Little Giant Still Life

Posted by: russell on September 11, 2017 @ 12:00 am
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Dave Douglas, store

with The Westerlies & Anwar Marshall

Twelve brand new Dave Douglas compositions and arrangements for five brass players and drums.

Little Giant Still Life is an exciting new meeting between the acclaimed emerging talents of The Westerlies – known recently for their work with Fleet Foxes, their repertoire of original compositions, and interpretations of the music of Wayne Horvitz, Duke Ellington and others – and the young Philadelphia-based drummer Anwar Marshall (Fresh Cut Orchestra, Kurt Rosenwinkel), all under the compositional vision of trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas. The music contained herein is grooving, swinging, lyrical, and something distinct in Douglas’ 50+ recordings as a leader of original music, and as director of the Greenleaf Music record label, which he founded in 2005.

Much of the music on Little Giant Still Life was inspired by the American painter Stuart Davis, and the music explodes with the same bright colors and excitement that characterize much of Davis’ work. Elaborating on the influence, Douglas notes, “I like the explosive nature of Davis’ work — bright colors, big shapes, images bouncing off each other. Also, the fact that jazz inspired so much of his work was meaningful for me. The song ‘Swing Landscape’ is a good example of Davis refracting what he is hearing in the music for visual use. It’s only natural for musicians to see the work and refract right back!”

While Davis’ mark is felt strongly throughout the album, Douglas’ fledgling relationship with his collaborators are of equal importance. Douglas met The Westerlies – trumpeters Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler and trombonists Willem de Koch and Andy Clausen – at a Chamber Music America event. The five first played together when The Westerlies opened for Douglas’ quintet at Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival. The band sat in on the tune “Barbara Allen” (an old spiritual) and realized that a more serious collaboration was bound to happen. Mulherkar reflects: “Dave started writing tune after tune for us and him to play together, and when we finally got together again everything came together pretty quickly.”

With the addition of Marshall, the ensemble was complete. Douglas notes, “The Westerlies are dream players for a composer. They really get inside the music and internalize it. They are also great ensemble improvisers — that is, their tendency is to solo all together, rather than one by one. I love that about them.” Referring to the drummer, Douglas says, “Anwar has a deep groove and real feel for the big landscape of the music; he understands peaks and valleys, and plays with superb empathy. It has made him the perfect player for this project.”

All members of The Westerlies grew up enthralled by Douglas’ sonic universe. Mulherkar and Hensler are first-rate trumpeters, especially when blending their sounds with Douglas’. Mulherkar, speaking for the group, says: “Working with Dave is a dream come true. He has been an influence on each of us individually and as an ensemble – I remember listening to his records growing up, transcribing his solos, and seeing him whenever he’d come through Seattle; he was (and is) a trumpet hero of mine.”

Credits:

Personnel:
Dave Douglas, trumpet

The Westerlies:
Riley Mulherkar, trumpet
Zubin Hensler, trumpet
Andy Clausen, trombone
Willem de Koch, trombone

Anwar Marshall, drums

Production Credits:
Executive Producer: Dave Douglas
Recorded on December 6, 2016 at the Hotel Samurai Recording Studio
Engineered by Geoff Countryman
Mixed and mastered Tyler McDiarmid
Cover photo by Austin Nelson
Band photos by Russell Moore
Design by Lukas Frei

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The New National Anthem

Posted by: russell on June 16, 2017 @ 10:14 am
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Chet Doxas, Dave Douglas, store

“This album is even better than something I might come up with myself.”

Carla Bley

Riverside, the quartet co-led by Grammy-nominated American trumpeter Dave Douglas and Canadian saxophonist Chet Doxas, returns with their second album featuring bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Jim Doxas. The record honors the musical impact of pianist and composer Carla Bley, including three of her compositions and new works from Douglas, Swallow and Doxas.

Following their debut release in 2014, this group presents a new album featuring spirited free playing, formidable ensemble interaction and new well-crafted compositions. The tracks transmit a palpable excitement and purpose towards this clear statement.

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Find the Common, Shine a Light

Posted by: russell on June 2, 2017 @ 10:22 am
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Ryan Keberle, store

“a potent blend of cinematic sweep and lush, ear-grabbing melodies”

LA Times

One of the most long-lived and acclaimed bands on the current jazz scene, Ryan Keberle & Catharsis continue to evolve their unmistakable group sound while speaking out about our troubled times on their fourth release. With six years of recording and extensive touring under their belt, the band stays true to its “potent blend of cinematic sweep and lush, ear-grabbing melodies” (Los Angeles Times) while opting for a more layered and multifaceted approach in the studio.

Even so, the signature Catharsis frontline of trombonist/leader Ryan Keberle (pronounced Keb-er-lee) and trumpeter Michael Rodriguez remains central. Vocalist Camila Meza assumes an added role on guitar and bassist Jorge Roeder appears more frequently than before on electric bass. Drummer Eric Doob brings not only his supple and animated playing to the project but also recorded the project at his studio, D.A.D.S in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

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Rise of Orion

Posted by: russell on October 20, 2016 @ 10:19 pm
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Rudy Royston, store

“A first-tier talent.”

Nate Chinen, The New York Times

In-demand drummer Rudy Royston (Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas, Ravi Coltrane, Branford Marsalis) debuts his new trio on Rise of Orion. Rudy Royston’s sophomore Greenleaf Music album Rise of Orion features a chordless trio with saxophone standout and Thelonious Monk Competition Winner Jon Irabagon, and bass virtuoso Yasushi Nakamura. This 13 track record is Royston’s offering of “hope and love” with 11 originals and interpretations of Bill Withers’ Make a Smile For Me and Henry Purcell’s Dido’s Lament.

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Dada People

Posted by: russell on September 16, 2016 @ 10:00 am
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Dave Douglas, store

Featuring Matt Brewer and Clarence Penn.

In the years between the two World Wars, the Dada movement questioned, altered, teased and undermined the very idea of art. A century later, trumpeter Dave Douglas and pianist Frank Woeste draw inspiration from that “art of reinvention” with their collaborative album Dada People, due out October 2016 via Greenleaf Music.

Perhaps no single artist embodies Dada’s slippery juxtapositions quite like Man Ray. Both French and American, commercial and avant-garde, Jewish by birth and mysterious by design, Man Ray epitomized the conflicting personae and attitudes that have come to define so much of the modern art world of the last century.  Bridging the Atlantic through support from the French American Jazz Exchange, Douglas and Woeste explore those concepts through a 21st century lens, realized by a stellar quartet rounded out by bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Clarence Penn.

In his liner notes for the album, Douglas calls Man Ray “the ultimate impostor.” Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia to Russian Jewish immigrants, he moved to Paris in 1920, changing his name and effectively erasing his heritage as anti-Semitism was spreading across Europe.  His artwork spanned disciplines, including painting, photography and sculpture, and including “readymades” in the style of Dada founding father Marcel Duchamp – ordinary objects repurposed as works of art.

Bringing together a French pianist and an American trumpeter, Dada People immediately connects Woeste and Douglas to Man Ray’s elusive identities. But they’re also suggested in the ways that the two composers’ music, like Man Ray’s art, fluidly traverses the accessible and the experimental; in the spectrum of possibilities offered by translating visual art through sound.

“Writing music based on visual art is always very subjective and intuitive,” Woeste says. Douglas adds, “The Dada Movement is such an elusive term (like so-called ‘post bop’ or ‘free jazz’) that half the fun of working with various ideas was being able to explore for ourselves and explode some of the manifestos and stances. These were great artists, and as such were mutable and fluid. In that way there is great relevance within improvised music.”

Douglas hails the “spirit of mischievousness, of play, of mystery, and also of the ‘play of identity’ within the work of Ray and his circle,” and immediately engages in that spirit with his own version of a “readymade.” Album opener “Oedipe” makes explicit reference to the work of composer Erik Satie, a contemporary of Man Ray and the Dadaists. It’s followed by the gaslit dance of Woeste’s “Mains Libres,” which takes its title from a book of poetry penned by Paul Éluard to accompany Man Ray’s drawings.

It’s not hard to imagine Man Ray or Marcel Duchamp finding inspiration in the spork, an object that exists as two things simultaneously; Douglas certainly does in his surging tune of that name, which features Woeste on Rhodes. The sultry mystery of the pianist’s “Montparnasse” evokes Man Ray’s muse, Alice Prin, also known as the “Queen of Montparnasse.” Douglas’ “Transparent,” meanwhile, interweaves elegance and abstraction in a way that certainly wouldn’t be alien to the Dadaists.

Woeste offers his own manifesto with the bold “Art of Reinvention,” a notion that he finds particularly compelling as it “reflects on the idea that we can see things in a different light depending on our perspective and also our motivation to see art in things that are not necessarily meant to be art in the first place. As an improviser and as a jazz musician we need to ‘reinvent’ ourselves constantly, reinterpreting and reinventing songs that have been played many times.”

The two composers originally met while Douglas was working on a collaborative project with French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, with whom Woeste regularly works. They kept in touch until the time was right for a collaborative effort. Woeste suggested Man Ray as a source of inspiration, to which Douglas immediately agreed. “Having read about and looked at the Dadaists for years,” the trumpeter says, “I was enthusiastic about making these connections in our music.”

“What I found fascinating in the Dadaist Movement was that it changed our view of what  art is or what art can be,” Woeste explains. “The fact remains that all of these artists had a great freedom in thought and speech and that we as post-surrealists have learned to see the potential of art in daily objects when we set them free from their original function.”

***

Dada People has been made possible through the French-American Jazz Exchange, a joint program of FACE Foundation and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, with generous funding from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Florence Gould Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Institut Français, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication and Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs de Musique (“SACEM”).

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Touch My Beloved’s Thought

Posted by: russell on May 31, 2016 @ 11:45 pm
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Greg Ward, store


Charles Mingus’ The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady is one of the most lauded records in jazz history – its lush orchestration, its breadth of territory, its uncompromising integrity and vision all contribute to its enduring allure. Recorded in 1963 with an 11 piece band, the 39 minute, continuous composition was described by Mingus as “ethnic folk-dance music”, as it was originally scored and conceived as a six-part ballet.

In 2014, Roell Schmidt–executive director of the Chicago performing arts center Link’s Hall–heard Black Saint and was floored. Schmidt quickly went to Chicago jazz impresario Mike Reed about the possibility of staging something at Link’s Hall with Mingus’ music and dancers, as the composer had envisioned. Reed’s instincts led him immediately to contact his trusted collaborator of over 13 years, alto saxophonist and composer Greg Ward. Reed asked Ward simply to listen to The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady, a work he had never heard before.

Upon first listen, Ward’s mind began racing – he was enraptured by Mingus’ varied palette of colors, textures and the masterful orchestration that pervades the record. Ward excitedly got back in touch with Reed, who told him that Schmidt had chosen choreographer Onye Ozuzu to collaborate with Ward on this performance’s realization. The piece was pitched by Schmidt and Reed to Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz Series, in the summer of 2015. The proposal was accepted and the wheels were set in motion for the project that would eventually become Touch My Beloved’s Thought, which had its premiere on August 13, 2015.

Since his first time writing for dancers 10 years before, Ward’s imagination and his insatiable appetite has continued to grow – in the 10 intervening years, he’s scored music for films, choirs, orchestras and many multi-media works. He notes, “I’ve found that a lot of really beautiful things can come out of me placing myself in uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations.”

Before Ward and Ozuzu began this work they faced a daunting decision: would they do a transcription of The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady, an arrangement of it, or do something completely original? They ultimately decided that the most fitting way to pay tribute to Mingus was to craft an original work which encompassed much of The Black Saint but seen through their modern lens and sensibility.

Ward notes, “I began to dig through Mingus’ composition looking for the elements that stuck out or that were hidden. A lot of big ideas for my composition came from very fleeting moments from his work, which may have gone unnoticed. I kept questioning myself, ‘How would this idea sound today?’ and ‘How would I interpret that sound or feeling?’.” For instance, Ward’s composition “With All Your Sorrow Sing A Song of Jubilance” was taken from a quick piano run that Mingus played and expanded into a whole composition, while “The Menacing Lean” was taken from a fleeting, 4 second passage in Mingus’ trombones which Ward’s ear latched onto; and “Round 3” was inspired by a Major 7th voicing that Mingus used in the low voices during The Black Saint, yet completely re-imagined in a modern context, replete with a hip-hop beat. Touch My Beloved’s Thought’s opener “Daybreak” takes colors, feelings and even its 6/8 tempo from Mingus’ opener, yet borrows other aspects from other forgotten corners of Mingus’ piece. Ward, again like Mingus, interspersed his suite with solo interludes – the piano solo feature appropriately titled “Singular Serenade”; the militaristic trombone battle of “Smash, Push, Pull, Crash” which had dancers holding each other back in a striking visual; and “Grit” which Ward says shows “[his] interpretation of Mingus’ love and interpretation of Duke Ellington’s music.”

Ward and Ozuzu quickly began their intense collaboration by meeting for one week stretches, every month, for 6 months. When not together, Ozuzu would send Ward videos of her improvised dancing to Mingus’ music, which began to reveal the palette that Ward had at its disposal.
For his part, Ward put together a 10 piece band, and like Mingus comprised of some of his longest-standing collaborators and top-shelf Chicago musicians: Tim Haldeman (tenor saxophone), Keefe Jackson (baritone and tenor saxophones), Russ Johnson (trumpet), Ben LaMar (cornet), Norman Palm (trombone), Christopher Davis (bass trombone), Jason Roebke (bass), Dennis Luxion (piano), Marcus Evans (drums). Ward chose them all for their unique voices which he utilized while crafting the piece and who brought it to life.

With Mike Reed’s insistence, Ward knew right before the performance that they were going to make a record of this project. They recorded the live show at Constellation Chicago, and went into the studio the following day. Yet the immediacy of feeling from the live show won out and it is what you hear on the record. Reed and Ward shopped Touch My Beloved’s Thought, around to many labels, but trumpeter Dave Douglas was incredibly enthusiastic about it being released on his imprint Greenleaf Music.

Ward’s striking synthesis of tradition and reverence for Mingus’ work, infused with his thoroughly modern and unique sensibilities give Touch My Beloved’s Thought a wonderment and power that is undeniable.

Reviews of Touch My Beloved’s Thought:

New York City Jazz Review (George Kanzler)
“Ward isn’t just inspired by the earlier work, he’s also created a piece imbued with the Mingus aesthetic, full of such tropes and gestures as dynamic and tempo acceleration; multiple lines creating polyphony; solos building and being supported by growingly insistent, muscular ensemble backgrounds; and the controlled cacophony of ‘free’ group improvisation.”

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Dark Territory

Posted by: russell on March 18, 2016 @ 9:00 am
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Dave Douglas, LP, store

Featuring Shigeto, Jonathan Maron and Mark Guiliana.

Dark Territory follows up on this area of risk, going into new, as yet unexplored musical spaces. The title was suggested by the writer Fred Kaplan, whose new book Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, talks about the similarly mysterious, murky waters of underground activity. In a way, we’re playing through a similar territory without rules where the dangers and challenges of technology are much greater than normal. I love that Zach, Jon, and Mark are so willing to go that place!”

Dave Douglas

 

With the 2015 release of High Risk, Dave Douglas, Shigeto, Jonathan Maron, and Mark Guiliana proved they could produce an album where avant-jazz and electronic music met in a spacey atmospheric middle ground, delivering something new in the world of genre. Melding traditional instrumentation and modern electronic music production challenges the ideals of both the traditional term “jazz” as well as the modern term “electronic music.” Pitchfork described it as, “Simultaneously chill and surprising, it’s the sound of a group discovering a valid language, and then proceeding to push the limits of that new aesthetic.”

Dark Territory features a new set of music that was initially released on Limited Edition 12″ 180 Gram vinyl as a Special Release for Record Store Day 2016! The LP and digital audio are available directly from Greenleaf Music via Bandcamp. The CD will be released on July 8. Pre-order on iTunes will begin June 17.

Tracked in the same set of sessions as High Risk, Dark Territory was recorded once again by Geoff Countryman at The Bunker in Brooklyn, NY in October 2014, with mixing by Steve Wall, mastering by Mark Wilder and production by Dave Douglas.

As Douglas notes, “Dark Territory follows up on this area of risk, going into new, as yet unexplored musical spaces. The title was suggested by the writer Fred Kaplan, whose new book Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, talks about the similarly mysterious, murky waters of underground activity. In a way, we’re playing through a similar territory without rules where the dangers and challenges of technology are much greater than normal. I love that Zach, Jon, and Mark are so willing to go that place!”

The four musicians who make up High Risk come from multifaceted-genre backgrounds. Thus, the jazz/electronic divide is somewhat blurred. PopMatters observed, “Where one influence ends and another one begins is a mystery, and that’s what will guarantee High Risk‘s status as a wholly unique album. With any justice, it will also serve as a template for future electro-jazz.” All About Jazz described the original album, “Voluminous soundscapes and swelling patterns like oceanic waves find Douglas’ blustery and sensitive horn flowing within the band’s shifting and sonically rich program of beats, noises, thoughtful music, and creative embellishments.” Furthermore, Stereophile remarked, “It is a high-wire act, a ‘high risk,’ to be out there, so starkly exposed… there’s a serrated groove to this music, even a lyricism and the blues.”

 

ABOUT SHIGETO

Zachary Saginaw, known under his moniker and middle name Shigeto, was originally a jazz student at The New School. He has since released three full-length albums under noted American electronica hub, Ghostly International (home to Matthew Dear, Gold Panda, Tycho, HTRK, etc.). But he never lost his love for jazz and improvisation, as he explains, “Jazz has always had a place in my life, whether it was my father playing his records for me or just playing tunes with friends. Before I got into production, all I wanted was to be a jazz drummer.”

ABOUT JONATHAN MARON

Bassist Jonathan Maron, who contributes both electric bass guitar and synth (keyboard) bass to the album, was a founding member of Groove Collective and a prominent figure in the fusion-oriented acid jazz movement of the 1990s, when he first crossed paths with Douglas.

ABOUT MARK GUILIANA

Mark Guiliana is one of the most in-demand drummers in the modern jazz scene. His firepower behind the kit is on full, explosive display within this ensemble – but he’s also an inveterate experimentalist who regularly incorporates electronic elements into his own work on projects like Beat Music, Heernt and, perhaps most notably, Mehliana, his genre-defying duo project with Brad Mehldau. His work on Blackstar, David Bowie’s final recording, has brought him much-deserved international attention.

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Azul Infinito

Posted by: russell on March 4, 2016 @ 12:00 am
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Ryan Keberle, store


Azul Infinito, which features Ryan Keberle’s signature band, Catharsis, includes the vocals of Chilean singer Camila Meza, alongside a frontline of Keberle and GRAMMY-nominated trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, Peruvian-born bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Eric Doob, creates a continuity of sound and aesthetic that could only have resulted from constant playing (often monthly around New York) for the past four years. From this continuity, they breathe as one and express a band aesthetic.

For Keberle, American music’s emotional power, which stems from the blues, is reflected in similarly cathartic afrocentric musical elements found in South American music. Fittingly, Jorge Luis Borges, the noted Argentine writer, called the cathartic act of experiencing art an “evento estético” or “aesthetic event.” As on past records, Keberle’s goal is to allow the listener to feel something through his thoughtful compositions and songs. “I hope this record conveys the influence that South American music has played in my life, and allows listeners to experience their own aesthetic event,” says Keberle. “Each original song on this record is either dedicated to, or directly influenced by, a specific South American composer with whom I’ve had the pleasure to play.”

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Fabliaux

Posted by: russell on December 4, 2015 @ 9:00 am
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Dave Douglas, store

Buy

Also available on iTunes and Amazon.

Dave Douglas writes a brand new suite for Monash Art Ensemble, an improvising chamber orchestra including some of Melbourne’s finest players.

Scored for four winds, four brass, four strings, and four percussion, including electronics, Fabliaux introduces new language into the vernacular of contemporary improvised music, looking forward while looking back.

Fabliaux draws inspiration from composers of the early 14th century French Ars Nova, most notably Guillaume De Machaut. Using ideas of hocket, isorhythm, and modal counterpoint as points of departure, Fabliaux takes the players on a journey into unimagined territory.

Improvisation mixes with timbre and structure in unexpected ways, with the Australian orchestra meeting the American trumpeter on the fertile ground of exploration and discovery.

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Brazen Heart Live at Jazz Standard

Posted by: russell on November 11, 2015 @ 7:43 pm
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Dave Douglas, Dave Douglas Quintet, store

Postcard Cover v4

Choose your way to buy:

Bundle of all 4 nights (that’s 8 sets!): $70

Single night (2 sets) Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday: $20

Bundle of all 4 nights + Brazen Heart CD: $80

Subscribe at Level 3: $125/year. Download all 8 sets, plus all the benefits that come with subscription, like exclusive downloadable content, additional discounts and complimentary tickets. Subscriber download available here.

The Dave Douglas Quintet finishes their Brazen Heart tour with a four night run at the Jazz Standard November 19-22. Featuring Jon Irabagon (saxophone), Matt Mitchell (piano), Linda Oh (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums), the group delivers a roller-coaster ride of complex harmonic and rhythmic structures, veering between fierce and soulful.

“Douglas’ quintet … is one of the best working groups in jazz. In recent years, Douglas’ unflagging intellectual curiosity has led to the creation of a diverse body of work…. His quintet, however, represents a creative pinnacle.”

Michael Hamad, Hartford Courant

To capture the quintet’s musical alchemy after extensive touring throughout Europe, Australia and the US, Greenleaf Music is recording all 8 1-hour sets and making them available to you for a bundled price of $70.

Order now  — don’t miss the opportunity to hear this quintet recorded live!

 

Thursday, 7:30
  1. Hawaiian Punch
  2. Miracle Gro
  3. Barbara Allen
  4. Lone Wolf
  5. Going Somewhere With You
  6. There Is A Balm In Gilead
  7. Law of Historical Memory
Thursday, 9:30
  1. Ocean Spray
  2. Time Travel
  3. Pyrrhic Apology
  4. Inure Phase
  5. My Cares Are Down Below / The Pigeon And The Pie
  6. Deep River
Friday, 7:30
  1. Hawaiian Punch
  2. Little Feet
  3. Wake Up Claire
  4. Be Still My Soul
  5. Brazen Heart
  6. Whither Must I Wander?
  7. Beware of Doug
Friday, 9:30
  1. Bridge To Nowhere
  2. Variable Current
  3. This Is My Father’s World
  4. One Morning
  5. Middle March
  6. God Be With You Til We Meet Again
Saturday, 7:30
  1. Hawaiian Punch
  2. Time Travel
  3. Be Still My Soul
  4. Brazen Heart
  5. Whither Must I Wander?
  6. Lone Wolf
Saturday, 9:30
  1. Garden State
  2. Miracle Gro
  3. Barbara Allen
  4. Inure Phase
  5. Little Feet
Sunday, 7:30
  1. Law of Historical Memory
  2. Ocean Spray
  3. This Is My Father’s World
  4. Variable Current
  5. My Cares Are Down Below / The Pigeon And The Pie
  6. There Is A Balm In Gilead
Sunday, 9:30
  1. Bridge to Nowhere
  2. Deep River
  3. Wake Up Claire
  4. Going Somewhere With You
  5. God Be With You Till We Meet Again

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