Posts Tagged ‘Secret Chiefs 3’

2018, Brand X, New(ish) Beginnings

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Greetings (if there ever was one!),

As always, hoping that you are all well and that this finds you in good spirits. It’s been quite sometime since the site has been up and thankfully for good reason! There are changes coming, good ones, that will expand upon what this site has been thus far. When the time is right, we’ll go further into those details. In the meantime, this update has been long overdue so let’s get to it.

As many of you may be aware of, I have recently joined legendary Fusion/Prog innovators, Brand X. For a fairly in-depth interview talking about joining the band and taking over for the incomparable Kenwood Dennard, check out this link from my interview with NewEARS Prog Show. Personally, it is something that I would have never imagined coming to pass, but somehow it has. It is awe-inspiring how life works sometimes. That being said, we will be hitting the road again this Spring for the ‘Locked and Loaded’ tour, once again taking on the east coast of the US– for now. There are plans for this year and next that will take us further across the globe, the Fates willing. For more info on the tour, check out either the itinerary or head over to the Official Brand X page on Facebook to keep tabs on the band.

Continuing in the spirit of new/upcoming releases, John Zorn’s latest offering, Masada: The Book Beriah, is officially out and they are now for all sorts of varieties orders, from digi-paks to Select Vinyls to signed box sets! It is not only a massive honor to be part of this box set, but let alone with two groups that have been both incredibly impactful on my career and hugely instrumental in the more recent musical growth periods, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz’ ‘Abraxas’, and Trey Spruance’s Secret Chiefs 3. SC3 will be performing this music soon, along side Zion80 and Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of Spirits at the Symphony Space! Check the link for more info on this epic release. Also on the way this year will be the first recording with a new Zorn band that will be called, ‘Insurrection’, which features both Trevor Dunn and Matt Hollenberg, as well as guitar virtuoso Julian Lage, in a more funk and rocked-out version of what we had cultivated on the various Simulacrum records, which should be released via Tzadik later this year, just in time for us to record the second album later this year. Imperial Triumphant will also be releasing its awaited new full length, ‘Vile Luxuries’, later this year as well and it is a record that we cannot wait to unleash upon the world. Let’s just say, we had an incredibly fun time making this music. We will perform some of the new material at our upcoming show with Krallice and Zevious  at the Mercury Lounge on April 6th.

Thank you for checking in and speak/see you all real soon. Will also be updating the Faceboook page and YouTube page with some video clips from the past Artificial Brain show- will join those dudes one more time for a show coming up at Brooklyn Bazaar along side Crowbar!- that took place at Obnoxious Noise, so stay tuned for that!

Until then, take care,



New Videos This Week

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Greetings Everyone,

As always, I hope you are reading this in both good spirits and good health. I wanted to share with you my latest drum video, a solo that I captured while testing out a few lights in the studio and after a rather lengthy and long-overdue practice session. Initially, I wanted to share this video this past Friday, but some of the recent events both abroad and domestically, as well as the subsequent public reactions, weighed heavily on my conscious and I felt it best to let what took place be, choosing instead to take time to reflect. Some of my writings can be found on my personal Facebook account, while the other writings shall remain in my journal. For now though, please enjoy this video as it does truly come from the heart, and if anything, be good to one another.




PS: There will be a bigger update soon!

Interview For CrashBangBoom!

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Greetings Everyone,

I hope you are all well these days. I wanted to share with you a recent interview I did with drummer Jody Smith of Beast Modulus for his music podcast entitled, “CrashBangBoom!”, where I talk about the forming of Abraxas, Simulacrum, working with Secret Chiefs 3 & Zorn, plus a bit of my personal history. For those of you into that sort of thing, take a listen below!


New Albums & New Bands

Friday, August 28th, 2015


As always, I hope that this message finds you all in good spirits and in good health. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, then you probably already are aware of what I’ve been up to, but for those of you who only follow me here the summer has been quite hectic. Between the near-release of the 2nd Simulacrum Trio, lead by John Zorn and entitled ‘The True Discovery of Witches and Demons‘ where we are joined by Trevor Dunn on Bass and Marc Ribot on Guitar, as well as the recording and completion of the 3rd Simulacrum Trio, entitled ‘Inferno‘, The Secret Chiefs 3 Residency at the Stone, the recent release of Jonathan Powell & Nu Sangha’s latest album, ‘Beacons of Light‘, and the more recent recordings of Nora McCarthy’s upcoming solo album which features members of Jorge Sylvester’s ACE Collective and lastly the completion of guitarist Rez Abbasi‘s upcoming album for his new band called Junction. To say the least, it has been quite a epic and time consuming-yet-rewarding summer.

Rez’ new group is in the vein of Modern Jazz Fusion and consists of Ben Stivers on Hammond Organ, Synths and Rhodes, as well as Mark Shim on Tenor Sax and MIDI Breath Controller. We had a blast recording the album, all of which took two days to track at Systems Two in Brooklyn, NY. For those of you who would like a sneak peak, or for those who are simply drum enthusiasts, I am in the process of editing and uploading some isolated drum videos to my YouTube page from the sessions entitled “In Studio With Rez Abbasi’s Junction“, of which two of the four have gone public. I am currently editing the 3rd video before my show tonight with Richard Padron Trio over at Bar Next Door so if you are free tonight and in NYC we play three sets starting at 7:30pm. The music for this new group is adventurous and enigmatic and I feel that the energy behind what we captured is powerful and should hopefully cause a few heads to turn. We shall see, but lets say that it was insanely fun to record this album ;).

Digressing, below are the two videos I’ve uploaded so far for the songs. I hope you enjoy them as much I enjoyed playing this material and although there are no more dates in the book currently, Junction will be playing out and touring in the very near future- Nearer would be the upcoming tours with Dapp Theory and Simulacrum both this fall, more news on that as the time nears- so once those dates go public I will post them here and everywhere that I can!

Until next time, be well and enjoy the music and if you haven’t already, find me on all my social media outlets where we can actually connect and communicate!



John Zorn’s ‘Simulacrum’ & Imperial Triumphant’s ‘Abyssal Gods’ Out Now!

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Greetings Everyone,

Thank you for joining again on what appears to be a slow transition into Spring and I must say that it is a welcome one at that! I’m beyond excited to announce that John Zorn’s ‘Simulacrum’ is now available via Tzadik! I don’t think I can accurately describe how happy I am that this record is now in the world, not to mention that this is only part of a whole series to come still. Thus far, we’ve tracked two albums with a third being composed as I write. There are a few more albums that I will be working on with Zorn in the very near future, some involving Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz’ Abraxas, another project with John Medeski, and a few more things to come but for now here’s a brief description of the new album:

The most extreme organ trio ever, Simulacrum is yet another wild new direction from Downtown Alchemist John Zorn, who continues to explore new worlds and new ensembles into his sixth decade.

Dramatic through-composed pieces that unfold with a cinematic logic, this genre bending music defies classification, touching upon metal, jazz, minimalism, atonality, noise and more. Passionately performed by an unusual all-star trio of John Medeski (MMW), Matt Hollenberg (Cleric) andKenny Grohowski (Abraxas) this is powerful and fascinating music that highlights the MENTAL in experimental! Riveting!”

Also available now is the critically acclaimed release by Imperial Triumphant entitled ‘Abyssal Gods’ which is available now via Aural Music & Code666! This effort I’ve talked about several times in the past, but despite how tricky it is to find the link, here it is for all your digital downloading glory. This May we will be hitting the road with Thantifaxath for a brief US run throughout the midwest and East Coast- unfortunately sans Alex Cohen and Erik Malave– but I will be holding down the fort with bassist Steve Blanco for the outing. I will post tour dates on the site very soon.

Thank you for checking out the music and stay tuned as I will be posting a new video tonight. NO, it’s NOT the quintuplet lesson video part two, because all the raw footage for that is gone and needs to be re-shot and cut all over again, but instead tonight you will get to see and hear the raw files of selected takes on Richard Padron’s upcoming solo album. I’ve labeled it as ‘Episode 1’ and I will continue to post them as we go song by song over the next several months. Richard and I have been friends for almost 20 years and have been making music together for almost as long. He is basically the guitar equivolvent of my playing style, if that helps shape the perception of his musical prowess His writing is beautiful and rich mixture of Cuban Timba, Jazz, Folkloric musics, Electronica, and Classical all rolled into the manic expression of pure art. I cannot wait for this album to see the light of day.


As always, thank you for watching and check out my Itinerary for upcoming tour dates!



2015: Beginnings Continued

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Greetings Everyone!

I hope all of you have been doing well in this new year, despite some of the craziness that has been taking place in the world. While I am here waiting for some videos that I just shot to upload for editing, I figured now would be a good time to Finally update this page! I’ve added a couple of dates for upcoming shows.

So far, this year has been a bit strange but still rather kind. The NAMM Show was a blast. Seeing old friends, making new ones, checking out some really nice instruments and gear, and it was both nerve-wracking and exhilarating to perform with Felix and the guys in Social Experiment at the 2015 Bass Bash, opening for Victor Wooten. Serious nerves but also tons of fun ensued. For your enjoyment, here are some vids from the gig:

A great way to start the year for sure, but I’m also happy to announce that Imperial Triumphant will be releasing a new album this year, quite soon in fact, via Code666 and Aural Music entitled ‘Abyssal Gods’. You can hear a stream of one of the songs I tracked for the album, “Dead Heaven”  at

Also to be released soon, the first of the new John Zornwho has taken over The Village Vanguard, so get there and check out those shows!– records that myself, guitarist Matt Hollenberg of the band Cleric, and John Medeski have been working on since December of 2014 entitled ‘Simulacrum‘, will be released this March through Tzadik! It makes me incredibly excited and proud that these records will start to make their way into the world. A lot of hard work went into the creation of this particular album, but it was done so with joy and excitement. We did all the tracking in a couple of days and every minute of that time was spent creating and exploring and having a blast! I’m not sure when the second record is slated to be released, but I assure that both of the records will be something you’ll love to listen to. Rarely do I say that I’m actually proud of my playing on anything I’ve done, but between the latest Dapp Theory Album, ‘Forward In All Directions‘, ‘Abyssal Gods’, and now ‘Simulacrum’, I can safely say that this is a good start ;). There will also be some added merch for Simulacrum, so stay tuned for that announcement as well.

Well, it looks like the videos are all uploaded, so it is now time for me to work on those, so hopefully they will be ready by tonight or tomorrow! I think and hope you guys enjoy it ;). Till next time, stay warm if you’re in the northern hemisphere and I will hopefully have a bit more to write about soon. Actually, there will be more to write about very soon, but until the news is broken I shall remain silent.

Have a great weekend and see you very soon!




The New Year

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Greetings and happy new year to all of you!

I hope everyone has been enjoying their acclimation into the year of Back to the Future Part II, where on my birthday Marty and Doc Brown will discover self-lacing shoes, self-drying clothes, hover boards and hover cars, as well as a crazy resurgence of futuristic 80’s fashion. So far, one of those things has come to pass…

Anyhow, It’s been a while since i’ve written, but there’s a quite a bit to talk about now, so I’ll just keep it as brief as i possibly can. (You all know that I can’t keep anything brief).

As though of you who follow my personal account of FB know, i’ve recently undergone surgery to remove two problematic wisdom teeth. Despite the fact that my teeth evidently hook at the roots, making it rather difficult to extract them, I am recovering well with not too much pain, just a dull throb and wooziness from the medication. I’ve been taking this time off to prepare for next week’s recording session as we head back into EastSide Sound with Marc Urselli at the helm, to work on the follow up to John Zorn’s upcoming release, ‘Simulacra’, an Organ Rock trio featuring Matt Hollenberg of Cleric, John Medeski and myself. For this next installment, we will be joined by Marc Ribot and Trevor Dunn. This record will pick up where Simulacra left off, and take it into an even crazier direction. I’m getting carpal tunnel just thinking about it! As that develops I will upload pics and what not, but in the meantime, look for Simulacra to be released in February through Tzadik Label.

Around the same time, the new IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT full length will be available through Code666! This album features both myself and Alex Cohen of Pyrrhon and MALIGNANCY, my first time recording on a Black Metal record. We had a ton of fun making it and also destroying the sound all at once and believe me when i say that this record in parts makes me uncomfortable. Seriously uncomfortable.

Coming up this month as well, Dapp Theory will be participating in this years CMA and APAP conferences, performing the music off of our newest release, Forward In All Directions, available now through Whirlwind Recordings Ltd. Though initially recorded in 2011 with Jimmy Haslip at Tedesco Studios by the man himself, Tom Tedesco, it was released this last September and oddly enough, has been met with great approval over in the UK. If you haven’t grabbed a copy you should. If your a fan of my work, or a curious newcomer, this is easily one of the records that I am more proud of. I rarely say this, but in this case it is true. Dapp Theory was one of favorite bands while at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and once I found out that Andy Milne taught there, I immediately signed up to audition. Growing up as a child primarily addicted to Prog-Rock, Fusion, Latin Jazz, and then later on the rest of the wide umbrella of Jazz, I found Dapp Theory to be something that spoke to me instantaneously. Andy has been a dear friend and mentor ever since.

Lastly, I’m happy to announce that I will be performing with Felix Pastorius at this year’s Bass Bash taken place during the 2015 NAMM Show over. I’m already nervous but totally thrilled. We will play trio with saxophonist and long time cohort, Christopher Joseph Ward.

Thank you for taking the time to read all this and I will see you all very soon! I’ll have a few more show announcements for this month and a few other musical endeavors as well, but for now, be well and thanks for checking in!



Videos From My Music Masterclass

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Here’s a link to a series of webisodes I did for Here, you will get a chance to see how I work on and develop groove ideas in a more Jazz/Fusion setting, as well as how I approach the various techniques and means for playing metal with such bands as Resolution 15, Hung, Alekhine’s Gun, Imperial Triumphant, and more! Check out the previews below and if you enjoy the snippets, then below each video is a link to where you can either stream or download the videos. I hope they are useful and helpful!

My Music Masterclass Video 1, Groove Building and Improvisation

My Music Masterclass Video 2, Technique and Approach to Blast Beats


In Between Tours

Friday, September 19th, 2014


Though it’s been a while, I hope this message has found you in a good headspace and thanks for coming back to the site, or for those visiting for the first time, should that be the case. Although being on tour is wonderful, engaging experience-most of the time-this last week being home has been truly cathartic. The EU/Siberia/Tel Aviv tour with Secret Chiefs 3 went rather well, despite several injuries plaguing the band. For anyone who has seen some of the videos from the recent tour, you can see Trey walking about in crutches. Well, the truth is that he broke his foot as soon as we landed in Siberia. Needless to say, it made touring slightly more difficult, but SC3 is ensemble of people who can get themselves out of or deal with difficult situations. All in all, the shows were wonderfully attended and we all had a great time making music together again across the pond.

In the meantime, Dapp Theory is getting ready to perform this coming Tuesday, Sept 23rd, at The Iridium Jazz Club in Times Square in conjunction with the release of our newest album, ‘Forward In All Directions‘. (Click the link for the album preview! woohoo media!) We will be playing two sets, of which the first set is already sold out, so in leu of this, Iridium will be waiving the first 30 admissions to the second set, first come first served naturally. If you’re in town you will not want to miss this show. We will also be joined by special guest Ben Monder . Afterwards, we will be going out for a couple of shows throughout the US, listed in my Itinerary, but we will be playing at The Blue Room in Kansas City, MO on sept 27th, The Velvet Note in Alpharetta, GA on Sept 28th, and Blue Whale in Los Angeles, CA on sept 30th. If you’re out in those areas it would be great to have you!

Soon after the Dapp Theory stint is concluded and a brief hang in LA happens, I will then head out to meet up with the guys in SC3 for the start of our North America Tour! We will start in Canada and work our way back into the US and going until Nov 8th. I am in the process of updating this site with the show details, so all show details will be available here, but for those burning to know, you can check out Windish Agency for a list of tour dates.

Thanks for checking in and hopefully I’ll have some more news for you all, especially concerning my solo album(s), as well as tracking for Victor Papo Ortiz’ upcoming solo album. I just got an update as to the personnel for the session and it’s going to be pretty nuts! More news on that soon, but till then, be well and blessings!




A Slight Family Vacation TBT

Thursday, June 5th, 2014


Since I’ve been away on vacation (incase you were wondering why there have been Zero updates or gigs listed, now you know) post-Secret Chiefs 3 tour in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I’ve had the chance to fly down to Florida to visit some family, mostly with my grand parents and many of my nephews. It’s been a surreal experience, but an incredibly fun and positive one. Hopefully next time, I will have more then a couple days to see family and have a vacation! But more importantly, I’m updating the site to let you all know that I’m still alive and kicking and that I will be back in the northeast performing again on June 7th with Blackened Death Metaler’s Imperial Triumphant at Backroom Studios in New Jersey (see the Itinerary for more info), followed by a few performances with Dapp Theory, the Ze Luis Quartet, and Resolution 15’s newly created chamber ensemble, Seven Suns.

In other news, we will soon be wrapping up tracking for the new Imperial Triumphant album, who have recently been signed to Italian record label Code666, having done the tracking at drummer Alex Cohen’s new studio (Drummer for Pyrrhon & Malignancy). It was the flagship recording for the studio, and is looking like many more tracks and albums will be made there as well, including drum tracking for my upcoming solo projects, so stay tuned for future updates on that business venture!

Lastly, in the spirit of The Throwback of Thursday, here’s a video from last year’s concert in Puerto Rico with my grandfather, Bobby Cruz, for the Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz 50th anniversary concert that took place at El Coliseo in San Juan, PR. It has been posted before, but this video, as well as that night, holds a special place in my heart. A truly family affair, and thinking of how life has turned out, not just personally but for my family as well, it was a wonderful celebration of life, music and achievement. I hope you enjoy this snippet and till next time, be well and see you soon!