Archive for jason

Blindfold Bootleg Series: Walter Smith III

Posted in Improvisation, Musical Influences, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2015 by pogo56

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I’ve maintained for years that Walter Smith III is the Wayne Shorter of my generation.  I say this of the Houston native because like Wayne Shorter, who’s played alongside the greatest trumpet players of his generation and above (Miles, Freddie Hubbard, and Lee Morgan immediately come to mind); Walter has also done the same with his generation, performing with the likes of Ambrose Akinmusire, Sean Jones, Darren Barrett, Terence Blanchard, and Dave Douglas.  Walter has one of the most seamless streams of music originality that you can imagine coming from and improvising music.  He’s dona ALL of his homework so he is at home in any style that’s laid before him.  Not only is he a great saxophonist, he’s also an excellent composer, arranger, and educator.  Here’s what Walter had to say after hearing the examples:

Example 1: Marcus Strickland live at the Regattabar Cambridge Ma 2008
Marcus Strickland (sounds like his tone and time feel)

Response:  I’ve been listening to Marcus for years…I met him at IAJE when I was in high school and he was playing a white LA Sax! He blew me away then and continues to be one of my favorites and a real torch bearer for our generation.

Example 2: Myron Walden live at Fat Cat NYC (year unknown)
Not really sure on this one ….if I had to guess I would say Myron Walden? Sounds like his alto phrasing and articulation a bit, but I don’t know his tenor playing quite as well as his alto playing.
Response:  It’s cool how you can hear someone’s nuance regardless of the instrument they are playing! His playing with fellowship was a huge inspiration to me and still is. Also “Like A Flower Seeking the Sun” is still on the desert island list…

Example 3: Logan Richardson live at the Duc du Lombards Paris 2013
Logan Richardson (pretty awesome sound and patience).

Response: One of the absolute trend setters on the saxophone these days who is always pushing and inspiring. Another dude that’s carrying the torch for the generation!

Example 4: Ravi Coltrane live at the Jazz Standard 2013
So familiar but i can’t place it! My guess is going to be J.D. Allen but it’s more Trane than Wayne here.

Response: I can’t believe I missed this one! Especially because I’m pretty sure that I was at this show one day that week! Ravi has great ideas and great phrasing and always brings the energy!

Example 5: George Garzone live at the Museum Boston (year unknown)
Again, super familiar but I can’t place it! great sound/taste.

Response: Wow! Garzone! He’s a bad dude and has taught just about everybody I know at some point. Always great to hear him.

Example 6:  Bill McHenry Live at the Village Vanguard Nyc (year unknown)
hmm…

Response: I only have “Roses” and the quartet record with Paul Motian so I’m not as familiar with his playing as the rest of the guys here but getting more of his stuff is definitely on my list of things to do. Great ideas and unique directions with his phrases. Very cool.

Example 7:  Tim Warfield live at Scullers (year unknown)
Tim Warfield? Sounds like his sound and inflection for sure.
The one thing that’s happening here is I’m realizing how small my sound is!
Response: Tim is my man! Fell in love with his playing from the Nicholas Payton records in high school and he’s definitely a powerful saxophone player. He has one of the most colorful tones and set of inflection of anybody. I’d also imagine it would be fun to play in a rhythm section behind him since he has so much energy all the time.

Do yourself a big favor if you haven’t already and pick up Walter’s latest record on his website!!

Blindfold Bootleg Series: Jeremy Pelt

Posted in Improvisation, jazz trumpet music, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

Jeremy Pelt

I truly think that any trumpeter of my generation or younger that’s playing anything of consequence owes a debt to Jeremy Pelt.  Jeremy is a prime example of an artist that has continued to reinvent himself, producing great interesting projects that are steeped in the history of the trumpet in this music as well as forward thinking.  I myself owe a huge debt to my fellow JP for simply bringing me down to Wally’s in the fall of 1997 and asking me to play for him as well as the subsequent lessons that followed!!  Here’s what Jeremy had to say after hearing the examples:


Example 1
-Dave Douglas Live at R-bar

1) Hmmm… I must admit that I’m completely clueless as to who it might be. There are shades of Keyon Harrold in there, but it’s definitely not him. There are shades of me in there, but definitely not me. I like where his solo went though, and I can’t wait to find out who it was.

Example 2-Wynton live with Freddie Hubbard NYC

2) Wynton Marsalis sitting in with Hub at the Blue Note. Interesting to hear how his sound evolved. Also, funnily enough listening to the first couple of phrases, you get the impression the Wynton is mocking Hub, which was the wrong thing to do in THIS period of Hub. Before he called Wynton up, he completely KILLED ‘Hubtones’.

Example 3-Ryan Kisor Live in Japan

3) Hmmm…. Can’t say I know who this is either. Obviously they’re indebted to Woody. The voicings on the piano suggest that it could be Harold Mabern on the piano.

Example 4-Tom Harrell with Johnathan Blake

4) Tom Harrell…That sound is so great, and you can hear K.D. all up in it.

Example 5-Keyon Harrold live in NYC

5.) Keyon Harrold…so open. Like the shape of his lines.

Example 6-Christian Scott Live at the R-Bar

6.) Is it Marquis Hill ?

Example 7-Art Farmer live in NYC

7.) Again…completely clueless.

Do yourself a favor and keep up with Jeremy’s new music and live appearances on his website!

Blindfold Bootleg Series: Dave Neves

Posted in Improvisation, jazz trumpet music, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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Massachusetts native and recent NYC resident trumpet phenom David Neves has been a constant sonic inspiration for me.  I’ve been lucky enough to track his progress since I first heard him play at Wally’s about five or six years ago.  And he comes down often so its been that much more pleasurable to experience his progress week in and week out.  I often hire him to play in my band because I love the sound of the trumpet, especially when it’s in Dave’s hands, lol!!!  If you ask me he should have been in the Monk Semis in LA in 2014.  Here’s what Dave had to say after hearing with test:

Example 1-Dave Douglas Live at R-bar

I think this may be Dave Douglas? There are points of this solo where it sounds exactly like him, but there are also other parts where he plays things not really characteristic of his playing. To me, his inflections are Dave Douglas-ish though.

Example 2-Wynton live with Freddie Hubbard NYC

I’m really unsure of who this is. There’s points where it sounds like Freddie, but that would be too obvious. It’s not, but I can’t tell who it is. This is a good example though of a trumpet player who has a similar to other trumpet players (Freddie in this case).

Example 3-Ryan Kisor Live in Japan

To me, this sounds like Lee Morgan. His feeling and time-feel and ideas all scream Lee to me (in the beginning).  However, the lines he plays about a minute into the solo start getting a Woody Shaw sound definitely.  I can’t tell.

Example 4-Tom Harrell with Johnathan Blake

This is definitely Tom Harrell. Everything about this is Tom Harrell. He’s one of my favorite players. The space he leaves, his time-feel and his sound. Also whenever he plays anything, it sounds like he’s constantly searching for something different, but still with a melodic sense.

Example 5-Keyon Harrold live in NYC

In the beginning, I thought this might have been Roy Hargrove. I really can’t tell who it may be. It sounds like a younger trumpet player. Has so much fire and some awesome, and creative ideas. I just don’t know, but I wish I could play “One Finger Snap” like that. Then end when he’s holding the long notes out, it sounds like Nicholas Payton.

Example 6-Christian Scott Live at the R-Bar

Again, I can’t really tell who this is. Again, there’s some points where they sound a bit like Roy Hargrove, but there’s also points where it doesn’t sound like Roy at all.

Example 7-Art Farmer live in NYC

I really need to listen to more trumpet players! Whoever this is has a kind of Tom Harrell vibe, but I’m really unsure who it may be. John McNeil?

Dave has a new recording out that is excellent entitled Progress Report!  Stay afloat with what’s going on in Dave by visiting his facebook page!

Blindfold Bootleg Series: Saxophonist Sharel Cassity

Posted in Improvisation, Musical Influences with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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Multi-reedist, Venus Japan Records recording artist, and band leader Sharel (pronounced sha-REL) Cassity is a constant star on the rise on all fronts in the music scene since graduating from the Julliard School recently.  She’s performed with a laundry-list of music icons and has been inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame back in 2011.  I had the pleasure of hearing her play live for the first time several years ago at Birdland as a member of Nicholas Payton Studio TV Orchestra and recently got to play with her in Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.  Here’s what Sharel had to  say after hearing the examples:

Example 1: Marcus Strickland live at the Regattabar Cambridge Ma 2008,

1. Marcus Strickland

After: Marcus is one of my favorite modern saxophone players. His sound is unmistakeable, he’s not afraid to play with soul, rhythm and blues; and he doesn’t need to lean on pyrotechnics or math to make music. An incredible musician who knows the history on his instrument but draws from current popular music to stay relevant and fresh.

Example 2: Myron Walden live at Fat Cat NYC (year unknown)

2. Myron Walden

After: Alto or tenor–NO ONE else plays eighth notes, sinuous phrases or screams like that on the horn! Also one of my very favorite modern musicians.

Example 3: Logan Richardson live at the Duc du Lombards Paris 2013

3. I like how this person is taking their time with developing melodic statements…but I don’t know who this is. I hear some Trane like phrases, I always love that on alto. I also feel like I’m hearing someone who has checked out a lot of Miguel Zenon or someone influenced by Greg Osby, in their sound particularly.

After: Logan!! I thought of him almost immediately because of the sound, but right away decided it was someone younger because they weren’t playing as much as I would expect from Logan. I’m used to hearing Logan play with a lot more of the rhythmic and harmonic complexities that were touched on in this clip, and also more extreme types of phrases on the horn. To my fault I haven’t heard him very much throughout the past 10 years, although he is a player that always inspired and fascinated me during my early years in school.

Example 4: Ravi Coltrane live at the Jazz Standard 2013

4. My first thought was Joe Lovano, but then I realized it wasn’t…not sure on this one but sounds great. 

After: Oh, Ravi! I got into his earlier recordings a lot and have heard him live a few times, but it’s been awhile. Loved this track.

Example 5: George Garzone live at the Museum Boston (year unknown)

5.Very familiar sound and I’m sure I’ll kick myself for not recognizing it, but I can’t put my finger on it!! Very warm and woody sound; reminds me of Trane, Wayne, even Getz at times. First to come to mind is Dayna Stephens, or maybe JD Allen in the way they are starting and ending notes and in nuance–but I can’t say.
After: Ha! I used to go hear George at the Lizard Lounge every week when I lived in Boston in 1999-2000! What an amazing player. I always regretted not taking his class later while I was at the New School, but I wasn’t ready at the time.

Example 6:  Bill McHenry Live at the Village Vanguard Nyc (year unknown)

6. Not sure who this is, but it’s hip.  Nice harmonic concept…the vibrato sounds familiar but I can’t place it.
After: Definitely someone I need to check out!

Example 7:  Tim Warfield live at Scullers (year unknown)

7. Hard to tell from this recording, but whoever it is sounds great.… A phrase at the beginning reminded me of something Stacy Dillard might play but I know it’s not him. Now it’s reminding me of Branford Marsalis, and I also feel I’m hearing some Kenny Garrett (or maybe that’s Brecker) influences.
After: I also need to check out Tim more, there are so many great players! I love it! 🙂
Please keep up with Sharel’s upcoming events at her website

Blindfold Bootleg Series: Chris Klaxton

Posted in Improvisation, Musical Influences with tags , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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Chris Klaxton is one of the great “triple-threat” (or what I like to say “triple-treat”) artists on the scene based in the New England area.  He’s got several great recordings out which you can check out here!  Do yourself a huge favor and check them out here!  Here’s what Chris had to say after hearing the test:
Example 1-Dave Douglas Live at R-bar

Dave Douglas

Example 2-Wynton live with Freddie Hubbard NYC

Freddie (Hubbard)

Example 3-Ryan Kisor Live in Japan

Woody (Shaw)

After:  Upon closer inspection, you can certainly hear Ryan in there…but MAN he’s got that Woody stuff worked out!

Example 4-Tom Harrell with Johnathan Blake

Tom Harrell

Example 5-Keyon Harrold live in NYC

YOU (Jason Palmer, lol)

After:  Keyon is incredible. I picked up his “introducing” record recently, but this live track is nuts. I could have sworn I heard some JP moments….

Example 6-Christian Scott Live at the R-Bar

This next one makes me feel real dumb. It’s got some Roy in there. But I feel like it could be Dizak (Phillip)….or even Billy Buss…or I DON’T KNOW!

After:  This still makes me feel dumb. Should have known that. That vibrato he’s got up there when he’s playing the blues….

Example 7-Art Farmer live in NYC

..and the last one makes me feel dumb too. An elder I haven’t dug into enough.
Marcus (Belgrave?)? Art Farmer?

Thanks Chris and I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with you again sooner than later!!  Please keep up with Chris at his website!

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Blindfold Bootleg Series: Trent Austin

Posted in Improvisation, Musical Influences with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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Trent Austin is one of the great trumpeters of his (of any really) generation.  He’s one of those rare artists that can easily command the lead chair and turn around and improvise with the best of them.  And on top of that he’s recently opened one of the premier brass shops on the east coast and he makes marvelous mouthpieces.  As soon as he sent me one of his pieces to try out, set aside my Monette B2 of 12 years and haven’t picked it up since. Trent also works closely with the great Miel Adams!  Here’s what Trent had to say after hearing the examples:


Example 1
-Dave Douglas Live at R-bar

Dave Douglas

After:   Dave has always been one of my favorite players. I got this one in a few seconds due to his IMO very original sound, vibrato touches, and personal style.  His work is so incredibly diverse player who can jump over any style be it totally straight ahead to his work with John Zorn.  This one for me was a fairly easy one with some of his inflections he uses  that IMO are very much his own.   It was a fantastic example of how I should listen and transcribe him some more.  I love the way his compositional mind works during this improvisation. 

Example 2-Wynton live with Freddie Hubbard NYC

Wynton (trying to sound like Freddie) love the sound of the Bach!

After:   I have to admit hearing this before,  perhaps even from you.   It still got me for a few seconds.  I literally said out loud “That’s Freddie… oh wait, that’s Wynton”.  It’s pretty cool to hear him playing like this although at times it’s pretty disjointed.  His sound and control are constant reminders to me that he is still the hands down  best player in the world.  I especially love his sound and articulations on his Bach.  I personally feel coming from someone that makes equipment these days he had the best recorded sound speaking only on a “trumpet” side of things on the Bach.   While he’s such a deeper musician than he was in the early 80’s  I strongly feel that the Monette has hampered his tonal color spectrum on recordings.  Of course me critiquing the greatest player in the world is a bit silly so I’ll go back to my corner and practice my long tones 😉

Example 3-Ryan Kisor Live in Japan

Ryan Kisor

After:   One of my absolute favorite (if not my favorite player)  out there. I have not met many folks that can do what Ryan does. The fluency on those triplets!   Man  such amazing technique!  Perhaps Ryan  and Greg Gisbert are two of the most versatile cats out there who can literally sit in any chair and any musical situation regardless of style and crush it!  Was he playing cornet on this?  I don’t think so this sounds like a trumpet to my ears.  I know he’s recently been doing a lot of his solo work on an Olds Super Cornet lately and has inspired me to check out playing more cornet in my own work.  

Example 4-Tom Harrell with Johnathan Blake

Tom Harrell

After:  Genius… enough said… Every time I hear Tom I hear just how his complete melodic sense and compositional mind inspire me to seek out more of the inner lines  he plays. I have transcribed so much of Tom’s work and I think this one will be next on my list.  Listen to that space he uses.  A lot of folks listen to his latest playing and wish he would play more like the 70’s/early 80’s versions but for myself he’s playing so much more melodically!

Example 5-Keyon Harrold live in NYC

Josh Evans? (One Finger Snap… silly burning)

After: Bummed I didn’t get this but I know Keyon is one BADDDD  cat.  Such a titanic  solo full of virtuosity.    What an inspiration to listen to and get myself back in the practice room.  Keyon is someone more people should know about as he can hang with anyone for sure!

Example 6-Christian Scott Live at the R-Bar

Nick Payton (this one was particularly tough… not totally sure)

After:   AGH!   This one got me until I sent you my before and then I heard something in Christian’s tone and inflections  that made me pick up on him after sending you the before.  I didn’t think it was Nick but was fairly confident it was a New Orleans player.  The vibrato on the F on the second or third chorus gave it away to me.  I think there still is a lot to be said about regional styles and the influence the local traditions have on players.   It’s harder and harder to hear this in players today (both in improvisational music and orchestral style as we continually head to more homogenized sounds which in my opinion is  not a good thing).  Also didn’t think of Christian initially due to the fact his current music is so different than this clip.    He’s a wonderful cat,  great spokesman for the trumpet, and really a wonderful example of always committing yourself in the moment as I have never seen a bad performance from Christian.  He was one of the first guys to hip me to Adams and I am so thankful for that as it truly changed my life (Adams were the first company to urge me to start my business).

