Grego Reviews Harmolodic Monk

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

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

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

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

posted by grego applegate edwards

http://youtu.be/Gb9A3n306fA
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JORIS TEEPE’S WORKAHOLIC NOW AVAILABLE ON CD

Get Joris Teepe – Workaholic on CD HERE UR9953.Workaholic_cover_CDB

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“…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

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UNSEEN RAIN FESTIVAL April 12, ShapeShifter

 

February 19, 2015To: Listings/Critics/Features
From: Jazz Promo Services
Press Contact: Jim Eigo, jim@jazzpromoservices.com
www.jazzpromoservices.com 
UNSEEN RAIN FESTIVAL
presents
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 RECORDS: MAKING THE INVISIBLE AUDIBLE…

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) 599-0060NewMassesMedia@gmail.comwww.DissidentArts.com

Media Contact
Jim Eigo

Jazz Promo Services
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Review of JULIE on Hungary’s gondola.hu

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 CD HERE

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

Website: www.julielyonquartet.com

 

“fascinating and compelling” – Artlink reviews Harmolodic Monk

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

HARMOLODIC MONK Review from Sandy Brown Jazz

Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro

Harmolodic Monk

By Howard Lawes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to sample the album.