On this show we travel around the world to hear some of the latest jazz records from the USA Europe, Russia, South America, and Israel. Ground-breaking new releases push the boundaries of the music creating a variety of fresh and in some cases unexpected sounds.
- Mareike Wiening “Seesaw March” from Future Memories (Greenleaf) 00:00
- Agustín Uriburu “Santa Fe” from Santa Fe (ears&eyes) 06:56
- Heikki Ruokangas & Landon George “Rainy Day” from Stagnant Rapture (Habitable Records) 11:59
- Ilugdin Trio “Case” from My Story (Jazzist) 17:37
- Giorgos Tabakis “Attraction” from Here Now Then (Ekfrassis Productions) 27:26
- Alon Farber Hagiga “Reflecting On Freedom” from Reflecting On Freedom (Origin Records) 34:15
- Mareike Wiening “Future Memories” from Future Memories (Greenleaf) 42:07
- Agustín Uriburu “Take A Hike” from Santa Fe (ears&eyes) 48:03
- Heikki Ruokangas & Landon George “Double Vision” from Stagnant Rapture (Habitable Records) 53:41
- Don McDonald “Dali’s Hourglass” from Shifting Sands (Self Released) 1:00:00
- Alon Farber Hagiga “More Monkeys Please” from Reflecting On Freedom (Origin Records) 1:05:52
- Low Kick Collective “1” from Pulsar (Self Released) 1:14:43
- Ilugdin Trio “What For?” from My Story (Jazzist) 1:21:26
- Mareike Wiening “El Escorial” from Future Memories (Greenleaf) 1:30:44
- Agustín Uriburu “Ocean” from Santa Fe (ears&eyes) 1:38:12
- Don McDonald “Atacama” from Shifting Sands “Self Released) 1:44:13
- Heikki Ruokangas & Landon George “Arroyo” from Stagnant Rapture (Habitable Records) 1:49:23
- Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Kaiser, Alex Varty “Pacifica Koral Reef (preview)” from Pacifica Koral Reef (577 Records) 1:55:12
Featuring eight of Wiening’s originals inspired by her band members, the compositions are emotional, rhythmical and most importantly, always lyrical. The music was captured in January 2020, just before the first pandemic lockdown, and the album’s title encapsulates Mareike’s feelings: the unexpected value of our future interweaves with various levels of past experiences, memories and the unknown. Balancing great compositions with soaring solo explorations, this is exciting, thoughtful, and engaging creative jazz.
Mareike Wiening | Drums
Rich Perry | Tenor Saxophone
Glenn Zaleski | Piano
Alex Goodman | Guitar
Johannes Felscher | Double Bass
Daniele Germani – Alto Sax
Gabriel Chakarji – Piano
Agustin Uriburu – Cello & Guitar
Juan Chiavassa – Drums
Through the years and through many generations, Jazz and Argentina have had a tacit bond, and intangible relationship that can be explained through the immigrant’s suffering and nostalgia, and through having to build culture and identity in a different part of the world, where we feel foreign but that we adopted as our own.
When you sit down and listen to “Santa Fe” those feelings will permeate not only your mind but also your soul, because it is impossible not to feel captivated by the expressiveness of this beautiful piece of work, which narrates Agustin Uriburu’s experience and journey away from his home country, the melancholy and vent of emotions that he doesn’t express through words but through music and through his instruments: cello and guitar…..
Heikki Ruokangas & Landon George
Front and center in Stagnant Rapture is adherence to fidelity. The simultaneity of low fidelity and high fidelity. Loyalty to textured electric-acoustic grit and interleaved accuracy; the guitar and drum egregore straddling -buckling- the crinkle of competition and cooperation. Tangible, visceral trust in each other’s
calibrated insertions amid the fizzy unfolding. Guitarist Heikki Ruokangas of Finland is nimble and angular and allows the accumulated detritus of recent mechanical past an entry to future eternal primal cry. Multi-instrumentalist Landon George from the US filters his comprehensive versatility to a pareddown drum kit, eclipsing the limited palette with boundless refulgence. This is thick, humid, cobwebby weather as music, roiling with integrity and structural soundness, a rainy day/rainy eve companion quaking the rafters of your playback system.
The trio of jazz pianist Dmitry Ilugdin is releasing its third studio album, “My Story”. Starting May 27th the album will be available on streaming platforms. It is the first release of Jazzist—a new record label based in Moscow, Russia.
All the music on “My Story” was entirely written by the Trio’s founder, composer and pianist Dmitry Ilugdin. The Trio (other members include Viktor Shestak on double bass and Petr Ivshin on drums and percussion) has been working together for more than six years. Ilugdin’s original material was carefully tailored during live performances, coming to fruition for studio recording. The sound was engineered by Andrey Levin, chief specialist of the Mosfilm studios and one of the Jazzist co-founders. The album’s artwork was created by the world renowned designer Victor Melamed. Araik Hakobyan, art director of the Kozlov Jazz Club (another co-founder of Jazzist), became the executive producer.
“My Story” has a very personal touch to it. Every composition on the album is based on life experiences, human emotions and existential matters. Dmitry Ilugdin came up with an idea to supplement the tracks with short descriptions in order to add more accuracy, so to speak, when it came to conveying the mood of each piece. For example, “Case” is about unexpected situations that make you feel uptight and uneasy at first but, as time passes, you grow to have fond memories about them and you feel thankful for the experiences and new skills that came with them. “All these are true stories that actually happened to me,” says Dmitry Ilugdin. “Although the album is called “My Story”, I’m sure that many people have found themselves in similar situations. And since these stories are familiar not only to the listeners but to the members of the Trio, each of us managed to fill the initial musical idea with personal experience. I can say that our stories are intertwined.”
Stylistically, Ilugdin’s music absorbs the traditions of “cool” European jazz, follows the principles of sound integrity and clarity laid down by ECM, and reinterprets Russian classical music. The musicians combine understanding of the context and brilliant command of the instruments with the ability to be themselves and stick to their own style. For Ilugdin Trio, the lyrical and powerful “My Story” is yet another step forward.
“Reflection”, their previous album, was released in Russia in 2017, and was reissued in 2019 by Losen Records (Norway). In 2018, Ilugdin Trio participated in a large-scale celebration of the International Jazz Day under the auspices of UNESCO and represented Russia at the jazzahead! exhibition in Bremen. During these years the Trio performed at various venues, including Russian and international jazz festivals (Usadba Jazz, Amersfoort Jazz Festival, Belgrade Jazz Festival and others).
The new work of the guitarist / composer Giorgos Tabakis comes as a continuation CD after his
collaboration with the German clarinetist Rebecca Trescher and the CD “Dual Nature“ (2020) which was internationally distinguished, gathering excellent reviews from Europe and US.
In “hEre nOw theN” Giorgos Tabakis captures his personal view of the modern guitar, presenting a set of compositions and improvisations that focus on the broader modern music approach, assimilating elements and trends from contemporary classical, modern jazz, avant garde, progressive music, with the Greek sound being often present both melodic and rhythmically giving a result that is fresh and distinctive.
The use of material of tropical (modal), modern tonal and atonic music, natural sound effects, expressive and percussive media, places “hEre nOw theN” in the direction of a personal and free sound expression.
Through the special instrument Giorgos Tabakis 8 string MOOV guitar – made by George Behlivanoglou – reveals an artistic world rich in guitar ideas and techniques that offer comfort and space to the music and soundscapes that are created.
“hEre nOw theN” is a single work with different parts, highlighting the need for a source and unfettered expression of deeper ideas and experiences in an unprecedented reality.
Alon Farber Hagiga
Alon Farber – Soprano and alto saxes
Yehonatan Cohen – Tenor sax, flute and clarinet
Oded Meir – Trombone
Eden Giat – Piano
Assaf Hakimi – Acoustic and electric bass
Roy Oliel – Drums
Rony Iwryn: Percussion
Hagiga in Hebrew means “celebration” and in our music we celebrate the cultural divergence of our Israeli heritage. Hagiga is inspired by the variety of musical flavors and colors of the “Israeli soundtrack”. Our compositions cross musical genres and are influenced by Swing, Moroccan, Funk and Brazilian backgrounds. It is this unique “celebration” of original Israeli jazz that is Hagiga . Alon Farber Hagiga was founded in 2001 by Alon Farber and Dani Benedikt, and has since then released three albums: “Exposure” and “Optimistic View” were released by Fresh Sound Records (Barcelona). Nathan Halaway from jazzreviews.com named Hagiga “one of the finer groups that the Fresh Sound label has produced”. “New Directions”, released by QFTF (Berlin), prompted internationally acclaimed saxophonist Eli Degibri to note: “Taking their time, the band captivates the listener through a deliberate, fascinating and wondrous journey.” In September 2021 Hagiga’s new album “Reflecting on Freedom” will be released on one of the leading jazz labels in the world, “Origin Record”.
This groove infused jazz fusion album puts violin and mandolin on center stage with a traditional rhythm section of guitar, piano, acoustic bass, and drums. I wrote and produced all the music and blended influences from around the world with contemporary compositional approaches. It’s a meditation, then a celebration, a New Orleans bluegrass jam then a Ghanaian inspired mandolin duet.
I’m joined by an all-star cast of Canadian musicians including Dave Restivo (3-time winner of the National Jazz Awards’ Pianist of the Year Award), guitarist Mike Rud (Juno Award Winner), Steven Parish on drums, Rob Fahie and Jill McKenna on bass, and Dylan Ferris on mandolin. Joining the group is Boston based Jason Anick, “A rising star in the world of jazz violin and mandolin” (Downbeat Magazine).
Low Kick Collective
single / self-released, 2021
Low Kick Collective (St. Petersburg, Russia) is an experiment that has absorbed the ideas of jazz, free improvisation, avant-garde, minimalism, electronic music.
“Everything here is filled with the geometry of glare of darkness. Adult sentimental is replaced by defiant childish rigidity, the beauty of reason is interspersed with the savagery of what is always there, on the other side.”
During its existence, Low Kick Collective has released several Internet releases. Participants of major Russian music festivals: BOL (“The Pain”), Moscow Music Week, SKIF (Sergey Kurekhin’s International Festival), Petrojazz.
“Pulsar” (released October 30, 2021) is the first step to the new band’s album which is scheduled for February 2022.
Anton Ryazanov – tenor saxophone
Nikolay Petrov – synthesizers
Yana Lipaeva – double bass, bass guitar
Igor Borodin – drums
Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Kaiser, Alex Varty
ABOUT THE ALBUM BY ALEX VARTY
“I’m supposed to be writing about Pacifica Koral Reef, this record that I’ve made with my friend Henry Kaiser and his friend Wadada Leo Smith. And while the music it contains is, for me, a miraculous late-career achievement after 50 years of mostly playing in alternative rock bands, writing about it is a downright odd thing to have to do. In my parallel life as an arts journalist, I’ve interviewed everyone from Ornette Coleman to John Cage to Robert Plant but I’ve rarely had to write about myself, and I much prefer it that way. Fighting against my natural tendency towards self-effacement is the fact that Pacifica Koral Reef is more than just a record. Yes, everybody says this about their latest slab of black plastic or their shiny new optical disc, but this time it’s true.
Everybody says this, too, but wait.
The multidimensional experience that is Pacifica Koral Reef began life in trumpet player and composer Smith’s prodigious imagination, and then found a home on a single sheet of paper, inscribed with sinuous lines, bright blocks of spring green and earthy ochre, radiant pools of blue, circuit-board computations, and ancient glyphs.
You could call it a painting. The University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society, which hosted an exhibition of Smith’s graphic scores in 2015, probably would.
It’s also a portal, as Kaiser and I found when we began, with Smith’s inspiration and help, to translate it into sound. Over the course of several recording sessions, made next door to a sumptuous collection of vintage ukuleles and utilizing an array of microphones made of purest Soviet unobtanium, we were transported to locales as dramatically different as a steamy Chicago nightclub, a Third Stream concert hall, the crystalline world under the Antarctic ice, and a lonely Scottish moor (with hints of a lost tanpura droning in the distance).
Tracking the Pacifica Koral Reef score took us out of familiar habits and into new terrain. It sparked music that will never be duplicated, because if we tried we’d of necessity be expressing a different moment, a different feeling. And it strengthened preexisting bonds of friendship and respect. I met Kaiser in 1978, after seeing a poster advertising a concert of “weird guitar music”, and Smith perhaps a year after that, when he led a workshop for improvisers in Vancouver. Meanwhile, Henry has collaborated with Leo on a number of projects, most notably three 2-CD sets and two single album releases with their Yo Miles! band. Henry, who has known Leo since 1976, tells me that he thinks of Wadada as the favorite and wise uncle that he never had in his own family.
All of these visions, connections, and relationships are realized through the score. The music is improvised and ephemeral; the effect is intentional, replicable, and lasting.
That’s the beauty of Smith’s Ankhrasmation system, which combination of visual stimulation, musical notation, and social philosophy that prompts intuition, imagination, and cooperation.
“Ankhrasmation is a musical language, as opposed to a musical notation system,” Leo told music journalist Frank J. Oteri in 2011. “The first part, Ankh, comes from the Egyptian cross. Ras comes from the Ethiopian ‘head’, meaning the leader. And Ma comes from ‘mother’….It could be referenced scientifically, according to nature or biology, or it can be referenced according to fantasy, imagination. The only requirement is that the artists that are performing it maintain a high level of sincerity. That’s all it requires.”
I might argue that Ankhrasmation scores also ask their interpreters to be conscious of the values of “colour, velocity, [and] rhythm”. And when, more recently, I asked Leo if he envisioned Ankhrasmation as a way of integrating the eyes, the ears, and the hands of an improviser, or a group of improvisers, he agreed—but gently reminded me that I’d left out another important dimension: “the heart”.
I can’t speak to the heart that Henry brought to this project, although it’s plainly audible here, and he deserves full production credit for guiding Pacifica Koral Reef from improbable notion to elegant product. I won’t say much about my own heart, beyond noting that when we entered the studio I’d just had it broken, and you can probably hear this in the bagpipe-raga lament that I play on open-tuned acoustic guitar to kick off the record. But Wadada likes to speak about how his heart, his system, and his music are all connected to the need to not only survive, but thrive under injustice.
Obviously he’s talking about the African American experience in the United States—and more. With “African-American culture, the First People in North and Central and South America, the Jewish culture coming out of Asia,” he says, “all these things set in motion to wipe us out, they created something inside of us, all of us, that would not allow that to happen….So inside of that collective consciousness is this will to survive and to prosper. That’s the word I like to use. And when we look at African Americans, having people in business and in politics and in writing and literature and all these other dynamics of artistic and cultural activity achieve the highest level is just magnificent.”
Having been a diver much longer than he has been a musician, Henry is especially aware of the destructive effect of climate change on the coral reef systems that are an essential part of Gaea, the living earth. His many deployments to Antarctica as a working scientific diver for the past 20 years have made him an expert witness to the heartbreaking changes that are happening and accelerating right now. His guitar here reaches with from under-the-polar-ice inspired rhythms and narratives to intertwine with our collective concern for the earth and its elaborately interconnected web of inhabitants.
Snorkelling in the Pacific Northwest’s Salish Sea is a daily part of my own summertime routine. Like participating in collective improvisation, it gives me a sense of being part of a larger whole and an awareness that strange beauties await us just below every surface—along with the presence of risk, and evidence of life’s fragility.
Wadada brings the magnificent courage of his ancestors to this music. Henry is darting and provocative and deep into the practice of listening. Me, I’m just glad to be a part of the team, and I hope Pacifica Koral Reef brings light, warmth, and otherworldly pleasure to all those who hear it.