World of Jazz 488

On this show we have a clear demonstration of the variety of fine music that exists across the World of Jazz with new releases from Dan Schnelle, Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Oscar Peñas, Majamisty Trio, Sameka, Ronny Graupe Off The Record, Julius Rodriguez plus the trio of John Dikeman, Péter Ajtai, and Nicolas Field.

  • Show Intro 00:00
  • Dan Schnelle “Unknown Territory” from Shine Thru (Outside In) 00:44
  • Heroes Are Gang Leaders “Amina (The Dutchman’s Three Buttoned Suit / Poetry Iz Labor / Forensic Report)” from LeAutoRoiOgraphy (577 Records) 07:43
  • Oscar Peñas “Almadraba’s Waltz” from Almadraba (Music Oz) 20:21
  • Majamisty Trio “The City of Jewels” from Wind Rose (Mistyland) 24:16
  • Sameka “Actual Proof” from Introducing Sameka (Mons Records) 33:33
  • Ronny Graupe Off The Record “Determination Dawn” from The Call (Out Of The Shed) 39:45
  • Julius Rodriguez “Gift Of The Moon” from Let Town Sell All (Verve) 42:34
  • Dan Schnelle “Shine Thru” from Shine Thru (Outside In) 45:51
  • Oscar Peñas “Travelling Through Water” from Almadraba (Music Oz) 54:24
  • Majamisty Trio “Passarola” from Wind Rose (Mistyland) 1:00:00
  • Sameka “Amoniti” from Introducing Sameka (Mons Records) 1:04:28
  • Ronny Graupe Off The Record “Determination Belief” from The Call (Out Of The Shed) 1:10:39
  • John Dikeman, Péter Ajtai, Nicolas Field “The Unwanted Sonny” from The Throes (Orbit 577) 1:13:55
  • Heroes Are Gang Leaders “LeAutoRoiOgraphy” from LeAutoRoiOgraphy (577 Records) 1:27:45
  • Dan Schnelle “New Changes” from Shine Thru (Outside In) 1:39:37
  • Majamisty Trio “Wind Rose” from Wind Rose (Mistyland) 1:44:28
  • Ronny Graupe Off The Record “Determination Assembly” from The Call (Out Of The Shed) 1:49:46
  • Oscar Peñas “La Levanta” from Almadraba (Music Oz) 1:55:10

Dan Schnelle

Much in-demand, Los Angeles-based drummer Dan Schnelle promised himself that he wouldn’t record his first full-length album until he felt sure that he had a musical vision unique to him – one that was reflective of his musical instincts, his design, and his concept. The results go beyond any reckoning one may have previously had about this artist. Shine Thru is nothing short of captivating and thrilling, and most importantly, Schnelle has achieved his goal of creating a musical world all his own.

On Shine Thru, Schnelle invites the listener into his sonic globe with the hopes that you’ll be spellbound. Schnelle explains, “My main goal, within the compositional process, was to create and deliver music that transports listeners to a new mental space – to invite them into my world, and make music that feels engrossing, so the listener loses their sense of time and space. If my music can be a portal for even a few people, it has done its job.” A lofty goal? Perhaps, but give-in to the celestial music that Schnelle has created with his amazing team of fellow artists, and longtime collaborators and friends, Josh Nelson (piano), Jeff Babko (piano, keyboards), Anthony Wilson (guitar), David Binney (alto saxophone) and Alex Boneham (bass), and who knows what may happen when you experience Schnelle’s true creative soul which permeates every ounce of this music.

Dan Schnelle’s career, up until now, has been in a support role, something he’s quite adept at: whether that’s playing drums as a sideman for the likes of Billy Childs, Larry Goldings, Alan Ferber, Sara Gazarek, Laurence Hobgood, Walter Smith III, Joshua White, John Daversa, Dayna Stephens, Phillip Dizack, Nick Finzer, Larry Koonse, David Benoit, Karrin Allyson and many others. Collaborating with these incredible bandleaders and playing their compositions has taught him a lot about musical landscapes and textures.

Being a much sought after sideman often means repressing some of your own musical impulses, ideas and instincts. For a highly creative person, it is imperative to have a balance, and to create and walk your own path as well! Through that desire to step-out and put himself in a place where the decision-making brought his focus towards what is aesthetically in-line with his creative vision, we have this wonderful debut from Schnelle, which is sure to be the first in a series of engaging recordings to come. “This album is my first real step into owning everything I’m doing. I never wanted my first record to be standards, covers or expected material from a ‘jazz drummer’; I was committed to it representing me musically, and not at all based on what I, or someone else, think the audience wants to hear, or in some way is just ‘checking boxes.’ Hopefully, this record stands as a piece of art, not as a business card to show what I’m capable of,” says Schnelle.

A guiding quote for Schnelle throughout the process comes from author Anne Morris, “The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around like rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life”. You can hear, “the irony of commitment,” translated into Morse Code, layered throughout the track, “New Changes,” on Shine Thru.

Shine Thru, is an affirmation. A message that it’s okay to commit to what you see, hear and feel, and to step into the light and be YOU, come hell or high-water. “I can’t know that I’ll always be shining, but if I’m holding back, I definitely won’t be shining thru…,” says Schnelle.

Heroes Are Gang Leaders

Heroes Are Gang Leaders was founded in 2014 by poet, photographer and professor Thomas Sayers Ellis and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis as a tribute to the late poet, activist and Jazz Critic Amiri Baraka. Ellis and Lewis opened for Baraka at the St Marks Church (The Poetry Project) in 2013. HAGL is a Literary Free Jazz Ensemble of writers, artists and musicians dedicated to the sound extensions of literary text and original composition. Between 2014 and 2019 HAGL recorded six projects: “The Amiri Baraka Sessions,” “The Avant-Age Garde I AMs of the Gal Luxury,” “Highest Engines Near / Near Higher Engineers,” “Flukum (Your Book Sucks)” and the yet to be released “POPschutz” (recorded in Berlin, Germany) during HAGL’s first European Tour. Their new album is on 577 Records

Thomas Sayers Ellis, bandleader poet
James Brandon Lewis, tenor sax
Luke Stewart, bass
Melanie Dyer, viola, vocals
Nettie Chickering, voice
Jenna Camille, piano, vocals
Randall Horton, poet
Devin Brahja Waldman, alto sax, synthesizer
Bonita Lee Penn, poet
Heru Shabaka-ra, trumpet
Brandon Moses, guitar
Warren “Trae” Crudup, III, drums

Oscar Peñas

On May 21, 2018, Oscar Peñas was excited to enter Sear Sound Studio to record his debut suite Almadraba” arranged and composed for an eight-piece ensemble. Little did Penas know about when he asked legendary bassist Ron Carter who responded enchanted to record his composition on six tracks. The official launch date for the album is on February 25, 2022, which was produced by Jason Olaine and engineered by Grammy awardee Jeremy Loucas.

Oscar Peñas perform with a not flashy precise finger-picking technique, giving his fellow band members space shows all his creativity skills on guitar. Also featured on Almadraba are fellow Spaniard, keyboardist Marta Sanchez; bassist Pablo Aslan; (on the tracks where Ron Carter didn’t play); percussionist and world rhythm expert Richie Barshay; and the Harlem Quartet, the Grammy-winning string four-some comprised by violinists Ilmar Gavilán, and Melissa White; violist Jaime Amador; and cellist Jody Redhage-Ferber.

Almadraba is the fifth album by Peñas “…whose gem-playing remains a study in restrain and depth, and whose training began with classical studies and later progressed to jazz….” by Ashley Kahn (liner notes).

Peñas’ novel suite was inspired by Cadiz’s unknown ancient fishing method in the South of Spain. Each of the suite’s movements describes the different steps of the almadraba fishing method, all of them titled after those. Almadraba’s premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival from October 3—6, 2018. Audiences experienced the stage representation of the fishing process mirrored a set of dramatic photos—some in black-and-white, others in washed-out color—projected on a gigantic screen behind the musicians in sync with the music. The multimedia effect transformed the presentation into something of a multi-sensory knowledge. Peñas’ innovative composition received acceptance with endless ovations, thrilling audiences’ celebrations, of great excitement.

Its second presentation in Feb. 2019 got the piece a fantastic concert review by Phillip Lutz – Downbeat Magazine; “Even when the bandleader brought out his nylon-string guitar and invoked, if obliquely, the flamenco sounds of his native land—as he did to great effect in the closing piece, “Bulería de la Almadraba,” the most animated offering of the night—he demonstrated an abundance of reserve. For all its artistry, Peñas’ work retained considerable humility and remained no less impactful because of it.”

Majamisty Trio

Hot on the heels of their internationally acclaimed 2020 release Organic, standout Serbian pianist Maja Alvanovic and her trio present their fourth studio album, Wind Rose, this April 7th. A further exploration into the interactive, contemplative and dynamic style they’ve come to be known for, Wind Rose balances the comforting and familiar with the unconventional and surprising for a truly enchanting listen. Driven by lyrical melodies and delicate compositions which trace the jazz lineage from the likes of Bill Evans to Nordic icons E.S.T. the romantic piano stylings of Alvanovic are complemented by longtime bassist Ervin Malina and rising star drummer Lav Kovač, whose propulsive, fluid, and textural approaches to trio musicianship craft a refreshingly modern sound. Expanding the trio’s timbral palette are guest appearances from vocalist Aneta George and clarinettist Ulrich Drechsler, who transport the record to the realm of melancholic chamber music. The ensemble’s collective focus on musicianship is apparent even in its name; drawing parallels to the meteorological tool used to identify the point at which winds converge, Majamisty TriO’s Wind Rose is the point at which musicians of different origins and backgrounds collaborated to create something special. In Alvanovic’s own words, “Togetherness is for me the biggest impression after listening to our recordings.” Expertly engineered, mixed and mastered at Studio Kachara by Dimitrije Jakovljević, Wind Rose is crystal clear, intimate, and raw, giving the music the closeness and immersive quality it deserves.

Sameka

The debut album from Sameka, German jazz-rock band which sets focus on complex rhythms, pulsating riffs and unison lines refined with oriental interjections. All tracks composed by band-leader Simon Zauels who was recently featured in the German bass magazine BASS PROFESSOR talking about his upcoming album and/ oder who has already played on festvials like “Jazzopen” Stuttgart or “Sharq
Taronalari” in Uzbekistan, one of the biggest musicfestivals in central asia

Ronny Graupe Off The Record

Prominent German guitarist who specializes in 7-stringed instruments.

Ronny has been working with his new quartet Off The Record the members of the band are, Dominik Bukowski (PL) – vibraphone, Phil Donkin (GB) – double bass, Oli Steidle (D) – drums, and are longtime musical companions of Graupes. In spring 2022 the first album “The Call” by this line-up was released
on Ronny’s own label Out Of The Shed . This new program of work is with a quartet of unusual line-up (plus double bass, drums and vibraphone). In a complex contemporary jazz aesthetics he explores, with his ambitious original pieces (two longer suites and an intermission), the question of existence in a musical way, of finding the right path and walking it has been associated with countless obstacles since ancient times.

Julius Rodriguez

Julius Rodriguez, multi-talented pianist/drummer/producer, has announced the release of his debut album Let Sound Tell All set for release June 10 via Verve Records. Stunning jazz elders and pop and indie peers alike with his technical wizardry, Yoda-like understanding of complex melody, and George Martin-inspired production feats, Rodriguez commands attention for his reverence for sound – however anyone decides to classify it.

On his debut album Let Sound Tell All, 23 year old musician Julius Rodriguez stirs a cauldron of gospel, jazz, classical, R&B, hip-hop, experimentation, production and sheer technical wizardry to create a stunning debut that commands attention. As an 11 year old kid, Rodriguez honed his jazz chops at Smalls Jazz Club, wowing audiences with his rendition of his favorite Ellington tune “Take the A Train.” Fast forward to 2018 when he dropped out of Juilliard, shimmying off the rigid curriculum to tour with A$AP Rocky. Now, in 2022, Rodriguez is on the cusp of a stellar release that weaves his life and influences – from Monk, Coltrane, Solange, James Blake, Sampha and more. This music is as much at home in Smalls Jazz Club as it is at Gov Ball.

“Gift Of The Moon” was one of the album’s earliest recorded songs. Rodriguez calls it “the first song I wrote that wasn’t a traditional jazz song, since there’s no solo section.” He struggled for years trying to figure out what to do with it, until in 2019 he asked trumpeter Giveton Gelin to solo over the existing recording. Rodriguez couldn’t pick any of Gelin’s three takes, “so I used all of them at the same time, and it turned into what it is now,” a trick he picked up from George Martin and his youthful idolization of The Beatles’ studio hacks – as well as from Roy Hargrove’s recordings where the late trumpeter would overdub tracks. The addition of Julius’ synth parts and a wordless vocal from Onyx compadre Nick Hakim created a stunning instrumental miniature.

Let Sound Tell All is a complex combination of live improvisation weaved with high-level production. A song may start out in a well-oiled, Coltrane classic quartet energy and fed through distortion pedals to culminate in an exhilarating trippy meltdown of sheer sonic genius.

Call him Gen-Z jazz, but when you hear Julius Rodriguez play “the music,” as he calls it, it’s a modern Sound, as fluent in history as it is aware of its contemporary context. His music dares to imagine a future of new standards and musical trailblazing. This vanguard was raised in an atmosphere where pop and hip-hop and dance influenced their approaches to melody and harmony and rhythm, so of course it is part of their improvisational DNA. And that’s what Julius Rodriguez’s Sound tells to whoever will choose to listen.

John Dikeman, Péter Ajtai, Nicolas Field

Recorded one afternoon in Amsterdam, The Throes showcases three musicians in full stream of consciousness mode, tearing through ideas and emotions at a breathless pace. The tracks were recorded in chronological order, racing out of the gate with the unrelenting composition ‘Recognitions’ and maintaining a sprint until the closing track. While saxophonist John Dikeman had worked previously with both drummer Nicolas Field and bassist Peter Ajtai, in their home countries of Switzerland and Hungary, respectively, this was the first time the trio had ever joined to perform in Amsterdam, John’s home base for the last 10 years. Rather than timidly feeling each other out, waiting for the others to speak, they jump in head first, accelerating through the avantgarde and experimental project. The songs carry elements of angry punk and traditional jazz, challenging our preconceptions of how improvisational composition can take form. The Throes will be available as a digital release on May 10, 2022.

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