Matt Haimovitz and Uccello release MEETING OF THE SPIRITS: Jazz milestones re-imagined for a big band of cellos


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"Haimovitz's ingenuity, inventiveness and the sheer range of sounds he is able to produce from his instrument is jaw-dropping." —All Music Guide

Matt Haimovitz | Uccello


Jazz milestones re-imagined for a big band of cellos in arrangements by David Sanford



Renowned for his fascinating and far-reaching musical adventures and fearlessly virtuosic performances—whether in a club or on one of the world's great stages—cellist Matt Haimovitz harnesses his eight-piece ensemble of “cello warriors" (San Jose Mercury News), Uccello, for a new program of jazz classics in original arrangements by Rome Prize-winning composer David Sanford. The cellos wail, slide, and swing in an all-new big band sound—joined by dazzling musical contributions from guitar legend John McLaughlin, percussionist Matt Wilson and Jan Jarczyck on keyboards— in works by Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu), Miles Davis, Billy Strayhorn and other jazz greats.

Sanford and Haimovitz's adventurous collaborations include the cellist's acclaimed Anthem and Odd Couple recordings on Oxingale Records but began with the groundbreaking Buck the Concerto series: “When I first heard David's big band music, I had to join in," says Haimovitz, “the result was Scherzo Grosso, a concerto for cello and 20-piece big-band. For Meeting of the Spirits I gave David carte blanche to choose and arrange a big-band program for cello ensemble and his acute ear and innate sense of rhythmic electricity has given us a new sound and fresh take on some jazz classics. Many moments stand out, like the Bach-like four-part fugue in Blues in A Minor (1973)—for only 2 celli!—or the hauntingly beautiful slow glissandos of Blood Count (1967). John McLaughlin has been a friend for years and I am particularly thrilled to have two rich adaptations of his classics, Meeting of the Spirits and Open Country Joy where he joins us in a stunning, masterful solo, almost 40 years after the song's original release."

Additional highlights on the new recording include W.R.U. (1961) by Ornette Coleman featuring the inspired Matt Wilson on percussion; George Gershwin's Liza (original, 1929), taking musical influences from Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli; Charles Mingus' Haitian Fight Song (1957), drawn from the 1963 version for a larger ensemble; Miles Davis' 1948 bebop composition Half Nelson, re-cast as in the style of his 1949 debut as a leader in the Birth of the Cool sessions; and Triptych, an original piece by Sanford for Haimovitz and Uccello. Recorded at McGill University in Montreal and at the legendary Stadium Red in Harlem, NY, Meeting of the Spirits is produced by multi-Grammy Award winner David Frost.

As Oxingale Records launches its newest CD in stores, November 9 will also mark the launch of OXINGALE MUSIC—www.music.oxingale.com—an online source for an exceptional range of contemporary sheet music for voice, solo instruments, chamber ensemble, choir, orchestra, big band and big bands of cellos. The core of Oxingale Music is a collection of works for cello written for, premiered by, and often recorded by Matt Haimovitz, including the new Sanford arrangements heard on Meeting of the Spirits. Oxingale Music also offers a complete catalog of sheet music by composers Luna Pearl Woolf, Pulitzer prize-winner Lewis Spratlan and others.

MATT HAIMOVITZ is acclaimed for both his tremendous artistry and as a musical visionary—pushing the boundaries of classical music performance, championing new music and initiating groundbreaking collaborations. From his debut at the age of 13, as soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic and his first recording with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for Deutsche Grammophon, Haimovitz has since gone on to perform on the world's most esteemed stages. Haimovitz made his Carnegie Hall debut when he substituted for his teacher, the legendary Leonard Rose, in Schubert's String Quintet in C, alongside Isaac Stern, Shlomo Mintz, Pinchas Zukerman and Mstislav Rostropovich. In 2000, Haimovitz made waves with his Bach “Listening-Room" Tour, for which, to great acclaim, Haimovitz took Bach's beloved cello suites out of the concert hall and into clubs across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Haimovitz's 50-state Anthem tour in 2003 celebrated living American composers, and featured his arrangement of Jimi Hendrix's “Star-Spangled Banner." Haimovitz was the first classical artist to play at New York's infamous CBGB club, in a performance filmed by ABC News “Nightline UpClose." Haimovitz's award-winning recording career encompasses more than two dozen albums on Deutsche Grammophon and his own independent label, founded with composer/producer Luna Pearl Woolf, Oxingale Records.

Matt Haimovitz's all-cello ensemble, UCCELLO, features the next generation of cellists from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, where Haimovitz is Professor of Cello. Uccello has performed on Boston's Celebrity Series, New York's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center, as well as clubs such as Arlington's Iota, Seattle's Tractor Tavern, and Eugene's Sam Bond's Garage. Uccello has joined Haimovitz on two Oxingale recordings, Goulash! and VinylCello; the first, a classical best seller, appeared on the Billboard charts.

Pittsburgh-born composer DAVID SANFORD's works have been performed by the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra under Kent Nagano, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra led by Marin Alsop, the Chicago Symphony Chamber Players, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center, jazz musicians such as Bob Mintzer, George Garzone, Pheeroan ak-Laff, and the Corvini/Iodice Roma Jazz Ensemble, among numerous others. He received a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He is the leader and founder of the Pittsburgh Collective and Associate Professor of Music at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.

MEETING OF THE SPIRITS Matt Haimovitz |Uccello | All arrangements by David Sanford

Track list:
  1. Open Country Joy by John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra) featuring John McLaughlin, electric guitar 5:57
  2. Half Nelson by Miles Davis 3:24
  3. W.R.U. by Ornette Coleman featuring Matt Wilson, drums 3:37
  4. Blues in A Minor by John Lewis (Modern Jazz Quartet) 7:00
  5. Meeting of the Spirits by John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra) featuring Matt Wilson, drums + Jan Jarczyk, keyboard 8:29
  6. Blood Count by Bill Strayhorn 6:39
  7. Triptych by David Sanford 5:24
  8. Liza by George Gershwin 2:38
  9. Haitian Fight Song by Charles Mingus 7:57
Total time: 51:04

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This story appears courtesy of Shira Gilbert PR.
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