Category Archives: Jazz

A Tree Grows – Wau Wau Water (Rufftone Records 25 November 2016)

A Tree Grows Delivers Sublime Jazz-Laced Fusion With New ‘Wau Wau Water’ single.


In advance of announcing their debut album through Rufftone Records, Brooklyn-based A Tree Grows present ‘Wau Wau Water, the first single from their self-titled debut EP. Involving some of the most talented musicians on the New York scene, they create a unique stew with jazz at its core, blended with afrobeat, rock and experimental sounds. 
Each composition on this coming LP surrounds a difference concept, describing a distinct state in the evolution of life on earth. The images are snapshots, extending from the beginning of life to the emergence of emotions, to aspects of modern human life. The cycle closes with possibilities for future development: self perpetuating intelligence. The composition Wau Wau Water is based on the following concept: “Enzymes are forming in a prehistoric ocean – evolving into bacteria. A stew of life is brewing, the cycle starts and intensifies in this patch of fertile Wau Wau Water.”
“Defining and discussing these concepts during the rehearsal and recording process created a sense of purpose among the musicians and a deeper engagement with the compositions. This has transformed our creative process,” explains Emanuel Ruffler.
The accompanying video was created by acclaimed videographer Hideki Shiota, who has received the Best Cinematography Award at the Asian American International Film Festival.
A Tree Grows creates instrumental jazz-core music that tastefully crosses stylistic barriers. This unique collaboration involves two brothers – Rashaan Carter and Russell Carter – and German-born electronic musician Emanuel Ruffler. Together, they create sonic textures, over which Tivon Penicott and Duane Eubanks stretch a layer of raw, emotional jazz lines. Not afraid to defy expectations of style, instrumentation and expression, the unique style of each member of A Tree Grows makes for a potent sonic concoction that is refreshing, insightful, and deliciously exciting.
At the top of today’s young saxophone world, Tivon Pennicott brings fantastic rhythm, tasteful melodic lines and the deeply important groove. A two-time Grammy winner and runner-up in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Competition, he is also a prominent part of jazz-soul singer Gregory Porter‘s band. Arguably one of the decade’s most celebrated and genre-crossing artists, in the last few years, Gregory Porter performances have featured Tivon Pennicott on countless live and TV appearances across the globe. Hailing fron Georgia, Tivon began playing with guitar legend Kenny Burrell while still in college, performing at many of the world’s greatest venues alongside the likes of Stevie Wonder and Wynton Marsalis. Since moving to New York in 2009, he has collaborated with numerous artists, appeared on Esperanza Spalding‘s crossover success “Radio Music Society”, and toured with master drummer Al Foster, best known for his long-term collaboration with Miles Davis.
Emanuel Ruffler, a New York resident of more than 20 years, also comes with a colorful musical pedigree. After taking grand prize in the Thelonious Monk Competition, he has achieved songwriting credit on Me’shell Ndegocello’s ‘Aquarium’ and also collaborated with world-famous designer Emanuel Ungaro, which ultimately led to Ruffler soundtracking an ad for an Ungaro-produced perfume.
Rashaan and Russell Carter‘s love of music fostered by their saxophonist father and mother, a radio programmer. The bass ultimately became the voice for Rashaan’s musical expression with Russell on drums. They cut their teeth on the local Washington, D.C. scene with artists such as as Gary Thomas and after Rashaan moved to New York City to attend the New School University, he quickly began working with many faculty members, including percussionist and composer Joe Chambers. Rashaan met future bandmate Emanuel Ruffler at that time.
Trumpeter Duane Eubanks has performed everywhere from the Hollywood Bowl to Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center, in addition to Europe and Japan.  He is a member of Dave Holland’s two time Grammy Award winning big band and the late Mulgrew Miller‘s band, Wingspan. Having played with dozens of renowned figures in the jazz world, he has crossed over into other genres, recording and touring with The Temptations, Alicia Keys, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Wu Tang Clan, Freedom Williams, Kirk Franklin, and Defunkt.
“It’s inspiring to play in the company of such amazing work. The studio is this incubator for creative energy and it’s nice to absorb that. The space plays an important role in a concert and one that houses and spawns creative work is always welcome.” says bassist Rashaan Carter.
Rufftone Records releases A Tree Grows ‘Wau Wau Water’ on November 4 via Bandcamp and the usual online retailers.
Emanuel Ruffler – keyboards
Tivon Pennicott – saxophone
Rashaan Carter – bass
Russell Carter – drums
Duane Eubanks – trumpet

Keep up with A Tree Grows / Rufftone Records
Website | Facebook | Twitter |Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Instagram | Vimeo | YouTube

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 9, 2016 in Jazz


The Cinematic Orchestra ‘Man With A Movie Camera’ DVD Reissue

This might be old news by now but…

Wonderful music for a wonderful movie.

“Re-issued after 6 years, the jewel in the crown to many fans, The Cinematic Orchestra‘s ‘Man With A Movie Camera‘ is now available to buy on DVD from the Ninjashop and Amazon UK.  The video download is released on 2nd November 2009.

J Swinscoe’s The Cinematic Orchestra have been described as “classy and cerebral, but atmospheric and soulful too” (NME). They are one of the few bands of the last few years to successfully fuse contemporary studio production techniques with fantastic live playing, their take on jazz and film soundtracks fused together with a thoroughly modern sampler-generation attitude.

In late 1999, Swinscoe was asked by the organisers of the Porto European City of Culture 2000 if the band wanted to score a soundtrack to a silent movie to open the celebrations. It seemed a perfect opportunity to expand the ideas of TCO into the world which had given them their name. But the difference was this was for a one off live performance. The film was Dziga Vertov‘s ‘Man With A Movie Camera’, a 1929 early documentary cinema film from the Soviet Union. The performance in a old theatre space in Porto ended with a standing ovation of 3,500 people. Since that evening TCO have performed the score live at film festivals from Turkey to Scotland.”

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Jazz


Yiannis Kassetas & The Funk Wizards – FunkAbyss

As I mentioned before, Greece has wonderful jazz musicians.

Although this is not the right place (again) for jazz music as the majority of people prefer to shake their bodies on tables and wave their hips on bars in the tunes of some opa-opa song, jazz music blossoms in the underground.

The underground jazz audience might be outnumbered by the belly dancing lovers at this side of southern Europe but…jazz diamonds are released every now and then…

Before I start writing about Yiannis Kassetas and his band, I would like to mention that during the last two decades, most of the musicians that work at the Greek music clubs studied at Berklee college of music or at M.I. and most of them are jazz or latin music teachers…

But…for sure they have to make some money for the living too…if you know what I mean…

Yiannis Kassetas is a young sax and piano virtuoso who released his second album titled “FunkAbyss” about a month or so.

Two years after his first album, “The Truth About the Alien Invasion In Egypt” Kassetas and his band, The Funk Wizards strike back.

This time with the participation of sax player Jason Yarde and drummer Clarence Penn.

For those of you who are not familiar with these two musicians, Clarence Penn  played the drums for artists of the caliber of Wynton Marsalis, Roberta Flack, Dizzy Gillespie and Michael Brecker to name but a few.

Jason Yarde on the other hand is a member of Jack DeJohnette’s band but he also contributed in recordings for artists such as McCoy Tyner, Roy Ayers and Hugh Masekela Jazz Jamaica All Stars.

The Tracklist :

1. John Carpente’s Road Movie

2. Creatures of the Abyss

3. The Zen theory of Funk

4. Crystal Dream (intro)

5. Crystal Dreams

6. Giant Rainbow

7. Wildness

8. Sweetness

9. X-rcheia Blues

10. G. Rainbow (blue shades)

Some of the finest Greek jazz musicians came alongside Kasseta & the Funk Wizards in the studio: organ player Giorgos Kontafouris and tenor sax player Dimitris Vasilakis, Dimitris Sevdalis (Rhodes), Alexandros Drakos Ktistakis (drums) Basilis Xenopoulos (alto saxophone), Apostolos Sideris (bass) Dimitris Karalis (flute) Adadeji Adetayo (vocals and guitar) and Serafim Bellos (drums).

And since I am done mentioning the guests’ names, let me name the members of the Funk Wizards: Yiannis Kassetas (piano, tenor and soprano sax) Manos Lutas (el. bass and fretless bass) Kostis Christodoulou (Rhodes, synthesizers), Vaggelis Kotzabasis (drums) and Lucia Paleologou (vocals, she also wrote the lyrics for the track “Giant Rainbow”, the only track on this album that has lyrics).

Well worth checking.

1 Comment

Posted by on December 11, 2009 in Jazz



A new snack by Baby Trio

baby_trioGeorge Kontrafouris is one of the top Greek Jazz musicians. He was born in Athens in 1967, studied classical piano but at the age of 16 he switched to jazz music.

He was the founding member of the jazz band “Page One“, and later joined the bands  “Exit” and “Houston Pearson Quartet“.

He worked with many international musicians, such as: Arild Andersen, Carey Bell, Bob Brozman, Carla Cook, Keith Copeland, Wayne Dockery, Stepko Gut, Marc McDonald, Markus Stockhausen, Louisiana Red, Andy Shepard and participated in many recordings.

After releasing three solo albums,  he formed Baby Trio along with two very young but talented musicians, guitar player Alexandros Vichos and drummer Vangelis Kotzabasis.


  1. The Insane Attack of the Komodo Waran
  2. 5 to 7
  3. 3. Daddy Giorgos

a_new_snackOn this mini CD of theirs, titled “A New Snack”, Kontrafouris continues exploring the world of Hammond organ like he did on his album “Little Daddy’s Blues” (which was released through Tony Monaco’s record label Chicken Coop)

These three great Greek jazz musicians released in 2008 a limited edition CD (777 copies) of groovy jazz which is close enough to the style of Mel Rhyne and Jimmy Smith.

More about mr. Kontrafouris can be found here

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 25, 2009 in Jazz