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Ben Winkelman Trio - The Spanish Tinge

Ben Winkelman Trio - The Spanish Tinge
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A collection of diverse originals, some of which feature the “Spanish Tinge”: Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms, odd time claves and the influence of Argentinean tango


 

Track Listing
1. Hurtling Towards the Grave 
2. The More Complex Needs of the Northern Soul 
3. Malady 
4. The Spanish Tinge 
5. Issachar 
6. Urge 
7. The Tearing of the Veil
8. Aguantando La Zozobra Crepuscular
9. Vilna
Click on above buttons to hear samples of select tracks

 

 


 

  More info & reviews 

Following the Trio’s critically acclaimed Stomps Pieces & Variations, The Spanish Tinge further explores Winkelman’s eclectic musical experiences. The Spanish Tinge is a collection of diverse originals, some of which feature the “Spanish Tinge”: Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms, odd time claves and the influence of Argentinean tango. The album also includes a jazz treatment of a Yiddish ballad and more exploration of contemporary possibilties for stride piano and early jazz sounds.

This diversity of styles reflects Winkelman’s inclusive approach to composition, seeking to give more of his varied musical interests a place in his jazz work.

The Ben Winkelman Trio are: Ben Winkelman - piano, Sam Anning - bass, Ben Vanderwal - drums Guest players include Paul Williamson (trumpet), Lachlan McLean (alto saxophone), Julien Wilson (tenor saxophone), Ben Gillespie (trombone) and Javier Fredes (congas).

“In one of my earliest tunes, ‘New Orleans Blues’, you can hear the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can’t manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.” – Jelly Roll Morton (refering to the influence of Afro-Caribbean music on jazz).

 


 

 

Notes on the tunes – The Spanish Tinge – Ben Winkelman Trio

1. Hurtling Towards The Grave is based on a baiao, a Brazilian rhythm. I wanted to write something like Stone Flower by Jobim, but it came out differently. I’m still not sure if I’m serious or joking about the very sombre and pessimistic sounding title. Maybe a bit of both. I’m still a little young for a mid-life crisis (only 34), but maybe not too young to be a little bit philosophical.

2. The More Complex Needs of the Northern Soul – influenced by Cuban music, and composed in 2 sections – a slow salsa section in 7-4 and a danzon section in 4-4. The 7-4 section has a special clave (or rhythmic cell) adapted for 7-4 time. 4-4 claves are grouped as 2-3 or 3-2, this one is grouped 2-3-3-2. The bass and drums trade improvised phrases over the 7-4 section and the piano solo is over the 4-4 section. The title comes from a Thomas Mann short story - Mario and the Magician, where the narrator (who is German) is on holiday in Italy and is left feeling empty by the sensual pleasures of the Mediterranean seaside, and talks about “the more complex needs of the northern soul”, as if Germans aren’t built to enjoy the sensual side of life. (A lot of my favourite German literature explores the conflict between the intellect and the senses.) I thought that this was kind of a funny title to give to a piece that’s so obviously based on music from southern countries.

3. Malady – a slow, dark, open, straight 8s piece. I think of this as a “mallety” feel. I think that’s how the title came about. It starts with an extended improvised drum intorduction.

 4. The Spanish Tinge – the title track. The title comes from that famous Jelly Roll Morton quote that “it’s not jazz if it doesn’t have that Spanish tinge”. This is how I’ve sometimes heard the quote – more accurately it’s: “In one of my earliest tunes, ‘New Orleans Blues’, you can hear the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can’t manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.” He was referring to the influence of Afro-Carribean music on jazz, and specifically the habanera rhythm which he employed in some of his pieces. My piece is composed in 2 sections. The first section is a sort of “modernized stride”. The piano part makes use of stride piano techniques like “oom-pah” bass note – chord movement, syncopated left hand figures in octaves, high register right hand figures in 3rds, but it also incorporates modern jazz features like odd rhythmic groupings (quavers in groups of 5 simultaneously with quavers in groups of 3, triplets in groups of 4 etc) and modern jazz harmony. The second section is heavily influenced by Argenitnean tango, including a slower milonga section and an accelerating cadenza. (I used to lead a tango quartet and transcribed many tango arrangements – here I got to put my research to good use.) Perhaps the piece should really be called “The Argentinean Tinge”, but then it wouldn’t fit the Jelly Roll Morton quote.

 5. Issachar – this is a 9-4 salsa. We had to fit another modified clave to this one too, this time grouped as 2-4. This piece has 2 alternating key centres the whole way through – B major and F minor. It has a slightly baroque sounding melody harmonized in tenths. The piece is in 9 so I named it after the ninth son of Jacob – Isscahar. This isn’t because I’m a bible basher but because I love the novel Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann.

6. Urge – a ballad in 3-4 time. There’s a line that I’ve always liked in the Walt Whitman poem Song Of Myself that goes: “Urge and urge and urge, always the procreant urge of the world.” “ Urge and urge and urge” is a bit of a mouthful so I stuck with just one “urge”.

7. The Tearing of the Veil – this piece begins with a recurring figure based on triplets in groups of seven, the figure’s harmonization alternating note by note between two tonalities: C minor and F# minor – creating a polytonal sound. After the introduction, the meldoy is accompanied by a stride feel which the piano maintains while the bass and drums play broken figures; the effect is of two semi-incongruous halves to the group – the piano constant, the bass and drums changing and shifting unexpectedly. The piece then changes feel to a spooky quasi-beguine, the piano part begins to range over the keyboard in octaves, evoking a romantic era Chopin-esque sound, still utilizing the same two tonalities. An open-ended group improvisation follows over the two chords, which on the recording takes on a dub feel for a while, ending on a cue from the piano with no reiteration of the opening melody. The structure of the form is a conscious attempt to get further away from the typical modern jazz form of head-solos-head. The piece is a continuation of the compositional theme of exploring more contemporary possibilites for early jazz sounds. This title is also inspired by the Thomas Mann novel Joseph and His Brothers. (The novel retells the famous biblical story, but also paints a vivd picture of pre-Judaeic (or pagan) Middle Eastern religious life – he refers to the tearing of the veil at the climax of the feast, and draws interesting parrallels between pagan and Judeao-Christian rites and myths.)

8. Aguantando La Zozobra Crepuscular – my first latin jazz fusion compostion. The influence of a few Afro-Cuban styles is apparent, eg. salsa, songo and timba. I feel pretty comfortable with Latin music, mainly because I’ve played with a great Afro-Cuban band, Rumberos, for the last 14 years. I’ve often felt tempted to write Latin influenced jazz pieces for the trio, but it wasn’t until drummer Ben Vanderwal joined the group that I had the opportunity to try it out. Ben Vanderwal is unusual in that he’s so good at playing both jazz and Afro-Cuban (and Brazilian) music, so I’m very lucky to have hooked up with him. I’ve had a long musical association with conga player Javier Fredes through playing in Rumberos. It was a great privelege to have him guest on this track for the recording. The title translates roughly as “Bearing Twilight Anxiety”.

9. Vilna – this is a beautiful old Yiddish song that I liked for a long time before re-working it for a jazz context. I heard it on a Klezmer Conservatory Band album called Yiddish Rennaisance. I re-harmonized parts of it and wrote backing figures for a 4 piece horn section to back the melody on the piano. For the ending I wrote a baroque-sounding chorale/ cadenza for the horns on their own. 

 


 

 "Here, the Melbourne pianist cooks up a bouillabaisse of flavours including stride, tango, Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms. With bassist Sam Anning and drummer Ben Vanderwal the presentation is tightly drilled but the music zings with an electricity of counerpoint and ideas popping up everywhere. Even the genres are reshaped: a tango rhythm worked over with a chord structure and melodic line not heard in that setting shifts in time, transforming a Latin beat. The most stunning moment is saved for last in his jazzed-up rendition of the emotional Yiddish song,Vilna. More please. ☆☆☆☆

Leon Gettler, The Age Green Guide

 


 

 "Melbourne pianist Ben Winkelman has travelled an individual path since his 2005 album Stomps, Pieces and Variations, which resurrected ragtime and stride piano using his contemporary-styled originals. The new title is a quote from Jelly Roll Morton, who believed the Spanish Tinge was essential seasoning for jazz, meaning Latin rhythms and Habanera ideas ought to be inherent in the music. Winkelman has achieved this by more than simply playing predictable Latin beats; he moves between rhythms, sometimes abandoning tempo altogether, and makes effective use of extended harmonies, swinging improvisations, even classical phrases. All but one of these pieces are originals and the title track is the only one to include ragtime references, but in Winkelman's signature style it soon digresses into a contemporary piano groove, then stately tango rhythms, followed by an evocative Latino-flavoured bass solo from Sam Anning. Ben Vanderwal handles the often complex percussion extremely well in this unusual exploration of nostalgic styles from the Spanish Quarter of old New Orleans, with a 21st-century makeover." ☆☆☆☆ John McBeath, The Australian “Winkelman is a remarkable pianist and a questing composer.”

John Shand, SMH

 


 

 

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Description

A collection of diverse originals, some of which feature the “Spanish Tinge”: Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms, odd time claves and the influence of Argentinean tango


 

Track Listing
1. Hurtling Towards the Grave 
2. The More Complex Needs of the Northern Soul 
3. Malady 
4. The Spanish Tinge 
5. Issachar 
6. Urge 
7. The Tearing of the Veil
8. Aguantando La Zozobra Crepuscular
9. Vilna
Click on above buttons to hear samples of select tracks

 

 


 

  More info & reviews 

Following the Trio’s critically acclaimed Stomps Pieces & Variations, The Spanish Tinge further explores Winkelman’s eclectic musical experiences. The Spanish Tinge is a collection of diverse originals, some of which feature the “Spanish Tinge”: Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms, odd time claves and the influence of Argentinean tango. The album also includes a jazz treatment of a Yiddish ballad and more exploration of contemporary possibilties for stride piano and early jazz sounds.

This diversity of styles reflects Winkelman’s inclusive approach to composition, seeking to give more of his varied musical interests a place in his jazz work.

The Ben Winkelman Trio are: Ben Winkelman - piano, Sam Anning - bass, Ben Vanderwal - drums Guest players include Paul Williamson (trumpet), Lachlan McLean (alto saxophone), Julien Wilson (tenor saxophone), Ben Gillespie (trombone) and Javier Fredes (congas).

“In one of my earliest tunes, ‘New Orleans Blues’, you can hear the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can’t manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.” – Jelly Roll Morton (refering to the influence of Afro-Caribbean music on jazz).

 


 

 

Notes on the tunes – The Spanish Tinge – Ben Winkelman Trio

1. Hurtling Towards The Grave is based on a baiao, a Brazilian rhythm. I wanted to write something like Stone Flower by Jobim, but it came out differently. I’m still not sure if I’m serious or joking about the very sombre and pessimistic sounding title. Maybe a bit of both. I’m still a little young for a mid-life crisis (only 34), but maybe not too young to be a little bit philosophical.

2. The More Complex Needs of the Northern Soul – influenced by Cuban music, and composed in 2 sections – a slow salsa section in 7-4 and a danzon section in 4-4. The 7-4 section has a special clave (or rhythmic cell) adapted for 7-4 time. 4-4 claves are grouped as 2-3 or 3-2, this one is grouped 2-3-3-2. The bass and drums trade improvised phrases over the 7-4 section and the piano solo is over the 4-4 section. The title comes from a Thomas Mann short story - Mario and the Magician, where the narrator (who is German) is on holiday in Italy and is left feeling empty by the sensual pleasures of the Mediterranean seaside, and talks about “the more complex needs of the northern soul”, as if Germans aren’t built to enjoy the sensual side of life. (A lot of my favourite German literature explores the conflict between the intellect and the senses.) I thought that this was kind of a funny title to give to a piece that’s so obviously based on music from southern countries.

3. Malady – a slow, dark, open, straight 8s piece. I think of this as a “mallety” feel. I think that’s how the title came about. It starts with an extended improvised drum intorduction.

 4. The Spanish Tinge – the title track. The title comes from that famous Jelly Roll Morton quote that “it’s not jazz if it doesn’t have that Spanish tinge”. This is how I’ve sometimes heard the quote – more accurately it’s: “In one of my earliest tunes, ‘New Orleans Blues’, you can hear the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can’t manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.” He was referring to the influence of Afro-Carribean music on jazz, and specifically the habanera rhythm which he employed in some of his pieces. My piece is composed in 2 sections. The first section is a sort of “modernized stride”. The piano part makes use of stride piano techniques like “oom-pah” bass note – chord movement, syncopated left hand figures in octaves, high register right hand figures in 3rds, but it also incorporates modern jazz features like odd rhythmic groupings (quavers in groups of 5 simultaneously with quavers in groups of 3, triplets in groups of 4 etc) and modern jazz harmony. The second section is heavily influenced by Argenitnean tango, including a slower milonga section and an accelerating cadenza. (I used to lead a tango quartet and transcribed many tango arrangements – here I got to put my research to good use.) Perhaps the piece should really be called “The Argentinean Tinge”, but then it wouldn’t fit the Jelly Roll Morton quote.

 5. Issachar – this is a 9-4 salsa. We had to fit another modified clave to this one too, this time grouped as 2-4. This piece has 2 alternating key centres the whole way through – B major and F minor. It has a slightly baroque sounding melody harmonized in tenths. The piece is in 9 so I named it after the ninth son of Jacob – Isscahar. This isn’t because I’m a bible basher but because I love the novel Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann.

6. Urge – a ballad in 3-4 time. There’s a line that I’ve always liked in the Walt Whitman poem Song Of Myself that goes: “Urge and urge and urge, always the procreant urge of the world.” “ Urge and urge and urge” is a bit of a mouthful so I stuck with just one “urge”.

7. The Tearing of the Veil – this piece begins with a recurring figure based on triplets in groups of seven, the figure’s harmonization alternating note by note between two tonalities: C minor and F# minor – creating a polytonal sound. After the introduction, the meldoy is accompanied by a stride feel which the piano maintains while the bass and drums play broken figures; the effect is of two semi-incongruous halves to the group – the piano constant, the bass and drums changing and shifting unexpectedly. The piece then changes feel to a spooky quasi-beguine, the piano part begins to range over the keyboard in octaves, evoking a romantic era Chopin-esque sound, still utilizing the same two tonalities. An open-ended group improvisation follows over the two chords, which on the recording takes on a dub feel for a while, ending on a cue from the piano with no reiteration of the opening melody. The structure of the form is a conscious attempt to get further away from the typical modern jazz form of head-solos-head. The piece is a continuation of the compositional theme of exploring more contemporary possibilites for early jazz sounds. This title is also inspired by the Thomas Mann novel Joseph and His Brothers. (The novel retells the famous biblical story, but also paints a vivd picture of pre-Judaeic (or pagan) Middle Eastern religious life – he refers to the tearing of the veil at the climax of the feast, and draws interesting parrallels between pagan and Judeao-Christian rites and myths.)

8. Aguantando La Zozobra Crepuscular – my first latin jazz fusion compostion. The influence of a few Afro-Cuban styles is apparent, eg. salsa, songo and timba. I feel pretty comfortable with Latin music, mainly because I’ve played with a great Afro-Cuban band, Rumberos, for the last 14 years. I’ve often felt tempted to write Latin influenced jazz pieces for the trio, but it wasn’t until drummer Ben Vanderwal joined the group that I had the opportunity to try it out. Ben Vanderwal is unusual in that he’s so good at playing both jazz and Afro-Cuban (and Brazilian) music, so I’m very lucky to have hooked up with him. I’ve had a long musical association with conga player Javier Fredes through playing in Rumberos. It was a great privelege to have him guest on this track for the recording. The title translates roughly as “Bearing Twilight Anxiety”.

9. Vilna – this is a beautiful old Yiddish song that I liked for a long time before re-working it for a jazz context. I heard it on a Klezmer Conservatory Band album called Yiddish Rennaisance. I re-harmonized parts of it and wrote backing figures for a 4 piece horn section to back the melody on the piano. For the ending I wrote a baroque-sounding chorale/ cadenza for the horns on their own. 

 


 

 "Here, the Melbourne pianist cooks up a bouillabaisse of flavours including stride, tango, Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms. With bassist Sam Anning and drummer Ben Vanderwal the presentation is tightly drilled but the music zings with an electricity of counerpoint and ideas popping up everywhere. Even the genres are reshaped: a tango rhythm worked over with a chord structure and melodic line not heard in that setting shifts in time, transforming a Latin beat. The most stunning moment is saved for last in his jazzed-up rendition of the emotional Yiddish song,Vilna. More please. ☆☆☆☆

Leon Gettler, The Age Green Guide

 


 

 "Melbourne pianist Ben Winkelman has travelled an individual path since his 2005 album Stomps, Pieces and Variations, which resurrected ragtime and stride piano using his contemporary-styled originals. The new title is a quote from Jelly Roll Morton, who believed the Spanish Tinge was essential seasoning for jazz, meaning Latin rhythms and Habanera ideas ought to be inherent in the music. Winkelman has achieved this by more than simply playing predictable Latin beats; he moves between rhythms, sometimes abandoning tempo altogether, and makes effective use of extended harmonies, swinging improvisations, even classical phrases. All but one of these pieces are originals and the title track is the only one to include ragtime references, but in Winkelman's signature style it soon digresses into a contemporary piano groove, then stately tango rhythms, followed by an evocative Latino-flavoured bass solo from Sam Anning. Ben Vanderwal handles the often complex percussion extremely well in this unusual exploration of nostalgic styles from the Spanish Quarter of old New Orleans, with a 21st-century makeover." ☆☆☆☆ John McBeath, The Australian “Winkelman is a remarkable pianist and a questing composer.”

John Shand, SMH

 


 

 

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