BIG NEWS: WWR Signs NYSQ featuring Tim Armacost, David Berkman, Daiki Yasukagawa, Gene Jackson for July 21 release



The New Straight Ahead is the debut WWR release from the New York Standards Quartet (NYSQ) and their fourth album to date. The NYSQ is made up of pianist David Berkman, drummer Gene Jackson, saxophonist Tim Armacost, and double bassist Daiki Yasukagawa. As a band the New York-based unit have developed a near telepathic relationship playing together in a variety of settings since their formation in 2006. Conceptually, the NYSQ strives to develop its own language within the tradition of performing standard jazz repertoire.

The Guardian, in a glowing, four-star review of the band’s recent tour across the UK, asserts the NYSQ is “a group devoted to radical reinvention of famous pop songs and Broadway show tunes. Plenty of contemporary jazz artists do that, but few more divertingly than this vivacious foursome, who delightedly cherish the originals while brusquely deconstructing their harmonies and tweaking their melodies, sometimes only slipping in the original theme on the way out of the piece. This is a collective class act.”

After creating a lifetime of original music (each of the members are notable composers & bandleaders) the NYSQ felt it would liberating to perform music based on simpler, standard jazz repertoire, and in particular the songs that they had learned while growing up learning jazz. By playing tunes such as “Confirmation” or “All the Things You Are,” they put the focus on the playing of the tune and what they do with it, not so much on the tune itself. The songs are therefore blank slates to write on, with a lot of freedom and room for interpretation. They have also expanded their approach to include arrangements and reinventions of these songs, as well as original compositions that have a close connection to forms and harmonies derived from standards. The bond the group shares is further strengthened by a common love for Japanese culture, food, and language.

The NYSQ has been touring and developing together for eight years, and this is immediately apparent from the very first note played on The New Straight Ahead. Audience response has been phenomenal and the band has maintained a hectic touring schedule at festivals and venues around the world, including performances at key venues in New York City and Japan (eight annual tours), as well as tours around the United States, Great Britain and Mainland Europe. The band’s previous three releases include Live in Tokyo (2008), UnStandard (2011) and Live at Lifetime (2013), on the Challenge Records (Netherlands) and D-Musica (Japan) labels.

Meet the members of the NYSQ:

Tim Armacost (saxes and flute): Performances with Kenny Barron, Ray Drummond, Al Foster, Billy Hart, Jimmy Cobb and many others. He has eight critically acclaimed recordings as a leader and recently was commissioned by Wynton Marsalis to write a piece for the Lincoln Center Orchestra.

David Berkman (piano): Performances with Brian Blade, Sonny Stitt, Tom Harrell, the Vanguard Orchestra, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas and countless others. He is an award winning (Chamber Music America: New Works Grant) composer/pianist whose seven records as a leader have appeared on numerous “Best of the Year” lists. He is the author of three books on Jazz on Sher Music Publishing including “The Jazz Harmony Book” (2014) and is and Associate Professor at Queens College in New York.

Daiki Yasukagawa (double bass). Performances with Eddie Henderson and Marlena Shaw, as well as being an omnipresent figure on Japanese jazz recordings. Also is noted for releasing a significant solo bass record titled Voyage. A consistent poll winner in Japan.

Gene Jackson (drums). Spent nine years as a member of Herbie Hancock’s trio and since then has worked with nearly every major jazz figure of the last 25 years including Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Ron Carter, The Mingus Big Band and Branford Marsalis, to name a few.



Reviews and Radio Features from USA’s JazzTimes and Germany’s, Horspiegel Vote, Musik Magazin, NDR Radio, WDR3, Dreyeckland Radio and Nordwestradio for Joel Harrison and Anupam Shobhakar’s ‘Leave the Door Open’

Harrison-PACKGuitarist Joel harrison and sarode player Anupam Shobhakar recently released their debut on Whirlwind Recordings with Leave the Door Open which has gained 5 stars from DieRedaktion and Jazz Journal, and 4 stars from Downbeat Magazine and The Irish Times.

In today we have a collection of glowing reviews and radio airtime from Germany plus a double album review for Joel in JazzTimes magazine. The reviews from Germany include features by, Horspiegel Vote, Musik Magazin, NDR Radio, WDR3 Radio, Dreyeckland Radio and Nordwestradio with announcing that “American guitarist Joel Harrison has developed a joint music project with the North Indian sarode player Anupam Shobhakar; a rousing world-jazz mix with very exciting, quiet passages.”Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.58.12

Horspiegel Vote note it as “masterful improvisations” while Musik Magazin say that “… Multiplicity’s debut album Leave the Door Open is a multi-cultural, genre-spanning project of the Guggenheim student and world-renown guitarist Joel Harrison and originating from northern India, virtuoso classic sarode player and composer Anupam Shobhakar. The album excited with an impressive mix of Indian classical, jazz, blues and folk. In addition to the two heads of the project belongs an illustrious selection of excellent musicians making up the ensemble”

JazzTimes state that “to say an artist is “challenging himself” is a tired cliche, so let’s simply note that guitarist-composer Joel Harrison exhibits uncommon curiosity and endurance in his search for different ways to make his music beautiful and visceral” continuing to say that “it is not often that ‘world music fusion’ is spelled out more explicitly or enjoyably than on the nine song program for Leave the Door Open.”

To purchase the release please feel free to check out the album page, and below we have a full length sample track from the album.

FIRST MEETING ft Lee Konitz, Dan Tepfer, Michael Janisch, Jeff Williams update: 4 Stars from Downbeat + great reviews from London Jazz, 4 Stars from Marlbank, Bebop Spoken Here

First Meeting Album Cover  copy


First Meeting is a co-led album by the one and only Lee Konitz, NYC-based pianist Dan Tepfer, WWR’s own Michael Janisch and legendary drummer Jeff Williams.  One of the most highly anticipated releases we’ve had on our roster, the album was captured 4 years ago live at the Pizza Express Jazz Club and the music was chosen from over 6 hours of what was recorded.  Lee Konitz fans from around the world have been emailing us about this release ever since as word got out it was going to be a record and we’re happy that we can finally  release it this June 10 next month.  We’ve started getting some great mentions in the press and we share some of them below.



First up was Marlbank who gave the album a 4 star review and we reprint an excerpt below.

“Listen to this valuable album and you’ll want more of: the weariness (‘Billie’s Bounce’); the soliloquising in the jazz soloist’s sense (Konitz’s soprano solo at the beginning of ‘All The Things You Are’); the modernism (Tepfer’s beginning to ‘Stella By Starlight’); the Monkian dimension, again Tepfer setting things up on the intro to the off kilter swing of the trio take on ‘Giant Steps’; the spontaneity (there was no rehearsal or plan); and the tenderness and quietude with Konitz’s entry on ‘Body and Soul’ just beautiful.”
4 Stars, Marlbank

And then we had a thoroughly descriptive and engaging review from Andy Boeckstaens over at London Jazz who was actually at the second night himself.  We’d like to thank Andy for reminding us of how special those nights were when the album was recorded. Here’s an excerpt:

“This is a collaborative success, but the presence of Konitz will be the main attraction for many listeners, and he makes all the difference to this wonderful album. His mode of expression is remarkably resistant to the passing of the years, and more importantly, no-one in the world sounds remotely like him.” London Jazz News

And then we were just alerted to a glowing 4 star Downbeat Magazine review that’s not quite out yet so we’ve only shown a snapshot of it to the right Konitz DBand an excerpt below.

“This is a live recording that captures the essence of improvisational musical dialogue. Half the fun is guessing the response to various musical gambits and where the conversation will lead next.”
4 Stars, Downbeat Magazine

Finally, Bebop Spoken Here weighed in with this great review here.

“Konitz, Tepfer and Williams are outstanding and Janisch, on whose Whirlwind label the album is being released, is his usual inventive tower of strength.”
Bebop Spoken Here



Check out the First Meeting album page to hear preview tracks from the album and remember to stop back in early June for your copy!  Thank you.



Review in from The Guardian for Monocled Man’s Recent Release ‘Southern Drawl’


We have a great review in today from the Guardian for Rory Simmon’s band Monocled Man with their recent release on Whirlwind Recordings, Southern Drawl.

The album has already received glowing reviews from Jazzwise Magazine and London Jazz and has recieved 4 stars from Marlbank. Adding to this collection the Guardian have noted that “[Simmon is] a long-lined improviser with a big vocabulary, and Chris Montague’s sound-palette extends a long way above and below linear guitar breaks. It’s very accomplished and often exciting.”

To purchase the recent release please check out the band’s album page, and to sample the album we have featured below a full length track from Southern Drawl. Happy listening!

RELEASE DAY for JC Sanford Orchestra’s ‘Views from the Inside’ + press update: 4 Stars from The Observer, Scotsman & more

Out now, Views from the Inside, by JC Sanford and his 15 piece orchestra.

  Click here to pick up a copy or digital download.

JC Sanford FB

And this just in, check below for the highlights:

4 Star review from The Observer

4 Star review from The Scotsman & Bebop Spoken Here

As well as some radio play on WMUA & Jazz after Hours


JC’s album has deservedly had some amazing things said about the album, here’s some highlights below:

“Sanford draws on a wealth of large-scale influences ranging from swing bnads to contemporary classical music, though without creating a patchwork. Somehow his stylistic swerves flow effortlessly into one another, often melding into strange but beautiful hybrids. The ensemble not only brings strong musicianship but eclectic instrumentation, greatly expanding the leader’s already imaginative palette.”
4 Stars, Downbeat Magazine

“Adventurous, exciting, mysterious and oddly accessible has Views From The Inside charting a new direction for large ensemble improvisational music. Compelling music with muscle, a cerebral mind-gasm of sound. Easily one of the best releases of this young year.”
5 Stars, Critical Jazz

“Many young jazz composers today find that the old “big band” format has worn so threadbare that they can do nothing with it. As a result, we occasionally get something new like this – often perplexing, but exciting and quite unignorable. Sanford’s orchestra, with its motley assemblage of instruments and electronics, can set your teeth on edge at one moment and draw you into a sweet harmonic wonderland the next. The soloists, notably trumpeter Matt Holman, percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and Sanford himself on trombone, are very impressive, but their excellent playing is much enhanced by the dazzling environment.”
4 Stars, The Observer

“Hugely ambitious.”
The Listening Post

“The wind, reed and brass players draw on a plethora of instruments alongside strings, accordion, vibraphone and percussion (and our own Aidan O’Donnell on bass). Sanford makes full use of this expansive range of sound and colour, and his intelligent and creative compositions offer a constantly changing sequence of melody, mood and tempo. A suite of five Brooklyn Vignettes are interspersed through the programme, while the lengthy title track forms an impressive centerpiece.”
4 Stars, The Scotsman

“A very impressive debut by JC Sanford. Sanford is equally skilled as an arranger-composer and a trombonist.”
Jazz Inside New York Magazine

“The ensemble playing is of the highest quality, Sanford’s writing always interesting and with fellow travellers such as the critically acclaimed Darcy James Argue, the future of the big band – jazz or other – makes for interesting times.”
Bebop Spoken Here

“A thought-provoking album that poses as many questions surrounding the way ahead for a progressive jazz ensemble as it answers.”

“A well played date for those looking for something expansive and wide ranging.”
Midwest Record



Views from the Inside is the stunning new album from the multi-faceted trombonist, composer & conductor JC Sanford and his 15-piece orchestra. A multiple-award winning composer and 2 X Grammy-nominated artist as a member of the John Hollenbeck ensemble, Sanford’s wide-ranging compositional palette is deeply rooted in the traditions of the jazz and classical worlds yet pushes both boundaries to create a landmark recording of the new jazz orchestra renaissance, featuring bold sonorities, unexpected colors and arresting sonic textures.

The JC Sanford Orchestra features many of New York’s marquee creative musicians brought together to form a completely unique ensemble featuring non-traditional instrumentation. Neither a big band nor conventional chamber group, the orchestra is a hybrid ensemble that has resulted from Sanford’s extensive experience over the years composing for a variety of instruments in a multitude of contexts, media and genres. Featuring five brass, 4 woodwinds (including double reeds), cello, violin, and an unconventional rhythm section featuring double bass, vibraphone, accordion, and percussion rather than drum set, the timbres alone have yielded some very unique moods and engaging compositional results.

The album shimmers with an eclectic mix of music written by Sanford over the last ten years, from the epic, through-composed pieces, to the shorter, Brooklyn-inspired ‘vignettes.’ Sanford explains, “I found myself, inspired by my influences of Bob Brookmeyer, [with whom Sanford studied with extensively] Jim McNeely and Maria Schneider, writing mainly longer, extended, multi-sectional works. I decided since I so often like to hear brief works, I should be able to write some that are satisfying and that tell a story, but short stories, rather than epic journeys. I thought the best way to do this would be to programmatically describe places around Brooklyn that had influenced & affected me deeply, more of a snap shot or memory than a diatribe. I feel they behave as a glue, holding the entire album together.”

Throughout the album, myriad textures and colors abound. Programmed electronics fuse seamlessly with shimmering brass lines; epic moments of free improvisation evolve into to rapturous full-orchestra refrains; dense, cluster-harmonies give way to spacious violin and trombone improvisations; quirky odd meters shift into deep swing or flowing conducted rhapsodies. Views from the Inside unleashes Sanford’s wild and infectious imagination resulting in an exciting musical adventure that both invigorates and challenges the listener while assuring that we live in exciting musical times where genre-labeling holds no weight.

It’s an album stocked with notable melody and inviting performances. Sanford, inspired by such diverse influences as Richard Strauss, Charles Ives, Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel, makes certain that a sure sense of song and expressive drama is never lost amongst the intriguing tonal colors and surprising harmonic and rhythmic structures. All of this marking Views from the Inside out as a truly landmark recording, solidifying Sanford’s international reputation as one of the most compelling of contemporary composers.

The JC Sanford Orchestra features: JC Sanford – composer, conductor, trombone; Satoshi Takeishi – percussion; Jacob Garchik – accordion; Tom Beckham – vibraphone; Meg Okura – violin, electronics; Will Martina – cello, electronics; Aidan O’Donnell – double bass; Dan Willis – oboe, piccolo, flute, soprano sax; Ben Kono – English horn, bass clarinet, clarinet, flute, alto saxophone; Chris Bacas – clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Kenny Berger – contra-alto clarinet, bassoon, alto flute; Taylor Haskins – trumpet, flugelhorn, harmonizer; Matt Holman – trumpet, flugelhorn; Mark Patterson – tenor trombone; Jeff Nelson – tuba, bass trombone; Chris Komer – French horn; Asuka Katitani – conductor (on ‘Robins in Snow’ & ‘Verrazano Bikeride’).



Reviews in from The Guardian and The Irish Times for Bobby Avey’s ‘Authority Melts from Me’

 Authority-Melts-from-Me-coverIn today we have two glowing reviews for Bobby Avey’s recent release on Whirlwind Recordings, Authority Melts from Me. The album has already been hailed as “a significant achievement” by Marlbank and has received 4.5 stars from Downbeat who have also described Bobby as “a composer of sophistication and depth”.

You can take a look at the new reviews from the Irish Times here and The Guardian here, and to purchase please check out the album page.

Review from Bird is the Worm for Multiplicity’s ‘Leave the Door Open’

Harrison-PACKLeave The Door Open is a recent release on Whirlwind Recordings by world renown musicians Joel Harrison and Anupam Shobhakar’s group ‘Multiplicity’. An album that takes influences from the worlds of Indian classical, jazz, blues and roots music, it has already gained many glowing reviews with 5 stars from Jazz Journal and DieRedaktion and 4 stars from both Downbeat and The Irish Times.

In today we have another review to add to the collection, this time from Bird is the Worm who say that “the most compelling aspect of Leave the Door Open is the steady stream of transitions between genres, like a poetic game of word association laid out on a brightly lit path” continuing to say that the album “brings together the music approaches of jazz, classical Indian, rock, folk, and blues, and rather than include them all as ingredients in some sonic cocktail, instead they identify the commonalities, the soft points of connectivity between the varied music forms, and create a single fluid stream of expressionism where one bleeds into the next with a seamless precision, an act made more impressive in the way the previous genre continues to linger even as the subsequent sound is under way.”

The review rounds up by stating that in the recording “It is where change and constant become indistinguishable from one another.  It is why this music is so damn thrilling.”

To purchase the release please check out the album page, and featured below we have a full length sample from the album.

Review from Something Else Reviews for Bobby Avey’s New Release ‘Authority Melts from Me’

Authority-Melts-from-Me-coverIn today we have a glowing review from Something Else Reviews who have reviewed Whirlwind’s latest output that released earlier this week, Bobby Avey’s Authority Melts from Me.

The album has already gained an impressive 4.5 stars from Downbeat Magazine who say that “he has created a cliche-free work of progressive jazz that’s virtually cinematic in its intensity… It’s Authority Melts From Me that sees Avey break free as a composer of sophistication and depth.” Marlbank have also give the album 4 stars stating that “It’s an absorbing, quite superb listen… a significant achievement.” 

The latest review adds to these by announcing the album as “masterful ensemble work” and that “its fairly obvious that Avey’s ideas about what a jazz ensemble can do are not constrained by traditional limits.” The review finishes by saying that “ you can’t help but wonder where the last hour went. As you restart the recording, you realize that you just don’t care.”

To purchase Authority Melts from Me please check out the album page here, and featured below we have a full length sample track from the album.

PRESS UPDATE: Downbeat Magazine praises JC Sanford’s ‘View from the Inside’ + Jazz Inside Magazine interview, 5 Stars from Critical Jazz, and Aloha! Radio play in Hawaii and beyond…

JC DOWNBEAT copyPress Update for JC Sanford’s Views from the Inside


On the 20th of May we’re releasing JC Sanford’s Views from the Inside featuring his 15 piece orchestra and this genre-defying album is already being called by many in the specialist music sector as one of the most adventurous and ambitious records of the year. Excitedly, we’ve had a great 4 Star Downbeat Magazine review just hit in this month’s edition (see left).  The record is being played across the world as of late and we were very happy to hear that Hawaii Public Radio was spinning one of the tracks (Sunset Park, Sunset Park). 

And check out a great interview of JC that just hit in the latest edition of Jazz Inside Magazine. You can download the entire edition by clicking this link for free!

And Critical Jazz in a rave 5 Star review says of the album: “Adventurous, exciting, mysterious and oddly accessible has Views From The Inside charting a new direction for large ensemble improvisational music. Compelling music with muscle, a cerebral mind-gasm of sound. Easily one of the best releases of this young year.”




RELEASE DAY for Bobby Avey’s ‘Authority Melts From Me’ ft. Miguel Zenon & Ben Monder

Bobby Avey FB

Congratulations to Bobby Avey on this the release day for Authority Melts From Me PICK UP A COPY HERE

“He has created a cliche-free work of progressive jazz that’s virtually cinematic in its intensity… It’s Authority Melts From Me that sees Avey break free as a composer of sophistication and depth.”
4 1/2 Stars, Downbeat Magazine

“It’s an absorbing quite superb listen, the suite inspired by Haiti’s 1791 slave revolt at its core. A significant achievement.”
4 Stars, Marlbank

“Zenón has never been more affectingly intense on record.”
Downbeat Magazine

Authority Melts from Me is the fascinating new album and artistic statement from Bobby Avey, praised by the New Yorker magazine as “A young pianist of invention and refinement.” Winner of the 2011 Thelonious Monk Competition for composition, Avey also received the 2011 “New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development Grant” from Chamber Music America, which enabled Avey to travel to Haiti to record a Vodou Ceremony in the small village of Soukri and subsequently create an hour-long suite grounded in rhythms found in Haitian Vodou drumming. This compelling suite of new music, entitled Authority Melts From Me, pays homage to the Haitian Revolution and features the immense talents of Miguel Zenón, Ben Monder, Thomson Kneeland, and Jordan Perlson.

Reprinted below are the liner notes from the album:

Authority Melts From Me is a suite for quintet, inspired by my respect for the Haitian people, who have persevered through a tragic history of colonialism, slavery, and foreign occupation. This suite focuses particularly on Haiti’s slave revolt–the only successful slave rebellion in recorded history–which led to Haiti’s declaration of independence from its colonial master, France, in 1804. On the eve of the slave insurrection in August 1791, leaders of the rebellion conducted a massive Vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman in the northern mountains of the island to declare their intent to take over the Northern part of Haiti (then Saint Domingue). As Haitian scholar Madison Smart Bell writes: In Haitian Vodou, there is understood to be a great crossroads between the world of the living and the other world inhabited by the spirits of the dead. Vodou practitioners believe that the souls of the dead do not depart. Instead, they go into a parallel universe invisible to the living, but quite nearby – and not impossible to reach. Traffic through this crossroads defines much of Vodousaint religious practice.

