PNC Arts Alive 2018 Jazz Cultural Voices
Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts – TICKETS
Sumi Tonooka (pronounced To-NO-ka) has been called a “fierce and fascinating composer and pianist” (Jazz Times), “provocative and compelling” (New York Times), and “continually inventive, original, surprising, and a total delight,” (Cuadranos de Jazz, Madrid).
Siegel CD Release Tour
Performing Jazz in Kansas City
A Kansas City-based catalyst organization, KC Jazz ALIVE hosts lunches at Grand Street Cafe every other month for the community to come and learn about great things happening in KC jazz.
This month’s lunch will be on Friday, September 14 from 11:30am – 1pm.
“Each lunch we host has a theme, and we are planning on a short panel discussion,” said Macy Lane of KC Jazz ALIVE. “The theme will be “Performing Jazz in Kansas City”. We secure 3-4 talented jazz performers in KC.”
A guitarist and flutist, ARC’s Ron Carlson assembled a collaboration among New York and Kansas City musicians featuring Diana Herold, Grisha Alexiev, Greg Clinkingbeard and vocalist Jennifer White performing jazz standards and original compositions dedicated to the memory of Diane Carlson. Preview the recording at CD Baby.
Soon To Be Released…
James Armstrong – Ruminations Interview
“You hear me walking into the studio, and sitting down at the C9. We went straight into the long take after that.” – JA
ARC: How long did you prepare for “Ruminations” before going into Fantasy Studios to record?
JA: About 3 1/2 months practice going into the“Ruminations” session, concurrent with the day teaching job.
ARC: We’ve posted your warm-up track that’s included with your release, along with this interview. It’s a healthy 5:41 in length. However, the formal recording you have released on the ARC label of “Ruminations” is an extended improvised work of over an hour, correct?
JA: Yes, the central (“Ruminations”) performance clocks in at just over an hour. There were no splices. Alberto described sessions replete with outtakes and overdubs.
ARC: To undertake any solo instrumental recording as a producer is a venture of daring and it takes a great deal of artistic courage to prepare such a project. Especially, within the context of the creative improvised music realm.
JA: I take the position that a performance will never be “perfect“. However, with consistent practice, it will be successful.
ARC: When will “Ruminations” be available to the public?
JA: I’m targeting a release date on or about September 22.
Since opening in 2008, more than 7 million have visited its modern building located on historic Pennsylvania Avenue between the United States Capitol and the White House. The Newseum’s seven levels of interactive exhibits include 15 galleries and 15 theaters. Among the most memorable exhibits are the 9/11 Gallery Sponsored by Comcast, featuring the broadcast antennae from the top of the World Trade Center; the Berlin Wall Gallery, whose eight concrete sections are one of the largest pieces of the original wall outside Germany; and the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, which features photographs from every Pulitzer Prize-winning entry dating back to 1942. In 2016, TripAdvisor users rated the Newseum as a “Traveler’s Choice Top 25 Museum in the U.S.”
Considered one of the most interactive museums in the world, the Newseum experience also traces the evolution of electronic communication from the birth of radio, to the technologies of the present and the future.
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The Newseum Institute explores the challenges confronting freedom around the world with a variety of initiatives, including its First Amendment Center, which serves as a forum for the study and debate of free expression issues, and the Religious Freedom Center, which focuses on educating the American public about religious liberty and the First Amendment.
The Newseum and the Newseum Institute regularly host compelling programs that seek to generate solutions to some of the most pressing national and international challenges of the day. By embracing its role as a neutral forum committed to fostering open, nuanced discussions, the Newseum and the Newseum Institute engage in the central debates of our time, including the future of investigative journalism, the tensions between national security and privacy, and the role of religious freedom.
Featuring dramatic vistas of Washington, D.C., the Newseum has become one of the city’s most sought-after venues for conferences, weddings, movie premieres and special events. Two state-of-the-art television studios host programs of all kinds, which are broadcast around the world each week.
Exercising, defending and promoting freedom is crucial to protecting our way of life. The Newseum’s board, staff, volunteers, donors and corporate partners are working together to make sure the freedoms of the First Amendment remain strong and protected, both today and for future generations.
