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Inner Circle Music: Creativity and Community Spirit

Jakob Baekgaard By

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We are the classic grassroots operation. My role is to review new submissions and to aid and help my artists to design and establish a career trajectory and performance situations for themselves. We do not operate with the typical business structure or label model as has been done in the past. —Greg Osby
The music industry today is defined by a strange paradox: there are too few labels and too many. On the one hand, the major labels have merged and sign less jazz artists, meaning the dream of a company with plenty of promotional muscles becomes harder to achieve. On the other hand, more and more musicians have started releasing their own music, but their labels are often one-man operations with none of the benefits that come with a true label: a brand, an aesthetic profile and most of all: visibility.

The idea of a label based on a collective of artists is an attempt to solve this conundrum and they exist all around the world: ILK in Denmark, Kuai Music in Argentina and Whirl Wind Records in England, just to name a few. The concept has also taken root in the country where jazz was born. Inner Circle Music is run by the acclaimed saxophonist Greg Osby and is a prominent example of a label based on the ideas of creativity and community spirit.

All About Jazz: When did you form Inner Circle Music and how did it happen?

Greg Osby: Inner Circle Music was formed in 2007, one year after my final release for Blue Note Records. I had been signed with them since 1989 and my experience as an artist there was overwhelmingly positive. I was able to express myself entirely in the manner that suited my tastes and creative aspirations. However, near the end of my run it became increasingly obvious that the music business, as well as the priorities of the label itself had shifted. The primary focus was directed to artists who were more of a "sure thing" and who represented guaranteed sales, as opposed to artists like myself who didn't produce records that adhered to a contemporary model or industry expectations. The company president, Bruce Lundvall, asked me what direction I would be pursuing for my next project and I told him that it'd be better if I didn't offer yet another recording that only my die-hard followers would appreciate and support. He understood and begrudgingly agreed. So basically, I quit and was let go all at once, with absolutely no regrets. I enjoyed an amazing run with one of the most iconic companies in recording history. Not to mention, by that time I already had the blueprint for Inner Circle Music charted out anyway.

AAJ: Is there a story behind the name of the label? Why is it called Inner Circle Music?

GO: An inner circle usually is represented by a private group or a select society of like-minded associates. Inner Circle Music represents a group of able bodied and capable minded musicians and artists that I personally selected because I felt that what they were doing was both noble and full of potential. Many of them are primarily new artists that I endeavor to use my connections to help enable them to develop a more receptive and enthusiastic audience. I also sought to have a label that brought emphasis to more global-based forms of contemporary music expression. This idea is illustrated by the multi-national makeup of our roster.

AAJ: How many people are involved with the label and what is your own role?

GO: We are the classic grassroots operation. My role is to review new submissions and to aid and help my artists to design and establish a career trajectory and performance situations for themselves. We do not operate with the typical business structure or label model as has been done in the past. That method has often led to regret and big debt. We are completely independent and self-reliant and thus, we use our combined resources and tenacity to make things happen for ourselves. Our artists are obligated take on operational tasks or work for the label on an as-needed basis, which helps to keep our overhead low.

Sara Serpa and Greg Osby at the Inner Circle Music Festival at the Cornelia Street Cafe.

AAJ: You are a musician yourself. How does that influence the way you run your label?

GO: Being a musician myself allows me the ability to objectively hear projects that are not completely developed or to recognize the potential of an artist who may not be very experienced and has some growing and conditioning yet to do. I use my acquired knowledge, my perspectives and my practical vision to try to help my label mates realize who they are as contributing, progressive artists. However, most of the time I say nothing and don't interfere with their process because the entire reason that I signed someone in the first place is that I felt they were artistically complete and self sufficient. I truly feel that too many so-called "producers" assert themselves to much on the works of artists who would fare better without such unnecessary commentary and suggestions. I only step in when my opinion is requested or if I see that things are getting off track and are at risk of not representing our label in the manner of which it was conceived.

