The Eighth Hour of Amduat through the Prism of Chamber Jazz

Dave Soldier – The Eighth Hour of Amduat

Dave Soldier – The Eighth Hour of Amduat (Mulatta 035, 2017)

Music experimentalist Dave Soldier has been composing and putting together music orchestras that explore and combine unexpected genres. This time he presents an avant-garde opera that mixes classical music with various forms of jazz. The Eighth Hour of Amduat is inspired by ancient pharaoh-era Egyptian mythology.

The Eighth Hour of Amduat mezzo-soprano Sahoko Sato Timpone, an orchestra, jazz musicians, including Marshall Allen (Sun Ra Arkestra), and a choir.

The lineup includes Dave Soldier on water bowls, electronics; Sahoko Sato Timpone on vocals; Marshall Allen on alto saxophone and electronic valve instrument (EVI); Rebecca Cherry, Akhmed Manedov, and Juana Pinilla Páez on violin; Olivia Gusmano on viola; Carolina Diazgranados on cello; Dani Bash on harp; Dan Blacksberg on trombone; Nick Millevoi on guitar; Michael Winograd on clarinet; Enrique Rivera-Matos on tuba; Anthony di Bartolo and Thomas Kolakowski on percussion; and a choir featuring Chace Simmonds-Frith, Natasha Thweatt, Sophie Laruelle, Xioming Tian, Eugene Sirotkine, Alicia Waller, and Melinda Learnard.

With The Eighth Hour of Amduat Dave Soldier continues to break musical boundaries disregarding trends.

Buy the digital version of The Eighth Hour of Amduat. The CD is available from www.mulatta.org.

The Endless Possibilities of Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan – Small Town (ECM Records, 2017)

The American guitarist, composer and arranger Bill Frisell has produced some extraordinarily fine music over the span of his career that’s been both interesting and engaging, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of us in the music reviewing business sigh a bored little sigh and muttered sullenly, ‘Oh, Bill has put out another recording.’ With colossal collaborations with composer John Zorn and drummer Paul Motian, Mr. Frisell has wowed audiences and music fans with recordings such as Rambler, Lookout for Hope, works, This Land, Good Dog, Happy Man, Nashville, Ghost Town, The Intercontinentals, Beautiful Dremers, Big Sur and When You Wish Upon a Star. He’s lured listeners in with his take on jazz, folk, country and Americana.

Well, Bill is back! Teaming up with bassist and composer Thomas Morgan, Mr. Frisell is set to hit the musical streets with his latest Small Town, set for release on May 26th on the ECM Records label, and hit the musical highways for June and July tour dates at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Rochester Jazz Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival, with a few extra performances in New Haven, Connecticut, Bay Shore, New York and Evanston, Illinois for good measure. So, you lucky folks within range of a venue you’ll need to hop in the car, grab the canoe and saddle up for some sweet jazz scenes this summer.

On the recording of Small Town it doesn’t take but a moment or two to pick up the vibe of this recording. Recorded live at New York’s Village Vanguard, Small Town positively sparkles with jazz goodness.

On playing at the Village Vanguard Mr. Frisell explains, “With all the notes that have been played there, the room is like a Gibson guitar from the 1940s – the history is in the molecules of the wood…We’re not pushing the walls back with volume, after all. You need to focus and get attention from the audience. You can get that at the Vanguard.”

With his own street creds that include collaborations with David Binney, Steve Coleman, Steve Cardenas, Gerald Cleaver, Jakob Bro, Masabumi Kikuchi and leading his own trio, Thomas Morgan has such recording to his name as Down Homeless with VNMG including Will Vinson, Peter Gabis and Steve Newcomb, Monsoon with Scott DuBois Quintet and David Liebman, Beauty Under Construction with Som Sum Sam, Pieces of Old Sky with the Samuel Blaser Quartet, To Fly to Steal with the Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet, Wislawa with the Tomasz Sanko New York Quartet and This Is The Day with the Giovanni Guidi Trio. On Small Town the pairing of Mr. Morgan’s bass and Mr. Frisell’s guitar seems easy, effortless and utterly enchanting.

“I asked Thomas to sit in with some of my groups,” says Mr. Frisell, “and we developed this rapport. Thomas has this way of almost time-traveling, as if he sees ahead of the music and sorts it all out before he plays a note. He never plays anything that isn’t a response to what I play, anticipating me in the moment. That sort of support makes me feel weightless, like I can really take off.”

He goes on to say, “Thomas and I are also similar in that we’re both quiet personalities. Whenever I play guitar, that’s my true voice. It’s not so dissimilar with Thomas, I think. Playing the bass is his natural way of expressing himself. And I’m going to steal a phrase from the saxophonist Charles Lloyd, who once said to me before a gig, ‘I’m really looking forward to singing with you.’ I think that way about playing with Thomas, too. He really plays the song, whether it’s a Fats Domino tune or something abstract – the energy comes from the same place.”

Small Town is going to hook listeners from opening track of Paul Motian’s “It Should Have Happened a Long Time Ago” through to the sleek version of Lee Konitz’s “Subconscious Lee” to the jaunty “Wildwood Flower” to the deep soulful sounds of Mr. Frisell’s composition and title track “Small Town” through to recording’s closing track “Goldfinger,” yeah, that “Goldfinger” from the Bond films. Fans get the goods with the Dave Bartholomew, Fats Somino and Pearl King composition “What a Party” and the Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan joint effort “Poet – Pearl.”

There’s no putting on airs, no impertinence and no rush to get anywhere on Small Town. Sleek lines turn elegant or edgy with a simple turn of phrase from these two masters. Impossibly rich and rewarding, Small Town is musical ride on the endless possibilities of guitar and bass and what shakes loose on that ride.

Buy Small Town

Roger Waters to Release “Is This the Life We Really Want?” June 2017

Roger Waters – Is This The Life We Really Want?

Bassist and singer-songwriter Roger Waters, one of the creative forces behind progressive rock band Pink Floyd, has announced the release of his first rock album in 25 years. Titled, “Is This The Life We Really Want?” (Columbia Records), the album will be released internationally on Friday, June 2, 2017. Water also announced a North American tour that will run from May through October, 2017.

The musicians that appear on “Is This The Life We Really Want?” include Roger Waters on vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, Nigel Godrich on arrangement, sound collages, keyboards, guitar, Gus Seyffert on bass, guitar, keyboards, Jonathan Wilson on guitar, keyboards, Joey Waronker on drums, Roger Manning on keyboards, Lee Pardini on keyboards, and Lucius on vocals with Jessica Wolfe and Holly Proctor.

Lonely Robot launch Releases “Sigma” Music Video

Lonely Robot, has released a music video of Sigma, a track featured in the band’s second studio album ‘The Big Dream.’

Lonely Robot is the progressive rock project led by producer, guitarist and singer-songwriter John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Arena).

Mitchell said about the song: “Sigma is the very last track I recorded for The Big Dream, the nature of which can be summed up with a sadly age old proverb which resonates now more than ever; History will teach us nothing“.

Buy The Big Dream

Interview with Bjørn Klakegg of Norwegian Progressive Band Needlepoint

Norwegian progressive rock band Needlepoint released a superb, masterfully recorded album titled Aimless Mary in 2015. We talked to guitarist, vocalist, composer and lyricist Bjørn Klakegg about his band.

How and when was Needlepoint formed?

I had a meeting with Thomas Strønen that resulted in a DAT-tape with a lot of improvisation on it. Some years later I asked him if we should start a band, and then he suggested Nikolai Eilertsen as the bass player. Our first recording was as a trio; some of the tunes based on Thomas and me improvising.

Next album David Wallumrød joined us, and then, on our third and last album, Aimless Mary, Olaf Olsen is playing drums.

What does the band name Needlepoint mean?

In the end, Needlepoint is just a name! But there is a story about how I ended up with that name. A little desperate, after a long search, I turned to my own last name to try to find something within it. “Klakegg” means “the frozen peak of a mountain”, and it led me towards the word “point”. This has to do with focus, and to me, in music, honesty towards who you really want to be as a musician is maybe the most important focus you can have….but I have to repeat…it’s only a name…..When I later found out that Needlepoint also meant embroidery, I had to laugh a little bit, before I thought: That’s cool! Embroidery is art too!

 

 

What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?

Maybe melodies? I always just improvise them…as my way of composing…singing strange English words on the go…just trying to let the song go astray without me guiding it! I never give myself a goal in those moments of improvising songs…sometimes, I mean, very often they are very boring…and when they work out, I almost always use the whole improvised melody…

Who can you cite as your main musical influences?

In the old days, before jazz took me away from it: ELP was my favorite band!! Then I started to listen to Keith Jarrett a lot…loved the album he made with Gary Burton. And I loved, of course, Wes Montgomery, Mahavishnu, then Pat Metheny. And I always loved Joni Mitchell….Paul Simon. Nowadays, as I have started to sing myself, I listen mostly to vocal music. Townes van Zandt, Ry Cooder and many more…

The band has been around since 2010. Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.

Our first record is an instrumental. “The Woods Are Not What They Seem” is an album with a lot of improvisation in it, and me having dug up all my fuzz-boxes from the past! I never thought of prog rock when we made it. I guess that record maybe is more likely to be called “jazz rock.”

In the second album, “Outside The Screen”, David Wallumrød joined us in the end of the recording process. My “career” as a singer also started at the end of this process! The album was meant to be another instrumental, but since I almost only listened to vocal music, it was sort of strange not to have vocal elements in my music at all. So I started to sing! For me to start singing was a huge step, and Nikolai was a part of this process. Then I started to make space for vocal melodies into our recorded music, I wrote my first lyrics, not a very common way of making an album, but it worked out.

When we started to record Aimless Mary, this time, all the melodies were ready. The lyrics too. We went to my place in Sweden, on the countryside, stayed there and recorded a week. Wonderful days!

 

 

Your sound has elements of psychedelia, especially the organ. What musical instruments do you use?

Me personally? Only guitar, but I have invented a lot of things to go with the guitar: A fishing reel mounted on the guitar, fingerrests for each finger as a slide, a vibe arm pickup picking up one string at a time. Difficult to explain…but all the things I’ve made are meant to make my music better…not meant for fun, even though it may look strange!! I also built a cello-guitar, but I don’t use it so much any longer.

And what effects do you use?

My regular effects, that never leaves my pedalboard are: A klon, a Moog Drive, a Tube Zipper (Electro Harmonix) an old shin-ei fuzz…from now on a Fairfield drive and a Fairfield Echo. And the beautiful quite new cassette-tape delay made by T-Rex….

How’s the current progressive music scene in Norway?

I don’t know so much about it. But I know there are young bands influenced by. I really didn’t know that progressive music was what I was playing until the response of Aimless Mary. I kind of left the back door of the jazz scene and suddenly some of my old influence seeped into my music…starting to sing had something to do with it…the cooperation with Nikolai also was turning our music towards progressive rock… and I had to smile when at last I found myself in magazines with a lot of tattooed guys with big muscles!!

Needlepoint – Aimless Mary

If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?

To be honest; the musicians I play with are such great, musical musicians, so I wouldn’t change them with anyone! But Ry Cooder could join us….but then I would sit down and listen to him!

Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?

Yes! I’m working with a new Needlepoint-album. I have many new songs, but still some work to do before recording it.

I also have another group with three young guys. We are rehearsing new songs, a little more quiet than Needlepoint…more towards pop! No, not really. Just more quiet. Maybe this band would be more suitable for Ry Cooder to sit in with. We’ll try to make an album in the end of this year I hope…the same with Needlepoint.

Discography

The Woods Are Not What They Seem (BJK Music, 2010)
Outside The Screen (BJK Music, 2012)
Aimless Mary (BJK Music, 2015)

New Directions from Echotest

EchoTest – From Two Balconies (indie release, 2017)

From Two Balconies is the new album by the remarkable progressive music trio EchoTest. The group crosses numerous musical boundaries so it’s hard to classify the music they play. It’s a powerful mix of Crimsonesque progressive rock, classic rock, pop, and post rock along with dreamy loops, effects and ambient electronic textures.

While previous recordings Fourth Dementia” (2014) and “Le Fil Rouge” (2015) were primarily instrumental, From Two Balconies features vocals on many of the tracks. However, the instrumentals are still some of the best cuts on this album.

