Download Hot House Pdf Here:  May Hot House Jazz Guide

 

 

Episode 4 of “After the Call” the official podcast for Hot House Jazz invites "21st century artist" Kassa Overall to discuss his new EP as well as vulnerability at the Tuesday Zinc session, collaborating with Terri Lyne Carrington, navigating listener engagement and authentic expression and "lying" his way on to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The episode also features (very short) new music selections for Ringtones for Jones' Phones from Lakecia Benjamin, Laura Taglialatela and Marta Sanchez, plus a clip from an archived interview with Dianne Reeves. If you would like to be a guest on “After the Call,” tweet at me or DM my Instagram @meetmissjonesny. Let’s keep the conversation going — enjoy the show!


Leslie Pintchik

Winning Spins By George Kanzler

National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Kenny Barron was just a teenager when he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s combo on piano in the early 1960s. A generation later Leslie Pintchik was on a teaching track in English Literature at Columbia University when she embraced jazz and decided to pursue a career as a pianist. In this month’s Winning Spins, Kenny and Leslie have new albums featuring their work as composers as well as pianists. Both lead combos, a quintet in Kenny’s case and a quartet augmented by horns or accordion on some tracks for Leslie.

You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!, Leslie Pintchik (Pintch Hard) has a title that could be called “found poetry” since Leslie heard someone say that as she walked down a Manhattan street. The tune of the same name kicks off this album in inviting fashion, bassist Scott Hardy (Leslie’s husband) contributing incisive horn counterlines and a cutting guitar solo. Leslie also shares solo space with the assertive alto sax of Steve Wilson. Steve and trumpeter Ron Horton also appear on “Mortal,” a delicate, reverberant ballad with indelible solos, none more so than Ron’s plangent flugelhorn chorus.

Leslie’s core group includes drummer Michael Sarin and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi as well as bassist Scott, and on two other hornless tracks, accordionist Shoko Hagai. Shoko’s sparely configured accordion brings a Toots Thielemans harmonica vibe to “Hopperesque,” a meditation on Edward Hopper’s paintings in a slow, undulating tempo with a memorable piano solo, and to “Happy Dog,” which prances joyously over rackety rhythms (Michael sits this one out) and features Leslie’s most extroverted solo.

The quartet essays a pair of standards, turning both in a Latin direction. “I’m Glad There Is You” uses a gentle bolero rhythm to enhance the indelible melody, Leslie’s improvisation flowing directly out of it. “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is revved up to a fast samba time, turning a torchy ballad into a cheerful romp.

Leslie toys with bebop on one original, “Your Call … Is Important to Us,” sharing solo space with Scott over jangly rhythms. Leslie calls the sophisticated closer, “A Simpler Time,” “an adult lullaby” and it demonstrates her commitment to the jazz piano ideal of melding and interacting with bass and drums in solos.

Photo Credit  Jimmy Katz

Leslie Pintchik celebrates her new album with a gig at Jazz at Kitano, May 23.

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Corina Bartra

Another Reason To Celebrate by Elzy Kolb

International inspiration

Singer Corina Bartra feels right at home dividing her time between Peru, Europe and New York, and she draws her musical influences from an even broader spectrum. She’s immersed herself in Brazilian, Cuban and African rhythms, and studied instruments including harmonium, tambura, and drums such as dumbeck and djembe. Her musical training, interests and inspirations range from contemporary classical composers like Stockhausen to North Indian classical and devotional music to Peruvian criollo. And, of course, jazz. Across the genres, “There’s a lot of improvisation—that’s the part I liked, and also the part I like about jazz.”

Corina discovered jazz as a child when she visited her grandfather who lived in the Peruvian rainforest. She recalls him relaxing in a hammock or playing poker, while blasting beloved records by Count Basie, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. Her first experience was performing with local musicians in Peru; later she studied in New York at Queens College, Long Island University and Mannes School of Music, and outside the classroom with pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Santi Debriano and drummers Cliff Barbaro and Steve Berrios.

“I have been lucky to work with and learn from masters,” Corina says. “Music is something you don’t stop learning. You discover new things, make new discoveries in things you’ve performed for a while—sometimes getting a full sense of the meaning of the words. Music is full of discovery and challenges.”

As a leader, Corina has released more than a dozen recordings, including her most recent CD, 2017’s Takunde. “The jazz that I do is blended with world music,” Corina points out, noting that her eclectic repertoire includes Jobim covers, originals, her own arrangements of classic compositions like Joe Henderson’s “Black Narcissus” and her Peruvian-rhythm version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” traditional Afro-Peruvian tunes, as well as a Peruvian style of dance music known as “la marinara.”

Corina, who has fronted ensembles from quartets to mini big bands, is in Manhattan May 19, appearing with her septet at Metro Baptist Church. She notes that she prefers performing in venues such as theaters, festivals and churches as an alternative to clubs. Her band for the occasion includes longtime collaborators saxophonist Dave Morgan, guitarist Tony Romano, drummer Diego Lopez, cajon player Perico Diaz, pianist Steve Sandberg and bassist Victor Murillo. Besides taking a deep dive into music from her CDs new and old, she’s likely to feature some new compositions and more.

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Lauren Henderson

Another Reason To Celebrate by Elzy Kolb

Rising to the occasion

Vocalist Lauren Henderson doesn’t shy away from a musical challenge. When the standard lyrics for Bill Evans’ “Waltz for Debbie” failed to resonate with her, she asked a colleague to translate a Swedish-language version written and performed by Monica Zetterlund. Lauren found those words more to her liking, but rather than singing the English translation, she learned it in Swedish.

That was hardly Lauren’s most unusual musical challenge in adapting a song to fit her style. Recently, she was hired to do a private gig for which the client requested she perform an Aerosmith song with a jazz twist.

So when it came to choosing the 13 songs for her latest CD, Ármame (Brontosaurus), it’s no surprise that Lauren cast a wide net. In addition to three originals, she included tunes by the likes of Latin legend Héctor Lavoe, R&B singer and composer Bobby Caldwell, Amy Winehouse, Blossom Dearie and Donny Hathaway.

“These are all people I admire, I love their artistry. It felt natural for me, since I have eclectic tastes,” she says, noting the long history of jazz musicians interpreting pop and show tunes, as well as material from other sources. “That is important to the music, developing and creating, making the song your own.”

Among Lauren’s other picks for Ármame are a pair of Curtis Lewis-penned tunes often associated with Nancy Wilson: “The Old Country” and “The Great City,” for which she wrote some additional lyrics in Spanish. The singer, who is of African American, Caribbean and Panamanian ancestry, wanted to link her background and culture with the music. “I wanted to incorporate Spanish and show what I stand for as an artist, which is hard to do with heavy swing,” she explains. “A direct translation of the lyrics wouldn’t work, so I wrote a transitional verse into the song. On a good day, the words flow out, and this was a very good day.”

Her rendition of Winehouse’s “Love is a Losing Game” has a slightly country feel, which Lauren says wasn’t intentional. “I’m a ‘when in Rome’ type person; that has helped me as a jazz artist, working with improvisation and working in different situations. I create art reflecting that moment in time.”

Lauren’s May 27 Blue Note gig not only celebrates the release of Ármame, she also hopes to include some new material from her fourth album, which is slated for release toward the end of 2018, plus some additional material written by Michael Thurber. She and Michael, bassist for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” are collaborating on the upcoming CD.

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Kavita Shah Francois Moutin

Hot Flashes By Seton Hawkins

Artist Talks Inspirations: Kavita Shah

When vocalist and composer Kavita Shah’s debut Visions came out in 2014, the world heard not simply an astonishing vocal talent, but also a marvelously deep thinker whose musical chops could slice across genres and remold them into remarkable fusions of sound—in Kavita’s hands, Brazilian-infused song fare paired with kora traditions can give way into funkier R&B-inspired music mixed with tabla playing, ultimately transitioning into gentle jazz ballads. The album proved an amazing, wild ride and a thrilling glimpse into a truly creative mind.

So, when this year saw the release of Interplay (Dot Time Records), a pared-down duo featuring Kavita with bassist François Moutin, listeners could be forgiven for a sense of artistic whiplash in hearing Kavita effortlessly jump to this different format. However, for those following her career and influences, the vocal and bass set-up embraced here by Kavita makes perfect sense, and in fact speaks to one of her prominent mentors and champions: Sheila Jordan

For Kavita, the decision to approach the vocal-bass duo was a comfortable and natural one, spurred by a free improvisation session in 2014 with François. “For many years, I had heard Sheila playing in that context and it really resonated with me,” Kavita explains. “In this setting, there were so many possibilities to what François and I could do. One of the things I really love about this project is that I get to really express myself and explore the possibilities of my voice as an instrument.”

Listening to the duo, the impact of Sheila Jordan is quickly perceived and runs deep. For Kavita, Sheila’s guidance took several forms. In one respect, Sheila as the mentor provided crucial moral support to Kavita, encouraging her to explore multiple styles of music and transcend genres to create the sound she was seeking. But just as important, Sheila’s phrasing, improvisational and sheer instrumental approach proved highly important to Kavita’s own musical development. Indeed, for Kavita, one of the inspirations she drew from Sheila was the ability to treat the voice as an instrument and to state one’s presence firmly on the frontline of instruments.

“I think of myself first and foremost as a musician, on the same level as the horns, the drums, the piano,” Kavita notes. “It’s been amazing to stretch out and focus on what the voice can do.”

While Sheila’s influence can indeed be heard, Kavita and François also stretch beyond their initial inspirations, exploring textures and freer spaces in the music in a set of tracks that is challenging and risk-taking, while also utterly compelling and memorable.

“François and I both have a deep respect for the jazz tradition and we both come from it,” she notes. “But living in New York and being who we are as people and musicians with our own approaches to the music, we also have a desire to push it forward. And I think that comes out in the music: Our respect for the tradition and our trying to take it to new places and keep evolving.”

At Joe’s Pub, the duo will perform selections from their album and will even call Sheila Jordan to the stage as a special guest in this wonderful musical collaboration that spans decades of repertoire. “François is a fantastic virtuoso and improviser,” Kavita says. “We developed our own sound and I really love the freedom I get to express myself in this.”

Kavita Shah performs at Joe’s Pub with François Moutin on May 30. To learn more about her, visit www.kavitashahmusic.com.

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