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.
"Introducing The New 5" is a fresh post-bop debut with a classic quintet vibe. This compilation is the perfect fusion of classic and contemporary jazz. "Listening to this music is pure pleasure. I highly recommend it" - JoAnne Brackeen
The New 5 was born out of the doctoral music program at the University of Texas @ Austin. Thomas Heflin (trumpet) has played with Grammy-winner Stephon Harris, Donald Brown, James Williams, Lou Rawls and Ron Westray. In 2005, Mr. Heflin won second place in the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition in Seattle.
Michael Arthurs (tenor sax) has studied with Joe Lovano and George Coleman among others and was named the Outstanding Soloist at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival. Peter Stoltzman (piano) is the son of two-time Grammy-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and has performed in prestigious places such as Carnegie Hall and The Hollywood Bowl. Mr. Stoltzman has been described as a "monster jazz piano player" by the late Jack Elliot (music director of the Mancini Institute and the Grammy Awards). David Colvin (drums) has performed on the David Letterman Show and Austin City Limits as a member of the rock outfit Heartless Bastards. Chris Budhan (bass) is a festival producer in Eastern Canada and presents more than 1,000 performances each summer as part of the City Stages and Always On Stage Festivals.
The New 5 is a premium example of the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts. They dynamic interplay between these rising stars is the reason jazz lovers push "repeat".
"Thinking Out Loud" is the latest introspective from guitar-stunner Trey Wright. Mr. Wright assembles a trio for this rendering of eight originals and two bold covers of current rock artists.
"Thinking Out Loud" captures the magical interplay that drummer Marlon Patton (Universal Music Group's Heavy Mojo) and bass-ace Marc Miller have developed live. The strong melodic bass lines braid through modern jazz/rock drum rhythms and provide a unique, fresh foundation for Mr. Wright's contemplative voice. Recorded mostly live and with minimal overdubbing, there is a dynamic interplay captured by Mr. Wright and producer/drummer Marlon Patton. The raw energy and often dark mood of the songs from "Thinking Out Loud" make it one of the more compelling releases this year.
"Rat Race" starts off the album and sets the tone perfectly. It's mood is a reflective and utilizes multiple time signatures while the melody that Mr. Wright floats deftly on top cuts perfectly against the counter melody of the bass. Mr. Wright also chose to include Soundgarden's "Blow Up The Outside World". This adventurous cover contrasts a somber with romantic melody. This creates a captivating tension between that which is familiar and something that is shadowy and hidden. It is quite a unique take on a traditional rock song.
Trey Wright and his trio have created an intriguing contrast of sorts with "Thinking Out Loud". It is both dark and hopefully melodic while modern with traditional instrumentation. "Thinking Out Loud" keeps the listener on edge and at the edge of their seat until the end...anticipating more from this rising star.
Phenomenal Guitarist Dan Baraszu and multi-talented bassist/producer Joseph Patrick Moore offer fresh inspiration to twelve Christmas classics on the latest Blue Canoe Records release "Christmas Time is Here". The duo strikes a touching balance between the complex reharmonization of these standards and the simplistic, stripped down interplay between guitar and bass. This musical conversation is especially notable in the sweet, lullaby-infused melodic bass part of "Silent Night". The trading of melody between Mr. Baraszu and Mr. Moore strikes images of a mother gently singing the little ones to sleep as the snow gently falls outside.
The pair jump in with "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", an up-tempo number featuring a jumping, rhythmic groove and haunting guitar melody. "Jingle Bells", offers up a unique coloring of another holiday classic. Again, Mr. Moore's creative groove and use of open space provides the perfect backdrop for a truly fresh version of such a seasonally routine melody.
Baraszu and Moore conclude their holiday creation with the traditional, "Angels We Have Heard on High". The bouncing bass line and almost reggae-like rhythmic feel is a sublime counter to Mr. Baraszu's contemporary version of this timeless melody.
"Christmas Time is Here" is an inspirational rendition of Christmas standards that offer a rare perspective unheard during this season. The interaction between these two notable artists is emotive and relevant long after the season is over. Mr. Baraszu and Mr. Moore converse in a beautifully woven and unique accord that's rare in a holiday release.
"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.