James Falzone’s Allos Musica To Release Lamentations (Allos Documents) November 2nd

On November 2nd, Chicago-based clarinetist/composer James Falzone, and the four year-old trio version of his longstanding Allos Musica ensemble, will release their debut recording, Lamentations (Allos Documents). The group, which has performed at creative music venues all around Chicago and will serve as ensemble-in-residence for the MOMENTA dance company in November, features oud player/vocalist Ronnie Malley and hand drummer/percussionist Tim Mulvenna. Its music is a mix of Falzone’s original compositions and collective improvisations inspired by Arabic musical forms such as the Longa and Muwashah, the work of Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem and the cross-cultural significance of the lament in music and literature from around the world.

“I was working on a lot of this music in 2006 as U.S. forces were more and more entrenched in the Iraq war,” Falzone recalls. “It did, and continues to, trouble me a great deal. During the build up to the invasion, I was studying Arabic music and seeking out Arabic neighborhoods where I could hear the music and buy CDs. I was in a grocery store watching Al Jazeera with the shopkeepers when some of the heaviest fighting was taking place. There is a phrase from Phil Ochs I like a lot and use in programs for this project: ‘In such ugly times, the only true protest is beauty.’ This sums up why I put these laments together. I was lamenting what was happening in my country, the way we were thinking, but I’m not a very politically motivated man. For me, it comes out in creative ways.”

“The only way to sum up the style of Chicago clarinetist and composer James Falzone is to say that it can’t be done,” explains Time Out Chicago‘s Matthew Lurie. “He is one of the city’s most focused and inquisitive clarinetists,” writes the Chicago Reader‘s Peter Margasak, “and his compositions favor a rigor and precision that’s rare.” Cadence reviewer Troy Collins adds, “Falzone blends an impressive array of influences into a singular style all his own. Composing yearning lyrical lines filled with dramatic turns of phrase and dynamic shifts in mood, his writing style blends the angular rhythmic punch and spontaneous freedom of Henry Threadgill with the folksy, subdued lyrical quality of Jimmy Giuffre and the esoteric mysticism of Oliver Messiaen.”

Falzone’s multi-facted career exists at the intersection of a multitude of musical styles and traditions. An acclaimed member of Chicago’s jazz and creative improvised music scene, he is also a veteran contemporary music lecturer and clinician, the longtime Director of Music for Grace Chicago Church and a prolific, award-winning composer who has been commissioned by chamber groups and symphony orchestras among other institutions. When not performing or recording with groups such as Tim Daisy’s chamber-jazz trio Vox Arcana, the French music ensemble Le Bon Vent and Dutch saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra’s The Flatlands Collective, he is gracefully balancing his prodigious musical interests and experiences in his own Allos Musica ensemble, the umbrella for most of his musical experiments since 2000. His most recent release is last year’s Tea Music, which features his all-star quartet KLANG playing original compositions inspired by clarinetist/composer Jimmy Guiffre’s innovative small groups from the mid-1950s.

Tonight: Mary Halvorson Trio at Cornelia Street Café (NYC)

Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson‘s working trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and Ches Smith, will perform tonight at Cornelia Street Café.

This event, the first of three concerts in three countries the band will play this month, will focus on music from Ms. Halvorson’s forthcoming release, Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12 Records).

Next up on the trio’s schedule are performances at Switzerland’s Jazz Festival Willisau on August 25th and Austria’s Saalfelden Jazz Festival on August 26th.

Tonight: Darcy James Argue & The Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra

Tonight at the Stadtgarten in Cologne, Germany, composer Darcy James Argue will reunite with the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra for the first of two weekend performances of his music. On Saturday night, Argue and the CCJO will take the stage at the venerable North Sea Jazz Festival in The Netherlands.

“Back in the fall of 2006,” explains Argue, who just earned top honors in the Big Band Rising Star, Composer Rising Star and Arranger Rising Star categories in the DownBeat Critics Poll, “I made my first-ever European appearance at the Stadtgarten, conducting the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. The prospect of trying to put together a set that included some of my most difficult music with a group of total strangers was, frankly, terrifying, but the band turned out to be really strong and extremely easy to work with. I look forward to picking up right where we left off!”

Argue and his own acclaimed big band, Secret Society, will next perform at the CareFusion Jazz Festival Newport, with special guest Bob Brookmeyer, on Saturday, August 7th.

Eri Yamamoto Trio At Cornelia Street Café August 1st

On Sunday, August 1st, pianist/composer Eri Yamamoto and her longstanding trio, featuring bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi, will celebrate their recent AUM Fidelity release, In Each Day, Something Good (AUM059), with a two-set performance at Cornelia Street Café.

Half of the recording takes its inspiration from Ms. Yamamoto’s experiences as a Japanese-born pianist living in America for the past 15 years, while the other half is a suite of original compositions based on I Was Born, But…, legendary director Yasujiro Ozu’s 1932 silent film. Each track serves the central theme of the record, which is moving forward by finding something positive in each day.

“Displaying an intuitive rapport based on umpteen hours of on-the-job repartee,” writes AllAboutJazz-New York‘s Tom Greenland, “the trio recalls the close commerce and intimate atmosphere of Bill Evans’ classic group, the musical equivalent of an isosceles triangle.”

Critics called In Each Day, Something Good “a delightful set readily consolidating Yamamoto’s place at the top table” (John Sharpe, AllAboutJazz.com) and “a disc that signals Yamamoto and team are getting more and more articulate” (Jim Macnie, Village Voice). BBC Music’s Bill Tilland adds, “each piece shines with its own interior light.”

Released in January, In Each Day, Something Good is the Eri Yamamoto Trio’s sixth release overall and second on AUM Fidelity following 2008′s Redwoods (AUM049). Ms. Yamamoto’s two other appearances on the label include her duos collection, Duologue (AUM048), and a sidewoman role on William Parker’s Raining On The Moon (AUM043).

“As ‘pretty’ as her playing often is,” explains PopMatters.com reviewer Will Layman, “it is cloaked in the impulse of the moment. Whatever she has gleaned from Shipp and Workman, Bley and Parker—but also Monk and Powell and Tommy Flanagan—makes her playing suspenseful and just slightly dangerous. In my heart, it scores high.”

Mary Halvorson Trio On Tour In August

This August, guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson and her working trio with bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith will play three concerts in three countries.

The mini-tour begins Thursday, August 5th with a two-set performance at New York’s Cornelia Street Café, which will serve as a hometown warm-up for dates later in the month at Switzerland’s Jazz Festival Willisau (August 25th) and Austria’s Saalfelden Jazz Festival (August 26th).

These concerts will focus on selections from Ms. Halvorson’s October 2010 release, Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12 Records), as well as new material.

In addition to these dates with her own band, Ms. Halvorson will also perform with the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet, the Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo, Ingrid Laubrock’s Anti-House, MAP, Miya Masaoka/Mary Halvorson/Okkyung Lee and Ches Smith & These Arches throughout the month.

Taylor Ho Bynum To Introduce Revamped Sextet In August

This August, cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum will unveil the latest incarnation of his five year-old working ensemble, the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet, when he and the group hit the road to perform a brand new book of music. These pieces are made possible with support from Chamber Music America’s 2010 New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The four-city tour will begin Friday, August 20th at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, MA and include stops at New York’s Jazz Gallery (August 21st), Saalfelden, Austria’s Saalfelden Jazz Festival (August 29th) and New Haven’s Firehouse 12 (September 10th), where the sextet tour ends and Bynum’s two-week Acoustic Bicycle Tour begins. The 2010 version of the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet features Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), who appeared on the band’s first two releases, as well as new additions Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone), Bill Lowe (bass trombone) and Ken Filiano (bass).

“I’ve kept my core trio in tact,” Bynum explains, “but now brought in the most traditional instrumentation of any band I’ve ever had, with a classic three-horn, three-piece rhythm section line-up. While Bill, Jim and Ken are new to this particular group, I’ve had long musical relationships with each of them, stretching back many years (20 years in Bill’s case, he was one of my first mentors when I was 15!). So, there is a high level of creative intimacy in the ensemble, which allows me to design musical contexts tailored to feature the individual voices of the musicians.”

“Bynum’s music is filled with a fabulous array of textures,” wrote Cadence‘s Jason Bivins in his review of the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet’s 2007 debut, The Middle Picture (Firehouse 12 Records). “He arranges and composes music in a way that really takes advantage of these resources, putting his mates into all kinds of provocative situations and combinations.” Critics have also described Bynum’s work with the band as “thought-provoking” (Nate Chinen, New York Times), “consistently compelling listening” (Time Out New York), “virtuosity on its own terms” (David R. Adler, AllAboutJazz-New York), and “the shape of jazz to come” (Philip Clark, The Wire).

Bill Dixon Memorial Event To Be Held July 31st At New York’s St. Mark’s Church In The Bowery

On Saturday, July 31st from 5:30-7:30 p.m., musician/composer/educator/artist Bill Dixon will be remembered with a memorial event at St. Mark’s Church In The Bowery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Dixon, an innovator in the world of creative improvised music and inspiration to subsequent generations of trumpet players, died on June 16th at his home in North Bennington, Vermont after a two-year illness. He was 84 years old.

The public event will include a performance of Dixon’s last composition by his Tapestries for Small Orchestra ensemble, which premiered the work at Dixon’s final performance on May 22nd at the Festival International de Musique de Victoriaville (FIMAV). The group includes Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Graham Haynes (cornet), Stephen Haynes (trumpet), Rob Mazurek (cornet), Glynis Lomon (cello), Michael Côté (clarinet), Ken Filiano (bass) and Warren Smith (percussion).

In lieu of flowers or other donations, Dixon’s estate asks that interested parties support the Bill Dixon Music Fund established in coordination with the Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music). The fund will subsidize a range of ongoing work centered on his legacy. Donations can be made online or by mailing a check, with Dixon Fund written in the memo line, to FONT Music at P.O. Box 769, 215 West 104th Street in New York, 10025.

Mary Halvorson At The Whitney’s Christian Marclay: Festival

Starting this afternoon, guitarist Mary Halvorson will be performing numerous times over the next two weeks at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York as part of the ongoing exhibition, Christian Marclay: Festival.

Ms. Halvorson, who Howard Mandel called “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” in his pick for today’s concerts in his CityArts column, will be interpreting Marclay’s graphic scores on her own and in groups with Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman and Ikue Mori.

Cadence: Myra Melford, Joe Morris, David S. Ware and Eri Yamamoto

The Jul/Aug/Sep 2010 issue of Cadence arrived earlier this week and with it reviews of four of our clients’ recent releases.

Philip McNally calls Be Bread, the group on pianist/composer Myra Melford‘s latest release, The Whole Tree Gone (Firehouse 12 Records), “an interesting 6tet made up of master musicians on instruments not frequently combined in Jazz. And in the best Jazz tradition, all of these accomplished players are given the freedom to express themselves clearly within her compositions. Constrained by nothing but beauty and deep expressiveness, this is music with every resource available, and you must hear it.”

In his review of the Joe Morris Quartet’s Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity), Michael Rosenstein notes, “The leader’s angular themes are propelled along by an elastic swing, full of quirky time shifts and melodic switchbacks; and the group nails them with supple energy. Morris’ guitar playing is striking as ever. Listening to his splintered chords, linear refractions, and loping sense of groove is exhilerating. This release captures Morris’ singular vision as both musician and leader.”

“This is the sound of a group who knows each other well,” explains Robert Iannapollo in his review of the Eri Yamamoto Trio’s In Each Day, Something Good (AUM Fidelity). “There’s a lot to appreciate on this disc and the sympathetic work of [bassist David] Ambrosio and [drummer Ikuo] Takeuchi go a long way to making this an enjoyable album of piano trio music.”

Finally, in his review of saxophonist David S. Ware‘s most recent release, Jason Bivins declares, “Saturnian is an absolutely dazzling solo performance…there is so much musical information here, moving so rapidly, that it reminds you of just how good solo improvisation can be in the hands of an actual storyteller, not simply someone who wants to demonstrate the latest range of workshopped techniques.”

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society At CareFusion Jazz Festival Newport August 7th

Two weeks from tomorrow, Darcy James Argue‘s Secret Society and special guest Bob Brookmeyer will perform on the Harbor Stage at CareFusion Jazz Festival Newport.

“Mr. Wein asked if I might like to invite my compositional mentor, Bob Brookmeyer, to play a tune with us at Newport,” recalls Argue, who just topped the Big Band Rising Star, Composer Rising Star and Arranger Rising Star categories in the DownBeat Critics Poll. “I ran the idea by Bob and he accepted, so now I have to contend with the frankly terrifying prospect of writing a piece that features him on valve trombone, to be premiered at the festival.”

This will be Argue’s third appearance at a major festival this summer following Secret Society’s two-set show at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola during CareFusion Jazz Festival New York in June and his collaboration with the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra at the North Sea Jazz Festival in July.

Argue and Secret Society will kick-off their fall performance schedule at Iridium Jazz Club on September 22nd.