Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo - Toronto February 10 & 11 2017 and Canadian Tour

From a media release:

Show One Productions presents
LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre • February 10 & 11, 2017
The Boys are Back in Town!

Tickets

Five years to the exact day of their last appearance in Toronto, the internationally acclaimed all-male comic ballet company, LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO will return to Toronto with their breathtaking blend of technical prowess, athletic artistry and perfect parody.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo by Zoran Jelenic
For this Toronto engagement, THE TROCKS repertoire will include one of the company’s signature works, Le Lac Des Cygnes (Swan Lake, Act II); the world-infamous Dying Swan scene; the great 19th century Russian classic Don Quixote; the rarely performed La Esmeralda, based on the Victor Hugo novel Notre-Dame de Paris; and one surprise piece to be announced at each performance.

“The Trocks are a guaranteed hoot for people who know nothing of ballet and an absolute must for those who know the originals.” – Sydney Star Observer
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in Swan Lake Act II: Le Lac des Cygnes

What began more than four decades ago as a private joke was so successful it became a professional ballet company with a grand tradition of international touring. To date, THE TROCKS have performed in more than 30 countries and 500 cities worldwide, including Amsterdam, Auckland, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Canada, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo, the United States and Vienna.

With all the ego, drama and glamour of the legendary Ballets Russes, THE TROCKS continue to wow audiences with their flawless executions of classical ballet and modern dance, lovingly skewered with pliés, portés, and pratfalls!

“These guys don't only get what's nutty about ballet; they show you what's wonderful.”  – NY Post

Show One Productions presents
LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
February 10 – 11, 2017
Three Performances Only!
Friday, February 10 @ 8pm / Saturday, February 11 @ 3pm & 8pm
The Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge Street, Toronto
Tickets: $35 - $115  • $150 VIP ticket includes Meet and Greet with The Trocks
To purchase tickets visit ticketmaster.ca
Get Social with Show One:
FB/ShowOneProductions • @ShowOneProd • FB/thetrocks • @TrocksB
Official Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo Site: trockadero.org

The Toronto performances are part of a three-city Canadian Tour presented by Show One Productions which also includes Vancouver (January 20-21, 2017) and Montreal (February 18-19, 2017).  Other Canadian dates for THE TROCKS include Calgary (January 12-14, 2017), Edmonton (January 17-18, 2017) and Ottawa (February 17, 2017).

The Dying Swan scene

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Niagara Ice Wine Festival January 13 to 27 2017

From a media release:

Niagara Ice Wine Festival
January 13 to 27 2017
see details below

Buy Discovery Passes

Icewine harvest had an early start this year with Niagara wineries starting to pick Icewine in mid-December as temperatures dipped below minus 8° Celsius. While harvest dates of Icewine vary year to year, this somewhat early harvest reminds locals and visitors that Niagara's Icewine Festivals are just around the corner. Taking place over three weeks in January, in the heart of Niagara's wine region, these one-of-a-kind festivals combine to create one of the biggest Ontario wine celebrations of the year.

Niagara's Icewine Festivals, in their 22nd year, offer wine lovers, cocktail fans, and foodies experiences that will create winter memories to last a lifetime. During this special time, consumers are invited to discover and enjoy one of Canada's most cherished products, Icewine along with Ontario's exceptional sparkling wines and world-renowned VQA red and white wines.

For three weekends in January the Niagara region is transformed into wintery wonderland, celebrating one of Canada’s most cherished products, Ontario Icewine. From the Xerox Icewine Gala, to wine and culinary pairings, outdoor activities along the famed Wine Route, the 22nd Niagara Icewine Festival is the perfect place to celebrate the upcoming winter season and the incredible Icewine harvest in Niagara.

Icewine grapes on the vine catching the morning sunlight
 (CNW Group/Wine Marketing Association of Ontario)
Xerox “Sugar & Spice….Everything Ice” Icewine Gala
January 13, 2017
This year celebrate 2017 at the Xerox Icewine Gala: Sugar & Spice….Everything Ice, an all-inclusive event held inside the Grand Halls at the Fallsview Casino Resort, Niagara Falls. The official kick-off to the Niagara Icewine Festival offers Canada’s most luxurious Gala evening featuring incredible culinary from the world class Fallsview Casino Resort Chefs and over 100 VQA Icewines and table wines from over 35 award winning wineries.

