52nd Street Experimental Ensemble is an American project spawned by the pandemic and created in Philadelphia, PA by multi-instrumentalist Ihba Baskette

52nd Street Experimental Ensemble is an American project spawned by the pandemic and created in Philadelphia P.A, by Ihba Baskette a multi-instrumentalist playing all instruments on this recording. The recording takes of every instrument on this album were done in a few weeks; recording a song a day for 13 days as a way to combat the social turmoil, pandemic, and firecracker epidemics in urban areas in the city.

Ihba is known for world music specializing in abstract reggae world dance music and jazz-influenced hints. With 0” years of performing these songs are for an audience who loves the nonconformity and boundaries being juggled.

52 Street A/K/A Area 52 has collaborated and performed with Ra’oof Atelier presents: Ice Station Zero 2.0 @ “The House of Schlesinger “ – a collaborative art happening w/ Installation, sculptures, videos, photography & soundscape provided by Ihba Baskette-reeds & percussions & TR7 – applied piano & synthesizers. John Schlesinger – artworks. As well as Artist and Sculpture maker Anthony Bayne senior on Soprano Saxophone and Percussion. ~BandCamp

Release Date: 9/12/2022

All tracks by Ihba Baskette except Anthony Bayne senior on soprano saxophone on Stone Throw remix.
Schoichi Serigano: track 8.
Cover photograph: Bryant Eugene Varquez.
Additional artwork: Troy Williams and Ihba Baskette
Layout an design: Atharwa Deshingkar.

 

Just in case, you missed it… Mesmerism is the new album by drummer Tyshawn Sorey with his colleagues pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Matt Brewer.

Mesmerism is a beautiful, swinging trio meeting led by drummer Tyshawn Sorey featuring two musicians whom he has considered his closest colleagues: pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Matt Brewer. Sorey – a 2017 MacArthur Fellow, Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania, collaborator with Vijay Iyer, Kris Davis, Roscoe Mitchell, Hafez Modirzadeh, Myra Melford, Marilyn Crispell, and other musical luminaries – puts forward his vision for Mesmerism as follows: “My intent was to record this project with only an hour or two of rehearsal and with a group of musicians who never performed on stage together. To that end, Mesmerism is a departure from the recordings I produced that contained thoroughly rehearsed, rigorously notated music for the piano trio. For a long time, I felt an intense desire to record some of my favorite songs from the Great American Songbook as well as those by composers whose work I feel should also exist in this canon. Recording Mesmerism with these two wonderful, inspiring musicians inevitably proved to become the finest occasion for me to document my lifelong connection to the ‘straight-ahead’ continuum of this music.

Diehl, known for his close association with GRAMMY winner Cécile McLorin Salvant and his acclaimed work as a leader for Mack Avenue, brings a refined touch and melodic sense to the project. “Aaron and I connected for the first time many years ago,” Sorey recalls, “and from the start, it felt like a brotherly connection. I wanted to make a recording with Aaron for several years after the first meeting and listen to his brilliant performances of all kinds of music from different eras. Aaron’s level of listening and interaction in this setting is unmistakably individualistic – very sophisticated and full of intention, soul, and depth. His playing never ceases to surprise or astonish me.

Brewer, a bandleader and accomplished player with the SFJAZZ Collective, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and many others, is as rock solid as he is creative and searching, having performed alongside Sorey in projects led by Steve Lehman, Ambrose Akinmusire, Lage Lund, Steve Coleman, and more. “Besides how proficient he is on the bass in so many styles of music,” Sorey declares, “I am constantly amazed by Matt’s ability to swing and groove hard, to play contrapuntally, and to be always fully present in the music. For example, I tend to sometimes play phrases that are considered extremely adventurous over song forms and Matt is always right there with me. He’s a musician who brings with him a well thought out sense of adventure, along with incredibly open ears and a solid approach to rhythm.”

Picking songs for Mesmerism would not necessarily become an excuse to make an album of deconstructed, highly clever reworkings. Put another way, “I wanted to keep things simple and let the beauty of these songs remain in our interpretations while including, to a small degree, simple alterations of the song materials,” says Sorey. While a straightforward approach applies to “Enchantment” by Horace Silver, “Two Over One” by Muhal Richard Abrams, and (on CD and streaming only) the closing “REM Blues” by Duke Ellington, such alterations become readily apparent on the remaining selections. On “Detour Ahead,” for example, Sorey, a self-described Bill Evans aficionado, tips his hat to the late master with an arrangement that “constantly ‘detours’ from the original key that we’ve established by harmonically modulating to other keys of the song within its entire structure.” Later, in Sorey’s treatment of Paul Motian’s “From Time to Time,” the song is nearly unrecognizable, in that “the original melody is suspended in feeling and is also simultaneously conjunct and disjunct with no reference to a particular key center until the song’s closing melodic statement performed by the trio.”

Making a jazz piano trio album like Mesmerism is something Sorey’s admirers might not have expected, but his intent was not to throw curveballs for the sake of doing so. The goal, he explains, was “not to reinvent the wheel or prove anything, but to document the unwavering love and appreciation I have for these songs in the most honest, earnest way I can. I have always welcomed the opportunity to play this music, and, after having been typecast as being a so-called ‘avant-gardist’ for nearly two decades, I decided that it was finally time for me to make this recording date happen myself with musicians I deeply respect and admire.

Tyshawn Sorey has been praised by Modern Drummer Magazine as a musician who “explores the inner and outer reaches of modern jazz and serious contemporary music…[y]et no matter how far he travels, he remains anchored by a firm sense of tradition.” Hailed by The New York Times as “an artist who is at the nexus of the music industry’s artistic and social concerns,” Sorey has numerous extended concert pieces to his credit, including Monochromatic Light (Afterlife), For Roscoe Mitchell, Songs for Death, and For George Lewis. He has also held composer and artist residencies with Opera Philadelphia, the Seattle Symphony, and Harvard University. His recent major appearances on disc as a drummer include Uneasy (with Vijay Iyer and Linda May Han Oh), Tyshawn & King (with Philly DJ and innovator King Britt), and On Common Ground (with Mike Sopko and Bill Laswell). Sorey’s trio with pianist Cory Smythe and bassist Chris Tordini has earned critical acclaim for their releases Alloy and Verisimilitude. His varied ensemble recordings The Inner Spectrum of Variables, Pillars, and Unfiltered have cemented his reputation as “an extraordinary talent who can see across the entire musical landscape” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker).

Credits

Released: July 8, 2022
Tyshawn Sorey – drum set
Aaron Diehl – piano
Matt Brewer – bassExecutive producer: Tyshawn Sorey
Producer: Michael Carvin

Rising star pianist/composer Connie Han brings the ancient Sumerian culture to the present day by channelling Inanna — the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty and war — on her third release for Mack Avenue Records.

Rising star pianist/composer Connie Han brings the ancient Sumerian culture to the present day by channeling Inanna — the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, and war — on her third release for Mack Avenue Records.

Featuring Katisse Buckingham (alto flute and piccolo), John Patitucci (bass), Rich Perry (tenor saxophonist), and drummer Bill WysaskeSecrets of Inanna creates a new world open to interpretation, harkening back to the ethereal soundscapes’ of 1970s spiritual jazz with the modern composition Han has received praise for since her 2018 debut Crime Zone, creating a truly unique soundscape of great depth. ~MackAvenueRecords

At your leisure, stream her new single “PRIMA MATERIA” from her upcoming album

 

[Just in case, you missed it]… Charles Owens Trio will release 10 Years, a set of passionate, hard-grooving recordings that showcase the group’s signature jazz-funk sound

On June 11, 2021, the Charles Owens Trio will release 10 Years, a set of passionate, hard-grooving recordings that showcase the group’s signature jazz-funk sound. Traversing a constellation of styles — from afrobeat to jazz ballads, to psychedelic rock — the Trio brings the unbridled energy and fierce musicality that have made them a mainstay of clubs in New York, Charlottesville, and their beloved hometown Richmond, VA.

At the heart of 10 Years is a decidedly celebratory spirit. The Trio went into the studio to toast a decade of existence together, and to document the powerful chemistry they’ve cultivated through countless hours on the bandstand. They built their tracklist as a loving ode to some of their favorite songs, drawn from all across their lives. “The music you learn when you’re really impressionable — like when you’re a child — it sticks with you forever,” says bandleader and saxophonist Charles Owens. “It’s in your soul. When I choose all these songs now for the record, I choose them because they mean a lot to me.”

From the opening note, Owens, bassist Andrew Randazzo, and drummer Devonne Harris pack a gut punch. They kick off with Cameron the Wise, an afrobeat original and live-show favorite captured for the first time in studio. Track after track, they flex their unique ability to be both supremely melodic and deeply groove-oriented. Owens can go tender and mystical on John Coltrane’s classic Central Park West, then turn around and throw haymakers on Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic trip If 6 Was 9. Randazzo can anchor tunes like Caught Up in the Rapture, then bust out a gorgeous, extended electric bass solo such as he does on Continuum. And Harris moves seamlessly between funk, swing, thundering solos, and more — sometimes within one track like he does on Angelica.

