Tag Archives: jazz

Casey Golden’s Wide Ranging Piano

Casey Golden Trio – Miniature (Scrampion Records, 2016)

Miniature is the third release by masterful Australian jazz pianist Casey Golden and his trio. It’s an EP featuring a single musical piece divided into four pieces.

The style is hard to define. It’s not exactly straight ahead jazz. Miniature contains jazz improvisation, classical influences and creative arrangements and structured compositions that take the music close to progressive rock.

Throughout the EP, Golden his musical colleagues plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent. The lineup includes Casey Golden on piano, keyboards, music box; Bill Williams on bass; and Ed Rodrigues on drums and percussion. Special Guest on Daniel Walsh on guitar.

Miniature is a fine example of multifaceted jazz piano craftsmanship.

Spontaneous Progressive Psychedelic Jazz

Vantomme – Vegir (Moonjune, 2018)

Belgian keyboardist Dominique Vantomme has released a fabulous genre-defying album where progressive jazz meets psychedelic rock.

Vegir has a cutting edge sound where analog keyboards (including distorted electric piano) meet the spellbinding psychedelic guitar and effects of Michel Delville, Tony Levin’s remarkable bass and Chapman stick sounds, and the powerful, creative drumming of Maxime Lenssen.

Vegir is an exceptionally good album featuring engaging and instinctive progressive jams that highlight the beauty of electronic keyboards.

Buy Vegir

Groundbreaking Violinist Didier Lockwood Dies at 62

French progressive rock and jazz violinist Didier Lockwood died February 18, 2018 in Paris. He was known for his virtuosity and experimentation on the electric violin.

Didier Lockwood was born in Calais, France in 1956. He grew up in a family of artists. His father was a school and violin teacher, his mother an amateur painter, and his elder brother Francis, a talented pianist very attracted to jazz. Didier fell in love with the violin and entered the Conservatory at the age of six.

In addition to going to school and participating in swimming competitions, the young violinist attended the Conservatory and received daily private classes.

Didier Lockwood joined the Lyric Orchestra of the Théâtre Municipal de Calais at 13 years old. He was 16 when he was doubly rewarded for his efforts and his virtuosity by winning the First Prize of violin of the National Conservatory of Calais, as well as the SACEM First National Prize of contemporary music.

The young violinist admired classical music and its eminent composers. However, a new passion soon developed: improvised music and jazz. At 17, he chose the legendary progressive music band Magma rather than attending the Paris Conservatory.

In 1973, he made his debut with Magma, along with drummer Christian Vander. Lockwood recorded two albums with Magma: Theatre Du Taur Concert (1975) and Live/Hhaï (1975).

In 1976, Lockwood joined Zao, a progressive band created by two former members of Magma. He participated in two albums, Kawana (1976) and Live! (1976).

Jazz became his next focus in 1978. Lockwood worked with well known French jazz musicians: André Ceccarelli, François Jeanneau, Didier Levallet and Henri Texier.

During the 1980s, Lockwood carried out all sorts of jazz projects, ranging from string trios and quartets to solo and fusion groups. He also collaborated with UZEB, Gordon Beck, Martial Solal and Michel Petrucciani.

In 1994, he celebrated his 20 year career anniversary. The following year, he made his first American album: New York Rendez-vous.

In March 2000, he released, Tribute to Stéphane Grappelli, which received many awards since its release: Diapason d’Or, Choc Jazzman, and Selection FIP.

In the spring of 2001, Didier created, along with Indian dancer Raghunath Manet and percussionist Ri Murugan, the show Omkara, a musical encounter between jazz and Indian music.

In 2003 Lockwood released a double album titled Globe-Trotter, featuring solo and quartet performances.

In 2005, Lockwood and Caroline Casadesus, created a new show, the Jazz and the Diva that brought together jazz and classical music.

In 2009, Didier released Lockwood Brothers with his brother Francis.

 

Didier Lockwood

 

After several years touring Europe alongside Mike Stern, Billy Cobham, John Abercrombie and Victor Bailey, he reformed the Didier Lockwood Group (DLG), with Jean-Marie Ecay, Paco Séry and Linley Marthe.

Didier Lockwood received numerous accolades and awards, including Les Victoires de la Musique, le Django d’or, le Prix de la Sacem et de l’Académie du Jazz and Knight of the Legion of Honor and Officer of National Merit and Arts and Letters.

 

Artist Profiles: Joe Zawinul

Joe Zawinul

Few keyboardists in jazz history matched the creativity and eclecticism of Joe Zawinul. He was a true innovator in the world of jazz and one of the originators of today’s world fusion sounds.

