THE JAZZ CHILL CORNER Saxophonist Tim Armacost & Pianist David Berkman of The New York Standards Quartet Pay Tribute to Don Friedman @ The Kitano - August 27 | Musique Non Stop


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

THE JAZZ CHILL CORNER Saxophonist Tim Armacost & Pianist David Berkman of The New York Standards Quartet Pay Tribute to Don Friedman @ The Kitano - August 27

THE JAZZ CHILL CORNER Saxophonist Tim Armacost & Pianist David Berkman of The New York Standards Quartet Pay Tribute to Don Friedman @ The Kitano - August 27


Posted: 22 Aug 2016 01:08 PM PDT
Saxophonist and composer Tim Armacost and pianist and composer David Berkman of The New York Standards Quartet will pay tribute to the late Don Friedman with a performance at The Kitano on August 27.  Armacost and Berkman will be joined by an A-list rhythm section featuring Ed Howard on bass and Victor Lewis on drums.

David Berkman
Tim Armacost
The late pianist/composer Don Friedman was a dear friend and inspiration to Armacost.  "Don was a great inspiration for me not just as a musician, but as an example of how to live life.  He was passionate about the music he played, he enjoyed time with Marylin, his wife of 26 years, he was active as an educator for more than 40, and he was an accomplished and competitive athlete, literally until a few months before he passed away.  He continued to compose, and stayed creative to the end of his life.  When he got sick, I never heard him complain - he only expressed frustration about not having the strength to practice the piano for longer than a short while," said Armacost.

Armacost and Berkman are founding members of the New York Standards Quartet (along with bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Gene Jackson), whose mission has always been to interpret standards and traditional jazz tunes in a way that would allow audiences to connect and be engaged, while at the same time, playing in the contemporary jazz style the members have developed through their many decades on the New York jazz scene. Their new album Power of 10 celebrates the 10th anniversary of the band, and shines a spotlight on the group's incredible ability to explore music, together. Tim Armacost explains further, "David was explaining what being a band for 10 years means: that the result of staying together is that we've become totally familiar with each other's playing. When one of us is going for something new, reaching for a different take on a tune, or just pushing the moment forward, everyone hears it immediately. You can feel what the other players are thinking. So when one of us gets inspired and starts a search, or finds a new angle on a tune, everyone jumps in to see where the music will go, or moves over and makes a space for something different to happen. Participating in those moments of discovery is intensely exciting, and that spark is what gives the music its life."

Trumpeter, composer, musical visionary Wadada Leo Smith receives Hammer Museum’s 2016 Mohn Career Achievement Award
Posted: 22 Aug 2016 01:04 PM PDT
Trumpeter, composer and musical visionary Wadada Leo Smith has received the Hammer Museum 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement "honoring brilliance and resilience."  The $25,000 Award was announced August 16 by the museum and presented in conjunction with the exhibition Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, through, only, organized by Hammer curator Adam Moshayedi and Hamza Walker, director of education and associate curator, Renaissance Society.   Dancer and choreographer Adam Linder also received a Mohn Award for artistic excellence and Kenzi Shiokava received the Public Recognition Award.

"The jury wants to acknowledge Wadada Leo Smith's outstanding achievements as a musician, his influential work as a teacher and a mentor for younger artists in Los Angeles, and the decades-long expansion of an inventive, completx and layered system of notation simultaneously interrogating the picotral and the performative," stated Juse Luis Blondet, curator, Special Initiatives, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

"I'm so honored to have won this award," said Smith.  "I'm so happy that my scores are being viewed as works of art.  That means the world to me." 

Smith, who turns 75 in December 2016, recently received a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and received an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was honored as Faculty Emeritus. He maintains an active touring and recording schedule. His latest epic recording America's National Parks will be released October 14, 2016 on Cuneiform Records.  A six-movement suite inspired by the scenic splendor, historic legacy, and political controversies of the country's public landscapes the recording features Smith with pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Pheeroan akLaff and cellist Ashley Walters.  Later this year TUM Records will release Wadada Leo Smith: Nagwa featuring Smith with guitarists Michael Gregory Jackson, Henry Kaiser, Brandon Ross and Lamar Smith, plus Bill Laswell on electric bass, Pheeroan akLaff on drums and Adam Rudolph on percussion. Coming on TUM in early 2017 will be Alone: Reflections and Meditations on Monk, a solo recording.

