trio

Chris Crocco's Fluidic Duo @ ArtsEcho Galleria

The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio + is the second outing by the terrific threesome fronted by the Virginia born-New York based guitarist Christopher Crocco, an imposing sequel to his impressive debut disc The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio.  As on his first album, a bassless trio outing, Crocco is joined by his longtime friend and mentor, saxophonist George Garzone and Cuban expatriate, current McCoy Tyner drummer Francisco Mela, along with the addition of the very capable bassist and frequent collaborator Peter Slavov.  In the years since the release of their first cd the music created by Crocco, Garzone and Mela has since developed into, in the words of Crocco, “this amazing sound and power,” noting that “we all seem to speak the same improvisational language.” Slavov has joined each of them on many occasions in the past, thereby making him the perfect plus to augment the Fluid Trio.

Crocco confesses that the album was recorded without a concept - just the desire to record the best performances of the new music he had composed since the band’s last effort.  “It was time,” he says, “but when I finished it was easy to see the titles, music, and overall vibe was a result of my own personal catharsis.” Much the result of his studies with Garzone, Crocco has come to realize that his musical objective is to find “the truth” within his art and hence he has abandoned many of the stock improvisatory tricks that often lead many artists (guitarists in particular) away from their own true identities. The resulting record is a more honest expression of the real Chris Crocco – a personal statement of his original music that reveals the true artist behind the music.

The opening track “Avenge” finds the full trio + quartet jumping right off to the races, playing an intricate uptempo line with a vengeance, guitar and tenor doubling the rhythmically charged melody in a manner reminiscent of the work of iconoclast pianist Lennie Tristano, while exchanging phrases with Mela’s drums. Each of the group’s member’s virtuosic capabilities are demonstrated with taste and rest.

“Heaven,” featuring the guitar-bass-drum trio of Crocco, Slavov and Mela, is a three tonic modified minor groove piece in the Coltrane tradition. More devilish than heavenly in mood, the tune’s loping tempo is exquisitely executed by Mela, whose assimilation of Elvin Jones’ asymmetrical drum patterns into his own personal polyrhythmic style makes him one of today’s truly original stick men.  Deceptively simple and restrained, the piece which spotlights the solo work of the leader and Slavov evinces a quiet intensity that is one of the hallmarks of the date.

Crocco’s “Silvia” – the sequel to his first album’s “To Silvia (Don’t Say Goodbye)” – is described by the composer as “the end of the novel.”  A feature for the full quartet, the brooding melancholy melody, at times reminiscent of Horace Silver’s “Peace,” showcases the beautiful tone of Garzone’s tenor.

“When It Is When” again features Crocco’s guitar in trio format with Slavov and Mela. A progressive groove that borrows from the standards of the leader’s generation opens with Crocco strumming a repeated lower register melodic line that iterates a matadorial strength and splendor, buoyed by Mela’s splashing cymbal work.  Chris’s solo finds him venturing into an eastern tinged abstract impressionism that hearkens to the relatively unheralded work of guitarists Gabor Szabo and Atilla Zoller.

The moody swinging “Trial of Time” marks the return of the quartet with Garzone and showcases the remarkable middle register work of tenor and guitar, with Chris shining brightly with a full rich tone and a relaxed bluesy feel. Calling the piece “a composition that relies on a pocket swing with a floater melody on the end,” he astutely notes that “time is relative and can be bent.”

“What It Is” is a straight ahead blues by Crocco played with Slavov and Mela on bass and drums. Played at a blistering tempo it demonstrates the leader’s uniquely personal voice, avoiding the clichéd improvisational devices that lead most guitarists’ solos to predictable places. The interaction between Chris and Francisco reveals the intuitively perceptive relationship built upon years of experience that allows for a disciplined freedom that leads the music to new and interesting places.

The minor melody “Spice Mine” is another Coltrane inspired Crocco composition. The dramatic Spanish tinged line opens up into inspired solo statements by the composer and Slavov, with Mela’s AfroCuban styled drumming constantly interacting to shift the contexts within which they are heard.

“Metal” is an entirely free improvised guitar-drums duo completed in just one take. Constructed from Crocco’s opening guitar vamp it features the sound of Mela’s cymbal on top of his snare, which is emphasized in the title. Chris notes that the feeling is “like when we first met.... two people playing as solid as one.”

Crocco’s “My Own Personal Wake” is an introspective piece that begins on a reflective note that recalls “Monk’s Mood.” The painterly composition unfolds over the featherlike canvas of Mela’s brushes, with Slavov’s bassline lending an Americana flavor that can be found in much of guitarist Bill Frissell’s finest work.

The closing “My Peace” is a duo between Crocco and Slavov, a configuration the two have played in frequently around New York.  Hymn like in mood it is an indication of the harmony with life that Chris found in his music.

The Fluid Trio + is an important new statement from Chris Crocco.  With the able assistance of George Garzone, Francisco Mela and Peter Slavov he demonstrates major advances in the development of his own musical voice. One that is personal, flowing and seeking nothing more than the truth.

Greg Lewis 2010 December Appearances

New York native, keyboardist Greg Lewis, a highly accomplished mainstay on the city’s jazz, blues and funk scenes, who has earned a solid reputation for his versatile work around town in a vast variety of settings, steps out front for the first time on his debut CD Organ Monk. Lewis’ sensitive and soulful keyboard playing has made him a favorite among some of the music’s finest vocalists – including blues queen Sweet Georgia Brown, jazz and soul songstress Lezlie Harrison and ex-Brooklyn Funk Essentials singer/songwriter Stephanie McKay  -- and earned him a featured role on saxophonist Sam Newsome’s Groove Project recording 24/7.  Now on Organ Monk the spotlight is finally shined on his enormous talents as the leader of his own allstar trio featuring multitalented guitarist Ron Jackson and drummer extraordinaire Cindy Blackman.

Born into a musical family, Lewis’ introduction to jazz came from hearing Monk records from the collection his late father, pianist David Lewis, who was a dedicated fan of Thelonious.  “It all started there,” the younger Lewis proclaims, also naming unsung master Elmo Hope as a major influence.  Lewis started his own piano studies at the age of eleven and began playing professionally around New York as a teenager.  He credits jazz legend Gil Coggins, who sent him as a sub one night to a gig where there was a Hammond B-3, for setting him on the path to becoming a bona fide organist.  These days Lewis has so devoted himself to mastering the difficult instrument with such fervor that he considers himself to be an “organ monk.”

Working weekly for the past five years at the hip Brooklyn club Night Of The Cookers, with his regular trio featuring Ron Jackson on guitar, Lewis has honed his skills on the B 3 to become one of New York’s first call organists.  It was at the club that he first met drummer Cindy Blackman, who was so impressed with his playing that she sat in with the group and made arrangements to later perform with Lewis.  An unwavering fan of the Tony Williams Lifetime group, featuring Larry Young on organ, Blackman is the perfect complement for Lewis’, who names Young as his primary influence on the instrument (along with, of course, Jimmy Smith as well as Sly Stone).  Lewis cites Young’s landmark interpretation of “Monk’s Dream” from the classic Unity album as a further inspiration for his decision to devote this his first date to the music of Thelonious.

Although albums memorializing Monk’s music have become somewhat commonplace since the iconic pianist/composer’s death, Organ Monk is most likely the very first on which the date is led by an organist. Lewis’ years of familiarizing himself with both his instrument’s expansive capabilities, as well as Monk’s sizable songbook, have led to this inevitable debut recording that breathes new life into the master’s repertory, while exploiting the Hammond B 3’s vast (and somewhat untapped) potential for creating new sounds.

Despite its classic organ-guitar-drum configuration, Lewis’ trio is far from typical in approach to making modern music. His arrangements of the fourteen Monk titles on the record are consciously contemporary in their originality, respecting the composer’s melodic, harmonic and rhythmic voice, while using the different elements of each piece to propel the group into its own unique nexus, one where the customary divisions between soloist and accompanist are blurred, or even erased.   Beginning with “Trinkle Tinkle”, one of Monk’s more intricate melodic lines, Lewis’ mastery of both the B 3’s dual keyboards and its too often neglected bass pedals is clearly evident, as is his fearless approach to arranging for the trio, with Blackman’s powerful drums doubling the intricate melody with him.

Lewis’ unaccompanied introduction to ”Jackie-ing”, slowing building around the chords of the playful Monk march before inviting drums and guitar to join him is an eloquent lesson in dynamic tension and release.  The trio trips around in space with Lewis’ organ at times reminiscent of Sun Ra before sliding smoothly into the infectious melody of “Criss Cross”, with Blackman’s drums offering a jagged contrast to the velvety tone of the B 3, before the trio settles into an earthy mood and then blasts back into the stratosphere to conclude astrally.  The band’s easy swinging reading of the beautiful “Light Blue”, featuring Jackson’s soulful guitar, is a ringing affirmation of the group’s ability to shine brightly in the classic organ trio tradition, as is their burning up tempo rendition of the not often heard “Played Twice” that features an exciting Lewis-Blackman dialogue.

The date’s other nine Monk pieces each offer a different perspective on the master’s work.  There’s the bouncing rhythm that jumps out of the long tones that set up “Boo Boo’s Birthday” and its fittingly funny quote by Lewis of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, followed the lilting rhythms of the bebop masterpiece “Coming On The Hudson.”  Blackman’s energetic drumming on the fiercely burning “Four In One”, reminiscent of Art Blakey’s work with Monk, incites Lewis and Jackson to some of their best soloing of the date.  Lewis’ playing on “Locomotion” with his tonally expansive keyboard work, intelligent use of space and cleverly complementary bass line is nothing short of masterful.  On “We See” the trio once again swings mightily, with Lewis clearly demonstrating the influence of the great Jimmy Smith on his virtuosic playing.

“Monk’s Mood” is the date’s most beautiful ballad, with Lewis displaying the sensitive lyricism that has made him the favorite accompanist of so many of New York’s finest vocalists.  The trio shows off its intuitive split second timing in an edge of your seat dramatic reading of the marvelous melody of “Think Of One”, before digging down into their shared deep blues roots.  Lewis’ harmonic daring is clearly evident on his audacious arrangement of “Work.”  The final Monk piece of the date, “Introspection”, is a fitting example of the unmitigated joy the trio finds in coming together to make great music.

The date’s concluding coda is a Lewis original, “Kohl’s Here”, a fittingly Monkish melody dedicated to his teenage son that gives listeners a brief glimpse into the keyboardist’s own impressive abilities as a composer.  A talent that is sure to be seen in greater abundance on future releases from this extraordinary artist.

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Tour dates:

December 03, 2010 -- 10pm
Greg Lewis Trio    Night Of The Cookers
767 Fulton St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(Btwn Greene Ave & S Oxford St)
http://www.nightofthecookers.com/

December 04, 2010 -- 10pm
Greg Lewis Trio    55 Bar
55 Christopher St.
New York, NY 10001
(West Village)
http://www.55bar.com/

December 10, 2010 -- 10pm
Greg Lewis Trio    Night Of The Cookers
767 Fulton St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(Btwn Greene Ave & S Oxford St)
http://www.nightofthecookers.com/

December 17, 2010 -- 10pm
Greg Lewis Trio    Night Of The Cookers
767 Fulton St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(Btwn Greene Ave & S Oxford St)
http://www.nightofthecookers.com/

December 18, 2010 -- 10pm
Greg Lewis Trio    55 Bar
55 Christopher St.
New York, NY 10001
(West Village)
http://www.55bar.com/

December 22, 2010 -- 7-9pm
Organ Monk Trio    55 Bar
55 Christopher St.
New York, NY 10001
(West Village)
http://www.55bar.com/

Medeski, Martin & Wood @ the Boulder Theater

97.3 KBCO & Boulder Weekly are proud to present Medeski, Martin & Wood at the Boulder Theater on Friday, March 4th, 2011.

Somewhere, someplace, someone is debating the future of live and recorded music, speaking in somber tones of changes that have made it difficult to reach consumers, of technologies that have changed society, and of the lack of creativity found in the arts. But in a small but impressive microcosm of the universe known as Medeski Martin & Wood, creativity is alive, flourishing, and filled with outlets for growth and expansion. And somewhere, whatever gods of music there might be are smiling.

Medeski Martin and Wood's story is - like most great stories - one of humble beginnings, friendship, determination, a happy ending and a very bright future.

The trio of keyboard/organ/piano player John Medeski, drummer/percussionist Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood formed not in some vastly creative alternate universe, but rather in the neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, known as D.U.M.B.O. (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in 1991. Medeski and Wood, students at Boston's prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, decided to move to New York City, with intent to explore the late-night underworld of the city's burgeoning jazz scene.


John Medeski, Billy Martin, and Chris Wood were looking to create music that reflected who they were, individually and collectively. The trio began experimenting with contemporary hip-hop beats that could swing as hard as jazz rhythms, yet remained essentially simple and propulsive, giving the musicians ample room to create hypnotic textures and sounds that were brimming with both improvisation and harmony. "In the beginning, as it is now, we went by gut instinct," says Wood. "We have a natural connection between us, as people and as musicians, and we just let things flow in whatever direction they went."

Gigs turned into multiple engagements, dates at small clubs led to performances at legendary New York City downtown hotspots like the Village Gate and the Knitting Factory, and soon the band was packed into Billy's van, traveling up and down the North Eastern United States. The next step was a natural one for any band - capture the music for posterity - and so MMW recorded their debut, "Notes From The Underground," which they released independently on hap-jones records in early 1991.

More gigs followed, and soon it was time for another release. This time, Medeski Martin & Wood inked a deal with Gramavision, a larger but still independent label that afforded them substantial freedom to create music the way they felt it should be played. In the summer of 1993 they released "It's A Jungle In Here," purchased an R/V, and hit the road for nearly half a year.

Communal, on-the-road living has broken up many bands, but true-to-form, MMW thrived in this potentially treacherous situation. Their secret was a unique combination of individual personalities, with each band member taking on additional roles that suited their own aptitudes and interests. As always, nothing was planned out; it just happened.

John, with his love for cooking, was the band's chef, preparing incredible meals that made life on the road more bearable. Billy, who worked well with his hands, could fix anything up to and including the band's RV. And Chris, with his head for business, took care of the group's accounting. As it was with the music, Medeski Martin & Wood balanced each other out perfectly.

"We have a certain chemistry between us, musically," says Martin, "and in addition to that we have a strong friendship that goes beyond the music. Even when we have ups and downs, the music and our friendship carries us through."

1994 saw the release of "Friday Afternoon in the Universe," and by 1995 it seemed like MMW was truly touring the universe, as their concert itinerary spread out and around the entire United States, and into Europe and Japan. In 1996, the band released their final Gramavision disc, "Shack-Man," which they celebrated with an 8-week Monday night residency at New York's Knitting Factory.

With much fanfare, the band then signed with another record label - the legendary jazz imprint Blue Note Records. At the turn of the new millennium, they released their all-acoustic album "Tonic," named for the Lower East Side club (and former kosher winery) where it was recorded. The band's affiliation with Blue Note resulted in three discs (plus a best-of set), and found them again pushing their sonic boundaries, incorporating percussionists, horn sections, and turntables into their already potent sound.

Which brings us to the here-and-now. Medeski Martin & Wood are no longer signed to anyone else's record label; they have come full circle by establishing their own label, Indirecto Records, as an outlet for their music. Which, quite happily, brings them neatly back to the way they did things in their formative years. Releasing their own music, their own way, in its own time.

The trio's first Indirecto release, "Out Louder," is a four-way collaboration with guitarist John Scofield, which true-to-form is heavy on group improvisation, irresistible grooves, rich harmonies, and strong melodies. While nothing definite is planned - as always, the band are taking each day and each opportunity as they come - it is possible that "Out Louder" could be the first in a series of independently-released projects that Medeski Martin & Wood will do in collaboration with other artists.

"By having our own label, we can make music however we want, and make as much as we want," explains Medeski. "In the history of man, recorded music is just a blink of the eye, just a small part of that vast history. The real thing is playing music live, and that is what we do. Beyond that, we'll be putting out recordings as often or as infrequently as we want."

The band also plan another first - a disc of children's music titled "Let's Go Everywhere" - set for release in early 2007 on the Little Monster/V2 label that promises to be as engaging for their established fan base as it is for the kids. "It's got everything, instrumentals, vocal songs, our kids are singing on it" says Wood.

Plus, there are the usual side projects going on, creative outlets which all three band members say serve to strengthen and add to the sound of the trio when they converge. Chris Wood plays frequently with his brother Oliver in The Wood Brothers, a rootsy, folk-and-blues, guitar and bass duo that serves as an outlet for both brothers' songwriting and vocal skills.

Billy Martin runs his own record label, releasing new and vintage recordings with a focus on percussion-based music. Amongst his releases is a three volume set of his own drum beats, and a percussion instruction book, focusing on bell and clave patterns found in Afro-Caribbean music, and featuring musical notation that Martin designed himself.

John Medeski, well, he is involved in a multitude of musical projects, from solo piano recitals to sideman gigs to leading or co-leading large and small bands. John has also lent his production skills to recordings by musical associates and friends, and has become involved in scoring films, including the acclaimed film Day on Fire which he scored and has a cameo appearance in.

A happy ending and a bright future, indeed. Medeski Martin and Wood live in our world, playing music that reflects their surroundings and communities. At the same time, they are a small world unto themselves, where creativity and spontaneity are honored, revered, and encouraged. And the world-at-large is a much better place for it

Read Grateful Web's interview with the Wood Brothers.

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Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Friday December 3rd!

$32 adv / $34 dos / + $2.00 for under 21+ ticket buyers

National Jazz Museum in Harlem 2010 December Schedule

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem closes out 2010 in swinging style as we focus on the history, function and joy of jazz drums at Jazz for Curious Listeners and our Saturday panel. Among the drummers leading these sessions will be: Otis Brown III, Kenny Washington and Adam Nussbaum. Bassist and composer Sean Smith fronts a trio for our last Harlem in the Himalayas performance of the year, whereas the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All Stars will mambo and salsa your feet and hips, replete with grooves that'll make your holiday season complete, at the Dwyer Cultural Center.And while rhythm is most certainly our business, we also endeavor to share the stories of jazz and jazz artists with you, our patrons and visitors. So come enjoy discussions with author Ed Berger for Jazz for Curious Readers, pianist Jonathan Batiste for Jazz is Now!, and, for our flagship Harlem Speaks series, talks with pianist Mike LeDonne and saxophonist Greg Osby.

We wish you a merry and joyous holiday season, and hope the new year brings you good health and everything else your heart desires. Thanks for your support of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jazz Is: Now!
Jonathan Batiste
7:00pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
Join young pianist Jonathan Batiste as he performs and leads a discussion on jazz culture and its relevance in today's society. The Juilliard Jazz grad is one of the most exciting and sui generis artists on the jazz scene; you'll discover that his point of view is too. Join the celebration in the midst of the discourse.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Harlem Speaks
Mike LeDonne, Pianist
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Pianist Mike LeDonne, born in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1956, was raised in his parent's music store and by the age of 10 his father, a jazz guitarist, began booking him on gigs. At age 21, Mike graduated from New England Conservatory and moved to New York City.

In 1981, he left to travel to the UK with Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans. On returning, he began a two-year stint as the house pianist at Jimmy Ryan's, then one of New York's oldest jazz clubs. It was there that he came under the influence of and played with many old masters such as Roy Eldridge, Papa Jo Jones and Vic Dickenson. He spent 1982-1983 with the Benny Goodman sextet and went on to play with Buddy Tate, Al Grey, Ruby Braff and many others.

In 1988 he started playing with the Milt Jackson Quartet; Milt recorded Mike's compositions and arrangements and selected him as the band's musical director. In the fall of 1992, Mike was chosen to be part of a group of top young musicians (Ryan Kisor, Joshua Redman, Jesse Davis, Christian McBride, and Lewis Nash) for the Phillip Morris Superband World Tour. Around this time, Mike toured with the Newport All-Stars in lineups that also featured Harry "Sweets" Edison and Clark Terry. Mike has been playing and recording with Benny Golson since 1997. He has also been leading trios which have included Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Hart, Pete LaRoca and Louis Hayes.

Along with his many recordings as a sideman, he has five CDs on Criss Cross Jazz and three on Double Time Records, featuring music artists such as Tom Harrell, Gary Smulyan, Dennis Irwin, Kenny Washington, Steve Nelson, Peter Bernstein, Peter Washington, Mickey Roker, Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, and Joe Farnsworth. Mike is the co-author of Jim Snidero's Jazz Conception for Piano and Piano Comping books, on Advance Music. In 2002 Mike joined the faculty at the Juilliard School of Music. He has won praise not only from critics but from master musicians: the late Oscar Peterson picked him as one of his favorite pianists.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas
Sean Smith Trio
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
For tickets: RMA Box Office or call 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Bassist and composer Sean Smith has been part of the international jazz scene for more than 20 years. He has appeared in many of the major jazz rooms and concert halls all over the world. He has toured extensively in North and South America, throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, and as far away as Russia, Turkey, Morocco, and Japan.

In addition to leading his own quartet, Sean has been a member of the Jacky Terrasson Trio since 2000. His work with Jacky Terrasson and Emmanuel Pahud on the EMI/Blue Note recording Into The Blue was recently nominated for a 2003 Grammy Award. Sean has performed with many jazz superstars including Gerry Mulligan, Phil Woods, Benny Carter, Flip Phillips, Clark Terry, Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz, Art Farmer, and Tom Harrell. He has also been the accompanist of choice for such world-renowned vocalists as Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Mark Murphy, Jimmy Scott, and Andy Bey. Sean has also performed and recorded with up-and-coming vocalist Kate McGarry.

A Manhattan School of Music graduate, Sean is also a prolific composer whose works have been played and recorded by such artists as Phil Woods, Mark Murphy, Bill Charlap, Gene Bertoncini, Bill Mays, and Leon Parker. His Song For The Geese was recorded by Mark Murphy as the title track of Murphy’s RCA/BMG release, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1998. Sean received a Bistro Award for outstanding instrumentalist in 2007.

Sean’s first recording, Sean Smith Quartet Live! (on Chiaroscuro), featured some of his compositions and was received with outstanding reviews. Sean’s most recent recording, Poise (on Ambient), features new compositions performed by his working band.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Jazz for Curious Readers
Ed Berger, author of books on Benny Carter and George Duvivier
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Biographer and photographer Ed Berger is the Associate Director and Head of Research Services of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. He's a graduate of Indiana University and has a M.L.S. from Rutgers University. He is co-author of Benny Carter: A Life in American Music, Reminiscing in Tempo, and Basically Speaking: An Oral History of George Duvivier. He served as record producer and road manager for Benny Carter and will delight us this evening with anecdotes about two of the gentlemen of jazz who lit up the stages of jazz for decade upon decade with sophisticated artistry.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Rhythm is Our Business: The Drummers
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
Otis Brown III

Tonight the New Jersey native Otis Brown III will bring his joyful style to Jazz for Curious Listeners in a discussion about his favorite drummers.

Since his birth in Hackensack, NJ, Otis has traveled a path that has led to him being one of the most in demand, and well respected musicians today. Expressing an early interest in music, Otis began his musical studies at age 7; by age 12 he was playing lead alto saxophone in the school bands while playing the drums in the Baptist church.

After moving to Newark, N.J., he continued performing double duty in his school bands playing snare drum in marching band, and alto saxophone in the jazz and concert ensembles, all of which were directed by his father Otis Brown Jr. He decided to pursue his musical education in college at Delaware State University, where he met legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd, an encounter that changed his life. He spent countless hours under the wings of Dr. Byrd, who later suggested that Otis continue his studies in New York, the jazz capital. He was awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious New School University.

Since his arrival in New York Otis has performed and toured with musicians the caliber of Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, Eric Lewis, Ron Blake, Roy Hargrove, Frank Lacy, Jeremy Pelt, Don Braden, Marc Ribot, Adam Rodgers, Pete Malinverni, Tim Hagans, Conrad Herwig, John Hicks, Oliver Lake, Aaron Goldberg, Bob Mintzer, George Garzone, and many others.

He currently can be seen touring with the Thelonious Monk Institute’s Jazz in America initiative, Joe Lovano’s trio quartet and nonet, the Laurent Coq trio, the Franck Amsallem trio and quartet, the Steve Wilson quartet, the Oliver Lake Big Band, the Bob Stewart tuba project and several other musical configurations.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jazz at the Dwyer
Afro-Cuban Jazz Dance Night with Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Aché
7:00 – 11:00pm
Location: The Dwyer Cultural Center
(258 St. Nicholas Avenue at W. 123rd Street)
$20 | More information: info@DwyerCC.org

Bobby Sanabria - drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, recording artist, producer, filmmaker, conductor, educator, multi-cultural warrior and multiple Grammy nominee – has performed with a veritable Who's Who in the world of jazz and Latin music, as well as with his own critically acclaimed ensembles. His diverse recording and performing experience includes work with such legendary figures as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Paquito D'Rivera, Charles McPherson, Mongo Santamaría, Ray Barretto, Marco Rizo, Arturo Sandoval, Roswell Rudd, Chico O'Farrill, Candido, Yomo Toro, Francisco Aguabella, Larry Harlow, Henry Threadgill, and the Godfather of Afro-Cuban Jazz, Mario Bauzá.

Bobby, the son of Puerto Rican parents, was born and raised in the "Fort Apache" section of New York City's South Bronx. Inspired and encouraged by maestro Tito Puente, another fellow New York-born Puerto Rican, Bobby "got serious" and attended Boston's Berklee College of Music from 1975 to 1979, obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree and receiving their prestigious Faculty Association Award for his work as an instrumentalist. Since his graduation, Bobby has become a leader in the Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and jazz fields as both a drummer and percussionist, and is recognized as one of the most articulate musician-scholars of la tradición living today.

He has been featured on numerous Grammy-nominated albums, including The Mambo Kings and other movie soundtracks, as well as numerous television and radio work. Mr. Sanabria was the drummer with the legendary “Father of the Afro-Cuban Jazz movement,” Mario Bauzá’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. With them he recorded three CD’s (two of which were Grammy-nominated) which are considered to be definitive works of the Afro-Cuban big-band jazz tradition. Mr. Sanabria was also featured with the orchestra in two PBS documentaries about Bauzá and also appeared on the Bill Cosby show performing with the orchestra. He also appeared and performed prominently in a PBS documentary on the life of Mongo Santamaria and on camera in the CBS television movie, Rivkin: Bounty Hunter.

Bobby and his Quarteto Aché toured Armenia in June of 2007 being personally invited by the U.S. Embassy to represent the United States in a series of concerts. Headlining in the final event, The Cascade Jazz festival in Yerevan, Armenia’s capitol, the group received a thunderous ovation from the estimated 8,000 person audience which was broadcast throughout the country. In a pre-concert press conference when asked what jazz represented, Bobby simply stated, “Freedom.“ His group has the unique distinction and honor of being the first ensemble ever to perform Latino oriented jazz in this country and spread clave consciousness in a unique master class that he held at the Yerevan Conservatory. If this weren’t enough, the ensemble performed a private concert for Armenia’s Heads of State, and President Robert Khachaturian who stated that, “I simply love jazz! Its spirit of improvisation in a collective democracy is the inspiration for my vision for Armenia."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Rhythm is Our Business: The Drummers
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: Maysles Institute
343 Lenox Ave
New York, NY 10027
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
Kenny Washington

Jazz drummer and historian Kenny Washington is a repository of jazz music in story and in practice. He can tell you the history of jazz and jazz drumming, and then show you what he's talking about. Hailing from Staten Island, NY, Kenny began his career in the late '70s with Lee Konitz, and was a favorite of stalwart musicians such as Johnny Griffin, Betty Carter, and countless others. His record collection is the envy of jazz collectors, his moniker "the jazz maniac," was earned while doing deejay work on WBGO. Today, he can be found playing in the trio of pianist Bill Charlap as well as the ensemble led by legend Ahmad Jamal. And tonight he'll share the legacy of jazz drumming on film featuring Max Roach, Kenny Clarke, Ray McKinley, Papa Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, and many others, so don't miss this rare opportunity!

December 15, 2010

Jazz Is: Now!
Jonathan Batiste
7:00pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
Join young pianist Jonathan Batiste as he performs and leads a discussion on jazz culture and its relevance in today's society. The Juilliard Jazz grad is one of the most exciting and sui generis artists on the jazz scene; rest assured that his point of view is too. Join the celebration in the midst of the discourse.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Harlem Speaks
Greg Osby, Saxophonist     
6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Saxophonist, composer, producer and educator Greg Osby has made an indelible mark on contemporary jazz as a leader of his own ensembles and as a guest artist with other acclaimed jazz groups for the past 20 years. Highly regarded for his insightful and innovative approach to composition and performance, Osby is a shining beacon among the current generation of jazz musicians. He has earned numerous awards and critical acclaim for his recorded works and passionate live performances.

Born and reared in St. Louis, Greg Osby began his professional music career in 1975, after three years of private studies on clarinet, flute and alto saxophone. Coming from a vibrant and musical city, Osby showed an early interest in the performing arts and spent his years in secondary school with a heavy involvement in Blues and Jazz groups. In 1978 Osby furthered his musical education at Howard University (Washington, D.C.) where he majored in Jazz Studies. He continued his studies at the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) from 1980 to 1983.

Upon relocating to New York in early 1983, Osby quickly established himself as a notable and in demand sideman for artists as varied as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Hill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jim Hall and Jaki Byard as well as with many ethnic and new music ensembles in the New York area.

In 1985 Osby was invited to to join Jack DeJohnette's innovative group, "Special Edition". It was as a member of this ensemble Osby was able to fine tune the more challenging aspects of his conception in an open ended, no holds barred musical situation. Says Osby, "My musical thinking for performance and composition advanced by light years as Jack was open to my input and was very encouraging in pushing me to to maintain a steady flow of experimentation. It marked a major turning point in my development as an artist."

In 1987, Osby signed his first recording deal with a new German label, JMT (Jazz Music Today). With this situation, he felt that he was finally able to document life as he saw it through music. He had free creative reign to do whatever he liked. He recorded four CD titles for that label. Osby signed with Blue Note Records in 1990 and recorded fifteen outstanding recordings for that label as a leader. In 2008, Osby launched his own label, "Inner Circle Music", which serves as a platform for many of today's brightest artists. From the pulse of the streets and the language of a generation, Osby has sketched numerous musical essays set to a contemporary score using the improvisational nature of Jazz as the connecting thread.

On "9 Levels," his latest recording on Inner Circle Music, Osby presents his wares in a sextet format and is joined by special guests, Nir Felder, guitar; Adam Birnbaum, piano; Joseph Lepore, bass; Hamir Atwal, drums; and a welcome newcomer to the international jazz scene, vocalist Sara Serpa.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Panels
Jazz is a Drum
12:00 - 4:00pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
LIVE MUSIC/FILM + MORE

Today's Saturday panel is a retrospective of a century of jazz drumming, including rare films, panels and live music. If you are curious about the role of the drum in jazz, or simply love the swinging groove and powerful solos of jazz drummers as they lockstep with the walking or funking bass and the comping piano, come on through and bring some other friends who'll appreciate that move.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Rhythm is Our Business: The Drummers
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300
Adam Nussbaum

Adam Nussbaum grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut and started to play drums at age 12 after studying piano for 5 years, also playing bass and saxophone as a teenager.

The multi-instrumentalist moved to New York City in 1975 to attend The Davis Center for Performing Arts at City College. While there he began working with Albert Dailey, Monty Waters, Joe Lee Wilson, Sheila Jordan and he played with Sonny Rollins in 1977 in Milwaukee. In 1978 he joined Dave Liebman's quintet and did his first European tour with John Scofield. During the early eighties he continued working with John Scofield in a celebrated trio with Steve Swallow. In 1983 he become a member of Gil Evans Orchestra and played with Stan Getz as well. He later joined Eliane Elias/Randy Brecker Quartet, Gary Burton, and Toots Thielemans. In 1987 he began touring with the Michael Brecker Quintet. In 1988 they recorded the Grammy winning "Don't Try This At Home" During 1992 he was part of the Carla Bley Big Band and that same year John Abercrombie hired him to complete his organ trio.

Since then he has kept active in a wide variety of groups. Among them a recently formed quartet 'BANN' with Seamus Blake, Jay Anderson & Oz Noy, A co-op quartet "NUTTREE" with Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi & Gary Versace, The James Moody Quartet, 'We Three' w/ Dave Liebman & Steve Swallow, Eliane Elias Trio, 'Playing in Traffic' w/ Steve Swallow & Ohad Talmor and also busy maintaining an active freelance schedule. Adam has taught as an Adjunct professor at New York University, the New School and State University of New York at Purchase. He also does clinics and master classes around the world.

And today, free, you can have your own master class with a master of jazz drumming.

11th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party

Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 17-20, 2011, will again be the time for mainstream jazz lovers from around the country (& world) to arrive in Newport Beach for “Right Down The Middle And Straight Ahead” Jazz at the Marriott Newport Beach Hotel & Spa.  The party will again center on a large stage nightly at 7:00pm (Thursday at 8:00pm) with reserved seating providing a near perfect mix of concert conditions and intimacy of a club setting, all in the Grand Pacific Ballroom.

Highlights of this 11h Annual jazz lover’s weekend:

Thursday’s Grand Opening Night will kick off the weekend with the Ken Peplowski Quartet followed by the Larry Fuller Trio and concluding with John Pizzarelli’s Tribute to Duke Ellington- Rockin’ In Rhythm with Swing Seven featuring Jeff Hamilton.

Friday evening will begin with an All-Star set lead by trombonist Dan Barrett and feature Claudio Roditi-trumpet, Houston Person-tenor sax, Anat Cohen-clarinet, Eric Reed-piano, Christoph Luty-bass and Paul Kreibich-drums. The second of 4 sessions will feature tenor man Scott Hamilton along with Benny Green on piano, Chuck Berghofer on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. For the first time at the party - San Francisco vocalist Kim Nalley will take the stage together with party veteran Houston Person.  Rounding out the night will be a return of the popular Jeff Hamilton Trio!

Claudio Roditi will open Saturday night’s sessions with an All-Star group featuring Scott Hamilton, Eric Reed, Christophy Luty and Jeff Hamilton.  The second session will bring together Yellowjackets’ famed tenor player Bob Mintzer along with party favorite flutist Holly Hofmann and the rhythm section of Benny Green, Chuck Berghofer and Lewis Nash.  Set #3 will for the first time at the party feature famed lyricist Alan Bergman and bringing the evening to a close will be an All-Star set featuring Anat Cohen, Downbeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll Jazz Artist Rising Star together with Ken Peplowski!

Sunday night will open with one of the most recorded drummers in jazz- Lewis Nash followed by a solo set by pianist Benny Green.  Joining Benny for the next session will be bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton! The third set will feature the Ken Peplowski Quartet with Tom Ranier on piano, bassist Chuck Berghofer and Jeff Hamilton on drums.  Bringing the weekend to a swingin’close will be Frank Sinatra, Jr. and his 20 piece orchestra under the direction of Terry Woodson!

Featured at this year’s Pool Sessions (Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon until 3:30pm), among 9 great sessions, will be the latin and Brazilian sounds of the Scott Martin Band;  big band standards of the Blue Note Swing Orchestra with guest Dan Barrett; USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra directed by Bob Mintzer; B3 organist Atsuko Hashimoto with Jeff Hamilton and guitarist Graham Dechter and the Dave Tull Trio. Other highlights include All-Star sets lead by Bill Cunliffe, Holly Hofmann/Anat Cohen and Claudio Roditi/Gilbert Castellanos.

Additionally, two Champagne Brunches will be offered starring legendary trumpeter Jack Sheldon on Saturday and a return performance by the popular Barbara Morrison and Houston Person on Sunday. Also appearing at the Saturday Brunch will be the Eric Reed Trio plus Scott Hamilton and on Sunday the Adam Schroeder Quartet!

Tickets are now available for the complete four night, three-day package including one Champagne Brunch.  Prices are $350/375. Individual reserved seats are priced at $60/$75 for evening performances and $40/50 for the Grand Opening Sessions,  $30 each  for “Friday, Saturday & Sunday By the Pool” and $50 for each Jazz Brunch. For tickets to the 11th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party, call the Jazzline at 949.759.5003 or for complete artist appearance times and an order form visit our website.

Those wishing to have a weekend getaway may also enjoy the Marriott Newport Beach Hotel & Spa special rate of $154 per night for a standard room, $164 for Pool/Music View, $174 for Ocean Music View and $179 for Concierge. For hotel reservations call Marriott at 949.640.4000 and ask for the Newport Beach Jazz Party rate.  The Marriott  is located at 900 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach-  10 minutes from the John Wayne/Orange County.

The Puppini Sisters covering Wham!'s "Last Christmas"

The Puppini Sisters share their version of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" - transforming the modern synth holiday classic into a bittersweet nouveau/ancien WWII era Parisian stunner that Surviving the Golden Age praises as "truly a revelation. This might be the definitive rendition."
Holiday music finally puts on red lipstick, slips into a silky cleavage-celebrating ballgown, and goes gorgeous and glamorous with Christmas With The Puppini Sisters - the album Metromix describes as "imagine if 'Glee' did a big-band/swing episode and you’re pretty close."
A female vocal trio featuring ‘40s-style close harmony, backed by a fearless jazz threesome, the retro-futuristic Puppini Sisters put their signature sequined stamp on timeless songs of the season for the sensational group’s third album - listen to their swingin’ and rockin’, sexy and eccentric take on the sassy holiday classic "Santa Baby"!
Swingin’ and rockin’, sexy and eccentric have never before described a Christmas album--until now.  Then again, there has never before been an artist who claims both The Andrews Sisters and The Smiths as influences.  Holiday music finally puts on red lipstick, slips into a silky cleavage-celebrating ballgown, and goes gorgeous and glamorous with Christmas With The Puppini Sisters (Verve), released October 5, 2010.
A female vocal trio featuring ‘40s-style close harmony, backed by a fearless jazz threesome, the retro-futuristic Puppini Sisters put their signature sequined stamp on timeless songs of the season for the sensational group’s third album.  From a scorching cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” hyperspeed “Step Into Christmas,” oh-so-sexy “Santa Baby,” cabaret “Here Comes Santa Claus” and lilting “Last Christmas” to a weirdly wonderful “White Christmas,” scat-filled “Let It Snow,” ukulele oozing “Mele Kalilimaka,” uber-trad “Winter Wonderland” and divine “O Holy Night,” the Puppini Sisters (no, they’re not really sisters, that would be so on-the-nose) deliver original twists rather than nostalgic flashbacks.
Whether imaginatively reworking standards such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and recent pop such as Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love,” or introducing new songs, the classically-trained London-based trio first captured the hearts of fans around the world with their international gold 2007 debut Betcha Bottom Dollar (#2 on the U.S. Jazz chart) and 2008’s The Rise And Fall Of Ruby Woo (#5 on the U.S. Jazz chart).
Brunette Marcella Puppini, a former assistant to fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, had dreamed of becoming opera’s next star.  Redhead Stephanie O’Brien began in music as a maverick of the classical world but found her niche playing gypsy jazz violin, South American harp and singing.  Blonde Kate Mullins, well, she sings like an angel and swears like a sailor.  The vocalists/multi-instrumentalists met in 2004 at London’s Trinity College of Music while pursuing Jazz Performance and Composition degrees.  Offered a gig at an outrageous gay nightclub, they jumped at the chance to perform.  Marcella, who gave the band her name, worked out a hasty arrangement of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” inspired by ‘40s swing and jazz.  The crowd adored their stunning vocals and cocktail hour charisma.
Since then, along with releasing several singles and two albums, they have performed at the Glastonbury festival and on an American stadium tour supporting Cyndi Lauper; been heard on TV series in the U.K. and the U.S., including “Grey’s Anatomy”; and been in constant demand as guest performers at notable entertainment and fashion events across the globe.  Even Prince Charles personally told them he thought they were “splendid” (seriously, we could not make that up).  The Puppini Sisters may have started out retro but they have become true originals.  With Christmas With The Puppini Sisters, holiday music never sounded so fresh and new.

Stanton Moore Trio at the Boulder Theater - 12.02

Z2 Entertainment is proud to present Stanton Moore Trio featuring Will Bernard and Wil Bladesat the Boulder Theater on Thursday December 2nd.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Stanton Moore is a dedicated drummer and performer especially connected to the city, its culture and collaborative spirit. Driven and inspired by the thriving music scene of his hometown which includes such greats as Professor LonghairDoctor John and The Meters, Moore’s name is now mentioned amongst these Big Easy mainstays.

In the early ‘90s, Moore helped found the New Orleans-based essential funk band Galactic. Their first album, 1996’s widely acclaimed Coolin’ Off, led to an intense tour schedule of nearly 200 gigs a year for the next ten years. Building on their fan base by adding an esteemed list of all-star collaborations to the six albums that followed, Galactic continues to amass a worldwide audience via recording and touring globally.

Moore launched his solo career in 1998 aided by eight-string guitar virtuoso Charlie Hunter and saxophonist Skerik (Les Claypool, John Scofield, Roger Waters). The group recorded All Kooked Out! featuring a handful of local New Orleans musicians as well.

In the midst of these recording sessions yet another concept was taking shape. Outtakes turned into the first Garage a Trois release, Mysteryfunk (1999). In 2000 the trio, led by Moore behind the drum kit, was joined by percussionist Mike Dillon (Les Claypool, Ani DiFranco) and has since released three more albums – Emphasizer in 2003, Outre Mer in 2005 and Power Patriot in 2009.

Moore extended his solo discography with the release of Flyin’ the Koop (Verve/Blue Thumb) in 2001, and III (Telarc) in 2006. Following the latter Modern Drummer called Moore’s trademark sound “infectious, jazz-meets-Bonham, nouveau second-line.” Recorded at the legendary Preservation Hall in New Orleans, III featured organist Robert Walter (Greyboy Allstars, The Head Hunters) and guitarist Will Bernard (T.J. Kirk, Doctor Lonnie Smith) as the Stanton Moore Trio, with special guests Skerik and trombonist Mark Mullins (Galactic, Bonerama, Harry Connick, Jr., Better Than Ezra).

In 2008, Moore looked to continue his scaled back session crew with Walter and Bernard to record Emphasis! (on parenthis). Says Moore, “When it came time to do another record, I had already known for a while that I wanted to build on the momentum of this band – three musicians who were becoming a unit unto themselves – and I wanted to get a little more adventurous with the music itself.”

In April 2010, Moore releases Groove Alchemy. The 12-track set is the culmination of Moore’s multimedia project that also includes an instructional book and DVD of the same name. All three facets of the project are designed to explore the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, and Zigaboo Modeliste – each of whom made their mark at different times throughout the 1960s as the engines driving James Brown’s and the Meters’ legendary rhythm sections – and in turn tracing their influences back to the rhythms coming out of New Orleans in the earlier part of the 20th century. Recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, NY, this project is the follow up to the widely acclaimed Take it to the Street DVD and book that focused specifically on New Orleans drumming styles.

Showing his outstanding versatility, Moore has appeared on Heavy Metal Grammy nominees Corrosion of Conformity’s In the Arms of GodIrma Thomas’ After the Rain (winning a grammy in the process), Robert Walter’s Super Heavy OrganTom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Boots Riley’s (the Coup) Street Sweeper Social ClubWill Bernar & Diane Birch’s Bible Belt, Alec Ounsworth’s (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) Mo Beauty.  He continues to play dates globally with an ever-evolving cast of musicians including John Scofield; Karl Denson; George Porter, Jr., and Leo Nocentelli (of the Meters); Charlie Hunter; Warren Haynes; John Medeski and Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin and Wood); Donald Harrison Jr.; Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Robert Walter; the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to name a few.

With a bachelor’s degree in music and business from Loyola University, Moore stays involved in education by constantly giving clinics and teaching master classes and  private lessons all over the world. He has been a contributing writer for Drum!, Modern Drummer, and DownBeat magazines here he was featured on the covers of more than six drum publications. In 2005, he launched a signature line of cymbals with Bosphorus Cymbals and a signature drumstick with the Vic Firth stick company.  In 2009, Moore developed his own drum company to introduce his signature titanium snare drum that he designed in conjunction with Ronn Dunnett.

Deeply affected by Katrina and its aftermath, New Orleans’ native son was quick to lend a hand by spearheaded the Tipitina’s Music Workshop, free Sunday seminars that cater to children and a rotating cast of well-known professionals to promote the preservation of New Orleans music.  He also set up the Staletta Fund, a scholarship started by he and his wife Aletta to help cover costs for aspiring students to attend jazz camps, auditions and further their education.

Moore stays active as a spokesperson for the Gulf Restoration Network and is a regular proponent of and player with the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. Additionally he serves on the board of directors for the Roots of Music, a free music education and academic mentoring program founded by Derrick Tabb, drummer for Rebirth Brass Band and recent nominee for CNN’s Heroes awards.



Galactic’s next record Ya-ka-may will be released February, 2010, and Moore steps into the role of producer on Anders Osborne’s next record due out next Spring.

Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Now!

$15.50 adv / $19.25 dos

+ $2.00 for under 21 tickets

Loren Stillman & Bad Touch @ Cornelia Street Cafe

The music of Brooklyn-based saxophonist and composer, Loren Stillman, has found acclaimed reviews in such publications as The New York Times, Downbeat Magazine, Jazziz, Jazz Times, and National Public Radio, marking him as an innovative voice of modern jazz. Stillman has performed, recorded, and educated throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Alongside an impressive record of performances, recordings, and masterclasses with his own ensembles, Stillman has performed alongside Charlie Haden, Paul Motian Trio 2000+2, Carla Bley, John Abercrombie, Andy Milne’s DAPP Theory, Michele Rosewoman Quintessence, Joe Lovano, Eivind Opsvik, John McNeil, Brad Shepik, Russ Lossing, Vic Juris, and The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

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CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ

29 Cornelia Street, NYC, New York | 212-989-9319

Greg Lewis Upcoming NYC Appearances

New York native, keyboardist Greg Lewis, a highly accomplished mainstay on the city’s jazz, blues and funk scenes, who has earned a solid reputation for his versatile work around town in a vast variety of settings, steps out front for the first time on his debut CD Organ Monk. Lewis’ sensitive and soulful keyboard playing has made him a favorite among some of the music’s finest vocalists – including blues queen Sweet Georgia Brown, jazz and soul songstress.

Lezlie Harrison and ex-Brooklyn Funk Essentials singer/songwriter Stephanie McKay  -- and earned him a featured role on saxophonist Sam Newsome’s Groove Project recording 24/7.  Now on Organ Monk the spotlight is finally shined on his enormous talents as the leader of his own allstar trio featuring multitalented guitarist Ron Jackson and drummer extraordinaire Cindy Blackman.

Born into a musical family, Lewis’ introduction to jazz came from hearing Monk records from the collection his late father, pianist David Lewis, who was a dedicated fan of Thelonious.  “It all started there,” the younger Lewis proclaims, also naming unsung master Elmo Hope as a major influence.  Lewis started his own piano studies at the age of eleven and began playing professionally around New York as a teenager.  He credits jazz legend Gil Coggins, who sent him as a sub one night to a gig where there was a Hammond B-3, for setting him on the path to becoming a bona fide organist.  These days Lewis has so devoted himself to mastering the difficult instrument with such fervor that he considers himself to be an “organ monk.”

Working weekly for the past five years at the hip Brooklyn club Night Of The Cookers, with his regular trio featuring Ron Jackson on guitar, Lewis has honed his skills on the B 3 to become one of New York’s first call organists.  It was at the club that he first met drummer Cindy Blackman, who was so impressed with his playing that she sat in with the group and made arrangements to later perform with Lewis.  An unwavering fan of the Tony Williams Lifetime group, featuring Larry Young on organ, Blackman is the perfect complement for Lewis’, who names Young as his primary influence on the instrument (along with, of course, Jimmy Smith as well as Sly Stone).  Lewis cites Young’s landmark interpretation of “Monk’s Dream” from the classic Unity album as a further inspiration for his decision to devote this his first date to the music of Thelonious.

Although albums memorializing Monk’s music have become somewhat commonplace since the iconic pianist/composer’s death, Organ Monk is most likely the very first on which the date is led by an organist.   Lewis’ years of familiarizing himself with both his instrument’s expansive capabilities, as well as Monk’s sizable songbook, have led to this inevitable debut recording that breathes new life into the master’s repertory, while exploiting the Hammond B 3’s vast (and somewhat untapped) potential for creating new sounds.

Despite its classic organ-guitar-drum configuration, Lewis’ trio is far from typical in approach to making modern music. His arrangements of the fourteen Monk titles on the record are consciously contemporary in their originality, respecting the composer’s melodic, harmonic and rhythmic voice, while using the different elements of each piece to propel the group into its own unique nexus, one where the customary divisions between soloist and accompanist are blurred, or even erased.   Beginning with “Trinkle Tinkle”, one of Monk’s more intricate melodic lines, Lewis’ mastery of both the B 3’s dual keyboards and its too often neglected bass pedals is clearly evident, as is his fearless approach to arranging for the trio, with Blackman’s powerful drums doubling the intricate melody with him.

Lewis’ unaccompanied introduction to ”Jackie-ing”, slowing building around the chords of the playful Monk march before inviting drums and guitar to join him is an eloquent lesson in dynamic tension and release.  The trio trips around in space with Lewis’ organ at times reminiscent of Sun Ra before sliding smoothly into the infectious melody of “Criss Cross”, with Blackman’s drums offering a jagged contrast to the velvety tone of the B 3, before the trio settles into an earthy mood and then blasts back into the stratosphere to conclude astrally.  The band’s easy swinging reading of the beautiful “Light Blue”, featuring Jackson’s soulful guitar, is a ringing affirmation of the group’s ability to shine brightly in the classic organ trio tradition, as is their burning up tempo rendition of the not often heard “Played Twice” that features an exciting Lewis-Blackman dialogue.

The date’s other nine Monk pieces each offer a different perspective on the master’s work.  There’s the bouncing rhythm that jumps out of the long tones that set up “Boo Boo’s Birthday” and its fittingly funny quote by Lewis of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, followed the lilting rhythms of the bebop masterpiece “Coming On The Hudson.”  Blackman’s energetic drumming on the fiercely burning “Four In One”, reminiscent of Art Blakey’s work with Monk, incites Lewis and Jackson to some of their best soloing of the date.  Lewis’ playing on “Locomotion” with his tonally expansive keyboard work, intelligent use of space and cleverly complementary bass line is nothing short of masterful.  On “We See” the trio once again swings mightily, with Lewis clearly demonstrating the influence of the great Jimmy Smith on his virtuosic playing.

“Monk’s Mood” is the date’s most beautiful ballad, with Lewis displaying the sensitive lyricism that has made him the favorite accompanist of so many of New York’s finest vocalists.  The trio shows off its intuitive split second timing in an edge of your seat dramatic reading of the marvelous melody of “Think Of One”, before digging down into their shared deep blues roots.  Lewis’ harmonic daring is clearly evident on his audacious arrangement of “Work.”  The final Monk piece of the date, “Introspection”, is a fitting example of the unmitigated joy the trio finds in coming together to make great music.

The date’s concluding coda is a Lewis original, “Kohl’s Here”, a fittingly Monkish melody dedicated to his teenage son that gives listeners a brief glimpse into the keyboardist’s own impressive abilities as a composer.  A talent that is sure to be seen in greater abundance on future releases from this extraordinary artist.

Night Of The Cookers Oct 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th, 2010

10pm-1am | 767 Fulton St, Brooklyn 11217 (Btwn Greene Ave & S Oxford St)

-

55 Bar Oct 9th & 23rd

10pm-130am
55 Christopher St.
New York, NY 10001

Have Yourself a Fabulous Swingin' Holiday Season with "Christmas With The Puppini Sisters"!

Swingin’ and rockin’, sexy and eccentric have never before described a Christmas album--until now.  Then again, there has never before been an artist who claims both The Andrews Sisters and The Smiths as influences.  Holiday music finally puts on red lipstick, slips into a silky cleavage-celebrating ballgown, and goes gorgeous and glamorous with Christmas With The Puppini Sisters (Verve), released October 5, 2010.
A female vocal trio featuring ‘40s-style close harmony, backed by a fearless jazz threesome, the retro-futuristic Puppini Sisters put their signature sequined stamp on timeless songs of the season for the sensational group’s third album.  From a scorching cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” hyperspeed “Step Into Christmas,” oh-so-sexy “Santa Baby,” cabaret “Here Comes Santa Claus” and lilting “Last Christmas” to a weirdly wonderful “White Christmas,” scat-filled “Let It Snow,” ukulele oozing “Mele Kalilimaka,” uber-trad “Winter Wonderland” and divine “O Holy Night,” the Puppini Sisters (no, they’re not really sisters, that would be so on-the-nose) deliver original twists rather than nostalgic flashbacks.
Whether imaginatively reworking standards such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and recent pop such as Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love,” or introducing new songs, the classically-trained London-based trio first captured the hearts of fans around the world with their international gold 2007 debut Betcha Bottom Dollar (#2 on the U.S. Jazz chart) and 2008’s The Rise And Fall Of Ruby Woo (#5 on the U.S. Jazz chart).
Brunette Marcella Puppini, a former assistant to fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, had dreamed of becoming opera’s next star.  Redhead Stephanie O’Brien began in music as a maverick of the classical world but found her niche playing gypsy jazz violin, South American harp and singing.  Blonde Kate Mullins, well, she sings like an angel and swears like a sailor.  The vocalists/multi-instrumentalists met in 2004 at London’s Trinity College of Music while pursuing Jazz Performance and Composition degrees.  Offered a gig at an outrageous gay nightclub, they jumped at the chance to perform.  Marcella, who gave the band her name, worked out a hasty arrangement of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” inspired by ‘40s swing and jazz.  The crowd adored their stunning vocals and cocktail hour charisma.
Since then, along with releasing several singles and two albums, they have performed at the Glastonbury festival and on an American stadium tour supporting Cyndi Lauper; been heard on TV series in the U.K. and the U.S., including “Grey’s Anatomy”; and been in constant demand as guest performers at notable entertainment and fashion events across the globe.  Even Prince Charles personally told them he thought they were “splendid” (seriously, we could not make that up).
The Puppini Sisters may have started out retro but they have become true originals.  With Christmas With The Puppini Sisters, holiday music never sounded so fresh and new.