Thursday, September 27, 2018

Boston Strong Music: Large Ensembles (Pt 1)

Seems like only yesterday that composer, arranger, and band leader Ayn Inserto released her debut album "Clairvoyance" - in fact, the album came out in 2006! That album featured trombonist and mentor Bob Brookmeyer as well as saxophonist George Garzone. A 2001 graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston (and currently on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music), she was born in Singapore and, with her family, moved to the Bay Area of California when she was 14.  After attending college in her adopted home state, she moved to the East Coast in the late 1990s to study with Mr. Brookmeyer.  It was not long before she organized her Jazz Orchestra, composed of some of the finest players in the Boston area, many of whom she now teaches with).

"Down a Rabbit Hole" (Summit Records) is Ms. Inserto's fourth recording and the third to feature her large ensemble with Garzone as a guest soloist - her 2014 album "Home Away From Home" was recorded in Italy with Massimo Morganti & The Colours Jazz Orchestra.  Besides Garzone, guest artists on the new album feature trombonist John Fedchock and trumpeter Sean Jones.  Over the course of her recordings, she has successfully incorporated  the ideas and teachings that Professor Brookmeyer provided and created her own large ensemble sound.

What you do hear on "...Rabbit Hole" is a delightful sense of playfulness, freedom, and intelligent interactions.  This is music that is not beholden to one sound.  Every piece stands out with splendid section writing, excellent solos, and a rhythm section that is supportive not intrusive, powerful without being overwhelming (special kudos go to pianist Jason Yeager, bassist Sean Farias, and drummer Austin McMahon).  Highlights include the sprightly opening track, Ms. Inserto's "Three and Me."  The "Three" in the title might allude to the guest soloists on the recording, all of whom get to play the melody plus take short yet fine solos.  The arrangement sets up each solo nicely with the sections providing a melodic conversation with counterpoint and harmonies while McMahon's drums strut happily below.

The title track rushes in like Alice in Wonderland's March Hare, in a hurry and not settling down. The song has an irresistible groove that along with a sly melody. Tenor saxophonist Garzone, with the urging of the rhythm section, digs into a delightful solo that often moves from "composed" to "frantic" in a heartbeat.  Fedchock stands out on the sweet ballad "Mister and Dudley", first when he introduces the delightful melody and then on his sweet solo which has a lovely singing quality.  Jones contributes "BJ's Tune" (one of two tracks in the eight-song program that were not composed by Ms. Inserto) - it's also on the slower side but opens up as the sections work through the arrangement of the melody. The composer steps out as the lone soloist with the sections "coloring" the backgrounds as he steps lively in and around the reeds and brass.

Photo: Steve Provizer
The other track not composed by the leader is the final one, a handsome take on The Jackson 5's 1970 smash "I'll Be There."  Pianist Yeager's impressionistic opening sets the stage for the ballad whose theme is lovingly performed by Jeff Claassen on flugelhorn.  Note the lovely unaccompanied reed quartet before trumpeter Dan Rosenthal moves into a fine solo excursion. The arrangement gives the soloist a cloak of reeds and brass to ease him forward.  It's a lovely finish to an excellent program.

"Down a Rabbit Hole" is a delight from start to finish.  You'll hear a trace of Bob Brookmeyer, a dollop of Thad Jones, and a very generous portion of Ayn Inserto.  This album made me smile as the music satisfied my soul!  Listen closely and enjoy!!

Enjoy "Part I: Ze Teach" (with its sly reference to Quincy Jones):


Ayn Inserto, conductor/composer/arranger
Guests: John Fedchock, trombone; George Garzone, tenor sax; Sean Jones, trumpet
Allan Chase, soprano/alto sax; Rick Stone, alto sax/flute/clarinet; Kelly Roberge, tenor sax/clarinet; Mark Zaleski, tenor sax/clarinet; Kathy Olson, bari sax/bass clarinet
Trumpets: Jeff Claassen, Bijon Watson, Dan Rosenthal, Matthew Small
Trombones: Randy Pingrey, Chris Gagne, Garo Saraydarian; Bass Trombone: Jennifer Wharton
Eric Hofbauer, guitar; Jason Yeager, piano; Sean Farias, bass; Austin McMahon, drums
Mike Tomasiak, tenor saxophone, Jerry Sabatini, trumpet, and Jamie Kember, bass trombone, on "Part I: Ze Teach" only.

Saxophonist, composer, and arranger Felipe Salles, a native of São Paulo, Brazil, has been performing and teaching in the United States since 1995. A 1998 graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music with a Doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music (2005), he is currently Associate Professor of Jazz and African-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Salles has worked and/or recorded with artists such as trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist Lionel Loueke, vocalist Luciana Souza, and fellow saxophonist David Liebman.  He has been the recipient of numerous grants for composition including becoming a Guggenheim Foundation Composition Fellow in 2018. Sales has recorded seven albums as a leader (plus one as co-leader), two initially released in Brazil, two on Fresh Sound New Talent, and three on Tapestry Records.

His third for Tapestry is his first with the Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble, an 18-member group he assembled to play his original works that blend classical elements with modern Latin American rhythms.  The debut recording, "The Lullaby Project (and Other Works for Large Ensemble)", features two long pieces; the five-movement title track and "Three Tango-Inspired Pieces for Large Jazz Ensemble".  The "Lullabies" are inspired by traditional Brazilian lullabies and the composer's mission "is to create a musical commentary on the dark underlying qualities of lullabies, as well as to illustrate the socially transformative impact (they) have had on generations of children."

Not sure if that prepares the listener for the brilliance of these pieces, the excellent arrangements, the intelligent solos, and the power of the ensemble.  Through-composed, the individual movements take time to introduce the melody, the brass and reeds sharing phrases while the five-man rhythm section (piano, guitar, vibraphone, bass, and drums) create the tension and the urgency in many of the movements.  Throughout the work, the arrangements for the reeds and brass stand out on each "Lullaby".  The individual songs have solos: highlights include Angel Subero's bombastic (even elephantine) bass trombone spot on "Lullaby #2" (still listen to the beautiful writing for the reeds) as well as the powerful yet melodic baritone sax solo from Tyler Burchfield on "Lullaby #4." Salles's utilization of multiple flutes, clarinet, and vibraphone create such a stunning background on "..#4" right before Eric Smith's fine trumpet solo and during it as well.  Nando Michelin plays both piano and melodica on "Lullaby #5" - his piano spot spreads out over the handsome section work building in intensity spurred on by drummer Bertram Lehmann followed by an equally fine solo from alto saxophonist Jonathan Ball.

The "Three Tango-Inspired Pieces..." follow and each has its own charm and power.  The Brazilian Salles has long been charmed by Argentinean and he channels that charm in these compositions.  He writes in the liner notes  how inspired he was/is by composers like Astor Piazzolla yet one could argue that the arrangements also show, at times, the inspiration of Carla Bley and Guillermo Klein.  "Odd Tango" introduces the tension that the rhythm creates for the dancers yet smoothly moves forward on the strength of its melody and solos by Mike Claudill (tenor sax) and Dan Hendrix (trombone). "Astor Square" is dedicated to the modern master. The underlying rhythms, while inspired by the art form, are, at times, looser but note the instant shifts in emphasis and tension.  The album closes with "Carla's Tango".  The afore-mentioned Ms. Bley is not mentioned as an influence but the piece would not sound out-of-place performed by the Liberation Music Orchestra, the last Charlie Haden's big band that she writes and arranges for.  It's the only piece on the album where Salles plays, his soprano saxophone playing both the melody and a delightful solo.

Photo: Steve Schneider
My advice?  Get a copy of "The Lullaby Project", sit down and listen, and notice how the music flows in and around you. Notice how the section writing is so intelligent and filled with wit as well as, at times, tenderness. These melodies have depth and charm.  Nothing is rushed or sounds out of place and the musicianship of Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble is very impressive. Dig in and dig it!!

For more information, go to

Here's the opening track:


Felipe Salles - Conductor, Composer, Arranger, and soprano saxophone on "Carla's Tango"

Richard Garcia, alto sax, soprano sax, flute
Jonathan Ball, alto sax, soprano sax, flute
Mike Caudill, tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet
Jacob Shulman, tenor sax, clarinet
Tyler Burchfield, bari sax, bass clarinet

Jeff Holmes
Yuta Yamaguchi
Eric Smith     
Doug Olsen

Joel Yennior
Clayton DeWalt
Randy Pingrey
Angel Subero (bass trombone)

Rhythm Section:
Piano, melodica: Nando Michelin
Guitar: Kevin Grudecki
Vibes: Ryan Fedak
Bass: Keala Kaumeheiwa
Drums: Bertram Lehmann

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Culture, Music, Fusion, & Emotion

Photo: Jimmy Katz
If you have closely followed the career of Miguel Zenón, you'll know it's been quite a journey from his early recordings with the Either/Orchestra and tenor saxophonist David Sánchez as well as his 2002 debut as a leader (the aptly-titled "Looking Forward" which featured, among others pianist Luis Perdomo and bassist Hans Glawischnig, both of whom are still members of Quartet).  Zenón is also a founding member of the SFJazz Collective, an octet organized in 2004 currently in its 15th season (which will be the saxophonist's final one with the ensemble).  Go back and listen to the early recordings and you'll hear he's already has his signature sound and that his original compositions were (and still are) inspired by the folkloric and popular music of his native Puerto Rico.  What has changed from those initial recordings is that his writing has matured in wonderful ways.

His latest project and album, "Yo Soy La Tradición", is his fourth album on his Miel Music label.  Zenón has created a collection of pieces inspired by classic Puerto Rican songs as well as elements of musical styles from different cities and towns on the island.  Scored for alto saxophone and string quartet. Zenón's partners on the project are the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet (violinists Clara Lyon and Maeve Feinberg, violist Doyle Armrest, and cellist Russell Rolen). Recorded during the horrific days when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico (and elsewhere in the Caribbean and United States), the results are an amazing blends of styles, melodies, harmonies, interactions, and rhythms. Rhythms?  String quartet?  O, yes, a number of these works are based on "dance" songs and all five musicians play "percussive" melodic lines and, in the case of the strings, plenty of pizzicato.

Photo: Robert Watson
Five weeks ago, I wrote a preview of the album and there is no need here to go through every track (I included several cuts to listen to - click here).  But, let's look at "Rosario", the song that opens the album. It's based on a Catholic Church tradition in which every segment of the Rosary is presented to the congregation with a musical piece to accompany it.  The piece opens slowly with a melody that has traces of the Shaker Hymn from Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" (the melodic echo appears several times during the performance) with the alto saxophone leading the strings into the music.  They come together and move apart throughout the piece yet it's those strings that add the tension and percussive elements to the piece.  Zenón hands the lead position to viola, violin, and cello as well as keeping a section to himself.  The blend of his saxophone with the strings is impressive throughout and while it seems as if he is the "front man", this music is a true collaboration.

Photo: Brian Jackson/Chicago Tribune
"Yo Soy La Tradición" is brilliant, an entrancing, attractive, intelligent, and often stunning collection of songs that blur the lines between classical, folk, jazz, and popular music. In fact, throw out any and all labels. The insistence on labels only insults the intelligence of the audience.  Instead, focus on how beautiful - yes, beautiful - this music is.  Listen deeply, smile with it, be moved by the passions and the emotions, and enjoy how seamless the arrangements are throughout.  This is not "background music"; instead, this album will resonate for as long as you give yourself fully to the experience.  Kudos to Miguel Zenón and the Spektral Quartet!

For more information, go to and to

Enjoy "Promesa":


One more thing. If you look up at the right hand side of the blog, you'll notice that there are new episodes of "The Jazz Session", the excellent series of interviews with musicians conducted by, arguably, one of the best, Jason Crane. You will learn so much from listening to Mr. Crane and his guests and it's fun!  Very good to have him back - there are still so many musicians out there deserving of the Jason Crane approach! For more information, go to

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Canadian Sounds Reverberate

After studying in Toronto, Ontario, pianist-composer Jeremy Ledbetter spent over a decade on the road working with artists such as Mighty Sparrow, Hermeto Pascoal, Jane Bunnett, and Andy Narrell (to name but 4). He's also the longtime musical director for the calypso star David Rudder.  Ledbetter also leads the Canadian group CaneFire, one of the nation's best known Caribbean/ Latin jazz ensembles.

"Got a Light?" (ALMA Records) is his debut as a leader. With the splendid drumming of Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy) and the handsomely thick electric bass sound of Rich Brown, this music jumps right along. Ledbetter is a two-fisted pianist with a fine blend of percussive and melodic elements.  The nine tracks - eight originals plus the Tragically Hip's "Gift Shop" (recorded one week after the passing of the group's front man Gord Downie) - have great power thanks to the talents and big ears of the participants.

There are many different musical dishes to digest on this album.  The Latin Jazz side of Ledbetter shines brightly on several tracks including the dramatic "About Climbing Mountains".  The booming piano chords and the powerful drums move the piece forward while Brown's bass dances around.  If anything, "The Pepper Drinker" is even more startling with its quick jumps in intensity and rapid-fire rhythms.  Brown's solo is jaw-dropping yet listen to how Ledbetter and Lewis help push him forward.

There is a softer side. Vocalist Eliana Cuevas joins the trio for "Her New Wings" (the leader switching to electric piano and leads the vocals in by playing the melody on melodica). The blend of her voice with the melodica is lovely plus there is a smart use of vocal overdubs to enhance the sound.  The rhythm section sits out "Suspirito" with batá drummer Reimundo Sosa joining Ledbetter for the quiet performance.

The album closes with a solo piano piece, the gentle, gospel-infused, "The Tightrope Walker." In various places on the album, one can hear the influence of Bruce Hornsby on Ledbetter's melodic and rhythmic choices. Let this music wash over you. The Jeremy Ledbetter Trio will shake the rafters but also give you moments of peace in a crowded day.  "Got a Light?" grabs the listener from the opening note, not only because this is not your traditional piano trio but really because the music is quite enjoyable.

For more information, go to

Take a look and listen to the Trio:

To celebrate its 20th Anniversary as a unit , the Toronto Jazz Orchestra (TJO) has issued its fourth album, the 18-piece ensemble's first release in nine years.  Led by its Artistic Director and chief composer Josh Grossman, the ensemble celebrates its existence and diversity with a eight piece program (including the four part "4 PN" dedicated to the 95-year old composer, bandleader, and clarinet player Phil Nimmons).

Grossman shows his versatility right from the start.  A sweetly melodic introduction opens to a funky/Latin groove as "Georgie and Rose" dance across the speakers. Soprano saxophonist Chris Roberts and trombonist Christian Overton step out for delightful solos powered by the delightful rhythms of drummer Ben Ball and percussionist Luis Orbegoso.  "Brad's Prudence" is a smart reworking of The Beatles' "Dear Prudence", the assemble trombones playing the melody as the trumpets and saxophones provide color commentary.

The afore-mentioned "4 PN" opens with "The Land of 2 and 4", a pleasing cut that swings along with the clarinets rising above the reeds and brass. There's a touch of Gil Evans in the smart arrangement behind the trumpet solo. Moving on to "Under a Restful Tree", the music takes on a modern feel, thanks to the adventurous drumming of Ball - note the melody played by the trumpet and clarinet in unison.  "Birdsong" follows, the trilling clarinet opening unexpectedly leading to a lovely trombone melody and a ballad presentation. The suite ends in a funky groove with "Flat 10 Strikes Again", the ensemble riding atop the delightful electric bass work of Mark Godfrey.

The album closes with two very different tracks.  "Reflections" is a passionate ballad that reflects the influence of Maria Schneider, especially in the section parts. "Blob", on the other hand, is a barn-burner with wailing guitar, pounding drums, and powerful solos.  It only quiets down near the end for the bass solo which gives away to a booming reprise of the opening.

Two decades - 20 years - is a good long time in the life of a modern big band.  While they may only have four albums, Josh Grossman has kept the TJO busy with several side projects.  "20" is a celebration and, hopefully, a harbinger of more to come.

For more information, go to


Josh Grossman (Artistic Director, conductor)
Chris Roberts (soprano sax, alto sax, flute)
Jake Koffman (alto sax, flute)
Paul Metcalfe (tenor sax, clarinet)
Chris Hunsburger (tenor sax, clarinet)
Shirantha Beddage (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
Steve Dyte (lead trumpet)
James Rhodes (trumpet)
Alexander Brown (trumpet)
John Pittman (trumpet)
Christian Overton (lead trombone)
Pat Blanchard (trombone)
Mark Grieve (trombone)
Sylvain Bedard (bass trombone)
Todd Elsliger (guitar)
Carissa Neufeld (piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer)
Mark Godfrey (acoustic & electric bass)
Ben Ball (drums)
Luis Orbegoso (percussion)

Listen to Josh Grossman talk about the band and the recording:

The University of Toronto 12Tet is an ensemble made of students, both undergraduate and grad students, enrolled in the university's music program. Led by trombonist, composer and arranger Terry Promane, the group plays music especially arranged and composed for the participants.  With 11 musicians and vocalist Brooklyn Bohach, the 12Tet has a new album "When Day Slips Into Night" (U of T Jazz) - the disk comes 18 months after its previous album "Trillium Falls" (my review here). The program includes a totally new lineup from the previous disk but Promane again creates an album that features standards, an original work (by current tenor saxophone John Nicholson), and a surprise in the addition of "(Ocean) Bloom", a Radiohead piece from its "The King of Limbs" album rearranged by Hans Zimmer for the BBC series "Blue Planet."

The "standards" include Juan Tizol's "Perdido", Tom Harrell's lovely "Sail Away", and Cedar Walton's boppish "Bolivia."  The musicians have a delightful time on the last tune listed, bouncing atop Evan Gratham's spongy bass lines.  Alto saxophonist Brandon Tse delivers a lively solo over the rhythm section before the reeds and brass restate the theme. Tse returns to take the tune out. The Harrell composition has a light Brazilian feel with an arrangement that has the theme shared by the brass and guitar plus fine harmonies from the reeds.  The ensemble's drummer Keegan Eskritt supplied the arrangement for "Perdido" and supplies the poly-rhythmic feel that pervades the piece.  It's an intelligent updating of the original that honors the melody while giving the music a more modern feel.

Ms. Bohach is not on every track yet is a major component of the ensemble's sound.  Her wordless vocals on Nicholson's "Eventide" adds depth to the melody on the opening (in the style of Norma Winstone, especially when blended with the trumpets).  She's much more prominent on "Isaya", a piece composed by vocalist Ineke van Doorn and Marc van Vugt's for the latter's Big Bizarre Habit group.  Ms. Bohach dances easily through the melody, scatting pleasingly after guitarist Julian Clegg's fine solo.  She takes a quieter approach on "(Ocean) Bloom", giving the ballad a prayer-like feel. The arrangement, by trumpeter Michael Henley, keeps the mystery of the original but has a cleaner sound. The album closes with "Tanz Onhe Antwort (Dance Without Answers" - composed by German saxophonist Klaus Gesing - is also a ballad. Arranged by Promane, the melody is caressed by Ms. Bohach (both with lyrics and her wordless flight with the brass after pianist Noah Franche-Nolan's impressive piano solo.

"When Day Slips Into Night" not only highlights the young musicians who are part of the programs at the University of Toronto but also illuminates the vision of Terry Promane has for this odd-sized large ensemble.  Everyone plays well, Brooklyn Bohach stands out without stealing the spotlight (the arrangements always posit her as one of the band), and the material covers a large swath of the jazz ouevre.  Like their 2017 release, The U of T 12Tet keeps your attention throughout by making memorable music throughout.

The ensemble has no true website but you can buy the albums and listen to excerpts on both iTunes and Amazon.


Brooklyn Bohach: vocals
Michael Henley, Kaelin Murphy: trumpets
Karl Silveira: trombone
Brandon Tse: alto saxophone
John Nicholson, Kieran Murphy: tenor saxophones
Russell Matthews: baritone saxophone
Noah Franche-Nolan: piano
Julius Clegg: guitar
Evan Gratham: acoustic and electric bass
Keagan Eskritt: drums

Monday, September 3, 2018

Floating, Rocking, Searching - New Music

Truth be told, nothing thrills this writer than receiving albums by artists whose music i have never heard and being very impressed by their efforts.  Guitarist and composer Phil Schurger, a native of Indiana (now living in Fort Wayne), has just issued "The Waters Above", his second album in 12 months for the Chicago-based Ears & Eyes label.  The recording features his regular band including alto saxophonist Greg Ward (vying for the 2018 Most Valuable Player as he had appeared on a series of albums this year), bassist Jeff Greene, and drummer Clif Wallace.  The group has been together since 2012, working on a collection of Schurger originals he composed from 2006-2011.

Upon initial listens, I heard shades of John Abercrombie and Pat Metheny in the leader's guitar tone as well as his long-form compositions (two of the six track are under 10 minutes).  There is an airiness to the group's sound and an intensity to the performances.  The warmth of Ward's alto is a fine complement to the clear electric guitar tones.  Greene and Wallace provide splendid support with both pushing the rhythms forward (listen to the bassist's melodic lines beneath the solos and how the cymbals splash all around).  Schurger's favorite guitarist is the late Jerry Garcia and, if you listen closely on pieces such as "Motion" and "Scorpio", you might hear that influence on some of his phrases.  Do pay attention to how Ward plays with such intensity yet never goes "out" or plays long stretches in the alto's higher ranges.

Photo: Tim Wright
Several of the songs have a meditative quality (the guitarist has written about how certain forms of meditation aid in his compositional process - read here) and rest easily in the ears and mind.  "Anikulapo" moves forward on the rolling rhythms from the bass and drums, the melody lines expanding as the song goes from section to section.  I could listen to "Inclusion", with its melody of longer notes over gentle rhythms, guitar chords, and thick bass tones, on an endless loop and hear something new each time.  Ward's elegant sounds wrap one in a protective blanket and keeps your mind safe from daily distractions.

There is so much to enjoy on  "The Waters Above", just don't expect an elongated "blowing" session.  The music, the quartet, the composer want you to enter a different soundscape if you are willing to explore.  If you are, Phil Schurger and his music will reward you generously.

For more information, go to

Here's a track to whet your appetite:

Bassist and composer Evan Salvacion Levine, a native of New Jersey and now a resident of Chicago, issues his second album as leader this month.  "Mestizo" (Shifting Paradigm Records) moves away from the piano trio of his 2016 debut "Unsolvable Problem" (although three tracks on that disk employed a guitarist) to a trio where the bassist enjoys the company of guitarist Matt Gold (SUN SPEAK, Makaya McCraven) and drummer Andrew Green (Twin Talk).  Levine creates a program that blurs the lines between folk, jazz, blues, world, and rock musics, and that posits the the guitarist and drummer as equal members of the trio and not just the supporting cast.

The title refers to Levine's heritage as the son of a Filipino another and Father of mixed Irish and Russian descent. Nowadays, the meaning in much of the United States is of mixed Spanish and American Indian. This music does not really have a political agenda per se (only what you wish to read into the title and a tune named "Opposing Forces").  Instead what you hear plus you in on the strength of the fine melodies and musical interactions.  Green is a powerful drummer with the ability to create dancing rhythms ("Highways") and kick-butt beats that roar out of the speakers ("Center of Gravity"). That latter tune finds Levine on electric bass where his thick sound and melodic lies benefit from the foundation the drummer creates.  Also on that tune, Gold lays down a percussive line (along with the bassist) for Green create a forceful solo. Note how the piece shifts gears and volume levels several times in its 7:40 run.  The title tune opens on a quieter note until the bass and drummer kick the piece in the direction of a serious groove.  The guitarist holds back but soon is drawn into the    rhythmic adventure.  "Little Shells" finds Green using his hands to create the rhythms in the opening section of the tune (and adding rattles in the background).  While the leader plays a sweet circular bass line, Green begins to prod the piece forward and Gold plays a lively melodic solo.  The sound of the song may remind some of bassist Marc Johnson's Bass Desires - no matter what, it's a delightful summer groove.

There is a mature beauty to "The Best Things Never Change", the melody expressed by the guitarist while the bassist plays the counterpoint and the drummer keeps a quiet rhythm on his high-hat.   Levine solos first - he's an articulate player and, if you listen closely, you'll hear how the drummer plays along.  The trio interaction is so impressive on this ballad, the music moves forward so easily as if the trio was breathing as one. The drum solo near the finish raises the heat level as if the trio was about to move into another song but does not obliterate the gentle mood.

I do enjoy the sounds of guitar-bass-drums trio: whether it be the overwhelming attack of Cream or the subtle approach of Jim Hall, the combination is one with so many possibilities. Evan Salvacion Levine makes music that makes us listen with expanded ears, with open minds, and one imagines it's great to hear the trio live in a club setting.  The word "Mestizo" refers to a mixture: the album "Mestizo" does just that, mixes influences and goes in many delightful directions.

For more information, go to

The album will be released on October 5th - look for it by going to

Here's a quick teaser for the album: