[NOTEWORTHY]… Maroon Cloud, a powerful eight-part suite by Afrofuturist & celebrated flutist Nicole Mitchell, is a paean to the human gift of imagination

Maroon Cloud, a powerful eight-part suite by celebrated flutist Nicole Mitchell, is a paean to the human gift of imagination and its ability to foster resistance in our dystopian times. It features a drum-less quartet with Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid, pianist Aruán Ortiz, and vocalist Fay Victor, recorded live at National Sawdust in Brooklyn as part of John Zorn’s Stone Commissioning Series (March 29, 2017).

In part, Maroon Cloud refers to the realm of creativity that we can enter simply by closing our eyes — an ability no one can take away from us. Imagination, especially black imagination, is a really vital and undervalued resource, the composer states. It’s very clear that we can’t continue in the same direction that we’ve gone, but we need to return to where imagination and creativity come from, because if we don’t have another vision then we can’t make a different future. What makes us special as human beings are our ability to imagine things that don’t even exist yet. Those future-seeking visions, for now, exist in what we might call the cloud. Maroon, meanwhile, has a number of meanings: it ties into the theme of resistance by referencing the Maroons — those Africans who escaped slavery in the Caribbean and banded with indigenous people to form their own communities as early as the 16th century. Mitchell also cites the alternate meaning of marooned, i.e., people being abandoned to their fate. And then there’s maroon, the rich dark color we might see with eyes closed, imagining social and political renewal. Nicole Mitchell, a longtime Chicagoan, and professor of music at the University of California-Irvine, recently received a Champion of New Music Award from the American Composers Forum. She has been hailed for her Afrofuturist vision and credited as the most inventive flutist in the past 30 years of jazz by The New York Times. Her varied projects and leadership as the first woman to chair the AACM have widened the scope of improvised music. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Just in case, you missed it… Sparks fly and a musical interaction works without arrangement or plan with Brandon Lopez’s No Es La Playa

Dreamlike experiences. Sparks fly and a musical interaction works without arrangement or plan. An organic musical process develops out of intuition alone. The same magic happens every time. When Brandon Lopez, a New Yorker with Puerto Rican roots, joined the duo of saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey, this wasn’t simply about adding a plus one to the Laubrock -Rainey duo. Thanks to the young bassist (born 1988), already collaborating with musicians from Dave Liebman via Zeena Parkinsto John Zorn, a new dynamic has formed involving all three. In this triangular constellation, a different balance is achieved and an altered play of energies.

They are clearly on the same wavelength, with a similar sense and understanding of overarching form, inner structure, timing, feeling, energy, density, transparency, and volume.”Right from the first note, the chemistry between them was right. The interplay between the three worked so effortlessly and naturally, it bordered on telepathy. The three want to keep up the momentum and capture the magic moment,” writes Christoph Wagner in the liner notes. ~ Editorial Review | Amazon

Original Release Date: January 6, 2022

At your leisure, check out “NO ES LA PLAYA” by Brandon Lopez

 

Toronto-based octet EUCALYPTUS Announce New Album Moves Out May 13th, 2022 via Telephone Explosion Records

“Time stands still on the utterly beguiling first missive from Eucalyptus’s forthcoming album, Moves.” – Foxy Digitalis

Toronto-based octet Eucalyptus has been steadily gathering a devoted cult following since the release of their debut10” Eeeeeuuucaaaaaaallyyypppptus in 2012. Led by acclaimed saxophonist and composer Brodie West, the band’s languid, kaleidoscopic jazz is very much a collective endeavor, the product of an internal network of improvisational synergy they’ve built over more than a decade together.Moves is their sixth release, and somewhat of a milestone. In addition to it being the octet’s most psychedelic and arrestingly soulful release thus far, it’s also their longest—their first, in fact, to cross into the bonafide full-length territory. They’re marking the occasion by joining the roster of Toronto’s favorite Telephone Explosion Records.Touted as “innately personal” by DownBeat MagazineBrodie Wests unique vision has been nourished by a bafflingly diverse array of sources. Meeting the legendary Dutch drummer Han Bennink in 2000 at age 24 not only sparked an ongoing creative partnership (including two records) but also led him in a number of other fruitful directions. Bennink was the connection to exploratory punks The Ex, who brought West aboard for their collaboration with Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya, which produced recordings and tours worldwide.Where the Brodie West Quintet (Astral Spirits, Ansible Editions) trades in clever jazz asymmetry and his duo Ways is a stark and focussed exploration of rhythm, Eucalyptus is where this eclecticism is most audible. The band simmers with polyrhythmic percussion, laid-back jazz sweetness, various strains of psychedelic wonk, and subtle tropical aromas from dub on “Rose Manor,” named after the retirement home of his musical grandmother Lorna (ever a source of inspiration for West) to Bossa Nova, as heard on “It’s In A Move.” Its streaks of free-form bedlam and pure sonic texture keep listeners poised for perplexity and cheerful volatility.

Moves manage to approximate the playful, intoxicating warmth the band conjures in their beloved local live appearances. Eucalyptus has made a tradition out of mounting month-long residencies at Hirut, a cozy east-end eatery that serves delicious Ethiopian cuisine. Hirut even gets a nod in the credits. Perhaps it’s because this record’s subtle whimsy and inviting disarray draw so much from the spirit of those evenings.A large part of this odd concoction’s success comes down to West’s co-conspirators, a veritable who’s who of Toronto’s underground music community. Trumpet player Nicole Rampersaudwho has since relocated to Fredericton, New Brunswick, has sculpted her unique tone as composer-in-residence at Halifax’s EVERYSEEKER Festival and in collaborations with the likes of Rakalam Bob Moses, Anthony Braxton, Joe Morris, and Telephone Explosion’s own Joseph Shabason. Ryan Driver (clavinet) has cut a series of gorgeous song records for Tin Angel Records and collaborated with Eric Chenaux (Constellation) in various projects while leading a number of his own imaginative outfits. Michael Smith (bass) plays with Toronto psychonauts the Cosmic Range and has toured and recorded with MV+EE, Sandro Perri plus countless others. Fellow Perri collaborator, percussionist Blake Howard brings the palpable joy of his playing to collaborations with Marker Starling, Little Annie, and the surrealist mischief of GUH. 2021 saw Nick Fraser (drums) leading a disc on Hat-Hut’s Ezzthetics imprint. It follows a string of other celebrated recordings with international out-jazz heavyweights like Tony Malaby and Kris Davis for Clean Feed, Astral Spirits, and more. In addition to pursuing his delicate solo song work, drummer Evan Cartwright plays in both of West’s other projects and has performed and recorded with Tasseomancy, The Weather Station, US Girls, Badge Époque, and Andy Shauf.Another exciting development unveiled on Moves is the presence of guitarist Kurt Newman, who replaces longtime member Alex Lukashevsky. Newman’s whirling treatments and colorful array of tones figure prominently into the ensemble’s new and disorienting sound. Newman was the co-founder of the premiere Austin improv festival No Idea alongside Chris Cogburn. A ceaseless collaborator who’s worked with the likes of Sarah Hennies, Tetuzi Akiyama, Mats Gustafsson, he also leads his own projects such as Country Phasers and the Nashville Minimalism Unit. ~Words by: Nick Storring

Produced by Brodie West and EucalyptusCo-producer Matt Smith

“Curious, melody-rich tropo-jazz bursts into an experimental frenzy in a melange of fragmentary moods, from languorous to psych-tinged; masterfully agitated trumpet, clavinet and guitar and sax trilling thoughtfully. Pure imagination at play.” — COMMEND NYC on Kick It Till You Flip It

#5, Best jazz/improv releases of 2019 — Bill Meyer, MAGNET, on Kick It Till You Flip It

“Alto saxophonist/composer Brodie West makes music that’s both exploratory and engaging, growing from varied experiences playing jazz and its transmutations in Toronto and further afield… The entire LP testifies to West’s artful concision” — Stuart Broomer, The WholeNoteon Kick It Till You Flip It

 

Pyroclastic Records Showcase January 14 & 15, 2022 as part of the Winter Jazzfest Marathon at The Jazz Gallery, NYC

Performances by Kris Davis’ Diatom Ribbons, Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson, Chris Lightcap’s Superette, and the Eric Revis Quarter

Kris Davis photo by Michael Jackson

Pyroclastic Records, the non-profit label founded by the visionary pianist, composer, community builder, and educator Kris Davis, will host a Pyroclastic Records Showcase on Friday, January 14, and Saturday, January 15 as part of the Winter Jazzfest Marathon. The concerts take place at the Jazz Gallery, 1160 Broadway at 27th Street, 5th Floor, New York City. Winter Jazzfest tickets are available via https://www.venuepilot.co/events/47992/orders/new

Friday, January 14th

7:30 PM – Kris Davis Diatom Ribbons
Kris Davis-piano, Val Jeanty-electronics, Terri Lyne Carrington-drums

9:30 PM – Searching for the Disappeared Hour
Mary Halvorson-guitar, Sylvie Courvoisier-piano

Saturday, January 15th

7:30 PM – Chris Lightcap’s Superette
Chris Lightcap-bass, Steve Cardenas and Curtis Hasselbring-guitars, Brian Marsella-keyboards, Dan Rieser-drums

9:30 PM – Eric Revis Quartet – Slipknots Through A Looking Glass
Eric Revis-bass, Darius Jones-alto saxophone, Bill McHenry-tenor saxophone, Kris Davis-piano, Chad Taylor-drums

Eric Revis photo by Javiera Estrada

Pyroclastic RecordsPianist-composer Kris Davis founded Pyroclastic Records in 2016 to serve the release of her acclaimed recordings Duopoly and Octopus (with Craig Taborn) with the goal of growing the label into a thriving platform to serve cutting-edge artists. In 2019, Davis launched a nonprofit to support those artists whose expression flourishes beyond the commercial sphere. By supporting their creative efforts, Pyroclastic empowers emerging and established artists — including those on its 2022 roster: Tony Malaby, The Cave of Winds; Ches SmithInterpret It Well; Nate Wooley, Columbia Icefield 2; Kris Davis’ Diatom RibbonsLive at the Village Vanguard – to continue challenging conventional genre-labeling within their fields. Pyroclastic also seeks to galvanize and grow a creative community, providing opportunities, supporting diversity, and expanding the audience for non-commercial art.

[NOTEWORTHY] … poignant artistry, creativity, and innovation unveiled throughout IN MOVEMENT featuring the compelling voices of Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, & Matt Garrison

Fifty years ago, as a guest with John Coltrane’s group, Jack DeJohnette played with the fathers of Ravi Coltrane and Matthew Garrison. But for all the wealth of historical reference, this adventurous trio is a band in movement, taking the music forward.

Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison, in their ECM debuts, both respond magnificently to DeJohnette’s driving drumming, Ravi with superb solos, Garrison with lean bass lines and imaginative looping electronics. ~Editorial Reviews | Amazon

Original Release Date: March 8, 2016

At your leisure, check out the innovative “IN MOVEMENT” by Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, & Matt Garrison

IMPROVISED MUSIC (UNFILTERED): Alto saxophonist and clarinetist Matana Roberts’ deeply layered The Chicago Project

Alto saxophonist and clarinetist Matana Roberts–add this name to the frustratingly shortlist of excellent female reed players.” ~All About Jazz 

Central Control International is pleased to present The Chicago Project by Matana Roberts! Matana (pronounced Mah-tah-Na) is a dynamic saxophonist, composer, and improviser who exposes the mystical roots and spiritual traditions of African American creative expression in her music. A Chicago native, she was fortunate enough to be surrounded by elder musicians who showed her by distinct example the importance of listening to one’s personal creative voice while at the same time using the profound and layered traditions of jazz and improvised music to acting as her creative guide, not her creative definer. Their mentorship has inspired her true artistic individuality.

The Chicago Project is Roberts’ homage to her hometown, featuring compositions and conceptual material composed by her and interpreted by close friends and supporters: bassist Josh Abrams (Town and Country, Prefuse 73), guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Chicago Underground Trio), and drummer Frank Rosaly (Ken Vandermark’s Crisis Ensemble). The album was produced and engineered respectively by pianist Vijay Iyer and Tortoise’s John McEntire and features a very special guest saxophonist in the form of Fred Anderson, one of the founding members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

An expert improviser, Roberts’ playing can be heard on recordings as disparate as Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Yanqui UXO, Sabir Mateen’s Shapes Textures and Sounds Ensemble, Daniel Givens’ Day Clear and First Dark, and more–as well as works with Savath and Savalas (a.k.a. Guillermo Scott Herren/Prefuse 73). She has also played alongside such musical and artistic luminaries as Roscoe Mitchell, Oliver Lake, Marty Erhlich, Eugene Chadbourne, Henry Grimes, Butch Morris, Reg E. Gaines, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Robert Barry, Joe Maneri, Miya Masaoka, Beans, Steve Lacy, Liberty Ellman, Hill Greene, Vernon Reid, Jayne Cortez, Bill T. Jones, and Savion Glover, among many others. Matana Roberts currently lives and works in New York and is a member of the AACM. ~Editorial Reviews | Amazon

“Roberts is a fluid, elegant player who rejects the star soloist approach of many a saxophonist.” — BBC Jazz

At your leisure, explore and listen to the fascinating “THE CHICAGO PROJECT” by Matana Roberts

What are you listening to?: Queen of All Ears by The Lounge Lizards is an unorthodox template of voicings, angular interludes and addictive expressions

John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards have been around for almost 20 years, and their collective sound has improved over time. The latest edition of Lounge Lizards is a nine-piece ensemble of top-notch musicians. While featuring able-bodied soloists like Michael Blake on tenor, Steve Bernstein on trumpet, Dave Tronzo on guitar, and John’s brother Evan Lurie on keyboards, the Lizards remain a musical vehicle for John Lurie’s noirish, angular muse. Although inspired by jazz’s instrumental nature, most of this music was thoroughly worked out in advance.

Led by John Lurie’s sardonic alto and soprano saxophone playing, the band embraces West African music, expositions from New Orleans, and interludes of wicked gamelan. Simultaneously sarcastic and spiritual, this is an unorthodox album that those who aren’t jazz fans should be able to enjoy. ~Mitch Myers | Amazon

At your leisure, dare to explore the strangely attractive yet sonically intoxicating elements of  “QUEENS OF ALL EARS” by The Lounge Lizards

 

Listen to the first single from the David Sanford Big Band

We’ve released the first single from the upcoming album from the David Sanford Big BandA Prayer For Lester Bowie.

Subtraf” is is a feature for trombonist Mike Christianson who, for at least forty years, has played an extraordinary approach to the blues. In its intended recreation of the Chess Studios atmosphere, the piece utilizes a mostly notated soundscape of extended techniques more commonly heard in the works of modern classical composer Helmut Lachenmann.

You can hear the full track in the Youtube video below or stream it on Bandcamp, SpotifyApple Music, and more.

Pre-order the album now on iTunes, and Amazon now and get this first single immediately. ~GreenleafMusic

 

Steph Richards’ Zephyr Explores the Sonic and Visual Territory of Water In Collaboration with Joshua White and Filmmaker Vipal Monga

Drops October 15 on Relative Pitch Records

For most of her career as one of the most acclaimed improvisers working in jazz’s avant-garde, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Steph Richards worked hard to make sure that her music was considered on its own terms, rather than — as is so often the case in jazz and music as a whole — in the context of her gender.

But when she went into the studio to record her upcoming album Zephyr in 2019, Richards was six-and-a-half months pregnant. That literally transformative experience shaped the concise, visceral album both in concept and in practice, forcing the thoughtful, cerebral artist to explore a more immediate connection between her body and her work.

I was experiencing my own metamorphosis, and thinking about the idea of breathing one breath for two bodies — moving through the world with two distinct pulses happening at the same time,” Richards explains. “It brought this a whole other color to my sound precisely because I had a different physical ability. Our bodies are full of potential, and that’s something that I just had never fully investigated.”

Alongside pianist Joshua White, Richards found inspiration in her embodied self instead of attempting to sideline it on Zephyr’s three suites, which amount to an intense 38 minutes of forcefully original sound. The first, “Sacred Sea,” features Richards playing her trumpet in water throughout. She’s been refining that technique since 2008, but here it takes on new meaning as Richards plays on the idea that she in utero child was, in a sense, breathing underwater. One of its movements, “Anza,” is named for her daughter, whose breath can be heard on that track; other movements are named for gods/goddesses of water and wind.“

What I love about water is that it’s so vulnerable and unstable — you can never know exactly what sound you’re going to make,Richards explains.The latter two suites, “Sequoia” and “Northern Lights,” play on a similar kind of elemental rootedness, contemplating on ways climate change might shape Anza’s life. “Having a child, it makes it more tangible to try to grasp what a future might feel like,” says Richards. As a whole, the resulting record is one of the trumpeter’s most intimate to date, both in its duo orchestration and in its tactile, focused expression.

Zephyr will be accompanied by a “slow cinema” short film directed by Vipal Monga that presents the album’s focus on water and breath in another light. Almost meditative — “It’s not being dictated to you from a visual perspective,” as Richards puts it — the film will be released online as well as screened during Zephyr’s album release tour.

By expressing the rootedness and inspiration she felt during her pregnancy in abstraction, Richards hopes that her listeners will hear the universality of that experience — the beauty and richness of creation — instead of its ties to any particular gender. “Your humanity is visibly evident when you’re pregnant,” she says. “It felt that I could connect even more closely with my bandmates, and with audiences.

 

Painters Winter features the reconvened trio communion of Daniel Carter, William Parker, and Hamid Drake.

Following on the monumental Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World box set earlier this year, composer, multi-instrumentalist, poet, griot, improviser, and community leader William Parker will release an astonishing Pair of brand new trio albums which further expound on his profound and limitless vision: Painters Winter -&- Mayan Space Station. One of the iconic and enduring music leaders to emerge in the world over the last half-century, Parker continues to raise the bar higher. As ever, AUM Fidelity is deeply honored & incredibly stoked (!) to present this work to you.

= Noting Here Again that there are strictly limited one-time-press LP editions of both new albums that we have on hand now! Please go to the AUM Fidelity site direct to grip those =

Painters Winter features the reconvened trio communion of Daniel Carter, William Parker, and Hamid Drake. Carter & Parker have been perpetual space-ways traveling companions since first meeting & immediately beginning to channel music together in early 1970s NYC. Their work together in Other Dimensions In Music with Roy Campbell & Rashid Bakr for well over two decades manifest in bountiful music for the ages. They recently featured together in a similar majestic open form on the album, Seraphic Light. Here, Carter again brings the full assembly of instruments he has for decades been a master of: trumpet, alto & tenor saxophones, clarinet, and flute.

Likewise, Hamid Drake is a musician’s musician; one of the most in-demand drummers in the world. He is in command of a vast lexicon of drum languages, learned and absorbed directly. His frequent flyer miles could get him a ticket to Saturn and back. Drake & Parker launched their devoted “two-man big band” partnership in 2000 and haven’t stopped since. In a trio with Daniel Carter, they’ve created one previous album together, Painters Spring, released that same year.

Drake has made mention in his awe that William could pick up any new instrument and make beautiful music with it from jump. The title track features Parker on trombonium, one of those many instruments that he plays beautifully on. The track “Painted Scarf” features Parker on shakuhachi, upon which he has clearly become a master as well.

Regarding this album’s title, Parker elucidates, “It speaks to those who paint with sound, in different landscapes, to celebrate the coming of the seasons: winter spring-summer, and autumn. Acknowledging the entire universe of world jazz music. Discovering the undiscovered.” And from his liner notes, “The music on this album is a tribute to the flow of rhythm as melody and pulsation. Laced with the joy and the bounce, the dance and the heartbeat. Giving a nod to all the music that has ever passed through us.” ~BandCamp.com

All compositions by William Parker, © Centering Music (BMI)

Listen to “PAINTERS WINTER” featuring the immersive voice of bassist/composer William Parker