Atlas Maior
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Atlas Maior

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band World Jazz

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
19
Atlas Maior @ Dougherty Arts Center

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States

Nov
18
Atlas Maior @ Dougherty Arts Center

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States

Oct
27
Atlas Maior @ Stay Gold

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States

Music

Press


""Cynthia's Tears" By Atlas Maior"

Fiona's Comments

Make the world a little smaller, listen to some Turkish inspiration from Texas.



"Cynthia's Tears" by Atlas Maior BUY ALBUM
About The Album

Keyif, a Turkish concept that translates roughly as enchantment, delight, and conviviality, traces Atlas Maior’s approach to music and life. Keyif demonstrates the group’s maturing sonic identity by featuring original material, while also exploring their multidimensional musical influences. Charlie Lockwood: oud; Joshua Thomson: alto saxophone; Ted Camat: drums, percussion; Gary Calhoun James: double bass.

Date Featured

October 25, 2015 - All About Jazz


"MIDDLE EASTERN SAXOPHONE ENERGY"

American world fusion band Atlas Maior has released a 3-track EP titled Keyif. The recording features three oud and saxophone-fueled pieces inspired by jazz and Turkish music.

The lineup includes Charlie Lockwood on oud; Joshua Thomson on alto saxophone, flutes; Ted Camat on percussion; and Gary James on bass.

On Keyif, Atlas Maior deliver insistent jazz saxophone energy with a Middle Eastern flavor. - Angel Romero - World Music Central


"US Trio Atlas Maior Expands Musical Experiences in Istanbul"

US Trio Atlas Maior Expands Musical Experiences in Istanbul - Today’s Zaman (Istanbul, Turkey)


"here. now. where? – Ici. maintenant. où? – هنا،الآن،اين؟"

Sound Exhibit appearing at the 5th Marrakech Biennale
February 25, 2014 - Saout Radio


""أطلَس مايُور".. أمريكيُّون نذرُوا أعمارهم للعُود والأغاني العربيَّة"

http://www.hespress.com/art-et-culture/241281.html - 1HessPress – Moroccan Newspaper Article


"PRI The World: Music Heard on air February 26th, 2016"

Song played between segments on PRI's The World for February 26th, 2016 included: Atlas Maior's "Raqs Laylah." Program produced by April Peavey - Public Radio International: April Peavey


"Austin music group Atlas Maior announces a new 3-track EP titled Keyif"

Austin music group Atlas Maior announces a new 3-track EP titled Keyif, out October 23rd, and will celebrate the release with a local performance at Central Market North on October 24th. Atlas Maior’s influences traverse American Jazz, Middle Eastern traditions and Latin American musical idioms, creating hypnotic, transportive soundscapes with powerful melodies and gripping passages. Istanbul, Turkey acts as the geographic focal point for the group’s new sonic exploration: Keyif is a Turkish word that loosely translates to enchantment and delight, a collective feeling that the band members took as a souvenir from their time there. A long way from the plentiful sounds of honky tonk and rock in the capital of Texas, Atlas Maior spearheads the growing Austin world music scene with their superb musicianship and rhythmic wizardry.

Recorded at Austin’s Bell Tree Studios, Keyif represents 3 years of Atlas Maior’s compositional ideas and travels from members Charlie Lockwood (oud, a pear-shaped Middle Eastern fretless lute considered to be an ancestor of the guitar), Joshua Thomson (alto saxophone, flutes), Ted Camat (percussion) and contributing bass player Gary James. Brazil, Turkey and Spain and the Canary Islands provide sonic touchstones for Keyif. Instruments such as the aforementioned oud, which Lockwood has focused on for the past 8 years, the Brazilian pandeiro, and the dumbek, a Middle Eastern goblet shaped hand drum, and Thomson’s woodwinds and saxophone help the band develop “seeds of melodic or rhythmic concepts” that swell and intensify into lush arrangements. Drawing on their rich improvisation sessions and multifarious musical sources, Lockwood states, “We wanted to come away with a sound that illustrated our original compositions but also captured a natural and lively rendition of each song.”

The EP begins with “Bête Noire,” a thunderous and grooving track that acts as a great introduction to Atlas Maior’s signature sound. Thomson provides both elongated and staccato melodic phrasing as well as a driving solo section, while Lockwood’s oud lines bounce with bright Turkish aesthetics. “Cynthia’s Tears” begins as a melancholy journey that grows with hope and joy, mirrored by Thomson’s solo section that transforms from a forlorn smoothness to a triumphant ascendance. “Raqs Laylah” is an arrangement of a standard in the world of Arab and Turkish music, often accompanied by belly dance. Highlights of the track include Lockwood and Thomson’s respective solos over a ciftetelli Turkish rhythm, and Camat’s dexterous work on the dumbek.

The band takes its name from the first world atlas, published by Joan Bleau in Amsterdam in the 17th century. Founded in Austin, TX in 2009, Atlas Maior was inspired by the idea of creating original music encompassing the group’s wide range of musical inspirations, stretching from Egyptian composer Mohammad abdul-Wahhab, Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil, bassist Avishai Cohen, jazz artists such as Sun Ra, and fusion projects such as Amalgama and local Austin world music pioneers Atash.

Since its formation Atlas Maior has been creating original material, performing throughout Texas, and engaging creatively with other Austin-based musicians. The group released a self-titled EP in 2011, and followed up with the 2012 release of Four Shades, Atlas Maior’s first full-length album, recorded at Mohr Music Studios. In September 2013, Atlas Maior embarked on an international tour and cultural immersion experience in Istanbul, Turkey, where they performed at a variety of venues including a local university, and took music lessons from well-known Turkish musicians. The summer before leaving for Istanbul, the group undertook a series of improvisatory recording sessions at Bell Tree Studios, where they began their studio collaboration with James, along with guests Bob Hoffnar (pedal steel), and Sari Andoni (oud). The live cosmologies of sounds resulted in Palindrome, the group’s 2014 two-disc album comprised entirely of this improved material.

Atlas Maior toured internationally, primarily in Turkey, to promote the new recording, and even received a hometown nod with the proclamation of “Atlas Maior Day” on March 27, 2014 by Austin’s City Council. They have opened for internationally acclaimed artists Vieux Farka Touré and Tal National, and have performed at music festivals including Wobeonfest, Art Outside, SXSW, and the City of Austin’s F1 Fan Fest. The group has collaborated with a host of talented musicians in Austin and from around the world, including Atash, Layalina, The University of Texas at Austin Middle East Ensemble Bereket, and The Austin Global Orchestra and many more. - Jazz Chill


"World Beat Canada – Atlas Maior discusses EP Keyif (30 min mark)"

Cal Koat of World Beat Canada comments that 3 track EP Keyif is:
“Hauntingly stark & beautiful: recorded at Austin’s Bell Tree Studios, Keyif represents 3 years of Atlas Maior’s compositional ideas and travels from members Charlie Lockwood (oud), Joshua Thomson (alto saxophone, flutes), Ted Camat (percussion) and contributing bass player Gary James. Brazil, Turkey and Spain and the Canary Islands provide sonic touchstones for the Keyif EP. Altas Maior was the first world atlas made in 17th century Amsterdam.” - Interview by Cal Koat of World Beat Canada


"Keyif Album Review: Midwest Record Review (Chicago, IL) 11-5-2015"

ATLAS MAIOR
ATLAS MAIOR/Keyif: In which we find this bunch from Austin bucking the town's heritage of singer/songwriters by coming in with an ep of opium den music. Sounding direct from the middle east without any of the players having names that sound like they came from there, multi culti continues to take root in ways you wouldn't have thought originally. Check it out. - Midwest Review


"“Cynthia’s Tears” featured on UTNE Reader Magazine:"

UNTE Reader Magazine online music sampler - UTNE Reader Magazine


"Atlas Maior: Palindrome"

Open the package for Atlas Maior's debut CD and here's the first line you read: "Palindrome was completely improvised and recorded live with no overdubs." How you respond to these words will greatly shape how you respond to this music.

A mainstay on the vibrant Austin (Texas) music scene since 2010, Atlas Maior boasts a truly unique sound, not only from the instruments they play but the way they play them. The core trio features Ted Carnat on percussion, Joshua Thomson on alto saxophone and flute, and Charlie Lockwood on oud, one of the world's oldest instruments (a fretless eleven-string lute from what is now Iraq). They're joined for this excursion by Bob Shoffner on pedal steel guitar and Gary Calhoun James (who recorded, mixed and mastered Palindrome) on upright bass and harmonium. These instruments combine to create a very different sound, and this sound is made even more different by the ensemble's purely improvisational approach.

Though disc one captures excellent musicianship (such as the bass/saxophone dialogue in "Sea Beast" and Lockwood finger-picking a banjo sound from "The Street Slitherer") the improvisations on disc two seem to fit together more soundly.

"Burcu's Blues" really IS genuine blues. Lockwood's oud lays down what would normally be the acoustic guitar foundation of a twelve-bar classic like "Love in Vain" while Thomson's sharp alto peels the lid off the top and James steps out on upright bass—all rendering the familiar blues structure through an unfamiliar sound. "The Birds of Bhutan" awaken in an ornamental nest of rustling percussion and meditative oud (which sounds like a Japanese kyoto) and then sing their song through Thomson's alto and flute.

"Parlay" reaches out to fans of Ornette Coleman, especially its pointed and argumentative dialogue between alto and drums, which Carnat whips into a funky and spastic second line froth.

The late 2014 release of this 2013 recording served to crown a most amazing year for Atlas Maior: They toured Turkey and Spain in 2014, placed a track in 2014's 5th Biennial Art Festival of Marrakesh (Morocco), and the Austin City Council declared March 27, 2014, as "Atlas Maior Day."

Track Listing: Disc One: Mists of Our Past; Vengo Quote; iddaa!; The Street Slitherer; ouduo; Sea Beast; Booted and Looted. Disc Two: High Heat; Micronesian Sm*t Jazz; Parlay; Burcu's Blues; Half-pipe Blowhole; The Birds of Bhutan; oodaqq.

Personnel: Charlie Lockwood: oud; Ted Carnat: percussion; Joshua Thomson: alto saxophone, flute; Gary Calhoun James: upright bass, harmonium; Sari Adoni: oud; Bob Hoffner: pedal steel guitar.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced - By CHRIS M. SLAWECKI of All About Jazz


"PRI The World: Music Heard on air February 9th, 2016"

Song played between segments on PRI's The World for February 9th, 2016 included: Atlas Maior's "Raqs Laylah." Program produced by April Peavey - Public Radio International: April Peavey


"PRI The World: Music Heard on air December 18th, 2015"

Song played between segments on PRI's The World for December 18, 2015 included: Atlas Maior's "Raqs Laylah." Program produced by April Peavey - Public Radio International: April Peavey


"Atlas Maior Play The Love Leighs’ Weekly Residency Show Tonight at Hotel Vegas"

Atlas Maior is an Austin-based trio that has a deep appreciation for everything the world has to offer. Named after the eleven-volume world atlas published in Amsterdam in the 17th century, the band keeps a basic philosophy: While the lines of maps may identify the separate identities of places, music will always transcend.

Of course, this means having an endless array of influences to infuse into their sound – Eastern Arab, North Indian, East Asian, South, North and Central American, among many other diverse styles. And the diversity is what appeals to them.

Atlas Maior has a guest slot at local jazz/blues/twang trio The Love Leighs‘ weekly residency show tonight at Hotel Vegas, 1500 E. 6th St. Atlas Maior will perform at 9 p.m., followed by The Love Leighs at 10:30 p.m. Check them both out. Recommended. - KUT 90.5FM Austin (www.kut.org)


Discography

October 2015: Atlas Maior - Keyif (EP)

October 2014: Atlas Maior - Palindrome (2LP)

December 2012: Atlas Maior - Four Shades (LP)

February 2011: Atlas Maior - Atlas Maior EP (EP)

Photos

Bio

Atlas Maior is a music project based in Austin, Texas that maps diverse musical traditions, placing Middle Eastern, North Indian, West and North African as well as Latin American musical idioms in dialogue with one another. Atlas Maior composes music that pays homage to the stewards of these traditions and their cultural and geographic origins. Their unique sound balances intimate moments of sincerity with powerful cinematic melodies and incendiary rhythmic passages. The band takes its name from the “Atlas Maior”, the first world atlas published by Joan Bleau in Amsterdam in the 17th century. Atlas Maior was inspired by the idea of creating original music that encompassed the group’s wide range of musical inspirations, including Egyptian composer Mohammad abdul-Wahhab, Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil, bassist Avishai Cohen, jazz artists Jackie McLean, Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra, and fusion projects such as Amalgama, Ojos de Brujo, and Shakti. The core members of Atlas Maior, saxophonist Joshua Thomson and oud player Charlie Lockwood, write original melodies exploring maqamat (the Middle Eastern modal system) and harmonic progressions of American jazz (utilizing melodic minor theory, and modal approaches). The group then adopts a wide variety of non-Western rhythms and percussion instruments including Indian tablas, West African shekere, Middle Eastern dumbek, and the Peruvian cajón to Lockwood and Thomson’s melodies as part of the creative process.

Much of Atlas Maior’s original material is grounded in the past and the present, melodies built from the shades of past experiences or inspired by ground shaking current events around the world. Atlas Maior released the Atlas Maior EP in February 2011, and has spent the last two years creating original material, performing throughout Central Texas and East Texas, and engaging creatively with other Austin-based musicians. Four Shades, the group’s full-length LP album, was recorded in Mohr Music Studios during Summer 2012 and is due for release in late Fall 2012. Atlas Maior’s engagement with musical traditions from geographic locations worldwide speaks to one of the group’s primary messages: You can’t sense culture from a map – just shapes, lines, symbols and words, textures and colors. Music, however, uses all of these tools, in sound, to begin to reveal the real territory of human emotion and design, hidden within the map.

Band Members