Hartford Courant: George Schuller’s Latest Among 2008’s Top 10

January 1, 2009

Drummer/composer George Schuller’s latest release, Like Before, Somewhat After (Playscape Recordings) has been called one of 2008’s ten best by Hartford Courant jazz reviewer, and WWUH Jazz Director, Chuck Obuchowski.

He writes, “Schuller reimagines the music of Keith Jarrett’s 1970s American quartet, with surprising, exciting results. Schuller’s drumming approximates Paul Motian’s elastic rhythms on the original recordings, but his ensemble pursues its own routes around Jarrett’s structures. Guitarist Brad Shepik offers strident counterpoint, and Tom Beckham does an outstanding job translating Jarrett’s ideas for vibraphone.”


George Schuller And Yoon Sun Choi/Jacob Sacks In Jazz.com’s Top 50 of 2008

December 15, 2008

Veteran drummer/composer George Schuller’s Like Before, Somewhat After (Playscape Recordings), and the Yoon Sun Choi/Jacob Sacks Duo’s Imagination: The Music of Joe Raposo (Yeah Yeah Records), have each been named one of Jazz.com’s 50 Best Jazz CDs of 2008.

Schuller’s disc, his second with his longstanding group Circle Wide, pays tribute to the music of Keith Jarrett’s so-called American Quartet of the 1970’s, reinventing such notable tracks as “Common Mama” and “The Survivors’ Suite”, which was a Jazz.com Song of the Day this past June.

Jazz.com’s editor, Ted Gioia, discussed the record and its relationship to the legacy of Jarrett’s group on the site’s blog, writing that Schuller and his bandmates “get past the notes on the page, and into something deeper, an elusive transcendence that defies even this glib critic.”

Imagination is the second release from the New York-based duo of vocalist Yoon Sun Choi and pianist Jacob Sacks, and an innovative tribute to the music of prolific theater, film and television composer, Joe Raposo (1937-1989), whose timeless and instantly familiar songs such as “Bein’ Green” and “Sing” are used here as launching pads for experiments in texture, form and improvisation.

In his original review of the track, “Somebody Come and Play”, Gioia wrote, “I wish more singers would take chances like this, or bring along a pianist who, like Sacks, is such a daring accompanist. These two really go at it. I can’t recall the last time I heard a vocal recording in which the pianist challenged the singer so aggressively — and with such felicitous results. This is one of the best jazz vocal CDs of the year.”


Saxophonist Donny McCaslin And Friends Heat Up The Night

December 15, 2008

The Hartford Courant‘s Chuck Obuchowski reviewed the Donny McCaslin Trio’s season-ending performance at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 in Sunday’s paper. McCaslin’s group, featuring bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Jonathan Blake, was celebrating its acclaimed debut, Recommended Tools (Greenleaf Music).

“Although the threesome has had less than a year to work together,” Obuchowski wrote, “their tight rapport never faltered at Firehouse 12. While his roots in the bebop tradition were discernible Friday (he enjoyed slipping the occasional bop quote into his solos), the saxophonist has developed a distinctive sound, both as a player and a writer. McCaslin’s effusive blowing led the way for two hours of engaging improvised music on a full-moon night.”


Reminder: Firehouse 12 To Present The Donny McCaslin Trio This Friday

December 8, 2008

 

On Friday, December 12th, Firehouse 12‘s 2008 Fall Jazz Series will conclude with a two-set performance by acclaimed tenor saxophonist/composer Donny McCaslin and his trio featuring bassist Hans Glawischnig (Ray Barretto, Stefon Harris, Miguel Zenon) and drummer Johnathan Blake (Tom Harrell, Russell Malone, Jaleel Shaw).  The group will be celebrating its debut release, Recommended Tools, McCaslin’s seventh recording as a leader and his first on frequent collaborator Dave Douglas’ label, Greenleaf Music.  The disc features nine original McCaslin compositions inspired by influences ranging from Bill Frisell to Hermeto Pascoal to Igor Stravinsky.