Smith's 2016 schedule includes performances at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Molde Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh International LiveJazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Vision Festival, Festival Suoni Per il Pipolo, Summer Stage, NYC and the premiere of his opera /cantata Rosa Parks at the FONT Festival, among others (see full schedule at end of this release.)

Totaling $150,000, the Mohn Awards are among the largest art prizes dedicated to recognizing the work of emerging and under-recognized artists from the greater Los Angeles region. A jury of professional curators selected the Mohn Award and the Career Achievement Award while the Public Recognition Award was determined by on-site voting from June 11 through August 14, 2016. The jury included Ingrid Schaffner, curator, 57th Carnegie International, 2018, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Mika Yoshitake, associate curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Jose Luis Blondet, curator, Special Initiatives, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. All three awards were once again funded through the generosity of Los Angeles philanthropists and art collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn and the Mohn Family Foundation as part of Made in L.A., the Hammer's biennial exhibition series highlighting emerging and under-recognized artists from the Los Angeles region.

"Curators Aram Moshayedi and Hamza Walker selected a tight group of artists and offered them room to stretch. This exhibition is stunning in terms of the range of practices and performers, the depth of exploration, and the array of programs it presents. It's as it if everyone won and gave a prize through their participation in Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only," said Ingrid Schaffner.

Wadada Leo Smith, whose roots are in the Delta blues, is one of the most boldly original figures in American jazz and creative contemporary music and one of the great trumpet players of our time.  As a composer, improviser, performer, music theorist/writer and educator, Smith has devoted a lifetime to navigating the emotional heart, spiritual soul, social significance and physical structure of jazz to create new music of infinite possibility and nuance.

A 2016 Doris Duke Artist and 2013 Pulitzer finalist, Smith was DownBeat Magazine's 2013 "Composer of the Year" and the Jazz Journalist Association's 2013 Musician of the Year and Trumpeter of the Year. In 2014 DownBeat magazine named him "One of the 80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today," citing his "magisterial instrumental voice, his inspirational leadership, and his command of classical, jazz and blues forms to remind us of what's gone down and what's still happening." The Jazz Journalists Association named Smith Composer of the Year in 2015. Early in his career, Smith developed Ankhrasmation, a radically original musical language that uses visual directions and remains the philosophical foundation of his oeuvre. In October 2015, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago presented the first comprehensive exhibition of his Ankhrasmation scores.

Smith has released more than 50 albums as a leader. His landmark 2012 civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was called "A staggering achievement… It merits comparison to Coltrane's A Love Supreme in sobriety and reach," (Francis Davis, Rhapsody Jazz Critics Poll). Recent recordings include The Great Lakes Suites, which earned second place in NPR Music's 2014 Jazz Critics Poll and Celestial Weather, which garnered extensive praise as "a perfectly suited twosome…4.5 stars" (DownBeat).  In March 2016 ECM released a cosmic rhythm with each stroke featuring pianist Vijay Iyer and Smith, whom Iyer calls his "hero, friend and mentor." The recording has earned wide critical acclaim and the duo is touring internationally in 2016 and 2017.

Born December 18, 1941 in Leland, Mississippi, Smith began performing at age thirteen with his stepfather, bluesman Alex Wallace and went on to play in his high school bands. He received his formal musical education from the U.S. Military band program (1963), the Sherwood School of Music (1967-69), and Wesleyan University (1975-76). Part of the first generation of musicians to come out of Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Music), Smith collaborated with a dazzling cast of fellow visionaries. He has received commissions to write music for numerous groups including the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and was invited to perform and speak on human rights at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens.

Smith has been awarded grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Chamber Music America with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Meet the Composer/Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, the MAP Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts, among many others.

Wadada Leo Smith Upcoming Events
• Saturday, Sept. 24 – Premiere of Smith's opera /cantata Rosa Parks – FONT Festival, NYC

• Tuesday, Sept. 27 – Smith and Iyer – Amherst, MA

• Friday, Oct. 14 – AACM concert featuring Wadada Leo Smith with Bobby Naughton and Dwight Andrews – The Community Church of New York, NYC

• Sunday, Oct. 23 – Smith & John Lindberg duo Celestial Weather – LaFontsie Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

• Wednesday, Oct. 26 – Smith & John Lindberg duo Celestial Weather – Edgefest (20th Anniv. Edition), Ann Arbor, MI

• October 28 & 29 – Smith & John Lindberg duo Celestial Weather w. drummer Mike Reed – Constellation, Chicago, IL

• Sunday, Oct. 30 – Smith & John Lindberg duo Celestial Weather – Woodland Pattern, Milwaukee, WI

• Thursday, Nov. 3 – Smith's Great Lakes Quartet performing The Great Lakes Suites – Berlin Jazz Festival

• Sunday, Nov. 6 – Wadada duet with pianist Alexander Hawkins – Berlin Jazz Festival

• Wednesday, Nov. 9 – Wadada Leo Smith & Vijay Iyer duo – Benaroya Hall's Nordstrom Recital Hall – Earshot Jazz Festival

• Saturday, Nov. 19 – Wadada & Iyer – Bielsko-Biala – Poland

• December 14-17 – Wadada Leo Smith's Four Symphonies – Kadist, Wattis, & The Lab – San Francisco, CA

• Friday, Jan. 6 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Wigmore Hall, London, England

• Saturday, Jan. 7 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Klub Zak, Gdansk, Poland

• Sunday, Jan. 8 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam, Netherlands

•  Monday, Jan. 9 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Harpa, Reykjavik

• Wednesday, Jan. 11 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Philharmonie Chamber Hall, Luxembourg

• Thursday, Jan. 12 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Kölner Philharmonie, Köln, Germany
• Friday, Jan. 13 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Brussels Jazz Festival – Flagey, Brussels, Belgium

• Sunday, Jan. 15 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Teatro Manzoni , Milan, Italy

• Tuesday, Jan. 17 – Wadada-Vijay duo – Sons D'Hiver Festival – Espace Jean Vilar, Arcueil, France

Posted: 22 Aug 2016 01:00 PM PDT
You can never tell what will happen when friends get together. The trio of Marcio Menescal, DJ Marcelinho DaLua, and Alex Moreira originally started remixing classic bossa nova tracks for fun. Eighteen years and five albums later, Bossacucanova has honored and helped evolve its native Brazilian soundtrack.

The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees Records) assembles songs the band members feel are the most representative of their diverse and progressive catalog, including two brand new songs. As Menescal, son of legendary bossa nova pioneer Roberto, says, "We decided to choose songs featuring our best arrangements, most original beats, and top performances." The album is set to be release on August 12.

As the trio initially had no ambitions of becoming a band, Menescal says that offered a kind of freedom when they worked on their debut album, Revisited Classics. In hindsight this collection offers a reflective gaze at what they've accomplished. Still, Menescal waxes poetic over the early days: "We like the beginning when we had no experience; that allowed us to be bolder."

This is why the collection opens with a global lounge classic, 'Berimbau,' titled (and featuring) one of Brazil's most famous contributions—the berimbau is the single-stringed percussive instrument rooted with a gourd, mostly known for its role in the martial art form, capoeira. Bossacucanova's tribute features a meandering beat with a chant-style chorus that is a trademark of the nation's folk music. It features the voices of Os Cariocas, a group initially founded in 1942.

For this song and 'Meditacão,' which features vocalist and guitarist Wanda Sa (who cut her teeth performing with Sérgio Mendes's Brazil '65), Menescal borrowed original tracks from his father's label and remixed them with "distorted guitars, flutes, amplifiers, and guitar pedals." The samples were lifted straight from vinyl with a microphone placed near the monitor—a harbinger of today's digital drag-and-drop techniques.

