New Jazz & Blues – 9/6/2022

New Jazz & Blues – 9/6/2022

New Jazz Releases:

Antonio Adolfo – Octet And Originals (AAM): “After having recently issued two superb albums featuring respectively the music of Milton Nasciamento and Antonio Carlos Jobim, pianist/composer/band leader/educator Antonio Adolfo turns to his own creations. His group consists of the usual suspects found on many of his large discography: Jorge Helder, acoustic bass; Rafael Barata, drums and percussion; Rafael Rocha, trombone; Marcelo Martins, tenor saxophone and flute; and Danilo Sinna, alto saxophone. For this surprisingly varied album, Ricardo Silveira is the guitarist, and of course Adolfo is at the keyboard. The musical sound of Adolfo is mellow, richly arranged jazz with broad harmonies flavored with Brazilian rhythms and the spirit of Rio de Janeiro, his home town, and urban America, site of his Florida music school. This happy, comfortable album of gentle dances and ballads mixed with moderately up-tempo studies is perfect for early evening listening. The opening piece is Heart of Brazil, a sophisticated Cariocan exposition with fine solos of trombone and piano and a bossa beat. Next comes a fusion of the Northeast Brazilian baiao syncopated duple dance meter with boogie-woogie and American saxophone blues. Emaú, the following work, meaning ‘it’s bad,’ has the contemporary connotation, being brassy street funk. With snare drum introduction, Cascavel [Rattlesnake] scoots along with trumpet and guitar solos. Nearly a 1980’s TV theme, Pretty World, is a piano-dominant song against saxophone improvisations and guitar licks; so, naturally, the next piece is Teletema, with sweet trombone phrasing. Feito Em Casa [Homemade] is the opportunity for tenor saxophone expansions; it is a long way from Brazil. Minor Chord has noir shadows and Jobim winks. The zabumba is a carried bass drum of the Northeast often heard with a triangle and flute. Zabumbaia takes us to Pernambuco and dancing. Closing out this excellent collection of originals is Toada Moderna, Modern Tune. Quiet, smooth horn harmonies and flowing piano notes leave the listener uplifted and filled with joy. This album so ably demonstrates that Antonio Adolfo, age 75, known for his talent in cover arrangements, also knows a thing or two about writing wonderful originals.”  Click here to listen to samples on this set.

Roberta Brenza – It’s My Turn To Color Now (Origin): “Her delightfully casual and welcoming voice, defying gravity in a manner not unlike a legend such as Blossom Dearie or peer Kat Edmonson, has the special charm that’s easy on the ears with the potential to stir your heart.
(John Ephland) Coming to performing later in life, Chicago-based vocalist/songwriter Roberta Brenza makes the most of this debut recording experience as she enlists a brilliant team of playmates — producer & drummer Matt Wilson, pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Cameron Brown, and saxophonist Stacy Dillard, along with special guest, legendary vocalist Sheila Jordan. Together they sculpt an intriguing set of thoughtfully arranged songs such as “Watch What Happens” and “Bye Bye Blackbird,” jazz standards like “Take Five” and Don Cherry’s “Art Deco,” along with two revealing Brenza originals. Having lived in both French and Italian-speaking cultures, she also offers fresh takes on “Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves)” and “Estate.” Channeling the long-developing feelings of music she was first exposed to as a child listening to her father’s collection, Brenza presents as a full-formed package, revealing new insights from the lyrics as she paints from a vibrant musical palette.” (https://originarts.com/recordings/recording.php?TitleID=82852) Other information from Brenza:  Be sure to listen Brenda’s to get and full delight!

The Al Foster Quintet – Reflection (Smoke Sessions): “Legendary Drummer Al Foster son a Lifetime of Encounters with Jazz Icons from Miles and Monk to Herbie and McCoy Reflections Features an All-Star Quintet with Chris Potter, Nicholas Payton, Kevin Hays and Vicente Archer.” Approaching 80 years of age is occasion enough for anyone to take a moment and look back on a life well lived. For revered drummer Al Foster, those eight decades have been more memorable than most, filled with exhilarating sounds and encounters with some of the music’s most iconic figures. On Reflections, his second album for Smoke Sessions Records, Foster revisits the work of several of his legendary peers alongside an inspiring quintet of all-stars: Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Chris Potter on tenor saxophone, Kevin Hays on piano and keyboards, and Vicente Archer on bass….playing at rarefied levels of chops, creativity and musicality. Throughout the session he propels this supremely talented unit through fresh, vital treatments of well-known and less-traveled numbers by iconic legends Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, and McCoy Tyner, all of whom regarded Foster as their first-call drummer for long portions of his celebrated career – at times competing for his services. Band members Payton, Potter and Hays contribute a tune apiece, while Foster penned three well-wrought songs, including two homages to Thelonious Monk that bookend the program. The follow-up to his well-received 2019 Smoke Sessions debut, Inspirations & Dedications, is Foster’s fifth leader recording and, as even the notoriously self-critical drummer surprisingly says, “It is my best record as a leader.” Bringing together the influences he gleaned and experiences he shared with his idols and peers with the rejuvenating energy of this younger cohort of brilliant players, the humble Foster takes well-deserved pride in his accomplishments.
“As I’m aging, I can’t believe all the things I’ve been able to do,” Foster says. “I’ve been blessed, and I’m so proud of the things I’ve done with really great musicians. I don’t play like my idols, though I loved every one of them and I hear them in me. When I was coming up, I was trying to play like Art Taylor and my solos were like Max Roach. When I heard Tony Williams, and then Joe Chambers and Jack DeJohnette, I said to myself, ‘What about me? How come I don’t hear my own stuff?’ I wanted so badly to find Al Foster. I prayed for it. I believe in God, and I think he gave it to me. To this day he’s giving me new ideas and new little tricks.” (Click here to complete this article…. Reflections opens and closes with Foster’s tributes to the great Thelonious Monk, one of his primary heroes (His third original, “Anastasia,” is an ode to his eldest granddaughter). Foster first had an opportunity to work with the formidable pianist, during a couple of weeks in 1969 at Manhattan’s Village Gate, but his imprimatur remained on the drummer’s music. “Most of my tunes have some Monk in them,” Foster says. “It’s not the notes. It’s some of his accents. It isn’t deliberate but when I sit at the piano, it just happens that way. I worship Monk and I miss him dearly. He was a sweetheart. A really strange character…oh my God. But that’s who he was. That’s why he wrote the way he wrote – different than anybody. I fell in love with him at a young age.” (Click to open the complete article (https://dlmediamusic.com/artists/al-foster/al-foster-reflections-available-august-26-via-smoke-sessions-records/) Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.

Hanka G – Universal Ancestry (Culture Bridge): “Hanka G is a New York-based jazz, soul, R&B, world music, and gospel singer & lyricist originally from Slovakia, growing up in the Mongolian desert. Considered one of the most talented jazz singers of the present times with her powerfully sensitive, gospel-filled voice, she is the rising star in the US and world jazz scene, fusing Slovak folk music with jazz, R&B, soul & gospel, and performing with her band all over the world. HANKA is a soulful singer who stretches the boundaries of jazz with her multi-cultural sensibilities masterfully fusing Slovak folk music with jazz, soul, and gospel music. She transcends any sort of limitations that the designation “jazz sings” might put on her. HANKA has been acknowledged by her mentor Cassandra Wilson as “The Best of the Next Generation”.
Born in Slovakia, HANKA spent her childhood years in the Mongolian desert with her parents, who were professors of geology. Some of the first melodies she learned were Mongolian, and the experience left a profound mark on her life. Besides being a professor, her father sang and played guitar and loved American rock ‘n roll. After the 1989 revolution that finally rid the country of communism, Slovakia opened to the rest of the world, and HANKA became especially fond of Motown music. During her university studies and after a short stay in the United States, she won a grant from a Slovak music organization to record her debut album and had the opportunity to work with the best musicians in Slovakia. Her new album UNIVERSAL ANCESTRY is the first album recorded and released in the United States. HANKA has released three albums in Europe, which include Reflections of My Soul (2007), Essence (2014), and Twin Flame (2017). Essence and Twin Flame were both nominated for “Best Jazz Album of the Year” in Slovakia.  HANKA produced the UNIVERSAL ANCESTRY album together with three stellar jazz musicians – JAMES HURT, SHEDRICK MITCHELL, and RODNEY KENDRICK. HANKA says, “My latest project was framed through the lens of an immigrant in the USA trying to unite people with different musical heritages. Regardless of our backgrounds, we all dream about love, happiness, and freedom.” HANKA’s love of jazz grew out of her exposure to the great black American jazz masters, and on UNIVERSAL ANCESTRY, she pays particular tribute to the African American women singers that have influenced her. Joined by a truly stellar group of New York-based musicians, UNIVERSAL ANCESTRY is an opportunity for jazz lovers across the country and the world to appreciate HANKA’s unique blend of musical styles that have captivated New York audiences. When Cassandra Wilson was touring Europe, HANKA’S album Essence caught Wilson’s attention, and she hired HANKA as an opening act for her concert in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The two became friends, and Wilson became HANKA’s mentor. Wilson invited HANKA to come to the U.S., and in 2016 HANKA moved to New York City where she quickly established her singing career. Currently, HANKA is actively performing at all NYC jazz hot spots and tours the world. Besides being actively involved & performing in the US jazz scene, HANKA was also the guest lead singer for the Memorial Baptist Church in Harlem for almost two years.
Prior to moving to the US, HANKA opened for Kurt Elling in Slovakia and toured with Rodney Kendrick’s trio in South Africa. During her most recent European tours in 2018 and 2019, she performed with jazz legends bassist Reggie Workman, drummer Taru Alexander and Grammy award-winning bassist Michael Bowie. She has performed and recorded with Anthony Wonsey, Marvin Sewell, Sherrod Barnes, Ron Jackson, Marcus McLaurine, Lonnie Plaxico, Rashaan Carter, Essiet Okon Essiet, and David Ginyard, Antoine Roney, and Nathaniel Townsley, among others. HANKA has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Slovak lifetime achievement award in the jazz category and the “Martoník’s Award” in 2017, being the second female jazz artist ever to receive this honor in the 31 years of the award’s existence.” (https://www.hankag.com/bio) Click here to listen to a sample of this release.

Victor Haskins – ikigai – (Self-produced): Victor Haskins is a multi-instrumentalist, multidisciplinary artist, international performer, composer, improviser, bandleader, and educator.  Haskins creates transformative, sound-based works which channel the power of human connection, immediacy, and inventiveness to engage with time and space. As a performer, Victor has appeared at the Henrico, Richmond, Elkhart, and Apex Jazz Festivals, the Kennedy Center REACH Opening Festival, the Richmond 2nd Street and East End Festivals, the Festival of New Trumpet Music (NYC), and the Christopher Newport University Trumpet Festival. He has performed in venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage (Washington, D.C.), the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts (Richmond, VA), the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art (Richmond, VA), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Ewell Hall (Williamsburg, VA), the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD), the Jazz Gallery (NYC), iBeam (NYC), Résonance Café (Montreal, CA), Diese Onze (Montreal, CA), Snug Harbor (New Orleans, LA), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa), and Teatro SESI Rio Vermelho (Salvador, Bahia, BR), amongst others. In addition, some of Victor’s activities are supported by grants from CultureWorks RVA, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment of the Arts.As a recording artist, Haskins has released 3 albums of his original music that defy genre categorization.  Victor recorded and released his first album, The Truth, in 2013; this album features a quintet of improvisers exploring a wide range of emotions in a primarily acoustic setting.  Haskins released his second album of original compositions, Showing Up, in 2019, featuring SKEIN, Victor’s main working ensemble.  This album reflects Victors developments and experiments with a group sound that combines electronic sound design and live audio processing with his classic hallmark of intricate ensemble interplay and cinematic story arcs within compositions.  Most recently in 2022, Haskins performed with SKEIN on his 3rd album release: Ikigai.  Ikigai is a Japanese concept which loosely translates to “reason for living” in English.  The music on this album is directly inspired by the philosophies that guide Victor’s life and personal interactions.  CultureWorks Richmond awarded Victor a grant for the 2021-22 season to produce Ikigai.  To accomplish this goal, Victor Haskins & SKEIN performed a series of eight free concerts for the Richmond community which Victor recorded and subsequently mixed and pressed into a CD.As a performance artist, Haskins has been selected to present his sound-based, multidisciplinary works via his ImproviStory concept for a variety of occasions and organizations. The William & Mary Library commissioned Haskins to create a new work, “Frame”, to celebrate the new Arts Quarter at the university in 2022.  This piece featured the confluence of musical improvisation, conversation with the audience, and new media.  The Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) Performing & Visual Arts Magnet Program commissioned Victor to create an original, multidisciplinary work for their teacher professional-development seminar in August of 2019. His creation, entitled “The American Way”, examines lynching of African-Americans in post-Civil War America in relation to killings of African-Americans at the hands of police in the modern era.  CultureWorks Richmond commissioned Victor to create and perform “Be/Flow”, a collaborative performance involving improvised sound, improvised dance, new media, and improvised staging.  Victor was selected to present original, multidisciplinary works for 1708 Gallery’s large-scale, light-based art installation (called InLight) for both the 2019 and 2020 events.  For InLight 2019, Haskins presented “Chimborazo, in Every Sense of the Name (1865-1866)”, an exploration of the true story of Chimborazo as a refugee camp for newly-freed African-Americans in 1865 in Richmond, VA, and the conditions which precipitated the camp’s demise in 1866.  For InLight 2020, Haskins presented a reimagined version of his previous work, “The American Way”.  The new performance, “The American Way (Hindsight is 2020)”, reprised the ever-relevant material of the original presentation, and added content addressing the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of law enforcement. As an educator, Victor directs the In-School Jazz Ensembles for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and teaches Jazz Trumpet, Improvisation, and the Jazz Ensemble at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  Previously, he served on the faculty of the inaugural Izmir International Jazz Camp in Izmir, Turkey. Haskins has given educational presentations at institutions such as the Jazz Education Network Conference, the University of Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Royal Academy of Music (England), Conservatoir Nadia et Lili Boulanger (France), the University of Richmond, TEDxVCU, and TEDxLizardCreek.  As a curator, Haskins is the Director of the Ewell Concert Series at William & Mary. Victor holds a Jazz Studies/Performance degree from Virginia Commonwealth University where he completed the 4-year music program in only 3 years (the first and only person to ever accomplish this feat).  Haskins was a member of the 2013 class of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Residency at the Kennedy Center. Victor Haskins is proud to be sponsored by Eclipse Trumpets, and Denis Wick mouthpieces. Click here to listen to the music on these songs.   Victor Haskins is a multi-instrumentalist, multidisciplinary artist, international performer, composer, improviser, bandleader, and educator.  Haskins creates transformative, sound-based works which channel the power of human connection, immediacy, and inventiveness to engage with time and space. Click here to listen to two songs on this release.

Allan Hirt – moving forward (Megahirtz): “This is the physical release of the album Moving Forward. While it’s not limited edition, more will only be pressed if needed. This will be opened and signed by Allan. With this version you also get the download of the album in high resolution 96/24 (what the album was recorded in). Remember to choose a lossless format such as FLAC….” Click here to listen to the songs on this release.

Calvin Keys – Blue Keys (Wide Hive): “CALVIN KEYS Blue Keys featuring legends Gary Bartz, and Steve Turre. On nine new recordings Calvin delivers outstanding guitar performances that clearly demonstrate why he is considered an all time great. Joining Calvin are Black Jazz Records compatriot Henry Franklin, Gregory Howe (Throttle Elevator Music) and Strata East conga player Babatunde Lea. “Calvin is a natural. His playing is so deep in the pocket, it comes off elegant and effortless.” (Mercury News) “Jazz guitarist Calvin Keys is a legend among soul-jazz fans for his appearances as a session and touring musician and a catalog of releases under his own name. His 1971 Black Jazz debut, Shawn-Neeq, and his sophomore outing for the label, 1974’s Proceed with Caution, are both considered jazz-funk classics. Keys’ playing style is lean and muscular. His unique phrasing balances sophisticated jazz harmonics with funky R&B and soul grooves. Since the 1960s, Keys has worked as a session and touring player with Ahmad Jamal and others. His own recordings, including 1985’s Full Court Press, 2001’s Detours Into Unconscious Rhythms, and 2013’s Electric Keys have all been celebrated in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The star-studded Blue Keys, followed in 2022 and included saxophonist Gary Bartz, trombonist Steve Turre, and bassist Henry Franklin.

Keys was born in 1943 in Omaha, Nebraska. His first musical influence was his father Otis, a well-known drummer on the city’s music scene. He passed the music bug on to Calvin, who picked up the guitar early. Keys eventually landed his first notable gig as a member of Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s band when he was 17. He first hit the road with sax player Little Walkin’ Willie that same year before moving to Kansas City. There, his first gigs were with Preston Love (of the Count Basie Orchestra) and later the Frank Edwards Organ Trio. After woodshedding with Edwards, he landed a spot in organist Jimmy Smith’s road trio. After leaving Smith, Keys worked for the rest of the ’60s with Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, and Richard “Groove” Holmes.” (    Jazz guitarist Calvin Keys is a legend among soul-jazz fans for his appearances as a session and touring musician and a catalog of releases under his own name. His 1971 Black Jazz debut, Shawn-Neeq, and his sophomore outing for the label, 1974’s Proceed with Caution, are both considered jazz-funk classics. Keys’ playing style is lean and muscular. His unique phrasing balances sophisticated jazz harmonics with funky R&B and soul grooves. Since the 1960s, Keys has worked as a session and touring player with Ahmad Jamal and others. His own recordings, including 1985’s Full Court Press, 2001’s Detours Into Unconscious Rhythms, and 2013’s Electric Keys have all been celebrated in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The star-studded Blue Keys, followed in 2022 and included saxophonist Gary Bartz, trombonist Steve Turre, and bassist Henry Franklin. Keys was born in 1943 in Omaha, Nebraska. His first musical influence was his father Otis, a well-known drummer on the city’s music scene. He passed the music bug on to Calvin, who picked up the guitar early. Keys eventually landed his first notable gig as a member of Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s band when he was 17. He first hit the road with sax player Little Walkin’ Willie that same year before moving to Kansas City. There, his first gigs were with Preston Love (of the Count Basie Orchestra) and later the Frank Edwards Organ Trio. After woodshedding with Edwards, he landed a spot in organist Jimmy Smith’s road trio. After leaving Smith, Keys worked for the rest of the ’60s with Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, and Richard “Groove” Holmes. (https://www.rabox.is/3137986750-calvin-keys-blue-keys-2022.html)   Click here to listen to samples of the songs of the songs on this release. 

Tim Lin – Romance In Formosa (Linsanity): “One of the most exciting milestones in a musician’s career is their first recording, and in Tenor Saxophonist Tim Lin’s case, his first public offering bears the hallmarks of an emerging artist stepping onto the scene for the long haul. The evocative title chosen by the Taiwanese-American saxophonist, “Romance in Formosa” is as much a play on words (the record is a standards album composed of 5 romantic gems drawn from that mighty repertorial benchmark, The Great American Songbook as well as a Sonny Rollins tune and an original composition a piece) as it embodies the strong, eternal values that serve as the pillars of Tim’s burgeoning artistry. Heritage (Taiwan was once the “Republic of Formosa”), Romance (one phrase from Tim’s horn reveals this) and Tradition (the depth of his tone transports one to the golden age of the Jazz art form). However, one mustn’t confuse Tim’s respect and consideration for Jazz and its history with the stodgy traditionalism so prevalent in his generation of straight ahead jazz musicians. Mahler once mused that “Tradition is not the worship of ashes but the Preservation of Fire” and after my first listen, it was apparent that I had just experienced the work of a true Keeper of the Flame. From the first notes of Jay Anderson’s opening bass statement, the listener is transported and then locked into a groove as the solo morphs into a hypnotic repeated figure introducing Tim’s ebullient and refined tenor tone. The pair quickly meets Billy Drummond’s definitive ride cymbal and the band is off to the races morphing from chordless trio to quartet as Andy LaVerne’s deft comping sneaks onto the aural canvas, lifting Tim’s treatment of the melody into the sonic skies with the veteran rhythm section functioning as a buoyant net supporting the jagged and snaky Sonny Rollins line. From there, Tim ambitiously tackles Harry Warren’s “You’re My Everything”- though this 1931 tune has been co-opted by Jazz musicians for well over half a century, it is associated with Freddie Hubbard (it is the first track of Hubbard’s 1962 masterheppard (who was, for many years, a member of Hubbard’s working band). You can clearly hear the influence of the master on his student though the lines become quickly blurred and the result is a joyful exchange between a musician who has seen it all, played it all, done it all, and his star protege. If this isn’t a passing of the torch of the highest level, I’m not sure what is! On a personal note, when I met Tim in New York City in the fall of 2022, he sat in at the late night jam session I run at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, this is the tune Tim called. From his first breathy, complex notes, heads were turned and everyone in the club knew that we were in the presence of an emerging voice to be taken seriously…. This record stands alone as not only the debut record of a new voice in jazz, but as simply a wonderful modern Jazz album. It is rich in conception and nuance and is a testimony to the enduring qualities of the Jazz tradition.” Read the rest and check out the music at –  .

Joe Marcinek Band – 5 (Vintage LeagueMusic): Joe Marcinek Band is an experience you will never forget. That is because each show features a different lineup of musicians creating a different set of music every night. The music is equal parts Chicago Blues, New Orleans Funk, Grateful Dead Psychedelia, and Jazz Fusion!  Joe Marcinek tours nationally from New York to LA and everywhere in between. Most of the lineups will only happen one time making every night a can’t miss show. The group has featured many prominent special guests including Bernie Worrell (P-Funk, Talking Heads), Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band),  George Porter JR (The Meters),  Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Alan Evans (Soulive),  Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Tony Hall (Dumpstaphunk, Dave Mathews & Friends), Shaun Martin (Snarky Puppy, Kirk Franklin), Allen Aucoin (the Disco Biscuits), Marty Sammon (Buddy Guy), Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident / EOTO), Erik “Jesus” Coomes (Lettuce), Borahm Lee (Break Science), Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), Mike Greenfield (Lotus), Borham Lee (Break Science), Steve Molitz (Phil Lesh & Friends / Particle) Joey Porter (The Motet / Juno What), Fareed Haque, Scott Metzger, Nate Werth (Snarky Puppy) Garrett Sayers (The Motet) Allie Kral (Yonder Mountain String Band), Freekbass, Vinnie Amico and Jim Loughlin (moe.) and more! Click here to catch Joe Marcinek and friends.
Joe Policastro Trio – Sounds Unheard (JenJazz): “Sounds Unheard assembles recordings made by the trio from its earliest iteration to the present day. It’s comprised of unused material from the band’s previous albums and additional material done for specialty recording projects. With the exception of one original, the material highlights the trio’s ability to remake unlikely songs in its own raw, highly idiosyncratic fashion.” (https://www.israbox-music.org/year/2022/3137985868-joe-policastro-trio-sounds-unheard-odds-and-ends-2012-2022-2022.html) Click here to listen to samples.

