Saturday, April 6, 2019

News of Past Guests, Spring 2019 Edition

Spring can really hang you up the most.  But let's not dwell on that.  Instead, let's get right to it, shall we?  In no particular order:

A belated discovery: last summer, saxophonist Michael Blake wrote a brilliant profile/appreciation of tubaist extraordinaire Marcus Rojas (Dave Douglas's Brass Ecstasy) for All About Jazz.

In other tenor sax news: Noah Preminger has a new album, After Life, with Jason Palmer, Kim Cass, Max Light, and Rudy Royston; you can order it here.  While you're at it, go to CD Baby and check out trumpeter Palmer's new double-CD, Rhyme and Reason. (Listen to a track on Soundcloud, first, if you like:)

At CD Baby you can also find Preminger's Chopin Project CD, part of his "Dead Composers Society" project, co-led with drummer Rob Garcia.  And by the way: there's a profile of Preminger, "Perpetual Motion Machine," by Dan Ouellette in the April issue of DownBeat.

There's also a new one from multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson (Ryan Keberle and Catharsis), Tenormore, with Helen Sung, Martin Wind, and Dennis Mackrel.  It's available here.

Keberle's Catharsis itself (with Robinson, Camila Meza, Jorge Roeder, and Eric Doob) will see the release The Hope I Hold on June 28.  Read all about it at Greenleaf Records (and read an interview with Keberle at Jazz Speaks).

And tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana just unveiled her Visions:

Meanwhile, you can listen to drummer Bill Stewart's latest, Band Menu, with Walter Smith III and Larry Grenadier, on Soundcloud before purchasing it at CD Baby (where you can also find also saxophonist Miguel Zenón's Grammy-nominated Yo Soy La Tradición, featuring the Spektral Quartet).

Guitarist Joel Harrison assembled an all-star crew of RJA veterans (including David Binney, Uri Caine, Chris Tordini, Stephan Crump, Brian Blade, and Allison Miller, with guest spots by Nels Cline and Theo Bleckmann, among others) for Angel Band, the third volume of his "Free Country" series, featuring jazz-inflected arrangements of classic country tunes. Buy it from Joel; watch a promo video here.

Trumpeter Ralph Alessi has reconvened his quintet This Against That for his third outing on ECM, Imaginary Friends(Fly Trio bassist Larry Grenadier, meanwhile, has done a solo session for ECM entitled The Gleaners.)

Trumpeter Dave Douglas, meanwhile, has three new releases on his Greenleaf label: Brazen Heart: Live at Jazz Standard (capturing a five-night run with his most recent quintet), UPLIFT: Twelve Pieces for Positive Action in 2018 (with frequent partner Joe Lovano and the twin guitars of Julian Lage and Mary Halvorson), and Devotion, a trio record with Uri Caine and Andrew Cyrille.

Antonio Sanchez and Migration's Lines in the Sand, says jazz writer Brian Morton, "makes its strong point" about xenophobia and immigration "without surrendering even a fraction of its musicality." Hear more in this NPR story:

Bassist Linda May Han Oh talks to Burning Ambulance about many things, including her latest album, Aventurine:

And finally (in the "new releases" department, anyway):
Shall we talk awards? The Jazz Times Critics Picks put albums by a bunch of RJA vets in its Top 10 albums of 2018: Ambrose Akinmusire (Origami Harvest, #2), Myra Melford's Snowy Egret (The Other Side of Air, #3), Cecile McLorin Salvant (The Window, #5), Ron Miles (with Joshua Redman, Scott Colley, and Brian Blade in Still Dreaming, #6), and Miguel Zenón (Yo Soy La Tradicion, #10).  More recently, the Jazz Journalists Association recognized Linda May Han Oh as Up and Coming Musician of the Year and Bassist of the Year, Cecile McLorin Salvant as Female Vocalist of the Year, Scott Robinson as Multi-Reeds Player of the Year and Player of the Year of Instruments Rare in Jazz, Miguel Zenon as Alto Saxophonist of the Year, Chris Potter as Tenor Saxophonist of the Year, Anat Cohen as Clarinetist of the Year, and Brian Blade as Traps Drummer of the Year.

That same issue of Jazz Times (February 2019) had a long-overdue profile of Myra Melford by Matthew Kassel, "Both Sides Now."

Speak of the devil: Melford herself penned a remembrance of the late Cecil Taylor--and vocalist Rene Marie pays tribute to Aretha Franklin--in the March issue of Jazz Times.

In addition to being an important composer and bandleader, Melford is of course an integral component of Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom--and Miller, who is "blowing up" these days, almost deserves a section of this post all her own.  To begin with, here's a great mid-career profile by Suzanne Lorge in the February issue of DownBeat, "Allison Miller's Life of Contradictions."  Of course Boom Tic Boom's latest, Glitter Wolf, has been out for a few months now, but Miller is just as busy these days with a new band co-led by BTB member Jenny Scheinman, Parlour Games, whose debut is set for release on Royal Potato Family in June.  (You can listen to a teaser track when you hit that pre-order link.)

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