Zzaj Happenings!!!

Newvelle Records is excited to be sharing the first record of their Second Season with members now.  Irmãos de Fé featuring John Patitucci, Yotam Silberstein and Rogério Boccato is a truly beautiful and unique recording of all Brazillian music.


John talking about how the album came together, his long history with the music of Brazil and a bit on blasting Trane on his record player as a teenager in Brooklyn!


Rogério Boccato, John Patitucci and Yotam Silberstein                           © Jordan Kleinman


What if it’s about the song?
There is a paradox in the regional specificity of these songs and their overwhelming universal truth. Music that speaks not just across languages but through a deeper medium. These songs are not conveyances for improvisational flights of fancy. John, Yotam and Rogerio bring their considerable gifts and unique voices to express the song, and the song alone, and perhaps that is the higher calling.

– excerpted from the liner notes by Elan Mehler



Check out an advance write up from Nate Chinen at WBGO here




The second release of Season Two features Lionel Loueke and Kevin Hays showing some super-human telepathy on an album of all original material.  Check out a sample on the In The Studio page.
Our third release of Season Two is a band led by Jon Cowherd, featuring Brian Blade, Tony Scherr and Steve Cardenas.  Check out a sample on the In The Studio page.


Season Two:

  • John Patitucci Trio Featuring Yotam Silberstein and Rogerio Boccato
  • Kevin Hays and Lionel Loueke Duo
  • Jon Cowherd Quartet featuring Steve Cardenas, Tony Scherr and Brian Blade 
  •  Chris Tordini Trio featuring Becca Stevens and Greg Ruggerio 
  •  Aruán Ortiz revisiting the music of the great Cuban classical composers
  •  Rufus Reid Trio with Steve Allee and Duduka Da Fonseca and featuring the Sirius Quartet 

All of Newvelle’s covert and interior photographs for Season Two come from the French Collective Tendance Floue.
Newvelle’s Recording Engineer on all six records is the multi-Grammy winning Marc Urselli.
Mastering engineer is by Alex Deturk.
Jim Hoppin and Sarah Enid Hagey shot video at these sessions.
All video editing is by the award-winning Ben Chace.
Jordan Kleinman shoots all studio photos.
The web team is run by Aymeric Auberger.
Social Media management by Jessye Mehler.
Newvelle is run by:  Elan Mehler and Jean-Christophe Morisseau.



John Patitucci © Jordan Kleinman








Composer/bandleader Jihye Lee releases her sumptuous and heart-rending debut recording April today (February 24). The album features a 20-piece orchestra culled from Berklee faculty and Boston-area musicians.

Inspired by the Sewol ferry disaster of 2014 in South Korea, Lee’s original six-song suite explores the myriad conflicting emotions that a tragedy can engender, vividly embodied by an orchestra that can navigate fluidly from visceral force to impressionistic beauty.

“With its chamber-like woodwind textures, involved harmony and sectional counterpoint, and persistent rhythmic drive, Lee’s music fits comfortably within a resurgent large-ensemble format whose exponents include Maria Schneider, John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue, and Andrew Rathbun. But Lee also imbues her compositions with han, an ineffable sadness that serves as a dramatic element in much Korean art — compare the Brazilian saudade or American blues.” – David Adler, Village Voice

Four stars: “…a musical triumph born of an unspeakable tragedy, thought-provoking and gut-wrenching all at once. The music sings, sobs, and soars in its unfolding, leaving the listener with a carefully-crafted reflection on the event(s) and a glimpse into Lee’s emotional core….April is simply unforgettable.” – Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
Stream “You Are Here (Every Time I Think Of You)”
MP3 Download

WAV Download

I hope you enjoy the music.  Just let me know if you’re planning to cover the record or if you’d like an interview with Jihye or a physical CD. A press release is below.

My best to you,



Composer/bandleader Jihye Lee Turns Tragedy into Lavish,
Heart-Wrenching Inspiration on Debut Orchestral AlbumWritten in response to the sinking of the Sewol ferry, April features guest artist Sean Jones and a 20-piece orchestra of Berklee faculty

“Not your typical big band music It’s very original, very beautiful, and very well thought-out, well orchestrated music.” — Greg Hopkins
“Jihye Lee is emerging as a strong voice in the next generation of composers for large jazz ensemble. Her music is imaginative and creative, and she’s not afraid to take some exciting chances in her writing.” – Jim McNeely

On the morning of April 16, 2014, tragedy struck South Korea when the ferry Sewol capsized and sank, killing more than 300 passengers. Half a world away, composer and native Korean Jihye Lee watched on in horror from Boston, where she was studying at Berklee College of Music. As the hours, days, weeks and now years have passed, reactions to the disaster have mingled grief and anger, sorrow and outrage, protest and sympathy as human tragedy collided with political controversy.

Not long before the wreck of the Sewol, Lee had written two pieces that came to prove eerily prophetic: “April Wind,” which gradually builds from gentle and tender to majestic and powerful; and “Deep Blue Sea,” through which Lee’s soaring voice wends an emotional, wordless lament before being overwhelmed by swelling tides of sound. “Destiny is a big word,” Lee admits, “but maybe I was meant to make this album.”

Lee expanded upon those two compositions in the wake of the Sewol disaster, creating the heartfelt six-song suite that comprises her new album, April. Performed by a 20-piece orchestra culled from Berklee faculty and Boston-area musicians, the album (due out February 24, 2017) explores the myriad conflicting emotions that a tragedy like the ferry crash can engender, vividly embodied by an orchestra that can navigate fluidly from visceral force to impressionistic beauty. Lee composes from a wide palette, at one moment lush watercolors, the next bold splashes of action painting.

Being so far away from home as events unfolded, Lee says that the worst feeling was being unable to contribute to rescue and relief efforts. “If I were in Korea I would have done something,” she says. “But in Boston there was nothing to do. My mind was so chaotic, I couldn’t help but write this music.”

“April Wind” opens the album, the calm before the storm that sets the scene for the events of the day to unfold. Alain Mallet’s piano solo rides the orchestra’s cresting waves, while Shannon LeClaire’s alto and Allan Chase’s soprano usher in the rising tide. It’s followed by “Sewol Ho,” named for the ferry itself, which begins with John Lockwood’s churning, ominous bass, soon joined by frantic, cross-talking horn lines which build in tension and urgency. “Deep Blue Sea” is an oasis of serenity, seemingly peaceful but perhaps suggesting the stunned silence following unimaginable horror. Rick DiMuzio’s tenor offers a soulful elegy.

The brisk, manic rhythms of “Whirlwind” capture the chaos of the sinking’s aftermath: the frenzied worry of victim’s families, the unanswered questions and political turmoil that persist nearly three years later. “Guilty” is aimed squarely at those whose neglect, greed and politicking led to the tragedy and its staggering death toll, the composer’s seething contempt for the deceit and disregard for human life mutedly expressed in the tug of war between Bruce Bartlett’s guitar and Rick DiMuzio’s soprano. Finally, “You Are Here (Every Time I Think of You)” is Lee’s outpouring of sympathy for those lost and those left behind, highlighted by the aching, sweepingly gorgeous flugelhorn of guest soloist Sean Jones.

The band was assembled and the album co-produced by trumpeter and longtime Berklee professor Greg Hopkins. “Greg really believed in me and my music,” Lee says. “When I shared my vision he was really supportive.” Hopkins also helped Lee set up the Kickstarter campaign that funded the album’s recording.

Given the singular vision of Lee’s writing for big band, which calls to mind the bold narratives and colors of the Maria Schneider Orchestra along with the intricate arrangements of Jim McNeely, with whom she’s now studying at the Manhattan School of Music, it’s surprising to learn that Lee arrived in Boston with no intention of leading an orchestra and very little knowledge of jazz in general. She’d worked primarily as a folk and R&B-influenced pop singer-songwriter in Korea but came to Berklee hoping to expand her musical horizons.

“I wanted to see something that I didn’t see when I was in Korea,” she recalls. “I really loved complexity in harmony and rhythm, but I didn’t know what genre I could find it in. I just followed my gut, and my gut said you have to go to Berklee. I got to see a lot of concert jazz orchestra music there, and I was overwhelmed. I was enchanted by the energy and complexity, the richness and diversity that we can mix and use in different ways. That’s how I got into jazz big band writing.”

One of the most striking elements of Lee’s pieces throughout April is the way she interweaves her own voice into the orchestral palette. She doesn’t write lyrics, uncomfortable with penning words in English, but doesn’t see the lack of them as inhibitive of communicating her messages. “Lyrics are too specific to convey some images or emotions that I cannot really express with words,” she says.
The use of voice, though, came naturally from her background as a singer. “It was only natural. I think people are very drawn to the human voice because we’re all human, and there’s some things that only voice can express.”

While she doesn’t draw on explicit influences from her native country, Lee says that her essential Korean-ness comes through in every note that she writes. “Korean people are very emotional, very expressive,” she explains. She mentions a Korean expression, han, that connotes a sense of deep, restrained emotion rooted in the country’s long history of war and colonization, similar to the melancholic/nostalgic Brazilian term saudade but in an earthier, more inward form. The stoicism they display on the surface means that their sadness comes through in art as a howl of sadness. “I think it naturally comes through in my melodies: dramatic, lyrical, very sad, that kind of emotional statement.”

The title April ties into her adopted home of Boston as well, given that the Boston Marathon bombing took place one year almost to the day prior to the Sewol. Lee hopes that her music offers a path to healing from both incidents. “April is a beautiful month, the beginning of spring when everything is new and beautiful and blooming,” she says. “I want to make April bloom again.”





Moppa Elliott’s Mostly Other People Do the Killing releases its second septet CD, Loafer’s Hollow – out today (February 24) on Hot Cup Records.

The recording draws upon the literary and the musical, containing eight new compositions that explore pre-bebop era jazz from the first half of the 20th century, five of them dedicated to influential authors.  Each of the compositions is named after the seemingly inexhaustible supply of oddly-christened towns in Elliott’s native Pennsylvania, as has been the case since the band’s earliest recordings.

“It’s not that the players aim for authentically archaic solo styles, or even caricatures of same (not often, anyway), or for Dixieland’s stylized way of interweaving three horns. It’s more about stomping two-beat attitude, vocalized brass muting, easy-scale melodies, and frequent interludes and instrumental breaks—as if Jelly Roll really were giving them tips.” – Kevin Whitehead, TONEaudio

Four stars: “Loafer’s Hollow puts a fresh spin on period music, not just by infusing it with free improvisations but by developing distinct characteristics within the piece-to-piece variations. This may be MOPDtK’s most accessible album but that shouldn’t be a deterrent to those who like this band on the quirkier side. There remains quirkiness to spare.” – Karl Ackerman, All About Jazz
Stream “Hi-Nella”
MP3 Download

WAV Download

I hope you enjoy the music.  Just let me know if you’re planning to cover the record or if you’d like an interview with Moppa or a physical CD. A press release is below.

All the best,


© Peter Gannushkin


Moppa Elliott’s Mostly Other People Do the Killing
Presents Loafer’s HollowSeptet CD to be released February 24, 2017 on Hot Cup Records Featuring: Steven Bernstein (Grammy nominated leader of Sex Mob), Jon Irabagon (Winner of the Thelonious Monk Intl. Saxophone Competition), Dave Taylor (NARAS Most Valuable Player Award), Brandon Seabrook (2012 Best Guitarist, Village Voice), Ron Stabinsky (piano), Moppa Elliott (DownBeat Rising Star Composer, Bassist, Arranger), Kevin Shea (2012 Best Drummer, Village Voice)

• DownBeat Critics’ Poll Winners: Rising Star Ensemble • El Intruso Jazz Group of the Year • El Intruso Best Band to See Live

“After more than ten years, Mostly Other People Do the Killing sounds better than ever; reinvigorated, mischievous and perhaps more willing to take a deep breath in the midst of these multifaceted works.” – Karl Ackerman, All About Jazz

“If you thought the comic avant-garde free-jazz quartet Mostly Other People Do the Killing went off the deep end years ago, it just found a deeper spot.” – Steve Greenlee, Jazz Times

“…uber-talented musicians who have fun with jazz tradition and the music itself.” – Kirk Silsbee, DownBeat

MOPDtK Live  • Feb. 18 – Ars Nova, Philadelphia, PA   • Feb. 19 – Cornelia Street Café, NYC   
• Feb. 22 – City of Asylum, Pittsburgh, PA   • Feb. 23 – Bop Stop, Cleveland, OH    
• Feb. 24 – Trinosphes, Detroit, MI    • Feb. 25 – Colgate University, Hamilton, NY 
• Feb. 26 – Bop Shop, Rochester, NY
Hot Cup Records is proud to present Loafer’s Hollow, the second release by the septet lineup of Mostly Other People Do the Killing.  As always, bassist/bandleader Moppa Elliott juggles multiple sources of inspiration in his singularly inventive, irreverent fashion. Loafer’s Hollow draws upon the literary and the musical, containing eight new compositions that explore pre-bebop era jazz from the first half of the 20th century, five of them dedicated to influential authors.  Each of the compositions is named after the seemingly inexhaustible supply of oddly-christened towns in Elliott’s native Pennsylvania, as has been the case since the band’s earliest recordings.

Loafer’s Hollow is an attempt by Elliott to concentrate the style of MOPDtK by squeezing more musical material into a smaller space.  With hopes of encouraging listeners to engage with the album as a whole in this random-access era, the album clocks in at just over 40 minutes with compositions that are compact and dense but still allow the members of the ensemble to freely interpret the music. Whereas the first MOPDtK septet album, Red Hot, was directly influenced by the jazz and blues recordings of the 1920s and early ‘30s, Loafer’s Hollow owes a great debt to the music of the swing era, and Count Basie’s many ensembles in particular.  From the use of the piano as a melodic instrument to the wide assortment of mutes employed by the brass players, the sounds of the 1930s and 40s big bands and “swing song” tradition is constantly referenced.  Of course, this being a Mostly Other People Do the Killing album, there are innumerable other musical references waiting to be discovered by the astute listener.

