Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Diana Krall: "Summer Nights Tour 2012"

Ticket Pre-Sale & VIP Offer Alert!
The following performances have just been announced as part of Diana Krall's Summer Nights US Tour 2012:

June 26, 2012
State Theatre
New Brunswick, NJ

August 5, 2012
Vilar Performing Arts Center
Beaver Creek, CO

We are glad to announce brand new Pre-Sale VIP offers for both dates!

Diana Krall Premium Ticket Bundle
Package includes:
One Premium Reserved Seat Ticket
One Limited Edition Signed Diana Krall Poster
One Exclusive Diana Krall T-Shirt
One Diana Krall Cork Screw
One Commemorative VIP Laminate

Regular pre-sale tickets will also be available.

Pre-Sale tickets for the shows in New Brunswick, NJ & Beaver Creek, CO will be available Tuesday, February 7 at 12pm local time:

username: diana
password: krall

CD of the Day - "Clare Fischer & Helio Delmiro: Symbiosis"

CD of the Day
Clare Fischer & Helio Delmiro: "Symbiosis" (CFP) 1999

Although very sad with the passing of my dear friend Clare Fischer, I've been re-listening to all his albums in my collection. One of my personal favorites is "Symbiosis," a marvelous duo date with Helio Delmiro recorded in the living room of Clare's house in Studio City, California. The maestro on a Roland digital keyboard (I would have preferred if he had used a Fender Rhodes, I must confess) and the Brazilian virtuoso on an unamplified acoustic guitar.

Produced by Clare Fischer, engineered by Larry Mah, with cover art by Donna Fischer (Clare's widow) and liner notes by Daniel Cytrynowicz, it's also one of the most underrated albums in Clare's entire discography.

Highlights: the standards "My Old Flame" (in an 8-minute haunting rendition), "Autumn Leaves" (I know, I know it's a French song, but it became a jazz standard), Clare's own bossa classic "Pensativa," two Jobim's masterpieces ("Once I Loved" and "One Note Samba," the latter co-written by Newton Mendonça, omitted on the credits), and such Delmiro's gems as "Carrousel", "Pro Baden" and the lovely samba "Dois Por Quatro." Essential.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Michel Delville interviewed by Dennis Rea

Serendipitous Sojourn of Michel Delville
Interviewed by Dennis Rea (Foreword below by John M.)

MoonJune's boss Leonardo Pavkovic came up with a truly great concept for marketing the two current newest MoonJune releases -- Machine Mass Trio's "As Real As Thinking" (MJR041) and Moraine's "Metamorphic Rock: Live at NEARfest" (MJR040) -- by having the band's gifted guitarists interview one another.

Since Machine Mass Trio's Michel Delville and Moraine's Dennis Rea are both published authors, accomplished musicians, and brilliant, scholarly individuals, the idea of having them conduct interviews with one another was an innovative twist on the traditional "musician interview". (... After all, who could possibly be more better suited to conduct such an interview than a fellow guitarist / author / international musician?) As also previously mentioned, having had the privilege and honor of becoming the acquainted with both of these fine gentlemen, I was looking forward to reading both interviews.

Since taking the reins of moonjune.com, I have listened -- on numerous occasions -- to the unpredictable musings of Michel Delville. ZNR Progressive Music Newsletter had this to say: "Michel Delville's guitar playing seems influenced more by the atmospheric explorations of players like Bill Frisell, David Torn and, certainly, Robert Fripp but his technical ability is never in question. There are hints of Zappa & Holdsworth in his sound, too. However the approach is all his own and never seems derivative. Like Frisell & Torn, Delville can play all around an idea and look at it from many different angles."

Knowing what articulate, intellectual, yet humble-spirited men both Michel and Dennis are and having thoroughly enjoyed the insightful Q&A of the Dennis Rea interview, I knew that this would provide plenty of interesting tidbits to sink my teeth into, also. Given Michel's extensive-yet-diverse performance resume over the last decade, there was little douBt that what follows would be comparable on the entertainment scale.

Like so many of his musical endeavors, this interview enthralls, engulfs and ultimately leaves you hungry for more. But enough of my banter -- on with the show!
Q: ‘Serendipity’ is a word that comes to mind when I hear people’s stories about how they linked up with Leonardo Pavkovic and MoonJune Records. How did your own relationship with MoonJune come about?

“Serendipity”, yes! I think you’ve put your finger on a crucial aspect of the development of my relationship with MoonJune. What turns out to be a very happy accident was actually the result of tragic circumstances. My first serious contact with Leonardo Pavkovic came shortly after Elton Dean passed away. At the time, Elton and The Wrong Object had just started a collaboration and had booked some European gigs (some early dates had to be canceled due to Elton’s poor health). We were supposed to go into the studio and record some new material. At some stage though Elton called me and said something along the lines of “Michel, save your money - let’s play some gigs first. We’ll get a good a live recording and we’ll take it from there“. We played the Glaz’art in Paris in late 2005 but the venue had no multi-track facilities and we left with a stereo live mix which was subsequently mastered in Brussels. Fortunately the balance was right and it didn’t need any serious tweaking to get it to what we wanted: a document of the musicians’ ability to communicate and collaborate with each other … and a tribute to Elton’s extraordinary improvising skills, even in the direst of situations. We listened to it in the car while driving back to Elton’s and Marino’s flat, and I still remember the glee in Elton’s eyes. He was pretty happy with the performance - he had played extremely well and he knew it. Elton was instrumental in establishing a connection between the band and MoonJune. Sadly, he passed away about three months later and Leo, who had already heard the unmastered recording, said he liked it and decided to release it.

Q: Please fill us in on your latest MoonJune release, Machine Mass Trio. Who are your collaborators on this project, and how does it differ from your previous MoonJune releases? Also, what’s the story behind the unusual name?

Machine Mass started as a duo record project Tony Bianco and I decided to do during one of his trips to Belgium. After comparing notes and reading each other’s charts we decided to involve a guest musician and quickly hired Jordi Grognard, whose contributions immediately earned him the status of a full band member. The day after the recording, Tony came up with the name and it sounded good to us. I suggested adding the word “trio” because I thought that some people might get the wrong idea and mistake us for a heavy-metal band! I don’t think it was a conscious reference to the Soft Machine, although reviewers will probably find points of comparison with the Softs. I like to think of “Machine Mass” as a metaphor conveying the physical volume and sheer density of the sounds produced by the trio, the ratio of force and acceleration of its “musical objects” as it manifests itself through the use of computer-generated loops and live electronics. But then again I may be wrong and the name may connect the band to a more spiritual source. As we know, the pun is more important than the meaning ...

Making this record was a very liberating experience for me, not least because it made me want to experiment further with computer-generated sounds and samples, which is something that is going to be central to my future projects. It also veers in the direction of a “world” sound (for want of a better word), especially with the use of instruments such as the bouzouki, the bansuri and the tempura.

Q: douBt’s Never Pet a Burning Dog (great title!) includes what is probably the first cover version of a Terje Rypdal composition (“Over Birkerot”) that I’ve ever encountered. Rypdal seems to be something of a patron saint for many MoonJune Records artists – he certainly is for me, and for Leonardo. Can you talk about your impressions of Rypdal’s music? Do you consider him a direct influence on your approach to playing the guitar?

I don’t know if “Over Birkerot” is the first Rypdal cover. If it is, it would be amazing and, to some extent, unfair given Rypdal’s impact on a wide range of jazz and rock musicians. He certainly is a major direct influence on my guitar playing style, perhaps more than any other guitarist besides Zappa. This being said, I have always been more influenced by non-guitaristic models (sax players, especially, but also Messiaen and other contemporary orchestral composers), especially as far as my solos are concerned. Rypdal’s attention to sound textures was extremely formative for me. He was initially a self-taught guitar-player whose first instruments were the piano and the trumpet. Maybe this accounts for his idiosyncratic phrasings, which resemble no one else’s. His style is alternately fierce and spacy, dense and spare, and never shows the slightest sign of self-indulgence.

Q: What a privilege it must have been to collaborate with the inimitable Elton Dean in your group The Wrong Object. How did you first come into contact with Elton, and what was it like working with him?

