New Recording from Kendra Shank & Geoffrey Keezer

Half Moon cover



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HALF MOON (Live in New York)

Kendra Shank & Geoffrey Keezer
  1. Alone Together 6:48 (Howard Dietz / Arthur Schwartz)
  2. The Music is the Magic 7:33 (Abbey Lincoln)
  3. Kneel 8:38 (Jeremy Siskind)
  4. Song of Life 4:58 (Norma Winstone / Fred Hersch)
  5. Half Moon 4:44 (words: K. Shank / music: G. Keezer, K. Shank)
  6. Life’s Mosaic 7:31 (John & Paula Hackett / Cedar Walton)
  7. When Love Was You and Me 5:02 (Abbey Lincoln / Thad Jones)
  8. I’m Movin’ On 4:52 (Judy Niemack / Kirk Nurock)
  9. Healing Song 4:33 (words: K. Shank / music: K. Shank, G. Keezer)
  10. You Are There 5:58 (Dave Frishberg / Johnny Mandel)
  11. A Weaver Of Dreams 6:08 (Jack Elliott / Victor Young)

Kendra Shank and Geoffrey Keezer’s musical association began in 2008 at the Athenaeum jazz series in San Diego, CA when a cancelled flight prevented Shank’s New York pianist from making the gig. With just 30 minutes to rehearse, Keezer stepped in with a seamless performance and instant chemistry with Shank that inspired a standing ovation. Kendra called on Geoffrey’s trio for subsequent West Coast tours and their musical connection deepened. In January 2015, while Geoffrey was in Manhattan on an engagement with Chris Botti, he and Kendra performed an afternoon concert at a friend’s home. The intimate duo setting provided the pianist and vocalist unlimited freedom to create spontaneously in the moment, taking the enthusiastic audience on a magical journey that was captured on this Ride Symbol recording. The title song “Half Moon,” inspired by a lamp hanging over the piano, was completely improvised and reveals Shank at her most vulnerable. Keezer’s 88-key orchestra of harmonic and rhythmic virtuosity and Shank’s exotic wordless vocalizations are highlighted in Cedar Walton’s “Life’s Mosaic,” while the duo’s lyrical side shines on the debut recording of Jeremy Siskind’s “Kneel” (winner of ASCAP’s Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award). The chart for “When Love Was You and Me” (Abbey Lincoln/Thad Jones) was given to Kendra in 1994 by her mentor Abbey Lincoln when Kendra visited her Upper West Side apartment — coincidentally in the same building where this concert took place. Throughout this diverse and inspired set, Shank & Keezer embody the joy and playful inventiveness of making music as interactive partners, transcending the singer-accompanist mold.

GEOFFREY KEEZER With his highly regarded discography, unique compositions, and acclaimed performances in a variety of configurations, Grammy-nominated pianist Geoffrey Keezer commands the attention typically reserved for the living legends of jazz. Whether recording with jazz vocalists Diana Krall or Dianne Reeves, touring with trumpet king Chris Botti, or collaborating with pop icon Sting, sax legend Wayne Shorter, guitar wizard Jim Hall, star bassist Christian McBride or vibes master Joe Locke, Geoffrey “has more than enough virtuosity and sheer musical wit and intelligence to weave all of his apparently disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole” (Time magazine). His recent release, Heart of the Piano (2013, Motema Records), redefines solo jazz piano as a personal and interactive showcase of melody, energy and groove. Geoffrey Keezer’s singular style of intellectually abstract lyricism woven over exotically complex rhythms and harmonies makes him one of the most sought-after artists on the modern jazz scene.

KENDRA SHANK Kendra Shank’s 6 critically acclaimed CDs have garnered numerous “Best of the Year” citations and Down Beat poll recognition, with accolades for her “delectable voice” (Time magazine) and “breathtakingly original concept” (Boston Globe). Since her 1992 debut at the Village Vanguard, presented by Shirley Horn, Shank has become a mainstay on New York’s jazz scene, has toured in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Canada and the U.S., and has appeared on NPR’s JazzSet and Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. In addition to leading her NY quartet of 16 years with Frank Kimbrough, Dean Johnson, and Tony Moreno, she co-leads a duo with guitarist John Stowell and has performed and/or recorded with Abbey Lincoln, Fred Hersch, Larry Willis, Joe Locke, Jay Clayton, Bob Dorough, Gary Bartz, Steve Wilson, Victor Lewis, Matt Wilson, Ben Monder and many more. Her mix of jazz originals, standards, world music, folk/pop, and open improvisation is unified by her soulful storytelling, inventive phrasing, and spontaneous group interplay.

Premiere Recording from the Joel Forrester Trio



What You Mean To Me is the first recording to feature Joel Forrester with his Trio. This ensemble format brings out new facets to his compositions, and the years they’ve spent together are evident in the performances. We’ll let Joel explain (from his notes on the record):

The steady gig!! Not for nothing do improvising musicians deem it the Holy Grail: oft-sought, inevitably lost, sought out again. In its presence, there is concentrated purpose nowhere else available; absent, it seems to shimmer provocatively in a fictional nearfuture.

Only a steady gig allows a band to develop its music, such that the tunes grow their own arrangements; weak moments get sorted out; novelty finds patient encouragement; and interplay achieves a natural balance (natural to the tune being played, I mean; not necessarily to power-relations within the band).


This recording then, provides the fruits of that steady gig. It lasted years, off and on; we were fired and re-fired any number of times. Slowly we got some thirty tunes together. And, after a good stretch of weekly sessions at the place, we made this set. We recorded it, all of it, in an afternoon. And that was as easy as falling out of bed; easier!

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Christina Clare Sings Joel Forrester


JoelForrester_Christina cover_NEW

IN NEW YORK is the result (happy & inevitable) of a year’s collaboration between Christina Clare and Joel Forrester. Over that span, the two developed for performance 35 of Forrester’s songs—some first penned 40 years ago; some written in the meantime and shelved, for one reason or another; others composed specifically for Clare. Development was facilitated by a weekly duo gig in Brooklyn. Clare also performed regularly with Forrester’s working quartet, playing venues as diverse as New York itself: Harlem night spots, a divine Park Slope dive, a Delancey Street performance space in a quondam synagogue, an Egyptian jazz club, a Russian tea room (lower case). What emerges from the recording is a portrait of our city, as it is now. Listen to Vito Dieterle’s constantly imaginative tenor sax, Matthew Garrity’s lean and angular drumming, and David Hofstra’s soulful bass: this is the music of where we live.


Vocalist Christina Clare originally made her mark on the New York downtown scene with HiChristina!, the acclaimed performance art duo that was crowned “Most Stylish New Yorkers” by TimeOut. After collaborating with such indie songstresses as Larkin Grimm and Alexa Wilding, as well as her husband, the filmmaker Fritz Donnelly, Clare began working with Joel Forrester following a chance meeting in 2013. Clare honed her skills as an individualistic vocal stylist, interpreting the pianist-composer’s idiosyncratic songs as well as lending a futurist twist to beloved standards.


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New Quintet Release from Joel Forrester


Furtive Sex features Joel’s quintet, The Truth, and several of his tunes never recorded before. As Joel says in his liner notes for the record:

Two hundred tunes ago, I showed up at a pre-gig session with a medium swinger called “Claire’s Idea”. A month after, my long-time bari player told me: “You know, Joel, I like that new number…and not just because it was my idea!” What was Claire’s idea? In retrospect, an eminently reasonable one: that I re-name the band. When I’d put Claire and David Hofstra together, we three became The Differents. With Denis Charles added, we were PEOPLE LIKE US. We stayed that way through Denis’s death into periods with the excellent drummers Ronnie Williams and Peter Grant. But from the moment Matt Garrity took the drum chair and Vito Dieterle joined up on tenor, we were truly a different band: younger, more internally-conflicted, ever-so-slightly stranger. We become JOEL FORRESTER & THE TRUTH; I often say to audiences: “As if the two existed in separate categories.” I had no idea how long this outfit might possibly endure. (As Lucille Ball, divorcing with Desi, said of her marriage, “Me, I didn’t give it two weeks.”) Yet the quintet is in its seventh year now and we even get to wail at Minton’s Playhouse! I love what these people do with my tunes. And that’s the truth.

Down The Road Booklet
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Claire Daly Comes to Ride Symbol Records

Claire Daly has long been a mainstay of the New York jazz scene and her baritone saxophone has notably graced the groups of Joel Forrester.  Her 2001 recording, Movin’ On is now available on Ride Symbol.  Claire leads a quartet that includes pianist Eli Yamin, bassist Dave Hofstra, drummer Peter Grant and, on two selections, trumpeter James Zollar.   The group covers jazz and popular standards and an original by Mr. Forrester.  And on the Leonard Bernstein/Comden and Green chestnut Some Other Time, Ms. Daly is presented in her recorded vocal debut and it’s sweet and lovely.

Record Review of “Down The Road” in The New York City Jazz Record

Ride Symbol Records is pleased to inform you about the latest news for Joel Forrester and his music.  His latest release, “Down The Road”, with his band Second Nature, has been reviewed in The New York City Jazz Record.  (Pg. 15)

“Down The Road”, done by the full quintet with piano-electric bass-drums joined by electric guitarist Manu Codjia (fully conversant in jazz-rock vocabulary) and baritone saxophonist Alex Hamlin (whose legato style and vibrato suggest an amped-up piccolo bass) features a patterned rhythm and stairclimbing melody redolent of King Crimson. On other tracks, Forrester employs such prog rock tropes as with accompaniment record, it’s a strong duet played by two remarkably articulate performers. The ways in which the compositions come together aren’t simple, both players seeming to occupy spaces nearby but not on top of the thematic ideas. At times it even seems like a sort of slow-motion teeter-totter, one on either side but working interdependently, as if the only way one can go up is if the other goes down. Or to cite another law of simple physics, opposites attract and in this case with great appeal.

Read the whole thing in the latest issue.

Cleveland tenor saxophone legend Ernie Krivda comes to Ride Symbol

Cleveland tenor saxophone legend Ernie Krivda comes to Ride Symbol with great recordings from a three year period (1995-1998) in his varied career.  Available now are two titles: The Band That Swings, a document of his celebrated Fat Tuesday Big Band; and Golden Moments, which finds Ernie in personal and passionate duets with pianist Dan Wall.

Coming soon will be three additional titles: Perdido, more from the big band; The Art of the Ballad, duets with pianist Bill Dobbins; and a never-before issued quintet recording, Strike Up the Band, which features the virtuoso guitarist Gene Bertoncini.


Ride Symbol Records Launch and New Release Party

The Ride Symbol record label was officially and stylishly re-launched on Friday, June 24, 2011 at a party at the Gershwin Hotel in New York!  At 7:00 guests were treated to the recorded sounds of the label’s new release, Down the Road, by pianist/composer Joel Forrester and a group specially assembled in France, Second Nature. The leader himself was present as were label founders Donald Elfman, David Preiser and Glenn Cornett.   The other delighted assembled guests included people from the press, representatives of other labels and fans of the artist.

Food and drink were provided and the party atmosphere continued into the second hour at which time Forrester and his New York group, Special Identity, performed an hour-long set that generated loud enthusiasm from the crowd.  Baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, bassist David Hofstra and drummer Matt Garrity were the members of this sterling quartet and they played Forrester’s original compositions with flair and gusto, anticipating the promise of the group’s forthcoming Ride Symbol release, Furtive Sex.

The Gershwin Hotel, with a music program organized by Neke Carson, hosted the event in part because of the success of a series of music for silent films that Forrester plays on the first Sunday of every month.

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Record Release Party and Label Launch!

Ride Symbol Records celebrates its re-entry into the recording arena with a party and performance at New York’s Gershwin Hotel, 7 E. 27th Street (between 5th and Madison Aves.).

On Friday, June 24, 2011, at 7:00 PM the label will host an evening in which the new Ride Symbol Records release Down the Road, by Joel Forrester’s France-based group, Second Nature, will be presented.  At 8:00, Joel’s New York band, Secret Identity – which includes baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, tenor saxophonist Vito Dieterle, bassist Dave Hofstra and drummer Matt Garrity –  will play music for its forthcoming Ride Symbol recording Furtive Sex.

Admission to the event is a low, low $5.00 and free refreshments will be served

The recording label Ride Symbol has been re-vitalized after seven years.  Label founder Donald Elfman has joined forces with former Koch associate, music media expert and musician David Preiser, and biotechnology entrepreneur and new music philanthropist Glenn Cornett to release and provide distribution for jazz recordings.  The three will also collaborate to release classical, new music and experimental rock recordings under the New Spectrum label.

Ride Symbol came into being in 2004 when Elfman released Ever Wonder Why by Forrester’s quintet of the time, People Like Us..  “Joel and creative musicians like him are the inspiration for the new label,” says Elfman.  Forrester’s Koch titles as well as new unreleased material will see the light of day.

Date: June 24, 2011
Time: 7pm
Location: The Gershwin Hotel
7 E. 27th St.
New York, NY

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Coming Soon – New Release from Joel Forrester

Joel Forrester has a new recording coming out, his first new release in more than five years. Recorded in Paris, France, with Joel’s band Second Nature, it’s called “Down The Road”. Available worldwide on May 1st.

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