Recorded in a single, blistering six-hour session, 10 Years is a legitimate musical journey and a testament to the powerful connection that exists between members of the Trio. “What was going on in the studio that day was me being really vulnerable and okay with it because I have a band that I’ve been together with for ten years, and man, they were so right there for me the whole time,” recounts Owens. Rarely can a group take on such a diverse slate of material and sound so utterly themselves at every turn? This is an album not simply for lovers of a certain genre or time period, but for people who enjoy music played with skill and the realest of passion. ~BandCamp

Original Release Date: June 11, 2021

[Just in case, you missed it…] Accra, Ghana jazz trumpeter Peter Somuah’s debut album Outer Space gives music lovers a satisfying gumbo of jazz, funk, electronic, and traditional Ghanaian rhythms

Peter Somuah is a gifted jazz trumpeter hailing from Accra, Ghana, and currently based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Somuah, who learned to play by listening endlessly to his trumpet heroes Roy Hargrove and Miles Davis, stands out with his warm and melancholic sound, as well as the rhythmic prowess reflecting his upbringing surrounded by the music styles native to West Africa. He touches his audience and makes them groove.

At 25, Somuah has already shared the stage with many local and international acts and toured in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Among others, he has performed and recorded with Akwasi, Bridget Kearney, and Yung Nnelg. Somuah will be releasing his debut album ‘Outer Space‘ this Spring. On the record, he explores the boundaries between jazz, funk, electronic music, and traditional Ghanaian rhythms with his band. ~Bandcamp

Peter Somuah – trumpet
Anton de Bruin – keys
Danny Rombout – percussion
Jesse Schilderink – saxophone
Marijn van de Ven – bass
Jens Meijer – drums

Originally released: April 29, 2022

[What are you listening to?] … the debut album The Seed encompasses eight aesthetically fresh cross-genre melodies pen and arranged by guitarist Thomas Mitrousis

All eight pieces of this album fluidly shift between moods, textures, and tempos, revealing high levels of musicianship and chemistry.

THE SEED” consists of eight compositions with obvious modern jazz references, as well as influences from classical and post-rock. The cinematic introduction of the opening track “Crossing Lines”, immediately engulfs the audience into the atmosphere of the album.

The compositions create continuous exchanges of emotions and images, retaining undiminished anticipation from the first note to the last. Each piece has a tendency to refer to a different musical genre. “Fax From Fux” contains baroque elements, and “Poisonous Little Flower” moves with an impressionistic mood but all compositions maintain an amalgamated character, due to the common jazz background of the four musicians.

The quartet explores the amazingly broad varieties of timbres and dynamics of the instruments and manages to maintain a sonic diversity with an aesthetically contemporary approach, through the whimsical arrangements.

The pleasure is simple, direct, and completely jazz; it is very well played, and it swings just enough to keep the balance between body and mind. […] ‘The Seed’ is a gratifying surprise.”BESTOFJAZZ

He tends to combine notated context with improvisation, and with his outstanding technical skill, the guitar not only solos but also conducts a creative dialogue with partners.[…]Mitrousis is a new and promising name in the European jazz scene.”-JAZZQUAD

The chemistry of the group is evident. The guitar dialogues with the rest of the instruments and vice versa, enriching the final result, colorful and very, very pleasant.”-La Habitacion del Jazz

The debut offering from Athens, Greece’s Thomas Mitrousis Quartet gives a whirlwind, feet-off-the-ground experience. Leader and guitarist Mitrousis has all the fingerwork to keep the vibe easy even when the drums and brushes are briskly whisking us along. In nine fresh tracks, this CD is a simultaneous exploration into musicians that gel beautifully together while giving the listener the ability to clearly appreciate each one’s specific talent.“-Debbie Burke ~Bandcamp

 

Released: March 21, 2022

Thomas Mitrousis: guitar
Kostas Yaxoglou: piano
Paraskevas Kitsos: double bass
Dimitris Klonis: drums

Recorded in May 2021 at Antart Studios by Nikos Kollias and Yannis Damianos

[NOTEWORTHY] – Tales of Time is the calling car to versatile drummer/composer Greg Germann’s relentless chops and composing skills

New York-based drummer/composer Greg Germann has spent the better part of the last 2 decades touring the world with Broadway shows and then making his mark as a Telly Award-winning film composer, utilizing his background in classical percussion and jazz to guide his hand. With encouragement from an important mentor, drummer Clarence Penn, Greg turned his attention to documenting a collection of his wide-ranging compositions for the modern jazz quartet.

With Penn producing, they pulled together a group of supreme improvisers including saxophonist Donny McCaslin, pianist Luis Perdomo and bassist Yasushi Nakamura to tackle Germann’s rhythmically expansive & melodically rich works. Recorded in November of 2020, the compositions present a dynamic view of life during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the relentless post-bop opener, ‘Rush Hour,’ to the reflective ‘Quarantine,’ Tales of Time is Germann’s calling card for jazz fans worldwide. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Originally Released: March 12, 2021

At your leisure, spin “TALES OF TIME” by Greg Germann

Just in case, you missed it… Wall featuring Dabin Ryu is an award-winning jazz pianist from Seoul, South Korea

Dabin Ryu is an award-winning jazz pianist from Seoul, South Korea. Dabin’s musical journey started at age 3 with classical piano. Eventually, Dabin became interested in jazz and contemporary styles of music, which she is now known for. After high school, Dabin attended Berklee College of Music, majoring in Jazz Performance and Jazz Composition, ultimately graduating in 2018. She then continued her education at Manhattan School of Music, graduating with a master’s degree in Jazz Studies. As a student, Dabin was fortunate to study with Ralph Peterson, Joanne Brackeen, Francesca Tanksley, Kendrick Scott, Buster Williams, Neal Smith, Ted Rosenthal, and Phil Markowitz.

Dabin Ryu’s debut album Wall (out now and on which she produced, composed, and arranged the entire project), features ten original compositions entirely composed, arranged, and produced by the pianist. The compositions settle within the jazz tradition yet refuse the conventional instrumentations of a classic jazz album. In this album, she captures the traces her life-long practice of music has left on her. 1. ‘The Light’ 2. ‘I’ll Never Know’ 3. ‘Temple Run’ 4. ‘Wall (Pt. 1)’ 5. ‘Wall (Pt. 2)’ 6. ‘Moon’ 7. ‘Stillborn’ 8. ‘Suspicion’ 9. ‘Taxi Driver’ 10. ‘We Will Meet Again’ This is a Brand New CD (not sealed, never was) that ships via 1st Class USPS. ~Liner Notes | Amazon

Original Release Date: May 22, 2021

At your leisure, check out “WALL” by Dabin Ryu

For the fifth installment of his ambition Conversations project, award-winning Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz presents the album Elemental (29th April)

For the fifth installment of his ambition Conversations project, award-winning Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz
presents the album Elemental (29th April) with Dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma, Portuguese Accordion virtuoso Joāo Barradas and Swiss-Australian Rafael Jerjen on bass.

Arbenz’s choices for Conversation #5 were selected for their unmistakably unique voices on their respective instruments. Arbenz himself says, “it doesn’t happen so often that I immediately get captured by a musician by just hearing him/her on a record. And I think this is a big link for me to Tineke, Joāo, and Rafael.”

An improvised exploration of the realm between jazz and classical chamber music, the ensemble’s sophisticated and open-minded sound is equally comfortable in either world. Strikingly vast in texture and feel, the ensemble shifts rapidly between tight, syncopated grooves, flurries of virtuosic saxophone playing, passages of melancholic openness, and powerfully dense accordion harmonies.

With a slew of awards and world-class collaborations under their belts, the ensemble’s collective international reputation cannot be understated.

From Postma’s appearances on two Grammy-winning albums and Downbeat Magazine’s Rising Star for soprano saxophone award, Barradas winning the World Accordion Trophy (twice!), Jerjen’s National Emerging Jazz Composers Prize and Arbenz’s European Award for Culture, each member of the quartet is a powerhouse in their own right. ~Bandcamp 

[Just in case, you missed it]… the versatile voice of pianist-composer Zela Margossian’s music rises above all these labels as a product of her own unique constellation of influences and lived experiences on her latest recording The Road

Variously described as “ethno-jazz”, “world-jazz”, and “folk-jazz fusion”, Zela Margossian’s music rises above all these labels as a product of her own unique constellation of influences and lived experiences.

Raised in Beirut of Armenian heritage, her childhood years were marked by the conflict and political instability of the region; themes she would later explore in her music. In her early twenties, Margossian moved to Yerevan, Armenia to study classical piano at the Komitas Conservatorium. But it was after class, in the local jazz-clubs listening to artists the likes of Arto Tunçboyacıyan and Vahagn and the Cats, that her love for jazz was stoked. A move to Australia some years later saw her take the bold step to fully transition from her classical roots and find recognition among her jazz peers, as a composer and improviser of note.

In 2017, the Zela Margossian Quintet (ZMQ) was formed and quickly found a warm embrace in the Sydney jazz scene. Comprising renowned, versatile performers: Stuart Vandegraaff (woodwinds), Jacques Emery (double bass), Adem Yilmaz (percussion), and Alexander Inman-Hislop (drum kit), the band has appeared on Australia’s mainstages and internationally including at: the Beirut International Jazz Festival (2018), SIMA’s Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival (2017, 2019 and 2020), Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues (2020), the Sydney Opera House (2020), and Sydney Festival (2021).

In 2019 the band’s debut album, Transition, was released by Art As Catharsis to critical acclaim, also receiving an ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) nomination for Best World Music album.

The Road is their much anticipated second album, promising the rich instrumental textures, the distinct compositional voice, as well as the narrative and thematic depth Margossian, is known for. ~Bandcamp

Released: February 25, 2022