Monday, October 5, 2015

RED PIANO RECORDS To Release COSMOPOLITAN GREETINGS From: Frank Carlberg/Joe Morris/Pascal Niggenkemper/Luther Gray



From: Frank Carlberg/Joe Morris/Pascal Niggenkemper/Luther Gray
Available October 16, 2015

Brooklyn-based Red Piano Records is proud to announce the release of Cosmopolitan Greetings, a collective effort by four veterans of the improvised music scene. This album marks the recorded debut of this quartet, with a line up featuring guitar legend Joe Morris, pianist/composer Frank Carlberg, bass wizard Pascal Niggenkemper and unsung drum master Luther Gray, in a program of three Carlberg compositions, and three collective improvisations. In the liner notes Carlberg describes the genesis of Cosmopolitan Greetings, "On a cold January day Joe, Pascal, Luther and I entered the studio with little more on the musical agenda than to just be committed to the moment and open to whatever anyone had to offer the others. I had written a few sketch-like compositions for the session, but mostly we were going to let our improvisational instincts direct the music . . . really start with a blank canvas."

The Carlberg compositions on Cosmopolitan Greetings were written specifically for this session with these players in mind. Carlberg explains, "I wanted the compositions to feel open, and rather than dictate the outcome, feel more like invitations to dialog. I knew that with these masterful improvisers just a hint at an idea would be enough to trigger a creative chain reaction; a whisper of a suggestion rather than a declamatory statement."

The musicians navigate the improvisational explorations as well as the written material with ease and verve. They intently listen to each other with only one goal in mind - letting the moment dictate their next action/reaction. No egos here, just a joy of collective music-making while maintaining their strong distinct personalities. And what musical personalities they are!

Joe Morris, is a true legend in avant-jazz and improvised music world. His guitar work stands apart from any other. A uncompromising original voice who during his 40-plus-year career has worked with artists such as John Zorn, Joe Maneri, William Parker, Ken Vandermark and Evan Parker just to name a few. The Finland-native, Brooklyn-based Frank Carlberg has an extensive catalogue of compositions including pieces for small jazz and improv groups, big band, orchestra, music for dance companies, and over 150 songs with settings of contemporary American poetry. The owner of Red Piano Records has 20 CDs to his name as a leader and countless others as a sideman, and has worked with the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Steve Lacy and Bob Brookmeyer. Pascal Niggenkemper, a German-French artist, has quickly become one of the most in-demand bassists both on the New York and the European creative music scenes. Pascal has performed extensively on the European festival circuit with the likes of Simon Nabatov, Gerald Cleaver and Tyshawn Sorey, and has several recordings as a leader on labels such as Clean Feed, FMR and NoBusiness Records. Luther Gray, originally from Washington DC, is a long-time Boston resident. Gray has been a central contributor to that city's vibrant jazz and improvised music scene, playing with everyone from Jerry Bergonzi to Jorrit Dijkstra to George Garzone. He has also toured Europe and the US with various lineups.

Frank Carlberg
About the music:  The first track Cosmopolitan Greetings, opens with an ominous bass statement before the other musicians join in with angular short phrases in conversational exchanges. Soon the group settles in to an intense piano led excursion while the guitar "comps" and the bass and drum team propel the music forward with gradually growing ferocity. After a dynamic highpoint is reached the guitar takes over displaying obliquely resolving lines performed with warm grace. Bass and piano then provide an ascending backdrop to a drum led section which eventually dissolves and we have a short return of the ominous bass statement from the beginning. Cadillac Squawk, one of the Carlberg-penned originals, is a declamatory theme which alternates with an open drum statement. After the thematic exposition guitar and piano engage in a musical cat-and-mouse game while the drums push the intensity to the limit. After the chasing game the piano-bass-drums trio take over in a section with even some blues and stride overtones. Guitar continues with some hyper-kinetic linear improvisations against piano "comping" and the drums probing. The dynamics, but not the intensity, come down a bit for a exhilarating bass statement that lead us back to the thematic statement. Now and Forever, another Carlberg piece, creates a calm and spacious atmosphere. After a solo piano opening the bass and drums join in in a contemporary jazz ballad statement. A gorgeous airy bass statement follows over an elastic pulse by piano and drums. Some slight variations of the theme is stated with the piano in the lead before the music fades out to the distance. Who Eats Who? is an episodic exploration which starts with everybody at full tilt. There are exciting solo statements all around but it is the connection between the musicians that is most astounding. The intensity remain high throughout with telepathic interplay between all, an example of which is the remarkable improvised ending. Research moves at a more deliberate pace and maintains a almost conversational quality throughout, especially between guitar and drums as well as piano and drums. The final track, Get It?, is the third Carlberg composition on this recording. After the thematic statement we find the group settling in to a medium swing tempo and the band swings with a relaxed authority and intensity. After guitar and piano solos they engage in some contrapuntal improvisations before a beautifully crafted drum solo brings us back to the closing theme.


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Please Visit: 

Press Enquiries on Red Piano Records:  
Please Contact Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
NEW Tel # 646 259 2105,




"Brooklyn jazz is happening and those who venture across the bridge will be delighted by the hard-edged ethnically-flavored jazz that they find on the other side."
-The New York City Jazz Record (Formerly AAJ New York)

" . . . The spirit of the organization is firmly rooted in Brooklyn. All of the members reside there, and they wanted to give a nod to the vitality of its scene."  
The Wall Street Journal


Follow The Stick Features: 
Sam Sadigursky (clarinet/bass clarinet)
Chris Dingman (vibes, marimba)
Bobby Avey (piano)
Jordan Perlson (drums, percussion)
Jason Palmer (trumpet on trks 2,5,9,13)
Ljova (viola, trk 7)

Available November 6, 2015 (North America), November 27 (Europe)

CD Release Celebration - November 4 
@ The Cornelia Street Cafe, NYC

"Sadigursky reinvents the clarinet for the 21st century"  - London Jazz News

"Gracefully high-minded explorations of poetic form" 
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times

"Entrancing...hypnotic...a musical world full of riches and you should partake in this feast"  - Richard Kamins,

"Profound...sublime..."  - Jazz Magazine (France)

Sam Sadigursky, a first-call sideman and bandleader across a broad spectrum of music, and an award-winning composer (Chamber Music America, The Jerome Foundation), debuts a brand new band on his new recording, Follow The Stick, to be released on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on November 6, 2015. Follow The Stick is a sophisticated collection of original music from one of the most respected musicians on the New York scene. It is also Sam's "coming out party" as a clarinetist, which he has put front and center as of late. He explains, "It was a natural evolution in many ways, both practically and creatively. I started on saxophone, but began studying clarinet pretty early as well ­ my father is a classically trained clarinetist and accordionist from the Soviet Union, who now plays mostly Klezmer and Eastern European folk music. I remember interviewing him for a 5th grade project and asking him what some of his dreams in life were, and he told me about wanting to learn to play jazz clarinet, something he's always loved. About four or five years ago something really clicked for me with the instrument and I've put most of my energies into it, and people have been calling me more and more for my clarinet playing since then. Unlike the endless sea of jazz saxophone players, there aren't that many improvisers today playing clarinet at a high level, so it's allowed me to really create a little niche for myself, and creatively, I feel there's so much more room to explore with it. I really feel that it's my voice as an instrumentalist."

This new recording follows up Sadigursky's five acclaimed The Words Project albums on New Amsterdam Records, where the music is based on text and poetry. With Follow The Stick we now have an opportunity to hear why Sadigursky is considered a "musician's musician", and so revered as a collaborator/sideman. "The Words Project material sort of allowed me to hide behind the singers. There's not that much stretching out on those albums, since I was always conscious of this larger compositional scheme, being faithful to the text and not allowing it to get overshadowed by the music," said Sadigursky. "We stretch on this one."

The music on Follow The Stick is comprised of new, and some not so new, original compositions, plus a modern take on the Glenn Miller hit, "String Of Pearls". Originally, Sadigursky planned on writing all new music for this group; things with a more overt sort of swing associated with this instrumentation (clarinet, trumpet, vibraphone, piano & drums), such as "Do The Dance", but, "when I started to fish through old notebooks for ideas I found so many nearly-completed old tunes of mine that never had life breathed into them. Having focused on those vocal albums for nearly ten years, there is still a huge backlog of instrumental material that I'm sifting through. However, I did write some new tunes for the group, things like 'Deadly Sins' and 'Math Music', and these might better reflect my thinking today - lots of meter changes and metric modulations - where many of the older tunes are more lead-sheet oriented and open," explained Sadigursky.

"Follow The Stick" is musician's slang for following a conductor, but it also applies to the clarinet, which has been subjected to a host of (mostly) derogatory nicknames, due primarily to its unforgiving nature as an instrument (i.e. the licorice stick, the agony stick, etc.). "The clarinet is such an unyielding instrument - the technical difficulty of it can be really controlling; as a player you often have to follow wherever it wants to go. There's just a lot more to trip over technically on it. Really though, I just liked the sound of those words, their directness and the sarcastic suggestion of dictatorship, which is of course so counter to music­making. Plus, I wanted this to be a real band, so I figured the first thing that any band needs is a name," said Sadigursky.

The Follow The Stick band began as a trio featuring Bobby Avey on piano and Jordan Perlson on drums, an instrumentation inspired by the great clarinet trios of the '40s led by Benny Goodman, which didn't have a bass player. "Bobby Avey is really the whole package ­ he plays the whole piano with a real sound, has such a compositional sense, and he's an instigator, totally fearless, something I really value in the people I play with. His left hand is so developed that he fills the space left in the group by not having a bass player so naturally, without ever slipping into cliches," commented Sadigursky. "I heard Jordan on Bobby's records, and was really blown away. I had known him for years through his playing with Becca Stevens (who is on several of The Words Project albums), so I called him for one of the informal sessions with Bobby. What I didn't know was that Bobby and Jordan grew up playing together in Pennsylvania, so they go back a long time. It felt like a band to me from the first moment, and immediately after that session I remember taking them out to lunch and basically getting down on one knee and asking them to be part of something more ongoing. Jordan is so well versed in so much music ­ he can play the hard stuff, but then is one of the best rock drummers I've ever heard. 'Math Music', the last tune on the album, is basically a big ol' feature for him, and he kills it."

