Category: 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.

Gina Loves Jazz on Harmolodic Monk

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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

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

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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.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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

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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
(progdawg@hotmail.com)
Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.

Available HERE.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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

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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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Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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

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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;)

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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

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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

HARMOLODIC MONK CD Available HERE

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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

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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
Auskern, http://jazzquad.ru/index.pl?act=PRODUCT&id=3973

CD available HERE.

 

 

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

“Special Sauce” : Julie reviewed by Midwest Record

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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.
UR9957

CD Available HERE.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Matt Lavelle’s 12 Houses Recording Session

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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.

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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

 

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Terrific Review of Pat Hall: Time Remembered by Rotcod Zzaj

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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

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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

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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

 

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Review of Joris Teepe’s workaholic on JazzFlits

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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

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Audiophile Audition Review of Pat Hall: Time Remembered

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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

UR9960.FINAL_Time_Remembered_credits

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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Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

All About Jazz Review of Pat Hall: Time Remembered

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

By JOHN EPHLAND,

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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

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/time-remembered-the-music-of-bill-evans-by-john-ephland.php?width=2560#.VC1Ow-fORa7

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

JOSH CAMPBELL’S REVIEW OF HARMOLODIC MONK

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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

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Review of Juniper on Wondering Sound

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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.
http://www.wonderingsound.com/news/new-jazz-week-ritmos-unidos-eric-reed-jason-moran/

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Pat Hall’s Time Remembered Reviewed by George Fendel

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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
http://www.unseenrainrecords.com/?p=880

CD Review: http://www.jsojazzscene.org/cdreviews.htm

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.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

JORIS TEEPE’s NEW ALBUM WORKAHOLIC UR9952 NOW AVAILABLE

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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.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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

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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.

Download HERE

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

JUN 29 HARMOLODIC MONK Album Release Event Whynot Jazz Room

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HARMOLODIC MONK Album Release Event

Whynot Jazz Room, Sunday, July29, 7:30PM 14 Christopher St, NYC

UR9953.CoverA_Flat_for CDB

Harmolodic Monk is matt Lavelle (trumpet, alto clarinet, flugelhorn) and John Pietaro (vibes, percussion). The pair will be performing a set of selections from their Unseen Rain Records debut album, one which explores some of the greatest compositions of Thelonious Monk by way of the expansive visions of Ornette Coleman with special guests Jack DeSalvo on banjo and Tom Cabrera on frame drum. According to the album’s producer, Jack DeSalvo:

“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.

Bëla Bartók 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 Fuller’s 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.”

This event is part of Andrea Wolper‘s Why Not Experiment? series.

Download HARMOLODIC MONK HERE

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

5 Stars for Pat Hall Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans UR9960

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pat Hall Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans UR9960

Pat Hall embraces the spirit of Bill Evans with a unique vision and with great success!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Bill Evans compositions are covered on a fairly regular basis. An entire release devoted to perhaps the greatest harmonic genius in improvisational music is not uncommon, a release that pushes the music forward is uncommon. Pat Hall has assembled a first rate trombone / organ trio to examine four Evans classics, a Rogers and Hart standard and two compositions from bassist Scott LaFaro and composer Earl Zindars who are both closely tied to the Evans legacy. The result is a more contemporary excursion down that rare harmonic road less traveled where Bill Evans became a legend.
The quiet reverence of Evans now is meticulously etched with soul, swing and a lyrical edge that takes these treasured compositions to the next level of possibilities rather than the same predictable formatted covers so often released. 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. The arrangements are solid yet forward thinking while the execution is exemplary.
Admittedly, Bill Evans purists may at first balk at such an unorthodox attempt to pay tribute while the more harmonically in tune will be entranced at the possibilities that are always inside a beautiful melody.
Tracks: 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: Hammon Organ; Marvin Sewell: Guitar; Mike Campenni: Drums.


Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Media Alert: Pat Hall – Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans (Unseen Rain UR9960) Street Date August 5,

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Jim Eigo

June 17, 2014

Pat Hall: Trombone, Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis: Organ, Marvin Sewell: Guitar, Mike Campenni: Drums

http://www.unseenrainrecords.com/?p=880

CD Review:

See your review on the site

 

 Honoring Bill Evans, June 16, 2014By Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States)
This review is from: Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans (MP3 Music)William John Evans, known as Bill Evans (August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980), was an American jazz pianist and composer who mostly worked in a trio setting. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, and is considered by some to have been the most influential post-World War II jazz pianist. Evans’s use of impressionist harmony, inventive interpretation of traditional jazz repertoire, block chords, and trademark rhythmically independent, “singing” melodic lines continue to influence jazz pianists today. Unlike many other jazz musicians of his time, Evans never embraced new movements like jazz fusion or free jazz.Along with an extraordinary band – Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis on Hammond organ, Marvin Sewell on guitar and drummer Mike Campenni – Pat Hall takes a parallax view into the oeuvre of Bill Evans.

According to the liner notes by Chris Kelsey, “Pat Hall has done it. He’s substituted overt passion for Bill Evans’ quiet reserve, impulsive chance taking for the pianist’s crystalline perfection. In place of the classic piano trio instrumentation so closely associated with Evans, he’s used something nearly it’s polar opposite. Some jazz musicians inspire such slavish devotion that their oeuvre becomes inviolable, something not to be interpreted but rather worshipped, something so precious that any stylistic deviation is akin to heresy. Bill Evans is that type of musician: a supremely gifted artist, certainly, but someone whose creative contribution is occasionally threatened to be subsumed by the slavering reverence bestowed on him as a jazz icon. In a sense then, Pat Hall’s unconventional essaying of compositions by Evans can be seen as an act of almost quixotic bravery. Bill Evans’ compositions re-imagined for a band led by a trombonist – and with the keyboard chair occupied by a Hammond organist, no less! Were the fictional barrister Jackie Chiles an Evans-o-phile, he might call such an endeavor “seditious, pernicious, avaricious … inauspicious!” Pat is like the “Everybody” in the album title. He digs Bill Evans. Digs, but doesn’t worship, in the same way that it’s possible to love one’s parent but not want to live life the same way or make the exact same choices.’

The ensemble again is Pat Hall, trombone, Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis, organ, Marvin Sewell, guitar, and Mike Campenni, drums and the tracks are:
Gloria’s Step
Waltz For Debby
Spring is Here
Elsa
Know what I Mean?
Time Remembered
Peri’s Scope

You’re bound to remember time remembered. Grady Harp, June 14

 

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 jim@jazzpromoservices.com, www.jazzpromoservices.com

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

CHRIS KELSEY’S WHAT I SAY WINS IMA AWARD for Best Tribute Album

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http://youtu.be/a6sIQXur-28
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Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 2.24.06 PMTHE ELECTRIC MILES PROJECT

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Chris Kelsey, electric saxophones
What I Say: Rolf Strum, electric guitar • Jack DeSalvo, electric guitar • Joe Gallant, electric bass • Dean Sharp, drums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARMOLODIC MONK – MATT LAVELLE, JOHN PIETARO UR9953 Now Available

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UR9953.Cover_front_Back   Listen HERE Purchase HERE

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.

Bëla Bartók 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 Fuller’s 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.

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

Jazz Police Review of Inherence (UR9963)

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“Inherence”: Joel Shapira Celebrates Duo Guitar Release at the Black Dog, February 5th
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor Jazz Police
Tuesday, 04 February 2014
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Inherence

Former student and mentor, guitarists Joel Shapira and Jack DeSalvo, reunited recently via the internet, and soon found themselves in a New Jersey recording studio. The result is Inherence (Unseen Rain Records), an intriguing and luminous set of guitar duos which Shapira –sans DeSalvo–will celebrate on February 5th at the Black Dog Cafe in St. Paul’s Lowertown Arts District. Standing in for DeSalvo (unable to get to Minnesota from the East Coast) will be Minnesota’s own guitar guru, Dean Granros.

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St. Paul native Joel Shapira studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and at the Mannes School of  Music in New York City, as well as with Tal Farlow, Joe Pass, Sharon Isbin, and Anthony Cox. Active in the Twin Cities for the past 16  years, he leads his trio and quartet, provides the instrumental half of the popular duo, Charmin (Michelle) and Shapira and coleads their expanded Charmin and Shapira and Friends. He’s led the ensembles Triplicate and Pooches Playhouse and frequently appears with Dean Magraw, Pete Whitman, John Devine, Vic Volare, and a who’s who list of area vocalists. Joel’s previous recordings include two releases with Charmin Michelle (Pure Imagination, Dawning and Daylight), his quartet debut (Open Lines) and two albums with Triplicate (Triplicate, Day and Age).

Jack DeSalvo picked up the guitar at age 8 and was playing in rock bands by his early teens. Soon he discovered the blues and picked up mandolin and harmonica. But hearing a recording of the Mahavishnu Orchestra turned him onto modern jazz, particularly Coltrane and early Miles, and Jack began to study classical guitar and composition as well as improvisation. After playing around New Jersey clubs for a while, he enrolled at the Berklee College of Music and studied George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concepts. Returning to New York, he continued composiing and began studying with Bill Connors (Return to Forever), who encourage him to meld his classical and jazz approaches. Jack built his international reputation as a member of D3, Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society, and in duo with vibist Arthur Lipner, playing electric and acoustic guitars.

One of the Midwest’s most accomplished guitarists, Dean Granros co-founded of one of the Twin Cities seminal experimental jazz groups, “The Whole Earth Rainbow Band” in 1970, and in 1974 he created and wrote for “Lapis,” an ensemble dedicated to exploring composition with structured improvisation.  From 1985 through 1993, Dean joined former Weather Report drummer, Eric Kamau Gravatt, in the high energy post-bop band, Kamanari.  He co-founded the progressive and virtuosic improvising trio F*K*G in 1995 with saxophonist Scott Fultz and drummer Dave King. In 2002, he joined George Cartwright’s band Curlew, and about a year later began playing weekly at the Artist Quarter with the exploratory quartet, How Birds Work. Granros continues to perform locally with groups such as Starry Eyed Lovelies (with Mike Lewis, Anthony Cox and Dave King), FKG and How Birds Work. His ensemble “AntiGravity” explores new directions in  improvisational composition.

Inherence (2014, Unseen Rain Records)

Joel and Jack first met in a Tower Records in Greenwich Village about 20 years ago after Shapira had moved from Berklee in Boston to studies at the Mannes School for Music in New York. “Great musicians worked and hung out at Tower,” Joel said in a recent interview with Bill Steiger. “Right away, just by talking, I could tell that Jack and I had a lot of musical common ground. We both played with our fingers, like flamenco guitarists, instead of using picks. We shared a love of classical music as well as jazz. I ended up studying guitar and music theory with Jack. He taught me about the commitment involved in playing jazz, especially in New York City, where great players were a dime a dozen… New York was the best city to start performing as a professional, and, of course, studying with Jack was the icing on the cake.”

After losing contact for the past two decades, social media brought student and mentor together. “The internet changed everything,” said Joel. “A couple of searches and—boom!–there he was.” The two talked about getting together to record some duets at Jack’s brother’s studio in New Jersey. And thus in one afternoon at Beanstudio with engineer Jim DeSalvo, the pair recorded Inherence without rehearsals. “It was a challenge,” said Joel, ” but I was so excited to be in New York and recording with Jack that the occasion reached a sort of spiritual vibe. For me, it felt like the full circle element on the music we had worked on years ago… A quality recording, made under that kind of time constraint brought out what I feel is the best in jazz musicians. No rehearsal. Let’s just do it. Let’s play! Inherence captures more of that improvisational quality than anything I’ve ever played.”

That afternoon session produced 11 tracks — four Wayne Shorter compositions (“Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum,” “House of Jade,” “Virgo” and “Nefertiti”), Ralph Towner’s “Celeste,” the great standard “Just Friends,” three DeSalvo originals, and two spontaneous improvisations from the duo.

DeSalvo’s “Instance” opens the set, a rather insistent and virtuosic display with a more tender midsection. Jack’s “Naiads” follows with a more defined melody, a more conversational collaboration as if friends are swapping life stories. The title track has a more jagged rhythm– a more animated conversation filled with playful jokes and more serious recollections, equally shared and magnificently played.  Of the Wayne Shorter pieces, “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum” is alternately driving and melodic; “Virgo,” “House of Jade” and the closing “Nefertiti” are luxurious meanders for two. “Just Friends” picks up the pace with an energetic exchange, while Ralph Towner’s “Celeste” is spacious and songful, one line bleeding into the next like watercolors.

The two spontaneous compositions, “Joja” and “January East” offer the most interesting harmonies and rhythms of the set, a pair of experiments that highlight the mutual trust and respect among these guitarists who show no fear of the unknown, just a willingness to challenge each other; ultimately the listener accepts the challenge and hangs on for the ride.

Inherence is defined as a “state of being a natural or integral part of something” or “the state of being present, current existence.” The musical reunion of Jack DeSalvo and Joel Shapira is indeed a state of being present, in the moment, each artist essential to the existence of each note.

The Black Dog offers an intimate environment well suited to the music of Inherence, and the substitution of Dean Granros for Jack DeSalvo is well suited to the interaction with Joel Shapira. This pairing will naturally alter the interaction, creating new music.

The Black Dog is located at 308 Prince Street (at Broadway) in St Paul’s Lowertown; www.blackdogstpaul.com. Music begins at 7:30 pm. CDs available at the show and by direct mail order – contact Joel at joelshapira@msn.com

PAT HALL – TIME REMEMBERED: The Music Of Bill Evans

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UR9960_Time_Remembered_Pat_HallPAT HALL – trombone, GREG “ORGAN MONK” LEWIS – organ, MARVIN SEWELL – guitar, MIKE CAMPENNI – drums

Pat Hall has done it. He’s substituted overt passion for Bill Evans’ quiet reserve, impulsive chance-taking for the pianist’s crystalline perfection. In place of the classic piano trio instrumentation so closely-associated with Evans, he’s used something nearly it’s polar opposite.”
– from liner notes by Chris Kelsey

Listen HERE Purchase HERE Watch Video HERE

Available now on iTunes, CD Baby and just about everywhere else.

 

Categories: UNSEEN RAIN Releases

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