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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
While even label executive Orrin Keepnews admits that The Wes Montgomery Trio may have fallen short of representing Montgomery's talent, he still felt that this debut captured a large portion of it. Recorded on October 5 and 6 in 1959, guitarist Montgomery is joined by organist Melvin Rhyne and drummer Paul Parker. Montgomery's style, block chords and octaves, is already firmly in place, and he delivers lovely solos on "'Round Midnight," "Whisper Not," and "Satin Doll." The choice of material, in fact, from classics like "Yesterdays" to originals like Montgomery's "Jingles," never falters. The only drawback is that the accompaniment, which though solid, doesn't seem to perfectly match his guitar style. One gets the impression that Montgomery's forceful, deliberate style would be better-served by beefier arrangements. Having said this, Montgomery's performance -- coming at the end of a decade represented by guitarists like Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel -- must have been a revolution in technique and execution. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a 36-year-old guitarist re-imagines the jazz guitar solo. There are two bonus tracks on The Wes Montgomery Trio: extra takes of "Satin Doll" and "Missile Blues." Although later Riverside recordings of Montgomery are more fully realized, fans will enjoy returning to the moment when he first burst upon the jazz scene.


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John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery (March 6, 1923 – June 15, 1968) was an American jazz guitarist. He is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others. Montgomery was known for an unusual technique of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb which granted him a distinctive sound.

He often worked with organist Jimmy Smith, and with his brothers Buddy (piano and vibes) and Monk (bass guitar). His recordings up to 1965 were generally oriented towards hard bop, soul jazz and post bop, while circa 1965 he began recording more pop-oriented instrumental albums that featured less improvisation but found mainstream success and could be classified as crossover jazz or early smooth jazz.


Montgomery was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to NPR Jazz Profiles "The Life and Music Of Wes Montgomery", the nickname "Wes" was a child's abbreviation of his middle name, Leslie. He came from a musical family; his brothers, Monk (double bass and electric bass) and Buddy (vibraphone and piano), were jazz performers. The brothers released a number of albums together as the Montgomery Brothers. Although he was not skilled at reading music, he could learn complex melodies and riffs by ear. Montgomery started learning the six-string guitar at the relatively late age of 20 by listening to and learning the recordings of his idol, guitarist Charlie Christian; however, he had played a four string tenor guitar since age twelve. He was known for his ability to play Christian's solos note for note and was hired by Lionel Hampton for this ability.

Montgomery toured with Lionel Hampton early in his career; however, the combined stress of touring and being away from family took him back home to Indianapolis. To support his family of eight, Montgomery worked in a factory from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, then performed in local clubs from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am. Cannonball Adderley heard Montgomery in an Indianapolis club and was floored. The next morning, he called record producer Orrin Keepnews, who signed Montgomery to a recording contract with Riverside Records. Adderley later recorded with Montgomery on his Pollwinners album. Montgomery recorded with his brothers and various other group members, including the Wynton Kelly Trio which previously backed up Miles Davis.

Following the early work of swing / pre-bop guitarist Christian and gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, Wes joined Tal Farlow, Johnny Smith, Jimmy Raney, and Barney Kessell to put guitar on the map as a bebop / post-bop instrument. While these men generally curtailed their own output in the 1960s, Montgomery recorded prolifically during this period, lending guitar to the same tunes contemporaries such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis were recording.
John Coltrane asked Montgomery to join his band after a jam session, but Montgomery continued to lead his own band. Boss Guitar seems to refer to his status as a guitar-playing bandleader. He also made contributions to recordings by Jimmy Smith. Jazz purists relish Montgomery's recordings up through 1965, and sometimes complain that he abandoned hard-bop for pop jazz toward the end of his career, although it is arguable that he gained a wider audience for his earlier work with his soft jazz from 1965 to 1968. During this late period he occasionally turned out original material alongside jazzy orchestral arrangements of pop songs. In sum, this late period earned him considerable wealth and created a platform for a new audience to hear his earlier recordings.
To many, Montgomery's playing defines jazz guitar and the sound that students try to emulate. Jazz guitarist Bobby Broom, in a video history of Montgomery's impact on musicians and guitarists in Jazz, notes:

Much has been made of the year 1959 in the history of Jazz music. It's been called its most prolific year. It's been called the year Jazz died... One figure that is grossly ignored... is the iconic Wes Montgomery, the Jazz guitarist from Indianapolis who emerged in 1959 with his first trio record... The name of the record was "A Dynamic New Sound." It ushered in a figure that became one of the most celebrated, if not the most celebrated, on the instrument in Jazz music. Wes introduced a brand new approach to playing the guitar. Techniques that were really unexplored before him. The octave technique... and his chord melody and chord soloing playing still is today unmatched, and definitely a revelation to Jazz guitar playing.
Montgomery is the grandfather of actor Anthony Montgomery.

Recording career

Montgomery toured with vibraphonist Lionel Hampton's orchestra from July 1948 to January 1950, and can be heard on recordings from this period. Montgomery then returned to Indianapolis and did not record again until December 1957 (save for one session in 1955), when he took part in a session that included his brothers Monk and Buddy, as well as trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who made his recording debut with Montgomery. Most of the recordings made by Montgomery and his brothers from 1957 to 1959 were released on the Pacific Jazz label.

From 1959 Montgomery was signed to the Riverside Records label, and remained there until late 1963, just before the company went bankrupt. The recordings made during this period are widely considered by fans and jazz historians to be Montgomery's best and most influential. Two sessions in January 1960 yielded The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, which was recorded as a quartet with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath. The album featured two of Montgomery's most well-known compositions, "Four on Six" and "West Coast Blues".

Almost all of Montgomery's output on Riverside featured the guitarist in a small group setting, usually a trio (and always with his organist from his Indianapolis days, Melvin Rhyne), a quartet, or a quintet, playing a mixture of hard-swinging uptempo jazz numbers and quiet ballads. The lone exception, Fusion, telegraphed his post-Riverside career: it was his first recording with a string ensemble. One of the more memorable sets involved a co-leadership collaboration with vibraphone virtuoso and Modern Jazz Quartet mainstay Milt Jackson, whom producer Orrin Keepnews has said insisted on a collaboration with Montgomery as a condition for signing a solo recording deal with Riverside.
In 1964 Montgomery moved to Verve Records for two years. His stay at Verve yielded a number of albums where he was featured with an orchestra—brass-dominated (Movin' Wes), string-oriented (Bumpin', Tequila), or a mix of both (Goin' Out of My Head, California Dreaming).

Montgomery never abandoned jazz entirely in the Verve years, whether with a few selections on most of the Verve albums, or by such sets as 1965's Smokin' at the Half Note, showcasing two appearances at the New York City club with the Wynton Kelly Trio, or a pair of albums that he made with jazz organist Jimmy Smith, Jimmy & Wes: The Dynamic Duo and Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes. He continued to play outstanding live jazz guitar, as evidenced by surviving audio and video recordings from his 1965 tour of Europe.

As a considered founder of the smooth jazz school, the Verve album Bumpin' (1965) represents a model from which many modern recordings are derived: as the liner notes to the CD remaster issue note, after being unable to produce the desired results by the guitarist and orchestra playing together, arranger Don Sebesky suggested Montgomery record the chosen music with his chosen small group, after which Sebesky would write the orchestral charts based on what Montgomery's group had produced. The orchestral parts were then recorded separately from Montgomery.

By the time Montgomery released his first album for A&M Records, he had seemingly abandoned jazz entirely for the more lucrative pop market, though as in his Verve period he played his customary jazz in small group settings in live appearances. The three albums released during his A&M period (1967–68), under longtime jazz producer Creed Taylor (Bethlehem Records, ABC-Paramount Records, Verve Records, CTI Records), feature Sebesky's orchestral arrangements of famous pop songs ("I Say a Little Prayer", "Windy", "A Day in the Life", "Eleanor Rigby", etc.) with Montgomery using guitar octave technique to recite the melody. The A&M recordings feature all-star rhythm sections, including Herbie Hancock on piano, Hank Jones on harpsichord and piano, Ron Carter on bass, Grady Tate on drums, and Ray Barretto on percussion. Hubert Laws also appears on Down Here on the Ground (1968), the first of the A&M albums, playing flute and oboe. These were the most commercially successful records of his career, although AllMusic Guide's Michael G. Nastos wrote of Down Here on the Ground:

Much to either the delight or chagrin of urban or traditional jazz fans, the music changed, and Montgomery was in the middle, though his delightful playing was essentially unchanged. ... In many real and important ways, this is the beginning of the end for Montgomery as a jazz artist, and the inception of bachelor pad lounge/mood music that only lasted for a brief time. ... It does fall in that category of recordings where the musicians chose to produce, rather than create their personal brand of jazz, and is at the very least an historical footnote.
Wes and younger brother Buddy, along with Richard Crabtree and Benny Barth, formed "The Mastersounds", and recorded "Jazz Showcase Introducing The Mastersounds" and a jazz version of "The King and I", both released by World Pacific Records. They first played together at Seattle, particularly working up the set for "The King and I", at a club called Dave's Fifth Avenue. The composers were so impressed by the jazz version of "The King & I" that they pre-released the score of "Flower Drum Song" to the quartet to allow simultaneous release with the soundtrack album.
Resonance Records began a series of live albums from archival recordings in 2016 with the 1959 performance One Night in Indy.

On the morning of June 15, 1968, while at home in Indianapolis, Indiana, Montgomery awoke and remarked to his wife that he "didn't feel very well." He soon collapsed, dying of a heart attack within minutes. 45 years old at the time of his death, Montgomery had just returned from a tour with his quintet and was at the height of his fame, having attained a degree of popular acceptance that few jazz artists in that era achieved. Montgomery's home town of Indianapolis later named a park in his honor.

Montgomery had a wide influence on other noted guitarists who followed him, having also earned the respect of his contemporaries.
Dave Miele and Dan Bielowsky claim, Wes Montgomery was certainly one of the most influential and most musical guitarists to ever pick up the instrument... He took the use of octaves and chord melodies to a greater level than any other guitarist, before or since... Montgomery is undoubtedly one of the most important voices in Jazz guitar that has ever lived—or most likely ever will live. A discussion of Jazz guitar is simply not thorough if it does not touch upon Wes Montgomery.

"Listening to [Wes Montgomery's] solos is like teetering at the edge of a brink," composer-conductor Gunther Schuller asserted, as quoted by Jazz & Pop critic Will Smith. "His playing at its peak becomes unbearably exciting, to the point where one feels unable to muster sufficient physical endurance to outlast it."
Many fellow jazz guitarists consider Montgomery the greatest influence among modern jazz guitarists. Pat Metheny has praised him greatly, saying "I learned to play listening to Wes Montgomery's Smokin' at the Half Note." Metheny told the New York Times in 2005 that the solo on "If You Could See Me Now", from this album is his favorite of all time. Joe Pass said, "To me, there have been only three real innovators on the guitar—Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt", as cited in James Sallis's The Guitar Players and in his Hot Licks instructional video. Kenny Burrell states, "It was an honor that he called me as his second guitarist for a session." In addition, George Benson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, David Becker, Joe Diorio, Steve Lukather, Larry Coryell, Randy Napoleon, and Pat Martino have pointed to him numerous times as a great influence. Lee Ritenour, who recorded the 1993 album Wes Bound named after him, cites him as his most notable influence; he also named his son Wesley. Guitarist Bobby Broom chartered the group Deep Blue Organ Trio to carry on the pioneering sound that Montgomery broke open his career with in 1959: "A Dynamic New Sound for Guitar, Organ and Drums", and formed The Bobby Broom Organi-Sation in 2014 to continue that work.
In 1982, Bob James and Earl Klugh collaborated on a duet album and recorded the song "Wes" as a tribute to the late Montgomery on their "Two of a Kind" album. Pat Martino released his tribute recording to Wes on Blue Note Records in 2006 titled "Remember: A Tribute To Wes Montgomery".

Those influenced by Montgomery include George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Bobby Broom, Royce Campbell, Grant Green, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Howe, Russell Malone, Pat Martino, Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour, Mark Whitfield, Stevie Wonder, Joe Diorio, Tuck Andress, David Becker, Randy Napoleon, Larry Coryell and Emily Remler.


According to jazz guitar educator Wolf Marshall, Montgomery often approached solos in a three-tiered manner: he would begin a repeating progression with single note lines, derived from scales or modes; after a fitting number of sequences, he would play octaves for a few more sequences, finally culminating with block chords. He used mostly superimposed triads and arpeggios as the main source for his soloing ideas and sounds.

The use of octaves (playing the same note on two strings usually one octave apart) for which he is widely known, became known as "the Naptown Sound". Montgomery was also an excellent "single-line" or "single-note" player, and was very influential in the use of block chords in his solos. His playing on the jazz standard "Lover Man" is an example of his single-note, octave- and block-chord soloing. ("Lover Man" appears on the Fantasy album The Montgomery Brothers.)
Instead of using a guitar pick, Montgomery plucked the strings with the fleshy part of his thumb, using downstrokes for single notes and a combination of upstrokes and downstrokes for chords and octaves. Montgomery developed this technique not for technical reasons but to for the benefit his neighbors. He worked long hours as a machinist before his music career began and practiced late at night. To keep neighbors from complaining, he began playing more quietly by using his thumb. This technique enabled him to get a mellow, expressive tone from his guitar. George Benson, in the liner notes of the Ultimate Wes Montgomery album, wrote, "Wes had a corn on his thumb, which gave his sound that point. He would get one sound for the soft parts, and then that point by using the corn. That's why no one will ever match Wes. And his thumb was double-jointed. He could bend it all the way back to touch his wrist, which he would do to shock people."

Montgomery played a Gibson ES-175, later playing exclusively a Gibson L-5CES guitar. In his later years he played one of two L-5CES guitars that Gibson custom made for him, each with a single neck pickup instead of the customary two. In his early years, Montgomery had a tube amp, often a Fender. In his later years he played a solid state Standel amp with a 15-inch (380 mm) speaker.
Awards and accolades

Montgomery received many awards and accolades: nominated for two Grammy Awards for Bumpin', 1965; received Grammy Award for Goin' Out of My Head as Best Instrumental Jazz Performance by Large Group or Soloist with Large Group, 1966; nominated for Grammy Awards for "Eleanor Rigby" and "Down Here on the Ground", 1968; nominated for Grammy Award for Willow, Weep for Me, 1969. Montgomery's second album, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, earned him Down Beat magazine's "New Star" award in 1960. In addition, he won the Down Beat Critic's Poll award for best Jazz guitarist in 1960–63, 1966, and 1967.

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Joshua Redman is one of the most acclaimed and charismatic jazz artists to have emerged in the decade of the 1990s. Born in Berkeley, California, he is the son of legendary saxophonist Dewey Redman and dancer Renee Shedroff. He was exposed at an early age to a variety of musics (jazz, classical, rock, soul, Indian, Indonesian, Middle-Eastern, African) and instruments (recorder, piano, guitar, gatham, gamelan), and began playing clarinet at age nine before switching to what became his primary instrument, the tenor saxophone, one year later. The early influences of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderley and his father, Dewey Redman, as well as The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, The Police and Led Zeppelin drew Joshua more deeply into music. But although Joshua loved playing the saxophone and was a dedicated member of the award-winning Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble and Combo from 1983-86, academics were always his first priority, and he never seriously considered becoming a professional musician.

In 1991 Redman graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Social Studies. He had already been accepted by Yale Law School, but deferred entrance for what he believed was only going to be one year. Some of his friends (former students at the Berklee College of Music whom Joshua had met while in Boston) had recently relocated to Brooklyn, and they were looking for another housemate to help with the rent. Redman accepted their invitation to move in, and almost immediately he found himself immersed in the New York jazz scene. He began jamming and gigging regularly with some of the leading jazz musicians of his generation: Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Kevin Hays, Roy Hargrove, Geoff Keezer, Leon Parker, Jorge Rossy and Mark Turner (to name just a few). In November of that year, five months after moving to New York, Redman was named the winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. This was only one of the more visible highlights from a year that saw Redman beginning to tour and record with jazz masters such as his father, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Elvin Jones, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Paul Motian, and Clark Terry. For Joshua, this was a period of tremendous growth, invaluable experience and endless inspiration.

Now fully committed to a life in music, Redman was quickly signed by Warner Bros. Records and issued his first, self-titled album in the spring of 1993, which subsequently earned Redman his first Grammy nomination. That fall saw the release of Wish, where Joshua was joined by the all-star cast of Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins. He toured extensively with Metheny throughout the latter half of that year. His next recording, MoodSwing, was released in 1994, and it introduced his first permanent band, which included three other young musicians who have gone on to become some of the most important and influential artists in modern jazz: pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade. A later edition of this ensemble included guitarist Peter Bernstein, pianist Peter Martin, bassist Chris Thomas and Blade. Over a series of celebrated recordings including Spirit of the Moment/Live at the Village Vanguard, Freedom in the Groove and Timeless Tales (for Changing Times), Redman established himself as one of the music’s most consistent and successful bandleaders, and added soprano and alto saxophones to his instrumental arsenal. Joshua’s second acclaimed quartet, featuring pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, was formed in 1998 and made its recorded debut on the 2000 album Beyond. The dynamic interplay and uncommon rapport of this group inspired Redman to write and record his first long-form composition, Passage of Time, which was released in 2001.

A year later, Redman began to channel his jazz sensibilities through new instrumentation and formed The Elastic Band, a flexible, electrified, groove-based trio built on an ongoing collaboration with keyboardist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade. The band debuted on the 2002 releases yaya3 and Elastic. Drummer Jeff Ballard began to play regularly with the Elastic Band later that year, and he (along with Blade and Yahel) played a central role in their next recording, the Grammy-nominated Momentum, which was released in 2005 to inaugurate Redman’s affiliation with Nonesuch Records, and featured a diverse and exciting lineup of special guests.

In 2000, Redman was named Artistic Director for the Spring Season of the non-profit jazz-presenting organization SFJAZZ. Redman and SFJAZZ Executive Director Randall Kline had an idea that The New York Times called a “eureka moment”; the creation of the SFJAZZ Collective, an ensemble distinguished both by the creativity of its members and a unique primary emphasis on composition. Inaugurated in 2004, the eight-piece band consists of a multi-generational cast of accomplished musicians. The Collective’s repertoire features both commissioned works and new arrangements of the work of great modern jazz composers. In March 2007, Redman announced that he was taking a hiatus from both the SFJAZZ Artistic Directorship and the SFJAZZ Collective in order to focus on new projects.

The following month, Nonesuch released Redman’s first ever piano-less trio record, Back East, featuring Joshua alongside three stellar bass and drum rhythm sections (Larry Grenadier & Ali Jackson, Christian McBride & Brian Blade, Reuben Rogers & Eric Harland) and three very special guest saxophonists (Chris Cheek, Joe Lovano and Dewey Redman). On Compass, released in January 2009 (Nonesuch), Joshua continues to explore the expansive trio format, and with a group of collaborators as intrepid as he is – bassists Larry Grenadier and Rueben Rogers, and drummers Brian Blade and Gregory Hutchinson – Redman literally and figuratively stretches the shape of the trio approach; on the most audacious of these tunes, he performs with the entire lineup in a double-trio setting.

Starting in late 2009, Joshua will be performing with a new collaborative band called James Farm featuring pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. The band infuses traditional acoustic jazz quartet instrumentation with a progressive attitude and modern sound, creating music that is rhythmically and technically complex and at the same time harmonically rich, melodically satisfying, and emotionally compelling.

In addition to his own projects, Redman has recorded and performed with musicians such as Brian Blade, Ray Brown, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, The Dave Matthews Band, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Aaron Goldberg, Larry Goldings, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Roy Haynes, Billie Higgins, Milt Jackson, Elvin Jones, Quincy Jones, Big Daddy Kane, Geoff Keezer, B.B. King, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, DJ Logic, Joe Lovano, Yo Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, John Medeski, Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller, Paul Motian, MeShell Ndegeocello, Leon Parker, Nicholas Payton, John Psathas, Simon Rattle, Dewey Redman, Dianne Reeves, Melvin Rhyne, The Rolling Stones, The Roots, Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Scofield, Soulive, String Cheese Incident, Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, The Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Mark Turner, McCoy Tyner, Umphrey’s McGee, US3, Bugge Wesseltoft, Cedar Walton, Stevie Wonder and Sam Yahel. Joshua Redman has been nominated for 2 Grammys and has garnered top honors in critics and readers polls of DownBeat, Jazz Times, The Village Voice and Rolling Stone. He wrote and performed the music for Louis Malle’s final film Vanya on 42nd Street, and is both seen and heard in the Robert Altman film Kansas City.

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JazzKamikaze (established 2005 in Copenhagen, Denmark) is an award winning Contemporary jazz band with members from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, known for a series of albums and appearances on international jazz festivals like the North Sea Jazz Festival and Moldejazz.

It is not easy to describe their music, but it can be said that they play a mix of be-bop, funk, fusion, rock and hip-hop. In Norway they have appeared at Kongsberg Jazzfestival and Moldejazz and internationally at North Sea Jazz Festival, Bangkok Jazz Festival, Rochester Jazz Festival as well as being part of the opening of the annual Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

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JazzKamikaze releases fourth studio album, “The Return of JazzKamikaze”

The Scandinavian supergroup makes a thundering return, ready to strike again with a stellar sonic assault of high octane energetic cross-over music. Buckle up, the manga cartoon heroes are back!

JazzKamikaze is the story of a band whose musical path has been as unpredictable as the turning of the wind. From the very beginning it has been the nature of the band to be curious and try out all possibilities in order to keep on evolving.
Since their debut album in 2005, “Mission I”, is has been evident that something different was cooking in Scandinavia. The five members of the band, two Danes, two Norwegians and one Swede met in the environment of the young jazz scene of Copenhagen and formed the band in early 2005 with immediate success to follow. That same year they won the international talent competion, Young Nordic Jazz Comets, and landed a recording deal.
If the first album was a fresh breath of air on the Danish jazz scene the second release, Travelling at the Speed of Sound (2007), was quite an eyeopener for the rest of the world. Critics were praising the band in unison and awards and recognizion kept raining down on the group. From 2007-2009 the band was elected by an international committee to spearhead Denmark in an international launch of jazz founded by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. During these years JazzKamikaze toured the world intensively playing more than 150 concerts spread out on 5 continents including some of the biggest jazz festivals in the world e.g. North Sea Jazz, Bangkok Jazz Festival, Rochester Jazz Festival as well as being part of the opening of the annual carneval in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2008 JazzKamikaze commenced the work on their to date by far both most daring and most demanding work which saw the band introduce the use of lead vocals, heavy guitar layers and the use of large-scale string and choir orchestrations in far more pop/rock oriented songs. The process of writing, recording and mixing the album which took place on both side of the Atlantic, took more than 3 years before they could finally release their third long-player, “Supersonic Revolutions”. A milestone for the band!
For their 4th studio release the band decided on a different game plan. Spontanios live energy that they have become so famous for at their live shows were captured during three days of recording in the studio. The result:
A complety breathtaking voyage into unchartered musical territory. An adventurous body of work capturing 5 very skilled and unlike musicians working as one tightly bonded unit. A 40 minut continious stream of songs and interludes intertwining throughout the record. A new chapter of the JazzKamikaze adventures unfolds.

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Composing for improvising strings has been Akua's life work. She uses the rigorous tools of classical composition to convey a voice which, no matter how sophisticated and well-crafted, sings the blues. Akua's authentic jazz string concept will bring your ensemble to life! As a teacher and clinician, Akua commands a breadth of knowledge and professional experience that will take your seminar, workshop or classroom to new heights. She has something new to offer every string player, whether 4 or 54 years old. Check out Akua's music at Jazzbows, or visit her website,

For clinics and concerts contact Deirdre:

Akua Dixon, jazz cellist, composer, conductor, and vocalist, is the leader of the Akua Dixon Swing Quartet and Quartette Indigo. A Carnegie Hall "Musical Ambassador," Akua is on the roster of Carnegie Hall Education. In 2003, ADSQ was part of Lincoln Center's "Jazz-in-the-Schools Tour." Akua was a Founding Member and original cellist of the Max Roach Double Quartet and Uptown String Quartet. She was also a Founding Member of The String Reunion, as well as TSR's Director of New Music.

Akua has toured with such noted jazz luminaries as Archie Shepp, Henry Threadgill, Max Roach and Steve Turre. As a leader, she has displayed a talent for assembling great string ensembles -- many of the leading jazz string players have performed in Akua's groups.

Akua has taught strings in NY and NJ public schools, lectured on the blues at the Smithsonian, conducted for Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre at City Center in NYC, and given clinics on improvisation and jazz at numerous schools and colleges. As a composer, she has won grants from NEA, Meet the Composer, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She has served on panels for NYSCA and Chamber Music America. Akua wrote the string arrangements for Lauryn Hill's album, "The MisEducation of Lauryn Hill," (5 Grammy awards), and for Aretha Franklin's "A Rose is Still a Rose" (Grammy-nominated). She recently arranged eight tunes from the great American songbook and performed them with her string quartet at the first Made In NY Awards, hosted by Mayor Bloomberg. Her original compositions for strings can be heard on Quartette Indigo's recordings: "Quartette Indigo" (Landmark), and "Afrika! Afrika!" (Savant). She can be heard on Steve Turre's "Fire & Ice," "Lotus Flower," and "Right There." QI may be heard on a film score by Dizzy Gillespie, The Winter in Lisbon.