After a few gigs with the trio, Sadigursky was looking for a bit more color for the group, a musician who could thicken the textures and also give the piano some support during solos, and support the melodic content as well. He elaborated, "I thought about which instrument I would like to try adding, and vibes came to mind first, since they have such a history alongside the clarinet - Benny Goodman/Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five, Buddy DeFranco/Terry Gibbs, etc. I had never played with Chris Dingman before, but remember being really impressed by his first album, Waking Dreams. After doing a session with him I knew he was the guy. It takes a lot of sensitivity for a vibes player and a pianist to play well together, and it seemed to come so easily for Chris and Bobby. One of my favorite parts of the record is the extended intro they play to 'Heart' ­ they sound like they've been playing together for years." Boston-based trumpeter Jason Palmer plays on five tracks. Sadigursky had a trumpet player in mind for some tracks, and was blown away by Palmer's playing on a European tour they did with Darcy James Argue's group. "It's rare that I hear a trumpet sound that I love, and Jason's gives me goosebumps every time I hear it," said Sadigursky. Ljova plays viola on just one track, "Looks Can Be Deceiving," an open sketch with no written melody, just a sequence of chords and a vague notion of how they should be played. "Although he's not a jazz improviser, his sense of melody is so great, and I love the sound of the viola, it has a very similar ruminative, dark quality to the clarinet. I love how they sound together."

"In addition to all the different folk traditions that the clarinet is part of, there's such a great tradition of jazz clarinet that I'm still in the midst of discovering. I'm amazed at how much of it goes unnoticed these days - these clarinet greats were so prodigious. However, having come up as a saxophonist listening to Coltrane, Rollins, Henderson, Lovano, etc., I have all these other sounds in my head as well - you play any of that stuff on the saxophone and most people have heard it a thousand times, but play those influences on the clarinet and it actually sounds pretty fresh. To me, at least."

More on Sam Sadigursky - Since moving to New York in 2002, Sadigursky continues to make his mark both as a leader and sideman. His series of albums of original music based on poetry and text entitled The Words Projecthave been acclaimed internationally. Noted music critic Steve Smith called them, "compelling and touchingly intimate...that rare anomaly: a jazz-and-poetry record that sounds utterly natural and convincing", and went on to name Sadigursky's debut album as one of Time Out New York's "Top Ten Albums of 2007". The New York Times has called them "gracefully high-minded explorations of poetic form." Sadigursky has toured and recorded as a saxophonist and clarinetist with artists such as Brad Mehldau, Lucia Pulido, Gabriel Kahane, Tom Jones, Edmar Castaneda, Linda Oh, The Mingus Orchestra, Jamie Baum Septet, Ljova, Pablo Mayor's Folklore Urbano, La Cumbiamba eNeYe, and has been nominated for two Grammy awards for his work with Darcy James Argue's Secret Society. As a composer, he has written for film and modern dance and has also published three books of original etudes for clarinet and saxophone. Sadigursky has appeared at some of the world's most prestigious venues and festivals, has performed for numerous Broadway shows, and appears on over twenty-five albums as a sideman. 

Please visit: 

Press Enquiries on Sam Sadigursky & 
Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records:   
Please Contact Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
Email, Tel 646 259 2105

Wednesday, September 2, 2015



                                              Take a look inside the making of Family First

Available worldwide on September 2, 2015


Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet On Tour:
September 30 - The Jazz Gallery, NYC(last NYC date before the European tour!)
October 3 - Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
October 4 - Vrijstraat O, Ostend, Belgium
October 5 - Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden
October 6 - TBA
October 7 - Moods, Zurich, Switzerland
October 8 - Band on The Wall, Manchester, UK
October 9 - Bimhuis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
October 10 - Paradox, Tiblurg, The Netherlands
October 11 & 12 - Duc Des Lombards, Paris, France
October 13 - Whelan's, Dublin, Ireland
October 14 - Ronnie Scott's, London, UK

Mark Guiliana (drums)
Fabian Almazan (piano)
Jason Rigby (tenor sax)
Chris Morrissey (bass)

The Critics on Mark Guiliana:
"Guiliana released an excellent new album called Family First that is resistant to pigeonholing. It's an all-acoustic outing deeply rooted in postbop that illustrates Guiliana's connection to swing-based music, even if he routinely displaces rhythmic patterns and fractures steady time . . . magnificent, elegant results." - Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

"Mark Guiliana is a young drummer with a creative command of electronics. Here he debuts an acoustic quartet worthy of admiration. Quiet, minor and processional, Family First is an understated, friendly album ripe with gorgeous melodies.  Guiliana's plugged-in music has been a treat, especially last year's My Life Starts Now. Hopefully, we will be hearing more from this acoustic quartet."
- Paul de Barros, DownBeat Magazine, Four Stars

"Groove has often been the absolute priority for the drummer Mark Guiliana, to strong effect. 'Family First,' the third release on his own Beat Music label, due on Tuesday, shifts his emphasis toward melody and interplay." - Nate Chinen, The New York Times

"Guiliana the drummer continuously generates compelling, complex content in which violence and quietude reasonably coexist. Guiliana the composer creates complete, detailed, wildly diverse conceptions." - Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes

"For many observers, he's the guy to watch if you want to know where the great art of drumming is right now- and where it could be headed." - Modern Drummer Magazine

"What happens when you add hard bop drum masters Elvin Jones and Art Blakey to a 1980s Roland 808 drum machine, divide the result by J Dilla and then multiply to the power of Squarepusher? Answer: Mark Guiliana." - Time Out London

With the June 4, 2015 release of Family First, drummer/composer/bandleader Mark Guiliana and his Jazz Quartet featuring Jason Rigby (tenor saxophone), Shai Maestro (piano) and Chris Morrissey (bass), brilliantly created a melodic and rhthymic landscape that delighted audiences and provoked rave reviews from critics. Family First marked the third release in a year on his own Beat Music Productions (following up My Life Starts Now and Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations), and Guiliana is now excited to announce the companion/follow-up release to Family First, Family First - The Alternate Takes. The Alternate Takes CD offers up a new listening experience, featuring alternate takes on "Long Branch", "ABED", "The Importance of Brothers" and Bob Marley's "Johnny Was", as well as two new tunes, Guiliana's "1980", and the Quartet's version of Rufus Wainwright's "Beautiful Child".

Guiliana's singular drumset and compositional artistry, once again setting the bar quite high, is on glorious display on Family First - The Alternate Takes, as is the playing of his collaborators. Once again Guiliana has used the freedom of running his own label to bring music to listeners that might never have been heard. "After two incredibly fun and productive days in the studio, I knew we had too much material to fit on one record, " said Guiliana. "Chris, Shai, and Jason consistently delivered inspired performances, making it difficult to choose 'the one,' and in several instances, I felt very connected to versions that didn't end up on the record. It's exciting to be able to share this material that would otherwise just be hiding on a hard drive somewhere in my apartment."

The sound presented on Family First is quite different from Guiliana's 2014 releases, and Family First - The Alternate Takes presents yet another soundscape, giving the listener a different perspective on the music. This purely acoustic music is presented without edits or isolation, as captured in pristine detail by engineer John Davis at the Bunker Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.While not a tribute recording in any way, this recording is another nod to the jazz drummers that have inspired and informed Guiliana's completely unique approach to the instrument. Guiliana elaborates, "the music that this Quartet plays embodies the deep inspiration I have taken over the years from my earliest drumming heroes, including Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, and Art Blakey, to name a few."   

                     From L-R is Jason Rigby, Chris Morrissey, Mark Guiliana, Shai Maestro

Although this is a fairly new band, Guiliana shares a deep musical history with each musician. "These guys are some of my favorite musicians and I've been lucky to be building a musical bond with each of them over the past decade," he explains. "I've been playing with Chris in my electronic project Beat Music, with Jason in my first band Heernt, and I spent a handful of great years on the road with Shai in bassist Avishai Cohen's trio." Family First - The Alternate Takes encapsulates all the best that these musicians have to offer - abundant beauty, ardent propulsion and sheer love of improvisation.

contact: Jason Paul Harman Byrne - Red Cat Publicity, 
Tel 646 259 2105

Monday, August 31, 2015

Available Now! - Motema Music Proudly Releases UNTOLD STORIES From Pianist/Composer SHAI MAESTRO


Motema Music Proudly Releases UNTOLD STORIES
From Pianist/Composer SHAI MAESTRO
Available now, as of August 28, 2015


"Hearing the Shai Maestro Trio is like awakening to a new world: a world of wonders, excitement, beauty, and uncertainty. Sounds of intrigue, expressions of  joy, introspective thoughts, and heightened intensity all come to the fore at one time or another as Maestro, bassist Jorge Roeder, and drummer Ziv Ravitz open up and share themselves through the music . . . these stories are all gripping, exhilarating, and gorgeous in their own way."
- Dan Bilawsky, 

"He's developed on the piano a fluidity and hot intensity normally found in molten lava, with rapid improvisatory ideas spewing as if shot out of a volcano. Maestro's third album as a leader, , features his current trio of bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Ziv Ravitz. The band is a welcome and entry into the hallowed hall of important piano trios in jazz." - Gary Fukushima, LA Weekly

"An Israeli pianist with an attraction to sleek rhythmic forms and bittersweet harmony, Shai Maestro has a fine recent album, 'Untold Stories'"
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times

" . . .You owe it to yourself to discover the beauty that Maestro, Roeder and Ravitz make." - Peter Hum, The Ottawa Citizen

"Maestro's classical touch retains an expressive delicacy whatever the mood . . . His solo career is going to be one to watch." **** 
- John Fordham, The Guardian

Shai Maestro is a creator of moods, a shaper of atmospheres and a sculptor of sound. The pianist doesn't merely play music; he creates a world that is distinctly and intimately his. On his new recording, Shai Maestro Trio - Untold Stories, available on Motema Music today, August 28, 2015, Maestro, and his trio featuring Jorge Roeder (bass) and Ziv Ravitz (drums), explores a touching and poetic universe of music. Untold Stories contains all that is great in modern jazz today, and truly displays the camaraderie and brotherhood in music that this trio possesses.

As a pianist and composer Maestro has been chasing down beauty his entire life, looking to capture meaningful phrases that are refined, and clearly communicated. With Untold Stories, the third album from his trio, Maestro has turned the page and entered a new phase, taking time, fearing less, daring more, accepting the occasional stumble, and allowing the music to change and be a representation of who the members of the trio are as people, for good or bad. Maestro elaborates, "What happened to us on the road in the last few years is basically a shift in our state of mind. What I want to do today (and also to hear from other musicians as well) is to express who I am, and who we are as human beings. Being human is a complex thing to say the least, and there are many sides to our personalities. Not all are beautiful. So music can and should contain everything; beauty, ugliness, love, violence, etc. So Untold Stories is a point in time of us, an entry into a different journey, one that is much more raw and honest then what I have done so far." The music on Untold Stories was recorded live and in studios in Brooklyn and Paris, offering the listener a complete picture of the Trio today ("Maya's Song"-studio-Paris, "Treelogy", "Painting", "Elusive" & "Looking Back (Quiet Reflection)"-live-Paris, "When You Stop Seeing", "Endless Winter" & "Shades"-studio-Brooklyn).

Untold Stories opens with the compelling triumph, "Maya's Song", co-written by Maestro, Roeder and Ravitz while preparing music for a tour. "When You Stop Seeing"was inspired by a poem Maestro received from a dear friend. The poem speaks about a transparent bubble floating in space. Maestro elaborated, "this idea of transparency fascinated me and I tried to look for a transparent harmonic quality which is how I got to the texture of the song, which is a chord that is made out of 5ths. It's neither major nor minor." This composition was written during the last armed conflict between Israel and Palestine. "As an Israeli, I was born into this realty of conflict and that's the only thing I knew until I started traveling and eventually moved to New York. During the horrible violence of this last 'round' between Israel and Palestine, I was exposed to the voices coming from within Israel and Palestine via social media etc. One of the things that really bothered me is how people referred to people on the other side as, 'The Palestinians', or 'The Israelis'. We know this reality very well here in the U.S. with racism, sexism etc., and I feel that people forget that we are human beings before belonging to a place, race etc. So the extended title of this song, which didn't make it to the album, is 'When you stop seeing other human beings as human beings', explained Maestro. "Treelogy" was written while the trio was on tour in France. After the initial melody is presented it's a study of new harmonic devices that Maestro found, trying to create the contrast between a consonant, slow bass motion combined with a fast dissonant harmony on top of it. Ravitz and Roeder found a way of creating a long, intense build up, allowing the trio to explore the higher register of their instruments, which is something new to Maestro's music. This also displayed a new level of patience that the trio had found. "Painting" is a song Maestro wrote for the group's first album several years ago in his Brooklyn apartment. Maestro explains, "it was composed at 3 AM, while I was staring at a painting I had received as a gift from a friend in Bulgaria. It is a painting that resembles the work of Marc Chagall. The composition is an attempt to write music to what I feel the painting expressed instead of trying to express myself." It is included on Untold Stories mainly because of Ravitz's enthralling drum solo. "Ziv and I were talking a lot about how the drum solo got stuck in a concept in jazz music, usually stuck in the shape dictated by trading or soloing over the form unaccompanied. We spoke at length about how not many people are questioning this concept any more, and that drum solos can be treated as any other instrument, playing and reacting to harmony, melody and space. I felt it's a statement I wanted to make", said Maestro.

Other highlights on Untold Stories include "Elusive", a study in contrasts in registers and harmonic tension; "Endless Winter", inspired by NYC's painful winter, and, "an attempt to deal with harmony in a special manner, finding the harmonic twist only in the middle voices, while the melody and bass movements are completely consonant", explained Maestro; the completely improvised "Shades", which finds Maestro bravely opening the door to presenting an abstract piece that is not "beautiful" and part of his usual aesthetic; and the album's closer "Looking Back (Quiet Reflection)", which is all about time, space and simplicity. Maestro explained, "Together with this 'abstract world' that I'm discovering, I'm simultaneously being pulled more towards simplicity, which has to come with trust. Trust in the band members, and in the music. This is one of the compositions I'm most proud of on this album, as it opens new possibilities for me in how to approach music and composition in particular. It's a new direction that I'm very curious about." 

More on Shai Maestro and the Shai Maestro Trio:
While he was only 19 years old, Shai Maestro began a five-year stint recording and touring with bass player Avishai Cohen, and is featured on the albums Gently Disturbed (2008), Aurora (2009) and Seven Seas (2011). Maestro moved to New York City in 2010 and created his acclaimed trio with Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder (Gary Burton, Miguel Zenon), and Israeli drummer Ziv Ravitz (Lee Konitz, Esperanza Spalding). The Trio's debut album for the French label Laborie Jazz, simply titled Shai Maestro Trio, was very well received and set the trio in motion, touring the world, playing major festivals, concert halls and jazz clubs (Jazz In Marciac, Nice Jazz festival, Montreal Jazz festival, Cotton Club-Japan, Duc des Lombards, New Morning, Jazz Cafe-London, A Trane, Smalls, ShapeShifter Lab, The Jazz Gallery, etc), and receiving incredibly positive responses from audiences, peers and the press. In 2012 at the Jazz In Marciac Festival they shared the stage with Chick Corea's group, Tigran Hamasyan's quintet, Esperanza Spalding's group and Diana Krall's band, indicating the echelon they had reached in the jazz world. The Shai Maestro Trio's third album Untold Stories will be released on August 28 on Motema music.

Maestro is based in Brooklyn, and when not leading his Trio, the pianist can be found performing and recording with international artists such as Theo Bleckmann, Donny McCaslin, John Patitucci, Mark Guiliana, Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Anat Cohen, Jorge Rossy, Ari Hoenig, Myron Walden, Gilad Hekselman, Jonathan Blake, Clarence Penn and many others.

Twitter: @ShaiMaestro
Please Visit: &

Press Enquiries on Shai Maestro and Untold Stories,
Please Contact: Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
646 259 2105,
(new phone # please update your records)


For Immediate Release:
Dear Friends, Colleagues, Journalists, DJs & PDs,
BEN WENDEL is incredibly happy to announce the next installment of his video art project, THE SEASONS. Previous guests on The Seasons include Julian Lage, Shai Maestro, Matt Brewer, Joshua Redman and others. This month features a duet with the great saxophonist and composer, MARK TURNER, "someone who has greatly influenced me and countless other musicians", commented Wendel.  For those that know Mark's playing, this duet ended up being directly influenced by his intervallic language on the horn.  Click on image below to see the video:

The Seasons project was recently featured on NPR's All Things Considered. As always they did a wonderful job.  Click here!:


September 16th - ACT CD Release Celebration for ACT II,
with Nate Wood and Harish Raghavan
@ The Jazz Gallery, NYC

September 17th - ACT CD Release Celebration for ACT II,
with Nate Wood and Harish Raghavan
@ The Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA

All info can be found here:

ACT - Featuring Ben Wendel, Harish Raghavan & Nate Wood - Proudly Announces the Release of Their Second Recording, ACT II
Available on September 18, 2015

September 16 - The Jazz Gallery, NYC - 8 & 10 PM
September 17 - The Blue Whale, LA - 9 PM-12 AM

"This three-piece band pursues a style both hypnotic and rough-and-tumble, drawing freely from the saxophone-trio playbook but guarding its independence."
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times

"It only takes a few minutes of this debut to clarify just how rousing the group can be . . . the kind of propulsion hat a sax trio needs to grab a listener's lapels."
 - Jim Macnie, DownBeat Magazine

"The collaborative venture of multi-instrumentalist Ben Wendel and bassist Harish Raghavan, plays lean, high-wire postbop" - Time Out NY

"The trio is having fun, enjoy being with each other, digging into the songs . . . creative music that demands you pay attention but pays the attentive listener back by being honest. Can't ask for more than that."
- Richard Kamins, The Hartford Courant, Step Tempest, AllAboutJazz
The sophomore recording from ACT, ACT II, aligns the orbits of three of the most creative forces in our vast galaxy of music, Ben Wendel (tenor saxophone, melodica, bassoon), Harish Raghavan (bass), and Nate Wood (drums). These musicians are supremely talented, that is a given. What is fascinating and gripping is the level of their creativity, and their ability to fully express their individuality while complimenting each other. Their new recording ACT II, fulfills one's need to hear imaginative, adventurous music, and also stands as a shining example of what it means to play selflessly in a trio setting (albeit one with a distinct instrumentation); they are that in tune and sympathetic to one another, and together they conjure up another winner with this recording.

Please Visit:

Press Enquiries on Ben Wendel, The Seasons, ACT and ACT II, Please Contact:
Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
646 259 2105,

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

ACT - Featuring Ben Wendel, Harish Raghavan & Nate Wood Proudly Announces the Release of Their Second Recording, ACT II

ACT - Featuring Ben Wendel, Harish Raghavan & Nate Wood
Proudly Announces the Release of Their Second Recording, ACT II
Available on September 18, 2015

September 16 - The Jazz Gallery, NYC - 8 & 10 PM
September 17 - The Blue Whale, LA - 9 PM-12 AM

"This three-piece band pursues a style both hypnotic and rough-and-tumble, drawing freely from the saxophone-trio playbook but guarding its independence. The members of the group — the saxophonist Ben Wendel, the bassist Harish Raghavan and the drummer Nate Wood — are all members of Kneebody, a larger, hazier band, but one that upholds similar convictions." - Nate Chinen, The New York Times

"It only takes a few minutes of this debut to clarify just how rousing the group can be . . . the kind of propulsion hat a sax trio needs to grab a listener's lapels." - Jim Macnie, DownBeat Magazine

"The collaborative venture of multi-instrumentalist Ben Wendel and bassist Harish Raghavan, plays lean, high-wire postbop" - Time Out NY

"The trio is having fun, enjoy being with each other, digging into the songs . . . creative music that demands you pay attention but pays the attentive listener back by being honest. Can't ask for more than that." - Richard Kamins, The Hartford Courant, Step Tempest, AllAboutJazz

The sophomore recording from ACT, ACT II, aligns the orbits of three of the most creative forces in our vast galaxy of music, Ben Wendel (tenor saxophone, melodica, bassoon), Harish Raghavan (bass), and Nate Wood (drums).  These musicians are supremely talented, that is a given. What is fascinating and gripping is the level of their creativity, and their ability to fully express their individuality while complimenting each other. Their new recording ACT II, fulfills one's need to hear imaginative, adventurous music, and also stands as a shining example of what it means to play selflessly in a trio setting (albeit one with a distinct instrumentation); they are that in tune and sympathetic to one another, and together they conjure up another winner with this recording.   

Ben, Harish and Nate, long-time friends and collaborators, have known each other for quite some time, and have found themselves side by side in many other groups (most notably - Kneebody, with trumpeter/composer Shane Endsley).  Collectively they have appeared with Ignacio Berroa, Chaka Khan, Greg Osby, Vijay Iyer, Wayne Krantz, Daedelus, Billy Childs, Ambrose Akinmusire, Eric Harland, Mark Turner, and numerous others. Despite this plethora of outside opportunities, Ben, Harish and Nate feel an enticing lure to perform and record as this compelling trio. Wendel explains, "we've always had a great time as a trio and this group has always felt like the no pressure/just-for-the-fun-of-it project. After we recorded our first album years ago, we always assumed we would document the group again in the future. For me, it's great to keep coming back to this group and see how things have changed over the years." With the release of ACT II, the trio moves to the head of the queue as one of the most exciting bands on the scene. 

ACT II was recorded at The Pocantico Center/Rockefeller Brothers Fund, in Tarrytown, NY (a connection made possible by Rio from The Jazz Gallery in NYC). "In the dead of winter, we stayed in a beautiful home upstate and recorded/composed for three days to make this album-it was a total blast," said Wendel. "This record, along with our first, was recorded in one room with no headphones. It's a very liberating way to record music as it gives the band a natural blend, and the recording space becomes a phantom band member. It adds to the familiarity of our musical relationship, and makes it very easy to make full sounding music with just 3 people and no chordal component", said Wood. Raghavan added that, "recording this CD was a unique experience; going to a random house, not knowing what the space would sound like, writing, and arranging and recording the record in three days. It was crazy, but also inspiring, and we did every tune in one or two takes. Something about the atmosphere was comforting, or maybe it was the band. Playing with Ben and Nate is and has always been very natural. We've played together for almost a decade, and months, even years, can pass between gigs, but there's always a familiarity that's inspiring." Highlights on the recording include "Unforeseeable", originally a duet for saxophone and trumpet that was to be included in Wendel's acclaimed "Seasons Project" ( but didn't end up getting used. It sounds tailor-made for the trio, and Nate and Harish relish in the driving, up-tempo groove in five. "Yes You" "is a new tune that I've been trying a bit in Kneebody and thought would fit well in this group," explained Wendel. With "Day and Night" we find a loose adaptation of the standard "Night and Day"; a riveting departure that has just enough of the original's elements to tease the ear and move the soul.

Ben Wendel
Grammy nominated saxophonist Ben Wendel (born in Vancouver, raised in Los Angeles, and currently living in Brooklyn) has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer, producer and conductor. Highlights include multiple domestic and international tours with artists such as Ignacio Berroa, Tigran Hamasyan, Gerald Clayton, Eric Harland, Taylor Eigsti, Snoop Dogg and the artist formerly known as Prince. Ben is a founding member of the Grammy nominated group Kneebody, currently signed with Concord Records. As a composer, he has received an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award, the 2008 and 2011 Chamber Music America “New Works Grant” and most recently was awarded the Victor Lynch-Staunton award by the Canada Council For The Arts. He also co-wrote the score for John Krasinski’s 2009 adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men." Ben was honored to work with conductor Kent Nagano in producing a series of concerts for the Festspiel Plus in Munich, Germany. Since 2008, he has produced a multi-genre performance series at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California. Recently he was appointed the head of their Jazz and Blues initiative, which will include producing and expanding performance opportunities for these genres in Los Angeles. As part of this appointment, Ben helped to create an artistic council with includes such luminaries as Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert and Luciana Souza. Ben’s recent producer work includes the Grammy nominated album "Life Forum" for pianist Gerald Clayton on Concord Records. Ben is a recording artist with Sunnyside Records and Concord Records, with two solo albums under his belt, Simple Song (2009) and Frame (2012), a duo project with French-American pianist Dan Tepfer entitled Small Constructions (2013) and multiple Kneebody albums. A third solo album is planned for release in 2015. Ben is a former Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at USC and a current Adjunct at the New School in NYC. Educational outreach has been a constant in his career with over 250 masterclasses at various colleges, universities, high schools and also previous work with the LA Philharmonic Artist Program. Ben had the honor of conducting a re-creation of “Bird With Strings” at Jazz At The Lincoln Center with guests Charles McPherson and Wes “Warm Daddy” Anderson.

Harish Raghavan
Harish Raghavan grew up in Northbrook, Illinois. At age 8 he began studying Western and Indian percussion, and switched over to the double bass at 17. He was accepted to study double bass at the University of Southern California. Since moving to New York City he has quickly become a rising star on his instrument.

Nate Wood
"No doubt, Wood is a wildly endowed and original musician."-Steve Krugman ( Grammy nominated Nate Wood is a drummer/multi-instrumentalist and mastering engineer based in New York City. He is a founding member of the Grammy nominated quintet Kneebody, which released their self-titled debut album in 2005 on trumpeter Dave Douglas’s label, Greenleaf Music. In 2007, Kneebody released Low Electrical Worker on Colortone Media. They also completed an album of arrangements of Charles Ives compositions with singer Theo Bleckmann and released the recording 12 Songs of Charles Ives which was nominated for a Grammy for  “Best Classical Crossover Album”. Kneebody’s latest record The Line was released on Concord Records in 2013.

In addition to Kneebody, Nate has also performed or recorded with many notable artists including Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, Dave Grohl, Brian May and Roger Taylor (Queen), Chris Squire (Yes), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Chaka Khan, Wayne Krantz, Billy Childs, Tigran Hamasyan, Donny McCaslin, Sting and many others. Nate was featured in Modern Drummer in March of 2014, and placed in the 2015 Modern Drummer Magazine reader’s poll among the top 5 drummers in his category.

Along with his work as a sideman, Nate has released 3 albums of his own material, where he performed, recorded and mixed everything himself.  His newest album “Another Time” was released in July 2014. Nate also masters records for artists from around the world (for an abbreviated list of credits, see Nate is endorsed by Gretsch Drums, Istanbul Agop Cymbals, Promark Sticks, Remo Drumheads, Gibraltar Hardware, D’addario Strings, Aguilar Amplification and Moollon instruments. 

Please Visit:,,

Press Enquiries on ACT and ACT II, Please Contact:
Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity – 646 259 2105,


His Fifth Album as a Leader Available on the JazzVillage Label (distr. harmonia mundi)
 October 9 (North America) & October 2 (Europe)

Homes Features Gilad Hekselman - Guitars, Joe Martin - Bass,
Marcus Gilmore - Drums (except track 10), Jeff Ballard - Drums (tracks 3, 10) 

For a full list of Gilad's extensive tour dates please visit
Gilad Hekselman - guitar, Joe Martin - bass, Marcus Gilmore - drums
October 2: The Cornelia Street Cafe - NYC
October 5: Smalls Jazz Club - NYC
November 6: The Bronx Museum, NY (w/Reuben Rogers & Ferenc Nemeth)

The Gilad Hekselman Trio's new recording, Homes, fills you with quiet enthusiasm.  You listen to it – or rather experience it as a contemplative contrast to the artist’s complex identity in a globalized world: identification with his origins, the variety of places he has lived and worked, his musical models and influences, his place among family and friends, and his place within the history of his art.  This recording reflects Gilad's relationships with his many homes; physical, geographic, musical and spiritual.

With this opus 5 (on JazzVillage, distributed by harmonia mundi) the six-string prince is celebrating a dozen years since his arrival in New York City, and also a decade of making music with his bandmates, double-bass player Joe Martin, and drummer Marcus Gilmore.  The triumvirate is featured on Gilad's Words Unspoken, Hearts Wide Open and This Just In.  On these essential recordings, and now with Homes, one could find abundant evidence that these formidable musicians form the ideal trio.

Homes is a true suite in musical terms: the prelude is repeated in the finale and the twelve tracks pass through a number of diverse moods.  The dominant feeling is one of great tenderness.  That is no doubt the keyword for this CD – and there is a story behind it.

In 17th century Paris, the first feminist writers invented an imaginary "geography of love" map.  On their wonderful "Carte du Tendre" (the Tenderness Map, a huge publishing success at the time), the heart and body were depicted as countries, emotions as rivers, various stages of love were cities, and passion, a wild sea.  In the same way Homes is the intimate mapping of a young musician on the threshold of a musical zenith, who loves life and love as much as the music and instrument he plays – you feel that all of this mingles easily within this artist.

One piece, "Verona", is actually dedicated to the city of Romeo and Juliet near Venice and the mythical "home" of all lovers.  Full of contrast, this piece really develops like a love affair, alternating gentleness with exaltation.  It is also a fine example of the impressive cohesion of a trio establishing itself as one of the very best in jazz today.

Virtuoso Joe Martin, with his powerful, woody sound, was the pillar of the Mingus Big Band (a supreme honor he fully deserved), prior to revealing his talent as a composer on the album, “Not by Chance”, recorded with Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter and Marcus Gilmore.  In addition to his essential participation in this trio, he also holds the bass chair in Anat Cohen's Quartet, Mark Turner's Quartet, and is simply one of the most sought-after bassists on the NYC scene.

Marcus Gilmore is the grandson and fortunate heir of Roy Haynes, one of the last of the great historic jazz drummers - still active at 90 years of age.  In both men can be found the same miraculously magical balance between cymbals and skins, as well as the same ability to shape and color music that can conjur gasps and other communiqué of delight from audiences.

But if we really want to find models for Gilad Hekselman’s trio, we look at those of Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett whom Gilad listened to so much.  Over the years, the fusional human and musical relationship they developed and the exceptional interplay they achieved, are precisely what make the biblically accented lament, “Eyes to See”, so marvelous.

In New York jazz clubs or anywhere else in the world, bebop, three-quarters of a century after it was invented in Manhattan, remains the trial by fire for young jazz players.  It’s a sport: get it wrong and you risk losing face.  Just listen to Bud Powell's "Parisian Thoroughfare", because when it comes to bebop, Gilad Hekselman and his friends are serious customers, as Parisian jazz-speak has it.  Gilad’s trio provides a joyously exhilarating version of this piece.  You can just imagine the exchange of knowing glances between them: besides the fact Gilad says that Paris is one of his favorite cities, this track is a pinnacle of controlled speed and a high point on the album.

There are other very different tracks which reveal a more "psychedelic" side to Gilad’s playing; Jimi Hendrix inevitably comes to mind listening to "Space" and "Cosmic Patience", together a sort of day-dreamy waltz of the cosmos, deceptively slow and quiet and which wildly take off at the end.

To those who have compared him, often wrongly, to Pat Metheny, Gilad Hekselman has a fine retort; his spare and graceful "Last Train Home" (a duo with special guest Jeff Ballard) is without a doubt the best performance as yet recorded.

Gilad Hekselman’s guitar style is extremely varied, reflecting his career.  We can hear him "naked", ideally sober, in "Home E Minor", a solo worthy of the classical guitar greats.  This also reminds us that, for a musician, a key (in this case E minor) can in itself be a "home".

Among his musical "Homes", there is Africa.  It is there in the title "KeeDee", which is the central drum used by people from southern Ghana and Togo.  Like the three musketeers who were really four, Jeff Ballard comes in to wind up the trio on "KeeDee", and it ends in fireworks.  Brad Mehldau’s drummer (and before that drummer with Ray Charles then with Metheny) has enormous fun with Marcus Gilmore.

Brazil is there too, mixing in more discreetly.  With impressive counterpoint artistry, the trio surpasses itself in an overwhelming performance of a bossa nova masterpiece, "Samba em Preludio": magical music by Baden Powell to a poem by the "Rimbaud of Rio", Vinicius de Moraes.  Nobody has ever sung better of love at a distance.

Here we are, back again at the heart of the "Tenderness Map", the geography of love which definitely seems to be the theme of this CD: a universal love as expressed in the sublime "Dove Song" dedicated to the emblematic dove of peace.

Pertinently pointing out what in Gilad’s music is new and interesting, critic and philosopher Michel Contat sees in it, a blessing in these times of trouble and fear: that music should express “peace and love” without sounding mawkish is probably the best way to rise above all that.

Please Visit:,

Press Enquiries on Gilad Hekselman and Homes, Please Contact:
Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity – 646 259 2105,