The Saltman Knowles Quintet is a shining example of the tradition in jazz for longterm artist collaborations. This Washington
DC group is known for serving up melodically alluring while rhythmically infectious music with a sincere and emotional
collection of songs. Bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles, the leaders of this seamless blending of sounds, have
been together since their first introduction in their college days. The bond that binds them is their mutual hunger for melodic
content woven within a tapestry of harmonic emotional patterns. Besides producing three CDs with Soulservice their last
release, “It’s About the Melody” received excellent reviews and introduced vocalist Lori William-Chisholm. Their latest release,
“Return of the Composer” exemplifies the cohesive unit created with a strong underlying foundation, interesting melodic lines, spirited rhythms and superlative musicianship. The compelling clarity of Lori’s instrumental vocals add to the rich spirit of this CD that includes drummer Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson, alto sax player Rob Landham and trumpeter Alvin Trask who provide a
lush array of musical brilliance to this solid mix. Scott Yanow, jazz journalist and author of ten books writes, “Pianist William
Knowles and bassist Mark Saltman are in top form on “Return Of The Composer”. There is much to discover on this
memorable outing.” The new release, “Return of the Composer,” continues the ascent of musical excellence for this
artistically original Quintet. For more information: www.pacificcoastjazz.com.
William Knowles- Piano/composer
Mark Saltman- DoubleBass/composer
Lori Williams-Chisholm- Vocals
Rob Landham- Saxophones
Jimmy Junebug Jackson- Drums
Alvin Trask- Trumpet/Flugelhorn
Yesterday's Man- Pacific Coast Jazz (Jan.10)
Return of the Composer- Pacific Coast Jazz (Feb. 09)
Its About The Melody- Blue Canoe Records (07)
Sandcastles- CAP records (03)
Dreamcatcher- CAP records(99)
Stop Look and Listen- Pianochoir (95)
AMG on SaltmanKnowles
[+ Show ]
Review by Alex Henderson It is no coincidence that one of Saltman/Knowles' previous releases was ...Review by Alex Henderson
It is no coincidence that one of Saltman/Knowles' previous releases was titled It's About the Melody (as opposed to It's Not About the Melody, which was the title of a Betty Carter album from 1992). The acoustic post-bop that bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles have been providing is, in fact, decidedly melodic -- not melodic in a pop-minded, commercial, or overly sentimental way, but melodic nonetheless. And that commitment to melody remains on Yesterday's Man. Melody isn't a mere afterthought on this early-2010 release; it is an essential part of Saltman and Knowles' post-bop vision, and singer Lori Williams-Chisholm obviously shares that vision. She is featured on seven of the album's ten tracks -- and whether Williams-Chisholm is embracing lyrics or scatting, she never fails to be soulful and expressive. Like before, Saltman/Knowles emphasize original material; everything on Yesterday's Man was composed by either Saltman or Knowles. From the emphasis on original material to the prominent role that Williams-Chisholm plays, this 58-minute CD pretty much picks up where the group's 2009 release, Return of the Composer, left off. But there is one difference that will jump out at Saltman/Knowles' followers: the addition of steel pan player Victor Provost, who enjoys a fair amount of solo space. An instrument that is mainly identified with calypso, the steel pan has not been a prominent jazz instrument. But it has worked wonders for Andy Narell (jazz's first major voice on the steel pan), and Provost is a welcome addition to a group that already had a lot going for it before his arrival. Yesterday's Man is a winner.
Blog Critics on SaltmanKnowles
[+ Show ]
Jazz combo Saltman Knowles has proven themselves a sophisticated, cohesive group that straddles the ...Jazz combo Saltman Knowles has proven themselves a sophisticated, cohesive group that straddles the line between traditional and contemporary jazz. Their sixth release, Yesterday’s Man, further blends these genres by adding a seemingly unlikely jazz instrument: the steel drum. The result is an immensely likeable album combining world influences, vocals, and elements of traditional and modern jazz styles.