Example 7-Art Farmer live in NYC

Art Farmer

After:  Art  plays with so much and is a master of economy!   Great to hear him  (although I’m pretty sure he was playing the flumpet on this clip and I preferred him on the Besson flugel as again it had more  of a variety tonal spectrum) and how he winds through Recordame.  One of my heroes Herb Pomeroy always stressed finding the “sweet notes”  in a solo.  Those notes that  give you the most color for the chord or pivotal notes to signify harmonic motion.    Art was always someone I could hear that in.   Another thing I love about Art is that he never stopped shedding.  I met him near the end of his life and he told me he still spent numerous (3+ daily) in the shed.

Stay afloat with what’s going on in Trent’s career by visiting his website!!

Bootleg Blindfold Series: Adam Birnbaum

Posted in Improvisation, Musical Influences with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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I’ve been a fan of Adam Birnbaum‘s playing for several years now but had never gotten the chance to make music with him up until this past year, where I had the great fortune of sharing the stage with him on multiple occasions.   The first was at special sextet put together by saxophonist Mike Tucker for a residency at Salem State University and the second one was a great run of concerts with Darcy James’s Secret Society in the US and Europe.  Here’s the answers and comments to the test from Adam:

Example 1:  Fred Hersch, Nobody Else But Me,  live in NYC in duo with Mark Turner (year unknown).

(1) Fred Hersch playing “Nobody Else But Me.” Nothing else sounds like Fred playing solo piano. He’s simply a master and has truly developed his own language on the instrument, especially in this setting.

Example 2:  Aruan Ortiz, Ask me Now live at the Regattabar in Cambridge (year unknown)

(2) “Ask Me Now” the pianist–and the rhythm section–is very modern, but there are some elements of traditional jazz piano in there. Tough one to identify but I would guess Jason Moran.
After: I have met Aruan several times and found him to be a very nice guy, but honestly I am not very familiar with his playing so I guess that explains my difficulty identifying this one.

Example 3:  McCoy Tyner, Darn That Dream live at the Regattabar in Cambridge (year unknown)

(3) “Darn That Dream” Andrew Hill. His eccentricities (sudden changes in dynamics, thick percussive dense voicings, heavy pedal use, unusual combination of traditional and extremely modern) are pretty recognizable.

After:  Wow, did I fail to recognize McCoy on a blindfold test?! That’s jazz piano 101. However, in my defense this is a very tricky one. I’ve seen him do a solo standard in the middle of a set but it was always much more in his typical style than this. Plus Andrew Hill does this song in the same key (in F instead of the usual G) on his solo piano record “Verona Rag” so I thought it had to be him.

Example 4:  Aaron Goldberg, Impressions live in Portugal with Nicholas Payton.

(4) “Impressions/So What” Sounds like Aaron Goldberg with Hutch. Aaron is so clean and has such a great feel.

Example 5:  Leo Genovese, Berlin (Jason Palmer)  live in NYC with Jason Palmer Septet

(5) This has to be Aaron Parks with what sounds like Eric Harland on drums. Beautiful solo. Really channels Paul Bley with some of those lines.

After:  Leo is a guy I’ve been hearing great things about for years but who unfortunately I haven’t ever seen play live. This track convinced me I need to change this, so I will definitely be checking him out. Really beautiful playing here.

Example 6: Gerald Clayton, Blues live at Jazz Gallery NYC with Patrick Cornelius Octet (2013).

(6) F blues. This is the hardest of the seven for me to identify. Swinging, tasteful, I like the interaction with the drummer, but nothing about this is particularly distinctive to me. I could wager a guess but I’ll choose to pass instead.

After: Well I know Gerald pretty well and have seen him play many times, and would like to think I know his style. I’m definitely a big fan. However this one just didn’t give me anything obvious to ID him. Listening back to it now I can hear it. Oh well. Looks like I have lots more listening to do.

Example 7:  Dave Kikoski, Mr. Day live in Xalapa Mexico with Jason Palmer, Francisco Mela, Emilliano Coronel (2013).

(7) Dave Kikoski with what sounds like Jeff “Tain” Watts playing “Mr. Day.” No one else plays this kind of burn-out jazz like Kiko.

Adam currently has a new album out entitled “Three of a Mind,” featuring Doug Weiss and Al Foster.  Keep up with Adam’s latest news about this release including a Cd Release at Smoke at his website!