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Grego Reviews Harmolodic Monk


Screenshot 2015-02-26 15.24.16The music of Thelonious Monk, if anything, has taken on
increasing stature as a body of compositions central to the
modern jazz experience. In the period following his leaving us,
we see renewed attention to his recordings and a great array
of contemporary jazz musicians who perform his music regularly. Steve Lacy was a pioneer in adventurously featuring Monk’s compositions long before it was fashionable. Nowadays his recordings of Thelonious’s music have achieved classic status. Yet with the unforgettable melodic and harmonic qualities of his music there is always room for further explorations. It may not be a simple matter to make out of music so well known and widely played something very fresh. Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro have done just that with their album Harmolodic Monk (UR Unseen Rain 9953).

The “Harmolodic” reference goes back to Ornette Coleman and his approach, specifically his freedom to go out of the expected key centers or improvisations around chord changes to modulate or introduce notes outside of the usual frame of tonal reference. It’s more than that but for now that will do. Matt and John approach the Monk material freely in this way, so they can stick to a tonality or general chord sequence and they freely can go outside of it, and that’s what they do and do well.

Matt and John take various approaches to the Monk pieces. Matt on trumpet, flugel and alto clarinet and John on vibes, congas, bodhran and percussion can lope along in tempo, play within the general harmonic structures or advance outwards, go for freetime multitempos or articulate in open tempo with
solo horn or vibes, or in tandem. Matt gives us his beautiful take on a classic burnished tone for his trumpet and flugel playing or he can go for a more punchy, brash sound when he feels the need to energize. He sounds quite well on the alto clarinet too, an instrument he has recently gotten into to replace his former doubling on bass clarinet. He sounds great on it. John plays some very appropriate and accomplished vibes as a key melodic and harmonic presence with Matt or in a solo context. His
percussion and hand drumming give the music an additional sound that varies the proceedings nicely.

Throughout there is a great respect for the compositional Monk, due attention to the melodic essentials and a harmonic straightforwardness or an expansiveness as they feel it. It all works beautifully well and shows what two very inventive musical voices can produce when they look at Monk’s music in
an open-form way. I am impressed with the outing. I would love to hear them do something like this with a rhythm section next time, but the music speaks for now very articulately without it. Matt and John have their full artistry on display. The results willabsorb and move you. Very recommended listening!

posted by grego applegate edwards

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Get Joris Teepe – Workaholic on CD HERE UR9953.Workaholic_cover_CDB

Downloads HERE

“…the compositions create an ambiance in “Workaholic” that is fresh and spontaneous. It is strongly expressive with a notion of history standing in a rich jazz tradition. This is partly due to a group of outstanding musicians, including
Mike Clark, once drummer with Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters. The band plays tight, fancifully, swinging and playful. The recording is well produced, sounds clear and ‘close’, giving you the feeling of being there.” – Frank Huser, JazzFlits

JORIS TEEPE double-bass, electric bass JOSH EVANS trumpet ADAM KOLKER tenor saxophone, bass clarinet JON DAVIS piano, electric piano MIKE CLARK drums

The New Yorker

Matthews Avenue

The Smell of Money

Spiders Web

Con Edison

Song for Karin

Prospect Circle


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UNSEEN RAIN FESTIVAL April 12, ShapeShifter


February 19, 2015To: Listings/Critics/Features
From: Jazz Promo Services
Press Contact: Jim Eigo, 
Visionary Sounds @ ShapeShifter Lab
with Sumari
Pat Hall’s Time Remembered Organ Group,and Harmolodic Monk
Event: Unseen Rain Festival When: Sunday, April 12, 7PM–Sumari, 8PM-Pat Hall’s Time Remembered Organ Group, 9PM-Harmolodic Monk
Where: ShapeShifter Lab
18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Admission: $15.
The artist-directed independent label, Unseen Rain Records, is bold in concept, producing radically expansive recordings of innovative jazz and improvised music. UR’s array of CDs and digital downloads have been hailed as “visionary” in the international media. The Unseen Rain Festival will feature three vastly different improvisational music ensembles that offered recent releases. The event unites them under the label’s banner.SUMARI: The evening will open with the “other-world art music” of Sumari. The channeling of free improv and global folk culture with a boundless sense of the new are the path coursed by Matt Lavelle (trumpet, flugelhorn, alto clarinet), Jack DeSalvo (cello, electric and acoustic guitars, mandola, banjo) and Tom Cabrera (drumset, dumbeq, bodhran, tar, riq, percussion) to conjure abstract yet familiar sound tapestries. The band members individually have held ground with such noted avant jazz strongholds as Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society, the Bern Nix Quartet and Jameel Moondoc’s ensembles, among many others.

PAT HALL’S TIME REMEMBERED ORGAN GROUP: Trombonist Pat Hall, a veteran of the Wadada Leo Smith’s ensembles, will perform with the combo heard on his starkly original album “Time Remembered: a Tribute to Bill Evans”. Hall’s Time Remembered Organ Group—a lasting ensemble, not a one-shot tribute project–will offer unique adaptations of Evans’ immortal music. The album has been acclaimed by critics, celebrating the bold concept and arrangements of this jazz icon’s compositions. Joining Hall are Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis (Hammond B3), Marvin Sewell (guitar) and Mike Campenni (drumset). Hall’s other UR releases include “Multiple Question Choice” and “K3rnel PaN1C” as well as “Happy House” with Chris Kelsey

HARMOLODIC MONK: The evening will close with the duet of Matt Lavelle (trumpet, flugelhorn, alto clarinet) and John Pietaro (vibraphone, hand drums, frame drums, percussion) aka Harmolodic Monk. The pair perform the repertoire of Thelonious Monk, reconstructed by way of Ornette Coleman’s music-liberating philosophy. The pedigree is there: Lavelle spent years studying with Coleman and still performs with Bern Nix; Pietaro is a mainstay of Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra. Harmolodic Monk’s debut release, called “Disc of the Year” by several new music bloggers, compels listeners with blurred harmonies, stinging accents, crushes, soaring melodic lines and at least a little bit of the shock of the new.


UNSEEN RAIN is visionary record label offering jazz and improvised music by contemporary innovators on various media. UR is focused on high production values and recognizes the entire process surrounding a recording as art.

UR recordings are available in a number of formats, High Definition FLAC, CD quality FLAC, Apple Lossless and maximum quality mp3 (320k) as well as select titles on CD and soon, audiophile quality LPs.

UNSEEN RAIN’s community of players, composers, producers, engineers, the folks at Qua’s Eye Graphix, Beanstudio and tech/HD sound specialists are committed to the music and the art of sound. Writing in the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange, Mark S. Tucker said this about UR’schief mixing and mastering engineer, “… Jim (DeSalvo) is the engineer, and Jim’s capture of everything is arresting: clear, lucid, adroitly attuned to shifting focal depths, never at a loss, providing everything this work needed to entablature itself with zero ambivalence.”

Unique ensembles like Matt Lavelle’s 16 piece 12 Houses, Harmolodic Monk, Pat Hall’s Bill Evans Project, Sumari, Fulminate Trio, Julie Lyon Quintet and Crossings. Innovators like percussionist/drummer Tom Cabrera bring powerful transcultural elements, widening UNSEEN RAIN’s sonic landscapes. UR’s steadily growing catalog includes records by important artists including Chris Kelsey, Lewis Porter, John Pietaro, Steve Cohn, Bob Rodriquez, Blaise Siwula, Michael Evans, Jack DeSalvo, Joris Teepe, Joel Shapira, Ken Filiano, Anders Nilsson, Lee Marvin, Krestin Osgood and many others.

