New Music | Jared Sims

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

New Music | Bright Dog Red

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.

New Music | The Funky Knuckles

‘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.

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New Music | Dustlights

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.

New Music | Tenor Triage

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.

New Music | Adam Larson

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.

New music | Zhou Kroix

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.

Andy's Picks | Olli Hirvonen

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.


Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra

“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. 


Captain Supernova


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.

New Music | YNZ

When we first met Wayan Zoey we accidentally called him by his last name, and since then we’ve learned to pay careful attention to the man. An avid supporter of the Ropeadope concept and family, Wayan has appeared on multiple recordings, including The Funk Ark, Kalen and The Sky Thieves, and live gigs with Escaper and Russ Kaplan. And now we are graced with his first release under the moniker YNZ. Double Negative finds Wayan on drums, bass and most of the guitar with a guest appearance from Greg Loman. Other guests include the amazing Michael Kammers (alto, soprano sax), Joe Herrera (trumpet), Matt Rippetoe (bari, tenor sax) - all wrapped up by John Davis from The Bunker. Double Negative takes you to the spaces you might expect with soaring jams, and to many places you might not expect. Release Date is August 16th, with preorders available now.


Mwenso & The Shakes

Their performances are so riveting it is impossible to turn away, as if there is some element of humanity inside us that we have forgotten and are longing to awaken. The troupe of global artists came together when Michael Mwenso created the late night jam at Dizzy’s, and they can groove, cook, and jam all the way home, with three vocals and a tap dancer up front. Michael Mwenso leads their electrifying show, described by the New York Times as “intense, prowling, and ebullient.”

Mwenso hails from Sierra Leone, but spent his teen years hanging out at Ronnie Scott’s in London where he was exposed to the greats, with the great James Brown bringing him up to sing and dance - a moment that changed his life. The band is from well, everywhere, a truly global meeting of like minds. While fully mesmerizing to watch, the band has powerful message inside the music - an uplifting statement of individuality, courage, and community. The compositions cover a formidable timeline of jazz and blues expression through African and Afro American music.

It is with great pleasure and honor that we announce the debut album from Mwenso & The Shakes, Emergence [The Process of Coming Into Being], due out on August 2, 2019.

She Is C R O W N

C R O W N is back with her blend of subaquatic blend of R&B and organic electronic music. While her debut, Epicene, spoke of the empowerment and liberation of womxn, her new album Unlearning has a more personal and reflective tone. Slow and rhythmic grooves accent her floating vocals and evoke a sense of mystery and longing as the artist expresses her desire to reconcile self with the world around her.

Lines start to break me | Yet they draw me innately | Purple should colour me | But blue is my face | Good at pretending | My presence is calming | They don't find me alarming | Just running away (Lines)

Unlearning is a subtly crafted work, gentle and deep throughout. The kind of album you put on late at night when you want only the truth.

There and Then | 20 Years Of Ropeadope

That’s right, we are closing in on 20 years of this thing called Ropeadope and it is STILL a wild ride. Some people tell us to slow it down, but we’ve got our foot firmly on the gas to get the music to the people. With 35 more records due out this year, we must also do some deep diving into the catalog to shine light on the gems of the past. Each week on Spotify and Apple Music we’ll be putting up a playlist highlighting some key moments and artists.

This week we pause to reflect on the deaths of Eric Garner and his daughter Erica, and those artists who are calling attention to the injustice that persists in America.

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Mwenso & The Shakes

Always at the front of exciting new music, the folks at Jazziz dropped the news today of the impending Mwenso & The Shakes album due out on August 2 right here at Ropeadope:

JAZZIZ presents the premiere of “No Regrets” by Harlem-based band Mwenso & the Shakes, a unique troupe of global artists presenting music that merges entertainment and artistry. The song will be featured on the band’s debut album, Emergence. Bandleader Michael Mwenso tells us that “‘No Regrets’ is about the relationship we have between our convictions and the realization that everything is meant to happen. So, you win and you lose. There should be no regrets. Stay on path and listen to your ancestors. Strength will always keep you here.” He also tells us this is one of his favorite tracks of the album “especially because of Anthony Orgi’s angelic saxophone solo.

