Category: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Paul Acquaro Reviews SUMARI.

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Matt Lavelle, Jack De Salvo & Tom Cabrera – Sumari (Unseen Rain, 2015)
Monday, February 08, 2016Front_Sumari

By Paul Acquaro

I first put on Sumari while I was driving through the Catskills in New York State over the summer, little did I know how geographically apropos it was. The trio on Sumari has its roots in the Hudson valley, going back over 20 years, and the inspiration of the name has something do with a series called the Seth Books, a study of paranormal experiences by Jane Roberts, who happened to be from the Albany area (just a bit north of the Catskills). I’m not sure there is anything to it, but it seemed somewhat interesting.

The musicians on Sumari are Matt Lavelle on trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, alto clarinet, Jack De Salvo on cello and mandola guitar, and Tom Cabrera the dumbeq, rik, frame drums, bass drum, percussion. The number of instruments between them leads to a wide array of musical combinations.

The album starts off with ’Seth Dance’, and as the bass and drums get into a looping groove, Lavelle comes in on trumpet with a slightly sourish tone. The song has a hypnotic effect, the choice of timber is quite interesting, and there is an air of mystery to the track. The next track, ‘Counterparts Are Comparatively Encountered’ is a bit more stream of consciousness. The track, which is the longest on the album, never quite ‘takes off’ however the tension that builds is quite palpable. Track three, ‘Scientific Cults and Private Paranoias’, like the first, is built on a repetitive groove, however, this time, Lavelle employs a brighter tone on the trumpet and DeSalvo creates an earthy rhythmic texture on his mandola guitar that lends an exotic flavor to the track.

Most engaging is hearing hear how closely the musicians listen to each other, the other tracks that follow have varying approaches, but across all, it’s the interplay that really comes through. From the modes and scales Lavel use, to the stringed instruments that DeSalvo chooses, to the various percussion instruments Cabrerea plays, there is a strong inter-connectedness in their playing, and the mix of instruments with the free form improvisation touch on something felt rather than spoken.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

12 Houses, Harmolodic Monk and Sumari Available at Downtown Music Gallery with Great Reviews by BL Gallanter

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Three Super-Fine Discs from Matt Lavelle* and His Chosen Few/Many:

MATT LAVELLE’S 12 HOUSES – Solidarity (Unseen Rain 9945; USA) In the past Matt Lavelle has worked mostly the solo, duo, trio and quartet contexts as far as being a leader. He has also been a member of several large units led by William Parker and Assif Tsahar. ‘Solidarity’ is Mr. Lavelle’s debut of his own large (16 piece) ensemble and you can tell how much work he put into this grand effort. 12 Houses was originally a 12 piece unit, inspired by the (12) signs of the zodiac. The group has played twelve concerts over the past few years and has expanded to sixteen members. Mr. Lavelle chose a few crew and you should recognize many of the names here: Ras Moshe, Anders Nilsson, Charles Waters and Ryan Sawyer, for starters.
The opening tune is the title piece and it is a grand intro, free yet completely focused with a burning tenor solo (Moshe?) and the powerful piano of Chris Forbes, another unsung local hero. There is a special central melody here which they repeat and slowly transform into something which picks you up and sweeps you away and erupts into an impressive explosion. The central theme continues to appear throughout, expanding and contracting and molded into different forms. A touching version led by the violin (Laura Ortman) and voice (Anais Maviel) is featured on “Knee Braces” and almost had me weeping due to its beauty. “Cherry Swing” is dedicated to the legendary trumpeter Don Cherry and features some of Mr. Lavelle’s most impressive playing. There are a couple of musicians here that I want to mention: the bassoon playing of Claire de Brunner and the voice of Anais Maviel. Both are marvelous and add some of their own special creative spirit to this already wonderful disc. Congratulations to Matt Lavelle for one of this year’s most modest and magical treasures!         – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Complete personnel features: Matt Lavelle on cornet, flugelhorn, alto clarinet & conduction, Lee Odom on soprano sax & clarinet, Charles Waters on alto sax & clarinet, Ras Moshe on tenor & soprano sax & flute, Tim Stocker on bari sax & bass clarinet, Mary Cherney on flutes, Claire de Brunner on bassoon, Laura Ortman on violin, Gil Selinger on cello, Anders Nilsson on guitar, Jack DeSalvo on banjo & mandola, John Pietaro on vibes & percussion, Francois Grillot on double-bass, Ryan Sawyer on drums and Anais Maviel on voice.  – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $15


UR9953.CoverA_Flat_for CDB

MATT LAVELLE / JOHN PIETARO – Harmolodic Monk (Unseen Rain; USA)

In the work of both Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk, the dichotomy of ancient, pre-western approaches and extreme modernism live side-by-side so comfortably that one mistakes one for the other. Like the story that Ornette told of performing in a psychiatric hospital; once he started playing and looked out into the audience he couldn’t distinguish between the doctors and the patients.
Bela Bartok believed that new music must have deep roots in folk music, music of the earth, chthonic in that sense. Besides virtuosity as servant to meaningful expression, communication and sensitive interplay, what Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro reveal to us through this many-layered concept of uncovering new secrets in Monk’s compositions via the Harmolodic highway is their profound understanding that the root of all this is the Blues.
Ornette’s view of the Blues, like his late friend Buckminster Fullers view of the world, is multi-dimensional, here imbued with both Monk’s and Ornette’s focus on personal expression. Matt and John provide an extended view into myriad musical possibilities when Harmolodic Monk is in the hands of two improvisational masters. (from the liner notes by Jack DeSalvo)
CD $15

Matt Lavelle (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, alto clarinet Jack DeSalvo (mandola, cello, guitars) Tom Cabrera (bodhrán, tar, riq, doumbek, bass drum, percussion)
Matt Lavelle (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, alto clarinet
Jack DeSalvo (mandola, cello, guitars)
Tom Cabrera (bodhrán, tar, riq, doumbek, bass drum, percussion)

SUMARI [MATT LAVELLE/JACK DeSALVO/TOM CABRERA] – Sumari (Unseen Rain; USA) Sumari features Matt Lavelle on trumpets, cornet, flugelhorn & alto clarinet, Jack DeSalvo on guitar, cello & mandola and Tom Cabrera on dumbeq, rik, frame drums & percussion.

No doubt you know Downtown ace trumpet & alto clarinetist Matt Lavelle from dozens of recordings and sessions. Guitarist Jack DeSalvo you might recognize from his work Ronald Shannon Jackson, Herb Robertson and Chris Kelsey’s Electric Miles Project. Mr. DeSalvo produced this disc and runs the Unseen Rain Records label. Percussionist Tom Cabrera is a new name for me.
Stripped down, acoustic and warmly recorded, this is a fine, relaxed trio. Mr. DeSalvo starts off on cello, often plucking out bass lines as the trio quietly soars together. Mr. Lavelle has a solemn, enchanting tone on alto clarinet. The trio plays with somber grace taking their time and letting the ghosts slowly dance together, as if nothing else mattered. There is something precious, rather quaint going on here. A subtle elegance which is soothing, thoughtful, like a cool breeze rustling the leaves in the Fall. Towards the end, the trio does erupt, cast off their chains and dance quickly amongst the ruins of modern civilization. The ancient spirits are slowly being revealed. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $15

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Listen to Wings from Rocco John Quartet’s New Release EMBRACE THE CHANGE.

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10.99 – High Definition 24/96 FLAC

9.99 – CD Quality FLAC

8.99 – MP3


ROCCO JOHN IACOVONE alto and soprano saxophones

According to saxophonist and composer Rocco John Iacovone, “EMBRACE THE CHANGE is a thought, an idea, and a philosophy.  It’s a comment on our evolution as human beings. It seems the only constant we experience is change and we constantly need to learn how to deal with it. To do this, we have to dig deep. These were the thoughts behind the compositions as I wrote them, and as we went into the studio.”

Rocco John Iacovone’s studies with the legendary Lee Konitz and Sam Rivers as well as studies in composition under the direct disciples of Nadia Boulanger gives him a wide swath of musicial influences that color each track of EMBRACE THE CHANGE. His stellar quartet gets deep into the leader’s music, designed to elicit unmitigated passion and creativity from Rich Rosenthal, François Grillot and Tom Cabrera.

Rocco describes each album track in the liner notes:

WINGS   7’21: A free bop piece to free up our thoughts.
CIRCUITS   8’08: However remote or even impossible it may seem, we are all connected.
ESCAPE   8’39: The traps are all set up, wherever we turn. We need to escape the traps and think
independently and creatively.
DIAL UP   8’00:  This represents calling for assistance from the universe.
TANGO   9’52: The dance of life.
WHISPERS   4’32: While we all hear the loud voices telling us what to do and how to do it, we
really need to quiet down and listen to the whispers of our inner self.
72’s   10’56: Connection to the Endless.
Wings (Epilogue)   7:51: The Joy of it all.

All music by Rocco John Iacovone

Recorded March, 2015 and mixed at Urban Sound Studios, Riverdale, NJ by Todd Urban
Mastered at Beanstudio, Wayne, NJ by Jim DeSalvo
Cover painting by Denise Iacovone
Design by Qua’s Eye Graphix

Produced by Jack DeSalvo



Rocco John Iacovone Biography

Composer/Saxophones/Piano Rocco John Iacovone studied privately with Lee Konitz. He holds a BA and Master’s degree in Composition from Hunter College where he studied classical music under the direct disciples of Nadia Boulanger. To round out his education, he went on to study and perform under the direction of Sam Rivers’ Orchestral Explorations at the Studio Rivbea in NYC. Rocco has been actively involved in composing, performing, and teaching ever since.

Presently, in addition to composing and performing events with his arts group, The Coalition of Creative Artists (COCA), Rocco John plays regularly in NYC with the Rocco John Group. Most recently he has been active playing in groups other than his own. Rocco also has a recurring summer Jazz residency in Alaska playing original and straight-ahead jazz with his group “Rare Form”.

Rocco cut his teeth playing first Alto in Sam Rivers’ “Orchestral Explorations” at the Studio Rivbea during the “loft” years. He’s played with Karl Berger, Barry Atschul, the Jazz Composers Orchestra, Larry Grenadier and Phil Grenadier. His years of study with Lee Konitz, and training under Sam Rivers helped Rocco create a compositional and playing style that often reflects Lee’s emphasis on tasteful restraint combined with Sam’s sense of adventurous abstraction. Given his musical training, and classical influences, it is no surprise that Rocco’s music blurs the lines between “in” and “out” playing; creating a link between the two for the audience to follow. Audience participation is important to Rocco’s philosophy of sharing the universal aspect of music. He encourages his audience to be active listeners, and sometimes runs shows, through COCA, that encourage audience participation in multiple disciplines in a very tangible way.

In addition to performing and recording, Rocco is dedicated to the idea of strengthening the Jazz idiom by passing the music on to the next generation. To that end Rocco has spent many years as a Teaching Artist, teaching Jazz, Improvisation and Jazz History. Rocco frequently gives Jazz residencies with his band and has been the recipient of three Chamber Music America Residency Grants. Rocco does Jazz residencies and workshops all around the world.

Rocco has a number of CD’s as leader. They feature The Rocco John Group. The first one, “Miles To Go”, is a free approach to a collection of original and standard tunes. The second CD, “Don’t wait too Long…”is comprised entirely of original tunes by Rocco. Their third CD, also all originals, is called Devotion, and it is a dedication album to some of Rocco’s Jazz favorites. Like the others, has garnered critical acclaim. There are also four CD’s with RARE FORM. RARE FORM is Rocco’s duo with Murray Nash (composition/keyboard/bass), his collaborator in Alaska. The CD’s: “Live at the Fairview”, “Please Seat Yourself” and “Conversation in 3”are freewheeling interpretations of standards and originals. The fourth CD, “Lose Yer Blues” features original music by both artists.

Rocco has additional collaborative CDs with other groups., and is working on original music for his Octet, The Improvisational Composers Ensemble. Rocco started ICE as a platform for composers whose work features improvisation as a compositional element. He has played his original suites with ICE at Arlene’s, Piano’s and The Stone, and continues to write for this ensemble.

Rocco can often be heard in NYC and has recently played at Nu-Blu, Pianos, Arlene’s, Clemente Soto velez, Freddie’s, ABC No Rio, Shape Shifter Lounge, The Downtown Music gallery, Culture fix, Zirzamin, Goodbye Blue Monday and others. He can be heard most summers with Rare Form, in Talkeetna Alaska. For his schedule, go to

Rich Rosenthal Biography

Guitarist/composer Rich Rosenthal has weathered a life of hard work, hard study, and hard knocks, and on the way developed a jazz-derived avant-garde style that places a premium on originality, spontaneity, and the intense expression of straight-forward emotion. Rich’s goal is, above all, to communicate on a profound level. In that quest, he draws from not only the obvious inspirations – great free jazz artists like Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor – but also from straight-ahead jazz guitarists like Tal Farlow and Pat Martino, as well as classical composers like J.S. Bach and Hector Villa Lobos. His is a vastly personal music that he hopes will allow listeners to, as he says, “transcend the mundane … take them to another place.”

Rosenthal was born in the Bronx N.Y., on Oct.15th 1964. His father, a WW II veteran, owned a dental lab and worked as a dental technician in a V.A. hospital. His mother worked in a school cafeteria. Neither parent was musical, but his father was a jazz lover. Rich grew-up hearing the sounds of Paul Desmond, Dave Brubeck, Ahmad Jamal, and Errol Garner around the house. An older brother introduced Rosenthal to the music of Carlos Santana, which inspired him to begin playing music. Rich’s parents bought the twelve-year-old a twenty-five-dollar acoustic guitar. He took lessons from a distant cousin, jazz guitarist Dave Moreno. Besides teaching him the basics, Moreno lent him recordings by great blues, jazz, and rock guitarists.

Moreno also imparted his love of jazz’s cutting edge, taking the aspiring guitarist to New York City performances by such eminent free jazz musicians as Coleman, Steve Lacy, Jimmy Lyons, Sun Ra, among many others. Rich was befriended by two associates of Taylor, Glen Spearman and Raphe Malik, who encouraged him to pursue his music.

When it came time to attend high school, Rich wanted to attend NYC’s prestigious High School of Music and Art. His parents were dead set against a career in music, however, so instead Rich attended a business-oriented high school. The effect was devastating. Depression led to drug and alcohol addiction. Still, he kept playing. His parents moved to Wappingers Falls, NY, where Rosenthal attended Roy C. Ketcham High School. He joined the school’s jazz ensemble and took guitar lessons from Poughkeepsie guitarist Dave Woods. He also studied with jazz guitarist Eddie Diehl.

After high school, Rosenthal joined the Steamfitters Union and stopped taking music lessons, though he managed to play on his own, with friends and at local jam sessions. Substance-abuse problems persisted, however, and he eventually stopped playing altogether. In 1991, after years in the wilderness, Rosenthal got clean. Dave Moreno was by that time living in Manhattan. Rich resumed lessons with his mentor. He studied mostly classical guitar with Moreno for two years, before deciding once and for all to concentrate on his own jazz-based music. To that end he studied with the composer Edgar Grana, and began attending college classes, first at Mercy College, where he studied with, among others, Ornette Coleman’s guitarist, Kenny Wessel. At the same time, he worked as a pipe-fitter for the MTA and played standard jazz gigs around Westchester County.

After a year at Mercy, Rich transferred to the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Music Program. It was a stressful period, balancing a full-time day gig with the school’s strict requirements, but studies with the likes of Andrew Cyrille, Richard Boukas, Bruce Arnold, Kurk Nurock and Bill Kirchner made it worthwhile. An especially important aspect was the opportunity to have the school’s ensembles play his original compositions.

Rosenthal began playing with saxophonist/composer Joe Giardullo, who became a major influence on his work. They played free and developed arrangements of compositions by Thelonious Monk, Paul Motian, and Anthony Braxton, to name a few. Giardullo also introduced him to George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept, as well as the compositional techniques of Wadada Leo Smith, and Giardullo’s own Gravity Music concept.

The 2000s saw Rosenthal’s music career gain momentum. In 2005 he recorded the critically-acclaimed album Red Morocco with Giardullo for RogueArt Records. A year later, he graduated from the New School with a B.F.A. in Jazz and Contemporary Music. In the last several years he’s gigged extensively – around his home base in the Hudson Valley with a band that included Giardullo, bassist Steve Rust, and drummer Harvey Sorgen, and in NYC with a trio featuring Giardullo and drummer Todd Capp. Rich has played NYC’s Knitting Factory and CB’s Gallery, as well as pianist David Arner’s “New Vanguard” series in Kingston N.Y. He has performed as a member of composer Sarah Weaver’s Soundpainting Orchestra at Roulette in NYC. Other collaborators have included bassists Mark Dresser, Michael Bisio, Lisle Ellis, and Dominic Duval; composer Pauline Oliveros; saxophonists Joe McPhee, Jim Finn, Elliott Levin, and Chris Kelsey; drummers Jackson Krall and Donald Robinson; and fellow guitarist Dom Minasi.

Rosenthal recorded Falling Up, his debut album as a leader, in 2012. The album features several original compositions, as well as original arrangements of tunes by Steve Lacy and Jimmy Lyons. His band on the album comprises his frequent confederate Giardullo, long-time friend, bassist Craig Nixon, and drummer Matt Crane. Commitment to a common cause is important to Rosenthal. “It was very important to me to have guys who were willing to rehearse the music until it was ready to record,” he says. “These guys were. They had my back.” Rosenthal’s current working band includes Nixon, saxophonist Chris Kelsey, and drummer Dean Sharp.

Summing up his philosophy, Rosenthal says, “What I strive for in my music is to let all my life experiences come out through the music. My personal struggles and triumphs. Music to me is not about doing fancy or tricky things on an instrument, but to make music that moves people.”

François Grillot Biography

Since François Grillot arrived from Paris in 1980, he has been a part of the story of jazz and improvised music in New York City.

Soon after acquiring his very first contrabass, he started playing around town. One of his first regular gigs was with guitarist Bill Bickford at the legendary Augie’s jazz club, which was an important proving ground for up-and-coming jazz artists.

While maintaining a busy schedule of performing around New York City, François devoted much time and energy to the study of his craft: he studied jazz harmony and writing at City College of NY, took lessons with Linda McKnight, and studied at the East Harlem Music School run by Johnny Colon. He also participated in workshops run by Barry Harris, Dave Holland and Jazz Mobile, among others.

Throughout the 90’s, François continued to develop his style and artistry, performing in a multitude of clubs and bars throughout New York City, working with Bill Bickford, Harold Danko, Mike Clark, Ken Hatfield, and many others.

In 1994, he met Matt Lavelle at the Rainy Daze Jam Session, which had a major impact on his musical direction. The two began a fruitful musical partnership that continues today. They began to rehearse regularly in François’ Hell’s Kitchen apartment (in the kitchen, coincidentally) and developed their own approach to playing standards that stretched the music nearly into free improvisation, but always came back to the theme. This process of rigorous, disciplined, yet soulful experimentation remains a salient characteristic of François’ working method and artistry.

François has collaborated with many of jazz’s most creative and distinguished practitioners: Albey Balgochian, Louie Belogenis, Charles Burnham, Daniel Carter, Roy Campbell, Will Connell, Robert Dick, Marc Edwards, Charles Gayle, Burton Greene, Lou Grassi, William Hooker, Jason Hwang, Jackson Krall, Klaus Kugel, Daniel Levin, Mat Maneri, Michael Marcus, Sabir Mateen, Dom Minasi, Anders Nilsson, Bern Nix, Kevin Norton, William Parker, Jay Rosen, Steve Swell, Michael T.A. Thompson, Michael Wimberly, and many others.

He performs in jazz clubs throughout New York City and beyond, including 55 Bar, Barbes, Bowery Poetry Club, The Knitting Factory, The Lenox Lounge, Zebulon, and, until they was closed down a few years ago, the historic venues CBGB’s and Tonic. François’ festival performances include repeat appearances at New York’s Vision Festival and Hell’s Kitchen Festival, The Montreal Jazz Festival, and throughout Europe, most recently at the Umea Jazz Festival in Sweden.

Early Days

François, age 8, attended the local music school of Chatenoy-le- Royal, and played the cornet in it’s marching band. Then took guitar lessons with Alain Licandro, which lead to the electric bass, playing local bands., and starting to improvise and write. 1978, recorded and toured with Edition Speciale, of guitarist Mimi Lorenzini (RCA – Horizon Digital) 1979, recorded and toured with Mama Bea Tekielski (RCA – Le Chaos) 1980, was playing Ska in London with locals and came back to Burgundy to record with Drummer Serge Bringolf (Omega – Strave) Move to New York in late 1980 and has been living there since.

Tom Cabrera Biography

A Native of Long Island, NY, drummer and multi-percussionist Tom Cabrera began his career in local rock, folk-rock and country bands, but his love of jazz percolated and took over his music making. Early on both a musician and visual artist/painter, Tom was drawn into the world of graphic arts but music soon took over his life and he became a mainstay on the Hudson Valley NY scene.

Cabrera relocated to Orlando, FL, but not before acquiring a frame drum, an event that would prove auspicious to his future work. In Florida Tom gigged constantly, establishing himself as one of the most respected players on the jazz scene there. After meeting his future wife, singer Julie Lyon, they went on to form the Julie Lyon Quartet, a swinging ensemble and released their live album Between Then and Now.

Tom and Julie pulled up stakes, settled back up in the New York metropolitan area and assembled a quintet of remarkable musicians for their Unseen Rain Records release Julie (UR9957).

Tom Cabrera’s Unseen Rain recordings include Julie (UR9957) with the Julie Lyon Quintet,  the trios Lion Hearted (UR9980) and Sumari (UR9962) and his duo with the JLQ’s guitarist Jack DeSalvo have released several albums, among them are Tales of Coming Home (UR9986), Libra Moon (UR9978) and Juniper (UR9966). Soon to be released is Rocco John Iacovone’s Embrace The Change (UR9947) featuring Tom Cabrera on drums and Julie Lyon’s next album is in the works.

In addition to being an incomparable jazz drummer, Cabrera is an adept world percussionist, often adding to the proceedings instruments from all over the planet, particularly the middle-east.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases


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Chicago-based drummer, arranger and explorer of the edges of the jazz tradition Jimmy Bennington visited multifaceted pianist Steve Cohn‘s Hackensack haunts to record this sometimes lyrical, sometimes angular album that not only includes their forays into improvised compositions  but features some very different views of a couple of chestnuts of the jazz repertoire.

TITLE: No Lunch In Hackensack
LABEL: Unseen Rain Records

TUNES: At the Track by the Shack in Hackensack; What Bob Wants to Hear; The President’s Club; Steven;    No Lunch in Hackensack I; Quiet Now (Denny Zeitlin); The Days of Wine and Roses (Henry Mancini);  No Lunch in Hackensack II; For Debbie

PERSONNEL: Jimmy Bennington, Steve Cohn

Jimmy’s drums on this (somewhat) rambling foray into the nether-woods of New Jersey will catch your ears & shake them a bit… the opener alone, “At The Track by the Shack in Hackensack“, immediately shows the rapport these players have… they play off of, around & (even) through each other… I loved the vocals that were gently interspersed throughout (though you can’t quite call it spoken-word… more like “spirits speaking”, I guess you’d say).  I’ve had a few sonic adventures like this myself, where the keyboard player (often) starts off with a kind of direction in mind & the drums trail it & then at some point, jump out ahead of the pack.  The laid-back “Quiet Now” is about as solid a jazz piece as I’ve heard for duo music like this… not at all what you might expect from a simple drum/piano set, but full of life & the love of living it.  You get nine tunes for your long-term aural pleasure and audio adventure… my personal favorite of those tracks is the oddly-titled “What Bob Wants To Hear“… at 12:39,  there was plenty of room for each player to expand their improvisational horizons and do the thing that’s most important on these types of albums – have FUN with it… great high-talent & high-energy playing that will intrigue you and make you want to hear even more.  I give Jimmy & Steve a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  You can get more information at the UNSEEN RAIN RECORDS label page for this release.  — Dick Metcalf

Chicago-based drummer, arranger and explorer of the edges of the jazz tradition Jimmy Bennington visited multifaceted pianist Steve Cohn‘s Hackensack haunts to record this sometimes lyrical, sometimes angular album that not only includes their forays into improvised compositions but features some very different views of a couple of chestnuts of the jazz repertoire.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases


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Unseen Rain Records presents Remolina, featuring legendary clarinetist and saxophonist Blaise Siwula with his remarkable co-conspirators Dmitry Ishenko on double-bass and Dave Miller on drums.

Remolina is an album of eccentric beauty in which an almost clairvoyant interplay envelops the proceedings while still managing to swing with a distinctive lilt.

  • Alba
  • Boreal
  • Diamante
  • Capullo
  • Nemus
  • Riven
  • Viridis
  • Temozón
  • Morisco
  • Girasol
  • Pérgola
  • Rosette
  • Stauros
  • Talavera
  • Dentata

Blaise Siwula
Dmitry Ishenko
Dave Miller

Recorded at Tedesco Studio, Paramus, NJ
Mixed by Todd Urban, Urban Sound, Riverdale, NJ
Masterd by Jim DeSalvo, Beanstudio, Wayne, NJ
Art & design by Qua’s Eye Graphics
Executive producers: Gene Gaudette, Jim DeSalvo, Jack DeSalvo

Produced by Jack DeSalvo

Unseen Rain UR-9944

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

The Trio Comes at Us with Strength and Ideas – Grego Reviews Sumari

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Matt Lavelle (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, alto clarinet Jack DeSalvo (mandola, cello, guitars) Tom Cabrera (bodhrán, tar, riq, doumbek, bass drum
CD Review: 

Sumari, Matt Lavelle, Jack DeSalvo, Tom Cabrera

There are so many excellent modern and avant jazz musicians headquartered in the New York City area today. It confirms the status of New York as a jazz capital of the world, certainly, yet there are fewer and fewer venues to play in. It becomes all the more important for lovers of the music to get to the gigs and show support, and of course buy the CDs.Three New York figures come front and center as very good examples of New York being now on the album Sumari (Unseen Rain 9962). On it we have the trio of Matt Lavelle on trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet and alto clarinet, Jack DeSalvo on mandola, cello and guitar, and Tom Cabrera on bodhran, tar, riq, doumbek, bass drum and miscellaneous percussion.

This is vibrantly eclectic avant jazz with world influences and a flowingly harmolodic sense. Matt plays the trumpet etc. with a mastery that shows an encompassing of the tradition and the essence of the moment. He has much to say and he comes to say it eloquently on the set. There are especially interesting tonal qualities he gets from alternating fingerings on notes, creating timbral and microtonal openings that are quite stimulating to hear. His switch from bass clarinet to alto clarinet recently has inspired him to play some of his very best reed work here as well.

Jack on his battery of instruments lays down foundational sounds that sometimes function as a double bass might do in such a trio setting. Other times they function as a second solo voice. And sometimes as a sort of “world” riffing instrument. He sounds just right here.

Tom similarly gives us rhythmic drive and freedom that functions sometimes in the role of the “drum set,” other times with more overtly world connotations. He is key too to the success of the date.

What’s nice about this one is the very together qualities of the trio as a whole. They are free yet they also have a world-homogenous quality to them. Matt plays some of his best music on disk. Jack and Tom create the varied and creative framework that makes it all work.

I am very happy to hear this one. The trio comes at us with strength and ideas. It all works. It’s all very New York, which means there is the local and the universal all wrapped up into a very “now” music. Excellent!


Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Dawoud Kringle’s Review of The 12 Houses Orchestra

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Concert Review: The 12 Houses Orchestra – The Next Phase In The Development of The Big Band

Date: March 14, 2015

Venue: The Firehouse Space (NY)
Review by Dawoud Kringle

As the cold of the winter of 2015 gave way to spring, I went to Brooklyn’s Firehouse Space to hear The 12 Houses Orchestrathe new project led by Matt Lavelle. I was interested to hear what they would sound like.

Photo courtesy of Matt Lavelle

Matt Lavelle has had an interesting career. Having begun with big band studies (including a high school band tour of the Soviet Union in 1988), he went on to study with former Billie Holiday and Count Bassie sideman Hildred Humphries. He went through his apprenticeship playing “straight” jazz, and later became a mainstay in the famed “Downtown Scene.” He’d played with William Parker, Sabir Mateen, Eric Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Daniel Carter, Roy Campbell, Jemeel Moondoc, and others. He’d also released four CDs as a band leader.

12 Houses are Matt Lavelle (cornet, flugelhorn, alto clarinet, conducting), Tim Stocker (baritone Sax), Charles Waters (alto sax, clarinet), Ras Moshe Burnett: tenor sax, flute), Sweet Lee Odom (soprano sax, clarinet), Laura Ortman (Violin), Stephanie Griffin (Viola), Gil Selinger(cello), Jack DeSalvo (guitar), Francois Grillot (bass), Chris Forbes (piano), John Pietaro (vibes),Ryan Sawyer (drums) and Anais Maviel (vocals)

When I arrived, the 15 piece ensemble was beginning a blues. Lavelle had said that he decided to break custom and play the blues earlier in the set. This was an interesting interpretation of blues theme, with an adventurous arrangement for the large group.

This was followed by a piece written by Lavelle’s student X. It was a very potent melody and harmonic structure, filled with delightful possibilities that the ensemble explored with imagination. Like the previous piece, it was indicative of a newer direction big band jazz has taken.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 2.07.12 AM

The next piece was written about the brutally cold winter we had just recently endured. It had a Mingus- like quality throughout, and evoked the dark desolation and painful cold of the dead of winter eloquently. A highlight was Lavelle’s solo on alto clarinet. He knows how to bring out the tragically overlooked poetic quality of the instrument.

They finished their set with an uptempo powerhouse that invoked the work and vibe of Ornette Coleman and Daniel Carter.

The ensemble was marvelous. Highlights included solos by Ras Moshe Burnett (whose Coltrane-esque explorations drew unexpected life out of the pieces), Forbes, who deftly drew upon all possible styles, DeSalvo, whose ruminations invoked Ornette Coleman ‘s work over a lively uptempo and trombone, whose sense of melodic invention was beautiful.

Their second set began with a piece called “Daniel Carter Blues.” Moshe and Odom began a free improve duet that was occasionally punctuated by hits from the band. On occasion they played long unison note that were slightly out of tune; but the resulting beat frequencies produced a marvelous effect. A blues groove was established, and the piece morphed into a variety of moods as different soloists made their statements.

The next piece was introduced as a healing opening of the heart chakra (“You’re gonna be healed whether you want to or not!”). The piano opened with a beautiful solo. The band responded with a beautiful melody that brought out a gospel groove. “Church” was given a new meaning here.

The remainder if the set was equally incentive and adventurous. Each musician contributed something unique, and Lavelle proved himself a masterful composer and conductor. You must check out The 12 Houses Orchestra.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Dawoud Kringle’s Review of SUMARI

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DooBeeDooBeeDoo NY

 CD Review: Sumari…An Extradimensional Music

SUMARIArtist: Sumari
Title: Sumari
Label: Unseen Rain Records
Genre: nu jazz/improvised music

Review by Dawoud Kringle

“The Sumari, therefore, appear in, or intrude into, the three dimensional system from other dimensions.” – Seth

Thus is the stage set for the music of Sumari.

Sumari is the new CD produced by Jack DeSalvo, and features DeSalvo on cello, guitar, and mandola, Matt Lavelle on trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, and alto clarinet, and Tom Cabrera on dumbeq, rik, drums, bass drum, and percussion.

A cello ostinanto in a smoothly executed cycle of 5 & ½ beats and brushes on cymbals opens the first track “Seth Dances.” A horn line eases in and fulfills the musical statement that began. The stark, minimal structure evokes a sense of movement within a vast space; a glacial landscape wherein at the forefront the piece’s namesake performs a dance invocation. One is confronted with the imagery in an intense, uncompromising impression upon the senses. After an impassioned consummation of the sound, the musicians wring out every possibility from the piece before drawing it to a close.

“Counterparts are Comparatively Encountered” starts with a free form dialogue between the cello and alto clarinet. Percussions lurk with mysterious playfulness in the background. Things take a decidedly jazzy turn without loosing the abstract setting the piece began with. Somehow, the group actually makes free form improvisation swing.

The remainder of the CD (no, I won’t go for a “song by song” breakdown. After all, I wouldn’t want to put any spoilers here!) has a lot of truly inspired moments.

Jack DeSalvo brings a simultaneous intimacy and expansion of tonal and musical ideas to the cello. On “The Gates of Horn” he makes imaginative use of the mandola. It was clear he was the axis, the musical foundation of this project.

Matt Lavelle upholds his well deserved reputation as a skilled and inspired musician. His work on this CD reiterates his position. That said, Lavelle’s work on the arcane alto clarinet is worthy of special mention. He has brought the instrument from the shadows and is showing the world her musical secrets that public prejudice has hidden.

Tom Cabrera’s work on this collection shows an amazing spectrum of musical ideas. His presence here is indispensable, yet his performance is subtle and almost subliminal in the way it insinuates both the necessary and the unique to this music.

The music on Sumari does what it promised. It opens the way for an extra-dimensional world to communicate its ideas and feelings to us.


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Concert Review: The 12 Houses Orchestra – The Next Phase In The Development of The Big Band

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SUMARI – Matt Lavelle, Jack DeSalvo, Tom Cabrera

CD Available HERE

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Review of Sumari from Russia

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SUMARI CD Review from Russia
By Leonid Auskern

Jazz 6/14/2015 

Matt Lavelle (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, alto clarinet Jack DeSalvo (mandola, cello, guitars) Tom Cabrera (bodhrán, tar, riq, doumbek, bass drum, percussion)
Matt Lavelle (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, alto clarinet
Jack DeSalvo (mandola, cello, guitars)
Tom Cabrera (bodhrán, tar, riq, doumbek, bass drum, percussion)

Quite recently I happened to hear all three participants of the Sumari project when I reviewed the JULIE album by the Julie Lyon Quintet. On JULIE their instrumental skill drew attention to these musicians. But it’s one thing to accompany a vocalist in the performance of standards, and quite another to create your own project. We hear quite different music on Sumari and it’s reinforced by a spiritual component common to all participants. To illustrate this thesis, let us remember the extraordinary personality of Jane Roberts. This American writer would fall into a trance and channeled an otherworldly entity named Seth (basically, a name in Egyptian mythology). Roberts outlined Seth’s discourses in “Seth Speaks” and in a number of subsequent books which were of an ethical and metaphysical nature aimed at enhancing the capacity of human self-knowledge. Many years ago, Cabrera and DeSalvo got acquainted with the works of Roberts, leaving them a deep impression, and they casually turned on Lavelle to these ideas. The current CD booklet of the trio is equipped with quotes from Seth and Roberts and the name of the project and the album is a term from the books meaning “Federation of consciousness”. Without touching the more ideological component of the album, let’s go straight to the music.

I listened to this album with great interest and pleasure. All three musicians have already established a solid foundation in jazz, all three are closely connected with downtown culture of the New York avant-garde and all three are adept at free improvisation. To begin with, their instrumentation shows that this is no ordinary project; trumpet (and its variants) plus alto clarinet by Matt Lavelle. Jack DeSalvo on cello, mandola and guitar. Multiplicitous percussion instruments of various timbre and volume are played by Tom Cabrera. This is a three man orchestra of horns-strings-drums. Such a wide arsenal allows these players to make their music unusually rich and diverse. Their improvisations can be ethnically motivated (this is especially noticeable in the Counterparts Are Comparitively Encountered). Without losing the entire freedom of the music, what is visible is the melodic basis of all of the compositions. Impressive is the sky-high steaming trumpet, in which passages of just a few notes sometimes seem infinite, with literally hypnotic themes develop in “Alternate Presents and Multiple Focus”, while a highly energetic finale awaits you at “The Gates of Horn”. In short, a very unusual, very creative recording that is far from free-jazz excesses. This is how I would summarize my impressions of Sumari.

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Insightful Review of SUMARI by Pachi Tapiz on Tomajazz

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Matt Lavelle / Jack DeSalvo / Tom Cabrera: Sumari (Unseen Rain. 2015. CD)

Matt Lavelle, Jack DeSalvo, Tom Cabrera_Sumari_Unseen Rain_2015

The trio formed by Matt Lavelle (trumpet, pocket trumpet, alto clarinet, cornet, flugelhorn), Jack DeSalvo (cello, guitar and mandola), and Tom Cabrera (various percussion), offers in Sumari a proposal of free improvisation that invites the listener to succumb to this music. When the label “free improvisation” appears in the description of an artistic proposal, in many cases we react with a litany of preconceptions (which I will not repeat here). This time the ensemble shows one of the multiple faces that are present in a genre so polyhedral.

On Sumari melodies dominate throughout the entire recording. This is coupled with the wide variety of timbres emanating from the vast number of  instruments employed by the three musicians; more than one dozen according to the list that is included in the folder of the CD. This include a wide variety of small ethnic percussion, both woodwind and brass instruments, in addition to the guitar, cello and the mandola. This different approach to presenting improvisation focuses on the interaction of the musicians forming an important essential element. “Reincarnational Civilizations” has an open, almost cinematic character. “Alternate Presents and Multiple Focus” has magnificent development; after a slow start in which trumpet established direction followed in his speech by his two companions, the piece increases tempo getting the twelve-minute elapsed in a jiffy.

The last two parts provide a new dimension to the music of the trio: “The Gates Of Horn” brings back to memory issues of traditional music, while the short “The Nature of Mass Events” refers to their roots,  African-American jazz, and is a great paradigm of how free improvisation can be just the opposite to what sometimes is it supposed to be. All this takes place after the magnificent beginning with “Seth Dance”, “Counterparts Are Comparetively Encountered” and “Scientific Cults and Private Paranoia” both allow the listener to focus on the ability of the trio to create instant melodies.

© Pachi Tapiz, 2015
Matt Lavelle / Jack DeSalvo / Tom Cabrera: Sumari Matt Lavelle (trumpet, Cornet, flugelhorn, Pocket trumpet, clarinet), Jack DeSalvo (cello, guitar, mandola), Tom Cabrera (percussion, dumbeq, rik, tambourine, bass drum) “Seth Dance”, “Counterparts Are Comparitively Encountered”, “Scientific Cults and Private paranoia”, “Reincarnation Civilizations”, “Alternate Presents and Multiple Focus”, “The Gates of Horn”, “The Nature of Mass Events” all music by Matt Lavelle , Jack DeSalvo, Tom Cabrera Recorded in Beanstudio, Wayne, New Jersey. Released in 2015 by Unseen Rain Records

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Bb Blues – Jack DeSalvo Guitar

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Jack DeSalvo (mandola, cello, classical, electric, and 12-string slide guitars) Tom Cabrera (bodhrán, tar, riq, doumbek, bass drum, cymbals, bells)
Jack DeSalvo (mandola, cello, classical, electric, and 12-string slide guitars) Tom Cabrera (bodhrán, tar, riq, doumbek, bass drum, cymbals, bells)
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JACK DeSALVO – guitar (Godin Multiac ACS SA classical) JOEL SHAPIRA – guitar (1948 Gibson L-12)
JACK DeSALVO – guitar (Godin Multiac ACS SA classical) JOEL SHAPIRA – guitar (1948 Gibson L-12)
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JACK DeSALVO – mandola, cello, guitar, HERB KLOSS – flute, alto flute, TOM CABRERA – frame drums, tombak,riq, darbuka, percussion
JACK DeSALVO – mandola, cello, guitar, HERB KLOSS – flute, alto flute, TOM CABRERA – frame drums, tombak,riq, darbuka, percussion
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Like predecessor recordings My Goals Beyond by John McLaughlin and Bill Connors’ Theme To The Guardian on ECM, Jack DeSalvo gives his music a most personal rendering utilizing only six and 12-string acoustic guitars and includes perhaps his most well-known piece, Pramantha.
Like predecessor recordings My Goals Beyond by John McLaughlin and Bill Connors’ Theme To The Guardian on ECM, Jack DeSalvo gives his music a most personal rendering utilizing only six and 12-string acoustic guitars and includes perhaps his most well-known piece, Pramantha.
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On their second album for UNSEEN RAIN, Tom Cabrera and Jack DeSalvo provide a global environment for their virtuosic, improvised renderings of deep, passionate music featuring an amazing collection of instruments, including frame drums, mandola, riq, cello, tombak, guitar and darbuka. The result is crystalline beauty, as rare as a Libra Moon.
On their second album for UNSEEN RAIN, Tom Cabrera and Jack DeSalvo provide a global environment for their virtuosic, improvised renderings of deep, passionate music featuring an amazing collection of instruments, including frame drums, mandola, riq, cello, tombak, guitar and darbuka. The result is crystalline beauty, as rare as a Libra Moon.
All music by Jack DeSalvo
All music by Jack DeSalvo
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Tom Cabrera, frame drum and percussion Jack DeSalvo, guitar
Tom Cabrera, frame drum and percussion
Jack DeSalvo, guitar
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Dan Willis, soprano and tenor saxophones Jack DeSalvo, guitar, alto guitar, mandola, mandolin Lee Marvin, double bass Jon Berger , drums and percussion
Dan Willis, soprano and tenor saxophones
Jack DeSalvo, guitar, alto guitar, mandola, mandolin
Lee Marvin, double bass
Jon Berger , drums and percussion

Time Remembered: Live at Shapeshifter Lab

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PAT HALL’s TIME REMEMBERED plays Scott Lafaro’s Gloria’s Step at the UNSEEN RAIN FESTIVAL at Shapeshifter Lab.
Or download the studio album:
“While Pat Hall could stand on stage with any ensemble, his ability to blend and gently guide this eclectic 4tet is worthy of special note. Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis is a critically acclaimed performer cut from the Larry Young mold while guitarist Marvin Sewell and drummer Mike Campenni provide the finesse necessary to help tie these compositions together.”  – Brent Black

Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans

  1. Gloria’s Step
  2. Waltz for Debbie
  3. Spring Is Here
  4. Elsa
  5. Know What I Mean
  6. Time Remembered
  7. Peri’s Scope

Pat Hall (trombone)
Greg ‘Organ Monk’ Lewis (Hammond organ)
Marvin Sewell (guitar)
Mike Campenni (drums)

Recorded at Tedesco Studio, Paramus, NJ
Mixed and mastered by Jim DeSalvo at Beanstudio, Wayne, NJ
Executive producers: Gene Gaudette, Jim DeSalvo, Jack DeSalvo

Produced by Chris Kelsey

Unseen Rain UR-9980

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

“…an artistic work of passion.” – LA Jazz Reviews Harmonic Monk

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Matt Lavelle & John Pietaro – “Harmolodic Monk”Hmonk1
Unseen Rain Records

Matt Lavelle, cornet/flugelhorn/alto clarinet; John Pietaro, vibraphone/bodhran/ congas/percussion.

Here is another artistic endeavor to celebrate Thelonius Monk’s historic compositions. Right off the bat, Lavelle’s horn grabs my attention, singing “Epistrophe” with Pietaro using percussion techniques and vibraphone to support Lavelle’s solo journey. I enjoyed the simplicity of sound that allowed Monks melodies to shine. For just two people to decide to provide an entire album of Monk’s music for our listening pleasure, I assume they must be improvisational wizards. Here is an artistic work of passion. Some of the songs are eight and nine minutes long. It takes talent, inspiration and tenacity for two people to fill up nearly ten minutes playing a single song. Lavelle takes time to talk to himself with his various horns on a single tune, laying down the cornet to pick up alto clarinet or flugelhorn. Pietaro, an adept percussionist, paints the tunes with various shades of instrumentation on vibraphone, bells, using whistle sounds, congas and various other percussive layers. This is an album of personal expression and passionate improvisation. – Dee Dee McNeil


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Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Wonderful Harmolodic Monk Review from Croatia

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Sound Guardian Review of Harmolodic MonkUR9953.inside_right_For_CD

The title says it all! It reminds us of two jazz musicians who have marked the genre musical with innovation and distinctive authoritative work: saxophonist Ornette Coleman and pianist Thelonious Monk. While both early career met with incomprehension, even neglect, today they are celebrated as giants. Monk is one of the greatest composers in history of jazz, an author of a wealth of songs that have become jazz standards. His creativity is still an inspiration for new generations of jazz – and not only jazz musicians. Many of them are recorded themed albums with his compositions, among others the famous soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, who was a great admirer of his work.

One of the most important representatives of free-jazz, Coleman founded his own musical concept – philosophy – which he called Harmolodics, and based it on his own composition/improvisation principles. Multi-instrumentalists Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro decided to record a theme album that honors both. The Monk’s works are processed in a manner close to Coleman harmolodics concept. The template for improvisation are found in some of Monk’s most famous songs: “Epistrophy”, “Pannonica”, “‘Round Midnight”, “Crepescule With Nellie”, “Ruby My Dear”, “Blue Monk”, “Monk’s Mood” and “In Walked Bud “, but also those less known to a wider circle of listeners, such as” Green Chimneys “and” Let’s Cool One “.

In addition to  the musical setting, Lavelle, who plays cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet, and Pietaro, who plays the vibraphone, bodhran (Irish drum similar to the Arabic instruments related defu), congas and percussion, their approach is based on the philosophy of a grand music. For example, there is the significant Coleman’s story about his appearance at the psychiatric ward of a hospital when, looking at the audience, he could not distinguish between physicians from patients, as well as Bartok’s belief that new music has to be deeply rooted in folk music, the world’s musical heritage. All these experiences and consolidate completely in their vision of contemporary improvised music.

Although they are virtuosos who play musical instruments, that aspect is secondary. Primary is a new approach to standards, sound research, communication and interaction. The music that We would be happy to listen to some of this music at the upcoming  Zagreb Biennial.

– Davor Hrvoj, Sound Guardian
Dragutin Andrić, Editor-In-Chief

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Suberb Review of Harmolodic Monk in Highland Magazine

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Harmolodic Monk (UR9953)
Emblematic of bebop, growing out of stride piano playing including ragtime styles, Thelonious Monk is a jazz legend, a prolific composer and improviser of the highest level. He remains, in fact, a continual source of inspiration.

How do we then distinguish from the various tributes to his glory? Lavelle and Pietaro have the solution, applying Ornette Coleman’s Harmolodic theory to this music.

Explaining this seeming arcane musical vision is the challenge. It consists of a fusion of harmony and melody in a polyphony sans the usual constrictions. In a free jazz approach, this allows for more than one musician playing the same melody but starting at different pitches, so tonality per-se doesn’t govern the music but instead tones, rhythm, melody, tempo are all equal, which Ornette calls unison.

And what could be more natural than to see multi-instrumentalist Matt Lavelle present in this project? It is indeed his time with Ornette Coleman, which makes him all the more legitimate to carry this adventure. Playing in turn cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet and alto clarinet, Lavelle is joined by John Pietaro on vibes, congas, percussion and the Irish drum known as the bodhran.

Ambitious and promising …

Epistrophy: The spooky atmosphere gives us a glimpse of this concept as Lavelle holds the melody from the top of his clarinet and Pietaro digresses nicely with percussion, together forming an inseparable whole. Captivating, enhanced by mic’ing closer to the instrumentalists. This complex piece is
tamed for us and all its subtlety is revealed.

Pannonica follows this line, with a more digressive Lavelle, though again in a harmonious musical symbiosis. Green Chimneys brings color to the music, thanks to almost tribal percussion followed by a warm flugelhorn at every turn.

Round Midnight is also fascinating with the first vibraphone alone,
suspending the time for three minutes, seemingly more traditional yet still so ethereal. A no less excellent version of a Monk title is Crepuscule With Nellie featuring a break in improvisation that is close enough to the original to be sobering. Lavelle grants himself the right to play solo, shattering everything with musical brilliance. If Monk fans are skeptical of the ownership
of these titles, this should settle them!

Ruby My Dear has the same relevance to original melody, but this time it’s Pietaro’s vibraphone. Equally adept, he repeats the feat by remaining close to the original while applying the theory of harmolodics solo! The result is even more convincing! Let’s Cool One is somewhat less powerful in its rendering, needing a more striking arrival.

Due to its length (nearly 10 minutes), Blue Monk is the most difficult of pieces to grasp. With Lavelle resolutely putting free jazz forward, some listeners may want to leave it on the side of the road on the way. However, if one perseveres, the experience is truly rich and powerful.

The most whimsical moment arrives with Monk’s Mood. With his famous bodhran, Pietaro breathes a different atmosphere into the proceedings, a world music approach, differently from Lavelle is doing. Pietaro plays his instrument fiercely, playing each breath to emit sounds that are amazingly refreshing and gratifying! In Walked Bud closes the album as it began, a harmolodic replica. A beautiful finale.

The bet was risky but it pays off: The formation of a charismatic duo – Lavelle and Pietaro keep their original commitment.

Sublimely produced by Jack DeSalvo, HARMOLODIC MONK is a beautiful album. Monk fans may not appreciate everything, but that’s what makes it so much than just a tribute

Since it may be difficult to approach for the uninitiated it deserves a good
listening because the effort is worth the reward.Though a tad long it lacks nothing in inspiration to keep us constantly surprised. You’ll enjoy a great experience finding out!
– Axel Scheyder

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Fulminate Trio: Triangulation (UR9949)

Anders Nilsson (guitar), Ken Filiano (double-bass, effects),Michael Evans (drums-percussion)

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Fulminate Trio is a union of astonishing improvisers who create vast soundscapes with guitar, double-bass, drums and effects that would make jazz aficionados best pals with Stockhausen and the great contemporary composers. Not to mention a Buffy Sainte-Marie tune thrown in for good measure.


  1. Maple Sugar Boy
  2. Otra Cosa Aparte
  3. Penumbra
  4. Sex and Violence
  5. Resectioning

Recorded February 24, 2014 Tedesco Studio, Paramus, NJ
Mixed and Mastered by Jim DeSalvo at Beanstudio, Wayne, NJDesign by Qua’s Eye Graphix
Executive producers: Gene Gaudette, Jim DeSalvo and Jack DeSalvo

Produced by Jack DeSalvo

Triangulation – Fulminate Trio

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UR9949.folderFulminate Trio’s debut Unseen Rain recording – available now in HD and CD quality and mp3.

HD Apple Lossless – $10.99

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  1. Maple Sugar Boy
  2. Otra Cosa Aparte
  3. Penumbra
  4. Resectioning
  5. Sex and Violence

Fulminate Trio

Anders Nilsson (guitar), Ken Filiano (double bass, electrionics),Michael Evans (drums and percussion)

Recorded February 24, 2014 Tedesco Studio, Paramus, NJ
Design by Qua’s Eye Graphix
Mixed and Mastered by Jim DeSalvo at Beanstudio, Wayne, NJ
Executive producers: Gene Gaudette, Jim DeSalvo and Jack DeSalvo
Produced by Jack DeSalvo

  1. Maple Sugar Boy
  2. Otra Cosa Aparte
  3. Penumbra
  4. Resectioning
  5. Sex and Violence

Fulminate Trio
Anders Nilsson (guitar), Ken Filiano (double bass, electrionics), Michael Evans (drums and percussion)

Recorded February 24, 2014 Tedesco Studio, Paramus, NJ
Design by Qua’s Eye Graphix
Mixed and Mastered by Jim DeSalvo at Beanstudio, Wayne, NJ
Executive producers: Gene Gaudette, Jim DeSalvo and Jack DeSalvo
Produced by Jack DeSalvo

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases


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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

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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)

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Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Review of JULIE on Hungary’s

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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



Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

“fascinating and compelling” – Artlink reviews Harmolodic Monk

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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

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

HARMOLODIC MONK Review from Sandy Brown Jazz

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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.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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

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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

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

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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

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Could Become a Milestone of the Genre: Harmolodic Monk

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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.