Gil Evans to Miles Davis…. Holger Czukay to the ensemble known as Can….Jean Claude Vannier to Serge Gainsbourg on Histoire de Melody Nelson. That’s the only way to explain the specificity of Four Tet and Madlib’s collaboration, in this special album that showcases a two-decade long friendship that has resulted in an album that follows Madlib’s classics like Quasimoto’s The Unseen, Madvillainy and his Pinata and Bandana albums with Freddie Gibbs. “A few months ago I completed work on an album with my friend Madlib that we’d been making for the last few years. He is always making loads of music in all sorts of styles and I was listening to some of his new beats and studio sessions when I had the idea that it would be great to hear some of these ideas made into a Madlib solo album. Not made into beats for vocalists to use but instead arranged into tracks that could all flow together in an album designed to be listened to start to finish. I put this concept to him when we were hanging out eating some nice food one day and we decided to work on this together with him sending me tracks, loops, ideas and experiments that I would arrange, edit, manipulate and combine. I was sent hundreds of pieces of music over a couple of years stretch and during that time I put together this album with all the parts that fitted with my vision.” - Kieren Hebden AKA Four TetGet it here
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Released way back in 1974, the lone, self-titled effort from Spirale is an album notable for its lack of electronic instruments. It also has some of those loveable low-budget production flaws that are so often heard in obscure 1970s Italian progressive music. Quite an energetic jazz-rock ensemble excursion, with excellent brass arrangements and improvisation. Other instruments used include violin, drums, piano and various percussions.
There are some folk overtones on "Peperoncino," and the brief but pretty "Una Ballata per Yanes" seems to come as much from Vince Guaraldi as Dave Brubeck. Spirale were a jazz-rock band, which would be known later as "Folk Magic Band" and quite renown for their participation to international jazz festivals. Their first and only LP with the original bandname could be compared in style to ethno-prog band such as Maad (Italy) or Embryo (Germany).Get it here
Australian 9-piece Spiritual Jazz group Menagerie announce their highly anticipated third album ‘Many Worlds’, released 15th January 2021 on esteemed U.K label Freestyle Records.
Menagerie is the Melbourne-based Jazz ensemble founded by producer, songwriter, guitarist, DJ and recording artist Lance Ferguson, also the driving force behind The Bamboos, Lanu, Rare Groove Spectrum and Machines Always Win.
Recorded at Union Street Studio by award-winning engineer John Castle, ‘Many Worlds’ features some of Australia’s finest musicians, including pianist Mark Fitzgibbon (a regular performer at Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge’s original Dingwalls sessions), drummer Daniel Farrugia and renowned saxophonist Phil Noy (The Bamboos).
Inspired by both the post-Coltrane generation of the 70’s, labels like Strata-East, Impulse! and Tribe, along with the current ‘New Wave Of Jazz’, Menagerie aligns with the world of Kamasi Washington, Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia, whilst also bringing their own unique twist.
Lead single ‘Free Thing’ leans heavily into the spiritual side of the band's sound. The hypnotic spoken word-poem is evocative of The Last Poets, an earthy yet futuristic meditation on the universal theme of freedom itself, set to a backdrop of insistent percussion, double bass and brooding piano voicings.
‘Hope’ carries forward the sound of spiritual jazz into the 21st century, with its epic vocal harmonies and melodic fanfare, it is an uplifting anthem for this period of global worldwide upheaval and uncertainty.
The title track ‘Many Worlds’ is a perfect example of how Menagerie incorporates their myriad influences, but manage to create a sound that feels uncannily fresh and contemporary. Book-ended by ambient, ethereal sections, the slow-burning groove builds over its 11-minute duration to create a standout crossover track.
Menagerie have received airplay and radio support from Gilles Peterson (BBC6/Worldwide FM), Don Letts (BBC6), Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2), Simon Harrison, Paul Miller and Ennio Styles (3RRR).
‘Many Worlds’ will be released on legendary U.K imprint Freestyle Records - home to jazz contemporaries Courtney Pine, Jessica Lauren, and keyboard legend Brian Auger.
Work Money Death - The Space In Which The Uncontrollable Unknown Resides, Can Be The Place From Which Creation Arises
A transcendental journey that takes in meditative musical mantras, sprawling tenor sax improvisation and mesmeric percussion, the new album by Work Money Death (the group that backed ATA artist Tony Burkill on his 2017 debut record of the same name) seeks to reinterpret the sound of artists such as Pharoah Sanders & Alice Coltrane over two tracks: the brooding tension of A-Side “Dusk” and the sanguine & uplifting “Dawn” on the B-Side. Titled “The Space In Which The Uncontrollable Unknown Resides Can Be The Place From Which Creation Arises”, this new LP was conceived and recorded by Tony Burkill and Bassist Neil Innes during the spring/summer of 2020.
Originally conceived as a large scale group performance of a single extended piece “The space in which the uncontrollable unknown resides, can be the place from which creation arises” was written by Tony and Neil through a series of extended improvisations similar to the extended meditation sessions that both musicians practice. These sessions enabled a state of flow through which Tony’s compositional approach to improvisation yielded meaningful melodic fragments that would be returned to and developed in a way similar to someone returning to the mantra.
Due to restrictions in the UK in the spring/summer of 2020 a different approach to the recording of the album had to be undertaken. Instead of the group recording at the same time in the studio, each musician would arrive and record their part separately as one continuous performance, reacting to the performances of each previous musician in an organic and constantly evolving way. It was in the midst of this process that the title was chosen, as a reflection of the understanding that from this new unknown way of working new creative avenues can be explored and should be embraced.
Track 1, "Dusk" begins with tanpura, harmonium, hypnotic percussion & bass onto which Tony Burkill (Sax) and Adam Fairhall (Piano) interweave improvisational ideas around Tony’s recurring main theme until the piece melts into a fierce collective improvisation that resolves itself into the final minutes. Track 2, "Dawn" begins with Tony’s tenor sax saluting the coming of a new day before the rest of the band embark on a groove reminiscent of Pharoah Sanders gentler moments, played with a hopefulness that contrasts the chaos of the ending of “Dusk”. Bells, drums, bamboo xylophones and woodblocks underpin the theme before Adam’s piano solo builds into a launchpad for Tony’s sax as French horn, flute and bass clarinet can be heard in the distance. The vocal refrain “Love is all I give to you” draws the track to a close.Get it here
Co-led by guitarist Skip Grasso and bassist Phil Ravita, the Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble performs nine vibrant new jazz pieces on their recording debut, Jagged Spaces.
Their set, which also features saxophonist Benny Russell on tenor and soprano, pianist Greg Small, and drummer Nuc Vega, covers a variety of moods and grooves, and includes some heated straight-ahead jazz. Guitarist Skip Grasso and bassist Phil Ravita have recorded a set of original and fresh new jazz, high-quality material that can be adopted by today’s jazz artists. They gathered a particularly strong quintet and the results are the nine new originals that comprise Jagged Spaces. With tenor and soprano-saxophonist Benny Russell, pianist Greg Small, and drummer Nuc Vega all adding their musical personalities to the quintet, the Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble on Jagged Spaces performs four songs by Grasso, two apiece by Ravita and Russell, and one from Small.
The set begins with Grasso’s “Jagged Spaces,” which has a singable melody along with fluent and unpredictable soprano, guitar, piano and drums solos. It serves as a fine introduction to the group. The relaxed jazz waltz “Her Life Incomplete,” “Songhai” (highlighted by Benny Russell’s tenor solo which is both soulful and explorative), and the minor-toned straight ahead blues “Blue Sunshine” (which has a particularly speedy bass solo by Ravita) keep the momentum flowing.
One piece flows logically to the next one yet each stands out as a potential future standard. “Circles” is mildly funky and has thoughtful piano and passionate soprano solos. “All About Cynthia” is a warm tender ballad while “Latin For Leandro” has a bit of urgency in its theme, leading to inspired guitar, tenor and bass solos. The last two pieces, “The Homecoming” and “Chasing Shadows,” conclude the project with optimistic and quietly joyful playing.
All of the five musicians are skilled improvisers who are active in the Baltimore/Washington area. Skip Grasso is a freelance guitarist and has recorded with the Don Junker Big Band and the Hank Levy Alumni Band in addition to occasionally performing as a solo guitarist. Bassist Phil Ravita has performed in a wide variety of settings with nationally known artists. Benny Russell has led an all-star orchestra (the New York Association), worked with the Next Legacy Orchestra, produced concerts, and written several notable commissioned pieces for large ensembles. Pianist Greg Small, who is also a talented trumpeter, has worked with many local artists at numerous jazz festivals while drummer Nucleo Vega is also in great demand for his tasteful and supportive playing. Together, these five musicians on Jagged Spaces have not only recorded the debut of their promising group but are introducing nine new pieces that deserve to be heard and savored by jazz listeners.More info here
London multi-hyphenate Alfa Mist will release new album 'Bring Backs' on April 23rd.
A nine track song cycle written and recorded in London, the new album saw Alfa Mist act as the pivot for a variety of guests.
Bringing these disparate sounds into one distinct entity, 'Bring Backs' is tied together by a remarkable poem written by Hilary Thomas.
Out on April 23rd, the record is trailed by new single 'Run Outs', with its jazz-leaning arrangement punctuated by Alfa's Fender Rhodes piano lines.
"'Run Outs' is a street game I remember playing when I was younger," says Alfa. "I used to think of making beats and playing with a band as separate worlds until I realised I was always trying to achieve the same thing. Making the music I want to make."
"With the song 'Run Outs' I'm bringing together the vibe of my earliest beats with where I'm at today."Pre-order here
On February 26, the venerated multi-instrumentalist and composer Joe Chambers will release Samba de Maracatu, a notable Blue Note Records return for a significant figure in the label’s history. The album’s Brazilian flavored title track “Samba de Maracatu,” which is available today to stream or download, was composed by Chambers and features him performing drums, vibraphone, and percussion with Brad Merritt on keyboards and Steve Haines on bass. The album is a nine-song set of original compositions, standards, and pieces by Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, and Horace Silver.
In the mid-to-late 1960s, Chambers played drums for numerous Blue Note luminaries appearing on some of the decade’s most progressive albums including Shorter’s Adam’s Apple and Etcetera, Hutcherson’s Components and Happenings, Freddie Hubbard’s Breaking Point, Joe Henderson’s Mode for Joe, Sam Rivers’ Contours, Andrew Hill’s Andrew!!!, Donald Byrd’s Fancy Free, and many more.
The label’s owners – Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff – offered Chambers a chance to record his own album for the imprint during that fertile period, but he was riding so high on recording and touring with so many jazz greats that he declined the opportunity. Chambers eventually did release his own Blue Note debut Mirrors in 1998 featuring trumpeter Eddie Henderson, saxophonist Vincent Herring, pianist Mulgrew Miller, and bassist Ira Coleman.
On Samba de Maracatu, Chambers asserts himself more as a mallet player, particularly on the vibraphone. Throughout the album, he uses the vibraphone as the lead melodic and improvisational voice that often converses with Merritt’s piano accompaniments and solos. While Samba de Maracatu isn’t a Brazilian jazz album in this strictest sense, Chambers utilizes various rhythms and indigenous Brazilian percussion instruments on several pieces, including the title track, which references the syncretic Afro-Brazil rhythms that were originated in the north-east region of Brazil.
More info here
Taking cues from Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane at their most delicate, renowned Welsh harpist Amanda Whiting’s mesmerising Jazzman full-length LP After Dark arrives as soft as moonlight to gladden the soul and delight the ear—without forgetting to bring the swing.
Summoning the nocturnal mood suggested by the album’s title, Whiting’s harp flows and cascades, dances and alights, broods and haunts, informed by a deep understanding of both classical and jazz music, ultimately revealing a top-drawer composer with rare melodic gifts at the top of her game. From the melancholy opening track ‘Time Stands Still’ to the more rhythmically unorthodox ‘Who Knows’ to the achingly beautiful title track, the album is underpinned by a supportive band, John Reynolds on drums and Aidan Thorne on bass, who are perfectly suited to engage in an effortless, intimate musical dialogue.
Already an inveterate international jazz festival performer with Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Orchestra, Whiting has supported and performed with a diverse range of Djs and jazz and pop artists including Jamie Cullum, DJ Yoda, Rebecca Vasmant, True Jazzchild, Danii Minogue, Jazzanova, and Chip Wickham (who features on three tracks on After Dark, adding a touch of the graceful warmth for which he has been so justly acclaimed). And as Jazz harp teacher at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and RNCM, Amanda is as warmly received in the lecture hall as the concert hall. Be sure to to expect more from Amanda in the not too distant future.
“As a teenage member of Powell Peralta’s legendary Bones Brigade, San Francisco’s Tommy Guerrero had a massive part in defining street skating as we know it… pioneer[ing] fast, smooth stylish skateboarding... While all this was happening, Tommy was playing guitar in Bay Area punk band Free Beer, playing with his brother and some of his heroes while featuring on countless Thrasher Skate Rock cassette compilations... Nowadays [TG] spends a lot more time on his music, usually latin-soul-jazz-folk-funk-rock instrumentalism, but occasionally- as in 2000’s ‘Hoy Yen Ass’n’ collaboration with Gadget- wandering towards downbeat hip-hop.” -Bite My Wire
TG continues to expand his horizons while upholding his Bay Area heritage. From Bones Brigade skate team in the 80’s, he has gone on to make movie appearances, design for Levi’s in Japan, Vans shoes worldwide, Sutro eyewear (among others), sign a skateboard contract with Converse, co-found Real Skateboards and 40’s Clothing and become art director for Krooked Skateboarding, along with maintaining a prolific recording and release schedule on his label Too Good, a collaboration with A Train's Al Evers. Tommy’s concerts have packed houses across the country from the legendary Café Du Nord in SF to The Knitting Factory in N.Y.C. and continue across the globe from The Underworld in London to the Fujirock Festival in his yearly tours in Japan.
From Mission District punkers to Shibuya-ku hipsters- Tommy’s music resonates in a positive way. His melodies dance lightly around your head while the rhythms build under your feet and move your hips. His is SOUL music, made by a street kid raised on Santana and Bill Withers (with more than a little nod to the Clash and Public Enemy in there, too).
"Road to Knowhere is inspired by bits and pieces of Ethio-Jazz, Afrobeat, Highlife Spiritual Jazz and dusty funk 45’s. It’s what has kept this mortal vehicle fueled. I tend to take different paths each musical outing but this one is for the long haul, the one for the blue highways and forgotten byways. It’s the one to get lost to. It’s about the journey, not the destination… [If Road to Knowhere was about the long haul, TG’s new album Sunshine Radio is all about cruising on, dropping the top, and taking in a bit of fresh air]. Sunshine Radio hopes to spark a bit of joy as well as a moment to reflect and consider the fires of the world. Take a sonic respite from the endless noise.” – TGGet it here
The Rare Changes LP is a collection of songs Mayer Hawthorne released as singles from June 2019 to July 2020 and includes a booklet with the cover art from each single.
Mayer dedicates the LP to the brave people of planet earth who are holding hands and fighting for the rare changes.
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Jazz de Ville is an online jazz radio station, which airs globally from its office in Rotterdam. It's a platform for everything that has to do with Jazz and is founded by DJ Maestro, the infamous Dutch DJ, master of the vinyl and producer of the platinum awarded compilation series Blue Note Trip for Blue Note Records. Recently he joined forces with Michiel Lamens of Goodmorrow.com and Korstiaan Zandvliet of Symbid.com.
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You will never hear a DJ spin that embraces such an enormous variety of styles! Take one quick look into Maestro's massive music collection and you find great records lying next to each other: John Coltrane with Cerrone; Nina Simone with Fela Kuti; or even better Masters at Work with Chet Baker.
- 8x Blue Note Trip - Platina awarded series for Blue Note Records
- 2x albums at Universal Music
- Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue Remixed
- Bethlehem Blends
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