SHAWN MAXWELL

Millstream

A spirited free-thinker and committed non-conformist, saxophonist-composer Shawn Maxwell is clearly courting another kind of muse. “Jackie McLean and Cannonball Adderley are two of my heroes, and I guess you probably wouldn’t even think of it listening to me play. But I’ve transcribed them and been influenced hugely by them. I love Cannonball. But I’m not gonna be Cannonball.”

TRILOK GURTU

God Is A Drummer

THE NEW STUDIO ALBUM BY MASTER DRUMMER TRILOK GURTU

Throughout his illustrious career, master drummer and world music pioneer Trilok Gurtu has stood at the confluence of where Indian classical music, Western jazz and funk, African music and Brazilian music meet. It’s been part of his modus operandi for five decades — making music that defies easy categorization.

On God Is Drummer, his 20th recording as a leader, the uncommonly open-minded musician pays tribute to some fallen colleagues and role models who have guided and inspired him along the way.

JIM BEARD & JON HERINGTON

Chunks and Chairknobs

It’s only natural that pianist Jim Beard and guitarist Jon Herington would strike the kind of special accord heard throughout this intimate duo encounter. They’ve shared countless hours in the studio over the years playing on each other’s albums, beginning with Beard’s 1990 debut Song of the Sun and continuing through to Herington’s 2016 album Adult Entertainment. They’ve worked together as sidemen on recordings by bassist Victor Bailey, saxophonists Bill Evans and Bob Berg, drummer Dennis Chambers and brothers Michael and Randy Brecker. And they’ve shared the bandstand on tour with Steely Dan for the past several years...

BILL LAURANCE & WDR Big Band

BILL LAURANCE & WDR Big Band Köln,

conducted by Bob Mintzer

Live at the Philharmonie, Cologne

A charter member of the three-time Grammy Award winnig, internationally acclaimed group Snarky Puppy, voted Jazz Group of the Year in the 2017 DownBeat Readers Poll, keyboardist Bill Laurance has also been operating outside the confines of that wildly popular genre-bending jazz and funk collective.

RANDY BRECKER & ADA ROVATTI

BRECKER PLAYS ROVATTI – SACRED BOND

Husband & Wife Team of Randy Brecker and Ada Rovatti Join Forces on New CD
Brecker Plays Rovatti: Sacred Bond Scheduled for Fall release on JAZZLINE

There’s a saying that ‘the family that plays together, stays together.’ That old adage is put into effect on Brecker Plays Rovatti: Sacred Bond, which not only features the husband and wife team of Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and fusion pioneer Randy Brecker and saxophonist-composer Ada Rovatti but also includes their 10-year-old daughter Stella in a vocal cameo appearance on one track

BILL EVANS

THE EAST END

feat. Etienne Mbappe, Wolfgang Haffner & WDR Big Band Cologne, arranged and conducted by Michael Abene

The Cologne Stadtgarten venue was crammed that mid-February eve in 2011. A very special concert was scheduled for the night – and the audience did arrive in crowds at the Stadtgarten in Cologne to be part of this rare opportunity. The American saxophonist Bill Evans was in town to perform with the WDR Big Band. The crowd’s anticipation of a sublime live-concert made the air crackle with excitement. The temperature was rising quickly and the vibe was getting better and better.

LIEBMAN & BEIRACH

ETERNAL VOICES

This release celebrates the 50th year anniversary of Lieb and I meeting, playing and recording our music together. It has been an amazing run and happily is still ongoing, stronger than ever. This Eternal Voices recording is very special even for us. We chose to use short but very powerful masterpieces of classical music from Bach to Schoenberg as a format for our improvisations.

BOB BROOKMEYER – JIM HALL – MEL LEWIS

w/WDR BIG BAND COLOGNE

On The Way To The Sky

Sag mir, wie du heißt, und ich sag dir, wie und was du spielst.

Namen von Musikern können wie ein ästhetisches Programm sein. Ad hoc ordnen wir ihnen Klänge oder Stile zu. Dass wir beim Namen Bob Brookmeyer nicht gleich an avancierte, „neutönerische“ Musik denken, ist – obwohl er uns einiges davon hinterlassen hat - so verwunderlich nicht. 

MOKHTAR SAMBA

MUSIQUE D´AFRIQUE

At the end of August 2015 the WDR Big Band ignited an impressive acoustic fireworks of African timbres and rhythms at the Cologne Philharmonic. The guests were Mokhtar Samba, drums, his son Reda Samba, percussion, Rhani Krija, percussion, Henry Dorina, electric bass, Woz Kaly, vocals and Jean-Philippe Rykiel, keyboard. The pieces were arranged by Michael Mossmann, who also in charge of this major project. The music is presented by Mokhtar Samba: it is about vibrant rhythms and hypnotising melodies.

POOGIE BELL BAND

Exhibition Continues

A longtime rhythmic right hand man for bass great Marcus Miller, as well as a reliable sideman to the likes of Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Angelique Kidjo and Al Jarreau, drummer Poogie Bell showcases another side of his musicality on Exhibition Continues. An eclectic outing that features the Pittsburgh native stretching into some ambitious territory that goes well beyond strict pocket playing.

RICHIE BEIRACH

INBORN

with

Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, George Mraz, Adam Nussbaum, John Scofield

This recording, done in 1989 in New York City at Clinton Studios demonstrates some of the  essence of what was happening at that time in the New York jazz community.

Mike and Randy Brecker, Scofield, Adam and George Mraz were my close friends. We did not necessarily meet or speak every day but there was a constant connection. When we did see each other it was very intense and usually centered around a pending performance or a recording...

RANDY BRECKER

ROCKS

Brecker is still one of the best trumpet players in the world. “You must never stop to devote yourself to your musical instrument of choice. Also, I would not know what to do without my trumpet. Of course, there are moments when I am tempted to throw it out of the window, however, if the instrument sounds the way you intended, it is a great joy!” You can tell: Randy rocks. They all rock. Rocks rocks!

JESSE MILLINER

Thinking Out Loud

The high art of modern composition, in jazz and beyond

As good as new

When did it actually begin? And with whom? With which compositions? Suddenly they no longer had much (or anything at all) to do with the classical principles of songs composed, say, in the times of Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Developed primarily for films or Broadway shows, the melodies and harmonies of their verses and choruses were immediately recognizable, and with a little practice could be sung even by amateurs.

PBUG

STAND UP

Undoubtedly, PBUG, the UK’s hottest Funk sensation, are at the forefront of the New Wave of Funk & Soul. Since its formation in 2008 the band has been taking the UK Funk scene by storm, building a loyal fan base, again and again sweeping reviewers off their feet in a blitz of energy, showmanship and ferocious musical talent.

ULLA HAESEN

RIO   

For centuries, the world's best musicians have built bridges between cultures. They cross borders, blur lines between our similarities and differences, and bring us closer together with their artistic courage. They play. We listen. As we sway to exotic rhythms, we unite. Musical bridges create harmony through shared understanding.

METRO

BIG BAND BOOM

Chuck Loeb, Mitchel Forman, Wolfgang Haffner

w/ WDR Big Band Cologne, arr. and cond. Bby Michael Abene 

Once upon a time there was a Canadian supermarket chain called LOEB, which was eventually acquired by METRO group. However, it was not this real-life friendly take-over which inspired a guitarist called LOEB to name a band-project METRO…

DAVE LIEBMAN

FIRE

w/ DAVE HOLLAND  JACK DEJOHNETTE  KENNY WERNER

The Elements: Fire

The four elements found in the natural world (Air, Fire, Water, Earth) represent the ultimate example of duality, observed in both nature and human kind. Whether it is called yin/yang, night/day (any opposing pair), the principle remains the same. As Yoda, the Star Wars sage said: “There are always two!!”

JAN FELIX MAY

RED MESSIAH

Jan Felix May is part of a generation of musicians who are not afraid to cross stylistic boundaries. The motto is to establish new connections instead of sticking to old divisions. In doing so, the 1993-born May displays compositional and musical precision, an innovative creative drive as well as humour. His talent has already been recognised, e.g. at the Internationale Jazzwochen Burghausen, where he won first prize in the solo competition and came in second with his band in the group competition. Frank Zappa is none of May’s direct role models. However, certain similarities in their mind-set can be detected.

STEPS AHEAD

Steppin’ Out

Like Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers from another era, Steps Ahead is a longstanding institution of higher education that has graduated a plethora of promising young talent over the course of four decades. Such rising stars as saxophonists Donny McCaslin and Bendik, guitarists Jimi Tunnel and Bryan Baker, keyboardists Eliane Elias and Rachel Z, bassists Etienne Mbappe and Richard Bona have passed through the ranks of the popular New York City fusion group.

BOBBY BROOM

Soul Fingers

Veteran jazz guitarist Bobby Broom combines his jazz pedigree with his love of the pop tunes he grew up with in the ‘60s and ‘70s on his 12th recording as a leader, the aptly-titled Soul Fingers. It’s a formula that Broom worked to perfection on 2001’s Stand!, which had him interpreting songs by The Beatles, The Turtles, The Mamas and the Papas, Johnny Nash, Stevie Wonder and Sly & The Family Stone through a hard-bop lens. This time out he puts his personal spin on some iconic pop tunes from that same golden era in a swinging program with his Organi-Sation, featuring his longtime drummer Kobie Watkins and the Philly-born, Brooklyn-based B-3 ace Ben Paterson. Together they shuffle and swing their way through pop classics like The Beatles’ “Come Together,” Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,” Steely Dan’s “Do It Again,” Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” and others.

VINCE MENDOZA

w/WDR BIG BAND

HOMECOMING

Homecoming. It is hardly surprising that several jazz compositions are known by this name. Especially for the continuously travelling improvisers, those post-modern nomads, to return home to their families is something he/she is longing for during the continuous loop of aeroplane-hotel-stage-aeroplane (even if he/she is longing to be back on the road after a few days at home…)

MICHAEL VILLMOV'S KÖLN BIG BAND

1987-1990

Let’s face it. Not everybody hearing the name Cologne Big Band immediately thinks of Michael Villmow’s KölnBigBand. It seems certain that a Cologne Big Band would more likely conjure up the idea of the ensembles of the WDR Big Band. However, many cities in Germany do actually have big bands named after their home-base and are not affiliated to the respective public-service broadcaster landscape.

LULA GALVAO

ALEGRIA DE VIVER

‘Alegria de Viver’ is the new solo-album by Lula Galvāo. From my point of view, Lula Galvão is Brazil’s most authentic, varied and inspired guitarist. His musical style as well as his range are unmatched. Lula deals with music in a very particular way. No matter which genre or rhythm, he enriches the music with his inspired arrangements and performance, thereby adding that certain something which makes all the difference.