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.

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Playscape To Release The Peter Madsen Trio’s The Litchfield Suite In March

December 3, 2009

Photo by Gerhard Klocker

Playscape Recordings will launch its 2010 release schedule on March 16th with the Peter Madsen Trio’s The Litchfield Suite (PSR#080308). This is pianist/composer Peter Madsen‘s third recording for the label, but his first leading, and composing for, his own band, following the acclaimed solo piano showcases Sphere Essence: Another Side of Monk and Prevue of Tomorrow. The Litchfield Suite, also featuring bassist Andy McKee and drummer Gerald Cleaver, documents the premiere of Madsen’s six-part titular work at the 2008 Litchfield Jazz Festival.

“Two years ago,” writes Madsen in the liner notes, “festival founder Vita Muir invited me to perform with one of my own bands. Given my love of composing, and close association with the festival over the years, it soon became clear that I should write something special for this event. I needed a drummer who was diverse enough to handle the wide variety of styles in my writing and Gerald fit perfectly. Andy, who I’ve known for more than 25 years, is a dream to work with…I knew he could also deal with all the different styles, freedom and written parts I wanted on the bass.”

“Madsen has the chops and harmonic skills of two pianists,” declared David R. Adler in a Playscape Recordings label feature for the American Music Center’s NewMusicBox. Critics have called his previous recordings for the label “stunning” (Ken Dryden, AllMusic.com), “must-hear” (Marc Medwin, Cadence), “consistently intriguing” (Nick Pitt, Coda) and “confrontational and interesting” (Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, Eighth Edition). In his review of Madsen’s latest, Prevue of Tomorrow, the Village Voice‘s Francis Davis wrote, “He’s the maverick’s maverick, and this could well prove the year’s most unlikely tour de force.”

A well-kept secret among critics, musicians and jazz aficionados alike, Madsen is a highly valued 30-year veteran of the creative music scene who earned his first big break touring with Stan Getz in 1987. He has since worked with poets, choirs, dancers and dozens of the world’s premier improvisers ranging from Benny Golson and Stanley Turrentine to Joe Lovano and Kenny Garrett to Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker. Overall, his discography features nearly 100 recordings, including numerous Playscape titles as the pianist of choice for longtime collaborators Michael Musillami and Mario Pavone. Originally from Wisconsin, he currently splits his time between New York and Vorarlberg, Austria. Learn more at http://www.petermadsen.us


Remembering 2009

November 23, 2009

Image from TheDailyGreen.com
The latest can to be kicked around the jazz blogosphere (and beyond) is what records make the cut as the best of the decade.

As much as we enjoy the opportunity to reminisce about our first seven-plus years in business, and the 135 recordings we promoted for our clients in that span, we’re not quite ready to dip a toe in that nearly bottomless pool just yet.

But, we’re more than happy to shine a light on the recordings we promoted for our clients in 2009 (in order of their release).

Hopefully at least a few of these will end up on your year’s best list or at least your list for Santa.

David S. Ware
Shakti (AUM Fidelity)

Gerald Cleaver/William Parker/Craig Taborn
Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity)

The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra
Muse (Creative Nation Music)

Garrison Fewell
Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music)

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records)

Michael Musillami Trio + 3
From Seeds (Playscape Recordings)

The Fully Celebrated
Drunk On The Blood Of The Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity)

John Hébert
Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12 Records)

Carl Maguire’s Floriculture
Sided Silver Solid (Firehouse 12 Records)

Joe Morris/Petr Cancura/Luther Gray
Wildlife (AUM Fidelity)

KLANG
Tea Music (Allos Documents)

Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records)

Fay Victor Ensemble
The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)

Fonda/Stevens Group
Memphis (Playscape Recordings)

Harris Eisenstadt
Canada Day (Clean Feed)

Darius Jones Trio
Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

Joe Morris Quartet
Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity)

Jessica Pavone
Songs Of Synastry And Solitude (Tzadik)

Bill Dixon
Tapestries For Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records)


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.”


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.”