Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Satoko Fujii Celebrates Her 60th Birthday by Releasing One New CD Each Month in 2018

Satoko Fujii Celebrates Her 60th Birthday by Releasing One New CD Each Month in 2018


 “Unpredictable, wildly creative, and uncompromising… Fujii is an absolutely essential listen for anyone interested in the future of jazz.” ― Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

 “One of the most original pianists in free jazz.” ― Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe
“She could be the most important creative musician of our time.”
― Michael Nastos, allmusic

In pianist-composer Satoko Fujii’s native Japan, reaching the age of 60 is traditionally so important that there’s a special word for the milestone—kanreki. It’s a moment to remember life’s accomplishments and to put former troubles behind you. The celebrant enters the next stage of life with the all joy and expectations of a newborn child. To celebrate her own 60th birthday, Fujii, already a prolific bandleader with more than 80 releases to her name, will intensify her recording schedule, releasing one CD a month for all of 2018. Rather than using her kanreki year to look back at a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Fujii will emphasize new works for current projects, debut special projects, and introduce new working bands in an unprecedented 12-month spree of new releases. “I probably should think and notice that I am not young anymore,” she says, “but I just keep doing what I want to do.”

The pulse of any fan of Fujii’s unique musical vision will quicken at the thought of the anticipated albums. The celebration kicks off in January with Satoko Fujii: Solo (Libra), a live recording from the acoustically rich Yume Mikan Hall in Yawatahama, Japan. In a mesmerizing concert, she performed without a set list, simply improvising and playing compositions as they arose in the flow of the music.

Two releases by current ensembles will follow. In February, Atody Man (Circum Libra), the fourth release from KAZE, the collaborative group with trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins, will feature more fiercely energetic improvising from the international quartet. March will see the releases of Ninety-Nine Years (Libra), the latest from Orchestra Berlin. A new one from Orchestra Tokyo is also planned.

In addition, the dozen new releases will include the recording debuts of a new piano-bass-drums trio and This Is It!, a trio featuring Fujii with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and Takashi Itani on percussion. Also slated is Intelsat, a duet with Australian pianist Alister Spence and May (Long Song Records), which showcases a one-time trio with Italian soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo and American bassist Joe Fonda, with whom Fujii released a critically acclaimed duo album in 2016.

Other surprises and delights will be in store over the course of the year, in what is sure to be an unforgettable outpouring of musical riches.

Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original voices in jazz today. She’s “a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a bandleader who gets the best collaborators to deliver," says John Fordham in The Guardian. In concert and on more than 80 albums as a leader or co-leader, she synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock and Japanese folk music into an innovative music instantly recognizable as hers alone. Over the years, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music, including the ma-do quartet, the Min-Yoh Ensemble, and an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins. Her ongoing duet project with husband Natsuki Tamura released their sixth recording, Kisaragi, this year. “The duo's commitment to producing new sounds based on fresh ideas is second only to their musicianship,” says Karl Ackermann in All About Jazz. Aspiration, a CD by an ad hoc band featuring Wadada Leo Smith, Tamura, and Ikue Mori, was released this year to wide acclaim. “Four musicians who regularly aspire for greater heights with each venture reach the summit together on Aspiration,” writes S. Victor Aaron in Something Else. She records infrequently as an unaccompanied soloist, but her latest solo album, Invisible Hand, led Dan McClenaghan in All About Jazz to praise her “stream of ideas, eschewing repetition and cliché in the crafting of her solo work, her loveliest and most accessible music.” Fujii has also established herself as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles, leading Cadence magazine to call her, “the Ellington of free jazz.”

Kate McGarry Looks Ahead with Optimism Born of the Many Facets of Love on First Trio Album

Kate McGarry Looks Ahead with Optimism Born of the Many Facets of Love on First Trio Album

Featuring Keith Ganz and Gary Versace

On The Subject Tonight Is Love, out February 2, the trio conjures an alluring cinematic approach to a wide-ranging spectrum of love songs

 “While the world has no shortage of fine female singers, few have the musical depth, sense of passion and artistic ambitions of the divine Kate McGarry.”
– Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

“[Keith Ganz’] virtuosity is undeniable, but there is no hint of pyrotechnics… nothing extra; knowledge never eclipses emotion.” – Paul Curreri, City Salvage Records

"[Gary Versace] is endlessly inventive. He does a lot of fresh things - he really has an extraordinary talent.” – Marian McPartland, Piano Jazz

CD Release Concerts – Valentine’s Day, Wed, Feb. 14 at The Jazz Standard, NYC
• Sat. Feb. 17 – The Sharp Nine Gallery, Durham, NC  
• Wed, June 27 – Rochester Jazz Fest, Rochester, NY

“The subject tonight is love,” wrote the Persian poet and mystic Hafiz back in the 14th century. “And for tomorrow night as well / As a matter of fact / I know of no better topic / For us to discuss / Until we all / Die!”

Countless poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, writers and dreamers have taken up that same subject since Hafiz’s day, but despite seven intervening centuries of exploration, love continues to offer an inexhaustible supply of complexities and mysteries. On The Subject Tonight Is Love, their first album as a trio, vocalist Kate McGarry, guitarist/bassist Keith Ganz and keyboardist/accordionist Gary Versace rise to that eternal challenge, investigating the concept of love in its many forms and from several different perspectives over the course of a dozen alluring songs, from timeless folk tunes to transformed jazz standards, celebratory pop songs to evocative originals.

Love is not only the subject but the very substance of this project. The Subject Tonight Is Love (due out February 2, 2018 via Binxtown Records) is the culmination of more than a decade of work and friendship. McGarry and Ganz are partners in life as well as in music, while Versace has been a close and frequent collaborator with both, dating back to McGarry’s 2007 album The Target. In various combinations the three have worked together under each other’s leadership, alongside drummer/composer John Hollenbeck and with the vocal supergroup MOSS.

Only such longstanding relationships could lead to the free-ranging but sharply focused sounds that are captured on The Subject Tonight Is Love. Together, the trio decided to respond to the divisiveness of the day’s headlines by communing with one another – and, through their crowdfunding efforts, with their fans. “Especially in difficult times, artists have a responsibility to make music that invites listeners to a place where it's safe to connect with the tenderness and longings of the human heart,” McGarry says. “The Subject Tonight Is Love is a jazz love letter to a hopeful 2018.”

Beginning from McGarry’s gift for bringing a lyric to life, the trio improvised cinematic settings for each song, painterly enough to conjure vivid imagery in the listener’s mind while leaving space for their own spontaneous creations to shape each piece anew and allow an audience to make its own discoveries. Both Ganz and Versace pick up a variety of instruments throughout the session, with Ganz supplementing his acoustic and electric guitar with acoustic bass and, on one piece, drums, while Versace plays piano, keyboards, organ and accordion. McGarry also takes over the piano for her own “Losing Strategy #4.”

 “Kate’s music is very story-oriented,” Ganz says. “There’s a soundscape or mood that goes with each particular tune, so this trio offers an unusual situation where we’re all improvising within a specific mood. With just Gary and me, it’s easier to get a hold on the little world for each song and shape it or move it around in the moment each time we perform it.”

“I really appreciated that they were so receptive and sensitive to the origins of the stories behind the songs,” McGarry adds. “That’s always the driving force for me emotionally. Keith and Gary were able to be an extension of that, forwarding the narrative in instrumental ways. That’s a rare thing.”

Another kind of love was an important factor in bringing The Subject Tonight Is Love to fruition – namely, the love of their fans for McGarry, Ganz and Versace. The project was supported by a PledgeMusic crowdfunding campaign, which permitted the trio to take their time to discover an approach to the music and record at a more leisurely, exploratory pace. “We wouldn't have had that kind of freedom in other circumstances,” McGarry points out. “It was really beautiful to see so many people jump up to the plate and say, ‘We want this music to get made and we’re going to make sure that happens.’”

The title piece, a stark, atmospheric recitation of the Hafiz poem, sets the elusive mood for the album, followed by a gentle, diaristic take on the classic “Secret Love” that captures the song’s shift from the surreptitious to the celebratory. Their breezy, intimate “Gone With the Wind” meets the notion of lost love with a resigned, “easy come, easy go” shrug, while Ganz’s hushed, intimate arrangement of “My Funny Valentine” is a perfect fit for McGarry’s unique sincerity, overcoming a lifetime of resistance to what she rightly calls “this most abused of love songs.” Joy pervades “What a Difference a Day Made,” combined in a medley with Ganz’s “Mr. Sparkle.”

While these familiar tunes span the spectrum of love songs, the remainder of the album steps back for an even broader interpretation of the core idea. McGarry’s haunting “Climb Down” depicts a dream-like venture onto her own family tree, offering both a challenge and an expression of gratitude to the spirits of her forebears. The Irish folk tune “Whiskey You’re the Devil,” with Obed Calvaire making a guest appearance on drums, emerges at the end like an ancestral memory. Co-written by Benny Golson and Kenny Dorham, “Fair Weather” is an expression of brotherly love sorely-needed in these most divisive of times, while “Indian Summer” is saturated with the wistfulness of time gone by. Egberto Gismonti’s carnivalesque “Playing Palhaço,” with new lyrics by singer Jo Lawry, finds love peeling back the layers of masquerade we tend to hide ourselves beneath.

McGarry’s confessional “Losing Strategy #4,” with Versace’s expressive accordion supplying the voice of conscience, is a reckoning with the notion of retaliation, coming to terms with the fact that vengeance tends to backfire on oneself. “She Always Will” finds the trio revisiting a song, with music penned by guitarist Steve Cardenas, that the three originally recorded a decade earlier on The Target, now deepened and reflecting on the idea of maternal love. Finally, an impromptu romp through The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” provides an inviting epilogue, with a guest appearance by trumpet great Ron Miles to enhance the all-embracing message.

“Love is the substratum of all things,” McGarry says. “I wanted to look at love from a lot of different angles. The point wasn’t to sing about some idyllic love; it was more thinking about how love functions in our lives. What brings it to us? What keeps us from it? What helps us connect with it inside ourselves? What helps us connect to humanity? Having that current flowing through everything really affected the way we played.”
© John Abbott

Kate McGarry
With 7 critically acclaimed CDs and a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal CD, Kate McGarry has become recognized as a jazz artist who brings authenticity and vitality to every song regardless of genre. The Wall St. Journal calls her music "austere and elegant," while the New York Times pronounced it “astute and sensitive." McGarry’s 2012 CD Girl Talk (Palmetto), a tribute to her favorite visionary jazz women vocalists, garnered 4 stars in DownBeat Magazine and showed up on over 20 Best of 2012 jazz critic’s lists. Her 2013 collaboration with the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Songs I Like A Lot (Sunnyside), was lauded as a milestone in contemporary vocal jazz. In 2014 McGarry and her husband, guitarist Keith Ganz, celebrated 10 years of musical and life partnership with their first live duo recording, Genevieve and Ferdinand (Sunnyside). As an educator she has taught at New England Conservatory and currently serves on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music.

Keith Ganz
Keith Ganz is a guitarist, composer and arranger known for his unique blend of heartfelt acoustic guitar fingerpicking and adventurous jazz improvisation. He is also the producer of five critically acclaimed albums with vocalist Kate McGarry, including the Grammy-nominated If Less is More...Nothing is Everything (Palmetto). A celebrated accompanist, Ganz has been the guitarist of choice for Harry Connick Jr., Kurt Elling, Luciana Souza, Gretchen Parlato and many other acclaimed jazz vocalists. He has also performed and/or recorded with a host of jazz legends including Christian McBride, Fred Hersch, Victor Lewis, Chris Potter, and Andy Bey. He has performed on Late Night with David Letterman, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ellen, The View and Australian Idol.

Gary Versace
Since arriving in NYC in 2002, jazz pianist, organist and accordionist Gary Versace has become one of the busiest and most versatile musicians on the scene, often featured in bands led by musicians such as John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Al Foster, Regina Carter, Maria Schneider, Madeleine Peyroux, Matt Wilson, Joe Magnarelli, Andy LaVerne, Adam Nussbaum, Brad Shepik, Ingrid Jensen and many others. Versace’s recent CD releases include appearances as pianist on Ralph Alessi's Quiver (ECM), which received 4.5 stars in DownBeat; as accordionist on Maria Schneider's Grammy-winning The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare); as Hammond organist on Ellery Eskelin's Trio Willisau: Live (hatOLOGY) and Rich Perry's Organique (SteepleChase); and on all three instruments on Kurt Elling's Passion World (Concord).

Trombonist/Composer James Hall Weaves Together Diverse Styles and Inspirations To Form the Intricate and Stirring Lattice

Trombonist/Composer James Hall Weaves Together Diverse Styles and Inspirations To Form the Intricate and Stirring Lattice

Hall’s second album as a leader, from Outside In Music, beautifully melds trombone and flute, chamber music and jazz, passion and complexity

 “James Hall and his band [have] an eclectic, but inviting, voice. Their music is accessible, but weaves in and out of some of the highest realms of Jazz and Classical tradition.” – Makoto Fujimura, International Arts Movement

Intricately weaving together voices, melodies, ideas and genres, Lattice is the alluring and inventive sophomore recording from trombonist/composer James Hall. Due out February 9, 2018 from Outside In Music, the album is built around the harmonious combination of Hall’s dexterous trombone and the virtuosic flute playing of Baum, a study in contrasts that proves remarkably pliable and expressive through Hall’s inspired vision.

Lattice follows Hall’s acclaimed debut, Soon We Will Not Be Here, in which he and his Thousand Rooms Quartet set the work of contemporary New York City-based poets to Third Stream-inspired music that struck a delicate balance between modern jazz and contemporary classical music. Lattice eschews the vocals of its predecessor and veers in a more recognizably jazz direction, though Hall’s richly detailed writing maintains the sophisticated architecture of chamber music without forsaking the passion and propulsion of the best modern jazz.

To achieve those ends, Hall enlisted a skilled band with an elusive chemistry to breathe life into his compositions. In addition to Baum, he’s joined by keyboardist Deanna Witkowksi (Donny McCaslin), bassist Tom DiCarlo (Claudio Roditi, Sean Jones), and drummer Allan Mednard (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Parks). On two tracks the band is supplemented by in-demand saxophonist Sharel Cassity (Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis), whose fiery alto adds a new flavor to the often more contemplative styles of Hall and Baum.

A lattice necessarily begins with two pieces crossing, and for Hall that second piece was his now-wife, Kristen, to whom Lattice is dedicated. Their romance, engagement and marriage provided the spark that inspired him to begin writing this music. “I wanted to compose a project for two voices,” Hall explains. “The idea of two voices in close counterpoint seemed like a nice parallel to the love story that was happening in my life at the time. It all came together with the interweaving of melody lines reflecting the interweaving of two lives.”

More direct musical inspiration came from a few sources that Hall had long admired. One was legendary trombonist/composer/arranger Bob Brookmeyer’s writing for two voices, exemplified by his work with Stan Getz and Jim Hall. Another was the interplay of bass trombone and flute on Herbie Hancock’s classic album Speak Like a Child. Baum shared Hall’s love for that album, and their bonding over it was key to her signing on for the project.

Two strands are not enough to make a latticework, however, and as a number of pieces intersect to form a pattern, so Hall’s project expanded to encompass other voices and inspirations. He crossed paths with Mednard while both were touring with the retro-pop ensemble Postmodern Jukebox, while DiCarlo was suggested by Baum. Witkowski was introduced to Hall at the release concert for Soon We Will Not Be Here, and her interest in his music was matched by her gifts for interpreting it on both piano and Rhodes.

The scale of Hall’s concerns expanded and intersected as well. While a new love – not to mention wedding planning – can be all consuming, eventually the outside world intrudes. Never has that been more true than in recent years, as a project conceived on an intimate personal scale inevitably took on a broader scope as harsh realities came to light. The injustices brought to light by the Black Lives Matter movement and the divisive aftermath of the 2016 presidential election forced Hall to widen his perspective. Again, Herbie Hancock proved inspirational; Speak Like a Child was released in the politically tumultuous year of 1968, its hopeful call for a more childlike and loving perspective a conscious refutation of the day’s clashing ideologies.

“It’s a pretty album produced at an ugly time,” Hall says. “So as the world was sliding into an abyss and I was working on what for me was ‘pretty’ music, I was thinking of Herbie as a precedent.”

The lilting melody of “Shoy” opens the album, tipping its hat to another form of interweaving – the hybridization of grapes to create new wine varietals. While living in Germany more than a decade ago, Hall worked on a vineyard that specialized in the Sheurebe grape – the title is a transliterated shortening of the name – which is a cross between Riesling and Silvaner. Cassity’s supple alto kicks off Joe Henderson’s familiar “Black Narcissus,” which floats on Witkowski’s airy Rhodes while being driven by Mednard’s subtly roiling rhythm.

The title track is patient about bringing its divergent voices together, finally melding into a hopefully melodious theme at the song’s halfway point. The simmering swing of “Brittle Stitch” muses on the fragility of any relationship and the care and attention they require, while “Gaillardia” does some of that work by hinting at Hall’s wife’s maiden name in the form of a flower. The elegiac “Traveler” is dedicated to the composer’s great-uncle, whose passion for roaming the world and unconventional pairing with Hall’s great-aunt both offered models to emulate. “Kind Folk” is one of a few gorgeous Kenny Wheeler tunes that entered Hall’s songbook after the late trumpet great served as artist-in-residence during Hall’s time at Lawrence University, while the bluesy “Terrace,” featuring the full-throated moan of Hall’s muted trombone, closes the album with a portrait of his adopted neighborhood in Brooklyn.

“A lattice is made up of many intersecting parts,” Hall concludes. “As this project matured, even if I composed a piece thinking about myself and my wife, the lattice grew to incorporate everyone I met, everyone I engaged with. It touches on the question of where I sit in the lattice that is New York City, or on a larger scale, that is America in the 21st century. I take heart in the fact that there can be as many strands and intersections in a lattice as there are people or relationships in my life. Maybe it starts with me and my life or my family, but it doesn't have to end there.”

James Hall

A trombonist and composer from Nebraska based in New York City, James Hall is a versatile musician and composer whose projects have spanned jazz, classical, Latin, and popular music. As a composer and bandleader, James was named a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition, won three ASCAPlus Awards for composition, and was a featured performer/composer at the 2012 Chelsea Music Festival. He has appeared on several recordings with Postmodern Jukebox, with whom he has toured Europe and the United States. His first CD as a composer/bandleader, Soon We Will Not Be Here, was released in October 2013 and featured his Thousand Rooms Quartet. James holds degrees from the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Wisconsin and Aaron Copland School of Music in New York. His teachers have included Luis Bonilla, Hal Crook, Michael Dease, Nick Keelan, Ed Neumeister, and Fred Sturm.

Drummer Jeff Hamilton’s band with Tamir Hendelman and Christoph Luty takes its place in the trio pantheon with Live from San Pedro

Drummer Jeff Hamilton’s band with Tamir Hendelman and Christoph Luty takes its place in the trio pantheon with
Live from San Pedro

Mainstream perfection as delivered by three spirited virtuosos
Available February 16, 2018 on Capri Records 

“The joy is evident in the music itself.  Hamilton, Hendelman and Luty have a sublime rapport.” – Bobby Reed, DownBeat Magazine Editor’s Pick

 “Joy – unbounded, infectious, irresistible – that’s what Jeff Hamilton and his trio deliver.” – Geoffrey C. Ward, co-author of Jazz: A History of America’s Music

Little did anyone imagine that it would take a masterly drummer to pick up the mantle of the late, great Oscar Peterson as a leader of outstanding piano, bass and drum trios. Still, those with attuned ears will recognize that Jeff Hamilton has assembled one of the most meticulous and exciting small ensembles of present day jazz. With the virtuosic pianist Tamir Hendelman and the redoubtable bassist Christoph Luty working in swinging tandem alongside him, Hamilton–one of the most acclaimed drummers of the past five decades–reasserts his role as an invaluable bandleader. Live from San Pedro, available February 16, 2018 via Capri Records, is proof that the chemistry between these three equally gifted and assertive players remains unabated 17 years into the group’s existence. Nodding to the grand tradition that predates them, yet eager to put a fresh face on the musical proceedings, the Hamilton trio stakes its place as a classic ensemble within the hallowed history of piano trios.

Captured at a single night’s performance at the Alvas Showroom in San Pedro, California, the trio dives deep into an imaginative repertoire that includes bop standards (“In Walked Bud”), a beloved ballad (“I Have Dreamed”), reworked show tunes (“Gary, Indiana”), a classic from the Ahmad Jamal playbook (“Poinciana”) and a host of original tunes from group members and others including John Clayton and Joe LaBarbera. The set demonstrates the indivisible unity that the threesome has achieved, as well as the individual virtuosity of each distinguished trio member. While not overtly resembling the trios of Oscar Peterson, the Hamilton trio shares the same rigorous adherence to stop-on-a-dime arrangements, careful dynamics and perfectly framed improvisations. 

While asserting his leadership through his extraordinary rhythmic control, not to mention his exquisite taste, Hamilton is the opposite of a grandstanding percussionist. As Geoffrey C. Ward has written, “He’s a musician first and foremost, always eager to serve the music, not to make the music serve him.” One of the great practitioners of the art of brushwork, Hamilton gets to exhibit his mastery throughout the recording; his feature, “Brush This,” composed by the bassist John Clayton (Hamilton’s cohort in the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra) is a special treat. His equally renowned stick work is also abundantly on display. With Hamilton navigating the trio through its paces, and Hendelman and Luty locking in with communal exactness, the band becomes a well-oiled, yet creatively inspired, swing machine.  

One of the giants of mainstream jazz drumming, Jeff Hamilton has been heard with the big bands of Woody Herman and Count Basie, and as a member of the popular L.A. 4, as well as with such icons as Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Brown, Monty Alexander and Oscar Peterson. In addition to his work with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Hamilton has appeared with Diana Krall both in performance and on recordings.  Live from San Pedro is his third Capri Records album with the Jeff Hamilton trio.

The Israeli-born Tamir Hendelman has played with such luminaries as Tierney Sutton, Teddy Edwards and Harry Allen, and is the pianist for the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Christoph Luty is also a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and has worked with Diana Krall, John Pizzarelli and Milt Jackson, among others.

Syrinx Effect Releases First Full-Length LP: A Sky You Could Strike A Match On

Syrinx Effect Releases First Full-Length LP:
A Sky You Could Strike A Match On

Syrinx Effect’s Kate Olson and Naomi Siegel consider A Sky You Could Strike A Match On to be their “pop” album. Their first full-length vinyl release features a slight departure from their previous ambient, improvised, and experimentally constructed EPs. The tunes on A Sky You Could Strike A Match On are closer to jazz standards or folks songs, with recurring composed melodies separated by layered improvisations. Naomi’s composition Redwood Cry, for example, is marked by a haunting melody that transitions into a raucous trombone solo, back to the melody, and then on to a flowing and placid soprano saxophone improvisation. The track ends with a return to the melody, much the way a country tune would reprise the chorus one last time.

Both Kate Olsen (soprano saxophone) and Naomi Siegel (trombone) originally hail from the Midwest: Kate spent her formative years in Wyoming and Michigan, and Naomi was raised in Illinois and graduated college in Ohio. Their band Syrinx Effect, however, was born on the West Coast in Seattle. They met at the renowned Racer Sessions, a weekly, all-ages improv jam session. Their music has always been built from the combination of improvised and composed sections, and this latest release is no exception. Each performer demonstrates prowess, thoughtfulness and virtuosity whether taking a solo or playing a supporting role.

This is a uniquely personal record for Naomi and Kate. Both women were living and working in Seattle while writing the material for A Sky You Could Strike A Match On, but the album is a combination travelogue and scrapbook. From the skittering of a crab on the Hawaiian island of Molokai to the sounds of a water gun fight in the hot summer sun, each track recalls the travels or musings of its composer. Naomi’s Gretta Returns to Dream imagines the inner life of a happy chicken, and Kate’s Bottomfeeders is an homage to delicious denizens of the deep, like catfish and lobster. As the band started in Seattle, it will continue to grow and be influenced by Naomi’s new home in Missoula, MT. Syrinx Effect looks forward to bringing this new album to entirely new audiences, close to home and abroad.

Kate and Naomi often write music independently, bringing fully-formed tunes to rehearsal with each other, and they use the rehearsal studio as a creative space to refine and flesh out their ideas. On A Sky You Could Strike A Match On, their third self-released album, they also invited drummer/producer/recording engineer Eric Eagle into the mix. Eric was instrumental in the polishing of each track for its eventual release, and created the majority of the drum sounds in the studio himself. Kate’s composition The Bankrobber Song features Eric at the drumset, cuing tempo changes and breathing life into the New Orleans-style group improvisation at the end. The music was recorded in 2016 and 2017 primarily at Eric’s studio, Skoorsound.

Eric’s contributions in the studio also gave the duo new ideas for live performance. The sounds that Naomi, Kate, and Eric created in the studio, from hand claps and glass bottles clinking to bass drum and snare hits, can now be triggered during the performance of each song. The album opens with Naomi’s composition Cameronathon, which starts with an open groove that the band adapted to live performance with a combination of live tambourine and triggered studio sounds. It was this innovation that spurred the duo to seek a support grant from Seattle’s 4Culture. They were awarded a generous grant, which has given Syrinx Effect the freedom to finish the record and release it independent of any record label.

The music on A Sky You Could Strike A Match On often defies categorization. It’s jazz-ish, but it’s not jazz. The melodies sound like folk songs, but trombone and soprano saxophone are there to replace the trademark plaintive vocals and twangy guitars. Each track has an electronic element, but the sounds come from acoustic instruments. The inspiration for each composition is rooted in a synthesis of the beauty of the natural world and the dichotomies of city living. Syrinx Effect’s website calls the music “interstellar folk punk jazz.” This album delivers on all counts.

Syrinx Effect Press:

“Utilizing looping, distortion pedals, and a laptop, the two women create varied landscapes of sound—forests, skylines, desolate plains—populated with sympathetic voices, their instruments bending and slashing to achieve an expressiveness usually reserved for strings.....playful, unpredictable, and, most important, just plain interesting.” —Mark Baumgarten, Seattle Weekly

“... dreaming music... it just happens to occasionally chatter and fling about in its sleep.... lovely melodic lines, perpetually intertwining and unraveling, inspire more liveliness than an ambient hush can contain.” —Dave Sumner, www.birdistheworm.com

“... the two artists have created a sound and a world that is all their own, and have provided the listener with a musical journey that is not only aurally stimulating, but life affirming. Outstanding!” —Stefan Wood, www.freejazzblog.com

“The genius of the music lies not so much in the performance of it — which is captivating, anyway — as it does in its conception. Any musician can go get these toys, but Syrinx Effect knows how to use ’em.” —S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews

For more information visit:  www.syrinxeffect.com

The Carl Michel Group “Music In Motian – The Compositons Of Paul Motian”

The Carl Michel Group
“Music In Motian – The Compositons Of Paul Motian”
Play On Records 1003-2 2018

The music of drummer/composer Paul Motian is revered in certain circles of jazz, while res4ng
in obscurity among others. The performing credits of Motian run deep and are extensive, but as
a author of highly original music, he lies in the under-documented category. This will not last
much longer as, in the years since his passing, his followers are carrying the torch, one such
notable being guitarist Carl Michel.

Michel (pronounced Michael) has recognized the contribu4ons of Paul Motian, and he has recreated
a complete repertoire of his music. Ann Arbor-based jazz guitarist and composer Michel
now has recorded a compendium of Mo4an's music played with expert musicians from
Southeastern Michigan, a one-of-a-kind tribute to Paul Mo4an's music, with adapta4ons and
extrapola4ons akin to the fer4le musical mind Michael is inspired by.

The late drummer Paul Motian was an icon not only among his fellow percussionists but as a
composer in his own right. In additon to performing with his own group, he performed with
the great pianist Bill Evans’ trio and the legendary Keith JarreO-led mid-70s small ensemble,
while working sidebar gigs with Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell and recording for the Nonesuch,
ECM and Winter & Winter labels, among others. Motian became important in many addi4onal
ways as a mentor and unique presence in modern jazz.

In his research on and recording of Mo4an’s music, Michel discovered a blog of Cindy McGuirl,
Paul Motian’s niece, who has self-publishing a book, “The Composi4ons of Paul Mo4an Volume
1 1973-1989.” Volume 2 of Motian’s composi4ons will be out early 2018. Her blog, 4tled “Uncle
Paul’s Jazz Closet,” has podcasts of radio shows that she curates featuring her uncle’s music.
As far as Michels’ connec4on to Paul Mo4an’s music, it goes back to his early interest in jazz. “I
got informa4on from record stores - the first record I had was a Wes Montgomery/Milt Jackson
album, then Ralph Towner and Gary Burton. I liked the ECM label and the sound. I fell into John
Abercrombie and Pat Metheny preOy hard, but I found a promo copy of Dance by Paul Mo4an
on ECM, and at first I didn’t get it, but I loved the spacious sound, and there was no other
drummer so unique. I got acquainted with Keith JarreO’s American Quartet and Quintet. But it
was Paul Mo4an's Live In Tokyo that really turned the light on, and I realized so much in his
music - elements of Thelonious Monk, Eastern European music and OrneOe Coleman coming
together in his wri4ng - and it hit a peak.”

“I tried to get in touch with him, wrote to the record label - his music is not in The Real Book -
and he graciously sent me 10-12 copies of his music. There’s a lot of depth, and you see how the
wri4ng is becoming stronger. By then, he was not touring, only playing in New York, and I went
to the Village Vanguard to hear him, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano. It was religious and
mesmerizing. Aier he passed away in 2011, I was able to meet others through the internet who
were interested in his music and had copies and was able to exchange music with them. I wrote
his music administrator to see if I could get more, was able to, and did the recording project of
which I’m proud.”

Now, as a definitive statement, the music of Paul Motian is available to the world through the
keen lens of Carl Michel for all the world to hear, listen to, and deeply enjoy.

1 India 6:42
2 Mode VI 5:57
3 In The Year Of The Dragon 5:37
4 Abacus 5:23
5 Birdsong 1:14
6 Osmosis 3:55
7 From Time To Time 3:50
8 Arabesque 4:08
9 It Should Have Happened A Long Time Ago 4:52
10 Circle Dance 3:49

All Composi4ons By Paul Motian © Yazgol Music-BMI

Carl Michel - Guitar
Mick Dobday - Piano
Dan Kolton - Bass
Alex Trajano - Drums
Recorded in 2013 & 2014

Solid Sound, Eric Wojahn, Engineer
Additional Recording at Tempermill Studios, Tony Hamera, Engineer
Mixed & Mastered at Solid Sound, Eric Wojahn, Engineer
Produced By Carl Michel
Front Cover Photo by MaOhew Sussman
Back Cover Photo by Brent Bacher
Package Design by Stephaine Layton
©℗Play On Records 2018
Play On Records 1003-2


Featuring Steve Wilson, Ron Horton, Shoko Nagai, Scott Hardy, Michael Sarin, and Satoshi Takeishi

 "...a composer of emotional depth and effortless lyricism." – DownBeat
"Getting lost in this music is simply a joy." – All About Jazz
"A crafty, lyrically minded improviser and a compelling composer..." – The New Yorker
"...achingly beautiful...a level of intimacy that is rare today in jazz." – JazzWax.com
CD Release concert at Jazz at Kitano on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018
Pianist and composer Leslie Pintchik found the title for her new album in one of those "only in New York" moments. While crossing Canal Street at West Broadway in the SoHo section of Manhattan, she heard a voice behind her yell, "You eat my food, you drink my wine, you steal my girl!" As it happened, she'd just completed writing a new composition, and at that very moment she knew she'd found its title. It was a perfect fit for the sharp-elbows vibe of the piece, with its samba-funk groove, understated humor and fender-bender of an ending. So with one gruff shout, serendipity handed her a bold, spunky title, for a bold, spunky tune.
With its implied but elusive narrative and personality to spare, the outburst also turned out to be a perfect title for Pintchik's new recording, which features six of her original tunes and two standards. As on her five previous albums, Pintchik has penned a collection of songs overflowing with warmth, humor, tenderness, depth and smarts - without forsaking her razor-sharp edge. Pintchik is unique in combining a brisk energy and drive with a gift for accessible, infectious melodies - like that overheard accusation, her music strikes a unique balance between the sharp-edged and the charming. You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl! will be released February 23, 2018 via Pintch Hard Records.

In his liner notes for the CD, Allen Morrison writes "As a composer, [Pintchik is] like a novelist, unspooling each song like a good story with twists and turns, and with a story-teller's patience and sense of form. And, like a good novel, her songs appeal to both the head and the heart; they are subtle, sometimes wry, sometimes somber. I think they're not-so-buried treasures, waiting to be discovered by other jazz artists." In addition, the wide range of grooves (samba-funk with a touch of partido alto, swing, bolero, traditional samba, straight-eighths, and ballads-all played with exceptional skill and pizzazz by Leslie and her top-notch band members) is a great added pleasure.

For this outing, Pintchik returns once again with the musicians with whom she has played and recorded for many years: Steve Wilson on alto sax, Ron Horton on trumpet and flugelhorn, Scott Hardy on bass and guitar, drummer Michael Sarin, and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi. On accordion, Shoko Nagai is the newcomer, and a wonderfully intriguing addition to the mix. Recalling the recording session, Pintchik said "I had the time of my life playing with these extraordinary musicians and people, all gems and superb players."
"You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!" is not the only mouthful of a title on the album. It's topped by "Your call will be answered by our next available representative, in the order in which it was received. Please stay on the line; your call is important to us," which should instantly raise the blood pressure of anyone who's ever wasted hours of their life on hold to fix - or at least attempt to - a problem that's already wasted too much time. Fueled by that all-too-common experience, the tune swings hard with a fervor born of equal parts frustration and an antic comic spirit. Special kudos to the rhythm section for its drive amidst the unexpected stops and starts.

>From the playful to the poignant: Pintchik's ballad "Mortal" was written, she says, "to express a sense of life's fragility, beauty, and especially shortness." A highlight of the set, "Mortal" showcases a fearless use of space and silence, and gorgeous heart-on-the-sleeve solos from Pintchik, Wilson, Horton and Hardy. (Of particular note is Horton's flugelhorn solo, which is both beautiful and wrenching.) On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, "Happy Dog," as its name suggests, is a cheerful tune. Shoko Nagai plays the melody in unison with Pintchik, and the samba-based rhythm provides a simpatico backdrop for the wonderfully frisky solos of Pintchik, Hardy and Takeishi.

Like Pintchik's tunes, Edward Hopper's paintings are renowned for suggesting stories not quite told in full within the confines of their canvases. A tune with a straight eighths time feel that features Shoko Nagai on accordion, "Hopperesque" was inspired by the iconic artist's work, especially those paintings that depict people in the kind of threshold moments that provoke the viewer to wonder what happened before, and what might come after, the scene we're presented with. "I've tried," Pintchik says, "to capture that feeling of mystery."

One of the earliest tunes written for the album, "A Simpler Time" was inspired by the composer's trip to the Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts, where she was touched by the rare adult cradles that she saw, used to soothe the elderly and infirm. Pintchik characterizes the piece as "an adult lullaby." In his liner notes, Morrison writes "There's an emotional maturity to it that seems to acknowledge that life itself is not simple, that we are often overwhelmed with hard choices and mixed emotions, and we have a universal need for kindness. As with so many of Leslie's songs, the melody is memorable, but not simple."

Approaching the album's standards with the same unique perspective and wry insight that she brings to her own tunes, Pintchik plays the jazz and pop standard "I'm Glad There Is You" as a bolero, which affords the melody of this love song a lot of breathing room. In his liner notes to the CD, Allen Morrison writes "It's one of the most tender readings of this great song (by Jimmy Dorsey and Paul Madeira) that I've ever heard." The Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach chestnut "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" is played as a samba, with an added catchy rhythmic hook that bookends the melody. This version features a wonderfully relaxed rhythm section that, in the ending tag, builds up a strong head of caffeinated Brazilian steam, before the rhythmic hook returns, and it's over and out.

Leslie Pintchik Short Bio
Before embarking on a career in jazz, Leslie Pintchik was a teaching assistant in English literature at Columbia University, where she also received her Master of Philosophy degree in seventeenth-century English literature. She first surfaced on the Manhattan scene in a trio with legendary bassist Red Mitchell at Bradley's, and in the ensuing years Pintchik formed her own trio which performs regularly at New York City jazz venues. Pintchik's debut CD So Glad To Be Here was released in June 2004, followed by Quartets in 2007. About So Glad To Be Here, Ken Micallef wrote in DownBeat "Pintchik's music is fresh, full of light and instantly invigorating (4 stars)." In the fall of 2010, she released her third CD We're Here To Listen, as well as a DVD Leslie Pintchik Quartet Live In Concert.  Jim Wilke, creator of the nationally syndicated "Jazz After Hours" radio show included We're Here To Listen on his "Best CDs of 2010" list, and the jazz journalist and scholar W. Royal Stokes included both projects in his "Best of 2010" list. Pintchik's fourth CD In The Nature Of Things was released on March, 2014. Steve Futterman, in The New Yorker magazine, called it "...one of the more captivating recordings to come out so far this year...", and Gary Walker of WBGO jazz radio called it "...a gorgeous display of the trio." In his review of Pintchik's fifth CD True North-released in March, 2016-Dan Bilawsky in AllAboutJazz.com wrote "Leslie Pintchik's music has a magical draw to itŠ Getting lost in this music is simply a joy. If 2016 has a more pleasurable listen to offer than True North, this writer hasn't heard it yet. (4 1/2 stars)"

In addition to composing the music for her band, Leslie has also written the liner notes for some notable recent jazz CDs, including Duologue by saxophonist Steve Wilson and drummer Lewis Nash (on the MCG label), and Daybreak by pianist Bruce Barth (on the Savant label).