Unseen Rain’s specially priced Bootleg Series features complete, unedited, authorized live sets featuring Unseen Rain artists recorded by Gene Gaudette.
Honoring the impact that the LP album cover had in its heyday, Qua’s Eye Graphix creates artwork panels, with titles, credits and tracklistings that are included with the music downloads and featured on CD packages and LP covers.

UR’s sister label is foUR Records – friends of UNSEEN RAIN. foUR exists to create a forum for important recordings that were produced independently of the UR staff. Artists on foUR include visionary guitarist/composer Dom Minasi, Chicago-based drummer Jimmy Bennington and Twin Cities guitarist Joel Shapira.

press contact: New Masses Media Relations
John Pietaro (646)

Media Contact
Jim Eigo

Jazz Promo Services
272 State Route 94 South #1
Warwick, NY 10990-3363
Ph: 845-986-1677 / Fax: 845-986-1699
Cell / text: 917-755-8960
Skype: jazzpromo

“Specializing in Media Campaigns for the music community, artists, labels, venues and events.”

Canadian Contact
Glenda Rush, Publicist
mobile: (514) 591-5406, off/bur: (514) 276-6870 Vivo Musique Int’l


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Review of JULIE on Hungary’s

by Mihály Czékus
For those who like hip, catchy melodies, there’s a lot of UR9957.JLQnt_back_c1unforgettable moments in store on New York jazz singer Julie Lyon’s new album, which is Julie’s latest release, but not her only one.

The singer’s fans had to wait a long time for this disc, as Lyon’s previous album, Live Between Now And Then appeared in 2007. But now experiencing the fresh material, we can say that the wait was well worth it, because the repertoire is better and more interesting compositions can be found here. You can hear a great example of swing on Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “Too Damn Hot” with lyrics by Julie Lyon.  Just like the aforementioned song, there are meaningful thrills with “Every Time We Say Goodbye” as well as with Tom Wait’s “Temptation” with its “Parisian cafe” flavor.

Thanks to the great singer’s voice and the excellent team of studied musicians you can almost feel the hot, swinging atmosphere of a real jazz club.


Get Hi-Def FLAC, CD quality FLAC, and mp3 (VBR maximum quality) Downloads HERE



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“fascinating and compelling” – Artlink reviews Harmolodic Monk

By Don AlbertHmonk1
Harmolodic Monk is a very fresh approach to the music of Thelonious Monk played by Matt Lavelle (cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet) and John Pietaro (vibraphone, bodhran, congas and percussion). You will either love this or hate it. It’s not really my bag but I found it fascinating and compelling – two fine and creative musicians complementing each other and pointing a finger to a different direction for the music. I enjoyed the sound of the alto clarinet and the over dubbing on “Monks Mood”. This is not background music, you have to sit and listen to it. More info at

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HARMOLODIC MONK Review from Sandy Brown Jazz

Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro

Harmolodic Monk

By Howard Lawes

Harmolodic Monk is an album by Matt Lavelle playing by turns cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet and John Pietaro on vibraphone, bodhran, congas and percussion. There are 10 tracks with a total playing time of 72 minutes.

Quoting from the “Dissident Arts” website: “Harmolodic Monk” was the brainchild of noted cornet player Matt Lavelle after years of studyMatt Lavelle Harmolodic Monk album with Ornette Coleman and ongoing performance and recording with the Bern Nix Quartet. Matt came across radical vibraphonist / percussionist John Pietaro during their mutual performance with the Ras Moshe Unit and the two quickly realized that their influences weighed heavily on the brilliant compositions of Thelonious Monk and the revolutionary philosophy of Ornette Coleman. Both are also anti-purists who revel in the amalgamation of sounds, genres and styles.

Ornette Coleman was a leading light of the “Free Jazz” movement of the 1960s releasing ground breaking albums The Shape of Jazz to Come in 1959 and Free Jazz in 1960.  In 1967 Coleman won the first Guggenheim Fellowship for jazz music and his “harmolodic” theory has been employed in a range of music genres ever since and with great success at the 2009 Meltdown Festival in London where he received rave reviews.

Thelonious Monk was also seen as an adventurous musician employing unconventional techniques that other musicians found difficult, but over time his compositions have become firm favourites with generations of jazz fans across the world.

The ten tracks on this album are based on some of Thelonius Monk’s “greatest hits” and it is possible that there will be Monk fans who will react adversely to their favourite tunes being given the “Free Jazz” treatment.  Some tracks such as Round Midnight and In Walked Bud are enjoyable new arrangements of classic jazz tunes but others seem to be so far removed from the original as to be almost unrecognisable, the lack of rhythm typically provided by drums and bass giving free reign to Matt Lavelle’s and John Pietaro’s improvisations.
Matt Lavelle
photograph by Gil Selinger

Matt LavelleA side effect of listening to this album was the necessity to re-visit the original Monk versions of each track for comparison and noting once again what a great musician and composer Thelonius Monk was.  Another side effect was discovering the Dissident Arts website which is both interesting and unusual.  In particular there is information about the Dissident Arts Orchestra and projects including providing the musical accompaniment to classic silent films such as Battleship Potemkin and Metropolis and publishing on Youtube.

I prefer the original Monk versions of these great tunes but for those interested in “Free Jazz” and an application of Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic theories then this example will be well worth considering.

The full track listing is: Epistrophy; Pannonica; Green Chimneys; Round Midnight; Crepuscule With Nellie; Ruby, My Dear; Let’s Cool One; Blue Monk/Straight No Chaser; Monk’s Mood; In Walked Bud.  The US version of the album appears to have 2 more tracks.

Click here for a video of Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro playing Blue Monk.

Click here to sample the album.

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“…melds contemporary expectations with the older traditions” – Jazz Mostly Review of JULIE


By Bruce Crowther

This is another debut album, this time bringing to wide attention Julie_Vocal_Booth23singer Julie Lyon who leads her New York Quartet through a selection of songs, mostly familiar, that display her rhythmic ease and intelligent interpretations. Among the songs performed here are Love For Sale, Dr Lonnie Smith’s Too Damn Hot, for which Julie has provided lyrics, Bye Bye BlackbirdStrollin’Dindi anComes Love. Julie is ably backed by her quartet: Matt Lavelle, trumpet, Jack DeSalvo, guitar, Bobby Brennan, bass, and Tom Cabrera, drums. The songs are performed in a manner that melds contemporary expectations with the older traditions from which jazz came. Julie’s accompanists provide a suitable backdrop for her and there are some well-taken solo moments from Matt Lavelle both on trumpet and on a breathily played alto clarinet. Most notable among the instrumental soloists is Jack DeSalvo who plays guitar and mandola with inventive flair. The set is rhythmically underpinned by Brennan and Cabrera, the latter providing many ear-catching moments, such as his imaginative introduction to All Or Nothing At All.

Purchase CD HERE

Download Album HERE

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A new perspective on Monk is persuasive and explorative. – Doug Simpson’s HM review in Audiophile Audition.

Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro – Harmolodic Monk – Unseen Rain UR9953, 73:30 Harmolodic-Monk-at-Dissident-Art-Festival

(Matt Lavelle – cornet, Flugelhorn, alto clarinet; John Pietaro – vibraphone, bodhrán, congas, percussion)

Just when you think Thelonious Monk’s music couldn’t get a new spin, along comes John Pietaro and Matt Lavelle’s 73-minute, ten-track Monk tribute, Harmolodic Monk. Lavelle states he wanted to explore the musical ideas of both Monk and Ornette Coleman, and came up with the notion of imbuing well-known Monk tunes with Coleman’s harmolodic philosophy. Turns out, the blend is both distinctive and appealing. While Monk’s music is adventurously articulated in a fresh approach, Lavelle and Pietaro’s specific instruments also provide a singular characteristic. Monk made use of tenor sax and sometimes trumpet, and Lavelle’s cornet, Flugelhorn and alto clarinet tint Monk’s compositions with an ample array of auditory paints. Interestingly, the duo does not employ a keyboard setup. Instead of piano, Pietaro has a vibraphone, which brings a satiating aspect to the material. He also slips in percussion devices—including bodhrán and congas—to offer intriguing rhythmic support.

The twosome opens with an azure, atmospheric adaptation of “Epistrophy.” Lavelle plays a sonorous introduction on his breathy alto clarinet, and then Pietaro flicks in light percussive effects which gradually become noisier, before he shifts to vibes while continuing to add occasional percussive accents. This may not be a rendition listeners will recognize, so be forewarned. The theme is imparted, but the arrangement is novel, and it might take a few times for some Monk aficionados to appreciate this. Lavelle’s alto clarinet becomes a bit discordant here and there, and the instrumental minimalism may also take some time for some to embrace. Lavelle’s alto clarinet receives the spotlight on his solo version of “Crepuscule with Nellie,” which is misspelled throughout the CD artwork [Spellcheck anyone?]. Lavelle’s deep, bass notes show Monk’s reflective side and each precisely-placed note echoes and glides. Engineer Jim DeSalvo utilizes a very close microphone for this tune, and if listeners got any nearer to the music, they’d have to crawl inside the clarinet.

Pietaro’s vibes are found on much of the material, but are noticeably pronounced on a trio of tracks in the middle of the CD. His vibes and some sparse percussion are the only instruments during a suitably sublime take of “Ruby My Dear.” Pietaro begins with unhurriedly positioned notes. The tempo picks up slightly here and there, but mostly Pietaro lets his notes linger in the air. The result defines the term gossamer: delicate, ethereal and meticulous as a spider’s filament. Lavelle and Pietaro form a sympathetic musical partnership on a modish and thoroughly modernistic “Let’s Cool One,” one of the album’s highpoints. During his soloing, Lavelle aims toward the main theme but rarely stays there, but familiarity gels when he and Pietaro perform together, and trade lines, swap notes and otherwise show how well vibes and horn can present Monk without further assistance from other players. Another memorable piece is a ten-minute makeover of “Blue Monk.” It is mischievous without being banal. Lavelle displays his witty viewpoint on his horn, while Pietaro fills in the spaces on vibes. But even when there is space which could have been propped up, there is a sense of striking significance. Monk could and did use space, and Pietaro and Lavelle also comprehend that less can say a lot more. The tune escalates near the end, especially as Lavelle reels off twisting notes on his horn, sometimes recalling Don Cherry when Cherry was in Ornette Coleman’s band.

The proceedings also attain an unruly and vigorous activity on “Green Chimneys,” where Lavelle switches between cornet and Flugelhorn while Pietaro ratchets up the energy level with fast-paced hand percussion. This translation has an unrestricting, exultant elation, and swirls with affirmation. Pietaro also exhibits his rhythmic fluctuations on a scratchy “Monk’s Mood,” where Lavelle dubs overlapping horns into the edgy arrangement as Pietaro layers various percussion tools into the ever-increasing track. This is open and demonstrative music: free to go where it wants to go and expressive of both Monk’s and Coleman’s creativity. Of course, music this multihued and direct needs proper production. DeSalvo’s engineering, mixing and mastering gives these Monk tunes a sonic engagement, and he also supplies a method which makes the horns, vibes and percussion very much front and center. The way notes remain in the air or span across the left and right channels is brilliant. Even intermittent hum in the quietest moments does not detract but preserves an honest mannerism. Well done to Lavelle, Pietaro and DeSalvo. [Unfortunately Amazon only has an MP3 version of this.]

TrackList: Epistrophy; Pannonica; Green Chimneys; Round Midnight; Crepuscule with Nellie; Ruby My Dear; Let’s Cool One; Blue Monk; Monk’s Mood; In Walked Bud.

—Doug Simpson

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Could Become a Milestone of the Genre: Harmolodic Monk

CD Review: UR9953.CoverA_Flat_for CDB
By Vittorio Lo Conte

Between the music of Thelonious Monk and that of Ornette Coleman there is quite a distance, yet the two musicians on this album manage to delete this gap and make a tribute to Monk different from anything done so far – and that’s saying a lot. Matt Lavelle, here on cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet, has studied with Ornette Coleman and is a member of Bern Nix‘ quartet, the guitarist in Coleman’s historic group Prime Time. The Harmolodic concept was developed by the renowned saxophonist Ornette Coleman and is applied to the melodies written by Monk. Along with Lavelle is John Pietaro, who performs on vibraphone and percussion, including bongas and the bodhrán, which is a traditional Irish drum. How does this work? Very well! The musicfreed from any tonal center, as well as still preaching Ornette Coleman, breathes, and here the vibraphone does its part very sympathetically with Lavelle’s instruments. It is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish of well known songs, Ruby My Dear, Blue Monk, Pannonica. The only piece recorded with the technique of overdubbing is Monk’s Mood, here the alto clarinet and cornet play together and seek the background percussion of Pietaro. Do not miss Round Midnight, which in this capacity is minimalist and becomes a song of soft beauty, like the late night title implies. The idea of the two musicians and producer Jack De Salvo is realized so perfectly that we are facing a record that could become a milestone of the genre. When hearing so much beauty, who wouldn’t think of a Harmolodic treatment of the music of Duke Ellington or Rodgers & Hart.
Review in Italian:

Fra la musica di Thelonious Monk e quella di Ornette Coleman c´è una bella distanza, eppure i due autori di questa incisione sono riusciti a eliminarla e fare un omaggio a Monk differente da tutto quello fatto finora (e non è poco!) dai colleghi. Matt Lavelle, qui alla cornetta, flicorno e clarinetto alto ha studiato con Ornette Coleman e suonato insieme a Bern Nix, chitarrista nello storico gruppo Prime Time di Coleman. Il concetto armolodico sviluppato dal famoso sassofonista è applicato alle melodie scritte da Monk, insieme a Lavelle c´è John Pietaro, che si esibisce al vibrafono ed alle percussioni, alle bongas ed al bodhrán, che è un tamburello della tradizione irlandese. Come funziona? Benissimo! La musica liberata da qualunque centro tonale, così come predica ancora Coleman, respira, e qui il vibrafono fa la sua parte, molto empatico con gli strumenti di Lavelle. È un piacere ascoltarli dall´inizio alla fine su brani conosciutissimi, Ruby My DearBlue MonkPannonica. L´unico pezzo registrato con la tecnica della sovrincisione è Monk´s Mood, qui il clarinetto alto e la cornetta giocano a cercarsi sullo sfondo delle percussioni di Pietaro. Non poteva mancare Round Midnight, che in questa veste minimalista diventa un brano dalla bellezza soffusa, notturna come vuole il titolo. L´idea dei due musicisti e del produttore Jack De Salvo è realizzata perfettamente, così che ci troviamo davanti ad un disco che potrebbe diventare una pietra miliare del genere. Chissà che qualcun altro, ascoltata tanta bellezza, non pensi ad un trattamento armolodico delle musiche di Duke Ellington o Rodgers & Hart.

