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Posts tagged “All About Jazz

From All About Jazz: “Ken Field’s Revolutionary Snake Ensemble Returns to NYC”

Boston’s Acclaimed Revolutionary Snake Ensemble Returns to New York City Bringing their Avant Second Line New Orleans Funk Back For the First Time in Two Years


Dressed a la Mardi Gras in feathered masks and multi-colored, sequined costumes, playing music that riotously combines the rhythms of New Orleans brass bands with improvisation and heaping undercurrents of funk, the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble inhabits that rare musical planet on which Sun Ra, James Brown, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, and a myriad of New Orleans marching bands jointly reside.

They return to New York with a special line-up including trombonist Josh Roseman and drummer Kenny Wollesen with shows on May 20 at Barbes and May 22 at The Stone. The shows will be recorded so come out and be part of the celebration.


Ken Field/alto sax
Alex Smith/electric bass
Blake Newman/acoustic bass
Joey Lefitz/drums
Kenny Wollesen/drums
Alex Asher/trombone
Josh Roseman/trombone
Daniel Heath/trombone
Jerry Sabatini/trumpet

Their first CD, Year of the Snake, on Innova Recordings was released in 2003. It included music by Field as well as Sun Ra, John Scofield, James Brown, and others, with liner notes written by two-time Grammy-winning New Orleans music producer Scott Billington.”

Innova 599 (2003)

The CD is available from Innova or Amazon, the .mp3 album is available at Amazon.

see the ful AAJ article here.


Get to Know Rudresh Mahanthappa at All About Jazz

We need to be thankful for All About Jazz. The articles are so well done, so thorough.

This one, about the sort of new saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa leaves nothing out. I am never sure about copyright at AAJ, so, just a taste.


by Anil Prasad

“Rudresh Mahanthappa is a man on a mission. He’s driven to integrate the saxophone into a vast panorama of settings far beyond its typical range. His output is often reflective of his Indian-American heritage, with an engaging hybrid approach that merges avant-jazz and South Asian elements. His current quartet, also consisting of microtonal guitarist David Fiuczynski, bassist François Moutin and drummer Dan Weiss, is emblematic of that direction.

In addition to his own band, Mahanthappa leads or co-leads several other groups that push the boundaries of jazz. For almost two decades, he’s worked with pianist Vijay Iyer and they currently tour as a duo known as Raw Materials. Indo-Pak Coalition, featuring guitarist Rez Abbasi and Dan Weiss, is another key project. Mahanthappa also works with Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath in Kinsmen. The act explores the intersections between Indian and Western improvisatory approaches, with Mahanthappa taking on a jazz-oriented role, while Gopalnath represents the South Indian side of the equation. Mahanthappa is also one third of MSG, a mercurial trio with drummer Chander Sardjoe and bassist Ronan Guilfoyle that recently released its debut album Tasty! (Plus Loin Music, 2010).

Mahanthappa’s latest recording, Apex, (Pi Recordings, 2010) is a cross-generational collaboration with the highly influential, yet unsung saxophonist Bunky Green. Best known for a string of albums on Vanguard in the ’70s, including the acclaimed Places We’ve Never Been, Green is enjoying a renaissance of interest as a result of Apex. The fiery, impressive effort features original compositions from both Mahanthappa and Green, as well as performances from pianist Jason Moran, François Moutin, and drummers Damion Reid and Jack DeJohnette. While Green primarily focuses on his role as a jazz educator, serving as the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of North Florida at Jacksonville, the group is an ongoing one, with future recordings and performances planned.”

Please go to the full article here.

From All About Jazz: Baptista & Zorn “Caym: The Book Of Angels Vol. 17”

Caym:The Book of Angels Vol .17
Tzadik 2011

By Warren Allen
April 29, 2011

“Brazilian master percussionist Cyro Baptista first encountered composer John Zorn back in the early 1980s. Baptista, who has since gone on to work with everyone from singer Paul Simon to cellist Yo Yo Ma, at the time was only recently arrived in New York from Brazil. He and Zorn evidently recognized some common artistic craziness/genius between themselves, and since then Baptista’s wide array of traditional and homemade instruments have been prominently featured in Zorn’s own eclectic ensembles. At the same time, Baptista’ own wild world music ensembles have had numerous releases on Zorn’s Tzadik label.

The Book of Angels is the second volume of Zorn’s Masada Songbook, a collection of several hundred compositions written in 2004 and basically built entirely around two Middle Eastern scales. Since then, Zorn has handed off collections of the songs to various musicians to be arranged and performed anew in a wide variety of contexts. These have ranged from power rock trios and prog rock bands to old school jazz quintets, string chamber groups, and solo explorations. Caym is the seventeenth such volume, and features Baptista’s Banquet of the Spirits, a quartet that has turned out exuberant and eccentric grooves for the past five years. ”

Cyro Baptista

John Zorn

See the full article here.

From All About Jazz: “2nd Annual NYC Undead JazzFest”

This preliminary, more to come.

4 days, 11 venues across 2 boroughs, 50+ groups!

“June 23rd though 26th 2011 BOOM Collective and Search & Restore bring back the Undead Jazzfest expanded to 4-days, in 11 venues across 2 boroughs and featuring 50+ groups.


Undead Jazzfest 2011 is coming! Founded in June 2010 the Undead Jazzfest is new kind of festival, bringing together an incredible array of artists from the new jazz and improvised music community currently exploding in New York City. With no headliners, affordable tickets, unorthodox venues and no drink minimums, the Undead Jazzfest aims to shake the public perception of what jazz can be today, celebrating the incredible music being made in a setting that is inviting to both the veterans and curious new fans.”

See the full article here. More to come.

ALL ABOUT JAZZ Shows its Good Taste: “Arvo Pärt: Tabula Rasa”


Nenad Georgievski

“A question that has always been asked, regardless of genre, is whether music can be conservative and revolutionary at the same time. Various composers have surfaced in recent times with brilliant compositions, but their work has not adhered to any of the schools of composition that make up the 20th century classical music. These composers have often drawn inspiration from musical principles and philosophies that are foreign to the classical heritage, and in general have been less concerned with academic approval and theoretical correctness than with communicating directly with the listeners.

One of those composers is Arvo Pärt, whose spiritually resonant music has evolved from a deep Christianity (as well as the music of Steve Reich, Satie, Ligeti, John Cage and Russian neo-classicism, among many), and whose work is one of the defining soundworlds of the last 30 years. Journalist Tom Casetta wrote that there are many paths to God and the music of Arvo Pärt is, without a doubt, one of them. His music demands an intuitive mode of perception which includes the experience of silence, something that is ever present in the tradition of the Orthodox Church.

Arvo Pärt

Pärt first came to broad public attention in 1984, even though for years prior to that he was a prolific composer of film music in his native former Soviet Union. When in 1984 Manfred Eicher decided to start a new branch to his ECM label for composers (The New Series), it was a result of hearing the music of Pärt on the car radio during a late night drive. It struck him so powerfully that he had to stop the car to listen. ‘ What moved me in his music,’ wrote Eicher, ‘ was clarity—the direct path to ear and mind, a drama of quiet passion. The music was cathartic, a music of slowly beating wings. A drawing-inward of all feeling, as if the music were burying itself in a crypt of its own making: pitiless and solitary. A music of innermost calm demanding concentration from the musicians as well as from the listeners. These compositions didn’t make the vulnerable soul turn inward; they created a dialectic of action and stillness.’ ”

From Stephen Hill, producer of Music From the Hearts of Space on Arvo Pärt:

Stephen Hill


As we reach the waning days of another year, many people try and take the time to reflect on our increasingly complex lives. It’s at these times the music of the contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt takes on a special importance, due to its simplicity and innocent spirituality.

Pärt writes music rich with silence against the general turmoil and hubbub of the world. His constant desire is to express the mysterious, the numinous, and the unknowable. “Time and timelessness are connected,” he says. “This instant and eternity are struggling within us. And this is the cause of all our obstinacy, our narrow mindedness, our faith, and our grief.”

On this edition of Hearts of Space a program dedicated entirely to the music of Arvo Pärt, called CONSTANT STILLNESS.

Many writers have tried to fathom the meaning and the method of Arvo Pärt’s music, but none better than Pärt himself. Of his minimalist style he says, ‘ The complex and many-faceted only confuses me, and I must search for unity. I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comfort me. So I work with very few elements, with one voice, with two voices. I build with the most primitive of materials.’

Of his TE DEUM, he says, ‘ I wished only to convey a mood. A mood that could be infinite in time, but by delicately removing one piece, one particle of time, out of the flow of infinity. I have to draw this music gently out of silence, and emptiness.’

We begin with the Kronos Quartet’s performance of FRATRES, from the album WINTER WAS HARD, and continue with a selection of music by Arvo Pärt from his growing catalog of recordings on the ECM New Series. From Part’s 1993 recording TE DEUM, SILOUANS SONG for chamber orchestra. From TABULA RASA, the CANTUS IN MEMORY OF BENJAMIN BRITTEN. From ARBOS, the DE PROFUNDIS for four solo voices, organ and percussion. From TE DEUM, the MAGNIFICAT for a cappella choir, and the SANCTUS for chorus and orchestra. From TABULA RASA, the title piece for two violins, prepared piano and string orchestra. And finally, from ARBOS, the PARI INTERVALLO for organ.

CONSTANT STILLNESS: the music of Arvo Pärt, on this hour of Hearts of Space.”

Ken Field is AAJ’s Musician of the Day and Well Deserved

Ken Field is one of my favorite Jazz musicians.

Ken Field

Ken leads the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble (RSE). He is also a member of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic.

RSE’s Year of the Snake is one of my favorite albums.

Innova 599 (2003)

Ken also hosts a weekly radio prorgam, The New Edge, on WMBR in Cambridge, Mass.

Read the full AAJ article here. Then, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Year of the Snake on CD or .mp3.

From All About Jazz: “Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew Live to be Released February 2011”

All About Jazz informs us of this very important release.

AAJ says, “Four decades later, it remains the great game changer, the genre- bending, barrier-smashing double LP that would become Miles Davis’ first RIAA gold album, and influence two—three! (so far)—generations of jazz and rock musicians to come. Released in April of 1970, Bitches Brew refracted the chaos and beauty of a society stretched (and stressed) to its breaking point, the penultimate creation of Miles’ career.

BITCHES BREW LIVE adds yet another dimension to the album’s prismatic reputation. Its nine rare live performances comprise repertoire from the studio album and the one that preceded it, 1969’s In A Silent Way. The live tracks were recorded at festivals nine months before Bitches Brew’s release (Newport Jazz, July 1969, the first three tracks, previously unissued) and four months after (Isle Of Wight, August 1970, the final six tracks). This fascinating 59-minute glimpse into ‘the evolution of the groove’ will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting February 8, 2011.”

Read the full article here.