Skip to main content

Contemporary Jazz: Pianist Romain Collin New Release 'Press Enter' & NYC Dates Nov 27-29 2015


From a media release:

Pianist Romain Collin offers a bold reimagination of the piano trio on his new album with Luques Curtis and Kendrick Scott
Press Enter draws inspiration from the visual world, minimalism, folk music, and the wisdom of Wayne Shorter

"A visionary composer, an extraordinary jazz pianist and a very bright young rising star in the jazz world." - Jon Weber, NPR

Romain is performing music from this CD for three nights at The Iridium, New York City.  8:30 p.m. show November 27 - 29, 2015.

Buy/Sample the CD
Tickets for his shows at the Iridium


Two words can be enough to change an artist's life - especially when those words come from such an authority on art, life and the cosmos as Wayne Shorter. Such was the case when the legendary saxophonist shared a succinct but profound nugget of wisdom with pianist Romain Collin. Musing on people who spend their whole lives talking about plans, ideas, or dreams without ever seeming to take action, Shorter fell briefly silent before bursting out with an urgent commandment: "Press enter!"

"I started laughing, but I thought the wording was genius," recalls Collin, who had the unique opportunity to spend time gleaning advice and direction from both Shorter and Herbie Hancock while touring India and Vietnam with a band from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. "He encapsulated such a clear concept practically, intellectually and emotionally. It felt so compelling in just two words, that idea of doing something and not just conceptualizing it."

Collin took that advice to heart to such an extent that it provides the title for his third release as a leader, Press Enter, due out in the US on October 2, 2015 via ACT Music. The phrase offers not just a title, but a guiding mantra, as the French-born pianist vigorously seizes on his widely-varied inspirations to create an inventive and lyrical take on the piano trio tradition. For Collin, the freedom to follow his muse is so deeply rooted that even the potential of its being taken away provides a spark of inspiration: the profoundly moving "Event Horizon" incorporates the actual voices of wrongly incarcerated prisoners freed through the efforts of The Innocence Project.

Press Enter is Collin's second album recorded by his incredibly gifted trio with bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Kendrick Scott, following their acclaimed 2013 release The Calling. Both were fellow students of Collin's at the Berklee College of Music during the early '00s. "Kendrick is like a painter on the drums," Collin says. "You never hear a drummer when he plays; you just hear music. He's incredibly sensitive and has such width and depth in his knowledge of what he can express on that instrument. Luques is a great friend and he plays the bass like a bass should be played. Everything he plays feels really, really good and just the way it should to support the trio and the music."
Collin is an experienced composer of film music with multiple orchestral soundtrack credits to his name, so it should come as no surprise that he draws upon the visual world when dreaming up his music. There's no one-to-one correspondence between a piece of art or environment that he responds to and a particular composition; it's simply Collin's method of tapping into the rich vein of human expression.

"I follow a totally indirect route to inspiration," he explains. "I feel that the music is already there, I just need to unearth it. The way I figure that out is to expose myself to a lot of stimuli, a lot of art. I'll watch movies, go to museums, drive around and look at scenery, watch people and the city, listen to a ton of music that's not particularly related to what I create. Any human endeavor that stems from a very strong and singular vision will help in the compositional process."

One thread that runs through the pieces on Press Enter is the concept of a repeating, pulse-like, almost obsessive ostinato, a musical theme that recurs in different permutations on multiple tracks. It's there in the nervous, Steve Reich-influenced minimalism of "99," the frantic texture underlying "Clockwork," the strident bass lines of "Webs," or the aching heartbeat of "Raw, Scorched and Untethered." The latter, inspired by a painful break-up, uses that insistent throb to undergird a hauntingly romantic theme evoking a rock-era Rachmaninoff. It also swells ominously in "The Line (Dividing Good And Evil Cuts Through The Heart Of Every Human Being)," which draws its title from a quote by writer/philosopher Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The same obsessive rhythmic idea spreads throughout the entire trio on "The Kids," which features a simple three-note melody whistled by master pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, who often utilizes whistling in his own work.

Check it out:



Collin pairs this fascination with minimalist precision with a love for simple, expressive melody. This is most obvious on tunes like "San Luis Obispo," which paints a portrait of the California city the New York Times called "The Happiest Place in America" with a heartfelt, folk-like melody. It's also represented in the trio's intimate, wistful interpretation of Bon Iver's "Holocene." Lastly, it emerges in the elegiac gospel inflections of Collin's solo take on Monk's immortal "'Round Midnight," which closes the album. "Event Horizon" brings the album to an emotional climax with a simple, mournful tune (supplemented by crucial contributions from vocalist Megan Rose and cellist Laura Metcalf) framing the tragic stories of prisoners freed from decades-long jail terms or death sentences by the Innocence Project, the non-profit organization dedicated to exonerating the wrongly convicted with DNA evidence.

Collin came to the US to attend Berklee College of Music, where he studied performance with the likes of Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano while majoring in Music Synthesis. In 2007, the pianist graduated from the Monk Institute, where he not only toured with Hancock and Shorter and shared the stage with artists such as Marcus Miller, Jimmy Heath, and Terence Blanchard, but also studied with Larry Goldings, Russell Ferrante, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Mulgrew Miller and Wynton Marsalis.

In 2009, Collin released his first effort as a leader, The Rise and Fall of Pipokuhn (Fresh Sound), a work described by All About Jazz as "an astonishingly mature and ambitious debut that secures Collin a placeholder in the continuing evolution of the grand tradition of the piano trio" (Phil DiPietro). His second record, The Calling (Palmetto, 2012) was described by the Washington Post as "distinctly personal and creative" (Mike Joyce) and hailed by The Revivalist as an album that "presents listeners with a work of art that is worthy of being held onto for generations to come" (Eric Sandler).

While touring internationally as a leader, Romain continues to explore various musical genres as a sideman, performing and/or recording alongside artists such as Mike Stern, John McLaughlin, Christian McBride, Gregoire Maret, Lauryn Hill, Tim Green or Joe Sanders. Collin has also composed orchestra scores for motion pictures including Ombline de la Grandiere's five-part 2014 documentary Le Bresil par la Cote, Vlada Subotic's About Me (2010), Gleb Osatinski's award-winning Pisces of an Unconscious Mind (2011), The House at the Edge of The Galaxy (2013) and The Quantified Self (2015), Yaara Sumeruk's Ringo (2012) and Parliamo Italiano (2013) and Lauren Fritz's Gallina (2015).

www.romaincollin.com

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:

POLINA SEMIONOVA TO APPEAR AS GUEST ARTIST
WITH AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
FOR 2011 SPRING SEASON AT METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

Lithuanian Rock: Robertas Semeniukas - Backstage Stories (Independent / November 20, 2019)

Robertas Semeniukas - Backstage Stories
(Independent / November 20, 2019)
Stream it on Spotify
The Album "Backstage Stories" 2xLP & CD

Robertas Semeniukas is a great find if you like your rock with a hard edge and a strong groove. Naturally, guitar reigns supreme, with a sound that ranges from snarly to fluid and melodic, and virtuosic chops to keep everything interesting. You don't have to understand Lithuanian to enjoy the well-crafted songs and polished musicianship.

Of the 20 tracks, 8 are instrumental. This is rock in what you'd call a classic vein, heavily influenced by 1980s and 1990s bands, but with a modern gloss to it, and a sense of musical experimentation that isn't often associated with that era in Western pop music. Robertas wrote or co-wrote all the tracks except for one cover, the blues composition You Gotta Move by Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Within the rock/metal genre, the prolific composer, singer and musician mines a variety of moods. So…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

Blues/Rock:
The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…