Thursday, October 29, 2015

CELEBRATING BOB BELDEN: A Musical Evening In Memory of A Visionary Bandleader, Arranger, Saxophonist and GRAMMY® Award-Winning Producer

The unexpected silence left by the recent passing of Bob Belden—whose ceaseless stream of musical projects, production credits and boundless energy earned him the respect of an international circle of musicians and fans—will be filled with music, memories, and much more on Monday, November 2 at (le) poisson rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, New York City. CELEBRATING BOB BELDEN is the title of this special memorial evening, which is free and open to the public. 

Doors open at 6:30pm, the event will begin at 7:30pm and run through the evening, with three different groups (The Treasure Island Band, Animation/Imagination, Animation), all originally formed by Belden performing music that he composed and featuring musicians he recruited, as well as special friends like Wallace Roney. Belden’s longtime confidante and collaborator, trumpeter Tim Hagans, will serve as the musical director of the evening. Friends and family members will speak and share stories, in person or by video, including Chick Corea, Tim Ries and Herbie Hancock. The event is lovingly produced by Belden’s sister Elizabeth Belden Harmstone, Tim Hagans, Julie Lokin and Danny Melnick under the auspices of Audiences for the Arts, Inc. 

Belden was a true rara avis: a student of music history who was committed to leaving his own mark on the musical timeline. He wrote music and led his own ensembles—including The Treasure Island Band, Imagination and most recently Animation—the group with which he recently toured Iran to sellout crowds, generating major headlines (“The first time an American musician had played in Iran since 1979,” jazz critic Ben Ratliff noted in The New York Times.). He earned six GRAMMY® Award nominations for his own recordings, and as a reissue producer and writer of especially insightful liner notes; of these, he won three. His most celebrated albums include the critically acclaimed orchestral jazz suite Black Dahlia (a Downbeat magazine “Masterpiece” in 2001), and his blending of world folk sources with the music of Miles Davis: Miles from India (2007) and Miles Español: New Sketches of Spain (2011).  (“As a bandleader and record maker, he often looked for ways to connect the jazz tradition to other energies,” Ratliff also wrote.) 

Born James Robert Belden in Evanston, Illinois in 1956 and raised in South Carolina, Belden began his career playing in the reed section of Woody Herman’s famed Third Herd big band. In 1983, he moved to New York City where his career grew wide and deep. In the 1980s, he served as a sideman with Donald Byrd and Mel Lewis, as staff arranger for ESPN, and scored films. In the ‘90s, he became an artists-and-repertoire (A&R) executive at Blue Note Records, and arranged and/or collaborated on albums with such jazz greats as Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Nicholas Payton, Paquito D’Rivera, Wallace Roney, James Moody, Tom Harrell, Renee Rosnes, and Benny Green. He created albums that found the jazz spirit in music by an unlikely array of giants: from Puccini, Prince, and the Beatles, to Miles and Sting. He spearheaded reissue programs that brought new life to timeless recordings by Miles, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and countless others.

Belden’s two most recent recordings continue to add to his legacy and garner critical acclaim. In an Ambient Way, released this past June by Chesky Records, reinterpreted Miles Davis’ classic In a Silent Way recording used modern recording technology and sonic textures to help shape the improvisations, and introduced Powerhouse, a group led by Belden and featuring Roney (trumpet), Oz Noy (guitar), Kevin Hays (Fender Rhodes), Daryl Johns (bass) and Lenny White (drums). The release was part of the Chesky’s Binaural + Series, recorded with a single microphone; Norman Chesky executive produced.

Released just this past week by RareNoise, Machine Language is the latest—and now last—project by Belden’s youthful Animation ensemble. The album is a rock-jazz meditation on man and artificial intelligence conceived and composed by Belden, narrated by Kurt Elling, and featuring the saxophonist along with special guest bassist Bill Laswell, plus Animation keyboardist Roberto Verastegui, trumpeter Pete Clagett and drummer Matt Young. 

Belden was unusually wide-ranging in his cinematic and literary tastes, and up-to-date on matters of music and technology. His memory for musical details—melodies, voicings and rhythms, as well as personnel and dates—was uncanny. He did not survive long as a staff producer. “He was a vocal critic of the state of the music industry, music education and other aspects of the world in which he traveled,” journalist Jeff Tamarkin pointed out in JazzTimes, “Yet he traveled easily within it because he understood it so well, and was loved and respected for his individuality and the sheer magnitude and breadth of his talent.” 

When Belden died from a heart attack on May 20 this year, obituaries appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, JazzTimes, and other national and international publications in the UK, Brazil and Venezuela. In Downbeat, John Ephland wrote: 

“The cat had lots of appetites… during his all-too-short lifetime, Bob Belden accomplished 10 times as much as the average person would in a lengthy one. Getting to know him, one couldn’t help but be stunned at the breadth of his many passions and projects—all driven by a generous spirit, a huge heart and boundless, soulful imagination.” 

Bob Belden will be missed, and his musical contributions will continue to be celebrated.

CELEBRATING BOB BELDEN is generously made possible by donations from Andrew and Elizabeth Belden Harmstone, David and Norman Chesky at Chesky Records, and Giacomo Bruzzo of RareNoise. We encourage attendees and the community to contribute to the Jazz Foundation of America, which provides emergency assistance to musicians in times of crisis, in Bob's name. Please send checks payable to Jazz Foundation of America (with memo: "In Memory of Bob Belden") to Jazz Foundation of America, 322 West 48th St., 6th Fl., New York, NY 10036 or visit visit to make a donation online.

Kim Smith

public relations

718 858 2557 (w)

917 349 8090 (c)


Having regaled audiences in over 50 countries as featured headliner, principal performer or co-lead singer – including a 14 country tour of “Sophisticated Ladies” - Sonya Hensley is equally at ease singing jazz, R&B, Broadway, pop, Latin and blues – and has long been driven by her desire to keep expanding her horizons and bring a fresh twist to the world’s most beloved songs.

The Essential Sonya Hensley, the multi-talented performer’s long awaited, highly anticipated debut, finds the singer at a unique crossroads of past, present and future. In one sense, she pays homage to the Bessies, Billies and Ellas, who paved the way for her own success story, and all the legendary artists and musicians she has worked with over the years, including Les Paul, Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte, Gladys Knight, Jimmy Buffett and Ricky Martin. But the collection is more than a high-spirited, joyfully eclectic culmination of the many facets of her career.  

Featuring 11 dynamic new arrangements of the works of great composers Sonya admires and the fiery Latin barnburner “C’est La Baby,” penned by the singer and keyboardist Marc Gumberg, The Essential Sonya Hensley opens an exciting new frontier for her as a recording artist.

“I feel like the album is a way of paying homage to and carrying on the extraordinary gifts and legacies of those who have inspired my musical journey,” says Sonya. “Les is gone, Lena is gone, as are many jazz composers and legendary critic Leonard Feather, who gifted me with the incredible blues tunes I have recorded here, ‘Evil Gal Blues’ and ‘Born on a Friday’, and some of the musicians who originally helped me on these tracks. I feel as though I am conveying the fact that I have put the time in on what has evolved into a wonderful career, finding my way through a lane with historical people I am humbled and proud to have worked with. To me, this record completes a whole era for me and fulfills a promise, allowing me now to move on to recording more of the original material I have been writing over the years.”



Maybe the most dynamic record we've heard from guitarist Lionel Loueke so far – even though it's only a trio set, with less musicians than some of Lionel's other albums! The approach here is pretty fierce – heavy drums at most times from Ferenc Nemeth, and brooding bass from Massimo Biolcati –both of whom really follow Loueke's lead sound, which is more brash and hairy than before – still filled with that sense of color we've always loved in his playing, but at a level that's more growling, and which demands attention in a far more direct way. The shift is a great one – and once again, Loueke's really keeping us on our toes – on titles that include "Gaia", "Even Teens", "Broken", "Sleepless Night", "Aziza Dance", "Wacko Loco", and "Procession". ~ Dusty Groove.


A killer little set that's as heavy as it sounds from the title – a wealth of rare material pulled from the studio of Detroit producer Dave Hamilton – a good deal of it never issued at the time! Hearing this set is like finding a pile of rare 45s stuffed in the back corner of a long-lost record shop – because although much of the work was never issued, it crackles with the intensity of the best funky 45s – lots of funky drums, offbeat guitar, and raspy soul vocals – produced with a real edge to all the work, so that all of the hardest elements of the tunes really come through in the mix! The album features one track appearing here for the first time ever – "Remember" by Chico – plus other rare tracks that include "Marriage Is A State Of Mind" by James Carpenter, "Soul Suite" by Dave Hamilton, "You Fool You Fool" by Prophet & His Disciples, "The Deacons" by Dave Hamilton, "Funky Trip" by Johnny Walker, "A Drop In The Bucket" by The Deacons, "Brand New Girl" by Billy Garner, "The Devil Is Gonna Get You" by The Future Kind, "Party Time" by James Carpenter, and "Grown Folks Thing" by OC Tolbert. ~ Dusty Groove


A wonderful Holiday set from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – easily one of the coolest albums you'll ever hope to spin in December! The group really recreate the vibe of a classic Christmas soul album – like records from James Brown or Stevie Wonder – and do an excellent job of moving between funky numbers, deeper soul, and some righteous message cuts that remind us that the Holidays aren't always happy for everyone on the planet. And these guys also don't just hang out at Christmas – and instead touch on other December holidays too – in a sweet mix of cuts that features Sharon in the lead on many numbers, plus some great instrumentals from the Dap-Kings too. Titles include "8 Days", "Ain't No Christmas In The Projects", "Big Bulbs", "Funky Little Drummer Boy", "World Of Love", "Got Rest Ye Merry Gents", "Silent Night", "Just Another Christmas Song", and "Please Come Home For Christmas". ~ Dusty Groove


In January of 2015, the GRAMMY®-nominated pianist/composer/arranger David Benoit, a founding father of contemporary jazz, and Jane Monheit, the First-Runner-Up in the 1998 Thelonious Monk International Vocalist Competition who soars through and above the genres of jazz, Broadway, standards and pop, recorded 2 In Love. Released on June 16th, 2015 on Concord Records, this stunning, critically acclaimed collaboration paved the way for the duo’s follow-up.

Set for release on October 16th via Concord Records, Believe—their enduring and epoch recording of heart-warming holiday-themed favorites—is an equally vivacious, vivid and varied masterpiece. Featuring Benoit’s trio, with drummer Jamey Tate and bassist David Hughes, and The All-American Boys Chorus, a California-based ensemble, Believe is composed of trio, choral and orchestral renditions of the music of Richard Rodgers, Mel Tormé, Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, and the legendary Charlie Brown composer, Vince Guaraldi—along with an original composition from Benoit.

“I’ve done a couple of Christmas records,” Benoit says. “My first one, Christmas Time, came out on the AVI label in 1983. And I did another one called Remembering Christmas on GRP in 1996.  The challenge of this record was to search for songs that weren’t done as Christmas songs.”  It’s also a challenge Monheit welcomes as well. “We just wanted a classic, really warm-hearted sound. Something that felt sincere,” Monheit says. “Both Dave and I really love the material. And we enjoy playing together quite a bit.”

Fueled by Benoit’s fluid and formidable pianism, and Monheit’s finessed and formidable vocals, the material on the album’s nine tracks sing and swing in a variety of moods, grooves and meters that elaborate and expand upon the jazz Christmas canon. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” is a straight-ahead 4/4 number, graced with Monheit’s zesty scatting, and it also shows off her skills as an on-the-spot arranger. “It’s nice to do that in the studio, and figure out a way to play a tune,” Monheit says, “ and have a little more casual [approach] as a nice balance to the more heavily arranged pieces.”

Monheit also shows off her talents on the John Coltrane-associated, Richard Rogers classic “My Favorite Things,” which at first blush is a song identified more with The Sound of Music than with the holidays. “It’s not necessarily associated with Christmas. But it feels very ‘Christmas-y’ to me,” Benoit says. “And, of course, it has a jazz lineage too. So it’s kind of a cool thing at both ends. And it was perfect to put this on the album, especially with Jane’s really nice interpretation.” Monheit elaborates, “I’m a huge fan of the music of Richard Rogers. I always like to sing a lot of his tunes. And that’s one that I haven’t had the chance to do before. So it was great. And I really love a jazz waltz.”

To go where no jazz Christmas album has gone before, and to seek out new songs and include them in the Christmas canon, is what also drove Benoit to record the elegiac title track, with The All-American Boys Chorus, an ensemble he first worked with a decade ago at his Christmas concerts in southern California.  “It’s from the movie The Polar Express,” Benoit says. “I thought it would be a good idea to do something new. So I went through Concord Record’s Christmas catalog, and I came across “Believe,” and I said, ‘Wow, it’s beautiful.’ So we went in as a trio and freshened it with an orchestra, and then added the boys choir. And then I thought it would be a good title for the album.” The chorus’ angelic strains are also heard on the equally evocative renditions of two Charlie Brown yuletide songs: “My Little Drum,” pianist/composer Vince Guaraldi’s bossa nova-like arrangement of “The Little Drummer Boy;” and his eternal song “Christmas Time Is Here.”

“That song has now become very closely associated with me, because I recorded it on my Christmas Time album from 1983,” Benoit fondly recalls.  “And that’s how I got the attention of [the co-composer and lyricist] Lee Mendelson. He liked the way I played it. And that’s how I got to be connected to Charlie Brown, so that song is very important to me.”
“Who doesn’t like ‘Christmas Time Is Here?’,” Monheit asks. “It’s beautiful. It’s charming. It’s wonderful. And it brings back great seasonal memories to all of us. I was happy that it was a part of this recording.”

Anyone familiar with Benoit’s career knows the importance of pianist and Charlie Brown composer Vince Guaraldi to his musical evolution.  And the release of this recording coincides with the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the 1965 TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as the November release of The Peanuts Movie, which features Benoit’s piano playing. Benoit and his trio pay tribute to the Peanuts composer with their version of the “Guaraldi Medley,” which Benoit performs as an opener for his live Christmas shows featuring “Air Music,” “Christmas Is Coming” “What Child Is This?” (by William Chatterton Dix, arranged by Guaraldi) and the traditional standard, “O Tannenbaum,” contrasted by Benoit’s  original ballad “Just like Me.”

“I was asked by Lee Mendelson to write a song about Charlie Brown picking the Christmas tree,” Benoit proudly recalls. “I came up with some ideas, and Lee came up with a lyric and we put it together. And it’s the only other lyric he’s written besides ‘Christmas Time Is Here.’”
The album concludes with an equally powerful rendition of the Mel Tormé/Nat King Cole ballad “The Christmas Song,” which for Benoit conjures up some powerful and poignant holiday memories. “I was driving home from a gig during the holidays, where I got paid next to nothing,” Benoit remembers. “I was depressed, and ‘The Christmas Song’ came on the radio, and I just started crying like a baby. It brought back everything about my childhood and my parents. So that song stayed with me.”

For David Benoit, the music of Charlie Brown and the holidays is an integral part of his compelling and wide-ranging musicianship. Born in August 18, 1953 in Bakersfield, California, he grew up in Los Angeles, and got interested in jazz after watching a Charlie Brown special in 1965. “I was already a fan of the comic strip,” he says. But when I heard the music … that jazz piano trio was the defining moment where I decided that I wanted to play like Vince Guaraldi.”

When he was thirteen, Benoit studied privately with pianists Marya Cressy Wright and later with Abraham Fraser, the pianist for conductor Arturo Toscanini. He also studied music theory, composition and orchestration with Donald Nelligan at El Camino Junior College, film scoring with Donald Ray at UCLA, and conducting with Hejichiro Ohyama, assistant conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic, Jan Robertson at UCLA and Jeffrey Schindler, UC Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Music Director.

Benoit was singer Lainie Kazan’s musical director/conductor in 1976, and later began his career as a single artist, releasing records on the AVI label from 1977 to 1984.  He released several chart-topping recordings for GRP, including Freedom at Midnight (1987), Waiting for Spring (1989) and Shadows (1991), which both topped Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Charts at #5, #1 and #2, respectively. His other noteworthy recordings include Letter to Evan (1992), his tribute to another piano influence, Bill Evans, and Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: Fifty Great Years (2000). Benoit also recorded with Russ Freeman on The Benoit/Freeman Project (1994), and on their follow-up collaboration The Benoit/Freeman Project 2 (2004), released on the Concord-distributed Peak label. His other albums for the label include American Landscape (1997) and Orchestral Stories (2005), which featured his first piano concerto “The Centaur and the Sphinx,” and a symphonic work, “Kobe.” In 2012, he released Conversation on the Heads Up International imprint and in 2015 followed up with 2 in Love featuring Jane Monheit.

Benoit received three GRAMMY® nominations in the categories of Best Contemporary Jazz Performance for “Every Step of the Way” (1989), Best Large Ensemble Performance for GRP All-Star Big Band (1996) and Best Instrumental Composition for “Dad’s Room,” the latter from the album Professional Dreamer (2000). In 2010, Benoit received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Smooth Jazz Awards, and he’s worked with an impressive medley of musicians including the Rippingtons, Emily Remler, Alphonse Mouzon, Dave Koz, Faith Hill, David Sanborn, CeCe Winans and Brian McKnight.
Benoit’s film scores include The Stars Fell on Henrietta (1995), produced by Clint Eastwood, and The Christmas Tree, produced by Sally Field, which was voted Best Score of 1996 by Film Score Monthly. He has served as conductor with a wide range of symphonies including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Asia America Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. A long-time guest educator with the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, he received that organization’s Excellence in Music Award in 2001. His musical selections have been featured on The Weather Channel, and his version of Vince Guaraldi’s “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” is included on the compilation The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz 11 (2008). Benoit also currently hosts a morning radio show on KKJZ 88.1 FM in Long Beach, CA.

Born in Long Island, NY, Jane Monheit heard a wide range of singers, from Ella Fitzgerald to Bonnie Raitt, and also listened to Broadway pop and classical vocalists. Monheit started her professional career while she was a student at Connetquot High School in Bohemia, NY, where she graduated in 1995. She studied at the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts and was awarded their distinguished Alumna Award. She was also a student at the Manhattan School of Music and studied under voice instructor Peter Eldridge. She graduated with honors in 1995 with a BA in Music and received the William H. Bolden Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Jazz.

Monheit burst on to the national scene as the first runner-up in the 1998 Thelonious Monk Institute’s Vocal Competition behind veteran singer Teri Thornton. In 2000, she released her first recordings as a leader on the N-Coded label, including Never Never Land, Come Dream with Me (2001), In the Sun (2002) and Live at the Rainbow Room (2003). She also recorded for Sony, Epic and EmArcy, and released two recordings on Concord, Surrender (2007) and The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me (2009), which featured the ballad “The Rainbow Connection.” Monheit has worked with Ramsey Lewis, Steve Tyrell, Tom Harrell, Terence Blanchard, Ivan Lins, Mark O’Connor and Freddy Cole, and appears on Memphis pianist Harold Mabern’s new album, Afro Blue, and with Brazilian bossa nova icon Wanda Sá on her latest release, Live in 2014. Monheit also garnered two GRAMMY® nominations for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for her rendition of the Judy Collins ballad “Since You’ve Asked” from the album Live at the Rainbow Room, and for “Dancing in the Dark” from Taking a Chance on Love (2005).

With an upcoming tour, Believe by David Benoit and Jane Monheit, this dynamic duo of the downbeat will rhythmically roast musical chestnuts on a jazzy, open fire for years to come.  “I’m a Christmas fanatic, so these songs have always been important to me,” Monheit says. “There are so many of them that are absolutely gorgeous, and right on par with the Great American Songbook. But you only get to sing them for a month out of the year. And, of course, getting to do them outside of that [time of the year] and record them is always welcome in my world.”

“With this album, I can get back to my straight-ahead roots, with a real, simple acoustic trio,” Benoit says. We crossed over a bit with songs like “Believe” that were pop-oriented. But basically, it’s a jazz album.”