Miro Henry Sobrer – Two of Swords (Patois): “Miró Henry Sobrer’s album, Two of Swords, recounts his struggle to find peace amidst conflicted feelings and thoughts after his father’s death in 2015. Following his father’s death, Miró found himself alone in a world full of political, environmental, and spiritual division. The music of Two of Swords reflects that world and the process of coming to peace with it. This album invites the listener to reflect on those dualities in their own life and to find the peaceful center that lies between them. Vivid poetry, and lush, surreal soundscapes that traverse a variety of jazz, classical, latin, and folkloric music join together to form this sound meditation. In order to take the listener on this journey, the album musically interprets a tarot card, based on the eponymous card from Miró’s father’s tarot book, The Book of Oracles, or a Poet’s Tarot….  Two of Swords, dedicated to Miró’s Catalan father, Josep (Pep) Miquel Sobrer (1944-2014), is an homage to Miró’s heritage and a recollection of his grief. His father, an accomplished writer, translator, and scholar of Spanish and Catalan literature, wrote his own tarot book in a poetic format. The album centers around Josep’s text version of the Two of Swords tarot card. The album features plentiful spoken poetry: the prose-poem corresponding to this card from Josep’s tarot book, and some sonnets by another Catalan poet Josep Janés i Olivé, whose poems accompany Miró’s twisted-arrangement of a song cycle by the renowned Catalan composer Frederic Mompou. (https://www.katesmithpromotions.com/artists/miro-henry-sobrer/) Click here to listen to a song from this play.

Ada Bird Wolfe – odd bird (Self-produced): “Ada Bird Wolfe is a jazz singer and lyricist located in Los Angeles. After many years in other professions, Ms. Wolfe returned to singing, her first love, in 2010. She has performed at venues throughout Southern California including Au Lac, Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill, Gardenia Supper Club, Upstairs at Vitello’s and Bar Fedora. Critics have called her: a “potent jazz singer,” “brilliant” and “magical,” with “stories to tell.” In addition to sets in clubs and restaurants, she has created a number of major shows: The French Show, Vol 1, Jazzography, Chanteuse, Soliloquy and Blues-A-Licious. In 2015 she created Giant Shoulders, a multi-show series exploring jazz musicians and composers, which so far has included: Monk-O-Sphere, And the Word Was Mingus, and The Saint and the Sinner Man: Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Her debut CD Birdie, won critical praise including “Best Releases of 2018” from C. Michael Bailey at All About Jazz.  Her followup album “He and Me” was released October 2020 and was also named “Best Releases of 2020” by C. Michael Bailey at All About Jazz. Her third album, Odd Bird, showcases all original material written by Wolfe and her frequent writing partner Jamieson Trotter.  It was released on July 15, 2022.” Click here to listen to all the songs on this release.

New Blues:

Babaux & The Peacemakers – Lucky 13 (Contra Basso Music): “Babaux & the Peacemakers is a Colorado-based roots-rock quartet led by singer-songwriter and dobro player Cristian Basso, aka Babaux. Basso wrote the song material for their debut release “Lucky 13,” which will drop in July ahead of their SDT performance. The title of the record reflects the number of albums Babaux has written and produced to date. Basso has played alongside of musical greats such as Bo Diddley, Leo Nocentelli (The Meters), Papa Mali, Particle and Eric Lindell. The Peacemakers are made up of three multi-talented songwriters, producers, engineers and musicians and include Eric Martinez on guitar, as well as Alana and Niek Velvis on drums and bass respectively. Each Peacemaker is credited for co-producing their new recording, “Lucky 13.” These blues-roots driven songs are inspired by a time experienced in Basso’s childhood years. He grew up being surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where his mother was a music promoter.  “It’s been amazing to work with the Peacemakers and the Peacemaker Family who all continue to inspire with their multi-talented ways,” says Basso. “The chemistry amongst the band was immediate and positive. It was what drove us in the studio and it made for a mutually refreshing and rejuvenating musical effort.” (https://www.vailvalleypartnership.com/event/babaux-and-the-peacemakers/) Click here to listen to here “Without The Medicine”.

Ryan Lee Crosby – Winter Hill Blues (Self-produced): “Ryan Lee Crosby’s new album Winter Hill Blues captures the timeless power of music from the Mississippi Delta, refracted by influences of Hindustani slide guitar and Crosby’s own unique approach to the style. Its nine songs resonate with a sound and spirit forged from his life as a traveling musician and his studies with masters of the Delta and Indian traditions. Produced by Fat Possum Records’ Bruce Watson at his Delta-Sonic Sound studio in Memphis, Winter Hill Blues is available on June 3 via Bandcamp and streaming platforms. “Of all the world’s musical traditions, the one that speaks to me most directly is the Bentonia style of Delta blues,” Crosby relates. “Something I love about the blues is its timeless ability to express the entire range of the human experience: it’s brightest joys, deepest sorrows and everything in between. By listening to the blues, we can learn how to have compassion for ourselves and others. Its lessons are endless.” And listening to Winter Hill Blues, it’s obvious Crosby has learned them well. The album opens with “I’m Leaving,” driven by a deft, rolling guitar riff supporting the gentle melody of Crosby’s voice as he examines the shadowed corners of the heart, where our motivations are a mystery, even to us. A quartet of songs, “Down So Long,” “Going to Bentonia,” “Slow Down,” and “Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down,” are the album’s core. “They represent all the musical aspects of what I have to offer: electric and acoustic 12-string guitar, the Bentonia, Mississippi, crossnote tuning, lap-style slide guitar, falsetto singing, and the direct influence of Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes and the Bentonia blues tradition he represents.” With Bruce Watson as producer, Crosby knew he was in good hands. “I’ve been deeply influenced by the albums Bruce has been associated with at Fat Possum, including classics by R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Robert Belfour. To work with Bruce brought me full circle.” Crosby was joined for various tracks on Winter Hill Blues by George Sluppick, on drums and percussion, and bassist Mark Edgar Stuart. Today, Crosby’s most crucial influence remains 74-year-old Holmes, who is his mentor and the leading proponent of Bentonia blues—a haunting style characterized by high singing and eerie minor-key melodies, played on open-tuned guitars, that emanates from the small central-Delta town that lends the music its name. After a series of European solo tours that became an odyssey of musical self-discovery through playing long sets and traveling many hours alone, reflecting on his music and life, Crosby’s thirst for new inspiration and his fascination with the Bentonia sound led him there in 2019. He traveled south from his Boston-area home to begin his apprenticeship with Holmes, who learned to play from the Bentonia style’s inventor, Henry Stuckey, and Stuckey’s inheritor Jack Owens. In 2021, Crosby was heralded by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the young torchbearers of style…. “For me, Winter Hill Blues is the culmination of all those experiences and influences,” Crosby says. “I hear blues, Indian classical music, and Malian guitar as being interconnected through the common traits of a centered harmony, with an emphasis on melody, supported by repetition and rhythm, while singing the truth of one’s experience within a spare, beautiful framework that reflects an openness of mind and heart.” Click here to listen to a song from this disc.

Kopastically,

Professor Bebop

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