Tag Archives: Jazz

Artist profiles: Ian Melrose

Ian Melrose

Ian Melrose was born in Middlesbrough, England. As a youth he moved back to Ayr in Scotland with his Scottish parents and younger brother Ian’s father was/is a member of the Scottish fiddle orchestra so traditional music was always present. His early influences were the famous figures from the “British school of guitar-playing” i.e. Davey Graham, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, and John Martyn.

After doing a degree in Law and German at Keele University he moved to Berlin in 1981 where he started doing solo work. In 1982 he founded Twilight, an acoustic folk-jazz trio which thanks to the unusual arrangements was winner of the 1985 folk group competition at the Edinburgh folk festival. A record deal with the Scottish company LISMOR followed.

As a founder member of the German folk-pop band Be Mine Or Run and as guitarist and arranger with the Celtic project Norland Wind (featuring Thomas Loefke and Kerstin Blodig) he has made a name for himself on the German acoustic scene. He has done extensive tours of Germany Holland and Norway and has done studio jobs for many well-known artists. A tour through Germany in 1996 with Norland Wind brought the contact to Noel & Padraig Duggan of Clannad, who in turn suggested Ian for the job of lead guitarist with Clannad for the May tour of Ireland, Great Britain and Holland. They were obviously pleased with him and offered him the rest of the “World Tour ’96” which included Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

You can hear Ian playing on the Clannad album Landmarks. In his solo concerts Ian plays pieces from his critically acclaimed album Wolves and from his album Between the Sighs. His guitar compositions show a strong leaning towards his “Celtic roots” where elements of Irish & Scottish dance tunes and ballads mix easily with South-American rhythms and jazz harmonies.

www.MelroseAcousticGuitar.com

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Artist profiles: Hugo Fattoruso

Hugo Fattoruso

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Hugo Fattoruso began his musical career as a prodigious and somewhat reluctant piano student at the age of four. By the time he was nine his father Antonio formed El Trio Fattoruso by drafting Hugo’s younger brother Jorge on drums with Hugo on accordion and Antonio on “inverted bucket bass” (using a broom as the neck and a cord as the instrument’s single string).

This trio performed in street festivals covering the variety of styles used in Uruguay’s carnivals (boleros, murgas, tangos, etc.) and giving Hugo an education in the rich harmonic stuff of disparate musical styles. At the age of 16 Hugo moved to the upright bass and began his tenure as the under-aged member of The Hot Blowers a swing band that toured throughout Latin America in the late 195s. This period could be seen as a second important milestone in Hugo’s harmonic education hammering home the concepts of improvisation and musical interplay.

By the early 196s rock ‘n’ roll began to shake the world’s foundation and Hugo set out to express himself in that medium by forming Los Shakers where he and his brother shared song writing singing and guitar responsibilities. Los Shakers Hugo Fattoruso (guitar voice) Osvaldo Fattoruso (guitar voice) Roberto “Pelin” Capobianco (bass voice) Carlos “Caio” Vila (drums voice) were a huge success throughout Latin America as they were able to mold the complexities of bossa’s harmonies Uruguay’s urban song style candombe rhythms and the backbeat of rock into a new and contagious form.

By the late 1960s the influence of jazz and of the Afro-Uruguayan rhythm of candombe took Hugo to New York City where he formed the group Opa. In Opa Hugo played keyboards and sang while his brother played drums and childhood friend Ringo Thielmann played bass. Opa’s mixture of jazz, rock, Brazilian harmonies and rhythms and Uruguay’s African-flavored music (candombe) gave this band a distinctive voice and garnered them recognition among musicians in the then growing “Latin jazz” scene. Opa released two albums produced by Airto Moreira, ‘Goldenwings’ and ‘Magic Time’. Opa’s music served to influence the next generation of Uruguayan musicians continuing the Fattoruso’s impact on Uruguayan musical culture.

From that point on Hugo traveled the U.S. and worked with a variety of artists ranging from Hermeto Pascoal to Ron Carter to The Dixie Dregs. After working in the U.S. with Milton Nascimento Hugo spent several years living in Rio de Janeiro where he worked with several prominent Brazilian artists including Djavan Geraldo Azevedo Chico Buarque de Holanda Nana Vasconcelos and Toninho Horta.

He has recorded extensively with Milton Nascimento on the records ‘Milton’ ‘Journey To Dawn’ ‘Planeta Blue Na Estrada Do Sol’ ‘Angelus’ and most recently the CD ‘Nascimento’ winner of the 1997 World Music Grammy Award. In addition to his piano and accordion playing the compositions on the release ‘Nascimento’ were co-arranged by Milton and Hugo.

Discography:

Varios Nombres (Melopea CDMSE 518)

En Blanco y Negro РLas Aventuras de Fattoruso y Rada with Rub̩n Rada (Melopea CDMSE 511, 1991)

Homework (Big World, 1998)

with Opa:

Goldenwings (LP: Milestone 969 CD: Milestone 4774-2, 1976)

Magic Time (Milestone, 1977)

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Artist profiles: Howard Levy

Howard Levy

Multi-instrumentalist Howard Levy has appeared throughout the Americas, Europe and Japan in a variety of jazz, Latin, folk, blues, pop and world music settings. A superb pianist and composer, Howard’s most remarkable music is made on the harmonica.

He has revolutionized the technique of playing the instrument by devising a method of playing all twelve tones of the chromatic scale on the diatonic harmonica (which is only designed to produce eight tones).

In addition Howard is revered for performing with intense musicality a beautiful tone and a commanding stage presence. Howard was an original member of the outstanding Bela Fleck &the Flecktones. Howard is also credited for performances and recordings with the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, David Grisman, Kenny Loggins, Paquito D’Rivera, Glen Vele,z John Prine, Bonnie Koloc, Styx, Chuck Mangione and Dolly Parton.

Howard Levy’s discography is really extensive. His Web site has a long list of titles where he appears as a member of various ensembles and as a guest.

Discography

The Old Country (1999)
Stranger’s Hand (1999)
Cappuccino (2004)
Howard Levy & Paul Sprawl (2005)
Tonight and Tomorrow (2009)
Time Capsules (2009)
Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra (2010)
Alone and Together

DVD

New Directions For Harmonica-Expanding Your Technique

www.levyland.com

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Artist Profiles: Goran Ivanovic Group

Goran Ivanovic

The members of the Goran Ivanovic Group group have a diverse and experienced background. Each musician brings a unique musical perspective to the band including jazz, classical, Balkan, Gypsy, and klezmer sensibilities. Formed in 2003, the group’s orthodox instrumentation has forged a sound which ignores borders that traditionally separate nations, cultures, and epochs. The group has created a musical idiom of its own imagining.

They have all performed on stages around the world and have collaborated with countless artists including Wynton Marsalis, Danilo Perez, Bob Moses, and Fareed Haque. In the Chicago area, members of the band regularly perform at prestigious venues such as the Chicago Symphony Center, The Metro, The Green Mill, Hothouse, Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago Cultural Center, Martyr’s, and The Double Door. The band just completed a tour of the Northeast and is looking forward to a fall tour, which includes a performance with Grammy winning guitarist Pat Metheny.

Goran Ivanovic is well known to guitar audiences throughout the US and Europe. As a soloist he has performed in major cities including San Francisco, Portland, Dallas, Cincinnati, Dayton, New York, Boston, and Detroit. In addition he has performed benefit concerts for various charity institutions. He has given numerous master classes around the country, and continues to broaden guitar repertoire by arranging and composing original material. Three records have been released under his name and he has collaborated on number of records as a special guest.

Discography:

Goran Ivanovic Trio (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Glen Velez

Glen Velez

Glen Velez is a master drummer, composer and educator. He won three Grammy awards and is considered one of the most influential percussionists of our time, as well as being responsible for a world-wide resurgence in the popularity of the frame drum.

He was born in Texas, of Mexican American ancestry. He moved to New York City in the late 196s. Although he began as a jazz drummer, he felt a strong attraction towards hand drums, especially frame drums.

Glen has also gained international recognition as a solo artist and is also known for his 15 year recording and performing collaborations with composer Steve Reich, as well as the Paul Winter Consort.

His teaching and performances inspired the Remo Drum Co. in 1983 to develop a line of frame drums called the Glen Velez signature Series. The Cooperman Drum Co. introduced a hand made Signature Series Glen Velez Tambourine and Frame Drum line in 1999.

In 1989, twentieth century composer, John Cage acknowledged Velez’ mastery when he wrote a piece especially for him, entitled “Composed Improvisation for One-sided Drum with or without Jingles.”

Other collaborations include: Tan Dun, Israel Philharmonia, Brooklyn Philharmonia, Opera Orchestra of New York, Suzanne Vega Pat Metheny Zakir Hussain, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble.

Glen Velez

His own compositions have been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and John Schaefer’s New Sounds and have been commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Reader’s Digest. He has written music for theater and dance and recorded hundreds of albums on ECM, CBS, RCA, GRP, Warner Brothers, Deutsche Gramophone, Geffen, Nonesuch, Capital, and Sony.

Glen has several instructional videos, 5 instructional books and over a dozen recordings of his own music on CMP, Music of the World, Sounds True, Interworld, Ellipsis Arts and DafTof Records. Glen is a master teacher who conducts workshops worldwide and has published numerous books and articles on the subject.

Velez developed his own teaching approach called The Handance Method. It incorporates voice and body movement into the process of learning to play the frame drum and has been presented in hundreds of universities worldwide. He currently teaches frame drums at the Mannes School of Music, as well as series of master classes at The Julliard School and Manhattan School of Music.

While Glen draws upon the great drumming traditions of the Middle East, South India and the Mediterranean world (ancient and modern), he plays in a style all his own. Utilizing a vast culmination of complex hand and finger techniques, a symphony of sounds and textures remarkably stream forth from just a single hand held drum. Glen’s solos seem supernatural, a technical rarity that is beyond comprehension. However, beyond all the jaw-dropping spectacle of Glen’s super-human techniques, is a music that is so deeply emotional, a raw beauty, that perhaps, within it’s core, resides the most universal rhythm of all – the heart beat.

Glen is also an expert in Central Asian Overtone Singing (split-tone/harmonic singing). During concerts, he often gives his audiences a spontaneous crash course in this style, thus resulting into a spirited interactive overtone choir.

Glen Velez regularly performs and records with Trio Globo – featuring Eugene Friesen and Howard Levy; Coleman Barkes, world renown scholar/translator of the poetry of Rumi; Glen Velez Ensemble; Duo performances with vocalist/rhythm singer Lori Cotler – songs from their new recording are available on iTunes.

Discography:

Handdance (Music of the World, 1983)

Musica Esporadica (Nocd Records, 1985)

Internal Combustion (Schematic, 1985)

Seven Heaven (CMP, 1987)

Assyrian Rose (CMP, 1989)

Doctrine of Signatures (CMP, 1991)

Ramana (Nomad Records/Music of the World, 1991)

Mokave 2 (Audioquest, 1993)

Border States (1993)

Pan Eros (CMP, 1993)

Trio Globo, with Trio Globo (Silver Wave, 1994)

Carnival of Souls, with Trio Globo (Silver Wave, 1995)

Rhythmcolor Exotica (Ellipsis Arts, 1996)

Rhythms of the Chakras (Sounds True, 1998)

Ettna (Nomad Records/Music of the World, 1999)

Breathing Rhythms (Sounds True, 2000)

Rhythms of Awakening (Sounds True, 2005)

Rhythms of the Chakras 2 (Sounds True, 2008)

Steering by the Stars, with Trio Globo (Stonecutter Records, 2010)

www.glenvelez.com

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Artist Profiles: Frank London

Frank London

Trumpeter and composer Frank London is a member of the Klezmatics, Hasidic New Wave, has performed with John Zorn, LL Cool J, Mel Torme, Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, LaMonte Young, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Jane Siberry, Ben Folds 5, Mark Ribot, Maurice El Medioni and Gal Costa, and is featured on over 100 CDs.

His own recordings include Invocations (cantorial music); Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All Stars, Di Shikere Kapelye (the Inebriated Orchestra) and Brotherhood of Brass;Nigunim and The Zmiros Project (Jewish mystical songs, with Klezmatics vocalist Lorin Sklamberg); The Debt (film and theater music); The Shekhina Big Band; the soundtrack to The Shvitz; the soundtrack to Perl Gluck’s Divan and four releases with the Hasidic New Wave.

His projects include the folk-opera A Night in the Old Marketplace (based on Y.L. Peretz’s Bay nakht oyfn altn mark), Davenenn for Pilobolus and the Klezmatics; Great Small Works’ The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln and Min Tanaka’s Romance.

He composed music for John Sayles’ The Brother from Another Planet andMen with Guns; Yvonne Rainer’s Murder and Murder; the Czech-American Marionette Theater’s Golem; and Tamar Rogoff’s Ivye Project, Live in Crackow, Poland, 2001.

He was music director for David Byrne and Robert Wilson’s The Knee Plays, collaborated with Palestinian violinist Simon Shaheen, taught Jewish music in Canada, Crimea and the Catskills, and produced CDs for Gypsy legendEsma Redzepova, and Algerian pianistMaurice El Medioni.

He has been featured on HBO’s Sex and the City, at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, and was a co-founder of Les Miserables Brass Band and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

www.franklondon.com

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Artist Profiles: Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

In 1977 the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans began showcasing a traditional local brass band. It was a joining of two proud but antiquated traditions at the time: social and pleasure clubs dated back over a century to a time when black southerners could rarely afford life insurance and the clubs would provide proper funeral arrangements.

Brass bands, early predecessors of jazz as we know it, would often follow the funeral procession playing somber dirges then once the family of the deceased was out of hearing range, burst into jubilant dance tunes as casual onlookers danced in the streets.

By the late 1970s, few of either existed. The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club decided to assemble this group as a house band and over the course of these early performances, the seven-member ensemble adopted the venue’s name: the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Thirty years later, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a world famous music band whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-energy performances. They have revitalized the brass band sound in New Orleans and around the world progressing from local parties, clubs, baseball games and festivals in their early years to touring nearly constantly in the U.S. and in over 30 other countries on five continents.

The Dirty Dozen have been featured guests on albums by artists including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and the Black Crowes.

Discography

My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now (Concord Jazz 1984)
Live: Mardi Gras in Montreaux (Rounder 1986)
Voodoo (Columbia 1987)
The New Orleans Album (Columbia 1989)
Open Up: Whatcha Gonna Do for the Rest of Your Life (Columbia 1991)
Jelly (Columbia 1993)
Ears to the Wall (Mammoth 1996)
Buck Jump (Mammoth 1999)
Medicated Magic (Ropeadope Records 2002)
We Got Robbed: Live in New Orleans (2003)
Funeral for a Friend (Ropeadop 2004)
This is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band compilation (Shout! Factory 25)
What’s Going On (Shout! Factory 2006)
Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard 2007)
Twenty Dozen (Savoy Jazz 2012)

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MarchFourth’s New Orleans Adventure

MarchFourth – Magic Number (MarchFourth, 2016)

Despite being based in the West Coast, the music of brass band MarchFourth has deep roots in the sound of New Orleans. MarchFourth is a very large ensemble featuring a considerable brass and percussion section plus electric guitars and bass. Additionally, MarchFourth includes gymnasts, costumes, dancers and entertainers on stilts in its live shows.

The band’s latest album Magic Number was recorded in New Orleans and features an irresistible mix of jazz and funk along with some rock numbers, fiery blues harmonica and some Latin American influences. All the music is original, composed by band members.

MarchFourth’s sound has evolved and features more guitar and vocals than previous albums. The band’s name has also changed from MarchFourth! Marching Band to simply MarchFourth.

The lineup includes Katie Presley and Paul Chandler on trumpets; Daniel Lamb and Anthony Meade on trombones; Michelle Christiansen on alto saxophone; Cameron DePalma and Andy Shapiro on tenor saxophone; Jon Vancura on baritone and bass saxophone; Jenny DiDonato on drums and percussion; Cheo Larcombe on bass drum and percussion; Will McKinney on toms and percussion; Dan Stauffer on cymbals; and Jake Wood on snare drums and percussion; John Averill on electric bass; Jon Vancura on guitar; and Taylor Aglipay on guitars and baritone saxophone.

 

 

Magic Number features the following guests: Trombone Shorty on trombone; Stanton Moore on drums; Matt Perrine on tuba; and Ben Ellman on harmonica.

 

 

MarchFourth’s Magic Number is a delightful and highly entertaining explosion of brass, drums and much more.

Buy Magic Number

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Artist Profiles: Darol Anger

Darol Anger

Violinist, composer, producer and educator Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres some of which he helped to invent. With the jazz-oriented Turtle Island String Quartet Anger developed and popularized new techniques for playing contemporary music styles on string instruments. The masterful Chambergrass groups Psychograss and Newgrange and the plugged-in Anger-Marshall Band feature his compositions and arrangements. His acclaimed folk-jazz group Montreux was the original musical model for the New Adult Contemporary radio format. The David Grisman Quintet forged a new genre of acoustic string band music with Darol’s creative use of the violin.

Working with some of the world’s great improvising string musicians, among them Stephane Grappelli, Mark O’Connor, Bela Fleck, David Grisman and Vassar Clements, has contributed to the development of Anger’s signature voice both as player and composer. His published works include jazz originals and arrangements a fiddle tune collection and of course recordings. Anger has produced dozens of critically praised recordings since 1977 which have featured his compositions and performances. Highlights include the Heritage Folk Music project that brings together some of the most important voices in the traditional contemporary folk and bluegrass music scene; the Anger-Marshall Band’s JAM and Brand New Can which set new standards for the Newgrass/jazz genre; and his release Diary Of A Fiddler which sets Anger in duet with the most prominent and innovative fiddlers of our time.

Anger holds the String Chair of the International Association of Jazz Educators. He has led seminars at the Stanford Oberlin and Amherst Jazz Worshops regularly teaches at the Berklee School of Music and the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp and at workshops and clinics from Campo Do Jordao Brazil to the Music Conservatory at Bremen Germany. He is a Contributing Editor for Strings magazine and is on the ASTA Editorial Board.

The recipient of a 1995 California Arts Council Composer Fellowship, Anger was nominated in 1997 for the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts. He has been a featured soloist on a number of motion picture soundtracks and he wrote and performed the score for the Sundance Award-winning film Best Offer. He was the winner of the Frets Magazine Readers’ Poll for Best Jazz Violinist for four years running.

Anger’s work has expanded not only the acoustic violin’s boundaries but has contributed to the development of violin synthesizer repertoire and technology. His writings on these subjects and string education issues appear regularly in prominent music periodicals and on the Web. His current projects include Darol Anger and His Jazz Guys is a working group featuring fellow S.F. Bay Area residents a duet recording with pianist Phillip Aaberg and Fiddlers 4 with Michael Doucet, Bruce Molsky and Rushad Eggleston in 2002; and a collaboration with Swedish group Vasen.

