Saturday, July 7, 2018

CD Review: John Coltrane Lost Album, Both Directions at Once

John Coltrane Lost Album -  Both Directions at Once

"It's like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid." those were the words of saxophonist legend Sonny Rollins when asked about a lost and recently found John Coltrane recording.

When Saxophonist John Coltrane died in 1967 at the age of 40, the world lost a brilliant mind and a true music genius. Sonny Rollins, still alive, was one of Coltrane closest friends and also a genius and Jazz Legend on his own right.

The music of Coltrane, more than 50 years after his death, is still as relevant today as it was back then. So finding a lost recording by Trane is certainly big news in the jazz and music world.

The music on this lost album was recorded in 1963, by a group of musicians that were regarded (and still is today) as one of the best bands in the history of jazz. Elvin Jones on drums, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and of course John Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophone, established a jazz sound and style that is still a point of reference to jazz musicians today.

The master tapes were found in the basement of Coltrane's first wife Naima. The album was recorded right before the Coltrane/Johnny Hartman album and at a time when the group were playing some dates at Birdland, and the approach to the music has some similarities to the way the group played live.

Back in 1963 Coltrane was in a transition period, still playing in the blues, bebop style of his 1950's recordings, as in "Slow Blues", but already pushing forward with fearless experimentations and with the new ideas providing a glimpse of his avant garde period of later years as can be heard in "One up and Down", "11383" and "11386".

The album also includes new improvisational explorations of already known Trane classics like "Impressions", the more subtle and conventional approach in the tune Vila, a Coltrane interpretation of an Aria by Franz Christian Lehar, and the modal take on the song "Nature Boy".

The tittle for the album Both Directions at Once, according to his son Ravi Coltrane, came from a conversation between John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, about both of them playing a musical idea starting from the middle and moving at both directions at once. 

Both Directions at Once is a recording of great musicians at the top of their game. No doubt, Jazz aficionados will be delighted with the opportunity of listening to new and extraordinary Coltrane music once again. The fact that Coltrane, Tyner, Jones and Garrison though this amazing recording was not good enough for them to release it only speak to the greatness of this superb group.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lost studio album from John Coltrane to be released on Impulse! June 29

Lost studio album from John Coltrane to be released on Impulse! June 29 - Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album

Features original, never-before-heard compositions, recorded by Coltrane's Classic Quartet in 1963 at Van Gelder Studios
"Untitled Original 11383" available June 8

On March 6, 1963, John Coltrane and his Classic Quartet - McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones - recorded an entire studio album at the legendary Van Gelder Studios. This music, which features unheard originals, will finally be released 55 years later. This is, in short, the holy grail of jazz.

Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album will be released on June 29 on Impulse! Records, Coltrane's final and most creative label home.

The first week of March in 1963 was busy for John Coltrane. He was in the midst of a two-week run at Birdland and was gearing up to record the famed John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman album, which he did on March 7. But there was a session the day before that was the stuff of legend, until now.

On Wednesday, March 6, Coltrane and the quartet went to Van Gelder Studios in Englewood, NJ and cut a complete album's worth of material, including several original compositions that were never recorded elsewhere.  They spent the day committing these to tape, taking time with some, rehearsing them two, three times, playing them in different ways and in different configurations.

At the end of the day, Coltrane left Van Gelder Studios with a reference tape and brought it to the home in Queens that he shared with his wife, Naima. These tapes remained untouched for the next 54 years until Impulse! approached the family about finally releasing this lost album. Though the master tape was never found-Rudy Van Gelder wasn't one for clutter-the reference tape was discovered to be in excellent condition.

As the legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins so rightly put it, "This is like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid." The musical implications of this album, the original compositions, the arrangements, the band, the year it was recorded, all amount to a rediscovery and re-contextualization of one of the most important musicians of our time.

Danny Bennett, President and CEO of the Verve Label Group and home of Impulse! records, says, "Jazz is more relevant today than ever. It's becoming the alternative music of the 21st century, and no one embodies the boundary-breaking essence of jazz more than John Coltrane. He was a visionary who changed the course of music, and this lost album is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. It gives us insight into his creative process and connects us to his artistry. This album is a cultural moment and the release coincides perfectly with our relaunch of the iconic Impulse! label."

On this album, there are two completely unknown and never-before-heard originals. "Untitled Original 11383" and "Untitled Original 11386," both played on soprano sax. "11383" features an arco bass solo by Jimmy Garrison, a relative rarity, and "11386" marks a significant structural change for the quartet, in that they keep returning to the theme between solos, not typical in the quartet's repertoire.

In addition to the two unheard originals, "One Up, One Down" - released previously only on a bootleg recording from Birdland - is heard here as a studio recording for the first and only time. It contains a fascinating exchange between Elvin Jones and Coltrane.

"Impressions," one of Coltrane's most famous and oft-recorded compositions, is played here in a piano-less trio. In fact, McCoy Tyner lays out a number of times during this recording session. It's one of the more interesting aspects of this session and reflects the harmonic possibilities that Coltrane was known to be discussing regularly with Ornette Coleman around this time.

This studio session also yielded Coltrane's first recording of "Nature Boy," which he would record again in 1965, and the two versions differ greatly. The one we know is exploratory, meandering. This version is tight, solo-less and clocking in at just over three minutes. The other non-original composition on the album is "Vilia," from Franz Lehár's operetta "The Merry Widow." 
The soprano version on the Deluxe Edition is the only track from this session to have been previously released.

This incredible, once-in-a-lifetime discovery reveals a number of creative balances at work, like developing original melodies while rethinking familiar standards. Trying out some tunes first on tenor saxophone, then on soprano. Using older techniques like the arpeggio runs of his "sheets of sound" while experimenting with false fingerings and other newer sounds. This session was pivotal, though to call it such overlooks the fact Coltrane was ever on pivot, always pushing the pedal down while still calling on older, tested ideas and devices.

Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album is a major addition to the Coltrane catalogue and the most important jazz discovery in recent memory.

This historic session resulted in 14 tracks in total. On the standard edition, there are 7 takes, chosen by Ravi Coltrane. The rest of the takes exist on the second disc of the deluxe set. There will be a standard CD and LP and a deluxe CD and LP available on June 29 on Impulse! The deluxe edition will exist on all digital streaming platforms as well.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Stanley Clarke New Album The Message

45 years after his album debut, four-time Grammy® Award-winning bassist Stanley Clarke shows he is still unapproachable on both the electric and acoustic, wielding a vision of fusion and funk, breakbeats and bass-interpreted cello suites with a little help from friends like rapper/beatboxer Doug E. Fresh and trumpeter Mark Isham. Backed by a young versatile band and a collection of tunes written in the midst of a tumultuous tour of Europe, The Message (available now from Mack Avenue Records) swells with an abundance of strength, soul and astounding musicianship.

The Message is unmistakably a Stanley Clarke record. Five decades of unapproachable bass mastery doesn't come easy and Clarke has no interest in relinquishing his throne. Propelled by the youthfulness of his bandmates: Cameron Graves on synthesizers, Beka Gochiashvilion acoustic piano, Mike Mitchell on drums, and of course Stanley Clarke on bass, reaches even deeper into his bag of tricks for an incredibly satisfying listen.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tia Fuller Diamond Cut – Available May 25

Tia Fuller
Diamond Cut – Available May 25
While the phrase “diamond in the rough” often describes burgeoning talents brimming with potential, Fuller has exhibited impending greatness since emerging on the international jazz scene more than a decade ago. 

Now, her artistic capacity has blossomed tremendously, resulting in her fourth Mack Avenue Records release – the aptly titled Diamond Cut. In those six years, she’s transitioned from being a member of Beyoncé’s touring band to becoming a full-time professor at Berklee College of Music, while still juggling a demanding career as a solo artist and touring with the likes of drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and Ralph Peterson Jr., among others.
"…she’s one of the most gifted jazz musicians of her generation." – Ebony
"At this point in her career, Fuller finds herself amid a tight circle of the most accomplished female musicians in the business … she continues gracefully on her own path, all while forging new ground for women in jazz." – The Washington Post

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Celebrated jazz pianist/composer Fred Hersch releases luminous new trio recording Live in Europe

Celebrated jazz pianist/composer Fred Hersch releases luminous new trio recording Live in Europe

May 11, 2018 via Palmetto Records

"One of the major jazz ensembles of our times." – Will Friedwald, The Wall Street Journal 

     “Hersch leads one of the most sensitive and nimble trios in jazz.”
– Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

       “An imposing level of collective empathy.” – Nate Chinen, The New York Times

Live in Europe (May 11, 2018, Palmetto Records) crowns what was a momentous year for pianist Fred Hersch. Capturing his trio–with longtime associates, bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson–in peak form, the new album signals a high level mark for an ensemble that has been garnering critical and popular praise for nearly a decade. Consisting of six Hersch originals and two significant compositions apiece from Thelonious Monk (“We See,” “Blue Monk”) and Wayne Shorter (“Miyako,” “Black Nile”), Live in Europedemonstrates how a working trio breathes as one. 

“The trio has a shared language; by now we each contribute an equal part in what goes on musically during a performance,” Hersch says. He has made a dozen trio albums over the last 30 years, and he states that “This is the best trio recording we’ve yet made, and pretty much as well as I can play in terms of energy and technical command.”

Serendipity played its role in the birth of the album. The penultimate engagement of the band’s three-week European tour in November of 2017 was held at Flagey Studio 4, in Brussels’ former National Institute for Radio Broadcasting. “After the show, I realized that this was one of the two or three best performances we had given. The band was in terrific playing form, the acoustics were perfect and the piano was outstanding,” Hersch recalls. “On returning to New York, I thought about the show and was then pleasantly surprised to find out that it had indeed been recorded. On hearing it, I was again struck by the level of creativity, content and energy.” 

Live in Europe finds the trio in near telepathic communion. While each band member is a virtuoso player, individual bravura is always subordinate to group interplay. Lyricism, open-eared interaction and a respect for the power of space are all invaluable components of the trio’s identity. In such performances as the frisky “Skipping,” the affecting ballad, “Bristol Fog” (dedicated to the late British pianist John Taylor), the joyous “Newklypso (dedicated to Hersch’s hero Sonny Rollins) and the bluesy tribute to New Orleans “The Big Easy,” Hersch, Hébert and McPherson give a master class in ensemble communication, uniting as one yet allowing each other to freely react with spontaneous invention. A masterful solo encore of “Blue Monk” spotlights the depth of Hersch’s undiminished improvisational skills and expressive powers.
© John Abbott
2017 was as a particularly bountiful period for the always-productive Hersch. Highlights included the publication of Hersch’s acclaimed autobiography Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz (named one of the Five Best Memoirs of 2017 by both The Washington Post and The New York Times) and two Grammy Award nominations for his revealing solo album Open Book on Palmetto Records:  Best Jazz Instrumental Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo (Benny Golson’s “Whisper Not”). In addition, Hersch was awarded the 2017 Prix in Honorem Jazz for the entirety of his career from l'Académie Charles Cros in France. Hersch also opened the Jazz At Lincoln Center 2017 Season with his "Leaves of Grass," a full-evening setting of Walt Whitman's words for vocalists Kurt Elling, Kate McGarry and an instrumental octet.

Add to that such recent accolades as the 2016 Doris Duke Artist award and the 2016 Jazz Pianist of the Year award from the Jazz Journalists Association–not to mention the release of the feature documentary The Ballad of Fred Hersch, premiered at the prestigious Full Frame Film Festival in March 2016 to rave reviews and now streaming on Vimeo–and you have that most auspicious of times when an artist is being rightfully acknowledged for attaining new pinnacles of ability and inventiveness.

That Hersch is reaching such artistic heights after his well-publicized battle with HIV and a subsequent 2-month coma in 2008 is extraordinary.  “The release of this album is also a personal triumph in that it once again reminds me of how lucky I’ve been,” Hersch states. “It’s been nearly ten years since my coma and to find that I can play with the focus and energy that I have now is remarkable to me.”   

A select member of jazz’s piano pantheon, Fred Hersch is a pervasively influential creative force who has shaped the music’s course over more than three decades as an improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator and recording artist. Hersch has earned a total of twelve Grammy nominations since 1993 in the categories of Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Best Instrumental Composition and Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Nine of his nominations have come since his recovery from a coma in 2008.

Hersch has long defined jazz’s creative edge in a wide variety of settings, from his breathtaking solo recitals and exploratory duos to his extraordinary trios and innovative chamber settings. With some three dozen albums to his credit as a leader or co-leader, he consistently wins an international array of awards and lavish critical praise for his albums. Hersch has earned similar distinction with his writing, garnering a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition. He’s collaborated with an astonishing range of artists throughout the worlds of jazz (Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Bill Frisell); classical (Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Christopher O'Riley); and Broadway (Audra McDonald). Long admired for his sympathetic work with singers, Hersch has joined with such notable jazz vocalists as Nancy King, Janis Siegel, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Norma Winstone and Kurt Elling.

For two decades Hersch has been a passionate spokesman and fund-raiser for AIDS services and education agencies. He has produced and performed on four benefit recordings and in numerous concerts for charities including Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. To date, his efforts have raised more than $300,000. He has also been a keynote speaker and performer at international medical conferences in the U.S. and Europe.

A committed educator, Hersch has taught at New England Conservatory, The Juilliard School, The New School and The Manhattan School of Music. He is currently a Visiting Artist at Rutgers University. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Grinnell College and Northern Kentucky University. Hersch's influence has been widely felt on a new generation of jazz pianists, from former students Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson to his colleague Jason Moran, who has said, "Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection."

Friday, April 6, 2018

At 93, Roy Haynes Remains a Nuanced Drummer

At 93, Roy Haynes Remains a Nuanced Drummer

The midle of March was a wonderful time in New York for august gentlemen of jazz who still perform with strength, accuracy and charisma. The enduring skills of 93-year-old saxophonist Marshall Allen, at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere, and pianist Harold Mabern, 82, down in the wild basement den of Fat Cat, were on display.

Photo by Dino Perruci

Just as energetic, focused and supple was drummer Roy Haynes, also 93, who triumphed during a four-night birthday celebration at the Blue Note club.
Haynes’ past includes work with luminaries like Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Bud Powell and Stan Getz. And that was all before hitting the age of 30. At his second set on March 16, Haynes was a dapper, nimble figure, crouching at his kit with a wiry, coiled aspect, his shirt-cuffs unbuttoned and folded back. He sported one of the biggest ties known to mankind, very loosely knotted to allow maximum freedom of movement. He was joined by long-serving quartet comrades bassist David Wong, pianist Martin Bejerano and alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw.
Haynes is sensitized to tones, concentrating on the musicality of his tuned skins. He favors intricate rhythmic patterns that closely reflect the melodic structure of a composition. The set opened with him playing solo, establishing a feel for his bandmates to follow. Shaw reeled out his slick alto sweetness, while Bejerano poured out an uninhibited gush of notes, embellishing with great detail and finesse. Haynes still possesses a strong attack, but remains one of the most subtle percussionists around, starting with tiny rolls and building toward a rumbling onslaught.
Shaw switched to soprano for “Bemsha Swing,” penned by Haynes’ old bandleader, Thelonious Monk. Even though his touch frequently was light, Haynes still can drop a deep bomb, surprising with its sudden intensity. He held his snare-stick loosely, as though it had a life of its own, powering itself via gravity. Haynes displayed a rogue, unpredictable influence on this otherwise fairly straight-ahead quartet. His patterns were constantly bouncing in directions that listeners couldn’t anticipate and finding fresh accents. During “These Foolish Things,” Wong took a bass solo and Haynes went for a short wander, occasionally leaning back to make brief hits on a cymbal or a skin.
The bandleader used soft mallets to explore yet another palette, damping his hits and then began an extraordinary solo, which stretched into a seemingly endless eternity of magical minimalism. The entire club was completely hushed—which is a considerable achievement on a Friday night—as Haynes repeatedly snicked his hi-hat, finding slight shifts of emphasis and subtle variations. Haynes has a daring fascination for such extremity.
At the set’s close, the drummer passed his microphone to his colleagues, urging them to announce their names, as well as how many Haynes birthdays they’d been in his band for: Wong, 10; Shaw, 11; and Bejerano, 15.
Hopefully, there’ll be quite a few more for them to experience together. DB

Record Store Day 2018: 10 jazz records you need to know about

Record Store Day 2018: 10 jazz records you need to know about

Record Store Day (RSD) is the annual internationally celebrated day of vinyl records dedicated to supporting local independent record stores. This year’s edition will take place on April 21. Here are ten jazz RSD 2018 releases you need to know about.
SNARKY PUPPY – “Shark Tank”
Label: Ground UP Music; Quantity: 1350
This record was requested for release by fans. “Shark Tank” is the bonus track from Snarky Puppy’s 2016 album, Culcha Vulcha. It has never been released and has only been played by the band at live shows.
WYNTON MARSALIS SEPTET – “Night Life” b/w “I’m Gonna Find Another You”
Label: Blue Engine Records; Quantity: 1000
This RSD Exclusive captures two performances by the Wynton Marsalis Septet at two different Lincoln At Jazz Center annual galas, the project in support of the Center’s education programs: a 2003 rendition of “Night Life” featuring Willie Nelson and a 2006 take on “I’m Gonna Find Another You” with John Mayer.
Label: Columbia/Legacy; Quantity: 2500
Closing the centenary of pianist Thelonious Monk, the reissue of one of his overlooked gems: his fourth album for Columbia Records, originally released in 1964, newly remastered at high resolution from the original master tapes.
MILES DAVIS – Rubberband
Label: Rhino Records; Quantity: 2300
A 4-track EP of previously unheard Miles Davis music, originally recorded in 1985. The music originates from a project titled “Rubberband of Life,” which remained unfinished until its original producers, Randy Hall and Zane Giles, recruited Davis’ nephew, drummer Vince Wilburn Jr., and vocalist Ledisi to complete it.
ORNETTE COLEMAN – An Evening With Ornette Coleman, Part 2
Label: ORG Music; Quantity: 1600
The second of a two-part series, this record documents an Ornette Coleman concert from 1965 at Fairfield Hall in Croydon, England. At this time, the saxophonist experimented with contemporary classical forms. The recordings on this collection have been previously released in various forms, though their last U.S. vinyl pressing is now over forty years old.
Label: Blue Note; Quantity: 1200
Pianist and composer Robert Glasper and producer KAYTRANADA join forces to reimagine ArtScience, the 2016 album by the Robert Glasper Experiment. The set features cameos by Don Cheadle, Talib Kweli, Alex Isley, and Iman Omari.
VAN MORRISON – Alternative Moondance
Label: Rhino; Quantity: 5300
An alternative version of Van Morrison’s 1970 album, Moondance. It features alternative versions from its 2013 deluxe edition and unreleased alternative mixes of the tracks “And It Stoned Me” and “Crazy Love.”
BUNK JOHNSON – Rare and Unissued Masters: Volume One (1943-1945)
Label: ORG Music; Quantity: 1000
A collection of over a dozen rare and unissued tracks by trumpeter Bunk Johnson. The music presented here is of surprisingly high-quality thanks to the digital technology employed to rid it of the imperfections that prevented it from being released seventy years ago.
JOHN COLTRANE – “My Favorite Things”
Label: Atlantic; Quantity: 1000
Only previously available in the Coltrane Mono box set, this replica of the original “My Favorite Things I & II” hit single from 1961 comes in a reproduction of the original Atlantic Records sleeve and with remastered mono audio from the Atlantic Records vaults.
SUN RA – Astro Black
Label: Modern Harmonic; Quantity: 1350
The rarest of four Sun Ra RSD 2018 releases and the first proper reissue of Astro Black, one of a handful of albums the bandleader released on the Impulse! label in the 1970s. Here, the Arkestra draw to the end of their ultra-free period and begin to investigate more traditional jazz forms, even on the fringes of funk.
For a full list of Record Store Day 2018 releases and more information, go to

Monday, April 2, 2018

Verve releases two new Louis Armstrong box sets

Verve releases two new Louis Armstrong box sets

Published on Jazziz, April 1, 2018.
Verve Records is releasing two box sets of Louis Armstrong music in April: Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings, on April 6, and Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums, on April 13.
Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings is a four-CD and digital set that collects Armstrong’s iconic duets with vocalist Ella Fitzgerald. The 75-track collection gathers their three Verve albums: Ella and Louis (1956), Ella and Louis Again (1957), and Porgy and Bess(1958), along with all their Decca singles and several alternate and false starts from the Decca and Verve eras, along with other rare and previously unreleased material.
Preorder Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings here:

Pops Is Tops: The Verve studio Albums is a four-CD and digital set showcasing Armstrong’s singing on classic sets with the Oscar Peterson Trio and the Russ Garcia Orchestra. It includes I’ve Got The World On A String (1960), Louis Under The Stars (1958), both recorded with the Russ Garcia Orchestra, and Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson (1957), plus the previous digital-only release A Day With Satchmo (originally recorded in 1957). The albums are presented in their original mono masters for the first time since their original vinyl releases and include the original liner notes as well as extensive liners, recording, and track info by Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and author of What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years.

Preorder Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums here:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim with Strings

Tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim with Strings
FRIDAY, JULY 20 - 7:30 P.M.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Neighborhood Week comes to MCG Jazz to celebrate the music of renowned Brazilian icon, Antonio Carlos Jobim, with strings.

Members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra strings and woodwind sections will be joined by guest soloists - vocalist Maucha Adnet and percussionist Duduka da Fonseca– each a native of Brazil –both of whom worked closely with Jobim. Additional special guests include, pianist Tamir Hendelman and guitarist Marty Ashby

Each of these musicians are internationally recognized for expanding the worlds of jazz and Latin music. Come enjoy the music of Jobim performed by those who know it best.

Buy tickets at