YOU LOVED ME THEN, David Harris’ first album of originals in over 30 years, reflects his eclectic musical journey. It began when his father played him the works of Romantic composers like Chopin and Schuman, continued to his grade school encounters with the Beatles and The Doors, and was crowned by his teenage discovery of John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and most importantly, Thelonious Monk. Harris estimates that he has written somewhere around 3,000 jazz, pop, and classical compositions. With the help of renowned pianist Paul English and a cadre of exceptional jazz talents, Harris brings some of his favorites to life on this Big Round Records release.
Berl Olswanger, “Mr. Music of Memphis,” returns for a fifth installment of timeless archival recordings on Big Round Records with BERL OLSWANGER IN THE STUDIO. This never-before-heard collection transports listeners back to the pianist’s private studio in 1950’s Memphis where he recorded his early compositions, some of which went on to become fully orchestrated tracks on the 2021 release BERL OLSWANGER AT PEPPER RECORDS.
With a smooth blend of blues, country, boogie-woogie, and ragtime influences, Olswanger delivers tunes that capture the popular sounds of the era. From the strong stride piano solo in Chicken Bone Man to the fluttering fills in Tennessee Skidoo, Olswanger’s inimitable approach shines through, inviting listeners into his private studio to witness an early period of the piano great’s legacy.
WHEN GAIA FALLS from composer Bradford Blackburn is an environmental call for action in the face of climate change manifested through musical, literary, and sonic eclecticism as a medium of universality. Its central message? There is no better time to save the future than the present.
From the body of electroacoustic, choral, and chamber works emerge a trio of narrative sub texts. The first, to simplify our needs and desires, the second, to make ecologically sustainable choices, and the third, to pursue positive change as a society. Bradford calls upon several artists to drive his message home in this release, spanning a variety of genres and moods that make a compelling case.
Israel Neuman’s VOLUTION fuses the power of hip hop with the versatility of jazz to form a uniquely forceful expression. The music heard on the album hints at a number of other musical genres as well, including rhythm and blues and middle-eastern folk music, to name a few. Vocalists including AceKidd and Cole Bracey rap and sing over the kaleidoscopic timbres created by Neuman’s music. In Tear It Down, AceKidd’s lyrics decry systemic injustice with lines like “man down/oh but you won’t lend a hand out/pressed down expecting us to stand down.” In Rough, a lovesick Cole Bracey croons “I’m worthless without your love/I’m spinning…Oh it’s rough.” With evocative lyrics, masterful modulations, and a smooth blend of celebrated musical styles, VOLUTION invites a wide audience of music lovers to the table.
Grab a drink, take a seat, and sway with your sweetie to the swinging sounds of pianist Berl Olswanger and his band on THE BERL OLSWANGER SHOW, Big Round Records’ fourth release of recordings by “Mr. Music of Memphis.” Recorded live in 1974, the never-before-heard album transports listeners to stageside seats as the band plays a historic set of toe-tapping tunes, from the horn-heavy Proud Mary to the country-western Green, Green Grass of Home. No matter the track, Olswanger’s presence is front and center, from his genre-blending skills and his technical chops at the piano to his ability to keep the band crisp and tight as they boogie through the set.
Blues and big band lovers are in for a swingin' treat with Big Round Records' new archival recording of BERL OLSWANGER AND THE OLSWANGER BEAT, the label’s third released recording by “Mr. Music of Memphis." Olswanger, whose musical career spanned over a half-century, could easily be called a jack-of-all-trades: a popular bandleader, a prolific composer of swing music, a serial entrepreneur, and a wildly successful teacher bringing the art of music-making to the masses.
Berl Olswanger returns for a second installment of timeless archival recordings on Big Round Records, with BERL OLSWANGER AT PEPPER RECORDS, a collection of tunes recorded during the late-50’s golden era of the Memphis record business. Olswanger hit the state-of-the-art studios at Pepper Records to record 10 songs by William “Pat” Best, Floyd Huddleston, Olswanger himself, and more.
I AM NOT A VIRUS from composer Jordan VanHemert and Big Round Records, is a collection of contemporary music uniquely fitting for this unprecedented juncture in human history. Called an "excellent outing" by jazz historian Scott Yanow, the collection of lively, piano-driven jazz band performances takes inspiration from a wide swath of timely subjects—everything from the coronavirus pandemic to racially charged police killings and the resulting Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.
Big Round Records presents the first of three albums by “Mr. Music of Memphis,” Berl Olswanger, featuring tunes by Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, and more. From pop standards and jazz ditties to good old-fashioned polka, pianist Berl Olswanger wrested command of just about every style.
