domingo, 28 de junio de 2015

Original winner Rudresh Mahanthappa

DownBeat Magazine's 63rd Critics Poll Triple Crown Winner



2015 saw not one, but two, Triple Crown winners as alto saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa joins American Pharoah in this illustrious group.

Mahanthappa, whose ACT Music +Vision release Bird Calls has garnered global acclaim, placed first for Jazz Album of the Year, Alto Saxophone (for the 4tth time in the past five years), and for Rising Star-Composer.

Though it pays homage to one of jazz’s Founding Fathers and arrived at the outset of Charlie Parker’s 95th birthday year, Bird Calls is not a tribute album in the traditional sense. There isn’t a single Parker composition to be found on the album, which consists entirely of new music penned by Mahanthappa for the occasion. But Bird’s DNA is strongly present in every one of these pieces, each of which takes a particular Parker melody or solo as its source of inspiration. Each is then wholly reimagined and re-contextualized by Mahanthappa and his quintet which features trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist François Moutin, and drummer Rudy Royston.

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Select Bird Call Tour Dates
(complete Rudresh tour dates can be found at
  • July 3 - Iowa City, IA / Iowa City Jazz Festival
  • July 11 - Krefeld, Germany / Kulturfabrik
  • July 12 - Rotterdam, The Netherlands/ North Sea Jazz Festival
  • Aug 23 – New York, NY / Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
  • Sept 5  - Detroit, MI / Detroit International Jazz Festival
  • Sept 20  - Monterey, CA / Monterey Jazz Festival
  • Oct 24-25 – Washington DC / Blues Alley
  • Oct/Nov – Tour of Europe
  • Dec 12  - New York, NY / Miller Theatre
  • Jan 14, 2016  – Santiago, Chile / Jazz Festival
  • Feb 26, 2016 – Chicago, IL / Orchestra Hall
  • Feb 27, 2016- Columbus, OK / Wexner Center for the Arts
  • March 19, 2016 – Buffalo, NY / UB Center for the Arts
Rudresh Mahanthappa in his presentation earlier this year in New York Winter JazzFest:

Braithwaite & Katz Communications

martes, 23 de junio de 2015

Dion Parson - CD Release Gig - Dizzy's Club - June 23-25!


CD Release Gig!
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola 
June 23-25  

Exciting New CD St. Thomas
June is Caribbean American Heritage Month 

St. Thomas - the exciting new CD by Dion Parson & 21st Century Band hits the streets on June 23!  This explosive, rhythmic ensemble will raise the roof this week at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola on June 23-25, as they make their annual return celebrating Caribbean American Heritage Month!
Dion Parson - St. Thomas CD - Video Teaser 
Dion Parson & 21st Century Band 
"St. Thomas" - Video Trailer 

As the next generation of emerging U.S.V.I. artists,
Dion Parson & 21st Century Band is fast becoming the model for musicians from the Virgin Islands. St. Thomas - an amalgam of flavors ranging from soulful melodies to hard-hitting rhythms - demonstrates the technical skills and creativity cultivated from such a lush musical and cultural heritage. "Ultimately, St. Thomas is the musical expression of the journey through the diverse history and musical diaspora of the U.S. Virgin Islands, presented in a jazz format with the freedom of interpretation through various improvisational styles."  - Dion Parson
* * *  
  For a copy of the new release, contact  
Nicole Parson:  
CD Samples: Click here to listen.
Dion Parson & 21st Century Band on Facebook:Click here.
Dion Parson & 21st Century Band: 
Dion Parson - Drums/Percussion 
Ron Blake - Tenor/Soprano/Baritone Saxophone  
Rashawn Ross - Trumpet 
Victor Provost -Steel Pan 
Reuben Rogers - Bass 
Carlton Holmes - Piano/Keyboards 
Alioune Faye Saber - Drums/Percussion 
Special Guest - Boo Reiners on Banjo
(Photo credit: Maria Veronica Cabeza) 
21st Century Band
In 21st Century Band, GRAMMY® award-winning drummer and composer Dion Parson has put together a powerhouse ensemble. Comprised of seven of the world's finest musicians, the band features a fresh innovative sound that boasts a superb mix of US Virgin Islands traditions such as Quelbe, and other Caribbean infusions like reggae, calypso, soca, mento, ska, zouk, steel pan, chutney, and funk with New Orleans and African overtones. Together, these supremely talented artists deliver their special brand of Caribbean Jazz with down-home sophistication and a high energy level that has audiences-young and old- soaring to their feet time and time again. Their sold-out performances at prestigious venues like Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York City have garnered such rave reviews from fans and critics alike that the club has hosted the ensemble for week-long performances every year since June 2008. 

