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.

 

Robert Browning Opens his Vault – Podcast 133

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Robert Browning, New York City’s most prolific producer of World Music events shares his personal recordings, highlights from his concerts from over the last 30 years.

We’ll hear rare recordings from Abida Parveen of Pakistan, Dimi Mint Abba from Mauritania, Noura Mint Seymali of Mauritania, Said Shanbehzadeh-bagpipe from Bushear Iran a; Village group from Luristan (South West Iran), Hassan Hakmoun of Morocco, Farid Ayaz, Abu Muhammad & Brothers Qawwal  from Pakistan  and a rare recording from India’s master of the Rudra Veena, Ustad Asad Ali Khan.

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Ustad Asad Ali Khan and his cosmic instrument, the rudra veena

Robert Browning has produced over 1,500 concerts of World Music,  including the Musical World of Islam (1993-94, 1995-96) concert series that featured artists such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Pakistan), Simon Shaheen (Palestine), Sabah Fakhri (Syria), Necdet Yasar (Turkey), Alim Qasimov (Azerbaijan), the Master Musicians of Jajouka (Morocco), Shahram Nazeri (Iran) and Dimi Mint Abba (Mauritania).  The Festival of Greek Music & Dance (2000-2005) which included rembetika music as well as regional styles from throughout mainland Greece and the islands; and the New York Flamenco Festival(2001 – 2011), which featured many of Spain’s greatest musicians and dancers. Artists from Africa and the African diaspora played a major role in his concerts and included Kandia Kouyate, Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabate (Mali). Ladysmith Black Mambaso (South Africa), Les Ballets Africains  (Guinea) and Los Munequitos de Matanzas (Cuba) and the Skatalites (Jamaica).

His Festival of India featured some of India’s must celebrated classical artists, including Lalgudi Jayraman, Maharajapuram Santhanam, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shivkumar Sharma, and Zakir Hussain. The festival continued the following year with a concert at Carnegie Hall with some of the finest Rajasthani folk musicians opening for the celebrated sitarist Nikhil Banerjee.

 

Tom Chess and Dan Kurfirst – Pan-Global Flute Solstice Celebration (pt.1) Podcast 126

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The oldest instrument ever discovered was a 35,000 year old flute.
That was 25,000 years before agriculture, before cities, before the idea of nations,…
Yesterday, to celebrate the Winter Solstice, I produced a pan global musical event live on New York City radio.
We had players from Indigenous Colombia traditions, Turkish Ney, West African Fula, Indian Bansuri, Japanese Shakuhachi and more.
In this podcast we’ll hear the set from the great Tom Chess performing on Oud  and Ney.  Dan Kurfirst provides amazing accompaniment on frame drum, calabash and various percussion.
In later episodes we’ll hear from the other musicians who partipated  Eric Fraser, KenYa Kawaguchi, Michael Gam, Sylvain Leroux, Sebastián López Laura María Calderón, Robert Puesaquiyo , Kevin Nathaniel Hylton, Neel Murgai…

 

 

Yusef Lateef – An interview with a Legend

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images-3The world of music has just lost the Gentle Giant, Yusef Lateef.  WKCR will celebrate his life by playing his music for 33 hours from the stroke of midnight as January 1, 2014.  His bravery and expansive musical vision is unmatched.  I was lucky enough to interview Dr. Lateef in March of 2013, his longtime collaborator Adam Rudolph joined the conversation.

 

 

Tomchess and Shane Shanahan – Live Performance (Podcast 48)

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Tomchess (Oud) and Shane Shanahan (Frame Drums and Percussion) performed live at WKCR on Sunday July 15, 2012.

Tomchess is a Multi-instrumentalist/Improviser/Composer. He plays Reeds, Western Flute, Arabic/Turkish Ney flute, Oud, and Guitar. He also has a history of using electronics /sampling/live-sampling/loops/fx. He has performed with Drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson’ Decoding Society, Butch Morris’s Sheng Skyscraper, recorded with Tenor players Dewey Redman, Pharoah Sanders, Morrocan Sintarist Hassan Hakmoun and Butch Morris. He has also led a guitar trio with Drummer Phil Haynes and bassist Drew Gress called Seven Times a Year. He has studied Middle/Near Eastern and West African musics, spending time in West Africa playing and performing.

He  says:”…My inspiration is drawn from my evolving realizations of love and life; listening to an inner convergence, the rhythms of life, nature/city sounds, my experiences as a human being and artist and listening to music from all parts of the world. The deeper I listen, the more I hear unity/universals in how sound is used and celebrated, as well as differences. The World is chock-full of beautiful and multi-colored infinitudes of expression through sound. Music embraces within it the means to overcome and transcend religious, political and social boundaries as a powerful transformative vehicle. Its also simply just alot of fun. My playing is an expression of my past experiences re-coded into a vision through the present co-emergent moment towards beneficial future possibilities; its an expression of celebration.

Shane Shanahan with Yo Yo Ma and Colin Jacobson

Shane Shanahan has cultivated his own unique and highly sought after sound by combining his studies of drumming traditions from around the world with his background in jazz, rock and Western art music.   His interest in other cultures has lead to extended visits to Turkey, India, and Tajikistan, among others.  Shane’s rare set of diverse skills is what attracted Yo-Yo Ma when he was forming the Silk Road Ensemble.  In the summer of 2000, Shane was invited to Tanglewood where he played an important role in the formation of the group.  Ever since, he has been touring around the globe performing side-by-side with Mr. Ma as an original member of the award-winning Silk Road Ensemble.  Shane’s playing can be heard on all three of the ensemble’s top-selling recordings for the SonyBMG label and the two most recent albums feature his arranging skills, as well.  These arrangements have brought ecstatic audience to their feet in the top concert halls of North America, Europe and Asia. Shane can also be seen and heard on Mr. Ma’s Grammy Award winning holiday CD/DVD release “Songs of Joy.”

 

He is also a member of frame drum master Glen Velez’ Handance Ensemble and cellist Maya Beiser’s Provenance project.  He has performed and/or recorded with Philip Glass, Alison Krause, Sonny Fortune, Fantasia,

Chaka Khan, G. E. Smith, Simon Shaheen, Jamey Haddad, Cyro Baptista,

Anindo Chaterjee, Sandeep Das, Shahram and Hafez Nazeri, Alim

Qasimov, Kayhan Kalhor, Howard Levy and Steve Gorn, among others.

Oud Summit: Brandon Terzic’s Xalam Project and Negar Bouban – Podcast 8

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Brandon Terzic’s Xalam Project and Negar Bouban

This special show features an Oud Virtuoso from Tehran, Negar Bouban, and an Oud Virtuoso based in New York, Brandon Terzic. They met and played together for the first time live on the air for this show.  Brandon also brought his amazing band, Xalam Project.      Xalam’s line-up that evening was Luke Notary and Matt Kilmer on Percussion, Matt Darriau on winds and sax, Ethan Mees on Bass and Brandon on the Oud.