Company Of Heaven Jazz Festival

January 7, 2010

Company of Heaven, the booking agency for many of creative improvised music’s biggest names, will hold its second annual jazz festival at New York’s Cornelia Street Café this weekend as part of the festivities surrounding the 2010 Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference.

The Thirteenth Assembly, featuring Taylor Ho Bynum, Mary Halvorson, Jessica Pavone and Tomas Fujiwara, will be performing, as will Playscape Recordings artists, the Michael Musillami Trio + 3, Mario Pavone‘s Totem Quartet and George Schuller’s Circle Wide. A complete schedule of events for the three-night festival is available here.


Jimmy Giuffre Tribute Tonight At Firehouse 12

October 23, 2009
Photo by Dick Katz

Photo by Dick Katz

Tonight at 8:30 and 10:00 p.m., drummer George Schuller and guitarist Joel Harrison will pay tribute to legendary clarinetist/composer Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) with their new sextet, Whirrr! The Music of Jimmy Giuffre, as part of Firehouse 12’s ongoing Fall Jazz Series.

This two-set performance, also featuring multi-instrumentalists Ohad Talmor and Billy Drewes, bassist Cameron Brown (a former Giuffre sideman) and trombonist/accordionist Jacob Garchik, will focus on flexible new arrangements of the innovative trio music Giuffre recorded between the mid-1950’s and mid-1970’s.

These rarely heard gems, some of which have not been performed in more than 40 years, include such Giuffre originals as “Whirrr”, “Phoenix” and “Scootin’ About”, as well as Carla Bley’s “Jesus Maria”.


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.”


Firehouse 12 To Present Whirrr! The Music Of Jimmy Giuffre October 23rd

September 23, 2009
Photo by Dick Katz

Photo by Dick Katz

On Friday, October 23rd, drummer George Schuller and guitarist Joel Harrison will pay tribute to legendary clarinetist/composer Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) with their new sextet, Whirrr! The Music of Jimmy Giuffre, as part of Firehouse 12‘s ongoing Fall Jazz Series. This two-set performance, also featuring multi-reedists Ohad Talmor and Billy Drewes, bassist Cameron Brown (a former Giuffre sideman) and trombonist/accordionist Jacob Garchik, will focus on flexible new arrangements of the innovative trio music Giuffre recorded between the mid-1950’s and mid-1970’s. These rarely heard gems, some of which have not been performed in more than 40 years, include such Giuffre originals as “Whirrr”, “Phoenix” and “Scootin’ About”, as well as Carla Bley’s “Jesus Maria”.

Schuller and Harrison founded the group shortly after Giuffre’s death in late 2008. Each is a longtime fan—Schuller performed with him while studying at New England Conservatory in the early 1980’s and Harrison had an earlier tribute band in the 1990’s. Most recently, Schuller served as co-producer of the documentary film Music Inn, which recounts the days of the historic Lenox School of Jazz, an influential time in jazz history where Giuffre, among many other legendary figures, taught jazz in an organized setting and first heard a young Ornette Coleman. Along with Talmor, who was invited into the ensemble for both his musical and arranging skills, these veteran musicians create fresh new arrangements of music from the classic Giuffre canon that feature the sextet both in its entirety and divided into smaller units.

Best known early on for penning the 1947 Woody Herman hit “Four Brothers”, and a noteworthy performance of his most popular composition, “The Train and the River”, in the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival documentary, Jazz on a Summer’s Day, Giuffre would continue to evolve throughout his long career, influencing generations of jazz musicians as a composer, multi-instrumentalist and educator. His work with such prominent collaborators as Paul Bley, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim Hall and Steve Swallow was ahead of its time, defining the term chamber jazz and offering musicians new directions they are still exploring today. “Giuffre could sound almost artlessly simple at times,” wrote John Fordham in his obituary for The Guardian, “but this represented a paring down of jazzmaking to its essentials. He was the most reticent of jazz radicals, but his modesty disguised a visionary innovator.” Learn more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Giuffre

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


JazzTimes: Garrison Fewell + Michael Musillami

August 28, 2009

The resurgent JazzTimes shows two of our guitarists, Garrison Fewell and Michael Musillami, some love in the newly arrived August/September issue, making its return to active publishing status that much sweeter.

Variable Density Sound Orchestra should be on jazz education syllabi worldwide,” declares Michael J. West in his review of Fewell’s latest release on Boston’s Creative Nation Music. “It demonstrates how even free improvisation depends on musicians listening closely to each other. Guitarist Garrison Fewell’s septet uses some compositional structures, but the real backbone comes from developing and responding to each other’s spontaneous ideas. The products of that chemistry are gorgeous.”

In his review of the Michael Musillami Trio +3’s From Seeds (Playscape Recordings), Chris Kelsey writes, “Vibist Matt Moran, alto saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller join guitarist Musillami in performing his creative, forward-thinking compositions. The music is exceptional in all respects, from the fiery but respectful readings of Musillami’s tortuous compositions to the inspired solo work by one and all…Musillami is at his best when exploiting his nuanced quasi-acoustic sound, as he lays down long, unpredicatable freeboppish lines. Alessi and Moran are excellent, and Ehrlich is brilliant—his playing here is fresh and impassioned.”


From Seeds An AMN Pick Of The Week

July 15, 2009


Guitarist/composer Michael Musillami‘s latest release, From Seeds (Playscape Recordings), is one of AvantMusicNews.com’s Picks of the Week.

The record, the debut of the Michael Musillami Trio + 3, features bassist Joe Fonda, drummer George Schuller, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, saxophonist Marty Ehrlich and vibraphonist Matt Moran.


DownBeat: Michael Musillami Trio + 3’s From Seeds (Playscape)

July 13, 2009

“Guitarist Michael Musillami has a tone that’s impossible not to love,” declares James Hale in his 4 1/2 star review of Musillami’s latest record in the August issue of DownBeat.

“On From Seeds,” he adds, “Musillami has expanded his trio by adding saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, vibist Matt Moran and trumpeter Ralph Alessi. That makes for a potent sextet, and the guitarist’s writing provides a rich variety of settings.”