NYSQ’s third Whirlwind Release available now + supporting tour dates

We’re happy to announce the release of  Sleight Of Hand, the third Whirlwind release from NYSQ. Read about the new album below and scroll down to see their upcoming launch dates in USA and Japan.


Click to listen to samples from Sleight Of Hand


It’s now approaching twelve years since the New York Standards Quartet (NYSQ) came into being, its core personnel taking time out from their multifarious individual projects to revel in the shared brief of refashioning familiar and lesser-known jazz standards. Their new release Sleight of Hand builds on their catalog of five previous album recordings (most recently, The New Straight Ahead and Power of 10, on Whirlwind) as saxophonist Tim Armacost, pianist David Berkman and drummer Gene Jackson welcome double bassist Daiki Yasukagawa back into the fold.

Describing the NYSQ’s beginnings, David Berkman recalls: “We were at the period where we’d all done a lot of original recordings of our own music, as composers and leaders; and then, through a series of circumstances, we came together as a quartet with the particular mission of taking on standards, but arranging them to create a feeling that was similar to the original albums we recorded. It soon became apparent that audiences really got into the idea and the fun of seeing how we would expand the harmonic, tonal and rhythmic aspects into a more modern frame while always referencing the music’s origins.”

This is a band that regularly plays and performs together, so there’s a common bond which brings out the best in the arrangements they conjure. Recorded at the end of an international tour – in the beautiful, mountainous location of Lake Yamanaka, close to Mount Fuji (the quartet enjoys a special affinity with Japan) – Sleight of Hand’s eight numbers reflect the band’s spontaneous, transformational approach, with the title track (based on Gershwin’s ‘But Not For Me’) irresistibly playful.

Mal Waldron’s ‘Soul Eyes’ and Thelonious Monk’s ‘Ask Me Now’ swing with respective vibrancy and jauntiness, while the metrical changes and perky rhythms of ‘This I Dig of You’ pick up on Hank Mobley’s classic Blue Note album origins; and the various key modulations in ‘Lover Man’ are a world away from Billie Holiday’s lingering vocal lines as Armacost’s spritely soprano responds swiftly to Jackson’s syncopated drum accents.

1940s song ‘Detour Ahead’ – perhaps mostly familiar in composer Herb Ellis’s guitar setting – translates into a luscious alto and piano-led ballad, sensitively buoyed by Yasukagawa’s bass shaping; Jules Styne/Sammy Cahn favorite ‘I Fall In Love Too Easily’ is treated to sparkling, percussion-led animation; and Armacost’s rich tenor lyricism in Duke Ellington’s ‘In a Sentimental Mood’ is ravishingly restrained.

David Berkman relates that the NYSQ’s journey continues to energize them: “Going into the recording studio is still as challenging as it is enjoyable, though I guess we feel like we don’t need to prove anything anymore! And though we like to pull out obscure tunes, it’s also important to include touchstones for our listeners, as everyone relates to them emotionally – there’s still a lot of awareness there. These are such great melodies, you can do almost anything with them – and, as always with improvisation, that sense of ‘What’s happening today?’ remains exciting. It’s all about a moment.”


TOUR DATES – Keep checking www.nysq.org for additions or our Events page

April 15
Maureen’s Jazz Cellar
Nyack, NY

April 26
Record Release Event for Sleight of Hand
Small’s Jazz Club

April 28
Record Release Event for Sleight of Hand
Chris’ Jazz Cafe
Philadelphia, PA

12th annual tour of Japan in support of Sleight of Hand

13    RAG, Kyoto
14     Azul, Osake
15     JB-5, Kobe
16    Cafe Soho, Okayama
19    So Nice, Takamatsu
20    Bird, Hiroshima
21    Jazz Society, Iwakuni
22    Seagaia Jazz Festival, Miyazaki
23    Doji House, Suzuka
28    Body and Soul, Tokyo
29     NHK Radio Broadcast, Tokyo
30    Yumeya, Gunma

1    Lifetime, Shizuoka

October US Tour – dates TBA

George Colligan releases ‘More Powerful’ June 30 – PRE ORDER NOW + Euro Tour


Pre-order More Powerful

You get 2 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and
also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the
complete album the moment it’s released.



Pianist and composer George Colligan has cemented his reputation through innumerable bandstand appearances as soloist and sideman, including collaborations with artists such as Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, Don Byron and Cassandra Wilson – and his prolific studio output has been documented on over a hundred albums. For this first release on Whirlwind, More Powerful, he leads a vibrant trio and quartet session of original music with artists with whom he has enjoyed a long association – double bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Rudy Royston – plus rising saxophonist Nicole Glover.

In this nine-track recording, the pianist’s music is influenced by life experiences and fleeting soundbites, as well as the players he is privileged to work with – and it’s very much his forward-looking integrity which fires these accessible compositions: “My artistic goals are based on musical development. I respect the foundations of the tradition, but also feel the music has to progress, employing the elements of creativity and surprise”. Colligan explains that his compositions (a number of which, here, have been awaiting their first recorded documentation) are just the beginning, preferring not to spend too long on their genesis: “It’s great to present my music to a band I trust, and if they interpret it another way… well, I’m open to that. Not only is it exciting, I also respect what they contribute. It’s actually easier and more fun to embrace that – and I find myself being inspired back”.

The playful qualities of ‘Whiffle Ball’ recall, for the leader, fond memories of playing the backyard baseball game with his father, its piano improvisations and expansive chordal riffs inviting equally breathless soprano across its fast swing. Amongst Colligan’s older piano trio tunes, ‘Waterfall Dreams’ contrasts quiet, reflective pools with percussively-laced bass extemporizations; and the complexity of ‘Effortless’ (a nod to Kenny Werner’s book ‘Effortless Mastery’) is based on the notion of something on paper seeming difficult, yet is more about the actual perception of whether or not it’s challenging (“If you think it’s hard, then it will be hard; but if you decide it’s easy…”).

‘Today, Again’ represents the repetitive busyness of ‘a day in the life’ through rhythmically purposeful, melodic tenor and piano lines and the resultant, boisterous improv – this quartet with Glover is the polar opposite of prosaic. Obi-Wan Kenobi fans will recognize the reference in raucous title track ‘More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine’ (from the very first Star Wars movie) whose McCoy Tyner-like, heavy-rooted drive heads into unbridled saxophonic chaos (Colligan enjoys the powerful way the melody fits with the pounding figure, describing it as a piece which could go in so many different directions); and conversational ‘Empty’ is a fluid tenor showcase.

The first of three compositions written at the piano in the quietness of Carefree, Arizona, mysterious ‘Retrograde Pluto’ originates from an astrological reference overheard in an unresolved conversation Colligan recalls: “’Well, it’s Retrograde Pluto – you know what that means?’ and I thought, ‘What does it mean; is the world going to end?’!” The dry, night-time humidity of ‘Southwestern Silence’ suggests the wide-open desert spaces of Arizona (“It’s very, very quiet – if you have any paranoid thoughts, they’re only going to get louder!”); and high-spirited ‘The Nash’ (after the Phoenix jazz club that the pianist has played) is unashamedly jaunty, even anarchic.

“For me”, says Colligan, “it’s more about letting things happen, rather than controlling. I already know what’s going to happen in many situations, in a world that can have so many restrictions. But with music, I’d rather not know. It’s a chance to be surprised – as improvisers, we’re legally allowed to do that – otherwise it’s like having a time machine (“there’s a time machine right over there”) but never using it! Charlie Parker is now thought of as ‘traditional’; but at the time, he was breaking new ground, a revelation. So, with ‘modern mainstream’, I love to challenge the notion of what’s contemporary and what’s old-fashioned. Working with Linda, Rudy and Nicole, their ability to react and respond is amazing”.

Tour dates (more dates added soon):

July 10 – Ronnie Scott’s – London

July 13 – 15 – Spain tbc

July 16 – 17 – Scotland tbc

July 19 – Porgy n’ Bess






Partikel to appear at Jazzahead in Bremen Germany this week – April 29 @ Gewoelbe Vegesack

We’re gearing up for the annual jazzahead conference in Bremen Germany this week – if you’re coming, make sure to stop by our stand (6A25) and say hi.  Along with Julian Siegel’s band, we’re happy to share that Partikel will also be performing on the 29th April playing music from their *just* released Counteraction.  Details below:


Whirlwind signs Julian Siegel for January 2018 release + catch him at Jazzahead this week Friday 28

We’re very pleased to announce the signing and January 2018 release from Julian Siegel (saxophonist, clarinettist, writer-arranger) and his band featuring Liam Noble, Oli Hayhurst and Gene Calderazzo.

Over the last two decades, Julian has built a prolific reputation as one of the UK’s premier jazz musicians. A world-class saxophonist and clarinettist who has won mulitple awards for both his playing and compositions, Julian has worked with many of jazz’s leading lights including; Mike Gibbs, Django Bates and Norma Winstone alongside co-leading Partisans for over two decades with guitarist Phil Robson (they released Swamp with us in 2014 and won jazz album of the year at the Parliamentary Awards – they’re on tour in May).

With the Julian Siegel Quartet, Siegel has chosen to work with three distinctive voices on the UK jazz scene, including pianist Liam Noble whose fluid touch and dazzling imagination perfectly complements Siegel’s playing. Adding the creative spark of drummer Gene Calderazzo and the deep groove of bassist Oli Hayhurst creates one of the UK’s most exciting band.

The music the band plays moves freely through varied sound-worlds and colors, from undercurrents of bop to an acoustic quartet playing early-electric Miles into dancing West African drum grooves, searching ballads and joyful melodies.


 “A UK-jazz supergroup, this band sets the bar pretty high for the art of making idiomatic, eclectic contemporary jazz.”
The Guardian

 “There’s not a moment that doesn’t fizz with ingenuity and imagination.”
Mojo Magazine

“When the Julian Siegel Quartet perform live it’s a fantastic ride.”
BBC Radio Jazz on 3

 “The new material confirms this band are a superb vehicle for Siegel’s varied and adventurous compositions. These are four great players at the top of their game, and the result was unequivocally state-of-the-art.”
London Jazz News

“Virtually unstoppable imaginative flow.”
The Irish Times

 “Entirely distinctive and very original”
The Observer


Stay tuned for more info on this release as it develops…


Catch Julian performing at Jazzahead this week in Bremen, Germany


“A robustly attractive album… we’ll be hearing a lot more from this talented bassist in the future.” All About Jazz on Mark Lewandowski’s ‘Waller’. Tour continues tonight

Strongly maintaining the integrity of Fats Waller’s music while looking afresh at its present-day possibilities, English double bassist Mark Lewandowski presents Waller with Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis.

The supporting tour continues tonight at Leicester Jazz House.

Here’s a review of from Waller All About Jazz:

“A robustly attractive album… we’ll be hearing a lot more from this talented bassist in the future.”
All About Jazz (full review)

“A collection of pastoral pieces that come across like audible water color paintings.” – More great reviews for Ingrid and Christine Jensen’s ‘Infinitude’

Infinitude is the debut release from sisters Ingrid and Christine Jensen 

Ingrid Jensen – trumpet

Christine Jensen saxophone

Ben Monder guitar

Fraser Hollins – bass

Jon Wikan – drums



Here are the latest highlights for  Infinitude:

“In a quintet lineup, they present themselves once again in top form.”
Jazz Podium (website)

“A collection of pastoral pieces that come across like audible water color paintings.”
Jazz Weekly (full review)

★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine review for ‘Roots of Unity’ by Escape Hatch (Ivo Neame, Andrea Di Biase, Dave Hamblett and Julian Argüelles) + new video and Vortex date 15th April


“Sensually hypnotic and thematically cohesive… Exhilarating contemporary jazz.”
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine (website)


A collaborative concept from double bassist Andrea Di Biase and British pianist Ivo Neame, the line-up for Escape Hatch is completed by London-based drummer Dave Hamblett and guest saxophonist Julian Argüelles.

This Saturday at Vortex Jazz Club, Escape Hatch will be performing music from recent release Roots of UnityThey will be joined from Copenhagen by saxophonist Francesco Bigoni. (Tickets)

‘Hysterical Revisionism’ (left) recorded live in Milan.



Available now: ‘Waller’ by Mark Lewandowski with Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis + tour dates


Thomas Wright ‘Fats’ Waller was a true entertainer; a New York trailblazer of his time (1920s to early 1940s), turning out hundreds of songs including those which would become established standards, such as ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’, ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and ‘Jitterbug Waltz’. A jocular, larger-than-life character, his Harlem stride piano and gritty voice were key to a distinctive sound which would inform the jazz of subsequent generations, with solid showtime melodies ensuring its longevity.

Strongly maintaining the integrity of Fats Waller’s music while looking afresh at its present-day possibilities, English double bassist Mark Lewandowski embarked on this concept with clear intent: “I wanted to approach it with respect. Fats’ music is frequently loud, exuberant, even obnoxious at times, as well as wistful and elegant; so I really wanted to strip it down – and, with that in mind, I automatically thought of Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis (their 2009 duo album, Starry Starry Night, has long been a great inspiration to me). As a drummer, Paul demonstrates such great poise and economy, using only brushes throughout the whole of what was a particularly relaxed recording session, whilst Liam’s playful, unpredictability at the piano is perfect for this” (he has skilfully reworked the music of many artists, including Dave Brubeck, Bud Powell… even Elgar). “For the three of us, the experience of improvising so conversationally and intimately felt remarkably equal, and became more of an ongoing commentary rather than a straightforward reinterpretation. Nothing was fixed, the shackles were removed – so I loved the spontaneity and the vulnerability, as well as Liam’s and Paul’s wry take on things.”

With authentically-sampled historical introductions occasionally reinforcing the context, Waller’s eleven tracks unfold organically from the slenderest of wireframes. As Lewandowski says: “Fats would never have written any of those things down; if he composed a new tune, he’d go over to them and play it from the piano.” A similar approach here affords each of the musicians the freedom to respond in their own way while also intertwining their various strands of ideas, so ‘Lulu’s Back in Town’ emerges and then reappears from the trio’s enthusiastically percussive ‘chat’. ‘I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead… Suzannah!!’ fuses together two Fats originals, its countrified bass phrasing sparingly embellished by Clarvis’ irregular snare patterns before Noble runs headlong into it with characteristically oblique swing. Another astute pairing results in ‘It’s a Sin to Write a Letter’, followed by Lewandowski’s animated bass solo ‘Have a Little Dream on Me’; and ‘Blue Because of You’ quicksteps to dashing bass and shuffling brushes as Noble shrugs off its melancholy origins.

Flirtatious favourites ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ and ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ are typically mischievous, nay impetuous, with each player lying in wait to jump off the others’ ideas; ‘Jitterbug Waltz’s familiar descending phrases are avidly seized upon by the ever-inventive imaginings of Noble; and both ‘Cinders’ and ‘Fair and Square in Love’ are deliciously and mesmerisingly held back, the latter hinting at a cool Motown ballad vibe towards its close.

Mark Lewandowski’s final, sung/whistled track – ‘Surprise Ending’ (Jelly Roll Morton’s resigned ‘Why’) – whimsically nods to Waller’s personable, socially-relevant reflections on the mundanity of life, as well as his popular showmanship from the piano. It might even offer a glimpse of future spin-off projects: “We’ve all studied early jazz alongside our more contemporary projects, and everything I do is very heavily informed by the Black-American tradition – it’s how I first fell in love with this music. So it’s been a great way to focus on Fats’ output; and I can even envisage some continuity in us exploring other historical artists in the same way. You can’t hide behind this music, so we wanted it to be as honest as possible, based on our own instincts. We’re using our collective influences of the past to inform how we improvise as contemporary musicians – and I hope, for listeners, it’ll be a gateway to the wider, colorful world of Fats Waller.”



Trumpeter Kenny Warren heads to Japan this week and new album ‘Thank You for Coming to Life’ gets ★★★★ review from All About Jazz

“Warren has chops a-plenty and compositional talent to match.”
★★★★ All About Jazz (full review)

 Thank You for Coming to Life by trumpeter and composer Kenny Warren – with JP Schlegelmilch (piano), Noah Garabedian (bass) and Satoshi Takeishi (drums).


 Show Dates


Monday April 10 – SUB, Osaka, Tokyo

Saturday April 15 – Jazzspot Candy, Tokyo

Sunday April 16 – Kissa Sakaiki, Tokyo

Wednesday April 19 – Asagaya Violon, Tokyo

Saturday April 22nd – NYU/DC Abramson Family Auditorium (w/ Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus)

Wednesday June 14 – Barbes, Brooklyn NY

Wednesday May 24 –  Bar Below Rye, NY (Duo with Bobby Avey)

Tuesday June 20 – ETA, LA (Chris Speed/Kenny Warren/Jordan Brooks/Aaron Steele)


“A triumphant tour de force of skill, courage and imagination.” Time Armacost’s Time Being reviewed by Jazz Views and Bebop Spoken Here

The debut Whirlwind release as leader, from acclaimed tenor saxophonist Tim Armacost:

Tim Armacost – tenor saxophone
Robert Hurst – double bass
Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts – drums
David Kikoski – piano





Latest reviews in for Time Being

“A triumphant tour de force of skill, courage and imagination that should mark Armacost as one of the foremost exponents of the evolving music.”
Jazz Views (full review)

“Armacost catches your attention from chorus one.”
BeBop Spoken Here (full review)

“This is an exciting, imaginative album, both rooted in the history of the music and forward-looking, and deserves to be recognised as a powerful re-invigoration of a noble tradition.”
Jazz Views (full review)