Saturday, January 20, 2018

Dan Siegel - Origins (DSM 2018)

A highly respected pianist and composer, Dan Siegel has 21 solo albums, and hundreds of other producing, arranging, composing and performing credits in his extensive recording career. Born in Seattle, Washington, and raised in Eugene, Oregon, Dan began piano lessons at age eight, and started performing professionally as lead singer and guitarist in a rock band at the age of 12. He holds a BS in Music Composition and a MM in Jazz Studies, and studied piano in Boston with the legendary Madam Chaloff.

After graduating from the University of Oregon, Dan began recording his own compositions with his band. In 1979 he was signed to Inner City Records, a New York based independent jazz label. His second album, The Hot Shot (1981), reached No.1 on the Radio & Records Jazz Chart and remained in Billboard’s Top 10 selling Jazz albums for 10 weeks. In 1983 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue film and television work as well as a more active recording career. Since then, he has traveled and performed around the world in support of his numerous Top 10 recordings, and maintains a global audience.

Over the years, Dan’s albums have provided an abundance of diverse material, from the electronic oriented Another Time, Another Place (1984), (with Patrick O’Hearn and Alex Acuna) which Keyboard Magazine called the best keyboard oriented fusion LP of the year, to the exotic world music direction of Hemispheres (1995), which features an ensemble of eclectic musicians including; Bela Fleck, Ottmar Liebert, Andy Narell, Osamu Kitajima, and Dori Caymmi, playing in unique and unlikely combinations. He has produced several other projects, one of which is the group Birds of a Feather, a gathering of world-renown musicians that has included Larry Carlton, Boney James and Ernie Watts. Dan is a frequent traveler to Asia and in 1995 went to Beijing, to record and produce China’s first jazz band, Tien Square.

Siegel’s work as a TV and film composer has included the score for the cult film, Reform School Girls (1986), and Universal Studios dramatic TV series, Hard Copy (1987). He has worked as musical director/ conductor on the late night CBS TV show, Overtime with Pat O’Brien (1990). Dan has played on numerous TV and film projects as a session player, including the Oscar winning film, The Usual Suspects. Siegel has recorded and performed with a variety of artists including: Glenn Frey (The Eagles), Chaka Khan, Berlin, Philip Bailey (Earth Wind & Fire), Kenny Rankin, Hugh Masekela, Joe Sample, Herbie Hancock and the London Symphony Orchestra.

01. Rite of Passage 05:00
02. When One Door Closes 03:43
03. After All 04:44
04. Lost and Found 03:50
05. Arabesque 05:13
06. Moon and Stars 04:56
07. Strange Sky 05:13
08. Under the Sun 04:51
09. Crossing 05:04
10. Origins 04:04

Allen Hinds: electric guitar
Ramon Stagnaro: acoustic guitar
Craig Fundyga: vibraphone
Rogerio Jardim: voice
Brian Bromberg: acoustic bass
Vinnie Colaiuta: drums
Lenny Castro: percussion

Phil Stewart: Introducing Phil Stewart - Melodius Drum (CELLAR LIVE February 9, 2018)

Too often, over the last twenty years or so, jazz has drifted from the rhythmic hipness of the blues-drenched, dance-inflected tenacity of its origins.

Regardless of ambitions toward artistic seriousness in multiple shapes and iterations, jazz began as good time fun entertainment is driven by propulsive allure. Its fundamental identity never strayed too far from an incisive swing.

No matter what name was hung on it, jazz was a music of surging uplift. Listen to Pops late-’20s sessions, Earl Hines, Bechet, Ellington, Lunceford, Basie and the astonishing depth of melodic brilliance and percussive joy that emerged when Monk and Diz, Bird and Roach revamped expressive possibilities. Bud Powell galvanized that revolution. It’s not a stretch to say that jazz gained full maturity in the era that explored tonal, metrical and harmonic options at Minton’s in the early ’40s.

This album introduces an astute percussionist in the line of Max Roach, Art Taylor, Philly Joe Jones and Louis Hayes . . . PHIL STEWART. This is his professional recorded debut, but anyone paying attention here locks into the explicit grooves delineated across this disc – sharp and beguiling, more seductive than admonitory – that carve understated trenches, each inviting welcome.

Stewart is the sort of leader who goads and teases, His beckoning rhythmic clarity shines an unobtrusive laser somewhere out beyond. That’s a good trick. Vernel Fournier made a career of such prescient stealth in his time with Ahmad Jamal. So did Jo Jones with Basie and Ed Thigpen with Oscar Peterson. Those with this album nearby probably know Phil’s brother Grant, one of the most lyrical, flat out joyful tenor saxophonists on the scene. I regard Grant as one of the three or four essential players on his instrument at present. On Bud Powell’s Dance of the Infidels, Grant takes the first sax solo. On George Coleman’s Apache, a revision of the classic blowing vehicle, Cherokee, Grant lets loose. His noir peek-a-boo swagger on Josh Benko’s The Sumo brings out a previously suppressed Charlie Rouse vibe from Grant’s willing

Monkishness. Gordon Jenkin’s chestnut, This Is All I Ask, reveals amor’s compelling amoroso. Joe Magnarelli’s trumpet virtuosity brings rare octane to the feel underway: a horn that carries its own message while, without derivation, invoking steadfast others . . . in this instance, Booker Little, Stu Williamson and Kenny Wheeler. Notice, too, Chris Byars’ sax along with Grant on Infidels and Apache. More to the point, Byars digs in with serious ferocity on his own tune. The Doctor Is In as well as on Sacha Perry’s jaunty recollection of Minton’s jam scene, Erratic. A final word about Phil Stewart’s inaugural album: Sadik Hakim’s long mis-attributed line, Eronel, recalls the impish flair and cheerful outlook of the era that brought Minton’s to the fore and, with it, bop’s intrepid self-confidence. Paul Sikive’s arch bass pulse drives this foxy supple ride.

Perhaps the subtle genii in this masterful convivium are the nimble brilliance of Sacha Perry’s effortless magnificence. This is not routine piano work . . . it demands careful witness. Play this album. Then punch up the concluding blues, Livin’ With Hobson, once more.

01 Manteca
02 Dance Of The Infidels
03 Far Sure
04 The Sumo
05 Erratic
06 This Is All I Ask
07 Apache
08 Eronel
09 The Doctor Is In
10 Livin With Hobson

Phil Stewart drums
Grant Stewart alto & tenor saxophone
Chris Byars tenor saxophone(tracks, 2, 5, 7, 9)
Joe Magnarelli trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 7)
Sascha Perry piano
Paul Sikivie bass

Recorded at Church Street School for Music and Art on July 2, 2017 by Paul Sikivie

Adam Shulman Sextet - Full Tilt (CELLAR LIVE 2018)

Adam Shulman has been a staple of the San Francisco Jazz scene since he moved to the city in 2002. Before the move, Adam was a student at UC Santa Cruz where he studied with the great pianist Smith Dobson and the trumpeter/arranger Ray Brown. He received his degree in classical performance under the tutelage of the Russian pianist Maria Ezerova.

In addition to leading his own groups, Adam can also be seen as a sideman with countless bay area musicians and vocalists such as John Wiitala, Vince Lateano, Kitty Margolis, Andrew Speight, Dayna Stephens, Erik Jekabson, Gary Brown, Patrick Wolff, Faye Carrol, Ian Cary, and Mike Zilber among many others.

Adam has played as a sideman with internationally renowned artists Stefon Harris, Willie Jones III, Miguel Zenon, Mark Murphy, Alan Harris, Luciana Souza, Paula West, Ratzo Harris, Larry Coryell, Sean Jones, Grant Stewart, Bobby Hutcherson and with the Glen Miller Orchestra.

