Monday, May 2, 2016

News of Past Guests, May 2016 Edition

Okay, sure: we'll start this post in the traditional way, with news about past guests.  For instance, over at Jazz Speaks (the weblog of New York City's venerable performance space, the Jazz Gallery), bassist Linda Oh talks about her upcoming album (and playing with Pat Metheny).

Then there's Matt Wilson (below), who has a beautiful new album, Beginnings of a Memory, with a group he's calling Big Happy Family.

The "memory" is of Wilson's beloved wife Felicia, who died in 2014, and the "family" are a dozen members of his three working bands--Felicia's favorite players, who came together to play some of her favorite tunes. Wilson talks about the album in the June issue of DownBeat. Here's the title track:

There are other albums out, too (or coming out soon), by Rez Abbasi, with a new ensemble called "Junction":

by the Claudia Quintet:

--and by Phronesis bassist Jasper Høiby:

Plus, vocalist Rene Marie has just released a full album of her own compositions:

And if you'd like to hear Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom, and/or the Vijay Iyer Trio again, then you might be interested in WNYC's New Sounds podcast, since they all appear on the same episode devoted to "Groove-Based Jazz":

Otherwise, though, our news this month isn't about past guests, but about old friends from closer to home. To wit:

Last month, longtime jazz fanatic and radio programmer (at KZYX in Fort Bragg) Doug Moody was named a "Jazz Hero" by the Jazz Journalists Association.  A co-owner (and Senior Vice President for Marketing) of North Coast Brewing Company, Doug has also been one of the RJA's most stalwart supporters since the very beginning of our ten-year existence.  As beneficiaries of his largesse, we're in good company: North Coast supports jazz presenters, performers, and educators all over California and all across the country, not least through its sales of its "Brother Thelonious" abbey-style ale:

These days, Doug and North Coast are presenting jazz, too, at their "Sequoia Room" in Fort Bragg. Road trip, anyone?

Finally, bassist Shao Way Wu left Arcata a couple of years ago for the bright lights of Portland, where he's been illuminating that city's own local jazz scene. He's got a new album, Canvas Sky, with his bass-piano duo "Tar Beach."  You can buy it on Bandcamp after you listen to it here:

(You can also find albums by the PDX incarnation of his Coconino Trio and tracks by his bass-guitar duo "Day In the Sun.")

Monday, March 14, 2016

News of Past Guests, Spring Break 2016 Edition

Michael Blake's new album, Fulfillment, a suite of compositions for large ensemble on the themes of immigration and exclusion, is out on the Canadian label Songlines. Read about the project at the label's website, where you can also download a free track. Here's another cut, "Sea Shanty"--

--which is one of three tunes from Fulfillment that are part of a Michael Blake playlist at Songlines' Soundcloud page.

The New York Times calls Melissa Aldana's brand-new release, Back Homeher "finest album" yet. It's available at the usual online vendors (and, if you ask for it, at your local record store). Read the transcript of an amazing conversation between her and Sonny Rollins at Burning Ambulance.

The April issue of Jazz Times focuses on bassists--and it includes profiles of Chris Lightcap (Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, Regina Carter's Southern Comfort) and Scott Colley (Antonio Sanchez Migration), a "Before and After" listening session with Eureka's own Trevor Dunn (Nels Cline Singers), and Linda Oh picking (and discussing) some of her favorite bass duo tracks. Select content from the magazine will go online April 5.

And speaking of bassists: out March 18 from Omer Avital is Abutbul Music. (Abutbul is one of Avital's ancestral surnames.) DownBeat magazine's "Editor's Choice" review says that some of the album's tunes mix genres, "mov[ing] through various guises, switching rhythms and meters with a dancer’s precision," while "[o]thers hone in on a single genre and explore it through Avital’s distinctly groove-filtered lens."  Case in point: "Bed-Stuy," which "incorporates hushed, Mingus-flavored swing":

Preparing for his last record, Intents and Purposes (an album of acoustic covers of classic 70s fusion tunes), inspired guitarist Rez Abbasi to compose some electric "fusion" of his own. The results are on a new album, Behind the Vibration, out May 20th:

Finally: the Donny McCaslin Group is the subject of a story on the cover of the May issue of DownBeat (the same issue also contains an interview with drummer Allison Miller). 

Donny and the rest of the band also talked about their experience with the late David Bowie (they're the core group on Bowie's celebrated swan song, Blackstar) on a recent episode of The New Yorker Radio Hour:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

News of Past Guests, February 2016 Edition

Ryan Keberle & Catharsis have a new album on Greenleaf, Azul Infinito (buy it on Bandcamp). Here's a lovely video of the opening track, "I Thought I Knew":

And a key member of Catharsis, vocalist/guitarist Camila Meza, has an album of her own, Traces. Pre-order from the Sunnyside Records Bandcamp store and stream three tracks below:

In other news: pianist Vijay Iyer is the subject of a profile by Alec Wilkinson in the February 1st issue of The New Yorker. It's called "Time Is a Ghost: Vijay Iyer's Jazz Vision."

March 1-6, Myra Melford becomes the latest RJA veteran to be honored with a weeklong run at New York's storied Village Vanguard (with her band Snowy Egret, which opened our current season last September.) In a preview for the Times, Nate Chinen calls Melford "a pianist-composer of restless imagination and rigorous execution," leading an ensemble whose "ranks consist of improvisers with a keen ear for textural interplay." If by some chance you'll be in New York the first week of March, then go see Myra (and Ron Miles, and Liberty Ellman, and Stomu Takeishi, and Tyshawn Sorey) there and say hello...

snowy egret band

More new releases: Allison Miller's new album with Boom Tic Boom, Otis Was a Polar Bear, comes out in April, just days before she shows up in Arcata, BTB in tow. Pre-order it from Royal Potato Family Records, and watch Allison sitting in with the 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers all week long, the week of February 22d (photo here). Here's the album's title track:

Also out in April: Parallax, a new one from Phronesis. Preview/pre-order:

Drummer Dan Weiss's album Sixteen: Drummers Suite honors six legendary jazz drummers. You can buy it on Bandcamp (stream two tracks below), read Nate Chinen's exegesis in Jazz Times, and get Dan's annotations of every track at the Jazz Gallery's website.

Sunnyside Records has reissued (and remastered) a terrific 1987 trio date from Fred Hersch called Sarabande with the late, great Charlie Haden and drummer Joey Baron. The re-release is dedicated to Haden:

And finally, Noah Preminger has a new one dropping soon: Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground. You can pre-order it at his spiffy new website, and get a taste of it right here:

Friday, December 18, 2015

News of Past Guests, Holiday 2015 Edition

It's been a while, we know. We've missed lots of honors bestowed, new CDs released, and so on. But here's what's going on right now:

We mentioned last time that pianist and composer Wayne Horvitz turned 60 this year, and he's been getting a lot of well-deserved attention, including an appearance on NPR Music's Jazz Night in America (click that link for a half-hour video and an hourlong podcast) and a story on All Things Considered:

If, to your eternal shame, you missed Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O at KBR a couple of weeks ago, you can console yourself with Matt's appearance on the Straight No Chaser podcast two days later. Oh, and I suppose you could fly out to New York City and catch the Tree-O in residence at Jazz Standard, where their guest this year will be pianist/composer/bandleader/MacArthur "Genius"/Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran.

The 2015 "Best" lists have begun appearing, and they're littered, as usual, with RJA veterans. For example: the mother of all lists, Francis Davis's authoritative Jazz Critics Poll (hosted these days by NPR Music, and representing the judgment of 147 prominent jazz writers worldwide), features Chris Lightcap and Vijay Iyer.  (Tom Hull provides a rundown of every album that got at least one vote, and links to individual critics' ballots.)

Trumpeter Dave Douglas has released a video of his quintet performing the spiritual "Deep River," shot at the studio sessions for the album Brazen Heart.  (In addition to saxophonist Jon Irabagon, the latest incarnation of Douglas's quintet features several other past guests of the RJA: Matt Mitchell on piano, Linda Oh on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

News of Past Guests, September 2015 Edition

Fall!  (Almost.)  Let's get right to it:

Ivan Cordoba has made a short film about Melissa Aldana called Bridges, and you can watch it at Artpop Studio (and right here):

Wayne Horvitz has a new album out in time for his 60th birthday--and he's celebrating by giving away 52 free tracks (one each week).  Read all about it.

You know by now that RJA veterans show up in the jazz monthlies on a pretty regular basis. The latest to do so is Fred Hersch, the subject of a cover story in the October issue of DownBeat.

That same number includes a feature on Cécile McLorin Salvant, who is marking the release of a fabulous new album, For One to Love, on Mack Avenue Records.  It's a serious contender for jazz record of the year.  See a "trailer" for the album on Salvant's website, and watch a video of a track from the album right here:

Actually, there's a bunch of new albums out (or about to be), including one from the Dave Douglas Quintet, Brazen Heart.  Here's the title track:

Meanwhile, Kevin Whitehead reviewed the fourth album by Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross:

(You can stream three tracks from Canada Day IV--and download one, for free--at the Songlines Records site.  Ditto for Wayne Horvitz's new one, some places are forever afternoon.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Myra Cures the Summer Doldrums

The vernal flood of new releases (see the last two posts) has slowed to a trickle--appropriate for our drought-stricken state, I suppose.  But thankfully, Myra Melford is quenching our collective thirst with a series of videos from her spring residency at the Stone (John Zorn's famous performance space on New York City's Lower East Side), releasing them at the rate of one per week. Here's an introduction:

And here she is with drummer Allison Miller:

And with flutist Nicole Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey:

And with multi-reedist Ben Goldberg:

And with Miya Masaoka and Mary Halvorson:

And with the Crush Quartet:

And with the Be Bread Sextet:

And with The Same River, Twice (Chris Speed, Dave Douglas, Erik Friedlander, Michael Sarin):

And with her latest band, Snowy Egret:

And a second tune from The Same River, Twice:

And with Marty Ehrlich:

And finally, her old trio with Lindsey Horner & Reggie Nicholson:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

News of Past Guests, May-June 2015 Edition

Remember that terrific new Dafnis Prieto Sextet album we told you about? The New York Times' Ben Ratliff likes it a lot, as does Kevin Whitehead, who reviewed it on NPR's Fresh Air:

Several days later, Anat Cohen's cover of the Flying Lotus tune "Putty Boy Strut" wound up on NPR Music's "Songs We Love" feature.

And then, to complete the NPR-RJA Trifecta, who should show up on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert but big-shot pianist Vijay Iyer and his trio:

(Iyer also appeared on NPR's Jazz Night in America, in a set broadcast from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Some guys get all the good gigs!)

Brand-New Releases Dept.: David Berkman returns to his old label Palmetto with a sextet that includes bassist Linda Oh and drummer Brian Blade, performing his first studio collection of new originals in over a decade. It's called Old Friends and New Friends. Listen to one track here and another below:

Drummer Antonio Sanchez returns with a double-album of trio music, Three Times Three, and his trio-mates include pianist Brad Mehldau, guitarist John Scofield, saxophonist Joe Lovano, and bassists Matt Brewer, Christian McBride, and John Patitucci.  Liner notes and track samples at the CamJazz label website; cover story in the July issue of DownBeat; and (okay--I guess this makes it the NPR quad-fecta) All Things Considered story right here:

And our old friend Scott Amendola brings out a recording of his orchestral work Fade to Orange, commissioned by the Oakland Symphony, built around his trio (with Trevor Dunn and Nels Cline) and performed back in 2010.  You can order it at Scott's online store.  Here's the EPK:

And finally (for now), a slew of upcoming albums.  First, John Hollenbeck's sequel to Songs I Like a Lot, entitled--pay close attention now--Songs We Like a Lot:

Canada Day vibraphonist Chris Dingman's The Subliminal and the Sublime:

And Dave Douglas's foray into electronica, High Risk (there's also a video EPK):

Then, a trio of albums on the British label Whirlwind. Here's the title track from the debut album by guitarist Matthew Stevens (Linda Oh's Sun Pictures):

Pianist Ivo Neame (Phronesis) has a new one called Strata:

And Joel Harrison's Spirit House went into Fantasy Studios in Berkeley just days after they visited Arcata back in April 2013. Here's a sample of the results: