One Saturday afternoon in April of 1997, nine Atlanta jazz musicians assembled outside a local watering hole, shuffling about, waiting for a rehearsal to begin. The joint was locked, the club owner was late, and we all knew that big bands were dead. When the Tempest Little Big Band finally sat down and began reading the charts, the cats perked up, the club owner got giggly, and the band was on their way to nearly three years of weekly bookings. That Saturday afternoon was Tempest’s first and last rehearsal.
Jazz musicians hate to rehearse. They’re all about improvisation, not only when standing up to solo, but with music and life in general. It’s not so much a relish of potential disaster as it is an addiction to challenge. Tempest incorporates tangible uncertainty into their gigs. Not a club date goes by when Tempest doesn’t play something with the ink still wet: new arrangements by noted local orchestrators. Invariably, they format tunes differently and spontaneously from gig to gig. It’s kind of an unspoken, “Hey, let’s find out in front of lots of people what happens when we try this.” It’s fun.
Tempest Little Big Band a nine-piece big band featuring a vocalist, nurturing and maintaining the spirit and appeal of a quintet. This CD titled, "Round Midnight" was a long time coming: their first recorded live studio album. Nothing here was played more than a handful of times prior to the session. Three arrangements were brand new to the band.
"Round Midnight" is not meant to be a hard-core jazz album. It’s simply music they like— recorded in five hours on one hot Atlanta afternoon—showcasing a snap shot of the 150+ song repertoire now in Tempest’s book. Tempest loves to play the blues. “Captain Cheerio” is one of three sets’-worth of disparate blues tunes we could have chosen here. We enjoy playing black-tie affairs, hence, the more danceable fare of “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” “Satin Doll,” and “Sway.” Tempest has a deep, abiding reverence for the jazz classics, so you’ll hear “Shiny Stockings,” “Caravan,” and “Thermo” performed as they were originally intended. We love it all and hope it shows.
20TH LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS - DOUBLE NOMINATION!
We are excited to announce that Otmaro Ruiz | Jimmy Branly | Jimmy Haslip's album titled Elemental has been nominated for two LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS:
BEST JAZZ ALBUM & BEST ARRANGEMENT
(Otmaro Ruiz for "Red Wall")
"I especially loved "Red Wall" with its dark undertones and Yoruban feel"
(Smooth Jazz Magazine - Avzal Ismail)
Click here to listen
“Elemental is a current jazz classic bringing elements of old and new to keep fans on their toes. (...) Elemental is a fusion of the most talented jazz artists of our time. More than that, though, the resulting sound is clearly greater than the sum of it's parts." (Travis Prescott, All About Jazz)
"These guys slap some soul on the sauce." (George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly)
"Superb in every respect, this is a MUST HAVE in your collection" (Avzal Ismail, Smooth Jazz Magazine)
Elemental by Otmaro Ruiz, Jimmy Branly, and Jimmy Haslip is for die hard fans of fusion jazz, an elite circle of jazz connoisseurship. (Hans-Bernd Hülsmann, First View)
Low end powerhouse and former Yellowjacket backbone, Jimmy Haslip collaborates with pianist, composer, arranger and educator Otmaro Ruíz and virtuosic rhythm guru Jimmy Branly for a project that is a perfect mix of composition and broad audience appeal. Mastered by Grammy nominee Rich Breen (Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, Peter Erskine, Charlie Haden and more), "elemental" is a current jazz classic bringing elements of old and new to keep fans on their toes.
Grammy nominee Otmaro Ruíz (2016), composer of most of the "elemental" tracks, holds an honorary doctorate from Shepherd University and has played with all the modern greats...Gino Vannelli, John McLaughlin, Tito Puente, Steve Winwood, John Patitucci, Vinnie Colaiuta just to name a few. Mr. Ruíz is regarded as one of the most sought-after keyboardists on the scene yet still finds time for teaching. He is a frequent guest clinician at Los Angeles Music Academy and Musician's Institute.
Jimmy Branly is from Cuba and began his studies at the Conservatory of Music in Havana Adolfo Guzman and ENA (National School of Art). Mr. Branly also has played with greats from all genres including Colin Hay, Abraham Laboriel, Michael Nezmith, John Patitucci, Doc Severinsen, Ricky Martin, Andy Garcia, Natalie Cole, Gloria Estefan, Emilio Estefan. He performed at The White House in 2013 a Latin presentation for President Obama.
Jimmy Haslip was a founding member and 32 year band mate of The Yellowjackets. Mr. Haslip has been nominated for 22 Grammy awards and has won 3. Over his 50+ years of playing, he has contributed to the biggest names in music over a plethora of genres (Jeff Lorber, David Sanborn, Jerry Garcia, Bruce Hornsby, Chaka Khan, Allan Holdsworth, Oz Noy to name a few)
"Elemental" opens with "A Good Start" and right out of the gate leaves listeners slack-jawed. The high energy mover leads with dramatic injections from both Mr. Branly and Mr. Ruíz. These lyrical jabs give way to a simple, soaring melody on keyboards that establishes the emotional trajectory for the rest of the song. The trio brings the audience up then down then back up again all the while compelling exquisite anticipation. The troupe rewards in the end with a crescendo of harmonic punches as "A Good Start" gives way to "Greed".
"Greed" leads with a coy, sly keyboard melody that is enticing. Mr. Branly and Mr. Haslip jump in quickly in a way that are both supportive and improvisational. The listener is left with a slightly uneasy feeling as the rhythm's presence rolls up and down and moves from support to spontaneous until Mr. Haslip steps out with a subdued but perfect solo. Mr. Branly rounds things out and brings it in as Mr. Ruíz's keyboards sail home.
"Elemental" is a fusion of the most talented jazz artists of our time. More than that, though, the resulting sound is clearly greater than the sum of it's parts. When asked to comment on the compilation, Otmaro Ruíz thought carefully and stated simply, "Music for All". Indeed...music for all.