AAJ: How would you define your aesthetic profile and the audience you are targeting? Your manifesto on your website speaks about the need for focus, cultural designation and direction. Could you elaborate on the musical direction you want to pursue with your label?

GO: With reference to a "target" audience, I would not conclude that we have a specific demographic for acceptance and support, since we are not called Inner Circle "Jazz" but instead, Inner Circle "Music." All of our releases have their own unique personalities and stories, which is prerequisite for inclusion in the catalog. I would say that we are in preference of appealing to listeners who have hugely expansive tastes in their listening choices. The creation of contemporary music is aided by vast numbers of resources and global influences. Given that, we wish for our works to be in recognition of what is yet possible, with a respectful nod to what has been made possible.

AAJ: The motto of the label, "Return to Now," is an interesting paradox. How would you define the musical now that you are seeking?

GO: Much music that is produced these days is either derivative or hopelessly emulative. Sometimes artists choose to try to force innovation or be experimental to the degree that none of their music makes any references to the past and thus it has no sonic or historical pathways that link it to any artistic precedent. Our objective at INCM is to utilize practically everything that is been made possible and given to us. Then, we strive to process that information, create original and inspired works, then present those works in an organized framework and medium that is reflective of the sound of today. Basically, to be contemporary in the most honest and purest manner possible.

AAJ: In many ways, the music on your label seems to go beyond fixed notions of genre, but do your see your label as a continuation of a specific jazz narrative or is such a notion aesthetically limiting?

GO: "Jazz," by it's own acquired constructs, represents a mechanism that is (supposed to be) defiant of fixed labeling or characterization. It is solely borne of a combination of unassociated elements -literal "fusion," if you will. We at INCM do not burden ourselves with the idea of ignoring nor embracing any compartmentalizing efforts or elements. We are only committed to producing works that directly reflect who we are and what we aspire towards.

AAJ: Could you speak about some of the defining moments or key releases on your label?

GO: I would offer that the first true defining moment was when I got my hands on the first batch of CDs which was a confirmation that we were a true label, and not a pet project of my own contrivance. These days, practically every artist has a "label" of some sort, which they are usually the sole artist. Our status as a legitimate label was defined by the first seven releases taking place all at once.

Honestly speaking, whenever one of our releases is spotlighted, lauded or even imitated, that would constitute yet another defining moment for us.

The Snow Owl, Juan Garcia-Herreros.

AAJ: What is your take on the music business today? Do you think it has become easier or harder to run an independent label and do you welcome the digital revolution?

GO: I readily embrace the various means of digital music and technology both as a consumer as well as a producer, because it offers quick and immediate access to music for study and enjoyment. But it's awful for the business. Let's be clear about that. "Easily accessible" also means easy to acquire for free and to share with no monitoring -which amounts to stolen full projects sand lost revenue from the actual producers of the works. This issue is of a lesser concern and consequence for pop artists, who enjoy hefty advances and more extensive ticket sales. However, for creative artists like ourselves it means that our CDs are little more than musical business cards which illustrate to consumers, agents and managers what our bands and music actually sounds like. Also, since physical CD sales do not constitute a major fraction of our income stream anymore, one of their primary functions is to influence proprietors to book our respective groups. Often, purchasers of CDs rarely refer to them again once the music has been ripped to their listening devices or phones, so their importance has been further devalued. A digital file is practically impossible to keep track of once it has been released.

AAJ: Do you feel part of a musical movement and are there other labels you identify with?

GO: Currently, we are not affiliated with any other labels or companies, although collaborations are not out of the question. Basically speaking, the only "movement" that I recognize is one where more artists are taking their recording fates in their own hands and are not waiting to be signed or discovered anymore. The fabled big label deals are not in step with reasonable thinking anymore, and many artists are avoiding such debt-driven alliances. They realize that there are alternative means that exist which would allow them to record and promote their art, while maintaining ownership and their artistic integrity. Self production isn't always the best route, and often results in misdirection and projects that lack focus. But for many, it's their only option.

AAJ: Do you have a particular studio and engineer that you use?

GO: We have no one studio or recording situation, and everyone is free to determine the sound that best suits their overall vision. In other words, there is no defined or prescribed "label" sound. That formula was successful in the 1950's and '60's but, in my opinion, would be too limiting a concept for recordings today. A universal label sound is not personal enough for my tastes and gives the recording engineer too much influence on the total color of the work. Such affectations are distracting to me. A studio's sound and vibe should be transparent.

AAJ: Could you tell something about the packaging and design of your albums. Do you have a specific approach to the design of your albums and do you include liner notes or photography? Is it important to you with a physical product?

GO: I have always contended that album or CD cover art is practically as important as the recorded work itself. It's the first thing that potential consumers see, and the packaging absolutely completes the story that is being shared—in a visual sense. Over the years many great projects have been, and continue to be, overlooked and ignored simply because the packaging and imaging looked cheap or was done with little thought. Some cover art looks completely detached and unrelated to the sound of the music itself. Honestly, there is very little that is more unimaginative than a musician holding their instrument on the cover of a CD. I do my best to encourage our artists to be as creative with the package art as they were with the creation of the music itself.

AAJ: You have artists from many different backgrounds and parts of the world. Is it a conscious choice or a coincidence?

GO: Progressive and challenging music is not exclusive to US-based artists. As a citizen of the world, I enjoy hearing ideas interpreted through the lens of persons from various locations that offer alternative strains of culture, customs and folklore. INCM reflects some of the best minds and talent there is.

AAJ: How do you find your artists?

GO: I meet interesting artists all the time. There certainly is no shortage of talent. However, many of my artists come to me via recommendation from others that I have chosen myself. I tend to trust the judgement of players that I already like. Unfortunately, we don't have the means to accommodate everyone that appeals to us for inclusion on our roster. It's far too easy for things to get out of hand, so we have remained small in an effort to keep our affairs manageable.

Yuhan Su.

AAJ: Could you elaborate on some of the key artists that have helped to shape the label's sound?

GO: All of our artists are key players. There is no label sound other than that of individuality and honesty. We try to evoke the sound of true independence, meaning that there is absolutely no label or production intervention that would compromise the aims of the artist's work. Again, I only make my presence known when I feel that the project either lacks direction or focus or the artist is overspending. I have no commentary concerning the trajectory or scope of the artist's vision. I consider too many opinions to be meddlesome and artistically stifling.

AAJ: How does your release schedule look? How many albums do you release in a year and what can be expected in the future?

GO: We're not operating on a fixed release schedule. I much prefer to nurture the projects at a slower pace than to rush things and risk mistakes and poor performances. However, there are a few periods that I would advise not releasing new projects -like during spring break or in early January following the holidays (everyone is broke) etc... We are attentive to every aspect of the production process in order to insure that, upon completion, our finished projects sound entirely as we conceived them. They won't be released until they are entirely complete and when the artist feels the time is right.

AAJ: Finally. How would you evaluate the story of Inner Circle Music so far and what is your vision for the future?

GO: We've done remarkably well during our relatively short period of existence. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to continue to encourage our artists to do good work, and I'll certainly do my best to promote those works and aid in their introduction to a broader support and appreciation base. We'll do our best, to do our best.

Greg Osby
Nine Levels
2009

Nine Levels is the first release on Inner Circle Music and, in many ways, it could be seen as musical manifesto for the label. The album is open-minded, philosophical and emotionally deep and it challenges the fixed notion of genre and culture. In his review on All About Jazz, Mark F. Turner writes:

"The music which is based upon Osby's perspective on the Zen like principles of "The 9 Levels of Humanity," personifies the artist: geometric time signatures, hip modernistic imprints, blues and bop touches and some new surprises, delivered with the usual high level of musicianship. The sharp movements of Osby's horn and music are intact but the recording speaks of a freshness that is free from the constraints of normal conventions and is articulated by a new band of rising artists who are poised to leave their own marks."

With Nine Levels, Osby paves the way for a group of strong individuals who like to collaborate and reinvent tradition.

Snow Owl
Normas
2013

One of the many strong musical personalities on Osby's label is the Columbian bassist Snow Owl. The man behind the name is Juan García-Herreros and while he is a highly accomplished instrumentalist, he is not interested in music as pure virtuosity and pyrotechnics. Instead, he engages in sophisticated musical translations on his album Normas, which simply means standards in Spanish.

Snow Owl takes the standards of the American jazz tradition and reshapes them into his own musical language. As he explains:

"I have taken the titles of famous Jazz Standard compositions, and translated them into my interpretation of what the Standards of today in Jazz should be. For example a simple John Coltrane Blues entitled Mr. P.C. is now a complex and multi-rhythmical song in a 5/4 meter Clave with the title Señor C.P."

The result is a rich and rhythmically vibrant stew of sounds that enhances the narrow concept of playing jazz standards.

Adam Larson
Selective Amnesia
2015

In a way, the title of saxophonist Adam Larson's album: Selective Amnesia is an apt description of the aesthetic of many albums on Inner Circle Music. It is about partially forgetting a fixed idea of tradition and reinventing music.

Larson belongs to a hip new group of musicians who are not of afraid of odd meter and complex structures, but the most refreshing thing about the album is the clear sense of melody. Whether Larson is playing a ballad or exploring tricky rhythms and breaks on "McWendel," his lines are lucid and easy to follow.

The same thing can be said about his fellow players. Bassist Matt Penman and drummer Jimmy Macbride keep the groove in the pocket and guitarist Matthew Stevens and pianist Fabian Almazan spin a delicate web of melodic lines around the rhythms.

Larson plays his own music and the reward is not the money, as the title of the track "Shitpay" humorously implies. Instead, the payment comes from the joy of playing music and it shines clearly through on an album that is both complex and accessible.

The Aperturistic Trio
Truth and Actuality
2013

Pianist James Weidman is the leader of The Aperturistic Trio, but it really is a collective unit where Weidman, bassist Harvey S. and drummer Steve Williams create a sound that is both timeless and timely.

The trio moves through different moods. The title track is a little history of jazz piano. It starts with gentle lyrical piano musings before a modern groove sets in. Then, the tune changes into an abstract tone poem where bassist Harvey S. plays with bow and Weidman adds interrupted intervals on the piano and finally everything is gathered again in the return of the cool, swinging groove.

The trio makes organic musical experiments that retain the rhythm, the swing and the melody. This is contemporary music for both body and soul.

Jorge Vistel
Cimarrón
2014

A trio with piano, bass and drums is a classic combination in jazz, but trumpet trios are relatively rare. Nevertheless, Cuban-born trumpeter Jorge Vistel explores this particular combination with great success on his album Cimarrón.

Cimarrón is the name of a slave who escaped in pursuit of freedom and his story becomes a metaphor for musical emancipation on the album. Vistel acknowledges his Cuban roots and there is an immediate rhythmical vibrancy about the music, but also traces of the avant-garde. However, the music avoids the pitfalls of purposeless meandering. Instead, clear rhythmical patterns and lines emerge.

Vistal's tone is passionate, but also cool and clearly structured. For instance, "Rancheador" introduces a recognizable riff complemented by the bouncing groove from Reinier Elizarde and drummer Michael Olivera. Vistal takes the riff and bends it into a beautiful solo and overall Cimarrón is an exciting modern jazz journey where different traditions coalesce into a personal sound.

Petros Klampanis
Minor Dispute
2015

Many of the releases on Inner Circle Music draw successfully on the diverse cultural background of the artists. Greek bassist Petros Klampanis is a clear example of this. The influence from his home country is striking, not only in his arrangement of the Greek folk song "Thalassaki," but also in the use of musical scales and figures. However, Klampanis has created his own expression and the album Minor Dispute could not be reduced to Greek folk music meets modern jazz. Klampanis wraps his music in elaborate soundscapes where his bandmates play important roles.

Guitarist Gilad Hekselman is almost cinematic in his varied use of the electric guitar and does not shy away from distorted outbursts while percussionist John Hadfield conjures an entire world of sound and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc adds his sense of swing and harmonic sophistication.

The tasteful use of strings is another bonus. They gently drift in without sugarcoating the music. The album plays out like an elegant and epic conversation between instruments, traditions and genres.

Yuhan Su
A Room of One's Own
2015

Back in 1929, Virginia Woolf published her extended essay "A Room of One's Own." It was a defense for women within the literary tradition. In music, the Inner Circle label has done a lot to secure that the new voices of female musicians are heard. One of them is the vibraphonist and composer Yuhan Su and suitably she has called her second album as a leader A Room of One's Own. In his review of the album on All About Jazz, Hrayr Attarian writes:

"On this intelligent and emotive record Su demonstrates that she has a mature and singular voice. One marked by ardent romanticism and pensive originality. She also emerges as a sensitive and clever bandleader allowing ample room for her sidemen's individuality while using them to augment her overall musical vision. A Room Of One's Own is delightful and stimulating as well as quite memorable. It is simultaneously edgy, inventive and accessible."

Emilie Weibel
oMoO
2014

There is also a literary reference on Swiss vocalist and composer Emilie Weibel's album for Inner Circle Music. oMoO is the name of her album, but it is also a novel by Herman Melville. In the book, Melville writes about his adventures in the South Seas. Like Melville, Weibel is also a fearless explorer and she is not afraid of using her delicate voice in different ways. This is also something Hrayr Attarian notes in his review of the album on All About Jazz:

"Weibel also has a strong dramatic sense as she constructs three-dimensional pieces with inventive and memorable atmospheres. Accompanying herself on various instruments and utilizing sound clips Weibel carefully directs the progression of these brief yet eerily transcendent tunes with agility and deftness.

Her wordless vocalese on "Tu Dis" blows like a fragrant breeze as her own overdubbed refrains buoy the lilting air. While the sunny disposition of the clever and playful "Hello Lėa" is laced with a delightfully dark undercurrent.

This type of contrasting motifs also appears on the title track with its chanting vamps. Despite her elegantly ethereal delivery and the intricately woven melody there is something vibrantly primal about the overlapping vocables."

Sara Serpa & André Matos
Primavera
2014

Another vocalist on Inner Circle who is not afraid to stretch the boundaries of her voice is Sara Serpa. On Primavera she is in the congenial company of guitarist André Matos and a few selected guests, including Osby himself. In his review on All About Jazz, John Bush writes:

"Although there are (mostly) just two musicians on Primavera, the first recorded collaboration between Portuguese songbird Sara Serpa and guitarist Andre Matos—one couldn't ask for a more sonically lustrous offering. That's partially due to the result of judiciously applied multitracking, and to the intricate melodic sense of both musicians. There is nary an extra note or a false move on this album, and it frequently soars, as on the title track, where Serpa's layered vocals paint vivid pictures over the angular guitar constructs of Matos."

Alice Ricciardi
Optics
2014

Alice Ricciardi is an Italian singer and while she is not as experimental in her approach as Emilie Weibel and Sara Serpa, she has a fresh take on the vocal jazz tradition and her album Optics uses various approaches to a wide range of material. There is superb scat-singing on "Flying in a Box," a convincing reading of a standard on "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing" and musical interpretations of poetry on "Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town," "Sorrow" and "I've Heard an Organ Talk."

A special feature is the use of intros to set the mood for some of the key compositions on the album and it is evident that Ricciardi understands how to create a narrative around the songs she sings. The album shows a dedicated artist at work.

Lara Solnicki
Whose shadow
2014

Alice Ricciardi interprets poetry with the understanding of a poet, but the Canadian singer Lara Solnicki is actually a published poet and it is clear that she also has a way with words. In his review on All About Jazz, Everett R. Davis writes:

Whose Shadow? is an eclectic album about metamorphosis and influence and the conscious and unconscious shaping of an artist. Her impressive four octave vocal range journeys through ten delightful tracks featuring original compositions, traditional jazz fare, and classics to include "Sunset" (Kate Bush), "Shades Of Scarlett Conquering" (Joni Mitchell), and "I'll Remember April" (Patricia Johnson, Gene dePaul, Ron Raye) all with boldly unique style and vocal attitude of her own. Lara's voice is riveting, each word is clearly distinguishable and brings a refreshing and exciting tone to each selection.

Kavita Shah
Visions
2014

Kavita Shah is a New York singer of Indian descent and her rich cultural heritage is reflected on her album Visions where she sings in several languages and includes a number of genres and styles. A tune by singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell sits comfortably next to the title track penned by Stevie Wonder and a tabla interlude and there is also a cover of British rapper M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes," a bossa nova tune and a reading of saxophonist Wayne Shorter's "Deluge." Shah also finds room for her own material and the first rate contributions from people like co-producer and guitarist Lionel Loueke adds to the rich sound of the record that is like walking around a bazaar with scents from all around the world. Shah says about her own role as a musician:

"I see myself as a cultural interlocutor. A singer can play an almost mystical role, connecting these different elements on stage with an audience through the human voice, through words. With the Visions project, it's amazing to see the Joni Mitchell fan who has never before seen a kora standing next to the hardcore jazz fan who would not expect to hear tablas on a Wayne Shorter tune. I hope that people find something familiar in the music that draws them in, but then discover something new that might change, even for a second, how they see the world."

In a way, Shah's words sums up the aesthetic of Inner Circle Music. It is a label that builds bridges, translates cultures and aspires to change the way we perceive and use musical traditions.

Tracks and Personnel

Nine Levels

Tracks: Principle; Tolerance; Humility; Truth; Less Tension Please; Resilience; Two Of One; Innocence; Optimism.

Personnel: Greg Osby: alto and soprano saxophones; Sara Serpa: voice; Adam Birnbaum: piano; Nir Felder: guitar; Joseph Lepore: bass; Hamir Atwal: drums.

Normas

Tracks: Señor C.P; Huellas; Impulso Interno; Cuerpo y Alma; Som I Serem; Touched; Hearts of Ether.

Personnel: Juan García-Herreros: electric contrabass guitar; Hector Martignon: piano; Roberto Quintero: percussion (#1,2,3,5,6 & 7); Stoyan Yankoulov: drums; Jonathan Powell: trumpet (#1,2,3,6 & 7); Jeremy Powell: tenor saxophone; Alexander Wladigeroff: trumpet & flugelhorn; Klaus Dickbauer: bass Clarinet (#4); Conrad Schrenk: electric Guitar (# 3); Daniel Mesquita: 12 string guitar (#2); Mamadou Diabate: balafon & percussion (#2); Abdoulaye Dembele: dun dun ba (#2); Djakali Kone: djembe (#2)

Selective Amnesia

Tracks: Suitable Replacement; Vanished Theories; McWendel; Gratitude; Disguise; Sh*tpay; Your Loss; The Dope Pope.

Personnel: Adam Larson: saxophone; Matthew Stevens: guitar; Fabian Almazan: piano; Matt Penman: bass; Jimmy Macbride: drums.

Truth and Actuality

Tracks: Dance of the Macrocosmic People; Homily for Pastor B (Memories of Frederick J. Bryant); Time to Make a Movie; Courage; Truth and Actuality; Re-Emergence; Aperturistic; Send One Your Love.

Personnel: James Weidman: piano; Harvie S.: bass; Steve Williams: drums.

Cimarrón

Tracks: Open the Way; Cimarrón; The Iceberg Corner; Rancheador, Tres Palabras; Liber Abacci; Ciclos; Hamilton City; Evolution; Rancheador alt; Rezo.

Personnel: Jorge Vistel: trumpet; Reinier Elizarde: double bass; Michael Olivera: drums.

Minor Dispute

Tracks: Minor Dispute; Monkey Business; Lily's Promenade; March of the Sad Ones; Ferry Frenzy; Luiza; Thalassaki.

Personnel: Petros Klampanis: bass; Gilad Hekselman: guitar; Jean-Michel Pilc: piano; Jon Hadfield: drums, percussion; Max ZT: santuri + strings.

A Room of One's Own

Tracks: Amulet; Valedīcere I; Valedīcere II; Valedīcere III; No 13 Waltz; All Kinds of Dreams; I Do Not Always Understand What You Say. What Is, Is By It's Nature On Display I; I Do Not Always Understand What You Say. What Is, Is By It's Nature On Display II; Painter's Mind; Freezing Point; Anti-Hunger Song.

Personnel: Yuhan Su: vibraphone, vocals; Matt Holman: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kenji Herbert: guitar; Petros Klampanis: bass; Nathan Ellman-Bell: drums.

oMoO

Tracks: Lemania; Footprints; Paola; Tu Dis (To My Dad); L' Heure Exquise; River Song; Omoo; Hello Lea.

Personnel: Emilie Weibel: vocals, music box, xylophone, percussion, keyboards, electronics.

Primavera

Tracks: Primavera; Tempo; Rios; Choro; Kubana; Song for a Sister; Caminho; O Guardador De Rebanhos; A Realidade Das Coisas; Nuvem; Vanguard; Gardening; Se Me Va La Voz; Earth.

Personnel: Sara Serpa: voice, fender Rhodes (2,6,14) piano (3,7,10); Andre Matos: guitar, electric bass (5,7,10) cymbal (7); Greg Osby: soprano saxophone (4); Leo Genovese: melodica, (3), kosikas(3),bombo legiero(10), piano (10), toy guitar (5); Pete Rende: Prophet keyboard (7).

Optics

Tracks: Deep Song; Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town; Optics; I Feel a Song Coming On; Intro #1; Sorrow; Flying in a Box; Intro # 2; A Flower is a Lovesome Thing; Intro #3; Worry Later; I've Heard an Organ Talk Sometimes.

Personnel: Alice Ricciardi: vocals; Pietro Lussu: piano/fender Rhodes; Enrico Bracco: guitar; Dario Deidda: bass; Marco Valeri: drums.

Whose Shadow?

Tracks: Sunset; Freedom Dance; La Flûte Enchantée; Music for a While; Jim the Dancer; A Timeless Place (The Peacocks); Shades of Scarlett Conquering; Mercy Street; Jill and Chloe; I'll Remember April.

Personnel: Lara Solnicki: vocals; John Johnson: saxophones, bass clarinet, flute; Mark Kieswetter: piano, rhodes; George Koller: acoustic and electric bass; Ted Quinlan; guitar; Nick Frasier: drums; Lena Allemano: trumpet; Ernie Tollar: bansuri flute; Davide DiRenzo: percussian.

Visions

Tracks: Sodade; Visions; Little Green; Tabla Interlude; Paper Planes; Triste; Moray; Deluge; Oju Oba; My Time Is When; Rag Desh: Alaap; Rag Desh: Teental Gat; Rag Desh: Meltdown; Sodade Interlude; When.

Personnel: Kavitata Shah: vocal; Lionel Loueke: guitar; Yacouba Sissoko: kora; Stephen Newcomb: piano, Rhodes; Michael Valeanu: guitar; Steve Wilson: soprano & alto saxophone; Linda Oh: bass; Guilhem Flouzat: drums; Miho Hazama: conductor; Tomoko Umura: violin; Curtis Stewart: violin; Nick Revel: viola; Will Martina: cello; Stephen Celluci: tablas; Rogério Boccato: percussion.

Photo Credit
Page 1: Dave Kaufman
Page 2: Courtesy of Juan Garcia-Herreros
Page 3: Courtesy of Yuhan Su

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