NEW YORK STORIES
Coming in January 2021
DAVE DETWEILER TRIO
Bassist Fumi Tomita and saxophonist David Detweiler celebrate the 100th anniversary of jazz icon Charlie Parker with thoroughly Parkerian flair and resourcefulness on Celebrating Bird: A Tribute to Charlie Parker, set for a September 25 release on Next Level Records. Tomita, along with longtime collaborator David Detweiler, present an inspired set of contrafacts—new melodies, composed upon familiar chord changes—of tunes in Parker’s repertoire.
Bird was a legendary creator of contrafacts. One of the bebop revolutionary’s key innovations was the language with which he reimagined songs like “Cherokee,” “Lady Be Good” and even the basic possibilities of the blues. It’s this spirit that Tomita and his quartet (Detweiler, pianist Art Hirahara, and drummer Jimmy Macbride) channel on Celebrating Bird, both in terms of writing original songs on classic changes and the expression of those songs in a bright and upbeat bebop aesthetic.
“I’ve always loved Charlie Parker’s music,” Tomita says, musing on the idiom Bird did so much to create. “It’s a style rooted in a certain language but very open to other styles.”
That openness is very much evident on Celebrating Bird. Both Tomita and Detweiler contribute four compositions for the recording. Whether in the subtle calypso echoes of Tomita’s “Like Sigmund” (a contrafact of Parker’s “Segment”), the Latin charms of Detweiler’s “Intersection” (based on “Repetition,” a tune from the famous Charlie Parker with Strings sessions), or the funk suggested by Tomita’s doubling of the melody line with Detweiler on “Oceanology” (a blues in C, a favorite Bird framework), the album offers a unique insight into the vast reach of Parker’s musical ideas.
Then again, any jazz performance is also about the musicians performing it in the moment—and Tomita and company do not disappoint as artists in their own right. The glory of Detweiler’s sustained solo on “Bird’s Yard” is immediately rivaled by Hirahara’s piano chaser; Macbride makes punchy but sleek statements on “Bird Dreams”; and the leader taps into fathomless depths of soul with solos on “Alice Changes” and “Intersection.” As ever, the high point of Parker’s genius is in how it enables the individuality of visionaries like Tomita.
“Conceived before the pandemic, this tribute record to Charlie Parker will, I hope, still be relevant in the new normal with the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Tomita. “The sweeping changes for social justice for African Americans that have dominated the summer of 2020 were a dream that Parker, living during the pre-Civil Rights era, was denied. Yet he still led a musical revolution known as bebop that contributed to the great music known as Jazz. His music can be viewed as a form of protest during an era when African Americans could not voice their opposition to racial discrimination, segregation, or lynchings. During his centennial year, I hope that Charlie Parker will continue to be remembered and that his music will resonate with listeners during an age of protest.” •
Celebrating Bird/A Tribute to Charlie Parker
Tenor saxophonist, composer, educator, and Vandoren Artist David Detweiler was born in Houston, TX where he attended High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Since then, he has earned his BM from William Paterson University, MM from Florida State University (2010), and DMA from the Eastman School of Music (2015). In 2016, David joined the Florida State University faculty as Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone after serving as Director of Jazz Studies at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. David has released two albums as a leader, New York Stories and The David Detweiler Trio Featuring Fumi Tomita and Alex Patrick, with his third album, Astoria Suite, releasing on NextLevel in January 2021.
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