Tag Archives: Album

Olivia Foschi: Fleeting Windows


A brand new album comes from vocalist, composer and educator Olivia Foschi. It is titled “Fleeting Windows” and the main inspiration of this album comes from her twin boys who were born in 2015. Olivia Foschi was born in San Francisco, grew up in Italy and lives in New York. The excellent line-up of this album features

  • Olivia Foschi – voice
  • Gil Goldstein – accordion/piano/Rhodes
  • Billy Test – piano/Rhodes
  • Alex Sipiagin – trumpet/flugelhorn
  • Daniel Dickinson – bass clarinet/flute/tenor sax/alto sax
  • Joseph Doubleday – vibraphone
  • Yotam Silberstein – guitar
  • Marco Panascia – bass
  • Ulysses Owens Jr. – drums/percussion

The album was produced by Ulysses Owens Jr. and the official release date was August 24, 2018.

Olivia says that “I wanted to make a record dedicated to my sons that would somehow capture the myriad of emotions we went through in these past few years”. The songs were either written for them, inspired by them, or integral tunes within their daily routine.

The album starts with an original from Olivia called “Due To Wake Up Soon”.  The song has a nice steady pulse but also a lot of space for the soloists and captures that feeling of easiness in the morning before the daily routine starts.

The second tune “Stay As Sweet As You Are” is the first highlight of the album. Gil Goldstein arranged it in musette-style and Olivia sings this old song with her clean and clear voice fresher than ever.

The album continues with “Firefly”, composed by Kenny Barron and the late Chris White Jr. Olivia included this song in her repertoire after  performing it with Chris and the John Ehlis Ensemble. We hear great solos by Alex Sipiagin and Yotam Silberstein. Alex Sipiagin arranged this song in in 7/4 that goes back to 4/4 on the bridge which opened the song rhythmically for Olivia to add some Konnakol (art of performing percussion syllables vocally in South Indian Carnatic music).

“Dreams Come True” is another original by Olivia Foschi, the beautiful arrangement is by Gil Goldstein. A breezy song that modulates between major and minor keys.

“Dienda”, the 5th song on the album is a composition by Kenny Kirkland, known from Branford Marsalis or Sting.  This song was included as Olivia’s farewell to Brooklyn. She said: “Sting’s lyrics to “Dienda” reminded me of my decision to leave Brooklyn for a more rural environment as I entered this new ‘season’ in my life as a mother.” In balladesque style, this is one of the softest songs on the album.

The next tune “Pitter Patter” is another favorite of mine. You can here a mother talking to her boys who seem to have too much energy, I really like that catchy phrase “Pitter-patter, what’s the matter, please, don’t fight”.  The song gets more open during the solos. This is one of the nice characteristics of this album: catchy melodic phrases alternate with open and very dynamic solo parts.

“Quiet Now” comes next and Olivia explains: “We listen to a lot of Bill Evans in our home, especially when the going gets rough, and his take on Zeitlin’s “Quiet Now” instantly gives me space to breathe within all the chaos. Gil randomly offered to arrange it for the record, so I penned lyrics to it and all of a sudden it was on the track list.” Very tastefully sung and featuring Gil Goldstein and Alex Sipiagin as soloists. Just released and already a classic.

“Look for the Silver Lining” from Jerome Kern starts with Olivia tapping on the kitchen table while singing it to her boys. The song features Joseph Doubleday on vibraphone and an incredible Yotam Silberstein on guitar. The excellent and very rhythmic arrangement is by Billy Test.

The next song “Tiny Toes” is composed and arranged by Olivia Foschi, again very rhythmically, an up-tempo, be-bop style song. Very jazzy, featuring Ulysses Owens Jr. on drums.

“My Life” is the second song composed by Chris White Jr.  on this album. Olivia had once a hard time relating to the song and Chris walked her through the song’s underlying intention and phrasing and since then she understood its true meaning. We hear only piano, bass and Olivia singing beautifully.

“Looking Up”, the homage to New York by Michel Petrucciani, closes the album. This song is another highlight for me. The guitar determines the easy Latin-groove and the bass clarinet gives the song it’s special touch.

The eleven songs on the album have all been carefully arranged and show Olivia’s passion for great melodies, open space and rhythmic accentuation. Olivia has a clear and full voice, discreet and present, a real pleasure to listen. The album has also a distinct and unique atmosphere, it’s own spirit, like a total work of art.

There is also a nice video available with some more information about this album:

Here is  a link for cdbaby.com where you can order the CD:

The album is also available on Spotify:

More information about Olivia Foschi can be found on her website:


Kobie Watkins: Movement


Drummer Kobie Watkins, born and raised in Chicago, has toured and recorded with a number of well-known musicians like Sonny RollinsBobby Broom (he plays on the three Bobby Broom albums which I have in my collection)Kurt EllingBranford Marsalis and Joe Lovano. He presents here his first album with his Grouptet.

The Kobie Watkins Grouptet includes:

  • Kobie Watkins – drums
  • Justin Nielsen - piano
  • Ryan Nielsen - trumpet
  • Jonathan Armstrong – saxophone
  • Aaron Miller - bass

The album was released on May 15 and contains nine originals, along with a great new arrangement of ‘Manteca.’

The first song on the album is called “Catch This” and starts with an easy latin groove with a clear focus on the percussive playing of Kobie. The first solo goes to the trumpet followed by the bass with nice kicks from the horns, all very easy and laid-back. Dynamics increase a little with the piano and saxophone solo. Then at around 5:00 min an extensive latin outro starts and the jazz band sounds now like a salsa band. Kobie told me that “… the end section and the overall energy is from a place I grew up as an upcoming professional in and throughout Chicago. The latin late nights in the latin clubs where music, dance and language never slept. “

The album continues with “The City”. This is my first highlight of the album. A pushing groove by Kobie, a beautiful melody perfectly arranged in two voices and great modal solos, especially by Justin Nielsen on piano leave no doubt that we have here a band of true masters at work. Kobie explained me that this song is about his adventurous feelings when traveling and coming into The City.
he groove is something I created, working on a Sonny Rollins tune. Playing with him when I created this tune inspired how I arranged the song.”
He also told me this song could last for hours, the modal form leaves plenty of space for the musicians to improvise extensively. On the album unfortunately the fun is over after 7:20 mins.

The next song is called “Movement” and it is the title song of the album. This song is composed around a bass line Kobie wrote in 2007. It starts polyrhythmic, as Kobie said in an “afrocentric feeling” and then after 2 mins it changes to an elegiac unaccompanied piano solo that gets more and more intensive, drums, bass and later the whole band steps in and plays again briefly the theme. The next solo part is a duet between saxophone and Ryan Nielsen on flugelhorn. The outro of the tune is a perfect drum solo with kicks form the band.

“Six Moods”, the next tune is a ballad in 6/8 that changes to 5/4. A great melody and nice harmonic changes. Beautiful solos by piano, saxophone and flugelhorn. Kobie wrote this song in 2012 and he started it “… with me singing into my phone while driving a long distance. This was a song created from a somber mood swing… I tend to have from time to time…nothing serious.” But no somberness from my point of view, just a great melody and excellent solos.

The album continues with “Ga-Rum-Ban” a fast and furios tune with solos from saxophone, trumpet and a breathtaking piano in dialog with the drums.

“Inner Motion” is the next song and as before, the bass line was the starting point of the composition. A soft song with a complex bass line and a simple melody above. Justin Nielsen plays very tastefully on a Rhodes. Great dynamics in the trumpet and saxophone solos, this song is another highlight of the album.

The album continues with the tune “Rivet”.  The bass is again the origin of the tune. Kobie told me that this song was created in 2016 during a long drive. And this tune feels like a long drive, very steady even a little bit monotonic, “flowing sound” as Kobie explained.

“MBDC” comes next and unfortunately neither me nor Kobie are able to explain to you what this acronym stands for. The song was written in 2008 while Kobie was in Zimbabwe. It has a very energetic rhythm with a simple melody and eloquent drum fills. Quite remarkable is the saxophone solo in this song where Jonathan Armstrong and Kobie push each other and create great dynamics and incredible energy.

“Falling Upward” is the last original from Kobie Watkins on this album. This tune is based on a pushing groove and it is one more time Jonathan Armstrong who soaks up this energy and plays another astonishing solo. The song closes with soft piano chords and you have the impression of a show coming to an end.

However, there is the encore: “Manteca” by Dizzy Gillespie returns to where we started, to the dancers in the latin clubs where music never sleeps This famous jazz standard starts with a long groove intro. The head is played as a dialog between piano and saxophone, the B part is split between saxophone and trumpet similar to the original version. Great dynamic solos come from piano, saxophone and trumpet before the band returns to the steady groove from the beginning.

And if that is not enough there is another song available on bandcamp. It is called “Prayer for Peace” and was composed by Justin Nielsen. A beautiful and noble ballad with great harmonies and an incredible solo by Ryan Nielsen on flugelhorn.

Not much to say anymore about this album: there is an extraordinary drummer who found congenial musicians and the result is an outstanding album full of energy and positive vibrations.

Here is a nice video from Kobie Watkins with some more information about this album:

And finally a playlist on Spotify: