Olivier Conan Podcast 212

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Subscribe on ItunesWe hang out with Olivier Conan, the band leader of Chicha Libre, and the owner of Brooklyn’s most beloved listening room, Barbes.  We’ll hear some of the smoking tracks from his group and his Barbes Records label and get his take on what’s happening in the world.

olivierconan300-731dcf69bb8022d4afd07b43b44e6749984cdbd0-s300-c85Barbes will be hosting a free and open event this Sunday about the general state of the union entitled  What Now? Post Election Gathering at Barbès from 5pm-7pm November 20th 2016.

Our next upcoming podcast will be Innov Gnawa’s explosive Sufi, Trance set from the same evening at Barbes.

 

Tomchess Podcast 211

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As NYC and the world woke up to the results of an election, we gathered, as always, on Wednesday night, our inclusive, diverse music scene taking on a new meaning.    Tomchess and his quartet rose to the occasion and captured the moment with stunning soulful maquam based compositions informed by the free jazz improvisations of of Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane.  Hear the beauty and the promise from this set at the Art Cafe.

Tomchess – Oud, Ney Morsing, Composer
Zachary Swanson – Upright Bass
Abraham Faure Mennon – Tenor Sax
Dan Kurfirst – Drums/percussion

NYC based Multi-instrumentalist/improviser/composer Tomchess has played and recorded with some of the heaviest players in the improvisational scene (Dewey Redman, Butch Morris, Pharoah Sanders, Drew Gress, Ronald Shannon Jackson), as well as Morrocan Sintarist Hassan Hakmoun. Having deeply studied the Near Eastern, and North African traditions he incorporated the tonal palette, rhythms, and forms of these traditional musics while never losing sight of his American roots and the importance and freedom of improvising. He has performed in Africa, Canada, Holland, India and Italy. He has performed at Lincoln Center, The David Rubinstein Atrium, The Turkish Embassy, The Pakastani Embassy, the Asian Society, The Natural History Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, The Himalayan Museum of Art and The United Nations among countless other venues in NYC and the United States.

“…Chess is a superfine improviser with total command of his instrument…Chess leads the group through a buoyant assortment of song-forms as they sustain a high level of interest amid a suspenseful sequence of progressions…. They also mix it up in a jazzy sort of way. …one of those magical efforts….They hit all the right spots while kicking out the proverbial jams via a fresh slant that yields gratifying results. ”

-Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz.

Zachary Swanson is a double bassist residing in Brooklyn, NY. Using gut strings and a personalized technique, Zachary has developed a conception of the double bass that heightens the integrity of various musical environments. Zachary attended Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with double bassist Michael Formanek and saxophonist Gary Thomas.

Abraham Mennen is a South African saxophonist, improvisor and composer currently living in New York. He mostly plays free jazz, improvised and experimental music. Abraham has worked with Louis Moholo, William Parker, Joe Morris, John Lockwood, Herbie Tsoaeli, Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan and many others.

Dan Kurfirst is an NYC based percussionist, composer and improviser. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, His playing incorporates aspects of Middle Eastern, West African and Indian music, while being clearly rooted in the American traditions he grew up with. He regularly performs with top musicians in NYC’s world-music scene including Tomchess, Matt Darriau, Gabriel Marin, Brian Prunka, Brandon Terzic and Kane Maths. Dan currently serves as creative director of the American Sufi Project, a cross cultural, interfaith ensemble dedicated to re-interpreting traditional Sufi music in a modern context.

 

Sean Cronin’s Very Good – Podcast 210

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itunes-button1Composer, songwriter, bandleader and multiple instrumentalist Sean Cronin isn’t afraid to let the music get strange. The only thing you can count on is to be surprised… and leave with a smile on your face.

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 We hung out with Sean at his house as his chamber-rock  ensemble Very Good was getting ready to play one of Brooklyn’s great venues, Barbes, tonight at 10pm.

 

Dan Weiss Teen Taal Drumset Solo – Ragas Live Festival #4 Podcast 209

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itunes-button1The fourth set of the historic, Ragas Live Festival 2016, live at Pioneer Works.  Dan Weiss (Drumset) and Michael Gam (bass).

Weiss has been studying tabla and Indian classical music with his Guru (teacher) Samir Chatterjee since 1998. With his Tintal Drum set Solo,  Dan takes the concept of a traditional Indian tabla solo and migrates it to a conventional drum set.

When listening to Tintal Drum set Solo, the trick is to reverse more conventional roles. Whereas, in a typical Western context, one would expect the guitar or bass to be the melodic centre and the drums to be the rhythmic support, here one needs to place Weiss’ kit up front, with the other melodic instruments in the supporting role.

