New Jazz Adds – 1/19/2021
Michael & Peter Formanek – Dyads (Out Of Your Head): “Michael and Peter Formanek started making music and improvising together before Peter started school. Regular visits to their home from friends and colleagues like Tim Berne, Jim Black, Marty Ehrlich and many others only served to normalize this as being an essential part of human interaction. During much of their time living in Baltimore and as Peter began to study music formally (first on guitar then on saxophones and woodwinds), it was just part of daily life to have musicians come by to play, rehearse, or just hang out. This eventually turned into regular groups and collaborations that performed in local venues in and around Baltimore. For Peter’s eighteenth birthday they played a night of Michael’s music at the Cornelia Street Cafe with a lineup of Tim Berne and Peter Formanek on saxophones, Jacob Sacks on piano, Jim Black on drums, and Michael Formanek on bass. Peter went to University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2013 to study with the great Andrew Bishop, and sometime after Peter’s graduation in 2017 he and Michael decided to perform as a duo. They embarked on their first tour together in November 2019 spanning the upper midwest, mid-Atlantic, and northeastern US, and soon after booked a studio date to record the music presented here as Dyads.” (https://outofyourheadrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dyads) Click here to listen to “Hoarse Syrinx” from this release.
Marya Lawrence – Paying The Bills (Madamorphosis): This release is a tribute to singer Marya Lawrence’s favorite “Bills”, including songs by Billy Preston, Arnie Lawrence, Billy Eckstine, Billie Holiday and Bill Withers with three of her own songs. She backed by a variety of musicians including Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein and Freddie Bryant (guitar); Cameron Brown and Jennifer Vincent (bass) and Jennifer Vincent (bass) a with cameo performances by Mino Cinelu (percussion), Gregoire Maret (harmonica), Scott Lawrence (trumpet) and Marya Lawrence (shaker). The set is her homage to her favorites. Click here to listen to one of her original compositions on this release.
Hendrik Meurkens – Manhattan Samba (Height Advantage): “Ever since he started taking harmonica solos in the mid-’50s, Toots Thielemans has been without any close competition on his instrument, at least until Hendrik Meurkens arrived on the scene. Born in Germany to Dutch parents, Meurkens began as a vibraphonist, not playing harmonica until he heard Thielemans when he was 19. He traveled to the U.S. to study at Berklee and spent time in Brazil in the early ’80s, during which he immersed himself in Brazilian jazz. Back in Berlin, Meurkens worked in the studios, but also recorded with the Danish Radio Orchestra and had his own jazz group. He made a record in Brazil for the Bellaphon label (1989) and since 1991 has recorded several sets for Concord and Concord Picante as a leader, in addition to appearing on records as a sideman with Charlie Byrd.” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/hendrik-meurkens-mn0000575401/biography) “I’ve always been attracted to music that focuses on melody and harmonic beauty. That could be Bach, of course, but for me, the perfect music is Brazilian because of its sympathetic emotional context.” Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi observes, “Hendrik’s understanding of the Brazilian music vocabulary is absolute…His music feels like the work of a native Brazilian composer. Hendrik Meurkens is one of those rare musicians who makes you listen to his instrument – the harmonica – as a virtuoso instrument.” (http://hendrikmeurkens.com/biography/hendrikmeurkensbiography.pdf) Click here to listen to samples of songs on this release.
Yamile Montero & Christos Asinitis – Rapsodia Cubana (Naxos): “The Cuban classical pianist Yamile Cruz Montero and the Greek jazz drummer Christos Asonitis are a couple in life and in music. Although they come from two different musical worlds, they have found a common language. Both of them arrange classical to contemporary Cuban piano music with great precision and feeling, such as compositions by Aldo López Gavilán, Andrés Alén, José Maria Vitier & Ernán López-Nussa for piano and percussion. They present the traditional and popular Cuban music styles and fuse them with influences from world music. Some of the works leave space for improvisation, which the two musicians use with creative enthusiasm. The international duo has already played live in Cuba, Germany, Great Britain and Greece. They are very proud to present their debut album as a creative duo: Rapsodia Cubana.“Magical, authentic, touching” (The New Listener)” This is wonderfully beautiful fusion music without electronics, but filled with beauty and excitement. Click here for a short teaser of the music on this disc.
Redtenbacher’s Funkestra – The Hang (RSB Records): Funk is the key word on this platter. “The Funkestra’s name pretty accurately describes the high-energy feel of the music as Stefan Redtenbacher’s band, with its fiery two-horn frontline and slinky guitar, perform original funky grooves with an authority and style that is hard to beat.// Their ninth album “The Time Thief” which builds upon their patented sonic brand but raises the ante, referencing influences from old-school New Orleans blues to scale patterns reminiscent of Weather Report and enriched further by an intriguing mix of effects & filters, conjuring up memories of retro sounds from the 1960s & 70s. It’s a heady brew indeed and, as with their previous recordings, wonderfully showcases the raw energy and funk-driven bass riffs with which the band are now synonymous. Their shows, which always include regular Guest Vocalists like Brendan Reilly (Soul Family) or Helena-May (Afro Cluster). The band is highly entertaining, with tremendous musicianship applied to some amazing music. MEMBERS: Stefan Redtenbacher (bass, bandleader), Mike Sturgis (drums), Eran Kendler (guitar), Rob Taggart/Dave Limina (keys), Sid Gauld/Paul Jordanous (trumpet), Simon Allen/Rob Fowler (tenor sax), Brendan Reilly/Helena-May (vocals). Carpe Funkem!” (https://www.reverbnation.com/rpk/bio/1369420) Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
David Restivo Trio – Arancina (Chronograph Records): “Spanning a lifetime of travels and tribulations, this album explores the transitivity of home in all its forms. With each track, Restivo illustrates his journey through a diverse landscape of food, language, and culture, all the while discovering how these elements have come together to form his own sense of self. As expertly crafted as they are distinct, these works will have you flying over the Northumberland Strait one minute and dancing through the streets of Sicily the next. ”Train to Catania” pulls us in with soothing, rolling harmonies that blend together as seamlessly as pastels on a canvas. Down the tracks we go, through the spicy streets of Palermo and on to a moonlit Modica, rich with colors that lull the ear into a hypnotic tranquility. We awake to the long-awaited taste of ”Arancina”, a treat lush with joyful flavors. The sly modulations and energetic drive of ”Raven’s Wing” take us in a refreshingly new direction, and are balanced out by a wandering, sultry take on Coltrane’s ”Giant Steps”. Fawn Fritzen’s vocals lend a ray of sunshine to ”Bittersweet Goodbye”, and the album closes with a reassuringly upbeat and sizzling finale, alive with the electricity of Bebop.” (https://mvdb2b.com/s/DavidRestivoArancina/CR-082) I regret I am unable to find a sample from this release.
The Jazz All Stars – Le Coq Records Presents, V1 (Le Coq): “In a short time, Le Coq has assembled a family of stellar musicians who converge in myriad combinations on The Le Coq Jazz All Stars, exploring a wide variety of styles and approaches. The names are well known, and some have crossed paths briefly during the course of their notable careers, but these recordings surprisingly mark the first time that many of them have worked extensively together. The results are a rare treat for modern jazz aficionados, especially given the versatility and range of the well-known musicians who comprise the album’s line-up: keyboardists Bill Cunliffe and John Beasley; bassists John Patitucci and Chris Colangelo; drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Marvin “Smitty” Smith and Joe LaBarbera; percussionist Alex Acuña; trumpeters Terell Stafford and Wayne Bergeron; saxophonists Rick Margitza and Ralph Moore; guitarist Jake Langley and vocalist Andy James, among others….he material on this initial release ranges from absorbing original tunes to reinterpreted classics like “Caravan” and “Afro Blue.” It’s a cohesive single album that nonetheless showcases the stunning artistic breadth and impeccable musicianship for which the label strives.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137851119-the-le-coq-all-stars-the-jazz-all-stars-album-vol1-2021.html) Click here to check out the Jazz All Stars’ version of “Caravan”.
The Scenes – Trapeze (Origin): “In 2000, master guitarist John Stowell met with the 8 year-old Seattle trio of drummer John Bishop, bassist Jeff Johnson & saxophonist Rick Mandyck to record the 2001 release “Scenes.” Soon after, Mandyck retired his tenor for health reasons and the remaining trio carried on, recording five more albums and performing widely over these 20 years. Mandyck’s participation on this session marks the first time he has entered the studio on tenor since that 2000 recording, creating a moving moment for the others as he brings along not only his singular musical voice, but five compositions to inspire the core trio, opening up new pathways of conversation. Whether traversing the tumbling landscape of Mandyck’s “The Reckoning,” or sliding into Claudine Francois’ beautifully hypnotic title track, the eclectic quartet glides toward a known destination while discovering the course in the moment. There is history to guide their impulse, intuition to find their way.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137823431-scenes-trapeze-2020.html) Click here to listen to samples of two songs on this release.
Cory Weeds – O Sole Mio! (Cellar Live): “Cory Weeds delivers a blistering set of Italian themed tunes backed up by one of the pre-eminent organs bands in jazz today! The results speak for themselves: swinging bop lines executed by all, crackling rhythm section accompaniment and interaction, and an ensemble sound that underscores the values of swing, groove and participatory interaction over a carefully selected set of compositions–thanks to the support of Giulio Recchioni and the Italian Cultural Centre–that celebrate through reinvention and interpretation some great Italian music (“O Sole Mio,” “Toma A Surriento”), as well as compositions taken from the rich history of contribution that Italian-Americans have brought to jazz and the American popular song (Marmarosa, Corea, Martino, Mancini). Although to some, perhaps, the ideas presented here may appear on the surface to be disparate and tangentially connected: a jazz version of “O Sole Mio,” a fifth instrumentalist added to a longstanding quartet or even the Hammond B3 organ in jazz (a relatively late addition to the music’s instrumentarium with an unusual historical pedigree of roller rinks and makeshift churches), jazz has long been about thwarting normative conventions and looking for points of intersection that connect and unite players and sounds that span nationalities, race, language, gender and musical history.” (https://coryweeds.bandcamp.com/album/o-sole-mio-music-from-the-motherland) Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Will Zimmer – Hangout Theory (Self-produced): “Will Zimmer is an up-and-coming trombonist and composer, ready to put his stamp on the jazz world. His numerous musical influences include traditional jazz, funk, soul, and bebop. These styles influence the music he plays and writes, and they will be featured on his debut album, “Hangout Theory.” The release date is set for January 15, 2021. In addition to composing and arranging, Will is an avid performer and has had the opportunity to perform alongside notable musicians such as Wycliff Gordon, Jason Palmer, Tonya Darby, Shery Maricle, Maurice Hines, Clay Jenkins, Rich Perry, and John Nyerges. Will currently resides in Boston, MA, where he frequently performs at venues such as Wally’s, Post Underground, and the Bebop. Will is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music (B.A. in Professional Music) and the Eastman School of Music (M.M. in Jazz and Contemporary Media Studies).” (https://www.willzimmermusic.com/bio) I am unable to list the other players on this release, but you can listen to the music on this disc by clicking here.