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John Barron’s insightful review of Fowser/Gillece “Little Echo”….

Ken Fowser & Behn Gillece – Little Echo – Posi-Tone PR8068, 51:45 *****:
(Ken Fowser, tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece, vibraphone; Rick Germanson, piano; Ugonna Okegwo, bass; Quincy Davis, drums)

Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece, two very promising young artists on the Posi-tone label, have added another feather to their cap with Little Echo, their first album made up entirely of new compositions. Fowser on tenor sax and Gillece on vibraphone lead the band, backed by Rick Germanson on piano, Quincy Davis on drums, and Ugonna Okegwo on bass. The rhythm section is tight but subtle, letting the lively and bright melodies take the focus. Throughout much of the album, Germanson on piano forms the backbone of the melody while Fowser and Gillece elaborate. Fowser is excellent, but Gillece especially is a player to remember, with a strong succinct touch and a way of lodging melodies firmly in your head.

The two young players also have an excellent team behind the boards in producer Marc Free and engineer Nick O’Toole. The piano and vibraphone are beautifully captured in the recording, with a shimmering sound that is often lost in digital recording. The quality of the recording also lends the album a nostalgic cast, with the tracks sounding more like 1950s recordings than anything else.

The first two tracks are something of a piece, with melodic themes that complement each other. Resolutions and Ninety Five both feature busy but sunny themes that Fowser and Gillece take in different directions. Fowser deepens the sound and grooves, while Gillece keeps things quick and flowing, with an infectious sound that makes the listener want to throw a party.

Sap and Vigilance have slightly more complex structures and a little more rhythmic meat on their bones, and the band adapts easily. Vigilance is a particularly great composition, and if any filmmakers are listening they should keep these two on a short list for soundtrack work based on this number.

Another View closes out the album. Germanson has a fantastic solo early in the song, but its Gillece’s solo around the two and a half minute mark that steals the show.
Buy Little Echo, play it for company, and spread the word about these exciting young jazz artists.

TrackList: Resolutions, Ninety Five, Sap, The Dog Days, Vigilance, Little Echo, One Step At A Time, You, Another View

– Ethan Krow

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Audiophile Audition weighs in favorably on Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece’s latest CD “Little Echo”…


Ken Fowser & Behn Gillece – Little Echo – Posi-Tone PR8068, 51:45 *****:
(Ken Fowser, tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece, vibraphone; Rick Germanson, piano; Ugonna Okegwo, bass; Quincy Davis, drums)

Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece, two very promising young artists on the Posi-tone label, have added another feather to their cap with Little Echo, their first album made up entirely of new compositions. Fowser on tenor sax and Gillece on vibraphone lead the band, backed by Rick Germanson on piano, Quincy Davis on drums, and Ugonna Okegwo on bass. The rhythm section is tight but subtle, letting the lively and bright melodies take the focus. Throughout much of the album, Germanson on piano forms the backbone of the melody while Fowser and Gillece elaborate. Fowser is excellent, but Gillece especially is a player to remember, with a strong succinct touch and a way of lodging melodies firmly in your head.

The two young players also have an excellent team behind the boards in producer Marc Free and engineer Nick O’Toole. The piano and vibraphone are beautifully captured in the recording, with a shimmering sound that is often lost in digital recording. The quality of the recording also lends the album a nostalgic cast, with the tracks sounding more like 1950s recordings than anything else.

The first two tracks are something of a piece, with melodic themes that complement each other. Resolutions and Ninety Five both feature busy but sunny themes that Fowser and Gillece take in different directions. Fowser deepens the sound and grooves, while Gillece keeps things quick and flowing, with an infectious sound that makes the listener want to throw a party.

Sap and Vigilance have slightly more complex structures and a little more rhythmic meat on their bones, and the band adapts easily. Vigilance is a particularly great composition, and if any filmmakers are listening they should keep these two on a short list for soundtrack work based on this number.

Another View closes out the album. Germanson has a fantastic solo early in the song, but its Gillece’s solo around the two and a half minute mark that steals the show.
Buy Little Echo, play it for company, and spread the word about these exciting young jazz artists.

TrackList: Resolutions, Ninety Five, Sap, The Dog Days, Vigilance, Little Echo, One Step At A Time, You, Another View

– Ethan Krow

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An interesting review of Ken Fowser / Behn Gillece “Little Echo” by AAJ Contributor Dan Bilawsky…

by Dan Bilawsky
Tenor saxophone and vibraphone frontlines—while not as commonplace as two horn teams—have their place in history. Lionel Hampton and Stan Getz had a marvelous meeting in the studio and Milt Jackson recorded with Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane, on different occasions. Bobby Hutcherson added to this legacy, working with Dexter Gordon and maintaining a fruitful partnership with Harold Land, and now tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser and vibraphonist Behn Gillece are furthering this legacy.Little Echo is the sophomore release from this pair and they use this opportunity to showcase their writing—with all nine songs co-credited to both men—as well as their playing. “Resolutions,” wisely selected as the opener, might be the catchiest song on the album. “Ninety Five” and the title track both possess a similar, steady eighth note groove—provided by drummer Quincy Davis—that’s underscored by repetitive bass lines from Ugonna Okegwo. This combination helps lock things in beneath the soloists, acting as a grounding force. Pianist Rick Germanson has a killer descending run during his solo on the latter tune, but “Ninety Five” is the far more gratifying performance on the whole.

“Sap” begins with some musical questions being asked—with appropriate pauses after these lines—and Germanson’s questions seem to be the most ominous in nature. Once the solos start, everybody—save Okegwo—gets a chance to let loose and nobody wastes the opportunity. “The Dog Days” is a molasses-slow ballad that makes brilliant use of the less-is-more approach. Fowser’s solo starts off with an aching delivery and Germanson sticks to impressionistic statements, with some bluesy licks thrown in to spice things up. While Gillece’s soloing seems a bit aimless on this one, he more than makes up for it on “Vigilance.” Okegwo’s slick bass work sets the tone for the piece, but Fowser and Gillece steal the attention away from him with their seemingly effortless run through the tricky rhythmic line they created. Once they make their way down this path, the solos begin and Gillece sounds phenomenal when he and Fowser begin to tangle their lines around one another.

“You” has a buoyant, uplifting sound that’s wholly unique to this album. While Fowser and Gillece let the music breath and fly, Davis holds it in place with some heavy-handed playing. Okegwo’s reputation as one of the most supportive bassists around is upheld on this record and, just when it appears the spotlight eludes him, he finally gets a chance to step out and solo on the album closer, “Another View.” Much of this music has a timeless quality about it and little echoes of the giants listed above come through on Little Echo.

Track listing: Resolutions; Ninety Five; Sap; The Dog Days; Vigilance; Little Echo; One Step At A Time; You; Another View.

Personnel: Ken Fowser: tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece: vibraphone; Rick Germanson: piano; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Quincy Davis: drums.

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SomethingElse! reviews “Little Echo”…

somethingelsereviews.com

It’s not unusual at all for the tenor sax and the vibraphone to appear on the same jazz record; we’ve heard these on countless jazz recordings. But by co-leading a record, saxophonist Ken Fowser and vibraphonist Behn Gillece gives us fairly rare opportunity to hear both instruments as the two lead voices sharing equal billing. Little Echo, which went on sale last Tuesday, is in fact the second album by this emerging duo, Full Viewbeing their first.

Don’t let the youthfullness of these fellows fool you, Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece have played jazz together since they were teenagers growing up in the Philadelphia area in the 90s. In NYC since 2006, they have quickly established themselves there, finding much success with their debut record Full View, released at the beginning of last year. And now there are back with more.

Fowser and Gillece are of one mind when it comes to their concept of jazz. Their small-combo mainstream style places a strong emphasis on swing, and everything they do with their music starts there. Backing up these two gentlemen on Little Echo are bassist Ugonna Okegwo, drummer Quincy Davis and Rick Germanson (who released the first-rate Off The Cuff album last year) on piano. Though this is a different lineup from their previous record, Fowser and Gillece again freshen up the classic jazz concept with nine classic-sounding originals.

“Resolutions” sets the tone with a snappy, well-defined bebop head that’s stated by both leaders and used as a launching point for solos by Fowser, Gillece and Germanson that are crisp and to the point. The program continues with the same kind of pleasing, unfussy brand of modern jazz composed by either Fowser or Gillece: Fowser’s “Ninety Five” follows the same formula as “Resolutions,” but with a slower, mid-tempo pace; Gillece’s “Sap” starts off with a knotty intro consisting of some harmonic somersaults before kicking it into a snappy, 2/4 groove. “Dog Days,” also written by Gillece, is a ballad, and not surprisingly at all, the duo shows they are quite good at playing it soft and sultry when soft and sultry is called for.

“Vigilance” is another burner, but also a tune where shifting time signatures are used effectively. Fowser and Gillece harmonize the tricky lines well, and Fowser’s big, soulful tone followed by Gillece’s thoughtful lines that have echoes of both Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson. And speaking of “echoes,” the extended title track, written by Gillece, cooks along at a medium stride and allows for lengthy improviding by Gillece, Fowser, Germanson and, briefly, Davis. The last three remaining tracks “One Step At Time,” “You” and “Another View” continue in the same vein as the prior tracks, delivering strong melodies and solid chops amply supported by the Okegwo/Davis rhythm section.

Fowser and Gillece subscribe to the “two heads are better than one” theory, and it’s clear from my ears that this theory has worked out well in practice. Little Echo, like their first release Full View, is another quality release coming from Posi-Tone Records.

 

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Heres an AAJ article about a bunch of new albums featuring vibes including our very own “Full View” by Ken Fowser/Behn Gillece….

www.allaboutjazz.com

by Graham L. Flanagan

The vibraphones often create the über-cool “lounge” sound at cocktail parties but don’t pigeonhole the instrument as a gimmicky mood inducer. Legends like Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Cal Tjader and Bobby Hutcherson inhabit the pantheon of the instrument’s alltime heroes. Not surprisingly, myriad players inspired by those greats are doing their best to join that impressive list. Five new releases featuring three vets, a legend and a newcomer prove that the list might begin to grow soon.

Jay Hoggard continues his prolific streak as a leader with Soular Power. With support from James Weidman (piano/organ), Belden Bullock (bass) and Yoron Israel (drums), the session features 11 of his own compositions and one standard (“On a Clear Day”). That classic Lane-Lerner tune stands out as one of the most enjoyable numbers, the interplay between the leader and Weidman recalling the collaboration of Bobby Hutcherson and Larry Young on the Grant Green album Street of Dreams.

Benny Golson protégé Joe Baione delivers his second album as a leader with Oh Yeah!, a happy, up-tempo set perfect for the summer jazz season. Baione leads an inspired combo featuring Toru Dodo (piano), Jorge Castro (tenor sax), Andrae Murchison (trombone) Corcoran Holt (bass) and drummer Jerome Jennings. They run through three standards: a funky arrangement of “All Blues,” a very low-key “Prelude to a Kiss” and a tribute to one of the instrument’s pioneers, Milt Jackson’s “Bag’s Groove”. The leader’s penchant for Latin and Caribbean rhythms surfaces on the songs “‘J’ Bossa” (which he arranged with his clarinetist father) and “Coconut Island”. The latter sees Baione switch to the marimba, resulting in a tropical experience highly reminiscent of “St. Thomas”.

The most challenging of the five new releases is vibraphonist Behn Gillece’s Full View, co-led with tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser. Accompanied by David Hazeltine (piano), Adam Cote (bass) and Paul Francis (drums), these newcomers exude a chemistry reminiscent of Dexter Gordon and Hutcherson on Gettin’ Around. Gordon is no doubt an influence on Fowser’s round, warm tone that mirrors that of the “long tall” legend. Gillece also pays homage with his brisk, slightly modal “The Hutch”. The complex, polyrhythmic number includes focused soloing from the whole team.

At one point, Mark Sherman aspired to be a drummer. Known as a disciple of Elvin Jones, he was drawn to the vibes and the instrument soon gained a new virtuoso worthy of Hampton, Hutcherson and Jackson. Recorded in Basel, Switzerland, Sherman’s double live album Live @ The Bird’s Eye supplies nearly two hours of great straight-ahead jazz, mixing Sherman originals with a few standards. The group isn’t afraid to improvise; many of the tunes go beyond ten minutes, but you’re guaranteed not to mind. The leader gets top-grade support from Allen Farnham (piano), Dean Johnson (bass) and Tim Horner (drums).

After he’d established himself in the late ’60s as one of the top vibraphonists in exploratory soul jazz and right before he recorded one of the all-time greatest “blaxploitation” soundtracks with Coffy in 1973, Roy Ayers made a major impression in 1971 with Ubiquity. Here Ayers commands a larger ensemble than what had become his typical quartet and lays down a combination of funky instrumentals and more commercially-bent vocal numbers. Along with an airy interpretation of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” highlights include a handful of tracks where Ayers employs a fuzz box; normally used as a guitar accessory, it really comes in handy on the appropriately titled scorcher “The Fuzz”. As all five of these albums clearly illustrate, it’s a good time to be a fan of the vibes.

Tracks and Personnel

Soular Power

Tracks: Happy to Be Happy; On a Clear Day; Soular Power; You’re in My Heart All the Time; Blues Bags; Sweet Potato; Convergence of the Niles; Overview; God Will Guide; The Little Tiger; Mystic Winds/tropic Breezes; Prayin’ Out Loud.

Personnel: Jay Hoggard: vibes; James Weidman: piano/organ; Belden Bullock: bass; Yoron Israel: drums.

Oh Yeah!

Tracks: Oh Yeah!!!; Down Fuzz; The Stranger; Bag’s Groove; ”J” Bossa; Prelude To A Kiss; Coconut Island; All Blues; Oh Yeah!!! (Alt Take).

Personnel: Joe Baione: vibes; Toru Dodo: piano; Jorge Castro: tenor sax; Andrae Murchison: trombone; Corcoran Holt: bass; Jerome Jennings: drums.

Full View

Tracks: Bittersweet; The Hutch; Act Of Disguise; Soul Eyes; Two Pair; Just In Time; Crisis Averted.

Personnel: Ken Fowser: tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece: vibraphone; David Hazeltine: piano; Adam Cote: bass; Paul Francis: drums.

Live @The Bird’s Eye

Tracks: CD 1: Tip Top Blues; The Winning life; Trust; Hope; Hardship. CD 2: Explorations; You Don’t Know What love Is; There Is No Greater Love; Tip Top Rhythm; Moon River.

Personnel: Mark Sherman: vibraphone; Allen Farnham: piano; Dean Johnson: bass; Tim Horner: drums.

Ubiquity

Tracks: Pretty Brown Skin; Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head; I Can’t Help Myself; Love; The Fuzz; Hummin’; Can You Dig It?; Painted Desert; He Gives Us All His Love.

Personnel: Roy Ayers: vocals, vibraphone; Edwin Birdsong: vocals, organ; Richie Resnicoff: guitar; Harry Whitaker, Bill Henderson: electric piano; John Williams: electric bass; Alphonse Mouzon: drums; Jumma Santos: conga drum.

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Here’s a review of Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece’s debut effort “Full View”….

100greatestjazzalbums.blogspot.com
Ken Fowser / Behn Gillece – Full View

Release date: April 21st 2009

Availability: CD, MP3 Download, iTunes

Posi-tone, the small independent jazz label from Venice Beach, California, is releasing cutting edge straight ahead jazz and making quite a name for itself.

Ken Fowser / Behn Gillece’s ‘Full View’ is a great example that kicks off with a blistering take on Sam Jones’ “Bittersweet”, moves neatly through a reflective version of Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” – without having to make reference to John Coltrane – and includes an inventive version of the Styne/Green/Comden standard “Just In Time”. On the way there is a wealth of strong self-composed material in what is a fine album of high achievement.

The band – Ken Fowser (tenor sax), Behn Gillece (vibes), David Hazeltine (piano), Adam Cote (bass), Paul Francis (drums) – is blessed with fine understanding, particularly with the inspiring contribution of David Hazeltine.

Ken Fowser, from Philadelphia, studied music at University of the Arts, jamming at Chris’ Jazz Café and Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus before moving to New York, for a Masters at William Paterson University and private lessons with Eric Alexander and Ralph Lalama.

Behn Gillece, also from Philadelphia, who claims Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson as influences, completed his Masters at SUNY Purchase College in 2008 and is author of a number of the self compositions.

You can hear good quality extracts from a number of the tracks on the Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece websites.

Great stuff!

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Vibin’: Ken Fowser/Behn Gillece

www.allaboutjazz.com

The vibraphones often create the über-cool “lounge” sound at cocktail parties but don’t pigeonhole the instrument as a gimmicky mood inducer. Legends like Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Cal Tjader and Bobby Hutcherson inhabit the pantheon of the instrument’s alltime heroes. Not surprisingly, myriad players inspired by those greats are doing their best to join that impressive list. Five new releases featuring three vets, a legend and a newcomer prove that the list might begin to grow soon.

Jay Hoggard continues his prolific streak as a leader with Soular Power. With support from James Weidman(piano/organ), Belden Bullock (bass) and Yoron Israel (drums), the session features 11 of his own compositions and one standard (“On a Clear Day”). That classic Lane-Lerner tune stands out as one of the most enjoyable numbers, the interplay between the leader and Weidman recalling the collaboration of Bobby Hutcherson and Larry Young on the Grant Green album Street of Dreams.

Benny Golson protégé Joe Baione delivers his second album as a leader with Oh Yeah!, a happy, up-tempo set perfect for the summer jazz season. Baione leads an inspired combo featuring Toru Dodo (piano), Jorge Castro(tenor sax), Andrae Murchison (trombone) Corcoran Holt (bass) and drummer Jerome Jennings. They run through three standards: a funky arrangement of “All Blues,” a very low-key “Prelude to a Kiss” and a tribute to one of the instrument’s pioneers, Milt Jackson’s “Bag’s Groove”. The leader’s penchant for Latin and Caribbean rhythms surfaces on the songs “‘J’ Bossa” (which he arranged with his clarinetist father) and “Coconut Island”. The latter sees Baione switch to the marimba, resulting in a tropical experience highly reminiscent of “St. Thomas”.

The most challenging of the five new releases is vibraphonist Behn Gillece‘s Full View, co-led with tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser. Accompanied by David Hazeltine (piano), Adam Cote (bass) and Paul Francis (drums), these newcomers exude a chemistry reminiscent of Dexter Gordon and Hutcherson on Gettin’ Around. Gordon is no doubt an influence on Fowser’s round, warm tone that mirrors that of the “long tall” legend. Gillece also pays homage with his brisk, slightly modal “The Hutch”. The complex, polyrhythmic number includes focused soloing from the whole team.

At one point, Mark Sherman aspired to be a drummer. Known as a disciple of Elvin Jones, he was drawn to the vibes and the instrument soon gained a new virtuoso worthy of Hampton, Hutcherson and Jackson. Recorded in Basel, Switzerland, Sherman’s double live album Live @ The Bird’s Eye supplies nearly two hours of great straight-ahead jazz, mixing Sherman originals with a few standards. The group isn’t afraid to improvise; many of the tunes go beyond ten minutes, but you’re guaranteed not to mind. The leader gets top-grade support fromAllen Farnham (piano), Dean Johnson (bass) and Tim Horner (drums).

