Blue Canoe artist, Hiroe Sekine, is back in the spotlight with her fourth release, "Hiroe's Spirit". With this bold effort, Ms. Sekine brings fresh, unique arrangements to jazz and classical songs in a very original way.
A native of Japan, pianist Hiroe Sekine has been living in the Los Angeles area since 1993, performing at many venues, festivals, and others, including the Jazz Concert Series at Los Angeles County Museum of Arts (LACMA) in 2014 and 2016. Ms. Hiroe studied jazz at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. In 2010, Ms. Sekine's debut album, "a-mé", was named by "All About Jazz" as one of the 25 best albums of the year. Ms. Sekine's long-time musical relationship with Russell Ferrante of the YellowJackets continues on "Hiroe's Spirit" and the result is a classical crossover stunner. Over the years, she has worked with musical greats such as Bob Sheppard (Chick Corea, Steely Dan, Michael Brecker, Joni Mitchell), Tony Dumas (The Manhattan Transfer, Chick Corea, Etta James, Mariah Carey), Peter Erskine (Weather Report, Pat Metheny, John Scofield,) and Abraham Laboriel (Al Jarreau, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles) to name a few.
"Hiroe's Spirit" opens with a dramatic rendition of “Pavane pour une infante défunte” by French composer Maurice Ravel. It begins with Ms. Sekine hinting at the melody with her strong piano phrasing against a simple drum beat. Bob Sheppard floats to the front with his sax and takes over melodic duties before the listener is drawn in by spirited accompaniment with Michael Valerio (bass), James Tate (drums) and Akira Jimbo (shaker). Together they reach the summit with dramatically soaring sax ringing triumphantly in the end.
Another very original take on Spirit is Ms. Hiroe's version of Ave Maria. She chooses a very upbeat approach with riveting drum and bass intro. The great Abraham Laboriel contributes both electric bass and vocals in this unique approach to the standard. The changes in rhythmic patterns throughout the interpretation keep the listener engaged as Ms. Hiroe falls in with a breathtaking piano solo that will leave an audience wanting for more. At the end, all come together in a force of rocket-paced bass groove along with subdued vocals that magically just works. Creatively divine, indeed!
"Hiroe's Spirit" is an intelligent, stand-out creation that will not be matched this year. Take a ride with Hiroe Sekine's "Hiroe's Spirit" today....this one is not to be missed.
Low end powerhouse and former Yellowjacket backbone, Jimmy Haslip collaborates with Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech) and Hungarian superstar and session guru Gergö Borlai to create the best jazz release of this decade. ARC Trio features guest appearances by Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak, Steve Tavaglione and Judd Miller and delivers unbelievably listenable virtuosity.
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. To list a few:
• Jazz: Al Jarreau, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, Toots Thielemans
• Smooth Jazz: David Sanborn, Kenny G, Michael Bolton, The Rippingtons
• Fusion: The Yellowjackets, Peter Erskine, Bela Fleck, Jeff Lorber, Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua
• Rock: Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, George Harrison, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jerry Garcia, Joe Walsh, Tommy Bolin and Gary Wright
• Pop: Randy Newman, Bruce Hornsby, Kenny Loggins, Dusty Springfield, Gino Vannelli and Herb Alpert
• Soul: Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Anita Baker and Roy Ayers Ubiquity
• Blues: Robben Ford, Oz Noy, Robert Cray and Harvey Mandel
A two-decade veteran of Tribal Tech, one of the most influential electric jazz groups, keyboard wizard Scott Kinsey has worked with many of the world’s greatest musicians including Scott Henderson, John McLaughlin, Oz Noy, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gary Willis, Mike Stern, Matthew Garrison, Michael Landau, Nicholas Payton, Hadrien Feraud, Louis Cole, Tim Lefevbre, Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers and many others. He is considered a protégé of jazz icon Joe Zawinul, with whom he collaborated for several years.
Hungarian drummer Gergö Borlai began playing at age 3 and has appeared on more than 300 albums. Since 2012, Mr. Borlai is a professor at the Liceu Academy/Jazz Departement in Barcelona and has received two lifetime achievement awards, the Golden Drumstick Prize and the Artisjus Lifetime Achievement Award in Hungary. He has played with greats such as Al DiMeola and Hiram Bullock.
