Michael Eaton, Adam Minkoff, and Disrupt Series Present: Interstellar Regions

Interstellar regions 01 preview
Interstellar 1033 preview
Interstellar 1121 preview
Stellar regions poster

On December 1, Adam Minkoff and I renewed our collaboration for the Disrupt Series at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, where we presented music from the late period of John Coltrane (ca. 1965-1967).  In honor of the 50th Anniversary, we performed compositions from Interstellar Space (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn) and Stellar Regions (Sunstar, Iris, Seraphic Light), recorded the final year of Coltrane's life on Impulse! Records, as well as a bonus song Sunship from 1965's Sunship.  

The evening featured an incredible ensemble, including NEA Jazz Master David Liebman, guitarist Mark Ribot, pianist Jamie Saft, and drummers Nick Anderson and Anthony Cole.  I'm pleased to say the venue was at or near capacity for both sets.

I want to express my deep and sincere thanks to all the musicians for their tremendous artistry, to Dani Gros for her poster and photography work, to National Sawdust for hosting us, and to all our friends who attended.  This was for me a peak artistic happening that brought together all the different elements into one whole.

Sunday, November 19: Beyond Trio and Individuation

Summer 2017 events

Photos by Minneapolis based photographer Steve Peterson, taken from the 2017 Bloomington Jazz Festival in Bloomington, IN.  I performed as a guest with David Miller (trumpet), Tom Walsh (saxophone), Luke Gillespie (piano), Neil Heidler (bass), and Chris Parker (drums).  Thanks to Steve for the great shots!

Jazzfest page
On August 10, composer/guitarist Seth Davis and I presented Second Nature Ensemble (formerly called Transition Ensemble) at Kansas City's Westport Coffee House.  Second Nature is our KC-based new music and free improv chamber group.  We debuted our original works plus classic compositions drawn from the free improvised and modern classical canons: Peter Brotzmann's "Alarm" as well as Terry Riley's "In C".  The group is comprised of many of Kansas City's strongest free and new music performers and composers.

On August 10, composer/guitarist Seth Davis and I presented Second Nature Ensemble (formerly called Transition Ensemble) at Kansas City's Westport Coffee House. Second Nature is our KC-based new music and free improv chamber group. We debuted our original works plus classic compositions drawn from the free improvised and modern classical canons: Peter Brotzmann's "Alarm" as well as Terry Riley's "In C". The group is comprised of many of Kansas City's strongest free and new music performers and composers.

I joined Jazz Fables in Bloomington, IN on the evening of Thursday, August 31 to pay tribute to the legendary David N. Baker, a mentor and jazz master.  As a band, Jazz Fables celebrated 40 years as an ensemble, but the Jazz Fables concert series celebrated its 28th year.  The Fables weekly concert series has hosted literally hundreds if not thousands of jazz artists, including local, regional, national, and international ensembles.   I spent many wonderful and formative evenings playing music on this stage.  The band included (L to R): David Miller (trumpet), Luke Gillespie (piano), Pat Harbison (trumpet), Michael Eaton (tenor sax), Ben Lumsdaine (drums), and Tom Walsh (alto and tenor saxes).  We played a number of Baker's compositions for small group ranging from slow blues to calypso to hard bop to Afro Cuban jazz and more.

I joined Jazz Fables in Bloomington, IN on the evening of Thursday, August 31 to pay tribute to the legendary David N. Baker, a mentor and jazz master. As a band, Jazz Fables celebrated 40 years as an ensemble, but the Jazz Fables concert series celebrated its 28th year. The Fables weekly concert series has hosted literally hundreds if not thousands of jazz artists, including local, regional, national, and international ensembles. I spent many wonderful and formative evenings playing music on this stage. The band included (L to R): David Miller (trumpet), Luke Gillespie (piano), Pat Harbison (trumpet), Michael Eaton (tenor sax), Ben Lumsdaine (drums), and Tom Walsh (alto and tenor saxes). We played a number of Baker's compositions for small group ranging from slow blues to calypso to hard bop to Afro Cuban jazz and more.

Fresh listening: Paul Bertonlino's "Toy Box"

I'm pleased to appear on vocalist Paul Bertolino's newest album, Toy Box.  Paul is a soulful vocalist and a dynamic performer and stage presence, and his work deserves your attention. 

I join Paul's vocals, guitar, bass, and percussion on tenor saxophone; my homey Adam Minkoff plays keyboards; and Rob Pallotta plays drums.

Rest in Peace, Bern Nix (September 21, 1947 - May 31, 2017)

Photo by Eva Kapanadze.

Photo by Eva Kapanadze.

The Three Tenors at Rockwood, May 2017.  Photo by Dani Gros.

Rest in peace to the great Bern Nix, a one of a kind artist with whom I had the privilege of playing a number of times in the Beyond Group from 2015-2017 as well as in the new Three Tenors.  I will not forget our discussions, in particular hanging out with him at a Starbucks in Chelsea this past May.  We talked music, the biz, NYC in the past versus today, his concept of "harmonic free association", George Russell, his early teachers, and of course at length about Ornette. He told me Ronald Shannon Jackson's saying about being a part of Ornette's universe: "once you cross the harmelodic event horizon, you never come back."  As a musician in the 21st century, you sometimes feel that you've heard virtually every combination of twelve notes possible, but Bern would play ideas and I would have no idea where he got them or how he was moving around. It could be kind of flooring at times, as he bloomed and wafted almost like a harmonic cloud of vapor - abstract, unpredictable, enigmatic.  Bern favored a clean, classic jazz guitar sound without electronics (which he liked but felt didn't suit his playing), but his melodic/harmonic rhythmic sense was clearly tied into harmolodics and a harmolodic way of thinking, of which he was a master exponent.  Considering how few guitar players there were active in this idiom, his voice and accomplishments become all the more singular.  Bern belongs to a long line of jazz musicians who do not receive proper accolades during their lifetimes, and I was struck by how at 69 years old he was still working to establish himself further as the leader and voice that he was.  He came out of a particular period of openness in jazz (the 70s) that, in terms of attitude and creativity, I would like to see revived in the music both socially and culturally.  I hope that finally posthumously Bern will receive due recognition for his singular musical ideas, idiom, and artistry.

The Three Tenors at Rockwood, May 2017. Photo by Dani Gros.

Rest in peace to the great Bern Nix, a one of a kind artist with whom I had the privilege of playing a number of times in the Beyond Group from 2015-2017 as well as in the new Three Tenors. I will not forget our discussions, in particular hanging out with him at a Starbucks in Chelsea this past May. We talked music, the biz, NYC in the past versus today, his concept of "harmonic free association", George Russell, his early teachers, and of course at length about Ornette. He told me Ronald Shannon Jackson's saying about being a part of Ornette's universe: "once you cross the harmelodic event horizon, you never come back." As a musician in the 21st century, you sometimes feel that you've heard virtually every combination of twelve notes possible, but Bern would play ideas and I would have no idea where he got them or how he was moving around. It could be kind of flooring at times, as he bloomed and wafted almost like a harmonic cloud of vapor - abstract, unpredictable, enigmatic. Bern favored a clean, classic jazz guitar sound without electronics (which he liked but felt didn't suit his playing), but his melodic/harmonic rhythmic sense was clearly tied into harmolodics and a harmolodic way of thinking, of which he was a master exponent. Considering how few guitar players there were active in this idiom, his voice and accomplishments become all the more singular. Bern belongs to a long line of jazz musicians who do not receive proper accolades during their lifetimes, and I was struck by how at 69 years old he was still working to establish himself further as the leader and voice that he was. He came out of a particular period of openness in jazz (the 70s) that, in terms of attitude and creativity, I would like to see revived in the music both socially and culturally. I hope that finally posthumously Bern will receive due recognition for his singular musical ideas, idiom, and artistry.

Playing at The Shrine in Harlem on April 9. 
 From left to right): Bern Nix (guitar), Cheryl Pyle (flute), and Michael Eaton (soprano saxophone).

Playing at The Shrine in Harlem on April 9. From left to right): Bern Nix (guitar), Cheryl Pyle (flute), and Michael Eaton (soprano saxophone).

Audio from Bern Nix's last date.  It is compressed, but the entire gig is available for free download or streaming from Cheryl Pyle's Bandcamp page.

Audio from Bern Nix's last date. It is compressed, but the entire gig is available for free download or streaming from Cheryl Pyle's Bandcamp page.

Beyond Trio fetes the late Bern Nix through four original compositions by Pyle dedicated to the memory of the guitarist.  (Vibe is very much like 60s ESP Disk.)  Audio is compressed, but the album is available for download and streaming.

Beyond Trio fetes the late Bern Nix through four original compositions by Pyle dedicated to the memory of the guitarist. (Vibe is very much like 60s ESP Disk.) Audio is compressed, but the album is available for download and streaming.

Owl Parlor, Brooklyn - June 2 - Individuation + Brittany Anjou's BEWAA with guest Alfred Kbepsaane!

June 2 was a double bill/collaboration at Owl Music Parlor in Brooklyn with Individuation and Brittany Anjou's Bewaa (arrangements of Ghanaian xylophone folk songs).  Special guest Ghanaian gyil master Alfred Kbepsaane joined the festivities and sat in with Individuation on one song.

June 2 was a double bill/collaboration at Owl Music Parlor in Brooklyn with Individuation and Brittany Anjou's Bewaa (arrangements of Ghanaian xylophone folk songs). Special guest Ghanaian gyil master Alfred Kbepsaane joined the festivities and sat in with Individuation on one song.

Playing at Owl Music Parlor.  Great sounding room and performance space.  Photo by Brad Whiteley.

Playing at Owl Music Parlor. Great sounding room and performance space. Photo by Brad Whiteley.

Ammocake at Brooklyn Studio of Dance

New York Times mentions Ammocake.

New York Times mentions Ammocake.

Thursday, May 4 saw the debut of a fresh perspective in the classic "three tenors" format.  James Brandon Lewis, Sean Sonderegger, and I played tenor along with Brad Whiteley (fellow Destiny Records recording artist, bandmate in Individuation) on organ.  We had the pleasure of being joined by master musicians Bern Nix on guitar and Calvin Weston on drums, who played with Ornette Coleman in his 1970s Prime Time ensemble.  I won't soon forget Ronald Shannon Jackson's metaphor, via Bern Nix, about playing with Ornette: once you cross the harmelodic event horizon, you never come back.  More to come from this group.

I must give a special thanks to my friend, photographer Dani Gros, for her gorgeous work documenting the show!

2017 Midwest Minitour

April's mini tour to the USA Midwest was a big success.  The quartet of Michael Eaton (saxophones), Enrique Haneine (piano), Daniel Ori (bass), and Shareef Taher (drums) performed new original compositions for quartet from 2014's Individuation, the upcoming Dialogical (both on Destiny Records), and a latin jazz version of Sonny Rollins' classic "Pent Up House" arranged by Haneine.

A huge thanks to Palen Music Center for sponsoring the quartet's appearance and masterclass in Liberty; to Cindy Svehla, Shane Fuller, Eddie Owen, Marty Jacobs, and all the staff of Liberty Public Schools who made our visit so warm and inviting; to The Brick in Kansas City as well as all the outstanding musicians who brought Ascension and my music to life; to Seth Davis for being my co-creator and composer for large ensemble; to Tom Ptacek at Westport Coffee House for hosting creative music; to David Miller of Jazz Fables for hosting us as always; to brother Rob Ambrose for his support, and to all our friends and supporters in Bloomington.

Scott Yanow reviews Individuation

Veteran jazz journalist, historian, and reviewer Scott Yanow (Downbeat, Jazziz, the New York City Jazz Record, All Music Guide) reviewed my debut album on Destiny Records:

On his debut recording as a leader, Michael Eaton emerges as a distinctive and adventurous tenor and soprano-saxophonist and an innovative composer.  A resident of Brooklyn since 2008, Eaton has performed in a wide variety of settings ranging from avant-garde and post bop jazz (including with Fred Hersch, Eugene Chadbourne and Ingrid Jensen) to a reinvented version of Stravinsky’s “Rite Of Spring,” new works for dancers and chamber ensemble, Afro-Colombian folk music, rock and soul projects. 

Individuation features Eaton performing his originals with a group that also features pianist Brad Whiteley (a major asset throughout), either Daniel Ori or Scott Colberg on bass, and drummer Shareef Taher. There are worthy guest appearances on three numbers apiece by trumpeter Jon Crowley and Eaton’s former teacher the great Dave Liebman on tenor and soprano.

The music, eight compositions plus the five-part “Individuation,” is quite advanced and unpredictable but, due to often being catchy rhythmically, tends to be more accessible than expected. The opener, “Interior Designs,” has warm solos by Crowley and the light-toned Eaton along with some stirring drum breaks. “Guru” features the leader taking a high-powered tenor solo over the rhythmic patterns which are led by bassist Colberg. “Me, But Not Myself” starts with a somber melody before the theme becomes rhythmic and repetitive, inspiring a strong soprano solo from Eaton.

A four-note rhythmic pattern played by pianist Whiteley gives “Alter Ego” its foundation. On this piece Eaton holds his own with Liebman as they both take passionate tenor solos that are pushed by Taber’s assertive drums. “Prickly,” a pianoless outing with Liebman (who switches to soprano) features plenty of exciting interplay by the two saxophonists. “Centrifuge,” which has trumpeter Crowley in Liebman’s place, utilizes a fairly simple rhythmic pattern behind some heated solos. In contrast, “You’re My Mystery” is a tender ballad that Eaton takes as a duet with pianist Whiteley.
 
“Individuation,” which clocks in at over 24 minutes, is listed as having five parts although the first three are played as one continuous performance. An insistent rhythmic idea played by the pianist builds up, Eaton takes a nice spot on soprano and then, during “Part 3,” one hears Whiteley stretching out on prepared piano, sounding a bit like drums. “Part 4” and “Part 5” (which are played as one piece) feature new rhythmic patterns, a fine tenor solo and a very hypnotic final section. Dave Liebman rejoins his former student for the infectious “Lifecycle” which concludes the intriguing set.
 
Individuation is a rather impressive debut by Michael Eaton, the start of what will surely be a very significant solo career.

 
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists and Jazz On Record 1917-76
 

December 17: Beyond Group with Carman Moore at 17 Frost Gallery!

Part of a special three part bill:

The Red Microphone (8pm)
Beyond Group with Carman Moore (9pm)
Dorian Wallace/Tenth Intervention (10pm)

Part of a special three part bill:

The Red Microphone (8pm) Beyond Group with Carman Moore (9pm) Dorian Wallace/Tenth Intervention (10pm)

Doyle Bramhall II's "Rich Man" is November 2016 Downbeat Magazine Editor's Pick

I played tenor saxophone and flute on "November" as part of Doyle Bramhall II's recent release on Concord Records, Rich Man.

I played tenor saxophone and flute on "November" as part of Doyle Bramhall II's recent release on Concord Records, Rich Man.

Kyle Quass' Special Guests - "Darkness Made Light" out now on Bandcamp!

Kyle Quass' latest album is out now!  We recorded original music at Primary Sound Studios in Bloomington, Indiana this past August.  Kyle is one of my favorite trumpeter players, improvisers, and conceptualists.  My fellow tenor player Mark Tuttle is a tenor powerhouse hailing from Chicago.  We wanted to embrace the old school blowing session format (e.g. Prestige Records, Blue Note, etc) but perform our modern compositions.  Track 3 is one of my original compositions, "Multiple Worlds".  (Click on album cover to redirect to Bandcamp.)

