Archive for July, 2014

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

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014


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.


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

Friday, July 25th, 2014


(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

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


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”.


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

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014


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

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

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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