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The Debut Album of Mitch Shiner and the BloomingTones Big Band: Fly!



Mitch Shiner and the BloomingTones Big Band - Fly

As soon as I played the first track on Mr. Shiner and the BloomingTones Big Band ´s debut album, I was astonished by the powerful, pure and jazzy style they could create. The first theme “Dragon Express” (one of his original compositions) is a delectable jazz piece where each member of this great band contributes with attitude and great brilliance to the cadence and melody of this theme.

The leader of this project is a virtuous musician, a percussionist who can play drums, the vibraphone and congas. Mitch Shiner is a composer and arranger, a passionate young musician who loves jazz tradition and the evolution of this musical genre. It is worth mentioning some background about this young talent: Mr. Shiner began playing and studying percussion when he was a child. This drummer and vibraphonist graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with a Bachelors degree in Jazz Studies. Some of his professors and mentors have been Steve Houghton and Michael Spiro. Mitch has performed in many bands and ensembles including the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, the Singing Hoosiers, Steel Pan Band, the Latin Jazz Ensemble, University Orchestra, and the Brazilian Percussion Ensemble among others.

In Fly!, Mitch Shiner displays the study and experience accumulated over many years since he was a little child. Cultivating his talent with discipline, rigor and eagerness, this percussionist really put together his passion for jazz, leading his first official album from his chair as a drummer, vibraphonist and conga player. In this work Mr. Shiner shows his capacity and artistry to compose complex jazz themes that open the perfect scenario for the band members to improvise and interact between smart catchy lines.

Fly! is a demonstration and model of what young musicians can do, taking risks in life, liberating the spirit and challenging the human creativity possibilities. The listener can appreciate this musical contribution in the theme called the same as the album´s title: “Fly”. The double bass and trumpets interlace to create a fine intro, then slowly the melody and the jazz solos come up. This is about the pure sensation of delicate interpretation and enchanting joyfulness.

“Watchful Eyes” is another remarkable theme, a nostalgic bossanova played masterfully by Mr. Shiner who conducts from his seat, with feeling, the performance of his colleagues. With the vibraphone, this song explores beautiful sonorities and leads the band to define a particular personality sound. In his first album Mitch Shiner explores the mix of traditional sound and modern jazz including Afro Cuban music and contemporary standards.

Produced by Mitch Shiner and Wayne Wallace, this album was recorded at Primary Sound Recordingin Bloomington Indiana, and consist of 10 songs, five of them are Mr. Mitcher´s original compositions: “Dragon Express”, “Fly”, “6:20 Shuffle”, “Malibu Jump”and “Watchful Eyes”. It is really worth listening to!

Track Listing: 1. Dragon Express, 2. When You Wish Upon A Star, 3. Wrecking Ball – Oggun, 4. Fly, 5. An Evening Thought, 6. 6:20 Shuffle, 7. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, 8. Malibu Jump, 9. Watchful Eyes, 10. Brother To Brother.

The BloomingTones Big Band COMPLETE PERSONNEL:

Woodwinds: Amanda Gardier (alto/soprano sax, flute, alto flute); Adam Carrillo (alto/soprano sax, clarinet); Matt Roehrich (tenor sax, alto flute, clarinet); Alex Young (tenor sax, clarinet); Steven Banks (baritone sax, bass clarinet)

Trombones: Dan Coffman (lead); John Sorsen; Stewart Rhodes; Brennan Johns (bass); Wayne Wallace (tracks 5, 9)

Tuba: Matt Johnson (tracks 5, 9)

French Horns: Eric Dumouchelle (track 7); Torrey D’Angelo (track 7)

Trumpet/Flugelhorns: Jordan Ghaim (lead); Josiah Lamb; Joe Anderson (EVI track 10); Lexie Signor; Pat Harbison (tracks 5, 9)

Piano: John Weisiger

Guitar: Matt MacDougall

Vocals: Richard Baskin (tracks 2, 5, 10); Michael Spiro (track 2)

Upright, Electric, Baby Bass: Anna Butterss (tracks 1, 6, 8); Rob Walker (tracks 2, 3, 4, 7, 10); Jeremy Allen (tracks 5, 9)

Percussion: Joe Galvin (batá track 2, guiro track 5); Kristin Olson (batá track 2 / congas tracks 6, 8, 10 / timbales track 5 / shakers track 10); Mitch Shiner (congas track 5 / maracas track 5 / shekere track 2 / shakers tracks 9, 10 / triangle track 9); Michael Spiro (batá 2)

Vibraphone: Kristin Olson (tracks 1, 4, 6, 8); Mitch Shiner (tracks 2, 7, 9)

Drum Set: Ben Lumsdaine (track 9); Josh Roberts (tracks 2, 7); Mitch Shiner (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10)

Label: Patois Records | Release date: August, 2014

Website: | Buy music on: amazon

Oscar graduated in journalism and education in Colombia, and completed a postgraduate program in Creative Writing in Canada. He works as an English teacher, translator and freelance writer in Bogotá. Oscar is a music collector, explorer and promoter of World Music and Jazz.

Featured Albums

Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá



Roberto Jr. Vizcaino, Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaino Guillot - Photo Nayeli Mejia
Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot - Photo: Nayeli Mejia.

Listening to the music of Siempre Más Allá, it certainly seems that the young French pianist, Adrien Brandeis has strengthened the belief that he is a proverbial citizen of the Afro-Caribbean universe. To be clear Mr Brandeis still loves all music and swings as hard as any pianist who loves Black American Music – that is, music that you can sing and dance to. But also continues to be beguiled by the rolling thunder of Afro-Caribbean music. The wild call of the rhythms and the joie de vivre of the questing melodies and harmonies not only appeal to his ear, but also speak to him in the hidden parts of his heart.

By his own admission Siempre Más Allá took root during three tours to Mexico undertaken under the aegis of the Fédération des Alliances Françaises du Mexique. The virtually all-Afro-Cuban repertoire of the album radiates charm at every turn. These disarmingly natural and eloquent performances bring out the music’s inherent drama and penchant for tumbao with a deft touch while indulging Brandeis’ lyrical instincts to the full. Meticulously balanced, the four quartet pieces, the trio and duo pieces feel as if they are chamber works. Brandeis’ astonishingly insightful playing is musically captivating and technically blemishless. Each phrase rings so completely true that one can’t imagine the music played any other way.

Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá

The album features Mr Brandeis and a group of very accomplished musicians. These include the celebrated Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot [on two tracks] and his son Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Mexican drummer José Loria Triay make up the wall of percussion. The Brasilian bassist Giliard Lopes brings his distinctive veritas to the whole rhythm section. The big surprise here is, perhaps, the presence of the great Cuban Horacio “El Negro” Hernández sitting in the drum chair on La buena vibra.

Siempre Más Allá is an affirmation of Brandeis’ enduring love and natural affinity for Latin music. Not surprisingly the music seems to echo the famous Latin American phrase: “¡Que rico bailo yo!” [which, in English, exclaims: “How well I dance!”]. This is no hyperbole as the music – in its pulses and rhythms show as Brandeis traverses the rhythmic topography of the Caribbean and Latin America. Along the way Brandeis plunged into the world of changüí, the chacarera, Brasilian gaucho music and the ancient melodic thunder of bàtá drums.

From the get-go listeners will find themselves immersed in quite another world of rippling percussive grooves. The track Ek Bakam, for instance, conjures the intricate architecture; the line and flow of an epic Mayan civilisation located in the Yucatan. Narratives from the Latin world abound – often paying homage to famous traditional musicians. Pancho’s Power is one such chart inspired by the vivid world of the legendary trio Los Panchos. Brandeis gives his percussion section a lot of space when he puts the spotlight on them on Tierra de Oportunidades – a wistful memory of the pianist’s three tours to Mexico, which is also incidentally the popular provincial slogan of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. On Huachi-Huachi Brandeis digs deep into the epicurean delights of the only Latin country in North America with this song in praise of a kind of gourmet Mexican fish: the huachinango.

Brandeis then celebrates his association with percussion colourist Roberto Vizcaíno Jr. with the extraordinary music of Vizcaíno Blues, a piece unique with its exploratory chromaticisms and elegant sonorities that beautifully capture the eloquence of the percussionist in whose praise the music is written. Mindful of the fact that Vizcaíno is Cuban but makes his home in Mexico, Brandeis shapes the rhythmic and harmonic palette of the piece accordingly. On La Buena Vibra Brandeis delivers astonishing pianistic fireworks in the piece’s melodic and harmonic lines, played at a frenetic pace, to mirror the style of its dedicatee, Michel Camilo. The pianist demonstrates an authentic home-grown grasp of Cuban music as he reimages Voy a Apagar la Luz, by the legendary and late-singer Armando Manzanero, here adapted as a wistful solo piano work. Meanwhile on the dizzying ride of Humpty Dumpty the pianist pays homage to another idol: Chick Corea, by revisiting the sparkling composition of the recently-deceased piano maestro.

It is hard not to be mesmerised by this spirited and finely nuanced music artfully crafted in an album by Adrien Brandeis, a pianist who is about to take the world by storm with a recording that is going to be one of the finest by any musician located outside the Latin American sub-continent.

Deo gratis…

Tracks – 1: Huachi Huachi; 2: Alegría; 3: Pancho’s Power; 4: Ek balam; 5: Un peu d’espoir; 6: Vizcaíno’s Blues; 7: Tierra de oportunidades; 8: Humpty Dumpty; 9: La buena vibra; 10: Voy a apagar la luz

Musicians – Adrien Brandeis: piano; Giliard Lopes: contrabass; José Loria Triay: drums; Roberto Vizcaíno Jr: congas and bàtá drums. Featuring Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot: percussion [1, 6]; Horacio “El Negro” Hernández: drums [9]

Released – 2022
Label – Mantodea Music Productions
Runtime – 58:25

YouTube Video – Adrien Brandeis – Siempre más allá (EPK)

YouTube Audio – Adrien Brandeis – Vizcaíno’s Blues

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