Kyle Quass' latest album is out now! We recorded original music at Primary Sound Studios in Bloomington, Indiana this past August. Kyle is one of my favorite trumpeter players, improvisers, and conceptualists. My fellow tenor player Mark Tuttle is a tenor powerhouse hailing from Chicago. We wanted to embrace the old school blowing session format (e.g. Prestige Records, Blue Note, etc) but perform our modern compositions. Track 3 is one of my original compositions, "Multiple Worlds". (Click on album cover to redirect to Bandcamp.)

Spectrum NYC, 11/5: Tenth Intervention + Beyond Quintet Double Bill!

We had a blast playing at Spectrum NYC for the Tenth Intervention "We Are Legion" album release (with guests from Anonymous in attendance) at 9pm.  Beyond Quintet performed around 9:30pm, with Cheryl Pyle (C flute, alto flute), Michael Eaton (soprano saxophone), Roberta Piket (piano), Bern Nix (guitar), and Newman Taylor Baker (washboard percussion), with special guest Carman Moore conducting the improvisations.

A great night for music in NYC!

We had a blast playing at Spectrum NYC for the Tenth Intervention "We Are Legion" album release (with guests from Anonymous in attendance) at 9pm. Beyond Quintet performed around 9:30pm, with Cheryl Pyle (C flute, alto flute), Michael Eaton (soprano saxophone), Roberta Piket (piano), Bern Nix (guitar), and Newman Taylor Baker (washboard percussion), with special guest Carman Moore conducting the improvisations.

A great night for music in NYC!

Gallery photos by Eva Lapanadze.  Album art by Pien van der Beek.
Dorian Wallace's work, We Are Legion, dedicated to hacktivist collective Anonymous, has been recorded and released!  After its debut in December 2015 at The Cell Theater, Tenth Intervention moved into the studio to document the music.  

I am proud to be associated with this very artistic and timely work.  My playing is on tenor and soprano saxophones in several movements.

Dorian Wallace's work, We Are Legion, dedicated to hacktivist collective Anonymous, has been recorded and released! After its debut in December 2015 at The Cell Theater, Tenth Intervention moved into the studio to document the music.

I am proud to be associated with this very artistic and timely work. My playing is on tenor and soprano saxophones in several movements.

Sunday, October 16 - Doyle Bramhall II at Bowery Ballroom

I performed music from Doyle Bramhall's recent album on Concord Records, "Rich Man", at the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday, October 16.  The live horn section included Dan Brantigan (trumpet), Nate Sutton (trombone), and Cochemea Gastelum (alto sax).  I contributed flute and tenor sax to "November" from Rich Man, released on September 30.

I performed music from Doyle Bramhall's recent album on Concord Records, "Rich Man", at the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday, October 16. The live horn section included Dan Brantigan (trumpet), Nate Sutton (trombone), and Cochemea Gastelum (alto sax). I contributed flute and tenor sax to "November" from Rich Man, released on September 30.

Tenth Intervention at The Greene Space - 40th Anniversary of the Golden Record!

I participated in a structured improvisation piece by Dorian Wallace on Tuesday, 9/27 at the beautiful Greene Space in NYC.  The evening was a commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Golden Record, a golden LP placed about the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft.   Watch the piece on video here (starts around the 1:20 mark).  

Musicians: Dorian Wallace (piano), Hajnal Pivnick (violin), Michael Eaton (flute and soprano sax), Lathan Hardy (alto sax and bass clarinet), Charlie Kessenich (FX)

September 30: Doyle Bramhall II's "Rich Man" is released

I had the great treat of appearing on songwriter Doyle Bramhall II's upcoming release, Rich Man, set for release September 30 on Concord Records.  With horn parts written by my colleague Adam Minkoff, I played tenor and flute in a horn section with long time collaborator Dan Brantigan (trumpet) and David Luther (alto sax).  I will appear with Doyle at Bowery Ballroom on October 16!
Doyle bramhall ii

Lorens Chuno at Minton's, DROM CD release reviews

In April, I participated in a recording session for vocalist/pianist/percussionist Lorens Chuno's new album "Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC", featuring colleagues John Gray (bass) and Michael Vitali (drums) plus guitarist Albino Mbie (protege of Lionel Loueke).  Press releases for "Naija Rhythm Affair" have been posted at AllAboutJazz here, and Jazz Corner here.  

Chuno performed a CD release show at jazz/multicultural music venue, Drom, on Sunday, September 11.  Danielle Miceli of New York Cabaret Today wrote: "Chuno is charming, light-hearted, and good looking – and kind of a 'gentle giant.'"  She notes that Chuno's tune, Mr. Sabi, has "strong sax accompaniment".  Mute Mag also reviewed the performance, saying "West-African jazz fusion  artist and New York City transplant via Nigeria, Lorens Chuno put on a show stopping performance at DROM".  

The band followed up with an appearance at Minton's in Harlem on Sunday, September 25.   The next performance is Friday, October 7 at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem from 10:30-12:30pm.
Lorens chuno naija rhythm affair nyc
At Drom.  Photo by Ayumi Ishito.

At Drom. Photo by Ayumi Ishito.

Ammocake - 12 Planets

12 Planets

AmmoCake

12 Planets

Searching through the hypnotic blue skyline,
looking for signs of end times.
Clouds laugh loud in puffy white burst
breaking the still silence of things to come.

Groveling for a glimpse of something other than nothing,
there is no longer hope on earth,
there has to be more.

It has been written so many times before,
There has to be more.

There has to be more than this right?

Planet of panic looking for answers.
Pastors of promise preaching rewards.
What is really in store?
There has to be more.

Conspiracy deliver me from my ordinary life.
Let me live in this fantasy just a little longer,
let me be part of the bigger picture,
not just a forgotten nail on the wall
rusted and waiting to fall.

Part the blue and the glowing golden hue
let me see through the galaxy
Planet X awaiting visibility.

Hold breath anticipation and scientific calculation,
break the hold of human existence frustration.
please let there be more.

There has to be more than this right?
Too many if's and not enough when's,
guess I still have to go work today.
/
  1. 1 Januarius 03:18 Info Download
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  2. 2 Februarius 03:12 Info Download
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  3. 3 Martius 03:50 Info Download
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  4. 4 Aprilis 04:24 Info Download
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  5. 5 Maius 02:24 Info Download
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  6. 6 Iunius 03:50 Info Download
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  7. 7 Julius 02:58 Info Download
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  8. 8 Agustus 04:44 Info Download
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  9. 9 Septembre 03:24 Info Download
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  10. 10 October 03:08 Info Download
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  11. 11 November 03:40 Info Download
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  12. 12 Decembre 04:58 Info Download
    /
My friend and frequently co-collaborator Dorian Wallace recorded an album's worth of free improvisations with his trio, Ammocake (Carl Limbacher and Max Maples) two months ago, and he added Lathan Hardy and me on saxophones.  Dorian sketched out concepts and key centers (or lack thereof) for each improvisation, but otherwise they were spontaneous and conceptual.  Recorded, mixed, and mastered by engineer Nate Jasensky, these improvisations document our chemistry derived from a variety of projects together.  Ammocake has reached a deep and subtle level of communication as a trio, and they read each other and shift immediately as a unit.  Lots of fun!  My favorites are probably "October" and "November" for obvious reasons.

Grupo Rebolu plays "Llorando" for Congahead.com!

For the second year in a row, Grupo Rebolu recorded videos for CongaHead.com.  I was guest tenor saxophonist, playing Rebolu's arrangements of Afro-Columbian folkloric music + elements of latin jazz.  We had a great time, and this video highlights the band with special guests Jimmy Bosch on trombone.  Rebolu traveled to Switzerland in July 2016 to perform for the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

For the second year in a row, Grupo Rebolu recorded videos for CongaHead.com. I was guest tenor saxophonist, playing Rebolu's arrangements of Afro-Columbian folkloric music + elements of latin jazz. We had a great time, and this video highlights the band with special guests Jimmy Bosch on trombone. Rebolu traveled to Switzerland in July 2016 to perform for the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

Next album for Destiny Records, Dialogical, in production

Used with Creative Commons license.

Used with Creative Commons license.

The Individuation Quartet/Quintet + guests spent April 27 and 28 at The Bunker and May 27 a Sear Sound tracking new music for my next album on Destiny Records, Dialogical.  The Individuation Quartet was joined  by Brittany Anjou (vibraphone, gyil), as well as Cheryl Pyle on flutes, Jon Crowley on trumpet (fellow Destiny Records artist),Sean Sonderegger (Skirl Records) on tenor saxophone, James Brandon Lewis (Sony/O'Keh Records) on tenor saxophone, Sarah Mullins (Gamalan Dharma Swara) on marimba and triangles.  The Sear Sound session featured a very special guest, the great Lionel Loueke (Blue Note Records) on guitar and vocals.  Unified by the concept of dialogism as a plurality of selves, worlds, and styles, the music is a mix of modern odd meter and mixed meter jazz compositions, a totally notated new minimalist chamber work, free improvisations, and encounters with personalities in the improvised music spectrum.  Dialogical will be released by Destiny Records in early 2017.  

I have to thank the Individuation Quartet and Quintet for going above and beyond in the preparation and execution of some difficult music.  I am very grateful to all of them for their sustained interest and immersion in my musical world, and to Destiny Records for the chance to combine many facets of my artistic personality in one recording.  There were some very special moments - recording the three tenors with James and Sean; documenting the free improvised chemistry between Cheryl Pyle and myself; realizing a 20 minute Reich-inspired piece; and recording with one of my favorite voices in modern jazz, Lionel Loueke.  Hearing Lionel sing my melodies was a magical experience.  Several pieces were written with his voice, both on guitar and as a vocalist, in mind.  Everyone involved was riveted by his artistry, and hearing the melodies come out even beyond what I had imagined was a wonderful artistic experience.

 
The Individuation Quintet + special guest Lionel Loueke.  From L to R: Lionel Loueke, Brittany Anjou, Michael Eaton, Shareef Taher, Daniel Ori, Brad Whiteley.  Photo by Dani Gros.

The Individuation Quintet + special guest Lionel Loueke. From L to R: Lionel Loueke, Brittany Anjou, Michael Eaton, Shareef Taher, Daniel Ori, Brad Whiteley. Photo by Dani Gros.

Img 7665
Making notes in the studio, with Brittany Anjou.

Making notes in the studio, with Brittany Anjou.

Lorens Chuno podcast: Doing Art

Vocalist and pianist Lorens Chuno, on whose upcoming album Naija Rhythm Affair: NYC I appear, sat down with me the last week of June to recorded an episode for his podcast, Doing Art.  We had a great time, and I think the humor and rapport comes through in the interview.  We discuss a variety of subjects: my Kansas City roots; the jazz environment of KC in the 90s; the debate between jazz as entertainment vs. art music; presenting jazz; social and philosophical topics in music; and more.  Doing Art can be downloaded through iTunes or through his site here.  Big thanks to Lorens for having me.

Beyond Group: Live at Spectrum concert recording

Live at spectrum front
Live at spectrum back
Cheryl Pyle, leader and organizer of the Beyond Group, has released a live recording of our complete concert at Spectrum on April 29.  

The band was augmented to octet size with Cheryl Pyle and Gene Coleman on C flute and alto flute; Michael Eaton on soprano sax; David Tamura on tenor sax; Bern Nix on guitar; Francois Grillot on electric bass; William Ruiz on percussion; and Roberta Piket on piano.  Carman Moore conducted the ensemble.

With the expanded instrumentation resembling a full rhythm section, the music takes on newer and richer harmonic dimensions.  Piket's playing was especially inspiring, with a very broad and chromatic palette of voicings and intervallic ideas.

An MP3 of the concert is available at Cheryl's website here, or you can write to her directly.  The complete video is also below.

New York Times review for David Kulma/Dorian Wallace "The Rest is Sh*t: Stories from the Microchasm" video opera

Kulma
On Friday, May 6, the first episode of David Kulma and Dorian Wallace's new video opera, "The Rest is Sh*t"" premiered at Anthology Film Archives.  With video concept and realization by John Sanborn, the work extends the narrative stream of consciousness/spoken word style present in Robert Ashley's performance art opera "Perfect Lives" (for which Kulma's voice is perfectly suited), as performed the past two years by Kulma and Wallace (and originally filmed in the 1980s by Sanborn).  I performed on "Perfect Lives" the past two years and was subsequently invited to take part in the music for the new video opera, which was structured improvisation, particularly effective over some haunting footage of NYC protests over the killing of Eric Garner and others.

The Times' Anthony Tommasini writes, "[Kulma's] monologue is at once rambling and riveting, his words backed by music that blurs distinctions between jazz and contemporary classical styles." 

2016 MIDWESTERN TOUR/DIALOGICAL ALBUM PREVIEW TOUR: March 18-24

The 2016 Dialogical Album Preview Tour was a big success!  Artistically and personally, the Individuation Quartet reached new levels of depth and development in our music, performing music both from Individuation but also some select standards and new music to be recorded on our next album, Dialogical.  We performed at some great Midwestern venues: Blujazz (Akron, OH), The Jazz Kitchen (Indianapolis, IN), BB's Jazz and Blues (St. Louis, MO), Elastic Arts (Chicago, IL), Westport Coffee House (Kansas City, MO), and Bear's Place (Bloomington, IN).

A huge thanks to everyone who came out to support us and to all the fans, venues, and supporters who made this possible - it makes a difference!
Individuation tour 2

Weekend in Indiana: Reflections on Barry Ashton Jazz Festival 2016 and Kyle Quass' Special Guests

Barry ashton jazz festival 2016
Kyle Quass' Special Guests at The Chatterbox in Indianapolis.  Photo by David Andrichik.

Kyle Quass' Special Guests at The Chatterbox in Indianapolis. Photo by David Andrichik.

I flew back to NYC after a memorable weekend of music of Indiana.

First was the Barry Ashton Jazz Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I had the chance to work with the students of Northrop High School under the direction of John VanPatten. Mr. VanPatten was a very gracious host who has an excellent music program happening at Northrup.  The students all played very well, and they were a pleasure to work with.  In total, 17 schools attended the festival on Saturday.  Brad Whiteley, Daniel Ori, and Shareef Taher flew into Indiana during the afternoon, and we presented a masterclass to students, discussing rhythm section communication within the context of my music ("Lifecycle"), arranging lead sheets into basic arrangements, working with odd meters, and more.  At 6:30, I was the guest with Northrop Jazz I, and at 7:30, the Individuation Quartet performed a focused set of originals (Alter Ego, Guru, Prickly, Juno).  Thank you to all the students, faculty, and parents who made the event possible!

Heading back to Indianapolis, we drove to The Chatterbox, one of the longest running jazz venues in the city.  I caught up with trumpeter Kyle Quass, who brought a killing quintet with Mark Tuttle (a tenor powerhouse and individualist), Adam Davis on guitar, Jesse Whitman on bass, and Ben Lumsdaine on drums.  We played a mix of Kyle's original compositions as well as tunes by Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver.  It was a great example of improvisers sharing a language that had certain similarities and commonalities, but also enough differences to create compelling variety and excitement.  I felt it exemplified some of the best qualities that the music we call "jazz" embodies, which is to say the celebration of individuality and diversity and real time dialogue.  We are reconvening to record the ensemble in mid August 2016.

Alex MacKinnon & The Whistleblowers, New EP: Imaginary Lines! Out now!

I'm proud to contribute saxophone on drummer Alex MacKinnon's brand new EP, Imaginary Lines, from his band The Whistleblowers.  Alex writes left, socially conscious protest music that spans a variety of idioms - blues, rock, funk, folk & roots music, and hip hop.  At 4 tracks for $5 dollars, Imaginary Lines is a short but potent listen.  Alex is a great musician and composer deserving of a wider listening audience.  
Notes from Kansas City (December 2015): The Michael Eaton Group played the final show for Jeff Harshbarger Presents an Alternative Jazz Series at recordBar in Kansas City, MO on December 20.  I was joined by Peter Schlamb (vibes), Jeff Harshbarger (bass), and John Kizilarmut (drums), plus on the second set a special guest, Travis Reuter (guitar).

The show focused on all original music from me, plus a cover of Joe Henderson's classic "Inner Urge" at the close of the evening.  I want to sincerely thank everyone, especially my dear friends and teachers from my years as a high school student in Kansas City, who came out to support the performance and finish out Record Bar in fitting form.  

As an historical aside, I grew up during what I call the neoclassical era, commonly referred to as the "Young Lions" period of jazz, during the 1980s and 90s.  This period saw a renewed interest and renaissance in Kansas City jazz and its heritage, especially thanks to then-mayor and later United States Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, who spearheaded an initiative to restore Kansas City's historic 18th & Vine district.  18th & Vine was the epicenter of jazz in Kansas City during the 1930s, much like Indiana Avenue was for Indianapolis in the 1940s and 50s.  With a wealth of local clubs and venues supporting jazz during the 90s, as well as the presence of national and international jazz artists playing the Folly Theater (I saw the Vanguard Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker), the Blue Room, the Gem Theater, and the now defunct Kansas City International Jazz Festival (I saw Herbie and Wayne play duo in 1998 at Starlight Theater), it was a kind of golden era for the music.  (I had a similar experience on the Bloomington, Indiana scene ca. 1999-2007.)

Witnessing the cultural and material changes Kansas City has undergone over time and from a distance, I now see more and more young and progressive players taking an interest in the music and having a presence on the scene, and consequently I perceive a new orientation and healthy balance between the roots and history of Kansas City jazz in classic blues, swing, and bebop in relation to contemporary languages from the 1960s to today.  

A big thank you to Jeff Harshbarger for inviting me to participate in the series and to recordBar for making a home for modern jazz and a variety of creative music in Kansas City.  The music requires venues like that!  Photo courtesy of Kristina Ning.

Notes from Kansas City (December 2015): The Michael Eaton Group played the final show for Jeff Harshbarger Presents an Alternative Jazz Series at recordBar in Kansas City, MO on December 20. I was joined by Peter Schlamb (vibes), Jeff Harshbarger (bass), and John Kizilarmut (drums), plus on the second set a special guest, Travis Reuter (guitar).

The show focused on all original music from me, plus a cover of Joe Henderson's classic "Inner Urge" at the close of the evening. I want to sincerely thank everyone, especially my dear friends and teachers from my years as a high school student in Kansas City, who came out to support the performance and finish out Record Bar in fitting form.

As an historical aside, I grew up during what I call the neoclassical era, commonly referred to as the "Young Lions" period of jazz, during the 1980s and 90s. This period saw a renewed interest and renaissance in Kansas City jazz and its heritage, especially thanks to then-mayor and later United States Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, who spearheaded an initiative to restore Kansas City's historic 18th & Vine district. 18th & Vine was the epicenter of jazz in Kansas City during the 1930s, much like Indiana Avenue was for Indianapolis in the 1940s and 50s. With a wealth of local clubs and venues supporting jazz during the 90s, as well as the presence of national and international jazz artists playing the Folly Theater (I saw the Vanguard Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker), the Blue Room, the Gem Theater, and the now defunct Kansas City International Jazz Festival (I saw Herbie and Wayne play duo in 1998 at Starlight Theater), it was a kind of golden era for the music. (I had a similar experience on the Bloomington, Indiana scene ca. 1999-2007.)

Witnessing the cultural and material changes Kansas City has undergone over time and from a distance, I now see more and more young and progressive players taking an interest in the music and having a presence on the scene, and consequently I perceive a new orientation and healthy balance between the roots and history of Kansas City jazz in classic blues, swing, and bebop in relation to contemporary languages from the 1960s to today.

A big thank you to Jeff Harshbarger for inviting me to participate in the series and to recordBar for making a home for modern jazz and a variety of creative music in Kansas City. The music requires venues like that! Photo courtesy of Kristina Ning.

Scott Sharrard's Brickyard Band played at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2, on December 15, 2015.  The band was Scott Sharrard (guitar), Eric Finland (organ), Jeff Hanley (bass), Diego Voglino (drums), Moses Patrou (drums and vocals), Michael Eaton (tenor sax), and Dan Brantigan (trumpet).  Photo courtesy of Diane Smith.

