What are you listening to?…bassist/composer & virtuoso Linda Oh’s cultural and musical identity soars with unexpected complexities on Initial Here

Fast or slow, this band devours its music. From drums, piano and bass comes a clean, hyper-alert precision, with extra fills and fractured funk and rhythms within rhythms. (Ms. Oh plays electric bass on a couple of tracks, not much different from how she plays acoustic, full of melodic improvising.)” ~ Ben Ratliff – NY Times

On her second album, Initial Here, Linda Oh draws deeply upon her rich cultural heritage and a broad range of inspirations to further define her musical autobiography. Born in Malaysia to Chinese parents and raised in Western Australia, Oh arrived in NY five years ago with a love of jazz, and adolescence spent playing electric bass in Aussie rock bands.

All of that experience surfaces on Initial Here, from the in-the-tradition ballad playing on “Mr. M” to her buoyant electric bass lines on “Deeper Than Happy.” ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Original Release Date: January 24, 2012

At your leisure, spin this “INITIAL HERE” by Linda Oh.

 

[NOTEWORTHY]: Dizzy Atmosphere, Dave Douglas’s tribute to the great trumpeter, composer, and humanist Dizzy Gillespie

When Dizzy Gillespie put his hat in the ring for President of the United States in 1964, he also offered to be the first African-American astronaut, just in case they couldn’t find anyone else. In making Dizzy Atmosphere, Dave Douglas’s tribute to the great trumpeter, composer, and humanist, Douglas said he wanted to explore Dizzy’s experimental and wide-open mind as well as the influence of his music. This album shines a light on the whole legacy of Gillespie, one of America’s finest artists. The original music Douglas wrote swings and shimmers with a grace reminiscent of the great man.

Dizzy Atmosphere also contains several imaginative arrangements of Gillespie compositions, including reinterpretations of two key Gillespie tunes ‘Manteca‘ and ‘Pickin’ the Cabbage.’ Douglas’s band is also remarkable, featuring fellow trumpeter Dave Adewumi, recent winner of the Carmine Caruso Competition, along with pianist Fabian Almazan, guitarist Matt Stevens, bassist Carmen Rothwell, and drummer Joey Baron. Like his previous explorations of the influential music of Mary Lou Williams, Wayne Shorter, and Booker Little, this album is sure to inspire listeners to hear the music of Dizzy Gillespie in new and interesting ways. ~Editorial Review | Amazon

Original Release Date:  March 17, 2020

Listen to this amazing tribute “DIZZY ATMOSPHERE” by Dave Douglas

Saxophonist and composer Kazemde George soars to powerfully melodic heights on his debut release featuring a quintet of emerging artists performing his original music.

I Insist’ will be released on October 22, 2021.

Making his auspicious debut as a leader, Brooklyn-based tenor saxophonist, composer, and educator Kazemde George is proud to present I Insist, a vibrant collection of original music with a stellar band featuring Sami Stevens (vocals), Isaac Wilson (Wurlitzer, piano), Tyrone Allen II (bass) and Adam Arruda (drums).

Both in his fluid improvised solo flights and his expressive writing, George exhibits a gift for streamlined, emotionally direct melodies, articulated with a warm tone and a certain guiding restraint. The title I Insist, however, is meant to be assertive. It is at once a shout-out to Max Roach’s landmark 1960 protest album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, and a statement of George’s own determined disposition, not to mention an acknowledgment of our turbulent times and the role of artists in building awareness. The music is unapologetically swinging and fully engaged, whether simmering on a low flame or reaching climactic heights of intensity.

I’m Black, I’m studying African American music, and I didn’t make these choices randomly,” says George, who has also released an inspired series of electronic beat tapes under the moniker KG, B. “Music tells a story, and people carry their culture with them. I learn about these things intentionally and create an amalgam of these stories, these histories. To me, building that within myself is all part of the same struggle, spreading the message. Alluding to the sentiment of We Insist! is important to me at this time in history, and it’s in the background of my music, even if the point’s not being made explicitly.

Raised in Berkeley, California by Caribbean immigrant parents (his mother is Jamaican, his father from Guyana), George completed a Harvard/New England Conservatory (NEC) joint program in 2014, receiving a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology and a master’s degree in jazz composition. In 2012 he received Harvard’s George Peabody Gardener Fellowship to study music and Afro-Cuban percussion in Havana, Cuba for nearly a year. Through this exposure to Cuban music and culture, George clarified his interest in the music of the African diaspora, becoming fluent in Spanish along the way. “Music from Haiti, Brazil, Cuba, Panama, West Africa, the American South,” he says, “all these places where Black people have been — it is the story of everything in the Americas. The process of getting to where we are now involved a lot of people being moved around. That story is really interesting to me.

George’s original music reflects that worldly perspective. Composed wholly at the piano (his first instrument), his pieces all eventually undergo what he calls “the gig test,” where they take shape in front of an audience and undergo change simply by virtue of being played by a variety of musicians. “All the songs on I Insist are songs that have been on the road with me,George says. The recording took place at the right time, after an intense week-long run of shows in the SF bay area.

Vocalist Sami Stevens (George’s fiancée) brings a bright and versatile dimension to the sound, singing original lyrics on the laid-back and melodic 5/4 gem “Skylight” and the somewhat sorrowful downtempo groover “Happy Birthday.” She also executes well-crafted unisons and harmonies with George’s tenor on “Things Line Up,” “Haiti” and “Balance.” Isaac Wilson plays the acoustic piano brilliantly on “Skylight,” “Understanding” and the burning uptempo tracks “Balance” and “This Spring,” but Wurlitzer electric piano on everything else — a conscious choice on George’s part. That slightly worn, elusively dissonant sound “really gives me the feeling of playing a live gig,” George says, alluding to many a night of exploration in small piano-less Brooklyn clubs. Transferring that energy to the studio was key, and it worked.

The rhythm section, too, was crucial. Bassist Tyrone Allen II, from DC, is a recent New York arrival and a member of George’s new tenor-bass-drums trio, with a release of its own in the offing. Drummer Adam Arruda, from Toronto, swings with deep commitment and supple grace and shows stylistic range on the funkier “Happy Birthday” and the Cuban changüí-inspired groove of “Understanding.” (Wilson’s accompaniment is unfaltering, hitting the upbeats animatedly for the full length of the tune.) “Haiti,” originally a looped electronic beat from George’s KG,B Soundcloud, translates naturally to the full-band setting thanks to the group’s sensitivity and sophistication.

George is keen to make more diasporic connections as his journey unfolds. Haitian Creole and Portuguese are on his to-learn list as well. In establishing his own creative voice within African American music, George seeks to help elevate communities of underprivileged youth through musical and cultural education. His goal is travel and immersion in communities heavily influenced by African musical traditions in order to study, teach and perform. I Insist is a formidable step toward realizing that dream.

In addition to work with his own projects, Kazemde George has performed with Solange Knowles and Saint Heron, David Murray, Roman Filiu, and Jason Moran, at venues and festivals such as Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Irving Plaza, Yoshi’s, Black Cat, Cafe Stritch, the David Rubinstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, Panama Jazz Festival, Made in America Festival, AFROPUNK and Panorama NYC Music Festival.

Track Details

1. Things Line Up
2. Coasts
3. Balance
4. Skylight
5. Haiti
6. I Insist
7. Happy Birthday
8. Parkside
9. This Spring
10. Understanding

Total time: 67:46

Personnel

Kazemde George, tenor saxophone
Sami Stevens, vocals
Isaac Wilson, Wurlitzer, and piano
Tyrone Allen II, acoustic bass
Adam Arruda, drums

~GreenleafMusic

Listen to the first single from the David Sanford Big Band

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

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

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

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

 

Just in Case you missed it… “ANNIVERSARY” the debut album on Greenleaf Music by Japanesee vocalist Emi Makabe

Emi Makabe, ANNIVERSARY (RELEASED: October 30, 2020)

The intimate, alluring art of singer-composer and instrumentalist Emi Makabe is utterly individual, even as it resonates with inspirations ranging from Joni Mitchell and Theo Bleckmann to Japanese folk music and jazz improvisation. Born and raised in Japan but a decade-plus resident of New York, Makabe studied with the likes of Bleckmann, Jen Shyu, and Judith Berkson, and she has become a presence on the city’s creative music scene, performing at the 55 Bar, Rockwood Music Hall, Shapeshifter Lab, St. Peter’s Church, and the bygone Cornelia Street Café. She has also ventured to Europe, singing and playing her Japanese shamisen (a banjo-like instrument) in a duo with her husband, bassist Thomas Morgan, at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Now, she presents her debut album: Anniversary, to be released via Greenleaf Music on October 30, 2020Anniversary features Emi on vocals and shamisen alongside a trio of New York jazz virtuosos: Morgan on bass, Vitor Gonçalves on piano/accordion, and Kenny Wollesen on drums/vibraphone. The album presents Emi’s original songs – sung in English, Japanese and wordless vocalese – in airy, artful arrangements, with improvisation naturally part of the mix. Time Out New York has praised Emi’s music as imaginative,” while New York Music Daily calls it rapturous, adventurous.”

Anniversary has a subtly evocative yet unmistakably emotional undertow, one informed by romantic partnership as well as the new friends and missed family of the immigrant experience. “The title Anniversary has two meanings,” Emi explains. “I wrote the title song for my partner, Thomas, on our anniversary day, and it became a significant song for me. The album was also recorded just after the 10th anniversary of my move to New York from Japan, and its music was made in the context of my experience here with the musicians and people who support and inspire me. With deep appreciation, I dedicate this album to my parents and all of my family, friends and mentors.

Emi grew up singing and playing multiple instruments, learning the Japanese folk styles of nagauta and minyo from her mother. The young musician was also drawn to The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. A revelation upon moving to New York was the jazz individualism of Betty Carter, “who opened up my mind to the possibilities of improvisation,” she says. In addition to the influence of Bleckmann’s lithe vocalism, Emi was also inspired by the vocalese of Meredith Monk and, later, Armenian-American singer Areni Agbabian. “I like using my voice as an instrument,” Emi says. “The melodies and syllables of Japanese folk music come out naturally, even subconsciously in my music.” ~Fully Altered Media

At your leisure, checkout ANNIVERARY featuring the imaginative vocalese of Emi Makabe

Now on Vinyl: Singer Mariza, Sings Amália

Portuguese singer Mariza’s new album, Mariza Sings Amália, is now on vinyl. The album celebrates the 20th anniversary of Mariza’s career and the centenary of the late Queen of Fado, Amália Rodrigues. Though Mariza has sung pieces from Amália’s repertoire since the start of her career, this is the first complete album pairing the work of the late, great voice of 20th-century popular song and the singer who helped bring fado into the 21st century.

Mariza, Sings Amália

This is the best way I can find to pay my tribute to Amália,” says Mariza, “and to thank her for the legacy and inspiration she gave us.

MARIZA – Lágrima [Official Music Video]

Original Release Date: November 20, 2020

SOURCE: Greenleaf Music

Versatile vocalist/guitarist Camila Meza from ‘Overcome,’ …is the Artist Feature on Greenleaf Music Interview

Vocalist/guitarist Camila Meza originates from Chile, where she began a flourishing career before moving to New York City at the age of 23. She studied with Peter Bernstein and Steve Cardenas at The New School, and since graduating, she has developed a unique vision as a vocalist and guitarist. She has performed internationally with artists including Sachal Vasandani, Fabian Almazan, Ryan Keberle, Tom Harrell, and Paquito D’Rivera.

Camila Meza, Vocalist, guitarist, composer, and bandleader

As a bandleader, Meza has recorded a number of albums, including Skylark (2007)Retrato (2009), Prisma (2013), and Traces (2016). Her latest recording, Ámbar (2019) on Sony Masterworks features The Nectar Orchestra, an eight-piece ensemble that includes a string quartet, featuring her compositions and an earthy, acoustic sound. ~Greenleaf Music

Check out the brief Interview with Camila.

Listen to her interpretation of the sensuous classic “Love Dance” released by Brazilian vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Ivan Lins appears on her album 2009 recording Retrato.

Overcome Listening Release Party

A quick note about a cool gathering Monday, May 10th at 6:00pm EST.

Everybody on Overcome is coming together to listen and discuss live. Thanks to The Jazz Gallery in Manhattan for hosting us! Camila Meza, Fay Victor, Jorge Roeder, Ryan Keberle, and Rudy Royston will all join myself and Rio Sakairi of The Jazz Gallery to listen and chat. Details here.

Listening Release Party

Mark the last days of our Bandcamp campaign to put Overcome on vinyl. We’re very close to meeting our goal. Check it out here.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, consider “A NOISE FROM THE DEEP” with Dave Douglas on Greenleaf Music.

Dave is super honored and thrilled to sit down with amazing vibraphonist and composer/bandleader Joel Ross to talk mostly about music, but also about banging on things, Chicago, “harmonic spaces” and much more. Joel’s most recent Blue Note release is Who Are You?

Dave Douglas and vibraphonist/composer Joel Ross

Trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas leads monthly conversations with significant jazz artists on music, composition, improvisation, and concerts. Guests include Henry Threadgill, John Zorn, Carla Bley, and Andrew Cyrille, among many others.

“A podcast of careful conversations with creative improvisers.” – PopMatters

If you haven’t heard vibraphonist Joel Ross’ latest album WHO ARE YOU? Be sure and check it out below.

Visionary new music by Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas’ “OTHER WORLDS” Released, today May 7, 2021

Other Worlds, the new studio album from saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas’s Sound Prints quintet was recorded following a week at New York’s Village Vanguard in January 2020. Their third full-length release, this further nod to jazz visionary Wayne Shorter features boisterous and playful originals as well as a couple of beautiful ballads. The rhythm section features the powerful multi-generational lineup of pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda May Han Oh, and drummer Joey Baron, who continue to provide a fluid and firm footing for the two horn players. The album artwork features a unique illustrated cover by cartoonist Dave Chisholm. ~Amazon

TRACK LISTING:

1. Space Exploration 2. Shooting Stars 3. Life On Earth 4. Manitou 5. Antiquity to Outer Space 6. The Flight 7. The Transcendentalists 8. Sky Miles 9. Pythagoras 10. Midnight March

Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas Sound Prints, OTHER WORLDS

Listen here …