lundi 31 octobre 2011

Stanley Jordan Friends

Stanley Jordan


On his latest Mack Avenue recording, Friends, Jordan takes the time-honored path of inviting a handpicked cadre of guests: guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli, Mike Stern, Russell Malone and Charlie Hunter; violinist Regina Carter; saxophonists Kenny Garrett and Ronnie Laws; trumpeter Nicholas Payton; bassists Christian McBride and Charnett Moffett; and drummer Kenwood Dennard. The results proved truly outstanding on numbers ranging from a Bela Bartok piece to a Katy Perry pop smash, a heady original blues and three jazz classics spanning swing, cool and modern. There’s a listener-friendly samba, an airy spirit song and an astounding nod to the atonal. Jordan even plays some serious piano on a couple of songs, revisiting his first instrument with newfound confidence and wonder.

Jordan opens Friends with the straight-ahead original Capital J featuring Kenny Garrett on tenor saxophone and Nicholas Payton on trumpet. “So much of the great jazz I grew up with was built on a strong horn line,” Jordan states. “In the spirit of those great classics I wrote this tune. Nick’s tone is fresh and full of life, and he creates interesting, complex improvisations while still leaving plenty of space. Kenny combines a deep musical knowledge with a natural and effortless facility. My favorite part of Capital J was just comping behind the horns.”
A trip to Bluesville is next with Walkin’ the Dog, which recalls B.B. King but with some edgier things going on around the fringe. Jordan collaborates with groove-master Charlie Hunter on this one. “Our paths have crossed in many jam band situations. We both play multiple parts at once, but he plays more in the lower range while I play more in the higher range, so we complement each other very well.”

Next up is the big band standard Lil’ Darlin’, a gem from the pen of the great Neal Hefti redefined as a quintessential ballad by Count Basie. Together Jordan and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli create a dreamy romantic feel. “Bucky brought that one in and gave us all a history lesson. How precious this moment was, reminding us that we were in the presence of one of the greats who helped create this music we call jazz.”
Jazz rocker Mike Stern emerges next for a mind-blowing spin through the groundbreaking John Coltrane classic Giant Steps. “Mike and I cut our teeth in the same scene in New York in the early ‘80s. Once we jammed together on Giant Steps back in the ‘90s while on tour. He glides through this complex tune with an approach that is so beautiful, natural and musical.”
Jordan really lets the fur fly with his take on pop sensation Katy Perry’s runaway hit I Kissed a Girl on which he plays guitar and piano simultaneously in a second teaming with Charlie Hunter. Jordan—who scored massive hits with covers of Michael Jackson’s The Lady in My Life and The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby—sees this as a vital continuum in both jazz history and his history. “I chose a song from the current generation—a generation moving into a more tolerant and accepting world.”
Samba Delight, featuring Ronnie Laws on soprano saxophone and Regina Carter on violin, puts one in the mind of tropical paradise. “Ronnie is a remarkable and versatile musician who is at the crossroads of many musical worlds,” Jordan explains. “When I showed Ronnie Samba Delight he remarked on how much he liked the tune. It felt really good to hear that because I composed it with him in mind!”
The pendulum swings back to jazz with the super standard Seven Come Eleven, a song made famous in Benny Goodman’s band as a feature for electric jazz guitar pioneer Charlie Christian. In loving homage, Jordan put himself together with Bucky Pizzarelli and Russell Malone to swing this classic into the rafters. “When I told Bucky I was thinking about doing Seven Come Eleven he just lit up! I love the old time three-way improv we played toward the end. Bucky played a rousing solo and Russell was great as well, providing a cool yet uplifting spirit.”
Bathed in Light is an original that Jordan calls this album’s “spirit song.” It brings back Garrett and Payton on horns, and the always empathetic Christian McBride on bass in a softer turn than the swinging opener Capital J. “This was our first chance to play together,” Jordan says of McBride, “a dream come true because I have admired his playing for many years. He was very sensitive as he adjusted his approach to each song, playing just the right part at all times.” On the inspiration behind the music and title, Jordan muses, “The splashy guitar chords bring out the meaning of the title. Sometimes when we’re bogged down in the details of things, we get depressed. But when we put things into proper perspective, the clouds part and we see a rainbow. I was having one of those moments when I wrote this song.” Mirroring the Zen of all this, Kenwood Dennard played live drums and keyboards simultaneously.
With boundless beauty, Friends moves into the home stretch with two creative renditions of classical themes. The first is Romantic Intermezzo, based on the theme of the fourth movement of Bela Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. This deeply stirring piece features Regina Carter on violin and Stanley, this time exclusively on piano, in his most virtuosic recording on the instrument to date. “Though most of my training is on guitar, I have a strong connection to the piano. I started at the age of three, so playing piano is natural for me, but I had to get out of the mental grid that I’m a ‘guitar player’—a major liberation for me.” Reflecting on working with the violin virtuoso, Jordan says, “Regina Carter is an amazing violinist who combines my favorite elements from the jazz side and the classical side. Doing improvisations of ‘classical’ compositions often means spelling out more than just chord symbols. In this case, I wrote out many of the voicings I was using so we could improvise in a cohesive way. The result was a dense page of notes, which was probably a lot to drop on Regina at the last minute, but she rose to the occasion admirably. The sensitivity of her playing is exquisite.”

Stanley Jordan


Track Listing:

Capital J; Walkin' the Dog; Li'l Darlin'; Giant Steps; I Kissed A Girl; Samba Delight; Seven Come Eleven; Bathed In Light; Romantic Intermezzo From Bartok's Concerto For Orchestra; Reverie; One For Milton.

Personnel: Stanley Jordan: guitar, piano (5, 9); Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar (3, 6); Mike Stern: guitar (4); Russell Malone: guitar (6, 11); Charlie Hunter: guitar (2, 5); Regina Carter: violin (7, 9); Kenny Garrett: soprano sax (1, 8); Ronnie Laws: soprano sax (7); Nicholas Payton: trumpet (1, 8); Christian McBride: bass (1, 8); Charnett Moffett: bass (5, 6, 10); Kenwood Dennard: drums (1-8, 10, 11).

A take on Claude Debussy’s Reverie in a jazz context features Jordan and his road trio of Charnett Moffett on bass and Kenwood Dennard on drums. The group has been performing this for many years, which explains the fluid ease with which they weave through it. “We pretty much stuck to the form on this one except for a brief modal improv which was obviously not written into the original composition,” Jordan states, “but I feel that it gets across the meaning and spirit of the song.”
Friends closes on an ear-turning note with One for Milton, a heartfelt yet adventurous tribute to one of Jordan’s most beloved music teachers, composer Milton Babbit (1916-2011), who passed away as Jordan was preparing to record Friends. “I studied theory and composition with Milton at Princeton in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He was a giant in his field and he left a big impression on me—musically and personally. In Eastern spiritual traditions a guru is someone whose very presence confers enlightenment. Milton truly fit this description. Russell, Kenwood and I created this from scratch as an improvisation. I’ve always been a fan of Russell’s more experimental side, and it got a great showing on this recording. We didn’t try to imitate Milton’s style, but in the spirit of his music we did take an atonal approach. If anything, there are parts that sound a bit like Milton’s teacher, Arnold Schoenberg.”
Reflecting on the wealth of music inspired by collaborating with chosen peers on Friends, Stanley Jordan concludes, “I am so humbled and grateful to all of the wonderful musicians who graced this project. This collection truly speaks to my belief in the integrationist spirit of music. I’d like to move beyond ‘fusion’ and explore the concept of ‘integration.’ When you integrate styles, you combine them into something new while still remaining true to the original sources. The same principal holds for our friendships, which require mutual respect. Our friends are a mirror revealing the diversity within us, and at the same time they give us the courage to share our true selves with the world.”
Stanley Jordan: guitar, piano
Charlie Hunter: guitar  
Charnett Moffett: bass
Kenwood Dennard: drums 


samedi 29 octobre 2011

Le Bolchoï Ballet 4 Saisons & 4 Clichés

Gala de réouverture du Bolchoï Le Documentaire

Gala de réouverture du Bolchoï

Vendredi, 28 octobre 2011 à 20:40
(ARTE France, 2011, 110mn)
Retransmission en direct sur ARTE LIVE WEB
En ligne jusqu'au 27 janvier 2012

Le Bolchoï, qui était à sa construction la seconde plus grande scène du monde après Le Scala de Milan est entièrement remis à neuf : restauration minutieuse des boiseries, réhabilitation des fondations, modernisation de la machinerie…

Sa réouverture marque un nouveau départ pour le théâtre russe.
Pour fêter cet évènement d’exception, une soirée d’exception : Angela Gheorgiu, Placido Domingo, Dmitri Hvorostovski, Natalie Dessay, Violeta Urmana, ainsi que les Etoiles, Solistes et Corps de ballet du Théâtre Bolchoï interpréteront des extraits de pièces lyriques et chorégraphiques qui ont fait la célébrité du théâtre.

Au programme : des extraits des Fiançailles du couvent de Prokoviev, du Prince Igor de Borodin, de Iolanta de Tchaïkovski, extraits de Don Quichotte de Minkus, « Valse » de La Belle au bois dormant, extraits du Lac des cygnes de Tchaïkovski. Grâce à l’inventivité du metteur en scène Dmitri Tcherniakov, la soirée retracera un brillant récit de l’histoire du lieu. Des projections sur grand écran en fond de scène permettront un véritable voyage dans le temps, témoignant ainsi de l’époustouflante technique gagnée grâce à la rénovation. La direction musicale a été confiée à Vassily Sinaisky et la chorégraphie à Alexis Ratmansky, aujourd’hui en résidence à l’American Ballet de New York.

Gala de réouverture du Bolchoï

Vendredi, 28 octobre 2011 à 20:40
(ARTE France, 2011, 110mn)
Retransmission en direct sur ARTE LIVE WEB
En ligne jusqu'au 27 janvier 2012

Artistes : Vassily Sinaisky (direction musicale), Angela Gheorgiu, Placido Domingo, Dmitri Hvorostovski, Natalie Dessay, Violeta Urmana, Orchestre et Chœur du Théâtre académique d’Etat Bolchoï, Corps de ballet du Théâtre académique d’Etat Bolchoï • Réalisateur : Andrei Boltenko et Andy Sommer • Mise en scène : Dmitri Tcherniakov • Ecriture / Compositeurs : Chostakovich, Tchaikovski, Rimsky-Korsakov, Assafiev, Moussorgski • Cadreurs : Vladimir Kusakov (directeur de la photographie) • Son : Erdo Groot, Olivier Calvat • Production : Bel Air - Théâtre Bolchoï - ARTE France • Alexey Ratmansky (chorégraphie), Gleb Filshtinsky (lumières), Myriam Hoyer (conseillère musicale)

Le Théâtre Bolchoï : La fierté Russe

Le Théâtre Bolchoï Architecture&Rénovation

La troupe du Théâtre Bolchoï a été créée en 1776 à Moscou. Elle occupe le bâtiment actuel depuis 1825, un bâtiment qui a souffert ! Un incendie a fortement endommagé son intérieur en 1853, il a été reconstruit en 1856. Plusieurs fois rénové ensuite avec de faibles moyens, le bâtiment était devenu au fil du temps vétuste, dangereux et ne pouvait plus être utilisé dans sa totalité. 
Sa rénovation totale a été décidée, il a donc fallu bâtir d'abord une nouvelle scène pour permettre à la troupe de continuer à se produire pendant la durée des travaux sur le bâtiment historique.
C'est donc la fin d'un chantier pharaonique. 

Le Théâtre Bolchoï : Histoire

Le Bolchoï est un théâtre de renom. S'il exalte la richesse de la culture russe, il ne se limite pas à sa fonction de diffusion de l'art scénique. Tout au long de son existence, un lien unique s'est développé d'abord entre les Moscovites et le Bolchoï puis entre les Russes et ce grand théâtre.
Car le Bolchoï est un lieu ou la petite et la grande histoire se côtoient depuis toujours.

Le Théâtre Bolchoï : La Danse


Avec 220 danseurs, le Bolchoï est la plus grande compagnie de danse au monde, sinon la plus célèbre. Devenir une étoile du Bolchoï est donc le rêve de nombreuses jeunes filles.
Ce rêve, Svetlana Zakharova l'a réalisé. Diplômée de l'Académie Vaganova de Saint-Petersbourg, passée par le ballet Mariinsky, la danseuse ukrainienne a rejoint le ballet moscovite en 2003 après avoir connu le succès sur les plus grandes scènes : Milan, Paris, Londres, New York, Tokyo...

Svetlana Zakharova


Le Théâtre Bolchoï : Costumes

Si les danseurs, les chanteurs et les musiciens se produisent sur scène c'est grâce aussi au travail de milliers de personnes qui travaillent dans l'ombre.
Car le Bolchoï s'apparente à une véritable usine avec différents corps de métiers.
Parmi ceux qui exercent une profession artistique, on retrouve les couturiers qui travaillent en collaboration avec les metteurs en scène, les décorateurs et les artistes sur les planches.

Théâtre du Bolchoï : Pierre Lacotte Chorégraphe français

Le gala de réouverture de la scène historique a eu lieu vendredi 28 octobre 2011 à Moscou. C'est le fruit d'un long travail. Parmi les artistes qui ont participé à la création de ce spectacle, le français Pierre Lacotte. Le chorégraphe a créé un tableau avec la compagnie du Bolchoï. Il a permis fin septembre à une de nos équipes d'assister aux répétitions. Une occasion exceptionnelle de vivre de l'intérieur son travail.

Rennaissance du Bolchoï Le Documentaire

Bolchoï, une renaissance

En 2005, le Bolchoï n'est plus que le fantôme de sa gloire passée : les façades sont couvertes de taches, les fondations craquent, les murs se lézardent, les ors sont ternis.

Pendant six ans, architectes, ingénieurs et ouvriers sont mobilisés pour un gigantesque lifting que les médias russes ont appelé le "chantier du siècle".
Ce documentaire exceptionnel fait revivre le Bolchoï de ses origines à nos jours, et montre combien les enjeux de sa restauration sont à la fois architecturaux, artistiques, sentimentaux et patriotiques.

Autrefois vitrine de l'Union soviétique et fameux pour son conservatisme, le répertoire du Bolchoï connaît lui aussi un rajeunissement en accueillant des productions contemporaines. Entre mémoire et avenir de la création, le comédien Guillaume Gallienne nous guide dans cette grande histoire qui mêle images en 3D, animation, entretiens et archives.
(France, 2011, 52mn)

Restauration du Bolchoï : Des doigts en Or

jeudi 27 octobre 2011

The trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas


Dave Douglas
Jimmy Katz Photography

The trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas has released three albums' worth of music in under five months. That's a lot.
How did he do it? A few thoughts:
  1. Dave Douglas is a super-prolific composer. You know how jazz journalism convention often identifies people as "[instrumentalist] and composer"? Sometimes it feels a little bit like, "OK, you wrote a few blues heads, that's nice." Other times, it properly credits the musician for the fact that he regularly generates original melodies, harmonies that make sense and interlocking arrangements for three to 21 different parts. Some jazz musicians find time to concentrate on this in particular, and others largely execute those visions for others. Dave is of the former category.
  2. Dave Douglas is a pretty savvy businessman. He's generally successful as a touring artist. He has his own record label, Greenleaf Music, which he's written about for us. That means he has a few folks working to bring his visions to life, both in producing music recordings and distributing them. He knows how to do things like apply for grants. He can thusly afford three recording sessions' worth of studio time that less successful musicians cannot. And he's devised a unique way of releasing these recordings, which brings us to ...
  3. Dave Douglas is experimenting with format here. He's calling these latest three records the Greenleaf Portable Series — the idea being that they're shorter, more informal sessions released only in digital formats. So far, the three GPS releases are somewhere between 30 and 50 minutes each, sort of like the LP era — so he didn't necessarily road-test this material with a working band and have to come up with two more tunes, as he might have on a "real" album album. Douglas even discussed this in the promotional copy: "Also the idea of shorter, more informal sessions appealed to me as it harked back to the way jazz records used to be made. The GPS gave me an outlet for a lot of new tunes and presented me with a way to record with some musicians I really admire but would rarely get to play with."
Compared to pressing and selling CDs, all this is affordable for both producer and consumer. You can buy each of these GPS records for $5 a pop as a high-quality MP3, or $7 as a lossless FLAC set. Or you can subscribe to the entire Greenleaf Music catalog for on-demand streaming ... more on that soon. First — what does this music sound like?
GPS 1, called Rare Metals is from a band I know and like, Brass Ecstasy. It's Douglas' mini brass band, a quintet with plenty of touring experience. And he came up with a bunch of new tunes for it, including an arrangement of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life":

GPS 2 is a bit of an all-star band, at least for those who follow modern jazz: Douglas on trumpet, Ravi Coltrane on tenor sax, Vijay Iyer on piano, Linda Oh on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums. Looks a lot like Dave Douglas' working quintet, but with completely different personnel, and six new tunes. The record is called Orange Afternoons; check out the track "Solato":

GPS 3, called Bad Mango, pairs Douglas with the innovative quartet So Percussion. Trumpet plus lots of deftly-arranged clatter, synths, mallets and junkyard noise, on new tunes and old. It's probably the least "jazzy"; incidentally, it might be my favorite of the three. Here's the title track:

Richard Bona & Chris Minh Doky 2011

Ben Williams And Sound Effect :Tiny Desk Concert

Ben Williams by Jati Lindsay

He's no Beltway insider. But in a way, jazz bassist Ben Williams owes his career to the politics of Washington, D.C. While growing up in the District, his mother, Bennie Barnes-Williams, worked for U.S. Rep. John Conyers. 
The Democrat from Michigan happens to be a huge jazz fan, as well as a noted advocate for the art form, and when the 6-year-old Ben accompanied his mother to her boss' well-appointed office one day, he stumbled upon a massive, curvaceous, wooden string instrument in the corner.

Fast-forward some 20-odd years, and Ben Williams is a rising jazz star. He won the 2009 Thelonious Monk Competition — held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. — and (literally) went home to his mother with a recording contract for his debut album. 

State of Art was released this summer, and for a release party, he came down from his New York apartment to play two nights in D.C., stopping by the NPR Music offices in the process.

Williams and his band gave us two songs, both from the new record. 

The second was a calming, meditative ballad called "Dawn of a New Day," with the good manners of cloth on a drum head and tinkling piano. But the first tune — that's where the District comes bubbling up. First, the guitar (Gilad Hekselman) and drums (John Davis) lay down an aggressive, snappy foundation. The bass and electric keyboard (Christian Sands) fill out the polyrhythms. 

That groove, with its snappy hip-hop flavor, feels at home cruising down Georgia Avenue, then turning right on U Street NW, the historic African-American commercial district of Washington. 

Then the saxophone (Marcus Strickland) enters, and it's game on. On the day of our show, Williams' band arrived before he did — he'd come to town a day early to spend time with his family. 
So while Bennie was piloting her son down from Northeast D.C., the other musicians jocularly jammed on J Dilla beats and the saxophone riff from George Michael's "Careless Whisper."
(It was great, actually.) Once Ben Williams arrived, we rushed him upstairs, at which point he tuned up his bass and launched right into that first tune. Not surprisingly, it's called "Home."

Personnel Ben Williams, bass 
Marcus Strickland, saxophones 
Gilad Hekselman, guitar 
Christian Sands, keyboards 
John Davis, drums 

Set List



"Dawn Of A New Day"