The Wisconsin Bookwatch: September 2017 included a review of Marcus Monteiro’s ‘Another Part of Me’ in the Music CD Shelf section:
“Alto saxophonist Marcus Monteiro, along with John Harrison III on piano, Fernando Huergo on bass, and Steve Langone on drums present Another Part of Me, a jazz album that draws upon both classic and contemporary musical stylings. Original, windswept, and masterful, Another Part of Me is a treasure for jazz connoisseurs. The tracks are “Sister Sadie” (6:03), “Adagio” (7:28), “For Once in My Life” (5:25), “The Monteiro Backhand Var. 1” (4:14), “Easier Said Than Done” (6:25), “Wait Till You See Her” (5:58), “Another Part of Me” (4:13), “Slammin’ Around” (5:12), “Receipt Please” (3:25), “Fell On Black Days” (4:35), “Mill Street” (7:51), “Sagg Shootin’ His Arrow” (5:11).”
Since its inception in 1999, Whaling City Sound, founded in New Bedford, Mass., has made a point of providing a viable musical outlet for an abundance of outstanding regional musicians. WCS aims for innovation, impeccable sound, and professional packaging that captures the sound and feel of each recording. These recordings have, in turn, helped its roster of musicians earn international recognition, and have put Whaling City Sound on the short list of small labels synonymous with quality. Its business model is simple: If you like the company’s CDs and purchase them, WCS can continue to make more of the music its listeners love, of equal or even better quality. And let’s face it: life’s too short to not enjoy great music. If WCS artists have news to share, please email info to us at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Whaling City Sound Artists – Jennifer, Jano, Sophisticated Lady, What’s New, Alfie, Cast Your Fate To The Wind, The Faction Of Cool, Whaling City Sound, Kojak, Meatsauce, Liberian Hummingbird Expansions, Receipt, Please, Last Song Lovely Emestina
The 16th Annual Narrows Festival of the Arts on Sunday, Sept. 10th from 11:00am – 7:00pm in Fall River, MA.Click above flyer for more information. Click above flyer for more information.
Great performers and tasty food highlight an epic experience at a nice price in New Bedford, at the 6th Annual New Bedford JazzFest. New Bedford is again on the cusp of summer—thank heavens!— and its waterfront will again be the site for, not fishing, as it has for centuries, but jazz!On June 10, Whaling City Sound, along with various other local sponsors, present the 6th Annual New Bedford JazzFest, featuring national and local jazz talent. Headlining this highly anticipated event will be Gerry Gibbs and Thrasher People, an exhilarating and supremely talented New York-based trio and one of Whaling City Sound’s marquee artists. Gibbs’ last four recordings have climbed to the top spot on national jazz radio charts, including his latest release, Weather or Not, in part an ear-tingling tribute to jazz greats Weather Report.Neal Weiss, the chief proprietor at Whaling City Sound, runs the fast-growing label, which is credited with many chart-topping jazz titles. WCS has been responsible for releasing much of Gibbs’ most recent work. “Gerry is a dynamic performer, who brings tremendous energy and excitement to the stage, and inspires his band-mates.”In addition to Gibbs’ Thrasher People, the lineup at Jazzfest also features another Whaling City Sound artist, Dino Govoni and his quartet, which in turn stars the sublime vocals of Boston’s acclaimed Cassandre McKinley. By turns powerful and soulful, bluesy and jazzy, McKinley will surely be a highlight of the festival, as she fronts the impressive work of Govoni and his sax-led quartet.To help keep the energy high, Matthew Hartnett and the Gumbo All-Stars bring a NOLA twist to New Bedford. Hartnett’s zesty creole jazz will certainly transport festival-goers to the French Quarter, where boogie and funky trombones reign.The day kicks off early with the SouthCoast Jazz Orchestra, a thrilling 17-piece big band appearing at the festival for its sixth year. You’ll revel in their booming big band sound, led by Symphony Music Shopowner Bob Williamson.The music kicks off around 2:15. But come early to take advantage of the food trucks and an “Artists Colony” curated by the New Bedford Art Museum.The fun doesn’t stop after the festival. Bring your ticket stub to JazzFest partner the Greasy Lucky Brewery, where you’ll witness a funky jazz jam session with a house band and special guests.Advance tickets are a steal at $20 at NewBedfordJazzFest.com, by calling the Your Theatre box office at 508-993-0772, or in person at Bridgewater Credit Union (Fairhaven branch), Greasy Luck Breweryand Symphony Music Shop. After June 5, tickets will go for $25. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. There’s parking at the Elm Street Garage. The event is under a tent, so it’s on rain or shine.JazzFest is produced by and for the benefit of Your Theatre, Inc. (YTI), New Bedford’s 70-year old community theater group. YTI has partnered with Waterfront Historic League (WHALE) to purchase, restore and convert 149 William St. (First Baptist Church) into a theatre for YTI. Proceeds from this event will assist in this partnership to preserve vital historic architecture and provide a lasting home for New Bedford’s longest running community theatre. www.yourtheatre.org
Talking to this guitar legend, Reggie Young about a release in 2017.
Reggie Young (born December 12, 1936) is an American musician who was lead guitarist in the American Sound Studios Band (aka The Memphis Boys), and is aa leading session musician. He played on various recordings with artists such as Elvis Presley, B.J. Thomas, John Prine, Dusty Springfield, Herbie Mann, J.J. Cale, Dionne Warwick, Roy Hamilton, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, the Box Tops, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, and George Strait.
2017 NAXOS Conference, Nashville, Tennessee:
Pictured left to right: Tom Evered, our NAXOS distribution label manager, Neal Weiss, WCS Label President, Jenny and Reggie Young at Renaissance Hotel in Nashville at the annual Naxos label conference.
JAZZWEEK: “Kindred Spirits Live at Chan’s,” Greg Abate, one of the last of Phil Woods’ live recordings, with Mark Walker, John Lockwood, & Tim Ray (#35 2/29/16; peaked at #28 2/8/16, 2 weeks Most Added, Biggest Gainer 1/25/16) “Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio Live In Studio” by Gerry Gibbs, Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, Cassandra Wilson, Roy Hargrove Peaked #1 for two weeks, 11/16+23/15; “Congrats!” 3rd Thrasher Dream Trio CD IN A ROW to hit #1 (for 2 weeks) on JazzWeek! Thank you Neal Sapper, Matt Hughes and all our loyal jazz radio supporters! “We’re Back” SEVEN weeks at #1, twice in one year for Gerry Gibbs and the Thrasher Dream Trio; 57th Annual Grammy Awards Nominee: Best Improvised Jazz Solo: “The Eye Of The Hurricane” Kenny Barron, soloist, from Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio “The Puzzle” by Expansions: The Dave Liebman Group (Chartbound 11/9/15, Biggest Gainer 9/21/15) “Feeling Good” by Joan Chamorro & Andrea Motis (Chartbound 9/14/15) “Kind of New” by Jason Miles/Ingrid Jensen (Peaked #20, 16 weeks on chart, to be released on vinyl 2/12/16) “Plucky Strum” by Harvie S|Sheryl Bailey (8 weeks on chart, 5/18/16 Highest Debut #35) “NYC Sessions” by Dave Bass (Peaked at #5, 16 weeks on chart, one of 2015’s Best Jazz Albums by DownBeat)
3/22: Mark T. Small’s Winter Warming performance; 4/19 added
Here is the update on our last Winter Warming performance and news about
an add-on performance this year.
SUNDAY MARCH 22
MARK T. SMALL
1pm until 3pm
33 Maple Street, New Bedford
Tickets at the door only
$15 non-members, $10 friends of http://www.newbedford-ma.gov/library/
SUNDAY, APRIL 19
UP AND COMING JAZZ MUSICIANS
1pm until 3pm
Downtown Public Library
Pleasant Street New Bedford
Tickets at the door only
$15. non-members, $10. Friends
NEW BEDFORD HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ COMBO
Christian Borges, Alto Saxaphone
Emma Pacheco, Trombone
Keegan Marshall-House, Piano
Benjamin Lacassse, Bass
Andrew Madeira, Drums
UMASS DARTMOUTH JAZZ TRIO
Miles Flisher, Piano
Evan MacLeod, Upright Bass
Al Nawrocki, Drums
All proceeds go to support programming for children’s events at the libraries
Here are some clips/pictures from yesterday’s Winter Warming concert:
Friends Of The New Bedford Free Public Library 110 Clinton St New Bedford, MA 02740 Phone: (508) 990-2130andWhaling City Soundpresent “Winter Warming,” a series of three house concerts in various styles, Sundays, 1 – 3 pmNext:Feb. 22, classical with EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks and Megan Koch, violin, and members of the New Bedford Symphony String Quartet, 78 Orchard Street, New Bedford.March 22, acoustic blues with Mark T. Small, 33 Maple Street, New Bedford.The historic houses make wonderful settings for classical and blues.Soup and light refreshments will be available.FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:YWCA Benefit Concert:
Jazz Pianist Tim Ray and His All-Star Trio Rolls Into New Bedford’s Wamsutta Club
New Bedford, MA – World class pianist Tim Ray brings his renowned bandmates – John Lockwood on bass and Mark Walker on drums – to the Wamsutta Club in downtown New Bedford on Wednesday night, September 17, at 7:30 pm. The concert is presented by Whaling City Sound and proceeds benefit the YWCA of Southeastern Mass.
