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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bassist Mike Downes' new album release Root Structure....exploring lyrical compositions



The much anticipated new album from Canadian bassist Mike Downes entitled Root Structure is set for release.  Featuring four of Canada’s top jazz musicians – Mike Downes (JUNO award winner 2014), Robi Botos (JUNO award winner 2016), Ted Quinlan (JUNO nomination 2003) and Larnell Lewis (Grammy award winner with Snarky Puppy 2017), “Root Structure” explores lyrical compositions with a deep underlying structural integrity. 

Downes undertook an extensive study of large ensemble writing (including the work of Gil Evans and Maria Schneider), culminating in a Master’s degree in composition and the release of his recording “In the Current,” (Addo Records, 2014) featuring a 12-piece chamber jazz ensemble. Inspired by new approaches to form, structure and the interweaving of improvisation and melodic development, Mike brought these ideas into his latest quartet recording.


In music and life, I’ve always been interested in what lies beneath the surface: the underlying structures that hold everything together, the strength that resides deep down. The music in this recording was composed and performed in this spirit.  - Mike Downes




The Mike Downes Quartet has been performing in various incarnations since the mid-90's. The original quartet toured Canada extensively and recorded their first album “Forces” (A & M Counterpoint, 1995) to great acclaim. This was followed by “Then” and “The Winds of Change.” Downes formed a new trio/quartet in 2012 and released “Ripple Effect” (Addo Records, 2013) which won a JUNO Award in 2014. His next recording “In the Current,” (Addo Records, 2014) featured compositions for a 12-piece chamber jazz ensemble, and his latest recording “Root Stucture” brings a return to the quartet format.




Downes has been active as a bassist, composer, arranger and educator since the 1980s, performing with visiting artists such as Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Dave Liebman, Jack Dejohnette and with virtually all of Canada's top jazz musicians, including Oliver Jones, PJ Perry, Renee Rosnes, Don Thompson, Terry Clarke, Guido Basso and Pat LaBarbera. His musicality, emotional depth and melodic approach to the bass have thrilled audiences in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Iceland, the United States and Canada. 

Root Structure will be released internationally on September 27th, 2017 and will be celebrated with 2 nights performance at the Rex Hotel and Jazz Bar in Toronto, Canada on Thursday, September 28th and Friday, September 29th.  

Find out more on the official website: http://www.mikedownes.com/

download FREE information sheet HERE

Friday, September 8, 2017

Creative new album from Swiss jazz trio VEIN entitled VEIN plays Ravel

Announcing an incredible and breathtakingly creative new album from Swiss trio, VEIN entitled VEIN plays Ravel.  Since forming more than 10 years ago, VEIN has played over 450 shows around the world, with many guests including Dave Liebman and Greg Osby.  Now, this genre-bending trio turns their focus towards the works of the impressionistic French  composer Joseph Maurice Ravel.  The album features one of Europe's greatest voices on the saxophone, Andy Sheppard.

Ravel is an obvious choice for VEIN.  One of the most enigmatic figures of classical music, his compositions share much common ground with their soundscape. Ravel lived in an era during which tradition transitioned into abstract modernity, just as VEIN breaks new ground without rejecting the traditional values of jazz. Likewise, Ravel encompassed many styles of music into his compositions including baroque, Spanish music and jazz. VEIN's influences are similarly multifaceted. 

Check out the video about the album here...


....and a video about working with Saxophonist Andy Sheppard here..

  




You can find out more on the official website: http://www.vein.ch/  

There certainly is no special need any more to mention the fact that today most jazz piano trios are deeply attached to musical interplay (even though this fact should never be taken for granted!)  And yet, even with the most subtle, most distinguished form of interplay, there is always one in the trio who plays the part of the primus inter pares – the pianist, of course (usually and by definition leader of the group).  

That's exactly where pianist Michael Arbenz, drummer Florian Arbenz and bassist Thomas Lähns come up with their own idea of musical interplay. In fact, what they aim to achieve with their music - their understanding of music - is nothing less than the greatest possible balance of their three voices - starting with the way they work out their own compositions and arrangements, and going right through to the soloistic parts, fully assigned to all three of them.  The result is a stupendous musical togetherness, packed with surprising melodic, rhythmic and dynamic turns, played with highest precision even in the most complex, distorted and twisted passages of their compositions, arrangements and solos.