NY trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson's 2nd Pi album, in a quintet with pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist John Hebert, guitarist Miles Okazaki, and drummer Craig Weinrib, for 6 original lyrical compositions with captivating progressions and top notch soloing making great modern jazz.
Finlayson, Jonathan / Sicilian Defense
Label: Pi Recordings
Released in: USA
"Moving Still is the eagerly-awaited follow-up to trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson's Moment and the Message (Pi 2013), which was voted the top Album by a Debut Artist in the 2013 NPR Jazz Critics Poll and proclaimed "intricate and alluring, melodic but daring, riveting and rare" by Popmatters. Well regarded among fellow musicians for his ability to negotiate complex musical material and his decidedly personal sound and improvisational style, Finlayson was named the Number One Rising Star Trumpeter in the 2014 Downbeat Critics Poll. He has been a member of alto saxophonist Steve Colemans Five Elements for over 15 years, while also playing regularly with the likes of such cutting-edge artists as Steve Lehman, Mary Halvorson, Muhal Richard Abrams and Henry Threadgill.
Moving Still is filled with enthralling twists and turns, a hallmark of Finlayson's compositional style. As usual, there is far more to his work than might readily appear. Even though the pieces move forward with a clear thrust, instrumental voices rarely move in unison and counterpoint almost always holds sway. This is apparent on "Flank and Center," where the melody utilizes hockets - a series of three and two notes played in turn by three voices, a pointillistic effect that is carried throughout the piece. "Space And" is based on a traditional bell pattern of the Dagomba of present-day Northern Ghana while "Folk Song" is inspired by an Afro Cuban melody from the song cycle devoted to Oshun, a deity that reflects one of the manifestations of God in the Ifá and Yoruba religions. "Cap vs Nim" is based on a celebrated chess match between the grandmasters José Raúl Capablanca and Aron Nimzowitsch wherein Finlayson assigned harmonic values to positions on the board with the melody determined by the origin and destination of each move. Guitarist Mile Okazaki states of the music: "It demands restraint and balance. It breathes and moves along unencumbered. You join in for the trip, but travel light and watch your step, because Finlayson will surely take a turn that you don't expect."
Finlayson's band, Sicilian Defense, is named after the popular chess opening counter move, and most of the composition titles on Moving Still are also allusions to some aspect of the game of chess, which he plays with great zeal. This latest iteration of the band includes guitarist Miles Okazaki, who is also a member of Steve Colemans Five Elements and with whom Finlayson has played with consistently for ten years. Trickster, his next release, will be out on Pi in 2017. Pianist Matt Mitchell (Tim Berne, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, John Hollenbeck) has also released two of his albums on Pi. Finlayson has played alongside bassist John Hebert (Andrew Hill, Fred Hersch) for years, most recently in the bands of guitarist Mary Halvorson. And the young drummer Craig Weinrib, best known for tackling the challenges of Henry Threadgill's music as a member of his Ensemble Double up, a band that released the acclaimed Old Locks and Irregular Verbs earlier this year.
Finlayson has been a professional musician for a decade and a half despite being only 34 years of age. Its not uncommon for musicians years younger with far less experience to have multiple albums as leaders under their belt already yet Moving Still is just the second release under his own name. According to Okazaki: "You can't rush Finlayson. He's not concerned with expectations. He has confidence that his preparation will allow things to fall into place when the time is right. It has to do with timing and nuance, and allowing the story to reveal itself to those who are leaning in and paying attention." Or as Steve Coleman puts it: "Jonathan was aware of the entire spectrum of this music from a young age and hes always taken a panoramic view of what has come before. But for him its not about imitating the great players. He has the patience to find his own way and its important to him for his music to reflect his own personality and philosophy, to create his own style and sound. He has made a conscious choice to be on the cutting edge so that he continues to make an individual contribution to the continuum of this music." The result is a daring work with a firm sense of purpose."-Pi Recordings
Biography for: Jonathan Finlayson
"Jonathan Finlayson has been recognized by the New York Times as "...an incisive and often surprising trumpeter," who is "...fascinated with composition." Born in 1982 in Berkeley, CA, Finlayson began playing the trumpet at the age of ten in the Oakland public school system. He came under the tutelage of Bay Area legend Robert Porter, a veteran trumpeter from the bebop era who took Finlayson under his wing; he was often seen accompanying Porter on his gigs about town and sitting in on the popular Sunday nights jam session at the Bird Cage. He subsequently attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he studied with Eddie Henderson, Jimmy Owens and Cecil Bridgewater.
Finlayson is a disciple of the saxophonist/composer/conceptualist Steve Coleman, having joined his band Five Elements in 2000 at the age of 18. He is widely admired for his ability to tackle cutting-edge musical concepts with aplomb. Finlayson has performed and recorded in groups led by Steve Lehman, Mary Halvorson, Craig Taborn, Henry Threadgill and played alongside notables such as Von Freeman, Jason Moran, Dafnis Prieto and Vijay Iyer."-Jonathan Finlayson Website (http://jonathanfinlayson.com/biography.html)
Biography for: Miles Okazaki
"Miles Okazaki is an American musician based in New York City. He is known for his technical command of the guitar, his rhythmic approach to improvisation and composition, and his work in contemporary music theory. Okazaki grew up in Port Townsend, Washington, a small town near the Olympic Mountains in the Pacific Northwest. He got his first classical guitar at age 6, and began playing regular gigs on electric guitar by age 14, after studying for several years at the Centrum Jazz Workshop. He received many awards as a guitarist throughout his early years, and eventually placed 2nd in the Thelonious Monk International Guitar Competition.
Okazaki moved to New York City in 1997 to pursue a career in music and begin writing his own material. His teacher on guitar at this time was Rodney Jones, who recommended him for his first gig, with Stanley Turrentine. Okazaki spent four years on the road with vocalist Jane Monheit, while also writing and rehearsing the music for his first album, Mirror, which was released independently. The album received a "Critics Pick" in the New York Times, calling it "a work of sustained collectivity as well as deep intricacy." He expanded to a septet for his second album, Generations, described by pianist Vijay Iyer "the sonic equivalent of Escher or Borges, but with real emotional heft,". His third album, Figurations, was recorded live with a quartet, and was selected as one of the New York Times top ten albums of 2012, described by Ben Ratliff as "slowly evolving puzzles of brilliant jazz logic." In January of 2016 Okazaki recorded a new album, Trickster, that will be released later this year. Okazaki wrote, produced, and illustrated these albums.
As a sideman, Okazaki works in many areas, ranging from Standard repertoire to experimental music. Recently he has been seen most frequently as the guitarist for Steve Coleman and Five Elements. In the last few years, he has worked with a wide variety of artists including Kenny Barron, Jonathan Finlayson, Amir El Saffar, Adam Rudolph, Dan Weiss, Linda Oh, Darcy James Argue, Jane Monheit, Vijay Iyer, Francois Moutin, Doug Hammond, Carl Allen, Ohad Talmor, Mary Halvorson, John Zorn, Jen Shyu, Mark Giuliana, Patrick Cornelius, Rajna Swaminatham, Matt Mitchell, Craig Taborn, Tony Moreno, Ben Wendel, Donny McCaslin, and many others.
Okazaki currently teaches guitar at the University of Michigan. His first book, Fundamentals of Guitar, was released in 2015. He has also taught at the Banff Institute, The New School, Queens College, The Juilliard School, Amsterdam Conservatory, and many other institutions. Outside of guitar, his past teachers include Anthony Davis (composition), Ganesh Kumar (Carnatic percussion), and Kendall Briggs (counterpoint). His awards and grants include Chamber Music America's "New Works" (2007), Chamber Music America's "French-American Jazz Exchange" (2009), the Jazz Gallery and Jerome Foundations Residency Commission (2010), the American Music Center's Composer Assistance Program (2011), the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation's US Artists International grant (2012), the Rockefeller Brother's Fund Artist Residency (2012), and the Jazz Gallery Mentorship program (2015). He holds degrees from Harvard University, Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School, and lives in Brooklyn, NY."-Miles Okazaki Website (http://www.milesokazaki.com/biography/)
Biography for: Matt Mitchell
"Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads several ensembles featuring many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Tim Berne, Kim Cass, Caroline Davis, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Sylvaine Hélary, Jon Irabagon, Travis Laplante, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, Dan Weiss, and Katie Young.
He is an anchor member of several significant creative music ensembles which integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne's Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls, Jonathan Finlayson's Sicilian Defense, Dan Weiss's Large Ensemble, Steve Coleman's Natal Eclipse, the Darius Jones Quartet, Kate Gentile's Mannequins, Mario Pavone's Blue Dialect Trio, Anna Webber's Simple Trio, Ches Smith's We All Break, Michael Attias' Spun Tree, Ohad Talmor's Grand Ensemble, and Quinsin Nachoff's Flux. He is also among the core performers of John Zorn's Bagatelles.
Musicians with whom he performs and has performed include Jon Irabagon, Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet + 1, JD Allen, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green's Apex, Rez Abbasi's Invocation, Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Alessi's Baida Quartet, Dave King's Indelicate duo, Amir ElSaffar, Marc Ducret, David Torn, Vernon Reid, Clarence Penn and Penn Station, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society.
He has taught extensively with the Brooklyn-based School for Improvisational Music, as well as at the New School, NYU, and the Siena Jazz Workshop. He is also a 2015 receipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage."-Matt Mitchell Website (http://www.mattmitchell.us/bio/)
Biography for: John Hebert
"John Hebert was born in New Orleans, LA. He attended Loyola University from '90 to '92 where he was awarded with a complete scholarship. In 1992, John moved to the New York State area, completing his formal studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey; he graduated with a B.M. in Jazz Performance in 1994. After graduating, John moved to New York City where he quickly became a highly in demand bassist, both for live performances and studio sessions."-Marc Mommaas (http://www.mommaas.com/JohnHebert.html)
Biography for: Craig Weinrib
"Craig Weinrib (1988) lives and works in New York. He graduated from Columbia University in 2010 with a degree in English Literature. Since then he has collaborated with some of the most progressive artists in the world, including Henry Threadgill, Ravi Coltrane, and David Virelles. He now works with Henry Threadgill's Double-Up, Roman Filiú's Quarteria, the Ben van Gelder Quartet/Quintet, and the Sam Harris Trio; he also appears with Jonathan Finlayson and Sicilian Defence, the Dayna Stephens Quintet, and the Matt Brewer Quintet, among others.
As a recording and performing artist, Weinrib has appeared with Henry Threadgill, Ravi Coltrane, Mark Turner, Jason Moran, Greg Osby, Ambrose Akinmusire, David Virelles, Roman Filiu, Aaron Parks, Dayna Stephens, Curtis Fowlkes, Lage Lund, Ben Street, Sam Harris, Ben van Gelder, Rafiq Bhatia, Jonathan Finlayson, Matt Brewer, Larry Grenadier, and Joe Wilder, among many others."-Paiste (http://www.paiste.com/e/endorser_det.php?page=bio&endorserid=5896)
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: PIR-CD-67
Squidco Product Code: 22663
Recorded at Brooklyn Recording, in Brooklyn, New York on June 11th, 2016 by Any Taub.
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1. All of the Pieces 11:16
2. Flank and Center 4:35
3. Space And 8:33
4. Cap vs. Nim 8:58
5. Between Moves 8:09
6. Folk Song 10:48