Archive for April, 2016

Bobby Avey Announces New Record, ‘Inhuman Wilderness’

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

 

For a young musician, Bobby Avey has quickly establishing himself as an emerging voice in the creative music scene. The Guardian describes him as, “a player and musical thinker with an intriguing future,” who The New Yorker asserts “[Avey is] a young pianist of invention and refinement.” In 2011, he won the Thelonious Monk Competition for Composition, following the release of his first album,  A New Face, which the New York Times called “A promising debut.”

Inhuman Wilderness, the fifth recording from the esteemed pianist, promises to be a major artistic statement. The release is a multi-hued tapestry that eloquently portrays the tragedy of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man and to nature. Releasing June 24th, 2016, the album will be Innervoice Jazz’s second release after pianist Marc Copland’s Zenith.

Once again, Avey’s has enlisted longtime bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Jordan Perlson to support the underlying framework of his unusual concepts.  The trio have almost a decade of playing under their belts. Indeed AllAboutJazz.com proclaimed the three, “a strong, intuitive trio.” The fourth voice joining the quartet for Inhuman Wilderness is alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher.  Avey met O’Gallagher in 2014 when the two played a gig together in NYC, and it was in that moment Avey knew he had found the final component to complete a new quartet. Avey says “John was simply the best fit for the repertoire.  He internalized the music quickly and brought it to life.” (more…)

Amir Elsaffar’s Rivers of Sound

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Rivers of Sound is a large ensemble of instrumentalists from Western and Middle Eastern traditions, exploring the confluences of a musical language that transcends notions of tradition and style. In performing Not Two, an original composition by Amir ElSaffar, each musician interacts with the group through both improvised and composed material to create a novel composite sound.

Composer, trumpeter, santur player and vocalist, Amir ElSaffar, an expert in Jazz and Iraqi maqam, has forged his novel approach to combining musical languages through his six-piece ensemble Two Rivers. Over the past eight years, the group has released three CD’s on Pi Recordings. Crisis, the most recent, was a Newport Jazz Festival commission. Jazz critic of the The Chicago Tribune, Howard Reich, declared Crisis “one of the most beautiful and evocative jazz recordings of the year.” A reviewer for The Wire, stated that “ElSaffar is uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music without doing either harm…the result of engagement across the board, presented with clarity and eloquence.”

Rivers of Sound: Not Two is a continuation of the Two Rivers concept, but projected onto a wider canvas unprecedented in scope and imagination.  Microtonal maqam melodies traverse a richly-textured bed of sound created by oud, buzuk, and santur, in combination with cello, violin, saxophones, English horn and trumpet. Also at play are multilayered, rhythmic patterns and harmonies performed by re-tuned vibraphone, piano and guitar. The drum set, mridangam, dumbek, frame drums and double-bass provide the rhythmic foundation and subdivisions of the multiple currents. Resonance across rhythmic, tonal, and timbral spectra, and across musical traditions, is the guiding principle.

ElSaffar’s music is at once unique and engaging, full of heart and passion. Challenging notions of composition vs. improvisation, tradition vs. modernity, microtonality/modality vs. harmony, his compositions bring to light the universality of music across cultures. Given the catastrophes befalling the people of the Middle Eastern and Arab lands, his music is both timely and urgent as he is preserving elements of these cultures by bringing them into context with contemporary musical forms.

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