Signal To Noise: Taylor Ho Bynum, Fonda/Stevens Group, The Fully Celebrated, Darius Jones and Joe Morris

December 14, 2009

The Winter 2010 issue of Signal To Noise arrived this weekend and with it reviews of the latest releases from Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings, the Fonda/Stevens Group, The Fully Celebrated, the Darius Jones Trio and the Joe Morris Quartet.

“Bynum’s compositions consistently engage and amplify the texts [from his sister’s novel, Madeleine is Sleeping],” writes Stuart Broomer in his review of Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), “and the performances are at a high level. Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura ranges from pensive dramatic readings to jazz-inflected vocals and creative improvisations, performing admirably in the divergent settings. The group’s improvisational skills come to the fore on pieces by three great composers—Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra—whose works are all subtly complementary…the results are driving, focused, expressive performances that make the most of the jazz tradition.”

“After 20 years of musical partnership, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, bassist Joe Fonda, drummer Harvey Sorgen and trumpeter Herb Robertson have developed a rich chemistry,” declares James Hale. “On Memphis, their 11th recording, the quartet surges with energy—equal parts Stevens’ proclivity for aggresive vamps, Robertson’s slippery slalom runs, and a wrecking crew of a rhythm duo. When the mood turns somber individual members find ways of keeping the tension high, whether its Fonda’s abrasive arco on ‘For My Brother’ or the free segments that alternate with Stevens’ pretty theme on ‘Whale Majesty.'”

“Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, bassist Timo Shanko and drummer Django Carranza hammer away at eight slices of groove-based music that is is peppy, incisive and yes, amusing,” explains Jay Collins in his review of Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity). “The Fully Celebrated is a group that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but the music is of high caliber and a hell of a lot of fun.”

Marc Medwin describes the Darius Jones Trio’s debut, Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity), as “a barn-burner from note one. Jones could not have chosen better musicians to enter into his world, with Cooper-Moore and drummer Rakalam Bob Moses enhancing every moan, cry and shriek emanating from his alto.”

Jay Collins calls the Joe Morris Quartet’s second release, Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity), “Morris at his most accessible. His tremendous single-note flurries come to bear immediately on the boppish ‘Backbone’ and the exuberantly swinging ‘Imaginary Solutions.’ The quartet’s keen melodic sense is eveident on ‘Ashes’ and the ruminative ‘Animal,’ especially in Hobbs’s earthy, gripping saxophone playing. Hobbs and Morris’s unison lines against the rhythm section’s restless activity are part of the record’s pleasures. Like Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones, Today on Earth has it all: smart compositional structures that launch tasty, unpredictable improvisations.”

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New Cadence Reviews

July 16, 2009

Cadence_cvr
The Jul/Aug/Sep 2009 issue of Cadence arrived to subscribers this week, and with it a number of enthusiastic reviews of our clients’ recent recordings.

Here are a few highlights:

In his review of Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music), Phillip McNally writes, “Using the blues and improvised melody, Fewell’s sextet creates something like a completely tonal yet free music…the results are solid, approachable and at the same time richly complex…I for one would love to catch this Variable Density Sound Orchestra live.”

“I unhestiatingly give Muse my highest recommendation,” declares David Kane in his review of The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra‘s second release. “She claims Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmeyer as muses but, to my ear, she has already equaled and perhaps surpassed these august icons in sheer musical sophistication. It’s quite clear on the evidence of this recording that Ayn Inserto has a bright future ahead of her.”

Jay Collins calls David S. Ware’s Shakti (AUM Fidelity) “intensely personal, with a spiritual directness that looks to India, but, also, with an outcome that is surprisingly accessible. Ware remains faithful to his sense of purpose and direction, while also offering sounds that are palatable enough for folks that may have been overwhelmed by previous work.”

“This band has an impressively wide range of textures to draw upon,” explains Stuart Kremsky in his review of William Parker’s Double Sunrise Over Neptune (AUM Fidelity). “The infectious and insistent rhythms of the ensemble draw you right in, and the pleasing density of the band keeps you there. Parker’s projects as a leader invariably result in some of the most rewarding and creative music being made by anyone, and this gem is no exception.”


2008 Cadence Record Poll

January 15, 2009

The Jan/Feb/Mar 2009 issue of Cadence arrived yesterday and with it the results of the magazine’s annual Record Poll.

Bill Dixon’s 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity) earned the fourth place slot in the Readers’ Choices Poll (only nine votes behind the winner three slots above), as well as a full-page review further on in that same issue written by Jason Bivins.

Bivins wrote, “Put briefly, this group doesn’t once (collectively or individually) commit the cardinal sin of large ensemble group improv: overplaying.  Rather, they listen, leave space and make each dynamic shift count as they realize Dixon’s dark musical vision.  That vision emerges in great detail, thanks firstly to a quite rich and colorful score, but also thanks to a very clear recording.”

In the Critics’ Choices Poll, for which contributors choose their 10 favorite releases covered in one of the magazine’s four 2008 issues, Jay Collins picked Mario Pavone’s Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings) and Jason Adasiewicz’s Rolldown (482 Music), Michael Coyle chose Eri Yamamoto’s Duologue (AUM Fidelity), and Michael Rosenstein selected Peter Evans’ The Peter Evans Quartet (Firehouse 12 Records). 

Congratulations to the clients listed above and all those recognized in the poll results.


Reminder: Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet At Iridium January 7th

December 23, 2008

 On Wednesday, January 7th, acclaimed bassist/composer Mario Pavone and his newest working ensemble, the Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet, will celebrate the release of their November debut, Ancestors (Playscape Recordings), with a two-set performance at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club. Pavone will also perform in New York a few days earlier on Friday, January 2nd at Cornelia Street Cafe with the sextet featured on his 2006 release, Deez To Blues (Playscape Recordings).

“The towering twin tenor approach is the focal point for Ancestors,” explains the All Music Guide‘s Michael G. Nastos, “utilizing two of the finest young, experienced, and individualistic saxophone players in modern jazz music—Tony Malaby and Jimmy Greene. Add the under-appreciated but awesome pianist Peter Madsen and the reliable juggernaut of a drummer, Gerald Cleaver, and you have the makings for a truly superior combo, one of the best Pavone has ever fronted. While Pavone’s recordings are generally reliable and pointedly original, this effort is close to his very best, and deserves consideration for best jazz CD of 2008.” 

“On his day,” declared veteran jazz reviewer Brian Morton in Point of Departure, “Mario Pavone is one of the very best – and when on his game, by far the best – small-group composer/leaders working on the East Coast.” 

Critics have called him “a smart composer” (Nate Chinen, New York Times) and “a protean bassist” (Paul Blair, Hot House) who “never fails to implant an effective hook” (Bill Shoemaker, DownBeat) and “continues to move the tradition forward with every record” (John Kelman, AllAboutJazz.com). 

His music has been described as “exciting and stimulating” (Jay Collins, Cadence), “sensitive and probing” (Owen McNally, Hartford Courant) and “full of smart angular swagger” (Michael Rosenstein, Signal to Noise).

The Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet will perform at Iridium Jazz Club on Wednesday January 7th at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets, $25, are available for sale at (212) 582-2121. Tickets, directions and further venue details are also available at http://iridiumjazzclub.com/info.php

The Mario Pavone Deez to Blues Sextet will perform at Cornelia Street Cafe on Friday, January 2nd at 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. Admission is $10 per set with a one-drink minimum. Reservations can be made at (212) 989-9319 and further venue info is available at http://corneliastreetcafe.com. The band will feature Mario Pavone (bass), Charles Burnham (violin), Steven Bernstein (trumpet and slide trumpet), Lauren Sevian (baritone saxophone), Peter Madsen (piano) and Michael Sarin (drums).