NY's superb Jazz Passengers, led by trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, brings together hard-bop and vocals in a Mingus workshop mode, here reunited with Elvis Costello, Marc Ribot, Deborah Harry, &c.
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Label: JTR-Justin Time Records
Catalog ID: 8565
Squidco Product Code: 13696
Recorded at Kampo Cultural Center, NYC on June 26th and September 15th, 2009 by Hugo Dwyer and Jonathan Altschuler. Spanish Harlem recorded at Brooklyn Recording in Brooklyn on February 14th, 2010 by Hugo Dwyer and Andy Taub. Susi Hyldgaard self-recorded in Denmark.
Roy Nathanson-saxophones, vocals
Curtis Fowlkes-trombone, vocals
Marc Ribot-guitars, vocals
Brad Jones-bass, vocals
Sam Bardfeld-violin, vocals
E.J. Rodriguez-drums, percussion, vocals
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• Show Bio for Marc Ribot
"Marc Ribot (pronounced REE-bow) was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954. As a teen, he played guitar in various garage bands while studying with his mentor, Haitian classical guitarist and composer Frantz Casseus. After moving to New York City in 1978, Ribot was a member of the soul/punk Realtones, and from 1984 - 1989, of John Lurie's Lounge Lizards. Between 1979 and 1985, Ribot also worked as a side musician with Brother Jack McDuff, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Chuck Berry, and many others.
Rolling Stone points out that "Guitarist Marc Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985's "Rain Dogs", and since then he's become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp." Additional recording credits include Soloman Burke, Neko Case, Diana Krall, Beth Orton, Marianne Faithful, Arto Lindsay, Caetano Veloso, Laurie Anderson, Susana Baca, McCoy Tyner, The Jazz Passengers, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Cibo Matto, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, James Carter, Vinicio Capposella (Italy), Auktyon (Russia), Vinicius Cantuaria, Sierra Maestra (Cuba), Alain Bashung (France), Marisa Monte, Allen Ginsburg, Madeleine Peyroux, Sam Phillips, and more recently Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Norah Jones, Akiko Yano, The Black Keys, Jeff Bridges, Jolie Holland, Elton John/Leon Russell and many others. Ribot frequently collaborates with producer T Bone Burnett, most notably on Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's Grammy Award winning "Raising Sand" and regularly works with composer John Zorn.
Marc has released over 20 albums under his own name over a 35-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler with his group "Spiritual Unity" (Pi Recordings), to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez with two critically acclaimed releases on Atlantic Records under "Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos". His avant power trio/post-rock band, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog (Pi Recordings), continues the lineage of his earlier experimental no-wave/punk/noise groups Rootless Cosmopolitans (Island Antilles) and Shrek (Tzadik). Marc's solo recordings include "Marc Ribot Plays The Complete Works of Frantz Casseus" (Les Disques Du Crepuscule), "John Zorn's The Book of Heads" (Tzadik), "Don't Blame Me" (DIW), "Saints" (Atlantic), "Exercises in Futility" (Tzadik), and his latest "Silent Movies" released in 2010 on Pi Recordings was described as a "down-in-mouth-near master piece" by the Village Voice and has landed on several Best of 2010 lists including the LA Times and critical praise across the board. 2013 saw the release of "Your Turn" (Northern Spy), the sophomore effort from Ribot's post-rock/noise trio Ceramic Dog, and 2014 saw the monumental release: "Marc Ribot Trio Live at the Village Vanguard" (Pi Recordings), documenting Marc's first headline and the return of Henry Grimes at the historical venue in 2012 already included on Best of 2014 lists including Downbeat Magazine and NPR's 50 Favorites.
Marc has performed on scores such as "The Kids Are All Right," "Where the Wild Things Are," "Walk The Line (Mangold)," "Everything is Illuminated," and "The Departed" (Scorcese)." Marc has also composed original scores including the French film Gare du Nord (Simon), the PBS documentary "Revolucion: Cinco Miradas," the film "Drunkboat," starring John Malkovich and John Goodman, a documentary film by Greg Feldman titled "Joe Schmoe," a feature film by director Joe Brewster titled "The Killing Zone", and dance pieces "In as Much as Life is Borrowed", by famed Belgian choreographer, Wim Vandekeybus, and Yoshiko Chuma's "Altogether Different". Marc is also currently touring his live solo guitar score to Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid", which was commissioned by the NY Guitar Festival and premiered Jan 2010 at Merkin Hall, as well as a program of new arrangements of classic Film Noir scores commissioned by the New School Noir Arts Festival 2011.
In 2009, Marc was named curator and musical director for the year's Century of Song Festival, part of the Ruhr Triennale in Germany. The concert series sparked new collaborations with Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, master cajón player Juan Medrano Cotito, Carla Bozulich and Tine Kindermann.
Marc's talents have also been showcased with a full symphony orchestra. Composer Stewart Wallace wrote a guitar concerto with orchestra specifically for Marc. The piece was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC in July of 2004 and also appeared at The Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz, CA in August of 2005.
Marc is currently touring with several projects including the Marc Ribot Trio, a free jazz group featuring legendary bassist Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor on drums, his power trio Ceramic Dog with bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith, the Philly soul meets the harmolodics of Ornette Coleman's The Young Philadelphians with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Calvin Weston, and with Caged Funk, a project of funk arrangements of John Cage's music featuring Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic fame."-Marc Ribot Website (http://marcribot.com/bio)
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• Show Bio for Brad Jones
"New York born Brad Christopher Jones is a bassist, composer, and educator. He has recorded, performed, and toured around the world with a diverse array of artists that include Ornette Coleman, Elvis Costello, Elvin Jones, David Byrne, Muhal Richard Abrams, Sheryl Crow, Deborah Harry, Dave Douglas, Vernon Reid, John Zorn, Don Byron, Marc Ribot, and The Jazz Passengers.
Brad has released three recordings under his own leadership with two seperate projects:"UNCIVILIZED POISE" and "THE EMBODIMENT" with his band Aka Alias, and"POURING MY HEART IN" with the Brad Jones Quartet.
Brad is also an experienced educator who has taught workshops and master classes in France, Italy, Canada, and Mexico and is part of the music faculty at Columbia University in New York City."-Brad Jones Website (http://bassjones.com)
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1. Wind Walked By 6:33
2. Seven 6:13
3. Button Up 4:10
4. Reunited 4:50
5. The National Anthem 6:59
6. Tell Me 4:45
7. Spanish Harlem 6:00
8. Think Of Me 3:54
9. Wone Way Or Another 5:23
sample the album:
"Reunited, as with all past Passengers recordings, features a blend of group vocals as well as showcased guest vocals, with trombonist Curtis Fowlkes leading the way. Along with Grady Tate, he's got to be one of the best instrumentalists that also possess a killer voice.
"Button Up" is an energetic R&B romp that features Fowlkes on lead with the whole group on ensemble vocals, and it also features some great playing from violinist Bardfeld and guitarist Ribot. "National Anthem" starts as a quiet duo between Fowlkes and Nathanson, then stretches into a completely unpredictable group workout, complete with surf and psychedelic guitar riffs punctuated by sharp, percussive ensemble horn charts. "Tell Me" is a pretty ballad that features great percussion from Rodriguez and lovely trombone licks from Fowlkes, who also provides the vocal. Bill Ware's vibes are also wonderfully evocative, and in fact hard to single out in any song, so integral they are to the Passengers' sound.
It could be said that Reunited is jazz chamber music in the same way that Ellington's music was, as the solos are short, making the proceedings full of intricate ensemble work. The music has its own particular landscape, giving the players the confidence to step out. It's a sound that's uniquely their own, yet there is a precedent: think of the way James Brown made his horns part of the rhythm section. It's also unfailingly diverse, changing as a film does, from scene to scene, with moments of bombast (check out two minutes into "National Anthem") to the intimate, unpretentious poetry they make of the title track, a #1 hit for Peaches & Herb in 1979. While Herb has remained a constant in the chart-topping group since its creation, no less than six consecutive women have filled the role of "Peaches." Hilariously, Fowlkes sings Peaches' part here (after Nathanson recites the first verse spoken word), effectively crowning him the seventh "Peaches" and the first (known) male one. In all seriousness, the Passengers' reading is both funny (listen to Ribot's trick bag here) yet surprisingly poignant.
Ribot, a jazz/rock icon in his own right (his contributions to recordings by Tom Waits, John Zorn, Lou Reed and Marianne Faithfull are nearly unimaginable without him), plays his heart out on the album's first six tracks, with excitingly dissonant yet somehow elegant riffs that are as good as anything he's committed to disc. In most jazz groups, the lyrics are not written by its own members, but here we have one of rock's greatest lyricists (Elvis Costello) singing the album's first composition, yet it's not his own work - it's Roy Nathanson's composition "Wind Walked By." The two are great friends, and Costello has contributed to past Passengers records, including Individually Twisted (1996), on which he did co-write, with bassist Brad Jones, the song "Aubergine." Costello's performance here is lovely and languid; it's Nathanson's reflection on the new depression ("I was afraid we wouldn't get this record out before the financial crunch was over!" adds the composer and saxophonist). Costello has always sung uncannily in tune, and this is no exception. It's also got some incredibly tricky intervals, yet the former Declan MacManus sails through without a hitch.
Guest vocal tracks bookend the record, starting with Elvis and ending with two bonus tracks featuring "The Baroness" - as they call her eminence, Debbie Harry - on vocals. Again, it's testament to her close relationship with the Passengers that she unhesitatingly allowed their inclusion. For years, the rock icon has both performed live and recorded with the Passengers, allowing her the artistic freedom and great fun necessary to keep sane. Here, she has great fun with bassist Brad Jones' "Think Of Me" as well as her own song "One Way Or Another," a worldwide hit for Blondie, culminating in Harry imploring the guys to join her on vocals.
Reunited (the album) is - as you may have guessed - a play on words. In naming their album after the Peaches & Herb hit, The Jazz Passengers are in fact addressing a number of things: the return of original guitarist Marc Ribot; the life-affirming fact that it's their first record in a dozen years; and the obviously renewed vigour that any ensemble feels when they reunite after time off, and find that not only does it still work, but that sparks fly!"-Justin-Time
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Song Based Music
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