Friday, September 6, 2019

News of Past Guests, Fall 2019 Edition

Let's start with bassist Linda May Han Oh, who performed her double-quartet chamber jazz project "Aventurine" on the September 19th episode of NPR's Jazz Night in America.

The album, which we previewed in a previous post (and which you can get on Bandcamp) is getting great buzz.

Pianist Helen Sung, meanwhile, contributed to the episode of the NPR series Turning the Tables: 8 Women Who Changed American Popular Music devoted to piano icon Mary Lou Williams.  Her video segment is entitled "How to Swing Like Mary Lou Williams."

In a recent newsletter, Helen also mentions how proud she is to be part of the album Shoulder to Shoulder: Centennial Tribute to Women's Suffrage (released August 30th) where she "joins the Karrin Allyson Sextet (and some very special guests!) to perform creatively reimagined songs from the Suffragette Movement." Billboard wrote about the project here.

Speaking of iconic pianists: Fred Hersch, renowned for his intimate trio work, has a new big band album (with Hamburg, Germany's NDR Bigband), Begin Again, that was recently reviewed by Kevin Whitehead on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

A week or so later, Whitehead also reviewed a new record by Ben Goldberg (Plays Monk, Myra Melford's Be Bread), A Good Day for Cloud Fishing, built around the poetry of Dean Parks and featuring guitarist Nels Cline and cornetist Ron Miles.  (You can buy the album from a number of online venues, including Bandcamp.)

And speaking of big bands: our first guest of the 2019-20 season, Emilio Solla, has a special talent for writing and arranging for large ensembles.  He debuted his own big band, the Tango Jazz Orchestra, at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola earlier this year, and now his debut big band album has dropped.  It's called Puertos: Music from International Waters, and you can get it from all the usual online vendors, including the artist-friendly CD Baby (want a high-resolution format? try Qobuz).

Other new albums:
  • Tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger's 15th album as a leader, Zigsaw: Music of Steve Lampert, is available for pre-order (CD or download) at his website.  It includes the talents of John O'Gallagher, Jason Palmer, Kris Davis, Rob Schwimmer, Kim Cass, and Rudy Royston.
  • Alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón's latest is dedicated to a legendary Puerto Rican singer, Sonero: The Music of Ismail Rivera. (Miguel also did his first "Before and After" listening session for the September issue of Jazz Times.)
  • Saxophonists (and longtime friends) Donny McCaslin and David Binney team up with fellow reedmen Dave Liebman and Samuel Blais for a sax quartet project called Four Visions:
  • Bassist Chris Lightcap (who was recently interviewed for the Burning Ambulance podcast and the Jazz Gallery's "Jazz Speaks" series) combines his ensembles Bigmouth and Superette into a large ensemble called--you guessed it--SuperBigmouth, featuring two tenors, two guitarists, and two drummers.  "With whatever band Lightcap is leading," says the New York Times, "he strikes a masterly balance between urgent, punctuated bass playing and smooth, sighing melodies on top."  "SuperBigmouth commingles prog rock, spiritual jazz and the indie-lounge vibes of Stereolab, resulting in something altogether new." You can pre-order--and listen--on Bandcamp:  
  • Bassist Ben Allison's new disc is the second with his collective trio "The Easy Way," featuring saxophonist Ted Nash and guitarist Steve Cardenas; it's called Somewhere Else: West Side Story Songs (preview | order)
  • Guitarist Joel Harrison teams up with Anupam Shobakhar and the Talujon Percussion Quartet for Still Point: Turning World (order & preview on Bandcamp):
  • Guitarist Rez Abbasi, meanwhile, is coming out with two new albums, one a soundtrack for the 1929 silent film A Throw of the Dice (interview in DownBeat), the other a collaboration with French harpist Isabelle Olivier, Oasis.  Here's a preview track:
  • Drummer Harris Eisenstadt has a new live album with his quartet Canada Day (pre-order it at Clean Feed Records), as well as a new studio album with his other quartet Old Growth Forest (pre-order it--and preview it--on Bandcamp)
  • Drummer Dan Weiss (who has played for the RJA multiple times as a sideman) returns as leader of a "Trio +1" with Utica Box
  • Drummer Gerald Cleaver (Michael Formanek Quartet) leads his band "Violet Hour" (which includes Chris Lightcap) on a live date for Firehouse 12 Records entitled, strangely enough, Live at Firehouse 12 
  • And pianist Uri Caine has written an oratorio, The Passion of Octavius Catto, dedicated to the 19th-century Philadelphia civil rights activist.  Order it from Caine's website with the link above, or from CDBaby. Here's a review, and here's a promotional video:

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