|September 12, 2023: Block Party
New release from Michael Musillami Trio – 20 year celebration!!
Watch the promo video for Block Party
On September 12, 2023 Playscape Recordings will release Block Party. This set is veteran guitarist/composer Michael Musillami's tenth Playscape Recordings release with his flagship trio, featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller. Block Party celebrates the trio's 20-year history as a working, touring, and recording ensemble. Jazz critic Robert Iannapollo writes from Block Party's liner notes, "On December 18, 2002 they went into the studio and recorded their first album as a trio, Beijing, a superb album that got a lot of positive reviews. Released in 2003, not many gigs ensued in the U.S. However, in March of 2004, the trio toured Europe promoting the album and they started building a following." Since that first release in 2003, the MM3 has been touring Europe, America, and Canada consistently over the past two decades. This aggressive work schedule continues today with a 20-year celebration tour set for November-December 2023 in Europe. "I am so proud of what we have accomplished over the past 20 years," says Musillami. "We've continued to play intelligent, expansive, powerful music, just as we did back in 2002. I think Block Party clearly demonstrates the consistent evolution of this dynamic trio."
|October 18, 2022: Flight of Evangeline — New release from Michael Musillami, Rich Syracuse & Jeff Siegel
On October 18, 2022, Playscape Recordings will release Flight of Evangeline, (PSR#102321), a trio recording with guitarist/composer Michael Musillami, bassist Rich Syracuse and drummer/percussionist Jeff "Siege" Siegel.
Flight of Evangeline is the fourth collaboration between Michael Musillami and Rich Syracuse on the Playscape Recordings label. Following three previous duo releases covering Shorter, Mingus, and Evans, Musillami and Syracuse had recently been planning on a new duo set featuring original music.
Musillami remembers asking Syracuse, "What do you think about recording some themes and we'll see where it goes?" Syracuse, "Yeah man, let's do it!" "What do you think about adding Jeff to it?" Syracuse, "Yeah, man, let's do it!" Siege's response to the idea made it unanimous, "Yeah man, let's do it!" And a new improvising trio was born.
Musillami, Syracuse and Siegel entered the studios of Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut in October 2021. They had never played together as a trio prior to that date, though Musillami and Syracuse have had a long musical relationship, and Syracuse and Siegel have played together in various musical formats for years. However a few months prior to this recording, the three improvisers played in a quartet setting, and all three said they felt a strong creative connection.
Being a collective, each musician contributed short, melodic and angular melodies to expand upon. The trio didnít rehearse before the session, though they did exchange some written parts prior to the date, with just a few first looks just prior to countdown.
From the beginning track, Flight of Evangeline, written for Musillami's granddaughter, you hear the depth of what 100 years of combined improvising sounds like. Musillami's guitar singing haunting melodies, Syracuse growling from the bass chair and Siege adding the sound of shells and an unexpected bird whistle to set the musical flight airborne.
"I'm so proud of this set," said Musillami. "It's so gratifying to have no preconceptions going into a creative musical adventure and ultimately have it expand so beautifully and so musically unpredictable."
"My relationship with Michael and Jeff happens to be very deep, and in different ways with both," said Syracuse. "This allows for an honesty in the music, and the freedom to travel through the improvisation like we are all slightly in the future and are hearing it before we play... a fantastic place to find yourself."
"Playing with Michael and Rich is a joy," said Siege. "They have a chemistry from playing duo together for many years and being able to move in any direction at the drop of a hat. I was humbled and excited to join them in this new trio to see what would happen. I love the concept of developing short compositions and doing so in a manner that allows a lot of freedom. Michael and Rich's music provided a lot of content to draw ideas from and I hope the listeners will be as pleased with the results as I am."
Flight of Evangeline was recorded by master engineer Nick Lloyd at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut.
|May 10, 2022: New release from Peter Madsen's CIA Trio: 88 Butterfly
On May 10, 2022, Playscape Recordings is proud to release 88 Butterfly, veteran pianist/composer Peter Madsen's 12th release as a leader on the Playscape Recordings label and his second Playscape release with his CIA Trio, one of 12 ensembles born from Madsen's Austria-based Collective of Improvising Artists (CIA), an organization he founded in 2007.
Writes Madsen in his liner notes, "I have an amazing memory from when I was a young boy. I was outside playing in the front yard of my family home in Racine, Wisconsin, when all of a sudden the sky filled with the fluttering of thousands of orange and black migrating Monarch butterflies. I jumped and screamed with delight! The incredible joy and fascination of that exciting moment is still with me today and was the inspiration for the music on this recording.
"Since ancient times the butterfly has been a symbol of change, hope, endurance, rebirth and life for people all around the world. For many cultures, the butterfly represents the human soul and its spiritual journey. Some cultures see them as messengers from God or angels. The Chinese see butterflies as a symbol for long life, and in Japan they symbolize the soul of Japan. Native American cultures like the Blackfeet believe they are carriers of dreams and the Navajo recognize them as the symbol of joy and resurgence. For the Romans, butterflies represented marriage and for the Christians they were an emblem of resurrection. The Greeks thought the butterfly represented the soul or mind or psyche. For the ancient Egyptians, butterflies would await the soul in the afterlife. All this and more from a creature who survives in this beautiful form for only a few weeks or months at most.
"In this crazy and dark time of the pandemic, I needed to focus on something positive and joyful, yet powerful and deep. Remembering my early childhood experience guided me to use the COVID-19 lockdown period to compose the pieces on this new CIA Trio recording called 88 Butterfly."