Tag Archives | Midwest Record

Greg Murphy

LABEL: Whaling City Sound

Web site

Facebook 

Twitter

YouTube

“Straight No Blues” Live at Mezzrow 9.1.18

Greg Murphy Quartet – Blues for Miles – Smalls

Suspended Time

Bright Idea Photos: #1, #2, #3

Listen: Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise

Publicity: City Pleasures, Facts on WaxMidwest RecordJazz NewsThe New York City Jazz Record, O’s Place Jazz NewsletterJazz PensacolaMax Chandler Our Man on the Coast, Mid West Record, Night Journey Rewind

Radio Promotion:WUSF WGLT  

 

Mixed Media Client since: 2016

Back to Clients

click here for the full review

Greg Murphy’s “Bright Idea” #1 on JazzWeek chart

+48 Biggest Gainer +15 Most Added

Greg Murphy Liner Notes for Bright Idea

By

Lofton A Emenari, III

The world of jazz, despite legends of gloried lore, is fraught with contradictions, dichotomies and some of the most unlikely stories that boggle the imagination–untold tales lying just beneath the maelstrom of mainstream media, tucked away as a sanguine keepsake measured only in the hearts and minds of those involved. Stories of heartbreak. Stories of triumph.

Pianist Greg Murphy’s story, his all-too-human story, is made of that same kind of tangible heroic fabric–from wandering in the valley low only to gain a celebratory emergence–a joyful spiritual attainment over and above a craggy, pit-laden adversity.

I met an enthusiastic Murphy in the summer of 1980 one afternoon at my downtown Chicago loft venue for jazz, Aziza Artist Space. The set that day was led by the late saxophonist, Fred Anderson. Recommended by his friend and bassist Tyler Mitchell, Murphy was on the gig. Showing a promise that would only be realized years down the road, Murphy exhibited an indelible pianistic presence. His bluesy orchestral swing-filled stylistic technique crackled with an exuberant intensity far beyond his youthful age.

Upon a chance encounter with Marsalis patriarch Ellis Marsalis in Chicago, as fate would have it, soon Murphy was headed for New Orleans. Duly noticing the young pianist’s potential, Murphy was Crescent City bound–this at the height of the Young Lions movement of the early 80s. Recalling their initial meeting, “Ellis Marsalis came to my house, gave me a free piano lesson and subsequently suggested that I apply for a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Grant.”

After several months of study with Marsalis and a couple years of performances under his belt, Murphy felt it was time for his New York debut. Finding himself in the hardball, thick pace of the jazz capital of the world, he hit the ground running–gigging and sitting in with a gaggle of who’s who musicians, from leaders to sidemen.

The move was not without its life-altering challenges, however. Murphy, consequently swept up in the netherworld of New York’s swirling, turbulent and unforgiving drug subculture, found himself with a nagging addiction, homeless and scrounging for gigs. After years of struggle and hitting ‘rock bottom’, the pianist sought help not only to bring the desperately needed healing of sobriety but also to resurrect a once budding career, the precipice of which was well within reach.

“The music scene and the fast paced lifestyle in New York kicked a lot of musicians’ asses and sent them back home with their tails between their legs,” Murphy recalls. “I swore that would never happen to me, but it did, and I went back to Chicago wounded. When I returned to Harlem I started to get my act together and began focusing on life, music and recovery.”

Jazz mythos is replete with numerous fringe characters who should have made it to the top echelons, yet for some reason faltered, never to be heard from again. There are countless tales of brilliance, yet their shooting stars ebb and wane, fading into an on-waiting obscurity. Pianist Greg Murphy’s everyday toil and sweat equity is the stuff legends are made of, beating incredible odds against an ofttimes societal indifference when it comes to the needs of those pushed to the castigated margins of American society.

As an adept pianist of universal appeal, Murphy has done it all–from the backroom bar jam sessions, to accompanying a litany of singers, to countless man hours of solo piano gigs in hotels and eateries, to mounting outdoor festival stages with some of the famous and not-so-famous, Murphy’s resume is incredibly outstanding by any measure. Yet it was his association with multidirectional drummer, Rashied Ali, that helped verify his protean credentials as a solid accompanist and soloist. Having met the iconic drummer previously in Chicago, before arriving in New York, was something predestined. Little did he know that he’d become Ali’s pianist of choice. Murphy recalls, “Working with Rashied helped me tremendously as a musician and as a person. He was a father figure and best friend at the same time and we used to hang out a lot on and off the road. When we were on the bandstand, he was a leader both rhythmically and spiritually. He was the most complimentary musician I’ve ever played with.”

Murphy’s 20 year plus tenure with Rashied Ali historically plants him firmly in the branches of the John Coltrane lineage. Through the fruition of the Ali/Trane tree, Murphy would achieve a wider acclaim of peer recognition, particularly with one-time Coltrane bassist Reggie Workman. It turns out that Mr. Workman was originally sought out by the pianist for this recording. Talking with Workman over a period of time, Murphy said, “Reggie’s always working and it was just too difficult for us to find time to get together.” And while the session with Workman (who proposed the June 19th recording date) didn’t work out, Murphy kept his head above water and sought out his long time bassist Eric Wheeler.

The natural choice of in-demand bassist Eric Wheeler was a no-brainer. “Eric’s my favorite bass player and I was happy he was available for the date,” Greg says. “He’s got a huge sound, intricate articulation and a tremendous improvisational conception.”

Key to the overall emotional soundscape and rhythmic projection of this recording is one of the most important drummers of his generation, Jeff “Tain” Watts. His conversant dexterity and unexpectant dropping of syncopation, undergirds flavorful nuances of color and timbre, making Tain not only a drummer for all seasons but an unfailing rhythm mate to be counted on always. “I met Tain after he first started playing with Wynton in the mid-eighties,” Murphy remembers. “I always knew he was a bad cat but didn’t realize the depth of his power, subtlety and musicianship until I played with him. He’s truly one of the great drummers.”

Elemental to any jazz trio session is the profound yet subliminal reciprocity of the players. Underpinned by the blues and swing, so vital to the panoramic musical narrative, Murphy, along with Eric Wheeler and Jeff “Tain” Watts, pour into each tune every drop of sweat and blood they have. Furthermore, the band keeps the music contemporary and timeless, calling attention to themes reflected in the songs, Juneteenth Notes, Earthlings and Happy. These three tunes in and of themselves set the tone.

Also in the program is the newly discovered Coltrane composition, Untitled Original 11383, a twelve-bar blues that Murphy and crew had the foresight to do a fresh cover of. Greg recalls, “I had planned to record a different Bb blues (Theme for Ronnie–written for the late great alto saxophonist, Ron Sutton, Jr.) but after listening to Trane’s tune at the suggestion of bass player, Dezron Douglas two days before the session, I decided to transcribe it and take a shot at it.”

Juneteenth Notes, a showcase for Tain’s telepathic rumbling interplay, pays tribute to the African American holiday recognizing newly freed black slaves of Texas, months following Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. “Many Americans aren’t too familiar with Juneteenth and what it means historically,”says Murphy in regards to the reconciliation of the nation and its sad and unfortunate legacy of slavery. The territory of Texas got the news of freedom later than most of the southern states on June 19th, hence the title Juneteenth.

Of the most memorable pieces is the trio’s rendition of saxophonist Joe Ford’s Earthlings. Murphy recorded the tune as a solo piano vehicle on his Blues for Miles album (JazzIntensity 2016).  Surprisingly enough, Jeff “Tain” Watts was the drummer on the original Larry Willis recording, Heavy Blue (Steeplechase 1994). “I heard it on the radio a lot in the mid 90s and loved it,” says Murphy. “Joe Ford’s original version is in 4/4 but Larry needed a ballad so they adapted it to 3/4. It sounds great either way.” This solid trio version should get just as much media attention if not more, as Murphy and crew deliver a classic performance.

Always playing with a burning fire beneath his fingers, Bright Idea, Greg Murphy’s second Whaling City Sound project and fifth overall is perhaps his strongest recording as a leader. Swinging with the best of pianists today, the hunger and desire of Murphy’s fleet, yet muscular edginess and his valiant triumph in life and music lead us to believe that Bright Idea is destined to become a valued aesthetic document in the pantheon of jazz piano recordings.

###

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-11-32-28-amhttp://www.jazzweek.com/releases/2016/07/greg-murphy-summer-breeze-whaling-city-sound/

MBR Review:

Summer Breeze is a jazz album brimming with vibrant warmth. Music artists Greg Murphy (piano, keyboards), Eric Wheeler (acoustic and electric bass), and Kush Abadey (drums), supported by additional skilled players of the trumpet, saxophone, trombone, and more, have created an intense listening experience sure to thrill and delight. Highly recommended! The tracks are “Solar” (4:59), “Sophisticated Lady” (6:49), “No One in Particular” (6:33), “A Reason to Smile” (5:10), “Cedar Salad” (8:41), “Fall” (5:03), “Expectations” (5:55), “Summer Breeze” (4:47), “Solid” (6:44), “Leo’s Lullaby” (4:47), “Tsk” (5:45), and “Suspended Times” (7:41).

wcs081_One_Sheet

To view Summer Breeze’s press release, click here.


Summer Breeze

LINER NOTES by Bill Milkowski

A prodigious talent whose keyboard pyrotechnics have ignited the bandstands of such shamanistic figures as Rashied Ali and Tisziji Muñoz, veteran pianist-composer Greg Murphy has been a firebrand on the scene since moving to New York in 1987. On his fourth outing as a leader, the Chicago native showcases a myriad of musical expressions besides the heightened, McCoy-inspired approach that has been his calling card for decades.

With a core group consisting of fiery trumpeter Josh Evans, Dee Dee Bridgewater bassist Eric Wheeler and sensational young drummer Kush Abadey — augmented on different tracks by stellar improvisers Jay Rodriguez on soprano sax, Eric Wyatt and Scott Robert Avidon on tenor saxes, Corey Wilcox on trombone, Raphael Cruz on percussion and Malou Beauvoir on vocals — Murphy explores some appealing pop material on his “A Reason to Smile” and a cover of Seals & Crofts’ ‘70s hit “Summer Breeze” while also digging into Afro-Cuban grooves (“Suspended Time”), burning hard bop (“Cedar Salad”), free jazz (“Tsk”) and a swinging blues (Sonny Rollins’ “Solid”) on his Whaling City Sound debut.

“I was playing in pop bands when I got started in Chicago, before I started getting deeply into jazz,” says the pianist-composer, who got a grant to study with Ellis Marsalis in New Orleans during the mid ‘80s. “In fact, I wrote ‘A Reason to Smile’ 30 years ago when I was in this group called Lightning Flash Thunder Roar. And I got Malou to help me with the lyrics on this new version of that tune.” Beauvoir delivers supremely soulful vocals on that mellow offering as well as on a re-imaginging of Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady,” which morphs into a 6/4 Afro-Cuban feel midway through. Evans shades Malou’s alluring vocals on muted trumpet throughout their inventive take on this classic bit of Ellingtonia while Cruz provides the appropriate percussive colors to give it that Latin tinge.

“Cedar Salad” is Murphy’s homage to the late, great pianist-composer Cedar Walton. “I actually ran into Cedar in the Village one day and gave him a copy of this piece I had written for him,” the pianist recalls. “My thinking behind this was to emulate the way that Cedar went into the half-step harmonic movement, from major to minor, on his classic tunes ‘Bolivia’ and ‘Ugetsu.’ In this case, it goes from the Bflat minor to the Bmajor to the F#.” Trumpeter Evans and saxophonist Wyatt provide a Messengers-like feel on the front line of this jaunty swinger while Murphy reveals his fluent hard bop chops on his impassioned solo here.

Wyatt, a longtime collaborator of Murphy’s who also happens to be the godson of Sonny Rollins, plays some robust tenor sax on the bluesy Newk vehicle “Solid” while trumpeter Evans is prominently featured on a faithful reading of the hauntingly beautiful Wayne Shorter composition “Fall,” which also has the pianist freely exploring the harmonic fabric of that evocative piece. The core trio of Murphy, Wheeler and Abadey turns in a straightforward reading of Miles Davis’ “Solar,” which is underscored by the young drummer’s briskly swinging touch on the kit. Abadey also provides some gentle brushwork and tasty cymbal colorations on Avidon’s gentle “Leo’s Lullaby” and he fires up Murphy’s modal burner “Expectations,” which features some rapid-fire exchanges of eights with the drummer, trumpeter Evans, soprano saxophonist Rodriguez and tenorist Avidon at the tag. And the drummer’s keen instincts adds to the conversation on the purely improvisational “Tsk.”

“Kush is a phenomenal young cat,” says Murphy. “He really plays beyond his years. He’s played with Wallace Roney and recently he was on the road with Ravi Coltrane. I’ve seen him down at Small’s a lot and he always sounds great. Yeah, he’s a pretty busy cat these days.”

Murphy unleashes with McCoy-esque abandon on his two uptempo workouts, “Expectations” and “No One in Particular,” and he delivers a real-deal son montuno feel on his Afro-Cuban groover “Suspended Time,” which features a pulsating bass solo from Wheeler along with an extended drum flurry at the end by Abadey.

All of Murphy’s experiences — his 20-year tenure in New York with Rashied Ali, his intensive study in New Orleans with Ellis Marsalis, his pop-funk days in Chicago, along with his Latin jazz work in Raphael Cruz’s band — come to bear on Summer Breeze, his most fully self-realized outing to date. — Bill Milkowski

Bill Milkowski is a regular contributor to Down Beat and Jazziz magazines. He is also the author of “JACO: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius” (Backbeat Books) and the recipient of the 2015 Bruce Lundvall Award presented by the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Screen shot 2016-03-24 at 12.43.29 PM
Screen shot 2016-03-24 at 12.55.41 PM

Screen shot 2016-03-24 at 1.02.20 PM

Screen shot 2016-03-24 at 1.05.07 PMScreen shot 2016-03-24 at 1.04.52 PMScreen shot 2016-03-24 at 1.04.38 PM

Midwest Record review on Harvie S

Layout 1

WHALING CITY SOUND
“HARVIE S-SHERYL BAILEY/Plucky Strum:  The cover art could trick you into thinking this is a Grant Geissman set.  Fun thing is, the playing could as well.  With the guitarist and the bassist playing friendlier music that either of these chopmeisters is usually associated with, they might only be a duo with no augmentation, but they know how to raise a proper racket.  With killer technical skills between them, they actually sound like they are putting that aside to have a good time.  Never coming off like the master class it really is, this is just two cats working it off the clock that invite you to string along for a good time.”
in Client News, Mixed Media News, Press Release 0

Debra Mann/WCS

Debra Mann

Debra Mann 

Reverbnation: Jazz/Vocalist/Pianist/Singer/Songwriter  Providence RI Rank #1

Bio

debramann.com

Twitter

Facebook

You Tube:  Debra Mann “The Dry Cleaner”

Promo Photo

Press release

Mixed Media Client since: 2014

Publicity: Brown UniversityWhat’s Up Rhode Island (Holiday Feature on local musicians) The Rhode ShowThe Cranston Herald/Warwick BeaconThe New York City Jazz Record Feature (page 11),The New York City Jazz Record Review (page 31)What’s Up Rhode IslandMotifProvidence JournalFall River Herald NewsSouthcoast Today: Debra MannSouthcoast Today: Narrows FestKen Franckling’s Jazz NotesMidwest RecordSippican Week

Radio: New World N Jazz 

peaked at #46, 11 weeks on the chart
Interviews: Tish Adams/Vocalists and Localists/WRIU 90.3 FM 9/6/18Steve Bianchi/Jazz Brunch/WBLQ 1230 AM; aired 9/9/18 between 1-3p, Steve Klamkin/Saturday Morning News, WPRO 

back to client list

It is with deep shock and sadness that we report the unexpected passing of Debra Mann, an acclaimed and supremely talented jazz singer, pianist and composer on our Whaling City Sound label. Her most recent recording, #FullCircle, featuring the music of Joni Mitchell, was released in August 2018. She had also released three CD recordings on her label, Jobe Records.

Her career was decorated with highlights. A Berklee College of Music grad, Debra was widely hailed as Rhode Island’s premier jazz pianist and vocalist. She performed at Symphony Hall Boston as a featured guest soloist with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra. She had the distinct honor of performing at the request of Frank Sinatra. In celebration of Women’s History Month, she performed with her trio on Ron Della Chiesa’s WGBHradio program “Music America.” She was a prized member of the regional jazz community, having shared the stage with artists including Dick Johnson, Herb Pomeroy, Gray Sargent, Marshall WoodallTed CasherJeff StoutEd Saindon Vibraphone, and many others. Dino GovoniJay AzzolinaDavid ZinnoMarty RichardsJerry Leake, and Paul Angel joined her on our “Full Circle” release, recorded with Steve Rizzo, Stable Sound Studio.

She was also a passionate educator, on the faculty of Brown University and Wheaton College Massachusetts.

We at Whaling City Sound, along with the music community, will miss Debra’s extraordinary and elegant musical voice. We mourn deeply her passing and extend our sympathy to her family and friends.

