Michael Feinberg

Crystalize (Digipack)

Fresh Sound 5100 Series

Michael Feinberg (b), Jon Irabagon, Morgan Guerin, Immanuel Wilkins, Tivon Pennicott, Jason Arce (saxes), Aaron Parks (p), Julian Schore, Jesse Fischer, Julian Pollack (keyb), Nasheet Waits, Jongkuk Kim (d), Melanie Charles (vcl, fl), Dayme Arocena (vcl)

Reference: FSRCD 5127

Bar code: 8427328651271

This album is heavily influenced by the artwork of Patrick James and it’s an incredible honor to use one of his images as the cover art. James creates 3 dimensional universes that live within an enclosed box. The viewer must look through a small hole to see the work and is immediately transported to James‘ imagination. Musically speaking I wanted to crate my own version of little worlds for my audience to peer into. Every song on this album exists on its own rather than as a part of the whole, and although I believe that it tells a linear story as an album each song can be just that. Many of the pieces in this album are memorials for those who have recently passed that were important to me. I dedicate this album to all of those who touched my life and music and made me the person I am today. Rest easy Leslie, Meghan, Charles, Ryuichi, and Roy. You are loved and never forgotten.

Afro Bloo is my reimagining of the classic by Mongo Santamaria. Featuring ewi and synths, this track has some influence from my studies and travels of West Africa and the Caribbean as well as jazz fusion and electronica.

Sacred Feminine is a track written by my former teacher and someone I refer to as the “jazz yoda” Hal Crook. This piece is an extended minor blues that has become my de facto finale on tour.

Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Tango are my arrangements of songs written by one of my favorite composers Ryuichi Sakamoto. Sakamoto’s music exhibits many of the things I love in music especially his sense of melody and contrast.

The Supreme Uniter is a solo piece I wrote in memory of Meghan Stabile. The first promoter in New York who really believed in me and gave me some big opportunities Meghan was an incredible human being and a true warrior for the music.

Crystalize began as an idea upon Roy Hargrove’s passing. I wanted to write something that I believe Roy would have liked to play on. This cyclic bass line and melody are what manifested. An homage to his work with Erykah Badu, I brought on Melanie Charles and Immanuel Wilkins to bring their special sauce to the mix and Crystalize formed.

Countdown is a contra fact of the John Coltrane classic of the same name. I debuted this song in 2009 at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and had not performed it since. I always try to include something classic or swinging in my records and In conversation with Aaron Parks, he mentioned he loved playing over Countdown so I figured it was time to bring this one out of retirement.

For Charles Mingus’ centennial birthday I wanted to record one of his songs. Haiti has become one of the most important places in my life and it just made sense to honor the man and the place with Haitian Fight Song. I recorded all the bass parts at home during the pandemic and engineered this bass choir arrangement.

The finale of this record is Cocoon by Icelandic artist Bjork. I have long admired her work and attitude as an artist. It’s a simple song with incredible depth and I wanted the listener to leave this album with a feeling of peaceful transformation, especially given the nature of loss represented in the earlier works.

Elegúa Dayme Arocena is a Cuban vocalist who’s latest releases Cubafonia and Sonocardiogram are out on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label. Dayme is one of the truly unique voices in world music and jazz and her background in traditional Cuban music informs her presence and sound.

—Michael Feinberg

01. Afro Blue (Michael Feinberg) 5:30
02. Sacred Feminine (Hal Crook) 7:36
03. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Ryuichi Sakamoto) 6:25
04. Tango (Ryuichi Sakamoto) 5:34
05. Crystalize (Feinberg-Charles) 4:41
06. The Supreme Uniter (Michael Feinberg) 3:55
07. Countdown (Michael Feinberg) 4:16
08. Haitian Fight Song (Charles Mingus) 5:28
09. Cocoon (Björk) 5:40
10. Elegúa (Feinberg-Arocena) 3:48

Album details


Michael Feinberg (bass, keyborads), Jon Irabagon (tenor sax), Aaron Parks (piano), Nasheet Waits (drums).

On #1 & 5: Greg Paulus (trumpet), Morgan Guerin (Ewi sax), Immanuel Wilkins (alto sax), Julian Schore (Fender Rhodes), Jesse Fischer (synth on #5), Jongkuk Kim (drums), Melanie Charles (vocals, flute on #6).

On #10: Dayme Arocena (vocals), Tivon Pennicott (tenor sax), Jason Arce (soprano sax), Julian Pollack (keyboard).

Tracks #1,5: Recorded by Colin Martson at the Theousand Caves, Queens, NY, Feb. 2021
Tracks #2,3,4,6,7 & 9: Recorded by Mike Marciano & Dave Stoller at Samurai Hotel, Astoria, NY, July 2022
Tracks #8 & 10: Recorded by Michael Feinberg at MF Studios, NYC, October 2021

Mixed & mastered by Mike Marciano
Cover art by Patrick Jacobs
Design: Dylan Aiello

Produced by Michael Feinberg
Executive Producer: Jordi Pujol

This sound recording © 2023 by Fresh Sound Records
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas, S.L.

Press reviews

"Another potent release from Fresh Sound Records, with a helpful, detailed sleeve note from multi-instrumentalist and composer Feinberg, Crystalize begins with Afro Bloo, a re spelling and re-imagining of the Mongo Santamaria classic.

Curiously enough, it took me back to Weather Report territory with the loping theme and thickening textural colour recalling the title track of WR’s Mr Gone. Some fine, floating piano and bass interaction open things up before the sing-song theme moves into a tougher gear, propelled by excellent drumming from Waits and inducing some authoritative, bustling tenor from Irabagon.

After the extended minor blues that is Sacred Feminine, things start to get even deeper with the pellucid rubato piano meditation from Aaron Parks which opens the following beautiful reading of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s highly melodic Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence; Feinberg joins in with some broadly phrased arco figures, picked up and developed by Irabagon. By now, you feel that this band could take you anywhere they wished.

Another Sakamoto number, the sensuously projected Tango, takes us to the title track. it was precipitated by Feinberg’s reaction to the death of trumpeter Roy Hargrove. A cyclical bass line opens up many a thought about time and longing, transience and compassion, underlined by the following distilled Feinberg bass solo that is The Supreme Uniter.

Countdown and Haitian Fight Song are respectively homages to Coltrane and Mingus, the first a flowing group-romp with fine work from Parks and Irabagon, the second a swinging and driving tour-de-force of multi-tracked solo bass with Feinberg strong in both arco and pizzicato lines, eventually to practically choral effect.

A large cultural leap then takes us to the ballad musings of Björk. A diversely weighted and projected solo from Irabagon and some tasty touches from Parks and fine brushes from Waits do full justice to the Icelander’s yearning. A further cultural shift then concludes the album as a multi-tracked, soaring and assertive outing from another distinctive female artist, the Cuban vocalist Dayme Arocena, is projected high over deep toned and grounded figures from the core group.

As I said, you feel that Feinberg and his various cohorts could take us anywhere they wished. Highly recommended."

—Michael Tucker (February 10, 2024)


10,95 €  (tax incl.)

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