Check the news at Jazziz right here.


New Music | Jon Regen

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A protégé of the legendary pianist Kenny Barron, Jon Regen began his career as a sideman to jazz artists like Ted Dunbar, Kyle Eastwood and Little Jimmy Scott. As the editor of Keyboard Magazine, he’s got his finger on the pulse of new music daily, yet it is his solo songwriting and recording career that interests us the most. Jon Regen calls it the way he sees (and hears) it, casting aside the yoke of criticism and self doubt. Jon writes SONGS; his five solo albums have been acclaimed by press and fans alike. We are proud to announce the arrival of Jon’s latest work - Higher Ground - at a time when we all need it. This time a host of a-list musicians join him - Keith Carlock, Tim Lefebvre, Larry Klein, Matt Rollings, Ricky Peterson, Jerry Marotta, Geoge Marinelli, Julia Kent, and Gregoire Maret. The album was produced by Jamiroquai's Matt Johnson and 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. We’ll leave you with this quote from the great Bruce Hornsby:

‘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!’

The first single hits Friday July 12th, stay tuned…

Windows On The World

Windows on the World is a dramatic love story about a Mexican son's search for his father – a missing, undocumented worker in The World Trade Center on 9/11.  On the morning of September 11, 2001, Fernando (Ryan Guzman - “Step Up” franchise, “Boy Next Door") and his family in Mazatlan watch their TV in horror as the Twin Towers collapse. Fernando's father, Balthazar (Edward James Olmos) works in the Windows on the World restaurant. But he does not call to say he is safe. And there is no way to contact him. As the family grieves for his apparent loss, Fernando’s distraught mother swears she sees her husband on news footage – escaping from the building ALIVE! 

Heroic Fernando decides to take the epic journey from Mexico to New York City to find his father and save his family. Along the way, he falls in love with empathetic Lia (Chelsea Gilligan), and befriends an eclectic group of international characters that help him restore his faith in humanity, as Fernando discovers the hard truths about his father, the melting pot of America, and the immigrant experience. The film also has memorable performances from Richard Cabral (“The Mayans”) Glynn Turman (“Cooley High,” “The Wire”) Julie Carmen (“In the Mouth of Madness,” “Gloria”) and Luna Lauren Velez (“Dexter,” “Oz.”) It was directed by Michael Olmos (“Filly Brown") - adopted son of Edward James Olmos, cinematography by Reynaldo Villalobos ("Risky Business,” “Urban Cowboy,” TV’s “Breaking Bad”), with a soundtrack that includes a new song with vocals and guitar by David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) and blues hall of famer Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica. Plus original jazz music from members of the SFJAZZ Collective (past and present), Eric Harland, David Sanchez, Edward Simon, Obed Calvaire, Robin Eubanks, Matt Penman, along with Taylor Eigsti and Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus) well as tracks from Les Claypool (Primus) and Fela Kuti.

There and Then | 20 Years Of Ropeadope

That’s right, we are closing in on 20 years of this thing called Ropeadope and it is STILL a wild ride. Some people tell us to slow it down, but we’ve got our foot firmly on the gas to get the music to the people. With 35 more records due out this year, we must also do some deep diving into the catalog to shine light on the gems of the past. Each week on Spotify and Apple Music we’ll be putting up a playlist highlighting some key moments and artists, starting with the great Greg Hester.

Greg Hester has lived it: from touring with Robin Trower and Leon Russell to playing that local restaurant gig where the drunk guy waves a 20 and requests the most overplayed song ever. He has three records out on Ropeadope - two of which feature the members of James Brown’s last band (including Danny Ray!), and one a collection of ballads that tell the story of his life. Greg Hester captures that southern soul groove. his powerful and unique voice belting out the truth with full emotion and a wry sense of humor in the midst of the struggle called life. Greg is responsible for connecting Ropeadope with Col Bruce Hampton; for that and for the great music he brought us we are eternally grateful.

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