Tag Archives: 2019

Q Morrow: There Are Stars In Brooklyn

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Today I would like to present another guitar player from New York City, his name is Q Morrow, and he grew up in Idaho before studying classical and jazz guitar in California and Texas. He also spent a year studying Carnatic music in Bangalore and has settled now in Brooklyn, NY where he is an active part of the music scene.

He plays (as you can see) a classical guitar with nylon strings and that characterizes his music and the sound on his new release “There Are Stars in Brooklyn”.

The album features:

  • Q Morrow – Guitar
  • Will Vinson – Alto Sax
  • Evan Francis – Flute, Alto Sax
  • Sam Bevan – Bass
  • Raj Jayaweera – Drums

The line-up is special with two alto saxes and a flute, but my experience is that flute and alto sax fit perfectly together with a guitar, because the guitar frequencies are quite low and so there is not much of an overlap with the wind instruments.

The album starts with the title song “There Are Stars in Brooklyn”. Q plays a beautiful solo intro, the head is then played by Flute and Sax , the band grooves nicely. The melody and guitar solo is inspired by classical guitar music while Evan Francis on flute and Will Vinson on Alto Sax play their solo with much more modern jazz inspiration.

The beginning of the second song “The Do How” reminds me of Sylvain Luc (another master of the nylon guitar from France which I used to listen a lot to) but the song becomes rhythmically much more complex. Q explains: “One thing in the album that warrants explanation is the metric modulations on track 2. What I’m experimenting with there is the temporal reflections (interpreted with metric modulations) of the chord changes’ relationship to the tonic of the key. In other words the length of each chord change correlates to the length of the wavelength of the root note of the chord as it relates to the tonic (F# in this case). So a D chord will last for 5 beats, a C# for 4 1/3 beats, a B for 3 (or 6). And it gets more complicated from there. All of the changes fit within the framework of 5/4 time, based on the idea of Mora in Carnatic music where complex, over-the-barline rhythmic phrases fit into a larger beat cycle framework. The bass maintains a 5/4 ostinato figure throughout to illustrate the original tempo. The B section of the title track is also based on the Karnatic mora, but in 7/8 time. So those tracks are my attempt to unify harmony and rhythm in the spirit of experimentation, something I’ve been working on for a few years now and will continue to do in the next couple of years”.

A very interesting concept behind this song. The composition is done in a way that it returns back to 7/8 time intro which gives the listener a fixed point.

The next tune is called “Pupusa da Jamaica” and is based on the Cuban folkloric rhythm Guaguanco. Even if the tune is in straight 4/4 time the band enjoys a lot of rhythmic freedom here as well.

“Sueño de Miel” (which means Dreaming of Honey) is named after a dream Q Morrow had when he was gathering honey in the South American jungle with an indigenous tribe. It shows Q’s mastery of the classical guitar. The tune is written down like a classical composition ( Q was so kind to share the sheet music with me) and is inspired by Venezuelan Joropo dance music.

“Chinook Passing” comes next and this song is clearly inspired by Spanish flamenco and tango, sounds very European and reminds me again of Sylvain Luc and his style of Basque folklore and Jazz music.

“Inferno Astral” is another tune for classical solo guitar. The constant 32nd notes are meant to evoke pouring rain. There is a live version of this available on Youtube, so if you want to see the exact fingering of this tune, here is your chance:

The album continues with “Not Quite Sure Yet”, another experiment in rhythm/wavelength relationships as described above. Also an homage to Q Morrow’s early roots in the Northwestern US (Idaho) which he describes as grunge rock. A very interesting song with multiple changes in rhythm and feeling. Great solos by guitar and saxophone and my favorite song on the album.

The last tune is “Loose Ends” which Q Morrow describes as a Blues with a vamp section, rhythmically straight but with multiple harmonic centers. A straight modern jazz tune played very well.

The album is a eclectic compilation of Q Morrow’s compositions. It shows his versatility as composer, arranger and musician and includes all different aspects and influences that he was exposed to and which found their way into his work. He has surrounded himself with excellent musicians who are able to understand and realize his ideas. This release is another perfect example of today’s Jazz music that gets inspired by the individual path of each musician.

More information about Q Morrow is available on his website:
http://www.qmorrow.net/

The complete album is not available on Spotify but the two songs “There Are Stars in Brooklyn” and “The Do How” have been released as single songs and are included in my 2019 playlist.

 

 

Yotam Silberstein: Future Memories

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NYC guitar player Yotam Silberstein has just released a new album called “Future Memories”. Yotam is one of the most remarkable guitar players on the Jazz scene today and he is accompanied by other extraordinary musicians foremost bass player John Patitucci.

The complete line-up is:

  • Yotam Silberstein: guitar, vocals, percussions
  • Vitor Gonçalves: piano, accordion, keyboard, percussions
  • Glenn Zaleski: piano, Fender Rhodes
  • John Patitucci: acoustic and electric bass
  • Daniel Dor: drums, percussions
  • Andre Mehmari: synthesizers

The album has been recorded in January 2018 but it needed the additional help of a crowdfunding project to finance the release of this album.

Officially released on March 1, 2019 the album contains mostly original music from Yotam Silberstein which he has been playing on tours around the world for the last couple of years. He is traveling constantly and during his travels he is also studying a lot of music, mostly the music of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Venezuela, and north Africa. These influences combined with his knowledge of Jazz, Blues, Israeli and Arabic music (Yotam grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel) has merged into something very unique.

The album starts with the title song “Future Memories”, softly and relaxed with a very simple melody, the solo from Yotam Silberstein also feels very open, unintrusive but intensive at the same time, especially Daniel Dor on drums adds the extra push.  In the long outro of the song we hear Vitor Gonçalves on accordion, which gives the song the special musette feeling, all very sophisticated.

The album continues with “Matcha” a fast and pushy contemporary Jazz tune. Great solos by Yotam Silberstein, Glenn Zaleski on piano and Daniel Dor on drums. I found a video of this song:

“Wind On The Lake” is more like an impressionistic musical painting with acoustic guitar and acoustic piano background supporting the electric guitar playing the melody. After a piano solo we hear the melody again, this time with Yotam singing and playing it on the guitar. The song ends with an incredible guitar solo with great dynamics.

“Impedimento” starts with a intensive latin groove and features again Vitor Gonçalves on accordion. He and Yotam play solos on this gorgeous Brazilian samba.

“Night Walk” the next song has short intro by John Patitucci and is a softer song again with beautiful harmonies, in Latin style with John Patitucci on electric bass, Glenn Zaleski on Fender Rhodes and Andre Mehmari on synthesizers which defines the special more “electric” sound of this tune.

The next song “Capricho de Donga” is a composition by Brazilian bandolin player and composer Hamilton de Holanda and shows the virtuosity of all musicians. Solos are by Vitor Gonçalves on piano, Yotam Silberstein on guitar and John Patitucci on bass. This song is one of my favorites on the album, a great composition that requires mastery on the instrument.

“A Picture of Yafo” comes next and this composition by Yotam Silberstein follows his composition pattern with a simple melody, played this time by John Patitucci on a fretless bass,  and an open improvisation part that gives a lot of space to the soloist.

A second capricho by Hamilton de Holanda comes next. “Capricho de Espanha” sounds like an etude for the advanced student. The solo part has an open first part where Yotam Silberstein plays in harmonic minor to emphasize on the Spanish character. The second part of the solo are regular chord changes. Glenn Zaleski on piano is the second soloist. During the first part of his solo he gets great support from Yotam on guitar and Daniel Dor on drums, it sounds like Glenn and Daniel have a real similar understanding since they connect so well.

“Choro Negro”, the last song of the album, a composition by Brazilian guitar player and composer Paulinho da Viola, is a beautiful duet between Vitor Gonçalves on piano and Yotam Silberstein on electric guitar. Sometimes you don’t need more than that, a gorgeous ending of this album.

Yotam Silberstein is very proud of this album, he said: “Together with an amazing group of musicians and humans, I went into the studio in Brooklyn, NY and after 3 intense days, we came up with what I consider my best work so far.” I think he has every reason for being proud. “Future Memories” is an album with a lot of rich facets of contemporary jazz music. The sound, the compositions and the groove are heavily influenced especially by Brazilian music and sets this album apart from the Jazz mainstream.

Yotam is currently on tour in Europe, in the next 10 days he will play in the UK, Sweden, Norway, 3 x in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and France. In November he will be in Muri AG, Switzerland, so I saved November 3, 2019 already in my calendar. More tour dates are found on Yotam’s website:

https://yotammusic.com/

A promotional video for the album is also available:

And finally a playlist on Spotify for you: