<p>May I Introduce to You</p>

May I Introduce to You

When Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, he couldn’t have foreseen the extraordinary San Francisco String Trio. The Bay Area super-group featuring guitarist Mimi Fox, bassist/vocalist Jeff Denson, and violinist Mads Tolling has found a consistently enthralling vehicle for musical exploration in the 1967 masterpiece. May I Introduce to You is the trio’s debut album and a loving homage to the classic Beatles record on its 50th anniversary. The SF String Trio brings together three celebrated masters who have each recorded critically acclaimed albums as bandleaders. Much like the Beatles drew on an array of traditions and styles in crafting Sgt. Pepper’s, the cooperative ensemble approaches each track as an opportunity to imbue supremely familiar songs with a sense of delight and surprise. The idea was to do something different to shake up these fantastic songs, but not just for the sake of doing something new, says Fox. We’re all coming from a jazz background and we like to mix things up. The trio’s emotional connection to Sgt. Pepper’s is evident throughout May I Introduce to You, and every track sheds a bright and revealing light on the genius of the Beatles. Tolling transfuses some of Joe Cocker’s gospel fervor into his ballad arrangement of With A Little Help From My Friends, and sets a good deal of Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds to a crunching 5/4 beat. Fox evokes George Harrison’s sitar with a sleek modal interpretation of Within You Without You and delivers a ravishing solo rendition of She’s Leaving Home. Denson’s arrangement of Fixing A Hole incorporates his striking vocals, as does his multilayered unpacking of A Day In the Life, another tour de force that distills the song’s essence while winding its way to a surprising climax, with Fox’s twang replacing the famous last crashing chord.

Available 9/8/2017

Download official Press Release
San Francisco String Trio Press Release (word docx)
San Francisco String Trio Press Release (pdf)

Learn more at sfstringtrio.com

Metal na Madeira

Metal na Madeira

Metal na Madeira (Metal on Wood) is more than a portrait of two artists carrying out a project together. It is a portrait of Brazil, more specifically the Brazilian Northeast. The album art was developed based on a traditional Northeastern art called Xylography, in which the artist develops an image by engraving wood with a metal object. Likewise, Ian Faquini and Paula Santoro engrave their music into the listener’s heart as the metallic harmonics of the voice interplay with the wooden tone of the guitar.

The album features all original compositions by Faquini and presents a fresh take on traditional Northeastern rhythms such as Maracatu, Frevo, Baião, Xote, and Toada, maintaining a foot in the past while stepping towards the future with modern harmonic and melodic structures. The lyrics of the CD describe the exuberance and poverty of that region of Brazil –the joy, colors and natural beauty, but also sadness, drought and longing of a people who are accustomed to extremes.

Metal na Madeira counts on an All-Star cast of collaborators and special guests who helped develop the album’s unique sound. It features Saxophone extraordinaire Spok, who arranged the explosively joyous title track and plays soprano sax alongside Harvey Wainapel on alto sax and clarinets on his own beautiful and soulful arrangement of Pinhem-Pinhem, Jeff Cressman on trombone, Vitor Gonçalves on Rhodes and accordion, Scott Thompson on bass, Rafael Barata on drums and percussion, Sergio Krakowski on pandeiro and Sandy Cressman and Viven Monica Golcwajg on backing vocals.

Paula and Ian first met through the Brazilian composer Guinga, with whom Paula collaborated on a record and tour around Brazil and Europe in 2007, launching the composer’s album titled “Casa de Villa”. Ian met Guinga when he was 16 and this encounter changed his life. Ian fell in love with Guinga’s music and began devoting himself deeply to composing and exploring his own Brazilian roots through music.

In 2014, when Paula and Ian were both part of the faculty at California Brazil Camp- a performing arts camp focused on Brazilian music and dance, Paula fell in love with his compositions and their partnership began. The mutual admiration sparked a desire to record an album together and they did so at the famous Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA in September of 2015.

Available September 23, 2016

Opaluna

Opaluna

opalunaOpaluna blends the versatile voice of Susana Pineda, a singer from Medellín Colombia, and guitar maestro Lu Salcedo, from the Bay Area, to create a culturally rich fabric of color and sound. Their music explores the frontiers of folk, rock, Latin groove, as well as the many vibrant colors of jazz. Their audience is invited to join for the adventure through the fusion.

Released August 26, 2016

Concentric Circles

Concentric Circles

Jeff-Band_1078-Edit-web

Concentric Circles is the fifth album by Jeff Denson and after the last three where he explored freely improvised music, a unique take on gospels and hymns, and a tribute to the music of Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz, he has returned to exploring his original compositions in the same vein as his initial recording, Secret World.

Denson’s music pushes through the boundaries of conventions in music. By inventively mixing the world of composed and improvised music, Jeff Denson creates a unique language of his own, where intoxicating melodies and rhythms transport the listener away to unknown lands where vivid hues of tone paint the aural canvas of the inner ear.

