Guitar maverick Bill Frisell and virtuoso bassist Thomas Morgan will be touring North America in the next weeks to present their new album Small Town.
June 23 – Ottawa, ON at Ottawa Jazz Festival
June 24 – Toronto, ON at Toronto Jazz Festival
June 25 – Rochester, NY at Rochester Jazz Festival
June 27 – New Haven, CT at Firehouse 12
June 28 – Pawling, NY at Darryl’s Place
June 29 – Bay Shore, NY at Boulton Center for the Performing Arts
June 30 – Brooklyn, NY at Roulette
July 1 – Evanston, IL at SPACE
July 2 – Montreal, PQ at Montreal Jazz Festival
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.
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.
Two of Europe’s finest eclectic jazz guitarists continue their series of collaborations with a double album titled The Colours of Time. The set is divided into two separate formats. The first album is a series of solo original works composed by either Pete Oxley or Nicolas Meier.
The material on disc 1 showcases the virtuosity of the two musicians along with their talent as composers, delivering a set of exquisite guitar duets. The two guitarists use a wide range of guitars and guitar-playing techniques. In addition to the usual solo and rhythm guitar styles, there is an ongoing guitar interchange throughout the album as well as beautiful moments where the guitarists use a beautiful plucking method that makes the guitar sound like a mesmerizing harp.
Although jazz is the foundation on disc 1, Oxley and Meier inject many other influences such as Gypsy jazz on “Waltz for Dilek”, Turkish influences on “Princes’ Island”, Pat Metheny-style guitar synth on “In Restless Repose”, North African/Middle Eastern sounds on “Sahara” and more Pat Metheny influences on “First Day of Spring,” although this time with Oxley on electric guitar.
On Disc 2, the original compositions become more rhythmic and electric with the addition of bassist Raph Mizraki and drummer Paul Cavaciuti. Pat Metheny’s influence continues on the opening track, “The Followers.” There is also a delicious ballad that perfectly crosses over into smooth jazz territory.
Some of the best tracks on this disc are the ones with a Middle Eastern flavor, such as “Riversides” and “Fethiye Crossroad.” Lastly, I need to mention a fabulous piece titled “Tales” that has instant classic appeal, with memorable bluesy solos.
The lineup on The Colours of Time includes Pete Oxley on nylon string, steel, electric, synth, jazz, and electric 12 string guitars; Nicolas Meier on nylon string, steel, acoustic 12-string, fretless nylon, glissentar, and jazz guitars; Paul Cavaciuti on drums; and Raph Mizraki on acoustic and electric basses.
The Colours of Time introduces the listener to a remarkable guitar dialog between two extraordinary guitarists.
Country For Old Men (Impulse!) by guitarist John Scofield is the winner of Best Jazz Instrumental Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
The other finalists were:
Book Of Intuition – Kenny Barron Trio (Impulse!)
Dr. Um – Peter Erskine (Fuzzy Music
Sunday Night At The Vanguard) – The Fred Hersch Trio (Palmetto Records)
Nearness – Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau (Nonesuch)
MJ12 is the new jazz-rock fusion project developed by renowned British bassist Percy Jones. Although parts of the pieces have a certain structure, with jazz, rock and funk elements, there is plenty of room for improvisation and sound experimentation.
For bass fans there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some great bass work. However, the saxophone plays a very important role in this recording.
The name of the band was taken from Majestik 12, an alleged group of 12 scientists and engineers gathered in the late 1940s to investigate UFO’s.
Percy Jones on fretless bass; Dave Phelps on guitar; Stephen Moses on drums; and Chris Bacas on saxophone.
Jazz fusion innovator, composer and guitar maestro Al Di Meola will continue to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of his Elegant Gypsy Tour with new concerts in 2017 in support of his most recent solo album Elysium. The North American tour begins February 7 in Durham, North Carolina with dates in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Austin, Dallas, Montreal, and more.
Di Meola has been on tour for most of 2016, presenting new material from Elysium together with old favorites. DiMeola uses acoustic and electric guitars, including his nylon string Conde Hermanos acoustic prototype model and a 1971 Les Paul electric (his Return to Forever and Elegant Gypsy guitar).
The band includes Philippe Saisse on keyboards, marimba; Gumbi Ortiz on percussion; Elias Tona on bass; Luis Alicea on drums; and Evan Garr on violin.
2017 North America Tour:
2/7/17 Durham, NC Carolina Theatre
2/8/17 Charleston, SC Music Hall
2/9/17 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
2/11/17 Orlando, FL The Plaza Live
2/12/17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Parker Playhouse
2/13/17 Clearwater,FL Capitol Theater
2/14/17 Ponte Vedra,FL PV Concert Hall
2/17/17 Austin, TX One World
2/18/17 Dallas, TX Majestic
2/21/17 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music
2/22/17 Kent, OH Kent Stage
2/24/17 Quebec City, Q Palais Montcalm
2/25/17 Montreal, QC Salle Pierre Mercure
2/26/17 Peekskill, NY Paramount
Composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and actor Alphonse Mouzon passed away on Christmas Day, December 25, 2016.
Alphonse Mouzon was born on November 21st, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He attended Bonds-Wilson High School where he received his early musical training under the direction of saxophonist and high school music teacher Lonnie Hamilton III. He also took some drum lessons from Charles Garner before playing concerts with the Lonnie Hamilton Band.
Following graduation from high school, Mouzon moved to New York to study music and drama at New York City College and medicine at Manhattan Medical School. Mouzon took drum lessons from jazz pianist Billy Taylor’s drummer Bobby Thomas. While attending college, Alphonse played in the pit band of the Broadway show “Promises, Promises” after being recommended by Bobby Thomas. Mouzon also worked as a medical technologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital after graduating from Manhattan Medical School. However his medical career was short lived.
By 1969, his reputation as a drummer had spread to such an extent that a medical career no longer seemed attractive. Mouzon was the rhythmic foundation for the innovative musical explorations of pianist McCoy Tyner. He was a founding member, along with keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, of the iconic fusion group Weather Report. Together with guitarist Larry Coryell, Mouzon was co-founder of The Eleventh House, the influential fusion band of the 1970s.
Alphonse Mouzon played and/or recorded with Gil Evans, Roy Ayers, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola, Les McCann, Ronnie Laws, Klaus Doldinger’s Passport, Jaco Pastorius, Ron Carter, Azar Lawrence, Joey DeFrancesco, MILES SMILES, Albert Mangelsdorff, Joachim Kuhn, Jasper van’t Hof, Michel Legrand, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Donald Bird, Chet Baker, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Ernie Watts, Sonny Rollins, Wallace Roney, Arturo Sandoval, Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, George Coleman, John Klemmer, Billy Harper, Dave Grusin, Russ Freeman, George Howard, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Lorber, Kenny G., Joanne Brackeen, Horace Parlan, Robin Kenyatta, Kevin Toney, Sunnie Paxson, Ross Carnegie Orchestra, Roberta Flack, Sheila E., Celia Cruz, Gloria Lynn, Gloria Coleman, Denise Williams, Freda Payne, Shirley Scott, Anita O’Day, Betty Davis, and in 1991, he performed with Miles Davis on the movie soundtrack album “Dingo”.
Mouzon also worked rock and pop stars, including Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Patrick Moraz, Tommy Bolin and Chubby Checker.
In 1992, Alphone Mouzon founded Tenacious Records. He released a series of successful albums, including “The Survivor”, “On Top Of The World”, “Early Spring”, “By All Means”, “Love Fantasy”, “Back To Jazz”, “As You Wish”, “The Night Is Still Young”, “The Sky Is The Limit”, “Distant Lover”, “Morning Sun”, “Absolute Greatest Love Songs & Ballads” “Live In Hollywood”, “Jazz In Bel-Air”.
In recent years, Mouzon performed in Europe and in the United States with his trio, quartet, or quintet and as a featured guest artist with other groups like Miles Smiles, and Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House. He also taught drums at The Alphonse Mouzon International Private Drum School in Porter Ranch, California.
Alphonse Mouzon was also an actor. He appeared along with actor Tom Hanks in the 1996 film “That Thing You Do”. Mouzon also co-starred in the 2003 film called The Highlife. He can also be seen in a 2004 movie with Michael Keaton, Margaret Collins, and Katie Holmes called “First Daughter”.
Azymuth – Fênix (Far Out Recordings FARO 194CD, 2016)
Fênix is the new studio album by a renowned Brazilian band named Azymuth that has been around for many years. The trio is known for mixing contemporary jazz with bossa nova, samba, funk, disco and electronics
The band’s keyboard virtuoso, José Roberto Bertrami passed away in 2012 so the other two original members, percussionists Ivan Conti and bassist Alex Malheiros, are currently leading Azymuth.
Although Brazil has produced numerous high quality jazz and fusion acts, Azymuth has instant appeal for an audience seeking Brazilian jazz with familiar influences. The highlights are the funk jazz opening track “Villa Mariana (de tarde)” that features tasty synth solos by keyboardist Kiko Continentino, and the title track, where Azymuth adds familiar disco bass; the lively “Papa Samba”, and the percussion rich “Corumbá”.
Overall, the album has a smooth jazz sensibility that will satisfy fans of this genre.