Thursday, May 27, 2010


Shows Include Double Bills with Guitarist Grant Gordy, Performances with Sarah Jarosz and Mike Marshall's Big Trio

By the start of May, high school seniors all over the country have sent in their acceptance letters to the colleges of their choice and are ready to take a much deserved vacation before heading off towards their futures.

That is not the case for 18-year old violin phenomenon Alex Hargreaves, who - riding high on the critical success of his solo recording debut, Prelude - is heading out on the road for a series of shows that will take him across the US.

Hargreaves, whose talent was lauded by the All Music Guide as "undeniable," will share the bill at three east coast shows with guitarist Grant Gordy, who is best known for his work with the David Grisman Quintet. Grisman himself is among Hargreaves's most fervent champions, having followed his career since Hargreaves was just ten years of age, stating that "...he's destined to be one of the fiddle giants of the 21st century."

Those first three shows will take place on June 23 at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA, on June 24th at Caffe Vivaldi in New York City, and on June 26 at the Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville, VA. The double bills are no casual pairing; Gordy's strong guitar presence on Prelude launched a collaborative relationship that will come full circle with Hargreaves' musical contributions to the guitarist's own solo release.

In fact, prior to these three dates Hargreaves will perform as a member of the Grant Gordy Quartet at several concerts in Colorado. On the afternoon of June 12, they will perform at the Swallow Hill Brewgrass Festival in Denver, followed by an evening performance at the Little Church in the Pines in Salina. June 16 will find them at Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver, and on June 17, they'll be at Bongo Billy's Salida Cafe.

In July, Hargreaves will perform with another prodigious teen-ager, 18-year-old Sugar Hill recording artist, vocalist Sarah Jarosz, at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill, NY. In August, he'll travel to Alta, Wyoming for the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival to share the stage with Mike Marshall and Paul Kowert in Marshall's Big Trio, on whose 2009 Adventure Music eponymous release Hargreaves made his debut, before once again performing with Jarosz in September at the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. He will wrap up the month with another double bill with Grant Gordy, in Hargreaves' home town of Corvallis, Oregon, at the Congregational Church.

It's only fitting that Hargreaves kicks off his summer performances in the Boston area, as he'll be returning in September to enroll in the prestigious Berklee College of Music's Global Jazz Institute under the artistic direction of world-renowned pianist Danilo Perez. The class matriculating this fall is only the highly competitive program's second since its inception earlier this year. It is composed of only 30 students, who will participate in an innovative curriculum taught by a select group of Berklee faculty that includes Perez, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Garzone, Bill Pierce, Jamey Haddad, and Allan Chase. Students will also be mentored by world-renowned visiting artists and artists-in-residence, including John Patitucci and Ben Street.

And, while he may be heading off to study at Berklee, Hargreaves' talents have already secured his position as a teacher himself. From June 28th through July 4th, he'll be performing and teaching at Christian Howes' Creative Strings Workshop in Columbus, OH.

More About Alex Hargreaves

Alex Hargreaves of Corvallis, Oregon, plays a wide variety of styles including jazz, bluegrass, new acoustic, Texas style, western swing and classical. Mentored by some of the greats in progressive acoustic music, he has already toured with Mike Marshall, David Grisman, Jerry Douglas and Bruce Molsky, and shared the stage with many others including Mark O'Connor, Chris Thile, Tim O'Brien, Sam Bush and Darol Anger.

At the age of 18, Hargreaves has already received countless honors, including the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin from Mark O'Connor's Strings Conference, and the Alternative Styles Award from the American Strings Teachers Association (ASTA). Alex is also the youngest ever (age 15) to win the Grand Champion division at the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest in Weiser, Idaho, and in 2009, won the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship in Nashville and performed on the Grand Ole Opry.

Also an active performer, Hargreaves has played on stages around the world including Austin City Limits, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Merlefest, Rockygrass, Wintergrass and the Mandolines De Lunel Festival in Lunel, France, as well as venues in Canada and Italy. He is a member of world-renowned mandolinist Mike Marshall's Big Trio, along with bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers). They have toured extensively following the 2008 release of their self-titled album on Adventure Music. In addition, Alex often performs with singer and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz. He appears on her critically acclaimed album, Song Up In Her Head (Sugar Hill Records), and is featured on her Grammy-nominated instrumental, "Mansinneedof."

In February, 2010, Alex's debut album, Prelude, was released on Adventure Music, featuring master acoustic musicians Mike Marshall, Grant Gordy and Paul Kowert, as well as special guests Bela Fleck and Noam Pikelny. Prelude portrays Hargreaves' maturity not only as a cross-genre violinist and improviser, but also as a composer, with his original compositions comprising half the album.

Hargreaves' playing on Prelude has already been acclaimed by critics and musicians alike. All Music Guide cites Alex's "undeniable," "pure, raw talent," and David Grisman comments, "[Alex] plays with wit, authority and soulfulness belying his years. In my opinion, he's destined to be one of the fiddle giants of the 21st century." For Mike Marshall, Alex is "arguably one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today" and Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee College of Music, American Roots Program, simply states, "Truly, Alex Hargreaves is the best young jazz violinist in America."

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Award Winning Canadian Jazz Trio Will Perform for the First Time Ever in New York and Boston

This June, internationally acclaimed jazz group The October Trio will set out to promote their latest CD, Looks Like it’s Going to Snow (Songlines), with the (no more snow) Tour 2010.

The band's third release, Looks Like it's Going to Snow once again features the classic sounds of the bass-drums-saxophone combo, this time expanded to include one of Canada’s most honored jazz musicians, Brad Turner, on trumpet and flugelhorn. Reviews have been more than complimentary:

“…unmistakable chemistry and artistic purpose…Among the marvelous elements of (Looks Like It's) Going to Snow is the way it easily and off-handedly incorporates funk and rock elements without becoming a collection that is dominated by a backbeat aesthetic.”

Starting June 15th at The Trazac in Toronto, the (no mo
re snow) Tour 2010 tour sees the trio performing in New York and Boston for the first time, further moving them beyond up-and-coming status towards a more visible place on the international jazz stage.

“The disc feels like a culmination and a celebration: a forever set-list crafted on the bandstand and then in the studio,” writes critic Greg Buium. “Everything acts as an invitation to open things up – sonic and emotional space – an unburdened framework for improvisation.”

Since they first formed in 2004 while were still in college, The October Trio has steadily built a reputation for their thoughtful yet adventurous sound. The released their first CD, Live at Rime, in 2005, followed by Day In in 2006. Their hard work and dedication earned them the 2006 CBC Galaxy Rising Star Award for best new group at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

In 2007 the band performed at the Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, and Portland Jazz Festivals. In 2007 and 2009 the group was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for outstanding jazz recording for the albums Day In and Looks Like it's Going to Snow. In 2008 they were invited to perform at the Canadian National Jazz Awards, and in 2009 they opened for Dave Holland and the Monterey Quartet at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

June 15th – The Tranzac, Toronto

June 16th – The Rex, Toronto

June 18th – Cafe Paradiso, Ottawa

June 20th – Cornelia St Cafe w/ Ingird Jensen (trumpet), double bill with Abbasi/Tarry Trio, New York

June 21st ­– Puppets Jazz Bar, double bill with Marcos Varela band, Brooklyn

June 23rd ­– The Lily Pad, Boston

June 26th ­– Montreal Jazz Festival

June 29th ­– Vancouver International Jazz Festival w/ Brad Turner (trumpet)

The October Trio is Evan Arntzen on saxes (Amanda Tosoff Quartet), Josh Cole on bass, and Dan Gaucher on drums (Fond of Tigers).

About The October Trio and Looks Like It's Going to Snow

The October Trio was formed in Vancouver in 2004 when all three members were in the Capilano College jazz program. The immediate chemistry led to a decision to focus on a deeper exploration of the sax trio format, but as Dan Gaucher puts it, "our ideas started out very music specific and have gradually moved more into conceptual and expressive/emotional territory." Two tours of western Canadian festivals grew the music and the band concept further. They won the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the 2006 Vancouver jazz festival and in 2007 were nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for jazz album of the year (Day In, Cellar Live). In 2008 they performed at the National Jazz Awards in Toronto and played a sold-out weekend at Montreal's Upstairs.Jazz Club.

In 2006 they formed a mentor-like relationship with Brad Turner, one of Canada's most honored jazz musicians and certainly one of its most accomplished and versatile trumpeters, equally at home in the progressive mainstream and creative music (he appears on Songlines releases by Michael Blake, Dylan van der Schyff and Chris Gestrin). Brad produced Day In and Looks Like its Going to Snow, and all the compositions on ...Snow were written specifically for the augmented lineup. Good as the trio is on their own, there's a fine synergy at work here based on mutual admiration and a shared aesthetic, a finely honed approach that gives equal consideration to individual storytelling and 4-way conversations, formal concision and a more expansive, imagistic or cinematic approach.

Another thing that characterizes this music is respect for the entire jazz tradition, from New Orleans polyphony to the avant-garde - but not to the exclusion of input from rock and elsewhere. Josh Cole, the trio's main composer, cites Bjork and Wayne Shorter as major inspirations: "Both have the ability to make one small idea have a lot of impact. But upon further investigation of the 'one small idea' you realize that it's surrounded by some rather sophisticated concepts regarding form, phrasing and space. My observation was that by focusing in on one idea, and trying to give it a lot of weight, that allows for the performers to really emotionally invest and explore the idea at a level that might not be possible if you were to present them with a bunch of different ideas in one song."

Evan Arntzen adds: "We know each other pretty well now and when we play we can bring whatever experiences, musical or otherwise, into the mix and have it feel fresh and new. Anyone can speak up at any time, and since it's a fairly stark form of instrumentation, i.e. no chords, that makes it easy to do this." Brad Turner says simply: "For me as a trumpet player this project has been a rejuvenating experience, in some ways reminding me how I approached music earlier in my career. There is true sincerity in what these fellows do as a group, and a serious energy to how they distill their musical concepts."

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