Joe Zawinul was born on July 7, 1932, in Kirchbach, a small village near Vienna. His first instrument was the accordion. At the age of 12, he started to learn the piano, which became his main instrument. After World War II, Zawinul continued his musical education at the prestigious Vienna Conservatory. He moved to the United States in 1959 on a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston.

In the United States, he inevitably became involved in jazz, playing as a sideman to artists such as Slide Hampton, Dinah Washington, and Cannonball Adderley. He met and collaborated with Miles Davis while the latter was moving into his electric era and was essential in the outcome of Bitches Brew (1970), Davis’ first electric project.

After releasing his debut solo album on Atlantic in 1970, Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter put together one of the most important jazz groups of the 1970s, Weather Report. Drawing on the power and theatricality of rock and R&B, while maintaining allegiance to jazz and the pure spirit of improvisation, they were pioneers of the fusion movement of that decade while carving out their own unique niche.

Even though band members came and went, Weather Report’s spirit prevailed over the course of 17 albums, including the groundbreaking Black Market and the enormously popular Heavy Weather, which included Zawinul’s infectious song “Birdland.” That song, in versions by Weather Report, Manhattan Transfer and Quincy Jones, won separate Grammy awards in three successive decades. Weather Report itself won a Grammy for its live album, 8:30.

In 1985, after he and Shorter finally agreed to go in separate musical directions, Zawinul continued to create adventurous new grooves in the group known as Weather Update and then the Zawinul Syndicate, whose albums included My People in 1996 and the two-CD, World Tour in 1998.

Other special projects included an adventurous solo electronic album, Dialects (1986), and work as producer and arranger on Salif Keita’s landmark album, Amen (1991). Meanwhile, as another side project of his creative life, Zawinul also pursued classical composition, writing his ambitious Stories Of The Danube in 1993 and working with renowned classical pianist Friedrich Gulda. His special solo project “Mauthausen,” released in Europe in 2000, is a memorial for the victims of the Holocaust, and was performed on the site of the Austrian concentration camp after which it is named.

Zawinul had honorary doctorates from Berklee School of Music, and is the official Austrian goodwill ambassador to 17 African nations. In January 2002, Zawinul received the first International Jazz Award, co-presented by the International Jazz Festival Organization and the International Association of Jazz Educators. In 2002, he released the CD Faces & Places.

The live album Vienna Nights came out in 2005.

Zawinul was a pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards, ranging from synthesizers to samplers. He incorporated global sounds into his keyboards, developing cutting edge world fusion.

Joe Zawinul died in Vienna on 7 August 7, 2007.

Discography:

To You with Love (Strand, 1959)
Money in the Pocket (Atlantic, 1966)
Rise & Fall of Third Stream (Vortex, 1968)
Zawinul (Atlantic, 1971)
Dialects (Columbia, 1986)
The Immigrants (Columbia, 1988)
Black Water (Columbia, 1989)
Lost Tribes (Columbia, 1992)
My People (ESC, 1996)
Stories of the Danube (Polygram, 1996)
World Tour (ESC, 1997)
Mauthausen – Vom großen Sterben hören (ESC, 2000)
Faces & Places (ESC, 2002)
Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate – Vienna Nights – Live at Joe Zawinul’s Birdland (Heads Up, 2005)
Brown Street (Heads Up, 2006)
75 (Heads Up, 2008)

ECM Announces Thomas Strønen’s New Album Lucus

Thomas Strønen Time Is A Blind Guide – Lucus

ECM Records has announced the release of Time Is A Blind Guide – Lucus, a new album by Norwegian drummer and composer Thomas Strønen. The Lucus release date in January 19, 2018.

Lucus includes Ayumi Tanaka on piano; Håkon Aase on violin; Lucy Railton on cello; Ole Morten Vågan on double bass; and Thomas Strønen on drums and percussion.

Buy Lucus

Kit Downes To Release Obsidian

Kit Downes – Obsidian

British organist Kit Downes is set to release a new album titled Obsidian (ECM records) on January 19, 2018. Obsidian features Kit Downes on church organs and Tom Challenger on tenor saxophone.

In November 2016 producer Sun Chung followed Downes to three English churches: the Snape Church of John the Baptist, Bromeswell St Edmund Church and Union Chapel Church in Islington, London. Downes played the church organs in these very different acoustic spaces. Most of the album is solo organ work. He is joined on one piece, “Modern Gods” by saxophonist Tom Challenger.

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Keith Emerson at the Piano

Keith Emerson – Emerson Plays Emerson (The Right Honourable Recording Company, 2017)

Emerson Plays Emerson is a piano album by progressive rock legend Keith Emerson. The album, originally released in 2002, was out of print and a collector’s item until.

The new edition is a remastered version approved by the estate of Keith Emerson.

On Emerson Plays Emerson you’ll find a set of piano tunes that represent various influences. There are classical music-inspired pieces, jazz, joyful honky tonk and cinematic works.

This album primarily focuses on solo piano tracks so you won’t find Emerson’s other side: organ and electronic keyboards.

The CD booklet includes notes in English, German and Italian.

Emerson Plays Emerson showcases the talent and musical background of one of the greatest keyboardists in recent rock history.

Buy Emerson Plays Emerson

Jazz Guitar Maestro John Abercrombie Dies at 72

John Abercrombie

 

Acclaimed jazz guitarist John Abercrombie died on August 22, 2017 after a long illness.

John Laird Abercrombie was born on December 16, 1944 in Port Chester, New York. In a press release, ECM Records’ Tina Pelikan wrote: “He will be much missed, for his sensitive musicality, his good companionship, and his dry humor which enhanced many a session. He leaves behind an extensive discography which will be studied as long as people continue to play jazz guitar.

John made his first recording for ECM, the appropriately-titled “Timeless”, in the summer of 1974, with his lifelong friend Jack DeJohnette on the drums, and Jan Hammer on organ. Over the next four decades, he was active as leader, co-leader and sideman on dozens of ECM projects. A creative writer of jazz tunes, John also loved to play freely as much as he loved to play standards. Many of his albums combine all of these resources, unified by his fluid, silvery tone and improvisational eloquence. In conversation he would speak of his enduring fondness for Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery, primary influences, and also of the liberating examples of Ornette Coleman and Jimi Hendrix; Bill Evans’s sense of lyricism was also of crucial importance to him.

John Abercrombie

 

John Abercrombie led a number of very fine bands, and he was particularly proud of his last quartet with Marc Copland on piano, Drew Gress on double bass, and Joey Baron on drums. This quartet released two albums, “39 Steps” and “Up and Coming”, the latter just released in January 2017.

 

 

Highlights in his recording career were many and include the Gateway trio albums with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, the duo albums with Ralph Towner, the Special Editions albums (with DeJohnette, Lester Bowie and Eddie Gomez), Jan Garbarek’s “Eventyr”, Charles Lloyd’s “The Water Is Wide”, Collin Walcott’s “Grazing Dreams” (where John and Don Cherry play together), Enrico Rava’s “The Pilgrim and the Stars”, Kenny Wheeler’s “Deer Wan” … the list goes on.

John died peacefully at Hudson Valley Hospital outside of Peekskill, NY, in the presence of his family.”

 

Bill Frisell’s Harmony Project to Perform at Carboro ArtsCenter

Acclaimed jazz guitarist and innovator Bill Frisell is set to perform on Thursday, September 14th in Carrboro, North Carolina with his Harmony Project.

The ensemble put together by Frisell includes vocalist Petra Haden, cellist Hank Roberts, and multi-instrumentalist Luke Bergman. Harmony is described as an evocative trip through the landscape of American music of the last century.

More details at: artscenterlive.org/events.

Ancestor’s Tale

Ut Gret – Ancestor’s Tale (AltrOck Productions, 2014)

Ancestor’s Tale is the fourth album by American progressive music band Ut Gret. The ensemble’s sound is characterized by the combination of prog rock instrumentation and various wind instruments such as the bassoon and clarinet. It’s a mix of avant-garde jazz, free form improvisation, chamber music and Canterbury-style progressive rock.

Ut Gret intertwines structured musical works with unexpected experimental improvisation.

The lineup on Ancestor’s Tale includes Joee Conroy on electric guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, fretless bass; Steve Roberts on organ, electric piano, mellotron, marimba, vibes, samples; Jackie Royce on bassoon, flute, contra-bassoon; Steve Good on clarinet, bass clarinet; Gary Pahler on drums; Sydney Simpson: double bass; Cheyenne Mize on vocals, violin; and Gregory Acker on flutes, percussion, digeridoo, baritone saxophone.

The CD booklet includes fascinating artwork and descriptions of the musical pieces.

Buy Ancestor’s Tale in the rest of the world

Buy Ancestor’s Tale in Europe