As I said before, without Elton, The Wrong Object, for all its merits, may never have gotten a record deal with MoonJune and would definitely not have received the same attention from the press, at least during that period. Also, our collaboration with Elton made us confident and visible enough to create other forms of collaborations with other extraordinary guests such as Harry Beckett, Annie Whitehead and Alex Maguire, all of whom had already toured and recorded with Elton in the past. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous when I first met Elton because he is one of my great musical heroes and I did not want to disappoint him. I soon discovered that he was very easy to work with and that he liked the idea of working with a rock-oriented band. Perhaps more than anything else, his determination to do his own thing, regardless of any outside pressure or commercial imperatives, and his apparent fearlessness towards life and music was a vehicle that sent a message which continues to inspire me to this day.

Q: Some reviewers have likened your work to the so-called ‘Canterbury School’ of progressive rock, no doubt owing to your association with Elton Dean. Others have linked you to fellow Belgians Univers Zero, Present, and other members of the Rock in Opposition (RIO) movement. Are the comparisons apt? Do you feel you have anything in common with either camp, musically or philosophically?

My main Canterbury School models are The Soft Machine and Hatfield and the North, an association which continues to this day since douBt toured and recorded with Richard Sinclair in 2009 and 2010. My only official collaborative connection to the Belgian RIO scene is Guy Segers, with whom I have worked in a band called The Moving Tones. Guy also introduced me to Geoff Leigh - another MoonJune artist - with whom we played an incendiary gig in Brussels a couple of years ago! I also own the whole Henry Cow catalogue and several Univers Zero CDs. Since 2010 I have been playing with Comicoperando, a band which performs the music of Robert Wyatt and comprises former Henry Cow members Chris Cutler and Dagmar Krause. I don’t think avant-rock or chamber rock in general have significantly affected my musical production but I’ve been exposed to it from an early age and influences can sometimes work in very oblique and mysterious ways. Like most experimental artists I am constantly reminded of the now famous RIO motto “music the record companies don’t want you to hear” … with the exception of MoonJune Records, of course!

Q: Please tell us a bit about the music scene in your native Belgium. Are you a part of a community of like-minded musicians, or are you working in relative isolation? Is there an audience in Belgium for the type of music you make?

I have struggled a lot to find musicians who were willing and able to play the kind of music I have had in my head since I was a teenager but I’ve feel much less isolated in the last 10 years or so. In fact, I have had to decline many invitations to take part in worthwhile projects initiated in Belgium or elsewhere and now feel to need to focus on a more limited number of musical ventures at a time. There is an audience for the kind of music we make but, hey, Belgium is a small country and we’ve played more often abroad than in these here parts. The Wrong Object alone has performed in more than fifteen different countries, and I’m hoping that douBt and MMT will also appeal to foreign audiences.

Q: If you could choose three adjectives to characterize the qualities you strive to achieve in your playing, what would they be?

That’s a tough one – I suppose I could settle for “hypnotic” , “whimsical”, and “constructivist“.

Q: I suppose that a question about your musical influences is inescapable. Who are your primary inspirations as a musician in general, and as a guitarist specifically?

I have been associated with Zappa’s music for so long that I suppose that I should start from there. I am flattered when critics compare me with the likes of Robert Fripp, Phil Miller, David Torn and Terje Rypdal – they have been as influential as Stravinsky, Trane, Mingus, Threadgill, Pärt or Squarepusher in teaching me how a musical piece or solo can manage to “tell an interesting story” and capture an audience’s imagination.

Q: What was your earliest music project?

There are many unknown and undocumented projects I could cite. Most of them were short-lived. As far as I can remember my first structured combo was called the “Mad Queen Simulated Trauma” and it involved Andrew Norris as a guitar player and Poet-in-Residence, a long time before he joined the very first avatar of the Wrong Object in 2001.

Q: Looking at your discography over the years, I see that you’re one of the relatively few musicians who are equally comfortable working in the context of both free improvisation and highly structured jazz-rock. Can you comment about how you approach each of these very different playing situations?

I like to combine both approaches within the same band, sometimes even within the same musical piece. I mean, I do not think of myself as a free improviser in certain contexts and a structured composer in other situations, although sometimes circumstances dictate one or the other, especially when I’m playing other people’s music. My compositional methods often consist in working with pre-written modules or fragments towards a final composition which eventually emerges after several stages of testing, readjustments, combinations and permutations. Sometimes it happens at home, sometimes the decisions are made during rehearsals. It’s very close to collage, really – maybe because Belgium has been one of the mainstays of surrealism since the early 1920s. Anyway, I don’t think a composition is ever really “finished”, right?

Q: Between Machine Mass Trio, douBt, and The Wrong Object, your project menu appears to be very full indeed. Are you engaged in other musical involvements as well? What do you have planned for the near future?

I am very excited by the new douBt album, which we will mix this Fall, and Tony Bianco and I will soon finalize a new, electronically inclined and equally exciting recording featuring Saba Tewelde, an incredibly gifted singer whose styles range from soul to funk, jazz and world music.

Q: What type of gear are you using?

The typical gear I am using both live and in the studio is a Brunetti Overtone2, a Vox wah-wah, a Boss loop station, a Line6 Echo Park, and my old Roland GR-09. My main guitar is a fully refurbished Ibanez Raodstar Series II fitted with three mini Seymour Duncan humbuckers.

Thanks for your time and thoughtful questions, Dennis!

CD of the Week - "Machine Mass Trio: As Real As Thinking"

CD of the Week
Machine Mass Trio: "As Real As Thinking" (MoonJune) 2011

***** (musical performance)
**** (sound quality)

TONY BIANCO - drums, percussion, loops
MICHEL DELVILLE - guitar, synth guitar, bouzouki, electronics
JORDI GROGNARD - tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet, electronic tempura

Recorded October 18, 2010 by Sacha Symon at Dans Ma Cabane Studios, Liège, Belgium.
Mixed and mastered by David Minjauw at Studio Simonne, Brussels, in the Summer of 2011.

All tracks recorded live in the studio with no overdubs. All music performed by MMT except “Falling Up”, which is a joint improvisation by Bianco and Delville.
Produced by Mass Machine Trio. Executive Producer: Leonardo Pavkovic.
This release was made possible by the support of the Communauté Française de Belgique – Direction Générale de la Culture – Service de la Musique.

1. Cuckoo (9:26)
2. Knowledge (6:11)
3. Let Go (4:56)
4. Khajuaro (5:23)
5. Hero (10:16)
6. UFO-RA (6:46)
7. Falling Up Nº9 (18:03)
8. Palitana Mood (3:06)

Originally born as a side-project of douBt, this new trio led by Tony Bianco (on drums and loops) and Michel Delville (on guitar, bouzouki and live effects) also includes emerging Belgian talent Jordi Grognard on saxophones, bass clarinet and flute. “As Real as Thinking” is an amazing mix of fiery licks, catchy themes, telepathic rhythms, shamanic soundscapes and processed loops -- testifying to the band’s compositional flair and extraordinary musicianship.

The music is meaningfully condensed -- consistently powerful without being overwhelming -- and will appeal to fans of progressive jazz, world music and rock audiences with an ear for the unusual. The CD sounds alternately groovy and meditative, trancy and punkish, modern and ethnic, cloudy and clear. It also features an explosive 18-minute duet between Bianco and Delville (guitarist also with MoonJune Recording artists' The Wrong Object) -- showcasing the musicians’ seemingly boundless energy, and extraordinary capacity to listen to each other and improvise over insane chord, rhythm and time changes while handling live electronics.

A session of bold, risk-taking improvisation. "This record was recorded as my beloved wife, Mary, was fighting for her life. She has thus passed away and my playing is a tribute to her beautiful soul," Tony Bianco reveals.

CD of the Day - "Clare Fischer Plays Antonio C. Jobim & C. Fischer - Só Danço Samba"

CD of the Day
Clare Fischer: "Plays Antonio Carlos Jobim & Clare Fischer - Só Danço Samba" (World Pacific) 1964/2010

Reissued in Japan as part of the "EMI Music Japan 50th Anniversary" series, this session produced by Richard Bock at World-Pacific Studios in Hollywood, California, features jazz arranger Clare Fischer (acoustic piano & organ) leading a quartet with Bob West (acoustic bass), Colin Bailey (drums) & Dennis Budimir (acoustic guitar).

The program includes seven of Jobim's bossa nova anthems -- like "Desafinado," "One Note Samba," "Quiet Nights" and "Girl from Ipanema" -- plus three bossas written by Fischer himself: "Pensativa" (the first tune by a non-Brazilian composer that became a bossa standard), "Carnaval" (aka "João," in tribute to João Gilberto, originally recorded by The Hi-Lo's) and "Ornithardy."

The CD issue reproduces the original cover art, including John William Hardy's liner notes. Top quality remastering.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Anna Mjöll & The Pat Senatore Trio live @ Vibrato, tomorrow night

R.I.P.: Clare Fischer

(born October 22, 1928, in Durand, MI, USA;
died January 26, 2012, in Burbank, CA, USA)

A couple of weeks since Phil Kraus passed away, more sad news. Clare Fischer died Thursday, January 26. We used to hang out in LA back in 1990/1991 when he was working on Joao Gilberto's album simply titled "João." In January 1992, we went together to the IAJE Conference in Miami, where he attended my clinic about "Jazz & Brazilian Music: Interaction Along The Years" and I attended his fabulous concert leading a nonet (with a vocal choir that sounded like a horn section!) as well as his clinic on "Harmonic Concepts & Improvisation." The obituary printed today in The LA Times follows.

I only would like to add that Fischer loved bossa nova, specially João Gilberto, to whom he composed in 1961 the song "João" a.k.a. "Carnaval," the opening track on "The Hi-Lo's Happen To Bossa Nova." He also wrote "Pensativa," the best bossa song ever composed by a non-Brazilian artist. Oh, and "Morning" is one of my favorite tunes. Fischer also recorded an extremely underrated duo album with Helio Delmiro ("Symbiosis"), worked with Cal Tjader, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Shank, Hubert Laws and other jazz giants, arranged for Santana, Prince, Natalie Cole, Michael Jackson...And a track, "In The Beginning" (yes, the tune he composed for Hubert Laws' CTI album in 1974), re-recorded last year for a new Clare Fischer Big Band album, "Continuum" -- directed and produced by Brent Fischer for Clavo Records -- is nominated for a Grammy award in 2012 in the Best Instrumental Arrangement category. Rest In Peace.Although Clare Fischer, shown in 1987, entered professional music through jazz, his expansive creative perspective quickly grew to embrace many other musical areas. (Los Angeles Times)

Clare Fischer dies at 83; versatile pianist, composer, arranger
The Grammy-winning musician's interests included jazz, Latin and pop music, and he released more than 50 albums under his name.
By Don Heckman, Special to The Los Angeles Times
January 28, 2012

Clare Fischer, a Grammy-winning pianist, composer and arranger who crossed freely from jazz to Latin and pop music, working with such names as Dizzy Gillespie, George Shearing and Natalie Cole as well as Paul McCartney, Prince and Michael Jackson, has died. He was 83.

Fischer died Thursday at Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank of complications from a heart attack he had two weeks ago, said family spokeswoman Claris Dodge.

Although he entered professional music through jazz, his expansive creative perspective quickly grew to embrace many other musical areas.

"I relate to everything," he explained in 1987 in The Times. "I'm not just jazz, Latin or classical. I really am a fusion of all of those." He went on to describe his fascination with Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Bartok, as well as Duke Ellington, Bud Powell, Lee Konitz, Tito Puente and boogie-woogie pianist Meade Lux Lewis.

Regardless of genre, Fischer's arranging and composing invariably possessed a rich harmonic palette, one that attracted and influenced other musicians.

"Clare Fischer was a major influence on my harmonic concept," Herbie Hancock said in a statement on Fischer's website. Hancock credited Fischer's arrangements for the 1950s vocal group the Hi-Lo's with significantly influencing his 1968 recording "Speak Like a Child."

Pop and rock artists especially valued Fischer's arranging for the lush, classical qualities of the textures he created, particularly for string ensembles. He worked closely with his son, Brent Fischer, also an arranger and conductor, to provide arrangements and orchestrations for McCartney, Chaka Khan, Carlos Santana, Rufus, Brandy and many others. Fischer's first music credit in film was for Prince's "Under the Cherry Moon."

Fischer was also in demand as a studio keyboardist, performing, composing or arranging for commercials, film and television scores, and for more than 100 albums for other artists.

He released more than 50 albums under his own name in a recording career that began in 1962 with the album "First Time Out." His diverse ensembles included the Latin group Salsa Picante; the vocal group 2 + 2; his Clarinet Choir; and the 30-piece band Clare Fischer's Jazz Corps. He also performed solo on piano and paired with Donald Byrd, Gary Foster, Jerry Coker and others.

Fischer's first classical recording, 2001's "After the Rain," was a collection of his symphonic works.

He won two Grammy awards, in 1981 for "Clare Fischer and Salsa Picante Present 2+2" and in 1986 for "Freefall."

Douglas Clare Fischer was born Oct. 22, 1928, in Durand, Mich., the third of four children. His first instruments were violin and piano; but during high school he added cello, clarinet and saxophone. As a teenager in Grand Rapids, he composed and arranged for big bands.

At Michigan State University, he majored in composition and theory, earning a bachelor's degree in music in 1951. After serving in the Army, Fischer received a master's in music from the school in 1955.

His professional career escalated in the late 1950s during his five-year association as pianist/arranger/conductor with the musically adventurous Hi-Lo's. But his arrangements for Dizzy Gillespie's 1960 album, "A Portrait of Duke Ellington," brought him the full attention of the jazz community. Albums for pianist George Shearing, vibraphonist Cal Tjader, alto saxophonist Bud Shank and guitarist Joe Pass followed.

A mid-1970s reunion with Tjader revived Fischer's fascination with Latin music, via his Salsa Picante group. He was fond of Brazilian music in general and bossa nova in particular.

In 1988, Fischer had a freeway encounter with another driver that escalated into a roadside physical confrontation. Fischer, then 60, was assaulted, suffering a hairline skull fracture and a concussion. It took nearly a year for him to recover and return to music.

"If I discovered anything in that strange, 10-month period of recovery," Fischer later told The Times, "it's that music is the one thing that makes me sane."

He is survived by his wife, Donna; his children, Lee, Brent and Tahlia; two stepchildren, Lisa and Bill Bachman; three grandchildren; and a brother, Stewart.(Mark Murphy, Arnaldo DeSouteiro and Clare Fischer during the IAJE Conference in Miami, January 1992)

From www.clarefischer.com:
Born on October 22, 1928 in Durand, Michigan, Clare Fischer is an uncommonly versatile musician, a master with many muses. Trained in the classics, inspired by jazz artists, healed by the rhythms of Latin and Brazilian music, his eclectic sound finds expression in every chart and instrument he touches.

A veteran studio musician and a composer of rare quality, Fischer began his studies in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at South High School with director of music, Glenn Litton. After receiving his master’s degree in composition from Michigan State University, where he studied with Dr. H. Owen Reed, he traveled extensively with “The Hi-Lo’s” as pianist-conductor for 5 years. About the same time, his musical ascension began with his critically acclaimed arrangements for Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Portrait of Duke Ellington.”

Fischer’s influences, absorbed along the way, are as distinct as his music: Stravinsky and Shostakovich, Bartok and Berg, Dutilleux, boogie-woogie pianist Meade Lux Lewis, Nat “King” Cole, Duke Ellington, Bud Powell and early Lee Konitz – Fischer’s self-expression knows no boundaries.“I relate to everything,” he explains. “I’m not just jazz, Latin, or classical. I really am a fusion of all of those, not today’s fusion, but my fusion.”

In 1983 classical concert artist Richard Stoltzman commissioned Fischer to write a symphonic work using Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn themes. The resulting composition, “The Duke, Swee’pea and Me,” features Stoltzman on clarinet, and is performed with symphony orchestras around the world. More recently Fischer was commissioned by Stoltzman to write a “Sonatine for Clarinet and Piano” in three movements, which he has recorded with RCA on his album, “American Clarinet” and is being published by Advance Music in Germany.

In 1986 Clare won his second Grammy Award – this one for his album, “Free Fall,” the first having been won in 1981 for his album, “Salsa Picante plus 2 + 2.” Since that time he has spent more time as a jazz educator, performing solo piano concerts and conducting clinics and master classes in universities and music conservatories in Scandinavia, Europe and throughout the United States.

In the last few years Clare has appeared in Paris, Finland, Norway, Germany with the WDR Big Band, Holland with the Metropole Orchestra, Austria at the Vienna Konzerthaus and in Mexico City at the Ollin Yolítzli Concert Hall in a concert commemorating the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim on the anniversary of his death in December, 1996. In October of 1998 he performed at the Choro Festival with Hélio Delmiro in Sáo Paulo, Brazil and returned in July, 2000 for a three-city tour in that country with Delmiro. In May 2001 Clare completed a European tour teaching master classes and performing solo piano concerts in four countries.

In addition to Dizzie Gillespie, Fischer has written for Cal Tjader, George Shearing, Diane Schuur, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan and Rufus, The Jacksons, Earl Klugh, Prince, Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Spike Lee, João Gilberto, Paula Abdul, and most recently Brian McKnight, Regina Belle, J. Spencer, Norman Whitfield, Branford Marsalis, Tori Amos, Terry Trotter, a French group – “Charts,” a Japanese group – “Sing Like Talking,” Vanessa Williams, Brandy, Tony! Toni! Toné! and many others. His arrangements for strings are truly a revelation.

Since beginning his professional career, Fischer has recorded over 45 albums as leader and has arranged, composed and/or played on another 100 plus albums for other recording artists. His discography reads like a “Who’s Who” of the recording industry. Recent releases include “Clare Fischer’s Jazz Corps,” a big band album made up of 20 brass, 6 woodwinds plus rhythm; and “Symbiosis,” recorded with Hélio Delmiro on unamplified Brazilian guitar and Clare on digital piano. In January 2001 Fischer produced his first classical CD, “After the Rain,” made up entirely of his own symphonic works.

In December, 1999, Michigan State University School of Music conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree on Clare in recognition of his “.creativity and excellence as a jazz composer, arranger and performer..”

Clare has three grown children; Lee, Brent and Tahlia; and two stepchildren, Lisa and Bill Bachman. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Donna, who he lost when he was 20 and she was 18 because her mother didn’t approve of “jazzers.” After being apart for 43 years, they are enjoying their storybook marriage of unbelievable happiness, now in its eighteenth year.

CD of the Day - "Clare Fischer: Latin Patterns"

CD of the Day
Clare Fischer: "Latin Patterns - The Legendary MPS Sessions" (MPS/Motor Music) 1999

Arranged by Clare Fischer
Compilation produced by Matthias Künnecke
Original sessions produced by Clare Fischer & Baldhard G. Falk, and engineered by John Lemay, Angel Balestier & Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer
Remastered by Willem Makkee at Emil-Berliner-Haus (Langenhagen)
Design & front cover art: Stefan Kassel
Back cover photo: German Hasenfratz
Liner Notes: Douglas Payne
Special thanks to Clare and Donna Fischer

Tracks selected from the albums "Salsa Picante" (1979), "Machaca" (1980), "Clare Fischer and EX-42" (1980) and "Foreign Echange" (1981). Highlights: "Morning" (heard in both vocal and instrumental versions), "Minor Sights," "Suddenly," "Gaviota," "Funquiado," "Crystal Sunrise," Monk's jazz classic "'Round Midnight" and a surprisingly slow version of Ary Barroso's "Inquietação."

Featuring: Clare Fischer (Fender Rhodes electric piano, EX-42 electronic organ, YC-30 combo organ, bass recorder), David Troncoso & Brent Fischer (electric bass), Andy Simpkins (acoustic bass), Pete Riso, Andre Fischer & Larry Bunker (drums), Alex Acuña, Ildefonso Sanchez, Luis Conte, Hector Andrade & Aaron Ballesteros (percussion), Rick Zunigar & John Chiodini (guitars), David Acuña (flute), Gary Foster (saxophones & flutes), Foreign Exchange - Mary Hilan, Darlene Koldenhoven, Amick Bryam & John Laird (vocals)

Douglas Payne's liner notes follow:

Fire and ice. Pulsating latin percussion and cool, abstract fender rhodes. Clare Fischer is a sorcerer of sounds. More than merely a talented musician, he is a gifted painter of notes and an ever-rare orchestrator of colors. Whatever he plays, composes or arranges has the unique distinction of a breathtaking fusion.

Consider this while listening to Clare Fischer’s electric musings, a generous selection of which is collected here. Recorded between 1978 and 1980 for Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer’s innovative MPS Records, these fourteen songs – many of them Fischer originals -- are some of the richest sounds conjured in a long career sparkling with unique and memorable music.

Born on October 22, 1928, in Durand, Michigan, Clare Fischer began his musical life playing tuba and violin in grade school. He started studying the piano when he was nine and by high school, he’d taken up the cello, clarinet and saxophone too. A high school instructor recognized his budding talent and provided free lessons in theory, harmony and orchestration. By 15, Clare had his own band and was writing all the arrangements too.

After he graduated cum laude with a B.M. in Composition and Theory from Michigan State University, the Army interrupted Fischer's graduate studies. He played alto sax in a local band and later wrote arrangements for the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point. In 1955 he returned to Michigan State and received his Masters in Music.

While in school, he had studied everyone but clearly developed his own personal style and approach. Such diverse masters as Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Duke Ellington influenced him, but he also took in the palettes of Earl Hines, Art Tatum, Meade Lux Lewis, Bud Powell, Nat King Cole and Lee Konitz. "My music," Fischer says today, "is a manifestation of my training, which is equal parts academic and street training." Through Latin roommates at school, he learned to speak Spanish and became fascinated by Cuban music. Later he became interested in Brazilian music, long before the arrival of Bossa Nova in the United States.

Heading to Los Angeles in 1957, Fischer found work crafting arrangements for the Hi-Lo’s, Gene Puerling's highly popular and influential singing group. Fischer became the Hi-Lo's musical director for five years, arranged for some of their Columbia and Reprise albums, and toured the world as the group's pianist. During this time, he also arranged Donald Byrd’s SEPTEMBER AFTERNOON (Discovery, 1957) and came to prominence as the arranger of Dizzy Gillespie’s A PORTRAIT OF DUKE ELLINGTON (Verve, 1960). In his liner notes for one of Fischer's MPS albums, the noted jazz critic and lyricist Gene Lees recounts his initial reaction upon hearing that Dizzy Gillespie album: "Once during my tenure as editor of Down Beat Magazine, Dizzy Gillespie told me he was going to make an album with a superb young arranger he'd encountered. He continued at some length about the scope and the depth of the young man's abilities. Some years later, Verve released an album titled A PORTRAIT OF DUKE ELLINGTON. The orchestral writing was nothing less than brilliant, but, alas, the album gave no arranger's credit. The writing sounded like Ellington, yet not like Ellington; like Gil Evans but not like Gil Evans. It was in fact apparent that the arranger had studied everything and everyone and then developed his own highly personal approach to writing. Unable to reach Dizzy by telephone, I set out to find out who had done this remarkable writing. It turned out to be the young man about whom Dizzy was so wildly enthusiastic, and this time I did not forget his name: Clare Fischer."

Fischer quickly became one of the busiest jazz and studio musicians in Los Angelese and arranged and recorded for Pacific Jazz with such West Coast luminaries as Bud Shank, Joe Pass and the Jazz Crusaders. He joined Cal Tjader in the early 1960s, recording often with the great vibes player and Latin jazz’s first great populist. As a leader Fischer recorded prolifically throughout the 1960s and 1970s for such prominent labels as Columbia, Atlantic and Revelation Records.

In the early 1970s, former Hi-Lo’s Gene Puerling and Don Shelton had found new success with the Singers Unlimited, four singers who made complex harmonies sound like an elegant breeze. The vocal quartet, originally founded for radio and TV advertising jingles, recorded regularly for the German MPS label in Villingen, Black Forest. Fischer was invited to arrange the fabulously swinging orchestra that backed the quartet on their funky album, A SPECIAL BLEND, in 1975.

After recording the instrumental backing tracks in Hollywood, Fischer travelled to Villingen to take part in the recording of the vocal overdubs. MPS owner Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer struck an immediate relationship with Fischer and, on the spot, decided to record the pianist's solo album, ALON TOGETHER, on the Brunner-Schwer Steinway, a legendary piano in the producer's living room which also produced exceptional sounds from Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander and other pianists. During Fischer's six day stay in the Black Forest, he and Brunner-Schwer also recorded yet another solo album, CLARE DECLARES, a jazz album with a daring concept, recorded on an historic pipe organ located at Brunner-Schwer's summer residence at the lake of Konstanz.

Brunner-Schwer and Fischer kept in touch and formed an ongoing relationship (a very common thing for people who work with Clare Fischer). Four albums ensued: SALSA PICANTE (1979), MACHACA (1980), both recorded with a group of native Latin American musicians headed by Fischer and named Salso Picante; CLARE FISCHER AND EX-42 (1980), a quartet recording with Fischer on the electronic organ of the same name; and FOREIGN EXCHANGE (1981), , an album which added an ethereal quartet of vocalists to the Salsa Picante concept. This compilation features tracks from these four MPS albums.

"Minor Sights," Clare tells me, "is an English abomination of the German ‘Auf meiner zeits,’ which means ‘on my behalf’." "Morning," is a Fischer original that has evolved into a classic of the jazz standard repertoire. It’s heard here as an instrumental and with the vocals of Foreign Exchange. Not surprisingly, Clare crafts his singers within the tonality of his group on these recordings, blending the beauty of sounds each brings to the other. It’s not singer and backup. In his linernotes for the album FOREIGN EXHCANGE, Fischer describes his approach towards recording with these singers: "When I first organized Salsa Picante, I had been thinking about the use of four singers to appear with the group. The opportunity was now given to me and I set out to audition singers. What I needed were vocalists with good ears, some linguistic ability and interest, some extra vocal range to sing with the Latin Jazz concepts. My choice were Darlene Koldenhoven, Mary Hylan, Amick Byram and John Laird. About the time of the third rehearsal I noticed a special spirit developing and at the same time the beginning of a blend. The heaviest of the load fell on my two sopranos and especially Darleen. What I needed was akin to splitting two trumpet players in a shouting brass section, one able to spell the other if needed. However, every time the lead changed, the need to readjust the blend varied. Darlene had been singing solo and mostly in her lower range so the demands made on her range were severe. Little by little strength and endurance grew until the upper ranges solidified. When, after a private rehearsal, they sang the end of 'Leavin' and the hair on the back of my neck stood at attention, I knew they had arrived."

Foreign Exchange is also heard on "Du, du liegst mir im herzen," which according to the Germanic Mr. Fischer, "is a German song my father sang to me when I was a child. I welcomed the opportunity to perform it here in German." A touching rendition of the same song is included on Fischer's solo piano album, ALONE TOGETHER.

"Clavo," is a bossa that rocks in a most unusual 3/2 time. The title comes from the word ‘clavichord’ and is the name Clare Fischer was given by members of his band. "Bachi," is, according to Clare, "named after a wonderful black poodle who shared my children's and my life for 15 years." Check out Clare’s cover of this lively piece (and "Funquido" and "Novios" too) with Cal Tjader on HURACAN (LaserLight). For that matter, hear Fischer fire Tjader’s remarkable HERE AND NOW (Fantasy) too.

"Round Midnight" is a nice contrast to the feel of dawn Clare conjures in "Morning." The haunting Thelonius Monk canvas finds Fischer superbly crafting the romantic colors and dark moods of nightshade using his electronic organ and his EX-42. "Crystal Sunrise," a composition by saxophonist Tom Scott, is highlighted by Fischer's fierce organ solo.

"Suddenly," according to Clare, was written after the sudden death of a friend. "Novios" is a romantic, lyrical piece that comes out of Fischer’s Stravinsky influence. Barbara Ransom later added English and Spanish lyrics (for the album FREE FALL, Discovery, 1985) to tell the story of a boy and a girl who do not speak the same language, so fascinated by each other that they find something similar to express to one another. "Gaviota," (Sea Gull) ascends with the poetic imagery of a sea gull gliding along oceanic currents of air. Fischer expertly suggests this by mixing a "quasi bolero" with a Guarija like rhythm.

Since his MPS recordings, Clare Fischer has established lasting, rewarding recording relationships with the Trend/Discovery and Concord Picante labels. Most recently, he was captured with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra for the magnificent THE LATIN SIDE (Koch). As a busy arranger he has added the lovely orchestral colors to Prince's black and white movie extravaganza UNDER THE CHERRY MOON (remaining an ongoing collaborator with his purple badness on BATMAN, GRAFITTI BRIDGE and GIRL 6 too). He has also arranged for a variety of pop artists such as Rufus & Chaka Khan, Switch, The Jacksons, Earl Klugh, Santana, DeBarge, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Brian McKnight, Amy Grant, Vanessa Williams and, most recently, the soundtrack to THE PRINCE OF EGYPT. Fischer's sophisticated orchestrations can also be witnessed on Joao Gilberto's luch Bossa Nova masterpiece JOAO (Phillips, 1990), and rock singer Robert Palmer's highly underrate trip to Big Band land, RIDIN' HIGH (EMI, 1992)

Clearly, there are very few boundaries for Clare Fischer. But, after all, music is a universal language. "My interest in music," Clare explains, "actually reflects my interest in foreign languages. To me, improvising music and speaking foreign languages are related in that they are both done or thought of in real time. Sounds fascinate me whether they be orchestral, vocal or instrumental."

Listening to LATIN PATTERNS confirms Clare Fischer’s mastery of the language of sounds. His is an alchemy of the natural and the creative: truly the sound of life and the life of sounds. A beautiful sound.

- Douglas Payne

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Warren Chiasson's "Tribute to George Shearing" @ Gillespie Auditorium, Jan. 31

Treat yourself to an exciting and uplifting musical experience at " Jazz Tuesdays" when vibraphone master Warren Chiasson returns with his Trio featuring Warren Chiasson (vibes & piano), Ed MacEachen (guitar) and Ralph Hamperian (bass) on Tuesday, January 31. The Trio will present “A Tribute to George Shearing” in the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium at the New York City Bahá'í Center, located at 53 East 11th Street (between University Place & Broadway). There will be two shows at 8:00 and 9:30 p.m.

Warren Chiasson has been called "one of the six top vibraphonists of the last half century" by the New York Times and a “musician’s musician” by Jazzbeat. Originally a member of the George Shearing Quintet, he has emerged as his own man with a distinctive four-mallet technique that he weaves into a percussive, melodic style. Prior to forming his own group, Chiasson was for many years best known for his creative contributions to the Chet Baker Quartet, the Tal Farlow Trio, and jazz-pop diva Roberta Flack . In addition to recording his own albums, he has played on over 100 recordings with such artists as Eric Dolphy, Bill Dixon, Hank Crawford and was featured on a Grammy Award winning album with B.B. King. Chiasson has collaborated with some of the finest musicians in jazz including Paul Bley, Ron Carter, Roland Hanna and the late Jimmy Garrison from the original John Coltrane Quintet. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the Warren Chiasson/Jimmy Garrison Duo played regularly at Gregory's in New York City, while Chiasson also hosted a weekly jam session at the Signs of the Zodiac in Harlem. Regulars guests included Charlie Haden, Lee Konitz, Joe Farrell, Wilbur Ware and Joe Chambers.

His own albums include "Quartessence", " Good Vibes for Kurt Weill " (which was selected as a Billboard Pick of the Week), and "Point Counterpoint" with guitarist Chuck Wayne. He is particularly known for his elegant and often electrifying live performances, as evidenced by the 50th anniversary re-creation of the historic 1938 Benny Goodman concert. When Lionel Hampton was unable to appear due to a previous touring commitment, Chiasson was asked to take his place at Carnegie Hall. The result was a standing ovation performance before this knowledgeable, sold-out audience. Luminaries at this event included Isaac Stern, Doc Cheatham, Panama Francis, and Benny Goodman's daughter, who presented Goodman's clarinet to the hall museum.

Admission is 15.00, $10.00 for students.
Tickets will be sold at the door, or call 212-222-5159 for reservations and information.

Jazz Tuesdays in the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium
The New York Baha'i Center
53 East 11th Street (between University Place & Broadway)

The John Birks Gillespie Auditorium, dedicated to the late jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, who was a Bahá'í, is located in the heart of Greenwich Village, within the New York City Bahá'í Center. Beginning on January 6, 2004, the anniversary of Dizzy’s death, his former pianist and musical director, Mike Longo, began presenting weekly jazz concerts every Tuesday evening at 8:00 and 9:30 PM.

Vinyl releases in January

All available from www.jazzloft.com

Anthony Braxton - Ensemble (Pittsburgh) 2008 (LP + CDR)
Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies (180g)
Deep Purple - Machine Head (180g)
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends - On Tour with Eric Clapton (180g)
Captain Beefheart - Doc at the Radar Station (180g)
Miles Davis - Dark Magus (2-LP 180g)
John Zorn - Dreamers Christmas 7" Single
Mats Gustafsson - Live at the South Bank (STSJ)
Peter Brotzmann: Sonore - Cafe OTO/London (Trost)
The Jam - The Gift (180g) (Music on Vinyl)
The Monkees - Greatest Hits (180g Analog Master) (Friday Music)
King Crimson - In The Wake of the Poseidon (200g) (Discipline)
Grateful Dead - Live Dead (2-LP 180g) (Mobile Fidelity)
Brian Eno - Small Craft On A Milk Sea (180g) (Warp)
Grateful Dead - Wake of the Flood (180g) (Mobile Fidelity)
Scorch Trio with Mars Williams - Made in Norway (Rune Grammofon)
Mats Gustafsson's Fire! w/ Jim O'Rourke - Released (10" Rune Grammofon)
Bill Evans - Sunday at the Village Vanguard (180g Wax Time)
Count Basie - April in Paris (180g Wax Time)
Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas (180g + CD Sony)
Diana Krall - The Very Best of Diana Krall (2-LP Verve Import)
Bob Marley - Rastaman Vibrations (180g Music On Vinyl)
Billy Holiday - Solitude (180g Speakers Corner)
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Survivor (Mobile Fidelity)
Johnny Hartman - I Just Dropped By To Say Hello (45rpm 2-LP 180g Analog Productions)
Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane (45rpm 2-LP 180g Analog Productions)
Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (Blue Note)
Zoot Sims - The Art of Jazz (CELP)

Jeff Lorber reunites old friends on a new CD

Trailblazing keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber revisits a sound he helped pioneer on his latest recording, "Galaxy." Following up on his GRAMMY®-nominated 2010 release, "Now Is The Time," Lorber again culls from his early catalog but gives a fresh approach to some of his most highly requested compositions, including "Wizard Island," "City," "The Samba" and "The Underground." I only miss a new rendition of my favorite Lorber tune, "Katherine," the opening song from Joe Farrell's "Night Dancing" (Warner, 1978) album.

"Essentially this album is a part two," Lorber says. "It features the same rhythm section, but it's even more into the jazz fusion direction. It's more energetic and the performances are tighter."

"Galaxy" spotlights 11 originals - all instrumentals - that cover the scope of electrified jazz. The disc opens with "Live Wire" "At over seven minutes long, it's a real powerful, up-tempo song," says Lorber. "It's fun to play and hopefully just as fun to listen to. Yellowjackets' bassist Jimmy Haslip joins him in this 21st century version of the Jeff Lorber Fusion along with saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter Randy Brecker, percussionist Lenny Castro, guitarists Paul Jackson Jr. and Larry Koonse, and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl.

Haslip also co-produced the album and co-wrote five tunes with Lorber."Live Wire," like most of "Galaxy," is a showcase for the work of renowned drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. "We had three days with Vinnie to cut basic tracks," Lorber says. "Basically, he's the best drummer on the planet, so once he lays down his drum parts - which are like the foundation - you're ready to go. His work really inspired the rest of us."

That inspiration also lives on "Big Brother," a tune that recaptures the essence of contemporary jazz, while the soulful and funky "Montserrat" works a groove loosely based on the Police's 1980 hit "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around." While Colaiuta handles most of the drumming on Galaxy, Lorber recruited Dave Weckl to perform on the title track. "Weckl has been on my last three records," Lorber says. "And I love the way he plays."

Lorber's look back at jazz fusion is also a look at the present, and to the future, including vibrant reinterpretations of "City," from the Jeff Lorber Fusion's 1980 LP "Wizard Island," and "The Underground" featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker, from Lorber's 1993 album, "Worth Waiting For." The fresh sounds on "Galaxy" expand the possibilities of where technology is taking music - the old becoming new, the modern becoming post modern.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union

"Dear Mr. Arnaldo De Souteiro --

According to our records, you are currently registered and living in California's 30th Congressional District.

Last night, the President went to Congress and defined in clear terms what we're going to be fighting for in the months ahead.

That means that right now, it's on us to get his back and work like hell to build this campaign. If we want to see this President re-elected, it's time:

Add your name and say you're standing with the President -- and our shared vision for this country.

We don't know which Republican is going to be our opponent yet, but here's what we do know: Whoever wins the Republican nomination will have done so by adopting the extreme Tea Party agenda.

The President will be busy doing everything he can to demand action from a Congress that cares more about making a political point than governing. And when they refuse to act, he will. Election year or not, that is his job, and he is going to be getting things done these next couple months.

The campaigning is left up to us.

And if we don't do what we need to, last night will have been Barack Obama's last State of the Union.

Do something now:

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager - Obama for America

P.S. -- Miss last night's speech? You can watch it all here, enhanced with stats and graphics to back up the President's words.

Contributions or gifts to Obama for America are not tax deductible.

Amanda Carr - Jazz On A Sunday Afternoon

January 29th, 2012:
"Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon" (4-7pm) with one of Jazz Station's favorite jazz vocalists: Amanda Carr!
Located @ Center at Eastman
6 Clubhouse Lane, Grantham, NH
For more information visit www.JosaJazz.com

Contemplative Instrumental Tune Needed for Hit TV Show

Below is a special opportunity that we wanted to give you a heads up about. Just got the word about this project today, and they need the music by 10 AM (PST) Monday, January 30th, 2012. You can find this listing under the Instrumental (Film & TV) genre in the Submit Music section of your TAXImusic.com hosting site.

Hollywood Music Supervisor needs "CONTEMPORARY CONTEMPLATIVE INSTRUMENTALS" for a HIT TV Series a la:

Intro - The XX - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L73OLaG4_kA

Blank Pages - The Album Leaf - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SXy88Ai99E

Love Like a Sunset, Pt. I - Phoenix - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ8eboLWk7I

As always, DO NOT rip-off or copy the referenced artists in any way, shape or form. Use them ONLY as a guide for tempo, texture, and vibe. Your TRACKS should be at LEAST 2 Minutes in length and most definitely need to evoke an emotional feeling in the TV viewers. All submissions need to be Broadcast Quality (excellent home recordings are fine). NO samples of other artists allowed for this pitch.

ESTIMATED FEES should be in the $1,500 - $2,500 range. You MUST own or control 100% of the Master and Composition rights. THIS IS DIRECT TO THE MUSIC SUPERVISOR, so you will KEEP 100% of the income should you get a placement. NO PUBLISHING SPLITS! Please submit one to three TRACKS online or per CD. ALL submissions will be screened on a YES/NO basis by TAXI. Submissions must be received no later than 10am (PST) MONDAY, January 30th, 2012. TAXI # Y120130CI
TAXI, 5010 N. Parkway Calabasas, Suite 200, Calabasas, CA 91302, USA

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CD of the Week - "Regra de Três: III"

CD of the Week
Regra de Três: "III" (Kyrios/Tratore) 2011

Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Featuring: Bob Wyatt (drums), Lupa Santiago (electric guitar) & Sizão Machado (acoustic bass)
Produced & Arranged by Regra de Três
Recorded live @ SESC Pinheiros (July 30, 2010) by Bernardo Godoy
Mastered by Alberto Ranelucci
Photos: Rita Menezes
Artwork: Luciano Murino
All tunes composed by Lupa Santiago, except "Previsão de Preguiça Para o Sudeste," written by Bob Wyatt

Scot Albertson & Keith Ingham @ Tomi Jazz, NYC, tonight

Vocalist Scot Albertson appears at Tomi Jazz tonight, Tuesday January 24, in a duo performance with pianist Keith Ingham. This is the first of three performances by Scot at Tomi Jazz through February – with upcoming performances on February 7 and February 28.

Tomi Jazz is located at 239 East 53rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues), NYC.
Ph: (646)497-1254.
Dates: $10.00 Cover & $10.00 Food & Drink Minimum please.

"Tomi Jazz celebrated their One Year Anniversary last November," Scot says. "I’ve been there now 15 months monthly along with other artists & musicians who perform there regularly. It was originally a private Club with Owners Ken & Mutsuki opening it up to a public venue providing Jazz 6 (six) days a week (not on Sundays at this point in time). I’m performing there twice a month sculpting the performances with different musicians each time to develop growth and an opportunity for a venue for other musicians to promote and share their music. We simply come together to have fun and make music. Guests are always welcome to sit in when we’re performing. The relationship between Ken & Mutsuki and myself is based on trust & mutual respect which is refreshing in these trying times."

Guest musicians have been: Arthur Lipner – Vibes, Sedric Choukroun – Sax & Flute, Mayu Saeki – Flute, Nick Demopolous – Guitar, Freddie Bryant – Guitar, Daryl Kojak – Pianist, Dr. Joe Utterback – Pianist, Keith Ingham - Pianist & Kyoko Oyobe – Pianist.

Tues. Feb. 7th – Scot Albertson Trio featuring: Keith Ingham (Pianist) & Carol Sudhalter (Sax & Flute – www.sudhalter.com) &

Feb. 28th Tues. – Scot Albertson & David Pearl Duo – Piano / Vocal Duo Evening.

All dates are 9:00 PM thru 11:30 PM time slots which usually go beyond 11:30 PM. "Although the time slot is structured as 2 sets in that time frame indicating a break between sets, I don’t break meaning once we start, we go until we finish @ 11:30 PM or later accommodating all who attend to sit in with us," Scot states.

UPCOMING: Baruch Performing Arts Center – Friday May 11th @ 7:30p.m.

The 15 month run In Tomi Jazz started after a 3 year run of multiple performances in the Laurie Beechman Dinner Theatre (West 42nd St. & 9th Avenue – NYC) & multiple performances in The Kitano after Scot’s debut there June 17, 2009.

Scot’s most recent CD "Vibination" – his fifth - was released on June 17, 2010. Scot’s new CD will be recorded later in 2012.

R.I.P.: Paul Trueblood


Erin Mia joins Mode Lifestyle Magazine's Team

Known as South Florida’s Party Diva, Erin Mia Milchman -- a very well known and prolific special social events organizer and seasoned business and philanthropic entrepreneur -- has joined Mode Lifestyle Magazine’s editorial team as a lifestyle contributor.

Mode Lifestyle Magazine already has several years relationship with Erin – she helped promote MODE’s Official US launch party as well as the “Search for The Face of MODE” events and other projects. Some of the other notable events that she’s created and underwritten is “Think Pink™,” an event to benefit to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation where she organized, promoted and choreographed a luncheon, fashion show and silent auction that culminated as an annual sold out event attended by the affluent community of the City of Weston, Florida-raising more than $10,000 in its first year.

Ms. Milchman was one of the founding sponsors of the Y.M.C.A. in Weston, FL and has served on numerous boards and steering committees of Charities and Organizations with a focus on women and children. Other affiliations include: Women in Distress, Kids in Distress, Cystic Fibrosis, Operation Smile and The Humane Society’s Pet-Set.

Mode Lifestyle Magazine’s President & Editor-in-Chief, Alexander Michaels, has attended many of Erin Mia’s and her business partner Kimberly Etheridge’s VIP events over the past few years. “I have always enjoyed working with Erin,” said Alexander. He continued, “she is always positive and always full of ideas. In this business that is that is a combination that is always useful to have.”

Erin will be contributing to articles about VIP lifestyle events as well as helping to coordinate some of Mode Lifestyle Magazine’s events this year through their “Haute In The City Events And Promotions” company.

For more information please contact: editor@ModeLifestyleMagazine.com

Saturday, January 21, 2012

R.I.P.: John Levy

From John Levy's official website:

John Levy, Manager to Countless Jazz Luminaries, Dies at Age 99

John Levy, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and renowned personal manager for many jazz greats, died on January 20th, less than three months shy of his 100th birthday. His wife, Devra Hall Levy said he was sleeping peacefully in her arms at home in Altadena when his heart finally gave out.

An induction into the International Jazz Hall of Fame (1997) and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Jazz Society were among the many honors Levy received during his career. His client roster read like a veritable who's who of jazz and included Cannonball Adderley, Betty Carter, Randy Crawford, Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Freddie Hubbard, Ahmad Jamal, Abbey Lincoln, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Mann, Les McCann, Wes Montgomery, George Shearing, Dakota Staton, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Williams, and Nancy Wilson, who remains a John Levy Enterprises client to this day.

John Levy was born in New Orleans on April 11, 1912. When he was a boy, his teacher urged him to get a job in the Post Office so he would have security in life. He didn't listen. He became known internationally as one of the top jazz managers in the world. As a personal manager who throughout the course of his career managed more than eighty-five artists, Levy made millions of dollars for his clients, who have risen from sometimes-total anonymity to the heights of success.

Like many Southern black children of his era, John Levy saw his formal education end before it had barely begun. Yet his astonishing business acumen won the respect of people at every level of the music industry -- from the struggling artists to the corporate brass of the recording giants.
Even now there are few places in the world where a young person can learn the intricacies of personal management. In Levy's day there were none. John's university was the street parades in 1920s New Orleans, and the jazz musicians riding on the floats; it was the Savoy Ballroom in Chicago, and Clarence Black's house band; and the sound of Duke Ellington and the Glenn Miller bands; and Benny Goodman at the Sherman Hotel and Fletcher Henderson at the Grand Terrace.

Though Levy was an accomplished bassist in his own right, it was the business aspect of the music industry to which he dedicated his life. From the time he put aside his bass to handle the business affairs of the George Shearing Quintet in 1951, he learned how to guide raw talent to polished professionalism.

Working in the dual roles of both performer and road manager, he gradually grew into a career in personal management, becoming the first African-American personal manager in the jazz field. But his drive pushed him even further, and soon he was promoting concerts and producing records. His years of success in all these areas earned him an impeccable reputation in the entertainment industry, where he was both respected and admired by other managers, booking agents, concert promoters, entertainment lawyers and accountants, record company executives, and last but not least, the artists themselves.

He is survived by his wife Devra Hall Levy of Altadena, CA, his son Michael Levy and daughter Pamela McRae both of Youngstown, OH, daughters Samara Levy of San Diego, CA, and Jole Levy of New York, NY, fifteen grandchildren, and a host of great-grandchildren.

According to Levy's wishes, there will be no funeral service. Donations may be made to the "MCG Jazz John Levy Fund" which is earmarked for the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild's nationwide "Jazz Is Life" educational programs.

Paul McCartney-Diana Krall collaboration coming out soon

Paul McCartney Blows 'Kiss' to Hollywood
by Piya Sinha-Roy -Reuters

January 20, 2012

Paul McCartney's new album "Kisses on the Bottom" will see the legendary Beatles' singer harking back to the golden era of Hollywood, bringing both old favorites and new compositions to his latest musical offering.

"Kisses on the Bottom," named after the lyrics on the album's first track "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," will showcase the former Beatle on a "deeply personal journey" singing classic American songs that inspired McCartney and bandmate John Lennon when they wrote songs for the Beatles.

"When we grew up, we had my dad's or in John's case, his mother's era that we were listening to, and then when we came to write rock and roll songs, this informed the rock and roll," McCartney told reporters in London on Thursday. He added the Beatles' "Honey Pie" was one such track "harking back to Hollywood."

The ex-Beatle said he was inspired by some of Hollywood's best known actors and singers, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and especially Fred Astaire, whose style and voice were a reference for McCartney throughout his career.

"Fred Astaire was just this fantastic character from that era, he's so elegant. Musically, his vocal style is very interesting... he had this little voice that I kind of wanted to get near, so I tried that and that became a little bit of a signature with this album," said McCartney. "It's this era that I love, it's a rich era for style, music and intelligent art."

Despite wanting to do this album "for a long time" through both his Beatles and solo careers, McCartney was forced to delay the record after British singers Robbie Williams and Rod Stewart released their own albums of big band classics. McCartney did not want to appear as if he was jumping on their "bandwagon."

"The album wasn't going to be the direction that everyone else was taking, so the songs are not quite as well known as some of the songs that Rod's been doing," said the singer.

McCartney teamed up with producer Tommy LiPuma and Grammy-winning jazz musician Diana Krall to record "Kisses on the Bottom" in London, New York and the famed Capitol Records studios in Los Angeles. He picked old favorites such as "More I Cannot Wish You" from the musical "Guys and Dolls" and a slow version of classic song "Bye Bye Blackbird."

McCartney also collaborated with legendary musician Stevie Wonder on "Only Our Hearts," a tribute to the music of the '30s and '40s, and Eric Clapton on "My Valentine," one of the singer's favorite tracks on the album and a love letter to his new wife, Nancy Shevell.

"The fact that I was working with great jazz musicians altered something. I don't know what's been altered, but it's really cool," the "Yesterday" singer said.

McCartney dropped hints that songs from the new album may be part of his upcoming performance at the London Olympics later this year, and also said that if asked, he would perform for Britain's Queen Elizabeth at her upcoming Diamond Jubilee festivities.

"Kisses on the Bottom" will be released on February 7.
And here are more pics from the recording sessions:

R.I.P.: Etta James

I was fortunate to attend her electrifying performance at the First São Paulo/Montreux Jazz Festival in 1978. Rest in Peace. The LA Times obituary follows.

Etta James, Acclaimed Blues and R&B Singer, Dies at 73
by Randy Lewis for The Los Angeles Times
January 21, 2012

Etta James, the earthy blues and R&B singer whose anguished vocals convinced generations of listeners that she would rather go blind than see her love leave, then communicated her joy upon finding that love at last, died Friday morning, said her son, Donto James. She was 73.

She died of complications from leukemia at a hospital in Riverside, said Dr. Elaine James, her personal physician.

James had been in failing health for years. Court records in the singer's probate case show she also suffered from dementia and kidney failure. Her two sons had been in a court battle with their stepfather over conservatorship of her $1-million estate. Doctors announced in December that she had chronic leukemia.

James spent time in a detox facility for addiction to painkillers and over-the-counter medications, James, told Reuters in 2010. And she had wrestled with complications since undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2002 to remedy a lifelong struggle with her weight.

After that procedure, which actress Roseanne Barr had recommended to her, James lost 200 pounds. Before the surgery, her weight had gone past 400 pounds. When she performed, she often had to be escorted on and off the stage in a wheelchair. "I thought I was going to die," she told Ebony magazine in 2003. "I was constantly worried that I was going to have a heart attack."
Perhaps the quintessential R&B diva, James, who was born and lived much of her life in Los Angeles, was equally at home singing unadulterated blues, searing R&B and sophisticated jazz, the latter receiving special attention in her recordings over the last decade. Her dusky voice, which could stretch from a sultry whisper to an aching roar, influenced generations of singers who came after, from Tina Turner to Bonnie Raitt to Christina Aguilera. And Beyonce carefully studied James before portraying her in the loosely historical 2008 film "Cadillac Records."

"This is a huge loss," Beyonce said Friday in a statement on her website. "Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen. Her musical contributions will last a lifetime. Playing Etta James taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts. She will be missed."

Despite her early commercial success, James struggled for much of her life with her weight, with addictions to heroin, cocaine and alcohol, and with her tumultuous relationship with her mother, who was just 14 when she gave birth to Jamesetta Hawkins on Jan. 25, 1938.

She was adored by rock's elite, including the Rolling Stones, who drafted her in 1978 as the opening act on their U.S. tour, and voters at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who inducted her in 1993.

"It really does mean a lot," James told The Times upon her induction. "It shows that if you're hanging around the candy store long enough, people start giving you things." James' six-decade recording career began at the top of the R&B charts when her bawdy 1955 single "The Wallflower," better known as "Roll With Me Henry," quickly made her a national star.

In the rollicking early days of rock 'n' roll, James' saucy song answered Hank Ballard's then-recent hit "Work With Me Annie," a ribald, thinly veiled invitation to a woman to have sex. James' response, in which she assertively put forth the same offer on her own terms, was wildly popular but equally controversial coming from a 17-year-old girl long before the sexual revolution of the '60s upended traditional sex roles.

She is best known for "At Last," the powerhouse ballad that became a hit in 1961 and which has been enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Bending and stretching the notes of the bluesy melody to reflect the hard-won realization of a lifelong desire, and channeling a sense of joy that sounded as though the gates of heaven had just opened to welcome her in, James sang: "At last, my love has come along / My lonely days are over / My life is like a song."

The other song with which she became inextricably connected was "I'd Rather Go Blind," which she said she co-wrote in 1968 with her friend Ellington Jordan while he was in prison. He outlined the song and James finished it, but for tax reasons she gave the co-writing credit to Medallions singer Billy Foster, to whom she was briefly married. It conveys the desperation of a woman who prefers losing her sight to seeing her man with someone else. Rolling Stone critic Dave Marsh included it in his 1999 book "The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made." It was subsequently recorded by artists including Rod Stewart, B.B. King, Koko Taylor and Beyonce in "Cadillac Records," but it remains most closely associated with James.

James, the child of a single teenage mother growing up in South Los Angeles during World War II, never knew her father but remained convinced throughout her life that he was pool shark Minnesota Fats.

With her blond curls and light complexion, she stood out in the African American community, and she started to make a mark singing in the choir of St. Paul Baptist Church. The church's music minister, a prominent figure in gospel circles known as Professor James Earle Hines, quickly singled her out for solos when she was just 5 or 6, said biographer David Ritz.

The church was frequented by Hollywood stars such as Lana Turner and Robert Mitchum and had a weekly radio broadcast that helped spread word of the girl's talents. James' mother left her to be raised by foster parents, but when her foster mother died when James was about 12, she was reunited with her biological mother and they lived for a time in San Francisco.

As a teen, James formed a trio called the Peaches, which was discovered by R&B musician and promoter Johnny Otis (who, coincidentally, died Tuesday at age 90). Soon, she was in a duo called Etta and Harvey with Harvey Fuqua of the Moonglows, the R&B group behind the 1955 hit "Sincerely." Early on, she toured with Johnny Guitar Watson, the Texas singer, songwriter and guitarist, in an association that figured prominently in her approach to music for the rest of her life.

"Her real role model was not a woman, it was Johnny Guitar Watson," said Ritz, James' collaborator on her 1995 autobiography, "Rage to Survive." "Johnny also could do all three things: blues, R&B and jazz.... Where he really influenced her was in his vocals. He would sing standards and then kind of bluesify them. Just as Nancy Wilson modeled herself on Little Jimmy Scott -- a man -- Etta James modeled herself on Johnny.... He had an enormously healthy and rich influence on her."

She also fell under the positive and negative influences of musicians she revered, such as Billie Holiday, as well as some with whom she crossed paths on the road, including Ray Charles and Chet Baker, all of whom struggled with addiction. "All of my role models at that time, the ones I looked up to most, were heroin addicts," she told The Times in 1993. "I think subconsciously I thought that was a cool thing."

In the mid-1970s, after getting caught writing bad checks to support her drug habit, James was offered a choice between prison or rehab. She chose the latter and kicked heroin, but she started using cocaine a few years later. A spiritual epiphany led her to give up cocaine and alcohol, and in the 1980s she began a personal and professional renaissance, reestablishing her credibility in the music world.

She coaxed esteemed R&B producer Jerry Wexler, who had been pivotal in the careers of Aretha Franklin, Ruth Brown, Otis Redding and many others, out of retirement to oversee her 1993 album "The Right Time." At the time, Wexler said, "I've never done anything better, and I've done a lot of records."

In 1994, James saluted Holiday with an album of jazz standards called "Mystery Lady," which yielded the first Grammy Award of her career, for jazz vocal performance. She collected two more Grammys: for 2003's "Let's Roll," named best contemporary blues album, and her 2004 collection "Blues to the Bone," named best traditional blues album.

Those works became family affairs when she enlisted her sons, Donto and Sametto James, as co-producers. The family moved to Riverside around the time of the L.A. riots because James said she had had enough of gang violence and other troubles in South Los Angeles.

In addition to her two sons, James is survived by Artis Mills, her husband of 42 years; and several grandchildren.