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Gina Loves Jazz on Harmolodic Monk

Harmolodic Monk

Matt Lavelle Jon Pietaro "Harmolodic Monk"Trumpet and flugelhorn artist Matt Lavelle studied with Ornette Coleman back in 2005 and subsequently took on the alto clarinet as well. The avant-garde musician who also has his own blog, teams up with John Pietaro, the vibraphonist and percussionist for an album of the music of Thelonious Monk. Both are known for their more or less radical views so it only seems fit to take on the music of another radical.

Both totally reconstruct Monk’s music and use Ornette Coleman‘s philosophy of harmolodics which, in his own words, is defined by “the use of the physical and the mental of one’s own logic made into an expression of sound to bring about the musical sensation of unison executed by a single person or with a group.” Which means that tunes like “Round Midnight”, “Monk’s Mood” or “Green Chimneys” are all totally open for free expression and all musical elements have the same value. At times, though, it seems that the melody has more meaning and at other times, speed and time seem to be the main focus only to come back later in the tune to the original idea of bringing the progression of the song into order.

I must confess that I was listening to their record while some heavy construction work was going on in our apartment building so that I had to turn the volume up significantly and only then came close to enjoying their loose feel on the mostly well-known Monk originals stripping them down naked and then putting their own intriguing ideas to them. Pietaro also plays the bodhrán which is an ancient Irish drum made with a wooden body and a goat-skin head, and is played with a double-headed stick.

Lavelle’s alto clarinet is front and center in his solo performance of “Crepuscule With Nellie” telling the story of Monk’s wife and muse Nellie. In “Ruby My Dear”, it is Pietaro taking the solo spot on another ballad which was written for another of Monk’s favorites, this time his first love Rubie Richardson.

A lot of senses are engrossed on this album which puts totally new frames on ten of Thelonious Monk’s tunes.

Download Harmolodic Monk HERE

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“A Must Hear For Monk Fans” – George Fendel’s Review of Harmolodic Monk

by George Fendel
Harmolodic Monk; Matt Lavelle, trumpet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet; and John Pietaro, vibes and percussion.
Monk’s Music is interpreted with thought, creativity and a hint of mystery by this imaginative duo. It’s definitely Monk with all sorts of new shadings and colors, and it works well. Ten Monk classics are newly examined with imagination in high gear. A must hear for Monk fans.

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Mark Turner’s Brilliant Review of JULIE

JULIE – Julie Lyon Quintet (UR9957)UR9957.JLQnt_back_c1

By Mark S. Turner

Perhaps the most interesting element in this recording is the ‘live in studio’ nature lending a great deal of atmosphere and beatnik cafe society vibe to the affair. Well, actually, I’m assuming it was thus live ’cause it sure as hell sounds it—if not, if there are overdubs and such, then Tom Tedesco possesses some supernatural talents as an engineer. Singer Julie Lyon exhibits a large element of the happy-go-lucky in her swinging recitations, perhaps most vividly shown in her take on Dindi, about the snappiest version I’ve heard yet in a song that’s been undergoing quite a renaissance in revisitations recently. Then there are the laid back, casual, way hip quotations from the quartet backing her, sounding as though just returned from a break in the back alley where the subject of ‘discussion’ was muggles, Jack Daniels, and maybe a nip or two of Romilar.

I mean, everything here is so strongly reminiscent of one of those way cool Shag (Josh Agle) paintings that I practically hear the painter’s vivid mono- and multi-chromatics and urbane exotica in the CD. Then come all the off-the-cuff incidentals the band adds in—catch especially Matt Lavelle’s throaty bass clarinet fog in Every Time We Say Goodbye, so husky it’s almost aromatic—alongside Lyon’s friendly counter-culture intonations, a college girl matriculating in Hip 101. Bobby Brennan has the band nailed in with his solid bass work, and Tom Cabrera’s drumming evokes mental images of Maynard G. Krebs standing by, fingers snapping, grin wreathing Fu Manchu’ed face, while Jack DeSalvo’s guitar is a mercurial presence, dashing in for a doo-wop quotation, then sliding back out again.

Lavelle, though is oft striking, as present and in the pocket as Lyon, he blazing (as in the trumpet work in Too Damn Hot) while she smile-sings seductively, caught between wanting to gambol in the sun, grab that martini on the sidebar, and/or wink at the guy who just strolled in, tan, lean, and mysterious. All or Nothing at All undergoes a modern art treatment, pointillistic and fragmentary, Lyon holding everything together while the guys get jagged and rambly. Then she clarifies and espanola-izes Tom Waits bizarre Temptation, turning it from a near-inchoate schizophrenic blues into something the Asylum Street Spankers would’ve produced. And if I pen any more paeans here, I’m going to have to check into Keroauc Rehab and have my typewriter re-tuned, so why not just glom the CD and just dig what’s goin’ down, gator.

Edited by: David N. Pyles (

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Deepening the crenellations in your grey matter – Mark Tucker’s Powerful Review of Harmolodic Monk

HMQuinnsUnlike so many past masters tributes which feature some of the subject writer’s work, then a smattering of tunes cherished by the deceased mainman, and finally cuts written by the tributees, Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro’s Harmolodic Monk is 100% Thelonius cuts stretched and refabricated by a horn player and percussionist stripping everything down to bare essentials before getting melodically and environmentally inventive. The baseline is Monk’s mind and work, the rest is a matter of their own chops and cerebrations. The ultra-moody and atmospheric Epistrophy kicks the slab off, giving a clear indication of just what the listener is in for…and I’ll warn right now that if you can’t tune, de-tune, and re-tune your brain and ears, this is not the disc for you.

In the tradition of the more outside Enja, Ogun, and other labels’ works, then the spirit of Lol Coxhill, Anthony Braxton, and of course Ornette Coleman, whose unorthodox talents continue to pervade and open up the extremities of aesthetics, this duo adeptly embraces what a promo sheet writer cited as “the dichotomy of ancient pre-Western approaches and extreme modernism”. I tried my best to upend or at least modify that appraisal but couldn’t. Whoever that cat was, he nailed it to the wall, then put a frame around it. There is indeed a wide time-span of prototypes, influences, and expansions present, sometimes bewilderingly so as things morph and bend. Pannonica is particularly apt, at one moment sounding like the bell music of Alain Kremski (Pietaro and his wondrous vibes), then a boozy Louis Armstrong (Lavelle’s ever-changing horns) leading into a stream-of-consciousness section.

All the cuts flow in that fashion, the listener not for a moment let to wander but instead led from one intriguing section to the next, never knowing what will come but alive and alert for whatever may arise. Harmolodic, if I haven’t made it clear, is free jazz, improvisational to a fault but based in previously set work. I suspect that if Lester Bowie and his Art Ensemble were forced to pare down to a duet, the result would be very much like this. Jack DeSalvo  produced the disc but his brother Jim is the engineer, and Jim’s capture of everything is arresting: clear, lucid, adroitly attuned to shifting focal depths, never at a loss, providing everything this work needed to entablature itself with zero ambivalence. The holidays are over, y’all: heave the tabernacle choirs and E-Z jazz fluff and get back to deepening the crenellations in your grey matter.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.

Available HERE.

