“explosive musicality” – Dee Dee McNeil reviews 12 HOUSES – SOLIDARITY

Media Alert: Matt Lavelle’s 12 Houses “Solidarity”  – Unseen Rain Records UR9945

MATT LAVELLE – cornet, flugelhorn, alto clarinet, conduction, LEE ODOM – soprano saxophone and clarinet,    CHARLES UR9945 Solidarity MINIWATERS – alto saxophone and clarinet, RAS MOSHE BURNETT – tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, bells, TIM STOCKER –  baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, MARY CHERNEY – flute, piccolo,   CLAIRE de BRUNNER – bassoon,   CHRIS FORBES – piano, LAURA ORTMAN – violin,   GIL SELINGER – cello,  ANDERS NILSSON – guitar, JACK DeSALVO –  banjo, mandolin,    JOHN PIETARO – vibraphone, percussion, FRANÇOIS GRILLOT – double-bass,   RYAN SAWYER – drums,ANAÏS MAVIEL – voice


CD Review: https://musicalmemoirs.wordpress.com/

 By Dee Dee McNeil


Unseen Rain Records

Matt Lavelle, cornet/flugelhorn/alto clarinet & conductor; Lee Odom, soprano saxophone/clarinet; Charles Waters, alto saxophone/clarinet; Ras Moshe Burnett, tenor and soprano saxophone/flue/bells; Tim Stocker, baritone saxophone/bass clarinet; Mary Cherney, flute,piccolo; Claire de Brunner, bassoon; Chris Forbes, piano; Laura Ortman, violin; Gil Selinger,, cello; Anders Nillson, guitar; Jack DeSalvo, banjo, mandola; John Pietaro, vibraphone, percussion; François Grillot, double bass; Ryan Sawyer, drums; Anaïs Maviel, voice.

The first song Is dark, full of strings and horns that remind me of gardens packed with honey bees and flies. The instrumentation encourages strings to be bowed and tones to be bent. Consequently, they sound very much like insects to me. It’s titled “solidarity”, the same as the CD. The composer must have had something specific in mind, but I probably would have titled it, ‘Spring Garden.’ Lavelle has composed everything on this production. He is the conductor and plays cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet. His concept is to hire master jazz players and challenge them to improvise on his musical themes using both traditional, classical instruments. This includes Claire de Brunner on bassoon and Gil Selinger on cello; Ras Moshe Burnett on reeds and Charles Waters on alto sax and clarinet. It’s not an odd premise to throw traditionally classical instruments into the arms of jazz musicians, since jazz is often referred to as America’s unique classical art form. However, this project seems to be melting chamber orchestra and big band music together over an unusual premise of improvisation, freedom and Avant Garde. The song “Faith” gives us a taste of New Orleans verve and Kansas City spicy ‘Swing’. However, the resulting responsiveness between players fosters explosive musicality to interpret Lavelle’s compositional focus. His desire to mix genres is both interesting and challenging. It leaves the final review to be culminated by the ears and in the hands of you, the listener.

HD flac 24/96 Download – $10.99

CD Quality flac Download – $9.99

mp3 Download – $8.99

“…interaction, composition, fiery hot soloing…” Mike Greenblatt reviews EMBRACE THE CHANGE

Media Alert: Rocco John Quartet “Embrace The Change” (Unseen Rain UR-9947) Street Date: May 6, 2016ROCCO JOHN IACOVONE alto and soprano saxophones, RICH ROSENTHAL guitar, FRANÇOIS GRILLOT double-bass, TOM CABRERA drums

CD Review:

Rocco John Quartet Has Good Advice: ‘Embrace the Change’ on Unseen Rain Records [REVIEW]

Rocco John

Rocco John Iacovone (Photo : courtesy Unseen Rain Records)

There’s no telling where Rocco John Iacovone will go. The sax man studied under Lee Konitz and Sam Rivers. In the case of the latter, John has successfully taken the Rivers dictum (if they can’t understand it, go even further!) and whittled away at it, sanding it down, putting on a coat of varnish, to ultimately let his listeners alternately swoon and get excited. Embrace the Change (Unseen Rain Records) is more than a CD title. It’s good life advice.

In taking from the avant-garde, but making it accessible, John, whose alto and soprano saxes blow wild and free throughout, has fashioned a terrific one-stop that fills all your needs for melody, harmonics (or, in this case, shall we say harmolodics as taught to us by Ornette Coleman), interaction, composition, fiery hot soloing (check out Rich Rosenthal’s electric guitar!) and the bulwark of a rhythm section — double-bassist Francois Grillot and drummer Tom Cabrera — that not only keeps things kinetic but also anchors the avant and keeps things from getting out of hand.

Opening and closing with “Wings,” a post-bop humdinger that challenges our assumptions immediately, the highlights have to be “Dial Up,” an eight-minute plea to the heavens for assistance, and “72’s,” almost eleven minutes of pure disparate intentions, a cross-pollination of ideas from swing and bebop to fusion all in one over-reaching but successful track. You can add the extremely satisfying 9:52 “Tango” to the highlight reel.

Recorded in New Jersey, produced by Jack DeSalvo, Embrace the Change works because this particular change is still within earshot of the masses, if only said masses would just lighten up a bit and stretch their brains to the ferreting out of this kind of talent instead of having every musical morsel served to them on a silver platter. C’mon y’all! Up to the task?

© 2015 Classicalite All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

10.99 – High Definition 24/96 FLAC

9.99 – CD Quality FLAC

8.99 – MP3


From Russia: Great Review of ROCCO JOHN’s EMBRACE THE CHANGE.

roccojMedia Alert: Rocco John Quartet “Embrace The Change”
(Unseen Rain UR-9947)
ROCCO JOHN IACOVONE alto and soprano saxophones, RICH ROSENTHAL guitar, FRANÇOIS GRILLOT double-bass, TOM CABRERA drums

CD Review: http://jazzquad.ru/index.pl?act=PRODUCT&id=4418

By Leonid Auskern

Alto saxophonist Rocco John Iacovone had excellent teachers, these mentors, however, came from very different places on the musical map. On one hand Rocco played in the brilliant free jazz master Sam Rivers’ Orchestral Explorations, and, on the other he studied with the master of cool-jazz Lee Konitz. His own playing style was formed under the influence of both of these artists. If you find it hard to UR9947 Embrace The change MINIimagine such a combination, listen to Embrace The Change, the most recent album of the quartet of Rocco John. He founded his first band in 1997 (then it was the trio), and today Rocco John Iacovone is a prominent figure among the avant-garde scene of New York, founder and art director of the Coalition of Creative Artists.

Embrace The Change has Rocco playing with Rich Rosenthal, an accomplished guitar player who overcame some early vicissitudes, a New York Frenchman, bassist François Grillot and drummer Tom Cabrera, who is the only one of the four of whom I had heard earlier on his wife Julie Lyon’s album Julie, also published by Unseen Rain Records. All the tracks of Embrace The Change were written by Rocco John, and this is not a random collection of disparate pieces but rather a conceptual suite dedicated to a deeply philosophical theme, the evolution of human existence.

Following the ancient Greek sage Heraclitus, who argued that in the same river one can not enter twice, Rocco John defends the idea that the only constant in the evolution of man is eternal movement, eternal change, and to which man can only adapt. By means of music, of course, may seem too abstract a tool for solving this problem, but in the avant-garde, mostly free-form jazz of Rocco John, indisputably genuine feeling is present, not to mention the purely aesthetic pleasure from listening to the playing of this quartet of musicians. I especially would like to mention such compositions as Circuits (the relationship of people living with each other – Rocco provides all the explanations of the songs in the liner notes to this work), Tango, which he described as the dance of life and a very unusual song 72’s (“Communication with infinity” says Rocco John), where the second part suddenly starts to sound background of the famous Jewish song “Eveynu Shalom Aleichem”, which in Hebrew means “We wish you peace”. It is probably not by chance that this wish of peace was included by Rocco John in his suite.

10.99 – High Definition 24/96 FLAC

9.99 – CD Quality FLAC

8.99 – MP3



If the eclectic and Avant Garde is your cup of tea, sit back and pour Rocco_Front1yourself a cup of the Rocco John Quartet. Drums and saxophone explode on the scene with intensity and purpose. Every song on this production is composed by Rocco John Iacovone. His bandmates unweave the story inside each composition with sincerity and creativity. The composer says his music is meant to be a comment on our evolution as human beings. I find his music eerie, but strangely beautiful. On a song called “72’s” the drums and cymbals color the presentation as Rosenthal’s guitar astutely explores melodies and emotions. When the sax enters, it brings another character to the forefront and the three begin a sensitive conversation. Musical phrases pour out of them in streams of tempo and scales, spurred by Cabrera’s deft percussion. It sings to me in a minor mode. I am intoxicated by this track. When Grillot bows his bass, it changes the mood and texture of this composition. Each cut on this eight composition album brings a theme of exploration. This is thought provoking music. There is the unexpected, always present and looming in the next musical phrase. Yet, there is also something soothing about this recording.

Rocco John Iacovone’s has studied with the legendary Lee Konitz and Sam Rivers. His preoccupation with composition led him to the doorstep of Nadia Boulanger. This artist hopes that he and his talented band elicit unmitigated passion and interest in the listener. Perhaps the composer said it best in his linear notes:
“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.”
His music seems to encourage us to ‘embrace the change.’


10.99 – High Definition 24/96 FLAC

9.99 – CD Quality FLAC

8.99 – MP3

ROCCO JOHN IACOVONE alto and soprano saxophones