Monday, April 15, 2013

Stephens' Nepenthe; Weeds' Benefits - Bob Stewart

A nepenthe is an elixir that relieves one's worries and sorrows. In Homer's Odyssey, the nepenthe is a potion given to Helen to cure her woe. Saxophonist and composer Dayna Stephens finds his nepenthetic reprieve while performing. For his new recording -- "That Nepenthetic Place" -- the Brooklyn born, Bay Area raised reedman has convened an ensemble of musicians he has known from his early days in the youth programs of the Bay Area, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Berklee College of Music, and the Monk Institute in Los Angles. It includes trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, pianist Taylor Eigsti and alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw.
Cory Weeds is a busy man. One wonders how this club owner, record label owner and distinguished saxophonist accomplishes more in one day than most of us do in a year. He loves to present jazz to enthusiastic fans at his Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver. He also loves to present jazz to the world through his Cellar Live record label. Most importantly, he has a deep passion for making the art itself. Listeners will hear this love, passion and commitment on his brand new disc -- "With Benefits" -- featuring fellow Vancouverite Bill Coon on guitar and the rhythm section of New York City's Peter Washington and Lewis Nash.

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