“A brilliant take on the hallowed tenor trio tradition,” writes AllAboutJazz.com reviewer Troy Collins, “Recommended Tools is not only a high water mark for McCaslin, but one of the most beguiling records of the year.”  DownBeat‘s John Corbett agreed, writing, “It’s a terrific outing, with solid original material at the service of a ferocious player and a great rhythm section.  There’s nothing frivolous, no errors of judgment—just energizing jazz in a lean setting with lots to love.”  “McCaslin’s blowing may be brawny,” added Steve Greenlee in JazzTimes, “but it is equally thoughtful.  His work is blistering and beautiful, sometimes in the same moment.”

Inspired by his musician father, McCaslin began playing tenor saxophone at age 12.  Early in his professional career, following studies at the Berklee College of Music, he toured for four years with the Gary Burton Quintet before moving to New York in 1991, where he quickly found work with Eddie Gomez and the jazz fusion group, Steps Ahead.  He has since performed and recorded with a long list of notable bandleaders, including Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez, Maria Schneider, George Schuller and Luciana Souza among many others, though he is perhaps best known for his recent membership in the Dave Douglas Quintet.  In addition to his extensive work as an in-demand sideman, McCaslin has led his own groups for the past decade, recording for the Arabesque, Criss Cross, Naxos and Sunnyside labels.  

2008 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/19: Steve Lantner Trio
09/26: Conference Call  
10/03: Ned Rothenberg’s Sync
10/10: Shakers n’ Bakers   
10/17: Josh Roseman’s Execution Quintet
10/24: Bad Touch
10/31: Magic
11/07: George Schuller’s Circle Wide
11/14: Jamie Baum Septet
11/21: Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
12/05: The Flatlands Collective
12/12: Donny McCaslin Trio

Tickets and more information available at:
http://firehouse12.com/performance_space_calendar.asp


Firehouse 12 to Present the Donny McCaslin Trio December 12th

November 12, 2008

On Friday, December 12th, Firehouse 12’s 2008 Fall Jazz Series will conclude with a two-set performance by acclaimed tenor saxophonist/composer Donny McCaslin and his trio featuring bassist Hans Glawischnig (Ray Barretto, Stefon Harris, Miguel Zenon) and drummer Johnathan Blake (Tom Harrell, Russell Malone, Jaleel Shaw).  The group will be celebrating its debut release, Recommended Tools, McCaslin’s seventh recording as a leader and his first on frequent collaborator Dave Douglas’ label, Greenleaf Music.  The disc features nine original McCaslin compositions inspired by influences ranging from Bill Frisell to Hermeto Pascoal to Igor Stravinsky. 

“A brilliant take on the hallowed tenor trio tradition,” writes AllAboutJazz.com reviewer Troy Collins, “Recommended Tools is not only a high water mark for McCaslin, but one of the most beguiling records of the year.”  DownBeat‘s John Corbett agreed, writing, “It’s a terrific outing, with solid original material at the service of a ferocious player and a great rhythm section.  There’s nothing frivolous, no errors of judgment—just energizing jazz in a lean setting with lots to love.”  “McCaslin’s blowing may be brawny,” added Steve Greenlee in JazzTimes, “but it is equally thoughtful.  His work is blistering and beautiful, sometimes in the same moment.”

Inspired by his musician father, McCaslin began playing tenor saxophone at age 12.  Early in his professional career, following studies at the Berklee College of Music, he toured for four years with the Gary Burton Quintet before moving to New York in 1991, where he quickly found work with Eddie Gomez and the jazz fusion group, Steps Ahead.  He has since performed and recorded with a long list of notable bandleaders, including Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez, Maria Schneider, George Schuller and Luciana Souza among many others, though he is perhaps best known for his recent membership in the Dave Douglas Quintet.  In addition to his extensive work as an in-demand sideman, McCaslin has led his own groups for the past decade, recording for the Arabesque, Criss Cross, Naxos and Sunnyside labels.  

2008 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/19: Steve Lantner Trio
09/26: Conference Call  
10/03: Ned Rothenberg’s Sync
10/10: Shakers n’ Bakers   
10/17: Josh Roseman’s Execution Quintet
10/24: Bad Touch
10/31: Magic
11/07: George Schuller’s Circle Wide
11/14: Jamie Baum Septet
11/21: Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
12/05: The Flatlands Collective
12/12: Donny McCaslin Trio

Tickets and more information available at:
http://firehouse12.com/performance_space_calendar.asp


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