Discovery Pass Program
January 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29, 2017
Discovery Pass| $40+HST

The Niagara Icewine Festival Discovery Pass is your key to three weekends of wine and culinary adventures at wineries across Niagara. Discovery Pass holders can enjoy eight experiences per pass indulging in wine and culinary pairings at each winery crafted specifically to celebrate the season.

There is no finer way to experience the bounty of the winter season than travelling the wine route, sipping and savouring the best in local icewine, table wines and cuisine.

Experiences are $10 each without a Discovery Pass unless otherwise stated.

Driver's Discovery Pass | $30+HST
Designated drivers can revel in the wintery delights on the Wine Route with an alcohol free Discovery Pass indulging in the culinary offering’s at participating wineries with the Niagara Wine Festival Driver's Discovery Pass.

Guests warming up outside at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival
(CNW Group/Wine Marketing Association of Ontario)
• Just a few of the many listings - check them all out here

Château des Charmes
1025 York Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-262-4219 ext. 238 | chateaudescharmes.com
January 13-15, 20-22, 27-29 | 11am-5pm

A Harvest of Land & Sea

We are proud to showcase Canada's bounty with this pairing of our 2015 Vidal Icewine and Late Harvest Cured Salmon Wellington with Dried Apricot and Chili Preserve from our culinary partners at Queen’s Landing. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

The Hare Wine Co.
769 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-684-4994 | theharewineco.com
January 13-15, 20-22, 27-29 | 11am-5pm

A Sticky Situation!

Come celebrate Icewine harvest at The Hare Wine Co. Our awardwinning 2014 Vidal Icewine is perfectly paired with a delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding prepared by Ello Gov'na. This gooey toffee cake is smothered in a treacle sauce and topped with an Icewine Chantilly. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Inniskillin Wines
1499 Line 3 & Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-468-2187 | inniskillin.com
January 13-15, 20-22, 27-29 | 11am-5pm

Back by Popular Demand!

Chicken and Waffles! A fluffy sweet waffle topped with crispy seasoned fried chicken with Estate Chef Tim MacKiddie's secret Icewine inspired sauce paired perfectly with our Riesling Icewine; a treat that will warm your heart this season. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery
2145 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-468-4637 | jacksontriggswinery.com
January 13-15, 20-22, 27-29 | 11am-5pm

It's Greek to Me!

Opa! An Authentic Greek bite with Niagara charm! Pork Souvlaki with preserved cherries paired with our Reserve Cabernet Franc Icewine. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Trius Winery
1249 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
1-800-582-8412 ext. 2 | triuswines.com
January 13-15, 20-22, 27-29 | 11am-5pm

Icewine By Fire

Kickback fireside at the 2015 Ontario Winery of the Year and enjoy our outdoor winter ambience while you “chill” by the fire with Chef Dodd’s delectable Pastrami Beef Sausage with Icewine Onion Jam paired with our perfectly sweet Trius Vidal Icewine. $10 without a Discovery Pass.
Guests enjoying the Twenty Valley Winter WineFest
 (CNW Group/Wine Marketing Association of Ontario)

Redstone Winery
4245 King Street, Beamsville
905-563-9463 | redstonewines.ca
January 13-15, 20-22, 27-29 | 11am-5pm

A Daring Pairing ~ Chili Heat + Sweet

Stop by the winery for a taste of Chef Sider's almost famous Venison and Dark Chocolate Chili which is sure to warm your insides. Our pairing is a bit out-of-the-box but we think that it is brilliant with our 2010 Cabernet Franc Icewine! $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sci-Fi Book Review: The Cygnus Virus by T.J. Zakreski

Sci-Fi Book Review:
The Cygnus Virus by T.J. Zakreski
(June 2016, Dancing Star Publications)

Buy the Kindle version
Buy the book
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Enjoyably multi-faceted, The Cygnus Virus offers the classic sci-fi cornucopia of adventure, social commentary, and universal themes, wrapped up in a fragmented, postmodern narrative style that shifts perspective and skips through time.


Andron Varga is a middle-aged lawyer living a shadow of a life on planet Terra after his wife is killed by a meteorite. One day, he helps an old friend with a lawsuit launched by a fringey sounding church. He's researching the case, gets distracted by internet porn, and the next thing you know, he's joined an organization linking computers in an effort to look for exoplanets.

Andron goes to bed half-drunk. When he wakes up, he finds he's crashed the entire internet on his home planet of Terra, and worse still, he's let Cygnus into his world...

Cygnus, as it turns out, is a being from Earth, a planet that has long since succumbed to fuckedization, the inevitable environmental degradation that comes from a species like humans. Or Terrans. Like other Earthlings, Cygnus exists as digital code that can be transferred into other humans. Or Terrans. And so the trouble begins.

That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many twists and turns of this novel by Canadian writer T.J. Zakreski. It's a thoroughly satisfying read, sprinkled with literary references, tidbits of both hard science and science fiction created for the story, and dry wit, with a real emotional heart at the middle of it that makes it more than just a clever take on the villain-as-computer-virus trope, although it definitely is that as well. Like all good science fiction, it talks about the Big Questions -- life, death, love.

My only real quibble: Why. Is everyone writing. In sentence fragments.These days. I hate it, and it happens often enough here to prove occasionally annoying.

It's the first in a planned trilogy, with the next volume, Lysandra and the Spear of Destiny, set to be released later this year. But, The Cygnus Virus can be read on its own without compromising the story.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Museum of Romanticism and More: Madrid, museum capital

From a media release:

The Museum of Romanticism and More: Madrid, museum capital

Madrid’s Museum of Romanticism and Costume Museum join forces for this exhibition of 22 outfits, reflecting the social uses of fashion in the 19th century.Most of the items are from the Costume Museum’s collection, including a frock coat which belonged to the writer Mariano José de Larra, and several wedding dresses and ball gowns with corsets and crinolines, very typical of the period. Tail-coats, waistcoats and frock coats are also on display. This temporary exhibition is complemented by themed activities for all ages. The exhibit is on until March 5, 2017.

Madrid - the Museum Route
At the end of the 18th century, King Charles III had a large avenue built with trees, fountains monuments and palaces fit for the capital of his kingdom. These buildings have been adapted for cultural purposes over the years, lending them world renown. Alongside newer buildings, they mean visitors can enjoy an infinite experience in the world of art in just 2 kilometres.

It's difficult to gauge the time this route takes. It will all depend on your interest in the various styles of artistic expression to be found along the route and how long you'd like to spend exploring all the cultural venues on the Paseo del Prado and in the surrounding streets.
View of the Puerta de Goya entrance, Prado Museum. © Turespaña
We recommend starting with a visit to the exhibitions in two emblematic buildings in Calle Alcalá street at the junction with the Gran Vía. The Círculo de Bellas Artes (Academy of Fine Arts) founded in 1880, is at no. 42, and keeps a close watch on all the latest avant-garde art trends. Across the street at no. 49 is the Cariátides building, today the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute, dedicated to promoting Hispanic culture.

We start heading up the Paseo del Prado from the famous Cibeles fountain. Before setting off, take a look at the Casa de América (Plaza de Cibeles, 2) in the Linares Palace. Legend has it that the palace's ghosts may surprise visitors as they tour the rococo-style rooms, browse the exhibitions or attend debates on Latin American issues.
Exterior of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum © Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
The Thyssen-Bornemisza museum is at no. 88 Paseo del Prado, in the neo-classical Villahermosa Palace . A tour of the permanent collection offers an extensive survey of European painting from the 13th century to the present day, with outstanding works from the Renaissance, Impressionist and avant-garde movements. It also houses one of the few collections of 19th-century North American painting in Europe.

Now, we should prepare to dedicate a large part of the day to the main destination on the route: the Prado Museum. It's no surprise that it's regarded as one of the most important galleries in the world, and an absolute must for art lovers. Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Rubens, Hieronymus Bosch... and numerous other towering figures of universal art hang on the walls of the rooms in this great neo-classical building. Designed by Juan de Villanueva, a recent extension by Rafael Moneo (2007) now houses new exhibition spaces and museum services.



Our artistic tour continues at no. 36 with a new modern venue: the CaixaForum culture and exhibition centre designed by the architects Herzog and De Meuron. The vertical garden hanging from the façade offers an evoactive counterpoint to its neighbour across the road, the Royal Botanical Gardens, with 30,000 plant species.

We're now reaching the southernmost point and the end of the Paseo del Arte. The Reina Sofía National Art Museum (Santa Isabel, 52) was recently extended by Jean Nouvel and provides a fitting addition to our journey with a wide selection of contemporary painting. Here we can see Picasso's Guernica and the work of artists such as Miró, Dalí, Saura, Gargallo, Magritte and Max Ernst.
Façade of the Reina Sofía National Art Centre © Ministerio de Cultura
There's also the option of adding another three visits. First, the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts museum (Alcalá, 13, around 20 minutes' walk from the Reina Sofía National Art Museum) has a collection of paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. We can also stop off at the National Museum of Decorative Arts (Montalbán, 12) which houses around 15,000 pieces. Finally, the Naval Museum (Paseo del Prado, 5) contains collections on Spain's naval history.

Global Fusion: Charles Okafor 'America' Remixes

From a media release:

CHARLESTON OKAFOR RELEASES A SERIES OF REMIXES AHEAD OF HIS SECOND ALBUM AMERICA OUT DECEMBER 12TH 2016
REMIXED TRACKS INCLUDE “RAMA RAMA” AND “AMERICA” (RELEASED ON NOVMEBER 11TH)

Buy the EP
Buy America

Nigerian-born, US-world citizen Charleston Okafor has never been one to do things predictably. He left Nigeria for the U.S. to study pre-med at Western Kentucky University, but that plan was quickly dashed when MTV reawakened his long held dream of a recording career. He soon left school to pursue his musical vision.
Charles Okafor
Now, rather than following the typical industry route of following an original release with remixes, he’s putting out the remixes first, in advance of his second album, America (out December 12th on RHOV). Together with Canadian global fusion producer Eccodek (aka Andrew McPherson), Okafor has crafted a record full of organic, live-off-the-floor intensity, groove and sonic texturalism that drives the diverse lyrical themes of life with two passports, love and partnership, the human soul and power and oppression.

For the preceding remixes (out November 11th), Okafor turned to friends he’s made since embarking on his musical journey. Charleston and Dub Trio founder Joe Tomino go back to the late 90’s reggae club scene in Cleveland (where Okafor has made his home), when their bands gigged at the same clubs and appeared on the same bills; the two even sat in with each other’s groups on occasion. Tomino takes the electro-dancehall raga of “Rama Rama” and stone cold dubs it, slowing the tempo of the original considerably and applying a classic, tripped-out dubplate vibe reminiscent of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Black Ark days.

Charleston first heard the music of Dubmatix (aka Jesse King) through spinning some of his tracks on African Abstract, the radio show Okafor’s hosted since 1992. As luck would have it, America producer Eccodek knew Dubmatix well and introduced him to Charleston. The result is a chilled out version of “Rama Rama,” with a skipping, reggaefied lilt that will work subtle magic on the dancefloor.

For a remix of the title track, Charleston enlisted the services of long time friends Ray Lugo and Jake Fader of Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra. The three met in 2006 when Charleston booked Kokolo to play at AfroFest Cleveland, an event of Okafor’s creating. Ray and Jake have since formed their own duo, Los Terrificos. With its jazz funk groove, the original version of “America” is probably the most “American” song on the album. But while Los Terrificos’ Latin-tinged, Afrobeat remix production conjures a more exotic vibe, it also feels right at home in the truly welcoming melting pot that is Okafor’s vision of America.

To accompany the release of the remixes and album, Okafor shot a video set to the Dubmatix version of “Rama Rama.” It’s a fitting and poetic completion of the cycle that began when he first encountered MTV, an experience that significantly influenced his life, just as it did the lives of the generation of American kids who grew up with the channel.

With the release of these remixes -- followed closely by the original, America -- Okafor begins a new cycle, one that is as sure to be as unpredictable as it is to see him maintaining a life in music. Fittingly, the U.S., with its culmination of one of the most heated presidential campaigns ever, is also about to begin a new cycle. True to his trademark confidence and good cheer, Charleston has no doubt that, regardless of who’s leading it, his adopted home country will remain what it meant to him since before he first moved here: a beacon of hope. That’s what Charleston Okafor’s America is all about.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Latin Alternative: Nacional Records Highlights of 2016

From our friends at Nacional Records in Los Angeles:

Nacional Records
Highlights of 2016

Take a listen to our "Taste of 2016" Spotify playlist

This year was a rollercoaster ride! Below are silver linings from some of the amazing artists we are lucky to work with. We look forward to the new year.

With more than ten years under our belts, we are proud to have released albums by amazing artists such as Nortec Collective, Tom Tom Club, Aterciopelados, Alex Anwandter, Ceci Bastida, Systema Solar, El Guincho, Elastic Bond, Los Amigos Invisibles, Ana Tijoux, La Vida Boheme,  Manu Chao, Bomba Estereo, Mexican Institute of Sound. DJ Bitman, DJ Raff, and Jarabe de Palo among many others over the years. We are happy to have accomplished so much in 2016, and here's to an amazing 2017!

Rumbera is the first single for Systema Solar's new album "Rumbo A Tierra" out January 13th, 2017

Pre-order "Rumbo a Tierra" on iTunes 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Jazz Bass: Jeff Denson Quartet - Concentric Circles (Ridgeway Records)

From a media release:

Bassist Extraordinaire, Composer and Vocalist Jeff Denson
Redefines his Ever-Expanding Creative Universe with Concentric Circles
(Ridgeway Records, June 24, 2016)

"From his hard driving quarter note swing, to cello-like bowed melodies and interactive counterpoint, Denson is always surprising and inspiring!"-Lee Konitz

Buy the CD

A protean musical force who reveals new sonic realms with each project, Jeff Denson decided to see what it sounds like when his worlds collide. The bassist, composer, professor and bandleader has produced an array of astonishing music since settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's explored intricate harmonic soundscapes in Electreo with drummer Alan Hall and bassoon and electronics virtuoso Paul Hanson, and reached his widest audience collaborating with the octogenarian alto legend on 2015's The Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz. His new album Concentric Circles, just released on his Ridgeway label on June 24, combines the talent-laden personnel of Electreo and the Jeff Denson Trio in a startlingly original quartet.

Featuring Electreo's Hanson and Hall and the Jeff Denson Trio's pianist Dan Zemelman, Concentric Circles is a breathtaking acoustic project that focuses on the bassist's finely wrought compositions. While only two tracks feature his vocals, Denson's writing is deeply informed by his connection to the voice, a lyrical sensibility that manifests itself in his breathtaking bow work and gracefully flowing pizzicato lines. While he draws personnel from two ongoing ensembles, Denson sees Concentric Circles as encompassing yet another distinct creative domain by building on the intricately constructed chamber jazz of Secret World, his 2012 album featuring trumpeter Ralph Alessi, drummer Dan Weiss and pianist Florian Weber (his partner in the acclaimed collective trio Minsarah).

"I started with the concept of bringing these two groups together, so that's one set of circles," Denson says. "And I'm writing music dealing with interlocking melodies, wheels within wheels, themes exploring constant change and the world we live in. It's really a follow up to Secret World, a setting in which I'm really free to write and compose. The pieces aren't lead sheet style compositions. The forms are pretty complicated, with a lot of through-composed parts, written out second lines and improvised sections that touch on my circles of influence-jazz, free improv, chamber music, and the centrality of the voice."

Marked by rapid movement and vivid incident, the album opens with "City Life," a tune built on an unusual subdivision of seven inspired by the relentless momentum of New York subways. Like a Mondrian grid, the piece turns an abstract representation into the pulsing embodiment of urban experience. Driven by Zemelman's hurtling left hand, "Anticipation" exemplifies Denson's gift for crafting extended melodic lines. Navigating the long form and the unexpected harmonic progression with seeming ease, these consummate musicians make his highly challenging piece sound like an oft-played jazz standard.



