NEA JazzMaster Ramsey Lewis is a living legend; it is impossible to imagine today’s landscape of Jazz, funk, and R&B without his contribution. From gold records in the sixties to Grammy awards, Ramsey Lewis has always been a collaborator, working with many including Grover Washington Jr, Maurice White & Earth, Wind, and Fire, Dr. Billy Taylor, Dr. John, and The London Philharmonic. His classic band Urban Knights includes guitarist Henry Johnson, drummer Charles Heath, bassist Joshua Ramos and keyboardist Tim Gant, and they have released six albums that kept the sound and spirit of funk and R&B alive. And now we are thrilled to announce the next - VII by Ramsey Lewis and Urban Knights - will be set for release in the fall of 2019. Original compositions are interspersed with carefully selected classics from John Coltrane, Jimmy Reed, Chick Corea, and The Beatles. Drop in here to follow and get the news on preorder and release dates.
As challenging as these times are on planet earth, it is with great wonder and comfort that we are witnessing the emergence of great leaders with vision; individuals who are reinventing Jazz while also becoming role models for others as they express their worldview through their art. Composer, trumpeter, and flugelhorn player Yazz Ahmed has performed with Radiohead and The New Puritans. Her second album, La Saboteuse, featured Shabaka Hutchings and Naadia Sheriff and was hailed by critics and fans alike.
Yazz was born in London to a British ballerina mother and Bahraini engineer father, with the family moving to Bahrain soon afterwards. When she was nine, Ahmed and her sisters returned to London with their mother. Her maternal grandfather, Terry Brown, was a jazz trumpeter and record producer in the 50s, and when Ahmed was given the choice of taking up an instrument at her new school, she chose the trumpet.
Her third album, Polyhymnia, will be released in October 2019, and while Yazz continues to blend Jazz with traditional Arabic rhythms and melodies, she brings her message with the music. Polyhymnia is a celebration of female courage and determination. It is a suite of six compositions, each dedicated to women of outstanding qualities, whom Yazz finds to be inspirational role models. We welcome this powerful and important statement as we work towards a world of equality.
Pack your bags, it’s time to depart on a musical journey through parts unknown. Pianist and composer Casimir Liberski hails from Brussels; trained in classical music, Liberski digs deep into the canon of western Jazz, Blues, and Funk while retaining a love for … wait for it … melodies from Nintendo games! These are the times of unbridled musical expression, and Casimir takes the challenge without hesitation. This is as much a dimly lit Jazz club as it is late night festival, and Casimir brings it all together as if we are in the symphony hall the whole time, all with a sense of participation as if we were composing the music with him. His Ropeadope debut Cosmic Liberty hits on September 20, preorder and first streaming track are here.
His 2018 debut album Phoenix featured a stellar cast of musicians and guests including trumpet legend Nicholas Payton, rising star Jonathan Hoard and guitar heavyweight Nir Felder, and was heralded by Jazz press and heavily featured at Bandcamp. Now, Javier follows up with a more modest acoustic instrumentation consisting of more traditional instruments like acoustic piano, upright bass and drum set.
The core band consisting of Ben Flocks and Dayna Stephens on saxophones, Corey Fonville on drums, Nir Felder on guitar and Zach Brown on bass recorded at the now defunct Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA in September of 2016. From there Santiago released eight of the tracks on Phoenix in June of 2018 - leaving several gems left over for a potential future release.
Santiago explains, “These compositions that didn’t make the original Phoenix record are very close to my heart and I just couldn’t stand to see them sit in the vault and collect dust… Hence the B-Sides...” In opposition to the more cutting edge and synthesized beatscapes of Phoenix, B-Sides offers the same lush harmonies and haunting melodies but in a more straight ahead setting.
B-Sides is set for release on October 18th, with preorders beginning on September 20.
Captain Supernova (C.SN) is a fictional Astronaut created by composer and arranger Eric Borders. The music for C.SN is inspired by Sci-fi Soundtracks, Jazz-Fusion, Prog Rock, and Soul music. The music for C.SN plays as the musical background to the story of the fictional Astronaut traveling through space and sending his message back to Earth.
“Let it take you to Wherever it Begins” - C.SN
Eric Borders, born and raised on the westside of Los Angeles, is a keyboardist, producer and composer. He has produced for a wide range of genres and artists. He has shared stages with the likes of Kamasi Washington, Jose James, Jimmy Cliff, The Internet, Stanley Clarke and George Duke to name a few. Following up his 2016 EP Doors Of Perception Captain Supernova delivers a full length project titled The Voyage Never Ends, a lush and expansive journey in sound that may well accompany an interstellar flight.
"Cosmic, synth heavy sounds, like the Thievery Corporation blasted into outer-space, are the OST to the story of this astronaut." - Bandcamp New and Notable
The Voyage Never Ends stops on our planet on October 11, preorders for CD and Vinyl are happening NOW.
“Jon Regen has a rare combination of elements - virtuosic playing ability, soulful singing, and a strong songwriting talent, all developing more and more as he grows and grows as an artist through the years. Give him a freaking listen!” – Bruce Hornsby
“It’s something of a small miracle,” says New York-based singer, songwriter and pianist Jon Regen about his upcoming album, Higher Ground, due October 4, 2019 via Ropeadope. “It’s an album I wasn’t planning on making,” Regen explains. “When I became a parent, my touring and recording life was immediately put on hold.”
Produced by Jamiroquai keyboardist Matt Johnson, Higher Ground includes musical performances by legends like Andy Summers of The Police, Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Chuck Leavell of The Rolling Stones and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. The album announces Regen as a formidable talent with the rarest of gifts - an original voice that speaks to the human condition with authority and hope. Regen’s songs define our times, but are meant to last for all time.
Higher Ground is set for release on October 4, 2019. Preorder now on Bandcamp.
Pianist David Ryshpan has been with Ropeadope, and FOR Ropeadope for more than ten years. Based in Montreal, David has been on the scene as a musician and DJ, and though trained in Jazz, Brazilian music is his love. His new project with bassist Nicolas Bédard and drummer Mark Nelson, Trio Bruxo, is inspired by the Brazilian “samba-jazz” piano trios of the 1960s and 1970s. Beginning their career by exploring the diversity of the Brazilian songbook, these new compositions by are inspired by Brazilian multi-instrumentalists and composers Hermeto Pascoal and Egberto Gismonti.
‘I named the group Trio Bruxo after reading an article on Hermeto, who is often referred to as a bruxo or sorcerer. His mystical presence truly imbues him with the magical aura of a wizard.’
The Sorcerer’s Flag is the new album from Trio Bruxo, set for release on October 4th, with preorders starting this Friday.
Educator, Composer, and eminent saxophonist Jared Sims quietly sneaks back into the mix with a new release aptly titled The Mind Reveals, as Jared is keeping mum on the mission and meaning behind the music. Jared’s bio these days simply lists him as a musician, recording artist and educator from West Virginia. So, we’ll follow suit, list the credits and click play - join us. The Mind Reveals hits on September 6.
Jared Sims / alto saxophone
Milt Reder / guitar
Pat Battstone / keyboard
Timo Shanko / bass
Ernesto Diaz / percussion
Jared Seabrook / drums
Spontaneity of expression. We are all working on it when we tweet and post, and frankly we have a lot of work to do. This form of communication requires not only a true understanding of inner intent, but the ability to find our place within the community. Bright Dog Red is light years ahead; a core group of five individuals who literally create music on the spot, interacting with each other and listening intently to the audience at the same time. They are not only a progressive example of what musicians can do, they are a powerful model for humans to follow and learn harmony within the seeming discord of life. Their new album is titled How’s By You?, a deliberate statement of our common need to listen to others and make sure they are well. To view our role in these challenging times and find harmony with our fellow humans. How’s By You? arrives on September 13 - drop in here to begin the process of synchronizing with the world.
if you caught the accent on the E, you can already tell this band is out for fun. Self described as an electro-funk group generating a buzz for their infectious beat and whimsical musical personality, the band is made up of talented players from the scene. A collaborative outgrowth of vibraphonist Tyler Blanton’s work on the malletkat and midi electronics, the group’s core consists of bassist/producer Massimo Biolcati and drummer Corey Rawls. The steady horn section consists of Wayne Tucker, Yacine Boulares, as well as the Snarky Puppy horn team of Mike Maher and Chris Bullock. The Horne Electric Band’s debut record is scheduled for release on September 27 on Ropeadope and features guest artist appearances by saxophonists Chris Potter, John Ellis, and Donny McCaslin, as well as guitarists Lionel Loueke and John Scofield.
Get ready to shake off the daily news blues and dance until regime change happens. That’s what we’re doing at the fake office. The album drops on 9/27, preorder starts August 30th.
‘The Funky Knuckles is a world-class jazz orchestra made up of genetically-enhanced cybernetic supermen. Their mind-blowing rhythms and harmonic complexity will shatter your fragile psyche and leave you drowning in a pool of fresh llama milk. The band members are as brilliant as they are handsome and have been featured as sidemen with Janet Jackson, Stanley Clarke, Larry Carlton, and many others.’
So begins the bio for the clearly fun loving band from Dallas Texas known as The Funky Knuckles. We’ve released two of their explorations into jazz jam groove pyrotechnics, and we are thrilled to announce their next project, Delicious, arriving right here at Ropeadope on November 1, 2019. They’ll be touring the country around the release, check here for tour dates and stay tuned for the unveiling of the album.
Dreams Outside presents the post-jazz instrumental trio dustlights at their collective spirit’s edge, moving in moments, with psychedelic peaks, synergic transitions, and melodic reveries singing and screaming over their signature foundation of minimalist groove and layered effects. Featuring songs improvised on stage, Dreams Outside captures the raw energy and sonic explorations of true live performance, while delving deeply into the core of dark beautiful moods that led critics to compare them to Portishead, Tortoise, Morphine, and Dungen. Dreams Outside hits on September 20, dig in for a taste right now.
Brooklyn’s Tenor Triage unites the saxophone camaraderie of Michael Eaton, James Brandon Lewis, and Sean Sonderegger into a freewheeling and outward bound spin on a classic matchup. The band’s chemistry melds harmolodics and hymnic free jazz to heavy hitting groove and gritty polyphony. Tenor Triage outlines their vision through original music plus a deep cut composition by Dewey Redman, joined by bassist Brad Jones and drummer G. Calvin Weston. The tenors dedicate their self titled debut album to their late bandmate, harmolodic guitar master Bern Nix.
As a saxophonist and improvising artist, Michael Eaton’s professional career to date has spanned a variety of idioms, encompassing jazz, free improvised music, soul, rock, western classical, funk, reggae, brass bands, and beyond. He embraces a progressive and holistic vision of jazz, cognizant of its rich history and development, but reaches for a personal outlook with an eye towards future possibilities.
Saxophonist, composer, and author Adam Larson has garnered worldwide critical acclaim for his music, garnering numerous awards that distinguish him as one of the most promising artists of his generation. He is the author of Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes for Jazz Saxophone - Volumes I and II , and Conversation Starters: 180 pieces of Jazz Vocabulary. Adam maintains an impressive portfolio of commissioned ensemble writing for school jazz ensembles, and his thorough commitment to this thing called Jazz finds him working as a clinician and master class presenter at high schools and Universities.
‘the sort of jazz musician who gets flagged early on as a promising talent and then hustles to meet every requirement for success’ (Nate Chinen)
Adam’s fifth solo album - Listen With Your Eyes - will be released here at Ropeadope on September 6, 2019, and features Fabian Almazan on piano and keys, Matt Clohesy on electric bass, and Jimmy Macbride on drums. The sound is polished just enough, with Adam’s introspective tone moving through a pallette of emotion that we can all relate to. Listen With Your Eyes has a soothing quality, invoking calm in a turbulent time.
Infinity Gritty is a new kind of label; led by Adam Ahuja and his collaborative crew they are consistently creating new music and getting it right out to the public. Ego and celebrity are pushed aside as the crew experiments with different styles and forms of expression, like chefs in the kitchen. Next up on the roster is Zhou Kroix, tinkering with experimental reggae and mixing it up with Middle Eastern scales, Irish Hymns, a touch of Bowie/Zappa/Rundgren style, and topped off with R&B vocals. Produced by Adam Ahuja and E Scott Lindner from their world class (Pinch Recordings) studio in NY, the new Zhou Kroix album Count The Clocks reveals a mysterious narrative about a wandering girl. The project is founded by drummer Ry Pilla, and features Brad Walker and Yula Beeri, with Adam Ahuja and E Scott Lindner. Let the story unfold right here.
Andrew Neesley hits us up every now and then, and it’s always with a great new artist that he’s been collaborating with in some form. And so, Andy’s Picks is the natural result; this time he has introduced us to Finnish Born and Brooklyn based guitar virtuoso Olli Hirvonen. After classical guitar training, his personal starting point was dedication to Ritchie Blackmore, but rather than following in any lane he spent his time learning from them all - Tim Berne, Ralph Towner, Grant Green, Nels Cline, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and more. Downbeat comments on Hirvonen’s style in his role with Brian Krock and liddle:
“Hirvonen again adds outsized blasts of electric guitar, lending no-wave flair”
Olli’s new album - Displace - is a document of a still-rising generation of young, forward-leaning New York-based musicians invested in jazz, metal, new music and more—a clique of artists “who aren’t afraid to combine things and take risks,” as the guitarist puts it. Displace is set for release on August 30, drop in here or a taste.
“Egyptologists” and most “historians” have for many years purposely hidden, stolen, laid claim to, and falsified the clear evidence that thousands of years ago the Nubian and Kemetic people and cultural systems populated every land mass on earth, and built monuments that stand to this day even as other cultures and people lay claim to their origin.
This Suite is dedicated to the ancient African Pyramid builders, who’s magnificent monuments have defied time to reveal the truth of the origins of people, science, mathematics, art, engineering, navigation, music, religion, and subsequent cultures.
My name is Mtafuta Ukweli and I seek truth. – Russell Gunn
These are excerpts from the liner notes of the new project from The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, immediately signaling that Russell Gunn has arrived at a profound sense of history and purpose with the creation of this recording, titled Pyramids. While the signature sound of this ensemble is clearly similar to the 2018 release Get It How You Live, the scope and power of the project is evident from the epic lift in the first track. It is clear we are in the process of a grand story in orchestral style, with all musical parts of the African Diaspora retelling the story of the (African) Egyptian Kings in proper glory.
Russell describes Pyramids as the second in a trilogy that began with 2016’s The Sirius Mystery. The Orkestra has clearly benefitted from persistent collaboration in a live setting, and the message is tailored and refined. At 33 minutes in length (though it feels much longer), Pyramids captures the listener’s attention and holds it straight through, feeling like one extended cinematic piece. Dionne Farris shines with soaring vocals, while Terreon Gully and Lil John Roberts drum on separate channels. It is clear the vision is extraordinary, and the attention to orchestral detail is at a high point.
Born and raised on the westside of Los Angeles, Eric Borders is a keyboardist, producer and composer. He has shared stages with the likes of Kamasi Washington, Jose James, Jimmy Cliff, The Internet, Stanley Clarke and George Duke. His Musical ‘persona’ is Captain Supernova (C.SN), a fictional Astronaut who travels through space and transmitting his message back to Earth. And so the stage is set, and we are about to receive C.SN’s third transmission; this time a full length album - The Voyage Never Ends.
“Let it take you to Wherever it Begins” - C.SN
The Voyage Never Ends is aptly titled; it feel like a journey into place unknown, sometimes drifting through space and sometimes landing in new places. It all comes into view on October 11, with early transmission via preorder on September 6. Keep your mind tuned to the right frequency.