JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022: Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra(Austria)-Conspiracy

Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra-Conspiracy

Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra(Austria)-Conspiracy

On 9.9.2022 Mons records will release the new album from the German saxophonist Tobias Hoffmann titled “Conspiracy”. Under the motto, things just keep getting bigger, this recording follows his 2019 release
“Retrospective” recorded with a nine piece band and this time features a full big band.

Tobias stated that throughout his journey in music “… there have been two hearts beating in my chest: on the one hand that of the saxophone player and on the other that of the composer and arranger.” When you first listen to this recording it becomes clear that on “Conspiracy” Tobias has been able to merge these two hearts into one.

Speaking of the album Tobias explained “After releasing my CD “Retrospective” with my Nonet in 2019, I felt like taking the next step as a jazz composer and arranger by writing and recording more music for a jazz orchestra.” he went on to say “When at the end of 2020 I started planning this project I was full of doubt. We were in the middle of the second wave of the corona pandemic, half of Europe was in lockdown, concerts and jobs had been cancelled and I was really not sure whether it would be the right moment to bring a large jazz ensemble to the studio and record an album of challenging instrumental Big Band music in that period of time. But there was a soft voice telling me that it was worth going for it. Now looking back after writing, organizing, rehearsing and recording the music it feels almost surreal that is poised for release. I am very glad I had listened to that soft voice and recorded the music.

The album opens with the title track “Conspiracy”. Tobias stated that this was one of his most challenging compositions to date and is inspired by the crazy conspiracy theories that emerged during the pandemic. “I realized how dangerous these can be, not only for the people who believe in them, but for our society as a whole” explained Tobias. The track opens with a rather bombastic tutti passage that certainly grabs your attention before settling done for the main theme. Of note here is the mysterious start to the saxophone solo. „Conspiracy“ was awarded the 3rd prize at the „Bill Conti Big Band Contest 2021“ organized by the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC).

The following track titled “Elegy” is a fully through composed piece
that features the bands horn section in a more orchestral context. The next cab of the rank is titled “3 December Song” and is a medium swing composition featuring Alto saxophonist Andy Schofield. Tobias explained that this piece was inspired by the music of Vince Mendoza, “When writing this composition, I started with the figure of the piano at the beginning of the piece, which immediately reminded me of some of Mendoza’s compositions. So I tried to loosely capture the feeling and flow of his music.”

“Awakening” is a composition about change. Tobias wrote this piece at time when he was experiencing change in his life. while he admitted he was struggling with this he also came to realization that change also brings opportunity. This somewhat melancholy composition features a wonderful solo by Jakob Helling on Flugelhorn that transitions to a more optimistic contrasting section of the arrangement.

The next track titled “Relentless” is a composition based on a twelve- tone row, a composition technique that was first made popular by the Austrian-American composer Arnold Schoenberg in the early 20th century. When speaking about this composition Tobias said “The composition is a mixture of different sections which are contrasting each other. It was an interesting process to learn as a composer how long one should stick to self-imposed rules and limitations and when to rid yourself of them and follow your inner voice.” It should be noted that this composition was awarded the first prize in the “Original Composition – Large Ensemble” category at the 2022 “45th annual Downbeat Student Music Awards”.

Featuring Jonas Brinckmann (Baritone Saxophone) and Kasperi Sarikoski (Trombone), the next track titled “Trailblazers” is a minor blues couched as a jazz waltz. “As a saxophone player I have always enjoyed playing these high-energy Big Band charts from the rich history of Big Band music and that’s why I wanted to write one for my own band as well.” stated Tobias. Both Brinckmann and Sarikoski deliver great solos here on Baritone Sax and Trombone respectively you will also find a highly interesting solo special for the entire Trombone section.

“Renegade” is a composition based on a 2 bar motif in 9/4 and features Simon Plötzeneder on trumpet. This composition is inspired by the American jazz composer Darcy James Argue and his “Secret Society” ensemble. For this piece Tobias experimented with incomplete chords and voicings to provide a modern and contemporary harmonic sound. Tobias said of this piece “I wrote this composition in a period when I was struggling to find my place in life and so I tried to capture the feeling of uncertainty in the composition.”

As you will read in the albums liner notes, many of the compositions on this album were inspired by psychology and psychological phenomena and the following track “Impostor Syndrome” follows in this vein. The Impostor Syndrome is a psychological term that describes a pattern of thinking in which human beings doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and are afraid of being exposed as a fraud. This odd- meter composition features two main soloists, Martin Harms (Tenor Saxophone) and Robert Bachner (Euphonium). Of note here is the unaccompanied piano cadenza by pianist Philipp Nykrin that climaxes into a full band tutti section to round off the track.

Serving as an intro to the final track on the album is “Who Knows Intro” and is a feature for the bands trombone section. Tobias explained “I truly love the sound of the trombone. Unfortunately, trombones sometimes live an inconspicuous life in a Big Band. So I wanted to give them the space to fully shine as a section.” The final track on the album is a departure from the rest of the compositions on the album and features a rock feel with featuring a great solo performed by guitarist Vilkka Wahl. This track just builds throughout culminating in a fitting climax to close out the album.

This recording shows Tobias Hoffmann firmly in control of his composer heart. The band is amazing with each section blending together in such a way that only more established bands sound. This recording certainly makes a statement and that is “The Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra is here and can’t be ignored.“
“Conspiracy” by the Tobias Hoffmann Jazz Orchestra will be available on CD and all digital platforms via Mons Records.
Andrew Read

website

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022

Jazz World Quest Showcase 2022: Örjan Hultén Orion(Sweden) – Shifting Ground

orjan hulten orion - shifting ground

Örjan Hultén Orion(Sweden) – Shifting Ground (Prophone Records)

Örjan Hultén Orion‘s latest album is a collection of eight skillfully crafted tracks that showcase the musical and compositional talents of each band member. Despite the fact that the material has several “parents”, the album maintains a consistent stylistic cohesion that reflects an unifying artistic vision where melodicity embraces improvisation in such a fresh way .

Each track bears the personal touch of the musicians, making the album particularly noteworthy. The title track, composed by Filip Augustson, features an engaging interplay between Hultén’s saxophone and Torbjorn Gulz’s piano, with the melodic dialogue exploring contrasts and harmonies. “Mystique No. 12,” a ballad by drummer Peter Danemo, sees the saxophone moving gracefully over percussion and spacious piano accompaniment. Augustson’s composing skills are also on display in “Bellatrix,” which begins with a textural intro featuring drums, piano, and bass, before giving way to Hultén’s melancholic soprano theme, which is supported by the piano in the second part before transitioning to the next saxophone section.

The album’s only composition by the bandleader, “Las Tres Marias,” is a joyous, tango-inspired track that evokes Nino Rota and his work for Fellini films. “Philomelos” is a unique ballad in which Hultén’s captivating saxophone weaves a narrative through the piano melody, complemented by Augustson’s seamless bowing. Danemo’s “Even in the odds” follows in a playful vein, providing a lively backdrop for the drums, bass, piano, and saxophone to perform with exceptional passion and delicacy. “Rigel” opens with Augustson’s bass line and features the piano setting the stage for the saxophone’s melodic entrance, resulting in a virtuosic piece with entertaining blues accents.

The album concludes with “Nosebleed,” a track rich in rhythmic complexity that allows Hultén to fully show his musicianship.

“Shifting Ground” offers new discoveries with each listen and is well worth multiple plays; it is a deserving reward for the listener.

