World of Jazz 496

On this weeks show a host of new releases from Caleb Wheeler Curtis, Chris Torkewitz, Hendrik Meurkins & The WDR Big Band, The Relay, Kate Wyatt, Alessandro Sgobbio, Robert Lee and Pablo Moser. There are also two brand new albums from Gordon Grdina, the reissue of a 20 year live recording from Peter Brötzmann, Milford Graves, and William Parker, and music from 2018 from Helena Kay’s KIM Trio.

  1. Show Intro 00:00
  2. Caleb Wheeler Curtis “Tossed Aside” from HEAT MAP (Imani Records) 01:00
  3. Chris Torkewitz “Filou” from NY Ensembles (goschart music) 07:52
  4. Hendrik Meurkins & The WDR Big Band “Manhattan Samba” from Samba Jazz Odyssey (Zoho) 22:18
  5. Helena Kay’s KIM Trio “L and D” from Moon Palace (Ubuntu) 28:34
  6. Brötzmann, Graves, Parker “LP One Side A” from Historic Music Past Tense Future (Black Editions Archive) 36:30
  7. The Relay “Spirit Walk” from The Relay (Same Island Music) 52:33
  8. Kate Wyatt “Artefact” from Artefact (Self Released) 1:00:00
  9. Alessandro Sgobbio “Fireflies” from Piano Music (AMP Music & Records) 1:09:01
  10. Robert Lee “Cha-Ran” from Cha-Ran (Three Pines Records) 1:12:44
  11. Gordon Grdina’s Nomad Trio featuring Matt Mitchell and Jim Black “Boiling Point” from Boiling Point (Astral Spirits) 1:17:47
  12. Gordon Grdina, Matthew Shipp, & Mark Helias “Pathways” from Pathways (Attaboygirl Records) 1:24:42
  13. Pablo Moser “Languaje Secreto” from Languaje Secreto (ears&eyes) 1:33:34
  14. Caleb Wheeler Curtis “Whisperchant” from HEAT MAP (Imani Records) 1:40:41
  15. Helena Kay’s KIM Trio “Feijão” from Moon Palace (Ubuntu) 1:45:13
  16. Alessandro Sgobbio “Ghaza” from Piano Music (AMP Music & Records) 1:53:47
  17. Alessandro Sgobbio “Third Ward (Elegy)” from Piano Music (AMP Music & Records) 1:57:27


Caleb Wheeler Curtis

Saxophonist/composer Caleb Wheeler Curtis’s vibrant quartet album with pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Gerald Cleaver is out July 15, 2022 via Imani Records. Curtis’s third Imani release as a leader, is a bold testament to his development as an artist who simultaneously maintains a gift for collaboration and a striking individual vision. The album presents a brilliantly conceived set of music leaving ample room for the band to improvise, explore and invent. “Part of that was just recognizing that I like music with space in it,” says Curtis. “I wanted to appreciate the sound of the music in the air. You can hear the detail in the playing, and really hear the musicians as people.”

Chris Torkewitz

Composer-arranger-saxophonist-flutist-pianist Chris Torkewitz had one of the highpoints of his many careers on March 21, 2013. He presented a concert of his original music performed by his Jazz Chamber Ensemble and his Jazz Orchestra, two ensembles formed specifically for the event. Nine years later, the full concert is being released for the first time, and it proves well worth the wait. The featured track is from the 17-piece Jazz Orchestra – the band playing a harmonically complex and modernistic arrangement -TRUMPET & FLÜGELHORN: Sam Hoyt (lead tp), David Smith, Dan Blankinship, John Raymond; TROMBONES: Tim Vaughn (lead), Bradley Madsen, Isaac Kaplan, Max Seigel (bass trb); SAXES & WOODWINDS: David Ashton- ss , Jay Rattman-as & fl , Jim Saltzman, Ben Bryden-ts, Olli Hirvonen-gt, Florian Hoefner-p, Markus Schieferdecker-b, Austin Walker-dr, Chris Torkewitz-conductor.

Chris Torkewitz is originally from Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany. Classically trained on the piano from the age of five, he took up the alto and tenor a few years later, soon adding flute. Torkewitz began composing music at 18 and worked in a variety of projects in Germany including a Latin jazz trio and tentet. Moving to the United States, he earned degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, served on the school’s faculty, and led a trio. In 2014 he returned to Germany to become a professor of popular music at the University of Arts and Applied Sciences in Freiburg. Still, he has been back in the U.S. many times since, usually performing there half the year. Torkewitz also toured Canada, Syria, Cuba, and Central America.

