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Royston, Rudy: Flatbed Buggy (Greenleaf Music)

The third album from drummer Rudy Royston features his new chamber-like quintet featuring Gary Versace (accordion), John Ellis (woodwinds), Hank Roberts (cello) and Joe Martin (bass) playing music inspired by Royston's upbringing in Texas, lyrical and sophisticated modern jazz from a drummer frequently called upon by jazz masters Bill Frisell, JD Allen, or Dave Douglas.
 

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UPC: 186980000657

Label: Greenleaf Music
Catalog ID: CD-GRE-1065
Squidco Product Code: 26629

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Teaneck Sound Studios, in Paramus, New Jersey, in April, 2018, by David Kowalski.


Personnel:

Rudy Royston-drums

John Ellis-bass clarinet, saxes

Gary Versace-accordion

Hank Roberts-cello

Joe Martin-bass

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Artist Biographies:

A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado. He began playing drums and percussion as a toddler, playing in church and along with an eclectic array of LPs his siblings would have on rotation. The youngest of five, Royston attributes his musical interests and palate to his siblings and parents. Rudy's older brothers and sister were avid listeners of all genres of music, his mother a constant support, and his father the supervisor of shipping at an established children's percussion instrument making company. Rudy's brothers would expose him to a myriad of music, and his father would bring home slightly damaged percussion instruments. As a result, Rudy grew up surrounded by bongos, rhythm sticks and xylophones, recorders, metallophones, glockenspiels, drums and many other percussion instruments. In the fourth grade, with his mother's ceaseless support, Rudy began studying music more formally, beginning his studies in reading and writing music. He continued his music studies through middle and into high school-receiving some training on viola and tenor saxophone as well.

While a sophomore in high school, Rudy attended the Telluride Jazz Camp in Telluride, Colorado on scholarship, where he studied jazz drum set for the first time with Duffy Jackson and Ed Soph. It was then Rudy knew he would pursue music the rest of his life. He began studying classical and jazz repertoire, as well as marching percussion, rising to achieve membership into topnotch city and state-wide high school ensembles.

Rudy went on to study marching percussion, classical percussion and Jazz Performance at University of Northern Colorado, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and University of Denver. Rudy graduated with honors from University of Denver, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Poetry. He later received K-12 teaching credentials from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

While in college, Rudy began playing with well-regarded trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Rudy deems his greatest teacher and music mentor. Now a major figure in the Denver music scene, Rudy performed with some of Colorado's finest artists such as Fred Fuller, Dale Bruning, Laura Newman, Fred Hess, Dotsero, Leslie Drayton, Joe Keel, Nelson Rangell and Bill Frisell-with whom he still plays.

Upon graduating college, Rudy went on to play and record in the gospel, alternative rock and jazz scenes in Denver and around the United States. He taught music 10 years in public schools before relocating to the east coast in 2006 to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, studying jazz percussion with the great Victor Lewis. Rudy quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Javon Jackson, Bill Frisell, Les McCann, David Gilmore, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Stanley Cowell, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, Jenny Scheinman, John Patitucci, Dave Douglas, Branford Marsalis, Rudresh Mahanthappa and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Rudy continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz.

-Rudy Royston Website (http://www.rudyroyston.com/html/about.php)
6/14/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"If that Dickens chap hadn't already snagged it, "A Tale of Two Cities" would make the ideal title for the John Ellis story. The gifted, versatile saxophonist/clarinetist/composer occupies an imaginary (and extremely imaginative) space directly between the celebratory, welcoming spirit of New Orleans and the edgy, frantic streets of New York City. Both as the leader of his own eclectic projects and as an in-demand sideman for a mind-boggling number and variety of artists, Ellis expresses a keen intellect and easy virtuosity while maintaining a mischievous gleam in his eye and never letting tongue stray far from cheek.

That combination is best showcased in Ellis' eccentric combo Double-Wide, which recently released its third album, Charm, on Ellis' own Parade Light Records. While the title is an apt descriptor of the band's inviting, joyous vibe, its soul is even better captured by the song that gives the album its name: "Charm is Nearly Always Sinister." That dichotomy perfectly encapsulates Double-Wide's split metropolitan personality, with a chainsaw-juggling balance of bayou brass, raucous gospel, and devil-may-care modern jazz. Ellis' band of merry pranksters includes Gary Versace (organ/piano/accordion), Alan Ferber (trombone), Matt Perrine (sousaphone), and Jason Marsalis (drums).

Ellis also leads his own quintet of A-list players, whose most recent album was the 2012 Criss Cross release It's You I Like. Featuring Mike Moreno (guitar), Aaron Goldberg (piano), Matt Penman (bass), and Rodney Green (drums), the album definitely leans more toward the NYC end of Ellis' playing spectrum, though its two dedicatees still show off his "serious fun" duality: the repertoire includes songs by moody singer-songwriter Elliott Smith and legendary kids' TV host Mr. Rogers.

An ambitious composer as well as an agile musician, Ellis in recent years has composed three large-scale narrative pieces commissioned by The Jazz Gallery in collaboration with playwright Andy Bragen. The most recent, MOBRO (released in 2014 on Parade Light), looks at environmental issues through the story of the infamous MOBRO 4000 trash barge.

As if those three wide-ranging projects weren't enough to occupy his time and talents, Ellis also maintains an impossibly busy schedule as a first-call sideman. Having established himself as one of New York's premier tenor saxophonists since his arrival in 1997, he's since worked with artists as diverse as bass great John Patitucci, organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith, MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón, the Brooklyn-bred big band led by composer Darcy James Argue, guitar groove master Charlie Hunter, and pop icon Sting. His discography lists more than 100 album credits as a sideman, with more than a dozen released in 2014 alone, including acclaimed albums by Zenón, drummer Otis Brown III, pianists Helen Sung and Edward Simon, and blues/gospel/soul trio The Holmes Brothers.

While New Orleans and New York are Ellis' two spiritual (and, over the last 22 years, actual) homes, he doesn't hail from either city - or any city at all, for that matter. He grew up in rural North Carolina, two and a half miles outside of a tiny town populated by only 200 people. But his mother, an English teacher at the local community college, insisted that her sons be exposed to culture, and the love of music took hold in young John, who pursued that love to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the relatively big city of Winston-Salem.

In 1993, Ellis moved to New Orleans to study with renowned jazz family patriarch Ellis Marsalis, eventually playing in the pianist's band while jamming with local peers like trumpeter Nicholas Payton. He released his debut album, The Language of Love, in 1996 and a year later relocated to New York City. Despite the move, the name of his 2005 album One Foot in the Swamp captures his continuing ties to the Bayou, which shines through in the southern-accented, gospel-tinged funk grooves of his music. Ellis has released nine albums as a leader, three of those featuring his urban carnival band Double-Wide, which has toured extensively and was featured on the Main Stage of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.

While his presence on countless recordings and stages attests to the esteem in which Ellis is held by his peers, he's also received numerous more official accolades. Most prominently, he was the second place winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition in 2002. He was the recipient of three composition grants through The Jazz Gallery for his collaborations with playwright Andy Bragen ("Dreamscapes", "The Ice Siren", and "MOBRO") and was selected as the 2014 Make Jazz Fellow by the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, leading to the composition of music for Charm."

-John Ellis Website (http://www.johnaxsonellis.com/bio/)
6/14/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Since basing himself in NYC in 2002, originally hailing from Cos Cob, CT, jazz pianist, organist and accordionist Gary Versace has become one of the busiest and most versatile musicians on the scene, often featured in bands led by musicians such as John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Al Foster, Regina Carter, Maria Schneider, Madeleine Peyroux, Matt Wilson, Joe Magnarelli, Andy LaVerne, Adam Nussbaum, Brad Shepik, Ingrid Jensen and many others.

Recent CD releases include appearances as pianist on Ralph Alessi's 'Quiver" (ECM records) which received 4.5 stars in Downbeat, as accordionist on Maria Schneider's Grammy-winning 'The Thompson Fields,' as Hammond organist on Ellery Eskelin's 'Trio Willisau: Live' and Rich Perry's 'Organique,' and on all three instruments on Kurt Elling's 'Passion World.'

Versace won the "Rising Star' category on the Hammond organ in Downbeat's Critic's Poll in 2009 and 2010, and has placed in the primary Organ category consistently for the last 5 years. He won the Jazz Jounalists' Association's "Best Organist" award in 2012, and his work has been reviewed and featured in many national and international publications. He appeared twice as a guest on Marian McPartland's acclaimed NPR show 'Piano Jazz,' and McPartland has described him as '...endlessly inventive...(Versace) really has an extraordinary talent.'

He has several CD's under his own name on the SteepleChase and Criss Cross labels, and has appeared as a guest on almost 75 more.

Gary Versace has a masters degree in music performance from the Eastman School of Music, and spent eight years as a tenured associate professor in the jazz studies department at the University of Oregon. He remains active as a clinician and guest soloist both nationally and around the world."

-Gary Versace Website (http://www.garyversace.com/Default.asp)
6/14/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Over his nearly four-decade career, Hank Roberts has forged a compelling original voice as a composer and a cellist, encompassing abstract improvisation, jazz influences, soulful folk melodies, intricate new-music compositions and vigorous rock songs.

Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Roberts made his name in the 1980s legendary New York Downtown scene. Faced with a dearth of improvisational cellist mentors or peers, he carved his own path through that fertile ground alongside such frequent collaborators as Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Marc Ribot and John Zorn, finding a second home at the famed Knitting Factory, leading and recording with his own groups, 'Birds of Prey, 'Black Pastels', 'Little Motor People' and co-founding 'Miniature' with Tim Berne and Joey Baron, and the 'Arcado String Trio' with Mark Feldman and Mark Dresser.

The list of names with whom Roberts has shared stages or recording studios with includes Gavin Friday (with the members of U2), Sting, Jeff Buckley, David Sanborn, Mamadou Diabate, Andy Summers, Gary Burton, Marty Ehrlich, Arto Lindsey, Gerry Hemingway, Don Byron, and Julius Hemphill.

He is currently a member of Bill Frisell's 858 Quartet and Big Sur Quintet, and appeared on the guitarist's Grammy-winning 2004 release Unspeakable. He's recorded 10 albums on the 'Winter & Winter' label, along with numerable self-released recordings. His solo performances are singularly compelling and unpredictable, wending from jagged dissonance to intoxicating pop songcraft.

Nürnberger Zeitung: the American cellist, Hank Roberts, dares to present magical musical field tests, which sound as delicate as a moribund musical box or intoxicating emotional like a pop song. ...ingenious."

His 2008 CD Green, with drummer Jim Black and guitarist Marc Ducret, won that year's German Recording Critics' Award in the Jazz category. "There's a wisdom and patience and catholicity in this record ('Green'). 'It's all one song,' goes the hip musician's cliché, but Mr. Roberts walks that walk." Ben Ratliff, NY Times

Based since 1989 in Ithaca, New York, Roberts finds inspiration in the area's thriving music scene. He performs and records locally with a host of uniquely talented musicians and plays annually at the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival, which spans a range of music from old-timey Americana to African and Cajun music. He's shared that stage with artists such as Ti Ti Chickapea with Richie Stearns and Eric Aceto, Tenzin Chopak and Rockwood Ferry, Kevin Kinsella, Mamadou Diabate, Jeb Puryear, Keith Secola, Nery Arevalo, Martin Simpson, the Sim Redmond Band, John Brown's Body, and Donna the Buffalo.

Roberts contributed musical arrangements and appears in the film Greetings From Tim Buckley, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival."

-Hank Roberts Website (http://www.hankrobertsmusic.com/bio/)
6/14/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Joe Martin, double-bass

Joe Martin is one of the most sought-after bassists on the New York City jazz scene. Known for his warm sound, facile ear, harmonic flexibility, and lyrical solos, he has performed with a diverse range of musicians. He was an integral member of Kurt Rosenwinkel's group for several years, documented on a live recording from the Village Vanguard entitled The Remedy. He has also performed with Andy Bey, Vinicius Cantuaria, Bill Charlap, Anat Cohen, Avishai Cohen, Art Farmer, Aaron Goldberg, Jon Gordon, Ari Hoenig, Joel Frahm, Larry Goldings, Gilad Hekselman, Ethan Iverson, Guillermo Klein, Jonathan Kreisberg, Ivan Lins, Lionel Loueke, Bill McHenry, John McNeil, Brad Mehldau, The Mingus Big Band, Ben Monder, Jane Monheit, Jean-Michel Pilc, Chris Potter, Maria Schneider, Jaleel Shaw, Grady Tate, Mark Turner, Michael Weiss, and many others.

Martin's most recent CD, available on Anzic Records, is titled Not By Chance, and features Chris Potter, Brad Mehldau, and Marcus Gilmore. His debut CD Passage(Fresh Sound New Talent Records) which features Mark Turner, Kevin Hays, and Jorge Rossy, received much acclaim from critics and musicians alike. He leads gigs regularly in New York City at clubs including The Jazz Gallery, Smoke, and Smalls. He has also toured with his band in Italy.

Born in Kansas City in 1970, Martin grew up surrounded by music in Pella, Iowa. His father was clarinetist with the Des Moines Symphony and his mother is an amateur violinist. His younger brother Phil is a drummer who resides in Chicago. His grandfather was a jazz pianist who played nightclub and dance gigs in Joplin, Missouri. Joe began his musical studies on cello at age seven. At age fifteen he picked up the electric bass and by the end of high school he had also begun playing the string bass. Joe attended DePaul University where he continued his bass study with Larry Gray, with whom he studied both classical and jazz. He transferred to William Paterson College in New Jersey, where he studied with Todd Coolman, Rufus Reid, and Harold Mabern. During this period he frequented New York City jazz clubs and heard veteran bassists like Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Ray Drummond, and George Mraz, as well as younger players like Bob Hurst, Larry Grenadier, Christian McBride, and Peter Washington. Joe earned a Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude in 1994 and subsequently moved to New York City."

-Miller Theater, Columbia University School of the Arts (https://www.millertheatre.com/explore/bios/joe-martin)
6/14/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Soul Train 9:44

2. Bed Bobbin' 0:36

3. Flatbed Buggy 5:45

4. boy...MAN 5:43

5. Twirler 5:24

6. Dirty Stetson 0:33

7. Hourglass 7:16

8. Bobblehead 5:52

9. The Roadside Flowers 6:55

10. Hold My Mule 0:36

11. girl...WOMAN 11:08

12. I Guess It's Time to Go 1:36

sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Rudy Royston, first-call drummer with Bill Frisell, JD Allen, Dave Douglas and a host of other jazz greats, has honed a thoroughly engaging voice as a composer and bandleader with his compelling debut 303 (2014) and the raw and bracing trio follow-up Rise of Orion (2016). To these fine releases, both on Dave Douglas' Greenleaf Music imprint, Royston now adds his third, Flatbed Buggy, rich in tonal contrast and mood yet steeped in the supple, enduring swing and groove that has driven his writing and playing from the start.

Right away the instrumentation is a striking departure: Royston leads a compact, almost chamber-like quintet featuring Gary Versace (accordion), John Ellis (bass clarinet/saxophones), Hank Roberts (cello) and Joe Martin (bass). "I was going for something that was more about melodies," Royston declares. "I wanted to illustrate a story." And indeed, the melodies flow forth on Flatbed Buggy, with rich harmony and surpassingly subtle orchestration and interplay occurring at every step as well.

Of the album title, Royston says: "Flatbed buggies to me mean country, they mean home, they mean earth. We lived in Denver but my father lived in Texas, and I would spend time in the country there. I remember riding on this kind of Flatbed Buggy thing when I was a child. The whole feeling that brought me ... it was comforting, it was outside, this bitter shrubbery smell, my friends are there, my family's there. So it's about that, but the album also has to do with time: a time in my life, the beginning of things, the process of them. The buggy moving along up a road represents the movement of time. And the titles on the album really have to do with time and motion."

The warmth and immediacy captured by Royston and the group, the unorthodox sound of the instrumental combinations themselves, marks Flatbed Buggy as a creative breakthrough. "Ron Miles is always my major influence," the drummer offers, "because his music is so sing-able and melodically rich. I wanted that melodic quality but also moments underneath in the harmony where it was a little scratchy, a little dusty. My neighborhood in Texas was a little dusty."

Together with the deep and woody instrumental timbres of Flatbed Buggy, there's the way Royston keeps them continuously in play, beyond conventional jazz-combo roles: "I wanted us all to be constantly playing. I wanted us all to orchestrate or color or have a little input regardless of who is soloing. So if you check out the little stuff Hank is doing on Gary's solos, for instance - all these neat little themes are happening. It sounds very orchestra-like for me. Some of it is written but 90 percent is those guys just interjecting their own taste into what's going at the time

At points in the program are short, rhythmically propulsive interludes - "Bed Boppin'," "Dirty Stetson," "Hold My Mule" (an old church expression), "I Guess It's Time to Go" - that serve as what Royston calls "leaps of time." "They remind you that you're moving forward," he says. "I hope there's no ending on anything: a lot of these pieces fade out, because even when we pass away things still seem to be going forward somehow."

In particular, the thematically related "Boy...Man" and "Girl...Woman" bring the passage of time further into focus, each a musical story not only of growth and maturation but eternal life: "That's why I fade out, because it's not about endings. It's not like, 'She lived her life and then passed away.' It's kind of like nothing ends, not yet."

While Flatbed Buggy presents far more than a succession of virtuosic solos, the passion and technical depth of the performances themselves - including standout improvisations from all involved - can't go unremarked. John Ellis, among the great saxophonists of his generation, plays mainly bass clarinet throughout, achieving a remarkable sound and impact. Gary Versace, a top organist and pianist of our time, is equally stunning on accordion, bringing a reedy melodic sustain and full harmonic weight to the music. On the low strings, whether bowed or pizzicato, Hank Roberts and Joe Martin contribute a wealth of subtlety and energy as well, intersecting and digging in, never in the expected ways. And Royston, even though he lays back and never dominates here (he notes there's only one drum solo on the record), still offers what amounts to a master class on the jazz drummer's art.

There's an endless amount to discover: the melodic development and final triumphant letting-loose of the opening "Soul Train"; the hint of New Orleans rhythm in "Flatbed Buggy"; the picture of innocence in a young child twirling, on "Twirler," with a startlingly brilliant tempo shift into slow swing; or the fast, twisty bop theme and soprano sax showcase of "Bobble Head" (where that lone drum solo crops up).

Another major statement is "The Roadside," inspired by memories of a drive through wide open space in Texas, with great expanses of weeds and wildflowers. "It was very beautiful to be in the midst of all that," Royston says. "It was moving, it was in motion, these flowers on the side of a dirt road, sprawled everywhere. My dad loved to fish, so we were driving somewhere to some pond, in the back of the country somewhere. The piece takes you back to that moment and reminds you that no matter where you are now, you're on a journey someplace."-Greenleaf Music

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Improvised Music
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