ORLANDO LE FLEMING - ROMANTIC FUNK May 8, 2017 (OLF Records)
Orlando le Fleming (Bass)
Ari Hoenig & Lenny Reece (Drums)
Greg Tuohey & Ryan Scott (Guitars)
Frank LoCrasto, Sullivan Fortner & Pete Rende (Keyboards) Seamus Blake & Will Vinson (Saxophones)
NYC CD RELEASE SHOW: June 13th, 2017 at NUBLU 151 (151 Ave C)
Perhaps the most accomplished UK-born improviser of his generation, bassist Orlando le Fleming returns with his new album Romantic Funk, the long-awaited follow-up to 2010's From Brooklyn With Love.
The spirit of Romantic Funk falls somewhere between the serene, legato passages of early-Jaco-era Weather Report, and the spaced out electronica of late-70's Herbie Hancock; a unity distorted beautifully by Le Fleming's jedi-level command of complex rhythmic systems. Best known as a double bassist with jazz luminaries like Branford Marsalis , Joey Calderazzo, Kurt Rosenwinkel , Jeff "Tain" Watts and Lage Lund, Le Fleming takes a left with his new release, electing to showcase his abilities on the electric bass this time against a backdrop of his own kaleidoscopic compositions.
About the music, le Fleming says : “The ‘romantic’ is personified by lush, classical harmony echoed by the nostalgic synth sounds of Pete Rende and Frank LoCrasto. The strong grooves and guitar lines are heavily influenced by Funk, although the complexities in rhythm stem from more contemporary forms of jazz.”
The pithy irreverence of the album's tracklist reflects le Fleming's wry wit and penchant for injecting irony into musical conversation. "Pretentious Brooklyn’s” combination of popular and esoteric elements finds its composer utilizing much the same crossover approach as Miles Davis did on Live - Evil, recalling Dave Holland as readily as David Axelrod. "Focustrate" is a whirling, polyrhythmic take on
the Headhunters sound, a quieter contemporary analog to the gyrating hemiolas of Wayne Krantz's modern class ic Two Drink Minimum. The sublime "Myth" finds a strong asset in guest drummer Lenny Reece (otherwise known for his work with DJ Premier and Gentei Kaijo), who helps le Fleming & co. find common ground between the Dilla-inflected Robert Glasper aesthetic of this generation, and the electric jazz canon of decades prior.
Reece is not the only guest on the album. The core lineup of le Fleming, drummer Ari Hoenig , guitarist Greg Tuohey and keyboardist Frank LoCrasto is augmented intermittently by saxophonists Seamus Blake and Will Vinson, keyboardists Sullivan Fortner and Pete Rende, and guitarist Ryan Scott. Le Fleming's veteran leadership finds a place for everyone, and everyone in their place.
Turn off your TV and turn up the bass - Romantic Funk is out May 8th.
1. PRETENTIOUS BROOKLYN 2. AND THAT SORT OF THING 3. FOCUSTRATE
5. MR. GRUMBLE
ORLANDO LE FLEMING BIOGRAPHY
Among the most proficient and accomplished bassists in the field of contemporary jazz, Orlando le Fleming's virtuoso technique, boundless creativity and powerful beat are those of a musician who has found himself, humbly, occupying a space in the uppermost stratum of American improvised music.
Originally from England, le Fleming relocated to New York City in 2003. Soon after arriving stateside, Orlando joined Jane Monheit's band, consequently sharing the bass duties on her 2004 release Taking a Chance on Love with Ron Carter and Christian McBride; the year following, he recorded with jazz legend Jimmy Cobb on his Marsalis Music Honors release. In the years since, leaders as diverse as Branford Marsalis, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Charlap, Billy Cobham, Joey Calderazzo, Seamus Blake, Jeff “Tain” Watts and David Sanchez have relied on le Fleming's firm beat and eloquent counterpoint to propel their rhythm sections forward.
While he succeeds as a sideman, it is as a leader that Orlando le Fleming truly shines. From Brooklyn With Love is a living document of Orlando's original compositions, as performed by his 2010 quartet. Recorded in concert at storied Park Slope hangout Freddy's, it features saxophonist Will Vinson , guitarist Lage Lund, and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Riding the high acclaim of this initial release, Lund, Vinson, and le Fleming would go on to form the drum-less OWL Trio, whose eponymous 2013 debut was hailed by critics and listeners alike. Downbeat declared “Everything about this album, which should contend for debut of the year honors, is a resounding success.”
More recently, Orlando has become recognized as a keen doubler: 2016 brought a wide array of opportunities as an electric bassist, from accompanying Tony- winning vocalist Leslie Odom Jr. to navigating the shifting metrics of Wayne Krantz'slegendary 55 Bar residency. His latest endeavor, Romantic Funk, presents a pastiche of classic fusion sounds and ideas, updated by Le Fleming's signature palette of polyrhythm and abstract exploration. Romantic Funk is set for a spring 2017 release.
"Orlando is easily one of the most skilled and thoughtful musicians that I have worked with." - Jeff "Tain" Watts
“a deep toned walker with an impeccable sense of time” - Jazz Times
“From Brooklyn With Love heralds the unfolding of a major talent with the keenest of ears, deeply expressive technique and penchant for challenge, all couched in a somewhat self-effacing personality “ - All About Jazz
“Orlando is a brilliant musician and one of my most favorite bassists. He has so many dynamic and musical qualities, his sound is big and supportive, his lines are deep architecture,his solos are dances in shadows and light, his energy is warm, engaging and playful, and his technical skill is on the highest level.” - Kurt Rosenwinkel
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