JWQ Showcase 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

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USA: City Parks Foundation announces 25th Anniversary Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

City Parks Foundation announces
25th Anniversary
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

Presented by Capital One Bank

August 23 – August 27
Featuring Anat Cohen, Lee Konitz Quartet,
Joshua Redman Quartet
and more

in Marcus Garvey Park and Tompkins Square Park 

August 16, 2017 -- New York, NY -- City Parks Foundation is proud to announce the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. The festival is New York City's annual salute to the legendary late saxophonist, featuring storied veteran players as well as young jazz musicians who continue to shape and drive the art form. This year’s festival runs August 23 through August 27 at parks and venues around Manhattan and will include free concerts, artist discussions, a film screening, and for the first time in the festival’s history, a dedicated evening of dance.

"We are thrilled to celebrate 25 years of the beloved Charlie Parker Jazz Festival," said Heather Lubov, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation. "In honor of this milestone we have expanded the program to 5 days, partnered with local institutions on family jazz events and open jam sessions, and are presenting a full evening of dance on the lineup for the first time. We hope all New Yorkers, young and old, jazz aficionados and new fans alike will join us in honoring the legacy of Charlie Parker and jazz in New York City."

The festival kicks off on Wednesday, August 23 at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music with “Bird With Strings,” a tribute performance featuring an ensemble of students and veteran jazz players honoring Parker’s 1950 recording, Charlie Parker With Strings.

On Thursday, August 24, the festival heads uptown to Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem for Jason Samuels Smith’s Chasin’ The Bird Remixed, an added evening of programming in honor of the 25th Anniversary, and the first full evening of dance in the festival’s history. Emmy award-winning tap dance virtuoso, Jason Samuels Smith, and Broadway veterans, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Derick K. Grant, bring Parker’s music to life through dance in this special performance featuring live music.

The festival continues in Marcus Garvey Park on Friday, August 25 with world-renowned clarinet player & saxophonist Anat Cohen, who will lead a consortium of strings, horns, percussion, and keyboards with her jazz-folk troupe, and Camille Thurman, a multi-talented saxophonist, flutist and vocalist.

On Saturday afternoon, veteran alto-saxophonist player Lee Konitz, a contemporary of Charlie Parker when bebop came on the scene, will perform with his quartet in Marcus Garvey Park joined by drumming prodigy and pioneering female percussionist Terri Lyne Carrington, one of the most recorded jazz drummers of all time Louis Hayes (who has played with the likes of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Cannonball Adderley), and rising vocalist Charenee Wade, a brave new voice on the modern jazz frontier intent on using her gift to address social change.

On Sunday, August 27, the festival travels back downtown to the place where it all began, Tompkins Square Park, home to the inaugural Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in 1993, and located just blocks away from Charlie Parker’s home in the East Village. Joshua Redman, one of the most important contemporary horn players and widely considered to be the top sax man of his generation, will make his Charlie Parker Jazz Festival debut. NEA Jazz Master Lou Donaldson, revered by many as one the greatest alto saxophonists of all time; saxophone virtuosa Tia Fuller, one of the world’s best jazz multi-instrumentalists, full-time professor and one-time member of the all-female band that toured with Beyoncé; and vocalist Alicia Olatuja, who performed with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Obama’s second inauguration and has been in high demand ever since, will also perform to close out the final day of the festival.

In honor of the 25th Anniversary, City Parks Foundation has also partnered with local institutions to present free and open-to-the-public jazz events around the city. Events include an all ages Family Jazz Party with Festival performer Charenee Wade and a “Harlem Speaks” interview with Lee Konitz at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, a screening at The New School of the 2016 film, I Called Him Morgan, about the life and tragic death of jazz musician Lee Morgan, live jazz in the gardens at The Harlem Rose Garden and 6BC Botanical Garden, and jam sessions at Gin Fizz Harlem and Ginny’s Supper Club.

The complete Charlie Parker Jazz Festival schedule follows or can be found on the City Parks Foundation website here:
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
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About City Parks Foundation
City Parks Foundation (CPF) is the only independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to offer programs in public parks throughout the five boroughs of New York City. At CPF, we are dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community development and education programs for all New Yorkers. Our programs and community building initiatives  — located in more than 350 parks, recreation centers and public schools across New York City  — reach 425,000 people each year. Our ethos is simple: we believe thriving parks mean thriving communities.

 Event Information

Wednesday, August 23

Family Jazz Party with Charenee Wade
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, MN
2:00 PM
Join Charenee Wade and her band for an afternoon of singing, dancing and music making.
Free w/ RSVP at www.jmih.org, ages 5+

Wednesday, August 23
Harlem Speaks Interview Series with Lee Konitz
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
7:00 PM
Join 90-year-old Lee Konitz for Harlem Speaks, the Museum’s signature oral history interview program. Free w/ RSVP at

Wednesday, August 23
“Bird With Strings,” in association with The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Musi
The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Auditorium
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Ensemble of students and veteran jazz players to perform a Charlie “Bird” Parker tribute to the 1950 recording of Charlie Parker with Strings. RSVP required at www.SummerStage.org.

Wednesday, August 23
The Shed Open Jam Charlie Parker Jazz Festival Edition
Gin Fizz Harlem
9:00 PM - 1:00 AM
A special edition of New York’s “Top 5 Jam Sessions” for emerging musical talent & musicians. Free, no reservations required.

Thursday, August 24
Jazz in the Garden: Art Baron, in association with Jazz Foundation of America and Ariana’s List
6BC Botanical Garden, MN
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Live neighborhood jazz performances in the East Village where Charlie Parker lived. Free, no reservations required.

Thursday, August 24
Screening: I Called Him Morgan
The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Theresa Lang Student & Community Center/Arnhold Hall
6:00 PM - 7:30PM
Acclaimed documentary on the life and untimely death of celebrated jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan. Free w/ RSVP to charlieparker@cityparksfoundation.org.

Thursday, August 24
Jason Samuels Smith’s Chasin’ The Bird Remixed
Marcus Garvey Park, MN
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Jason Samuels Smith
Jason Samuels Smith is New York City’s very own Emmy-winning, tap dance authority. A highly commended choreographer, performer and humanitarian, Smith has been dancing and spreading joy his whole life. He has accumulated a long list of honors and dance distinctions, including awards from Dance Magazine, American Choreography, and the highly respected Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award. He’s choreographed for television and other media outlets, such as Outkast’s Idlewild, and the hugely popular shows So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. Smith has razzle-dazzled Broadway audiences with his rapid-fire footwork in Bring in Da’ Noise, Bring in Da’ Funk, and starred in another major all-tap revue, Imagine Tap!, as well as played the leading role in Debbie Allen’s breathtaking film Soul Possessed and Dean Hargrove’s award-winning short Tap Heat. JSS continues to astound and amaze spectators all over the world with his solo performances, as well as those with his skilled company. A truly altruistic individual, Smith uses his tap talent and celebrity to actively support many charitable organizations, including Dancers Responding to Aids, Tied to Greatness, Career Transitions for Dancers, Tap Into A Cure, Groove with Me, Move the World and more.

Thursday, August 24
In Bird We Trust
Ginny’s Supper Club
9:00 PM
Jam session celebrating the festival’s anniversary featuring Harlem Jazz musicians & guest DJs. Free - bar, standing / $15 - dinner reservation (call 212.421.3821 or visit www.ginnyssupperclub.com).

Friday, August 25
Jazz in the Garden: Bill Saxton, in association with Jazz Foundation of America and Ariana’s List
Harlem Rose Garden, MN
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Live neighborhood jazz performances in Harlem near where Charlie Parker performed. Free, no reservations required.

Friday, August 25
Anat Cohen Tentet / Camille Thurman, in association with Jazzmobile
Marcus Garvey Park, MN
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Anat Cohen
There are very few connoisseurs of the clarinet in this world, and Anat Cohen surely reigns supreme amongst these select woodwindists. With a wonderful outpouring of vigorously harmonious tunes, the Tel-Aviv born Cohen leads her gifted team of ten on a jazzy voyage through multiple forms (with tinges of Brazilian, Eastern European, New York and New Orleans traditions). Her band’s blend of jazz and folk truly melds musical rituals from all over the world. Unanimously proclaimed as clarinet queen (the New York Times unequivocally states that she is a “Master”), top Jazz critics and publications rave about her sound. “With the clarinet she becomes a singer, a dancer, a poet, a mad scientist, laughing — musically — with the sheer delight of reaching that new place, that new feeling, with each chorus,” according to JazzTimes. Time and again, she is awarded the “Clarinetist of the Year” distinction from DownBeat, JazzTimes and the Jazz Journalists Association. With six solo albums so far, and eight collaborative records, Cohen simply loves to create and play. And one more thing, she’s also an expert saxophonist.
with Musical Director Oded Lev-Ari

Anat Cohen  CLARINET
Christopher Hoffman CELLO
Stuart Mack  TRUMPET
Nick Finzer  TROMBONE
Vitor Gonçalves  PIANO & ACCORDION
Idan Morim  GUITAR
Joe Martin  BASS
Anthony Pinciotti  DRUMS

Saturday, August 26
Lee Konitz Quartet / Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science / Louis Hayes / Charenee Wade
Marcus Garvey Park, MN
3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Lee Konitz Quartet
The Lee Konitz Quartet is comprised of four of the most skillful jazz veterans working today. Under the leadership of Lee Konitz, the group has been thrilling audiences for quite a long time. Konitz, a premiere alto saxophonist, started out in Chicago, where he put a lot of hours into learning his craft. His early work saw him playing with Claude Thornhill Orchestra (arranged by Gil Evans), Stan Kenton’s Orchestra, pianist Lennie Tristano, and the Miles Davis Capitol Orchestra. He would then break out on his own, amassing a staggering list of essential jazz credentials. Adding a touch of international flare to the group is Dan Tepfer, their Paris-born pianist/composer. An improviser at heart, this talented musician has tickled the ivories alongside jazz behemoths of all natures, and has released several hit solo albums. With a keen interest in astrophysics, Tepfer has utilized his computer-science knowledge in conjunction with improvisational techniques to formulate a revolutionary jazz-centric algorithm. The Lee Konitz Quartet’s bassist is Jeremy Stratton, a local jazz hero from New York, who has played over the decades with a multitude of famed ensembles. Rounding out this colossal crew is George Schuller on drums. Schuller is well known in the jazz milieu, with numerous side bands under his belt, including the hit big band from the ‘80s, Orange Than Blue.

Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science
For Terri Lyne Carrington, it’s not just about sounding sweet. Along with her band Social Science, the princess of percussion has been melding her uncannily sophisticated drumming and composing abilities with impactful, relevant statements on the pressing social issues of today. With a lush composition of jazz, indie rock, contemporary classical and R&B, all reconfigured under the sweeping swath of freeform improvisation, Carrington is not afraid to mix things up. A revered mainstay in the business, she has a four-decade long career and three Grammy wins to her credit, but is not even remotely content to just coast on by. An activist, educator and warrior for freedom and racial & sex equality, Carrington is nothing shy of remarkable. She began in music as an undeniable drumming prodigy, receiving accolades from People magazine, EBONY and Modern Drummer, at just ten years of age. With oodles of television performances and alliances with humongous names in music, she has wowed audiences all over the world. With eight full length albums out, Carrington perennially brings her passion to the studio as well. Her latest release is a can’t-miss collaboration with a star-studded cadre of top female artists, The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL.

Louis Hayes
Born in Motown, Louis Sedell Hayes came up virtually ensconced in authentic Detroit music stylings. At a young age he discovered the piano, but when his father presented him with a set of drums, his true passion was ignited. Coming up in 1950’s Detroit, surrounded by jazz giants Yusef Lateef, Kenny Burrell and Doug Watkins (to name a few), Hayes was mentored by the legendary Papa Joe Jones. At only eighteen years old, he moved to NYC and joined the Horace Silver Quintet, skyrocketing him into the critical public eye, with his full drumming talents on display. In the 60’s Hayes became a part of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, further cementing his name into the catalogue of storied jazz percussionists. He would later be asked to play alongside star piano man Oscar Peterson, in a group where Hayes and bassist Sam Jones would become known as the “dynamic duo” of rhythm. As Hayes’ career progressed, he would lead several incarnations of bands under his own name, playing with jazz greats Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Barron, Junior Cooke, Woody Shaw, Dexter Gordon and eventually McCoy Tyner. His shows still explode with energy, as Hayes bangs away with perfect precision.

Charenee Wade
The wonderfully outspoken Charenee Wade is a brave new voice on the modern jazz frontier, intent on using her art form to exact social change. This exquisite improvisational jazz vocalist, composer and arranger is just getting started, too. Her numerous accolades include being named the First Runner-Up in the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition and being invited to perform her original songs with Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Her debut album Offering: The Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson is a stirring tribute to socially-conscious musician/poet Scott-Heron, which also forecasts Wade’s own desire to rise up against the many forms of injustice still plaguing the world of today. Notable tracks include “Song of the Wind,” a heartfelt appreciation of the peace-seeking efforts of her mentors, “A Toast to the People,” a nuanced example of Wade’s deftness at storytelling through vocal dexterity, and “Home Is Where the Hatred Is,” a rousingly powerful jazz number where her dynamic talents are on full display. In addition to providing the gift of her voice to the world, Charenee passes along her love of music as a professor at the Aaron Copland School of Music, City College.

Sunday, August 27
Joshua Redman Quartet / Lou Donaldson / Tia Fuller / Alicia Olatuja
Tompkins Square Park, MN
3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Joshua Redman
“Unparalleled among horn players today,” is the way JazzTimes (and a host of other noteworthy publications and critics, in so many words) describe longtime jazz legend Joshua Redman. Often referred to as one of the top sax men of his generation, Redman has worked with some of the most treasured jazz artists of all time, counting McCoy Tyner, Brad Mehldau, The Bad Plus, and Brooklyn Rider. While he has the ability to seamlessly blend into an ensemble and flawlessly synergize with the group, he can just as easily break out into a solo that drops the jaws of jazz fans of all ages. While his globally-successful recorded albums are a delight, many posit that his live shows are simply the stuff of legend. Aside from his stellar saxophone majesty, Redman is a stupendous composer and bandleader. With longstanding friends and collaborators at his side (Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, and Gregory Hutchinson), Redman leads The Joshua Redman Quartet to unprecedented heights of musical innovation. With stylistic motifs that date back to the ‘50s, the Joshua Redman Quartet is still a cutting-edge, thoroughly modern enterprise in jazz celebration.

Lou Donaldson
When someone mentions the greatest alto saxophonists of all time, only one name truly stands out: that of “Sweet Poppa Lou” Donaldson. With origins as the bandleader of Blue Note Records in the 1950s, Donaldson had already established himself as a new voice in jazz at only 25 years of age. As he directed many albums at this time, Sweet Poppa Lou was proud to collaborate with the biggest jazz instrumentalists of the day. With numerous recordings in the bag, Donaldson broke out with 1967’s Alligator Bogaloo, a revolution in the form, as he boisterously showcased his virtuoso status. His long and storied career has garnered him too many achievements to list; but his induction into the International Jazz Hall of Fame and the his naming as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master (the absolute zenith of awards in the jazz realm) can not be left unmentioned. His bluesy, unmatched style is still on full display, as he dazzles and amazes crowds with his nimble fingers and crystal clear sound.

Tia Fuller
Tia Fuller is a saxophone virtuosa, a touring artist and full-time professor (at the Berklee School of Music). Having been featured on the cover Saxophone Today, Jazz Education Journal, and JazzTimes Magazine, she is a one of the world’s best jazz multi-instrumentalists. Tia was selected to be a member of the all-female band touring with Beyoncé, as part of the I AM..Sasha Fierce and Beyoncé Experience World Tour promoting the superstar’s CD’s, where Tia has played in various venues throughout the US, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. She is a featured soloist on the Beyoncé Experience DVD (Me, Myself and I), I AM Yours I DVD (Wynn Theatre) and also appeared on number of major television shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, Good Morning America, BET Awards, American Music Awards and Total Request Live, and the 2010 Grammy Awards. She has also performed as the featured soloist with Beyoncé for President Obama at the White House. Tia has recorded four albums with her quartet. The first was 2005’s Pillar of Strength, followed by 2007’s Healing Space, an offering of “melodic medicine.” Her third album, 2010’s Decisive Steps, took the #1 JazzWeek rating for two weeks straight, and nominated for their Best Jazz album. In 2012, she released her 4th album, Angelic Warrior, which received praise from Wall Street Journal, New York Times and numerous jazz publications. Tia’s quartet has performed all over the world at many prestigious venues and she’s received numerous awards, winning Downbeat Critic’s Poll-‘Rising Star’ two years in a row for Soprano Sax (2014), Alto Sax and Flute (2013). Between balancing her teaching and tour life, Tia feels that she is fulfilling her purpose here on this earth, that is to “serve as a light for others.”

Alicia Olatuja
Ever since Alicia Olatuja took center stage at President Obama’s 2nd inauguration, as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, this luminous songstress has been in exceedingly high demand. It wasn’t long before she put together her very own backing jazz ensemble and released 2014’s aptly named Timeless, a testimony to her ageless voice. Reared in St. Louis, with the echoes of venerated blues and jazz artists past coursing through her veins, Olatuja emigrated to New York to complete her Master’s degree in Classical Voice & Opera at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Migrating from strictly opera and musical theater performance, she began feeling her gospel and soul roots, as she shared the stage with legends Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans and Christian McBride. Shortly thereafter, famed composer Billy Childs tapped Olatuja (praised by the New York Times for her “luscious tone”) for a nationwide tour of original works honoring Laura Nyro. Performing with her own band at virtually every jazz festival under the sun, this velvet voiced woman, with soul to spare, has only just begun to shine.

The 2017 SummerStage festival is presented by Capital One Bank. Lagunitas Brewing Company, Brewery Ommegang, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Austin Eastciders, Disney, Sprint, Boost Mobile, New York Presbyterian, Electric Sky Wine, Hint Water, Deep River Snacks, and Whole Foods are all official SummerStage sponsors. Generous private support is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Horace Silver Foundation, Dalio Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Shubert Organization, The J.E.and Z.B. Butler Foundation, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and the NYU Community Fund.
Public support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Council.
Presenting Radio Sponsor: iHeart Media featuring Lite FM, Power 105.1, 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, and Z100. Media partners include: Big Screen Plaza, Brooklyn Magazine, doNYC, New York City Jazz Record, Time Out New York, WBGO, WFUV, WNYC, and Zoom Media & Marketing.
In all of its programming and activities, City Parks Foundation partners with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to improve neighborhood parks and the communities they serve.

Media Contacts:
Teresa Holmes /
Kate Nemetz / KNemetz@CityParksFoundation.org / 212-360-8281


USA: Sax-vocalist Michael J. Thomas is "Driven" to compete with an upbeat and diverse passion project

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Sax-vocalist Michael J. Thomas is “Driven” to compete with an upbeat and diverse passion project

The first single, “Baby Coffee,” earned most added honors at Billboard and hit the SiriusXM playlist ahead of Friday’s album release, leading to a distribution deal.

DESTIN (18 August 2017): No sophomore slump for contemporary jazz-pop artist Michael J. Thomas, who released his second album, “Driven,” on Friday on the Harbor Breeze Records imprint. The ten-song set burst out of the gate jolted by a wave of national airplay for the first single, “Baby Coffee,” earning Billboard most-added honors in its debut week followed by an add at SiriusXM’s Watercolors, leading the saxophonist-vocalist to sign a distribution deal for the project with Perry Music Group/Sony Music.            

It’s been seven years since Thomas issued his instrumental debut album, “City Beat,” and six years since he made his vocal debut with the infectious standalone single “I Think About Amy,” which peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard chart after a remix by two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown. “Driven” is his first collection to combine sax-led soul-jazz instrumentals and R&B-pop vocal tunes that showcase a voice that programmers and reviewers have compared to Michael Jackson and George Michael. It’s a varied, exhilarating session written and produced by Thomas and longtime collaborator Shannon Wallace with additional tracks produced by Oli Silk, Trammell Starks and Music Man Dre Forbes.   

"I got the bug to record a new album in 2014. I hadn’t written anything new in a while and all of these melodies and lyrics were hitting me. However, the songs didn’t all fit into one genre, but I recorded them anyway. I decided that this would be a passion project for me more than trying to write music that fits the traditional model,” said the Destin, Florida-based Thomas, who is submitting “Driven” for Grammy nomination consideration. “I titled the album after one of the pop-oriented songs I wrote that has to do with staying driven and motivated to compete.”

While “Baby Coffee” has all the makings of a late summer instrumental hit –percolating groove, stimulating funk beats and energizing horn-powered harmonies – Thomas opens the disc with the shimmering and slick “My Love,” one of four vocal numbers. An empowering vocal drop adds street cred to “In America, You Can Do It!,” an instrumental inspired by Thomas’s alto sax and Gino Rosaria’s glistening keyboards. “You Know You Got This” is another confidence-building instrumental. A Minneapolis-style old-school funk party meets disco vibe breaks out on “Girls Got Moves,” a dance floor filler vocal tune that also closes the album in instrumental form. The percussive instrumental “Make Me Crazy” is an aggressive agitator that showcases Thomas trading barbs during an extended improvisational breakdown with trumpeter Paul Scurto. A congenial “Get Your Smooth On” benefits from a luminous anthemic chorus. Thomas caresses on the intimate “Say Goodbye” with a mix of heartbreak vocals and a tender soprano sax solo followed by the reassuring Quiet Storm instrumental affirmation “Never Gonna Leave You.” The title track offers a take-no-prisoners attack on raw ambition as kinetic beats, incendiary horn and synth blasts, and a screaming electric guitar solo from Mark Jaimes (Simply Red) ignite this scorching vocal number.

Underneath the invigorating instrumental veneer and the pure power pop panache that make “Driven” a bright, vibrant and an assured listen, there is a vulnerable artist who struggled to overcome an intense personal crisis to complete the record.   

“‘Driven’ is very personal and represents a particularly sensitive and difficult period that I endured emotionally. I started writing it in the midst of a romantic relationship. Tragically, she passed away and I didn’t know if I could finish the album after dealing with depression in the aftermath. But I did and I continue to push forward. That’s what I want the takeaway to be from this album.”  

The “Driven” album contains the following songs:

“My Love”
“Baby Coffee”
“In America, You Can Do It!”
“You Know You Got This”
“Girls Got Moves”
“Make Me Crazy”
“Get Your Smooth On”
“Say Goodbye”
“Never Gonna Leave You”
“Girls Got Moves” (instrumental)

For more information, please visit https://michaeljthomas.net.

USA: Kathy Sanborn -Recollecting You (Pacific Coast Jazz 2017)

Recollecting You 

According to Grammy Award winner Kabir Sehgal, Recollecting You is a romantic tour de force that I defy you to pause once you start listening to it. The songs cover a range of romantic sensations, like waiting breathlessly for a lover to arrive for a rendezvous, getting swept up in the heightened sensations of a new affair, feeling the void of a lover lost, and finding a path back to love in the aftermath, yet it also touches on the love born of family and friendship. Another Sultry Night is quintessential Kathy Sanborn: sensuality as a musical expression. The artist describes the setting as a hot, humid Southern evening with the anticipation of a night of passion hanging in the air. Falling is an achingly beautiful meditation on losing oneself to a romantic fantasy and the possibility of it ever becoming real. Kissed (Shoobop Shoobop), with its upbeat tempo and melody, is an expression of Sanborn's own positive outlook and faith in our ability to carry on no matter what comes our way. The title track is a celebratory musical homage to the past and to its remembrance that was inspired by the experience of a cherished friend of the artist who lost the love of her life. The theme of Heart Don't Tell is the sensual energy of an unrequited, hidden attraction and the risk of its discovery, and Reflections in the Rain conjures up the emotional paradox of a broken-hearted New Yorker emotionally isolated in a teeming city of millions. The Boys Are Back Again is a paean to the gift of absent, beloved family members joyously returned to the fold. Always You is about the phenomenon of love hiding in plain sight until finally recognized and embraced, and Guiding Light is a grateful acknowledgment of a person or spiritual force that can be leaned on and trusted to shepherd us through the vicissitudes of life. The final track, Recollecting You (Snowfall Version), explores love as the fundamental and immortal interplay of two connected souls.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

ITALY:Marco Bittelli- Andrea (Pacific Coast Jazz 2017)


