John Shifflett was unique – not pretty unique, very unique or really unique, but unique in the true meaning of the word. He was my musical friend for over 20 years, and bizarrely enough, the first time we played, we were both on a big band rehearsal in Oakland, a couple of years after I moved out from New York. I say bizarrely, because John and I never played a big band gig or rehearsal together again, NOT ONCE, despite several hundred gigs, 6 CDs and a bunch of rehearsals and sessions.
These words on Originals for the Originals from Brad Stone, the host of the Creative Source radio program, are among the kindest that have been said about the CD, and were originally in a personal email from Brad to me. He enthusiastically said I should share them, so here they are.
Featuring progressive jazz, fusion, new jazz releases, current artists, original compositions
Hobart Taylor at KUCI 88.9FM in Irvine, CA has reviewed Originals for the Originals, and it is very positive.
Let’s start out by saying that these are incredible melodies. The compositions are deeply engaging and the ensemble beautifully supports Zilber’s intensely personal voice on tenor and soprano saxes. The tunes are homages to other jazz greats, Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman, John Coltrane, and Paul Desmond, but while they sometimes mirror the feel of these artists, they are not derivative. They are Zilber’s interpretations of the spirits of these artists. This release is a perfect marriage of head and heart.
Check it out over at kuci.org.
Michael Zilber, an original saxophonist salutes originals
Andrew Gilbert, February 9/2017
Over the past 15 years or so the Albany saxophonist Michael Zilber has recorded a series of critically hailed collaborations, joining forces with an imposing array of master improvers like drum maestro Steve Smith, saxophone legend Dave Liebman, and the painterly guitar explorer John Stowell.
But Zilber’s latest album Originals for the Originals (Origin) is the kind of project that doesn’t accommodate a co-leader. A highly personal tribute to his saxophone heroes, the album summons the spirits of transcendent talents like John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins and Paul Desmond. Rather than trying to evoke the unmistakable sounds of these storied players, he bases each piece on a melodic phrase or harmonic passage drawn from their music.
Click here to read the rest!
MUSIC REVIEW BY MIKE JOYCE, JAZZTIMES
Following this West Coast ensemble’s two widely acclaimed recordings, Shot Through With Beauty and Live Beauty, Basement Blues may seem like a departure, in tone and tack. But as “Stowell in Heart” and other highlights here warmly illustrate, Basement Blues is similarly riddled with charms, to say nothing of its soulful allure and conversational postbop gambits. Read the whole review here: http://originarts.com/reviews/review.php?ReviewID=2361
Continue reading “Mike Joyce says in Jazz Times: “truly an inspired musical alliance””
Dan McClenaghan from All About Jazz wrote a wonderful review of Basement Blues. Here’s an excerpt; read the whole thing at AllAboutJazz.com.
Guitarist Stowell’s approach is distinctive—silvery chords and pinprick single notes that reverberate from the rafters. Saxophonist Zilber is a flawless, soulful technician on soprano and tenor saxophones. Bassist John Shifflett and drummer Jason Lewis are perfection in the supportive rhythm rolls. It all comes together in a cohesive set that is probing and cerebral and laid-back approachable.
Talking about the newest release from the Stowell-Zilber collaboration, it starts with “Michael Zilber and John Stowell might be making their best music yet”, and goes on from there.
Wayne Shorter tweeted about my Weather Wayne band!
I have been so heartened and grateful by the response to the new release, Live Beauty. The # and positivity of the reviews has been overwhelming, including from all major jazz publications, including a wonderful 4 star review in downbeat from Bill Milkowski.
John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet
The potent partnership of guitarist John Stowell and saxophonist Michael
Zilber plays out on this highly inter-active and adventurous set recordedbefore a live audience at the California
Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. Fueled by the remarkably empathetic Bay Area rhythm tandem of bassist John Shifflet and drummer Jason Lewis, Stowell and Zilber take their time and follow their muse quite freely throughout this intimate concert.
Zilber, a Vancouver native who spent his 20s playing and recording in New York before moving to San Francisco, reveals a decidedly Michael Brecker influence in his bold tenor lines on the spirited opener, “In The Park,” which has him nonchalantly double-timing and reaching into the uppermost register of his horn. He switches to soprano for an exhilarating romp through Shifflett’s uptempo burner “Quantum Theory,” which also turns Lewis loose on an extended drum solo. Zilber’s “Stowell What” is a quirky, pointillistic nod to his Portland-based partner, who may be less well-known but is no less accomplished than his East Coast counterparts like Vic Juris, Ben Monder and Jonathan Kreisberg. Zilber and Stowell turn in a provocative duo read- ing of “My Funny Valentine,” which features Stowell probing the microton- al zone on fretless guitar. And they close on a dynamic note, recalling the chemistry between Joe Lovano and John Scofield on a second-line flavored take on Sco’s “Wabash III.” —Bill Milkowski
Here is a link to some of the reviews on the Origin Records page and deep gratitude for all the kind words about this CD. we have recorded a very nice studio one, so hopefully it will be out sometime in the next year…