Posts Tagged ‘saxophone’

Melissa Aldana Is “Back Home” – Rising Tenor Sax Star Releases Second Trio Album & Fourth Album Overall

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Acclaimed tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana follows up her 2014 Concord release Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio with the explorative and deeply swinging Back Home, this time released on the Wommusic label. Pablo Menares, Aldana’s fellow native of Santiago, Chile, is again on bass. On drums is the in-demand Jochen Rueckert, bringing a supple and unpredictable rhythmic élan to the session. These three musicians turn on a dime and project an uncommonly full orchestral sound, rich in spiritual intensity, all in the absence of a harmony instrument.

The title Back Home might seem to evoke Chile, where Aldana left in 2007 to pursue jazz at ever higher levels in the U.S. In fact, Aldana reveals, Back Home “is not really related to Chile itself. It’s related to the first time I picked up the tenor and I heard Sonny Rollins.” The closing title track carries strong echoes of Rollins’ playful spirit, and reveals much about Aldana’s evolution from a 6-year-old alto player to “a bold new talent” (NPR), one of the most compelling and prodigious tenor saxophonists of her time. In fact she wrote “Back Home” specifically for Rollins, she recalls: “He was one of the first reasons I started playing trio, because the freedom that you have within the music, the interaction, the opportunity you have to express yourself and communicate with the other musicians.”

As a child Aldana studied with her renowned saxophonist father Marcos Aldana (son of saxophonist Enrique Aldana, whose Selmer Mark VI tenor Melissa performs with to this day). She began on alto but after hearing the landmark Sonny Rollins + 4 she switched to tenor and never looked back. Other important influences she cites range from Don Byas, Gene Ammons and Lucky Thompson to Chris Potter and Mark Turner.

In 2007 Aldana moved to Boston to enroll at Berklee, coming under the mentorship of tenor great George Garzone. Pianist Danilo Pérez and saxophonist Patricia Zarate provided Aldana with crucial support and guidance as well. In 2009 she took the plunge to New York and began apprenticing with greats such as Greg Osby and George Coleman, among others. In 2013 she became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American ever to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. She is also a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize. In 2014 after two quartet releases for Osby’s Inner Circle label (Free Fall and Second Cycle), she turned her attention to the chordless trio, a jazz aesthetic Sonny Rollins did so much to pioneer. With Back Home she deepens her trio investigations while looking back on her roots, drawing as well from the original compositions of Menares and Rueckert.  (more…)

Iconic SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE® Bandleader Saxophonist LENNY PICKETT, (Tower of Power, David Bowie, David Byrne, Katy Perry) Releases Second Album of Storied 40+ Year Career, The Prescription, With Finnish UMO Jazz Orchestra Out June 10, 2014 on Random Act Records

Monday, May 12th, 2014

It’s remarkable that The Prescription marks only the second album as a leader for Lenny Pickett, the renowned tenor saxophonist and E-flat clarinetist who was a seminal horn-section member of the pop/funk band Tower of Power from 1972-1981, and has been a member of the Saturday Night Live band since 1985 and its musical director since 1995. A longtime session musician and arranger who has worked with a wide range of artists from David Bowie and Elton John to David Byrne and Katy Perry, Pickett’s singular instrumental voice is unmistakable. As arranger Rich Shemaria attests: “He’s worked with everyone and he’s an original. When you hear him playing on the radio, there’s no mistaking who this is.”

A 10-song collection of Pickett rowdy-to-waltzing originals, a robust rendition of the TOP hit, “What Is Hip,” and the whimsical Shemaria tune “A Sad State of Affairs,” The Prescription, released by the adventurous Random Act Recordslabel, is a superb collaboration with the Finnish 19-piece big band, UMO Jazz Orchestra. “This is a unique project that has artsy elements as well slow blues, uptempo swing, funk and eclectic music in the mix—it’s hard to categorize what this album is,” Pickett says. “But it’s got the spirit of all the musicians involved, and Rich is an extraordinary musical arranger.”


Saxophonist Steve Treseler Releases “Center Song”, A portrait of the Pacific Northwest Cultural Scene

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Center Song CoverSaxophonist Steve Treseler’s new release, Center Song, is a portrait of the Pacific Northwest cultural scene. Joined by B.C.-born, New York-based trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, Center Song reunites the rhythm section of Treseler’s 2008 album, Resonance — pianist Dawn Clement, guitarist Chris Spencer, bassists Jon Hamar (on double bass) and Dean Schmidt (electric) and drummer Steve Korn — with guests Dan Kramlich on piano and cellist Meg Risso.

Treseler grew up in the midst of Seattle’s grunge and alternative rock scene before moving to Boston to pursue his studies at New England Conservatory. It was at NEC where he was introduced to the music of pianist/composer Lennie Tristano and saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. “I was taken with the mix of the ‘cool’ aesthetic with more angular rhythms and melodies,” Treseler says. “Playing a Lee Konitz tune, instead of the standard on which it is based, sets up a different feel for the rhythm section.” The Tristano school of players and indie rock are two streams that continue from Resonance into Center Song. The non-Treseler tunes this time around are Konitz’s “Kary’s Trance” — Treseler uses a 1975 live recording as his basis here — and “Days Were Golden” by the Seattle rock group Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as the title track, a new composition by Ingrid Jensen.

The Steve Lehman Trio Announces First West Coast Tour

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Described as “one of the transforming figures of early 21st century jazz,” by The Guardian (UK) and as a “dazzling saxophonist,” by The New York Times, Steve Lehman will present three concerts on the West Coast, featuring his long-standing trio with Matt Brewer (Bass) and Damion Reid (Drum Set). The trio’s most recent recording, Dialect Fluorescent (Pi, 2012) was called one of the Top 10 recordings of 2012 by over thirty publications internationally, including Spin, The Denver Post, and the Village Voice/Rhapsody Critic’s Poll.

Featuring Matt Brewer (Bass) and Damion Reid (Drums)

US Tour Dates:

October 16 – Yoshi’s Jazz Club, San Francisco, CA
October 17 – Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA
October 18 – Earshot Jazz Festival, Seattle, WA

Miguel Zenon & The Rhythm Collective Announce Fall US Tour Dates

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Featuring Aldemar Valentin (bass), Joel Mateo (drums)
and Reinaldo de Jesus (percussion)

US Tour Dates:

September 15 – The Falcon, Marlboro, NY
September 17 & 18 – Jazz Standard, New York, NY
September 19-22 – Jazz Showcase, Chicago, IL
September 23 – The Blue Room, Kansas City, MO
September 25 – Regatta Bar, Boston, MA
September 26 – Kuumbwa, Santa Cruz, CA 

Press Quotes for OYE!!! Live in Puerto Rico

“It’s a delight to hear him employ those patented silvery tones” – John Murph, DownBeat

“Zenón alternately settles into and unsettles the tune, riding its signature groove and accents but also challenging them” – Larry Blumenfeld, ARTINFO

“Zenón’s alto flights are more unfettered than ever, at times suggesting an Ornette Coleman-like intensity, but they never stray outside the keys at hand.”
– Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express

“Jazz is an old medium, but that’s not stopping Miguel Zenón from bringing something new to it.” – KQED’s “The Do List”

“Zenón advances his own adaptations of traditional rhythmic forms, again proving himself one of the most distinctive artists on the scene.” – David Adler, New York City Jazz Record

“His horn dances with supreme style and brilliance as the grooves build and morph around him” – Dan Bilawsky,

“Zenón has the space to let his imagination run free and display his breathless energy and amazing technique on each improvisation.”
– Latin Jazz Network

“An Inspired, Aggressive, And Exciting Side Of Zenón”
– Chip Boaz, The Latin Jazz Corner

“Don’t even worry about the chance you won’t like it, because I’m sure you will.”
– Chris Robinson, Outside-Inside-Out

“A brilliant disc” – Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News


The OWL Trio with Will Vinson, Lage Lund & Orlando le Fleming Celebrate Their Losen Records Release August 18th at St Peter’s Church

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 10.29.43 AMFeaturing:
Will Vinson (Saxophonist)
Lage Lund (Guitar)

Orlando le Fleming (Bass)

The OWL Trio is a new chamber jazz ensemble borne of the 10-year musical relationship between bassist Orlando le Fleming, saxophonist Will Vinson and guitarist Lage Lund. Their debut, eponymous, CD was recorded in an abandoned church in Brooklyn by Jimmy Katz. This recording is characterized by its seamless juxtaposition of Jazz Standards and free improvisations, with complete attention to purity of sound.

Each of the musicians is highly accomplished and recognized in his own right. Jazz Times calls le Fleming “a deep-toned walker with an impeccable sense of time”, and the New York Times describes him as a “grounding force”. Vinson is “marvelous” and “drills a hole through the music, boxing like a sprightly Olympic welterweight” according to Jazz Times, and the Guardian describes him as “spectacular, adroit and sophisticated”. The New York Times lauds Lund’s “casual magnetism”, and the critic David Adler describes him as “burning down the house with one impossibly deft solo after another”. The group’s fi rst performance at the Rochester Jazz Festival was a hit according to the Rochester City Newspaper: “Lund’s gorgeous playing, Vinson’s sinuous sound, and le Fleming’s sturdy anchoring made for a dream-like sound in a perfect setting.”

St Peter’s Church is located at  619 Lexington Ave.

The OWL Trio will also be playing the Jazz Vespers service before the concert at5-6pm.

Mike McGinnis’ Road*Trip (RKM Music)

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013


The artwork to multi-reedist & composer Mike McGinnis’s Road*Trip project – the first project to relaunch RKM Music – is revealed here, exclusively on Check back tomorrow for our full blast and info on release dates, release shows around the NY area along with another McGinnis project to be released this Fall.

About Mike McGinnis:

Mike McGinnis places himself firmly within a strong tradition of anti-traditionalists. He can swing in the straight-ahead tradition or improvise on the furthest edge of the avant-garde, bringing the same deep commitment and personal vision to every musical situation. His open-minded and determinedly individual approach has led to work with jazz innovators like Anthony Braxton, Alice and Ravi Coltrane, Steve Coleman, and Lonnie Plaxico; Parliament/Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell; indie rock mainstays Yo La Tengo; the Afro-Baroque band Stew & The Negro Problem, authors of the Tony-winning musical Passing Strange; as soloist for the Tony-winning Broadway hit Fela!; and as co-leader of the inventive ensembles DDYGG and The Four Bags. The prolific McGinnis’ wide-ranging imagination comes stunningly to the fore on his latest releases, both of which feature extended compositions showcasing McGinnis’ skills as both composer and improviser.

NCM East Presents Father/Son Collaboration “Open Letter,” By Brian Drye & Howard Drye, Out July 16th

Friday, July 12th, 2013

The Father/Son Collaboration Weaves A Tidy Thread Through “Open Letter,”
Via NCM East, Out July 16th, 2013

Brooklyn-Based Trombonist Brian Drye Joins His Baritone Saxophonist Father Howard Drye
My son Brian, is the guiding force of this project. It is a gift to collaborate with him.
The student has become the teacher.
-Howard Drye from liner notes.

The enormous ampersand that dominates the album cover gives way, when opened, to a sparse line drawing of the two Dryes, facing each other, ostensibly deep in communication about the music. The collaborative efforts don’t start and end with the artwork; this double CD features ten original compositions, five by the elder Drye and five by the younger, each written to honor an influence from the composer’s musical journey.

The Dryes are joined by a bevy of top-flight musicians who provide the alchemy that turns this meeting of the minds and notes into something that is far greater than the sum of its tunes. In addition to the Dryes, “Open Letter” features Jeff Hermanson on trumpet and fluegelhorn, Mike McGinnis (Brian’s bandmate in the excellent chamber ensemble The Four Bags) on winds, Dan Fabricatore on bass, and Vinnie Sperrazza at the drum kit.


Miguel Zenón Releases Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico; Debut as Leader at Village Vanguard; Curates Four Nights at SFJazz

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Saxophonist/Composer, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Miguel Zenón
Releases ‘OYE!!! Live in Puerto Rico’
By Miguel Zenón & The Rhythm Collective
On Miel Music, Out May 28, 2013

OYE!!! Album Release Coincides With
Four-Night Residency at SF Jazz May 30 – June 2

ALMA ADENTRO: The Puerto Rican Songbook (May 31),
IDENTITIES: Tales From The Diaspora (June 1) &

Two Weeks Prior 
Two Weeks Prior, Zenón Celebrates 10 YEARS with His Quartet
with Luis Perdomo, Hans Glawischnig & Henry Cole

The life of a jazz musician is often about fusing life experiences, creative coalitions, new ideas about rhythm, content, flow and innovative musical languages. Saxophonist Miguel Zenón has long been occupied with finding common musical threads in the North American jazz tradition and the music of the African diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America, and his newest project, Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico, is his latest triumph in this quest. (more…)

Dan Tepfer & Ben Wendel Release “Small Constructions” on Sunnyside Records

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Keyboardist Dan Tepfer and multi-reed player Ben Wendel are lauded jazz artists who have made an album that goes beyond jazz, a set of songs without words that explores and celebrates multiplicity. Small Constructions – to be released by Sunnyside Records on March 12, 2013 – is a multi-tracked, multi-layered production featuring Tepfer and Wendel playing multiple instruments in multiple styles, extending from kaleidoscopic versions of Monk tunes to pieces based on Handel and Messiaen motifs, from a standard given an intimate, artful makeover to originals that underscore the duo’s melodic flair. Tepfer, a pianist who has ranged from solo improvisation to duets with sax icon Lee Konitz to variations on Bach, has been called a player of exceptional poise” by The New York Times, while Downbeat extolled his “ability to disappear into the music as he’s making it.” Wendel, a founding member of the Grammy-nominated jazz-rock band Kneebody, has also recorded rich, wide-ranging solo albums, with theLos Angeles Times praising him as “a composer with a restless ear.”

In his liner notes to the album, Tepfer writes: “We recorded Small Constructions over the course of a few days in the Yamaha artist space in Manhattan, with some of our favorite instruments close at hand: a beautiful piano, a Fender-Rhodes, three kinds of saxes, a bassoon and a melodica

Wendel explains the duo’s bond: “Dan and I have interesting similarities in our upbringings. We both grew up with opera-singing mothers, and we each started out studying classical music before we got into playing jazz. We have a shared aesthetic sensibility from this, extending from our choice of tunes to the way we improvise together, finishing each other’s sentences. I guess you could say that we’re kindred musical spirits.” (more…)

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