Scott Sharrard's Brickyard Band played at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2, on December 15, 2015. The band was Scott Sharrard (guitar), Eric Finland (organ), Jeff Hanley (bass), Diego Voglino (drums), Moses Patrou (drums and vocals), Michael Eaton (tenor sax), and Dan Brantigan (trumpet). Photo courtesy of Diane Smith.

Me and Dan Brantigan (from Adam Minkoff's Vaalbara, the Rite of Spring Octet, The Priggs) playing horn arrangements, while Moses Patrou drums and sings.  Photo by Vernon Webb.

Me and Dan Brantigan (from Adam Minkoff's Vaalbara, the Rite of Spring Octet, The Priggs) playing horn arrangements, while Moses Patrou drums and sings. Photo by Vernon Webb.

PBS Special: School Sleuth - AIRING NOW

I had a blast back in February recording some saxophone tracks at Bass Hit Studios with Kelsey Jillette (voice), Brad Whiteley (piano), Scott Colberg (bass), and Jay Sawyer (drums).  The music, composed for the PBS documentary/detective show School Sleuth, included an original standard type of tune by Kelsey and Brad, "I've Been Searching", as well as incidental music in a quasi film noir vein for cuts and montages.  The show examines the effects of technology in classroom on children and educators, as well as associated social and philosophical issues with how it is implemented.  The episode is airing now on PBS stations across the United States.  It can also be streamed below.  
School sleuth

Michael Eaton and Adam Minkoff Present John Coltrane's Ascension

I'm pleased to present the June 8, 2015 performance of John Coltrane's Ascension at ShapeShifter Lab, in honor of the 50th anniversary of its recording.  Many thanks to Michaël Attias, Daniel Carter, Sean Sonderegger, James Brandon Lewis, Briggan Krauss, Dan Brantigan, Jonathan Finlayson, Graham Haynes, Anthony Coleman, Ava Mendoza, Calvin Weston, and Nick Anderson.  A special thank you to Adam Minkoff for all his help, advice, suggestions, and direction.  A big thanks to Dani Gros for realizing our Four for Trane homage photo and poster design - and for encouraging us to find a facsimile of Archie's pipe at the last minute.  Another big thanks to Norihiro Kikuta for editing the video.  If you're a fan of the music, the musicians, or of John Coltrane, feel free to share.

The evening received coverage in the NY Times and the Village Voice.

Nate Chinen wrote in the NY Times:

 "'Ascension,' John Coltrane’s mid-1960s supernova, was a work of density and extremity, impossible to replicate under any conditions. But evocation is another story, and this tribute has enough heavy improvisers — like the trumpeters Graham Haynes and Jonathan Finlayson, the saxophonists James Brandon Lewis and Briggan Krauss, and the drummer G. Calvin Weston — to generate intrigue. Setting things in motion are Mr. Eaton, who will play tenor saxophone, and Mr. Minkoff, on electric bass."

The Village Voice's Jim Macnie highlighted the show as one of the top nine performances in New York City this past week:

"Coltrane's rip-snort, wham-bam, OMG opus was recorded fifty years ago this month, and it still packs the shit-just-got-real punch that it did back in the day. A collective roar from a feisty large ensemble, it embraced both political and spiritual overtones when it shook the world in the mid-Sixties. Saxophonist Michael Eaton and bassist Adam Minkoff have gathered their own mega-squad of improvisers adept at outcat exclamation, and from Michael Attias' alto to Briggan Krauss' bari, it should be intriguing to see where their pointed polyphony leads them. One thing's certain: the physical punch of the 14-member outfit will be its own reward. This is body music and head music. Fans of superb pianist Anthony Coleman might want to circle the date. He doesn't get his McCoy on very often."

Individuation: The Video

Michael Eaton on Destiny Records

My debut recording as a leader, Individuation, is now out on Destiny Records!  The album is available in digital and CD format (in a beautiful 6-panel digipack design), and it can be ordered and streamed in its entirety at the Destiny Records website. You can also purchase and listen through digital retailers like iTunes and Amazon.

The album features all my original compositions, with my working band: Brad Whiteley (piano), Daniel Ori (bass), and Shareef Taher (drums), plus friends Jon Crowley (trumpet) and Scott Colberg (bass), and a very special guest, master musician David Liebman (soprano and tenor saxophones).

For more information about my previous recording projects as a co-leader or sideman, visit my Music page.
Photo by Luis Ruiz, Larufoto.

Photo by Luis Ruiz, Larufoto.

Photo by Luiz Ruiz, Larufoto.

Photo by Luiz Ruiz, Larufoto.

Preparing the piano for the title track, "Individuation".  Photo by Luis Ruiz, Larufoto.

Preparing the piano for the title track, "Individuation". Photo by Luis Ruiz, Larufoto.

In September, Adam Minkoff and I co-wrote and recorded a track for East London Radio's funky new theme song (click on player above).  Lots of fun!

Upcoming performances:

Feb26

Individuation Quartet

Silvana, 300 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

Original music by Michael Eaton; progressive jazz combined with elements of minimalism and world music. Playing new compositions and music recorded on Destiny Records.

Michael Eaton - tenor saxophone Brad Whiteley - piano Daniel Ori - bass Shareef Taher - drums