WCS August Newsletter
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August 2016 Newsletter

New Releases
8.12 Steven Kirby's Illuminations
Jazz guitarist nonpareil Steven Kirby’s radiant new vision is the perfectly titled Illuminations. The recording—textured, ebullient and lyrical—represents a lengthy stride in the creative evolution of a significant talent. Kirby, whose experience includes work with Chris Potter, Mike Manieri and George Garzone, as well as de rigeur experience in the classroom at Berklee, brings his deep roots to the surface on Illuminations, and he proves in doing so that he has something new, organic and exciting to say.

Helping Kirby with the heavy lifting is a first-call roster of Boston and NYC-based jazz musicians who all make creative contributions. Personnel includes, Aubrey Johnson, John Funkhouser (piano/keys), Greg Loughman (bass), Mike Connors (drums/percussion) and with guest appearances by Bill Vint (sax/flute), Mark Shilansky (piano), Steve Hunt (keys), and Ed Lucie (bass). Together, the gathering conceives an original musical universe, multi-layered and evocative, with colorful instrumentation and inventive musicianship.
At the center of Kirby’s Illuminations is Aubrey Johnson, a vocalist whose wordless singing amid complex and creative compositions really stands out. Perhaps the best example is the title track, an exhilarating Brazilian tinged tour de force of jazz composition featuring stunning solos from guitar, piano, flute and Johnson’s lovely singing.

Without a doubt, Illuminations is the kind of recording that deserves to be heard by a broader audience, not just for its accessible yet complex sound, but for its internal affectations as well. “I often feel like I’m trying to discover something that’s already there waiting to be given form," says Kirby. “I’m just trying to tune into what that first idea wants to become and then hope that I can facilitate that. As a listener and fan of music, my favorite artists are those that express two interrelated things: something beautiful and something true. They are really the same thing.”
8.12 Kristen Lee Sergeant's Inside Out
With Inside/Out (Whaling City Sound), Kristen Lee Sergeant emerges onto the crowded scene of jazz vocalists with a fresh, distinctive voice full of soul, authenticity and the gift of great storytelling. The title reflects the duality of each song’s lyrics and placement, creating a cycle of emotions ranging from rapture to introspection to reality, bringing what is inside, out. Fun and fearlessness pervade this debut release as Kristen’s fresh arrangements also turn 80's pop classics into adventurous jazz romps with the promise of even more exciting things to come.
The restless, creative spirit that inspires her is evident on this recording, and deeply impacts the music and her listeners. Multi-Grammy winning jazz journalist, Bob Blumenthal writes, “Some vocalists aspire to be jazz singers. Others claim the mantle, but fall short. The lucky few, like Kristen Lee Sergeant, meet the challenge and merit the title. “Inside/Out” displays Sergeant’s qualifications – her superior intonation and control, an interpretive command that ranges from defiance to gentility, a willingness to take risks with harmony and rhythm, the freshness of her arrangements, synchronicity with her accompanists, and the manner in which all these elements yield a supremely musical package.  She has refined these skills over the past decade, and her woodshedding period has yielded an imposing debut album.”

Sergeant grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a suburb on Boston’s North Shore that she is quick to point out is the home of Singing Beach. During her high school and college years, she was focused on theater and classical singing, and when she moved to New York after graduating from Brandeis University her intent was to pursue a theatrical career and study opera. Then her roommate suggested that Sergeant check out cabaret legend Marilyn Maye, and a new fascination took hold. “Seeing Marilyn perform convinced me that there was a more intimate way of reaching an audience.“  Sergeant has since become a student of Maye’s.

The result on Inside/Out is confirmation of Kristen Lee Sergeant’s embrace of the jazz aesthetic. “Jazz is about bringing something new to familiar material,” she says. The art form doesn’t need you if you are not seeking a new way.  Improvisation allowed me to follow Suzi’s advice to ‘seize the musical moment.’” Consider the moment seized.


8.12 Tim Ray Trio's Windows

It is difficult to argue against the tradition of the piano trio. So says Tim Ray, in what amounts to an interesting if profound understatement. Ironically, Ray’s Whaling City Sound debut is itself profound, but not in an understated way at all. Windows, his first recording in two decades, is classic piano trio in the tradition of Ray’s heroes, including McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock. “The central idea of this disc is to acknowledge the pianists who were my early influences, and to recapture this feeling of being introduced to great trio music.”

That list also includes icons like Ellington, Silver, Monk and Evans. The heart and soul of these players form the core of Windows. “Each great artist his own approach to melody, harmony and rhythm,” he says, “and while over time I may have gravitated to one more than another, together they’ve provided the foundation for my own approach.”

Lockwood, Walker and Ray first played together when they backed Greg Abate, an alto great that has used the trio on two of his Whaling City Sound albums, including Kindred Spirits: Live at Chan’s with the late Phil Woods. The trio credits Abate for allowing them to discover the potency, and chemistry, they possessed in support. In fact, one of Abate’s tunes on the live recording, “Speak Low,” featured the trio without Abate, essentially serving as their debut together.

Windows continues that tactile performance. The song list is impressive, but the trio succeeds in meeting the enormous potential of classic material. Windows is a look into that intimate world.
8.9 Greg Murphy with Josh Evans, Eric Wheeler & Kush Abadey, Sweet Sounds Downtown Jazz Festival - The Murphtet, Elm Street · Westfield, NJ, 7-9pm · (908) 789-9444

8.25 Greg Murphy with Harrison Bankhead & Marcus Evans, The Promontory - Greg Murphy Group, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West · Chicago, IL, 8pm · (312) 801-2100

Live Music in Downtown New Bedford!

The summer tradition continues! Centre Street Sessions presented by Whaling City Sound and Fiber Optic Center, Inc. In the Kaller Beef Building parking lot on Centre Street. Sets at 5:30 & 7:15pm. Rain location: BayCoast Bank (corner of William & Purchase Street).

8.11 John Harrison Trio: John Harrison III - piano, Jackie Santos -  drums, bass player and vocalist, TBA

9.8 Donna McElroy Group: Donna McElroy - vocals, George Schuller - piano, John Lockwood - bass, Yaron Israel - drums

Upcoming Greg Abate Shows

8.3-4 Cecile and Raymond, Que’bec City with Yves Jacque trio, 1061, BOUL. PIERRE-BERTRAND, T 418 681-ROCK (7625) CECILEETRAMONE.COM

8.7 Jamestown summer concerts on the green, 6:30 - 8, Ben Cook ,Todd Baker, Gary Johnson

8.10 with Bill Wightman trio, Sunapee, NH

8.12 GD lounge with Pamela Hines, 2 Washington St Union Station, Worcester, MA 6:30-9:30pm

8.13 Cultural Center Of Cape Cod, 307 Old Main Street, South Yarmouth, MA 8 pm Tim Ray, Todd Baker, Gary Johnson

8.16 Martinis with Kenny Wenzel group, 50 Court St. Plymouth, MA 7-10pm


8.18 TBA Maine

8.19 South West Harbor, ME Greg and Jon Wheatley duo TBA

8.20 Coda West Harbor, ME

8.21 The Crowtown Art Gallery, Lubec, ME Greg and Jon Wheatley, 2 pm $25

8.26 Tarragon Jazz at Hotel Providence with Ted Casher and The Joe Potenza Trio, 7:30 pm

Upcoming Rale Micic Shows

8.20 Alma & Rale Micic Duo at KC Grad, Serbia, Kc Grad, Belgrade, 9pm
On the Horizon

On the Horizon

September Releases:
9.9 Rale Micic's Night Music

9.9 Azzolina, Govoni, Nussbaum, & Zinno's
Chance Meeting

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