Dion G. Parson
One of New York's finest, GRAMMY® award-winning drummers, Dion Parson is founder and leader of 21st Century Band, an educator, and a composer. Born on June 11,
1967 on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, Dion's musical foundation includes classical, reggae, calypso, jazz, African, and pop music. He received a BA in Music Education in 1990 and his Masters in Jazz Performance in 2012 and has been an Artist-In-Residence at the University of the Virgin Islands for the past few years. An educator committed to giving back to his community, Dion is President of United Jazz Foundation and founder of "Mentoring Through the Arts of Music," a music education and mentoring program that helps young musicians discover, hone, and showcase their talent while preparing them for professional careers in music.Dion has performed globally and has successfully recorded as both a sideman and a leader for several major music labels. In 2007, together with Nicole Koerts-Parson, he started United Jazz International which produces events in the USVI and around the world. Dion Parson & 21st Century Band and its music were recently annexed as a permanent part of USVI musical history.
Press Contact: Scott Thompson PR / 203-400-1818
Scott Thompson PR / 
11 Melba Street, Milford, CT 06460

martes, 16 de junio de 2015

Chuck Israels - Legendary Jazz Bassist - Now Bandleader - New Release!

Chuck Israels 

Joyful Noise

The Music of Horace Silver
The Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra
Release Date: July 17, 2015
Bassist For the Bill Evans Trio, 
John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz...  

Bassist/arranger/composer Chuck Israels steps out front as the bandleader in this exciting new release,Joyful Noise (SoulPatch Music).  Having honed his chops working with masters including John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz and more, including the Bill Evans Trio, for which he is best known.  Israels relocated years ago from the bustle of the city to the peaceful solitude of beautiful Portland, Oregon.  Israels' jazz spectrum spans much of the history of modern jazz.

was founded to showcase some of the best jazz instrumentalists and singers in the Northwest playing finely crafted and demanding arrangements of the most exciting and durable music on the planet.  The band was recently showcased at the Detroit Jazz Festival and appears regularly regionally.  Their debut CD, Second Wind, received a 4-1/2 star review in DownBeat magazine and is a Grammy® nominee. This new project, Joyful Noise - the music of Horace Silver, promises to bring national attention to the magical compositional skills of Chuck Israels.  He brings great wisdom as a leader. 

What Others Are Saying...

"Israels' charts are the heart of his band's unique personality.  Israels has fashioned an orchestra that flows in beautiful channels, and beauty is something jazz can use these days...This is a band to check out.  The originals, the standards are freshly reworked, and they are played with passion and understanding.  The pulse, never bombastic, moves the listener as surely as it moves the band.  Israels deserves a lot of credit, but more importantly, the opportunity to be widely heard." 
- Ira Gitler, DownBeat

"...thrilling, nearly perfect...old-school in the best sense... tightly disciplined unit."  
- Allen Morrison, DownBeat

"This band is worthy of being on a festival main stage." - Doug Ramsey, Arts Journal Blogs 
Chuck Israels Contact
Management: SoulPatch Music
Booking: Dow Artists
Press Contact: Scott Thompson PR / 203-400-1818

sábado, 13 de junio de 2015

Perry Beekman New CD S'Wonderful Sings and Plays Gershwin + Live Appearance @ The Maverick!

Saturday | July 11 | 8 pm
Perry Beekman, guitar and vocals
Lou Pappas, bass •  Peter Tomlinson, piano
Making old school new cool.–Brent Black, Critical Jazz


For the third part of his continued quest to fully explore the Great American Songbook, the remarkable guitarist/vocalist Perry Beekman embraces George and Ira Gershwin with the very aptly titled ‘S Wonderful.  Following up on the critical and popular success of the first two albums in the series – Bewitched (Rodgers & Hart) and So in Love (Cole Porter) – Perry and his longtime associates, pianist Peter Tomlinson and Lou Pappas on bass, offer 15 of the Gershwins’ best loved classics.
            With each new recording project and the prolific live performing schedule they maintain, the trio’s synergy and unity of purpose become increasingly apparent.  The sheer joy and the sparkling sense of discovery they exhibit in playing together has never been more palpable than on this album.
            The easygoing and joyous nature of the music almost obscures the sophistication and inventiveness of Perry’s brilliant arrangements, which perfectly frame these familiar songs.  While remaining totally faithful to the composers’ visions, they provide a freshness and flair that makes them new again.  One of the most captivating elements of the arrangements is the creation of written improvisational lines and chordal passages played in unison by guitar and piano that link the imaginative solos with the return to the theme on a number of tracks.  The effect is exhilarating and further enhances the constant lyricism in the solos, tying them in even more seamlessly with the unforgettable melodies.
            Perry always cites the enormous influence that the immortal Nat ‘King’ Cole has had upon both his music and his singing.  The former is manifested in the use of the master’s guitar/piano/bass format – a constant in Perry’s live performances and all his recordings.  As for the singing, while Perry’s dulcet voice is not like Nat’s (although in the lower tones that sound of liquid velvet is manifested), his impeccable phrasing and flawless intonation both hold true to the great man’s style.        
            Instrumentally, Perry’s consummate guitar artistry is consistently on display, but so perfectly entwined with the songs that his virtuosity is understated.  The fluidity of the Barney Kessel/Herb Ellis style of swing; the blazing Johnny Smith-tinged runs and that Grant Green soulfulness are all inextricably coiled into the music.  Tomlinson’s mastery is a perfect complement to Perry’s, his solos consistently inspired and their interplay always exemplary, while Pappas’ deeply wooded tone, rhythmic vibrancy and consistently tasteful musicality provide the core to every piece.
            There’s something about the way that Perry sings the lyrics that also calls to mind the man whose name was on George Gershwin’s lips as his last utterance – Fred Astaire.  Like Astaire – a vastly underrated vocalist – Perry’s delivery of Ira’s wonderful lyrics allows them to tell the story on their own, unobscured by stylish invention for its own sake.  And his guitar and vocals are so symbiotic that they resemble the right and left hand of a pianist in their singularity of purpose.
            The 15 songs contained here are all staples of the majestic Gershwin legacy, but of course only a small part of it – a further reminder of the depth and scope of the prolific composer’s output in his tragically short life.  Many of them have been played by jazz artists for more than 75 years; and many more have been adapted into now-classic jazz originals – none more often than I Got Rhythm.  Here Perry offers his own variation, slotted into the innards of his faithful rendition with one of those aforementioned guitar/piano unison items.  A somewhat ironic atmospheric rubato intro sets up this unabashedly swinging version, also marked by his beautifully constructed solo.
            On another rhythm note, Fascinating Rhythm is one of two instrumentals, treated with almost jump-style buoyancy, with fluid guitar and piano solos, and a lively trading of fours with the bass, all further stoked by some of Perry’s guitar body “conga” percussion.  But Not for Mefeatures a nicely suspended version of the winsome melody and a guitar solo that covers the full range of the instrument.
            It’s just voice and guitar on I’ve Got a Crush on You, featuring a highly compelling chord melody arrangement followed by a poignant vocal interpretation.  Beautiful balladry is on tap for two more pieces.  How Long Has This Been Going On lets Perry demonstrate that low-range Nat-like silkiness with his touching vocal.  Someone to Watch Over Me includes its often-ignored intro, used here to build a tantalizing tension before Perry offers the utterly gorgeous melody, stretching his tones languorously along the bridge.  A beauteously delicate piano solo is another highlight on this highly emotive and deeply moving piece.
            In true tribute to the Gershwins, Perry includes intros on three other pieces as well, both in a talking/singing style.  Nice Work If You Can Get It talks its way into a bluesy groove, with baroque unison lines punctuating a soulful guitar solo, the piano flirting with barrelhouse and a nicely rhythmic bass solo over Freddie Green-ish comping.  Love is Here to Stay follows the intro with an easy swinging vocal over a walking bass before joined by deep blue piano.  Perry’s subtly deliberate solo is rooted in potent chordal style; and Peter’s blues-drenched turn follows a similar route. The intro to Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off transforms the whimsical piece into a playful jaunt, with a spirited angular guitar solo.
            Whimsy of a more classical sort is heard on Oh Lady Be Good, with a quote fromRhapsody in Blue rolled into the introduction, and a fresh take on the chord structure with a touch of big band sound.  Audaciousness is at play on ‘S Wonderful, with its bossa feel, bold suspensions and daringly elongated rhythms on the head; and features a crystalline guitar solo that falls like a gentle rain.
            Undiluted swing is the recipe for the other four pieces.  Liza is in a punchy, vigorous mood featuring an articulately melodious guitar solo.  Love Walked In struts in an easy but emphatic gait with Perry in glowing single note runs on the first chorus and cascades on the second.  Soon is a surging kicker, with briskly punctuated vocal, a fiery guitar solo and smoking piano (with some more “conga” accompaniment); and They All Laughed is an infectiously buoyant jaunt with a terrific guitar solo that blends blistering runs with deliciously suspended chords, and Tomlinson cooking in Teddy Wilson swing fashion.
            With the huge Gershwin repertoire, one can only hope that this album is a volume one, as there’s really just one way to properly describe it:  ‘S Wonderful.

For more information visit 

Media Contact
Jim Eigo

Jazz Promo Services


miércoles, 10 de junio de 2015

Billy Lester New CD "Unabridged" + Live Appearances In Italy!

Billy Lester
New CD
+ Live Appearances In Italy

with Billy Lester

July 8th 2015
     Sala d’Armi,Castello di Panzano in Chianti
      Billy Lester on piano
      Marcello Testa on bass
      Carlo Fagiani  on drums

July 15th 2015
Winery Fattoria Le Fonti, Panzano in Chianti 
     Billy Lester on piano
       Nicola Stranieri  on drums
       Marcello Testa on bass

July 28th 2015
Villa Pecille (Winery Fontodi) Panzano in Chianti 
     Billy Lester on Piano
       Gary Levy on Alto Sax

Pianist Billy Lester is a musical original. That’s obvious from the first, oh, 17 seconds of Unabridged, his sixth album and second all-solo recording.

Listen to the unusual, brief motif with which Lester opens “Overture: Passionate Musings,” then develops, complicates and completes it faster than you’d tie a shoelace. Pause -- and he continues. Not to just recapitulate or elaborate the cell-like theme through variation, but to expand it as a theme in a concentrated, melodically flowing way that’s not exactly “songlike,” or modal, either. Call it the genre of no genre.

Because what Lester does here contains sonic elements that might be identified with compositional modernism, contemporary “classical” music, or sounds that seem to exist as if only sprung from themselves – it’s not so obvious that he arrives at his singularity through decades of deep devotion to and teaching of the music we all call jazz. Swing, the blues and American songbook standards, jazz icons as well as major composers of the Western classical tradition are Lester’s touchstones, regardless of that fact that what he’s creating now ignores, sidesteps, bypasses or abstracts virtually all American music’s basic conventions.

But Lester is secure in his identity. “At times I’ve played for people and they’re very surprised to find what I do is jazz, and that it’s improvised,” says the pianist, who started at his instrument when he was four, and has kept at it for some 60 years. “My music here is entirely improvised,” he asserts. “This is simply the first time I’ve released anything free-form.”

Free-form -- “free jazz”? -- isn’t typically what we associate with such of Billy Lester’s heroes as Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Lennie Tristano and Sal Mosca, his most directly influential teacher. They all jazzed, advanced and fans believe improved strains of repertoire familiar in their day. Although Tristano, whom Lester met during his teens and hung out with, did record the first freely improvised jazz sides, “Intuition” and “Digression,” in 1949, he and his acolyte Mosca, too, insisted that their students thoroughly absorb a canon of classic performances before venturing to establish voices much less styles of their own. After half a century of effort, Billy Lester has reached the level of accomplished self-possession to do that.

Notice: If there is no canonical gesture or typical structure involving chord progressions or constraining scales in “Musings” (or “Jamba Swing,” “Spree-ing,” “Self-Encounters” or the first half of Unabridged’s “Finale”), there is instead throughout these pieces a seemingly organic unfolding of an inherently individualistic ideas that return or reappear, transformed, as they evolve. In “Musings” Lester keeps his fingers on that idea, lets them loose to circle around it, comes to an element of it that attracts him (though he does not precisely restate it) again and again and concludes with a chord which hasn’t been voiced this way before, but has certainly been foreshadowed, or even fated. Hard to tell. Listen again.

Or go on to “Jamba Swing,” which Lester describes as his breakthrough into unselfconscious spontaneity, recorded in 2013 at Oktaven Audio, the Yonkers, NY studio of Ryan Streber which has become a conducive setting for his most introspective efforts. Billy says that on the occasion he played that, “For the first time in my life, my music felt like just my music. Even though I’m indebted to so many wonderful artists of the past, I felt I’d become independent. There had been so much jazz in my head that I had yet to express because I felt in some way restricted by the tunes, by the standards. It took me up until that day to realize that I had the freedom and permission to just let it all pour out.”

Paradoxically or ironically or naturally enough, pouring it out as Lester does it results not in thunderous exploding energies, but rather incisively focused explorations. In his entirely unmediated pieces here – including “Spree-ing,” “Self-Encounters” and the first half of “Finale” -- his pulse may become urgent, his left hand may abandon comping to take an independent along its own course, his right might track tunefulness in the uppermost register, but somehow this is all tethered to the jazz roots with which he began instead of some negating or revolutionary impulse.

Similarly in “One After Another,” where he refers at least in his own mind to Harry Warren’s 1942 hit “There Will Never Be Another You”; in “Blues for Charlie Christian” which is, indeed, a blues if an altered one; in “Songbook Harmonies,” based on Richard Whiting’s “Too Marvelous for Words” (of 1937) and “Finale,” which slips into Gene de Paul’s “I’ll Remember April” (also from ‘42). There is no gulf separating Lester’s performance of the wholly imagined – spontaneous composition or free-form improvisation, call it what you will -- from his ostensible interpretations of others’ compositions. All this music is his own.

“I suppose my improvisations arise from an accumulation of the listening I’ve done, attaching that music to my own feelings,” Billy explains. “When it’s working, it’s not a conscious effort, it just keeps coming, and I’m always surprised. Much as I’ve practiced certain exercises or chords, they all get thrown to the wind, and I’m the edge. Stuff comes out that I’ve never played before.

“For the past 25 or so years I’ve had a discipline where I’ll sit at the piano, all the lights out, and look into myself to find in what part of my body my feelings are. Sometimes I’ll sit for a half hour before anything happens. But if I wait long enough, that sense of where the feeling is turns into a sound. I’ll sing that sound and try to find it on the piano. This has become a very pleasurable and meaningful exercise to me. I know that whatever sound I hear is mine, without doubt. That’s become the bottom line for my approach to the piano and to jazz.”

Lester’s earlier albums -- Four Into Four, Visceral, At Liberty and Captivatin’ Rhythm -- were small group projects involving quartets and trios. Around 2010 he stopped playing with other people, to devote himself to solo expression, and his album Story Time was his first set by himself. “I started thinking that Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Lennie Tristano and Sal Mosca were all soloists,” he recalls, “and I started pursuing that direction. When I’m playing alone I can pick the key, change the tempo, play free, pick a tune – do whatever’s in my head. I don’t need to worry if someone’s coming along with me. The piano, as I conceive of it, is an orchestra. I’m using all my knowledge and love of music to express my self.

“My music doesn’t come out of the sky. I’m a big fan of Bach, Beethoven, Bartok and Chopin as well as the classic jazz titans. But I can say now that what I’ve always respected about all these people is that they were individuals and didn’t feel they had to be anything but themselves. That’s a message I got from them: That they were free. I’ve always wanted to be free, even though I knew for me that it would be a long journey, requiring a lot of work.

“Now I hear certain phrases I’ve played – without trying isn’t the word for the experience, it’s just happening – that remind me of my personality. I hope my music will be a bit of a window into people knowing who I am. That’s always been my intent: to offer listeners something of the subjective part of the person creating the music. If the listener recognizes something of themselves from the notes I strike in myself, if they can see themselves with me or through me – that’s very gratifying.”

To find such resonant chords, meant to stir listeners where we ourselves really live, Billy Lester has sought the wisdom of musical masters, purged himself of artifice and honestly offered his intimate all. What we get is something precious, one man’s art: Unabridged.

-- Howard Mandel, 
President of the Jazz Journalists Association

Artist Website:


Jim Eigo
Jazz Promo Services