‘More Powerful’ by George Colligan and ft. Linda May Han Oh, Rudy Royston and Nicole Glover gets ★★★★ review in The Guardian on release day.

 

Click here for CDs and Digital Downloads of More Powerful

“Captivating and unpredictable.”
★★★★ The Guardian (full review)

“More Powerful” may be one of the hardest-hitting contemporary jazz records you’ll hear this year.​”
Step Tempest (full review)

“Boundless creativity without ever forgetting the importance of a beautiful melody.”
Radio REC

 

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

July 10 – Ronnie Scott’s – London

July 12/13 – Bahia Jazz Festival, Cadiz

July 16 – Vortex Jazz Club, London

July 16 – Raj, Klagenfurt

July 19 – Porgy n’ Bess, Vienna

 

Jazzwise Magazine previews our latest signing: Oli Rockberger to release ‘Sovereign’ Oct 20 in UK + video premier

We are very excited to announce the signing of London-born singer-songwriter, keys man and producer Oli Rockberger and the release of his forthcoming album Sovereign in the UK on October 20th 2017 (other territories tba).

Jazzwise Magazine broke the news yesterday with a video premier of ‘My Old Life’.

Read the feature and view the new video by clicking here.

 

 

Rockberger has performed and/or recorded with Carly Simon, John Mayer, Steve Gadd, Jesse Harris, Levon Helm, Randy Brecker, Gloria Gaynor, Steve Jordan, Judy Collins, Nathan East, Becca Stevens, Louis Cole and Chris Dave And The Drumhedz amongst others. Current work includes performing as a member of the prodigious award-winning songstress Laura Mvula’s touring band (keys/vocals), and his original singer-songwriter project as a recording artist.

Recent highlights under his own name include Love Supreme Festival (UK), London Jazz Festival (Pizza Express London), Vortex Festival of Voice (London) and Rochester Jazz Festival (Rochester, USA).

“Powerful, melodic crossover jazz singer-songwriter with improvisatory flare….”
Time-Out

“(Old Habits) is a monument to be relished in the border territory of jazz and pop”
London Jazz

“This is definitely pop music at its most creative”
Music OMH

“Oli can conjure up echoes of Randy Newman, Todd Rundgren and Peter Gabriel, yet still inhabit a sound world all of his own..”
Jazzwise  

Oli will be leading his own band for a tour of the UK dates to support the album release featuring drummer Marijus Aleksa, guitarist Giorgio Serci, vocalist/fiddler Hannah Read and bassist Michael Janisch.

Tour Dates (more being added, check back for updates)

12th October – Soundcellar, Poole

18th October – The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

19th/20th October – Pizza Express Jazz Club, High Holborn ALBUM LAUNCH DATES

14th November – Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho  (EFG London Jazz Festival)

 

George Colligan announces ‘More Powerful’ Euro tour dates + DownBeat Editor’s Pick + reviews from London Jazz and UK Vibe (★★★★)

George Colligan marks the release of More Powerful with a series of European show dates.

Scroll down for full tour information and to read the reviews for the album so far:

Find out more about More Powerful here including how to pre-order.

 

 

 

 

“Whether he’s crafting a lovely line, delivering a fiery riff or unleashing an intricate solo, Colligan’s music always has an impressive muscularity.”
DownBeat Magazine (scroll down for full feature) (website)

“This is powerful, accessible, exciting contemporary jazz by a crack team of high-level operatives, treading a fine line between maintaining the tradition and pushing at the frontiers.”
Jazz Views (full review)

“A thoughtfully programmed, impressively accomplished affair that should win Colligan plenty of new admirers.​”
London Jazz​ (full review)

“Exciting eventful music performed by musicians operating at the highest level of their craft.​”
★​★​★​★​​ UK Vibe (full review)

 

 

GEORGE COLLIGAN ‘MORE POWERFUL’ TOUR DATES

Details: here

July 10 – Ronnie Scott’s, London, UK

July 11 – Dempsey’s, Cardiff, Wales, UK

July 12/13 – Bahia Jazz Festival, Cadiz, SPAIN

July 16 – Vortex Jazz Club, London UK

July 17 –  Raj, Klagenfurt, AUSTRIA

July 18 – Porgy & Bess Jazz Club, Vienna, AUSTRIA

 

Joel Harrison announces ‘The Other River’ album release shows in NY and Washington DC

“Beautiful compositions and deeply intense vocals… A fusion of influences shines out from this splendid album…”
Radio France REC

Pre-Order The Other River HERE

Joel Harrison has announced three album launch shows starting in New York tomorrow evening.

 

 

 

Tues June 20 at ROCKWOOD 3 MUSIC HALL: 7pm

Rockwood Music Hall, 185 Orchard Street New York, NY

Guests include:

Glenn Patscha, Stephan Crump, Allison Miller, Jack Devine, Jen Chapin

More info and tickets: here

Harrison will also perform June 29th at Colony in Woodstock, NY at 8pm (Tickets)

and July 1st at Bossa Bistro, Washington D.C.  at 7:30 pm. (Tickets)

Joel Harrison’s latest undertaking, The Other River (Whirlwind Recordings), is an album dripping with Americana influences from blues, country, gospel, jazz, and rock. The songs aim at reconnaissance of the heart. The guitarist/composer is exploring a new direction, generating lyrics, rhythms, and melodies that recall giants like Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, and Robert Hunter. This is territory that Harrison has touched on in previous cds, such as Passing Train (Intuition) and Free Country (Act). But this release is clearly something different. Of course Harrison takes pride in not repeating himself, so it is not entirely surprising.

The Other River, co-produced by keyboardist Glenn Patscha, makes use of evocative language, creating layers of imagery that encourage multiple interpretations. Ultimately the goal is to write courageously about friendship, love, disillusionment, and loss. Says Harrison, “I’m more and more thirsty for this kind of intimacy in art.”

Tim Armacost’s ‘Time Being’ – ★★★★★ review from UK Vibe

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

 

 

 

 

Great review in for Time Being

Relaxed and thoughtful, yet spellbindingly exciting… one of the most richly rewarding albums​ ​this year. Repeated listening just adds to the enjoyment.​”
★★★★★​ UK Vibe​ (full review)

More reviews for ‘Infinitude’ and Montreal International Jazz Festival’s Oscar Peterson prize awarded to Christine Jensen

Congratulations to Christine Jensen the recipient of the Oscar Peterson award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival

Here are the latest reviews for Infinitude:

“Music seemingly made up more of silence than extraneous sound. Yet everywhere – in the ethereal trumpet, or the echoing guitar and the solitary saxophone – there is inconceivable, heart-rending beauty…”
JazzdaGama (full review)

“An exciting and unique musical world.”
Tor Hammero (BL) (full review)

Infinitude the concept of boundless possibility

 

 Summer Tour Dates

 

(check back for Europe tour announcements coming soon)

Sunday June 25 – Edmonton International Jazz Festival

Monday June 26 – Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Tuesday June 27 – Victoria International Jazzfest

Wednesday June 28 – SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

Thursday June 29 – Toronto Jazz Festival

Friday June 30 – Montreal International Jazz Festival

 

 

Offbeat Magazine previews ‘Scarecrow Ray’ from Joel Harrison’s ‘The Other River’ for release next month

 

Joel Harrison’s ‘Scarecrow Ray’ from forthcoming release ‘The Other River’ has been previewed in Offbeat Magazine. Click here to learn more about the album.

“This song is based on an experience I had long, long ago on a Greyhound bus traveling across Texas,” Harrison explains. “A rail-thin man sat down next to me who was mute. He had no bags, and was dressed in threadbare clothes. He tried to converse with me with his hands. He began to have an epileptic seizure, and I literally stuck my hand down his throat (twice) and kept him from suffocating. His mute suffering, mixed with his gentle and lovely smile, his terrible helplessness, seemed mythic to me. Here was the suffering of all the world in one lonely man, and the whole bus looked away, while I, an innocent young lad, fought off my fear and helped him. Would I do it today? I don’t know. Most of us turn away from the suffering of others. We can’t help it. He was thrown off the bus in the middle of nowhere.”