ARC Trio opens with "Owosso" as Mr. Borlai places the listener under his spell with a rhythmic trance-like groove. Slowly, Mr. Haslip enters with his hypnotic response in lock-step with Scott Kinsey's subtle assurance on keys. When asked about Arc Trio, Mr. Haslip says, "I wrote music that deals with deeper emotional experiences...searching for knowledge and opening my awareness of a world in need". Certainly, a song like "Owosso" fits this bill and is timely in these contentious times.
The dynamic flow of ARC Trio leads followers skillfully to track four, "Viera", a song about Mr. Haslip's mother. At this point, the core trio makes introduction to guests that need no introduction. The soulful strength of Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, many others) on drums and Latin fusion hero Steve Tavaglione (Jorge Strunz, Eduardo Del Barrio, Dave Weckl, Sly & The Family Stone, Steve Winwood) on flute. This powerful tribute starts with distinct Latin rhythm and brings in Mr. Tavaglione' soaring injections. It is chaotic at first before locking in tightly and fusing genres and styles. The interplay of flute and keyboard melody is masterful on the a palette of constantly evolving drum and bass improvisation.
ARC Trio is the biggest sound you will hear this year. The fusion of gratifying sounds, feels and styles leaves one satisfied yet craving more. When asked about live performances relating to this masterpiece, Jimmy Haslip exclaimed without hesitation, "ROCK THE HOUSE". Hold on...it's going to be wild ride!
Artist Page: Jimmy Haslip | Scott Kinsey | Gergo Borlai
Album Page: ARC Trio
Henderson, NV (July 6th, 2018) - Blue Canoe Records releases "Animazonia" from Turkish-born world musician Melbreeze. The ninth release from this creative world musician started as a Brazilian jazz effort but culminated into a compilation of authentic Brazilian music fused with world, jazz and dance flavors. Melbreeze's passion for world music and stubbornly authentic recreation of Brazilian palettes make for a truly unique creation that demands a close listen.
Melbreeze is a prolific creator that, in true world music fashion, is hard to define. She seamlessly moves from her Turkish roots to Spanish flamenco to South American dance and does so with some of the best musicians and producers in the world. "Animazonia" is produced by Scott Kinsey and Jimmy Haslip. Kinsey is the keyboardist for Tribal Tech and has contributed to motion picture soundtracks such as Oceans Eleven and Oceans Twelve while Haslip has been nominated for 33 Grammy awards and has won two with jazz fusion superheroes The Yellowjackets as well as his recent Grammy win with fusion master Jeff Lorber. Melbreeze has recorded and performed with Grammy award composer and keyboardist Bill Cunliffe. She also has an ongoing partnership with Latin Grammy winner and flamenco master Javier Limón.
"Animazonia" opens with a modern, hypnotic dance piece "So Nice". Jimmy Haslip lays down a solid, soulful groove as Melbreeze sets the tone for the album with a dreamy, trance-like vocal invitation that cannot be resisted. Midway through the opening track, Larry Koonse brings in jazzy guitar hooks that develop into a solo with a rock and roll intensity. All of these textures come together in a crescendo until Melbreeze brings it all back to her opening theme. Powerful.
The fourth track on "Animazonia", "How Insensitive", shifts gears into more of a hindi-jazz feel with Knand Kumar bringing colorful sitar meanderings while Uday Kumar Nari provides a balanced pulse on the tabla. Scott Kinsey and Melbreeze provide the hypnosis on this tune on trillian bass and vocals respectively. By the time Larry Koonse's floating guitar solo relieves the sitar "How Insensitive" is reaching a pulsating, heated state as Melbreeze describes the memory of an “insensitive” break up.
"Animazonia" is a must listen from world music veteran Melbreeze. As she continues to blend musical sensibilities from disparate cultures, Melbreeze continues to warm the listener's heart. Melbreeze is a premier example of an elite artist's potential to demonstrate cultural unity and inclusion through art and magical melody.