Thursday, May 10, 2018

Jeff "Tain" Watts live in NY, tomorrow night

Tomorrow only: catch master drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts @ Zinc Jazz Club, NYC.
Featuring Benito Gonzalez (piano), Noam Wiesenberg (bass), Gregoire Maret (harmonica).
Book your tickets now!
$25 advance / $30 day of show

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mike Longo/Paul West @ Mezzrow, NY, May 24

If you missed them at Maureen's Jazz Cellar in April, you can hear them again for one night only at MEZZRO!

Mike Longo, Piano / Paul West, Bass
Thursday, May 24
Mezzrow Jazz Listening Room
163 West 10th Street-Basement, NYC

$20 music charge; $10 for students. 
Two shows at 8:00 and 9:30 pm.
Call 646-476-4346 for Reservations & Information

Or go to the website:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Revive Music Presents "Yes Today", debut album from Freelance out May 11

REVIVE Music is thrilled to announce the May 11th release of Yes Today, the debut album from Harlem-based music collective Freelance. The first release under REVIVE Music's independent label division, Yes Today is a genre-defying 13 track opus that serves as a spiritual reflection on the struggles faced by people of color in modern America. Distilled from Freelance's signature, dynamic live performances Yes Today is a lush, groove-dominant clinic in the power of seizing the moment and saying "Yes Today!"

Yes Today was previewed yesterday, at Nublu, located in New York's Lower East Side, as part of Freelance's monthly residency, which has been playing to sold-out rooms throughout the city for the past several months. On May 10, the group will return to Nublu to celebrate Yes Today's official release.

Freelance features an all-star lineup of musicians that regularly accompany Grammy Award winning artists such as Robert Glasper, Solange, Estelle, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Bilal, Terrace Martin, Lalah Hathaway, and more. Comprised of founding leaders Smithsoneon (vocals) and Ausar the Ambassador (keyboards) along with Craig Hill (saxophone), Yasser Tejeda (guitar) and David "Dj" Ginyard (bass) and Justin Tyson (drums), Freelance's sound is born from the sonic footprints of Mint Condition, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, and Robert Glasper.

Also featured on a number of tracks is harpist Brandee Younger, organist Mitch Henry and acclaimed trumpeter (and band mentor) Darren Barrett who is highlighted on "Band Plays On", among others. The album was mixed by world-class producer and drummer Charles Haynes aka Chally Mikes.

Yes Today is a collection of songs that speak to the evolution of Freelance and their myriad influences. The genre-defying collective lend their ideals and polychromatic musical aesthetic to the tasks of speaking truth to power, pushing the envelope with forward production and capturing the energy of their live shows on record. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign and revenue generated by the band, Yes Today found Freelance returning to their undergraduate stomping ground to record at the Herd Studio in Boston.

Their first full album of original music, the wide-ranging project is a demonstration of the band's versatility that combines feather light arpeggios, booming percussive statements and triumphant fanfares with ease. Yes Today is their multifaceted contribution to the trap and pop dominant lexicon of millennial black music. With it they challenge the popular narrative and travels leagues toward realizing their goal of making people "fall in love with the idea of a band again."

The energy of Yes Today is perhaps best exemplified in the album's lead single, "Band Plays On". Premiered on March 30th via, "Band Plays On" pulls music cues from Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" while speaking to the feeling we all experience when our favorite song magically alleviates the worries of everyday life. On the infectious single, which was mixed by Grammy-award winning engineer Ben Kane, each member of Freelance is highlighted; Smithsoneon's powerful vocals and Ginyard's carefully placed bass fills and provide an anchor while Ausar the Ambassador's synth patches add lush textures.

Tejeda's steady guitar work and Tyson's distinctive drum groove compliment the EWF-esque gorns led by Hill. Other standout tracks include the post-punk empowerment anthem "Why Wait", which channels a J Dilla join and Michael Jackson's "They Don't Really Care About Us", and the album's eighth offering "What We Fear", which is Freelance's response to extrajudicial violence.

The release of Yes Today marks REVIVE Music's launch of its independent label division. "...To launch this venture with such brilliant musicians and songwriters is exactly the path to take the REVIVE Music Group to places unimagined.  We are so proud to be a part of bringing this great project to the world via our platforms." says industry veteran and EVP of REVIVE Music Guy Routte.

To date, REVIVE has released three albums under its imprint with Blue Note Records which has featured an astonishing array of featured artists which include Otis Brown III, Bilal, Gretchen Parleto, Derrick Hodge, Marcus Strickland, Meshell N'Degeocello, Keyon Harrold, Brandee Younger, Casey Benjamin, Raymond Angry, Justin Brown and many more. Their 2015 RCA Nina Simone Revisited partnered release produced by Robert Glasper featured artists Lauryn Hill, Usher, Mary J Blige, Gregory Porter, Common, Alice Smith, and more.

Freelance · Yes Today REVIVE Music · Release Date: May 11, 2018
Pre Order the Album:
Listen to "Band Plays On" Single:
FB/Twitter/Instagram: @followfreelance

About REVIVE Music Group

Revive Music launched in 2006 as a boutique live music agency that specializes in producing genre-bending, creative-concept live music shows that tour worldwide with the purpose of educating and inspiring audiences about artistic and authentic forms of music. In effort further provide an advocacy platform for musicians, Revive launched the leading online journal for the burgeoning jazz community dedicated to their musicianship, artistry and creative expression as a part of in 2010 and in 2013 launched their label imprint on Blue Note Records, signing some of today's most gifted and progressive jazz artists.

For additional media information, please visit, or contact:
Meghan Stabile
Guy Routte ·
Hannah Beaumont ·

Itai Kriss and Telavana have completed a new album

Israeli flutist and composer Itai Kriss is proud to announce the July 7th release of his highly anticipated sophomore album "Telavana." Presenting the dynamic sound of his eponymously-named esteemed ensemble, Kriss bridges the musical spheres of the Middle East and the Caribbean by combining Timba, Soul, North African music and Jazz to create a unique and lively mix of rhythms and textures. Rather than simply combining and unifying the elements of Tel Aviv and Havana, Telavana explores the myriad of connections that have historically connected the east and the west, and the beautiful artistic and cultural fruits of this continuing cross-pollination.

Itai Kriss will celebrate the release of Telavana at Smalls Jazz Club, located at 183 W 10th St, New York on Saturday, July 7th.

"Telavana is really a synthesis of my own musical identity, as it is a manifestation of my different cultural roots. As a Jazz musician born and raised in Israel, and coming of age in the Latin music scene in New York City, it feels natural to express where I came from, what I've been doing and the things I'm inspired by in a single band, and this is it," he says.

The flutist, praised by Jazzwax as "one of the most exciting new flutist-composers" on the scene grew up in Israel and was exposed to its many musical traditions ranging from Morocco to the Balkans, Yemen to Turkey, Egypt to Russia. Upon pursuing his childhood dream of moving to New York City to study jazz, Kriss was naturally drawn to the enticing sounds of salsa, Afro-Cuban music and Latin jazz and was "adopted" by Puerto-Rican and Cuban musicians who became important mentors. Now, after spending the past fifteen years working at the forefront of New York City's Jazz scene while performing, recording and touring with some of the world's top Afro-Cuban, Latin and salsa artists, the virtuoso fuses the sounds of his native Israel with those of his adopted homelands in the Americas to bring you Telavana.

Stand out tracks from the album include "Sahadi's Serenade", a dedication to Kriss' favorite Middle Eastern grocery in Brooklyn and "Shabazi", a festive tune titled for one of his beloved neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, which is notably featured in a music video starring dancer Elena Nayiri. While "Para Venezuela" combines elements of Merengue Venezolano (traditional Venezuelan folk music) with classical, jazz and Cuban elements, "Azules", literally translating to 'blues', is a Spanish/flamenco inspired composition with a form that's based on the blues and melodies drawn from the Andalusian traditions of southern Spain. "Rak Beinatayim", an arrangement Kriss created to a song by prolific Israeli songwriter Nurit Hirsh in the style of a Cuban danzón,  is the only song on the album not composed by the band leader.

Telavana is presented by a group that aptly mirrors the serene amalgamation of these diverse musical cultures. Representing the sounds of the East is Israeli bassist Or Bareket, Jerusalem-born drummer Dan Aran and special guest qanun player and Turkish-native Tamer Pinarbasi. Kriss completes this multi-regional line-up with Puerto Rican percussionist Marcos López, Cuban pianist César Orozco, New York jazz trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, and world renowned multi-instrumentalist and Cuban-native Yosvany Terry (who on this occasion lends his talents on shekere).

Each of these accomplished musicians bring their own individual, distinct cultural backgrounds and flair to this nine track opus. Kriss is thrilled to have these particular musicians bring his vision to life as each of them truly bring the flavours from their own lands to his music. Although each member of the band hails from various corners of the world, this ensemble showcases the ease of communicating through and with music.

For Kriss, this music evokes the feeling of being in a world that isn't actually so big as people think. While geographically the Middle East and the Caribbean are distant, the people of both lands channel a range of musical similarities with each other. Undoubtedly, both regions share a strong and congruent passion for rhythm and music and Kriss hopes that his listeners immediately hear this connection on Telavana.

Itai Kriss commands a variety of musical genres with an eclectic style infused with Jazz, Latin and Middle Eastern sounds. According to DownBeat magazine, there is a "tangy, exotic flavor" to the New York musician's style, which can be heard on his first album, The Shark. Growing up in Tel Aviv, Kriss was surrounded by a range of musical and cultural stylings; From Moroccan to Balkan, Yemeni to Turkish. Beginning his jazz education at Thelma Yellin High School for the Arts, Israel, Kriss moved to New York to continue his jazz journey at the age of 22.

While jazz was what primarily lured Kriss to the city, the accomplished musician found himself particularly exposed to the music of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Latin America. Playing with Salsa and Cuban groups, he naturally developed his knowledge of the sounds and stylings of the Caribbean. With so many musical styles and traditions in his ear, Kriss never had to make a conscious effort to blend each of his influences, but rather does so fluently and intuitively.

During his time in NYC, Kriss has had the fortune to be a part of several bands with long-running weekly dance parties where the sound of the band would be honed and deepened by weekly interactions with dancers who became regular patrons. The dance aspect is very important to Kriss because all Latin and Caribbean music is essentially dance music and it always has a strong pulse which is like its heartbeat.

Kriss is a vital member of the New York Jazz, Latin Jazz and Salsa music scenes. He can be heard performing, touring and recording with his own ensembles and some of the most exciting Jazz and Latin musicians in town, including Los Hacheros, Dafnis Prieto, Elio Villafranca, Edmar Castañeda, Jorge Glem, Yemen Blues, Gregory Hutchinson, Burning Spear, Pedrito Martinez, Jerry Gonzalez, Omer Avital, Yosvany Terry, Avishai Cohen, Eric McPherson and Aaron Goldberg, to name a few. When not touring, Kriss performs regularly at premiere New York music venues including The Blue Note, Birdland, S.O.B.'s, Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Copacabana.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein & Bill Stewart's "Toy Tunes" comes out today

"Toy Tunes" - the new trio album from organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart - is out today via Pirouet Records.

Goldings, Bernstein and Stewart possess a special place within the rich history of organ trios; with their adventurous eclecticism, they progress beyond the bop-influenced soul jazz of the likes of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and Shirley Scott and into their own singular musical realm. "Toy Tunes" marks the trio's twelfth album since their first release in 1991, and their second recording with the German label Pirouet.

Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart possess a special place within the rich history of organ trios; with their adventurous eclecticism, they progress beyond the bop-influenced soul jazz of the likes of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and Shirley Scott and into their own singular musical realm. Larry Goldings has collaborated with the "who's who" of soul, pop and jazz, from Maceo Parker, Tracy Chapman, and James Taylor to Jim Hall, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, and Charlie Haden, and is in demand as a composer for film and TV. Peter Bernstein has been called "the most universally respected and admired jazz guitarist of his generation", and his work with such greats as Sonny Rollins, Jim Hall, Joshua Redman, and Brad Mehldau backs up the claim. Known for his melodicism and polyrhythmic complexity, drummer Bill Stewart has played with Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, and, like Goldings, Maceo Parker, and has had a long-time collaboration with John Scofield. All three are recognized composers.
The press greeted their first Pirouet CD, 2014's "Ramshackle Serenade," with "It doesn't get much better than this" (All About Jazz), and "Another memorable outing from one of current jazz's finest small groups" (JazzTimes). Goldings states that, "Our approach has never been dictated by the 'organ trio' format but rather by our individual personalities, our broad range of musical interests, our desire to be highly interactive, and to grow together as musicians."

Goldings' relaxed, lyrical "Fagen" was named for Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, whose records "introduced me to a whole new world of harmony and song structure."  Larry comments that Stewart's "Don't Ever Call Me Again" possesses "Bill's unmistakable combination of craftiness and wit." The piece sports a funky fusion feel, and the three keep the communication going as they converse with Stewart's talkative drums. Bernstein wrote the dreamy "Lullaby For B" for his oldest son. Goldings says it "unravels like a novella, and, due to its rich harmonies and unexpected structure, is a joy to play."

The standard "I'm In The Mood For Love" is a variation on the arrangement Goldings wrote almost 25 years ago for the great Jim Hall.  "The three of us knew and loved Jim, and he inevitably pops into our consciousness when we play this." Goldings calls "And Now the Queen," by genius composer & arranger Carla Bley, "a gem of a composition. I still can't fathom how she can say so much in four bars. Carla's pieces invite the interpreter to dive right in and explore. She gave us her own handwritten chart from which to work!"

As for "Toy Tune," Goldings says that improvising on Wayne Shorter's pieces "is akin to playing with a Rubik's Cube." The trio takes a slightly more relaxed stance than Shorter's original version, playing delightful games over the changes, with Stewart wailing over the fading riff at the end. Bernstein's Calm is a beautiful mood piece with a serene church-like quality, and with Maybe, Goldings recounts that, "When I was in elementary school my mom took me on a train from Boston to New York to see my first Broadway musical, Annie. Charles Strouse wrote the music, and his song "Maybe" has always stuck with me. With its timeless melody and shifting key centers, it seemed like a natural fit for us to interpret." Depth, lyricism, complexity - it's all here, as three of the strongest musical personalities of their generation, join hands to play music that is pure joy.

Brian Charette & George Coleman live in NY

Catch pianist/organist Brian Charette with NEA Jazz Master George Coleman at Blue Note May 21. Book your tickets today!

$25 table / $15 bar
2 sets: 8pm & 10:30pm

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Jeff Denson's "Outside My Window" to be released tomorrow

Bassist/vocalist Jeff Denson's "Outside My Window" will be released tomorrow on his label Ridgeway Records.  The album features four original compositions and songs by Jeff Buckley, Peter Gabriel, Abbey Lincoln, and Chris Cornell.

Possessing a galvanizing sound and a lyrically-charged compositional vision, Denson has earned recognition over the past 15 years as one of his generation's definitive bassists. "Outside My Window" recalibrates his already expansive array of creative outlets by giving equal weight to his vocals. Working with a stellar international quartet - with saxophonist Dayna Stephens, Finnish pianist/keyboardist Kari Ikonen, and Israeli drummer/percussionist Ronen Itzik - Denson delivers an emotionally taut program weaving together striking interpretations of iconic songs and deeply felt originals.

Forthcoming concerts:

- May 24 - The Sound Room, Oakland, CA 
- May 25 & 26- Moody's Bistro, Bar & Beats, Truckee, CA 
- May 27 - 30 - Black Cat, San Francisco, CA 
- May 31 - SoHo Restaurant & Music Club, Santa Barbara, CA 
- June 1 - Dizzy's, San Diego, CA 
- June 2 - Alvas Showroom, Los Angeles/San Pedro, CA 
- June 3 - D'Anbino Vineyards & Cellars, Paso Robles, CA 
- August 11 San Jose Jazz Festival, San Jose, CA 
- September 7 & 8 - The Velvet Note, Atlanta, GA 
- October 12 - Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC 
- October 13 - An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD 
- October 26 - California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley, CA 
- October 27 - North Coast Brewery, Fort Bragg, CA

At first glance bassist Jeff Denson appears to reinvent himself on every album, and his 12th release as leader or co-leader, "Outside My Window," might seem like his biggest departure yet.

His mid-career emergence as a supple and engaging singer isn't coming from left field. On 2012's critically hailed "Secret World," his first release under his own name, Denson included vocals on two original pieces and has continued in that fashion on most of his solo releases. On last year's Sgt. Pepper tribute "May I Introduce to You" with the collective San Francisco String Trio, his vocal interpretation of "Fixing a Hole" was one of the album's highlights. Denson's music covers a lot of stylistic territory, "but my voice is a thread running through each one, whether I'm singing or not," he says. "I was a singer before I was a bass player. Going into the jazz world I put my voice away for a long time. But this is a logical step for me, in that I'm using my voice more and more every year. This is the first time I'm singing throughout an entire album, and these songs are a direct continuation of the music I've been writing and arranging."

Denson's arrangements of four songs by other artists don't reimagine the pieces as much as filter them through his subtle sonic palette, starting with a gorgeous, lapidary version of "Grace," a piece inspired by the Negative Press Project album he produced last year for Ridgeway Records, Eternal Life: Jeff Buckley Songs and Sounds. He delivers a sparse, intensely poignant rendition of Abbey Lincoln's "Bird Alone," a re-harmonized 6/8 version of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and a riveting arrangement of "Fell On Black Days" by Chris Cornell, a piece that serves as a tribute to Soundgarden's vocalist, who's music served a high school soundtrack for Denson.

"In my mind, he's arguably the best voice of that rock/grunge generation," Denson says. "I wanted to pay tribute to him and his artistry. And Abbey is one of my favorite jazz vocalists. I've always loved the way she sings, how she pulls on the time like Billie Holiday. She sings with such a full, intense, large sound, and this song of hers always moved me. I wanted to see what I could do with it."

Denson's four original pieces stand up impressively next to his interpretations, from the Beatlesque optimism of "For A Brand New Day" to the clangy prepared-piano accompaniment of the anguished "Have We Really Gone This Far?" On a melancholic piece that feels like it beamed in from a universe neighboring Miles Davis' "In a Silent Way," Denson contributes an atmospheric wordless vocal on "Through the Mist," a tune he's radically rearranged since the collective trio Minsarah introduced it in 2006. The closing title track is a wistful invitation into Denson's verdant musical world. 

The album is built on some of his deepest musical relationships. Denson and Dayna Stephens met at Berklee and have played together in various contexts ever since. Israeli-born drummer Ronen Itzik is also a Berklee alum, and he and Denson bonded as part of the rhythm section for Joe Lovano's 21st Century Ensemble. They went on to get graduate degrees at Florida State University, where they played together daily and recorded three albums in two years with pianist Bill Peterson and one with vocalist Inga Swearingen. Kari Ikonen, one of Finland's most highly regarded jazz musicians, is a much more recent addition to Denson's musical world, but he's quickly become indispensable. In need of a pianist for a tour with legendary alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, he hired Ikonen and "it was joyously apparent to me that along with Ronen, this was my trio. It felt easy and inspiring and the next few tours I did with Lee Konitz were with them."

