The JVM Collective(USA)-Into The Night
Label: Blue Canoe Records
The JVM Collective consists of guitarist/producer Denny Jiosa, bassist Roy Vogt, and drummer Tom Moller. This Nashville Jazz trio delivers a creative and powerful album of beautiful original compositions, deep grooves, and inspiring improvisations titled, “Frontiers”. Fans of instrumental, eclectic music will surely love The JVM Collective and their 8 song album titled, “Frontiers”.
Blue Canoe Records
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.
Ric DelNero & Chris Cummings(USA)-Nero
Composer: Ric DelNero & Chris Cummings
Album: After All
Label: Orenled Music
After All is a collaboration between composer/guitarist Ric DelNero and drummer Chris Cummings. The music featured on this recording is an instrumental fusion of Jazz and Rock in a power trio setting.
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Wade C. Long-Happy Go Lucky
Composer: Wade C. Long
Album: Longitude/Keys Please(2021)
Keyboardist-Vocalist Wade C. Long has released the first of his 3-part new album, Longitude. Keys Please is a 3-track rendering, with all musical numbers. The first song, Mr. Jones, features guitarist Andres Coca, and is a cool, laid back ode to one of Wade’s musical heroes, the incomparable Quincy Jones. The 3rd track is the lighthearted and playful God Children. Sandwiched in between the two is the album’s lead single, the very fun and danceable Happy Go Lucky. Part Two of Longitude is due this coming fall and highlights Wade’s vocals. It includes another collaboration, this one with bassist Christian DeMesones. For press inquiries and interview requests Mr. Long can be reached via Sealong Music Group, at email@example.com.
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Five free shows to see at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
There are 52 performances free to view at this year’s Vancouver International Jazz Festival
Senegal’s famed jazz festival returns after pandemic delay
Billed as Africa’s biggest jazz festival, it has struggled with dwindling attendance since its days hosting headliners like American pianist Herbie Hancock, who played there in 1996.
The Bay Area’s jazz scene swings back into (live) action
Forced to cancel last summer’s festival for the first time in more than six decades, the Monterey Jazz Festival is back on Sept. 24-26 with a scaled down event taking place almost entirely in and around the fairgrounds’ main arena. The reduced footprint means that MJF64 will have only a fraction of its former capacity, with 2,500 tickets available daily to allow for social distancing.
Alex Coke 4tet at Monks
June 15, 2021 7:30p Monks Jazz
501 East Pedernales #2E
Austin TX 78702
Alex Coke swings originals and standards on sax and flute with a great quartet that includes Bruce Saunders (guitar), James Suter (bass) and Masumi Jones (drums) for Austin Jazz Society’s Project Safety Net.
LIVE from the new home of Monks Jazz in Austin, Texas.
And…ONLINE, streaming in HD from
Limited seating available for the live performance with a free archived livestream to enjoy anytime. Donations & emoji’s welcomed and encouraged!
Donations to the musicians via Project Safety Net:
Please add a note saying your donation during the livestream is
for the Alex Coke Quartet.
An ode to the grandeur of nature, reflections on relationships, and a pair of musical tributes comprise five eclectic, aurally compelling original works
Released May 14, 2021 via Artists Recording Collective
Alchemy is defined as “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination” (Oxford English Dictionary). It’s hard to imagine a word that more aptly suits Alchemy Sound Project, a collective in which five esteemed composers and bandleaders — pianist Sumi Tonooka, woodwind players Salim Washington and Erica Lindsay, trumpeter Samantha Boshnack, and bassist David Arend — form a potent ensemble greater than the sum of its parts. A synergy that seems almost supernatural, especially given the far- flung home bases from which these artists converge, is evident throughout Afrika Love, the band’s third album, released May 14, 2021 via Artists Recording Collective.
Alchemy Sound Project formed in 2014, two years after the group’s members met in Los Angeles at the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, where, over the course of a week, they learned to utilize Western classical music concepts and orchestration techniques. “We were five friends and colleagues who had all these similar connections,” Tonooka recalls, “and I wanted us to be able to extend what we do together musically, instead of leaning on other projects or other commissions — to set up our own small chamber group to play and record.” What resulted is a diverse, eclectic group that makes powerful, original music meant to blur the boundaries between notated composition and improvisation.
Sessions for Afrika Love took place in January 2018 in Conshohocken, PA. But the album’s title, borrowed from the composition that Washington contributed to the album, reflects the band’s keen awareness that this recording arrives in the wake of one of the most tumultuous years in recent U.S. history — a pivotal period in which race relations and social justice protests have taken center stage.
According to Tonooka, the band found the title “appropriate in terms of what’s happened with the Black Lives Matter movement, and with what the country still has to deal with in terms of conversations about racism and the aftermath of slavery, and the fact that we still haven’t gotten it together to really heal, because no one seems to talk about it in a way that is healing.” Seen in that light, the multi-gendered, multi-racial makeup of Alchemy Sound Project in itself offers an understated, buoyantly positive example of cooperation and mutual regard.
Given that each Alchemy member is so distinguished individually, it’s no surprise that their collective effort shines. Tonooka, who presently makes her home in Philadelphia, was a 2020 Painted Bride Composer Grant recipient, a 2019 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant winner, and a 2018 Philadelphia Jazz Legacy awardee, among other accolades. Seattle resident Boshnack issued a debut album with her band, Seismic Belt, in 2019, and led the group in appearances at Winter Jazzfest, the Festival of New Trumpet Music, and Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival.
Arend settled in Los Angeles in 2018, just in time to see local screenings of Changyou’s Journey, a short film for which he served as composer and co-producer. After making his debut as acting principal bassist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, he completed his first major orchestral score. Lindsay, based in upstate New York, is an artist-in-residence at Bard College, teaching jazz composition and arranging as well as leading a contemporary-music ensemble, and in 2019 she was an artist-in-residence at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center. Washington, based in Durban, South Africa, leads a busy performance career with several respected groups — the newest, a quartet he leads jointly with piano prodigy Afrika Mkhize, in whose honor Washington penned the album’s title track.
Completing the lineup on Afrika Love are two versatile colleagues, trombonist Michael Ventoso a student of Lindsay’s who plays in both classical and jazz settings, and drummer Chad Taylor, a dynamic solo artist and bandleader, and cofounder of the renowned Chicago Underground Duo. The group elected Arend, a seasoned studio hand, to produce the album, which showcases one original composition by each member.
“The title says it all,” Arend says of “The Fountain,” which opens the album. “I was inspired to depict in music the imagery of a huge fountain of water, both the larger scale of gushing energies as well as the smaller scale of individual water droplets. Tightly organized at the beginning and end, the piece contains a central section that is pure free improvisation.” On this track, the musicians’ cohesive free play is bookended by curve-hugging tightness at the start and finish.
Tonooka says that in writing “Dark Blue Residue,” she was thinking about the aftermath of any experience that brings people together. “A relationship, it could be a group, it could be any social type of situation — the quality of what’s left behind is a sort of residue. People move on, people move forward, but there’s a residue that’s left. And dark blue has to do with the bittersweetness of that, when you’re left to reflect on what you have, and what you’ve done.” Throughout the piece, Arend slips seamlessly from classical arco playing with and among the winds and horns to a woody pizzicato throb beneath, lending nuance and dimension.
“Afrika Love” is Washington’s tribute to his South African compatriot, pianist Afrika Mkhize, son of renowned pianist-composer Themba Mkhize. “One day he called me up out of the blue, simply to say, ‘I love you,’” Washington relates. During their conversation, Mkhize talked about a distinctive pitch system native to Zulu musical tradition. “I began experimenting with this system, and decided to write a composition with it,” Washington says. An unaccompanied horn establishes the tone dramatically from the start, and the composer’s oboe soliloquy is a highlight of this rich, original conception.
“The Cadillac of Mountains” is about feeling awestruck in the face of nature’s grandeur, says Boshnack. “As a hiking enthusiast living in the dramatic environs of the Pacific Northwest, this composition conveys the inspiration I feel when enjoying the overwhelming beauty in the outside world.” The composer’s sky-scraping trumpet lines evoke heavenly expanses, which Washington’s plummy bass clarinet counters with elemental earthiness. Lindsay’s tenor sax solo conveys the composer’s passionate vision, while a contrasting section anchored by Tonooka and Arend evokes nature’s tendency toward unpredictable shifts. And not to be overlooked is Chad Taylor’s subtle and varied accompaniment.
A different sort of marvel animates “Kesii,” Lindsay’s sly, earthy closer. “I named this piece after a friend of mine who passed away this year at the age of 107,” she says. “The journey of life and the path it takes us on holds so much wonder and unexpected gifts.” The piece, she explains, is meant to evoke all the twists and turns a life can hold with a constantly changing series of moods, tones, and colors. “I took a 5/4 repeating clarinet phrase as a starting point, and let the music tell its own story,” Lindsay notes.
Each of these five compositions tells a story worth hearing. Together, they serve to remind the listener that, for all of its unanimity of spirit and intent, Alchemy Sound Project showcases five compelling individuals, each with their own powerful creative vision. The genuine magic in the band’s work is that artists so individually strong and distinctive can fold themselves into one another’s visions so completely and sympathetically. The result is alchemy at its finest.
Kevin Kastning // Sándor Szabó // Balázs Major-First Occurrence
Album: Ethereal IV (2021)
Beyond the deep knowledge of guitars of the three musicians lies a shared artistic sensibility that leads us to a magical universe of uncharted territories. Listening to these 6 pieces infused with a fascinating spatial fluidity you may think about a collection of Pictures at a Cosmic Exhibition.
Creativity and precision merge together in swirls of timeless sonorities.
Ethereal IV was recorded at the end of Kevin Kastning’s 2018 European Tour. The album was recorded in a single day at the Kismaros Concert Hall in Kismaros, Hungary, and features Kevin Kastning on 30-string Contra-Alto guitar, Sandor Szabo on electric guitars, and Balazs Major on percussion.
Russell Ferrante Trio – Inflexion D
Composer: Russell Ferrante
Label: Blue Canoe Records
Russell Ferrante (YellowJackets founding and current member) releases a beautiful jazz trio album titled, “Inflexion”. Inflexion or inflection comes from the Latin root inflexionem meaning to bend in, to change direction. This music is indeed very personal and intimate and one could say it bends in. Featuring the beautiful interplay from Russell Ferrante, Michael Valerio (bass), and Steve Schaeffer (drums).
Album Promo Video | Blue Canoe Records