Stephen Martin sat down with Ralph Moore earlier in the year for an interesting interview. You can watch the whole thing here!
That Time of Year by Bill Cunliffe
- Angels from the realms of glory Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- God rest ye merry, gentlemen Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- On Christmas day Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- Dance of the sugar plum fairy Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- Lo, how a rose e’er blooming Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- O little town of Bethlehem Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- O Christmas tree Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- We three kings Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- ‘Tis the season Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- Coventry carol Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- Jingle bells Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- Silent night Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- Carol of the bells Bill Cunliffe 0:30
- I’ll be home for Christmas Bill Cunliffe 0:30
That Time of Year – Bill Cunliffe
Following review from All About Jazz
There’s always the danger of getting all schmaltzy with Christmas music, but jazz people are hipper than average and can usually come up with something appropriately cool to spin around holiday time. That’s exactly what pianist/composer Bill Cunliffe has done with That Time of Year.
Cunliffe is a versatile artist who is comfortable in any size ensemble—from his Blues and the Abstract Truth, Take 2 (Resonance Records, 2008) to his Grammy-winning arrangement on Resonance Big Band’s Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson (Resonance, 2009)—but the Christmas mood finds him going it alone, showcasing his considerable piano chops on a set that opens with a contemplative and tranquil turn on “Angels From the Realms of Glory” which, rather than sounding hip, has a feeling of deep reverence.
It’s the second cut, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” that announces the jazz tinge to the music, with a bluesy, rollicking take on this familiar tune. “On a Christmas Day” brings in a stately atmosphere, a religious hue to the sound, leading into the crisp and jaunty “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
Cunliffe opens up that most familiar of Christmas tunes, “Jingle Bells,” as a ballad, before shifting into a jazzier gear, a high-RPM workout as cool as the Bill Evans Trio’s rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from Trio 64 (Verve Records, 1964). “Silent Night” is simply beautiful in Cunliffe’s hands, at a slower tempo that allows the savoring of every resonant note, while “Carol of the Bells” is edgy and dark-toned, until it slips into a bouncy stride piano groove.
The set closes with vocalist Denise Donatelli sitting in on “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” It is a wistful, soulful and hopeful late night close to an excellent Christmas set.
NIGHT IS ALIVE’S
THE NEW ALBUM BY
THE NIGHT IS ALIVE ALL-STARS
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – 01 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
- What Child Is This – 02 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
- Please Come Home For Christmas – 03 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
- The Christmas Song – 04 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
- Merry Christmas Baby – 05 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
- Let it Snow – 06 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas – 07 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
- All Ye Faithful – 09 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
- Have Yourself A Very Merry Chsitmas – 08 – Night is Alives First Christmas 0:30
MEET THE BAND
LOVERS & LOVE SONGS
THE NEW ALBUM FROM
WILLIE JONES III
LOVERS AND LOVE SONGS: THE ONES YOUR FORGOT
THE NEW ALBUM FROM THE WJ3 ALL-STARS – AVAILABLE NOW!
NEW MUSIC FROM THE LEGENDARY WJ3 ALL-STARS
- I’ve Never Been In Love Before – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
- First Time I Saw Your Face – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
- I’m An Old Cow Hand – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
- Gee Baby Aint I Good To You- 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
- From This Moment On – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
- Here’s That Rainy Day – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
- Cry Me A River – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
- Jitterbug Waltz – 30Secs WJ3 All_Stars Buy Track 0:30
THE STORY BEHIND THE MUSIC
Lovers and Love Songs is the soundtrack to a love story for the modern age. Two people with a long and stormy relationship that takes them from the deserts of the Rio Grande, to the fictitious river banks of the Cry Me A River, to the very real, jazzy streets of New York City. With a history of passing and colliding, will their ships ever set sail together for a final voyage, or are they locked in a spiral that will never culminate? The story is for you to tell, and the music is the backdrop to your imagination.
It all started with an obscure card found in many strange places across many different locations; bar tops, tables, bathroom sinks, bus stops, and hotels, from California to New York, this little card traveled endlessly and found it’s way into people hands. The little note on the back? Well, that was up to you to figure that out, and boy did you ever.
For those who did decide to go down the rabbit hole, their first stop was at an obscure website for The Rio Grande Diner, who boasted, “The Best Food In The Middle Of Nowhere.”
Not much is known about the RGD other than it was a place two young lovers would frequent.
If you waited long enough, a small hint would appear on the Rio Grande website that lead you to our female protagonist’s Instagram: Neverbeeninlovebefore.
Here is where we got to know our first actor a little better. Roberta is a young, vibrant woman who has ever known only one true, great love in her life. A man named Colin, who loved her the same. For whatever reason, however, their romance never seemed to coalesce.
After following the Instagram account for several weeks, you would have been filled in with some of the backstory which would culminate in a new revelation: a hotel confirmation. What exactly did this mean? Those who studied the image closely would be able to discern a new web address and that address led them to the Cry Me A River Hotel. Here users could even sign in and watch some of the events unfold as the check in date grew closer.
Our last step sent users trekking through forests, investigating audio files and decoding binary and base64 snippets. The end result would lead them to the twitter profile of our Male protagonist. Colin, a young man from the west with commitment issues, would soon regret his decision to leave our stranded at the Cry Me A River Hotel. Inundated with his own second guessing, he goes back online to locate the woman he stood-up.
Following Colin’s trail, the user ends up in the music forum, “From This Moment On.” This is a place where industry insiders and newbies discuss all things songful. Colin reaches out to the folks on the forum to see if they know the where-a-bouts of the lady he left behind. It’s not long before someone recognizes the person he’s looking for and point him in the right direction.
Connected again through social media, Colin and Roberta, attempt to work things out. One more chance is given and a date is set. The question is, how does it end? Is love eternal without bonds, or can it be forgotten and left to history?
The one thing that is certain is the music, the sound track to our love story, is very real. Crafted by truly legendary jazz musicians, the WJ3 All-Stars, the album Lovers and Love Songs provides the perfect backdrop for any evening when romance is either within arm’s reach, or a million miles away.
You can buy the album directly at the Night is Alive Online Shop. The new album is also available on streaming and online retail services such as Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Music, Spotify, and many more!
CHRISTMAS IN THE DOG HOUSE
THE NEW ALBUM BY
THE BILL CUNLIFFE TRIO
WELCOME TO THE DOG HOUSE
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 01 – Ding Dong Merrily On High Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 02 – Christmas Is Coming Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 03 – Merry Christmas Darling Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 04 – Snow Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 05 – On This Day Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 06 – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 07 – Linus And Lucy Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 08 – Go Tell It On The Mountain Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 09 – Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Buy Track 0:30
- Bill Cunliffe Trio – Christmas In The Dog House – 10 – Hark The Herald Angels Sing Buy Track 0:30
BILL CUNLIFFE, COMPOSER, ARRANGER, PIANIST
Jazz pianist, composer and Grammy-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his swinging and lyrical pianism and for his agility and inventiveness in melding jazz with the classical and pop genres. He performs around the world as a leader and sideman as well as a soloist with symphony orchestras.
Renowned New Zealand classical pianist Michael Houstoun recently recorded Cunliffe’s jazz arrangement of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3, first movement, on the album “Concerti,” with the Rodger Fox Big Band (Rattle, 2015). Cunliffe served as co-producer, musical director and arranger of legendary singer Freda Payne’s jazz album “Come Back to Me Love” (Mack Avenue, 2014). His choral piece “She Moved Through the Fair,” commissioned for L.A. professional choir the Golden Bridge, received its premiere in September 2015.
Cunliffe wrote the score for the 2011 film “On the Shoulders of Giants,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s homage to the Harlem Rens basketball team of the 1920s and ’30s. The movie received a 2013 NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary. Cunliffe’s soundtrack was nominated for Best Album.
His own recent recordings include the trio album “River Edge, New Jersey” (Azica, 2013) and his solo-piano take on traditional Christmas tunes, “That Time of Year” (Metre, 2011), described as a “tour de force” in the Los Angeles Times. Cunliffe received a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his “West Side Story Medley,” on the album “Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson” (Resonance, 2009). His four other Grammy-nominated works include his concerto for trumpet and orchestra, “fourth stream … La Banda,” performed by Terell Stafford as soloist with the Temple University Symphony Orchestra (BCM+D, 2010).
Cunliffe was the 1989 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. He is a professor of music at Cal State Fullerton and also teaches at the Vail Jazz Workshop and the Skidmore Jazz Institute.
COLORS OF JAZZ
THE NEW ALBUM BY
THE LORCA HART TRIO
- Blues Alliance Buy Track 0:30
- Introspection Lorca Hart Trio Buy Track 0:30
- Dayne Lorca Hart Trio Buy Track 0:30
- Here’s That Rainy Day Lorca Hart Trio Buy Track 0:30
- Discoveries Lorca Hart Trio Buy Track 0:30
- Dew Drop Lorca Hart Trio Buy Track 0:30
- MoJoe Lorca Hart Trio Buy Track 0:30
- Duke and Billy Lorca Hart Trio Buy Track 0:30
- Bye Ya Lorca Hart Trio Buy Track 0:30
MEET THE BAND
Lorca Hart grew up with a musical family in Taos, New Mexico. In high school, he started to perform and focus on jazz. He attended the California Institute of the Arts from 1992-96, studying with Albert “Tootie” Heath, Joe La Barbera, Charlie Haden, and many others!
Since his school days, Hart has made a name for himself as being one of the West Coast’s featured jazz drummers. He has performed with the likes of storyteller/radio personality Joe Frank, actor/musicians Jeff Goldblum and Peter Weller, Ronald Muldrow and so many more!
When he’s not performing, Lorca Hart is also teaching drums at Mt. San Antonio College and ensemble classes at both the Healdsburg High School and Junior High School.
Edwin Livingston has earned his reputation as being one of the best bassists on the West Coast. He has played alongside notable artists like Justo Almario, Leni Stern, Kevin Toney of The Blackbyrds, the Dave Slonaker Big Band (Grammy-nominated large ensemble album) Vince Mendoza, Bob Mintzer (Grammy-nominated large ensemble album) and SO many more!
In addition to his on-stage career, Livingston is on the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music, where he teaches bass & small ensembles in the jazz studies department. He is also part of the faculty of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
Edwin has even appeared in several feature films, including Ray, Dreamgirls, Dolemite Is My Name and Low Down. He has also performed with Seal on The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, LIVE with Regis and Kelly and the A & E show Private Sessions with Queen Latifah.
He has two CD’s as a leader performing original music, The Edwin Livingston Group, and Transitions.
Josh Nelson rose to jazz stardom through his 2007 album, “Let it Go”, which was hailed by Jazz Times, All About Jazz and Jazz Review as a “fully-realized” breakthrough album. Nelson has even toured with legendary vocalist Natalie Cole for six years and continues to tour with vocalists Gaby Moreno, Freda Payne, Alicia Olatuja, accordionist Richard Galliano, clarinetist Eddie Daniels, saxophonist Tom Scott, multi-instrumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and violinist Christian Howes.
In 2006, Nelson was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. When he’s not touring, Josh Nelson is also hard at work on his ongoing project titled “The Discovery Project.” This creative endeavor, according to Nelson himself, is an “immersive multi-media presentation combining video, performance art, light, and art installations.”
Few musicians have the history and experience as tenor saxophone great Ralph Moore. He has been a heavy-weight in the jazz world for decades. His early influences such as John Coltrane can be heard in his tenor sax tone and styling.
Born in London, Moore’s life has always been culturally rich. Moving to the U.S. in 1970’s, Moore became a dedicated musician as a teenager. After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Moore began the life of a jazz musician. He later received the Lenny Johnson Memorial Award for outstanding musicianship.
Moore has played and recorded music with an amazing list of musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Brown, Roy Haynes, J.J. Johnson, Cedar Walton, Bobby Hutcherson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Hargrove, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Baron to name a few. His passion and life-long study of the tenor sax can be felt in his music.
Notably, Moore spent fifteen years playing tenor saxophone in the The Tonight Show Orchestra with Jay Leno. During that time, Moore collaborated with many musicians, jazz quartets and quintets. One in particular, aptly named “Escape from New York,” featured some of his Tonight Show band members, drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith and bassist Bob Hurst.
Moore has released several albums for the Landmark (now 32 Jazz), Criss Cross, Concord, Reservoir and Savoy labels. He can also be heard playing sideman on many other great jazz albums. Ralph Moore has a solid, straight-ahead and inspiring style that puts him out front where he belongs.
Piano would be my next choice and I wish it had been my first, but I do absolutely love playing drums. After piano, I wish I played my violin (which I already play) better!
I honestly can’t say I have that one inspiration but so many great classical and jazz composers for me are very inspirational, from Ravel and Bartok to Duke and Gil Evans. As far as Drummers go, pick one of the greats and they inspire me. Freddie Hubbard inspires me, Pharoh Sanders inspires me, Bill Cunliffe and Martin Wind inspire me. I love most music and the musicians that play it well.
I’m not sure I have a great answer for this one as I’m on the 14th Floor in a 2 bedroom apartment with no terrace. It’s been quite tough, but I guess I’ve been trying to reflect on my life, my past, my future, what am I going to do if our industry doesn’t return, how to make a living. I’ve written a little bit of music and have been practicing some everyday but I’ll be honest, some of that has been tough. It’s easy to sit and play but much of the pure enjoyment of music for me has always been the free association with other musicians, ensemble playing, I really love and miss that!!!
Right now, wow anywhere!!!! Right when the lockdown hit, I was supposed to be going to Pakistan and Lebanon for the State Dept playing concerts and teaching. It’s safe to say I was really looking forward to that.
I wouldn’t mind having a small dog right now, but one that’s been trained, no training for me. I’ve had cats all my life, I’m allergic to them although I love them. If I had a bigger place with a backyard an Elephant or Water Buffalo would be nice lol.
FEATURE FRIDAY WITH BASSIST MARTIN WINDContinue reading
Before the arrival of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we frequented our favorite music stores, cafes, festivals and jazz clubs to hear the music that we love so much. On top of the music, we connected with friends both old and new while listening to musicians we know — or musicians who we were excited to discover.Continue reading
Everything from Frank Sinatra to Harold Mabern.
Well, my hobby is yachting, but that’s on hold for a bit. I’ve just been practicing, writing new music for an upcoming album, and reading a lot.
I just smoked ribs for the family today. I enjoy cooking quite a bit. I like cooking a rib roast, and my boys love grilled lamb, and a creamed spinach dish. I recently started making filet au poivre that the family likes.
The chance to be a credit to society.
Billy Strayhorn, or my Dad.
Jeff Rupert has a new album, The Ripple, with fellow saxophone legend, George Garzone, available now!