Category Archives: General

World Poetry Celebrates Claire Ritter!

The World Poetry Cafe radio show,  CFRO 100.5 FM July 1:30 pm PST welcomed the talented Claire Ritter celebrating the debut of the new CD Eclipse Orange with legendary Ran Blake. It was a delight to talk to her and hear her describe her work  and experiences. It was also fun to hear her accent since some of my ancestors came from the Carolinas and I had not heard it for a long time.

To hear the show  click here.

It includes a tribute at 1:10 PM PST for World Poetry Ambassador to Japan, poet and composer Yoshifumi Sakura. Also, beautiful poems from the Greek poet  ILIAS FOUKIS.

American jazz master, composer/pianist/educator Claire Ritter, is a multiple award recipient, and “among the most successful Thirdstream synthesis of jazz & classical musics” author Ed Hazel/ Wikipedia encyclopedia. In 2014 Ritter was the recipient of an artist grant awarded by the NC Arts & Science Council, her third, as well as a previous NC Arts Council Jazz Composer Fellowship. AllAboutJazz describes Ritter as “an under sung jazz master, with each engaging melody buffed up like a little jewel”. JazzTimes notes the music as “painterly, exquisite & poetic”. Beginning with the great Mary Lou Williams at Duke University in the 1970s, Ritter has studied, worked, performed & recorded with the best, which includes over a decade with MacArthur Grant Genius recipient Ran Blake at New England Conservatory of Boston, where she taught her contemporary songwriting class in the Contemporary Improvisation department during the 1990s. The economic song-like quality & harmonic sophistication of her tunes are hallmarks of Ritter’s style, described by Owen Cordle, writer for JazzTimes/News & Observer as “direct, succinct & skillful – like the NC born pianist/composer, Thelonious Monk’s style.

Claire Ritter is the author of over 200 compositions, most of which have been published and recorded; and performed in festivals, concert halls, and museums in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Her work has been the subject of numerous publications & radio interviews on WGBH Boston, WHRB Harvard University, WBUR Boston, & WFAE Charlotte, and has been recorded on European labels Soul Note, HatArt, and the independent label Zoning Recordings, founded in Boston in honor of a major work by Mary Lou Williams. Ritter’s compositions have been recorded by internationally acclaimed Jazz artists including Steve Swallow, Dave Holland, Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, Stan Strickland, Christine Correa, Ricky Ford, Jon Metzger, and Franz Koglmann, as well as performed in concert halls including Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Festival at NEC, American Women Composers Boston, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Brandeis University Jazz Band, New England Conservatory Jazz-Thirdstream Festival, Josef Matthias Haur Konservatorium, Osterreichischen Museum in Europe, Multicultural Arts Center in Boston, Queens University, 2014 Charlotte New Music Festival, and Central Piedmont Community College 21st Century Music Series & Tate Hall Music Series in Charlotte, NC, to name a few.

Ritter’s discography includes 12 CD/DVD recordings on Zoning Recordings: In Between (Ran Blake, Dave Holland, Dominique Eade/1988); Ain’t Life a Circus (Christine Correa, Stan Strickland/1991); Mistral (by Eleni Odoni, with Ran Blake/1991); At One (Taki Masuko/1994); True (Taki Masuko, Kaku Sato/ 1998); Castles in the Air (Steve Swallow/2001); River of Joy (Steve Swallow, Ran Blake/2001); Greener Than Blue (Stan Strickland, Bob Weiner/2004); Waltzing the Splendor (Jon Metzger, Jane Hart Brendle, Ashima Scripp/2007); Stream of Pearls Project (Taki Masuko, Ashima Scripp, Toni Naples/2011); Claire Ritter & Friends at Multicultural Arts Center in Boston (Dominique Eade, Stan Strickland, Taki Masuko/2013); Soho Solo (2015). Recorded by others: Ran Blake (“Short Life of Barbara Monk”/Soul Note/1988); Franz Koglman (“Orte Der Geometrie” with Ran Blake/HatArt/1989); Documentary “Streaming” New England Conservatory; Southern Arts Federation “Jazz South # 3”); Film collaboration, Queens University & Charlotte New Music Festival with photographer JoAnn Sieburg-Baker “Mirrors Project/Six Jazz Variations.”

Other compositional performances/workshops include:

* 2014 Charlotte New Music Festival

* Central Piedmont Community College Tate Hall New Music Series

* Ottawa Jazz Festival

* New England Conservatory Jazz-Third Stream Festival

* Josef Matthias Haur Konservatorium

* Osterreichischen Museum

* Brandeis University

* University of North Carolina

* Queens University

* Festival of Women Improvisers, Boston

* Multicultural Arts Center, Boston

* Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance

* Stockbridge Music Series, Massachusetts

* Berkley School of Music

* Longy School of Music

* American Women Composers

* Club Passim, Cambridge

 

Claire Ritter is the recipient of a 2014, 2006 Arts and Science Regional Artist Grant; 2001 ‘Composers Charlotte’ Grassroots Grant as Artist Director/Queens University, 2000 NC Arts Council Jazz Composers Fellowship, and 2000 Arts and Science Regional Artist Grant.

Another great guest from Braitewaite and Katz.

Additional grants/awards include the Massachusetts Arts Lottery in Boston, and the Southern Arts Federation in Atlanta, Georgia. Claire Ritter is also the founder of the Ziggy Hurwitz Jazz Scholarship at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC.

Claire Ritter teaches and composes in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she is the Artistic Director Composers Concert at Queens University.

 

 

World Poetry Celebrates Greek poet ILIAS FOUKIS!

Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Cafe, CFRO 100.5 FM on July 11 at 1 pm PST   were honoured to welcome the poetry of the Greek poet Ilias Foukis with the reading of two poems and a special dedication to his friend Maria and his sister Sofia. Thanks to the World Poetry Cafe  radio show team of Ariadne Sawyer,host and producer, Super tech, Victor Shartzman and special volunteer, Sharon.

To hear the show, click here.

The Greek poet ILIAS FOUKIS , was born on 20 August 1969 in Epirus in northwestern Greece. He began to write poetry since 1988 when he was student in the Lyceum. Published volume of poetry THE TESTAMENT OF A LESSER GOD , which has been translated into ten languages including English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.. Has won literary awards – OSCAR DE DOS OURO VENCEDORES, Brazil 2012 – MASSIMO D’AZEGLIO, Italy, 2012, 2013 , 2016. – CITA DEL GALATEO, Italy in 2013. His poem titled YOUNG GREEK SOLITARY was included in Poetry Anthology – U.S. Library of Congress. Works and lives in Athens.

Here are the two poems that were read on the air:

IN TIMES OF PEACE

Good called on the tempests of Zeus

to declare war

against Evil.

Like a wild beast it rose up

to kill evil

and from the heights of the Heavens

to exterminate it…

to flatten it

with the roar and power of thunderbolts.

 

Evil died…entered the ground

the garbage of earth

gave it a soul.

It raised its head…stood up straight

reentered the world in a driving rain.

 

Those were you see , the times of peace.

 

Good lived on intoxicated

wearing the laurels of triumph

and the tuxedo of justice.

It gave evil a pardon

in the name of the coexistence of nations and ideas.

 

Wars and tempests were forgotten

and the thunderbolts

and as in the beginning

lived together again in the name of peace

so in a while war

starts all over again from the beginning.

By Ilias Foukis (C) All rights reserved.

Translation  by  PHILIP  RAMP

 

YOUNG   GREEK   SOLITARY

If such be

the will of the God on Earth

without needing to sing the praises of Zeus

today I…

             will walk all day on the Earth.

And more importantly

as soon as I glimpse the secure distance

I’ve kept from death…

praise be to Apollo…

I will not be disturbed

            by the demon of Self-Destruct

 

If such not be

the will of the God of the Heavens

then my dreams

which lay siege to the essence of Existence

will like Sisyphus

            be caught in the nightmare of pointless labor

so not even one meter of heaven will be granted…

and do you know where these Dreams

for a better World

and a Beautiful Greece will end?

 

Unobserved and slowly

they will be eaten by the rust

            and the dust of forgetfulness.

 

If such be

the will of the God of the Sea

my own specters which are armed

with gravity of conscience and forgiveness

will then have the rare opportunity

of washing away the living sins of Troy

which have become the most dangerous Olympus

with their cynical anticipation

be the Eternal Greece before the eyes of the world.

 

If such not be

the will of the God of Fire

then I who know better the fatal bond

of Greece with Flames

will lose my last

chance

to show mercy

and the Cities will continue

to quietly burn.

 

And indeed… if such not be

the will of the God of Love

because of this horrifying alienation

which human emotions have undergone

no one will love me at all.

 

The worst thing though is that this Tragedy

will not simply end here…

 

This God of Love

has come highly touted by Olympus…

 

A good deal more than your usual Idols

and different from them

usurper of all longings

and with many possibilities for immortality.

 

And all the departing travelers

will testify that no matter where they went

they saw none of this incredible love anywhere

which in itself would be enough to convince

the easily deceived world

that the Summit had been worth the effort.

Few people love each other in this World.

 

And these few

love each other only as much as they are permitted

by the thought that you can never ascend into the Great Sky

because there… there has truly evolved

                              an anthropic History

but one that’s been lived by the Gods alone…

 

And for us to stay in the life which endures

more or less but for a single Season

we in any case my dear Apollo

were in no quandary…

            felt no mystery…

because we never expressed any interest

in being Gods.

 

The problem is very simple…

 

We are not wanted

on this Earth…

 

Utterly paralyzed and directionless

we have moved about in the world

without being observed by anyone…

 

Perhaps we should get organised

we the Great Anonymous mass

to bring this madness with false

Heroes to an end

those who only the Gods with their

own wretchedness know how to erect…

 

And as if Troy wasn’t enough

to tyrannize Greece

then Olympus went and committed a crime

            of its own as well.

 

The brain of the World has become stupefied

flinging at their hollow heads

its ferocious desire

            to be God.

 

By these Gods

which will control everything from on high

and even more appalling

us who Will and Chance in tandem have

            wanted to keep down here…

despite the fact we roamed the Earth backwards and forwards

to bring about Great Changes in the World

all opinion will defame us

 

and none of our testimony will ever be heard.

And that is also why I’m afraid

that we who walked on the Earth alone

will be left completely devoid of history.

 By ILIAS FOUKIS (C) All rights reserved.

Translation by   PHILIP RAMP

 

World Poetry Celebrates the Talented Wayne Wallace!

 

Ariadne’s Notes:  The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show, CFRO 100.5 FM was honoured to welcome the talented musician and composer Wayne Wallace to celebrate his new CD  the The Rhythm of Invention with the Latin Jazz Quintet.   It was a delightful interview with the award winning composer who also answered a question from a young man in Africa! We found out that he had just been writing an article for a Jazz magazine on the same topic and that some of  his ancestors had come from the  Masai tribe. It is this kind of magic that makes the radio show so interesting.

LISTEN TO THIS GREAT SHOW HERE!

 Another wonderful guest from Braitwaite and Katz!

Wayne Wallace blends chamber orchestra, jazz horns, spoken word, and his acclaimed Latin Jazz Quintet on The Rhythm of Invention. http://waynewallacelatinjazzquintet.com/

Trombonist and Afro-Caribbean scholar upends tradition to honor jazz greats and mentors

On his previous album, the critically adored Canto América, Wayne Wallace broke with his own tradition to co-lead a chamber orchestra featuring horns, winds, a double string quartet, and an array of vocalists. On The Rhythm of Invention – slated for release by Patois Records on June 7, 2019 – Wallace set an equally ambitious goal: to combine these added resources with his Latin Jazz Quintet, whose albums have garnered three of Wallace’s four previous GRAMMY nominations.

“I wanted to come up with a way of coherently mixing the quintet with the brass and strings from Canto,” explains the esteemed trombonist, innovative arranger, and notable educator. That desire now finds voice in a dazzling set of new compositions and classic jazz standards (and even one impressive mashup) on which Wallace uses the expanded sonic palette of an orchestra to highlight the strengths of his core conjunto. Under-girding it all is an effortlessly instructive survey of Latin rhythms, from the familiar to the arcane, that reflect Wallace’s lifelong study of these sounds.

“I wanted to retain the energy of Canto without repeating it,” he explains. To do so, he chose to redirect the music’s focus onto the quintet, while retaining the almost tangible richness of brass chorales and the elegance of string ensemble writing; peppering the proceedings are solos from such luminaries as Mary Fettig (flute) and Melecio Magdaluyo (baritone saxophone). Wallace also features rapper and spoken-word artist Akida Thomas on the title track, where he contributes a spontaneously composed ode to this music – and to the spirit of all music – that also utilizes an interview with Wallace’s colleague and mentor, the late Dr. David Baker. 

To tie all this together, Wallace came up with a three-layered approach, built upon the foundational expertise of his longtime musical co-conspirator, percussion master Michael Spiro. “The concept was to have Michael play four congas” – the usual conga setup has three at most – “and to have him play as melodically as possible.” As a result,  “A good way to hear the record is to listen all the way through and focus on Michael, and then to drummer Colin Douglas’s cymbal work – and then put it together. It’s like a history of Latin music.” From there, Wallace created a second layer by highlighting the other members of the Latin Jazz Quintet’s rhythm section, pianist Murray Low and bassist David Belove, and leaving space for his own forceful yet lyrical trombone solos. Only then did he add the composed material; the vital frosting to this multi-tiered concoction, it draws its flavors from the previous ingredients.

As its title suggests, the album doesn’t lack for inventiveness. One case in point is Wallace’s arrangement of the durable Paul Desmond composition “Take Five,” which famously contains five beats in each measure (instead of the usual four). After some research, Wallace realized that no one had previously recorded this song with a clave rhythm, the heartbeat of Latin music – despite the fact that the calve itself comprises five notes (within four beats). The finished product marries these two views of musical time; add in a Santeria-derived coro section sung by the quintet, and you have a memorable new take on a 60-year-old jazz hit.

Another example comes on “So Softly,” in which the ancient pop standard “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” – from the 1928 operetta The New Moon – slides seamlessly into Miles Davis’s “So What,” written three decades later. The idea to combine them arose from one of the Latin Jazz Quintet’s earliest experiments, in which the band presented these two songs as a medley; but, says Wallace, “After time I pleasantly found that the two melodies worked conversationally without detracting from each other. This inspired the idea of re-imagining them as a mashup” – an idea that, he points out, “stretches back to the beginnings of recorded music.”

Less complex (but no less inventive) are several homages, including Wallace’s slightly shrouded cover of “Vamanos Pa’l Monte” one of Eddie Palmieri’s biggest hits. Although this version mimics the blend of trombone and flute that characterized Palmieri’s famous band La Perfecta, “The melody is really an extrapolation of what Eddie wrote,” says Wallace. (But anyone who knows the original will recognize it as the framework of this arrangement.) Meanwhile, the completely unexpected inclusion of “In a Mist” – an impressionistic piano composition by the legendary early-jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke – represents a sort of personal triumph for Wallace. “It took me eight years to figure out how to arrange it, because it’s just so idiosyncratic and challenging,” he admits. “The original piece was a kind of collision between ragtime and danzon rhythm; I tried to combine the danzon with calve to get a Cuban feel. And I thought that a string quartet was applicable because it would bring out the sororities in a modern way” – not to mention hinting at the classical roots of Beiderbecke’s small masterpiece. 

The album highlight is the title track, which brings together funk, bata, and traditional Cuban rhythms and encompasses three generations of musical wisdom. On one end is Dr. David Baker, “the father of jazz education,” with whom Wallace worked closely as a professor at Indiana University before Baker’s death in 2016, and whose resonant voice is heard, midway through the track, discussing the essence of jazz rhythm. On the other end is Wallace’s son-in-law, Akida Thomas, channeling the music to speak of The pulse gyrating through the system . . . Boom-clacks all rolled into one, stay connected through the soul of the drum. “There’s this crazy counterpoint between the strings and the horns,” Wallace says; “it’s some of the most textually adventurous writing I’ve done. Akida just listened to the track and started writing.” The invention took on a rhythm of its own.

But The Rhythm of Invention refers to something altogether different from the riot of Afro-Latin beats and layered percussion that characterize the album. For Wallace, the rhythm of invention is the pace that allows him to be open to creativity: the tempo “that allows a space for the muse to be available to me,” as he puts it. It is the rhythm of a gentle river, slowed but not stilled: the “flow” that banishes mere busy-ness in favor of reflection and, yes, invention. “That’s when I get the best ideas,” he says; in fact, the “Take Five” arrangement “literally came to me when I was pulling weeds out of my garden.” 

When you slow the rhythm enough, you can better see the speed of thought.

About Wayne Wallace

In a career that spans four decades, San Francisco native Wayne Wallace has collaborated with artists ranging from Count Basie to Stevie Wonder, Sonny Rollins to Carlos Santana, Tito Puente to Lena Horne and Aretha Franklin, lending his talents as sideman, composer, arranger, and producer. His debut album as a leader, 2000’s Three In One (Spirit Nectar), showcased his writing skills and his encyclopedic knowledge of Afro-Cuban rhythms, which he developed in the close-knit Bay Area jazz community – most notably in his role as music director of John Santos’s Machete Ensemble, where he spent 20 years as music director. Wallace’s out sized role in Bay Area jazz includes his creation of Patois Records, with a catalog that includes not only his own albums but also recordings by vocalists Kat Parra and Alexa Weber Morales as well as two highly regarded anthologies of Bay-Area salsa and Latin jazz. A gifted educator, Wallace now spends the academic year as professor of jazz trombone and practice in jazz studies at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, having previous taught at San Jose State University and Stanford University.

Source: our esteemed partners: Braitwaite and Katz!