Over the Rhine Announces CD & Tour Dates

Over the Rhine is ready to make waves in 2011 with a new release and spring tour dates that will take them to theaters throughout the Midwest and the East Coast. The Long Surrender, the new studio album from the southern Ohio-based husband-and-wife team of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Linford Detweiler and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Karin Bergquist, is something rare and wondrous — an intimate epic.

The record, to be released February 8, 2011 on OtR’s own Great Speckled Dog label (named for the couple’s Great Dane, Elroy), marks 20 years since their 1991 debut. It’s the bountiful result of a collaboration between the couple and producer Joe Henry, whose songs they’ve long admired.

“Joe has been quietly making records (well not that quietly, he has won at least two Grammys) that don’t sound like other records bring made,” says Detweiler. “They are a little bit dark and cinematic and funky and unpredictable. It seems like he loves to help performers who have already covered a lot of miles — Mavis Staples, Elvis Costello, Solomon Burke, Loudon Wainwright III, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Mose Allison, Allen Toussaint — rediscover the soul of what they do in a new light.” The Long Surrender was recorded at Henry’s Garfield House studio in South Pasadena, Calif.

The band recently previewed The Long Surrender over a series of tour dates last fall, culminating in a weekend long December trifecta of hometown shows in Cincinnati. Performances included the Holiday Homecoming Show, their annual (15 years and counting) Christmas show at the 2,400 seat Taft Theatre; The Christmas Soiree, an intimate Sunday afternoon gathering featuring an acoustic performance, poetry reading, and Q&A with Karin and Linford; and The Long Surrender Premiere, a very special live start-to-finish performance of the album for the donors who made the fan funded record possible.

Earlier that month in Los Angeles, the band was joined onstage at the Troubadour by Joe Henry and Lucinda Williams (and supporting artist Lucy Wainwright Roche, whose special guest was her father, Loudon Wainwright III).

Over the Rhine promises to bring their smoldering live performances to every corner of the globe in 2011 . . . and here is the first round dates:

Sun., Feb. 20  NASHVILLE, TN 3rd & Lindsley
Mon., Feb. 21 LEXINGTON, KY WoodSongs
Fri., March 25   BOSTON, MA The Red Room @ Café 939 (Berklee)
Sat., March 26   NEW YORK, N.Y. Highline Ballroom
Sun., March 27   ALEXANDRIA, VA Birchmere
Tues., March 29   PHILADELPHIA, PA World Café Live
Fri., April 1   PITTSBURGH, PA Mr. Small’s
Sat., April 2   AKRON, OH Musica
Tues., April 5   ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark
Thurs., April 7   MILWAUKEE, WI Turner Hall
Fri., April 8   CHICAGO, IL Lincoln Hall
Sat., April 9   MADISON, WI Majestic Theater
Sun., April 10   MINNEAPOLIS, MN Cedar Cultural Center

Over the Rhine will also perform at the Folk Alliance in Memphis on Wednesday, February 16.

John Hartford Stringband Nominated Best Folk Album

MEMORIES OF JOHN (Red Clay/Compass Records), the 15-song tribute to the late, great John Hartford — the banjo wizard, guitar picker, vocalist, musical innovator and multiple GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist who penned the megahit “Gentle on My Mind” — that was recorded by members of his former band and special guests, has been nominated for a 2011 GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.

The John Hartford Stringband, the same group of musicians who appeared on Hartford’s last five Rounder Records projects and were his final touring band — Chris Sharp on guitar, Bob Carlin on banjo, Matt Combs on fiddle, Mike Compton on mandolin and Mark Schatz on bass — were joined by special guests Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown, Alan O’Bryant, George Buckner and Eileen Carson Schatz to make the album that commemorates Hartford.
The album features Hartford himself on several previously unreleased tracks recorded before his death in 2001 as well as voiced instructions to the band from previous rehearsal tapes. Renditions of hit original Hartford songs, traditional fiddle tunes (“Three Forks of Sandy,” the album’s opening track), country and bluegrass songs refashioned by Hartford (“The Girl I Left Behind Me,” “Love Grown Cold”), rarely heard Hartford originals (“You Don't Notice Me Ignoring You”) unreleased compositions (“Madison, Tennessee”), the story-poem “For John” and more fill the loving tribute to one of the most influential artists in American music. The album ends with Hartford’s own whistling song “Fade Out.”
“John Hartford is now in the clouds, but his spirit can rest easy,” says CountryChart.com. “His friends have honored his memory in the best possible way. They have created a remarkable album that breaks new ground while exploring the music of a legend.”
This fall, Hartford was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, and in 2005, was awarded the Americana Music Association’s President’s Award. He received multiple GRAMMY awards and nominations throughout his career, including Album of the Year for the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack and Best Folk Performance for his song “Gentle on My Mind,” one of the most recorded songs of all time. He also appeared on TV in the 1960s and ’70s, on “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” “The Johnny Cash Show” and “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
The John Hartford Stringband will tour in 2011; scheduled concerts include the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis in February, Merle Fest in North Carolina in April, and CBA Music Camp and the 36th Annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in California in June.
The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be presented Feb. 13, 2011. The full list of GRAMMY nominees is available here.

Hot Club of Cowtown's new CD salutes Bob Wills

Bob Wills has always been a core inspiration for the Hot Club of Cowtown’s sound, but it has taken the Texas-based trio a dozen years to fully honor the King of Western swing. A fortuitous tour in England last spring led the band to London’s Specific Sound studio, where they spent two days recording a 14-song marathon of only Bob Wills tunes. The result, What Makes Bob Holler, is a lively tribute to the American music icon, respecting Wills’ legendary music while putting Hot Club’s own signature on these songs. “We have been meaning to make this album for a long time,” says Elana James, who co-founded Hot Club with Whit Smith (they’re joined by bassist Jake Erwin).

Launched in 1994, the Hot Club of Cowtown has grown to be the most globe-trotting, hardest-swinging Western swing trio on the planet, continuing to develop a unique sound inspired by the band’s namesakes: the hot jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli of the Hot Club of France, and Bob Willis & the Texas Playboys.

And with the imminent release of What Makes Bob Holler on Proper American on February 1, the Austin-based band looks to a busy 2011. They start the year opening seven U.K. arena dates with Roxy Music, followed by a taping of NPR’s Mountain Stage in Charleston, W.V. in late January and an appearance at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March — before touring coast to coast in support of the album.

Bob Wills’ music — in this case the recordings of radio shows from 1946-47 called the Tiffany Transcriptions that are the fundamental inspiration for HCCT’s repertoire and style —offers a terrific platform for some ace musicianship in the form of Smith’s guitar, James’ fiddle and Erwin’s nimble bass. By spotlighting Wills’ early, pre-World War II catalogue, the disc happily matches obscure B-sides with some of Wills’ most popular work. Tunes like “Big Balls in Cowtown” and “Stay All Night” are numbers that “people always love when we play them live,” says James, “so it was a no-brainer to gather them into a record.” Other songs, like “Osage Stomp” and “The Devil Ain’t Lazy,” might not be as well known, but they are the type of tunes that originally attracted Smith and James to Wills’ music. “We’re playing what knocked us out about Western swing in the first place — the early fiery energy and jazzy improvisations,” says James.

By 1998 Smith and James had relocated to Austin, Texas, and released their debut, Swingin’ Stampede, on HighTone Records. Seven more albums over the next decade generated much critical acclaim and a devoted following. The New York Times’ Neil Strauss proclaimed the Hot Club “conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time.” Craig Havighurst, in Nashville’s Tennessean, calls them “one of the most original groups on the Americana circuit, deserving of attention both live and on record” while the Sunday Times of London lauded HCCT as “the world’s most engaging Western Swing band — their shows are all about energy and joie de vivre . . . the devil-may-care style that combined the rigor of Jazz with the down-home sentiment of country and earthiness of the blues — it is as a live act that they have made their greatest impact.”

What Makes Bob Holler arrives on the heels of 2009’s Wishful Thinking, an Americana radio Top 100 album on which HCCT blended their love of hot jazz and Western swing with original songs, a Tom Waits cover and forays into more eclectic territory. The Austin Chronicle’s Jim Caliguiri called it “the Cowtowners at their peak” and David Eldridge, in the Washington Times, describes the disc as “one of the year’s most unexpected listening pleasures.”

What Makes Bob Holler is something of an 180-degree swing from Wishful Thinking’s more eccentric set list. It is the first time HCCT has focused on only one style for an entire album and they are proud enough of the results to express interest in doing more. “There are so many great songs that we didn’t get to,” says James. “We’re going to have to make a box set, eventually, but we’re just going to make it piecemeal,” adds Smith with a laugh.

While the new disc focuses on Bob Wills music, HCCT’s live show will remain a engaging mix of what the band does best — whatever moves them at the moment. James reveals that the band often plays without a set list. “We have faith in the system that is the band. This energy that we plug into and it takes us away.” Smith describes their shows as “like a rock ’n’ roll show” and “people pick up on the energy and the sincerity.”

Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan on PBS

PBS has announced that the Albert King with Stevie Ray VaughanIn Session program will air as a special on its stations  throughout the month of December (check local listings). Grammy Award winning bluesman Robert Cray will serve as special fundraising host on the public television broadcasts.

In 1983, when legendary blues guitarist Albert King, then age 60, was joined by his disciple Stevie Ray Vaughan, then age 29, on a Canadian sound stage for the live music TV series In Session, magic took place.  Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan In Session is not simply a television program: it’s a summit of two master musicians. The only known recording of King and Vaughan performing together, this is the concert that blues fans in general, and Stevie Ray Vaughan fans in particular, have been waiting for.

The audio recording of the performance went on to sell more than 325,000 units from two releases: the first in 1999, the second in 2009. On November 9, 2010, Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group, released In Session as both a DVD and a deluxe DVD/CD combination.

SonicBoomers.com noted: “Both men are gone now, but rare recordings like In Session remind us of a time when blues giants still walked the earth side by side.”