Konitz played a crucial role in encouraging the reemergence of Denson's vocals after hearing his singing on Secret World. Performing together at the Bimhaus in Amsterdam, the altoist made an impromptu announcement in the middle of a standard that "Jeff is going to sing," he recalls. "There wasn't even a microphone set up, but I started singing the melody. I booked a West Coast tour with him after that and we'd spontaneously sing together every night. It felt great, playing the standard jazz repertoire and being able to sing on stage with him. But at the same time, I knew that I wanted to do my own music and sing the way I sing, without having to filter anything."
Born on Dec. 20, 1976 in Arlington, Virginia, Denson grew up in the orbit of Washington, DC. After playing alto sax from third grade through junior high, he gave up the horn but was drawn back to music when friends in high school recruited him as a singer for rock bands. When one of those groups also needed a bass player, he took over the spot and before long found himself drawn to the jazz and funk electric bass pantheon, "Players like Jaco, Bootsy Collins, and Stanley Clarke served as the gateway," Denson recalls. "When I heard the virtuosic electric playing in fusion, that opened the door to jazz." Listening to Miles Davis led him to the double bass, but it was Mingus who inspired him to dedicate himself to it. "I heard 'Haitian Fight Song' where he plays that amazing intro, and that was the defining moment," Denson says. "I knew I'd never be able to make sounds like that on an electric bass."

While studying at Northern Virginia Community College Denson supported himself freelancing around DC, playing jazz, orchestral music, rock covers, and leading his own funk combo as a bassist and vocalist. Earning a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, he quickly fell in with German pianist Florian Weber and Israeli drummer Ziv Ravitz, fellow students with whom he formed Minsarah. The collective trio released its debut album in 2003 on Hubermusic, and followed up in 2006 with a critically hailed eponymous album on Enja Records. Despite touring internationally with the group Denson managed to maintain a rigorous academic career.

Recruited by Florida State University, he graduated Magna Cum Laude an MM in Jazz Studies on a full scholarship and discovered an affinity for teaching. A conversation with bass giant Mark Dresser, who had just been hired as a professor at UC San Diego, brought Denson to UCSD on another full scholarship, leading to a doctorate in contemporary music performance with an emphasis in composition. Throughout his San Diego sojourn, Denson continued to tour widely with Minsarah, and it was during a spate of 2006 concerts in Germany that Lee Konitz first heard the band, "the start of a great adventure," Denson says.

With Minsarah serving as his band, the critically hailed Lee Konitz New Quartet debuted on 2007's "Deep Lee" and followed up with 2009's "Lee Konitz New Quartet: Live at the Village Vanguard," Jazzman Magazine's 2010 Album of the Year Award, and 2014's "Standards Live: At the Village Vanguard" (all on Enja). Denson made his debut as a bandleader with 2012's "Secret World," and went on to demonstrate his versatility with simultaneous duo releases, radically reconceiving American hymns and spirituals with San Diego pianist Joshua White on "I'll Fly Away" and exploring freely improvised dialogues with Swiss clarinet virtuoso Claudio Puntin on "Two."

Since relocating to the East Bay in 2011 to take on a full professorship at the California Jazz Conservatory, Denson has forged ties with some of the Bay Area's top players, including bassoonist Paul Hanson, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, guitarist Mimi Fox and violinist Mads Tolling (his partners in the San Francisco String Trio). A prolific composer and arranger, he's written music for an array of jazz settings, as well as for string ensembles, solo bass, and chamber opera.

He's brought his many pursuits under one umbrella with the recent unveiling of Ridgeway Arts, a non-profit designed to enhance and fortify the Bay Area scene, and to make a strong contribution to the national landscape of jazz and the arts in general, through a four-pronged plan of expression, education, presenting and documentation. He introduced the initiative with The Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz, and followed up with Arctic by drummer Alan Hall's critically hailed electro-acoustic ensemble, Ratatet. The label has become an essential conduit to an international cast of musicians, and the portal to Denson's multifarious musical imagination.

"Artists are always dreaming up what we're doing," he says. "My goal has always been very clearly to create my own musical world."

Yoko Miwa performs @ Atlanta Jazz Fest, May 26

© Caroline Alden

Pianist Yoko Miwa and her trio celebrate recent CD Pathways with a concert at the Atlanta Jazz Festival on Saturday, May 26. Pathways earning wide critical acclaim CD in Top 10 of JazzWeek's national radio charts for 4 weeks; in top 40 for 10+ weeks!

"Impressive technique and a tuneful lyricism that combines an Oscar Peterson-ish hard swing with Bill Evans-like introspection." - Jon Garelick, DownBeat, September 2017 feature article

"Pathways is bright and accessible...Miwa's technical chops are evident, yet she's anything but showy; she prizes space in her sound, and leaves room for the deep interplay her group has honed over the years." - Jeremy Goodwin, Boston Globe

4 stars "This is Yoko Miwa at her extroverted best...her finest recording to date." - Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Internationally acclaimed pianist Yoko Miwa and her trio continue to celebrate their recent recording Pathways with a concert on Saturday, May 26, 1 p.m. at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Legends Stage, Piedmont Park, Atlanta. Admission is free. Joining Miwa will be bassist Will Slater and drummer Scott Goulding. Saturday's lineup is particularly special, featuring exclusively groups led by women. Other scheduled artists include Dianne Reeves, Jazzmeia Horn, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Linda May Han Oh. For information visit

Miwa is quickly becoming known as one of the most powerful and compelling performers on the scene today. Her trio - with its remarkable telepathy and infectious energy - has brought audiences to their feet worldwide.

For the past decade the Kobe, Japan native has honed one of the most musical and lyrical trio sounds around. Miwa's band, which has been heralded for their almost telepathic interplay, performs regularly at major jazz clubs worldwide including New York City's Blue Note Jazz Club and Jazz at Lincoln Center where Miwa was chosen to play on "Marian McPartland & Friends" as part of the Coca Cola Generations in Jazz Festival.

She has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of jazz greats including Sheila Jordan, Slide Hampton, Arturo Sandoval, George Garzone, Jon Faddis, Jerry Bergonzi, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kevin Mahogany, John Lockwood and Johnathan Blake among others.  A Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll winner, Miwa is on faculty at Berklee College of Music and earned two 2017 nominations in the Boston Music Awards: Best Jazz Artist and Best International Artist.

This concert celebrates the success of Miwa's 2017 recording Pathways - her seventh as a leader -which spent 4 weeks on the Jazz Week top 10 radio charts and is earning wide critical acclaim. Since first appearing on Jazz Week charts in June, Pathways was in the top 10 for four weeks running and has consistently remained in the Top 40, peaking at #6. Miwa was the subject of a feature article in the September 2017 issue of DownBeat that referenced her "impressive technique and a tuneful lyricism that combines an Oscar Peterson-ish hard swing with Bill Evans-like introspection." Gordon Marshall of Flash Boston says, "...what makes her new album remarkable, and remarkably innovative, is the racing, playful interplay of the instruments of the trio: drums, piano, and bass. Each has an equal part, with none dominating, but sharing, democratically, endless, intriguing dialogues." Dick Metcalf of Improvijazzation Nation writes, "Yoko's ability to create moods, or bring them back to mind, is simply astounding...most highly recommended."

The recording, released May 12, 2017 on Ocean Blue Tear Music, features Miwa with bassist Will Slater (with Brad Barrett stepping in for one track) and drummer Scott Goulding. The remarkable telepathy they share has been developed over 15 years and countless hours logged on the bandstand, not to mention the accompanying personal bonds (Miwa and Goulding are married, after all).

"When we play together, it comes out as one sound," Miwa says. "That's the best part of working together all the time. I'm very comfortable with these guys because they know my playing and I know them very well."

It's been nearly five years since the release of Miwa's last album, Act Naturally (JVC Victor), but she's been far from inactive in the interim. On the contrary, she's one of the busiest artists on the thriving Boston jazz scene, playing regularly at renowned local venues the Regattabar and Scullers as well as venues worldwide. Locally, the trio is a constant presence with three area residencies that keep them busy every weekend they're at home. On Fridays they can be found at the Central Square sushi bar and jazz club Thelonious Monkfish, where Goulding serves as music director and Miwa helped select the stunning Yamaha piano. Saturdays they play at the wine bar Les Zygomates, as they have for the last 12 years, while their Sundaybrunch gig at Cambridge BBQ joint Ryles dates back even further.

That impressive calendar means that the trio has had plenty of time not only to try out new material but to explore each piece over time. "We play each song a little bit differently every time," Miwa says. "It really helps develop the music. If we only did concerts once a month in front of big audiences, I don't think we'd feel the same way or that I'd play the same way that I do now."

The repertoire that Miwa traverses on Pathways ranges widely, from the classic songs of The Beatles and Joni Mitchell to a pair of rarely (if ever) reprised pieces by legendary Bill Evans Trio bassist Marc Johnson, originally recorded solo. The album's highlights, though, are Miwa's gorgeous originals, which combine lively melodies, a delicate touch, and lush harmonies - the same qualities that she brings to her improvisations.

Integral to capturing the heartfelt communication forged by the trio was Miwa's insistence that they play together in the studio, not divided into isolation booths. Their spontaneity and spark found an ideal setting at Wellspring Sound Studios in Acton, Massachusetts, where they worked closely with engineer Matt Hayes. "It's almost like a live recording," Miwa says proudly. "I feel really uncomfortable separated into different rooms where you can't really see each other. Of course you can't go back and fix things, but I love the feeling of playing in the same room and our energy together."

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Janis Siegel and Lauren Kinham live @ Zinc Bar

Tomorrow only: Join Vocalists Janis Siegel and Lauren Kinhan for a splendid evening of Vocal Mania at Zinc jazz club in NY! Featuring special guest Theo Bleckmann.
Produced by Charles Carlini.

Tickets: $25 advance / $30 day of show
2 sets: 8pm and 10:30pm

Box Set of the Month - "João Donato: A Mad Donato"

CD Box Set of the Month
João Donato: "A Mad Donato" (Discobertas) 2018

Executive Producer: Marcelo Froes
Co-Producers: Ivone Belem & Diogo Caldas
Mastered by Ricardo Carvalheira
Artwork: Bady Cartier
Cover Photo: Robert Feinberg

4-CD box set including the albums "Raridades Anos 70," "Gozando A Existência," "Naquela Base" and "Janela da Urca." All tracks previously unreleased.

Fusion CD of the Month - "Cuarteto Oriental: Sin Corbata"

Fusion CD of the Month
Cuarteto Oriental: "Sin Corbata" (PAI)

Produced by Cuarteto Oriental
Executive Producer: Marcelo Crespo
Recorded @ SoundRec (Buenos Aires, Argentina) by Ricardo Sanz
Mixed @ Sondor Estudios (Montevideo, Uruguay) by Gustavo de León & Hugo Fattoruso
Mastered Gustavo de León
Artwork: Mili Rabasa

Featuring: Hugo Fattoruso (piano, keyboards), Leonardo Amuedo (guitar), Daniel Maza (electric bass), Fabián Miodownik (drums)