Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Featuring Dayna Stephens (tenor & baritone saxophones, EWI, synthesizer, bass-on trk 9), Brad Mehldau (piano, tack piano-trk 4), Julian Lage (guitar), Larry Grenadier (bass) & Eric Harland (drums & cymbals)
Available on Contagious Music - April 7, 2017

"Gratitude leaves a lasting impression swimming in honest emotion and beautiful sounds. Dayna Stephens' journey thankfully isn't over, and the results are something we can all be grateful for as well." - Geno Thackara, AllAboutJazz.com

"To hear his music is to fall in love . . ." - Hot House Magazine

"Tenorist Stephens emerges as an artist full of composure and imagination" - DownBeat Magazine

"Within the expanse of the jazz landscape, a limited handful of stunning newcomers emerge as exciting harbingers of the growing edge of jazz." "Everything flows with unusual fluency and makes you feel rewarded. The aesthetic catalyst is tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens, an intensely organic player" 
- Dr. Herb Wong

"He's a total genius!" - Tom Harrell 

"Dayna is one of the people who will move music to a new place. He drives the band as he drives himself. He puts us all to a different level.” - Taylor Eigsti 

"A saxophone star ready to go nova" - Jerry Karp (Freelance journalist)

Gratitude, saxophonist/composer/bandleader Dayna Stephens’ eighth album as a leader, is a gift from Stephens to the world, and to himself; simply an album of beautiful music played by a group of master musicians, led by one of the scene’s leading artists, that can be enjoyed by the connoisseur or the casual listener. And, on a deeper level, an expression of gratitude from the saxophonist, for the warmth, love, peace and strong connections he has shared with friends, family and fellow musicians, as he climbed his way back to health after fighting Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSG), a rare kidney disease.

Stephens elaborates, “one thing that unites every song on this record is they were all at one time or another ear worms that stuck around for a while, and often returned for lengthy stays. Another uniting factor is that they all have to my ear enchanting, beautiful singable melodies, and give me a strong sense of sentiment. When we recorded these songs I was conflictingly full of hope, peace and uncertainty. Hope that my years would be extended, peace that I was lucky to have made it that far with lots a great moments and experiences, despite the circumstances, and yet, uncertainty, because it wasn’t yet clear how the journey was going to continue. Now after receiving so much love and support from so many people in my life, I am saturated with immense gratitude, perhaps completing a circle that started with those ingredients. This collection of songs serves as an expression of that deep-seated gratitude.” 

Gratitude, featuring Dayna Stephens (tenor & baritone saxophones, EWI, synthesizer, bass-trk 9), Brad Mehldau (piano, tack piano-trk 4), Julian Lage (guitar), Larry Grenadier (bass) and Eric Harland (drums & cymbals), will be released on April 7, 2017 on Stephens’ new label, Contagious Music. Gratitude was masterfully produced by legendary producer, Matt Pierson, and Stephens and his band were guided by music from a number of incredible composers, such as Aaron Parks, Michelle Amador, Rebecca Martin, Billy Strayhorn, Louis Cole, Massimo Biolcati, Pat Metheny, Olivier Manchon and Julian Lage.

More About The Music on Gratitude With Dayna Stephens: Emilie was introduced to me by violinist/composer Olivier Manchon. He dedicates it to his sister Emilie and its got a nice, simple melody that when combined with the pleasantly unexpected harmony creates a beautiful song to connect with.

A dear friend, pianist Aaron Parks, wrote In A Garden. I’ve had the pleasure of playing the composition with him on several occasions and it often paints scenes for me one would find in a fantasy movie. Some of the visuals in the Robin Williams movie, What Dreams May Come, come to mind. 

Amber Is Falling (Red and Yellow) was written by vocalist/composer Michelle Amador, and has been on my list of favorites since the mid 2000s when we played it in San Francisco with her group, Michelle Amador and the True Believers. 

The Timbre of Gratitude is the only original song of mine on Gratitude. In a loose way the happy sounding beginnings of each new section represent the many positive moments of encouragement I have received throughout my journey thus far. 

Don’t Mean a Thing at All is a song written by the wonderful vocalist/songwriter, Rebecca Martin. I first heard her sing it in a duo setting with our bassist, and her husband, Larry Grenadier, and immediately fell in love with its melody and lyric. 

Woodside Waltz refers to a city in Northern California called Woodside, which has tons of scenic views of the SF Bay through tall redwood trees. While recording it we discovered that the recording studio (The Club House in Rhinebeck, NY) had a tack piano, which was perfect for bringing out the essence of this gem written by our guitarist, Julian Lage. The entire band was even willing to tune down our instruments, a dozen cents flat or so, to match the tuning of the piano, which hadn’t been given any TLC in some time.

We Had A Sister is a hauntingly beautiful song by Pat Metheny.  I first heard this tune, as a young, fledgling saxophone student, on Joshua Redman’s second release, Wish. Since that time it’s remained a song I’ve wanted to record.  

Isfahan is one of many masterpieces by the great Billy Strayhorn. I’m reminded of Joe Henderson's version he recorded on his album, Lush Life-The Music of Billy Strayhorn. I really admire how personal and intimate Henderson’s playing was, which is why I felt it was a good idea to do this one as a trio with Larry and Julian.

Clouds is one title for two songs written by two composers, bassist/composer Massimo Biolcati and drummer/producer/composer Louis Cole. Biolcati’s melody, a tune I’ve played many times while we were both in the Monk Institute, is full of nice, intricate surprises. Cole’s version was my introduction to his unique, magical sonic world, which I have since become a huge fan off.

Please Visit: www.DaynaStephens.net

Press Enquiries on DAYNA STEPHENS, GRATITUDE and Contagious Music:
Please Contact Jason Paul Harman Byrne @ Red Cat Publicity

Tel 646 259 2105, Email redcatjazz@mac.com, www.redcatontheloose.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

For Release on Red Piano Records – April 14, 2017: Tetraptych is Bert Seager - piano/compositions, Hery Paz - tenor saxophone, Max Ridley - upright bass & Dor Herskovits - drums

For Release on Red Piano Records – April 14, 2017:
Tetraptych is Bert Seager - piano/compositions, Hery Paz - tenor saxophone,
Max Ridley - upright bass & Dor Herskovits - drums
Tetraptych is also the name of their new recording!

Tetraptych is the work of a true working band. The superb strengths of the individual players - Hery Paz is a revelation and the rhythm section is marvelous - are always in service of the music. I have followed Bert Seager for 30 years, and I feel that this the strongest project yet from an artist who is always searching for a more personal expression. A wonderful album in every way.” – Fred Hersch

"There’s not only smart and well-crafted modern jazz present, but innate beauty and serene confidence in Seager’s music." – Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

"Seager has distilled his lyrical approach into perfectly balanced and unfailingly beautiful music full of quiet subtleties.”
Ed Hazell, The Boston Phoenix

“Seager's group balances fresh immediacy and a whiff of nostalgia”John S. Wilson, The New York Times

For Immediate Release: Grounded in the lineage of the modern jazz saxophone quartet, Tetraptych brings a breathing conversant quality to the music, where movement, playfulness, sensitivity, and deep groove are ever-present in an openhearted chemistry. These core musical values come to life as the musicians relate and venture into uncharted territory.

In 2015, shortly after their second engagement, these four musicians established a monthly residency that includes two recurring gigs. For the past 20 months, they have been getting together for a few intensive consecutive days of music making, rehearsal, discussion, neighborhood walks, and meals, nurturing both their friendships and a musical vision that has been transformative. They perform monthly at The Lilypad, which has been an essential venue for the creative music scene in Boston, and at Spice, in Ipswich, MA, in a bi-weekly jazz series that Bert Seager started six years ago.

The name of the band is Tetraptych (pronounced “Te-trup-tick”). The word refers to a four-paneled painting where each panel can stand on its own. Seen together, the panorama of panels gives greater meaning to the interaction of the parts. The music is democratic. Ones attention moves from instrument to instrument, panel to panel, as the collective improvisation unfolds.

The band prominently features New York City-based Hery Paz on tenor saxophone. Each one of his solos is imbued with a depth of purpose, a sense of patience and a willingness to venture into the unknown. This commitment reflects the essential inner resources that were required of him during his family’s harrowing emigration from Cuba and subsequent struggle here in the United States.

Listen particularly to his solo on Star Wise: by the third chorus Paz has already left the prescribed harmonies far behind. You can still follow his melodic line and grasp the song form, but also sense that he has moved to distantly related keys, creating a tension and energy that makes something entirely new of these chord changes (based on the jazz standard “Star Eyes”). Max Ridley, bassist, immediately joins him in the new keys when Seager drops out. Ridley’s musical intuition is a towering force on this CD - perhaps a reflection of his 6 foot 4 inch frame! He is exquisitely attuned to the shifts in harmony that Paz and Seager supply, all while appearing to get there before they do. 

Israeli-born drummer Dor Herskovits is constantly breaking open and reassembling the time feels he is playing, moving the music to new territory, and helping the band create a coherent dramatic story. Notice how his accompaniment evolves and helps shape Paz’s solo on the first tune, Welcoming the Water. 

Bert Seager wrote all of the songs on this recording except for the free improvisation named Equanimous Botch. It was the first thing they played in the studio for their sound check. They wanted to make sure they could hear each other in the big beautiful room at Futura, and playing free seemed the perfect vehicle for that.

The last tune on this CD, Blues You Can Use, was the closer in their two-day recording session. There is a deceptive simplicity in the way the groove disguises the 3/4 time signature. One senses the joy they feel as a band exploring new places and energies in a familiar form. 

Bert Seager writes, “The evolution of this music, our sound, and approach to the repertoire is nurtured by our collaboration. We deconstruct our tunes, paring down the elements, inventing new structures, making new combinations, leaving some parts aside to work more deeply with others. The resulting music has a feeling and movement that goes far beyond the musical scores that I write for the band. Our performances reflect an even greater willingness to open – and even surrender – to the higher intentions of our musical purpose, often leaving the planned behind.”

Upcoming Performances:
First Wednesday of each month @ The Lilypad, Inman Square, Cambridge, MA  

First Thursday of each month @ Spice, Depot Square, Ipswich MA

CD release concert - Mandorla Music, Somerville, MA on April 15, 2017

More about the musicians in Tetraptych:
Pianist and composer Bert Seager has been a leading player on the jazz scene in Boston since 1981. His sixteen compact discs as a leader have won him unanimous critical acclaim from the New York Times, Keyboard Magazine, The Boston Globe, and many other publications.  He has performed and recorded with Joe Lovano, Tim Hagans, George Garzone, Bob Moses, Joe Hunt, Jorge Roeder, and Richie Barshay.

Cuban-born tenor saxophonist Hery Paz is currently working in the creative music scene in New York City, playing gigs with Francisco Mela, Gerald Canon, Joe Morris, Kris Davis, and Frank Carlberg. He has performed at Smalls and Cornelia Street Cafe, and at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy.

Drummer Dor Herskovits was born and raised in Israel. Since his arrival to the US in 2010, he has established himself as a sought-after performer, both as a sideman and leader. Dor has performed with George Garzone, Dave Liebman, Daniel Rotem and Jason Palmer. In 2016 several of his own compositions were featured on the CD “Earprint,” named for the modern jazz collective of which he is a founding member.

Bassist Max Ridley is a Boston-based musician who has performed with Kenny Werner, Ingrid Jensen, George Garzone, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Ra-Kalam Bob Moses.  He is part of  The Factory Quartet, The Organically Grown Big Band, and leads his own Basement Show Philharmonic.

Please Visit: www.redpianorecords.com

Press Enquiries on Red Piano Records: Jason Paul Harman Byrne @ Red Cat Publicity

Email Redcatjazz@mac.com, Tel 646 259 2105, www.RedCatOnTheLoose.blogspot.com