Friday, April 30, 2010

Jazz Legacy Productions Co-Presents "Jazz In Times Square" With World Renowned Music Shop Roberto's Winds

Jazz Legacy Productions Co-Presents "Jazz In Times Square"
With World Renowned Music Shop Roberto's Winds on May 31

Featured JLP Artists Include
Guitarist Yotam and Alto Saxophonist Sharel Cassity

Jazz Legacy Productions is proud to announce that on Monday, May 31st, the label will sponsor and co-present an evening of jazz with the world-renowned New York based music store Roberto's Winds, as a part of the store's ongoing "Jazz In Time Square" series, in the Limerick Bar at Rosie O'Grady's Times Square

The first sponsored evening will feature a variety of JLP artists. The first set at 8pm will showcase Israeli guitarist Yotam (full name Yotam Silberstein), who will release Resonance on May 4. A second set at 10pm will feature alto saxophonist Sharel Cassity, performing in support of her recent September release, Relentless.

Trombonist and JLP artist Steve Davis will join Yotam. Davis released Eloquence on the label in September and is also a member of the all-star hard-bop collective One For All, who released Incorrigible on JLP (April 6).

Trumpeter Greg Gisbert and trombonist/JLP artist Michael Dease will perform with Cassity. Dease is gearing up to release his label debut, Grace, in June.

The house rhythm section for the evening will feature pianist Roy Assaf, founder and JLP president, veteran bassist John Lee and drummer Ulysses Owens Jr.

JLP's mission is to fill a jazz void by recording the under documented and undocumented while celebrating jazz heritage and the music's future.

"So many artists who had deals before haven't been re-signed, which means there's important music that's going undocumented," says Lee. "This is a great moment in jazz history, and it would be tragic if that music gets lost."

Other releases for the label include Cyrus Chestnut's Spirit (August 4), the Heath Brother's Endurance (August 4),

JLP will continue their sponsorship of the series on the last Monday of each month, including: June 28, July 26 and August 30.

Monday, May 31 2010
Sets at 8pm & 10pm

Limerick Bar at Rosie O'Grady's
149 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036
Tickets: $20 includes 1 drink

Please visit for ticket information.

For more information on the Jazz Legacy Productions releases, artists and Jazz Legacy Productions in general, visit

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DL Media · 610-667-0501
Jordy Freed ·

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31st Annual Detroit International Jazz Festival Announces 2010 Lineup

DIJF logo

31st Detroit International Jazz Festival
2010 Edition of the Labor Day Weekend Classic
to Celebrate
Flame Keepers

Allen Toussaint, Take 6, Branford Marsalis, Mulgrew Miller,
Roy Haynes, Manhattan Transfer,
Kirk Whalum, and Mambo Legends Orchestra on tap

Today, festival organizers announced the lineup for the 31st Detroit International Jazz Festival (DJF), Friday, September 3 through Monday, September 6, in downtown Detroit.

Subtitled "Flame Keepers - Carrying the Torch for Modern Jazz," the Detroit Jazz Fest will feature a veritable "dean's list" of alumni who passed through the "schools" of Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Betty Carter, Ray Brown, Miles Davis and Gil Evans. "2010 artists Mulgrew Miller, Bobby Watson, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Randy Brecker, and Benny Green were all in Blakey's band at one time or another," says festival director Terri Pontremoli. "These musicians went on to develop their own bands, explore new territory and nurture a new generation of flame keepers," she added. "In jazz, a lot of press is given to the veterans or to the young lions. I am happy to focus this year on these "middle men" who are in the peak of their creative and technical powers, making significant music in our time."

As the 2010 artist in residence, pianist Mulgrew Miller will be featured on several stages throughout the weekend. On opening night, his trio will be joined by Take 6, and his other appearances include a duo piano session with Kenny Barron, a performance with his own band Wingspan, and a project with Detroit-based artists Karriem Riggins and Bob Hurst.

Bobby Watson will reunite HORIZON with Terell Stafford, Victor Lewis, Edward Simon and Essiet Essiet. Michael Weiss's quintet will feature Randy Brecker in a tribute to Horace Silver, and Benny Green, along with Christian McBride and Greg Hutchinson will pay homage to Ray Brown. Maria Schneider, a clear disciple of composer/arranger Gil Evans, will bring her entire orchestra to town. In recognition of the 100th birthday of Django Reinhardt, the Hot Club of Detroit will perform. "Brownie Speaks" will feature 20-somethings Dominick Farinacci and Jonathan Batiste remembering Clifford Brown. A special tribute to Detroit's Pepper Adams will feature the great baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan with another Detroit hero, pianist Barry Harris. "Defenders of the Groove" with vocalist Ernie Andrews, Detroit's Louis Hayes, Donald Harrison, Eddie Henderson, and Melvin Sparks are sure to tear it up. Vocalists this season include Grammy-winner Kurt Elling with special guest Ernie Watts, and Tierney Sutton. The Manhattan Transfer will perform some of their recent Chick Corea material and then swing standards with the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Dennis Wilson.

Other artists include pianist Danilo Perez, saxophonist Tia Fuller, Freddy Cole Trio, Scott Kinsey Quartet, Poogie Bell Band with Victor Bailey, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Newly signed Mack Avenue artist Kirk Whalum, joined by Lalah Hathaway and Robert Randolph, will perform the music of Donny Hathaway. Pumping the B3 in a Saturday night fish fry will be Pat Bianchi Trio and Mike LeDonne Quartet.

The legendary Roy Haynes will appear with his Fountain of Youth band, and drummer extraordinaire Matt Wilson will present Trio M with pianist Myra Melford and bassist Mark Dresser in an adventurous set.

The Detroit International Jazz Festival will continue to encourage young talent not only by inviting college and high school ensembles to showcase on the Meijer Education Stage, but by giving them opportunities to perform with jazz veterans. The Wayne State University Big Band will perform Terence Blanchard's Jazz & Film project with Terence Blanchard and the Michigan State University Big Band will perform a tribute to Horace Silver with Silver alum Randy Brecker. Other visiting schools include the Berklee (Boston) Jazz Ensemble, the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble, William Paterson Jazz Ensemble, and the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet. Jazz Fest continues to showcase outstanding Michigan high school jazz ensembles. And back by popular demand is the KidBop area for the wee-boppers and their parents, with stories, songs, tap dancing and other fun activities.

The Pepsi Jazz Talk Tent will be full of laughs and stories, with national artists and writers. Topics will range from remembering Art Blakey to discussing the genius of Betty Carter, Gil Evans and the unique voice of Art Pepper.

"As is always the case with this festival, the music will be burnin', and the ever-hip and amazing Detroit audience will respond in their uniquely enthusiastic and respectful way."

For its 30th anniversary in 2009, the festival initiated a year-long series, "Another Great Day in Detroit." Through collaborations with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Wayne State University, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Guardian Building, The Arts League of Michigan the Rowland Café, and area jazz clubs, the series will continue to please Detroit music lovers, showcasing Detroit musicians, and building momentum toward Labor Day Weekend.

The Detroit International Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival in North America. It has become a major tourist attraction, with 23% of its audience coming from out of state. It has a $90M economic impact on Detroit and showcases the city in its most positive light. In 2010, the festival has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Erb Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. Major corporate sponsors include Chase, Carhartt, Absopure, Mack Avenue Records, DTE Energy, Meijer, Budweiser, Pepsi, Comcast and Fox 2. In addition, there is a growing base of individual support. Fans are encouraged to become Rhythm Section members by making donations of any size on line over the next few months, as philanthropist Gretchen Valade will match any gift by 50% to help sustain the festival as a free event. "We are extremely grateful to have the support of these institutions and individuals," adds Pontremoli. "They are our life blood."

Nightly after-hour jam sessions will be held at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, the official festival hotel.

The festival is entering Phase II of a Greening Program sponsored by DTE Energy and the Detroit Jazz Fest Cruise on the Ovations Yacht, is scheduled for August 19.

For more information, including festival updates and details on how you can help "Carry the Torch," visit


Don Lucoff, National Publicist
(610) 667-0501 x101

Chris Harrington
(313) 289-9177

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Saxophone Prodigy Grace Kelly to Perform at the Kennedy Center on May 20th to Celebrate the 15th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival

18-Year Saxophone Prodigy Grace Kelly
to Perform at the Kennedy Center on May 20th
to Celebrate the 15th Annual Mary Lou Williams
Women in Jazz Festival

Performance to Feature All-Star Quintet of the
World's Top Female Jazz Artists

DL Media is proud to announce that saxophonist Grace Kelly will perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on Thursday, May 20th to celebrate the 15th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. This event also marks the 100th anniversary of Williams' birth with three evenings of star-studded performances featuring the world's top female jazz artists.

The opening night concert will feature an extended performance by an all-star quintet of Grace Kelly (saxophone), Dee Dee Bridgewater (vocal), Geri Allen (piano), Esperanza Spalding(bass), and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums); plus a set by the winner of the 2009 Women in Jazz Competition, pianist Carmen Staaf.

In August 2009, Kelly was named the youngest "Alto Saxophonist Rising Star" ever in the 57th Annual Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll. Kelly, who performed at the 2008 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, was recently voted "Best Jazz Act in Boston" in The Boston Phoenix's 2009 Best Music Poll, a title that she now holds for the second consecutive year. Additionally, she was awarded her third ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award this year (her third in past four years).

Kelly's career is growing at an ever excelling pace. Trumpeter and Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis was so impressed with Kelly's three-night stand as guest of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in November 2008 that he invited her to join the ensemble at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. for an Martin Luther King, Jr. Day/Inauguration Eve concert on January 19th, 2009. Harry Connick, Jr.heard Kelly in a master class on a December afternoon and brought her on stage to sit in with his band that night. This capped an already exceptional end of 2008 in which Kelly's appearance on NPR's Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland was syndicated nationally.

Kelly, who enjoyed critically acclaimed success on her previous GRACEFULEE album, has dominated the DownBeat Student Awards over the past four years. From 2006 to 2009, the saxophonist has garnered 12 student awards, including her latest three for "Jazz Soloist," "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist," and "Pop-Rock Blues Soloist."

"I'm just trying to listen to as much music as possible, which makes it hard for me to put together a CD about just one thing," Kelly says in explaining her inspiration for her latest recording, Mood Changes, which was released on PAZZ Productions in November 2008. "A year before the session, I wrote 'Tender Madness,' which is slow and sad, and around the same time, when I was in a good mood, I wrote 'Happy Theme Song.' At that point, I realized that a concept for my next album was taking shape. Two more originals, '101' and 'But Life Goes On,' extended the idea, as did the six standards."

Kelly is particularly excited about the strides that Mood Changes reveals in her bandleading skills. "There's nothing like playing my own music with my own band," she acknowledges. "Everyone is so comfortable, yet I feel as if I'm getting pushed in every performance. At the same time, I realize more of what I want over the years, and more direction goes into the music. Every time we play is a complete adventure."

Without hesitation, Grace Kelly will tell you that her goal is "to stay in jazz but also do different things, bigger arrangements, like Stevie Wonder and George Benson." Her ambition has yet to outstrip her talent, and Mood Changes suggests that such a turn of events is unlikely in the foreseeable future.

"Grace Kelly plays with intelligence, wit and feeling.
She has a great amount of natural ability and the ability to adapt
that is the hallmark of a first-class jazz musician." -
Wynton Marsalis

Grace Kelly at the Kennedy Center
Thursday, May 20th, 7 PM

Grace Kelly, saxophone
Dee Dee Bridgewater, vocal
Geri Allen, piano
Esperanza Spalding, bass
Terri Lyne Carrington, drums

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20566
Phone: (800) 444-1324 or (202) 467-4600

Please visit newly design website,

For interview requests and more information, please contact:

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Steph Brown -

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Magos Herrera to perform at BAMcafé on May 21


Vocalist Magos Herrera
will perform at BAMcafé Live in Brooklyn, featuring music from Distancia, her debut CD on Sunnyside Records

"The Mexican-born Herrera sings in Spanish, English and Portuguese. But really, what she does on Distancia transcends language. She's blending elements from various traditions, stretching the very notion of jazz singing, pushing past the diva pleasantries into a sound that's bold, thrilling and effortlessly global." - Tom Moon, NPR radio

"Herrera creates a thoroughly modern expression of jazz performance and Latin culture onDistancia, easily holding the weight of an intelligent and complex sound with her prodigious musicianship." - Chip Boaz, The Latin Jazz Corner

"Though jazz long ago embraced Afro-Cuban influences that ought to make Mexico a logical bastion of the music, there are few well-known players from Mexico. But here is a brilliant singer, Magos Herrera, with a US debut on Sunnyside Records, recording with a top-flight band (Aaron Goldberg's piano, Lionel Louke on guitar, among others) and making Mexican jazz sound as obvious as chocolate ice cream." - Will Layman, PopMatters

"Magos' music is limitless and speaks straight to one's emotional self. Her music really brings a fresh and powerful coloration to the palette we call Jazz".
- Dan Purcea, audience from Montreal Jazz Festival

Mexican vocalist and composer Magos Herrera will perform at BAMcafé Live on Friday, May 21 at 9 p.m., with guitarist Ben Monder, pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, and drummer Alex Kautz. The Brooklyn show will feature music from her latest Grammy nominated album, Distancia, on Sunnyside Records.

Born in Mexico City, the deep and captivating performer, Magos Herrera is considered one of the most beautiful voices and the most active vocalist of the contemporary Latin American jazz scene.

In 2009 Sunnyside Records released Herrera's sixth album, Distancia, which climbed to the #1 spot on iTunes in the Jazz category. Herrera is joined onDistancia by an impressive cast of musicians featuring Lionel Louke on guitar, Aaron Goldberg on piano, Ricky Rodriguez on bass, and Alex Kautz on drums. Anchored by that stellar lineup, Herrera delivers a ten-track potpourri of original songs, and standards by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento, and Cesar Portillo de la Luz.

Herrera is an accomplished singer-songwriter known throughout Mexico and Latin America for her beguiling rhythmic scatting, inflected with soulful Latin-Andalusian phrasings. Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and English, her repertoire is filled with the yearning for romance, intimacy and enchantment of Mexican and Cuban son and bolero, and sultry, languid Brazilian beats.

Over the past 12 years, Herrera has taken the stage at numerous performing arts centers and festivals around the world, such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Jazz Standard in New York, Millennium Park in Chicago, Teatro de la Ciudad de Mexico, Lunario del Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City, and Sala Galileo Galilei in Madrid, among many others. In her native country of Mexico, Herrera was nominated twice for "Lunas del Auditorio Nacional" (2006 and 2009) as the "Best Jazz Concert of the Year" among Bobby McFerrin and Bill Frisell.

Since moving to New York, Herrera has became a strong presence in the music scene, propelled by her successful concert at New York Winter Jazz Festival in 2008. She appeared on saxophonist Tim Ries' 2008 recording The Rolling Stones World Project II as well as Via Project (for contemporary composer Paola Prestini).


BAMcafé Live
Friday, May 21 at 9 p.m.
Peter Jay Sharp Building
30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Please visit or

For more information, please contact:

Don Lucoff at DL MEDIA // 610.667.0501 //



Mack Avenue logo

The family tree that traces its roots to the Quintette du Hot Club de France has sprouted countless branches across the globe in the seventy years since Django Reinhardt first jammed with Stephane Grappelli. It seems like a new city lays claim to its own Hot Club on a virtually daily basis, but the Hot Club of Detroit is undoubtedly the apple that has fallen farthest from that tree.

The blistering fretwork on the opening track of the group's third CD, It's About That Time, pays explicit homage to one of their six-string heroes - just not the one you might think. "On the Steps" is based on the chord changes of Pat Martino's "On the Stairs" (with a brief borrowing from John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" to complete the pun), and states at the outset what fans of these gypsy jazz revisionists have long known - that Django Reinhardt is far from the beginning and end of the Hot Club of Detroit's vocabulary of influences.

"Django Reinhardt is the showerhead from which we all come down," says guitarist and bandleader Evan Perri. "But if he had lived, I don't think he would've been playing the same things he had in prior years. He was constantly evolving as a jazz musician."

The Hot Club of Detroit has undergone a similar evolution since Perri formed the group in 2003 with fellow students at Wayne State University in Detroit. The ensemble rapidly accumulated accolades and audiences over the next several years, including a first-place win in the 2004 Detroit International Jazz Festival competition and multiple Detroit Music Awards. Their 2006 self-titled debut, while slightly more traditional than later releases, established their broad-minded approach to the Django resurgence.

Since that time, it's become increasingly evident that their inspiration comes as much from the spirit of Reinhardt's playing as by its much-copied sound. While they've maintained some recognizable elements - the absence of drums, the percussive "la pompe" rhythm guitar technique - the Motor City quintet apply those elements to a decidedly modern sound, refusing to be constrained by allegiance to some time-honored, purist ideal.

"To me," says rhythm guitarist Paul Brady, "Django Reinhardt was a jazz improviser like Coleman Hawkins or Lester Young or any of the other great improvisers of his time. We don't approach our music as a gypsy jazz band, but 100% as a jazz group."

That approach is nowhere more evident than on the disc's title track, the Joe Zawinul-penned "It's About That Time," famously fused with "In A Silent Way" on Miles Davis' 1969 album. Brady hit upon the idea of fusing the tune instead with Reinhardt's oft-revisited "Heavy
Artillerie," creating an atmospheric hybrid with a loping groove and an airy spaciousness.

The ensemble also takes on Charles Mingus' "Nostalgia in Times Square," in 5/4, with bassist Andrew Kratzat providing an appropriately brawny, wood-smacking intro and Carl Cafagna getting the Eric Dolphy tent-revival treatment with a clapalong accompaniment for his tenor solo.

Of course, Reinhardt's catalog is also plumbed for material, but other than the aforementioned "Heavy Artillerie," repertoire was found in it more shadowy, neglected corners. "We try to find Django tunes that haven't been performed to death," Brady says. "He wrote a ton of stuff so we can always find something that we can have fun and stretch out on."

"Duke and Dukie," the first Django credit to appear on this record, perfectly fits that bill, a cheery three-chord romp that serves as a vehicle for lengthy improvisations during the band's live sets. "Sweet Chorus" provides a relaxed finish to the album, easy and intimate as a front porch jam session. The fiery "Noto Swing" is provided by another Reinhardt - Lulu, a mainstay of the German gypsy jazz scene.

On each of its releases the Detroit combo has also flexed its classical muscles, beginning with Nino Rota's theme from "The Godfather" on their debut, followed by Maurice Ravel's "Tzigane" on 2008's Night Town. This time it's Frédéric Chopin's "Tristesse" E Major Etude, arranged by accordionist Julien Labro, which shines a spotlight onto Cafagna's melancholy clarinet and Labro's lush bandoneón.

"All of us come from different backgrounds and have very different musical training and influences," says Labro who plays both accordion, accordina, as well as bandoneón on this release. "Individually, we collaborate with musicians from many genres and styles, from classical, jazz, to world music."

When asked about the accordion's current place in jazz, Labro is succinct: "It is not important what instruments we play. I am a musician, and the accordion just happens to be the vehicle I utilize to express my musical thoughts and ideas."

The remainder of the album consists of originals by the band members themselves: Labro's serpentine, Chick Corea-influenced "Equilibrium"; Cafagna's engaging "Restless Twilights"; "Papillon", a wistful ballad by Labro and Kratzat; Perri's aptly-named "Patio Swing"; Labro's
knife-edged waltz "Sacre Bleu"; and Perri's "For Stéphane" - an homage to guitarist Stéphane Wrembel, not the original Hot Club of France violinist.

As wide-ranging as the album is, the one constant is the group's sense of individuality, which Perri says he encourages from each of his bandmates.

"There's no point in going out and playing music if you can't be yourself," Perri says. "Sometimes you'll hear a Wes Montgomery riff in my playing, or you might hear an Eddie Van Halen riff or a Led Zeppelin influence, because that's who I am and for me to deny that wouldn't be true to my musicianship."

Hot Club of Detroit Tour Dates

· Wednesday, April 28: Scullers- Boston, MA
· Friday, May 14: Cliff Bells- CD Release Celebration- Detroit, MI
· Friday, June 11: Night Town- CD Release Show- Cleveland, OH
· Saturday, June 12: Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz- Harrisburg, PA
· Sunday, June 13: All Balboa Weekend- Cleveland, OH
· Saturday, June 26: Indiana Fiddlers Festival- Lafayette, IN
· Sunday, July 18: Schoolcraft College - Michigan Jazz Festival- Livonia, MI
· Friday, July 23: Fontana Chamber of Arts- Kalamazoo, MI
· Thursday, August 19: Jazz at the Zoo- Indianapolis, IN
· Saturday, August 21: Fur Peace Ranch- Pomeroy, OH
· Saturday, September 25: Whidbey Island Center for the Arts- Langley, WA
· Friday, October 29: University Musical Society- with Hot Club of SF- Ann Arbor, MI

Hot Club of Detroit · It's About That Time (MAC 1051)
Release Date: April 27, 2010
To request a copy of It's About That Time for review purposes, please contact:

DL Media· 610-667-0501
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For press materials on Hot Club of Detroit, Mack Avenue artists or Mack Avenue Records in general (including album covers, promotional photos and logos), please visit:

MACK AVENUE· the road to great music ·
19900 Harper Avenue, Harper Woods, MI 48225 · 313-640-8414 · 313-640-8415 fax


Monday, April 26, 2010




Lauren Kinhan
has been - and is - many things in her life: vocalist, songwriter, producer, musician, mother and wife. For most of her career, she's been best known as a member of the highly acclaimed jazz vocal group, The New York Voices. As if to solidify her reputation as a group singer, in the past few years she's also been performing regularly with two additional vocal ensembles, the more experimental Moss and the more traditional JaLaLa. But it's high time that Ms. Kinhan got around to making a "solo" album - one where the focus is on her own singing and writing and interpretation.

Now in 2010, E1 Music is releasing Avalon, which spotlights Lauren Kinhan as both singer and composer - from beginning to end. Her previous solo project is Hardly Blinking, produced by the legendary prince of pop Phil Ramone in 2000, but which was never fully released, for reasons that would take too much time to delineate here.

"I've been okay with putting my solo career aside and waiting for the right time." But now, she feels, that time has come. This one, Avalon, she acknowledges, is for her.

Kinhan grew up in Portland, Oregon, but spent most of her adult career based in New York. "I moved to the city in 1989, mainly to pursue my music on a larger scale." She says, "A few years later, I was introduced to Peter Eldridge. We met at my East Village apartment and spent a glorious afternoon writing and talking about music. At the end of the day, he said 'I don't know if you're interested, but we're holding auditions for the second soprano in the New York Voices.' The rest is history. I auditioned and 18 years later, we're still together."

She notes that for the first decade or so, "The Voices took practically all of our time and energy." But she gladly adds that, "lately there's more time for all of us to do other projects." Ms. Kinhan hesitates to describe Avalon as a "solo" album since so many collaborators were involved, yet that might be the most accurate way to characterize the eleven original songs that comprise the album, which run the gamut of styles and genres from jazz to standards to country, folk, Latin, Brazilian, and contemporary pop, and cover a wide range of subjects from romantic love to parenthood to spirituality.

Asked what songs have a special meaning to her on Avalon, Ms. Kinhan responds that the song that got the ball rolling was "Dory And A Single Oar." "For years, I hadn't been thinking about writing or recording, but when I began to feel the need to do that again, this was the first song to spring forth. In a sense, this 'oar' got me in the boat again! I loved it because it felt kind of ribald and raw - it's a bluesy tune, but the form is unusual. It really came together when I asked [tenor saxophonist] Donny McCaslin to play on it, with his extraordinary capabilities.

I thought, 'Okay I like this direction.' I like the image of being up a creek with just one oar - it is better than not having any at all. Now at least there is a song, and I really enjoyed the combination of this language and this narrative and this musical freedom." She notes, "That seemed like a good track to follow, even if in the end the genres aren't always the same in terms of musical approach," meaning that the album actually took a wide variety of roads to diverse destinations, with no two tracks sounding the same, ranging from the gentle samba of "Here Is My Avalon" to the brassy funk of "Move Over Sunshine."

Kinhan explains that "Avalon" is probably the only name in the English language that's equally evocative of King Arthur and Al Jolson. What do the mythical English monarch and the legendary American entertainer have in common? "Avalon" refers to the fabled island where Arthur was laid to rest and, in more modern times, an island community off the coast of California that gave its name to a classic pop song co-written by Jolson in 1920. "I love all that imagery - the Lady of the Lake. I'm a hopeless romantic about that kind of literature. Truth be told, it's the way this word feels when you sing it, 'Avalon' just sings beautifully."

Ms. Kinhan describes "Here Is My Avalon" (which references the classic 1920 song) as "a love song from a mother to a daughter." She wrote most of it in a single night during an interval when she happened to be several thousand miles away from her family. "The New York Voices were playing in Uruguay with Paquito D'Rivera. I was a fairly new mom at the time, and after the concert, I was having the best night on the town that I had in a long time! But still I was thinking, 'I really miss the kid! I really miss my husband! Wouldn't it be great if they were here?' So, in thinking about them, 'Here is my Avalon' just kind of wrote itself then and there. I came up with the melody and lyrics in my hotel room, sang it into my little recorder, and it was just done. The point of inspiration is specific to me, but I think the lyric is loose enough to allow the listener to infer their own meaning."

Avalon concludes with "There Alone Go I," which was previously recorded in a very different interpretation by Ms. Kinhan with the Moss vocal collective. "It's a poem about letting go, the reverence of nature, and the belief in oneself. It means a lot to me personally; While Peter Eldridge and I wrote the music together, I wrote the lyrics in Gloucester, Massachusetts after reading an old poem on the wall of the maritime museum. It set off all these big images and themes in my head which fit perfectly with the ache and sweep of the music."

Last summer I debuted the song with various student choirs with an average age of 16. Many of them came to me, and said, 'I love this song - I don't know why, I'm not sure what it means, but for some reason it makes me cry.' Somehow it touched a chord with them. This is an affirmation to how smart young people are. When you present them with something thought provoking, they get it. It seems this song has a journey all its own."

She adds, in conclusion, that the album has been such a highly personal project to her for so long - the process of composing and recording the 11 tracks took years from beginning to end - "I am so curious about what the reactions will be. You know, it never gets old, that excitement of sharing your music with people. It's an opportunity that I really appreciate."

Check out Lauren Kinhan's forthcoming performances:

Wednesday, May 26: Scullers - Boston, MA
Thursday, May 27: Joe's Pub- New York, NY

Click here to listen to an exclusive streaming track from the album

Lauren Kinhan ·Avalon
Release Date: May 18, 2010

For additional information on Lauren Kinhan, please visit:

To request a copy of Avalon for review purposes, please contact:

DL Media · 610-667-0501
Jordy Freed ·

E1 Music · (516) 484-1000 x 279
Giovanna Melchiorre ·

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Available Tomorrow - "Home," Duo recording by Pianist Bruce Barth and Steve Wilson, Released as collaboration/partnership with "We Always Swing" Jazz

Pianist Bruce Barth and Saxophonist Steve Wilson in collaboration with "We Always Swing" Jazz Series
set to release Home on April 27

"House Concert," recorded live in Columbia, Missouri,
a first from well-respected duo

The "We Always Swing" Jazz Series, the Columbia, Missouri-based, concert presenting and educational organization, and two well-respected present-day artists - Bruce Barth and Steve Wilson - are set to releaseHome, recorded live in Columbia, Missouri. The self-produced project captures the pianist and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist on June 27, 2009, in a living-room performance.

The release is the second and the first in four years for the non-profit organization, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary season. Home is a collaboration between the Jazz Series, which serves as executive producer, and the two acclaimed artists who serve as associate producers. "Throughout this c
elebratory season we have tried to offer some different and special programming," notes Jon Poses, who founded the Jazz Series in 1995 and has served as its executive director since 1999 when it became a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. "We wanted to start the 2009/2010 season with something exceptional. And we did - Bruce and Steve as a duo. It had been five years since our last House Concert - and it was time to visit the concept again. We're very fortunate that one of our board members has not only a good-sized, warm and comfortable house with a perfect living room, but also owns a fabulous Steinway piano."

Seven selections from the concert, including four Barth originals written specifically for the occasion, were sequenced for the release. In addition to the Barth originals, Home includes Cole Porter's "All Through The Night," taken from the hit show Anything Goes; an up-to-the-minute reading of "Sweet & Lovely," a standard; and a spectacular interpretation of Bud Powell's "Wail." Wilson plays mostly alto saxophone but also contributes stellar soprano saxophone on the date.

Poses, who himself has written more than 100 sets of liner notes, called upon Bob Blumenthal to annotate Home. "Bob's about as good as it gets," said Poses. "We're honored to have him participate
. I felt the quality of the music and the project - and the nature of the occasion - called for someone of his stature." Poses complemented Blumenthal's notes with a personalized descriptive piece. "I wanted Bob to talk with Bruce and Steve about the music they presented; what I tried to do is place the 'We Always Swing' Jazz Series as a whole, and this concert as a specific event, into some sort of context of what we attempt do organizationally."

As for Barth and Wilson, both landed in New York within a year of each other in the late 1980s. They met shortly thereafter and have worked together - as members of
others' and each other's bands - often since then. However, as frequently as they have shared the stage - and the studio - during the course of the past two decades-plus they realized they had never recorded as a duo.

"I like Steve's eart
hy, funky, soulful approach, which at the same time is very sophisticated melodically and harmonically," Barth (pictured at right; photo credit: Janis Wilkins) said to Blumenthal during their interview, offering an explanation of the musicians'
mutual attraction. "He will always surprise yo
u, and his improvisations are fantastic, but even in playing a melody he finds a way to put his stamp on it while still being true to the spirit of the original. I can identify him in three seconds when I hear him on the radio, whether on soprano or alto."

Wilson (pictu
red left; photo credit: John Abbott) offered a complementary take in Blumenthal's notes. "It's like tightrope walking without a net. There's that empty space, and the temptation to fill it all up keeps you honest. It forces me to be patient and listen even more closely I talk to my students about our `internal rhythm sections' and having a drummer's mentality I'm a frustrated drummer. Particularly with Bruce, his innate sense of time is there but is also unique; we canbreathe together. It's a beautiful balance, keeping that internal drummer yet not worrying about when it slows down or speeds up."

Both Barth and Wilson have made previous Jazz Series appearances; Barth has appeared twice as a member of trumpeter Terell Stafford's group as well as a member of Wilson's quartet; Wilson has appeared in Columbia previously as a member of Chick Corea's Origin, the late pianist James Williams' Intensive Care Unit and, most recently aside from this performance, as a member of the all-star aggregation that went out as the Blue Note 7.

Barth and Wilson are set to return to Columbia on April 25 for a special performance and CD Release Party at Murry's Restaurant & Bar, a venue that has presented national jazz artists since opening in 1985. "Bruce's and Steve's 'reprise' in Columbia kind of serves as the other 'bookend' to our 15th Anniversary Season," noted Poses. "They got things started last summer. Since then we have hosted some 20 events - great concerts, educational activities, a film we have the opportunity to have Bruce and Steve neatly wrap and gently close the door on the 2009/2010 season. It's particularly gratifying to have them appear at Murry's, which has been one of our really important venues since our inception. It's also a place where both Bruce and Steve have performed previously on numerous occasions. It should be fun," concluded Poses.

Home will be distributed nationally through the Jazz Series and its web site as well as through both Barth's and Wilson's respective web sites (; Additionally the project will be available through CD Baby. Plans are in the works to make available digital downloads of a select number of tunes as well as the CD in its entirety.

Barth and Wilson are in the process of setting up additional concerts. Each artist has separate representation but those interested in presenting the duo in concert should contact National Pastimes Productions, which can be reached at,, or (573) 449-3009.

The "We Always Swing" Jazz Series, founded in 1995, is an all-jazz, community-based concert producing and educational organization located in Columbia, MO. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to "present, promote, preserve AND celebrate the great American art form known as "Jazz." The Jazz Series, administered by "We Always Swing," Inc., is an affiliated program of the University of Missouri's College of Arts & Science. The organization receives funding via ticket revenue; national, state and local grants and contracts for services; sponsorships from area businesses; advertisement-based revenue; in-house merchandise; and from individuals' generous tax-deductible contributions.

To request a copy of Home for review purposes, please contact:
DL Media · 610-667-0501


Saturday, April 24, 2010


Justin Time Logo





It's been a rather amazing journey for Ranee Lee, who for several decades has reigned virtually unchallenged as the Queen of Canada's jazz divas. Ms. Lee recently won the coveted Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year(beating out Diana Krall, Emilie-Claire Barlow and Carol Welsman) for Lives Upstairs, her new release for Justin Time, Canada's leading jazz label. "That recognition really does give you the seal of approval," says Ranee, who has recorded many albums for the Montreal label. She has won and been nominated for many awards for both her singing and teaching; she's played at every major jazz festival in North America and the world; she's shared the stage and the microphone with hundreds of the great players of our time.

(What isn't quite as well known is that Ms. Lee is a native New Yorker - born and raised in Brooklyn, as a matter of fact. "I think that everybody grew up in Brooklyn," she says. "Every time I meet someone from the states they've either lived there or are still there - it's like the center of the universe or something!")

Ms. Lee's first album, Live At "Le Bijou" was taped at that club in Old Montreal in 1983, but, unbelievably, she has not recorded a live album since. Lives Upstairs brings her back full circle and celebrates ten albums and nearly 30 years. (Ms. Lee informs us that the album is pronounced "Lives" in the sense of "Bird Lives" and not in the sense of "Private Lives.") Both the title and the album cover are a play on Upstairs, the name of Canada's most venerated jazz club, which is ironic since the performance space is famously located in a basement in Montreal.

The considerations of performing before a live audience and that of making an album are not always consistent with each other; however, Ms. Lee is more than sagacious enough to reconcile the two and find their common ground. "Every recording I've made comes out of the repertory that I enjoy singing most," she says. "Most of it is traditional, songs that I've learned, in some cases almost by osmosis. Through the years I've developed a wider repertoire." She notes that she learned both Jimmy McHugh's "I Just Found Out About Love" and Johnny Mandel's "A Time for Love" from Shirley Horn. The first is a fast-moving show tune (from the unsuccessful Strip For Action) that Horn actually learned from Nat King Cole and which opens the proceedings here with a definite bang, and "A Time for Love" is one of the most intensely romantic performances on the set.

In between, Ms. Lee throws herself wholeheartedly into the first of two songs by the great Jerome Kern, "In Love In Vain" (from Centennial Summer). Ms. Lee's arrangement starts as a jazz waltz that she swings with remarkable energy and charisma. "Dearly Beloved," also from the latter part of Kern's career (from You Were Never Lovelier) is a fast-moving swing time treatment of a song originally done as a ballad. Launched by the propulsive playing of guitarist Richard Ring, Ranee just jumps right into it. Richard, who is also Lee's husband, rides like the wind in his own solo here.

Changing the mood entirely, "A Crooked Road" is a melody by contemporary jazz guitar master Pat Metheny, with an unusual and compelling beat all its own. Apparently, Metheny has never recorded this song himself, which is a mystery, since it boasts a lovely and intriguing tune. "When I decided I wanted to do it, I had a hard time finding the music," reports Lee, "It's not one of his best-known compositions."

"Four," based on the 1950s bop anthem by Miles Davis, is the work of the brilliant Jon Hendricks and the legendary trio of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. As Ranee Lee shows better than anyone, the tune is a catchy sample of very hip philosophy, in which she sings an extended meditation on the nature of happiness set to the outline of the famous trumpet improvisation by Miles Davis himself. It's as "groovy as a ten-cent movie."

Apart from Jerome Kern, the other iconic composer represented is George Gershwin, who is also heard in two classic songs, "I Love You Porgy" and "Summertime." They're both from his 1935 opera Porgy and Bess and are appropriately presented together in a long and lush medley. It's a worthy juxtaposition of the romantic and the maternal - the first sung sensually, as if to a lover, the second rendered tenderly, as if to a child. "Who doesn't know 'Summertime?'" Ranee asks, "I sing it because I know the public identifies with these tunes."

From 1934 Victor Young's "Beautiful Love" was sung by several iconic jazz divas (like Anita O' Day and Shirley Horn), but is rarely heard in the 21st century. Originally written as a waltz, Ranee makes it come to life anew as an explosive, Brazilian-style samba. If Gershwin and Young are old masters, James Taylor is a contemporary one. "I've always loved 'Fire and Rain,'" she says, "especially the way that [pianist] John Sadowy has re-harmonized it, and almost given it a gospel feel."

The one composer remaining is Lee herself, whose original songs are always a highlight of her albums. "The Storm" is a down and dirty blues that gives both Lee and the band (particularly Sadowy and Ring) a chance to simmer and sizzle. The wonderful thing about Ranee Lee's ongoing projects for Justin Time is that you never know what she's going to try next, but you can be sure that she'll consistently deliver the goods. Hearing her sing serves to confirm what Jon Hendricks wrote in his lyrics to "Four," "So take a tip from me / the world is everything it ought to be."


For press information, please contact:
Steph Brown, DL MEDIA 610-667-0501 /


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Journeyed Tenor Saxophonist Azar Lawrence Set To Release "Mystic Journey," May 4 on Furthermore Recordings







The re-emergence of saxophonist Azar Lawrence has been one of the most exciting things and perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of the past five years on the Los Angeles jazz scene. Those who have experienced Azar live in the past year can bear witness to a real life prodigal son story. No doubt remains that he is here to reclaim his title as heir to the throne of the John Coltrane legacy.

A child prodigy, Azar played in the shadows and under the watchful eyes of giants. At 21, he was hired by Miles Davis to perform and record at Carnegie Hall in what would become the 1974 underground classic, Dark Magus. In his twenties, he was taken in by Coltrane acolytes McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones and absorbed all they had to teach. He appeared on several of Tyner's classic '70s recordings and was signed by the Prestige label, where he recorded three albums as a leader.

In the late '70s, Azar left the jazz scene behind for the more lucrative world of R&B music. He can be heard on Marvin Gaye's Here, My Dear and Phyllis Hyman's Somewhere In My Lifetime. In the '80s, he joined the legendary soul group, Earth, Wind and Fire and found work in Hollywood scoring films. Then came a time of personal hardship. Azar dropped out of the music scene almost entirely. But he never stopped playing.

Azar's powerful new album, Mystic Journey, is his clearest and boldest statement yet. Whereas his previous album for Furthermore Recordings, Prayer For My Ancestors, found his spirit roaming the vast savannas of Africa, Mystic Journey reveals a restless artist, grappling with his past and looking to the future while remaining grounded in the ever-changing present.

"This album came to me in a dream and from a producers point of view, the mystic journey is truly being expressed," states Lawrence.

If Mystic Journey can be said to be 'about' anything, it is about connections. The first connection is evident on the opening title track. It features his East Coast sidemen: fiery pianist Benito Gonzalez and the rock-solid Essiet Essiet on bass. Along with legendary drummer Rashied Ali, Azar acts as guide on the journey to meet the other two members of the sextet, trumpeter Eddie Henderson and alto saxophonist Gerald Hayes, who are introduced in an Ascension-inspired free jazz fanfare at the end of the tune.

In Benito Gonzalez, Azar found a kindred spirit. One of Azar's major mentors was McCoy Tyner, who is also a big influence on Benito's sound. Gonzalez contributed three tunes toMystic Journey. "Quest" is a breezy day on the beach with a drink in one hand and warm sand between your toes. "Journey's End" and "Starting Point" show a confident composer, capable of keeping a listener engaged with challenging and complex but memorable tunes.

With the horn players on Mystic Journey, Azar made a new connection and reignited an old one. Eddie Henderson is a name familiar to anyone with more than a glancing appreciation of jazz. When Azar began playing in New York again, he and Eddie hooked up and played a few gigs. Their individual styles strike a yin and yang balance that any two horn players would kill to have.

Gerald Hayes may not be the household name Eddie Henderson is, but his connection to Azar Lawrence goes back to 1975. Hayes played on Summer Solstice, Azar's 1975 album for Prestige. That title track has been re-worked on this recording, almost unrecognizable from the original. Hayes' contribution throughout the album is inspiring.

The presence of McCoy Tyner is felt directly by way of his signature piece "Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit." It appeared on his 1973 album, Enlightenment. That recording featured an eager up and coming Azar Lawrence. Nearly 40 years have passed since that live date at Montreux Jazz, but the thundering swagger of the piece hasn't diminished with age. If anything, Azar sounds more confident now as he makes the connection to his past and dedicates the piece to his mentor and friend.

Azar's connection to John Coltrane is not only made through McCoy Tyner and the cover of the classic ballad, "Say It Over Again," but through the drummer on this date, the incomparable Rashied Ali. The two played together not long before Mystic Journey was recorded, and the two had an undeniable chemistry. It would prove to be a bittersweet session as Rashied passed away four months later. Listening to him play on what would be his last session, there is no indication of anything other than a drummer at the top of his game, playing with his signature combination of ferocity and joy. His original composition, "Adrees," is named for his son.

In reflecting on Coltrane's influential spirit Lawrence recalls, "I think that from the very first time I heard Coltrane, when I closed my eyes I could hear a message as plain as day. And it must have awakened something in me that allowed me to use those tones and patterns to tell the story. I think it was best put by McCoy Tyner, when I asked him how he could he play with me after having played with the great Coltrane, and he said 'you and John feel the same way about music.'"

Azar Lawrence Sextet - Tribute to Ali's Alley
Azar Lawrence, Tenor and Soprano Sax; Eddie Henderson, Trumpet; Gerald Hayes, Alto Sax; Benito Gonzalez, piano; Ronnie Burrage, Drums

Friday, May 07, 2010, 8:30 p.m.

Tribeca Performing Arts Center
Borough of Manhattan Community College
199 Chambers Street
New York City, New York, 10007
$25/ $15 seniors & students

Show will be preceded by interview session

with Azar Lawrence, Patricia Ali, and moderated by Willard Jenkins
7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m

Click here to watch a behind the scenes video of the recording session

Azar Lawrence · Mystic Journey
Release Date: May 4, 2010

For additional information on Furthermore Recordings, please visit:

To request a copy of Mystic Journey for review purposes, please contact:

DL Media· 610-667-0501
Don Lucoff ·