The EchoTest lineup includes celebrated bass player Julie Slick on bass VI and drum programs; Marco Machera on bass V and vocals; and Alessandro Inolti on drums.
They are joined by an impressive cast of guest musicians who provided masterful performances: Pat Mastelotto on drums; Tim Motzer on guitar; Ian Gray on trombone; Greg Rosen on trumpet; Zach Lopresti on guitar; Mike Visser on vocals and guitar; Ali Wadsworth on vocals; Sarah “flossy” Anderson on violin; Claire Wadsworth on vocals and piano; and Gary Slick on vocals.

 

Buy the digital version of From Two Balconies

Buy the CD at julieslick.bandcamp.com/album/from-two-balconies

Keyboardist Don Airey Launches His Pre-Sale Campaign For “K2 – Tales of Triumph and Tragedy” Limited Edition Box Set

Iconic keyboardist Don Airey, known for his work with acclaimed rock band Deep Purple has launched a pre-sale campaign on PledgeMusic for a very special limited edition Deluxe Box Set of his progressive rock solo album “K2 – Tales of Triumph & Tragedy,” to be released on Gonzo Multimedia in June 2017.

“K2” was recorded in 1988 at Sarm East Studios, London, and originally released worldwide on MCA Records. The album was inspired by a news article written by climber Jim Curran about his stressful experiences on the 1986 expedition to K2 in the Himalayas that claimed the life of 12 climbers. The music was finalized after Don met Jim at his house in Sheffield where he talked of his friends Al Rouse and Julie Tullis, who both died in a snowstorm at the peak.

The album also features guest appearances by celebrated rock musicians Gary Moore, Cozy Powell, Colin Bluntstone, Chris Thompson and other artists.

There will only be 100 of this deluxe Box Set manufactured and each will contain a signed and numbered certificate. There will also be additional signed items and exclusive merchandise as part of this pre-order campaign.

You are going to get something that will please everyone and hopefully you’ll like the music too!,” says Don Airey.

For more information and to pre-order visit: www.pledgemusic.com/projects/donairey

Alluring Etheric Anomalies

Pepe Maina – Etheric Anomalies (Pepe Maina, 2016)

Italian multi-instrumentalist Pepe Maina has recorded a mesmerizing instrumental double album titled Etheric Anomalies. He defines his music as ambient prog and this a very accurate way of classifying his sound.

Pepe Maina develops marvelous soundscapes. While sometimes the music is ethereal, it’s not syrupy new age. He adds soaring and sometimes fiery electric guitars, symphonic and world music elements that make his music entrancing and appealing.

Together with the electronic atmospheres and looped instruments, you’ll hear pastoral sections that recall Anthony Phillips; ethnic sounds that take you into terrain similar to Jade Warrior; early Steve Hillage influences; and much more.

Pepe Maina develops his music at his own workspace called Nonsense Studio. Maina plays synthesizers, samplers, flutes, guitars and percussion.

Etheric Anomalies showcases a set of finely-crafted music pieces that cross the boundaries of progressive electronica and world music.

 

 

Buy Etheric Anomalies

Le Orme Recreated in Classicorme

Le Orme – ClassicOrme

ClassicOrme is a recreation with classical music instruments of some of the most iconic songs of Italian progressive symphonic rock band Le Orme.

The song selection includes Gioco di bimba, Una dolcezza nuova, La porta chiusa, Storia o leggenda and several more.

The vocal parts will be performed by tenor Eero Lasorla (Finland) and soprano Marta Centurioni (Italy). The instrumental sections a string quintet with 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass plus a classical pianist.

This album will be a numbered limited edition of 1000 units.

The Return of the Iconic Moog Synthesizer IIIc

Moog Music has announced the return of the Moog Synthesizer IIIc model. This special synth will be in production for a very limited time.

Every Synthesizer IIIc will be manufactured using all-original records, art, and circuit board files. Each instrument includes thirty-six hand-stuffed, hand-soldered modules, including ten 901-Series audio oscillators, the 984 Matrix Mixer, and the 905 Spring Reverb. All modules are securely mounted into two hand-finished, solid walnut console cabinets at the Moog factory in Asheville, North Carolina.

The Moog Synthesizer IIIc production will be highly limited. Only 25 units will be produced and sold worldwide.

Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond