Jacob Garchik’s ‘Ye Olde’ explores prog rock and faux-medieval influences

(Photo by Peter Gannushkin)

(Photo by Peter Gannushkin) Trombonist/composer/arranger Jacob Garchik with Brooklyn avant guitarists Mary Halvorson, Brandon Seabrook, and Jonathan Goldberger as well as drummer Vinnie Sperrazza.

From trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik comes a fantastical and sublime work of the imagination. Ye Olde is a super band of three of Brooklyn’s baddest guitar heroes, let loose in a fun house, playing ping pong with listeners’ ears: guitarists Mary Halvorson, Brandon Seabrook and Jonathan Goldberger are joined by drummer Vinnie Sperrazza and Garchik on trombone.

Over the past 21 years in New York City, Garchik has created an eclectic career, working with Henry Threadgill, Laurie Anderson, Natalie Merchant, John Hollenbeck, and Lee Konitz; crafting over 50 arrangements as the “in-house”arranger for the Kronos Quartet; leading his award-winning jazz trio; creating his acclaimed solo project The Heavens: The Atheist Gospel Trombone Album; and co-leading Brooklyn’s first Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos.

Ye Olde, his fourth CD, draws from such varied influences as prog rock concept albums, Richard Strauss’s tone poems, and 90s game consoles. Garchik envisions Ye Olde as a “band” of heroes, traversing a Brooklyn that never was, taking part in surreal adventures amidst a landscape of ruined castles/apartment buildings. To help his quest he brings along Mary Halvorson (Anthony Braxton, Marc Ribot’s Sun Ship), Brandon Seabrook (Gerald Cleaver’s Black Host, Ben Allison), Jonathan Goldberger (Red Baraat, Bizingas), Vinnie Sperrazza (James Williams, Stew) and a pile of analog electronics.


Mitch’s Commercial Break: Oregami Luggage designed to keep travelers organized

Oregami Luggage

Oregami Luggage

Oregami Luggage launches the first bag in a line of suitcases that makes packing and traveling a breeze.

“Packing is this long, involved process for most people,” says Oregami Luggage President David Kao in a news release. “You plan, you prepare, and then you execute. Even with careful planning, you arrive at your destination and still can’t find anything. We’ve taken that whole system and turned it on its head. We’ve made packing smarter and faster, and less of a hassle.”

The concept came from an awareness of Kao, an avid traveler, skier and cyclist, who just wanted to spend less time prepping for his trips, less time organizing his suitcase and finding items once he got to his destination, and less of a headache once he returned home. Any frequent traveler, especially those with children, can appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into the packing process.

In addition to being easy to pack, Oregami is forging the way with a patent pending internal organizing system that includes three organizer compartments that fold out easily, can each be taken out separately and placed into hotel drawers, and reconnected and folded back into the suitcase when it’s time to leave.

To learn more, go online to www.oregamiluggage.com.

‘Stargazer’ propels Sam Way to new height

Sam Way

Sam Way

London based singer-songwriter Sam Way launches new single ‘Stargazer’, a track that inspired his entire forthcoming record ‘Architect’ E.P. this month. Sam Way recently aired on BBC London, featured in ‘One to Watch’ of Rollacoaster Magazine and on ‘Not The One Show’. No stranger to show business, Way has appeared in TV modeling for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel and Levi’s. The EP was mastered by award winning Mandy Parnell (Bjork, The xx) at Black Saloon Studios (Paul McCartney, Brian Eno).

‘Stargazer’, a ballad of lost love, ebbs and flows between regret and hope, showcasing Sam Way’s ability as an artist and a writer. Sam Way began writing on piano from age 16, but it wasn’t until his move to London to pursue his modeling career that his father introduced him to the guitar. Since then, Sam Way has aspired to create an EP with great depth, cinematic atmosphere and lyrics that speak from the heart. Sam writes with soul, fearlessness and dynamism. His songs are positively catchy, yet still captivate the listener to explore their own stories, own worlds and own emotions. A total departure from his previous work, ‘Architect’ EP is a product of years of travel, songwriting and collaborations featuring many exciting artists – including, soul singer Matt Henry (The Voice finalist), the acclaimed London Contemporary Voices Choir (Basement Jaxx, Sam Smith) and prolific chart topping composer/orchestrator Edward Abela.

Following a successful appearance at Somersault Festival 2014 and subsequent tour of the South West of England, including interviews with BBC Devon and BBC Cornwall, Sam had announced 12 dates across the UK for October 2015 with Anna Pancaldi in support for the release of ‘Architect’ EP.

Simple Minds’ Once Upon a Time CD release available Dec. 4

Simple MindsOriginally released in October 1985, Once Upon a Time became Simple Minds’ most successful album to date, selling two million copies in two months, hitting the top spot in the UK and making the top 10 in the U.S. It spawned four top 20 singles and launched a  15 month-long world tour that kept Simple Minds’ name in the music weeklies for most of 1986. With Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain providing a production dream team, and Anton Corbijn contributing to its instantly recognizable artwork, then Once Upon a Time had all the attributes of a classic 1980s album.

“Alive And Kicking” was the obvious first choice of single and its release preceded Once Upon a Time by a month.  The new sound, artwork and video indicated what was to come and whilst the single reached the same chart position as its predecessor in the UK, it just slipped short of the top spot in the U.S., stalling at No. 3. But Once Upon a Time easily eclipsed Sparkle in the Rain when released in October 1985, shifting two million copies in two months.

In support of the album, Simple Minds undertook their longest and biggest tour yet, beginning in the USA in October 1985 (kicking off at Poughkeepsie on the 31st) and visiting mainland Europe, the UK, the U.S. again (now with The Call as support), Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This included a series of massive outdoor summer concerts at Ibrox, Milton Keynes Bowl and Torhout-Werchter. Their first three top 10 singles from the album were signposts detailing the progression of the tour, and the fourth, Ghost Dancing, was released as the tour wound up, all profits being donated to Amnesty International. As Simple Minds took a well earned rest, after years of relentless writing, recording and touring, Virgin released the lavishly packaged Live in the City of Light, a massive live souvenir of Once Upon a Time recorded over several nights at Le Zenith in Paris, which earned them their third successive UK No. 1.

“When I think of our most complete albums,” said Kerr. “I would say New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) is definitely a complete album – it just feels very complete to me from start to finish; and I don’t think I’d change anything on Once Upon a Time and I wouldn’t change anything on Big Music. They, for me, are the most complete albums.  Someone might say ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ should’ve been included; and when you think about it, leaving it off is rather eccentric thing to do – you wouldn’t get away with that now. It would’ve sold double the amount of copies though! But it’s very complete: the artwork, everything about it, it is bang on.”

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of its release, Simple Mind’s classic album Once Upon a Time will be released on Dec. 4 as a standard CD and a two CD Deluxe Edition.  The remastered standard edition contains the full original remastered album, including the singles “Sanctify Yourself,” “All The Things She Said” and the timeless “Alive and Kicking.”  The two CD Deluxe edition features the full original remastered album, as well as 13 single mixes, B-Sides and alternate versions, four of which have been previously unreleased.

Cloud Nothings to headline 2016 Norman Music Festival 9

Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings

Norman Music Festival 9 announced today that Cloud Nothings – making their first Oklahoma appearance – will be the headliner for the April 21-23, 2016, free event in Norman, Okla. On the bill with the rock band from Ohio will be Small Black, Open Mike Eagle, Nobunny, Skating Polly, Woozy and Traindodge, celebrating their 20th year together.
The festival will be undergoing a few other changes this year. Dallas based-metal band Power Trip will be the headliners for the very first heavy stage at the festival Friday, April 22, located at the Bacardi Stage in the Gray Street parking lot. The hip-hop stage will be moved to The Depot as well. More bands will be announced in the coming months.

