viernes, 19 de octubre de 2018

Blues-Rock Guitarist Jim Allchin New "Prime Blues" is Red Hot!

Jim Allchin
Prime Blues 
Critically Acclaimed Blues-Rock Guitarist, Songwriter and Vocalist 
Jim Allchin Announces Prime Blues,
His Newest LP, Released September 21, 2018
Produced by Grammy® and Blues Music Award Winner Tom Hambridge and featuring a team of veteran studio and touring professionals including special guests Bobby Rush and Mike Zito
Jim Allchin, the American blues-rock guitarist, philanthropist, and a former software executive, is releasing his fourth widely distributed contemporary blues album: Prime Blues, produced by Producer and Grammy®, ASCAP and Blues Music Award winner Tom Hambridge, whose production credits include: Buddy Guy, Marcia Ball, Susan Tedeschi and James Cotton, among many others.

Prime Blues features 14 new tracks performed by an all-star group of musicians including: bassist Glenn Worf, rhythm guitarists Rob McNelley, Bob Britt and Kenny Greenberg, keyboardist Kevin McKendree, drummer Tom Hambridge, vocalist Mycle Wastman, The Memphis Horns and special guest vocalists Grammy-winner Bobby Rush, and Blues Award winner Mike Zito.

Hambridge stated: "I'm so very proud of this major step forward in Jim's journey as a Bluesman. We had an absolute blast co-writing some of the songs, planning and recording Prime Blues and we're anxious for blues fans around the globe to hear these incredible tunes and performances."

Featured in Apple Music and receiving wide critical acclaim, Allchin's last LP, Decisions, topped Contemporary Blues and Blues Rock charts for months and was named a Top 20 Blues Rock Album of 2017 by the venerable Roots Music Report. The LP registered nearly 1 million plays on Spotify.

Allchin adds: "The title Prime Blues refers to both my love of the blues as well as my love of mathematics. Prime Blues is more concentrated blues than my past albums and at the same time more diverse in terms of style, guitar technique, and guitar tone. Each song tells a story - about an experience, life observation, or my life philosophy in general. I hope you find some of these songs just flat out fun!"

Jim Allchin Notes:

Jim Allchin is an American blues-rock guitarist, computer scientist, and philanthropist. He grew up on a farm in the deep South, left to earn Masters / Doctorate degrees from Stanford University and Georgia Institute of Technology and went on to become a recognized leader in Computer Science and Software. While growing up in the south, I fell in love with the Blues. I have played it ever since. He has written, performed, and recorded throughout his life.

His newest album, Prime Blues, is his fourth widely-available solo album and second produced by 2x Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge. It was recorded, mixed, and mastered in Nashville. Prime Blues features 14 new tracks performed by an all-star group of musicians including bassist Glenn Worf, rhythm guitarists Rob McNelley, Bob Britt and Kenny Greenburg, keyboardist Kevin McKendree, drummer Tom Hambridge, vocalist Mycle Wastman, The Memphis Horns and special guest vocalists Grammy-winner Bobby Rush, and Blues Award winner Mike Zito.

"I started playing music in my early teens. My first instrument was the trumpet. I became fairly capable, but my teeth got loose and kept cutting my lips to the point of bleeding when I was going for the high notes. So, I saved up money and bought a acoustic guitar. Here's me singing (on the right) at a studio when I was a teenager.

I grew up in the deep south. I learned to play by listening to blues players and latin players or even new groups at the time (e.g., Allman Brothers). I traveled around playing in bands and writing music - mostly blues rock. I met some amazing musicians. I played 16+ hours a day. And I learned to hard lesson in the music business: being good matters, but there are lots of great musicians - luck matters too."

