“The landscape is more than trees and views, it’s what we say it’s what we do, it’s what we are today. Never Forsaking this Frontier, so this beautiful view won’t disappear” - Marilyn Scott
Marilyn Scott is best known for her Grammy-nominated work as a contemporary jazz musician, having performed with some of the best musicians in the world over the last few decades. The Landscape, Marilyn’s forthcoming album is no exception. Produced by Jimmy Haslip, featuring the sultry dynamic voice of vocalist/lyricist Marilyn Scott with an all-star band as a supporting cast.
Keyboardist Scott Kinsey is known for many things — being a close friend and protege of the late Joe Zawinul, an integral member of the iconic fusion band Tribal Tech and pushing subsequent boundaries with his adventurous groups Human Element, the Zawinul Legacy Band and ARC Trio. In a continually evolving career, Scott’s operational motif is embodied by the word “exploratory.”
Enter vocalist, songwriter and electric bassist Mer Sal (Meridith Salimbeni), a Coloradan with a fresh presence on the LA scene who spent years honing her songwriting, vocal and performance craft while fronting bands around the West to rave reviews. Through a series of recent (and fortuitous) introductions to top players and producers, Mer was invited to participate in The Native Dancer Series: A Tribute to Wayne Shorter and Karl Sterling’s Dream: Parkinson's Global Project. Both of these projects saw her performing along with many other top-shelf musicians, including Jimmy Haslip, Peter Erskine, Nir Felder, Gary Novak and Jeff Richman.
Mer and Scott first crossed paths on one of these sessions and there was something of an instant connection between the two. After their initial meeting they kept in touch, exchanging lyrical and musical ideas. Mer continues, “I sent Scott the beginnings of a song, which he arranged and reharmonized. When I returned to LA to live, he played it for me. It blew my mind, it was so incredible — and incredibly thoughtful.” It’s that uncommon connection and synergy that fires the collaborative and creative union between the two, the fruits of which come through on Adjustments.
Part of the mojo transmitted on the album owes to the individual musical path each has taken and the different processes they have developed to achieve their respective musical ends. They also seem equally taken by the other’s abilities. “It’s interesting,” Kinsey says, “because she writes all this poetry — pages upon pages of text. I look at it and say, ‘There’s no song there.’ But when I ask what she has in mind, she starts singing and I can’t believe it, it’s totally there... a melody, a direction, a concept... everything.”
Sal concurs: “I’m a poet, but I’m equally a singer, so the melody comes out hand in hand with the lyrics. I usually hear some sort of harmonic background to the melodies while I’m writing but now that I know what Scott does with them, I try to come up with melodies that lend themselves to Scott’s process. I love hearing him ‘Scottify’ them.”
Kinsey adds, “She has a full song there — melody, lyrics and chords — but I actually don’t want to hear the chords; I don’t want them to influence what I might do. I want to keep my freshness, with the melody and the lyric and that’s it. This gives us individual roles to play. She comes up with the lyrics and the melody, then I can put my thing to it.”
One might think that Kinsey, with a background steeped in instrumental, soloing-oriented music, would have altered his approach for the album’s song-based collaborations. “To me it’s not really that different.” Kinsey explains. “I still say, what is the melody, what is the story — just as I would with a saxophone player or guitarist — and write around that.” But Scott readily admits that having Sal in the mix sparks different inspirations. “It’s because of her voice. I love orchestrating around that and end up writing more harmony. With busier instrumental records, the music is already dense. But with Mer’s voice I can hear all this lush stuff going on around it.”
The fact that Adjustments displays some of Kinsey’s most innovative writing, playing and arranging to date may indeed owe to having Sal as talented muse, but it’s also the singer’s authenticity that effectively grounds Kinsey’s work like never before. Her original songs, such as the opening “Tiny Circles,” display a certain valiant fearlessness for a songwriter whose emotions run so palpably close to the surface. “I recorded that in my studio in Colorado and it was the first one I sent to Scott. I felt that in my life, I was walking in tiny circles instead of the bigger ones where I wanted to be. It’s kind of admitting my shame — so I could get through it.”
But even when the pen presses hard lyrically, it’s not only taken aloft by Sal’s engaging vocals but by Kinsey’s (sometimes counterintuitive) treatments: “I had a general concept that if it’s a very, very dark lyric, I won’t enhance it with more darkness. I don’t want it to sink deeper into that pit but keep it afloat by lightening it up. Just like I might put slightly darker things around a really happy lyric or melody — enhance it by pulling it the other way a bit.”
This symbiosis also carries over into the duo’s wonderfully creative takes on some classic (if not surprising) cover material on the album. Steely Dan, The Beach Boys, even Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” — (Kinsey’s an unapologetic Blondie fan) — all are freshly reimagined by the pair. Perhaps none of these are more emblematic of the Kinsey/Sal union than the wonderful joining of Joni Mitchell’s “Down to You” with Weather Report’s “Jungle Book” — something of a talisman and surely among the album's high points.
The icing on the cake for Adjustments is undoubtedly how the proceedings are further raised by having so many of the sought-after, A-list musicians of Kinsey’s world (e.g., Scott Henderson, Oz Noy, Tim Lefebvre, Hadrien Feraud, Gergö Borlai and others) uncommonly colliding with Sal’s. This propels the music beyond today’s retrograde “jazz vocalist” albums that seek to rekindle nostalgia for the singer-fronted jazz band. Nor is it another in the recent stream of barely distinguishable, vocal-forward, jazz/neo-soul hybrids that proliferate in the modern soundscape.
In their own way, what Scott Kinsey and Mer Sal exhibit on Adjustments speaks to an intersection as uniquely compelling as when Jaco met Joni. A modern entity, to be heard on its own terms. Says Mer, “We want to change what’s considered the norm a little.” And in light of the music that she and Scott have brought forth here, listeners will happily make their own “adjustments.”
Biography written by Mike Jacobs
Blue Canoe Records welcomes to the family of artists, Yellowjackets founder and current member - Russell Ferrante and the Russell Ferrante Trio with their album titled, "Inflexion".
Russell Ferrante will release his trio album titled, "Inflexion" on January 8th, 2021 and you may Pre-Order it now at this link. Additionally, if you order the Album Download in the Blue Canoe Store, you will receive an additional 2 song exclusive bonus tracks.
"Inflexion or inflection comes from the Latin root inflexionem meaning to bend in, to change direction. This music is indeed very personal and intimate and one could say it bends in. It is rooted in friendship, mutual respect, and the numerous points of connection we’ve shared over decades. I met Steve Schaeffer shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1977 through our mutual friend, guitarist, Robben Ford. I met Michael Valerio years later when we began collaborating and recording with vocalist, Lorraine Feather. We all met Aaron ten years ago after Steve built a home recording studio and was searching for an audio engineer and some musicians to kick the tires. I didn’t have a home studio but I did have a few tunes that needed their tires kicked. As we worked on the music it became clear that Steve, Michael, and Aaron were perfect collaborators. Their generosity, sensitivity, commitment, and talent is what made this recording possible. It has been an exhilarating, sometimes humbling, but always rewarding experience to shape this music together. Thank you for bending in with us." - Russell Ferrante
More Info on Russell Ferrante - Click Here
A native Southern Californian, Roger Burn was a multi-talented musician; a master vibraphonist, pianist/keyboard player, drummer/percussionist, singer, composer, arranger, meticulous music copyist, band leader & music publisher. He possessed perfect pitch and began playing the piano by ear at an early age. He began his career as a drummer, starting at the age of eleven. By the time he was fourteen, he quickly picked up the piano and soon after, the vibraphone.
He began practicing two hours a day, working his way up to five hours a day, at one point. He insisted on keeping his windows closed, even in hot summers, (with no air conditioning) as he was concerned - “I wouldn’t want someone walking by on the sidewalk to hear me while I’m practicing.” He was a perfectionist.
His high school band director, Ed Wolfe, describes Roger as being verbally “outgoing” and “perhaps not too subtle” as he recalls their first conversation:
“Mr. Wolfe, I’m Roger Burn. I play percussion, and I have a question. Can you improve this jazz program so that it will be as good as Robin Snyder’s at Bonita HS? If not, I’m going to transfer over there for my last two years.”
“Hello, Roger. Nice to meet you!”
“Roger and other students would come down to the apartment and play Risk. After the other students left, Roger would always ask questions about music theory. Sometimes he would stay quite late. His parents, Ed and Joyce seemed to always know where he was and did not seem to object, but since we had a Jazz Band rehearsal every morning at 6:30, I would have to ‘throw him out’ often so that we could get some sleep,” said Wolfe.
“He was not particularly interested in the traditional harmony of the common practice period, but when we talked about Twentieth Century techniques, his ears really perked up. He learned about tritone substitutions, extensions and altered chords, and suddenly there was an interest in learning to play piano as he was already becoming quite proficient on vibraphone,” relayed Wolfe.
Wolfe recalled, “He was not interested in learning technique from the Czerny book I provided, or practicing any of the “adult beginning” pieces I provided. He simply wanted to improvise and learn new chord voicings...(he was especially in love with the dominant seventh with a sharp nine or other altered variations he could use in the blues). He wanted to learn how to arrange, so I “loaned” him my Mancini Sounds and Scores textbook. He kept it for the rest of his life...So it began!”
“I did not learn until later that he had begun writing out (by hand) a fake book of jazz tunes that he called ‘The Good Book’. He was proud to exclaim to me that these tunes had ‘the right chords’ and were not like some of those other fake books. In addition to many of his favorite jazz standards (over 150 pages), are some 20 original compositions, some of which were performed by the San Dimas High School jazz combo. “Animal Blues” was written for his friend and bass player, Rusty Houts, and “Gerswintite” was an opportunity to show off some new chord voicings he liked,” said Wolfe.
“It was plain to see Roger was a musical prodigy,” said his sister, Elaine Burn. “He would sit daily with a pencil & ruler while he effortlessly re-wrote all the chord changes in the Real Book . He claimed ‘The chords are all wrong!’ ”
Wolfe recalls, “Those who spoke with Roger often may have observed that his life was basically one long run-on sentence, with no punctuation in site! He was opinionated, biased, driven and always outspoken, but he was also fiercely loyal, disciplined, caring and compassionate to those who he felt deserved it. He also had a great sense of humor and a sense of right and wrong ...Roger was right, and the rest of us ...had some work to do!”
Wolfe relates the following story, “Another time, in Reno, Roger did not make it back to the hotel from the Basie performance at the Pioneer Theater in time for curfew. I went back to the Pioneer and after some searching, found him backstage talking to some of the Basie sidemen....that was Roger!”
“In Roger’s senior year, he was leaning towards Cal State Northridge as a choice under the jazz direction of Joel Leach. He was particularly angry that freshmen would have to play in the marching band, frustrated by this, he chose to leave after only one year in the college program. The rest is basically known by all of his professional friends and acquaintances,” said Wolfe.
“Over the years, Roger and I remained close. I used him as a guest soloist with my bands, and he was fiercely loyal to me personally as an ‘educator who knew and did it the right way’. He was a good man, and I love him and miss him,” exclaimed Wolfe.
He studied with the best in the field - Freddie Gruber for drums and Victor Feldman for vibes. He was self-taught on the piano and keyboards, taking only one piano lesson!
He drew musical inspiration from the greats; Victor Feldman, Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo. He idolized Buddy Rich, Louie Belson and Steve Gadd. He was influenced by Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Oscar Petterson and Gershwin. His modern taste and appreciation included the Yellowjackets, especially Jimmy Haslip, bass player of Yellowjackets, producer & longtime friend, Pat Metheny, Sting, Quincy Jones, Bella Fleck and Peter Gabriel.
He began working professional gigs at the age of sixteen in Los Angeles. He would spend entire Saturdays hunting down rare jazz albums at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, adding to his album collection of over 1,000 albums, all in alphabetical order.
He formed several bands and served as the bandleader. His first band, in the 1980s, was “Triple Spec.” The name referring to the music industry phrase, “on spec”, meaning that many projects are on speculation, thus “Triple Spec” was born. They played often at Cafe Cordiale on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Years later, he formed a new band, “Shapes”, which was a platform for his contemporary jazz compositions as well as for others in the band; Dave Derge (drums), Mike Higgins (guitar) and Andy Suzuki (saxophones & flute) and Dean Taba (bass.) His music was syncopated and sophisticated. He was constantly blazing his own trail.
Shapes performed in Jakarta at the Java Jazz Festival and then later, on the island of Bali, performing in Indonesia for two weeks. As part of a back up band for Indonesia's own, Dwiki Dharmawan for his 'World Peace Orchestra', he also performed again in Jakarta for the Java Jazz Festival, along with Shapes’ members Andy Suzuki, Tollak Ollestad, along with charter member on percussion, Walfredo Reyes, Jr., who played drumset.
He again played with the World Peace Orchestra at the Temecula Jazz Festival, joined by new Shapes member, Edwin Livingston, on bass. In addition, Jimmy Haslip, of the Yellowjackets & producer of all his albums, played with Shapes on bass, as well as Russ Ferrante on piano, from the Yellowjackets.
Highlights of his career include playing with The Brian Setzer Big Band, Chaka Khan, Lionel Ritchie, Stevie Nicks, Lou Vega, Barry Manilow & Ann Margaret, to name a few. He wrote charts for Mary J. Blige and numerous others.
He played vibraphones on the score of the Academy Award winning film “Sideways” starring Paul Giamatti.