As previously reviewed, Saltman Knowles’ last album Return of the Composer flirted with free-form jazz. This time the sound leans more toward traditional, but the steel drum (played by Victor Provost) lends new dimensions to bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles’ work. For example, “Cry” pits vocalist Lori Williams-Chisholm’s vocals against Provost’s gentle yet beautiful steel drums. The instrument also beautifully accents the title track, with Provost effortlessly riding the groove and the lovely chord changes. In addition, the steel drum works as a counterpart to the flugelhorn on “They Don’t Really Care for Us,” which the group states is a tribute to New Orleans and their syncopated rhythms.
Other standouts include “Folk Song,” which really bears little resemblance to what one considers the folk sound. Still, Doug Pierce’s flugelhorn and Antonio Parker’s alto saxophone solos beautifully complement the piece, and Williams-Chisholm’s laid-back crooning weaves throughout the tune. “08 Bossa” contains more of a march-like rhythm rather that typical bossa nova, with frequent fluctuating tempos. The marching motif is also used on “East Orange Blues,” although the tempo becomes a bit monotonous as the track progresses. Due to different tempos, “08 Bossa” simply holds the listener’s attention much more. Middle Eastern rhythms pervade “Shesh,” with the steel drum adding more depth to the track. While the two genres seem unlike each other, Saltman Knowles fuses the two together with skill.
Saltman KnowlesIn addition to her scatting, Williams-Chisholm displays her singing chops on the breezy “What Was I To You,” a Brazilian-kissed number that showcases her many sides other than just vocalese. Knowles and saxophonist Brian Settles also turn in tasty solos on the track. But her scatting skills return on the slinky “Blues for Sale,” which prominently spotlights percussionist Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson. Provost really demonstrates how the steel drum can swing on this tune with dizzying speed. As they showed on their previous album, Saltman Knowles can function as a tightly cohesive unit, and this track really exemplifies that fact.
Read more: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-saltman-knowles-yesterdays-man/#ixzz0wcjzKH47
SaltmanKnowles Yesterday's Man
[+ Show ]
Saltman Knowles are a hard swinging, straight-ahead contemporary jazz group formed by bassist Mark S...Saltman Knowles are a hard swinging, straight-ahead contemporary jazz group formed by bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles. Their latest release, Yesterday’s Man on the Pacific Coast Jazz label features strong original compositions, unusual instrumentation and melodic soloing. There are memorable tunes, driving rhythms and fabulous wordless vocals. This is foot tapping music powered by a special rhythm section.
Jimmy ‘Junebug’ Jackson spent 20 years with Jimmy Smith, so it’s not surprising that his drumming swings profoundly; he also shows remarkable restraint at times – bristling with energy like a coiled-up spring. Saltman uses his bass to support and structure his compositions, combining neatly with Knowles’ measured piano, which together with the wonderful drumming of Jackson, makes for quite a bedrock for the melodies and soloists.
The record is enriched through a varied and unusual line-up. Lori Williams-Chisholm’s vocals, especially her wordless vocals and scatting are engaging, and Victor Provost plays some quite exquisite soprano steel pan. Trumpeter Doug Pierce and saxophonists Brian Settles and Antonio Parker play with quite contrasting styles and approaches as well.
Michael J West reviews SaltmanKnowles
[+ Show ]
Yesterday’s Man is the third album by D.C.’s Saltman Knowles,the latest stop on the group’s neverend...Yesterday’s Man is the third album by D.C.’s Saltman Knowles,the latest stop on the group’s neverending quest for melody and hooks. This time, pianist William Knowles and bassist Mark Saltman lead an unusual octet that features a steel pan drummer (Victor Provost). Adventures in instrumentation aside, Yesterday’s Man is the slickest Saltman Knowles production yet. More importantly, though, it’s a tour de force for singer Lori Williams-Chisholm, the band’s only constant besides its namesakes. As always, her joy in singing is unshakable, even on less-than-joyful tunes like “They Don’t Really Care for Us,” but her silken delivery and exceptional timing make up a lot of that ground and help convey the darker moods. Better still are her scatting and improvisations on “Blues for Sale” and “08 Bossa,” among others, where a remarkable talent for rhythmic sounds and melodic variation come through. Yesterday’s Man is a worthy document of one of the District’s most consistently high-quality ensembles.
Also: Nothing official yet, but if history is an indicator, you can expect a CD release gig or two at HR-57 in the very near future.
Womens radio review
[+ Show ]
Saltman Knowles Quintet - "It's About The Melody" (2007) by Brian Ball, Music Editor Washington...Saltman Knowles Quintet - "It's About The Melody" (2007)
by Brian Ball, Music Editor
Washington D.C. has been harboring a rich and sophisticated sound that when aurally ingested, evokes the true spirit of jazz. This is exactly what the Saltman Knowles Quintet have accomplished on their newest release It’s About The Melody (featuring Lori Williams) (Blue Canoe Records, 2007), bringing forth a new way to experience the tried & true sounds that gave birth to the way of life (and musical style) we know as jazz.
Playing on the underlying subconscious (and sometimes vulnerable) human attachment to melodic verse, It’s About The Melody captures the listener’s spirit in an interactive and heart-felt display of love by means of music.
I am still quite amazed every now and then, when I notice how different types of music seem to affect each of us in different and unique ways.
Let me give you an example:
A much deeper and gratifying element of It’s About The Melody unveiled itself to me several hours after my first listen, when I had found myself humming tunes to standout songs such as “On A Pale Star” and “What About April”. I’ve heard no less than 250,000 different songs in my life, and still on that afternoon, I was humming along to the tune in my head at that moment, while I was preparing dinner, which happened to be “On A Pale Star”.
If you enjoy jazz with character, sometimes improvisational, always sincere and forever memorable, It’s About The Melody is one album you can’t afford to leave out of your collection.
“It was as if the neo-archaic style of writing made an instant and everlasting imprint in my brain.”—Brian Ball, Music Editor
All About Jazz
[+ Show ]
It's About the Melody Saltman/Knowles Quintet | Blue Canoe Records (2007) By Michael J. West com...It's About the Melody
Saltman/Knowles Quintet | Blue Canoe Records (2007)
By Michael J. West comments print email license
Washington, D.C.’s Saltman/Knowles Quintet (four-fifths of whom were once four-sixths of Soulservice) have staked everything on making tuneful, singable jazz. That’s made clear in the liner notes of It’s About the Melody. After a list of “Things we like” that includes everything from Borat to sweet potatoes to Billy Strayhorn, their dislikes contain but one entry: “Music without melodies.”
Little wonder, with melodic gifts like those of bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles—who met while studying composition in college. They’re as good as their word, too: It’s About the Melody is stocked to capacity with beautiful, and beautifully constructed, original songs, as lovingly played as they are crafted. The music’s core is the unquestionable chemistry of the Soulservice alumni (Saltman, Knowles, saxophonist Charles Langford, and drummer Mark Prince), but its active ingredient is the crisp, clear-as-a-bell voice of Lori Williams. She almost effortlessly glides—one might even say floats—through the tunes which, like all great songs, are easy to sing but almost impossible to sing well.
As if to prove the CD title’s point, though, every other element in the quintet’s music is downgraded to serve at the pleasure of the melodies. No complicated harmonic somersaults, for example. The changes on It’s About the Melody are natural and intuitive, even on showoff-y numbers like the speedy “The Joke’s On Me” and the scat-fest “Freetime.” The rhythms, too, are conventional, waltzing or swinging easy, usually with a touch of bossa.
The problem, if it be one, is that de-emphasizing these components effectively dissipates them—which can make the music, dulcet though it is, rather toothless. The musicians affirm that quality. Though the ensemble is immaculate, the solos (mostly traded by Knowles and Langford) are shaky, lapsing at times into all-too-safe territory. Williams is anything but safe, but she has that Ella Fitzgerald/Jane Monheit foible of sounding so happy to sing that she can’t quite sell the ballads, either teary (“Love Echoes”) or introspective (“My Secret Lullaby”).