With pieces written in homage to such ground-breaking literary figures as Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, James Joyce, Cormac McCarthy and David Foster Wallace, Elliott’s obvious choice was to title the album “Library” after a town south of Pittsburgh, PA.  After some research, it turned out that the town of Library had an interesting history, having been known as Loafer’s Hollow before the first library in the area was built there in 1833, lending the album its even more evocative, though equally apt, new name.

The “literary suite” opens with “Bloomsburg,” dedicated to James Joyce and the central character from his novel Ulysses, Leopold Bloom.  Elliott based the melody on the closing lines of Molly Bloom’s famous soliloquy, which ends the novel as she drifts off to sleep.  The brass players take turns trading fours while constantly changing mutes, creating a musical exchange that sounds like many more than two people. “Kilgore” is dedicated to Elliott’s favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, and his frequently recurring character, Kilgore Trout. Trout plays a central role in many Vonnegut novels, culminating in his appearance alongside the author in Timequake.  Trombonist Dave Taylor shares Elliott’s love of Vonnegut’s novels, so it was inevitable that Elliott would feature him prominently (and in the lowest possible octave) on this tune.

The reclusive author Thomas Pynchon often weaves songs in the form of lyrics into his novels, and in at least one instance named a novel after something Pennsylvania-related.  Mason and Dixon is Pynchon’s fictional account of the British surveyors who mapped the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland, and like many of his novels, the characters often break into song.  Elliott took one of these tuneless songs and composed a melody to fit Pynchon’s lyrics.  The track begins with a piano solo that originates from the harmony of “Kilgore” and works its way to “Mason and Dixon” featuring solos by Seabrook and Irabagon that dovetail seamlessly.

“Meridian” is based on the final passage of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and a ruthless character referred to only as “The Judge.”  While the ending of the novel is dark and menacing, Elliott’s melody is wistful and nostalgic.  The opening chorale-like section gives way to bridge of the tune before making space for Steven Bernstein, intent on exploring the lower range of a trumpet he had recently brought back from the West coast.

In David Foster Wallace’s epic novel Infinite Jest, it is mentioned in passing that one of the minor characters grew up in a town called Glen Riddle, PA.  Upon consulting his handy Pennsylvania state atlas (kept in his piano bench) Elliott realized that no such town exists.  The melody to this composition named after a nonexistent Pennsylvania town was inspired by the ending of the novel wherein one of the central characters (a recovering addict) recalls “hitting bottom.”  Infinite Jest explores the idea of information overload or having too much of a good thing and has been a major influence on the music and members of MOPDtK for several years.

Outside of the suite, the first two pieces, “Hi-Nella” and “Honey Hole,” jump rapidly from section to section, featuring the banjo and electronics of Brandon Seabrook in addition to an epic cadenza from Steven Bernstein and solos from Jon Irabagon and Dave Taylor. The album closes with a composition entitled “Five (Corners, Points, Forks)” after three towns in Pennsylvania whose names share the same first word.  The composition begins with a single theme that gradually expands as different members of the ensemble each take turns stating it.  The players are instructed to play no low notes in an attempt to simulate the sound of low-fi recordings from the 1920s.  Once the band is all in, the lower frequencies appear as a contrast to the earlier sections.  Elliott was inspired to write this piece after listening to Jelly Roll Morton’s music and wishing that it had been possible to record those pieces with booming bass frequencies.

Over the past thirteen years, MOPDtK has earned a place at the forefront of jazz and improvised music, performing in a style that is at once rooted in the jazz tradition and highly improvised and unstructured.  Their initial albums explored the intersection between common practice hard-bop compositions and free improvisation, incorporating a kaleidoscopic wealth of other influences from pop music to the classical European repertoire.  In 2010, Elliott expanded the group’s framework and began exploring specific eras of jazz, resulting in 2011’s Slippery Rock (an investigation of smooth jazz and fusion styles) and 2012’s Red Hot (featuring an expanded lineup recalling the jazz and blues recordings of the late 1920s and early 1930s).

2014 saw the release of Blue, a note-for-note recreation of Miles Davis’ classic album, Kind of Blue that evoked a wide range of strong responses from both the public and critics and will likely be a part of the discussion of the state of jazz in the 21st century for years to come.  In 2015, the band returned to a quartet format for the album Mauch Chunk, which explored the hard-bop styles common in the 1950s.  Since the release of Mauch Chunk, all four members of the core quartet have released solo recordings including Moppa Elliott’s Still, Up In the Air, and pianist Ron Stabinsky’s Free For One, both on Hot Cup Records.

Steven Bernstein is best known as the leader of Sex Mob, The Millenial Territory Orchestra, and the Hot 9 with Henry Butler.  Sex Mob’s album Sexotica was nominated for a Grammy award in 2006.

Jon Irabagon works with Dave Douglas, Mary Halvorson, and Rudy Royston in addition to leading his own ensembles. He recently showcased his versatility by releasing a daring solo sopranino saxophone recording, Inaction is an Action and a straight-ahead jazz quintet recording on his Irabagast Records Label.

Dave Taylor is one of the most recorded bass trombonists in history.  He has performed and recorded with everyone from Duke Ellington and Gil Evans to The Village People and Sting.

Brandon Seabrook was named “Best Guitarist in New York” by the Village Voice and performs in a wide variety of contexts from traditional jazz to experimental noise-rock.  His band Seabrook Power Plant recently released their second album.

Pianist Ron Stabinsky first joined MOPDtK in 2013 as part of a project at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam commemorating the anniversary of Eric Dolphy and Booker Little Live at the Five Spot. In addition to his work with MOPDtK, Stabinsky is an accompanist in virtually every possible context from classical recitals, to community choirs, to improvised music, jazz, pop, and rock.  Stabinsky lives in Plains, PA and is a member of the Peter Evans Quartet and Quintet, Charles Evans Quartet (no relation), and recently recorded his first solo album Free For One on Hot Cup Records.

Kevin Shea was named “Best Drummer in New York” by the Village Voice and regularly tours with the noise-rock-improv duo, Talibam! Shea recently released a third album with the band People featuring Mary Halvorson.

Bassist Moppa Elliott teaches music at St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset, NY and double bass and trombone at the Long Island Conservatory.  He also produces and releases albums on Hot Cup Records including his solo bass recording Still, Up in the Air.







Got My Heart (Single) – MP3 / SoundCloud (approved for posting)
Got My Heart (EP) – MP3 / SoundCloud (approved for posting)
High res promotional photo: Landscape | Portrait

West Australian, Jason Ayres, releases his brand new EP titled ‘Got My Heart’ on April 1 and is set for a series of launch dates in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Having released a string of EP’s since he began in 2007, Jason’s forthcoming EP titled ‘Got My Heart’ delivers a unique brand of alternative country. It is a new style of music that he’s dabbled in for this release but insists that he maintains his grass roots.

“It’s the first time I’ve got the full band back together after seven years of being a solo acoustic artist,” says Ayres. “I’m finally feeling free enough to write what my heart feels and this time it feels alternative country”.

An avid collector of vintage guitars having almost thirty in his collection, Jason recorded the EP in its entirety using a slather of vintage Gibson acoustic guitars that were built back in the 1940’s and 1950’s. He also wrote the EP in pieces whilst travelling the country on his last tour as he dealt with the breakdown of a long-term relationship, the result capturing his intense feelings and inevitably finding a fresh start to his life.

“It’s a record about breaking the pieces only to put them back together again. Albeit stronger, better and more uniform,” says Jason. “I came out of a ten-year relationship that was damaged and irreparable just twelve weeks before the wedding date. I hit the road with my guitar and made music for a while. With space from the chaos, and the damage dissipating in the rear view, I was able to dust myself off and focus on the future. Little did I know that the future held a new love.”

The South African born singer moved to Australia at age seventeen calling Perth his new home. It was this move that enriched his passion for music and encouraged him to first pick up a guitar.

“I arrived in a fresh country filled with strange accents, new words and zero friends. I stuck my nose into a local guitar shop I fell in love with a black acoustic guitar, and I was besotted with the instrument from that moment on.”

Jason cites Bob Dylan as one of his biggest influences: “with nothing more than a guitar and a voice, he was able to capture my imagination and made me rethink what music was and where it came from.”

With a strong focus on his music, Jason gained the support of Perth’s mainstream radio receiving airplay on the likes of 96fm and Mix 94.5 and ABC Radio. That, and his constant drive to perform live at every chance, Jason has grown a loyal following and garnered a reputation as one of Western Australia’s “hardest working solo performers” (Menu Magazine).

Having performed to sold out crowds in iconic music venues around the country, his intimate live show and eloquent stage presence have earned him spots supporting international chart toppers like Anastacia, Rick Astley, Hot Chocolate, Manhattan Transfer, Dionne Warwick, Blood Sweat & Tears, Leo Sayer, Steve Poltz, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap and Midge Ure (Ultravox), as well as Australian icons like Russell Morris, The Whitlams, Thirsty Merc, Kasey Chambers, James Reyne, Daryl Braithwaite, Mark Seymour, Jon Stevens, Ian Moss, Adam Harvey, Tex Perkins, Eurogliders, Black Sorrows, Mental As Anything, 1927, Pseudo Echo, James Cruikshank (The Cruel Sea), Wendy Matthews and many more.

Jason Ayres is hitting the road in April to launch ‘Got My Heart’ playing headlining shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart and hometown Perth.

Jason Ayres – Got My Heart EP
Release date: 1st April 2017

Track Listing
1 – Got My Heart
2 – Baby Baby
3 – Note You Wrote
4 – My Dear
5 – Make Love Real

Got My Heart Tour Dates 2017

1st April – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
8th April – Club Voltaire, Melbourne, VIC
9th April – Red Rattler Theatre, Sydney, NSW
14th May – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
21st May – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD





“Delivers a unique brand of acoustic pop tunes” – THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

“Jason’s excellent vocal range complements his guitar-based songs and his work has a soaring simplicity that is refreshing in an overdubbed world.” – THE POST

“A charismatic and sincere performer who delivers quality songs. One of Perth’s finer acoustic acts” – DRUM MEDIA

“This artists possesses finesse and sophistication beyond his years.” – MUSIC CONNECTION MAGAZINE


Marc Mancini
Online Publicity







February 10, 2017




(310) 993-4017










Pianist Josh Nelson will be featured in NPR’s Jazz Night in America as they head to La La Land to get the real story of what it really takes to be a jazz musician in the City of Angels.


Jazz Night in America is a nationally syndicated weekly radio show and a weekly concert video webcast from venues across the country produced by WBGO. The web site (which is part of the NPR site) is a hub for video features, multi-platform journalism and on-demand access. Altogether, it’s a portrait of jazz music today, as seen through many of its exceptional live performances and performers.


The NPR team came to the Blue Whale jazz club, located in the heart of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, to film Nelson’s newest Discovery Project concert. Nelson is a widely respected jazz pianist, recording artist, composer, and educator who has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz. He has recorded for countless albums, films, and TV shows, as well as releasing seven CDs as a leader. The Discovery Project is an ongoing multi-disciplinary artistic collaboration and presentation. Using original music compositions and a variety of concrete and abstract moving images projected onto sculptural forms, each unique performance creates an immersive experience for the audience that entirely transforms the performance space.


Nelson created the first Discovery Project in 2011 as an extension of his Discoveries album. That show paired classic science fiction ephemera with new compositions for a brass and wind ensemble that also featured a live video projection and art installation component. His next show in 2015, Exploring Mars, featured musical themes on the Red Planet along with spectacular NASA/JPL Martian video footage. The eponymous CD received wide critical acclaim. All About Jazz said, “A fertile imagination and strong musical skills have given birth to a remarkable work of art here. Exploring Mars is a world unto itself.”


The latest manifestation of the Discovery Project is subtitled The Sky Remains: Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Los Angeles. Nelson’s newest multi-media project is a love letter to the city where he has spent most of his life. The NPR teamed filmed the second of the show’s two-night run, which featured Anthony Wilson on guitar, Alex Boneham on bass, Dan Schnelle on drums, Brian Walsh on clarinet, Josh Johnson on saxophone, Chris Lawrence on trumpet and Kathleen Grace and

Lillian Sengpiehl on vocals. Historian Robert Peterson provided narration about Los Angeles history, and Travis Flournoy created the live video projections. The CD based on the show will be released in the Fall of 2017.


Besides showcasing the Discovery Project live performance, the Jazz Night in America program will also ask some L.A. musicians, including John Beasley, Angela Parrish, Peter Erskine and Carl Saunders, what the award-winning movie gets right … and wrong, about jazz.


The episode will air on WBGO on Thursday, February 23rd at 7 pm and on Saturday, February 25th at 11pm.  It will air on NPR member stations throughout that week and it will be posted to the NPR website by the end of the day on the 23rd where it will be available in perpetuity.


Watch Josh Nelson’s “Discovery Project,” Blue Whale, May 2014: http://bit.ly/2lzNlnu











I hope you’re well.


I’m very excited to announce that legendary composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith will present the CREATE Festival, April 7 & 8 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT.


It’s the first-ever celebration of Smith’s visionary compositions and features five ensembles performing classic works and several world premieres.


A press release is below.  Just let me know if you’d like to interview Wadada or cover the Festival.


