Archive for October, 2013

Tigran Tours U.S. in Support of “The Poet EP”; LP “Shadow Theater” Coming Early 2014 in U.S.

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Band for U.S. Tour Includes Chris Tordini (bass) and Arthur Hnatek (drums)
with Special Guests Areni Agbabian (voice) and Charles Altura (guitar) in NYC, LA, Boston

Ever since the very beginning, Tigran Hamsayan seems possessed by the idea of making the spectrum of his music as broad as possible. He was only 19 when he found himself catapulted to the forefront of the music scene after winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk Competition (in 2006, its president was Herbie Hancock). Knighted by the world’s jazzosphere, the young Armenian was quick to avoid being “catalogued”: after trekking around with the unavoidable rhythm section formed by the Moutin brothers, in 2009 Tigran set up a group, a real one, alongside some of the New York scene’s young Turks from the influential band Kneebody, like saxophonist Ben Wendel or drummer Nate Wood. Christened Aratta Rebirth, his new quintet showed its debt as much to traditional Armenian music as to the labyrinthine metal of Meshuggah or the jazz fusion of Chick Corea. Three years later, the kid shed that skin and went through another transformation with the album A Fable, stripping himself down to the essentials in duets with his own piano. The menu was just as spare: splinters of minimalist pop, melodies from his native country, and some inhabited re-readings of standards like Someday My Prince Will Come. Plus something new: Tigran supplied vocals for a few tracks. The opus gained plaudits from around the globe, and in France he received the laurels of a “Victoire de la Musique” Award. (more…)

Exclusive Video Premiere: Dave Douglas Quintet, “Time Travel (Alt. Take)” on

Monday, October 21st, 2013
DD|50: Special Edition 50th Birthday Recordings Box Set Out Tomorrow
Via Greenleaf Music
“Today we’re premiering an exclusive video: “Time Travel (Alt. Take),” from trumpeter Dave Douglas‘s new DD|50 box. It’s an alternate version of the title track from one of the three albums included in the box, performed by his new quintet featuring saxophonist Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Rudy Royston. They’re featured on two of the three albums, Time Travel and Be Still. On the latter disc, they’re joined by vocalist Aoife O’Donovan. Those two albums were initially released separately; the third disc in the box, Pathways, is entirely new, and showcases a whole other band: Greg Tardy on clarinet and tenor sax, Joshua Roseman on trombone, Uri Caine on piano, and Clarence Penn on drums, with Oh and O’Donovan returning on bass and vocals, respectively.” (more…)

Vijay Iyer Fall 2013 News

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Iyer Wins 2013 MacArthur Fellowship,
Appointed To Faculty At Harvard University,
Named “Trailblazer” by Association of South Asians in Media, Marketing & Entertainment

Pianist’s Acclaimed Trio
On Tour Throughout Europe Oct 17-28;
4 Nights at NYC’s Jazz Standard Oct 31-Nov 3;
Iyer Plays Solo at SFJazz Nov 16

“For me, it’s an amazing sense of validation to know you’re being heard outside of the music community,” …read more

“The foundation, which awards its no-strings-attached grants of $625,000 annually, recognized Iyer as an “ardent investigator of musical communities, practices, histories, and theories.” …read more

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that no one in jazz sounds like Iyer, including Iyer.” …read more

“Two of this year’s grant winners are pianists who exemplify creative thinking and varied intellectual and artistic pursuits: classical musician Jeremy Denk and jazz artist and composer Vijay Iyer.” …read more



Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

The DOWN BEAT Rising Star Vibraphonist Draws Inspiration From The Natural World For “The Subliminal and the Sublime,” Premiering Nov. 22 & 23 in New Haven, CT and New York City

On November 2223, vibraphonist/composer Chris Dingman will premiere an expansive new suite, “The Subliminal and the Sublime,” in a pair of Northeast U.S. performances. Commissioned by Chamber Music America, the sweeping, evocative piece is inspired by Dingman’s experiences with the natural world: stunning sights, unexpected moments, or transcendent impressions that have proven inspirational.

“The basic idea came from noticing that there were certain phenomena or scenes in the world that particularly inspire me,” Dingman says. “I’d just be walking around and all of a sudden be struck by something I’d see, maybe a certain pattern in the sky that became extremely intriguing to me. I wanted to look a little more deeply at what’s going on inside of me that’s creating that.”

“The Subliminal and the Sublime” is the long-awaited follow-up to Dingman’s critically acclaimed Waking Dreams, which was named Debut Album of the Year in the 2012 Rhapsody Jazz Critics’ Poll and was included in Best of the Year lists in JazzTimes,, The NYC Jazz Record,, and others. The new suite combines a variant of his Waking Dreams ensemble with another ongoing duo project, with guitarist Ryan Ferreira.

The premiere will take place on Friday, November 22 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT, and on Saturday, November 23 at SubCulture in New York City. The line-up for these performances features a sextet of rising stars of the jazz world: Dingman, Ferreira, saxophonist Loren Stillman, pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Justin Brown. Following these performances, the band will enter the Clubhouse Recording Studio in Rhinebeck, NY to document the music for Dingman’s next release.


Pianist Myra Melford Celebrates the Release of “Life Carries Me This Way” with a Solo Concert at Greenwich House Music School, October 27

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Melford_Murray1“Melford is an explosive player, a virtuoso who shocks and soothes, and who can make the piano stand up and do things it doesn’t seem to have been designed for.” — San Francisco Chronicle

The Sound It Out series presents pianist Myra Melford in a solo concert at 8:00pm Sunday, October 27, 2013, at Greenwich House Music School in New York City’s West Village. The event will celebrate the release of Life Carries Me This Way, Melford’s new album on Firehouse 12 Records – her first for solo piano. The New York Times has described Melford as “a fearless pianist,” while Jazzwise magazine praised “the great depth” in her composing and her ability to “sustain an emotionally charged mood that recalls Coltrane or Dolphy without resorting to cliché.” Tickets for Myra Melford are $15 ($12 for students), available at the door; go to for venue information.

Melford – a 2013 Guggenheim fellow – recorded Life Carries Me This Way as a tribute to a close friend, the late visual artist Don Reich, whose rich, colorful paintings inspired each of the album’s compositions. About the process, Melford says: “Don took a wide range of approaches to painting, from very abstract to almost cartoonish. Seeing his paintings made me want to play the piano, and his very wide range from abstracts to landscapes to still life allowed me to cover a range of my own playing from dense, polytonal, high-energy work to very simple, beautiful melodies. I felt like there was room for all of that in the scope of his artwork.”


Cellist Erik Friedlander Featured on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered Regarding New Album Claws And Wings, Dedicated to His Late Wife, Lynn Shapiro

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Cellist and composer Erik Friedlander lost his wife of many years, dancer and choreographer Lynn Shapiro, to breast cancer in 2011. She’d been diagnosed a decade earlier, and Friedlander says music became a place of vital release for him as her condition worsened. “During the difficult years, I did take refuge in working,” he says. “It was a place where I could make the rules; where I could control what I could control.” In a bit of irony so precise that Friedlander calls it “almost comical,” he lost access to that refuge just a week after his wife’s death.

“I have a 15-year-old daughter. We had an argument before she went to school, and she walked out, slammed the door and left her lunch on the table,” Friedlander says. “So I thought it would be a good opportunity to sort of mend the wound of the argument: I grabbed the lunch and got on my bicycle. And it was a little rainy outside, and I slipped off and absolutely tore, completely, a ligament in my left thumb. So I was really left without any outlet.” The injury took months to heal, during which Friedlander had plenty of time to think; the new album Claws & Wings is his first since that difficult period in his life. Friedlander recently spoke with NPR’s Arun Rath about finding his way back to a place of creativity. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.

DownBeat October Editor’s Pick:
Erik Friedlander‘s Claws and Wings


On Claws & Wings, cellist and composer Erik Friedlander has crafted a complex elegy to his late wife, Lynn Shapiro, a choreographer and writer who passed away from breast cancer in 2011. Throughout this eight-song program, you can feel his loss, anger and pain. Each composition has an absolute truth that came at a steep price; there is no forced resolution here. It’s as if Friedlander is still working through his emotions, and might be for a very long time. This is apparent on “Frail As A Breeze,” the opening tune, which is performed in two parts. The compositions feature Friedlander picking and bowing—sometimes quietly with sorrow, sometimes powerfully with fury—but always effectively conveying the inner turmoil surrounding his loss. The sense of trying to find explanations where none exist is heightened by Friedlander’s collaborators on this project: Sylvie Courvoisier on piano and Ikue Mori on electronic percussion and laptop. Courvoisier adds a minimalist’s touch with a well-placed note, chord or flurry at just the right time. Mori’s sonics give these songs an otherworldliness, almost a sense of trying to communicate with someone who’s no longer there. On “Dancer,” there are moments that sound like electronic waterfalls, swoops and wails while Friedlander plucks a melody that tries to be joyful, but can’t completely commit to that joy. “Insomnia” raises the demons of a mind in overdrive trying to deal with the situation at hand with passages that end abruptly and silences pierced by slaps, squalls and sirens. I especially like the album’s closing number, “Cheek To Cheek,” because Friedlander could have chosen to close out with an uplifting tune, essentially saying, “Everything’s going to be all right.” But he takes a road less traveled. It’s a song that refuses to take sides on how his future will be. With a beautifully slow, measured melody, Friedlander conveys the message that this is where he is now—it’s a akin to a shrug that says, “What else can I do?” Very few artists could write such an honest, embracing memoir, especially without uttering a single word. That is the true beauty of Claws & Wings. I must confess that I had trouble writing about this record. Like so many of us who have seen a loved one struggle through breast cancer, this album hits very close to home. It is difficult to find the right words to effectively describe the brilliance and depth of this music. –Frank Alkyer 

Additional Reviews of Claws And Wings
SomethingElse Reviews!
 by S. Victor Aaron by Troy Collins

Jamie Baum Septet+ – In This Life (Sunnyside) Reviewed In The New York Times Sunday Playlist

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

A New York flutist, Ms. Baum has been recording with expanded small bands since the late ’90s; she’s into tone color and timbre and the blending of languages, jazz, and 20th-century classical and Afro-Latin music. But her composing ideas have gotten particularly strong on “In This Life” (Sunnyside), a septet album written after a trip to South Asia, with a front line including trumpets, guitar and bass clarinet, and rhythm sections alternately using tabla and congas, and trap-set drums. She’s capitalizing on the imagination of the musicians in her band, including the pianist John Escreet and the trumpeter Amir El-Saffar, but she’s got an elegantly persuasive composing hand. There are no pedantic mixtures here; she makes what she takes from classical minimalism and Indian qawwali mix together and feel natural. – Ben Ratliff

Record Featured On WBGO Radar

In this life, flutist Jamie Baum has studied hard and worked tirelessly to present her music to audiences around the globe.

A graduate of Manhattan School of Music and New England Conservatory of Music, Ms. Baum has worked with Randy Brecker, Paul Motian, Fred Hersch, George Russell, Billy Hart and Tom Harrell, among others.

She’s been nominated numerous times as Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association, selected as Rising Star Flute by the Downbeat Critics Poll and traveled as a Jazz Ambassador on US State Department sponsored tours through South America.

Jazz Journal International says she has “developed a strong, personal sound with almost flawless intonation… a fine composer with imagination in abundance.” Sounds about right.

With In This Life, her fifth album as leader and her third fronting her septet, Jamie takes the inspiration of a trip in South Asia and the music of the late Pakistani Qawwali vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, and gives the listener a warm, virtuosic album that reveals more with each listen …read more

Guitarist Ben Monder Presents Selections From Hydra, at The Jazz Standard October 23

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013


Guitarist Ben Monder Presents Selections From Latest Sunnyside Release, Hydra, With Collaborator Theo Bleckmann, Plus Music From Previous Monder/Bleckmann Collaborations

The Jazz Standard

October 23, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.


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