¡¡Amor & Jazz!!

lunes, 15 de octubre de 2018

OUT TODAY! Vocalist Kris Adams Remembers Steve Prosser on "We Should Have Danced"

On Her 4th Album “We Should Have Danced”, Kris Adams Sings the Music of Steve Prosser

Available October 15, 2018
Jazzbird Records is proud to announce the October 15th release of Kris Adams’ long-awaited fourth album We Should Have Danced: The Music of Steve Prosser. Featuring Adams’ original lyrics and arrangements by pianist Tim RayWe Should Have Danced is a deeply personal, poignant collection of music featuring the compositions of the late Steve Prosser, Adams’ former husband. The released of We Should Have Danced celebrated on September 4th at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City

Beloved and respected by so many, Prosser lived a remarkable life as a Berklee College of Music professor for over thirty years; a decade of which was spent helming the ear training department as its chairman. On campus, Prosser was known for his passionate teaching style, talented musicianship and his larger than life persona. Prosser and Adams met at Berklee in 1981 and married in 1987. Though they separated in 2006, they remained close friends. “Besides being a master teacher, Steve was a vocalist, composer, jazz pianist, lawyer and bird lover. He loved to have his ear training students transcribe bird songs. And he and I had a running joke around the house. He would quiz me on which bird song we were hearing in the yard. Music was everything to him. Composing and arranging was something he loved to do but didn’t have the desire to put his music out there. But I loved his music so making this CD is my gift to him,” says Adams.

After Prosser’s passing in 2012 at the age of 60, Adams came across a folder titled “Songs for CD” amongst the items left behind for her. Inside was a trove of Steve’s original music with many of the tunes having been written during their 19 year marriage. Inspired in some cases by Prosser’s poetry and in other cases, by the melodies themselves,  Adams wrote lyrics to some of her favorites which then were arranged by Tim Ray. “My mind was filled with images and emotions, searching to put into words what I felt from the music that he wrote,” says Adams. Bassist Paul Del Nero and flautist Fernando Brandão were then added to enrich the project.

Standout tracks include the autobiographical album opener “Prophecy”, which tells of the couples’ first meeting, the poignant “Summer Moon Above", which features lyrics pulled from Prosser’s original poem “Less Than Nothing” and the hauntingly beautiful album closer “Without You”, which Prosser originally titled “For Kris”. Funny and quirky, Prosser titled one song “Mumbling” which Adams retitled “Imaginings” after writing the lyric. All of the songs were retitled by Adams except for the title track, “We Should Have Danced”.

Four years in the making, “We Should Have Danced” is a poignant and commemorative body of music that not only celebrates the genius of Steve Prosser but the palpable love of these two creative musicians.

“Simply put, this is the story of our lives lived together”.

La imagen puede contener: una o varias personas, personas en el escenario y concierto

Kris Adams Notes::
Kris Adams began singing at an early age having grown up in a music loving family. Her grandfather played organ by ear and her mother played piano. Kris began singing on stage in a touring children’s theater as a young teenager and had her first professional gigs at the age of 19 in Connecticut, singing in a latin-jazz band that the late saxophonist Tom Chapin was a member of.

Kris left Hartford to attend Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. She released her first CD, “This Thing Called Love” in 1999 and her second, “Weaver of Dreams” in 2002. Both were collaborations with pianist/arranger, Steve Prosser. She recorded her third disc, "Longing" in collaboration with trumpeter/arranger, Greg Hopkins. Kris has shared the stage with Joe Lovano, Wayne Escoffery, Lee Musiker, Cameron Brown, Billy Drummond, Bill Pierce, Harvie S, Jay Leonhart and Michelle Hendricks.

Kris is currently on faculty at  Berklee and is author of the book “Sing Your Way Through Theory” (Hal Leonard). She has performed and given clinics in New England, New York, Los Angeles, Brazil, Germany and Italy, at the Fara Sabina Jazz Festival alongside Jonathan Kreisberg, Kevin Hays, Reuben Rogers and Gregory Hutchinson.

¡¡Amor & Jazz!!

miércoles, 3 de octubre de 2018

Singer/Songwriter Abigail Rockwell "Autumn Noir" Release Date October 10!

Abigail Rockwell
Autumn Noir 
CD Release  
Featuring Saxophonist
Harry Allen & More!
Sultry tones tell the story.  
Cinematic jazz: a fresh blend of originals and standards. 
Abigail Rockwell's first album as a singer/songwriter
"This album was born from beauty and friction. It is my love letter to the east and west coasts: the craggy edges of the east, the vast expanse of the west, and all the dark alleyways in between."- AR

Why Noir? That haunting sax solo line running through Taxi Driver, the distant blow of a conch and those voodoo drums from I Walked With A Zombie... shadings of light and shadow... music and images that left a stamp of recognition on me like a raised brand I couldn't get rid of. That post-war, atomic age desperation still ripples that dark lake off Highway 2. Femme fatale, Lady Fate, I never know quite what she has in store for me. All I can do is surrender and go for a ride. She drives like the night, blinded but knowing, to a destination of her own choosing.