Internationally Renowned Pianist, Composer and Bandleader Lee Shaw Dies at 89

Shaw studied with Oscar Peterson, taught piano to John Medeski and worked with Dexter Gordon, Thad Jones, Chico Hamilton, Pepper Adams, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn and many others.

Internationally acclaimed pianist, composer, and bandleader Lee Shaw passed away on Sunday, October 25 in Albany, NY at the age of 89. Shaw — who studied with Oscar Peterson, taught piano to John Medeski, and worked with countless jazz luminaries including Dexter Gordon, Thad Jones, Chico Hamilton, Pepper Adams, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Richard Davis, Slam Stewart, Major Holly, and Eddie Jones — was one of jazz’s unsung heroines whose late-career resurgence began in 2001 when she began performing with drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel and bassist Rich Syracuse. Scott Yanow of Jazziz described Shaw’s playing as “lyrical and sophisticated,” and stated of the trio: “Interplay between the musicians recalls the Bill Evans Trio in spots, but Shaw’s chord voicings are her own and she does not sound like any of her predecessors.”

Until the end of her life Lee continued to perform in clubs, nursing homes and for her fellow residents of the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center where she lived for her final months. Shaw practiced on an almost daily schedule until there were no more notes left to play. A funeral observance later this week will be private. Siegel and Syracuse hope to organize a memorial concert and celebration in Shaw's honor in the coming months.

“Lee Shaw personified love and beauty in every way,” said Jeff “Siege” Siegel. “Her compositions and lyrical, swinging piano playing were direct reflections of the beautiful person that Lee was inside and out.  Lee was a role model not only for women, but for any person seeking the life worth living.  Her grace, humility, and concern for others will never be forgotten.”

“Lee Shaw was one of the true masters of improvised music,” says Rich Syracuse. “Her vast knowledge of the repertoire, the history, the soul of the music was inspiring and a lesson in what can be important to yourself if you are lucky to find yourself in the middle of it.”
Born in Ada, Oklahoma in 1926, Lee Shaw learned the now iconic “American Songbook” tunes when they were new. At college in Chicago she studied classical piano, but the lure of jazz was overwhelming, and soon she was playing in clubs throughout the city. It was there that she met drummer Stan Shaw, a New York native whom she later married. They formed a piano trio and eventually moved to NYC, where they played at Birdland and other top venues. Bandleaders such as Lionel Hampton asked her to join their groups, but she turned down these offers in order to focus on the trio with her husband. After moving to the Albany area, where she lived for the last five decades, they worked with all the first-call musicians who came through town. After Stan’s death in 2001, Shaw began working with Syracuse and Siegel. These two musicians have a singular devotion to Shaw, and it is partly through their efforts that the myriad talents of this jazz heroine began to earn the recognition she deserved.

The trio released seven highly acclaimed recordings including the 2008 CD+DVD Lee Shaw Trio: Live in Graz, 2009’s Blossom, 2010’s “Lee Shaw Trio Live at Art Gallery Reutlingen” and 2011’s John Medeski & Lee Shaw Together Again on the Artists Recording Collective label (ARC).  They performed internationally in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, and nationally at the Kennedy Center, Wall Street Jazz Festival, Albany Jazz Festival, Lake George Jazz Festival, SUNY Albany, Caspe Center in Des Moines, IA, Oklahoma Central University, East Central University, University of Arts and Sciences and Filene Center at Skidmore College, among others.

In 1993, Shaw was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, joining Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker, Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel, Cecil McBee, Ruth Brown and a host of other jazz heavyweights. In 2008, Shaw was honored by her alma mater, the University of Art and Science in Chickasha, OK (formerly the Oklahoma College for Women), as one of the school’s Ten Highly Successful Women Graduates. In 1999 she was also inducted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2002 The College of St. Rose in Albany, NY, where she’s been on the faculty since 1983, awarded her an Honorary Doctorate. The success of the 2007 concert at the Art Gallery (World of Basses) in Reutlingen, Germany led the gallery to plan a week-long Lee Shaw Jazz Festival which took place in September 2008, and it was so successful that they asked her return in May 2009 to record and perform. 

Shaw appeared on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz program, and NPR hailed her, along with McPartland and the late Mary Lou Williams, as “one of jazz's premier pianists.” Jeff Dayton-Johnson of All About Jazz states: “Bold and strong, her playing lavishes attention on the lower and middle ranges of the keyboard, and – metaphorically – on the architectural and emotional resources of the compositions. Let’s hope that Shaw’s second act is a long one: between the growing Shaw songbook and the hundreds of songs by others that the pianist has played hundreds of times, she quite clearly has a lot to communicate to a wider audience.” 

Tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger Releases his Fourth Album - Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar, Featuring a New Band and a Free-Minded, Hard-Swinging Vision of Age-Old Blues

When Noah Preminger self-releases his fourth album - Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar - on October 6, 2015, it won't be jazz business as usual. The tenor saxophonist is presenting a vision of music as he hears it now, without regard to pleasing a label or management, without considering someone's by-the-numbers notions of how things are done. Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar, recorded in the heat of the moment at the Greenwich Village nightspot by Jimmy Katz, finds Preminger exploring both his obsession with age-old Delta blues and his desire for a more fluid, intense way of playing jazz. Preminger and his new kindred-spirit quartet - with Jason Palmer (trumpet), Kim Cass (double-bass) and Ian Froman (drums) - were captured performing two thrilling half-hour rhapsodies based on songs by one of the saxophonist's favorite blues singers, Bukka White (1909-77). They re-imagine his soul-deep "Parchman Farm Blues" and "Fixin' to Die Blues" by way of Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Sonny Rollins' wide-open Our Man in Jazz and the John Coltrane Quartet's last, envelope-pushing flights, all the while transmuting past into present for a 21st-century vision of free-minded but hard-swinging jazz.

About interpreting pre-war material by a Mississippi bluesman, however abstractly, Preminger says: "Over the past few years, virtually the only music I've listened to has been Delta blues - I've been obsessed with it. I love all the honesty and emotion in the music, the soulfulness of the phrasing. Just the sound of Bukka White's voice moves me. Those guys like him, they really meant what they were saying - and that is rare in this worldŠ My goal for this band live is to be direct and hard-hitting in that spirit. I want us to be a force the second we hit the stage, that we're planting our feet and telling our story. At the 55 Bar, we were probably too loud for the people in the room, but I wanted this intense, overloaded sound on the record. And that's the way Jimmy Katz recorded it: When you put it on at home, it feels like the band is right in the room in front of you.