At this concert performance, the trio will be playing songs in front of an audience just before heading into WGBH Studios in Boston to record, on the following Sunday. This is an unusual chance to hear a top-notch group explore music just prior to making a CD.
Tim Ray, a composer, educator and keyboard wizard, is the leader of the “chamber jazz” group Tre Corda, but that does not keep him from performances at places like the White House and Carnegie Hall, or on TV shows like the “Tonight Show” and “Letterman.” Recently, Tim recorded both a studio CD and a live session, as part of the same rhythm section, for saxophone road warrior Greg Abate. The live session, a performance at Chan’s in Woonsocket, RI, included alto sax legend Phil Woods as a special guest. Currently on the faculty of Berklee College, Tim has held positions at all of the major colleges, universities and conservatories in Boston, including New England Conservatory, Harvard and M.I.T. He spent several years on the road as music director for Lyle Lovett, and has shared the stage with Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt, among many, many others.
John Lockwood has performed at the Wamsutta Club many times. He is an anchor of the longtime jazz juggernaut The Fringe (with George Garzone and Bob Gullotti), and is featured on not less than six previous Whaling City releases as a key element of guitarist John Stein’s Quartet. His impeccable taste, rock solid rhythmic drive and the famous Lockwood bounce elevate any performance, live or recorded, on which he is present; if Mr. Lockwood is in the band, it is understood that the level of the music just went up a few notches. .
Behind the drums for this evening is master drummer Mark Walker. A major contributor to the success of bands like Oregon and the Caribbean Jazz project, Mark was a long-time member of Paquito D’Rivera’s touring group. He has sev- eral Grammy awards to his credit, and no one will be surprised if he picks up a few more in the coming years. When Mark is performing, it is easy to tell who the drummers are in the audience; they are the ones with their jaws dropping, looking stunned.
The YWCA is dedicated to empowering women and ending racism. From the historic Standish House in downtown New Bedford, the YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts delivers services to women and girls from Brockton to Provincetown and Attleboro. For many years, the YWCA has continued to present exceptional music in comfortable rooms. The Wamsutta Club is now recognized as a relaxing and pleasant setting to hear acoustic jazz. It is comfortable and quiet, and the audience is there to hear music. Drinks will be available, as well as a limited food menu.
The Wamsutta Club, at 427 County Street, corner of Union Street, in downtown New Bedford, has plenty of on-site, easy- in/easy-out parking and is handicap accessible.
Tickets are $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door. You are advised to purchase tickets early as seating is limited and the event may sell out. Tickets are available at the YWCA, 20 South Sixth Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, (508)999-3255, www.ywcasema.org; from Whaling City Sound (508)992-6613, www.whalingcitysound.com; or at the Wamsutta Club, (508) 997-7431, www.wamsuttaclub.net. Directions are available at www.wamsuttaclub.net, or through www.whalingcitysound.com.
Neil Weiss in the news.
click above image to read full article
We’re so proud! For a 6th week total at #1: GERRY GIBBS THRASHER DREAM TRIO with RON CARTER & KENNY BARRON.
Thanks so much to all the jazz djs, reviewers, fans and supporters across the country! See Gerry Gibbs LIVE with his THRASHER ALL-STAR BIG BAND @DIZZY’S (www.jalc.org) FEB 6,7,8,9 doing a tribute to his father TERRY GIBBS & his 7 time nominated DREAM BAND from the 1950s/1960s…The band features: PAQUITO D’RIVERA, TOM HARRELL, NICHOLAS PAYTON, ERIC ALEXANDER, VINCENT HERRING, MARK GROSS, TIVON PENNICOTT, GARY SMULYAN, ROBIN EUBANKS, CONRAD HERWIG, STEVE DAVIS, FRANK GREENE, MARVIN STAMM, LEW SOLOFF, JOE MAGNARELLI, GERALD CANNON, DONALD VEGA http://www.jazzweek.com/
~ Season’s Greetings ~
May your holidays be filled with beautiful music Warm wishes to you & yours~
New Bedford’s Whaling City Sound label has a lot to celebrate! Our most recent CD, Gerry Gibbs’ “Thrasher Dream Trio,” with Ron Carter and Kenny Barron, is one of the most-played CDs on radio in the country at the moment, climbing to #2 on the Jazz Week chart. With a review in JazzTimes Magazine next month, Jazziz January or February, and another in DownBeat Magazine in February, Gibbs tops it off with a NYC/Lincoln Center show!
February 6-9, 2014 Set Times 7:30pm & 9:30 pm Plus 11:30pm, Fri Late Night Session Sets Tue–Sat, after last Artist Set Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola | Jazz at Lincoln Center Broadway and 60th Street New York, NY 10019 Box Office Hours Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 12pm-6pm Centercharge 212-721-6500 Reservations 212-258-9595/9795
The week of February 6th through the 9th is a great weekend for jazz fans to hear some of the greatest talents around
from the All Star Thrasher Big Band
With special guest Nicolas Payton, Paquito D’Rivera, Tom Harrell and one more special guest TBA Drums: Gerry Gibbs Saxes: Steve Wilson, Vincent Herring, Eric Alexander, Victor Goines, Ronnie Cuber Trombones: Robin Eubanks, Condrad Herwig, Steve Davis Trumpets: Frank Green, Marvin Stamm, Lew Soloff, Joe Magnerelli Bass: Dwayne Burno Piano: Donald Vega “I will be doing a tribute to my father Terry Gibbs Dream Band” Just wanted to throw it out there.
All of us at Whaling City Sound were saddened to learn about the passing of both Frank D’Rone and Dick LaPalm within a few days of each other. The connection for us is that Dick introduced us to Frank D’Rone, in every way, and encouraged the partnership that led to the WCS release of Frank’s “Double Exposure.” No other CD on the label met with so many requests for on-air or prerecorded interviews by the artist, and based on the interviews I heard, Frank was both a pleasure to listen to and a warm individual with great stories to tell. Vibist Terry Gibbs, a contemporary of Frank, said about him, “we always said he was the hippist guy in the room.” By that, he meant that the musicians in the audience felt that Frank was a better singer than most of the otherwise appreciative members of the audience knew.
Dick LaPalm was a true friend who also did his job very well. He gave Whaling City Sound a new visibility, guiding John Stein’s “Raising the Roof” to the top of the Jazz Week charts, including number 8 for the entire of 2010. He was an industry titan.
It was an honor and a blessing to have shared some time with these quality individuals. They showed me that commitment and integrity is alive and well.
Here is a link to the long and amazing obituary of Frank D’Rone by his friend, Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Reich.
Dick LaPalm sent along the above photo. That’s Dick on the left and Nat King Cole on the right in Chicago. Dick was Cole’s record promoter and close friend throughout his career at Capitol, up until Cole’s death in 1965. For those unaware, a record promoter was needed to get new records aired by as many radio stations as possible and for making sure that local stores were stocked with copies so listeners could buy what they heard. Dick and Cole’s clearly was a fine partnership and friendship. – See more at: http://www.jazzwax.com/2012/09/weekend-wax-bits-5.html#sthash.M164u5VM.dpuf From: http://www.jazzwax.com/2012/09/weekend-wax-bits-5.html
Whaling City Sound fulfills a long-awaited dream with its 10/29 release,
Thrasher Dream Trio, starring Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, and bandleader/drummer Gerry Gibbs.
Since 1999, New Bedford’s Whaling City Sound has been building an archive of great jazz recordings, with a roster of august artists that includes John Abercrombie, John Stein, Joe Beck, Dave Liebman and many more. Seemingly each year, at a time when economic forces have put a real squeeze on the music industry, and jazz in general, the tiny label that could has elevated its audio game. Since setting up shop, it has ushered quality recordings into the jazz audiosphere one after another. One disc jockey commented, “When I see a Whaling City Sound package come into the studio, I open the envelope and put it right on the air.” Bob Blumenthal, esteemed jazz writer for many moons now, often supports Whaling City Sound projects, as a liner-note writer and loyal fan. Regarding Thrasher Dream Trio, he writes: Anyone who has concerns regarding the health of jazz, the ongoing relevance of its living legends or the artistry of those they have inspired needs to hear this album.” High praise indeed for WCS’s musical integrity.
Thrasher Dream Trio is a priority release for WCS’s new distributor, Naxos, a significant new alliance following the dissolution of its recent relationship with Allegro. “When one door closes,” says Neal Weiss, president of WCS, “another door opens. We really respected our work with Allegro, but we are even more hopeful with Naxos, which also does amazing work.”
To celebrate, WCS is giving its most celebrated work to date to Naxos. While, occasionally, high profile projects like this one fail to live up to the possibilities, this one obviously doesn’t; it bristles with energy, color and imagination. Barron and Carter, the giant piano/bass team, certainly need no introduction, but a note must be made about their collaboration here. Their history working together is one of the intangibles that makes this project so interesting.
“We are so fortunate to release this recording through our label,” says Weiss, “especially an album like this that features these awesome musicians, and one that comes at such an important time in the label’s history. We’ll do everything we can to ensure the music gets into the right hands, because I think we can all agree, jazz this good deserves to be heard.”
And, we might add, fulfills a dream come true for Whaling City Sound.
Also check out: Raising the Roof by John Stein, which finished #8 for the year on the JazzWeek chart in 2010, climbing as high as #2. Also available on Whaling City Sound is Gerry Gibbs’ Thrasher Big Band Live At Luna (wcs033) Gerry Gibbs’ Electric Thrasher Orchestra Plays The Music Of Miles Davis 1967-1975 (wcs047). And stay tuned for Joe Beck’s final recording. Beck, who played with Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, and James Brown, to name a few, was a Whaling City Sound flagship artist before passing away in 2008.
David Bindman Sextet at the Wamsutta Club What: Concert/Benefit Start Time: Friday April 5 at 8:00pm Where:The Wamsutta Club 427 County St. New Bedford, MA (convenient parking/handicap accessible) Cost: $20 in Advance, $25 at Door More Info: (508) 992-6613 or visit http://www.wamsuttaclub.net/ Bindman’s Sextet: Frank London, Art Hirahara, Reut Regev, Wes Brown and royal hartigan Email: email@example.com
A Great Night of Jazz Don’t miss the spirit and innovation from tenor saxophonist David Bindman and his sextet
If you are a fan of creative jazz and have not heard Bindman’s work, you’re in for a real treat, as Whaling City Sound presents the David Bindman Sextet at the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford. The tenor saxophonist and composer possesses a hyperactive sense of innovation, and his music cries out with exuberance and inspiration. Jazz critic Steve Holtje wrote of his recent CD, Sunset Park Polyphony, “This self-released two-CD sextet album is his masterpiece so far. David Bindman is someone whose work you should become familiar with, because music this good needs to be shared.”
Bindman’s sound is wide open and beautifully played, with a spectrum ranging from rare subtlety to wild abandon. David’s work demonstrates a sense of curiosity and spirit not found in a great deal of jazz. His sense of cultural appreciation is real, not simply a euphemism for world music.
And speaking of world music, Bindman’s experience is truly global. The musician’s recent activities include performances and workshops in Sweden with the collaborative quartet Stockholm Sodra, performances and workshops in the Philippines with Blood Drum Spirit, including as the featured ensemble at the Cultural Center of the Philippines inaugural jazz festival, and concerts in Slovenia with Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra. Bindman appears on recently released recordings by Fred Ho and Adam Lane.
Bindman was born in 1963 in New York City. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1985 and received an MA in World Music from Wesleyan in 1987. He has received grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Queens Council on the Arts, the Puffin Foundation, Meet The Composer, and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles. He has taught in the New York City school system, at the Consortium for Worker Education, Bennington College, LaGuardia Community College, and The New School University, and has conducted master classes throughout the USA and in Canada.
One real treat for local audiences will be watching drummer royal hartigan, a talented musician that has played in Bindman’s ensemble for over 20 years. hartigan teaches at UMass Dartmouth and is well-known to regional jazz fans. Bindman’s sextet also includes Frank London (trumpet), Art Hirahara (piano), Reut Regev (trombone), and Wes Brown (contrabass).
The show takes place on Friday, April 5, 8pm and tickets are $20 in advance. Proceeds will benefit the YWCA of Southeastern Mass. For more information call Whaling City Sound at (508) 992-6613 or email Neal Weiss at firstname.lastname@example.org Tickets are $25 at the door. The Wamsutta Club is located at 427 County Street, New Bedford, Mass. http://www.wamsuttaclub.net/
Effective February 1, 2013, Naxos of America, Inc. will become the exclusive distributor of all Whaling City Sounds titles in the United States & Canada. Effective February 1, 2013, all orders and returns of Whaling City Sounds product will be processed by Naxos of America, Inc. We are looking forward to launching a successful business relationship with John Stein’s Bing Bang Boom. 2/26/2013 Release.
Naxos of America, Inc. 1810 Columbia Avenue • Suite 28 • Franklin, Tennessee 37064 Phone: 615.771.9393 • Fax: 615.771.6747
A Whaling City Christmas Volume 1 is a holiday collection I can’t get enough of. The sheer variety of music is engaging and the quality of the artist’s work is even more addictive then those little candy canes you find at the bottom of your stocking. Better than a petrified fruit cake, these songs are full of humor, grit and so many genres of music; it’s hard to name them all. Folk, Electronica, Easy Listening, Jazz, R&B, Pop, Rock Ballad, Spoken Word, Americana, Bluegrass and Christian just to name a few. What can I say? This album is chock full of great songs and full of holiday wonder, commercial greed, electrifying light shows, a homicidal Santa and more. You’ll love it. Promise.
Whaling City Sound Waves is a compilation of select tracks for the benefit of Schwartz Center for Children, a caring organization dedicated to serving children with special needs. This fine recording features R&B artists Sarah Brooks and Graceful Soul, classical harpsichord player Paul Cienniwa, bluesman Mark T. Small, Grand Army and a variety of excellent jazz musicians including Shawn Monteiro, Joe Beck, John Abercrombie, and Gerry Gibbs. Enjoy this eclectic mix and the benefits of giving.
From Jim Robitaille:
I want to let you know about the Fall semester UMass Dartmouth Performance Jam Session Series. All concerts are held on Wednesday evenings at 8:00 pm, at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Group VI building, in room 104, parking lot 8. The first concert in the series begins on Wednesday, September 26, at 8:00 pm featuring: The Matt Richard Jim Robitaille Duo
This season we will be dedicating the series to our very special friend and colleague Rick Britto, who passed away in August of this year. Rick was, as many of you know, an amazing tenor and soprano saxophonist, musician, composer, and educator. Rick always played from the heart, and also communicated with an incredible energy, reaching the people who have had the good fortune of listening to him over the years.. We will be featuring some of Rick’s compositions in several of the concerts, and we hope you will spread the word about this great series, that is free admission, and open to the public. We hope to see you again at the series.
Thank you as always for your support”
Too often, way too often in fact, we take our Christmas music for granted. When the holidays roll around and we need some music to spin, we reach for the familiar, the Elvises, the Bings, the Felicianos, Elmo and Patsy! My goodness. For some reason, even those with good taste take a pass during the holidays and stick with the tried and true, yet relatively bland, seasonal tunes. Why? Because we know the melodies like the back of our hand? Do we need to hear Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” again? Ho ho ho (hum) indeed.
This year, why not reach for holiday music you’ve not heard a million times.Whaling City Sound, the Massachusetts-based label acclaimed for its stylish jazz-based releases, serves up its initial offering of challenging, unfamiliar holiday vibes with A Whaling City Christmas, Volume 1. Fans of the Whaling City Sound sound should approach this with a certain caution: it is not, for one thing, a jazz recording. You’ll find a sax here and there, but there’s lots of things you wouldn’t expect on a typical WCS album, including folk, fiddles, electronics, klezmer clarinet(!) and even a couple of pop melodies.
Despite the unexpected nature of this entire album, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the selections. They are pure, heartfelt, and occasionally humorous; with an organic spirit that embraces the holidays without hammering home the jingle-jingle clichés that we hear ad nauseum. The record kicks off with a gorgeous ballad, Cedric Josey’s “Angels in the Snow,” takes a quick left turn with the Jethros’ folky, funny “Santa Please,” which leads right into Neal McCarthy’s classic-sounding Americana ballad “Christmas Trip.” “Snow” sounds like a pretty Roches-style piece; MM4’s “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” presents some mellow sax and is the perfect Christmas morning, “let’s all be thankful” wake-up vibe. Elsewhere, there’s blues, synth, country, and all kinds of different grooves on this record. Frankly, it sounds like real Christmas songs played by real American artists. How’s that for a change?
We’re delighted—and you should be, too—that the Whaling City Sound label has the courage to challenge the institutional fortress of traditional Christmas music. There’s beautiful stuff here. In fact, excellent, original seasonal music is written and performed all the time, but never sees the twinkling light of day, largely because the field of what is considered acceptable Christmas carols is fenced off to newcomers. All you have to do is listen to the PA at the mall. With the first volume of A Whaling City Christmas, you can start discovering your own new classics, right here, right now.
NEW BEDFORD, MA — In cooperation with Bridgewater Credit Union as its major corporate sponsor, Your Theatre, Inc. has announced it will produce New Bedford’s first jazz festival scheduled for May 18 at Custom House Square in New Bedford’s Historic District and National Park. Jazzfest will be an upscale annual music event featuring artists from the regional and national jazz scene.
Headlining the event will be Gerry Gibbs and the Electric Thrasher Orchestra featuring Nicholas Payton and Dave Liebman. Whaling City Sound recording artist Gerry Gibbs has been playing Miles Davis’ music for over 20 years and recorded his own tribute to the legendary CD Bitches Brew entitled Gerry Gibbs and the Electric Thrasher Orchestra Play Miles Davis 1967-1975 in 2010.
Nicholas Payton, a New Orleans native, was a musical prodigy who sat in with local bands at age nine. He plays nine instruments and won a 1977 Grammy for his collaboration with Doc Cheatham.
Saxophonist Dave Liebman, recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Master of Jazz Award in 2011, became a member of Miles Davis’ group from 1970 through 1974. He followed that gig with a world tour with pianist Chick Corea in 1977.
Opening the evening will be the swinging big band sounds of the Southcoast Jazz Orchestra. Founded in 2009 by trumpeter Bob Williamson, proprietor of Dartmouth’s Symphony Shop, and drummer Neil Sylvia, the SJO is a traditional jazz ensemble that can trace its roots back to 1930’s and the Swing Era.
According to Eric Paradis, the event’s chairman and a member of Your Theatre, Inc.’s Board of Directors, “Patrons will enjoy a Friday evening of four to five hours of solid entertainment.”
Adjacent to the main stage tent will be smaller ones housing local food and beverage vendors. In addition, after the performances several local nightlife spots will offer live jazz with no cover charge as a continuation of the JazzFest celebration until 1:30 am.
“It will keep the evening’s vibrancy alive and downtown New Bedford buzzing. Anyone seeking additional information, can ‘Like’ us on Facebook: New Bedford JazzFest,” Mr. Paradis adds.
Tickets are available at branches of the Bridgewater Credit Union, the Symphony Shop, 94 State Road, North Dartmouth, Pier 37, Union Street, New Bedford, and Your Theatre’s box office, 508-993-0772, or at Custom House Square the evening of the festival. Preferred seating is $30.00, general admission standing room tickets are $20.00, and student tickets are $10.00. Tickets at the door are $5.00 extra. Please call YTI for info on Gold Seating and sponsorships.
Located in the auditorium complex at St. Martin’s Church, 136 Rivet St., Your Theatre, Inc. was founded in 1946 by the late Mary A. Smith and is incorporated as a non-profit community theatre. The award-winning company, which has a web site at www.yourtheatre.org, enhances the cultural life of New Bedford, Southeastern Massachusetts, and nearby communities through the study and regular presentation of dramatic productions and other programs of high quality and professional standards.
So you and your band have invested countless hours and thousands of dollars in recording your CD.
You’re proud of it and you’re aiming high, but dealing with the music industry is going to mean headaches, frustrations and learning lessons that you really don’t have time for.
You could use some help from someone who understands how to get you onto the radio, reviewed in the press, and distributed to music stores internationally — someone with industry experience.
If Neal Weiss likes what he hears — regardless of genre — he may be able to help you deal with many of the worries and struggles that beset talented bands that lack business savvy, giving artists more time to work with their instruments instead of their e-mails.
Since 1999, Weiss has been president of Whaling City Sound, a record label based in New Bedford that brings top-quality music to listeners around the world. The label was launched as a jazz outlet and continues to put out jazz CDs, but through the years it has grown stylistically and broadened its catalog to include artists from around the country. Recently the label has promoted a vast palette of sounds, including a blues guitarist, a pairing of classical artists, a jazz duo, a chorus specializing in maritime music, and an electronic rock band.
WCS founder Weiss recently spoke about how eclectic the last few years have been for Whaling City Sound.
The label has broken new ground with “Bach Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba” by Audrey & Paul Cienniwa.
“The level of musicianship on this CD is exceptional. They are playing new arrangements and instrumentations for these pieces. She is a phenomenal cellist and he ‘s a tremendous harpsichordist — his performances successfully combine both a bass line and a treble line.”
Paul Cienniwa is a Fall River resident and is the musical director and conductor of Newport Baroque and Sine Nomine, a 24-voice choir which includes Weiss’ vocalist wife, Marjorie Waite. Audrey Cienniwa is a native of France who teaches at the Music School of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Providence College.
The Cienniwas have been playing together since 1998, performing throughout New England and France.
“This is the first time we’ve put out classical music,” Weiss says. “That can be a challenge because classical radio relies a lot on their catalog of established composers which have been around for hundreds of years.
“We also recently released another classical album, ‘Brahms: 21 Hungarian Dances,’ by the Kantorski-Pope Duo. I’ve been interested in putting out quality chamber music for a long time and these CDs have given me the opportunity to do that,” Weiss says.
“Screamin’ & Cryin’ the Blues,” by Mark T. Small: “This is our second release for Mark, after his self-titled CD in 2005. I’ve been following Mark for 20 years, including when he was playing rock and roll with the Twisters and Lonesome Strangers. Eventually I would go out to hear him play the blues locally and return every week to get more. It became a kind of religion for me.
“Mark’s spent some time living in San Antonio, Texas, and Las Vegas before returning to this area. The first eight songs on this CD were recorded at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River when he opened up for the James Cotton Blues Band,” Weiss explains.
“Mark is a scholar of the blues, rooted in the acoustic Delta blues. He’s spent years observing, studying and practicing and has made it onto the blues charts alongside people like B.B. King and Shemekia Copeland. He’s very skilled.”
“Toys for Chaos,” by Grand Army: “This local band spent two years in the studio before they felt that this album was complete. They call it electronic rock and it’s been getting a lot of play on college radio. Almost 70 stations are playing it around the country, which is a lot because many colleges aren’t in session in the summer. The album includes two players who appeared on another WCS recording, ‘MM4,’ by the Marcus Monteiro Quartet — bassist Mike Jupin and keyboardist Jude Kingston.
“These people are all nice to deal with, and this recording is done extremely well. I’ve been going to see them for a long time and they’re very tight and original. This is a big step for the label to take, but it’s been worthwhile.”
“Golden Earrings,” by Joe Beck & Laura Theodore: “This was the final recording Beck did before his death last year. It’s the sixth album that we have released that includes a Beck performance. This is a collection of songs that were written and performed by Peggy Lee and her guitarist husband Roy Barbour. It’s an older style of jazz and they were aiming to bring it to Broadway. Laura approached me to put out this album in part as a tribute to Joe. The CD includes liner notes from popular jazz writer Bill Milkowski.”
Milkowski describes the recordings as “easy and organic … strictly in the moment … yet artfully executed.”
“Songs of the Sea: The Lovely Ernestina,” by the New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus: “This came out in 2004 and has been our biggest-selling CD in the entire catalog. I was introduced to this recording by Tom Goux, director of the Sea Chantey Chorus, a New Bedford-based group of 35 singers who are all volunteers from the Ernestina. Half of the songs are performed by the Rum-Soaked Crooks. This album was recorded at the Unitarian Memorial Church in Fairhaven to raise money for the Ernestina, and it turned out to be a great marketing tool for them.”
David Reis is the co-host of “Music for Sunday,” a jazz program aired on WUMD-FM, the radio station at UMass Dartmouth. He says that he can trust that an album from Whaling City Sound will be quality, not only for the music but for the professional packaging as well.
“Neal has one of the classiest labels going,” Reis says. “When I see an album on Whaling City Sound I know that it’s going to be something good.”
Mike Clinco, a jazz guitarist from Los Angeles, agrees. His debut CD, “Neon,” was released in May on WCS.
“Neal surrounds himself with a great team and I’ve listened to people on his label such as Joe Beck, John Abercrombie, and Jerry Bergonzi. I was looking for a smaller label that would be easy to work with and so far Neal has helped put me on the map with positive reviews and radio airplay.”
Weiss is able to support the music he loves thanks to his success as a businessman — he is the president of Fiber Optic Center in downtown New Bedford, a high-tech distribution company that sells products all over the world. When Weiss initially started Whaling City Sound he vigorously supported the people making the music for the label. At first he funded their time in the recording studio, but eventually realized it was economically impractical and that he should spend his resources cultivating musicians from the business perspective, where they usually need the most help.
Today the WCS catalog has a total of 49 releases. The vast majority of the design work and packaging for the CDs comes from artist David Arruda Jr., an employee at Fiber Optics Center. The recordings can be purchased at Baker Books in Dartmouth, Borders Books and Barnes & Noble, and online at amazon.com, ITunes or Whalingcitysound.com.
“Neal Weiss is everything that a major record company should be,” says Kingston, keyboard player for Grand Army. “He’s not in it for the money, he just puts out the things he enjoys listening to. It’s nice to have his support for us as artists and not being someone who’s telling us what to sound like.”
In 2005, Weiss expanded his stable of artists to include local blues rockers Shipyard Wreck, releasing their debut, “Reflect and Shine.”
“Neal is a lover of music,” says Shipyard frontman Jim Gagne. “He took a risk to add a blues-rock band to his label and we were able to benefit from it. We’re hoping to work with him for our next record.”
Clinco feels the same way.
“I really think that I’ll be putting out my second CD with Whaling City. This has turned out to be a very positive experience.”