Click here to hear ‘Scarecrow Ray’ and read the preview in Offbeat Magazine

 

Two CD celebration shows for Kenny Warren in NYC this week + latest reviews for ‘Thank You For Coming To Life’

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

“Boldly creative and superbly orchestrated… A masterful album… Stunning.”
Radio REC (FR)

“An impressive recording.”
Sandy Brown Jazz (full review)

 

 

This week, Kenny has two shows in Brooklyn, New York to celebrate the release of   Thank You for Coming to Life

Kenny Warren Quartet with JP Schlegelmilch, Noah Garabedian and Satoshi Takeishi:

14th June – Barbès

16th June – The Owl

Whirlwind signs guitarist Rez Abbasi to release ‘Unfiltered Universe’ featuring Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Johannes Weidenmueller, Dan Weiss and Elizabeth Mikhael on Oct 6th 2017

Whirlwind is delighted to announce the signing of guitarist and composer Rez Abbasi.

“Abbasi creates a sinuous, sometimes haunting, and always evocative blend of contemporary jazz and Asian influences.”
Time Out New York

“Neither Eastern nor Western, but effortlessly global … proof that jazz can be as vital and boundary-pushing as ever.”
All About Jazz

Invocation is guitarist Rez Abbasi’s sextet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer, alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller, drummer Dan Weiss and guest cellist Elizabeth Mikhael to release on Oct 6th 2017. With Unfiltered Universe the group explores Carnatic classical music from Southern India through the idiom of jazz.

Abbasi — along with Iyer and Mahanthappa — is one of a trio of jazz musicians who are forging distinctly South Asian-inflected voices on the contemporary scene. Abbasi comes to this endeavor honestly: he is one of the foremost guitar players in modern jazz, a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, but early in his career he made a pilgrimage to India to study with tabla master Ustad Alla Rakha, father of Zakir Hussain. The mission of Invocation’s music, Abbasi declares, is “to create a global-based music steeped in jazz. This tradition follows in the footsteps of some of the greatest jazz musicians. Coltrane, Ellington, and Gillespie all immersed themselves in music from around the world.

 

Read DownBeat Magazine’s review of  Invocation’s live premiere in New York: here


ABOUT REZ ABBASI


“Producing so vivid a music that it can almost be tasted, Abbasi sounds like no one who has gone before him. His compositions are sheer genius…”
All About Jazz

Voted #1 Rising Star Guitarist in the 2013 DownBeat Critics Poll and placed in the “top-ten Guitarists” in 2015’s poll, Rez Abbasi continues to push boundaries.

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, removed at the age of four to the vastness of Southern California, schooled at the University of Southern California and the Manhattan School of Music in jazz and classical music, along with a pilgrimage in India under the tutelage of master percussionist, Ustad Alla Rakha, Rez Abbasi is a vivid synthesis of all the above stated influences and genres. Making New York home for the past 25 years, Abbasi has developed a unique sound both as a composer and an instrumentalist and is considered by many to be one of the foremost modern jazz guitar players the world over. He has honed his skills with performances throughout Europe, Canada, the U.S., Mexico and India. He has performed and recorded with many jazz greats including, Grammy winner Ruth Brown, Peter Erskine, Kenny Werner, Barre Phillips, Tim Berne, Michael Formanek, Billy Hart, Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith, Gary Thomas, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mike Clark, Tony Malaby, George Brooks, Ronu Majumdar, Kadri Gopalnath, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Marilyn Crispell, Greg Osby, Howard Levy and a host of others.

Rez is musical director, arranger and producer for Indian/Canadian multiple Juno award winning vocal sensation, Kiran Ahluwalia. Kiran’s 2008 recording, “Wanderlust” was in the top ten European world-music radio charts and also was among the top-ten albums of 2008 in Song-Lines Magazine. Another of Abbasi’s highly regarded associations is with heralded saxophonist, Rudresh Mahanthappa. Rez plays an integral role in Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition and Kinsmen Ensemble. Rez can also be heard as a member of many others projects.

With twelve albums of mostly original compositions under his belt, Abbasi continues to find new groups of musicians to help his musical vision come to life. His 2005 recording Snake Charmer, created a stir in the music world partly due to his organic, original approach in blending two complex musical genres together, namely jazz and Indian music. The provocative instrumentation of organ, drums and guitar alongside Indian vocalist Ahluwalia, is on one hand, a sound grounded in jazz and yet uncommon in jazz arenas. 20th Century Guitar reviewed the CD as, “One of the best examples yet of how to merge Indian Classical music with jazz…Snake Charmer really breaks new ground.” In 2007, Rez achieved even greater heights with the follow up to Snake Charmer, Bazaar. Bazaar continues the group’s journey through territories unheard in today’s jazz/world music scene.

Abbasi’s sixth album, Things To Come (Sunnyside, 2009) is yet another leap into unchartered musical territory. It features a star studded group of Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Kiran Ahluwalia, Johannes Weidenmueller and Dan Weiss and was included in DownBeat’s top CD’s of the decade. The same year he was awarded the prestigious Chamber Music America Grant as a commission to compose new works for the same ensemble, Invocation. At the end of 2009, Abbasi formed a new quartet. The Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet, or RAAQ, was conceived for the purposes of featuring Abbasi’s acoustic guitar talents. Simultaneously, it serves as an outlet to feature his compositions alongside “gems from other composers that are rarely heard today.” Abbasi was well aware of creating a group that would magnify and enhance his acoustic guitar sound – calling upon vibraphonist, Bill Ware (Steely Dan), bassist, Stephan Crump (Vijay Iyer Trio) and drummer, Eric McPherson (Andrew Hill). RAAQ’s debut, Natural Selection (Sunnyside, 2010) captures the profound sensitivity of the ensemble as it twists and turns through the set, featuring the standout textural cascades created between acoustic guitar and vibraphone. The album was included in JazzTimes’ and NPR’s ‘best of’ the year lists and the New York Times did a feature review of the CD release concert. RAAQ performed at the 2010 Newport Jazz Festival which was recorded and broadcasted several times on NPR’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.

In 2010, Abbasi reconvened his group, Invocation to record the follow-up to Things To Come. Suno Suno (enja, 2011) features his new CMA commissioned compositions that are informed by Qawwali – spiritual music from Pakistan. The power, joy and depth that Qawwali encompasses can be heard throughout Suno Suno. The album was included on multiple top-ten lists of 2011. As a response to Invocation, with its extended ensemble and highly complex compositions, Abbasi felt the need to do a more intimate project. His new trio was formed and it includes long time cohorts, bassist, John Hebért (Andrew Hill) and drummer, Satoshi Takeishi (Eliane Elias). Continuous Beat (enja, 2013), is his first trio outing and the results are brimming with adventure and subtlety. Along with his cutting edge compositions, the trio reinterprets music of Monk, Jarrett and others, using guitar electronic manipulation. As he states, “I wanted to excite the listener with a new guitar trio experience. One that retains the warmth of the established trio sound but also employs electronics in order to expand the timbral palette, especially for the melodies. Ultimately, this approach not only gives clarity to the solos but also keeps the listener’s aural sense stimulated.”

Abbasi soon re-employed his acoustic quartet, RAAQ for another album. Intents & Purposes (enja, 2015) acoustically recasts classic jazz-rock music from the ‘70s, a genre Rez initially was not a fan of due to its over use of synthesizers. He used a fretless guitar to highlight his love for micro-tonality. Rez was featured in the Wall Street Journal, DownBeat and JazzTimes.

 

Samuel Eagles’ Spirit wins award at the Bucharest International Jazz Competition

Congratulations to Samuel Eagles and his band Spirit who received a special award in the final of this years Bucharest International Jazz Competition.

Samuel’s forthcoming release Ask, Seek, Knock will be released next month. Find out more about the album and pre-order a copy here:
Ask, Seek, Knock

“The inclusion of a vibraphone in the sextet brings an interesting dimension to the music.”
Sandy Brown Jazz (full review)