NYC Winter JazzFest

Being in New York in January for the Jazz Connect Convention has many advantages, but the best is that at the same time the 2 day Winter Jazzfest is happening. Venues like the Nublu, Poisson Rouge, Sullivan Hall, Zinc Bar, The Bitter End and Bowery Electric (plus others) are showcasing jazz acts all night. The way it works is pretty interesting – one buys a pass for the night and the walks around the Village from venue to venue and checks out what is individually of interest. The pass gives you access to all venues and showcases. I came in on the 9th but was to tired to go out, but Thursday I went to see a pre-Winter Jazz gig at the Nublu: Craig Handy’s 2nd Line Smith. A New Orleans take on the music of Jimmy Smith – groovy, funky, powerful music and a lot of fun.

Friday it was The Bitter End – first the full set of Julian Lage and Nels Cline – extraordinary guitar improvisations by the masters of two generations. I knew how good both individually are, but together they just blew me away with the deep understanding and always interesting improvisations they delivered – usually with a big smile on their faces. Outstanding.


They were followed by a set by  trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and his gang – poetry and modern jazz in a very interesting and attention catching way.A newer version of the Jazz Passengers.

The last one I catched at the Bitter End that night was bass player Charnett Moffet with Wil Calhoun and Marc Cay. A groovy modern affair with electronics and funky rhythms. Should be an interesting record, as the program was from his forthcoming Motema-Album.

Saturday I opened my music night at 11 pm at the Poisson Rouge – with the James Carter Organ Trio – powerful and deep musically as they always are – getting the audience screaming while making them listen to the finer side of jazz at the same time. Then it was Gregory Porter (same venue) and he was as great as he seems to be on stage whenever I see him – superb performance by one of the most promising song writers and singers of our time – he got it all. Love the way he sings and expresses his emotions. A heartfelt recommendation for everyone, not only jazz fans. I was lucky, as the third band I wanted to see that night performed at the Poisson Rouge as well, so I never had to leave my space at the bar …. Bugge Wesseltoft and friends with Erik Truffaz on trumpet, plus percussions, sax, drums and bass. Musicians from all over the world performing together in the typical free funk of Bugge and creating beautiful ambient sounds and powerful rhythms for the soloists to go crazy over. No better way to end the Winter Jazzfest 2013 at around 3 am ……


Hope to be back for next year’s edition.

US Announcement, January 10th, 2013



new logo






Label to Put Focus on New and Established Artists

Embodying “Global Expressions in Jazz”


Upcoming Releases by Bill Frisell, David Sanborn & Bob James,

John Medeski, and Dhafer Youssef, Among Others


Sony Classical is proud to announce the re-launch of the historic OKeh label. With the objective of documenting “Global Expressions in Jazz,” OKeh will focus on releasing jazz by new and established artists that have a wide range of global backgrounds. Initial releases during the first half of 2013 include projects by Bill Frisell, David Sanborn & Bob James, and John Medeski, as well as an additional five to seven projects slated for release later in the year.


In the United States, OKeh will be part of Sony Masterworks, Sony Classical’s U.S. branch.


“What I want to achieve with OKeh is to build a home for jazz and jazz related music of the highest quality, no matter what its origins are,” states Wulf Müller, the 29-year industry veteran who recently joined Sony Classical as an exclusive jazz A&R and Marketing consultant. Mr. Müller conceived the label’s re-launch. “‘Global Expressions in Jazz’ will mean improvised music from all over the world, being used as a global language to communicate between lovers of music. We hope to create a label that will define the present and future of the music we call Jazz.”


The announcement comes just months after the appointment of Chuck Mitchell as the Senior Vice President for Sony Masterworks. Mitchell previously served as Worldwide President of the legendary Verve label and more recently as a Vice President at eOne Music. “The re-activation of OKeh comes at a particularly auspicious moment in the international evolution of creative music,” says Mr. Mitchell. “Wulf’s knowledge of and commitment to jazz in all its facets and forms makes him the ideal individual to lead the next chapter in the development of this historically important imprint.”


“With Wulf Müller and Chuck Mitchell as the ideal partners, I’m thrilled that we are breathing new life into one of the coolest brands in recorded music history,” states Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical. “We feel there is currently an incredible wealth of exciting music out there that will find a new home and thrive on OKeh. And Sony Classical is the ideal platform for it – with specialized teams around the world whose attention and expertise will benefit all OKeh artists and their releases.”


Founded in 1918, OKeh initially became well known for recording artists in the classic jazz and blues traditions, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, and Sidney Bechet.


Müller reflects, “OKeh‘s tradition as a label for great improvised music of its time, its connection to some of the most influential artists in the genres of jazz and blues, made it the perfect label for us to use, as its history already stands for what we are aiming for: quality in all aspects of the recordings and giving todays artists a platform to express themselves, while at the same time opening doors to the future.”



Upcoming OKeh Album Releases:


April 9: John Medeski – A Different Time


May (TBA): David Sanborn & Bob James – Title TBA


TBA: Bill Frisell Big Sur Quintet – Title TBA