After he’d established himself in the late ’60s as one of the top vibraphonists in exploratory soul jazz and right before he recorded one of the all-time greatest “blaxploitation” soundtracks with Coffy in 1973, Roy Ayers made a major impression in 1971 with Ubiquity. Here Ayers commands a larger ensemble than what had become his typical quartet and lays down a combination of funky instrumentals and more commercially-bent vocal numbers. Along with an airy interpretation of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” highlights include a handful of tracks where Ayers employs a fuzz box; normally used as a guitar accessory, it really comes in handy on the appropriately titled scorcher “The Fuzz”. As all five of these albums clearly illustrate, it’s a good time to be a fan of the vibes.

 

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Ken Fowser/Behn Gillece Quintet wins Generations International Competition for Emerging Jazz Combos at Yoshi’s San Francisco

www.creativearts.sfsu.edu

A fiery performance before a packed house at the Generations Project “Battle of the Combos” at Yoshi’s San Francisco on Thursday night, May 7, propelled the Ken Fowser/Behn Gillece Quintet to victory in the second annual Generations International Competition for Emerging Combos, sponsored by the International Center for the Arts (ICA) at San Francisco State University. With its competition victory, the Fowser/Gillece Quintet earned a year-long fellowship at SF State, including mentoring by the veteran all-stars of the Generations Band, including Jimmy Cobb, Ray Drummond and Eric Alexander. Mentors and young musicians will convene several times during the coming year, with the Fellowship winners receiving invaluable insights on performing and the dynamics of band interaction and advice about the music industry.

Fowser/Gillece Quintet wins on musicianship and ensemble interplay

fowser gillece at yoshi'sIt was two New York City-based bands squaring off, as the Fowser/Gillece group, led by tenor saxophonist Ken Fowserand vibraphonist Behn Gillece,won the competition over the fine Bruce Harris Quintet. The Fowser/Gillece Quintet’s winning performance opened with a sly, energetic blues by the group’s pianist Jeremy Manasia, called “Jeremy’s Other Blues.” Gillece’s ringing vibes work and Fowser’s warm, muscular sound took hold of the audience immediately, and Manasia stormed the castle with a spry, multi-faceted solo, springing nimbly among cheerful musical ideas. Another highlight was “The Hutch,” Gillece’s tribute to vibes great Bobby Hutcherson. But while the quality of the playing by these three, as well as bassist Adam Cote and drummer Jason Brown, was high throughout the band’s set, it was the empathetic interplay among all five musicians that made the performance shine. It’s not surprising that this quintet had substantial team chemistry on display. They’ve been together long enough to have recorded a fine CD, Full View.

 

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Ken Fowser / Behn Gillece – Full View

100greatestjazzalbums.blogspot.com

Posi-tone, the small independent jazz label from Venice Beach, California, is releasing cutting edge straight ahead jazz and making quite a name for itself.

Ken Fowser / Behn Gillece’s ‘Full View’ is a great example that kicks off with a blistering take on Sam Jones’ “Bittersweet”, moves neatly through a reflective version of Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” – without having to make reference to John Coltrane – and includes an inventive version of the Styne/Green/Comden standard “Just In Time”. On the way there is a wealth of strong self-composed material in what is a fine album of high achievement.

The band – Ken Fowser (tenor sax), Behn Gillece (vibes), David Hazeltine (piano), Adam Cote (bass), Paul Francis (drums) – is blessed with fine understanding, particularly with the inspiring contribution of David Hazeltine.

Ken Fowser, from Philadelphia, studied music at University of the Arts, jamming at Chris’ Jazz Café and Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus before moving to New York, for a Masters at William Paterson University and private lessons with Eric Alexander and Ralph Lalama.

Behn Gillece, also from Philadelphia, who claims Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson as influences, completed his Masters at SUNY Purchase College in 2008 and is author of a number of the self compositions.

You can hear good quality extracts from a number of the tracks on the Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece websites.

Great stuff!