Based in New York and Austin Texas, Progger united in a Brooklyn studio this summer for their fourth studio album. A frenetic session of serious hustle and creative collaboration brought fourth Dystopia, an epic journey into a land that only Progger can inhabit. Brian Donohoe's compositions are well suited for two lead guitars, and having both crews in one place put four guitars in the room. What do we call that? Progger heaven. The beats are funky, the chords are smooth, with just the right touch of swirling psychedelic Prog-rock laid on top. Oh, and some extra love from Nate Werth and Justin Stanton. Get ready to dig in on this one.
LA born and Portland bred, Molly Tentarelli carries a legacy of music from her family tree. Her parents were both musicians on major labels, therefore Molly began singing and writing music at a young age. Touring the world as a vocalist with Jarrod Lawson, Molly returned to Portland and began her own project. She sent the music to her godfather (Mark Hudson) and he fell in love with the project. Mark asked his friend David Sanborn if he would be interested in playing on the album. Sanborn agreed, and the project was in full swing. Soon Will Lee, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Del Atkins, Pedrito Martinez, Oli Rockberger, Gregg Bissonette, Timothy B. Schmit, Ricky Z, Jason Sutter, Jim Cox, Anton Fig, Lelan Sklar, and Chris Botti were all in the mix, rounding out a beautiful album with extraordinary players. A strong backdrop for Molly's delicate voice and positive songs. The first single is out, and the album preorder begins next Friday. stop in here and follow for notifications.
The Great Escaper is back - Will Hanza and his retrofuture space rock/spy funk band of renegdes are tearing it up again with their second studio album. Edge Detection was recorded at The Bunker in Brooklyn, with each band member performing simultaneously in isolation. The process captured the live interaction with all of the studio benefits. Bandleader and guitarist Will Hanza explains, “The term ‘jam’ can be a loaded one, but the idea of having some concrete ideas, while still allowing the music to be open to take advantage of the moment is really important to us.” This is a fan pleasing, room shaking experiment in music exploration, laying a solid launch pad for Hanza's soaring interstellar guitar. Drop in on Friday for a taste.
If you're looking for some powerful, soul searching, deep down in the groove music - AJ Ghent [J-ent] has the goods. His new project, The Neo Blues project digs back and forward in time - a howling, jumping, soul-searing interpretation of the blues. AJ handles all of the instrumentation on the record, as he channels his family tradition and the wisdom of his mentor, Col. Bruce Hampton. In an age of shine with no substance, AJ brings the feeling back to the music without sacrificing the polish.
AJ Ghent [J-ent] is a musician hailing from Fort Pierce, Florida and growing up was all about the music. Music has truly been running through his family for generations; such as his great uncle Willie Eason, the creator of the “Sacred Steel Tradition,” and his grandfather Henry Nelson, the founder of the “Sacred Steel” rhythmic guitar style. This style is played by many names today, such as Robert Randolph, The Campbell Brothers, and more.
As a founder, John Medeski is forever linked with Ropeadope - from the first record (DJ Logic) to his work on The Word, The Campbell Brothers, and more. Todd Clouser is forever linked as well - a nomad dedicated to persistent collaboration, Todd has worked with Steven Bernstein, Chris Wood, dred scott, and a host of musicians on his path to make sense of the world around us. From directing Ropeadope SUR with Hernan Hecht, to Radio 21 million, to his Music Mission effort to support at-risk communities, Todd is always working for a greater good. Last year Todd, John, and drummer JT Bates held an epic throwdown at The Ice House in Minneapolis and recorded the night. Titled You The Brave, the full recording is available on January 26th worldwide. Dig.
As we head into our 19th year as a 'record label', we'd like to send a big Thank You to all the music fans out there who keep this thing called Ropeadope running. 2017 was a stunning year of music, and we are pleased that we are able to bring both known and yet to be know artists to the mix. 2018 is shaping up to be even more diverse, with 38 releases already cued up from now until mid year. We start in January with a live album from Todd Clouser, John Medeski, and JT Bates, followed by the next record from Escaper and a gem from MK Groove Orchestra.
2018 will also mark the return of Ropeadope clothing, as we roll out select pieces from the past and add new capsule collections to help you tailor the Ropeadope vibe to your style. Sign up for the mailing list below to get the news early.
The Ropeadope family is growing, please stay with us and tell your friends so that we can support these incredible musicians on their journey. On this ball of confusion, we've got to keep the light shining.
louis cato is that true multi-instrumentalist, having held down the drum chair with marcus miller, guitar and drums while singing with bobby mcferrin, and a world of various instruments on the late show with stephen colbert. in between his time recording with q-tip or recording on the new jack white record, louis cato is a singer and songwriter - and his debut was released on 11/17/17. a collection of uplifting songs that can be defined as soulful pop, "starting now" reveals cato's view of the world - the message that he wants to fully convey. lyrically, he reminds us of john lennon and bob marley in that he is totally open and accessible, his story is our story.
Adam Ahuja’s new record, Ubiquity interlaces two solo styles: ‘live-looping,’ featuring a compact multi-instrumental setup used for single take performances, identical to his on-stage performance, and ‘band-style,’ where Ahuja jumps between keys, drum kit, bass, guitar, percussion, and vocals to gradually layer takes one instrument at a time into full tracks. In addition to the audio, the whole album recording was captured on film and produced as performance videos for each track.
From the increasingly diverse RSVP Records roster comes a record that is impossible to define: in fact we are still working to understand the work. B Slade is an enigma, a man who has released hundreds of songs in his 20 year career, and who slips past definition every time. Just when you think you know, he throws something at you that bends your ears and mind. His self titled album on RSVP is perhaps the best example - It begins with what could be popular Hip-Hop/Party music and moves through Soul and Gospel as B tells the story of heading out to the club straight through the next morning, complete with love and loss. It's a strange yet accurate tale of life in America, and there are moments where you cannot tell if he's poking fun or being serious. One thing is for certain, it's deep.
When a legendary drummer from New Orleans and a rock guitarist turned entrepreneur connect in The Big Easy - what happens? A hard driving modern Blues record with nothing but raw feeling - that's what. Shannon Powell is a drummer with diverse credits, a teacher, and a sage who still knows the true value of music - the FEELING. Darren Hoffman is a guitarist, a student of history, and man with an edge. Together they delivered a project entitled BLUES - 4 classic tracks in a stripped down and amped up format. If you want to hear the hallowed sound that drives the human need for music, click play now.
Billy "Prince" Polo dropped the highly anticipated Universal Souljah from Bajah on Prince Polo Records this fall. The joint effort with Sierra Leone superstar Bajah consists of 7 hard hitting tracks that are sure to send reggae fans into a frenzy.
"I wanted to make a record that was representative of New York, Brooklyn specifically." said Polo. "It was a chance to combine the common musical themes that Bajah and I both share and in the process create a new sound, and something that is uniquely Brooklyn in it's vibe."
Universal Souljah is exactly that. Universal. Musically it combines reggae, hip-hop, dub and African styles in a way that really hasn't been heard before, and the end result is something very special. From the heavy Rub a Dub style of Bigger Heads to the UK Dub influence of Love And Unity to the dancehall scorchers of Hot and I Feel Like this collection will take you on a journey that is both socially conscious and guaranteed to make you move your body on the dance floor.
"Bajah is a great artist and person and it comes across in his music. Making this record was such a great experience in so many ways." stated Polo. "He named the album and I couldn't think of a better representation of who he is and what he's about. Without question he is a Universal Soldier."
The Emancipation Procrastination, the third and final chapter in The Centennial Trilogy, deals directly with the social and political issues of the day. Rather than descend into identity politics, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah sees in New Orleans many disparate cultures in one space being underserved and exploited. His worldview is not just New Orleans, as he has traveled and toured the world for almost 20 years, starting as a child in some of the most revered jazz groups of the day (McCoy Tyner, Donald Harrison, Eddie Palmieri..).
“‘I’m not interested in harming anyone. I have a responsibility as an artist to create a space where people feel welcome. When I walk outside this hotel room, that is not the reality. There is a difference when music is made with love. When people come into my space they are going to feel that. We are trying to figure out a way to treat each other better. We are all responsible for healing each other.‘”
The vision of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is clear – that this is an opportunity for all of US to come together and address issues that affect ALL of us. Emancipation Procrastination means that we all have an opportunity to liberate ourselves from old world ideas. Let the healing begin.
It was a shining moment for us here at Ropeadope amidst the saddest of sad times. The great Col. Bruce Hampton departed the earth on May 1, after a full night of celebration of HIS life by an all star ensemble of characters that he has influenced. As the reality of Bruce's final earthly display of outrageous showmanship settled in, we got a phone call from a friend. 'Bruce recorded one night at The Vista Room (with The Madrid Express) with the intention of pressing it on Vinyl - would you be interested in releasing it?' Nothing in this world could bestow greater honor on us than this, and we immediately said YES, please. Soon the masters arrived, and what we heard was stunning - the great showman who consistently went 'out' in his theatrics and playing had brought us the most concise record of his career. We've played the record hundreds of times, and we cannot find a single moment that is not solid power and perfection. Like Bruce, the album will not last forever, so we urge you to add this to your collection today.
Atlanta native Chantae Cann continues to balance out the negative in this world by delivering positive affirmations backed by a gentle and undeniable groove. Her new album, Sol Empowered, hit the airwaves on October 13th, with her smooth as a warm breeze vocals and delicate riffs. The messages are persistent : ' You Gotta Love Yourself', 'The truth is inside' are perfect examples. One standout track on the album is Craters On The Moon, a longing love letter to creation itself. Sol Empowered caught the attention of BBC and WWFM DJ Gilles Peterson, as he included it in his Essential Jazz Albums of 2017. Is life challenging? Take a moment to reflect with Chantae and soothe the rough edges.
From Jimi Hendrix in swinging London to the Art Ensemble of Chicago in the protest-roiled Paris of 1968, groundbreaking American musicians have found an audience and honed their sound abroad before returning home to make their mark. For New York pianist Richard X Bennett, the path to his arresting raga jazz repertoire runs through India, where he’s recorded a series of acclaimed albums for the nation’s largest record label (and several classical labels as well). Though Bennett has spent almost three decades playing a diverse array of music on the New York scene, his two new albums serve as an eye-opening introduction to this bracingly original jazz artist. With his first U.S. albums under his own name slated for release on Ropeadope Records, Bennett’s mesmerizing raga-powered quintet project Experiments With Truth and melodically charged trio session What Is Nowannounce the emergence of a major voice unlike any other on the American scene.
Both albums feature the dynamic rhythm section tandem of bassist Adam Armstrong and drummer Alex Wyatt, with the Experiments session expanded by Lisa Parrott on baritone saxophone and Matt Parker on tenor and soprano sax. More than the addition of the horns, what sets the two projects apart is the quintet concept, which brings music that Bennett originally conceived and performed with North Indian classical musicians into a jazz context.
Bennett says the quintet’s repertoire is “kind of like Mingus meets raga in the 21st century. This is the first time I’ve brought this music back into jazz instrumentation. I don’t claim to be a raga musician, because first off, the piano isn’t a raga instrument. I’d say it’s raga-based. I like the analogy they use on cooking shows, ‘This is my take on a dosa.’ As a jazz musician, this is my take on raga,” the vast vocabulary of melodic structures, or modes, upon which classical Indian music is based.
Warren Walker, Caleb Dollister, and Gael Petrina are The Kandinsky Effect. For 10 years, the trio has been refining their approach towards instrumental composition and production. Their music is multi-textural, adventurous, dark and rhythmic; it can be equally filled with risk and cohesion while navigating atypical time structures. Petrina and Walker’s appreciation for electronica inspires their methodical use of effect pedals to create lush dimensions of texture, and Dolister’s open admiration of heavier bands like Meshuggah or crossover projects like Jaga Jazzist often influences a rigor and attack in his drumming paired with polyrhythmic complexity.
Pax 6 is the inevitable evolution of 10 years of touring, recording, traveling, and living a life realized through the eyes of modern post jazz realization. The Kandinsky Effect know who they are and what they want to share. Pax 6 captures their visions of a dark, rhythmic landscape, and presents it carefully and intently.
Rich in Symbols represents the culmination of years of experience in the intensely varied and dynamic career of saxophonist and composer, Chet Doxas. Based on his love of the visual arts, Rich in Symbols is inspired by the art movement of New York City’s Lower East Side between the years 1975-85.
Chet has gathered together several of the most acclaimed musicians in modern music today including Matthew Stevens (guitar), Zack Lober (bass),
Eric Doob(drums) and special guests, John Escreet on piano, multi-award winning trumpeter Dave Douglas and guitarist Dave Nugent to lend his definitive sound to several of the album's songs. Produced by Liam O'Neil(Kings of Leon, Metric, Broken Social Scene), Rich in Symbols keeps its feet planted firmly in the worlds of rock, jazz, improvised music and cinematic soundscapes.
With Rich in Symbols, Chet Doxas explores the world of transcendence and credits the listener by asking them what do paintings sound like?
'I played cool, and hung out with the hardest bargains, and never copped a plea ... called Jim Crow out of his mansion in Waycross Georgia, taught him a lesson he'd never forget'
Such is the poetry of Yusef Komunyakaa; powerful, hip, and compelling. Yusef speaks of an America we know, accompanied on White Dust by Mike Brown on bass and David Cieri on piano. The trio delivers a collection of Yusef's poetry with subtle improvisation, painting a solemn landscape of sadness and beauty, like a dream on a winter morning.
White Dust reaches into your mind and soul as if the players know your struggle, and are playing along to your story. One avid listener describes it this way: 'Walt Whitman meets Tom Waits on the corner of Africa and Alabama.' Dig.