Into the Deep … Remembering Wayne Shorter

The news of the passing of composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter left the music world sad and in mourning. As the numerous obituaries pointed out correctly, his influence on modern jazz over the last 60 years has been tremendous. I had the pleasure to first meet Wayne personally in 1995, when he released his first album on Verve and I worked the global marketing for this release. I knew who he was, knew his music as a leader or sideman, but had never before met him. From that first meeting on, we would run into each other at festivals or gigs and always found a bit of time to chat. Wayne for me, beside the genius musician he was, was first of all a wonderful and deep human being, someone who felt people differently, who understood humans on a very emotional level, reading their ‘vibes’ like no other person I knew. Here are a few stories about Wayne, taken from my book ‘A Life In Music’, explaining the person behind the artist:

Herbie Hancock and Wayne were the sole protagonists on one of our main releases for 1997, the incredible duo recording ‘1 + 1’, which they toured extensively. I think I must have seen the two guys performing together about ten times that year, but the concert in London and one in Italy remain in my mind for their sheer musical beauty and deepness. The concert in Italy was to be held outdoors and the piano tuner came in the afternoon for the soundcheck to tune the piano, but as temperatures changed before the show started, he should have come back before the gig to check the piano again. Which he didn’t and Herbie immediately got problems as some keys were out of tune. They tried to find and call the tuner, but couldn’t locate him, so Herbie had to play on the discordant piano, which seemed to had sharpen his instincts, as he simplified his playing to tremendous effect and Wayne often checked on him with a smile. The concert lasted less than an hour and the piano was basically unplayable at that point. After the show Herbie, Wayne, our label guy in Italy, Pietro Paravella, the promoter of the show and myself went to have dinner in a local taberna, which was excellent. The wine was great too and so was the conversation. We spoke about religions and as Wayne and Herbie both are Buddhists, Wayne told a few stories about his belief. Like when one day Ike and Tina Turner had a major argument and Tina fled their home and came to Wayne’s house to hide. But they expected Ike to figure out in the end where she would have gone and come to get her. Wayne suggested to sit down and meditate, pray and chant, and while they were doing so, outside a very thick fog settled over the neighbourhood. Ike, who was on the way to Wayne’s house, got lost in the fog and never made it there. Wayne truly believed that their prayers helped. He had more stories like that, truly amazing. For me Wayne was a guy who had a true believe in the spiritual power of humans, who had a deeper understanding and feeling for human beings than anyone else I ever met. It is as if he could read people’s emotions and feelings directly, connecting with them on a different level.

After the death of my father in 2008, I went to the North Sea Jazz Festival, as I couldn’t just sit at home and think about what happened. I was looking forward to see my family in a weeks’ time and celebrate my father’s life, but I needed to go out and be distracted. We had a lot of artists playing there and no-one knew about the passing of my father, as I usually keep these private things to myself. It was at a late stage during the festival, that I went backstage to say “Hello” to Wayne Shorter, who, before I could say anything, asked me: “Why are you so sad?”. I was surprised and relieved at the same time, as I now could tell someone and Wayne, who had felt me dealing with the loss of my father, listened. He was just sitting there and let me speak, unload my mourning, knowing that alone would help me.

When I left his little room in the backstage area, I was still in a kind of shock of what just happened and came across Danilo Perez, Wayne’s pianist and a good friend of mine and I told him the story. “Oh”, he replied, “Wayne is doing this all the time. When I was told by my wife that we were expecting our first child, I went to Wayne to tell him and share my happiness, but before I started talking, he already had said ‘Congratulations’. He is so deep, man”. Indeed, he was deep and kind and always thinking before answering a question, coming up with some incredible and challenging thoughts and statements.

My thoughts are with his family and friends. Wayne’s music will stand the test of times to come and so he will not be forgotten, but he will be missed deeply. R.I.P.

 A short look forward and long look back

It has been a while since I wrote a blog – the freedom of being retired and being able to run one’s own schedule … no deadlines or pressure to write … I’ll do it, when I feel like it. But the start of a New Year is a good accession to set a few words down.

2023 started still in the shadows of covid and one can say for sure, that this isn’t over yet! Even so it is hard to get any proper information at the moment, numbers are going up everywhere and China is suffering the most. At least here in Spain the mask is still obligatory on public transport, but unfortunately not in supermarkets and other crowded areas. Hospitals struggle with flu, covid and other respiratory illnesses and a cold spell over the country doesn’t help either. As every year, there is hope on many levels that it will be a better one, especially as 2022 was a tough one globally and as a result as well individually for many. Otherwise, nature showed its beauty again early this year with a dramatic and colourful sunset over Madrid.

The previous year gave us a lot of great music in all genres, but I’ll stick to Jazz here and will, in no particular order, list some of my favourite ones, all highly recommended listening:

Julian Lage – View With A Room

John Scofield – John Scofield

Charles Lloyd – Trio of Trios

Bill Frisell – Four

Arild Anderson – Affirmation

Claudia Acuna – Duo

Wolfgang Puschnig – World Embrace

Badi Assad – ILHA

Michael Leonhart & JSWISS – Bona Fide

Zela Margossian – The Road

Chick Corea – The Montreux Years

Ketil Bjornstad, Anneli Drecker, Lars Saabye Christensen – Between Hotels And Time

Last year I started as well to bring some order in my physical music collection. Beginning with a box of Japanese Paper Sleeve releases, at which I hadn’t looked in ages. Amazing the music in there – from the Verve, Impulse, Decca, Mercury, etc. labels – some of the most important and iconic recordings, as well as some pretty odd ones, but musically incredible. I found 20 John Coltrane on Impulse, 15 Oscar Peterson on Verve, plus Charlie Parker, Ella, Billie, Keith Jarrett on Impulse, some cool Johnny Griffin and so on. Impulse alone was represented with over 120 releases …nice the original album reproduction and the various themes the series came in: David Stone Martin Collection, Verve at 50, We Like Mercury, etc. etc. Treasures all of them in more than one way.

Next were the box sets and now I’ll start with the CD collection – many boxes with no order, but once catalogued, I might finally know what I got here … and then there are a few more boxes still in Vienna … that will keep my busy for a while!

A book recommendation, or better two, from my reading list of last year:

Anthony Doerr – Cloud Cuckoo Land … an homage to books and readers .. I couldn’t stop and smiled a lot reading this imaginative work. Splendid!

Aidan Levy / Saxophone Colossus: The Life and Music of Sonny Rollins – extremely well researched and detailed biography of the saxophone master. Engaging and captivating!

And looking forward, there will be a bunch of amazing new recordings coming out in the first few months of the year:

Dhafer Youssef / Street Of Minarets – featuring Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Marcus Miller and more … a fascinating and powerful new statement by the Tunisian singer and oud master

Lakecia Benjamin / Phoenix – another gem by the outstanding saxophonist, produced by Terri Lynn Carrington.

Kenny Barron / The Source – his first solo piano release since 1981. Stunning!

Dave Liebman / Live at Smalls – free improvisation recorded live at Smalls Jazz Club featuring the NEA Jazz Master alongside trumpeter Peter Evans, Leo Genovese, John Hébert and Tyshawn Sorey.

Jason Moran / From the Dancehall to the Battlefield – a concept album about the life and legacy of American ragtime musician and early jazz bandleader James Reese Europe.

And these are only a few I know about … should be a good year for jazz, as it is always when politics move globally more to the right.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2023!

A Life In Music

Dear friends

I am proud to announce that from today onwards my autobiography

A Life In Music will be available to order exclusively via amazon worldwide.

The book will be released in three formats:

A Life In Music – An Illustrated Chronicle / eBook version with over 200 photos

A Life In Music – An Illustrated Chronicle / printed version with over 200 photos

A Life In Music – A Chronicle / printed version, text only.

It’s the story of my life seen through the music I listened to, the music I worked with and the artists I encountered. After spending over 35 years in the music business, first with PolyGram in Vienna and then with PolyGram/Universal in London, before working from my home in Madrid with OKeh / Sony, I have a lot of stories to tell – about the artists, how the business works and about personal experiences. From Sting to Ornette Coleman, from Status Quo and Deep Purple to Pat Metheny, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Chick Corea, all these artists, and many more, played a role in my life. Written as a chronicle it starts with my birth in 1955 and ends after my retirement from the music business in early 2022, with me being directly involved in the making and release of over 100 recordings.

A different kind of portrait of our times.

Double C …

The Double C stands for many things here … first of all my two friends Claudia Acuña and Christian Muthspiel, whose new music I want to introduce to you. Secondly for the idea of duos, as on Claudia’s record. You double the number of artists when inviting a duo partner, multiply the possibilities of expressions. Thirdly for the two Double CDs Christian delivered, one with new music of his ORJAZZTRA VIENNA and the other one being a work show of his career so far, which was put together for his 60th birthday. Great music guaranteed.

Chilean singer and composer Claudia Acuña presents with her latest album ‘DUO’ a recording of songs from her homeland and she invited friends to the sessions – musicians with whom she had worked before or whose art she admired. The nine songs from various composers are performed with Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, Fred Hersch, Regina Carter, Arturo O’Farrill, Carolina Calvache and Russell Malone. The album kicks off with Patricio Manns & Horacio Salinas’ ‘MediaNoche’, Claudia here accompanied by the wonderful Kenny Barron on piano, whose reflective support gives Acuña space to shine and whose solo picks sensitively up where the vocals left the song. Christian McBride’s bass joins Claudia on Margarida Lecuona’s ‘Eclipse De Luna’, which he opens with a short intro, for the voice to pick up the mood. Acuña’s vocals are immaculate and full of emotions, on the point in delivering mood and passion. Pianist Carolina Calvache opens delicately the Victor Heredia song ‘Razon De Vivir’, another vocal highlight of the album, with Claudia Acuña delivering a wonderful reading of this song and Calvache flowing behind and around her beautifully.  ‘Jurame’, by Maria Grever, features pianist extraordinaire Fred Hersch weaving a colourful carpet for Claudia to walk on. On these tracks Acuña shows that she must be counted as one of the most impressive and expressive (jazz) singers of today. As great as she is when singing in English, I always felt her stronger when she was singing in Spanish, and this great album just confirms that to me. It seems then her singing is coming from a deeper source within her. After Hersch’s amazing contribution, the following track is Victor Jara’s ‘Manifesto´ and the partner for this one is none other than the brilliant violinist Regina Carter. For me, this is the most touching and beautiful track of a really outstanding album – the way the two musicians communicate, react to each other and create something unique, is special and the emotions and respect can be heard throughout the song. Carter is holding back, supporting, then taking the story to tell her view on it and shortly after, inviting Claudia back in. Spectacular!!! Augustin Lara’s ‘Verdade Amarga’ partners Claudia with guitarist Russel Malone, whose minimalist accompaniment gives the singer a lot of freedom to express herself and for ‘Piensa En Mi’, from the same composer, Acuña invited pianist Arturo O’Farrill to be her duo partner. He brings his powerful Latin touch to the song and adds to the strong expressions of the singer. The last two songs, Chick Corea’s ‘Crystal Silence’ and her own ‘Yo’, Claudia Acuña is singing alone. Doing ‘Crystal Silence’ acapella is something else, but she pulls it off amazingly. ‘Yo’ speaks of her relationship with Mother Earth. ‘…at the end of the day we all walk alone, and we can discover our beauty when we see Earth and us as one’. As I know most of Claudia’s work and have seen her numerous times live, I can easily say that I think this is her best recording so far. The most personal, the album where she took the most risks and where in the end, she created something really special. One of the best releases of the year so far!

I first met trombonist, pianist, composer and conductor Christian Muthspiel in 1986, when he and his brother Wolfgang came to present me with their first recording, ‘Schneetanz’, released on a small label in Styria, Austria. They called themselves DUO DUE then and I signed them on to amadeo/PolyGram Austria and released the duo’s next two albums, ‘Focus It’ and ‘(TRE)’ in 1987 and 1989 respectively. That was the start of an ongoing friendship with both musicians. Christian released for his recent 60th birthday the double CD compilation ‘Diary 1989-2022’, with highlights from his recording career. None of the Duo Due recordings made it on the discs, but a few others I am proud to have been part of and lots of incredible and wonderful music – recorded with his brother Wolfgang or various bands, up to this year’s new ORJAZZTRA VIENNA release, about which I will write below. Christian always has been a musical traveller between jazz, Austrian folk music and classical music, between written parts and improvisation and mixed these various genres with feeling and taste. This compilation proves this perfectly and serves as well as a great introduction into Muthspiel’s music, but as well as a wonderful and diverse stand-alone album. Artists which are featured here include beside his brother, guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, bassists Gary Peacock and Steve Swallow, drum legend Paul Motian, trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and vocalists Ernst Jandl, Sainkho Namtchylak and Anca Parghel.

‘Homecoming’, the new double live CD by the ORJAZZTRA VIENNA, is a reminder of the history of jazz big bands, from Ellington to the Vienna Art Orchestra, but points as well at the future for these ensembles. Group interaction, written sequences and free improvisation, all done within the unique sound of the ORJAZZTRA and based on Muthspiel’s outstanding compositions, written especially for this formation. The bands unusual instrumentation features Lisa Hofmaninger, Fabian Rucker, Astrid Wiesinger, Robert Unterköfler, Ilse Riedler, Florian Bauer – saxophones, clarinets / Gerhard Ornig, Lorenz Raab, Dominik Fuss – trumpet, flugelhorn / Alois Eberl, Daniel Holzleitner, Christina Baumfried – trombone / Philipp Nykrin – piano / Judith Ferstl, Beate Wiesinger – bass / Judith Schwarz, Marton Juhasz – drums. The music was recorded “live without audience” during three livestream-concerts March 22-24, 2021, at Porgy & Bess, Vienna. The ORJAZZTRA moves between powerful and energetic tracks and contemplative and subtle, almost affectionate, moments. Muthspiel uses many different influences in his compositions, from a modern blues to polyphony, from straight jazz to classical hints and gives the soloists space to express themselves. Precision in freedom comes to mind when hearing the band perform and the improviser takes flight. The playfulness in the compositions and their execution is a delight to listen to. I haven’t heard a better big band album coming from Europe in a while. Outstanding!

For Chick Corea and Claude Nobs ….

On September 23rd a new Chick Corea live compilation album will be released. All tracks have been recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival and are a wonderful collection of amazing musicianship. As I knew both Chick Corea and the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Claude Nobs, well and worked with them for many years, I was (surprisingly for me) asked, if I could write the liner notes for that album. I gladly agreed to do so and after I listened to the music, selected by Fraser Kennedy, as well a long-time collaborator of the festival and a friend of Claude and myself, I felt honoured to write about the album and a bit about my relationship with Chick. Both men have been a great influence in my professional life and I learned a lot from both of them. Working with them has been a pleasure and privilege for me.

The album ‘The Montreal Years’ will be released as a 2 LP package and a single CD, and of course digitally and is a worthy addition to the Corea catalogue.

Following are my liner notes for the record, which were added to what John McLaughlin wrote about his friendship with Chick:

Armando Anthony ‘Chick’ Corea played in Montreux for the first time in 1972 as part of the Stan Getz Quartet, followed in 1979 by a duo concert with Herbie Hancock. He then was invited by festival founder Claude Nobs many more times to perform with his various groups and guests. It would have been easy to compile, out of the 14 recorded concerts Chick Corea played in Montreux during the Claude Nobs era, an album simply with all his ‘hits’. But that wouldn’t have given credit to the artist, nor to the festival and his founder, as both of them were about openness and variety and didn’t know borders or genres when it came to music. Chick Corea was a musician without limits. He moved from straight ahead jazz to the Avantgarde, to Latin Jazz and Fusion and always had a foot in Classical music. Genres didn’t matter, it was all music, nothing else. ‘The Montreux Years’ reflects this broad musical world of the composer and pianist, as well as paying tribute to the influential improviser.

Chick’s music was a big part of the soundtrack of my life ever since I discovered ‘Return To Forever’ in 1973. In 1992 Chick started Stretch Records for his releases. That’s when I met him for the first time and started to work on his albums. Chick invited me to the opening of the Blue Note in Milano in 2003 and we discussed the publication of a project he had done with Philips Electronics – the surround sound recording of a series of shows at the Blue Note in New York. ‘Rendezvous In New York’, features the ‘crème de la crème’ of improvised music! Whenever possible I saw Chick on tour, we had dinners or lunches together or just chatted a bit.  Once he gave me as a present a new iPod, the so-called ‘Chickpod’ with a little video message on it … and when I got married in July 2007, he sent me a little song, ‘Wulf’s Wedding Song’, from wherever he was at the time on tour … something my wife and I still value a lot.

Chick Corea was a very generous man, in general, as well as when making music, leaving space for his side men to shine and add something to his outstanding compositions. On the opener on this album, ‘Fingerprints’, recorded with his New Trio featuring Avishai Cohen on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, Chick gets into the song with a lot of energy and swinging power, then steps back a bit and lets Jeff Ballard shine. On the following ‘Bud Powell’ Chick’s intro into the song is beautiful and touching, displaying his musical affinity with and respect for Powell. The Freedom Band goes into the swing easily and especially Christian McBride, who stands out beside the leader. This composition was performed and recorded a lot by Corea, my personal favourites, next to what can be heard here, are the versions he did with Gary Burton and the one with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra.

The original recording of ‘Three Quartet, No. 2’ was released in 1981 and featured Michael Brecker, Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd. The same line up recorded the track as well live for the 2003 ‘Rendezvous In New York’ album. Here the version is just a trio and puts more focus on Corea, who showcases everything that made him such a legendary figure in jazz: melodic and rhythmic sensibility, incredible technique, improvisations of the highest level and all this bundled with lots of emotions. On ‘Interlude’ by his Elektric Band, Chick is playing with the audience, before having the band come in and take the groove away. That was another important thing for Chick – having fun while playing, with his musicians and the audience. And these tapes from Montreux are further proof of this.

‘Who’s Inside The Piano?’ is, despite being part of a quartet concert, a powerful and touching solo piano performance and giving a clear answer to that question: what is the spirit and soul of Chick Corea? ‘Dignity’ stems from the same concert as ‘Fingerprints’, and is a beautiful and captivating composition by Chick, dedicated to his mother. The New Trio is in fine form and makes the song sound almost ‘classical’. Which leads perfectly into the one classical composition by Corea on the album: ‘America’, part of ‘Continents’, a concerto for jazz quintet and chamber orchestra. This fascinating mix of Jazz, Latin and Classical opens up new sounds for Corea and got enthusiastic reviews when recorded and released in 2012.

Corea’s intro to ‘The New Waltz’ is mesmerizing in its soulfulness and sets the tone for the rest of the band, especially sax player Bob Berg following the master’s lead in melodic improvisations. The album ends with a track from Chick Corea’s third Montreux performance in 1981, featuring an all-star band. Chick had performed with drummer Roy Haynes and tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson before, but never with both of them together and the addition of bass player Gary Peacock rounds up an outstanding line up. Their version of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Trinkle Tinkle’ (vinyl format only) is not only a wonderful tribute to the great composer and pianist, Monk, but as well a powerful statement of four musicians about how exciting jazz can be: tight ensemble-play and outstanding individual contributions by all four artists, make this one of the highlights on the record. Joe Henderson simply sounds amazing, Peacock and Haynes giving heartbeat and a solid base for Chick and Joe to improvise on and they inspire each other to incredible results.

Chick Corea: ‘The Montreux Years’ manages to portrait not only the featured artist, but as well the festival, which allowed him to perform in all these different groupings. It is tribute to one of the most important artists of our time, as well as to his friend Claude Nobs, the soul of the Montreux Jazz Festival. This is going to be an album I will listen to many times in the future, remembering the moments I spent with Chick Corea and the concerts I was lucky enough to hear. The soundtrack of my life is expanding with this new live compilation.

Wulf Müller

March 2022

A photo I took backstage at the Montreux Jazz Festival 2001:
left to right: Tomatito, his manager, Michel Camilo and Chick Corea

World Embrace

I have been really lazy when it came to write something in my blog this summer. Not only because of the prolonged heat wave that baked most of Europe, or because of a few trips I and we made to see family and friends, but simply because I felt lazy and didn’t listen to much new music for a change and sitting somewhere on a terrace with a cold beer seemed always the better option than being in a hot office writing. But now it is time to catch up a bit and here I am starting to listen to music some of my friends have recorded and released over the last few weeks. All recordings I can recommend for their musical quality and deepfelt expressions.

Let’s start with one of my closest friends for almost 40 years: Wolfgang Puschnig, saxophonist extraordinaire and musician who embraces the various cultures and grooves of the world. Therefore, the title of his new 4 CD box set World Embrace makes complete sense. The four discs were recorded over 4 nights live in Vienna and are titled Sources I to IV with different sub-titles, in case of CD 1 it is The Philly Connection and features long-time collaborators Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass and guitarist Rick Iannacone, plus Tim Hutson on drums and Asha Puthli on vocals. Groovy music in the spirit of Ornette Coleman, but all Puschnig in sound and expression on his alto or flutes. Puthli guests on Coleman’s ‘What Reason Could I Give’ and revives her stunning performance from the 1972 original. On Songlines, Puschnig combines jazz instrumentalists (himself and Jon Sass on tuba, Christian Bakanic on accordion and Mamadou Diabate on kora and balafon) with 2 vocal ensembles – one European (schnittpunktvokal), the other African (Isingizi) and creates so true ‘world music’ by merging the various sounds into unique songs of emotions and humanity. Homegrown is the self-explanatory title of CD three and showcases a great band featuring Paul Urbanek on piano, Raphael Preuschl on bass and Lukas König on drums. They reflect together on Puschnig’s roots and Austrian heritage, in an open jazzy way with some wonderful performances, especially by the leader and pianist Urbanek. The final CD is Korean Spirit and features the Korean percussion ensemble SamulNori, with whom Puschnig has worked since the late 1980’s. Beside the trio Red Sun (Puschnig, Tacuma and pianist Karen Asatrian) the drummers are as well performing with another of Wolfgang’s many formations, the saxophone quartet Saxofour, to create a special final for the four nights. This show was recorded on the day of the musicians 60th birthday and he couldn’t have given himself a better present: music without borders … in terms of culture, genre or expression. The box set, beside displaying an immaculate sound, shows what Wolfgang Puschnig is all about as a musician – embracing the grooves and melodies of the globe, guiding others into musical worlds they didn’t know existed and, leading by example, making them feel at home. A wonderful collection of live recordings by a European jazz legend.

Ketil Bjørnstad / New Morning – a new solo recording by Norwegian composer and pianist Bjørnstad for me is always an event, as I simply love his little melodies, the deepfelt emotions expressed and the wonderful improvisations he comes up with. This album, released in a CD/DVD set and recorded Live at the club Sentralen in Oslo in April 2020, is no exception. Maybe it is different to the studio solo albums, as it was recorded live as part of a digital festival, without audience – a concept by Christer Falck, who produced the various shows. Says Ketil: “I prepared for a concert which I thought was to be quite introverted, without any consequences, like an echo from a time we experienced, so often alone only with our thoughts”. In the end the music wasn’t as introverted as he had expected and showed powerful pieces next to dreamy ballads, always maintaining and radiating strength and hope. The compositions are from throughout Ketil’s recording career and are including an incredible version of his ‘Ray Of Light’, originally recorded in the trio format. Another beauty in sound is ‘Floating’, with just over 7 minutes the longest of these miniatures and an example of touching improvisation. ‘New Morning’ adds another highlight to the canon of amazing (solo) recordings by this wonderful human being and musician.

Badi Assad / Ilha – After her outstanding 2020 solo recording ‘Around The World’, Brazilian composer, singer and guitarist Badi Assad is back with a new album, this time with a small group and a few guests. The record opens with the touching beautiful ‘Ilha Das Flores’, with her voice floating immaculate and melodically over the music. Her compositions display a deep melodic sense and Brazilian rhythms and in combination with her voice and guitar become little jewels in sound. ‘Fruto’ is a great example for this, here with additional instruments to give more colour and depths to the song. ‘Palavra’ is another highlight of a very strong album, and so are ‘Traga’ and ‘Eterno’, the closing number of this 8-song record. Badi Assad once more proves that she is a timeless and genre-defying artist of the highest order.

Café Drechsler / Let It Touch You – The Austrian Trio, featuring my friend and drummer Alex Deutsch, bass player Oliver Steger and saxophonist Ulrich Drechsler, released their first album in 2002 and with the new record are celebrating 22 years of recording and performing together. For this celebration they invited a few guests to join them in the recording session and to create their usual and engaging mix of soul, jazz, rap and hip hop. The trio track ‘Fast House’ is a groovy number with fun rhythms, a great bass line and some wonderful sax improvisations on top – danceable, but still very cool and deep music! ‘International Connections’ features guest vocalist and keyboarder King Batson (formerly of Arrested Development) over some heavy beats, while the outstanding ‘On Your Mind’, a soulful rap song, features Origami Punani, a really great neo-soul/hip-hop quartet from Vienna. Singer Martin Klein joins the trio on ‘Sense Of Coming’ a beautiful ballad. 14 great tracks, a lot of music to dance to, others to listen and discover or take a breather from moving your legs … Café Drechsler are still fresh and full of power. Their ‘Let It Touch You’ did exactly that!!

Rudi Berger / Longings – This new quartet recording by violinist Berger features Mauro Rodrigues on flute, Peter Madsen on piano, Rosario Bonaccorso on bass and vocals and Lukas Böck on drums – a truly international line up! And this global aspect is reflected in the music of this album, as all musicians (except Böck) contributed compositions for the recording. The album starts with Madsen’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’, a beautiful piece that gives Berger a chance to shine and show his amazing skills, swinging through the song with ease. Madsen’s piano solo is worth checking out too and so is Rodrigues’ contribution on flute. Other highlights of the album are Berger’s ‘Traumfluss’, with some amazing soloing by the violinist and his ‘Longings’, the beautiful title track. Berger’s sound is round and warm and his playing getting better and better.

Florian Arbenz / Conversations # 6 &7 – Swiss drummer and composerArbenz continues his epic Conversations series with a double album, featuring first duos with legendary pianist Kirk Lightsey and then adding bass player Tibor Elekes and saxophonist Domenic Landolf to the group. Arbenz is a delicate partner for Lightsey, supporting the pianists’ ideas and improvisations with complex drum work, while at the same time giving an anchor to the music. The duos are touching musical dialogs and reveal as well the art of listening, as both musicians react to the others’ ideas with respect and deepfelt musicality. ‘Dancing With Kirk’ is a good example for this art of communicating and so is ‘Freedom Jazz Dance’, a song that Arbenz has recorded meanwhile five times within the series, but each version is captivating and innovative and amazing in its own right. About the Quartet session Arbenz says: “Most of the tunes of the session are originals, but I also re-arranged Pinocchio (Wayne Shorter), a tune which I played often with Lightsey and Ah-Leu-Cha (Ch. Parker), with the hope that our versions show a little different perspective on those tunes….”. They do indeed and give as well all four excellent musicians space and time to shine on this wonderful experimental, but straight jazz double album.

Sachal Vasandani & Romain Collin / Still Life – The second album of singer Sachal and pianist Collin is as intimate and beautiful as the first recording is. The first track, ‘No More Tears’, a Vasandani original, first recorded on his underrated 2015 album ‘Slow Motion Miracles’, sets the tone and raises the bar, but they manage to keep the amazing quality of their music making throughout the 12 tracks they recorded. From originals to jazz standards and pop covers, they make all the selected songs their own by performing them with emotion and respect for the source material. Sachal’s phrasing is immaculate and in support of each song and Romain’s subtle accompaniment and soloing is enhancing each performance. While their take of ‘The Sound Of Silence’ is delicate and touching, ‘Freight Train’ swings lightly and made me smile … and so it goes on: not a single dull moment on this outstanding record, that finishes with their excellent version of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Washing Of The Water’. The art of the vocal/piano duo executed perfectly. Highly recommended and uplifting!!

Bugge Wesseltoft / Be Am – Norwegian composer, pianist, keyboarder and producer Wesseltoft decided after many various projects to once again record a solo album. But without limits in terms of his playing or improvising or use of additional instruments – even going so far as to invite for two tracks exceptional saxophonist Hakon Kornstad to give company to the soloist. I fully agree to the pr text, when it states that “The music of “Be Am” carries ghosts of uncertainty, whispers of resignation, and faint echoes of frustration. But throughout there are rays of hope, a warm clear light of peace and tranquillity, and growing flames of an unquenchable fire of determination. It is music of, and for, the human soul”. Bugge’s little piano melodies are like rays of light on a cloudy afternoon and Hakon’s saxophone adds colour and soul, beauty in sound. It is great that Bugge sometimes moves out of his groove projects and let’s us be part of his vulnerability, his softer side in music making. And with ‘Be Am’ the artist simply says ‘this is me as well and I want you to know this side of me’ and gladly we go all the way with him. A deep, personal and hauntingly beautiful record.

That’s it for this time … I have a bunch of albums to listen to and to review and will do so very soon … and are looking forward to hear the new Claudia Acuna, a really amazing albums of duos, which will be out soon, plus the new Dhafer Youssef, which is sensational in musical terms and when it comes to the line-up, … and of course there will be the new Julian Lage album, with special guest Bill Frisell … the fall of 2022 won’t be boring at all!!!!

Iñaki Añúa, 1943 – 2022

Iñaki Añúa, whom the Spanish newspaper ‘El Correo’ so correctly named ‘the soul of the Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival’, passed away from Covid 19 just shortly after his 79th birthday. For 40 years he run the festival in the north of Spain with passion and vision, making it one of the most important annual jazz festivals in Europe.

Iñaki Añúa

I met Iñaki for the first time in 1993, when I was introduced to the International Jazz Festival Organisation at their meetings in New York and we immediately started to talk about ideas and plans for the festival. In the following years Iñaki would create in Vitoria some of the Verve Nights I had envisioned in our first meeting and we worked well together presenting the artists I was looking after for Universal Jazz at the time. His programming of the festival was guided by a love for the music, with a slightly more traditional touch, but he was always open to present and book new acts as well, even starting a series of concerts for new talents. It was always fun and easy to work with Iñaki, as he was driven by his enthusiasm for jazz.

I remember in 1995 he had booked singer Linda Sharrock and her band for a concert, but unfortunately the band got stuck somewhere on the transatlantic flight and didn’t make it to the concert in time. Linda and her then husband, saxophonist Wolfgang Puschnig, had made it to Vitoria, but had no band. They didn’t want to cancel the show and therefore asked percussionist Arto Tuncboyaciyan to join them. Which he did, not knowing any of their music, nor having any instruments, as these were onstage for the concert he was to play with Joe Zawinul. But in the end, the show was truly amazing and luckily recorded by local radio station Radio Vitoria – EITB. Iñaki wanted this to be released, as he could as well as I, hear how special that concert was and, after two years, Wolfgang Puschnig prepared the album for release on Emarcy, which was the label I was looking after for Universal in terms of A&R.

from left to right: myself, Giovanni Hidalgo, Michel Camilo, Iñaki Añúa and Kepa Junkera

In 1998 the International Jazz Festival Organisation had their annual meeting in September in Vitoria and I was invited for some of the discussions. Iñaki had organised a trip to the vineyard Marqués de Riscal and we had lunch there and tried some excellent wines and when at the end we left he had a bottle of the Rioja wine for everyone from the year of his/her birth – Unbelievable!

Over the years we had many great shows together with artists we both liked and I saw as well many great concerts in Vitoria by artists that were not recording for Universal at the time, like Enrique Morente, Miguel Poveda, Brad Mehldau and many more. From the numerous acts I worked with, concerts by Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Paco de Lucia, Lizz Wright, James Brandon Lewis, Madeleine Peyroux, Branford Marsalis and Dee Dee Bridgewater are the most memorable. Iñaki brought Dee Dee a few times to Vitoria and one of these was in 2009, when she was premiering her new program dedicated to Billie Holiday. This concert was recorded for Spanish TV and featured among others sax player James Carter. The show was great, so I asked Iñaki if we could use the footage as a bonus DVD for the release of the studio recordings of this Billie Holiday tribute and he helped to clear the film with the TV company and in 2010 the album was released and we had a limited edition with the DVD from Vitoria, which sold very well. In the same year, after some negotiations with Wynton Marsalis, the JALCO and the festival we released as well the Jazz At Lincoln Center With Wynton Marsalis album ‘Vitoria Suite’, featuring Paco De Lucía. This wonderful double CD was the result of Wynton’s friendship and respect for Iñaki Añúa, dedicating the music to the festival, it’s director and Paco de Lucia.

at the signing of the contract for the ‘Vitoria Suite’ album

On a personal note, I have as well to mention that in 2002 at the festival I met a fun, intelligent and beautiful woman, who a few years later would become my wife and together we have spent many great evenings at the festival and had dinners with Iñaki, musicians and dear friends there. I have so many more great memories connected to Iñaki and the festival, and they all paint Iñaki Añúa as a kind and generous man, who lived his passion and loved his music.

My deep condolences go to his family, wife Elena and daughter Jasone, and the whole team of the festival. Vitoria-Gasteiz and the Spanish jazz scene have lost one of their most ardent promoters. May He Rest In Peace.

Time …

Time is the continued sequence of existence and events that occurs in an apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future (Wikipedia). Individually time is our life span, our personal sequence of events from the past, through the present into an unknown future. And in our time, we lived through revolutions, natural disasters, pandemics and everything else the world and human beings have to offer, good and bad. In my time I was blessed to have worked with musicians and their creativity, heard them perform and became friends in some cases. The music of our times, especially Jazz, was and still is the music of my life. The musicians have enriched my being and I owe them a lot … therefore I want to pay a short tribute to two musicians that made my life better – both through their music, one with the bonus of being a friend as well.

Wolfgang Reisinger 1955 – 2022

Reisl, as we called him, was one of the best and most in demand drummers of the European jazz scene for over 40 years. From his early years with the ‘Vienna Art Orchestra’ (1979 to 1989), with whom he recorded some ground breaking albums, to his work with Joachim Kühn, Ken Vandermark, Wolfgang Puschnig, David Liebman and many more, as well as for the few albums he released as a leader, his music will last for many years to come. I met Wolfgang first when hearing the VAO in the late 70’s and early 80’s in Vienna’s jazz clubs or while checking out ‘Part Of Art’, the small group he had with other Art Orchestra members – Wolfgang Puschnig, Uli Scherer, Herbert Joos and Juergen Wuchner. With Wolfgang Puschnig he as well was part of the experimental electronic jazz formation ‘Pat Brothers’, featuring Linda Sharrock, Wolfgang Mitterer and Jamaaladeen Tacuma, whose only album ‘No. 1’ from 1986 is still impressive to listen to. ‘Air Mail’ was another on my favourite bands in the mid and late 80’s and he was part of that one too, together with guitar hero Harry Pepl, sax player Wolfgang Puschnig and bassist Mike Richmond. When working with them on their second album, the wonderful ‘Light Blues’, which I released on amadeo in 1988, I got to know Reisl a bit better and we have been in contact ever since. That same year I had the Art Orchestra’s trumpet player Bumi Fian in the studio, recording his debut album for amadeo and Reisl was the drummer in the session. I can’t remember why, but I was unable to attend the recording and when Reisl called and told me that the session was a bit chaotic, I asked him if he could act as a producer for me and he immediately stepped in and made a wonderful album, which unfortunately was to be the only the trumpeter did under his own name. Harry Pepl made an album in 1990 titled ‘Schoenberg Improvations’, a play of words with Improvisation and Variation, which featured a midi piano which was fed by the guitar … a then wild technically adventure and Reisl was the drummer on this and the album featured sax legend David Liebman as well, whom he brought as they had met before. Reisinger was to continue to work with David Liebman over many years, forming a trio with French bass player Jean-Paul Celea and recording three exceptional great recordings between 1997 and 2001. From his albums as a leader, I would always pick the 2006 album ‘Refusion’ as my favourite – featuring beside the leader, David Liebman on soprano, tenor sax and flute, Marc Ducret on guitar, Wolfgang Mitterer on electronics, Jean-Paul Celea on acoustic bass and Matthew Garrison on electric bass. ‘Refusion’ is a powerful, modern jazz album with some of Reisl’s best compositions, some amazing individual and ensemble play, all sitting right on top of the master’s grooves. Which he always laid down with a smile. The world not only lost an amazing musician, but as well a great guy. Ruhe in Frieden, lieber Reisl

Vangelis 1943 – 2022

Born Evangelos Papathanassiou, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Vangelis, started his career in the mid Sixties in various avant-rock groups and had his first success with the band ‘Aphrodite’s Child’, featuring as well Demis Roussos. Through their magnificent album ‘666’ I heard of him for the first time in the early Seventies and from then on followed his own works from 1979 and the album ‘China’. ‘Antarticta’ was another one I really liked, as well as his Deutsche Grammophon release ‘Invisible Connections’ and of course the wonderful soundtracks to ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Chariots of Fire’. Unforgettable as well the four albums he recorded with singer Jon Anderson, of ‘Yes’ fame, here especially the album ‘The Friends Of Mr. Cairo’ with the outstanding 12 minute epic ‘State Of Independence’. But for me personally his most exceptional work are the two albums he did with singer and actress Irene Papas, were he not only either composed the music or arranged some traditionals, but as well played all instruments and produced the recordings. ‘Odes’, 1979 and ‘Rapsodies’, 1986, are not as well known as his other works, but for sure worth to check out for the amazing music and immaculate singing. As a pioneer of electronic music, modern classical compositions and the combination of his electronics with voices, he will be remembered for many years to come. For me, some of his recordings form a small, but important part of the soundtrack of my life.

