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.
Punk Jazz Trio Megaphone Man releases "This Is Not A Drill" (live). This is a spirited live recording that captures the magic and spontaneity of this punk jazz trio.
Take a journey into the creative minds of one of the most adventurous bands of today. The Rocktronix capture on film the birth and evolution of their band including in depth interviews, unedited rehearsal footage, live performances and a full length music video.
The Rocktronix came together for the NAMM Bass Bash in 2013. They are a collaborative project drawing from the vast experience of Joseph Patrick Moore on bass (Stewart Copleland, Earl Klugh, Colonel. Bruce Hampton), Wayne Viar on drums (David Crowder, Bo Bice from American Idol) and Chris Blackwell on guitars (Geoff Mcbride, Trina Braxton, Jennifer Holiday). The film gives viewers an inside track on marrying music, video and the art of life by musicians that have much to say. By recording Magnificent Obsession in three days, the resulting product stands out with bottomless improvisation and spontaneous expression of musical ideas.
The group's chemistry is self-evident in The Magnificent Obsession Movie. Commenting on the powerful group dynamic, Mr. Moore says, "Music is a language. Without true collaboration, you're just talking to yourself". The movie shows the streaming of ideas between three veteran musicians and super-engineer Rush Anderson. Rush has worked in the studio or live with such superstars as Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic) and jazz legend John McLaughlin (Miles Davis) to name a few. His vast experience and depth is palpable in the resulting tones and the quality of the production. His is a rare talent.
The diversity of the band's vision is particularly evident in the full length video for the song “When I Become A Butterfly” and “The Calling” contained in the film. Aside from the band's obvious classic rock influences, the evidence of classic alternative, electronica, jam band and even 60s era psychedelic rock. Rocktronix is a jazzy explosion of musical influences that just feels right. Magnificent Obsession the Movie grants the audience an opportunity to see how real collaboration comes together from embryonic ideas to aural and visual art.
We all have a story to tell...and this is one of obsession...a Magnificent Obsession.
Visit The Official Band Site: TheRockTronix.com
Visit The Official Movie Site: MagnificentObsessionMovie.com
Live From Austin, the latest album from trombonist Ron Westray and trumpeter Thomas Heflin. The album features internationally known artists such as Neal Caine, regular bassist with Harry Connick Jr., Eric Revis, featured bass player with the Branford Marsalis quartet, and drummer Adonis Rose, who toured extensively with Nicholas Payton. The group also features three of the top jazz musicians in Austin Texas: Elias Haslanger, Peter Stoltzman and David Sierra.
Heflin and Westray recorded the album in 2009 while living in Austin, TX. At the time Heflin was completing his doctorate in music and Westray was serving as professor of jazz at the University of Texas. The recording project was conceived as a way to capture the energy of live jazz in Austin, a city known as the “live music capital of the world.” It felt appropriate to make the recording at the jazz club, The Elephant Room, which was selected as one of the top ten jazz venues in the United States by Wynton Marsalis in USA TODAY. The recording features all original compositions from the pens of Westray, Heflin and Austin jazz star Elias Haslanger.
Ron Westray is already one of the most highly regarded trombonists of his generation. In addition to serving as lead trombonist with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he is known for his collaborative album with Wycliffe Gordon on the Atlantic label entitled Bone Structure. In past years, he also toured as a member of the Marcus Roberts Quintet and the Mingus Big Band, as well as performed with a roster of jazz notables too long to list. In 2008, Westray released Medical Cures for the Chromatic Commands of the Inner City. Ron is currently an Associate Professor at York University (Toronto, CA) and also serves as the Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance.
Rising star Thomas Heflin has already gained a fan base internationally with his style and command of the trumpet. In 2005, he placed second in the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition in Seattle, Washington. Two years later, he released his debut album, Symmetry. Marco Maimeri's of Italy’s “Jazz Magazine,” described the CD as "… the extension of a charismatic leader with an innovative style, who has the heritage of Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan, but who does not forget the lessons of Freddie Hubbard…" In 2009, Heflin released his follow-up recording with the jazz collective “The New Five.” “Live from Austin” marks his third release on Blue Canoe Records. He currently lives in New York City where he works as the Program Manager of the Precollege Division at the Manhattan School of Music.
This exclusive Emusic.com two CD set, recorded live at the prestigious Berlin Jazz Festival showcases the true depth and artistry of Punk Jazz Trio Megaphone Man.
"Look What the Cats Drug In" opens with ripping guitar work from Dan Baraszu on "Neutron Star", a song inspired by Stevie Wonder's "Too High". There is no slowing down with the complex harmonies by Eugene Maslov on "Last Ray". Blue Canoe's stable of talented artists is further exposed in "Symmetry 1" with the fluid, highly polished lines of virtuoso trumpeter Thomas Heflin. The album continues with unimaginable horn players Bryan Lopes and Ron Westray as well as the stellar compositional and orchestral arranging of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. The compilation brings it home rhythmically with percussionists Philip Smith and Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson. Listen for the famous Jimmy Smith on the B3 on the final tune by Junebug, "Save Your Love For Me (live)".
"Look What the Cats Drug In" is a vibrant exploration of the post-bop gems in Blue Canoe Records' vast and ever-growing catalog. Quite literally, "Look What the Cats Drug In" displays the finest musicianship of modern jazz.