Posts Tagged ‘bill laswell’

ESPN & Abraxas’ First Ever EU Tour!

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Greetings,

I know for many of you it is quite rare that I would post Twice in one week, but considering how busy it’s been and how fast everything has been moving, this was simply the only way to keep everyone informed (and to keep this site relevant!)


Though the Superbowl came and went, I actually got to be a part of this year’s big game in a indirect manner. I recently had the opportunity to once again to work with long-time colleague Daniel Roumain (also known as “DBR”), on a series of tv spots for the ESPN network. We recorded and taped several different commercials at several different New York City landmarks, all while performing Daniel’s arrangements of the ‘ESPN theme song,’ ‘The NFL theme,’ & Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil’s ‘On Broadway’. (Benson may have performed the song, but it was this writing duo that penned the hit song). Here’s one of the spots where you can see the full band that recorded (Including saxophonist Sharel Cassity, Resolution 15 violinist Earl Maneein, bassist Jim Robertson, and crossover flute duo Flutronix):

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Also going on, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz’s Book of Angels, Volume 19: Abraxas will be going on its first ever European Tour! It’s something that we’ve been looking forward to since the inception of this band, and for the first time we will get to share our enigmatic art with our EU audience. We will also be performing selections from our upcoming full length from Tzadik, ‘Psycho Magia’. The music was all composed and arranged by John Zorn himself, who also produced the session as well (one of the most nerve-wracking moments I’ve ever lived through in which perhaps one day I’ll write the tale of…) at Bill Laswell’s Orange Music Studios over in New Jersey. A brief synopsis of our album from the label itself:


Psychomagia is the new album by the fabulous quartet of Abraxas, the acclaimed tribal Rock arrangements for the Book of Angels series. Here they perform a complex new suite of music written expressly for them by Downtown alchemist John Zorn. Drawing inspiration from the magical writings of Giordano Bruno and Alejandro Jodorowski and others, Zorn has written a bold collection of compositions that challenge the musicians to the breaking point. With a program ranging from some of the most intense ritualistic sounds you are likely to hear to tender minimalistic odes, this is a surprising new volume in Zorn’s mystic series that matches the inten- sity and power of Moon- child, PainKiller and Naked City. Recorded at Orange Music and mixed by Bill Laswell. Essential.


For dates on our upcoming tour, feel free to check out my Itinerary or take a visit to the Abraxas Facebook page and as always, I hope that this message finds you all well and in great spirits. For those of you in Europe, I look forward to seeing and hearing from you and to my friends back home, I’ll see you all again in late February!


Cheers,


Kenny

Post-Secret Chiefs 3, Pre-Psycho Magia

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Greetings,

Seemingly, I’ve begun a new habit of updating this site once every blue moon, but I do believe it is now time for said moon to shine. Quite a bit has taken place for me personally since last I wrote a column in the News section of this site, but I assure you, it has all been quite pleasant and uplifting, gratifying really, to say the least. After the conclusion of what I would consider to have been an incredibly successful and utterly exhilarating tour with Secret Chiefs 3, and also realizing that my drum tracks actually made it on to Book of Souls Folio A, for which I had No idea I would get to be a part of, I returned to New York feeling recharged and reinvigorated, honored and overjoyed and ready to come home and focus back on my music, both for my solo projects and with all the new upcoming Resolution 15 music that is now rising to the surface (after a very tumultuous year for the band). What was also in the works is something that has now nearly come to fruition and I’m very happy to begin to announce Some details about what has transpired, post SC3 tour.

About 5 months ago, myself and the guys in Masada, Book of Angels, Volume 19: Abraxas (or “BoA:19” or “Abraxas,” for short), were chosen to be part of a new project. John Zorn had approached Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, leader and guide of Abraxas, to record a brand new album of music that John had written in memorium for philosopher Giordano Bruno, entitled “Metem Psycho Magia.” He specifically wanted the line up of Abraxas to record this brand new set of non-Masada/Book of Angels music, and instead of it being a songbook, was more of a realized composition. The difference this time being that we would be rehearsing, performing, and recording along side our illustrious composer, as opposed to creating the arrangements and everything ourselves and getting the ‘OK’ from the composer. For all of us, the process began as soon as we received the written scores as homework immediately ensued for all four of us. Trying as best to figure out How to approach the music, what ideas we had work or didn’t work, what we felt needed to happen, How to “interpret” each piece became a new challenge, especially considering our individual touring schedules. All this effort and time lead up to a series of long and focused rehearsals, followed several shows that took place at The Stone in Alphabet City. We started with one night full of our ‘BoA:19′ material, followed 2 nights for the premier of “Metem PychoMagia.”

The performances were Rough at best. The band, as a whole and individually, were struggling to find the voice of each piece, as well as the overall spirit of what PyschoMagia” meant. Needless to say, we went into Laswell’s studio feeling pretty defeated, but somehow, John was able to pull the fire and ‘magic’ out of all of us and to be honest, I think the end result will blow what we did with BoA:19 out of the box! The entire album went from Lackluster to Psychotic, all thanks in part to the artistry of everyone involved, as well as the dedication and leadership of Zorn. This being my first ever in the studio with John, I have to say it was a dream come true. I remember listening to recordings of Naked City and Cobra as a kid and being frightened, as well as intrigued, by what I was hearing: Most people simply didn’t make music like this in Miami and I considered Dolphy and Shostakovich to be the extent of what I thought of as “peculiar.” (This was also around the first time I discovered Mr. Bungle, whom I heard first). But to share the studio with a hero was an earth shattering experience and it’s one that I’ll Never forget. Thankfully, there is auditory proof of what we did and the result of all of our hard work and collaboration. For the first time in a long time, I am proud of music that I got to be a part of, and more so, my performance of said music. (AKA, I actually for once Like what I played!)

In the upcoming weeks, I will be able to report some exciting news about this as the details continue to be sussed out, but let’s just say that it will entail a brand new album to be released sometime early next year, a performance at the upcoming Winter Jazz Festival, as well as a tour of the EU in early 2014!

Though this year is drawing close to an end, I have to say that I’m beyond excited as to what 2014 bring musically (not so much environmentally) and I look forward to the day when I will be able to share a slew of exciting new music for all of you! As always, thank you for taking the time to read this diatribe and till next time, be well and see you soon.

 

Cheers,

Kenny

Join Me On Facebook

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Greetings,
I know it’s been a while, but as you can imagine, it’s been quite hectic post Secret Chiefs 3’s North America Tour and Stone Residency, but I’m writing to let everyone know that I’ve created a facebook artist page, for those of you into the whole social media thing. I’ll be posting daily on this page in order to better communicate with fans. Feel free to add me on there and as always, I hope that you are in good spirits.

Cheers,

Kenny