Friday, January 20, 2017

NEW RELEASES: FOUR TOPS – NATURE PLANNED IT; ART HIRAHARA – CENTRAL LINE; ERIC LAU - EXAMPLES

FOUR TOPS – NATURE PLANNED IT

Why did Motown ever let the Four Tops get away? This album was their last for the label – and it's an excellent one, filled with soul, sweetness, and some of the best arrangements the group had in their later years! The soul component is super-high – with tight group instrumentation that reminds us of the best Philly backing combos of the same time, but leaner too – as Dennis Coffey and Wah Wah Ragin are on guitars, Jack Ashford handles percussion, and Leonard Caston adds some nice funky keyboards. The real talent, though, is the group – and Levi Stubbs is in fine fine form on cuts like "She's An Understanding Woman", "I Am Your Man", "If You Let Me", "Nature Planned It", "Walk With Me, Talk With Me Darling", and "Happy (Is A Bumpy Road)". Even includes a great version of Todd Rundgren's wonderful track "We Gotta Get You A Woman"! (Limited edition!)  ~ Dusty 
Groove

ART HIRAHARA – CENTRAL LINE

Art Hirahara is a beautifully fluid pianist – one who really won us over with his last album on Posi-tone, and who seems to soar even more here – working in a fantastic trio that includes Linda Oh on bass and Rudy Royston on drums – plus some occasional tenor from Donny McCaslin! Oh and Royston have this round presence that really resonates strongly with Art's piano – creating this wave of soulful energy from the ground up, even on the mellower moments – with a tonal depth that's sophisticated, yet never forced at all. When McCaslin comes into the mix, his sound is a bit more separate from the three – yet in a way that only underscores their cohesion and beautiful sensitivity together. Titles include "Little Giant", "Sensitive Animal", "Central Line", "Kuroda Bushi", "Astray", and a version of the Chico Buarque tune "As Minhas Meninas".  ~ Dusty Groove

ERIC LAU - EXAMPLES

A beautiful back-to-basics set from Eric Lau – spare instrumentals that focus wonderfully on the best sort of interplay between beats and keyboards – never overdone, never overly-long, but a great reminder of how wonderful the format can be in the hands of the right musician! There's a crispness to the tunes that's wonderful – and a freshness that's really surprising, especially if you think that everything's already been done in the genre – which might have been our position, until we opened our ears to the goodness on the set! Titles include "Harmonics", "Rahw", "Harps In Space", "Lift Off", "Rhythm King", "The Sun & Beyond", "Flute Time", "Myo Shuffle", and "Everything Will Work Out Fine".  ~ Dusty Groove



NEW RELEASES: VIBRATION BLACK FINGER - BLACKISM; JEREMY PELT – MAKE NOISE!; CHIP WICKHAM – LA SOMBRA

VIBRATION BLACK FINGER - BLACKISM

Incredibly hip work from drummer Lascelle Gordon – a set that really lives up to the compelling name of the group, with a sound that instantly brings together a righteous 70s generation with the current cosmic underground scene! The music is a mix of spiritual and electric jazz modes, but also is unafraid to throw in a bit more in the way of electronics, too – never programmed rhythms, as Lascelle handles all those himself, live – but sometimes with phase shifts on some of the instruments, or a bit of processing – which evokes maybe a bit of electric Miles, or some of the Chicago Underground modes. Trumpet and tenor get nice space on the set, and the album features vocals from Maggie Nichols on one track – and titles include "Emin", "Sawalha", "Goodbye NYC", "Ofilli", "Drums For Peace", and "Bhamara/The Black Bee".  ~ Dusty Groove

JEREMY PELT – MAKE NOISE!

A joyous noise from trumpeter Jeremy Pelt – a player who just seems to get deeper and deeper as the years go on, and who's in very spiritual territory here – as he stretches out with a quintet on a host of beautiful original compositions! The lineup is heavy on the darker textures of the spectrum – with Victor Gould on piano, Vincente Archer on bass, Jonathan Barber on drums, and Jacquelene Acevedo on percussion – creating these shifting, blocking passages that really let Pelt's trumpet soar and shimmer over the top – maybe resonant with even more meaning than usual, as he blows these sublime lines that link him back to a righteous lineage we might never have expected from his early recordings. The whole thing's great – rock-solid, and free from gimmick – and titles include "Digression", "Cry Freedom", "Evolution", "Chateau D'Eau", "Your First Touch", and "Prince".  ~ Dusty Groove

CHIP WICKHAM – LA SOMBRA

Sublime spiritual sounds from reedman Chip Wickham – part of the new revival of soulful 70s modes that we see in the music of Nat Birchall and Matthew Halsall! Chip lists both of these musicians as key influence in the notes, and we can definitely hear that in the music, too – which is a mix of modal groovers and more spacious numbers that blossom with Strata East-like energy – all handled by a great quartet that features Chip on both flute and tenor, plus Gabriel Casanova on piano, David Salvador on bass, and Antonio Pax on both drums and vibes. The music also has some hip European echoes – with styles that recall older work by Harold McNair on the flute numbers, or maybe the best of the Saba/MPS acoustic years. Easily the most righteous album ever issued by the Lovemonk label – with titles that include "Sling Shot", "Red Planet", "The Detour", "La Sombra", "Pushed Too Far", and "La Leyenda Del Tiempo".  ~ Dusty Groove


BRENTON WOOD "THE VERY BEST OF" COLLECTION FEATURES 16 REMASTERED SONGS FROM 1967-1971

Very few singers ever accomplish what this soul man was able to do: create a lasting and indelible impression on listeners with only a few notes of a song. But that’s exactly what Brenton Wood did on his smash hit “The Oogum Boogum Song” in 1967. The opening piano notes and then Wood’s unique vocal still sounds brand new a half-century later. On February 24, Concord Bicycle is releasing The Very Best of Brenton Wood, a newly remastered collection charting his run of worldwide pop hits. Included are “The Oogum Boogum Song,” “Gimme Little Sign,” “Baby You Got,” along with unforgettable Dedicated to You soul ballads “Me and You” and “I Like the Way You Love Me.” 