Discography

Fiddlistics (1981)
Tideline, with Barbara Higbie (1982)
Live at Montreux ’84 (1984)
Chiaroscuro (1985)
The Duo with Mike Marshall (1988)
Jazz Violin Celebration (1988)
Heritage (1996)
Like Minds (1997)
At Home and On The Range (1997)
Christmas Heritage (1998)
Jam (1999)
Diary of a Fiddler (1999)
Brand New Can (2000)
Now Hear This with Psychograss (21)
Republic Of Strings (2005)
Generation Nation (2007)
Woodshop (2007)
Mike Marshall and Darol Anger with Vasen (2007)
Cross Time, with Philip Aaberg (2008)
Eand’a (2014)

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Strange Fruit Expressions

Fabrizio Cassol – Strange Fruit (Outhere Music/Instinct Collection, 2017)

Strange Fruit is a cross-genre project developed by Belgian saxophonist and composer Fabrizio Cassol, who has a background in classical and jazz music. Strange Fruit, however, is definitely much closer to world music. The album features one of the stars of Malian music, Oumou Sangare, as well as other well-known vocalists.

Throughout Strange Fruit, Fabrizio Cassol and his collaborators travel through various musical genres. The album opens with a fabulous rhythmic piece titled” Didadi Horns” featuring the vocals and spectacular tamani (talking drums) of Baba Sissoko and the equally remarkable sound of the soku one-string Wassulu fiddle. This piece also features electric guitar and bass along with a powerful jazz brass section that brings it close to Afrobeat.

Oumou Sangare appears on track 2, “Soukora” joined by La Choraline Choir, superb ethereal electric guitar by Manu Codjia, Babao Sissoko’s ngoni along with Fabrizio Cassol’s reverberating saxophone and more of the soku fiddle.

 

 

The pace changes drastically on track 3, “Strange Fruit,” featuring soprano Claron McFadden accompanied by Eric Legnini on piano. It has an African American spiritual flavor.

Another unexpected turn appears on track 4, “Strange Fruits,” that features La Choraline Choir mixing Bach and Billy Holiday. On “Strange Fruits,” classical, jazz, and Malian sounds come together. Electric bassist Michel Hatzigeorgiou gets an opportunity to showcase his talent on this track.

Track 5, “If Jesus” has a folk-blues feel. It features American soprano Melissa Givens accompanied by Hammond organ and an electric band.

“I Can’t Sleep Tonight” features the soulful vocals of Marie Daulne (Zap Mama) along with La Choraline Choir. This song has some of the finest vocal interactions in the album.

The spiritual side of the album return on “Sehet Jesus”, track 7, featuring a jazz combo accompanying the remarkable vocals of Claron McFadden.

Oumou Sangare’s unmistakable vocals return on track 8, “On Les enfants de la rue” , a funk jazz piece that also features La Choraline.

Track 9, “Choeurs Pygmees” is a great a cappella vocal piece partially inspired by pygmy vocals, featuring remarkable interplay between Marie Daulne and Kezia Daulne along with La Choraline.

“Some Days: (track 10) is the longest composition on the album. This jazz song features Belgian male vocalist David Linx and Claron McFadden. Near the end, this piece turns quite adventurous venturing into exciting jazz-rock territory.

With track 11, “Farka” the album’s vibe turns back to world music led by Diely Moussa Kouyaté’s beautiful guitar, Magic Malik’s flute and Baba Sissoko’s vocals supported by a meaty brass section.

 

 

The album concludes with a laid back acoustic Malian piece featuring Diely Moussa Kouyaté’s acoustic guitar and something that sounds like a kora although it doesn’t appear in the credits.

This album came out originally on the Blue Note label in 2012.

Strange Fruit is an impressive, beautifully-arranged album that brings together a multi-ethnic cast of talented jazz, classical, spiritual and world music artists.

Buy Strange Fruit

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