Meet Ray Clemens: Born in Oklahoma. High school at the Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, CA. College and briefly at the New School for Social Research in NYC. Been playing for what seems ages....and yet I can't come up with suitable material for the bio. Instrument(s): Bass -upright & electric, piano Teachers and/or influences? I've had the pleasure of studying with some amazing musical minds. It all started at the Idyllwild Arts Academy with Marshal Hawkins, an amazing self-taught jazz bassist who had his start on the road with Miles Davis. Next up, ...read more
Voice and nylon-string guitar. That's it. Nothing else to hear on this one, but nothing else is really needed. Vocalist Kelly Suttenfield's first album--Where Is Love (Rhombus Records, 2009)--was a well-crafted, full band affair that reimagined the works of everybody from Wes Montgomery ("West Coast Blues") to Caetano Veloso ("Coraçao Vagabundo") to The Platters ("Twilight Time"). On her sophomore date, she strips away the band, leaving only guitarist Tony Romano in the picture to help her explore music of the night and songs of love. Among The Stars offers quiet and absorbing takes on ...read more
The double bass. Everyone knows the double bass--it goes boom, boom, boom." Sometimes, to paraphrase Sophia Loren, it goes boom, boody, boom." In the hands of a virtuoso it does so much more than that: it has passion, dynamism, emotion and the power to move the soul. Renaud Garcia-Fons is such a virtuoso and Beyond The Double Bass--a compilation drawn from ten previous albums, with an accompanying DVD documentary--is absolutely superb. Garcia-Fons--who favors a five-string double bass on all but one tune--was born in Catalonia and now lives on the outskirts of Paris. His musical influences are many: ...read more
Chris Isaak NYCB Theatre at Westbury Long Island, NY September 7, 2014 Chris Isaak likes to make a splash. The perpetually youthful musician burst onto the stage the way he burst onto the music scene 30 years ago, when he signed to Warner Brothers and subsequently released the CD Silvertone (Warner Brothers, 1985). The crowd at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury spanned multiple generations and was clearly there for a rock and roll show. Isaak delivered. In a resplendent, vibrant blue suit with embroidered silver patterns, white button down and a ...read more
German-born pianist Christian Pabst has been the leader of an award-winning trio since before the debut of their critically-acclaimed Days of Infinity (Challenge Records, 2010), however on Song of Opposites, the trio is augmented by seven additional instrumental voices adding a new chapter to this versatile artist's resume. Recorded in Amsterdam--where Pabst is currently based--the pianist presents an all-European cast of players offering an album of new modern classical jazz material that includes a three-piece string section on five tunes and also showcases the sounds of the sax, trumpet and trombone on a couple of tracks. Incorporating the ...read more
To be able to say you have heard something unique is rare these days. Of course, every musician's recordings are unique but occasionally there arrives an album which is truly 'stand alone' and Viscera (New Atlantic),the third album by saxophonist Colin Webster and drummer Mark Holub is one such album. The album consists of track after track of incisive, aggressive, full-on free jazz played at a rate and with such alacrity it defies any attempt at categorization. This is no background CD. But gutsy, gritting, gripping free jazz with a unique identity. Webster and Holub have played together before and ...read more
Meet Mason Razavi: Starting out as a self-taught rock guitarist, Mason began studying jazz and playing in working rock bands as a teenager. After hearing an Andres Segovia recording for the first time at age 22, Mason changed directions dramatically and focused on the classical guitar for several years before returning to jazz and the electric guitar. Though first and foremost a jazz guitarist/composer, his diverse background has led him to play in settings ranging from rock bands to accompanying concert choirs, backing up jazz singers, and as a classical soloist. Mason has studied guitar and composition ...read more
It's been a while since the jazz world has seen a release from this group. The first three albums credited to the Chris Walden Big Band--the Grammy-nominated Home Of My Heart (Origin Records, 2005), No Bounds (Origin Records, 2006), and Kurt Marti Suite (Origin Records, 2007)--came in quick succession. And then there was silence from Walden. Well, that's not exactly true. Walden's actually been quite busy in the interim, even if his work didn't center on his own big band. He's been cranking out orchestrations and arrangements for mega-stars like Rod Stewart, Michael Bolton, Michael Bublé, and numerous others, so ...read more
Singer Robert Plant's interesting and colorful journey in music continues further with a brilliant new outing named lullaby and ... The Ceaseless Roar. For one thing, this record shows that as Plant gets older he does wondrous things but settle down. His former band casts a long shadow in today's music, with Led Zeppelin as popular as ever, and in a year that saw the band's albums re-released in lavish box sets and various audio formats, Robert Plant takes a new turn with this record. When he embarked on a solo career he seemed to be deliberately distancing ...read more
English pianist Andrew McCormack came to wider attention in the UK with his debut Telescope (Dune, 2006) and his subsequent Rising Star BBC Jazz Award. McCormack was already an established figure on the London jazz scene through his association with Tomorrow's Warriors and J-Life though a decade on he's probably still best known as a sideman in the bands of Denys Baptiste, Jean Toussaint, and Gary Crosby's Nu-Troop, as well as for his duo collaborations with Jason Yarde. That may be about to change with McCormack's impressive follow-up, which captures the energy and flow of New York, where the music ...read more
Pianist Ken Berman's friendship with the late poet Eythan Klamka served as the inspiration for Sound Poetry, a musical project of mostly original compositions bookended by two solo reinterpretations of classic jazz standards. Poet Klamka, to whom this album is dedicated, had previously stated that any true musician is a sound poet" and to this end, poetry and music come together on the pianists fourth album as leader. Along with electric bassist Kai Eckhardt and drummer Akira Tana, the Berman trio brave through a selection of fresh new material of light improvised nature. Billy Strayhorn's oft-recorded standard Lush ...read more
In the 80s, the band engendered a cagey slant on mainstream swing and then morphed into the risk-taking New York downtown scene, eventually garnering widespread attention and sell-out crowds at the Knitting Factory and other hip venues. They regrouped in 2006, carrying the torch for what has become a singular sound, ingrained in classic jazz stylizations, bop, funk, and the free-jazz domain. Known for its quirky deviations, razor-sharp horns arrangements and melodic hooks, the septet's spunkiness and tightknit overtures align with the stars on Manhattan Moonrise. The musicians tackle a funk rock itinerary spiced with pianist Joel Forrester's ...read more
French double bassist Louis-Michel Marion's sophomore solo double bass album (after his debut solo double bass album Grounds, Emil, 2012) blends influences from European schools of free improvisation and experimental, modern composers. Marion--who collaborates regularly with forward-thinking French improvisers like sax player Daunik Lazro, clarinetist Xavier Charles or pianist Sophie Agnel--describes himself as influenced by seminal, innovative double bass players such as Joëlle Léandre, Barry Guy and Peter Kowald and composers such as Giacinto Scelsi, Iancu Dumitrescu and Iannis Xenakis. br> Marion frames the five improvisations with a quote by thinker Henry David Thoreau who wrote in his ...read more
Victor Haskins is one of those young musicians who seems to be able to do it all. He's an award-winning trumpeter, composer/arranger and educator/clinician--all at 21 years old. His debut recording, The Truth (32 Bar Records, 2013) received significant well-deserved acclaim. Haskins, a young visionary, has developed ImproviStory, what he describes as a new and emerging form of audience-generated extemporaneous musical improvisation. We caught up with Victor as he prepares to perform ImproviStory at this year's Festival of New Trumpet Music later this month in New York. All About Jazz: Victor, on behalf of All About Jazz, ...read more
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