SOLOS: the jazz sessions is a 39 part television music profile/performance series produced in Canada By Original Spin Media. Each episode features complete musical pieces, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage with some of today’s most notable jazz artists. Shot in HDTV with multiple moving cameras and a medley of elegant, cinematic lighting designs, SOLOS: the jazz sessions showcases an exciting and dynamic variety of jazz styles – from the blues and boogie-woogie to bebop and beyond.

“Active during a period of jazz’s history when it seems radical innovation is a thing of the past, Joe Lovano nevertheless coalesces various stylistic elements from disparate eras into a personal and forward-seeking style. While not an innovator in a macro sense, Lovano has unquestionably charted his own path. Lovano received a number of Grammy nominations for his work on Blue Note. His 1996 album, Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note), was named “Jazz Album of the Year” by readers of Downbeat Magazine.” http://www.solosjazz.com/a_joe.php

The series premiered on Bravo in Canada in the summer of 2004 and has subsequently been broadcast on HDNet  CBC Bold Rave HD Sky Arts, VTR Chile, and Mezzo TV. The programs are filmed at Toronto’s Berkeley Church performance and event venue.

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Ulmer’s work has varied in quality over the years. In 1987, with the cooperative group Phalanx (George Adams, tenor sax; Sirone, bass; and Rashied Ali, drums), Ulmer drew successfully on the free jazz expressionism that made his name. Generally, however, Ulmer’s interest in out jazz waned in the ’80s and ’90s, to the extent that his music became progressively more structured, rhythmically regular, and (arguably) less inventive. Much of his later work bears scant resemblance to the edgy free jazz he played earlier. Nevertheless, ’90s recordings with the Music Revelation Ensemble showed him still capable of playing convincingly in that vein.

-Chris Kelsey, All Music Guide

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Solos: The Jazz Sessions spotlights unaccompanied performances by some of the legends and bright young stars of the jazz world.

Over nearly half a century, composer – pianist – ensemble leader Andrew has gained international jazz renown for his uniquely original music and recorded ouevre, which is by turns dark, fragile, funny, stark, unforgettable tuneful, percussive, insightful, oblique and mysterious. http://www.solosjazz.com/a_andrew.php

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“…(A) beautiful and new experience. It has the heart of klezmer music, which Mr. Statman, a clarinet and mandolin virtuoso, is most famous for performing, but it’s not klezmer. It has the spirit of the border-pushing jazz of the 60’s, but it’s not really jazz either. It’s the music of Jewish mystics, but interpreted not as a tradition to be preserved but as a spiritual path to be followed in as personal a manner as possible.” (The New York Times)

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“Mehldau has two sides to his musical personality that form a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser, and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination for the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays.” http://www.solosjazz.com/a_brad.php

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“Over the last ten years, Cyro Baptista, creator of the 10-piece percussion ensemble Beat The Donkey has emerged as one of the premier percussionists in the country. Coinciding with the public interest in World Music, Cyro’s skills on the complete range of percussion instruments from his native Brazil, as well as instruments from all over the world and many he creates himself, have catapulted him into world renown.” http://www.solosjazz.com/a_cyro.php

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As a member of the “house rhythm section” at Toronto’s Bourbon Street Jazz Club he worked (and recorded *) with such Jazz Celebrities as Paul Desmond *, Jim Hall *, Milt Jackson *, Art Farmer, James Moody, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry, Harry Edison, Frank Rosolino *, Slide Hampton, Lee Konitz and Abbey Lincoln, and appeared at other venues with Sarah Vaughan, Red Rodney, Joe Henderson, Dewey Redman, Red Mitchell, Sheila Jordan and Kenny Wheeler. http://www.solosjazz.com/a_don.php

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“While each and every one of Jacky Terrasson’s eight Blue Note Records releases is unique in its own devilish fashion, one thing can be said time and again about his style: It has a tendency to delight as it unconventionally upends conventional material. With the release of Smile, Blue Note announces an electrifying set produced by the acclaimed pianist and Terrasson manager Christophe Deghelt.

Featuring a typically eclectic array of standards, both classic and contemporary, Smile also features Terrasson’s own “59” to round out the program. The 37-year-old pianist is at home in any generation, whether he’s playing ageless standards like “Autumn Leaves” and “My Funny Valentine,” exotic rarities like “Sous le Ciel de Paris,” or Bill Lee’s “Mo Better Blues” from filmmaker Spike Lee’s movie of the same name.” http://www.solosjazz.com/a_jacky.php

Breit, who recently finished a year long tour as part of the Norah Jones band as well as writing music and performing on both of her best-selling albums, has released several of his own albums, which are sold at gigs and at local record shops. The money from sales goes toward making the next album.

“That’s all I want to do,” Breit says. “It would be great to make a living at it, but I know what I’d have to do.”

Signing with a major lable would inevitably require Breit to incorporate commercial considerations into his artistic concerns – adding vocals, for example, to make the music more marketable.

“It’s too much buisness. I like pretending that I have a lable, even though it’s a little delusional.”http://www.solosjazz.com/a_kevin.php

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Saxophonist Greg Osby is a musician who doesn’t believe in standing still. Born in St. Louis in 1960, Osby became one of the founders of the influential, innovative M-Base musical collective in New York City in the late 1980s. Osby has also produced one of the most interesting, diverse series of recordings in jazz over the past 15 years – most of it released on the prestigious Blue Note label. Now in his early forties, Osby continues to challenge the musical status quo while also serving as a valuable role model and resource for talented younger musicians.

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“Lee Konitz recordings have ranged from cool bop to thoughtful free improvisations and his Milestone set of Duets (1967) is a classic. In the late ’70s Konitz led a notable Nonet and in 1992 he won the prestigious Jazzpar Prize. “http://www.solosjazz.com/a_lee.php

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“Matt Wilson is highly regarded as a drummer, composer, bandleader, producer and educator. He was recently voted #1 Rising Star Drummer in the 2004 DOWNBEAT International Critic’s Poll for the second year in a row and placed prominently in the categories for Drums, Rising Star Jazz Artist, Rising Star Composer and Rising Star Acoustic Jazz Group for the Matt Wilson Quartet. He was also nominated for Jazz Drummer of The Year by the Jazz Journalists.” http://www.solosjazz.com/a_matt.php

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Prince can heat up a Detroit night with his slippery tongue and quivering guitar vamps. Trumpet player Steven Bernstein can do as much for a New York jazz club with his slide trumpet and an eight-piece band. On one of his Monday night residency performances last month at the Jazz Standard, Bernstein’s group the Millennial Territory Orchestra covered
“Darling Nikki”. Prince’s lithe, grinding seductress from the hotel lobby vanished. In her place strolled in a burlesque queen from the 30s. She made you shudder with a flash of her garter. That’s what happens when Bernstein decides a melody’s strong enough for one of his bands. You think something can’t get any sexier. Add seductively sloppy strings and brass and an audience can barely handle itself. http://www.solosjazz.com/a_steven.php

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SOLOS: the jazz sessions is the exclusive home for one of the most exciting series of JAZZ DVDs of our time. Bill Frisell SOLOS. Lee Konitz, Greg Osby, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, John Abercrombie, James Blood Ulmer, Andrew Hill, Charlie Hunter, Phil Dwyer, Mark Turner, Mike Murley and many more legends and future stars of this great music we call jazz. Have a look around, watch a few videos, visit the store, and read about some of the great artists who have appeared on this 39 episode HDTV music performance/profile series.

Each episode features complete musical pieces, insightful interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Designed and recorded for the viewer at home, SOLOS offers a front row seat for an intimate and unique jazz experience.

Shot in stunning HDTV with multiple moving cameras and a medley of elegant, cinematic lighting designs, SOLOS: the jazz sessions showcases an exciting and dynamic variety of jazz styles – from the blues and boogie-woogie to bebop and beyond.

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A rare solo session with Frisell, Solos features an intimate look into his electric guitar and looping wizardry, and includes an exclusive interview with Frisell.

On the taping of Solos Frisell comments, “It’s a weird thing playing solo. I live for the interaction with other musicians because when you put something out there, you get something in return, and you are able to build momentum. When you perform solo, it just goes out into space, and you have to come up with ideas right away to follow it up. I learned to allow silence when playing by myself. There’s really something special about one person sitting and playing guitar. I’m really happy with how this project turned out.”

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SOLO INVENTIONS –
Review by John Kelman/All About Jazz

While Charlie Hunter has already released a concert DVD, featuring him in solo, trio and quintet settings, Solo Inventions is anything but redundant. First, this 50-minute DVD—produced as part of Original Spin Media’s “Solos: The Jazz Sessions” series—documents Hunter’s continued growth on his unique eight-string instrument, combining elements of electric bass and guitar. Second, it includes brief interview segments that shed light on Hunter’s development and, perhaps most importantly, how he in fact views his instrument as a separate entity rather merely a poor cousin of a hybrid—not enough guitar and not enough bass as he claims some levy as criticism.

Venue: Berkeley Church

Still Photography : Gary Taylor