"As a document of what was probably the greatest night in the musical life of SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan), this belongs in the collection of every true fan,” said the Austin American-Statesman.  Musicologist Samuel Charters says in his new liner notes for the package, “it’s also clear, nearly 20 years later, that this was a special moment in the careers of each of the two men.  It was evident from the first choruses that they were playing for each other. And that was the best audience either of them could ever have.”

An hour and 45 minutes, approximately, was taped of the two. What will thrill viewers who are fans of the blues, players of the blues, and who adore SRV, is that the televised concert includes at least one SRV tune — “Texas Flood” — that was not included on either of the two CD releases of the session.

The innovative Canadian television series was conceived with the intention of pairing musicians who were related stylistically, but seldom had an opportunity to play together. Albert King wasn’t sure whom he’d been booked to jam with on December 6, but he recognized the young Texan immediately — not as fast-rising star Stevie Ray Vaughan, but as Little Stevie, the skinny kid who’d been coming around and eventually sitting in every time Albert passed through Austin.

Stevie idolized Albert, as did many other “modern” electric axe-men. Albert may have been overshadowed by B.B., but Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Robbie Robertson, Mick Taylor, and Joe Walsh — all of them listened to him, listened again and again, and were heavily influenced by his style.

At the time of the taping, the buzz may have been around Stevie, but Albert was clearly in charge of the music.  Earlier in the year, in May, David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” featuring Stevie at his blistering Albert King-inspired best, hit the top of the Billboard pop singles chart; in June, SRV’s debut album Texas Flood came out, and MTV put “Pride and Joy” into their rotation. He never looked back.

During their performance, Albert ruled over the proceedings like a benevolent father, retaining control while allowing his guest loads of solo space in which to display his awesome command of the electric guitar.  The interplay between the two blues masters is uncannily empathetic, and Albert’s fans will find special pleasure in hearing him play rhythm parts at such length.  Aside from SRV’s two vocals — “Pride and Joy” and “Texas Flood” — all the other tunes are from Albert’s repertoire.  Viewers have the ineffable treat of seeing Albert King perform “Born Under a Bad Sign,” his trademark blues hit, as well as “Call It Stormy Monday.”

Sadly, King and Vaughan would not share a stage together ever again. Vaughan, 31 years King’s junior, died in a helicopter crash in the fog on the way back from a concert in 1990. King outlived him by two years, dying of a heart attack in 1992. They didn’t meet often, and their careers took different paths. But we can all be grateful for that one long day in a television studio when sparks flew and this timeless performance was forever captured.

The PBS special Albert King with Stevie Ray VaughanIn Session contains the following songs: “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Call It Stormy Monday,” “Texas Flood,” “Pride and Joy,” “Match Box Blues,” and “Don’t Lie to Me.”

Over the Rhine gets help from Joe Henry on new CD

The Long Surrender, the new studio album from the southern Ohio-based husband-and-wife team of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Linford Detweiler and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Karin Bergquist, otherwise known as Over the Rhine, is something rare and wondrous — an intimate epic. The fan-funded record, to be released January 11, 2011 on OtR’s own Great Speckled Dog label (named for the couple’s Great Dane, Elroy), marks 20 years since their 1991 debut. It’s the bountiful result of a collaboration between the couple and Joe Henry, whose songs they’ve long admired.

“Joe has been quietly making records (well not that quietly, he has won at least two Grammys) that don’t sound like other records bring made in 2010,” says Detweiler. “They are a little bit dark and cinematic and funky and unpredictable. It seems like he loves to help performers who have already covered a lot of miles — Mavis Staples, Elvis Costello, Solomon Burke, Loudon Wainwright III, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Mose Allison, Allen Toussaint — rediscover the soul of what they do in a new light.” The Long Surrender was recorded at Henry’s Garfield House studio in South Pasadena, Calif.

“With The Long Surrender, our vision was to make a record we couldn’t imagine in advance,” says Detweiler. “We wanted to be surprised. We wanted to remain open, let the record unfold in real time. Fortunately, Joe loves to be surprised as well.”

The album’s title “speaks to our ongoing desire to let go of certain expectations — and much of what we are convinced we know for sure — in favor of remaining open and curious,” Bergquist explains. “It seems like so many of our friends are currently wrestling with various forms of ‘letting go,’ so hopefully the ideas conjured by the title feel somewhat universal. And I think the title speaks to the arc of a lifetime commitment to writing and performing regardless of recognition. Learning when to work and when to let go. Learning to leave room for grace to billow our sails occasionally. Learning not to white-knuckle everything.”

In his liner notes, as much free verse as prose, Henry writes, “Before their arrival on my turf, my communication with them had been a fast flurry of emails, occasional phone conferences and songs that I’d find sporadically in my morning inbox. I had pictured Karin and Linford in the attic of their Civil War-era house in the rural outskirts of Cincinnati, huddled beneath a swinging bare bulb, shooing away pigeons and confiding songs-in-progress into an old German-made reel-to-reel recorder . . . I am not suggesting that these songs as I first heard them sounded in any way anachronistic, but rather that they shimmered in some amber band of light that stood outside of time . . . hung like blue smoke in rafters. And Karin and Linford brought with them, in fact, the greatest gift one can bring to a collaborative outing — that being an abiding faith in and a continuing wonder at the mystery involved in the process.”

The May 2010 sessions at The Garfield House enlisted drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist David Piltch, pedal steel and all-things-stringed player Greg Leisz, keyboard sound-scapists Keefus Cianca and Patrick Warren and Joe’s son Levon on tenor sax, along with soul singers James Gilstrap, Niki Haris and Jean McClain. Lucinda Williams, of whom Detweiler and Bergquist are longtime fans, traded lines with Bergquist on the song “Undamned,” which evokes a campfire gathering under a canopy of stars in a John Ford Western.

Even more than their earlier records, The Long Surrender seamlessly interweaves the disparate strains that form the many-colored crazy quilt of American music. “We’re really only reflecting what we’ve already heard,” Detweiler explains, “a mix of all the music we grew up with and were drawn to . . . But when this music is reflected back to the listener through the filter of our own particular lives, it hopefully becomes a different experience for those with ears to hear.”

As Henry puts it, “We settled for luminance over order, a terse beauty and a smeared-lipstick brand of soul. . . I am not in the business of dispelling mysteries, only abiding them when invited. Mystery is life’s strange and glorious weather, so to speak. And this time, Over the Rhine brought it with them.”

Over the Rhine will preview The Long Surrender over a series of fall tour dates, the centerpiece of which is “Over the Rhine Across the West” <http://www.flyingunderradar.com/rails/FT10LS.htm>, a five-day music festival held November 5-10 aboard railroad cars from Los Angeles to Santa Fe, across the Mohave Desert, tracing the lines of Route 66, “the Mother Road,” and then by chartered motor-coach to the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Winslow, AZ and the Grand Canyon, before re-boarding for the return trip. Also featured are Lucy Wainwright Roche, Mickey Grimm and Swan Dive, as well as photographer Michael Wilson and naturalist Lynn Neal.

Other fall and winter shows:

Fri., Nov. 12  LOS ANGELES, CA Troubadour *
Sat., Nov. 13   SAN FRANCISCO, CA Great American Music Hall *
Mon, Nov. 15  EUGENE, OR W.O.W. Hall *
Wed., Nov. 17  PORTLAND, OR Aladdin Theater *
Fri.-Sun., Nov. 19, 20 & 21  SEATTLE, WA Triple Door *
Fri., Dec. 3  MARION, OH Palace Theatre   
Sat., Dec. 4  KENT, OH Kent Stage       
Sun., Dec. 5   ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark    
Tues., Dec. 7   COLUMBUS, OH Lincoln Theatre    
Fri., Dec. 10  LOUISVILLE, KY Bomhard Theater  
Sat., Dec. 11  CHICAGO, IL Old Town School of Folk Music (7 & 10 p.m.)
Fri., Dec. 17  CINCINNATI, OH The Long Surrender Premiere at the
Jarson-Kaplan Theatre  (in the Aronoff Center)  
Sat., Dec. 18    CINCINNATI, OH Taft Theatre (with special guest Joe Henry)
Sun., Dec. 19    NORWOOD, OH St. Elizabeth's  
(*shows with special guest Lucy Wainwright Roche)

HAAM Benefit Day 2010 The Best Ever

The 5th Annual HAAM Benefit Day, held on Tuesday, September 21, brought in the largest amount of funds ever raised for Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, its member-musicians and the healthcare service programs they participate in: $195,000, the organization reported today.

It was a record-breaking day all around, with the largest number of Austin area businesses making a donation or pledging a portion of the day’s proceeds — more than 200 — and the most musical performances (more than 140) heard on any HAAM Benefit Day.

“We at HAAM are incredibly pleased with the response to the fifth HAAM Benefit Day,” said Keith Carmichael, HAAM Benefit Day 2010 Committee chairman. “The number of businesses and the number of entertainers participating — not to mention the amount of funds raised, the largest ever — shows us how much this city and the people in it appreciate live music and what this organization is doing to make sure it flourishes.”

In addition to acknowledging Whole Foods Market for its generosity in serving for five consecutive years as HAAM Benefit Day presenting sponsor, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians is grateful for the tens of thousands of dollars donated not only by Whole Foods Market but also by C3 Presents and South by Southwest® over the years of HAAM Benefit Day.
It also recognizes Texas Heritage Songwriters Association for its donation that matched the contribution of the Austin community on September 21 as residents ate out, shopped and donated on behalf of their favorite music-makers.
Health Alliance for Austin Musicians also announced today the date for the 6th Annual HAAM Benefit Day: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, when business, the music community and residents will again unite to keep music alive and well in Austin.
Health Alliance for Austin Musicians provides access to affordable healthcare services to Austin’s low-income, uninsured working musicians with a focus on prevention and wellness. Since HAAM’s 2005 start, more than 2,200 of the city’s battalion of hard-working musicians have joined and gained access to regular, cost-effective healthcare services. Medical, dental, mental, hearing and vision health services are provided by Seton Family of Hospitals, St. David’s Foundation, The SIMS Foundation, Estes Audiology and Prevent Blindness Texas. HAAM’s annual Corporate Battle of the Bands and HAAM Benefit Day have become signature events behind a great cause: maintaining the health of the musicians who help make Austin such an enviable place to live and work. For more information, to join or to make a donation, visit www.myHAAM.org.

THE DEFINITIVE DAVE BRUBECK

Over the course of seven decades, Dave Brubeck has become one of the most iconic and influential figures in all of jazz. In that time, the pianist/composer/bandleader continually has defied conventions and preconceptions by grafting elements of numerous styles — classical, Latin, pop and more — into a solid and unwavering jazz foundation and creating a musical hybrid that still is deeply rooted in the jazz tradition. While his 1959 opus, Time Out, is considered a landmark recording, it represents only the tip of the iceberg that is Brubeck’s massive and enduring body of recorded work.

Concord Music Group provides a sweeping look at that body of work in The Definitive Dave Brubeck on Fantasy, Concord Jazz and Telarc. The ambitious two-disc collection — the latest in CMG’s ongoing Definitive series — assembles some of Brubeck’s earliest session work from the 1940s as well as some of his more recent recordings from the past few decades. The Definitive Dave Brubeck is set for release on November 16, 2010, in celebration of the music icon’s 90th birthday on December 6.

The collection’s comprehensive liner notes — written by music journalist and historian Ashley Kahn and based on a recent interview with Russell Gloyd, Brubeck’s manager/producer/conductor of more than 30 years — carefully parse out each of the 26 tracks in the set and the relationship between the two distinct periods represented on each disc. Disc 1 chronicles the Fantasy years, from the very beginning of Fantasy Records in the 1940s to the end of 1953, when Brubeck still was learning, absorbing, experimenting and recording mostly standards and other jazz repertoire — already proving himself to be a top-tier musician and bandleader. Disc 2 follows the artist from the 1980s to the early years of the 21st century, performing many of his own compositions, still exploring and creating vibrant music.

“The link between these two discs is one of consistency,” says Gloyd, producer of The Definitive Dave Brubeck collection. “Most of the elements of Disc 2 — melodic ideas and musical innovations, the choice of songs and sidemen — can be traced back to Disc 1, especially with the early Trio recordings.”

Regardless of where one lands on the continuum of Brubeck’s career, the exploratory nature of his approach to music remains constant. “Whether it’s his earliest recordings or his more recent releases, Brubeck is consistently probing, curious and inventive,” says Nick Phillips, Concord Music Group’s Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R and director of Concord’s Definitive series. “He’s a rare artist who has never put up barriers between genres. Here you have someone who was studying classical music and classical composition in a conservatory setting, but ultimately decided to become a jazz artist. That, however, didn’t mean he’d put up a wall between jazz and classical, or jazz and Latin, or what have you.”

As one example, Russell Gloyd cites Brubeck’s Trio recording of “How High the Moon”:  “Note that Dave cut this right at the height of bop but took it in a completely different direction, recording counterpoint for the first time and winding up closing in the style of a Bach chorale.”  Another example, more than three decades later, is Brubeck’s recording of “Take Five” live in the Soviet Union, in which he quotes the theme from the first movement of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony in his piano improvisation.

The juxtaposition of the early and recent recordings within a single collection highlights what Kahn calls the “scripted quality” to the Dave Brubeck story, “as if some master novelist sketched out the narrative in advance. There’s hardly a wasted step or a creative dead-end in his career; early decisions and musical forays consistently predicted or prepared Brubeck for what followed . . . To recognize this aspect of Brubeck’s career is to grasp the idea that serves as the foundation for this collection: the first time the earliest echoes of his musical genius have been combined with his best recordings of recent years.”  Indeed, it makes for a most fitting celebration of the 90th anniversary of the legendary artist’s birth.

On Monday, December 6th, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will also celebrate Brubeck’s birthday with the premiere of Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, a new documentary executive-produced by Clint Eastwood and narrated by TCM Essentials co-host Alec Baldwin. Directed by Bruce Ricker, the film features perceptive interviews with such well known luminaries as George Lucas, Sting, Wynton Marsalis and Bill Cosby and performances by Keith Emerson, Yo-Yo Ma and David Benoit.

For all of the insight provided by The Definitive Brubeck, the story is far from over.  Unimpeded by the approach of his 90th birthday in early December, Brubeck continues to follow the narrative. “He has always been, and continues to be, a restlessly creative artist,” says Gloyd.

TRACK LIST:

Disc 1
I Found a New Baby
The Way You Look Tonight
(Back Home Again In) Indiana
Laura
Singin’ in the Rain
That Old Black Magic
Sweet Georgia Brown
Perfidia
Avalon
How High the Moon
Look for the Silver Lining
This Can’t Be Love
My Romance
Lulu’s Back in Town
Over the Rainbow
How High the Moon
All the Things You Are

Disc 2

Koto Song
Black and Blue
St. Louis Blues
Take Five
(Variations On) Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Here Comes McBride
Waltzing
Day After Day
Forty Days

Miles Davis/Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, Wes Montgomery, others reissued on Concord

Concord Music Group is scheduled to reissue five new titles in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series on September 28, 2010. Originally launched in March 2010 — and enhanced with 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, along with insightful new liner notes — the series showcases some of the most pivotal recordings of the past several decades by artists whose influence on the jazz tradition is beyond measure.

The five new titles in the series are:

•    Vince Guaraldi Trio: Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus
•    Miles Davis featuring Sonny Rollins: Dig
•    Wes Montgomery: Boss Guitar
•    Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You
•    Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby

“Like the previous titles in the series, these are all-time classic recordings by some of the most legendary artists in the history of jazz,” says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Catalog and Jazz A&R at Concord Music Group and producer of the series. “Anyone looking to build a collection of timeless, essential jazz recordings could begin by simply selecting titles at random from the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series.  Their collection would be off to a terrific start.”

Vince Guaraldi Trio: Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus

Recorded in late 1961 and early 1962 for Fantasy, Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus — featuring bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey — was Guaraldi’s celebration of Brazilian bossa nova for Stateside audiences. Propelled by the surprise radio hit single “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus is the album that made Guaraldi a household name,” says Phillips.

The Guaraldi reissue also includes five bonus tracks — the single version of “Samba de Orfeu,” as well as four previously unreleased alternate takes: “Manhã de Carnaval,” “O Nosso Amor,” “Felicidade,” and “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.”

“Close to half a century later, the music on Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus remains as fresh and vibrant as it was when first heard in the spring of 1962,” says Derrick Bang, author of the new liner notes for the reissue. “The album has remained in print the entire time: no small thing, in an era when all music has a much greater risk of becoming ephemeral.”

Miles Davis featuring Sonny Rollins: Dig

Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins recorded Dig for Prestige in October 1951, with help from alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, pianist Walter Bishop, bassist Tommy Potter, and drummer Art Blakey. The reissue features two bonus tracks, “My Old Flame” and “Conception.”

“Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins form one of the most empathetic and powerfully moving duos in jazz,” says Ira Gitler in his original liner notes. “Although they had recorded together before (“Morpheus,” “Down,” “Whispering,” “Blue Room”), this was their first chance to stretch out together on records.” This extra room was made possible via the advent of the LP, which allowed for longer tracks and lengthier solos. “Looking back,” Gitler writes nearly six decades later in his new liner notes for the reissue, “the new latitude attitude sometimes led to LPs with some interminable solos, but for the most part it gave extremely creative players and writers a chance to fully speak their minds and hearts. Dig passes the half-century plus test.”

In addition to changes in recording technology, the significance of this recording is also about changes that were taking place in the music itself. “The early ’50s was a period in which a stylistic progression from bebop to what became known as hard bop was happening,” says Phillips. “So this is a snapshot of two artists who would later become absolute legends, making music history together in what was an important transitional period for both of them.”

Wes Montgomery: Boss Guitar

Recorded in April 1963 for Riverside, Wes Montgomery’s Boss Guitar features Mel Rhyne on Hammond B-3 organ and Jimmy Cobb on drums. In addition to the eight original tracks, the reissue also includes three bonus tracks: alternate takes of “Besame Mucho,” “The Trick Bag,” and “Fried Pies.”

“I think most jazz fans and guitar aficionados would agree that Montgomery was at the peak of his creative powers during his Riverside period,” says Phillips.  “Clearly the musicianship and the virtuosity that’s on display in Boss Guitar leaves no doubt as to why his guitar playing continues to be so influential.” 

Journalist Neil Tesser, who penned the new liner notes to the reissue, suggests that Montgomery “inspired something close to deification among his fellow guitarists.” While the title Boss Guitar was originally a reference to Montgomery’s excellent guitar chops, it has taken on a new meaning in the intervening decades. “These days,” says Tesser, “I think of it as a nickname for Montgomery himself: an accurate and respectful way of denoting the guitarist who, in the brief and shiny playground called the '60s, unexpectedly found himself calling the shots, leading the way, and – in his wholly unprepossessing manner – letting the jazz world know who was in charge on the instrument he played.”

Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You

Recorded in August 1958 for Riverside, Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You spotlights Baker’s vocals as well as his trumpet playing. It also features his first scatting on record. Backing him on this date are pianist Kenny Drew, bassists George Morrow and Sam Jones, and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Dannie Richmond. The reissue includes four bonus tracks: “While My Lady Sleeps” and “You Make Me Feel So Young,” and previously unreleased takes of “Everything Happens to Me” and “The More I See You.”

“It’s very easy to tell that the vocalist and the trumpet player on this record are the same person,” says Phillips. “Stylistically, Baker’s vocal approach — the nuances and phrasing — is very similar to the relaxed, effortless way he plays trumpet, and by the same token, there’s a certain lyrical quality to his trumpet playing.”

Despite Baker’s rocky personal life, he’s at the top of his game creatively on this recording. “Here is Chet Baker at 29, smack in the middle of the New York scene,” says jazz journalist Doug Ramsey in his liner notes for the reissue. “He is in good musical company and good spirits, beautifully singing a dozen great songs. His playing, particularly when he uses the Harmon mute, indicates an awareness of Miles Davis, but Baker’s style and individuality make it impossible to take him for anyone else. As always in Chet’s life, there was tumult and trouble, but when it came time to create, the strength of the artist overcame the weakness of the man.”

Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby

Captured live at the Village Vanguard in June 1961, Waltz for Debby is the last recording of Bill Evans’s classic lineup of bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian (LaFaro was killed in a car accident less than two weeks after these performances). Bonus tracks on the reissue include the Evans Trio’s rendition of Gershwin’s “Porgy (I Loves You, Porgy)” and alternate takes of “Waltz for Debby,” “Detour Ahead,” and “My Romance.”

“This is one of Evans’s most popular and critically acclaimed recordings, and for good reason,” says Phillips. You could easily make the argument that Waltz for Debby was not only the high point in Evans’s career, but it also set a benchmark for the jazz piano trio format that has yet to be surpassed.”

Some 50 years after producing this legendary live session, Orrin Keepnews recalls in the new liner notes:  “I was convinced that this trio would not go on forever and might not even survive the upcoming tour. Learning that they would soon be at the Village Vanguard for two weeks shortly before going out on a long road trip, I started to lobby in favor of taping them in performance . . . It is by now a very well-established and accurate part of modern jazz lore that on Sunday, June 25, all went incredibly well . . . including the trio’s handling of the leader’s basic premise that this was to be music performed by a well-integrated trio, not a piano player with two accompanists.”

Four Never-Before-Released Live Albums By Jefferson Airplane

The argument rages on, but for many music fans in the ’60s, the best live band from the Bay Area was Jefferson Airplane. Formed during the summer of 1965 in San Francisco, the group triumphed in 1967 with Surrealistic Pillow, one of the key recordings of the Summer of Love, containing the hits “Somebody to Love,” “White Rabbit” and “Today.” The Airplane featured three master instrumentalists (Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Spencer Dryden) and three vocalists: Grace Slick (replacing original singer Signe Anderson in 1966), Marty Balin and Paul Kantner. The Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees made a total of eight studio albums and released a smattering of live albums including 1969’s Bless Its Pointed Little Head.

But what most fans don’t know is that there are vast reserves of never-released live material by Jefferson Airplane capturing key moments in their history. On October 26, 2010, Collectors’ Choice Music Live will release four previously unreleased live albums: Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/15/66 Late Show — Signe’s Farewell, Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/16/66 Early & Late Shows — Grace’s Debut, Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 11/25/66 & 11/27/66 — We Have Ignition, and Return to the Matrix 2/1/68.

The first three releases document the astonishing growth of the band, and follow the near-seamless absorption of Grace Slick’s voice and material into the Airplane’s sound just as they were entering the studio to record Surrealistic Pillow. The fourth release captures the group triumphantly returning to their home turf at Marty Balin’s club The Matrix for a relaxed, exploratory set in an intimate setting, performing material from their first four albums, including Crown of Creation, seven months before its release. Taken together, the four releases confirm that at its best, when Jorma was soaring, Jack rumbling and the three voices joining in ecstatic melisma, no other band could ascend to the heights attained by the Airplane. Hand-picked by a team of devotees, annotated by frequent Airplane flyer Craig Fenton (author of the book Take Me To A Circus Tent: The Jefferson Airplane Flight Manual), and featuring rare photos inside handsome digi-packs, these concerts distill and express the dream and promise of the Haight-Ashbury scene.

• Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/15/66 Late Show — Signe’s Farewell: The Grace Slick era of the Airplane has understandably received most of the attention paid the band over the years. But they had released a good album (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) and were already a powerful live outfit before Slick came aboard. The 10/15/66 release not only marks the first appearance on CD of a live recording featuring Signe Anderson with the band, but also her very last show. Both Marty Balin and the Fillmore’s Bill Graham give her shout-outs. Songs include “3/5ths of a Mile in Ten Seconds,” “Tobacco Road,” “Midnight Hour,” “High Flyin’ Bird” and “Chauffeur Blues” (which Grace never performed out of respect for Signe, who’d made the old blues tune her own). It was the end of an era. But a new one was about to begin the very next day, and is the subject of the 10/16/66 release.

• Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/16/66 Early & Late Shows — Grace’s Debut: The 10/16/66 volume chronicles the first set of concerts featuring Grace Slick as a member of the Airplane, a mere day after Signe Anderson officially left the band. The band has yet to add the material Slick brought to the band (“Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit) to the set list, but Grace’s harmony work with Marty and Paul is impressive, and you can literally hear her confidence growing from the first set to the second. The album contains “The Other Side of This Life,” “Let Me In,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Run Around” and “High Flying Bird,” plus versions of “3/5ths of a Mile in 10 Seconds” and “Tobacco Road” with the new line-up, and Leiber & Stoller’s “Kansas City,” which has never appeared on any Airplane studio or live album. Surrealistic Pillow photographer Herbie Greene contributes photos. Things would never be the same for the band or for ’60s rock.

• Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 11/25/66 & 11/27/66 — We Have Ignition:  CCM Live subtitled these shows We Have Ignition as they believe this is when the Airplane transformed from a high-flying bird into a psychedelic spaceship (but not yet a Starship.) It’s difficult to believe, when comparing these November shows with Grace’s live debut on 10/16/66,  that only six weeks have elapsed. Not only has the band (particularly guitarist Jorma Kaukonen) progressed as musicians, but the infusion of Surrealistic Pillow material some four months before the album hit the stores shifts the focus of this folk-rock band to rock. Included are “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” “High Flyin’ Bird,” “Bringing Me Down,” “ D.C.B.A-25,” “My Best Friend,” “Go to Her,” “She Has Funny Cars,” “3/5ths of a Mile in 10 Seconds,” “Skip Spence’s “J.P.P. McStep B Blues,” “White Rabbit,” “Today” and more.  Two rarities are a mind blowing, 9:45-minute version of “The Other Side of Life” (performed for a photo session) that neither its author, the folk singer-songwriter Fred Neil, nor the band could ever have anticipated, and the only known recording of an instrumental known in some quarters as “My Grandfather’s Clock.” This is the Airplane at its early apex.

• Return to the Matrix 2/1/68: The Airplane returned to the first club they ever played, the Matrix, in 1968 for a 103-minute show at the height of their commercial prowess. They band premiered two songs from the Crown of Creation album (which was months away from being released): “Share a Little Joke” and an instrumental version of “Ice Cream Phoenix.” They also performed “Blues From an Airplane,” a song from its first (pre-Slick) album. Also here: “Somebody to Love,” “Young Girl Sunday Blues,” “She Has Funny Cars,” “Two Heads,” “Martha,” “Kansas City,” “Other Side of this Life,” “Today,” “Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon,” “It’s No Secret,” “Watch Her Ride,” “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” “Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil,” “White Rabbit,” “Fat Angel” and  “3/5ths of a Mile in 10 Seconds.”

Great American Taxi summer festival blitz continues

Listen carefully to Reckless Habits, the second album from Great American Taxi, and you’ll hear a political edge to some of the music created by one of the best country-, rock- and bluegrass-influenced Americana bands in the land.  And the band is entirely comfortable bringing its danceable albeit politically-tinged songs to summer festivals.

“Woodie Guthrie was a huge influence for us and we truly believe in the power of song,” said Taxi front man Vince Herman in a recent interview.  Songs about hard luck times tend to “hold a man up and make him feel stronger than he is — and they make him feel good about his community. We want to address the issues appropriate to our times, while making music that gets people up and moving.”

Great American Taxi is at ease when it comes to touching upon a serious subject in a song. The New Millennium Blues, a track from the band’s latest album, Reckless Habits, is about the sad state of the U.S. economy.  “It’s about how we can’t afford our pickup trucks and how our jobs are all gone overseas,” said Herman.

But no one can accuse Taxi of crying the blues. Even Great American Taxi protest songs are generally up-beat, containing Cajun, calypso, and bluegrass melodies and a retro, ’70s feel — think the Grateful Dead, Wilco, and the Byrds.

“We like to get as much dancing going as possible,” said Herman, who enjoys experimenting with traditional Southern boogie and swampy blues-rock sounds.  Herman says of festival crowds, “People are at their best at festivals — maybe because they can get away from the rest of the world and feel like they’re on holiday.”

Taxi’s latest CD release Reckless Habits climbed to # 3 and remains in the top ten for spins on both the Jambands.com radio chart and the Colorado radio chart, complemented by two months in the top 25 on the Americana radio chart.

Great American Taxi’s latest video for the track “American Beauty” is here.

The band’s also recently donated a track, “Appalachian Soul” to raise awareness of the coal miners’ relief fund.


GREAT AMERICAN TAXI ON THE ROAD, 2010


Sat., Aug. 7  WILLITS, CA Dead on the Creek

Sun., Aug. 8 NEVADA CITY, NV Cooper’s Ale Works

Wed., Aug. 11  SEATTLE WA Tractor Tavern

Fri., Aug. 13  RED DEER, AB CANADA Central Music Festival

Sat., Aug. 14 WHITEFISH, MT Stumptown Summer Hoedown – Armory Fields

Fri., Aug.  20  ALMA, CO THC Fest – Alma’s Only Bistro

Sat., Aug. 21 WELLSTON, MI Hoxeyville Festival

Sun., Aug. 22  FORT COLLINS, CO Bohemian Nights @ New West Fest

Sat., Aug. 28, 2:30 p.m.  NEDERLAND, CO Nedfest

Sat., Aug. 28, 10 p.m. FORT COLLINS, CO Hodi’s Half Note

Sun., Sept. 5  DENVER, CO Electric Avenue Music and Arts Festival

Mon., Sept. 6  BOULDER, CO Boulder Hometown Fair

Wed., Sept. 8 DES MOINES, IA People’s Bar

Thurs., Sept. 9 CHICAGO, IL Martyr’s

Fri., Sept. 10 HARRODSBURG, KY Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival

Sat., Sept. 11  ELDRIDGE, MO Green Mountain Eco Fest – Main Stage <http://www.greenmountainecofest.com/>

Thurs., Sept. 16  RALEIGH, NC Berkeley Café

Fri., Sept. 17  BRISTOL, TN Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion