Archive for November, 2014

Guitarist Anthony Pirog’s Debut Palo Colorado Dream (Cuneiform Records) Receives Notable Praise in The New York Times, LA Times, JazzTimes, All Music Guide, Washington City Paper & More Pirog Announces Three Tour Dates in New York, Washington D.C. & Baltimore And His Debut Appearance at Winter Jazz Fest 2015

Monday, November 24th, 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.

“I’ve been playing these songs for years in various ensembles. It was an exciting challenge to make it work in the trio setting,” Pirog says. “Mike and Ches and I didn’t rehearse as a trio before we went into the studio, but I wasn’t worried about that: I knew I’d like what they did. And I knew we’d all be able to move between playing more traditionally over these tunes, and taking it out into new directions.” Palo Colorado Dream is only the first chapter in what will be a fascinating recording career as a leader.

Drummer Chad Taylor To Bring His Group Circle Down, With Bassist Chris Lightcap & Pianist Angelica Sanchez, To The Cornelia Street Cafe December 3rd

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

 

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Drummer Chad Taylor—a long-time fixture on the Chicago improvised music scene, and now a Brooklyn resident—has achieved a reputation for being a stalwart sideman, lending his masterful drumming to groups led by Marc Ribot, Pharaoh Sanders, Fred Anderson, Derek Bailey, Cooper Moore, Eric Revis, Tony Malaby as well as his long-standing collaboration with cornetist Rob Mazurek,The Chicago Underground.

In 2009, Taylor released Circle Down on 482 Music, where he was joined by bassistChris Lightcap and pianist Angelica Sanchez.  Although Taylor was ostensibly the leader on that record, all three members contributed compositions, leading to a palpable sense of collaboration amongst the three. On December 3rd, at The Cornelia Street Cafe, Taylor will reconvene the Circle Down group for a concert of all new material, in preparation for their forthcoming recording session on the19th of December.

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Fresh Off 3rd Place Finish in 2014 Monk Competition, Trumpeter Adam O’Farrill Brings Quartet, Stranger Days, To The Jazz Gallery Nov. 21 Comprised of Long-Standing Collaborators, Stranger Days Aims to Move Beyond Music, In An Attempt to Explore Elements of Theater & Character

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
Comprised of Long-Standing Collaborators,
Stranger Days Aims to Move Beyond Music, In An Attempt to Explore Elements of Theater & Character

“A trumpeter squared his shoulders, issued short rhythmic bursts based on one note, and then built a crowd-pleasing yet complex solo.” – Wall Street Journal“Drummer Zachary O’Farrill and trumpeter Adam O’Farrill have gone a step beyond, reaching a level of artistic confidence that eludes most musicians of any age.” – AllAboutJazz.com

“…a supple melodic sense…” – JazzTimes on The 2014 Monk Competition

Read an interview with Adam on JazzSpeaks,
The Jazz Gallery Blog

November 21st, 2014Adam O’Farrill’s STRANGER DAYS

NEW Jazz Gallery Set Times: 8:00 & 10:00 pm

$22.00 General Public | $12.00 for Members

Adam O’Farrill – trumpet
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown – saxophone
Walter Stinson – bass
Zack O’Farrill – drums

Trumpeter Adam O’Farrill has been collaborating with tenor saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, bassist Walter Stinson, and his brother, drummer Zack O’Farrill for many years. Given their close rapport, O’Farrill has, paradoxically, musically set his sights on the extra-musical with his new group, Stranger Days: thinking of its members less as musicians and more as actors in a play. The idea being that, as the “play” unfolds, and the roles are solidified through interaction, the characters develop and begin to create a larger picture, one which is not beholden to any individual member, but which is rather greater than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, no acting is actually taking place, and this result is coming solely from the fact that these musicians have such an innate understanding of one another as improvisers.
Throughout the performance, O’Farrill explains that, “the band musically discovers everything from workers building a bridge, to old New Yorkers convening over cappuccinos at an Italian butcher, to the works of Albert Camus, and more.”
Regarding the band’s name, O’Farrill quipped that: “Simply enough, the name of the band explains it all and yet explains nothing at all.”

Canadian Crossover Vocalist Elizabeth Shepherd Receives Critical Acclaim For Her Recent Release, The Signal; Extensive Touring Throughout North America & Europe In 2014 & 2015

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

    

 

 

Over 4 acclaimed albums, Elizabeth Shepherd has created a body of work praised around the world for its originality. Versed in equal parts Stevie Wonder, Salvation Army brass bands and classical sonatas, it is no surprise that this globetrotting talent has developed such a distinct voice. Along with artists like Esperanza Spalding, Becca Stevens, and Jose James she is part of a wave of jazz musicians — raised on as much hip-hop as bebop– bringing the art form to a new generation of music fans.

Shepherd arrived on the international scene in 2006 when her debut album Start To Move was voted one of the top albums of the year by the listeners of the influential Gilles Peterson Show on BBC Radio. Since then, the Montreal-based songwriter has continued to carve out her own artful, soulful and hip brand of music. Shepherd’s latest release, The Signal (Linus Entertainment) is her most mature, bold and compelling vision yet. With one track flowing seamlessly into the next, The Signal is a cohesive sonic journey that gradually unveils a very personal feminist manifesto, yet along the way touches on issues ranging from the shooting od Trayvon Martin to Shepherd’s most recent journey of motherhood.

 

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Trombonist Ryan Keberle & Catharsis Receive Critical Acclaim For New Record Into the Zone (Greenleaf Records)

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

“A young trombonist of vision and composure…There’s heart and soul in Mr. Keberle’s tunes” – The New York Times
 “[Keberle’s] hit upon something with his working band, a quartet called Catharsis” – NPR

Most jazz musicians avoid repetition dogmatically. But when Ryan Keberle realized 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 and Pedro 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 at Hunter College, leads two groups and occasionally subs with the Saturday Night Live band.

On Into The Zone (which features the smoky vocals of Chilean singer, Camila Meza) Keberle uses mindfulness and Zen philosophy as techniques to tune out the noise of that busy career, while accessing something elemental.

(Watch Ryan Keberle’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert Appearance)

Much credit is also due to the strong, flexible chemistry of Catharsis, which features Mike Rodriguez on trumpet, Jorge Roeder on bass and Eric Doob on drums. Saxophone great Scott Robinson joins as a guest on two tracks, slotting snugly into Keberle’s arrangements and taking a gripping solo on “Gallop.” Most notable, though, is the fertile divide between Meza’s wordless vocals and the band’s double-brass frontline: It feels blurry, sometimes even invisible—partly because Keberle’s trombone sound has such a fluid, vocal-like quality.

“I equate the human voice with honesty,” he explains, saying he strives to achieve an equally primal effect with the trombone. “It isn’t always going to sing the right note at the right time to the right chords, but that’s part of the excitement, and the value. Regardless of the style or the complexity, when audiences hear a voice they immediately pay more attention to the music”

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Acclaimed Pianist Aaron Goldberg Releases The Now on Sunnyside Records Featuring His Working Trio of The Last 16 Years, Bassist Reuben Rogers, Drummer Eric Harland, And Special Guest Kurt Rosenwinkel on “One Life” Out November 20 in Europe & January 20, 2015 in North America

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

 

Hailed by Down Beat magazine for his “quick-witted harmonic reflexes, fluid command of line and cut-to-the-chase sense of narrative logic,” Aaron Goldberg has made his name as one of jazz’s most compelling pianists, both as a bandleader and frequent collaborator with Joshua RedmanWynton MarsalisKurt RosenwinkelGuillermo Klein and many more. On his new release The Now, Goldberg reunites with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, the virtuoso rhythm team going all the way back to his 1998 debut Turning Point. On their fifth outing together, the trio foregrounds a central truth about the art of playing jazz: that no two performances will be the same because the music is created, in Goldberg’s words, “in the dynamic plane of the present.”

“A jazz record is literally one moment in time,” Goldberg explains. “Each song captures those five minutes, and not more. This is especially counterintuitive when you think about iconic jazz recordings like Kind of Blue, where we can all sing every solo. That record would sound totally different, we’d all be singing different solos, if it’d been recorded five minutes later or even five seconds later. That aspect of jazz is what makes it magical for me. I think every time you make an album you contribute to this illusion that jazz operates like other forms of music, where you figure out the song, you practice it, you play it a million times, then you record the definitive version. Jazz doesn’t work like that, and I felt it was time to explicitly wrestle with this in some thematic way.”

In every idiomatic zone from Brazilian ballads to roaring bebop, Goldberg and the trio have a way of spontaneously sculpting every bar as it flows by, like a wave on a river. That Rogers and Harland have also spent the last few years working with master saxophonist Charles Lloyd has deepened their communication and subtlety beyond measure. With Goldberg, they revel in the lesser-explored corners of jazz repertoire, bringing wit, explosive chops and also keen understatement to bear on the music at hand.

“I met Reuben back in 1992 in Boston, when he was going to Berklee and I was going to Harvard,” Goldberg recalls. “He had just started playing upright bass. Eric I met in 1997, playing with [saxophonist] Greg Tardy. I felt an instant connection with them. There was never a feeling of having to tell them what I want or even what I want the trio to sound like. It was intuitive in the way that friendships are, or romantic relationships. It feels right and you find yourself growing, discovering things, getting somewhere new that you wouldn’t have gotten to alone. When you feel that connection, it opens a path to your subconscious — you can escape your preconceptions, the need for an agenda, and you can just let the music be.”

Goldberg became a jazz devotee in Boston during high school. After spending a year in New York City at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, he enrolled at Harvard College and graduated magna cum laude in 1996 with a concentration in Mind, Brain and Behavior. A founding member of Betty Carter’s famed and indispensable Jazz Ahead program, he continued his ascent performing in bands led by Al FosterFreddie HubbardNicholas PaytonStefon Harris and Mark Turner among others. By the late 1990s, he was garnering wider attention, and an incessant touring schedule found him both inspired by music from around the world yet appreciative of the zen creativity that only jazz demands.

On Chico Buarque’s “Trocando em Miúdos” (roughly, “settling the small things” in Brazilian Portuguese), Goldberg and his partners reveal the sense of inner dynamism and flux that perfectly embodies the concept of The Now. “It’s a song about a couple that has broken up and they have to divide up all their common belongings,” the pianist says. “I heard it at a point when I was ending a long relationship and dealing with many of the same emotions, so I had a kind of total body experience of the song. It was a song I needed to play. In the studio was the second time we ever tried it, so it was being worked out in the moment and it has that explorative quality.”

Extending the Brazilian theme, Goldberg interprets Djavan’s “Triste Baía da Guanabara” and Toninho Horta’s “Francisca” with great lyrical and virtuosic flair. “There’s a deep Brazilian songwriting tradition, every bit as deep as our American songwriting tradition,” Goldberg says. “In the same way that our Tin Pan Alley composers were thinking equally about melody, harmony and lyrics, these Brazilian composers were also synthesizing melody, harmony, lyrics — and their best songs are pristine in all respects simultaneously.”

“Yo Yo” is a traditional Haitian song with lyrics “about a guy who’s a seller in the market,” Goldberg says. “The idea is that he always gives you more meat or more vegetables than you ask for. Everybody loves him — the women in particular love Yo Yo because he always gives them more than they bargain for. It’s a great tune for improvising, oddly related to some more familiar standards like ‘Autumn Leaves.’ Rhythmically it’s open to many approaches even though there’s something deeply African in the groove. Reuben is from St. Thomas and has a very intuitive concept of a range of Caribbean music.”

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