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“Creation rather than imitation.” Jack Goodstein Reviews Pat Hall’s Time Remembered


Fronting a quartet featuring the Hammond B-3 organ of Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis, the guitar of Marvin Sewell and Mike Campenni on drums, trombonist Pat Hall runs through a set of seven tunes on this release—four, including an epic reading of his “Waltz for Debby” are Evans originals. One is by his bassist bandmate Scott LaFaro (“Gloria’s Step”), one Evans favorite (“Elsa”) is from longtime collaborator Earl Zindars, and there’s a Rodgers and Hart classic, “Spring Is Here.”

If nothing else, Hall’s chutzpah in creating a tribute to one of the truly great jazz pianists with a piano-less ensemble deserves credit for originality. Instead of taking the conventional route, flattering by imitation—certainly not the most creative of approaches—he honors a great jazz artist as a jazz artist should by using his work as a foundation to build something new. Creation rather than imitation. Let’s face it, if all you’re going to do is copy, why bother? We can better listen to the original.

From the very first tune “Gloria’s Step” through “Elsa” and “Time Remembered” to the album’s closer “Peri’s Scope,” this is an album that both showcases Hall’s virtuosity on the trombone and the vitality of Evans as a continuing inspiration for creative expression.

Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans was released in August.

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Disc of The Year – A Review of Harmolodic Monk From Russia

This great album may well claim the title of “disc of the year”. Formally it belongs in the category tribute album, but it was too different from the usual work of this kind. Especially because we have a double tribute here. One character of this tribute is quite obvious: his name is on the cover. Interest in the work of Thelonious Monk and his ideas over the years, like a noble wine, gaining momentum.I usually don’t point out in my reviews an album’s tracklist, but in this case I want to bring it out fully. So, a program of the album made the following pieces of the famous pianist and composer: Epistrophy; Pannonica; Green Chimneys; ‘Round Midnight; Crepuscule with Nellie; Nutty; Ruby, My Dear; Let’s Cool One; Blue Monk; Monk’s Mood, In Walked Bud – almost all of the most famous and regularly performed Monk tunes .And now for the second hero tribute, whose name is immediately identifiable if not to the ordinary jazz fan, certainly to the advanced one. He, of course, linked the definition of “harmolodics” with his philosophical concept of music, Ornette Coleman. The man, whom many consider the father of free jazz (and only this term in any case originated in the title of his album), created his, frankly, somewhat confusing and vague theory harmolodics (in this word he combined the concept of “harmony”, “movement “and” melody “, of course, in their English sound). In a nutshell, it is based on the same principles as in the free jazz – atonality, polymodality, rhythmic freedom and so on, but also focused on the  crucial role of the individual musician.

So, a collection of great Monk music performed in this project from the standpoint of Coleman’s harmolodic theory.
Well, now it’s time to move on to the creators of the project. There’s two of them, so that we are dealing with a difficult to execute and not always easy to grasp duo. By the way, Monk – pianist, Coleman – saxophonist, but these are not the tools you’ll hear on the Harmolodic Monk album. Tools for this duo did are quite formidable. Matt Lavelle plays the cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet, and his colleague John Pietaro – vibraphone, congas and other percussion, including an Irish drum bodhrán (according to experts Gaelic word correctly transcribe it that way). Trumpeter Matt Lavelle’s (b.1970) work has been through a series of metamorphoses: he began to swing, then played the mainstream, but at the end of the last century became friendly with the Downtown Music in New York, became inveterate avant-garde. In 2005, Matt then took lessons from Ornette Coleman. Apparently, it was then that he was filled with harmolodic ideas, and certainly since then introduced into their arsenal of tools the alto clarinet, to evaluate the sound in his performance you will be able to hear it on the first track Epistrophy. John Pietaro not only a musician, but is also a publicist. In both guises the Brooklyn native professes the most radical views on art and also belongs to the circle of brilliant masters of avant-garde jazz.
I will not go into the details of the presentation Monk’s music in duet in terms of theories of Coleman, and advise you not to dwell on it. Better to just listen to the exquisite sounding (wind +  vibraphone and percussion), to the original creative interpretation and this just extraordinarily interesting music. I can only say that the version of ‘Round Midnight by the duo Lavelle- Pietaro seemed to me one of the best ever heard before. I strongly advise not to miss this album!

- Leonid Auskern
© & (p) 2014 Unseen Rain Records
10 tks / 73 mins
(Matt Lavelle – cornet, flg, alto cl; John Pietaro – vibe, bodhrán, congas, perc;)

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“like a shout to the gods” – Michael Dougherty’s Review of Harmolodic Monk


Matt Lavelle, John Pietaro: “Harmolodic Monk” (2015) CD Review

Harmolodic Monk, the new CD from Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro, is an interesting jazz album taking the musical philosophy and approach of Ornette Coleman and applying it to compositions by Thelonious Monk. The results are sometimes soulful, sometimes emotional. These tracks often have a loose, exploratory feel that gets a bit trippy at times, but is always interesting. They mainly stick to Monk’s most well-known material, such as “Round Midnight,” “Ruby My Dear” and “Blue Monk,” but also tackle lesser known work, such as “Pannonica” and “Green Chimneys.” And it’s worth noting that on an album of Monk compositions, there is no piano. Matt Lavelle is on cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet; John Pietaro is on vibraphone and percussion.

Harmolodic Monk opens with “Epistrophy,” which begins with a thoughtful, lonesome horn, and soon adds little touches on percussion that make me think of an alley late at night. Then it’s as if the sounds themselves gather confidence, dare to express more, becoming more sure of their surroundings. Interestingly, there is some work on the vibraphone that is almost haunting, whereas I usually associate that instrument with a happier tone. And those happier tones do exist in this piece as well. The voices of the instruments on this track aren’t always pretty, but are always expressive.

Things get a bit more wild and energetic on “Green Chimneys.” This track has a loose, celebratory feel, like a shout to the gods, with the percussion designed to send dancers into a whirling joyful madness, and the horn like a proclamation.

“Round Midnight” begins slowly, almost tentatively, with largely mellow work on the vibraphone. The horn comes in beautifully, with a gentle, romantic bluesy bent, then rising at moments to passionate, unbridled heights before the song ends softly, drifting off.

A really nice horn solo makes “Let’s Cool One” one of the highlights of the disc, with Matt Lavelle dropping hints of that main theme, then going fully into it as John Pietaro comes back in on vibraphone. “Blue Monk” is another highlight for me, for it is at times playful, with a sense of humor, but also with some great work from both musicians, particularly by Matt Lavelle. Even the pauses are interesting. Monk is of course known for working dramatic pauses into his compositions, and Lavelle and Pietaro are able to make their own effective use of that device. And toward the end there are great short bursts like joyful shouts.

Harmolodic Monk concludes with a cool take on “In Walked Bud,” with moments when they cut loose, trading solos.

CD Track List

  1. Epistrophy
  2. Pannonica
  3. Green Chimneys
  4. Round Midnight
  5. Crepescule With Nellie
  6. Ruby My Dear
  7. Let’s Cool One
  8. Blue Monk
  9. Monk’s Mood
  10. In Walked Bud


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“The Best Cure For The Blues”: A Review of Julie from Russia

UR9957.JLQnt_back_c1At the time of this writing, from the author‘s window, the view is of wet snow mixed with rain. In such nasty weather the debut album of the Julie Lyon Quintet is the best cure for the blues. Anyway, I would warm it up with mugs of anything hot or glasses with anything firewater. Julie will give you almost an hour of warm, sincere and very cozy jazz. This American vocalist and her partners do not seek to create some bold experiments, avant-garde delights or to display the power of the voice. The voice of Julie Lyon is not about free rein sound but rather depth of experience and the aura of the truth of jazz will not leave you from the first track to the last.