All the best,





© Michael Jackson


Legendary composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith presents
the CREATE FestivalApril 8 & 9, 2017 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CTThe first-ever celebration of Smith’s visionary compositions features five ensembles performing classic works and several world premieres“A trumpeter and composer of penetrating insight.” – Nate Chinen, The New York Times“Smith uses his magisterial instrumental voice, his inspirational leadership and his command of classical, jazz and blues forms to remind us of what has gone down and what’s still happening.”  — Bill Meyer, DownBeat’s 80 Coolest Things in Jazz TodayVisionary composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith proudly announces the first-ever CREATE Festival, a two-day celebration and exploration of his inventive and unclassifiable music that will feature classic works alongside world premiere performances. Taking place April 8 & 9, 2017 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut, the festival will include performances by five separate ensembles as well as seminars discussing Smith’s singular compositional innovations.“This idea has been in a dream state for many, many years,” Smith says. That long-cherished dream has been realized in part due to support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which awarded Smith the Doris Duke Artist Award in 2016. The festival offers a thrilling, rare opportunity to delve deeply into the full scope of Smith’s sui generis compositional voice and approach, which – in their category-defying range and breadth – can only be classified using Smith’s preferred term, “Creative Music.”

The eclectic weekend will include two unique trios, each featuring unusual, ingenious instrumentation; three of the composer’s most recent works for string quartet, the latest entries in an oeuvre now spanning more than five decades; a vocal oratorio; and the world premiere performance of Smith’s latest epic composition, “America’s National Parks.” In addition, both days’ performance schedules will kick off with short sets by young, unrecorded musicians (including Wadada’s 21-year-old grandson, guitarist Lamar Smith), providing an invaluable opportunity for artists in the early stages of their careers to receive guidance and exposure from the iconic composer.

Both evenings’ concert programs will culminate with the first-time live performance of the four largest movements from “America’s National Parks” by Smith’s newly-expanded Golden Quintet: Smith, pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Pheeroan akLaff, and cellist Ashley Walters. Cuneiform’s 2-CD recording of the suite last year was widely acclaimed, taking its place at or near the top of most annual lists of the year’s best releases. JazzTimes wrote that the album “unites political engagement with a soul-deep connection to nature… rich with ineffable majesty, [the suite] fully engages with tensions at the heart of the American experience.”

Saturday’s line-up commences with “Dark Lady of the Sonnets,” a piece dedicated to Billie Holiday and originally recorded in 2011, by Smith’s Mbira trio with akLaff and pipa virtuoso Min Xiao-Fen. Mbira will then be joined by the RedKoral Quintet, a string quartet specially assembled to perform Smith’s music, and a pair of vocalists for excerpts from his “Rosa Parks Oratorio,” originally premiered during the 2016 FONT Festival of New Trumpet Music. The Oratorio, Smith says, “is not a portrait of Rosa Parks. It’s my view of how she generated her ideas, her courage and her notions about how to resolve conflict.”

The RedKoral Quintet, comprising longtime collaborators Shalini Vijayan and Mona Tian (violin), Lorenz Gamma (viola) and Ashley Walters (cello), will then premiere Smith’s “String Quartet No. 9” and the first movement of “String Quartet No. 10,” two of the latest in a book of music begun in the mid-1960s. “No. 9” features four movements dedicated to female African-American pioneers in music and the Civil Rights movement (Ma Rainey, Marian Anderson, Rosa Parks, and Angela Davis), while “No. 10” was inspired by the legendary Duke Ellington and also features pianist Anthony Davis.

Sunday’s concert begins with Smith’s 12th String Quartet, the “Pacifica,” which was premiered at the 2016 Vision Festival and was written for four violas (Stephanie Griffin, Gwen Lester, Tanya Kalmanovitch and Jason Kao Hwang) with Smith’s trumpets and electronics by New York-based sound designer Hardedge. The evening continues with a newly-composed piece for the trio New Delta Akhri, in which Smith is joined by saxophonist and flutist Dwight Andrew and vibraphonist Bobby Naughton. That trio, Smith says, continues to expand concepts inaugurated with his influential early trio, the Creative Construction Company, with fellow AACM pioneers Anthony Braxton and Leroy Jenkins. “That trio set the pace for the idea of an ensemble that didn’t have a set bottom, middle and top,” he says. “It sits in a zone that’s quite unique.”

Several of the works will be supplemented by images provided by video artist Jesse Gilbert, who Smith says adds integral visual context to the aural elements. “The music and imagery don’t move in separate streams,” he says. “They’re actually intimately connected and responsible for each other, allowing us to create a narrative that transcends space and time. It’s twofold: there’s a technical and musical connection, and then there’s a psychological and historical connection that help to provide for comprehension of the work.”

In order to further that comprehension, Smith (aided again by Gilbert’s images) will offer two afternoon seminars during the weekend, one to elaborate on several of the compositions and the inspirations and approaches behind them, and one to offer insights into his symbolic musical language, Ankhrasmation. Both seminars will be accompanied by premium coffee brewed by Wadada himself and Creole gumbo prepared by Gianna Chachere, executive director and founder of New Orleans arts organization The New Quorum.

Smith chose New Haven’s Firehouse 12 as the ideal venue for the CREATE Festival, calling it “almost a perfect place to play. The size is intimate enough that everybody in the space will feel that they’re part of the performance and can have a clear, engaged audio and visual experience. It’s a strong center for music in Connecticut.”

As with every performance, Smith sees the overall festival as a work in itself, which he calls “Kosmic Music: A Sonic Spectrum of Crystallized Rhythm: Pure – In Eight Parts with Five Ensembles.” In the end, Smith hopes that audiences who attend the festival will come away “with a deeper understanding of how I make my art. I expect that they’ll be more informed about what my music is and therefore they can create a deeper level of appreciation for what I do. Ultimately I wish to create a dialogue about issues of liberty, democracy, art and the connection between human beings.”

CREATE Festival April 8 & 9, 2017, Firehouse 12

Saturday, April 8

12-2:00pm Seminar

A presentation centered around a dialogue about Wadada Leo Smith’s music and some of the pieces being performed over the two days, with Jesse Gilbert, video artist. Premium coffee brewed by Wadada and Creole gumbo prepared by Gianna Chachere.

7:00pm Concert

1. Young People’s Opening Act LaStar
Lamar Smith, guitar, plus two musicians TBA

2. Dark Lady of the Sonnets

3. Excerpt from Rosa Parks Oratorio
The Montgomery Bus Boycott: 381 Days: Fire

Pheeroan Aklaff, drums and percussion
Min Xiao Fen, pipa and voice
Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet
with RedKoral Quartet and Jesse Gilbert, video artist on Rosa Parks Oratorio

4. String Quartets 9 and 10, World Premiere
String Quartet No. 9
Ma Rainey
Marian Anderson
Rosa Parks
Angela Davis

String Quartet No. 10
Reminiscing in Tempo

RedKoral Quartet
Shalini Vijayan, violin
Mona Tian, violin
Lorenz Gamma, viola
Ashley Walters, cello
Anthony Davis, piano on String Quartet #10

5. Excerpts from America’s National Parks
New Orleans; National Cultural Park, World Premiere Yellowstone; the Spirit of America

Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quintet
Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet
Anthony Davis, piano
Ashley Walters, cello
John Linberg, bass
Pheeroan Aklaff, drums
Jesse Gilbert, video artist

Sunday, April 9

12-2:00pm Seminar

A presentation of a dialogue concerning the symbolic music language Ankhrasmation, with Jesse Gilbert, video artist. Premium coffee brewed by Wadada and Creole gumbo prepared by Gianna Chachere.

