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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.

 

Posted on

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!