Bossacucanova has made its career by blending such Brazilian anthems, working with a pantheon of musical gods and goddesses while keeping tabs on emerging technologies. Never have distortion, DJ scratches, or electronic beats distracted from the melodic core that comprises the nation's soul. This is nowhere more evident than in the upbeat hit, 'Essa Moça tá Diferente,' featuring a sample of Chico Buarque along with swing vocals by Wilson Simoninha and saxophone contribution by Leo Gandelman.

"Our great references are still the music and culture of the sixties through eighties," says Menescal. "Brazilian music is very rich—it has several rhythmic styles, an abundance of harmonies, and extraordinary musicians. But we will always feel like we need to improve and refresh what has come before. And we have many projects with this in mind coming soon."

Keeping the collection fresh, a dubby, percussive remix of 'Waldomiro Pena' by British Afro-Brazilian group Da Lata breathes new life into this Bossacucanova staple, which was originally recorded by Jorge Ben for the popular television show, Plantao de Policia. Another new tune, written for Carnaval, 'Indio Quer Apito,' updates a carioca song from the sixties, with Pedro Luis contributing vocals and Orquestra Criola, led by Humberto Araújo, spicing up the dance floor track.

It's impossible to separate Brazilian culture from its political climate. The Tropicália movement of the early seventies addressed important social issues; the music, then and now, has long been a response to what's going on around the country, a mirror for its people to meditate on and, ideally, uplift. Bossacucanova is in this latter camp, using music as a tool for unifying a people that is currently in the midst of a severe economic downturn.

"When the country faces times of crises, the culture reacts immediately," says Menescal. "In difficult times, people renew themselves. We find intelligent, creative solutions. While all of this is happening, it is our role to have a positive influence on the people and in Brazilian music."

This self-appointed ambassadorial position is certainly appreciated. The band's next tour will be a survey of its nearly two decades making incredible music, progressively walking through its rich history. Members will blend the worlds they know so well: the expansive technological domain of previously unimagined soundscapes combined with the integrity and joy of live performance, the foundation of Brazil's music since the beginning.

"Our band is a family," Menescal concludes. "We've built this friendship over years of touring, living through a range of emotions: good times, fights, music and love. We hope there still will be lots of surprises left!"

1.  Berimbau (feat. Os Cariocas)   
2.  Consolação (feat. Silvio César)   
3.  Meditação (feat. Wanda Sá)   
4.  Bye Bye Brasil (with Roberto Menescal)   
5.  Água De Beber    (with Roberto Menescal)   
6.  Brasilidade (with Roberto Menescal)   
7.  Essa Moça Tá Diferente (feat. Wilson Simoninha)
8.  Previsão (feat. Adriana Calcanhotto)   
9.  Águas De Março (feat. Cris Delanno)   
10. Adeus América (feat. Os Cariocas, Oscar Castro Neves and Wilson Simoninha)
11. É Preciso Perdoar (feat. Emilio Santiago)   
12. Balança (Nao Pode Parar!) (feat. Cris Delanno)
13. Índio Quer Apito (feat. Orquestra Criôla and Pedro Luis)   
14. Waldomiro Pena (Dalata Remix)


Posted: 22 Aug 2016 12:55 PM PDT
Trio Pacific, Vol. 1, drummer/composer Matt Slocum's fourth recording as a leader, moves away from his core piano trio for the first time to a new configuration featuring longtime creative associate Dayna Stephens and inventive guitarist Steve Cardenas. While Slocum's acclaimed 2014 recording Black Elk's Dream focused heavily on his extended compositional work, Trio Pacific, Vol. 1 paints the most revealing portrait to date of his distinctive musical personality on the drums.

Slocum, who penned six of the eight compositions on the date, writes, "For these sessions I was interested in working with more open compositional frameworks designed with the trio's aesthetic approach in mind. This group seems to be geared more towards collective interaction rather than extended individual solo statements. It's still a relatively new format as we have been playing together as a trio for only a year or so, but the initial musical connection is the strongest that I've experienced."

He also notes that, "The title of the recording isn't meant to imply a deep underlying meaning or anything. It just seemed appropriate as the first gigs that I played with Dayna and Steve were on the West Coast, and we all lived in California for different periods of time. There's also a certain warmth in their playing, both sonically and in terms of content, that for whatever reason makes me think of the Pacific. But it's totally subjective. And by 'warmth' I don't mean brightness."

More about the music on Trio Pacific, Vol. 1: Passaic is a Native American word that means "valley" or "water flowing through a valley". The composition alludes to the sinuous path of the Passaic River and what Slocum describes as, "a type of dark beauty," in the Great Falls of the Passaic, the second largest waterfall in the Eastern US.  The relatively obscure standard, I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me, features joyful, swinging playing from the trio and borderline telepathic interaction. Yerazel is an Armenian word that means "to dream." Relaxin' at Camarillo is played at a brisk tempo and features Stephens on the alto saxophone. Slocum notes that, "I've always loved how Tommy Flanagan played this tune." Stephens and Cardenas solo beautifully together before handing it off to Slocum for a thematic solo statement built around the tune's melodic and rhythmic motifs.

Afterglow, Descent and Atlantic are three new works that Slocum composed for the sessions. Afterglow incorporates a haunting melody in the lower register of the tenor saxophone over lush, non-conventional harmonic structures. The magical duo interplay between guitar and drums on Descent is a highlight of the recording. It is interesting to hear how Cardenas, a veteran of ensembles led by Paul Motian and Joey Baron, plays differently in a duo with Slocum. Slocum too has found his own voice in this setting, a creative approach to the instrument which differs significantly from those of Motian, Baron and others. Atlantic features Stephens on the soprano saxophone supported by Slocum's textural shading on brushes, mallets and later sticks. 

For Alin was composed for Slocum's wife and originally appears on his debut recording Portraits. For this session the trio approaches the piece as a collective dialogue which culminates in a single statement of the lyrical rubato melody.

More about Matt Slocum:  Hailed as "one of his generation's most highly regarded drummers" (Jazz Police), Matt Slocum has also earned a reputation as a distinctive, inventive and lyrical composer. He is the recipient of composition grants and commissions from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the American Music Center, New Music USA, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Puffin Foundation and Meet the Composer. Slocum's ensembles have been featured throughout North America and Europe at venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Yoshi's, the Blue Note, Earshot Jazz Festival, Saratoga Jazz Festival, Twin Cities Jazz Festival and the Soka International Jazz Festival among others. Frequently referred to as a "musical" drummer, Slocum possesses a uniquely personal voice on the instrument and is a propulsive, melodic and dynamic accompanist and soloist. He has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Seamus Blake, Alan Broadbent, Steve Cardenas, Gerald Clayton, Taylor Eigsti, Aaron Goldberg, Jon Irabagon, Larry Koonse, Wynton Marsalis, Lage Lund, Linda Oh, Alan Pasqua, Jerome Sabbagh, Jaleel Shaw, Walter Smith III, Anthony Wilson, Sam Yahel and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota and raised in western Wisconsin, Slocum began musical studies on piano before switching to percussion at age 11. While in high school he was introduced to jazz through recordings featuring Max Roach and Philly Joe Jones. He received a full scholarship to attend the University of Southern California where he studied with Peter Erskine. After graduating in 2004, Slocum spent three years in California before making the move to New York in fall 2007. His debut recording Portraits was released in January 2010. The New York City Jazz Record raved, "With this excellent premiere, Slocum steps out of the box as the full package," while All Music Guide wrote, "This auspicious debut should put Matt Slocum's name firmly on the jazz map." After the Storm, a more introspective trio recording, was released in October 2011 and was one of 15 recordings by American composers to receive a New Music USA recording grant in 2011. Slocum's third recording, Black Elk's Dream (2014), is primarily a quartet session that the Minneapolis City Pages describes as, "A sublime interpretation of the visionary Oglala Lakota leader's philosophy, life and times, the melodic sophistication of Slocum's compositions wonderfully realized by his lithe, restless percussion."
Trio Pacific, Vol. 1 - Tour dates:
October 18 - The Cornelia Street Cafe, NYC
October 21 & 22 - Studio Z, St. Paul, MN
November 4 - Dizzy's, San Diego, CA
November 5 - San Luis Obispo Jazz Society, CA
November 6 - California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley, CA
November 8 - Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, CA
November 9 - Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA

jQuery(document).ready() {