathways, written for sextet as a farewell soliloquy to his beloved ten-year tenure as director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. Taken together, these three albums represent a snapshot of the trumpeter and composer’s 50th year, in some ways summing up his journey thus far and in other ways only hinting at future paths he will soon embark upon.


Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) Preview Week: Q&A with Jeremy Pelt

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) Preview Week
Jeremy Pelt

Q&A with Jeremy Pelt
Curator of FONT 2013 Program at Smoke:

September 17:
7pm Vitaly Golovnev
9pm Miki Hirose
10:30pm Lulu’s Playground with Adam Meckler
11:30pm Josh Evans

September 19
7pm Bria Skonberg
9pm Nick Roseboro
10:30pm Billy Buss
11:30pm Jeremy Pelt

Click here for the full 2013 FONT Program

Talk a bit about the venue you chose to curate in? Why is it special to you? Why do you want people to experience that particular venue? Or was it the most hospitable venue available for what you wanted to do?

Curating events for this festival has been a very eye (and ear)- opening experience. One of the things that I dig the most about the position that I’m in is that it gives me a chance to help other trumpeter-composers present their visions to an audience that might not hear them otherwise. This year, I was delighted that Paul Stache, the part owner and proprietor of Smoke agreed to open his doors to FONT. Smoke has long since been a place where I’ve presented my various ensembles and in my estimation, is one of the few clubs in NY that cares about the music. It is my guess that FONT and its participants will feel welcome and comfortable at the club.

What event besides the events you curated are you most looking forward to checking out live?

Because I’m so busy, routinely spreading myself thin trying to balance my work, other people’s work AND kids, I don’t have the type of time I had years ago to comb the scene looking for the new upstarts. FONT provides a worthy “excuse” for me to get out there and see who’s playing. In the past, we’ve paid tribute to various legendary trumpeters by rehashing their music, however in recent years I’ve been quite vocal about the need for us to represent ourselves which is why I proudly accept the challenges that come with programming (in this year’s case) eight disparate trumpeter-led bands. The criteria for my choosing the performers is based off of my general feeling for their music and it’s inherent need to connect to the people.

FONT PREVIEW WEEK: Q&A with FONT Co-Founder, Director and Co-Curator Dave Douglas

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) Preview Week

FONT logo_final

Dave Douglas

Q&A with Dave Douglas,
Co-Founder & Director of FONT 2013;
Curator of St. Peter’s Church Programming

Denver-Based Trumpeter Hugh Ragin Makes Rare NYC Appearance
Sept. 22 Leading Jazz Vespers at St. Peter’s Church
Featuring Trumpeters Lew Soloff, James Zollar, Nate Wooley

Douglas’ Own Sextet Sept. 23, Featuring Jon Irabagon, Josh Roseman,
Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston & Special Guest Vocalist Heather Masse,
Celebrating Release of New Sextet CD, Pathways, Part of DD|50 Box

Check Out Exclusive FONT Interview with 2013 FONT Honoree
Marcus Belgrave, Conducted by Trumpeter Greg Glassman

Q: How did you become a trumpet player? Did you play other instruments before the trumpet?

DD: Even though trumpet was one of my earliest instruments after piano and trombone, I always naturally thought of myself as a musician. It didn’t occur to me that I was a trumpet player until it was way too late, which is one of the reasons for this festival. It’s to celebrate the trumpet as a piece of equipment in the hands of musicians of every variety, to counter the idea of the trumpeter as a music jock, a sort of athlete of the high notes and proponent of the showiest, brassiest sounds regardless of what the music calls for. We celebrate the Music first. Then the Trumpet, then the New. This is a Festival for music and musicians involved in some of the most compelling, expressive, protean, challenging, and fun music around.

Q: Were there recordings in the beginning and even years into learning the instrument that drew you into the trumpet’s sound and possibilities?

DD: When I finally realized and accepted that I was a trumpeter I was drawn to unique sounding players like Miles Davis, Thad Jones, Lester Bowie, Woody Shaw, Herb Robertson, and of course all the other giant spirits of jazz. I also listened to great classical players like Gerard Schwarz and Raymond Mase, more recently Alison Balsam and Hakan Hardenberger. But I am really a sucker for Macedonian and Mexican brass bands. When the trumpet itself makes people dance how can you not smile?

Q: People often talk about how the trumpet is the hardest instrument to play. Do you feel this is true? What doesn’t the general public understand about playing the trumpet that you wish people would realize?

DD: They say the trumpet is the hardest instrument to play. I’m not sure I agree — they are probably all equally hard. But the trumpet is exposed and personal, like the human voice. You have to figure out how to get a part of your body to effortlessly vibrate at extremely high velocities. This is why trumpet sounds range from the most vulnerable to the most brazen and powerful.

Q: If you had to identify with one or two gurus, trumpeters or otherwise, who had the greatest impact on your musical journey to date, whom would they be?

DD: Aside from all those trumpeters I’ve loved, John McNeil, Carmine Caruso, and Laurie Frink have had the biggest impact on my life as a musician-trumpeter. No question, without them I would not be where I am today. We would likely not be doing this festival. I met co-founder Roy Campbell when I first came to New York in 1984 and at that time I was studying with Carmine. Roy and I heard each other a lot around that time. In starting this festival we both had the same sense that a booster organization for creative trumpeter/composers was an essential job that needed to be done.

Q: How did you select the people you wanted to showcase in your particular curation? Were these people you felt were deserving of wider recognition? Were they people you felt shared a similar working aesthetic as you or came from someplace completely different?

DD: Every year we try to cast as broad a net as we can. We try to support recent arrivals to the scene. We try to celebrate creative pioneers who have pointed the way. And yet, no matter how broad the net, we are always discovering new players and new sounds. We always leave people out, unintentionally! This is one of the richest periods ever as far as new music goes.

Q: Who is your favorite trumpeter today (as in today, the day you are writing this email) and what recorded song available to the public best exemplifies why this trumpeter is so badass?

DD: I practiced a lot today, so if you ask me who is my favorite trumpeter today I am going to say that I am my favorite trumpeter today. How about that? We are all out here practicing to make music and life better. And we all doing it together one note at a time. I love so many players these days and the Festival of New Trumpet Music is a way of celebrating that.

Q: Talk a bit about the venue you chose to curate in? Why is it special to you? Why do you want people to experience that particular venue? Or was it the most hospitable venue available for what you wanted to do?

DD: For the past few years I have been involved in music and spirituality, through recording hymns and spirituals, and through exploring the essence of making music in the moment. Hugh Ragin is a trumpeter who shares that pursuit. When the concert hall at St. Peter’s Church became available for this festival I knew right away that I wanted to present my suite Pathways there. And I knew I would try to get Hugh Ragin to do something. He surpassed my wildest imagination by creating music for the vespers service itself! I cannot wait to hear it.

Q: Can you all share an anecdote about this year’s honoree Marcus Belgrave and what bearing, if any, he has had on your life as a listener, trumpet player, student, or appreciator of creative music?

DD: As I listen to this year’s honoree Marcus Belgrave what amazes me most is how he pulls notes out from all around the horn, the embouchure, and the room. Watching him play is like watching popcorn pop — you never know where the next movement is going to come from. He has one of the most amazing techniques I have ever seen. We are proud to bring him to New York with his own group to honor him with our Award of Recognition.

Q: What event besides the events you curated are you most looking forward to checking out live?

DD: The Henry Brant Flight Over A Global Map for 52 trumpets!!! and percussion is our pièce de resistance this season. I’ve never been involved in anything like this. So many great trumpeters are coming forward to play. It has been a supreme piece of work to organize and I know it is going to be an amazing thrill that will not be repeated any time soon.

Q: Any other thoughts about this year’s festival?

DD: Festival of New Trumpet Music enters its 11th season stronger than ever. New board members, new players, new venues. As a 501(c)3 public nonprofit we appreciate all the support we have had and encourage interested parties to visit our site and consider donating. Thank you.


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