In addition to a Vodou priest, Vodou drummers facilitate opening the gateway between the two worlds.

I have selected music from two Vodou drumming ensembles: the drummers of the Societe Absolument Guinin from Port au Prince, and the drummers from the community of Soukri, near the town of Gonaïves, whose ceremony I had the great honor of attending and documenting in January 2012. Since distinct Vodou traditions have been preserved in specific communities for hundreds of years, these ensembles have unique lexicons. Following a period of immersion, careful transcription, and analysis, I composed a suite of music utilizing rhythms and concepts found in these two drumming ensembles. The result is Authority Melts From Me.

The history of jazz has always been one of cultural variety and amalgamation of diverse traditions. I hope to be furthering that in a sensitive way by incorporating traditions of a county I respect. I hope to add something to the legacy of jazz that stays true to the aspirations of that music while incorporating a style that up until now has not been explored in this way. What I also hope is that this endeavor is creating further linkages in the relationships of the various branches of the African diasporic tradition.

Musicians taking part in the realization of Authority Melts From Me: Miguel Zenón – alto sax; Ben Monder – guitar; Thomson Kneeland – bass; Jordan Perlson – drums, and me on piano.

My visit to Haiti in January 2012 made painfully immediate the conditions under which Haitians struggle. Even prior to the earthquake, 55% of Haitian households survived on the equivalent of 44 U.S. cents a day. Only 35% of students are able to complete primary school and only 4% graduate from secondary school. More than one in twenty people are HIV-positive, and nearly 1 in 5 children die before their 6th birthday. Such statistics only begin to convey the reality for much of Haiti today. Almost three years after the earthquake, nearly 400,000 Haitians braved Hurricane Sandy under tents and tarps.

What is very important for Americans to understand is that America has played a dominant role in shaping the current state of Haiti. The U.S. invaded and occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934, training a brutal military force designed to suppress Haiti’s domestic population. The U.S. killed between 15,000 and 30,000 Haitians during its occupation and in building up the military, provided a force that has terrorized the country since. Haitian soldiers, serving elite interests, were essentially immune from the rule of law. They have also regularly overthrown governments, as Haiti has seen over 30 coups in its history.

America embraced the dictatorship of Francois Duvalier during most of his 14-year rule. Sociologist Alex Dupuy estimated that perhaps 50,000 people were killed during this reign of terror. America even more enthusiastically supported Duvalier’s son, Jean-Francois, who ruled for an additional 15 years. He kept taxes low and imposed starvation wages for workers, creating an inviting investment climate for U.S. companies.

In 1986, Jean-Francois was ousted. Following four years of turmoil that saw 11 different presidents and a populist movement in the face of military repression, Haiti held its first ever free and fair elections in 1990. One candidate, the populist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, won decisively with 67% of the vote with 80% of the electorate voting. He was overthrown in a CIA-backed coup seven months later.

In 2000, Aristide ran for president again, this time elected by over 90% of the vote. The second coup took longer to orchestrate but in 2004, the US kidnapped Aristide and flew him to South Africa.

The current international troop presence in Haiti, the arrival of which was orchestrated by the U.S. in the aftermath of the 2004 coup, has presided over eight years of human rights abuses. Two years ago, the U.S.-funded troops inadvertently yet carelessly introduced cholera to the country, which has killed 8,500 and infected nearly 700,000 as of this writing. Efforts are underway to demand accountability and reparations for this act of criminal negligence.

Despite the countless obstacles Haitians face, the short amount of time that I spent in Haiti made clear the resilience of the Haitian people is the country’s greatest asset. I hope my music will lead to greater understanding and awareness of Haiti among the American people and ultimately play some small role in inspiring thoughtful action to turn the tide of the relationship between the two countries.”

Bobby Avey – December 2013