Hendrik Meurkins & The WDR Big Band

Hendrik Meurkens – harmonica, Michael Philip Mossman – conductor, The WDR Big Band: Johan Hörlén, Pascal Bartoszak, Olivier Peters, Paul Heller, Jens Neufang – saxophones, Andy Haderer, Wim Both, Rob Bruynen, Ruud Breuls – trumpets, Ludwig Nuss, Raphael Klemm, Andy Hunter, Mattis Cederberg – trombones, Paul Shigihara – guitar,   Billy Test – piano, John Goldsby – bass, Hans Dekker drums

Hendrik Meurkens is a German-born, New York-based harmonica player who performs Latin Jazz.

Samba Jazz Odyssey comprises seven pieces composed by Meurkens and pairs with the august WDR Big Band, from Cologne, Germany, with arrangements which were also conducted by Michael Philip Mossman, a Grammy-nominated arranger. “This project is very special to me,” said Meurkens. “It is everybody’s dream to record with the WDR Big Band”.

Helena Kay’s KIM Trio

Debut album released December 18, 2018

Helena Kay – tenor saxophone and compositions
Ferg Ireland – double bass
David Ingamells – drums

Helena Kay is a tenor saxophonist and composer based in London. Originally from Perth, Scotland, they moved to London in 2012 to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 2016 with a First Class in BMus Jazz (Hons). During their time studying, they were awarded the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year Award (2015). In 2021, they were selected to become a City Music Foundation Artist.

Kay released their debut album Moon Palace in 2017 after winning the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award the same year. They recorded the album with their band Helena Kay’s KIM trio, released on Ubuntu Music in December 2018. The album features David Ingamells on drums and Ferg Ireland on double bass.

Kay draws influence from different places which are important to them: Scotland, London, and New York, each of which have been their home during their career. While in New York, they had lessons with some of the greats of the contemporary jazz scene – Dayna Stephens, Melissa Aldana, Chris Cheek and Rodney Green.

Kay also plays with various groups such as Calum Gourlay Quartet, Issie Barratt’s Interchange Dectet, EuroRadio Jazz Orchestra 2017 and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and has performed at numerous festivals such as London Jazz Festival, Glasgow Jazz Festival, as well as venues including as Ronnie Scott’s, The Royal Albert Hall and The Vortex.

Their latest project, Helena Kay’s KIM Trio + Peter Johnstone, features Kay on tenor saxophone & compositions, Calum Gourlay on double bass, David Ingamells on drums and Peter Johnstone on piano. This group will be recording and releasing Golden Sands later this year.

Helen says “My next album is going to be released in September, I’m currently crowdfunding to cover the costs of mixing, masting, artwork, printing, PR. There’s more info about it here – https://www.helenakay.com/crowdfunding/”

Brötzmann, Graves, Parker

Released January 31, 2022 – Recorded March 29, 2002, CB’s 313 Gallery, New York

Peter Brötzmann: reeds
William Parker: bass, Doussn’Gouni
Milford Graves: drums, vocals, dancing

This trio performance now gets a look back via Black Editions, and captures a moment in time when greater synergy between jazz musicians might have been possible. Broadcast from the front room of CBGBs in 2002, this is the first ever recording of the band playing together, mainly cementing Graves’ chops and standing as an immensely great drummer and worthy of his place in the percussive hall of fame. An impossibly timeless, rare, and sleek New York jazz standoff.

The Relay

Debut album

Led by pianist Michael Eckroth and saxophonist Dan Pratt and featuring bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Allan Mednard, these four musicians share a deep commitment to their craft. Dan has been called “a powerful player” by Jazz Times, whose compositions earned him the accolade of being “a true home run power hitter” by All Music Guide, while Michael has been hailed as “a modern renaissance musician,” by the Latin Jazz Network, “with the kind of insights that will surprise you.” Pratt, a longtime member of the GRAMMY-winning Christian McBride Big Band, also notes Eckroth’s playing with the GRAMMY-nominated Cuban ensemble Orquesta Akokán and his deep scholarship in Latin and Afro-Caribbean music, elements of which come into his writing for The Relay.

Kate Wyatt

Pianist and composer Kate Wyatt is one of Montreal’s finest jazz musicians, and her debut album Artifact is an excellent glimpse into the many layers of her musicianship. She has been hailed as an “excellent pianist… one of the top artists of Montreal, Quebec, or even Canadian jazz.” . A veteran of many festivals and jazz clubs nationally and internationally, Wyatt has been invited to perform with many recognized and respected musicians including Kenny Wheeler, Yannick Rieu and the Orchestre National de jazz de Montreal (ONJ). Artifact is a debut album that sounds like anything but. It consists of a magisterial, meditative sequence of original Wyatt compositions, as well as a gorgeous standard by Billy Strayhorn. The songs lay deep melodic roots, backed by harmonies that soar to exciting heights. The musicians on the album are all leaders in their own right, but the group dynamics testify to a deep sympathy between the players. Trumpeter Lex French is in complete command of the entire musical narrative, from the subtle flavour of individual tones, all the way to the complex architecture of his solos. Drummer Jim Doxas is a telepathic presence throughout the album: a sensitive soul with an enormous heart who stays in constant dialogue with the soloists. Bassist Adrian Vedady – Wyatt’s husband and long-time musical collaborator –
plays with a deep, mellow tone that lays the bedrock for the band’s exploration. As a soloist, Vedady is a philosopher who explores melodies and arranges them into thoughtful passages that command attention. There are hints of influences, both pianistic and compositional, in Kate Wyatt’s work. But overwhelmingly, it is obvious that she speaks with a unique musical voice. Artifact was released worldwide on Friday, July 1st 2022.

Alessandro Sgobbio

The composer and pianist Alessandro Sgobbio returns to his original vocation of the piano
solo with Piano Music – new autobiographical collection of piano dedications. The repertoire
of the album includes “classic” compositions taken from his solo recitals (and until now never
recorded on disc), but also unreleased songs written by Sgobbio during the recent pandemic times.
Made on a magnificent Fazioli F278 Piano, Piano Music was recorded, mixed and
mastered by Stefano Amerio at the Artesuono Studios (Cavalicco, UD).

Robert Lee

His sophomore album. All original compositions inspired by Korean Folk Stories.The main goal of this music is to evoke the same emotion that is perceived from the narrative storytelling of Studio Ghibli films (i.e. Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle). Releases August 22nd , 2022.

  • Robert Lee – Bass
  • Carolina Alabau – Vocals
  • Mai Choma – Violin
  • Kris Ramakrihsna – Flamenco Guitar
  • Brandon Atwell – Vibraphone
  • Adem Mehmedovic – Piano
  • Tetyana Haraschuk- Drums

Gordon Grdina’s Nomad Trio

Boiling Point (Astral Spirits), the sophomore release from Grdina’s acclaimed Nomad Trio picks up where the trio’s self-titled 2020 debut left off. With technical and creative genuises like Matt Mitchell, one of the most audacious, in-demand pianists on the New York Scene, and Jim Black, the propulsive rock and electronica-inspired drummer behind bands like Berne’s Bloodcount and Human Feel, the possibilities are endless.

Gordon Grdina, Matthew Shipp and Mark Helias

Pathways (Attaboygirl Records) is the second release by Grdina, legendary pianist Matthew Shipp, and bass innovator Mark Helias. Since their 2019 initial meeting on Skin and Bones, these three extraordinary artists continue their musical evolution with a tightly coiled, laser focused recording full of abundant ideas packed into concentrated, intense bursts of creative energy.

Pablo Moser

‘Lenguaje Secreto’ is music that needs to reach others. Its songs propose a common, magical and new language to the listener. The compositions were written and developed through the observation of childhood, the shared game that works as a portal, the first invented words and the irrepressible need to communicate.

The group’s instrumentation, tenor saxophone, double bass and drums, is the ideal vehicle to approach this music with freshness and flexibility. Far from being limited by the absence of an harmonic instrument, the trio generates a wide range of colors and textures, and each composition has a defined mood and climate. The dialogue between the saxophone and the double bass is beautiful and intricately mysterious. The rhythmic concept completed by the drums is fluid and open. The album also explores the timbral possibilities of the three instruments and their combinations.

This album was recorded after two years of developing the music collectively. Musical collaborations among Pablo Moser, Andrés Elstein and Juan Bayon go back to over a decade and a half of shared projects, and the trio consolidated after the long months of quarantine without the possibility of making music as a group. The songs were born both by the long experience and the power and joy resulting from the possibility of meeting again after the endless musical void brought by the pandemic. The music evidences the trust and complicity between the three players, as they navigate the breakneck curves, in the fresh improvisations combined with the written material and the immediate reaction to each other’s proposals. The trio itself generates an optimistic secret language, eager to be shared with others.

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