Mike Olmos trumpet
Lyle Link alto saxophone
Patrick Wolff tenor saxophone
John Witala bass
Evan Hughes drums

1. Fantasy in Db 7:36
2. Lonesome Dream 6:13
3. The Conquerer 9:12
4. San Francisco National Cemetery 9:28
5. Yeah...So 5:24
6. 4th Street Strut 8:44
7. Full Tilt 5:43
8. The Night We Called It a Day 6:18
9. Mr. Timmons 8:33

Friday, January 19, 2018

Reedie Williams - Jazz Experiment (CONNECTION RECORDS 2018)

If the rest of R&B/jazz vocalist Reedie Williams’ upcoming debut JAZZ EXPERIMENT is as powerful and compelling as her two-track preview double single, she will be one of the great new artists to watch in 2018! Drawing on a background that includes gospel, jazz and Brazilian pop fusion, the singer – who once placed 2nd in Natalie Cole’s syndicated talent competition BIG BREAK – starts her songs by sharing the dreamier subtleties of her voice before sharing her expansive vocal and emotional range. Reedie’s JAZZ EXPERIMENT is a success!

Verneri Pohjola & Mika Kallio - Animal Image (EDITION RECORDS February 23, 2018)

Finnish Jazz trumpeter Verneri Pohjola and percussionist Mika Kallio combine to create an original soundtrack to the extraordinary, poetic, documentary film Animal Image.

Animal Image is a soundtrack album to a poetic documentary about the infinite relationship between man and animal. Edited to an improvised score by Finnish trumpet Verneri Pohjola and percussionist Mika Kallio, the film illustrates the emotional bond between man and animal beyond the boundaries of written language or fictional storylines.

The movie depicts nature-photographer and writer Heikki Willamo’s journey to the landscape of the post ice-age northern wilderness to explore man’s ancient relationship to his prey and Willamo’s personal encounters with the inhabitants of the northern woods. Man, bear, sky and fire: the Finnish forest is a place like nowhere else, a place of dreams and the imagination, an ancient place where its denizens live in the shadows.

Becoming an animal by Perttu Saksa

Animal Image is a poetic documentary film built around original music by Verneri Pohjola and Mika Kallio. The movie depicts an imagined view of man’s ancient relationship with animals. The music accompanies you, creating an emotional language between man and animal – unconstrained by the boundaries of written communication or fictional anthropomorphic narratives.

The music is an invitation towards becoming an animal. To unthink identity and subjectivity. Listen. Free from definition, from body to flesh, where the one is a figure of unity and strength, while the other is in an interminable manifestation of disarticulation, a condition of freedom for animals or whatever it is we are.

Becoming an animal is where the human and the animal enter into a functional alliance. Musical improvisation is dialogue without speech, built around the similar framework – including rules and forms – we use in spoken conversation or social structures. Listen.  Lose the language. Listen and feel. Then imagine a language. Imagine a form of life. Perttu Saksa

Animal Image by Verneri Pohjola

Perttu Saksa is a finnish visual artist and a photographer, who contacted me a couple of years ago about his film project, which was to become an artistic documentary, an experimental wildlife film titled ‘Animal Image’. He wanted to know if I’d be interested to record some music for his project, that he had been working alone for the past 3-4 years. I was so busy with other stuff at the time, that I almost declined, but decided fortunately to meet him despite my lack of time. I wanted to see what he wanted to show me.

When I saw the breathtakingly expressive footage for the first time, I immediately recognized this as something too inspiring to retract myself from. And as the project developed I realized, that probably no other project or person has ever treated my music with such a respect and vision. It was lifted up to the next level.

I’m incredibly proud of this project and I hope that you, the listener, take Perttu’s advice and surrender yourself to the world of becoming (an image of) an animal through this music.


The documentary is produced by Mouka Films. Founded in 2006 Mouka Films productions share a warm human touch, unique artistic vision and excellent quality. Mouka Filmi produces award winning documentary films for television and cinema audiences in Finland and internationally.

Perttu Saksa (b. 1977) is a visual artist based in Helsinki, Finland. Perttu’s photography and video works have been exhibited in various galleries and museums around Europe, including Stadtgalerie Kiel, Felleshus Berlin and Finnish Museum of Photography and Helsinki City Art Museum. His works can also be found in various public collections.

Animal Image (2017)
16:9, Full HD, 28min, BW, 5.1 Sound
Film by Perttu Saksa
Music by: Verneri Pohjola and Mika Kallio

CD Track-listing
1. Where Do You Feel at Home 7.08
2. Outside 8.07
3. Foxplay 4.28
4. Man, Animal Image 7.49
5. Goshawk’s Dream 4.03
6. Animal Image 7.00

LP Track-listing
Side A:
1. Where Do You Feel at Home 7.08
2. Outside 8.07
3. Foxplay 4.28

Side B:
4. Man, Animal Image 7.49
5. Goshawk’s Dream 4.03
6. Animal Image 7.00


03 March 2018 – Tampere, Finland
03 March 2018 – Validi Karkia klubi Pori, Finland
06 March 2018 – Taidetalo Loimaa, Finland
07 March 2018 – Wille Äänekoski, Finland
08 March 2018 – Kinokulma Oulainen, Finland
09 March 2018 – Ravintola Alma Seinäjoki, Finland
10 March 2018 – Logomo, Teatterisali Turku, Finland
11 March 2018 – Nordens Institut på Åland Mariehamn, Finland
13 March 2018 – Turun Seudun Musiikkiopisto Turku, Finland
16 March 2018 – Kuopio, Finland
17 March 2018 – Pakkahuone Joensuu, Finland
18 March 2018 – Pato Klubi Kuusankoski, Finland
20 March 2018 – Malmitalo Helsinki, Finland


Produced by Perttu Saksa and Verneri Pohjola
Recorded at Finnvox Studios by Risto Hemmi
Mixed by Mikko Raita at Studio Kekkonen

Verneri Pohjola plays Van Laar Trumpets and Wedge Mouthpieces

Mika Kallio plays PAISTE Cymbals, Sounds & Gongs.

Verneri and Mika would like to thank:

Perttu Saksa, Risto Hemmi, Mikko Raita, Dave Stapleton, Mouka Filmi, MES, TAIKE, Custom Boards, families in Helsinki and Kuusankoski

Photography by Perttu Saksa


Minneapolis based saxophonist was named the hippest jazz cat by Minneapolis/St.Paul Magazine back in 2007 for a reason. His energetic and passionate performances, innovative blend of genres, explosive sound, one-of-a-kind pink inspired brand/style and zest for life truly earns him this title. Danny has carefully crafted and mastered a combination of Prince, The Minneapolis sound and David Sanborn into a truly unique sound that is instantly recognizable. His truly remarkable career has has earned him 2 Los Angeles music awards, multiple Minnesota Music Award nominations, a cover story on The Jazz In M.E.E. January 2016 issue, 3 solo albums and multiple top 10 charting songs.

After being a side man for many years, Danny decided to step front and center in 2014 launching his second solo album SEXY.FUNK VELVET.JAZZ. In 2016, he released Eruption which earned him 3 radio singles and a Top 10 hit song entitled Reanimation. This album featured jazz legends such as Jeff Lorber, Will Donato and Nils. In the fall of 2016, Danny signed with California based record label Innervision Records and released his first single off the label “Can’t Stop the Groove,” which was a top 10 GrooveJazz chart single and was also picked up by Sirius XM and MusicChoice radio. The song was produced and co-written by Grammy® nominated producer and saxophonist Darren Rahn.

His impressive resume has put him on stage with some of the biggest names in Jazz and beyond: Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Joey DeFrancesco, Althea Renee, Adam Hawley, Eric Leeds, Will Donato, N’Dambi, Anthony David, Phil Denny, DW3, Selina Albright, Nils, Lindsey Webster and Bobbly Lyle. Danny has also opened for Morris Day & The Time, Stanley Jordan, Harvey Mason and has headlined multiple festivals and clubs such as The Dakota Jazz Club, The Soiled Dove, Bethesda Jazz Club, Gallery Suite Jazz Series, Catalina Jazz Club, Spaghettini’s, The Jazz Legacy Foundation, The Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Burnsville Jazz Festival, Selby Jazz Festival, Jazz 88.5 Winter Jazz Festival and The Little Apple Jazz Festival.

Danny is a rising star and has quickly captured the attention of fans, promoters and media in the entire contemporary jazz market. said, “Shall we just call 2017 the year of Danny Kusz? Quite possibly. This cat has been bubbling just under the mainstream and seems to be ready to explode.” And says “Danny is rejuvenating smooth jazz.” Danny is doing just that. Many artists and industry professionals have also called him the next generation David Sanborn. With Danny’s talent, confidence and business acumen, he is surely to be smooth jazz’ next star.

Kaze - Atody Man (CIRCUM-LIBRA RECORDS February 23, 2018)

On Atody Man, Kaze, the cooperative quartet featuring Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, French trumpeter Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins, continues one of the most captivating ongoing musical conversations in jazz. As they enter their eighth year together, they find themselves enjoying a group rapport that few other bands share. Using minimal yet distinctive compositional frameworks from each band member, they engage in deep musical exchanges full of surprise and wit. It’s almost as if they were talking to one another without words.

“Yes, we do talk in music,” Fujii says of the quartet. “Natsuki and I cannot speak French and Peter and Christian don’t speak Japanese, but we can talk in music. This always amazes me!”

“The compositions have always been an excuse for the improvisation,” says drummer Orins. “We are very different in the way we write music, but I think that we compose to create a place to communicate with each other.”

Their musical communication is rich with a huge vocabulary of sounds and historical and stylistic references, all freely called upon and used in stunning dialogues among master musicians. For instance, the trumpeters playfully spar to comic effect on Fujii’s “Moving” but begin Orins’s “Hypnotique Sympathie” with carefully controlled and modulated long tones that establish a somber ritualistic atmosphere. (Pruvost is heard on the right, Tamura on the left throughout the album.) Fujii is equally mercurial, waxing Chopinesque toward the end of “Hypnotique Sympathie,” then playing spare, lyrical lines on “Inspiration 2,” and rhythmically engaged in a percussive duet with Orins on “Moving.” Orins is a constant source of surprise and inspiration throughout, orchestrating textures, prodding and driving, or adding sparse rhythms as the interplay among his bandmates requires. On this album, they have broadened the music with more use of space and silence than on previous discs.

The collective improvisations display some of the deepest communication among the quartet on the album. They seem to finish each other’s thought’s on “Meta-Blizzard,” in a richly textured four-way conversation that veers from abstract sound to melodic phrases and from languid tempo to high energy with graceful ease. The quiet “Atody Man” (Malagasy for “egg man”) features a hushed but intense conversation among all four players. The concentrated listening, familiarity bred of several years of working together, and the seamless use of both conventional and extended techniques give all of Kaze’s music an exhilarating sense of freedom.

Over the course of three previous quartet releases, plus June (HeliX 2017), an album by an extended sextet version called Trouble Kaze, and a guest appearance with Fujii’s Orchestra Tokyo’s Peace (Libra 2016), Kaze continues to amaze listeners with evolving and emotionally deeper music. “I think we all feel more and more free the longer we play together,” says Orins, “We always push our own limits, and play more and more in the present.”

“I have to say, I have so much fun playing compositions by Peter, Christian, and Natsuki, which are totally different from mine,” says Fujii. “This group inspires me so much.”

“Atody Man” will be released by French label Circum-Disc on February 23rd 2018.

1. Hypnotique Sympathie
2. Moving
3. Méta-Blizzard
4. Morning Glow
5. Inspiration 2
6. Atody Man

Satoko Fujii : piano
Natsuki Tamura : trumpet
Christian Pruvost : trumpet
Peter Orins : drums

Composition : Satoko Fujii

Brian Lenair: Underground Vol. 3 - The Cover Story (2018)

"Music is not just my vocation, it is my passion and it is my calling. No matter how intimate or large the settings, I always play with the same energy," says jazz saxophonist extraordinaire, Brian Lenair.

For nearly 30 years, national recording artist, Brian Lenair has built a reputation for jazz enthusiasts both domestically and internationally. Brian started his solo career in 2004, after being the serenading saxophonist and front man for Washington-based group, Spur of the Moment. While with Spur, he astounded audiences with a unique style and mixture of jazz and R&B for over 15 years. During that time, the group recorded two well-received CD projects, with Brian prominently featuring his talents as a musician, producer and composer.

Brian has independently produced five CD projects. He will release his long-awaited sixth project November 2017, entitled “Underground, Volume 3: The Cover Story”. The project features a collection of some of the greatest chart topping cover songs. The audacity of sound that Brian uses to convey Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” will amaze listeners. This project also features a lovely melody that he wrote and composed after the birth of his only daughter, entitled, “A Father’s Love”. He also covers one of the hottest artist in 2017, Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” and his rendition will be just what you like. Then he has incorporated some DC hometown flavor as he pays homage with a co-written and co-produced track entitled, “Funky Dougout”. Brian has not missed a beat since his last project in 2010, when he stepped center-stage with “Eye of the Storm”. That project charted number 14 on Billboard, which was relatively unheard of for an independently produced project.

Brian has an undoubted flair for contemporary jazz, gospel, R & B, blues and funk. You will totally appreciate the groove and celebrate musicianship when you hear him on this new project. He has played with some of the greatest recording artists and musicians of our time. Brian is a nationally endorsed saxophonist with Sax Dakota.

01. Get Your Groove On
02. That's What I Like
03. Let's Chill
04. Hello
05. Southstreet
06. Before I Let You Go
07. A Father's Love
08. Uptown Funk
09. Stay with Me
10. Redbone
11. Funky Dougout

Philippe Mall - Hydra (UNIT RECORDS 2018)

Philippe Mall's "Hydra" presents itself in a new, high-profile cast, almost all of the members come from the Basel area. They play only originals by Philippe Mall. The sound gives all four elements plenty of room to unfold their own voice. The vibraphone. in its dual function as a solo and accompaniment instrument plays a very special role. Sometimes earthy jazz comes about, then again there is a lot of room for harmonious, even esoteric sounds. All this mixes into a homogenous body of sound that makes the band unique. The five instruments act like the heads of the Hydra. Sometimes one is missing and already this creates a new structure. A change of sound and dynamics.

1 Saloum
2 Bali
3 Nice Place
4 Obolus
5 For the One You Love
6 Le je n'est pas le moi
7 Miniature
8 The Long Way Out
9 Weit Weit Weg
10 Nordlicht
11 Quintana

All compositions by Philippe Mall
Recorded and edited by Temp- music 2015
Mixed and mastering by Benjamin Gut/ idee & klang

Nathan Ott Quartet - The Cloud Divers (UNIT RECORDS 2018)

The Nathan Ott 4tet, founded in 2014 by the Hamburg-based drummer and composer Nathan Ott, is inspired by the idea of mixing generations of jazz musicians in a remarkable constellation of artists. Most prominently it features the U.S. American- Saxophonist Dave Liebman, whose distinct way of playing in a pianoless quartet-setting melts with the haunting tone of Sebastian Gille (Hamburger Jazzpreis 2015) into an unmistakable texture of sound. David Liebman is considered a renaissance man in contemporary music, with a career stretching nearly fifty years. He has played with many of the great masters of the genre, including Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, McCoy Tyner and others. Together with Cologne-based and in-demand bass player Robert Landfermann (John Scofield, Pablo Held), one of the driving forces of the European avantgarde jazz / improvised music scene, the band met first in 2014 playing Ott’s very personal compositions. The premiere was a big success and led to a two-day recording session in Berlin, which is going to be released on Nathan Ott’s Debut Record in 2017.

All compositions by Nathan Ott except „Fancy Free“ by Donald Byrd (Elgy Music, BMI) and Frank Foster (Swing that Music, Inc., ASCAP) and „Nebula“by Dave Liebman (Liebstone Music-BMI)
Recorded March 2016 at p4 Studios Berlin
Engineer: Oliver Bergner
Mixed by Oliver Bergner
Mastered by Chris von Rautenkranz
Cover Photography: Kuki Walsch
Liner Photos: Kai Ehlers
Design: Hartmut Sawatzky
Produced by Nathan Ott