Composed by Phil Scarff and performed by world-jazz ensemble Natraj, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! shines a contemporary light on historic artwork from India. The members of Natraj individually and collectively bring a wealth of experience exploring the intersection of jazz and global musical traditions. Their stunning performance showcased in this release is wide ranging, deep, and accessible, while firmly rooted in the rich tapestry of Indian classical music. RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! is part of a larger multimedia work created in collaboration with Indian classical dancer Jayshree Bala Rajamani, incorporating dance, music, spoken word, and projected images. It brings to life historic ragamala paintings, with each painting representing one Indian classical raga or melodic framework. Inspired by Modest Mussorgsky and his iconic work, Pictures at an Exhibition, Scarff threads the suite together with musical “promenades” that represent the viewer entering and moving about an art gallery, with each theme anticipating a painting or set of paintings to come. Whether heard on its own or experienced as a full multimedia performance, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! takes listeners on a compelling contemporary journey that celebrates classic ragamala paintings from India.
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.
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.
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.
New from Big Round Records comes jazz composer and pianist Paul English’s GIRL IN GREEN. The album features never-before-heard renditions of immortal classics as well as English’s original works. Listen as English and his cadre of masterful soloists carve a place for themselves in jazz history.
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.
From Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club de France to the American jazz players who immigrated to immerse themselves in its vibrant musical scene, Paris has been an epicenter of haute jazz culture. Jean-Philippe Grégoire has been a staple of the Paris jazz scene for many years and on his debut Big Round Records release SOUNDS FROM THE DELTA the guitarist/composer presents a refined and inspired hybrid of French and American jazz styles.
Birdland. The Village Vanguard. The Jazz Standard. Just a few of the New York clubs that have saturated the city's streets with the smooth sounds of jazz. Within this tradition, New York-native pianist and composer Bunny Beck presents seven cool and swinging original compositions as well as an arrangement of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" on her second release on Big Round Records, FROM THE SPIRIT. Featuring saxophonist Matt Blostein, guitarist Ed MacEachen, bassist Tom Hubbard, and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, with Bunny Beck on piano, the Bunny Beck Jazz Ensemble highlights crisp and expressive improvisations while occasionally breaking into Latin rhythms. This album captures the relaxed and refined atmosphere emanating from those New York clubs.
Big Round Records is proud to announce its reissue of Andy Jaffe's MANHATTAN PROJECTIONS, an album of the jazz composer/pianist's works for small band repertoire. This rerelease of the jazz classic includes the original seven works from the 1984 debut, the McDaniels session tracks from the 2001 Playscape reissue, plus three bonus tracks from the Tom McClung-Andy Jaffe piano trio exclusive to this release.
Andy Jaffe’s precise-yet-swinging big band jazz compositions shine on his premiere Big Round release, from a playful rendition of Nat King Cole’s Straighten Up and Fly Right to the sprawling Porticulture suite.