The Italian jazz guitarist and composer, Marco Bittelli has a long-standing interest in Latin Jazz music, first touched on with his first CD, Libera, twenty years ago. Andrea expands on that affinity and on the guitarist's interest in Cuban and Brasilian music. The result is this original mix of slow- to up-tempo pieces, limpid original songs that are filled with romanticism and lyricism. The rhythms, typical of Latin music, are combined with melodies rooted in the Italian's melodic tradition. The CD presents three Bossa Novas at different tempos, including Andrea, the title track. To this, Bittelli has added an Habanera, Notte Cubana (A Cuban Night), and a Samba, Che Rumba, arranged by Italian guitarist and composer Davide Brillante. These songs are perfectly continuous with the traditional material. A Waltz for Weiser is written in the tradition of Jazz waltzes, while On the wrong side of Town is a fast Latin Jazz tune with dissonant harmonies. Jibacoa is a song for Piano and Cello, inspired by the music of Cuban composer Ignacio Cervantes, composed with Davide Brillante. The music is enhanced by a series of excellent musicians and guests. Gregory Yasinitsky on Tenor and Alto Sax, Ann Yasinitsky on Flute, Brian Ploeger on Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Brian Ward on Piano, David Snider on Double Bass, David Jarvis on Drums and Percussions. Vincenzo De Franco (Cello) and Dimitri Sillato (Piano) adds their own touch on Jibacoa. Vern Sielert adds its Jazz voice on Trumpet on An afternoon with Charles. Andrea is true to its Latin and Italian inspired origins, while creating its own original moods.

JAPAN: Emi Meye- Monochrome(2017)

With an interesting blend of jazz, soul and pop, Tokyo-based singer/songwriter Emi Meyer has carved out a wide-ranging career in Japan with her songs featured in TV, movies and advertising, and her performances ranging from small jazz clubs to major stages throughout Asia. For her debut U. S. recording, Meyer combines music from a set recorded in Paris with Belgian pianist Eric Legnini's French quartet, and new originals recorded in Seattle and featuring guitarist Dan Balmer & pianist Dawn Clement. From her own compositions to classics like 'I'd Rather Go Blind' from Etta James' songbook, Michael Buble's 'Home,' or 'What A Wonderful World,' Emi's intimate readings project poignancy and grace, tying them all together in an engaging package.

USA: CHRIS ROGERS "VOYAGE HOME" CD-Release Party Thursday, August 31st 8pm @ ZINC BAR

CD Release Party
Thursday, August 31st 8pm
82 W 3rd Street, NYC, NY 10012
(Thompson & Sullivan)

Chris Rogers - trumpet, flugelhorn,keyboards & composer
Roger Rosenberg - baritone & soprano saxophones
Oscar Perez - piano
Jay Anderson - bass
Steve Johns - drums
Willie Martinez - percussion
plus special guests TBA

The concept of Family is so fundamental to musical development, especially in New York City where so many families-by-choice evolve through shared musical experiences in its huge artistic melting pot. For the outstanding trumpeter/composer Chris Rogers, that family essence is at the heart and soul of his personal vision, and in full evidence on his remarkable debut album Voyage Home for Art of Life Records.

Chris has been blessed to be a part of multiple families – his deeply musical birth family that included his father, the legendary Salsa and jazz trombonist Barry Rogers; the extended family surrounding the Brecker Brothers (alongside whom Barry played in the seminal jazz fusion ensemble Dreams); and his own family of collaborators who he has met through his own participation in the ensembles of a virtual who’s who of contemporary music. All of these components are brewed together in the sumptuous feast that is Voyage Home.

“Listening to Mike, Randy and my dad playing together, and all Barry’s great solos on those classic Eddie Palmieri sides pretty much informed my concepts … and have been such towering influences upon me – that the music here can be considered a direct reflection of their incredible spirits.”

Dedicated to Michael Brecker (who lends his spectacular artistry on two tracks that Chris was fortunate to record with him before his tragically premature departure), this album also includes many artists – in person and through some individual track dedications (including Don Grolnick, Lew Soloff Mike Lawrence, Ray Barretto) – closely allied with the expansive Brecker Brothers’ legacy. But like all tributes in their finest form, the real homage is embodied in the creation of a personal statement in a singular vision by an artist honed through that spirit. The nine Chris Rogers originals contained here truly embody that concept. They also reflect the broad palette of personal musical experiences that Chris has had in his own journey alongside such diverse luminaries as Gerry Mulligan, Eddie Palmieri, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Chaka Khan, Mongo Santamaria, Maria Schneider, Ray Barretto, Lee Konitz, Tom Harrell… and the list goes on and on. This long overdue first album as a leader blends all those ingredients into a heady brew that is adventurous, celebratory and captivating.

Chris has assembled a stellar crew for this maiden voyage, musically connected with him and with each other, powerfully contributing to the remarkable synergy that is at play throughout the album.  The brilliant bass/drums tandem of Jay Anderson and Steve Johns provide flawless, seemingly telepathic support throughout, whether driving ferociously, warmly embellishing, or grooving smoothly Powerhouse pianist Xavier Davis melds with them perfectly on six tracks, adding a few stunning solos as well.  Synthesizer/ keyboard wizard Mark Falchook joins the rhythm section on three.

In addition to the two tracks with Mike, the splendid tenor and alto saxophonist Ted Nash performs on four; while baritone saxophonist Roger Rosenberg and trombonist Art Baron perform on a very special dedication to Barry Rogers – enhanced by the great man himself on an introductory trombone cadenza (thanks to the blessings of technology) with a most fitting statement drawn from Palmieri’s 1965 classic album Mozambique. The great guitarist Steve Khan is included on three tracks, two of which include the fine conguero/percussionist Willie Martinez.

Drawn upon his Miles/Brecker/Harrell/Woody Shaw influences, Rogers’ impeccable trumpet playing – articulate, exploratory, adventurous, utterly musical and virtuosic, but never for its own sake or ostentatious in any way – is eminently showcased, but totally in keeping with the overall context of the album and always leaving plenty of room for the others to offer their own prodigious contributions. The repertoire is terrific, showcasing Chris’ superb compositional and arranging talents in a nicely diverse array of works that are exciting, lyrical and structured to provide inspired launching points for the exploratory tales told within. Ballads, Latin, hard boppish funk and blues, and rip-roaring smokers are all part of the mix.

There is a 3-track “suite” of sorts – the jaunty Rebecca born as a samba, evolving into  straight-up Afro/Cuban; the beautiful love song Ever After; and the intriguingly angular Six Degrees – in which Chris adds his own notable keyboard skills to the mix on two pieces along with his trumpet – Harmon-muted on a pair. Khan is prominently present on all three with exceptional solos and his marvelous signature comping; and Martinez’ percussion mastery adds a fervid glow.

Roger and Art join Chris and Ted in a richly sumptuous 4-horn soundscape on the poignant paean to Barry Rogers, Ballad for B.R. launched by Barry Rogers’ “borrowed” radiant trombone cadenza, and featuring compelling solos by Chris, Nash (on alto) and Rosenberg. Nash – virile, muscular and boldly creative – is prominently featured on tenor with Chris on the front line for three other tracks. The title track Voyage Home is an atmospheric journey that evokes that profound essence of the progressive 60s’ Blue Note music in its daring, fully in-command approach with imaginative and confrontational solos by both hornmen. The Mask is a deliciously jagged funk-fest with soulful tenor, riveting trumpet and vibrant piano solos – in a groove that while relaxed is also high in heat. And the album closer,  The 12-Year Itch is a jubilant funky-hard-bop shuffle with nicely swaggering horn turns.

Michael Brecker, who always brought his all fully to the music, is absolutely sensational on his two tracks. The album opener Counter Change is a straightforward hard-bop blues with some edgy changes that sets the tone for exhilarating Rogers, two-fisted Davis and sinewy, full bodied Brecker. Whit’s End (named for Whit Sidener, one of Chris’ teachers, and dedicated to Brecker) is a deftly syncopated romp driven by an insistent piano/bass ostinato with delightful rhythmic shifting from blazing drive to Latin and peppered with touches of rubato. Rogers’ thoughtful solo is beautifully constructed and sets the path for a monster Brecker solo – gutty, incandescent and absolutely scorching – that epitomizes his indelible and immortal spirit.

It may have taken a long time for Chris Rogers to finally make his own statement on record, but Voyage Home will certainly last in the memory and set the tone for much more to come from this extraordinary artist.
Chris Rogers: “Voyage Home”
(Art of Life AL1045-2)
Street Date: February 3, 2017

Chris Rogers: trumpet, keyboards; Michael Brecker: tenor saxophone;
Ted Nash: tenor & alto saxophone; Steve Khan: guitar;
Xavier Davis: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Steve Johns: drums;
Barry Rogers: trombone; Roger Rosenberg: baritone saxophone; Art Baron: trombone;
Mark Falchook: synthesizer/keyboards; Willie Martinez: congas, percussion

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