Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
RESONANCE RECORDS TO RELEASE
ANOTHER NIGHT IN LONDON
BY THE LATE KEYBOARD WONDER
Recorded Live at Pizza Express,
A Follow Up to 2008's Live in London
- People Magazine
"There is no pianist with a better feel for the blues than Gene Harris."
- The Wall Street Journal
"I never have anything in my mind when I play. I just play from my heart; from my soul, and just try to let everything I have inside of me come out...and it seems that the people love it that way."
Harris' artistry is in full effect on the forthcoming Resonance Records CD, Another Night in London (release date: January 12, 2010), a cool and combustive live quartet, recorded at Pizza Express in May 1996 with an all-British rhythm section featuring bassist Andrew Cleyndert, guitarist Jim Mullen, and Oscar Peterson's former drummer, Martin Drew. Another Night in London is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Live in London CD, released in 2008 on the same label. Both recordings are rare in that they are the only two available that feature Harris' European quartet.
Another Night in London features the fleet-fingered Harris dropping syncopated science on several standards. "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Georgia on my Mind," and "Lady Be Good," all roll with a driving swing that could rock both the Philharmonic and the juke joint. In contrast, the bossa nova chestnut "Meditation" is given a samba-fied treatment, and "This Masquerade" is an exquisitely sensitive rendering of the Leon Russell/George Benson hit. Writer Don Heckman penned in the CD liner notes, "one can hear...the rich harmonic visions of Art Tatum; the playful articulation of Errol Garner, the propulsive rhythms of Ahmad Jamal. But each of these elements plays only an additive role in interpreting style that is Harris' own..."
Another Night in London is only the latest aural document to showcase Harris' show-stopping and scintillating genius, and it's on par with some of his greatest recordings including The Three Sounds, Feelin' Good, Blue Hour (with Stanley Turrentine), and The Philip Morris All-Stars Live. It is the zenith of an amazing career that took the Benton Harbor, Michigan native to the ends of the earth on the wings of his inexhaustible and indestructible swing, entrancing fans, critics and fellow musicians; influencing the likes of Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Ray Charles, and Benny Carter.
With the release of Another Night in London , we can still follow the eternal ebullient elegance of Gene Harris' pulsing piano as it casts a bright light over the legacy of jazz piano that will burn as long as the music is still with us. As a solo artist with dozens of recordings, Harris was one of the most well-respected and popular pianists of all time. "Recorded at a time when he was at the peak of his powers, just before he began to experience the health issues that would ultimately lead to his death from kidney failure in 2000," writes Heckman in the liner notes, "the album sparks with the drama that Harris invested in every note he played."
Resonance Records HCD-2006 / January 12, 2010
Best Instrumental Arrangement "West Side Story Medley"
Bill Cunliffe, arranger (Resonance Big Band)
Resonance Big Band Pays Tribute To Oscar Peterson
Best Latin Jazz Album (Vocal or Instrumental)
Brazilliance X 4, Claudio Roditi
This is very exciting for us as these are our first-ever Grammy Nominations
in our label's one and a half year history.
We couldn't be more proud of our artists and their music.
Thank YOU for all of your support.
Everyone at Resonance Records
Resonance Records is a program of the Rising Jazz Stars Foundation,
a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation
For media information contact:
Steph Brown at DL MEDIA (p) 610-667-0501 (e) email@example.com
Don Lucoff at DL MEDIA (p) 610-667-0501 (e) firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, December 14, 2009
"As the Argentine singer Sofía Rei Koutsovitis led her multinational band,(...) the passion and clarity with which she assayed a tricky mix of South American rhythms and jazz-inflected harmonies made clear why she has been embraced by New York City audiences from Carnegie Hall to the hippest downtown haunts."
-Phil Lutz, New York Times
"Sofia has a lovely sound that is human and earthy all at once. She creates such a broad spectrum of colors and sounds. Sofia is so creative..."
- Maria Schneider
"one of the most versatile and in-demand singers on the New York music scene",
- Simon Calle, All About Jazz
"One of the most memorable performers I have ever encountered...
a superb and original songwriter."