7:00pm Concert

1. Young People’s Opening Act
Musicians TBA

2. String Quartet #12, Pacifica
Viola Quartet with Trumpet and electronics

The Sextet
Stephanie Griffin, viola
Gwen Lester, viola
Tanya Kalmanovitch, viola
Jason Kao Hwang, viola
Hardedge, electronics
Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet

3. New premiere, TBA

New Delta Ahkri
Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet
Dwight Andrew, saxophones/flutes
Bobby Naughton, vibraphone

4. Excerpts from America’s National Parks
Mississippi River

Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quintet
Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet
Anthony Davis, piano
Ashley Walters, cello
John Linberg, bass
Pheeroan Aklaff, drums
Jesse Gilbert, video artist



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Lincoln, Ma 01773
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Greetings Everyone!


Registrations are going well and there are only a few spots left for The Shaman’s Heart Program retreat at The Inn at Mountain Quest next month!


Please consider joining us for this very special event!


The Inn at Mountain Quest is nestled among the beautiful towering mountains of Pocahontas County, WV, near Snowshoe Mountain Ski

Resort. This retreat center is one of the most beautiful and unique settings

we ever worked in.


The Shaman’s Heart

The Path of Authentic Power, Purpose & Presence


Facilitated by

Byron Metcalf, PhD & Karen Malik, MA


March 15 – 19, 2017



The Shaman’s Heart is a revolutionary program for developing one’s full capacity for soul-based and heart-centered living. Developed by Byron Metcalf, Ph.D., The Shaman’s Heart Program is the result of 30 years of research, clinical application, spiritual and transpersonal development, and shamanic/holistic healing and transformation. The program is a unique and practical integration of shamanic practice, transpersonal psychology, ancient wisdom teachings, and various contemporary methods of spiritual growth, development and personal transformation. This highly experiential 4-day retreat is specifically oriented toward creating the capacity to navigate these challenging times and complex world in a soul-based and heart-centered manner.


Using a combination of music and sound, brainwave entrainment technologies, meditation, personal intention, ritual, journey work, and integrative processing, Byron will be joined by Karen Malik, MA, former senior Monroe Institute facilitator to create a powerful and safe environment for you to explore The Shaman’s Heart Program. Potential benefits include:

  • Heart-Centered self-empowerment – authentic trust and confidence in one’s capacity to navigate life’s challenges
  • Freedom from fear, worry and anxiety
  • Improved immune system and a reduction of stress related and psychosomatic illnesses
  • Increased ability to relax deeply and let go
  • Enhanced capacity for intimacy and openness in relationships
  • Increased presence, creativity, mental clarity, focus and attention
  • Freedom from an excessive need for external approval, respect and recognition
  • A sense of basic trust in one’s self-healing capacities
  • An expanded experience of one’s true self and true nature

In addition to expanded and advanced Shaman’s Heart Program exercises and activities, you will experience meditations that are specifically designed to assist and support the full development of the fundamental capacities, potentials and essential qualities of the heart.


Throughout the workshop, Byron will use live drums and percussion, and various shamanic tools to enhance and amplify the effectiveness of group exercises.


DATES:  Arrive Wednesday, March 15, before 6 PM (in time for dinner) and depart Sunday, March 19, at 11 AM (following an integration session).


TOTAL COST OF THE WORKSHOP:  $1195 (includes facilitation, materials, lodging, all meals and taxes), with $500 due at time of registration, and the remainder due 30 days before the event.


LODGING: Rooms are double occupancy, each with a unique theme and private bath. See www.mountainquestinn.com Special requests will be accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis.


MEALS:  Mountain Quest features a private chef who caters to the special needs of individuals.  If you are a vegan, vegetarian, are lacto- or gluten-free, or have other food requirements, please provide that information when registering for an event.


TRANSPORTATION:  The farm is situated in a high valley of the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia.  Driving directions are on the website.  If you plan on experiencing the many local attractions available in this remote location, you will wish to have a car available (let Mountain Quest know if you need a room before or after the event).  Local attractions include the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (largest mobile receiver in the world), CASS Railroad and Snowshoe Ski Resort. The nearest airport is Greenbrier Valley Airport located in Lewisburg, West Virginia. It is recommended that car rentals be pre-arranged. Special pickup arrangements can be made through Mountain Quest.


CLOTHING: Nights in the mountains are cold, and the weather can change rapidly.  Layering is recommended.  You will want to bring hiking shoes if you plan to visit the animals or navigate the paths of this 450 acre farm.


BRING WITH YOU: You will want to bring a camping mat/pad if possible as you will lying down on floor for most of the exercises and journey-work (some thin yoga mats are provided). Bring a journal or notebook, and it is suggested that you bring your favorite stereo earphones, although earphones will also be available. You will want to remember to bring a camera. Mountain Quest is the home of the Myst, an intriguing and mystical night-time photography experience that represents the natural energies surrounding each and every one of us, energies that are often invisible and rarely capture our attention.


Call 304-799-7267 or email alex@mountainquestinstitute.com to register for these events.


NOTE: These events are not appropriate for people with a history of seizure disorders or severe mental illness including dissociative disorders and bi-polar disorder. Please contact Byron Metcalf or Karen Malik if you have questions or concerns. All inquires are kept strictly confidential.



Byron Metcalf, PhD, is a transpersonal guide and educator, shamanic practitioner, researcher, and award-winning professional musician. For three decades, he has been intensely involved in consciousness research and spiritual development, specializing in the transformative potential of alternative states of consciousness. As a drummer, percussionist and recording engineer, Byron produces music for deep inner exploration, breathwork, shamanic journeywork, body-oriented therapies, various meditation practices and the healing arts.


As a workshop, retreat and ceremonial leader with over 30 years of experience, Byron has facilitated personal growth and healing workshops featuring Holotropic and HoloShamanic Breathwork and The Shaman’s Heart Program/Training throughout the US. He lives in the high-desert mountains of Prescott Valley, Arizona, and is the founding director of HoloShamanic Strategies, LLC.

See www.holoshamanicstrategies.org and www.byronmetcalf.com


Karen Malik, MA is a transpersonal therapist, guide and mentor. Extensively trained and experienced in the field of consciousness exploration, Karen is recognized both nationally and internationally as a uniquely gifted workshop/retreat facilitator, therapist and healer.


Karen developed the Western Division of The Monroe Institute (TMI) and as Senior Residential Facilitator for over 36 years, played a key role in the overall development of TMI and its cutting-edge programs. She holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, is a Senior Fellow with the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA) and a certified Biofeedback practitioner. She has served on the Board and is past president and conference chairperson of ISSSEEM (International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy and Energy Medicine), and also serves on the Board and is past president of CCSP (Cross Cultural Studies Program). See www.karenmalik.com



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For Immediate Release


Jazz-Soul Ensemble E-Life 7 Feat Michael Pennick and Many Special Guests to Release Debut Album Miked Up


Including Past and Present Members of The Exoutics, this Spring 2017


Buffalo, New York – Three 2 Go Music introduces E-Life 7 Featuring Michael Pennick (EL7) and their debut album Miked Up. EL7 unites some of Western NY’s finest musicians on this release, including Michael Pennick on bass, Rodney Spears & Charlie Crymes Jr. on keyboards, guitarist Ron Walker, and drummer and percussionist Tim Webb. Special appearances by Ken Whitman (tenor sax), Walter Kemp III, Van Taylor (keyboards), Joey Diggs and Dee Osbourne (vocals) round out this stellar new 12-track album that spans Jazz, Soul, and R&B, all with a sound that remains unique to EL7. Miked Up will be released worldwide both physically and digitally by Three 2 Go Music on March 24, 2017.

EL7 is the brainchild of Ron Walker and Mike Pennick, both long time members of Buffalo Music Hall of Fame R&B recording artists The Exoutics. While contemplating their musical future longtime friends Ron and Mike decided it was time to explore their Jazz alter egos and discover what lies beneath the tender ballads and funky R&B grooves they had been writing for years. EL7 acknowledges the musical and spiritual influence of past and present members of The Exoutics, and after a brief discussion, it was agreed that their next project would highlight the talent of bassist Mike Pennick. Eventually, this led to the formation of EL7.


With extraordinary creativity and collaboration, the group conceived of and recorded Miked Up. Rodney’s unique keyboard accents are a perfect complement to the keyboard foundations played by Charlie. Tim’s intricate drum touch reinforces the rhythmic, melodic bass lines and spicy guitar licks. When blended together, what a unique sound! The project took several interesting twists and turns along the way, and each member shared creative ideas and opinions to help shape this outstanding release.


The resulting album captures the flavor and passion of each musician, and audiences will enjoy and appreciate this special blend of Jazz and R&B. Miked Up covers the gamut of emotions, from the rhythm shifting jazz funk of “Chaos,” to the fun-filled, upbeat, and playful “Sunday Night.” The remake of Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl” and the intimate revelations of “Inner Beauty” and “Before the Storm” make this CD a pleasure to listen to, sure to appeal to the most demanding pallet. Enjoy Life, 7 days a week.


Established in 1996, Three 2 Go Music is dedicated to developing promising music talent in Western NY. As a partner of Three 2 Go Music Alliance and with over 100 years of combined music business experience, Buffalo Music Hall of Fame members Van Taylor, Michael Pennick, and Ron Walker are quietly positioning Three 2 Go Music for success. “We believe Western NY has great talent, and we want that talent to shine.”


Miked Up to Release Worldwide on March 24, 2017


For more information about E-Life 7 please visit:  www.e-life7.net


For Booking information please email info@Three2GoMusic.com


For Press inquiries contact Billy James at Glass Onyon PR: (828) 350-8158 or glassonyonpr@gmail.com


For Digital Marketing contact Jerome Forney at Independent Distribution Collective: jerome@independentdistro.com




Rising saxophonist Walter Smith III opens Jazz at Princeton’s spring season on Sunday, March 5

“Walter Smith III is an inspired young saxophonist and composer with a lot to say…” – Joe Lovano

“…consistently emerging as an identifiable voice among the masses.” – All About Jazz

Jazz at Princeton University, helmed by acclaimed saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, presents a diverse and compelling spring 2017 season (March 5-May 13), starting with an appearance by guest artist and saxophonist Walter Smith III. With Princeton’s Small Group I, Smith performs music from his most recent album Still Casual on Sunday, March 5, 8 p.m. in Alexander Hall’s Richardson Auditorium. Admission is $15, $5 students. For tickets call 609-258-9220 or visit tickets.princeton.edu.

Although it may appear Smith is a young gun on the scene at age 33, he is widely recognized as an adept performer, accomplished composer, and inspired educator. He’s performed and/or appeared on over 75 recordings with a wide range of artists including Terence Blanchard, Eric Harland, Roy Haynes, Jason Moran, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Lovano, Christian Scott, and Christian McBride. Smith holds degrees from the Berklee College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. His most recent release, the 2014 Still Casual, features Taylor Eigsti, Matt Stevens, Kendrick Scott, Harish Raghavan, and Ambrose Akinmusire. Originally from Houston, Smith is on the Jazz Studies faculty at the IU Jacobs School of Music.

Other concerts in the series include Steve Lehman’s Sélébéyone (March 28), Small Group 1 and Small Group A (April 12), Small Group A (April 23), Jazz Vocal Collective I and II with Darmon Meader (April 27), Creative Large Ensemble with Billy Childs (May 13).

Jazz at Princeton University serves to promote this uniquely American music as a contemporary and relevant art form.  Our goals are to convey the vast musical and social history of jazz, establish a strong theoretical and stylistic foundation with regard to improvisation and composition, and emphasize the development of individual expression and creativity. Offerings of this program include academic course work, performing ensembles, master classes, private study, and independent projects.



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Braithwaite & Katz

248 South Great Rd.

Lincoln, Ma 01773
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It’s “3 Minutes to Midnight” and Lawson Rollins has “Island Time” on his mind


The world music guitarist is feeling “Golden” about landing his first motion picture score.


SAN FRANCISCO (23 January 2017): Award-winning world music guitarist Lawson Rollins has the Billboard, America’s Music Charts and Groove Jazz Music charts under the hypnotic spell of his new single, “Island Time,” the first cut taken from his seventh album, “3 Minutes to Midnight,” which was released last Friday (January 20) by Infinita Records. Radio programmers at influential national outlets, including SiriusXM’s Watercolors and Broadcast Architecture, have made the seductive waltz paced by Rollins’ beguiling fingerstyle nylon guitar come-ons one of the “most added” and “most played” new singles on the first two charts published in 2017. Another composition appearing on the multicultural and multi-genre collection written by Rollins, the mystical meditation “Eternal,” began receiving airplay last month on the nationally-syndicated public radio program Echoes. “3 Minutes to Midnight” wasted no time climbing into the top 20 of the iTunes world music album sales chart.


Adopting a “Brevity is the soul of wit” mantra while crafting the twelve tunes that form “3 Minutes to Midnight,” Rollins opted to communicate with a sense of urgency, immediacy and poignancy perhaps to contrast the clutter and clamor incessantly assaulting our senses and shrinking bandwidths. He eschewed his long-held penchant for sprawling compositions and opulently-layered audioscapes in favor of clear and concise constructs – all in the three-minute range – with a pared down sonic aesthetic. Producing the session with multi-platinum producer Dominic Camardella, Rollins’ new set evokes a full gamut of moods and emotions ranging from passion, energetic and excitement to brooding, melancholic and pensive.


In the March issue of Guitar Player that is slated to hit magazine racks early next month, Rollins, whose virtuosic classical guitar technique has amassed over 10 million YouTube views, discusses “3 Minutes to Midnight” as well as nabbing his first film score. In a feature story that serves as the cover to the magazine’s “Frets” section, he talks about composing the music and serving as the music supervisor and executive producer of “Golden,” a movie described as a modern day psychological morality thriller currently in post-production.


“The soundtrack is going to be all original material from me on acoustic, electric, slide and Spanish guitars, backed by two-time Grammy-winning Danish violinist Mads Tolling, Native American master flute player Guillermo Martinez (of the Tarascan tribe) and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Duros. It’s going to be a haunting soundtrack of acoustic Americana guitar motifs, blues-based electric guitar playing, violin fiddling, and Native American flute and drumming fused with some contemporary synthesizer and percussive elements,” said Rollins, a San Francisco-based artist whose authentic world beat sound and earthy ethereal recordings foretold eventual work in cinema.


Along with garnering robust radio play and early chart action, “3 Minutes to Midnight” is being well received by critics. Below is a sampling of the initial reviews:

If your ears are thirsting for swirling guitar work that will thrill your heart and bring you up out of whatever funky mood you’re in – Lawson’s new (January 20th, 2017) release is just perfect for doing that.” – Improvijazzation Nation


“Lawson Rollins once again takes the listener on a magical musical journey…A nicely balanced release of 12 tracks together with Rollins’ exquisite guitar work as great as ever, means that ‘3 Minutes to Midnight’ is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening.” – Exclusive Magazine


This American artist is one of the most creative world music and fusion guitarists in the world.” – Keys & Chords


“As one of those guitarists who first captured my attention with his Latin-infused and Nuevo Flamenco guitar style quite a while ago, Lawson Rollins continues to provide awe-inspiring melodies and riffs on his latest release, ‘3 Minutes to Midnight.’…these compositions, all penned by Rollins, by the way, are simply filled with the moving vibe that defies description but always speaks to you and manages to transport you to some wondrous land of color and intrigue.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride


“Classic, acoustic guitar jazz with a hint of the exotic.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk


“Firmly staking out his territory as a world beat guitarist par excellence…A tasty treat throughout.” – Midwest Record


“’3 Minutes to Midnight’ is dazzling, pertinent and explosive.” – SmoothJazz.com



For more information about Rollins, please visit www.LawsonRollins.com. To view the “Golden” trailer, go to www.GoldenTheMovie.com.


#  #  #




New England Conservatory’s Jazz Lab

One-Week Intensive Jazz Program for Students Ages 14 – 18

Sunday, June 25 – Friday, June 30, 2017

 Faculty Includes The Bad Plus: Ethan Iverson, Alex Brown, Jason Palmer, Ken Schaphorst, David Zoffer, Rick McLaughlin and Artistic Director, Tim Lienhard

Students ages 14–18 are invited to spend a week in Boston with some of the best musicians in the country at New England Conservatory’s Jazz Lab. The program is a one-week intensive for students from throughout the United States and abroad. Instrumentalists and vocalists are welcome, as are small ensembles.  No pre-audition is required.  Jazz Lab takes place Sunday, June 25 – Friday, June 30, 2017. Both day and overnight students are welcome.

During Jazz Lab students surround themselves with like-minded musicians and take their jazz training to the next level.  Unlike many other summer jazz programs, NEC’s Jazz Lab offers both an intimate setting for learning combined with the rich urban landscape of Boston.  Students work with NEC’s premier jazz faculty and participate in a curriculum full of improvisation, small group training, jam sessions, entrepreneurial workshops and college audition prep. This year’s program will be headlined by a day-long residency with The Bad Plus.

Jazz Lab faculty include NEC Jazz Studies Department Chair Ken Schaphorst, pianist David Zoffer, bassist Rick McLaughlin and trombonist/Jazz Lab Artistic Director Tim Lienhard. This year’s renowned guest artists, The Bad Plus, Alex Brown, and Jason Palmer will not only have an impact on participants through their innovative teaching, but with their spectacular performances throughout the week.

In addition to daily theory/improvisation classes, small ensemble coaching, and one on one instruction, Jazz Lab will feature seminars in entrepreneurship and training for careers in music. NEC jazz alumni talk about what it takes to promote music, produce concerts, build a private teaching studio and find success as a 21st century jazz musician. Faculty will also instruct students on applying to conservatories, schools of music and universities; what to look for in potential colleges and techniques for a successful audition.

Tuition is $945, which includes all classes, nightly faculty concerts, jam sessions, one private lesson with faculty, t-shirt, lunch and dinner daily (dietary needs are accommodated).  Overnight students pay an additional $545 for five nights’ housing, including daily breakfast. For more information about or to register for this dynamic program, visit http://necmusic.edu/jazz-lab  Questions?  Contact: jazzlab@necmusic.edu.

NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur “genius” grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who’s who of jazz. The program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.”


© Michael Perez


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Lincoln, Ma 01773
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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 Feb. 7–March 22 tour to 23 cities including Rochester, Ithaca, Buffalo, and NY, NY;  Cleveland and Akron, OH; Kalamazoo and, Detroit,  MI; Fayetteville, AR; Stillwater and Norman, OK; Flagstaff, and Phoenix, AZ; Seattle, WA;  Los Angeles, CA: St. Louis, MO; Edwardsville, IL; Nashville, TN; Atlanta, GA; Tallahassee, Ft. MyerB, Tampa and Orlando, FL.Stream a track or download the full album:
Stream “Love Wins”MP3 DownloadWAV Download
Just let us know if you’d like a review copy of Nick’s CD, an interview or more information.  A press release is below.Thanks so much!Katherine
Watch the video: “We The People”


Trombonist/Composer Nick Finzer embarks on 23-city national tour Feb. 7-March 22 following release of politically-charged third album

Hear & Now offers a bold call to action with Finzer’s sextet featuring Lucas Pino, Alex Wintz, Glenn Zaleski, Dave Baron and Jimmy Macbride
[Finzer’s] compositions are like stained-glass windows: lovely on the surface, but more impressive for how they imbue what’s behind them with color.” — Brian Zimmerman, DownBeat

“Nick Finzer [is] a new voice to the pantheon of upcoming trombone greats in the making.”

– Wycliffe Gordon
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

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.


© Ricardo Nelson



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If you’re in Olympia tomorrow, the 15th of January, 2017 – check this one OUT:

Hello again and Happy New Year!!


This Sunday the 15th will open up a new schedule for our Rhythm & Rye potluck party.  Hope you can come. The time has moved up one hour, from 6 to 9 p.m.  I think you’ll like the new day and hours. It will remain on the 3rd Sunday of every month for 2017, and thanks to you for helping keep it going J.


Organ instrumentals will include oldies rock and roll, soul, and of course swinging stuff to keep the atmosphere lively. The food should be very nice (you can contribute!) so come hungry. Feel free to bring friends and ‘take over the place.’


Best to all,



Charlie Saibel, Musician

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New Campaign Update!


Hello Dick,


The ‘Lucía Jackson’s Debut Album’ team just posted:

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Thank you all for your generous support! We have raised 57% of our $18,000 goal!  Still 43% more to go until TOMORROW Midnight Saturday, January 14. Thanks to all of Lucia’s new supporters! Also thanks to all the new backers that contributed $200 or more. You will get your company or artist logo on the CD, on all promo materials and on our websites!

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