Release Date: June 10, 2016

Catalog #: AR0001

 

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TRACK LISTING

 

DISC 1

 

Timothy Lee Miller

Hot Miami Nights

On An Autumn Day

 

Don Bowyer

Bugs & Gas

 

Bunny Beck

JAZZ INSTRUMENTAL SUITE  (arr. Juan Manuel Ceruto)

4 I. IMPRESSIONS

II. SMOOTH CRUISIN’

III. OBLIGATIONS

 

JAZZ VOCAL SUITE  (arr. Juan Manuel Ceruto)

7 I. WHY DO I?

II. SO EASY TO SAY

9 III. IT’S IN THE STARS

 

DISC 2

 

Roger Bourland

ALARCÓN MADRIGALS, BOOK 3

Cuerpo en llamas

Lamentario

Como loca flor

In Ixtli In Yollotl / Face and Heart

Polvo Estelar

 

John A. Carollo

Burlesque

6 I. Honolulu Stomp

7 II. Baile, Baile, Me Hermosa Rosa

8 III. Luca Has a Cadenza

9 IV. Life is a Strange Instrument

10 V. Rosa Discovers a Strange Instrument

 

Margaret Brandman

WARM WINDS IN HAVANA

11  Prelude - Havana Promenade

12  Salida del Sol  (Sunrise)

13  Danza del Día  (Dance of the Day)

14  Ritmo de la Noche  (Rhythm of the Night)

 

Mel Mobley

15  Coloring with Water

 

Michael Murray

After the Fall

16 I. After the Fall

17 II. We

18 III. Changing Home

 

 

ABRAZO THE HAVANA SESSIONS

Miller | Bowyer | Beck | Bourland | Carollo

Brandman | Mobley | Murray

 

 

OVERVIEW

 

For nearly 60 years, cultural and economic exchange between the United States and Cuba has been hindered and hobbled as a result of the U.S. embargo on trade and travel. Influence from each has seeped through to both sides, but only with the restoration of diplomatic connections between the two countries in December 2014 did it become possible for real cooperation to occur.

 

In November 2015, less than one year after these initial steps toward fully opening relations, PARMA Recordings produced the first of its recording projects in Havana. The resulting album, ABRAZO: THE HAVANA SESSIONS on the newly-minted Ansonica Records label, presents works for big band, small jazz combo, choir, and chamber ensembles by composers Bunny Beck, Roger Bourland, Don Bowyer, Margaret Brandman, John Carollo, Timothy Miller, Mel Mobley, and Michael Murray performed by current or former members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, the Buena Vista Social Club, Irakere, and many more.

 

“Producing new music by living composers is my passion, and hearing musicians play with this level of preparation, dedication, and ingenuity was invigorating,” says PARMA CEO Bob Lord. “We went right to the source, and sure enough they brought a totally new dimension to the music – a Cuban dimension, a feel and a sound and a perspective unlike anything else in the world.”

 

Spine-tingling sounds abound on the album, particularly on the choral recordings.  Roger Bourland’s Alarcón Madrigals, Book 3, set to the bilingual poetry of Francisco X Alarcón, and Michael Murray’s After the Fall, composed to commemorate the first anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, both veer from hushed, intimate valleys of close harmony to ebullient, expansive peaks of counterpoint.

 

Bunny Beck’s two Jazz Suites, arranged by Juan Manuel Ceruto, take the composer’s work on a tour through beloved Cuban styles such as son, dazon, cha-cha-cha, and more. The ensemble, featuring acclaimed pianist Rolando Luna, plays with a breathless intensity that is frequently contrasted by the delicate, lilting beauty of the compositions. It’s New York jazz by way of the Malecón. The tracks feature vocals by Will Dailey, recording artist, performer and producer, and five time winner in the Boston Music Award: Best Male Singer-Songwriter.

 

In Mel Mobley’s lively trio Coloring with Water, brash brass punches through long melodic lines, navigating complex metric modulations and thorny harmonies.  What comes through to the ear, however, is the sound of a composer who knows how to get the listener’s pulse racing.

 

Programmatic concepts are central to John Carollo’s Burlesque and Margaret Brandman’s Warm Winds in Havana.  Carollo’s trademark humor and playfulness is in full effect on this coquettish type of pas de deux for trumpet and guitar, while Brandman’s sax quartet is given an exhilarating, penetrating interpretation by Javier Zalba and his ensemble. The intricately interlocked sounds of Cuban percussion augment the latter piece with particular flair.

 

Produced by Havana native Dayron Ortega, PARMA’s Lead Producer in Cuba, the big band recordings on ABRAZO showcase the Cuban sound at possibly its very best.  Trombone features prominently in Don Bowyer’s eerily catchy Bugs and Gas, a crackerjack chart rippling with syncopations and grin-inducing counter-melodies, and Tim Miller’s Hot Miami Nights and On An Autumn Day are true show-stoppers – expert arrangements played with both feverish brilliance and true jazz cool.

 

Cuba and America have been separated for far too long.  Embrace the sounds of ABRAZO.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Roger Bourland’s Alarcón Madrigals, Book 3, was commissioned and premiered in 2006 by Los Angeles women’s chorus Vox Femina, directed by Iris Levine. Bourland’s extensive catalogue of works includes solo, instrumental, chamber, vocal and choral music, electro-acoustic music, and music for orchestra, wind ensemble, and other large ensembles

 

Michael Murray’s poignant After the Fall, written in response to 9/11 and its aftermath, features settings of poems of loss and hope by Jodi Kanter. Murray has composed works for the concert hall, film, theater productions, dance, and visual arts installations. He has been described as "a contemporary craftsman-artist of original stripe" (Gapplegate), and "a master at writing for the human voice" (Music & Vision)

 

Donald Bowyer’s Bugs and Gas was commissioned in honor of Don Spina, who had retired from a career spent decommissioning biological and chemical weapons, called ‘bugs and gas’ by those in the field. In addition to composition, Bowyer is active in the fields of music technology and performance

 

In his brass trio Coloring with Water, Mel Mobley blends colors into fresh, bold combinations and contexts. Mobley has composed orchestral, band, chamber, choral, and electronic music, and frequently collaborates with dancer Tina Mullone, working to break down the barrier between dancer and musician, as well as between live and recorded performance

 

Margaret Brandman’s Warm Winds in Havana conjures up vivid images of the Cuban city, with descriptive titles such as “Havana Promenade” and “Danza del Día (Dance of the Day).” Brandman’s catalogue is diverse, from jazz and Latin-American styled pieces to works influenced by the nature and culture of her native Australia

 

John Carollo’s playful Burlesque is a story about a woman, Rosa, who learns about music from a guitarist and a trumpeter, Luca. Carollo has composed extensively for piano, frequently featuring it in his solo, chamber, and orchestral music. He established the business Musica Baudino in 2006

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Real music by real people.  Established in 2016, Ansonica Records is a boutique label presenting finely crafted contemporary music from across the globe.

 

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