APAP SHOWCASE 2014
At Yamaha Artist Services, 689 Fifth Avenue
(Entrance on 54th Street)
Sunday, January 12, 2014 from 12:30 to 4:00.
Gail Boyd Artist Management December News!
Happy Holidays everyone. It has been another exciting and fruitful year for Gail Boyd Artist Management. I have new artists, I’ve expanded my staff, and I’m pleased to announce a collaboration with VibeHeavy.com which will bear fruit in the New Year. I hope you can attend my annual showcase at Yamaha Artist Services, 689 Fifth Avenue (Entrance on 54th Street) on Sunday, January 12, 2014 from 12:30 to 4:00. Other artists on the roster will be showcasing in other venues. Please note below. Our wishes for you are for a happy and prosperous new year!
There's such diversity of sound, method and intent in this list that it's hard to group it all under "jazz" and still have it make sense. And yet it does, because we say so. What ties these albums together is imagination, individuality, monster musicianship and communication on a high plane.
Needless to say there are many other titles richly deserving of recognition. This is not a fallow period in jazz--the idea is hilarious--and it seems that narrowing the important releases down to 10 only gets harder every year. In some sense the Top-10 list goes against the fluid and improvisatory nature of jazz, which can reveal successive secrets with every listen, years or even decades after the fact. Take this, then, not as some permanent and final verdict. All that said, these albums will seriously wreck you.
10. Capricorn Climber
There's something dark and elusive in the music of pianist Kris Davis, who tends toward the freer, more "outside" end of the spectrum. This quintet date finds her with Mat Maneri on viola, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor sax, Trevor Dunn on bass and Tom Rainey on drums. Together they create a kind of rough and logical elegance, identified by titles like "Too Tinkerbell" and "Pi Is Irrational." It's the sound of a close-knit community in dialogue, one of a few stirring appearances from Davis this year.
9. Guided Tour
The New Gary Burton Quartet
Vibraphone master Gary Burton, 70, once hired a new kid named Pat Metheny on guitar. Now Julian Lage, who began apprenticing with Burton at 15 and is now completely dangerous at 25, joins bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez in a Burton-led group of uncommon power. Guided Tour is an improvement on the band's 2011 debutCommon Ground: more live connection, strong compositions from all members, and thanks to Lage, the best recorded guitar sound you could ask for.
Mike McGinnis + 9
Brooklyn saxophonist and Maine native Mike McGinnis had a big clarinet year, both with his Ängsudden Song Cycle octet and the very slightly larger configuration of Road*Trip. The latter rescues composer Bill Smith's marvelous three-movement "Concerto for Clarinet and Combo" (1957) from obscurity. It also premieres McGinnis' three-movement "Road*Trip for Clarinet & 9 Players," a work of invigorating complexity and plainspoken lyrical beauty.
7. Unknown Known
Joshua Abrams Quartet
Everyone on Unknown Known -- bassist (and original Roots member) Joshua Abrams, tenor saxophonist David Boykin, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, drummer Frank Rosaly -- is a pillar of the Chicago scene, a bastion of creative energy for decades and certainly the last 10 to 15 years. Abrams features them to great effect on this all-original set, which has a brooding, luminescent side but also an allotment of ragged groove and swing. The audio is just right, the writing fresh, the chemistry immediately apparent.
After an inspired streak of trio albums, tenor saxophonist JD Allen went with a new quartet and hit it out of the park. He puts a heavy spotlight on pianist and Kyrgyzstan native Eldar Djangirov, formidable as they come at age 26, and coaxes warm, telepathic playing from bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Jonathan Butler as well. Allen works in a fairly abstract and enormously expressive post-bop mode, outdoing himself with a ballad, "Selah (My Refuge)," that lingers in one's ears.
Cécile McLorin Salvant
This one is a consensus pick, a game-changer from 24-year-old vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, winner of the 2010 Monk Competition. Reaching all the way back to vaudeville but also delivering knockout original songs, Salvant arrives at something personal and thoroughly modern: trad-jazz with a major twist. Between her dramatic flair, idiosyncratic timbre and unstoppable band -- featuring pianist and Mack Avenue labelmate Aaron Diehl -- there's a lot to love here.
4. Functional Arrhythmias
Steve Coleman and Five Elements
Alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, 57, has seen to it that the groove-oriented improv concepts he began articulating in the '80s continue to unfold, shaping new generations of players. Functional Arrhythmias is his first release in some years without a vocalist. What dominates is a spare but utterly absorbing quartet sound, with an alto-trumpet front line descended directly from bebop. But Coleman draws from funk, non-Western traditions and extra-musical ideas, as the band name Five Elements implies. Guitar theoretician Miles Okazaki adds vitally to five of the 14 tracks.
Guitarist Ben Monder's solo outings are few and far between, but they always reveal a staggering depth of technical immersion and aesthetic wandering. Hydra, his latest, is an eight-song set of impossible, beautiful, mind-melting music in a format mainly of guitar, bass, drums and voice (the ingenious Theo Bleckmann). Forget whether this is jazz -- it might not even be from Earth. And yet who could doubt the humanity of "Charlotte's Song," the closing acoustic guitar/voice duet, a rapturous setting of E.B. White's words?
Craig Taborn Trio
Hailing from the midwest, pianist Craig Taborn has drawn sustenance from the jazz avant-garde, Detroit techno, metal and much else. His 2011 ECM debut Avenging Angel was just one man and a piano. Chants, the follow-up, is piano, bass and drums in the classic acoustic vein, with dense and mathematical moments but also an allure of the poetic. Bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Gerald Cleaver essentially take up residence in Taborn's brain, and once there, can do no wrong.
1. Without a Net
Wayne Shorter Quartet
Wayne Shorter, the saxophone great and genius composer, turned 80 this year, but age has no meaning when you surround yourself with pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade. This quartet, Shorter's focus since about 2000, has taken on various orchestral and chamber projects without departing from its explosive main mission. Without a Net, for instance, includes the 23-minute "Pegasus" (featuring Imani Winds) as well as quartet reinventions of "Orbits" and "Plaza Real." That music of such elemental fire and fury can exist makes the world a more redeemable place.
GRANGEVILLE — "I love how Mrs. Stefani tells you — and you agree – you want to sound like a college band. Now let me let you in on a few secrets that separate you from professional musicians," John Clayton told the Grangeville Elementary Middle School seventh-and eighth-grade band students.
Clayton, of Los Angeles, the artistic director for the University of Idaho's Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, accompanied by jazz festival director Steven Remington, visited the GEMS classroom Tuesday, Dec. 3.
"Take in 30 to 40 percent more air — that will help you get to that next level," Clayton said as he and the class experimented. "We've now expanded your parameters. Now, add accents to the end of each note."
Clayton worked with the band on producing big sound as he played the upright bass, his instrument of choice.
"Why would I ask you to accent each note?" he asked.
"Because it helps define each note?" asked Alyssa Prado, seventh grader.
"I could not have said it better myself," Clayton smiled.
Clayton grew up in California and has been involved in music most of his life, playing the bass the past 40 years. He currently composes, directs, teaches – he taught at University of Southern California for 21 years – and plays in a quintet as well as a large band.
"Music is really my life," he laughed, telling the kids that music is "not in your instruments — it is in you."
First invited to play in the jazz festival years ago, Clayton has been the artistic director for the past six years.
"I always tell the kids to follow their dreams because they have parents who are sacrificing for them so they can have a better life," he said. "My parents were always very supportive of me – my mom said as long as what I did was legal and I finished my schooling, it was all good."
GEMS 7/8 band was chosen as a project school to receive extra attention before and during the jazz festival in 2014. Students have been invited to attend the festival a day early and participate in workshops prior to playing at the event.
"It's an honor to be able to work with such excellent musicians and have this opportunity," Stefani said.
Remington said he and Clayton travel to a handful of schools each year: More than 150 attend the festival.
"This gives a chance to work hands on with some outlying students," he said. "The festival reaches a wide audience and this is part of that outreach." The festival is in its 47th year.
Clayton encouraged the students to try a variety of different things when they play in order to make different sounds, ending my telling them they are "great musicians."
"Right now," he said after the class was over, "these kids are not playing for themselves. They are playing because they want to please Mrs. Stefani; they feed off her incredible enthusiasm. The goal is for them one day to play for themselves."
Following his visit, Clayton donated $100 in printed music from Hal Leonard publishing for whatever Stefani and the class may like to purchase for their library. In addition, he gave the group a CD for its listening library.