The rich diversity of modern jazz is examined through six great new releases from Art Hirahara, Marco Pacassoni Trio, Eric Vloeimans with Will Holshouser, Nicolas Politzer, Charu Suri and Playfield.
Show Intro 00:00
Art Hirahara “Danza Por Arte” from Verdant Valley (Posi-tone) 00:48
Marco Pacassoni Trio “Time Vibes” from Life (Giotto Music) 08:40
Eric Vloeimans, Will Holshouser “Tibi Gracias” from Two For The Road (V-Flow/Challenge Records) 15:16
Nicolas Politzer “Sitio” from Será Niebla (ears&eyes) 23:07
Charu Suri “Nature (Raga Hemant)” from Ragas and Waltzes (Amala Records) 29:16
Art Hirahara “Symbiosis” from Verdant Valley (Posi-tone) 38:51
Marco Pacassoni Trio “Anita” from Life (Giotto Music) 46:19
Nicolas Politzer “Momo” from Será Niebla (ears&eyes) 51:32
Charu Suri “Farewell Waltz” from Ragas and Waltzes (Amala Records) 1:00:00
Eric Vloeimans, Will Holshouser “To Louis” from Two For The Road (V-Flow/Challenge Records) 1:03:13
Art Hirahara “Zero Hour” from Verdant Valley (Posi-tone) 1:09:33
Marco Pacassoni Trio “Train Trip” from Life (Giotto Music) 1:16:19
Eric Vloeimans, Will Holshouser “Redbud Winter” from Two For The Road (V-Flow/Challenge Records) 1:22:48
Charu Suri “Waltz For My Father” from Ragas and Waltzes (Amala Records) 1:32:52
Playfield “Loves Electric Touch” from Stepping Out (577 Records) 1:40:41
Pianist Art Hirahara unearths the heavenly landscapes of “Verdant Valley” on his eighth album for Posi-Tone Records. Searching for new realms of engaging expression, Hirahara perseveres steadily along on his personal journey of musical unfoldment. With a steady hand, Hirahara displays a clear sense of creative continuity, and succeeds in creating a bold impassioned statement with significant and meaningful contributions from his trusted collaborators: tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Rudy Royston. The program is eminently lyrical and clearly suggestive of a modern jazz sensibility, while the focus remains melodically straight forward with a steady flow of thoughtful interplay and hard swinging highlights. With an amazing combination of talents and an evocative program of brilliant performances, “Verdant Valley” is sure to bring bright moments of intense delight to serious listeners and jazz fans everywhere.
Marco Pacassoni Trio
Marco Pacassoni Trio feat. John Patitucci & Antonio Sanchez
Marco Pacassoni: vibraphone and marimba John Patitucci: Acoustic and Electric Bass Antonio Sanchez: drums All songs composed and arranged by Marco Pacassoni Recorded at The Bunker Studio in New York by Aaron Nevezie Mixed at Lunik Recording Studio in Pesaro by Davide Red Battistelli Mastered at G & J Audio in New York by Gene Paul Produced by Marco Pacassoni & Enzo Bocciero Executive Producer: Egea Music Personal Photographer: Andrea Rotili
Marco Pacassoni’s life has been driven by willpower and this eponymous album is the confirmation, the goal he set himself, the dream he always hoped would come true. Eight pieces, of which the last two are free improvisations, reveal all his poetics; from the simple complexity of his musical world in Time Vibes and Italian Creativity to his mastery of melody in Anita, from the intriguing harmonic progressions of Valse à Trois, to the irregular tempos of Life, from the dance rhythms of Marimbass and Train Trip to the space left for the music to breathe we find in Un Lento Bolero. Indeed this space to breathe is key to the whole album. The virtuosity in each piece of music is controlled and intentional, butterflies fluttering in a field rather than frantic flies trapped in a room. Only two great musicians like John and Antonio could have managed to tiptoe into Marco’s poetic world with such grace and respect. They had fun bringing their collective creativity to the score by playing in both senses of the word. John’s timeless elegant style and Antonio’s acrobatic, pictorial drumming embrace Marco’s new way of playing without keyboards, transferring the melodies and chords to his own keys. The last two tracks can be described as blank canvases, the present, unfiltered, “Rolling!” without set harmonies or pre-established rhythms. Conversation #1, recorded without a metronome, demonstrates with its accelerating and decelerating tempos, how the three musicians were able to develop a common pulsation in such a short time. The grooves that emerge from the chaos could, in themselves, be the central structure of a whole other album. In Conversation #2 John’s bow transforms the initial entropy into patterns strung on a line and the whole changes as soon as a new rhythmic or melodic element is introduced into the vortex. Both improvisations are splendid trans-generational conversations which are, like some experiments made in last century, instant compositions. Therefore, as John says at the end of Conversation #1: “Let’s hear that!”.