"Jason Palmer is unleashed on this record - the way he plays in this band is unlike anything else I've heard him do on record," Preminger adds. "He has the most amazing technique, along with a beautiful tone and an incredible sense of harmony and rhythmic freedom. He's really the complete improviser - a badass dude, as well as a sweetheart of a guy. Kim Cass and I went to NEC together. He has this warm, crisp sound. He's a great texturalist, but you can also hear each note he plays - rare among bass players. Ian Froman has this incredible energy and intensity, driving things. The band is devoted to a certain ideal of playing - swinging with harmonic freedom over long, extended, open forms, but with that blues phrasing in our minds."

About the live sessions, album engineer Jimmy Katz says: "I hope this is a breakthrough record for Noah. He is refining his artistic vision and playing better every time you hear him. You can feel him stretching out, really reaching. The band was high energy and intense throughout the nights we recorded, using Bukka White's blues songs as jumping off points for modern improvisation. The tracks wound up being 32 minutes apiece. Noah and Jason developed intense melodic improvisations without repeating themselves. They did this with no rehearsal, so it was completely spontaneous and fresh. With the fire of Ian and Kim as a rhythm section, Jason and Noah are able to take flight. Engineering in an intimate live environment when a band plays this hard presents technical challenges, but I aimed to capture the raw energy and feeling of the music."

Regarding the "Pivot" part of the album title, Preminger explains that it comes from the concept of "chordal pivoting," which enables the band to play extended improvisations without unduly repeating themselves. "With chordal pivoting and voice leading, it makes sure that the improvisation isn't random," he says. "There's an in-built tension, as well as fluidity of movement. The rhythm is linked to 4/4, but there's no real meter, even though it's swinging. The concept of chordal pivoting enables the music to unfurl as you create melodies off the root chords, giving you the room to improvise without repeating yourself harmonically. Vintage Ornette is obviously a huge influence on the sound of the band, but what we're doing is a bit different. The impetus for our concept really came from recent discussions I had with guitarist Joe Morris. He gave me some theoretical inspiration for finding a way as an improviser to tell your story however long you need to, while swinging intensely."

Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar will be available in various formats via CD Baby and other outlets, as well as Preminger already has plans to record his quartet live again when they play at Small's in New York in October, even as the new album is just released. He says: "I really want to document this band and the way we play - I want to bottle the lightning when I can."

Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar is Noah Preminger's follow-up to Haymaker (Palmetto, 2013), which featured the saxophonist with guitarist Ben Monder, double-bassist Matt Pavolka and drummer Colin Stranahan in mostly original material (plus a Dave Matthews cover and a tune from Annie for good measure). With Haymaker and his previous albums as a leader - Before the Rain (Palmetto, 2011) and Dry Bridge Road (Nowt, 2008) - Preminger collected praise far and wide. Jazz Review lauded the saxophonist's "incisive musical instincts and distinctive, personal sound." In The New York Times, Ben Ratliff said: "Mr. Preminger designs a different kind of sound for each note, an individual destiny and story," while Nate Chinen chimed in, too, lauding his "darkly shadedŠ warmly expressive" tone and his "fluency, prudence and control." The Boston Globe called Preminger's music "impressive, challenging and beautiful," as JazzTimes extolled his "individual conception," DownBeat his "creativity and passion," and Jazzwise his "integrity, authority and gravitas." All heady words for a musician still just 29 years old.

Preminger grew up in Canton, Connecticut. While still in high school, he studied with sax luminary Dave Liebman. His debut album - Dry Bridge Road, released just after he graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music - is a sextet session named Debut of the Year in the Village Voice Critics Poll, along with making Top 10 Albums of the Year lists in JazzTimes, Stereophile and The Nation.  Preminger's second album as a leader, Before the Rain, is an essay in atmospheric romance that blends virtues both modern and old school. Reviewing that album, All About Jazz said: "Sensitivity and an ear for aural sophistication are the hallmarks of tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger." Along with playing in bands led by Fred Hersch and Cecil McBee, Preminger has recorded three albums for Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records as part of the Rob Garcia 4, the drummer-leader's quartet with pianist Dan Tepfer and various bassists. Recorded in 2010 but released in 2014, Background Music (Fresh Sound New Talent) featured Preminger as part of a cooperative trio with Garcia and bassist Masa Kamaguchi that ranged from Ornette Coleman to Keith Jarrett to Otis Redding. Earlier this year, Preminger recorded a ballads album for the vinyl-only label Newvelle Records, featuring Ben Monder, John Patitucci and Billy Hart, to be released in early 2016.

Preminger has performed on stages from North America to Europe and Australia, and he has played with the likes of Billy Hart, Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, Victor Lewis, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Billy Drummond, George Cables, Roscoe Mitchell, Dr. Eddie Henderson and Dave Liebman. The Boston Globe said about Preminger: "He plays with not just chops and composure, but a distinct voice: His approach privileges mood and reflectiveness, favoring weaving lines that can be complex but are also concise, without a trace of over-playing or bravado." And the Boston Phoenix declared: "Preminger's sound is beholden to no one. That makes him continually unpredictable and continually satisfying."

LINES OF COLOR: Gil Evans Project Live at Jazz Standard

LINES OF COLOR: Live at Jazz Standard, the sophomore album from composer and producer Ryan Truesdell's award-winning Gil Evans Project, will be released on March 17, 2015 on the newly-formed Blue Note/ArtistShare label.  This highly anticipated release follows Truesdell's debut CD CENTENNIAL: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans, which won a posthumous Grammy Award for Gil Evans and the New York Times called "an extraordinary album."  LINES OF COLOR - the next step in Truesdell's endeavor to reveal hidden layers of Gil Evans' musical legacy - features some of New York's finest musicians including Lewis Nash, Donny McCaslin, Steve Wilson, Ryan Keberle, Marshall Gilkes, and Scott Robinson. The CD was recorded by Grammy award-winning engineer James Farber with the live engineering team of Tyler McDiarmid and Geoff Countryman.

LINES OF COLOR was recorded during the Gil Evans Project's annual week-long engagement at Jazz Standard in New York City from May 13-18, 2014. It consists of six newly discovered, never before recorded works (including "Avalon Town," "Can't We Talk It Over," and "Just One Of Those Things"), two arrangements with previously unheard sections ("Davenport Blues" and "Sunday Drivin'"), and three of Evans' well-known charts from his classic albums ("Time of the Barracudas," "Concorde," and "Greensleeves"). Throughout the engagement, the Gil Evans Project presented nearly fifty of Evans' works, most of which were performed live for the first time. Truesdell decided to record live for the Gil Evans Project's second album to honor the essence of Evans' music that craves live performance. "It allows Gil's colors and the overtones of the music to sound and blend in the room in a way that you can't get from a close-mic studio recording," says Truesdell. "Live recording captures this intangible energy that's created when music is performed for an audience. It gives listeners a sense of the magic that happens when the notes are lifted off the page by these amazing musicians."

