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New Album: Max Gerl’s Self-titled Album, Produced by Stanley Clarke

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New Album: Max Gerl’s Self-titled Album, Produced by Stanley Clarke

JMI Recordings is proud to announce the release of rising star bassist Max Gerl’s self-titled album.

Max Gerl is a daring and venturesome solo record featuring the visionary player on both acoustic double and electric bass. This adventurous 11-track collection, which was recorded straight to 2-track tape, will be available as an LP and digitally on July 28, 2023. Produced by legendary bassist Stanley Clarke alongside associate producer Steven Mandel (The Roots, Elvia Costello), Max Gerl’s first solo enterprise is an ambitious musical work that stretches the instrument to its limits. 

“My aims were to perform musically, to compose FOR the bass, and to demonstrate the breadth of sonic diversity available to this instrument,” Gerl says on his intentions behind his sophomore album. JMI Recordings founder Jake Cohn first became aware of Gerl in 2019, when he was on a recording session for the fiery drummer Mike “Blaque Dynamite” Mitchell. Cohn was so taken by the young bassist that he extended an invitation to him to record his own project for the label. The session finally came to fruition this past December, yielding spellbinding results. 

Max Gerl is produced by bass legend Stanley Clarke, who has served as a musical mentor for Gerl since his move to Los Angeles in 2019. “When JMI offered the opportunity, I called Stanley first, as he is a pioneer of solo jazz double bass.” In the studio, Clarke played a hands-on role contributing to the compositions, as well as the execution. In the control room, he was especially helpful when it came to mic-ing the instrument, and the overall sound of the project. “Max is one of my favorites of all the young bass players today,” Clarke proclaims. “The most important thing to me was that I wanted to be assured that whatever Max played could be heard clearly on all listening formats. I think people will be surprised at how well Max’s performances come across sonically.” 

Gerl was 16 when he first met Clarke backstage at a theater in Dallas after an impactful performance by the Stanley Clarke Band. Eventually, things came full circle when Mitchell, who is a close friend of Gerl’s, joined the band that included keyboardists Beka Gochiashvili and Cameron Graves. Gerl started playing with both of them, eventually going on to become a member of Grave’s band (he appears on his eclectic 2021 Mack Avenue release Seven). This confluence of events led to a chance meeting in a hotel lobby in 2018 during the North Sea Jazz Festival, at which Clarke extended an open invitation to the bassist to connect with him in Los Angeles. When Gerl moved there a year later, Clarke was one of his first calls. “Since then, he’s been a guiding presence in terms of developing my artistry as a leader, developing as a player of the instrument, and a general mentor in all things. I truly can’t imagine my life or career without him.” 

One of the main pieces of advice Clarke offered was that he needed to put out his own records as soon as possible. That’s how his 2019 debut album Tbilisi, came to be. Influenced by the John Coltrane Quartet, Tbilisi featured a talented ensemble of up and coming musicians including Aaron Shaw on saxophone, Paul Cornish on piano, and the aforementioned Mike Mitchell on drums. An explosive and highly intense recording, Tbilisi was a just introduction to the bassist, who significantly ups the ante on this solo showcase. 

“My central tenets for the overarching concept of this album were in place early on, the process for writing and organizing this music equally rewarding and testing. I knew that I wanted a few “head solo head” forms; I wanted to compose a piece played in a classical style with the bow; and I wanted to include a heavy dose of freely melodic bass improvisation,” Gerl comments. The end result features an amalgamation of compositions and free improvisations. 

The opening track “Patience to Find the Start of the Journey’s Path” was the first composition written for the project. Working like a “bass folk song” (a term coined by Clarke), the opening theme is intended to welcome the listener to the album as the instrument supports the melody, harmony and rhythm, requiring no soloing or improvisation. “Jimmy’s House Painting” was originally written for trio before its adaptation for upright bass. “The melody is quite demanding technically, and the feel and groove came from my memories of playing with Senegalese sabar master Lamine Touré. The third track, “For Rinat”, presented Gerl’s greatest challenge on the recording. “Recently, my ear has begun to gravitate towards chamber and classical music, and consequently my greatest inspiration throughout quarantine was the incredible Russian bassist, Rinat Ibragimov, who sadly passed away as a victim of the pandemic. From the day of his passing, I knew that I wanted to pay tribute to him. This is my humble offering to a titan of the instrument,” he reflects. “Language of the Unheard” was largely composed based off of an improvisation that came in the wake of the May 2020 murder of George Floyd and subsequent worldwide protests, while “Let’s Cool One” is simply one of the bassist’s favorite standards – and here he completely makes it his own. 

The remaining five tracks on the album are free improvisations. Each reel of half-inch tape contained room for sixteen minutes of music, so Gerl improvised freely for a full reel on the acoustic bass, followed by a full reel with the electric bass. Afterwards, Clarke and Gerl discussed and determined the melodic ideas they enjoyed most, with those being the final cuts for the record. “My greatest obstacle lay in surrendering the idea of creating a “perfect performance.” In relinquishing an obsession with technical perfection, however, I believe that

I was able to embrace a purer musicality,” Gerl shares. The resulting work is the bassist’s most honest offering to date, and an intimate window into a young master at work. 

Visit online at maxgerl.com

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New Album: Ben Wolfe, The Understated

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New Album: Ben Wolfe, The Understated

Acclaimed bassist and composer Ben Wolfe is thrilled to announce the August 9, 2024 release of The Understated.

This evocative new album features a collection of new original compositions by Wolfe paired, with re-imaginings of some of the composer’s classic material, with a particular emphasis on the ballad song-form. The album features ten tracks, five of which are ballads – a bold move for any composer – Wolfe creates a cohesive narrative here that challenges the listeners perception of the classic ballad. The Understated features Wolfe alongside artists who make up the very frontline of modern jazz, including pianist Orrin Evans, tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover, drummer Aaron Kimmel, guitarist Russell Malone and pianist Sullivan Fortner.

Wolfe has always been drawn to finding beauty in subtlety. He perceives a certain tranquility and elegance in the Coltrane Quartet, Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens, the legendary Miles Davis bands and rhythm sections, and the music of Charlie Parker. While he, of course, revels at the immense world-building energy of this music, it’s the “other side” – the elusive, magical aspect that endlessly captivates him – the understated. The composer draws inspiration most from the ensemble work of these hallmark jazz ensembles. Despite the individual parts being extraordinarily beautiful on their own, the musicians in these archetypal ensembles play only what is needed to serve the music, paying particular attention to the band-sound more-so than their individual sound. The Understated embodies this ethos with a tremendously impactful ensemble-oriented approach.

Wolfe sought to continue the thread started by “Lullaby in D” from his previous critically acclaimed release Unjust. Wolfe indicates, “Something about that take was so perfect to me. It had been brought to life, and it had that ensemble thing.” Wolfe assembled the quartet who recorded “Lullaby” (including longtime collaborator Orrin Evans, as well as recent frequent collaborators Aaron Kimmel and Nicole Glover) and two very special guests, Russell Malone and Sullivan Fortner. The recording process took place in one room with no headphones or isolation booths, further emphasizing the group’s collective awareness.

This record succeeds in bringing Wolfe’s expansive music to life through extremely conscientious group playing. Nothing is forced or pushed; everything that needs to be stated is stated. The single from the album, “Waltz,” encapsulates the spirit of the project. Wolfe says, “I view albums like a complete painting, so singles have been difficult for me. This song is very much in the spirit of the whole but doesn’t give away the record.” The piece features a sentimental melody delivered with grace by tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover, before Glover and Evans embark on stirring solos dancing in and out of the tune’s harmony.

 Other new original compositions featured here include “Ballad in B”, which perhaps best demonstrates the group’s stunning cohesion. This tune is a refreshing diversion as it features a serene repeated melody without overt melodic improvisation. The following track, “Anagram”, begins with Kimmel’s rhythmic refrains and a unison melody played by Glover and Wolfe and is a true ensemble piece. On this track, Wolfe shines with a lyrical solo. The moody short interlude “So Indeed” is a lyrical masterwork that leaves the listener wanting even more.  “Beautiful You” features master guitarist Russell Malone on the track’s melody. The emphasis here on restrained lyricism is a prime reminder of the old adage “it’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play”. Each pocket of space in between melodic moments leaves room for the listener to breathe deeper and deeper into the song. The driving “Triangle Man” features fantastic improvisation from Glover and Kimmel. The tender “Barely Spoken” concludes the album with a feature for pianist Sullivan Fortner.

 The album also weaves in references to Wolfe’s past works, creating a personal musical universe. “The Poet Speaks” is the opening track on his first record, 13 Sketches. “Occam’s Razor” was composed years ago for a collaboration with a choreographer and painter, and was a much different composition in its original form. “Love Is Near” was originally found on The Whisperer. With ballads in particular, Ben uses voicings and sounds that represent certain things to him, intentionally referencing his other compositions to generate connections between his songs.

 Wolfe’s tremendous compositions on this album are also influenced by the group of musicians that he assembled for this release. Wolfe remarks “One of the things these five musicians share in common is that not only are they true ensemble players, they will always play something unexpected and special.” Listeners will find calm and beauty within the ensemble performances throughout The Understated.

Visit online at benwolfe.com/

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New Album: Orlando le Fleming, Wandering Talk

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New Album: Orlando le Fleming, Wandering Talk

Bassist, band leader, and composer Orlando le Fleming continues to make music that crosses genres as readily as he crosses the Atlantic, with this new album ‘Wandering Talk’, to be released physically on 23rd August via the UK’s premiere jazz label, Whirlwind Recordings.

After 20 years in New York City, he’s back in his native UK, forging new pathways and renewing old partnerships. His love for the acoustic tradition continues unabated alongside his deep affection for the robust, muscular electric fusion that emerged in the 1980s, and he has received critical acclaim from media including The Guardian, Financial Times, Jazzwise, and All About Jazz among others. He has also toured and recorded with some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians including Branford Marsalis, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Antonio Sanchez, Ari Hoenig, and Wayne Krantz.

The Romantic Funk project was born in New York’s legendary 55 Bar to explore that legacy: now the new album ‘Wandering Talk’ builds on the critical acclaim generated by ‘The Unfamiliar’ (2020), building on the framework with a set of collaborators that brings together London and New York, past and present, acoustic, and electric, and merges it all into a spectacular whole.

Following the same principles that served the project in NYC, le Fleming booked four Friday nights at London’s renowned Vortex Club to workshop the music that would become the album, with a rotating cast of players which he honed down into the final line-up. Old London friends Tom Cawley (piano/keys) and James Maddren (drums) completed the rhythm section. New acquaintance Nathaniel Facey was picked from the ranks of the UK’s brightest young saxophone players. NYC stalwart Philip Dizack flew in from the US to play trumpet and reaching back to Orlando’s school days and forward to his own family, one-time classmate Chris Martin (Coldplay) and his own daughter Nadia combined to provide vocals on a special setting of Rumi’s poetry.

As before, the music combines fusion’s flash and fire with a contemporary sensibility. This time, Orlando’s questing spirit sends his superb band forward to investigate fresh areas of creativity in dynamic and texture.

Visit online at orlandolefleming.com

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Album: John Entwistle, Rarities Oxhumed – Volume Two

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Album- John Entwistle, Rarities Oxhumed - Volume Two

Album: John Entwistle, Rarities Oxhumed – Volume Two

Rarities Oxhumed – Volume Two is the second of the series of posthumous releases coming from John Entwistle.

Rarities Oxhumed – Volume Two is a compilation that was curated by drummer Steve Luongo, who served as John Entwistle’s producer, bandmate, business partner and good friend for many years. As Luongo states, “When I agreed to do two volumes of John Entwistle rarities, I knew volume two had to be even better than volume one. It is!” The collection of songs on Volume Two are from his years with the John Entwistle Band and include re-mastered versions of studio tracks including “Endless Vacation”, alternate mixes of tracks like “Sometimes”, and live tracks including The Who cuts “Real Me”, “Long Live Rock” and an epic version of “Young Man Blues”. The latest preview track to be released is the Who cut “Had Enough.”

Listen to “Had Enough” here: push.fm/ps/hadenough

Rarities Oxhumed – Volume One was quickly embraced by longtime fans as it featured gems like “Bogey Man” featuring Keith Moon, “Where You Going Now” (demo for the Who), and a raw live version of “Trick of the Light” recorded during the John Entwistle Band’s final tour in 2001. Deko Entertainment is thrilled to have been able to bring both volumes of this unearthed music of John Entwistle to the fans and forever solidify him as one of the greatest rock musicians ever.

For more information, visit online at dekoentertainment.com/john-entwistle

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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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