Eric Vloeimans, Will Holhouser
Two for the Road, the striking new album from Dutch trumpeter Eric Vloeimans and American
accordionist Will Holshouser, was recorded during a live concert tour of the Netherlands in 2021, during a window in the pandemic when musicians and audiences could finally come together. The second album from this duo, it showcases their expressive writing, playful and virtuosic improvising, and omnivorous range of influences, stretching the format to include a colorful range of sounds from their eclectic musical backgrounds. A CD & digital release via Bandcamp and streaming platforms, the album was released September 1, 2022 via V-flow / Challenge Records.
Sera Niebla is Nicolas Politzer’s debut album as drummer, composer, and leader of this trio that is completed by Santiago Leibson on piano and electronics, and Maximiliano Kirszner on double bass. The trio was formed in 2010 and has recorded a total of four albums, Amon, Pendular, Vivo en el FNA (these three under the name of Santiago Leibson Trío), and lastly, Sera Niebla. This joint trajectory, to which concerts and tours of this band are added, is presented as a fundamental element in the formation of a common language, thus allowing a natural musical development of the compositions, with a strong emphasis on group interaction. , improvisation as a compositional element, and confidence.
Charu Suri, has reinvented the classic European waltz and expanded the definition of her self-defined music genre: “Raga Jazz” on her latest album, “Ragas & Waltzes”. On the recording, she is the first Indian composer to work with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans by collaborating with their legendary drummer Joe Lastie. Preservation Hall inspired Suri to start her own band just four years ago. This album brings her musical inspiration and the creation of her music full circle. “Ragas & Waltzes” fuses the music of the East and the West with two raga-inspired compositions: the airy “Floating” with guitarist Noshir Mody, and Raga Hemant (version 2) with Native American flute performed by Al Jewer. The album also features violinist Philip Vaiman, harpist Denise Fink, and bassist Justin Lee. The artwork on the album was created by: Upasana Asrani which conveys the transformational and mystical aspects of life, symbolized by the lotus, which is India’s national flower.
Playfield has never played inside. Daniel Carter, a multi-instrumentalist and the founder of 577 Records, has always pushed to make sound more real, relying on outdoor performance and New York City’s auditory ambience, to orchestrate his pieces. This practice, which is fundamentally improvisational and experimental, opens any final recording to the unpredictable nature of strangers’ sound and offers a rich texture of a moment in time. Importantly for the artists, this practice draws on the energy of one’s external environment: conversations, car horns, bird songs, and far away, even other music. That changed with Stepping Out, the group’s first recording in the comparatively sterile environment of a studio. Alongside Carter, Luisa Muhr (Voice), Ayumi Ishito (Tenor Sax and Electronics), Eric Plaks (Piano and Rhodes), Aron Namenwirth (Guitar and Electronics), Yutaka Takahashi (Guitar and Electronics), Zachary Swanson (Bass), Jon Panikkar (Drums) packed into a Brooklyn recording studio. As the environment shrank from open streets to an enclosed room, the artists were compelled to make field recordings of cicadas or ice-cream trucks, and include heavy new effects to transition between improvisations. Producers Jon Rosenberg and Aron Namenwirth borrowed mixing techniques from the pop and cinema world to bring jazz into the 21st century without resorting to commercial beats or a famous feature singer. The result is creative, expansive, and intently real. Stepping Out will be available on CD in October 2022.