For immediate release (June 2012)
BASSIST/COMPOSER PAUL BEAUDRY & PATHWAYS CELEBRATE THEIR SOPHOMORE RELEASE “AMERICAS”
EXPLORING THE TRADITIONAL SOUNDS FROM ACROSS THE AMERICAS, INCLUDING TRINIDAD, HAITI, SURINAME, CUBA, NICARAGUA, HONDURAS, ARGENTINA & BRAZIL
Grammy® winning bassist/vocalist/bandleader Paul Beaudry will be on world tour this summer with his ensemble Pathways (tenor saxophonist Tim Armacost, pianist Bennett Paster and drummer Tony Jefferson), supporting their adventurous, joyous new album “Americas”, now available from Soundkeeper Recordings. A Pan-American jazz festival, the album eclectically and soulfully explores a vast range of traditional sounds from across the Americas, including tunes from Trinidad, Haiti, Suriname, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Argentina and Brazil. Stops on the tour include July 11 at the Jazz Forum Arts Festival in Dobbs Ferry, NY, and July 24 at the Stanford Jazz Festival at Campbell Recital Hall in Stanford, CA, in addition to several forthcoming American dates.
Inspired by music they heard during their 2010 Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad tour throughout Latin America sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Beaudry and his ensemble lend their signature blend of rhythm, virtuosity and pure fun to a mix of alternately lively and moody new arrangements based on folk melodies.
Armacost adds a soulfully direct, Paul Desmond-inflected touch to the opening track, Lieve Hugo’s Maria, as it pulses along on a myserioso Surinamese kaseko groove – its eclectic blend of Pan-American and Caribbean styles is responsible for jumpstarting the adventure that would become this album. With its rippling allusions to a harp like, Colombian-flavored theme, the epic, luxuriant Paster composition Harmonia Mundi (World Peace) – the album’s lone original – evokes how rich the cross-pollination became throughout this group’s travels and features Armacost at his most carefree and lyrical. Jefferson’s suspenseful drums propel Lidia Handal’s blissful Honduran calypso romp El Bananero (The Banana Vendor), echoed by some unexpected ragtime riffage from Paster. The lush ballad O Que É Amar, by Brazilian composer Johnny Alf – considered by some to be the father of bossa nova – gives Armacost a launching pad for a poignant, tender solo on soprano sax.
The group goes all the way back to the 19th century to Cuban classical composer Manuel Saumell Robredo – one of the first who might be considered “third stream” – for the elegant El Pañuelo De Pepa, featuring a wry staccato Beaudry solo and a precise, almost courtly dance rhythm. D’leau, from the Haitian catalog of Nemours Jean-Baptiste, puts a nimble, bouncy new spin on an early compas classic, while the enigmatic Trinidadian mambo Every Time Ah Pass – in an arrangement by the band’s friend, Trini pianist Clive “Zanda” Alexander – adds a dark undercurrent beneath its lithe bustle. The dizzyingly polyrhythmic northern Argentinian dance Zamba Alegre dates from 1919, the band cooking up another smoldering bluesy undertone that ends on a potently pensive note. The album ends with Carlos Mejía Godoy’s Nicaragua Nicaraguita – an iconic song which is in Nicaraguan what “This Land Is Your Land” is in the U.S. – featuring Armacost sailing over Paster’s vivid, pointillistic chords and a characteristically tuneful, nimble Beaudry solo.
Based in New York City and founded in 2008, Paul Beaudry & Pathways continue the great tradition of Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie as worldwide musical ambassadors, sharing the spirit of jazz with global audiences. The success of their 2010 Pan-American tour led to a second State Department-sponsored tour of Asia in 2011, when they visited Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh and India, playing concerts as well as leading workshops for musicians of all ages. Highly sought after for his precise touch and versatile style, Beaudry has played with jazz luminaries including Steve Turre, Wycliffe Gordon, Allan Harris, Winard Harper, Sharel Cassity and Eric Lewis; his extensive discography dates back to 1993 and includes two albums as a bandleader with Pathways.
Tim Armacost’s diverse background makes him a natural choice for this group, given his adventurous melodic sensibility and immersion in Japanese and Indian music. Pianist Bennett Paster brings a deep understanding of Pan-Latin keyboard sounds, both as a bandleader and sideman, while drummer Tony Jefferson switches artfully between the calypso, swing and Latin beats he’s mined expertly over the years with a pantheon of jazz luminaries including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Frank Wess and Hank Jones.
For immediate release (Sept 2010)
Bassist-Composer Paul Beaudry Premieres His Pathways Band on Dancing Spirit Records
Self-Titled Debut Released in Conjunction With U.S. State Department Tour of Central America
After spending seven years in New York, soaking up the jazz scene and gaining invaluable bandstand experience, bassist Paul Beaudry assembled a group of kindred spirits in 2008 and now, Paul Beaudry & Pathways have not only landed a coveted 2010 State Department tour of Central America (selected from a pool of 132 applicants for The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program) they also have a self-titled CD to take out with them for four weeks during their travels to Trinidad, Suriname, Nicaragua and Honduras from September 29 – October 23.
Beaudry’s first recording as a leader highlights all the members of the quartet (Tim Armacost on tenor and soprano saxes and alto flute, Bennett Paster on piano and Tony Jefferson on drums) in a program of swinging blues-based originals and well-chosen covers. Inspired by such small group leaders and jazz ambassadors as Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams, Paul Beaudry & Pathways is a potent statement and a step forward in the career of the promising bassist-composer-bandleader. “The level of communication is extremely high in this band,” says the San Francisco native and Berklee College of music grad. “And even though we haven’t actually played together much over the past two years – everything came together really fast in the studio for this session. Not only was it easy, it was almost like magic. Everything sounded good I ended up having three great takes of every song. I think it gives a chance to feature everybody. You get a chance to hear everybody’s personality on this record.”
Saxophonist Armacost is a versatile and seasoned player who has performance and recording credits with the likes of Al Foster, Jimmy Cobb, Roy Hargrove, Paquito D’Rivera, Randy Brekcer, the Maria Schneider Orchestra and David Murray Big Band as well releasing five recordings as a leader. Pianist Paster has been a featured performer with Kurt Elling, Brian Lynch, Peter Bernstein, Rufus Reid, Bill Stewart, Billy Hart, Albert “Tootie” Heath and Cassandra Wilson, and is a co-leader of the Latin jazz sextet Grupo Yanqui. World class drummer Jefferson, who also flaunts impressive vocal chops on Paul Beaudry & Pathways, has been heard in the company of many jazz artists over the past 20 years, including Kenny Drew, Lonnie Smith, Lou Donaldson, Frank Wess, Freddie Cole, Eddie Harris, Don Friedman, Mark Whitfield, Hank Jones and Ernestine Anderson.
“I met Tim around 2002, shortly after I moved to New York, and we became close friends. We would do jam sessions — he would come over to my house, I would come over to his house. We never actually did a full gig together but I liked his vibe and knew we had a special connection musically. Tony has become one of my closest friends since 2006 and he’s an incredible talent. Bennett I met in 1998 in California and we were both teaching at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. And when the original pianist in the group, Lafayette Harris, wasn’t able to do it this time around, I needed to find a replacement for him. So I decided to give Bennett a shot, and it just worked…hand in glove. Everybody in the band brings so much to the table…it’s just an incredible pleasure to play with them.”
Paul Beaudry & Pathways opens on an aggressive note with “84-14,” a modal number with a swinging bridge that channels a distinct McCoy Tyner-John Coltrane vibe, a la Trane’s “Mr. Day” (from Coltrane Plays the Blues). “That was my address in Kew Gardens, Queens,” explains Beaudry of that song title. “I wrote that in 2002 and it’s supposed to reflect my excitement when I first came to New York. You can almost hear taxis and buses going by, people going everywhere, trying to get to someplace.” This kinetic number is also a great vehicle for Armacost’s potent tenor sax work. The lovely and lyrical waltz-time number “My Friend Vicki” is a piece that Beaudry wrote in 1991 for a California friend while Armacost’s “Blueslike” is a lazy N’awlins groover with a behind-the-beat feel that highlights the bassist’s humungous tone on an extended solo. “I like that second line feel,” says Beaudry. “People often confuse me with being from New Orleans because of my last name being French and I have racial mix. My father is French-Canadian born and raised in Nothern Massachusetts and my mother’s ancestors are former slaves that moved from the Texas-Louisiana border to Los Angeles after the Civil War. So I’ve always sort of felt the connection to New Orleans…it’s probably in my blood somewhere.”
Paster’s “Moody Poodles and Mooses” is a loping midtempo swing blues with some tricky unisons in the head played by piano and tenor sax. Armacost delivers forceful blowing throughout while Paster and Beaudry also contribute stunning solos. Beaudry navigates the challenging line on Charlie Parker’s chops-busting “Donna Lee” with aplomb while also engaging in some spirited scatting on this bebop anthem with drummer Jefferson. “That’s a really special tune for me,” says Beaudry. “I played the melody on that, just like Jaco Pastorius did on his debut album. And then we did some scatting back and forth. I wanted to keep it in the spirit of fun, in the spirit of Dizzy Gillespie, who is one of my biggest influences.”
The engaging “Brown Skin Girl” is a traditional calypso number performed as duet with Beaudry on bass and Jefferson on drums. “I came up with the idea to do that three days before we went into the studio,” says Paul. “It’s an island tune from Jamaica that appeared on Sonny Rollins’ album What’s New. I put the arrangement together a day before we recorded.” The uptempo burner “Mr. Henderson,” Beaudry’s tribute to the late, great tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, was originally composed as part of a larger work from 1998 called The Billy Childs Suite. “It’s a five-movement suite for 12 instruments,” explains Beaudry. “I did a student recording of this suite with some students at the Berklee College of Music when I was there, including some players who are prominent on the scene today like Jaleel Shaw, Wayne Escoffery and Jeremy Pelt. I’m a huge Billy Childs fan. I studied composition with him when I lived in California and I have just about every record he ever did. That is one bad dude.”
Beaudry’s inventive waltz-time reharmonization of the children’s song “Brother John (Frère Jacques)” is a creative triumph. “I guess everybody knows that tune. I found lyrics for it in over 60 different languages – it must be sung all over the world. That’s a tune we use in workshops with kids. We get everybody to sing along and then we go into different chord changes with them. It’s how we teach what jazz is all about. Jazz is not a certain kind of composition, it’s a philosophy, a way of approaching music.”
The group closes out the album on a sublime note with a soothing rendition of the gorgeous Jimmy Van Heusen ballad “But Beautiful,” a vocal feature for Jefferson. “It’s one that Tony is really familiar with and it’s also one of my favorite tunes,” says Beaudry. “So I asked Bennett to write some chords in the style of Herbie Hancock’s arrangement of ’Round Midnight’ that appeared in that movie (1986’s ‘Round Midnight by French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier). And he wrote some awesome beautiful changes including a section where we modulate from C to Eb in the middle of the tune. I really love that arrangement that Bennett came up with.”
The playing throughout Paul Beaudry & Pathways is consistently strong and the ideas are fresh and full of vitality. It represents an auspicious debut for the gifted bassist-composer-bandleader.