During the past 5 years, The Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet has been making a name for itself touring Europe 3 times while performing at jazz festivals, live radio concerts, concerts and club venues. The group was the winner of the "Honorable Mention" award in the 2005 International Songwriting Competition. The song "Rag Tag" by Jeff Siegel was chosen as a finalist in the "Performance" category. The live recording of "Rag Tag" was from a Radio Concert for Radio Bremen in March, 2005.
For further information, please also visit www.jeffsiegeljazz.com
JEFF "SIEGE" SIEGEL - drums, percussion, composition
Drummer/Composer Jeff “Siege” Siegel is a veteran of
the New York Jazz Scene and has worked with a virtual“who’s who” of artists. A member of the Sir Roland Hanna Trio from 1994-‘99, Siegel’s diverse career has also led him to perform and/or record with legends such as Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Jack DeJohnette, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Shiela Jordan, Helen Merrill, Mose Allison and many more. He has also performed and/or recorded with the younger generation of musicians such as Dave Douglas, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling, Ravi Coltrane, Ryan Kisor, Arturo O'Farrill, Steve Turre, Arthur Rhames and John Esposito. He has worked in the avant garde world as well with Wadada Leo Smith, Baikida Carroll and others. He is co-leader of the Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson Trio, The New York Trio Project and The Jeff Marx/Jeff "Siege" Siegel Duo. Siegel has been described in Jazz World Magazine as a “brilliant drummer”, while lauded in Modern Drummer for his “forward energy and abundantly attractive ideas”. “His playing is always tasteful whether it be in forceful, intense situations or in quiet, supporting roles. His writing is intriguing” notes the Green Mountain Jazz Messenger. An active educator, Siegel teaches Jazz drumming at The New School in New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz as well as at Western Connecticut State University. He has performed clinics throughout Europe and the United States. He holds a Masters Degree in Jazz from Queens College where he studied composition with Jimmy Heath and has subsequently been the recipient of several grants from Meet the Composer. He is an endorser for Vic Firth Drumsticks. His new CD “Live in Europe” featuring his quartet can be heard on the ARC record label.
ERICA LINDSAY - Tenor Saxophone
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, and Composer - Erica Lindsay was born in San Francisco, California. At the age of five her family moved to Europe where her parents were educators for the American School system.
She began playing piano, clarinet, and then, saxophone in high school along with her private studies with pianist Mal Waldron.
After studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston she returned to Europe to begin working professionally as a composer, arranger and soloist.
In 1980, Lindsay moved to New York and eventually settled in the Woodstock area. Since that time she has performed and toured with leaders such as Melba Liston, Clifford Jordan, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman, Baikida Carroll, Howard Johnson, George Gruntz, Sumi Tonooka, Pheeraon akLaff and Oliver Lake.
She has been active composing for theater, television, dance, as well as performing with poets and performance artists Carl Hancock-Rux, Janice King, Janine Vega, Mikhail Horowitz and Nancy Ostrovsky.
She is featured in Burrill Crohn's film documentary, Women in Jazz and in Sally Placksin's book, American Women in Jazz.
Her quintet can be heard on the Candid Records (CCD 79040) release, Erica Lindsay - Dreamer. The Penguin Book of Jazz Recordings has called Dreamer, "Tremendously impressive," and "a record that shouldn't be missed."
She most recently can be heard on Baikida Carroll's highly acclaimed new release, Marionettes on a High Wire; and, the soon to be released Oliver Lake Big Band recording.
Erica Lindsay is also presently on the music faculty at Bard College, Annandale-on-the-Hudson.
FRANCESCA TANKSLEY - Piano
Francesca Tanksley surprises. The internationally-acclaimed jazz pianist and composer, described as a “vivid presence” by Nat Hentoff, breaks through traditional expectations with the power of her musical vision. As Peter Watrous of the The New York Times said in a a review of one of her recent performances, “Ms. Tanksley reworked the vocabulary of McCoy Tyner as if she had taken one small aspect of his style and developed it into a full language. She gave the music color, her harmonies and chording adding surprise to the performance.” Acknowledged as a fine soloist, composer, and accompanist with such notable groups as the Billy Harper Quintet and the Erica Lindsay Quintet, she has performed throughout Europe, East and Southeast Asia, Scandinavia and South America as well as in the United States, and appears on numerous CD releases of both groups. Her compositional talent is featured on two of the Billy Harper Quintet’s CDs, as well as her own recently released CD.
Other leading musicians with whom Francesca Tanksley has performed include Howard Johnson, David Newman, Cecil Payne, Nick Brignola, Slide Hampton, Shiela Jordan, Jay Clayton, Clifford Jordan and Charles Davis. She has been a featured artist on Marian McPartland’s widely acclaimed National Public Radio series, Piano Jazz, and appears in the documentary, Women in Jazz by Burrill Crohn. Ms. Tanksley has been noted in the books, American Women in Jazz by Sally Plaxin, and in Madam Jazz by Leslie Gourse.
In addition to being an acclaimed accompanist and composer, Ms. Tanksley also leads the Francesca Tanksley Trio, and has recently produced her first CD entitled Journey, which features her original compositions and includes colleagues from the Billy Harper Quintet, drummer Newman Taylor Baker and bassist Clarence Seay.
Francesca Tanksley was born in Italy as a U.S. citizen and grew up in Munich, Germany. She began studying piano at the age of seven, and at sixteen she attended Berklee College of Music in Boston to study jazz piano and composition. After her studies at Berklee she returned to Munich and began her professional career performing with various European jazz groups. She then moved to New York City and joined Melba Liston’s group, Melba Liston & Co., appearing at major jazz clubs and festivals in the U.S., including the Kool Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall with Dizzy Gillespie. Soon thereafter she became an integral member of the Billy Harper Quintet, as well as the Erica Lindsay Quintet.
Ms. Tanksley holds a Master’s Degree in Music from Queens College, and is the recipient of the Graduating Award, the Eubie Blake Scholarship Award and the ASCAP Louis Armstrong Composer’s Scholarship, 1995. She has conducted jazz workshops at numerous colleges, including the University of Southern California at Santa Cruz, Hampton University, Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute, and Bard College. Ms. Tanksley served as faculty at New School University’s Jazz and Contemporary Music Program in New York City as well as Berklee School of Music in Boston.
DANTON BOLLER - Double Bass
Imagine a crowd screaming for joy after a bass solo. That's what happens when Danton Boller plays the bass. This young genius of the bass is one of the "young lions" you've probably heard about. Currentlyresiding in New York, he developed a solid foundation as a jazz bassist studying under the "Senator", Eugene Wright (of the famed Dave Brubeck Quartet). In Los Angeles, Danton has played with top musicians including Billy Higgins, Wallace Roney, Bennie Wallace, Roy Hargrove and Anthony Wilson.
He received the Shelley Manne New Talent Award from the L.A. Jazz Society in 1997. Danton can be heard on the Grammy Award Nominated recording "Anthony Wilson". In New York he has been recording, touring and performing with top names such as Joshua Redman, Mulgrew Miller, Mark Turner, Bennie Wallace, Alvin Queen, and with the world-famous Village Vanguard Orchestra.
Recently Danton has been touring and recording with the Roy Hargrove Quinte of which he has been a member of for the past 5 years. "The Jazz Mandolin Project" for Blue Note Records, and is co-leading a new "Punk-Jazz-Metal" Trio called Exegesis.
Erica Lindsay - Tenor Saxophone
Francesca Tanksley - Piano
Danton Boller - Acoustic Bass
Jeff "Siege" Siegel - Drums
"Magical Spaces" - CAP Records
"Live in Europe - ARC Records
Drummer Siegel Lifts Audience to New Heights
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So you think a drummer is just a time keeper? Hey, they’ve got machines to do that. In countries ...So you think a drummer is just a time keeper? Hey, they’ve got machines to do that.
In countries sociologists call “third world”,” where ancient cultural traditions are the source of today’s “world beat” music, those who palmed skins were respected as the maestros of any instrumental collectives, if not the shamanic high priests of their whole community.
Fast-forward to the Rosendale Cafe the night of April 3, when Jeff “Siege” Siegel worked in his band of four to catch an example of what a contemporary percussion master effects, beyond setting the groove and drumming up killer Gene Krupa solos.
Siegel, who can lay siege to his traps with the most awesome of power egotists (though ever subtle and inventive) was the composer of tunes played by his all-star quartet, recorded live on this occasion, preceding an imminent European tour.
Siegel served five years with the Sir Roland Hanna Trio, also backing Ravi Coltrane and Ron Carter, among a discerning multitude.
If you were to catch this man in the act, you would see him setting the aura beyond the groove that reflects the impulse of his improvisers. They take his themes, sail off (while he sends up a rolling, iridescent surf behind their trips,) and return safe, blowing the minds of the audience.
The “they” in this quartet are a trinity of monster players who each lead their own groups, additionally contributing individual lights to “names” in the jazz scene.
Erica Lindsay, who blows tenor saxophone in a no-frills pipeline connection straight to God - she plays the who truth and nothing but the truth - gigs with the Oliver Lake Big Band, McCoy Tyner and Baikida Carroll.
The lady with digits of steel, Francesca Tanksley, whose solid chording expands to a fission thing when her articulations spark the ivories in solos, works in the Billy Harper Quintet, sometimes gracing David “Fathead” Newman’s appearances.
Both these women have played peripherally in the Camelot jazz scene that once was Creative Music Studio, and it sends chills through the spine to experience the current reach of profundity - call it honesty - in their evolved play. And let’s add glory to that.
How Ira Coleman got away from his 24-seven gig as bassist and musical director for Dee Dee Bridgewater to work with Siegel, nobody said. The man also hangs 10 behind Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and a whole bunch, being one of those “sought-after dudes” whose adroit, gut-plucking power - Coleman’s hands at play encompass the string board like an NBA star palms a basketball - is supplemented by receptive sensitivity and smarts.
Tunes up and out included Siegel’s tribute to Sir Roland and six other numbers in a first set, establishing the unique and inimitable sounds of the players, elevated by the mass. When the quartet hit lift-off, that miraculous instant expanded, and the whole band fused to something greater than its many parts.
You can have a groove drive like crazy, with rocketing axe solos, and still, such moments may not occur. This kind of play is like sky-diving up from planet earth - the negative force of gravity in improvisation, comprised of the literal, the rational, narcissism and sheer fear.
It’s a leap based on faith in peers and in a drummer who you know is going to maintain an inspirational hydro-dynamic force, elevating you throughout your levitation.
Coming down to total tacit, Tanksley has the blitzed look of Lawrence of Arabia, just back from the desert. Lindsay’s cool. Solos emitting from her horn during flight achieved marvels of misty curlicues, beautiful in their swirling. This is no surprise to her, “out there” where she lives. Maestro Siegel is humble, getting ready for the next excursion, abetted by Coleman, whose bass play, volcanic in the groove, soars on wings of pensive whimsy.
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“...Magical Spaces" is the kind of CD that you want to listen to over and over. Jeff's musicality is...“...Magical Spaces" is the kind of CD that you want to listen to over and over. Jeff's musicality is incredible. He is so tasty as a percussionist and he has become a fine composer/arranger with a good melodic concept and harmonic depth. The group performance is remarkable.”
What the Critics Say
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What the Critics Say: “...a brilliant drummer”---Armen Donelian, Jazz World “...A major perfor...What the Critics Say:
“...a brilliant drummer”---Armen Donelian, Jazz World
“...A major performative and compositional talent....Siege reminds one of a blend of Brian Blade and Andrew Cyrille, or a player out of both the Max Roadh “melodic” academy and the polyrhythmic school of Elvin Jones.---Bob Margolis, Ulster Publishing 1
“...Magical Spaces" is the kind of CD that you want to listen to over and over. Jeff's musicality is incredible. He is so tasty as a percussionist and he has become a fine composer/arranger with a good melodic concept and harmonic depth. The group performance is remarkable.”
----Musician, Jimmy Heath
“...Thanks for: (re: “Magical Spaces”)
1. The sound of the music 2. The sound of the musicianship. 3. The sound of the music on the CD.
-- Musician, Ron Carter
"Jeff Siegel’s new CD, Magical Spaces, is a musical offering that emphasizes
not only Jeff’s fine drumming skills but displays his compositional talent as
---Musician, Jack DeJohnette
“...His playing is always tasteful whether it be in forceful, intense situations or in quiet supporting roles. His writing is intriguing.”---Carlos Aamolla, Green Mountain Jazz Messenger
“...The phrase ‘melodic’ drummer may sound, to some ears, like an oxymoron. But chances are that anyone who thinks so hasn’t caught Jeff “Siege” Siegel of the Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson Trio.”---Mikhail Horowitz, Woodstock Times
“...an inspired percussionist”---Andre Maub, Bordeaux-Loisirs
“...forward energy and abundantly attractive ideas...the best is yet to come”---Hal Howland, Modern Drummer
“...plus there is Siegel the instrumentalist, active, inventive, experimentive -- all without being overpowering or overplaying”---George Chevalier, Woodstock Times
“...He’s one of those rare, instinctive, “auric” drummers, who assimilates and colors to instrumental flow in the instant of execution, shading and shaping melodic direction as he
stick-paints.”---Kitty Montgomery, Daily Freeman
“ A shy power-master of shadow and light on traps”. Kitty Montgomery, Daily Freeman
“ I’ve heard Siege a number of times lately and must say that he’s one funky drummer, no matter what the tune”. Debra Bresnan, Woodstock Times
“The Drummer Jeff "Siege" creates self-willed rhythmic harmonies on each square millimeter of its set and inspires nevertheless as a circulating metamorphosis engine.”
Reinhard Kochl, Donaukourier
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..Terrific effort, which documents a sublime, swinging and sensitive ensemble, but also also the wri.....Terrific effort, which documents a sublime, swinging and sensitive ensemble, but also also the writing of a major performative and compositional talent...Playing with a sharp sense of dynamics, Siege reminds one of a blend of Brian Blade and Andrew Cyrille, or a player of of the Max Roach “melodic” academy and the polyrhythmic school of Elvin Jones. In the same way that a good drummer knows when to play with increased oomph and when to lay back, so too does a leader need to know how to pace a set and in some cases a record. Magical Spaces is such an enjoyable and challenging listen, in part due to the smart sequence of material. No ballads are back-to-back, one needn't listen to endless choruses over the blues; and the band plays in a variety of keys.
Ornette Coleman is fond of saying that when the band is playing with the drummer, you have rock ‘n’ roll, but when the drummer is playing with the band, you have jazz. And what a band Siege has assembled for the the record. Pianist Francesca Tanksley and tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay display the musical relationship built up between them over the years at Bard and as improvisational partners in crime. Despite the fact that some of the songs on the record were written prior to working with Tanksley, Lindsay and bassets Danton Boller, the end result sounds as if each composition was penned to highlight the strengths of each individual in a collective as cohesive as this one is. “
Jeff "Siege" Siegel - Magical Spaces
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JEFF “SIEGE” SIEGEL - Magical Spaces (CAP) by J HUNTER Just like with my government, I want...
JEFF “SIEGE” SIEGEL - Magical Spaces
by J HUNTER
Just like with my government, I want less corporate involvement with my jazz. Sure, major labels like Blue Note and Verve helped establish the genre, but it's indie outfits like Palmetto, Rope-a-Dope and MaxJazz that are doing the truly interesting releases, while the aforementioned majors are too busy playing the world's dumbest reality show, “Searching For (The NEW) Norah Jones”.
A good example of indie-jazz quality is Magical Spaces (CAP), a wonderful collaboration of like-minded musicians led by drummer/percussionist Jeff “Siege” Siegal, who's worked with artists ranging from Ron Carter & Sir Roland Hanna to Ravi Coltrane & Wadada Lee Smith. Siegel has brought together three veteran performers - tenor player Erica Lindsey, pianist Francesca Tanksley, and bassist Danton Boller - to record a straight-ahead disc that sounds familiar while keeping you wondering what comes next. Put this on a major label's doorstep and they'd want to pretty it up (i.e. make it more “marketable”). Fortunately, Siegel walked past that doorstep.
The first track, “Graz is Greener on the Other Side”, is the tone-setter for the disc: This is take-it-or-leave-it-and-take-no-prisoners Trad jazz, without an ounce of commercial pretension. Lindsey's first solo serves up a plateful of chops, except they are served with substance and style. Although the tone of “Graz” changes as Tanksley and Boller take their turns in the solo spot, the intensity (and the quality) never wavers. This is the case throughout Spaces, whether on a blues like “M Song” or “Blue Heart”, an exploration like the title track, or a long-form love song like “A Flower for Diane”. Tack on a trumpet track and this disc could be mistaken for a long lost recording date from Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The refreshing part is that Siegel & Co. are their own players, not wannabes trying to sound like somebody else.
Siegel also follows the Blakey model of letting his players define his tunes. Lindsey is a leader herself (as is Tanksley), so it's not a stretch to say her tenor could spearhead a full disc. While she lets her inner Coltrane loose on “Graz” and “Lenny”, she can also slow it down (and warm it up) when Siegel's writing calls for it. Tanksley is a fine foil for Lindsey, contributing as much with her fills (particularly on the staccato “Africa”) as she does with her solos. There's a bubbling quality to her playing, and it only gets better when it's brought to a boil. Boller is a full contributor to the proceedings, not just one-half of the rhythm section. His bass lines are never boring or rudimentary, and his playing bears deep echoes of his mentor Eugene Wright, bass player for the Time Out-era Dave Brubeck Quartet. Kudos also go to Tim Strong for his Johnny Hartman-esque vocal on “Peaceful”.
As for Siegel, his skill as a composer is a key to this disc's success. Although rooted in established jazz history, this material is not a bunch or rewrites or homages to jazz tunes past; rather, they are the product of someone who has learned his lessons well, but wants to teach a few of his own. There's no question he is a world-class drummer; in fact, his work on the ensemble pieces make the three drum-solo tracks relatively superfluous, though two tracks - “Opening Statement” and “Twilight” - are excellent precursors to “Threads” and “Africa”, the respective tracks that follow them. The third solo, “Postcard to Arthur Rhames”, is a good piece but a bad choice for the disc's closing track. It stands by itself, without resolution, giving the disc an unfinished feel. Siegel and co-producer Baikida Carroll should have left this track in the can and let the Dizzy-like “Sir Roland” give the disc a more definitive conclusion.
The title Magical Spaces comes from the legendary trumpeter Tom Harrell, who was talking about how new sounds can be found “in the magical spaces of the music.” Siegel and his compatriots found a field full of spaces and grew a garden of simple beauty and infinite color. That'll happen when you choose “real” over “reality show”.
J HUNTER is a former announcer/producer for radio stations in the Capital Region and the Bay Area, including KSJS/San Jose (where he was Assistant Music Director/Jazz programming), Q104 WQBK/Albany, and WSSV/Saratoga. He has also written music and theatre reviews for the Glens Falls Chronicle. He currently resides in Clifton Park.
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Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel -- Magical Spaces (CAP 989) * * * * One of last year’s most blissful relea...
Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel -- Magical Spaces (CAP 989)
* * * *
One of last year’s most blissful releases has to be “Magical Spaces” by Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel. My sole prior acquaintance with this drummer was on the strength of the lovely trio outing, “Spirit Song” (Exit Records, 1996) which featured Siege together with Michael Jefry Stevens on piano and Peter Herbert on double bass. Jeff’s style is informed by that of masters such as Max Roach and Elvin Jones. Over the years however, he has successfully forged a very own style of playing for himself. Next to being a highly deserving drummer, he is also a gifted composer/arranger. The delightful themes and arrangements on this record are in a richly adventurous and compelling vein, whilst leaving enough room for each of his sidekicks to shine: tenor saxophone player Erica Lindsay (Oliver Lake Big Band, Baikida Carroll), pianist Francesca Tanksley (Billy Harper, Judy Bady) and double bassist Danton Boller (Mulgrew Miller, Roy Hargrove, The Village Vanguard Orchestra) which infuses the quality of this record with a lifting oomph straight from the off. On ‘Magical Spaces’, the quartet plays hard core jazz for connoisseurs. “Peaceful” features vocalist Tim Strong as a special guest, a total unknown to these ears, whose relaxed vocal work is the perfect complement to this song. In “M Song”, Erica Lindsay calls to mind David Murray’s gorgeous ‘Ballads’ recording (DIW, 1988). Over the 1994 to 1999 time span, ‘Siege’ himself worked with Sir Roland Hanna. No points for guessing why he has chosen to dedicate the glorious “Sir Roland” to the latter then. The remainder of the album is at times perfused with the ambiance that is so typical of McCoy Tyner. The more I listen to the record, the more impressed I am with the tight combined playing. This is clearly a working band doing what they do best! This cd is proof positive that jazz is very much alive and kicking and comes highly recommended. The CD is available from www.jeffsiegeljazz.com.
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You gotta love a drummer who goes by "Siege," as in Jeff "Siege" Siegel -- it seems to convey a... You gotta love a drummer who goes by "Siege," as in Jeff "Siege" Siegel -- it seems to convey a certain attitude. To be honest, though, there isn't much "attitude" on the CD "Magical Spaces," only the results of some serious musicians working hard to make a decent recording.
You'd think a drummer called "Siege" would make sure his work was up front in the mix, especially when it's his date, playing his tunes. But Mr. Siegel is fine with keping his work behind the soloists, where he can keep the beat and add fills without overpowering the sensitive compositions.
He takes a few solos - along with saxophonist Erica Lindsay and pianist Francesca Tanksley - as well as three compositions for solo drums, "Opening Statement," "Twilight," and the closing "Postcard to Arthur Rhames."
The release's liner notes mention Mr. Siegel's work with saxophonist Rhames, as well as Sir Roland Hanna, and his work teaching to convey a sense of Mr. Siegel's experience, which is well displayed on his compositions.
One can divide the compositions between upbeat boppers, like "Graz is Greener on the Other Side," "Magical Spaces," and "Africa"; ballads including "M Song," "Mourning for Kevin O'Connor" and "Lenny", and his three solo pieces, "Opening Statement," "Twilight" and "Postcard to Arthur Rhames."
When driving the group on upbeat tunes, Mr. Siegel keeps great time with his cymbal work and uses snare and tom fills to add energy and drive. His playing on "Africa" and "Threads" is really outstanding: sensitive to the music but still original and compelling.
In the ballads, Mr. Siegel uses a variety of percussive ideas to add to his melodies without overrunning the other musicians. His ideas are further displayed on his solo turns, where a wide variety of percussive instruments are used to create rich textures of sound.
The liner notes by Bill Shoemaker discuss the decades of work done by musicians like Mr. Siegel, who have been thwarted in releasing their own music earlier due to the consolidation in the recording industry. Mr. Siegel's first release, then, comes to us as a fully conceived set of tunes from a mature jazz musician. He seems to be full of ideas both for his instrument and his compositions.
He's accompanied on "Magical Spaces" by delightful work by pianist Francesca Tanksley, whose skillful accompaniment is never out of place. She uses very nice voicings to compliment the melody, and her solo work is well done. In tandem with bassist Danton Boller, the rhythm section is always right on target on the compositions. Saxophonist Erica Lindsay gets most of the melodic workout, stating the heads on most tunes before solo turns. Her breathy and slurring style works nicely on the ballads, but is seemed she was running out of air on some of the other up-tempo tunes. Her solos, however, are well planned and played, with clear ideas evident throughout. Vocalist Tim Strong adds a rich sound to Mr. Siegel's "Peaceful."
The CD times out at about an hour and 17 minutes -- that's a lot of music for your money, and it's a lot of music for your ears. Despite the length, Mr. Siegel's compositional talents and tasteful drumming will leave many listeners wanting more.
JEFF SIEGEL, MAGICAL SPACES
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Keeping the straight-ahead flame alive, Jeff Siegel propels his quartet dynamically on this prog... Keeping the straight-ahead flame alive, Jeff Siegel propels his quartet dynamically on this program of fresh originals. He's captured the essence of mainstream quartet "magic" through his use of the same basic elements that drove the John Coltrane Quartet: improvisation and emotion bed together with a proven mix of melody, harmony, and rhythm. Siegel's quartet leaves plenty of room for everyone to stretch out individually. T hree of the album's tracks are solo drum and percussion adventures in which the leader creates exotic landscapes. He plays balaphone and mirambula on "Twilight" for a natural excursion and echoes solemnly from his drum set on the final number for a passionate outcry.
The quartet's lead voice elsewhere is that of tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, who presents a warm attack that reveals her uncompromising comfort with Blues feelings that come coupled with dramatic intensity and creative asides. Melodic themes enter the picture with solid support as Lindsay's warm tenor speaks it's piece. Slow ballads, such as "M Song" and uptempo romps such as "Threads," reveal a complete product from the ensemble. Their creative interplay and creative conversations give the program depth. Pianist Francesca Tanksley and bassist Danton Boller provide a powerful rhythmic foundation while adding harmonic depth along the way. The way Siegel's quartet tackles his eloquent title track leaves no doubt about their inexhaustible source of inspiration, as they drive this one fast and furious in three. It's mesmerizing, yet filled with interesting musical conversations from start to finish.
Tim Strong brings his clear baritone voice to "Peaceful" with the same kind of empathy that united Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, interpreting the song with a pleasant ambiance. Siegel's compositions cover all the bases, as he provides variety and opens up space for the quartet to improvise at length. They're mellow when the mood asks, and intense when driven by other forces. His view of the modern mainstream in Jazz extends wide in both directions back to the source and forward to creative interplay. As he and bassist Boller trade tours on "Africa" you can feel the natural elements carrying the day. It's not just "magic" on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Siegel's Straght-Ahead session merits at least 5 stars.
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This CD is not the mere art of something, but pure Art with a capital "A". Clearly at the top of hi...This CD is not the mere art of something, but pure Art with a capital "A". Clearly at the top of his game, jazz drummer and composer, Jeff "Siege" Siegel's compositions for "Magical Spaces" emerge as landscapes, seascapes and dreamscapes from the fertile plain of his well informed and supremely trained musical imagination.
Old jazz dogs may, here and there, detect the elegant subtleties of drummer Shelly Manne or composer and keyboardist, Joe Zawinul of Weather Report. Zawinul's lyrical free form compositions were sometimes referred to as "space music".
"Magical Spaces" has picked up that ball and is running with it. Running with Siege, like gazelles, are pianist Francesca Tanksley, a veritable dream machine of a player, tenor saxophonist, Erica Lindsay, who channels the spirit of Coltrane, and bass player, Danton Boller, providing a deep resonant bed for this magical world.
There's the surprise, on this otherwise instrumental work of Tim Strong's silken vocal on "Peaceful". What an equisite ensemble piece! Strong's voice and Lindsay's sax swirl up to the front then fade, allowing Tanksley to glisten and Siegel to mesmerize us with quiet, deliciously complex, syncopation. Imagine a satisfying massage, say, in the Garden of Eden.
This music may beg analysis or, on the other hand, beg that we relish it as an organiz whole.
I would want to see the now departed Leonard Feather list Siegel in bold type on the pages of his Encyclopedia of Jazz and George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, bend over and kiss his high-hat.
Live in Europe (VARIOUS REVIEWS)
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by Karen Hogg Drummer/composer Jeff Siegel's Live in Europe presents highlights from two radio sh...by Karen Hogg
Drummer/composer Jeff Siegel's Live in Europe presents highlights from two radio shows recorded overseas in 2005. Siegel's quartet—tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, pianist Francesca Tanksley and bassist Danton Boller—perform four of Siegel's compositions as well as tunes by Tanksley and Lindsay.
Lindsay's opening "Elvin's Circle" is a moody, propulsive tribute to the great drummer Elvin Jones, with searing and rhythmic playing from its composer. Siegel's "Rag Tag" starts off with a hypnotic, repetitive groove and transitions into two duets, first between the bass and tenor and then piano and drums. The latter is particularly interesting, a lively exchange of rhythmic ideas mixed with Tanksley's quirky harmonic sensibilities. The tune, which was a finalist for the "Best Performance" category in the 2005 International Songwriting competition, closes by returning to the catchy melody.
Tanksley's "Dance in the Question" is a lively, energizing piece of music; the tone Lindsay coaxes from her saxophone is warm and round, yet pointed at the same time. Boller and Siegel make a great rhythm section, managing to be grounded and innovative simultaneously.
Compositions by Siegel make up the second half of the recording. The ballad "Shifting Sands" resonates with contemplative beauty. While the term "melodic drummer" might seem like an abstraction, the description certainly fits Siegel. His phrasing and ideas have such a musical quality to them, they draw the listener inside while supporting the band and propelling the tune forward.
"Stealth" starts off with a sinister-sounding bass line from Boller, and turns into a swinging full-band workout. The closing "Remembering Shirley" honors singer/pianist Shirley Horn and the 10-bar blues is one of the highlights of the recording, a showcase for Tanksley and Lindsay.
Many groups tend to be strong in one or two areas but lacking in others; the musicians might be great soloists but not have strong writing skills. Jeff "Siege" Siegel's quartet manages to be accomplished across the board and Live in Europe is a portrait of a stellar group of musicians and writers at their best.
by Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson
Live in Europe exemplifies the expression of parts being equal to their sum. Each artist—drummer and leader Jeff “Siege” Siegel, tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, pianist Francesca Tanksley, and bassist Danton Boller—contributes humbly to this trove of engaging musical dialogue. The release is comprised of six tunes cherry-picked from two live radio recordings from 2005, done while the quartet was on tour.
“Elvin’s Circle” captures and releases drummer Elvin Jones’s spiritual high energy to the wind.
Lindsay steps into the role of the various saxophonists that Jones had sparred with in his career—Joe Farrell, Sonny Fortune, Frank Foster, and John Coltrane—and runs the tune smooth. “Shifting Sands” shuts the door and dims the lights. Lindsay is romantic without the candy and flowers. Her notes are like ink, bleeding evenly through Boller’s rounded bass notes. “Stealth” takes on a number of personas in a moody 3/4 time and in a rousing 4/4 swing. As the piece reverts back to 3/4, it gathers energy from Siegel’s freestyle solo. Shirley Horn, a singer whose very presence evoked elegance as she spoke of the pathos of life and love, is exalted in “Remembering Shirley,” a gorgeous blues written by Siegel, who also coleads the Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson Trio. Lindsay and Tanksley have a soulful rapport that is dutifully supported by Boller and Siegel. So when do we get to hear the other performances from the two radio dates? We’d like to continue the joy we find listening to Live in Europe. www.jeffsiegel.com.
by J Hunter
In the liner notes to Live in Europe, Jeff "Siege" Siegel basically says that Europe has been very, very good to him. Not surprising, since the region has always given Capital Region jazzers big love – from the prime of Nick Brignola, right up to the extensive airplay given to Colleen Pratt's big-band homage I Thought About You (Nova, 2007). On Live in Europe, the Siegel Quartet returns Europe's love in spades.
The set is culled from two 2005 radio concerts – one at Munich's renowned Jazzclub Unterfahrt, the other at Radio Bremen's own concert hall. Although Siegel had released Magical Spaces (CAP) earlier that year, and was touring with the same unit that played on the disc, none of Spaces' excellent material appears on this new release. While we don't get to hear Siege and his partners expand on Space, the music that did make the cut is simply phenomenal.
With the opener "Elvin's Circle", we get to see the Siegel Quartet's sense of history right off the bat. Erica Lindsey's ode to John Coltrane's best-known drummer rolls out with the same majesty found in Trane tracks like "Spiritual" and "Acknowledgement." The difference lies with Lindsay: Instead of the almost-Eastern soprano sax Coltrane used to bewitch us all, we get Lindsay's broad, irresistible tenor flowing out of the speakers like the surf at Big Sur. Francesca Tanksley's percussive piano complements Lindsay's soaring lines perfectly while Danton Boller nails the foundation and Siegel embroiders around it all, reminding us of the exemplary contributions Elvin made to anything he did with Trane.
While Trane is definitely somewhere inside Lindsay's musical bag, the soulfulness of her sound evokes the other member of Miles' most celebrated front line – that being Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. The passion Lindsay brings to the mid-set ballad "Shifting Sands" can weaken the knees, and she smokes like a steamboat on "Remembering Shirley", Siegel's blues-soaked tribute to Shirley Horn. It should always be said that Horn was as enticing a pianist as she was a singer, and that's where Tanksley comes in. Her lies on "Remembering" are so deep blue, they're purple! There's a wonderful lyricism to Tanksley's solos, and her left-hand comps really accentuates her often-volcanic right hand. But whether it's a ballad, a blues, or a swirling bounce like "Stealth", there's a fire inside Tanksley's piano that occasionally dims, but never dies.
That Lindsay and Tanksley work from a common language is to be expected: Between this group and Lindsay's own quartet, they've been playing together for most of this decade. Not only are they resoundingly accomplished at their respective instruments, but they're also prolific composers who bring some serious flavor to Siegel's already-savory songbook. Tanksley's up-tempo "Dance in the Quiestion" is an excellent palate-cleanser after the labyrinth of Siegel's "Rag Tag", an awesome double-duet that successfully shakes up the band's matrix even as it risks losing the audience in the piece's complexity. If you stick with "Rag Tag", though, it's worth it: The nuance in Lindsay & Boller's dialogue is exceptional, and Siegel & Tanksley take their call-and-answer from starkly meditative to wildly explosive.
Although his work with the Lee Shaw Trio has been excellent, Siegel really gets his ya-ya's out with his own band. His compositions show a diversity of influences and inspirations – keeping himself and his band from being pigeonholed – and his skill at building crackling solos without taking steam out of the overall piece is what gets me the most. He also gives ample room for his bandmates to stretch in the spotlight, which credits Siege with a great deal of trust. Boller's steady foundation allows Siegel the freedom to embellish the music; however, Boller has a fine creative voice of his own, as we hear during his evocative solos on "Remembering" and "Elvin's Circle."
Live in Europe is a clear snapshot of a unit living serenely in the moment, even when the music they play is anything but serene. But while we're lucky to have this release, Europe is luckier: The Siegel Quartet went back to Europe at the beginning of June, packing three years of new experiences on top of their already-solid résumé. Let's hope that when Siege counted the band in, some nice radio engineer was rolling tape.
Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet
Live in Europe
Artists Recording Collective ARC 2055
Prior to the release of this CD, one could have caught the American drummer Jeff "Siege" Siegel in concert on numerous occasions. He performed throughout Europe, especially in Germany, in the piano trio Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson. He also worked in pianist Sir Roland Hanna's trio for several years-not to mention his involvement in other projects, playing with Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Benny Golson and Sheila Jordan, among others.
In 2005, he was on tour with his quartet, composed of tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay and pianist Francesca Tanksley (both of whom took part on Lindsay's CD "YES-Live at the Rosendale Cafe) as well as bassist Danton Boller. Siegel's current release stems from that tour, a production of two Rührgebiet-region radio stations: Radio Bremen recorded an appearance hosted in their own concert hall, and Bavarian Rundfunk Radio contributed audio from the quartet's concert in the renowned Munich Jazzclub 'Unterfahrt.' The CD contains six compositions, four of them originated by the bandleader.
The energetic opener 'Elvin's Circle' comes from Erica Lindsay, a tribute, naturally, to drummer Elvin Jones. Here Lindsay's powerful, sovereign tenor saxophone playing is evidenced immediately, as is the strong performance of the pianist. In respective solos, the skills of drummer and bassist are likewise well represented. Francesca Tanksley's composition "Dance in the Question," also a complex power-play, is tinged with latin rhythm; here, piano and bass in unison create a full-bodied background-sound.
In the medium-uptempo "Stealth" -now we've arrived at Siegel's composition- one recognizes a similar structure contrasting the differentiated drum work. "Rag Tag" is characterized by free playing with duets between tenor saxophone and bass as well as piano and drums. A ballad in 3/4 time called "Shifting Sands" follows, and in conclusion we hear a relatively rare 10/4 blues, "Remembering Shirley" -an homage to a jazz woman who passed away a few years ago, the great vocalist and pianist Shirley Horn.
JEFF SIEGEL QUARTET
Live in Europe (ARC)
Jeff "Siege" Siegel, drums
Erica Lindsay, tenorsax
Francesca Tanksley, piano
Danton Boller, contrabas
by Jos Demol
This album contains a selection from two radio shows taken during their European tour in 2005. The cohesioin between the four musicians is exceptional. The combination of Erica Lindsay’s broad tenor sound with the powerful pianist Francesca Tanksley, the roud, warm contrabass of the bassist Danton Boller (soon with the Roy Hargrove Quintet in the Ghent Ahead) and finesse and accuracy of Jeff Siegel’s playing the drums, levies this quartet to the top in contemporary jazz. All compositions are rich in variation, now once contemplative (Shifting Sands), hypnotic and repetitive (Rag Tag), then sparkling, vigorous and rhythmically virtuose (Dance in the Question). The clinicher Remembering Shirley is a worthy tribute to singer/pianist Shirley Horn. This blues features Tanksley and Lindsay, and is the peak of this album. This cd captivates from beginning to end.
Jazz music in a state of siege
(live review - Licthenstein, July 2008)
Highly energetic, exciting, spiritual straight-ahead-postbop-band: the Jeff Siegel quartet electrified the Tangente.
The Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet brought highly energetic music to the stage at Eschen's Tangente theater in an uncommon formation under the leadership of American Drummer Jeff Siegel on Saturday night.
It's to be assumed that the 0:1 loss of the Swiss soccer team wasn't the reason the Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet took the stage with such an earnest mien. One comes to the conclusion that the seriousness of the band members was a sign of their determination to give themselves over completely to performing the program. The first thing one notices with this group is the unusual formation within its cast, still unusual among jazz bands to this day. Not that the instrumentation was unusual, because the combination of piano, saxophone, bass and drums comprises the most classic of jazz quartet formations. Unusual is the 50:50 balance of men and women. The gentlemen, Jeff "Siege" Siegel on drums and Carlo de Rosa on bass were accountable for a solid rhythmic foundation, while the ladies - Francesca Tanksley at the piano and Erica Lindsay on tenor saxophone - were occupied with the melody and harmony (even if the roles in jazz are not always so clearly divisible).
Further development of Bebop
The band delved briskly forth, and if the flyer advertised the band as a "highly energetic, exciting, spiritual straight-ahead-postbop-band," the Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet fulfilled that promise completely. Only the little word 'spiritual' seemed a little strange, and could easily have been replaced by 'inspired.' The individual band members derive their inspiration from jazz music of the 60's -energetic, up-tempo bebop and modern jazz- though they don't content themselves with the mundane re-interpretation of the work of their heroes. The Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet plays almost exclusively original compositions fashioned by its members. Their musical inheritance is thus transformed into a challenging contemporary mixture that demands an attentive audience. The quartet played the Bill Evans classic "Beautiful Love" as the only standard on the program.
Uncommon performance practice
What of the ominous nickname "Siege" in the name of bandleader Jeff "Siege" Siegel? The English word siege translates to "Belagerung" in German. If one takes into account Siegel's uncommon style of drumming, the nickname makes sense. Siegels drumming is in a constant state of motion. Far from a static, understated background, his playing is always very present, always with a purposeful forward motion. He's supported by an exceptionally virtuosic bassist who hits hard with a fervor most pronounced during the fast walking.
The two ladies of the band, like the guys, found themselves more comfortable in vibrating sonic-structures than in lyrical daydreaming. The music was thus communicated as though in an inner state of siege. This established, on the one hand, constant tension which challenged both audience and performer -although it's sometimes a little much for the spirit, and at long length can be tiring to hear. On the other hand, the band earned much praise for a high class concert, one that found an enthralled audience in spite of the omnipresent football (Soccer) mania.
*“Live in Europe' live in Eschen"
(review of live performance, Lichtenstein)
Post Bop with the Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet in the Tangente
Eschen- The quartet centered around drummer Jeff Siegel, noticeably inspired by 'modern jazz' of the 60's, is presenting on its current tour the new CD "Live in Europe." The group visited the Tangente on Saturday
Excepting Carlo de Rosa, whom Danton Boller was replacing on the bass, Jeff Siegel - who has been a fixture on the New York Jazz scene since the mid '90's - brought this cast of players to Eschen, along with his youngest album "Live in Europe," which was played on Radio Bremen and the Bavarian Rundfunk. The album, which was released just a few days before, was displayed at the intermission of the concert which the Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet gave at the Tangente on Saturday. Jeff Siegel introduced his band members, and the individual tunes as well: the group commenced with a composition by the tenor saxophonist in the band, Erica Lindsay. But for one exception, 'Beautiful Love,' taken from the Bill Evans repertoire, (Lindsay took pause during that one) the set consisted exclusively of original compositions by various members of the band.
The Saxophone voice, with its fitting vocal quality, led the laid-back, relatively classic post-bop-styled pieces as the central creative* element. Out of artfully arranged ensemble sections, isolated duets and soli were constantly emerging, sending the flow of the song in a completely new direction with a playful lightness, before the band would find themselves together again, heading back toward the coda.** Siegel, the head of the band, played musically, yet supportively in the background, and left the remaining band members all the necessary free space.
From pianist Franceska Tanksley stemmed such ingeniously conceived compositions as "Dancing in the Question," which modulated through various tonal centers; a definite high-point of the concert was Siegel's hit "Rag Tag" from the new album: it's led in by an extended bass solo that steers us toward the hard-hitting, bony dotted-quarter, eighth riff. Taken up and carried on by the piano, "Rag Tag" soon freed itself of the customary beat and was piloted soloistically into parallel worlds on the saxophone by Lindsay. By the sensitive beating of his cymbals, Siegel caught the tune and gradually brought it back down to earth.
Elvin's Circle - Lindsay
Peaceful - Siegel
Dance in the Question - Tanksley
M Song - Siegel
Threads - Siegel
Africa - Siegel
Rag Tag - Siegel
Stealth - Siegel
Remembering Shirley - Siegel
Magical Spaces - Siegel
Sets are typically 70 minutes long. We generally play
There are no upcoming dates at this time.