Tragically, cancer took his life at the age of 46. Here’s what he said in his last blog;
“I will NOT shed this mortal coil until I'm satisfied that I've done all that I can, and ladies and gentlemen, I have ONLY begun to do what I feel that I'm called to do, which is to make music. All things considered, I feel VERY fortunate and yes, even an agnostic like myself, feels blessed, too. I'm surrounded by the love and support of so many friends, some of which I never knew even liked me!!!!”
He played and composed music to the very end! He toured Europe, Indonesia and had plans to return.
WE MISS YOU ROGER! We hope to honor you and your beautiful music that we all felt so blessed to hear, with this re-release of your last three albums! God rest your soul!
Elaine, Jimmy and Blue Canoe
Atlanta's jazz guitar master Trey Wright has released his latest solo effort, "Begin Again". Mr. Wright puts together a moving group of songs inspired by his recovery from a depressive episode in 2016 and dedicated to ex-bandmate the late Carl Lindberg (Squat, Grogus, Old School Trio). ”Begin Again" also features Marc Miller (bass - The Atlanta Pops Orchestra), Marlon Patton (drums - John Patitucci, Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid, Wycliffe Gordon), Laura Coyle (vocals - twice featured performer at the Atlanta Jazz Festival) plus Sam Skelton (Matchbox 20, Train, Edwin McCain, The Gap Band, and The Ohio Players) and Grammy winner Mace Hibbard (Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and Tommy Dorsey Orchestra) on sax.
In 1994, Mr. Wright co-founded the Athens/Atlanta based jazz band Squat. The group is a six-time winner of Best Jazz Band at the Flagpole Athens Music Awards and has been a featured artist at the Atlanta Jazz Festival. Several of Trey’s compositions with the group have received international airplay and have been featured on Sirius/XM radio and NPR’s All Things Considered. Mr. Wright also performs freelance in the Athens and Atlanta area and has performed with John Patitucci, Joe Lovano among others. Trey has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and in early 2008, he began playing with the Georgia Symphony Jazz Orchestra.
In 2006, Trey released his first CD "Where I’m Calling From", receiving rave reviews and airplay throughout the United States, New Zealand, England, Australia, Germany, Italy, Canada, Luxembourg, Scotland, and The Netherlands. The Trey Wright Trio released "Thinking Out Loud" in 2009 on Blue Canoe Records. In 2010, the CD was included in the first round of Grammy Nominations/Entries for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Trey’s long-awaited collaboration with Grammy-winning saxophonist Mace Hibbard "The Hibbard/Wright Project" was released in May 2013. In 2015, Mr. Wright released his Blue Canoe follow up titled, "Songs From Oak Avenue". Since 2017 Trey has been working with vocalist Laura Coyle as a duo and she is featured on three songs from “Begin Again”.
"Begin Again" leads off with a moving tribute to Carl Lindberg entitled "From Now On". Mr. Wright says of this work, “...it was inspired by Carl’s passing but over time the song began to represent all of the life changes I experienced in my early 40's”. Trey starts off with a sweet-toned arpeggiated bounce that sets the song's theme. He is quickly joined by expert rhythm section Marc Miller on bass and Marlon Patton on drums. Mr. Wright lets it breathe with a spacious solo as the rhythmic dynamics drive the bus. As the solo fades, Mace Hibbard really brings some energy with a soaring saxophone melody. Unique ideas, sympathetic solos and melodic mastery mark this stellar opening track.
Also of note, Laura Coyle knocks out the Joni Mitchell classic "Hissing of Summer Lawns". Ms. Coyle really nails Mitchell's unique phrasing and, while distinctly marking her territory, brings an immediately recognizable feel to the melody. The collaboration is not to be missed and, as Mr. Wright puts it, “Laura and I collaborated on a concert of Joni Mitchell’s music at Kennesaw State University and I thought it would be fun to record one of the songs. The song references suburban ennui which, although the album is overtly hopeful, I think fits the tone of the album”. Wright concludes, “For me, recording this album was cathartic and a reminder that you can always begin again.”
Past Press Quotes:
"Wright’s playing serves to accentuate the rich harmonic ambiance of the compositions. It is sparse and floating, at times almost minimalist, but tastefully captivating." - Mike Reynolds, muzikreciews.com
"Trey Wright knows how to arrange and build a track to tell a story, merging music and drama into a seductive mix that maintains a strong grip on your attention. With its mainstream accessibility and distinctive sound world, Wright's music is truly original." -AllAboutJazz.com
Roundglass Music Awards 2018
Yonrico Scott has been nominated for the 2018 Roundglass Music Awards in the category of "Best Jazz Single" for his song, "Life Of A Dreamer (Suite For Marimba)".
Produced by Yonrico Scott & Joseph Patrick Moore.
Congratulation's to all the nominees!