Music Noir in a post-modern world.
"Her voice is a bit deeper and fuller, but her phrasing, her use of occasional melisma, and the breathy sexiness of her sound call to mind Morgana King. I mean this as high praise."
- Gerry Geddes

"Although many vocalists have included torch singing in their repertoire, few have made it a specialty as has Abigail Rockwell. With her breathy, smoky voice and sultry demeanor, she is most reminiscent of Julie London. What Rockwell brings to this table of torch is poetry."
- Marilyn Lester

Abigail comes from a family of artists. Her biography is in her work.
"All I could think of was the guy with the saxophone and what he was playing. It wasn't a love song anymore, it was a dirge." - Detour, 1945

Track listing:
1 Summer Me, Winter Me 3:52
2 Libertango 3:22
3 Slow Burn 4:06
4 So In Love 4:04
5 Miss Brown To You 4:09
6 Autumn 3:49
7 Almost Blue/The Thrill Is Gone 4:50
8 Am I Blue 3:54
9 Summer Erotic 3:48
10 Voodoo Swing 3:06
11 Lane Closed 3:44
12 I Wish You Love 5:00

Abigail Rockwell - executive producer, vocals
Quinn Johnson - keys
Kevin Winard - drums, percussion
Robert Mitchum - bass
with Harry Allen, Jim Hynes, Mauro Refosco and Davi Vieira, Bernd Schoenhart, David Mann, Bob Mann and Bill Brendle

We want to invite you to enjoy now the delicious Abigail performing "Candy", success in previous years, at the Metropolitan Room - New York City

¡¡Amor & Jazz!!

sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2018

Today Daniel Rotem release his new CD "Serenading The Future" at the Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA

Saxophonist, Composer and Arranger Daniel Rotem Offers an Optimistic View for a United Perspective on New Album Serenading the Future

Visionary saxophonist Daniel Rotem is proud to announce the September 28th release of Serenading the Future. On this magnetic tour-de-force double album, Rotem is joined by violinist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, pianist Miro Sprague, bassist Alex Boneham, and drummer Roberto Giaquinto. GuitaristJeff Parker is featured on one track and vocalist Erin Bentlage on two.

A follow-up to Rotem’s debut album Be NiceSerenading the Future reflects upon the saxophonist’s life experiences, the wide-spanning perspective he has gained and the lessons he has learned – “in short, it’s about being alive.”

Upon utilizing this sophomore album as a platform to express the personal meaning he draws from being human, Rotem has led himself to sequentially look forward to the future. As the saxophonist explains, “every moment in the present is already in the past once it is experienced, and the past, as beautiful and glorified as it might be, is merely a memory.” Rotem encourages us to embrace our past moments and experiences, acknowledge our present blessings and so foresee and celebrate the potential in our futures. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz graduate refers to this album as “a tribute to the future that could be - a call to embrace ourselves, recognize the privilege we have to be alive, respect the world we live in and the people around us, and treat our paths with the same care and love we would treat a partner or a child.”

Growing up in Israel to a mixed family of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, Rotem inherited an awareness for the importance and need for unity and universal equality. “I grew up in a family that embraced equality and respect to all people. It is difficult for me to imagine any other scenario - we are all equal, we are all the same, and share similar if not identical fears, hopes, and yearnings.” Combining this perspective with his approach to music, Rotem strives to establish a sonic landscape that highlights the importance of each human involved in its creation. Rather than focusing on any one individual, Daniel Rotem’s compositional and performance process displays the significance of the artistic collective as a whole - the communication and interaction between people as they interpret and create in union. The opening track “Different But The Same” immediately sets the tone. Featuring prolific guitarist Jeff Parker, this  pulse-free, meditative track symbolizes the absolute truth that while each member of the human species is individual and unique, as a collective, humans everywhere experience the same angst and concern, aspirations and desires.

Amongst other stand-out tracks from the album is “Who Is It?” -  the only song on the record previously recorded on Rotem’s debut. Following his decision to move to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music, where he completed his undergraduate degree, Rotem was feeling both out of place and right where he needed to be. The core genesis of this song is about becoming - who you are vs. who you want to be. While studying at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, Rotem had the privilege to perform this track alongside Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter for the Playboy Jazz Festival. Understandably so, the track still retains a personal significance for the composer.

“Push Through” speaks to those who experience setbacks in their lives. With its repetitive rhythmic motif, it is a reminder for those individuals to never give up, and to continue to trust in themselves, the path they choose to take, their beliefs, perspective and potential. This track exudes an air of solidarity. While “Between Lives” and “Country of Mind” both speak of Rotem’s relationship between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv, “A Cold Ode” was written during a visit to Vermont last December. In contrast to the Mediterranean climate Rotem grew up in, the snowy surroundings he experienced in Vermont were magical for him. He explains, “the motif for this song came as the sun came out of the clouds: it was cold, but there was a scent of hope, a promise of warmth, and it made the cold more beautiful and less painful.” “Conversation on Letting Go”, as well as the Intro for “Country of Mind” were improvised by the band as a collective. Both tracks reflect the nature of the band, and the emphasis on listening to each other as part of the creative process.

The title and closing track of the album, which features Erin Bentlage on vocals, conveys the idea that we can all achieve the future that we want, not just for ourselves but for the world - “It is about proactively chasing our vision for how things should be and not settling for how things are.” With a lyrical, memorable melody, blending the vocals, saxophone, and violin together to the point where it is difficult to distinguish each, this arrangement mirrors the unity Rotem hopes his music creates and emanates.

“There are a lot of things that are happening in the world right now that are completely unacceptable but I believe in our ability to make things right. If we remember to listen at least as much as we speak, and to offer the same respect and love to others as we would like to be offered ourselves, the world would be different. That is the future we are serenading for."

Resultado de imagen para Daniel Rotem photos

Daniel Rotem Notes:
Saxophonist, composer, and educator Daniel Rotem fell in love with music at an early age and started playing tenor saxophone when he was thirteen. Now at age 27, Daniel is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston and the world-renowned Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA. He has performed on four continents and has had the honor to share the stage with legendary artists from Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dave Liebman, and Billy Childs, to Stevie Wonder, Usher, and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Daniel went on a U.S. State Department Tour to Morocco, and had the privilege of leading and narrating a jazz history masterclass and performance hosted by the First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama, as part of International Jazz Day in 2016. Daniel has performed at acclaimed festivals including the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Playboy Jazz Festival, and the Red Sea Jazz Festival, and at famed venues such as The Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, the Hollywood Bowl, The Microsoft Theater in LA, and many more. Daniel has taught at the Stanford Jazz Summer Camp and Jazz Institute, and is currently on faculty at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), and teaches the LAUSD All-City Jazz Band. His debut album Be Nice was released independently in February 2017.

¡¡Amor & Jazz!!

miércoles, 26 de septiembre de 2018

Ralph Peterson & Aggregate Prime's Pre-Release Performance @ The Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival - THIS SATURDAY (Sept. 29th)!!

Ralph Peterson’s
Announces the Release of Two New Albums this Fall
with the Gen-Next Big Band and Aggregate Prime

The Gen-Next Big Band: I Remember Bu: Alive Vol. 4 at Scullers

Street Date: October 4; Release Show: October 4, Scullers, Boston, MA
Aggregate Prime: Inward Venture: Alive Vol. 5 at the Side Door
Pre-Release Show: September 29, Beantown Jazz Fest, Boston, MA,
Street Date: October 17; CD Release Shows: October 17-18, Jazz Standard, NYC
Onyx Productions, the music label founded and spearheaded by iconic drummer, bandleader and Berklee professor Ralph Peterson, is proud to announce the release of two new albums this Fall: I Remember Bu: Alive Vol. 4 at Scullers, with the Gen-Next Big Band and Inward Venture: Alive Vol. 5 at the Side Door, with his acclaimed group Aggregate Prime. These two live recordings will be released in the midst of Art Blakey’s 99th birthday celebration this October. In conjunction these releases, Peterson’s Messenger Legacy Band will present a mini-series of concerts this Fall and take part in a live recording to be released in the Spring next year. The fourth and fifth volumes of his ‘Alive’ collection, these forthcoming albums showcase Peterson’s eclectic, wide-ranging musical palette as well as the power of Peterson’s personal perseverance after beating cancer twice.
After making their professional debut at Scullers in Boston in late 2017, the Peterson-led Gen-Next Big Band is now proud to release their debut recording  I Remember Bu: Alive Vol. 4 at Scullers, featuring fellow Art Blakey alum Donald Harrison on October 4th. Following in the Jazz Messenger tradition of mentorship, the Gen-Next Big Band features an exciting lineup of some of Berklee College of Music’s brightest young musicians and employs Blakey’s signature two-drummer format. “Back in 1983, Art Blakey called me to perform with the Jazz Messengers at the Boston Globe Jazz Festival. That concert was transformative in my life and now I have the opportunity to come full circle and extend that experience to these young musicians here.” To celebrate the release, the 20-piece big band will be joined by special guest trombonist Kuumba Frank Lacy at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston, MA, on October 4th.
Onyx Productions’ second release of the year is Inward Venture: Alive Vol. 5 at the Side Door, due out on October 17th with Peterson’s seminal group Aggregate Prime. This quintet features a who’s-who of modern jazz masters including Gary Thomas on tenor saxophone and flute, Mark Whitfield on guitar, Davis Whitfield on piano, Curtis Lundy on bass and Peterson on drums. A follow up to the group’s 2016 debut Dream Deferred, Inward Venture was recorded at the Side Door in Old Lyme, Connecticut earlier this year and showcases the exciting group at their most adventurous. “I am very excited about the progress of this band and this recording shows the immense potential and kinetic energy,” says Peterson. Aggregate Prime will present a pre-release concert on September 29th at the Beantown Jazz Festival in Boston, followed by a two-night official release celebration at the Jazz Standard in New York City on October 17th and 18th.
The last piece of the Onyx Productions trilogy concerns the legacy of Art Blakey. As the last drummer chosen by Blakey to play by his side in the Jazz Messengers, Peterson has a unique responsibility to carry on the Messenger torch and tradition. His Messenger Legacy Band features an elite line-up of Jazz Messenger alumni including Bobby Watson,Essiet Essiet, Geoff Keezer, Brian Lynch and Bill Pierce. The current Messenger Legacy configuration has deep roots: Bill Pierce and Bobby Watson were members of the Jazz Messengers when Peterson first sat in with the group and the final Jazz Messengers arrangement featured Peterson with Essiet Essiet, Geoff Keezer and Brian Lynch.
To commemorate Art Blakey’s 99th birthday, the Messenger Legacy Band will be performing on his birthday, October 11, at Scullers Jazz Club. The next two nights, October 12 and 13, will see the band perform at the Side Door in Old Lyme Connecticut. This performance will be recorded and released next Spring to coincide with a special performance at the Kennedy Center on May 31st.
“Every time I play the drums it is in tribute to Art, but I wanted to do something that goes beyond me, beyond any individual.  I wanted to pay tribute in a way that was authentic, genuine, and meaningful not just to a few, but to every person he touched through his music,” says Peterson, adding, “...having multiple generations of Messengers represented in this band, this is the closest you can get to the source.”
In addition to the album releases and coordinating concerts, Peterson will also be touring throughout the season with his trio Triangular (featuring Zaccai and Luques Curtis), The Josh Evans Quintet, the Lainie Cooke Quartet, the Fo’tet  and others. See his full tour schedule below.
Imagen relacionada
Ralph Peterson Notes:
Peterson’s prolific recording career began in 1985 with the fabled Blue Note label, with whose house band, OTB (Out of the Blue) he performed as a drummer. He released six Blue Note albums as a leader of different combos, including the “Fo’tet," a quartet whose members have at various times included clarinetist Don Byron, saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Belden Bullock and vibraphonist Bryan Carrott. To date, Peterson has released over 20 albums as a leader.

His glittering curriculum vitae includes such names as pianists Walter Davis Jr., Geri Allen and Stanley Cowell; trumpeters Terence Blanchard, Tom Harrell, Jon Faddis and Roy Hargrove; saxophonists Michael Brecker, David Murray, Branford Marsalis and Charles Lloyd and vocalist Betty Carter.
A bandleader and educator for over 30 years and having played a significant role in launching the careers of Sean Jones, Tia Fuller, Justin Faulkner, and Orrin Evans, among many others. Since 2002, he has taught drums and ensembles at Berklee College of Music.

Peterson is also grateful and proud of the manner in which he has prevailed over physical and personal difficulties. He has lived his life “drink and drug-free" for more then 22 years now. He has survived colon cancer and Bell’s Palsy in addition to multiple orthopedic challenges.
In 2010, Peterson founded Onyx Productions Music Label and has released his own music on the label ever since.

Thurs. Sept. 27
City College Aaron Davis Hall
Lainie Cooke Quartet
Sat. Sept. 29
Boston, MA
Beantown Jazz Festival - Berklee College of Music
Aggregate Prime
Thurs. Oct. 4
Allston, MA
Scullers Jazz Club
Generation Next Big Band
Thurs. Oct. 11
Allston, MA
Scullers Jazz Club
Messenger Legacy
Fri. Oct. 12 & Sat. Oct. 13
Old Lyme, CT
Side Door Jazz Club
Messenger Legacy
Wed. Oct. 17 & Thurs. Oct. 18th
Jazz Standard
Aggregate Prime
Thurs. Oct. 25th
Philadelphia, PA
Triangular– Ralph Peterson Trio
Fri. Oct. 26th
Baltimore, MD
An Die Musik
Triangular– Ralph Peterson Trio
Fri. Nov. 9th
Carrboro, NC
The Arts Center
Aggregate Prime
Sat. Nov. 17
Nashville, TN
Rudy’s Jazz Room
The Fo’tet

¡¡Amor & Jazz!!

sábado, 22 de septiembre de 2018

ears&eyes Records Release "The Waters Above" from Guitarist Phil Schurger! and tour schedule

Phil Schurger - The Waters Above

(ears&eyes Records / ee:18-o79)
Quick Pitch Points:
Release tour dates:
  • Arts+Literature Lab, Madison WI, Sept 23rd
  • Butler University, Indianapolis, Sept 25th
  • Jazz Central Studios, Minneapolis, MN, Sept. 26th
  • Constellation, Chicago, Sept 27th 
  • University of St. Francis Goldstone Performing Arts Center, Ft. Wayne, IN, Sept. 28th.
Tracks/Lengths (quick listen recommendations):
  1. Scorpio  11:40
  2. Anikulapo 10:02
  3. Motion 9:01
  4. Yoruba  12:39
  5. Inclusion  9:53
  6. Nogah  11:36
Releasing Phil’s music is an honor and we’re incredibly lucky to work with a musician/composer who’s in more in touch with these songs and the inner workings of every aspect of them than ever before. He’s one of the most musically conscious artists we’ve worked with. The depth in which he connects with his bandmates, the audience at live shows, our conversations leading up to this release, as well as his literature writing, has been an adventure.
On a side note, he also wrote the pristine liner notes for Matthew Golombisky’s Cuentos release. This entire album, The Waters Above, works on a whole, interweaving the themes of each so that each has a specific reason for existing. There’s nothing happen-chance here compositionally, though he allows the personalities of the Chicago-based band express themselves freely and openly as to interweave other aspects of the universe in which he finds himself in.
The energy that alto saxist Greg Ward and Schurger create during the complex, rapid-fire and often chromatic melodies is intense, especially when either of them blast off into their individual solos. It’s chilling. And the support that would be needed to keep the energy on the level they are dishing out is catapulted further by the solid and confident rhythm section of bassist Jeff Greene and drummer Clif Wallace. The “brothership” of the group goes deep. Ward and Greene have been playing in each other’s groups, blink. and Fitted Shards for more than 10 years and have multiple records together, on labels such as Thirsty Ear, ears&eyes, Whistler, and Nineteen Eight. 
To get an even further idea of his thoughts on music, and only if you have a few extra hours lying around, check out his “articles” section on his website, most notably, “Emptiness and the Practice of Non-identification” and “Application of the Elementals in Performance: A Meditative Path to Captivating the Room.” But first, start here, below, where Phil takes the lead on describing this álbum and these works.
website 3.png

 About the Album
On his second ears&eyes Records release, The Waters Above, guitarist and composer Phil Schurger continues down the path of monumental storytelling through symbols referencing the cosmos, and a curiosity for world cultures.  As with with his first release, “Echoes of the Ancestors”, each composition is multi-dimensional and episodic. The opening melodic statement sets the scene, which is followed by solo sections and interludes, crafted to continue the development of the ebbs and flows of the broader story. The band is dynamic in its ability to sculpt the music, whether propelled by Greg Ward and Phil Schurger as the soloists, or Clif Wallace and Jeff Greene’s dynamic rhythm section playing.
"The Water's Above" as an album title, is a reference to the connection between the higher self and the lower self.  The linking of these two parts of the being is a common aspect of many meditation paths. On the Tree of Life, this idea is reflected in several ways as one deepens in their understanding of the relationship between the Sephiroth.  In Eastern iconography, often you will see a picture of a yogi seated in lotus pose with the image of a guru hovering above their head. Part of the practice of meditation is to create a continuous, conscious link between the upper and lower aspects of the being. In this manner, the normal, everyday mind can become awakened to these higher waters, and tap into the pools of wisdom through the intuition.  For it is in the abstract mind that the root of innovation dwells.
The album opens with the streaming, linear composition Scorpio.  There are several associations both simple and esoteric at play in the title.  Schurger has long been a fan of George Crumb’s works, particularly Makrokosmos. Crumb alludes to his influences by leaving the initials of other composers born under a specific sign.  If Schurger were to do the same, the initials would be M.T. (Mark Turner), whose linear approach influenced Schurger in this period of his composing. Ward plays the melody, while Schurger's accompaniment adds highlights both chordally and melodically.  The music gives the listener the image of moving through a maze, in which each turn leads to another set of questions, grasping towards a point of arrival. Once the end of the maze is seen, the lines build intensity, ascending as they rush towards it, and then cascade earthward in spiral like melodies to announce the arrival of the solo section.  By compositional design, Ward takes the first solo, which starts off subtle and delicate, and slowly builds to a crescendo through the dynamic interaction of the rhythm section. The interaction between all members of the group can be described as complex and intense, dynamic and playful. Wallace’s interactions with Ward’s lines are provocative, and incredibly nuanced.  Greene is adept in his balance of creating space when necessary, and then propelling the music forward with intensity and melodic genius. Schurger’s chordal accompaniment provides a beautiful array of textures that guide the improvisation through each section, directing the band through a series of sign posts towards the solo’s peak. This sets up an open bass solo for Greene.  His solo is questioning; a curious reprieve, as if one is setting up a plan for their next moves in a game of chess. Once the individual has collected his thoughts, the music starts again, set up by a bass ostinato in 6/4 which sets up Schurger’s solo. The guitar enters mysteriously with ambient volume swells to set the space. Schurger’s improvisational approach is to utilize melodic fragments from the melody as the foundation around which his lines swirl.  At different points the fragments are used to propel the solo through various sections, eventually moving from 6/4 to 4/4 time. At this point, the changes modulate from C minor to E minor and the intensity of the music increase as it pushes towards its finale, and the restatement of the opening melody.
Anikulapo is a Yoruban word meaning “He who carries death in a pouch.”  Schurger first encountered the word through the Afro-Beat singer Fela “Anikulapo” Kuti.  The meaning of the word resonated with Schurger, who had encounters with death in his early life.  He states: “I had several brushes with death in my early life. As a result of this, I began to look at the concept of death as a driving force for living life with focus and intention, recognizing that time is our only currency in this physical world.  These experiences defined my pursuit of both music and meditation.” Further he states: “Music is an offering for the betterment of our collective community through an ongoing dialogue amongst generations of musicians, and meditation is quite the same. The depth of the work we do opens doors for those who will come after us.”  The composition is both vast and mysterious. Quartal chords are used over drones to provide a vast openness of the interludes and solo sections, while the air of the chord melody which comprises the main body of the composition is mysterious and questioning. Of note is Schurger’s solo. He opts to leave linear playing behind, and makes a motific chordal statement. This leaves space for bassist Jeff Greene to take more of an active role.  
On “Motion”, the band returns to the intricacies of linear melody. Schurger’s compositions Scorpio, Motion, and the Tower (released on Echoes of the Ancestors), were all written in the same period when Schurger was exploring complex linear structures derived from moving chords as frameworks for melody. The bass groove and drums here are meant to provide contrast, and give the melody a foundation to float over.  Schurger again plays a chord melody part to fill out the lines played by Ward. The mood is playful and light. This is one of Schurger’s few straight ahead pieces in which the form is more akin to a jazz standard. The melody is stated, and because of the length of the form, each soloist takes one round through the form. The music relaxes into the groove of the rhythm section, and the melody is restated.
The inspiration for “Yoruba” came from one of Schurger’s early African-American musical mentors, Michael Patterson, who was a student of both Qabalah and West-African religions.   Patterson had studied Qabalah with a Panamanian Rabbi who showed him common roots in the practices of both forms of spirituality. He introduced Schurger to the music of the Cuban Santero, Milton Cardona, and the concept of the specific use of rhythms as a ritual language.
The composition opens with a spacious melody over a bass drone, and rubato drums. As the melody contracts, the rhythmic waves of the drums come crashing to a peak to establish time.  The melody is restated in-time followed by Ward’s solo. Schurger’s accompaniment, as in Scorpio, is dynamic and propels the band through the form highlighting key points of transition.  Schurger touches for a moment on his avant-garde roots as his solo enters free, with the rhythm section playing out of time. The trio slowly starts to bring time in as the music becomes more intense and directed.  Schurger’s solo peaks as Ward brings the melody back in. The outro features Ward and Wallace dueling rhythmically to bring the song to a fever pitch as the final chords come slamming down from the full band.
Inclusion is a highly delicate, through-composed work.  This is a resting point, and perhaps one of the album’s highlights because of the sensitivity with which the band plays the music.  The melody whispers over moving chords, as the drums sculpt delicate passages with mallets throughout. Both Ward and Schurger’s solos are played with a high degree of melodic sensitivity over the changes, while the rhythm section compliments the atmosphere with a sense of expression that allows the music to breathe.  After Schurger’s solo, arco bass is accompanied by chord swells in the guitar. The mood is haunting and still as the delicate last breaths of saxophone melody hover above the band.
The images from the song titles all culminate in Nogah.  The linear play and mazes of Scorpio and Motion have wound their way to conclusion.  The atmoshphere of Anikulapo, and the rhythms of Yoruba have told their stories. The quiet reprieve of Inclusion, brings us into the open waters of Nogah.  Nogah is a qabalistic reference to the planet Venus, and the sephirah Netzach on the Tree of Life. The path leading from Netzach to Tiphereth on the Tree is associated with the Water sign of Scorpio, and the tarot card of Death. The opening rubato is a mysterious and dark statement of the melody by Schurger. The ambience is watery in texture, enhanced by the use of thick reverb and flanger. As it closes, the full band enters like waves crashing down on the rocks.  The composition’s melody is questioning and contemplative. Schurger’s solo, starts off with a haunting mix of chords and melody, before launching back into the changes of the tune. Here, as in Anikulapo, the solo is motific by intention. Schurger opts to play more melodically, with a blend of lines and chords leaving space for the rhythm section.  As the last lines of the solo descend, the band opens into a rubato section with a phrygian melody played first by Schurger, and then with Ward accompanying. As the intensity of the rubato increases, the band comes crashing in to set up Ward’s final, momentous solo of the album.” - Phil Schurger (musician/composer/author)
  • Recorded at I.V. Labs by Manny Sanchez in Chicago IL USA
  • Mixed and mastered by Miles Fulwider in Ft. Wayne IN USA
  • Album layout/design by Rebekah Frey in Ft. Wayne IN USA

Label  Contact:
Matthew Golombisky:
iMessage, WhatsApp, FaceTime: +54-911-5828-9811 
Press Contact:
Lydia Liebman