Providence Journal Obituary

Debra Mann Performs “Be Cool” at the Narrows!!

Neal Weiss, John Stein and company!

Dori Rubbicco and Steve Klamkin (WPRO NEWS).

Midwest Record review of Full Circle

JazzWeek  Most Added+12 Debra Mann “Full Circle Music of Joni Mitchell” Congratulations to Debra on the hard work and fantastic album

A Woman of Heart and Mind

Jazz talent Debra Mann interprets

The textured sounds of Joni Mitchell

 

It is rare indeed to catch a sighting of Joni Mitchell. The Canadian songwriter, chanteuse and sublime talent has not really toured much, or released an album of new material for that matter. The last time that happened was 2007. So what’s a Joni fan to do? Catch Debra Mann.

 

Mann is a Joni fan from way back, so much so that she’s taken to performing her songs. The Providence-based jazz artist will be performing a night of jazz-tinged interpretations of Mitchell’s music at Chan’s. The combination makes good sense, considering the fact that Mann is an outstanding jazz performer and so much of Mitchell’s oeuvre resonates with generous jazz overtones.

 

Debra Mann, pianist and vocalist, has performed in the northeast corner of the U.S. for three decades. Her own artistry was deeply influenced by Joni’s music—from her folk years through her more than deep exploration into jazz.

 

The reclusive Mitchell is widely regarded as one of the most influential and revered songwriters of our time. Her category-defying style links the worlds of acoustic music with rock, jazz, and classical. Her lyrical sense, phrasing and poetic imagery are as visual as they are musical. Certainly, with no chance of seeing the original, why not enjoy the next best thing?

 

This is not Mann’s first shot at covering Mitchell’s work. In fact, the first few times were so memorable that her fans were asking for an encore. As an added attraction, Debra’s band features the mega talents of Dino Govoni (sax), Steve DeConti (guitar), Dave Zinno (bass), and Marty Richards (drums).

 

So come by Chan’s for a night of great music as we celebrate the work of a gifted and influential artist being covered by a gifted and supreme talent in her own right. Ladies and gentleman, on piano and voice, Debra Mann!

Autumn Concert!

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 12.05.09 PM

Dear Friends,

I hope you all had a great summer.  I can’t remember a better one, myself.  As summer comes to its inevitable close, I am preparing for another Joni Mitchell Tribute concert in a new venue. Please help spread the word to jazz and Joni lovers.  I hope to see you there.   Peace, Debra

Debra Mann Quintet

Joni Mitchell Tribute

Saturday,  October 4, 2014
7:30 PM

SPIRE CENTER
For Performing Arts

25 1/2 Court Street
Plymouth, MA
(508) 746-4488

FEATURING: 
DEBRA MANN-PIANO & VOCALS 
DINO GOVONI-SAX
STEVE DeCONTI-GUITAR
MARTY BALLOU-BASS

MARTY RICHARDS-DRUMS

Tickets: $25
http://www.spirecenter.org/

John Stein/WCS

Whaling City Sound Website

LABEL: Whaling City Sound

Kenny Hyde Photos

Kenny Hyde Photos

John’s website

Facebook 

YouTube Channel

The Jazz Network
Press Kit:
Sonicbids

Wood and Strings Press Release

Publicity: Midwest Book Review, JazzNotes, Jazz Pensacola, Jazziz on Disk ,The Harpoon Room

Sales Sheet

Front Cover download

Back cover

Publicity: Jazz Square ,All about Jazz, Jazz Quad, O’s Place Jazz Newsletter, Contemporary Fusion ReviewsMidwest Record, Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors MagazineLos Angeles Jazz SceneMidwest Record, Jazz Quad, Warta Jazz, Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Magazine, Jazz Inside Magazine, Just Jazz Guitar Magazineimprovijazzation NationJazz Talk (TV), Amazon, jazzquad.ru, Chip Boaz, Jazzwax, Boston Globe Midwest Records,Jazz WeeklyJazz Station Desouteiro BlogImprovijazzation NationJazz Ambassador Magazine (April/May 2013)SmoothJazz.com Global Radio. DownBeat Magazine (July/Guitar issue), JazzQuad, Just Jazz Guitar (May issue), Buffalo News, Yahoo!, Midwest Record, PR Web, KCTV, Guys Stuff, StrategyEye, Berklee Ltd News/One Source, New Bedford News, Silo Breaker, PR Finder,Front Row King, Amazon.comThe Herald News, Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors,O’s Place Jazz Magazine,Southcoasttoday.com, Southcoasttoday.com,Southcoasttoday.com, Southcoasttoday.com, Southcoasttoday.com, Southcoasttoday.com, JAZZofilio, Zzaj Productions, 24-7 Press Release, the-borderland.co.uk, nestor, mwe3.com, chuo FM 89.1, jazzflits, Midwest Record, Midwest Book Review, Jazz Society of Oregon, My Favorite Things, All About Jazz, Guitar International, Come Out and Join the Stars at Aha! Tonight, Boston Globe, Latin Jazz Corner, FretBoard Journal

Radio Promotion: Mike Carlson
Featured Track: “The Commons”

received 8th most spins for the entire year in 2010

CDs: Distribution: NAXOS of America

Listen WCS Wood and Strings “Up and At ‘Em” on SoundCloud

Previous releases: [WCS031] [WCS039] [WCS042] [WCS050] [WCS051] [WCS054][WCS062][WCS066]

Mixed Media Client since: 1999

back to client list

wcs089_radio-sales-sheet_rev3Listen WCS 089 Color Tones “The Commons” on SoundCloud

Layout 1

 4/14 John Stein Live at WGBH Boston’s Fraser Performance Studio

Join us April 14 to hear guitarist John Stein perform songs from his new CD, Color Tones. Tickets for this special event are only $10 for WGBH members and $15 for non-members.

Internationally renowned, Stein was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., where he took up his instrument at an early age. His talent for and love of music ultimately earned him a faculty position at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he is a professor in the harmony department. Stein has performed as a leader or a sideman with some of the world’s finest jazz acts, and his compositions and performances cover the spectrum of jazz styles.

Order your tickets now for this one-of-a-kind event on April 14 at 7pm in the Fraser Performance Studio of WGBH at One Guest Street in Brighton, Mass.

Questions? info@wgbh.org or 617-300-5400

Acclaimed guitarist John Stein expands his already impressive sonic palette on this new recording, Color Tones. The album, created with his ever-intriguing core rhythm section—masterful drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario and renowned bassist John Lockwood—also adds the voices of two mature and unique soloists, Fernando  Brandão  on  flutes and Phil Grenadier on trumpets and mutes. Songs like the concise “Neck Road” provide an example of how this collective functions, featuring all five instrumentalists intertwining in spontaneous interplay: the musical conversation is respectful, energetic, and bristling. All of Stein’s accompanists here expertly carve out their territory. Stein is a generous bandleader. Every musician is featured extensively, and they complement each other tastily, adding their personal expression to the overall fabric.

Stein’s compositions provide the necessary structure without inhibiting the musicians’ ability to add their individual voices to the group effort, allowing all parties to color in the details of those structures artfully. In addition to the arranging ideas contributed by the composer and the players, three of the songs are arranged by Adi Yeshaya, which adds immeasurably to the sonic variety of this recording. Though the acoustic format feels traditional on the surface, there are surprises hiding underneath. This is music of depth and subtlety. In fact, Color Tones is a true delight and a Triple Threat: excellent compositions, sublime arrangements, and enthralling musicianship. Isn’t that all we hope to receive when we listen to a jazz recording?

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-12-35-18-pm

fernando

Fernando Brandão; flutes

john-lockwood

John Lockwood; acoustic bass

john-lockwood2

John Lockwood; acoustic bass

the-johns

John Stein guitar, John Lockwood; acoustic bass

trio

John Stein guitar, John Lockwood; acoustic bass, Zé Eduardo Nazario; drums

ze

Zé Eduardo Nazario; drums

Layout 1

CD Title: Color Tones

Musicians

John Stein; guitar

Phil Grenadier; trumpet, flugelhorn, mutes . . .

Fernando Brandão; flute, alto flute, bass flute

John Lockwood; acoustic bass

Zé Eduardo Nazario; drums

Tunes                                                            Timings

The Commons                                 4:52

Angel Eyes                                       6:14

New Shoes                                       4:29

Five Weeks                                       6:03

Jo Ann                                               4:43

Neck Road                                        3:39

Ebb and Flow ••                               5:48

Four Corners                                      4:40

Wall Stones  ••                                  5:43

Salt Marsh Dawn ••                         4:41

Labor of Love                                   5:52

Total: 57 minutes

All tunes composed by John Stein, JS Jazz, BMI, except:

Angel Eyes, music by Matt Dennis, lyrics by Earl Brent, Dorsey Bros Music a Div. of Music Sales Corp (ASCAP) 1946 (Renewed)

All tunes arranged by the band except

  • Ebb and Flow,Wall Stones,Salt Marsh Dawn, arranged by Adi Yeshaya.

Recorded, Mixed, Mastered by Peter Kontrimas, PBS

Recording Dates: March 19, 20, 2016

Digital Master prepared by Antonio Oliart: October 13, 2016

Produced by John Stein

Executive Producer: Neal Weiss

Art Direction: Dave Arruda

Liner Notes: John Thomas

Cover Painting (detail): Joseph Edwards Alexander

Musician Photos: Ed Dillon, Kenny Hyde

Liner Notes by John Thomas:

Bold. Generous. Gracious. Authoritative. Humble. Profound. Confident. Eloquent. Audacious.

Pick your modest, but superlative of adjectives. Your word choice must convey an extraordinary artistic vision and commitment to art’s execution, but simultaneously express a selfless devotion to art’s outcome. Think brilliant but modest, highly artistic but approachable, limitless but bordered, harmonically complex but hummably melodic, theoretical but grounded, a leader who happily follows.

Think John Stein.

John Stein is a musician’s guitarist. You’ll not hear him play a note that does not serve the musical context. His playing will challenge, surprise, and push in new directions, but all in service to the performance and composition at hand. He plays music first and guitar second. As a player, he’s, well, bold, generous, gracious, authoritative, humble, profound, confident, eloquent, and audacious.

As this collection reveals, John, who composed all but one tune here, is also a musician’s composer. The tunes are challenging yet melodic, adventuresome yet familiar. John has provided his co-artists with sparingly ornamented, but not blank canvases. He’s placed an enigmatic smile, a couple swirling stars in the night sky, or an angular sketch that hints at a woman descending a staircase inside his musical frames. The musicians, utilizing the palette John has supplied, complete the sonic landscapes, adding depth, perspective, and character. With the composer leading the way with nimble, subtle guitar figures, the result is communal art in which all participants have room to express themselves through thoughtful improvisation. While a politician would be loath to embrace the concept of leading from behind, John happily does so on a number of cuts here. He also leads from in front, but usually from the center. He places himself where he best serves the collaborative.

Inspired vision mated with exceptional artistic footings, though, only guarantees great collaborative art if the leader chooses collaborators wisely. John has chosen wisely here. Drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario is John’s principal co-conspirator on this project, as he has been on many others. The two have collaborated on nearly all of John’s albums since meeting at the 2005 sessions in São Palo, Brazil that resulted in John’s album, Concerto Internacional de Jazz. On this, as on other efforts, Nazario worked with John in developing the rhythmic conception of each tune. The magnificence of Nazario’s interplay with the leader is testament both to those conceptions and to the shared history of these artists.

Happily, Nazario’s compatriot in rhythm here, bassist John Lockwood, also has a long history of working with John Stein. An omnipresence on the Boston jazz scene who is at home playing everything from Dixieland to microtonal music, he’s a musician who’s always completely in the moment. Whether sitting deep in the pocket or dancing along a tightrope strung tightly over it, Lockwood is the perfect complement to John Stein’s compositional sketches, providing foundation, but also reacting to the changing musical terrain introduced by the other musicians who’ve been given the liberty of uncluttered musical canvases.

Like Lockwood, trumpeter Phil Grenadier, is ubiquitous in the Boston jazz scene. He puts his wide-ranging experience to immediate and obviously good use here by bringing something different to every performance. Consider, for example, the counterpoint lines he plays in New Shoes and the silky opening he provides in The Commons. And, pull yourself out of the reverie into which you’ll most certainly sink while listening to his hypnotic solo unfold in Five Weeks to pay particular attention to the tone of his playing. Yes, you’ve never heard a trumpet sound like that. In his quest to add to the sonic palette of this set, Grenadier somehow fused a Harmon® trumpet mute with a plunger to produce that mysterious yet majestic timbre.

But for the leader, Fernando Brandão on flutes may be the stand-out soloist here. Playing concert, alto, and bass flutes, he adds a trio of colors to the palette. His taste and style shine on contributions that range from his feverish interplay with John and Grenadier on Neck Road to his pensive solo on Ebb and Flow and to the gorgeous unwinding of his melodic statement that opens Jo Ann. Throughout, Brandão provides counterpoint, instrumental color and discord, enlivening and enriching the mix.

Eight of these tunes feature group arrangements in which, after John and drummer Nazario established the rhythmic conception, each player added his own lines to form a communal sketch from which these performances spring. Adding one more brush to his artist’s quiver, John recruited Adi Yeshaya to arrange Ebb and Flow, Wall Stones, and Salt Marsh Dawn. Yeshaya added intricate textures to the canvases he touched. Consider this set’s modal offering, Wall Stones. John included what might have been a harmonically similar Aeolian tune, Elvin!, on his 2010 album Raising the Roof. As John puts it, Yeshaya gives Wall Stones a lighter, airier, more delicate “feel.”

But, enough talk. Let’s step into the art. Consider the opening cut, The Commons, where John initiates this journey by leading from behind. John opens the tune by playing a simple, staccato chordal figure, accompanied only by Nazario on drums. Lockwood falls in on bass before Grenadier states the melody on trumpet, and then yields to Brandão on flute. John establishes a contemplative, yet lively scene that inspires his collaborators to begin filling in detail. It’s not until halfway through the tune that our leader steps to the fore to offer a fluid, thoughtful solo that melds with rather than displaces those accompanying. This is collaboration in its finest form. Not only do all participants share the spotlight, they all contribute to creating the very energy that illuminates this work.

John can also achieve this unity of vision and its execution when leading from the front. Consider New Shoes. Nazario kicks the tune off, Grenadier and Brandão play the head, and then John spins an inventive, mesmerizing solo. Again, John melds with this musical community he has assembled, rather than dominating it. The whole here really is greater than the sum of its parts. Catalyzed by John’s compositions, arrangements, and performances, the musicians add layers to the canvases, but take care not to cover the others’ contributions and not to make the art unappealingly dense. The performances here are light and airy; the music is profound, yet enjoyable.

Finally, let’s look at this work from the inside out. In Labor of Love, John, as he does most often here, leads from the center. The form of the tune is AABA. John states the first two A section melodies alone and Grenadier and Brandão play the B section. When John returns to play the final A section, he’s accompanied by Grenadier’s legato trumpet line. The musicians support and challenge one another, and reward the listener with a clear and concise work of art whose components interlock without overlapping. The musicians augment John’s sketches without obscuring them.

Throughout this stunning set, you’ll find John Stein as composer, arranger, and guitarist working from the place that best serves the music. As always, he’s bold, generous, gracious, authoritative, humble, profound, confident, eloquent, and audacious.

John Thomas

Current book project: Solitide, Struggle & Violence

Recent book: Kalamazoo Gals

Field Editor, Fretboard Journal

###

Watch for Wood and Strings release April 28 2017

1. I Remember You                    Mercer, Schertzinger

2. Modinha                                  De Moraes, Jobim Corcovado Music Corp

3. Up and at ‘Em                        John Stein

4. Out of Nowhere                     Green, Harris, Heyman

5. Switch-A-Rio                          John Stein

6. Sarlat                                       John Stein

7. Labor of Love                         John Stein

8. Estaté                                      Brighetti, Martino

9. Song For Now                        Dave Zinno

10. But Beautiful                        Burke, Van Heusen

11. Beatrice                                  Sam Rivers

12. Birk’s Works                         John Birks Gillespie

13. Till There Was You              Meredith Willson

14. When Lights Are Low          Carter, Williams



Screen shot 2014-08-27 at 11.38.30 AM

KANSAS CITY JAZZ AMBASSADORS MAGAZINE

By Wayne Goins

Emotion, John Stein’s latest recording on the Whaling City Sound label, finds the capable guitarist doing the tango with flute and accordion in an exotic musical adventure known as “The Mingotan Project.” I know it’s not supposed to make that big of a difference regarding the actual musical content, but the packaging of this album is just beautiful, with silky blood-­‐red shadow images of a tango couple against stark black backdrop—it’s fabulous and perfectively captures the mood of the music. It feels like Argentina. When the surname of Mingote and musical genre of tango get smooshed together, naturally you get Mingotan! Indeed, there is a rich tradition of fusing jazz and Latin styles to create a product that is, almost always, greater than the sum of its parts.

Stein is no stranger to the music of Latin American music, as his past forays into the rich culture and musical genre go back as recently as his 2006 Whaling City release, with an entire Brazilian band on the album Concerto International de Jazz. While John Stein serves as humble host of this latest celebrated affair, the center of attention is drummer is Matias Mingote German, for whom the project is subtitled. Solid bassist John Lockwood is a mainstay of Stein, whose contribution to the last couple of CDs aptly demonstrate why the two Johns remain paired for this newest venture. Flautist Rebecca Kleinmann and Evan Harlan on accordion complete the lineup. The band’s roster of players came somewhat as a surprise to Stein himself: “While the traditional Argentinian tango band uses a bandonion player, the instrumentation I chose—well, I would have never thought to record with an accordion player!” Sonically speaking, recording engineer Peter Kontrimas does a fine job capturing the sweet, dark pungent aromas of Afro-­‐Argentinian roots.

“Julieta” is a rollicking Afro-­‐Argentinian groove that has a simple minor-­‐key melody and chord progressions that seems like it rolls happily and steeply down hill, picking up steam as it goes along, with a bubbling burst of bebop guitar solo from Stein, followed by a flying flute solo from Rebecca. Harlan on accordion and Mingo’s tom-­‐ driven drum solo complete the cycle as they round the corner and return to the final head.

Things get cooled off instantly with the tranquil tango, “Empanadas,” a tune that captures one of the best guitar tones of Stein on any album I have heard of his. The single lines sound so round and robust that it almost matches the darkness of the accordion tones, while his accompaniment is sparse-­‐yet-­‐thick, like that of Jim Hall.

“I Thought About You” is delivered with a medium-­‐uptempo perkiness and bounce that sounds more fun than the typical ballad or medium swing rendition one might have expected when this tune comes to mind. Kleinmann’s flute swirls and swaps with Stein as both wind their way through the melody and diving right into wispy solos—the entire band taking their turns at navigating the waters. “It’s a really cool thing to do to treat the standard in a different way, with something authentically blended with both Brazilian and Argentinian flavor,” says Stein.

“Recoleta” is an introspective, smoldering minor-­‐key bolero that has a simple yet elegant melody that again conjures up sonic images of the great jazz guitarist Jim Hall and the flavorful dish he served on his April 1975 CTI recording of Concierto de Aranjuez. Indeed, the elegant and relaxed tempo of Stein’s lead melody is immediately followed by Rebecca’s floating flute solo that wafts effortlessly across the earlobes. The introspective accordion from Evan Harlan puts the finishing touch on what might be the perfect encapsulation of what wandering down winding streets arm-­‐in-­‐arm with a beautiful woman at midnight on the streets of Buenos Aires sounds like.

“Oblivion” is present on this album out of sheer respect and acknowledgment for the legend, Astor Piazzola. It is a classic tune—as is the man; everybody who knows tango music knowshim—he pioneered nuevo tango, and thereby started the jazz-­‐ influenced tango style. John doesn’t even solo on this tune; more importantly, is the fact his comping style is what actually holds the tune together—something of which he is extremely proud.

“Biei” (enunciated literally “B. A.” –the initials for Buenos Aires) another smoldering Argentine tango that uses the flute as the lead melodic statement, while the accordion takes the bridge that has a brief yet slightly elusive progression. The song form is challenging enough that it easily maintains interest for both listener and soloists alike, who each take a shot at taming the meandering harmonic structure that awaits them.

“Have You Met Mrs. Jones,” like “I Thought About You,” is another North American standard that gets a new facelift—an medium uptempo samba that pushes forward with the unexpected Latin groove set against the standard A-­‐A-­‐B-­‐A form that all jazzers know and love. And, in due course, the guitar, flute and—surprise— drums!—gets to take a ride on this one when solo time comes around, since the familiar set of chord changes yields a relatively short form in this samba format.

“Ira’s Tango” is dedicated to Stein’s dad who recently passed away right before the album was recorded—and the passion with which John offers his solemn paean is felt deeply in this tune. “This one has the emotional meaning for me,” he said. The thoughtfully delivered flute/guitar melody, along with the sensitive flute, accordion and guitar solos that follow, nobly represent John’s ultimate tribute to his beloved father.

“Stepping Stones” was recorded as a typical jazz quartet with legendary tenor saxman Fathead Newman on 2001 Conversation Pieces (Jardis label). “I hadn’t played this tune in a long time,” John recalled gleefully. “But the band members— particularly the accordion player—really took to it, so we did it!” The swinging results speak for itself—clearly the band had fun wailing on this one.

“Le Causse Du Quercy” is a sassy flute/guitar duel melody that was written while Stein was hanging out in the western region of France (the title, as it turns out, is the

name of the house he lived at. As the tune boasts a Brazilian samba feel, John leads the way with improvisation that is more intuitive than flashy, which is exactly what the tune calls for. This notion seems to have had influence the melodic and harmonic approach for the other bandmates as Evans follows suit, as does the flute solo by Kleinnman who has the final say.

In the end, the entire project proves to be a satisfying listening experience for artists and audiences. With regard to capturing the raw essence of the session, Stein says he didn’t change a single note on the tracks, which is rare for him—no editing or overdubbing occurred. “I was just trying to get inside the music, not to try to impress anybody, just play the most appropriate thing for that song” The entire album, John says, contains “the most melodic phrasing I have ever done; it’s extremely satisfying—the most musical I have ever created.” Well, alright!

corklogo
Wednesdays July 23, August 6, 20, 27 7-10pm
Jazz with the John Stein Duo
Cork ~ Located in Historic New Bedford Seaport / 90 Front Street, New Bedford, MA 02740 / 508.994.9463 / 7 Days a Week, 11:30am-2am
Greg Torro, bass>>>July 23, August 6, and August 20
Paul del Nero, bass>>>August 27th

 


 

 

“My pleasure…please tell John that it’s a drop-dead gorgeous album and I’m so glad I was able to share with 7,000 JW readers. Please keep me posted on John’s amazing march upward.” Marc Meyers, Jazz Wax

311 Westminster St  Providence, RI 02903
(401) 521-3333
NO COVER!
     Live Jazz, excellent food and perfect cocktails in a beautiful, relaxing atmosphere
Complimentary valet parking
Jazz moves to the courtyard on warmer evenings; under the stars…
John Stein – guitar
Joe Potenza – bass
Michael Connors – drums
Richard Hundley – piano, keyboards

Screen shot 2014-11-19 at 12.51.32 PMIndonesian Jazz News

John Stein

Bing Bang Boom!

Through the release of Bing Bang Boom!, John Stein offers cultivated music that is the result of many years of experience as a guitarist, arranger, composer, educator, and author. The album includes ten numbers and the sterling musical line-up is a quartet led by John Stein on guitar. Taking part are keyboard spokesman Jake Sherman, John Lockwood on acoustic bass, and Brazilian drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario.

The atmosphere for the opener Sugar, by Stanley Turrentine, is created by means of an urban hip-hop rhythm, and it features alluring guitar and organ solos. The next tune is the Brazilian flavored Menina, by John Stein. The rhythmic underpinnings for both tunes are built by drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario with great skill.

The title track, Bing Bang Boom! is drenched in soul-jazz, and John provides bluesy guitar and Jake wails on the organ. Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love – Chelsea Bridge is a sweet ballad medley drawn from the pens of Charles Mingus and Billy Strayhorn, with a bossa nova treatment that adds a cool breeze.

John and colleagues then accelerate the tempo in Lover, a jazz standard penned by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers. A wonderful bass recitative provides an introduction toThe Song of Delilah, with a chiming vintage Rhodes solo by Jake and melodic guitar by John. Next is the swinging Waiting for Woody, and finally, the album finishes with a beautiful number composed by Cole Porter, You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.

The music is presented in a confident manner, and the tracks emphasize melodic phrasing with clear and beautiful playing.


 

Stein Leads the Way

Guitarist and Quartet Up Their Game on the vibrant new Bing Bang Boom!
From the hip-hopping groove of “Sugar,” the first track on John Stein‘s newest work, to the swinging jazz waltz of the Cole Porter track that ends the album, Bing Bang Boom! is as complete and satisfying an album as Stein has yet recorded. Why is this? It can be explained in several ways. First, Stein has given himself ample time to gel with his terrific band. Bing Bang Boom! is the fourth release in Stein’s quartet series and it is rare these days for a band-leader to have this luxury. The time he has spent recording with his collaborators really pays off. The fluid and spontaneous interplay among virtuosic musicians results in a wonderful recording, and allows Stein to really settle into a creative pocket and cultivate the fluid, adventurous sounds of his guitar.Given such familiar and comforting surroundings, Stein can experiment. Songs that are accustomed to sounding one way, arrive very differently in the hands of Stein and company. Hip-hopping “Sugar,” for example, doesn’t reflect the original Turrentine shuffle; “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” is treated as a fast waltz; “Delilah” appears as a Brazilian maracatu; “Lover” moves back and forth between a Brazilian Afoché rhythm and fast swing.Stein also proposes strong compositional vehicles for his band-mates, with half of the material on the recording penned by him. The tunes cover the terrain of modern jazz: from the bluesy jazz-rock of the title tune through forays in samba, swing, and modal jazz.In fact, Stein uses his quartet as an elastic boundary. Stein allows the musicians he plays with generous opportunities to stretch out on their own; the piano on “Chelsea Bridge,” for example, gives a youthful spirit to the recordings. The bass solo on Stein’s own “Unraveled Plans” (a fittingly titled cut!), and the bass intro on “Delilah” are melodious sounds to behold.
Bing Bang Boom! is the fourth album from Stein’s quartet and it validates the journey and gives a fine indication of what’s to come. Once a band-leader allows for consistency and growth across this amount of time, the dividends are surely going to pay off. Kudos to Stein and his band for hanging with it long enough to record the brilliant Bing, Bang, Boom!, and to Whaling City Sound, the record label, (now distributed by Naxos of America), for nurturing the organic unfolding artistic process of four brilliant musicians.

CD Reviews
John Stein, “Bing Bang Boom” (Whaling City Sound). Music by Stanley Turrentine, Charles Mingus, Billy Strayhorn, Rodgers and Hart, Victor Young and Cole Porter performed by a multigenerational quartet of rhythm section plus the leader’s guitar (with young member Jake Sherman on Hammond B-3 organ, acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes piano). Drummer Ze Eduardo Nazario is from Brazil and, according to Bob Blumenthal’s notes, has played with Hermeto Pascoal and Egberto Gismonti. Turrentine’s “Sugar” says Blumenthal, hip-hops rather than shuffles but you can hear New Orleans second-line rhythms in it too. Stein … can play traditionally without ever foundering in clichés. (Jeff Simon, Buffalo News)
To appear in the May issue:
Just Jazz Guitar Magazine
Bing Bang Boom – John Stein
Reviewed by Matt Warnock
Bing Bang Boom is the latest release by Boston based, and Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music, jazz-guitarist John Stein. The quartet, featuring Stein and pianist Jake Sherman, drummer Ze Eduardo Nazario, and bassist John Lockwood, is in fine form as they work their way through 10 tracks that mix classic jazz standards, original composition, swing grooves and Brazilian beats. With a wide-variety of musical approaches on the record, while keeping everything glued together with a tight feel and ensemble interaction, Stein has once again produced a jazz-guitar record that is well-worth a listen.
Right from the get go, the John Stein Quartet sets the tone with a bluesy, grooving version of the jazz classic “Sugar.” With a soulful solo from Stein, some deep-groove from Sherman (who is the youngest member of the band and a student at the Berklee College of Music), and a very nice solo by Lockwood, the opening track is also one of the most memorable on the record. After such a strong start, it is no wonder the rest of the album sounds as it does, carrying that momentum forward into such tunes as the Brazilian influenced Belo Horizonte (named after the Brazilian city and home to the Clube da Esquina), and the fresh take on “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.” Throughout the album the band maintains a strong sense of creativity and musicianship, on both the standards and original tunes, coupled with a tight ensemble feel that makes the album a joy to listen to.
From a playing perspective, Stein’s playing showcases his continued dedication to growing as a soloing and ensemble player. Though he has been at the professional level of playing for many years, Stein continues to push himself in new directions, without losing his personal style and voice along the way. Solos such as can be found on the the Jazz Standard “Lover” bring out lines and melodies that are fresh on this album, while mixing in these new ideas to his already vast jazz vocabulary, keeping this fresh and familiar at the same time. As an artist progresses in their career, it is always great to hear them continue to develop their craft, rather than rest on their previous successes, and Stein fits firmly into this category.
Bing Bang Boom will be a welcome addition to any jazz-guitar fan’s musical library. The playing is top-notch, the writing and arranging is fresh and creative, and the ensemble plays extremely well together. Everything one could ask for in a jazz-guitar record.

“Bing Bang Boom!” CD Release Shows Scheduled


Boston, New Bedford, MA

May 15, 2013: 8PM
Scullers Jazz Club
400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston, MA 02134
For tickets and information: 617.562.4111/Email: Info@ScullersJazz.com
$20

May 17, 2013: 8PM
Wamsutta Club
427 County St, New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 997-7431
wamsuttaclub.org
$20 advance, $25 at the door

Proceeds benefit

eliminating racism
empowering women
YWCA 20 S. Sixth St, New Bedford: 508-999-3255

or Whaling City Sound: 508-992-6613

hi-res cover art link>https://mixedmediapromo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/wcs062.jpeg
John Stein jpg link>https://mixedmediapromo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Photo-2.jpg
*John Stein (click to link to his Mixed Media client page), guitar
* John Lockwood, bass
* Matias Mingote German, drums
* Evan Harlan, accordion
* Rebecca Kleinmann, flute

Stein Leads the Way
Guitarist and Quartet Up Their Game on the vibrant new Bing Bang Boom!
From the hip-hopping groove of “Sugar,” the first track on John Stein’s newest work, to the swinging jazz waltz of the Cole Porter track that ends the album, Bing Bang Boom! is as complete and satisfying an album as Stein has yet recorded. Why is this? It can be explained in several ways. First, Stein has given himself ample time to gel with his terrific band. Bing Bang Boom! is the fourth release in Stein’s quartet series and it is rare these days for a band-leader to have this luxury. The time he has spent recording with his collaborators really pays off. The fluid and spontaneous interplay among virtuosic musicians results in a wonderful recording, and allows Stein to really settle into a creative pocket and cultivate the fluid, adventurous sounds of his guitar.
Given such familiar and comforting surroundings, Stein can experiment. Songs that are accustomed to sounding one way, arrive very differently in the hands of Stein and company. Hip-hopping “Sugar,” for example, doesn’t reflect the original Turrentine shuffle; “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” is treated as a fast waltz; “Delilah” appears as a Brazilian maracatu; “Lover” moves back and forth between a Brazilian Afoché rhythm and fast swing.
Stein also proposes strong compositional vehicles for his band-mates, with half of the material on the recording penned by him. The tunes cover the terrain of modern jazz: from the bluesy jazz-rock of the title tune through forays in samba, swing, and modal jazz.
In fact, Stein uses his quartet as an elastic boundary. Stein allows the musicians he plays with generous opportunities to stretch out on their own; the piano on “Chelsea Bridge,” for example, gives a youthful spirit to the recordings. The bass solo on Stein’s own “Unraveled Plans” (a fittingly titled cut!), and the bass intro on “Delilah” are melodious sounds to behold.
Bing Bang Boom! is the fourth album from Stein’s quartet and it validates the journey and gives a fine indication of what’s to come. Once a band-leader allows for consistency and growth across this amount of time, the dividends are surely going to pay off. Kudos to Stein and his band for hanging with it long enough to record the brilliant Bing, Bang, Boom!, and to Whaling City Sound, the record label, (now distributed by Naxos of America), for nurturing the organic unfolding artistic process of four brilliant musicians.

###

Peaked at #23 JazzWeek: http://www.jazzweek.com/charts/1368460800/may-13-2013/

###

John Stein, “Bing Bang Boom” (Whaling City Sound). Music by Stanley Turrentine, Charles Mingus, Billy Strayhorn, Rodgers and Hart, Victor Young and Cole Porter performed by a multigenerational quartet of rhythm section plus the leader’s guitar (with young member Jake Sherman on Hammond B-3 organ, acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes piano). Drummer Ze Eduardo Nazario is from Brazil and, according to Bob Blumenthal’s notes, has played with Hermeto Pascoal and Egberto Gismonti. Turrentine’s “Sugar” says Blumenthal, hip-hops rather than shuffles but you can hear New Orleans second-line rhythms in it too. Stein … can play traditionally without ever foundering in clichés. ∆∆∆ (Jeff Simon, Buffalo News)

Stein Leads the Way to NAXOS for WCS with “Bing Bang Boom!”

From the hip-hopping groove of “Sugar,” the first track on John Stein’s newest work, to the swinging jazz waltz of the Cole Porter track that ends the album, Bing Bang Boom! is as complete and satisfying an album as Stein has yet recorded.

Why is this? It can be explained in several ways. First, Stein has given himself ample time to gel with his terrific band. Bing Bang Boom! is the fourth release in Stein’s quartet series and it is rare these days for a bandleader to have this luxury. The time he has spent recording with his collaborators really pays off. Brazilian drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario, Berklee ingenue, keyboardist Jake Sherman, and acoustic bassist John Lockwood, one of the finest on the instrument in the entire Northeast, allow Stein to really settle into a creative pocket and cultivate the fluid and adventurous sounds coming from his guitar.

Given such familiar and comforting surroundings, Stein can experiment. Songs that are accustomed to sounding one way, arrive very differently in the hands of Stein and company. “Sugar,” for example, doesn’t reflect the original Turrentine shuffle, “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” is treated as a fast waltz, “Delilah” appears as a Brazilian maracatu, “Lover” moves back and forth between a Brazilian Afoché rhythm and fast swing.

Stein also proposes strong compositional vehicles for his bandmates, with half of the material on the recording penned by him. The tunes cover the terrain of modern jazz: from the bluesy jazz-rock of the title tune through forays in samba, swing, and modal jazz.

In fact, Stein uses his quartet as an elastic boundary. Sherman, Lockwood, and Nazario blend beautifully when given the chance. And Stein allows them generous opportunities to stretch out on their own; Sherman’s spot on “Chelsea Bridge,” for example, certainly belies his youthful age, as does all his work here. Lockwood’s solo on Stein’s own “Unraveled Plans” (a fittingly titled cut!), and his intro on “Delilah” are melodious sounds to behold. Stein’s connection with Nazario, himself a legend in his native Brazil, is the musical equivalent of a warm embrace, and it serves as a safety net for the guitarist. Wherever Stein chooses to stray, there is Nazario, ready to catch him. Nazario’s percussion cushion is, in itself, a marvel and worthy of its own concentrated attention.

Bing Bang Boom! is the fourth album from Stein’s quartet and it validates the journey and gives a fine indication of what’s to come. Once a bandleader allows for consistency and growth across this amount of time, the dividends are surely going to pay off. Kudos to Stein and his band for hanging with it long enough to get to this brilliant point, and to Whaling City Sound, Stein’s label, for nurturing the organic unfolding artistic process of four brilliant musicians.

###

To appear in the May issue:

Just Jazz Guitar Magazine

Bing Bang Boom – John Stein

Reviewed by Matt Warnock

Bing Bang Boom is the latest release by Boston based, and Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music, jazz-guitarist John Stein. The quartet, featuring Stein and pianist Jake Sherman, drummer Ze Eduardo Nazario, and bassist John Lockwood, is in fine form as they work their way through 10 tracks that mix classic jazz standards, original composition, swing grooves and Brazilian beats. With a wide-variety of musical approaches on the record, while keeping everything glued together with a tight feel and ensemble interaction, Stein has once again produced a jazz-guitar record that is well-worth a listen.

Right from the get go, the John Stein Quartet sets the tone with a bluesy, grooving version of the jazz classic “Sugar.” With a soulful solo from Stein, some deep-groove from Sherman (who is the youngest member of the band and a student at the Berklee College of Music), and a very nice solo by Lockwood, the opening track is also one of the most memorable on the record. After such a strong start, it is no wonder the rest of the album sounds as it does, carrying that momentum forward into such tunes as the Brazilian influenced Belo Horizonte (named after the Brazilian city and home to the Clube da Esquina), and the fresh take on “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.” Throughout the album the band maintains a strong sense of creativity and musicianship, on both the standards and original tunes, coupled with a tight ensemble feel that makes the album a joy to listen to.

From a playing perspective, Stein’s playing showcases his continued dedication to growing as a soloing and ensemble player. Though he has been at the professional level of playing for many years, Stein continues to push himself in new directions, without losing his personal style and voice along the way. Solos such as can be found on the the Jazz Standard “Lover” bring out lines and melodies that are fresh on this album, while mixing in these new ideas to his already vast jazz vocabulary, keeping this fresh and familiar at the same time. As an artist progresses in their career, it is always great to hear them continue to develop their craft, rather than rest on their previous successes, and Stein fits firmly into this category.

Bing Bang Boom will be a welcome addition to any jazz-guitar fan’s musical library. The playing is top-notch, the writing and arranging is fresh and creative, and the ensemble plays extremely well together. Everything one could ask for in a jazz-guitar record.

###

John Stein, “Bing Bang Boom” (Whaling City Sound). Music by Stanley Turrentine, Charles Mingus, Billy Strayhorn, Rodgers and Hart, Victor Young and Cole Porter performed by a multigenerational quartet of rhythm section plus the leader’s guitar (with young member Jake Sherman on Hammond B-3 organ, acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes piano). Drummer Ze Eduardo Nazario is from Brazil and, according to Bob Blumenthal’s notes, has played with Hermeto Pascoal and Egberto Gismonti. Turrentine’s “Sugar” says Blumenthal, hip-hops rather than shuffles but you can hear New Orleans second-line rhythms in it too. Stein … can play traditionally without ever foundering in clichés.

∆∆∆ (Jeff Simon, Buffalo News)

Amazon.com

5.0 out of 5 stars Grade “AAA” Earfood, November 12, 2011
By Rick Erben (Omaha, NE) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Hi Fly (Audio CD)

Hi Fly is an impressive recording that strikes an intricate blend of meter, arrangement and excellence in musicianship. This release from John Stein and a superb rhythm section maintains a groove that is rhythmically attractive whether it be swinging, idyllic, exotic or down home. There’s solid playing going on here and a high level of group empathy that keeps everything percolating, embellished with Stein’s rich and warm guitar tone. Investment grade music, indeed.

###

CD Release Parties!!

Boston Area: Saturday, November 12 at 9 pm, Ryles Jazz Club, 212 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA, 617-876-9330

Tune in Wednesday, November 16 from noon to 1 pm to catch the John Stein Band performing at the Brown Bag Concert Series, Mechanics Hall, 321 Main Street, Worcester, MA. It will broadcast live on WICN radio, 90.5 FM

Jazz Trio to pay tribute to Horace Silver

Top Ten Jazz Guitarist John Stein Brings His Quartet Back to the Wamsutta Club For YWCA Benefit

New Bedford, MA – Guitarist John Stein and his Quartet return to the Wamsutta Club in downtown New Bedford on Friday night, November 18, at 8 pm. The concert is presented by Whaling City Sound and proceeds benefit the YWCA of Southestern Mass.

The concert is both a celebration of the release of his latest CD, Hi Fly, and a warm-up the recording of yet another new one. This formula that has worked increasingly well for everyone involved, and New Bedford is a key part of it. It starts with John being a tasteful and swinging guitarist, composer and arranger and continues with assembling a remarkable quartet with both young and “more experienced” members from all over the world. Next is a concert at the Wamsutta in downtown New Bedford, and then a day or two later, into engineer Peter Kontrimas’ PBS Studio in Westwood, MA, near Rte 128.

The CDs that have resulted from this method have been both masterful and recognized as among the best music being put out today. In 2010, John Stein’s Raisin’ the RoofCD was # 2 for one week, in the top ten for 8 weeks and # 8 for the year 2010in radio play on jazz stations through the United States. John’s last Wamsutta concert, celebrating the release of that CD, was standing-room-only in the packed Wamsutta.

Drummer Ze Eduardo Nazario will once again be flying in from Sao Paolo, Brazil to propel and accent the music from behind the drum set. Ze is a treat to have in the band; his contagious enthusiasm is matched only by his effortless technique and careful appropriateness.

Bassist John Lockwood may be the most understated rock-solid presence in jazz. His contribution to the sound is powerful and always natural. Several of the rave reviews of John Stein’s recent CDs made a point of recognizing that with John Lockwood in the mix, the level of the music is goes up several notches.

Jake Sherman plays piano and organ, and never ceases to marvel his bandmates with beyond-his-years sensitivity and taste. Although playing with giants of international jazz may be intimidating to some, Jake just goes about his business of accompanying the others and offering thoughtful and light-touched solos. When not playing jazz, Jake is the organist every Sunday at the Greater Antioch Temple Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, NY.

On top of this remarkable foundation is the sensitive, clean and playful guitar of John Stein. An Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, John’s leadership doesn’t stop with selecting super colleagues; the song choice allows all of them to have fun, and the interplay among pals is both musical and satisfying. John Stein knows how to make an audience feel good.

First there was Encounterpoint, then Raisin’ the Roof: and this month will see the release of Hi Fly: a concert in at the Wamsutta and then a studio-recorded CD that captures the spirit of a band that knows how to play jazz and likes to share it with people. At the November 18th concert, you can experience firsthand the energy of a jazz group who will then bottle that feeling in a legendary studio on Thanksgiving weekend.

The room at the Wamsutta is an ideal place to relax and enjoy acoustic jazz. The audience is a listening and appreciating one, and the musicians are energized by this. A limited food menu will be available, as well as drinks.

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.

Founded in 1911 and celebrating 100 years, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts is a women’s membership movement whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts serves an area that stretches from the Rhode Island state line east to Provincetown, south to the Islands and north to Attleboro, Brockton and Plymouth. YWCA helps women, girls and their families attain self-sufficiency by providing services to support the vast needs of people from numerous populations. While the special concerns of women provide the impetus for YWCA services, many programs are open to everyone. YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts programs and services are identified in five areas: Advocacy, Adult Services, Wellness for Women and Girls, Residential Services and Youth Services.

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 sellout. 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; at Baker Books, 69 State Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747, www.bakerbooks.net, or at the Wamsutta Club, (508) 997-7431, www.wamsuttaclub.net. Directions are available at www.wamsuttaclub.net, or www.whalingcitysound.com.


Stein and band take flight on Hi Fly

From on high, the guitarist presents a kaleidoscopic view of musical sounds

You begin to get some sense of what you’re in for on John Stein’s vibrant new CD without even putting it into the player. Take a peek first at the back cover. There is the guitarist, in a partially illustrated photograph, an intent look on his face, only this time a graphic treatment shades his guitar and fret hand with bright stripes of color. I’d say this was a symbol and a pretty obvious one at that.

In musical terms, Stein has taken what has already been considered a wide spectrum of sound, and brightened it. His palette now includes the prismatic hues of jazz itself.

So, why all the new colors? Well, for one, Stein is truly coming into his own as a player. He and his band, including bassist John Lockwood and drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario are, after a handful of recordings together, fully in step. And now, the band has welcomed young keyboard player Jake Sherman, an inventive and creative spirit, fresh from Berklee, who adds his own keystrokes to these arrangements. Sherman’s presence infuses the band’s arrangements with energy and dimension.

Another reason the recording feels more colorful is that Stein, as a player, has pushed himself out of his comfort zone. As his colleagues nudge him forward, fleshing out these arrangements into something unexpectedly lovely, Stein propels himself to lead the way, to stay in front. His innovative soloing and tasteful, rhythmic chords hold up well against the band’s immense efforts. It is the sign of a leader who is up to the task of fronting an accomplished band. “The main thing,” says Stein in the liner notes to the album, “is the collaborative spirit in this record … The guys contributed a lot of musical ideas … Their instrumental virtuosity was challenging and I really stretched to keep up.”

“Hi Fly,” Stein’s third recording with Lockwood and Nazario, is a true achievement, with many bright moments. “Sea Smoke” showcases Nazario’s swing, “Plum Stone” is tailor-made for Sherman’s Hammond organ, and Lockwood steps up and out on “Love Letters” and on “Threesome.” Throughout the recording, beautifully captured by engineer Peter Kontrimas, the musicians seize on great opportunities to soar, and in doing so, display an intense, kaleidoscopic view of a talented and exciting band.

###

John Stein Quotes:

“Hi Fly is an excellent recording that I’m looking forward to featuring on my show. I have always loved John’s style and the way he delivers notes is magical and so beautiful!!”- Randy McElligott, CHUO.FM

========================================

Stein and Gill’s Turn Up the Quiet is an exceptional exercise in hushed, reverential craftsmanship. Gill’s vocal style strongly suggests the latter-career Me! Torme, with near-equally intense echoes of Jackie Paris and Tony Bennett… – Jazz Times

========================================

The choice of tunes is eclectic; The empathy between the artists shines through very clearly, Stein proves to be a very able accompanist, whether on guitar or playing bass with the piano of Gilad Barkan, who is also outstanding in the backing role… The planning research and rehearsal that went into a session like this is what makes for such an interesting programme and everyone should be congratulated, including the label for producing such an interesting release… – Don Mather

========================================

With Gill sounding like he learned to sing at the feet of Billy Eckstine and Stein knowing his way around a guitar fret board, this duo, with just a little bass coloration, make a completely enchanting adult jazz vocal date… – Chris Spector

========================================

A completely enchanting adult jazz vocal date, with an extra-heaping portion of class spread all over everything; This is a subtle set that you’ll be digging long before you even realize it… Loaded with a classic sound and vibe that’s always welcome. A winner throughout… – Wilbert Sostre / Jazz n Bossa

========================================

Gill is possessed of a smoky voice and a sensitive delivery, enabling him to interact effectively with Stein in this extremely intimate setting…

Stein’s guitar work steals the show. Even though he’s all about
understatement, pulling out poignant lines and complex, chordal
journeys, Stein simply can’t help but impress… – Jim Allen / LimeWire Store

========================================

These two talented musicians come together to prove once again that, in the right hands, the guitar and vocal duo is one of the most entertaining and engaging line-ups in jazz…

If there was ever a jazz guitarist who took the saying “Less is more” to heart, and used that philosophy to create intellectually engaging and enjoyable music, it’s John Stein…

Fans of any genre of music can put the disc on, sit back and let this duo take them on a relaxing, enjoyable musical journey. What else could one ask for in a jazz duo album? – Dr. Matt Warnock / Just Jazz Guitar

========================================

Turn Up the Quiet is all about finding the beauty in those silent
moments in a song… One should never take for granted the elegance of the quiet that can say so much. Turn Up the Quiet amplifies this point to the maximum, with pleasing results…- Layla Macoran / Jazz Inside New York

========================================

Ron Gill’s dusky vocals prove a fine match for John Stein’s smooth,
classy jazz guitar… this is delicate music for those times when even the slightest intrusion of volume just won’t do… – Jeff Tamarkin

========================================

I was struck immediately by the thoroughness of Gill’s musicianship: he has superb intonation, beautiful timbre, flawless articulation, and a full dynamic range… Like a tease, he leaves the listener wanting more… Stein, meanwhile, pours it on with all the sweet voice-leading progressions that one would expect from a veteran jazz guitarist, and like all master craftsmen, he makes it look (i.e., sound) easier than ever.. – Wayne Everett Goins

========================================

Stein’s exquisite taste and sensitivity really shines in the spare
instrumental context of voice and guitar, and his accompaniment brims with subtlety and nuance… Gill adapts beautifully to Stein’s subtlety with a sensitivity of his own. His hushed, vocal romanticism makes a brilliant couplet to Stein’s accompaniment… – The Jazz Chill Corner

========================================

Singer Ron Gill has realized a DJs dream with the support of guitarist John Stein, a life affirming dream – and he’s quite good at it – singing the great American standards on this CD… Gill and Stein resemble a similar repose of Ralph Sharon and Tony Bennett… – Dick Crockett

========================================

John Stein . . . the poet of the classical jazz guitar. – Dick Crockett “The Voice” / 88.7fm

========================================

John Stein is one of the great guitarists, in the tradition of Joe Pass and Tal Farlow. Raising The Roof proves my point! Ron Della Chiesa / WPLM, 99.1 fm

========================================

What a gift this man has. He’s in an elite class: a mere handful of jazz guitarists who consistently put taste above chops and flash. John Stein has the ability to say so much more with less effort than most of his contemporaries can muster. – Wayne Everett Goins /KC JAM

========================================

Stein has the touch – a bond with the guitar that only comes from deep spiritual dedication to those strings. Playing a collection of songs so sweetly is a sign of pure musical intelligence. – Layla Macoran / Jazz Inside New York

========================================

His guitar work steals the show. Even though he’s all about understatement, pulling out poignant lines and complex, Joe Pass-like chordal journeys, Stein simply can’t help but impress. – Jim Allen/ LimeWire Store

========================================

John Stein is one of the finest jazz guitarists you’ll ever hear, with beautiful touch, tone, swing, detail, and emotion. He is what you might call deep mainstream, surprising at every turn with familiar material. Working with a clean, undistorted classic jazz-guitar sound, he renders maximum swing and expression. There’s a wealth of detail – the dips and turns of phrases, accents falling like words – that he gets at even the fastest tempos. Jon Garelick – The Boston Phoenix

========================================

With HI Fly, renowned jazz guitarist John Stein takes flight, leading his high-flying quartet on another top-flight set…On this album, Stein navigates the band through five clever new compositions, and lifts several old standards to new heights under the wings of fresh new arrangements… – Edward Blanco / All About Jazz

========================================

Bing Bang Boom 4/4 Stars. Guitarist John Stein teams up with Jako Sherman on piano, bassist John Lockwood and Zé Eduardo Nazario on drums. Bing Bang Boom is a collection of 10 jazz classics. Our favorites are “Sugar”, “Delilah” and the title track. Stein’s warm guitar tone makes these songs sizzle and kept us engaged start to end with a smile on our face!… -O’s Place

Pin It on Pinterest