Newest Releases:

Jason Robinson
Harmonic Constituent

Michael Musillami
& Peter Madsen

Andy Jaffe
and his Nonet +3

Michael Musillami
& Rich Syracuse

November 10, 2020: New release from Jason Robinson: Harmonic Constituent

On November 10, 2020, Playscape Recordings will release Harmonic Constituent, (PSR #081119), saxophonist/composer Jason Robinson's first recording on the Playscape Recordings label as a leader, also featuring Joshua White on piano, Drew Gress on bass and Ches Smith on drum set and glockenspiel.

Writes Robinson in his liner notes, "In April 2018 I spent a solitary week along the rugged coastline of Mendocino County in Northern California. A self-designed artist retreat of sorts, my aim was simple: to compose an album's worth of new material, adding a new chapter to Resonant Geographies (pfMENTUM), an album I released just one month prior. While this earlier project was a meditation on the ephemeral connections between places, memories and communities, this new project assumed a focus more specific to this stretch of the north coast as some people refer to it.

"Walking through the rugged beaches and cliffs of that magnificent coastline, smelling the salty and kelp-imbued air, looking out at the magnificent omnipresent Pacific, and turning around to see the deciduous tree-covered ridges of the Mendocino National Forest was not a new experience to me. I've been visiting that magical meeting place of sea and mountains since I was a young child. Each piece on this album is inspired by a technical and sometimes impressionistic aspect of the oceanography, tidal dynamics, and geography specific to the coastline from Mendocino, California and Westport, California. Harmonic constituent is an oceanographic term that refers to the complex influences of the cyclical motion of the earth, sun, and moon on tides at specific locations.

"Rather than reveal the details of the various translations of data, sight, smell and geography and other elements that I used to generate musical structure that in turn were brought to life in collaboration with my wonderful friends and bandmates I'd prefer to let the music and performances stand on their own without too much guidance, to hopefully spark a memory or imaginative coastal scape of your own."

Robinson divides his time between performance and recording, teaching, and ethno/musicological research and is presently an Assistant Professor of Music at Amherst College and holds a Ph.D. in Music from the University of California, San Diego.

October 6, 2020: New Release from Michael Musillami / Peter Madsen: PICTURES

On October 6, 2020, Playscape Recordings will release Pictures, (PSR #090519), a duo recording by guitarist/composer Michael Musillami and pianist/composer and co-leader Peter Madsen. This is their second duo recording, following Part Pitbull released in 2002.

In Pictures, the duo draws inspiration from Pictures at an Exhibition, an 1874 suite by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky as a memorial to his friend, Russian architect and painter Viktor Hartmann, who died in 1873 at age thirty nine. Shortly after the artist's death, Mussorgsky visited an exhibit of Hartmann's sketches, architectural and costume designs, which came from Hartmann's travels in Europe, and decided to capture the experience with musical depictions of ten paintings by Hartmann, interspersed with a recurring promenade.

"In 2002, Peter Madsen and I released our first duo recording titled Part Pitbull on the Playscape Recordings label," writes Musillami in his liner notes. "Before Part Pitbull we had been recording and touring in a quartet setting, but as we both loved the immediacy and quick reaction time one can experience in a duo setting, Part Pitbull was born. In this intimate duo setting we instinctively breath together, we recognize color and texture and react quickly and convincingly to each other with sensitivity as well as with power. The seamless rhythmic momentum and call and response is immediate, natural, and organic as we allow the music to go when and where it needs to go. We hope you enjoy your journey as much as we did as you promenade through our museum filled with our jazz heroes' Pictures."

Madsen adds, "In 2019, my longtime friend and musical partner Michael Musillami and I composed and improvised Pictures (at a Jazz Exhibition), a suite of nine piano and guitar duets plus varied Promenades. For our suite we composed pieces depicting our tour of an exhibition of some of our favorite jazz guitarists and pianists such as Cecil Taylor, Carla Bley, Thelonious Monk, Jim Hall and Joe Diorio, with each piece serving as a musical illustration of each of our heroes. Lots of Improvisations are included! But still cool music! Close your eyes! Open your ears! And see Pictures!!!"

Pictures was recorded by master engineer Nick Lloyd at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut.