music

MUSHROOM | Naked, Stoned & Stabbed

MUSHROOM, a musicians' collective based in the San Francisco Bay area, return with their first album in three years, NAKED, STONED, & STABBED, to be released April 27 through 4 Zero Records/Royal Potato Family. A new phase for Mushroom, the project was conceived as a cross-continental Cinema Verite travelogue of time and space. Acoustic, ambient and blending eastern and western hemispheres, its music floats on an ethereal blanket of sitar, violin, pump organ, celesta, vibraharp, dulcimer and flutophone, while African, Latin and Indian percussion replace a conventional drum set. Enigmatic song titles include "Celebration At Big Sur (The Sound Of The Gulls Outside Of Room 124)," "Though You're Where You Want To Be, You're Not Where You Belong," "Tariq Ali" and the only outside composition, a remake of the Syd Barrett/Kevin Ayers' collaboration, "Singing A Song In The Morning."

Recorded over a weekend at The Wally Sound in Oakland, CA, the sessions were both planned and spontaneous with producer and percussionist Pat Thomas often adding and subtracting instrumentalists on the fly. Configurations range from a duo to a trio to an octet, and thus give each song a varied approach. At the time of the recording, the band had just come off a multi-night run of performances interpreting Pete Townshend's 1971 rock opera Lifehouse. The vulnerable and dynamic music of that experience provided a catalyst that resulted in the album's final 13 tracks. Mushroom also cite influences like Sandy Bull, Alice Coltrane, Davy Graham, Brian Eno and Fela Kuti as having played a roll in the sounds found on Naked, Stoned, & Stabbed.

Mushroom first formed in the mid-'90s and have since amassed a 12-album discography. A loose and rotating cast of Bay area musicians, its members include guitarist/knob twiddler Josh Pollock (a member of Citay, and collaborator with Gong, Acid Mothers Temple, Ruins, John Cale, and Damo Suzuki), vintage keyboard guru Matt Cunitz (Brightblack Morning Light, Hiss Golden Messenger), multi-instrumentalist Erik Pearson (Daevid Allen, Irene Sazer, Crooked Jades, Billy Talbot/Crazy Horse), bassist Ned Doherty, drummer/bandleader Pat Thomas(renowned reissue producer of recordings by Judee Sill, Ruthann Friedman, Pearls Before Swine, Terry Reid, Cluster & Eno), and Mushroom's newest member, percussionist David Brandt (his adventures include a European tour with the Kologbo Afrobeat Academy [Oghene Kologbo was the guitarist in Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band], and performances with Conduction maestro Butch Morris' New York Skyscraper).

My Morning Jacket Hit The Road With The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

It’s been almost a full year, but the wait is finally over.  My Morning Jacket are ready to bring their electrifying live show back on the road.  The guys will make their way around the Southeastern United States this Spring, including a performance at this year’s Jazzfest in New Orleans.  MMJ are also excited to both try something new with their choice for an opening act, and bring some of the spirit of NOLA along with them.  The band is honored that the historic Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be supporting them on the run.

The connection with the PHJB originated in the Spring of 2009 when MMJ frontman Jim James was invited to sing with them at their home turf, New Orleans’ legendary Preservation HallJames recorded two songs with the band: “St. James Infirmary” and “Louisiana Fairytale.”  The tracks will appear on the bands forthcoming album,  PRESERVATION: An Album To Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program, out February 16th.

“When I got the invitation to go to the legendary Preservation Hall – where SO much of the music we now know and love on this earth found its early roots – I did not waste a minute,”  James reminisces.  “Getting to sing while the guys played with such glorious bursts of sound – all live in that holy room with the ghosts and garbage trucks crankin’ along – was an experience I’ll never forget.”

The PHJB’s leader Ben Jaffe shares his memory of playing with James: “I couldn’t have imagined Jim fitting in any better with the guys at Preservation Hall.  Creating music is not a science.  There is no tried and true formula.  There is an unspoken bond amongst musicians.  One that exists in the notes we choose.  Jim’s like our long lost cousin coming home for the first time.”

MMJ Tour Dates With The Preservation Hall Jazz Band:

04/20:  Birmingham, AL @ Alabama Theater

04/21:  Nashville, TN @ Municipal Auditorium

04/23:  Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park

04/24:  New Orleans, LA @ Jazzfest

04/27:  St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheater

04/28:  Charleston, SC @ Family Circle

04/30:  Raleigh, NC @ Koka Booth

05/01:  Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

05/02:  Columbus, OH @ LC Outdoor Pavilion

The Disco Biscuits Announce New Release Date for Planet Anthem

After plowing through four sold-out dates in Boulder, CO’s Fox Theatre, The Disco Biscuits are getting ready to release their long-awaited new album, Planet Anthem, which will be available March 16th.  The album marks the beginning of a new chapter for the band.  Since they formed in 1995, the guys created their own movement by fusing the jam band and electronic music scenes.  However, their forthcoming release prominently features elements of pop, indie dance, hip hop, and straight up rock music. The Biscuits also collaborated for the first time with multiple producers, songwriters, and outside musicians, including Don Cheegro and Dirty Harry(LudacrisChris BrownBeanie Sigel).  The result is an album filled with sing along melodies and infectious beats.

Don’t miss your chance to see the band perform their new material when they hit the road again starting in February, including a headlining performance at Ultra Music Festival.  The band has also just announced details for the annual music festival they put together, Camp Bisco, which is now in in 9th year.  Past performers have included Snoop Dogg, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, The Roots, MSTRKRFT, Nas and Damien Marley, Girl Talk, and Kid Cudi.  This year, the event will take place July 15 – 17 in Mariaville, New York.  Tickets go on sale January 29th at 10am.

Lastly, the Biscuits will be hosting their even Bisco Inferno at Red Rocks on May 29th. This year's lineup will feature Aeroplane, Pnuma Trio, The Crystal Method (DJ Set), Booka Shade, The Glitch Mob and of course 2 sets of the Biscuits.  Stay tuned for an announcement regarding the onsale and other shows in Colorado prior Red Rocks.

 

2/18 @ Ram’s Head Live, Baltimore, MD

2/19 @  Lupos, Providence, RI

2/20 @ Calvin Theatre, Northampton, MA

2/21 @ Capitol Center for the Arts, Concord, NH

3/17 @ Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY

3/18 @ The Egg Center For Performing Arts, Albany, NY

3/19 @ House of Blues, Boston, MA

3/20 @ Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ

3/26 @ Ultra Music Festival, Miami, FL

(w/ Deadmau5, Tiesto, Will.I.Am and others)

4/14 @ Charleston Music Hall, Charleston, SC

4/15 @ Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC

4/16 @ The National, Richmond, VA

4/17 @ The National, Richmond, VA

4/18 @ The NorVa, Norfolk, VA

4/20 @ 9:30 Club, Washington, DC

4/21 @ The Jefferson Theatre, Charlottesville, VA

4/22 @ The Klein Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport, CT

4/23 @ Kirby Center For Performing Arts, Wilkes-Barre, PA

4/24 @ House of Blues, Atlantic City, NJ

4/25 @ Webster Theatre, Hartford, CT

05/29 @ Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver, CO (Bisco Inferno)

07/15 – 0/17 @ Camp Bisco, Mariaville, New York

Toubab Krewe Co-Headlining Tour with John Brown's Body!

On March 11th, progressive reggae band John Brown's Body and West African-influenced quintet Toubab Krewe kick off a 13-city co-headlining U.S. tour. The tour begins in Brooklyn, NY, and ends in Solana Beach, CA.

Each group has achieved mainstream success by performing their own forward-thinking approach to traditional roots styles, John Brown's Body with reggae and Toubab Krewe with West African music.

In recent years both groups' music has spread like a grassroots wildfire to the farthest corners of the world. While Toubab Krewe performed in Mali and Portugal, John Brown's Body completed first-ever tours of New Zealand and the UK in late 2009.

This month, the musicians were re-introduced aboard Jam Cruise -- the celebrated, floating music festival in the Caribbean. Returning from stops in Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island, the bands met up during an all-artist basketball tournament (neither advanced past the first round). Despite a disappointing showing on the court, they spent the night catching up and watching each other perform as the ship sailed out to sea.

The upcoming tour will build on the friendly vibe forged in far away places, where the bands found common ground.

John Brown's Body & Toubab Krewe Co-Headlining U.S. Tour Dates:

March 11 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
March 12 - Ithaca, NY - Castaways
April 03 - Chicago, IL - Double Door
April 04 - Madison, WI - Majestic Theatre
April 05 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
April 08 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
April 09 - Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre
April 12 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot
April 16 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
April 17 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
April 19 - San Francisco, CA - Independent
April 20 - Los Angeles, CA - Roxy Theatre
April 21 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern

Complete Toubab Krewe Tour Dates (*Indicates co-bill with JBB):

February 4 - Boone, NC - Legends at Appalachian State

February 5 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle

February 6 - Charleston, SC - Pour House

February 12 - Richmond, VA - The National

February 13 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club

February 18 - Knoxville, TN - Cider House

February 19 - Birmingham, AL - Zydeco

February 20 - Nashville, TN - Exit In

February 25 - Greenville, SC - Handlebar

February 26 - Wilmington, NC – Soapbox

February 27 - Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theatre

*March 11 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg

*March 12 - Ithaca, NY - Castaways

March 13 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground

March 16 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom

March 17 - Columbus, OH - Rumba Cafe

March 18 - Millvale, PA - Mr. Small's Theatre

March 19 - Harrisburg, PA - Abbey Bar

March 20 - Philadelphia, PA - The Note

March 24 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall

March 25 - Allston, MA - Harper’s Ferry

March 26 - New Haven, CT - Toad's Place

March 27 - Providence, RI | Jerky's Live Music Hall

*April 3 - Chicago, IL - Double Door

*April 4 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre

*April 5 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center

*April 8 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre

*April 9 - Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre

*April 12 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot

*April 16 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern

*April 17 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge

*April 19 - San Francisco – Independent

*April 20 - Los Angeles, CA - Roxy Theatre

*April 21 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern

April 27 - Austin, TX – Stubbs

Jazz & Sounds Festival | Gent, Belgium

Beginning in 2010, Gent Jazz Festival, De Bijloke Music Centre, Vooruit Arts Centre, University College Ghent - Faculty of Music and the University College Ghent - Faculty of Fine Arts (KASK) will work together in the annual initiative, the Jazz & Sounds Festival. This new festival will focus on the versatility of contemporary music. The first edition takes place from March 22 - 28, 2010.

Improvisation and creation are important mainstays of the Jazz & Sounds Festival combining the interaction from and to jazz, contemporary, classical, alternative rock, electronic music, improvised music, non-western music and more. The festival offers not a linear but an organic whole of concerts each day, where several concerts and performances can coincide. Visitors will have to make choices within the programme or will be guided by the surprise of the moment.

The festival starts March 22 in the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music with Impressions of a Blue Kind, a prestigious project spotlighting students from the faculties of music of Ghent, Tilburg and Maastricht. The next day, March 23, a presentation by Eddy Van Oosthuyse is planned in the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music with soloists from the Brussels Philharmonic showcasing the role of contemporary clarinet in chamber music.

From then on the Jazz & Sounds Festival moves to Arts Centre Vooruit March 25 and 26. The first day starts with a documentary about Han Bennink. The same day Jazz & Sounds delivers a jazz and literature project by trio Ben Sluijs/Jules Deelder/Remco Campert and concerts featuring saxophone player Colin Stetson and the duo of Erik Truffaz/Malcolm Braff. The festival concludes this first day by presenting Hairy Bones with among others Peter Brötzmann and Toshinoro Kondo.

Friday March 26 in Arts Centre Vooruit finds the duo Eric Thielemans/Josse De Pauw in performance, double bass player Joëlle Léandre and the premiere of Flat Earth Society’s new venture with John Watts. Elliott Sharp’s Carbon concludes the Jazz & Sounds Festival in Arts Centre Vooruit.

March 27 and 28 the festival is hosted by Music Centre De Bijloke. Saturday starts with Cage Aria by Françoise Vanhecke. Afterwards, visitors can choose between a documentary on Charlie Haden and a creation by Sophie Allour and Jozef Dumoulin together with drummer Dré Pallemaerts. This project was crafted especially for the Jazz & Sounds Festival in collaboration with the Tourcoing Jazz Festival.

Later that day on the programme, there is Dutch cello player Ernst Reijseger, Spectra with work by Mantovani and Alexandros Markeas, a project by El Negocito Records and Foundation Logos, Fred Van Hove together with Barry Guy and Wilbert de Joode, and a presentation by the students of the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music on Julius Eastman conducted by Alexandros Markeas. Ending this festival day is an improvisation workshop by Joëlle Léandre with students of the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music and Miroslav Vitous with his Remembering Weather Report.

Sunday March 28, is the last day of Jazz & Sounds and it starts with a concert by Ellery Eskelin and his group. Following this, the students of the University College Ghent, Faculty of Music play John Cage’s Songbooks and attendees can view a documentary on photographer Leonard Herman. Continuing the programme  on  this last day, there is trombone player Wolter Wierbos, a project by El Negocito Records in collaboration with Foundation Logos, and the duo of Ben Sluijs/Tom Van Bauwel exploring the writings of Paul Van Ostaijen. Nadar, Arsis4, Peter Jacquemyn and Jan Pillaert will interpret work by Daan Janssens and Stefan Prins.  Music by Rik De Geyter performing clarinet artistry for Stockhausen’s ‘Little Harlequin’ will be also be presented. Enescu re-Imagined by Lucian Ban & John Hébert is the closing act for the first edition of the Jazz & Sounds Festival. Pianist  Lucian Ban revised the musical legacy of Romanian composer George Enesco and created a bold contemporary jazz composition. Ban gathered an impressive group of musicians from the New York jazz scene around him for this project: among others featured are John Hébert, Nasheet Waits, Tony Malaby, Mat Maneri and Ralph Alessi.

On March 22 the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music organises an Open Lab on artistic research in Music Centre De Bijloke. March 26, a panel discussion on the same subject is organised in the Bijloke. Both activities are free and were organised in collaboration with IPEM-UGent, Foundation Logos and Ghent University Association.

Students and teachers of the University College Ghent – Faculty of Fine Arts (KASK) will participate as well in this first edition. Different departments of the faculty helped to create a visual festival identity and installations which serve as communicative machines were created. The Media Art Department confronts visitors to the festival with installations in which sounds, rhythm and timbre call the tune.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem February Schedule

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem's February 2010 schedule of events are chock full of choices for all from newcomers to the music to seasoned fans of music.

Three of the brightest emerging stars in jazz will be performing live—pianist Jonathan Batiste in a trio setting for the museum's latest public program, Jazz at the Players; and, on separate evenings, drummer Sunny Jain and bassist Ben Williams at Harlem in the Himalayas. These performances will display three approaches to modern jazz that may portend the future directions of the music!

Todd Bryant Weeks will discuss his work as a writer and author of a well-regarded bio of trumpeter/KC legend Oran "Hot Lips" Page for Jazz for Curious Readers. Veteran trumpeter Lew Soloff is the first guest of the flagship Harlem Speaks series this month, following by Harlem-based dancer and choreographer George Faison.

According to museum board member Dr. Billy Taylor, jazz is America's classical music. So it's no surprise that the jazz idiom touches other art forms such as dance and cinema. This month brings a particular focus on film, as Jazz for Curious Listeners features rarely seen footage and classic instances of Ornette Coleman, Sidney Bechet, Charles Mingus and Billie Holiday. Our monthly Saturday Panel focuses exclusively on the jazz/cinema dynamic. There's also a Special Event in which the Academy Award-nominated documentary, A Great Day in Harlem, will be screened, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jean Bach.

There's something for everyone, so mark your calendars!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jazz for Curious Readers
Todd Bryant Weeks
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Writer, educator and jazz historian Todd Bryant Weeks has taught Jazz History and Introduction to Music at Rutgers University-Newark and with the acclaimed Bard Prison Initiative. He has lectured at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, New Jersey and at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, New York. His writing has appeared in The Annual Review of Jazz Studies, Allegro, Uptown Magazine and in liner notes for Rhino/Warner Bros. Weeks also wrote the chapter on jazz in Harlem for the book Forever Harlem: Celebrating America's Most Diverse Community (2007). He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

But he may become best known for his first book, Luck's In My Corner: The Life and Music of Hot Lips Page, a comprehensive biography of one of the most compelling jazz musicians of the Swing Era, Oran “Hot Lips” Page, perhaps the greatest of the Kansas City trumpeters. Page blew a powerful, growling horn that made him the go-to man on that instrument during Count Basie's earliest days as a leader. Page went on to be a featured soloist with Artie Shaw, a star of New York's 52nd Street, and a pioneer of the burgeoning R&B scene of the 1950s.

Despite his many successes, Page's personal life was fraught with troubles. His father died when his son was eight, and the boy was forced to leave school and go to work to help support his family. Page's second wife, Myrtle, who by all accounts was the love of his life, died suddenly in New York in 1946 at the age of twenty-eight, leaving Hot Lips as the sole parent of their young son, Oran Jr. Throughout the 1940s, he struggled to maintain his audience as the popular style of music changed from Swing to Bebop to Rhythm and Blues. He died suddenly after a mysterious incident in 1954, at age forty-six.

Through interviews, anecdotes and oral histories, author Todd Bryant Weeks pieced together Page's personal story. He contacted dozens of people (many in their eighties and nineties) who knew Page personally, and spent many hours interviewing several of Page's family members, including his son, Oran Page, Jr., who is now a Municipal Judge in Jackson, Mississippi. Weeks was granted access to files, photographs and personal scrapbooks belonging to Page at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, New Jersey. The book includes dozens of unpublished photographs, musical transcriptions and analysis and a complete new discography of Hot Lips Page, who, as a result of Weeks' excellent investigative and journalistic efforts, should no longer be considered unsung.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz on Film: Ornette Coleman/Sidney Bechet
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Bechet was the first great saxophonist in jazz, Coleman a saxophone revolutionary in the second half of the history of jazz. From New Orleans to free jazz stylings, tonight's event covers a full range of the idiom.

Ornette Coleman --  Rarely does one person change the way we listen to music, but such a man is Ornette Coleman. Since the late 1950s, when he burst on the New York jazz scene with his legendary engagement at the Five Spot, Coleman has been teaching the world new ways of listening to music. His revolutionary musical ideas have been controversial, but today his enormous contribution to modern music is recognized throughout the world.

Coleman was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1930 and taught himself to play the saxophone and read music by the age of 14. One year later he formed his own band. Finding a troublesome existence in Fort Worth surrounded by racial segregation and poverty, he took to the road at age 19. During the 1950s while in Los Angeles, Ornette's musical ideas were too controversial to find frequent public performance possibilities. He did, however, find a core of musicians who took to his musical concepts: trumpeters Don Cherry and Bobby Bradford, drummers Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins, and bassist Charlie Haden.

In 1958, with the release of his debut album Something Else, it was immediately clear that Coleman had ushered in a new era in jazz history. This music, freed from the prevailing conventions of harmony, rhythm, and melody, often called 'free jazz', transformed the art form. Coleman called this concept Harmolodics. From 1959 through the rest of the 60s, Coleman released more than fifteen critically acclaimed albums on the Atlantic and Blue Note labels, most of which are now recognized as jazz classics. He also began writing string quartets, woodwind quintets, and symphonies based on Harmolodic theory.

In the early 1970s, Ornette traveled throughout Morocco and Nigeria playing with local musicians and interpreting the melodic and rhythmic complexities of their music into this Harmolodic approach. In 1975, seeking the fuller sound of an orchestra for his writing, Coleman constructed a new ensemble entitled Prime Time, which included the doubling of guitars, drums, and bass. Combining elements of ethnic and danceable sounds, this approach is now identified with a full genre of music and musicians. In the next decade, more surprises included trend-setting albums such as Song X with guitarist Pat Metheny, and Virgin Beauty featuring Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia.

The 1990s included other large works such as the premier of Architecture in Motion, Ornette's first Harmolodic ballet, as well as work on the soundtracks for the films Naked Lunch and Philadelphia.  With the dawning of the Harmolodic record label under Polygram, Ornette became heavily involved in new recordings including Tone Dialing, Sound Museum, and Colors. In 1997, New York City's Lincoln Center Festival featured the music and the various guises of Ornette over four days, including performances with the New York Philharmonic and Kurt Masur of his symphonic work, Skies of America.

There has been a tremendous outpouring of recognition bestowed upon Coleman for his work, including honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, California Institute of the Arts, and Boston Conservatory, and an honorary doctorate from the New School for Social Research. In 1994, he was a recipient of the distinguished MacArthur Fellowship award, and in 1997, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2001, Ornette Coleman received the prestigious Praemium Imperiale award from the Japanese government. Ornette won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2006 album, "Sound Grammar", the first jazz work to be bestowed with the honor. In 2008, he was inducted into the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. The NEJHF honors legendary musicians whose singular dedication and outstanding contribution to this art shaped the landscape of jazz.

Sidney Bechet -- In 1919 Bechet was discovered by Will Marion Cook, who was about to take his large concert band, the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, to Europe. The orchestra played mainly concert music in fixed arrangements with little improvising, but featured Bechet (who could not read music) in blues specialties. In London the Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet heard the band, and in an article that has been widely reprinted referred to Bechet as "an extraordinary clarinet virtuoso" and an "artist of genius."

Bechet first discovered the curved soprano saxophone in Chicago; while in London he purchased a straight model and taught himself to play it. It became his primary instrument for the rest of his life, though he continued to play clarinet frequently. The soprano, although difficult to play in tune, has a powerful, commanding voice, and with it Bechet was able to dominate jazz ensembles.

In 1919 Bechet broke away from the Southern Syncopated Orchestra to work in England and France with a small ragtime band led by Benny Peyton; throughout the 1920s he traveled constantly between Europe and the USA, even touring Russia with a jazz band. Crucially, in 1924, he worked for two or three months in New York with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In 1923 the band had acquired the trumpeter Bubber Miley, a growl specialist under the influence of King Oliver. Miley had awakened Ellington's musicians to the new jazz music, but the band was in a transitional period, still playing much ordinary jazz-flavored popular music. Bechet had by this time acquired a capacity to swing that was matched only by that of Louis Armstrong, and his example led the band further towards jazz. Not long afterwards Bechet opened his own club, the Club Basha, in Harlem, and engaged Johnny Hodges from Boston to play in his band. Hodges was profoundly influenced by Bechet, and from his commanding position in the Ellington orchestra from 1928 he extended this influence widely and deeply.

In 1924 and 1925 Bechet made a group of recordings with Armstrong which were variously issued under the names Clarence Williams's Blue Five and the Red Onion Jazz Babies. These constitute one of the most important bodies of New Orleans jazz, and were influential with musicians of the time. Through the next few years Bechet continued to wander, traveling in Europe and the USA. In the 1930s, as hot dance music lost its popularity to more sentimental styles, Bechet dropped into obscurity, playing when he could find work. He organized the New Orleans Feetwarmers in 1932 with Tommy Ladnier, but largely owing to the group's musical style it was short-lived, and the following year the two men briefly managed a tailor's shop. However, with the New Orleans revival, from about 1939 Bechet was extolled by critics as one of the greatest jazz pioneers and his fortunes improved. He made several recordings, notably several fine titles with the Big Four and a series with Mezz Mezzrow for King Jazz. In 1949 he returned to Europe for the first time in almost 20 years. He was received there with adulation and reverence, and in 1951 he settled permanently in France, where he lived out his final years as a show business star.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Jazz on Film: Charles Mingus/Billie Holiday
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Hearing is one thing – seeing is another. What better to spend an evening that watching these two iconic figures in all of their originality and genius?

Charles Mingus -- One of the most important figures in twentieth century American music, Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. Born on a military base in Nogales, Arizona in 1922 and raised in Watts, California, his earliest musical influences came from the church—choir and group singing—and from "hearing Duke Ellington over the radio when I was eight years old." He studied double bass and composition in a formally while absorbing vernacular music from the great jazz masters, first-hand. His early professional experience, in the 40's, found him touring with bands like Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and Lionel Hampton.

Eventually he settled in New York where he played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950's—Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington himself. One of the few bassists to do so, Mingus quickly developed as a leader of musicians. He was also an accomplished pianist who could have made a career playing that instrument. By the mid-50's he had formed his own publishing and recording companies to protect and document his growing repertoire of original music. He also founded the "Jazz Workshop," a group which enabled young composers to have their new works performed in concert and on recordings.

Mingus soon found himself at the forefront of the avant-garde. His recordings bear witness to the extraordinarily creative body of work that followed. They include: Pithecanthropus Erectus, The Clown, Tijuana Moods, Mingus Dynasty, Mingus Ah Um, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Cumbia and Jazz Fusion, Let My Children Hear Music. He recorded over a hundred albums and wrote over three hundred scores.

In 1971 Mingus was awarded the Slee Chair of Music and spent a semester teaching composition at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In the same year his autobiography, Beneath the Underdog, was published by Knopf. In 1972 it appeared in a Bantam paperback and was reissued after his death, in 1980, by Viking/Penguin and again by Pantheon Books, in 1991. In 1972 he also re-signed with Columbia Records. His music was performed frequently by ballet companies, and Alvin Ailey choreographed an hour program called "The Mingus Dances" during a 1972 collaboration with the Robert Joffrey Ballet Company.

From the 1960's until his death in 1979 at age 56, Mingus remained in the forefront of American music. When asked to comment on his accomplishments, Mingus said that his abilities as a bassist were the result of hard work but that his talent for composition came from God.

Billie Holiday -- Billie Holiday, one of the first and greatest of early American jazz singers, was known for her unique and laconic timing, her wistful and brassy vocals, and her troubled personal life. Holiday began singing in Harlem clubs as a teenager, and first recorded (with Benny Goodman) in 1933. She was a sensation at Harlem's famous venue, The Apollo, and sang with the bands of Artie Shaw and Count Basie, among others. Holiday was nicknamed "Lady Day" during this era by saxophonist Lester Young, with whom she often recorded. In the 1940s she began using heroin and opium, and her last years, regretfully, were marked by her decline in health as a result of drink and drugs. Her most famous songs include "God Bless the Child," "Lover Man" and "My Man." She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence in the year 2000.

The films you'll witness tonight display the magic and artistic power of these two masters of jazz. Arrive early to get a good seat!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

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

A consummate fixture on the New York jazz scene, Lew Soloff’s career is filled with a rich history of renowned sessions and world-class collaborations. From the time he eased into the east coast world of trend setting musicians in the mid 1960’s, Soloff’s creative ventures have resulted in a respected body of work that places him in a category of true accomplishment and keeps his elegant and lyrical signatures in constant demand. Soloff is known as a virtuoso with tremendous range and superior technical command, yet he exudes a exquisite taste for quietness and melody. Soloff’s expertise includes trumpet, flugelhorn, harmon mute, plunger mute and he is particularly recognized for his work on piccolo trumpet.

As a leader, Soloff puts his energy into some special projects including The Lew Soloff Quartet and Quintet. Lew Soloff Presents Sunday Jazz At Rhone was a weekly series he started for New York’s trendy lower west side lounge Rhone. The Sunday program included his own groups and surprise special guests. The artist has 8 solo recordings to his credit. "With A Song In My Heart, produced by Todd Barkan and Makoto Kimata, is probably my favorite personal project to date," comments Soloff. “We chose some wonderful songs for this CD and I was able to weave a tranquil spirit throughout the sessions.  My goal was to play the songs simply and beautifully.”  JazzTimes wrote about the release (Sept. 1999): “If this gem by Soloff, a musician at the peak of his maturity and expressiveness, is not one of the best records of the year, we have a surprising few months in store.”

His longtime collaboration with the late Gil Evans resulted in a new relationship with the Bohuslän Big Band in Sweden. The orchestra invited Soloff to perform George Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess, originally arranged by Evans for one of Soloff’s important influences, Miles Davis.  The suite was recorded and filmed live at The Göteborg Concerthouse in 2002. Besides his association with Gil Evans, Soloff considers his work with Ornette Coleman to be particularly pivotal.  In addition to being a featured trumpet soloist on several occasions with Coleman, he was also asked to perform with Coleman and The Kronos Quartet on a commission for trumpet and strings. Soloff was also the lead trumpeter of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band under the direction of Jon Faddis during its entire tenure and spent six years as first trumpet in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Born in Brooklyn, on February 20, 1944, Soloff was raised in Lakewood, New Jersey and started studying piano at an early age. He took up the trumpet when he was 10 and his interest in the instrument surged, thanks to the record collections of his grandfather and uncle. Exposed to artists such as Roy Eldridge and Louis Armstrong as a youngster, Soloff recalls, “there was a scale I remember from Armstrong’s recording ‘I Hope Gabriel Likes My Music.’  He played this run with such finesse and beauty, without any grandstanding–I wanted to play like that.”  Soloff spent several years at Juilliard Preparatory until he entered the Eastman School of Music in 1961. Already a professional musician, he had spent his summers as a teenager playing hotels and country clubs in the Borscht Belt (the Catskill Mountains of New York).  After graduating from Eastman (where he found himself in practice bands with fellow students such as Chuck Mangione), he spent a year in graduate school at Julliard. It was the mid-1960’s and the fertile jazz scene in New York City ignited Soloff’s full-time career.

By 1966, he was performing with Maynard Ferguson and soon became a regular in the Joe Henderson/Kenny Dorham Big Band. That year he also joined the Gil Evans Group, an affiliation he considers his most influential.  “I first met Gil Evans when I was 22 and he became my musical Godfather,” remembers Soloff. It was a creative relationship that lasted until Evans death in 1988. In the large bands of the 1960’s, Soloff received his continuing education, joining groups led by Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri including the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band.  But it was in the popular groundbreaking group Blood, Sweat and Tears that Soloff’s trumpet solos became an indelible part of American culture.  He was an integral part of the band from 1968 to 1973, racking up 9 Gold records worldwide, a Grammy for “Record of The Year” (1969) and creating those searing horn lines in “Spinning Wheel.”

A respected educator as well, he continues to appear as guest soloist at universities around the country where he utilizes the Gil Evans arrangements that have been an essential element of his repertoire through the years.  He has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music for 20 or so years and has been an adjunct faculty member at Julliard and the New School.  “I want to continue developing my own personal artistic ventures,” notes Soloff.  “There are a thousand ideas I have for collaborative efforts. Music can be choreographed or spontaneous and I am most inspired when I have the opportunity to perform in a variety of settings.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas
Sunny Jain
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Tickets:  Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

From the resounding hall of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, to the intimate setting of Smalls Jazz Club in New York City, to the massive applause on festival stages in India, Sunny Jain is a highly respected drummer, composer and educator.  Born to Punjabi immigrant parents and raised in Rochester, New York, Sunny has become an Indian-American musical trailblazer.

Sunny leads Red Baraat, a one-of-kind dhol 'n' brass band melding the infectious North Indian rhythm Bhangra with funk, soca, and dramatic improvisatory conducting.  His Sunny Jain Collective has been touted as a leading voice for the new music Indo Jazz (a movement of first-generation South Asians equally steeped in the jazz tradition and the music of their cultural heritage).

In 2002, Sunny was designated a Jazz Ambassador by the U.S. Department of State and The Kennedy Center. He then received the Arts International Award in both 2003 and 2005.  In 2005, Jazz Hot magazine (France) featured Jain in their drummer issue, along with Lewis Nash, Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez and Winard Harper.  He was noted as a rising star for his fusion of jazz and Indian music.  In 2006, Traps magazine highlighted Sunny as a top New York City world jazz drummer.  Sunny was commissioned in 2006 by Chamber Music America's New Works to compose new music for a project he later named, Taboo. He closed out 2007 with a milestone performance with the famed Sufi-rock group Junoon at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway, playing for Al Gore. In 2008, Sunny was commissioned by the Aaron Copland Fund to record Taboo.

Sunny also plays the indigenous drum of Punjab, dhol, and made his professional debut as dholi playing in the first ever Indian Broadway show, Bombay Dreams (2004).  He has since gone on to perform with Masala Bhangra fitness guru, Sarina Jain (“The Indian Jane Fonda”), jazz legend Dewey Redman with Asha Puthli, and will make his Hollywood debut playing dhol in the movie, Accidental Husband, starring Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, and Isabella Rossellini.

In 2007 Sunny became the first ever artist endorser for India’s largest and oldest musical manufacturer, Bina Music and he exclusively uses Vater drumsticks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners
Jazz on Film: Rarities - Pt. 1
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Spend an evening watching rare film clips of Bill “Bogangles” Robinson, Sid Catlett, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Benny Goodman, Christian McBride/Dave Holland, and others. Heaven!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Harlem in the Himalayas
Ben Williams and Company
7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door |
Tickets:  Box Office: 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Ben Williams, an acoustic and electric bassist, composer, and educator, is a native of Washington, DC, now living in New York City. He recently received a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School under the instruction of Ben Wolfe. He is a 2007 graduate of Michigan State University where he received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an emphasis in jazz studies under the instruction of Rodney Whitaker and Jack Budrow.

On October 11, 2009, Ben won the most prestigious award in the world for aspiring jazz musicians by winning first place at the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He was awarded a $20,000 Scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Records. The competition was judged by such iconic bassists as Ron Carter, Dave Holland and Christian McBride. Since the Monk competition, he debuted his band at the Jazz Gallery in New York, which received a great review in the New York Times by Nate Chinen.

Ben is currently touring with Stefon Harris and Blackout, and is featured on the group’s latest release “Urbanus,” which was recently nominated for a Grammy. He can also be heard on the newly released album by the Marcus Strickland trio entitled “Idiosyncrasies,” and will also be featured on the upcoming release by the Jacky Terrasson trio. He has traveled extensively over several continents with performances in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

Aside from the recent Monk Competition Award, he won first place in the International Society of Bassists Competition in 2005. He is a two-time winner of the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Awards Competition at the (now defunct) East Coast Jazz Festival, having won second place in 2002 and third place in 2000 when he was ages 15 and 17. He won first place in 1999 in the DC Piano Competition Scholarship Award in the Intermediary category and again first place in the Advanced category in 2000. In 2002 he was a scholarship recipient of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) at their annual conference in Long Beach, CA; and also in 2002 he was a scholarship recipient of the Duke Ellington Jazz Society Annual Awards of Washington. In 2003 he was a scholarship recipient of the Steans Institute in Chicago. Numerous awards and scholarships were also presented to him during his continuing education at Michigan State University.

Ben started his musical career at age 11 while studying bass under Martha Vance at the Fillmore Arts Center, a DC Public School program. He was introduced to jazz by Fred Foss, the director of the Fillmore Jazz Band. The Thelonious Monk Institute partnered with Fillmore's jazz studies program and provided him with weekly one-on-one jazz bass instructions under DC area jazz musicians like Keter Betts, Steve Novosel, Michael Bowie, Emphriam Wolfolk, James King, and Paul Robinson.

The Monk Institute's mentoring partnership program provided workshops to young students like Ben where he was able to participate. By age 12, Ben had received one-on-one instructions from the great Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others. Before he entered high school at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts he had already performed at numerous venues throughout the DC metropolitan area such as at the White House, the Vice President's House, the State Department, the Kennedy Center, Congressional Black Caucus, and many others. Following his first two years of jazz studies he decided he would make a "lifetime commitment of learning" for a career in music. He went to the Duke Ellington School prepared for rigorous bass instructions from Ms. Carolyn Kellock along with jazz studies and performance training from Davey Yarborough. He graduated in 2002 with academic honors as well as awarded the First Honors in Instrumental Music.

Ben is honored to have had the opportunity to perform with Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride Big Band, Roy Hargrove, Bilal, Mulgrew Miller, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Wilson, Gretchen Parlato, Hamiet Bluiett, Eric Reed, Sean Jones, Ron Blake, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Donald Harrison, James Williams, Rodney Jones, and Steve Nelson, to name a few.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Jazz on Film: Rarities - Pt. 2
7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300 or register online

Hosted by Loren Schoenberg, NJMH Executive Director

Another evening of rare film clips – bringing Bessie Smith, Eubie Blake/Noble Sissle, Zora Neale Hurston, Benny Goodman, Art Tatum, Django Reinhardt, Lucky Thompson, Ben Webster, Booker Little, Max Roach, and others back to Harlem.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jazz at the Playershttp://www.theplayersnyc.org/members/
Jonathan Batiste Trio
7:00pm
Location: The Players
(16 Gramercy Park S. | get directions)
$20 | Reservations or 212-475-6116

Jonathan Batiste is part of a culturally rich and significant lineage of musicians and musical families known worldwide: he is the most recent arrival from the Batiste family of New Orleans. At the age of 8, he was already featured singing with his family in Japan. He later performed with them on percussion, and by 12 had found his destiny—the piano. His family has been respected for generations as one of the top in the creation of the city's musical landscapes. These were the roots of his musical beginnings. Since then he has performed, recorded and toured over 30 countries with artists such as Harry Connick Jr., Abbey Lincoln, Jimmy Buffett, Lenny Kravitz, Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, The Batiste Brothers, Alvin Batiste, and currently with Cassandra Wilson and Roy Hargrove. He has three CD releases under his own name, the first released when he was 17 and still studying at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) High School in New Orleans. Batiste is also a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City.

His ability to communicate to a wide range of audiences is apparent. He debuted at Carnegie Hall when he was 18 years old, has performed at major music festivals worldwide, and was the youngest featured performer at the 2008 NBA All-Star game alongside other New Orleans' musical icons on his instrument: Dr. John, Allen Tousiannt, Ellis Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr, and the Neville Brothers. He is a young man of poise, character, intelligence, charm, and sophistication, all of which will be clearly in evidence this evening at Jazz at the Players.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

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

Broadway dancer and choreographer George William Faison was born on December 21, 1945 in Washington, D.C. He attended Dunbar High School, where he studied with the Jones-Haywood Capitol Ballet and Carolyn Tate of Howard University. His first performance was with the American Light Opera Company. After graduating from high school, Faison attended Howard University with plans of becoming a dentist. He also worked in theater with the acclaimed African American theater director Owen Dodson.

In 1966, two years after he entered Howard, Faison saw a production of the Alvin Ailey Company. Within one week, he had decided to become a professional dancer and left Howard University to move to New York City. There, he studied at the School of American Ballet, where he took classes with Arthur Mitchell, June Taylor, Claude Thompson, Dudley Williams, Charles Moore and James Truitte, among others. He began his first professional jobs with the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, and continued studying dance with Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU) and Harkness House.

In 1967, Faison auditioned with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where he would remain for the next three years. In 1970, Faison left the Alvin Ailey dance company to pursue his own career. After a part in the Broadway musical "Purlie," Faison created the George Faison Universal Dance Experience with only $600 dollars. The group's dancers included such notables as Renee Rose, Debbie Allen, Al Perryman and Gary DeLoatch. Faison was the artistic director, choreographer and dancer for the group.

In 1972, Faison made his choreographic debut with Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope on Broadway, which was the start of a series of successful choreography jobs. These included Via Galactica, Tilt and 1974's all-black retelling of The Wizard of Oz entitled The Wiz. The Wiz was a huge success, and helped to launch the careers of singer Stephanie Mills and actor Geoffrey Holder. That year, Faison became the first African American to win a Tony award. The George Faison Universal Dance Experience disbanded the following year, and Faison began focusing on musical theater. He also worked as a choreographer for entertainers like Earth, Wind and Fire, Ashford and Simpson, Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle and Cameo, among others. 1981 brought the massive critical success of Apollo, Just Like Magic, an off-Broadway production that transitioned him from choreographer to director. In 1997, he directed and choreographed King, a musical performed at President Clinton's inauguration. In 1996, he founded the American Performing Arts Collaborative (A-PAC). Since that time, Faison constructed an arts center called the Faison Firehouse Theater, a project of A-PAC which has committed its resources to Harlem.

Look for insightful discussion of the intersection between jazz music and American dance as well as Faison's plans for productions with jazz as a main theme.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Panels
Jammin' the Blues: A Look at Jazz and Cinema
Noon - 4PM
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Jazz came to life in the 20th century, as did cinema, and the two have been intertwined ever since their earliest days. Whether it was as a subject, an influence, or the topic itself, jazz and cinema reflect upon each other in myriad ways.

Join us for screening of film, panel discussions, and more. Panelists to include: Herb Boyd, Jonathan Scheuer, Scott DeVeaux and others. Updates at www.jmih.org and in our weekly emails as well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Special Event
A Great Day in Harlem
1:00 – 3:30pm
Location: New York Historical Society
(170 Central Park West)
FREE | For more information: 212-485-9275

Interview with the filmmaker, Jean Bach by NJMH Executive Director Loren Schoenberg.

Come discover the rich story and hear the engrossing sounds behind the most famous photo in the history of jazz, in which photographer Art Kane coordinated a group photograph of many of the top jazz musicians in NYC in 1958 for Esquire magazine. The documentary features interviews of many of the musicians in the photograph who talk about the day the now iconic photograph was taken, and shows film footage taken that day by Milt Hinton and his wife. The film was nominated in 1995 for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

The photo was also a key object in Steven Spielberg's film, The Terminal,  starring Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski, a character who comes to the United States in search of Benny Golson's autograph, with which he can complete his deceased father's collection of autographs from the musicians pictured in the photo.

The afternoon screening of the documentary of the same title (1994) will be followed by an interview with the filmmaker, Jean Bach by NJMH Executive Director Loren Schoenberg.

Portland’s Black Prairie Offers Debut Album

Sugar Hill Records is proud to announce the upcoming release of Feast of the Hunters’ Moon, the debut album from Portland, Oregon-based Black Prairie. Featuring three-fifths of The Decemberists and two of the city’s finest folk stylists, the heavily acoustic debut was produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie) and embodies the rich sonic landscape of the Portland music scene while integrating the diverse backgrounds of its members. As described by dobroist Chris Funk, the band’s sound “bridges the music of Clarence White and Ennio Morricone” in a way that defies genre characterization.

Decemberists guitarist Funk and bassist Nate Query hatched the plan to start a primarily instrumental string band while on the road.  Funk began to spend time playing the square-necked Dobro guitar, and the pair recruited fellow Decemberist Jenny Conlee to play accordion.  Portland musicians Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld then filled out the ranks on violin and guitar, respectively.

Black Prairie's songs consist mostly of instrumentals; their arrangements draw from bluegrass and old-time string band traditions, while Conlee’s accordion and Tornfelt’s violin instill klezmer and gypsy elements to the band’s unique and vibrant sound. The quintet sometimes takes an almost-classical approach to composition, with songs containing multiple movements that ebb and flow in a way that differs greatly from traditional pop or bluegrass structure.  The band decided it would be a shame not to make use of Tornfelt’s vocal ability, so she sings on a handful of tracks.
The thirteen album tracks include mostly original compositions by the five band members, with a smattering of traditional material intertwined throughout.  “All my weird songs have finally found a home in this group,” laughs guitarist Neufeld.  Sugar Hill Records will release Feast of the Hunters’ Moon on April 6, 2010.
The band will play select club dates and festivals through the fall of 2010, including:
February 27 - Noise Pop Festival San Francisco, CA
April 1 - The Woods, Portland, OR
April 2 - Sam Bonds Garage, Eugene, OR
April 3 - Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA

James McMurtry gets iPhone app, embarks on Western tour

James McMurtry fans can now stay up to date with concert information, photos, videos, music and blog posts while they are on the go with the  his new official iPhone application.  The app also allows users to post photos from their iPhone directly to the fan community and engage other fans across Facebook and iLike. The app is available for $.99 at the link here.

McMurtry and his band will be touring the western United States in support of his latest release, Live in Europe (Lightning Rod Records). The album is a document of McMurtry’s first European tour, on which he was joined by keyboardist Ian McLagan and fellow Texas songwriting legend Jon Dee Graham. The set is available as a CD with a bonus DVD, or as a deluxe vinyl LP package with a CD and DVD insert.

Live in Europe, available as a CD/DVD set or as a vinyl LP/DVD set, has earned praise from the critics. Mike Seely, writing in the Seattle Weekly, wrote: “The great Texan James McMurtry released a new album of old material in 2009—in other words, a live album. No matter: Mere mention of its drop date gave me an excuse to delve deeper into McMurtry's supremely underrated oeuvre. . . This re-exposure made me surer than ever that McMurtry is the Springsteen of the South.”

Blurt’s Steve Pick added, “With a new administration in office, he's taken six of the less directly political songs from that record, added two other older cuts, and brought out Live in Europe. It's another chance to notice how in and around the anger about macroscopic events, McMurtry is capable of extraordinary nuance in describing the lives of ordinary people on a microscopic level.”

In addition, McMurtry’s 2005 song “We Can’t Make it Here” was listed as the “Song of the Decade” both by the Lefsetz Letter’s Bob Lefsetz, and by NoDepression.com’s Grant Alden, the latter of whom called it, “Angry and musically adventurous and pissed off, which is different from angry. And a summary of how this decade felt, from my side of the typing.” The Nation declared McMurtry “Most Important Rocker.”

TOUR DATES
Sat., Jan. 16  NEW BRAUNFELS, TX Gruene Hall
Sat., Jan. 30  SPICEWOOD, TX Poodie’s Hilltop Bar & Grill
Sat., Feb. 6 ALPINE, TX Railroad Blues
Tues., Feb. 9 TUCSON, AZ Club Congress
Wed., Feb. 10 PHOENIX, AZ Rhythm Room
Thurs., Feb. 11 LOS ANGELES, CA The Mint
Fri., Feb. 12  SANTA MONICA, CA McCabe's Guitar Shop
Sat.-Sun., Feb. 13-14  SANTA CRUZ, CA Don Quixote's Int’l Music Hall
Tues., Feb. 16  SAN FRANCISCO, CA Great American Music Hall
Wed., Feb. 17  WINTERS, CA The Palms
Fri., Feb. 19  PORTLAND, OR Aladdin Theater
Sat., Feb. 20  EUGENE, OR WOW Hall
Sun., Feb. 21  SEATTLE , WA Tractor Tavern
Tues., Feb. 23  BOISE, ID Neurolux
Wed., Feb. 24  SALT LAKE CITY, UT The State Room
Thurs., Feb. 25  PAONIA, CO Paradise Theater
Fri., Feb. 26  FT COLLINS, CO Aggie Theater
Sat., Feb. 27  BOULDER, CO Fox Theater
Sun., Feb. 28  OMAHA, NE The Waiting Room
Tues., March 2 KANSAS CITY, MO Knuckleheads
Wed., March 3 COLUMBIA, MO Mojo's
Fri., March 5  OKLAHOMA CITY, OK Wormy Dog Saloon
Sat., March 6  FORT WORTH, TX The Aardvark

STS9 Embark on Coast-to-Coast Tour in Support of AD EXPLORATA

Dubbed "one of the country's most intriguing, innovative outfits around" by XLR8R Magazine, STS9 announces the release of their brand new studio effort, Ad Explorata (December 8, 2009 /1320 Records).

Ad Explorata – the band’s third release of 2009 (following their iTunes LIVE Exclusive NYE.ATL.08 / May 2009 and Peaceblaster : The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes / June 2009) and tenth in their full discography - finds STS9 once again exploring new musical terrain never before heard.

As the band explains, “Ad Explorata was inspired by the idea that there is always more to be discovered, manifested by the belief that you can always push towards the unknown and unexplored, and created by the will and desire for constant artistic evolution, expression and change.”

Visit http://sts9.com/?p=2011 to read the full “Genesis of Ad Explorata”.

Ad Explorata Track List:

01. Phoneme

02. Heavy

03. Looking Back On Earth

04. Oil & Water

05. Crypto City

06. EHM

07. ATLAS

08. Ad Explorata

09. Re:Stereo

10. Central

11. Lion

12. Echoes

“Phoneme,” “ATLAS” AND “Oil and Water” were all released as singles earlier this fall; all charted at iTunes Electronic charts.

Live performance is the domain for which STS9 is well known for mastering. Consistently ranking in Pollstar’s Top 50 Pulse Chart for American touring acts, touring continues through 2009 and into the New Year

The current list of STS9 tour dates is as follows:

February 11 House of Blues San Diego CA

February 12 Wiltern Theatre Los Angeles CA

February 13 Fox Theatre Oakland CA

February 14 Grand Sierra Ballroom Reno NV

February 18-19 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR

February 20-21 Showbox (Market) Seattle WA

February 22 Wilma Theatre Missoula MT

February 25 The Depot Salt Lake City UT

February 26 House of Blues Las Vegas NV

February 27 Marquee Theater Tempe AZ

February 28 Rialto Theatre Tucson AZ

March 3 George's Majestic Fayetteville AR

March 4 The Lyric Theatre Oxford MS

March 5 Cains Ballroom Tulsa OK

March 6 House of Blues Dallas TX

March 7 House of Blues New Orleans LA

March 10 The Music Farm Charleston SC

March 11 Amos' Southend Charlotte NC

March 12 The Norva Norfolk VA

March 13-14 9:30 Club Washington DC

March 17 Mr. Small's Theatre Pittsburgh PA

March 18 Madison Theatre Covington KY

March 19-20 The Pageant St. Louis MO

Giving back to the communities they visit has always been a priority for STS9. For over a decade the band has rallied their community of fans around important causes, and to date has donated nearly $250,000.00 to a variety of causes including Rock Against Cancer, Make It Right Foundation, Yellow Ribbon Fund, Conscious Alliance, Global Education Fund, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, Mariposa’s Art, Headcount, Samaritan House, and others. For 2009, 100% of STS9’s charity work benefits the Make It Right Foundation, including the release of Peaceblaster: The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes in June of this year. The album - of which 100% of the profits go to benefit Make It Right - features 30 artists including Pretty Lights, The Glitch Mob, Count Bass D, Richard Devine, Eskmo, Alex B., Ronald Jenkees and many others remixing original material from STS9’s 2008 release Peaceblaster. The release is available at www.1320records.com and at iTunes. Along with the sale of this release, and per ticket fees to shows that happened since the beginning of 2009 the band is happy to report they are nearing the $100,000 mark by the end of 2009 after less than a year of intention on this project.

1320 Records, STS9’s boutique digital record label, is STS9’s passion for music manifested, and has become the go-to digital delivery store for in-the-know music addicts in search of new listening, and for underground indie artists looking to be heard. Buzzed-about artist releases include STS9, Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Calmer, Collective Efforts, Count Bass D, DubConscious, Eliot Lipp, Emancipator, Eskmo, FuzZ, The Glitch Mob, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Lowpro Lounge, Nalepa, Pnuma Trio, Prefuse 73, Pretty Lights, Rena Jones, St Andrew, sub-ID, Telepath, The Flying Skulls, Two Fresh, Virtual Boy and more.

Download these releases and others at www.1320Records.com. And while you are there, notice the sites brand new audio sample player, higher quality 320 kps MP3's, lossless files and more.

33rd Cape May Jazz Festival April 16-18, 2010

Immerse yourself in jazz vocals from ballads to low-down blues, mellow sax, high-pitch trumpet, Latin piano at the 33rd Cape May Jazz Festival April 16-18, 2010, presented by Bank of America and New Jersey Department of Travel and Tourism. Spyro Gyra opens up the festival Friday night with music that encompasses straight-ahead jazz, blues, Latin, Brazilian, instrumental pop, funk and fusion.  For more than 3 decades  Spyro Gyra has been dominating the contemporary jazz scene and still has a snap, originality and fresh sound which appeals to both old and new fans. Blues singer Shemekia Copeland opens up Saturday night with her huge, blast-furnace voice which gives her music a timeless power and heart-pounding urgency.  Her music comes from deep within her soul and from the streets where she grew up.

Friday night tenor saxophonist Tim Warfield, one of the most impressive young tenors around, will pay Tribute to Shirley Scott with his organ quintet. Warfield wanted to pay tribute to Shirley using the Hammond B-3 to relate his happy, soulful experiences with music they performed together, songs introduced by her or original compositions Warfield wrote with her in mind.  Continuing Friday night guitarist Monnette  Sudler will perform in Carneys Main Room with tenor Bootsie Barnes, trombonist Steve Turre and Aaron Graves on keys for a slamming hard-bop groove.  For a total change of pace vocalist Marta Topferova, who moved from Prague to New York City and immersed herself in the dynamic clusters of Latin American life, will entertain in Carneys Other Room with her elegant, low-key misty voice backed by stellar musicians who include Latin sounds from Cuban, Argentinian tango to Venezuelan rhythms. Mississippi Heat is one of Chicago’s hottest blues bands playing traditional Chicago blues with their  band leader’s golden tone on the harmonica and vocalist Inetta Visor permeating Cabanas  Friday night.

Saturday afternoon starts out with prejams  in both rooms at Carneys with the up-and-coming youth bands Tom Zmuda and Thursday Night Jazz and the Divine Jazz Combo followed by jam sessions.  Georgie Bonds, a world-class singer, songwriter and blues entertainer, will continue the blues tradition with Delta blues in Cabanas.

Saturday night continues with the exciting Cuban piano player Chuchito Valdes returning for 2 shows in the Grand Hotel Ballroom.  Chuchito raised a mountain of rhythmic intensity with power and passion at the April 2008 festival   following in the footsteps of his grandfather Bebo and father Chucho Valdes blending elements of Afro-Cuban music, jazz, bebop, mambo and cha-cha-cha.   Another jazz festival favorite vocalist Juanita Williams along with Fred Hughes on piano will perform at the Jazz Dinner and 11pm show in Aleathea’s Restaurant.  Juanita came up musically by way of gospel, was inspired  by  blues greats Etta James and Aretha Franklin and sings sweet soul music and gritty blues with originality, sass and flair.  Pianist Fred Hughes, another festival favorite, compliments Juanita playing dynamic piano solos.  Appearing in Carneys Main Room B. D. Lenz has been described as one of the hottest new contemporary jazz guitarists on the scene today fusing  jazz and rock complemented by warm chords of funk, soul, rhythm and blues to dance to.  Carneys Other Room presents The Shook-Russo Quartet who is composing their own original music within the jazz idiom honoring the masters by carrying on the mainstream tradition with the huge sound and driving groove of Amy Shook on bass and the incredibly skillful Frank Russo on drums.   Jesse Andrus, a favorite tenor/alto sax and flute player seen at the jams, will be in the Boiler Room with his group Absolute Truth Saturday night.  Absolute Truth weaves jazz with soul, R&B, African and Latin rhythms, gospel, blues and funk which creates a sound that is at once fresh and familiar honoring the masters who came before them while creating a sound all their own.   Performing in Cabanas the multi-talented  Ray  Schinnery  will stir the soul with his vocals, move you to hilarity with his lyrics and woo you with his guitar.
Pre-Jam Sunday opens up with the Little Jazz Giants and the Young Lions in 2 rooms at Carneys followed by 2 Jam Sessions along with the Charles Walker Blues Band in Cabanas.  Hailing from Wisconsin the 5-piece Walker band performs various styles of blues, R&B and funk with Walker’s expressive saxophone stealing the show along with Shanna Jackson’s  powerfully deep soulful voice.

The schedule, musician’s pictures, information and sounds bytes are found on the web at www.capemayjazz.org.  For more information on reduced price All Event Weekend Pass including reserved seating or to be put on the mailing list please call 609-884-7277.  An All Event Weekend Pass to attend 18 events beginning 8pm Friday through 4pm Sunday is $150 general admission. Individual Friday or Saturday Night All Event Wristbands are $55.  Saturday Afternoon Jam Wristbands are $35, Sunday Jams $25.  Reserved Seating is available at the Theatre at Lower Regional High School for an additional $25 per person. Complimentary Festival Transportation running every 10 minutes is available between venues all weekend.

The 33rd Cape May Jazz Festival is presented by New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism VisitNJ.Com and Bank of America and sponsored by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, Barefoot Wines, Jazz Times, WRTI Temple Public Radio, WBGO Jazz 88, WMGM  TV40, WCFA 101.5, WTTH the Touch, Cape May Star and Wave, Verizon Wireless with generous support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, local businesses and donors.