Beijing, featuring guitarist/composer Musillami's new trio with bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller, takes its name from the title track inspired by the 1989 pro-democracy student protests in that city's Tiananmen Square. Though firmly rooted in Musillami's own trademark musical style, four other tracks also demonstrate China's thematic influence, including the brief opening statement entitled "Jade Welcoming," "Dazu," a freely improvised piece inspired by Chinese stone sculptures, "Mogao," named for China’s Mogao Grottoes, and the final track "Caterpillar," which refers to the look of the Great Wall of China to astronauts in Earth's orbit. The remaining pieces include familiar Musillami compositions recast for this new trio format and one work by the late Thomas Chapin.
The self-explanatory Sphere Essence is pianist Peter Madsen's solo tribute to the great Thelonious Sphere Monk. A return to his earliest influence after nearly 25 years of active performing around the world, this recording is a welcome, but precarious challenge for a pianist who has filtered Monk's singular style through his own playing for decades. Madsen interprets the heart of the classic Monk catalog, as well as lesser-heard pieces like "Oska T" and "Ugly Beauty," and adds three short transitional pieces of his own called monkaludes. The versatile Madsen has appeared on more than 60 recordings, including recent Playscape titles by the Michael Musillami/Mario Pavone Quartet among many others, and dozens of his compositions have been recorded by many of the world’s best jazz musicians.
Press and Radio Contact for Playscape Recordings:
Scott Menhinick, Improvised Communications