viernes, 24 de abril de 2015

Cannonball Adderley - Big Man The Legend of John Henry 1975 (Remastered 2015)

Big Man: The Legend of John Henry is the final album the 46-year-old Cannonball Adderley completed before his death from a stroke in 1975. It is also his most ambitious musical project, and given his catalog — Soul Zodiac, Soul of the Bible, etc. — that’s saying something. This “folk musical” was composed by the great altoist with his brother Nat; the libretto was written by Diane Lampert and Peter Farrow. The Adderleys employed a full jazz orchestra, chorus, strings, a rhythm section, and singing actors — including Robert Guillaume.

The story uses the American folk myth of the 98-foot-tall man who took on the machine and beat it, but couldn’t stop it and won by losing. He is resurrected here as a metaphorical African-American Jesus. The legend is told symbolically rather than literally, refracted through the lens of the Civil Rights struggle, of which the Adderleys were a vocal part. The lead role is played and sung with soulful aplomb by the great Joe Williams. This date also marks the recorded debut of vocalist Randy Crawford (who was a mere 21 at the time) as Carolina. 

The jazz band features Cannonball’s quintet — including George Duke, under the pseudonym Dawilli Gonga — and the album was produced by David Axelrod. The orchestra contains many heavy hitters including Don Menza, Oscar Brashear, and George Bohannon.

The music weds Cannonball’s love of jazz, soul, and funk together with his and Nat’s large-group harmonic ideas, and their love of folk songs, Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms, blues, and gospel. For jazz fans in 1975, it sounded like a mess — it is not a jazz record per se, but a work of musical theater that employs it to serve an end. “Poundin'” has a righteous electric bassline by Carol Kaye and Rhodes piano grooves by Duke, and the strings and horns buoy Williams, who walks the line between militant soul and new school gospel. (The track was sampled by Dr. Dre for “Bar One” on Chronic 2001). “Anybody Need a Big Man,” with its collision of squalling percussion (Airto Moreira), crackling Rhodes, strolling bass, strings, and Williams’ lead vocal, cruises atop samba and funk grooves. Crawford imbues “Jesus Where Are You Now” with spacy, sophisticated soul; it is timeless in its poignant beauty. Fans of Cannonball’s alto playing may be disappointed because his horn doesn’t make an appearance until the final quarter of the recording, and then only briefly. But his soloing isn’t the point of this in-your-face-and-heart meld of musical and metaphorical ideas. To that end, Big Man: The Legend of John Henry works.

The unfettered ambition on offer here was wasted on a conservative ’70s jazz audience. In the 21st century, this work is a revelation — even if its execution is sometimes flawed by an unwillingness to edit — and an essential part of the Adderley brothers’ legacy.

Remastered by Joe Tarantino

01. Overture
02. Anybody Need a Big Man
03. Who Bend the Rainbow
04.Forty More Miles To Go / Rouster's Chant
05. Ten Mile of Mountain / Recitative: Who Up in Heaven
06. Dialogue (Carolina)
07. Gonna Give Lovin' A Try
08. The Broomstick Song
09. Next Year in Jerusalem
10. Dialogue (Carolina, John Henry)
11. Stayin' Place (Intro)
12. Stayin' Place
13. Dialogue (Carolina)
14. A New Star Risin'
15. The Steamdrill Race (Intro)
16. Anybody Need a Big Man
17. Grind Your Own Coffee
18. Anybody Need a Big Man / Dialogue (Deputy)
19. Hundred An' One Year M'Ria
20. River
21. A New Star Risin'
22. Dialogue (Carolina & Jassawa)
23. Hundred An' One Year / M'Ria
24. Recitative: Born Black
25. Dialogue (Jassawa)
26. Poundin'
27. Dialogue (John Henry & Bull Maree)
28. The Steamdrill Race
29. We Saved / Dialogue (Carolina)
30. Jesus Where You Now?
31. If I Was Jehovah
32. On His Bones (Finale)

Edgar Lustgarten: Strings
Airto Moreira: Percussion
Jimmy Jones: Piano
Randy Crawford: Voice Actor
King Errisson: Percussion
Nat Adderley: Producer
Walter Booker: Bass
Joe Williams: Voice Actor
David Axelrod: Producer
Carol Kaye: Bass
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley: Alto Saxophone, Producer
Charles May: Chorus
Robert Guillaume: Voice Actor
Joe Tarantino: Remastering
Phil Carroll: Art Direction
Dick Hyde: Trombone
George Bohanon: Trombone
Oscar Brashear: Trumpet
Pamela Goldsmith: Strings
Stephanie Spruill: Chorus
William Green: Reeds
Billie Barnum: Chorus
Gareth "Garry" Nuttycombe: Strings
Jackie Kelso: Reeds
Alexander Neiman: Strings
Allen DeRienzo: Trumpet
Bernard Kundell: Strings
Billy Fender: Guitar
Don Peake: Guitar
Henry Roth: Strings
Jack Shulman: Strings
Jay Migliori: Reeds
Jerome Reisler: Strings
Jessie Richardson: Chorus
Mortonette Jenkins: Chorus
William Henderson: Strings
Bruce Talamon: Photography
Fleming Williams: Chorus
Jim Stern: Engineer
William Hymanson: Strings
Dawilli Gonga: Keyboards
Alfred Lustgarten: Strings
Sherwood Sledge: Chorus
Kathleen Lustgarter: Strings
Lane Smith: Voice Actor
Roy McCurdy: Drums
Oliver E. "Ollie" Mitchell: Trumpet
Donald Dandridge: Chorus
Mary Newkirk: Strings
Diane Lampert: Liner Notes
Donald Menza: Reeds
Gwendolyn Owens: Chorus
Vernettya Royster: Chorus
David Turner: Mastering
Josef Powell: Chorus
Tony Lane: Photography
Arthur H. Brown: Strings
Michael Gray: Chorus
David Lance Goines: Design, Original Cover Artwork
Bill Kopp: Reissue Liner Notes


Ivo Perelman - Book of Sound (2015)

The mighty tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman leads a team of frequent collaborators and superior craftsmen, pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker. Drawing on past endeavors in various settings, the trio's remarkably intuitive powers are inherent throughout. With movements that are the cogs in the wheel of instantaneous forays in composition, they navigate through broad vistas amid customary mimicking and contrapuntal maneuvers. 

Moreover, Perelman keenly incorporates bluesy interludes, heightened by his plaintive cries, and when he mirrors human voice characteristics as a storytelling mechanism. But the group's multifarious inventions transmit a sense of elasticity, often intertwined with firmly rooted structural components via micro-motifs that synthesize into a given piece. 

The final and lengthiest track "Veritas Vos Liberabit," teems with intersecting motifs, concise phrasings and playful digressions. The artists' telepathic interplay is locked in tenth gear. Perelman even tosses in some husky barrelhouse phrasings, reminiscent of tenor sax pioneer Coleman Hawkins, although the primary impetus is securely latched in the avant-garde spectrum. At times, the trio revs the engine and cycles through numerous pulses. Shipp's rolling chord patterns and complementing mosaics add a wavering flow in spots. 

Yet Parker's somber arco-bass lines generate notions of lament as the band switches gears, featuring the bassist's duo breakout with Perelman. They slowly raise the intensity, where the saxophonist bores through these choruses with upper-register bravado, segueing to closeout. Hence, another milestone in Perelman's already extensive discography.

Ivo Perelman: tenor sax
Matthew Shipp: piano
William Parker: bass

01 Damnant Quod Non Intelligunt
02 Candor Dat Viribus Alas
03 De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
04 Adsummum
05 Adde Parvum Parvo Magnus Acervus Erit
06 Veritas Vos Liberabit

John O'Gallagher Trio - The Honeycomb (2015)

Label: Fresh Sound New Talent
Source: Allaboutjazz
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

What if jazz was rock-and-roll? Not the corporate-halftime show-American Idol rock, but the dangerous music your parents (maybe grandparents) were afraid of. Remember, there was a time when jazz was threatening. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie startled listeners with their revolutionary 'bebop,' before Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler caused fist fights and mini-riots. Jazz has since been tamed and put on display in Lincoln Center, safe for listeners to consume unscathed.

Be warned, there still are some wild men on the loose, creating seditious music. Exhibit one: alto saxophonist John O'Gallagher. Like his brethren Steve Coleman and Rudresh Mahanthappa, O'Gallagher's music peels back the nice, to deliver pure unembellished jazz. The Honeycomb follows The Anton Webern Project (Whirlwind Recordings, 2013), a sextet recording with vocals that utilized the Austrian composer and conductor's music.

With The Honeycomb, he pares down his approach to a simple trio. O'Gallagher has previously released three trio discs, Dirty Hands (Clean Feed, 2009) and two on the CIMP label, with different bands. This lineup with bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer Mark Ferber, powers-up for some muscular and energetic interactions.

The disc opens with "Uroboros," stilted rawbone composition that lurches angular sounds over an intricate form. The music mixes pugnaciousness with an infectious groove applies by Weidenmueller and Ferber. O'Gallagher reconfigures Charlie Parker's "Relaxin' At Camarillo" into the anagram-titled "Extralogical Railman." The Parker composition gets scrambled as it is tele-transported through time, but the saxophonist pieces the DNA strands back together, making a recognizable yet new animal. The trio has a special chemistry here, it maneuvers a sly a serrated edge on "Eve Day" never overindulging, nor derailing. This is edgy music, played with a dangerous touch.  - Mark Corroto -

01. Uroboros 6:39
02. Extralogical Railman 6:36
03. Petulant Snoot 8:38
04. The Honeycomb 4:41
05. Go Where You Are Watching 6:02
06. Eve Day 7:13
07. Kerberos 8:14
08. Turducken 4:28

John O'Gallagher (alto sax)
Johannes Weidenmueller (bass)
Ferber (drums)

"Master your instrument, master the music 

& then forget all that & just play."


 - Charlie Parker -


miércoles, 22 de abril de 2015

Alexander Hawkins Trio - Alexander Hawkins Trio (2015)

Oxford, UK native Alexander Hawkins continues to chart a course that will inevitably place him in the creative category of pianist/composers of the caliber of Cecil Taylor and Andrew Hill. It is simply a matter of time before this is a young artist—who has an abundance of time—along with a distinctive, broad and progressive vision, comes to wider attention. In his relatively brief career to date, Hawkins has worked as a leader in nonet, ensemble, quartet and solo formats, now adding what seems like the inescapable trio configuration to his portfolio with this namesake release. Alexander Hawkins Trio features a rhythm section that includes bassist Neil Charles who has worked with drummer Jack DeJohnette, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and the Mingus Big Band. Rounding out the group (a working trio since 2012), is drummer Tom Skinner has worked with Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke, known as the father of Ethio-jazz. The trio members are also part of Hawkins' larger ensemble.

Hawkins has worked with free jazz sax legend Evan Parker, saxophonist Joe McPhee and the prominent South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo. He is also a co-leader of the Convergence Quartet featuring cornet virtuoso Taylor Ho Bynum, drummer Harris Eisenstadt, and double bassist Dominic Lash. As a leader, Hawkins has demonstrated an extraordinary range of compositional skills across disparate formats. Recording for the cutting-edge Babel label, he released an ensemble effort Step Wide, Step Deep and the solo collection Song Singular both in 2013. As different as those two settings were, Hawkins did a similarly masterful job of disrupting the interpretations of composition and free improvisation to produce an organic sound.

Hawkins is a jazz piano scholar, whose proclivity for the complex doesn't preclude a deep appreciation for the standard-bearers of the art of the trio. But Hawkins vision is occupied by a shape-shifting musical architecture that moves back and forth from dense structures to spare, often changing at lightning fast speed. Skinner is superbly adept at managing and guiding the frenetic pace without sacrificing his own influence. For his part, Charles incorporates elements from a wide range of stimuli and tempers those dissimilar ideas with his own concepts while supporting Hawkins.

Five of the eight tracks are adapted from commissioned works by the BBC and the EFG London Jazz Festival. "Sweet Duke" owes some of its underlying melody to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" but before the tune takes hold, Skinner's infectious beat becomes the point of focus. Hawkins' rapid-fire attack on "Song Singular"—a piece that does not appear on Hawkins' solo collection of the same name—is a stellar display of his imposing technique and innovative concepts. Similarly, "Perhaps 5 or 6 Different Colours" shifts frequently and dramatically starting with a shuffling pace then becoming sparse as Hawkins gradually cascades his way to an absolutely frenetic pace. There are slower paced and somewhat blues-influenced pieces on Alexander Hawkins Trio, particularly "40HB (for Taylor Ho Bynum)" and "AHRA," though these as well are packed with contorted phrases and atypical constructs.

Hawkins is a unique presence in music; not bound by conventional thinking or the typical forces that guide trio playing. He looks through the music to a place that is, frankly, unfathomable to many musicians and listeners but—as a still relatively new voice—everything Hawkins has done as a leader to date, has been a strong and independent statement. Alexander Hawkins Trio continues on the path that will, in time, generate greater recognition for Hawkins.

Alexander Hawkins: piano
Neil Charles: double bass
Tom Skinner: drums, percussion

1. Sweet Duke
2. Song Singular – Owl (friendly) – Canon
3. One Tree Found
4. Perhaps 5 or 6 Different Colours
5. 40HB (for Taylor Ho Bynum)
7. Baobabs + SGrA
8. Blue Notes for a Blue Note (Joy To You)

Manuel Valera Trio - Live At Firehouse 12 (2015)

Label: Mavo Records
Source: Allaboutjazz
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Cuban pianist Manuel Valera readily extends the jazz language of his predecessors Bebo and Chucho Valdes. He is comfortable leading all band formats from septets (In Motion (Criss Cross, 2014) to solo performance (Self Portrait (Self Produced, 2014). Valera may presently be found fronting an exceptional trio performing Live at Firehouse 12.

Orchestral or symphonic best describes Valera's pianism. His command of the complete keyboard; his ability to effect emotive arrangements with cogent beginnings, middles, and ends; and his sensitive composing announce him as a bright and authoritative presence in jazz: not just Latin jazz but in all jazz. His choice of playing partners in bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer EJ Strickland cements this image into vivid reality.

In six originals and two "standards," Valera lays out his entire musical vision: on of precision and accuracy, thoughtfulness and grace. His flair for the dramatic is evidenced in the opening original, "Spiral, where Valera evolves from an impressionistic reverie to a single note propulsion of power and momentum pushed even further by the driving drumming of Strickland. Valera is all melody, block chords, filling in every aural space available to him.

Glawischnig is hard middle on the beat, keeping things crisp and moving along. The lengthy piece features Valera's most far- reaching solo in the recital. He begins quietly, probing the piece's harmonic soft spots frequently accented by Strickland's precise stimulation. Glawischnig is given ample solo space that is brought back into orchestra with Valera's relentless left hand making "Spiral" a completed drama.

The two standards are outstanding. Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" provides Valera the melodic inspiration to find higher intervals of harmony while he investigates the ticklish portions of the piece. Valera draws every bit of pathos from the piece. His real triumph on the recording is his treatment of the "Intermezzo Sinfonico" from Mascagni's opera Cavalleria Rusticana. So perfect does the trio interact empathically that one wishes the playing go on and on.- C. Michael Bailey -

 En Route
Intermesso Sinfonico from Cavalleria Rusticana

Manuel Valera: piano
Hans Glawischnig: bass
EJ Strickland: drums

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -

Hugo Fernandez - Cosmogram (2015)

Of all the instruments in a group or orchestra, none has a broader or more variable sonic profile than the guitar. When it is played properly, with earnestness and sincerity, a guitar can move the listener to tears; when it is used, however, is to elicit sounds that are best described as disquieting and cacophonous, that is another matter entirely. Luckily, Mexican-born guitarist Hugo Fernandez treats the instrument with respect, showing its warmer and more pleasurable side on Cosmogram, a genial quartet date on which he shares the melodic lines with Cuban-bred saxophonist Ariel Bringuez.

Fernandez, who now lives in Madrid, Spain, after having studied at the Berklee School of Music and the University of New Orleans, composed each of the album's eight selections, and they are by and large likeable if otherwise unremarkable, the Latin influence ever-present but rarely conspicuous. Their underlying charm is amplified by Fernandez' smooth-flowing solos, Bringuez' assiduous work on tenor or soprano saxophone, and the group's world-class rhythm section: Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel and Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez who wrote the score for this year's Academy Award-winning film, Birdman. 

For a preview of what Fernandez and his colleagues have to offer, one need go no further than the cordial opener, "Reconciliacion," whose moderate tempo and emphatic rhythms provide a template for what is to follow. Bringuez plays tenor on "Reconciliacion," moves to soprano on the slow-moving "Metro" and shuffling "Sublime," and basically alternates thereafter. Fernandez adopts a more metallic stance on "Sublime," as he does later on "Bakio." The other numbers, each one engaging in its own way, are "Grounds," "Auras," "Un-Balanced" and "Yap."

Everyone is technically sound, while the music, contemporary in spirit yet traditional in form, glides evenly along without causing undue concern. Neither, on the other hand, is it likely to quicken one's pulse to the point of unease. It's simply tasteful music, quite well-played by Fernandez' able quartet. If you are partial to guitar, Cosmogram should present ample grounds for approval.


1. Reconciliation
2. Metro
3. Sublime
4. Grounds
5. Auras
6. Un-Balanced
7. Bakio
8. Yap

martes, 21 de abril de 2015

Ben Williams - Coming of Age (2015)

Source: nytimes

Ben Williams has a dark, righteous sound on an upright bass, and an almost liquid mobility through the fullness of his range. That much was established when he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2009, at 24. 

His development since then has had more to do with composition, leadership and artistic vision. And while an album shouldn’t necessarily function as a progress report, Mr. Williams knew what he was doing when he named his new one “Coming of Age.”

It’s his second release as a solo artist. His first, “State of Art,” arrived in 2011, an admirable but slightly overdetermined declaration of intent. Over the last few years he has recorded and toured with the guitarist Pat Metheny, a role model of consuming focus. And Mr. Williams has pushed toward a more natural, less insistent strain of jazz modernity, in his writing and in the metabolism of his own group, Sound Effect.

“Coming of Age” is a sturdy showcase for that band, with Marcus Strickland on tenor and soprano saxophones, Matthew Stevens on electric guitar, Christian Sands on piano and John Davis on drums. (The same crew, with a few additions, will appear with him on Thursday at the Cutting Room.)

Mr. Williams, who produced the album with Chris Dunn, frames its stylistic breadth within a larger unity of sound. Still, his compositions range from postbop wind sprints (“Forecast”) to the go-go of his native Washington. (“Half Steppin’ ”). A cinematic ballad titled “The Color of My Dreams” becomes a concerto of sorts for the vibraphonist Stefon Harris.

Among the album’s other special guests are Goapele, singing her own lyrics in the chilled-out soul tune “Voice of Freedom (For Mandela),” and Christian Scott, whose muted trumpet threads a breathy melodic line through “Lost & Found,” the Lianne La Havas song. The poet and actor W. Ellington Felton turns up, more awkwardly, to rap some verses (and sing a chorus) on a track called “Toy Soldiers.”

That’s one of several small missteps, another being a solo bass interpretation of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a song that jazz musicians should no longer be mining for new truths. But Mr. Williams has his compass set, and it’s encouraging to think of this album as a marker, another checkpoint on the forward path.

01 - Black Villain Music
02 - Strength And Beauty
03 - Half Steppin'
04 - Voice Of Freedom (For Mandela)
05 - Toy Soldiers
06 - Lost & Found
07 - Forecast
08 - The Color Of My Dreams
09 - Smells Like Teen Spirit
10 - Toy Soldiers (Reprise)
11 - Coming Of Age

Revered by The Washington Post as “Successfully translating the musical pulse of his era into jazz,” Williams has secured a masterful selection of special guests featured on this project. They include renowned jazz trumpeter Christian Scott on the cover of Lianne La Havas’ melancholy “Lost & Found” that is draped by a string quartet, vibraphonist Stefon Harris on an original piece titled “The Color of My Dreams,” and emcee/poet W. Ellington Felton who leads the listener through “Toy Soldiers (reprise).” Williams also reconnects with American soul singer Goapele for a second collaboration with the pivotal anthem “Voice of Freedom (for Mandela).” Completing the vision is Williams band, Sound Effect, comprised of Marcus Strickland (tenor and soprano saxophone), Matthew Stevens (guitar), Christian Sands (piano and Fender Rhodes), Masayuki “Big Yuki” Hirano (synths and Fender Rhodes), John Davis (drums) and Etienne Charles (percussion).

domingo, 19 de abril de 2015


Sobran las palabras, solo JAZZ





jueves, 16 de abril de 2015

Roberto Gatto Quartet - Sixth Sense (2015)

Sixth Sense is the first CD of this new, amazing pianoless group. The quartet assembled by Roberto Gatto is one of the most peculiar and interesting on the scene. The melody is performed by two brass players, the trumpet of the young and acclaimed Avishai Cohen (Rising Star 2012 according to the Downbeat Critics Pool and already appreciated worldwide) and the tenor sax and clarinet of Francesco Bearzatti, a great representative of Italian music in the world (named best European musician in 2011 by the Académie du Jazz). To support the drummer leader and accompany him in the rhythm section, Doug Weiss, one the most representative double bass players from the New York scene. Four personalities who have put their cultural background in the service of music with great participation and energy, but above all with originality.

Appreciated on the national jazz scene since the mid-70s, Roberto Gatto - born in 1958, with a career that has known no setbacks for about forty years - has never run out of thirst for research and experimentation. His extraordinary skill led the drummer to write part of the history of Italian jazz. Removed the clothes of prestigious sideman alongside national players (Enrico Rava, Enrico Pieranunzi) and international artists (Johnny Griffin, John Abercrombie, Chet Baker, Steve Lacy, Pat Metheny, Bob Berg, Curtis Fuller, George Coleman, Joe Zawinul etc.), Roberto Gatto has undertaken with greater force the activity of leader, giving life to his groups and original projects, always surprising his audience. In this regard we can mention the acclaimed PerfecTrio completed by Alfonso Santimone on piano and electronics and Pierpaolo Ranieri on electric bass, the recent New York Quartet, consequence of his frequent stays in the Big Apple, featuring the young Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana, Nir Felder on guitar and Joe Lepore on double bass, and the latest Play Zappa with the pop group Quintorigo, dedicated to one of his best-loved artists Frank Zappa.

01. One for Avi (5:06)
02. Sixth Sense (7:25)
03. Hat on the Bobcat (4:43)
04. Togo (5:41)
05. Bonanza (7:50)
06. Dee's Dilemma (4:54)
07. Unknown Shape (5:05)
08. Black and Tan Fantasy (7:01)
09. Remember Rockefeller at Attica (5:36)
10. Peace (7:49)

Roberto Gatto - drums
Avishai Cohen - trumpet
Francesco Bearzatti - tenor sax and clarinet
Doug Weiss double - bass

Akira Tana - Otonowa (2015)

Label: Cannatuna Records
Source: Cdbaby
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

The genesis of this group, Otonowa (Sound Circle) comes from the title a recording of the same name translated into English that was released a number of years ago in Japan on King Records and in the US on Evidence Music. The group, then, was called the “Asian American Jazz Trio.”

Two years ago this ensemble was reformed with the name “Otonowa,” having been a asked to perform for a benefit concert by Lake Hanyu of the Elsewhere Gallery in Fairfax, Ca. for the victims of the Earthquake/Tsunami in Northern Japan. Subsequently this group performed at the first anniversary last year and after performing again this year for the 2nd time, will travel to Japan in late March to perform in Northern Japan in aiding the relief efforts there that continue to this day.

The concept behind this group is very much in the tradition of Jazz, truly an American art form. This group is comprised of Japanese (now US citizens) who live in the US and also Japanese Americans who were born in the US. Thus, this group is made up of Japanese and Japanese Americans musicians raised in this country, learning the jazz vocabulary in the US and retooling and reinventing songs from their native land in the jazz idiom. The group has completed a CD dedicated to and in commemoration of the tragic events in Northern Japan. All of the material on the recording are jazz interpretations of traditional Japanese folk melodies that date back as long as a century ago. The incorporation of these Japanese folk elements is part of the long tradition of American jazz artists interpreting songs of American popular and folk songs ie, Miles Davis recording, “Bye Bye Blackbird,” to John Coltrane interpreting the well know song from the Sound of Music, “My Favorite Things.” In Otonowa’s interpretations, traditional Japanese instruments are also employed, like the Shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese flute and the fan drum, an instrument that is popular in festivals throughout Japan, along with the piano, acoustic bass, and drum set. The educational component of this presentation expands the concept of American Jazz. It exemplifies the cultural diversity of a country like the US and also reaches internationally utilizing songs and melodies from foreign shores, in this case Japan. These methods are not new or revolutionary. What makes this group unique is that the members have learned their craft here in the US and seek to interpret songs of their Japanese ancestry in a uniquely American way.

The songs on this recording are songs that date back to over a century ago, "Furusato," and also well know pop melodies such as "Ue O Muite Arukou," more commercially known outside of Japan as "Sukiyaki," whose original release dates back to the 1960's. Other songs include traditional titles, "Sakura Sakura," and "Akatombo," well known outside of Japan but songs that are very much ingrained in the Japanese culture like, "Karatachi No Hana," "Momiji," "Yoimachigusa," and Gion Kouta." "Nada Sou Sou" is a pop song from the 1990's. "Koi No Vacance" is a pop song popularized by the singing group "Peanuts" in the 1960's. Spanning decades and even centuries, all of these songs have one thing in common---beautiful melodies.  

1. Yashi No Mi 03:43
2. Nada Sou Sou 04:23
3. Otonoha 1 01:32
4. Karatachi No Hana 03:02
5. Akatombo 04:35
6. Koi No Vacance 07:04
7. Otonoha 3 01:40
8. Yoimachigusa 05:25
9. Ue O Muite Arukou 06:34
10.Momiji 04:11
11.Sakura Sakura 05:20
12.Otonoha 2 02:30
13.Kojo No Tsuki 05:20
14.Gion Kouta 03:39
15.Furusato 07:17

Art HIRAHARA, piano
Masaru KOGA, saxophones, flute, shakuhachi, percussion
Noriyuki OKADA, bass
Akira TANA, drums

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -

miércoles, 15 de abril de 2015

Akira Sakata & Giovanni di Domenico - Iruman (2014)

Surprisingly, Iruman is saxophonist Akira Sakata's first piano duo recording in his forty-plus year career. The question this disc raises is not why did it take him so long to record in this format, but could another duo performance eclipse this one?

Sakata has been flag bearer of the Japanese free jazz movement since the 1970s. Recording first with pianist Yosuke Yamashita, then he was 'discovered' by bassist Bill Laswell and he went on to record with Material, Last Exit, Mooko, Peter Kowald. He has been featured with DJ Krush and become a favorite of guitarist Jim O'Rourke and drummer Chris Corsano. Their recordings And That's The Story Of Jazz... (Family Vineyard, 2011) and Live At Hungry Brain (Family Vineyard, 2011) with Devin Gray are minor masterpieces.

The studio recording between Sakata and Italian pianist Giovanni Di Domenico self taught until age 24, yields ten improvised passages that mix concepts of Eastern and Western music and free jazz as if the pair were presenting musical koans. Iruman opens with fragile and subtle piano and the ringing of bells as wind chimes. "Yellow Sand Blowing" mixes the skittering jerky alto of Sakata dancing over the raindrops of piano notes.

Giovanni Di Domenico has the inclination to play notes that rely either on their immediacy or linger as memories of sound or, perhaps emotion. He plays with an outsider artist's take on classical music. The pair mix some thunderous piano against chanting on "Yamadera Ni Kikoyuru Koe/Voice from a Temple in the Deep Mountain" and dancing notes against the vocalization with "Papiruma." The music is in constant reinvention. The chamber jazz of "Tanbo Ni Mizu Ga Hairu/Water Coming Into Rice Field in the Spring" is juxtaposed against "Moe II/Bud II" an aggressive back-and-forth scuffle of notes that ultimately finds compromise in the pair's cooperation.

01. Seijaku No Ichimai/A Piece of Silence
02. Kousa No Odori/Yellow Sand Blowing from China
03. Suiren No Saku Huruike/Lotus Blossom in an Old Pond
04. Yamadera Ni Kikoyuru Koe/Voice from a Temple in the Deep Mountain
05. Moe I’/ud I
06. Tanbo Ni Mizu Ga Hairu/Water Coming Into Rice Field in the Spring
07. Sukiyazukuri No Tatazumai/The Peaceful Atmosphere of a Wood Sukiya- style Temple
08. Hachi To Ohisama/The Bee and the Sunshine
09. Papiruma
10. Moe II/Bud II

Akira Sakata: alto sax, clarinet, voice, bells and shakers
Giovanni Di Domenico: piano

Larry Coryell - Heavy Feel (2015)

Larry Coryell returns for his third release on Wide Hive Records in an awesome fashion with one of his greatest albums. "Heavy Feel," which, like many great jazz records, was recorded in one day and the tracks are imbued with the improvisational genius for which Mr. Coryell is known. Aptly titled 'Heavy Feel', the band's sound and daunting guitar play Larry brings are undeniable.

martes, 14 de abril de 2015

Owen Howard - Drum Lore Vol.2: More Lore (2014)

Label: Brooklyn Jazz Underground
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Much of the attention-grabbing jazz music that is coming out in 2014 is of the boundary-pushing variety, with electronic textures and maybe some rock influence for good measure. There’s nothing at all wrong with that – I’m certainly all for a Rhodes piano and solid boom-bap drums. But don’t think for a moment that “traditional” jazz with an acoustic setup is dead and has nothing left to say. Look no further than drummer Owen Howard’s Drum Lore Vol. 2.
Howard is the drummer, bandleader, and main composer on this album, rounding out the set with tunes from Victor Lewis (“Hey, It’s Me You’re Talkin’ To”), Joe Chambers (“Ungano”), Paul Motian (“Mumbo Jumbo”), Philly Joe Jones (“Got to Take Another Chance”), and Tony Williams (“Pee Wee”). The album is called Drum Lore for a reason – Howard put together this project and the first volume that preceded this one as a way to showcase drummer-composed tunes (where the first Drum Lore volume skewed heavily toward other drummers’ tunes, roughly half of the tunes here are Howard originals). His impressive quintet here includes John O’Gallagher on sax, Adam Kolker on sax and bass clarinet, Frank Carlberg on piano, and Johannes Weidenmueller on bass. Certainly there are plenty of drummer-led groups out there , but although the concept on this record is the drummer as composer and bandleader, it’s the music that makes this such a rewarding listen, regardless of who wrote the tunes. - Ben Gray -

Hey, It's Me You're Talkin' To
Like Buttah
Mumbo Jumbo
Got to Take Another Chance
Pee Wee
Haiku (solo piano)

John O'Gallagher: sax alto
Adam Kolker: tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet
Frank Carlberg: piano
Johannes Weidenmueller: bass
Owen Howard: drums  

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -

lunes, 13 de abril de 2015

Juan Pablo Balcazar - Reversible (2015)

Label: Fresh Sound New Talent
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Juan Pablo Balcázar (1979. Villavicencio, Colombia) reside en Barcelona desde 1998 ciudad donde ha estudiado con los máximos exponentes del jazz tanto a nivel estatal como mundial. Su labor como bajista eléctrico, contrabajista y compositor lo ha llevado a tocar en los festivales de jazz más importantes de la península con distintos proyectos e infinidad de músicos. Ha cursado el Grado Superior de Música Moderna y Jazz en el Conservatorio Superior de Música del Liceu de Barcelona completando así los estudios de Especialista en Música Moderna que realizó en el Taller de Musics durante los primeros 5 años de estadía en la ciudad condal. En la UB (Universidad de Barcelona) ha cursado el Master oficial “Música como Arte Interdisciplinar” en 2011. Ha compartido escenario con músicos como Lucia Pulido, Guillermo Klein, Guillermo McGill, Miguel Zenón, Javier Ibarra (Kase.O), Miguel Villar, Jorge Sepúlveda, Marco Mezquida, Wycliff Gordon, Terence Stadford, Ruper Ordorika, Carlos Falanga, Greg Duncan, Juan David Castaño, Nicolas y Juan Andrés Ospina, Sofia Ribeiro, Dani Comas, Marta Gomez, David Xirgu, Jordi Matas, Juan Berbin, Dani Dominguez, Alejandro Mingot, Hasier Oleaga, Joe Smith, Bill McHenry, Marta Sánchez y un largo etc. Actualmente trabaja indistintamente en proyectos de Jazz tanto como de Pop o Hip Hop de primer nivel nacional.

Ha actuado en shows y festivales de España, Francia, Alemania, Estonia, Austria, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Portugal y un largo etcétera con sus propios proyectos y como músico acompañante. Con la discográfica española Fresh Sound Records ha grabado 8 discos a su nombre y otros tantos como sideman. En Colombia ha editado también varios discos a su nombre con los sellos MTM o Festinba Lente. La secretaría de cultura de Bogotá le ha convidado, en dos ocasiones, a formar parte, como invitado internacional, del festival Jazz al Parque Bogotá. El instituto de la juventud de España seleccionó y becó sus proyectos, hasta en 5 ocasiones, para participar en los circuitos nacionales INJUVE. Obtuvo el 1er premio en el primer Concurso de Jazz de Copons 2001. Su disco “Viaje/Voyage” es seleccionado como unos de los mejores discos del año por la revista ENDEROCK en 2009. 2º premio en el Concurso Jazzargia 2008 con el grupo Robadors23 Quartet entre otras muchas distinciones.

01. Arenera [Trio] 7:09
02. Radar [Trio] 7:00
03. Acurruca [Trio] 6:40
04. Silencio 9:19
05. Acurruca [Quartet] 5:49
06. Radar [Quartet] 6:04
07. Arenera [Quartet] 8:05

Juan Pablo Balcazar (b)
Marco Mezquida (p)
Carlos Falanga (d)
Guest: Miguel 'Pintxo' Villar (ts)

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -

domingo, 12 de abril de 2015







Mike Osborne - Dawn (2015)

Alto saxophonist Mike Osborne's career was relatively short—barely 20 years between his first gigs with the pioneering Mike Westbrook Band and his retirement from the music scene because of mental health problems in 1982. His discography is lengthy, but albums as leader are rare. Dawn draws together recordings from three relatively early sessions in Osborne's career—early, but testament to the maturity of his playing and writing. It's exciting stuff.

Osborne recorded the first six tunes in London, during two gigs in August and December of 1970, with Harry Miller on bass and Louis Moholo-Moholo on drums—the recordings predate both of the trio's albums. The venue isn't identified, but occasional polite applause suggests a small club or theatre. The remaining four tracks—featuring Osborne and Miller with tenor saxophonist John Surman and drummer Alan Jackson—come from a June 9th 1966 studio session at London's Regent Sound, Osborne's first known recording session and Surman's second.

These dates are worthy of note. By 1966 pop had eclipsed jazz as the sound of young Britain. By 1970 the rise of progressive rock meant that many forward-thinking jazz players were gaining popularity through collaborations with outfits such as King Crimson—Miller and Keith Tippett appear on Islands (Island, 1970)—and the Canterbury Scene bands.

Osborne himself collaborated with folk guitarist and songwriter Mike Cooper, alongside his career in the top flight of UK jazz. His work with Stan Tracey, Westbrook and others—notably Chris McGregor's Brotherhood Of Breath and, with Surman and Alan Skidmore, the saxophone trio S.O.S—is testament to his place at the head of the UK scene.

Dawn offers further proof of Osborne's talent. His own compositions, such as "Scotch Pearl" and the surprisingly catchy "TBD," are bursting with life, tunes that celebrate the joy of making music with Osborne's alto weaving complex, snaking but melodic lines. "Dawn" and "1st" demonstrate his more reflective approach to composition and playing, akin to the spiritual jazz of John Coltrane or Pharoah Sanders (whose "Seven By Seven" gets a bouncy, joyous, treatment from the 1966 quartet).

Across much of this music Miller plays what could be termed a walking bass line. However, the term diminishes his power and his pace. The lines jog, at least, and in full flow on Herbie Hancock's "Jack Rabbit" he's playing at a gallop but never missing a beat. Moholo Moholo and Jackson match that combination of strength and musicality. Surman's approach is calmer than the others,' his warm, full, tone proving to be an ideal partner for the tighter and more frenetic Osborne sound.

Dawn is an important historical document. That alone justifies its release. Of course, historical documents don't always entertain—that's not their primary function. Thankfully, Dawn is historically important and entertaining. Osborne and his colleagues are on terrific form, bursting with ideas and barely controllable energy, a reminder that late-60s UK jazz may have operated in the commercial shadows but it basked in the creative sunlight.

Mike Osborne: alto saxophone
Harry Miller: bass
Louis Moholo: drums (1-6)
John Surman: tenor saxophone (7-10)
Alan Jackson: drums (7-10)

01. Scotch Pearl
02. Dawn
03. Jack Rabbit
04. TBC
05. 1st
06. TBD
07. Seven By Seven
08. And Now The Queen
09. An Idea
10. Aggression