Category: jazz fusion

New Video: Tony Glausi Releases a Funky New Bop Paired with Sultry Visuals

Portland, OR-born, New York-based musician Tony Glausi is an accomplished jazz trumpeter. But with his latest full-length effort EVERYTHING AT ONCE, which has already seen praise from Soulbounce, Under the Radar, Sonofmarketing, NYS Music, Earmilk, American Songwriter and Ghettoblaster, Glausi steps out into the spotlight as a bandleader, producer and singer/songwriter, boldly pushing his sound and approach into new directions with the album’s material drawing from pop, R&B and funk. “Coming out of high school and studying music in college, I was pretty fixated on jazz trumpet playing, and my earlier releases were heavily oriented around improvisation and swing,” Glausi explains in press notes. “But as I continue to write and explore new sounds, I feel like I get closer and closer to my true voice, one record at a time.”

Sonically, the album is much like a mixtape to the Portland-born, New York-based musician’s life, as a result of his willingness to try anything. But thematically, the album is quintessentially a New York album, full of the places, random faces and random interactions that you’d fully expect here. “The album is literally a two year snapshot of my life. Each story is like a scene from a film, or I guess 10 different films” Glausi says.

“Writing EVERYTHING AT ONCE, I felt like the project wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about Tony, the trumpet player. I just wanted to make fucking songs,” Glausi explains. “I sing on three of them, but I just wanted to produce the music and ultimately let my collaborators shine,” he adds. The album features guest spots from vocalist/saxophonist Braxton Cook, Latin Grammy-nominated artist Nana Mendoza Brooklyn-based vocalist Elysse, British vocalist Max Milner and emcee Charlemagne the Goddess.

EVERYTHING AT ONCE‘s latest single “Backseat Bump” is a slinky, late night funky jam centered around buzzing bass synths, wobbling bass lines, squiggling guitars, soulful cooing from Nana Mendoaz and a strutting trumpet solo from Glausi. Sonically, the track is one part Dam-Funk, one part Future Shock era Herbie Hancock — while being something that just exudes New York flavor.

The recently released video by Evan Hansen follows Morgan Bryant and Glausi on a wild day and night out on the town, with the incredibly attractive pair goofing off and being a carefree young couple, hooking up in the backseat of a cab.

New Video: Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD Releases a Gorgeous and Mind-bending Visual for Expansive “Beside April”

The acclaimed Toronto-based jazz-inspired act BADBADNOTGOOD — currently founding members Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) with Leland Whitty — have developed and honed a sound and compositional approach that draws from hip-hop, electronica, jazz, acid jazz and prog rock — and famously for jazz based interpretations of hip-hop tracks, which has allowed the acclaimed Canadian ensemble to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, Danny Brown, Mick Jenkins, Ghostface Killah and others.

Interestingly, BADBADNOTGOOD can trace its origins to its founders — Hansen, Sowinski and Matt Tavares — bonded over a mutual love of MF Doom and Odd Future. As the story goes, the band played a composition based on Odd Future’s music for a panel of their jazz performance instructions, who unsurprisingly didn’t believe it had much musical value. Instead of listening to their instructors, the band released the composition as “The Odd Future Sessions, Part 1.” The track eventually caught the attention of Tyler the Creator, who helped the video go viral.

BADBADNOTGOOD followed up with their full-length debut, 2011’s BBNG, which featured interpretations of A Tribe Called Quest, Waka Flocka Flame and of course,. Odd Future. Building upon a growing profile, the members of BADBADNOTGOOD recorded a live jam session with Tyler The Creator in Sowinski’s basement, with videos from the session amassing more than a million views each.

The Toronto-based act’s sophomore album 2012’s BBNG2 was recorded over a course of a ten-hour studio session. Featuring guest spots from Leland Witty (saxophone) and Luan Phung (electric guitar), the album was a mix of their own original material, as well as renditions of songs by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt and Feist. That year, the band was the official Coachella Festival house band, backing Frank Ocean and Odd Future over the course of its two weekends.

Their third album, 2013’s III featured “Hedron,” which was featured on the compilation album Late Night Tales: Bonobo. They also assisted with the production and composition of The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack.

The band’s fourth album, 2015’s Sour Soul saw them collaborate with Ghostface Killah on what has been described as a hip-hop album that nodded at jazz. They ended the year with covers of a handful of holiday standards, including “Christmas Time Is Here” with Choir! Choir! Choir!

Leland Whitty joined the band as a full-time member in early 2016, and the band quickly went to work producing “Hoarse” off Earl Sweatshirt’s full-length debut Doris and “GUV’NOR,” a remix, which appeared on JJ DOOM’s Keys to the Kuffs (Butter Edition). Capping off a busy year, they released their fifth album, the somewhat ironically titled IV, which featured Future Islands’ Sam Herring, Colin Stetson, Kaytranada, Mick Jenkins and JOVM mainstay Charlotte Day Wilson. The album was also named BBC Radio 6’s #1 album of the year.

The Canadian outfit’s highly anticipated psych jazz album Talk Memory is slated for an October 8, 2021 release through XL Recordings. Composed in conjunction with legendary Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai, the album features features guest spots from Karriem Riggins, Laraaji, Terrace Martin, and a list of others. Perhaps more so than their previously released material, Talk Memory sees the acclaimed act actively capturing some of the focus, energy and improvisation which is at the heart of their live show.

For the band, a song is a living, breathing entity that naturally changes and evolved as it’s played in different settings. The album plays with that thinking. After years of relentless touring, the band paused and refreshed and looked at their history and experiences before starting out on the creative process for the new album. And as a result, a sense of reflection and renewed communication is at the heart of their new creative approach. Interestingly, that led to the album’s title. While their earliest material took place very quickly, the band took on a much more international approach: The album was written over a two year period, with the band expanding upon the album’s material in the studio, rather that on the road.