Samantha Boshnack is more than a musician and composer. She is a storyteller who walks us through the history of things. With Nellie Bly Project, she tells the story of daredevil journalist, writer, and feminist Elizabeth Cochran Seaman (1864-1922), known by her pen name, Nellie Bly. The compositions, a four movement suite, are like a journey through the history of the struggles of women throughout American history, a struggle that continues today, and that Boshnack describes as a daily part of her existence. “Feminism is a big issue for me, it’s sort of part of my daily existence, because it’s the struggle. With Nellie Bly Project, I just thought she was such an amazing force in getting things done, when everything was against her.” Boshnack utilized a theme of cultural unity in her last project, the brilliant Global Concertos(ARC, 2016), with her ensemble B’shnorkestra, and has emerged as more than a composer, and trumpeter. Her vision of cultural and sociological unity and justice has established her as a narrative artist with a voice that needs to be heard. “I respect artists, and anybody in the public eye who can come out really strong and say all sorts of things and then take all sorts of abuse. Anybody who says anything gets a lot of attack. I try my best, but I definitely respect those who will really go out on a limb. Global Concertos and Nellie Bly Project were ways to have these activist ideas, but in a subtle way. I think sometimes if it’s subtle, you can get through,” she states.
“Energy, rightly applied, can accomplish anything” —Nellie Bly
Innocent, unaffected, and frank. These are the words used by Bly to define a “true” woman. In the opening movement of the album, “Expositions,” Boshnack delves into the energy and inspiration that fueled Bly’s activism, in a time when a woman journalist was relegated to topics deemed gender appropriate. After a brief melodic repose to the begin the movement, bassist Isaac Castillo, and drummer Max Wood provide a rollicking groove, underpinned by the keyboard of Alex Chadsey, demonstrating what is to be a recurring theme throughout the album. After progressing to a brief interlude from Wood, Bly’s words, and quotes are used both in a narrative sense, and in the case of this opening movement, in a melodic sense, with vocalists Valerie Holt and Anne Mathews singing in a mantra like chant, “Energy rightly applied, can accomplish anything.” Boshnack has the unique ability to join the worlds of classical composition, and free improvisation, into a sound that views diametric opposites as strengths, and creates a cohesive narrative voice to express a story, to enable a journey. She uses her trumpet and compositional prowess to create a prose that is perhaps more comparable in form to Whitman and Neruda, than to Miles and Diz. Her narrative pieces are like free verse poetry, with angular melodies, unexpected stops, and abstract poetic cadences, that are ultimately impressionistic and expressive. Without this understanding by the listener, along with knowledge of the social narrative expressed, gaining insight and appreciation for this work may be difficult to attain.
“It is only after one is in trouble that one realizes how little sympathy and kindness there is in the world.” —Nellie Bly
The second movement, “After One Is In Trouble,” is an homage to Bly’s undercover assignment in 1887, to expose the brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell Island. Working for Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, the New York World, Bly feigned insanity to gain entrance to the asylum, and experience the horror, the abuse of this institution first hand. Her work, later published in book form, brought on major change in how the city of New York defined, diagnosed, and treated insanity. The piece begins with an intertwining melody for Boshnack’s trumpet and the clarinet of Beth Fleenor. It is like a solemn march, ever so slightly increasing in pace and volume, that ends in a pulsing percussive heartbeat supplied by Wood. It is if she has arrived at the asylum, awaiting entrance.
“They were being driven to a prison, through no fault of their own, in all probability for life. In comparison, how much easier it would be to walk to the gallows than to this tomb of living horrors.” —Nellie Bly
A sparse melody, intricate bass line, and Woods’ pulsing rhythm conjures images of a growing madness, as if walking down a hallway through the 19th century asylum, Bly seeing the faces of mad sadness, peering in each doorway and becoming overcome with fear and despair. Chadsey’s keyboard distant rant, then walking bass line picks up the pace, heart racing, body numb, the cold concrete and tile walls reflecting the crying and muttering of pain and anguish, and finally, a release. One can then imagine the music as a survivor’s last chance, of holding on to one last shred of beauty before descending into the abyss of institutional madness, an impulse of hope, renewal, escape, the perception of freedom and joy.
