2009 Voice Jazz Critics’ Poll Results

December 29, 2009

In what essentially amounts to a second Christmas morning for jazz publicists and their clients, the anxiously awaited results of the prestigious Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll, as overseen by the esteemed Francis Davis, have been published.

99 writers voted this year, each submitting a Top 10 list (the ballots are then compiled using a point system to create an overall Top 50), as well as single picks in the Jazz Reissue of the Year, Best Debut, Best Vocal Album, Best Debut and Best Latin categories.

It gives us great pleasure to report that four of our clients’ releases were recognized in the Jazz Album of the Year category:

#04: Darcy James Argue, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam)
#12: Bill Dixon, Tapestries For Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records)
#17: Darius Jones Trio, Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)
#35: David S. Ware, Shakti (AUM Fidelity)

We’re also extremely pleased to report that Infernal Machines took the Best Debut category in a landslide victory, with Man’ish Boy finishing a well-deserved second.

And, in what might be considered the biggest coup of all, The Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music) finished fourth in the Best Vocal Album category, only six votes behind the winner: this year’s critical darling, Gretchen Parlato. It’s very much worth pointing out that Fay’s record was the only finalist featuring all-original music. We couldn’t be prouder.

Congratulations to all the artists recognized and thanks again to all the critics who voted (check out the individual ballots here) and especially to Mr. Davis who makes the whole thing possible (and gracefully sums up the whole process here).

New Taylor Ho Bynum CD Released Today

September 15, 2009
Photo by Scott Friedlander

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum‘s latest recording as a leader, Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), officially hits the streets today.

The second release from his improvising chamber group, SpiderMonkey Strings, the record documents the title suite, a secular oratorio the group has been performing at concerts around the world since early 2008, as well as innovative arrangements of music by Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra.

This seven year-old ensemble features Kyoko Kitamura (voice), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Jessica Pavone (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Joseph Daley (tuba) and Luther Gray (drums).

Bynum and the group will celebrate with two sets at New York’s Jazz Gallery on Saturday, September 19th.

In his listing for the performance in the Village Voice, Jim Macnie writes, “Whether he’s making cinematic soundscapes for snippets of his sister’s surrealistic novel, or bringing a heavenly tone to such earthy fare as Ellington’s ‘The Mooche,’ the cornet player makes music that places nuance on the top of the priority list. The vocals are fetching and flighty; the repertory choices discerning and deft.”

Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines Released Today

May 12, 2009

Today is the official street date for Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), the long-awaited studio debut of composer Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.

I could go ahead and tell you that the media, both jazz and the other kinds, have come out in unanimous support of this one, but showing you is probably the more effective way to go.

So, you can go here to check out some of Darcy’s favorite pull quotes, or you can go right to the source and read the original pieces in publications such as AllAboutJazz.com (feature), AllAboutJazz.com (review), NewMusicBox.org, the New York Times, Newsweek, NPRMusic.com, the Ottawa Citizen, Time Out New York and the Village Voice.

Lots more coverage of this one is on the way, so please stay tuned.

FYI, the group will be performing at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam (May 28th), Domicil in Dortmund, Germany (May 29th), the Moers Festival in Moers, Germany (May 31st), and the International House in Philadelphia, PA (June 5th) as part of the Ars Nova Workshop series.

The Vancouver native will also premiere a new, specially commissioned work at Canada’s National Jazz Awards on May 14th to be performed by the all-star Darcy Hepner Jazz Orchestra.

Darcy James Argue Media Bonanza

May 6, 2009
Photo by Lindsay Beyerstein

Photo by Lindsay Beyerstein

Just in case you weren’t already anticipating Friday night’s CD release concert by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at Galapagos Art Space, and the release of his debut studio recording, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), the following Tuesday, there’s plenty of press happening around New York this week to get you in the mood.

For example, there’s David R. Adler’s CD review in Time Out New York, Richard Gehr’s feature in the Village Voice and Josh Jackson’s story on NPRMusic.com. You can also listen to Jackson’s interview with Darcy, as heard on last night’s episode of The Checkout on WBGO.

Cleaver/Parker/Taborn’s Farmers By Nature Out Today

February 10, 2009

Today is the official street date for Farmers by Nature (AUM Fidelity), the recorded debut of the two year-old collective trio of drummer Gerald Cleaver, bassist William Parker and pianist Craig Taborn.

Conceived by Cleaver, this communion of notable improvisers was founded to create a distinctive brand of music based on spontaneously sowing seeds of sound and bringing them to full blossom.

This live recording documents the all-star ensemble’s performance at The Stone in New York on June 19th, 2008.

Here’s a sample of the media response thus far:

“…these three musicians interrogate one another with patience and poise.”
Nate Chinen, New York Times

“All three are staunchly subtle and interactive players, so the improvisations stay on track even when they partake of tempestuous density.”
Time Out New York

“Fully improvised, the trio’s poetic abstractions have a pastoral side that comes from digging the soil and growing something valuable. It’s a testament to rumination, and whether they’re storming or floating, the kinetics are the compelling kind.”
Jim Macnie, Village Voice

“This lively collaborative trio, convened but not really led by drummer Gerald Cleaver, delights in free improvisations full of a remarkable variety of color, texture, energy, and melody. Yet despite the wide range and contrasts, the music never loses its coherence or sense of purpose…everyone is listened to and supported and offers up suggestions and ideas that turn into fruitful directions for the band to explore. Like the farmers of the album’s title, this trio excels at planting kernels of sound and letting the music flower and flourish.”
Ed Hazell, Point of Departure

“…enthralling music that is organic and spontaneous. The sheer movement and constant exchange of ideas flows like a tidal wave of energy. When taken in its entirety, it is simply stunning.”
Mark F. Turner, AllAboutJazz.com

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.

Improvised Communications To Represent Harris Eisenstadt

January 29, 2009

Harris Eisenstadt by Peter Gannushkin

Harris Eisenstadt by Peter Gannushkin

Improvised Communications is pleased to announce it has been retained by drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt as his media contact and to promote various upcoming projects in 2009, including the March debut of his newest ensemble, Woodblock Prints, at Brooklyn’s Ibeam Music Studio.

Eisenstadt, a Toronto native currently based in Brooklyn, is known as “one of the most creative and skilled musician/composers incorporating traditional material to create new and vital improvised music” (Robert Iannapollo, AllAboutJazz-New York).

He has performed around the world, earned numerous accolades and commissions for work in a wide variety of musical genres, and appeared on more than 35 recordings. His latest release as a leader, 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.