Tag Archives: Album

Christian Tamburr: The Awakening – Sounds For Sculpture

The Awakening Folder Cover

Vibraphonist and composer Christian Tamburr has released a fantastic album called “The Awakening – Sound for Sculpture” which was inspired by ten bronze sculptures by renowned sculptor Seward Johnson.

Christian Tamburr explains: “The concept for the album came from an afternoon walk through the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton NJ, where I was inspired by the lush botanical gardens and transformative thematic scenes surrounding Seward’s sculptures. With the kind permission of Seward Johnson, the Seward Johnson Atelier and the Grounds For Sculpture, the process to select and start composition around the amazing sculptures began. The vision was to create a new experiential dimension through music to accompany each sculpture, while maintaining openness for individual interpretation. The musical inspiration ranges from Straight Ahead, to Modern Jazz, to World Music to Singer Songwriter. Each sculpture (which shares the same name as each track) has a story and that story is told through the music.”

The music was premiered for three nights and six shows in August of 2019 at Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center in New York and the album was officially released on March 23, 2020.

The line-up for this album is:

  • Christian Tamburr – Composer / Vibraphone / Piano
  • Dominick Farinacci – Trumpet
  • Clint Holmes – Vocals
  • Keith Ganz – Guitar
  • Scott Giddens – Piano
  • Billy Thornton – Bass
  • John Davis – Drums
  • Michael Dobson – World and Folly Percussion

The album starts with the title song “The Awakening” inspired by the 72-foot (22 m) statue of a giant embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself. The band plays with incredible energy and a pushing pulse. We hear great solos by vibraphone and trumpet and Clint Holmes on vocals gives this contemporary jazz tune it’s special touch. First song and first highlight on the album.

“Between Appointments” comes next. The sculpture depicts a businessman catching a nap on a park bench, with his face draped by an edition of the New York Times newspaper. A jazz tune in New York cocktail bar jazz style with vibraphone and trumpet playing the melody together. Excellent sound combination. The first heavy swinging solo goes to Christian Tamburr followed by Dominick Farinacci on trumpet.

“A Thought to Consider” brings back Clint Holmes on vocals with a beautiful ballad. The sculpture is based on Manet’s picture ‘Dans la Serre’ and depicts a couple, she sitting on a bench and him leaning over the bench. The interpretation of the picture and the sculpture are not clear if the couple is in distance or in harmony, however the melancholic love song comes in perfect harmony and gives us an answer.

“Crack the Whip” is the next song and the corresponding sculpture shows eight children at play holding hands and running in a semi-circle.  This song is an up-tempo jazz tune where the piano solo by Scott Giddens stands out.

“Erotica Tropicalis” is inspired by Henri Rousseau’s ‘The Dream’. In the painting, a young woman rests on a sofa and contemplates the surrounding jungle, apparently oblivious to the danger by the wild creatures around her. This song comes as an old-fashioned Rumba with a gypsy guitar solo and another outstanding vibraphone solo.

“Hiding in the Light” is based on the sculpture “Stainless Girl”, a stylized nude which was Seward Johnson’s first work. The song comes in singer-songwriter style with Clint Holmes on vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar and soft piano arpeggios.

“Double Check” is based on the sculpture that became famous as the only piece of art to survive 9-11. The song is another up-beat pushing jazz tune with an incredible drumming by John Davis supported by Michael Dobson on percussion. Definitely another highlight on this album.

The sculpture “Day Dream” shows a group of naked women dancing and is inspired by Henri Matisse’s picture “The Dance”. The tune comes with a pushing 3/4 meter and a nice dreamy melody.

“Jazz Dreams” comes next. This song is based on the jazz band sculpture “My Sixteen-Year-Old Jazz Dreams,” a life sized sextet featuring trumpeter Louis Armstrong. The song is a straight blues with the head played by piano, vibraphone and trumpet in unison.

The album closes with “Embracing Peace” inspired by the monumental ‘kiss’ sculpture which honors the moment in New York City on V-J Day, August 14, 1945, when a sailor spontaneously kissed a nurse in the celebration after World War II. The song is a soft ballad and features piano and bass (it is basically a piano trio with a little bit of percussion) and really rounds up this tour through times and places.

Overall an outstanding and inspiring album which Christian Tamburr created. All songs are original composition each with it’s own spirit and flavor. They also have a great underlying visualization which helps to develop a much deeper understanding of this music.

Christian has created an beautiful promotion video where you can hear some of the music and see all the sculptures:

Some more information on the Ground for Sculpture can be found on their website:
https://www.groundsforsculpture.org/

I also have to add here that Seward Johnson died three weeks ago and so this album is already an obituary of him and his work.

More information about Christian Tamburr can be found on his website:
https://www.christiantamburr.com/

And here is the complete album on Spotify:

 

Mette Juul: New York – Copenhagen

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Danish Jazz singer and songwriter Mette Juul released her new EP ‘New York – Copenhagen’ on March 6, 2020. This release is a follow-up on her album ‘Change’ from September 2019, which received and still receives many good reviews internationally and revealed new sides of herself through intimate solo, duo and trio sessions.

‘New York – Copenhagen’ continues with this setup and presents five songs where she is either accompanied by double bass and guitar or guitar only.

The EP was recorded partly in Juul’s own home in Copenhagen and partly in New York and Sweden and the musicians are also either from New York or Scandinavia. The three duets on this recording are all with Mike Moreno from New York and the two trios are with Lars Danielsson (DK/SE) on bass and Per Møllehøj (DK) or Ulf Wakenius (SE) on guitar.

Mette Juul tried to capture the difference between the vibrant energy of New York and the Nordic simplicity and warmth. So let’s listen carefully to these five songs.

The album starts with ‘Some Other Time’ by Leonard Bernstein, a duet between Mette Juul and Mike Moreno, who is responsible for the songs for the category ‘New York’.  This duet is very open in time and transparent in sound. Both musicians have a lot of space and they never get in each other’s way. Mike Moreno’s guitar playing is full of creative ideas and Mette’s voice is clear and precise with just a little vibrato.

‘Skylark’ comes next, again with Mike Moreno on guitar. This song has more drive and impresses with a solo by Mette and Mike in unison and the perfect intonation by Mette Juul over the clustered chords by Mike Moreno.

‘For Jan’ is the next song and we change to Copenhagen with Ulf Wakenius on guitar and Lars Danielsson on double bass. The different spirit of this song comes from the 3/4 time and the dialog between bass and vocals with the guitar adding some soft chord arpeggios.

The album continues with another trio, this time with Per Møllehøj on guitar and again Lars Danielsson on bass.  The song they play is a rather sad version of ‘You Must Believe in Spring’. This sadness comes mainly from Mette Juul’s interpretation. The unspectacular but straight playing of guitar and bass supports this mood perfectly. Really my highlight on the album.

The last song on this EP is called ‘The Peacocks (A Timeless Place) Part 2′ a song which is also found on the album ‘Change’. Mette gets perfect support from Mike Moreno for the difficult melody with whacky intervals. A little fade-out closes the album and leaves us with doubts and hope at the same time, this ambiguity is the major characteristic of this album, not only for the Copenhagen part but also for the songs that refer to New York.

Not the easy listening but the deep musical sense and the perfect balance between voice and guitar makes this album outstanding and unique.

More information about Mette Juul including concert dates (I see that she will play with pianist Søren Bebe) and some interesting videos can be found on her website:
http://www.mette-juul.com/

And here is the complete album on Spotify: