jazz life

The loss of friends, family members, important musicians is always difficult to deal with and hard to move on from  … beside the wonderful Paolo Vinaccia, the music world lost in the last few weeks as well Karlheinz Miklin, the amazing Austrian saxophonist and flautist, whose musical expeditions reached as far as Argentina and Brazil and who as well was a respected and loved educator. Miklin was the first jazz musician I ever signed, and we released 3 recordings together between 1986 and 1989, classics of European Jazz like ‘Echoes of Ilyria’, which was re-issued in 2001. Joao Gilberto, the father of Bossa Nova, passed away on July 6th, leaving a massive legacy for future generations to enjoy. I was lucky to see him once joining Caetano Veloso on stage at the Umbria Jazz Festival – an unforgettable and magic moment!!! May they all Rest In Peace!

It feels sometimes out of place to say ’the show must go on’, but it is the harsh reality, exactly that will happen ….. so we went out to see and hear local sax player and singer Antonio Lizana with top pianist Arturo O’Farrill plus bassist Yarel Hernandez and drummer Shayan Fathi at the Bogui Jazz Club in central Madrid. 3 times Grammy winner O’Farrill is a powerful pianist with incredible technique, and he felt straight at home in Lizana’s flamenco infused compositions, with Fathi and Hernandez pushing the two soloists into amazing performances. Lizana showed what an incredible sax player he is and what control and emotional power he has as a singer – O’Farrill got the audience going with fast and melodic Soli and beautiful support of Lizana’s voice. A sensational combination of which I hope we will hear more, than just this outstanding concert.

Some new music I like to recommend:

Song Dynasty / Searching – This is a real unique recording, putting together Canadian guitarist Ben Holt and Taiwanese singer Li Liu plus another 16 musicians, all together from 9 countries.  Most songs were written by the pair as well and all lyrics are by Li – plus classics from the jazz repertoire reworked on influences from the Far East and an ethnic Hakka folk song by Yu-Wei Hsieh. These are swinging and entertaining songs, extremely well done and immaculate sung. My personal favourite is ‘Ai Tai’, a groovy little affair that keeps your body moving – well arranged with brass and beautiful vocals. Great music!

Mike Lorenz & The Witherbees – This self-titled debut album by Mike and his group is a cool mixture of originals and covers, as he says, ‘an exploration of a 21st century songbook’. The Witherbees are Mike on guitar, Jacqui Armbruster on vocals and viola, Justin Sekelewski on bass and Zach Martin on drums and the covers they recorded include ‘Are You Here’ by Corinne Bailey Rae, ‘Waterfalls’ by Paul McCartney and a wonderful version of Sonny Sharrock’s ‘Blind Willie’. Armbruster’s voice is hauntingly beautiful and her vocal performance impressive, so is the guitar playing of Lorenz. A surprising record with tons of variety and quality. Check this out.

Jacques Kuba Seguin / Migrations – Trumpeter Kuba Seguin wrote the 7 tracks for his new album based on interviews with people from various cultural backgrounds in Quebec, Canada, telling their stories. The album was recorded with Yannick Rieu on tenor Saxophone, Olivier Salazar on vibraphone, Jean-Michel Pilc on piano, Adrian Vedady on bass and Kevin Warren on drums. The compositions are beautiful, melodic and easy to listen to – the performances by all musicians excellent, lead by Jacques Kuba Seguin with his warm tone on the trumpet.

Shawn Myers / The Silent Life – New Orleans drummer Shan Myers composed for his debut album  music influenced by Hazrat Inayat Khan and his book The Mysticism of Sound and Music. To record the album he brought together some young and new talent as well as some special guests: MaeDea LadylaRose reading on Invocation, Mckenna Alicia on vocals, Matt Booth on bass, Andriu Yanovski on keyboards, Sam Dickey on guitar, Bryce Eastwood on alto saxophone, Steve Lands on trumpet, Damas “Fanfan” Louis on petro drum and Edward Petersen on tenor saxophone (Lake Solitude). The compositions are a mix of all that is New Orleans and more: there are the sounds of Black American Music, Haitian Voodoo, West African Voodoo and Electronic Ambience. Vocalist Mckenna Alicia is one of the rising stars in New Orleans and she shows on this album why – great vocal delivery within the outstanding arrangements of Myers. One to watch!



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