hour: Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)

November 20, 2009

Mike Chamberlain reviews the Fay Victor Ensemble‘s new release, The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music), in this week’s issue of Montreal’s arts weekly, hour.

“What you hear on this album is raw and quirky and powerful and full of feeling and surprise and particularities that reflect universal human truths,” he writes. “One of the unique listening experiences of this or any other year.”

Ms. Victor will be performing with multiple ensembles at this weekend’s Vision Festival fundraiser, 28 Hours of Innovative Art, and on Monday at The 55 Bar with her group, Fay Victor’s Jazz Vault.

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Darius Jones Trio At Firehouse 12 Tonight

November 20, 2009

Tonight, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 presents a two-set celebration of New York-based alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones‘ long-awaited debut CD, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity).

Described by Jones as “a sonic tone poem about me and my life growing up in the South,” the record draws on such early influences as his Jamaican father’s love of reggae, the revelatory vocal music of the church and countless hours of listening to everything from classical to rock on the radio.

Heralded as “a new voice poised to receive widespread acclaim” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), Jones brings this diverse and passionate music to life with his mentors, the eminent master musicians Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bo) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums).

“On Man’ish Boy,” writes PointofDeparture.org’s Ed Hazell, “alto saxophonist Darius Jones delivers one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory, displaying a remarkably well-developed concept and individual sound. Jones has a big, fleshy, lived-in tone, with a vibrato that owes as much to Johnny Hodges as it does to Albert Ayler. It’s defiant, vulnerable, proud, and weary; there is laughter and sobbing in it.”

Jason Crane, host of The Jazz Session and columnist at PopDose.com, adds, “For his debut statement, 31-year-old Jones wanted to tell his story. To talk about what it means to be poor and black and struggling and intelligent in this day and age. Jones has fit all that and more into an incredible recording that will make you sing, make you weep and make you marvel.”


Mary Halvorson Featured On NPR Music

February 12, 2009

The Mary Halvorson Trio‘s December 22nd performance/interview on WNYC’s Soundcheck is now being featured on the NPR Music Web site.

The 16-minute segment includes Ms. Halvorson speaking about a number of career and music-related topics, as well as live performances of two tracks from the trio’s acclaimed 2008 debut, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records).

Ms. Halvorson and her trio, along with special guests Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) and Jon Irabagon (saxophone), will perform at Roulette in New York on Friday night.


Harris Eisenstadt At Brooklyn’s Ibeam In March

February 3, 2009

 Drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt will be in residence at Brooklyn’s Ibeam Music Studio every Saturday night in March. 

This series of four concerts will feature the first-ever performances of his new nonet, Harris Eisenstadt’s Woodblock Prints, featuring Mike McGinnis (clarinet), Jason Mears (alto saxophone), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Mark Taylor (French horn), Brian Drye (trombone), Jose Davila (tuba), Jonathan Goldberger (electric guitar) and Garth Stevenson (bass). 

The group’s music is inspired by depictions of nature found in Japanese woodblock prints, an ancient form of relief printing created from intricately carved wood.

“Eisenstadt is strong proof that jazz is still young and growing,” declared L.A. Weekly‘s Greg Burk.  Critics have called him “a rising presence as a composer of note” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), “vital and increasingly influential” (Glenn Astarita, jazzreview.com) and “one of the most creative and skilled musician/composers incorporating traditional material to create new and vital improvised music” (Robert Iannapollo, AllAboutJazz-New York). 

The Village Voice‘s Jim Macnie adds, “He’s perpetually building new ensembles to suit the variety of music he hears in his head—that’s what composers do.”

One of only a handful of drummers equally well-known for his work as a composer, Eisenstadt is among the most versatile and prolific musicians of his generation.  His eclectic resume includes studies with some of the most respected names in both improvised music and West African drumming, and performances in genres ranging from film and theater to poetry and dance to contemporary classical and opera. 

Most active in jazz and improvised music, as both an in-demand sideman and a bandleader, he has performed all over the globe, earned commissions from organizations such as Meet The Composer and the American Composers Forum, and appeared on more than 35 recordings over the past decade.  His latest, Guewel (Clean Feed, 2008), was named one of the year’s best in publications such as AllAboutJazz.com, Time Out New York and the Village Voice.


Taylor Ho Bynum Interviewed On WNYC’s Evening Music

December 18, 2008
Taylor Ho Bynum by Hilary McHone

Taylor Ho Bynum by Hilary McHone

On Saturday, December 13th, cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum was the featured guest on WNYC’s Evening Music hosted by David Garland.  

The hour-plus episode includes an extensive interview with Bynum, and features a variety of tracks from both his recent and forthcoming recordings.   

You can hear the entire show via streaming audio from the station’s Web site.


Mary Halvorson Featured in This Week’s Time Out New York

November 6, 2008

Steve Dollar interviews Mary Halvorson in advance of her trio‘s upcoming CD release party, at Barbès on November 12th, in the latest issue of Time Out New York

He writes, “while Halvorson has a serious capacity for improvisatory shred, the album reveals a growing fascination with more traditional jazz elements, shimmering amid the angular shards of notes.”

Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records) was released October 28th.


Mario Pavone’s New CD, Ancestors, Released Today on Playscape Recordings

November 4, 2008

Playscape Recordings is proud to announce the November 4th release of acclaimed bassist/composer Mario Pavone‘s latest CD, Ancestors (PSR#011508), the recorded debut of newest working ensemble, the Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet.  This recording features eight original Pavone compositions written specifically for this group and its all-star line-up of Tony Malaby (tenor and soprano saxophones), Jimmy Greene (tenor and soprano saxophones), Peter Madsen (piano) and Gerald Cleaver (drums).  The band will be performing this music on its European tour in late November, and at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club on January 7th.

“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.” 

“I had been playing with Tony and Jimmy for more than eight years, but always separately, so I was keen to combine their complementary yet contrasting styles into one group,” Pavone explains. “Gerald and I have played and recorded a lot together and the great Peter Madsen, who has appeared on my last nine CDs, is almost indispensable to me. Wrapping my rhythm section around a double tenor color like this, especially one with this much grace and power, was a dream come true. The resulting sound seems larger than just five players and is almost orchestral. It may well be my favorite album so far.”

“On his day,” declared veteran jazz reviewer Brian Morton in the current issue of 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).

Originally an engineer by trade, Pavone dropped everything to attend John Coltrane’s funeral in 1967, where he decided on the spot to dedicate the rest of his life to music. He has since spent the last four decades defining the cutting edge of jazz, both as a sideman to legendary innovators and the leader of groups featuring some of today’s most respected young improvisers.  His recordings have appeared on best-of-the-year lists in publications such as Slate.com, AllAboutJazz.com, AllAboutJazz-New York, Cadence, the Hartford Courant and the Village Voice among others.  In addition to his ongoing activities as a bandleader, Pavone’s artwork and photography have graced the covers of dozens of recordings since the mid 90’s, and he currently serves as an educator, administrator and board member for the Litchfield Jazz Festival and Litchfield Summer Jazz Music Institute in Litchfield, Connecticut.