- Curtis Fuller
"Koutsovitis sings a varied, engaging set, with plenty to dance to, plenty to get down with, and plenty to think about. She's going for an ambitious goal: original, creative, and technically challenging music that's as exciting to a Bacchanalian crowd as to the ivory tower listener. "
-The Live Music Report (Canada)
Sube Azul , the vibrant sophomore release from Argentine vocalist and composer Sofia Rei Koutsovitis, proves why she's been called "one of the most versatile and in-demand performers on the New York music scene" (All About Jazz).
Her acclaimed multilingual debut, Ojalá was chosen as a top-10 release of 2006 by the Jazz Journalists Association. Now, in a departure, Sofia serves as Sube Azul 's composer, arranger, lyricist and - with bassist Jorge Roeder - producer. The result is a stirring collection of mostly original Spanish-language songs.
"[ Sube Azul is] a fully formed synthesis, reflecting Sofia's immersion in modern and progressive jazz while also responding to the pull of ancestry and the appeal of organic, pan-musical connections" writes David R. Adler in his liner notes.
"A native of Buenos Aires, Sofia brings to bear the folkloric traditions of Argentina and its regional neighbors (Peru, Colombia, Uruguay), tying together diverse influences in a program full of complexity, melody and romance. The songs speak of heartbreak, individuality, special characters in Sofia's life, and the challenges of life abroad. There are tributes to Argentina's copleras (female folkloric singers), and comments on what Sofia terms 'the end of the utopia of the upcoming Latin American revolution.'"
Sofia fills out Sube Azul with an impressive and wildly diverse cast of musicians: Jorge Roeder on bass; Anat Cohen on clarinet; Geoffrey Keezer and Leo Genovese on piano; Dana Leong on cello and trombone; Eric Kurimski and Juancho Herrera on guitars; Yayo Serka on drums; Celso Duarte on harp; Dan Blake on soprano saxophone; Diego Obregón on tres; and Samuel Torres, Juan Medrano Cotito, Jorge Pérez Albela, Morris Cañate, Ronald Polo and Nestor Gómez on assorted percussion.
After immersing herself in modern and progressive jazz during graduate studies at Boston's New England Conservatory, Sofia relocated to New York in 2005 and began working in an array of projects, including the 12-piece Colombian unit Folklore Urbano and the Afro-Peruvian quintet Alcatraz, along with more straightforwardly jazz-related groups like Geoffrey Keezer's Aurea, whose self-titled 2009 release received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album.
Sofia has also recorded, performed and collaborated with renowned artists and bands such as Lionel Loueke, Danilo Perez, John Scofield, Bob Moses, Russ Ferrante (Yellowjackets),Pavel Urkiza (Gema y Pavel), Avantango (Pablo Aslan), Aquiles Baez, and the Pedro Martinez Project. She toured Europe with the Grammy-winning Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra and premiered Schneider's "Cerulean Skies" in Vienna. She was also recently featured with vocal giant Bobby McFerrin in "Instant Opera" at Carnegie Hall. In December 2009 she will be one of four featured vocalists chosen to premiere newly commissioned work as part of The Jazz Gallery's "New Voices" concert series. In early 2010, John Zorn's Book of Angels: Masada Book 2 will come out on Tzadik Records, featuring Sofia alongside Ayelet Gottlieb (Israel), Malika Zarra (Morocco) and Basya Shechter (USA).
Sube Azul ties together Sofia's myriad of influences into an album that brings to life her transit between hemispheres and highlights a focused and unified musical identity. Sube Azul spans the continents, transcends its origins and gathers force as a self-contained narrative, more than the sum of its parts.
- December 15-16: Jazz Gallery "New Vocal Series Commission 2009," New York, NY
- January 5: Live on NPR's Souncheck @ 2:30 PM
- January 7: "CD RELEASE PARTY for SUBE AZUL !" Drom, New York, NY
- January 9: APAP Showcase - Hilton Hotel, New York, NY @ 10:20 pm
- January 10: APAP Showcase - Hilton Hotel, New York, NY @ 5:30 pm
- February 18: Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA
- March 12: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Click here to preview " Sube Azul " (Title Track)
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Ciacca's new album, Lagos Blues , released on Motéma Music, features his regular quartet - saxophonist Stacy Dillard, bassist Kengo Nakamura and drummer Ulysses Owens - supplemented by saxophonist Steve Grossman,an artist whose impact on jazz has been profound and on Ciacca directly has been transformative.
Steve Grossman (pictured at left) has been living in Italy since the 1970s, teaching and playing locally. His résumé includes the honor of having replaced Wayne Shorter in Miles Davis' group as a teenager and work with other giants of jazz including Elvin Jones, Michel Petrucciani, Cedar Walton and more. His decision to settle in Bologna seems, in retrospect, like fate putting the pieces in place for him and Ciacca to meet. Ciacca attended the Bologna Conservatory and Grossman became his mentor.
Ciacca (pictured at right) set two days aside for his mentor to join him and his regular quartet in a studio at Bologna. There, they recorded Lagos Blues , a set of originals by Ciacca and Grossman along with several standards. From start to finish, Lagos Blues respects advice bestowed upon Ciacca by another friend and mentor, his Lincoln Center compatriot, Wynton Marsalis, to first and foremost add to each player's strengths and to respond to what the others are playing.
Following this mandate, Ciacca presents a textbook example of this art form being practiced at its highest level. One of the crucial arrangement decisions that allowed these musicians to thrive was for both Grossman and Dillard to stick to tenor sax.
"Steve always loved to play with another tenor player, probably because of his experience with Elvin and Dave Liebman," says Ciacca. "But there's a long history of dual tenors: Johnny Griffin playing with Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis, Lester Young and Hershel Evans, 'Hawk' and Ben Webster, Albert Ammons and Sonny Stitt, 'Newk' and 'Trane.' I love the vibe of a young musician like Stacy getting together with an icon like Steve and the way they discover each other."
Ciacca laid a lot of groundwork prior to the session, for example coming up with an arrangement of a tenor-sax classic, "Body and Soul," based on analyzing eight or ten versions of the tune and weaving elements of each into his own statement. In the end, though, the magic of Lagos Blues is in the moment - when the tape rolled and the performance began.
Born in Germany, raised in Italy, Ciacca plays with a rare blend of earthiness, fire and intellect, with elements of Wynton Kelly, Red Garland and Bobby Timmons that recall the most creatively vital and yet oddly neglected schools of jazz.
That's not to say that he's a nostalgist - far from it. As Director of Programming for Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ciacca serves this music on multiple levels - as a player whose sound is unique, especially in the context of our time, and as an educator who knows that to spread the word about jazz, the best thing is to let the music speak for itself.
Ciacca began his studies at the Bologna Conservatory. At the time he played only classical repertoire, the effects of which led him to consider switching his energies to sports and becoming a professional soccer player. This all changed when his future Lincoln Center compatriot (Marsalis) came to Bologna give a concert.
"What impressed me was the relationships between the musicians," Ciacca says. "They were all proud and accomplished and dignified. They were just perfect."
Speaking with Marsalis after the concert, Ciacca took to heart the trumpeter's advice: "Try to swing as hard as you can and you're going to be good." That mission began when he sought out Grossman, whose lessons laid a solid foundation for the young pianist. After three years, at Grossman's suggestion, he left for the States in 1993 to immerse himself fully in jazz culture, working first in Detroit and then in New York.
Following the admonition to swing above all else, Ciacca gravitated toward the post-bop school even though few players his age drew their primary inspiration from it. "People of my generation are totally into Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and more modern styles," he says. "Those guys are great, but even if you're a deep harmonic thinker, if you can't swing, you really can't play this music."
The story of jazz, embedded in American soul and having blossomed in the imagination of a young pianist from Italy, is here for all to hear.
ANTONIO CIACCA - LAGOS BLUES
Motéma Music - Release Date: January 12, 2010
For more information contact:
Don Lucoff / DL Media
email@example.com / 610-667-0501
Elegance, lyricism and soul are the sublime qualities at play in this magical new release. For the first time in many years, the vibesman includes vocals as a primary part of the mix. Forging a style that seems to be made of equal parts Nat King Cole and Donny Hathaway, Kenny Washington weaves his unique spell around a diverse repertoire. The seven vocal tunes include pieces taken from the contemporary pop / soul lexicon as well as the Great American Songbook. There is also a stunning Locke original, "Verrazano Moon," which is given a deeply poignant reading by Washington and the band. Three instrumentals round out the collection - the swinging "I Miss New York (When I Been Gone Too Long)," the contemporary "Bright Side Up" (both Locke originals) and an elegant reading of Ennio Morricone's "Cinema Paradiso."
When Locke's group made its debut last year at New York's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, word quickly got out that this was a "can't miss" gig, and the lines at Jazz at Lincoln Center were proof positive of the fact.
Now, with the release of For The Love of You, jazz fans everywhere can hear what all the talk was about.
The critical community continually cites Locke for his artistic work. He has been given the "Mallet Player of the Year" Award by the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) on three occasions, and he has received two Golden Ear "Concert of the Year" Awards for his performances at the Ballard and Port Townsend Jazz Festivals. He has been voted the #1 "Rising Star" vibraphonist in DownBeat Magazine's Critic's Poll several times and has been acknowledged as "best vibraphonist" in Brazil's International Jazz Poll.
As a jazz musician, Locke was young prodigy, having played with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Pepper Adams and Mongo Santamaria before he was even out of high school! Since moving to New York in 1981, Joe has performed with Grover Washington Jr., Kenny Barron, Dianne Reeves, Eddie Daniels, Jerry Gonzales' Fort Apache Band, Rod Stewart, The Beastie Boys, Eddie Henderson, Hiram Bullock, Bob Berg, Ron Carter, Jimmie Scott, The Mingus Big Band and Randy Brecker, among many others.
Locke has toured extensively throughout the world, both as leader and guest soloist. Some highlights include a 16 city tour of Russia, which culminated in a concert with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of world- renowned violist, Yuri Bashmet; a 30 city tour of all major European capitals, performing Charles Mingus' magnum opus, "Epitaph" as a featured soloist under the direction of distinguished conductor, Gunther Schuller; and a series of volcanic duet concerts in Italy with pianist Cecil Taylor, where Locke went head-to-head for three nights with the undisputed high priest of the jazz avant-garde.
In addition to his strengths as an instrumentalist, recent recordings and live performances by hisForce of Four quartet, The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group and his 4 Walls of Freedom project offer further evidence of his ever-growing stature as a band leader, composer and conceptualist.
Joe Locke and his band will launch For The Love of You with a week-long engagement at New York's world-famous Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, January 26th through January 31st, 2010. Sidemen include vocalist Kenny Washington, pianist Geoffrey Keezer, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Clarence Penn
Click here to listen to an exclusive
streaming track from the album
1. Two For The Road
2. Old Devil Moon
3. For The Love Of You
4. Verrazano Moon
5. I Miss New York (When I Been Gone Too Long)
7. The Shadow Of Your Smile
8. Cinema Paradiso
9. Pure Imagination
10. Bright Side Up
Please visit www.joelocke.com or www.e1music.us.
For more information contact:
Jordy Freed at DL MEDIA
(p) 610.667.0501 (e) firstname.lastname@example.org
Giovanna Melchiorre at E1 MUSIC
(p) 516-484-1000x279 (e) email@example.com
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
SEVENTH ANNUAL PANAMA JAZZ FESTIVAL,
LED BY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR DANILO PÉREZ,
ANNOUNCES 2010 LINEUP
Panama's annual cornerstone cultural event, the seventh Panama Jazz Festival will be held January 11-16, 2010. With upwards of 100,000 people in attendance since the festivals 2003 inception, this year's edition is dedicated to Panamanian pianist, Ellerton Oswald (better known as Sonny White), noted for his work as Billie Holiday's accompanist and his role in the production of her seminal recording Strange Fruit. About Oswald, Artistic Director and Festival founder Danilo Pérez commented, "despite the lack of information in Panama about this extraordinary artist, whose career in the United States dates back to the 1930's, his participation on Strange Fruit was considered ground breaking." Oswald was also best remembered for his collaborations with such jazz greats as Sidney Bechet and Dexter Gordon.
Among the artists slated to perform are Grammy award winning saxophonist Joe Lovano, the famed New Orleans pianist Ellis Marsalis, Grammy award winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, Grammy award winning bassist John Patitucci, drummer and composer Terri Lyne Carrington, percussionist Jamey Haddad, flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual, and saxophonist Carlos Garnett.
"I love seeing our festival grow. We had the biggest theater in Panama sold out in 2009 with the Wayne Shorter Quartet, and the free outdoor concert had 10,000 people," states Artistic Director Danilo Pérez. "I can say now Panama and Latin America have some of the biggest supporters of jazz music on the planet!"
The Panama Jazz Festival's Commitment to Education
A core mission of the Panama Jazz Festival is music education. This year the Panama Canal Authority will sponsor classrooms, where all invited artists will teach master classes and hold music clinics for students from all parts of Latin America. Several institutions make Panama their Latin American musical hub, offering lessons and holding auditions for admission and scholarships to their different academic programs. This year the institutions confirmed include Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, and The Goldansky Institute.
"The educational component of the festival is the highlight of all the annual programs we do at the Danilo Pérez Foundation in Panama," explains Pérez. "In 2009 we had almost 1,000 students from Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, USA, Mexico. This year, we are expanding to European countries and hope to have even more students."
The Berklee Global Jazz Institute, based in Boston, MA and led by festival Artistic Director, Danilo Pérez, will officially be announced in front of national and international vip guests during the PJF Gala Night. The Global Jazz Institute is designed to foster creativity in an interdisciplinary environment. It is to become a center of musical creativity that will emphasize personalized goal-setting, directed study, experiential and service learning with a special emphasis on nature and the environment, along with intensive access to world-class visiting artists.
Also of note among the festival's educational programs, The Golandsky Institute,will offer a week-long program of daily master classes for jazz and classical pianists as well as other instrumentalists, emphasizing the application of the Taubman approach to build technical ease and to explore musical interpretation. This approach has proven to be highly effective in the resolution of technical and artistic limitations, as well as in curing and preventing repetitive stress injuries in musicians. At the 2010 PJF, Edna Golandsky will give private lessons and instruct a class on the proper use of computer and Blackberry keyboards so as not to harm playing.
The Panama Jazz Festival also offers master classes on Panamanian Folkloric music taught by Maestro of the Panamanian tambor, Ricaurte Villareal, dance with members of the Panamanian National Ballet, classical music with renowned national and international musicians from Panama and the New England Conservatory, a literature program and a technology program with the Technology Division of Berklee College of Music, as well as a summer music program for children aged 4-16 years.
Festival President and Founder
A Grammy award-winning artist, composer, educator, President and Founder of the Panama Jazz Festival, Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. In just over a decade, his distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz (covering the music of the Americas, folkloric and world music) has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences. Pérez has recorded and performed with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Steve Lacy, Roy Haynes, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Tito Puente, and Wynton Marsalis, among others. Recently signed to Mack Avenue Records and plans to release his debut Mack Avenue Records album in 2010.
Born in Panama in 1965, Danilo started his musical studies at just three years of age with his father, a bandleader and singer. By age 10, he was studying the European classical piano repertoire at the National Conservatory in Panama. After receiving his bachelor's degree in electronics, he moved to the United States to enroll at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and, after changing his major to music, transferred to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. From 1985-88, while completing his studies in jazz composition, he performed with Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D'Rivera, producing the critically-acclaimed Reunion album (Messidor) featuring D'Rivera and Arturo Sandoval. In 1994, Danilo also appeared on Sandoval's Grammy-winning album, Danzon.
Pérez is also a part of the Wayne Shorter Quartet, voted "Best Small Ensemble of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2002 and 2004. He is featured on Shorter's Verve releases, Alegria and Footprints Live! Shorter invited Danilo to join his first all-acoustic group after hearing him play, "[Pérez] was adventurous and fresh," Shorter observes (Jazz Times, 2002). "He wasn't playing to show off his technique. He was interested in telling stories."
Currently, Pérez serves as the Ambassador of Goodwill for Unicef, Cultural Ambassador of Panama, Artistic Advisor of the innovative Mellon Jazz "Up Close" series at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and Artistic Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston. For the last five years he has performed with Ben Street and Adam Cruz in his own trio.
Pérez recently signed with Mack Avenue Records. The signing was made official at the 2009 Detroit International Jazz Festival and he is planning to release his debut Mack Avenue album in 2010.
Additionally, in October, Pérez was one of five Panamanian individuals to receive the prestigious Legacy Award from The Smithsonian Latino Center in Washington D.C. The award recognizes Panamanian achievement in the arts, science and the humanities.
The Panama Jazz Festival is made possible with the support of ATP (Tourism Authority of Panama), INAC (National Institute of Culture) and ACP (Panama Canal Authority).
Contact: Maria Echeverria / DL Media / 610-667-0501 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets for the Panama Jazz Festival are available online at http://www.tuboleto.com or by phone at +011-(507)-270-2418
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Mingus Big Band, Dave Holland, Pharoah Sanders
To Headline 2010 Portland Jazz Festival
"Is Jazz Dead (Or Has It Moved to a New Address)?-New Music from Norway"
Showcasing Three North American Premiere Performances
The 2010 Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by US Bank will be held February 22-28 with jazz outreach programming in area schools and community centers on Monday through Friday, February 22-26, leading up to a series of headline concerts Thursday through Sunday, February 25-28 throughout downtown and inner Eastside Portland venues.
Lauded as one of the top North American jazz events, the 7th annual Portland Jazz Festival features jazz masters and emerging new artists including 3-time Grammy Award-winning bassist, bandleader and composer Dave Holland Quintet, legendary saxophonist and John Coltrane collaboratorPharoah Sanders, the Mingus Big Band devoted since 1993 to the musical legacy of Charles Mingus, Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, and contemporary trumpeter Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy.
Additionally, Portland Jazz Festival's annual thematic programming asks the provocative question Is Jazz Dead (Or Has It Moved to a New Address)? - New Music from Norway, featuring North American premieres of leaders in Norway's new and burgeoning jazz scene. This "festival-within-a-festival" includes the avant-garde chamber jazz of the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, the saxophone/ accordion duo of Trygve Seim & Frode Haltli, and the jazz/rock fusion of In The Countryfeaturing Morten Qvenild (keyboards), Roger Arntzen (bass) and Pal Hausken (percussion).
Complete headline concert schedule:
- Thursday, February 25, 7:30pm, Hilton Pavilion Ballroom, Luciana Souza
- Friday, February 26, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Mingus Big Band
- Friday, February 26, 9:30 pm, Norse Hall, In The Country
- Saturday, February 27, 3:00pm, Norse Hall, Trygve Seim & Frode Haltli
- Saturday, February 27, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Dave Holland Quintet
- Saturday, February 27, 9:30 pm, Norse Hall, Christian Wallumrød Ensemble
- Sunday, February 28, 3:00pm, Newmark Theater, Pharoah Sanders
- Sunday, February 28, 7:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy
The Story behind the Theme
This year's festival theme, Is Jazz Dead (Or Has It Moved to a New Address)?, shares the title of British jazz writer Stuart Nicholson's critically acclaimed book on the contemporary state of jazz. Nicholson confronts traditional jazz musicians and audiences who insist on narrowly defining what jazz should be, while maintaining the importance of this music as being indigenously American. Nicholson claims that such rigidly defined art alienates younger audiences from jazz, and points to the exploding scene in Europe, specifically Norway, that has developed both a new culture and audience for jazz.
The inspiration for artistic director Bill Royston's selection of these three Norwegian groups stems from his direct exposure to Norway's jazz scene while travelling as part of an international delegation invited by the Norwegian government in 2008 to experience the major Scandinavian summer festivals.
"I found a rich and vibrant scene, featuring unconventional performers reinterpreting the American musical legacy and building a whole new jazz lexicon. I'm thrilled to share this discovery with our Jazz Festival audience," says Royston. "The featured American jazz artists are intended as a counterpoint to the work of these exciting Norwegian musicians."
Each of the Norwegian artists represents the vast diversity of Nordic music that has risen from an improvisational gumbo derived from jazz, classical, rock, folk, and even country music styles - pianist Christian Wallumrød, classically trained, performs haunting improvisations in a chamber music setting with an ensemble of cello, violin, Baroque harp, trumpet, percussion and piano; Trygve Seim, who performed with his large ensemble at the 2007 Portland Jazz Festival, has an impressive ability to combine unusual instrumentation like the present saxophone and accordion duo with Frode Haltli; the trio of In The Country comes from a more pop music base that blends jazz improvisation with driving rock rhythms and electronic experimentation. The diverse artists and their music hold a common bond that writer Nicholson refers to as the "Nordic Tone", recognized by deep elongated notes at the center driven by pulsating rhythms and adventurous improvisations around the edge.
"Mingus and Coltrane always superseded traditional forms to create their own sound. They were above the fray, and the Mingus Big Band and Pharoah Sanders continue this legacy. Contemporary innovators like Dave Douglas, Luciana Souza and Dave Holland constantly strive to go beyond the limits of traditional jazz," states Royston. "Similarly, the Norwegian artists have carefully studied American jazz, and developed a distinctive sound. They are the new visionaries, and this festival will affirm for Americans that a new jazz is very much alive!"
Jazz Education and Outreach
Jazz education and outreach events include performances of The Incredible Journey of Jazz, a Black History Month celebration staged in Portland area middle schools each February. The 60-minute musical/theater piece was originally developed by Portland State University professor and pianist Darrell Grant and the Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute. The performance features seven actors and musicians who each play multiple roles in depicting the experiences of African-Americans through the history of jazz. Early scenes have students communicating through African rhythms, and then follow the evolution from gospel, blues, ragtime, Dixieland and New Orleans. Eventually, we witness the migration of Black Americans up the Mississippi River to Chicago and other industrial centers with the big band sounds of Ellington and Basie, to the bebop of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, contemporary experimentation of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman, and ultimately to rap and hip hop.
Another key outreach component is the popular Jazz Conversations, one-on-one interviews with jazz headliners and members of the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA). These interviews are presented before a live audience in the intimate PCPA ArtBar throughout the festival. The sessions are recorded by KMHD-FM, Portland's jazz radio station, for later broadcast and subsequently are available on the Portland Jazz Festival website, pdxjazz.com, for general listeners.
PDX Jazz Members have the advantage of reserving the best seats during the exclusive pre-sale period from October 13 - October 26. New and renewing members can join any time.
Starting Tuesday, October 27 at 10:00 AM PST Portland Jazz Festival tickets will be available to the general public at all TicketMaster locations, by calling 503-228-JAZZ (5299), or online atpdxjazz.com. Those who sign up for the PDX Jazz mailing list will receive the first notification when tickets go on sale to the public.
About PDX Jazz
Founded in 2003, PDX Jazz, Portland's jazz membership organization, presents both regional and international jazz artists throughout the year. Dedicated to nurturing jazz musicians and audiences, PDX Jazz is best known for its critically acclaimed Portland Jazz Festival. PDX Jazz also presents nearly 200 performances annually showcasing Portland jazz artists with the ongoing series PDX Jazz @ RiverPlace (RiverPlace Hotel) and PDX Jazz @ the ArtBar (Portland Center for the Performing Arts), as well as the annual PDX Jazz @ RiverFest each August along Portland's South Waterfront. The PDX Jazz office is located at 133 SW 2nd Ave in Portland. For more information visitwww.pdxjazz.com or call 503-338-5299.
Portland regional PR contact:
Spencer Crandall, 503-228-5299, email@example.com
National PR contact:
Don Lucoff, DL Media, 610-667-0501, firstname.lastname@example.org
Musician photos and bios available via download from
Portland Jazz Festival logo available via download from