And this soundtrack is continuing to grow … here are a few new albums that I like and can recommend:

Harpreet Bansal / Parvat – Composer and violinist Bansal delivers with ‘Parvar’ her first classical album. Classical here in the sense of combining Indian classical music, ragas, with a European symphonic sensibility and sound. Recorded with Vojtech Prochazka on harmonium, Sanskriti Shrestha on tabla and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra under Hannu Koivula, the three-part composition by Bansal is presented with delicate nuances. Bansal herself performs with a wonderful touch on her violin, soaring over the orchestration and the rest of the instruments with ease and clarity. It is astonishing how amazing the two worlds of musical culture mix here to become one, equally contributing to this touching creation. The orchestrations of the three movements, one each by Jan Martin Smørdal, Harpreet Bansal and Jan Øivind Ness, capture Bansal’s compositions perfectly, reflecting the moods, little melodies and grooves of these complex pieces. A truly special recording – highly recommended.

Armen Donelian / Fresh Start – Pianist Donelian recorded his latest album with a new trio, consisting beside him of bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Dennis Mackrel. I had first heard of Donelian as part of the group Night Ark, whose two albums in the 1990’s I released on Emarcy and liked his beautiful touch and melodic sense. Says Donelian about the preparation for this album: “Instead of focusing on what I was playing, I was focusing more on how I was playing, on touch, expression, and storytelling, allowing the sound to happen in its own way.” The album swings, offers contemplation in the slower tunes and even a surprise vocal performance by the veteran pianist. The Richie Beirach tune ‘Gale’ gets a wonderful treatment and is one of the highlights of the album, another one being the playful ‘Janet Left The Planet’, which Donelian dedicates to the memory of vocalist Janet Lawson and bassoonist Janet Grice. An outstanding piano trio album!

Reuben Lewis / The House Is Empty – No, this isn’t a jazz record at all, but it is a wonderful and contemplative collection of 4 meditative compositions by trumpeter and electronic artist Reuben Lewis, who as well performed, recorded, mixed and produced all music. If you allow yourself to be submerged in the sounds, go inside the music, it will in return go inside you and open up emotions and takes you on journeys unimagined. This is a very promising debut by this young Australian for whom musical genres don’t exist – all is sound and movement. Unusual, but utterly rewarding.

Jeremy Rose / Face To Face – Saxophonist Rose recorded his new album with pianist Steve Barry, bassist Noel Mason and drummer Alex Hirlian and confirms that he is ‘one to watch’ in the Australian jazz scene. Rose is an expressive and technically brilliant sax player, with a beautiful and full sound, whose roots are in the tradition of the instrument, but his compositions are modern and groovy. The trio supports him extremely well, with some great piano work by Barry and solid anchoring by the rhythm section. Outstanding tracks for me are ‘Religion’, ‘Queens’, the opener ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘Whispers’. Modern jazz, telling human stories with beautiful little melodies.

Goodbye, my friend

Rainer Rygalyk, award winning jazz photographer, journalist and friend for over 40 years, has passed away on May 1st 2022. I met Rainer for the first time while we were both studying journalism in the late 1970’s and our common passion for jazz immediately created a special bond and friendship. We as well both liked to play football and have a beer afterwards. In 1982 we had the idea, together with drummer Rudi Staeger, to start an Austrian Jazz Magazine and Juli 1983 saw the first issue of ‘Jazz Live’, which was about to last more than 15 years. It was a lot of fun doing the magazine together with Rainer, whose incredible photos we used and whose writing style was amazing. I can’t recall how many shows we went to and how many interviews we did, but remember somehow the jazz talk, long into the various nights. His outstanding eye created some classic photos, award winning and seen in exhibitions around the world. After I started in the music business he did a few covers for me, from a jazz compilation for Austrian Tabaco’s ‘Memphis’ brand to Terry Callier and a few others. When I moved to London and later to Madrid, Rainer was one of the few people that stayed in touch, came to visit and as always, we went out and talked music for hours. He had started making photos using digital tools and was extremely successful with these too. When I was in Vienna last in 2019, we saw each other as well, despite him struggling with health issues, which he dealt with in his typical way: with a unique and fine sense of humour, positive and exemplary. I am proud to have been able to call Rainer my friend for so many years, and I am immensely sad about his passing. His photographs will live on, so will the memory of this generous and wonderful human being. If you come to Vienna, please go to the jazz club ‘Porgy & Bess’ and have a look at the wall of photographs he created there, from the pictures he took of artists performing in the club – a 7-meter-long collage of 1200 musicians. My heart goes out to his family, Andrea and the kids, whose loss is tremendous. For me Rainer will always be part of my life and many records or artists will remind me of my wonderful friend. Rest In Peace!

with Rainer Rygalyk, 1953 – 2022

Willi Resetarits, 1948 – 2022, was not only a natural and amazing singer, but a political activist, lover of human beings and part of the Austrian conscience. His death will be felt far beyond the music world of his home country. Willi could sing everything – political folk songs with the group ‘Schmetterlinge’, rock as ‘Kurti Ostbahn’, Jazz in a band with saxophonist Wolfgang Puschnig, Blues or Wiener Lied – and everything was great, as he did it with a smile and honest and because he simply enjoyed doing different things musically. His big success was performing as ‘Kurt Ostbahn’, a fictitious figure created by journalist Guenther Broedl, a kind of Austrian Springsteen – singing in the local dialect. As a person who couldn’t stand any injustice, he always spoke out and being famous helped him to get his message across. Some of the money he made he invested in the Viennese ‘House Of Integration’, which he had set up with some other activists for immigrants to have an initial home, get help, being teached German and generally tried to integrate them into the Austrian society. Willi had what is called Viennese ‘Schmäh’ – the local sense of humour, layered with fine irony and was often seen sitting with his fans talking about music long into the night. He was a truly open and warm guy, who would never turn anyone down. I met him first while playing football with him and then again in the mid 1980’s when we signed him to PolyGram Austria. A great human being, who influenced many people and who will be sorely missed. R.I.P.

We need to talk about Michael ….

Michael Leonhart that is. The charming composer, arranger, conductor, producer and multi-instrumentalist has been making waves for a while now, but lately his work has become unavoidable for its sheer quality and meaningfulness.

March 3rd saw the release of the Michael Leonhart & JSWISS collaboration ‘Bona Fide’, resulting from working together since 2019, when Michael needed a rapper for a performance of his orchestra at the jazz club Jazz Standard. All instruments on the album are played by Michael Leonhart, with guest appearances by Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss (drums); Chris Bullock (alto sax & flute); Keyon Harrold (trumpet); Bill Frisell (guitar) and Elizabeth Pupo Walker (congas). JSWISS handles all lyrical and vocal duties, covering a variety of topics including love, Black excellence and four songs inspired by themes from Paulo Coelho’s book “Manuscript Found In Accra”. The only samples to be heard on the recording are from the forthcoming new Michael Leonhart Orchestra album ‘The Normyn Suites’. The recording starts with the powerful ‘The Chase’, which sets the tone for the album: hard grooves, powerful rap vocals, spare but effective big band samples plus some jazzy soli and background sounds. JSWISS is a great storyteller, with a sense for groove and melody that makes his performance extremely musical. Trumpeter Keyon Harrold is simply amazing on that first track. On ‘Blackout’ JSWISS delivers great lyrics over a sublime arrangement by Leonhart, supporting the message and driving the song with musical simplicity. The title track is a melodic rap tune that sticks to your head for a while. And so it goes on: one strong track after the other, no fillers, strong words about life’s tough situations and the beauty of love, laid over sound beds of extreme effectiveness and modernity. Other outstanding tracks are ‘Golden’, ‘What’s Love’, ‘Elegance’ and ‘Make Room’. Leonhart makes it sound easy to include jazz into the world of rap and makes it sound as if they always belonged together. This is probably one of the best and most congruent efforts, to musically combine the two genres. It is modern and cool, and will appeal to fans of both genres. This is playing on my stereo for a while now and I can’t get enough! Check this out!

Michael will release on March 25th the third Michael Leonhart Orchestra album, entitled ‘The Normyn Suites’, “a requiem and celebration, inspired by the life and death of the bandleader’s 15-year-old dog, a female mini dachshund named Normyn”. The recording is featuring the following soloists and guests – Elvis Costello: vocals; Joshua Redman: tenor saxophone; JSWISS: rap; Bill Frisell: guitar; Jim Pugh: trombone: Walt Weiskopf: tenor saxophone; Nels Cline: guitar; Michael Leonhart: trumpet; Larry Goldings: Hammond B3 Organ; Chris Potter: bass clarinet and Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone and starts with the groovy ‘Shut Him Down’, co-written by Leonhart with Elvis Costello, Julian Caldwell, Luke O’Malley and featuring Joshua Redman. A second version of that song follows the second ‘Normyn Suite’ and features Chris Potter on bass clarinet. Hard to say which version is better, as both instrumentalists are truly amazing and play flowing and glowing soli. The first ‘Normyn Suite’ features beside the orchestra a choir and expresses through its five parts the human way of dealing with loss and mourning. Leonhart’s compositions and arrangements and his choices of soloists for each track, give the music the depth and emotion sought by its creator. This first suite was inspired by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and her 1969 book ‘On Death and Dying’ and has moments of incredible beauty in sound. Between the two powerful and emotional suites sits another song, ‘Radio Is Everything’ co-written with Elvis Costello, Bill Frisell and Nels Cline and featuring all three as well to impressive effects. The second suite features six compositions and is taking the listener on a journey through the sonic world of Michael Leonhart – laying bare emotions of love and loss through deeply felt soundscapes and outstanding individual contributions by Larry Goldings and Bill Frisell. Leonhart has the full history of big band jazz at his proposal and uses the tradition well to move forward into the now and new. ‘Newspaper Pane’, another Leonhart, Costello and Frisell co-work closes the strong album with another powerful song of top quality. A record that got everything: great songs with stunning vocals by Costello; powerful compositions with outstanding performances by a very unique orchestra and touching beauty and emotions in the way the music is conceived and performed. And then there are the two bonus tracks: ‘Kenny Dorham’ and ‘Wayne Shorter’, composed as tributes to these two jazz masters and performed by the Michael Leonhart Organ Quartet featuring Donny McCaslin. These are cool and swinging jazz pieces, revoking the spirit of the musician they are dedicated to and are showing once more what a great composer Leonhart is. This is a timeless recording I can’t recommend enough. Stunning!!!!

Ron Miles, 1963 – 2022

American trumpeter and cornetist Miles was a unique voice in today’s jazz world, making his first steps as a leader around 1990, when his debut album ‘Witness’ was released, featuring among others the wonderful pianist Art Lande. I first discovered Ron Miles through his amazing 1997 album ‘Woman’s Day’, featuring Bill Frisell and having been produced by Hans Wendl, who later would be his manager as well as producer. Frisell was one artist Ron would go on to work with for many years, after their first encounter, culminating in the two fabulous trio recordings ‘Quiver’ and ‘Circuit Rider’, featuring as well drummer Brian Blade. I had the pleasure of seeing Ron Miles many times in the last decades, outstanding his performances with Bill Frisell, Madeleine Peyroux, whose songs he gave depth and a jazzy feeling and the group Still Dreaming. This band, founded by Joshua Redman to celebrate the group Old And New Dreams his father Dewey was part of, featured as well Scott Coley on bass and Blade on drums. I saw them twice, once in New York and once at North Sea Jazz and loved their free but controlled interplay and musicality. With ‘I Am A Man’, 2017 and 2020’s ‘Rainbow Sign’ Miles delivered two final recordings that will stand the test of time, for his beautiful playing and his outstanding compositions. May he Rest In Peace.