“It’s Only a Matter of twenty eight thousand miles I shall be back again.” —Nellie Bly
The album’s third movement, “72 Days,” depicts Bly’s successful attempt to defeat Jules Verne’s fictional record of “Around the World in 80 days.” Starting with a chanting like vocal and trumpet line stating the above quote, the musical narrative expresses clearly the rhythm of the two modes of transport available to her in this time-railroad and steamship. Chadsey tops off the statement with both written and improvised sections, the latter displaying his stellar playing that is truly evident throughout the recording.
“I would rather go in dead and successful than alive and behind time.” —Nellie Bly
This quote is weaved into a mantra like chanting, and beautiful harmonic passage, leading to a meandering, dynamic clarinet solo from Fleenor. Her beautiful tone, and passages that display lightning fast runs, intertwined with vibrato accented long tones, conjures peaceful and joyfully energetic images, imagining a vibrant positivity. To Bly, the huge undertaking required her to be undaunted, to exude the confidence that she would succeed, while the world watched, and hoped.
“Is it possible for us to struggle and overcome fate, or are we merely being swept along a course which all our efforts fail to alter or change?” —Nellie Bly
The fourth movement, “Legacy,” is Boshnack’s homage and tribute to Bly. It illustrates the remarkable impact Bly has had on modern feminism, nearly a century since her passing, and in particular, how this legacy has drawn such a creative and important work from an artist such as Boshnack. The movement as well presents this quintet as one that has worked extensively with Boshnack, bringing out the nuances of this musical statement with conviction and emotion. The quintet expresses an understanding, and commits to a partnership with the artist to such an extent as to create images that have enduring social impact, within a musical context.
Boshnack, both within ensemble playing, and skillful soloing, offers her best playing to date on trumpet, supported strongly by Castillo, Chadsey and Wood. Fleenor, a musical constant in Boshnack’s work in Seattle, plays with unconventional prowess, drawing musical, poetic, and social parallels with the composing artist. The final movement ends on a haunting solo trumpet phrase, that like so many of Boshnack’s pieces, leaves the listener out on the edge, dauntingly lacking finality. It expresses that while much has been accomplished by the feminist movement since the passing of Bly, there is still so much work left to be done. Women still must work twice as hard to gain recognition and attain success, including in the music world. The social narrative to achieve gender equity, is still a story being told loudly, and clearly. The struggle continues, with the courageous activism of Nellie Bly still serving as a beacon of inspiration and persistence to modern “daredevil” artists such as Boshnack. Her ability to create a narrative musically, and truly educate and inspire the listener is rare, and important. It’s part of what makes music a language that unites cultures, and empowers justice.
Track Listing: Expositions; After One Is In Trouble; 72 Days; Legacy.
Personnel: Samantha Boshnack: trumpet, vocals; Beth Fleenor: clarinet, bass clarinet; Alex Chadsey: piano, keyboards; Isaac Castillo: bass; Max Wood: drums; Valerie Holt: vocals (tracks 1&3); Anne Mathews: vocals (tracks 1 & 3); Anne Whitfield: spoken vocals (tracks 2 & 4).
Kansas City – The Artists Recording Collective (ARC) label, is pleased to announce the latest recorded release by Seattle-based composer and trumpeter, Samantha Boshnack.
“Fresh, smart, and bold describe Samantha Boshnack’s Nellie Bly Project. Inspired by the pioneer female American reporter from the late 1800s, Boshnack weaves significant quotes by the journalist into a shifting musical tapestry. Bly (aka Elizabeth Cochran) defined a true woman as “innocent, unaffected, and frank.” While Boshnack’s sound embodies more life experience than what could be described as innocent, listeners will hear an unaffected and frank approach to writing, improvising, and recording…. Boshnack’s music stretches and sings with refreshing strength.” – Steve Griggs, Earshot Jazz.
Sam Boshnack Quintet’s second album, Nelly Bly Project (ARC-2772) is an illustrative and evocative musical portrait of a hero that Boshnack has admired since a young age. Bly was a 19th-century daredevil feminist and journalist who worked within extreme confines to achieve great things for both the subjects she covered (including mental health and prison facilities), and for women in her field. The album moves between the narrative and abstract, creating an imaginative world that channels Bly’s groundbreaking spirit.
Pre-order Nellie Bly Project! You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released, on August 18, 2017
Samantha Boshnack trumpet & vocal
Beth Fleenor clarinet & bass clarinet
Alex Chadsey piano & keyboards
Isaac Castillo upright & electric bass
Max Wood drums
Valerie Holt and Anne Mathews vocals (tracks 1 & 3)
Anne Whitfield spoken vocals (tracks 2 & 4)
Recorded by Floyd Reitsma at Studio Litho, Seattle, WA
Mixed by Evan Schiller at zulusound, Seattle, WA
Mastered by Ed Brooks at Resonant Mastering, Seattle, WA
Album artwork by Steven Arntson
Album design by Anne Mathews
Press and Media Contact:
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ARTISTS RECORDING COLLECTIVE (ARC) is an internationally recognized brand and professional recording label that emphasizes promoting and facilitating the distribution and utilization of the works created by our members. ARC is a contemporary business model that provides a viable 21st Century Music Industry Platform for artists.
Alto saxophonist David Valdez leads this lush, lyrical and sophisticated Latin Chamber-Jazz ensemble, performing the compositions of Brazilian-born pianist/composer Jasnam Daya Singh, Lee Morgan, and Perico Sambeat.
Valdez grew up in Santa Cruz, California and over the years has lived and worked in the Bay Area, Boston, New York City and Portland. He recently relocated to Kansas City from the Northwest. Shades of Happiness is his second Latin/Brazilian-Jazz album.
Valdez’s first Latin-Jazz CD Oasis, which was released in 2006, received radio airplay in 14 countries. Shades of Happiness is highly orchestrated, relaxed and a romantic album that covers a wide range of styles, including Bolero, Tango, Choro, Afro-Cuban, Boss Nova, Latin Waltz, and Modern Jazz.
The result is a refined and romantic, yet harmonically complex recording with broad appeal. Jazz aficionados, Classical Chamber music lovers, audiophiles, and serious fans of Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and Argentine styles all will find something to sink their teeth here.
Singh’s compositions are an amalgam of influences that include Astor Piazzolla, Romantic Classical composers like Ravel and Debussy, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, as well as the sophisticated styles of Rio de Janeiro, where he was raised.
Valdez’s warm alto saxophone is supported by clarinetist/bass clarinetist Harvey Wainapel, a West Coast-based musician who is as deeply immersed in Brazilian music as he is in Jazz. Wainapel has been a lynchpin of the Bay Area Jazz scene for decades and has worked with Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, Airto & Flora, Jovino Santos Neto, and Ray Charles.
The rhythm section is rounded out by Phoenix bassist Christopher Finet and Bay Area drummer Mike Shannon, who are both equally comfortable with modern Jazz or Classical music. The intersection of stylistic influences never sounds contrived.
This distinctly Pan-American Jazz album always manages to sound natural and relaxed, even while maintaining the controlled approach of a Classical chamber ensemble.
David Valdez – alto saxophone
Harvey Wainapel – clarinet, bass clarinet
Jasnam Daya Singh – piano/composer
Christopher Finet – bass
Mike Shannon – drums
Pere Soto – guitar
Recorded July 14th and 15th, 2015 at Supernatural Sound in Oregon City, by recording engineer Sacha Müller.
Mixed in April 2017 by Sacha Müller. Mastered April 14th, 2017 at Specialized Mastering by Dana White.
We have collectively read the Artists Recording Collective LLC feature article you wrote and published in the June / July issue of Jazz Ambassador Magazine (JAM).
We want to say THANKS to you and the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors organization for a great article about our company and for this significant recognition of our efforts in the industry.
Respectfully in music,
All of the artists at:
Click links below images to read the article.
“Collectively, they continue to define a 21st Century model for a jazz record label.” – Larry Kopitnik, JAM editor writes about the Artists Recording Collective label (June / July 2017 issue of Jazz Ambassador Magazine)
“Collectively and individually, they are looking forward and breaking the seams of the traditional jazz box.” – Larry Kopitnik, JAM editor writes about the Artists Recording Collective label (June / July 2017 issue of Jazz Ambassador Magazine)
Long Ago Today (ARC-2116*)
by Sumi Tonooka Trio
with Rufus Reid bass and Bob Braye drums *this is the debut release by the label