Happy to be sharing advance word that my Deep River CD - which re-imagines American roots music for large jazz ensemble with vocalists - will be released in a recording by the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra on September 8, 2015. And, excited to announce CD release concerts with Aardvark scheduled for September 12 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and October 8 at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston.

Deep River is a multi-movement jazz suite that brings a contemporary, jazz-informed lens to a diverse set of four American traditional songs of the 1920s and 1930s.

The haunting Deep River Blues was originally recorded by the Delmore Brothers, but is best known in versions by Doc Watson. Old Country Stomp is an energetic dance tune found on a recording by the itinerant Texan, Henry Thomas, complete with transcription of a rare "quills" solo (here played on piccolo). Wake Up Jacob is an unusually loose and fluid fiddle tune recorded by Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers. The bluesy, troubled Make Me a Pallet On Your Floor is most closely associated with Mississippi John Hurt.

Deep River treats these inspired, historically rich songs at times abstractly, at times as springboards for Aardvark's inventive improvisers, and finally in surprising though recognizable settings featuring, on the CD, Aardvark's outstanding guest vocalists Marcia Gallagher and Timothy Johnson. (Timothy Johnson will join Aardvark's regular vocalist Grace Hughes at Bowdoin.  Both regular vocalists, Grace Hughes and Jerry Edwards, will be on hand at Scullers.)

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  • Apr 7
    Kresge Auditorium @ MIT,  Boston