Cellist, arranger, composer, vocalist, and educator Akua Dixon is a jazz string pioneer who has thrived in a vast array of settings. She’s collaborated on world premieres of major works by reed stars Paquito D’Rivera and James Carter, founded and directed the celebrated, improvisation-laced string quartet Quartette Indigo, and created the string arrangements for the five-time Grammy-winning neo-soul manifesto The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She entered a new creative phase with her sleek 2011 quartet session Moving On, her first album under her own name. Her follow-up album, Akua Dixon, is a dazzling string conclave that surveys her expansive stylistic reach.

The eponymous CD features Dixon’s working string quartet and special guests like bassist Kenny Davis, violin star Regina Carter, and undersung violin master John Blake Jr. (in one of his final recordings before his passing last August). More than anything, the project showcases Dixon as a powerfully emotive improviser and dauntingly creative arranger exploring sumptuous American Songbook ballads, a suave Afro-Cuban standard, erotically charged nuevo tango, and a rootsy Ellingtonian opus.

“When I look back at my history I’ve written for all different sizes of string ensembles, from duos and trios to orchestras,” Dixon says. “But the string quartet is the easiest unit to keep together and keep working, and it’s the situation I’ve written for the most.”
While Dixon is a prolific composer, she decided to reintroduce herself as an arranger by dipping into her extensive catalog of commissioned works. The album opens with a fiercely swinging version of Charles Mingus’s “Haitian Fight Song” featuring John Blake Jr., a piece propelled by the dynamic rhythmic section tandem of bassist Kenny Davis and Akua’s son Orion Turre on drums. As pugnacious and fervent as Mingus’s classic 1955 live recording with Max Roach at the Café Bohemia, the piece is a tantalizing taste from an entire program of string arrangements that Sue Mingus hired Dixon to write.

From Mingus’s volatility Dixon moves to the sublime melancholy of Arthur Schwartz’s lament “Alone Together.” With her burnished cello singing the aching melody in counterpoint to the insistently agitated strings, the tune has never sounded so desolate. She reaches a similar emotional space on a ravishing version of the Rodgers and Hart standard “It Never Entered My Mind,” with her wordless vocal line engaging in an elegant pas de deux with Davis’s supple bass. Dixon’s lush arrangement of Mancini’s “Moon River” showcases the impressive improvisational skills of her bandmates with solos by violist Ina Paris and first violinist Patrisa Tomassini. Conservatory trained musicians who came to jazz relatively late, they’ve blossomed under Dixon’s mentorship.
“They are all fabulous classical players that studied improvisation with me to be able to play this music,” Dixon says. “As a composer of string music I’ve developed the players in my ensemble so they really learn my phrasing. This CD has been a five-year journey for them.”

If the album has a centerpiece it’s “Freedom,” a three-movement suite with two Duke Ellington spirituals sandwiching Dixon’s jaunty middle section. With its distinctive blend of melodic momentum, bluesy authority, and emotional integrity, the suite feels like it was designed for Regina Carter, who gained early attention as a member of Dixon’s Quartette Indigo. Another high point is Dixon’s beautifully distilled version of Israel “Cachao” Lopez’s classic charanga “A Gozar Con Mi Combo.” Dixon’s acquired her deep comprehension of the Afro-Cuban idiom directly from the source, as she performed and recorded with Cachao (and included a different version of the piece on Moving On featuring guitarist Ron Jackson, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Willie Jones III).

Dixon closes the album with three beloved standards that seem to speak to the revivifying power of love. Billy Strayhorn’s world weary “Lush Life” features the lustrous vocals of Dixon’s daughter Andromeda Turre. Her swooning version of “Besame Mucho” glides right into the last track, a gently but compellingly grooving arrangement of “Poinciana” that translates Vernel Fournier’s buoyant beat to a string setting. Dixon is particularly proud to include contributions by her children on the album.

“As a parent I didn’t feel that I could just leave them at home,” she says with a laugh. “They got exposed to a lot of different music growing up and both became wonderful musicians. Making music for me has always been a family affair.”
It’s hard to overstate the centrality of Dixon’s contribution to the rise of visibility of bowed strings in jazz. Born and raised in New York City, she grew up in a family suffused with music, starting with her early experience singing in the Baptist church. Her first creative partnership was also her most profound and enduring, as she started playing with her sister, the late violinist Gayle Dixon, shortly after the cello came into her life in the 4th grade.

“My sister was two grades ahead and she was already playing violin,” Dixon recalls. “The connection was really deep. If I didn’t play well, she wouldn’t let me play with her. And as we got older we always played together. As teenagers we got together with friends on weekends and instead of going out to the park we’d play string quartet pieces. By junior high we were playing little gigs, and in high school I started freelancing seriously.”
After graduating from the prestigious “Fame” High School of the Performing Arts, Dixon studied at the Manhattan School of Music at a time when the only track available focused on European classical music. She describes her post-graduation gig in the pit band at the Apollo Theater as an essential proving ground. Backing a disparate array of stars from Rev. James Cleveland and Barry White to James Brown and Dionne Warwick, she developed a vast idiomatic repertoire. After Sammy Davis Jr. insisted the Westbury Music Fair include African-American musicians in the orchestra Dixon worked with numerous major acts at the theater and broke into Broadway pit bands for shows with Charles Aznavour, Liza Minnelli (Liza with a Z), La Cage Aux Folles, Cats, Doonesbury, Dream Girls, and many others.

With the doors of most symphony orchestras closed to African-American musicians (to say nothing of women), Dixon found a home in the Symphony of the New World, which is where she experienced the Ellingtonian epiphany that led her to jazz. While performing a new work by Ellington who had supported the creation of the orchestra, Dixon realized she hadn’t “studied the music of my own heritage,” she says. “I started immersing myself in jazz and spirituals, and became determined to learn the secrets of improvising.”

Dixon was at the right place at the right time. In the early 1970s the New York scene was exploding with creatively ambitious and talented string players, many of whom gathered in the String Reunion, a 30-piece orchestra founded by Noel Pointer. She served as ensemble’s director of new music, supplying the group with a steady stream of original compositions and arrangements. At the same time, Dixon launched her own string quartet, Quartette Indigo, which made its big league debut at the Village Gate with her sister Gayle Dixon, Maxine Roach, and John Blake Jr.

“There were so many opportunities for interesting work,” Dixon says. “You had cats like Archie Shepp, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Woody Shaw, Jimmy Heath, and Frank Foster wanting to write for strings. Leroy Jenkins, Charles Burnham, Abdul Wadud, and I got to jam and I developed a free, creative aspect to my playing.”
Dixon collaborated closely with another jazz giant in the early 1980s as a founding member of the Max Roach Double Quartet. She had honed her rhythmic drive backing the likes of James Brown, but learning to phrase bebop with one of the idiom’s founding fathers was an invaluable experience. “He knew the sound he wanted,” Dixon says. “We rehearsed nine-to-five five days a week starting in 1981 and the first big concert was at Kool Jazz Festival in 1982. I did the first European tour with Max in summer of 1983.”

Over the years, Dixon has collaborated with many of the world’s greatest arts organizations. She’s conducted for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, and composed an opera commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, The Opera of Marie Laveau that premiered at Henry Street New Federal Theatre in New York City.

After years of lending her skills to recordings by masters such as Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Buster Williams, Carmen McRae, Dizzy Gillespie, Abbey Lincoln, Tom Harrell, and her former husband Steve Turre, Dixon made a bold statement of her own with 1994’s Quartette Indigo (Landmark), a classic album featuring violist Ron Lawrence and violinists Gayle Dixon and John Blake Jr. (reissued by 32 Jazz). Supported by a grant from the NEA, she delivered a brilliant second album in 1997 with Afrika! Afrika! (Savant) with Lawrence, and violinists Regina Carter and Marlene Rice.

She spent much of the next decade immersed in education, teaching at various institutions and conducting dozens of performances through the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series. With the release of Akua Dixon, however, Dixon has refocused her priorities and put her own music on the front burner. Her new album is just the latest dispatch from a restlessly creative artist who’s just starting to reveal her full musical vision. Now living in the Hudson Valley area, she’s busy writing new music for her string quartet, the Moving On quartet, and other ensembles.

“I’ve definitely changed my life around and have some new goals,” Dixon says. “I’m enjoying the freedom to compose and practice. I’m sure I will start teaching again. It’s inevitable and I love it. But I’ve also finished another act in my opera and two symphonic pieces. I have a lot of music within me to set free.” •

Bio by Andrew Gilbert.
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AllMusic : Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny
Vernal Fields One of the most-gifted hard bop trumpeters of her generation, Ingrid Jensen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1967. After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, she toured Europe with the Vienna Art Orchestra's production Fe and Males; following the completion of the tour, she remained abroad, teaching jazz trumpet and becoming, at age 25, the youngest professor at Austria's Bruckner Conservatory. Jensen also toured with Lionel Hampton & His Golden Men of Jazz before returning to the U.S. in 1994, joining the big band DIVA; that same year, she also recorded her debut LP, the Enja label release Vernal Fields. An acolyte of Miles Davis, Art Farmer, and Woody Shaw, her second album, Here on Earth, appeared in 1997 and was followed two years later by Higher Grounds.


Born in Vancouver and raised in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Ingrid Jensen has been hailed as one of the most gifted trumpeters of her generation. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1989, she recorded three highly acclaimed CDs for the ENJA record label, soon becoming one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the global jazz scene. After a teaching stint in Europe in her early twenties (as the youngest professor in the history of the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria), Ingrid settled in New York City in the mid-1990s where she joined the innovative jazz orchestras of Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue.

More recently, Ingrid has been performing with the Grammy- winning Terri-Lyne Carrington and her Mosaic Project. Ingrid is a featured soloist on the Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra’s JUNO award winning album Treelines (2011), and its successor, Habitat (2013). She has performed with a multi-generational cast of jazz legends ranging from Clark Terry to Esperanza Spalding. Ingrid has also performed alongside British R&B artist Corrine Bailey Rae on Saturday Night Live and recorded with Canadian pop icon Sarah McLachlan. In addition to her busy sideman and featured soloist schedule, Ingrid leads her own quintet, quartet and organ trio. Her own bands have garnered glowing reviews and a loyal fan base in Australia, South Africa, most countries in Europe, across Canada, the US, South America (including Brazil, Peru and Chile), Japan and Mexico.

Ingrid is also a dedicated jazz educator. She has taught trumpet at the University of Michigan and Peabody Conservatory, performed and lectured as a guest artist with the Thelonious Monk Institute High School group featuring Herbie Hancock, The Centrum Jazz Workshop, The Dave Brubeck Institute, the Banff Centre Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music, Geri Allen's All-Female Jazz Residency and the Stanford Jazz Camp, to name a few.

Ingrid won the Carmine Caruso Trumpet Competition in 1991 and has twice served on the judges' panel. She is regularly invited to trumpet festivals around the world, including a prestigious invitation in 2011 to work with classical trumpet maestro Håkan Hardenberger and the Swedish Wind Orchestra.

Ingrid plays a custom Monette trumpet, built personally by master builder Dave Monette. Her relationship with Dave has inspired numerous performances at the shop in Portland and generated collaborations with fellow Monette artist, Adam Rapa, as well as John Henes, a specialist in the Alexander technique for brass players.
One of Ingrid’s most frequent and closest collaborators is her sister, saxophonist and composer Christine Jensen. In addition to Christine’s Jazz Orchestra, they co-lead the group Nordic Connect with pianist Maggi Olin. Ingrid and Christine recently recorded a new album with their small group venture featuring guitarist Ben Monder and are eagerly anticipating the spring release.
Ingrid’s most recent release, an electric project (Kind of New) with keyboardist Jason Miles, has garnered rave reviews globally and has led to recent collaborations with Joe Lovano and Lionel Loueke.

Other projects Ingrid has been invited to lend her voice to include: David’s Angels (Sweden), Kari Ikonen (Finland), Marianne Trudel (Montreal), Ellen Rowe (USA), Adam Birnbaum (USA), Sharel Cassity (USA), Tobias Meinhart (Germany/US), numerous all- star groups including a recent European tour with Renee Rosnes, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Anat Cohen, Linda Oh and Melissa Aldana.

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ZIM NGQAWANA : Zimphonic Suites
AllAboutJazz : Javier AQ Ortiz April 12, 2002

Zim Ngqawana: Zimphonic Suites At 20 years of age, Zimasile Ngqawana, did not know how to play a flute, a saxophone or a piano. At 42, he is a well-rounded multi-instrumentalist with plenty of upper crust jazz education and exposure to renowned characters such as Max Roach, Wynton Marsalis, and Abdullah Ibrahim, as well as transcontinental tours. After a few previous successful albums, he is now a prominent and promising jazzist offering Zimphonic Suites to the public while reaping various accolades for this impressive recording.

The album is divided into five conceptual segments, providing 17 sections or arrangements that give Ngqawana and his cohorts plenty of room for their expansive, mature, intimate playing and sound. The collective description applies, of course, to the playing of each of the members of this quartet. This is truly a rare chance to experience one of the larger and wiser sounding small groups in the globalized jazz flora and fauna. You have to do a hearing double take in order to realize that the music in Zimphonic Suites is produced by only four people.

Ngqawana’s expressions are hearty, throaty, percussive (he has produced drumming endeavors), and playful, although with plenty of emotional content and, as all others in this ensemble, encyclopedic. His companions are very well known in South African jazz circles as they are in high demand for sessions and gigs. The piano playing of Yenana is deft and expressive through it all, with a high level of curiosity in his ideas and progressions. Tsoaeli can march his bass to any beat or off beat, without becoming a mere supportive cast member. Much of the largess of this album is anchored in his precision and gracefulness. Gibson is constantly engaged in a dynamic interplay between cymbals, drums and percussion that fills and talks with just the right phrases at just the right times with just the right touches achieving just the expected results.

While Ngqawana pays his respect to his ancestors, musical or otherwise, he is actively paving the way for eventually becoming a leading one himself. The 17 compositions, include a brief sample of a tribal divination gathering (4), a reworking of a Xhosa chant (5), as well as his own interpretation of material from Ibrahim (15, 17) and Piazzola (12). The rest is peppered within a kaleidoscopic framework that allows him to incorporate many of the mainstream influences and dialects of the jazz tradition, while dipping in other musical streams, without loosing the South African seasoning through it all.

Zimphonic Suites is a stimulating album that even in its most adventurous passages does not carry itself away in the kind of self-importance that often times mars vanguard efforts. Stimulations of this type only work well when they make you listen having fun while you are at it. If they get you to prance around, well, that is even better. The thoughtful fun in this one is assured, the prancing is up to you...

Track Listing: Ingoma Ya Kwantu: 1. Invocation 2. Royal Drumming 3. Resolution Intlombe Variations: 4. Diviners Ceremony 5. Ebhofolo (This Madness) 6. Bantu (Rainbow Nation) Abaphantsi (Ancestry Suite): 7. Sad Afrika (A country without a Name) 8. Ode to Princess Magogo (Classical Composer) 9. Old Blues (Early Harmonic Devices) 10. Compassion (Ubuntu) 11. (A.K.A Afrikan Continent) Ballroom Dance Suite: 12. Man and Women (Duality of Life) 13. Man (A Dying Father Figure) 14. Two to Tangle (Challenges of Life) Celebrations: 15. Chisa (Wedding Festivities) 16. Gobbliesation (In a Global Village) 17.Beautiful Love (It's All about Love

Personnel: Zim Ngqawana - soprano, alto, tenor saxophones, c-flute, piccolo flutes, harmonica, bicycle bells, chimes, whistles, vocals, piano on track 8, 10. Andile Yenana - piano/vocals. Herbie Tsoaeli - contrabass/vocals. Kevin Gibson - drums/percussion.

Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Sheer Sound | Style: African Jazz

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Zim Ngqawana (25 December 1959 – 10 May 2011) was a South African flautist and saxophonist. He was later known as Zimology.

The youngest of five children, Ngqawana started playing flute at the age of 21, eventually becoming proficient on alto, tenor and baritone saxophone as well. He dropped out of school prior to meeting university entrance requirements but won entrance to a place at Rhodes University. He later studied for a diploma in Jazz Studies at the University of Natal. He was offered scholarships to the Max Roach/Wynton Marsalis jazz workshop and later a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied with jazz musicians Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef.

After his return to South Africa in the 1990s Ngqawana worked with South African jazz musicians Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim. He collaborated with [Bjorn Ole Solburg] on the album Norwegian San Ensemble album, San Song. On that album he wrote 2 songs "San Song" and "Migrant Workers". He toured the United States with his band "Ingoma" in 1995, and he made an appearance at Black History Week in Chicago.

He performed a duet with poet Lefifi Tladi in the documentary Giant Steps (2005), directed by Geoff Mphakati and Aryan Kaganof. In January 2010, Ngqawana's Zimology Institute was vandalised by scrap metal thieves. He performed a duet concert in the rubble of the vandalised building with Cape Town pianist Kyle Shepherd. This performance was filmed as The Exhibition Of Vandalizimiop by Aryan Kaganof. The Vandalizim concerts were subsequently performed at the MOMO Gallery in Johannesburg and at a scrapyard in Stellenbosch, organised by Stellenbosch University's music department and DOMUS.

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"Zim Ngqawana 2" by Charles Betz - Zim-Ngqawana---Zimology-Quartet. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons -

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Håkon Ganes Kornstad (born 5 April 1977 in Oslo, Norway) is a Norwegian jazz musician (tenor saxophone, bass saxophone, flute and live looping) and classically trained singer (tenor), known from bands such as Wibutee and Kornstad Trio, and collaborations with musicians such as Ketil Bjørnstad, Anja Garbarek, Live Maria Roggen, Bugge Wesseltoft, Sidsel Endresen, Paal Nilssen-Love, Mats Eilertsen, Knut Reiersrud, Jon Christensen, Eivind Aarset, and Pat Metheny.

Kornstad was educated in the Jazz Program at Trondheim Musikkonservatorium. During his studies he founded the jazz trio Triangle, together with Per Zanussi (bass) and Wetle Holte (drums). Later, Erlend Skomsvoll (piano) and Live Maria Roggen (vocals) joined the band, and this lineup evolved to become the band Wibutee (1998). He also put together the Håkon Kornstad Trio with Paal Nilssen-Love and Mats Eilertsen (1998–2003). Kornstad's collaboration with Håvard Wiik was manifested in two albums of duo recordings in 2001. He was involved with the free improvisation bands Tri-Dim and No Spaghetti Edition, and started the band Atomic in 2000. Kornstad has also been part of the bands of Bugge Wesseltoft (1999–2003), Anja Garbarek (2006–), and Sidsel Endresen (2008–).[1]

Since 2003 Kornstad has focused on his solo projects, in which he plays acoustic saxophones along with electronics in an improvised setting, usually giving solo performances. These have also featured guest appearenses from Knut Reiersrud, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Jon Christensen and beatboxer Julian Sommerfelt. In addition to saxophones and electronics, Kornstad plays something he calls the "flutonett", which is a flute coupled with a clarinet mouthpiece.[1][2]

During a stay in New York in 2009 Kornstad became interested in opera, and began taking singing lessons with teachers there. From the autumn of 2011 he has been a student at Operahøgskolen (KHiO), and debuted as a tenor singer in Den Norske Opera in February 2012 as Il Podesta in a student production of the Mozart opera La finta giardiniera. In 2011 he was nominated for the Spellemannprisen, in the category of This Year's Jazz Record, for Symphonies in My Head (Jazzland, 2011). He then presented his new project, Tenor Battle, combining opera and jazz, at the International Jazz Festival Nattjazz in Bergen. The new band could best be described as a sort of updated salon orchestra, inspired by the LP era, where jazz standards coexist with opera arias and ballads are followed by improvisations in the known Kornstad style. Kornstad is known as one of the premier Norwegian saxophonists, with a tone so hot that one can be melted freely, his voice has the same impact.

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Born in Oslo, Norway in 1977, Kornstad took up the clarinet in grammar school and eventually turned to the saxophone and studies at the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory. Known for its emphasis on artistic identity, Kornstad emerged from Trondheim with a distinct voice whose strength was soon manifest in the professional success that followed. But even before leaving the Conservatory, he began putting it to work in the formation of the group Triangle, with two fellow Conservatory students, drummer Wetle Holte and double bassist Per Zanussi. With the addition of pianist Erlend Skomsvoll and singer Live Maria Roggen, Triangle would evolve into the group Wibutee and, by the time Kornstad graduated, the group was embraced by a community of artists centered around the contemporary music club Blå. It was there that pianist Bugge Wesseltoft heard and signed him to the Jazzland Recordings label in 1998, and three Jazzland albums followed: Newborn Thing (1999), Eight Domestic Challenges (2001), and Playmachine (2004).

In parallel to Wibutee, Kornstad organized an acoustic group of formidable artistic ability, the Kornstad Trio. Consisting of two more classmates from Trondheim, renowned bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, they made a big impression when they were invited by guitarist Pat Metheny to play with him in 2001 at the Molde International Jazz Festival; and another important festival, the Kongsberg Jazz Festival, selected the trio in 2002 for its annual award for the Norwegian musician or group of the year. Kornstad's interest in collaboration led to more critically acclaimed creative ventures, including a pair of duo albums with pianist Håvard Wiik entitled Eight Tunes We Like (2005) and The Bad and the Beautiful (2006), the latter nominated in 2006 for the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy – the Spellemannprisen. He also later recorded three duo albums with bass player Ingebrigt Håker Flaten;

After years of strengthening his technique, discovering nuances, and exploring the sonic possibilities of the saxophone in collaborations and as a sideman, Kornstad released his own solo effort in the album Single Engine (2007), an album that showed he had fully come into his own at last. Kornstad was now established in his own right as one of Norway's leading jazz musicians, and Single Engine helped him gain recognition for his vision, featuring Bugge Wesseltoft, Knut Reiersrud and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten as guests. One of Norway's leading newspapers, Dagbladet, fully understood the quality and significance of this release. The review entitled Absolute Kornstad, with the inserted headline A Definitive Artistic Breakthrough, was itself definitive: “Håkon Kornstad’s 'Single Engine' is an extraordinary album. Here all the bits and pieces come together, and loose threads find their place, while the music raises perhaps the most important milestone in an artist’s development: the definitive transition from 'promising' to 'mature and original.'”

His second solo album was released in 2009. Dwell Time (Jazzland) is a purely solo saxophone performance, recorded in Sofienberg Church by legendary engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug. In real time, Kornstad recorded short tracks into a looping device that play back and gradually build as he adds more elements, and ultimately became an orchestra that accompanied him as he carried the melodies and improvised. Peter Margasak's review in Downbeat Magazine was typical of the album's reception in the press, calling Kornstad “one of Norway's most original and daring musicians.”

The year 2009 would mark another major moment in Kornstad's artistic evolution. On a visit to New York, he discovered opera and decided to take lessons with a retired dramatic soprano. This led him to apply and be admitted in 2011 to the Operahøgskolen (The Norwegian Academy of Opera), where he completed his master studies as operatic tenor in May 2014. At the Oslo Opera House he performed several roles as part of his education.

While still in his first year of opera school, he released his third solo saxophone album, Symphonies in My Head (Jazzland, 2011). In this recording, there were early signs of how his new knowledge of opera would be integrated into his jazz expression, such as his saxophone rendition of an aria from George Bizet's opera Les pecheurs des perles. Critical reviews of the work were again outstanding. Eyal Hareuveni wrote in All About Jazz that “he manages to turn his improvisations into small symphonies, arresting in their structure and deep emotional impact.”

Kornstad's new direction, a meeting of jazz and opera, manifest itself not only in his solo performances, but also took the form of Kornstad Ensemble. Seamlessly blending opera arias and jazz, the group features his longtime companion from Wibutee, double bassist Per Zanussi, as well as Sigbjørn Apeland on harmonium, Øyvind Skarbø on percussion, and Lars Henrik Johansen on cembalo.

One of the group's first performances was given in 2012 at the Molde Jazz Festival and stirred tremendous interest. Dagbladet's headline read, “The Two Tenors Hit the Note,” and reported that the festival could have sold out the concert three times over. About a year later, Dagbladet checked in with Kornstad again, now in his final year of opera study, and published a feature article about his work. Entitled The Two Tenors by One of Them, its subtitle underlined Kornstad's essential viewpoint, Jazz on the tenor saxophone or opera arias as lyric tenor? For Håkon Kornstad (36) the choice was clear: yes please, both. The article begins by spelling out Kornstad's ever more unique artistic profile:

“He sings an Italian aria much better than any other tenor saxophonist you've heard of, before grabbing his horn – and with the world's strangest constellation plays an aria in a jazz fashion that Björling, Caruso or Pavarotti would never have dreamed about.”

If one were to choose only one among Kornstad's many talents and accomplishments that would represent his work, it would be the fearlessness with which he has followed his muse, time and again, into extraordinary artistic territory. Still a relatively young man in his 30s, the promise of what is yet to come is truly exciting.

Fellow artists have been taking notice. In 2012, the Oslo International Church Music Festival invited Norwegian writer, composer and pianist Ketil Bjørnstad to write A Passion for John Donne which was composed, in part, with Kornstad's saxophone playing and singing in mind. Featuring the Oslo Chamber Choir under the director of Håkon Daniel Nystedt, percussionist and drummer Birger Mistereggen, and Bjørnstad himself on the piano, the concert performance of Passion for John Donne was recorded, was released on the ECM label in November 2014 (Kornstad's debut on the label).

In September 2013 Kornstad was invited by American jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman to perform solo and duo in London’s Wigmore Hall. Same year, he did extensive touring in Europe alongside Bugge Wesseltoft and Ola Kvernberg among others, playing his concert of solo saxophone and song on the famous Karsten Jahnke Jazz Nights tour in Germany.

Another collaboration with Bjørnstad was presented in the summer of 2014 with a commissioned work for one of Norway's largest music festivals, Olavsfestdagene (St. Olav Festival) in Trondheim. Once again written music for the ensemble that performed Passion for John Donne. He and Kornstad was joined by soprano Tora Augestad and percussionist Birger Mistereggen. The work was performed in the Nidaros dome and will be released in January 2016.

The summer of 2014 also brought Kornstad to yet another role in a newly composed and commissioned work, this by ECM artist Sinikka Langeland. Her new work, Mysticeti - Mass for the blue whale was premiered at two of Norway's leading festivals in tandem, Festspillene I Nord-Norge (Festival of North Norway) and Vestfold Festspillene (Vestfold International Festival). The new work featured Kornstad on saxophones, looping and tenor singing, along with renowned opera baritone Johannes Weisser, mezzo-soprano Marianne Beate Kielland and jazz musicians Trygve Seim and Jon Christensen. An album recording will take place in 2016.

Following a solo tour in Russia for the JazzProvince festival in November, as well as solo concerts in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bucharest, Romania – in December 2014, Kornstad Ensemble performed for two full houses in St-Martin-in-the-fields in London. Spencer Grady in Jazzwise wrote: “Håkon Kornstad and his Tenor Battle troupe have fashioned a triumphant Bartók-reversal, the successful contextualising of high-end tropes into the folk firmament.” In March 2015 Kornstad returned to London for a solo concert at the King’s Place. Legendary jazz critic in The Guardian, John Fordham was in the audience: “It could have been a virtuosic circus act, but in Kornstad’s hands was a musical tour de force.” He credited the concert four stars.

Another UK solo concert followed suit—this time at the prestigious Sage Gateshead festival in Newcastle upon Tyne. William Brown in Newcastle’s biggest paper The Journal wrote very enthusiastically about the concert:
“That such an incredible talent has not reached the ears of a wider audience is truly astonishing. To anyone with even the slightest interest in jazz and opera, Kornstad is a musician who simply must be heard, for there is no one else like him! A modern legend in jazz? No doubt about it!”
In April 2015, the concert at Sarajevo Jazz Festival was released digitally as the album Live in Sarajevo, the first album to fully feature Kornstad’s combination of jazz saxophone and operatic singing.

In May 2015, Kornstad sang in the newly commissioned opera “Adam & Eve – A divine comedy” by composer Cecilie Ore, alongside among others the acclaimed singers Tora Augestad, Eir Inderhaug, Olle Holmgren, Frank Havrøy and Ingebjørg Kosmo. The opera had its world premiere at the Bergen Festspiele, and then continued to the Ultima Festival in Oslo in September 2015.

The first studio album with his ensemble was released in October 2015 on the Jazzland label, with the title Tenor Battle. The critics were very enthusiastic – Norway’s biggest newspaper Aftenposten reviewed it first and gave it four stars: “His project is a musical enrichment for everyone who loves classical music as well as those who like it when musicians yearn for the unknown. There is something magical, almost timeless and yet innovative and challenging in the way they treat these songs".

The Kornstad Ensemble played from Tenor Battle in Oslo, Bergen, Salzburg and Fredrikstad for sold out and full houses. More concert have already been planned for 2016.

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Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (born 23 September 1971 in Oppdal, Norway) is a Norwegian bassist active in the jazz and free jazz genres.

Flaten played electric bass in local funk trio Neon (1990), and studied on the Jazz program at Trondheim Music Conservatory (1992–94). He was involved in several groups from the first year at NTNU, including Trondhjems Kunstorkester, To brumbasser og en bi, and the successful group The Source. With the latter Ornette Coleman inspired band he recorded records Olemanns kornett (1994) and "... of Christmas' (1995), toured in northern Europe and had a festival gigs together with such different constellations as Motor Psycho and Cikada Quartet (both in 1995). Already in 1993 he was part of jamkompet at Kongsberg Jazz Festival.

To brumbasser og en bi was later better known as Maria Kannegaard Trio. From 1994 he had a duo with Michael Bloch, and became a member of "Jax" from the same year, including festival gigs in Oslo and Moldejazz. He attended the Bugge Wesseltoft's album New Conception of Jazz (1995–96), and from 1995 he was a member of two successful groups, the Paul Bley inspired trio Close Erase, with recording 1995 1998, 2001 and 2006. He also appeared on tours and festivals, as well as re-release 2010, "R.I.P. Complete Recordings 1995–2007, and the Coltrane inspired quartet Element.[1][2]

In the winter of 1995–96 Flaten moved to Oslo and this led to many new involvements, like Acidband, SAN: Song (1996), Oslo Groove Company, YoungLove, and not least the super trio with Petter Wettre (1996–), usually just called The Trio: Meet the locals (1998), In color (1999) and Mystery unfolds (2001), Tour de force with Petter Wettre/Dave Liebman (2000). Moreover, his authoritative bass have been listening to records with Sigurd Køhn (1996), Eivind Aarset (1997), Jazzmob (1998), Bugge Wesseltoft's Sharing (1998), Moving (2001) and Live (2000–02), Didrik Ingvaldsen (2000), two albums with the band School Days (2000 and 2001), seven albums with The Thing, a trio with Mats Gustafsson and Paal Nilssen-Love (2001), Live at Blå (2003), Action jazz (2005), Now and forever (2005), Immediate sound with Ken Vandermark (2007) and Bag it! (2008), No Spaghetti Edition (2001) and og Atomic: Feet music (2001), Boom Boom (2002), The Bikini tapes (2004), Happy new ears! (2005), Retrograde (2007–08) and Theater Tilters, vol 1–2 (2010).

New recordings coming, like The Electrics (2002) and The Scorch Trio (with Raoul Björkenheim og Paal Nilssen-Love) 2002 og 2004, Brolt! (2008) and Melaza (2010). In 2003 he released his solo album Double bass, and the same year he participated on the record Bjørn Johansen in memoriam and the fusjon of Atomic and Schooldays released in the album Nuclear assembly hall, followed by Distil (Chicago 2006). A record with Bugge Wesseltoft New Conception of Jazz released in 2004, the same year as he was awarded Vitalprisen at Kongsberg Jazzfestival. In 2011 was published the record My heart always wanders, which he did with Håkon Kornstad and Jon Christensen, from the same year he contributed on the Ola Kvernberg's record Liarbird receiving Spellemannprisen 2011.


Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (b. 1971, Oppdal) – studied Jazz at the Music Consevatory in Trondheim, Norway (1992-1995) under the tutelage of bassplayer Odd Magne Gridseth.
When one listens to the great bassists in modern jazz history, a striking thing (though it may not be immediately arrived at) is that greatness is reached through open-mindedness and diversity. William Parker, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Peter Kowald, Wilbur Ware, Bertram Turetsky, Buell Neidlinger – all of these bass players have embraced a lifestyle of playing all sorts of music and the breadth of each musicians’ technique is a testament to those experiences. Norwegian bassist and composer Ingebrigt Håker Flaten is also a musician whose experience is both geographical and aesthetic. While the fertile Scandinavian new jazz scene offered a vast amount of opportunities to work in different bands with musicians whose concepts are as individual as the grains in a reed, Flaten has found home and on-the-bandstand education in places as far flung as Chicago and his current residence Austin, Texas.
A muscular player whose tone and attack run the gamut from Paul Chambers to Buschi Niebergall, his sense of both openness and control serves ensembles as diverse as The Thing, Free Fall, Atomic, Scorch Trio and the Kornstad/Håker Flaten Duo. In addition to his own Chicago Sextet and Austin-centric Young Mothers, Flaten has also recorded and performed with Frode Gjerstad, Dave Rempis, Bobby Bradford, the AALY Trio, Ken Vandermark, Stephen Gauci, Tony Malaby, Daniel Levin, Dennis Gonzalez and numerous others. Flaten studied at the Conservatory in Trondheim (1992-1995), turning professional shortly afterward, yet his hunger to play in new situations with new musicians – schooled or amateur, frequently recorded or just starting out – puts him in a rare class, that of a truly broad-minded artist. That mettle has served him well, living and developing the music under his own steam and drawing from influences as diverse as Derek Bailey, George Russell, Chris McGregor, filmmakers Ingmar Bergman, contemporary pop melody and gritty punk music as well as everyday sights and sounds.
There is a calmness and self-assuredness that imbues all great artists, in that the diversity of their work comes with very little ego. Flaten’s artistry is often in collective, leaderless ensembles and in fact, following a decade of professional musicianship it wasn’t until 2004 that his leader-debut was released – Quintet (Jazzland, followed in 2008 by The Year of the Boar, and a Sextet recording is upcoming). This latter fact is partly due to the necessity of a copacetic situation – in an interview in 2010 with the Austinist he noted that “I use people where I’m located. It’s inspiring to have your own band to write for, but you have to make sure that people feel free and not limited by the music; the compositions should lead the way to a player’s open mind, and that is a challenge.” Certainly not every bandleader/composer thinks this way.
In 2011, he formed another ensemble, The Young Mothers, which includes drummers Stefan Gonzalez (Dallas) and Frank Rosaly (Chicago), trumpeter/poet/rapper Jawaad Taylor (New York), saxophonist Jason Jackson (Houston), and Jonathan Horne (Austin) on guitar. It’s a group of varying levels and influences and as it grows organically, will be another excellent lens through which to view Flaten’s aesthetic, philosophy, and musicianship. The next few years see him in a position where established ensembles can steep and spread their influence, while experimenting with and nurturing a wide range of new relationships.

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Jasper Høiby (Denmark) -double bass
Ivo Neame (UK) -piano
Anton Eger (Sweden/Norway) -drums

Phronesis is a jazz piano trio created by Copenhagen-born/London-based bassist Jasper Høiby in 2005. Høiby released Phronesis' debut album Organic Warfare in November 2007, on Loop Records; it was on the U.S. itunes top hundred selling albums list for two months following its release and has so far sold more than 12,000 downloads internationally.
The trio released its second album Green Delay in June 2009, which was voted one of the top ten albums of the year in Jazzwise magazine.
Phronesis signed to Edition Records in 2010, for which it recorded its third album live in March 2010 as part of a U.K. tour. Featured on the album was U.S. drummer Mark Guiliana, who has been described by Modern Drummer magazine as “at the forefront of an exciting new style of drumming”. The album Alive was released on 26th July 2010 and chosen as ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ by Jazzwise and MOJO Magazines. The trio released its fourth album Walking Dark in April 2012 and fifth album Life to Everything in April 2014 (recorded live at the Cockpit Theatre, London as part of the 2013 EFG London Jazz Festival)


Phronesis have the ability to excite, inspire and move people in a way that few bands are able to do. Formed in 2005by Danish double-bass player Jasper Høiby, their charismatic live performances have captured the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide and prompted Jon Newey (Editor of Jazzwise Magazine) to describe them as “the most exciting and imaginative piano trio since EST”.

InSpring 2016 Phronesis launched their sixth album ‘Parallax’ (recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London) with concerts at the 950-seater Cadogan Hall in London andat Jazzhouse in Copenhagen, plus tour dates in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and France. In the summer the trio were invited to perform at the opening of the Danish Olympic Pavilion in Rio, Brazil alongside dates at the prestigious SESC venues in São Paulo. September saw the trio returning to the studio in Germany to record Julian Argüelles’s arrangements of their compositions with the hr Frankfurt Radio Big Band. This album is due for release in the early summer of 2017.2015“Ten years on the road, and Phronesis are established as one of the great trios. Three players, moving as one –head, heart and hands.”–London Jazz News.The trio began their tenth anniversary year with a 6-date Music Network tour of Ireland, followed by a spring tour in Germany and Switzerland. In May the trio performed their ‘Pitch Black’ project for a sold-out show at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, where Jazzwise described their “deep, almost uncanny empathy that stands them apart from any other piano trio in Europe.”In the summer, the band returned for the third time to the Canadian festival circuit, performing at Montreal and Vancouver Jazz Festivals.Following performances in Germany, Austria, the UK, Belgium, Luxembourg & the Ukrainein the autumn, the band recorded their sixth album ‘Parallax’ at the renowned Abbey Road studios in London (due for release on Edition Records in spring 2016).In November the trio celebrate their tenth anniversary at Sendesaal Frankfurt and the London Jazz Festival with a special project for which UK composer/arranger Julian Argüelles has created innovative arrangements of the trio’s compositionsfor performancesby the Frankfurt Radio Big Bandalongside Phronesis.In 2014 Phronesis released their critically acclaimed fifth album 'Life to Everything'. With a reputation for spell-binding roller-coaster live performances and a second MOBO Award nomination for 'best jazz act', the year's performing schedule took them to concert stages across the world from Morocco to Brazil, to festivals including North Sea, Copenhagen, Middelheim and Elb, and on tours across the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, marking their rise to the forefront of the European club scene.

In2013 Phronesis began the year touring in Australia, Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. They returnedto North America in the summer to perform at Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton jazz festivals in Canada and Rochester Jazz Festival and the Jazz Standard NY in the USA. In September the trio toured on the West Coast of the USA for the first time, including two performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival,and in October they repeated their extraordinary ‘Pitch Black’project for three shows in Belgium. The trio recordedtheir fifth albumof brand new material,‘Life To Everything’, live in the round, over three sold outEFG London Jazz Festivalperformances in November. In 2012 the trio rose to the peak of their creative power with fourth album, Walking Dark(Edition). Described in a 5* review in BBC Music Magazine as “arguably the best disc yet from one of the best of the bunch of contemporary bands”, it is the first album in which all members of the band contribute to the writing as well as the arranging. The album launch saw the trio touring in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, France, Romania, Ireland and the UK including performances at Istanbul, Vitoria, Palatia, C-Mine and Copenhagen Jazz Festivals. Earlier in the year Jasper Høiby was awarded the Copenhagen Jazz Festival’s ‘Young Spirit Award’ and in June the trio won the ‘London Jazz Award’at the London Awards for Art and Performance. With their “rare combination of solid jazz credentials and zeitgeist”(jazz journal), Phronesis were chosen by the International Jazz Festivals Organisation, (as one of only six groups worldwide), for the IJFO new talent support programme, which includes performances for the trio at up to 17 IJFO festivals over the coming two years.In2011the trio received an outstanding reception on their first tour of North America, including the Rochester, Montreal and Ottawa International Jazz Festivals and the legendary Jazz Standard club in New York. In August 2011, they premiered their ‘Pitch Black’ project at Brecon Jazz Festival –a performance in total darkness,which was described in a 5-star review by the Telegraph as a ‘unique, unmissable triumph’.‘Pitch Black’ wasalso repeated in Germany and to a sell-out house at the 2011 London Jazz Festival in November.In2010 Phronesis developed a fierce reputation as one of the most formidable trios in the UK. They were nominated for ‘Best Jazz Ensemble’ in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, featured on the front cover of Jazzwise Magazine and nominated for ‘Best Jazz Act’ at the prestigious 2010 MOBO Awards. The trio gained increasing attention in Europe, with acclaimed performances at the Banlieues Bleues Festival in Paris, and the Copenhagen and North Sea Jazz Festivals in addition to the Brecon, Glasgow and London Jazz Festivals in the UK. The trio’s third album, Alive(Edition), featuring guest drummer Mark Guiliana (Avishai Cohen/Meshell Ndegeocello), was released in July 2010 to great critical acclaim and chosen as ‘Jazz Album of the Year’by Jazzwiseand MOJO Magazines.The energy and individuality of Phronesis comes from an extraordinary democracy ofexpression and intuitive empathy between the musicians -British pianist IvoNeame and Swedish drummer Anton Eger come together with Høiby tocreate a propulsive groove-driven sound that is utterly accessible despite itsunderlying complexity. “Phronesis have a precocious compositional strength, hitching striking themes to engaging grooves; they have improv virtuosity to spare, but never show off, and make light of travelling the most devious rhythmic routes.”–the Guardian

The trio’s debut album Organic Warfarewas released in November 2007 onLoop Records. Their second album Green Delaywas released in June 2009, receiving critical acclaim from The Guardian, Jazzwise (who voted it as one oftheir top ten albums of 2009) and The Times.

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