DownBeat Announces Winners of the 2018 Int’l Critics Poll

Source: DownBeat.

Pianist Vijay Iyer, singer-songwriter Cécile McLorin Salvant, flutist Nicole Mitchell, trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, orchestra leader Maria Schneider and hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar are among the talented performers who topped multiple categories in the 66th Annual DownBeat International Critics Poll.

Some notable winners:

Jazz Artist: Vijay Iyer

Historical Album: Miles Davis & John Coltrane, The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6 (Columbia/Legacy)

Jazz Group: Vijay Iyer Sextet

Trumpet: Ambrose Akinmusire

Alto Saxophone: Rudresh Mahanthappa

Flute: Nicole Mitchell

Guitar: Mary Halvorson

Bass: Christian McBride

Electric Bass: Steve Swallow

Drums: Jack DeJohnette

Percussion: Hamid Drake

Composer: Muhal Richard Abrams (1930–2017)

Record Label: ECM

Rising Star–Jazz Artist (TIE): Kris Davis and Julian Lage

Rising Star–Jazz Group: Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble

Rising Star–Trumpet: Amir ElSaffar

Rising Star–Trombone: Jacob Garchik

Rising Star–Tenor Saxophone: Ingrid Laubrock

Rising Star–Clarinet: Matana Roberts

Rising Star–Piano: Orrin Evans

Rising Star–Guitar: Jakob Bro

Rising Star–Percussion: Satoshi Takeishi

Rising Star–Miscellaneous Instrument: Tomeka Reid (cello)

Rising Star–Composer: Tyshawn Sorey

Rising Star–Arranger: Amir ElSaffar

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RIP Fred Chalenor 

Source: Fred Chalenor. This one was easy to miss as few people are talking about him, but bassist and composer Fred Chanelor passed away on Saturday at age 62.

Ojai Music Festival Reviewed

Source: The New Yorker.

he wildfires that consumed large tracts of Southern California last December came close to ravaging the rustic-bohemian town of Ojai, which has long been the seat of the Ojai Music Festival, America’s most vibrant new-music gathering. Advancing from the north, the east, and the south, the fires got within a few miles of the town before a determined firefighting effort and a lucky shift in the wind held them back. Today, if you survey the Ojai Valley from an overlook you will see charred mountainsides looming over an island of green. Not surprisingly, the 2018 festival, which took place over four days in early June, felt different from past editions, which have unleashed wild sounds in idyllic surroundings. The idyll remained, but it seemed more fragile this time. The sounds could be heard as flashbacks or as forebodings.

Lea Bertucci, Amirtha Kidambi, Jeff Surak at Rhizome DC on July 13

Source: Sonic Circuits.

Lea Bertucci is a NYC based sound artist and composer whose work bridges performance, installation and multichannel activations of acoustic space.

Amirtha Kidambi “takes a holistic approach to singing, which can mean treating every element as unfixed: Words can be opened up, rendered nonspecific. Melody can be repeated and frozen and stuck in place. Markings of rhythm can become utterly abstract, freed from cadence.” (New York Times). Kidambi is the bandleader of Elder Ones and a soloist and collaborator in groups including Mary Halvorson’s newest quintet Code Girl, Charlie Looker’s early music inspired dark folk band Seaven Teares, Darius Jones’ vocal quartet Elizabeth-Caroline Unit and Samesoul Maker and Pat Spadine’s analog percussion and light ensemble Ashcan Orchestra.

Jeff Surak has been active on the margins of irrational audio art for over 35 years as a composer, performer, improvisor, programmer, and curator. He began in the early 80s participating in the international hometaper network. “We always enjoy his restrained yet unwavering approach, fearlessly exploring dark zones of implied violence and subdued terror.” ~ The Sound Projector

Andrew Cyrille Remembers Cecil Taylor 

Source: NewMusicBox.

I met Cecil Taylor in 1958 through Ted Curson, the trumpet player from Philadelphia. It was at a rehearsal in Brooklyn that I was doing with another pianist, one of my colleagues from high school, Leslie Brathwaite. Ted and a saxophone player named Harold Owsley were walking by this place where I was rehearsing and they heard me and Lesley, so they came in to see what was going on. They stayed for a while and after we finished up, Ted said to me that he was going to go to Manhattan for a rehearsal with this pianist named Cecil Taylor. “You’ve never heard anyone play piano like him,” he told me. “So if you want to come, I’ll introduce you.”

5049 Podcast Episode 166 – Dave Harrington

Source: 5049 Records.

Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington is one hell of a nice guy and a monster on his instrument. A lifelong New Yorker, he spent his teenage years sneaking into shows at Tonic and the Knitting Factory, absorbing the music of Sex Mob, Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot, while studying bass with Brad Jones. For many years he was one half of the duo Darkside and more recently leads his own groups the Dave Harrington Group and the Merry Pranksters. He can frequently be founded performing in a variety of settings at Nublu in NYC as well as DJing parties around the world. He’s a solid cat.