Friday, April 29, 2011

Terje Gewelt: Selected Works (2011)

Terje Gewelt: Selected Works (2011)

"Selected Works" is a collection of music from my eight recordings as a leader. As a bass player, I've always strived to balance the functional role of the bass with the great melodic possibilities of the instrument. To help me in realizing this ideal, I've been very fortunate to have some incredible musicians with me on these projects, some of my favorite players. I've seen it as a challenge to try to bring out different sides of their playing and in doing so develop my own musical identity. Thanks to all who have helped me along my way so far.
1. As raindrops fall 4:51
2. Wilder 5:20
3. Blue waltz 6:41
4. Small country 4:07
5. Hide and seek 4:38
6. A remark you made 5:19
7. Mountain aire 1:16
8. Autumn leaves 5:36
9. Small world 5:01
10. November 3:07
11. Ester's waltz 4:29
12. Cry wolf 5:09
13. North Prospect 4:17
14. The water is wide 5:01
15. Old folks 5:37
16. The Fens 3:26
17. Daybreak 4:25

The Havana String Quartet Leo Brouwer - The String Quartets - String Trio LATIN GRAMMY WINNER 2010 Best Classical Album!

The Havana String Quartet Leo Brouwer - The String Quartets - String Trio LATIN GRAMMY WINNER 2010 Best Classical Album! 

Release Date: August 9, 2011
Selection #: 201108
UPC Code: 880956110820
Availability: Worldwide

Track Listing:

1 – 4 QUARTET # 1 (1961)
To the Memory of Bela Bartok

1 Energico 1:52
2 Allegretto 3:47
3 Lento 8:26
4 Finale (Vivace) 5:09

5 QUARTET # 2 (1968)
“Rem Tene Verba Sequentur”
(“Know the Matter and the Word will follow”) 6:17

6 – 10 STRING TRIO (1959)

6 Introduction – Rhythmic and precise 1:01
7 Allegro 2:21
8 Moderato e Calmo 3:25
9 Interludio – Adagio Molto 3:37
10 Finale – Allegro Giocoso (based on a Classical theme)4:14

11 QUARTET # 4 - World Premiere Recording
“Rem Tene Verba Sequentur”
(“Know the Matter and the Word will follow”)

Allegro Ritmico 13:11

12 – 15 QUARTET # 3 (1991 – 97)
Dedicated to the Havana String Quartet

12 Ritual Voice for New Year’s Eve 5:11
13 Through the Body of the Wind 5:07
14 Impossible Dance 6”04
15 The Rhythm of the Night Changed 4:31


Yamir Portuondo, 1st violin

Eugenio Valdés, 2nd violin

Jorge Hernández, viola

Deborah Yamak, cello

Leo Brouwer, (Havana, 1939) composer, orchestra conductor, guitarist, researcher and pedagogue, is one of the most important and fascinating figures in international classical music today. He is the great-nephew of the famous Cuban composer and pianist Ernesto Lecuona. Leo started to play guitar at age 13, encouraged by this father who was himself an amateur guitarist. His first real teacher Isaac Nicola was a pupil of Emilo Pujol (1886-1980) who in turn had been a pupil of Francesco Tárrega (1852-1909). To further his musical education, he studied composition at the Julliard School in Manhattan with Vincent Persichetti, Stefan Wolpe, Isadore Preed, J. Diemente and Joseph Iadone. He also studied classical guitar at Hartt College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Over the next decades, Brouwer became one of the most influential classical guitar composers, for solo instrument, in chamber music settings, and also including eleven concertos for guitar and orchestra. His achievements in music, however, go much further. He is an accomplished composer for chamber and choral works, a modern ballet, pieces for wind band, as well as many orchestral works. He has over 60 film scores to his credit, these through involvement in the Cinema Industry in Cuba where he was Director of the Music Department of the Cinema Institute (1961) and Musical Adviser to the National Radio and TV Company of Havana, as well as the Professor of Composition at the Music Conservatory.

Recognized throughout the world, he is an honorable member of UNESCO, the Italian/Latin-American Institute in Rome, and the Granada Fine Arts Academy. He is resident composer at the Berlin Arts and Science Academy and other prestigious institutions. He has also been the recipient of over 200 international awards such as the Manuel de Falla Award (Spain, 1998), and more recently the MIDEM Classical Music prize (Cannes, 2003), the “Geoffredo Petrassi” composition prize (Italy, 2008), the National Music Award and the National Cinema Award (Cuba, 1999 and 2009 respectively), the SGAE “Tomás Luis de Victoria” award for Hispanic-American Music (Spain 2010) and the Latin GRAMMY for Best Classical Music Album (2010), for this recording.

The First Quartet, written in 1961 is dedicated “In Memory of Bela Bartok.” Although it is clear that the harmonic and counterpoint base as well as many of the timbral effects are molded on Bartok’s style, one hears that the rich thematic creation has its origin in Brouwer’s own formidable and inventive instinct. The four movements are designed in a cyclical form, and the work is developed utilizing a symmetrical concept of rhythm, sonority and harmony. At this early moment in Brouwer’s composing career, the First Quartet identified him as one of the most important and original composers in Latin America; for it, he was awarded 1st prize in the 1963 National Composition Competition in Cuba.