Even though the tracks on BIRTH OF A CITY are loosely grouped by their titles, the recording is very much a concept album. Haney, himself an accomplished pianist who also studied composition, scored the pieces for a kind of string quartet (violin – viola – cello – double bass), interspersed by varying quantities of brass instruments and percussion. Naturally, as one would expect from this kind of music, all works are scored with exactitude – for the most part, that is. Remarkably, Haney grants the performers a great amount of improvisatory freedom – indubitably owing to his own background in jazz, the genre which definitely and definitively shines through in all his compositions.
A BISSEL RHYTHM is composer and clarinetist Paul Green’s PARMA Recordings debut, although it marks his second recorded exploration into the fusion between jazz and Jewish music. A performance at Merkin Concert Hall resulted in the New York Times extolling his talents: “Like a cobra intent on doing some charming of its own, the clarinetist Paul Green weaved, darted and hovered over his instrument…conjuring gorgeous sounds.”
Concert pianist and composer Michael Arnowitt, assisted by ImproVisions Jazz, makes his Big Round Records debut with SWEET SPONTANEOUS, the title drawn from a poem by e.e.cummings. This two-disc jazz album features 14 of Arnowitt’s own compositions with the composer himself at the piano, joined by a dozen jazz notables including Yosvany Terry on alto sax, Lucas Pino on tenor sax, Dave Smith on trumpet, and Colin Stranahan on drums.
Exuberant and exciting is the Big Round Records debut of big band pianist and composer Ron Paley. This is not “just another pops album.” Paley’s work is cool, clever, and ridiculously fun. Seven of the ten tracks on THE MORE YOU KNOW are completely composed, arranged, and performed by Ron Paley.
Fusion lovers will enjoy the PARMA recordings debut of oboist Margaret Herlehy in this fresh, new collection of Latin-inspired jazz. Uniquely, oboe is the central instrument in each composition. Herlehy not only meets the demands of such a challenge but exceeds them.
Renowned Nevada-based Floridian composer, author, and teacher, Henry Wolking follows up his recent and miraculous IN SEA, with a Big Round Records re-release of POWELL CANYONS: AND OTHER ORCHESTRAL JAZZ WORKS. First released in 2000 by MMC Recordings, this stunning and effervescent album of orchestral jazz compositions is a quintessential key to understanding Wolking’s work and nature inspired aesthetic.
GOIN’ HOME… A RETROSPECTIVE is pianist and composer Gay Pearson’s second release on Big Round Records. The album is a live recording of her most recent annual chamber-jazz concert, featuring an eclectic ensemble with Gay Pearson on piano, John Lockwood on bass, Phil McGowan on drums, Tracy McMullen on saxophone, Lea Pearson on flute, and Shannon Allen on cello. This varied ensemble performs a wide variety of music with different instrumental combinations, from Astor Piazzolla to classic tunes of Chick Corea, Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern, to more contemporary original compositions by Pearson herself.
On his second Big Round Records release MOODS AND SKETCHES, composer Sebastiano Meloni presents 12 improvisations for piano. Meloni’s primary interest is in making improvisation, both as a composer and as a performer. Performed on a Fazioli grand piano F278, each piece explores the different facets of improvisational language, each having a specific methodical theme.
Big Round Record's first installment of its compilation series, BIG ROUND SOUND VOL. 1, presents a deep cross-section of the label's contemporary and eclectic catalog. From jazz and world music to folk, fusion, and progressive rock, this album features performances by Tony R. Clef, the Oscuro Quintet, Andy Jaffe and Branford Marsalis, Sophie Dunér, the Larksong Trio, Anne Vanschothorst, Juan Álamo, Jean-Philippe Grégoire, and more in works by Christina Rusnak, Svjetlana Bukvich, Sebastiano Meloni, Ecco La Musica, Bunny Beck, and others.
On her debut Big Round Records release, A SINISTER ENDEAVOR, composer and pianist Gay Pearson presents a collection of works that highlight her eclectic quintet - consisting of piano, bass, drums, flute, and cello - and their colorful, introspective, and energetic performances. Recorded live in Newburyport MA, this album presents original works by Pearson, including Zonal and Meridional Flow, with its classical counterpoint and 4-part polyphony; the energetic solo piano piece Cirrus High; and An Ionian Emitter, which uses complex rhythms and syncopation.
DETOURS, the debut Big Round Records release from percussionist Joe Porter and pianist Joel Goodfellow, showcases the jazz duo's capacity for collaboration and improvisation, with animated and dynamic versions of well-known film and literary compositions.