Sameer Ramchandran Trio Roundabout
Roundabout represents the initial recording of the Sameer Ramchandran Trio. Here, pianist Sameer Ramchandran is joined by bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. The recording is a mixture of Ramchandran's refreshing originals and the group's expressive interpretations of jazz standards. Duval is mainly known for his creative improvisational endeavors for the CIMP label (although here he is showing a much different facet of his playing altogether), while Baker is an educator and member of numerous ensembles in the New York City area. Ramchandran's fluid melodies and harmonies are given solid support by Duval's sometimes adventurous and always inventive grounding in the bass. Baker's pristine percussive backdrop provides a colorful atmosphere and a solid frame through which the music falls. All three are in fine form and each is given ample room to improvise and interpret the material thoroughly. Ramchandran and Duval had been playing together at a jam session in the New York area in earnest for about two years, although they had known each other for a longer period than that. Baker has been a fixture on the New York scene for sometime now, filling out the trio after Ramchandran had heard and met him at a venue in New York's East Village. Baker was a natural fit as he and Duval had worked together prior to Roundabout on a few occasions. The three recorded together on Roverbird Recordings not long afterwards.
Roverbird Recordings RBR 001-2006
Musician Biographies Sameer Ramchandran, piano Composer and pianist Sameer Ramchandran is a native of New York and has performed in the New York, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas in ensembles and in solo performances. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and English from Colgate University, and a Master of Arts in music composition from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ramchandranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dialogue for violin and piano was premiered by UCSBâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ensemble for Contemporary Music, and his Circus for big band was premiered by UCSBâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s jazz ensemble. As a pianist, he has performed in contemporary music ensembles and chamber ensembles for both universities. He has also performed in numerous jazz ensembles, both large and small, and in the spring of 2006 released the CD Roundabout on Roverbird Recordings with bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. In 2006, he formed Roverbird, Inc. to not only serve as an outlet for various musical ventures, but to also support the future expression of jazz and new music.
Dominc Duval, bass
New Yorker Dominic Duval is one of the finest and most prolific bassists on the contemporary scene, having played and recorded with some of the greatest names in jazz and new music. Duval's ten-year tenure with pianist Cecil Taylor's trio has cemented his reputation as one of contemporary music's more important figures. Duval is comfortable and can be seen performing in any number of genres, including modern classical, jazz or music which defies classification. The bassist has performed and recorded with such notables as saxophonists Joe McPhee, Ivo Perelman, Glen Spearman, and Mark Whitecage, composer Pauline Oliveros, trombonist Steve Swell, pianists Joseph Scianni and Michael Stevens, trumpeter Herb Robertson, and drummer Paul Lytton, David S. Ware among many others. Duval leads and co-leads a number of ensembles himself, including the critically-acclaimed C.T. String Quartet, Trio X, "The Wedding Band", and the Dominic Duval String Ensemble. Duval's solo bass CD, Night Bird Inventions, was a Top 10 pick in the Coda Magazine critics poll, and his String Ensemble CD, State of the Art, was chosen one of the year's best in the Jazziz Magazine poll. Mr. Duval can be seen on tour through out the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia.
Musician Biographies, continued Newman Taylor Baker, drums Newman Taylor Baker is a master musician, composer and interpreter, at home as a soloist in performance of his own projects, as a peer in numerous outstanding musical ensembles, as a key player in new opera and musical theater, as a longtime collaborator with choreographers, as an educator in universities, public schools, prisons and community centers and as a musical ambassador crossing borders of understanding in this country and abroad for years. Baker is a longtime collaborator with JoAnne Tucker, Founding Director of the Avodah Dance Ensemble. In Spring 2005, the company premiered, Mayim, A Ritual of Transformation a work featuring his composition and choreography by Julie K. Gayer. Other program highlights included Newman’s Blanket, Balancing Act, and The Forgiveness Project with music and live performance by Baker. Newman Taylor Baker is NYFA Fellow in Music Composition for his project, Singin’ Drums, which was presented at The Stone New York, NY September 30, 2005. He has performed this project solo, in concert with other percussionists and as part of numerous musical ensembles. His project, Celebration of the Drum Set: Give the Drummer Some (Warwick Summer Arts Festival, Warwick, NY), featured three esteemed percussionists in solo and group setting. Andrew and He was featured in the New York premiere of Three Willies, with music by Leroy Jenkins and libretto by Homer Jackson. In Dialogue for 2000: A Duet for Drum Set, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Baker set his Singin’ Drums project in a duo setting. He performed in the New York run of the Obie awardwinning Running Man, with music by Diedre Murray and text by Cornelius Eady, and the European tour of Walcott Songs, with music by Henry Threadgill and text by Derek Walcott. Baker has toured over 40 countries of the world performing with the Billy Harper Quintet, the Henry Threadgill Sextett, Henry Grimes, Sam Rivers, Billy Bang, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Baron, Kevin Eubanks, the Delaware Symphony, the Richmond Symphony, Reggie Workman, Leroy Jenkins, Jeanne Lee, Lou Donaldson, James Moody, Abdullah Ibrahim, and others. Baker earned an MM in Education from East Carolina University and a BS in Music Education from Virginia State University.
Session photographs by David Heinlein
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International Praise for Roundabout: “Thank you for sending on this C.D. This is a superb recording for a debut C.D. Mr. Ramchandran and his two colleagues are terrific from first to last. The interpretations of standards works well and the arrangements are fresh and lively, the Musicians interweave extremely well and complement each other with fluidity and understanding. The playing on Mr. Ramchandran's originals is also top class and these tracks are ‘no mere stand alone's’, but remain melodic and fresh. There is no doubt that I will feature several tracks from this C.D. on forthcoming Programmes. Top quality, I look forward to the follow up. Best Wishes.” -John Reid, Keith Community Radio 102.8 F.M. Keith Banffshire Scotland “The debut CD from pianist Sameer Ramchandran and his fellow travellers - Dominic Duval on bass and Newman Taylor Baker on drums - is a sprightly and confident mix of covers and originals. It's also resolutely old fashioned in its approach to the material which actually works in its favour, as when the trio jump away from the melody, there's still a hook to hang your hat on, unlike a lot of other interpretative performers who seem to regard the tune as a bit of a nuisance. There are two outstanding pieces on a solidly enjoyable outing - "Till There Was You" and a remarkable nine minute foray into Cole Porters "All Of You.” -Stuart Hamilton, Zeitgeist, United Kingdom ‘This is a superb recording from a very talented pianist in the Bill Evans style. Sameer Ramchandran guides his listeners through a compilation of beautiful choices, ably assisted by Dominic Duval on bass and Newman Taylor Baker on drums, with all the style and panache of first class musicians. His treatment of Very Early is both sensitive and skillful and what a pleasure it is to hear The Summer Knows again played so well. I thoroughly enjoyed this album and have added it to my playlist having already played it several times on my national jazz program "A Jazz Hour" which goes out weekly across Australia to over 181 stations, I will continue to play it forever. It is magic!‘ -
Barry O'Sullivan Producer/Presenter of "A Jazz Hour" across Australia via the CBAA network each week on Saturday 5-6pm
“Complex, yet accessible piano trio music – I have been listening to this amazing debut CD again and again. Best regards.” - Hans-Bernd Kittlaus, JazzPodium Magazine, Germany “What a great sound you have, I have played several of your tracks to date and plan to schedule more in future programs.” -Michael Criddle, Triple H-FM, Australia “A fine jazz record, Roundabout by Sameer Ramchandran. I understand it is his debut album. I hope there follows many albums more. Sameer Ramchandran has a fine touch.” -Jan Nederveen, Radio Heerde, Netherlands “Excellent stuff here with a nice choice of tunes. Will definitely play one of them in one of my next broadcasts.” -Pascal Dorban, Radio ARA, Luxembourg “I like the way you play and the modern ideas shared with Dominic and Newman.” -Claude Colpaert, Radio Campus France
Jazz Improv Magazine Vol. 6 Number 4, Summer 2006 Jazzimprov.com Sameer Ramchandran Trio Roundabout Review by Jim Santella
New York native Sameer Ramchandran leads a strait-ahead session of standards and originals with shared creative sensibilities. They say it takes two to tango, and it takes three to make a crowd, but when everything falls into place, as it does on this stellar session, three is a magic number. When three artists contribute equally in this manner, we get three times the pleasure from their performance, and nothing can upset that apple cart. Ramchandran's piano features a lyrical embrace that holds onto each tone as if it were made of wax. One note glides into the next while he delivers the music effortlessly. The pedals account for much of what is being said; while Ramchandran's seamless grand piano keyboard attack translates into a heart-rending experience. The pianist communicates on a level with his audience that synchronizes tradition with progress. His three original pieces contribute an intangible essence to the program that keeps the listener on the edge of his seat. Bassist Dominic Duval pumps some serious adventure into each track. Known for his creative improvised music affinity, he could easily become stereotyped for what he can do with the contrabass when desired. This time out, however, he's the master of straight-ahead, as he delivers for the trio all the necessary ingredients. Similarly, drummer Newman Taylor Baker supplies various textures in support of the trio's adventures. He trades fours and stretches out a length with plenty to say each time. Standards such as 'All of You' and 'The Summer Knows' ring quite familiar with any audience. How does one remain true to the song without seeming tot read a path as just one more interpreter like the rest? With this session, it's the shared interaction that does it. Ramchandran assures his audience an interesting journey through the trio's unique interpretation.
Cadence Magazine November 2006 Review by Jason Bivins Sameer Ramchandran Trio Roundabout I just love it when I have the chance to hear Duval and Baker (who seem to be working together more frequently, and cheers to that) play in a roughly mainstream context. Sameer Ramchandran is a young player bubbling with energy, whose largely lyrical ideas seem perfectly suited to his colleagues’ freedoms. He’s a vertical player, who follows lines wherever they lead him and tends to use his left hand as much for counter lines as for comping (though he does the latter quite well). His composition “Roundabout” is joyous, with bluesy inflections that recall early Jarrett (Indeed, much of this session recalls the old Jarrett trio with Haden and Motian). And the leader shows that as a writer he’s got range, with the memorable melancholy of “The Whispering-Wood” (Duval never sounds as good to m e as when he has a theme like this to work with). I’m not always persuaded by their readings of standard (or near standard) materials: “Summer Night,” for example, is a tad anonymous, and Meredith Willson’s “Till There Was You” and Michel Legrand’s “The Summer Knows” sound a bit too similar, perhaps emotionally overwrought. But things are altogether better in tunes that are more thoroughly transformed, as on the dark, rumbling “Very Early” or the elongated “Trinkle, Tinkle.” A good disk by a new name worth watching.
© Cadence Magazine, November 2006. www.cadencebuilding.com, ph. 315-287-2852