The Second Quartet (1968) titled “Rem Tene Verba Sequentur” (Know the Matter and the Word will follow) is a work where the composer investigates the world of aleatoric music and improvisation. Aleatoric music – from the Latin word “alea” = dice – is music in which some element of the work is left to chance, and left to the determination of the performer. The Second Quartet is composed in a single movement. Every performance is different, as the quartet musicians are asked, and dared, to make musical chance choices. They play together, they might stop, and even argue. A percussion instrument is used to mark all of the interventions which form the work. This is an idea taken from the use of percussive instruments in Japanese “Kabuki” theater.

The String Trio was written in 1959 while Leo Brouwer was studying at the Julliard School as a scholarship student of Vincent Persichetti. Although it is an early work, Brouwer’s use of certain repeated intervals in melodic construction, the careful treatment of lineal texture and the use of color and its resulting sound gave rise to his winning the 2nd prize in 1961 at the 1st Chamber Music Composition Competition “Amadeo Roldan” in Havana. Some of the compositional elements which appear in this work would later be developed in the 1st Quartet. One also hears hints of rhythms and sonorities from traditional popular Cuban music.

The Havana String Quartet. Cordoba, Spain, 2010.

In the Fourth Quartet, “Rem Tene Verba Sequentur II” (2007 – World Premiere Recording), the composer adds technical resources found in the Second and Third Quartets and expresses it in a more condensed form. Through the use of improvisation and the composer’s suggestions of certain fragments found in music’s universal repertoire, the listener is presented with a single movement that imitates the flavor of popular music in Cuba. In the score it is particularly the second violinist who is instructed to improvise. Eugenio Valdés Weiss does this in this premiere recording with spontaneity and flair.

The Third Quartet (1991-97) has four movements whose titles are very descriptive. The score assumed definite form with the current members of the Havana String Quartet to whom the work is dedicated. Based on another chamber work, “Canciones Remotas” (Distant Songs) which in turn is based on a poem by the relatively unknown Cuban artist Jaquinet, the composition is shaped in a framework of folkloric segments where the string instruments also interpret ritual Afro-Cuban lyricism, dance and percussive sounds. The Third Quartet’s debut performance was given by the Havana String Quartet in Córdoba, Spain, in 1998.

The Havana String Quartet was founded in 1980 on the initiative of Leo Brouwer. The group is known for its unique, cross-cultural repertoire, and its accomplishments in a variety of musical styles. The HSQ has collaborated with performers such as guitarists Eliot Fisk, Pepe Romero and Javier Perianes, Afro-Cuban jazz legend Orlando “Cachao” López, Cheik Lo, singer Ibrahim Ferrer, the Buena Vista Social Club, Magic Malik, and Cuban percussionist Miguel “Angá” Diaz.

The HSQ has performed contemporary chamber works by composers such as Toon de Leeuw, I. Land, Barce, Villarojo and Tomás Marco, but the group’s particular strength and talent has been dedicated to Latin American composers such as Revueltas, Ginastera, Villa-Lobos, Manuel Enríquez , Garrido-Lecca and of course Leo Brouwer. In 2009, the HSQ was invited for the first time to the 7th Universe of Sound Festival in Moscow, Russia, where its interpretations of Brouwer and Latin-American popular music was received to great public acclaim.

The HSQ has won three important awards which demonstrate that it is one of the most active and prestigious chamber groups in the history of Cuban music: the Interpretive Mastery Award at the Havana Chamber Music Festival, 1987, Best Chamber Music Album at the CUBADISCO Festival, Havana, 2010, and the LATIN GRAMMY, 2010 for Best Classical Music Album.

“For 30 years, the Havana String Quartet has been performing and celebrating the musical culture of the Americas and Spain with a remarkable repertoire. I am very proud to have initiated the creation of such a significant chamber group. The maturity of the HSQ as interpreters is evident in this recording of my complete quartets, in addition to their many diverse and important awards and reviews … I congratulate them! The professional quality and enthusiasm of this ensemble has only one source: an infinite love of music. Listen!”
Leo Brouwer

Recorded at the Concert Hall of the “Jardinito” Theater in Cabra, Cordoba, and in the Gran Teatro de Cordoba, Spain, from July to November 2008. Engineer: Amado del Rosario. Mixes, edits and mastering : Amado del Rosario, Jorge Gernandez. Producers: The Havana String Quartet & SGAE. Executive producer of ZOHO release: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.

HSQ website:
HSQ bookings : Deborah Yamak 

Swingadelic - "The Other Duke - Tribute to Duke Pearson"

Swingadelic - "The Other Duke - Tribute to Duke Pearson"

Release Date: July 12, 2011 
Selection #: 201107
UPC Code: 880956110721
Availability: Worldwide

Track Listing:




4. JEANNINE 5:16

5. BIG BERTHA 4:31



8. SUDEL 3:58

9. READY RUDY 3:44


Swingadelic is

Audrey Welber alto sax
Paul Carlon tenor sax and flute
Jeff Hackworth baritone sax
Albert Leusink trumpet
Carlos Francis trumpet
Rob Susman trombone
Rob Edwards trombone
Boo Reiners guitar
John Bauers piano,
Dave Post bass.
Paul Pizzuti drums

In 1973, I was a year out of high school, working for a discount “cut-out” record distributor in New York when I came across an LP in the returns department called Introducing The Duke Pearson Big Band. Although I did not know who Duke Pearson was, I noticed that the record was on the prestigious Blue Note label, and that among the musicians listed were Randy Brecker, Bob Cranshaw and Mickey Roker, who were all on my favorite jazz record at the time, Horace Silver’s In Pursuit Of The 27th Man.

I took the record home and it immediately became one of my favorite discs. It wasn’t my father’s big band music (Benny Goodman, Glen Miller et al) and it seemed very contemporary, vital and pretty rockin’ to a nineteen year old kid.

Cut to the internet age, and I was able to find out a lot more about Duke Pearson and his music. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 17, 1932 and attended Clark College there. After college, he joined the service and worked with R&B performer Little Willie John. Duke came to New York in January of 1959 and started working with Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams. He was a pianist, band leader, producer, arranger and a prolific composer. Duke worked as an A&R man for Blue Note from 1963 to 1971. Upon sale of the label he moved back to Atlanta and taught at his alma mater until1973. Duke suffered from multiple sclerosis and died in 1980 at the Atlanta Veteran’s Hospital.

For some time, Swingadelic has had a residency at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ, where we play as an eleven piece “little big band”. I asked our tenor player and main arranger, Paul Carlon to put together a few Duke Pearson tunes for the band. Big Bertha and Cristo Redentor were enjoyed by both band and audience alike, so I asked Paul to do a few more and decided to arrange a few myself. Upon mentioning the thought of putting together a Duke Pearson tribute disc the rest of the band caught the fervor, and Rob Susman, Rob Edwards and Audrey Welber each contributed an arrangement.

This CD is dedicated to Buddy Terry, who played alto & tenor sax and sang with Swingadelic from 2000-2009 and is now recovering from a stroke. Besides working with the Ray Charles and Count Basie Orchestras, and Horace Silver and Art Blakey, Buddy played in the Duke Pearson Big Band back in the 70’s, often subbing for Frank Foster. With this music we send him our love….

Mississippi Dip Arranged by Paul Carlon. A catchy boogaloo number from the 1967 Blue Note LP, Introducing The Duke Pearson Big Band. This was one of the first big bands I recall hearing which combined elements of rock and Latin music along with more straight-ahead swinging fare. Here we add a little “southern soul” slide guitar.

Chili Peppers Arranged by Dave Post. From the 1967 Blue Note LP, The Right Touch. There was a great line-up along with Duke on this record with Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, James Spaulding, Jerry Dodgion, Garnett Brown, Gene Taylor and Grady Tate. 

Cristo Redentor Arranged by Paul Carlon. Named after the famed statue of Christ in Corcovado, this was Duke’s biggest and most recorded “hit”. Tim Warfield, David “Fathead” Newman, bluesmen Ronnie Earl and Harvey Mandel have all recorded it, but the definitive and most popular version is from Donald Byrd’s 1963 Blue Note record A New Perspective. Cristo Redentor was used in the film A Bronx Tale, and in the show Sideman.

Jeannine Arranged by Rob Edwards. Probably Duke’s best known tune that has become an iconic jazz standard. This is from the Bag’s Groove album on Black Saint. Many artists have covered this, including Cannonball Adderly, Donald Byrd, Wes Montgomery, Gene Harris and Mel Rhyne, among others.

Big Bertha Arranged by Paul Carlon. This tune has been covered by Vincent Herring, Carl Allen and by Harris Moran Osby Shin. From Duke’s Sweet Honey Bee record.

Sweet Honey Bee Arranged by Dave Post. This is from the 1966 Blue Note LP of the same name. This was also recorded by Lee Morgan on his Charisma record.

Duke’s Mixture Arranged by Dave Post. A shuffle that Duke wrote, produced, and played piano on for Donald Byrd’s 1961 Blue Note LP The Cat Walk.

Sudel Arranged by Paul Carlon. Another track from the Sweet Honey Bee album, also recorded by Donald Byrd on Groovin’ For Nat. In a recent edition of All About Jazz, the drummer on the original track, Mickey Roker, states that it is his favorite track to listen to of the many he has recorded.

Ready Rudy Arranged by Audrey Welber. The Rudy mentioned in the title is most assuredly Rudy Van Gelder, in whose Englewood NJ studio thousands of classic jazz recordings were made from the 50s to the present. Yet another track off of Sweet Honey Bee, this has also been recorded by Mike LeDonne on his Feeling Of Jazz disc.

New Time Shuffle Arranged by Rob Susman. This tune was written by pianist Joe Sample of the Jazz Crusaders, who also has a recording of it. It was one of Duke’s favorites. He arranged and produced it on Stanley Turrentine’s New Time Shuffle LP and included it on Introducing The Duke Pearson Big Band. Dave Post

Produced by Dave Post. Recorded at Kaleidoscope Studios in Union City NJ by Sal Mormando. Mixed at Harariville in Hoboken NJ by Rob Harari. Mastered at Columbia Studios, NYC by Maria Triana. Package Design: Jack Frisch. Executive producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.

Swingadelic bookings : Dave Post For information on Swingadelic and their other CD releases and upcoming dates please go to or 

Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra - "Cordoba"

Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra - "Cordoba" 

Release Date: June 14, 2011
Selection #: 201106
UPC Code: 80956110622
Availability: Worldwide

