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Bassist Joe Fonda News… Satoko Fujii Turns 60 by Celebrating Debut CD, Triad!

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Triad, an International Trio featuring Satoko Fujii, Bassist Joe Fonda, and Gianni Mimmo, Create Lyrical Abstractions in Their Debut CD

“Fujii exhibits a kind of boundless exploration that finds her often in new pairings or with new lineups, a never-ending pursuit of new sounds, new groups, and new collaborations.”
– Lee Rice Epstein, The Free Jazz Collective

“Joe Fonda is a real virtuoso and composer of the highest order.”
– Anthony Braxton

“Mimmo’s music . . . is based on balance. Not only the moment-to-moment balance of register, phrasing, dynamics, and articulation, but a larger, more fundamental balance of abstraction and direct lyricism.”
– Daniel Barbiero, Avant Music News

What better way for pianist-composer Satoko Fujii to celebrate turning 60 than with an album recorded on her birthday. Last year, Fujii, bassist Joe Fonda, and Italian soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo went into the studio to record Triad (May 25, 2018, Long Song Records) on Fujii’s 59th birthday. Though they had only played together once, in concert the night before, the trio is remarkably confident and communicates on a deep level. The music is unhurried and graceful, yet always challenging.

Fujii and Fonda were planning a European tour in October 2017 and asked Long Song label owner Fabrizio Perissinotto, who released their 2016 album, Duet, if he knew of any opportunities to perform in Italy.

Perissinotto talked with his good friend Mimmo and a concert and recording session were arranged. (In July, Long Song will release another Fonda-Fujii duet album recorded later on the same tour.) They had never heard Mimmo before, but “Joe and I listened to his music and we both had the feeling this would be great,” Fujii says.

They were wise to trust their feelings; the album is consistently engaging. The music they make transforms and flows effortlessly while always maintaining focus. There is no sense of Mimmo intruding on established duo partners, but instead there’s a beautiful, almost classical, balance to the ensemble, with each musician engaging equally in an intimate conversation. The centerpiece of the album is the 40-minute long improvisation “Birthday Girl,” a title which highlights Fujii’s youthful spirit. The music evolves organically as the trio splits into different instrumental combinations and shifts between lyricism and abstraction, highly rhythmic passages and gently flowing ones.

“It’s just amazing how we can communicate with other musicians even if we don’t speak the same language,” Fujii says. “Of course, there are certain things we only can say with spoken language, but musical language is a more direct communication between soul and soul.”

After their marathon improvisation, they decided to play several shorter pieces to round out the album.

Each one is distinct in character. “Accidental Partner” is a quiet little gem that unfolds over Fonda’s rich bowed tones. “No More Bugs” is a busy piece in which the players scurry around one another. The spare, powerfully atmospheric “Available Gravity” neatly balances abstraction and pure sound with lyrical wood flute and soprano sax. “Joe Melts the Water Boiler” is a tightly integrated collective improvisation.

“I think all my musical experience prepares me for improvisations like this album,” Fujii says. “Practicing and composing both feed into improvisation. I just need to trust myself and accept myself. Actually, my whole my life is practice for free improv.”

Fujii’s unprecedented birthday bash continues in June with 1538 by This Is It!, a trio featuring Fujii with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and Takashi Itani on percussion.

Fujii and bassist Fonda follow up their acclaimed 2016 duo album with MIZUin July. Look for a concert recording by Quartet Mahobin, featuring Fujji, Tamura, saxophonist Lotte Anker, and Ikue Mori on laptop in August, and Fujii’s duet with Australian keyboardist Alister Spence in September. Later in the year, a new recording by Orchestra Tokyo and the debut of a new piano-bass-drums trio will arrive and there will be one more coming before the end of 2018. All together it’s an unforgettable outpouring of musical riches.

“Joe Fonda“ is a serious seeker of new musical horizons,” says the Boston Phoenix.

From 1984 to 1999, he was the bassist with composer-improviser and NEA Jazz Master Anthony Braxton. Fonda also has been an integral member of several cooperative bands, including the Fonda-Stevens Group withMichael Jefry Stevens, Herb Robertson, and Harvey Sorgen; Conference Call, with Gebhard Ullmann, Stevens, and George Schuller; the Fab Trio with Barry Altschul and Billy Bang; and the Nu Band with Mark Whitecage, Roy Campbell, and Lou Grassi. He is currently a member of The 3dom Factor, Altschul’s trio with saxophonist Jon Irabagon, and guitarist Michael Musillami’s trio, among others.He has led some truly unique ensembles of his own including From the Source, which features four instrumentalists, a tap dancer, and a body healer/vocalist; and Bottoms Out, a sextet with Gerry Hemingway, Joe Daley, Michael Rabinowitz, Claire Daly, and Gebhard Ullmann. He has released twelve recordings under his own name.

Improviser and composer Gianni Mimmo has built an international reputation for his unique treatment of musical timbre and his exploration of advanced techniques on the soprano saxophone.

Based in Milan, Italy, Gianni is known for his innovative cross-disciplinary projects with poetry, photography installations, and film, as well as solo performances and international collaborations with improvisers in the US and throughout Europe. He has worked in duos with US cellist Daniel Levin, Basque guitarist Xabier Iriondo, English violinist Alison Blunt, pianist Gianni Lenoci, and fellow soprano saxophonist Harry Sjöström. He is a member of improvising ensembles the Shoreditch Trio and the Wild Chamber Trio. He performs improvised scores for film, composes graphic scores for chamber quintets and of poetry and spoken word texts. He has operated Amirani Records since 2005.

Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original voices in jazz today.

She’s “a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a bandleader who gets the best collaborators to deliver,”says John Fordham in The Guardian. In concert and on more than 80 albums as a leader or co-leader, she synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock, and Japanese folk music into an innovative music instantly recognizable as hers alone. Over the years, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music, including her trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black, the Min-Yoh Ensemble, and an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins. Her ongoing duet project with husband Natsuki Tamura released their sixth recording, Kisaragi, in 2017. “The duo’s commitment to producing new sounds based on fresh ideas is second only to their musicianship,” says Karl Ackermann in All About Jazz. Aspiration, a CD by an ad hoc band featuring Wadada Leo Smith, Tamura, and Ikue Mori, was released in 2017 to wide acclaim. “Four musicians who regularly aspire for greater heights with each venture reach the summit together on Aspiration,” writes S. Victor Aaron in Something Else. She records infrequently as an unaccompanied soloist, but Solo(Libra), the first of her 12 birthday-year albums, led Dan McClenaghan to enthuse in All About Jazz, that the album “more so than her other solo affairs—or any of her numerous ensembles for that matter—deals in beauty, delicacy of touch, graceful melodicism.” As the leader of no less than five orchestras in the U.S., Germany, and Japan, Fujii has also established herself as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles, leading Cadencemagazine to call her, “the Ellington of free jazz.”

Visit online at www.satokofujii.com/

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Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

Mark Egan, Cross Currents…

It is exciting every time I get a new album from Mark Egan as he is such an amazingly versatile player and I never know what to expect (except for excellent artistry!) In his latest release, Mark has teamed up with Shawn Peyton on drums and Shane Theriot on guitar to bring us “Cross Currents”.

This collection of eleven tracks transports me to the Gulf Coast (New Orleans specifically). Mark’s fretless basses lay down a solid groove and lots of juicy solo work for this rootsy collection of funk, ambient, swamp-rock, second line, ballads, Cajun and even Indian Raga.

This trio is super-tight and the musicianship is flawless as each member has ample opportunity to shine. Even though each player is very talented in their own right, I feel that the collective energy is greater than just the sum of the players on this album. Each musician contributed to composing music for this project but the lion’s share are Mark’s original pieces.

I spent the summer of 1981 in New Orleans and this wonderful music takes me back to those fond memories. I participated in a wacky raft race on Lake Ponchatrain and this opening track elicits images of fun, sunshine, music, and great food.

This is another superb album that everyone will enjoy. Get your copy today! Cross Currents is available online at Amazon.com. Visit Mark online at markegan.com.

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New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album

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New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce "Kingdom of Shred" Album

ALBERTO RIGONI’s New Project NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album, Feat. Super Talented Guests Such as Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner + Many Others

Worldwide known Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD As, Kim Bingham, Vivaldi Metal Project, etc.) announces the new album “Kingdom of Shred” of his new project NEMESIS CALL. 

Alberto says: 
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, was released on June 4th 2024, I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental shred/prog/rock/metal/melodic album, that will feature many talented top-notch musicians such as drummer Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner, Alexandra Lioness, Aanika Pai (11 years old!), Keiji by Zero (19 years old!), SAKI and many others TBA/TBC). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025 or maybe for Christmas!.”

As an independent artist, Alberto Rigoni has launched a fundraising campaign to support the project. Support at www.albertorigoni.net/nemesiscall. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro (www.legadelfilodoro.it/it), an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Visit online at www.albertorigoni.net | albertorigoni.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/albertorigonimusic | www.badas.rocks

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New Album: Los Lonely Boys first new album in 11 years, Resurrection

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New Album: Los Lonely Boys first new album in 11 years, Resurrection

Today, Los Lonely Boys announce the release of their first new album in 11 years.

Out August 2nd via BMG, Resurrection marks a return to form for the GRAMMY-winning, multi-platinum trio of Texican brothers, who have performed everywhere from the GRAMMYs telecast to the World Series to recent tours with The Who. Lead single “Wish You Would” conjures the group’s classic sound, combining breezy guitar leads with hard-earned doses of wisdom.

“It’s something we think people need to hear—especially the youth,” says bassist/vocalist Jojo Garza, speaking on “Wish You Would” and Resurrection. “When we’re young, we think we have it figured out. When you get older, you start to see things differently. Having kids of our own, we see their ambitions and ideas of what they want to be, so we want to be good parents. The message is, ‘Be careful what you wish for. There could be a false light, and we don’t want you to get hurt’.”

After an extended break from recording, Los Lonely Boys are making a triumphant return with Resurrection. Rejuvenated and more cosmically attuned than ever before, the album rekindles the sonic fire that bonds the Los Lonely Boys brotherhood, while also paying respects to Texas legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Fender, among others. The album was recorded at guitarist/vocalist Henry Garza’s home studio in St. Angelo, TX, and El Paso’s Sonic Ranch (Fiona Apple, Bon Iver, Snarky Puppy etc), and mixed live in Chicago by Chris Gelin at Opus Audio Labs. 

This year Los Lonely Boys will also celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their self-titled debut, which reached double-platinum status and yielded the gold-certified, generational smash “Heaven,” which earned them a GRAMMY Award for Best Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and performance on the awards telecast. The brothers’ follow-up Sacred bowed at #2 on the Billboard 200, paving the way for fan favorites ForgivenRockpango, and Revelation. Along the way, Los Lonely Boys collaborated with legends such as Santana, Willie Nelson, and Dr. John. 

Even as they’ve been away from the studio, Los Lonely Boys have continued to tour tirelessly for decades, and this year they’ve hit the road again for an extensive, months-long run across the US. They will also perform on select shows alongside long time friends Los Lobos. Find tickets here. Pre-order Resurrection

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New Album: Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies

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New Album: Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies

Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies…

ALBERTO RIGONI Springs Surprises on “Unexpected Lullabies” Album, Out Today!

Today, Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI has released his new solo album “Unexpected Lullabies” via Sliptrick Records, containing songs that are half-sweet and half rock-metal. The album is produced and partially composed by Alberto Rigoni and it’s dedicated to Vittoria Parini Rigoni and all newborn babies. 

Alberto shared: “There are no just tragedies in this world, life is going on!”

Album Design and Artwork created by Mark Barrett at elmtreecreative.co.uk

Among the various bass used one belonged to Randy Coven for the recording of Ark – Burn The Sun. Alberto searched it for years since he’s a great fan of Randy (Rest in Peace and Power)!

Tracklist:
01. Vittoria
02. Fly Me To The Moon
03. Azzurra
04. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
05. Out Of Fear
06. Veni Laetitia
07. Nenia
08. Slap Lullaby
09. Saga
10. Vicky
11. Ocean Traveler
12. Strangers In The Night
13. Peaceful
14. Un uomo che voga

Order the album at deadpulse.com/product/alberto-rigoni-unexpected-lullabies/

This album promises to be a collection of auditory wonders, each track a testament to Rigoni’s genius and his ability to transcend musical boundaries. Featuring a symphony of guest musicians alongside Rigoni’s virtuosic bass, Unexpected Lullabies is poised to be a beacon for lovers of music, an invitation to explore the depths of creativity and emotion. What makes ‘Unexpected Lullabies’ even more exciting is the assembly of musical titans. The album features the legendary bassist Michael Manring, the keyboard wizardry of Alessandro Bertoni (of the Graham Bonnet Band) and Vitalij Kuprij (known for Artension and Trans-Siberian Orchestra), and many more yet-to-be-revealed guest artists.

Alberto Rigoni is:
Alberto Rigoni – Bass | Plus various guest musicians

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

The Chilean bassist, producer and sociologist, Ben Mortiz, celebrates the launch of his latest studio work, “MORENO” an album that mixes jazz, soul, and funk following the characteristic Latin style of  Mortiz. The artist completely produced the album under the label “Fallen Lab Records” in the south of Chile.

“MORENO” brings deep and smooth sounds, expressing a sophisticated and elegant Latin vibe. You will find meditative harmonies and joyful melodic voices. The record’s core is the human vibration that Mortiz feels from the Latin American music. The Caribbean rhythms and strong Latin percussions are the musical glue in every song that emerges with the force of the electric bass.

“MORENO” creates a real connection between corporal reactions and mind sensations, always in reference to the originality of Mortiz to fuse modern and classic Latin sounds.

For more information, visit online at danielbenmortiz.com/

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