The long awaited project REROOTING by composer/leader, percussion, balaphone and kalimba MARILYN MAZUR

Marilyn Mazur’s collaboration with Miles Davis, Gil Evans, and Wayne Shorter established her worldwide reputation in the mid-to-late ‘80s, as did her career with Jan Garbarek later on. But even before that, percussionist and composer Marilyn Mazur had already realized significant projects of her own. Her Primi Band, an experimental music theatre group that existed from 1978 to 1986, left such a lasting impression that the Copenhagen Jazz Festival wanted to reboot the group four decades later. This was unfortunately not possible, but the evocative spirit of that band has been let out of the bottle through a new project.

Shamania is the name of the band that Marilyn founded in 2015. Its shamanic spirit is based on the idea of a modern tribal gathering of female musical forces that focuses entirely on rhythm, body, and voice in an experimental context and the challenge of finding a common ground.

The ten women of Shamania are among the most independent musicians on the Scandinavian scene and live in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. When they meet, they bring – through their formidable energies – a primal power and fascinating rhythms to the stage and enchant the listener with atmospheric moods and moments of pure amazement. The very same qualities have now been captured on their second album:

REROOTING combines 16 songs, a combination of both Marilyn’s brand new and older compositions, which have all been, with one exception, previously unreleased.

Each of these songs has its own story, such as an original song composed for Marilyn’s son when he was a baby, the sunset canon, the world situation, Nordic nights, April 1 – as well as the title track that was created at the first gathering of the Shamania musicians after pandemic-related self-isolation and many concert cancellations.

From the water phone, which combines the principles of the Tibetan water drum, the African lamellophone, and the nail violin from the 18th century, to udu clay pot drums, various bongos, congas, the kalimba, drums, and tuned gongs from all over the world, to the Norwegian goat horn: the extraordinary wealth of timbres, together with the other instruments, primes the songs, shining out of them, glowing and radiating, results in the unmistakable Shamania sound and, with the brilliant rhythms, form Marilyn Mazur’s trademark: often ritual-type music with an unmistakable instinct for outstanding dialogues, solos, and improvisations – as well as an energetic primal force, and the very personal musical language of the great musician that extends into a world that lies far beyond jazz.

JOSEFINE CRONHOLM vocals
SISSEL VERA PETTERSEN vocals and alto sax
HILDEGUNN ØISETH trumpet and goat horn
LOTTE ANKER tenor and soprano saxophone
LIS WESSBERG trombone
MAKIKO HIRABAYASHI piano and keyboards
IDA GORMSEN electric bass
LISBETH DIERS congas and percussion
ANNA LUND drums
MARILYN MAZUR composer/leader, percussion,
balaphone and kalimba

All compositions and lyrics by Marilyn Mazur,
except for the lyrics of Largo of Voices by Josefine Cronholm

Expected Release Date: 9/16/2022

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

 

Yellowjackets Enter Fifth Decade Sounding as Fresh as Tomorrow on Upcoming Album: Parallel Motion

