Boston Phoenix: The Year In Jazz

December 23, 2009

The Boston Phoenix‘s resident jazz aficionado Jon Garelick reflects on his 10 favorite moments of the year in this week’s issue.

Two of those moments are related to Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music) and the Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity).

“Call what Garrison Fewell does composition or simply strategies for improvisation,” Garelick writes. “Whatever, the guitarist formerly known as one of Boston’s most eloquent inside players has become one of its leading experimenters. On this year’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music), Fewell gathered some superb improvisers—among them frequent guitar-duo partner (and CNM honcho) Eric Hofbauer, New York trumpeter Roy Campbell, and Italian bass-clarinettist Achille Succi—and they, following his spare instructions and often graphic scores, created a suite of ‘variable density’ and unforced lyricism, all with compositional integrity.”

“Alto-saxophonist Jones, 31, now lives in Brooklyn (natch),” Garelick continues, “but he hails from rural Virginia, and he likes churchy old blues, boogie-woogie, and the kind of folkish tunes that Albert Ayler used to write. On Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity), his music sounds older than old—ancient, in fact—but also completely up to the minute. Working with Boston drummer Bob Moses and New Yorker Cooper-Moore (who plays piano and his homemade diddley bow), Jones delivers forceful melodies with a just-discovered freshness. The trio’s show at Outpost 186 in October was a standout.”

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FONT Music To Present Four-Night Event At Abrons Arts Center In January

November 19, 2009

The Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music) will present Forward Flight, the third and final event of its 7th annual performance season, from Wednesday, January 13th through Saturday, January 16th at New York’s Abrons Arts Center.

This four-night celebration of the eclecticism of the trumpet in contemporary music, curated by Dave Douglas and Taylor Ho Bynum, will feature events on two stages, including performances by a diverse range of ensembles, three free FONT Music Workshop Series events and an opening night tribute to unheralded veteran trumpet player, Wilmer Wise.

The program will include world premieres of music from the New York-based composers collective Anti-Social Music (ASM) and composer David Sanford, whose piece, “Seven Kings”, was commissioned by FONT Music with support from Chamber Music America to be performed by the Meridian Arts Ensemble with guest soloist Dave Ballou. And, The New York Trumpet Ensemble, directed by Mark Gould, will present the New York premiere of Charles Wuorinen‘s Brass Quintet.

Headlining events will include indie folk band The Low Anthem with a special appearance by Dave Douglas, a celebration of the Chicago Underground Duo‘s new CD, Boca Negra (Thrill Jockey), a rare performance of Ornette Coleman’s “The Sacred Mind of Johnny Dolphin” by Wilmer Wise and the American debut of the Open Circuit International Trumpet Ensemble, featuring an all-star cast of trumpet players from America, Austria, Japan and France, presented with support from CMA/FACE French-American Jazz Exchange.

Forward Flight is a collection of performances designed to highlight the forward-looking trajectory of current brass music,” Douglas explains. “The name is taken from a late fifties album by Booker Little, and like that trumpeter it shows the wide ranging possibilities for this instrument. In the context of alternative folk and rock, in contemporary classical composition, in international hybrids of improvised music and electronics, brass instruments continue to breathe air into the expansion of contemporary trends.”

He adds, “FONT Music is for the first time becoming a membership organization, and this festival feels like a part of that step. In our own community, longtime board member Wilmer Wise will be feted with a ceremony and special performance on January 13th. When combined with a series of workshops free to the public, this seems like a big step in a very special year for FONT Music as an organization and as a music festival.”

Forward Flight schedule:

Wednesday, January 13th at 7:30 p.m.
FONT Music Celebrates the Music and Legacy of Wilmer Wise
Featuring Dave Douglas, Wilmer Wise and several special guests

Thursday, January 14th at 5:00 p.m.
Free workshop: Oral History Project with Wilmer Wise
Anti-Social Music
The New York Trumpet Ensemble directed by Mark Gould
Wilmer Wise

Friday, January 15th at 5:00 p.m.
Free workshop: Ableton Live User Group co-hosted by Dubspot
Opsvik & Jennings plus the Ignite A Noise Trumpet Trio
Chicago Underground Duo
The Low Anthem with special appearance by Dave Douglas

Saturday, January 16th at 5:00 p.m.
Free workshop: Group improvisation with the York College Blue Notes
Mr. Tamerman‘s Maggot and Sarah Ferholt‘s Vevertise
Meridian Arts Ensemble with Dave Ballou
Open Circuit International Trumpet Ensemble

Thursday, Friday and Saturday night events will begin at 5:00 p.m. with a free workshop followed by an early performance in the Blackbox Theatre and headline performances at 7:30 and 9:00 p.m. on the Main Stage.

