Le Boeuf Brothers – ‘Imaginist’ OUT NOW + NYC Album Release Show at National Sawdust w/ JACK Quartet, Nov. 16th

Posted on November 3rd, 2016 by admin

Le Boeuf Brothers + JACK Quartet Collaborate On New Record, ‘imaginist,’

OUT NOW Via New Focus Recordings/Panoramic Recordings

“‘imaginist’ goes further than most such efforts to tackle the idea of ‘chamber-jazz’ without holding back on either side” – The New York Times

“”One of the most interesting aspects of this music, besides the folksy melodies, extroverted minimalist textures and tangled counterpoint, are those moments of freedom found within each arrangement—chaos under control—which lend a bit of breath and imagination to the otherwise refined and chamber-like ambiance, a tribute to both the improvising prowess of the string players and tasteful restraint of the ‘jazz’ players.” – The New York City Jazz Record

“It’s an artful approach that melds  the innovative saxophone and piano playing twin brothers with the nine-piece chamber ensemble to create a melding of contemporary classical and jazz music” – NextBop

“Imaginist will hold your interest, the music serves both a dramatic and a compositional purpose.”The Wire

Regarded as innovative composers of improvised music, the Le Boeuf Brothers are leading the field with groundbreaking new works on their upcoming album in collaboration with JACK Quartet.  Based on the “Imaginist” poetry movement, they present an amalgamation of fresh improvisatory approaches with an informed compositional aesthetic branching from literature, jazz, and the “new music” community.  Their fourth recording, imaginist, is slated for release October 14th via New Focus Recordings/Panoramic Recordings.

Interpreting the works of pianist Pascal Le Boeuf and saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf, the hybridized 9-piece chamber ensemble includes JACK Quartet, one of New York’s premier string quartets devoted to contemporary classical music, as well as a collection of longtime collaborators including Grammy-nominated tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel (Kneebody), alternating bassists Ben Street (John Scofield, Billy Hart) and Martin Nevin (Albert “Tootie” Heath), and alternating drummers Justin Brown (Ambrose Akinmusire, Thundercat) and Peter Kronreif (Thana Alexa).

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Christophe Schweizer ‘The Broader Picture’ Out Sept. 30

Posted on September 27th, 2016 by admin


Swiss-German Arranger Christophe Schweizer

Collaborates with Famed WDR Big Band Cologne,

Setting Original Small Group Compositions of BILLY HART

For Full Big Band Complement
The Broader Picture (enja-yellowbird)
Is Out September 30th, 2016

First full-length album dedicated to large ensemble arrangements of Jabali’s original music. Compositions are drawn from “Enchance” (Horizon A&M, 1977), Rah (Gramavision, 1987) & “Oceans of Time” (Arabesque, 1997), among others.

Picture a young musician from Switzerland one sunny New York morning in September 1992, in the basement of The Mannes College of Music.  The ensemble class has just finished a performance of a Bud Powell composition called “Webb City” at the request of their coach, and it’s obvious these five musicians from radically different cultural backgrounds – some of whom will later go on to become well known in different scenes – feel less than at ease playing with each other for the first time.

After a moment of silence, pregnant with uncertainty, the ensemble coach finally declares, “You guys need to learn how to love each other.” You can guess who that teacher was.

Swiss-born, Hamburg-based arranger-composer Christophe Schweizer is of course is just one of hundreds, if not thousands of musicians and fans, that maestro Billy Hart has touched – and continues to touch as an educator and performer.  Schweizer calls Hart’s touch a “generosity of self.”  Over the course of a career spanning over five decades, Hart’s collaborations are perhaps greater in significance, number, and diversity than most living jazz musicians.

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Drummer Franklin Kiermyer Returns With His Most Spiritual Release To Date

Posted on September 6th, 2016 by admin


Closer To The Sun (Mobility Music) Furthers A Lifelong Practice Of Meditation And Contemplation, Co-Produced by Famed Producer Michael Cuscuna

Kiermyer Presents a New Band with Lawrence Clark (saxophone), Davis Whitfield (piano) and Otto Gardner (bass) – Each Committed to Depth and Openness of Spirit

On his newest album, Closer To The Sun, drummer, composer and bandleader Franklin Kiermyer pursues his singular quest, digging deeper to the roots of transformational music. It was always the feeling of the music that motivated his playing and on this latest offering, his focused spiritual practice leads the music even further. Co-producer Michael Cuscuna remarks, “Franklin went beyond his influences. He found his own way to play drums–his own time concept–his own way of organizing a performance. The music always swings in it’s own way, on it’s own terms.”

Kiermyer’s album Solomon’s Daughter (Evidence, 1994)–featuring Pharoah Sanders, John Esposito and Drew Gress–put him on the map. His subsequent album Kairos (Evidence, 1994) established him as a leader in what one writer called “Ecstatic American Music.” For the next few years, Kiermyer toured with his quartet, appearing at leading venues like Yoshi’s, Sweet Basil and The Montreal Jazz Festival. Soon after, he seemed to virtually drop from view.  From 1997 to 2013 Kiermyer only released two albums and toured rarely. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Jazz Festival Announces New NextGenJazz Stage for 2016

Posted on July 26th, 2016 by admin

chicago jazz fest image

For the 8th consecutive year, The Chicago Community Trust Jazz on the Rooftop stage will be a part of the Chicago Jazz Festival at the Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace in Millennium Park on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4. Presented by The Chicago Community Trust, the Jazz on the Rooftop stage aims to showcase up-and-coming Chicago native jazz musicians alongside the notable regional and national touring acts that attract nearly 150,000 jazz fans. This year, the festival is pleased to present Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links alumni saxophonist John Foster-Brooks, pianist Alexis Lombre, vibraphonist Joel Ross and the Hanging Hearts among the next generation of Chicago jazz greats.

The Chicago Community Trust Rooftop Jazz performances start September 3rd with a showcase of “Young Jazz Lions” featuring some of the most dedicated elementary and high school bands including the Lenart Regional Gifted and Harold Washington Elementary School Jazz Combos, the Jones College Prep Jazz Combo, the Whitney Young Magnet High School Jazz Combo, the Curie High School Jazz Ensemble, the Pritzker High School Jazz Ensemble, and the Kenwood High School Jazz Ensemble. Performances run from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »

Kris Davis Releases ‘Duopoly’ on September 30th

Posted on July 25th, 2016 by admin


Pianist Kris Davis Releases Duopoly
A Set of Inspired, Intimate Duos with 8 Seasoned Collaborators,
Out September 30th

Album features originals, covers and free pieces in an inventive palindromic sequence
CD/DVD includes FULL FILM of Entire Album — Davis in duets with

— artists with whom Davis had never before recorded
Pianist, composer and bandleader Kris Davis, just named one of Downbeat magazine’s “25 for the Future,” has made outstanding music in trio, quartet and quintet formats; her most recent output ranges from solo piano (Massive Threads) to an octet with four bass clarinets (Save Your Breath). The next logical step seemed to be duo. After brainstorming with producer David Breskin, Davis was ready to make Duopoly, a series of duos with eight colleagues, all highly regarded and accomplished improvisers. Each duo would play two pieces, one composed and the other free, 16 tracks in all.

“We decided to limit the instrumental palette of the guests,” writes Davis in her booklet text, and so she chose guitarists Bill Frisell and Julian Lage, pianists Craig Taborn and Angelica Sanchez, drummers Billy Drummond and Marcus Gilmore, and reed players Tim Berne and Don Byron. It was only later that the album’s two-part structure emerged, and within that structure, “a symmetrical, palindromic sequence,” Davis writes, “with what [Breskin] calls a ‘mobius twist’ in the middle.” In other words, the players rotate once through and then again in reverse order, with Frisell starting and finishing. The midway shift from structured writing to free improv feels entirely fluid and continuous.

“Additionally,” writes Davis, “the tracks are paired by instrument, for cohesive focus and the suggestive hint (or illusion) of a ‘phantom duo’ between each of the guitarists, pianists, drummers, and horn players.”

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Slavic Soul Party! Celebrates Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s Masterpiece, The Far East Suite, with Their Newest Album on Ropeadope Records, Out September 16th

Posted on July 18th, 2016 by Matt


The past 50 years have seen a lot of borders come down: the Iron Curtain, the European Union, the Cuban embargo, apartheid in the USA and South Africa all come to mind.  But lately we’ve heard talk of reinforcing borders and building walls, watched as refugees from the Middle East pile up on newly reinforced European borders.  Many of these borders – between Macedonia and Serbia, Turkey and Europe, “the east” and “the west”, host culture and “other” – are the very same borders that Slavic Soul Party! has crossed for years.  They’re also many of the same borders crossed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1963, when the US State Department sent the band on a “jazz diplomacy” mission to the Middle East, South Asia, and the Balkans.  50 years ago Ellington recorded his brilliant collaboration with Billy Strayhorn, the Far East Suite in New York City masterfully integrating the sounds they heard into the Ellington band, itself one of the defining sounds of jazz.

Slavic Soul Party! celebrates 50 years of the Far East Suite with a new record that re-imagines the iconic suite as an Eastern European brass band discovering an exotic American sound, reversing the “exotic tinge” and reveling in this subtle, funky, and brilliant music.  The essence of Ellington and Strayhorn’s collaboration is apparent from the first notes – the pulsing, harmonically rich chords of Tourist Point of View – but there’s something clearly different here. The slight of hand that SSP! has achieved with deft arrangements and strong Balkan playing is wonderfully disorienting.  This is music that has taken several trips across the Atlantic, in both directions.  It’s obviously a brass band that has fallen in love with the sound of jazz, but where is this music from? Read the rest of this entry »

Alto Saxophonist Jim Snidero Celebrates His 20th Recording as a Leader with MD66, Inspired by Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet, Scheduled for Release on August 26, 2016 on Savant Records

Posted on July 14th, 2016 by Matt

MD 66 Cover production final

Over the course of a career lasting more than 35 years, Jim Snidero has established his reputation as a leader both on the bandstand and as an influential author of jazz education books. A pioneer in music education technology, with his venture The Jazz Conception Company (TJCC), the release of MD66 only affirms the alto saxophonist’s role as an important and evolving jazz artist.

MD66 is scheduled for release on August 26 on Savant Records, marking Snidero’s 20th album as a leader and sixth release for Savant. The album celebrates 50 years since the heyday of the second great Miles Davis Quintet (with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams). Snidero remarks on how Davis was a critical beacon for being a great leader. He had a gift for hiring musicians who best fit his evolving vision, often inspiring them to create innovative music.”

Consisting primarily of Snidero’s original compositions, along with a piece by pianist Andy Laverne and Davis’ immortal “Blue in Green,” the music on MD66 came about as a result of Snidero’s careful attention to the musical interplay between the members of Davis’ second great quintet. “That band is at the very top of the ladder of any kind of music that I’ve ever listened to,” says Snidero.  Assembling his own stellar band consisting of trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, pianist Andy Laverne, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Rudy Royston, Snidero sought to explore his own music while conveying the same sense of intimacy demonstrated by Davis’ second quintet.
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Prolific Guitarist, Trumpeter, Flutist and Composer RHYS CHATHAM Releases Pythagorean Dream on Foom Records

Posted on June 8th, 2016 by Matt

Rhys Chatham returns with his first new album in 3 years, the apocryphal and enchanting Pythagorean Dream. Primarily focused on the electric guitar (but also featuring flute and a bit of trumpet) the recording is named after the Pythagorean guitar tuning it employs. The new album is a truly singular endeavour; composed, performed, produced, engineered and mastered solely by Chatham.

Following his Guitar Trio Is My Life! and A Crimson Grail recordsthe latter: the extensive revisiting of his groundbreaking “Guitar Trio” (1977) which featured the entire guitar section of Sonic Youth, and members of Swans, Tortoise, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Modern Lovers, A Silver Mt. Zion & Hüsker Dü; the former: his work for for 400 guitars which premiered in Paris in 2005 and was reworked for the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors Festival in New York City in 2009Chatham felt a need to get back to basics, returning to that most intimate and direct way of experiencing music: the solo.

Going back to the model of composer as performer that was pioneered in the 1960s by artists such as Tony Conrad and Terry Riley, Chatham began to develop solos that he would play himself, choosing to incorporate the multi-second delay effect pioneered by Terry Riley with two Revox Tape Machines. Feeling that it tied in with his overall minimalist aesthetic (having studied under, and then worked with La Monte Young in the early 1970s) and that the effect (which gives the impression that choirs and choirs of instruments are playing) was fitting as a succession to his 100-guitar idea, Chatham created and layered feedback loops of varying durations using Riley’s method in order to create rich, overlapping layers, which in practice transcend the limitations of their start and end points, blooming into free-flowing melodies in their own right.

Part One of Pythagorean Dream is comprised of a brief trumpet intro, followed by a guitar piece which implements a finger picking technique (Chatham has long been a fan of this style; John Fahey was one of his teenage musical heroes), before moving to an eBow section, and concluding with the fast tremolo flat-picking technique used in the context of his 100 guitar pieces.

Part Two is principally about Chatham’s return to the flute, the instrument which sparked his love of contemporary music; which he mastered in his adolescence prior to experiencing the early Ramones show at CBGB’s and which caused him to changed course and focus on the electric guitar. While composing this solo work, Chatham figured that the flute’s timbre would make a suitably interesting contrast to the guitar and trumpet, which led him to pick up the instrument again. Pythagorean Dream features Chatham on C, alto & bass flutes. The recording is brought to a close with a final guitar piece.

After Years of Steady Collaboration, Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson Debut as Vocal-Piano Duo with Dream in the Blue, Out August 5, 2016

Posted on May 19th, 2016 by Matt


Since 2002, vocalist Sara Gazarek and pianist Josh Nelson have nurtured an uncommonly strong musical bond. It’s no mere happenstance that Nelson played as a band member on all four of Gazarek’s albums, and she, in turn, sang on two of Nelson’s own recording projects. But over the past 18 months, this Los Angeles-based pair has taken their collaboration to a new level, touring extensively as a duo and developing a diverse repertoire that showcases their combined artistic maturation. Gazarek and Nelson recorded their new album Dream in the Blue (funded exclusively through the crowd-sourcing website as a tribute to their extraordinary partnership.  

“I remember feeling so incredibly comfortable with Josh that I held on tight and never looked back,” says Gazarek, recalling their very first gig in LA. “We’ve spent the last decade and more writing together, arranging, recording, making silly videos; essentially growing up together, personally and musically.” Nelson, in addition to citing his close rapport with Gazarek, sees Dream in the Blue as “a nice snapshot of our musical tastes in general — decidedly welcoming and accessible for a wide variety of audiences.”

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Chicago Jazz Festival Announces 2016 Lineup

Posted on May 9th, 2016 by admin

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the 38th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. The Labor Day Weekend tradition will take place in Millennium Park and at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington Street) September 1-4, showcasing some of the greatest jazz artists from Chicago and around the world. The FREE admission Chicago Jazz Festival is produced by DCASE and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago (JIC).

The Chicago Jazz Festival has always taken pride in celebrating the full spectrum of jazz with a special emphasis on the city’s unique place in the music’s artistic development. This year’s programming takes a special look at that history while celebrating the artists, events and moments that continue to shape jazz today.

The range of headlining artists at the 2016 festival runs the gamut from jazz legends celebrating momentous occasions to commemorations of key contributions by lost giants, from influential modern masters to crucial new voices in the music’s continuing evolution. The roster includes revered saxophonist/composer Benny Golson, saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen the John Scofield/Joe Lovano Quartet and a 95th birthday celebration for legendary percussionist Candido Camero.

In addition to these still-thriving greats, this year’s festival will look back at some of the legends that the jazz world has lost in recent years. Irreverent trio The Bad Plus will perform the music of Ornette Coleman’s 1971 album SCIENCE FICTION with saxophonists Tim Berne and Sam Newsome and trumpeter Ron Miles. Composer/arranger Carla Bley will lead the Liberation Music Orchestra, the politically-charged ensemble founded by late bassist Charlie Haden, with in-demand bassist Scott Colley filling Haden’s shoes. Rambling Boy, the 2009 documentary on Haden, will also screen as part of the festival.

The year 2016 marks the centennial of the Great Migration, the mass movement of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the urban Midwest, Northeast and West that took place beginning in 1916. Chicago was a key destination for that transformative relocation, with a momentous impact on the development of jazz as a vernacular music from New Orleans and transformed into an industry in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »

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