Kingdom of Champa with: Michael Blake (tenor and soprano saxophones), Nicole Mitchell (flute). Clark Gayton (tbone). David Tronzo (gtr), Steven Bernstein (tpt), Bryan Carrott (vibes), Rufus Cappadoccia (cello), Tony Scherr (bass). Billy Martin (drums/perc), Hamid Drake (drums/perc)
Last weekend my band Hellbent participated in NYC's Winterjazz Festival. This event, co-produced by Brice Rosenbloom and Adam Schatz, showcases a wide variety of creative music. The NY Times review emphasizes that this is not a corporate sponsored event and in fact the only plug was for Six Point brewery in Brooklyn where a group of musicians (including myself) infused the signature jazz brew. So here we have a festival devoted to non commercial music, employing hundreds of musicians (jazz, free, improvisors, rock, hiphop) supported by a large audience who get it all for a reasonably priced ticket. I admit the music business is a mess, the recording industry is a mess and music intellectual property rights/distribution is a huge mess BUT we musicians are doing it, promoters and directors are doing it and people are going out to hear it! Makes me proud. You can see how much in this picture.
Hellbent at Winterjazz: Charlie Burnham, Marcus Rojas, Calvin Weston, Steven Bernstein, Michael Blake
There are a few other dates happening early this year (you can peruse my Upcoming Gigs list for more info) but a highlight will certainly be Ben Allison's Band at Zankel Hall on February 3rd at 10pm. I have played on probably half a dozen of Ben's albums and we have been close friends and collaborators for 2 decades so I am honored to participate in this, our Carnegie Hall debut!
Also in 2012 my new CD "The Variety Hour" will be released on Songlines Recordings. I am so happy with the results of this album! The band is based in Vancouver (a town ripe with talent) featuring new compositions played by Dylan Ven der Schyff (drums), JP Carter (tpt) and Chris Gestrin (rhodes/moog). I'll be sending out more info as we get closer to a release date.
More CD's expected out this year with drummers Tommaso Cappellato (trio w/ Stefano Senni on bass) and Scott Neumann (trio w/ Mark Helias on bass) as well as the Michael Bates/Samuel Blaser Quintet.
Thank you all for your support!