Skywatcher

Skywatcher CD cover
  1. Dave's Place 5:37
  2. Airborne 6:17
  3. Jim's Delight 7:54
  4. Juggernaut 7:31
  5. Gratitude 7:24
  6. Remnant 8:07
  7. Skywatcher 7:24
  8. So Large 6:36
  9. R&B Drums 0:51
  10. For All Seasons 8:07

The "Skywatcher" CD is $13.00 + $2.00 shipping/handling (within the U.S.) = $15.00 USD.

Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Personnel

  • Stan Kessler trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Dave Chael tenor saxophone
  • Matt Otto tenor saxophone
  • Andrew Ouellette piano
  • Roger Wilder piano
  • Bob Bowman bass
  • Karl McComas-Reichl bass
  • Bill McKemy bass
  • Ryan Lee drums
  • Brian Steever drums
  • Todd Strait drums

Passport

Passport CD cover
  1. Lagrimas Negras 3:35
  2. Senhorinha 4:49
  3. Tangos Flamenco 4:45
  4. Inolvidable 4:35
  5. Catavento E Girassol 4:02
  6. Ave Maria 5:16
  7. Que Nadie Sepa Mi Sufrir 4:33
  8. Choro Por Ze 3:40
  9. Burasi Agora Mevhanesi 3:42
  10. Oblivion 4:25
  11. Feria Del Caballo 3:31
  12. Como Fue 4:09

The "Passport" CD is $13.00 + $2.00 shipping/handling (within the U.S.) = $15.00 USD.

Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Reviews

Passport, the self-titled debut album by the duo of guitarist Beau Bledsoe and trumpeter Stan Kessler, is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful recordings to emanate from Kansas City in recent memory.

Plastic Sax (Read more)

Here's two masters of their instruments playing world music with intricacy and exhilaration. And fun.

KC Jazz Lark (Read more)

Personnel

  • Stan Kessler trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Beau Bledsoe guitar, oud

The Sons of Brasil: While You Were Out

While You Were Out CD cover
  1. Joao 6:13
  2. Partido Alto 8:20
  3. Journey 4:51
  4. Desafinado 5:04
  5. Salvador 5:08
  6. Bala Com Bala 7:36
  7. Migration 7:08
  8. While You Were Out 6:54
  9. Surfboard 5:03
  10. I've Got Samba 4:30
  11. Tell Me Now 4:39
  12. Esso Bees 5:23
  13. If It Feels Good 5:52

The "While You Were Out" CD is $13.00 + $2.00 shipping/handling (within the U.S.) = $15.00 USD.

Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Reviews

Who would imagine that a group of American musicians from Kansas City, Missouri, could have such a passion for "musica bem Brasileira" that they have stayed together for 18 years, developed a strong following and managed to release one of the finest albums of Brazilian jazz to date?

All About Jazz (Read more)

While You Were Out

The Sons of Brasil

Self Published (2009)
By Edward Blanco

Who would imagine that a group of American musicians from Kansas City, Missouri, could have such a passion for "musica bem Brasileira" that they have stayed together for 18 years, developed a strong following and managed to release one of the finest albums of Brazilian jazz to date? The Sons of Brasil is such a group, and While You Were Out offers an impressive repertoire, featuring pieces from the sub-genres of bossa nova, samba and choro styles of Brazilian music.

Led by trumpeter, band leader, educator and clinician Stan Kessler, The Sons of Brasil is a core sextet drawn from the talent-rich musical community in the Kansas City area. The band includes Danny Embrey on guitar, Greg Whitfield on bass, Doug Auwater on drums, Gary Helm on percussion and Roger Wilder on piano. For While You Were Out, the band adds the talents of percussionist Luiz Orsano, who performs on "Salvador" and the title track.

No Brazilian-style recording would be complete without at least one composition by the great Antonio Carlos Jobim, and this album is no different, providing a sensuous reading of the immortal "Desafinado," arranged by Kessler. He also lends a tender flugelhorn voice to this excellent rendition of the classic. Auwater does the honors on the other Jobim cover, "Surfboard," where Embrey and Wilder lead the melody in front of Kessler's more supportive flugelhorn bows.

Except for Jose Roberto Bertrami's standard "Partido Alto" and Joao Bosco's "Bala Com Bala," the remaining repertoire consists of originals from Kessler and members of the band, starting with the high-energy samba beats of the opening Kessler tune "Joao," featuring the bandleader on flugelhorn. Embrey is magnificent throughout, making his guitar dance through lively Brazilian rhythms. He also contributes three charts of his own, with "Migration," "Journey," and the gentle, light ballad, "Tell Me Now." Other exceptional pieces include "I've Got Samba," Wilder's "Esso Bees" and the gritty choro-styled finale "It Feels Good."

Kessler and The Sons of Brasil prove that a Midwestern band, playing a host of exciting Brazilian-flavored music, can be authentic and successful with spicy sambas and cushy bossa nova music that are tailor-made for lovers of the genre.

Published: May 20, 2009

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With a reputation so firmly established in the world of Latin jazz and, in particular, those subgenres of Brazilian samba, bossa nova and choro, it comes as a great surprise that The Sons of Brazil had, until recently, only one recording in 17 years. To the band's enthusiastic fan base, which extends well beyond its Kansas City, Mo., home, the arrival of "While You Were Out" is long overdue.

Berman Music Foundation (Read more)

While You Were Out

The Sons of Brasil

Standing Bear Records (2009)
By Tom Ineck

With a reputation so firmly established in the world of Latin jazz and, in particular, those subgenres of Brazilian samba, bossa nova and choro, it comes as a great surprise that The Sons of Brazil had, until recently, only one recording in 17 years. To the band's enthusiastic fan base, which extends well beyond its Kansas City, Mo., home, the arrival of "While You Were Out" is long overdue.

The Berman Music Foundation has followed the evolution of The Sons and its featured players with much interest, featuring the ensemble as part of the local Jazz in June series in 2002 and 2007 and catching them whenever possible on their home turf.

For their latest outing, trumpeter Stan Kessler has once again assembled some of KC's finest musicians, including guitarist Danny Embrey, pianist Roger Wilder, bassist Greg Whitfield, drummer Doug Auwarter and percussions Gary Helm. On two tracks, Luiz Orsano is added on percussion.

It is refreshing that most of the 13 tunes were written by band members, with only two covers by Brazilian master Antonio Carolos Jobim, one by Joao Bosco and one by Jose Roberto Bertrami. Kessler's warm and breezy flugelhorn set the mood for his set-opening tune, "Joao." Embrey and Wilder expand on that mood with gently swinging solos.

Whitfield establishes the funky, fusion underpinnings of Bertrami's "Partido Alto," inspiring Wilder to a Herbie Hancock-style foray on the electric keyboard, and Kessler's playing is reminiscent of the late, great Freddie Hubbard in his bright, spirited solo. Embrey contributed three tunes, including the melodic masterpiece "Journey," which gives the guitarist an opportunity to explore imaginative changes with his deft fretwork.

Kessler gives the Jobim classic "Desafinado" a respectful arrangement that emphasizes his luxurious flugelhorn tone against Wilder's piano harmonies and a brief, but brilliant Embrey solo. With Kessler's "Salvador," the band returns to a pumping, rhythmic feel, featuring the composer's soaring trumpet and Orsano adding another layer of polyrhythmic percussion.

"Bala Com Bala," by Bosco, has a clever circular pattern that gives the piece an infectious forward motion and keeps the musicians and the listener enthralled. Kessler's playing is simply virtuosic in its confidence and execution. "Migration" is a gentle Embrey composition with some intriguingly melancholy "blue" chords that resolve upward, finally creating a more affirmative mood. The title track, a collaboration between Whitfield and Kessler, churns with a driving bass line, some two-fisted playing by Wilder and some high-note pyrotechnics by Kessler, capped by a percussion tour de force.

Jobim's "Surfboard" does seem to ride the crest of a wave. You can almost feel the ocean spray in its leaping chord structure and the lilting performances by all. "I've Got Samba" is Kessler's rambunctious tribute to the genre that popularized the dance-friendly music of Brazil for millions of Americans. Embrey's romantic ballad "Tell Me Now" is exquisitely beautiful, and it gets the perfect backing with Kessler's sensitive flugelhorn and Wilder's understated piano anchoring the guitarist's melodic treatment. Wilder contributed the gently swaying and curiously titled "Esso Bees." The set ends with Kessler's strutting, bluesy "If It Feels Good."

Perhaps as a nod to their loyal fans in Lincoln, most of the photos included in the CD liner are from that memorable Jazz in June concert of 2007, shot by BMF photographer Rich Hoover. "While You Were Out" is definitely IN, in the coolest sense of the word.

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Personnel

  • Stan Kessler trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Doug Auwarter drums, percussion
  • Danny Embrey guitars
  • Roger Wilder piano, synthesizer
  • Greg Whitfield bass
  • Gary Helm percussion
  • Luis Orsano percussion (5, 8)

open

Open CD cover
  1. It Could Happen To You 5:33
  2. Journey 5:39
  3. Cool Struttin’ 5:54
  4. Close Your Eyes 4:15
  5. Infant Eyes 4:19
  6. I Hear A Rhapsody 4:03
  7. Blue Man 4:39
  8. Sacred Cow 4:56
  9. Detour Ahead 5:32
  10. Squall Line 4:45
  11. Berlin November 4:51

The "Open" CD is $13.00 + $2.00 shipping/handling (within the U.S.) = $15.00 USD.

Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Reviews

Kessler's long, thoughtful solo lines, delivered with gorgeous tone, have long deserved the kind of recorded showcase he gives himself here.

The Kansas City Star (Read more)

Musicians are doing it for themselves

By JOE KLOPUS
The Kansas City Star

Record companies aren't hurrying to sign jazz artists in Kansas City or anywhere else. But the musicians are getting their art represented on record anyway.

They simply do it themselves.

The do-it-yourself approach to recording is increasingly common these days, judging by the number of locally produced CDs that arrive in this writer's mail. Naturally, some artists bring it off better than others. And here are a couple of cases where artists with Kansas City connections make DIY sound much better than just OK.

Stan Kessler, Open: Trumpeter Kessler's long, thoughtful solo lines, delivered with gorgeous tone, have long deserved the kind of recorded showcase he gives himself here. This is a free-spirited blowing date, and the leader's trumpet and flugelhorn lines really take flight.

Egged on by pianist Phil DeGreg, guitarist Danny Embrey, bassist Bob Bowman and drummer Todd Strait, Kessler works out on a few standards and some originals. "It Could Happen to You" is intriguingly re-arranged; "Cool Struttin'" has an urgently bluesy trumpet solo; and "Detour Ahead" has ballad-playing on a very high level.

Kessler's originals by themselves are worth the price. "Berlin November," a gorgeous waltz inspired the fall of the wall, is as lyrical as anything being played anywhere. "Blue Man," a blues, has an astonishingly long-lined trumpet solo. And "Squall Line," a duet with Strait, is pure excitement.

This disc provides an accurate picture of Kessler's strengths as a player. In the end, it doesn't sound like anybody else but him. It's available from www.stantonkessler.com.

The Kansas City Star.
Fri, Nov. 07, 2003

(Read more)

Personnel

  • Stan Kessler trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Phil DeGreg piano
  • Danny Embrey guitar
  • Bob Bowman bass
  • Todd Strait drums
  • Gary Helm percussion

Jazz Meets Chant:
Jazz Adaptations of Gregorian Chants

Jazz Meets Chant CD cover
  1. Divinum Mysterium [Swing] 5:52
  2. Victimae Paschali Laudes [Salsa] 7:37
  3. Conditor Alma Siderum [Waltz] 5:10
  4. Stabat Mater Dolorosa [Modal Swing] 6:37
  5. Dies Irae [Shuffle] 5:43
  6. Pange Lingua Gloriosi [Bossa Nova, Samba] 7:43
  7. Veni, Creator Spiritus [Rubato, 5/4 Swing] 8:36
  8. Adoro Te Devote [Ballad] 5:01
  9. O Filii et Filiae [Afro-Cuban] 4:58

The "Jazz Meets Chant" CD is $13.00 + $2.00 shipping/handling (within the U.S.) = $15.00 USD.

Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Liner Notes

When John Winkels commissioned me to do this work I was thrilled. I have always enjoyed performing in clubs, but recently I had been searching for other ways to express myself musically. I saw this as a unique opportunity to put forth something that could have a deeper spiritual impact. I was not disappointed. At our first concert the response was overwhelming and demands for a CD were numerous. What started out as a little church event has blossomed into a full-blown project. This has been a labor of love all the way, a true blessing.

Our purpose is to bring these wonderful Gregorian Chant melodies to life in a new way, utilizing rhythmic and chordal progressions of our time.

All modes remain melodically in tact within the arrangements, including "Amens" where they apply. Each chant in its traditional format is coupled with its contemporary version in order to provide a point of reference for the listener.

We do this with the utmost respect and reverence. Our intent is not to replace but to augment existing material.

Although these chants in their simplest and purist renditions do not need any accompaniment, nearly every composer throughout the last few centuries has utilized a chant melody for the basis of their composition. Chant has met nearly every musical style, and today it meets jazz.

Stan Kessler

Divinum Mysterium [Swing] 5:52
Usually associated with the Christmas season, this chant can be traced back to the 12th Century.
Victimae Paschali Laudes [Salsa] 7:37
The Easter Sequence, a poem sung on Easter Sunday morning, is ascribed to Wipo of Burgundy, d. 1048. It describes Mary Magdelene running off to tell that the tomb is empty.
Conditor Alma Siderum [Waltz] 5:10
This Chant was written around the 9th Century. It is a prime example of early chant in that it has a narrow range of only 6 pitches, and each note of the melody receives but one syllable of text.
Stabat Mater Dolorosa [Modal Swing] 6:37
This is an example of late period chant, appearing in Germany in the 1600's. The variation that follows with its hectic and driving sounds, paints the crowd jeering at Jesus on the road to Calvary. Over the noise of the crowd, you can hear Mother Mary's simple song of sorrow as she witnesses her son's crucifixion.
Dies Irae [Shuffle] 5:43
This text and melody were long used for the Requiem Mass (funerals and Masses for the dead) before Vatican II. In the bridge following the chant, you hear the echoing phrases and interplay between the images of death and life.
Pange Lingua Gloriosi [Bossa Nova, Samba] 7:43
Attributed to Thomas Aquinas (1227-1274), this chant was and still is sung on eucharistic feasts, such as Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi.
Veni, Creator Spiritus [Rubato, 5/4 Swing] 8:36
This plainsong in mode VIII is used within the Liturgy whenever the guidance of the Holy Spirit seems particularly necessary.
Adoro Te Devote [Ballad] 5:01
This example of plainsong is probably from the 1500-1600's.
O Filii et Filiae [Afro-Cuban] 4:58
This late period chant probably originated in the 1400’s. There is evidence that this chant, and many others, were later sung in metered time.

Personnel

Instrumentalists

  • Stan Kessler trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Doug Talley tenor saxophone
  • Wayne Hawkins piano, synthesizer
  • Bill McKemy bass
  • Todd Strait drums, percussion

Chanters

  • Michael Bleich
  • Rev. Martin DeMeulenaere, OSB
  • Mike Neff
  • Stephen Nehring
  • Ron Sondag
  • John Winkels director

The Sons of Brasil

Sons of Brasil CD cover
  1. Amazonas 5:33
  2. Demons 5:39
  3. Em Casa Sonzinho 5:54
  4. Triste 4:15
  5. Belo Horizonte 4:19
  6. What A Day 4:03
  7. The Boulevard 4:39
  8. Ta Ta For Now 4:56
  9. Mountain Vista 5:32
  10. Rosinha 4:45
  11. Valentina 4:51
  12. Zu Zu Rides Again 5:38

The "Sons of Brasil" CD is $13.00 + $2.00 shipping/handling (within the U.S.) = $15.00 USD.

Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Liner Notes

In Kansas City, there is a popular jazz group that has performed every week since their inception in 1991. This would not be so remarkable, as Kansas City is renowned for it's tradition of great jazz since the days of Count Basie and Charlie Parker. What is remarkable is that this group of native Kansas Citians plays nothing but Brazilian jazz, with a flavor and passion one might think could only be found at a night club in Ipanema or Leblon. The Sons of Brasil invite you to sample these sounds, which stem from their love and admiration of "musica bem brasileira."

I had the luck of meeting Danny Embrey many years ago, when I was working with Sergio Mendes and his Brazil 66 group. Danny joined the band and we toured together and became good friends. I also had the opportunity, through that collaboration, to discover how good a musician he was.

Cut to the present. I get a tape in the mail from a group, The Sons of Brasil. What a nice surprise; I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto. this is Rio, Sugarloaf, Corcovado, samba, wild percussion, great melodies with sophisticated harmonies, and subtle but driving pulse of bossa nova guitar.

A good musician really transcends borders and frontiers. Here are six musicians from Kansas City that, without losing their jazz roots, embrace the Brazilian style with knowledge and true feeling. You can sense the dedication and the love for their music on all cuts. The group works so well together that, like in a well-tuned machine, you cannot single out the pieces because each one of them brings their expertise and contribution to create a pulsating, dynamic fusion of jazz and Brazilian music. With three exceptions, all songs were written by members of the group.

I had a great time listening to this music. It is energetic, romantic, and well-played, with great improvisations. It is good jazz and good Brazil. This is an album that deserves a chance to be heard. I wish them longevity and success, and I hope there will be many more albums to come.

Um abraco brasileiro and good luck.

Oscar Castro-Neves

Personnel

  • Stan Kessler trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion
  • Doug Auwarter drums, percussion
  • Danny Embrey acoustic and electric guitars
  • Wayne Hawkins keyboards
  • Greg Whitfield bass
  • Gary Helm percussion

Special Event Appearances

  • Spokane, Wa. Community College Jazz Festival (with Paquito D’rivera)
  • Kansas City Jazz & Blues Festival
  • Jazz in June, Lincoln, Neb.
  • 18th & Vine Heritage Festival
  • Corporate Woods Jazz Festival
  • Trails West Festival, St. Joseph, Mo.
  • Parkville Jazz Festival
  • Lee’s Summit Jazz Festival

ARCThe Artists Recording Collective is an American label brand that emphasizes promoting and facilitating the distribution and exploitation of works by a select group of artists. The A R C was co-founded by artists who were also among the very first pioneers employing viable uses of 21st Century technologies in the tangible areas of: product manufacturing, worldwide music distribution, digital global marketing and on-demand sales of recorded music.

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