Legendary Saxman Frank Catalano releases Birdland Jazz Club

In 2022, Legendary Saxman Frank Catalano will be touring the USA, Europe, and Asia extensively as well as releasing a collection of recordings from his many performances at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club. These recordings feature Herbie Hancock Headhunters alum Mike Clark and will be Frank’s 5th album on the Ropeadope label.

Frank regularly teams up with his long-time friend and Smashing Pumpkins drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin. Forbes Magazine profiled Frank for his performances with The Violent Femmes including Riot Fest and Brooklyn Steel.

A documentary was made about Frank by Belgian director Colin Donner. The film is titled “Sugar Jazz” and will premiere at the Tokyo Lift off Film Festival.

“Tokyo #9” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Charts, has garnered millions of streams and topped the Spotify and Apple Music playlists. “Love Supreme Collective” debuted at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Charts and honors John Coltrane. Frank recorded “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” with David Sanborn and teamed up with Jimmy Chamberlin of The Smashing Pumpkins to release “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”. Frank’s Savoy/Columbia recording “Bang!” debuted at #12 on the Billboard Jazz Charts, while his recording, “Mighty Burner” was on the Billboard Charts for 20 straight weeks.

When Frank was 18, he signed to Delmark Records and did a string of critically acclaimed recordings with Randy Brecker, Von Freeman, Ira Sullivan, Willie Pickens and Paul Wertico amongst others. Frank’s co-led album with Von Freeman, “You Talking To Me,” has become a cult classic. Catalano is the only known saxman to have performed with Miles Davis, Charles Earland, Elvin Jones, Junior Wells, Randy Brecker, Stan Getz, Betty Carter, Tito Puente, Tony Bennett, Les Claypool, and Louis Bellson while still in high school!

Frank has been profiled by countless media including: The New York Times, Forbes, Downbeat, CMJ, JazzIz, Jazz Times, NPR, PBS, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, etc. As a sideman, Catalano has been heard by millions of people thanks to his collaborations with Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Maurice Joshua, Destiny’s Child, John Legend, Tony Bennett, Seal, and others.

Frank has received his fair share of accolades, recently winning an IMA award at Lincoln Center and being inducted into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame. He has appeared on 3 Grammy‐winning and 11 Grammy‐nominated recordings, plus in 2007 he received a Tech Grammy Award as part of the Yamaha Corporation for his numerous patents and developments. He was also the youngest saxophonist to be voted into the Downbeat Critics Poll at age 19.

No stranger to adversity, Frank cut off his right middle finger in an automobile accident. After several surgeries and much effort, Catalano relearned his signature technique, making him one of the most in‐demand musicians today. He regularly donates his musical services to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Peoples Music School, and Off The Street Club.

Frank has written a book series for publisher Hal Leonard, called “Modern Saxophone Techniques” and his song “Mighty Burner” is featured in “The Real Book Volume 6”. He also endorses Yamaha Saxophones, JodyJazz mouthpieces, D’Addario Reeds, and Rovner Ligatures.

Catalano loves composing music and holds a BA in Classical Composition from De Paul University. Frank is the spokesperson for Drambuie Scotch and has a signature cocktail named after him, “The Catalano Sidecar”, which has been trademarked and is featured at hundreds of clubs and music venues. Frank owns hundreds of vintage saxophones and is on the Board of Directors for the National Saxophone Museum in St Louis. Frank and his wife Sona split their time between their homes in Chicago and New York. For more information: visit www.catalanomusic.com – Bandcamp 

Released July 1, 2022

Producers: Frank Catalano and Sona Tazian
Manager: Ryan Paternite
Engineer: Lance McVickar
Mixing and Mastering: Dan Steinman
Cover Art: Tony Fitzpatrick
Layout and Design: Karmann Sloane
Saxophone: Frank Catalano
Piano: Randy Ingram
Bass: Julian Smith
Drums: Mike Clark
Birdland photos by Adrien Tillmann
Frank Catalano uses Yamaha Saxophones, D’Addario Reeds, JodyJazz
Mouthpieces and Rovner Ligatures

 

[What are you listening to?] …Tokyo Day Trip: Live EP featuring collaborators Pat Metheny, Christian McBride, & Antonio Sanchez

Tokyo Day Trip: Live EP is a collection of 5 tracks recorded live in Tokyo with Metheny’s trio, featuring bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez. The tracks were recorded at the end of 2004 before the trio went into the studio to record the recently released and highly praised Day Trip.

The tracks were produced, mixed, and mastered by Metheny and long-time collaborator Steve Rodby. Several tracks were previously available as digital-only downloads; this will be the first time all 5 are available together on CD. The tunes range from intense and animated (Traveling Fast), to acoustic ballads (The Night Becomes You) to electric fusion (Back Arm and Blackcharge).

More than just an extension of the studio record, this EP represents the trio at the height of their mastery, live and in the moment. The artwork for the EP, a re-creation of the original Day Trip street scene but a view of Tokyo instead of New York was created by painter Josh George, who hails from Metheny’s hometown, Lees Summit, Missouri. ~Editoral Reviews | Amazon

Original Release Date: March 1, 2008

At your leisure, check out “TOKYO DAY TRIP” by Pat Metheny 

 

ACCLAIMED CHAMBER JAZZ TRIO REVERSO TO RELEASE LIVE, ITS FIRST CONCERT RECORDING

Pianist Frank Woeste, trombonist Ryan Keberle & cellist Vincent Courtois, captured on a special night at Le Triton in Paris, ending a three-week 2020 tour — the very last gig before lockdown

Available from OutNote Records on November 19th, 2021

“Flush with ideas to engage the ears and evoke emotion.” — PopMatters

Debuting with Suite Ravel in 2018, Reverso established itself as a virtuosic, trans-oceanic chamber jazz ensemble premiering new compositions inspired by French classical composers. In support of the group’s 2019 sophomore release The Melodic Line (an homage to the 20th-century composers known as the Group of Six or Les Six), Reverso toured to over 10 cities on two continents in February and March of 2020. The music grew and deepened every night, culminating in a performance for the ages at Le Triton in Paris on March 13, 2021, recorded in high-definition audio and video by France Musique (the rough equivalent of NPR) for nationwide broadcast later that spring. After listening back, the members of this unique trio — pianist Frank Woeste, trombonist Ryan Keberle and cellist Vincent Courtois — agreed that what transpired that night was magical enough for a full-fledged album. The resulting Live puts Reverso’s melodic gifts, expansive sonorities, and undeniable chemistry on full display.

We had toured all over but now we were coming home,Courtois recalls of their night at Le Triton. “The venue is very close to my place, I had a lot of friends in the room, my sister was there. It was also special because it was our last concert before the pandemic — people were saying that tomorrow everything was shutting down, and we still couldn’t really believe it.”

Drawing on repertoire from The Melodic Line (five pieces by Woeste, four by Keberle), Reverso continues a century of mutual inspirations between two expansive and overlapping musical worlds, tracing the intersection of jazz and classical music. The sinuous blend of cello and trombone, not an everyday sound in the jazz world, is here a prominent focus, with Woeste’s poetic touch and rhythmic spark at the piano lending a veritable orchestra’s worth of tonal color and clarity.

There is a connection, Woeste notes, between his “Blue Feather” and Darius Milhaud’s 1917-19 solo piano cycle Saudades. “Milhaud spent time in Brazil,” says the pianist, “and I was so inspired by some of these pieces he wrote, which are named after neighborhoods in Rio. For ‘Blue Feather’ I extracted four notes of one of his melodies and changed all the rest.” Keberle, for his part, wrote “Major Jack” after delving into the music of Germain Tailleferre, the only woman of Les Six, an unheralded figure who composed everything from solo piano works to film scores over a long career. “On Suite Ravel,” the trombonist recalls, “there were ideas fairly directly derived from Ravel. But the things I’ve written for the group recently might have no literal connection to their original inspiration at all. Rather they try to channel the character of that music.

Typically, Keberle and Woeste will compose material specifically for Reverso’s instrumentation, though Woeste’s contemplative “Clara” is a preexisting piece dedicated to his daughter — it appeared in duet form with trumpeter Eric Vloeimans to lead off Woeste’s 2020 outing Pocket Rhapsody II. (Woeste also included it on 2019’s Libretto Dialogues, Vol. 2, as a duo with tenorist Walter Smith III.) What made “Clara” fit was its strong sense of melody, a quality that permeates the world of Les Six. “That’s what attracted me to Les Six, a sense of song that is not far off from Broadway composers,” Woeste adds.

Other inspirations came into play for Keberle, including the pioneering jazz orchestra leader Maria Schneider on the aptly titled “Exemplar.” The tune is perhaps an implicit homage as well to the late Frank Kimbrough, Schneider’s pianist of many years and a musical and life mentor to so many in Keberle’s generation.

This is my first live album,” Keberle observes, “and it’s so fulfilling that it documents such a special night for the three of us. On a tour like that, the music becomes much greater than one person and takes on a life of its own. We knew we were recording for radio but not for an album, so there wasn’t anything like the pressure of a ‘recording session,’ and we also had the confidence that comes with having played the music so much. So what we ended up capturing is that magical live element where nothing is edited or fixed or touched.

Live is Reverso’s second offering on the Belgian OutNote label, which has released albums by Amir ElSaffar, Samuel Blaser, and others. The group is currently planning its next project with a focus on the art and aesthetic of Gabriel Fauré.

 

IT’S JAZZ, IT’S LIVE! Bloomington featuring Branford Marsalis Trio

Branford Marsalis’s artistic double life continues. On the one hand, he’s furthered his professional (and financial) prospects with his highly visible stint as the leader of the Tonight Show band, his 1980s work with Sting, and his own funk-infused Buckshot Lefonque project. On the other, he’s continued to make remarkable, challenging jazz albums that, like his previous trio effort The Dark Keys, have barely registered on the mainstream radar. Requiem, with pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Jeff Watts, deserves to be the album that breaks the mold and finally gains Marsalis more recognition for what he does best. Consisting of eight Marsalis originals and a version of composer-drummer Paul Motian‘sTrieste,” this CD is contemporary jazz at its best, at once challenging, creative, and accessible by virtue of Marsalis’s immensely melodic playing.

It’s also, tragically, the last recorded glimpse of Kirkland, who died soon after the album was completed. Requiem is enough to make listeners miss the pianist, even more, like his playing, from some lightning-fast exploratory soloing on “Lykief” to funky rhythmic comping on “Bullworth,” is always deliciously thick and instantly recognizable. Marsalis is in top form throughout, his tenor playing on “Doctone” and his gorgeous soprano work on “Trieste” serving as reminders that he’s still one of the top saxophonists around, and his compositions, especially the ballad “Cassandra” and the intriguing “Elysium,” are delightfully original. ~Editorial Reviews | Amazon

Original Release Date: February 1993

Take this live set “BLOOMING” by Brandford Marsalis Trio for a spin.

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 

 

What are you listening to?: The stunning Magico-Carta de Amor is classic European Jazz produced by Manfred Eicher featuring Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti & Charlie Haden

A fascinating set from three strong and contrasting musical personalities: Norwegian saxophonist, Brazilian guitarist-pianist, and US bassist making purposeful and creative music together on this previously unreleased live recording. Carta de Amor documents music captured at Munichs Amerika Haus in April 1981. Two years on from the much-loved albums Magico and Folk Songs, the trio’s improvisational empathy and sensibilities were further honed by experiences as a touring group.

Repertoire includes five pieces from Gismontis pen, with the title track heard in two variations, opening and closing this enthralling double album. Also heard here are Garbarek’s folk song arrangements and an extended, freewheeling version of his composition Spor. Charlie Haden brings in La Pasionaria, from the repertoire of the Liberation Music Orchestra and All That Is Beautiful, not previously documented on disc.

Recorded by Manfred Eicher and Martin Wieland in 1981, mixed from original analog tapes by Eicher and Jan Erik Kongshaug in 24 bit/96 kHz in 2012. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Original Release Date: August 14, 2012

At your leisure, spin the understated beauty of “MAGICOCARTA DE AMOR” by Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti & Charlie Haden

Compared to What? Latin Soul feature’s the formidable percussionist and bandleader Poncho Sanchez

As jazz enthusiasts, we are generally overly critical of this beloved music, especially to who plays it, or anyone who doesn’t partake (listen) to it. Without question, classic jazz and its kindred spirited brethren encompass a unique montage of original recordings from a period in time that is simply unmatched by a host of exceptional artists. It’s not productive, unnecessary, unfair, and a waste of time to “compare” any of today’s artists to what’s previously been created, played, and recorded.

In the past two decades, conguero Poncho Sanchez has emerged as the West Coast’s foremost Latin-jazz bandleader. Latin Soul–his 19th release for the Concord Picante label–is a cooking set recorded live at the Conga Room in Los Angeles and Yoshi’s in Oakland. This is no loose-blowing session, but a showcase for Sanchez’s road-tight nonet featuring the Banda brothers Ramon and Tony on bass and timbales, plus a powerful four-piece horn section. Sanchez’s conga solos are seldom flashy, just rock solid.

He pays homage to the inspiration of Mongo Santamaria on “Watermelon Man” and “Besame Mama” and recalls the golden age of mambo with Tito Rodriguez‘s Mama Guela.” He sings an invitation to dance on “Ven Pa Bailar” and turns the horns loose on Eddie Cano’s boppish “Ican.” The soul side of the equation is represented by a funky medley of Eddie Harris‘s “Listen Here” and “Cold Duck Time.” ~Rick Mitchell | Amazon

At your leisure, be sure and spin the intoxicating “LATIN SOUL” by Poncho Sanchez 

Charged Particles Pay Tribute to the Late Tenor Sax Great Michael Brecker on Live at the Baked Potato!

On their latest collaboration, Bay Area jazz trio Charged Particles joins forces with powerhouse Bay Area saxophonist Tod Dickow in a heartfelt tribute to iconic tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker. Set for October 8 on Summit Records, the album will be released concurrently with Brecker’s biography, Ode to a Tenor Titan by acclaimed author, Bill Milkowski.

 

Staggering in its authenticity and collective desire by the participants to get it right, Live at the Baked Potato! is a fitting testament to the late tenor titan’s greatness. No less an authority than Randy Brecker has given his stamp of approval: “Everyone’s at the top of their Mike game here. I found myself pinching my arm to remind myself that Mike is sadly no longer with us,Randy said.

 

In tackling Michael Brecker’s imposing oeuvre, the band reveals the genius of his compositional prowess, a side of the multi-faceted musician that was often overshadowed by his legendary chops. Yet there is no attempt here to recreate Michael Brecker’s awesome technique — no transcriptions of his heroic solos, no slavish adherence to every nuance of his classic recordings. Instead, the Bay Area group successfully captures the essence of Michael’s spirit in their faithful renditions of his tunes spanning three decades, rendered with their own signature sound and approach.

 

The success of the group’s mission to honor Michael is due in no small part to the contributions of veteran San Francisco tenor saxophonist Tod Dickow, whose sheer force and fluent execution of some typically unconventional Breckerian lines seem to lift the entire band throughout this March 17, 2019, performance at the intimate Baked Potato in Los Angeles’ quaint Studio City neighborhood. “I certainly listened to enough of Mike’s music that it’s going to come out in my playing,” said Dickow, who delivers with passionate intensity on classic Brecker tunes like the hard-charging “Peep” (from Brecker’s third Impulse! album, 1990’s Now You See It…(Now You Don’t), “Arc of the Pendulum” (from 1999’s Time Is Of the Essence) and a chops-busting “The Mean Time” (from Michael’s 2007 swan song, Pilgrimage). “But it’s not really like I’ve ever outright tried to imitate him. I just know that some of the devices that he used have become a part of my playing. He’s a model of perfection, and I’ve always looked at his playing as something to strive for,” added Dickow.

 

The core trio of drummer and founder Jon Krosnick, pianist Murray Low, and bassist Aaron Germain began working together around the Bay Area in 2011. After doing nearly a thousand gigs together as a trio, Krosnick floated the idea of adding a tenor saxophonist in order to do a full-fledged Michael Brecker tribute. “I’m always looking for new projects – something to change things up for us and our listeners, to keep our performances interesting,” said Krosnick. Keyboardist Low knew exactly who to recruit to stand in front of the band for this adventure: “There’s only one guy: Tod,” he said. “Tod has had a passion for getting it right and capturing the Brecker sound. In rehearsals, he guided us through ‘the Michael vision’ – he’s absorbed so much from his listening over the years. It’s really helped us with authenticity,” said Low.