Tickets for the opening night benefit concert are $35, which also includes a membership in FONT Music and admission to the pre-concert reception. Tickets for the other three nights are $15 ($12 for students with ID and FONT Music members) per night. All tickets can be purchased at https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/702215.

A festival pass is also available for $40 ($30 students with ID and FONT members). Passes can be purchased at https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/store/209

The Abrons Arts Center is located at 466 Grand Street (at the corner of Pitt Street) on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Venue information is available at (212) 598-0400 and http://www.abronsartscenter.org

About FONT Music:

FONT Music is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that sustains trumpeters and new trumpet music by commissioning composers, producing concerts, presenting workshops and panels, and supporting music programs in New York City’s public schools. Created by trumpeters for trumpeters, the organization and its diverse programs are currently overseen by Artistic Director Dave Douglas and a volunteer board featuring some of contemporary trumpet music’s most celebrated practitioners.

Founded in 2003 by Douglas and Roy Campbell, FONT Music has presented over 200 concerts by emerging artists and creative pioneers alike at venues all over New York. It has also commissioned new works from more than a dozen young trumpet players, paid tribute to such legendary performers as Louis Armstrong, Don Cherry and Woody Shaw, and presented world premiere performances of music by a long list of notable composers that includes Anthony Braxton, Laurence “Butch” Morris and Wadada Leo Smith.

Its acclaimed efforts have been called “a grand highlight of the musical season” (The New Yorker), “one of the most exciting and diverse of NYC’s annual music festivals” (Time Out New York), “a key showcase for some of the most exciting horn players on the planet” (Chicago Reader) and “an expectedly stellar and eclectic schedule of genre-blurring commissions and exploratory collaborations” (JazzTimes). “By definition,” adds the New York Times‘ Nate Chinen, “the Festival of New Trumpet Music prizes a spirit of innovation; that ‘new’ in the title is no accident.”

Learn more about FONT Music at http://fontmusic.org


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.”


WNUR Jazz Show’s Best of 2008

February 24, 2009

Heard weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the Jazz Show block on Chicago’s WNUR 89.3 FM is one of the most respected in all of radio.  

As is their tradition, the programmers have voted on their Top 40 recordings of 2008, and released the results to coincide with their annual Phoneathon

We’re pleased to report that Nicole Mitchell’s Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler (Firehouse 12 Records) topped the list.

The following client releases were also included:

#08: Mary Halvorson Trio, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records)
#10: William Parker Quartet, Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity)
#14: William Parker, Double Sunrise Over Neptune (AUM Fidelity)
#27: The Roy Campbell Ensemble, Akhenaten Suite (AUM Fidelity)
#30: Bill Dixon, 17 Musicians In Search of a Sound: Darfur (AUM Fidelity) 

Congratulations to all the artists and labels recognized in this poll.


Variable Density Sound Orchestra Reviewed At AllAboutJazz.com

February 19, 2009

John Sharpe’s review of guitarist/composer Garrison Fewell’s newly released Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music) is now available at AllAboutJazz.com

He writes, “Delights abound on every track and while there is no doubting the serious intent, this recording must have been as much fun to make as it is to listen to.”


New Garrison Fewell And Ayn Inserto CDs Out Today

February 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is the official street date for the two latest releases from Boston’s Creative Nation Music, guitarist/composer Garrison Fewell‘s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (CNM 014) and The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra‘s Muse (CNM 015).

Fewell’s second release for the label, following 2008’s The Lady of Khartoum (CNM 010), Variable Density Sound Orchestra is the self-titled debut of his newest working ensemble. The group features Eric Hofbauer (guitars and percussion), Roy Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn, flute and percussion), Achille Succi (bass clarinet and alto saxophone), John Voigt (bass), Miki Matsuki (drums) and Alex Fewell (percussion).

Muse, the follow-up to The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra’s self-released 2006 debut, Clairvoyance, is built around the theme of celebrating those who inspired her.  It features arrangements of three pieces by special guest George Garzone and original compositions honoring Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Foster and Steve Lacy among others.

Both releases are part of the label’s ongoing fifth anniversary celebration in 2009, which also includes a package tour of New England and the forthcoming launch of a new series of rare, never-before-released and reissued music called The Hub Collection.


Reminder: Garrison Fewell’s Boston CD Release Party

January 29, 2009

Tomorrow night, Boston-based guitarist/composer Garrison Fewell and his newest working ensemble, the Variable Density Sound Orchestra, will celebrate their forthcoming self-titled debut on Creative Nation Music with a two-set performance at the Cambridge Family YMCA Theater in Cambridge, MA (Central Square). 

The group, which features Roy Campbell (trumpet and flute), Achille Succi (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), Eric Hofbauer (guitar), John Voigt (bass) and Miki Matsuki (drums), will be joined by special guests, Steve Swell (trombone) and Dmitry Ishenko (bass). 

Variable Density Sound Orchestra (CNM 014) officially hits the streets on February 17th.