Fromage is Atlanta-based pianist/ composer Randy Hoexter's second recording as a leader and Blue Canoe first. Randy’s vision was to chose a collection of cover songs, with the intent of re- inventing familiar material with a modern twist. However, instead of selecting deep and poetic material, Randy decided to take on the arguably greater challenge of "cheesy" pop songs. Once this concept was established, Randy interviewed many of his fellow musicians, did research, and dug into his own past to put this collection together.
Randy puts it like this:
"I did lots of research on surveys of the "worst songs" of all time, and certain titles kept popping up. These songs are part of the culture, especially for people my age. The goal here is not to make fun of these songs, but to take them seriously and do our best to make some modern art."
Once the material was selected, Randy went to work creating arrangements that both explored new harmonic and rhythmic areas but still honored the original themes and ideas in the songs. Many of the tunes were re-harmonized or given a new meter in order to take them in new directions. The timeless sound of Randy’s piano drives all the arrangements, and the majority of the charts feature a five- piece horn section with trumpet, saxophones, trombone and a signature bass clarinet. All of the instruments are brought forward at various times for solos and features.
These demanding, modern arrangements immediately brought to mind the talents of former Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip, who enthusiastically joined in. Legendary drummer Dave Weckl contributed three tracks as well. Randy also brought in a group of the Southeast's finest jazz players including saxophonist/multi woodwind virtuoso Sam Skelton, brilliant guitarist Trey Wright, Veteran session drummer Tom Knight and Cirque du Soleilpercussionist Kit Chatham.
Fromage, an elegant name for the everyday, sums up a recording that takes the listener to a new, and yet familiar place.
Randy Hoexter's Artist Page
Randy Hoexter's - "Fromage" Album Page
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.
Cody Carpenter is at it again with his sophomore release “Force Of Nature” on Blue Canoe Records. This stunning instrumental prog-rock, fusion effort is the follow-up to the outstanding "Interdependence" (2018). This prolific songwriter and keyboardist has teamed up with some old friends and new to bring the listener into the prog glory days of Yes and Emerson Lake and Palmer.
Cody Carpenter is the son of Adrienne Barbeau, a star of film, television and the Broadway stage, and legendary Academy Award winning writer, actor, composer, producer and director John Carpenter. The Senior Carpenter is best know for classic horror films (Halloween, The Fog, The Thing) and sci-fi thrillers (Escape From new York, Starman). As a composer, he is known for synthesizer-based pieces and is perhaps best known for the theme song to the movie Halloween (1978). It is not difficult to see how Cody Carpenter comes by his synthesizer based compositions. Cody was introduced to his first musical instrument around the age of three and has been playing and composing original music ever since. In addition to contributing music for two of his father’s films, Vampires (1998) and Ghosts of Mars (2001), Carpenter composed and performed the full-length score for “Cigarette Burns” and “Pro-Life” in Showtime’s Masters of Horror (2005) movie series. Cody co-wrote, co-produced, and performed on the acclaimed Lost Themes (2015) and Lost Themes II (2016) with his father and Daniel Davies. In 2016 and 2017 Cody toured North America and Europe with his father and a six piece band, performing material from both Lost Themes albums and his father’s films. In 2018, Cody (along with John Carpenter and Daniel Davies), helped to compose the music for the latest Halloween movie released on October 19th, 2018, starring Jamie Lee Curtis.
Mr. Carpenter opens like a tornado with the expansive track "Transcendence". He plays all the instruments on this firestorm except the drums contributed by Grammy nominated (with Tenacious D) artist Scott Seiver (Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran). "Transcendence" pulls no punches and sets up Cody Carpenter's blistering pace for the rest of the "Force".
Cody brings in some friends on "Fantasy of Form". He rounds out the rhythm section with multi-Grammy winner Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets founding member). Mr. Carpenter starts things off with a bouncing keyboard lead and Grammy winner John Konesky (Tenacious D, John Carpenter) responds with a singing solo. Mr. Haslip lights things up with a riveting solo about midway through just before Mr. Carpenter takes over and brings things home. The interplay between rhythm section and the soaring keyboard work is mesmerizing.
Cody Carpenter’s "Force of Nature" is an incredible second effort. The years of absorbing the influence of his father and the fusion masters have certainly brought sonic fruit in this 50-minute demonstration of power. There is clearly no slowing down this "Force of Nature”.