The music is steeped in the jazz tradition, where the propulsive rhythms are the heartbeat of the music and the musicians are master improvisers of harmonic structures, song forms, and melodic invention. Where the music diverges from the jazz tradition and creates its unique fingerprint is in the handling of the juxtaposition of the composed and improvised material, the roles and uses of the instruments within the compositions, unique instrumentation itself, its musical forms and the unmistakably memorable melodic language of Jeff Denson. The strength of the melodies transcend genre or idiomatic leanings and plant themselves in the ears of the listeners, leaving them singing them long after the music has stopped.

  • Unique instrumentation of bassoon, bowed double bass & voice as the main melodic voices
  • Focusing on Denson’s original rich and melodic, cinema-esque compositions
  • Virtuosic use of the bowed double bass
  • The world’s premiere improvising jazz bassoonist, Paul Hanson

The title Concentric Circles represents the concept of Jeff’s latest album to be released on Ridgeway Records in the summer of 2016. The concept of nested circles around a common center is represented by the fact that Jeff put this quartet together by bringing together the members of his two separate trios: the Jeff Denson Trio with Dan Zemelman and Alan Hall (whom toured recently in Europe and the US with jazz legend, Lee Konitz in support of Denson’s last recording, Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz) and Electreo with bassoonist, Paul Hanson and Hall again on drums. The concept of the concentric circles is represented in the intricate nature of the counterpoint between the instruments in the compositions, which as Denson says, “function like the inner workings of a Swiss watch”.

Concentric Circles coming June 10, 2016.

Jeff Denson Quartet includes:
Paul Hanson, Bassoon
Dan Zemelman, piano
Alan Hall, drums
Jeff Denson, double bass, vocals & compositions

Learn more about Jeff Denson at jeffdenson.com.

Arctic

Arctic

Ratatet sprang out of a collective trio, formed in 2014 named Electreo, which consists of of Alan Hall, Jeff Denson and Paul Hanson. In the process of writing music for Electreo, Alan’s desire to write for a larger ensemble grew, and once all the personnel pieces fell into place, the Ratatet was formed. The members of Ratatet include Paul Hanson on bassoon and tenor saxophone, John Gove on trombone, Dillon Vado on vibraphone, Greg Sankovich on organ, acoustic and electric piano, Jeff Denson on acoustic bass, fretted & fretless electric bass, vocals and leader, arranger/composer and drummer Alan Hall.

The members of Ratatet have played and/or recorded  with an assortment of great musicians, groups and organizations, including Geoffrey Keezer, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Art Lande, Minsarah, Paul McCandless, Lee Konitz, Cirque Du Soleil, Kenny Werner,  Kai Eckhardt, Cuong Vu, Ralph Alessi.

The adventuresome spirit exemplified by the band’s novel instrumentation is also reflected in leader Alan Hall’s cliché-free and melody-rich compositions on Arctic, the outfit’s genre-dissolving debut recording. Incorporating prime elements of jazz (from mainstream to fusion), funk, rock, South American idioms and classical music, Ratatet categorically rejects rigid categorization. This co-existence of extremes is evidenced in the range of material, emotive nature, and vibe of the music, composed by drummer and band-leader Alan Hall. The title and music on Arctic embodies a sense of wide expanse, adventure, loss and new discovery. Utilizing the unique sonic nature of bassoon, trombone and vibes with the classic jazz trio back line of piano, bass and drums, new ground is broken. Stellar soloists Paul Hanson and John Gove set the tunes ablaze while Vado, Sankovich, Denson and Hall keep things roiling underneath.

Download official Press Release
Arctic Press Release (word docx)
Arctic Press Release (pdf)

Learn more at ratatet.com

Jeff Denson Trio + Lee

Jeff Denson Trio + Lee

Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz

After more than a decade as a co-leader of the internationally acclaimed trio Minsarah, bassist Jeff Denson is forging into new territory with his trio that features Dan Zemelman on piano and Jon Arkin on drums.

Each season, Jeff will select an outstanding featured guest featuring the project as, The Jeff Denson Trio +1. For the 2015/2016 season the special featured guest will be legendary alto saxophonist Lee Konitz. Jeff has performed with Lee since 2007 and was a member of the Lee Konitz New Quartet, the only permanent group that the eminent saxophonist has ever led.

“It was always a dream of mine when I was a student back at Berklee College of Music that I would someday be in Lee Konitz’s band, and as luck would have it, that is exactly what happened! Lee heard our trio (Minsarah) performing and really liked what he heard…this led to the formation of the Lee Konitz New Quartet, a band in which Lee wrote is the first actual band he’s ever had! ” – Jeff Denson

There are a couple of elements that largely set this album apart from other projects that Jeff and Lee have worked on together:

  • Improvisation between the alto saxophone, bowed double bass and their voices
  • After largely focusing on standards for the last decade, they take a fresh look at some of the Music of the “Lennie Tristano School” (compositions by Tristano, Konitz, Marsh and Bauer)
  • Jeff takes an unusual approach doubling the complex themes of the Tristano School and interweaving the solo lines like the historic duo of Konitz and Marsh.

“Jeff is an exceptional musician who is a creative force on the double bass and has an original approach and voice on the instrument.” – Lee Konitz

Released July 7, 2015 – Ridgeway Records