Of all the flaws jazz can have, however, joy is the hardest to complain about; the solo sins on It’s About the Melody are weightier, but forgivable when committed in the service of such high-caliber tunes. Frankly, every solo on the disc could be written, and who could bring themselves to care? As long the melodies stay alive, killing them, says the Saltman/Knowles Quintet, is the single most unlikable thing there is.
Visit Saltman/Knowles Quintet on the web.
Saltman/Knowles Quintet at All About Jazz.
Track listing: Journey Around My Room; The Joke's On Me; Love Echoes; The Shadow in My Mind; What About April; My Secret Lullaby; Brighterdays; On a Pale Star; Freetime; The Color of Midnight.
Personnel: Mark Saltman: double bass; William Knowles: piano; Charles Langford: saxophone; Mark Prince: drums; Lori Williams: vocals.
Style: Mainstream | Published: May 14, 2007
[+ Show ]
“... their music simply swims in a sea of smooth sounds" - Soundraze eMagazine SOUNDRAZE REVIEW: ...“... their music simply swims in a sea of smooth sounds" - Soundraze eMagazine
After listening to “Homeland", we can say that it is no wonder that these musicians won an award for “best international jazz song". The quality is such that their music simply swims in a sea of smooth sounds. Even for a listener who is not terribly keen on the genre, there is a groove to this song that makes your body sway as you listen. The vocals (of Lori Williams-Chisholm) are an absolutely perfect compliment to the music. The talented keys of Knowles and swing of Saltman’s double bass (and the drums) kept a sideways heartbeat throughout without ever being overpowering. Often in jazz, melodies are lost in waves of new ideas... but even with the progression of sound in this song, a beautiful melody kept coming back into the picture to dance. Our final word: Mark Saltman and William Knowles know music and they know how to create great music.
Its Still About The Melody
[+ Show ]
Bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles lead a quintet that prominently features singer Lor...Bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles lead a quintet that prominently features singer Lori Williams on this winning collection of original songs. As the title indicates, there is a focus on sung melody rather than on extended improvisation, though the solos are consistently enjoyable as well. Williams is a very fine singer, and the songs themselves are generally lovely, if occasionally just a bit too wordy. Nice. (RA)
CD HotList: New Releases for Libraries
[+ Show ]
Hailing from the Washington, D.C., area, pianist/composer William Knowles and bassist/lyricist Mark ...Hailing from the Washington, D.C., area, pianist/composer William Knowles and bassist/lyricist Mark Saltman collaborate with vocalist Lori Williams to present ten original jazz songs. As referenced by the title, these selections are melodic to a certain degree, but not saturated or sugary. Counterpoint between voice and instruments is kept to a minimum and the songs are maintained in a similar introspective mood, mostly midtempo with no torch songs or ballads. A Latin tinge is used here and there, while saxophonist Charles Langford chimes in and solos regularly. There's a sense of deliberateness to this music; little is left to chance or spontaneity. It's nice music throughout. Knowles is a fine pianist and you would like to hear him stretch a bit on his own, and the voice of Williams, though samey in her intimate insightfulness, is pleasant enough, using vocalese during one tune, "Freetime." They step out slightly on the Wayne Shorter-esque modern swinger "The Shadow in My Mind," the turnaround tune "The Joke's on Me" (where the woman asks the man to marry her), and the sweet modal waltz "Love Echoes." The slight call-and-response during "Brighter Days" and piano/vocal unison line on "The Color of Midnight" hint at an ability to extrapolate further. Award Brownie points for not doing standards, though surely they have previously, and note promise for the future in extended forms for a group that perhaps is best heard in live performance.
SaltmanKnowles Review Jim Santella
[+ Show ]
QUINTET IT’S ABOUT THE MELODY — Blue Canoe Records #1032. Web: www.saltmanknowles.com. By Jim S...QUINTET
IT’S ABOUT THE MELODY — Blue Canoe
Records #1032. Web: www.saltmanknowles.com.
By Jim Santella
Vocalist Lori Williams and saxophonist
Charles Langford give the Saltman Knowles Quintet
a soulful lyricism that makes their program of
original songs come alive with spirit. Pianist William
Knowles, whose clarity at the keyboard gives
the session impressions of water cascading through
a virgin forest, connects all the dots with alacrity.