Local and regional bands can now apply through the open-call to play alongside the headliners. The open call is running through Dec. 20. Last year, more than 600 bands applied in the 50-day window to perform at the festival.

The mission of the Norman Music Alliance is to help develop the arts community in Oklahoma through support of local original artists, support of music fans, support of art education and support of local businesses. What started as a one-day festival has now grown and expanded to a three-day festival with more than 300 artists in downtown Norman and more than 80,000 people in attendance at Norman Music Festival 8.

For festival, VIP and sponsorship information, visit http://normanmusicfestival.com.


Mitch’s Travel: NOLA Christmasfest 2015 tickets now available online

DSC_2061The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center today announced that NOLA ChristmasFest tickets are available online at www.nolachristmasfest.com. The third annual NOLA ChristmasFest will kick off on Friday, Dec. 18 and continue through Sunday, Dec. 27.

NOLA ChristmasFest 2015 will feature the only indoor ice skating rink in New Orleans as well as an amazing walk-through maze, themed inflatables and rides such as the Kringle Carousel, Winter Whirl, Snowball Fight and Snowy Summit Climbing Wall. NOLA ChristmasFest visitors will have the opportunity to take photos with Santa and several of his North Pole friends. The Christmas festival will take place inside Hall B at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and will be open from noon to 8 p.m. each day during the 10-day holiday celebration.  Special hours are noon to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve and from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Christmas Day.

NOLA ChristmasFest will display thousands of dazzling lights and more than 70 Christmas trees decorated by New Orleans businesses. Additionally, Convention Center Boulevard will once again be draped in holiday décor and mesmerizing lights synced to traditional and contemporary Christmas music.

Dozens of businesses and organizations are already getting involved with NOLA ChristmasFest. Anyone looking to participate in this year’s Christmas Festival can visit the sponsor tab on the website where sponsorships are still available for the ice skating rink, carnival rides and the signature Christmas trees. Businesses can also host their corporate holiday parties and events at NOLA ChristmasFest by emailing info@nolachristmasfest.com.

NOLA ChristmasFest is sponsored by Entergy, Capital One, UnitedHealthcare, P&N Postlethwaite & Netterville, Raising Cane’s, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and is presented by the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

LolaWolf debuts live special effects creative lab, ‘Lolaloopz’

0001_151022_VICE_LOLAWOLF-PR_ICE0061According to a recent news release, R&B/Electropop trio LOLAWOLF recently launched their new creative platform, ‘Lolaloopz’, a live special effects creative lab, featuring real-life analog filters fans can use for social media.

The Brooklyn based trio, comprising of singer Zoë Kravitz, keyboardist James Levy, and drummer/producer Jimmy Giannopoulos, have gone from strength to strength this year, from touring with Lily Allen and Miley Cyrus to performing at SXSW and Philadelphia’s Made In America festival.

The show at Toejam Backlot in Miami is the last in the BACARDI Untameable Artists Series, where the musicians go beyond music and provide that nothing gets in the way of their passions.

The BACARDÍ Untameable Artist series, which also features AlunaGeorge, Run The Jewels and Future, was created to unveil the personality behind the artist and involves a series of house parties taking place across the country as BACARDI fuels the hustle of today’s modern musician.

Jimmy Fallon to induct The Roots during Walk of Fame Gala

Pictured: (l-r) James Poyser, Kirk “Captain Kirk” Douglas, Frank “Knuckles” Walker, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson, James “Kamal” Gray, Mark Kelley -- (Photo by: Mark Seliger/NBC)

Pictured: (l-r) James Poyser, Kirk “Captain Kirk” Douglas, Frank “Knuckles” Walker, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson, James “Kamal” Gray, Mark Kelley — (Photo by: Mark Seliger/NBC)

In an unprecedented show of support for the Philadelphia Music Alliance, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon will be making a special guest appearance at the 2015 Walk of Fame Gala next week to personally induct his house band, The Roots, into the Class of 2015 with a permanent position among its hometown music legends along the famed Avenue of the Arts.

Special arrangements have been made to enable Fallon to arrive at the Gala on Monday, Oct. 26, direct from a Tonight Show taping at his New York studios earlier that evening. He is scheduled to hit the stage just in time to formally induct The Roots — one of the best known and most respected hip-hop acts in the business — and present the band with their ceremonial plaque.

With Questlove serving as the show’s musical director, The Roots has been the official house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since its launch last year. The four-time Grammy-winning ensemble served in the same capacity for Fallon the previous five years on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

The Roots’ induction extends a unique Tonight Show connection with the Philadelphia Walk of Fame that began in 1989, when Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s longtime sidekick, was inducted. In 2010, fellow Philadelphia native Kevin Eubanks, Jay Leno’s Tonight Show music director for 18 years, also was immortalized with a bronze plaque on the Walk of Fame.

Named one of the greatest live bands around by Rolling Stone magazine, The Roots will be honored by Fallon with fellow Class of 2015 members Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, Billie Holiday, Cinderella, The Trammps, Andrea McArdle, and WOGL air personality Harvey Holiday at the new Fillmore Philadelphia, frequently hailed as “the most beautiful club in America.”

With 16 Grammy Awards and a Tony Award nomination among the new honorees, spanning the musical gamut from Jazz, Country, Disco, Hip Hop/Neo Soul, Rock, Broadway and radio, the long-awaited return of the evening Gala considerably amplifies the vital significance of the Philadelphia Music Alliance and Walk of Fame as its 30th anniversary approaches in 2016.

Mike Reed introduces ‘A Different Kind of Dance’ to listeners

Mike Reed

Mike Reed

When drummer, composer and bandleader Mike Reed isn’t playing music he spends much of his time watching others making it. But he also observes audiences. As a concert and festival organizer, he’s informally noted the interaction between performer and audience for years, and while his rapidly expanding discography makes plain he privileges art above all else, his awareness of the listener is always present.

A New Kind of Dance, the sixth album by his long-running quartet People, Places & Things presents the same deft interactive rapport between alto saxophonist Greg Ward and tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman; the same crisp rhythmic drive provided by the leader and bassist Jason Roebke; and the same indelible mixture of bluesy depth and measured freedom as its superb predecessors. A New Kind of Dance advances the boundaries of the quartet’s repertoire further than ever and adds two guests to the mix: pianist Matt Shipp and trumpeter Marquis Hill.

“I wanted to challenge the quartet situation and make things slightly more dimensional, such as having three-part horn arrangements or having another harmony/rhythm instrument to dictate the path,” Reed said in a recent news release.

“I thought Matthew Shipp would throw some curve balls at the rest of the band. He has some elevated perspectives on improvising, while not standing on top of an ivory tower. His improvising is very humanistic, but he has no problem cutting people down to size, so that everyone can operate on a level playing field. Marquis seemed to be the right choice to find the right trumpet blend with Greg and Tim. His tone can keep things very centered, and he plays with a purpose.”

Here is an older video of People, Places & Things in action.

Saxophonist Ivo Perelman’s trio projects show relationship between the senses

Each of the three new recordings from Ivo Perelman – albums entitled Complementary Colors,Villa-Lobos Suite, and Butterfly Whispers (available October 30 via Leo Records) – exhibits a different approach to improvised music from the indefatigable Brazilian-born saxophonist. Each album represents a unique “first” for Perelman. For most artists, releasing three such iconoclastic forays at once would constitute a burst of the imagination, but Perelman is not most artists. He has documented his current creative fervor with nearly 25 albums over the last five years.
On the duo recording Complementary Colors, Perelman and his longtime collaborator, acclaimed pianist Matthew Shipp, explore the ties that bind the visual and the aural arts. In addition to his work as a groundbreaking improviser, exploring the outer limits of the saxophone’s tonal range, Perelman is also a prolific and respected visual artist, whose work hangs in collections across four continents; at the time of these releases, he was in Brazil, overseeing the third major exhibit of his paintings and drawings in his native land. But for all that, Complementary Colors represents the first time he has sought to unite these two aspects of his artistic vision.
Up until now, this has primarily manifested itself in his canvases. “I paint using musical impulses, translated, and transmuted into the shapes and colors,” he explains in a recent news release. “When I paint, I feel my synesthesia is rhythmic; I visualize a rhythm and it’s very strong in me.” From there, the rest of the painting takes shape: “The rhythmic structure almost dictates what the colors will be; the rhythms in my paintings ask for the colors – ‘This should be a red,’ for instance.” But on Complementary Colors, he applied the process in reverse, allowing the recorded playbacks to dictate the titles, based on the hues and mixtures that came to mind. And apart from any crisscrossed sense or extramusical pigments, the music itself occupies the high plateau achieved by Perelman and Shipp on their previous release, Callas, on which they attained a new level in their already telepathic musical communication.
On Villa-Lobos Suite, Perelman again discovered a deeper context for the music after it had been recorded: despite the fact that it bears the name of his countryman Heitor Villa-Lobos, this “suite” took shape without any preparatory study or even discussion of the man who is generally considered the 20th century’s leading Latin American composer of classical music. In fact, the project originally had another name altogether; it was only after Perelman listened back to the recording that he found qualities unexpectedly redolent of his youth, when as a classical guitar prodigy he studied Villa-Lobos’s music extensively. “That music is to me my second skin,” he says; haunting echoes of it bubbled from the raw mixes of the album.
What makes this recording unique in Perelman’s towering discography is the presence of not one but two viola players as his only accompanists. In recent years, the saxophonist has discovered a new musical soulmate in Mat Maneri, with whom he has worked on several noteworthy projects (starting with the score to the Brazilian film A Violent Dose Of Anything in 2014). But serendipitously, Perelman became acquainted with a second violist – the Canadian musician and author Tanya Kalmanovitch – when he heard Maneri playing an instrument borrowed from her. Perelman instantly fixated on the idea of performing with this small “string section”; in his words, “I suddenly had this idea – ‘What would be better than one viola?’ Having two violas! … I had never thought of such a thing, because I never thought there would be another Mat Maneri, a viola player someone so compatible with me. But two of Mat Maneri would be better than one!”
Thanks to the instrumentation, the performances on Villa-Lobos Suite have a classical, almost symphonic quality that helped inspire the album’s title; in addition, the violas’ presence evokes the saxophonist’s own ability to mimic the sounds, range, and even the textures of string instruments (which he has explored on previous albums with a string quartet, as well as with Maneri alone).
The third new release by Perelman, Butterfly Whispers, teams him with pianist Shipp and another frequent collaborator, drummer Whit Dickey. So what distinguishes this recording is not the particular personnel, but rather the overriding concept of the album as a unified piece of “program music” – an artistic concept that, in its attempt to invest instrumental performance with specific extra-musical meaning, could not differ more profoundly from Perelman’s own methodology of total spontaneity.
The titles of the individual pieces, supplied by Brazilian poet Diva Galvao – titles like “Pollen,” “Wet Land,” “Plowed Field,” and “Secret Garden” – suggest some hidden saga awaiting discovery. “Most modern listeners (myself included) shy away from attaching literal narratives to instrumental music,” writes Grammy-Award winning annotator Neil Tesser. “But on Butterfly Whispers, Perelman actively encourages us to do so – to make up our own stories to fit the music, whatever form those stories might take … It may also result from Perelman’s conscious decision to pare things down,” Tesser continues. “His improvisations have become shorter and correspondingly more focused: the tracks on Butterfly Whispers average less than five minutes, whereas albums from a few years ago often included tracks of two and three times that length. Here, he says, ‘I went for a more compositional approach, a more condensed way of distilling and presenting the ideas. I wanted to edit more the musical thought.'”
For more information on Ivo Perelman, please click here.