Track Listing:
1. Visitas [Visits] 6:59

2-4. Pueblo [Village] 21:54

- Parte I 6:35

- Parte II 5:42

- Parte III 9:37

5. Sol Naciente [Sun Rising] 7:00

6. Duende del Mate [The Dwarf of the Mate] 9:23

7. A la Escuela [The Road to School] 7:02

8. Latente [Dormant] 7:31


Will Vinson: alto sax, soprano sax & flute

Todd Bashore: alto sax & flute

Luke Batson: tenor sax, clarinet & flute

Carl Maraghi: baritone sax & bass clarinet

Jonathan Powell: trumpet

Tatum Greenblatt: trumpet & flugelhorn

Ryan Keberle: trombone

Mike Fahie: trombone

Jess Jurkovic: piano

Jeff Davis: drum set

Tony De Vivo: cajón

Pedro Giraudo: acoustic and electric basses, compositions & arrangements

A stunning new release from Argentinean bassist-composer Pedro Giraudo, whose previous album, “El Viaje” swept top honors in Latin Jazz Corner's "Best Of The Year Awards," winning 2009 Latin Jazz Album Of The Year, and Latin Jazz Large Ensemble Album Of The Year. Among the critical acclaim: “an opulent listening experience of modern, orchestral jazz, brimming with passionate improvisations, deliberate contrapuntal melodies and plush harmonies.” Downbeat

In Argentina, Córdoba is the name of both a province, and its capital city. Although I
grew up in the city of Córdoba, as a child I would spend every summer with my family at
a large farm in the countryside, where there was no electricity and no phone. It was
there that I learned about the most basic, fundamental things of life. Surrounded by
nature, I was exposed to conception, birth, sickness and death. I also learned how to
make bread, churn butter, ride a horse, start a fire, and fix all sorts of things, from farm
implements to household tools. Those country summers played a large part in shaping
the person I am today, although I've been living in the U.S. for over 14 years and have
become very much an urban person.

When I compose, I generally start with a melodic concept that I explore on guitar; the
arrangements come later. Whether writing about a sunrise or an encounter, my music is
informed by the essential sentimental and rhythmic elements of Argentine
popular music, including the chacarera, zamba and baguala. There are also hints of the
more urban Argentine tango. I think that both Argentine musical traditions and American
jazz allow a broad range of emotion. For me, one of the most powerful emotions is nostalgia — in the case of this album, my nostalgia for the innocence, the excitement of discovery, and the beauty of those summers spent with my family in the beautiful Córdoba countryside.

1. Visitas (Visits) Although we were isolated on our farm, we would always have guests come during weekends. There was lots of excitement: friends, plenty of meat, other children to play with in complete freedom, riding horses, building huts, and wandering through the woods. Loosely based on the chacarera rhythm, this piece is built around the motif established in the intro by the trombones, then altered throughout the piece in many shapes, lengths and timbres.

2-4. Pueblo (Village) I've always thought people who lived and worked in the fields led a very pure and healthy lifestyle, in constant contact with nature, obeying its rules, resting when it's dark, waking with the sun, detached from consumerism, their values untouched by TV and advertisements. But on occasion they would go to a nearby village to meet friends and other family members — a change of pace from their daily patterns.

• Parte I is dedicated to the early morning, the purity of a new day. Musically, for me the baguala is one of the deepest emotional rhythms in Argentina, with its very slow tempo, space, rawness, and a strong sense of loneliness. The melodic motif of three repeated notes will be used later to evoke the morning and awakening also on "A La Escuela" and "Latente."

• Parte II describes the excitement, the sense of hurry, the more accelerated lifestyle of the village, as opposed to the farm. It begins with a short 3-voice fugue, and is based on a rhythm somewhat similar to the Venezuelan merengue in 5/8.

• Parte III conveys how the people from the countryside are affected by their visit to the village: a sense of darkening, getting tainted, being overwhelmed — and finally resolves in their returning home and finding peace again. The darkest of the three movements, this is the most urban sounding of all three, until the resolution at its end.

5. Sol Naciente (Sun Rising) All senses are awakened by the first rays of the sun: the chirping of birds, the morning smells, a feeling of rebirth and a new beginning. For me, nothing can describe a sense of awakening better than the pure and warm sound of the trombone, gradually blending with the rest of the ensemble accelerating in tempo.

6. Duende del Mate (The Dwarf of the Mate) Mate (pronounced mah’-tay) is a bitter tea that is much loved in Argentina and neighboring countries. Its ingredients are few: mate leaves, and water. The mate is sipped from a dried gourd through una bombilla, a metal straw. I am an avid mate drinker. For no reason I can explain, on some days my mate is delicious and other days barely drinkable. So I imagine this mythical creature, the "duende" (dwarf) of the mate: if he's around, my mate will be great; if he's not, I might as well drink coffee. This playful tune is an invocation to this creature. It features the electric bass for the first time in my writing, and is arranged for a slightly smaller ensemble: there are no trombones.

7. A La Escuela (The Road To School) Dedicated to two beautiful young country girls named Milagros and Rocío, who ride a horse for an hour each way to go to school everyday. This piece imagines what could be going through their heads while riding together in silence in the early morning of the countryside. Written in 5/8, it has a lilt to it that almost resembles a waltz.

8. Latente (Dormant) As we grow up, we accumulate a wide variety of experiences and feelings. Many of these remain in a latent state, but they are always there for us, waiting to be reawakened, the way a plant lies dormant during winter to be reawakened in spring. The tenor sax opening is based on the Argentine zamba, and as the music unfolds, it incorporates elements from tango. This piece is also written for a reduced version of the full orchestra to generate a more intimate setting. As the final piece, it embodies my wish that my music has awakened some of your own latent feelings.
Pedro Giraudo

All music composed & arranged by Pedro Giraudo. Recorded by Alex Venguer at Bennett Studios, Englewood, NJ, on May 1 and 2, 2010. Mixed by Alex Venguer. Mastered by Oscar Zambrano at Zampol Productions, NYC. Produced by Pedro Giraudo & Alex Venguer. Design by Vicky Barranguet. Cover Photo and Band Photo by Sergio Reyes. Pedro Giraudo. Portraits by Erin O’Brien. Countryside Photo by Agustín Giraudo. Executive Producers: Ellen Azorin, Cantaloupe Music Productions, and Joachim “Jochen” Becker. All music published by BMI.

Arturo O' Farrill & The Afro Latin Orchestra - "40 Acres and a Burro"

Arturo O' Farrill & The Afro Latin Orchestra - "40 Acres and a Burro"

Release Date: February 8, 2011 
Selection #: 201102
UPC Code: 880956110220
Availability: Worldwide

Alto Sax:David De Jesus, Bobby Porcelli (lead)

Tenor Sax:Peter Brainin, Ivan Renta (lead)

Baritone Sax: Jason Marshall

Trumpets: Seneca Black, Michael Philip Mossman (lead), Jim Seeley, John Walsh

Trombones: Reynaldo Jorge (lead), Tokunori Kajiwara, Earl McIntyre, Gary Valente

Piano: Arturo O’Farrill
Bass: Ricardo Rodríguez
Drums: Vince Cherico
Congas: Roland Guerrero
Percussion: Joe González

Featured Guest: Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet)

Pablo O. Bilbraut (güiro)
Heather Martin Bixler (violin)
Hector Del Curto (bandoneón)
Yuri Juárez (guitar)
Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón (cajón, cajita, quijada)
Sharon Moe (French horn)
Guilherme Monteiro (guitar)
Adam O’Farrill (trumpet)
Jeff Scott (French horn)

Track Listing:

1. Rumba Urbana
Composer: Oscar Hernández
Soloists: Bobby Porcelli (alto sax), Gary Valente (trombone), Jim Seeley (trumpet), Arturo O’Farrill (piano)
Rumba Urbana - 40 Acres and a Burro

2. A Wise Latina
Composer: Arturo O’Farrill
Guests: Sharon Moe & Jeff Scott (French horn)
Soloists: Ivan Renta (tenor sax), Jim Seeley (trumpet)
A Wise Latina - 40 Acres and a Burro

3. Almendra
Composer: Chico O’Farrill
Guest: Pablo O. Bilbraut (güiro)
Soloists: Seneca Black (trumpet), Tokunori Kajiwara (trombone), Ricardo Rodríguez (bass)
A Wise Latina - 40 Acres and a Burro

4. Um a Zero
Composer: Pixinguinha
Arranger: Proveta
Guests: Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet), Guilherme Monteiro (guitar)
Soloists: Guilherme Monteiro (guitar), Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet)
Um a Zero - 40 Acres and a Burro

5. El Sur
Composer: Gabriel Alegria
Arranger: Michael Collins
Guests: Yuri Juárez (guitar), Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón (cajón, cajita, quijada)
Soloists: Jim Seeley (trumpet), Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón (cajón)
El Sur - 40 Acres and a Burro

6. She Moves Through the Fair
Composer: Traditional
Arranger: David Bixler
Guest: Heather Martin Bixler (violin)
Soloists: Peter Brainin (tenor sax)
She Moves Through the Fair - 40 Acres and a Burro

7. Ruminaciones Sobre Cuba
Composer: Arturo O’Farrill
Guests: Pablo O. Bilbraut (güiro), Adam O’Farrill (trumpet)
Soloists: Bobby Porcelli (alto sax), Reynaldo Jorge (trombone)
Ruminaciones Sobre Cuba - 40 Acres and a Burro

8. Tanguango
Composer: Astor Piazzolla
Arranger: Michael Philip Mossman
Guest: Hector Del Curto (bandoneón)
Soloists: Bobby Porcelli (alto sax), Michael Philip Mossman (trumpet)
Tanguango - 40 Acres and a Burro

9. Bebê
Composer: Hermeto Pascoal
Arranger: Jovino Santos Neto
Guest: Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet)
Soloists: Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet), Jason Marshall (baritone sax)
Bebe - 40 Acres and a Burro

10. A Night in Tunisia
Composer: Dizzy Gillespie
Arranger: Michael Philip Mossman
Soloists: John Walsh (trumpet), Earl McIntyre (trombone), David De Jesus (soprano sax)
A Night In Tunesia - 40 Acres and a Burro

11. 40 Acres and a Burro
Composer: Arturo O’Farrill
Soloists: Ivan Renta (tenor sax), Arturo O’Farrill (piano)
40 Acres and a Burro - 40 Acres and a Burro

On “40 Acres and a Burro”, 2009 GRAMMY winner Arturo O’Farrill presents his New York based Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) in two exciting O’Farrill originals, and nine stand-out tracks covering the entire Caribbean and South American universe, defining contemporary Latin Big Band Jazz in the 21st century. Principal guest artist : the legendary clarinetist and nine-time GRAMMY winner Paquito D’Rivera!

The internationally renowned New York-based pianist, composer, arranger, and band leader Arturo O’Farrill has been at the vanguard of forward-thinking Latin Jazz for several decades.

Since its founding in 2003, Arturo O’Farrill’s ALJO has become the world’s leading latin jazz big band, with a vast repertory from the genre’s Afro-Cuban classics to dozens of new works especially commissioned by the ALJO, and premiered on their CD recordings. Achieving a GRAMMY nomination for its first (non-ZOHO) release in 2006, the ALJO won the GRAMMY in the Latin Jazz category for his ZOHO big band release “Song for Chico” (ZMR 200804) in 2009.

CD title and closing track “40 Acres and a Burro” (= Mule)is a historic allusion to the Civil War practice of providing farmland to Black slaves who became free men after Union armies occupied areas of the Confederacy in 1865. It can be understood as an ironic reference to the ALJO’s separation from its founding organization at New York’s Lincoln Center and its subsequent re-birth as an independent not-for-profit corporation with annual residencies at “Symphony Space”, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Yep, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra is still here, 3+ years after leaving the womb of institutional life at a great cultural organization in Manhattan. Some said we’d never make it, but here we are, doing pretty well, too! We have our own non-profit organization and a New York concert season, perform internationally, record, provide educational programs in the public schools, commission, and maintain a library of Afro Latin Jazz music that is a unique treasure. We are grateful to our hosts for our birth home, but it is definitely better to be the master of your tidy cottage than a guest in someone else’s mansion.
This recording is a testament to our musical philosophy. We believe jazz and Latin are not separate, but rather an inextricable part of each other. Latin is not three concerts out of a season, or a chapter in the book. The same elements that define jazz are all found in our music. Swing, blues, and improvisation are also part of what we play.
Oscar Hernández is an example of someone who is relegated by some jazz writers to the Salsa world. They could not be more wrong. He has always been a venerated and amazing musician whose compositions and arrangements are hip, informed, and can rightfully be called part of the world of Afro Latin Jazz. Rumba Urbana was originally written for a small group. Here it is arranged for Big Band, and it is a smoker (and always an audience favorite)!
Commissioned by the Bronx Museum, R.D. Rice, and Symphony Space, I composed A Wise Latina to celebrate the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, our nation’s first Hispanic Supreme Court appointee. It is written in three sections, the first being the presentation of the idea of justice as an abstract concept, set to Bomba rhythms). The second is the ascendancy of the Justice and the legal diatribe into which she enters. Saxophonist Ivan Renta depicts Ms. Sotomayor arguing for fairness and justice in our land. The third section is the obligatory celebration, though it is gilded with slightly dissonant chords, reminding us we have a long way to go.
Chico O’Farrill, in the words of noted Cuban historian, musician, and writer, Leonardo Acosta, may be the “greatest Afro Cuban jazz musician of all time.” His compositions and arrangements are universally regarded by musicians as masterworks. His arrangement of Almendra is our chance to show off this great musical heritage and our love of playing this kind of music. It does not get more swinging, big, bold, and brassy than this.
Pixinguinha’s Choros are considered a national treasure of the already astonishing music of Brazil. This arrangement of Um a Zero by Proveta has all the earmarks of a great jazz “chart.” I love the sections where the clarinet plays alone against the sax section with a sprinkle of piano. Paquito D’Rivera sparkles with his customary wit and elegance. He is the definitive voice of our times on the instrument, and his virtuosic ease is perfect for performing the technically demanding music of Choro, and making it look easy and masterful.
Afro Peruvian jazz is an example of why I formed this orchestra. Our love affair with the Mambo and Cuban music is important, but to explore all the riches of Latin America, one must eat more than rice and beans. Gabriel Alegria introduced me to the deep musical waters of Peru. The festejo rhythm performed in El Sur has hundreds of variants and is played with impeccable swing by Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón on the traditional percussion instruments Cajón, Cajita and Quijada. Jim Seeley’s thoughtful trumpet solo, joined with Gabriel’s beautiful composition and Michael Collins’ brilliant writing, foretells the future of Latin jazz.
I am a descendant of Irish stock and have always loved Celtic music. We performed a concert of Afro-Latin-Celtic jazz with the amazing composer, saxophonist David Bixler. She Moves Through the Fair was one of the pieces David contributed, and it is achingly beautiful. Heather Martin Bixler (David’s wife) plays violin with astonishing musicality and sweetness. It is not a stretch that this arrangement of a traditional Irish air is on our record. We believe the music we call jazz belongs to the planet and that beauty knows no borders or genres.
I wrote Ruminaciones Sobre Cuba in Cuba whilst spending time with people whose friendship and love gives me hope - hope that the politics that separate us will cease, that oppression and manipulation will end, and that the spirit of freedom takes root individually in our hearts, so that we can exercise it individually and perhaps affect the outcome of political realities. Ruminaciones Sobre Cuba begins with a nod to the great Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés. It continues on a journey through Afro Cuban jazz, flowing from a danzón, continuing with a tribute to The Chacón Sax Quartet, and culminating in a descarga that celebrates the long lasting friendship between the people of Cuba and the United States. It may not be the reality now, but the day is coming, and I, for one, am ready.

I am a descendant of Irish stock and have always loved Celtic music. We performed a concert of Afro-Latin-Celtic jazz with the amazing composer, saxophonist David Bixler. She Moves Through the Fair was one of the pieces David contributed, and it is achingly beautiful. Heather Martin Bixler (David’s wife) plays violin with astonishing musicality and sweetness. It is not a stretch that this arrangement of a traditional Irish air is on our record. We believe the music we call jazz belongs to the planet and that beauty knows no borders or genres.
I wrote Ruminaciones Sobre Cuba in Cuba whilst spending time with people whose friendship and love gives me hope - hope that the politics that separate us will cease, that oppression and manipulation will end, and that the spirit of freedom takes root individually in our hearts, so that we can exercise it individually and perhaps affect the outcome of political realities. Ruminaciones Sobre Cuba begins with a nod to the great Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés. It continues on a journey through Afro Cuban jazz, flowing from a danzón, continuing with a tribute to The Chacón Sax Quartet, and culminating in a descarga that celebrates the long lasting friendship between the people of Cuba and the United States. It may not be the reality now, but the day is coming, and I, for one, am ready.

