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.

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

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!


Dawoud Kringle’s Review of SUMARI

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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SUMARI – Matt Lavelle, Jack DeSalvo, Tom Cabrera

CD Available HERE

Review of Sumari from Russia

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

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 unseenrainrecords.com

Bb Blues – Jack DeSalvo Guitar

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

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

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

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


Get Downloads HERE

Wonderful Harmolodic Monk Review from Croatia

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 www.soundguardian.com

Suberb Review of Harmolodic Monk in Highland Magazine

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


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

JazzWeekly Reviews JULIE

Vocalist Julie Lyon has a voice that recalls Blossom Dearie, and also benefits from an air tight band, similar in makeup with Tom Cabrera/dr, Jack DeSalvo/g and Bobby Brennan/b but with the added attraction of trumpeter/clarinetist Matt LaVelle, who adds some nice horn sounds on the cheerful “Strollin’” and alto clarinet on the glistening “Dindi.” The band has a gentle stride going one step at a time on “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and while her voice sounds a bit distant on “Bye Bye Blackbird” and during the loosey goosey “Born to Be Blue,” the symbiosis of the band carries her over the River Jordan into the Promised Land.



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


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


UNSEEN RAIN FESTIVAL April 12, ShapeShifter


February 19, 2015To: Listings/Critics/Features
From: Jazz Promo Services
Press Contact: Jim Eigo, jim@jazzpromoservices.com
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) 599-0060NewMassesMedia@gmail.comwww.DissidentArts.com

Media Contact
Jim Eigo

Jazz Promo Services
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Canadian Contact
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mobile: (514) 591-5406, off/bur: (514) 276-6870
glendavivo@sympatico.ca Vivo Musique Int’l


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 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.

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


By Bruce Crowther http://jazzmostly.com/jazz-cd-reviews-early-january-2015

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.

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

Could Become a Milestone of the Genre: Harmolodic Monk

CD Review: UR9953.CoverA_Flat_for CDB
By Vittorio Lo Conte

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

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

Gina Loves Jazz on Harmolodic Monk

Harmolodic Monk

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

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

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

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

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

Download Harmolodic Monk HERE

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

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

Mark Turner’s Brilliant Review of JULIE

JULIE – Julie Lyon Quintet (UR9957)UR9957.JLQnt_back_c1

By Mark S. Turner

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

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

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

Edited by: David N. Pyles (dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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

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

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

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

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

Available HERE.

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

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

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

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

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