In addition to Brenton Wood’s series of 7-inch 45s releases for the Double Shot Records label, two deep soul gems from the vaults are included: a stirring and deeply personal version of Sam Cooke’s Civil Rights anthem “A Change is Gonna Come” along with “Diamonds,” a sought after song that is among Wood’s most sought-after recordings. Both are making their physical debut on the compact disc version of The Very Best Of.

This brand new collection is Brenton Wood’s first official remastered Best Of compilation since 1988. Out of print for decades, his two classic studio albums Oogum Boogum and Baby You Got It were digitally reissued for the first time ever in 2013. Oogum Boogum will also have a wide vinyl album release this May. 

Brenton Wood has had a career of both mainstream success and underground devotion. All Music Guide recently wrote: “It’s hard not to hear Brenton Wood’s biggest hit, ‘Gimme Little Sign,’ and not be convinced that it very well might be the greatest single ever cut. It relies on no one thing—the song is slinky, surprising and seductive, blessed with a perfect production (the organ break in the middle is positively, eerily beautiful) and a wonderful, understated performance by Wood, who proves with his smooth, sure-handed delivery that he is one of the finest soul singers of his generation.” 

Brenton Wood arrived on the scene in 1967 with back-to-back hits “The Oogum Boogum Song” and “Gimme Little Sign” that would carry the then-Compton resident from a regional Southern California artist to international stardom. During his high-voltage period with the short-lived Double Shot Records independent label, Wood would record eleven 45s and two studio albums, creating a unique soul and pop hybrid style crossed with moving doo wop ballads.

The Hollywood-based Double Shot Records roster would also include garage rock legends Count Five, doo wop faves the Bagdads, Kent & the Candidates (who also were Wood’s touring  and session band) and Bay Area singing legend Bobby Freeman. It reflects an era when popular music was breaking across boundaries and become the sound heard around the world.
  
Track Listing

1. The Oogum Boogum Song
2. Gimme Little Sign
3. I Like The Way You Love Me
4. Baby You Got It
5. A Change Is Gonna Come
6. I Think You’ve Got Your Fools Mixed Up
7. Great Big Bundle Of Love
8. Me And You
9. Take A Chance
10. Darlin’
11. I’m The One Who Knows
12. Catch You On The Rebound
13. Two Time Loser
14. Best Thing I Ever had
15. Where Were you
16. Diamonds




ELIANE ELIAS CELEBRATES SAMBA’S CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY WITH NEW RELEASE "DANCE OF TIME"

Recorded in Brazil, the March 24 release features Randy Brecker, Mike Mainieri, Mark Kibble, Amilton Godoy, Toquinho and João Bosco

Two years after seducing fans with her GRAMMY®-winning Made in Brazil (Best Latin Jazz Album), the internationally acclaimed pianist, singer, composer and arranger Eliane Elias returns with the ebullient Dance of Time, set for release on March 24, 2017 via Concord Jazz.

The former disc commemorated a homecoming for her; it was the first time she recorded in her native country of Brazil since moving to the United States in 1981. JazzTimes magazine praised Made in Brazil as  “a warm embrace,” while Jazziz magazine wrote, “Surrounded by Brazilian-bred luminaries, Elias brilliantly captures the complexities of human emotions in a seamless display that reconciles past and present, loss and fulfillment, melancholy and bliss, all while celebrating her homecoming.”

Dance of Time, like its predecessor, was recorded in Brazil. “Recording in Brazil was such a high,” explains Elias as to why she returned to the country. But thematically, Dance of Time is its own beautiful beast. Whereas Made in Brazil was a tantalizing toast to three generations of Brazilian composers, Dance of Time’s themes are multifold.

With the presence of extraordinary guests including pianist Amilton Godoy plus singer-songwriting guitarists João Bosco and Toquinho—from Brazil—along with trumpeter Randy Brecker, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and singer Mark Kibble—from the United States, Dance of Time celebrates certain people who were integral in Elias’ early artistic journey in both Brazil and the U.S. “I wanted to include musicians who were very important in the start of my career,” Elias says. “Dance of Time represents the spectrum of my career from the very beginning until now.”

Dance of Time also applauds the samba, a genre originating from Bahia, via Africa. Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the first samba ever recorded and registered, “Pelo Telefone.” “Samba is the most authentic and contagious dance rhythm of Brazil, and there is no better place in the world to capture this music. I just had to be in Brazil to make Dance of Time.”

“On this record, I play and sing more sambas than I have ever recorded on an album,” Elias states. Indeed, she gets the party started in the most ingenious manner with her sublime makeover of the Brazilian classic “O Pato.” João Gilberto was the first to release the song in 1960 (on his Capitol Records LP Brazil's Brilliant João Gilberto). In Elias’ deft hands, the song’s rhythmic pulse transforms from bossa nova to samba as her percussive piano accompaniment propels the song forward alongside her rhythm section’s sauntering thrust. Elias embellishes her piano playing with pliant jazz phrases in a style that is absolutely her own. While singing and swinging the vocal melody with her sumptuous voice, her left hand pulsing a syncopating rhythm and her right hand flying over the keys, Elias tells short stories in her own inimitable way.

Next, Elias explores the 1932 classic show tune “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me,” a song famously rendered by Frank Sinatra in 1956. By supplying the song with a graceful bossa nova groove, Elias makes a subtle nod to Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim, the monumental duet LP between the two music icons, which celebrates its 50th anniversary. Elias’ rendition also features some glimmering vibraphone accompaniment from Mainieri.

Elias’ professional relationship with Mainieri dates back to 1981. When she was recording her first demo, Mainieri offered to produce it. Their partnership blossomed further when she joined the Mainieri-led jazz ensemble Steps Ahead. She recorded the group’s first album and toured internationally. Mainieri appears again on Elias’ amorous bossa nova “Little Paradise,” on which he underscores her husky voice and dreamy piano melodicism with aquatic vibraphone colors.

Mark Kibble—of the award-winning jazz-gospel vocal sextet Take 6—guests on the 1944 Brazilian classic “Copacabana.”  Her creative arranging skills are in evidence as she modernizes “Copacabana” with new harmonies, modulations and subtle backbeats, which provide an R&B sensibility that eventually morphs into a samba. Elias serenades the lyrics atop her gorgeous piano accompaniment while Kibble’s multi-tracked vocal harmonies insulate the song bracingly.

Elias reveals that she and Kibble have admired each other’s work since the mid-’80s: “I envisioned vocal harmonies on a few tunes, and I could not imagine anyone other than Mark Kibble to provide the background vocals,” Elias says. “His contributions are absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t be happier with the results.”

Kibble’s vocal magic appears on Elias’ sensual, mid-tempo samba “By Hand (Em Mãos)” and on her enchanting reading of Kurt Weil’s 1943 gem “Speak Low,” another classic that gets an update with a hybrid groove underneath her inventive reharmonization on an abbreviated form. In addition to Kibble’s haunting background vocals, “Speak Low” also features sumptuous flugelhorn playing from the jazz-great, multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning trumpeter, Randy Brecker.  Elias and Brecker sparked a wonderful professional and personal relationship starting in the early ’80s.  Elias remarks, “Our friendship and musical relationship has remained all these years.  Randy is a virtuoso musician, and his amazing playing is modern while deep in the tradition at the same time.  He’s simply one of a kind.”

João Bosco, one of Brazil’s most eminent singer-songwriters, appears on Elias’ feisty take of his classic song “Coisa Feita.” Elias’ arrangement incorporates a deeper bottom and more forceful propulsion; it also includes some of her most aggressive piano improvisations on the entire album. “Samba can’t swing any more than what we all brought to this recording, if I may say it,” Elias boasts. “I’m so proud of this version. The intensity in João Bosco’s music was influential to me during my formative years and I wanted to include him in this album.

Toquinho is the other stellar Brazilian singer-songwriter-guitarist guesting on Dance of Time. The first time Elias encountered the iconic Toquinho, she was only 17 years old. He, along with Vinicius de Moraes and Antonio Carlos Jobim, discovered her playing when she was leading a jazz trio. “After they heard me play, they invited me to join their tours throughout Brazil and South America. It was fantastic. At age 17, I started my life on the road,” Elias remembers.

While working alongside Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes, Elias developed a way of articulating the samba rhythm on the piano that is unique to her.  Performing together, Eliane and Toquinho enliven the melancholy “Samba de Orly,” a 1970 tune that Toquinho penned with de Moraes and Chico Buarque that addresses the sentiments of living in exile during Brazil’s notorious military dictatorship.

Toquinho later appears on the disc’s closer, “Not to Cry (Pra Não Chorar),” a poignant duet with Elias. The song was initially composed by Toquinho in 1978 and entitled “Eliane,” but it was unfinished. “When I reminded him of the tune, Toquinho was thrilled. We finished the song,” Elias says. “He wrote all the lyrics, which are nostalgic as they talk about the times we were together with Vinicius, rehearsing, touring and living a life in music and art.”

On the wondrous original “An Up Dawn,” Elias invites Amilton Godoy—one of her earliest mentors to join in a festive piano duet. While she handles the all-encompassing samba groove, Godoy presents the prancing melody of which Elias sings in unison.  Godoy is not only an important figure in Elias’ life, he fronted the popular Zimbo Trio and founded one of the most important music schools in Brazil, the Centro Livre De Aprendizagem Musical (CLAM), in 1973. Elias was only 13 years old when she enrolled at CLAM.

Under Godoy’s mentorship, Elias’ musical knowledge evolved rapidly. So impressed with not only Elias’ musicality and virtuosity at the piano but also her astonishing transcribing skills, Godoy promoted her as a teacher when she was merely a 15-year-old. “I helped create the syllabus and method books that they still use today,” Elias says. “I then was made a professor of the piano department where I taught for four more years, until age 19.”

Rounding out Dance of Time are Elias’ irresistible, virtuosic version of João Donato’s 1965 hit “Sambou Sambou,” whose lyrics revel in the joys of the samba dance while her superb piano gets you off your seat, and her tender reading of Ary Barroso’s  “Na Batucada da Vida,” an intrepid ballad written in 1934. Speaking of the latter, Elias says, “This song was harmonically advanced for its time and is quite challenging vocally due to its wide vocal range.” Elias’ profound interpretation on this track reveals a depth of emotional expression that penetrates one’s soul.

With all its multiple reference points, Elias sees Dance of Time as her way of acknowledging various people and influences who informed and continue to inspire her music. And as stated before, she uses this new album as her personal salute to samba. “If you were to slow down the samba, you could get to some very beautiful, heartfelt lyricism,” she says. “Most people dance to samba music while caught up in the intoxicating rhythm, but one can also dive deeper into the lyrical, harmonic and melodic aspects of the music as well.  Elias’ Dance of Time exudes beauty and joy as it moves in rhythm to the beat of her universe.   Says Elias, “I wish for the listener to feel the happiness I felt when making this album and hope to bring some joy and beauty into their world.”


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Legendary French Violinist Jean Luc Ponty To Tour The US Summer 2017

Legendary French violinist Jean Luc Ponty and his band will be bringing their “Atlantic Years” tour to the US beginning late May 2017! Jean Luc Ponty is a pioneer and undisputed master of the violin in the arena of jazz and rock. He is widely regarded as an innovator who has applied his unique visionary spin that has expanded the vocabulary of modern music.

Says Jean Luc, “We're calling it 'The Atlantic Years' tour since I am touring with my band from the late 70's - 80's with whom I recorded several albums for Atlantic Records.”

The Jean Luc Ponty Band features:

Jean Luc Ponty – violin
Wally Minko – keyboards
Jamie Glaser – guitars
Rayford Griffin – drums
Baron Browne – bass

Jean Luc Ponty Band 2017 US tour dates:

May 30 – Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
May 31 – Seattle, WA - The Neptune
June 01 – Eugene, OR - John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts
June 02 – Los Angeles, CA - The Saban Theater Beverly Hills
June 04 – San Francisco, CA - Regency Ballroom
June 05 – Santa Cruz, CA - Rio Theatre
June 07 – San Juan Capistrano, CA - The Coach House
June 08 – Agoura Hills, CA - The Canyon
June 09 – Scottsdale, AZ - Center For the Arts
June 10 – Las Vegas, NV - Allante Casino
June 14 – Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
June 16 – Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
June 17 – Austin, TX - One World Theatre
June 20 – Chicago, IL - City Winery
June 21 – Detroit, MI - Chene Park
June 23 – Niagara Falls, NY - Seneca Niagara Casino
June 24 – Saratoga Springs, NY - Performing Arts Center
June 25 – NYC - B.B. King

After studying classical violin at the Paris Conservatory, Jean Luc Ponty turned to jazz in the 60's. Thanks to his revolutionary style he collaborated with some of the best European and American musicians such as Eddy Louiss, Daniel Humair, Niels Henning-Ørsted Pedersen, John Lewis, Lalo Schifrin, and Quincy Jones. He became the first bebop violinist and US jazz magazine “Down Beat” created a violin category for him in its critics' poll, until then violin was in the 'miscellaneous instruments' category. His pioneering work on the electric violin in the 70's attracted the attention of pop and rock musicians, he recorded with Elton John and participated to several tours and legendary recordings with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. In 1975 he founded his own band and became one of the most prominent figures of the jazz-fusion movement in the USA, selling millions of albums that all reached the top of the US charts. Ponty's most recent album “The Atacama Experience” is considered as one if his best and to this day Ponty keeps touring with his band around the world.

Ponty also collaborates on occasional projects such as “The Rite of Strings” with Stanley Clarke and Al Di Meola. In 2011 Ponty joined the mythical American group RETURN TO FOREVER IV with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Frank Gambale for a world tour spanning on 5 continents.

Ponty received the 2007 Jazz Trophy in Germany, the medal of Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in France in 2009, the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards in Ireland, and the Grand Prix of the Sochi Arts Festival in 2012 in Russia from the hands of world famous classical violist and orchestra conductor Yuri Bashmet. In 2012 Ponty performed his music with Orchestre Pasdeloup for his 50-year career celebration at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, then again with symphony orchestras in Brazil, Russia and Hungary in 2012 and 2013.

In April 2013 Herbie Hancock invited him to perform in Istanbul at “International Jazz Day” for UNESCO. Ponty also founded a new quartet with his daughter, pianist-singer-composer Clara Ponty which performed in France and Germany in 2014. Ponty also performed with the 89 musicians of the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orcherstra for the Siberian Christmas Festival.

In 2014 Ponty recorded an album as an acoustic trio with Stanley Clarke on double bass and Gypsy-French guitarist Bireli Lagrene, which was released on Impulse/Universal in the Fall 2015.

Jean Luc recently formed the Anderson Ponty Band with Jon Anderson, co-founder and lead singer of British progressive rock band YES, a CD and DVD was released in 2015 followed by a North American concert tour.


ANN-MARGRET THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION (2-CD SET)

She was the ultimate bombshell, a Swedish seductress with hair of flame, a fulsome figure, and a taste for Triumph motorcycles. But with Ann-Margret, her irresistible beauty took a back seat to her incandescent talent; this was no mere starlet, but a performer whose singing, dancing, and acting skills—all imbued with a devil-may-care charisma—caused record execs to groom her as the female Elvis Presley. 

Now, finally, here is a comprehensive collection that captures those magical early days of Ann-Margret’s career, a 2-CD set that includes 30 tracks carefully chosen from her 1961-1966 RCA recordings. Among the featured tracks: chart hits like “I Just Don’t Understand,” “It Do Me So Good,” and “What Am I Supposed to Do;” her famous duets with Elvis from Viva Las Vegas, “You’re the Boss” and “The Lady Loves Me” (which, as legend has it, Col. Tom Parker withheld from commercial release because he was afraid Ann-Margret would overshadow The King); four tracks from Beauty and the Beard, her charting album with trumpeter Al Hirt; soundtrack recordings from Bye Bye Birdie, Every Night at Eight, Thunderball, The Swinger, and The Pleasure Seekers; and much more. 

In fact, these 30 songs—which include single sides as well—hail from nine different albums, and liner note writer Joe Marchese walks you through each and every one of them on this sumptuous package, which includes vintage album artwork. An earful and an eye-ful…viva Ann-Margret!

Disc : 1
1. Teach Me Tonight
2. I Just Don't Understand
3. It Do Me So Good
4. Heartbreak Hotel
5. Fever
6. What Am I Supposed to Do
7. Bachelor in Paradise
8. Mr. Wonderful
9. Let Me Entertain You
10. How Lovely to Be a Woman
11. Bye Bye Birdie
12. Take All the Kisses
13. I'm in the Mood for Love
14. You're the Boss
15. The Lady Loves Me
Disc : 2
1. Man's Favorite Sport
2. I'm Nobody's Baby
3. Bill Bailey
4. My Baby Just Cares for Me
5. Mack the Knife
6. Love Makes the World Go Round
7. Our Language of Love
8. The Pleasure Seekers
9. Next Time
10. Something to Think About
11. Everything Makes Music When You're in Love
12. Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
13. That Old Black Magic
14. I Wanna Be Loved
15. The Swinger


Friday, January 13, 2017

PRODUCED BY THOM BELL - THE FISH THAT SAVED PITTSBURGH: MUSIC FROM THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK (EXPANDED EDITION) CD

Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records are tipping off 2017 with a slam dunk release! The 1979 cult favorite film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh featured an all-star team from the worlds of basketball and Hollywood - Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Meadowlark Lemon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry Tarkanian, Stockard Channing, Jonathan Winters, Flip Wilson, Debbie Allen, Harry Shearer, and more – for its fantastical tale of a struggling Pittsburgh basketball team that beats the odds with a little help from the heavens. The movie’s soundtrack was equally illustrious. Pop-soul maestro Thom Bell, renowned for his work with The Spinners, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, and Johnny Mathis, wrote, produced, arranged, and conducted his very first motion picture score, and the result was a soul symphony incorporating funk, disco, and jazz rhythms, and of course, Bell’s trademark luscious balladry. 

An A-team of R&B’s finest artists was enlisted to perform Bell’s all-new songs, including The Four Tops, The Spinners, Bell and James, Phyllis Hyman, The Delfonics’ William “Poogie” Hart, and The Sylvers, plus country superstar Loretta Lynn, ragtime legend Eubie Blake, and the one and only Doc Severinsen. Yet, when the movie came and went from theatres, so did the soundtrack album…until now! The Fish gained a cult following on television and VHS, and now, it’s time for its sizzling soundtrack to have its chance on the court, too. Hip-hop’s most tuned-in artists have already sampled these lost grooves; now you can hear the originals! 