Musicians: Örjan Hultén – saxophones, Torbjorn Gulz – piano, Filip Augustson – bass, Peter Danemo– drums

Spotify

Jazz World Quest Showcase 2022

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022: Iñaki Arakistain- The Sun Shines Again

As a result of all this enormous trajectory Iñaki Arakistain presents us his 5th studio
ALBUM, entitled “THE SUN SHINES AGAIN” (preceded by: “Tiempos de búsqueda” 2008,
“Plan B” 2010, “Saxual “2014 and “Another Road” 2018), a new musical approach, always
accompanied by excellent musicians from the national and international scene, loaded
with good Jazz, Groove and Latin Jazz that mixes exotic sounds and roots as deep as
Flamenco fusion and Afro-American music such as Jazz Funk.

Elegantly constructed harmonizations and new sounds that travel towards a new musical direction from the most
disturbing heart of this experienced and experimental saxophonist.

Author’s Note:
Despite the fact that we are still immersed in crisis and uncertainties in the pandemic horizon, these compositions have emerged during this period. I have tried to reflect past experiences (in terms of my musical influences) and experiences lived through music, filtering them with this complicated period. I have tried to make my compositions fundamentally reflect hope and a new post-pandemic era.
Iñaki Arakistain

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2022

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2021: Livio Almeida, Rodrigo Bezerra, Rodrigo Balduino(Brazil)- Radamés y Pelé

Livio Almeida, Rodrigo Bezerra, Rodrigo Balduino(Brazil)- Radamés y Pelé
Album: Radamés y Pelé
Label: Brasounds Productions
Radamés y Pelé is a song written by the great maestro Tom Jobim for his last album, to render homage to these two geniuses – and friends of his: the composer Radames Gnatalli and the soccer player Pelé.
This mixture between choro and bossa-nova is the first release of the project Jobiniando, and was handled by 3 exponents of the new Brazilian Jazz: Livio Almeida (sax tenor) has a master’s degree in composition at the Brooklyn College of New York and plays with great names of the American jazz scene, such as the Grammy award winning pianist Arturo O’Farril, Ari Hoening, Helio Alves and Romero Lubambo.
Rodrigo Bezerra (guitar) is one of the most prolific guitar players and composers of his generation. Having recorded 6 albums as a leader, he can easily combine jazz and Brazilian music, and have played with artists such as Ellen Oléria and Carlos Malta.
Rodrigo Balduino (bass) is a member of the Esdras Nogueira Quartet. He has shared the stage with names like Bocato and Dominguinhos and has recently produced the new album of Ramiro Pinheiro, released with the jazz label Fresh Sound Records.
Website Music Store

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2021

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2021: Kevin Sun- <3 Bird

Saxophonist Kevin Sun Imagines Charlie Parker in the 21st Century
on Fourth Album, <3 Bird

Out August 29, 2021 on the 101st anniversary of Charlie Parker’s birth, <3 Bird celebrates the legendary saxophonist with radically inventive compositions inspired by his music
“…Sun swings for the fences with his sense of form and scale.” – Nate Chinen, WBGO
“Sun has a warmth, richness and rhythmic vitality to his playing that at times brings Lester Young or Sonny
Rollins to mind.” – Troy Dostert, All About Jazz
“An outstanding recording…The album acknowledges the past, lives in the present and looks to the future… The
spirit of Charlie Parker is very much alive on this one, an album that seems to bring new discoveries with every
listen. Highly recommended.” – Miguel Zenón, saxophonist/composer


<3 Bird, out August 29, 2021 via Endectomorph Music, is Kevin Sun’s love letter to the towering father of modern jazz, Charlie Parker. In a concise but wide-ranging program of 12 original compositions and three arrangements, Sun draws electrifying and futuristic conclusions from Parker’s musical innovations, assisted by a stellar cast of peers that include trumpeter Adam O’Farrill (Mary Halvorson, Stephan Crump, Rudresh Mahanthappa), guitarist Max Light (Noah Preminger, Jason Palmer), and pianist Christian Li (Adam Neely, Mike Bono), as well as Walter Stinson on bass and Matt Honor on drums

All of the music on <3 Bird was conceived during the pandemic of 2020, the early months of which found Sun digging into all things Bird. “During that time, Charlie Parker became a sort of guiding light for me when we were most isolated and afraid,” Sun recalls. “I tried to find and listen to every recording of Bird, and I found a certain comfort in his consistency
and just the radiance of his sound.”


With plenty of time on his hands, Sun immersed himself in the roughly 72 hours of known Charlie Parker recordings, as well as interviews with Parker’s contemporaries, documentaries, and other historical resources.


“It was a way to de-stress and take a break from the pandemic reality—just by imagining what was happening on a given day or period in Bird’s life,” Sun says. “I could listen to him on the night of his 30th birthday, playing with a pickup band at the Rainbow Inn in New Brunswick, New Jersey, or check him out trading phrases with a tap dancer on a TV show.”

2020 marked the centennial of the saxophonist’s birth, but tributes to the great artist were limited to remote performances, events, and tribute albums. In using this extended period of time to reflect on Parker’s legacy, Sun saw inexhaustible possibilities in the saxophonist’s music.


“It’s almost like he was hiding these musical Easter eggs for us to find, long after he was gone,” Sun says. “There’s an absurdly broad range of musical references and quotations, literally hundreds, that he slips in; he’s
like the James Joyce of modern jazz.”

In a nod to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, lightning-quick recordings from the bebop era, Sun erred on the side of brevity for <3 Bird, with half the album’s tracks clocking in under three minutes.

Trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, named among the “25 for the Future” in 2020 by DownBeat magazine, is a brilliant foil for Sun on the album’s opener, “Greenlit,” a shapeshifting take-off on Parker’s “Confirmation,” as well as on “Schaaple from the Appel,” which uses the rhythm of Scrapple from the Apple’s well-known introduction as a diving board for new directions.

Guitarist Max Light—who has come into broader recognition in recent years earning 2nd place in the 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute’s International Jazz Guitar Competition and as a collaborator with artists like Noah Preminger and Jason Palmer—joins Sun on three tracks.

Onomatopoeia” is a burning up-tempo romp with elements of jazz classics “Be-Bop” and “Segment.” “Du Yi’s Choir,” a tongue-in-cheek homage to Parker’s “Dewey Square,” is like “Schaaple” in that it capitalizes on the rhythmic ingenuity of the original recorded introduction; it also features Sun on the Chinese sheng, a mouth organ whose history dates back 3,000 years. “Talck-overseed-nete,” the album’s closer, is an arrangement of Parker’s inscrutably titled “Klact-oveesed-tene” in 5/4 meter, a creative choice inspired by a modernistic drum figure played by Max Roach on the original recording.

Pianist Christian Li, whom Sun has played and recorded with as part of the quartet Mute, rounds out the ensemble on tracks like “Adroitness (I + II),” a slow and then fast two-part piece based on the melody and rhythm of Parker’s “Dexterity.” Li’s brooding yet dynamic pianism comes to the fore on “Dovetail,” an avant-garde take on “Yardbird Suite” and the longest track on the album, which also features the leader on both clarinet and tenor saxophone.

“One thing I discovered was that, if you speed-adjust and superimpose multiple recorded takes of Charlie Parker, the pieces somehow add together into this miraculous counterpoint,” says Sun. “It’s like he planned it out, the way he seems to answer and echo himself, and that’s where the material for ‘Dovetail’ came from.”

<3 Bird includes three 12-bar blues pieces, which were a pillar of Parker’s musical foundation coming from pre-WWII Kansas City. “Composite” features drummer Matt Honor improvising explosive figures set to four-part counterpoint, which is itself made up of fragments of Parker’s compositions “Bloomdido,” “Cheryl,” “Relaxin’ at Camarillo,” and “Big Foot.” “Sturgis” uses Parker’s recorded improvisations on “Mohawk” as the source of new counterpoint, while Sun’s arrangement of Parker’s blues “Big Foot” is rendered here as a grooving boogaloo, with hints of Eddie Harris and ’60s soul jazz

.Sun also includes two other miniatures that were composed for The Jazz Gallery’s Lockdown Sessions, a virtual music series developed by the NYC venue that invites artists to share new works in a curated panel format. Both are trio features: “Cheroot,” a free-wheeling, three-way conversation for saxophone, bass, and drums based on Parker’s “She Rote,” and “Arc’s Peel,” which refashions “Scrapple from the Apple” as a light-humored two-part invention.

Parker’s favored classic quintet format appears just once on the album, for the dazzling interpretation of the Dizzy Gillespie-Kenny Clarke crowd-pleaser “Salt Peanuts.” Sun recreated the intricate arrangement of the 1945 original, replete with interludes and send-offs, but adds a generous dash of rhythmic intrigue for good measure.

With <3 Bird, Sun proves himself a formidable contributor to the continuing legacy of Parker’s music in this new century. In doing so, he also shares his vision for future directions in jazz and even more creative work to come.

Kevin Sun is a saxophonist and composer living in New York City. His music has been called “…intense, harmonically virtuosic and compositionally complex” by DownBeat Magazine, and he has released three albums to date—most recently (Un)seaworthy in November 2020. Sun has recorded four albums with the ensembles Mute, Earprint, and Great On Paper, and he appears on recordings led by Jacob Garchik, Dana Saul, and Xiongguan Zhang. In addition to performing in the U.S., Sun has performed extensively in China and is the Artistic Director of the Blue Note China Jazz Orchestra. Most recently, Sun was named a Finalist for the 2021 Jerome Hill Foundation Artist Fellowship.
www.kevinsun.com

JazzWorldQuest 2021 Showcase

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2021: Utopia(USA/Japan)-Imaginably

Imaginably is the 2nd album of Utopia, NY based duo project formed by Japanese musicians Yuto Mitomi (sax) and Yuto Kanazawa (guitar) who share the same first name.

The first track Karatachi no Hana is written by Japanese composer Kosaku Yamada in 1925, Mitomi originally arranged this piece for his octet and later he started to play together with Kanazawa. Title track Imaginably is the original composition by Yuto Mitomi, other tracks are a collection of jazz standards and pop covers.

First two tracks are played in a similar aesthetic, free improvisation based on the melody and form. It is a similar approach to their influence, the music of Paul Motian trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano. Mitomi and Kanazawa focused on listening to the momentum of each other’s performance and improvised freely along with the flow of the melody.

In contrast to the first two tracks, I Want You Back, Black Bird, Dralice and Isn’t She Lovely have steady rhythms with the styles of Funk, Latin, Country and Brazilian Music. Mitomi and Kanazawa express their respect and love for jazz with Thelonious Monk’s Ugly Beauty and Cliff Burwell’s jazz standard Sweet Lorraine that was written in 1928.

Their unique repertoire was formed while performing gigs in NYC and touring in Japan where they play music for audiences who love all genres of music. Utopia’s intention on this album was to introduce jazz and improvisation to a broader audience with the familiar melodies and cultural music. Mitomi plays tenor and soprano sax and Kanazawa plays Brazilian 7 string guitar on this album.

Their mutual friend pianist Noah MacNeil gave notes to the album inner cover; For both standards and cover songs, there is no limit to what one could imaginably play.

Album Release Date: 3/12/21 on major streaming websites.
Pre-release available at Bandcamp on 3/5/21. 

Yuto Mitomi (Tenor & Soprano Saxophone)
yutomitomi.bandcamp.com

Yuto Kanazawa (Brazilian 7 string guitar )
yutokanazawa.bandcamp.com

Recorded by Jason Borisoff
at Conveyor Recording Studio in Brooklyn NY, on January 21st, 2020

Mixed & Mastered by Yuto Kanazawa
Art designed by Yuto Kanazawa,

Special thanks to Noah MacNeil,
noahmacneil.bandcamp.com