Monday, January 12, 2015

Drummer/Composer ERNESTO CERVINI Flies High With His New CD TURBOPROP


Drummer/Composer ERNESTO CERVINI 
Flies High With His New CD TURBOPROP
Available On Anzic Records - February 3, 2015

Please visit:
For more information and tour dates please click on:
Press/media: Physical & digital copies avail., please write to to request your copy

"Cervini recalls such old-schoolers as Art Blakey and Billy Higgins...his robust, magnetic personality fascinates consistently." 
- Ken Micallef - Modern Drummer Magazine

"Drummer Ernesto Cervini plays with such conviction and fire that it's easy to give him your ears and time. His music makes for a worthwhile investment of both." 
- Glen Hall, Exclaim Magazine

"It's quite enthralling when the band is playing flat out . . . There's no shortage of energetic, swinging music . . ."
- Peter Hum, The Ottawa Citizen

On February 3, 2015, Anzic Records proudly releases the much-anticipated fourth recording from drummer/composer Ernesto Cervini, titled Turboprop. On the heels of his third album, There, which featured his quartet recorded live at the Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, BC, Cervini added two incredible musicians to the fold to create an exciting new sextet he calls Turboprop. The band is comprised of his working quartet with Joel Frahm (tenor saxophone), Adrean Farrugia (piano), Dan Loomis (bass) & Ernesto Cervini (drums), plus Tara Davidson (alto & soprano saxophone) and William Carn (trombone). The sound of Turboprop, produced by Oded Lev-Ari, is sophisticated and soaring, reminiscent of the hard swinging Jazz Messenger bands of Art Blakey, and able to offer an extraordinarily wide range of repertoire; from Charlie Parker to Claude Debussy, plus originals from all the band members. Turboprop has already toured Canada to rave reviews, and will be celebrating the release with concerts across Canada and the U.S. (see below for dates).

Cervini, who Hank Shteamer of Time Out New York called, "a tastefully buoyant drummer as well as a sharp composer and bandleader", conceived of Turboprop as blades of a propeller that work together in synergy, moving an aircraft powerfully through the sky. Cervini elaborates, "by combining the experience and artistry of these musicians, the music takes flight with a force and energy that only a sextet can bring. This band has been a wonderful conduit for my compositions and arrangements and all of the members have taken a very personal approach to the pieces, embracing the emotion and sentiment that this group brings to every note we play." Producer Lev-Ari added that, "I was really excited to produce this album, as I love a 3-piece front line, and it's a sound that is rarely heard anymore. I knew it would be a strong vehicle for Ernesto's writing and arranging. Since the band had just gotten back from a tour days before getting into the studio, the music was well-rehearsed and had this unmistakable 'live' feeling. We captured great performances, and could easily fill two albums with strong music. Ernesto is simply an incredible musician and bandleader and this recording really captures his essence as a multifaceted creative force."

Highlights on Turboprop include, "Cheer Up Charlie", a lovely ballad from the film Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, that Cervini and his wife sing to their baby boy; "Three Angels", another very special piece for Cervini, composed for his three nieces who passed away unexpectedly; and the third ballad on the album called "Marion Theresa", which was written for Cervini's grandmother.

Turboprop however is anything but an all ballads album, and, "Cervini exemplifies 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' . . . turning drums into a rainforest symphony"- Ken Micallef, DownBeat Magazine. Sprinkled around these emotional compositions are upbeat, anthemic tunes including, "Unnecessary Mountain", which was named after a mountain in the Rockies; "Bindi Bop", inspired by Cervini's trip to Australia; "Fear of Flying", which Cervini wrote for all those with Pteromerhanophobia; and "De Molen", a great burner by saxophonist Joel Frahm.

In addition to the compelling originals, Turboprop also sunk their teeth into some "standard" tunes that they love to play, including "Red Cross" by Charlie Parker, and "The Windup" by Keith Jarrett, and Cervini's arrangement of the gorgeous Claude Debussy piano etude, "The Engulfed Cathedral".

There's an old saying in aviation; "Accidents happen when you run out of experience." In the case of Turboprop, the music is clearly in good hands.

More on Ernesto Cervini: Innovative and electrifying, Toronto jazz drummer Ernesto Cervini, who has shared the stage with many legendary musicians such as Joe Lovano, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Cleo Laine, Pat LaBarbera, Dick Oatts, Buddy DeFranco, Eddie Daniels, Scott Robinson, Dave Binney, Jim McNeely, and many others, has energy to burn, whether radiating it from behind his drums or working on any number of musical and educational projects. Cervini's diversity as a musician (he is also an excellent pianist and clarinetist) has allowed him to travel throughout the world, performing in some of the world's greatest jazz venues such as Smalls, Birdland, The Jazz Standard, The 55 Bar, The Montreal Bistro, The Top Of the Senator, The Rex Jazz and Blues Club, and also many of the world's most prestigious concert halls, such as Massey Hall, The Glen Gould Theatre, The St. Lawrence Center for the Arts and the Sugita Theatre in Yokohama, Japan. His second album, Little Black Bird, recorded with his quartet was celebrated loudly by DownBeat Magazine with a four-star review. His joyous and engaging third recording, There, released in 2011, is now followed up on with the artist's most irresistible work to date, Turboprop (Anzic Records, February 3, 2015).

Ernesto Cervini - Turboprop - CD Release Celebrations:
February 19th - 21st - The Jazz Bistro, Toronto, ON
February 28th - The Jazz Room, Kitchener, ON
March 13 - The Yardbird Suite, Edmonton, AB
March 14 - The Bassment, Saskatoon, SK
March 17 - The Arts Station, Fernie, BC
March 19 - The Avalanche Bar & Grill - Georgia Straight Jazz Society, Courtenay, BC March 20 - Hermann's - Victoria Jazz Society, Victoria, BC
March 21 - Pat's Pub, Vancouver, BC

For more information on Turboprop & Ernesto Cervini please contact: Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity:
Tel (347) 578-7601

Monday, January 5, 2015





Trombonist/Composer MARSHALL GILKES To Release KÖLN
Available February 10, 2015 on Alternate Side Records

"Compelling, harmonically intriguing and ferociously swinging"
- Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes Magazine

"Marshall Gilkes is the best trombonist to come into jazz in the new millennium"
- Thomas Conrad, Stereophile Magazine

"Remarkable for both his easefully modern compositions and for the cohesion of this ensemble"
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times

On February 10, 2015, trombonist/composer MARSHALL GILKES proudly releases his fourth album as a leader, simply titled for the home base of The WDR Big Band, KÖLN. This set of stunning compositions marks Gilkes first recording fronting a big band, but he is no stranger to this setting, being a regular member of Maria Schneider's Grammy Award-winning orchestra, (Schneider describes him as, "one of those musicians who continually just drops my jaw and leaves me shaking my head in disbelief"), and also due to his four years (2010 - 2013) as a full-time member of the Grammy Award-winning ensemble featured on Köln, The WDR Big Band.

Köln (to be released on Gilkes' label, Alternate Side Records, marking the label's eighth release) features seven original compositions from Gilkes that exhibits the artist's astounding ability to blend his many influences and experiences into a singular, distinctive voice. The compositions, and Gilkes arrangement of the standard, "My Shining Hour", combines the spontaneous invention of jazz with the elegant architecture of classical composition; straight-ahead swing with adventurous modernism; and virtuosic technique with passionate emotion. It's a rare combination that has made Gilkes an in-demand performer, composer, sideman, and clinician since his arrival in New York City in the late 1990s.

The origins of this album started with Gilkes joining The WDR Big Band (he has since resigned to engage in leading his own bands and high profile sideman work). After a long audition process that included several weeks of performances, Gilkes received an invitation to be a full-time member - a rare opportunity that he accepted immediately. In addition to first-class musicianship, Gilkes explains, "the WDR Big Band rehearses in a fully operational recording studio with full-time engineers and copyists - a truly unique operation. When the band plays in the Kölner Philharmonie, it is generally sold out, all 2,000 seats, with enthusiastic fans." As a WDR band member, he performed his final concert in December 2013, but, at the request of the band's producer, he returned the following month for a farewell concert of the material heard on Köln. Calling the experience "one of the highlights of my career," Gilkes eventually titled the album after the city where he lived during his four-year tenure with the WDR. "It is a vibrant city," he notes, "with an incredible music scene for such a small town. The jazz scene is booming, and young jazz musicians can be heard playing music at a very high level almost every night of the week."

About The Music on Köln:
"My Shining Hour" is a tune that Gilkes would often practice, up-tempo, in all 12 keys as well. "I decided to write a big band arrangement of it that sort of ended up being a bit of a 'theme and variations on My Shining Hour'", said Gilkes. Solo: Marshall Gilkes (trombone)

"Vesper" was written during a period of Gilkes having to make difficult decisions. He elaborates, "I would come home and write in the evening during this period and find it to be good therapy. I decided to call it 'Vesper' which is an evening prayer", said the artist. Solos: Frank Chastenier (piano), John Marshall (flugelhorn)

Gilkes composed "4711 Special" specifically with the WDR Big Band in mind. The piece was originally titled "Gill-kiz". Gilkes explains, "German is a language that is written like it sounds and sounds like it is written. I used to tell German people my name Gilkes (correct pronunciation is "jilx") and they would correct me on the pronunciation. It happened so often that people started calling me Gill-kiz as a joke. However, I thought the tune deserved a better title and finally changed it to "4711 Special", which is a number one sees all over Cologne, representing the number of the famous perfume that comes from Cologne. Solos: Ludwig Nuss (trombone), Johan Hörlen (alto saxophone)

"Edenderry" is the title track from Gilkes debut release as a leader, which he decided to expand and turn it into a brass chorale, creating quite a breathtaking variation on the original. "I was inspired by the pandiatonic harmonies of Aaron Copland. The intro begins with flugelhorns and trombones. The woodwinds enter later, and the chorale enters again before the closing vamp. Solo: Marshall Gilkes (trombone)

Gilkes composed "Plant Bassed" for the great WDR bassist John Goldsby, who happens to be a vegan. Gilkes explains, "my mom is also a vegan and is always talking about plant based diets. I tried to take some ideas that John uses in his improvisations and use them as a basis for the melody." Solos: John Goldsby (bass), and special guest Michael Rodriguez (trumpet)

"Mary Louise" was written for Gilkes' mom. "When I was a kid my mom was a piano and voice teacher and there was one particular exercise that she would work on with her students that has stuck with me all these years. I recall playing video games and hearing her practice this exercise with the syllables 'Zee-ee', singingbetween root and third, root and fourth, and root and fifth. I decided to try harmonizing that exercise and that serves as the intro to the composition, and reoccurs throughout the piece", said Gilkes. Solos: Special guest Michael Rodriguez (flugelhorn), Frank Chastenier (piano)

"End in Sight" is a tune from Gilkes second album Lost Words. The first half is very much an expansion of the original, however, the second half (tenor solo) floats over the same groove, but with brand new harmonies. Solos: Karolina Strassmayer (alto saxophone), Paul Heller (tenor saxophone)

"Downtime" is a composition from Gilkes' third album Sound Stories. This arrangement was written in 2012 for the WDR Big Band project featuring members of the band called "Very Personal". It is an expansion on the original that has an alternate introduction, and a new interlude as well. Solo: Marshall Gilkes (trombone)

Personnel on Köln: Marshall Gilkes: composer, arranger, conductor, trombone, special guest Michael Rodriguez: trumpet/flugelhorn, Johan Hörlen & Karolina Strassmayer-alto saxophone/flute/clarinet, Olivier Peters-tenor saxophone/clarinet, Paul Heller-tenor saxophone/clarinet/bass clarinet, Jens Neufang-baritone saxophone/bass clarinet, Ludwig Nuss, Shannon Barnett & Andy Hunter-trombones, Mattis Cederberg-bass trombone, Wim Both, Rob Bruynen, Andy Haderer & John Marshall-trumpet/flugelhorn, Frank Chastenier-piano, Paul Shigihara-guitar, John Goldsby-bass, Hans Dekker-drums
Portions of the press release excerpted from the album's liner notes by Sascha Feinstein


Upcoming Appearances:

Edmar Castañeda Trio
New York, NY
Le Poisson Rouge

01/22/15 - 01/23/15
Guest Artist
Bloomington, IL
Illinois Wesleyan University Jazz Festival

Guest Artist
Bloomington, IL
Illinois Wesleyan University Jazz Festival

Guest Artist
Bloomington, IL
Illinois Wesleyan University Jazz Festival

Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project
Champaign Urbana, IL
Krannert Center for the Arts (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

02/06/15 - 02/07/15
Guest Artist
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Broward College

Maria Schneider Orchestra
Istanbul, Turkey

02/17/15 - 02/24/15
Guest Artist
Madrid, Spain

02/26/15 - 03/01/15
Rufus Reid's Quiet Pride Big Band
New York, NY
Jazz Standard

03/02/15 - 03/03/15
Artist in Residence
Boston, MA
Berklee College of Music

03/06/15 - 03/07/15
Guest Artist
Lawrence, KS
University of Kansas Jazz Festival

03/24/15 - 03/28/15
Guest Artist
Normal, IL
Illinois State University

04/06/15 - 04/08/15
Artist in Residence
Boston, MA
Berklee College of Music

04/09/15 - 04/10/15
Guest Artist
Albuquerque, New Mexico
University of New Mexico Jazz Festival

04/16/15 - 04/17/15
Guest Artist
Sioux City, Iowa
Morningside College Tri-State Trombone Festival

Edmar Castañeda
Vienna, Austria
Wiener Konzerthaus

Samuel Torres
Bogota, Colombia
Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango

06/02/15 - 06/06/15
Maria Schneider Orchestra
New York, NY
Birdland Jazz Club

Please visit:

For more information on Marshall Gilkes & Kölnplease contact:
Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity, Tel (347) 578-7601, 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014



On Motema Music
Click Here to Check It Out!
Saturday, January 10, 2015 @ 8:45 PM
The Minetta Lane Theatre, 18-22 Minetta Lane, NYC

After seven years together, The Cookers, who "embody the serious-as-death commitment that it took to thrive on the New York scene some four decades ago" (Andrew Gilbert, The Boston Globe), entered the studio earlier this year to record their fourth album, Time and Time Again (released on September 16), the follow up album to their three critically-acclaimed recordings, Warriors, Cast The First Stone and Believe. Time and Time Again has now been named iTunes' "JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR" for 2014 - see all of the winners at  This distinguished honor coincides with the launching of the band's new website (check out the plethora of information, photos, videos and more HERE! ), and comes on the heels of massive international outpouring amount of critical acclaim for the group (a small sampling of quotes is below). 

WINTER JAZZFEST performance announced: The incredibly high level of musicianship that The Cookers (as managed and produced by David Weiss) are known for will be on full display as the band takes the stage at The Minetta Theatre as part of the 2015 Winter Jazzfest on Saturday, January 10, 2015 (@ 8:45 PM).  

You can't buy experience, and The Cookers have it in abundance; combined, the group has over 250 years of experience in the jazz world, and has been a part of over 1,000 recordings. The lineup features the veritable jazz legends, Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart, each bandleaders in their own right, and also key sidemen for seminal bands in the exhilarating era of the mid 1960s.  Representing a younger generation of ace veterans are Weiss on trumpet, and the band's newest member, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison.

On Time and Time Again you can hear and feel the decades of living and playing these warhorses have racked up in the bands of jazz stalwarts such as Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock, Charles Lloyd, Max Roach, Art Blakey and many others. Also on full display is the take-no-prisoners approach that the band has become known for worldwide, married with a profound melodic and harmonic sophistication. "If you wondered what has happened to all the passion and intensity, once such essential ingredients of great swinging jazz and now virtually non-existent in so much of today's outpourings, you'll find it all in The Cookers," said Tony Hall in JazzWise Magazine (UK), who rated the release at the top of his year end list, as did iTunes, which has named the release "Jazz Album of the Year" for 2014.

The breadth of the compositions on Time and Time Again spans more than 40 years, from a revamped version of a Billy Harper tune 'Sir Galahad' which he first recorded on his debut album 'Capra Black' (in 1973), to two brand new tunes from bassist Cecil McBee, making their debut on this recording. The CD also features music from the pen of Billy Hart, George Cables and David Weiss. Time and Time Again also marks the recording debut of Donald Harrison with The Cookers, a wonderful new addition to this group of "musician's musicians". "The process of rehearsing this great music and bringing it to life and then performing and recording it is an amazing experience for me, these brilliant musicians still surprise me on a regular basis," said trumpeter/bandleader David Weiss.

"The Cookers are more interested in making history than they are in re-living it . . ." 
(J Hunter, Nippertown), and through the music on Time and Time Again The Cookers produce a mighty force of commitment, to each other, and to the music.

# # # #


"This really is the best working band anywhere at the moment . . . This record is what jazz should always be about." 
- Tony Hall, JazzWise Magazine (named an "Album of The Year 2014")

"This combustible hard-bop wrecking crew - Eddie Henderson and David Weiss on trumpets, Billy Harper and Donald Harrison on saxophones, George Cables on piano, Cecil McBee on bass and Billy Hart on drums - recently released its excellent fourth album, 'Time and Time Again.'"
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times

"Named for a classic 1965 Freddie Hubbard live LP, The Night of the Cookers, this all-star outfit led by trumpeter David Weiss features veteran players who have no difficulty living up to their fiery appellation." 
- Hank Shteamer, Time Out New York 

"The Cookers remain a blast furnace of infectious power and rhythm. Four top-notch horn players erupt together in chromatic splendor . . . while the nonpareil rhythm section of Cables, McBee and Hart keeps finding new ways to stoke and shift the pulse of tune." 
- Britt Robson, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"On their fourth disc, this Magnificent Seven of gutsy acoustic jazz delivers their most diverse outing yet. The group's superlative soloing is kept at modest length, skillfully serving the exhilarating, shifting arrangements while the ensemble has a startling fullness . . . Each successive Cookers disc is increasingly fiery and forward-reaching." 
- Jeff Potter, DownBeat Magazine (4 stars)

"The Cookers cook, all right, and if anything they've become even more assured, skillful and single-minded with each new offering."
- Jeff Tamarkin, JazzTimes Magazine

"Trumpeter David Weiss corrals some of jazz's most undersung legends into one heavyweight hard-bop supergroup"
- Shaun Brady, The Philadelphia City Paper
"Okay, simply put [this] is a great album. The music, like the artists, featured on Time and Time Again represents both the past, the present and the future. It is timeless in its greatness."
- Geraldine Wyckoff, OffBeat Magazine

"If you've never heard The Cookers, the most authentic hard-bop ensemble in jazz today, 'Sir Galahad,' from Time and Time Again, is a wonderful place to start . . . The Cookers may both honor and embody the old classics, but this music keeps rolling and reinventing itself into tomorrow"
- Britt Robson, eMusic, Wondering Sound

"These guys just want to burn, and on their fourth album together, that's exactly what they do . . . this is a group brimming with creativity and passion . . ." 
- Cormac Larkin, The Irish Times

"This is all the straight-ahead goodness you could ask for. The members, by the way, are giants of Jazz . . ."
- Dave Sumner, eMusic, Wondering Sound

"These guys are difficult to beat for straight­up, consummate
playing - top to­bottom . . . like a collective machine in a giant groove . . . we have cats who can blow and deliver gorgeous solos and yet truly understand the meaning of operating as an ensemble. As good as 'Time & Time Again' is, if you have a chance to check out The Cookers live, don't hesitate to do so."
- Jon W. Poses, Columbia Daily Tribune

"Every one of their albums to date has been a winner, this one definitely included."
- Philip Freeman, The New York City Jazz Record

"Classic hard bop jazz is alive and well - and in the capable hands of this all-star septet of major jazz figures."
- Jack Garner, The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

"Led by trumpeter David Weiss, this fierce all-star band of jazz hard-bop survivors have a depth of experience second to none."
- Marcus Crowder, The Sacramento Bee

"The name Cookers applies to the musicians, the material and the mindset that produces such consistently great jazz."
- Chris Smith, The Winnipeg Free Press

"Enough experience in jazz as music and lifestyle to comprise the greatest jazz music faculty ever assembled anywhere in an institution of higher education . . . the ensemble playing is uncommonly rich . . . hugely appealing."
- Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News   

"A multi-generational powerhouse band of hard bop icons"
- Weekly Alibi

"A program of music whose vitality is convincing proof that the band's name is deserved on the basis of the nine performances heard here . . . The mix of strong compositions, solid ensemble playing and the superb rhythm section, along with the mix of technical mastery, passion, imagination and inventiveness make 'Time and Time Again' another outstanding recording by The Cookers."
- Ron Weinstock, The Jazz & Blues Report

"This all-star septet features the fully evolved talents of a core team of seasoned veteran instrumentalists . . ."
- Mark Holston, Jazziz Magazine

"The Cookers is a superband of savvy veterans who have released four CDs together since forming seven years ago. There's not a weak track here, and the playing is quite something. Time and Time Again is a most-worthy successor to their prior CDs, Warriors, Cast The First Stone and Believe."
- Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes
"This hard-hitting septet wears its name like a mission statement. Rich with a mix of classic elegance and exploration, the group might reference the past by name, but it never sounds less than current."
- Chris Barton, The Los Angeles Times
"A remarkable band at the height of its collective powers."
- Chris Waddington, The Times-Picayune

"This is the greatest jazz super-band working." 
- Charles L. Latimer, Detroit Metro Times

"Together these guys mix lava rich dark harmonies with adventurous rhythms and solos that makes most of today's material seem antiseptic."
- George Harris,

"The Cookers' fourth album, Time and Time Again, is another great hard-bop workout."
- Paul Weideman, The Sante Fe New Mexican

# # # #


Please visit:,

Press Enquiries on The Cookers and Time and Time Again
Please contact: Jason Paul Harman Byrne - Red Cat Publicity,
Email, Tel 347 578 7601

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Joel Harrison Announces The 5th Annual Alternative Guitar Summit



Joel Harrison Announces
The 5th Annual Alternative Guitar Summit
February 4, 2015 @ Shapeshifter Lab
And February 6-8, 2015 @ Rockwood Music Hall

"When Nels Cline and Fred Frith played their first public duet it didn't always sound like guitar music. It sounded, at times, like a sanitation truck's trash compactor, like an orchestra tuning up, like a collapsing carillon, like a slowed down train wreck. That's the beauty of the Alternative Guitar festival...which features guitarists who don't just pick and strum" - Jon Pareles, The New York Times

"It was all too beautiful for words, but I will still be blabbing about it forever."
- Guitarist Nels Cline (Wilco) on The Paul Motian tribute, AGS 2014
Joel Harrison, guitarist/composer/bandleader and founder of the annual Alternative Guitar Summit, is happy to announce the 2015 Alternative Guitar Summit, taking place at Shapeshifter Lab (February 4), and Rockwood Music Hall (February 6-8)!  This festival of daring, inventive guitarists, who emphasize new and unusual approaches to the instrument, will once again celebrate the guitar’s enormous range, beyond style or genre. The 2015 AGS will feature Lee Ranaldo, Liberty Ellman, David Gilmore, Joel Harrison, Miles Okazaki, Kenny Wessel, Doug Wamble, Adam Levy, Sheryl Bailey, Michael Gregory Jackson, Anders Nilsson, Marco Cappelli, Gyan Riley, David Fiuczynski, Prasanna, Ava Mendoza, Adam Rudolph, and others.

The AGS will present three master classes as part of its ongoing educational initiative:
February 5 (7:30 PM): Composing for the electric guitar with Steve Mackey, Scott Johnson, Ben Monder
February 7 (1 PM): Incorporating techniques from India and Middle East into jazz guitar playing w/ Dave Fiuczynski, Prasanna and Joel Harrison
February 8 (1 PM): Accompanying singers, and incorporating blues, country, and funk into your jazz playing: Doug Wamble, Adam Levy and Joel Harrison

All master classes will take place at The Drama League of New York
Located at 32 Avenue of the Americas, NYC, Tel 212 244 9494 - Prices TBA

NEW for 2015!: Joel Harrison has inaugurated a new monthly podcast series as part of the Alternative Guitar Summit entitled, "Say What You Mean." "My first interview is with the eminent composer Henry Threadgill in two parts. In part one he discusses his new guitar concerto featuring Liberty Ellman, which enjoyed its premiere on Thursday, December 4 at Roulette in Brooklyn. I'm really excited to share his vision with everyone. Threadgill is beyond unique, and it's amazing to launch the podcast with him. Click here to check it out:
Lifeforce Arts Inc., a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Joel Harrison in 2013, is the fiscal sponsor for the Alternative Guitar Summit.  The AGS Board of Directors is: Pat Metheny, Vic Juris, Elliot Sharp, Dave Tronzo, Bill Milkowski, Ben Monder, Nels Cline and Fred Frith.

# # # #

Alternative Guitar Summit 2015 Schedule of Events:
TKTS are, Feb. 4 - $15, Feb. 6 - $20, Feb. 7 - $25, Feb. 8 - $20
Or, a three-day pass at Rockwood Music Hall for $50

February 4: Shapeshifter Lab @ 7:30 PM
Shapeshifter Lab is located at 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY, Tel 646 820 9452

Three 40 minute sets
Three Ground-breaking Duos

Anders Nilsson and Aaron Dugan - Hot and Cold
Marco Capelli and James Ilgenfritz - Unplugged
Ava Mendoza and Chris Corsano

Fusing their common love of improvisation and composition in Hot & Cold, guitarists Anders Nilsson and Aaron Dugan create musical layers that transgress denominations and -isms and embrace the universe’s constant mandate to create anew. "Our musical process is a total democracy with lots of fun sessions bouncing ideas back and forth. And, we share the same birthday, 6/20!"

Unplugged Duo is Marco Cappelli (classic guitar) and James Ilgenfritz (double bass). The Duo join their mutual creativity and large range of musical experience to explore a repertoire from different folk traditions, with a simple and deep commitment: every deviance through improvisation is possible, and no electronic device is admitted.

Ava Mendoza is new on the NYC scene from the Bay Area. She became known to Harrison through rave reviews from Fred Frith and Nels Cline. Enough said!

February 6: Rockwood Music Hall @ 7 to 9:30 PM
Rockwood Music Hall is located at 196 Allen St., NYC,, Tel 212 477 4155

Three guitarists blending jazz improvisation and composition with techniques and sounds from India and the Middle East

Probosci: Gyan Riley and Timba Harris
Prasanna (solo): South Indian music meets modern jazz
David Fiuczynski Planet MicroJam trio: with Adam Matta - beat boxer, vox, mouth bone, real time sonic manipulations and Utar Artun-microtonal keyboards

Probosci is a collaboration between violinist Timba Harris (Secret Chiefs 3, Estradasphere) and guitarist Gyan Riley (Dither, Terry Riley). Both composers, whose work is featured in John Zorn’s Tzadik Records Composers’ Series, contribute to the interplay between composition and improvisation, steeped with intricacy, subtlety, and shape-shifting energy. Their new album, Time to Feed, ranges from purely acoustic music to electro-acoustic textures, dancing between delicacy and hullabaloo.

Prasanna is a pioneer in performing South Indian Carnatic music on the guitar. He is part of a trio with Vijay Iyer entitled Tirtha.

David Fiuczynski (fretted and fretless guitars) is the director of the Planet MicroJam Institute at Berklee College of Music, a 2011 Guggenheim fellow and moonlights as the leader of the Screaming Headless Torsos. Adam Matta is a Grammy nominated (w/The Carolina Chocolate Drops)   beatboxer/vocal percussionist from NYC, merging hip-hop, house, drum n' bass, jazz, Middle Eastern and rock. Utar Artun is an emerging force from Turkey, a microtonal keyboard player who is also a percussionist that writes symphonic suites and tone poems. “New musical ideas are on the horizon at the crossroads of new beats, microtonal harmonies, and Eastern melodic inflections and improv concepts.

February 7: Rockwood Music Hall @ 7 to 9:30 PM
Rockwood Music Hall is located at 196 Allen St., NYC,, Tel 212 477 4155

Lee Ranaldo Solo: (of Sonic Youth fame)
Adam Rudolph's Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra, featuring Damon Banks, Marco Capelli, Tomas Doncker, Liberty Ellman, David Gilmore, Joel Harrison, Jerome Harris, Miles Okazaki and Kenny Wessel

Adam Rudolph's Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra is a 21st century vision of a kind of future orchestra: an original orchestral concept of world music improvisation started by Rudolph in 2001. Since then he has taught and improvisationally conducted hundreds of musicians in both Europe and the United States. The music is composed as thematic material that provides a spontaneous orchestral context and inspiration for improvisational dialogue. The multicultural dynamic of Go: Organic Orchestra expresses a creative vision of a world without boundaries: of culture as the vessel for human understanding, empathy and sharing.

February 8: Rockwood Music Hall @ 7 to 10 PM
Rockwood Music Hall is located at 196 Allen St., NYC,, Tel 212 477 4155

Four improvisers debuting singer/songwriter projects

Doug Wamble (guitar & voice) and Mino Cinelu (percussion)
Joel Harrison (guitar & voice) w/Glenn Patscha (keyboard)
Adam Levy (guitar & voice) w/Sheryl Bailey (guitar)
Michael Gregory Jackson (guitar & voice) and Keith Witty (bass)

A native of Memphis, TN, Doug Wamble has always been fascinated by the intertwining of American music styles, and how those blues fundamentals stretch across the musical divide in the U.S., but also across the globe. “Mino Cinelu has long been a musical hero of mine because he can step into any groove, any time, any place, and bring something special to it.” Artists from Sting to Miles Davis to Kate Bush have employed Mino’s talents as a drummer and percussionist, and Wamble has played with everyone from Wynton and Branford Marsalis, to Cassandra Wilson and Norah Jones. This special and rare duo performance of songs and improvisations promises to be a magical event.

Joel Harrison, though best known for his instrumental prowess, has written and sung songs his whole life. He will debut a new songwriting project, which is a compendium of American sounds, styles, and geographies.

Adam Levy is best known for his tenure in Norah Jones’ Handsome Band (2001–2007), though his diverse career has also included music making with Joey Baron’s Killer Joey, Tracy Chapman, Trevor Dunn’s Trio Convulsant, and Rosanne Cash, Sex Mob, and Ani DiFranco.

Sheryl Bailey has released nine critically acclaimed releases as a leader and has toured the world with her many projects. She has worked alongside Richard Bona, David Krakauer’s Ancestral Groove, Abraham Inc., Irene Cara, George Garzone, Jack Wilkins, Shingo Okudaira, Steve Slagle, Harvie S, Ken Peplowski, Kim Plainfield, and Gary Thomas.

For the Alt Guitar Festival, the guitar duo of Levy and Bailey will be reinterpreting several of the tunes from Levy’s recent ‘Town & Country’ CD—an instrumental travelogue.

One of the most influential and innovative guitarists to emerge during NYC’s avant-garde loft scene in the 70s, Michael Gregory Jackson has embraced everything from avant-garde, creative music, jazz, blues, rock and electronica soundscapes to harmonically rich and lyrically deep vocal tunes. Rolling Stone Magazine called Jackson, “the most original jazz guitarist to emerge since the sixties.”

For more information about The Alternative Guitar Summit Please Visit:

To schedule an interview with Joel Harrison and to receive more information on
Harrison and The Alternative Guitar Summit 2015, please contact:

Jason Paul Harman Byrne
Red Cat Publicity
Tel 347 578 7601

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NY Chanteuse Melissa Stylianou - Backed by an All-Star Band - Sings Favorite Jazz Standards and More on the Stylish, Spontaneous "No Regrets"


New York Chanteuse Melissa Stylianou - Backed by an All-Star Band - Sings Favorite Jazz Standards and More on the Stylish, Spontaneous No Regrets

The singer's fifth album - to be released October 28, 2014, by Anzic Records - captures Stylianou in a live-to-two-track studio session backed by Bruce Barth, Linda Oh and Matt Wilson, plus guests Anat Cohen and Billy Drewes

Stylianou - and musicians from the album - will perform an album release show at New York City's Jazz Standard on December 2

For the Canadian release of No Regrets, Stylianou will perform a three-night stand at Toronto's Jazz Bistro, November 20-22

"Melissa Stylianou has it all - a gorgeous instrument, superb
musicianship and great taste." - pianist Fred Hersch

The fifth album from singer Melissa Stylianou - No Regrets (to be released Oct. 28, 2014, Anzic Records) - is all about the joy of spontaneity and making the most of the moment. The Canadian-born, New York-based vocalist recorded a set of jazz standards and other favorites in a live-to-two-track, noon-to-night studio session - old-school - backed by an ultra-simpatico trio of New York all-stars: pianist Bruce Barth, double-bassist Linda Oh and drummer Matt Wilson, with stylish guest spots by clarinetist Anat Cohen and alto saxophonist Billy Drewes. The New Yorker has described Stylianou as "an unmannered and affecting jazz singer with a taste for choice material," and past albums have seen her put a personal spin on songs from Björk and Joanna Newsom to Johnny Cash to Tom Waits, not to mention her own lovely original compositions. Jazz standards have been a part of the mix, too, but No Regrets - intimately produced by Oded Lev-Ari - sees Stylianou delve into vintage material like never before. She sings songs by likes of the Gershwins, Jerome Kern and Duke Ellington, along with a Billie Holiday tune, a vocal twist on Thelonious Monk, the indigo-hued chestnut "A Nightingale Can Sing the Blues" and, as a left-field inclusion, a folk setting of Yeats, "Down by the Salley Gardens." This beautiful album once again underscores why DownBeat Magazine has called her a "sophisticated storyteller" and an "original."

Stylianou - a 38-year-old Brooklyn resident initially schooled in acting - has been turning heads since the turn-of-the-century, her skills as a performer honed over a five-year Friday-night residency at the Rex Hotel jazz club in her native Toronto and, more recently, in an ongoing multi-year run at the 55 Bar in New York's West Village. Reviewing Stylianou's Silent Movie, her previous Anzic album, JazzTimes declared that she had advanced to "the forefront of contemporary vocalists, rivaling the storytelling élan of Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon." With No Regrets, Stylianou builds on her varied New York experiences while revisiting the repertoire she learned and loved in her early Canadian club days.

"This album, both the material and the way we recorded it, are very different from my previous four - it's like coming full circle for me," Stylianou explains. "Singing jazz standards in clubs was how I really learned to be a singer, since I studied acting instead of going to music school. Spontaneity and a sense of play were the rule in that environment, and I absorbed the style naturally. 'Remind Me,' 'I'll Never Be the Same Again,' 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams' and 'Humming to Myself' are songs I've been in love with ever since those days - they're inside my voice, inside me. Even 'Down by the Salley Gardens' comes from my days in Canada. We're lovers of Irish culture up there, and I learned the tune during tipsy singalongs on St. Patrick's Day. I did it on this album as just a duo with Matt Wilson on drums. It's very elemental, highlighting its merits as a lovely story in song."


No Regrets is the sound of Stylianou letting go and "having the most fun I've ever had in a recording studio," she says. "I tend to be an over-thinker in my personal life, but I'm drawn to living in the moment when it comes to music. The title No Regrets refers to that sense of leaping in, being fully yourself and taking risks without second-guessing. Oded Lev-Ari, who also produced Silent Movie, is so good at fostering a sense of spontaneity and ease in the studio, even when you're recording live with no overdubs and doing the whole album in a day. He manages to be both hands-on and hands-off. The session felt so free, with everyone giving so generously of themselves to the songs and to the moment. Everybody approached the music seriously - but without taking ourselves too seriously. There was a blend of humor and urgency, as if we were playing a really great gig in the studio."

The virtuoso rhythm section supporting Stylianou throughout No Regrets - pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Matt Wilson - had never played together as a trio before, coming together specifically for the singer. Characteristically, Wilson's participation helped set the high-spirited tone. "Matt's good vibes are famous - he approaches music with a sense of play, as something fun," Stylianou says. "More than that, he listens so hard that he inspires everyone else to do the same. Working with Matt is like working with a magician - he makes incredible things happen that you'd never expect."

Regarding Bruce Barth, Stylianou enthuses: "I've had a musical crush on Bruce for a long time. The man swings so hard, and he's great with on-the-spot arrangements, like for 'Remind Me.' Plus, playing with him is so easy and joyful because he's an incredible accompanist who genuinely loves singers and songs." New to Stylianou, bassist Linda Oh was Lev-Ari's suggestion for the session - a happy introduction. "I was so impressed with Linda's musicality and her beautiful sound, as well as how much she put into the music," the singer says. "Her long solo intro for 'I Wish I Knew' is wonderfully personal."

The guest horn players brought further personalized virtuosity to several tracks, with clarinetist Anat Cohen soloing on "Somebody's on My Mind" and "I'll Never Be the Same" and saxophonist Billy Drewes on "I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)" and "A Nightingale Sings the Blues." Stylianou says: "Anat was a key part of the sound of Silent Movie and to have her back was a treat. She's a kindred spirit with Matt - this seriously playful, or playfully serious, musician. Her sheer pleasure in making music spurs everyone around her to go for it. On the spur of the moment, Oded suggested having 'Somebody's on My Mind' be just clarinet, bass and voice - and I think it turned out special that way." As for Drewes, the singer says: "Billy brings a distinctive edge on alto, contributing so much soul and feeling."

Stylianou will present No Regrets on December 2 at an album-release show at New York City's Jazz Standard, with Bruce Barth, Linda Oh and Matt Wilson reprising their roles from the recording - as will Billy Drewes. Stylianou's fellow singers in the vocal group Duchess - Amy Cervini and Hilary Gardner (with whom she has a new album in the can) - will add more color. Prior to the Manhattan show, Stylianou will celebrate the release of No Regrets in Canada with three nights at Toronto's Jazz Bistro, Nov. 20-22. The band for the Canadian shows will be pianist Jamie Reynolds, bassist Andrew Downing and Matt Wilson on drums.

"I'm so looking forward to performing the songs of No Regrets live with these musicians," Stylianou says. "I gave myself permission to let go while making this album - because I've found that the emotions of the songs come through best that way. I hope listeners feel something of the freedom and fun that we experienced making it."

Melissa Stylianou: No Regrets

1. "Nice Work If You Can Get It" (George & Ira Gershwin)
2. "Remind Me" (Jerome Kern, Dorothy Fields, arr. Bruce Barth)
3. "I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)" (Duke Ellington, Paul Francis Webster)
4. "Humming to Myself" (Sammy Fain, Herb Magidson, Monty Siegel)
5. "I Wish I Knew" (Mack Gordon, Harry Warren)
6. "Somebody's on My Mind" (Arthur Herzog Jr., Billie Holiday)
7. "Down by the Salley Gardens" (William Butler Yeats, traditional)
8. "A Nightingale Can Sing the Blues" (Dick Charles, Larry Marks)
9. "I'll Never Be the Same" (Matt Malneck, Gus Kahn, Frank Signorelli)
10. "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke)
11. "I Mean You" (Thelonious Monk, Jon Hendricks)

Melissa Stylianou, voice
Bruce Barth, piano; Linda Oh, double-bass; Matt Wilson, drums
Anat Cohen, clarinet (6, 9); Billy Drewes, alto saxophone (3, 8)

Produced by Oded Lev-Ari
Recorded by James Farber at Sear Sound, NYC
Mastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, NYC

Press photos, sound samples and more available at:

Press Enquiries on MELISSA STYLIANOU & Anzic Records: 
Please Contact Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
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Bassist/Composer OMER AVITAL Delves Into The Culture of His Homeland Through Jazz On His New Recording, NEW SONG, available on Motema Music - November 4, 2014


Bassist/Composer OMER AVITAL Delves Into The Culture of His Homeland Through Jazz On His New Recording, NEW SONG, available on Motema Music - November 4, 2014

NYC CD Release Celebration!!
January 13 & 14, 2015 @ The Jazz Standard
116 East 27th Street, Tel 212 576 2232,
"This album is full of euphoric energy, timeless melodies, and group interplay that that makes big sounds bigger and the beauty found in nuance shine brightly."
- Dave Sumner, Wondering Sound, eMusic

"One of the most exciting musicians to come onto the jazz scene in the last 20 years" - DownBeat Magazine
"Duke Ellington made Far East Suite in 1966. Omer Avital's Suite of the East was recorded in 2006 but not released until now. The differences between the two albums reveal how the jazz art form evolved over 40 years. Far East Suite is sophisticated orchestral American jazz with exotic colorations and subtle inflections drawn from Ellington's exposure to Eastern cultures on a State Department tour. Avital's album is a deep organic fusion of Middle Eastern and North African music with current cutting-edge jazz. It is not coincidental that Avital's band contains both Israelis and Americans. Jazz has globalized." 
- Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes Magazine (on Suite of The East)

Bassist/composer Omer Avital, one of the most celebrated and revered musicians on the global jazz scene, offers his current creative tour-de-force, New Song, to be released on Motema Music on November 4, 2014. New Song, the follow up recording to Suite of The East, signifies a giant leap in Avital's quest to "mine the deep interconnections between jazz and the music of the Middle East and North Africa." (Jeff Potter, DownBeat Magazine, July 2013).

Upon Avital's arrival in New York City in 1992, the rapid growth of Israeli jazz was set in motion in a profound way. Avital quickly forged an indelible mark on the scene, mainly through his legendary performances at Smalls, where he lead one of the most celebrated groups of the time, a sextet with a front line onslaught of four saxophones (an early gem from this time in Avital's early days is the tune "Kentucky Girl", featured on the compilation, Jazz Underground: Live at Smalls,on Impulse!)."Years from now, when folks are remembering the early days of the West Village jazz haunt Smalls, bassist Omer Avital's name will be as synonymous with the club as Bill Evan's is with the Village Vanguard, and Thelonious Monk's is with the original Five Spot Café." - Time Out New York.

Avital went on to cast a wide net of influence in NYC and beyond with a consistently creative and prolific output (releasing nine albums of original music since 2001, and at least eight others as a co-leader), and a steady stream of influential live performances at the finest jazz venues and festivals around the world. Avital also recorded and toured with Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Roy Haynes and many others. Avital has since been hailed by The Los Angeles Times as, "a pioneer in combining jazz with myriad world music elements," with The New York Times adding that, "Mr. Avital and his group are producing some of the most original music being heard in New York," and that, "outside Charles Mingus and the free-jazz bassist William Parker, such dramatic violence on the instrument is hard to come by."


In 2002, around the ten year anniversary of moving to New York, Avital returned to his native Israel, where he was the co-founder and musical director of the highly unique and successful group, Yemen Blues, as well as the New Jerusalem Orchestra, and involved in Israel's "piyut" scene (often collaborating with some of the legends of this genre, including Haim Louke, Aharom Amram, and others), to study classical European composition and Middle Eastern and North African Music. The bassist spent three years studying folk songs, dance rhythms and rituals, and these invigorated his imagination in the same way that jazz had sparked his passion before. He now looks to the East as well as to New York, toward the West as much as toward the Arab world, toward the solitude of the desert as much as the urban mêlée. The latest result of this extensive study is Avital's ambitious new recording, New Song, an electrifying, highly creative next step after the release of his previous recording, Suite of The East (released in April 2012 on Anzic Records).

The band on New Song is exemplary, and one that Avital has led for many years, featuring trumpeter Avishai Cohen ("I've been playing constantly with Avishai since 1999. We co-lead some groups together for a decade, and he has played in most of my bands and on most of my albums. Our musical chemistry was there from the first notes we ever played"); saxophonist Joel Frahm ("I've known Joel from my first days in NYC in the early '90s. We nicknamed him 'Soul Frahm' because he has such a warm, soulful sound. I absolutely love what he brings to my music"); pianist Yonathan Avishai ("there's no doubt that Yonathan is not only one of my favorite musicians, but someone who has been a great influence to me in recent years. He understands my compositions and his input elevates everything we play"); and drummer Daniel Freedman ("I've known Daniel for over twenty years. We became rhythm section mates and friends during the important early days of Smalls in the '90s, and shared the bandstand playing with the Jason Lindner Big Band and many others. His understanding of Middle Eastern and North African rhythms make it easier for me to bring my musical vision to life.") The esteemed journalist Peter Margasak said of the band (of their performance on Suite of The East) in The Chicago Reader, that, "They bring a plangent eloquence and easy rapport to the seven pieces, which alternate between delicate, soulful ballads and soaring, high-energy anthems and whose thick ensemble arrangements ratchet up the intensity with every chorus."

For Omer Avital, jazz is a music, and a medium, which has allowed him to honor his roots and delve into the culture of his homeland without limitations. With New Song, Avital, a true citizen of the jazz diaspora, makes his homeland resonate through his voice - a voice that no one could mistake for any other. His songs speak to us about his true self, and about the world of music in which he lives, and that is but one of their many glorious virtues.

Omer Avital - New Song
All compositions by Omer Avital (published by Abutbul Music, ASCAP)
1. Hafla, 2. New Song, 3. Tsafdin, 4. Avishkes, 5. Sabah El-Kheir (Good Morning), 6. New Middle East, 7. Maroc, 8. Ballad For a Friend, 9. Bedouin Roots, 10. Yemen Suite, 11. Small Time Shit

Omer Avital - bass/compositions, Avishai Cohen - trumpet, Joel Frahm - tenor saxophone, Yonathan Avishai - piano, Daniel Freedman - drums

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Press Enquiries on Omer Avital, Please Contact: 
Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
Email, Tel 347 578 7601