Firehouse 12 To Present The Taylor Eigsti Trio October 30th

September 30, 2009
Photo by Devin DeHaven

Photo by Devin DeHaven

On Friday, October 30th, Grammy® nominated pianist/composer Taylor Eigsti will make his Firehouse 12 debut as part of the New Haven venue’s fifth annual Fall Jazz Series. One of the most acclaimed young musicians on the scene today, the 24 year-old has already notched an astonishing 16 years of professional experience. This two-set performance is part of a short tour featuring his new trio with bassist Joshua Crumbly and drummer Aaron McClendon. The group is on the road working out material for its debut CD to be released early next year.

“Everyone who hears him seems to agree: Taylor Eigsti is the most exciting progressive-mainstream pianist to come along in a very long time,” writes AllAboutJazz.com’s Chris May. Critics have noted his “intelligence, emotional depth, technical assurance and buoyant swing” (Robert Doerschuk, DownBeat), calling him “the real thing” (Kevin R. Convey, Boston Herald) and “an artist who has discovered his singular viewpoint and powerfully takes command” (Thomas R. Erdmann, JazzReview.com). AllMusic.com’s Jonathan Widran adds, “There comes a time in every former prodigy’s life when he/she has to be judged by their output as an adult. Eigsti’s just keeps getting more compelling and inspiring.”

Eigsti has been performing with jazz greats ever since he opened for his mentor, David Benoit, when he was eight years old. At 12, he was sharing the stage with Diane Schuur and opening for Diana Krall and Al Jarreau. His long list of accumulated honors, including multiple Grammy® nominations, magazine cover stories and appearances on NPR’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland, defy his young age while also demonstrating the respect his abilities have earned from his peers. His sixth and latest release as a leader, Let It Come To You (Concord Records), was released last year and he has since toured with such notable collaborators as Ambrose Akinmusire, Eric Harland, Julian Lage, Gretchen Parlato and Nicholas Payton. Learn more at http://www.tayjazz.com

2009 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/18 :: Brandon Ross & Blazing Beauty
09/25 :: Matt Wilson Quartet
10/02 :: Mauger: Rudresh Mahanthappa/Mark Dresser/Gerry Hemingway
10/09 :: Steve Lehman Trio
10/16 :: Gretchen Parlato Band
10/23 :: Whirrr! The Music of Jimmy Giuffre
10/30 :: Taylor Eigsti Trio
11/06 :: ODE: Larry Ochs/Trevor Dunn/Lisle Ellis/Michael Sarin
11/13 :: The Peter Evans Quartet
11/20 :: Darius Jones Trio
12/04 :: Mary Halvorson Quintet
12/11 :: Amy Cervini Quartet
12/18 :: Daniel Levin Trio

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

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The Fonda/Stevens Group’s Memphis Released Today

September 29, 2009

Playscape Recordings officially welcomes The Fonda/Stevens Group to its roster with the September 29th release of Memphis, the eminent ensemble’s 11th recording.

Only the fourth studio release in the band’s two-decade existence, Memphis takes its name from Stevens’ composition, “Memphis Ramble”, one of ten tracks documented here for the first time following the band’s March 2008 U.S. tour.

Co-led by bassist/composer Joe Fonda and pianist/composer Michael Jefry Stevens, who celebrate the 25th anniversary of their first collaboration in 2009, The Fonda/Stevens Group also features trumpeter Herb Robertson and drummer Harvey Sorgen.

“Their quartet is a fine example of how a long established band can gel without becoming predictable, with many of its moves unforeseeable in advance,” explains AllAboutJazz.com’s Nic Jones. “This helps to keep the music fresh, but it’s the level of collective empathy that often takes it to another level…it’s clear on ‘Memphis Ramble’ that the group had reached a level of understanding in excess of even its usual working relationship.”

“The great thing about the band is its human warmth and musical openness,” writes Stef Gijssels on his popular blog, Free Jazz. “They can play AACM-like music (‘In The Whitecage’), post-bop (‘For My Brother’), blues, Stanko-esque melancholy (‘Whole Majesty’), free improvisation (‘Yes This Is It!’) and spontaneous chants (‘Memphis Ramble’)…it is fun, musically entertaining and interesting.”

The Downtown Music Gallery’s Bruce Lee Gallanter adds, “What makes this band great is that they can swing their asses off, go out, come back and stop on a dime. Their jubilant spirit is infectious. This is the one disc that makes me feel so good every time I hear it.”

The Fonda/Stevens Group will celebrate its latest record with a two-week, eight-country European tour in the second half of October. Details can be found here.


JazzTimes: Darcy James Argue + Joe Morris/Petr Cancura/Luther Gray

September 28, 2009

The new October issue of JazzTimes features reviews of Darcy James Argue‘s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) and Joe Morris/Petr Cancura/Luther Gray’s Wildlife (AUM Fidelity).

Infernal Machines is the future of the big band,” declares Michael J. West, “with leader Darcy James Argue presenting seven fiercely original and exciting compositions and arrangements for his 18-piece ensemble. His music is ambitious, experimental and complex, but in a sense far closer to indie rock with its immediacy and wide-ranging palette. With their haunting compositions and imaginative experiments, Argue’s Secret Society might do for jazz what Radiohead did for rock—and poach some of its audience, too.”

In his review of Wildlife, Mike Shanley writes, “Before too long, Joe Morris’ work as a bassist is going to eclipse his work as a guitarist—not that there’s anything wrong with that. Morris’ approach to the bull fiddle offers a solid focus to free-improvisation sessions, with some solos that take on percussive qualities when he really cuts loose. This album sounds loose but each track has a different mood that keeps things compelling for 56 minutes.”


Matt Wilson Quartet At Firehouse 12 Tonight

September 25, 2009

Matt Wilson Quartet

The fifth anniversary season of Firehouse 12’s Fall Jazz Series rolls on tonight with two sets from acclaimed drummer/composer Matt Wilson‘s longstanding quartet in celebration of its new CD, That Gonna Leave A Mark (Palmetto).

The group features Andrew D’Angelo (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), Jeff Lederer (clarinets and saxophones) and Chris Lightcap (acoustic and electric bass).

That’s Gonna Leave a Mark has an up-close vivacity—not to mention a Sly Stone shout-out—that makes you salivate for a chance to hear the Matt Wilson Quartet live,” writes the New Haven Advocate‘s Christopher Arnott.

“Firehouse 12 is a perfect place to connect with the band and its music because of the intimacy of the venue and its excellent acoustics,” adds the Hartford Courant‘s Richard Kamins.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Wilson demonstrating the positive health effects of listening to jazz:


Positive Catastrophe At New Languages Festival Tonight

September 25, 2009
Photo by Heather Conley

Photo by Heather Conley

Positive Catastrophe will perform tonight at the ongoing New Languages Festival at McCarren Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The brainchild of cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum and multi-instrumentalist/composer Abraham Gomez-Delgado, this self-described trans-idiomatic little big band connects the musical dots between intergalactic jazz legend Sun Ra and iconic Latin Jazz innovator Eddie Palmieri.

The group, which will be performing music from its acclaimed debut release, Garabatos Volume One (Cuneiform Records), also features Mark Taylor (French horn), Reut Regev (trombone), Jim Hobbs (alto sax), Matt Bauder (tenor and baritone sax), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Alvaro Benavides (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).


John Hébert To Weekend At Cornelia Street Cafe

September 24, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Bassist/composer John Hébert will celebrate his long-awaited debut release as a leader, Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12 Records), with a two-night stand at New York’s Cornelia Street Cafe starting tomorrow night.

Hébert’s sextet, also called Byzantine Monkey, will feature saxophonists Michaël Attias and Tony Malaby, multi-instrumentalist Adam Kolker, percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and drummer Michael Sarin (sitting in for Nasheet Waits for these two dates).

Known as “an indispensable presence on the local scene” (Hank Shteamer, Time Out New York) and “a bassist of deep intuition and extensive experience as a sideman” (Nate Chinen, New York Times), Hébert is one of the busiest bassists in New York and a regular in the Rising Star Acoustic Bass category of DownBeat’s annual Critics Poll for the past three years.

“On his first album as a leader he displays a sonic vision that’s all his own,” writes DownBeat‘s Peter Margasak, “even while sticking mostly to a support role. The leader has written nine lovely themes, some ebullient, some sorrowful, some fragile, and he directs his cohorts to elucidate and dance around the melodies with a mix of freedom and communicativeness. In particular, the intertwining lines of Tony Malaby, brawny and fat, and Michaël Attias, lithe and stinging, provide an exuberant dance on contrast.”

The Hartford Courant‘s Richard Kamins adds, “Byzantine Monkey takes the listener out of the everyday world into a landscape of mature melodies, splendid musicianship and highly creative interplay. It’s an aural landscape one can return to time and again, uncovering new paths to follow.”


Jazziz: The Fully Celebrated + Michael Musillami

September 24, 2009

The new Fall 2009 issue of Jazziz features reviews of The Fully Celebrated’s Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity) and the Michael Musillami Trio + 3’s From Seeds (Playscape Recordings).

“The album feels fresh and playful,” writes Michael Roberts about the former, “displaying the creative exuberance typically associated with young players in the joy-of-discovery phase. [Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs’] approach empasizes wit, accessibility and a willingness to venture into disparate stylistic territories…the longtime bandmates can do more than genre-hop. The Fully Celebrated’s heady blend brims with a vitality that hasn’t ebbed with the passage of time.”

“Guitarist Michael Musillami performs one of the best high-wire acts in jazz,” declares Ed Hazell, “walking the line between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ without ever losing his poise. There’s no predicting the direction of any given tune. Arrangements make consistently imaginative and effective use of the horns. Seamlessly assembled and performed, From Seeds features not such a trio plus three as a fully realized sextet.”