american

DeadPhish Orchestra: Seamlessly weaving the music of Grateful Dead & Phish

DeadPhish Orchestra seamlessly weaves the music of The Grateful Dead and Phish, and features members of Great American Taxi, Phix and Mason's Children

DeadPhish Orchestra will play Quixote's in Denver, Colorado this Friday at 9:00pm.  The official lubrication party before 4 nights of madness in Broomfield! DPO will play two full sets outside on the patio....with UltraViolet Hippopotamus on the inside stage!

Also, be sure to check out DeadPhish Orchestra when they headline Quixote's on October 22nd.

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DPO is:

Chris Sheldon - Drums/Vocals
Paul Murin - Guitar/Vocals
Brian Adams - Bass/ Vocals
Ted Tilton - Keyboards/Vocals

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks Release Crazy For Christmas

Hailed as, “The eternal hipster, purveyor of the drollest and most swingin' tunes the rock generation ever enjoyed” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks have hijacked the holidays and created a Christmas album you’ll enjoy all year long. Set for release on October 12, 2010 through Surfdog Records, Crazy For Christmas is classic Hot Licks, full of the same dry wit and musical brilliance that has defined Dan Hicks’ music for the past four decades and established him as one of American music’s true cult heroes.

“We wanted to have the Hot Licks sound going, with our signature violin and guitar and two girls backing me up and the tongue-in-cheek approach to the material and the delivery. Keeping it swingin’, keeping it light, with lots of good solos and some cool scat stuff,” explains Hicks. “It’s a Christmas album, yes, but first and foremost it’s a Hot Licks album.”

Crazy For Christmas covers it all - with Hicks originals “I’ve Got Christmas By The Tail” and the humorous “Santa’s Workshop” nestled in with classics (done Hicks’ style) like “Here Comes Santa Claus” and an amazing original take on “Carol Of The Bells.” Of course, no Dan Hicks holiday album would be complete without a few irreverent parodies including “Christmas Mornin’” (done in the tune of Hicks’ hit “Where’s The Money”) and “Santa Got A Choo-Choo” (a Hicks re-write and salute to “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”).

Crazy For Christmas comes on the heels of Hicks’ critically acclaimed 2009 release Tangled Tales. The recording, dubbed an “irreverent, rowdy, even dangerous distillation of real American music,” by the East Bay Express, proved once-and-for-all that Hicks’ undeniable musical legacy is still evolving. “Talk about a rugged, all-American individual,” the LA Weekly reviewed, “Dan Hicks has plowed deep furrows through some of the most fertile pop music territory known to man, and during it all has maintained both his own distinct, light yet emphatic touch and a pace that's always kept him more than a few steps ahead of his colleagues.”

Dan Hicks began his career in 1965 as the drummer for psychedelic San Francisco rock band The Charlatans before forming the acoustic ensemble Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. His unique songwriting and blend of styles, masterful folk-swing guitar playing, and unmistakable sense of humor have made him a cultural icon, landing Hicks on the cover of Rolling Stone twice and provoking Tom Waits to say, “Dan Hicks is fly, sly, wily and dry” while Elvis Costello proclaimed him “an American treasure.”

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks are on tour this fall, including a run of his always over-the-top “Holidaze in Hicksville” extravaganza beginning in late November. This year, Holidaze in Hicksville shows will feature a live performance of Crazy for Christmas in its entirety, as well as several Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks classics. A complete list of currently confirmed tour dates is included below.

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks Crazy For Christmas Track List

1. Christmas Mornin’
2. Santa Gotta Choo-Choo
3. Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit
4. Carol Of The Bells
5. Run Run Rudolph
6. Santa’s Workshop
7. Old Fashioned Christmas
8. Cool Yule
9. I’ve Got Christmas By The Tail
10. I Saw Mommy Kissin’ Santa Claus
11. Here Comes Santa Claus
12. Under The Mistletoe

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks tour dates are as follows:

Friday, October 22 The ArtsCenter Carrboro NC
Saturday, October 23 Gibson Theatre Shelby NC
Sunday, October 24 Eddie's Attic Decatur GA
Friday, November 19 O'Shaughnessy Center Whitefish MT

Holidaze in Hicksville performances:

Saturday, November 27 Appel Farm Arts and Music Center Elmer NJ
Tuesday, November 30 City Winery New York NY
Wednesday, December 1 Barns at Wolftrap Vienna VA
Thursday, December 2 Greensburg Garden and Civic Center Greensburg PA
Friday, December 3 Sellersville Theater Sellersville PA
Saturday, December 4 The Met Cafe Pawtucket RI
Tuesday, December 7 Wood Fire Dowagiac MI
Wednesday, December 8 Wealthy Theatre Grand Rapids MI
Thursday, December 9 Kent Stage Kent OH
Saturday, December 11 McCabe's Guitar Shop and Concert Hall Santa Monica CA
Wednesday, December 15 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA

(More dates to be added soon…)

Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan 'In Session'

On December 6, 1983, legendary blues guitarist Albert King joined his disciple Stevie Ray Vaughan on a Canadian sound stage for the live music television series In Session. Magic happened. The highly sought after video footage from that one-time legendary summit becomes available for the first time ever on November 9 with the release of Stax Records’ deluxe two-disc CD/DVD In Session.

The DVD contains three classic performances unavailable on the previously issued audio disc: “Born Under a Bad Sign,” the landmark title track from Albert King’s biggest Stax release written by William Bell and Booker T. Jones; Stevie Ray’s “Texas Flood,” the Larry Davis-penned title track of Vaughan’s immortal debut album; and “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town,” made famous by Louis Jordan and later, Ray Charles.

“It was evident from the first choruses,” writes liner notes author/musicologist Samuel Charters, “that they were playing for each other. And that was the best audience either of them could ever have. The music never lost its intensity, its quality of something very important being handed back and forth and there was time for Stevie and Albert to see where their ideas took them.”

Accolades have showered upon this momentous encounter. “As a document of what was probably one of the greatest nights in the musical life of SRV, this belongs in the collection of every true fan,” said the Austin American-Statesman. Sonic Boomers added, “Both men are gone now, but rare recordings like In Session remind us of a time when blues giants still walked the earth side by side.” Elmore magazine called it “an indispensible part of any blues fan’s collection.” And BluesWax noted, “thank goodness, this disc lives on and on.”

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

Grandchildren Play DENVER At Larimer Lounge On 10.18

In Grandchildren, every memory is a montage of sound. The beat-driven, orchestral-pop epics play like an audio scrapbook of memories from songwriter Aleks Martray's life.

Martray, the son of a high-ranking military officer, and Grandchildren's creator, was born on a US army base in Germany and raised on both sides of the Atlantic.  “I was restless from a really young age,” he explains, “Growing up in flux between different places I gravitated towards more intangible things like stories, melodies, movies, and dreams, and so early on music became a way of making a home for myself.”

Grandchildren’s debut album, Everlasting, feels like a culmination of all that restlessness. A sonic collage of the sentimental and the confrontational- the album is a safe haven for multiple realities- fusing tribal beats, frayed electronics, fireside folk melodies, richly-woven orchestral-pop flourishes and even field recordings from Martray’s journeys across Central America, the Caribbean and Africa.

“The project began during my nomadic mid-20’s. I was split between Baltimore, Philadelphia, NY, DC, and travels abroad. I think the music is a reflection of a young person processing their own coming of age through constant self inflicted culture shock. The textures of the final album span time and space,” he says. “And yet, it comes across as one seamless reality. You can feel the influences but you can’t put your finger on them.”

During this time Martray’s closest thing to home was a small 3rd floor bedroom in a dilapidated Victorian house in west Philadelphia known as Danger Danger. At the height of its illegal phase, this notorious underground venue hosted everything from IDM-infused metal (Genghis Tron) to frantic free-jazz (Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra). These eclectic sounds billowed up towards Martray’s make-shift bedroom recording studio, taking what began as a solo experimentation in dizzying new directions.

“The songs evolved through the recording process,” explains Martray, “they were so layered that when I went to play them live, so much had to be sampled. That’s when I realized this wasn’t a solo project. It’s music for a small orchestra.”

With that in mind, Martray brought his fellow housemates—a motley crew of instrument-swapping misfits—into the fold one by one. This included drummer Roman Salcic, a Croatian transplant reared on American rock music; jack of all trades Tristan Palazzolo; math-thrash guitarist Adam Katz; bassist/percussionist Russell Brodie; and classical-pianist-turned-synth-slinger John Vogel. Over the course of one daunting year, the group developed Grandchildren’s 10-song album into a live set that’s as seamless and widescreen as the recordings.

“It looks spontaneous to people,” explains Katz, “but everything’s carefully choreographed on our end.”

A lot of that stems from a two-month North American tour in 2008, one that was plagued by chicken pox, blizzards, border patrols, and van break-ins. This not only brought them closer together; it gave Grandchildren the chance to perfect the ebb and flow of their live set.

“And now that everything’s down to a science,” says Martray, “it becomes a form of art in and of itself. As full and layered as the album is, it rests on the backbone of those early bedroom recordings. Kind of like with a car, where you keep replacing parts until the whole thing is new. By the end you can’t even remember what came from where. The process hides within the sound.”  He pauses and adds, “We want people to feel the music first, and ask questions later.”

US Dates:

09/20 – First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia, PA (w/ No Age)

09/26 - The Roebling Inn - New York, NY

10/08 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA (w/ Special Guests)

10/18 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO (w/ Seabear)

10/19 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT (w/ Seabear)

10/20 – Neurolux – Boise, ID – (w/ Seabear)

10/23 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR (w/ Seabear)

10/25 – Independent – San Franciso, CA (w/ Seabear)

10/26 – Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA (w/ Seabear)
10/27 – Casbah – San Diego, CA (w/ Seabear)

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.

The Warner Brothers Studio Albums + Dead.net exclusive

What a long, strange trip it's been! In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, we proudly present THE WARNER BROS. STUDIO ALBUMS, a five-LP boxed set commemorating those tremendous and transformative early years. Due September 21st, the collection contains The Grateful Dead (1967), Workingman's Dead, and American Beauty (1970), plus the original mixes for Anthem Of The Sun (1968) and Aoxomoxoa (1969), available on vinyl for the first time in nearly 40 years!

This stunning set also features detailed replicas of the original albums housed in a hard-shell case with an accompanying 12" x 12" book containing unpublished photos and new liner notes by our friend Blair Jackson. And as always, we've ensured the highest degree of quality - these albums were pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI using lacquers cut from the original analog masters. Now all you've got to do is gently place the needle on the record and slip into auditory bliss!

Order from Dead.net and receive an exclusive reproduction of a rare 1968 7" single (in a picture sleeve) that features the studio version of "Dark Star" (b/w "Born Cross-Eyed"), clocking in at a concise 2:38. You'll also receive a reproduction of a rare 1967 promotional poster from the Warner Bros. Records archive. The 7" and poster are yours only when you place your order at Dead.net.

Great American Taxi summer festival blitz continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GREAT AMERICAN TAXI ON THE ROAD, 2010


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

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

Wed., Aug. 11  SEATTLE WA Tractor Tavern

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

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

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

Sat., Aug. 21 WELLSTON, MI Hoxeyville Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurs., Sept. 9 CHICAGO, IL Martyr’s

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

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

Thurs., Sept. 16  RALEIGH, NC Berkeley Café

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

The Fabulous Thunderbirds to play Greeley Blues Festival

For over thirty years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group's distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up.”

Founding member Kim Wilson spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation. “We started as a straight blues band.” vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We're an American music band and we're higher energy than ever before.” The Fabulous Thunderbirds features Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar, and Randy Bermudes on bass.


Wilson’s musical talents have garnered him multiple Blues Awards and Grammy Nominations. The Blues Foundation 2008 blues Music Awards named Wilson "Instrumentalist - Harmonica" category.  In 2006, he was named “Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year” in 2006, and “Lookin’ for Trouble!” was named Blues Song of the Year in 2004. Wilson has contributed to the work of many other great artists such as the legendary Muddy Waters (who called him his “son”), contemporary artist Bonnie Raitt, guitar legends Stevie Ray Vaughn and brother Jimmy Vaughn, and Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Blues." With his current movie project “Cadillac Records,” Wilson continues to focus on the music he loves.

With over 20 albums recorded and millions sold, Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds tour the world performing their own unique style of music. Ranging from pop anthems like “Powerful Stuff” which was featured in the Tom Cruise movie “Cocktail," to the low down blues of "Chicago," this brand of honest music brings fans back time and again.

Having shared the stage with The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana and blues legends BB King and Buddy Guy and countless others, The Fabulous Thunderbirds continue to tour Europe and the North America, bringing more great music to their fans worldwide.



The Fabulous Thunderbirds will be playing the Greeley Blues Festival, at the Island Grove Arena, 425 North 15th Ave., in Greeley, on June 12 at  7:25 PM.



The Festival runs June 11 and 12, and tickets are  $25 in advance, $30 at the gate.  There are also limited prefered seating passes available for $50. Children under 12 are admitted for free.  For more information, please call 970-356-5000. Call the Chamber at 800-449-3866 for booster packet phone orders.  The web site is http://greeleybluesjam.wordpress.com/.

Great American Taxi Donates Track to Coal Miners Relief Fund

Just in time for Earth Day (April 22), Great American Taxi, whose current album Reckless Habits is climbing the Americana radio airplay charts, has donated a free download of a song, “Appalachian Soul” culled from its debut album Streets of Gold, to raise awareness of the plight of coal miners and their communities in West Virginia. The track is offered free to radio stations that agree to direct listeners to GreatAmericanTaxi.com, which in turn links to West Virginia Council of Churches website, which collects donations for the miners.

GAT frontman Vince Herman, who grew up in West Virginia, comments: “Great American Taxi sends our thoughts out to the families and communities effected by the mining disaster at the upper big branch mine. We hope that their unconquerable Appalachian spirit and families can help them navigate these difficult times. The country and the world share in their grief. We need coal.  We need our miners to be safe. We need understanding on all sides of this contentious issue of our national energy policy. We would like to make Taxis' tribute to that  Appalachian spirit available as a download here and suggest a donation to the WV council of churches to assist  the families of our fallen brothers. Let's all come together and honor the families who have paid that ultimate price for our energy needs and hope that this is the last such disaster we must face.”

In the past five years, Great American Taxi has become one of the best-known headliners on the jam band circuit, their uninhibited sound a swinging concoction of swampy blues, progressive bluegrass, funky New Orleans strut, Southern boogie, honky tonk, gospel and good old fashioned rock ’n’ roll. That loose, anything-can-happen feel is the hallmark of Reckless Habits, the band’s second album, which was recorded in Loveland, Colo., with producer Tim Carbone (from Railroad Earth) bringing the feel of an onstage performance to the recording process. The new album was released through Thirty Tigers on March 2, 2010.

Blurt called Reckless Habits “a giddy combination of boogie, blues, bluegrass, nu-grass and honky-tonk, it's as readily infectious and genuinely freewheeling as its eclectic content might imply. Hopefully this Great American Taxi will continue to take listeners along for similarly spirited rides in the future.”  Country Standard Time called it  “a well rounded album that fully pays homage to Gram Parsons and his vision of a cosmic American sound that incorporates all the pages of the American Roots songbook.”

When banjo player Mark Vann of Leftover Salmon died of cancer in 2002, that band desolved. Salmon singer/guitarist/mandolinist Vince Herman had a few rough years and survived a broken neck before joining keyboardist Chad Staehly for a superstar jam to benefit the Rainforest Action Group in Boulder in March 2005. “We put together a dream band of the best local musicians for a one-off gig,” Herman recalls. “It worked so well we had to do it again, and again, and again.” And so Great American Taxi was born. The current lineup includes Herman, Staehly, guitarist Jim Lewin, bassist Brian Adams and drummer Chris Sheldon.

Dreyfus Jazz Presents European Modernists

Jazz, once a singularly American invention and one of the United States’ greatest exports, has become a truly international phenomenon, with important players from all over the world making valuable contributions to the music’s evolution.  Europe, previously home to many of the most devoted connoisseurs of the art form, is now also the producer of some of the most innovative voices in jazz. With the inauguration of its European Modernists series Dreyfus Jazz is proud to bring U.S. audiences some of the best creative music being made on the continent today.  The first releases in the collection showcase musicians from Belgium, France and Italy, spotlighting two long respected veterans and a pair of important younger voices.  Taken together, Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine, French pianist Jean-Michel Pilc and Italians, drummer Aldo Romano and saxophonist Rosario Giuliani, these artists represent the continuing trend of noteworthy original music emanating from European environs.

Born in Belluno, Italy on Jan 16, 1941, Aldo Romano is the most senior of the four leaders, well known to audiences worldwide since his earliest recordings as a member of Don Cherry’s internationalist quintet featuring Argentinean saxophonist Gato Barbieri, German vibraphonist Karl Berger and French bassist Jean Francois Jenny Clark.  A resident of France since a young age, he’s played swinging drums with visiting American giants like Jackie McLean, Bud Powell, Lucky Thompson, J.J. Johnson, Johnny Griffin and Woody Shaw and avant garde explorations with Steve Lacy, Charlie Mariano, Frank Wright, Bobby Few and Bill Dixon through the years, giving his far reaching music a distinctively freewheeling flavor. His associations with fellow Europeans Michel Petrucciani, Rolf and Joachim Kühn, Enrico Rava and Michel Portal make him a particularly representative artist for this series.

Origine, Romano’s fourth effort for Dreyfus, finds the versatile artist returning to a romantic setting similar to that of his debut effort for the label, Chante, leading an expanded ensemble that displays his considerable capabilities as a composer.  Augmenting his jazz sextet featuring saxophonist/flutist Lionel Belmondo (who arranged all of the disc’s thirteen compositions) and trumpeter/flugelhornist Stéphane Belmondo (the date’s primary soloist), altoist Géraldine Laurent, pianist Eric Legnini and bassist Thomas Bramerie with a classical wind ensemble of clarinet, flute, English horn, bassoon, French horn and tuba, plus percussionist Xavier Desandre-Navarre.  The music is lush and beautiful, a decidedly successful melding of American and European sensibilities reflecting Romano’s wide ranging talents, which also include (like one of his influences, Bill Higgins) playing guitar and singing, the latter of which is heard to great effect on the final track, his “Jazz Messengers” with French lyrics by Yves Simon.

Guitarist Philip Catherine, born in London in 1942 to a Belgian father and British mother, was raised in Brussels’s where he began playing professionally while still a teenager.  Dubbed the "young Django" while still a youth, by the great Charles Mingus (on whose Three or Four Shades of Blues the guitarist recorded), Catherine came into his own voice playing in variety of settings, from bebop to fusion, including work with American expatriates Dexter Gordon and Chet Baker and European violin maestros Jean Luc Ponty and Stephane Grappelli. Since gaining recognition with American audiences for his two guitar work Larry Coryell, he has gone on to become one of the most highly respected artists on his instrument in both the U.S. and Europe.

Catherine, who has recorded over twenty albums under his own name since his 1974 Warner Brothers debut Stream (produced by the legendary French guitarist-vocalist Sacha Distel, who worked with Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and John Lewis) and dozens more as a valued sideman, makes his sixth appearance as a leader on Dreyfus with Concert In Capbreton.  The live recording, featuring the guitarist’s working band with his longtime collaborator, Dutch bassist Hein Van De Geyn, Italian piano maestro Enrico Pieranunzi and former Bill Evans drummer Joe La Barbera, is a swinging affair documenting the group’s 2009 appearance in the charming seaside resort town in southwestern France.  The group stretches out on four standards from the Great American Songbook – “My Funny Valentine”, “My Foolish Heart”, “You’ve Changed” and “Speak Low”, along with two modern jazz classics, Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice” and Richie Beirach’s “Broken Wings” and a beautiful Van de Geyn solo bass piece “Change.”

Since moving to New York in 1995, virtuoso pianist/composer Jean-Michel Pilc has steadily earned a reputation one the city’s finest musical imports, working and recording regularly in many of the most important venues in the jazz capital of the world, including Sweet Basil, Small’s, Iridium and the Jazz Gallery, both as a leader and with the likes of Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker, Kenny Garrett and Richard Bona.  Born in Paris in 1960, where he taught himself piano, Pilc truly came into his own after moving to the United States and forming his longstanding trio featuring fellow Frenchman, bassist François Moutin (with whom he recorded his debut album, Funambule, in Paris in 1989) and the flexible Philadelphian drummer, Ari Hoenig.  An innovator with a deeply personal style of his own, Pilc has been called “musical genius’” by the Washington Post, while the New York Time’s Ben Ratliff astutely described him as “a splashy stunner who also has a Rubik's-cube mind for chord substitutions."

True Story, Pilc’s sixth album as a leader for Dreyfus since he began recording for the label back in 2001 with his Welcome Home, introduces the pianist’s remarkable new trio featuring veteran drummer Billy Hart and the great Russian born Mingus Dynasty bassist Boris Kozlov.  The program, predominantly composed by the leader himself, including the five part title track suite, continues on the idiosyncratic path blazed on his previous dates, with music that is both dazzling and unpredictable.  In addition to his other compositions, which include the classically tinged tribute “Mornings With Franz”, he also performs an original arrangement of Schubert’s “Relic” and typically unconventional interpretations of Cole Porter’s “My Heart Belongs To Daddy” and Tom Jones’ pop hit “Try To Remember”, with the former reimagined as a tango and latter serving as an Evanescent impressionistic journey.

Perhaps the least known artist presented in the European Modernist series, Rosario Giuliani is nonetheless an important new voice on the international music scene.  Born in Terracina, Italy in the saxophonist achieved deserved recognition when voted the best new talent in the 2000 critics poll Top Jazz conducted by Musica Jazz magazine. Since then he has gone on to garner attention for his work with artists like Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Cedar Walton, Marc Johnson, Charlie Haden, Phil Woods, Mark Turner and Jeff "Tain" Watts, as well as many of Europe’s best players.  Possessing a virtuosic technique reflecting a range of influences from Charlie Parker and Lee Konitz to John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, Giuliani has proven himself to be a significant addition to the lineage of jazz saxophonists, capable of contributing valuably in a variety of situations.

Lennie’s Pennies, Giuliani’s tenth album as a leader and his fifth for Dreyfus, may well be the saxophonist’s best effort to date. Leading a quartet featuring Paris born Pierre de Bethmann on piano and Fender Rhodes, with expatriate Philadelphian Darryl Hall on bass and Joe La Barbera on drums, Giuliani proves himself to be a first rate on alto saxophone (which he plays exclusively on the date, eschewing the soprano sax that he has doubled on excellently on previous cd’s).  Opening with a blistering tempoed reading of Lennie Tristano’s title track, the leader leaves no doubt whatsoever concerning his powerful voice and technique. Elsewhere he expresses both a dreamy sensitivity, as well as a willingness to stretch boundaries when appropriate.  The program, which includes four originals penned by the leader and two from de Bethmann, as well as a couple of standards, Heyman and Young’s “Love Letters” and Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is The Ocean” and a pair of modern jazz classics, Joe Zawinul’s “74 Miles Away” and Jimmy Rowles’ “The Peacocks” is one that should satisfy forward looking fans of straight ahead jazz.

Ironically, as modern technology and the internet makes the planet seem smaller and smaller, the jazz world continues to expand exponentially with creative artists from all over contributing their individual voices and homegrown influences to the music’s ever growing canon. The four artists featured on the Dreyfus European Modernist series, Aldo Romano, Philip Catherine, Jean-Michel Pilc and Rosario Giuliani, are each important voices in this once all-American music, reflecting the new wide world of contemporary jazz.