Archive for June, 2014

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

Monday, June 30th, 2014





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.


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

Friday, June 20th, 2014

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.


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

Friday, June 20th, 2014
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.



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

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

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.”



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

Monday, June 16th, 2014

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.


Ben Wendel June News

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014


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


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

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014


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



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

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

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.


Wayne Horvitz – Ever-Evolving Composer and Conceptualist, Keyboardist and Curator – Releases the Intoxicating, Genre-Defying Album-Length Work 55: Music and Dance in Concrete on Vinyl LP and Download in August

Monday, June 9th, 2014

55” Comes Hot on the Heels of the Acclaimed Album 
Wish the Children Would Come on Home: The Music of WayneHorvitz by Young New York Band The Westerlies,
All Horvitz Mentees

Photo credit: Daniel Sheehan

“…filled with space and light, though refracted in ways that only composer WayneHorvitz could accomplish” – NPR Weekend Edition


As a composer and keyboardist with a genre-defying, ever-evolving body of work,Wayne Horvitz has gone from key figure on the 1980s downtown New York music scene to catalyst for another fertile scene in Seattle over the past two decades.

He has composed works of every stripe, along with leading multiple bands, serving as mentor for a new generation of artists and curating one of the Seattle’s most vital clubs, The Royal Room. Moreover, Horvitz’s art has simply proved him to be one of America’s most creative musicians, a purveyor of what Mojo Magazinehas called “Delightful and original.”

In August, Horvitz releases on vinyl LP and digital download 55: Music and Dance in Concrete, one of his most fascinating works to date as composer and conceptualist – a sonic hallucinogen that melds composition and improvisation, acoustic environment and electronic manipulation.

Music and Dance in Concrete the album is a distillation of the score from a modular, site-specific work Horvitz created in collaboration with choreographer-dancer Yukio Suzuki, video artist Yohei Saito and longtime Horvitzcollaborator producer-engineer Tucker Martine (Bill Frisell, Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, The Decemberists, R.E.M., My Morning Jacket, Beth Orton, Neko Case and Laura Veirs, among others) that premiered in 2012 at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA.


Former Practicing Architect Turned Vocalist, BASAK YAVUZ Releases Stunning Debut Album Showcasing Broad Stylistic Range, With Collaborators Spanning Generations & Three Continents Out June 24

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

things…, Recorded In The U.S. While a Student at Manhattan School of Music Features Her Mentors:
Saxophonist/NEA Jazz Master DAVE LIEBMAN
and Vocalist/Pianist PETER ELDRIDGE

Plus RICHIE BARSHAY (drums, percussion, voice), YACOUBA SISSOKO (kora), JAMES SHIPP (vibes, pandeiro, voice, percussion), MATT HOLMAN (trumpet), BRIANNA THOMAS (voice), Among Others

If any further proof were required that jazz has become an international language,Başak Yavuz is that proof.  things… (Z Music) is the debut album by the versatile Istanbul-based vocalist, composer and arranger.  It that draws upon treasured jazz traditions and expands the music’s global reach.

things… features an array of top-shelf American, European and African musicians, among them the legendary saxophonist Dave Liebman, one of several veterans with whom Yavuz studied at the Manhattan School of Music. Says Liebman, “Başak was one of the best students I ever had in my Master’s degree class. What she has done on this recording is remarkable. She took some of the main principles I espouse to a whole other level beyond what most musicians would do with the material. Most of all, the fact that she is singing in this quite sophisticated harmonic realm is incredible. This is truly very original music.”


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