Concord Music Group

Concord Music Group mourns the loss of legendary jazz producer and record executive Orrin Keepnews, who passed away yesterday morning. Keepnews, who died one day short of his 92nd birthday, was a creative force behind some of the greatest jazz recordings ever produced including such seminal albums as Bill Evans’ Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard, Thelonious Monk’s Brilliant Corners, Monk’s Music and Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, Chet Baker’s Chet Baker in New York, Sonny Rollins’ Freedom Suite, Wes Montgomery’s Boss Guitar, and Clark Terry’s In Orbit.

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1923, he began his career as a music journalist. As co-founder and producer at Riverside Records in 1953, he would soon become a staple of the modern jazz scene, producing new works by future jazz giants such as Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Rollins, and Cannonball Adderley and also become credited for discovering famed jazz pianist Bill Evans. Keepnews went on to found the renowned jazz labels Milestone (1966) and Landmark Records (1985). He was the Director of Jazz A&R at Fantasy Records in 1972 and in more recent years was the producer and annotator of Concord Music Group’s acclaimed reissues series Keepnews Collection, beginning in 2007.

Concord Music Group’s Vice President of Catalog Development/A&R Nick Phillips, a close partner and friend of Keepnews, noted, “Many of my absolute favorite recordings in the history of jazz have one thing in common: they were produced by Orrin Keepnews.  What an honor and a privilege it has been to work closely with and learn so much from this musical legend. He will be dearly missed, but the timeless recordings he produced will surely outlive us all.”

“We are grateful for Orrin’s indelible contributions to jazz and our company,” stated Concord Music Group President and CEO, Glen Barros.  “Concord’s historic, world-class jazz catalog was cultivated in no small measure by his extraordinary work and pioneering vision.”

Keepnews’ five GRAMMY® Awards include the prestigious Trustees Award for Lifetime Achievement bestowed by the Recording Academy in 2004. He also received the distinguished NEA Jazz Masters Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of jazz from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011.

Watch Orrin Keepnews discuss the 60th Anniversary of Riverside here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIEbvi5KBEU

Concord Music Group

Kenny G's Brazilian Nights Out Now


Kenny G has had one of the most eclectic and dominant careers the music business has ever seen. He's maintained a high level of creative excellence through decades of unprecedented commercial success by never allowing himself to stay in one place too long. That reputation for musical curiosity stays well intact on his fourteenth studio album Brazilian Nights, out now via Concord Records.

Order the album here: http://found.ee/KGBrazilAmazon
Check out commentary from Kenny G here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urYQ5QVLRdU

"I've been in love with bossa nova my whole life," says the saxophonist in the album's liner notes. "I think the first song that 'won me over' was Cannonball Adderley's version of "Quiet Nights." And more recently I've been listening (non-stop!) to Stan Getz's album called Getz for Lovers. I think I've listened to that record almost every day for the past 5 years and it really was the inspiration in making this album. My goal was not only to make a bossa nova album that pays tribute to the "Masters" who I've been listening to (Cannonball Adderley, Paul Desmond and Stan Getz) but also to write and record original bossa novas that I hope can 'hold their own' in this distinguished company. I humbly say that I feel we've succeeded."

Starting with melodious sounds of "Bossa Antiqua," the ten-song set is a mixture of classics and Kenny G originals. Writing five of the ten tracks with longtime collaborator (and co-producer) Walter Afanasieff, the veteran performer plays alto, tenor and soprano sax and is dazzling on such cuts as "Bossa Réal," the gently pulsating "April Rain," and the relaxed yet dramatic flair of the title cut, "Brazilian Nights."

Concord Music Group

Pivotal Bill Evans LP Box Set Due in November


Concord Music Group is proud to announce the forthcoming vinyl reissue of Bill Evans’ The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961, one of the greatest live jazz recording sessions of all time. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl, the four-LPs box set is packaged with a 12-page booklet, complete with new liner notes by reissue producer Bill Belmont, as well as the original liner notes by the producer of the initial recordings, Orrin Keepnews. Reproductions of Keepnews’ session annotations and photographer Steve Schapiro’s proof sheets from the performances add vintage context to the packaging. As a bonus, a stunning metallic and black poster of the famous cover—Evans, in profile, deep in concentration at his piano—completes the box set.

Ranked time after time as one of the best live jazz recording sessions in history, and yielding two of Evans’ most classic albums (Waltz for Debby, Sunday at the Village Vanguard), The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 represents the pinnacle of spontaneous musical communication: three men breathing as one on a tiny bandstand.  The performances on these LPs demonstrate a new and more interactive approach to playing as a trio, one in which all instruments carry melodic responsibilities and function as equal voices.  Keepnews recalls in his liner notes that “from the very first moments of the recording, it was impossible to ignore the importance of these performances.”

Everything Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, and Paul Motian had been working on for the previous 18 months led to this moment on June 25, 1961. The little-known pianist and his trio performed afternoon and evening sets that Sunday to a small audience that unknowingly sat through what would become a very famous—and final—set by the trio (the 25-year old LeFaro died tragically in a car accident just days later).  These recordings provide something of a sonic time capsule: sequenced in the original order of the five sets, the audience’s murmurings and applause are peppered throughout; even an interrupted take is left intact. Belmont recalls the process of piecing the performance back together during the remastering process: “As was the practice with early live recording, the songs [on the original album] were faded just after the last note, and much, if not all, of the audience and banter from the stage was removed. So the first stage of the process was to find the reels—if they existed—and try and make a reconstruction of everything that was recorded…The task was to try to make the show flow as closely as possible to what had been recorded.”

Pre-order: http://smarturl.it/VillageVanguardLPbox

Concord Music Group

Hiromi's Trio Project Returns with Alive


Japan has produced an impressive assemblage of jazz pianists, from Toshiko Akiyoshi and Makoto Ozone to Junko Onishi. And now, well into the change of the 21st century, the pianist/composer Hiromi Uehara is the latest in that line of amazing musicians. Her ninth CD as a leader, Alive, heralds the return of Hiromi’s Trio Project, featuring contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson (Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Michel Camilo, The O’Jays and Chick Corea) and drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, David Gilmour and Jack Bruce). This terrific triad, which DownBeat magazine proclaimed as “one of the most exciting groups working in any genre today,” first formed in 2011 and recorded their first album Voice that year, followed by Move in 2013. On Alive, Phillips’ powerful, yet poetic percussion and Jackson’s flowing, glow-in-the-dark basslines beautifully buoy and support Hiromi’s ingenious and impassioned improvisations. Her evocative and expansive compositions evoke the myriad moods and mysteries of life and reveal the soulful, syncopated simpatico of her thrilling threesome.

Alive has a double meaning for me,” Hiromi says. “I wanted to write songs that deal with things and emotions that we encounter in life. But the word Alive can also mean ‘played live.’ I’ve been performing with Simon and Anthony for four years. We’ve made three records together, and we’ve done so many live shows as a trio. We have a great time being adventurous, and I felt that we can make the record sound like a live recording in front of the audience.”

That’s the great thing about having a working trio: We understand how to make each other shine. Anthony is an amazing improviser. He composes incredible counter-lines when I solo, and he always plays something to make [the music] shine even more. And Simon has an amazing tone and a beautiful sound on the drums; he's like an orchestra. They can play anything, and they understand so many different genres of music. They have no boundaries. It’s been a great journey with this group.”

And the journey continues on Alive, featuring nine selections (all composed by Hiromi, beginning with the leadoff title track), which features a shimmering McCoy Tyner/Coltrane-like introduction that morphs into a torrid up-tempo pace. “I wanted the first track to sound like the beginning of life,” Hiromi says, “with every complicated and detailed combination of life’s creation.”

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