Frequent side-man to Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas, &c., drummer Rudy Royston leads a "chord-less" trio of Mostly Other People Do the Killing/Talibam! saxophonist Jon Irabagon and bassist Yasushi Nakamura through a strong, lyrical set of 13 original jazz compositions.
Royston, Rudy Trio
Rise of Orion
Label: Greenleaf Music
Released in: USA
"In-demand drummer Rudy Royston (Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas, Ravi Coltrane, Branford Marsalis) debuts his new trio on Rise of Orion. Rudy Royston's sophomore Greenleaf Music album Rise of Orion features a chordless trio with saxophone standout and Thelonious Monk Competition Winner Jon Irabagon, and bass virtuoso Yasushi Nakamura. This 13 track record is Royston's offering of "hope and love" with 11 originals and interpretations of Bill Withers' Make a Smile For Me and Henry Purcell's Dido's Lament."-Greenleaf Music
"Rudy Royston Trio: Rise Of Orion 303 (Greenleaf Music, 2014) was the debut we were waiting for from drummer extraordinaire Rudy Royston, but it wasn't necessarily the debut we were expecting. Instead of playing the chops-and-brawn card that he always holds somewhere in his hand, Royston took a more thoughtful approach. He wowed with multidimensional maneuvers instead of brute force, using a uniquely patterned septet to good advantage. This follow-up date is more in line with the expectations that were defied on 303, but it's hardly predictable or one-dimensional.
For his sophomore date, Royston trims back the personnel, leaving only a "chord-less" trio with saxophonist Jon Irabagon and bassist Yasushi Nakamura to carry the load. And carry it these three do. This trio is a sinewy beast, quick on its feet and mercurial in its mannerisms. The highs it produces are impossibly high, with outré antics ("Kolbe War") and edgy rhythmic thrust ("Rise Orion") serving as the manifestation of manic intensity; and the lows come in more lyrical shapes, as Irabagon deals in simmering seduction ("Sister Mother Clara") and lullaby-like designs ("Make A Smile For Me"). There are times when a blind listen might actually point toward the saxophonist as the leader ("Dido's Lament," "We Had It All"), but the record as a whole marks Royston as the man in charge.
The energy packed into these performances is undeniable, but Royston and company don't put undue focus on power. It's the result-a byproduct, if you will-of a distinctive artistic synergy born out of the contact between these three musicians. Their connective thoughts are almost palpable, evident in their banter during post-bop forays, their constant groove calibrations, and their melodious side trips. This is a format that allows Royston to think bigger and smaller all at once, removing impediments and obstacles to change while telescoping focus in design and delivery. Royston revels in the opportunity to create with this trio, and it's a joy to bear witness to it."-Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
• Show Bio for Rudy Royston
A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado. He began playing drums and percussion as a toddler, playing in church and along with an eclectic array of LPs his siblings would have on rotation. The youngest of five, Royston attributes his musical interests and palate to his siblings and parents. Rudy's older brothers and sister were avid listeners of all genres of music, his mother a constant support, and his father the supervisor of shipping at an established children's percussion instrument making company. Rudy's brothers would expose him to a myriad of music, and his father would bring home slightly damaged percussion instruments. As a result, Rudy grew up surrounded by bongos, rhythm sticks and xylophones, recorders, metallophones, glockenspiels, drums and many other percussion instruments. In the fourth grade, with his mother's ceaseless support, Rudy began studying music more formally, beginning his studies in reading and writing music. He continued his music studies through middle and into high school-receiving some training on viola and tenor saxophone as well.
While a sophomore in high school, Rudy attended the Telluride Jazz Camp in Telluride, Colorado on scholarship, where he studied jazz drum set for the first time with Duffy Jackson and Ed Soph. It was then Rudy knew he would pursue music the rest of his life. He began studying classical and jazz repertoire, as well as marching percussion, rising to achieve membership into topnotch city and state-wide high school ensembles.
Rudy went on to study marching percussion, classical percussion and Jazz Performance at University of Northern Colorado, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and University of Denver. Rudy graduated with honors from University of Denver, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Poetry. He later received K-12 teaching credentials from Metropolitan State College of Denver.
While in college, Rudy began playing with well-regarded trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Rudy deems his greatest teacher and music mentor. Now a major figure in the Denver music scene, Rudy performed with some of Colorado's finest artists such as Fred Fuller, Dale Bruning, Laura Newman, Fred Hess, Dotsero, Leslie Drayton, Joe Keel, Nelson Rangell and Bill Frisell-with whom he still plays.
Upon graduating college, Rudy went on to play and record in the gospel, alternative rock and jazz scenes in Denver and around the United States. He taught music 10 years in public schools before relocating to the east coast in 2006 to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, studying jazz percussion with the great Victor Lewis. Rudy quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Javon Jackson, Bill Frisell, Les McCann, David Gilmore, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Stanley Cowell, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, Jenny Scheinman, John Patitucci, Dave Douglas, Branford Marsalis, Rudresh Mahanthappa and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Rudy continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz.-Rudy Royston Website (http://www.rudyroyston.com/html/about.php)
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• Show Bio for Jon Irabagon
"The winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, Irabagon has since topped both the Rising Star Alto Saxophone and the Rising Star Tenor Saxophone categories in the DownBeat Magazine Critics' Poll and been named one of Time Out New York's 25 New York City Jazz Icons. Jon was also named 2012 Musician of the Year in The New York City Jazz Record and is an integral member of such high-profile ensembles as the Mary Halvorson Quintet, the Dave Douglas Quintet and Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor, as well as an established bandleader in his own right.
For Perpetual Motion, a project of Moondog arrangements, Jon (along with French saxophonist/clarinetist/composer Sylvain Rifflet) has been awarded a French-American Cultural Exchange grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, with generous funding from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Florence Gould Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Institut Français, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, and Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs de Musique ("SACEM"). In addition, Jon has received a 2012 Mabuhay Award by the National Association of Filipino-Americans and a 2014 Philippine Presidential Award.
Jon's own record label, Irabbagast Records, has currently released five of his efforts, including I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues Volume 2: Appalachian Haze (with Mike Pride and Mick Barr), Outright! Unhinged (with Ralph Alessi, Jacob Sacks, John Hebert and Tom Rainey) and It Takes All Kinds (featuring Mark Helias and Barry Altschul), and most recently, the dual release of Behind the Sky (featuring Tom Harrell, Luis Perdomo, Yasushi Nakamura and Rudy Royston) as well as Jon's first solo saxophone recording, Inaction is an Action."-Jon Irabagon Website (http://www.jonirabagon.com/bio/)
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• Show Bio for Yasushi Nakamura
"One of the most commanding voices on bass today, Yasushi Nakamura is praised for imaginative, quicksilver bass lines that deepen the groove. His blend of guitar-like precision and gut-level blues has sparked collaborations with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones, Dave Douglas, Steve Miller, etc. With his charismatic stage presence and artful, hard swinging melodic touch, Nakamura is a first-call performer capturing new audiences and fans around the world.
Born in Tokyo, Nakamura moved to the United States at age 9, and considers both places home. He began with clarinet and tenor saxophone, but his older brother's study of guitar and drums drove him to pick up the bass. His love of rock and funk aside, the music of Charlie Parker, Ray Brown, Miles Davis were a potent influence on him. Nakamura received a BA in Jazz Performance from Berklee School of Music in 2000, and was awarded a full scholarship to The Juilliard School for his Artist Diploma in 2006. He credits Myron Walden as an early champion, and keeps close ties to Juilliard mentors Victor Goines, Wycliffe Gordon, and Carl Allen, all of whom maintain him in their bands.
Nakamura's career is flourishing, with consistent engagements at premier jazz festivals including Tokyo, North Sea, Monterey, Ravinia, and venues such as Birdland, Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall. In 2014, he was honored to play the "NEA Jazz Masters Concert: Celebrating Jamey Abersold, Anthony Braxton, Richard Davis, and Keith Jarrett," sharing the stage with Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman. A wide array of projects permits him to explore musical styles and collaborations. In 2016, he recorded with one of his long-time inspirations, Toshiko Akiyoshi, for her recent release, Porgy and Bess. His performance with Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra was also broadcast as a documentary film. Recent works include "For the Love of Duke" with New York City Ballet choreographed by Susan Stroman, and "Ellington at Christmas: Nutcracker Suite" with Savion Glover, Lizz Wright, the Abyssinian Baptist Choir, and David Berger conducting. In 2010, he toured the Middle East with Jazz at Lincoln Center's "Kings of the Crescent City" project, and he toured Asia in 2008 with the Juilliard All-Stars. As an educator, Nakamura has led master classes and summer intensive courses at the The Juilliard School, New School, Koyo Conservatory, Osaka Geidai, and Savannah Swing Central.
In fall 2016, Nakamura begins a European tour with Aaron Goldberg, Dave Douglas Quartet. He is also an established member of Clarence Penn and Penn Station, Mark Whitfield Family Band, and more. Yet Nakamura is equally passionate about creating new music with the artists of his generation. He is a founding member of New Century Jazz Quintet and Japanese jazz band, JSquad, for which he also composes. Inspired by the totality of his musical journey, Nakamura is poised to make his highly anticipated album debut as leader in late 2016."-Yasushi Nakamura Website (http://www.yasushinakamura.com/biography)
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Label: Greenleaf Music
Catalog ID: GRE-CD-1052
Squidco Product Code: 23243
Recorded at Tedesco Studios in Paramus, New Jersey by Tom Tedesco.
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1. Rise Of Orion 4:45
2. Nautical 7:32
3. Alnitak 1:43
4. Sister Mother Clara 5:42
5. Man O To 7:11
6. Alnilam 1:37
7. Make A Smile For Me 9:04
8. Kolbe War 6:42
9. River Styx 1:09
10. Dido's Lament 9:26
11. Mintaka 1:25
12. We Had It All 9:21
13. Belt 0:57