Tag: gary smulyan

Two ‘In a Mellow Tone’ Solos!

Thanks to Joseph Trahan we have another Gary Smulyan solo in the transcription repository. This is from another YouTube video, this time Gary is blowing over Ellington’s “In A Mellow Tone“.

We also now have our very first Joe Temperley solo in the repository. I can’t believe we didn’t have one before now, but thankfully that gap has at least somewhat been filled. Many thanks to Tom Sabin, for sending in a transcription to start us off for Joe. Quite coincidentally this solo is also on Ellington’s “In A Mellow Tone“!

This is a pretty cool opportunity to see how two very different players approach the same standard. I hope everyone is staying well and busy during the on-going quarantine. Hopefully the plethora of new transcriptions will keep you all busy.

New and upcoming releases – May 2020 edition

There are a number of albums on the horizon or available now that everyone might be interested in. So in order of release please check out the following:

Brian Landrus – For Us

Brian’s new release features one hell of a band (Fred Hersch – piano, Drew Gress – bass, Billy Hart – drums, Michael Rodriguez – trumpet) as well as Brian playing his usual baritone and a host of other instruments. The album also features some string writing. What I’ve heard so far sounds excellent! So fans of modern writing for the baritone should definitely check this one out. Its available now, grab a copy here from Brian’s website.


Gary Smulyan – Our Contrafacts

Gary’s next album is another trio recording. I am very much looking forward to this one, which is a follow up to his last trio recording “Alternative Contrafacts that I enjoyed very much. Gary excels at trio playing – he is a master of harmony and the chordless setting really allows him to dictate all of the harmony very freely.

The album has listed release date of June 2020, but it looks like it might be available already? Head over to Gary’s site to check it out.


Ronnie Cuber – Four, Straight Street

Finding information on Ronnie can be hard these days. He doesn’t have a working website, and the record company (SteepleChase) that he has put some recordings out on doesn’t either. He’s also approaching 80 (78 as of now) and hasn’t been seen out performing as much, certainly not in the US. But he does seem to have produced a few recordings recently. The two most recent are “Four” and “Straight Street“, I believe from 2019. Fans of Ronnie will enjoy these as its still a powerful baritonist with a big sound and lots of edge.

However, I have to say this is not peak Ronnie Cuber. I don’t say this to be harsh, the man has played more baritone than pretty much anyone else alive. But I do want to warn fans to perhaps temper their expectations, and know that there are other recordings of Ronnie that better capture his incredible playing. Having grown up listening to him constantly, and even taken some (very strange) lessons with him, I’m glad we have more recordings of him even if they aren’t going to go down in history as his best.

Gary Smulyan & Frank Basile Quintet shows available for stream!

A few weeks ago at Smalls club in the West Village of New York City, I had the extreme pleasure or watching two sets that featured some of the best baritone playing around. Gary Smulyan & Frank Basile are two incredible baritone saxophonists that are directly connected to the Pepper Adams lineage.

Everyone can now watch both evenings (4 sets total) on the online streaming archive from Smalls – called SmallLive. You’ll need to sign up for a membership, but $10 a month is a small price for the incredible amount of live jazz you’ll have access to. This concert alone had a $20 cover per set to see. Also, in these strange times Musicians and Clubs need all the support they can get – Smalls shares revenue from online streaming with the musicians.

Head over to the Smalls Live archive and watch these incredible sets:
https://www.smallslive.com/events/16554-frank-basile-gary-smulyan-quintet-boss-baritones/

In depth review and interview on Gary Smulyan’s latest album

The Jazz Profiles blog has posted a very in depth and interesting article on Gary Smulyan‘s latest album, “Alternative Contrafacts

The post is worth a read and the album is definitely worth a listen. I think this is one of Gary’s best albums, especially in trio format.

Head on over and read the article to learn more about contrafacts and Gary’s album.