Ramsey Lewis X Ropeadope


Contemporary Jazz icon Ramsey Lewis holds a permanent place in Jazz history, not just for his pedigree as a composer and pianist, but for his constant motion and embrace of new styles. From The Ramsey Lewis Trio through to Urban Knights, Lewis has consistently released music that fits the time while preserving the heart of Jazz. An NEA Jazz Master, a prominent radio host in the Legends of Jazz series, and a persistent supporter of mentorship for young musicians, Ramsey Lewis is a living legend and a role model of musical expression and statesmanship.

After a rumored retirement in spring of 2018, Lewis reinvigorated his commitment to music and set continued tour dates for 2018 and 2019. In August he returned to the studio after signing with Ropeadope, where he joins a range of progressive musicians such as Terrace Martin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Aaron Parks, and Eddie Palmieri. The new album will be a new visitation of the Urban Knights era, an all-star jazz, R&B and funk band which features Grammy nominated guitarist Henry Johnson, drummer Charles Heath, bassist Joshua Ramos and keyboardist Tim Gant, along with some special guests from within the Ropeadope roster.

‘It is with great pride that we welcome Mr. Lewis to the Ropeadope family. Our role is to honor the vast history of Jazz and to support those artists that carry the legacy yet also remain progressive to build the next chapter of Jazz history’ (Louis Marks, Ropeadope)

Fima Ephron | Songs From The tree


Modern Icon Recordings is stepping it up this year, as label head Adrian Harpham curates a delicate balance of accessible yet eclectic sounds. Next up is Fima Ephron - one of the world’s most sought after bassists. His credits are extensive, from Natalie Merchant to Gil Scott Heron, from Chris Potter to Nate Smith. We first heard Fima on Nate Smith’s KINFOLK, and now we are proud to announce Fima’s third solo project - Songs From The Tree.

Here is Fima’s take on the music: ‘On February 5th 2016 a cold winters day in NYC I had the good fortune of assembling a supremely talented group of musicians in the studio (Chris Potter on Sax, Adam Rogers on Guitar, Nate Smith on Drums, Kevin Hays on Keys, and David Torn (Loops). By the time we had finished 10 hours later there were 10 pieces of music recorded. 10 hours to record a whole record is a small amount of time, so it necessitated moving quickly and committing to takes - most of the music was recorded in one take. I couldn’t be happier with the results.’

We agree.

Songs From The Tree hits on October 26, 2018 with Pre-orders beginning on September 28. Drop in here to stay on top of all things from Modern Icon Recordings.

Cienfuegos | Bestiario Sonoro


From Ropeadope Sur in Mexico City, curated by Todd Clouser, comes Cienfuegos; a post-modern quintet that mixes Jazz, Rock, and Contemporary music to create a unique mix that appeals to magical realism, Improvisation, and the Mexican ‘imaginary’.

Their new project, Bestiario Sonoro, is a conceptual album based in the pre-hispanic cosmovision of México and observation of today’s reality, encapsulating the past and present of Mexican heritage. The journey begins with tribute to pre-hispanic gods such as La Serpiente and El Jaguar and moves on to Latino fervor in El Alebrije. An exploration in binary conception of beauty (El Cenzontle) -  and destruction (El Perro de Agua). The journey of the Bestiario ends in El Sumidero, a piece that is the invocation of a traditional mexican song talking about peace and longing, going south to the heart of the mexican cosmovision.

Bestiario Sonoro is set for release on October 5, with pre-orders starting on September 14, 2018. Drop in here and follow Ropeadope Sur for notifications. .

Grüt | Side Room Stories

If you've had the wonderful chance to spin Col. Bruce Hampton's Live At The Vista Room, you've heard the Colonel shout out 'Wytanis' in the midst of the mayhem. That's Daniel Wytanis on the trombone in one of the finest live performances of our time. And now we are pleased to introduce Grüt, the experimental band comprised of Daniel Wytanis, Patrick Arthur on guitar, Brandon Boone on bass, Morgan Guerin on drums, and Avys Burroughs on sax. Young guns all around, but with musical sensibilities of seasoned cats. Together they blend the predetermined with the spontaneous, and fearlessness with absolute risk. Their debut album, Side Room Stories, is out now, and they've signed on with the Ropeadope family to lead up to their next release in 2019. Join us in welcoming Grüt and watch their musical development. Start right here on the Twitter, and dig in here for details. 