Talk Memory’s latest single “Beside April” is an expansive and breathtakingly gorgeous composition featuring a cinematic string arrangement, skittering syncopated drumming and a mind-bending and expressive guitar solo. The end result is a song that — to my ears — is one part indebted to Brazilian psych rockers and JOVM mainstays Boogarins, one part jazz fusion, one part shimmering film score.

Directed by Camille Summers-Valli, the accompanying visuals draw some inspiration from the first motion picture, Horse in Motion 1878. The video itself manages to be simultaneously surreal, trippy and gorgeously shot. Plus, there’s a majestic horse that’s really the star of the entire affair. “There was really special energy around this video,” Camille Summers-Valli says. “The band wanted to do something with horses and equestrians. That’s where this begun. Funnily enough, I am petrified of horses. But it felt like a good way to overcome my fears. Subconsciously through a process of reading, finding references and discussing with my team, I started to piece together the puzzle of what this video could be. We shot this in Georgia; where the casting was incredible. The horse also was wonderful. So strong and majestic, we just wanted to do this beautiful creature justice. The magic aligned, so many great hard working people pulled this video together.”

Throwback: Happy 96th Birthday, Roy Haynes!

Yesterday was the legendary Roy Haynes’ 96th birthday. Over the course of his 77 year career — yes, 77! — Haynes has played swing, bop, fusion and avant garde jazz with a who’s who of jazz, including Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Oliver Nelson and a long list of others. And unsurprisingly because of such a lengthy and productive career, Haynes is one of the most recorded drummers in jazz history.

I had the pleasure and honor of photographing and watching the imitable legend play on a SummerStage bill that featured Ron Carter and McCoy Tyner. At the time, I believe that Haynes was around 91 and even in his advanced age, he was full of energy, charming and incredibly spry: during his set, he got up from his drum kit to tap dance and sing. I hope to have that kind of energy and joy if I get to that age! He’s also still regularly playing and touring. And if it wasn’t for the COVID pandemic, Haynes would have been playing his annual Blue Note residency to celebrate his birthday.

Happy birthday, Mr. Haynes! May there be many, many, many more!

Throwback: Black History Month: Miles Davis

Today is February 26, 2021. It’s the 26th day of Black History Month. And as I’ve mentioned throughout this series, I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles — with the hopes that it’ll be a bit of a primer on the Black experience and on Black music.

Of course, I hope that these posts will serve as a reminder of these very important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

It’s February 27, 2021. The 27th day of Black History Month, which is rapidly coming to a close. I don’t think you can talk about Black History Month without showcasing Miles Davis, one of the towering figures of jazz and modern music.

Throwback: Black History Month: Roy Ayers

Today is the eighth day of Black History Month. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few days of this month, you’d see that I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience.

Through the month — and throughout the year, I hope that you’ll come to understand and appreciate the following:

Black culture is American culture
Black music is American music.
Black history is American history.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
You can’t love black art and black artists without loving black people.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

If James Brown and Parliament Funkddelic are among the most sampled artists ever, Roy Ayers is likely the third most ever. His work automatically creates nostalgia for summer afternoon picnics with your family — but perhaps even more important, for being cool, groovy and defiantly and jubilantly Black.

New Audio: Italian Act The Apex Releases an Expansive, Prog Rock Take on Jazz Fusion

With the release of last year’s debut EP Here Comes The Apex, the Rome-based jazz rock/jazz fusion trio The Apex — Francesco Carrreti (guitar, production). Francesco Ferilli (bass) and Danilo Ombres (drums) — quickly established a songwriting approach and sound inspired by Weather Report, Miles Davis, Robert Glasper, Squarepusher, Snarky Puppy and others.

While supporting their EP with live shows in and around Rome, the act spent the next year writing and working on the compositions that would eventually comprise their forthcoming full-length debut, Kick Me with arranger/producer Toni Armetta. The album’s latest single, the eponymously titled “The Apex” features guest spots from Javier Girotto (sax) and Banco del Mutuo Socorso’s Gianni Nocenzi. Interestingly enough, the expansive composition sonically — to my ears, at least — reminds me of a slick yet soulful synthesis of Nothing Like the Sun-era Sting, Return to Forever/the aforementioned Weather Report with a subtly prog bent.

New Audio: Emerging French Act Yusan Releases a Breezy and Summery New Single

Yusan is a French jazz sextet — Ann Shirley (vocals), Romain Cucq (saxophone), Ralph Lavital (guitar), Kevin Jubert (piano), Gwen Ladeux (bass), and Mathieu Edward (drums) — that can trace its origins back to when its members serendipitously met at at unexpected residency at The Maison Des Artistes in Chamonix, France. Bonding over common musical influences, the members of Yusan felt an instant simpatico and decided to create music together. 

Interestingly, the act, which specializes in sound that draws from Caribbean music, African rhythms, gospel and others was given the name Yusan by a mutual friend — and according to the band Yusan in Korean means “heritage.” 

The act’s latest single “Chiraj” is a breezy swing centered around  an arrangement that features African polyrhythm, Afro-Caribbean scatting, a sinuous Jaco Pastorious-like bass line, shimmering and dexterous guitar work, some and a playful horn line. Each musician seems to know when to push, pull and lead — and with a joyful, fun-loving mischievously air. The expansive song structure allows the act to dabble in Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian jazz, Weather Report-like jazz fusion and funk with a summery air.