Archive for February, 2017

Nicole Mitchell Releases ‘Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds’ on FPE Records May 5, 2017

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Humanity’s Future Takes Shape on Nicole Mitchell’s
Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds
OUT May 5, 2017 (FPE Records)

Featuring Nicole Mitchell (flute), Renée Baker (violin),
Tomeka Reid (cello), 
Kojiro Umezaki (shakuhachi),
Alex Wing (guitar), Tatsu Aoki (bass),
Jovia Armstrong (percussion), avery r young (vocals)

Blurring the edges between philosophy and mysticism, modern art and radical political critique, the Afrofuturist impulse has been a cultural force since the mid-20th century. That’s when jazz visionary Sun Ra and his Arkestra first touched down on Planet Earth and told humanity that space (outer and inner) is indeed the place.  It’s an impulse that in the new millennium has only grown more diverse thanks to a proliferating number of African-American musicians who use Afrofuturism as a platform to launch their own, unique visions. Among these explorers are cosmic jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington, post-everything beat maker Flying Lotus, R&B cyborg Janelle Monáe and dystopian noise-rappers Death Grips.

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Linda May Han Oh Releases ‘WALK AGAINST WIND’ on Biophilia Records April 14, 2017

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Bassist/Composer Linda May Han Oh
Finds Beauty in Exploring Life’s More Challenging Pathways
on Walk Against Wind

Oh’s Fourth Album, Out April 14 on Biophilia Records,
Features Her Stunning Quartet with
Saxophonist Ben Wendel, Guitarist Matthew Stevens,
Drummer Justin Brown

Preview Walk Against Wind on Bandcamp

The art of mime, with its embrace of silence and pure physical expression, may seem like an unlikely source of inspiration for a jazz musician. But in “Walking Against the Wind,” one of Marcel Marceau’s best-loved pieces, bassist/composer Linda May Han Oh found a stunning metaphor for the life of an artist. Linda has chosen to release this album under the name, “Linda May Han Oh” as “May Han” is her birth name and the name “Linda” was given to her at three years of age upon moving to Australia in order to assimilate. Marceau’s graceful but frustrated motion, which also inspired Michael Jackson’s iconic moonwalk, found the legendary mime fighting against invisible but pervasive forces while also embracing the beauty and pleasure to be found in taking the paths in life that offer greater challenges – but also richer rewards.

On her fourth album, Walk Against Wind, Oh explores both the challenges and the rich rewards of an artist’s journey. “Walk Against Wind is about the paths that we choose,” Oh explains. “Sometimes they end up being the harder paths, but in the long run they prove more fruitful.”

The album, due out April 14 via Biophilia Records, is the spiritual successor to Oh’s acclaimed 2013 release Sun Pictures, with returning saxophonist Ben Wendel (Kneebody, Snoop Dogg) joined by guitarist Matthew Stevens (Christian Scott, Esperanza Spalding) and drummer Justin Brown (Ambrose Akinmusire, Gerald Clayton). In addition, keyboardist Fabian Almazan (Terence Blanchard) and Korean traditional musician Minji Park appear as special guests with the quartet, which has been workshopping Oh’s compositions at a variety of New York hotspots including the 55 Bar, The Jazz Gallery and Minton’s Harlem.

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