 

While Dickow’s muscular tenor prowess is a formidable presence throughout Live at the Baked Potato!, kudos must also be given to inventive keyboardist Low, whose nimble segueing from piano to organ to sampled sounds and assorted synths during the set (courtesy of some complicated splits on his keyboard allowing him to cover multiple parts at once) helped capture the richness of the original studio recordings by Brecker’s various bands. Germain’s seamless doubling from electric to upright bass provided the band with much-needed versatility to cover this wide swath of Brecker music. And special commendation goes to Charged Particles drummer Krosnick, who has been the driving force behind this band for nearly 30 years ago. “Mike’s music has been the soundtrack of my life,” he said. “This album is my way of saying thanks to him for so much happiness and inspiration over the years,” says Krosnick.

 

Charged Particles · Live at the Baked Potato!
Summit Records · Release Date: October 8, 2021

 

For more information on Charged Particles, please visit:

 

Pat Metheny’s searingly electric, powerfully intense or deeply contemplative Side-Eye

Pat explains, “I wanted to create an ongoing platform to host a rotating cast of the newer generations of musicians who have particularly caught my interest along the way. From my earliest days in Kansas City onward, I was the beneficiary of so many older musicians hiring me, which gave me a chance to develop through the prism of their experiences and the particular demands of what their music implied.” Metheny has given this band concept the name Side-Eye and hopes that it might become a rotating group of musicians who could come and go in different combinations.

So far, there have been four iterations, hence the V.1-IV sub-heading on the record. Whether searingly electric, powerfully intense or deeply contemplative, highly composed or totally improvised, or even with some new-fangled contraption of his own design, there is always that unmistakable Metheny sensibility at work that has stood at the forefront of jazz for what is now approaching five decades. The Side-Eye series is the latest chapter in his continually unfolding story. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Listen to “IT STARTS WHEN WE DISAPPEAR” from the forthcoming recording by Pat Metheny with his new concept band Side-Eye

 

NOTEWORTHY: Caribbean Tinge : Live from Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola by pianist/composer Elio Villafranca

Elio Villafranca is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban pianists, composers, and bandleaders that for several years have been making major creative contributions to the international development of modern jazz. In the 2010 Grammy Awards, he was nominated in Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year, for his performance, composition, and coproduction in the album Things I Wanted To Do by Chembo Corniel.

He has released three albums as a bandleader that were each well received. His album The Source in Between remained in the top 10 of the JazzWeek World Top 50 Chart for eleven weeks, and his first album Incantations/Encantaciones was ranked amongst the 50 best jazz albums of the year by JazzTimes magazine in 2003. In 2008 Elio Villafranca was also nominated by The Jazz Corner as the pianist of the year and he received the Jazz Twirlie Nomination by Dick Crockett, of ‘The Voice‘ at 88.7FM, for his album The Source In Between.

That year, Mr. Villafranca was also honored by BMI with the BMI Jazz Guaranty Award and received the first NFA/Heineken Green Ribbon Master Artist
Music Grant for the creation of his Concerto for Mariachi, for Afro-Cuban Percussion, and Symphony Orchestra. Villafranca was also a pianist in the CD La Guerra No by John Santos Y El Coro Folklorico Kindembo, which was nominated in the 2010 Grammy Awards as Best Traditional World Music Album. Over the years Elio Villafranca’s music has featured jazz master artists such as Pat Martino, Jane Bunnett, Terell Stafford, and Eric Alexander, among other notable instrumentalists.

Elio has also performed nationally and internationally as a leader of his quartet, and as a sideman, he has collaborated with leading jazz and Latin jazz artists
including: Wynton Marsalis; Jon Faddis; Sonny Fortune; Giovanni Hidalgo; Eddie Henderson; Miguel Zenón; Cándido Camero; and Johnny Pacheco.
Villafranca has toured Europe and has performed at various world-renowned venues and events including the Blue Note Jazz Festival in Ghent, Belgium; at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milan and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy; at the North Sea Jazz Festival at The Hague, Holland, the Guinness Jazz Festival and a national tour of Ireland. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

At your leisure, if you dig Latin Jazz this album is a must-listen-to by Elio Villafranca