The program of the Julie album is songs from different times and different atmospheres. There are classic jazz standards, such as Bye Bye Blackbird or two evergreens, Cole Porter‘s Love For Sale and Every Time We Say Goodbye, a charming example of Brazilian jazz - Dindi by Jobim, and next - Strollin by Horace Silver, Too Damn Hot by Dr. Lonnie Smith with lyrics by Julie Lyon and the finale, Tom Wait’s Temptation. For each song, starting only from the text (without using, for example, scat) , Julie Lyon is able to create her own, special atmosphere. Personally, I feel especially close to the fun, even playful mood prevailing in Dindi, the pulsating swing of Too Damn Hot and the brilliant interpretation of Temptation.

All the tracks are arranged so that you can really listen to the quintet and not just a singer with an accompanying ensemble. Virtually every one of instrumentalists has ample opportunity to demonstrate their skills. I emphasize here Matt Lavelle’s solo trumpet in Bye Bye Blackbird and Temptation, his alto clarinet in Dindi, the artful guitar of Jack DeSalvo in Comes Love and his duet with bassist Bobby Brennan in Born To Be Blue, as well as Tom Cabrera’s opening drum solo in All Or Nothing At All.

According to the press release, the album Julie will go on sale in January 2015, although the cover indicates it was recorded in Paramus, New Jersey in 2013. I do not know what caused such a substantial gap between the two dates, but this is the case when you want to say, better late than never.

– Leonid

CD available HERE.



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“Special Sauce” : Julie reviewed by Midwest Record

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 6.37.21 PM

UNSEEN RAIN JULIE LYON QUINTET/Julie: It’s interesting to see that the new generation of jazz divas can draw water from the same well but still manage to spike the drink with a special sauce of their own that gives them some distinctive real estate to plant a flag on. Certainly a classic feeling thrush, Lyon is sassy and saucy seemingly taking Birdland to the tea pad after hours with the jam going in full force. Same church, different pew—this one’s filled with the bad kids hanging out in the back. Fun stuff.

CD Available HERE.

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Matt Lavelle’s 12 Houses Recording Session

12 Houses Recording session at Systems Two in Brooklyn.  All photos by Jeff Evans.

Matt Lavelle – conductor, composer, trumpet, flugelhorn, alto clarinet,  Anaïs Maviel - voice, Lee Odom -Clarinet, soprano saxophone, Charlie Waters - alto saxophone, bass clarinet, Ras Moshe – tenor saxophone, concert flute, bells, Tim Stocker – baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, Mary Cherney – concert flute, alto flute, piccolo, Laura Ortman – violin, Gil Selinger – cello, Anders Nillson – electric guitar, 11-string alto guitar, Jack DeSalvo – producer, banjo, mandola, John Pietaro – Vibraphone, xylophone, bodhran, congas, bongos, percussion, Chris Forbes – piano, François Grillot - double-bass, Ryan Sawyer – drums.



Reeds_RyanRas_3Ras_2Piano_KeyboardMatt_strings_MaryMatt_ChrisMatt_strings_Mary_2Lee_SopranoJohn_bodhranLaura_JohnJack_GilGilGil_Anders_Laura_jack_MaryEnsembleEnsemble_2Chris_Forbes_2CharlieCharle_Ras_Ryan_TimCharlie_RasBooth_2BoothAnders_Les_PaulAnders_Gil_Jack@Anders_alto_Guitar_2Anders_Gil_JackAna Ïsma Viel_2Ryan_Sawyer Matt_Tim Overhead Matt_2 Mary_Cherney Lee_Odom_Charlie_Waters_Ras_Tim_Stocker Laura_2 Gil_Laura_Jack François Chris_etc

With Ana Ïsma Viel Matt_mic Tim_Stocker_Ras_Moshe Lee_Odom Laura_Ortman John_P Coltrane_mic Chris_Forbes Chris_Anders_Anais Anders_Alto_Guitar


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Terrific Review of Pat Hall: Time Remembered by Rotcod Zzaj



Pat Hall – TIME REMEMBERED (THE MUSIC OF BILL EVANS): Pat’s trombone work is just “kickin’” on this great tribute to the music of Bill Evans. …and very nicely complemented by organ from Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis, guitar from Marvin Sewell and drums by Mike Campenni. Tunes like the splendid opener, “Gloria’s Step“, will bring memories of jazz the way it was meant to be! Solid jazz that will please your ears & have you finger/toe tappin’ right along with these excellent players. I’ve reviewed various CD’s with Greg’s organ on them, & this is definitely among the best. I totally dug the vibe on the laid-back & bluesy “Spring Is Here“… a very nice groove to be in. The 8:42 “Peri’s Scope” got my vote for favorite track of the seven presented for your jazz listening pleasure. I give Pat & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97. Get more information at Pat’s website. Rotcod Zzaj

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Dom Minasi’s Review of Jimmy Bennington’s No Lunch In Hackensack

2-up  2 Panel CD Booklet“No Lunch In Hackensack”,  Jimmy Bennington – drums, Steve Cohn – piano,  Unseen Rain Records – foUR9979

Unseen Rain Records is a fairly new company, created by guitarist Jack DeSalvo, that in the last few years has put some superb recordings and this is one of them. Most of the record is free form, but there are some spots that go into time. No matter, whatever these guys play, it is interesting, bold and fresh. Jimmy is a champion of subtlety, which comes through loud and clear on this record. Steve’s playing leaves nothing to be desired. If you want to hear the history of modern jazz just listen to what Steve does in “The Days of Wine and Roses”.  From Monk, Bill Evans , Cecil Taylor and now Steve Cohn. Every tune on the recording stands out. These are musician’s musicians.  -Dom Minasi


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Review of Joris Teepe’s workaholic on JazzFlits

UR9953.Workaholic_cover_CDBJust a cursory glance at the biography and discography of bassist, composer and producer Joris Teepe makes you smile in the title of his latest album. Since his arrival in New York (in 1992) he is a much sought after musician. And that’s an understatement. His contributions to recordings of others, as bassist, composer and producer are not small and the list of musicians with whom he played is great. And then there are the albums he released under his own name of which “Workaholic” is the eleventh in the row. It is inevitable that one is formed by all these experiences. Joris Teepe, who deliberately developed as a musician through his career. “Workaholic” is there like a reflection of this, but perhaps also as a way of listening to a statement of his musical development and
the formation of an idiom that could be described as eclectic expressiveness. That’s what you hear in his compositions and in his bass playing. The mixing of the different styles and bringing together different influences does  not lead
Joris Teepe to an unmanageable hodgepodge. On the contrary, the compositions create an ambiance in “Workaholic” that is fresh and spontaneous. It is strongly expressive with a notion of history standing in a rich jazz tradition. This is partly due to a group of outstanding musicians, including
Mike Clark, once drummer with Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters. The
band plays tight, fancifully, swinging and playful. The recording is
well produced, sounds clear and “close”, giving you the feeling of
being there. ‘Workaholic’ is the statement of a lover – a jazz musician that sings.
Frank Huser
Original article in Dutch HERE

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Audiophile Audition Review of Pat Hall: Time Remembered

Jazz CD Reviews

Pat Hall – “Time Remembered” – The Music of Bill Evans [TrackList follows] – Unseen Rain

An unusual quartet takes an equally unusual run through Bill Evans territory.

Published on October 2, 2014


Pat Hall – “Time Remembered” – The Music of Bill Evans [TrackList follows] – Unseen Rain UR9960, 65:37 [8/5/14] ***1/2:

(Pat Hall – trombone; Marvin Sewell – guitar; Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis – Hammond B-3 organ; Mike Campenni – drums)

When jazz listeners think of pianist Bill Evans, the farthest thing from their thoughts is probably a quartet featuring trombone, Hammond B-3 organ, drums and guitar. Which is why trombonist Pat Hall’s tribute to the late, great EvansTime Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans—will doubtless roil the hackles of jazz purists. This hour-long excursion is not a reverent outing, but an open-minded re-imagining of music written by or associated with Evans. Members of the so-called ‘jazz police’ should not bother with this album. If, however, you want to hear a record which embraces the spirit of Evans through artistry and vision, rather than well-intentioned but derisory mimicry, then Hall’s third album for the Unseen Rain label may be appealing. Time Remembered was initially offered only as a high-definition digital download, but this review refers to the newer, CD version issued in early August of this year. [It is also offered as an MP3, which is all Amazon has.]

This isn’t the first time Hall has turned to homage. Two years ago he released Happy House, an accolade to Ornette Coleman’s early, chord-less music. But Time Remembered is more assured and fearless: abandoning piano to perform Evans’ music takes self-confidence. But Hall, guitarist Marvin Sewell (who has backed Cassandra Wilson, Jason Moran and others), Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis (on Hammond B-3) and drummer Mike Campenni create a stimulating set which is exploratory and progressive.

The inspired re-structuring is notable on all seven tunes, and in particular on the lengthiest track, a 12-minute rethink of Evans’ most famous composition, “Waltz for Debby.” Lewis commences with a long rubato solo before the rest of the foursome join in the 4/4 arrangement. Hall has a lively improvisation as he takes center stage. Here, and elsewhere, Hall showcases his ‘bone brilliance, evoking at times J.J. Johnson’s bop styling, and other times Grachan Moncur or Roswell Rudd’s edgier tone. Sewell is understated and in the background, although he displays an angularity when he does a solo spotlight, his bright notes skipping across his fretboard. Campenni utilizes an array of resourceful percussive nuances which deliver a contextual support. Three other Evans compositions are correspondingly prominent. “Know What I Mean?” begins with a moody, atmospheric prologue, but then quickly enters bop-ish terrain as an up-tempo groove is maintained. Hall explodes with an intrepid improv, the notes swelling. Sewell follows suit, although his sound isn’t as heady, and Lewis takes the third solo with a propulsive surge which brings to mind one of his heroes, Larry Young. Campenni has the final solo, where he uses rolling sticks across his tom and cymbals. Evans was an abundantly lyrical player, and his sense of shimmer and low simmer is presented during the transcendent title track, although even here Hall and his band take chances. Lewis slices in some otherworldly chords more akin to Sun Ra than Evans; and Sewell’s guitar runs are also meatier than might be expected. Hard bop is the name of the game on the closer, a swinging version of “Peri’s Scope,” where syncopation is paramount and the arrangement is the most traditional of the seven cuts.

Evans covered many pieces penned by others, so Hall had lots to choose from. The opening number, “Gloria’s Step,” is by bassist Scott La Faro, best known for his seminal work with the Bill Evans Trio. Hall’s quartet pushes this into an upbeat and fast-paced interpretation. Hall has the longest solo section: his fervor is fuelled by Lewis’ organ, which ably replicates Hall’s fire. Sewell also adds in a first-rate guitar solo. On the opposite side, Rodgers and Hart’s beautiful ballad, “Spring Is Here,” gets under way with a sunlit stride highlighted by Hall’s limpid trombone. Eventually, the arrangement notches higher to a mid-tempo posture, with fluid guitar and sparkly organ leading the way. Composer Earl Zindars’ “Elsa,” which Evans helped turn into a jazz standard, has a swinging timbre similar to “Peri’s Scope.” Lewis and Sewell offer longer organ and guitar tones and both solo with an ease of facility only years of work can do. The proceedings were nicely mixed, recorded and engineered at Tom Tedesco’s Paramus, New Jersey studio. {UR Webmaster’s note – recording was mixed and mastered by Jim DeSalvo at Beanstudio, though recorded at Tedesco} Anyone who wants to see and hear the band can watch a video with excerpts from the sessions. Tedesco gives the material a lissome quality: the recording has a live feel but also a subtle characteristic, not as noisy as likeminded projects, which suits Hall’s intentions and the melodic elements. One caveat: Chris Kelsey’s erudite and edifying liner notes are not included in the CD package (only an incorrect web address is listed). Instead, they are only available online, but are worth reading for those who may want to purchase this release.

TrackList: Gloria’s Step; Waltz for Debby; Spring Is Here; Elsa; Know What I Mean?; Time Remembered; Peri’s Scope.

—Doug Simpson

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All About Jazz Review of Pat Hall: Time Remembered

Patrick Hall: Time Remembered: The Music Of Bill Evans (2014)


Published: | 1,232 views

Patrick Hall: Time Remembered: The Music Of Bill Evans

The unconventional inside a conventional skin. That’s what we have here with trombonist Pat Hall’s offering Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans. Playing it from the bottom up, so to speak, Hall’s approach to the Evans corpus (along with two standards associated with the late pianist, Rodgers and Hart’s “Spring Is Here” and Earl Zindars’ “Elsa”) is also unconventional due the presence of organist Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis laying down the chordal framework. Along with guitarist Martin Sewell and drummer Mike Campenni, these seven covers are played relatively straightforward, with few twists and turns to accompany the unique instrumentation upfront.One of the strengths of Time Remembered, as with any successful interpretative project, is hearing Evans’ music convincingly played through another musical prism. In a sense, it takes balls to essentially change the palette of an artist who is known more (at least for the majority of his career) for introspective, dreamy and impressionistic jazz. Instead, what we get with Time Remembered is music laced with elements of grease, plangent tones, not to mention groove. The band mostly swings through up-tempo versions of the songs here, with the exception of the title track and “Spring Is Here.”

Perhaps a model example of what I mean can be heard with the band’s up-tempo drive on “Elsa,” where the waltz becomes a kind of merry go round of solos inside heads and tails of the melody that seem almost abrupt; as if everyone had their ears leaning toward the exploration of this lovely theme. Likewise “Know What I Mean?” which seems more like a vehicle for blowing than a tune selected for its melodic content. That’s just fine here, because some of the best playing surfaces with Hall leading the charge, his rhythmic feel for this up-tempo swing along with fluid note choices that combine a sense of urgency with a facility to hit those notes at every point on the register have us forgetting this is a Bill Evans number. Add some of Lewis and Sewell’s best playing here as they seemingly glide across the changes (along with seamless bass pedal work from Lewis) and you get the impression this is a tight rhythm section, a rhythm section that finds Campenni’s drumming elastic, supportive, unobtrusive and above all swinging.

On the whole, Time Remembered isn’t an introspective visit to the music of Bill Evans. Even “Time Remembered,” a classic ballad from Evans early years as a solo artist, is ultimately rendered as a medium-tempo swinger as the band works it way through and past the song’s evocative theme. That said, their version again showcases Hall’s facility on the trombone, with a clear tone that carries a typically flat resonance that still manages to soar.