The first-ever CD release of The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh boasts a sparkling new remastering from the original Lorimar Records tapes by XXX at Sony’s Battery Studios, detailed liner notes by The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese featuring fresh quotes from Thom Bell, and three rare bonus tracks: two distinctive 12-inch mixes of Bell and James’ infectious title track, and the lush, dramatic “Pisces Theme.” This deluxe Expanded Edition is nothing but net, and a must-have for classic soul fans from Philly to Motown…and of course, Pittsburgh. The Doctor is in!

1. A Theme for L.A.'s Team
2. Magic Mona
3. Mighty Mighty Pisces
4. (Do It, Do It) No One Does It Better
5. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
6. Moses Theme
7. Chance of a Lifetime
8. Follow Every Dream
9. Ragtime
10. Is It Love, Must Be Love
11. Pisces Theme
12. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
13. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh


NEW RELEASES: JOE BOURNE - UPBEAT AND SWEET; CHET BAKER - THE PACIFIC JAZZ COLLECTION; SONNY ROLLINS - THE COMPLETE BLUE NOTE, RIVERSIDE & CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION

JOE BOURNE - UPBEAT AND SWEET: FEATURING JAZZ-INFUSED ROCK AND POP SONGS

Featuring Jazz Drummer sensation, Louis Nash, seasoned vocalist Joe Bourne and his warm voice turn classics into jazz...This collection of hit songs from the middle of the 20th Century is sure to tickle the nostalgic fancy of baby boomers. However, the jazz- infused arrangements and virtuosic instrumental solos will appeal to jazz and popular song fans of all ages. Bourne's rock-solid delivery--no auto tuning here--harkens back to some of the great singers of the last century including Lou Rawls and Al Green. Joe Bourne has a warm mellifluous voice and simple, elegant style He has the virtuosity combined with ease of execution needed to communicate the fun and swing of this music. From Sting to Clapton to Fleetwood Mac, he nails the jazz infusion in this user friendly, accessible recording. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the singer/ entertainer, Joe Bourne was inspired by many of the big names of Jazz that toured the Boston area. Whether it's a swinging rendition of the fun song Goody Goody, Oscar Brown's philosophical Dhat Dher the romantic ballad of Earl Garner's Misty, or his special tribute to the great Nat King Cole, Joe, who has been influenced by the likes of Lou Rawls, Billy Eckstein, Arthur Prysock, and Nat King Cole always seems to capture the audience with his on style and warm, light baritone, voice and his dynamic stage presentation. Joe has shared the stage with Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Dionne Warwick and several other Jazz and Popular music greats. Even as more jazz musicians are stretching the meaning of The Great American Songbook, to take hit ballads by one- name rockers like Sting, and Clapton and iconic bands like The Beatles, The Eagles and Steppenwolf and make them your own in a contemporary jazz context is not an easy feat. But Bourne accomplishes it

CHET BAKER - THE PACIFIC JAZZ COLLECTION

A master of the trumpet and a much-heralded vocalist, Chet Baker s string of classic albums and his seemingly effortless cool style have earned him a legendary reputation which still rivals that of any other jazz musician. Esteemed jazz historian Dave Gelly described the trumpeter s image as a blend of James Dean, Sinatra and Bix, rolled into one . A musical icon of the 1950s and 60s, Baker s playing, singing and style would go on to influence countless others who came along in his wake. This four disc collection, containing over five hours of music in total, brings together the finest records made by Chet Baker for Pacific Jazz. Demonstrating the creation of a true jazz icon and tracking his development from his earliest recordings to his departure from the label with whom he made his name, these albums are presented here faithfully remastered and in the best possible quality, and form not just the perfect introduction to this master musician, but equally provide an a enthralling glimpse of an essential contribution to American musical history.


SONNY ROLLINS - THE COMPLETE BLUE NOTE, RIVERSIDE & CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION

A titan of jazz saxophone with a career spanning more than seven decades, Sonny Rollins approach to the tenor sax brought a new sound spectrum to the instrument that went on to influence just about every horn player who has come along since. After spending his early career recording for Prestige Records, during which time he produced such magnificent albums as Tenor Madness and Saxophone Colossus (both 1956), as well as making guest appearances alongside such names as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Max Roach, Rollins left the label in 1957 and worked on a freelance basis for Blue Note, Riverside and Contemporary, for whom he created a series of extraordinary records that equalled his earlier output. This collection, containing eight complete, original albums over four discs, includes all of Sonny Rollins records released on Blue Note, Riverside and Contemporary Records between 1957 and 1959. A masterclass in jazz saxophone and improvisation, the five hours of music contained here includes many of the defining moments of the bebop era and, in completion, serves as both a welcome reminder and a superb starting point for exploration into this majestic musician s catalogue.


Roy Orbison's Black & White Night 30 is a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the orginal

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Roy Orbison's renowned 1987 televised comeback concert at the Cocoanut Grove night club in Los Angeles, Sony Music's Legacy Recordings has teamed up with Roy's Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon's sons to administer their father's catalog and safeguard his legacy. Together, they are releasing Black & White Night 30, a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the original television special, available both as a CD/DVD set and as a CD/Blu-ray set on February 24. PBS will also air Roy Orbison: Black & White Night 30 during the month of March as part of their special programming.

By the mid-1980s, Roy Orbison had been out of the limelight for quite some time, but his song "In Dreams" was prominently featured in David Lynch's landmark 1986 noir film Blue Velvet and helped reignite interest in the 'Big O.' On September 30, 1987, Orbison, then 51, staged a remarkable comeback with the help of guest musicians whom he had influenced: Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Jennifer Warnes. The all-star concert at the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove night club was turned into a television special and broadcast as Roy Orbison & Friends: Black & White Night on Cinemax the following January, less than a year before the icon's untimely passing.

Black & White Night 30 is NOT a reissue. Because the concert had been shot using seven separate cameras, there were hundreds of hours of footage that went unused and unseen. Roy's youngest son Alex Orbison and his co-editor Luke Chalk have gone back and re-edited the entire performance so that while the look will be familiar to those that have seen the original version, the vast majority of footage in Black & White Night 30 has never been seen before by the public.  Furthermore, the program has been restored to reflect the correct set order, so that viewers can see Roy, brilliantly backed by Elvis Presley's TCB Band (James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, Jerry Scheff, Ron Tutt), blast through massive Orbison hits such as "Only the Lonely," "In Dreams" and "Crying" just as the star-studded live audience witnessed them on that very night.

The bonus features included in Black & White Night 30 are remarkable in both size and scope.  These include a previously unseen alternate version of Orbison's biggest hit "Oh, Pretty Woman" and a previously unseen "Blue Angel." Then, unbeknownst to just about everyone but those that were there in 1987, Roy and friends and the full band regathered onstage after the show had ended and after the audience had left.  A 'secret concert' of five songs followed and is presented here for the first time.   The "secret concert" features alternate takes of "Dream You," "Comedians," "Candyman," "Claudette," and "Uptown" with shooting stopped only after film ran out in the middle of the latter song.  These 'secret' performances have been highly sought after by fans for decades.  All tracks, including all 'secret concert' alternate versions have been freshly remastered by Richard Dodd.   The audio for the concert is available on CD with buyers of Black & White Night 30 receiving a download code for access to the audio records of the 'secret concert.'

Also included is a brand new 33-minute mini-documentary consisting of rehearsal footage and pre and post show interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne from that night.  Absolutely none of this content has ever been released commercially, and until recently, has only been rumored to exist.

Black & White Night 30's bonus features are capped with a montage consisting of 20 still photos from the show and new photos of show memorabilia, mostly unused and unseen in any context. Liner notes written by son Roy Orbison Jr. are included in the brand new, yet thematically consistent, packaging.

Just as the original Black and White Night was televised almost three decades ago, so too will Roy Orbison: Black & White Night 30, this time as part of PBS special programming.

Only the Lonely
Leah
In Dreams
Crying
Uptown
The Comedians
Blue Angel
It's Over
Running Scared
Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)
Mean Woman Blues
Candy Man
Ooby Dooby
Blue Bayou
Go Go Go (Down the Line)
(All I Can Do Is) Dream You
Claudette
Oh, Pretty Woman (Alternate Version)*
Oh, Pretty Woman
Secret Post-Show Concert (available on digital download, included)

(All I Can Do Is) Dream You (Alternate Version)*
The Comedians (Alternate Version)*
Candy Man (Alternate Version)*
Claudette (Alternate Version)*
Uptown (Alternate Version)*
DVD/Blu-ray Special Features

Bonus Rehearsal & Interview Footage
Photo Gallery
*Previously Unreleased


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trombonist Nick Finzer releases "HERE & NOW" and embarks on 23-city tour following release of politically-charged album

The album shares the title of the new CD, Hear & Now, with the gifted and expressive sextet that Finzer has led since his debut release in 2013. Although it suggests an alertness to the present time and place, Finzer’s music also evokes a need and hope for change, a defiant optimism that pits love against the forces of oppression.

Hear & Now arrives at a moment of deep uncertainty and divisiveness in the country and around the world. The album’s nine tracks (eight originals along with a Duke Ellington classic) depict a range of viable reactions, from the intense energy of protest to a more meditative, reflective mood. Finzer’s compositions are brought to vigorous, full-bodied life by Hear & Now, a sextet with the power and wide-ranging palette of a big band but the supple energy of a small ensemble. It’s the trombonist’s third outing with the band, which includes tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Lucas Pino, guitarist Alex Wintz, pianist Glenn Zaleski, bassist Dave Baron, and drummer Jimmy Macbride.

“I wanted to capture feelings I was having about our country’s social framework,” Finzer says. “I started out trying to write about the emotional feeling of living in New York in 2016, but as the presidential election went on I realized that the stances I was taking were more politically oriented. Throughout the process of making the record I saw that this project was becoming more and more relevant to our reality.”

Finzer doesn’t name names or point fingers; nothing on Hear & Now takes a side or aligns with one party against another. It is instead a plea for a more united populace, a sonic argument for equality, tolerance and empathy. The album begins with “We The People,” a reminder that togetherness is embodied in the country’s founding documents. “I wasn't thinking of a particular person or a particular side,” Finzer says. “I was trying to capture the intense energy of a large group of people trying to express their opinions and how important that is. When you get together with a lot of people and coalesce to fight against something, it creates this strong, base human emotion, so I was trying to capture that energy with the music.”

The brooding, introspective “The Silent One” follows. The piece was inspired by Finzer’s frustrations over a tendency to resort to heated emotions rather than logic and subtlety in reacting to issues and problems. The music deftly illustrates the feelings of frustration and isolation one can feel in the face of the mounting volume of TV pundits and internet trolls. Directly related is “Again and Again,” whose cyclical rhythms depict the history that we’re doomed to repeat. And repeat.

The frenetic, harried pace of “Race to the Bottom,” Finzer explains, is a reaction to “the inevitable conclusion of cutthroat capitalism. You either need to be the cheapest or the best because people don’t really pay attention to the middle. So you’re either in a race to the bottom or you’re trying to create something meaningful. To me it’s about the value of creating something unique and special because there’s no way you’re going to win that other battle.”

The mood of the album begins to rise with “New Beginnings,” with its feelings of dawning hope and tenuous optimism. “Lullaby for an Old Friend,” written for a friend of Finzer’s who passed away, laces its melancholy with the bittersweet good cheer that time and distance allows, mingling happy memories with the inevitable sense of loss. The up-tempo “Dance of Persistence” is a swinging call to action, but also offers a relief from tension. “That one is about not giving up,” he explains, “but also goes back to the thing that I love most, the thing that got me into playing jazz... when I need something to settle me I just want to play something swinging; it just makes me feel better.”

The album closes with the tender “Love Wins,” which Finzer wrote on the day that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. More broadly it’s a strong tenet of belief that ultimately the forces of love will overcome ignorance, oppression and prejudice.

The album’s one non-original is Duke Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose,” which Finzer arranged for three trombones and two bass clarinets. He chose the piece for its sense of hushed and intimate joy, but also to pay homage to one of his key influences. “Duke Ellington was the first artist that I started checking out when I began listening to and learning to play jazz,” he says. “I loved the way his compositional style could embrace a theme, particular stories or ideas or characters. I also always thought it was really interesting how Ellington could use the big band and get so many interesting sounds out of it.”

Finzer takes a similar approach to his own sextet, for this recording working closely with producer Ryan Truesdell, leader of the renowned Gil Evans Project and Producer for Maria Schneider – giving him some profound insights into inventive arranging. “Asking Ryan to co-produce the album ended up being probably the best decision in the process of making my records,” Finzer says. “He was able to bring out extra nuances and had a great ear for making sure that we didn't miss the chance to create a magical musical moment.”


A native of Rochester, New York, Finzer studied at the Eastman School of Music and Juilliard, where he was mentored by trombone legend Steve Turre. In 2011 he won the Eastern Trombone Workshop’s National Jazz Trombone Competition and won an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Award in 2013 & 2015. He’s released two previous albums with his Hear & Now sextet: Exposition (2013) and The Chase (2015). Aside from his own projects he’s performed with the YouTube sensation, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, as well as Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Lucas Pino’s No Net Nonet, Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project, and Anat Cohen’s new Tentet.

Trombonist/composer Nick Finzer captures the uneasy mood of a turbulent time on his third album, Hear & Now, scheduled for release on February 17 on Outside in Music. Finzer celebrates the release with a tour to 23 cities throughout the US from Feb. 7-March 22.  

  • • Tues., February 7, 7:30 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
  • • Wed. February 8, 8 – 10 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at the Carriage House, Ithaca, NY
  • • Sat. February 11, 9 – 11 a.m. – Finzer is guest artist with Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, Rochester, NY
  • • Sat. February 11, 8 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Pausa Art House, Buffalo, NY
  • • Sun. February 12, 7 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Lovincup, Rochester, NY
  • • Wed. February 15, 8 – 11 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at The Bop Stop, Cleveland, OH
  • • Thurs. February 16, 8 – 11 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at BluJazz, Akron, OH
  • • Fri. February 17, 8 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI
  • • Sat. February 18, 9:30, 11 & 12:30 – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Cliff Bell’s, Detroit, MI
  • • Mon. February 20, 7 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
  • • Tues. February 21, 8 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • • Wed. February 22, 8 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
  • • Fri. February 24, 8 p.m. – Finzer is guest artist at Northern Arizona University Jazz Fest, Flagstaff, AZ
  • • Sun. February 26, 7:30-10 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now with Lucas Pino at The Nash, Phoenix, AZ
  • • Mon. February 27, 7:30 – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at the Royal Room, Seattle, WA
  • • Tues. February 28, 7:45 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at The Mint, LA
  • • Wed. March 1, 8 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at the Kranzberg Center, St. Louis, MO
  • • Thurs. March 2, Finzer is guest artist at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
  • • Fri. March 3, 8 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Nashville Jazz Workshop, Nashville, TN
  • • Sat. March 4, 8 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at Velvet Note, Atlanta, GA
  • • Sun. March 5, 5-7 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at B-Sharpe’s Jazz, Tallahassee, FL
  • • Mon. March 6, Finzer gives Entrepreneurship Lecture at Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  • • Wed. March 8, 7 – 10:30 p.m. – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now at The Barrel Room, Ft. Myers, FL
  • • Thurs. March 9, Finzer is guest artist at University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
  • • Fri. March 10, Finzer is guest artist at University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
  • • Wed. March 22, 10:30 -1 – Nick Finzer’s Hear & Now Official NYC CD Release Show at Small’s Jazz Club

 

NEW RELEASES: OMAR SOSA / SECKOU KEITA – TRANSPARENT WATER; SOUL SCRATCH – PUSHING FIRE; JOHN ABERCROMBIE QUARTET – UP AND COMING

OMAR SOSA / SECKOU KEITA – TRANSPARENT WATER

Seven-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa teamed up with Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita and with percussionist Gustavo Ovalles from Venezuela to record his exquisitely beautiful world-jazz CD “Transparent Water”, with touches of sheng (traditional Chinese flute) by Wu Tong, of Silk Road fame. He will celebrate the February release in France (on World Village/PIAS) with a concert in Marciac on March 4 and in Paris on March 16 (Café de la Danse). "Transparent Water — evocative of translucence and flowing light — is a deeply spiritual recording that reaches across five continents, a compassionate and captivating artistic dialogue beyond musical category, and an invocation of the enduring creative spirit of the human condition." -Michael Stone; "Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora master and vocalist Seckou Keita have assembled an extraordinary album seamlessly melding Latin American and West African music — the epitome of World Music, as suggested by its title, perfectly limpid and evanescent, its constituent elements rapidly passing through like cirrus clouds." -Roger Farbey, AllAboutJazz (U.K.). Transparent Water is due for release on February 27, 2017.

SOUL SCRATCH – PUSHING FIRE

An absolute stormer from Soul Scratch – a contemporary combo from the SoCal scene doing the legacy of the late 60s/early 70s raw funky soul style proud! Both the band name and album titles are appropriate – we wouldn't call it "truth in advertising", just straight up truth – with a genuine depth of soul in both the songs and performance, played with incredible energy in the more fiery number, but with a sure hand on the more tender numbers, too. Singer Dale Spollett can wail with the best of them, and the band has real firepower in their arsenal. The horns and rhythm section are stunningly tight, or have a loose swagger when the song calls, and there some tasty guitar, too. Includes the righteous opener "Pacified", "Look How Far We've Come", "Odessa Heat", the sweet little centerpiece ballad "Kiss Me In The Morning", "Be Kind", "Fireside Lounge", "Empty Cup", "It's Not Over", "Thank You" and more. ~ Dusty Groove

JOHN ABERCROMBIE QUARTET – UP AND COMING

A masterpiece of chromes and tones from the legendary John Abercrombie – an album that's a beautiful summation of all the special style he's brought to his guitar work over the years! That subtle shading that John had back at the start is still very firmly in place, but he group's also almost got a Bill Evans sort of approach – a gentle attack and quick decay, always respecting the space between the notes – driven strongly by the wonderful piano efforts of Marc Copland, who seems to be the perfect balance for Abercrombie. In a way, the album really hearkens back to those key ECM albums of the 70s – those moments when something extremely special and new was taking place, and when things never got too abstract or ambient. The subtle rhythms help a lot – always-careful work on drums from Joey Barron, and well-placed bass from Drew Gress. Titles include "Joy", "Tears", "Sunday School", "Jumbles", and "Flipside". ~ Dusty Groove


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Composer Joshua Green takes a quirky, colorful approach to melding modern jazz and contemporary classical music on Telepathy & Bop

Combining lively modern jazz, contemporary classical richness, cinematic narratives and an offbeat sense of humor, Josh Green & The Cyborg Orchestra offer a skewed but vibrant take on the big band tradition. On their debut album, Telepathy & Bop (due out February 24, 2017), the 16-piece Orchestra draws inspiration from surreal visual art, jazz and classical icons, and an accidental stalking episode briefly intertwining the fates of the bandleader and a certain Today Show host, all of which converge to craft a strikingly unique and off-center sound.

By day, Joshua Green, recently awarded a Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award from ASCAP, plies his trade as Music Supervisor for ITV America, the world's largest unscripted television company. While devising the perfect soundtrack for battling housewives, rampaging bridezillas and scheming chefs comes with its own rewards, Green found himself in need of a creative outlet apart from the voyeuristic pleasures of reality television. Enlisting some of the finest musicians he'd discovered while working on film and TV soundtracks and Broadway musicals, Green assembled a singular ensemble that deviated from the standard big band to incorporate unexpected voices, including accordion, bass clarinet, Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) and strings.

Band members include Charles Pillow (oboe, alto sax, tenor sax), Todd Groves (EWI, flute, alto sax, tenor sax, Eb clarinet, contrabass clarinet), Jay Hassler (Bb clarinet, bass clarinet), Nathan Schram (viola), Nick Revel (viola), Clarice Jenson (cello), the adventurous PUBLIQuartet - Curtis Stewart (violin), Jannina Norpoth (violin), Nick Revel (viola) and Amanda Gookin (cello) - John Lake (trumpet), Chris Misch-Bloxdorf (trombone), Nathan Kochi (accordion), Sungwon Kim (guitar), Michael Verselli (piano), Brian Courage (bass), Josh Bailey (drum set).

The initial stirrings of inspiration for the Cyborg Orchestra, though, date back nearly a decade, to a time when Green had shifted focus from his jazz studies to concentrate on composing contemporary classical music. He was studying at the University of Vienna in early 2007 when the news reached him of jazz great Michael Brecker's untimely death. Distressed at the passing of one of his musical heroes, Green was moved to try his hand at writing a jazz piece inspired by Brecker's legacy.

"I really looked up to Michael Brecker," Green says, "and when I found out he'd died it was a trigger for me to go back to my jazz roots. I wanted to write something that showcased the jazz language, bebop in particular, in a contemporary classical setting. It evolved over a really long time until it became 'Telepathy & Bop.' I had no idea what the piece was going to be until it became what it was, but that was the impetus to create this ensemble." That piece, which gives the album its title, is a constantly surprising three-part suite that refracts the angularity of bebop through an avant-garde classical lens, creating a tumult of acute swerves and clamorous textures.

It was a number of years before Green finally put together the Cyborg Orchestra to bring "Telepathy & Bop" and other pieces to life. In the meantime, he'd worked on films by directors like Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson and David Cronenberg while writing orchestral arrangements for the New York Pops, Emmy Award-winning television shows and Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals in New York and London. He's carried his gift for scoring narrative ideas into the Cyborg Orchestra, finding the spark for several compositions in visual art and personal stories.

"The Lauer Faceplant" sonically recounts the story of one of Green's awkward brushes with fame (since moving to New York in 2009, he's tallied quite a few, which he's in the process of turning into a suite). Shortly after arriving in the city his not-yet-developed urban compass led him into a face-to-chest collision with Today Show host, journalist and recent Presidential Forum moderator Matt Lauer. Their destinations being in the same direction, Green then proceeded to follow Lauer, giving the bandleader the uneasy sensation of being an inadvertent celebrity stalker.

The composition born from that encounter plays like a clumsy spy-movie soundtrack, capturing the accidental intrigue and only-in-NYC hilarity of the incident. "I hate to take myself too seriously," Green explains. "I'm a very lighthearted person, and while I can get inside my own head a lot when I'm trying to write, the thing that speaks to me the most is that wackiness in life. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in Seinfeld and I see this as a great opportunity to express the fun I get to have in life in a way that's meaningful to me."

Frenetic album opener "Boy & Dog in a Johnnypump," the mysteriously tropical "La Victoire," and Paris-by-way-of-the-circus rag "Soir Bleu" all have their origins in paintings. The first is based on a work by the influential, graffiti-inspired artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, while "La Victoire" is taken from René Magritte's curious image of a cloud floating through an isolated door by a seashore - an image that was through an odd coincidence invoked by a condominium commercial that Green was tasked with scoring. "Soir Bleu" comes from an Edward Hopper scene that finds a smoking clown amidst a group of Parisian diners.

"I always start writing with a narrative in mind when I write," Green explains. "In all of the paintings that have inspired me, there's a narrative that's beyond what's right in front of us."

The same could be said about the photograph of a cobblestone street in Cuba, lined with classic American cars, that inspired "Reverie Engine: The Ambiguous Rhumba." The driving rhythms of Cuban music are hinted at but subdued by a sense of uncertainty in Green's conception. Finally, like "Telepathy & Bop," "Improvisation & Nebula" nods to another of Green's musical influences, Hungarian composer György Ligeti. The piece's stark atmosphere, dark harmonies and spectralism all have their roots in Ligeti's music.

Having realized Green's musical vision on record, the Cyborg Orchestra will take on full-blooded human form for its live debut at National Sawdust on March 2 to celebrate the album's release. Meanwhile, Green is hard at work on a new batch of music for the band while trying to avoid literally bumping into stars on the street. Regardless, it will no doubt combine the accessible with the avant-garde, the zany with the zeitgeist.


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