|May 1, 2018: New release from Peter Madsen's Seven Sins Ensemble – Never Bet The Devil Your Head|
On May 1st, Playscape Recordings will release Never Bet the Devil Your Head (PSR #042317), featuring veteran pianist/composer Peter Madsen. Never Bet the Devil Your Head is the second recording with Madsen's Seven Sins Ensemble, one of nine ensembles born from Madsen's Austria-based Collective of Improvising Artists (CIA), an organization he founded in 2007. Madsen's Gravity of Love, also released on Playscape in 2012, was his first recording with this ensemble.
Never Bet the Devil Your Head pays tribute to Madsen's childhood memories of reading spine tingling tales and watching suspenseful thrillers such as The Pit and the Pendulum, written by renowned author and poet Edgar Allan Poe. Much like Gravity of Love, this second project with his Seven Sins Ensemble explores similarly dark material such as The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart, pulled from some of Poe's short stories, which inspired this recording.
"Before composing each piece for this latest recording, I read a Poe story or poem and then tried to capture the feelings and ideas of each story in the music I composed," Madsen writes in his liner notes. "Since Poe wrote about many different things, I picked a variety of his pieces to form a balanced musical program. The music that came out was a combination of modern jazz and classical sounds and concepts full of odd meters and very difficult lines as well as improvised sections. I hope you enjoy the powerful and deeply emotional and sometimes scary music of Never Bet the Devil Your Head!!"
|June 5, 2018: New release from Michael Musillami Trio +2 – Life Anthem|
On June 5th, Playscape Recordings will release Life Anthem (PSR#091717), featuring veteran guitarist/composer Michael Musillami with his flagship trio. Life Anthem is Musillami's ninth Playscape Recordings release with the trio, featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller. As he has done in the past, for this latest release Musillami augmented the trio with the addition of cornetist Kirk Knuffke and Jason Robinson on saxophones and flute.
"The MM Trio as been creating music since 2002, with our first release, Beijing being released in 2003," writes Musillami in his liner notes. "It has been, and continues to be, a wonderful journey filled with multiple tours to Canada and Europe, as well as our home in America. Life Anthem offers the trio in full bloom, fearless and on fire. The addition of Jason Robinson and Kirk Knuffke punctuates our message in all CAPS!!!"
Life Anthem documents Musillami's journey back from sudden illness followed by a months-long recovery during which this music was composed. On June 8th, 2016 Musillami woke up with what he termed as a "crashing headache." After waiting two days with what he thought was a migraine, he found himself in a life or death situation after an ambulance ride to the ER followed by a flurry of tests which revealed not only a brain hemorrhage, but (oddly) an unrelated brain tumor.
"I opened and closed this record with the title tune Life Anthem, because it is an optimistic melody," writes Musillami. "For the opening track I asked each player to play this melody alone, their own way, as they think it should be played. All renditions were beautiful.
The simplicity and warm tone Kirk achieved on his horn made for a perfect opener. The most beautiful things in life can be the most simple. We closed the set out with the full ensemble in a spirited, open and free reading of the melody, Life Anthem."
"The music contained on this CD was written during late June, July and August of 2016 as I slowly recovered from my ordeal," writes Musillami. "I am happy to report that I am fine and better than ever."