"The first time I heard Will Vinson, I was totally blown away - so much so that I started trying to play alto again. An ill-fated attempt. But I'm still listening to Will every chance I get. And each time, I'm even more inspired, humbled, and, quite frankly, terrified."
- Joshua Redman
"Marvelous ... drills a hole through [the music], boxing like a sprightly Olympic welterweight" - DownBeat Magazine
"Spirited and uplifting... a leading force on his instrument" - All About Jazz
"Spectacular ... adroit and sophisticated" - The Guardian
For Immediate Release: Alto saxophonist/composer Will Vinson possesses many gifts; incredible power, dramatic sensitivity, prodigious technique, and perhaps most importantly, a captivating sound that you want to hear again and again. John Fordham of The Guardian described a "superb solo of rugged leathery sounds turning into mellifluous high notes", with "secure control and storming energy". While JazzWise Magazine has said that Vinson has a knack for "combining a thoughtful originality of conception with energy and fluidity of execution in very satisfying proportions". It is this abundance of qualities that has made Vinson a serious part of the conversation when talk turns towards modern jazz musicians who are playing and composing with a high level of originality and artistry. In addition to being an acclaimed bandleader with five recordings under his own name, Vinson is a member of several leading ensembles: Gonzalo Rubalcaba's Quintet (appearing on the Grammy nominated albums Suite Caminos, and Charlie), Ari Hoenig's Punk Bop and Nonet, Miguel Zenon's Identities Orchestra (Grammy nominated for Identities are Changeable), and the much lauded OWL Trio (with Lage Lund and Orlando le Fleming). Vinson has also toured/recorded with Rufus Wainwright, Sufjan Stevens, Sean Lennon, Martha Wainwright, Beth Orton and Harper Simon.
Will Vinson is proud to announce the release of his debut recording for 5Passion and his sixth overall, Perfectly Out of Place, featuring an all-star group comprised of Mike Moreno on guitar, Gonzalo Rubalcaba on piano, Matt Penman on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. Perfectly Out of Place follows a string of inspired albums from Vinson: It's For You (Sirocco Jazz, 2004, "an auspicious debut, an album that is as mature in its conception as it is in its execution" - The NYC Jazz Record, formerly AAJ New York), Promises (NineteenEight Records, described as "impressive" and "coolly restrained" by Nate Chinen of The New York Times), The World (Through My Shoes) (a live recording called "marvelous" by DownBeat Magazine and "exhilarating, cascading ... outstanding" by JazzTimes), Stockholm Syndrome (2010, Criss Cross Records), and Live at Smalls (2013), one of the most successful albums on the Smalls Live label.
With Perfectly Out of Place Vinson felt ambitious. This album contains more-than-usual through-composed music from the saxophonist's pen, and also marks his first use of overdubs, synthesizers, vocals and strings. His aim was to enhance and augment his Quintet's sound (featured on Vinson's previous five albums) that many fans and critics have come to know and love. Vinson elaborated in the album's liner notes, "It was an exciting prospect for me, but one that was made challenging by the stubborn insistence of everyone in the band on making everything sound immediately perfect and unimprovable . . . you get what you pay for, I suppose. I've tried to add without inadvertently taking away, and I hope you feel it's been a success." He added, "The entirety of this project, from the music's conception in the mountains of Banff, Alberta; through the joyous session at Avatar (to my knowledge the world's greatest recording studio), has been a thrill. One that I'd be happy to go through again, if it weren't for the fact that this record is now complete and in the hands of the most important person in the process, the listener."
Vinson's collaborators on Perfectly Out of Place include four of the world's most extraordinary improvising musicians, Mike Moreno, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Matt Penman and Jeff Ballard. "Their importance to this project cannot be overstated, each one of them being irreplaceable. It's fair to say that my personal aesthetic identity would not be quite what it is without the influence of these masters over the past (gulp) two decades," said Vinson. The saxophonist also felt exceptionally fortunate to be able to enlist Jamey Haddad (heard on "Skyrider"), Jo Lawry (heard on "Desolation Tango" & "Skyrider"), and the Mivos Quartet (heard on "Desolation Tango", "Skyrider", "Intro to Limp of Faith") to contribute to this project. "Jamey's vibe and generosity of spirit are legendary, and his playing joyous and infectious. It's hard to think of anyone other than Jo who would have the chops, not to mention relished the challenge, to achieve what was asked of her in this recording. I first heard Mivos right at the time I was beginning to consider using strings on this project. They performed Steve Reich's Different Trains and completely blew me away", said Vinson.
On Perfectly Out of Place, the listener gets unadulterated "Will Vinson music"; which not only means playing and composing that combines a great knowledge and respect for the century-long jazz tradition, with explorations into the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic realms of contemporary forms, but this artist's brilliant vision brought to life with great skill and unmitigated passion.
Tracks: 1. Desolation Tango, 2. Upside, 3. Willoughby General, 4. Skyrider, 5. Intro To Limp of Faith, 6. Limp of Faith, 7. Stiltskin (Some Drunk Funk), 8. Chalk It Up, 9. The Clock Killer, 10. Perfectly Out of Place
All compositions by Will Vinson. Produced by Will Vinson and Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Press Enquiries on Will Vinson & Perfectly Out of Place:
Please Contact: Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
"Meza captivated the crowd . . . an extra dose of eclectic brashness."
- Natalie Weiner, Billboard
"Chances are good you will not hear a better CD this year . . . music that lingers in the mind's ear long after the final notes fade."
- Richard Kamins, Step Tempest
"Ms. Meza brings an appealing combination of lightness and depth to all the material, singing in a bright, clear voice against the agile stir of a first-rate band. Her improvising, on electric or acoustic guitar, is serious business . . ."
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times (Playlist, Sunday, February 28, 2016)
"Meza delivered pure, unaffected vocals, sung alternately in Spanish and English, that flooded the subterranean space with a genuine warmth and uplifting spirit. When she soloed on numbers like 'Para Volar,' 'Emerald' and the enchanting title track of her Sunnyside debut, Traces, it was clear that this triple threat from Santiago, Chile, had more to offer than just a beautiful voice, thoughtful lyrics and refreshing stage presence."
- Bill Milkowski, DownBeat Magazine
("Players" feature in the April 2016 issue)
"One of the best-kept secrets in New York City (but well-known among the cats who play there), Camila Meza is poised to step into a broader spotlight. The Chilean-born musician will soon issue Traces, a gorgeous album that features her beautiful, unorthodox compositions while showcasing her amazing vision and dexterity on voice and guitar."
- Simon Rentner, NPR's A Blog Supreme
"A powerful and entrancing performance in support of her forthcoming album-Traces (Sunnyside Records, 2016). Armed with guitar and voice, and accompanied by a killer unit featuring bassist Linda Oh, drummer Kendrick Scott, and pianist James Francies, she delivered a set that spoke both to her adopted home and motherland . . . all delivered with passion and dynamism . . .
Meza's reputation as a talented triple-threat-guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter/composer proved true . . ."
- Dan Bilawsky, AllAboutJazz.com
"Drawing on a wide sphere of musical influences and an abundance of talent, Camila Meza may be one of the most remarkable talents to emerge in recent years. In recent months, Meza has received a lot of critical buzz in New York. From the evidence of this album, it is well-deserved and only the beginning of greater triumphs. " - Thomas Cunniffe, JazzHistoryOnline.com
SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2016
Vocalist/Guitarist/Composer CAMILA MEZA
Continues Her Celebration of TRACES LIVE AT ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL - STAGE 3 - 11:15 PM
Camila Meza, Shai Maestro, Rick Rosato & Kendrick Scott
CAMILA MEZA continues the celebration of her brilliant, critically-acclaimed new album, Traces, with an appearance at Rockwood Music Hall - Stage @ 11:15 PM on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Camila will be joined by Shai Maestro on piano, Rick Rosato on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums.
Camila Meza is a rarity, a glorious triptych of an artist. She possesses a gift for composing brilliant musical landscapes, a captivating, soulfully pure vocal instrument, and a consummate prowess on guitar, ablaze with irresistible melodies and improvisations.Vocalist/guitarist/composer Camila Meza, originally from Santiago, Chile, has garnered rapt attention from her colleagues, the press, and audiences in South America, New York City, and internationally, for her distinctive ability in blending jazz with her broad musical world (that includes Latin American, Brazilian, folk and pop), and for the emotional depth of her music. This rising star on the global jazz scene has been described by The New York Times as, "a bright young singer and guitarist with an ear for music of both folkloric and pop intention," and called, "a natural multi-talent, an improvising singer-guitarist who is one of the finest in the world in both creative realms," by pianist Aaron Goldberg. He added that, "she unites North and South America in a multilingual mega-continent, a pangaea of swing and harmony." Being called to join your peers on stage and in the studio remains one of the true tests that any NYC jazz musician will face, and Camila has passed, summa cum laude, staying very busy as an in-demand side musician, working with the likes of Ryan Keberle, Fabian Almazan, Aaron Goldberg, Sachal Vasandani, and many others. Sunnyside Records recently released Camila Meza's debut recording for the label (and her fourth overall), Traces, produced by Matt Pierson and featuring Shai Maestro, Matt Penman and Kendrick Scott, with special guests Bashiri Johnson, Sachal Vasandani and Jody Redhage.
At the inception of creating and crafting the music on Traces, Meza had a vivid dream of a seashore full of colorful, precious stones, each of them with their own size and particular design. She wandered through this beauty, wanting to carry every stone back home with her. But then she looked closer, and decided to take only the ones that she really loved, those that made her feel something special. "This dream was the beginning of my journey to the core of myself, getting closer to what moves me, accepting my own truth and embracing my intuition. This album represents the path traced, the moments, hopes and melodies that have marked my journey," said Meza. Traces is comprised of eight new original compositions, plus "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" (Sondheim), "Amazon Farewell" (Djavan), "Luchin" (Victor Jara) and "Little Person" (Jon Brion).
A songbird takes flight . . . Traces opens with the Meza composition, "Para Volar," on which she sings these words in Spanish (she also sings beautifully in English): "let the wind take you, fly free until you find truths with no fear or time, freedom in its essence, let the wind take you, fly and dream again." Camila writes about a failed attempt to rescue an injured bird, but these sentiments also speak of new beginnings, and of embracing your dreams. Traces was born from her joyous journey from a young, accomplished musician in Chile (inspired by Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Pat Metheny, Led Zeppelin, Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix, Bjork, Elis Regina and Chet Baker), to becoming part of a new generation of adventurous jazz musicians in New York who are fearlessly imposing their disparate influences and experiences on jazz, with glorious results.
On the breathtaking "Emerald," Meza sings, "I've decided to stay, stay in this open place, here's where my heart sings, here's where there's no mistake." Camila explains, "this was one of the last songs written for the album, and it became like a hymn about actually having found the place I was looking for; the openness, the reassurance, the freedom, the passion and love for what I am and what I do."
Throughout Traces Camila offers the listener a remarkable gift; her true self and her abundant talents, as expressed through these songs, with no less than luminosity, passion, honesty and love.
Alexis Cuadrado (Bass), Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Melcion Mateu (Voice-Spoken Word), Ben Monder (Guitar), Andy Milne (Piano), Tyshawn Sorey (Drums, 5/20),
Dan Weiss (Drums, 5/21)
# # # #
Early Praise forPOÈTICA:
"'Poetica' is a beautifully crafted and deftly performed set of music that is inextricably connected to poetry written by 2 deep and dark modern poets. Alexis wrote the music in such a cinematic way that you really feel you are carried away in a dream. The poets, Melcion Mateu and Rowan Ricardo Phillips, recite the poems very effectively, functioning as the '2 horns' out in front of the fine quartet that Alexis has assembled. Throughout the recording, Alexis' bass is an essential character in each story with his beautiful sound, rhythmic bounce and lyrical solos." - John Patitucci
"Alexis Cuadrado and his ace band create dramatic, impassioned settings for and interactions with bi-lingual spoken words, bringing to mind rare, noble, exciting precedents by Kip Hanrahan and Frank Zappa, Carla Bley/Paul Haines' Escalator Over the Hill and Tony Williams Lifetime's Emergency! - for here and now."
- Howard Mandel
"On this flotilla of sounds, wrecking beautifully with words, we are drowning-no, resurrecting!-in the lapis luzi of tragic joy, catching the brighten, glittering port of repose. Where have we arrived? These moments of repose in Poètica, when the voice surges with haunting ore-toneover the sparse music, singing "there are no / towers," we know our port is Manhattan. Soon the isle is full of noises, like the inside of a late night cabaret, where-since Walt Whitman is the MC-we can all sing out of key the song of ourselves. And this is the gift of this album; it intimately washes against us the sonic waves of the little things that make New York New York, in spite of the abundant threat they endure. It will endure like the skyline it praises." - Ishion Hutchinson
"The imaginative bassist Alexis Cuadrado revives spoken word jazz with modernist glee, enriching bebop forms, beat generation poetry and multi-lingual storytelling on the lively, compelling Poètica. His musicians and vocalists turn words into rhythms that clamor, protest and even swing, much like Gil Scott-Heron did, while Cuadrado's lucid bass ties it together by expertly fusing syncopation with emotive, improvisational flourishes."
"POÈTICA restitches the seams between languages and media, speech and song."
- Ben Lerner
# # # #
For Immediate Release: Antoni Pizà, musicologist and scholar, writes in his liner notes for POÈTICA: '"The moment one learns English, complications set in," proclaims the sardonic, unreliable narrator of Felipe Alfau's postmodern novel Chromos, a work of fiction about a group of Spaniards negotiating the realities of their adopted country, the United States. The "Americards," as they are referred to in the book, are neither full-fledged Americans, nor (tragically) Spaniards any longer. Their in-betweenness is their most salient feature and the source of their elated, often insane, meditations.'
The music of Alexis Cuadrado could be understood as an exploration of that same idea. The bassist/composer's new recording, POÈTICA, available on Sunnyside Records on May 20th, was preceded by two albums dedicated to the exploration of issues of cultural dislocation. With Noneto Ibérico (2011) he investigated the sonorities that result from adapting certain traits of flamenco and avant-garde classical music to the language of jazz. Then, on A Lorca Soundscape (2013), Cuadrado's first recording incorporating words and voice, he paid homage to the Spanish poet and his celebratory, lyrical evocations of New York City hybridity in the early twentieth century. Cuadrado has also set to music, Chaplin's classic silent film, The Immigrant (2015).
Now, with this stunningly adventurous new album, POÈTICA, which represents a massive creative leap, Cuadrado creates a multilingual tapestry involving texts by two critically-acclaimed contemporary poets: Melcion Mateu (who writes in Catalan, but living a life in which he is often speaking Portuguese, Spanish and English), and Rowan Ricardo Phillips (a native New Yorker, and translator of Catalan literature). POÈTICA also features the extraordinary talents of Miles Okazaki on guitar, Andy Milne on piano and keyboards, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums; three artists who rank among the most forward thinking creative forces in jazz today.
On POÈTICA, the audience/listener is taken through various sonic spaces, composed or freely improvised, built around the poems, written by Mateu and Philips. The voices of these poets are the de-facto front line of this "jazz sextet", creating a moving performance that translates the emotion of their poetry into a unique listening experience. The effect is powerful and stirring, as Cuadrado's music, embodying the confluence of jazz, Flamenco and New Music, combined with Philips' and Mateu's lightning-bolt expression, conjures vivid images with a fully present, personal voice.
Cuadrado, Mateu, and Phillips exploit to the fullest, the advantages of dislocation, distance, and cultural imbrication. Settling in a new country, learning new customs and a new language can be a monumental challenge, but the reward for the true artist is an immense awakening and liberation of one's creative spirit, evidenced on POÈTICA.
Alexis Cuadrado is a Barcelona-born and Brooklyn-based composer, bassist and educator. His most recent critically acclaimed works A Lorca Soundscape, Noneto Ibérico and Jazz Miniatures for Double Quartet explore the confluence of Spanish and American music and present a unique voice that draws from the crossover of jazz, flamenco and new music. NPR Music states, "Listen to Cuadrado's compositions and you'll find every reason to take him seriously."
Rowan Ricardo Phillips is a poet, literary and art critic, and translator. He is the author of the poetry volumes Heaven (2015) and The Ground (2012), both on Farrar Straus & Giroux, and is the recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim fellowship, the 2013 Whiting Writers' Award, the 2013 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award and the 2013 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry. Dalkey Archive published a book of his criticism in 2010, When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness and he has translated extensively from Catalan.
Melcion Mateu is the author of four poetry books in Catalan: Illes lligades (2015, winner of the prestigious "Jocs Florals de Barcelona" award), Vida evident (Octavio Paz Award 1998); Ningú, petit (2002), inspired by Winsor McCay's classic comic strips, Little Nemo in Slumberland; and Jardí amb cangurs (2005). An anthology of his poetry in a bilingual edition, Catalan-Spanish, is forthcoming this year, Habitaciones y canguros (translated by José Luis Rey). Mateu has translated works by Siri Hustvedt, Michael Ondaatje, and John Ashbery, among others, and written articles for newspapers such as El País, La Vanguardia, and Avui.
Various excerpts in this press release were taken from the album's liner notes by, Antoni Pizà, musicologist, writer and director of the Foundation for Iberian Music at The Graduate Center - City University of New York
Press Enquiries on Alexis Cuadrado & POÈTICA,
Please contact: Red Cat Publicity - Jason Paul Harman Byrne
"Like fellow drummer/leaders Bill Stewart and Jack DeJohnette, Garcia always serves the music, but with that extra inner sparkle and finesse coupled to crackerjack time sensibilities that are constantly delightful."
- Ken Micallef, The New York City Jazz Record
"A major force on the Brooklyn jazz scene . . ."
- Ron Netsky, The Rochester City Paper
ROB GARCIA PRESENTS:
FINDING LOVE IN AN OLIGARCHY ON A DYING PLANET
ON BROOKLYN JAZZ UNDERGROUND RECORDS
APRIL 29, 2016
Featuring the Rob Garcia 4: Rob Garcia (drums & compositions), Noah Preminger (tenor saxophone), Gary Versace (piano), Masa Kamaguchi (bass), with special guests Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone), Kate McGarry (vocals) & Brendan Burke (spoken word)
CD Release Concerts/Celebrations:
Wed, 4/6 - Taller de Músicos, Gijon, Spain; Thurs, 4/7 - Bilbaina, Bilboa, Spain; Sat, 4/9 - Sunset, Girona, Spain; Sun, 4/10 - Jamboree, Barcelona, Spain; Fri, 4/15 - Miranda Jazz, Miranda De Ebro, Spain; Sun, 4/17 - Vortex, London; Mon, 4/18 - Ronnie Scott's, London; Wed, 4/27 - Smalls Jazz Club, NYC; Thurs, 5/12 - Threes Brewing, Brooklyn; Sat, 6/11 - The Rex, Toronto
The Rob Garcia 4 is a working group that has been, "among the vanguard of modern jazz" (The NYC Jazz Record) since 2009. Garcia has led them through performances at major venues and festivals around the world, such as Smalls Jazz Club, The Kitano, The Cornelia Street Cafe, Firehouse 12, Brooklyn Jazz Wide Open, The Rex (Toronto), Jamboree (Barcelona), The Toronto Jazz Festival, The Kingston Jazz Festival (Canada) and the Ottawa International Jazz Festival. The group has released three critically acclaimed albums on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records, Perennial (2009), The Drop and the Ocean (2011), and The Passion Of Color (2014), and is now poised to release their compelling fourth album, Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet, available on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on April 29, 2016, featuring Noah Preminger (tenor saxophone), Gary Versace (piano) and Masa Kamaguchi (bass), and special guests, jazz legend Joe Lovano, vocalist Kate McGarry, and actor, musician and activist Brendan Burke.
"The title of the album is not necessarily meant to be a protest nor a solution, but essentially an expression and blunt statement of what I (and many others) encounter and perceive on a daily basis. 'Finding Love' refers to the personal endeavors which I am extremely fortunate to regularly engage in, such as playing, practicing and writing music, having a family, raising children, spending time with friends, etc. I also read the news and it affects me . . . human suffering throughout the world caused by greed for money and power, racism, the disregard for human life, war, shootings, terrorism and people's reactions to it, how the planet is becoming less fit for human life (as well as many other species). I donate money to good causes, occasionally go to a rally, sign and promote petitions, but I feel pretty powerless against all the injustices going on. At the very least, this title suggests an acknowledgement, in no uncertain terms, of the society and world we currently live in", said Garcia.
Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet is also an album born from musicians with exceptional convictions. Rob Garcia's drumming and composing are once again fully realized and assured, both in the execution of his distinctive concept, and in his lovely, singular sound, clearly evident on the two solo drum pieces, "Act Local #1" and "Act Local #2", and present throughout the entire album. Noah Preminger is not so quietly becoming a major contributor to the art and legacy of the tenor saxophone. Two highlights for him are the tracks, "Terror, Fear and Media", and "Greenland is Turning Green" (playing on this tune alongside special guest Joe Lovano). Pianist Gary Versace is a first-call musician in many circles, and his playing on Finding Love . . . is nothing short of superlative, with every track a highlight. Bassist Masa Kamaguchi is the bedrock, delivering uber-creative support and interaction, allowing the others to soar. The traditional American folk song "Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier" features his unique approach to the double bass.
More on Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet:
The album opens with Stephen Foster's American classic, "Beautiful Dreamer" as an ode to the importance of "dreaming of a better world". "People Are Everything" features vocalist Kate McGarry beautifully delivering Garcia's lyrics and melody. The song addresses inequality, hypocrisy and the suggestion of our oneness. "Terror, Fear and Media" is a high-energy barnburner featuring stop time solos by Preminger and Garcia as well as a tremendous piano solo by Versace. Tenor sax legend Joe Lovano enters the album with his heart-felt interpretation of Garcia's ballad "Precious Lives". "Mac N Cheese" offers a departure from the rest of the album by featuring actor, musician and activist Brendan Burke and his original spoken words. "The Journey Is The Destination" features both special guests Lovano and McGarry. Garcia wrote this song 10 years prior, but a recording of it was never previously released. "Greenland Is Turning Green" features both tenor saxophonists Lovano and Preminger with a contrapuntal melody and compelling solos. The traditional American folk song "Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier" features bassist Masa Kamaguchi. The album takes the listener on a musical journey commenting on the time and world we live in.
Rob Garcia's musical relationships are important to him, and the longevity and camaraderie that he shares with these musicians contribute mightily to the refinement one can hear on Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet. Garcia first met Joe Lovano while attending NYU. In 2007, Garcia formed Connection Works, and Lovano agreed to be part of the advisory board. Lovano recently performed with WORKS (the resident ensemble of Connection Works) at the Lake George Jazz Festival. This musical relationship has been growing over the past several years and naturally led to recording together. Noah Preminger and Garcia have been playing together in the Rob Garcia 4 as well as other projects since 2009 when they first played together in John McNeil's group. Garcia and Masa Kamaguchi have played on and off since the late 1990s. Preminger, Kamaguchi and Garcia also perform as a collective trio. They have toured Europe a number of times, and released an album on entitled Background Music. Garcia has always been a big fan of Gary Versace's playing since working together in various projects over the years, and was very happy to reconnect for this recording. Garcia met Kate McGarry a few years ago when she performed with John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble at a concert produced by Connection Works. He loves her singing and ability to authentically communicate lyrics. Garcia has been good friends with actor, musician and activist Brendan Burke since high school in Pelham, NY. "I'm so thrilled to have Brendan, one of my oldest and best friends, take part in this project. He nailed it!", said Garcia.
2-People Are Everything
3-Terror, Fear and Media
5-Mac n Cheese (Bank Fees, Dead Bees, Killing Trees, Shooting Sprees, War Thieves, Mac n Cheese)
Drummer Daniel Freedman Leads an All-Star
Quintet on Imagine That, with
Rhythmically Infectious Originals, a Radiohead Cover and Guest Vocal on “Baby
Aya” by World Music Star Angélique Kidjo
album – to be released in
the U.S. by Anzic Records on April 15, 2016 – finds Freedman in league with a
group of kindred spirits: guitarist Lionel Loueke, keyboardist Jason Lindner,
bassist Omer Avital & percussionist Gilmar Gomes
"His restless global spirit has
informed the music of renowned artists such as Anat Cohen and Angelique Kidjo,
along with his own fascinating collectives, which feature kindred spirits like
Meshell Ndegeocello, Avishai Cohen, and Omer Avital." - Jeff Potter, Modern Drummer Magazine (from a feature
on Freedman around the release of his previous Anzic recording, Bamako By Bus)
"This album feels like standing
on a major city street and watching a parade of music ensembles go by, each
from various regional origins, but together, a celebration of the diversity of
music." - Dave Sumner, eMusic (on
Bamako By Bus)
One of the most in-demand drummers in New
York – tapped by the likes of Angélique Kidjo, Sting and Anat Cohen – Daniel
Freedman presents his third album as a leader, the rhythmically infectious Imagine
That. To be released in the U.S. by Anzic Records on April 15, 2016, Imagine That draws on a world of music: tune-rich originals that
channel African, Middle Eastern, Latin and Indian grooves, as well as an
astoundingly fresh version of a rarely covered Radiohead song (“Codex”).
Freedman, born and bred in New York City, leads an international quintet that
features guitarist-vocalist Lionel
Loueke (from Benin), keyboardist Jason
Lindner (Brooklyn), bassist Omer
Avital (Israel) and percussionist Gilmar
Gomes (Brazil). Benin-born vocal star Angélique Kidjo, with whom Freedman has toured the
world as drummer in her band, sings “Baby Aya,” a dancing lullaby he wrote for
his infant daughter. Imagine That is
the follow-up to Freedman’s 2012 Anzic album, Bamako by Bus, which garnered his band a showcase live on NPR.
41, has close connections to each
member of the band for Imagine That.
He went to LaGuardia High School for Music and Arts (the “Fame” school)
alongside Jason Lindner, playing in various groups with him ever since. Lindner
played on Bamako by Bus, and both the
keyboardist and drummer have long been members of clarinet superstar Anat
Cohen’s bands. Freedman and Lindner met Omer Avital when they were all part of
the fertile 1990s scene at the jazz
club Smalls in New York’s West Village; the three played together in Lindner’s
original hit big band), and Lindner and Avital featured on Freedman’s debut
album, 2001’s Trio (Fresh Sound New
Talent). For the past decade, Freedman and Avital have also played alongside
each other in hit multicultural band
Third World Love (with Avishai Cohen and Yonathan Avishai). Lionel Loueke
played with the rhythm pair on Avishai Cohen’s album After The Big Rain,
as well as onBamako
by Bus. Freedman has played with Gilmar Gomes in studio sessions and tours
with Kidjo, Anat Cohen and New York/Brazilian band Forro in the Dark.
polyrhythmic rapport between
Freedman and Gomes is a key element of Imagine
That. “When I play with Gilmar, we become this living, breathing percussion
animal,” Freedman says. “In the Brooklyn studio for the new album, we set up
next to each other without any separation – he’s in my microphones, and I'm in
his. We’re one.” About the way the entire quintet plays together, Freedman
adds: “All of these guys really listen to each other – no one ever overplays. It’s never about flash, but about soul.
And there’s a lot of spontaneity and surprises in the music. Like with the
Radiohead tune, ‘Codex,’ which I love for its atmosphere and beautiful melody. We
got it together in the studio for the first time, and it had a great vibe right away. Lionel had
never heard the song before, but when we tripped out the ending in our own way,
he just reacted and ripped into it – it was unexpected and exciting.”
Reflecting on the way
drummer-composers have made for some great leaders of bands down through the
decades – from Max Roach and Art Blakey to Tony Williams and Brian Blade –
Freedman says: “Drummer-leaders have a good overall POV of the music, I think.
A drummer can lay down a vibe but also push the players rhythmically, pacing
and shaping the music. In jazz – or whatever you want to call this music –
leading a band has a lot to do with the musicians you choose. It’s about the personality and sound of the
players. For instance, I don’t have a guitar in the band – I have Lionel
Loueke. It’s not a keyboard – it’s Jason Lindner. All these guys – and how we
react to each other, complement each other – make the music what it is. The
sessions were relaxed and fun, with a
fresh, positive energy, and I hope you can hear that on the album.”
Imagine That– track by track with Daniel Freedman:
1. “Determined Soul”(Jason Lindner) – “Jason wrote this especially for my band,”
“It’s a mix of Afrobeat and almost a boogaloo,
with a South Indian feel toward the end.”
2. “Baby Aya”(Daniel Freedman) – “I sang this tune to my baby daughter in the middle of
the night when I thought she’d never go back to sleep. It’s almost a joke – a
melody that sounds like a lullaby, but with a rhythm that feels like a party
toward the end. Lionel translated my simple words into the West African
language of Fon, singing them to both my children. To hear Angélique add her voice was a thrill –
and totally fitting for this lullaby that has zero chance of putting anyone
back to sleep. Gilmar’s super-original batucada
at the end is one of my favorite moments on the record.”
3. “Big in Yemen”(Daniel Freedman) – “I wrote this melody on the oud while on
tour – it always felt like a mantra for a long journey, something you sing over
and over as your body moves forward. I love the way Omer’s
oud segues into Lionel’s effected guitar.Jason added some synths to the end that update
this ancient-sounding melody. The song’s rhythm is based on a Yemenite groove,
but Gilmar and I put a twist on it for a kind of Yemeni/Bahia hybrid.”
4. “Codex”(Radiohead) – “Not one of Radiohead’s most famous songs, but
I fell in love with it on TheKing of Limbs. Jason and I arranged it
for the quintet, though this was one of those things that you aren’t quite sure
will work. But as soon as we started playing, it felt right. I love that long, explosive
Lionel solo at the end, as well as the color and depth that Jason’s subtle
5. “Mindaho”(Lionel Loueke) – “I always love playing other people’s tunes
within my own band as a way to have different compositional styles in a set. It’s
also a great way to have players shine on their own material. On this one by
Lionel, his solo is so emotional. And Jason’s opening chords
kill me every time... I also love the way Gilmar and I created one sound. It
doesn’t feel like a drummer and a percussionist, but rather one
energized percussion section.”
6. “Love Takes Time”(Jason Lindner) – “Another tune of Jason’s that is simple,
soulful and a joy to play. The main influence is Motown. Omer’s solo is really
7. “Eastern Elegy”(Daniel Freedman) – “This is a ballad that I
wrote right when the war in Syria was escalating. I saw pictures of the
destruction in Aleppo and had also talked to a friend whose family was from
there. He was talking about the town’s food being among the best in the world.
The ballad is a kind of wordless elegy for all that was, that can’t be brought
back. Again, Omer’s solo here is a perfectly constructed statement. I’m proud
to have that moment on my record.”
8. “The Sisters Dance”(Daniel
Freedman) – “This
was written as a sequel in a way to my tune ‘All Brothers’ on Bamako by Bus. There’s a way of playing
on the hi-hat cymbal that I really enjoy; it’s kind of a homemade
interpretation of Gnawa Karkaba.The bass line is
also derived from gnawa music. There is definitely an influence here from
Avishai Cohen and all the years we listened to Oumou Sangare constantly
and performed our tunes in Third World Love.Gilmar plays a
solo here with insane fire. When I put this song on recently at home, it
seemed successful because both of my daughters were dancing around
the house like crazy and got angry when I turned it off!”
percussionist and composer Daniel Freedman grew up in a musical New York City family.
In high school, he studied with master drummers Max Roach, Billy Higgins and
Vernel Fournier and later traveled to study drumming in West Africa, Cuba and
the Middle East. Coming up as part of the Smalls scene in the 1990s, Freedman was
a member of Jason Lindner’s acclaimed big band, as well as Omer Avital’s
sextet. The drummer has been a member of the collective Third World Love for
the past decade, along with touring and recording with Anat Cohen. He also
toured the world as a member of Grammy-winning singer Angélique Kidjo's band from 2009 to
has played and recorded with such artists as Sting, Youssou N’Dour, Dianne
Reeves, Omara Portuondo, Tom Harrell, Wynton Marsalis and Meshell Ndegeocello. In
2012, Anzic released his sophomore album as a leader, Bamako by Bus, which featured a core band of Avishai Cohen, Lionel
Loueke, Jason Lindner and Meshell N'degeocello, along with Mark Turner, Pedro
Martinez, Abraham Rodriguez, Omer Avital, Joshua Levitt and Davi Viera.
Freedman’s debut album, Trio,
received a nine-star review in Modern
Drummer magazine, and he was featured as one of the publication’s “Young
Lions.” The New York Times selected
him as one of five young drummers on the New York scene who helped change jazz
drumming for the piece “Propelled by Different Drummers.” As founder of New
York-based music house HiHAt.tv, Freedman has written and produced dozens of
spots for television and the Web.
Freedman’s talents, this praise recently came for Imagine That via TSF Jazz (French radio): “With one foot
firmly planted in jazz and the other in world music, drummer Daniel Freedman synthesizes
two vast universes.”