One of the many pleasures provided by Concentric Circles is the way in which Denson and Hanson blend their sumptuous sounds. On "A Thought That Lingers" it's often impossible to distinguish between the double reed and the arco bass as the episodic, multi-meter tune moves from the lush opening harmonies to the jagged, almost atonal middle section and the concluding return to comforting tonality. Like Electreo, Denson sees the ensemble as a forum for exploring Hanson's unprecedented mastery. "Almost immediately after meeting him I put Electreo together and we started doing gigs in different settings," he says. "In addition to being a hyper virtuoso, Paul is arguably the top improvising bassoonist in the world."

Denson's formative source of inspiration, the voice, moves to the foreground on "Wishing Well," a gently imploring chamber jazz setting that serves as an open letter to a close friend. He puts his voice to very different use on "Once the Door Opens," a ravishing piece in which Denson's lithe bass moves in a different meter than his wordless vocal line. A spiritually charged journey, the song builds to an exquisite intertwined harmonic dance between bass, vocals, and bassoon. While conceived with lyrics, "Time Waits for No One" turned into an instrumental number with Denson bowing the melancholy, almost brooding melody.
Jeff Denson

The album closes with Duke Ellington's classic lament "I've Got It Bad." It's a brief solo bass tour de force, rendered entirely with ringing harmonics, an exercise that flows from Denson's continual quest to bring the bass into new territory. "I wanted to see what I could do to make it sound like a chordal instrument," he says. "You can make the bass sound like a flute or angels singing, so you wouldn't even know it's this gigantic wooden box."

Make no mistake, Denson writes difficult music. The marvelous coherence and captivating interplay on Concentric Circles is a testament to these musicians' capacious skills. Zemelman is "a very creative and very musical player who's really interested in straight ahead jazz," Denson says. "But he's also very open, and a great reader. He's a great melodic improviser, who can bridge these different sounds I'm interested in with his classical background. And Alan is awesome, a super creative person. He's a fantastic visual artist who does mixed-media work with photography and found objects. And of course he's a virtuoso drummer, with amazing rhythmic control, and an incredible amount of power and energy he can bring to a group."

Preparing to move to New York City upon graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2005 from the MM in Jazz Studies at the Florida State Univeristy, Jeff ran into bass giant Mark Dresser, who had just been hired as a professor at UC San Diego. With Dresser's encouragement and a full scholarship, Denson relocated to Southern California and earned his doctorate in contemporary music performance with an emphasis on composition. Throughout his San Diego sojourn, Denson continued to tour widely with Minsarah, and it was during a spate of 2006 concerts in Germany that Lee Konitz first heard the band, "the start of a great adventure," Denson says. "The stuff we do is very different than any music in his canon. Lee is a true improviser. He doesn't play licks. He really responds."

With Minsarah serving as his band, the critically hailed Lee Konitz New Quartet debuted on 2007's Deep Lee and followed up with 2009's Live at the Village Vanguard, which earned the 2010 Album of the Year Award from France's Jazzman Magazine, and 2014's Standards Live: At the Village Vanguard (all on Enja). Denson went on to demonstrate his vast versatility with simultaneous duo releases, interpreting American hymns and spirituals with powerhouse San Diego pianist Joshua White on I'll Fly Away and recording an album of free improvisation with Swiss clarinet virtuoso Claudio Puntin on Two. Since relocating to the East Bay in 2011 to take on a full professorship at the California Jazz Conservatory, Denson has forged ties with some of the Bay Area's top players, including clarinetist Ben Goldberg and guitarist Mimi Fox. A prolific composer and arranger, he's written music for an array of jazz settings, from big band to trio, as well as for string ensembles, solo bass, and a chamber opera.

He's brought his many pursuits under one umbrella with the recent unveiling of Ridgeway Arts, a non-profit designed to enhance and fortify the Bay Area scene, and to make a strong contribution to the national landscape of jazz and the arts in general, through a four-pronged plan of expression, education, presenting and documentation.  He introduced the initiative with The Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz, and followed up with Arctic by Alan Hall's critically hailed electric ensemble Ratatet. With Concentric Circles, Denson continues to expand Ridgeway's possibilities, building bridges between artists, students, and audiences "to get the music to people," he says. "It's a vehicle for music that gets lost amidst the dross of mass culture."