Ragas Live Festival 2016 is produced with the support of The Rubin Museum of Art

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Bobby Carcassés and Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Masters Podcast 208

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This was an amazing experience. We got to hang in the studio with two legends of Afro-Cuban Jazz: Bobby Carcassés and Arturo O’Farrill! After the two recorded an improvised set we got to sit down and talk music. We also get to hear some music from Bobby’s record celebrating his 50 years of creating music in Havana and NYC: 50 TH Aniversario, De La Habana A Nueva York. 
arturoofarrill
 ARTURO O’FARRILL, pianist, composer, educator, and founder and Artistic Director of the nonprofit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City.  His debut album with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Una Noche Inolvidable, earned a first GRAMMY Award nomination in 2006. His next album Song for Chico, earned a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009.  The 2015 release of The Offense of the Drum was yet another Grammy Award winner.  Arturo was, in addition, the winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award, and a Cubadisco Award for The Offense of the Drum in 2015. His newest album release (August 21, 2015) is Cuba:The Conversation Continues on the Motéma label. This album’s Afro Latin Jazz Suite  was warded the 2016 GRAMMY award for Best Instrumental Composition.

Arturo received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. As his professional career began to expand, Arturo was the pianist with the Carla Bley Big Band from 1979 through 1983.  He then went on to develop as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, The Fort Apache Band, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.

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BOBBY CARCASSES – Born into a Cuban family (his maternal grandfather worked as a diplomat in Jamaica at the time of his birth), Carcasses moved with his family back to Cuba aged four, where he was surrounded by the various forms of local music. However, he started out as an opera singer before switching to Cuban music and working as a vocalist at the famous Tropicana nightclub. It was here that he first began to experiment with incorporating scat and bebop influences into his vocal style. By 1960 he was also known as a dancer and athlete (he was Cuba’s Long Jump Champion for that year) and as a multi-instrumentalist (playing trumpet, bass, congas and drums). Later in the decade he travelled, including a year in Paris playing with resident jazz greats Bud Powell and Kenny ‘Klook’ Clarke.

On his return to Cuba Carcasses formed his own jazz group, as well as acting in films and television. In 1980 he organized the first Jazz Plaza Festival, bringing to Cuba a host of international artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden and Airto Moreira. The festival became an annual event, with Carcasses and his band performing each year. He also toured extensively throughout Europe and the USA, performing alongside Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and many other big names of Latin jazz. Jazz Timbero was recorded in Havana in 1997 with an all-star Cuban big band (including members of Irakere and Los Van Van), playing a funky mix of Latin and jazz. His son is Roberto Carcasses the jazz pianist.

 

T. H. Vikku Vinayakram: Master of the Ghatam – Podcast 207

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This was an amazing experience!  We sit down with one of the great families of rhythm for a live performance and interview.  TH Vikku Vanyakram and family will be back in NYC, starting Oct. 24th teaching an incredible workshop on rhythm.   Recorded at the East Indian Music Academy, this is a legendary lineup:

TH Vikku Vanyakram,  Uma Shankar -ghatam

Selva GaneshSwaminathan – khanjira, konnakol.

A. Ganesan – morsing

Avirodh Sharma, tabla

Left to Right: A. Ganesan, Avirodh Sharma, Swaminathan, TH Vikku Vanyakram, Selva Ganesh, David Ellenbogen, Uma Shankar

Special thanks to Avorodh Sharma for expertly mixing and hosting us.

TH Vikku Vanyakram 

Rhythm has always been a quintessential facet of Carnatic music, and in the modern generation of percussionists, perhaps no other individual has mastered the intricacies and the laya endowments of the ghatam to such a great degree as Sri Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram. T.H. Vinayakram, affectionately known as Vikku, has transformed himself into an international celebrity with his imaginative and beautiful drumming on the ghatam.

Well known as a Carnatic artiste, Vikku came to international prominence as part of the famous fusion group Shakti, and went on to participate in many other international fusion music projects.


V. Selvaganesh

Selvaganesh Vinyakaram is the world’s premiere performer on the kanjira, the South Indian frame drum. The T.H. Vinayakram,  he is also a veteran of the fusion group ‘Remember Shakti’ with John McLaughlin. His solo album Soukha (2006) featured all of the members of Remember Shakti, as well as his father and Masters of Percussion sitarist Niladri Kumar.

Selvaganesh is also a major force in Tamil film making circles, composing songs in a beguiling mixture of genres, from folk to hip-hop to romantic ballads, and backed by a wide array of players from all over the world.
Avirodh Sharma is one of the leading Tabla Players from the West Indies and the United States. He is featured on Zee TV, TV Asia, NPR radio on the leonard lopatte show, NY Daily News, and at the end of 2015 making an appearance on the Starz Network Season Premiere, “flesh and bone”..