Sunday, July 08, 2018

2 Sem 2018 - Part One

Brad Mehldau
After Bach

By Colin Fleming
To play the music of Johann Sebastian Bach well, a knack for sonic alchemy is required. One must be able to make swirling waves of chordal density—the original sheets of sound—feel both propulsive and calm, a deep grounding that’s simultaneously an invitation to travel the world.
On this disc, Brad Mehldau gives himself further challenges: to transpose works meant for harpsichord to the piano, whose blockier notes contrast with the former’s radiant numinosity, and to respond to those works with pieces of his own. Mehldau’s light touch, which feels like the quiet revival of a sleeping musical power, is evident on Prelude No. 3 in C# Major, from Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier. Bach was not a pastoralist, but Mehldau imbues something of the empyrean. We can also detect little hints of boogie-woogie-type chording; Bach, after all, loved a good rolling bass figure as the anchor for airier harmonics.
Fugue No. 16 in G Minor, from Book II of the WTC, is tantamount to a duet for one instrument, with that two-in-one approach splintering off in various dialogic patterings—like when you’re sitting in Starbucks and the hum of humanity seems to turn into a confluence of melody before reverting to a series of separate conversations. Mehldau is an excellent “talker” as a pianist, and that serves him well. He’s also skilled in “covering” Bach’s compositional hallmarks through his singular gift for writing. “Before Bach: Benediction” is the crystalline morning that opens the record, the sensation that a new world is about to unfold; the closing “Prayer for Healing” melds Bach and Mehldau with the conic sound-shapes of something like Trane’s “Alabama.” Bach was speaking to you, and so is Mehldau, twining melodic lines around each other as if one of them even belonged to you. That twining, of course, was Bach’s central purpose as a composer, and it’s what his jazzy descendant underscores in his pianistic way.

Addison Frei Trio
No Defense

By Scott Yanow
Ever since Addison Frei (“Fry”) began playing piano professionally at age ten in local restaurants around Lawrence, Kansas, he has garnered accolades far beyond his years. The New York-based pianist has won first prize in several competitions including the 2017 Parmigiani Montreux Jazz Piano Solo Competition, the 2016 UNISA International Jazz Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa, the 2015 American Jazz Pianist Competition in Melbourne, Florida, and the 2012 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition. He has released two albums on Armored Records, Intentions (2014) and Transit (2016), featuring frequent collaborator and Manhattan Transfer co-founder Janis Siegel. His latest recording on TCB Records-The Montreux Jazz Label will feature a new trio comprised of bassist Tamir Shmerling and drummer Mario Gonzi.
Frei also co-leads AMP Trio, contributing compositions to Three (2017), m(y)our world (2015), which rose to #24 on the Jazz Week charts, and Flow (2013). AMP Trio recently completed a Japanese tour and alongside vocalist Tahira Clayton, was selected as the winner of the DC Jazz Prix, earning a DC Jazz Festival performance in 2018. With his 2016 single and music video “Postcard”, Frei again teamed up with Clayton, this time expanding into a broader production palette. Following in this sonic path, he explored political themes in a digital EP, Future Speak (2017).
Frei currently holds the piano chair in the Juilliard Artist Diploma Ensemble, regularly performing and touring with the conservatory’s flagship jazz ensemble. In New York he has held residencies at the Kitano and the Cell Theatre. Frei performed a concert series at the 2017 Lucerne Piano Festival. He was also a featured soloist with Drew Zaremba’s Unity Orchestra in Dallas. Frei headlined the 2015 Wichita Jazz Festival and brought his group to the Dallas Museum of Art. He has toured alongside vibraphonist Christian Tamburr, Felix Peikli and Joe Doubleday’s “Showtime Band”, and the Charles Turner Quartet. His acclaimed compositions have earned him invitations to Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. Frei is a two-time recipient of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award sponsored by ASCAP. He served as musical director of B-Side Productions’ Adding Machine and The Wild Party.
A 2014 summa cum laude graduate of the prestigious University of North Texas Jazz Studies program, Frei traveled with the One O’Clock Lab Band to headline the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California and can be heard on Lab 2013. While at UNT he had the opportunity to perform with prominent jazz artists including Christian McBride, Mike Stern, and Peter Erskine. Frei also gave a duo piano recital alongside his mentor, Stefan Karlsson, featuring the music of Richie Beirach. In 2013 the faculty honored Frei with the Outstanding Undergraduate Jazz Studies Student Award.
In addition to performing and recording, Frei is an established clinician and educator, delivering invited lectures/performances the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Kansas, the University of Central Florida, Wichita State University, Kansas State University, Baker University, the Verdi Conservatory of Torino, TUTS University and Pretoria University as well as numerous primary and secondary schools. Frei was a featured artist at the 2014 Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference in Dallas. He is presently a member of the Orlando-based Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra, in their inaugural season under the direction of Rodney Whitaker. Addison Frei is a Yamaha Artist.
“Throughout this set, Addison Frei’s playing and compositions are so sophisticated and mature that one would never guess that this was his first recording. Seven of the first eight songs are his originals. Those are not merely quick melodies and chord changes that serve as the foundation for long solos. Instead, the songs often travel through several moods and the development is both unpredictable and logical. The emphasis is on thoughtful playing, close group interplay, concise and meaningful statements, and a lyrical ballad feel even during the more heated sections.”

Michael Wollny Trio
Wartburg Live

By Jon Turney 
Two nourishing helpings of Michael Wollny’s impressively wide-ranging piano trio here. The original notion was to combine material from the studio session, in Oslo last September, with extracts from a live show in Wartburg castle a week later.
Reviewing the recordings, Siggi Loch, whose ACT label’s silver jubilee was marked at Wartburg, threw out that plan. There would be two CDs, co-released, to showcase the current work of the label’s biggest star.
Good decision. The two fit together beautifully, the opening tune in Oslo reappearing as the encore in Wartburg. The treatments are delightfully different. In the studio, the trio – Wollny, Christian Weber on bass and Eric Schaefer on drums – were joined on three tracks by the Norwegian Wind Ensemble, who improvise together under guidance from curator Geir Lysne. Their contributions add dramatic range, though the bulk of the album is trio alone. In Wartburg, the trio were joined by Emile Parisien, and his urgent soprano saxophone brings an appealingly astringent note to the conversation in the latter part of the concert.
The studio set sounds more considered, although there’s plenty of rollicking invention. The live performance, the trio sweeping through the first seven tunes without any breaks, is a characteristically wild ride, ranging from stately, classically-inflected melodies to bluesy vamps over strict tempo rhythm figures to the headlong accelerandos Wollny favours when it’s time for some (cheap?) thrills. Parisien is superb - no quick guest spot, this; he instantly turns a high achieving trio into a fully-integrated quartet.
The studio set features more pieces by other composers (Hindemith, Faure, Debussy), and more big helpings of a piano style that moves freely between Jarrett and Hancock-like passages and brilliant flourishes that are all Wollny’s own.
It’s a brace of CDs that fascinates for the differences as the same, intimately involved players strive to make the moment in two different contexts. I could offer a bunch of reasons to favour one over the other – but yours won’t be the same. If the budget permits, you should definitely hear both.

Edu Dori & Marcos

By Biscoito Fino
Após mais de 55 anos de amizade, Edu Lobo, Dori Caymmi e Marcos Valle se reúnem no álbum Edu,
Dori e Marcos, concebido e lançado pela gravadora Biscoito Fino em CD e nas plataformas digitais. O projeto, acalentado há muito tempo pelos cantores e compositores, foi sacramentado em 2016 durante um show de Marcos com a cantora Stacey Kent que contou com as participações de Edu e Dori.
No Projeto, cada um interpreta duas músicas compostas pelos outros dois para que cada um
produzisse suas próprias faixas, mostrando sua personalidade nas canções alheias.

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