Parallel Motion is out on CD / Digital on August 26, 2022

Maintaining a distinct group identity for 40 years is an exceedingly rare achievement, but what sets Yellowjackets apart isn’t their longevity so much as the consistently inspired quality of their music. Born in the age of fusion, the band has thrived through the decades by steadily seeking out new sounds and approaches, combining elliptical lyricism with a sophisticated and evolving harmonic palette all their own. Slated for release on August 26, Parallel Motion is Yellowjackets’ sixth album for Mack Avenue Records and it captures a vibrant creative communion that shows no signs of an impending midlife crisis.
Since Yellowjackets’ eponymous 1981 debut album, the group has hewed its own creative path, influencing colleagues with enviable compositional craftsmanship and an ever-shifting blend of influences. In many ways Yellowjackets embody both continuity and renewal, with founding­ pianist/keyboardist Russell Ferrante providing the four-decade thread first joined by Will Kennedy­, who took over the drum chair from 1987-99 and returned to the fold in 2010. Bob Mintzer, a Jacket since 1990, contributes on tenor and soprano saxophones and EWI. By the band’s standards Australian-born electric bass virtuoso Dane Alderson is still the new kid, though he’s already anchored the quartet for seven years. Parallel Motion is a Technicolor portrait of a working band that’s still stretching its wings.
“The last two projects were collaborations,” Ferrante said, referring to 2018’s luminous Raising Our Voice with extraordinary Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, and 2020’s orchestral Jackets XL with the WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany. “We wanted to do a project focusing on the quartet. In terms of the material, we wanted to broaden the contributions from everyone. Dane is represented by several tunes. Will is in the mix. Everybody’s involved in every aspect.”
While Yellowjackets recorded the album in the midst of the pandemic, the music looks forward rather than exploring the angst and isolation that accompanied the advent of COVID-19. Of course, resilience and optimism in the face of tragedy is in itself a profound statement. For Mintzer, the new work “represents the commitment to stay together and keep moving forward. It’s really about this four-cornered square that functions no matter what. With each record, all four of us are on the hunt for new ways to put the notes together. The music keeps growing. The focus is this band. A clear, identifiable sound. Four equal parts.”
Indeed, every Jacket is well represented on Parallel Motion. The album opens with Mintzer’s “Intrigue,” a lithe but stutter-stepping tune that offers a little surprise around every shifting groove. Lyrical and street smart, the piece showcases all four players at their most responsive. “There’s a singable component, but these little splashes of dissonance,” Mintzer said. “It doesn’t fit into any categories, which is one of the M.O.s of this band.”
Ferrante’s passionate “Il Mio Amico” is a heartfelt ode written in response to his recently acquired Fazioli piano. It’s a spectacular instrument “and the resonance and overtones and response you get is really inspiring,” he said. “We brought it to the studio and used it on the recording, the first workout it got, and as the title says, it’s really my new friend.”
Alderson’s slyly grooving “Early” grew out of a sketch that had been languishing on his laptop for more than a decade. “I brought it to the band and the guys brought it to life,” he said. “It’s a jammy party tune with an R&B flavor that really evolved in the studio.”
Kennedy transformed a tune originally written with vocals into the ravishing “Samaritan,” a piece that expands on Yellowjackets’ long history of singable lines. “The goal was to have a melody that was simple and warm and I think we achieved that,” Kennedy said. “It’s a really calm and relaxing sort of song. As Dane was saying, it’s always an interesting adventure to present a tune to the band and have it take on a life of its own.”
If Parallel Motion offers a snapshot of a band in mid-flight, it’s also a family portrait that includes Ferrante’s “If You Believe,” a track featuring the supremely soulful vocalist Jean Baylor. No stranger to Jackets fans, she’s recorded with the group several times, and of course her husband, drummer Marcus Baylor, was a member of Yellowjackets from 2000-2010. Her gospel-steeped performance adds another incandescent track to Yellowjackets’ deep roster of vocal collaborations, a list that includes Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling, Bobby Caldwell, Randy Crawford, Brenda Russell, Michael Franks, Gino Vannelli, Jonathan Butler and Luciana Souza.
Recorded after a brief European tour, the album documents the process of discovery. “We rehearsed the tunes on the album maybe three times,” Alderson said. “I believe we’re only now on this tour performing these songs live, so what you’re hearing are about as fresh as they can be. Everything really came to life in the studio in those three days.”

Parallel Motion — the new album from jazz fusion legends Yellowjackets — is a true testament to the longevity and resilience of a band that debuted over 40 years ago. Consistently reinventing themselves through elevated instrumentation in their signature electro-acoustic soundscape, the current lineup consists of Bob Mintzer (tenor & soprano saxophone/EWI), Russell Ferrante (piano/keyboards), Will Kennedy (drums, keyboards), and Dane Alderson (electric bass, MIDI Sequencing) showcases a collective at their prime. This album features 9 new original compositions and guest vocalist Jean Baylor (4x GRAMMY® Award Nominee of the Baylor Project and R&B duo Zhané) on “If You Believe.” ~Mack Avenue Music Group

At your leisure, check the single “INTRIGUE” by the Yellowjackets.

 

[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

[NOTEWORTHY]… With “Dedications” pianist, Alan Pasqua accomplishes the challenging task of leaving his unique and masterful imprint on this homage to the giants of the tradition.

Thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable. . . .From bop to swing, Alan Pasqua & Co. (in trio, quartet, and quintet settings) joyously explore many facets of the jazz tradition, adding zest and their own voices to every one of Alan’s excellent compositions. — The Music Advocate, May 1996

Pianist Alan Pasqua has dedicated his second Postcards CD to the incredibly rich tradition of jazz. On Dedications, his compositions cover the whole stylistic spectrum from swing and bebop through today’s polytonality and modality and are heard in the trio, quartet, and quintet settings. Building from a core trio featuring Dave Holland and Paul Motian (who have rarely recorded together) on four tunes, Pasqua adds Michael Brecker (on seldom-heard soprano saxophone) on one tune, and then creates two different quintets, one with both Michael and Randy Brecker, and one with Randy Brecker and Gary Bartz. From the lush, ducal “Ellingtonia” through the ethereal modality of “San Michele,” Alan Pasqua accomplishes the challenging task of leaving his unique and masterful imprint on this homage to the giants of the tradition. “Dedications,” says Pasqua, turning to his 1996 CD, “is my way of paying tribute to the positive influences on my life. Art, music, spirituality, family . . . I draw upon all of these whenever I’m playing or composing.

I wanted to take tradition and put my own stamp on it,” he continues, describing how he approached the compositions. “I found myself going back to my roots in jazz, back to an earlier perspective on jazz, to the styles I grew up with musically, and then reshaping the traditions, embellishing them — finding my own voice, making a more modern statement. It was like taking one step backward to take two steps forward.” ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Original Release Date:  October 21, 2006

At your leisure, spin “DEDICATIONS” by Alan Pasqua

[Just in case, you missed it]… During the pandemic pianist-composer, Armen Donelian’s approach to Fresh Start sharpened his ears in the context of a supremely sensitive new trio with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Dennis Mackrel

When the history of Jazz during the COVID-19 pandemic gets written, Armen Donelian warrants a detailed chapter. Though he composed more than a dozen new pieces through the spring of 2021, the veteran pianist and educator didn’t use the downtime to reinvent his repertoire as much as he deepened his pianistic approach and sharpened his ears in the context of a supremely sensitive new trio with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Dennis Mackrel. The group’s unabashedly beautiful debut, Fresh Start, is Donelian’s 14th album and his 11th for Sunnyside, the label that has documented the bulk of his work as a leader since the mid-1980s.

Like many musicians facing canceled tours and gigs, Donelian sought to push back against the initial depression by redoubling his efforts on his instrument. Before long he’d suffered a practice-induced shoulder injury, which led him to concentrate on composing while he healed. When he started playing again after three months, Donelian continued honing his new pieces, but with a new mindset “that had nothing to do with technique and content,” he says. “Instead of focusing on what I was playing, I was focusing more on how I was playing, on touch, expression, and storytelling, allowing the sound to happen in its own way. That was the main focus of this album.”

Transforming one’s sound is a major undertaking for any musician, but for an acclaimed improviser stepping into his eighth decade, it’s downright audacious. While his name might not be as widely known as some of his contemporaries, Donelian possesses all of the attributes, gifts, and paid dues of a heavyweight improviser, from formative stints with Sonny Rollins, Billy Harper, Chet Baker, and Mongo Santamaria to a discography marked by sublime and unmistakably personal projects documenting enduring relationships and ever-evolving compositional investigations.

Taking a year-long sabbatical from teaching responsibilities at the New School during the pandemic, Donelian solidified the Fresh Start trio, a group that renewed an old friendship and established a new one. Donelian and Anderson, one of the New York scene’s most sought-after bassists, got to know each other in the early ’80s when they worked occasionally as a duo. Though their career paths diverged, they reconnected about a decade ago via saxophonist Marc Mommaas, “which reminded me how much l liked Jay’s playing and planted an idea in the back of my mind,” Donelian says.

Fellow piano master Jim McNeely had recommended Mackrel, whom Donelian knew by reputation as a first-call bandmate. But their paths didn’t cross until about four years ago when the drummer came to hear Donelian’s trio at a Hudson Valley performance. “One of Dennis’s children was a student in the program that was sponsoring that concert and afterwards he said, ‘Armen, I really enjoyed your playing. Anytime you want to play, let me know.’ I saw a door opening. So I got together with Jay and Dennis to see if there was any chemistry between us. I loved what I heard, playing without ego or an agenda other than beauty and sound.”

With Mackrel and Anderson bringing a good deal of bandstand and studio history to Fresh Start, the trio’s foundation couldn’t be stronger. Since first making a mark together on Maria Schneider’s 1994 debut album Evanescence, they’ve played hundreds of gigs as a rhythm section tandem, including dates with pianist/arranger Russ Kassoff, pianist Ted Rosenthal, saxophonist Steve Wilson, and many other leading players. Their deep connection and conversational rapport are evident on every Fresh Start track produced, arranged, and led by Donelian.

In responding to the calamity of the pandemic, the trio offers a balm in troubled times. Healing and stimulating, it’s music that both soothes the soul and sparks the imagination, starting with the bittersweet bossa nova “Noviembre,” a moody piece that culminates in a taut exchange between Donelian and Anderson. The title track is a post-bop workout with a serpentine melody that keeps snaking back on itself. Anderson and Donelian take masterly solos while Mackrel keeps the narrative thread spinning.

Donelian has devoted himself to teaching from the earliest stages of his career. A proud champion of his former students, he includes two alluring pieces by rising musicians that serve the trio well. Vatan Rajan Singh’s winsome 5/4 ballad “Ferry Maiden” features a joyful solo by Anderson that displays his expansive lyricism. And Sophia Bondi contributes “In the Western Night,” a vehicle for the trio to ascend, awestruck, into a blues-drenched skyscape (an excerpt from another take of the piece, capturing some particularly lovely blues passages by Anderson and Donelian, serves as the album’s striking closing track).

No tune better captures the trio’s venturesome spirit than “Madagascar,” which uses Donelian’s two-chord vamp as a magic carpet carrying them deep into modal realms. The tension builds to a sumptuous climax, with a Mackrel passage that’s a marvel of textural calibration. No stranger to small group recordings, Mackrel is best known as one of the era’s finest big band drummers. Long before he directed the Count Basie Orchestra (2010-2013), he’d distinguished himself via his work with the American Jazz Orchestra, the Carla Bley Big Band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Buck Clayton’s Swing Band, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, and most notably the McCoy Tyner Big Band (whose Grammy Award-winning CDs The Turning Point and Journey feature four Mackrel arrangements).

Donelian takes the opportunity to offer a tribute to his former teacher, pianist Richie Beirach, with a gorgeous rendition of “Gale,” a tender melody that belies its fierce, gusty title. It’s been recorded by several other musicians, but not with such exquisite interplay. Harry Warren’s beseeching ballad “Never Let Me Go” offers another master class in melodic invention. And late saxophonist Makanda Ken McIntyre’s “Day Break,” which he recorded as a boiling up-tempo swinger on the 1976 album Open Horizon, gets reimagined as a luminous, spiritually charged ballad.

Donelian got to know McIntyre, a brilliant multi-instrumentalist when they were on faculty together at the New School, and he’s one of several departed masters whose spirit inhabits Fresh Start. The samba-powered “Tirado” is dedicated to the late Brazilian Jazz masters, Cidinho Teixeira and Claudio Roditi. And Donelian dedicated the buoyantly celebratory “Janet Left the Planet” to the memory of two other exceptional musicians, vocalist Janet Lawson, and bassoonist Janet Grice. The album’s biggest surprise is Donelian’s debut as a singer on Herb Magidson and Allie Wrubel’s “I’m Stepping Out with a Memory Tonight,” an overlooked American Songbook gem that was recorded by Ray Eberle and the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1939 before quickly being forgotten. His pleasing vocals along with his formidable pianistic skills should put the delightfully wistful tune back in circulation.

Born to Armenian parents living in New York City’s Jackson Heights neighborhood on December 1, 1950, Armen Hrant Donelian grew up in a household full of intellectual ferment. His Ottoman Empire-born father Khatchik Ohannes Donelian, who lost dozens of family members during the Armenian genocide, was a Columbia University-trained physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project. Growing up, Armen was surrounded by Classical and Armenian music, and from seven to 19 years old he studied piano at the Westchester Conservatory of Music in White Plains, NY.

Jazz entered the picture for Donelian at 12, through his older brother’s clarinet work in a Dixieland band directed by the great guitarist Arthur Ryerson Sr., a studio ace who recorded with everyone from Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to Charlie Parker and Fats Waller. Ryerson’s daughter Ali, now an eminent Jazz flutist, played in the band along with her three brothers. Entranced by the music’s energy, Donelian eventually joined the combo, where he learned numerous standards and more significantly how to swing.

Following his father’s path to Columbia University in 1968, Donelian immersed himself in music history, theory, composition, choral arrangement, and conducting, while supporting himself with a regular gig as a lounge pianist (and as a Blues and Folk guitarist). But his Jazz studies didn’t really commence until after graduation when he fell under the sway of Beirach, a brilliantly probing improviser with a rarefied harmonic vocabulary who opened up a vast new musical universe for Donelian.

“But there came a point when I had to break away,” he says. “That’s a very natural process that I often see as a teacher myself. After Richie, I focused on developing my own sound. It was a long process of experimentation from 1980 until the mid-’90s when I feel I really came into my own voice after investigating contemporary Classical music more deeply, and my own Armenian roots.”

While studying with Beirach, Donelian absorbed a series of bandstand master classes with Jazz giants, starting in 1975 with Afro-Cuban percussion legend Mongo Santamaria. Touring internationally with the conguero’s Latin Jazz octet, he recorded four albums on the Fania label, including the Grammy Award-nominated Sofrito, which features three Donelian compositions.

After leaving Santamaria, Donelian immersed himself in Brazilian music, collaborating with artists such as pianist Dom Salvador, trumpeter Claudio Roditi, saxophonist Justo Almario, guitarist Amaury Tristão, and drummer Portinho. Freelancing around New York, he worked with established stars like Chet Baker, Lionel Hampton, Ted Curson, and Ray Barretto, and rising players such as Tom Harrell, Bob Berg, Rory Stuart, Keith Copeland, Ratzo Harris, Dennis Irwin, Jeff Williams, and Harvie S.

He reached his widest audience yet upon joining tenor titan Sonny Rollins’s band in 1977, a thrilling yet daunting experience for the young pianist. Some years later, tenor sax master Billy Harper hired him for a four-year run that brought Donelian to the attention of audiences in Europe and Japan and resulted in four acclaimed albums. “With Billy I felt that I was able to really bring in my own voice,” he says. “He’d take these 20-minute solos and I had to come in afterward. Billy’s music is very powerful and very soulful. That was a really great time in my life.”

In the midst of his tenure in Harper’s band he made his recording debut as a leader with 1981’s Stargazer on the Japanese label Atlas, a trio session with drummer Billy Hart and bassist Eddie Gomez focusing on Donelian’s original compositions. He’s kept the format in play over the years, recording the highly regarded Trio ’87 with Norwegians Carl Morten Iversen (bass) and Audun Kleive (drums), and 2007’s Oasis and 2014’s Sayat-Nova: Songs of My Ancestors with bassist David Clark and drummer George Schuller. The latter project, featuring Donelian’s arrangements of songs by the legendary 18th-century Armenian poet and musician Sayat-Nova, was his last recording, and expanded on his longtime engagement with the music of his ancestral homeland where he resided as a 2002 Fulbright Scholar. After the decade-long endeavor, he took his time before starting his next album.

“I let the feeling develop organically,” he says. “I had all these thoughts about what I might want to do next, lists and lists of ideas like a Leonard Bernstein project or an album of Richard Rodgers tunes. There’s only so much you can do. Then the pandemic came and it was an opportunity for me to reexamine my approach to the piano and composing. But more than that I was looking to deepen how we listen and interact with each other in a responsive way, taking every particle of time as an opportunity to connect with and support each other, contributing in some way to a more beautiful sound.” • ~BandCamp

Released: April 1, 2022

Armen Donelian – piano
Jay Anderson – bass
Dennis Mackrel – drums

[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

[Just in case, you missed it]… “Insight”, featuring pianist Giulio Gentilereleased by Auand Records, will be available on CD and on Bandcamp on January 28, 2022

Now an established name in and outside his country, multi-awarded Italian pianist Giulio Gentile has recently focused on exploring the possibilities offered by the trio, along with longtime collaborators Pietro Pancella on bass and double bass, and Michele Santoleri on drums.

They have been essential – Gentile says –, both musically and as human beings, to complete this work. They have always believed in my music, adding the right energy to the project. We’re good friends. At first, we simply met to play something together, and then we developed a repertoire focused on my compositions and arrangements, which led to this trio. Playing with them makes me feel like the trio as one person. There’s a lot of interplay and listening, which I love!»

Insight”, released by Auand Records, will be available on CD and on Bandcamp on January 28, 2022. Singles will be released on all streaming platforms starting on January 14.

Trying to avoid specific shapes, this album works on identity: «The key to this project – Giulio Gentile adds – is about us finding our musical identity. I didn’t limit myself too much when writing these tunes because I believe in composition as freedom. I didn’t wonder if it was “jazz enough” or anything, I simply put down things on paper: ideas that could mirror something about me, trying to find an original sound and leveraging everyone’s strengths.»

Although difficult structures and polyrhythms abound, “Insight” is centered on melody, both in themes and improvisation. And it gets personal. «After writing some of these tunes I realized I put a lot of myself in them: ideas, thoughts, wishes, fears. This is why I picked this title: it’s me trying to communicate my vision through my music. I imagined “Mankind to Earth” as a dialogue between humanity and Planet Earth. Mankind begs for mercy, trying to be forgiven for everything that has been (and is being) done to Earth. And there is a response, in “Earth to Mankind”, which I made more chaotic and rough, insisting on one melody that repeats from beginning to end. This sense of chaos and mess made me think of the inner, stronger, and destructive face of nature, which I tried to convey using a 9/8 clave rhythm.~BandCamp

Released: January 28, 2022

Giulio Gentile – piano
Pietro Pancella – double bass, electric bass
Michele Santoleri – drums

Carnegie Hall Announces Schedule for NYO Jazz’s First US Tour Following June 24 Release of Debut Album We’re Still Here Led by Artistic Director and Bandleader/Trumpeter Sean Jones

US Tour Kicks Off at Carnegie Hall in
New York City on July 28 Featuring
GRAMMY® Award-nominated Vocalist
Jazzmeia Horn as Special Guest
US Tour Dates Include:
July 28 | Carnegie Hall | New York, NY
July 30 | Tri-C Metro Auditorium | Cleveland, OH
August 1 | Chautauqua Amphitheater | Chautauqua, NY
August 2 | The August Wilson African American Cultural Center | Pittsburgh, PA
August 4 | Navy Pier, Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park | Chicago, IL
August 5 | The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center | Detroit, MI
August 7 | Wisconsin Union Theater | Madison, WI
August 9 | John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | Washington, D.C.

Carnegie Hall today announced the schedule for the first-ever US tour by its acclaimed NYO Jazz set to take place on the heels of the June 24, 2022 release of the ensemble’s first full-length studio album, We’re Still Here. The album features NYO Jazz Artistic Director and Bandleader/trumpeter Sean Jones and special guest Melissa Aldana on tenor saxophone, plus an appearance by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. Available for pre-order, the album will be released by Platoon and will be available for digital download and on all streaming platforms in standard and Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio formats.

Following NYO Jazz’s US tour kick-off concert at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, July 28, the ensemble—joined by this summer’s special guest vocalist Jazzmeia Horn—will tour seven US cities under the direction of Sean Jones. The tour stops include Cleveland, OH on July 30 (Tri-C Metro Auditorium); Chautauqua, NY on August 1 (Chautauqua Amphitheater); Pittsburgh, PA on August 2 (The August Wilson African American Cultural Center); Chicago, IL on August 4 (Navy Pier, Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park); Detroit, MI on August 5 (The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center); Madison, WI on August 7 (Wisconsin Union Theater); and Washington, D.C. on August 9 (The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts).

“I’m very excited to perform with the amazing young musicians of Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz this summer,” said Jazzmeia Horn. “What a wonderful opportunity as this tour marks my first time playing an entire tour with a big band and I’m especially thrilled to sing selections from my new big band album, Dear Love. I’m curious to see how NYO Jazz will interpret my latest expression of love musically as we connect with audiences in cities around the US. This will be a fun journey to share with them!”

One of Carnegie Hall’s three acclaimed national youth ensembles, NYO Jazz—comprising outstanding young musicians ages 16–19 from across the United States—showcases the legacy and bright future of American jazz. Created in 2018 by the Hall’s Weill Music Institute, NYO Jazz annually brings together some of the nation’s finest teen jazz musicians to train, perform, and tour with world-class jazz masters while also serving as music ambassadors for their country. NYO Jazz’s successful international tours have included a 2018 inaugural European tour with Dianne Reeves as a special guest, and the ensemble’s debut tour to Asia in 2019 with Kurt Elling as a special guest. Although NYO Jazz was unable to travel during the past two years, the musicians convened virtually during the summer of 2020 and at Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY) just north of New York City, in summer 2021, rehearsing and recording a wide range of repertoire, including its debut album.

We’re Still Here features four new works written for the band since its inception, a range of classic and contemporary charts that are hallmarks of its live concerts, and works exploring themes that include social justice, resilience, and the power of music to spark joy. The four Carnegie Hall-commissioned works on the album are: “Run with Jones” by Miguel Zenón, featuring Melissa Aldana as soloist; “Mr. Jones and Co.” by Ayn Inserto, featuring Sean Jones as soloist; “Fête dans la tête” by John Beasley; and “RPM’s” by Igmar Thomas. In addition to these commissions, among the album highlights include: “We’re Still Here” by—and featuring—trombonist and NYO Jazz faculty member Wycliffe Gordon, which has become the band’s rousing encore theme song; hence, the album’s title; “The Art of War” by Ralph Peterson; “Oyelo” by Miguel Zenón, featuring Melissa Aldana as soloist; “A Taste of Honey” by Duke Pearson; “Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool” by Duke Ellington, arranged by NYO Jazz ensemble coach Reginald Thomas; and “Transitions” by Sean Jones.

“You close your eyes and think they’re all 20 years older than they are,” said Sean Jones, who pays it forward through his passionate leadership of NYO Jazz, carrying on the tradition of mentorship in jazz.

The album—recorded during the ensemble’s summer 2021 training residency at Purchase College, SUNY, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—is a declaration of resilience and longevity. A summer that began with the disappointment of a year without touring evolved into the opportunity to create this 97-minute showcase of the incredible artistry and enormous versatility of this remarkable ensemble, a recording poised to reach audiences around the world just as the ensemble resumes touring in summer 2022.

“We’re thrilled for NYO Jazz to release its debut album this spring—the first recording by any of our national youth ensembles,” said Sarah Johnson, Chief Education Officer and Director of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for these gifted young players to train, perform, and now record alongside some of today’s leading jazz artists including special guest Melissa Aldana. It was especially meaningful for the musicians to gather for an extended residency last summer as it marked the first time many of them had the opportunity to come together to play in a full ensemble since the start of the pandemic. With We’re Still Here, we are proud to showcase the incredible depth of talent and high level of musicianship of these standout jazz musicians from across the country who will help ensure one of America’s quintessential art forms is preserved for generations to come.”

“The big band has always been America’s orchestral format and one of the most wide-ranging ensembles ever devised,” said Sean Jones, NYO Jazz’s Artistic Director, and Bandleader. “It can convey nearly any style of music in a sonically stimulating and interactive way. This recording exhibits that diversity by placing classics by Duke Ellington and Neil Hefti alongside pieces that utilize the big band as a vehicle for contemporary American music and represent a wide variety of genres.”

“Making this album was an absolute labor of love for the musicians, our incredible faculty and guest artists, and everyone involved,” said Joanna Massey, Director of Learning & Engagement Programs for Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, who has worked with the NYO Jazz program since its inception. “From their individual preparation prior to coming together as an ensemble, through long days of rehearsals and then recording sessions, the musicians were unwavering and inspiring in their dedication to producing something meaningful for the world to hear. It’s particularly special that by recording all of the original music written especially for NYO Jazz, the album also pays tribute to the outstanding musicians from previous NYO Jazz ensembles—who, like the players heard here, embodies the future of jazz.” ~DL Media

About NYO Jazz:

Each summer, NYO Jazz, led by artistic director Sean Jones, shines a spotlight on the depth of talent found among teen jazz players across the United States. The program offers talented young musicians, ages 16-19, the opportunity to perform as cultural ambassadors for their country, sharing a uniquely American musical genre with people around the world through an international tour. The members of NYO Jazz have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as being among the finest jazz musicians in the country, following a rigorous and highly competitive audition process. After its Carnegie Hall debut in 2018, the ensemble embarked on its first-ever international tour for performances with vocalist Dianne Reeves at prestigious concert halls and music festivals in London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Kassel, and Berlin. In summer 2019, NYO Jazz made its debut tour to Asia, joined by vocalist Kurt Elling, including performances in Taichung, Beijing, Shanghai, Zhuhai, and Hong Kong. As part of their travel schedule, NYO Jazz musicians also have opportunities to meet and collaborate with young local musicians and experience the richness of different cultures and music.

NYO Jazz builds on the success of the acclaimed National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) and its sister ensemble for younger musicians NYO2—programs created by Carnegie Hall in 2013 and 2016, respectively—to bring together the finest young classical musicians from across the country each summer for training, performances and international touring. Each of these prestigious national programs—free to all participants—is dedicated to the proposition that talented young musicians thrive when they have the opportunity to expand their musical, social, and cultural horizons and share their artistry with audiences around the globe. Since 2013, Carnegie Hall’s national youth ensembles have performed in 15 countries on four continents, including tours to China, South Korea, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Russia, and across Europe.

Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz · We’re Still Here
Release Date: June 24, 2022

For more information on NYO Jazz, please visit:

[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