His co-leader, bassist Mark Saltman, drives the unit
with a strong underlying foundation and steps into
the spotlight occasionally for solo opportunities. Together,
they create a session that emphasizes articulate
melodies that ride atop the jazz sound of walking
bass, block chord piano and drum set innuendo.
Saltman and Knowles have been together for
quite some time. Their first recording was twelve
years ago. There have been other recordings; each
as personal and unique as the first. They met while
studying composition at the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst. With Saltman’s melodic bass moving
eloquently and Knowles’ harmonic portraits flowering
colorfully, the quintet revels in its lovely setting.
“My Secret Lullaby,” “On a Pale Star” and
“Brighterdays” include some vibrant scat singing,
To Advertise CALL: 212.889.0853 September 2007 • Jazz Improv NY® • www.jazzimprov.com 61
while “Freetime” launches an animated vocalese adventure.
The difference is in Williams’ role: as lyric
interpreter on the former three songs and as vocal
instrumentalist on the latter. The remainder of the
program places its emphasis on colorful lyrics with
stories to tell. In each of those situations, Williams
and her musical partners interpret with deep feeling.
A cohesive unit, the Saltman Knowles Quintet
reaches down deep in order to relate its heartfelt message
openly with pride.
Swingin' with Saltman/Knowles
[+ Show ]
Saltman / Knowles - Jazz - Washington D.C. Swinging with Saltman and Knowles! I hear disticnt fun i...Saltman / Knowles - Jazz - Washington D.C.
Swinging with Saltman and Knowles! I hear disticnt fun in the lyrics, colorful word plays actually. A bit of poetry a bit real life story. Musically this is a solid group, real nice changes, and tonal colorings. I can see these folks must really get a crowd moving to their music. Their music is Jazz. A few mixings of modern arranging and influences, but I can sense a deeper understanding of the true roots of Jazz. Excellent recording and I am sure they let it hangout more when they are in a live situation. The group is
William Knowles- Piano/composer
Mark Saltman- DoubleBass/composer
Charles Langford- Saxophones
Mark Prince/Jimmy Junebug Jackson- Drums
Lori Williams- Vocals,
Alvin Trask- Trumpet/Flugelhorn.
William Knowles on the piano has some real great voicings that just fit, and they mix so well with their vocalist. Mark Saltman on the bass is as solid as can be. He moves in and out of the timed sections very smoothly and supports everyone so well. For more information on this talented Jazz act from Washington D.C. Saltman Knowles on sonic bids personal website and Blue Canoe records .
ITs About the Melody
[+ Show ]
CD Review SALTMAN KNOWLES QUINTET/It's About the Melody: Nice, hard hitting post bop crew that...CD Review
SALTMAN KNOWLES QUINTET/It's About the Melody: Nice, hard hitting post bop
crew that has learned a load of lessons well and can play them back without
being derivative or overly in awe of the past. With a nice energy, creative
chops that show well and a drive to succeed, this crew is right at the tip
of going places.
1032 (Blue Canoe)
Volume 30/Number 180
April 29, 2007
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
2007 Midwest Record
Something so intimate
[+ Show ]
There’s something so intimate about these smooth, melodic tunes that it’s hard to avoid becoming an ...There’s something so intimate about these smooth, melodic tunes that it’s hard to avoid becoming an instant fan. There’s a certain magical immediacy in the fat sound of the bass, where even in a recording you can feel fingers on the strings, and in the sound of breath coaxing spiraling melody from a saxophone. Saltman/Knowles deliver up some gorgeous, tuneful jazz that’s even appealing to people who don’t know they like jazz. In fact, a hardcore jazz fan trying to get a non-jazz fan into the genre would do well to introduce Saltman/Knowles as a gentle primer. (http://saltmanknowles.com) (Review date, July 7, 2007)
We play original Jazz/Latin Jazz/Eclectic music.
While we have played many Standards gigs, we excel when playing our own material;
We can do gigs of any length.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.