New Cameron Graves Album Live from the Seven Spheres Out April 8

Cameron Graves — a.k.a. The Planetary Prince — expands on the otherworldly inspirations from both of his studio albums to present an interplanetary live concert featuring guitarist Colin Cook, bassist Max Gerl and drummer Mike Mitchell.

[NOTEWORTHY]… dynamic and virtuosic sound of Finnish-born guitarist-composer Olli Hirvonen’s second album New Helsinki is unrivaled

He’s great! He’s a big talent. He has a natural talent.” John McLaughlin

Olli Hirvonen is a dynamic and virtuosic Finnish-born, New York-based guitarist. Winner of the Socar Montreux Jazz Electric Guitar competition in 2016 (the jury was presided over by John McLaughlin), Olli releases his second album, New Helsinki on Edition Records.

New Helsinki is an album that promises to ignite the attention of the international media and fans worldwide with its deft infectious melodies, irresistibly bold grooves, and intense inventive soloing. A musician with a larger vision and a commanding spirit, Olli Hirvonen, is a supremely gifted guitarist and composer. With New Helsinki Hirvonen has thrown down his calling card and demonstrated the promise that will inevitably thrust his career and profile on an upward trajectory towards international acclaim. ~Bandcamp 

[COMPARED TO WHAT?]: Circle offers a sweeping anthology of Miles Davis recordings from 1955 to 1970 that show the restless genius of jazz

Circle offers a sweeping anthology of Miles Davis recordings from 1955 to 1970 that show the restless genius of jazz undergoing swift changes as thoroughgoing as the era where they took place. “Two Bass Hit” was recorded at his first Columbia session. “Love for Sale” features the “Kind of Blue” lineup of John Coltrane on tenor, Cannonball Adderley on alto, Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums. The title track shows Miles stretching into new conceptual worlds with Wayne Shorter on tenor, Herbie Hancock on celeste, Ron Carter on bass, Tony Williams on drums, and Joe Beck on guitar. The set closes with Miles’s fusion band playing an atmospheric version of David Crosby’sGuinnevere.” ~John Swenson | Amazon

Original Release Date: ‎1979

At your leisure, spin “CIRCLE IN THE ROUND” by Miles Davis.

[NOTEWORTHY] …pianist/keyboardist and composer Hiromi blends acoustic piano and synth in a unique way, making intense, powerful jazz that doesn’t fit the typical fusion mold

The new release by keyboardist Hiromi Uehara and her trio doesn’t fit easily into jazz categories. Electric and high-propulsion at times, it aligns with aspects of fusion, but shouldn’t be limited by what that term has been burdened with over the years. Hiromi’s Sonicbloom is international in its membership, with a Japanese leader, a Slovakian drummer (Martin Valihora), and a British bassist (Tony Grey). They’re joined by guest guitarist Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski (from Screaming Headless Torsos, Lunar Crash, and other outfits), and they recorded in–gasp–Nashville!

Time is the thread that runs through many of the compositions, and they successfully bend its perception. From the multi-part “Time Out,” which finds one part bursting out of another like nesting dolls, to the expansive tapestry of “Deep into the Night,” which feels like a part of the continuity that is always blanketing half the earth, Hiromi and her compatriots go from being as precise as a clock to as haunting as a memory to as playful as a kitten (the wonderful “Time Flies” feels like it was composed in honor of a cat’s darting attentions). David Greenberger | Amazon

Original Release Date: February 9, 2007

At your leisure, check out “Hiromi’s Sonicbloom – Time Control” by Hiromi 

[NOTEWORTHY]: The mulit-colored Animation/Imagination by trumpeter Tim Hagans fuses post-bop w/electric-era of Miles

Word is that when Blue Note Records urged trumpeter Tim Hagans to dig in for a neo-drum & bass session, the brass maestro immersed himself in Roni Size‘s oeuvre. The sprinting palpitations of Size’s music is certainly all over Hagans’s Animation, as is the oft-neglected electric 1970s-era Miles Davis. Despite influence, Hagans’s conception is sharp and fresh. His trumpet playing reaches far higher than Miles, topping out in fast runs that maintain a tonal fullness that sounds more colored by free jazz than by bop.

The acoustic musicians who back Hagans include Billy Kilson and Ira Coleman, each of whom plays with tight, crackling intensity. As for the drum & bass elements, they’re certainly reminiscent of On the Corner, with smeary electronic lines and crunchy guitar fronting layered beat samples and breathless speed. Some might associate Hagans’s methodology with that of Ben Neill or Bob Green’s Grassy Knoll or even Amon Tobin, but Hagans is the most clearly jazzed of the bunch. And as his tribute to fellow brassman Freddie Hubbard, Hagans is a supreme technician and inventive improviser. ~Andrew Bartlett | Amazon

Original Release Date: January 1, 1999

Check out the electro jazz-funk flavored “ANIMATION/IMAGINATION” by Tim Hagans

NOTEWORTHY: Moving Cities is an authentic blend of aesthetic grooves without boundaries featuring Antoine Berjeaut & Makaya McCraven

Bridging the spaces between the Paris and Chicago scenes, Moving Cities brings together the best of both worlds and is emblematic of a new, utterly modern jazz going through a true aesthetic revolution. Moving Cities started as a live laboratory set up by Berjeaut and McCraven; it echoes the recent evolution of international metropolises constantly torn between individualism and collective endeavors, in disrupted geography.

In today’s musical landscape, there is a strong push to reassess and redefine musical genres. Incorporating all kinds of influences has become a driving force, and jazz, like other genres, is now experiencing an explosion of its aesthetic boundaries. It has moved away from its ponderous legacy and now fully channels the spirit of the times – as it once used to. ~Editoral Reviews | Amazon

Original Release Date: December 6, 2019

At your leisure, check out this explosive gumbo of genre-bending grooves “MOVING CITIES” by Antoine Berjeaut and Makaya McCraven 

 

[BIOGRAPHY]: Jazz fusion guitarist Kazumi Watanabe is one of Japan’s most prolific and recognizable instrumentalists

A Jazz Fusion Classic, “MOBO 1” released on Gramavision 1983 (Available on CD Only)

A technically adept guitarist with a dynamic, highly inventive, jazz fusion-based sound, Kazumi Watanabe is one of Japan’s most prolific and recognizable instrumentalists. Although primarily focused on jazz, Watanabe has left his mark on such varied genres as hard rock, electronic pop, and ambient classical music. Since debuting in the ’70s, the early prodigy has built an impressive body of work with numerous solo projects and collaborations with such luminaries as Ryuichi SakamotoMike MainieriBill Bruford, and many more.

Born in Tokyo in 1953, Watanabe became interested in music at a young age, starting out on the piano at age seven. However, by age 12 he had picked up a guitar, inspired by the twangy electric surf rock of the Ventures and, later, the warm and soulful jazz of Wes Montgomery. Although naturally gifted and largely hailed as a prodigy, he did study for a time with Sadanori Nakamure at the Yamaha Music School in Tokyo. At age 17, Watanabe made his recorded debut with 1971’s Infinite, a sprawling set of edgy modal jazz.

He then signed with Columbia and delivered a handful of highly regarded efforts including 1974’s Endless Way, 1977’s Lonesome Cat, and 1977’s Olive’s Step, all of which found him embracing a bold crossover jazz and rock sound. His 1978 album, Mermaid Boulevard, further solidified his fusion star status with an all-star lineup featuring Lee RitenourErnie WattsPatrice RushenHarvey Mason, and others. He also toured often during this period, appearing with many of Japan’s top performers including Sadao WatanabeIsao SuzukiMasaru Imada, and others. Read more…Artist Biography by Matt Collar | All Music

Below are a few recordings by guitarist/composer Kazumi Watanabe to test drive …

To Chi Ka

Guitar Renaissance

Dear Tokyo 

Jazz Impression

 

Acclaimed LA / New York bassist, producer, and songwriter Joshua Crumbly joins Shahzad Ismaily’s figureight records for the release of beautiful new album ForEver

ForEver is a letter to tomorrow,” Joshua tells us. His music embodies this sentiment with eloquent gravitas. It is certainly as personal as a letter, handcrafted in the most expressive and affecting ways. Like a letter, it speaks not only of its own words but of the writer, a soul-baring important truths. And it is addressed to “tomorrow”; a sense of hope and conviction illuminate its gentle musical miniatures. “ForEver is a reflection on love, legacy, and happenings in the world. A warm hug in inner space.

Joshua made his musical debut aged 10, playing alongside his saxophonist father. A gifted performer, even as a pre-teen, he enjoyed mentorships with renowned bass players Reggie Hamilton (Whitney Houston, Seal) and Al McKibbon (Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins) before moving from LA to New York to attend the prestigious Juilliard music school. After years of honing his musicality alongside seminal players, Joshua finally embarked on recording his own solo pieces, beginning with 2020’s Rise album. The starting place of ForEver quickly followed, beginning with encouraging words from friend and collaborator Shahzad Ismaily. “ForEver began with an out of the blue call from Shahzad. He told me that I needed to record a solo bass album. It started out as such, then I added some other instruments. It branched out even further when I reached out to a few friends, whose voices I was strongly hearing on particular songs. I’m grateful they were down to be a part of the record.”  ~BandCamp.com 

Expected Release Date: October 8, 2021

Just in case, you missed it… Conversation #1: Condensed an ambitious project from Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz

2021 sees the launch of an ambitious project from Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz who is set to release 12 albums (or “conversations”) with 12 radically different groups of musicians.

The 1st of this series, recorded from his studio in Basel and accompanied by a feature-length video of the session, features American trumpeter Hermon Mehari and Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras.

Across a career spanning more than 25 years, drummer and percussionist Florian Arbenz has carved out a reputation as not just a skilled musician, but as a creative collaborator.

Whether with the long-standing trio VEIN who has recorded and toured with Greg Osby & Dave Liebman, or with his own project Convergence which brings together musicians from 4 continents, he is not content to sit still. ~BandCamp.com

At your leisure, check out “CONVERSATION #1: CONDENSED” by drummer  Florian Arbenz w/Nelson Versa & Hermon Mehari 

 

 

 

 

NOTEWORTHY: Drummer, composer and producer Terri Lyne Carrington’s Jazz is a Spirit

In the 1980s, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington was the darling of the so-called young lion’s generation of jazz musicians. She gigged with everybody from Woody Shaw and Wayne Shorter to Greg Osby. But after the release of her 1989 Grammy-nominated debut, Real Life Story, and her short stint on the Arsenio Hall Show, it’s been more than a decade since she released her long-awaited follow-up.

This CD is well worth the wait. Carrington is joined by a number of jazz greats–pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Gary Thomas, guitarists Kevin Eubanks and Paul Bollenback, and trumpeters Wallace Roney and Terence Blanchard. Stylistically, Carrington’s drumming is a brilliant blend of Tony Williams‘s power, Billy Higgins‘s finesse, and Elvin Jones‘s African syncopations. She knows that she does not need to blow everybody away with loud solos, so she leads by driving her bandmates. She wrote most of the music, which has the ’60s, Miles Davis feel. “Jazz Is” is a spectral opus featuring actor Malcolm Jamal Warner on spoken word and bass. “Lost Star” swings with a Live at the Plugged Nickel vibe, while her take on Wayne Shorter’s classic “Witch Hunt” is a melodically recombinant version for this century. The most evocative pieces are the Afro-Eurasian tinged “Journey of Now” and “Mr. Jo Jones,” a deathbed interview with the legendary drummer Philly Joe Jones passing his advice and his torch to Carrington while she “talks” to him with her poetic and polyrhythmic drumming. Eugene Holley Jr. | Amazon

At your leisure, check out “JAZZ IS A SPIRIT” by Terri Lyne Carrington