Given the strengths and staying power of Bill Evans’ compositions, most of which carry unusual chord substitutions, novel intervals and a definitive rhythmic approach, it’s no wonder these versions would tend to be played straight down the middle, conventional more by normative jazz standards. Contrast this recording with, for example, guitarist John McLaughlin’s own Time Remembered (Verve), where the instruments are all acoustic, the guitarist accompanied by a string quartet of four guitars and one bassist in what is ultimately a very classical, almost otherworldly and perhaps too respectful tribute. By way of contrast, this more recent release—heard through the musical lens of this quartet’s sound—is no doubt shaped and corralled by Evans’ strong musical personality but, in the end, plays like a band in a groove that just happens to be filled up with some pretty memorable tunes.

Track Listing: Gloria’s Step; Waltz For Debby; Spring Is Here; Elsa; Know What I Mean?; Time Remembered; Peri’s Scope.

Personnel: Pat Hall, trombone; Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis, Hammond B3 organ; Marvin Sewell, guitar; Mike Campenni, drums.

Record Label: Unseen Rain Records

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CD Available Soon, Downloads Available Now.

By Josh Campbell

A very interesting album from Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro. The concept, and I love concept albums, is to use Monk compositions and Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic methods. Interestingly, we find John Pietraro on the vibraphone in addition to percussion leading to a unique duet. Matt Lavelle is found on his standard cornet/flugelhorn as well as alto clarinet which we have been seeing more of from Matt. A healthy offering at an hour and a half, Matt and John work their magic on recognizable standards, with a pleasant twist. Matt’s cornet and flugelhorn have never sounded better, bold and meaty, especially on the excellently executed “In Walked Bud”. Other standouts, “Blue Monk/ Straight No Chaser”, and the spacious and oozing with blues “Round Midnight”, showcase Matt on the alto clarinet. Recorded with an intimate feel it can be hard to remember you’re not actually in the room with the musicians.

Even though the album is worth hearing and adding to your collection, at 1 hr 33 mins it does tend to drag a little. I would have liked to hear more percussion mixed into the album, even with the strong performance of John on the vibes it was a challenge over the span of the album to keep focus. The cornet and flugelhorn, being the main instrument I’m familiar with Matt playing, were much stronger than his alto clarinet. Aside from his stellar showing on “Round Midnight”, I found myself preferring his sax playing.

While not an album that I would return to every day, it is a performance and concept so unique and creative it should be investigated by fans who have yet to hear it. And even though it is not my favorite release from Matt, it reenforces my ever growing admiration for his playing and creativity.

Downloads available HERE

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Review of Juniper on Wondering Sound

Jack DeSalvo & Tom Cabrera, Juniper: This is the kind of music that results from artists who invest years in learning their instruments and expressing them in ways that fall outside normal conventions. DeSalvo and Cabrera have partnered their guitars and percussion before, and that investment, too, bears fruit on their newest. This music has the heart and soul of the Cherry/Walcott/Vasconcelos Codona trio recordings… an earthy ambiance that emanates strength from a wise economy of notes and beats. Music that transcends genre, behaves as if it doesn’t even see the point of it. Also, great music to just kick back and listen to its particular serenity fill the room.

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Pat Hall’s Time Remembered Reviewed by George Fendel

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 3.31.25 PMMedia Alert: Pat Hall’s Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans (Unseen Rain UR9960) Street Date August 5, 2014
Pat Hall: Trombone, Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis: Organ, Marvin Sewell: Guitar, Mike Campenni: Drums

CD Review:

by George Fendel

Considering the fact that Bill Evans passed away nearly 35 years ago, this second of two tribute recordings, released in the same month, are proof of his timeless legacy. While this album doesn’t have the emotional pull of the disc reviewed above, it features Evans tunes, coincidentally I’m sure, that are not included in the Martin Wind release. Surely you remember titles such as “Gloria’s Step,” “Elsa,” “Time Remembered” and “Peri’s Scope,” to name a few of the high points. Hall’s trombone possesses the Bob Brookmeyer-like touch of wit and charm, and his improvisational choruses never veer too far off the center of the highway. Hall’s quartet includes Greg Lewis, organ, Marvin Sewell, guitar, and Mike Campenni, drums. Lewis does no harm on organ. But for an album honoring Bill Evans, I would have preferred a pianist over the Hammond. Having said that, I should add that any Evans tribute feeds my “good side,” and while this is something of a detour, it works for me.
Unseen Rain Records; 2014; appx. 56 minutes.

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joris_coverBassist and composer Joris Teepe, who first appeared on Unseen Rain on Lewis Porter’s Trio Solo, has reason to be Workaholic. While his adroit bass playing is constantly in-demand by other jazz greats, he presents here an extraordinary album of his own music. Along with Joris on double-bass and electric bass, Workaholic features legendary drummer Mike Clark of Herbie Handcock’s Headhunters fame, Josh Evans on trumpet, Adam Kolker on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet and Jon Davis on piano. Whether swinging or deeply funky, this tight, post-bop outing is stellar. Produced by Jack DeSalvo

Listen HERE

Available NOW for Download HD Master Quality edition, CD quality Apple LosslessCD quality FLAC and mp3 (VBR 44.1kHz maximum quality) HERE

Available on iTunes, amazon and everywhere else Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

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Great Review of Pat Hall’s Time Remembered from in Russia

Pat Hall – Time Remembered: The Music of Bill EvansUR9960_Time_Remembered_Pat_Hall

“Well, only one more tribute album,” – says Blase Dzhazfen, who barely glanced at the cover of this CD. But putting the disc on to listen to it once, from the first bars, makes sure that this tribute is at least unusual, and in essence – is unique in many respects. Judge for yourself. The outstanding jazz pianist Bill Evans is loved by many. Pianists and piano jazz trios have played his music, or at least try to recreate it in their own way to convey the amazing harmonic and rhythmic constructions of Evans. He dedicated his work to trumpeter Miles Davis, a former partner of Bill and guitarist John McLaughlin. But I have never heard until now (though maybe it’s a matter of my lack of knowledge) the music for our Bill Evans led by the trombone.

Pat Hall did it. Yes, and it’s radical! For this recording he assembled a quartet in which there is no pianist. Let’s agree – that is bold in itself. Hall became partners with the great Hammond organ master Greg  “Organ Monk” Lewis, guitarist Marvin Sewell and drummer Mark Campenni. Hall also built his program unconventionally. Logically, when an album is dedicated to a musician, that musician’s works are included. And with Bill Evans, of course, it is the case here. Four of the tunes are Bill’s, including Time Remembered and his most popular song Waltz For Debby. But along with them in this Hall tribute is Gloria’s Step by Scott La Faro, a member of one of the best Evan’s trios and the standard by Rogers and Hart,  Spring Is Here and the composition by Earl Zindars,  Elsa. It is quite obvious that Hall sought primarily to convey the spirit of Evan’s music and to present this band’s versions of his works. And with a choice of repertoire like this, the approach can really be anything, if only turning Evan’s creative ideas into executable material.

Of course, to judge how successfully Pat Hall implemented this plans, just listen. For my taste, a musician who can record this album itself is an asset. Indeed it happened. It’s enough to listen to the lyrical and spiritual sound of his trombone in Spring Is Here, and to evaluate Hall’s solo in Waltz For Debby to be convinced. The congenial quartet leader works well with Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis. He also wondered if the Hammond can sound very different than we are used to and also makesthe organ sound just great, for example, on Peri’s Scope. I must mention Sewell the guitarist, whose playing on Elsa and Time Remembered are beyond praise.

This is such an unusual album and is certainly worth a listen. And still worth reading the brilliant, full of irony in relation to Evan’s lovers stereotypes liner notes from Chris Kelsey. Hall and his colleagues broke a lot of them in this project and Kelsey writes very well about it.

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