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Drums And Tuba


That's right. The band formerly known as Just Drums And Tuba is back. Formed in 1995 by Tony Nozero and Brian Wolff, this avant-everything duo that began Austin Texas has achieved legendary under (and above) ground status as they take two instruments and blend Jazz fusion, Hardcore Punk, and Alternative Hip-Hop in a surprising structured way. The band has not recorded since 2005, and we are honored to bring you their new project - TRIUMPH!. Joined by Steve Garofano on (additional) Drums and Percussion, Ben Ellman on Sax, Jonathon Freilich on Guitar, and Francesca Wolff on vocals, Brian adds in his own Vocal, Beatbox, Trombone and Flute to for an epic statement of, well - triumph!. Seemingly unaffected by the challenges of the times, or simply strong enough to bear it with a driving, forward moving and anthemic call, Drums And Tuba are here to lead the way. Triumph! is set for release on September 28. 

Big Hands Rhythm & Blues Band


1950 was the year that Leonard and Phil Chess rebranded their record label and began their legendary association with Sam Phillips of the Memphis Recording Service. With the great Willie Dixon writing and co-producing they helped build the foundation of what we call Rock & Roll. Ike Turner, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters are just a few of the key figures that Chess brought to the world. Fast forward to the late 60's and bands like MC5 and The Sonics took the music back to its raw and powerful state. And now, it's time again to get back to the root. Big Hands Rhythm & Blues Band takes a little bit from both of these veins of Blues history and infuses it with a growl reminiscent of Chuck E Weiss and Tom Waits, plus a bit of rollicking momentum a la Captain Beefheart. These are times of high energy and purpose, and these cats are ready to reflect and respond with raw guitar and a driving beat. The new album is titled Thoughts And Prayers, and you can well guess this is a sardonic comment on life in 2019. Stay tuned for updates right here.

All Aboard The Brockettship

If you have internet access you've probably seen Brockett Parsons navigating the Brock360 ; the 288 key circular keyboard that debuted in Lady Gaga's Super Bowl performance. Just a glimpse gives the hint that the man is tuned in to a vast array of transcendent sounds and rhythms. Trained in Jazz, Parsons caught the ear and eye of Sean Combs; he toured the world with Diddy's band and performed with many others including Talib Kweli, Taylor McFerrin, and Guru before picking up his current gig with Lady Gaga.

And now, it is with great pleasure that we announce Brockett's debut album via our family imprint Modern Icon Recordings. Brockettship is a stunning collection of compositions, exploring all of Parson's diverse musical interest and filtered through the unique production ear of Adrian Harpham. Oh, and there are guests; Peter Gunz, Mononeon, James Genus, Seamus Blake to name but a few. Brockettship hits the street on October 12, 2018 - stay tuned right here for details. 

dred scott rides alone

dred scott. The incomparable renegade pianist who co-founded the ground breaking hip- hop jazz group Alphabet Soup. The musical director for AMFAR's Cinema Against Aids gala at The Cannes Film Festival. Composer and performer in six San Francisco Mime Troupe productions. Film and commercial composer, solo artist, and all around player with celebs too numerous to mention. And the super subtle and not-as-subtle piano player at Del Posto in New York. dred has graced us with three albums thus far; a live recording from his long running Live At Rockwood residency, and the simultaneous releases Going Nowhere and Prepared Piano. It's been a minute since the maestro of the maelstrom has recorded, and now he returns to the studio to record ALL of the musical parts to his new album - dred scott Rides Alone. The compositions are sublime, perhaps dred's most accessible and gentle writing and playing in his storied career. dred scott rides alone stands as a mature and melodic statement of life and love. dred scott rides alone will be released on September 21, with pre-orders starting August 24. Stop in here to hear and understand dred scott. 

Photo by Michael Pollack

Photo by Michael Pollack

Whose Hat Is This?


In 2015, while on tour with The Tedeschi-Trucks Band, band members Tim Lefebvre, Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell, J.J. Johnson, and Kebbi Williams took the stage at the A-Trane in Berlin and went to a place that caused some audience members to throw their clothes (was that a hat?), and set the mandate for a new project to evolve. And so Whose Hat Is This? picked up the improvisational gauntlet thrown down by jambanders and took it to its (ill)logical extreme. They've played with the greats, from TTB to Bowie to Col Bruce, and this band allows them complete freedom to challenge each other, the audience, and the very vibration of the time-space continuum. Their new project, Everything's OK, was recorded live at the 8X10, and features the future-voice stylings of the enigmatic Kokayi. November 16 is the date; stay tuned here for updates. 

Aaron Parks Little Big


Aaron Parks created a stir with his debut in 2008,  Invisible Cinema, and we are thrilled to announce the natural successor to that album. Aaron Parks Little Big is a lush, melodic and driving work, blending genre and style in a fluid narrative from start to finish. The title references the novel by John Crowley, but also informs us that this is a band; Greg Tuohey with a searing tone on guitar, David 'DJ' Ginyard on bass, and Tommy Crane on drums. As a unit, they bring Parks' compositions to perfect expression, moving across the space and time of different styles to reflect the interwoven and complex world we now inhabit. Aaron Parks Little Big is an easy listen at any time, always ready for your attention when you are ready to dig deeper, and it leaves you with a sense of comfort and optimism. October 19 is the date, stay tuned for Pre-order info. 

Jared Sims | The New York Sessions


Jared Sims seems to often speak of places; with his 2017 release Change Of Address he brought us from the busy streets of Boston to his home in West Virginia as he took the chair heading up the Jazz Studies department at WVU. And now, Jared returns with The New York Sessions, his tribute to the places and sounds of New York City. There's something about the sax that can describe the feeling of New York, that sexy and gritty feel on the street, that energy, that flow, that feeling that you not only belong but that it's YOURS. Jared captures the heat on the street as he and the band are in absolutely top form, taking us through the city with tracks titled Tribeca Tap Bar, The Bodega, Pelham and more. This is both a story and a journey; tune in here for pre-order info as we prepare for an October 12 release. 

Kyle Nasser | Persistent Fancy

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The title balances contrasting philosophies on imagination and the relativity of human views, and so we are introduced to the curious mind of Saxophonist and Composer Kyle Nasser. A graduate of both Harvard and Berklee, Nasser explores the intricacies of composition and perfomance and the concept of the suite, weaving together tracks related by a common theme. The players are sublime and varied; bassist Nick Jost is a member of the metal band Baroness, While Altoist Roman Filu performs with Steve Coleman, Miguel Zenon, and Dafnis Prieto. On drums is the great Allan Mednard, whose credits seem to include just about everyone. Persistent Fancy is an elegant journey, and is set for release on October 5, stay tuned for pre-order and streaming. In the meantime, drop in on Kyle's band Beekman right here

Yak Attack X Ropeadope

Dave Dernovsek, Rowan Cobb, and Nick Werth have put their minds together and the result is a full force electronica-slash-everything power trio that will blow your mind if you don't stay elastic. The name of this band is Yak Attack, and they are coming for you. Don't let the E word define it though, as the bands draws deeply from House, Drum & Bass, Breakbeat, and yes, Jazz. This band goes OUT, taking you along with a little groove in your step. In case you haven't picked it up the connection yet, Nick Werth is connected to the Ropeadope family via Ghost-Note, and we are thrilled to have him and his Yak Attack brothers join the roster. their new album, Safety Third, hits on September 7th. 




E Scott Lindner | Port Of Dreams


His self-titled debut stunned us with elegant style and clearly defined textures, his collaboration with Pablo Eluchans (VSUS) showed a deeper dive into electronic soundscapes, and now E Scott Lindner returns with his second full length album. Port Of Dreams heads in a new direction, best described as Orchestral Psych, complete with a string quartet, woodwinds, piano, bass, and drums. As an engineer and producer at his Pinch Recording studio, Lindner exerts full control over the sound, tying his diverse projects together sonically. On Port Of Dreams he managed to write, record, mix, and master in a mere three days, making this the most ambitious and challenging undertaking of his career (thus far). Appearances from Ropeadope and Infinity Gritty artists include Adam Ahuja, Andrew Gould (Nuf Said), and Pablo Eluchans. Port Of Dreams heads our way on September 21, with pre-order and advance streaming available in late August. 

With this sixth release on Adam Ahuja's Infinity Gritty label we can see a classic and ambitious brand in it's early formative state. Drop in here to get up to date. 

Bright | Dog | Red

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A unique improvisational collective from up above NYC (Albany to be exact), Bright Dog Red is a confounding blend of genres. Drummer and Composer Joe Pignato, inspired by his teacher, Yusef Lateef, assembled his students for fully improvised live sessions fusing Jazz, Electronica, Hip-Hop, and Psychedelia. The core band is MC Cully, Cody Davies, Jarritt Sheel, Mike LaBombard, and Anthony Berman, and their first full length recording - Means To The Ends -  is set for release on October 5th. 

It’s like spontaneous, collective meditation. We get into a trance state and ideas just flow. MC Cully notes, at its best, the music is an impossibly divided form of unity, with each participant as expressive as a soloist and supportive as a side-player. (MC Cully)

In an age of individually wrapped packets of 'entertainment', Means To The Ends is a refreshing deep dive into musical exploration without a hint of self indulgence. It's hip, it's a groove, and at the same time it's OUT

'Music Has Been My Saviour'

Vivian Sessoms was born in Harlem, and she shuttled between Philly and Harlem as a child with some stops in Newark & Camden NJ. As she likes to say – ‘she lived in all the ‘hoods. Her parents were free thinkers, creatives who were immersed in music and cultural expression. Early on she just knew that one day she would be a singer, and that knowledge became a compelling need that drove her forward. With her parents singing and playing music around her, harmonizing and sharing the essence, the structure of music, there was never another option. The church figured in as well, as her grandmother made sure she was in church most Sundays, and the spirit of gospel music was forever entangled with her destiny. 

And so we present to you today, Vivian's rendition of the classic traditional song 'See Line Woman'. Originally recorded for the library of Congress (Sea-Lion Woman) and later popularized by Nina Simone, See Line Woman expresses Vivian's understanding of the roots, and her vision for elegant arrangement. Featured on the track are Vincent Gardner, Kenyatta Beasley, and Donny McCaslin. Let it roll. 

Nate Smith | Pocket Change


The incomparable Nate Smith has helped invigorate the Jazz scene over the last two decades with his visceral and deep-rooted style of drumming. From work with Jose James, Dave Holland, and Chris Potter, to his Grammy nominated debut album, KINFOLK: Postcards from Everywhere, Nate is on the scene. It seems that every day another musician or fan posts a video of Nate behind the kit, in awe of the style and and polish of his work. Now, Nate has prepared a solo drumset album dubbed Pocket Change - 11 improvised drum tracks of groove and feel, and of course technique.

Pocket Change will be released in three formats - Collector's Vinyl, A Creators software package from Loop Loft/Native Instruments, and in digital download/streaming worldwide. Start right here for the single and find your spot. 

'The idea of the album is to use (seemingly) simple grooves as a launching pad ... My goal was to develop improvised thematic ideas within groove context to create a storytelling arc.' (Nate Smith)

ToNY Adamo | was out jazz zone mad


This cat takes some old school spoken word and makes it fresh - with a clear eye on the Jazz greats and no apologies. Tony Adamo has led a storied life, from the Navy to radio to acting to putting up billboards. When he met up with Mic Gillette and Skip Mesquite from Tower Of Power, he began recording and found a new groove: Free flowing spoken word. Tony writes his words down, and then does his piece on stage or in the studio, and the words are not the same. He has teamed up with Mike Clark for his new record, WAS OUT JAZZ ZONE MAD, due out on September 14th with a feature from Roger Smith. This is the poet as band member - sometimes singing, sometimes beat poet, sometimes a radio presenter, all in synch with the madness of the music. It's like a sport, where the ball can go anywhere and the players move in earnest. When it's right, it's nothing but graceful. WAS OUT JAZZ ZONE MAD pays tribute to the greats, to the players behind him, and to the art of improvisation.

Jim Stephens | Philasippiola Soul

After his Ropeadope debut – On Our Way To Forever – and his gritty, stripped down album of salt of the earth tunes – Boxcar Blues – Jim Stephens returns with his opus. Songs Of Healing:Philassippiola Soul brings Stephens full vision into view, with classics like Down By The Riverside and Baby Please Don’t Go interspersed with his soulful gospel-tinged compositions. The process is one of inclusion, with a solid cast of inspiring musicians from Chuck Treece, Doug Grisby, Pablo Batista, Lucky Thompson, and many more contributing their unique styles in the arranging and recording process. This is a record of the people, by the people, and for the people. Laments on life’s struggles with a positive message of fortitude and hope color the pages of Philassipiola Soul.