critic's pick 221

The tip-off comes with the cover photograph to Billy Hart’s splendid new All Our Reasons album. It depicts a wintry, nocturnal glimpse of New York silhouetted and accented by cosmopolitan glows. It’s a noteworthy shot for many reasons, not the least of which is that it cements the continental and stylistic expansion of the European ECM label, an organization that helped nurture a sound (and with its often luscious album photography, a visual representation) of jazz that was open, mysterious and atmospheric. Critics only half-jokingly referred to the resulting music as “Nordic” in nature.

All Our Reasons is hardly the first North American view of an exiled sound. After all, Keith Jarrett has recorded for the label for over 35 years. Also, such renegades as Dewey Redman, John Surman and, for a time, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, have cut ECM albums. But All Our Reasons may well stand as one of the more formidable recent examples of what the label can generate outside of the icy Nordic soundscapes.

The album-opening Song for Balkis employs a patient, distant sounding rumble as a preface for a spacious serenade that engages the plaintive tenor sax lead of Mark Turner (of ECM’s Fly trio) and the more restless piano orchestration of Ethan Iverson (from new generation strategists The Bad Plus). What you experience is a spacious, loose-limbed and deliciously moody ambience that quickly brings to mind another ECM giant who, like Hart, has helped cultivate similarly open-ended jazz in a number of New York ensembles – the late Paul Motian.

Turner, in particular, echoes the kind of varied, shape-shifting sax accents that Joe Lovano designed for Motian’s long running trio with guitar great Bill Frisell. Turner offers two fine originals on All Our Reasons that wonderfully embellish this very American-ized take on the ECM sound: Nigeria (which begins with slo-mo bass fills from Ben Street before developing into expertly fragmented swing) and Wasteland (where the slow bounce of his own tenor sax figures is the very depiction of solo blues within a New York nightscape).

Iverson works efficiently in and out of the quartet boundaries with Ohnedaruth, where his sparse and initially somber piano meditation breaks through the clouds for a Turner led-jam with Hart discreetly playing from the passenger seat.

At 71, Hart is no grandstander. Sure, he can sound demonstrative on the McCoy Tyner-esque Tolli’s Dance. Mostly, though, he follows a lighter, more introspective muse throughout All Our Reasons. One might suspect it’s the original ECM spirit calling from across the ocean. But All Our Reasons isn’t that nostalgic. It has four resourceful instrumentalists and a playground as big as all of New York to forge a music that is both familiar and new.

LuBear Corp. Touts CIAA Athletes Training at Navy SEAL’s Base. see here navy seals training

Entertainment Close-up May 16, 2011 LuBear Corp. announced that five teams of Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association athletes hit the water and scaled walls as part of their training in April at the U.S. Navy SEALs’ Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Company said Chowan University, St. Paul’s College, Bowie State University, St. Augustine’s College and Virginia State University players all got a taste of the rigors of training with the SEALs in a 12-foot-deep, Olympic-size pool and on the Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Confidence Course, a 17-station land obstacle course.

The training–part of a “Mental Toughness, Never Quit” campaign conducted by the SEALs for CIAA schools–occurred April 16-17. The event was a follow-up to on-campus seminars at the CIAA schools in February and March. here navy seals training

According to a release, the “Mental Toughness, Never Quit” program, focusing on schools in the CIAA–the nation’s oldest black athletic conference, established in 1912–was developed as part of the Naval Special Warfare’s effort to attract top minority talent. More than 1,000 athletes from 11 schools attended the on-campus “Mental Toughness” seminars.

The goal of “Mental Toughness, Never Quit”–which includes goal-setting, visualization, positive self talk and 4x4x4 breathing skills–is to provide valuable training to athletes while making them aware of potential career opportunities within the SEAL Teams. The SEALs provided players with a unique look into how mental preparation is essential to winning.

SEALs take their name from the environments in which they are trained to operate: sea, air and land. Their small highly trained teams usually work quietly at night conducting missions. SEALs are constantly deployed throughout the world to protect U.S. national interests.

((Comments on this story may be sent to

Comments are closed.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | About Our Ads | Copyright