The eleven selections that make up LINES OF COLOR represent everything you hope for in a live recording: a beautiful sound, a lively, involved audience, and precise and inspired performances of remarkable music. Of this collection, six of the charts were originally written during Evans' tenure with the Claude Thornhill orchestra, including never-before-heard arrangements of "How High the Moon," "Avalon Town," and a rare Evans original composition, "Gypsy Jump," written in 1942. A fun tune with an unusual 36-bar form, "Gypsy Jump" seems to show a slight influence from the "Arabian Dance" from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, also arranged by Evans for Thornhill during this time. "Can't We Talk It Over," a gorgeous ballad from the Thornhill Orchestra's late 1940s repertoire, illustrates Evans' strong bebop influences as evidenced by a direct musical quote from a Charlie Parker solo. It is a wonderful feature for the Gil Evans Project's resident vocalist, Wendy Gilles. Bruce Lundvall, Chairman Emeritus of Blue Note Records said, "Wendy has an amazing voice which is a perfect fit for this music."

Two charts on the record represent the middle of Evans' career; one of which he and his band never recorded, and only performed once. In the spring of 1959, Evans and his orchestra played the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, sharing the billing with Dinah Washington and Thelonious Monk. For this concert, Evans chose to revisit a few charts from his past, including Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things," which was based on the arrangement Evans did for his first album as a leader in 1957, Gil Evans + 10. Ever the reviser, Evans took the opportunity to do a bit of rearranging as well as re-orchestrating the chart to fit the instrumentation for the concert. The Gil Evans Project's first-time recording of this great Evans arrangement features incredible solos from Steve Wilson on soprano, trombonist Ryan Keberle, and pianist Frank Kimbrough. The other tune from this era is Evans' great adaptation of Bix Beiderbecke's "Davenport Blues," originally recorded on the 1959 album, Great Jazz Standards. "I was ecstatic when I discovered Gil's score to "Davenport," says Truesdell. "There were four pages in the middle of the score that were omitted from the original version. I'm thrilled we were able to record the entire chart as Gil first conceived it." Rather than imitating trumpet soloist Johnny Coles' definitive performance on Evans' Great Jazz Standards album, Truesdell decided to take a slightly different approach. The slower tempo and Lewis Nash's heavy, slightly dirty swing feel emphasizes the bluesy elements and perfectly articulates Gil's hard-swinging rhythms. "I was blown away by Mat Jodrell's performance; he poured every bit of his soul and personality into the solo and really made it his own," says Truesdell.

Rounding out LINES OF COLOR is a collection of tunes from Evans' output in the mid-1960s, including the Gil Evans Project's dynamic renderings of "Time of the Barracudas," and "Concorde," which both first appeared on the Individualism of Gil Evans recording. "Greensleeves," originally arranged for guitarist Kenny Burrell, receives a fresh take from trombonist Marshall Gilkes, whose unparalleled tone and inventive melodicism uplift this familiar tune and Gil's singular writing.

With LINES OF COLOR, Truesdell has solidified his reputation as one of the foremost Gil Evans scholars, while leading a band of industry giants in an historic and invaluable undertaking. Picking up where the Gil Evans Project's 2013 Grammy award-nominated album CENTENNIAL: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans left off, LINES OF COLOR is an exciting glimpse into how Truesdell and his critically acclaimed band are fulfilling the most crucial aspect of his vision: to bring Evans' music to new ears, and to extend his legacy into the 21st century.


A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas! includes 11 holiday tracks featuring special guests Johnny Mathis, Ledisi, Ellis Marsalis, and Carmen Bradford

Coinciding with celebrating its 80th anniversary, the legendary Count Basie Orchestra continues to make music history with the November 6th, 2015 release of A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas! on Concord Jazz. The first full-length, yuletide album in the expansive Basie discography, the album boasts classic holiday songs, rendered in quintessential Basie style, under the masterful direction of longtime Basie trumpeter Scotty Barnhart and produced by seven-time Grammy winner and former Basie drummer Gregg Field.

The disc also showcases such guest artists as legendary singer Johnny Mathis, award-winning R&B singer Ledisi, veteran jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, and iconic tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson (famous for being the soloist on Henry Mancini’s “The Pink Panther Theme”). The album also represents the return of the multi-Grammy winning Basie composer-arranger Sammy Nestico and the 2015 multi-Grammy winning arranger Gordon Goodwin. The results are blues-soaked, joy-filled holiday treats that will delight and warm the hearts of Basie die-hard fans and new fans alike!

“I think [Count Basie] would be proud if he heard this record,” says Barnhart, who conceived the idea of focusing on Christmas music. When asked how he and the orchestra were able to channel the essence of Basie into the repertoire, Barnhart explains, “We have 80 years of history on our side.”

A self-described Basie fanatic since the age of nine, Barnhart says that through vigorous study of Basie’s music and being a member of the orchestra for 22 years, he knows the ins and outs of the Count’s signature sound. “The Basie orchestra has always had a very distinct way of sounding and a way of playing based around the blues. It’s all about the feeling of the blues,” Barnhart says.

The orchestra brings Barnhart’s point home at the very beginning with the swaggering take of “Jingle Bells,” featuring a flinty trumpet solo from Bruce Harris and an arrangement from Nestico, who returns to the band after 35 years.

Ellis Marsalis initiates “Let It Snow,” in a winning rendition that slowly gains momentum thanks to the superb rhythm section of drummer Clayton Cameron, bassist Marcus McClaurine, and guitarist Will Matthews. The song’s arranger, Kris Johnson also delivers a jovial trumpet solo.

The treatment of “It’s the Holiday Season” becomes the perfect vehicle for Mathis’ lustrous tenor voice as it glides across Goodwin’s strutting chart. “When we had the first meeting to determine who would we wanted as special guests, I kept thinking Johnny Mathis,” Barnhart recalls, “As soon as the first day of the Christmas season starts, you hear his voice. I knew we had to get him.” Barnhart handles the arrangement for the classic, “Silent Night,” on which alto saxophonist Marshall McDonald articulates the hymnal melody, while the orchestra envelops him with dusky horn timbres. Another Nestico arrangement occurs on the transfixing reading of “Good ‘Swing’ Wenceslas,” which showcases Llew Matthews’ crisp, economical approach at the piano and Doug Lawrence’s sultry tenor saxophone solo.
Ledisi, the dynamic R&B singer and Billboard #1 Urban Contemporary Artist of 2014  –renowned for her performance on the Oscar and Grammy-awarding winning song “Glory” from the critically acclaimed movie, Selma – lights up Goodwin’s sumptuous arrangement of “The Christmas Song.”  The sensuous tone of Doug Lawrence’s tenor saxophone returns for yet another remarkable aside.

“Little Drummer Boy” stomps to a quintessential Kansas City swing via Barnhart’s vivacious arrangement, which becomes a platform for succinct solos from pianist Matthews, baritone saxophonist Jay Brandford, piccolo player Cleave Guyton, Jr., drummer Cameron, and trumpeters Endre Rice and the arranger. Next, the brass heavy Goodwin-arranged version of “Sleigh Ride” shimmers with sanguine solos from bass trombonist Wendell Kelly, baritone saxophonist Jay Brandford, and trumpeter Barnhart.

The Count Basie Orchestra’s long-time vocalist Carmen Bradford invigorates Frank Foster’s –another Basie alumni – magical arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” To close the album admirably, Barnhart takes center stage on his sparkling arrangement of “Winter Wonderland,” on which he demonstrates his buttery tone and a knack for crafting melodically savvy improvisations.

As an encore, the orchestra sends heartfelt thoughts with the classic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” only this time in a joy filled and swinging arrangement by Barnhart, featuring Ellis Marsalis on piano and tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson, with Marsalis concluding the album with Basie’s signature “plink-plink-plink” piano ending.

Leading a formidable and preeminent jazz institution as the Count Basie Orchestra is no small feat. But when Barnhart describes his ascension from being a band member to music director, he describes it as destiny. “I’m supposed to be doing what I’m doing,” he enthuses before revealing that he first started listening to Basie’s music before he was even a teenager. When he was a student at Gordon High School in Decatur, Georgia, his band director encouraged him to see the Basie Orchestra in performance, which became a personal revelation for the impressionable music hopeful.

Barnhart continued his formal music studies at Florida A&M University. He also wrote The World of Jazz Trumpet – A Comprehensive History and Practical Philosophy and is a jazz professor at Florida State University.

When asked what it takes to be a member of the Basie Orchestra, Barnhart cites two essential qualities: intuitive musicianship and professional temperament.  “You have to listen and let the music tell you what to play. You can’t come in with any preconceived notions. You have to listen to what the band’s doing and figure out how to play from that,” he explains. “Secondly, you have to be a nice human being. No one’s perfect, but Count Basie was a very nice man. You have to be a very even-tempered person as much as you can, and someone who thinks before they talk or act. Basie always handled things in a very professional way, no matter what happened.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Grammy- nominated singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins is set to drop his new album, My Stupid Heart, October 23rd on Rounder Sugar Hill. Rolling Stone Country exclusively announced the release last week. My Stupid Heart is available for pre-order now.

Produced by Lari White (Toby Keith), and recorded at The Holler in Nashville, Tenn, My Stupid Heart features appearances by Michael Rhodes (bass), Gerry Hansen (drums, percussion), Jerry McPherson (electric guitar), Guthrie Trapp (mandolin, bazouki) and Dan Dugmore (steel guitar.) Mullins was also joined by Chuck Cannon (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Max Gomez (vocals), who helped to co-write several of the songs this release.

My Stupid Heart addresses some of the perceived relationship failures Mullins was experiencing when he wrote this album. The result is Mullins’ most revealing record yet. A collection of 10 deeply personal songs, it explores themes of love and loss. Mullins says, “This record came out of all that; all the feelings, all the heartache.”

Throughout the album, Mullins deftly balances songs of suffering — from the title tune and “Go and Fall,” to the powerful, yet subtle social commentary of “Ferguson” — with songs such as “Roll On By,” which strikes an upbeat note of hope.

There’s humor, too. “It All Comes Down to Love” targets preachers, politicians, the NRA, Wall Street, and street dealers; and “Pre-Apocalyptic Blues” hilariously lampoons the doom-mongers arming themselves against Armageddon. The Levon Helm-influenced “Never Gonna Let Her Go” reveals the thrills of riding that relationship roller-coaster, and even the sigh of resignation that is “The Great Unknown” contains lines so striking, you can’t help but smile at their brilliance and depth.

The theme of this record, he says, is summed up most succinctly by another song title: “It All Comes Down to Love.” In that respect, Mullins says, it’s not all that different from most of his discography, including his last release, 2010’s Light You Up. Mullins has garnered acclaim and amassed a devout fan base with his previous releases, including  1998’s Soul’s Core, the album that shot him to fame on the strength of its Grammy-nominated No. 1 hit, “Lullaby,” and 2006’s 9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor, which contained his AAA/Americana No. 1, “Beautiful Wreck.”  

A tour in support of My Stupid Heart will take place this fall, and will include stops in Nashville, Chicago and Atlanta.  Mullins has also confirmed appearances at the SOWE Music Festival and Red River Folk Festival in September.

Track listing:
1. The Great Unknown
2. It All Comes Down to Love
3. Ferguson
4. My Stupid Heart
5. Roll On By
6. Go and Fall
7. Gambler's Heart
8. Never Gonna Let Her Go
9. Sunshine
10. Pre-Apocalyptic Blues 

Tour Dates:
9/19/2015 / SOWE Music Festival  Mamaroneck, NY
9/25/2015 / Red River Folk Festival   Red River, NM
10/2/2015 / Icicle Creek Center for the Arts Leavenworth, WA
10/3/2015 / Revolution Hall  Portland, OR
10/4/2015 / The Triple Door   Seattle, WA
10/20/2015 / Duck Room at Blueberry Hill   St Louis, MO
10/21/2015 / City Winery  Chicago, IL
10/22/2015 / SPACE   Evanston, IL
10/23/2015 / Seven Steps Up  Spring Lake, MI
10/24/2015 / Indy Acoustic Cafe Series   Indianapolis, IN
10/25/2015 / The Listening Room  Port Clinton, OH
10/27/2015 / The Southgate House Revival   Newport, KY
10/28/2015 / Headliners Music Hall  Louisville, KY
10/29/2015 / The Grey Eagle  Asheville, NC
10/30/2015 / City Winery  Nashville, TN
11/28/2015 / Variety Playhouse   Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, October 27, 2015



Not the usual Billie Holiday tribute set – given the fresh approach that Leila Maria brings to her vocals, and the way that the album's mix of arrangers really change things up! The album's definitely cast in Billie's legacy, but not slavishly so – and instead has this cool, contemporary vibe that mixes some Brazilian jazz currents in with Maria's soulful readings of the lyrics – amidst a shifting set of backdrops handled by keyboardists Cristovao Bastos, Delia Fischer, Paulo Midosi, Fernando Costa, and others. Definitely a jazz vocal album, but one with a spirit all its own – and titles that include "Easy Living", "Good Morning Heartache", "Comes Love", "Swing Brother Swing", "Same Old Story", "You Go To My Head", and "God Bless The Child".  ~ Dusty Groove


A stunner of a record from trumpeter Goran Kajfes – an artist we've loved for years, but who really blows us away even more with this set! The first album with his Subtropic Arkestra was a real revelation – a bold step into funkier, more globally-conscious territory – but this second effort is even more powerful and righteous, and this amazing album that ties together so many different strands of music! Kajfes' vision is broad enough to encompass roots from Africa, the Middle East, and even some of the 70s cross-cultural experiments on the European scene – as well as the collaborative efforts of larger ensembles like the Sun Ra Arkestra or Fela's Afrika 70s – both of whom would be a good comparison tot he lively energy of this great group. Players include Jonas Kullhammar and Per Rusktrask Johansson on reeds, Jesper Nordenstrom on organ and keyboards, and a number of other key underground players on the Scandinavian scene – and the record features versions of work by Milton Nascimento, Okay Temiz, Francis Bebey, and even Grizzly Bear – but all given a unique twist by the group. Tremendous stuff – with titles that include "Tamzara", "A Lua Girou", "New Track", "Dokuz Seki/Esmerim", and "Yet Again". ~ Dusty Groove


Storming sounds from this ultra-cool combo – and a record that's maybe even more jazz-based than some of their other recent efforts! The date's a live one, and has the group stepping out with tremendous dexterity right from the start – those cascading lines that make for a rock-solid rhythmic core, while the tenor and trumpet send searing solos over the top – solos that feel, to us, a lot more developed than in their earlier material – and we already even loved those records to death! The tenor gets some especially nice moments – and really opens up with solo passages that sometimes even start off a tune – with a soulful depth that's sure to win over anyone who's ever doubted their jazz chops. Soil & Pimp are a combo we've been loving for years – and this album makes us fall in love with them all over again! Includes great remakes of "Montara", "Una Mas", "Mr Clean", and "Spartacus Love Theme" – plus originals "Suffocation" and "First Lady". (SHM-CD pressing!)  ~ Dusty Groove



An unusual early vocal album from later film star Billy Dee Williams – recorded in the early 60s for Prestige Records, with top shelf help from pianist/arranger George Cory, who leads a small combo with Frank Socolow on tenor and Peter Ind on bass! The style is relatively laidback – never too hard-swinging, and more in an intimate small club sort of vibe – the sort of music that Billy might have sung uptown, when not working on the stage – with an easygoing performance that might hint at his strengths as an actor more than a singer. Titles include "House Of Flowers", "Red Sun Blues", "Taste Of Honey", "Life's A Holiday", "Don't Cry", and "Warm Tonight". ~ Dusty Groove


Bosq returns with even more brilliantly soulful sounds than on the debut – it's one of the most diverse dancefloor ready set of grooves on the Ubiquity label in years! Bosq's love for classic percussion heavy jams from across the globe is on full display – from Afro Soul, to Latin, to Brazilian and stateside styles – but the sound is ultimately very fresh, particularly in the way he blends so many influences into a distinctive whole. Bosq himself plays piano, Rhodes, organ, synth, bass and percussion – and the impressive guest roster of vocalists and instrumentalists includes funky soul diva Nicole Willis, Kaleta, Jimmy Riley, Angeline Morrison and more! Titles include "Cumbia En Bahia", "Bounce And Pull Up" with Evan Laflamme, ""Ella" feat Jesus Pagan, "Bad For Me" with Nicole Willis, "Change" feat Jimmy Riley, Take Over", "Pap The Price" and "Liars & Thieves Dub" with Kaleta, "Laughs On Me" with Angeline Morrison and the hard grooving title track. ~ Dusty Groove


A hell of a wonderful record from legendary Brazilian pianist Gilson Peranzzetta – an artist we've loved since his crucial 70s MPB arrangements – working here with younger percussionist Amoy Ribas, who turns in some especially great work on vibes! The music just comes from the pair – Gilson on acoustic piano throughout – and Amoy on vibes and lots of percussion – both working together in these styles that are complicated, but constantly grooving too – that blend of infectious rhythms and melodic sophistication we love in so much Brazilian music from years back, like work by Hermeto Pascoal or Edu Lobo, distilled here down to an essence that's completely sublime! Many tracks have both vibes and percussion overdubbed – a perfect blend for the dynamic colors that seem to leap forward from Gilson's hands with an almost effortless quality – and the production is wonderful, with a core rootsy quality that makes the whole thing feel a lot more vintage than contemporary. Titles include "Luiz Eca E Pra Voce", "Fator RH", "Repercutindo", "Croa De Um Jongueiro", "Paz", "Entre Rios", and "La Vai O Cara". ~ Dusty Groove



The music of Brazilian genius Hermeto Pascoal, turned into a sweet set of jazzy trio numbers from Andrew Marques on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums! The group really hit the right sort of essence for Hermeto's tunes – that open, fluid, yet highly rhythmic vibe that's always made us love his songs – delivered here in a setting that's a lot more stripped-down instrumentally than Pascoal's initial recordings, but with a vibe that's no less compelling! Blade and Patitucci have to do a hell of a lot of work on the set – moving around with dexterity and color that's got us appreciating their talents in whole new ways – and on a few cuts, the group's also joined by percussionist Rogerio Boccato. Titles include "Bebe", "Ferragens", "Boiada", "Chorinho Pra Ele", "Quaraquaua", "O Ovo", and "Ramos De Girassol". ~ Dusty Groove


With a title like this, we had to check the record out – and alongside the piano and rhythms promised in its name, the set also offers up some especially wonderful vocals from Maira Freitas! Maira's the sister of Mart'Nalia, and daughter of Martinho Da Vila – and shares a similar soulful style with the rest of the family – but has a groove that's definitely all her own! Maira plays plenty of piano on the record – and a bit of Fender Rhodes too – and the strong use of that instrument in the lead gives the music a nicely jazzy current – one that makes Freitas sound quite different than her sister, with a very individual sense of phrasing and timing – which creates a very special vibe for the album. Titles include "Gargalhada", "Cuidado Moca", "Pousa", "Minha Festa", "Nao Sei Sei La", "Desavisado", "Danilo Dormindo", and a nice English language version of "Feeling Good".~ Dusty Groove


The first album we've ever heard from reedman Per Texas Johansson as a leader – and a wonderful set that draws on all of his great work with other groups over the years! Johansson's a real visionary here – working in a style that resonates both with the careful sounds he can bring from his own instrument, and in the modes of swinging modern that he's given us on other Moserobie sessions – balanced out nicely here from track to track, with some hard-edged numbers and more contemplative passages in the mix! The structure of the group is great – vibes from Mattias Stahl, steel guitar from Johan Lindstrom, and drums from Konrad Agnas – who plays with this snappingly tight groove at some of the best moments – and Johansson blows tenor, cor anglais, and a range of clarinets, often with a very moody sound. Fredrik Ljungkvist joins the group on tenor on two tracks – and titles include "Narkos", "Sormlandsleden", "Dar Du Gatt Forbi", "Bevakad Av Tusen Vakter", "Gang", "Bilblues", "Ljud Pa Gatan", and "Skuggan". ~ Dusty Groove


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