There are many brilliant Latin American composers and each country seems to have its central figure. For Argentina that name is Ástor Piazzolla. His works have revolutionized music. Having lived at some point in New York, he had a respect for jazz. Michael Philip Mossman’s treatment of Piazzolla’s Tanguango is a perfect example of the kind of cross pollination that can occur when open minded musicians transcend genres, continents, and even decades. Bobby Porcelli turns in an alto sax solo that captures the fire and passion of tango with the cool and relaxed stance of a veteran jazzman.
Hermeto Pascoal is known for many things. He is a master melodicist who fashioned Bêbe in an outwardly flowing motion. Jovinos Santos Neto’s arrangement captures that forward motion and yet bubbles with rhythmic intensity. Paquito and Jason Marshall’s trade is beautiful, not so much because of the great juxtaposition of range and sound between the clarinet and baritone saxophone, but because they reveal what master musicians really do: they listen, and their interaction is truly inspired by one another.
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was amongst the first musicians to realize that Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean were as much a part of the real roots of jazz, as New Orleans. He was directly responsible for reintroducing jazz to its Latin roots. A Night in Tunisia is our tribute to this visionary.
Finally, in a spirit of fun and playfulness, we make a lighthearted reference to the “settlement” which the newly emancipated African Americans were offered after the end of the Civil War. They were finally given what really mattered: freedom. It also makes fun of what stereotypes still exist in American culture in regard to how Latinos are viewed. 40 Acres and a Burro was written in four sections: first the burro which is easy to recognize, then the stereotype of the Mariachi minstrels, Latino white noise is the third, and finally the Mozambique with the lovely coro, “La injusticia se acabó,” which translated means “the injustice is over.”
Well, you and I know, the injustice is never over. There will always be those who think that they are or what they do is the real deal, defining themselves by what they’re not rather than by what they could be. The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra stands for the possibilities of what can happen when you discard the idea of high and low culture, when you cease to engage in elitist socio-economic pandering, when you invite the pueblo into your heart, into your song and into your day-to-day life. For us, that is where the adventure begins.

Arturo O’Farrill, November 2010
Recorded May 19-20, 2010 at Nola Recording Studios, NYC. Mixed and mastered at Nola Recording Studios, NYC. Executive Producers: R.D. Rice, Joachim “Jochen” Becker. Associate Producer: Kabir Sehgal. Producers: Eric Oberstein, Arturo O’Farrill. Assistant Producer: Alison Deane. Assistants: Adam O’Farrill, Zack O’Farrill, Kevin Theodore. Engineers: Jim Czak, Bill Moss. Band photo: Jerry Lacay. Photo/Package Design: Jack Frisch. 

A Family’s Legacy, Afro-Cuban Jazz

IF there is such a thing as a first family of Afro-Cuban jazz, the O’Farrill clan has a right to claim that distinction. Its members helped invent the hybrid genre back in the 1940s, when Chico O’Farrill came to New York from Havana, and in recent years they have worked to reinvigorate the music despite barriers in both Cuba and the United States.

“We’re kind of people caught between two worlds,” said the pianist Arturo O’Farrill, Chico’s 50-year-old son. As such, he added, it’s his obligation to encourage “an evolving relationship between two countries that should never have been separated culturally” and to “pay a debt forward” in his father’s name.

O’Farrills will be participating in two very different events during the current three-month ¡Si Cuba! arts festival in New York. On Saturday, the O’Farrill Family Band, featuring Arturo and his two sons, will play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music café, and on May 14 Arturo will lead the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra at Symphony Space as part of a “Wall to Wall Sonidos” event that will include the premiere of a new 35-minute piece, “A Still Small Voice,” that he wrote, inspired in part by recent trips to Cuba.

The musical story of the family, which immigrated to Cuba from the British Caribbean colony of Montserrat in the 1700s, begins with Chico, who was studying at a military academy in Georgia in the mid-1930s when he fell in love with jazz. A decade later, after playing trumpet in Cuban orchestras, he moved to New York, where he quickly became an A-list composer and arranger, working with Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Count Basie and Machito, among others.

“Simply put, Chico O’Farrill is the greatest Afro-Cuban jazz figure of all time,” Leonardo Acosta, the author of “Cubano Be Cubano Bop: One Hundred Years of Jazz in Cuba,” said in a telephone interview from Havana. “His way of using the orchestra as an instrument, his ability as an arranger and composer and his skill in converting Cuban music into jazz and vice versa gives his work a kind of chemistry that no one else, neither Cuban nor American, has. He achieves another dimension.”

For Arturo O’Farrill, though, the path to embracing the musical tradition that his father embodied has been anything but straight. At first he gravitated toward experimental jazz groups like that of the composer Carla Bley; for a while he even played keyboards in J. Walter Negro and the Loose Jointz, which blended hip-hop, funk and disco elements.

“As a young man Arturo was not all that keen on the music of his father, whose shadow he was trying to escape,” said the Cuban saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, who was granted political asylum in the United States in 1981. “When I’d go visit the family after I first got here, he’d talk instead about his work with Carla Bley. That’s normal, that a son should want to be different from his father. What’s unusual is what he is doing now, after he realized just how valuable and important his father’s music is.”

The turning point, Arturo O’Farrill said, came in the early 1990s, when his father resumed recording under his own name after a long drought. Arturo began by playing piano on some of those sessions and eventually took on responsibility as well for writing arrangements for and conducting the orchestra that backed his father.

“Arturo was a virtuoso pianist at a pretty young age, but it’s really only over the last 15 years that he’s found his own voice, his own rhythm and context, as the leader of a fantastic orchestra,” said the producer Todd Barkan, who has worked with both O’Farrills. “He’s a very protean figure, more protean than even his dad because he has a wider scope of interests and influences.”

In 1995 Arturo and his father began sharing conducting duties for Chico’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra in weekly performances at the Manhattan jazz club Birdland, a Sunday-night residency that continued after Chico’s death in 2001. Arturo also founded and directed, initially at Lincoln Center and now at Symphony Space, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, which in 2009 won a Grammy for the CD “Song for Chico” and at the May 14 event will be performing with a 115-voice choir.

“I was able to let go of many ghosts of the past,” Arturo said when asked about his shift in musical direction. “My father was a brilliant man, and the honorable thing to do was help him get his art out. It was very much a filial responsibility, but an artistic responsibility as well. I felt I really had to step up to the plate.”

At Saturday’s event Arturo will be playing with a third generation of O’Farrills: his sons, who have just released a CD of Latin-inflected jazz called “Giant Peach.” Zack, 19, is a drummer, and Adam, 16, a trumpet player, but both have been made aware of their family’s singular history in recent trips to Cuba with their father and the Birdland orchestra.

Those visits have been filmed for “Oye Cuba! A Journey Home,” a documentary about the O’Farrills that is expected to be released next year. In Cuba Arturo has played at festivals, conducted workshops, jammed with local ensembles and given master classes.

“Younger musicians there have lost a sense of the history of this music, and my perception is that part of this goes to the struggle that Cuba has had with jazz, and the attempts over the years to expunge it from their schools” as a manifestation of imperialist bohemianism, said Diane Silvester, the film’s director. “That’s why it’s so important that Arturo is bringing a jazz program” to conservatories and schools “and helping develop greater awareness of Chico and his work.”

Not everyone endorses Arturo’s decision to try to rebuild bridges with his family’s homeland. Mr. D’Rivera opposes the idea of cultural exchanges — including the ¡Si Cuba! festival itself, which he sees as “a shameful collaboration with the executioners who have suffocated Cuban culture for 50 years” — and said he had also urged Mr. O’Farrill not to go to Cuba.

“We disagree on this,” Mr. D’Rivera said. “I hold Arturo in esteem, but I think he’s mistaken. No one should go there when there is so much pain and suffering under the dictatorship, because they are only going to take political advantage of you.”

But Mr. O’Farrill’s creativity seems to have been energized by the trips to Cuba, the first of which he made in 2002. Ms. Silvester recalls being with him in Santiago in 2009 when he jammed with a particularly fine local band and then immediately rushed back to his hotel to write a piece called “Ruminaciones sobre Cuba,” which was released in January on “40 Acres and a Burro,” his most recent CD.

“I feel like I’ve literally been watching Arturo grow as an artist,” she said. “His vocabulary continues to expand the more he goes down to Cuba, the more he hears that music directly, rather than as a derivative. It inspires him, and on a personal level it helps him process the deepest question of all: Who is my family?”

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The James Taylor Quartet - "The Template" (2011)

The Template' marks the coming of age of Hammond master James Taylor as he enters his 25th year at the forefront of the world jazz funk scene. His band, The James Taylor Quartet are an act that have toured world-wide consistently since their launch in 1986 developing a large following and in the process opening doors for many other British acts, and becoming a by-word for integrity, musicianship, showmanship and bankability. A remarkable achievement for an act that defies mainstream categorisation and which operates in a thoroughly independent and autonomous way. This album reflects the intensity of their highly acclaimed live shows with the opening cinematic style title track ‘The Template', a tune which crystallises the best of British TV and film music and then seriously switches on the heat. Taylors Hammond work ramps up the tension alongside award winning flautist ‘Gareth Lockrane' all set to a searing groove that throws down the gauntlet to all challengers. This is heavy modern instrumental music at its best delivered by an act that is on top of its game and clearly enjoying them selves. Add to the mix the soulful angelic voice of UK's great white hope ‘John Turrell' and JTQ lay back into a mesmeric mellow groove with the anthemic emotionally charged ‘Woman' this album never lets up the intensity with subtle and yet powerfully dynamic musicianship.
The gentle ballad ‘Autumn River' which draws the listener into Debussy style images, juxtaposes starkly yet remarkably easily alongside funk workouts such as ‘Pressure Gauge' which struts and swaggers with blistering affect. Turrell's vocal features on several other tunes, taking the band into Isley's territory with the soulful ‘Why cant we get along' and the Roy Ayers inspired ‘Light up your soul' this is UK funk, drawing from the American stuff but contemporising it with thoroughly modern British grit.
There's nothing clean about this music, totally recorded and mixed live onto tape in an analogue studio in Taylor's home town of Rochester.
This Album is both an unashamed two fingers to - and an antidote for - the ultra-processed, ultra-dead anaemic clinical digital recording era that we are currently suffering.
01. Template (05:09)
02. Woman (04:06)
03. Home Is Where The Hatred Is (03:21)
04. Autumn River (03:45)
05. Light Up Your Soul (03:59)
06. Pressure Gauge (04:07)
07. Crossing Over (03:05)
08. Why Can't We Get Along (03:44)
09. Lucky Jim (02:44)
10. Loneliness (04:13)
11. Koko (03:48)
12. Song For My Dad (04:56)